Santa Barbara-Goleta, Saturday, August 23, 2014

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MTD Aims to Improve Bus Service for Santa Barbara City College Students

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Several changes will be rolled out Monday, including new pickup spots in Isla Vista and more buses taking SBCC students to campus

In what Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District officials call "the biggest day of the year," MTD is prepared to roll out several service changes on Monday, including some that affect Santa Barbara City College.

MTD has altered Line 15x, an express bus that travels from Isla Vista to City College. The buses along that route will no longer weave through the streets of Isla Vista when making morning stops. Instead, the Line 15x will pick up along El Colegio only.

The change is designed to speed up bus traffic and reduce potential congestion problems. MTD buses would lose time by driving through the narrow streets of Isla Vista. Also on Monday, beginning at 7:13 at Santa Catalina Hall on El Colegio, MTD will have six buses — a main bus and five boosters — making pickups to transport students to City College.

"It has been quite a challenge having enough seats, particularly in the morning," said Jerry Estrada, MTD's general manager.

Nearly 263,000 Santa Barbara City College students rode the line 15x last year. 

The first day of City College is typically a tense day for MTD officials, who prepare themselves for the crush of new students learning the system for the first time, while trying to get to classes on time.

George Amoon, MTD's planning manager, said buses had been late "a bunch" from getting tangled in traffic in Isla Vista. It was his goal to "make it truly an express" bus.

Estrada said service in previous years was "insufficient," but that he is hopeful that no City College students will be left behind. MTD also plans more frequent pickups from City College to Isla Vista in the evenings, with pickups ever 30 minutes instead of every hour.

Later this fall, MTD said it plans to use "articulated buses," which are two buses essentially connected in the middle in accordion-style fashion, which will allow MTD to carry more passengers in a single trip. 

In addition to Line 15x, MTD plans to increase service from the Transit Center to City College on Line 16. MTD will add an additional bus and pickup times will improve from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes.

"The first few weeks are challenging for everyone," Estrada said.

Other MTD service changes include:

» Elimination of Line 22, which traveled from the downtown Transit Center to the Santa Barbara Mission and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

» One additional bus during morning and afternoon peak times for the Crosstown Shuttle.

» Trips along Carpinteria Seaside Shuttle will move faster and more on time.

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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Thunder Over the Valley Air Show Returns to Santa Maria

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Army’s Golden Knights parachute team set to skydive Saturday and Sunday

A year after being grounded due to military cutbacks, the Thunder Over the Valley air show has returned to the Santa Maria Public Airport with the Army’s elite parachute team, the Golden Knights, as the headline act.

While the show runs Saturday and Sunday, activity filled the sky Friday afternoon as the Golden Knights conducted a practice skydive, and pilots of vintage warbirds gave preview performances.

Gates are open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with the entrance off Blosser Road near Foster Road on the south side of the airport.

The opening ceremony starts at 10 a.m. both days.

Landing the Army’s aerial demonstration team was a big coup for the small show put on as the Santa Maria Museum of Flight’s annual fundraiser.

“What an opportunity for everyone to see them jump,” said Grover Cox, the museum’s spokesman. “It’s so terrific.”

The Golden Knights, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., are expected to make two drops each day, one in the morning to open the show and another in the afternoon.

“We’ve been trying to get them for years, and we got lucky on the draw,” Cox said, crediting Mike Geddry Sr., museum president, with the local show ending up on the Golden Knights Black Team’s schedule. 

The Golden Knights date back to 1959, when a general created the team to compete in the then-Soviet Union dominated sport of skydiving.

Today the unit, made up up 89 soldiers and civilians, is divided into the Black Demonstration Team, Gold Demonstration Team, Tandem Team and Competition Team. The Black and Gold teams perform around the globe to promote the Army. 

A vintage aircraft is towed into position at the Santa Maria Public Airport, which is staging the Thunder Over the Valley air show this weekend. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

After Friday afternoon’s jump, the soldiers gathered to repack their parachutes, battling wind that made the task more difficult.

“It’s not so bad when there’s not wind, but they’re designed to catch the wind so …” said Spc. Luke Olk, his voice trailing off as a gust again interfered with his efforts.

Olk became hooked on skydiving while in high school, and also long had a goal of joining the Army. He has 800 jumps. 

“Every jump is different,” he said.

Thunder Over The Valley didn’t occur in 2013 after military budget woes led to cancelations of demonstration teams and air show participation by modern-day warbirds.

Organizers are thrilled to be back.

“I’m starting to feel like a human again,” Geddry said.

Cox noted that many volunteers once served in the military so working to make the event happen helps them along with entertaining local aviation enthusiasts.

“For some it’s just more of a therapy than it is anything else so last year when we didn’t have it, it really affected a lot of the people,” Cox said of the volunteers.

“It’s like having a family reunion,” Geddry added.

This year, the Santa Maria show, which typically takes place the fourth weekend in August, is occurring at the same time as the Wings Over Camarillo air show in Ventura County. The Camarillo event also attracts vintage warbirds.

And tight defense budgets mean the availability of military aircraft remains limited. 

But privately owned vintage aircraft will perform, including John Collver in his Wardog. The Torrance resident first performed in Santa Maria in 1988 at the former Golden State Air Fair.

“I enjoy coming back ever year,” he said, calling the local show “a big family.”

He has been flying for 40 years and been on the air show circuit for more than 33 years.

In Wardog, his AT-6/SNJ aircraft, Collver performs with the theme of “Salute to the Military Veteran,” demonstrating various maneuvers taught to U.S. pilots during World War II combat training. 

“It’s a good piece of flying history,” added Collver, who has logged 15,000 flight hours.

In addition to the air show, a car show, sponsored by Santa Maria Ford, Nissan and Mazda, also is planned at the site along with a beer garden sponsored by Budweiser.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, veterans and children. Kids 7 years old and younger will be admitted for free.

A family pack for two adults and two children is $25.

For more information, click 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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La Casa de La Raza, Facing Foreclosure, Negotiates with Lender to Delay Auction

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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La Casa de La Raza has negotiated with its lender to delay an auction that had been planned for Monday as part of foreclosure proceedings the Lower Eastside community center will continue to fight.

The nonprofit’s board and staff were able to move the deadline for a potential auction to Sept. 8, La Casa Executive Director Raquel Lopez told Noozhawk on Friday.

News of the two-week extension came the same day La Casa was supposed to pay back outstanding property taxes to it mortgage loan lender, which threatened to auction off La Casa’s headquarters at 601 E. Montecito St.

Lopez has said La Casa was delaying its latest payment — the organization owes $9,647.28 in taxes for the 2013-14 fiscal year — while it works with the county to reinstate its nonprofit status.

She originally said the nonprofit planned to make a payment to Fidelity Bank on Friday.

“This postponement allows La Casa to continue to manage conversations and negotiations to permanently end the mortgage company’s foreclosure proceedings,” Lopez said in a statement. “We are very much heartened by our supporters, by the County of Santa Barbara's goodwill and the mortgage company's willingness to work with us.

“We deeply appreciate all of the calls for support and concern. We want to assure the community that we will be here in two years, in four and in another forty years from now — with support. The reality is that La Casa is not unlike many non-profits in our community facing challenges in today’s current economic environment.”

Lopez encouraged concerned locals to donate to La Casa online.

La Casa has avoided being put on the auction block once before. County officials were considering the same action in 2012, when La Casa owed more than $97,000 in property taxes, default on the property since the 2004-05 tax year.

The nonprofit, which was founded in 1971 to focus on preserving Latino cultural heritage and providing an umbrella for services, took out the Fidelity trust deed to pay off that bill, along with other inherited debt, Lopez said.

This year, La Casa earned a certificate from the state Board of Equalization allowing property taxes to reflect its nonprofit status — something Lopez said the nonprofit has been trying to do since 2012.

She said La Casa is currently working with the county to reassess the property, hoping to get a refund from the past nine years it paid full taxes on the nearly two-acre site, which often lets for-profit organizations use space.

Santa Barbara County has assessed the property at $796,809. 

Fidelity sent the foreclosure notice while La Casa attorneys continue working with county staff on terms. 

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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Road Closures Scheduled for Santa Barbara Triathlon

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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About 1,000 cyclists will ride through southern Santa Barbara County on Saturday morning as part of the Santa Barbara Triathlon, causing road closures.

The California Highway Patrol will monitor the route and the closures, which will be in effect between 7 a.m. and around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Closures will be in effect on Highway 150 between Highway 192 and Gobernador Canyon Road, and Highway 192 between Sheffield Drive and Highway 150.

The long course takes place on Saturday while the sprint courses are scheduled for Sunday morning. All the races start and finish at the Cabrillo Bathhouse at Santa Barbara’s East Beach, at 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

Caltrans has traffic updates for state highways available on its website. 

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 Receives $8.6 Million from State in Active Transportation Program Funds

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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The California Transportation Commission awarded the City of Santa Barbara $8.614 million in Active Transportation Program (ATP) funds to implement four capital projects.

The city will receive more per capita than any other jurisdiction, and nearly 4 percent of the $220 million available in the state. The complete list of ATP projects can be viewed by clicking here.

» What is the purpose of Active Transportation Program? According to the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the program should:

» Increase the proportion of trips accomplished by biking and walking

» Increase the safety of non-motorized users

» Achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals

» Enhance public health

» Benefit disadvantaged (minority and low income) communities

“We are delighted with the outcome,” Public Works Director Rebecca Bjork said. “With increasingly fewer resources available, grant opportunities such as this are critical to making community transportation projects possible.”

How will the money benefit Santa Barbara? The Lower Eastside, which recently developed a community transportation plan, will benefit from the city’s successful grant award with the following projects:

» Lower Milpas Street & Calle Puerto Vallarta Sidewalk and Lighting — $1.097 million
(Sidewalk will connect Milpas from the train tracks to the beach)

» Montecito Street Bridge Replacement (adds a sidewalk) — $3.442 million ($433,000 city match)

» Cacique/Soledad Streets Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridges and Lighting — $2.703 million
(Replaces existing and adds a new bridge over Sycamore Creek)

The fourth project selected is in the Los Positas Valley area:

» Las Positas Road Pathway (Environmental and Design Only): $1.372 million ($178,000 city match)

The Las Positas Project was first envisioned by the community in the 1998 Bicycle Master Plan. If constructed, the multi-purpose pathway would extend from Cliff Drive north to Modoc Road along Las Positas Road and west along Modoc Road, connecting to the Obern Trail. The total project will cost $10 million to $15 million to construct. With the use of the state grant funds, limited local dollars can go toward other projects and the initial design and environmental clearance phase can begin.

— Rob Dayton is a principal transportation planner for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Named Among Top 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in U.S.

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has been named one of the “Top 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in the U.S.”  in 2014, marking the first time that the hospital has received this award in the annual list compiled by Soliant Health.

“With an innovative healing arts collection and ‘River of Life’ fountain that flows through the gardens of the hospital’s new Spanish Colonial inpatient wing, this Santa Barbara landmark accomplishes one of the great triumphs of hospital architecture: Letting you forget that you’re in a hospital,” Soliant Health stated in its official announcement of the award.

“We are honored to be named one of the most beautiful hospitals in America,” said Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health System, the parent organization for Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. “While our physicians, nurses and staff strive every day to provide our patients with the best possible care, the unique and relaxing environment at the new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is designed to offer our patients the best possible setting in which to heal.”

The new hospital, which opened in February 2012, is part of an estimated $700 million project to replace all inpatient care facilities. The architectural design features natural light, increased green space and environmentally sensitive elements that are both patient- and family-friendly and representative of the Spanish Colonial style for which the Santa Barbara community is so well known. The last phases of the construction project, estimated to be completed in 2017, include demolishing and rebuilding part of the existing hospital building, which will connect to the new buildings.

For the sixth year in a row, Soliant Health, one of the country’s largest health-care staffing companies, turned to hospital staff, patients and supporters to help choose the top 20 hospitals worthy of “Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S.” distinction. A record-breaking 250,000 total votes nationwide were received this year.

In addition to this recent award, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital also holds several distinctions for clinical excellence. The hospital has again earned verification as a Level 2 trauma center and a Level 2 pediatric trauma center by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. This achievement recognizes the hospital’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured adult and pediatric patients.

— Maria Zate is the manager of marketing and public affairs for Cottage Health System.

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Crash Shuts Down Northbound Highway 101 Near El Capitan

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Northbound Highway 101 was shut down Friday evening after a pickup truck towing a travel trailer overturned near El Capitan State Beach, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred at about 4:15 p.m., and involved a Dodge Ram 350 pickup truck and 24-foot travel trailer, the CHP said.

An ambulance was sent to the scene, but it was unclear whether anyone was injured in the crash.

Motorists heading north were being advised to use Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass rather than Highway 101.

The vehicle was noted to be leaking fluid, and sewage was seen leaking from the trailer onto the roadway, the report stated.

Tow trucks were en route to the scene, and signs had been placed at Las Positas and Highway 154 notifying drivers of the closure.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story

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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Jackson Legislation Aiming to Avert Gun Violence Passes Senate, Heads to Governor

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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The California State Senate on Friday unanimously passed a gun-violence-related law enforcement bill that was sponsored by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, so the legislation now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown's office. 

Senate Bill 505 would make law enforcement agencies develop policies for conducting welfare checks on individuals who could be considered a danger to themselves or others.

The bill was reintroduced in response to the Isla Vista shooting and stabbing massacre, which took the lives of seven people.

Law enforcement officers made a welfare check on the perpetrator, Elliot Rodger, about three weeks before the May 23 rampage, but didn't check any gun databases — which would have revealed he had recently purchased three guns. 

"Although law enforcement may not have had the legal authority to seize Elliott Rodger’s three guns had they known about them, a gun database search could have provided additional information that might have helped them better assess the danger that Rodger posed to himself and others," Jackson said in a statement.

“We will never know for sure if the outcome in Isla Vista might have been different with a gun database search. But the next time California experiences a similar tragedy, we shouldn’t be left wondering. Searches of the gun database can be done in as little as 90 seconds, and those 90 seconds can help save lives.”

The legislation originally made it a requirement for police to check the Automated Firearm System database before conducting welfare checks.

The amended bill retreats to an encouragement position, only requiring the check if the information can be “ascertained through reasonable efforts.”

Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, said the change in language is only to provide flexibility, but that she is confident law enforcement agencies will adopt the policies the bill calls for, including the database checks, until they become routine practice.

“I've worked with law enforcement, and I have every belief they will implement this bill to its greatest effect,” Jackson told Noozhawk. “Frankly, I don't care if its a 'may' or a 'shall.' It's about whether they're going to do it and I believe they will.”

The State Senate decision arrives on the heels of the bill's recent support by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors with a 3-2 vote.

Fifth District County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, who opposed the bill at Tuesday's meeting, said he felt the amended bill lost too much of its steam, especially in the absence of Senate Bill 580, the other bill Jackson sponsored that was meant to streamline statewide databases. 

“I think the guts have really been taken out of this bill,” he said. “I liked (SB 580) much better, or combined together. ... I don't want to go against what our own Sheriff's Department has come up with.”

Though SB 505 was first introduced in 2013, the Isla Vista mass murder reintroduced the issue of gun safety and law enforcement legislation.   

Brown has until Sept. 30 to take action on the bill. 

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at skahmann@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Lompoc Town Hall Meeting to Address Hunger, Community Needs

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County staff and local experts will be holding a Town Hall meeting to address issues around hunger in the Lompoc community from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the New Life Christian Center, 816 North C St.

Monday’s event is the first in a series of five Town Hall meetings designed to engage the community in identifying the top goals for Foodbank’s new Community Impact Initiative and will address the needs of the Lompoc community.

The event will begin with collection of questions and comments from the audience in English and Spanish.

The moderator will be Ashley Costa of Healthy Lompoc Coalition and Panelists will include Erik Talkin, CEO of Foodbank of Santa Barbara County; Joyce Ellen Lippman, Area Agency on Aging and the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens; and Rosa Zavala, Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County and Head Start/Child Development Program, Health Services Supervisor.

After the panel, Bonnie Campbell, director of community impact at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, will lead the discussion of comments and questions. The event will be translated into Spanish.

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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John Daly: Key Class Is New Course at Santa Barbara Unified School District

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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I normally assure that this column is purely educational for all its readers. However, what I am about to tell you is of great significance to us all, and I needed to share it with you.

Since 2010, The Key Class has been reaching out to youth in every area of Santa Barbara — from Teen Court and Probation, the Workforce Investment Board and United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun to Partners in Education’s student internships program and other organizations that connect with teens.

Since 2012, through a relationship with Partners in Education, we’ve offered it to a small number of students at all four of our high schools. We’ve taught more than 2,500 students in that time. But, something miraculous happened right after the Fourth of July this year.

We got the word from Dr. David Cash, superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, that The Key Class will be part of the school district’s educational program for all students in grades nine through 12! This ensures that all our high school students will have the opportunity to be prepared for college, career and life. According to Dr. Cash, “We have found The Key Class to provide a breakthrough opportunity for students to learn many life skills that we simply have not had the expertise or curriculum to deliver.”

Let me share, in Dr. Cash’s own words, why he feels this is important:

“John Daly has created a comprehensive, integrated and important curriculum that all of our students will enjoy and benefit from as they transition from teenagers to young adults. The Key Class will give students a coordinated program that is developmentally appropriate for students in grades nine through 12. We have had such phenomenal responses from the current work Mr. Daly is doing in our district that we know when the program has a chance to be taken by every student, our Santa Barbara Unified School District community will benefit.

“Our students benefit when the community invests in their educational program. We know that students will benefit from The Key Class, and we are excited to have the chance to be able to make this happen.”

Even more to the point, students leave The Key Class with more self-esteem, respect for others and the tools to get into college or secure a career path. They will go into our community with the attitude, behavior and willingness that will make both the business and the social world proud to have them.

The Next Hurdle

Having the school district’s acceptance and support was our first major hurde. Additionally, Chris Morales of Montecito Bank & Trust has been teaching financial literacy for years and has agreed to work with The Key Class on this huge endeavor. Having his expertise as part of the program will assure success with the financial needs of the students.

But, we have another hurde. The next one is to win the financial support of the business and social community of Santa Barbara. In order to make this happen, The Key Class, a new 501 (c)(3) is dependent upon sponsorships and donations. Noozhawk, in support of The Key Class, has allowed us to reach out to the community through this column. We are working with the Santa Barbara Foundation and are looking for businesses that want to sponsor one of each of the high schools in the school district to allow us to reach each and every student.

The cost to run this program per high school for the administration and teachers required is $110,000. The school board is unable to allocate money to this needed program because, as we all know, funds have been cut so drastically. For donations above $50,000, each company will be able to have its name attached to a school and will receive publicity through radio, television and articles highlighting why this is an important cause for the business. Sponsors also will be prominently placed on all materials and The Key Class web site. It is important to note that in sponsoring The Key Class in a high school, businesses will be assuring that the pool of future employees will have “the right stuff” to make a difference in their companies.

In addition, personal, individual donors are the lifeblood of The Key Class. We invite your support in investing in the youth of our community for the betterment of Santa Barbara’s future.

Click here for more information about The Key Class, or contact John Daly at johnkeyclass@gmail.com.

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

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Judy Crowell: City Lives Up to Its ‘Keep Portland Weird’ Mantra

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Overall, there's a lot to like about this endearingly quirky metro area in Oregon

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Weirdness, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder, so this account of my first visit to Portland, Ore., focuses on the weird, the funky and the charmingly unique.

We ate our way through Portland, consuming everything from the sublime (Veritable Quandary, a Portland gem whether inside or out on the flower-filled patio; Three Degrees Waterfront Bar & Grill, riverside dining in the RiverPlace Hotel; Mother’s Bistro & Bar, with a fabulous full bar and crunchy French toast or wild salmon hash for brunch; Screen Door for Southern comfort; Kells Brew Pub, family friendly and acclaimed as Portland’s best brew pub; Tasty 'n' Sons, a neighborhood delight; and Petite Provence, another neighborhood treasure for sidewalk seating and mouth-watering croissants) to the likeable ridiculous (Brunch Box for a Monte Cristo with a hamburger inside; Old Town Pizza, an award-winning pizzeria and brewery, where ghosts trapped below in the Shanghai tunnels reside; Salt & Straw for tomato water olive oil sherbet or almond brittle and salted ganache ice cream, surprisingly delicious; Waffle Window for a Darkest Desire Waffle, one of many quaint food trucks; and Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, one of the city’s oldest coffee houses with “haunted tables” — check out the upstairs bathroom, if you dare.)

For a dash of Hollywood glamour, check into Hotel deLuxe, or for spectacular downtown views of the Willamette River, there’s the RiverPlace Kimpton Hotel. For old-fashioned quirkiness, go back to school and enroll at McMenamins Kennedy School, an old schoolhouse renovated in 1997 and boasting 35 guestrooms, formerly the school’s classrooms. Original artwork in the former library, auditorium and hallways transport you back to a kinder, gentler time, when chalkboards and erasers predated laptops. Don’t miss this delightful renovation.

Must-sees: Powell’s City of Books, an entire city block and book lover’s paradise; Portland Saturday Market, the nation’s largest open-air arts market; Aerial Tram, for city views 500 feet above Portland; The Real Mother Goose, showcase of fine American Craft; the Pittock Mansion, historical home celebrating 100 years of history; the Oregon Zoo, an innovative zoo in a beautiful setting; Finnegan’s Toys for the young and young at heart; Japanese Garden, five acres of tranquil beauty; and the Rose Quarter and Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers.

OK, now for the "weirdness quotient," keeping in mind it’s only in the eyes of the beholder — and I do want to return to Portland someday soon!

Let’s start with the fact that it’s a law that dishes must drip dry. It’s against the law to pump your own gas, and nobody could quite tell me why. Wall art is everywhere. Car art, too, which sometimes involves wrapping the entire car in duct tape.

In downtown’s Ira Keller Fountain, swimming is not only allowed, it’s encouraged on the occasional hot day. There are elegant and scary mannequins popping up in odd places. There’s a vacuum cleaner museum. Beer snobs everywhere arguing over which organic brew is better. Birkenstocks with white socks. Androgynous dressing in the style of dreary gray rain clouds.

Which brings me to my what-to-pack tips: cargo pants and a fleece jacket. I think my favorite local take on weirdness sits in front of the Standard Oil Insurance Center, a white marble sculpture called “Quest,” designed by Count Alexander von Svoboda and depicting nude figures. Locals wittily refer to it as “Three Groins in a Fountain.”

Begun as a boost for small local businesses, “Keep Portland Weird” is embraced by many but not all Portlandians. I don’t usually write two articles on one city, but Portland has so much intrinsic and natural beauty, I’ll be back soon to chronicle this aspect of the endearingly quirky city.

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

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Letter to the Editor: A Viable Option for Hollister Bike Path

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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To the City Council of Goleta and project manager of the Class 1 bike path proposal.

Cars Are Basic Inc. has provided the City of Goleta a feasible and rational alternative to removal or narrowing traffic lanes on Hollister to provide a Class 1 bike path on Hollister. The plan is to create a Class 1 bike path on the currently well-worn walking and bike path located on the ocean side of the housing development.

This achieves two benefits: a) it removes bicyclist from any and all neighboring pollution/noise, or potential errant accident, and b) maintains the traffic flow and capacity that is becoming critical to Goleta as commercial and residential building continues.

CAB has presented this option to the city over the past two to three years. With the advent of UCSB's new housing there will be the tendency to increase children (this is not primarily undergraduate housing). Car traffic in the area has already increased.

The City of Goleta has recently cited the issue, protection children from predators. Justification is there would be additional safety because of people on the street will stop such activity. This reasoning would be an apparent "grasping at straws" for the following reasons:

1) There is currently significant "kid" activity along the proposed path and rural area adjacent.

2) There is little or no reporting of molestation's or other predator type activity.

CAB believes this is an emotional issue used to confuse the decision, and is brought up by anti-car factions and staff intent on their option. The front page of the Santa Barbara News-Press (Aug. 19) quotes the head of Public Works for the County of Santa Barbara, and Supervisor Janet Wolf, in praising the newly paved "Tatum Property" bike path. A location very similar to CAB's proposed alternative to the Hollister location. If in fact the City of Goleta truly believes this is a problem, we demand Goleta immediately post a sworn officer in this location from Sunrise to Sunset to protect the children who regularly play in the area. This is a regular "hang out" for kids after school, vacations and weekends.

CAB's plan enhances safety over the city's apparent preferred option of Hollister. The answer to the above concerns is a simple and inexpensive one. First, hire one (preferably two) retired crossing guard types who can ride each direction during morning and afternoon.

Second, for a nominal fee wireless cameras can be placed to look onto the bike path, and are easily maintained. These are common place at many commercial locations. Since UCSB has impacted the community and will increase this impact as it builds out their project, it is not unreasonable to ask it to participate in the costs of guards and cameras. Measure A most
certainly is capable of paying the city's portion of this plan.

There becomes what jargon calls a "twofer." A physical and video presence will vastly add to the security of the community both for kids going to and from school, and those participating in the recreational aspects of the area. A CAB board member has placed such cameras on rental property with the immediate and continuing reduction of "floaters" and theft in and around his property. Just this one act has reduced crime in the entire block that is next to a school.

Your attention to this is requested.

Cars Are Basic Inc.
Carpinteria

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San Marcos High School Hosting Concussion Information Seminar

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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San Marcos High School will host a concussion information seminar at 6 p.m. Monday in the school's auditorium.

The seminar is open to students and parents throughout the community.

Dr. Stephen Kaminski, a practicing general and trauma surgeon at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, will be the guest speaker.

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

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Capps Invites Local Veterans to Breakfast in Lompoc

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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From 8:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will host a breakfast for veterans at the Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building, 100 E. Locust Ave.

The breakfast will be an opportunity to thank local veterans for their service, while allowing them to meet with Capps and her district staff for assistance in obtaining the benefits they have earned through their service to our country.

At the event, the congresswoman and her staff will provide information about a variety of benefits and resources available to veterans.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have selflessly served our country,” Capps said. “Veterans may not always get the thanks they deserve, but this breakfast will be a way to connect them to the benefits they may be entitled to, as well as a chance to thank them for their service to our country.”

Capps has long been a supporter of our nation’s veterans. She voted for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which restored the promise of a full, four-year college education to veterans, just like after World War II. She has also voted to hold the VA accountable for long waiting lists and expand mental health services, with a new emphasis on women and homeless veterans. In addition, she has authored legislation to make it easier for veterans to obtain civilian jobs after their service and to make it easier for veterans to prove their eligibility for certain benefits or decorations.

Veterans who wish to attend should RSVP by calling 805.730.1710.

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

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Devereux California Hosts ‘Garden Party’-Themed Family Day

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Devereux California hosted its annual Family Day for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, family members of the individuals, staff and volunteers from the Goleta Rotorac Club.

Each year Devereux hosts a family day so that family members can spend an extended amount of time with their loved ones, get to know staff better and enjoy quality time on the Devereux campus. Most family members live out of town, or even out of state. So coming to Devereux Day is a big deal! Individuals look forward to this day all year long, and family members plan their summer vacations around it.

This year’s theme, "A Garden Party," brought out the beauty and creativity of many individuals, guests and staff. It was a beautiful scene — from handmade moss basket flower arrangements for decorations to beautifully laid out delicious foods by Rincon Catering on the buffet to homemade flower hats worn by many female attendees.

There were also many booths offering different kinds of fun, from face painting to bug and butterfly tattoos to games with prizes. The fabulous Lois & The Boys played delightful music that was fun to dance to. The Garden Party spirit was alive and well.

Some added excitement this year included a visit by Devereux CEO/President Bob Kreider and a high attendance by the Devereux CA Advisory Board. Members attending included Melissa Fitch, acting chair; John Watson, secretary; Michael Harris; LaShon Kelley; Clara vanMeeuwen; Alex Duran and Angela Ettinger.

Devereux
Jacqueline and Alex Duran, a Devereux California board member and chairman of the Marketing & Public Relations Committee. (Veronica Arenas-Soto / Devereux photo)

According to Devereux California Executive Director Amy Evans, “We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity for families and staff to strengthen their relationships on an annual basis. It’s just a simple day of friendship, food and fun that all the folks seem to really enjoy and appreciate.”

Established by Helena Devereux in 1912 in Pennsylvania and in 1945 in Santa Barbara, Devereux has provided services to thousands of individuals with a wide range of disabilities, from mental retardation and neurological disorders, including autism, to emotional behavioral disorders and mental health issues.

Devereux California provides adult residential and day programs on its Santa Barbara campus, and Independent and Supported Living Services for adults in the communities of Goleta, Santa Barbara and Lompoc, serving 80 individuals with developmental disabilities.

As the largest nonprofit provider of behavioral health care in the country, Devereux operates 15 centers in 11 states, with approximately 6,000 staff serving 15,000 individuals in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Devereux California will celebrate 70 years in California in 2015.

— Cassi Noel represents Devereux California.

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Goleta Gathering for Dam Dinner on Saturday at Lake Los Carneros Dam

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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The second annual Dam Dinner is this Saturday, and more than 400 people have already reserved a seat for this free, family-friendly, community event at the Lake Los Carneros Dam.

Bring your own or purchase dinner from Georgia’s Smokehouse BBQ. Feel free to bring a dessert to share.

Tables and chairs will be set up along the dam for attendees to enjoy the beautiful setting, the great people and music by the Goodland.

The dinner will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. The cost is free. Click here to reserve your seat.

Parking will be available in the Stow House/Goleta Depot parking lot. Handicapped spots available along La Patera Lane.

A limited supply of the classic Dam Dinner T-shirt will be available at the event.

Volunteer and earn community service credit. Contact dacia@goletahistory.org to sign up (and volunteers who work over two hours get a free dam T-shirt.)

The initial inspiration for this event came from the Love of Goleta workshop in March 2013 where participants shared what they love about Goleta. A volunteer committee formed to host this event. Now in its second year, the dinner continues as an annual tradition.

The Dam Dinner committee includes Diana Garcia, Dacia Harwood, Nancy Knight, Valerie Kushnerov, Amy Mallett, Kristen Miller, Paula Perotte and Pete Wolf.

Sponsors include the City of Goleta, Georgia’s Smokehouse BBQ, the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Goleta Valley Senior Center, Haskell’s Designs, MarBorg Industries and Rancho La Patera & Stow House.

Follow the event online by clicking here.

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

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Median Barrier Project on Highway 101 Near Goleta Now Complete

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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A project to construct a median barrier and rumble strips along Highway 101 near Goleta from north of the Cathedral Oaks Road Overcrossing to two miles south of the Dos Pueblos Creek undercrossing has been completed.

This safety project will reduce the potential of cross median and run off the road collisions within this one-mile segment of Highway 101.

This median barrier is also located where Calle Real connects to Highway 101 near Vereda Leyenda and the Rancho Embarcadero community. Motorists will continue to make right turns in and out of Calle Real to access northbound Highway 101.

The contractor for this $895,000 project was Granite Construction of Santa Barbara.

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

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

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Captain’s Log: Are There More Great White Sharks in Santa Barbara Channel?

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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One of the most common questions I get asked by passengers, while running my WaveWalker charter boat, is, “Do you see white sharks out here?” I always look at the person asking and wonder what answer they are hoping to hear. It doesn’t matter, because I’m going to give them the straight answer, but I always wonder. Sometimes to lighten the moment I’ll return the question with the question, “Why? Are your kids swimming at the beach today?” After a mutual laugh, I answer the question.

“Yes,” is the short answer, which usually brings the second question, “Are there more of them now?” Again, the short answer is, “Yes.” But it isn’t a simple answer.

What I can tell you, from a charter skipper’s experience and from talking to hundreds of boaters at my fishing tackle shop, Hook, Line & Sinker, is that boaters in general are seeing more white sharks and fewer blue sharks than in the past 10 years or so.

Boaters talk and share our stories, partly for the joy of sharing and partly because it is important information. But here’s the thing: We have way more boats on the water now than we did 20 years ago. So collectively, we are seeing more of everything that is there to be seen. Some of the increase could be that we are seeing more of what is available.

Where did the blue sharks go? I don’t have a solid answer, but I can say that we have been in a cold water regime for about the period that I’ve noticed fewer blue sharks at the surface of the sea.

Why do we have more white sharks? If I were a research scientist, I’d probably suggest putting large piles of money in my bank account so I could go put on a study using “best available science.” I’m not a fan of that phrase, and I’m not convinced that would result in solid answers. It would be great for my bank account, though. I am, however, a charter captain with much more time at sea than most folks, and I can tell you that we have an unruly and unmanaged mass of pinipeds, and their populations are growing unchecked — except, of course, for the appetites of great whites and orcas. We don’t get very many orcas here, but we do get the sharks.

I see extremely interesting things, such as thousands of sea lions all over the rocks at the west end of Santa Cruz Island. Then I come back the very next day and see absolutely no sea lions. Why? You can guess with some certainty. This ain’t rocket science. This is the food chain.

Where are we encountering more white sharks? The answer to this one can be kinda scary. We find more of them around their favorite food source — sea lions and seals. We have plenty of them at the Channel Islands, and so great whites are tempted to hunt those waters where we like to boat. We also have a vast and growing, unmanaged population of pinipeds along our local beaches where we like to swim. So my usual suggestion is, “Don’t dress up like a sea lion and go swimming.”

— 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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Family Service Agency Announces New Parent-Child Play Therapy Program

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Thanks to funding support from Dori and Chris Carter, the Family Service Agency is pleased to announce the launch of its new Parent-Child Play Therapy Program in Santa Barbara.

Families best served by the program, which is also called Filial Therapy, are those with children ages 3 to 12, who struggle with behavioral and emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, anger and aggression. By training parents, or other caregivers, about the techniques utilized in Filial Therapy’s child-centered play sessions, parents are able to help their children gain a feeling of control over their lives. As children begin to develop trust in their parents or caregiver, problematic behaviors are alleviated.

“Education works from the top down,” Dori and Chris Carter said. “Smart parents raise smart kids. We’ve seen Filial Therapy work, and it’s why we support Family Service Agency and this excellent program."

Created in the 1960s by Drs. Bernard and Louise Gurney, Filial Therapy helps children recognize and express their feelings in a safe and constructive manner. Studies confirm improved communication skills and relationships between parent and child, as well as increases in children’s self-esteem.

“We are grateful to the Carters for their investment in this life-changing program," FSA Executive Director Dr. Lisa Brabo said. “Community support like theirs allows us to offer Filial Therapy and other programs on a sliding fee/donation basis, so that no one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay."

For more information on the Filial Therapy program or to schedule a free consultation, please call 805.965.1001 x231.

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

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Bill Macfadyen: What’s In Store at Trader Joe’s Was an Unfortunate Surprise

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Middle-of-the-night chopper flight, ocean warming, a school sex abuse suit, and a UCSB professor’s First Amendment lesson round out NoozWeek’s Top 5

There were 77,634 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top stories?

1. Elderly Woman Attempts Suicide at Goleta Trader Joe’s

A Goleta woman apparently tried to kill herself in a restroom at Trader Joe’s, 5767 Calle Real, but she was found by a store employee who called 9-1-1.

Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, said deputies, county firefighters and paramedics all responded to the scene the afternoon of Aug. 15.

The woman, believed to be in in her 70s, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but authorities said she later died of her injuries.

Hoover declined to disclose her identity.

Our Tom Bolton’s report quickly pulled in nearly 10,000 reads, as well as a number of caustic comments. While the vast majority of Noozhawk readers bring insight and perspective to the debate through our story comments, I would remind a few that just because you can say anything you want, doesn’t mean that you should. 

Click here for suicide-prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day.

2. ‘Suicidal Man’ Rescued After Overnight Motorcycle Crash Near Highway 154

Call it the “Rescue Heard ’Round the Coast.” Just before 3 a.m. Aug. 17, many residents of Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and Santa Barbara were awakened by a Ventura County Fire Department helicopter flying low and slow en route to a rescue scene in the foothills below Highway 154.

According to county Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason, a “suicidal man” had crashed his motorcycle in the 2200 block of North San Marcos Road around 1:45 a.m., then called 9-1-1 to request help. The problem — well, one of his problems — was that he didn’t know where he was.

Using the man’s cell phone signals, Eliason said, emergency personnel were able to “triangulate” his approximate location. He said they eventually tracked him to the crash site, about 300 feet off the road.

No Santa Barbara County helicopters were available so a VCFD helicopter with a hoist was called in, Eliason said.

The man, whose name was not released, was flown to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate injuries.

Come on in, the water’s fine. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Come on in, the water’s fine. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

3. Scientists Puzzled By Warmer Ocean Waters Off Santa Barbara Coast

I don’t hear swimmers and surfers complaining, but this summer’s ocean temperatures are significantly warmer than locals are accustomed to. We armed our Josh Molina with a thermometer and tossed him into the drink to try to figure out why.

According to Nate Mantua, a research scientist for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, unusual and unpredictable wind patterns have been a key factor, contributing to a lack of rain, erratic weather and warmer water temperatures that have risen to the mid-60s from the more typical 50s.

“There is no good answer for why this is happening,” he said.

A lack of winds from the north have been supplanted by stronger winds from the south, which is pushing the typically warm ocean water closer to the coast, he explained. High pressure has steered the jet stream in the opposite direction, reversing the up-welling off the coast.

“It has an impact on marine life,” Mantua said. “The big pelagic critters you usually go to Baja for are coming up to U.S. waters.”

If the warm waters continue, he said local fisherman could see more yellowtail, yellowfin and bluefin tuna. Already, the prevalence of anchovies has drawn an increased presence of the squid that feed on them.

4. Former Laguna Blanca Student Sues School for Not Reporting Alleged Sexual Abuse

A former student is suing Laguna Blanca School because a teacher did not report an alleged incident of sexual molestation that the then-student had related to classmates. According to the lawsuit, the young woman was again victimized by a former teacher several weeks later.

The complaint, filed on behalf of “Jane Doe” by attorney Elizabeth O’Brien, alleges that during the 2012-2013 school year the then-junior told two fellow students that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of being sexually molested.

The complaint says 11th-grade history teacher Martha Elliott overheard the account and asked the girl if the incident had been reported or if she had told her parents, but she said no. 

“Just weeks after the plaintiff told Elliott she had been molested, near the end of her junior year at Laguna Blanca, plaintiff fell victim to an adult sexual predator, who also happened to be a former Laguna Blanca teacher who the plaintiff trusted,” the complaint states.

“The plaintiff also told this former teacher that she had previously been molested and he took advantage of this information and preyed on the plaintiff's weakness,” adding that she was seduced into performing various sexual acts with him on three separate occasions while she was 17.

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

Elliott declined to comment and referred questions to Laguna Blanca Head of School Rob Hereford, who did not respond to Noozhawk’s requests for comment.

After being schooled on the First Amendment, UCSB professor Mireille Miller-Young was sentenced to probation, community service and anger-management classes. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
After being schooled on the First Amendment, UCSB professor Mireille Miller-Young was sentenced to probation, community service and anger-management classes. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

5. UCSB Professor Sentenced to Probation, Anger Management in Abortion Confrontation

An associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara has been sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and 10 hours of anger-management classes after pleading no contest to charges stemming from a March 4 confrontation she had with an anti-abortion group of campus.

Mireille Miller-Young — whose website lists her areas of emphasis as black cultural studies, pornography and sex work — faced three charges of grand theft from a person, battery and vandalism based on the incident, during which prosecutors alleged she took a protester’s sign, committed battery on another protester, and then destroyed the sign.

The altercation occurred between Miller-Young and several protesters who carried posters containing graphic images of aborted infants. She told UCSB police that she found the literature and pictures “disturbing” because she teaches about reproductive rights and because she was pregnant at the time.

Prosecutor Ron Zonen said Miller-Young didn’t seize the sign because it was offensive, but because she didn’t agree with the message.

“She embarrassed herself, the university ... she set a poor example for her students,” he said.

                                                                 •        •        •

Anyone doubt the existence of Superheroes?

(The Bucket List Life video)

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Public Health Searching for Contagious Tuberculosis Patient

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Public Health officials are looking for a 24-year-old North County man who has a contagious case of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Agustin Zeferino

Agustin Zeferino has been consulted and treated by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in the past but he has discontinued treatment and his location is unknown, prompting the county to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Without proper treatment, his condition poses a serious health risk to people who come into close contact with him, health officer Dr. Charity Thoman said in a statement.

“With appropriate treatment, tuberculosis can be cured,” she said. The disease is spread through the air from person to person.

“Without treatment, it is often fatal and poses a public health threat due to airborne transmission,” she said. “This is particularly due for drug-resistant cases. If Mr. Zeferino is contagious and he is out in our community, it is a public health emergency.”

If anyone knows his location, Public Health asks them to call law enforcement at 9-1-1.  

Tuberculosis is one of the many communicable diseases that the Public Health Department monitors and investigates in Santa Barbara County. 

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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Jackson Bill to Protect Small Businesses Heads to Governor

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to level the playing field between small-business franchisees and their large corporate owners passed out of the Senate on Thursday and is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration. The vote was 23-9.

Senate Bill 610 seeks to correct an imbalance of power between convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and other franchisees and the giant, often out-of-state corporations that oversee them. SB 610 would provide greater protections to franchisees in the contracts that govern the relationship between them. Franchise agreements are typically hundreds of pages of technical information detailing the rights and responsibilities of the franchisor and franchisee.

“Current law allows these corporations to put these small franchisees out of business for even the most minor and arbitrary violations. There are more than 80,000 of these small business owners in California, and many of them have spent their life savings to open up a business. They are working hard to live the American dream and they deserve a fair chance,” Jackson said. “This bill would put these small business owners on a more equal legal footing and protect them from unfair actions that take away their livelihoods.”

SB 610 protects franchisees by:

» Barring corporations from putting a franchisee out of business unless they have committed a “substantial and material breach “ of the franchise agreement. This is the same standard that applies to all other business contracts in California, and eight other states have a similar standard in place.

» Protecting franchisees’ ability to sell or transfer their business without unreasonable interference.

» Protecting them from retaliation if they join a franchisee association.

Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill. The bill has support of Small Business California, the Coalition of Franchise Association, the California Labor Federation and the SEIU, among others.

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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Police Arrest Suspect in Santa Maria Stabbing

By | Published on 08/22/2014

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Michael Hernandez Santiago
Michael Hernandez Santiago

Santa Maria police have arrested a man in connection with a stabbing that occurred Tuesday in the 1000 block of South Thornburg Street.

About 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Santa Maria Police Department Gang Suppression Team, detectives and patrol officers teamed up to serve a search and arrest warrant in the 1400 block of
North Benwiley Avenue in Santa Maria, according to Sgt. Woody Vega.

Michael Hernandez Santiago, 20, of Santa Maria was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of attempted murder and gang enhancement.

Vega said the investigation is continuing.

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

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Ed Richards Riding High on ‘Underground Cloud’ as CEO of t4 Spatial

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Santa Barbara native turns his attention to the successful development of technology that remotely monitors pipelines

Ed Richards has always been in the solutions business, a skill that’s come naturally since the local was 10 and playing a small role in his father’s Goleta construction company.

He fondly remembers helping install sewage equipment during the area’s building boom and the pride of eventually stepping in and serving as CEO of R.P. Richards for 20 years. Shortly after his father, Bob Richards, passed away, his family decided to liquidate the business.

In need of a project, and armed with engineering degrees from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Richards started his own business, Richards-Zeta, in 1999 and developed technology to remotely monitor energy and other aspects of infrastructure inside buildings.

Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. liked the idea so much that it paid big bucks to buy his company’s software in 2009.

Not three years passed before Richards was on to the next project, one someone specifically sought him out to fix.

A struggling New Zealand company had a cool concept, but an inefficient business plan. Rob Hughes, managing director and principal of Santa Barbara’s Commerce Capital Group, posed the problem to Richards.

Sure enough, Richards resolved the bugs into what’s now called t4 Spatial, a cloud-based technology that remotely monitors underground pipelines. He’s served as CEO since 2012, managing a small staff out of a downtown Commerce Capital Group building.

“Out of sight, out of mind,” he said. “You just do not know what’s going on with that pipe.”

Richards likened t4 Spatial to a colonoscopy procedure, realizing most can’t comprehend millions of miles of old pipelines directing wastewater, natural gas and other essentials.

“There’s no way to detect cancer in your colon without doing an inspection,” he said.

The business doesn’t operate the camera working its way down the tunnel, but its software does allow municipal agencies to remotely access that live stream to detect cracks or roots that could cause ruptures in sewers or water mains.

Although the technology sounds about as glamorous as the medical procedure, it could help save governments — and taxpayers — millions of dollars by preventing sanitary sewer overflows, which can draw fines or lawsuits.

Richards calls it proactive infrastructure management, an “underground cloud” embracing a Netflix on-demand model making data available at everyone’s fingertips.

The business is in uncharted territory, since the wastewater industry has been keeping video streams on DVDs or VHS tapes on shelves in county or city buildings.

“We’re not in the camera business,” Richards told Noozhawk. “We’re in the data business. Web is pretty new for our industry. How do you solve the problem? You can prioritize the workflow.

“I grew up in that industry. It’s all about the value of data.”

Santa Barbara alone has 180 miles of pipeline, Richards said, and is currently trying out the software with nearly a dozen other municipalities. Lompoc, Palm Desert, Santa Cruz County, among others, have already signed on to pay a monthly subscription for the service.

Richards is identifying more agencies, and hopes to zero in on the more than 1,000 potential clients statewide and beyond. The company recently received a shout-out when the CIO Review named it one of the 20 most promising Geographic Information Systems.

Outside of work, Richards said he tries to keep a low profile. 

His business hosted a Wastewater Technology Forum earlier this year, and another one could be in the works. 

“He’s a workaholic,” his daughter, Brooke Raffeto, said, smiling.

That may be one problem Richards doesn’t have a solution for, but it means he’ll have time to continue crafting these sought-after technologies.

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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State Legislation Puts Uber, Other Ride-Sharing Companies Under Fire

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Emails went out this week to users of popular mobile ride-sharing app Uber, heralding some lawmakers’ plans to “kill” the innovative taxi-on-demand service in California.

The mass mailings refer to Assembly Bill 2293, introduced in the Legislature in February and aimed at enacting stiffer liability insurance coverage requirements for transportation network companies and their drivers.

At risk of footing a higher bill are ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, both of which operate in Santa Barbara using cell phones and maps to connect riders with the closest drivers. Passengers pay a flat rate with a credit card and can split the cost, touted as cheaper than regular cabs.

Lawmakers supporting AB 2293 say the bill would make drivers and ride-sharing companies more responsible to the consumer — requiring drivers carry a certain level of insurance and the company to provide protection if they don’t.

Senators are looking over the bill in Sacramento this week, and a vote could come this week or the next.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson could not be reached for her thoughts on the legislation.

Uber, which first launched in San Francisco in 2009, hires independent contractors to transport up to four passengers in the drivers’ own pre-inspected cars and operates in nearly 100 cities worldwide. Lyft serves more than 30 cities nationwide.

Because of the growing popularity of ridesharing, California’s bill could have implications nationwide. Officials in cities such as Los Angeles have already voted to keep them out.

Calls for an increase in ridesharing company liability amplified earlier this year after an Uber driver struck and killed a pedestrian in San Francisco. The company said the driver wasn’t working at the time of the accident, although the driver indicated otherwise.

Under existing law, transportation network companies, such as Uber, are required to obtain an operating permit from the California Public Utilities Commission, although drivers aren’t held to the same standard. By contrast, traditional taxi company owners secure a business license from the city, and all drivers need permits and meters in their cars.

AB 2293 would amend the existing Passenger Charter-party Carriers’ Act with specified requirements for liability insurance coverage, effective July 1, 2015.

Although iterations of the bill continue to change, the law would force Uber drivers to carry a liability insurance of at least $100,000 during a “Period One” phase when they've turned on their apps but haven't been yet matched with a rider. Once a passenger has been picked up and until they’re dropped off, a policy of $1 million would be necessary in case of death, personal injury or property damage.

A driver’s personal insurance doesn’t extend to the vehicle used for ridesharing, the bill states, and the transportation network company would have to offer the coverage as primary.

Uber currently offers drivers $5,100 coverage when an app is on and not carrying a passenger, and the $1 million insurance policy kicks on when they pick someone up, according to Eva Behrend, a spokeswoman for Uber Technologies.

Since most drivers are using their own personal vehicles, and can have the app on without intending to pick up passengers, the higher rates aren’t justified, she said.

“AB 2293 is a gift to trial attorneys, big taxi and insurers that will kill ridesharing as we know it by creating insurance mandates that are 30 times more than the state mandates for taxis and any car on the road,” Behrend said. “Nearly 60,000 people have already signed our petition against AB 2293 and we urge lawmakers to listen to Californians instead of special interests.”

The bill would also prohibit the companies from disclosing personal information of a passenger and impose a state-mandated local program to enforce the rules. The state commission and Department of Insurance would then collaborate on a study of transportation network companies to assess effectiveness of coverage requirements, reporting those findings by the end of 2017, according to the bill.

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 Maria Fairpark Finds New CEO in Industry Veteran

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Richard Persons, who will begin work Oct. 1, is chosen to oversee the facility, home to the Santa Barbara County Fair and other events

The leader of a Northern California county fair with decades of experience in the industry has been hired as the new chief executive officer of the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Richard Persons, from the Lake County Fair, will replace Dennis Pearson, who retired this spring after 16 years.

The Santa Maria Fairpark is home to the Santa Barbara County Fair in July, Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival in April and other events throughout the year. 

Kevin Merrill, fair board president, said he and his fellow directors are looking forward to working with Persons.

“He has been highly involved in the fair industry for many years, and we believe he will bring a fresh outlook to the many activities and projects we have going on at the Santa Maria Fairpark,” Merrill said in a written statement.

The new CEO will begin his job Oct. 1, meaning he will remain in Lakeport for the 2014 fair Aug. 28-31.

His annual salary will be approximately $96,000 plus benefits. He was selected from a field of 18 candidates.

Persons, 49, has nearly three decades of experience working in the California fair industry, and has led the Lake County Fair since 1996. 

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead such a strong team at a highly respected county fairgrounds,” Persons said. “Santa Maria Fairpark has a solid reputation for producing events that are well managed, and I’m looking forward to joining them on Oct. 1.

"The fact that the Santa Maria Fairpark is located on the Central Coast, an area my wife and I have always dreamed of living in, is just icing on the cake.” 

The Santa Maria facility has a larger staff and budget than the Lake County Fair.

"It just seemed like a good career fit for me," he said.

Persons grew up in Santa Rosa and is familiar the the Central Coast, having earned his degree in agricultural management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1989.

Before that he served as deputy manager of the Solano County Fair in Vallejo, and owned a small business that provided managerial services to county fairs and other events.

In addition to his work at  the Lake County Fair, Persons has held positions on numerous boards and committees in the California fair industry. He is a member of the California Fairs Alliance board of directors and chairman of the Governmental Relations Task Force.

Persons is a past member of the board of directors of the Western Fairs Association and has served on many committees. 

He also served as the president of the board of directors of the California Fairs Services Authority, a joint-powers authority that provides insurance and risk management services to fairgrounds throughout California.

Persons said the move also presents career advancement for his wife, Terri, also a Cal Poly graduate, who works as a transportation planner. 

"We're very much looking forward to moving to the Central Coast and getting up to the speed on the Santa Maria Fairpark," he added.

Under Pearson’s leadership, the facility gained a new administration building, which opened in 2009. 

Since Pearson retired in March, his deputy, Joe Brengle, has served as interim CEO during this year’s Strawberry Festival and County Fair.

The Santa Maria Fairpark — its formal name is the 37th District Agricultural Association, which encompasses northern Santa Barbara County — is led by a nine-member board of directors.

The Fairpark sits on 33 acres and is managed by a full-time staff of eight with an annual budget of $2.5 million. 

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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BizHawk: Couple Opens Mercedes Auto Service Shop in Downtown Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Dance Fever studio comes to West Canon Perdido Street, Lily’s Nails opens on State Street and RRM Design Group announces new hires

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

A Goleta couple has opened their own auto-repair shop in downtown Santa Barbara, hoping to create a niche in the local Mercedes market.

Autohaus began servicing its first vehicles this week at 218 Palm Ave., the former home of Ben’s Transmission, which vacated the space so its owner could go into retirement.

So far the operation is a one-man show starring owner Brian Termond, a mechanic who has lived locally for nearly 20 years. Termond was born, raised and professionally trained in Germany — where the car brand hails from — and has earned Master Guild technician status.

Locals might have seen him fixing cars around town at Santa Barbara Auto Group, where he served as shop foreman before spending some years down at Mercedes-Benz of Calabasas and helping Mercedes-Benz of Oxnard get off the ground most recently.

Termond wants to focus solely on Mercedes brands, and his wife, Emily, a local real estate agent, is pitching in with marketing.

“Everything that falls under the Mercedes umbrella,” Brian Termond said. “Now it’s just time to do my own thing. It’s always been a dream.”

The couple hopes to eventually hire more mechanics, and within six months most likely will expand into another building adjacent to the parking lot, which the former owner is preparing to leave.

Dance Fever Studio Open

A new dance studio specializing in social and competition ballroom dancing for folks of all ages has opened at 127 W. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara.

Dance Fever Santa Barbara officially began offering classes in the space in July, according to founder and owner Anastasia Banderovskaya, who recently moved to the area.

She said the studio is offering a free first introductory dance lesson, and also offers wedding dance services and other styles for kids and adults.

Lily’s Nails Opens Downtown

Lily’s Nails salon opened this week at 1230 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara.

The salon is in Suite B, next door to Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant, which shares the same address in Suite A.

Local Design Firm Announces New Associates

RRM Design Group has named five new associates: Chris Dufour, Scott Hopkins, Lisa Plowman, Joshua Roberts and Michael Scott.

The Associates Program at RRM is designed to develop the abilities, skills and talent of the key leaders of RRM and propel the company forward to achieve the greatest possible success for our employees, clients and the environment.

Dufour is a senior landscape architect in RRM’s San Luis Obispo office; Hopkins is the assistant manager of architecture of RRM’s Santa Barbara office; Plowman is the planning manager in Santa Barbara; Roberts is a civil engineering project manager in San Luis Obispo; and Scott is a project manager of architecture San Luis Obispo. 

Chris Snowden
Chris Snowden

Chris Snowden Joins AmeriFlex Financial

Santa Barbara-based AmeriFlex Financial Services has hired Chris Snowden as a financial advisor.

Snowden, a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, has worked the past six years as a financial advisor in the Santa Barbara area.

As a member of the AmeriFlex team, Snowden will focus on providing retirement/income-planning services under the honeyigothitbyabus.com and gotomycfo.com banner.

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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Select Staffing of Santa Barbara Settles with Department of Justice Over Hiring Practices

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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A Santa Barbara-based company accused of violating federal law in its employment verification process by the U.S. Department of Justice has settled with the agency and will be forced to pay more than $230,000 in fines.

The Justice Department reached an agreement with Real Time Staffing Services LLC, doing business as Select Staffing, which has its corporate office at 3820 State St. in Santa Barbara.

The settlement was reached last Friday and resolves the DOJ’s claims that Select Staffing discriminated against people who were authorized to work in the United States but were not U.S. citizens.

The DOJ argued that the company was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The investigation was initiated by a referral from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and "concluded that members of the company’s staff required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documents during the employment eligibility verification process to establish their work authority," according to a statement. 

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers are prohibited from requiring work-authorized employees to present additional documents based on their citizenship status or national origin. 

As a result of the agreement, Select Staffing will pay $230,000 in civil penalties to the United States, create a $35,000 back pay fund to compensate individuals who may have lost wages due to the company’s practices, and undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.  

Certain Select Staffing branches will be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements for a period of three years, the DOJ stated.

Lori Weathers at Select Staffing told Noozhawk on Thursday that the DOJ incident was isolated to two of the company's 400 nationwide branches.

"As part of the settlement, the company denied the allegation and any wrongdoing and felt it was in our best interest to resolve the matter rather than bear the expense and time associated with litigating it," she said. "The company remains dedicated to complying with all laws and regulations and have taken steps to further improve on our already-tight internal auditing procedures."

Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division said it is committed to protecting work authorized people from discrimination.

“We commend Select Staffing for working cooperatively with the division to resolve this matter," Moran said in a statement.

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

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David Harsanyi: Are Republicans Abandoning the Obamacare Issue? Doubtful

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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In a bit of dubious cherry-picking, a new Bloomberg article concludes that the Affordable Care Act is losing its effectiveness as a political issue for Republicans and is diminishing as a major issue. How do we know the end is near-ish? Well, so many Americans are "benefiting from the law," theorizes Heidi Przybyla, that political ads are simply not doing the job anymore.

This news is somewhat unexpected — and unpersuasive — when you consider that a Kaiser Family Foundation poll recently found that only 15 percent of Americans believe Obamacare has directly helped them, whereas 28 percent say it has directly hurt them. (Fifty-six percent say it has had no effect on their lives.)

Slightly more convincingly, Przybyla offers this bit of evidence: "Republicans seeking to unseat the U.S. Senate incumbent in North Carolina have cut in half the portion of their top issue ads citing Obamacare, a sign that the party's favorite attack against Democrats is losing its punch."

But that's quite an extrapolation, as well — especially when you consider that in her very own story, Przybyla tells us GOP groups have plans to refocus on the ACA as soon as premium increases for 2015 are announced. As with any issue, the political impact of Obamacare is hitched to events surrounding the law. An ebb is not a capitulation. And there will be more Obamacare events.

But even if there weren't, consider that a quarter of political ads running in North Carolina attack Obamacare specifically. This seems to suggest that it's still a comparatively "major issue." Let's put it this way: Is there any other law in the United States that eats up more political space?

Google tells me there isn't. When I use the search engine to wade through news stories regarding the various contested races mentioned in the Bloomberg piece, I find that Obamacare is ubiquitous among Republican candidates — in their stump speeches, in their interviews, on their websites and in their statements. Not so much the Democrats.

In Colorado, for example, Republican Cory Gardner is running an ad right now that focuses exclusively on Obamacare and the story of his own family's canceled policies. And as Gardner points out, 335,000 people had their plans canceled in the state — a state where Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of voters oppose the ACA, with 68 percent of independents, 53 percent of women and 61 percent of people younger than 30.

You know, perhaps focusing 50 percent of your ad dollars on the ACA isn't necessary anyway. It's rather amazing how little the electorate has moved on the issue. According to Kaiser, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Obamacare. And among independents, 57 percent disapprove. Looks a lot like the way it's looked for years. Whether voters are interested in repealing the law or not, there is no other issue with higher disapproval rates. In my lifetime, I can't recall any domestic law that's been chewed over, litigated, debated and used as a political hammer this intensely this long after passage.

As The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza pointed out a few months back, in New York Times/Kaiser polling on four Southern Senate races, voters were asked, "Is it possible you would ever vote for a candidate who does not share your views on the 2010 health-care law, or is this issue so important that you would not vote for a candidate who disagrees with you?" In North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky, majorities said they would not.

The distress over the law is embedded into the debate. It was inevitable that Republicans would expand their attacks beyond Obamacare. With the economy, immigration or energy — and the array of more customized themes that state races typically focus on — there seems to be plenty of fodder for battleground candidates. Yet the idea that Obamacare's potency as a Republican issue is on the verge of expiration is a lingering wish that will never come to pass. And if you've heard about the Obamacare retreat before, it's because it's nothing new. Politico led the way with a story in 2013, "GOP quietly backing away from Obamacare," and similar predictions of the pending surrender on the ACA go back years. Yet here we are.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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The People Behind the Code: Best and Brightest Converge at UCSB for Cryptology Conference

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Martijn Stam was only about 10 years old when he discovered cryptology.

“I borrowed a book from the library about how to become a spy,” recalled Stam, who is now a researcher at the University of Bristol.

The book contained simple ways of creating secret codes, such as a rudimentary substitution method in which each letter of the alphabet represents another letter at a fixed place before or after it. Not long after reading that book, he was devising all sorts of encryption keys.

Other people, like Bogdan Warinschi, also from Bristol, were intrigued by questions and problems around encryption, such as how to verify the security of an encryption system. Yet others, like UC Santa Barbara computer scientists Stefano Tessaro and Rachel Lin, dwell in the fascinating intersection of computer science and arithmetics, where the end goal is to derive encryption keys that are mathematically proven impenetrable, but are not too unwieldy for modern computers.

Whatever brought them to cryptology, Stam, Warinschi, Tessaro and Lin joined about 400 or so likeminded researchers from all over the world who came to UCSB for the weeklong CRYPTO 2014 conference, one of three flagship conferences held around the world by the International Association for Cryptological Research.

The conference, the 34th to be held at UCSB, began Sunday and concluded Thursday.

For five days, attendees were immersed in talks and presentations on campus, both formal and informal, on a dizzying array of topics related to cryptology: random number generation, cipher models, security and attacks, password protection, new technologies and trends in the digital world, just to name a few.

Though the conference spanned a variety of topics, according to Tessaro, who was on the conference’s program committee, two broad issues were the mainstays of the event. One was the fundamental problem of program obfuscation, or the encryption of a computer program in such a way that people could use it without reverse engineering it or otherwise finding out how it worked.

“There was an interesting result at this conference, in my opinion, one of the coolest results in terms of the talks,” Tessaro said of a demonstration that showed how the use of a highly sensitive microphone near a laptop could yield information about the computations being made inside via the noise signature.

Lin, meanwhile, presented her results in the area of secure computation protocols, research that contributes to one of the long-term goals of cryptology: tools that can allow users to manipulate encrypted data with a versatility comparable to unencrypted data, while still keeping the information private.

“One example is hospitals,” said Lin. “They might want to do some computation together, but their data is not supposed to be revealed by either end.” Banks could also benefit from some collaborative computation, she added, but they might not want to reveal sensitive financial information.

The other overarching topic was how the gap between theory and practice could be bridged in wider applications. From theoretical algorithms that are deemed too inefficient because of the time and power needed to encrypt and decrypt each keystroke of electronic communication, to the vagaries of theory and practice in research that were discussed in UC San Diego cryptographer Mihir Bellare’s Distinguished Lecture, researchers were interested in turning the purely intellectual into the concrete.

Though it can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks and Romans who used early cipher devices to send secret codes across the battlefield, cryptology didn’t become an extensive established academic research topic until the mid 1970’s. With the rise of computers and the availability of increasingly more complex ciphers, the field grew.

UCSB capitalized on the emerging field, with a push by UCSB computer scientist Richard Kemmerer and electrical and computer engineer Allen Gersho, along with Steve Weinstein from American Express. In 1981 the first CRYPTO conference took place at UCSB. A couple of years later, cryptographer David Chaum, who came to UCSB in 1982, almost singlehandedly started the IACR, which took over the sponsorship of CRYPTO. IACR went on to sponsor what became its two other flagship conferences, EuroCRYPT and AsiaCRYPT.

“Part of the attraction of the CRYPTO conference is that most of the participants stay in the dorms and, as a result, people are always around. Significant discussions take place in the dorm lounges or while walking around campus,” said Kemmerer. The initial conference had about 100 attendees, he said. At the height of the attention around computer security at the turn of the century, attendance peaked at 500, and has since settled to 300 to 400.

“People come here to learn about the most recent state of the art and the research,” said Sasha Boldyreva of IACR, and lead organizer of this year’s conference. “It’s a rapidly developing field.”

Because research in the world of computer science happens so fast, conferences like CRYPTO also provide venues for researchers to present their work and hear from colleagues about their research before it is published in journals. This can also be extremely valuable, given the relatively slow place of academic journal publication. Many of this year’s attendees, she said, were students exploring the field. Others are also colleagues who use the conference to network.

As technology develops, the reach of cryptology expands. Particularly in the realm of computers and the online world, virtually any digital communication is prone to hacking, whether it comes from a user, or any node in a network. This leads to rising consideration for effective encryption in areas as diverse as business (think Bitcoin); health, in which there is a push for electronic medical records; and even more futuristic developments, such as self-driving cars and smart homes.

But it wasn’t all seriousness for the CRYPTO attendees. Among the mathematics- and theory-laden sessions led by some of the brightest cryptographers in the world, participants found time to catch up with one another and talk shop. An evening Rump Session — a freewheeling, rapid-fire series of presentations — gave participants just a few minutes to communicate on virtually anything cryptological: educational tools such as ciphers and videogames; insights on a specific problem; updates from representatives of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and even jokes and songs. Another conference activity brought attendees to the beach. Meeting the people behind the research, IACR President Christian Cachin said, is the primary reason most participants come to the conference.

“In the end, every scientific contribution is authored by people,” Cachin said, “and this is why we are socializing here.”

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

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Victor Dominocielo: Believe What You Want; Just Don’t Call It Science

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Science has no quarrel with anyone or anything. Science just tries to explain the natural world, and in doing so, it attempts to be like mathematics: non-controversial, impartial and a gathering of numbers about evidence. Unfortunately, as science explains natural processes and gathers evidence, it causes a logical and rational turning away from magical, supernatural and philosophical explanations that previously existed. This can cause some animosity and some anti-science attitudes to persist among certain groups.

Science may not seem as neutral as mathematics because of the many controversies that catch the headlines. In point of fact, science has no controversy with creationism, intelligent design, alternative medicine, alien abduction stories, Bigfoot believers, psychics, ghosts, séances and drinkable sunscreen, etc.

For example, creationism is a religion and, as such, deserves the respect and honor accorded to all religious beliefs. The fact that this belief system contradicts scientific theory is merely interesting and puts creationism in line with most other religious beliefs all over the world. Religious beliefs are not scientific and don’t have to be to enjoy an honored place in our society.

However, creationism is rare (unique?) in that it claims to be scientific. Followers call it “creation science,” claim to have “scientific” evidence about their beliefs, attempt to have their religion taught in science classrooms and have even tried to get the legal definition of science changed to accommodate their particular set of religious beliefs. Catholics, on the other hand, don’t want the virgin birth taught in science class, and Judaism does not insist that the Old Testament version of history be taught in an evidence-based history class.

When any group makes a scientific claim, then scientists begin to examine the quality of their evidence and challenge their assertions. Over the years, creationists have made many claims and philosophical arguments but have produced no measurable scientific evidence to contradict Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Creationism as a religion should be respected — but just don’t call it science.

Many outdoorsmen and women go into the woods for hunting and fishing and may not actually bag some game or even catch a single fish, but they have enjoyed the great outdoors and the company of their friends. Bigfoot hunting, considered in this manner, is also a great way to get out into nature and enjoy the camaraderie of friends. As a sport, a hobby or even as a belief system, Bigfoot hunting is wonderful. However, if you make a claim that Bigfoot is real and that there is evidence, then the rules of science apply. The mythology of many Indian tribes, thousands of emotional stories, fuzzy photographs and noises in the woods, personal beliefs and wishful thinking do not constitute scientific evidence.

Ghost stories, alien visitation/abduction and crop circles fall into this now familiar process: Make a scientific or reality claim and the methodology of science is triggered and repeatable, measurable evidence must be produced.

The easiest way around this pesky scientific scrutiny is to just be happy with saying that your emotional, belief-based ideas are, well … emotional, belief-based ideas. For example, creationists could just say, “Creationism is my religion” and leave out the scientific claims just like all the other religions. Bigfoot believers could announce that, “Bigfoot hunting is my hobby and a great reason to get into the outdoors with my friends.” Alternative medicine practitioners could get comfortable with the idea that, “We know it’s all the patient-generated placebo effect, but patients love these intriguing, exotic folk medicines from other countries.”

Science does not have a problem with any of these belief-based claims — until they insist that their claim is scientific. When these belief/emotion-based processes attempt to take on the legitimacy, impartiality and authority that science has earned in our society over thousands of years, then it is only fair to examine these processes under the microscope of scientific methodology.

The scientific process, as it exists today, has developed into a civilization-wide, multicultural decision-making tool. Science answers the question, “How does one figure out how the world works without the personal bias, emotion, exaggeration, misperception and belief associated with any explanation of events?”

Science, developed by all cultures over the last 10,000 years, is the arbiter of cause and effect in our world. If one postulates that a certain cause has a certain effect (e.g. willow tree bark relieves pain), civilization has realized that we need a process for questioning and determining the accuracy of the claim. That process is scientific experimentation and the gathering of repeatable, measurable evidence.

As a species, we have found that the best way to get an accurate picture of the evidence surrounding an observation or process is to question the proposal and try to prove it wrong (i.e. the Null hypothesis). This is the best design for exposing both sides of any assertion. This works in the application of law in our society (the prosecutor and the public defender), in a Ph.D. dissertation defense and in news stories presenting both sides of a story.

A great example of getting both sides of the story is the voter pamphlets distributed by the League of Women Voters, which present: Argument For, Argument Against, Rebuttal to the Argument For and Rebuttal to the Argument Against. By reading these four adversarial views on any issue, one gets a multifaceted view of the issue and can make a better, informed decision.

Likewise, when you make a scientific claim, the correct and proper response is to attempt to prove you wrong. It’s nothing personal; it’s just the best process for looking at all sides of an issue and gathering evidence.

Your beliefs are your own, and no one can tell you what to believe. An excellent strategy when presented with new information or an unexplained event is to learn the science surrounding the issue and then believe what you want. You’re going to do that anyway.

Beliefs and emotions have an important place in our society and in our world — but just don’t call them science.

— Victor Dominocielo, M.A., a California-credentialed teacher for 37 years, is the human biology and health teacher at a local middle school. He earned his master of arts degree in education from UCSB. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Latin Legend Ramón Ayala to Perform at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Ramón Ayala, who’s known as “The King of the Accordion,” will bring his legendary sound to the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11. Tickets for the show are $55, $65, $75, $85 and $95.

Norteño artist and Grammy Award winner Ayala is one of the most popular and esteemed personalities in Regional Mexican music.

In his four decades in the music industry, the innovative accordionist/vocalist has been at the helm of two of the most successful conjuntos in the history of the genre — Los Relampagos Del Norte and Ramon Ayala Y Sus Bravos Del Norte.

Throughout his more than 40 years in the industry, Ayala has recorded more than 100 albums. He turns out well-crafted and balanced music, featuring lyrics about tragedy, loneliness, broken relationships, almost unbearable longing and pain, and about experiencing love in all its complicated nuances. Ayala's music is nicely rounded out by thoughtful melodies and the soulful, rich vocals of lead singer Mario Marichalar.

Ramon Ayala Y Sus Bravos Del Norte also includes Ayala's brothers, Fidencio Ayala (bass), Jose Luis Ayala (drums) and David Laure (percussion).

Ayala continues to be a classic musician who is remembered as one of the founders of the modern norteño music. Ayala has won and has been nominated for several Grammy awards. In 2001, Ayala was awarded with an American Grammy award for the album En Vivo … El Hombre Y Su Música.

He has also been awarded with two Latin Grammys for the albums Quémame Los Ojos and El Numero Cien.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this legendary norteño performer when he takes the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

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

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

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United Way’s Red Feather Ball to Honor Jean Schuyler, Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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The public is invited to attend United Way of Santa Barbara County’s 18th annual Red Feather Ball taking place at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Four Seasons Biltmore Coral Casino in Santa Barbara.

Jean Schuyler
Jean Schuyler

This much-anticipated gala attracts some of the most respected and admired leaders in our community, philanthropists and those seeking to improve their community.

The ball will raise funds to support UWSBC’s programs and to honor Jean Schuyler and Santa Barbara County for their outstanding service and philanthropy. This year’s ball will bring the special event expertise of renowned event planner Merryl Brown.

“This year, United Way of Santa Barbara County honor Jean Schuyler and the County of Santa Barbara, both outstanding recipients of United Way’s Abercrombie Community Excellence Award,” said Paul Didier, president and CEO of UWSBC. “For decades, both honorees have demonstrated their extraordinary commitment to philanthropy, creating truly outstanding benefits for our community.”

Proceeds from the Red Feather Ball support UWSBC’s national award-winning Fun in the Sun and United for Literacy programs, which make it possible for more than 5,000 disadvantaged children and families in Santa Barbara County access to benefit from life-changing educational programs.

Guests are encouraged to wear red to recognize United Way’s traditional symbol of giving.

Tickets are $325 per person. Sponsorships are available at $1,200 to $50,000 or more. Click here for tickets and more information.

Meet the Honorees

Jean Schuyler

Schuyler fully exemplifies what the Abercrombie Community Excellence Award is all about: honoring extraordinary individuals and organizations that have changed Santa Barbara with their outstanding vision, commitment, leadership and support for organizations and institutions that enrich the quality of life for all in our community.

For 40 years, she has been a founder, major supporter and guiding hand in creating and sustaining organizations to preserve our fragile environment and improve the education, health, safety and quality of life for Santa Barbara’s most vulnerable women, children and families.

Schuyler and her late husband, Barry, devoted their extraordinary intelligence and quiet activism to the development of the Douglas Preserve, Maritime Museum and Ellwood Mesa, now among the special treasures of our community. Their commitment to excellence in secondary and higher education included Midland and Laguna Blanca schools, Santa Barbara City College and UC Santa Barbara, where they endowed a chair in Environmental Studies. Schuyler is an elected Trustee of the UCSB Foundation.

A lifetime advocate on behalf of women, she has been honored for her work with Planned Parenthood and Domestic Violence Solutions. She has served on numerous boards of trustees, including United Way of Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County has consistently been one of the top contributors of volunteer hours and financial support to United Way of Santa Barbara County. In fact, the county has run the largest campaign for the past 10 years. Over the past three decades, employees have raised $3.7 million for hundreds of local nonprofit organizations, including United Way of Santa Barbara County.

The county’s generosity extends well beyond their charitable giving campaign, as employees can frequently be found giving their time and energy back to our community. Not only are employees committed to programmatic partnerships, such as helping to sign up children from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, but they routinely have some of the largest groups of volunteers at Fun in the Sun, United Way’s award winning educational program.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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Tuberculosis Bill Authored by Williams Heads to Governor for Consideration

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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The Legislature has passed a bill authored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, that would replace the currently mandated tuberculosis (TB) examination with a TB risk assessment and follow-up TB exams, based on the results of that assessment.

Assembly Bill 1667 is now headed to the governor’s desk to be considered for a signature.

“By replacing the exam with a risk assessment and a follow-up TB test, AB 1667 addresses two problems that California currently faces: false positives and shortages of TB tests,” Williams said. “My bill is consistent with guidelines from numerous expert bodies, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and will allow the tuberculosis control programs to work most effectively to detect and control tuberculosis in California.”

TB is a disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. It usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys or the spine. The primary test for TB infection is the Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST). When TST is applied in low incidence populations, its positive predictive value means that there are a high number of false positives.

School employees and volunteers are not considered high-risk populations, according to the Health Officers Association of California, the sponsor of AB 1667. An estimated 20 percent of teachers in California falsely test positive. These false positives can lead to the administration of unnecessary tests and potentially toxic TB infection treatment regimes, which pose preventable risks for those with false positive TST results.

“Targeted screening will also demonstrate to be more cost-effective while still protecting our state’s teachers, volunteers, school employees and children from tuberculosis,” Williams said.

AB 1667 does not affect any protocol that county health offices and other public health officials may use for testing when a known case of tuberculosis exists. If there was a person found to have active TB in a particular region, this bill would aid in that situation by making more TSTs available for targeted testing in the area.

Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios is the district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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Crash Shuts Down Southbound Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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A vehicle accident shut down southbound Highway 101 near Mission Street in Santa Barbara for a time Thursday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Two people suffered minor injuries in the crash, which occurred just after 1 p.m., said Capt. Cory Cloud with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The crash involved two sedans and an 18-wheel big-rig, Cloud said.

The roadway was shut down for about 15 minutes, but was reopened at 1:30 p.m., the CHP said.

The drivers of both sedans were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Cloud said.

The accident remained under investigation by the CHP.

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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Man Seriously Hurt in Rollover Crash Near Buellton

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Victim airlifted to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara after being extricated from minivan

A driver suffered serious injuries Thursday afternoon when his vehicle left the roadway and overturned on Highway 101 south of Buellton, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred just past noon on southbound Highway 101 south of the Nojoqui Summit, the CHP said.

The vehicle was found on its roof in a ravine, 20-30 feet off the roadway, with the driver, Miguel Soriano, 56, of San Jose, unconscious, according to Mike Eliason, a Santa Barbara County Department spokesman.

County firefighters responded, and a county helicopter was called in to assist with the rescue, along with search-and-rescue personnel, Eliason said.

Crews had to cut Soriano out of wreckage.

Officials shut down the highway so the helicopter could land to pick up Soriano for the trip to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was being treated for major injuries, Eliason said.

A 56-year-old San Jose man, Miguel Soriano, was seriously injured Thursday when his Toyota minivan crashed on Highway 101 south of Buellton. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Details on his condition were not immediately available.

The southbound right-hand lane of the highway was shut down for a time to allow a tow truck to retrieve the wrecked vehicle.

The accident remained under investigation by the CHP.

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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Max McCumber: Sport vs. Brutality — The Game of Football Is Simply Too Violent

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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After a week of vacation I'm back to muse about more sports-related controversy. Over the next few months, some of you have football on your agendas, but not me. Save for peeking in on the Super Bowl, I have not seriously watched a football game for a few years. Primarily due to its excessive violence, I have no immediate plans to watch again in the future.

Max McCumber
Max McCumber

Injuries are an unfortunate but inescapable part of the game in most cases. Wear and tear, missteps and the like stem from the heat of competition. It's when to inflict bodily harm is strategic rather than accidental that sport more closely resembles slaughter. Adulation of such brutality is not uncommon. This is as equally disturbing as the mere procession of contact sports.

When in Philadelphia recently, I took the popular urban hike up the "Rocky steps" toward the city Museum of Art. As part of his training in the Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa famously jogged up the steps and pumped his fists in triumph at the top.

Boxing really takes the cake as a dangerous sport, but at least in this case Rocky is a movie. Sylvester Stallone is an actor playing a fictional character. None of the boxing ring combat actually happened.

Reality-wise, we always let blood-thirst prevail. Rugby is practically a religion throughout much of the British Commonwealth. On Friday nights, football games are gathering spots for American high schools, even for those who have never met anyone on the team. History repeats itself; Roman gladiators had to incur horrific, slaughtering combat in front of droves of admiring spectators. I could go on, but you get the idea. To exalt the most barbaric of sporting events speaks ill of human nature.

Here in Santa Barbara, I play in an adult kickball league. In its rule book, to peg a runner with the rubber ball constitutes an out, unless it hits them in the head. Slapping the noggin is an automatic safe. It's a statute in place to curtail roughness.

There are a host of penalties for foul play in football: holding, face mask and unnecessary roughness, to name a few. However, such infractions are beside the point. As long as it's the job of a gridiron warrior to sack the quarterback or tackle the receiver, running back or linebacker, the game goes too far.

Safer, technologically-sound shoulder pads and helmets may help a bit, but the nature of the game will always be too overwhelming.

How could I write this without addressing my beloved baseball?

To start, I applauded St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny for pressing the big league brass to enact legislation deterring home plate collisions. Matheny himself had a playing career as a catcher cut short by multiple concussions. To institute such a ruling may not be so easy, but ultimately it's the right action to take. I certainly hope improvements can be made to the obstruction rule in the offseason while maintaining safety concerns.

Flame-throwing Cincinnati Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman, whom I mentioned in a June article, was struck by a line drive during this past spring training. It sure was frightening to watch, and I am glad that Chapman has since recovered.

At least no one at the ballpark wants anyone to get beaned in the line of fire 60 feet 6 inches between home and the mound. It scares the bejesus out of us. To avoid such occurrences at all costs is part of baseball.

In contrast, football gives us one too many scary moments. Blitz after blitz, concussion after concussion, it never ends. It comes as no surprise that many ex-gridironers have suffered impaired cognition and brain trauma once their playing days are over. The sad sagas of "Iron Mike" Webster and Andre Waters say it all.

Back in May in another column, I said that as long as the game gets staged, that's as good a batch of news as it gets. A caveat to that, I should take this opportunity to say, is so long as no one gets too severely injured.

Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell once wrote: "Football's real problem is not that it glorifies violence, though it does, but that it offers no successful alternative to violence." My point exactly.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.

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Teen Driver Crashes Into Santa Maria Michaels Store

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Driver reportedly led police on a pursuit through Santa Maria with stolen car before driving into the store

A 13-year-old driver in a stolen vehicle led police on a short pursuit that ended Wednesday night when the vehicle slammed into the front of the Michaels store in Santa Maria.

Officers noticed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner near Thornburg Street and Carmen Lane about 9:45 p.m., according to a Santa Maria Police Department news release.

When they tried to stop the vehicle, the driver failed to yield to officers and ran a red light at Carmen Lane and South Broadway.

The fast-moving vehicle traveled into the shopping center in the 1900 block of South Broadway and crashed through the front of the building before coming to a stop approximately 30 feet inside craft store.

As a result of the traffic collision, the Michaels building sustained "major structural and merchandise damage,” police said.

The driver was caught after a short pursuit on foot.

The vehicle is believed to have been stolen just before officers attempting to stop it.

The teen was booked into Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall for suspicion of evading a police officer, reckless driving, hit and run and resisting a peace officer, police said.

Michaels was open for business Thursday as employees and contractors worked to clean up and repair the damage.

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 Appearance by ‘Simpsons’ Creator Matt Groening to Follow Marathon Screening

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Cable channel FXX will mark the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons with a marathon screening of all 500-plus episodes in the show’s history that began Wednesday and will run through Sept. 1. That’s a lot of “Cowabunga, dude!”

In the Santa Barbara area, cable subscribers can turn their dials to FXX Channel 78 starting at 10 a.m. The shows will be aired in chronological order, 24 hours a day through the entire run.

UCSB Arts & Lectures will feature Matt Groening, the famed creator of The Simpsons, in a rare appearance titled "An Evening with Matt Groening & Lynda Barry" a 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10 at the Arlington Theatre.

The only West Coast appearance of the two cartoonists (Barry is the renowned creator of the comic strip, Ernie Pook’s Comeek) is subtitled "Love, Hate & Comics: The Friendship That Would Not Die." The pair met and became friends more than 35 years ago while students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

For tickets or more information to the UCSB Arts & Lectures event, call 805.893.3535 or purchase online by clicking here.

UCSB Arts & Lectures thanks lynda.com for its major corporate support of the 2013-14 season.

— Karna Hughes is a senior publicist for UCSB Arts & Lectures.

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Isla Vista Pedestrian Improvements Under Way on Del Playa

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr is pleased to announce the construction of a four-phase sidewalk project to improve pedestrian safety and mobility.

The project is part of the Isla Vista Pedestrian Plan, which Supervisor Farr helped design in conjunction with the Public Works Department.

The plan sets priorities and implements annual projects to create and improve pedestrian walkways throughout Isla Vista. In the past years, several major and minor projects have been completed in this plan, including the Pardall corridor improvements, El Embarcadero utility undergrounding and streetscape improvements, and sidewalk projects along Sabado Tarde, Del Playa and other roads in the Loop area.

In the next months, work will focus on the 6500 to 6700 block of Del Playa, where sidewalks segments are damaged, substandard or missing. Construction should be completed in three to five weeks.

The first phase begins this week on the south side of the 6600 block. The second phase, along the 6500 block, is scheduled to begin in September, with the third and fourth phases to follow in mid-September and early October.

“New sidewalks will enhance safety in the community and make Del Playa more aesthetically pleasing," Farr said. "I am delighted that our Public Works Department is able to move so quickly to complete the first phase of this important project.”

In addition to this sidewalk plan, multiple lighting upgrade projects are under way. In the first week of September, new beach access stair lighting will be installed along the Camino del Sur walk-path. Also, design for new lighting along Camino Corto is under way and should be installed in a few months.

“My goal is to make Isla Vista safer, more attractive and hospitable for residents in our community,” Farr said.

For questions or concerns, please contact Public Works during regular business hours at 805.568.3064 or 805.568.3094. You may also call the 24-hour information line at 805.681.4995. Updates will be posted at the following County of Santa Barbara, Public Works Department sites: website, Facebook and Twitter.

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Letter to the Editor: Measure P — a Nonindustry Evaluation

By | Published on 08/21/2014

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In November, we in Santa Barbara County will vote on Measure P, the ballot proposal that would ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in this county.

The well-funded oil and gas companies, their paid PR people and other supporters, are now posting here and elsewhere numerous attacks on the nature of this ballot proposal.

The commonly-used practices of these contributors, and the nature of the drilling procedure they hope to spread to our community, should be examined.

A sample of the integrity of oil and gas conglomerates can be found in the recent exposure (Los Angeles Times, Aug. 14) of their illegal use in 12 states of diesel — known by the Environmental Protection Agency to contain carcinogens and neurotoxins — in the fracking process. No permits in these states for such use were ever issued.

In each fracked well, at least 5,000 gallons of a cocktail of chemicals is added to the million gallons of previously fresh water used. This fracking fluid is pumped, under great pressure through pipes which go down through a community's underground water table. If a pipe passing through that aquifer cracks, the leaked toxins will foul the water beyond safe human use.

Chris Wrather, chairman of the Los Alamos Planning Commission Advisory Board and owner of a horse farm in the north county community, has said, “We in the valley don't get our water from pipes, we get it from wells drilled into the aquifer. Should that water be contaminated by leaked fracking fluid, for us it would be the end of our business, the end of our property value, the end of our home.”

Oil/gas companies will not disclose the names and precise mixtures of the chemicals they use in fracking; they claim it is “proprietary” information, vital to keep secret for their business success. We do know, however, that among those in the mix are heavy metals, radioactive materials and hazardous air pollutants such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

An effort to force disclosure of the chemicals may actually be misdirected energy. Bob Fields, president of a Santa Ynez Valley water company has said, “In order to test for water contamination, you have to know what you're testing for. The cost to test for a single chemical would cost about $3,000 and you'd probably want to do it at least once a year. One study of fracking fluid showed about 750 different chemicals, 29 of which are known carcinogens or otherwise controlled by the EPA. Few water companies could afford to do thorough effective testing.”

Certainly one of the most pressing concerns in the use of this procedure is the “safe” disposal of the toxic fracking fluid sent back up through the pipes. It often sits in surface ponds for weeks and, through venting or flaring, emits tons of pollutants, including nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, into the atmosphere.

Would you like to live nearby?

Typically, the millions of gallons of “used” fluids are loaded into tanker trucks and sent to be disposed of - somewhere. Though this material is as poisonous and hazardous as one can imagine, the Federal government does not label it as such and its destination deposits are not subject to oversight or regulation except as “solid waste.” Where in our county would you like this material to be dumped or “injected”?

Estimated truck traffic for a single well is between 300 to 1,300 trucks. These trucks are large emitters of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Would you like to live on one of the streets or roads these vehicles would travel 24 hours a day?

Of the many thousands of tanker trucks carrying toxic fracking fluids over our roads and highways, should one overturn and spill its contents into a river, that water can never again safely be used by humans.

In rural Pennsylvania, one such truck accidentally dumped its fracking fluid into the pond of Mr. and Mrs. Truman Benet. It killed everything in the pond: fish, frogs, turtles. The Benets were then told that the water supply of their home now had high concentrations of lead; not to drink it or bathe in it. So the Benet's retirement-home-dream had changed “from our heaven to our hell.”

This is a scenario the proponents of fracking do not publicize.

Publicly owned water treatment facilities are not equipped to handle fracking waste waters, especially the radioactive materials. A New York Times article revealed the presence of excessive levels of radium, uranium and benzene in rivers and streams due to improper treatment at facilities prior to discharging waste water into surface waters.

It no longer needs any serious discussion that the accumulation of carbon dioxide and methane in our atmosphere is causing the planet to heat up with increasingly disastrous effect. Cornell University's Professor of Engineering Tony Ingraffia, called “one of the world's leading pioneers in fracture mechanics,” said in 2012 that Cornell was releasing a study, to be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, that would prove conclusively that, over its life-cycle, in terms of CO2 and methane emissions, the production of oil/gas through means such as hydraulic fracturing “is as dirty as coal.”

In one of its many profound disgraces, the Federal government has exempted fracking fluid from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act; this the result of then Vice President Cheney's influence.

The federal government, in fact, has done almost nothing to protect us from the devastation fracking can cause. Pennsylvania has completely given in to the oil/gas companies, despite the industry's own estimate there that there will be “one serious environmental concern” for each 150 wells drilled. New York State has in place a moratorium on fracking; the state's lower courts have ruled it legal for its communities to ban the practice. Governor Brown, for whatever reasons, has offered free reign to the oil/gas conglomerates in this state.

So it's up to us in this community to protect ourselves. As Chris Wrather put it, “If you don't know the likelihood of an accident occurring, but you do know that if the accident occurs the result will be devastating, you err on the side of caution.”

Voting yes on Measure P will give us that caution and that protection.

To those whose overriding priority is the money to be made from hydraulic fracturing on their property or in their neighborhood, one can only suggest that they find ways to make money that don't threaten the health and safety of our families and our neighbors.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Fishing Fleets Search for Squid Off Santa Barbara Shores

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Market squid are spawning in more places than normal, including in local waters

Bright lights seen off the shores of Santa Barbara signify the return of squid-fishing fleets locally, a common occurrence in recent years but still a bit unusual, experts say.

Santa Barbara isn’t typically a popular squid-spawning locale. But cooler surface temperatures in nutrient-rich Pacific Ocean waters the past four years have caused smaller California market squid to spawn like crazy everywhere, according to Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of California Wetfish Producers Association.

A market squid usually grows to eight inches long with its eight legs and two feeding tentacles— sometimes up to a foot — and lives about nine months, she said.

The animals are one of the smallest of all 300-plus species of squid, and die after laying eggs in sandy, shallow water, which is where fishermen come in.

Most squid are caught with help from light boats, which shine bright lights at the water to attract the animals to the surface. When they do, fishing boats catch the squid in nets and share about 20 percent of profits with their helpers, Pleschner-Steele said.

She said squid-fishing season lasts nearly year-round, from April 1 through March 1, but closes whenever fishermen reach the statewide cap of 118,000 tons — a rarity.

Boats usually follow squid from one spawning ground to the next, starting in Monterey and then heading south, sometimes netting near the northern Channel Islands and Ventura.

Pleschner-Steele, who lives in Buellton, said La Niña effects have spurred squid to spawn near Santa Barbara and Carpinteria for unknown reasons, and fishermen hit the state’s tonnage quota in 2010.

Most squid are caught with help from light boats, which shine bright lights at the water to attract the animals to the surface. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

“Squids are a fascinating animal,” Pleschner-Steele said. “We are learning more about them, and we’re learning how much we don’t know about them.”

The California Wetfish Producers Association was founded in 2004 to promote sustainable fishing and to foster collaborative research with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The nonprofit also governs other so-called “wetfish,” such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies and coastal tuna.

Although the squid fishery is the state’s largest in terms of volume and revenue, Pleschner-Steele said fishermen haven’t seen such solid production since the last La Niña effects in the late 1990s.

The boom is likely nearing its end, however, she said.

“We’ve just had four banner squid seasons,” she said. “The conditions were so ripe in so many places. These are small little animals but they are sure tasty.”

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 Mayor Warns Ballot Measures Are Needed to Keep City Solvent

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Frances Romero presents a dire financial picture during a meeting of the Committee to Improve North County

If Guadalupe voters don’t approve three measures on the Nov. 4 ballot, Mayor Frances Romero said the small city with big financial troubles most likely would have to disincorporate.

Romero presented the dire picture of the city’s finances Wednesday afternoon during a meeting of the Committee to Improve North County, or Committee INC, in Guadalupe as two other mayors and additional North County residents listened.

Without the funds expected to be generated by the three measures, the city at some point most likely wouldn’t be able to pay its bills, Romero said.

“The measures really do need to pass or the City of Guadalupe, in my opinion, is not going to remain an incorporated city,” Romero said.

Remarking that “we’re not having a big spending party over there,” Romero said Guadalupe officials discovered in the spring the previous budgets “were not quite right.”

“The last 15 years our city has overallocated money from special and restricted funds for general fund use,” said Romero, who has chosen not to run for re-election when her two-year term ends in December.

Those special funds include those for water, sewer and streets, she said, recalling receiving an April email from City Administrator Andrew Carter, who was hired a year earlier. 

“What he discovered is that over the last 15 years, we have transferred money from special and restricted funds at a rate of 99 to 192 percent of our administrative overhead,” Romero said. “Some people have looked at me in disbelief and said, ‘Well, how can you do over 100 percent?’ Well, in Guadalupe apparently it is possible and quite disappointing, I must say.”

The city hired consultant William Statler, a former San Luis Obispo city finance director and expert in city money matters, who determined Guadalupe should be charging those special funds 64 percent to 67 percent for administrative costs — far below what they had allocated, Romero said.

She has asked the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury to look into the city’s past financial practices. 

“Every time we turn around we’re dealing with the past,” Romero said. “A lot of people say, ‘Well, gosh, you need to move on, just forget about the past.’ We wouldn’t be here with three ballot measures in front of our citizenry but for the past and but for the past budgeting practices that have gone on in this community.”

The improper accounting meant the city’s budget was $640,000 short, leading to the three measures going to voters and other steps to increase revenue and slash expenses.

This fall, the city’s voters will be asked to approve Measure V, to remove the $2,250 annual cap on Guadalupe’s utility users tax, which will remain at 5 percent. This tax is charged on water, electricity, natural gas and telephone service. 

The current cap only benefits businesses spending more than $45,000 a year in utilities and removal would affect just one company in town.

“This is something that would not impact our everyday resident,” she said.

Removing the cap would generate another $100,000 a year for the city.

Measure W would replace the current business license fee with a gross receipts tax. The current fee, last changed in 1979, charges $60, $90 or $120 per year.

The proposal is to charge businesses 50 cents per $1,000 of revenue. For instance, a $1 million business would pay $500 a year. The minimum rate would be $100 for home-based business or those without an address such as out-of-town building contractors. A business based in Guadalupe would pay at least $200. This measure would generate an additional $150,000 a year in revenue.

Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino said it appears that the City of Guadalupe essentially has been subsidizing larger businesses in the community — “and I think that’s wrong.”

An audience member expressed concern the city was trying to balance the budget at the expense of firms that provide jobs in the community, saying Guadalupe can’t afford to have employers leave town.

Romero noted that there is a cost of doing business in any community and that a business license fee of $120 for a multimillion-dollar firm doesn’t pay for police, fire and infrastructure costs.

Measure X would add a sales tax hike of one-quarter percent so Guadalupe’s rate of 8.0 percent would climb to 8.25 percent, matching Santa Maria’s.

If this passes, it would generate $62,500 a year in revenue.

“We cannot continue to take money out of special restricted funds so that’s why these measures are so important,” she said, adding the funds generated by the measures indirectly will help public safety.

With a population of 7,080 residents, Guadalupe ranks at the top or bottom of many demographics for cities in Santa Barbara County, Romero said in quoting U.S. Census data. For instance, the city is No. 1 in the county for average household size (3.91 compared) and percentage of households with kids (nearly 50 percent). The per capita income is Guadalupe, at $13,647, is the lowest. Solvang ranks No. 1 with $39,139. Likewise, median family income is $44,965, compared to $96,719 in Buellton.

Guadalupe also has the lowest high school graduation rate, lowest median home value and highest number of families in poverty.

“When you start looking at these numbers, you start realizing that our city does not have a lot of means,” she said. “Some people find it offensive when you use the word poor. The reality is the numbers don’t lie.”

Guadalupe also is the lowest city for local sales tax per capita with $44, compared with the average of $224 for cities in the county. 

These measures put before voters are just one avenue the city is using to solve its troubles. Employees from the top also agreed to 5 percent pay cuts, Romero noted.

A few years ago, under interim city administrator Tim Ness, Guadalupe reached out to local businesses to encourage them to pay sales taxes, boosting the annual number from $150,000 to $200,000 annually. 

The newest financial problems have prompted a lot of questions, Romero said, such as why the annual audit didn’t address the issue although the review likely wouldn’t spot it. However, the audit for the last 15 years noted that the solid waste fund operated with a negative fund balance and recommended hiking rates to solve the problem.

“I cannot answer why multiple councils before us have not addressed this other than the fact maybe it’s too hard to ask people to take a rate increase,” she said. 

The fund now has a deficit of $232,000 and the city is poised to raise rates while making up the deficit over a nine-year period to avoid a large rate hike. The proposal would bring a monthly increase of 30 to 60 cents for customers.

Romero said she often is asked what regulatory agency oversees the city.

“Well, the regulatory agency that oversees cities sits right up there,” she said, pointing to the council dais. “That’s really where the buck is supposed to stop on things of this nature.”

The city has been audited by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, Romero said, adding that she expects other audits in the future.

Romero told the Committee INC that most cities wouldn’t ask the grand jury to investigate their finances.

“Normally you want those folks to stay away," she said, "but I really feel that things being done properly in Guadalupe outweigh the embarrassment of what others have done before me.”

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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Cate Graduate Brian Benedict Faces Life in Prison After Being Convicted of Killing Ex-Wife

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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A former UC Irvine graduate student faces life in prison after being convicted of murdering his ex-wife outside of his campus apartment in what authorities said stemmed from a dispute over child-support payments. 

Brian Hughes Benedict, 40 — a graduate of Cate School, a private high school and boarding school in Carpinteria — was found guilty by a jury on Aug. 7 of murder for financial gain and lying in wait with an enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

On the evening of Sept. 13, 2009, Benedict's ex-wife, Rebecca Clarke, 30, had gone to pick up her 4-year-old son from Benedict at his campus apartment. 

"The couple recently attended a court hearing where the defendant had been ordered to pay child support," the statement said, adding that after the victim entered Benedict's apartment, the defendant attacked Clarke by swinging a hammer at her head.

Clarke ran from the apartment, but Benedict chased her with a firearm and shot her several times, the office stated, and that Benedict then went back into his apartment, grabbed his son and put the boy in the car. 

"Witnesses and neighbors, who feared the defendant was going to flee the scene with his son, physically restrained Brian Benedict until police arrived," the statement said.

Benedict faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 12 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

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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Child Struck by Vehicle, Killed in Guadalupe

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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A child was killed when an unattended car apparently rolled and hit him in Guadalupe Wednesday evening, authorities said. 

Guadalupe police and the Guadalupe Fire Department responded to the 4400 block of Fir Street at 5:44 p.m. to find a young boy trapped and unconscious under a car. 

Initial information from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department stated it was an 8-year-old, but Guadalupe police have confirmed it was a 5-year-old boy. 

He was transported by ambulance to the Marian Regional Medical Center of Santa Maria in critical condition and later died of his injuries, police said. 

According to the initial investigation, it appears the the boy’s mother left the SUV unattended while she took a younger child in a car seat into her home, police said in a statement Wednesday night.

“In her absence, the driverless vehicle rolled and struck the boy,” police said.

Guadalupe police are being assisted in the investigation by the Guadalupe Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol

"Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the family of the deceased boy in this difficult time," police said in a statement. 

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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Joe Conason: Missouri Burning — Why Ferguson’s Inferno Is No Surprise

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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The past week's unfolding tragedy in Ferguson, Mo., with its militarized and overwhelmingly white police force confronting angry and hopeless African-Americans, is not a story unique to that place or this moment. Many cities and towns in this country confront the same problems of poverty, alienation and inequality as metropolitan St. Louis — or even worse.

But beneath the familiar narrative, there is a deeper history that reflects the unfinished agenda of race relations — and the persistence of poisonous prejudice that has never been fully cleansed from the American mainstream.

For decades, Missouri has spawned or attracted many of the nation's most virulent racists, including neo-Nazis and the remnants of the once-powerful Ku Klux Klan. Associated with violent criminality and crackpot religious extremism, these fringe groups could never wield much influence in the post-civil rights era. Beyond those marginalized outfits, however, exists another white supremacist group whose leaders have long enjoyed the patronage of right-wing Republican politicians.

The Council of Conservative Citizens, headquartered in St. Louis, is a living legacy of Southern "white resistance" to desegregation, with historical roots in the so-called citizens councils that sprang up during the 1950s as a "respectable" adjunct to the Klan. Its website currently proclaims that the CCC is "the only serious nationwide activist group that sticks up for white rights!" What that means, more specifically, is promoting hatred of blacks, Jews, gays and lesbians, and Latino immigrants while extolling the virtues of the "Southern way of life," the Confederacy and even slavery.

The group's website goes on to brag that the CCC is the only group promoting "white rights" whose meetings regularly feature "numerous elected officials, important authors, talk-show hosts, active pastors and other important people" as speakers.

Although that boast may be exaggerated, it isn't hollow. Founded in 1985 by the ax handle-wielding Georgia segregationist Lester Maddox and a group of white activists, the CCC remained obscure to most Americans until 1998, when media exposure of its ties to prominent congressional Republicans led to the resignation of Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi as majority leader. Six years later, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group monitoring racist activity in the United States, reported that the CCC had hosted as many as 38 federal, state and local officials at its meetings (all of them Republicans, except one Democrat) — despite a warning from the Republican National Committee against associating with the hate group.

Over the years, the CCC's friends in high places included such figures as former Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri, who shared much of the CCC agenda as governor, when he opposed "forced desegregation" of St. Louis schools — along with the CCC members who served on the city's school board. When President George W. Bush appointed Ashcroft as U.S. attorney general, the CCC openly celebrated, declaring in its newsletter, "Our Ship Has Come In."

Recently, far fewer Republican officials have been willing to associate in public with the CCC's racist leaders. Then again, however, Ashcroft himself tended to meet secretly with those same bigots while outwardly shunning them. When asked about his connections with the group during his confirmation hearings in 2001, he swore that he had no inkling of its racist and anti-Semitic propaganda — a very implausible excuse, given the CCC's prominence in St. Louis while he served as governor.

Despite the CCC's presence, Missouri is home to many fine and decent people, of course — but malignant traces of the group and the racial animus it represents have spread far beyond the state's borders. The most obvious example is Rush Limbaugh, the "conservative" cultural phenomenon who grew up south of St. Louis — in Cape Girardeau, Mo. — and who has earned a reputation as a racial agitator over many years on talk radio, where he began by doing mocking bits in "black" dialect.

In 1998, the talk jock defended Lott when other conservatives were demanding his resignation over the politician's CCC connection. Today, Limbaugh echoes the CCC line on the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, which suggests coldly that the unarmed teenager deserved his fate because he may have been a suspect in shoplifting or smoked marijuana.

Why would a young man's life be worth less than a box of cigars? Back in Rush's home state, the answer is all too obvious.

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

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La Casa de La Raza Working with County, Lender in Effort to Fight Off Foreclosure

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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La Casa de La Raza is working to reinstate its nonprofit status, a lengthy process that has the Lower Eastside community center once again fighting off foreclosure and higher property tax rates.

The process is moving so slowly, in fact, that the organization’s mortgage loan lender has scheduled to auction off its headquarters at 601 E. Montecito St. on Monday.

La Casa Executive Director Raquel Lopez told Noozhawk she is confident the sale will not happen, and said the nonprofit will make a payment to Fidelity Bank by Friday.

The threat of auctioning off the building is reminiscent of La Casa’s past financial struggles to pay property taxes to Santa Barbara County officials, who in 2012 were considering the same action.

La Casa owed a little more than $97,000 in property taxes to the county in July 2012 — the nonprofit was in default on the property since the 2004-05 tax year — when it took out the Fidelity trust deed to pay off that bill, along with other inherited debt, said Lopez, who has served as director for the past nine years.

The community center, which was founded in 1971 to focus on preserving Latino cultural heritage and providing an umbrella for services, owns and occupies a nearly two-acre site that often lets for-profit organizations use space. Santa Barbara County has assessed the property at $796,809.

La Casa currently owes $9,647.28 in taxes for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and could theoretically be in default up to five years before the county tried to reclaim any funds, according to Harry Hagen, the county’s treasurer and tax collector.

“It’s really between La Casa and their lender,” Hagen said.

Lopez disagrees not with the property value but with the tax rates associated with business conducted within the building.

She said La Casa has been working since 2012 to obtain a certificate from the state Board of Equalization that allows property taxes to reflect its nonprofit status, easing the sting of bills.

The nonprofit received the certification this year and is working with the county to reassess the property, hoping to get a refund from the past nine years it paid taxes in full.

The next hurdle, Lopez said, is that the county thinks the refund only applies to the past four years, not all nine.

While La Casa attorneys work with county staff to iron out paperwork, Fidelity sent the foreclosure notice.

“We had to pay because we were missing a form that the Board of Equalization hands out to organizations,” Lopez said of paying the county back in 2012. “We told our mortgage company that we’re not paying the $9,600. Our mortgage company disagreed with it. There is no problem. It’s not as if we’re being negligent. They just want their money.

“We have until Friday to make a payment. Working with any government agency is complicated.”

Lopez said she’s upset with false media reports that have created unnecessary alarm.

Leo Martinez, one of La Casa’s founders and a Santa Barbara city councilman in the 1970s, said the center has been mismanaged for years both financially and in efforts to carry out its mission.

“The intention of La Casa de la Raza was supposed to be a meeting place for everybody in the community, and it was,” he said, noting a lack of volunteers and a disconnect to those the center is supposed to serve.

Lopez refutes those claims and said she’s still negotiating with Fidelity on the final amount La Casa will pay Friday.

“It’s changing every day,” she said.

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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‘What a Pool Believes’ Wins UCSB Arts & Lectures DIY Silent Film Contest

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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What a Pool Believes, a Santa Barbara independent film project, has been announced as the winner of UCSB Arts & Lectures' DIY Silent Film Contest.

What a Pool Believes is a short, silent film set in 1920s Santa Barbara. Filmed in our very own backyard, this comedy stars Boris Orozco as “Chuy,” a poor worker who is tempted by an opulent pool on a very hot day. First-time actor Bri Smith shines in her magical co­starring role as Chuy’s love interest.

Filmed and cast by an entirely local crew, What a Pool Believes is comprised of the core group of writer/­director Ted Mills, producer Meighann Helene, and director of photography and editor Nik Blaskovich.

The film also features real-life partners Duncan and Celia Wright as Mr. and Mrs. Toff, and a bevvy of bathing beauties. The score was originally conducted by Arlington Theatre organist and musician Adam Aceto.

What a Pool Believes features a little bit of silent film and Santa Barbara history, too. The car featured is a Rolls­ Royce 1925 Silver Ghost Pall Mall Tourer LHD owned previously by none other than Harold Lloyd himself until 1975. The car was supplied with great gratitude by Charles Crail Automobiles.

The film was shot on location at the historic Prynce Hopkins house on the corner of Garden and Pedregosa streets.

What a Pool Believes will play twice locally at UCSB's Arts & Lectures series before the airing of Modern Times, set to show at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at UCSB’s Campbell Hall, as well as at the Sunken Gardens at the courthouse at 8:15 p.m. Friday. The filmmakers will be in attendance.

— Meighann Helene is a producer of What a Pool Believes.

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Santa Maria Girl with Epilepsy Granted Wish to Go to Disneyland

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Four-year-old Mia Lopez Bautista of Santa Maria lives with epilepsy and soon will be granted her wish to go to Disneyland.

Mia is nonverbal but gets excited when she sees Disney characters and she loves being around people, so Disneyland is a perfect wish. Mia will have a special meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and will also dine at Goofy’s kitchen.

She will be joined on the wish by her parents, Miguel and Maria, and her brothers, Miguel and Emmanuel.

She will have a wish presentation party Saturday at Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab. Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab is donating the party room, ice cream and a personal ice server. Mia’s wish has been adopted by Santa Maria Valley Physical Therapy with funds from its annual Golf for Wishes event.

The Walt Disney Company has supported Make-A-Wish for more than 30 years, providing wish kids with magical Disney experiences. More than 40 percent of the wishes granted by Make-A-Wish involve Disney.

— Shanna Wasson Taylor is CEO of Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties.

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Letter to the Editor: Is the Fix In for Ferguson?

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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As mass hysteria over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., grips the nation, President Barack Obama dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder, a divisive race-baiter, to the scene.

Holder has focused on converting the Department of Justice into a "racial grievance incubator" and has a history of exacerbating racial tensions and ramping up civil unrest. The Community Relations Service, which is part of the DOJ and was sent to Florida after the Trayvon Martin shooting, is now causing trouble by promoting racially charged demonstrations and rushed convictions.

What is taking place in Ferguson today?

The NAACP, the Black Panthers, outside agitators, and communists from Chicago and New York are looting, inflaming the situation, lying about what really happened and attacking the police.

Who was Brown (6 feet 4 inches tall, 292 pounds)? He was not a gentle giant and was not shot in the back with his hands up. In reality, he participated in a strong-arm robbery of the Ferguson Market Liquor Store, punched officer Wilson in the face, causing "an orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket" as he sat in his patrol car, ran from the officer when ordered to freeze, and then turned around and charged Wilson.

There are several troubling questions regarding this tragedy. Why is there a rush to judgment? Why were we hearing only one side of the story? Why is the media's bias reporting used to inflame the story? Why is the federal government so heavy-handed in Ferguson?

Where were Obama and Holder when an African-American mom was shot in Washington, D.C.? When Rabbi Joseph Raksin was shot by two black youths in Florida? When hundreds of black youths are murdered every month in Chicago? And when black on white attacks happen frequently?

America, is the fix in for the Ferguson incident, or will AG Holder enforce the law in a fair, unbiased manner? Why can't everyone let the investigation go forward so we can really find out what happened?

Diana Thorn
Carpinteria

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Lawn Alternatives, Rebates Focus of Free Public Workshop in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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The City of Santa Barbara Water Conservation Program and the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County will present a free one-hour public workshop, “Luscious Lawn Alternatives & Cash for Your Grass!” at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

The workshop will be held at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De la Vina St. in Santa Barbara, and will be presented by Master Gardener Lesley Wiscomb and Madeline Ward, acting water conservation coordinator for the City of Santa Barbara.

During the event, the speakers will provide information on the following topics:

» Methods to downsize or remove your lawn

» Water-wise lawn alternatives

» Care of your landscape and irrigation system

» Landscape rebate programs to cut back on water needs

Following the presentation, there will be a brief question and answer period.

For more information, call 805.893.3485.

— Madeline Ward is the acting water conservation coordinator for the City of Santa Barbara.

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Bomb Threat at UCSB’s Campbell Hall Called False Alarm

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Evacuations of the campus building have been lifted

A bomb threat at UC Santa Barbara's Campbell Hall has been called a false alarm by campus officials, and evacuations have been lifted after the UC Police Department received a threat earlier Wednesday and officers arrived on scene to investigate the claim.

George Foulsham, UCSB's director of news and media relations, confirmed at 12:50 p.m. that the building had been evacuated, but that officials had lifted the evacuation notice by 1:15 p.m.

UCSB employees got a notification just before 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, stating that Campbell Hall had been evacuated due to a bomb threat received by the UCPD and urged people to stay out of the area.

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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Ed Fuller: Santa Barbara Realtors Mourn Passing of 2012 Association President Jim Caldwell

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller

Jim Caldwell, 2012 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, passed away suddenly on Saturday, Aug. 2.

Many members had visited with him at the Association Fiesta Party the preceding Monday, and he was at his job as manager of C-21 Butler Realty on Friday.

Jim was a generous soul, generous with his time, efforts and wisdom. In addition to his role as president, he served as a director of the association for five years. He served on seven committees, including two terms as chair of the Government Relations Committee, where he was key in the association's ongoing multiyear effort to reform the City of Santa Barbara Zoning Information Reports.

Reyne Stapleman, current president-elect of the association, remembers Jim as "a very thoughtful person. He was never stingy with positive feedback and genuinely cared about the association leaders and its members."

John Nisbet, association executive during Jim’s presidency and currently area manager for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, remembers Jim as "a kind and caring man. His service as president of SBAOR was performed with integrity, professionalism and for the betterment of all Realtors and their customers.

"Jim was passionate about government affairs and tirelessly worked for the preservation of private property rights and freedoms. I was privileged to serve with Jim and consider him one of the 'good guys' who gave of himself without regard to personal gain or recognition. We have lost a true friend and champion."

To me, Jim was an inspiration. His dedication to our profession, our association and the private property rights of the public were evident in all of his efforts. His presence will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace, Jim.

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

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PG&E Awards $16,500 to Support Student Programs at Allan Hancock College

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Allan Hancock College students will directly benefit from a series of grants recently awarded by Pacific Gas & Electric through the college’s foundation.

The “Boosting Student Success” grants total $16,500 and will support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students, as well as the Student Ambassador Program. The donation is also being used to fund a student and community-focused entrepreneurial business conference that occurred last spring.

“Not only has PG&E stepped up to support student success through these generous grants, but it recognizes the importance of Hancock by being an active member of our President’s Circle of donors,” said Kevin Walthers, Allan Hancock College superintendent/president. “Hancock is only as strong as its communities, and when you have great partnerships like we do with PG&E, we can continue to work together to change the odds for students and help ensure that success is at the end of their educational journey.”

“We are proud to give back to the communities in which we live in and serve,” added Pat Mullen, PG&E’s local division director. “Our partnership with Allan Hancock College has been a successful one and we are pleased to support these valuable student programs. Not only do students benefit, but so does the entire community, including local employers who benefit from a well-trained workforce.”

The STEM program received $4,500 to purchase several books and reference sets for science research. They include Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics (2013, Elsevier), Biotechnology: In Context (a 2012 award-winning exploration) and Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, 2nd Ed. (2013). They will be housed in the library for students and available for reference to the public.

Another $7,000 will help fund the Student Ambassador Program. These ambassadors provide a crucial peer-to-peer experience that helps new students understand and access the array of services throughout the college. The ambassadors complete an intensive knowledge-based and customer service training program to ensure they have the skills and tools to fully assist fellow students.

PG&E also provided $5,000 to the college in support of its student and community-wide Entrepreneurial Business Start Up conference, which was held in Santa Maria last February. The day-long event focused on how to launch a business and steps to expand an existing business.

PG&E presented the grants at the Allan Hancock College Foundation meeting last week.

— Gina Herlihy represents Allan Hancock College.

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Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc to Celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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On Sept. 27-28 for National Alpaca Farm Days, alpaca breeders from across the United States and Canada will invite the public to come to their farm or ranch to meet their alpacas and learn more about these inquisitive, unique animals, the luxury fiber they produce, and why the alpaca business is perfect for environmentally conscious individuals.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Ranch of the Oaks, along with Purple Mist alpacas and the Heritage collection, will welcome guests to join them for many activities, including tours of our mill where we make yarn, spinning and knitting demos.

A coloring area for the kids, alpacas, llamas and Icelandic sheep will be available to view all free!

There will also be yarn, handmade items, as well as coats, sweaters, socks, etc., all made from alpaca fiber. The Lions Club will sell food and drinks.

Ranch of the Oaks is located at 3269 Crucero Road in Lompoc, off Highway 246 in Cebada Canyon. Watch for signs.

Click here to find out more about National Alpaca Farm Days. To learn more about Ranch of the Oaks, click here or call 805.451.4104 or 805.740.9808.

— Mette Goehring represents Ranch of the Oaks.

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United Way Seeks Volunteers to Serve Community for Day of Caring

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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On Saturday, Sept. 20, United Way of Santa Barbara County will hold its 23rd annual Day of Caring, an opportunity to give back to the local community.

Throughout the day, volunteers will help more than 40 local nonprofit organizations, schools, parks and churches throughout the county of Santa Barbara.

The Day of Caring will start with a free kickoff breakfast rally, sponsored by Albertsons, at 8 a.m. at the Page Youth Center in Goleta.

Volunteers of all ages will proceed from the breakfast to community service assignments in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Maria for a wide range of important projects, including cleaning and painting at Casa Esperanza, making adobe bricks for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation at the Presidio, orchard cleanup at Alpha Resource Center, and gardening at Monroe Elementary School.

With last year’s volunteer hours estimated to be worth $375,000 in services to the community, Day of Caring continues to have a significant impact on the Santa Barbara community and is a testament to the spirit of our local volunteerism.

We would like to thank our sponsors: Albertsons, BEI Sensors, Montecito Bank & Trust and Easy Lift, and many more!

To receive a free T-shirt, you must register before Aug. 31. Students qualify for four hours of community service.

To volunteer, sign up by clicking here or calling 805.965.8591. For a full list of 2014 worksites, please click here.

— Kerstin Padilla is the Day of Caring manager for United Way of Santa Barbara County.

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Spokes Accepts $1,500 Donation from Rabobank

By | Published on 08/20/2014

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Spokes, the nonprofit resource center for the Central Coast, is excited to announce that Rabobank has become a donor/partner with a gift of $1,500.

“We are grateful to have Rabobank as a first-time donor to Spokes,” said Lesley Santos Dierks, CEO of Spokes. “With Rabobank’s support it continues to add to the momentum of the Spokes' mission 'to empower nonprofits to reach their missions.' Rabobank is a strong community supporter for so many wonderful causes, and we are excited to have them on our team so we can continue to empower all the non profits we serve.”

Rabobank wanted to support Spokes in the San Luis Obispo community to help support nonprofit leaders by providing resources for the local nonprofit sector.

"With these resources, this will benefit the entire SLO community,” said Lisa Adams, vice president and retail marketing manager for Rabobank.

Spokes is a nonprofit management support organization with over 100 members, providing training, consulting and resources to empower nonprofits to fulfill their missions. Spokes was founded as the Nonprofit Support Center in 1996 and, in 2011, relocated to San Luis Obispo and rebranded to become Spokes.

For more information about Spokes and its programs, click here or call 805.547.2244. Click here to support the Spokes campaign “Pacesetter 101.”

— Mitch Massey is the COO for Spokes.

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Santa Barbara County Supervisors Give Conditional Approval of Cell Sites in Montecito

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday upheld an appeal filed by a company seeking to place numerous cell tower nodes and areas of cable in Montecito.

Crown Castle is the company working to install the infrastructure in order to increase the capacity of the Verizon cell network in the area.

The item was last before the Montecito Planning Commission earlier this summer, and resulted in a seven-hour hearing. 

The company has made 162 design changes since the beginning of the design process, said Crown Castle's Sharon James, including getting rid of two cell nodes and reducing the size of the battery back-up systems that had caused the ire of neighbors.

"We feel we've done just about everything we could," she said.

Montecito resident John Gura said that one of the antennas would sit near his driveway and that the aesthetics in the area "are very unique," asking that the utility pole be removed as trenching begins in the area.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted that the company can move forward on the coast and inland portions of the project, with conditions.

The board asked that a new permit application be submitted to move the utility pole near Gura's home that would no longer be needed after trenching begins. 

Another condition was that Crown Castle's trenching of underground utilities would not impede neighbors' work to improve Bella Vista Road.

One point of contention, the back-up battery units that opponents said presented an eyesore, would be eliminated from the plans because they are not required by federal law.

"That was a major part of the blight that the community would have to endure," said Supervisor Salud Carbajal, whose district includes the cell towers.

Earlier in the meeting, he said the Crown Castle plans had "evolved dramatically" throughout the design process.

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

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Santa Maria Council Shelves Proposed Library Rule Restricting Belongings

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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A proposed rule to limit the size of items people can take into the Santa Maria Public Library unfairly targeted the homeless population, several speakers told the City Council on Tuesday night.

The City Council postponed the proposed rule about restricting belongings but adopted a law that allows the librarian to ban problematic patrons from the library after committing a major offense the first time. Rules currently require two warnings with the person banned after the third incident.

Several people spoke out against restricting belongings as the City Council was poised to approve the second reading of the ordinance implementing the new rules. No one spoke when the council introduced the ordinance Aug 5.

Library staff had proposed requiring that customers’ personal items be able to fit under a chair and prohibit “large personal items that cannot fit under a chair.”

Santa Maria resident Helen Galvan called the proposal “veiled discrimination against our homeless population.”

“The library is an oasis of knowledge, of ideas, of opportunity,” Galvan said. “In the event one of these homeless individuals, carrying a large tote, would like to take advantage of everything our library has to offer, this ordinance would deny them that opportunity.”

Former librarian Jack Buchanan said officials didn’t plan for this kind of contingency when the library was being built.

If library officials had planned for this issue when the new facility was built, they might have included lockers like those found at bus stations, he added.

“I think there must be some way to do better for these people,” Buchanan said.

Patty Dark, a deputy public defender and “vigorous” user of the library, called the restriction “morally wrong,” unconstitutional and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s an invitation to a lawsuit and it serves no purpose,” she said. “It’s going to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The facility has 400 seats, with vast expanses of unused space to safety accommodate large items. 

“This ordinance is unconstitutionally vague, it’s over broad … and it’s prohibiting lawful conduct,” she said. “How are you going to enforce it? What are personal belongings? Are you going to enforce it against the student on his way home from his guitar lesson or only against the homeless man who carries his belongings in a guitar case?

“This ordinance is mean-spirited. It doesn’t speak as to who we are in Santa Maria and invites a lawsuit.”

Jacqueline MacNeil, who serves on the library board of trustees, said this is a growing problem in the library and had been discussed by the advisory group.

“In today’s world, I have to tell you, an unattended backpack or package can be scary,” MacNeil said. “How many times have you heard about airports that were completely emptied because somebody left a backpack sitting there? You don’t like to think it can happen here, but of course it can.”

She said it shouldn’t fall upon the library to make all the accommodations for homeless residents to leave their items during the day. 

A homeschool teacher said she recently saw a big orange suitcase wide open in library, noting that her students aren’t allowed to bring large items into the facility.

Librarian Mary Housel said the intent of the rule isn’t to discriminate against any group of people but to deal with tripping hazards and other safety matters. 

“Libraries have had the goal of welcoming everyone for years and years and that’s what we stand by. That’s our passion and we want to keep doing that, but we also want to recognize that we need to have safety and comfort in the library and make it that way for everyone coming in,” Housel said. “The intent is to do what many other libraries have done. … Many libraries in the U.S. have these restrictions. It’s not unusual. It’s very common and very reasonable.”

Lompoc and Santa Barbara libraries have similar restrictions regarding personal belongings but use specific dimensions. Housel said the idea of limiting belongings to those that fit under a chair gives an estimate what size items are allowed.

She showed a plastic containers like those used by the post offices to demonstrate the approximate size of items, explaining it was 18 inches by 14 inches by 12 inches. 

“To me this is a reasonable size item we would accommodate in the library,” she said. 

Larger items seen in recent months include backpacks, gym bags and luggage. 

“Staff has concerns about shooters coming in the library. We have concerns about items being stolen,” she said. 

In San Luis Obispo County, library staff found 100 stolen DVDs in a large bag, she noted.

The rule also is protection for customers after some have reported having items stolen recently while in the library.

Councilman Jack Boysen said the proposed rule began with the best intention but may have some unintended consequences.  Boysen noted that Santa Maria doesn’t have a day center for homeless people.

“I would like to see this go back and rethought and take a look at what specifically we’re trying to exclude. If we’re specifically trying to exclude shopping carts full of possessions let’s say shopping carts full of possessions,” Boysen said.

The council voted 4-1 to postpone implementing the rules on restrictions, with Mayor Alice Patino casting the lone no vote.

The other rule, which the council adopted by a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, would allow the librarian to ban people who commit serious violations such as fighting, stalking or harassing fellow library patrons or staff.  Councilwoman Terri Zuniga voted against the law.

Currently, the staff issue a verbal warning for the first offense, then a written warning for the second offense before finally issue the ban letter.

"We need something with teeth in it to make our job easier," Housel said.

Boysen also he wanted to make sure the librarian is deciding who receives an exclusion letter so it's not left to low-level staff or volunteers.

The one-strike rule for major offenses will take effect in mid-September.

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 School District Introduces Four New Principals

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Superintendent Dave Cash holds a back-to-school news conference to discuss implementation of Common Core standards and new assessment tools

Four new principals are joining the Santa Barbara Unified School District this year and will take over schools that have struggled with administrative turnover the past several years.

Superintendent Dave Cash introduced them at his annual back-to-school news conference Tuesday and talked about the district-wide implementation of the new Common Core State Standards and assessment tools starting this year.

Superintendent Dave Cash outlines the Santa Barbara district's goals for the coming school year. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The Board of Education has already gone through its first year of the new Local Control Funding Formula and accountability plan, which requires much more community outreach into funding decisions.

These “are not only changes in how we do business, but huge changes in what we value, what we believe in and how we will continue to support students,” Cash said.

Students will start school Aug. 27, and the four new principals talked briefly about their plans for the coming year.

Veronica Binkley recently served as assistant principal at Juan Lagunas Soria School in Oxnard and worked as an elementary school teacher and education consultant.

She was a consultant for Harding University Partnership School’s primary years program and will now join the school as principal.

“It truly is a lifelong dream of mine to be an administrator at an International Baccalaureate school,” she said Tuesday.

She’s already met with most of the teachers, who have worked to integrate Common Core State Standards into the school’s inquiry-based learning programs.

Harding already partners with UC Santa Barbara and will be joining with Dos Pueblos High School’s IB program this coming year, she said. Binkley also plans to get community members and parents more involved.

Sierra Loughridge worked on child development and afterschool programs for the district and will now take over Washington Elementary School.

Outgoing principal Anne Hubbard gave her a quick training and Loughridge is excited to be participating in the iPad pilot program, which is being tested in four schools.

She also asked for her school to be included in the new restorative approaches discipline program.

“I firmly believe that is going to revolutionize the classroom community and the culture of our schools because it gives every student and all stakeholders a chance to be heard,” she said. “It teaches children how to communicate and work through issues, and it really is all about respect and taking responsibility and making things right in your community — so I’m very, very excited to be at Washington.”

Jacqueline Mora will take over as principal at McKinley Elementary and brings experience from school districts in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Glendale.

She received two bachelor’s degrees from UCSB in Chicano studies and Spanish so she has a local connection, Cash said.

Her first priority is to learn about the school and support the students, teachers and parents.

“I think it’s really to assess where we are as a school and how I can support that work," she said.

Open Alternative School is getting Colleen Million, a longtime local educator who has worked in the Goleta Union School District, as executive director of Santa Ynez Valley Charter School and at Antioch University, Cash said.

As a child, she attended La Colina Junior High School — where the OAS campus is located — and graduated from Santa Barbara High School.

“The school has gone through a lot of transitions the last seven years I would say, and my first goal is really to establish relationships and trust and go forward from there, and to bring us into the 21st century,” Million said.

The new standards fit in well with the alternative education teaching context, and teachers are excited to be able to take more creative approaches to lessons, she said.

District leaders have the same goals for the coming year as the last three years: to implement the new standards, integrate technology into learning, and creating culturally-proficient classrooms and schools.

His administrative staff has hired more than 85 new certificated staff members for the coming year, added to more than 70 last year and about 50 the year before.

“We have a very new and different teaching staff in our schools,” he said, noting that the majority of new faculty members are first-time teachers.

Among the new hires are 19 elementary school teachers, 14 special education teachers, 11 math teachers, seven science teachers, five English teachers, five Spanish teachers, five psychologists, five counselors and two music teachers.

Many of the elementary school teachers are returning to the community where they were students, Cash added.

The district has worked to increase the number of bilingual and bicultural certificated staff members and Cash said this group has the highest percentage of Spanish-speaking hires in a single year so far.

Santa Barbara Unified is expanding its restorative approaches discipline program to all secondary schools and three elementary schools for the fall semester and making sure the rules are being implemented consistently.

Depending on the results, the program could be expanded district-wide next year.

“We’ll make sure that there’s no mistake from classroom to classroom, from school to school in what restorative approaches is and how it gets accomplished,” Cash said. 

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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Goleta Council Appoints Incumbents In Lieu of Election, Votes to Increase Salaries

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Goleta City Council on Tuesday voted to appoint its three incumbents to new terms instead of holding an election in November, since no additional candidates filed for those seats in city government.  

Council members Roger Aceves, Michael Bennett and Paula Perotte will be appointed and the new four-year terms will start in January 2015, just as if they were elected in the Nov. 4 election.

It will be the third term for Aceves and Bennett, and the second term for Perotte.

Goleta will save about $17,000 in election costs by canceling the election, according to a staff report.

The council members also unanimously voted to increase their own salaries to $532 per month, an increase from $484 per month.

When Goleta incorporated in 2002, the City Council salaries were set at $300 per month.

Under state law, it can be increased by 5 percent per year, and the next opportunity to increase salaries would be in January 2017, City Attorney Tim Giles said.

The rate hasn’t increased in two years, he said.

Council members voted to approve the increase and make it effective in December.

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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Lompoc Kidnap-Torture Retrial Continues with Defense Opening Statement, First Witness

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The case against Raymond Daniel Macias involving a gang-related kidnapping and torture in Lompoc relies on testimony of felons motivated by lighter sentences and lacks any proof Macias ordered the attack, defense attorney Michael Scott said Tuesday afternoon.

Referring to the prosecution witnesses as a “cast of characters” who are longtime gang members and career criminals, Scott delivered his opening statement in the Santa Maria retrial of Macias for the charge of kidnap for extortion plus special allegations for gang and gun involvement.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen delivered her opening statement to the jury in Judge Patricia Kelly’s courtroom Monday afternoon in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria. 

Opening statements from both sides included insight into gang culture, where members must pay “gang taxes” and disrespect toward the gang is considered a major offense. Testifying against gang members is a top offense where a gang member can be “green-lighted,” or targeted for killing, Bramsen noted Monday.

Earlier this summer, a jury in the first trial deadlocked on the kidnap charge but found Macias guilty of torture and sale of methamphetamine.

The case stems from the Jan. 3, 2013 kidnapping and torture of a drug dealer and user known by the gang moniker of “Sicko” who reportedly owed Macias for “gang taxes.”

“Despite a vast amount of investigation, there is not a single piece of solid evidence where Mr. Macias tells anyone to kidnap Sicko,” Scott said.

Instead, those who testify cooperated with police in exchange for cutting deals in their own self interest, he added.

“They committed the crimes, they did not want to do the time,” Scott said.

He added his client is an admitted member of the Santa Barbara-based Eastside Krazies. The prosecution claims that as a high-ranking Sureno, Macias, also known as "Boxer," collected taxes for the Mexican Mafia.

In June 2013, the Santa Barbara Grand Jury handed down indictments against multiple defendants in this case.

But Scott said another gang member — Luis “Lucky” Almanza, Macias’s co-defendant in his first trial — “broke the code” and committed the assault out of embarrassment that he was knocked to the ground by Sicko. The incident left Sicko with a broken arm and other injuries.

“The evidence will show Mr. Macias was a drug dealer. The evidence will show that was his primary motivation,” Scott said.

Scott said he also will show that Macias gave people second and third chances to pay up, “not senseless violence.”

The defense attorney added that Macias was involved with Santa Barbara’s Palabra, which works to minimize youth-on-youth violence.

After Scott’s opening statement, the prosecution’s first witness to take the stand was a third-generation gang member from Lompoc. 

Outside the jury’s presence, Scott objected to allowing testimony from the former gang member regarding a recent incident in which he claims he was threatened for snitching on the gang. 

Scott contended that the apparent threat was not corroborated and unrelated to his client, while Bramsen said the law doesn’t require a direct threat and said the incident is “highly relevant” to this case.

The judge said the question of whether to allow testimony about the incident would be settled in a to-be-scheduled hearing.

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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Laurie Jervis: Vintage 2014’s Film and Wine Pairing Tour Focuses on Season of Growth

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Multimedia alliance is set in Santa Barbara County during the current grape-growing season

"Vintage 2014," a multimedia alliance set in Santa Barbara County during the current grape-growing season, will hold the first event in its film and wine pairing tour on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos.

Funded late last year through Kickstarter.com, Vintage 2014 matches visual artists, musicians, writers and wine farmers in its multimedia documentation of viticulture.

In June, Vintage 2014's producer and director, Wil Fernandez, described the project as "evolving as I learn more about viticulture in general. It's kind of like a journey, as I discover interesting things along the way.

"We're definitely not following a script," he added.

He plans events similar to the Los Alamos one in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York and throughout Southern Florida in January.

"The Los Alamos event is meant to bring people into the vineyards and meet the producers as they try the wine, giving them a personal connection while also entertaining and educating them on the lesser known viticultural aspects of winemaking," he said.

Along with Fernandez, the team behind Vintage 2014 is Jonathan Baudoin, director of photography, and Laura Booras, associate producer and the general manager at Riverbench Vineyard & Winery.

During the Wine Bloggers Conference in July, Fernandez showed a short, overview film to participants gathered for the closing night's dinner. The crowd watched, rapt, and heartily applauded Fernandez and his crew.

While Vintage 2014's goal is to call attention to viticulture, the producers want to recognize the winemakers and wineries whose wines make Santa Barbara County special.

The evening at Flatbread opens with a wine reception, followed by dinner paired with wines from some of the winemakers involved in the project. Following the meal will be a short film that highlights dormancy and bud break in grape vines, he said.

Those folks include Ryan Carr, Dick Doré, Wes Hagen, Michael Larner, Clarissa and Jonathan Nagy, Karen Steinwachs and Bill Wathen.

The vineyards and wineries featured are Clos Pepe Estate, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Flying Goat Cellars, Larner Vineyard & Winery and Carucci Wines.

Among the videos and interviews at www.vintage2014.com are topics ranging from cover crops, drought, dry farming, fruit, vines and FAQ about viticulture.

Come September, the full www.vintage2014.com website will launch with content that spans the entire vintage, from bud break to harvest, and will utilize "unfiltered" audio interviews with "wine farmers" from throughout the season, along with photo essays from several different photographers, Fernandez said.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via winecountrywriter@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Cynder Sinclair: Anatomy of a Contract for Nonprofit Executives

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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A few weeks ago you may have read my article titled, "Nonprofit Executives — To Contract or Not to Contract." That piece examined the pros and cons of using an employment contract for a nonprofit executive director. This article will help you understand the important components of a contract as well as the emotional considerations. Even though working with an employment law attorney is always recommended, it’s still important for a board and the executive director to understand the basic anatomy of and rationale for a contract.

It can sometimes be emotionally challenging for the executive director or board to broach the topic of a contract. It’s almost like talking about a pre-nuptial agreement before you get married — uncomfortable at best. Throughout the hiring process, both board and the prospective candidate strive to appear at their best and make themselves attractive to the other. Typically, the major terms of employment are discussed, including salary, bonuses and benefits. Other details are often left for later discussion following an acceptance of an offer and the preparation of a written employment agreement.

During the courtship process, neither party, understandably, wishes to think about, much less talk about, the divorce. Sooner or (hopefully) later, the relationship between the executive and the organization will end. The interests of the parties can be very distinct; the executive is looking for as much security as s/he can get, and the organization wants to have as little expense as possible tied up in a person who is no longer performing services for the organization. The negotiations should find the right balance between the needs of the parties.

One executive candidate related to me her recent experience. She said the board seemed to want the best of both worlds: a contract that held the executive accountable to specific performance issues but also preserved an at will status. Even with an attorney on their board, the members of the personnel and executive committees struggled with understanding that a contract needed to, in some way, differ from the regular employee/employer relationship the nonprofit had established with all other exempt employees and, though a contract could preserve their right to terminate the executive at will, there would be financial consequences for doing so.

She reported, “I eventually had to weigh the desire to get what I felt was a solid, win-win contract with the desire not to appear too pushy in my very first dealings with the board. It’s tough when you’re actually in the situation and wanting to start off with a positive impression.”

Unfortunately, this is a common dilemma between boards and executive candidates. Executives, aware of their vulnerability, want to gain clarity and security through a contract; whereas boards often don’t understand the benefits or function of a contract. So, they try to avoid the subject — just glad they found a good candidate for the position.

Forbes Magazine tells us that despite claims to the contrary, non-profits and their executive directors both benefit from the existence of an employment contract. The employment agreement should clearly spell out the terms of the employment relationship and leave no surprises. The executive director’s salary should not be the determining factor in whether or not to enter into a contract. Rather, a desire to minimize and manage risk by both parties and to avoid a bitter and costly end, makes having an employment contract a smart idea.

For the protection of the organization, as well as in fairness to each party, a well-written contract is important. One function of the contract is to clarify the details about when and how the relationship can end, and what happens when it does end. Moreover, it is important that the executive candidate be presented with the material terms and conditions of their newly-offered employment prior to their acceptance of the offer and prior to the time they notify the existing employer that they are leaving or prior to the time they decline other offers.

While each contract is a bit different depending on the situation, the following are five components you will want to include in your contract:

Compensation and Authority. Salary, benefits and other compensation should be spelled out since the compensation of the executive director may be subject to excess benefit scrutiny from the IRS.

It is ordinarily in the best interests of both the organization and the executive director for the contract to provide for the executive’s exclusive authority over engaging, advancing, compensating, assigning, and terminating all other employees. The executive’s authority, however, will be limited by budgetary and legal constraints in addition to board oversight to the extent required to maintain tax-exempt status.

Term of Years and Frequency of Evaluations. While employment can be at-will (meaning that it can be ended at any time by either party without cause or notice), many candidates for high-level executive positions will not accept that sort of uncertainty when considering a position. Thus, most executive employment contracts include an express term of employment.

Therefore, the contract between the governing board and the executive director should include a term of years. Many organizations use a three to five year horizon. However, it should still stipulate action to be taken if the executive director is not performing to the stated standards. This segment of the contract should specify the frequency and criteria used for performance evaluations. Clear reasons for termination should be spelled out in this section. This approach allows the board to keep talent for a period of time and provides the executive director with a sense of job security.

Many agreements include both an initial term and a renewal term. Often the initial term is two or three years. Many candidates will not consider less security than two years; organizations should be very careful when considering terms longer than three years. The renewal term will specify what happens at the end of the initial term. There are several options.

» 1. Expire. The agreement could simply expire upon the end of the term; with no obligation on either party to continue employment (remember that parties are always free to negotiate extensions if both parties desire to continue the relationship).

» 2. Automatic Renewal. A common provision in executive agreements is an automatic renewal in the absence of some affirmative notice to the contrary. For example, if one party does not provide notice at least 180 days prior to the expiration of the initial term, the agreement might renew automatically for one year.

» 3. Extension. The automatic renewal provision could continue for each year of the extension as well (i.e., in the absence of notice during an extension year, the agreement automatically renews for another year). However, the automatic renewal need not continue; the agreement could contain a single renewal of one or two years. Whatever approach is adopted, the agreement should be very explicit as to what happens upon the end of the initial term or renewal term.

For Cause or Without Cause Termination. This section will clarify the expectations and relationship between the parties and define criteria for what the board considers “cause.” Provisions for termination without cause should specify the period of notice the board must give to the executive as well as the terms of severance payments, if any. Terms for this payment should be specifically stated. Of course, if the executive director is terminated for cause or if the contract is not renewed at the end of its term, severance is not payable.

Non-Disparagement Clause. A non-disparagement clause states that an executive director cannot say anything bad about the employer even if the commentary is true. While non-disparagement clauses are generally enforceable, they cannot prevent the executive director from responding to a subpoena or cooperating with any governmental investigation. In fact, the clause should specifically state that nothing in the non-disparagement provision will interfere with the executive’s right to cooperate and participate in an investigation or proceeding conducted by the EEOC or other federal or state regulatory or law enforcement agency. Likewise, this clause will state that the organization’s representatives cannot make any disparaging remarks about the executive director.

Confidentiality & Return of Property Clauses. In addition to a confidentiality clause, that would protect client and donor lists, you should add a clause requiring the executive director to return all property owned by the organization at the end of the executive’s employment term.

In summary, contracts for nonprofit executives provide significant benefits to the organization as well as the candidate. The process can be fraught with emotional challenges or it can be the first opportunity for the board and the executive to work on an important project as partners; creating a product that everyone feels good about. The important things are to approach the issue in a sensible, well-informed manner; to include all parties in the process; and to engage the services of an employment law attorney. The end result will add essential clarity and security for all concerned.

Nathan Rogers, a local attorney whose practice focuses on business transactions and litigation emphasizes the importance of a carefully written contract. “If a contract is going to be used, all of the contract terms should be carefully drafted. Often, a poorly written contract can be worse than no contract at all. Particular attention should be given to the contract terms related to the executive’s duties and compensation and the terms setting forth the circumstances under which the contract can be terminated, both with and without cause.”

— 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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Mona Charen: With Cameras, Justice for the Guilty — Cop or Civilian — More Attainable

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Ferguson, Mo., police department released convenience store surveillance tape that showed Michael Brown allegedly stealing some cigars minutes before he was shot by a police officer. Aware that the release of this footage might look like posthumous character assassination of the shooting victim, Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Ferguson police explained that the tape was released pursuant to freedom of information requests.

Maybe, though the behavior of the police in other respects doesn't exactly scream respect for the Fourth Estate. Journalists from the Washington Post and Huffington Post were arrested, and a team from Al-Jazeera was tear-gassed.

There should have been video of what happened outside that patrol car.

Conservatives incline to support law enforcement. We dread disorder and respect the rule of law (a big subject, and relevant to the critique of the Obama White House, but that's for another day). But we are also, or should be, aware of the temptations of power, and wary of its abuse.

There's a video of Brown aggressively shoving a store clerk, but no record of what transpired a few minutes later when a police officer encountered him and a friend walking down the middle of the street. The police account is that Brown struggled with Officer Darren Wilson over the policeman's gun and that the first shot was fired in the cruiser. Brown's friend alleges that Brown was shot when he had his hands in the air. There is no dispute that Brown was unarmed when he was killed.

The Ferguson tragedy has provoked discussion of the excessive militarization of our police (a topic I mentioned a month or so ago in a column about our law-barnacled country). Actors often say that they can't get into character until they don the costume — attach the fake nose or moustache. It's easy to believe that something of the same effect happens when police gear up in opaque helmets, gas masks, body armor and heavy weaponry. If you're dressed and equipped like a special ops combat soldier, you're more inclined to behave like one. But against whom?

Still, the initial fatal violence in Ferguson happened in the absence of military gear. It was an ordinary encounter between an officer and a civilian that escalated in a matter of minutes into a shooting. This is where the conservative insight about abuse of power is relevant. As Lord Acton warned, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Police have tremendous power. Most don't abuse it. But some do.

Let's begin the overdue process of demilitarizing our police. The armored personnel carriers and heavy weaponry have no place on city streets unless we are suffering prolonged rioting — in which case the National Guard can be called upon.

Beyond that, a technical solution is readily available: cameras, cameras and more cameras. I wrote last year that cameras should be ubiquitous in prisons because the temptation for brutality by prison guards who are unobserved is tremendous. The same is true of police.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in Rialto, Calif., the number of citizen complaints against police declined from 24 to three in the first year officers began wearing cameras on their chests. Use of force incidents dropped from 61 to 25. Wearable cameras are being tested in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. As Rialto's police chief explained: "When you talk about putting a camera on somebody, human nature is going to dictate that you're going to mind your p's and q's and you're going to be on the best behavior. At the same time, I think it's had an impact on citizens. If they know you're wearing a camera, they, too, will be on their best behavior."

Violence and brutality arise from the complex stew of human weaknesses. Cameras cannot repeal aggression, bias, rage or stupidity, but they can certainly diminish them. And with cameras, justice for the guilty — cop or civilian — is more attainable.

Mona Charen is a columnist with National Review magazine. Click here to contact her, follow her on Twitter: @mcharen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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High School Senior Jackie Cabral Reaches for the Stars as Ambassador for Natural History Museum

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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[Noozhawk note: One in a series of articles highlighting Santa Barbara’s Man and Woman of the Year awards. This year's nomination period is now open.]

Jackie Cabral is a young woman with big dreams. A senior at Santa Barbara High School, she has already accomplished more than many people twice her age.

Jackie Cabral
Jackie Cabral

Cabral has made use of every opportunity that has come her way. She grew up in a low-income family headed by a single mother. She understood early that education was the key to her future. So when her eighth-grade classroom received a visitor from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to talk about Quasars to Sea Stars, a four-year science program for teens, she sat up and listened.

Quasars to Sea Stars is a science work-study program where students work closely with educators and scientists to learn about the natural world, including entomology, zoology, astronomy, marine biology and anthropology. Students also learn important life skills such as public speaking, computer competency and leadership. The program received nearly 60 applications the year Cabral applied. Only five were admitted.

The program’s requirement of 60 hours of community service introduced Cabral to the concept of volunteering. Concerned that these hours would keep her from home, she discussed the plan with her mother, who endorsed the idea wholeheartedly. She says the program helped her to grow as a person and to be a leader.

Cabral said she appreciates that museum scientists have been unfailingly kind and generous with their expertise and have high expectations for her. She came to view the museum as her home away from home. Now in her fourth year, Cabral exudes complete confidence as she approaches museum visitors to share scientific information on a variety of subjects. She works many of the museum’s special events — Winter FUNderland, Nature Adventures camps for kids, Halloween celebrations and Free Teen Friday — and shares her behind-the-scenes knowledge. And she delights in her regular work sessions as an exhibit interpreter within the Butterflies Alive! exhibit.

Cabral says museum visitors are delighted when she approaches. Teens sidle up and ask her how they might join the program. She relishes her role as museum ambassador and being a role model for teens.

She is working on her final requirement, an independent science project, which she will present at the end of the summer to the other Quasars to Sea Stars participants, their families and museum staff. Her subject is the life cycle of crabs and, with a grin, adds she will share an example of a preserved dissection and give the audience a “tour” through the anatomy of the graceful rock crab (Cancer gracilis).

Cabral’s experience at the museum motivated her to participate in Youth Making Change, a program of The Fund for Santa Barbara in which teens look into current issues facing young people in Santa Barbara County and learn about philanthropy and grant-making. She is also a second vice chair of the Santa Barbara Youth Council, advising the City Council, Parks and Recreation Commission and Parks & Recreation Department on behalf of local teens.

“I want to take on as many leadership roles as possible,” Cabral said.

She wants to make a difference in her community and has her eye on encouraging more Hispanic teens to take Advanced Placement classes. Reducing the incidence of bullying is another interest. She is determined to attend college, the first in her family to do so. She hopes for a career in the medical field.

Cabral’s mother, Emma, has supported all her work and sheds tears of pride as she watches her brave, accomplished daughter engaging visitors of all ages and representing the museum as an ambassador and young scientist.

                                                                        •        •

Volunteers enrich all our lives.

Do you know a volunteer who has made a significant impact on the Santa Barbara community? You can nominate that person to be the next man or woman of the year! Just fill out a simple nomination form online by clicking here. Nominations are open until Aug. 26. The awards are sponsored by the Santa Barbara Foundation and Noozhawk.

Suzanne Farwell represents the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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John Daly: You Don’t Like My Customer Service Skills?

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Have you experienced poor customer service from businesses, restaurant personnel or in retail shops? What are the main reasons we experience poor customer service these days? Does it all go back to training and education? A group of etiquette coaches and customer service experts shared their thoughts with me to provide insight.

Several associates thought the problem was training and education—in part. If it’s just having employees in customer-facing roles who do not actually like people, it may be more of a managerial or hiring issue. The point is that anyone in a customer-facing role should really like to work with people. Most of my associates agreed that the challenges that come with dealing with people become too much for someone who would rather be in a back-office role.

Could it be that poor customer service is a reflection of poor self-esteem? “People carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and then transfer this over to others,” said Deborah Choma, an instructor at Final Touch Finishing School.

To combat this, Choma has a motto that she applies in her own life every day: Be nice to everyone, because everyone is having a tough day.

“I have experienced, firsthand, poor customer service turnaround because I was aware of this principle and looked for a way of being kind to them and making them feel good about themselves,” she said. “Should it be this hard? Unfortunately, it is this hard.”

Ruby Syring, a 28-year veteran of customer relations and specials events at Boeing, offered that the more social media, video games and cell phones children and teens have access to, the more withdrawn they are from face-to-face interaction with people.

“This leads to awkward social skills and, therefore, what is perceived as bad customer service,” Syring said.

Christine Chen, president of Global Professional Protocol in Washington, D.C., agrees with Syring but believes there is so much time spent in solitude in today’s society that it’s not just children and teens.

“I see adults who lack people skills due to lack of people interactions,” she said.

Chen thinks poor customer service happens for a number of reasons.

“The organization itself has to have a culture of providing world-class customer service,” she said. “That needs to trickle down to the hiring stage and the training and education of employees. However, the training should not just consist of a one-day session. This needs to be ongoing — daily huddles (even a five-minute meeting), newsletters, communication, refresher courses, etc.

“I do believe the hiring process should be extremely intentional and rigorous. Too often, organizations hire just to fill a spot. It’s better to leave the position vacant in order to find the best person who will take seriously the company’s value of world-class customer service.”

Teri Haynes of Business Interaction in Shreveport, La., took it even further.

“In looking at the big picture, I think so many of our problems are because of our ME attitude,” she said. “As a society, we are concerned with ourselves more than with other people. This is reflected in poor customer service, road rage, petty crime, etc. Although we can and should certainly work with adults to develop better manners, starting in the home is the most effective cure.

“My appreciation goes to all of the etiquette instructors who work with children. Perhaps we should consider developing parental etiquette classes!”

Parental etiquette classes — not a bad idea. What do you think?

A Collage of Poor Customer Service Examples

(tmuka video)

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

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Ron Fink: Is Measure P Needed to Protect Santa Barbara County, or Is It a Trojan Horse?

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The rhetoric surrounding Measure P, a so-called anti-fracking measure, is at a fever pitch. Now that it’s on the November ballot, proponents are scrambling to try to convince poorly informed voters that there is nothing to worry about — we (environmentalists) will take care of you and hoping that voters of Santa Barbara County can be duped into believing that voting yes on Measure P will save the planet from imminent destruction.

The opening paragraph of the initiative says “the purpose of this initiative is to protect the health and environment of Santa Barbara County — its air and water quality, water supplies, agricultural lands, scenic vistas and quality of life — by prohibiting the use of any land in the county’s unincorporated area for High-Intensity Oil Operations. High-Intensity Oil Operations include hydraulic fracturing (AKA fracking), acid well stimulation treatments, cyclic steam injections and other types of oil and gas development that use advanced well stimulation technologies.”

That statement describes all of the oil extraction methods used in the county — thus end game of the initiative appears to be to ban all oil operations. Oh, fracking isn’t now and won’t be one of the methods used because it isn’t feasible in this geological area.

Lately there have been many meetings and workshops to try to flesh out the details since this action will likely result in what is known as a “taking” of private property and may result in hundreds of millions of dollars of compensation for the loss of use that would be paid to private land owners by taxpayers — that’s you and me.

When asked during a recent public workshop how many wells in current production would be impacted by Measure P, the answer was 100 percent. And concerning potential “taking” lawsuits, the county attorney is asking for two additional full-time lawyers just to handle the caseload.

Now to the “not to worry, we’ll take care of you” component of this process; the county Planning and Development Department is going to try to develop policies and interpret what the measure means so they can provide voters some level of assurance that nothing bad is going to happen.

“Prohibiting the use of any land in the county’s unincorporated area for High-Intensity Oil Operations” doesn’t provide much wiggle room and can’t be interpreted any other way than to mean you can’t use your property for oil operations.

You may remember that a few weeks ago P&D informed a Santa Ynez woman who painted in her barn for the last 15 years that she had committed two violations of the county planning rules: unpermitted conversion of a barn into an artist studio, and unpermitted home occupation.

Since she sold two paintings in the last year by mail and occasionally allowed visitors to watch her paint, they determined that this constituted a business and not only would she have to obtain costly permits but she would also have to do significant modifications to her barn.

Considering how this artist was treated for practicing what many would consider a hobby in her own barn, would you trust P&D to make any interpretation of Measure P that favored the oil industry?

So, what is the hazard of oil production? Spills, you say. OK, what if you knew that UCSB scientists, using sophisticated sonar devices and mathematical models estimate that each day an astonishing 4,895 gallons of crude oil and 71 tons of methane gas escape in our county without any mistakes being made by those nasty oil producers! Nature does it all alone.

If these figures are relatively accurate — and who could doubt an official U.S. government report prepared by UCSB researchers? — that means that about 1.78 million gallons of oil are released naturally in the Santa Barbara Channel each year. That’s over 80 million gallons, which is 80 times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska that has been released since 1969!

Has this adversely impacted the quality of life on the beaches of Santa Barbara? Apparently not. The tourists still visit and the homeless still camp out, don’t they?

Another claim is that the water table will be contaminated if we don’t stop oil production immediately. Oil production has existed in our county for over a century, and steam injection has been commonly used to help extract the oil for at least 50 years.

Even though there have been many accidental releases of oil to the environment, how many reports do you know of that indicate that the water table, quality of life or agriculture in the Santa Maria or Cuyama valleys or anywhere else in Santa Barbara County has suffered any permanent damage as a result of oil operations?

If there were any such reports, you can bet your bottom dollar that those ever vigilant environmentalists would be waiving them at every public meeting and press conference concerning this subject.

This initiative is just another try to ban all oil operations in our county. Think for yourself, use logic and then vote no on Measure P.

— 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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Chris Snowden Joins AmeriFlex Financial Services as Financial Advisor

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Santa Barbara-based AmeriFlex Financial Services announces the addition of its newest team member, financial advisor Chris Snowden.

Chris Snowden
Chris Snowden

Snowden is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara. He spent a number of years in the wine industry as part of his family’s vineyard before obtaining a master’s in business from Pepperdine University.

For the past six years, he has worked as a financial advisor in the Santa Barbara area. During that time he has developed a passion for working with people in transition — be that career changes, business succession or retirement.

“My background in running small companies and experience with family business gives me insight into some of the challenges that successful people are faced with when preparing for retirement,” Snowden said.

As a member of the AmeriFlex team, Snowden will focus on providing retirement/income planning services under the honeyigothitbyabus.com and gotomycfo.com banner.

“Chris brings a real passion to help pre-retirees, and entrepreneurs as they prepare to position their assets to generate income for their decumulation years,” President Justin Anderson said. “We are excited to welcome him aboard.”

Snowden, his wife and son live in Santa Barbara and are active in a number of community organizations.

AmeriFlex Financial Services is a privately owned financial services firm based in Santa Barbara. Its team of professionals has provided financial confidence to businesses, nonprofit organizations, families and individuals since 1988.

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing AmeriFlex Financial Services.

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Lou Cannon: Congress Fails Immigrants — and the States in Which They Live

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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When a do-little Congress went home without addressing the crisis caused by the flight of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America across U.S. borders, immense strains were placed on state-supervised programs that provide social services, job training and preventive health care for immigrants — legal and otherwise — who are already living in the United States.

President Barack Obama sought $3.7 billion to deal with the influx of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Congress recessed without providing any money, leaving a $94 million shortfall in what is known as the “unaccompanied alien minor program.” In order to care for the refugees, the federal government is taking money from useful existing programs, many administered by the states, pending court decisions on the immigrants’ fate.

“To have all these children who need help and do nothing is really beyond the pale,” said Ann Morse, program director for the Immigration Project for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Morse, the NCSL and this publication (State Net Capitol Journal) are nonpartisan. But whether one is partisan or not, it’s disappointing that the federal government once again dropped the ball on immigration reform.

It’s not just the plight of desperate children fleeing violence in Central America.

The absence of a comprehensive federal immigration law also means that growers in some Western states lack sufficient labor. A farmer in Santa Maria, in the heart of California’s bountiful strawberry industry, was recently asked by a television reporter if the state’s extreme drought was his worst problem. The farmer surprised the reporter by answering: “No, the shortage of labor.”

Guest-worker programs allowing temporary importation of foreign agricultural labor were once the norm in the Unites States. States have the capability to run such programs on their own, but when Utah proposed doing this a few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled — correctly — that immigration is a federal responsibility. A shortage in farm labor isn’t headline news but translates into higher prices for fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.

At the opposite end of the economic spectrum, Silicon Valley and other high-tech centers are scrambling to hire engineers, who are in high demand and short supply. Presently, only 85,000 visas are allowed each year for importing engineers and other high-skilled workers.

The absence of a comprehensive federal law also encourages unequal treatment of the estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. A dozen states and the District of Columbia and 13 cities have “sanctuary” policies that provide aid and shelter to these immigrants, while other states and cities have made it clear that they are not welcome.

The more welcoming states have attempted to fill the vacuum caused by federal inaction. Eleven states and the District of Columbia now offer driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants. Sixteen states offer in-state tuition rates for higher education. No state did either five years ago.

But even the most generous states know their authority is limited by the Supreme Court’s ruling that the federal government has primacy on immigration. That’s why many states backed a comprehensive federal bill.

The hope for such legislation seemed bright early in the year, especially after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he would work with the Obama administration to accomplish it. Rubio was promptly denounced by conservatives, many of whom oppose a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. Liberals should have rallied to Rubio’s defense but didn’t. Many of them want a more expansive plan than the one he was offering.

With little support from any quarter, Rubio backed off, and the immigration debate degenerated into its usual partisan bickering. Partisanship was especially evident in response to this summer’s influx of Central American children. Some 63,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the southern border since last October; another 63,000 children arrived at the border accompanied by adults.

Republicans blame Obama, saying the influx was encouraged by his 2012 executive order that allowed immigrants brought to this country as children — the so-called “Dreamers” — to remain here. An estimated half-million immigrants have taken advantage of this order, although their future is uncertain. In issuing the order, Obama emphasized it was not a path to citizenship.

But although the influx of children reached crisis proportions only this summer, it began in 2009, spurred by a bill passed with bipartisan support in 2008 and signed into law by President George W. Bush. That measure, designed to halt sex trafficking, contained a provision assuring immigrants of a court hearing before they could be deported. This established a ludicrous double standard under which unauthorized immigrants from most countries are entitled to a hearing, while immigrants from Canada and Mexico are not. The year after this bill passed, 20,000 children from Central America fled to the United States.

During his campaign for the presidency in 2008, Obama promised he would submit comprehensive immigration legislation in his first year in office. Struggling with economic problems, he ignored his promise and instead stepped up deportations of unauthorized immigrants, the vast majority to Mexico. The administration has deported more than 2 million immigrants, a record.

Latino groups have been critical of these deportations, and they are not alone. The Economist, for instance, excoriated the Obama “deportation machine” and called him the “deporter in chief.” Obama has since eased deportations and hinted he might use executive action to allow more unauthorized immigrants to remain legally in the United States.

The surge of children supposedly was encouraged by smugglers, who spread the rumor that children reaching the United States would find safe haven. But the root cause is violence in Central America. Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate, 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, more than 19 times the U.S. rate.

The U.S. response to the surge has been more political than effective. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, sent 1,000 National Guard troops to a border that is already heavily militarized. This didn’t change the equation on the border because most of the children were already giving themselves up once they reached the United States.

Obama didn’t change the equation either. He asked Congress not only for money but for authority to bypass the 2008 law and deport the children without a hearing. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, refused to do this. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives provided a pittance for refugee aid, knowing that its bill had no chance of Senate passage. Overall, the Washington gamesmanship did not reflect well on either party or branch of government.

States, cities and the child refugees were left, in the British phrase, to muddle through. It is pot luck for the refugees. Roughly half have been housed by relatives. The rest have been placed by a U.S. government agency in shelters of varying capacity and quality, helped by churches and other nonprofit organizations.

Although some towns noisily refused to accept any refugees, staging protests that were heavily covered on television, many cities in border states, including Los Angeles and San Antonio, quietly opened their doors. New York City took the useful step of appropriating nearly $5 million to provide immigrants with legal counsel. Although refugees are entitled to a hearing before a federal judge, they are not guaranteed an attorney, and most appear at their proceedings without one.

With Congress in recess, the next move in the immigration drama is up to Obama, who is reported to be considering an executive order that would permit as many as 5 million unauthorized immigrants to remain in the United States. This would raise constitutional issues and prompt determined opposition that would not be limited to Republicans. The Washington Post editorially noted that legislative power is vested in Congress and said a unilateral action by Obama would “tear up the Constitution.”

A constitutional confrontation might fire up the Democratic and Republican political bases for the midterm elections, but it would be damaging to the country. Far better would be a bipartisan legislative solution that responds to both conservative and liberal concerns by tightening border security, establishing a path to citizenship for immigrants already living here, and creating a guest worker program.

These key elements of immigration reform have long been recognized, most recently in Rubio’s now-abandoned bill. What’s needed in Washington are legislators on both sides with the courage to compromise and put immigration reform above politics.

Lou Cannon, a Summerland resident, is a longtime national political writer and acclaimed presidential biographer. His most recent book — co-authored with his son, Carl — is Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy. Cannon also is an editorial adviser to State Net Capitol Journal, which published this column originally. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Schizophrenia in a Dish: UCSB Plays Role in Revealing How Illness-Linked Genetics Affect Neurons

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Scientific consensus holds that most major mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, are genetically rooted diseases of synapses, the connections between neurons in the brain. Now research has demonstrated how a rare mutation in a suspect gene corrupts the on-off switches of dozens of other genes underlying these connections.

The study appears online in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Employing a disease-in-dish technology called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the team of investigators, including UC Santa Barbara researchers, studied iPSCs from four members of an American family affected by genetically linked schizophrenia and related mental disorders.

Decades ago, researchers traced a high prevalence of schizophrenia and other major mental disorders — which often overlap genetically — in a Scottish clan to mutations in the gene DISC1 (Disrupted In Schizophrenia 1). However, until now, most of what is known about the cellular effects of such DISC1 mutations has come from rodent brain studies.

“This new study’s design was the first of its kind to examine multiple affected and healthy members of the same family,” said co-author Matthew Lalli, a Ph.D. candidate working in UCSB’s Kosik Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology Lab, which conducted the RNA sequencing portion of the study. “Our results showed a clean, close resemblance of the neurons cultured in a dish to some biochemical features of the disease.”

The research team collected skin cells from a mother and daughter who have neither the variation nor mental illness as well as the father, who has the variation and severe depression, and another daughter, who carries the variation and has schizophrenia. For comparison, they also collected samples from an unrelated healthy person.

Lead author Zhexing Wen, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, coaxed the skin cells to form five lines of stem cells and to mature into very pure populations of synapse-forming neurons. UCSB scientists observed how these patient-derived neurons developed and interacted in a petri dish in order to determine the effects of the genetic variation on young brain cells.

“One unexpected result was that many of the disregulated genes were interaction partners with DISC1, the gene that causes disease,” said. Lalli. “The other finding is that a lot of the disrupted genes were already known to contribute to various mental disorders.”

The researchers found that the iPSC-induced neurons — of a type found in frontal brain areas implicated in psychosis — expressed 80 percent less of the protein made by the DISC1 gene in family members with the mutation compared to members without the mutation. In a cascade effect, the gene products that interact with DISC1 were also reduced. These mutant neurons showed deficient cellular machinery for communicating with other neurons at synapses.

“We didn’t know that the disease would manifest so clearly at synaptic junctures and be expressed so clearly in a dish,” said Lalli. “But this work confirmed our hypothesis that schizophrenia is at least partially a disease at the synapse.”

To find out how DISC1 acts on synapses, the researchers also compared the activity levels of genes in the healthy neurons to those with the variation. To their surprise, the activities of more than 100 genes were different. According to the scientists, this is the first indication that DISC1 regulates the activity of a large number of genes, many of which are related to synapses.

“The fact that the single mutation could be corrected in the disease line or introduced to the healthy line converting it to a disease line really implicated this gene as being causal of the disease,” Lalli explained.

“The ability to re-reate features of schizophrenia in neurons produced from patient skin fibroblasts brings us one step closer to developing treatments because this model system is highly suitable for screening drugs that could repair the biochemical defects,” added co-author Kenneth S. Kosik, the Harriman Professor of Neuroscience in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and co-director of campus’s Neuroscience Research Institute.

The work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute on Aging, the One Mind Institute, the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation.

— Julie Cohen represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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‘Tools for School’ Provides Backpacks, Supplies for 300 Students in Need

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara and its nonprofit affiliate, 2nd Story Associates, hosted their second “Tools for School” event last Saturday at the Presidio Springs Community Room.

The event provided backpacks and back-to-school supplies for more than 300 school-age children to help ensure that local low-income youth have the tools and supplies necessary to be successful, confident and prepared students.

Funding to purchase the backpacks and supplies was provided through a generous sponsorship by Union Bank, as well as donations from Santa Barbara Fit Body Boot Camp. For each participating family, all family members ages 5 through 18 chose from a range of age-appropriate backpacks and back-to-school supplies.

“Tools for School” is now part of the Housing Authority’s new Growth, Readiness and Development (GRAD) initiative, which aims to encourage academic success and high school graduation among public housing youth through a variety of collaborations and programming.

While the event was designed to assist families in preparing their children for school, it also helped families discover the Housing Authority’s youth enrichment programs and other local resources for youth and families.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.

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Jackson Bill to Halt Forced Sterilizations in Prisons Heads to Governor

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to prohibit forced or coerced sterilizations in prisons passed off the Senate floor Tuesday on a unanimous, bipartisan vote and is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration. The vote was 33-0.

Senate Bill 1135 is a response to media reports from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year of unlawful and coercive sterilization of female inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women that were occurring as late as 2010.

SB 1135 adds a section to the penal code to prohibit sterilizations in correctional facilities for the purposes of birth control except in cases when a patient’s life is in danger or if it is needed to treat a medical condition and no other less drastic measure is feasible. In addition, a second independent physician must consult with the patient about the effects of the procedure before it is undertaken. Counseling about the permanency of the procedure must be provided as well.

“It’s clear that we need to do more to make sure that forced or coerced sterilizations never again occur in our jails and prisons,” Jackson said. “Pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent violates our most basic human rights.”

In 2013, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, of which Jackson is the vice-chair, wrote a letter to California Correctional Health Care Services Federal Receiver Clark Kelso expressing outrage over reports of unlawful sterilization of female inmates. At the request of the leadership of the Women’s Caucus, the state auditor conducted an audit of this issue. A copy of the audit’s findings, released in June, can be found by clicking here.

SB 1135 is coauthored by the current chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, and the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, Senator Loni Hancock and Senator Joel Anderson.

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

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Makeup Artist Patricia Guerrera to Give Free Demonstration at Carr Winery

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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“All About You,” a free demonstration by longtime Santa Barbara makeup artist and licensed esthetician Patricia Guerrera, is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Carr Winery, 414 N. Salsipuedes St.

Guerrera is owner of Tru Beauty, her studio at 120 W. Mission St. in Santa Barbara. The “All About You” event will include demonstrations of makeup touch-up and brow waxing by Guerrera.

The event also will feature Vidal Sassoon alumna Tara Jenée, who has 11 years of experience in hair styling, specializing in precision cut and color, keratin smoothing, natural hair extensions, weddings and events. (She can be reached at tarajeneehair@yahoo.com.) She will be demonstrating style, up do and braiding at Carr Winery.

For the “All About You” event, Guerrera is offering $25 Tru Beauty gift certificates toward any Tru Beauty services. Purchase of a certificate includes a glass of Carr wine the night of the event. Admission is free to anyone older than 21 years of age.

“All About You” gift certificates can be purchased online by clicking here. The gift certificates may used toward any of Tru Beauty’s services, including the “Mimosa Cocktail,” which is a facial treatment that includes: a shot of concentrated vitamin C; two shots of cell renewal; one shot of brighteners; a shot to repair sun damage; and a shot to boost collagen for brighter skin.

Guerrera started her career in South Coast retail stores and spas. She has conducted skin therapy and training sessions locally and in large cities across the nation. Her passion and creativity led her to open her own business where women can feel special and pampered.

Born in Italy and raised in Santa Barbara, Guerrera has 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. She has traveled all over the nation from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston helping women look beautiful.

She was influenced by a family artist growing up in Italy. Now, she creates artistry on live canvas of beautiful faces.

“Tru Beauty is what I believe,” she says. “Tru Beauty starts from within.”

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Man Found Dead Near Guadalupe Was Homicide Victim

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Victim has been identified as Javier Alcantar Limon, 37, of Santa Maria

A Santa Maria man whose body was found Tuesday near Guadalupe Beach was definitely a homicide victim, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

"I can confirm this is a homicide," sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told Noozhawk Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly before 7 a.m., a group of farm workers found the remains of Javier Alcantar Limon, 37, just off the side of West Main Street, west of the city of Guadalupe, Hoover said.

They flagged down a passerby who called 9-1-1.

Detectives were examining what Hoover described as "an active crime scene."

Limon's body, dressed in jeans and a dark shirt, was lying face down about 15 feet off the roadway, next to an irrigation ditch.

"At this point we don't have any suspects," Hoover said.

Hoover said no additional information was being released due to the ongoing investigation.

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully reported from the scene

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

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Montecito Bank & Trust Will Add to Community Donations for Triathlon Beneficiary Girls Inc.

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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The Santa Barbara Triathlon is just days away, and the race is on to reach the fundraising goal for this year’s nonprofit beneficiary, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

Each fall, Montecito Bank & Trust, the Presenting Sponsor of the Triathlon, allows the public to vote for the triathlon beneficiary, and dedicated Girls Inc. supporters worked tirelessly to get the word out and secure the most votes. As the triathlon beneficiary, Girls Inc. will receive all funds raised by the community and over 1,800 triathletes, a goal set at $50,000 each year.

The triathletes are hard at work training for the upcoming event and gathering fundraising support from friends and family, but it takes a true community-wide effort to reach the $50,000 goal. Donations can be made at any Montecito Bank & Trust branch, or online by clicking here.

To help boost community support and encourage donations, Montecito Bank & Trust will tally donations at the end of the month and match up to $5,000 of all money donated in their branches and on their donation website during the month of August.

“MB&T is proud to partner with the Santa Barbara Triathlon in support of Girls Inc.," President/CEO Janet Garufis said. "In addition to providing volunteers for the triathlon event, our associates are supporting Girls Inc. through internal fundraising. What is more quintessential Santa Barbara spirit than to have a world-class athletic event that supports a local nonprofit? We are glad to provide an easy way to get our community involved in this fundraising effort. Whether you have time, treasure or talent to share, the triathlon and Girls Inc. need you! Together, our community can reach this goal.”

Girls Inc., recently ranked among the top high-impact youth service nonprofit organizations, has made it their mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Through research-based educational programs, activities and advocacy, Girls Inc. offers girls ages 4½ to 18 opportunities to experience success as they prepare to lead independent and fulfilling lives. Areas of focus include leading healthy and physically active lives, managing money, navigating media messages and fostering an interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Girls Inc.’s curricula also encourage young women to take risks and help them master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Thanks to Girls Inc., thousands of girls in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria have ongoing access to empowering programs delivered by trained mentors in a positive all-girl environment.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the tri-counties. Founded in 1975, with nine branch offices located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura, and Westlake Village, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

The Santa Barbara Triathlon, established in 1981, is one of the longest running triathlons in the world. And it's no wonder: Stunning scenery, flawless operations and an ocean-front transition area and finish line ensure a sell-out event every year. Stick around after the event for children's beach activities, a fabulous sports expo and convenient on-site dining.

Participants can select from either our famous long course (including Aquabike divisions) or one of our sprint courses. Sprint course options include a women's-only event, parent/child team event (compete side-by-side with your child) as well as the traditional co-ed format.

The start and finish lines for the Santa Barbara Triathlon will be at the Cabrillo Bathhouse at East Beach, 1118 Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. The event runs daily on Saturday and Sunday starting at 7 a.m. sharp. A sports expo (open to the public) and check-in begin run from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.

For more information about the event, click here or call 805.682.1634.

— Andy Silverman is a marketing coordinator for Montecito Bank & Trust.

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Jeff Moehlis: Noted Singer/Organist Mike Finnigan to Perform at TRAP Benefit Concert

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Mike Finnigan has been a part of an amazing amount of rock and roll music over the last four-plus decades. A big highlight was playing organ on the tracks "Rainy Day, Dream Away" and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming" on Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland album. He has also played organ and/or sang with many other artists, including Crosby, Stills & Nash, Etta James, Dave Mason, Ringo Starr, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal and Eric Burdon.

On Friday, Mike Finnigan & Friends will be performing at a benefit concert for The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP), an educational program that integrates percussion as a medium to address reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as life skills, with children and adults with intellectual and developmental differences.

The event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Hill-Adobe, 15 E. Carrillo St. in Santa Barbara. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased by calling 805.962.1442; it is highly recommended that you purchase tickets in advance because this is a small place and tickets are expected to sell out.

Joining Finnigan will be Táta Vega, who has her own impressive resume and was one of the featured singers in the Academy Award-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

Finnigan talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show and filling in for David Crosby. The full interview, in which he also tells stories about playing with Hendrix, James, Raitt and more, is available by clicking here.

                                                                        •        •

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

Mike Finnigan: What I'm looking forward to is how it's going to go, because I haven't played with [drummer and TRAP founder] Eddie [Tuduri] in probably 25 years. We've known each other for quite a long time. The other guys are all people I've played with at various times, in various settings. It's just going to be a pretty loose deal, but it's going to be fun because of that. It's basically going to be a bunch of guys on a high wire [laughs], if you know what I mean. I mean, we're going to have one rehearsal. But we're going to be playing Rhythm & Blues music.

I don't know if you know the other guys playing. Jim Pugh is another keyboard player that I used to work with with Etta James. He played with Robert Cray's band for about 25 years, and has played with all kinds of other people, lots of records with a lot of different people.

He's somebody that's a very good friend of mine and that I admire a lot. He and I will take care of the piano and organ.

And then there's a couple of guitar players, Bill Lynch and Chris Pinnick. Bill's an old buddy of mine from way back. I met him in the '60s even. He lived in Lawrence, Kan., and we played around Kansas City and different places in different bands. We played together over the years in different kinds of set-ups. Chris, I only have played with once. He used to play with Chicago. He's a real fine guitar player, and I guy I've know, but not that well, for quite a few years.

I just know that he's a really great musician.

Tim Scott's a bass player who used to play with Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, among other bands. He's a really good singer and bass player, and he and I were in a band together that was just kind of a fun band called the Zen Blues Quartet. We made a CD a few years ago, and we've worked together in all kinds of configurations. He's coming down from Seattle — he moved up there a couple of years ago — to join us. So we're going to have one rehearsal and it'll be loose and dangerous, so that's fun.

JM: It sounds like with that group of musicians you can get away with only one rehearsal.

MF: Well, we have to [laughs]. You always want to be prepared.

And then Tata Vega, of course, she's a giant. She's a fantastic singer, and is just one of my favorites. I've known her, not really well, but I've known her for about 20 years. We actually did some singing together once for a film score, and I've been aware of her for many years, of course. She's just somebody I admire tremendously.

JM: I have to ask you about Crosby, Stills & Nash, who I know you worked with for a long time. What was a highlight for you of working with them?

MF: Oh my Lord, I mean I worked with them for 27 years. Well, I was doing a lot of other stuff at the same time. They weren't constantly on the road or always in the studio. I got a chance to make several albums with them, and travel all over the world with them. There's just a million things that were really great about that. They're all my friends.

I tell you, one of the most interesting things that happened, and was kind of a highlight, was ... I think it was Daylight Again. We had done all of the rhythm tracks, and there were some rough vocals on it in Los Angeles. The plan was to go to Hawaii. I mean, they were in the chips and living large in those days. They wanted to go to Hawaii and do the vocals. I sang a lot with that band, too. There were additional vocals, the three of them and some additional vocals sometimes on different things. So we rented this place right on the beach in Hawaii, just a fantastic setting. It was like some kind of dream scene, like the beach was 25 yards out the backdoor. We'd go to the studio every day.

Crosby, at that point, it was not too long before he went to prison.

You know, he had some problems with substance abuse, among other things, that eventually wound up getting him put in jail where he sobered up finally, under lock and key. But at that time, it was not too long before then, and every day he was supposed to show up in Hawaii to do this work on these vocals, and he never came. And so I wound up being the third voice on about two-thirds of the album. In other words, it was Stills, Nash & Finnigan [laughs]. But that's not what the album said. I think Timothy B. Schmidt actually sang on a couple tracks, too. David had one track that he sang, or maybe two that he sang by himself with some additional vocals. But in terms of the ensemble stuff it was the three of us, or else the two of them and Timothy Schmidt.

That was kind of unusual to have that. Historically it was kind of odd. I've still got that album, and occasionally I hear tracks from it, you know, "Southern Cross" and different tunes like that, and I go, "Oh yeah, that's when I was Crosby."

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

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Epicure.SB: Savor Santa Barbara Throughout October

By | Published on 08/19/2014

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Epicure.sb, an homage to Santa Barbara’s culture, cuisine and libations, returns this October for its sixth year and 31-plus days of culinary-inspired fun.

The region’s abundance of natural bounty is celebrated in cornerstone events such as the Avocado, Lemon, Harvest and Seafood festivals, as well as at local restaurants, hotels and wineries. Get the secret scoop on the Santa Barbara lifestyle with this year’s new theme: epic-Scoop. Guests can take advantage of a password used by participating businesses to unlock secrets locals already know and receive unique offerings or experiences only available during epicure.sb.

Celebrating its sixth year, the epic-Scoop theme is designed to give an authentic, insider look at the Santa Barbara lifestyle. Participating businesses craft culture, cuisine and libation events that fall under one of three categories: epic-Dish, epic-Venture and epic-Gathering.

Get the scoop on all the events and hotel packages by clicking here.

epic-Dish: Guests mention the password and unlock secret prix fixe menu’s, off-the-menu dishes or libations, to indulge in all month long. Don’t miss:

» Secret Beer Blend Menu at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.: Mention “epic-Scoop” to any of the servers and choose from a secret menu of beer blends — delicious combinations of beers with fun names.

» Finch & Fork’s Secret Password Menu: Follow Finch & Fork on social media each week to retrieve the password allowing guests to indulge in a unique bite, one time cocktail, special dessert and more.

» Epic Lemon: In honor of the Lemon Festival, The Lemon Tree Inn’s own Crocodile Restaurant & Bar is offering a special prix-fixe menu featuring the celebrated citrus, the lemon, in every course.

epic-Venture: Mention the password (“epic-Scoop”) for exclusive cultural experiences only available during epicure.sb. Highlights include:

» Maritime Tastings — Cultured Shellfish & Finfish (Oct. 2 and 23): Go behind-the-scenes at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and learn how local fishermen catch local seafood, then watch local chef demonstrate how best to prepare it. Wine and olive tastings included.

» Italian Mixology 101 (Oct. 8): Be treated like a VIP at the S.Y. Kitchen as you learn to craft the perfect cocktail from master mixologist Alberto Battaglini; then design your own signature cocktail all while savoring “stuzzichini,” small bites of Italian appetizers.

» Desert. Wine. Photography. Pairing 101. (Thursdays in October): Enjoy a unique local food and wine pairing at Riverbench Winery in the Funk Zone with photo lessons from Eat This, Shoot That! The best pairing photo is eligible for a special prize.

epic-Gathering: Festival’s, pop-up experiences and one-time events fused with a cuisine, libation or cultural element. Make time for:

» Bacara in Bloom (Oct. 18): Join master floral designer and creative director Lorrene Balzani for a hands-on workshop at Bacara Resort & Spa featuring the newest trend in floral design, the “forager.” Learn to create beautiful and sophisticated early fall arrangements from your everyday floras.

» Curated Cocktails (Oct. 2): The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara pairs signature cocktails with guided tours of current exhibitions. Come for the cocktails, stay for the art.

» SB Open Streets — ¡Calles Vivas! (Oct. 25): From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., more than 2.5 miles of beautiful Santa Barbara beachfront road will be closed to vehicle traffic and open to car free activities and adventures.

Hotel packages: Throughout the month, hotels are partnering with restaurants and activities for guests to create epic-memories.

» Epic-Indulgence: Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara’s Epic-Indulgence package includes the Epic-Scoop (redeem for specialty drinks and homemade ice cream at Blue Tavern Restaurant located at the base of the hotel) and Epic-Art (redeem for a limited edition poster from the Museum of Contemporary Art).

» Epic-Value: The Ramada Santa Barbara is giving guests an Epic-Value for only $99 midweek that includes a 2-for-1 dinner and discounted passes to wineries cultural attractions, restaurants and more.

» Epic-Stay: Enjoy a romantic stay at any of the five Santa Barbara Hotel Group properties with dinner at Toma Restaurant overlooking the water, wine tasting at Santa Barbara Winery and a complimentary bottle of wine at check-in.

Signature festivals: These annual festivals are a great way to share Santa Barbara’s bounty with locals and visitors.

» California Lemon Festival (Sep. 20-21): Lemons in Goleta date back to the late 1800’s when they were first planted in the area. This family-friendly event celebrates the lemon with food, entertainment & more.

» California Avocado Festival (Oct. 3-5): The largest vat of guacamole, avocado beer, avocado ice cream and more can be found at this popular festival highlighting Carpinteria’s favorite food - the avocado.

» Celebration of Harvest Weekend (Oct. 10-13): Celebrate this year’s wine bounty with the winemakers themselves. Take part in special events hosted by wineries from winemaker dinners to barrel tastings.

» Santa Barbara Beer Festival (Oct. 18): Enjoy the beautiful grounds of Elings Park while sampling phenomenal brews from the best brewers in the west, noshing on local food and listening to good tunes.

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

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Santa Barbara County Firefighters Head to Blaze Near Yosemite

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is sending a strike team to help battle a wildfire that is raging near Yosemite National Park.

The team, made up of a battalion chief and five engines, was dispatched to the Junction Fire, which was burning near the town of Oakhurst west of Yosemite, and had charred at least 500 acres, according to Calfire.

The blaze, which broke out shortly before 2 p.m., has prompted Madera County officials to order the evacuation of more than 1,500 homes in the foothill community east of Fresno, according to the Merced-Sun Star.

Two homes were burned and some 300 others were threatened, the newspaper reported on its website.

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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Paved Pathway Opens on Property Near El Camino, San Marcos Schools

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara Unified School District, which owns the undeveloped lot, plans to build a senior housing project

On Monday, officials from Santa Barbara County and local school districts celebrated the completed pathway-improvement project that weaves through the undeveloped lot adjacent to El Camino Elementary School.

It replaces a dirt path with a paved trail for pedestrians and bicyclists to access shopping areas or the two nearby schools — El Camino in the Goleta Union School District and San Marcos High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

When El Camino Principal Liz Barnitz started at that campus two years ago, there was a stabbing in the neighboring vacant property and helicopters circled over the campus.

There have been numerous violent crimes on the undeveloped land known as the Tatum property or Granny’s Field, which is situated between San Simeon Drive and South San Marcos Road on the west and San Simeon Drive behind the Turnpike Center on the east.

In one assault case last year, both nearby schools were briefly put on lockdown.

“It was horrible before,” Barnitz said of the property.

El Camino Principal Liz Barnitz thanks Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, left, and county Public Works Director Scott McGolpin for their help in finishing the Safe Routes to School paved pathway project. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

She gave credit to county leaders, including Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf and Public Works Director Scott McGolpin, for getting the project moving.

She also thanked Goleta Police Chief Butch Arnoldi and his deputies for helping clean up the area and address the homeless encampments on the property.

The new pathway project originally was going to include lighting, but that was cut out of the final design.

It does have drainage improvements to prevent flooding.

About 10 to 20 percent of El Camino students use the pathway to get to school now, and Barnitz hopes the safety improvements will encourage more students to bike to class.

The unofficial dirt pathway that cut through a vacant lot has been paved over to improve safety for the many families and students who use it every day. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

This project has been two years in the making, and was made possible by a partnership between the county and the Santa Barbara Unified School District, which owns the property.

“It was very easy for us to say yes,” Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Dave Cash said.

Funding came from Measure A Safe Routes to School money, which was approved by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.

The pathway also weaves through an easement allowed by San Marcos Growers, a wholesale nursery.

Santa Barbara Unified is planning to build a senior housing project on the property and selected VinCal Senior Housing LLC/The Towbes Group as the finalist for a developer.

Architect Detty Peikert suggested the senior housing project to the Santa Barbara Unified School District board members in December and they were interested in pursuing the idea.

Housing project have been considered in past studies for the Tatum property, including one that would build homes for school district teachers and employees. 

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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Retrial Under Way for Gang Member Accused in Lompoc Kidnapping and Torture Case

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Opening statements begin in the case against Raymond Daniel Macias, for whom a jury previously deadlocked on two counts

With a jury selected Monday morning, the retrial of Raymond Daniel Macias got under way in Santa Maria, and a prosecutor called him a top-level gang leader in Santa Barbara County who ordered the kidnapping and torture of a Lompoc drug user. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen gave her opening statement on Monday afternoon in the case against Macias, known by the gang moniker of Boxer. He faces a count of kidnapping for extortion plus a gang enhancement and another special allegation because a gun was involved.

Defense attorney Michael Scott is scheduled to make his opening statement Tuesday afternoon in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.

Judge Patricia Kelly is presiding over the trial.

The retrial comes almost two months after a jury said it could not reach a verdict in the counts of kidnapping for extortion and solicitation for extortion against Macias. They did find him guilty of torture and sale of methamphetamine.

The same panel convicted his co-defendant Luis “Lucky” Almanza of kidnapping for extortion and torture, plus special allegations for use of a firearm, gang involvement and use of a deadly or dangerous weapon. 

Macias “ran” all the gangs in Santa Barbara County, according to Bramsen. A Santa Barbara resident, he belonged to the Eastside Krazies.

“He is a hard-core Sureno gang member who worked directly for the Mexican Mafia for three years,” Bramsen said, adding that he was responsible for seeing that “taxes” were collected on drug sales in the county and delivering the proceeds to a Mexican Mafia representative. “The Mexican Mafia is all about the money.”

The case stems from the Jan. 3, 2013, kidnapping and torture of a gang member known as “Sicko,” who reportedly owed Macias hundreds of dollars in taxes.

“You are going to meet a group of hardcore gang members in this case,” Bramsen told the jury.

In all, nine people were indicted by the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury, officials announced in June 2013, and many are testifying for the prosecution. 

Gangs make money by selling drugs, fencing stolen property and doing other criminal activity, she added.

“Not paying taxes is one of the most serious offenses a gang member can do,” she said, adding gangs use fear and violence to ensure against tax scofflaws.

Although Sicko was charged with collecting taxes from Lompoc Westside VLP gang members, he wasn’t being paid and also used drugs, both of which quickly put him in debt to Macias, according to Bramsen.

“If you don’t make a payment there are severe consequences including death,” Bramsen said. 

On Jan. 3, 2013, several gang members, including one with gun, took Sicko to a garage in Lompoc, where Almanza used the dull side of a hatchet to hit the victim, breaking his arm. Almanza also used a sharp blade to slice Sicko’s torso. They later bound and gagged Sicko while waiting for Macias to arrive.

“There’s no doubt in his mind he is going to die that day,” Bramsen said of Sicko.

Through recordings from an informant with the gang moniker of Happy, Bramsen said, the jury will hear some defendants talk about plans to kill Sicko and bury his body on a nearby ranch. The final planned involved Sicko agreeing to be “poked,” or stabbed, and paying the back taxes he owed to Macias.

In a jail recording from January, Macias refers to a gang member who will testify against him in the trial, telling his girlfriend, “He was there when I had Sicko,” Bramsen told the jury.

The retrial is expected to stretch into September. 

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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SBCC Fostering Collaborative Approach to Preventing Violence in Aftermath of IV Rampage

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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In an effort to reiterate civic responsibility on campus and in the community, starting this fall students will be required to sign an honor code

College students were packing up or had already cleared out of the area on May 23, the end of finals week and evening of graduation for Santa Barbara City College.

Because of the exodus, many of them heard from afar news of the mass shooting and stabbing rampage that happened the same night in nearby Isla Vista, a community adjacent to UC Santa Barbara and heavily populated with college students.

SBCC students returning for fall classes next Monday will see what student leaders and college officials have been working on since — with a collaboration between UCSB and SBCC student leaders, amplified awareness of mental-health training and a regular recommitment to a student honor code among the efforts.

Officials would prefer SBCC students lived closer to the Santa Barbara campus, and not in Isla Vista, but cheaper rent and a fun, youth-filled atmosphere have made the community more attractive in recent years, SBCC President Lori Gaskin told Noozhawk.

The number of SBCC students actually residing in Isla Vista varies depending on who you ask. SBCC says about 1,200 of its total 20,000 students live in I.V., data based on students who self-report an I.V. address in their profiles.

UCSB officials noted that some estimates place the number closer to 5,000, a figure derived from 2010 U.S. Census data and not accounting for growth since then. The census shows 21,000 college students live in IV, and UCSB says its students in on-campus housing and IV make up 15,000 of that.

The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District keeps track of SBCC student boardings on its bus lines running between IV, SBCC or downtown, but not where students boarded along the route or how many individuals the boardings represent. From July 2013 to June 2014, MTD recorded more than 101,000 student boardings for Line 11, nearly 263,000 for Line 15x and more than 66,000 for Line 24x.

While Gaskin thinks those numbers are a bit high, she conceded the SBCC student population was likely more than 1,200.

“We don’t think being 13 miles from campus is in the best interest of students, but we can’t stop it,” she said. “The density and the culture that has grown in the area is not one that we support.”

Even before May, SBCC officials worked on ways to quell and prevent violence taking place in IV, which last school year included a gang rape and rioting during April’s Deltopia street party.

SBCC already offers crisis and alcohol and drug counseling — not a requirement for community colleges — and regularly assesses student attitudes and behavior via a survey.

The college also provides training to help staff and students identify peers who might be stressed or otherwise mentally troubled, and a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) made up of college officials reviews any submittals to determine if counseling or disciplinary should be taken.

Stressed-out students can be contacted by the Office of Student Life for counseling, and disruptive, potentially dangerous cases could require sending welfare checks from Santa Barbara police or Isla Vista Foot Patrol, said Ben Partee, dean of educational programs.

PERT came out of another tragedy in 2001, he said, when David Attias, a UCSB student with an alleged history of mental illness, fatally struck an SBCC student and three others with his car as they walked on an Isla Vista street.

The incident has haunting parallels to May’s shooting and stabbing rampage, which was carried out by Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old former SBCC enrollee and IV resident who authorities described as “severely mentally disturbed.”

He was briefly enrolled in SBCC classes in 2011 — not as a full-time student — but he never completed a course, Gaskin said.

Since Gaskin came on as SBCC president in 2012, the college has extended its disciplinary jurisdiction, working with law enforcement outside campus borders to punish students violating college conduct codes off campus with similar warnings, parental notifications or even suspension, Partee said.

“I met with every single student that IV Foot Patrol alleged to have violated laws during Deltopia,” he said, noting some received sanctions. “We need to make our students responsible for their actions.”

New this fall is an honor code students must read and electronically sign before registering for classes.

Gaskin said she planned to send students a letter reiterating civic responsibility on campus and in the community.

She and Partee also serve on task forces spearheaded by District Attorney Joyce Dudley and Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who governs the Isla Vista area.

“I’m trying to communicate with students that it’s a privilege to attend SBCC,” Gaskin said. “The best minds in this community are thinking about this and trying to figure this out. It’s going to take our collective, collaborative thinking over the long term. I’m not one for band-aids.”

The SBCC Associated Student Senate hopes to lead by example, setting up monthly meetings with local authorities and UCSB’s Associated Students.

They also plan to attend the next Isla Vista town hall meeting and to launch a “Keep it safe, keep it local” campaign leading up to Halloween, another alcohol-fueled IV event.

“We are part of the community here, and we need to respect it,” said Nicholas Steil, an SBCC Student Senate member and student trustee. “The responsibility is lacking, but I believe it’s in part due to the lack of community. The students out there at this time feel like it’s them against the police.”

Steil wants to bring back “coffee with senators” events on or near campus so students can share concerns and ideas with student leaders. A poll for SBCC’s student population in Isla Vista is also in the works.

“It’s sad what happened,” he said. “I see it as a mental health issue and lack of support services. We need to look at these kinds of events and see what we can do as a student body for our students. Hopefully we can move forward from this and do some good.”

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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Former Laguna Blanca Student Sues School for Not Reporting Alleged Sexual Abuse

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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A Hope Ranch private school is being sued, accused of not properly training teachers to report sexual abuse after a teacher reportedly heard about the alleged abuse of a student and did not report it. According to the lawsuit, the young woman was again victimized by a former teacher several weeks later.

Laguna Blanca School, located at 4125 Paloma Drive, is being sued for negligence and is listed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed July 25 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

The filing names Jane Doe as a plaintiff and, in addition to the school, lists as defendants teacher Martha Elliott and an unidentified suspect accused of victimizing the then-student.

Elliott declined to comment and referred questions to Laguna Blanca Head of School Rob Hereford, who did not respond to Noozhawk’s requests for comment.

The complaint alleges that the student began attending Laguna Blanca in seventh grade in the fall of 2008. She was a junior in high school during the 2012-13 school year, and Elliott is listed as her 11th-grade history teacher.

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

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

“Just weeks after the plaintiff told Elliott she had been molested, near the end of her junior year at Laguna Blanca, plaintiff fell victim to an adult sexual predator, who also happened to be a former Laguna Blanca teacher who the plaintiff trusted,” the complaint states.

“The plaintiff also told this former teacher that she had previously been molested and he took advantage of this information and preyed on the plaintiff's weakness,” adding that she was seduced into performing various sexual acts with him on three separate occasions while she was 17.

The lawsuit maintains that the school was negligent by failing to train its employees on mandatory reporting requirements.

If the girl’s report of molestation had been properly reported, she might not have been re-victimized, according to the victim’s attorney, Elizabeth O’Brien.

All schools, whether public or private, have a legal obligation to report suspected sex crimes to law enforcement, she said.

“They are mandated by law to do so,” she said, adding that both private and public schools are required to conduct training on reporting laws before a teacher can work one day in a school.

“Presumably this wasn’t done or she didn’t follow the rules,” O’Brien said of Elliott.

O’Brien said the victim is committed to getting the proper treatment, and “is doing her best to recover but she still suffers daily.”

O’Brien said the former teacher was not working at the school at the time of the alleged abuse, and the victim reached out to him because he was “in a position of trust,” only to be taken advantage of.

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 County Unemployment Inches Up in July

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Unemployment rose slightly in Santa Barbara County last month, although the percentage of jobless residents was a full point lower than a year ago.

The county unemployment rate was 6 percent in July, up from a revised 5.4 percent in June, according to data released last week by the State Employment Development Department.

That 6 percent is the highest rate since March, when the county posted 6.7 percent.

The most recent rankings show the county is faring better than others across the state, however. California had an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent for the same period, with a national rate of 6.5 percent.

Statewide, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties were tied with the eighth lowest unemployment rate, trailing a first-place finish by Marin County of 4.4 percent.

A year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was 7 percent, meaning 2,000 jobs were added countywide since last July.

All cities saw slight increases in unemployment last month except Solvang, which was down 2.2 percent, according to the data.

Santa Maria continued to lead the county with the most unemployed residents at 3,800, with Santa Barbara (2,400) and Lompoc (2,200) rounding out the top three.

Santa Barbara was down by 4,000 jobs since June, with the largest losses going to government — 2,800 eliminated positions — and agriculture-related jobs, which declined by 1,000 nearing the end of growing season.

Professional and business services sectors lost 300 jobs and educational and health services industries employment decreased by 100 jobs. 

“Overall, our county continues to fare better than many of the 57 other counties and our targeted industry sectors are performing well,” Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County Executive Director Raymond McDonald said in a statement.

“My takeaway from today’s report is that the government sector — that includes seasonal layoffs in education — is being reflected in the slight tick up of our countywide unemployment.”

The seasonal leisure and hospitality sector, construction and manufacturing continued to see increases in job creation — all logging 100 new positions since June.

WIB also identified health care, energy and environment, building and design, technology and innovation and tourism and wineries as areas of employment opportunity.

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 Parks & Recreation Doing Its Part to Save Water

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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In recent months, you may have noticed that the lawns at certain Santa Barbara parks and public facilities have been turning gold as the effects of drought conditions begin to show themselves. The Parks & Recreation Department is doing its part along with the rest of the community.

Here are a few key points from the Strategic Drought Response Plan we recently finalized and presented to the Santa Barbara City Council:

We analyzed our water use and prioritized that areas really need water. We took a number of factors into consideration, including:

» 1. Would we do major damage (either short- or long-term) by cutting our water use here?

» 2. Is this area home to historic or rare trees and plants?

» 3. How many people use this area for recreation on a regular basis?

Because turf (grassy areas) needs so much water to stay green, we’ve cut back on watering some of our lawns. Before deciding where to save water, we considered whether or not an area would become unsafe if we cut back or stopped irrigation (an example might be a ballfield), how much recreational use each area of turf sees, and a number of other factors.

For instance, at Santa Barbara Golf Club, the city’s municipal golf course, we considered which areas of the course could be left dry without significantly inconveniencing golfers: if an area of the golf course has gone gold, it’s likely an area most golfers don’t stray into during a game.

Read more: The complete text of our Strategic Drought Response Plan is available as a PDF by clicking here.

Let’s save together! Remember, gold is the new green.

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Santa Barbara Police Department Taking Applications for Next Citizens Academy

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The Santa Barbara Police Department is now taking applications for the next Citizens Academy, which will begin on Sept. 3.

This will be a bilingual academy, taught in both English and Spanish languages.

The Citizens Academy is a great way to learn about the Santa Barbara Police Department, police work and our community. During the eight-week program participants will be exposed to police training, investigative techniques and technology. They will also have the opportunity to ride along with officers on patrol.

Classes will be held weekly on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m. until Oct. 22, at a location still to be determined. This program is very popular and class size is limited. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and there is no cost to participate.

For more information, please contact Officer Jon Reyes at 805.897.3748 or jreyes@sbpd.com. Applications can be downloaded by clicking here.

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

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Michael Barone: Clinton Not Campaigning Much for Party in ‘14, Unlike Nixon in ‘66

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Just about everyone noticed Hillary Clinton's scathing comments on President Barack Obama's foreign policy in her interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.

But almost no one has noticed where Clinton hasn't been seen. That's on the campaign trail or at fundraisers for Democrats running for the Senate.

Obama hasn't been on the campaign trail much either, for the very good reason that he has low approval ratings in the seven states carried by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney where Democrats are defending Senate seats.

But at least Obama's been busy raising money; up in Martha's Vineyard, seemingly the heartland of today's Democratic Party, he spoke, between golf games, at his 400th political fundraiser.

Clinton here is following the opposite course of a politician she has been compared to frequently, though usually not by her admirers: Richard Nixon.

As Patrick Buchanan shows in his recent and characteristically vividly written book, The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority, Nixon campaigned tirelessly for Republican candidates in the 1966 midterm elections.

That election produced big Republican gains, including 47 House seats (contrary to the obituaries written for the party after Barry Goldwater's 1964 defeat), and helped elect Nixon president in 1968.

So why isn't Clinton following Nixon's example? For reasons as clear-eyed as her takedowns of Obama. First, she is in a stronger position to win her party's nomination today than Nixon was 48 years ago.

Second, she, unlike Nixon in 1966 and like most sober-minded observers this year, doesn't see this as a good year for her party.

One reason is structural. The Senate seats up for grabs this year are in states that, on average, voted 52 percent for Romney and 46 percent for Obama in 2012. Obama won by an average of only 50.1 percent in seats now held by Democrats and received only 39 percent of the vote in states with seats held by Republicans.

We are not likely to see Clinton campaigning in the seven states with Democratic senators that Romney carried in 2012. Not even in Arkansas, Louisiana or West Virginia, which Bill Clinton carried twice, or Montana, which he carried in 1992.

A year ago, Democrats hoped to hold onto their Senate majority by stressing local issues, accusing Republicans of waging a "war on women" and capitalizing on the defects and mistakes of Republican candidates.

But in a sluggish economy, with one Obamacare miscue after another and a world in violent disarray, promises of free contraception don't seem to be moving many voters, and some local issues are working more against Democrats than for them.

That's apparent in Colorado, a state that twice voted for Obama and where polls now show a tie between Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Rep. Cory Gardner. Democrats hoped for a weaker Republican nominee, but Gardner entered late, and other Republicans stepped aside.

There's also a backlash in Colorado against severe gun restrictions passed by the Democratic legislature and ineptly defended by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. And Democrats are split on fracking. Early this month, Hickenlooper and Udall pressured Rep. Jared Polis to drop support for two anti-fracking ballot initiatives, fearing they will be political poison in an energy-producing state.

In a TV spot, Gardner says his family's health insurance was canceled. That may remind voters that Udall's staff was accused of pressuring the state insurance director to suppress reports that 250,000 Coloradans had policies canceled because of Obamacare.

In Iowa, another state that went for Obama twice, Democrats hoped Rep. Bruce Braley would easily replace 30-year Democratic incumbent Tom Harkin. But state Sen. Joni Ernst, who grew up on a farm and became a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, easily won the Republican nomination, and Braley has made one blunder after another.

Videotape shows him speaking to Texas trial lawyers and disparaging Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley as "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school." Grassley won in 2010 with 64 percent of the vote.

Braley's wife took issue with a few chickens crossing onto her property, and the Braleys filed a complaint this year with the Holiday Lake homeowners association. At the Iowa State Fair, Braley spoke mainly with reporters, not Iowans. Not very neighborly.

Will Clinton stump in Colorado, a state held up as an example of Democratic gains, or Iowa, a state not usually avoided by presidential candidates? That might force her to weigh in on Obamacare, illegal border crossings and fracking.

In 1966, Nixon's campaigning helped Republicans gain five Senate and those 47 House seats. Clinton is apparently afraid she can't match that record.

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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Library Schedules September Trainings for New Adult Literacy Tutors

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Volunteer tutors can make a difference in their community by teaching reading, writing and other basic skills to other adults. The Santa Barbara Public Library System’s Adult Literacy Program will offer two volunteer tutor trainings for new adult literacy tutors in September.

A three-session daytime training course runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2. A four-session evening course will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22. All sessions meet in the Townley Room at the Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Free library tutoring helps adult learners reach their personal goals, including building job skills, communicating more clearly, and learning how to help their own children with schoolwork.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of California Library Literacy Services, which has help tens of thousands of Californians improve their life skills through no-cost, one-to-one tutoring at public libraries throughout the state.

Tutors are asked to make a six-month commitment to tutoring, and to sign up for the training course by calling 805.564.5619 or emailing literacy@SBPLibrary.org.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at SBPLibrary.org for more information about library programs, services, hours and locations. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Beverly Schwartzberg is an adult literacy coordinator for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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National Authority on Prosecution of Animal Abuse to Speak in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Attorney Allie Phillips from the National District Attorneys Association will be in Santa Barbara for a one-day presentation on “Understanding the Link between Violence to Animals and People and Why People Abuse Animals: Practical Solutions for Keeping Your Community Safe.”

The program is open to the public and will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 4 in the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building at 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Phillips is an active animal advocate and animal shelter volunteer and is a nationally recognized expert specializing in the co-occurrence between animal abuse and violence to humans.

She has conducted over 200 trainings across the United States to prosecutors, judges, and child, family violence and animal protection professionals, and has authored more than 50 publications.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley invites you to participate in this “extraordinary opportunity to come together to learn more about how to truly make a difference in the investigation and presentation of animal and human abuse.”

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Jazz at La Cumbre Plaza Returns Every Thursday in September

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Summer is just heating up, bringing some beautiful evenings to Santa Barbara and the perfect climate to enjoy Jazz at the Plaza, a local favorite at La Cumbre Plaza.

Every Thursday evening in September will feature complimentary music from renowned musicians along with a wine and food tasting from 5 to 7 p.m.

Each week, crowds gather to enjoy live music, and to help set the mood, wine and food tasting is available for a $15 contribution to the evening’s featured nonprofit beneficiary, including Angels Bearing Gifts, Moms With Heart and the Santa Barbara Dance Institute.

Sept. 4: Jon Crosse & The Jazz All Stars
Benefiting Moms with Heart

Sept. 11: Teka and NewBossa
Benefiting Angels Bearing Gifts

Sept. 18: The Idiomatiques
Benefiting Santa Barbara Dance Institute

Sept. 25: Mezcal Martini
Benefiting Angels Bearing Gifts

Wine tasting provided by The Winehound. Food provided by Marmalade Café.

Spend the evening enjoying the sounds of talented musicians while relaxing with tastes of local wine and delicious foods — and it’s all for a good cause.

Concerts will take place in front of Macy's. Music is complimentary. Limited seating available on a first come basis; feel free to bring your own chairs. Wine and food tasting ($15) is optional; tickets are only available at the event with cash. Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol.

Click here for more information and to view the complete schedule.

— Mary Lynn Harms-Romo is the marketing manager for La Cumbre Plaza.

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Santa Barbara Gift Baskets Hosting Chamber of Commerce’s September B2B Breakfast

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Santa Barbara Gift Baskets will kick off Lemon Month and host the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s September Business-2-Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 in Earl's Place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Come hear how Anne Pazier, Entrepreneur of the Year, can enhance your business with custom gourmet gift baskets while working with your budget. Santa Barbara Gift Baskets creates gift baskets with your unique brand, corporate message, or occasion and personal taste of the recipient in mind.

Attendees will be provided an opportunity to introduce themselves and their business in a 20-second elevator pitch to the crowd.

A hot breakfast from Marmalade Cafe, coffee from Zizzo’s and water from Team Cashman of State Farm will be served promptly at 7:30 a.m.

The cost is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers.

Click here to register. For more information, contact Dan Skidmore at 805.967.2500 x5 or dan@goletavalley.com.

Before the Breakfast — 7 a.m. at Earl's Place

For the former employees of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and anyone else who is unemployed and looking to improve their presentation skills, this is the time to spend on yourself to learn how to present yourself powerfully in 20 seconds. Learn tools and gain confidence for your next job interview.

For more information or to register, call 805.665.3033 or email admin@vocalcoachingbysloane.com.

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CenCal Health Ranks in Top 10th Percentile Nationally for Medicaid Plans

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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CenCal Health has been recognized by the Department of Health Care Services for exceptional quality of care as measured by independently-certified HEDIS results reported to the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

This commendation was earned in recognition of exceptional performance for CenCal Health’s Santa Barbara County HMO product, based on the number of results for which CenCal Health rated in the best 10th percentile for Medicaid plans nationally. Medicaid is administered as “Medi-Cal” in the State of California.

This prized award was earned based on HEDIS 2013 results. This recognition was particularly significant since, barring a tie in the scoring for any particular award, only four quality of care awards are available for approximately 38 DHCS Medi-Cal regions statewide.

This year’s results reflect an improvement upon the results reported during 2013, which recently earned recognition from the DHCS for the quality care CenCal Health members can access.

“This marks the seventh such Quality Award earned by CenCal Health for the quality of care that our plan and its providers make possible for our Medi-Cal membership,” said Bob Freeman, CenCal Health CEO. “I would like to thank our staff and provider partners who deliver high quality care to our members each day. Everyone’s contribution to this achievement is genuinely appreciated.”

CenCal Health has earned many DHCS Quality Awards since 2000, when DHCS first developed a system to reliably measure and compare the quality of care delivered by Medi-Cal managed care plans. Since that time, CenCal Health has earned three gold awards, one silver award, one bronze award and two honorable mention awards.

Areas of Excellence

For CenCal Health’s Santa Barbara County Medi-Cal program, performance rated among the best Medicaid managed care plans for two vital aspects of diabetes management, including hemoglobin A1c control (59% had A1c levels <8.0%) and diabetic eye exams (70% had a recommended retinal exam). CenCal Health also sustained a year-over-year track record of excellent childhood immunization rates (85% completed a comprehensive series of timely childhood vaccinations). San Luis Obispo County Medi-Cal providers also achieved an excellent level of performance for members with controlled hemoglobin A1c levels <8.0% (61%).

A complete summary of CenCal Health’s latest HEDIS 2014 results are available for review by clicking here.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing CenCal Health.

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RRM Design Group Names Five New Associates

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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RRM Design Group recently named five new associates: Chris Dufour, Scott Hopkins, Lisa Plowman, Joshua Roberts and Michael Scott.

The Associates Program at RRM is designed to develop the abilities, skills and talent of the key leaders of RRM and propel the company forward to achieve the greatest possible success for our employees, clients and the environment.

Dufour, LEED AP, is a senior landscape architect in RRM’s San Luis Obispo office. He has worked on a wide array of private and public projects, including Hermosa Beach’s Pier Avenue, Arana Gulch Multi-use Trail, Serra Meadows and the Pismo Beach Promenade. His technical skills are complemented by his experience in large-scale irrigation design and water conservation.

Hopkins, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is the assistant manager of architecture of RRM’s Santa Barbara office. He serves on numerous local and professional organizations, including the City of Santa Barbara Architectural Review Board, the City Sign Committee and as president of the local Toastmasters Group. He has been instrumental in many projects for RRM, including Hancock Terrace, a 268-unit housing project in Santa Maria, and Cypress Court, a 60-unit senior housing project in Lompoc.

Plowman is the planning manager of RRM’s Santa Barbara office. She has worked in the land use planning field for 25 years and has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors. She has played a key role for many notable projects, including the Golden Inn and Village, Arlington Village, Hillside House, Jardin de las Rosas and Cypress Court Senior Apartments. She is active in her community, as president of the Coastal Housing Coalition and board member for Santa Barbara for All.

Roberts, PE, is a civil engineering project manager in RRM’s San Luis Obispo office. He has a diverse portfolio of projects, including The Vistas at Pismo Village in Pismo Beach, Eagle Ranch Specific Plan in Atascadero and The Village at Pacific West in Pismo Beach. He is active in the Central Coast Home Builders Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Public Works Association.

Scott, LEED AP, is a project manager of architecture in RRM’s San Luis Obispo office. He specializes in large-scale, complex commercial and public projects, including the Los Angeles Regional Fire Station No. 82, IQMS Headquarters in Paso Robles, MindBody Campus in San Luis Obispo and the Manteca Transit Center. He is a guest lecturer for Cal Poly and Pioneer Valley High School, and has involved himself in the community as past recreation director for the County of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara foster care programs.

RRM Design Group is an award-winning, multidisciplinary design firm, comprised of architects, landscape architects, planners, civil engineers and surveyors. RRM has offices in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and San Juan Capistrano.

— Nicole Stephens is a senior marketing coordinator for RRM Design Group.

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Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 92) — So Much to Learn

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Dear Pinky and Spike:

So much to learn.

Since writing the last letter about the personal growth (or decline) that takes place during divorce, I’ve repeatedly challenged my motive for selecting this topic. Divorce lawyers hold a particularly influential position in the lives of their clients during a period of extreme psychological vulnerability. People going through a divorce feel vulnerable; that’s one of the reasons they hire lawyers. Because of the professional role in their client’s life, the lawyer enjoys a degree of power over the client. Ethically, the lawyer’s exercise of this power should be conscious, deliberate and connected to the task they’ve been engaged to perform.

For example, it is not uncommon for divorce lawyers to use the power differential to indoctrinate their clients with one or more of their own beliefs. To some extent this is inevitable — and in some instances it’s execrable. I’ve heard therapists describe a situation in which the divorce lawyer has “joined the client’s family” and is polluting the client’s family system with his or her own family-of-origin issues. This kind of representation is as toxic as you’d expect it to be. It is also easy to do — and while the family still has assets, it is lucrative.

As a matter of policy, I believe a divorce lawyer should be extremely careful to avoid affecting a client’s beliefs; however, conventional practice often requires the lawyer to inculcate the client with those personal beliefs and values because they drive that lawyer’s practice. If a client presents an attorney with a problem for which there appears to be a direct legal solution, the lawyer will describe how the solution can be implemented. If the client resists, the lawyer is likely to seek the cause of the resistance and overcome it.

The lawyer might say something like, “You aren’t going to let him/her continue to push you around like this, are you? Don’t you think it’s time to draw the line and stand up for yourself?” Those sentences are loaded with hidden assumptions and values. The expressions may be trite and clichéd, but they are powerful and may affect the client’s moral reasoning (or any other kind of reasoning).

My strong disapproval of many aspects of conventional law practice is based on a number of personal values that I may be imposing on clients with whom I share my views. I justify that activity by being deliberate in the way I deliver my opinion and by explaining the facts and values on which it is based. More important is the design and use of a consultation process, which precludes me from having an economic interest in the decisions they make.

That’s enough in the way of confession. As I said in the preceding letter, I would like to encourage anyone going through divorce to “expand” in whatever ways they think might make them become more like the person they’ve always wanted to be. During the last couple of years I’ve heard many references to the Aristotelian notion of the good life, which is described with the verb “to flourish.” I would be astonished if this isn’t what we all want for ourselves and for everyone we care about. (I strongly suspect that we would all benefit if the people we didn’t care about also “flourished,” but I wouldn’t be astonished to learn that this opinion was not universally held.) To flourish implies that some sort of “expansion” can or should take place. I don’t presume to know how to help others flourish, but I do know how hard it is to effect a change of mind or discover and appreciate a concept inconsistent with long-held views.

In this, the previous and the next letter I describe how the Internet has provided a variety of ways we can expose ourselves to content that can gently stretch both what we think and the way we think. It’s a gentle stretch. Listening to these programs won’t change you, but they might help you decide if and how you might want to change in the future.

Back to Melvyn Bragg and his BBC podcast, In Our Time (IOT). I described the basic mechanics of the program in the last letter. If nothing else, IOT will remind or acquaint you with what an intelligent conversation sounds like. The participants abide by the following rules: (1) They are sincere, and they answer Bragg’s questions with what they believe to be the “truth.” (2) They are concise. (3) Their comments are relevant to the topic raised by the question. Bragg maintains enough control to ensure the second and third conditions are met. Detectable sincerity is rare in American media; on IOT, however, I can’t recall a program where it was noticeably absent, and if it were I’m sure Bragg wouldn’t invite the guest to participate in another program.

There is an archive of about 440 programs divided into five categories. I want to give you a sample of the kinds of topics IOT explores, so I used a random number generator to select three episodes from each category with the following results (category, number of episodes and random sample of three program titles, by program number):

» History — 132 episodes: #63 The Needham Question, #72 The Field of the Cloth of Gold and #104 The Third Crusade

» Philosophy — 62 episodes: #31 The Oath, #39 Rhetoric and #30 Friendship

» Culture — 124 episodes: #105 Reading, #80 Marriage and #65 The Norse Gods

» Science — 152 episodes: #152 Science in the 20th Century, #41 Plate Tectonics and #91 Dreams

» Religion — 40 episodes: #11 St. Paul, #24 Zoroastrianism and #29 The Apocalypse

Listening to programs in which you have an interest might inspire your mind to pursue related subjects. This is a natural way to decide how to invest one’s time, but it also involves the risk that what’s new will be avoided in favor of topics likely to confirm, reify or bolster previously held ideas. In this and in many other applications, a random number generator is a good tool for gently sidestepping our Old Stuff on the path to discovering the new. Where the selection is being made from a numbered list, you insert the range of the list (e.g., for History it was 1 to 132) and the number of random integers you want generated. Click and the random numbers appear. In our time, it’s a more seemly way to make random selections than repeated flips of a coin or roll of the dice.

                                                                        •        •

Virginia Campbell’s Brain Science Podcast will be the subject of the next letter. Listen to any episode for 10 seconds and you will have taken a test of your bias toward the American South. “Ginger” Campbell has — to my ear — a strong Southern accent. I confess that it immediately put me on guard with respect to the reliability of her show’s content, even though I knew she was an emergency room physician with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. For those with a reaction similar to mine, you can listen for another 10 minutes and discover how your bias distorted information and led to a fallacious opinion. In other words, this is an opportunity to observe ourselves being wrong because of old ideas, and we can have this experience at no risk, no humiliation and no cost of any kind.

Your friend,
Bucky

— Brian H. Burke is a certified family law specialist practicing family law and mediation in Santa Barbara. A researcher and educator in the field of divorce and family conflicts, he is also the creator of the Legal Road Map™. Click here for more information, call 805.965.2888 or e-mail info@burkefamilylaw.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Marian Family Medicine Residency Program Welcomes Inaugural First-Year Resident Physicians

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Marian Regional Medical Center, which along with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center are Dignity Health’s Central Coast hospitals, is excited to announce the commencement of the Family Medicine Residency Program.

The first group of resident physicians began their post-graduate training program in July.

The Family Medicine Residency Program, which is affiliated with USC's Keck School of Medicine and with Western University, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, began the resident recruitment process in the fall of 2013. From that process, five highly-qualified candidates were selected to receive educational support and patient experience from faculty physicians at the Family Medicine Center.

The Marian Family Residency program will be comprised of up to six residents per year, rotating through the Family Medicine Center, the medical center and Dignity Health outpatient clinic/health center sites.

The Marian Family Medicine Residency Program is led by program director Richard McClaflin, M.D., and Director of Medical Education David Oates, M.D. Dr. McClaflin is an experienced family medicine physician who comes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine where he was an associate professor and the associate chair of the Department of Family Medicine.

“As a teaching hospital, Marian will remain at the forefront of the latest medical developments, be technologically up-to-date and offer a program that is built on a solid foundation of clinical science,” explains Dr. McClaflin. “Since family medicine physicians will be broadly trained and have the competencies required to practice in a variety of settings, our residents will receive training to provide the whole spectrum of primary care services.”

The Dignity Health Family Medicine Center, a state-of-the-art physician practice, opened on the MRMC campus in May 2013. It will serve as one of the teaching sites for the program’s physician residents where they will learn by caring for their own panel of patients under the supervision of practicing faculty physicians.

The Marian Family Medicine Residency Program’s mission is to provide resident physicians with the full spectrum of the family medicine specialty while also promoting a scholarly environment that fosters a balance of personal and professional growth and enhances patient health. Resident physicians will be trained by specialty physicians at MRMC, from labor and deliver to geriatrics, and every stage in between.

— Sara San Juan is a marketing specialist for Dignity Health of the Central Coast.

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United Blood Services Issues Urgent Appeal for Type O Donors

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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United Blood Services on Monday announced an urgent appeal for type O blood donors, joining a growing number of blood centers across the country that are encouraging blood donors to step up and help out during the final weeks of August.

United Blood Services has fixed site centers located in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Ventura with mobile blood drives throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Donors may call 877.UBS.HERO (827.4376) or click here to find a mobile blood drive or to make a convenient appointment to donate.

Only 6 percent of the population has O-negative blood, yet patients of all blood types can safely receive it. O-positive is the most prevalent blood type — 37 percent of the population has it — so it is needed in greater quantities.

“O-negative can be given to anyone in an extreme emergency situation when there is no time to crossmatch the donor’s blood with the patient’s,” explained Scott Edward, regional recruitment director for United Blood Services, this area’s non-profit community blood service provider. “Another special need for O-negative blood is in the treatment of babies. Neonatal care facilities require fresh units of O-negative blood each day to treat their tiny patients.”

If eligible, type O donors can maximize their donation by giving a double red cell donation. Donors who give just their red blood cells through a special donation called apheresis can double the amount of red blood cells donated at one time.

“Every two to three seconds in this country, someone needs blood. And you never know when you or someone you love will be the one," Edward said. "We all expect blood to be available when we need it, but only a few of those who can give actually roll up their sleeves. If you have type O blood, it’s time for you to get involved.”

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors age 22 or younger, and donors who are 16 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.

— Jennifer Van Donge is a publicist representing United Blood Services.

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Trent Benedetti: Santa Barbara County’s North and South — Can We All Get Along?

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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The horrible image of a man on the ground being beaten with nightsticks is seared in our collective memory. We live in a world changed as a result of what happened to Rodney King and the events that followed. In the midst of those events, Mr. King famously asked, “Can we all get along?”

Trent Benedetti
Trent Benedetti

That is a question fairly posed to the two halves of Santa Barbara County, North and South. We do not always share our geography gracefully. A split has been considered several times and voted upon as recently as 2006. But we are still together. And we still have disagreements. So what does that mean?

Agreeing is not necessary for getting along. However, mutual respect is. Hold that thought. We will come back to it.

First, Committee INC (the Committee to Improve North County) must congratulate Janene Scully, a longtime professional journalist familiar with our area, upon her selection as Noozhawk’s North County editor. By naming a North County editor, Noozhawk has clearly signaled its intent to expand coverage of North County affairs.

Perhaps comprehensive countywide reporting will somehow help both North and South answer yes to Mr. King’s question? Committee INC is hopeful.

Lest you wonder, Committee INC is comprised of citizens who want the North County to be always changing and becoming a better place to live, work and raise a family. We want safer neighborhoods, cleaner parks and better schools. We want houses priced within reach of everyone who dreams of home ownership. We want jobs for everyone, including our children and our grandchildren. And we want those jobs to pay well enough to provide economic security and upward mobility for all.

Perhaps the things we want for North County are not the same things the South County wants? That does not make either of us wrong. It makes us different. That brings us back to mutual respect; we must respect our differences.

You may prefer community gardens and gentlemen farmers. We don’t, although we have nothing against them. Our agricultural activities are conducted on a much larger scale. Each time we eat broccoli, lettuce, strawberries or the plethora of other fruits and vegetables grown in North County, we say thanks for our commercial farmers. Our farmers are like mom and apple pie — quintessential American.

You may prefer software design companies to industrial manufacturing. We don’t, although software design companies are most welcome in the North County. We value both brains and brawn. Both are essential to the manufacturing that goes on in our area. We are grateful for the manufacturers operating in the North County. American manufacturing has long been a source of jobs for the American middle class, and a strong middle class has long been vital for a strong America.

You may prefer to buy oil overseas and transport it to our ports over thousands of miles in foreign-flagged vessels. We don’t. Instead, we prefer to produce here as much of the oil we use as possible. We are fortunate to have abundant oil resources in the North County. We want to continue producing the resources already developed and continue developing the resources that are not. Oil is essential to our economy and energy independence is essential to America’s security. We think we should produce more oil here and send fewer soldiers to protect oil while it’s produced elsewhere.

We may not always agree with the South County but we respect the fact you are entitled to your preferences, just as we are entitled to ours. We hope you will respect our preferences, just as we respect yours. If we have mutual respect, we’ll get along just fine.

— Trent Benedetti is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Improve North County and a longtime local business owner. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Jenny Schatzle, Core Power Yoga Step Up to Support Join Jacob Campaign Benefiting Foodbank

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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This summer, 10-year-old Jacob Mansbach invited a team of third- through seventh-graders in the Santa Barbara Unified School District to join him in the Santa Barbara Triathlon on Aug. 24 and to raise money for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

This year, Liam, Gwen, Hank, Madeleine, Olivia, Sarah, Lucy, Madeline, Alana, Allison, Rhaya, River, Jackson and Joe have all joined Jacob on a mission to help other kids in our community get the food and nutrition they need. They have formed the "JOIN JACOB" Triathlon and Fundraising Team to help provide nutrition and education to kids and families in our community through the Foodbank.

Jacob and his team have set a fundraising goal of $50,000 by the time of the Santa Barbara Triathlon. They are in the final stretches of the Join Jacob Campaign, and community partners are stepping up to help them reach their goal. Exercise guru Jenny Schatzle and Core Power Yoga have generously agreed to host free exercise classes in support of Jacob and the team. Attendees will be asked to make a donation to the Foodbank in lieu of the class fee.

Schatzle will host a free family class at her studio on 590 E. Guiterrez St. from 6 to 7 p.m. this Monday, Aug. 18. All ages and abilities are welcome. Many Join Jacob team members will also be in attendance donning their Join Jacob team shirts.

Core Power Yoga will also host a free, adult only, hot yoga class at 1129 State St. from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Team members Madeleine, Hank, Jake and Joe will give a short talk to the class before it begins.

The Join Jacob team has spent their summer volunteering for the Foodbank, raising money and awareness, and learning all about the sport of triathlon. Donations from the classes will not only support the work of the Foodbank, it will send a clear message to this team of kids that they can make an impact on the lives of others and that helping their community can be extraordinary.

Additional team sponsors include Mission Wealth Management, Hazard's Cyclesport, Blenders in the Grass, Bryant & Sons and Riverblue Salon Spa.

For more information or to make a donation, please click here.

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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Rona Barrett: ‘Romantic’ Attachments Not Uncommon in Alzheimer’s Patients

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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Birds do it ... bees do it ... even our parents or loved ones in the throes of Alzheimer’s do it.

OK, a songwriter I am not. So I’ll tell you a couple of true stories.

I remember the day my sister called my widowed father and the first thing he said was, "I have a girlfriend." My sister replied, "What's her name?" Silence. He put down the phone and walked away. Several minutes later he returned with a card in his hand and replied, "Her name is Cheryl!" Seems my Dad could not recall his new girlfriend’s name, so he wrote it down on a piece of paper in his wallet, which he left in his bedroom. He remembered that, but not much more.

Now, imagine yourself in a loving marriage for over 50 years. The unconditional pact you made with each other was if one needed help, the other would always be there. Then, for two decades you watch your beloved slip further into Alzheimer’s. The time inescapably comes when you realize your loved one would have a better quality of life in a well-chosen care facility.

Then, within 48 hours after moving into the care facility, your beloved is in love once again. But not with you!

Should you be shocked your loved one, who no longer recognizes you and has forgotten the tender loving care you have given over the years, is now enamored with a fellow Alzheimer’s patient? According to Richard Powers, M.D., of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, romantic attachments among the more than 5 million Alzheimer’s patients “is common enough that we need to be able to deal with patients’ need for intimacy in a thoughtful and compassionate way.”

Should you be angry? Dr. Powers cautions, "You have to remember that it's not that your spouse is rejecting you, or that they don't care about you anymore, but they lack the ability to recognize these memories or their feelings. It's the disease; it's not personal."

Should you feel guilty for not providing enough care or intimacy? “Forgive yourself,” says the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s blog. “Guilt is often the result of refusing to accept that some things are beyond our control and accepting there are often no perfect solutions.”

Whatever your personal reaction is to this caregiver’s conundrum, Gray Matters will raise and discuss issues that many of us are uncomfortable thinking about — issues from which none of us will be exempt as the 65-plus population nearly doubles by 2050.

Case in point: the caregiver’s beloved spouse who fell in love with another Alzheimer’s patient — Sandra Day O’Connor, retired Supreme Court justice. Her reaction? According to her son in a USA Today article, she was “thrilled [he] was relaxed and happy … he was a teenager in love … a relief after a painful period.”

This moral dilemma illustrates one of the many unprecedented, perplexing, emotionally charged issues faced by those of us caring for elderly loved ones. Issues without any clear cut “should” or “should not.”

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

— In honor of her late father, entertainment journalist, author, senior activist and Santa Barbara County resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village, the area’s first affordable senior living and care facility, scheduled to begin construction in early 2015. Contact her at info@ronabarrettfoundation.org. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Laguna Blanca Welcomes Rob Hereford as New Head of School

By | Published on 08/18/2014

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As the new school year approaches, Laguna Blanca School is pleased to announce its new head of school, Rob Hereford.

Rob Hereford
Rob Hereford

Hereford brings more than 20 years of experience in education, and is looking forward to leading the Montecito and Santa Barbara campuses.

“Rob is a genuine school leader who believes in a collaborative leadership model,” board chairman Tom Pickett said. “We are confident he will lead Laguna Blanca into a successful future.”

Hereford comes to Laguna Blanca from Forth Worth Country Day School in Fort Worth, Texas, where he held the position of Upper School Division head for eight years.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Vanderbilt University and his master’s degree in history from the University of Georgia. Hereford began his teaching career at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, where he taught history, coached basketball and served as the History Department chair and associate academic dean.

In 2001, Hereford furthered his education and earned his master’s degree in private school leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also served as the Upper School principal at Metairie Park Country Day School in Metairie, La. During his tenure, he helped run New Orleans West office, which helped find schools for students who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

“My personal philosophy is that relationships are the foundation for success in every child’s education. I don’t just want to recognize my students — I want to know to every single one of them, and their parents and teachers,” Hereford said. “I am excited to be part of the Laguna family — to truly live Laguna everyday, and make it an amazing experience for the entire school community.”

Hereford is looking forward to engaging in the exciting new programs awaiting Laguna Blanca this coming school year, from the Early Kindergarten program, to the STEM Entrepreneur Program, new sand volleyball courts, expanding alumni programs and so much more.

Hereford and his wife, Amanda who is also an educator, have three sons, 19-year-old Scott, 6-year-old John and 4-year-old Joseph.

Families interested in meeting Hereford and learning more about Laguna Blanca, please call 805.687.2461.

Laguna Blanca School is an Early K-12 co-educational, college preparatory day school. It guides students to greater heights by building upon the 80-year tradition of academic excellence with new and innovative teaching methods and programs. With the thriving experiential learning, STEM, and global studies programs, resourceful iPad initiative and competitive Condor League athletics, the school continues to broaden and enrich its students’ educational experience.

Click here for more information.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.

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