Santa Barbara-Goleta, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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‘Polka Dot Alley’ Documentary Celebrates Spirit of Fiesta, and Its Dancers

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Young flamenco dancers from Linda Vega Dance Studios have a starring role in Polka Dot Alley, a documentary movie that will be screened Wednesday at the Lobero Theatre.

The film — co-produced, filmed and edited by Christine Mallet and Randal Kazarian — features Talia Vestal, the 2014 Spirit of Fiesta, and her younger sister, Tatum. The Vestals have each served as Junior Spirit of Santa Barbara’s annual Old Spanish Days celebration. Neither has seen the documentary yet.

Polka Dot Alley promises to give an insightful look into the flamenco culture of Santa Barbara.

“They started filming in 2009, when I was in sixth grade,” Talia told Noozhawk. “I’m nervous to see the film, as it follows every aspect of flamenco dancing — including the early morning wake-ups and so much of what happens behind the scenes.

“But I’m also really excited. It’s going to give a great perspective on flamenco and Santa Barbara’s Fiesta.”

Polka Dot Alley will be playing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido. Tickets cost $24.

Click here for more information about Polka Dot Alley.

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

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Judge Denies Santa Barbara Gang Injunction; Police Chief Ready to ‘Accept It and Move On’

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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In what the ACLU calls the first successful defense ever of an injunction, the ruling finds the city failed to prove 'unreasonable' gang activity

In the wake of Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne’s rejection of Santa Barbara's proposed gang injunction, Police Chief Cam Sanchez said Tuesday he wants to “accept it and move on,” and focus on the department’s existing efforts to address gang activity.

Sterne’s 32-page ruling filed Monday recognized the Eastside and Westside as local criminal street gangs, but determined the city didn’t prove that gang activities are a public nuisance requiring injunctive relief.

“In short, Santa Barbara is not a community beset by substantial and unreasonable gang-related interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons,” she wrote.

The defense team, made up of local criminal defense attorneys working pro bono, said they are thrilled with the decision, but it’s unclear whether the city will pursue the case further.

“I’m disappointed but respect the judge’s decision,” Sanchez said Tuesday. “I think all of us in public safety, our only goal is to keep everyone safe and use different tools that can help in that regard, and that’s all I was trying to do.”

City Attorney Ariel Calonne also said he is disappointed with the ruling. He is still analyzing the decision and will advise the City Council when he’s finished.

Mayor Helene Schneider said the city will "use every tool available to keep our residents and visitors safe while we consider the impacts and options of Judge Sterne's ruling."

However, Sanchez, who initiated pursing an injunction, said he plans to accept the court's decision.

“I’m proud of the hard work we did,” he said. “No city is immune from violence or gang issues, and I think our job will be to continue to enforce the laws and keep people safe, and provide something that’s not spoken about often enough, which is the great programs for youth we have citywide.”

He added that the Police Department will “stay vigilant” and emphasize the prevention and intervention efforts with local youth.

When the injunction went to a public vote in April, two members of the City Council voted to have Calonne withdraw the case altogether, but they were overruled by the five members who voted to continue to trial.

Ariel Calonne
Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne expressed disappointment Tuesday with a judge’s decision to deny the city’s proposed gang injunction, but says he is analyzing the decision and will advise the City Council on his findings. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The defense team is “delighted” with this week’s ruling, defense attorney Tara Haaland-Ford said.

“I think the judge laid out a well-reasoned opinion, and I think probably even the other side would say we had a good trial, and that she really held both sides to the fire,” she said. “Some of our key arguments are noted in the opinion — the flaws in their data, the lack of people who actually came forward and testified that they were for the injunction, and the over-breadth of the actual safety zones.”

While there are gang issues in Santa Barbara, the defense had argued that they don’t rise to the level of a substantial or unreasonable public nuisance.

“I think our hope is that this ruling will bring the community together so we can move forward to get those people and those kids who are in, or on the edge, to a different path,” Haaland-Ford said.

On Tuesday, the ACLU of Southern California informed the defense team that this is the first successful defense in a gang injunction case — not only in California, but anywhere in the country, she said.

“That’s pretty amazing, given that this was a group of grassroots criminal defense attorneys on their own dime,” she said. “Some of us have been working more than three years on this, then to have a success like this — it’s pretty huge.”

The named defendants can move on now, but Haaland-Ford said they have already been impacted by having their names and photographs broadcasted in local media.

Thirty people were named in the first complaint, but 19 were dismissed from the case before trial.

The City Attorney’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the SBPD filed the case in March 2011 and have pursued a permanent injunction ever since.

A three-week trial was held in May, when Sterne heard arguments and evidence from the plaintiffs and defense attorneys, who represented individual clients and made a case against the injunction as a policy. 

The injunction is a restraining order of sorts, limiting the actions of named defendants within the proposed safety zones in the downtown, Eastside and Westside neighborhoods of Santa Barbara.

As Sterne noted in her decision, the crux of the injunction petition is the “no association” clause, which prevents named people from being in public together within the safety zones. Many other provisions are duplicative of gang-related parole and probation conditions.

Sterne didn’t go into detail about the proposed safety zones or provisions of the injunction, since she denied it outright. However, she said the safety zones were not narrowly tailored as required and would have needed to be reconfigured if the injunction was granted.

While the plaintiffs argued that traditional law enforcement methods aren’t effective against nuisance behavior, Sterne determined that law enforcement agencies have adequate remedies available with existing laws.

“The desire for a gang injunction is, in a certain sense, thwarted by the success of SBPD, an agency that has been very diligent in its goal to minimize gang activity,” she wrote.

In response to witnesses relating hearsay about gangs keeping a low profile during the trial, she wrote: “The fact of the matter is that Santa Barbara crime rates have been generally declining, and have been well under state and national averages, and gang activity has been less violent than average.”  

She wrote that she appreciated the efforts and challenges of law enforcement dealing with gang activity, but the impact of that activity on the community at large “carries greater weight in this analysis.”

The plaintiffs stated that the Eastside and Westside gangs are two turf gangs at war with each other, attacking opposing members and recruiting children into their ranks while citizens cower in their homes, Sterne wrote. However, police used “unreliable and overstated” data to show a public nuisance.

The crime statistics compiled and presented by the SBPD had no context to show the ratio of gang-related crime rates compared to overall crime in the proposed safety zones and community as a whole, Sterne wrote. Several citizens who live and/or work in the proposed safety zones testified for the defense, saying they haven’t observed gang activity out in the open in their neighborhoods.

It was a small sampling, but that anecdotal testimony was more reliable than the hearsay testimony offered by law enforcement to the contrary, Sterne said.

No citizens testified in favor of the injunction.

Plaintiffs called SBPD witnesses, including gang expert Detective Gary Siegel, to talk about local gang history, culture and criminal activity.

Sterne said she did not find testimony convincing from two of the non-SBPD witnesses: Gregory Anderson, a deputy district attorney for Fresno County with experience obtaining gang injunctions, and former Eastside gang member Arthur Nevarez who is serving a life sentence in prison.

Anderson was knowledgeable about gang injunctions in general, but his understanding of Santa Barbara was lacking, Sterne said.

Nevarez, who is temporarily incarcerated in the County Jail, testified about gang communication in prison and the movement of money through a gang hierarchy. He acknowledged that his testimony could benefit his situation, and Sterne questioned his credibility, calling his testimony “obviously self-serving.”

Anderson testified that, in his opinion, gang injunctions are generally unsuccessful without demonstrable community support.

The SBPD and plaintiffs never offered “any evidence of any systematic effort to measure the need for an injunction (or lack of need) perceived by the community,” Sterne noted.

The public's perception proved central to the case.

Sterne concluded there is gang activity within the city and it is a nuisance, but not to the degree of imposing an injunction. 

It’s a “sad fact of gang life” that gangs prey on each other “in ways often invisible to the community around them,” she wrote. “The social concerns, from poverty, to substance abuse, to racism — there is a long list — that underlie gang activity at its roots cry out for serious attention.

“But the question asked relative to a gang injunction has to do with that very question of visibility, and how the activities of the gang are experienced, not just by gang members and their affiliates, families and friends, but by the larger community around them. This can be difficult for law enforcement, whose job is to deal with crime on a day to day basis. The general public does not experience crime in the same way.”

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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Cottage Health System Data Breach May Have Impacted 18,000 More Patients Than First Suspected

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A data breach of protected health information at Cottage Health System may have impacted thousands more patients than initially suspected.

Last year, Cottage Health System discovered that one of its servers had the electronic protections disabled, resulting in the exposure of certain information, according to a letter sent to patients.

Cottage recently discovered that approximately 18,000 additional patients may have been impacted by the data exposure, beyond the initial 32,500 notified in December 2013.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Cottage Health System, claiming that the confidential information of more than 32,000 patients was put online for anyone to read, and was public for almost two months before the hospital system noticed.

The lawsuit also names inSync, a Laguna Hills-based company responsible for putting the records in a secure location online.

Brian Kabatek, one of the attorneys representing the class-action plaintiffs, told Noozhawk he believes the new patients are part of the same security breach and that his firm is working to discover what that will mean for the lawsuit.

"This may, however, be much bigger than we originally thought," he said.

The 15-page complaint filed earlier this year states that between Oct. 8 and Dec. 2 of 2013, the confidential medical records of about 32,500 patients affiliated with the Cottage Health System were negligently disclosed and released to the public on the Internet.

In early July, Cottage sent out more letters to patients, acknowledging that their information could be a part of the data breach as well. The time frame also expanded, including patients who sought treatment at any of the three hospitals between Feb. 20, 2009, and Dec. 2, 2013.

Cottage officials say there is no evidence to suggest that anyone has used the information contained on this server in any way.

The potentially exposed files contained information including the name, address, date of birth and very limited protected health information for some patients related to diagnosis, lab results and procedures performed, Cottage officials have said.

The files did not include any Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, health insurance numbers, bank account numbers or any other financial information, and officials with the health organization maintain that they immediately removed the server from service and conducted a review of all servers to ensure that appropriate security measures are in place.

“We deeply regret this incident," Steve Fellows, Cottage Health System's executive vice president, COO and chief compliance officer, said in a statement. "Cottage takes its obligation to protect health information very seriously and is taking aggressive steps to safeguard against this type of incident in the future."

Cottage is encouraging patients with questions regarding whether their protected health information may have been exposed to contact ID Experts at 877.846.7856.

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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Judge Drops 2 Charges Against Former Cabrillo High Wrestling Coaches; Trial Continues on Third Count

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A judge dismissed two misdemeanor charges Tuesday against a pair of former wrestling coaches at Cabrillo High School, before the defense witnesses took the stand in the jury trial on the remaining count of battery of a minor.

Former head coach Chad Johnson and former assistant coach Matthew Giles were charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a Dec. 9, 2013, incident involving three team captains and a wrestler. The coaches were charged with battery on a minor on school grounds and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

A sophomore student, Fabian, claimed that three team captains — referred in court by the first names of Nico, Kodey and Jose — gave him a beating, causing injuries.

The three captains testified Monday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria that the coach instructed them to “deal with” fellow wrestler Fabian’s poor attendance, off-campus fighting and poor grades. After talking to Fabian, the captains decided among themselves to conduct an ironman, or series of wrestling matches, when coaches weren’t present.

After the prosecution rested Monday, defense attorneys requested the judge dismiss all three charges against the two coaches, with Michael Scott, who is representing Johnson, calling the prosecution’s case “so bereft of evidence.”

“I do not think the people have met their burden of proof in regards to count one,” added Adrian Galvan, Giles’ attorney.

On Tuesday morning, Judge James Rigali confirmed his tentative ruling made the previous afternoon, dismissing two of the counts.

“I don’t believe that the contributing to the delinquency of a minor is applicable to this fact pattern at all,” Rigali said. “I think that there is no basis in the law to allow this jury to convict these men of the crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”


Deputy District Attorney Paul Greco argued that the coaches were filling in as temporary guardians, had a responsibility to keep students’ safe and essentially abandoned those duties temporarily.

“What Mr. Johnson does in essence is ask minors to discipline other minors,” Greco said, adding the coach didn’t provide any guidance to the teens.

But Scott said there’s no evidence the coaches had ever delegated discipline to team captains. The three captains earlier testified they decided among themselves to hold the ironman.

“That is an intervening act. The coach did not set that in motion. He asked them to talk to him which they did. It was their decision,” Scott said.

The coaches’ undue influence led the student-athletes astray, Greco said.

“The people that were left alone together was not the debate team,” he said. “It wasn’t the chess team or the golf team. We’ve gone through much evidence in this case that wrestling is a violent sport, a combat sport as defense counsel referred to it repeatedly.”

Greco contended the wrestling program culture meant the coaches knew what would happen, especially since Giles told to the captains not to leave facial marks on Fabian.

But Galvan said the only reason Giles’ faces a battery charge is “based upon the stupid statement that he made — no facial marks.”

Giles’ attorney also said Fabian consented to the ironman since the teen wasn’t coerced or falsely imprisoned.

The criminal case in the Santa Maria courtroom is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning with jury instructions and closing arguments from the prosecution and two defense attorneys.

Before the criminal charges were filed March 7, Fabian and his mother earlier filed a civil lawsuit against the men plus a third coach Chuy Medrano and the Lompoc Unified School District.

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 Attorney Darryl Genis Again Faces Charges of Contempt of Court

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A judge accuses him of 'fiddling' with a prosecutor’s notes and photographing the opposing counsel's documents during a recess in proceedings

A Santa Barbara judge has accused attorney Darryl Genis of contempt of court, alleging that Genis “fiddled” with a prosecutor’s notes and took pictures of documents during a recess in court last month.

The complaint was filed against Genis, a defense attorney who specializes in driving-under-the-influence cases on the Central Coast, late last week — nearly a year after he was convicted in a separate local contempt of court case.

Genis told Noozhawk on Tuesday he was not guilty of the charges against him, which allege he abused the court process by willfully deceiving the court, violated court rules by photographing opposing counsel’s trial notes and interfered with those trial notes.

He is scheduled to appear in Department 4 of Santa Barbara County Superior Court next Friday to show cause for why he should not be found guilty.

“When Judge (Donna) Geck hears the matter, my lawyer will make clear the factual and legal reasons,” Genis said in an email.

The incident in question involves the trial case of the People v. Jennica Leigh Varela, Genis’ client.

During proceedings on June 9, Deputy District Attorney Justin Greene alleged that Genis deliberately disturbed or fiddled with his papers on the counsel table during a break, rearranging them.

In the complaint, Judge Brian Hill says he asked Genis four separate times if the accusations were true, and Genis answered no.

“Does that deserve a response?” Genis said, according to courtroom minutes attached to the filing.

“On the fourth inquiry, Mr. Genis ‘categorically denied’ any interference with the prosecutor’s papers,’” Hill wrote.

The court indicated it would review a videotape of the recess at a later date, and footage allegedly found that Genis did approach the prosecutor’s table.

“He appeared to read and rearrange some documents, then removed his cell phone and photographed something on the prosecutors table,” Hill wrote. “Mr. Genis then proceeded to hide a document under a larger stack of papers.”

The filing alleged Genis has previously been ordered not to take photographs without court permission, specifically on May 17, 2012, and June 11, 2012,

If the judge finds Genis guilty, he could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000 — the same amount the attorney paid the court last July — or face jail time.

The contempt charges come as Genis still waits for final say from a State Bar Court, where he has been accused of moral turpitude, making a false and malicious State Bar complaint and for failing to obey court orders.

A State Bar judge threw out two of those charges, recommending Genis be suspended for 90 days, placed on probation for two years, and attend anger-management counseling. State Bar prosecutors appealed that February decision, as did Genis, who asked that all counts be dismissed.

While both sides wait, Genis continues to practice law.

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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County Planning Commission Votes to Recommend Approval of Cuyama Solar Facility

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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The project, proposed for 327 acres on Kirchenmann Road, now goes to the Board of Supervisors for final consideration

A solar farm proposed for the Cuyama Valley received the nod of approval from the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Tuesday after multiple speakers praised the project’s promises of jobs and clean renewable energy.

Planning commissioners recommended that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approve several matters related to the Cuyama Solar Facility, proposed for 327 acres at 596 Kirchenmann Road in the northeastern corner of the county. The vote was 4-0 with Fourth District Commissioner Larry Ferini absent.

First District Commissioner C. Michael Cooney noted he also was part of the panel to approve another alternative energy project, a wind farm for the Lompoc Valley.

“This project similarly has great promise,” Cooney said. “(It’s a) great opportunity for Santa Barbara County to join those other jurisdictions that have ventured into a large-scale solar field. We get the opportunity to learn about this and recommend it to the board of supervisors and its many facets.”

Commissioner Joan Hartmann, who represents the Third District, noted that the county received 57 letters of support for the project. She also expressed pride that she is part of the panel recommending approval of the clean energy project that will help efforts by not contributing to global warming.

“I’m glad First Solar is helping the county move forward,” Hartmann added.

The project would be able to generate 40 megawatts of electricity, which would generate enough for approximately 15,600 homes, according to applicant, First Solar.

Koryn Kendall, project development manager with First Solar, called the Cuyama Solar Facility “a very well-sited project.” The site is previously disturbed agricultural land about 2 miles south of Highway 166.

“It has minimal impacts to surrounding ag and landscape,” she said. “And it will provide significant benefits for the county and the community.”

county solar
Koryn Kendall, project development manager for First Solar, addresses the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Approximately 600,000 photovoltaic modules, 2 feet by 4 feet, would convert sunlight directly into low-voltage direct current. The modules would be mounted on steel and aluminum support structures in a horizontal tracking device that follows the sun. It will connect via the Cuyama substation.

“The project will supplement the local power supply and we believe increase reliability in this area of the grid,” Kendall added. “Because our water use during operation is so low, the water currently being allocated to this site for irrigation can be reallocated elsewhere … .”

Susan Petrovich, representing Bolthouse Farms, said the farming operation views the solar project as an agricultural support facility. Cuyama can suffer power interruptions which can interfere with water well pumps and lead to lost crops during the peak irrigation season, she added.

“Adding power to this local grid provides a safety net for Bolthouse crops along with those of other valley farmers,” Petrovich said.

Several speakers urged the commissioners to approve the project, which planning staff has worked on since 2011.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect energy project, but this project is very close,” said Jefferson Litton of the Community Environmental Council.

Others including union representatives touted the potential for jobs. Up to 200 people could be employed during the construction of the solar farm.

“I think this is a project can all be proud of,” said Chuck Huddleston from a local chaper of IBEW.

With 500 members, the union has seen 50 percent of them be unemployed.

“This will put my members to work in Santa Barbara County,” Huddleston said, adding a local hiring agreement is in place with First Solar.

Santa Barbara Audubon Society representatives expressed concerns about the project’s potential impacts, and called for the installation of powerline markers to avoid accidentally electrocuting California condors.

They also were worried the solar panels would look like a vertical lake, fooling birds into thinking the facility is a body of water.

Audubon Society co-president Steve Ferry listed a number of steps he suggested be taken to make the project more acceptable, including adding features to accommodate burrowing owls.

County Planning Commission members agreed to some of the requests, including adding requiring powerline markers.

A number of recommendations by the Planning Commission were required for the project to move forward. With the commissioners giving their support Tuesday, county staff estimated the project will go before the Board of Supervisors this fall.

The proposed project requires amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Development Code (CP/LUDC) to allow utility-scale solar photovoltaic facilities on up to 600 acres of land designated Agriculture II (A-II) or Agriculture Commercial (AC), and zoned AG-II, in the rural area of the Cuyama Valley. Some parcels need to be rezoned to accommodate the facility.

In connection with the project, proponents are seeking to cancel the Williamson Act contract for 167 acres. But the remaining 1,362 acres would be re-enrolled into a replacement contract to keep the land in agriculture uses.

 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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Domestic Dispute Suspect Arrested After Search in Goleta

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A Goleta neighborhood was crowded with a police presence Monday night following a domestic dispute and hour-long search for the suspect in a domestic dispute, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said deputies responded to a domestic dispute call at a residence in the Palos Verdes Drive area shortly after 9 p.m. and discovered the suspect was no longer there, which launched a subsequent search.

Several deputies were involved, along with a K-9 unit, and the 45-year-old Goleta man was found about an hour later hiding in the same neighborhood, Hoover said.

Hoover said she didn’t want to release the suspect’s name to protect the victim’s identity and privacy.

She said the man was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant and for resisting and obstructing police officers.

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

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Santa Barbara Council Hears Consultant Presentation on District Elections

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Council votes to hire a consultant to dig further into city demographics and voting data

After hearing a presentation Tuesday about district elections, the Santa Barbara City Council voted to hire a consultant to investigate the issue further.

It remains to be seen how the council will move forward, but the city has been guaranteed a lawsuit if it does not pursue district elections, due to concerns about a lack of Latino representation in city government. 

The council had a consultant present information Tuesday about how district elections could work in the city and what the voting landscape across the state looks like currently.  

Consultant Doug Johnson, president of National Demographics Corporation, said that his company has worked with school districts and other agencies across the state as they examine districts and voting processes.

Santa Barbara has an at-large voting system, which allows all city residents to vote for council candidates that live in city limits.

A district election would allow for districts to be drawn up — which would have to be based on neighborhood, Johnson said — and people would run for and vote for council seats based on what district they live in. 

"As a charter city, the world is open to you," he told the council of their options.

Johnson said that the overwhelming majority of California cities are still at large, but the 15 largest cities use some version of district elections.

"Around 275,000 people, districts start coming up" as a topic to consider, he said.

Cities with populations less than that host almost exclusively at-large elections, with the exception of cities with a rapidly growing Latino population, like Watsonville or Salinas, he said.

Santa Barbara, which has insignificant population growth in general, is not one of those cities seeing a large increase in their minority populations, he said.

The law surrounding the voting law in California is extremely murky, and cities often face multi-million-dollar lawsuits if the details get hashed out in the courts.

"When we do these analyses, they're almost always grey," Johnson said.

Latinos make up about 38 percent of the Santa Barbara's population, compared to 55 percent of non-Hispanic whites in the city, according to U.S. Census Data from 2010.

Santa Barbara as a city has seen slight growth of its Latino population, from 35 percent in 2000 to 38 percent in 2010, and Latino people of voting age has increased to 19 percent from 14 percent. 

"You do have some (Latinos) running (for council), but you have a lot more losing, which does raise some concern," he said.

Adding to the complicated situation is that ethnicity is very "subjective," Johnson said. 

A handful of public speakers spoke during public comment and they all supported district elections and more consideration of the issue. 

Isaac Garrett, an African-American resident who ran for mayor in 2009, said the system in place not does not serve the city effectively.

"The at-large system might serve a small portion of the city very well, but it does not reflect the majority," he said, adding that the large amount of money required for to run for council keeps many people out of the race altogether, even if they might represent the neighborhoods better. 

The council unanimously voted to hire Johnson to come back with more data, including how polarized voting is in the city.

During the meeting, councilmember Cathy Murillo reiterated her frustration with the possible litigation.

"I don't appreciate being threatened with a lawsuit and looking at spending millions of dollars of the public treasury," Murillo said.

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

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Library Adult Literacy Program Volunteer Linda Solin Shares the Gift of Reading

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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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.]

Imagine being unable to read your child’s report card, fill out a job application, read a bus schedule, or vote. For most of us, it is almost impossible to picture what it would be like to go through life unable to read or even to tell time. It is a sad fact that many in our community, working and raising families, carefully keep the secret that they cannot read. It could be anyone — perhaps someone you know.

Fortunately, volunteers like Linda Solin are there to help. A Santa Barbara Public Library Adult Literacy Program volunteer tutor, she devotes several hours every week helping adults learn to read.

Solin is used to challenges: She began her volunteer career in her teens in the surgical ward of a children’s hospital, helping to change burned children’s bandages. She enjoyed her hospital work but always dreamed of being a teacher.

After attending UC Santa Barbara, she worked in bilingual education in Bakersfield, later moving back to Santa Barbara, where she taught kindergarten and first grade for the next 30 years. Retirement opened new possibilities. A friend recommended the tutoring program and, before she knew it, she was matched with “José” (not his real name).

A confident and successful worker in the field of construction, José, 38, told Solin that he had driven by the library many times before summoning the courage to ask for help. His schooling in Mexico was interrupted at a young age by moving to the United States, where he picked crops with his father in the Central Valley. He never learned to read. At first nervous, José is now totally committed to learning to read and write so that he can improve his English.

For the past three years, Solin has worked with José twice a week, tucked away in a private part of the library. (She was astounded to find that he could read long words such as "responsibility" and "symmetrical" but had no use for small words such as "it" and "the." He was amazed to find out that he used phrases that he did not realize consisted of several distinct words ("all of a sudden" or "get out of here").

Solin began by writing down José’s life story and reading it back to him. She takes notes on where he has difficulties and thinks of creative ways to help him. Once, she provided him with personal flashcards based on his life and work. She says she will miss him when he eventually moves on.

Solin’s second learner is a woman in her 70s who raised a family, worked in the fields and now lives alone. Tired of watching TV, “Ruth” (not her real name) decided she wanted to learn math. She reads at a third-grade level but never learned to tell time. Ruth has no awareness of the passing of those small increments of time that rule most of our lives. This results in her sometimes boarding her bus an hour early. Solin has now added a kitchen clock to her tool kit.

Solin explains that being illiterate limits job opportunities and that it takes great courage for an adult to reveal their secret and seek help. Tearing up as she describes the difficulties encountered by her learners, she says she works hard at figuring out new ways to open doors to the magic of words and through them, a better future.

She is changing lives forever — and enriching hers in the process.

The Santa Barbara Public Library has 150 volunteer tutors who serve approximately 230 adult learners per year. Volunteers donated 8,200 hours over the past year, providing instruction and preparing lessons.

                                                                        •        •

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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Soprano Michelle Bradley, Pianist Michael Gaertner Win Music Academy’s Marilyn Horne Competition

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Soprano Michelle Bradley and pianist Michael Gaertner have been named winners of the 2014 Music Academy of the West Marilyn Horne Song Competition, which took place Saturday at the Music Academy’s Hahn Hall.

Bradley and Gaertner will each receive a cash award of $2,500, and will be presented in recital next year in Santa Barbara, New York and other cities.

One of the most popular events of the summer season at the Music Academy, the Marilyn Horne Song Competition (formerly known as the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition) is a showcase for academy singers and vocal pianists. Top awards, presented in memory of longtime Music Academy vocal accompaniment faculty member Gwendolyn Koldofsky, are given to the academy singer and vocal pianist who demonstrate excellence in the performance of song repertoire as well as a unique gift for audience communication. The competition regularly attracts industry insiders eager for a glimpse of up-and-coming talent.

Joining world-renowned concert and opera singer Marilyn Horne as jurors this year were Barbara Hocher, former executive director of the Marilyn Horne Foundation and currently a consultant for the Marilyn Horne Legacy at Carnegie Hall; Jeremy Geffen, director of artistic planning at Carnegie Hall; Academy faculty member Matthew Epstein, former director of Columbia Artists Vocal; Alexander Neef, general director of the Canadian Opera Company; and Craig Terry, music director of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Horne has directed the Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997. All told, 22 singers and five vocal pianists competed this year. All are attending the Music Academy this summer.

Previous winners of the competition have included baritone John Brancy and pianist Mario Antonio Marra (2013); soprano Tracy Cox and pianist Maureen Zoltek (2012); soprano Karen Vuong and pianist Saule Tlenchiyeva (2011); soprano Megan Hart and pianist Sun Ha “Sunny” Yoon (2010); mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller, tenor Jeffrey Hill, and pianist Lio Kuokman (2009); soprano Simone Osborne, baritone Edward Parks, and pianist In-Sun Suh (2008); soprano Nadine Sierra and pianist Karen Kyung-Eun Na (2007); Santa Barbara’s own Evan Hughes (2006); soprano Elaine Alvarez, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, and pianist Tamara Sanikidze (2005); mezzo-soprano Daniela Lehner and pianist Marie-Ève Scarfone (2004); mezzo-soprano Megan Latham and pianist Carol Wong (2003); mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski and pianist Jerome Tan (2002); tenor Ramon Diggs and pianist Nino Sanikidze (2001); baritone Nicolai Janitzky, mezzo-soprano Liesel Fedkenheuer, and pianists Ji Young Lee and Spencer Myer (2000).

Remaining highlights of the Music Academy’s 2014 season include a new production of Georges Bizet’s popular opera Carmen as well as the Academy debut of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, who will conduct members of the Academy Festival Orchestra at the Lobero Theatre on July 26 as part of a new multiyear partnership with the Philharmonic. Additional highlights will include performances by cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Stephen Hough, as well as conducting turns by Thomas Adès and James Gaffigan. Featuring the Academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented in venues throughout Santa Barbara. The Music Academy’s 67th annual Summer Festival concludes Aug. 9.

For tickets and information, call 805.969.8787. Information is also available online by clicking here.

— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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Lou Cannon: Renewable Energy on Track Despite Setbacks

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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The relentless march of the states to greater use of renewable energy has hit some bumps on the road.

The biggest bump occurred in Ohio, where the Legislature last month approved a law delaying the state’s commitment to obtain 25 percent of its energy use from renewable energy by 2025. The Ohio measure was the latest battle in a regional assault on renewable standards by Republicans, who contend that green energy mandates are expensive and threaten economic growth.

In the Kansas Legislature, a measure to revise clean-energy standards was narrowly defeated, but proponents vow they will try again. In April, the Indiana Legislature took the dramatic, if largely symbolic, step of eliminating the state’s energy-efficiency standards.

The Ohio measure is “clearly a setback” for renewable energy, said Dick Munson, director of Midwest Clean Energy for the Environmental Defense Fund. But he does not see it as a lasting defeat. Munson observed that many other states are adhering to commitments to increase use of renewables or expanding these goals.

California, the poster child for renewable energy, is on target to meet its goal of generating a third of its energy from renewables by 2020, according to Lauren Navarro, Munson’s counterpart in the Golden State.

The landmark California measure was supported and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2002. It has been embraced by his successor, Gov. Jerry Brown, and twice expanded since its enactment. In 2010, California voters rejected a ballot initiative that opponents said would cripple the law.

Following California’s lead, some 30 states in the last dozen years have adopted mandates, known as renewable portfolio standards, which set goals for utilities to increase their percentage of green energy use. They have for the most part been widely accepted, but some utility companies such as FirstEnergy in Ohio have balked at the goals or the means of achieving them. Wind and solar power are subsidized in various ways by federal, state and local governments. In Ohio, some Republicans argued that the costs of producing these alternative energies have declined enough that they should stand on their own feet without subsidies.

The argument cuts two ways. The reduced costs of producing renewable energy may weigh against continued subsidies but they also herald a day when renewable energy will routinely be part of the electrical generation mix. A recent study of 24 states with renewable portfolio standards by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley found they increased utility bills by only 1 percent.

Nationally, renewable energy accounts for about 10 percent of U.S. energy consumption and 13 percent of electricity generation. More than half of this electric power comes from water (hydropower) and roughly a third from wind power. The rest comes from biomass wood and waste, geothermal and solar, which accounts for only 2 percent of renewable energy generation.

In signing the Ohio bill, Gov. John Kasich took credit for brokering what he called a balanced compromise between clean-energy advocates and “those who would like to kill renewable energy altogether.” The bill delayed by two years the Ohio target of obtaining 25 percent of its energy from alternative sources by 2025. During this two-year freeze, as Kasich calls it, a commission will study the issue.

Some environmentalists don’t believe the Ohio delay is truly balanced. Noting that Kasich had also approved a $400 million state budget restricting wind farm siting, the green energy website, CleanTechnica, headlined its report on the Ohio situation: “Ohio to Wind Power: Drop Dead.” (This echoed, “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD,” a 1975 headline in the New York Daily News after President Gerald Ford denied federal bankruptcy assistance to New York City.)

Balanced or not, the Ohio bill and Indiana’s scrapping of its efficiency standards, have raised doubts that are not helpful to the cause of renewable energy.

“Energy markets are highly policy-driven,” Todd Foley of the American Council on Renewable Energy told The New York Times. “When states and even the federal government continually revisit these policies, it sends a signal of uncertainty. It chills market and investment momentum.”

But this momentum, even if slowed, may be inexorable. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in July that renewable consumption for electricity and heat generation is on track to grow by nearly 3 percent in 2014 and by 4 percent in 2015. Munson believes this trend is irreversible.

Two recent developments may have given alternative energy a boost. The first was a June announcement by President Barack Obama of a climate-change initiative intended to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. Later in the month, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The 7-2 ruling, in which Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia joined the court’s moderates and liberals, was the latest in a string of decisions endorsing the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to issue Clear Air Act regulations to curb climate change.

The administration’s efforts to curb carbon emissions, especially from coal, come at a time of extensive natural gas production that has brought the United States to the brink of energy independence. Thirty-nine of total U.S. electricity generation in 2013 came from coal, but natural gas accounted for 27 percent of the generation and is rapidly gaining.

A year ago Citigroup predicted that the United States — or at least North America — could be energy independent by 2020. By then, according to the consultancy firm, McKinsey & Co., U.S. energy consumption could be down 23 percent with increased use of energy-efficiency measures.

Energy efficiency is important because there’s no free lunch in energy generation. Much of the increased natural gas production comes from the hydraulic fracturing or fracking of shale, a process that releases toxic emissions and is under political attack.

Hydropower will experience a slight downturn in 2014, according to the EIA, even as electricity generation from other renewable energy sources increases, largely because of the Western drought. Wind power, which is expanding globally, is criticized for the destruction of bird flocks.

Despite such obstacles and the pullback in Ohio and Indiana, renewable energy projects continue to entice. Early this year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti promised that his city, the second most populous in the nation, would derive 20 percent of its electricity from rooftop solar power by 2020.

This month, in North Carolina, two universities, a hospital and the utility Duke Energy declared they will soon begin construction of a 52-megawatt solar project, the largest east of the Mississippi River. Encouraging others to follow suit, the federal government recently announced it would make $4 billion available in loan guarantees for innovative renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects that avoid or reduce greenhouse gases.

California continues to show the way on renewable energy and its accomplice, energy efficiency, which Navarro calls the “lowest hanging fruit” in the effort to reduce carbon pollution. Under a program known as “demand response,” utility users lower thermostats during periods of peak electricity use in return for a refund on their electricity bills. Although still in its infancy, this program is seen by the California Public Utility Commission as the wave of the future.

What happened in Ohio is a reminder that the path to alternative energy is not straight. The ultimate direction is nonetheless clear.

As the American Council on Renewable Energy declared in its 2014 forecast: “The potential of America’s clean energy … provides the country with an unparalleled opportunity to reinvigorate our economy while protecting our environment.”

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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Ron Fink: Workers Will Not Have Better Lives Because of State-Mandated Minimum Wage Increases

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Last year, there was a loud outcry from liberals for something called a “living wage,” which, according to the dictionary, means “an amount of money you are paid for a job that is large enough to provide you with the basic things (such as food and shelter) needed to live an acceptable life.”

“Acceptable life” is a very subjective term. Some feel that a warm and dry place to sleep, food to eat and serviceable clothes constitute an acceptable life. Others feel that surrounding yourself with electronic devices, big-screen televisions and big pickup trucks or fast cars is the only way they can have that acceptable lifestyle.

Average workers earn anywhere from the current minimum wage of $8 an hour to hundreds of thousands a year, and some feel that is too large of a gap. It’s ironic that many government workers seem to be at the top end, while the people who pay their wages are at the lower end.

Minimum wage earners are widely separated from the “haves” in our society. But how do the haves typically get there? Well, they usually begin by not being satisfied with an entry-level job and they seek out ways to better their earning potential. Education, experience and searching the job market are some ways. Creating something that everyone just has to have such as a robotic refreshment fetcher is another way.

There are thousands of job classifications, and the compensation level for each is dictated by the free market or a collective bargaining agreement. This is the way it should be, and government shouldn’t tinker with wage levels because they don’t control the marketplace — yet.

The $8-an-hour jobs are typically for service industry workers — jobs that used to be called “entry level” but have now become long-term employment for many. Some in our society feel that these folks should be earning considerably more for their efforts so that they can live that illusive “acceptable life.”

The City of Lompoc currently has 17 job classifications that would be directly or indirectly affected by a minimum wage increase. Keep that number in mind; it will be handy later.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation (Assembly Bill 10) to increase California's minimum wage to $9 this July 1 and to $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016. He and his fellow Democrats think that this will solve all those “acceptable life” issues. They are wrong.

Demonstrations organized by unions urge raising the minimum wage even higher to $15 an hour. Why would unions support a minimum wage increase? Simple, because they will demand even higher wages for their members, which is what happens every time it has been increased, and the same thing will happen at every other business that pays more than the minimum wage.

Let’s take a quick look at the economics of raising the minimum wage. If $8 an hour could produce a $10 meal at your local fast-food restaurant, how do you think raising the cost to produce the item will eventually impact its cost to the customer?

Service industries operate on a tight margin so they can’t afford to absorb the additional cost, therefore prices will rise to compensate for the additional wages or they will cut worker hours to recover the increased cost of production.

Remember those 17 city workers in Lompoc? According to a staff report, the resulting increase in costs across the city is going to be about $56,000 annually. How will our city deal with the rise in labor cost?

In a report to the City Council, the staff said, “The city’s Human Resources and Payroll Divisions are planning to review the level of services provided and/or the program fees charged to mitigate the effect on individual budgets due to the unfunded mandate imposed by the state.”

The actions being considered by the city are instructive. They’ll either cut out more than 6,200 hours of work to recover the $56,000, which is the equivalent of nearly four part-time workers (20 percent of the 17 people affected). Or they could just raise consumer cost (fees) like other businesses will.

As Councilman Bob Lingl pointed out, minimum wage workers won’t have a more acceptable life because there will be fewer part-time jobs available and/or it will cost more to buy things they want.

Changing the minimum wage may have made Democrats and community activists feel good, but the overall impact on the lives of those they are trying to help will be negligible — in fact, it may make things worse, as Councilman Lingl pointed out.

Oh, next year the minimum wage will go up again to $10 per hour. How many people will lose their jobs, and how much will hamburgers go up then?

— 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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John Daly: The Consequences of Being Late

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Do you know co-workers who are always late? Are you chronically late? Do you or someone you know show up late for work, to meetings, for phone conferences, for social gatherings? I doubt seriously that you would consider that something anyone does on purpose. In reality, it’s simply a lack of time-management skills. It’s the lack of realization that you are valuing your own time over that of others. You don’t even realize that is the statement you are making when you are late. You’re saying, “My time is more valuable than anyone else’s.”

At work, there are even more consequences for being late.

Productivity Loss

When you’re late for work, you create an immediate loss of productivity. If you work as part of a team, your tardiness disrupts the work flow of other team members. If you are late 10 minutes per day, that equals out to almost an hour a week. If a team member needs a late person to provide his or her part of a project, the punctual person still gets behind waiting for what he/she needs from you.

Negative Morale

Not only does tardiness make others late, it lowers their morale. If one member of the team doesn’t follow the rules, others in that group will began to feel resentment and that the situation is unfair. This is particularly true result for those suffering from chronic lateness. It puts stress on others to cover the work of the late employee or fall behind in their own jobs.

Customer Dissatisfaction

If an employee is late and fails to make an on-time delivery to a customer, the result may be that the business loses that customer. An employee who is supposed to open a specific location at a certain time may lose customers if it isn’t opened on time. If the chronic late employee is tardy for customer meetings, this puts the entire company in a bad light. Poor customer service of any type damages a business’ reputation and discourages perspective clients.

Management Problems

If management lets a chronically late employee slide, it creates the potential for loss of respect for those in charge. On-time employees may feel if the rules don’t apply then why should they make the effort to be on time! Letting it slide sends the wrong message to the entire company.

How to Fix it

Everyone slips up and is late occasionally. Traffic, family responsibilities preventing us from getting out the door on time and just everyday life sometimes slow us down. These things happen and sometimes can’t be avoided. However, the chronically late person truly has a time-management problem and is totally focused on self instead of the consideration of others. Being late is a product of poor planning. So, here’s what you can do to fix it:

» Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal.

» Determine the night before what you will wear the next day and lay it out.

» Don’t promise family members that you will handle something “in the morning” when it can be dealt with the night before.

» Plan to be at the office 15 minutes early so you can actually show up on time!

» If traffic is a major factor, plan a new, quicker route, and leave the exact amount of time earlier than you are usually late.

» If getting up 30 minutes earlier still doesn’t give you enough time, make it an hour.

» Remember, this is about respecting others and the value of their time. Don’t make everything just about you. You will find that others will respect and appreciate you more if you resolve your chronic lateness.

If you are part of a management team that is dealing with chronically late employees, consider sending them to time management coaching, and suggest all of the above!

How to Manage Chronically Late Employees

(BNET 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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Capps Leads California Delegation in Opposing New Oil, Gas Leasing Off Coast

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday led a letter from members of the California congressional delegation to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to prohibit any new offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Northern California, Central California and Southern California Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas by excluding these planning areas from the draft proposed 2017-22 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

The leasing program document develops the next schedule of potential offshore oil and gas lease sales.

The letter was signed by 36 members of the California congressional delegation, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. The letter comes in response to a request for information from the Department of Interior, as it begins to examine the next schedule of potential offshore oil and gas lease sales in federal waters.

The letter calls for continued focus on developing clean, renewable sources of offshore energy, rather than expanding oil and gas development, and notes the known risks of expanding offshore drilling far outweigh the potential benefits.

“Californians have repeatedly spoken out against new offshore drilling,” the electeds wrote. “Since 1969, 24 city and county governments have passed anti-drilling measures and the State has enacted a permanent ban on new offshore leasing in state waters. Serious accidents and environmental damage can and do occur at offshore drilling rigs. These spills and leaks, air and water pollution, and the industrialization of the shoreline threatens public health impairs marine resources and wreak havoc on our economy, especially the state’s critically important tourism, fishing and recreation industries, which inject billions of dollars into the California economy every year.”

The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management updates its Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program every five years. The development of the next five year program, slated for 2017-22, is under way. The letter was submitted as part of the 45-day comment period, which closes on July 31.

Capps has been a leader in Congress, fighting to stop offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. For example, she has introduced H.R. 2486, the California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act, which would ban new exploration and drilling for oil and gas off the California coast.

The text of the letter is below:

Secretary Sally Jewell
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell,

As Members of the California Congressional delegation, we write to urge the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to exclude any offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Northern California, Central California, and Southern California Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Planning Areas from the Draft Proposed 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Californians have repeatedly spoken out against new offshore drilling. Since 1969, 24 city and county governments have passed anti-drilling measures and the State has enacted a permanent ban on new offshore leasing in state waters. Serious accidents and environmental damage can and do occur at offshore drilling rigs. These spills and leaks, air and water pollution, and the industrialization of the shoreline threatens public health, impairs marine resources, and wreak havoc on our economy, especially the state’s critically important tourism, fishing and recreation industries, which inject billions of dollars into the California economy every year.

Energy companies are not producing oil and gas on the vast majority of land they already hold in offshore leases. The Department should be pushing to ensure that these companies are diligently developing the land that they already have before offering new federal leases. Furthermore, the amount of oil and gas available from OCS leases currently off limits is small compared to what is already open to drilling and would not significantly impact energy prices. Opening additional offshore areas to drilling will only allow these companies to warehouse more public land and put more of our vibrant coastal tourism economies and fragile shoreline ecosystems at risk.

Rather than expanding oil and gas development, the Department should – with proper consultation and consideration given to all relevant stakeholders – continue its focus on developing clean, renewable sources of offshore energy. It is imperative that we promote the use of these clean technologies and protect the integrity of our state’s coastline from new offshore oil and gas development for both current and future Californians.

The known risks of expanding offshore drilling in these areas far outweigh any potential benefits. We therefore urge you to continue these longstanding protections and not include the waters off California’s coast in the new draft five-year plan. Thank you for your consideration.

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

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Enthusiasts Celebrate Spirit of Old Spanish Days at La Fiesta del Museo

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Guests gather in the courtyard of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum for an evening of fine cuisine, dancing and live entertainment

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

A gathering of museum patrons, chair members, sponsors and Fiesta enthusiasts donned in colorful and lavish Old Spanish Days-inspired attire converged beneath the stars at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum last Saturday to celebrate the history and spirit of Fiesta at the 71st annual La Fiesta del Museo.

Guests embarked upon the historic landmark within the museum’s romantic Spanish-style courtyard for an evening of fine cuisine, spectacular dancing and live entertainment. Tables were adorned in the decor of Fiesta, and the museum’s grounds elegantly captured the spirit of the evening.

The museum is currently staging an exhibit in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Old Spanish Days, and all members of the community and visitors are welcome to join in the pageantry and tradition of one of Santa Barbara’s most popular events.

The exhibit, Project Fiesta! Building a Complete History of Old Spanish Days, runs through Sept. 28 and includes costumes, posters, historical photos and more.

A silent auction commenced the festivities as guests sipped Fiesta cocktails, wine and tequila tastings while nibbling on tacos and surveying items up for bid.

The crowd and honorary event chair Sharon Bradford shared a festive mood, as guests were greeted by master of ceremonies John Palminteri, who took center stage to welcome the crowd.

Recently anointed Executive Director Lynn Brittner shared with Noozhawk about participating in her first fundraising event at the museum and spoke of a new costume collection conservation launching as part of the evening.

“We are launching a costume-fund drive,” Brittner said. “We have an incredible Santa Barbara historical costume collection in the vaults that haven’t been seen for many, many years. So my goal is start conserving them, rehousing them and putting them on exhibit. And so every year we want to have a spectacular costume exhibit. So all of the funds we raise tonight are going to be towards helping the costume exhibit.”

El Presidente 2014 Dennis Rickard told Noozhawk of the long history his family has with Old Spanish Days, with his grandfather James Rickard, who was one of the original incorporators of Old Spanish Days, and his father, who was El Presidente in 1948 and 1949, and two special moments that he’s proud to acknowledge.  

“One of the fun things that I’m going to be able to do is ride the silver saddle in the Fiesta Parade that my grandfather made in the '20s, which is a beautiful silver saddle full of 2,000 pieces of hand-stamped silver and is on loan to the Santa Barbara Carriage Museum. And I’ll be able to ride it New Year's Day in Pasadena since we’ve been selected for the Rose Parade after a two-year struggle and the committee doing all kinds of hard work, and so forth and so on. For the first time in our history, we have an entry in the Rose Parade.”

Santa Barbara High School student Talia Ortega Vestal, who has been dancing since age 4, wowed the crowd of onlookers as the Spirit of Fiesta 2014 was joined by fourth-grader Natalie Mowers of Hollister Elementary and this year’s Junior Spirit.

The evening heated up as Timo Nunez enthralled onlookers with an intense and passionate flamenco dance performance, and the special evening turned up a notch as the dance floor quickly filled up and supporters kicked up their heels dancing into the night to the tunes of Mezcal Martini.

“The old Spanish days of early 19th century California was a fascinating society in history,” said Erin Graffy, author of Old Spanish Days: Santa Barbara History Through Public Art, which tells the story of the era and is illustrated with public art of Santa Barbara. “So much of our public art is based on this picturesque era in California history. This Spanish Arcadia of early California was the inspiration for Santa Barbara ‘Old Spanish Days Fiesta’ and was distinguished by expert horsemen, extraordinary hospitality and an exhilarating love of music and dance.”

A presentation and book signing will be take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 23 at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Tickets are $10 for guests, and members receive free entry. A book signing and tour of some of the downtown public art featured in the book will also be conducted at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 26 starting at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz

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Letter to the Editor: Shortcomings of Santa Barbara Bicycle Master Plan

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Response to the City of Santa Barbara Master Plan proposal of July 15:

» 1. The issue of the success of the bike master plan.

a. The City of Santa Barbara’s official numbers prove that bicycles as a meaningful alternative to automobile transportation has failed (1974 - 2400, 2003 - 1600+).

b. The reasoning for continuing the bike program is that a fully integrated bike path would increase the numbers of bicyclists on the streets. The city, since Mayor Marty Blum, has advertised it now has an interconnected bike path, with at or over 40 miles of bicycle paths.

c. City transportation has repeatedly pointed to San Francisco as a well-working integrated bike program. San Francisco has 500 miles of bike paths, and at last review, has 0.9 percent of its commuters as bike riders.

d. The City of Santa Barbara transportation staff has claimed expanded bike use in the County of Santa Barbara as reasoning for continuing this planning. Former Supervisor Joe Centeno (former police chief and mayor of Santa Maria) demanded a report from the county, and later received a report from the county, stating either the success or failure of the program which would clearly reflect the success or failure of the program. The received report stated that not only had the bike path program failed to improve ridership, but in fact there were fewer bikers on the county streets (~five years ago).

» 2. The City of Santa Barbara has seen increased hazards to drivers and increased congestion of vehicle traffic as a result of lost street capacity because of Class II bike paths.

» 3. Today, street conditions are more dangerous for bikes, in part as a result of the city's bulbout and roundabout programs. The bulbout plan is dangerous to bicycle use, was based on overt lies by transportation staff and admitted by the head of Public Works.

» 4. Claims of increasing numbers based upon a Census Public Survey is both scientifically unsound and a public relations ploy that attempts to justify failed programs. Epidemiologist statisticians will tell you this type of polling is both unscientific and very prone to outside influence.

» 5. Stating that the City of Santa Barbara should go forward with expanded bike paths to obtain a private organization commendation in the face of absolute fact to the contrary is bad planning and bad governance.

» 6. The disingenuous use of bicycles as part of your "mitigation" for intentional street congestion is shameless deception upon the trusting public (the city claims this mitigates air pollution, wait times, driver frustration and parking congestion). In the face of the failure of a 40-year program, the logical step would be to open the streets to efficient transportation, which will make them safer for pedestrian, bicycle and automotive traffic.

Your attention to this is appreciated.

Cars Are Basic
Board of Directors

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Cynder Sinclair: SBCC Rising to Meet 21st-Century Challenges

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Like the rest of the world, our community has its share of challenges. Young people ill-prepared for the workforce and therefore unemployed or underemployed is a big one. And of course, jobless youth can lead to everything from increased gang and drug activity to homelessness. The issue is so complex. Where should we start to unravel this twisted knotty problem? Thankfully, many nonprofits in our community are doing an impressive job addressing some of the elements involved. An extraordinary example is SBCC.

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Jack Friedlander, executive vice president of Educational Programs at Santa Barbara City College. I was amazed at Friedlander’s keen understanding of the issues affecting our young people and his incredibly practical approach to addressing them.

For Friedlander, it’s never business as usual. He gets out there in the community to ask questions — maintaining a constant state of curiosity. Once he gets a feel for a problem, he immediately begins to design solutions. His solutions powerfully impact young people and families in our community and help make SBCC such a highly regarded institution. As you read Friedlander’s words, I know you will be as impressed as I am. Clearly, Friedlander and SBCC are treasures in our community.

SBCC Seeks to Address Economic Challenges

One of my major concerns is the growing income disparity in Santa Barbara, in California and nationwide. A small percentage of people is benefiting and a larger percentage is falling behind in terms of income and jobs. An increasing number of people are employed in jobs that do not pay a living wage, and fewer still are in positions in which employers contribute to their medical and/or retirement benefits.

In looking at this problem and seeing the middle class moving toward lower income levels and struggling just to stay there, I look at nonprofits including Santa Barbara City College. I ask myself what role we can play to address this major social economic challenge.

One area we are focusing on lately in addition to those in the traditional 18-to-22 college-going age group is the large segment of the population who are in their late 20s through their 70s who need to be re-employed or acquire a skill set that enables them to get a job that pays a living wage. In Santa Barbara, a significant percentage of college grads, those who withdrew from a college or university prior to receiving their degree, individuals who lost their jobs and need to re-enter the work force, and people who realize they cannot afford to retire or remain retired are underemployed, working part-time jobs, and/or are in positions in which they cannot count on receiving a steady and reliable income — many of these people are barely getting by.

Moreover, a significant percentage of these individuals are working multiple jobs and have family responsibilities. I have been looking at this scenario and asking what SBCC can do to meet the needs of these people. So we came up with a concept we are implementing this October called 21st Century Skills Institute.

21st Century Skills Institute Will Give Employers What They Need

We asked local employers what skills they need in workers. Their response reflected the national surveys.

They need people who can communicate effectively, use media tools to promote businesses, use critical thinking skills, work independently, represent themselves well with customers, and think entrepreneurially and innovatively to keep projects fresh. They want people who understand that for business to make money, they must have employees with a good skill set in computer technology and other fields. They want employees who know how to create and deliver PowerPoint presentations to clients, who understand marketing and selling, and who can work in teams and groups. In addition, they prefer to hire people with the technical skills and work experiences they need to advance their businesses.

Dr. Jack Friedlander
Dr. Jack Friedlander

We took all this information from employers to craft our curriculum this fall, designed to equip our students with these very skills. We want students working on projects that will build their portfolio and advance them in the workplace. People want help with career planning and exploration. But they don’t know where to start. They need to understand the possibilities and how they align with their own skills and what education they need.

We are preparing to offer micro-certificates through a new 21st Century Skills Institute for more in-depth specialist skills such as accounting, computer applications, business startup, graphic design, marketing and management skills. The micro-certificates will serve to showcase a recipient’s competencies and offer a window to the employer of the specific applied skill sets held by an employee or new job applicant.

We are exploring the issuance of “digital badges” to align students with the latest trend to digitally represent their acquired skills on social media and professional networking sites. This program is designed for any age student who wants to practically gain a new skill critical to their success in the workplace. It’s not designed for people pursuing a degree. Rather, it’s for those who want reemployment or to advance in their position and need to acquire the skills to do so in as short a time as possible. We will be announcing the 21st Century Skills Institute this coming March or sooner.

The Back on Track Program Will Help Students Finish Their Degree

We have a second program, called Back on Track, launching in the same timeframe. This program will address the same issues but with a little different focus.

Back on Track is for students who had a goal of achieving an associate degree or higher, completed six or more units at college in last three years, left in good academic standing, and are still living in Santa Barbara. We estimate that there are well more than 20,000 people living in the greater Santa Barbara area who fit this profile. In order to be competitive in the workplace, they know they need an associate and/or a bachelor’s degree or higher. They started out to get their degree but something happened and they stopped. So this program is for individuals who want to finish their degree. We want to make it easier to re-enter the college. We are looking at career and educational planning and encouraging these individuals to enroll in one of the college’s accelerated programs for full-time or for part-time students that are designed to enable them to complete their degree and/or transfer requirement s in three years or less.

The accelerated degree and transfer programs for full-time and for part-time students will be developed in 2014-15 and be implemented in conjunction with the start of the Back on Track Program at the start of 2015 summer session or fall semester. While available to all former college students who left their institution in good standing, we anticipate the majority of the students who will take part in the Back on Track program will be in their 20s and 30s.

The Center for Lifelong Learning Plays an Important Role

During the past 60 or more years, we have functioned as two very different colleges: credit and continuing education. A large portion of continuing education was comprised of courses that the state now considers personal enrichment and is likely to discontinue funding. The state has urged community colleges to discontinue using state funds to pay for what it considers courses being taken primarily for personal enrichment.

In response to the pressure we were receiving from the state to no longer use its funds to pay for these classes, we created the Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) and started this self-supporting, fee based program in fall 2013. In its first year in operation, well over 7,000 members of our community have taken one or more CLL classes and the center has achieved its goal of being self-supporting. We have other courses that are noncredit and are free from tuition — Adult High School, GED, workplace skills/short term vocational training, and ESL.

This center operates as a separate entity within the college. All noncredit programs fall into the same system as credit programs. The goal of students in the noncredit program is to get a job and/or continue their education to earn a certificate, associate degree and/or transfer to a four-year university to achieve a bachelor’s degree or higher. We have made an organizational change at the college by putting all noncredit instruction and student services as well as the CLL under one unit. Our goal is to increase the number of students that start in noncredit classes who are learning basic skills and/or who are gaining occupational skills needed for entry level positions so they can transition into the college’s credit program. In the past very few noncredit students continued their education in the credit program.

In order to facilitate the transition from noncredit to credit, we will be offering noncredit-to-credit bridge courses. We have also expanded student support services available to students enrolled in noncredit programs. We anticipate the curriculum and student services changes we are making will result in a greater number of noncredit students completing their programs and successfully transitioning into the credit program and/or into jobs that pay a livable wage.

Coming Soon: Classes in Exhibition Display and Design

Not too long ago, a friend who works as a registrar at the DeYoung Art Museum in San Francisco invited me for a visit. He said he wanted to take me on a tour but not the regular kind of tour. He wanted to show me what took place behind the walls in which the art work is exhibited. I was fascinated as he showed me all the intricate skills used to create displays for the art.

When I asked him where workers learn this skill, he said there is no formal place to study this work—they just learn it on the job. I went away from that tour with a new appreciation for those who create the art displays. When I learned more about the skills needed to design, build and transport art exhibits, I realized that these same and closely related skills are also required for those involved in mounting trade shows and in creating and constructing both physical and digital displays in a wide-range of venues, including retail returned to SBCC determined to offer classes in this valuable skill.

So we developed a new program in Exhibition, Display and Design. This program, combined with our Construction Academy, engineering, computer science, art, media arts and the  new architecture and 3-D printing programs we will begin offering  in fall of 2015, will provide students will the skills required to create and build displays at museums, conferences and trade shows. They will learn how to design and build the displays, including retail store electronic exhibits. Currently there are no community college programs to train people to do this work; yet that’s where the money and jobs are.

Another unique feature of this and the new program in architecture and design that are being developed is the makerspace laboratory we are creating. This lab, equipped with 3-D printers and powerful computer design software, will enable students to take ideas they have for creating products, architecture renderings, or exhibits and actually build a model of what they have envisioned.

Nonprofits Should Focus on Core Expertise

One of our roles as a nonprofit educational institution is to address social justice and inequity issues in a way that aligns with our core missions and skill sets. My message to leaders of nonprofits is to make sure to stick with your expertise. Don’t try to be all things to all people to chase funding opportunities. That happens often and usually fails. Focus on how you can build on your core expertise. Competition for funds is high in Santa Barbara so build on your core strengths and innovate to solve social problems. Focus on your clients and you will benefit. At SBCC, we are using our core expertise and yet stretching ourselves to solve a social problem that will benefit everyone.

Biographical Information for Dr. Jack Friedlander

Dr. Jack Friedlander is the executive vice president of Educational Programs at Santa Barbara City College, where he is responsible for the college’s credit and non-credit academic and student support programs and services as well as its Center for Lifelong Learning, a self-supporting enterprise for providing community services offerings.

The college has been recognized at the state and national levels for its innovative programs that contribute to the success of its students, including being selected as the co-winner of the prestigious 2012 Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence. Dr. Friedlander has been actively involved in professional organizations and activities at the local, state and national levels. These include serving on the boards for the Santa Barbara City College Foundation and the South Coast Business & Technology Awards sponsored by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.

At the state level, Dr. Friedlander is involved in the Chief Instructional Officers Association for the California Community Colleges, the Chief Student Services Officers Association for California Community Colleges, the California Community Colleges Association for Occupational Education Association, the Center for Student Success, the California League for Community College’s Legislative Advisory Committee, the Chancellor’s Office Legislative Advisory Committee, the Statewide Matriculation Advisory Committee, and the advisory committee for the New Directions for Community Colleges quarterly book series published by Jossey-Bass in conjunction with the Eric Clearinghouse for Community Colleges.

Dr. Friedlander’s many accomplishments include authoring over 80 published articles, monographs, books and newspaper articles, giving more than 200 presentations at state and national conferences and writing grant proposals that have generated well over $30 million, including ones funded by the National Science Foundation. Along with Dr. C. Robert Pace, Dr. Friedlander co-authored the Community Colleges Student Experiences Questionnaire, which formed the basis for the development of the Community College Student Engagement Survey that has been used by numerous community colleges throughout the nation.

He also has conducted research studies that have resulted in the development of the methodology used by the California Community College System for tracking the post-college employment and wages for students that participated in career and technologies courses and programs.

— 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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Judge Denies Santa Barbara Gang Injunction Petition

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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A Superior Court judge has decided the City of Santa Barbara hasn’t met its burden to prove the Eastside and Westside criminal street gangs are a public nuisance subject to an injunction.

In her 32-page decision filed Monday, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne determined that there are active criminal street gangs in Santa Barbara and that law enforcement agencies have adequate remedies already available with existing laws, including gang-related provisions of probation and parole. 

“In short, Santa Barbara is not a community beset by substantial and unreasonable gang-related interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons,” she wrote.

“There is no evidence that residents of the proposed safety zones in Santa Barbara are prisoners in their own homes, remain indoors at night, prevent their children from playing outside, or whose relatives and friends refuse to visit.”

Mayor Helene Schneider released a short comment Tuesday morning in response to the decision. 

"I respect the court process," she told Noozhawk in an email.

"The city of Santa Barbara will continue to use every tool available to keep our residents and visitors safe while we consider the impacts and options of Judge Sterne's ruling."

During the three-week trial in May, Sterne heard arguments and evidence from the District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Barbara City Attorney’s office, which petitioned for a permanent injunction, and defense attorneys who represented individual clients and made a case against the injunction as a policy. 

There was extensive testimony from members of the Santa Barbara Police Department

The city dropped 19 people from the proposed injunction, leaving 11 as the case went to trial. If the injunction were approved, more names could be added.

The injunction would have restricted the named defendants from associating with each other in certain areas, wearing gang clothing or tattoos, having firearms or weapons, using drugs or alcohol, doing graffiti, and recruiting or intimidating people in the mapped-out “safety zones.”

Check back with Noozhawk for a more complete story.

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

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PacWest Bancorp Reports Net Earnings of $10.6 Million for Second Quarter

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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PacWest Bancorp on Tuesday announced net earnings for the second quarter of 2014 of $10.6 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, compared with net earnings for the first quarter of 2014 of $25.1 million, or 55 cents per diluted share.

When certain income and expense items described below are excluded, adjusted net earnings are $63.8 million, or 64 cents per diluted share.

"The benefits of the CapitalSource merger are apparent in our second-quarter results: record adjusted net earnings of $64 million, new loan and lease fundings of $881 million, organic loan and lease growth of $143 million, and significant progress in meeting our deposit transformation and cost savings targets," said Matt Wagner, president and CEO. "Our loan fundings were strong across both divisions, with the national lending platform embodied in the CapitalSourcedivision originating $745 million in loans and leases and our Community Bank division originating $137 million in loans. Loan refinancings by other lenders at liberal pricing metrics continued, and the improving economy in our market areas enabled borrowers to either sell their properties or use excess cash balances to reduce outstandings. Nevertheless, our pipelines are robust and we expect continued high levels of loan and lease fundings.

"PacWest Bancorp is a very strong and well-positioned company. Our second quarter adjusted return on assets and adjusted return on tangible equity stood at 1.70 percent and 16.05 percent. Our tangible common equity ratio was 12.14 percent at June 30, well above the 10 percent target we set when we initiated the CapitalSource merger. The strengths of these financial metrics position us to support asset growth and produce solid earnings."

Vic Santoro, executive vice president and CFO, stated, "Our core net interest margin was 5.74 percent for the quarter, right about where we expected it to be. We have made great strides in reaching our cost savings targets, with our adjusted efficiency ratio at 43 percent. Our Deposit Solutions Team, which concentrates on generating core deposits from legacy CapitalSource borrowers, has achieved significant success so far with new core deposits of $95 million and a pipeline of almost $175 million. Overall, organic core deposit growth was $200 million in the second quarter, and our teams remain focused on gathering new deposits from all sources."

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Christina Gonzalez of Santa Barbara Named to Wilson College Dean’s List

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Christina Nicole Gonzalez of Santa Barbara was named to the Wilson College Dean's List for the spring semester.

To be eligible for Dean's List, a student must achieve a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college offering bachelor's degrees in 27 majors and master's degrees in education, the humanities, accountancy and nursing. Wilson is committed to providing an affordable education that offers value to its students beyond graduation.

Located in Chambersburg, Pa., the college had a fall 2013 enrollment of 662, which includes students from 20 states and 14 countries. Click here for more information.

— Cathy Mentzer represents Wilson College.

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Capps to Host Citizenship and Deferred Action Renewal Workshop

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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On Saturday, Aug. 9, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will be hosting a forum where people can receive an update and review from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials on their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal application, as well as information on applying for citizenship.

The forum will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the UDW Building at 402 S. Miller St. in Santa Maria.

USCIS will give a presentation and host a question and answer session on the DACA renewal process. Following that presentation, USCIS officials will then present information on filling out the new, longer version N-400 form for the naturalization process.

Local resources for students who need help with their applications will be available at no cost from Catholic Charities Santa Maria, Cal Poly Rise Program and IMPORTA-Santa Barbara.

“The DACA program for undocumented young adults, youth brought to this country as children and who are pursuing their education or serving in the military, can be complicated," Capps said. "I am happy to bring together federal and community resources to help these young people explore ways to remain in their communities.

“This will be an informative session, and I encourage all who have questions to attend.”

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

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Randy Copperman Joins A Different Point of View’s Board of Directors

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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Randy Copperman
Randy Copperman

A Different Point of View announced Monday that it has welcomed Randy Copperman to its Board of Directors.

“Randy Copperman’s commitment reflects the board’s intention to engage a diverse and experienced group of community leaders to help guide our innovative organization to our next level of service,” said Lynn Houston, founder and president of ADPOV.

A Different Point of View is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Its mission is to engage, inspire and transform youth who are in danger of losing their way by teaching them to fly an airplane. Through aviation education and mentoring, youth are exposed to a world they have never seen before. The goal of the organization is to help youth become captains of their own lives and realize the many career opportunities in the field of aviation.

With 30 years of experience in small to large enterprise businesses, Copperman recently formed his own consulting company, Rterial, which delivers significant strategic and operating benefits for organizations worldwide.

Copperman has served as vice president and chief information officer at Raytheon Company as well as in executive leadership positions at other organizations. These roles included VP of strategic development, chief operating officer, as well as additional roles as CIO. At these organizations he has led the Human Resources, Facilities/Environmental Health and Safety, Contracts and Legal divisions driving increased revenues and improving operational efficiencies leading to considerable savings.

In addition to his extensive private-sector experience, Copperman has worked with Meals on Wheels and the United Boys & Girls Clubs, and recently coached in the Fast Pitch Santa Barbara event sponsored by Social Venture Partners.

He is on the board of the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board and volunteers with the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization. He has been on the board of Kids Unlimited in Arizona for the past 22 years, an organization that is focused on providing a safe stage for youth ages 5 to 18.

“His ongoing commitment to instill best practices, encourage collaboration and continuing education has lead to significant operational efficiencies and savings everywhere he has been," Houston said. "Randy’s knowledge, skill and expertise will be invaluable to us as we implement our new five-year strategic plan.”

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Gerald Carpenter: Faculty Chamber Orchestra Taking the Lobero Stage for ‘Tuesdays @ 8’

By | Published on 07/22/2014

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The next "Tuesdays @ 8" chamber music concert by the Music Academy of the West faculty — at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Lobero Theatre — will be something of a departure, to say the least.

James Gaffigan
James Gaffigan

Two of the three works on the program will be performed by an all-star chamber orchestra consisting of Timothy Day on flute, Cynthia Koledo DeAlemeida on oboe, Richie Hawley on clarinet, Benjamin Kamins on bassoon, Julie Landsman on horn, Michael Werner and a Percussion Fellow on percussion, Natasha Kislenko and Margaret McDonald on pianos, Glenn Dicterow and Kathleen Winkler on violins, Richard O'Neill on viola, Alan Stepansky on cello and Nico Abondolo on double bass — all under the inspired baton of guest conductor James Gaffigan.

In between these works, we will hear (and see) the amazing virtuoso pianist Stephen Hough perform his own Piano Sonata No. 2 "Notturna luminoso".

The chamber orchestra program presents itself as an homage to an early Music Academy composer-in residence, Arnold Schoenberg — without, I note, actually performing one of Schoenberg's own compositions (which I adore, but acknowledge to be a minority taste). First, the orchestra will play Claude Debussy's Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune in an arrangement for 11 instruments, made under Schoenberg's supervision in 1921 by Dr. Benno Sachs, who was then corresponding secretary of the Viennese Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen (the Society for Private Music Performances), founded in 1918 by Schoenberg, and for which the arrangement was prepared.

After Hough's striking sonata, this ensemble will be joined by soprano Liana Guberman for a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in G-Major, 1901 in an arrangement begun by Erwin Stein and completed by Klaus Simon, which was also prepared for the Verein concerts.

It was Stein's idea to do a whole season of Verein concerts "that would present large-scale works re-scored for a small ensemble consisting of a few wind instruments, a string quintet, piano and a harmonium." Both of Tuesday evening's transcriptions come from this projected season.

Schoenberg had turned the running of the Verein activities over to Stein in 1920, but he was fully supportive of the idea of transcriptions, having (impressively) transcribed the Brahms First Piano Quartet into a full-scale symphony. He had also taken "The Wood Dove's Song," from Gurre Lieder, and set it for mezzo and chamber ensemble, making it into a masterpiece comparable to Barber's Knoxville, Summer of 1915.

This program is thus very much in the spirit of Schoenberg, even though his notes are absent. Mahler was a mentor and friend, and Schoenberg had dedicated The Theory of Harmony to him, so his presence in this context is self-explanatory. Debussy's presence, on the other hand, begs a question or two. On the face of it, the two composers are antithetical, the languid Parisian versus the intensely disciplined Viennese. Yet, Schoenberg's admiration for Debussy is well-documented; and he thought some of the Frenchman's innovations essential to the creation of modern music.

Both the Debussy and the Mahler have a surprising effect in their chamber arrangements — they seem at the same time much more solidly built and completely transparent. We listen to them from within the music. It is more than an education to hear them this way. It is magical.

Tickets to this concert are $42 and can be purchased from the Music Academy ticket office at 805.969.8787, or online by clicking here. They can also be purchased at the Lobero box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., by calling 805.963.0761 or online by clicking here.

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

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Ronald Gallo: Mission & State Experiment Has Come to a Close

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Dear Colleagues and Friends,

There has been much said and written about Mission & State in the last two months; and I suggest that some of it has been unpleasant, some of it has been inaccurate, and some of it has been very important. It is not my intention with this letter to address the first two parts of that suggestion, but rather only the last part.

There is a larger story here, and it is about doing the right thing for the community. When the Santa Barbara Foundation learned of the push-back to its decision to award the management responsibility of the project to Noozhawk, it immediately scheduled a public meeting. Fifty-five people attended.

The July 15 meeting lasted nearly two hours, and I think there would be no disagreement that everyone was given an opportunity to say their piece. The conversation was candid, passionate and civil, and it was clear to me by the end of the interchange that the current management arrangement with Noozhawk did not have sufficient support among potential media partners for it to have a reasonable chance of widespread collaboration.

Accordingly, the Santa Barbara Foundation has decided, with the understanding of the principals of Noozhawk — who have acted honorably and with good intentions throughout — that the current management arrangement must be brought to an end. It is effective immediately (although there will be two more stories; one this week and one next week that will be published under the Mission & State banner).

Unfortunately, with this decision, the Mission & State experiment must come to an end. In an amicable discussion with the Knight Foundation on July 21, I learned that its clear preference is that a third iteration of Mission & State not be attempted at this time. We discussed several versions of an idea — which was raised at the public meeting — of a more streamlined (and perhaps more sustainable) model that provides a pool of dollars to an impartial board that would entertain requests from individual journalists and/or media entities to do longer-format stories of importance to the community. The Knight Foundation believes that would not accomplish the aims of its challenge, which focused on developing new and innovative structural models that increase media cooperation and collaboration.

The Knight Foundation doesn’t believe that we, as a community, have failed. This was a bold national challenge offered by Knight precisely because of the severe stresses on the journalism industry today. With ever-changing technology and consumer habits coupled with shrinking financial margins, it was their hope to help the industry find new ways forward. If it gives us any comfort, we are in good company. Relatively few of the Knight projects created long-term sustainable projects. Out of the 100 grants given, four have been singled out for additional funding by the Knight Foundation.

This is a learning opportunity, and I think, once we catch our breath, a thoughtful postmortem is in order. Knight is hungry for “lessons learned.” So, too, is the Santa Barbara Foundation, and so, I am sure, are many of you.

In terms of next steps, we will be working with the Knight Foundation, local donors and Noozhawk to settle existing obligations, return (on a pro-rata basis) unused monies, and most important, commission a “white paper” on our nearly-three-year experience.

With all that said, it is time, I hope you agree, to move on. There is so much of importance that we can do together with creativity, innovation, generosity and good will ... all long-time hallmarks of this wonderful county.

Best regards to you all,

Ronald V. Gallo Ed.D.
Santa Barbara Foundation President & CEO

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Judge Tentatively Rules to Drop Some Charges Against Cabrillo High Wrestling Coaches

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Two Cabrillo High School wrestling coaches — along with the sport’s techniques and philosophy — are on trial for the alleged assault of a student by three of his fellow teammates last year.

Former head coach Chad Johnson and former assistant coach Matthew Giles were charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a Dec. 9, 2013, incident involving three team captains and a wrestler. The coaches were charged with battery on a minor and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

The three team captains — referred in court by the first names of Nico, Kodey and Jose — testified Monday in a Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria during the jury trial before Judge James Rigali.

At the end of the day, Deputy District Attorney Paul Greco rested his case, and Rigali tentatively ruled in favor of the defense attorneys’ motion to drop some charges. But the judge instructed both sides to return to court at 9 a.m. Tuesday for a final ruling.

A sophomore student claimed that three team captains assaulted him at the direction of the coaches. Before the criminal charges were filed March 7, Fabian Realpe and his mother, Hilda Rico, earlier filed a civil lawsuit against the men plus a third coach, Chuy Medrano, and the Lompoc Unified School District.

The three captains, each taking the stand at different times Monday, testified that they came up with the idea of the unsanctioned wrestling match involving Fabian after discussion among themselves.

A few days before the incident, Fabian was involved in an off-campus fight, reportedly while defending his girlfriend. He also had missed practices and had poor grades, prompting Johnson, the head wrestling coach, to tell the captains to “deal with it.”

Johnson had high standards for his wrestlers, Nico testified under questioning from Johnson’s defense attorney Michael Scott.

“He wanted us to exceed the minimum expectations,” Nico told the jury.

After practice on Dec. 9, 2013, the captains talked to Fabian about how his actions reflected poorly on the team.

“We just told him that what he did made the team look bad,” Kodey said.

The three decided to conduct an “ironman” — consecutive wrestling matches with Fabian participating in each one. Before the coaches left, Giles poked his head through the doorway and said, "Don’t leave any marks on his face.”

“He said it in more of a joking manner,” Nico said under questioning from Giles’ defense attorney, Adrian Galvan. “I took it was as kind of weird, though.”

The team members typically hold ironman matches several times a week.

“The ironman on Dec. 9, would you describe it as a wrestling match or a beat down?” Johnson’s defense attorney asked Nico.

“I would describe it as a wrestling match,” Nico said.

The ironman match stopped because Fabian had a bloody nose while wrestling Nico, after already taking on the other two captains. Fabian alleged one captain slammed his face into the mat up to 30 times.

“Did you put Fabian’s face into the mat?” Greco asked.

“Yes, I did put his face into the mat,” Nico said.

But he later said under questioning by Scott that putting an opponent’s face into the mat is a legal wrestling move that Nico has done, and had done to him, several times. The victim also claimed he was punched, but Nico denied seeing another team captain punch Fabian.

“I would have been angry at Kodey because that’s not what we do in wrestling,” Nico said.

Bloody noses, broken bones and bruises are commonplace in wrestling, the three captains said individually.

Nico told of one bloody nose at the beginning of a tournament. He continued wrestling after stemming the flow of blood.

“It’s hard but you have to deal with it,” he said.

After the ironman, Fabian shook hands with the opponents, although the team captains admitted that is common practice in wrestling.

But the team captains said Fabian didn’t seem upset.

“He just smiled at me when I saw him in the restroom,” Jose testified.

Cabrillo administrators disciplined the three team captains and ordered them to write letters of apology. Temporarily suspended from the wrestling team during the season, they were allowed to return before the season ended.

Greco read part of the Nico’s apology letter to Fabian.

“The actions I took were in no way befitting of a wrestling captain,” Greco read from Nico’s letter of apology, before asking, “Do you believe that?”

“Yes, sir,” Nico responded.

With one team captain heading into the Army and another going into his senior year with a high grade point average plus a class schedule with four Advancement Placement courses, Giles’ attorney argued that none of the captains is a delinquent.

But Greco questioned why these “model students” are suddenly in trouble if they weren’t encouraged by the adults to take the actions.

In pushing for dismissal of three counts, Scott said there wasn’t any evidence that Johnson directed the ironman to occur. He argued that the charge of battery requires being physically involved or aiding and abetting.

“There’s no evidence my client told them to do the ironman,” Scott said.

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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Man Burned in Explosion, Fire at Goleta Apartment

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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A man was seriously burned Monday night after an explosion and flash fire in a Goleta apartment, according to Santa Barbara County Fire.

Firefighters responded to a two-story, eight-unit apartment complex in the 400 block of Ellwood Beach Drive at 7:16 p.m. and found windows blown out of one apartment in the structure, Capt. David Sadecki said.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a butane honey oil conversion process, in which butane is used to extract the oils from marijuana, Sadecki said.

There were reports of an explosion, and responding crews found a flash fire smoldering on arrival, he said.

One man was inside the structure at the time of the explosion and suffered serious third-degree burns.

The patient was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital, Sadecki said.

No other injuries were reported, and firefighters checked nearby units to see if the fire extended to any other areas of the structure. 

During a butane honey oil conversion process, butane is released into the air. It came into contact with an ignition source in the apartment, causing the explosion and resulting fire, Sadecki said.

Butane is highly flammable, can be explosive when ignited and should never be released indoors, he noted. 

The investigation is ongoing with Santa Barbara County Fire arson investigators and Santa Barbara County Sheriff's narcotics detectives. 

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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Northbound Highway 101 On-ramp at Fairview Avenue Closed During Construction

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Caltrans begins a pile driving project in Goleta designed to reduce flooding on nearby Carlo and Vega drives

Drivers on the road Monday morning in Goleta may have noticed another construction project beginning near Fairview Avenue, adding to the flurry of work already under way on the city's roadways and interchanges.

Monday was the first day crews began to work on a pile driving project to help improve drainage to two culverts located near Fairview Avenue and Highway 101, according to Jim Shivers of Caltrans, the agency spearheading the project.

The project is intended to reduce flooding on nearby Carlo and Vega drives.

The northbound Highway 101 on-ramp is closed at Fairview Avenue for the project and will stay that way for six to eight months, Shivers said.

The southbound ramp at Fairview will be closed next year after a project to replace the overpass at Los Carneros Road is completed. Overpass construction is causing the closure of the Los Carneros southbound on-ramp until February. 

The Santa Barbara County Flood Control District and City of Goleta are also working on the creek culvert project, which is expected to be completed in early 2017.

The project could be seen on Monday between Calle Real and Highway 101, and cones had been set up to help shepherd traffic passing through.

Las Vegas and San Pedro creeks are the two waterways that feed into the culvert that is being expanded, and the pile driving operation will continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 1, Shivers said.

The agency warned residents in nearby neighborhoods that the work would be noisy, but all local businesses in the Fairview Shopping Center would remain open for business during the work. 

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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Police to Step Up Patrols for Fiesta Cruiser Bike Ride

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Cyclists in the Fiesta Cruiser Bike Ride scheduled for Aug. 3 should be aware that an increased police presence will be on hand to dole out tickets for violations, the Santa Barbara Police Department said Monday.

The unsanctioned bike ride has been a Fiesta week tradition for more than three decades, in which cyclists set off from the pier up State Street in Santa Barbara, with the ride turning back toward Isla Vista and ending on the pier.

The event, which drew thousands of cyclists last year, doesn’t operate with the necessary permits, officials say, with many disobeying traffic laws and traveling with open containers of alcohol.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said Monday that additional officers will be deployed to monitor the Sunday event.

"Bicyclists are legally required to obey all traffic laws and violators will be cited, as appropriate," he said.

Some of the most common bicycle-related violations are failure to ride as close as practicable to the righthand curb, a $197 fine; failure to obey red signal light, a $490 fine; and failure to obey a stop sign, a $197 fine, Harwood said.

"To ensure a safe and enjoyable Fiesta, the Santa Barbara Police Department encourages all motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to be courteous and to follow the rules of the road," he said.

In response to complaints, the Police Department has stepped up enforcement during the ride.

Twenty Santa Barbara police officers worked the bike ride in 2013 and followed the ride throughout the city.

Last year, nearly 80 citations were issued to cyclists during the ride in Santa Barbara, and many riders did not return from Isla Vista after the ride commenced.

Harwood told Noozhawk last year that 64 traffic citations were issued, as well as 12 municipal code citations, which would include offenses such as someone having an open container of alcohol.

Five citations were also issued by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies to riders as they passed through the unincorporated portion of the ride.

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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Gina Carbajal Selected to Lead Special Olympics for Santa Barbara County Region

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Gina Carbajal has been selected as the regional director for Special Olympics Southern California for the Santa Barbara County Region.

 

Gina Carbajal
Gina Carbajal

Carbajal has more than 27 years of management experience in the child development and health-care nonprofit sectors. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from UC Santa Barbara and a master's degree in public administration from California State University-Northridge.

In her role as regional director, Carbajal will oversee the management and development of all program activities in the Santa Barbara Region for Special Olympics.

"I am honored to have this tremendous opportunity to be affiliated with such a great organization that provides sports training and competitive athletic opportunities to so many of our community's residents that have intellectual disabilities," she said. "I look forward to building on the many programs and partnerships that Special Olympics has in our community."

Carbajal currently sits on the board of the Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara and has been on the boards of the Children’s Creative Project, Sarah House and the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, and a commissioner for the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women.

Carbajal is married to First District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal and has two children, Natasha and Michael.

Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, out of her passionate conviction that people with developmental disabilities could take part in and benefit from competitive sports. One thousand athletes from the United States, Canada and France competed in the first international Special Olympic Games. Today, more than 1 million athletes and hundreds of thousands of volunteers and coaches participate in special Olympic programs, which are held in every state and more than 100 countries.

The mission of Special Olympics Southern California is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. The programs that Special Olympics offer are at no cost to the athletes and their families.

For more information, click here or call 805.884.1516.

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Assemblyman Williams Applauds Efforts to Enforce Water Conservation

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, applauds efforts to enforce water conservation in California.

The State Water Resources Control Board has approved an emergency regulation to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing.

“Our drought is such a threat that voluntary measures are not enough to protect our future," Williams said. "It is crucial that we all do our part to conserve California’s water. From fixing broken sprinklers, cease watering landscaping, to taking shorter showers, simple steps can go a long way. Many local water agencies offer conservation incentives, like irrigation control devices and help with landscaping.”

California is experiencing the worst drought in nearly four decades. The new conservation regulation is aimed at reducing outdoor water use. The regulation adopted by the State Water Board mandates minimum actions to conserve water supplies both for this year and into 2015. Most Californians use more water outdoors than indoors. In some areas, 50 percent or more of daily water use is for lawns and outdoor landscaping.

This regulation will expect Californians to stop washing down driveways and sidewalks; watering of outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff; using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle, and using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated. The regulation makes an exception for health and safety circumstances.

“The drought impacts are being felt by communities all over California," Williams said. "It is crucial that Californians start saving water immediately to avoid much more severe regulations in the future if the drought persists. Please call my office for a brochure on Ways to Save Water, which includes saving tips that can save each household thousands of gallons of water each month.”

A recent survey conducted by the State Water Quality Control Board revealed that conservation measures to date have failed to achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use mandated by Gov. Jerry Brown. Water usage has increased in California by 1 percent. The new restrictions are estimated to save enough water statewide to supply more than 3.5 million people for a year.

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

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Conference Showcases UCSB’s Actuarial Program

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Actuaries from around the world gathered last week at UC Santa Barbara for the 49th annual Actuarial Research Conference. It is traditionally the central meeting for international academics and researchers interested in all aspects of actuarial science.

ARC is held at a different university each year, and the 2014 event at UCSB was the largest ever. The conference is open to all areas of actuarial practice and provides an opportunity for experts in the field to meet and discuss actuarial problems and their solutions while promoting education, research and interaction with industry.

“Six years ago few people knew that Santa Barbara had an actuarial program,” said Raya Feldman, co-director of UCSB’s actuarial science program and organizer of the 2014 conference. “Hopefully today everybody knows about it.”

In fact, UCSB’s program is thriving, having grown from a handful of students in fall 2010 to nearly 200 today.

“UCSB’s Department of Statistics and Applied Probability offers the only bachelor’s degree in actuarial science in California and a unique five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program in actuarial science,” said Pierre Wiltzius, the Susan and Bruce Worster Dean of Science in the College of Letters and Science’s Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences.

Participants in this year’s conference came from as far away as Beijing, Sydney and Dublin.

“I’ve been really, really impressed,” said Sarah Mathieson, head of research for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the United Kingdom’s only chartered professional body dedicated to educating, developing and regulating actuaries based in the U.K. and internationally. “The program was well-thought-out and the structure was good in terms of the topics covering a real breadth of actuarial science. While some of the presentations looked at specific countries, a lot of ideas are actually translatable between different countries and can be used in your own region of the world.”

The keynote speaker, Paul Embrechts, a professor of mathematics at ETH Zurich, one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences, thought a university setting was appropriate.

“I am very much in favor of linking university-based actuarial research with applied research,” he said. “I think it is absolutely crucial to have this kind of coming together.”

Nowhere was that illustrated better than in the poster session and competition during which academics and practitioners shared their research. Participants came from companies in China and the U.S. and universities in Canada, Ghana, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Conference attendees voted for the best posters. Tied for first place were UCSB’s Richard Pulliam, a student in the combined bachelor’s/master’s actuarial science program, and Jinyuan Zhang, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Pulliam conducted a time series analysis for the Northern California division of AAA Insurance, and Zhang presented her work on estimating the conditional distribution of the loss on one asset given a large movement in another. David Smith of the Cass Business School in London came in third for his research on life expectancy.

“I go to a lot of actuarial conferences,” said Ian Duncan, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries who has taught in UCSB’s Department of Statistics and Applied Probability since 2011. “This is my favorite because it’s not too big, you meet a lot of old and new friends and you learn a lot. People have been very complimentary about what a great job we’ve done. So I’d say this conference was incredibly successful.”

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Tyler Powell Named New Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation Trustee

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Tyler Powell
Tyler Powell

Hospice of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce Tyler Powell as a new Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation trustee.

Powell is the associate vice president of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors, Private Client Group.

Powell received a bachelor of arts degree in business economics from UCSB. He is a chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and an accredited asset management specialist (AAMS).

In addition to serving as a Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation trustee, Powell also serves on the Endowment Committee for the Carpinteria Morning Rotary Club and the Finance Committee for the Carpinteria Education Foundation.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 600 adults and 125 children every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one.

Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on eight local middle and high school campuses as well as UCSB to work with children, teens and young adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

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

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

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Capps Calls for Vote to Protect Wildfire Prevention Budget

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Last week, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, joining several of her colleagues, called for a vote on the House floor on the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, a bill that would ensure adequate funding is available for both wildfire suppression and land management practices that help prevent and reduce the impact of catastrophic wildfires in the future. Capps is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Currently, wildfire prevention funds are designated to pay for wildfire response; however, wildfire fighting costs for the coming fire season are already expected to vastly exceed the budget currently set aside for this purpose.

This funding process differs from the way any other natural disaster is addressed. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would make the common sense change to treat the federal wildfire budget like other major disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, ending the disruptive practice of using funds allocated for fire prevention for fire response.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would not increase spending. It would mean that agencies would no longer be forced to divert funding from practices that actually reduce the risk of wildfire — like hazardous fuels removal, timber harvest, and grazing management — to deal with fighting the fires.

“As Californians, we know that fire season is now year round,” Capps said. “We’ve experienced some devastating fires over the last several years along the Central Coast, so we know the importance of ensuring that both our fire suppression and fuels management budgets are fully funded as well as the danger of diverting these important prevention resources in order to fund our fire response. It is time for Congress to act to ensure that communities can be best prepared for wildfire season, while still funding fire suppression appropriately. I hope this commonsense bipartisan bill can be brought to the House floor for a vote immediately.”

Capps, along with 173 other members, have made this request by signing a discharge petition. A discharge petition can force a vote on the House floor even when it is opposed by the House Majority Leadership if it gets 218 member signatures.

The bill is supported by a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including the Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, American Bird Conservancy; American Hiking Society; Defenders of Wildlife; Endangered Species Coalition; National Parks Conservation Association; Trout Unlimited; the Trust for Public Land; the Forest Guild; Safari Club International and the Outdoor Industry Association, among others. Over 200 supporting organizations representing sportsmen, timber, recreation, tribal, environmental groups, signed this letter in support of the proposal.

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

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Jobless Rate in Santa Barbara County Remains Below 6%

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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The unemployment rate in Santa Barbara County was 5.4 percent in June, up from a revised 5 percent in May and below the year-ago estimate of 6.8 percent.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for California and 6.3 percent for the nation during the same period. This is according to information released by the State Employment Development Department.

Job growth was recorded in most industry sectors, with the exception of losses in construction (200 jobs), manufacturing (200 jobs), and leisure and hospitality (1,200 jobs). The highest growth was in Professional & Business Services, which gained a total of (1,200) new jobs. Government also saw an increase in the number of positions gained (400 jobs), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities showing a gain of (300) new positions.

Although the county labor force dropped by 0.8 percent in June, to 224,200 down from 225,900 in May, it has fluctuated only 2 percent since June 2013, when it was at 228,700. The overall number of employed workers in the county is currently at 212,200 with a labor force of 224,200.

Santa Barbara County came in eighth of the 10 state counties that had below 6 percent unemployment rates in June. The lowest county unemployment rate among all California counties in June was 4 percent in Marin. Followed by: San Mateo (4.2 percent); San Francisco (4.5 percent); Napa (4.7 percent); Orange (5.2 percent); San Luis Obispo (5.3 percent); Sonoma (5.3 percent); Santa Barbara (5.4) percent); Santa Clara (5.4 percent); and Alameda (5.8) percent). The highest unemployment rate in June was 22.0 percent in Imperial County.  The comparable, not seasonally adjusted California rate was 7.3 percent in June.

Currently, occupations with the fastest job growth in Santa Barbara County are: home health aides (53.2 percent), followed by physical therapy assistants (50 percent). There is, also a demand for veterinary technologists and technicians, which are showing growth at (46.2 percent) and personal care aides (46.8 percent).

In considering numbers of employed in the county, it is also important to consider the commuter traffic from areas outside of Santa Barbara County, which is steadily growing. Over 16,000 of the employed in Santa Barbara County actually reside in Ventura or San Luis Obispo counties. In the year 2000, the percentage of employed commuting in to Santa Barbara County was at 14 percent — currently there are close to 7,500 commuting in from San Luis Obispo County and over 9,000 commuting in from Ventura County. While the total number of residents commuting out to either adjoining county would be approximately 6,000.

“As we finally start to feel the effects of summer, with tourism at its peak, we will begin to realize the economic changes that align with the season," said Raymond McDonald, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County. "Although we are showing fluctuations in industry sectors, such as construction and manufacturing, we are still moving ahead, which, in the long run will be the measure of true economic stability.”

According to INJCJC, US Initial Jobless Claims SA, the weekly initial jobless claim totals used to calculate local and federal UI (unemployment insurance) ratings is determined by the actual number of people who have filed for Unemployment benefits for the first time in a given period. And the following five eligibility criteria must be met in order to file for unemployment benefits: 1. Meet the requirement of time worked during a one-year period (full time or not), 2. Have become unemployed through no fault of your own (was not fired), 3. Must be able to work, no physical or mental holdbacks, 4. Must be available for work, and 5. Must be actively seeking work.

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Alice Gillaroo to Lead Rona Barrett Foundation’s Campaign for Golden Inn & Village

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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The Rona Barrett Foundation is pleased to announce that Alice Gillaroo will be leading the “Campaign for Golden Inn & Village.”

 

Alice Gillaroo
Alice Gillaroo

Gillaroo has extensive experience serving on nonprofit and foundation boards and as an executive director.

The “Campaign for Golden Inn & Village” is an ambitious three-year community-wide fundraising campaign to raise $3.5 million to complete the construction and furbishing of the Golden Inn & Village and provide seed money for essential programs and services to be delivered there for resident seniors and all seniors from the community.

The GIV will be the first senior housing project in the County of Santa Barbara and the State of California to provide affordable, aging-in place senior care for the Santa Ynez Valley’s most vulnerable seniors. It will be located at the heart of the community at the intersection of Refugio Road and Highway 246 across from the YMCA, Santa Ynez Valley High School, the Christian Academy and El Rancho Market.

“I joined the Rona Barrett Foundation’s campaign once I fully realized the crisis of affordable housing for seniors in our community had reached a critical mass,” Gillaroo said. “I believe that we have a moral obligation to be part of a viable solution. The Foundation’s compassionate and innovative response to this social inequity is both compelling and the right thing to do.”

Gillaroo has served as a Steering Committee member of the Northern Great Plains Project for the World Wildlife Fund, as a Development Committee member of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition for the Environmental Defense Center, as a board member for Child Abuse, Listening and Mediation/CALM, as a Development Committee member for the Wildling Museum and as a board member for the Susan Love Breast Cancer Foundation.

Gillaroo has also previously served as an executive director for Heath House & Sarah House, The Fund for Santa Barbara and Transition House. She has a bachelor’s degree from California State University-Fresno and a master's degree in social work from the University of Utah.

“The foundation is fortunate to be able to rely on the expertise of Alice Gillaroo to help lead us forward in our campaign to raise much-needed funds to complete the GIV,” Rona Barrett said. “There is an urgent need for affordable housing for low-income seniors in our community, and Alice will help us move forward with this ambitious goal.”

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

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Body Found in Lake Cachuma Confirmed as Missing Boater

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Isaiah Sanchez, 22, from El Rio in Ventura County was last seen going underwater July 11; the Coroner's Office is investigating the cause of death

The body of a missing boater was found Monday afternoon in Lake Cachuma, ending the 10-day search, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Isaiah Sanchez, a 22-year-old from El Rio in Ventura County, went missing July 11

His body was found about 100 yards from where he was last seen going underwater, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman. 

The cause and manner of death is being investigated by the Coroner's Office, which will include an autopsy and toxicology results, she said.

"A group of citizens who were on a rented pontoon boat spotted what appeared to be a body in the lake and called 9-1-1," Hoover said in a statement Monday evening. 

County Park Rangers, Sheriff’s deputies and a Coroner's detective responded to the scene once the body was discovered.

A positive identification was made after the body was transported by boat to shore. 

Sanchez has been missing since around 8 p.m. on July 11. The small boat he was riding in with two friends developed mechanical problems, according to authorities.

Sanchez and another man, whose name has not been released, ended up in the water, and a third man in the boat signaled to people on shore that they needed help.

Responding county park rangers rescued two of the men, but could not find Sanchez.

The days-long rescue effort to locate Sanchez, who is believed to have drowned, was hampered by zero-visibility conditions in the water that prevented a dive team from searching until conditions improved, Hoover said.

The Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit conducted periodic flyovers of the area and park rangers conducted surface patrols by boat using sonar equipment.

Several county lifeguards were brought in last week to help with visual searches, Hoover said.

California State Parks and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department also assisted with jet skis and searches of shallow areas of the lake and shoreline.

Sanchez’s family, who has been keeping a vigil at the lake since the disappearance, has publicly thanked authorities for their efforts and support but also criticized a lack of proper equipment to properly and quickly locate their missing relative.

The family has set up a memorial fund to support funeral expenses. Donations can be made at Rabobank to account No. 253313005.

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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JadeNow Gallery Presents ‘A Japanese Fancy,’ a Live Shibari Installation

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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JadeNow Gallery proudly presents, for the first time in Santa Barbara, the ancient fine erotic art of Japanese Shibari.

Shibari
With Shibari, the erotic art of Japanese rope bondage, the emphasis is placed on how the rope is used as a means of sensual communication. (JadeNow Gallery photo)

"A Japanese Fancy" workshop and performance, planned for 6 to 10 p.m. this Wednesday, July 23, will be held at JadeNow Gallery at 14 Parker Way in Santa Barbara, and will be conducted by San Francisco's Bondage Erotique, who are internationally renowned for their sublime interpretation and innovation in this rapidly expanding art form.

Shibari is the rich and erotic art of Japanese rope bondage. The emphasis is placed on how the rope is used as a means of sensual communication. The rope is an extension of the artist's hands.

The pleasure of Shibari is more about the journey than the destination. This is what differentiates Japanese from Western style of bondage. Shibari is a real discipline, which involves what the Japanese call "kokoro": integration of spirit, body and mind. Bondage Erotique's performance fuses the ancient tradition of Shibari with a modern sensibility.

Bondage Erotique is at the forefront of this emerging art form which is wildly gaining popularity in the West. From California to Russia, in all major cities; clubs, galleries, festivals and cirque events are now common places to see many of the modern masters outside of the clubs of Japan.

The JadeNow Gallery is proud to be introducing this beautiful experience to Santa Barbara in our private and profound venue. The early evening will be devoted to a couples workshop covering foundational ties and safety protocols. After a break, our artists will give a suspension performance that will be open to the public.

The 6 to 7:30 p.m. Shibari workshop includes a brief talk on the history, culture, and texture of Japanese ropes. Followed by hands-on instruction of fundamental ties and concepts. The capacity is limited to 13 couples to allow for personal attention.

From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Bondage Erotique will perform their latest suspension piece, a ceremony of adoration and trust that celebrates the art of Shibari, and the intimate, sensual journey it engenders. Aesthetic flights of fancy indeed!

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. Tickets for the workshop and performance are $30 per person or $55 for couples. Tickets for the performance only are $10 per person. Workshop space is limited, so reserve your spot now.

 — Oriana Sanders is the manager of JadeNow Gallery.

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Crews Respond to Vehicle Crash at New Roundabout Near Santa Ynez

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Car lands on its roof at the intersection of Highways 154 and 246, but no injuries reported

There was a vehicle accident Monday morning in the partially completed roundabout at the intersection of Highways 154 and 246.

The California Highway Patrol received a call of a vehicle on its roof in the roadway at 11:26 a.m. and responded to the scene along with Santa Barbara County Fire.

CHP officers were still en route as of 11:40 a.m., Officer John Ortega said.

A CalStar helicopter was initially called to the scene but the call changed to a non-injury accident, according to the CHP. 

The intersection in the Santa Ynez Valley was changed to a roundabout from a four-way stop and opened to traffic last week.

Daytime lane closures are ongoing as other parts of the construction project are completed, according to Caltrans.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story. 

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

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Santa Barbara County Planning Commission to Consider Cuyama Solar Project

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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A solar farm proposed for the Cuyama Valley to generate enough electricity for up to 15,600 homes is scheduled to go before the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The Cuyama Solar Project is proposed for 327 acres at 596 Kirchenmann Road in the northeastern corner of Santa Barbara County.

First Solar is developing the project it hopes will begin operating in 2015.

Planning commissioners will consider several matters related to the project during a meeting set to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Betteravia Government Center’s board hearing room at 511 E. Lakeside Pkwy. in Santa Maria.

On the South Coast, people may remotely testify by video in the Planning Commission Hearing Room, which is located in the Engineering Building, Room 17, at 123 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

The Cuyama project is item No. 7 on the commission’s agenda Tuesday.

The project would be able to generate 40 megawatts of electricity. In addition to generating enough electricity for 15,600 average homes, the solar farm could displace carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 metric tons annually, or the equivalent of removing 6,000 cars from the road, First Solar said.

“The Cuyama Solar Facility would also contribute to achieving local renewable energy goals and address public concerns related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, energy security, and fossil fuel dependence,” the staff report said.

Approximately 600,000 2-foot-by-4-foot photovoltaic modules would convert sunlight directly into low-voltage direct current.

The modules would be mounted on 60-foot-long steel and aluminum support structures in a horizontal tracking device that follows the sun.

The proposed project would require amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Development Code to allow utility-scale solar photovoltaic facilities on up to 600 acres of land designated Agriculture II or Agriculture Commercial, and zoned AG-II, in the rural area of the Cuyama Valley. Some parcels need to be rezoned to accommodate the facility.

In connection with the project, proponents are seeking to cancel the Williamson Act contract for 167 acres. But the remaining 1,362 acres would be re-enrolled into a replacement contract to keep the land in agriculture uses.

The commissioners must rule on assorted permits and other matters, including certifying the Final Environmental Impact Report.

The document identified several areas of concern, most of which would be mitigated. However, visual resources, agricultural resources and land use impacts would remain significant and unavoidable, county staff said..

Several Santa Barbara County residents sent letters of support for the alternative energy project.

The Santa Barbara-based Community Environmental Council also emailed an action alert to rally support for what representatives called “the only major energy alternative to fossil fuel electrical generation currently pending in Santa Barbara County.”
  
However, the Santa Barbara Audubon Society asked planners to postpone action on the project, with a representative saying the organization didn’t have enough time to review the Final Environmental Impact Report.

“Giving the public only 15 days to review this massive document is clearly insufficient,” wrote society co-president Stephen J. Ferry, saying other alternative energy projects had longer review periods.

Additionally, the solar facility will require modifications to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company Cuyama Substation.

This would include adding approximately 2,760 square feet to the substation, installing a 15-foot-by-30-foot battery building with a height of 12 feet, and installing an approximate 90-foot-tall telecommunications pole located within the Cuyama Substation fenced area.

First Solar also is building a much larger facility in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. The 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm is under construction in the California Valley.

The facility would produce enough electricity to power 160,000 average homes.

In February, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company announced it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire the Topaz Solar Farm.

First Solar agreed to build, operate and maintain the facility for MidAmerican.

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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This Is Your Brain on Drugs: UCSB Researchers Study Who Could Be More Vulnerable to Addiction

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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We’ve all heard the term “addictive personality,” and many of us know individuals who are consistently more likely to take the extra drink or pill that puts them over the edge. But the specific balance of neurochemicals in the brain that spurs him or her to overdo it is still something of a mystery.

Tod Kippin
Tod Kippin

“There’s not really a lot we know about specific molecules that are linked to vulnerability to addiction,” said Tod Kippin, a neuroscientist at UC Santa Barbara who studies cocaine addiction.

In a general sense, it is understood that animals — humans included — take substances to derive that pleasurable rush of dopamine, the neurochemical linked with the reward center of the brain. But, according to Kippin, that dopamine rush underlies virtually any type of reward animals seek, including the kinds of urges we need to have in order to survive or propagate, such as food, sex, or water. Therefore, therapies that deal with that reward system have not been particularly successful in treating addiction.

However, thanks to a collaboration between UCSB researchers Kippin; Tom Soh, professor of mechanical engineering and of materials; and Kevin Plaxco, professor of chemistry and biochemistry — and funding from a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation — the neurochemistry of addiction could become a lot less mysterious and a lot more specific.

Their study, “Continuous, Real-Time Measurement of Psychoactive Molecules in the Brain,” could, in time, lead to more effective therapies for those who are particularly inclined toward addictive behaviors.

“The main purpose is to try to identify individuals that would be vulnerable to drug addiction based on their initial neurochemistry,” Kippin said. “The idea is that if we can identify phenotypes — observable characteristics — that are vulnerable to addiction and then understand how drugs change the neurochemistry related to that phenotype, we’ll be in a better position to develop therapeutics to help people with that addiction.”

To identify these addiction-prone neurochemical profiles, the researchers will rely on technology they recently developed, a biosensor that can track the concentration of specific molecules in vivo, in real time. One early incarnation of this device was called MEDIC (Microfluidic Electrochemical Detector for In vivo Concentrations). Through artificial DNA strands called aptamers, MEDIC could indicate the concentration of target molecules in the bloodstream.

Kevin Plaxco
Kevin Plaxco (Spencer Bruttig photo)

“Specifically, the DNA molecules are modified so that when they bind their specific target molecule they begin to transfer electrons to an underlying electrode, producing an easily measurable current,” said Plaxco.

Prior to the Keck award, the team had shown that this technology could be used to measure specific drugs continuously and in real time in blood drawn from a subject via a catheter. With Keck funding, “the team is hoping to make the leap to measurements performed directly in vivo. That is, directly in the brains of test subjects,” said Plaxco.

For this study, the technology would be modified for use in the brain tissue of awake, ambulatory animals, whose neurochemical profiles would be measured continuously and in real time. The subjects would then be allowed to self-dose with cocaine, while the levels of the drug in their brain are monitored. Also monitored are concomitant changes in the animal’s neurochemistry or drug-seeking (or other) behaviors.

“The key aspect of it is understanding the timing of the neurochemical release,” said Kippin. “What are the changes in neurochemistry that causes the animals to take the drug versus those that immediately follow consumption of the drug?”

Among techniques for achieving this goal, a single existing technology allows scientists to monitor more than one target molecule at a time (e.g., a drug, a metabolite, and a neurotransmitter).

Tom Soh
Tom Soh

However, Kippin noted, it provides an average of one data point about every 20 minutes, which is far slower than the time course of drug-taking behaviors and much less than the sub-second timescale over which the brain responds to drugs. With the implantable biosensor the team has proposed, it would be possible not only to track how the concentration of neurochemicals shift in relation to addictive behavior in real time, but also to simultaneously monitor the concentrations of several different molecules.

“One of our hypotheses about what makes someone vulnerable to addiction is the metabolism of a drug to other active molecules so that they may end up with a more powerful, more rewarding pharmacological state than someone with a different metabolic profile,” Kippin said. “It’s not enough to understand the levels of the compound that is administered; we have to understand all the other compounds that are produced and how they’re working together.”

The implantable biosensor technology also has the potential to go beyond cocaine and shed light on addictions to other substances such as methamphetamines or alcohol. It also could explore behavioral impulses behind obesity, or investigate how memory works, which could lead to further understanding of diseases such as Alzheimers.

Based in Los Angeles, the W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The foundation grants focus primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical, science and engineering research. The foundation also maintains an undergraduate education program that promotes distinctive learning and research experiences for students in the sciences and in the liberal arts, and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth from low-income families, special needs populations and safety-net services.

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Parking Enforcement During Santa Barbara’s Fiesta Historical Parade

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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To accommodate the needs of spectators at the Fiesta Historical Parade, the Santa Barbara Police Department will suspend enforcement of 75- and 90-minute curb parking only on Friday, Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the areas bounded by the following streets (including the perimeter streets).

This does not apply to city parking lots.

» Above the freeway: Valerio Street on the north, Bath Street on the west and Laguna Street on the east.

» Below the freeway: Cabrillo Boulevard on the south, Castillo Street on the west and Garden Street on the east.

All other parking regulations will be enforced.

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

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Preview: Stripped Scripts Brings Fresh Perspective on Theater

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Stripped Scripts — no, it’s not a naked theater company, but a unique series of readings of contemporary original plays taking place bimonthly at The Piano Kitchen at 420 Rose Ave. in Santa Barbara, a quirky underground performance space. The next event will begin at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Monday, July 21.

Allison Threadgold
Allison Threadgold

Founded by Allison Threadgold and Matt Tavianini, both actors and directors, the series is now undergoing a transition, as Threadgold is moving back to New York City after Monday night’s reading to pursue opportunities in theater there. Tavianini will continue in his role, and taking the reins from Threadgold will be Kate Bergstrom, also an actor and director.

I was able to get some thoughts from all three of them on this unique endeavor.

                                                                        •        •

Justine Sutton: Allison, where did you get the idea for Stripped Scripts?

Allison Threadgold: In 2006, after graduating from conservatory in NYC, I stumbled upon a play reading series called Cold Cuts, with people doing readings of original plays in their living room. The concept was so successful that they quickly outgrew the living room and it became a monthly event open to the public in a small theater.

I was inspired by the ease of the format and hosted several readings of my own on the dark nights of a show I was producing in Tribeca. When I moved to Los Angeles, I had hopes of starting up a regular series, and moving to Santa Barbara finally provided the perfect opportunity.

Here I was in a new town, trying to get a handle on a theater scene that while varied and rich, proved to be difficult to fully grasp with all the disparate companies. So I thought the best way to meet people from across all these companies was to host a reading series that even busy actors could participate in as it required no rehearsals and took place on Mondays, which are traditionally "dark nights" for the theater.

JS: What makes this different from other readings, for the actors and the audience?

Matt Tavianini: The informal setting, where you can bring your own libations. The casting is done by people who attend the readings. The event is free and ongoing. We often have the playwright in attendance for a talkback with them.

AT: Before each reading, I have moments of dread that the actors won't find their tracks and the entire piece will derail, but my fears are never realized and I discover again and again the power of actors simply speaking and listening. I think that is what makes Stripped Scripts unlike most play reading events — they are unrehearsed and undirected so it's almost like improv with a script. While the actors have a sense of the mission their character is setting out to accomplish, they don't know how their castmates’ deliveries might alter the tactics they need to succeed.

Matt Tavianini
Matt Tavianini

My hope is that this creates a space for a more accessible style of theater for our audiences — almost like a backstage tour of a play while it's in rehearsal, where everyone in the room plays a part in what the night's experience ultimately will be.

Kate Bergstrom: Stripped Scripts allows for a unique kind of engagement between actor, writer and artistically inclined observer. Every member of the experience engages in the process and product in a flash. It is quick and dirty, fun and fast-paced, but also builds on itself and fosters community. I think the format is a huge part of what makes it so enticing — that everyone is going to be part of the process of feeling out these new works, faces and characters.

JS: What have been the main challenges and joys of producing Stripped Scripts?

AT: Challenges: While it was surprisingly easy to get great script submissions, it's been tough to find enough age diversity in the characters to take advantage of the range of actors we'd like to work with.

Because of this, we have not yet been able to implement one of the concepts of the series that I actually love the most, which is to cast the upcoming readings live at the end of each event out of the pool of actors in attendance.

The great joy for me is to see the readings come to life, and hear audiences members after every reading express how surprised they are that the pieces were never rehearsed and that often some of the actors had never met each other prior to the event. It has also been such a fulfilling way to meet new people both in and out of the industry, while providing a platform for artists and theater companies to share news of their upcoming events.

Kate Bergstrom
Kate Bergstrom

MT: The main challenges I would say are reading the scripts. The casting has actually been quite easy so I am thankful for that. The joys of producing for me have been getting the chance to bring readings to Santa Barbara as a regular event and having the playwrights participate in the discussion afterward. I also enjoy seeing our local actors in action and not having to pay anything because it is a free event.

JS: Allison, How will Stripped Scripts change when you move to N.Y.?

AT: The plan is for me to begin a N.Y. chapter of Stripped Scripts beginning this fall. We are excited for the artistic potential of doing the same play on two coasts with different casts. We are even researching means of videotaping the readings for people to watch on the other coast.

I'm hoping that expanding the scope of Stripped Scripts to a bi-coastal format will demonstrate that the choices each actor makes organically really bring a unique flavor to the writing, highlighting elements of the character or story that might be a little different than what another actor would bring to the same role, or even then what the writer might have originally imagined. I also am looking forward to getting to share the voices of some of these great playwrights, whose works we have been grateful to experience, across a bigger audience.

JS: Kate, what do you see as your unique contribution to Stripped Scripts?

KB: Coming from a background in directing and acting, I am always hunting for new wonderful playwrights and pieces to develop. I can contribute a savvy intuition for new voices and an excitement about meeting and working with all kinds of new actors and writers. Allison has built a wonderful and unique program for people to connect in a fun and artistically potent way, and I think my joy for meeting new people and artists especially will serve me well in this endeavor. I'm thrilled to be taking it over!

JS: Allison, can you tell us something about tonight’s play?

AT: A Tangled Affair by John Bolen is a charming piece about an eccentric artist and his surprising, equally unusual neighbors. The actors include myself, Meredith McMinn, William York Hyde, Matt Tavianini and Maya Shaw Gayle.

The playwright will be joining us from Irvine and we will have a short Q&A with him and the cast following the reading.

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

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Surface Improvement Project to Begin Thursday on Highway 101 in Gaviota

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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A project to improve the surface of southbound Highway 101 from the bottom of the Nojoqui Grade to one-half mile north of the Gaviota Rest Area is scheduled to begin this Thursday.

Motorists will encounter one southbound lane closed Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. One southbound lane will remain open at all times. The CHP will be present to maintain a safe condition for everyone.

This project is expected to increase the surface friction on the highway, which includes two sharp curves north of the rest area.

This contractor for this $289,000 safety project is American Civil Constructors West Coast Inc. from Benicia. This project is expected to be completed next month.

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 call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.568.0858 or visit the District 5 website by clicking here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.

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Capps Applauds Obama’s Signing of Executive Order on LGBT Job Discrimination

By | Published on 07/21/2014

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Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Monday released the following statement on President Barack Obama's signing of an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation for federal workers and by federal contractors.

"Today's Executive Order signing is another big step toward equality for the LGBT community," Capps said. "No one should have to worry about discrimination in the workplace for any reason. That is why today's action, which will protect the rights of millions of LGBT Americans in all 50 states, is so important. Now, all federal workers will be judged on whether or not they do their job, and not on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

For the last several years, Capps has been a leader on this issue and has pushed the president to act, leading letters in support of this action.

She is also a strong supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation for all workers.

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

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Sheriff Bill Brown Reassigning Election Challenger to Oversee Superior Court Bailiffs

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Sgt. Sandra Brown is being transferred, effective Monday, along with six other sergeants in what officials say is a routine move

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, fresh off last month’s re-election victory over Sgt. Sandra Brown, is transferring his challenger to oversee Superior Court bailiffs.

Sandra Brown, a 17-year veteran of the department, has been a detective sergeant with the Special Investigations Bureau of the Coroner’s Bureau for about four years. She ran against the sheriff in the June election, but the incumbent coasted to a third term with 56 percent of the vote. The two Browns are not related.

The transfer decision was made by the command staff at meetings on June 30 and July 1, Acting Undersheriff Don Patterson said. The decision-makers included Sheriff Brown, Patterson, two chiefs and the six commanders within the department.

Seven sergeant transfers were decided along with strategic planning for the next three or four years, Patterson said. He added that Brown’s four-year stint at the Coroner’s Bureau is the longest in 20 years.

“So it really was time to transfer her,” he told Noozhawk.

The Sheriff’s Department moves sergeants around every few years for experience, Patterson said, so if and when they’re promoted, they have a working knowledge of the entire system.

Sergeants are asked for a “wish list” of three places to go but it’s not guaranteed, he noted.

Brown, who did not list Superior Court among her choices, had wanted to go back to patrol, but the command staff decided to put her at the courts, Patterson said.

As a supervising sergeant, she will oversee 13-14 bailiffs — who provide security and help secure evidence and equipment at court facilities — at the South Coast courthouses.

Her transfer is effective Monday and her current position will be taken over by Sgt. Jason Grossini, who has prior experience with the Coroner’s Bureau.

The department doesn’t have an actual transfer policy but considers transfers every year around March. This year, Sheriff Brown put the process on hold because of the election and how changes could be perceived, according to Patterson.

He acknowledges that the transfer could be interpreted as a reaction to Sandra Brown’s decision to run for sheriff.

“We all knew when we started talking about transferring Sandra, rumors were going to fly,” he said.

Brown declined to comment for this story, citing the department’s policy prohibiting employees from discussing work-related issues.

“I would need permission to make a comment,” she said in an email to Noozhawk.

In an interview during her campaign, Brown told Noozhawk that she hoped the sheriff would treat her the same way after the election, if she lost.

“I’m a county employee first,” she said at the time. “I’m not looking to change career paths. My hope is he’ll treat me like he did before I decided to run.”

The sergeants were given two weeks written notice so they could wrap up cases and prepare for the transition.

One of Brown’s last cases is the complex investigation of the May 23 Isla Vista mass murder. Seven people were killed in the stabbing and shooting rampage, including the perpetrator, and 13 more were injured.

The reports are finished, at 300-400 pages, and are being checked over now, according to Patterson.

Sheriff’s officials expect to release the reports, in response to California Public Records Act requests, in about a month.

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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Nearly 100 Applicants Vie for Income-Restricted Hideaway Bungalows Homes

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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More candidates than expected will compete in Friday’s lottery drawing for 10 new condos in western Goleta

The possibility of owning a condo in Goleta’s new Hideaway Bungalows community was so enticing that nearly 100 people filed applications to buy one of 10 income-restricted units.

Now, between 80 and 90 applicants will wait to see results of a lottery drawing this Friday.

The deadline for families with a gross household income of at least $41,049 — but no more than $131,940 — to submit an application during a six-week period came and went last Wednesday while construction continued at the 7900 Hollister Ave. condominium community.

The City of Goleta has partnered with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara to conduct the lottery because the number of applicants far exceeded the number of units.

“It was kind of more than we expected,” said Victor Honma at the Housing Authority. “Initially, we didn’t think we were going to get a real big response because of the pricing of the property.”

The Hideaway Bungalows was approved in 2009 with 101 units, including duplex, triplex and single-family homes near Sandpiper Golf Club and Bacara Resort & Spa in western Goleta. Prices range from $637,000 for two-bedroom, two-bath units in triplexes to up to $1 million for a four-bedroom, detached single-family home.

Through the program, affordable housing includes five studio units for moderate-income households with an estimated maximum sales price of $252,939 (aimed at households earning 80 percent to 120 percent of median income).

Three one-bedroom units for above-moderate income households have an estimated maximum sales price of $458,780 (households earning 121 percent to 200 percent of the median income), and two two-bedroom units for above-moderate income households have an estimated maximum sales price of $517, 575.

Final sales prices will be based on the actual purchaser’s gross household income and size, along with interest rates at time of sale.

Honma said most applicants fell right in the middle of the required income range, although he was still processing paperwork to determine whether some were incomplete or ineligible.

More than 90 percent of applicants already live somewhere on the South Coast, he said, with a few outliers in Ventura or Los Angeles, and demographics varied.

He guessed historically high rental rates helped attract interest in buying.

“People are just looking at all their alternatives,” Honma said. “It’s the perfect storm of high rent and very low availability. I’m really sorry we can’t do one of these every year. There are so many commuters that we’re trying to attract.”

The public lottery will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at the Housing Authority, at which time the first 20 selected will be asked to certify their income.

Soon after, applicants should find out whether they qualify and if the unit they want is available.

“There’s quite a few hoops they still have to jump through,” Honma 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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Judy Foreman: Kathryn and Michael Graham’s C’est Cheese Has Even More on Its Plate

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Santa Barbara Street expansion gives couple room to grow their bakery, café and catering business

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Since 2003, Kathryn and Michael Graham, owners of C’est Cheese in downtown Santa Barbara, have been determined to build a commercial outlet for their passion for food and to provide a modest roof over their heads.

Michael grew up in Michigan and Kathryn in Los Angeles. They both attended UC Santa Barbara, but met during a junior semester abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. After graduation, Kathryn moved to Ann Arbor to be with Michael, who was working at the legendary Zingerman’s Deli.

They later relocated to New York City and, nine years ago, moved to Santa Barbara and opened C’est Cheese, complete with a nostalgic Midwest-style screen door at 825 Santa Barbara St.

Relying on just themselves, the then-26-year-olds went all in, believing they didn’t have much to lose. Their first year in business, they worked incredibly hard to keep the doors open at their cozy, well-stocked shop of cheeses from all over the world, cured meats, olives, candy, wine and fancy gourmet packaged foods shop-sourced at the Fancy Food Show held each January in San Francisco.

Their takeaway was that they needed the community, not just to buy cheese, but for encouragement, ideas and support. Husband and wife and business partners, they realized in those early years “that our love of cheese got us to open the doors, but the need for community got us out of bed each morning.”

Over a recent lunchtime interview, with a long line snaking out the front door, loyal patrons and newbies were queuing up to check out the couple's new addition. Several customers offered their comments and congratulations at the newly opened C’est Cheese Café.

The interior of the café is open and airy, with plenty of seating inside and out, including a community table. Specials are displayed on a chalkboard and a tempting bakery array is adjacent to the cash register as you stand in line to order your lunch.

The larger cheese section and packaged goods section will be finished in about a month, but a mini department is set up with many cheeses and refrigerated items from which to choose, along with free samples.

Anticipation of the new expansion has been taking place for more than a year as the city permitting process has dragged on. Brown paper with the C’est Cheese logo has covered the former storefront windows of Our Daily Bread, a longtime favorite that relocated to a charming space on the corner of Alamar Avenue and De la Vina Street earlier this year.

The departure cleared the way for C’est Cheese to expand its business, which now includes a bakery, café, larger cheese and meat offerings, more packaged fancy foods and a growing catering business.

At one point, the affable young entrepreneurs considered joining Marge Cafarelli at the new Public Market on West Victoria Street, but decided to stay in their present location, which is a bustling neighborhood for foodies.

Slowly and carefully, through customer service, knowledgeable employees, catering, wholesale business and bimonthly wine- and cheese-tasting events, C’est Cheese and the Grahams grew the business, in the process becoming a much-loved resource in the Santa Barbara food community on Santa Barbara Street.
 
Neighbors to Julienne, Panino, Sojourner Café, Handlebar Coffee House, Three Pickles Deli and the Wine Cask, among others, and with Margerum, ABC and several other wine-tasting rooms around the corner at El Paseo, the area has become a gastronomic food destination.

It was the Grahams’ desire to be a part of something larger that has driven their latest expansion.

“From one perspective, we needed to grow our business to give opportunity and growth to the amazing staff that we have cultivated over the years,” Kathryn said.

“Our passion for food extends beyond cheese and salumi. With this expansion we now have the opportunity to dive into completely new territories.”

To that end, the three components that now make up C’est Cheese are the cheese shop, the café and catering. With the extra room, the three entities are now able to establish themselves more independently.

Team C’est Cheese includes Kent Bui, the café manager formally with Tydes at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club and Scarlett Begonia; cheese shop head Marsha Bigelow, former manager of the iconic Cheese Store of Beverly Hills; catering director Becca Iglesias; catering manager Jaime Libardi, formerly at Greens in San Francisco and the San Ysidro Ranch; and pastry chef Jocelyn Kuzminski, formerly of Elements and the San Ysidro Ranch.

Keeping a watchful eye over the lunchtime crush, Michael shared the couple’s vision.

“We are taking advantage of the natural synergy, having each business buy from and support each other,” he explained. “For example, we now roast Diestel turkey, Spanish Jambon Ibnerico or Italian prosciutto, Jidori chicken and Wagyu beef from Snake River Farms in the café, which is then used for both our café and catering menus while also available for sale, sliced to order, by the pound in the cheese shop.”

Offerings include sweet scones and kouign amann; savory hand pies, which are baked daily and available in the café; espresso and coffee from local roasters Castle Coffee Co.; and seasonal salads that utilize local produce.

C’est Cheese offers gourmet gift boxes shipped or delivered locally with specially paired wines to go in each package. Even a cheese of the month club is available. Happy hour is now available from 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Both Michael and Kathryn’s goals from the day they opened were to never stop working to grow C’est Cheese and make it better and more special and allow them to offer even more exciting foods and experiences for the customer.

Their vision of the synergistic model was inspired by their appreciation for Zingerman’s back in Michigan, which recently was featured in the business section of The New York Times. The deli went from a sandwich shop in 1982 to a multimillion-dollar food, bakery and catalog juggernaut.

Elaborating on their business model, Kathryn noted that a customer can have a delicious breakfast and coffee on a Sunday morning, some tasty cheese and sliced salumi to enjoy at home, or pick up a beautiful platter of locally smoked salmon for a friend’s wedding shower. All these items are all available “in house” and at one location, she says.

C’est Cheese is c’est magnifique. Major yum!

C’est Cheese Market and Café, 825 Santa Barbara St., is open seven days. Click here for more information, or call 805.965.0318.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Letter to the Editor: Search for Isaiah Sanchez Hindered by Lack of Gear

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Dear Santa Barbara County officials,

On behalf of Isaiah Sanchez’s family, we want to thank all who have thus far through many means lent and offered support to the family during this time of loss, grieving and turmoil.

Although Isaiah lived in El Rio, and his mother’s current residence is in Imperial County, they come from and have extensive family in Santa Barbara, thus the appreciation for support is recognized by many. The support of the ranger, sheriff, fire and Lake Cachuma staff has been professional, courteous and sincere. The support from family, friends and community has been overwhelming. Special thanks to Rancho Alegre, camp host Lisa and lake staff for providing sleeping quarters and meals along the way.

But it’s been over a week since Isaiah was lost in the lake and that has been extremely painful, disheartening and frustrating to the family. It seems evident that Santa Barbara County is not properly equipped for this type of event in that multiple daily surface sonar scans, flyovers, periodic edge searches via jet ski and diving searches have produced negative results to this point.

Given that this has likely occurred in the past, recently, and may happen again, it would seem the appropriate county agencies would invest in equipment that would be adequate for this type of situation. We just read about a couple with adequate equipment who go around the country, successfully finding missing people in water within days of starting their search. Our own limited research indicates that maybe an investment in better equipment would well serve our county.

Another frustrating issue we just encountered is due to the lake vessel 30-day moratorium. While well-intentioned and necessary, a family friend who has been validated as contamination free at Lake Nacimiento contacted Lake Cachuma to offer his assistance to by using his proven High-Definition Side Scan special equipment that is superior to what has been used to date, but he was told he would have to wait the 30 days before entering the lake.

Again, frustrating. Why is this vessel welcome in one lake that protects against the concerned invasive species, Quagga, or zebra mussels, not welcome in another? Are there any community members out there not subject to the moratorium who may have better equipment and willingness to assist in the search? Our friend, a professional bass fisherman, has a high level of confidence that he or anyone with his type of equipment or better would be able to find Isaiah, and do so soon.

Maybe someone out there with authority to do so can facilitate some change and cut out any hindering bureaucracy.

A plea for help along with best regards,

— Rich Munoz
(Isaiah’s uncle)

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Jeff Moehlis: Checking In to the ‘Hotel California’ with Ex-Eagles Guitarist Don Felder

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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In what promises to be the classic rock event of the summer, Don Felder, Styx and Foreigner will be playing at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Sunday.  Having seen performances in recent years by Felder and Styx, I’m expecting that this one’s gonna be good! Click here for more details, or to purchase tickets online.

Felder is best known as the former lead guitarist for the Eagles, and wrote the music for the megahit “Hotel California,” which is regularly ranked as one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll songs ever written. He talked to Noozhawk about that song, his recent solo album Road to Forever, and hanging out with his tourmates. Click here for the full interview, which includes more on the Eagles and his best-selling book Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles.

                                                                        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: I saw you perform here in Santa Barbara at the Notes for Notes benefit concert last December, and when you played “Hotel California” it was almost like a religious experience for me. Can you tell us how the song “Hotel California” came together?

Don Felder: I had leased a beach house on Malibu Beach one summer, Broad Beach in Malibu, and I was just sitting on a sofa in the big room wearing cut-off shorts and playing guitar, looking out at the beautiful California sun glistening on the Pacific Ocean. It was just one of those spectacular July days. I started playing this progression, and it just kind of came out, and I played it over and over and over again. Then I went into my back bedroom, which was my 1-year-old little daughter’s bedroom when she we was awake, and it also served as my recording studio. So I went in and turned on this old reel-to-reel tape recorder, a four-track TEAC, and recorded it, just that chord progression.

Later, when we were assembling songs for what was going to become the Hotel California record, I went back and heard that little progression and decided to re-record it with a little Roland drum machine, and me playing bass, and playing the acoustic 12-string part and little electric guitar parts. I made a demo of it. Then I put in on a reel, I think with 15 or 16 other song ideas — one of them became “Victim of Love,” which is on the Hotel California record — and gave copies of those to Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner, and said, “If there’s anything in these songs that you guys like and want to finish writing with me, let me know.”

So I got a call from Henley a few days later, and he said, “I like that song that sounds kind of like a Mexican reggae or bolero,” and obviously that one with the little acoustic introduction was the one. So we started writing lyrics for it. Henley came up with the concept of “Hotel California,” and ran off with this pile of legal pads and just made lists of lyrics for it, and I worked on some of the music tracks that would need to be recorded when we re-recorded it. It just kind of came together with all the band contributing to it. That’s kind of how it came together.

JM: There’s a lot of crazy theories floating around about what “Hotel California” is about. Do you have a favorite theory that just happens to be completely wrong or misguided, but you think that it’s kind of an interesting theory?

DF: Well, the closest one that’s totally wrong is that there’s a place down in Todos Santos in Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula kind of near Cabo. Some developer bought this old hotel and changed the name of it to Hotel California, and started spreading the rumor that we used to go down there and hang out, and that’s where we were when we wrote the song. He’s got a big tourist business now where he sells T-shirts, CDs and all sorts of stuff, and you can stay at the Hotel California. Which is totally bogus. No one’s ever been there, no one’s been to Todos Santos. Nothing was ever written there. That’s about as wrong as you can get, I think.

JM: Your new CD sounds great! This came a long time after your first solo album came out. What made it the right time to do another solo album, and will we have to wait so long for your next solo album?

DF: Well, the reason it took so long between Airborne, which I think came out in the early ’80's (it was released in 1983), and Road to Forever was that there was a little project (with the reunited Eagles) that got in the way called Hell Freezes Over. That took a long time to do. That was almost six years. Then when I left the band in 2001, I sat down and started writing an autobiography, which took a couple of years, put together my own band, was out doing shows and starting to establish myself as a solo artist, and at the same time writing and recording songs for what became Road to Forever. So, the process of doing it by myself took longer when I had to write all the material.

I’m already in the process of writing and recording new song ideas. As soon as I come up for air and have enough time to go into my studio for a couple of weeks, I’ll start developing those song ideas into tracks and into finished lyrics and that sort of stuff. And, hopefully somewhere in 2015 or early 2016 I’ll get out another CD.

JM: You’re sharing the bill with Styx and Foreigner for the upcoming show. Did you know those guys back in the day, or is it a more recent friendship that you have with them?

DF: Well, I really first came in contact with Styx. Everybody knows the music from Foreigner and Styx. They’ve had just a great catalog, and a lot of great songs, a great number of hits. But we first really became friends about 10 years ago. We started doing these benefits together, like Alice Cooper’s fundraiser in Phoenix called the Solid Rock Foundation, or I put together a benefit for the victims of (Hurricane) Katrina, I guess it was like eight years ago or nine years ago. When we would do these shows together, we just had so much fun.

Tommy (Shaw, from Styx) and I became really good friends, so when he was in L.A. we’d go out to dinner with our wives and hang out. We eventually started doing shows together, the Don Felder Band and Styx. It was just so much fun to do it. The music was great together, the audience really knew both catalogs very well. So when this idea came up with doing this tour with Foreigner, Styx and myself, it just seemed like a perfect package. I knew those guys really well, I loved the songs in all the catalogs. I thought it was a perfect fit for the audience that would get four hours of just literally solid hits.

When we’re not on stage, we spend a lot of time together just hanging out. Like yesterday, half of both bands played golf together, and we have dinners together. It’s a very fun, lighthearted, no ego/no drama organization. Which is extremely different from what I’ve been on tour with. This tour has just been delightful for me. I’ve had a great response from the audience for all the shows. Nearly all the shows have been sold out. It’s just been a really great time together, with dinners and golf, friendships. It’s almost like a big family. A lot of fun and a lot of great music, so what’s not to like?

Click here for the full interview with Don Felder.

— 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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Michelle Malkin: Michelle Obama’s Operation VA Scandal Distraction

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Barack and Michelle Obama are quite the diversionary tag-team. He blames everyone else for his problems. She takes credit for progress on his behalf that he doesn’t deserve and distracts public attention from his avalanche of failures with endless feel-good photo-ops.

While the shirker in chief golfed and grubbed for money at closed-door celebrity fundraisers last week, his East Wing flak-catcher provided him cunning cover on the still-festering Veterans Affairs scandals.

First lady Michelle Obama flew to Los Angeles to declare a war or something on veterans’ homelessness. At a summit with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday, she said the neglect of our men and women in uniform, abandoned on the streets after returning from battle, should “horrify all of us.”

Of course, vet homelessness is a shame, and it should be eradicated. But the timing of Mrs. Obama’s remarks — not to mention her glaring omissions — is calculated cynicism on Louboutins.

President Barack Obama’s human deflector sprinkled her remarks with various anecdotes about vets struggling to get back on their feet. But not once in her 2,700-word speech did Mrs. Obama mention the horrifying stories of veterans neglected, abused, manipulated and crushed by corrupt VA bureaucrats under her husband’s administration.

Instead, she spent the rest of the speech bragging about “my husband” launching this initiative and that program to do right by the vets.

Various federal agencies live-tweeted the event; Mrs. Obama’s fan base oohed and aahed. And the Veterans Affairs media relations and social media tracking teams undoubtedly high-fived each other as they tallied up the positive media.

Meanwhile, more whistleblowers who will never gain Mrs. Obama’s public sympathy or accolades gave damning testimony about the “culture of corruption” at the VA. One told Capitol Hill lawmakers about how her car was dented after she reported manipulation of veterans’ benefits claims in Philadelphia. Others were put on leave or harassed. “Retaliation culture is a cancer,” said Dr. Christian Head, who was investigating time-card fraud inside the Greater Los Angeles VA Health Care System.

A new report by the VA inspector general provided more details of how bureaucrats made pending benefits cases vanish and mishandled or intentionally lost paperwork related to claims in a mad attempt to reduce the 600,000-case backlog. Linda Halliday, an assistant inspector general, ticked off all the new targets of investigative probes: Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Oakland, Houston and Little Rock, Ark.

Asked whether she believes in the integrity of data being supplied to her by VA officials, Halliday told the House Veterans Affairs Committee: “No. ... I don’t want to say I trust them.” Goodbye, hope and change. Hello, lying liars.

And how’s this for horrifying: Yet another VA IG report released last week affirmed that the Baltimore VA “had inappropriately stockpiled about 8,000 documents” containing sensitive personal information and processed and unprocessed claims-related mail with the potential to affect benefits payments. “More than 9,500 documents and 80 claims folders lacked the oversight necessary to ensure timely claims processing,” investigators said.

Translation: Feckless VA drones sat on their plump, worthless backsides while the desperate entreaties of our nation’s best and bravest clogged their do-nothing desks.

The horrors of government ineptitude and malpractice are behemoth. The OIG also affirmed last week that the same kind of book-cooking happening across the country took place at Philadelphia VA offices. Staffers changed dates on old claims to make them look new. Whistleblowers exposed systematic document shredding and piles of veterans’ unanswered correspondence stuffed in boxes and cabinets. Still to be probed: cherry-picking of claims to inflate performance; 32,000 unanswered electronic queries from veterans seeking information about their benefits claims; and duplicate payments being written off.

Michelle Obama’s Operation VA Scandal Distraction may have been a success for one day. But evasion-by-photo-op can’t work forever.

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

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Jim Hightower: History Is Calling But Only Corporate Interests Are Answering

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Most of us celebrated the Fourth of July by barbecuing, doing a few 12-ounce elbow bends and setting off some fireworks. Some of us might have paused for a moment to reflect on that thing Thomas Jefferson wrote about 238 years ago: The Declaration of Independence.

“We the People” are faced — right now — with another of those “when in the course of human events” moments Jefferson wrote about. Not only is this a month to reconnect with our revolutionary heritage but it’s also the appropriate time for re-declaring our independence, this time from “They the Corporations.”

With little coverage by the mass media, and with the complicity of most lawmakers, domineering corporations have quietly but aggressively used the U.S. Supreme Court itself to write them and their money into the Constitution as our sovereigns. As legal scholar and Democratic activist Jamie Raskin said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June: “In several recent 5-4 decisions, the wall protecting democracy from plutocracy has been crumbling under judicial attack.”

Just one year after their Citizens United decision unleashed CEOs to be able to roll truckloads of their shareholders’ funds into our elections (without asking those shareholders for permission or even informing them after the fact), that five assaulted our democracy again. Their 2011 verdict in the Arizona Free Enterprise Club case increased the volume of CorporateSpeak in elections by decreasing the speech of nonrich candidates. Specifically, they rejected the will of Arizonans who had voted to provide public funds for candidates who are willing to forego all special-interest money. This system gave the political ideas of the nonwealthy a chance to be heard when up against super-wealthy oligarchs. Public financing of elections was successfully widening public debate and freeing up political speech, so the same five corporate supremists stepped in to kill it, absurdly declaring that such laws give an “unfair advantage” to little-guy campaigns.

Next came this year’s McCutcheon opinion, in which the same five blew the lid off the limits on money that an individual can pour on candidates during any given election cycle. The limit had been $123,000 — high enough that only about 600 people out of our 330 million reached that maximum in 2012.

The court’s narrow majority lifted the allowable total for one person’s election-year spending to a stunning $5.9 million. That empowers a handful of the richest of rich donors — even fewer than 600 — to overwhelm the political voices of millions of common citizens, all in the name of free speech. Adding to this absurdity, this five-man wrecking crew blithely declares in its McCutcheon ruling that even transactions that appear to be obvious conflicts of interest are permissible (e.g., a CEO can give $25,000 to the head of a congressional committee — the same person who a week later can put a bill on the floor to benefit the CEO’s corporation). Such corrupt transactions apparently “do not justify” putting restrictions on campaign contributions. Instead, the wily five ruled that the only donor-to-donee corruption that can be regulated is outright quid pro quo bribery.

And do not think that this is as far as the court will go to empower Big Money. Already, corporate lawyers are asking the judiciary to strike down all limits on what each millionaire/billionaire can spend to elect or defeat any number of candidates, and they’re pushing to reverse 29 state bans on campaign donations during legislative sessions (when lawmakers and lobbyists are in heat and most open to exchanging favors for money).

The unstated (but now abundantly clear) goal of the five co-conspirators is nothing less than the establishment of a free-market plutocracy over what used to be America. Eaten up with Ayn Randian dogma, they are using their judicial positions to commodify political participation, converting our elections (the ultimate public function) into just another private market for buying and selling. Why not just authorize the commodity exchanges to post the daily selling prices of politicians alongside the growing rate for pork bellies and Texas crude? Or why not rule that Wall Street can peddle derivatives based on bulk packages of subprime officeholders. But let’s not give them ideas. With this court’s corporate quintet on the loose, absolute absurdity is no longer unimaginable.

But we can stop them. We need to treat the “free” in free speech as a verb, not an adjective. Let’s join together around a constitutional amendment to free up the people’s rights from the corporate usurpers. Sixteen states and hundreds of cities, towns and municipalities have joined. Click here for more information on Democracy Is for People.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Randy Alcorn: Voters, Break Your Addiction to Clowns and Jokers

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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Over the nearly 15 years I have written this column, I have been repeatedly castigated as either a liberal or a conservative. It used to be amusing. Now it’s just tedious.

Ideological idiots insist that everyone has to be either liberal or conservative. You are either with them or against them. Listening to the constant cacophony of ideological rantings, one would think that in the entire universe there are but two perspectives on any issue — liberal or conservative, each conveniently programmed and packaged. But then, Americans do love convenience.

The main arena for the contest between intransigent ideologies is Congress, which has become less a legislative body than a forum for political propaganda preached by grandstanding gasbags who have virtually ground the gears of government to a halt. Rarely do we hear practical solutions to problems or rational policy proposals being civilly discussed. Political discourse sounds more like adolescent name-calling than dignified debate. Even the U.S. Supreme Court appears to be caught up in ideological idiocy.

Nowhere is ideological vitriol focused more intensely than on the presidency. While the left’s nastiness toward the hated George W. Bush was tempered by the common pain of 9/11, the right began a mercilessly unrelenting barrage of scornful criticism against Barack Obama as soon as he took the oath of office. In this unseemly competition of insult, hostility and disrespect toward a sitting president, the trophy goes to the right. Obama must have skin thicker than rhinoceros hide. Still, I bet he is looking forward to January 2017 as much as are the Republicans.

It can seem as if the entire nation has chosen sides, convinced of the moral and intellectual superiority of their beliefs and of the deficiency and depravity of the other side. Calumnies, sophistries, exaggerations, fact bending and outright lies are volleyed back and forth over an ever lower net of civility.

An analysis by fact-checking site PunditFact found that 60 percent of comments made by right-leaning Fox News, and 46 percent of those made by left-leaning MSNBC are mostly false or outright fabrications. Such unfair and unbalanced reporting pleases partisan audiences that are more interested in confirming their ideological beliefs than in truth or open-minded, objective thinking.

Are American politics so elementary that one simply need choose one pre-packaged doctrine or the other? I’d like to believe that most Americans don’t think along such simplistic dichotomous lines. It is disturbing, however, to observe otherwise intelligent people clinging tenaciously to political dogma and slinging harsh recriminations at anyone from the “other side.”

The ideologues may be a minority but they are zealously active, and have effectively commandeered political thought and debate in this country. By reducing politics to two fiercely opposing ideologies, duopoly politicians have leveraged anger and angst to perpetuate their hold on office and cater to their special interest clientele, especially those who finance election campaigns. Real issues and critical problems are buried under a constant barrage of character assassinations and platitudinous didactics.

This sorry situation will not be corrected until and unless rational Americans get off their asses and vote in ways virtually unheard of in American politics. Imagine, if independent candidates starting winning elections for major offices. I know, most Americans believe that voting other than Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote. But, really, could your vote be any more wasted than it has been for what we have now — clowns on the left and jokers on the right?

The duopoly ideologues regard independents as apathetic, uninformed and insipid. Any who can’t be converted by Election Day are expected to stay home. But, being politically independent doesn’t mean that one is unconcerned, unenlightened or indecisive. Independents are often objective, open-minded and committed to common sense. They have no allegiance to some party agenda or doctrine that demands unquestioning loyalty. This means that ideas from anywhere along the political spectrum can be considered and embraced if they make sense. Competing ideas can be reconciled and adjusted.

The difficulty for independents is finding authentic independent candidates. Such candidates typically have far less campaign funding than the clowns and jokers, and get far less media attention. But they are out there.

Such common-sense candidates wouldn’t need to waste time on personal attacks to win elections. It should be obvious by now that the clowns and jokers they are running against are irrational fanatics, moral reprobates, incompetents and tools of special interests. Independent candidates need only identify and examine the most crucial problems and issues facing the nation, and focus attention on finding solutions and rational courses of action.

Think about government filled with a bunch of independents who owe allegiance to no one but you, who want to work together to solve problems, who are willing to compromise for the greatest good for the greatest number.

All you need do is break your addiction to Democrats and Republicans — the clowns and jokers.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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CalStar Transports 1 to Hospital After Rollover near Lompoc

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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A vehicle rolled over near the junction of Highways 101 and 1 east of Lompoc on Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP and Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the scene after the 11:08 a.m. call and a CalStar helicopter responded to take one patient to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The incident occurred near San Julian Ranch Road, according to the CHP.

One person in the vehicle had to be extricated, while another was able to get out, according to radio traffic.

No other details were immediately available.

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

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Suspected Salinas Gang Member Captured after Alleged One-Man Crime Spree

By | Published on 07/20/2014

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A suspected gang member from Salinas was arrested in Santa Maria on Saturday after an alleged one-man crime spree as he tried mightily to elude capture.

Marcello Teofilo Alvarez (Santa Maria Police Department photo)
Marcello Teofilo Alvarez (Santa Maria Police Department photo)

Police Sgt. Terry Flaa said Marcello Teofilo Alvarez, 35, a documented gang member from Salinas, was arrested Saturday afternoon in the 1000 block of East Hermosa Street after a series of encounters with law enforcement that began a quarter-mile away.

Flaa said an officer tried to stop a car driven by Alvarez in the 1000 block of North Bradley Road at about 1:35 p.m. He said Alvarez pulled into a driveway, “got out of the vehicle and made several furtive movements before getting back into the driver’s seat.”

As the officer approached, Flaa said, the suspect backed his vehicle toward him, striking the police car.

“The suspect then maneuvered his vehicle in such a manner that it was facing the officer, who sought cover,” he said.

With the officer in pursuit, Alvarez raced from the scene but collided with a parked vehicle a short distance away, Flaa said.

The suspect then fled on foot but Flaa said he was captured without incident on East Hermosa, east of North College Drive.

Flaa said officers found a woman passenger in Alvarez’s car and that she told them he had refused her demands to let her out of the vehicle during the brief chase.

A subsequent search of the car turned up a loaded rifle, ammunition and methamphetamine, Flaa said.

He said Alvarez was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, drug possession and a criminal street gang enhancement.

Alvarez’s bail has been set at $1.2 million.

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

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When Disaster Strikes in Montecito, MERRAG Responders Make a Difference

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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Drought or no drought, trained volunteers prepare and respond to local emergencies and rescue efforts

As the threat of wildfires rises with California’s persistent drought, the all-volunteer members of the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Action Group continue to train to assist the Montecito Fire Protection District with rescue, prevention and recovery efforts.

Members of MERRAG, pronounced “mirage,” train year-round to perform light search and rescue, radio communications, personnel deployment and fireproofing methods recommended by the National Weather Service.

The group is in the midst of a membership drive to prepare for the summer fire season. Its next seminar, covering radio and van training, is at 10 a.m. Aug. 14 at 595 San Ysidro Road in Montecito.

Geri Ventura, administrative assistant for Montecito’s fire department and treasurer of MERRAG, said volunteers play a pivotal role in preventing loss of property during fire outbreaks and act as additional aid workers during disasters.

“We have three pipelines into the community that, if damaged, would seriously hamper a response from a national agency,” she told Noozhawk.

“Our community would be an island during a big enough disaster, so we need trained volunteers who can act as first responders.”

Eric Boldt, warning coordination specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the current drought has put an unprecedented amount of stress on local plant life that could act as kindling for fires.

With rainfall at record lows not seen since the 1800s, Boldt emphasized a continued need for volunteers.

“We need weather spotters because MERRAG helps us to coordinate local resources,” he said. “They give us the ground-truth to what's happening in the field.”

Two members are placed on call every month for MERRAG command and are responsible for assembling teams in the event of a disaster.

Five-year MERRAG volunteer Cate Wilkins, 60, is on call for the month of July. Wilkins had an opportunity to put her skills to the test when a neighbor's child gashed her nose running through a plate-glass door.

The child's mother was in shock at the sight of blood, but Wilkins was able to calm the mom and instruct a bystander to call 9-1-1.

“Folks freeze during critical moments in an emergency, at a time when the speed of your reaction could make a big difference in the outcome for your friends and family,” Wilkins said. “Knowing these skills has given me peace of mind that I’ll know what to do in a disaster.”

MERRAG personnel are generally asked to avoid entering situations that appear too dangerous, but are trained to know when conditions are safe enough to help. They’re even taught how to rescue survivors trapped under heavy objects by lifting at an angle.

“We take them out and have them rescue dummies trapped under concrete and other objects,” Ventura said. “We actually have 70-year-old members lifting dumpsters off of dummies, which is pretty impressive.”

Ventura said volunteers step forward in droves after a disaster, but she said the 2008 Tea Fire underscored the how much more effective volunteers can be when they’re trained beforehand.

Team members set up an emergency operations center and information kiosk on East Valley Road within 10 minutes of the fire being reported, she said. “That fire demonstrated how well trained volunteers coordinate with the fire district.”

As fires grow in frequency and ferocity, knowledgeable community members are less likely to become victims, NOAA Fire Specialist Dave Gomberg said.

“When people get involved they begin to fully realize the unique capacity for natural disasters that we have in California,” he said.

“We were seeing temperatures typical of August as early as June. When the public learns to interface with rescue professionals, they take threats like these more seriously.”

Members of MERRAG and other volunteer organizations have started patrolling local trails on red-flag warning days to educate hikers and look for suspicious activity when weather conditions have a high risk of fire.

The nonprofit MERRAG is funded by tax-deductible membership dues paid by volunteers. The group hosts a free training module on the second Thursday of each month, and nonmembers are invited to attend. Click here for more information about MERRAG. 

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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Susan Miles Gulbransen: Paul Fedorko Reveals Plot of Today’s Book Publishing World

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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When it comes to American publishing, Frank Sinatra had it right in his song “New York, New York.” For nearly 200 years New York City has been “cream of the crop, at the top of the heap” for publishing houses with names like Scribner’s, Henry Holt, Putnam, Knopf and Simon & Schuster. That is up until about 25 years ago.

Traditionally, publishers printed books and booksellers sold them. Then along came Amazon selling books online, filling up “shopping carts” faster than the blink of an eye. To confuse matters, the electronic book marched onto the scene. Begun as Project Gutenberg in 1971, the e-book took 30 years to develop portability and easy use with availability of digitalized book databases.

The advent of the Internet gave writers a chance to successfully self-publish, thanks to marketing via social media. Through all this, book stores have struggled to stay in business as readers find options beside the printed page.

How has New York accommodated these new ways of doing business? When agent Paul Fedorko, literary agent for Bienstock Talent Agents (representing media newscasters and journalists), was a part of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in June, we took a few minutes to talk about today’s book industry.

Fedorko’s publishing experience goes back to the 1970s when he worked in New York City as a copywriter doing blurbs and copy for sales people. His first boss was local resident Fred Klein, then executive editor of Bantam Books, which ranked No. 1 among paperback publishers.

“Fred was critical in my career,” Fedorko said. “He’d yell down the hall. A noisy guy. At first it scared me. After a while we all knew he was easy and everyone liked him. We’d joke about how cheap he was but knew he was generous and cared.”

Fedorko considers Klein a mentor in a career that was capped as publisher of William Morrow & Co. By 1998, however, he felt he had “hit a wall” in the corporate world so he switched directions to become an agent.

When Fedorko talks, it’s fast. You know his mind races 10 times faster pouring out information and stories.

“The biggest challenge today is the consolidation of publishers,” he said. “Sometimes it’s been an odd change in weird ways. We still have Scribner’s but it’s called Scribner, no longer a top publishing house in New York but one of many imprints (subsidiaries) under Macmillan.”

Fedorko is referring to an example of new directions publishing houses have taken the past several years. The Charles Scribner family started publishing in 1846. Over the next century, Scribner’s and others with big names helped create our American literary history. Scribner’s published and cultivated giants such as Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Annie Proulx and Frank McCourt.

In 1978, Scribner’s expanded by buying Atheneum publishers. Less than 10 years later, both were folded along with several other big publishing names into Macmillan Publishers. Scribner is now owned by Simon & Schuster.

Fedorko named another cause of change: mass marketing of books through outlets like Amazon, Costco and other big-box retailers. The close relationship between publisher and bookseller is being replaced by these businesses buying in astronomical numbers that independents can’t match.

All this leads to the third change Fedorko has witnessed: the kind of author agents and publishers look for today.

“Nowadays the pressure is on agents and publishers to find winners or build on those with proven success,” he explained. “When I got into the business in the ’70s, we looked for authors to cultivate and grow with each book. Today agents and publishers choose with caution. A few are brave enough to take on someone with an unusual manuscript, like Salmon Rushdie, and hope he turns out to be successful, but not many.”

Speaking of success, Fedorko took about five years to get established.

“One of the first books I found was John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” he said. “After 39 publishers passed, Berrett-Koehler bought it. The book went on to big success earning millions. It shows you can’t give up.”

His latest release in April was ABC broadcaster Robin Roberts’ new book Everybody’s Got Something. The biography ended up on The New York Times best seller list and continues selling big.

Fedorko made a statement at the SBWC that caught my attention: “From the time a manuscript leaves the hands of the author, about 25 people touch it from start to finish.” Among these are editors, design covers, publicity people, distributors, book retailers and more, a lot of people.

As an agent, Fedorko works with about 125 projects at one time. Among his duties are weekly updates on all book deals, getting manuscripts ready for submission, helping other authors who have works-in-progress and looking for new manuscripts.

“I do not read a book like the average reader,” he said. “Instead I’m always thinking, ‘Does it have good story?’ ‘Good characters?’ ‘Workable platform?’ If not, no matter how strong your social media efforts are, they won’t help that much.”

What he loves best is building an entire community of writers among his clients.

“I’m there at the beginning of the publishing road, not coming in at the middle,” he said. “Sometimes those efforts take off; sometimes go nowhere. That’s the life of being an agent.”

                                                                        •        •

Did you mother ever tell you there are three ways to make a statement? “What you want to say, what you say and what you wish you had said.” In my last column on Santa Barbara’s history of resident authors, I stated Barnaby Conrad’s first book was Matador. I wish I had written The Innocent Villa.

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

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Greek Festival to Provide Santa Barbara with a Taste of the Old Country

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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Santa Barbara’s annual Greek Festival returns with authentic Greek music and cuisine next weekend at Oak Park.

Sponsored by St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, the July 26-27 celebration will include as many as 20 booths selling authentic Greek dishes like gyros and souvlaki prepared by parishioners.

Greek musicians new and old will be featured, including DJ Pete Loukatos, The Village Greeks and a performance from Chris Hillman, founding member of 1960s rock band The Byrds.

The festival will take over Oak Park, at 300 W. Alamar Ave., and feature two dance areas and a $1 raffle with a prize of two round-trip plane tickets to Greece.

There will be a free shuttle service to the festival from Sansum Clinic, 317 W. Pueblo St. across from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

There is no charge for admission and a portion of this year’s proceeds will go to the church.

Father Simon Thomas, a priest at St. Barbara who works closely with the church’s festival committee, said as many as 15,000 people are expected to attend the festival.

Thomas stressed that the event wasn’t just for those of Greek ancestry or churchgoers, but for all of Santa Barbara.

“We’re consistently humbled and surprised by the turnout from people all over town, and we want to give people the best experience possible,” he said. “This is the cheapest way to visit Greece without buying a plane ticket.”

The popular meze appetizer booth will be featuring vegetarian options like tiropita stuffed with feta cheese, along with thousands of authentic Greek pastries like walnut and yogurt cakes.

Organized solely by the church, parishioners are responsible for preparing all of the dishes that will be sold at the festival’s many booths.

Parishioner Andriana Kolendrianos has spent the last few months, with more than her share of 11-hour days, toiling with other parishioners to furnish enough pastries for the festival’s visitors.

After 35 years of service and earning the title “chair of pastries,” she said baking in massive quantities is still a big challenge.

“Many dishes intended only for a few had to be tweaked to serve thousands,” she said. “But it’s fun, because it means the only way to get the variety of pastries we make is to come to the festival.”

A traditional Greek “blessing of the water” ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and a full church service will be held at 9 a.m. Sunday prior to the festival.

Click here for the Greek Festival entertainment schedule and for more information.

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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Diane Dimond: Beltway Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo Brokers Enterprise from Behind Bars

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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Lee Boyd Malvo, inmate No. 330873, incarcerated at the super-maximum Red Onion State Prison in Pound, Va., has a business plan to make himself some money. He either doesn’t know it is against the law or he doesn’t care.

You won’t learn about this story anywhere else. I was only able to piece it together after speaking to sources, correction officials in Virginia, exchanging emails with a woman in a foreign country and putting two and two together.

You may remember Malvo was half of a two-man killing squad that terrorized, robbed and killed people in about a dozen states back in 2002. When the pair were at the peak of their killing spree, the media incorrectly dubbed the then 17-year old Malvo and his 41-year-old accomplice, John Muhammad, “The Beltway Snipers” and the “D.C. Snipers.”

The pair didn’t only go after targets in and around the nation’s capital. They began their murderous binge in Washington state in February 2002. Traveling through nearly a dozen states, their total victim count was 10 injured and 17 dead. They didn’t attract national attention until their random sniper attacks erupted close to the seat of power, in and around Washington, D.C., in October 2002.

After their capture, Muhammad was convicted in 2003 and executed in 2009. Young Malvo was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences with no possible parole. Malvo maintains that after surviving a hellish childhood, he latched on to the much older and controlling Muhammad for stability. He says he was repeatedly sexually abused by Muhammad and was brainwashed into participating in the crime spree.

Malvo’s lawyers are appealing his sentence citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 finding that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. So far, they have been unsuccessful.

Today, the now 29-year-old Malvo awaits his fate, and I have learned he frequently puts pen to paper and draws: the Christ child with an angel hovering above, an impressive rendition of a young Muhammad Ali and the rapper Drake. Malvo often draws himself alone in his cell, his face usually only partially revealed. The drawings have titles such as, “The Prison Well Made By My Mind” and “Forgive Yourself.”

Malvo’s drawings portraying guns and violence are the most chilling. One piece titled “In Brainwashing” shows two men lying on their stomachs as if scoping out a faraway target. One is aiming an automatic weapon. Off to the right sits a young crossed-legged African-American man (who looks like Malvo) passively watching the scene.

Other drawings are more action-packed. “Syria in Turmoil” portrays a desperate-looking man in a ball cap holding an automatic weapon in his right hand as he uses his left arm to catapult between two cars. Another in this series shows two men with guns outstretched, each moving toward the corner of a brick building from different directions. It’s clear that in an instant one of them will be dead. In a work Malvo calls “Slavery,” guns are replaced by a whip, and chained men are beaten by a jailer with a machete in his belt.

This art is Malvo’s product. His business plan apparently came together after a German woman named Kira Prange began writing him in January.

“I wanted to learn how we accept people without judging them or their past,” Prange wrote me in a series of emails we exchanged.

The 24-year-old student from Bremen, Germany, told me she is studying to be a social worker and she chose to write Malvo because as a 12-year-old girl she remembered news reports about the manhunt. Prange told me she and Malvo write between one and three letters to each other every week.

“We quickly became good friends, and he asked me if I might help him with his art sale since he had to stop about a year ago,” Prange wrote.

A few weeks ago, Prange created an Internet site for Malvo where she posted 20 of his tablet-sized drawings. Each drawing is offered for $2,000 save for “Brainwashing,” which has a slight notch out of one side and is priced at $1,800. Prange confided to me that she has “about 50 more drawings” from Malvo that she plans to post after her exams are over.

“The main reason for the art sale is Mr. Malvo’s intention to help a close friend financial,” Prange wrote, struggling with English a bit. She did not reveal precise details of their business arrangement, but she made it clear Malvo plans to profit.

“He does receive some of the money,” she wrote.

Interesting, since profiting from the notoriety of a crime is against Virginia law — Code Section 19.2-368.20, to be exact.

It states that any profits received by an inmate as a result of his notoriety “shall require that the defendant and the person with whom the defendant contracts pay (the court, the proceeds to) ... be placed in a special escrow account for the victims of the defendant’s crime.”

Is this the law that shut down Malvo’s last attempt to sell his drawings? Did he believe by selling through a foreign intermediary his enterprise might survive under the radar?

On Capitol Hill, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is currently stalled on his third attempt to get legislation passed that would prohibit any federal or state inmate convicted of a violent crime from profiting from the sale of any of their memorabilia. Cornyn’s “Stop the Sale of Murderabilia Act” is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Since his conviction, Malvo has reportedly apologized to one survivor of his shooting spree and to the daughter of one of the dead. He petitioned the court to change his name on the basis that he would be safer if other inmates did not know his identity. In a long tape-recorded interview with the Washington Post in 2012, he lamented his tormented childhood and clearly wishes he had not fallen under Muhammad’s “Master Puppeteer” spell.

In a prison like Red Onion, where most of the population is segregated in individual cells 23 hours a day, Malvo’s artwork is surely one of his few satisfying outlets. But, somehow it has escaped him that it is only of value to a few collectors because he is notorious for committing heinous, bloody crimes.

Something tells me after this news of Malvo’s latest business endeavor hits the headlines, monitors at Red Onion State Prison will be looking more closely at both his incoming and outgoing mail. And they should.

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

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Mark Shields: In Hat Tip to Jimmy Cannon, Here’s My Own ‘Nobody Asked Me, But ...’

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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From time to time, the late New York sports-writing legend Jimmy Cannon used to do a column composed of witty, sentimental short takes he called “Nobody Asked Me, But.” It was Cannon who wrote of the longtime African-American heavyweight-boxing champion: “Joe Louis is a credit to his race ... the human race.” Another Cannon one-liner: “I can't say I ever remember staying for the end of a movie in which the actors wore togas.”

With a tip of the cap to Cannon, here is my own “Nobody Asked Me, But.”

The continuing national debate on the thorny subject of immigration recalls the advice of an important Native American tribal leader to President Harry Truman: “Be careful with your immigration laws. We were careless with ours.”

Here is a favorite sports drinking question: Only four U.S. colleges or universities have graduated both a U.S. president and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Name the schools and the individuals. Answer below.

It turns out former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and the Democratic President Barack Obama have more in common than either of them acknowledges. Both of them were, at one point, quite confident that signing into law major health-care reform would advance their political careers.

I predict that with the way things are going politically for the White House, which is not good, the government of Kenya will make a formal announcement following a through, official examination that it has authoritatively determined that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii.

Like most sports fans I know, I’m happy the dominant professional basketball player of his generation, Akron, Ohio, native LeBron James, is leaving Miami to return to his old hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. A rare victory for the Rust Belt over the Sun Belt.

But let’s remember to give credit to the Ohio-based professional who had certainly the greatest single season ever. That would be Oscar Robertson, the “Big O,” who, playing for the Cincinnati Royals from 1961-1962, averaged 30.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game and 11.4 assists per game — what is called a “triple-double.” For comparison, among the 390 professional basketball players during the entire 2013-2014 season of 82 games, there was a grand total of 35 triple-doubles.

Here’s the fail-safe test to determine whether you’re a little overweight: If you’re sitting in the bathtub, and the water level in the toilet bowl rises.

Charles Osgood, the superb CBS journalist, recalls that it was while delivering newspapers in his boyhood hometown that he first learned the importance of accuracy in journalism. That was when young Charles was trying mightily at each house to miss the bushes and hit the front porch.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is, hands down, the sharpest-dressing anchor on MSNBC. Yes, the Rev. Al is truly a man of the cloth. And in his case, the cloth is cashmere.

The answer to the sports stumper above: The four schools that have produced both a U.S. president and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback are the University of Michigan (President Gerald Ford and quarterback Tom Brady); the U.S. Naval Academy (President Jimmy Carter and quarterback Roger Staubach); Stanford University (President Herbert Hoover and quarterbacks Jim Plunkett and John Elway); and Ohio's Miami University (President Benjamin Harrison and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.)

Comedian-actor Martin Short is an authentic genius.

In every political campaign or debate you're ever in, there will always be, without fail, somebody on your side you wish devoutly was on the other side.

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

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Rain Clouds Tease South Coast with Just a Few Sprinkles

By | Published on 07/19/2014

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The cloudy skies over Santa Barbara County may make it look like rain is on the way, but only a chance of sprinkles is expected on the South Coast on Saturday.

A smattering of drops fell in Montecito at midafternoon, and similar sprinkles were reported in Goleta and on the Mesa in Santa Barbara.

According to the National Weather Service, thunderstorms are possible in the mountains and interior valleys of Santa Barbara County through Saturday evening. Storms might be accompanied by gusty winds, and the weather service said conditions are ripe for dry lightning, as well.

Sunday’s forecast calls for a mostly cloudy morning giving way to afternoon sunshine. Daytime temperatures in the upper 60s to mid-70s are likely, with afternoon winds of around 15 mph.

The weather service said Monday and Tuesday are expected to deliver more of the same.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

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

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

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Drivers Using Part of Roundabout Under Construction in Santa Ynez Valley

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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The project is expected to be completed later this summer at the intersection of Highway 154 and Highway 246

Drivers are now using part of the under-construction roundabout at the intersection of Highways 154 and Highway 246 in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Earlier this week, motorists traveling in both directions began driving through the partially completed roundabout as construction on other parts of the project continue.

Work began in January on the project to change the intersection from a four-way stop to a roundabout Caltrans contends will improve safety.

Since the change earlier this week, the California Highway Patrol reports no incidents at the intersection, Officer John Ortega said.

A roundabout is an intersection where traffic travels in a counter-clockwise direction around an island.

Drivers are allowed to enter the roundabout when there is a gap in traffic. Vehicles entering or exiting the roundabout must yield to all traffic, including pedestrians, state officials said.

Drivers are required to use turn signals when changing lanes or exiting the roundabout, state officials added.

Some local leaders opposed the roundabout, lobbying instead for a traffic signal at the intersection.

As construction on the roundabout continues, daytime lane closures are expected. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

As construction continues, daytime lane closures are expected but shouldn’t delay traffic beyond 10 minutes, according to Caltrans.

Eastbound motorists on Highway 154 to reach Highway 246 are encouraged to use the roundabout and not make an abrupt right turn onto Highway 246, Caltrans said.

Armour Ranch Road is now open during this phase of the project. Motorists and bicyclists are encouraged to share the road.

The contractor for this $3.3 million project is Granite Construction of Watsonville.

Construction on the controversial traffic circle should be completed this summer, earlier than initially expected.

This is the second roundabout involving Highway 246. Another one was completed in 2012 on Highway 246 at La Purisima Road, east of Lompoc.

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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Judge Emphatic About November Start for Trial in Anthony Ibarra Murder-Torture Case

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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A judge in a Santa Maria gang-related torture and slaying case with seven defendants re-emphasized on Friday his intention for the trial to start in mid-November.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown also spelled out the remainder of the schedule to ensure that the Nov. 17 starting date for the trial remains on track.

“We’re going to move relentlessly … forward to bring this trial to completion,” Brown said.

Seven defendants will stand trial in the March 17, 2013, slaying of 28-year-old Anthony Ibarra, who was killed in a West Donovan Road house in north Santa Maria, authorities said. His body was found in a U-Haul rental truck located in Orcutt.

The defendants are Ramon Maldonado, Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, David Maldonado, Anthony Solis, Ramon Maldonado Jr. and Jason Castillo. Four other defendants, Pedro Torres Jr., Carmen Cardenas, Verenisa Aviles and Robert Stan Sosa, accepted pleas in the case.

The judge on Friday reminded the six defense attorneys plus Ramon Maldonado, who is representing himself, of the upcoming deadlines for submitting and responding to motions so the Nov. 17 trial date remains on track.

“We’re all going to work very hard to be ready to go the 17th,” Brown added.

Brown also shared about plans for the testimony to run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with two 15-minute breaks each day during trial, a schedule developed after consulting judges in other counties with trials that also involved multiple defendants.

“It’s the only way to move a trial like this through to completion,” he said.

Friday’s hearing also involved attorneys discussing access to recordings of the defendants’ jail phone calls and mail.

When Ramon Maldonado questioned why only some mail is included in discovery, or possible evidence, given to him, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen said it’s up to jail officials to decide what mail is passed along. Typically, jail officials remain mum about that process, she added.

“It’s for the security of the institution,” Bramsen said.

Another hearing is planned for Aug. 15 for the judge to rule on other pre-trial matters.

Some attorneys told of scheduling conflicts due to other cases before different judges, but Brown offered to intercede so the attorneys are free for the mid-August hearing — and the schedule isn’t interrupted.

Legal matters in this case are being heard in Santa Maria Juvenile Court because it’s the largest suitable facility to accommodate the multiple defendants and their attorneys.

In March, Brown set the Nov. 17 trial date to give defense attorneys time to sift through thousands of pages of evidence in the case. The trial is expected to last several months.

Details involving the murder of Ibarra were revealed in a 932-page grand jury transcript that was obtained by Noozhawk in partnership with KEYT.

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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Fess Parker’s Resort Insists It’s Doing Its Part to Conserve Water — Despite Green Lawn

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Amid the lingering drought, the general manager fields questions from Mayor Schneider about whether the hotel is complying with the city's water restrictions

Earlier this week, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider pointed out the stark difference between the city's parks going brown on the south side of Cabrillo Boulevard while the sprawling lawns of a hotel across the street continue to be green.  

Just after a presentation by the city's Parks & Recreation Department about how some parks in the city are not being watered at all to save water, Schneider commented that "the contrast from one side of Cabrillo to another is dramatic," and asked if the hotel could reduce water usage in that area.

Staff at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort say they've been complying with the city's water restrictions, and that they've been working to conserve for years.

Five years ago, the hotel purchased a software system that adjusts how much water to put out on the lawn based on real time cloud cover and forecast data.

"It's incredibly customized," said Matthew LaVine, Fess Parker's general manager. "The city doesn't do the stuff that we do all year long to keep the grass healthy."

The hotel contracts with company Valley Crest to maintain the lawn, and things such as fertilizing and keeping the lawn short have also kept it green, he said.

"All of these things we do prevent us from having to over-water," he said. "Our grass is not completely green. We could throw more water on it, but we understand the situation."

The hotel's fountain is also dry.

Though the space on the north side of Cabrillo Boulevard is owned by the City of Santa Barbara, the hotel is required to maintain the lawn as part of the development agreement.

The hotel also has taken steps to conserve water inside though hotel, LaVine said, including installing low-flow toilets and laundry equipment that eliminates rinse cycles.

"Conservation has always been on our minds," he said.

The city has implemented restrictions on outdoor water use and imposed drought rates for water users as a way to encourage conservation. Officials are asking all water customers to cut their use by 20 percent, but those conservation rates haven't materialized yet. 

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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Gerald Carpenter: Winners to Showcase Their Brilliance on ‘Concerto Night’

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Back at the beginning of this year's Summer Festival, 55 Music Academy of the West fellows vied with one another — musically — to be eligible to perform in the Concerto Night competition finals on July 2-3. The 21 finalists were winnowed down to three winners in the competition, and they will strut their stuff at 8 p.m. this Saturday in the Granada Theatre.

The Festival Orchestra will be conducted by Joshua Weilerstein, who was himself a Music Academy fellow — and Concerto Night soloist — not so long ago (2007 and 2008) and has now become one of two New York Philharmonic assistant conductors.

Horn player Trevor Nuckols will open the Concerto Night program as soloist in Wolfgang Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in Eb-Major, K. 417 (1783); then violinist Danbi Um takes the solo in the first movement of William Walton’s Violin Concerto in B-Minor (1937-1938); followed by pianist Micah McLaurin fronting the orchestra for movements two and three of Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F-Minor, Opus 21 (1830).

The evening will conclude with Maestro Weilerstein conducting the Festival Orchestra in a performance of Peter Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E-Minor, Opus 64 (1888).

Jascha Heifetz commissioned the Walton concerto in 1936 and premiered it on Dec. 7, 1939, in Cleveland before the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Artur Rodziński. He made at least two recordings of the work, one in 1942, with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugene Goossens, and the other in 1950, with the composer conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Of course, the name "Heifetz" goes far in getting one's composition established international concert halls, but if the concerto would not have been written had it not been for Heifetz, it made it entirely on its own merits into the select group of permanent residents of the 20th century concerto repertory. The first movement, marked "Andante tranquillo," has no trouble standing alone as a concerted "poem" for soloist and orchestra, like those of Chausson or Griffes. From the first bars, it is obvious what the conductor Raymond Leppard meant when he said that what he would miss most about Walton was "his tunes." Take away Walton's extraordinary gift for writing beautiful, original melodies, and you are left Benjamin Britten.

Tickets to Concerto Night are $48, $38 and $15. They can be purchased by phone at 805.969.8787 or online by clicking here. Tickets are also available from the Granada box office at 805.899.2222.

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

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Andrew Seybold: Bill Would Allow Consumers to Unlock Cell Phones, But What’s the Point?

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate finally passed a bill that if signed into law would allow all of us to legally have our wireless devices unlocked so we can move them from one network to another without breaking the law. A “locked” phone is usable only on a given network and not on any other network.

When the device is unlocked, it can be moved to another network. This means we can change networks without having to buy a new phone, or so those in the Senate seem to believe. But is this so?

The answer is a mixed bag of yes, no and maybe. It really doesn’t matter what Congress passes or what the president signs into law. Some unlocked phones will be capable of being used on other networks and some will not. Let me explain.

Why and Why Not!

In 1981 when cellular systems first came to the United States, the Federal Communications Commission allocated radio spectrum in the 800-MHz range. At that time, only two networks were permitted in each area so one network was allocated half of the spectrum and the other network was allocated the other half. Years later, the government decided that only two network providers in an area did not provide for competitive pricing, so in 1996 the FCC auctioned more spectrum for wireless operators, this time in the 1,900-MHz range.

Sprint and what is now T-Mobile came to be with these auctions, and we ended up with four nationwide network operators and a number of smaller operators covering mostly rural areas of the United States.

Wireless broadband emerged in the mid-2000s and with it a huge increase in demand for wireless network capacity. The FCC “found” additional spectrum for broadband by relocating some existing users, including some federal users, and auctioning it. These frequencies were in yet another portion of the radio spectrum.

Since then, demand for capacity went through the roof with the advent of fourth-generation wireless broadband or LTE. Once again the FCC “found” more spectrum to auction, this time by relocating TV channels 52 to 69, spectrum different from any that had been used before, and this was also put up for auction.

As a result, U.S. wireless network operators today run several different systems on several different portions of the radio spectrum. Europe and Asia operate on even different frequencies. Some network operators such as AT&T and Verizon own spectrum in most if not all of the different “bands,” but Sprint and T-Mobile do not own spectrum in the two most important bands. Further, next year there will be more auctions, this time to replace TV channels 32 to 51 with wireless services, carving out yet another portion of spectrum.

Today’s U.S. wireless operators operate on so many different portions of the radio spectrum that the internal radio element of a smartphone is jammed with different radio modules, antennas, filters and other parts. There is no such thing as a single radio that can operate on all of the different spectrum that is being used.

So not all phones are built with all radio channels in them. For example, let’s look at a phone on AT&T (or Verizon). It probably has most of the other necessary frequencies to move from one network to another, but in the most important newer portion of the radio spectrum that is used for LTE or fast broadband services, AT&T phones do not support the Verizon spectrum and Verizon phones do not include the AT&T spectrum. So yes, you could unlock an AT&T phone and move it to the Verizon network, but you would not get Verizon’s fourth-generation broadband speeds for Internet browsing, video watching or any other type of data. The same would be true when moving a Verizon phone to AT&T.

Moving a phone from Sprint or T-Mobile is even worse. While it can be done, you would only have a portion of the AT&T or Verizon network available to you. This would greatly reduce your coverage since the network operators do not use every portion of their spectrum in every city or even within every area within a city or county.

In other words, being able to unlock a phone in the United States is a nice idea, but it would cause more problems for customers than it would solve. In Europe, where all networks use the same frequencies, unlocked phones are a way of life. However, in the United States unlocked phones won’t solve anything.

Besides, most operators are beginning to follow T-Mobile’s lead by doing away with two-year contracts and phone subsidies. Instead, you will spend more for a phone upfront or over time and sign up for a month-to-month contract that does not tie you to penalties. Still, if you want to move to another network you will need to plan to move your phone number over — but don’t count on moving your smartphone, tablet or laptop without sacrificing system performance and/or coverage.

Passing a law requiring unlocking phones might seem like a good idea, but the law of physics cannot be changed. Until there is a single phone capable of covering all of the portions of the radio spectrum in use for wireless voice and broadband services, unlocking phones serves no purpose.

— Andrew Seybold is a wireless communications consultant. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Comedy Hideaway Bringing Yakov Smirnoff to Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Comedian Yakov Smirnoff will perform at Santa Barbara’s Comedy Hideaway on July 25-27.

Yakov Smirnoff
Yakov Smirnoff

Comedy Hideaway is located on the second floor of Apero, a restaurant on State Street. The showroom is run by Santa Barbara comedian Andrey Belikov, who like Smirnoff hails from the Ukraine.

Smirnoff joins a long list of celebrities to headline Comedy Hideaway, including recently Bryan Callen, Tom Segura and Maz Jobrani. The show is designed to make the comedians more accessible to the audience and is widely regarded as the best type of environment for comedy.

“I choose rooms that have the right dynamics for comedy,” Belikov said. “These rooms are by definition more intimate, something that appeals to the audience and performers alike.”

Best known for his TV sitcom What a Country and roles in such films as Moscow on the Hudson, Brewster’s Millions and The Money Pit, Smirnoff now owns and operates a theater in Branson, Mo. In his act, Smirnoff now focuses less on the difference between countries and more on the difference between men and women, and solving problems within relationships. Does he still have the goods?

“I worked with Yakov the other night at Flappers [comedy club] and he killed,” said comedian Dana Eagle, who appeared this month on Last Comic Standing. With a recent appearance on the hugely popular Marc Maron "WTF Podcast," Smirnoff is on pace to make his big return.

The Comedy Hideaway is located inside Apero Restaurant, 532 State St. in Santa Barbara. Smirnoff will perform Friday through Sunday, July 25-27, at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Click here for more information.

Smirnoff is also one of the names looking very closely at the inaugural Santa Barbara Comedy Festival scheduled for spring 2015 by Andrey Belikov.

— Andrey Belikov is a producer for Comedy Hideaway.

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Joe Conason: Border Crisis Tests Religious Faith — and Some Fail Badly

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Flamboyant piety has long been fashionable on the political right, where activists, commentators and elected officials never hesitate to hector us about their great moral and theological rectitude. Wielding the Scriptures like a weapon, these righteous right-wingers are always eager to condemn the alleged sins of others but reluctant to examine their own. They seem to spend far more time in posturing and preening than spiritual reflection. Rarely does anyone call them out on their failures to fulfill their proclaimed devotion, because, in this country, that is considered rude.

But occasionally something happens that separates the people of faith from the sanctimonious fakers. With thousands of defenseless children now gathered on America's southern border, seeking asylum from deprivation and deadly violence, something like that is happening right now.

Nobody in the House of Representatives is more vociferous about her reverence for God's word than Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. — the Tea Party queen bee who often has said she believes that America is a "Christian nation." When Bachmann opened her mouth on television about those hungry and fearful children, she demonized them as "invaders" and incipient criminals who could be expected to rape American women and break American laws.

Then there is Bachmann's colleague Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, whose religious zeal is so overpowering that he cannot restrain himself, even during House proceedings — like that committee hearing last month when he proclaimed his belief that anyone who doesn't accept Jesus is destined for hell. But when the subject is the innocent kids at the border of his home state, most of whom are girls under 13 years of age, Gohmert speaks of "invasion" and urges the governor of Texas to unilaterally initiate a state of war. Like many of his fellow far-rightists, he stokes rumors that these children are harbingers of disease and gangsterism.

So does Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., a medical doctor who went so far as to accuse the young migrants of bringing the Ebola virus — seen only in Africa — with them from Central America.

And so does Sandy Rios, the religious-right talk-show host who speaks of the "hope" that the Lord bestowed on her but warns that we should treat the border children like "lepers." And so does Ann Coulter, the church lady who suspects that all those kids, no matter how small, probably belong to the murderous MS-13 narcotics syndicate.

Now among the theological ideas shared by many of these figures is a fondness for the Old Testament, which they routinely quote to justify cruel strictures against gays, women and anybody else they wish to suppress. At the moment, however, these biblical literalists ought to be studying the very plain instructions of Leviticus: "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God."

More recently, Pope Francis laid down a clear edict on the border crisis that springs from his own biblical understanding, urging Americans to "welcome and protect" the children arriving on our border. (He didn't mention anything about immediate deportations.) The Holy Father expressed deep concern for the "tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence ... in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain."

"Many people forced to emigrate suffer, and often, die tragically; many of their rights are violated; they are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes," he said. He went on to say that only development and security in their own countries would ever stem the flow of migrants heading northward — and that in the meantime, the rest of us should abandon "attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization." Attitudes like those displayed by goons waving flags and guns and "Go Home" signs, who don't care whether these little strangers live or die.

Where are the real Christians? Where are the true people of faith? They may be found in houses of worship near the border and around the country, where people of all political persuasions realize that they are called to feed, clothe, shelter and heal God's children, even when they arrive on a bus without papers. If there is a kingdom of heaven, it is these generous souls who will be admitted when they reach its border. The hypocrites will be sent somewhere else.

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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ShipHawk Receives Big Kahuna, Sand Dollar Awards at Siemer Summit

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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ShipHawk of Santa Barbara received two awards at Siemer Summit — the Sand Dollar Award and the Big Kahuna Award.

The Sand Dollar Award was received for ShipHawk’s work in providing a system that offers online, mobile, local and social commerce.

The Big Kahuna Award, and grand prize, was awarded to ShipHawk for being the start-up that demonstrated the most potential to achieve unusually rapid scale and success.

What makes ShipHawk so unique is its ability to take the difficulty out of packing and shipping. ShipHawk takes real-world items, whether it’s a “queen mattress” or “guitar,” and converts the items into data that shipping companies understand. Businesses and consumers alike no longer have to figure out which box that antique is going to fit in or how much the box will weigh after they’ve packed the item. Now, anyone can get rates from reputable carriers and book on demand.

After receiving not one, but two of this year’s WaveMaker awards, CEO Jeremy Bodenhamer “could not be more ecstatic to be part of this year’s Siemer Summit. We are so very honored to receive these awards alongside so many other incredible startups.” Bodenhamer goes on to explain that “it’s been a busy year at ShipHawk.

With the launch of our business solutions package in the upcoming week, we expect ShipHawk to turn a more than a few heads” — referring to a suite of online tools that lets users leverage ShipHawk’s platform to access packing and shipping data through APIs, widgets and back office tools that help make shipping easier for businesses and their customers.

— Ashley Becker represents ShipHawk.

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Jeff Moehlis: Listen to The Doobie Brothers in Paso Robles

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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The band will perform at the California Mid-State Fair on July 25

The Doobie Brothers, who have been rocking audiences since the early 1970s, will be visiting our extended neighborhood with a performance at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles next Friday, July 25.

Click here for more information on the show.

And why not make a weekend out of it? My suggestion: Go to the concert Friday night, and stick around for some wine tasting (Pianetta is one of my faves), dinner at Artisan and a spicy margarita at Fish Gaucho.

Doobie Brothers founding member/singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Johnston talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show.

The full interview, which includes more on the origins of The Doobie Brothers and information about their upcoming album, which features lots of today's country music stars, is available by clicking here.

                                                                        •        •

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

Tom Johnston: You'll be catching the full-boat show that we put on. It covers all eras of the band, from the front to the back. That includes the last album that we put out in 2010, which is World Gone Crazy. We're doing a couple of songs off that. It's a high-energy show. It's been going over very well everywhere we've played. We've been on the road the summer with Peter Frampton, and still are, and Boston. But we're also doing quite a few shows on our own, and this will be one of them.

JM: Things really took off for The Doobie Brothers with the song "Listen to the Music." Can you tell me a little bit about the origins of that song?

TJ: It was just another one of those late-night sessions with myself in my room on 12th Street, on acoustic guitar just playing and playing and playing. I came up with an idea for some chord changes, and put those together and wrote the words out, which is something I didn't normally do. Normally it was just the chord changes and the words came later. In that particular song, I wrote the words the same night as I wrote the chord changes, and the feel for it rhythmically and all that, and called our producer Ted Templeman at a very late hour, woke him up and played the song for him over the phone. I said, "This could be a single." It's the only one I've ever really called in my entire life.

We took it in the studio and it stayed pretty much true to what I had written, and the words stayed the same, the chord changes stayed the same, the rhythm structure was the same. It was just, of course, recorded professionally and sounded a lot better. But that's where that song came from.

The lyric ideas were basically focused on the idea of world leaders utilizing music rather than words to hash out their differences, and realizing that as humans they had a lot more in common than they thought. You get politics out of the way and just let the music do the talking, which was a very utopian ideal. Pretty unrealistic, I'm afraid. But it was a good idea at the time, it seems like.

JM: My favorite Doobie Brothers song is "China Grove." What's the story behind that song?

TJ: That's another one that I came up with playing on acoustic, and then I grabbed John Hartman and said, "We've got to go try this electric." I said, "This is going to be a great rock 'n' roll song." I didn't pick it for a single or anything, but I said, "I think this will be a great track to develop." And we got down to the basement and just cranked it up. It was probably very late at night. I'm sure our neighbors were ready to kill us. But we went ahead and worked on it, and worked out the basics to it, if you will.

And then we got it in the studio and developed it from there, musically speaking. I didn't write the lyrics until Billy Payne — who played on a lot of our tracks, the keyboard player from Little Feat, phenomenal keyboard player, he played on so many of our tracks for quite some time, actually, on a lot of our albums — he came up with a piano lick that was somewhat oriental in nature, as far as the sound, and that's why I got the idea for "China Grove," and then the lyrics about the crazy sheriff and the samurai sword and all that sort of thing.

But in reality, when we were touring in like 1972, we were touring in a Winnebago, we were driving it ourselves, and we drove right down that very road that goes into San Antonio. There's actually a road sign that says "China Grove" and I must've seen it. I didn't recall doing it, but I'm sure that it lodged into memory somewhere, and just was brought back out when I started writing the song. There really is a China Grove. There's a couple of them, actually. There's the one right outside San Antonio. There's also one in, I think, North Carolina.

JM: Do you have any crazy tour stories you're willing to share from the early '70s? Or is that better left unsaid?

TJ: Oh yeah, there was a period of time where, you know, televisions used to go flying out the window, and go-carts ended up in swimming pools, and people would have rent-a-car door wars, just a lot of crazy stuff. All of which has gone by the wayside. None of that goes on anymore. Those were all just growing pains — that's what I look at them as. All that stuff occurred early on. Like I said, it's gone by the wayside. People don't do that anymore.

If you ever saw the movie Almost Famous, the plane scene, where the plane's going down and everybody starts going "Oh my God!" We actually experienced that. That exact thing happened to us outside of Detroit in a really bad thunderstorm with a lot of lightning, and we lost an engine. We had an extremely good pilot. They didn't crash, and we didn't either. But we had a very similar experience to that, so watching that movie really was like going back in time.

— 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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Pro-Youth Movement Hosting Workshop Series to Explore the Root Causes of Violence

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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A new series of workshops will work to heal victims of violence and to educate those who want to learn what’s really happening in the Santa Barbara community, according to organizers.

In an effort to provide a network of youth advocates in one place, the city’s Pro-Youth Movement will host a free four-part workshop series examining “Youth and Family Violence.”

The first will take place Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church and focus on how family violence, sexual assault and child abuse affect youth.

The series is the brain child of locals Pat Hardy and Catherine Steininger, both members of the Pro-Youth Movement founded in response to Santa Barbara’s gang injunction and to identify the root causes of gang violence.

While the city waits for a ruling on whether that injunction will happen, the group of local professionals in youth development, educators and faith community members decided to take action — aiming to create safer homes, schools and streets.

Hardy told Noozhawk the workshops will present not only the names of those who can help but practical experience of how.

“There are lots of services that are out there to help you,” she said. “Who do you contact and how do you deal with it? How do you handle helping (friends or family) to deal with that and to find somebody that can help them? These are subjects that people don’t often talk about.”

Participants will hear from those who have experienced traumatic violence and can share their own experiences in a group setting or in a private side meeting, if they’d prefer.

Representatives from Alternatives to Violence Project, Domestic Violence Solutions, Anger Management Specialists, Child Abuse Listening and Mediation and Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center will employ role-playing, listening exercises and interactive activities.

“Whenever you hear about what’s happened in someone else’s life, your eyes are open," Hardy said. “No one ever knows when they’re going to be involved in a date rape situation. It could happen to any of us. I just think this is exactly the kind of thing of the pro-youth movement wants to be involved in.”

News of the workshops comes a year after Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo co-founded the Pro-Youth Movement to find alternatives to the gang injunction and to bring restorative justice to Santa Barbara. The group meets the third Saturday of every month at Trinity Episcopal Church.

She credited Hardy and Steininger for choosing workshop topics to try reaching youth who have already sought help from public or private agencies, but might require more.

“Let’s help them now before they get disconnected from school,” Murillo said. “A lot of people do care, they just don’t know what to do to help these young kids make a choice. If you’ve ever thought about mentoring a young person, if you’ve experienced any kind of trauma in your life and you want to help someone else, come to the workshop.”

All workshops will be hosted at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St.,  from noon to 2:30 p.m., with Spanish translation, child care, food and counseling available.

Other workshops include:

» Saturday, Aug. 16 — "Youth and Families Speak Out: What We Experience, What We Need"

» Saturday, Sept. 20 — "Strategies for Addressing Unmet Needs/Where are the Gaps in Services?"

» Saturday, Oct. 18 — "Parenting Skills/Services and Support for Families"

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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Bill Macfadyen: Body at a Bus Stop Gets Our Attention

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Deadly VAFB crash, UCSB health insurance, Nick Johnson’s cause of death, and a missing boater at Lake Cachuma round out NoozWeek’s Top 5

There were 71,744 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top stories?

1. Body Found on Santa Barbara Bus Bench

A dead man was found sitting on an Outer State Street bus bench on the morning of July 15, but Santa Barbara police believe he died of natural causes.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said the body was reported at 9 a.m. on a bench in the 3900 block of State Street near La Cumbre Road. 

“There don’t appear to be any signs of trauma and it’s looking at this point like he died of natural causes,” he said.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office identified the man as Paul Elyanow, 46. Police say he was a transient.

2. 1 Dead, 2 Hurt in Crash on Highway 1 at Vandenberg Air Force Base

A car crash on Highway 1 near Vandenberg Air Force Base left one man dead and two others injured July 13.

California Highway Patrol Officer John Ortega said a 2006 Subaru was speeding southbound about 4 p.m. when it drifted off the road and rolled down an embankment about a mile north of Santa Lucia Canyon Road.

A passenger, identified as Nicholas S. DiBona, 21, of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., was fatally injured in the crash, Ortega said.

He said the driver, Donald W.S. Cox, 21, and another passenger, John C. Rivera, 22, both of Lompoc, suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, Ortega said, adding that alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors.

3. UCSB Parent Presses School on New Requirement to Buy Campus Health Insurance

New this year at UC Santa Barbara is a requirement that all students have a local in-network doctor and hospital or purchase a Gaucho Health Insurance plan.

But the mother of one incoming freshman is challenging the edict, and questioning why mileage may vary when it comes to “local.”

Josie Macias of San Jose told our Lara Cooper that her daughter is already covered by the family’s Kaiser Permanente health plan, Aflac supplemental accident insurance and a flexible savings account for additional medical expenses.

But that doesn’t matter because, for the 2014-2015 school year, UCSB students must have an in-network doctor and hospital providing full nonemergency medical and behavioral health care within 30 miles of the campus health center. The closest Kaiser Permanente facility is in Ventura, 40 miles away.

Macias says buying an additional insurance policy will cost $2,500 each year — at least $10,000 in extra expenses over her daughter’s college years.

According to Dr. Mary Ferris, director of UCSB Student Health, the distance requirements were established by individual campuses based on medical resources available locally.

“At UCSB, we have found it to be vitally important that students’ health insurance be available for nonemergency local care, and not restricted to a distant county or another state,” she said in an email to Cooper.

While the local radius is 30 miles at UCSB, UC Berekley, UC Santa Cruz and UC Hastings College of the Law, the territory jumps to 175 miles at UC Davis.

“It’s not consistent across the board,” Macias said. “Why is it set to 30 when it’s only 40 miles away for Kaiser?”

4. Coroner: Cause of UCSB Water Polo Player Nick Johnson’s Death Most Likely Shallow Water Blackout

After a months-long investigation of the death of UC Santa Barbara water polo player Nick Johnson, the county coroner has released a report indicating the 19-year-old elite athlete died of shallow water blackout, a condition that can cause swimmers to go unconscious underwater.

Nick Johnson, 19, was a sophomore at UCSB and a utility player on the Gauchos’ water polo team. (UCSB Athletic Department photo)
Nick Johnson, 19, was a sophomore at UCSB and a utility player on the Gauchos’ water polo team. (UCSB Athletic Department photo)

Johnson, a sophomore at UCSB and a utility player on the men’s water polo team, was found unresponsive at the bottom of the Santa Barbara High School swimming pool on March 24. Efforts to revive him — poolside and later at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital — were unsuccessful.

As our Lara Cooper reported July 11, Dr. Robert Anthony, a forensic pathologist with the county, stated the cause of death to be accidental drowning, and listed shallow water blackout as a reason the otherwise fit young swimmer could have gone unconscious.

“Based on several witness accounts, (Johnson) was seen swimming at high intensity and taking a breath once at the end of a lap,” the report stated. “He did this several times.”

Other swimmers and coaches spotted Johnson at the bottom of the pool, brought him up to the pool deck and began CPR, the report states.

Noozhawk has reported on shallow water blackout and the work some are doing to raise awareness for swimmers and divers.

Johnson’s family has established scholarship funds at both Santa Barbara High and UCSB. Click here to make an online donation to the Santa Barbara High aquatics program, or click here to make an online donation to the UCSB Foundation-Nick Johnson Memorial Fund.

The search for a missing boater has continued without success at Lake Cachuma. (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)
The search for a missing boater has continued without success at Lake Cachuma. (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)

5. Crews Searching for Possible Drowning Victim at Lake Cachuma

The body of a 22-year-old Oxnard man has yet to be found, a week after he is presumed to have drowned in Lake Cachuma.

Authorities say a man identified as Isaiah Sanchez may have been trying to swim for help after his boat had engine trouble the evening of July 11.

Someone on shore called authorities that night to report a boat about 50 yards offshore with a man waving his arms in distress and two more people in the water. The man in the boat and another in the water were rescued by Santa Barbara County park rangers, but there was no sign of the third man.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said dive teams have been hampered by zero visibility in the 80-foot water.

                                                                        •        •

Are you in the Sandwich Generation? You’ll get this. Language warning.

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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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Captain’s Log: Making Sense of Fish Scents

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Scents make fish bite better — or wrinkle their noses and swim for cover. After all, there are good scents and bad scents.

Great work has been done to find fish-attracting scents and market them. For example, Berkley’s R&D developed its ultra-successful Gulp! baits. Fish love it, and many professional anglers (including myself and my crew) use Gulp! regularly and liberally.

Sadly, we know precious little about which smells make fish lose their appetite. Other than shark repellent, we have a dearth of available research on the repulsive side of our smelly equation. The best we have are observations and opinions of charter captains, fishing guides and professional anglers.

An observant angler or crew member can find plenty of ongoing research aboard fishing boats. I’m happy to share some of my thoughts, and those of my crew member, Capt. Tiffany Vague, based upon decades of experience as charter captains.

For one, I cover up and hide from the sun rather than smear on sunscreen. Sunscreen wearers catch plenty of fish, and certainly all sunscreen products are not created equal. Yet I have watched good bites suddenly shut off for people who just slathered on copious quantities of sunscreen, picked up their lure or grabbed a piece of bait and sent it down to tickle the nose of an unsuspecting fish who evidently went cross-eyed and scurried away.

Let’s be scentably sensible. Can someone handle a salad or sandwich drenched in vinegar and expect a fish not to notice? Is it reasonable to hope a fish fails to notice that an angler grabbed and devoured four big handfuls of fiery habanero chips before handling a bait or lure? What else? Well, fuel and oil don’t exactly put fish into a feeding frenzy. I’m even wondering if hand sanitizer is yucky to fish.

We do not yet have adequate research available to us to plumb the smelly depths of this onerous issue, but I have found a workable solution, and it should come as no surprise. After a lunch or snack or after slathering on the sunscreen, wash hands with soap and saltwater. Rinse copiously with saltwater. Then with very clean hands, handle some bait like squid or anchovies.

Now those fishy noses will not be offended and you may catch the fish of a lifetime.

— 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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Capps to Attend Carpinteria Valley Association Celebration

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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On Saturday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will attend the Carpinteria Valley Association’s celebration of its 50th year.

Capps will be presenting a certificate to mark the anniversary from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Arts Centr, 855 Linden Ave.

The Carpinteria Valley Association’s mission is to preserve and enhance the rural beauty of the Carpinteria Valley — especially its open field agriculture — and to maintain the charm of Carpinteria and Summerland as small beach towns.

“The Carpinteria Valley Association plays a very important role in the preservation of a special part of the Central Coast,” Capps said. “I look forward to celebrating one of the oldest grassroots volunteer environmental groups in the country.”

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

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Paul Mann: Soul Legend Bobby Womack’s Last Great Concert

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Legendary soul singer, musician and music producer Bobby Womack, whose professional music career spanned nearly 70 years, passed away June 27. The 70-year-old icon had just made a very special concert appearance at Bonnaroo, the premiere music festival in the United States, on June 14.

Womack began touring with his family's gospel group, The Womack Brothers, in 1954, when he was only 10 years old. The band was discovered in 1956 by another legendary soul singer, Sam Cooke. The band changed their name to The Valentinos, and Cooke helped them produce their first hit song, “Looking for a Love” in 1960.

The group scored their next hit song in 1964 with the surprisingly country-tinged ballad "It's All Over Now,” which a still teenage Womack actually co-wrote. Their version was rising on the R&B charts when the Rolling Stones covered it. The song became the Stones' first No.1 hit in England and helped launch their career.

The Valentinos had a less successful career, after their mentor Cooke was shot and killed in Los Angeles. Devastated by the loss, the brothers disbanded the group. Womack moved to Memphis and became a very successful sessions guitarist for some of R&B's greatest stars of the time. He recorded his first solo album, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968. By 1972, Womack had no fewer than five hit solo albums to his credit and became a huge crossover pop star.

I was lucky enough to catch his masterful performance at the gargantuan Tampa Stadium when I was a high school student in Florida. The stadium was reserved for performances by the biggest rock stars of the era, like Rod Stewart and The Faces, and Santana. Sitting in the crowd of 20,000 people, I was a bit overwhelmed by the performance. It was in the early years of my concert attendance, and I had cut my teeth on the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones.

Womack’s concert opened my eyes to a whole new world of jam music. The monumental concert went on for more than fours hours, with a small army of musicians filing on and off the stage throughout the performance.

Womack went on to produce a huge library of music and collaborate with the biggest names in pop music. But decades of drug abuse took its toll, and the music icon developed a whole host of medical problems, including a bout with Alzheimer's disease in the last few years. The addition of Womack to this year’s Bonnaroo music festival came as a welcome surprise to many music fans familiar with his legacy.

I made sure I was early for his late Saturday afternoon set, during the peak crowd at the three-day festival. But no more than a few thousand people crowded the tent stage where Womack was set to play, with so many other well-known pop stars attracting large crowds on the other stages. I must admit I was apprehensive to see the legendary performer again, as I had such good memories of his 1972 show and was aware of his recent medical challenges.

I was hoping that he wouldn’t have a meltdown, much like the infamous performance several years ago by Sly Stone at the Coachella music festival. Many of us were looking forward to that reclusive legend's first appearance in recent memory, but that performance turned into a documented disaster, with the singer arriving late to join the band that had bravely soldiered on without him. When he did arrive, he was in such an incoherent state that he could barely sing or play keyboards and finally slithered offstage after 30 minutes or so. It was a big disappointment to fans of the innovative soul singer.

While waiting nervously for Womack, apprehension grew as the set was delayed for technical reasons. The crowd dwindled as impatient fans began heading toward the other stages. But finally the band began to play and people began to wander back toward the music. Womack quickly joined the group of veteran R&B musicians, and it was clear he came to perform.

Addressing the crowd in a clear, loud voice, Womack appeared overjoyed to be perfuming for the sweaty young crowd, now tightly packed about the stage. The 70-year-old icon proceeded to sing, dance and play ferociously throughout his entire hour-long set. When it was time to close the show, the feisty singer was in no mood to go and launched the band into an overtime song. Eventually the band’s manager had to come out and forcefully drag the singer from the stage. Womack could still be heard singing as he was led backstage.

I was hoping the illustrious R&B legend would make a special appearance at the midnight super jam. That monumental performance included a 3½-hour jam led by Skrillex and featured an army of guest performers, including Stephen Marley, Janelle Monae, Robby Krieger and Lauryn Hill, just to name a few.

Sadly, Womack didn’t make it to the party, but I was sure happy that I was able to see the enigmatic icon perform one last time.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Outdoors Q&A: Is It Legal to Fish with a Radio-Controlled Helicopter?

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Q: You’ve answered readers’ questions several times in the past about the legalities and illegalities of fishing with a remote-controlled boat. But my question is about a radio-controlled helicopter.

I just saw a video on YouTube showing a guy maneuvering his helicopter around a small lake that was dangling a line with a hook and bait on it. The craziest part of this was that he actually caught a sunfish with this rig, and the helicopter flew the fish back to him on shore so that he could take it off the hook and release it back into the water. Seems like a great idea, but I’m betting it isn’t legal in these parts. What do you say? (Steve C., Chico)

A: All fish caught in freshwater must be taken by angling, which means hook and line with the line held in the hand, or with the line attached to a pole or rod held in the hand or closely attended in such a manner that the fish voluntarily takes the bait or lure in its mouth (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.05). Thus, the remote-controlled helicopter could be used as a vehicle to take the line out farther, but the line would need to be directly controlled by the angler.

Depending on the location where the “helicopter angler” wants to use it, they should first make sure there are no local ordinances or specific rules imposed by the lake property owner or concessionaire prohibiting this practice and the flying of remote-controlled helicopters.

Bow Hunting with a Concealed Firearm?

Q: When bow hunting in California, can you carry a concealed firearm if you possess a concealed carry permit? (DeWayne T.)

A: Unless you are an active or honorably retired peace officer, as specified in Fish and Game Code, section 4370(b), you may not carry a firearm during an archery only (AO) deer season or while using an AO tag, regardless of whether the firearm is concealed. Fish and Game Code, section 4370 requires:

(a) In every area in which deer may lawfully be taken during the general open season, there is an archery season for the taking of deer with bow and arrow. … Except as provided in subdivision (b), a person taking or attempting to take deer during such archery season shall neither carry, nor have under his or her immediate control, any firearm of any kind.

(b) A peace officer … whether active or honorably retired, may carry a firearm capable of being concealed on his or her person while engaged in the taking of deer with bow and arrow in accordance with subdivision (a), but shall not take or attempt to take deer with the firearm.

AO tags/seasons are only one option though. You can instead choose to hunt during the general season under a general tag with a bow, and then you could carry a firearm. Hunting under the AO authority grants a special opportunity to archers in exchange for leaving the firearm in camp.

Landing a Large Fish from a Pier?

Q: While fishing from a public pier without a fishing license, am I allowed to go down onto the beach to land a big fish that I hooked on the pier? (Pete T.)

A: No. A fishing license is required when fishing everywhere except from a public pier. Even if you hooked the fish on the pier and only came down onto the beach to land the fish, you would need a valid license to avoid a potential citation. Purchasing an annual fishing license will make this a non-issue; or you may want to buy a pier net to help you land bigger fish from the pier.

Peacocks

Q: Is it legal to trap wild peacocks? If so, is it legal to sell them? Is it legal to kill wild peacocks? (R. Om)

A: Peacocks are not protected by California Fish and Game laws, and so the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has no regulations regarding trapping, selling or taking them. Check with your local animal control as peacocks are domestic animals.

Carcass Possession Limits?

Q: I fish for rockfish out of Santa Barbara and afterwards freeze the carcasses to use for crab bait. I am aware of the daily bag limit for rockfish but have not found any regulations for the leftover carcass (head, body, skin and guts). Are there any possession limits for rockfish carcasses? (Jim P.)

A: Although the general rule is once the meat has been removed and consumed or given away and you only have a carcass, it no longer counts as part of your possession. However, even parts of fish are legally considered “fish.” The letter of the law is you may not possess more than a daily bag limit of fish. So, if you catch fish and take them home to clean and you freeze the carcasses for use as bait in the future, be sure you do not take more than a possession limit of carcasses with you when you go crabbing.

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

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Santa Barbara Police Release Summary of Recent Response Times, Crime Data

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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

The following are some highlights:

» Response times: The average response times to Priority 1 (emergency life-threatening), Priority 2 (emergency non-life threatening), Priority 3 (non-emergency) and Priority 4 (routine) calls for service all remained within performance objectives.

» Positive trends: The rate of robberies has been experiencing a downward trend. Year to date there has been a 47 percent decrease in robberies compared to the year to date figure from 2013, and a 54 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2012.

The overall rate of property crimes continues to remain low. Year to date, there has been a 29 percent decrease in total property crimes compared to the year to date figure from 2013, and a 35 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2012. The rate of residential burglaries is significantly lower than last year. Year to date there has been a 46 percent decrease in residential burglaries compared to the year to date figure from 2013.

The rate of burglaries and thefts from vehicles has also experienced a significant downward shift. Year to date there has been a 48 percent decrease compared to the year to date figure from 2013, and a 65 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2009.

» Areas of concern: The yearly figure for aggravated assaults has been trending up since 2011, with 2013 having the highest number of the last five years — 325. The year to date number of aggravated assaults in 2014 is roughly even with that of 2013 at 148. Most aggravated assaults are alcohol or domestic violence related. Also, the rate of DUI traffic accidents remains high.

The year to date rate of DUI traffic accidents is roughly even with that of 2013 and is up 30 percent compared with the same period in 2012.

Additional Santa Barbara crime information and statistics can be found by clicking here.

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

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Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara Elects Maryan Schall to Its Honorary Board

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Following her 22 years of service on its Board of Directors, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has elected Maryan Schall to its Honorary Board, a distinction awarded to just five other past directors in the organization’s 52-year history.

 

Maryan Schall
Maryan Schall

Schall joined the Scholarship Foundation’s board in 1992 and helped oversee a period of enormous growth for the organization. During her tenure, the number of scholarships granted to local students each year increased from 565 to 2,755 and financial assistance grew from $591,000 to $8.6 million.

Schall has contributed hundreds of hours to the Scholarship Foundation as an active member of nearly every board committee and as a volunteer interviewer of scholarship applicants.

In 2010, in honor of her 80th birthday, Schall’s husband, Dick, surprised her with a $1 million donation to the foundation. Through this gift and many generous others, the Schalls have transformed numerous students’ lives by providing them access to higher education and encouraging their career aspirations.

“Maryan’s tireless commitment to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has set a shining example for all of us who believe that scholarship support is an investment that changes lives and pays dividends for many generations to come," said Janet Garufis, president of the Board of Directors. "We are thrilled to honor her in this way and look forward to her continued involvement with the organization.”

“It has been my great pleasure to work with the Scholarship Foundation over the years," Schall said. "The dedication and effectiveness of the staff and board in realizing the foundation's mission is beautiful to behold — as certainly is the gratitude expressed by our recipients. Those expressions inspire all of us to ever-increase our efforts in creating opportunities and transforming lives, one scholarship at a time.”

The Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to inspire, encourage, and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of higher education through financial aid advising and scholarships.

In 2014, the Scholarship Foundation granted $8.6M to 2,755 students and provided financial aid advising to more than 35,000 students and their parents. Since its founding in 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than 36,700 scholarships totaling $87.6 million.

Click here for more information.

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

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Music Academy, Old Spanish Days Celebrate Marilyn Horne as ‘Honorary La Diva’

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Viva la Diva! This summer, the Music Academy of the West presents the 2014 Carmen Celebration; a special series of events in honor of the legendary opera singer Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday.

As part of this special series, the Music Academy is pleased to partner with Old Spanish Days to celebrate Horne, the director of the Music Academy’s Voice Program, in conjunction with her 80th birthday, and recognize her with the official title, “Honorary La Diva of Old Spanish Days.”

On Wednesday, July 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Music Academy will host a special private event to commemorate this extraordinary occasion. The program will include special performances from the Music Academy’s production of Bizet’s Carmen and the 2014 Spirit of the Fiesta. The Music Academy will present a new, fully staged production of Carmen, directed by David Paul, conducted by James Gaffigan and featuring State Street Ballet dancers at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre on Aug. 1 and 3.

“Marilyn Horne embodies the very spirit of our extraordinary performing arts and cultural community in Santa Barbara, and Old Spanish Days is the perfect partner to help us commemorate our Carmen Celebration in honor of her 80th birthday,” said Scott Reed, president of the Music Academy of the West. “We are thrilled to bestow this honor upon a legend, and true legacy of the Music Academy of the West.”

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Fiesta Historical Parade, one of the largest equestrian parades in the United States, and will take place on Friday, Aug. 1. As part of the Carmen Celebration festivities, during the parade Horne will ride in an antique carriage sponsored by the Music Academy’s presenting sponsor, Montecito Bank & Trust, accompanied by Montecito Bank & Trust Chairman Michael Towbes, Montecito Bank & Trust President/CEO Janet Garufis and Music Academy President Scott Reed. The Granada Theatre will also commemorate the honor of Horne’s title, “Honorary La Diva of Old Spanish Days,” on the theater’s marquis.

Horne has long been recognized as one of the most influential artists to portray Carmen of all time. Her first major professional engagement was in 1954, when she dubbed the singing voice of Dorothy Dandridge in the film Carmen Jones. Horne went on to sing the title role in Bizet’s Carmen to open the Metropolitan Opera’s 1972-73 season, which featured Leonard Bernstein as conductor, and would garner a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1974.

In addition to her accolades for her role as Carmen, Horne’s distinguished career has garnered her numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995, received the National Medal of Arts in 1992, and has been inducted into the American Classical Music and Hollywood Bowl halls of fame. Among her worldwide prizes are the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters from France’s Ministry of Culture. She was named a National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors recipient in 2009.

Horne, who attended the Music Academy in 1953, has been a member of the Music Academy faculty since 1995, and has directed the academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997.

Please save the date for these upcoming performances.

» Opera Covers Performance in Lehmann at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, July 22

» Carmen Opera Performances, Friday, Aug. 1 and Sunday, Aug. 3

» Vocal Masterclass with Marilyn Horne on Wednesday, Aug. 6

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Music Academy of the West.

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New Westmont Graduate David Dry Earns Fellowship in Philadelphia

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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David Dry, 2014 Westmont College graduate and former Westmont College Student Association president, earned a fellowship from the John Jay Institute and will study over the fall in Philadelphia.

David Dry
David Dry

The highly competitive Fellows Program, which accepts just 12 students a term, is a post-undergraduate educational and professional experience for men and women aspiring to public positions in public society and the church.

Dry was an intern in summer 2013 at the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., when he reconnected with Tyler Castle, class of 2012, who had completed the fellowship program.

“He got me very excited about the opportunity,” Dry says. “I spent the next few days researching the program and quickly decided that it was something I had to apply for, no matter how competitive it was.”

Following the intensive semester-long academic residency, Dry will be placed in a semester-long externship, most likely with a national or international governmental agency.

“I am hoping to go back to Washington, D.C., and work for congressional leadership,” he says. “My three main objectives are to immerse myself in political theory with like-minded peers and mentors, to learn how to exemplify Christian values and leadership in the secular arena, and to prepare myself for future graduate studies and practical application worldwide.”

Dry has known since he was 12 that he wanted to run for public office, but he says it wasn’t until his senior year at Westmont that he began to understand and embrace that this is, for now, the path that God wants him on.

“I am serious about pursuing public service and public office and want to do so in a way that is not only compatible with the Christian faith, but informed by it,” he says. “It is my hope that I can start to reconcile how to work and lead in a government of the world, while being a citizen of the Kingdom of God.”

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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Montessori Center School Hosting Open House

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Montessori Center School will host an Open House from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, July 25.

Come and see for yourself the school’s spacious campus and beautiful Montessori classrooms!

Tour the campus and classrooms beginning at 9 a.m. Bring the whole family! Reservations are appreciated. Drop-ins are welcome.

Montessori Center School is located at 401 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta, right across from the Goleta Public Library. Call Alyssa Morris at 805.683.9383 x104 for more information about the school, serving children 18 months through sixth grade.

There is still limited space available for this coming school year. It’s not too late!

Click here for more information about Montessori Center School, or call 805.683.9383 x104.

— Alyssa Morris is director of admissions and alumni at Montessori Center School.

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Brian Lockwood Named to Dean’s List at Washington University in St. Louis

By | Published on 07/18/2014

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Brian Daniel Lockwood of Santa Barbara was named to the Dean's List for the spring 2014 semester at Washington University in St. Louis.

Lockwood is enrolled in the university's School of Engineering & Applied Science.

To qualify for the Dean's List in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, students must earn a semester grade point average of 3.6 or above and be enrolled in at least 12 graded units.

Washington University is counted among the world's leaders in teaching and research, and it draws students and faculty to St. Louis from all 50 states and more than 120 nations. The total student body is more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

The approximately 3,400 faculty teach in seven schools: Arts & Sciences, Brown School, Olin Business School, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, School of Engineering & Applied Science, School of Law and School of Medicine. Twenty-three Nobel laureates have been associated with Washington University, with nine doing the major portion of their pioneering research there.

The university offers more than 90 programs and almost 1,500 courses leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in a broad spectrum of traditional and interdisciplinary fields, with additional opportunities for minor concentrations and individualized programs.

— Melanie Walsh represents Washington University in St. Louis.

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Sentencing Postponed Again for Former Santa Barbara Doctor Who Pleaded Guilty to Overprescribing

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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The sentencing for a former Santa Barbara doctor who admitted overprescribing powerful painkillers to patients has been delayed yet again and is scheduled for this fall.

Julio Diaz, who formerly operated a medical practice on Milpas Street, pleaded guilty to federal charges of overprescribing that led to 11 patient deaths earlier this year, and was expected to be sentenced Thursday.

A federal affidavit accused Diaz of prescribing “profound” doses of drugs, including strong painkillers such as OxyContin, Fentanyl and Dilaudid.

That sentencing was continued to Oct. 29 at the request of Diaz's attorney, according to federal prosecutor Ann Wolf.

Diaz has new counsel, attorney Robison Harley Jr., who requested additional time.

Wolf, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, said that granting a continuance and for how long is up to the judge's discretion.

Two families who lost loved ones to prescription drug overdose have settled with local pharmacies and their pharmacists that filled Diaz's prescriptions in civil court.

When the sentencing does occur, statements may include family members of victims who choose to take the stand in the Central District Court 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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Review: Elements Theatre Collective’s ‘Orlando’ a Gender Bending, Time Traveling Romp

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Traveling across gender lines, through time, and covering quite a bit of ground geographically as well, Elements Theatre Collective closes its third season — on the theme of Gender & Sexuality — with Orlando, Sarah Ruhl’s theatrical adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel.

Directed by Mary Plant-Thomas, the company’s artistic director, this is a clever interpretation of the material, making use of small, intimate and ever-changing venues.

The heart of Elements’ mission is to provide free theater to the community, and it manages this partly by using nontraditional venues that don’t come with the steep price of conventional theaters. And it does it oh-so-creatively, with minimal props and sets, but with a boundless capacity for evoking time and place.

Tess Plant-Thomas, who happens to be the director’s sister, is Orlando, a young man who eventually morphs into female form while experiencing a variety of centuries, adventures and lovers. Plant-Thomas has an incredible ability to project male and female — as well as androgynous — personas. She is very funny, but subtly so, with a knack for asides and throwaway lines delivered deadpan.

The Chorus, providing running commentary and playing a number of other characters, is designated by the playwright to number from three to 10. Here we have three, but they are all powerhouses, to be sure, and work beautifully together.

Stephanie Farnum is utterly hilarious, whether spouting one-liners in the chorus, as a crazed suitor of Orlando’s, or in any one of myriad madcap moments. Her movement, expressions and voice blend to make her one of the funniest actors this reviewer has ever seen. She has been performing with Elements for the past year, and I hope to see much more of her in the future.

Rob Grayson, also Elements’ executive director, steps into the spotlight here for the first time with the company and may he never go back. As a member of the chorus, he is versatile and fluid, with an impressive range of characters and comedy instincts that are razor-sharp. His Queen Elizabeth I is priceless!

In her first show with Elements, Erika Leachman proves to be a strong ensemble actor and fits right in like she’s been there all along. She also gets a chance to portray male and female characters, and is up to the challenge. Her comedy chops are also well-honed, and it would be wonderful to see her continue with the company.

Morgan Altenhoff, another Elements first-timer, plays the most “traditional” role in the production, Orlando’s first love. As Sasha, a Russian princess, she hits just the right notes of innocent, waifish and sultry to bring dimension to an otherwise fairy-tale type role.

This is a show with lots of laughs and bawdiness (not recommended for those under 16) but with enough depth and universal themes of human-ness — beyond gender and era — to appeal to just about everyone.

Upcoming shows will be at the Piano Kitchen at 8 p.m. July 18-19, at McDermott-Crockett Mortuary at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 20, behind the Santa Barbara Art Foundry at 8 p.m. July 24, at the Carpinteria Woman’s Club at 8 p.m. July 25, at Divinitree at 8 p.m. July 26 and at Better Days Yoga at 2 p.m. July 27.

All shows are free and open to the public. For further information and to reserve seats, click here.

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

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BizHawk: Mattress Retailer Sleep Fit to Settle In Beside French Press on Anacapa

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Ana’s Taco Bar opens on State Street, Catherine Karayan Wilbur joins Montecito law firm and Outpost at The Goodland plans late August opening

[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.]

Mattress retailer Sleep Fit will move into the recently built commercial space in Santa Barbara, connected to the French Press at the corner of Anacapa and Cota streets.

The Fresno-based purveyor of mattresses, pillows, sheets and more is planning a tentative September opening at 528 Anacapa St., Suite B, according to the developer.

Sleep Fit Corporation President James Smith said the company has expanded as of late to include 25 SleepFit/ Mattress Land brand stores in Central California, Nevada, Idaho and Washington. San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria recently opened stores that offer a BedFit system customizing mattresses and pillows for support needs.

He said the company designs and builds its own branded products, as well as providing choices from top mattress manufactures in the industry.

“One thing that separates SleepFit from the normal furniture and mattress store chains is all our suppliers are required to submit their mattresses to our extensive BedFit process before they can be offered on display,” Smith said. “We currently operate SleepFit / Mattress Land stores in Atascadero, San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, and we are excited to open our new Santa Barbra location in the coming months.”

Ana’s Taco Bar Opens

Ana’s Taco Bar has opened at 505 State St. in Santa Barbara, the former home of Mad Dogs.

The restaurant opened this month.

An owner or manager could not be reached for further details.

Ambrecht & Associates Hires New Associate

Catherine Wilbur
Catherine Wilbur

Catherine Karayan Wilbur has joined the Montecito law firm Ambrecht & Associates as an associate.

Before joining Ambrecht & Associates, Wilbur clerked for the Honorable Kathleen Kerrigan at the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C. She specializes in complex tax and estate planning issues, estate and gift tax controversy matters, and estate and trust administration matters.

A Southern California native, Wilbur earned her bachelor’s degree in classics at Washington University in St. Louis and went on to earn her juris doctor from the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law.

Outpost at The Goodland Plans Late August Opening

The Outpost at The Goodland will open later this summer in Goleta’s Goodland Hotel.

With Chef Derek Simcik at the helm, the Outpost will offer a full-service restaurant, lobby bar and pool bar beginning in late August. Indoor and outdoor dining options will be available, as well as a weekend brunch service, happy hour and dinner.

The Goodland Hotel and Outpost at 5650 Calle Real marks Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ second hotel and restaurant in Santa Barbara County, joining the Canary Hotel and Finch & Fork restaurant.

Willow Springs Leases All Available Units

The Willow Springs Phase II apartment community is now fully leased, beating projections by three months, according to property manager The Towbes Group Inc.

Willow Springs Phase II leased an average of 4.5 apartments per week, with a high of 14 apartments in only one week.

The Towbes Group has another phase in the pipeline for Willow Springs that will include 228 more workforce apartments and 132 senior living units.

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 Ynez Valley Group Sues Chumash Over Camp 4

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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A group of activists from the Santa Ynez Valley has filed suit against the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians’ tribal chairman, alleging the proper paperwork was never filed to receive tax breaks on property the tribe is trying to place into federal trust.

Save the Valley LLC on Monday filed a civil lawsuit that names Chairman Vincent Armenta and Sam Cohen, the tribe’s government affairs and legal officer, for violating the state’s Williamson Act by never signing or recording a contract.

The Williamson Act offers property tax relief to owners of farmland who maintain the agricultural use for a rolling 10-year period, guaranteeing the land will not be developed or converted to another use.

That process is supposed to occur every time the land changes hands.

The group’s suit alleges the Chumash did not immediately sign an assumption of the Williamson Act, and should not have enjoyed tax breaks the past three years.

The land at the center of the suit is a 1,400-plus-acre parcel known as Camp 4, which the Chumash purchased from the Fess Parker family in 2010 with the intent of building tribal family homes on the reservation-adjacent property.

Save the Valley was formed specifically to preserve the valley's rural character, and because of the tribe’s pursuit of the fee-to-trust process for Camp 4, which effectively would remove the land from the county’s tax rolls and from the oversight of county planning processes.

The group is comprised of property owners who share that concern, but no name has been associated with Save the Valley except for its Santa Barbara attorney, Matthew Clarke.

The lawsuit asks the Chumash to immediately sign an assumption agreement with the county — publicly acknowledging it is bound by the act’s development restrictions — and to pay for the group’s attorney fees.

“Remarkably, during the entire period of ownership, the county of Santa Barbara has allowed the tribe to save well over $1 million by paying greatly reduced property taxes permitted under the Williamson Act,” the suit states, although an exact amount was not listed.

Reached for comment Thursday, Cohen said he and the chairman have not yet been served, although they’ve seen a copy of the suit from another media outlet.

He said the Chumash last November sent a notice of nonrenewal of its Williams Act contract to county counsel, and have also been working alongside counsel to file the assumption notice in question.

County counsel confirmed the office sent the tribe a draft of an assumption agreement.

In a response letter dated June 30, Armenta wrote that the tribe was reviewing the document and fully intended to assume the agricultural preserve contract.

Cohen didn’t know anything about the Save the Valley group, and said claims that the Chumash wouldn’t be bound by the Williamson Act rules were unfounded.

“I think this lawsuit claims that we haven’t done it fast enough,” he told Noozhawk. “All they care about is media coverage and not the issue that’s in the complaint. The tribe bought the land subject to the Williamson Act contact and served counsel with notice of non renewal. The tribe has followed the rules.”

Armenta released a statement alleging that prior owners of Camp 4 didn’t file the assumption contract, either, calling the lawsuit “make-believe drama.”

“This frivolous lawsuit will only serve to waste the community's money and the court's time,” Armenta said.

Matt Mong, an associate from Christman Kelley & Clarke, which filed the suit, said he couldn’t speak to whether the previous land owners had filed the assumption agreement.

He said once Chumash leaders are served with the suit, they will have 30 days to respond with an answer or a motion to dismiss.

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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Randi Rabin: Good Customer Service Goes By Wayside; Man Wants Fiancée to Take Etiquette Classes

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Dear Feelings Doctor: I am at a loss for words around how to get a smile out of the people who are in the people business! No matter where I went today, there was always a face frowning on the other side of my exchange. My daughter even noticed how rude the girl was at the checkout counter and said something to me when we got in the car.

What is going on with the young people of today? How do I handle a situation like that?

— Upset in Town in Santa Barbara

Dear Upset: When we have an exchange of any kind during our day with another person, it is really nice to share a smile or a hello. When we are kind to the ones who seem so mean, the people who are the most challenging to like or be patient with, that’s when we become part of the shift from negative to positive in the world. Plus, we never know what kind of a day someone else may be having.

The easiest thing to do when you see someone without a smile, give them yours. It sounds silly, but it’s true; it really works.

Dear Feelings Doctor: My fiance took me to dinner the other night and said before we get married he wanted me to take some etiquette classes. Of all the crazy things to request! We have been dating for five years and engaged for two. So what's the big deal?

— Seeing Red! in Santa Barbara

Dear Seeing Red: It seems to be a pretty important issue with your fiancé. The one thing that marriage is filled with is compromise. So if you are not willing to meet him somewhere in the middle, red may be all you will be seeing with no white wedding dress in your future!

How awful could it be to brush up on a few things and put your best foot forward? Especially when you know your efforts will make your partner happy!

Got a question for The Feelings Doctor? Click here to submit a question anonymously.

                                                                        •        •

Imagine This ...

Sitting in judgment is such a waste of time. The view is horrible from there; you can’t see a thing!

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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David Sirota: A Local Fight for the Future of the Internet

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services.

Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America's information economy.

The front line in this fight is Chattanooga, Tenn., where officials at the city's public electric utility, EPB, realized that smart-grid energy infrastructure could also provide consumers super-fast Internet speeds at competitive prices.

A few years ago, those officials decided to act on that revelation. Like a publicly traded corporation, the utility issued bonds to raise resources to invest in the new broadband project. Similarly, just as many private corporations ended up receiving federal stimulus dollars, so did EPB, which put those monies into its new network.

The result is a system that now provides the nation's fastest broadband speeds at prices often cheaper than the private competition. As the Chattanooga Times Free Press noted a few years back, "EPB offers faster Internet speeds for the money, and shows equal pep in both uploading and downloading content, with Comcast and AT&T trailing on quickness." Meanwhile, EPB officials tell the Washington Post that the utility's telecom services have become "a great profit center" — an assertion confirmed by a Standard & Poor's credit upgrade notice pointing out that the utility "is now covering all costs from telephone, video and Internet revenue, as well as providing significant financial benefit to the electric system."

This is great news for local businesses and taxpayers — but it is terrible news for private telecom companies, who not only fear being outcompeted and outperformed in Chattanooga, but also fear the Chattanooga model being promoted in other cities. In response, those telecom firms have been abandoning the standard argument about the private sector.

Indeed, as the Times Free Press reported last week, rather than insisting the private sector has inherent advantages over the public sector, the firms have gone to court insisting "that EPB, as a public entity, would have an edge when competing against private companies, which would be at a disadvantage when facing an entity owned by taxpayers."

To date, those court cases have been thwarted by EPB. However, it is a different story in state legislatures. Once again abandoning the business lobby's typical call for less government intervention, telecom firms have successfully pushed 20 states to pass laws limiting the reach of community-owned utilities like EPB.

That's where Washington comes in. With census figures showing more than 1 in 5 Tennessee residents having no Internet connection, EPB is now proposing to offer its ultra-fast services to new communities. But it needs the Federal Communications Commission to preempt the Tennessee statute prohibiting the utility from competing with private telecom companies outside its current market.

For EPB, the good news is that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has repeatedly pledged that in the name of competition and broadband access, he will support preempting state laws like Tennessee's. However, in a capital run by money, EPB may still be politically overpowered. After all, as a community-owned utility in a midsized city, EPB does not have the lobbyists and campaign cash to match those of behemoths like Comcast and AT&T. What the utility does have is a solid track record and a pro-consumer, pro-competition argument.

The question is: Will that be enough to prevent Wheeler from backing down or being blocked by Congress? The future of the Internet may be at stake in the answer.

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

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Search Continues for Missing Boater at Lake Cachuma

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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The search was continuing Thursday for a boater who disappeared nearly a week ago at Lake Cachuma, and is believed to have drowned, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Isaiah Sanchez, 22, of El Rio was last seen in the water shortly before 8 p.m. on July 11.

He was with two friends when their small boat developed mechanical problems, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Sanchez and another man, whose name has not been released, ended up in the water, while a third man in the boat signaled to people on shore that they needed help.

After 911 was called, county park rangers who responded rescued two of the men, but were unable to find Sanchez.

"For the past several days, the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit has been conducting periodic flyovers of the area in hopes of finding Sanchez," Hoover said. "Due to zero visibility conditions in the lake, the sheriff’s dive team has not been able to go back in the water and search. The team may get called back in if conditions improve."

Rangers have continued to conduct surface patrols by boat using sonar equipment, and several county lifeguards were brought in Thursday to help with visual searches, Hoover said. 

Also aiding in the search have been personnel from California State Parks and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, who responded with jet skis and are searching the shallow areas of the lake and shoreline, Hoover said.

Members of Sanchez's family also reportedly have been maintaining a vigil at the lake while the search has continued.

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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Two Accused of Raping Homeless Woman in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Santa Barbara Police have arrested two men they allege are responsible for the rape of a homeless woman at knife point on the waterfront Wednesday.

Juan Carlos Herrera Romero, 30, was arrested on charges of rape in concert with another by force or violence and oral copulation in concert with another, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.

Gabino Andres Grande Romero, 26, was also arrested on charges of rape in concert with another by force or violence, Harwood said. 

The men — cousins who reside in Santa Barbara — are charged with assaulting a 62-year-old homeless woman on East Beach adjacent to 600 E. Cabrillo Blvd. during the early morning hours of July 16, Harwood said.

At 3:53 a.m., officers responded to the lobby of the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Boulevard, to contact the  victim who had entered the hotel lobby and informed staff that she had just been sexually assaulted, Harwood said.

Gabino Andres Grande Romero

Investigation revealed that the Romeros spent the evening of July 15 fishing on Stearns Wharf, where they consumed beers and discussed finding a homeless woman to sexually assault, Harwood said.

"They set out to find a victim, and several hours later encountered the aforementioned woman camping on the beach with a 69-year-old male companion," he said. "While brandishing a knife, Juan Romero and Gabino Romero physically subdued the two subjects and took turns sexually assaulting the woman."

Investigating patrol officers located the crime scene on the beach, arranged for a forensic medical examination of the sexual assault victim, and put her in contact with an advocate from the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. 

By 5:15 a.m., several detectives from the SBPD Crimes Against Persons Unit had been called in and assigned to conduct follow-up investigation, and by early afternoon they had identified Juan Romero as one of the suspects in this case, Harwood said. 

Juan Carlos Herrera Romero

At 3:17 p.m., they located him working at a construction site in the 800 block of Picacho Lane in Montecito and arrested him, and by late afternoon the detectives had identified Gabino Romero as the other suspect in this case. 

He was taken into custody after he was spotted driving in the 2600 block of Las Positas Road at 9 p.m.

Searches were subsequently conducted at Juan Romero’s residence in the 1100 block of Indio Muerto Street and Gabino Romero’s residence in the 3400 block of Richland Drive.
 
Both men were booked at Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $250,000 each.

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 Farmer, Civic Leader ‘Jack’ Adam Jr. Dies

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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John “Jack” Adam Jr.

John “Jack” Adam Jr., a member of a pioneering farming family who also spent 10 years on the Santa Maria City Council, died July 13 at the age of 86.

While serving on the City Council, he was instrumental in securing State Water for the city of Santa Maria, his family said. Adam served on the council from 1976 to 1986, according to city records.

He also served on Santa Barbara County Planning Commission and other regional boards and organizations.

The son of Hester (Myers) and John F. Adam, he attended Miller Street Elemenary School and St. Mary of the Assumption School and graduated from Santa Maria High School with the class of 1946.

During his senior year, he held the fastest 440-yard dash time of any high school athlete in the United States, and was a state officer for the Future Farmers of America.

After high school, Adam continued his education at UC Davis and UC Berkeley, graduating with a master’s degree in agricultural economics.

Following his military services, he began Adam Farms. He was later joined by his brother Richard, and together they sold produce throughout the United States for over 40 years.

In subsequent years, Jack formed and managed Adam Growers, and was involved with Gold Coast Packing.

Through the years he was recognized for his contributions to local farming as well as his service to the Santa Maria Valley as the Santa Barbara County Fair Farmer of the Year in 1999, Elks Rodeo Parade grand marshal and by the Santa Maria Noontime Rotary Club’s as a Paul Harris Fellow.

A Rosary will be said at 6 p.m. Sunday at Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary, with visitation beginning at 5 p.m.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Monday at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Dena; son Mark Adam and wife Lois, son John Adam and wife Sandi, daughter Christine Adam Cruden and husband John, son George Adam and wife Debbie, daughter Katie Adam Ficken and husband Frank, along with 17 grandchildren: Ben and Stuart Adam, Matt and Kate Prancevic, Tyler and Justin Adam, Jessica (Mike) Rabener, Jennifer, Patrick, Kaileen and Kevin Cruden, Jeff (Abby), Philip, Nicole and Bridget Adam, Scott and Eric Ficken, and three great-grandchildren: Daniel Adam and Emma and Lily Rabener.

He also leaves behind his brother, Richard Adam (Bernadette), and many cousins, nieces and nephews including 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam.

“We will miss his unique raise of an eyebrow, his thoughtful and often sage advice and his ever-present appreciation for simple pleasures like strawberry ice cream and milkshakes,” his family said.

Click here to read his obituary.

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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Ameriprise Financial Awards $10,000 Grant to Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Judy Pirkowitsch
Judy Pirkowitsch

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has been awarded a $10,000 grant by Ameriprise Financial to help feed hungry families in the Santa Barbara area.

Ameriprise selected the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County for the award in support of its mission to solve domestic hunger.

The donation is one of 21 grants Ameriprise recently made to hunger-relief agencies across the country totaling $680,000 — enough to provide more than 5 million meals or feed 1,191 families of four for an entire year.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County was recommended for the grant by Judy Pirkowitsch, an Ameriprise financial advisor in Santa Barbara.

“Hunger is a serious reality for people in communities across the country, many of whom never expected they’d need help feeding themselves or their families," Pirkowitsch said. “Ameriprise is committed to supporting nonprofits like the Foodbank because they are dedicated to those struggling with hunger.”

The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through its award-winning programs and a network of more than 300 member nonprofit partners. In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive food support from the Foodbank. Last year, the Foodbank distributed the food and resources to support 8.5 million meals — half of which was fresh produce.

“Support from organizations like Ameriprise Financial enables the Foodbank to provide resources and tools to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “What people are learning and gaining through our health and nutrition programs will benefit them throughout their lives and be passed down for generations to come.”

— Erin Bushey represents Ameriprise Financial.

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In Search of Elusive Dark Matter: UCSB Physicists Part of International Collaboration

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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While scientists have long known that dark matter exists, they have never been able to touch it. That could change, however, with the development of what might one day be the biggest and most capable dark matter experiment in the world.

The Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation last week announced funding for the second-generation Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment, dubbed LUX-ZEPLIN (ZonEd Proportional scintillation in LIquid Noble gases).

UC Santa Barbara physics professor Harry Nelson is the scientific leader of the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) collaboration, and UCSB physicists, who led the design and building of LUX’s ultrapure water tank, will design a new element for LZ.

The LUX site, located a mile deep in the Black Hills of South Dakota at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, will also be used for the LZ experiment. When completed, LZ will be the largest dark matter detector in the world.

Dark matter — the predominant form of matter in the universe and so named because it neither emits nor absorbs light — has been observed only through its gravitational effects on galaxies and clusters of galaxies. However, physicists do not know what constitutes dark matter.

The leading theoretical candidates for dark matter are weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), so-called because they rarely interact with ordinary matter except through gravity. Finding WIMPs is the aim of both LUX and LZ.

The LZ detector — 20 times bigger than LUX’s — will utilize seven tonnes of active liquid xenon. Xenon is a chemical element found in trace amounts in Earth’s atmosphere. If a WIMP strikes a xenon atom in the detector, it recoils from other xenon atoms and emits photons (light) and electrons. The electrons are drawn upward by an electric field and interact with a thin layer of xenon gas at the top of the tank, releasing more photons.

dark matter
Harry Nelson, left, and Michael Witherell head the UCSB team designing the outer detector, a unique feature of the LUX-Zeplin experiment. (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

The light signals are detected by 488 photomultiplier tubes, which are deployed above and below the liquid xenon. The locations of photon signals — one at the collision point, the other at the top of the tank — can be pinpointed to within a few millimeters. The energy of the interaction can be precisely measured from the brightness of the signals, which ensures that each WIMP event’s unique signature of position and energy will be precisely recorded.

Experiments such as LUX and LZ are situated deep underground in order to shield the detectors from cosmic rays, which can produce false results. However, radiation from the natural decay of uranium and thorium in the surrounding material, which can also produce false results, still remains. To combat this, the LZ detector will employ additional layers of particle detection outside the seven tonnes of liquid xenon in the heart of the detector.

The UCSB group will design the outer detector to contain scintillator liquid, a clear oil that lights up when a neutron or gamma ray interacts with it. All of the LZ detector is immersed in a large tank of ultrapure water.

Michael Witherell, UCSB’s vice chancellor of research and a professor of physics, is the current project manager for LZ’s outer detector.

“We are designing nine big acrylic (Plexiglas) vessels to hold 27 tons of scintillator liquid,” he said.

“Once the vessels are built, we have to get them into the tanks and assemble them very carefully,” Witherell explained. “We have to fill the outer detector with the scintillator liquid simultaneously with the water tank because we have to keep the pressure even on both sides. This is a mechanical engineering challenge, and UCSB is well-equipped to meet it because we have good mechanical engineers working with our LZ group.”

LZ will be more sensitive to dark matter than the ultimate LUX result by a factor of 100 and more sensitive than the present LUX result by a factor of 500.

“We project that a three-year run of the LZ experiment will achieve a sensitivity close to fundamental limits from the cosmic ray neutrino background,” said Nelson, who helped design, build and fill the sophisticated water tank that houses the LUX experiment and will also be used in the LZ detector.

“Our dream would be after about a year’s worth of data that there would be a signal of dark matter,” Nelson said.

In fact, LZ’s greatly improved sensitivity to dark matter may one day allow scientists to observe up to five events over a three-year experiment period.

“That’s how rare a dark matter event is,” Witherell said.

The schedule for building LZ will depend on when the funds become available, but according to Nelson, the DOE and NSF intend to fully fund the project. That means that UCSB could be ready to start building the biggest components in 2015 and get to the point of bringing the detector into operation in early 2018.

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Funeral Planned for Santa Maria Airman Killed in Car Crash

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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A funeral for Airman 1st Class Andrew Padilla, 22, of Santa Maria will be held on the Central Coast, 10 days after he died in a car crash in Clovis, New Mexico.

Padilla belonged to the 27th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, near Clovis.

There will be a local memorial service held July 23 for Santa Maria native Andrew Padilla.

The passenger in a Hyundai, Padilla was ejected when the vehicle rolled over several times early July 13 and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a Clovis Police Department news release.

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

"A1C Andrew Padilla was known as a dedicated, hard-working troop who loved to learn about his job and thoroughly enjoyed life," said Maj. Clifford Scruggs, 27 SOMXS commander.

The memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. July 23 at Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary, 1003 E. Stowell Road, in Santa Maria. Viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. that day. Burial is planned for the Santa Maria Cemetery.

Padilla, an alumni of Pioneer Valley High School and Delta High School, joined the Air Force on Nov. 6, 2012, and arrived at Cannon in April 2013.

Friends and relatives are posting remembrances on his Facebook page, expressing shock and sadness at his death.

“The outpouring of love people have for you is amazing! You touched so many lives!” one post said.

The Santa Maria native chose the military in order to instill discipline within him and better his life, according to his sister, who influenced Padilla’s decision to enlist.

"I know my brother had struggles and difficulty adjusting to the military lifestyle at first, but he truly loved what he was doing," his sister, Senior Airman Tiffany Padilla, 374th Operations Support Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, told Air Force journalists.

"He would recount his experiences to me and I would offer all the advice I could — he was always my little brother,” she added.

In his spare time, Andrew loved working out and maintaining proper fitness standards.

"It was the perfect way for him to let go of daily stressors," Tiffany said. "He would use the gym to mentally recover from a tough day at work or when he felt he had let leadership even remotely down."

Andrew was assigned to the AC-130 gunship section as an armament load crew member, according to the Air Force Base. He was responsible for loading and maintaining the 30, 40 and 105 millimeter weapons systems on the Spectre and Stinger II models.

According to supervisors, one of the first questions he asked upon arriving at Cannon was how soon he could deploy. The airman was noted as being adamant about deploying and accomplishing his job whenever and wherever he could.

Andrew eventually deployed to Afghanistan in late 2013, the Air Force said.

Air Force officials said Andrew completed Career Development Courses while overseas, returning with the skills and knowledge of a seasoned veteran and quickly applying that expertise to his duties once he returned to Cannon.

Supervisors mentioned that he was a studious airman, great co-worker and amazing friend who will be extremely missed.

"We didn't have the best upbringing; My brother kept a lot of our childhood burdens bottled up for a long time," Tiffany said. "It wasn't until he joined the Air Force that he found structure and motivation for life."

"He was able to learn how to respect others and himself," she continued. "He found something he was really passionate about and I'm so happy he was able to share it with all his wingmen."

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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Catholic Church of the Beatitudes: Taizé, a Prayer for Peace

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est — Where there is Charity and Love, there is God.

A simple chant repeated in unison, instrumental music softly in the background leading to moments of meditative silence, calms the heart, quiets the mind and soothes the spirit.

Then comes the feeling of inner peace, oneness with the universe, the presence of God in all things.

Taizé is an ecumenical program of chant, silence and meditative prayer. Though avowedly Christian, Taizé is non-denominational, open to people of all faiths and questioners of faith. It provides a setting for the mind to welcome the dreams of the Oneness of Humankind.

The aim of Taizé is to achieve inner peace. Pope John XXIII wrote, “There can be no peace between men unless there is peace within each of them.”

"May I be an instrument of peace," a chant taken from the prayer of Francis of Assisi, begins and ends Taizé for the Church of the Beatitudes.

All are invited to enjoy Taizé sponsored by the Church of the Beatitudes at 7 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month in the Fellowship Hall of First Congregational Church, 2101 State St. in Santa Barbara.

Let us make peace contagious.

Mac Freeman is a member of the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes, which celebrates Mass at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays at First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, 2101 State St. Click here for more information, or call 805.252.4105. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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Willow Springs Phase II Fully Leased Three Months Ahead of Schedule

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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The newest apartments in the Santa Barbara and Goleta area are now fully leased — beating projections by three months!

The Willow Springs Phase II apartment community was constructed and is managed by The Towbes Group Inc.

“We are certainly seeing a high demand for apartments in the Santa Barbara and Goleta area," said Craig Zimmerman, president of The Towbes Group Inc. "We are happy to fill the community’s need for quality workforce housing.”

Willow Springs Phase II leased an average of 4.5 apartments per week, with a remarkable high of 14 apartments in only one week. Willow Springs utilized a multitude of marketing strategies during the lease up that included both digital and grass roots. Multiple spas, two heated pools year-round, an entertainment center, outdoor fitness centers, a community fire pit and barbecue areas are just some of the features that will make the community stand out even further among the other housing opportunities in the area.

“I would refer anybody to Willow Springs in Goleta," new resident Keith Sims Larson said. "The community is very nice, people are kind and respectful, and the management is very professional. They make staying here pleasant. The walking path and pools are a plus as well.”

Even though these new apartments are now leased up, there is great news for those still looking for a home at Willow Springs or at a Towbes Group community as there are still a few units left. Also, The Towbes Group has another phase in the pipeline for Willow Springs that will include 228 more workforce apartments and 132 senior living units.

Click here for more information on The Towbes Group and Willow Springs.

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

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Maps.com Receives Special Achievement in GIS Award at Esri Conference

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Maps.com received a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award at the Esri International User Conference in San Diego on Wednesday.

This award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work and innovative use of Esri's geographic information system (GIS) technology.

Maps.com uses Esri ArcGIS technology to create maps for a variety of industries, including education, news media and custom mapping for businesses. This diversity calls on a range of different skill sets, including user experience (UX) design, graphic art and data visualization. 2014 saw the launch of the new Field Trip Library product — a collection of virtual field trips for K-12 schools based on Esri’s Story map platform.

Organizations from around the world honored at the Esri UC span industries including agriculture, cartography, climate change, defense and intelligence, economic development, education, government, health and human services, telecommunications and utilities.

"The SAG Awards identify the organizations and people that are using the power of geography to improve our world and drive change," Esri president Jack Dangermond said. "At Esri, we are always deeply inspired by the passion and innovation of our users. They deserve recognition for both solving their communities’ greatest challenges and for their invaluable contributions to the continued evolution of geographic science.”

Click here for more information about the 2014 Special Achievement in GIS Award winners, including project information and photos.

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Dos Pueblos Little League Sweeps District Championships for First Time in 40-Year History

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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The Dos Pueblos Little League enjoyed a record-setting and historic year in 2014.

DPLL
Dos Pueblos Little League's Juniors team also won a District 63 title. The Juniors division is made up of players in their final year of Little League. (Dos Pueblos Little League photo)

For the first time in DPLL’s 40-year history, three of the league’s teams won District 63 All-Star Championships. The victories illustrate countless hours of volunteer efforts by managers and coaches, and phenomenal effort and talent displayed by DPLL players.

The DPLL’s 10-year-old All-Stars, managed by Dr. Dan Brennan, had to win two consecutive championship games against a strong Goleta Valley South Little League team to capture their first 10-year-old District 63 Championship since 2007. Brennan's team then battled their way to the Section 1 Championship Game before losing a one-run heartbreaker to Moorpark Little League.

“This is an unbelievably talented and hardworking group of boys," Dr. Brennan said. "They competed at the plate and in the field with every pitch and always believed in themselves. This is a huge accomplishment for these boys, and they represented DPLL with pride. I could not be more proud of them.”

The successes didn’t stop there.

The DPLL’s 10/11-Year-Old All-Stars, led by manager Scott Craig, triumphed also over GVSLL to win the District 63 Championship.

“Over the past month, we have worked tirelessly to improve every day, and it showed on the field,” Craig said.

DPLL also showed its baseball dominance with a District 63 All-Stars victory by its Juniors team, led by manager Mike Landis. The Juniors division is made up of ball players in their final year of Little League.

In addition to DPLL winning three district titles, the 12-year-old All-Stars made it to the championship game, led by Dylan Ledbetter slugging a league record 12 home runs during the All-Star tournament. As a team, the 12-year-olds belted an astonishing 28 home runs. The 12-year-old All-Star team was managed by Stoney Stetler.

DPLL 11
DPLL’s 10/11-Year-Old All-Stars triumphed over GVSLL to win the District 63 Championship. (Dos Pueblos Little League photo)

The 10-year-old All-Star team is made up of manager Dr. Brennan and assistant coaches Jeff Greaney and Lee Speshyock. The roster: Josh Brennan, Krue Court, Dax Donati, Dylan Gesswein, Jackson Greaney, Carson Mercier, Joseph Molina, Kellan Montgomery, Mikey Perez, Jordan Rico, Josiah Severson, Ryan Speshyock and Joseph Talarico.

The 11-year-old All-Star team is comprised of manager Craig and coaches Dennis Montgomery and Jay Borgeson. The roster: Dylan Borgeson, Trevor Craig, Jordan Davis, Devin Goodwin, Ben Hoffmann, Kylan Johnson, Thomas Mock, Ty Montgomery, Alex Moosbrugger, Justin Orozco, Jack Parrish, Cole Philip and Connor Swanson.

DPLL
Dr. Dan Brennan, left, who manages Dos Pueblos Little League’s 10-year-old All-Stars, and Scott Craig, manager of the 11-year-old All-Stars, celebrate their teams' successful season. (Dos Pueblos Little League photo)

The Junior All-Stars team is made up of manager Landis and coaches John Yamasaki, Mike Dzierski and Stan Soto. The roster: Davey Demeter, Will Goodwin, Thomas Jimenez, Jacob Juarez, Joe Landis, David Leon, Matt Molina, Joey Rainbolt, Caleb Severson, Zach Wright, Will Yamasaki, Jasper Yost and Richy Zajic.

“We are so proud of our DPLL boys," said Jami Stetler, DPLL board president. "Championships do not happen without a strong work ethic a positive attitude and a lot of dedication. Thank you to these boys and their coaches for making this a most memorable 40th anniversary season. They worked hard, played hard, and win or lose, represented DPLL with excellent sportsmanship.”

The victories come as DPLL celebrates its 40th anniversary of the league.

All regular season games are played at Girsh Park in Goleta.

The DPLL appreciates all of its parental and community support. Click here for more information about DPLL and to sign up for the 2015 season.

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Joseph Thompson Appointed COO of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing’s Duncan Group

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Joseph Thompson, MSW, has been appointed to chief operating officer at The Duncan Group, the property management division of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, it was announced by President/CEO John Fowler.

Joseph Thompson
Joseph Thompson

“Peoples’ Self-Help Housing is very pleased to have such an experienced and outstanding manager such as Joe Thomson join our team," Fowler said. "He will be a great addition to our already-great property management effort.”

Previously, Thompson was regional vice president of property operations at Mercy Housing in Seattle, Wash., where he was responsible for 63 properties and 2,500 units of affordable housing. He also worked at the Archdiocesan Housing Authority in Seattle as director of affordable housing.

Thompson graduated from the University of Arizona-Tucson and earned a master’s degree in social work and nonprofit administration from the University of Washington in Seattle. He was board president of the Council for Affordable Rural Housing-Washington State Chapter from 2009 to 2012 as well as serving on the Affordable Housing Management Association board concurrently.

He is relocating to San Luis Obispo with his wife and two teenage children. During his leisure time he enjoys the outdoors, road cycling, and hiking.

Founded in 1970, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing is an award-winning nonprofit organization that develops affordable housing and community facilities for low-income households and homeownership opportunities for working families and special needs populations, such as seniors, the disabled, and the formerly homeless. With nearly 1,200 homes completed and over 1,500 rental units developed and now managed by Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, PSHH is the largest affordable housing developer on the Central Coast, with offices in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

Click here for more information on Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

— Rochelle Rose is the fund development director for Peoples' Self-Help Housing.

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Daniel Sheehan Joins Retirement Benefits Group as Plan Advisor for Central Coast

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Retirement Benefits Group LLC, a retirement plan consulting and wealth management advisory firm with more than $11 billion in assets under advisement as of May 31, proudly announces the addition of retirement plan advisor Daniel Sheehan, CFP, AIF, RLP, to its professional staff.

Sheehan is based in San Luis Obispo and will offer retirement plan services and wealth management strategies to clients on the Central Coast and beyond.

Sheehan has more than 20 years of experience working in the corporate financial advisory, financial planning and wealth advisory fields, which has provided him with a deep understanding of financial markets, products and regulations. His focus as a retirement plan advisor is to help ensure that trustees are diligently managing their personal fiduciary liability and that employees are properly preparing for retirement.

“I am incredibly excited to join the experienced and respected team of advisors at Retirement Benefits Group,” Sheehan said. “RBG’s approach to business, along with their extensive and positive industry recognition, made me confident that this was the kind of firm I wanted to be associated with, especially as I aim to grow my business and advise larger plans."

Sheehan entered the financial services industry in 1992 after working in the commercial printing paper and computer fields for over 20 years, following an honorable career in the U.S. Navy. Six years later, he founded Sheehan Life Planning, which offered services in wealth management, estate planning, investments and retirement planning advice. Over the course of his career, he has helped hundreds of business owners, individuals and their families work toward their financial goals.

“We are very pleased to welcome Daniel to the team,” said Michael Castner, PPC, PRP, principal at Retirement Benefits Group. “His diverse background and extensive experience will not only benefit our clients, but will help RBG to expand beyond our current market.”

Sheehan earned his bachelor of business administration degree in finance from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Accredited Investment Fiduciary and a Registered Life Planner. Sheehan also holds his Series 7, 63 and 65 registrations through LPL Financial and has his California insurance license.

— Amanda Powers is a publicist representing Retirement Benefits Group.

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Montecito Bank & Trust Hosting Goleta Chamber of Commerce B2B Breakfast

By | Published on 07/17/2014

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Montecito Bank & Trust will host the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s August Business-2-Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5 in Earl's Place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Come hear more about the services and opportunities Montecito Bank & Trust has for your business.

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.

Attendees must RSVP by noon Friday, Aug. 1 to get on the hot sheet. Click here to register. For more information, contact Dan Skidmore at 805.967.2500 x5 or dan@goletavalley.com.

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