Santa Barbara-Goleta, Sunday, April 26, 2015

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Vegetation Fire Chars Acre in Casmalia

By | Published on 04/26/2015


A vegetation fire charred an acre of land in Casmalia on Sunday afternoon, but was quickly extinguished.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department crews responded to the blaze in the 5000 block of Black Road at 3:20 p.m., according to Capt. David Zaniboni.

Three engines, a helicopter and a battalion chief kept the fire contained to an acre of grass and light brush.

“The cause is unknown, however we do have power lines down in the middle of the fire,” Zaniboni said.

He said a fire investigator and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. crews were en route to the scene.

There were no injuries in the fire and no structures were threatened.

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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For 2nd Night, Gusty Winds Expected to Sweep Across Santa Barbara County’s South Coast

By | Published on 04/26/2015


Another round of strong gusty winds is in the overnight forecast for Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Sunday, and the ​National Weather Service has issued a new wind advisory through Monday morning.

The combination of gusty santa ana winds and low humidity is expected to increase the risk of fire danger Monday, authorities said.

Late Saturday, dead palm fronds blown into power lines sparked a fire on East Haley Street at Rose Avenue near downtown Santa Barbara. There were no injuries or damage in the blaze, however.

For a second night Sunday, isolated gusts of 55 mph were possible in the Montecito foothills, the weather service warned earlier in the day.

Across the region, forecasters were expecting north winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Canyons and passes below the Santa Ynez Mountains are likely to experience the highest winds.

Motorists were advised to use caution and to expect sudden, powerful crosswinds on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast, on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass and on Highway 192/East Valley Road through Montecito.

The wind advisory is to take effect at 6 p.m. Sunday and last until at least 3 a.m. Monday.​

A gale warning was extended for the outer Santa Barbara Channel through Monday morning, with a small-craft advisory in effect closer to shore.

Seas of 10 to 12 feet are possible, the weather service said, with northwest to north winds of 20 to 30 knots and local gusts to 40 knots, or about 46 mph.

Clear skies and warmer temperatures are expected Monday and Tuesday on the South Coast, with daytime highs reaching to near 80 degrees.

A slight cooling trend is likely by Wednesday, the weather service said, with daytime temperatures falling to the low 70s.

» 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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Judy Foreman: Actor Kurt Russell Masters New Craft as Winemaker, and Keeps His Audience Spellbound

By | Published on 04/26/2015


Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend dinner includes barrels of fun with GoGi Wines founder and an increasing presence in Santa Barbara County

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The notion that Hollywood stars are aloof was quickly dispelled on a recent Saturday night.

The occasion was the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend benefiting The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts at Bacara Resort & Spa. Foundation president Eric Spivey rose to introduce actor Kurt Russell, the guest of honor at the Grand Wine Dinner.

Russell — who took center stage in the ballroom with his GoGi Wines label in lights on the wall behind him — was personable and enthusiastic from the get-go.

He was accompanied by his — as he called her — “girlfriend of 32 years,” Goldie Hawn, and other family members involved in his wine company. And that was just the start.

It was hard not to get caught up in laughter at the anecdotal Russell family stories. Each wine is named after a family member, including Russell’s own: GoGi.

Filled with more than 200 guests, Bacara’s ballroom may never have looked better, thanks to SWANK Santa Barbara owner Maryanne Contreras. The decor made generous use of beautiful flowers with a touch of the wine country ambience.

The four-course dinner  was designed and prepared by executive chef Vincent Lesage, chef du cuisine Johan Denizot and banquet chef Martin Fonseca, with a “ranch-to-table” theme.

The glasses were lined up at our seats as the first course of charred County Line Harvest Baby Leeks was paired with a 2013 GoGi Viognier called Lulu, named after Russell’s mom. The wine had a tropical-flavored burst.

The second course was Seared Striped Bass Filet paired with a 2012 GoGi Chardonnay, called Goldie. The wine was made from carefully selected fruit from the Santa Rita Hills and, according to Russell, showcased the traditional Burgundian-made Chardonnay.

The third course of Espresso-Rubbed Tenderloin of Beef was paired with a 2011 GoGi Pinot Noir, Angelbaby, named after Russell’s youngest sister, Jami. The wine is sourced from Ampelos Vineyard and blended by Russell himself.

A cheese, chocolate and strawberry dessert paired with a 2010 Syrah, Gamma, from GoGi’s growing partners, Ampelos Cellars. The wine’s exotic, spicy flavor pairs with balanced minerals and tannins, is 100 percent estate fruit and is barreled-aged for almost two years.

Between each course, Russell would take the assembled guests on his personal journey, recounting family bicycle trips through the great wine regions of California, France and Italy, and noting how the excursions provided the opportunity for him to sample terrific wines.

But it was the Burgundies that “stole his heart,” he said, and sparked the idea of making his own wines.

In between the dinner’s courses, Russell walked to every table, chatting about wine, posing for photos and being a great host. His baby face and twinkling eyes were rather hidden behind his glasses and a long beard and handlebar mustache he’s sporting for a movie role he is currently shooting.

Russell acknowledged the people with whom he collaborated, which include his stepdaughter, actress Kate Hudson; his sister, Jami; and Rebecca and Peter Work, who own Ampelos Cellars in the Santa Rita Hills.

“Peter is an old-school purist when it comes to making wine,” Russell said of Peter Ampelos. “No short cuts, no tricks, no fakin' it!”

Once he got involved, Russell was hands-on right from the start, including slicing his thumb with a pair of clippers while cutting the first cluster of grapes he ever harvested, he shared.

There was no doubt among the attendees that he loves what he’s doing and, he noted, “like it says on the back of each and every bottle, it’s meant to be ... for your pleasure.”

Circling to back to Julia Child, a longtime Montecito resident who died in 2004, he exclaimed, “Bon appétit, and a toast to the good life.”

GoGi can be tasted locally at the 1880 Union Hotel & Saloon, 362 Bell St. in Los Alamos, and in Los Olivos at Los Olivos Café & Wine Merchant, 2879 Grand Ave., and Petros, 2860 Grand Ave.

Click here for more information about GoGi Wines, or contact [email protected].

— Noozhawk columnist Judy Foreman is a 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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Randy Alcorn: People-Packers’ Magically Expanding Planet an Unsustainable Population Proposition

By | Published on 04/26/2015


​Optimism is a positive attribute until it descends into delusion.

Those who believe that the earth can sustain an indefinite increase in human population have taken the plunge. Rather than confront the obvious negative consequences of burgeoning human population with anything approaching reasonable concern and objective logic, these buoyant optimists float above reality on hopes that human ingenuity will find a way to pack more people onto the planet.

These people-packers are often the same folks who dismiss global warming as an agenda-driven fabrication of hysterical environmentalists, or who argue that a certain amount of environmental damage is inevitable and necessary for the advancement of human civilization.

The critical concept here is “certain amount.”

By now, the list of environmental ravages caused by human activity is not only familiar to anyone who hasn’t been in a coma the last 50 years, but is also growing with each additional mouth to be fed, thirst to be slaked, house to be built, fuel to be burned, and effluvia to, somehow, be disposed of.

Ironically, these troubling environmental ravages are the noxious side effects of the very human ingenuity that the people-packers believe will enable human population to increase indefinitely. But, when does a “certain amount” of environmental degradation become too much, jeopardizing human civilization by irreversibly damaging the entire ecosystem?

How much is too much?

Human population quadrupled to more than 6 billion during the last century. Estimates are it will reach 9 billion by 2050 and mushroom past 11 billion by century’s end.

And, while Malthusian predictions of a population bomb exploding have not come to pass ... yet, is it because no bomb exists or because the detonator clock is still ticking? Optimists seem to believe no population bomb will ever go off. Such optimism is like falling from a precipice and thinking all the way down, “so far so good.”

Already, there are a billion people on the planet who are malnourished. Yet, to feed the projected increase in human population, as much food will have to be produced over the next 50 years as has been consumed over the entirety of human history.

But, people-packers aren’t alarmed. They believe that the magic wand of human ingenuity will provide for all. Even if it could provide enough essential resources for billions more humans, however, how will it do so without further damaging the ability of the planet to support life as we know it?

So far, efforts to accommodate more population have had those nagging negative — and often unexpected — environmental consequences.

For instance, pouring chemical fertilizers on crops to increase yields has polluted fresh water and oceans with nitrogen runoff, as well as emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Clearing large areas of the Amazon rainforest for farmland not only diminishes the life-essential carbon/oxygen exchange, it also threatens water supplies to Brazil’s teeming urban areas.

And, while genetically engineered plants might be developed to minimize the need for artificial fertilizers, crop yields — especially grains — will be diminished by the worsening effects of climate change as increasing populations striving for greater levels of affluence further tax the environment.

Even if infinite numbers of people could be sustained without negatively altering the environment, what is so appealing about people crowding the planet like ants seething over a candy apple? Why wasn’t 2 billion, 4 billion or even 6 billion people enough? Why do the proponents of population growth want to pack ever more people onto a finite planet?

The argument for unlimited population growth is usually based on selfishly shortsighted economic interests or misguided religious beliefs.

People-packers assert that economic vitality requires ever increasing demand without which there will be economic collapse and massive unemployment. If that were true, at any point in time an economy would be deteriorating.

Economies are always unpredictable but they are also scalable and adjust with population levels. But, because it is easier to compete in an expanding market, and because human greed knows no bounds, sellers always want more demand.

The religious rationale for packing more people on the planet is that God wants more souls — you know, “be fruit flies and multiply.” Therefore, efforts to limit births are against God’s will. There is little concern about damaging the planet with population because the planet is disposable and God has room for everyone somewhere in eternity.

Whatever delusions drive people-packers, they present a global existential risk. Every space has a capacity limit. Unless this planet can be magically expanded, there will not be enough physical space, let alone essential resources, to sustain an indefinitely increasing population.

Isn’t it more humane and eminently wiser to bring population to a safe, comfortably sustainable level well before living conditions become hellish and the Malthusian bomb does explode?

— 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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Santa Barbara Firefighters Battle Wind-Whipped Palm Tree Blaze

By | Published on 04/26/2015


Firefighters kept busy chasing down sparks from blaze on Haley Street

A palm tree fire whipped by gusty winds kept Santa Barbara city firefighters busy Saturday night preventing a larger blaze.

The fire was reported at about 9:30 p.m. on Haley Street at Rose Avenue.

High winds pushed the dead palm fronds into power lines, causing sparking that set the upper third of the tree on fire, according to fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy.

"That got going, and due to the wind, was blowing a lot of burning palm fronds and sparks down the block toward Hayward Lumber and other businesses," McCoy said.

The Fire Department stationed crews along the block to chase down any sparks before they could ignite a larger fire, McCoy said.

While the initial blaze was doused fairly quickly, firefighters remained on scene for a couple hours as a precaution.

Southern California Edison Co. crews arrived fairly quickly, McCoy said, and after assessing the situation planned to cut down the tree.

More gusty conditions are expected Sunday night, which will keep firefighters on alert, McCoy said.

"The wind and the power lines and the trees are never a good combination," he added.

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


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Hollywood Stars Don Roos, Dan Bucatinsky Get Royal Treatment from Pacific Pride Foundation

By | Published on 04/25/2015


At annual benefit gala, Julia Louis-Dreyfus presents inaugural Advocacy Award for couple’s work on behalf of LGBTQ issues

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Actress and Montecito resident Julia Louis-Dreyfus presented the Pacific Pride Foundation’s first-ever Advocacy Award to award-winning director/screenwriter Don Roos and Emmy Award-winning actor and producer Dan Bucatinsky for their support and commitment to LGBTQ advocacy.

The honor was bestowed Saturday night at PPF’s sold-out gala at Bacara Resort & Spa

The annual Royal Ball attracted 600 supporters to the “Dream in Color”-themed fundraiser, which featured a fancy social hour, guest photo shoot, multiple gourmet dinner food stations, a premier music DJ, and dancing on the all-white dance floor until midnight.

The ball, produced by Merryl Brown Events, was emceed by the gracious and talented Jane Lynch, star of the hit TV series Glee.

Roos and Bucatinsky have helped change the scope of LGBTQ representation in Hollywood through both their presence as openly out celebrities and through their dedication to portraying and depicting LGBTQ characters in their work.

Both are exemplary role models, and, according to the PPF, the award celebrates their artistic vision and collaboration in film and television, their portrayal of gay characters, and their inspirational family that represents love, integrity and leadership.

The couple have lived in Montecito for more than a decade and have two children, Eliza and Jonah, who were on hand for the award presentation.

The ball, produced by Merryl Brown Events, was emceed by the gracious and talented Jane Lynch, star of the hit TV series Glee.

“Obviously, I didn’t read the invitation that said that white was the attire tonight,” quipped Lynch, who was rocking a stylish, all-black jacket and pants ensemble.

“This is such amazing turnout and support for the foundation’s important and incredible work for people with HIV and AIDS,” she continued. “The Pacific Pride Foundation does it all — community education, anti-bullying workshops, food pantry, free AIDS testing, case management, and so many programs and services for the LGBTQ population.”

A couple of guests spoke to Noozhawk about their involvement in the Pacific Pride Foundation. Jefferson Woeste, owner of J. Woeste in Los Olivos, and Bruce Cleveland were attending the Royal Ball for their sixth year.

“We got started with the foundation when we lost a dear friend to AIDS,” Woeste said. “We believe in supporting the organization because of all the vital work that they do in education and the much-needed food pantry.”

The event committee did a fantastic job in raising funds. Foundation officials said all sponsorship categories — $75,000, $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 — were sold out, and the funds would be used to help support the organization’s programs.

The mission of the nonprofit Pacific Pride Foundation is to advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community; care for people living with HIV; and prevent the transmission of HIV.

Next up for the foundation is the 2015 Pacific Pride Festival on July 11 in De la Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara.

Click here for more information about Pacific Pride Foundation, or call 805.963.3636. Click here to make an online donation.

Check back with Noozhawk for complete iSociety coverage of the Pacific Pride Foundation’s Royal Ball.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Sheriff’s Deputy Keeps an Even Beat While Serving as Liaison to UCSB Greek Community

By | Published on 04/25/2015


Kim Fryslie of Isla Vista Foot Patrol is go-between with university, where three fraternities were shut down this school year

Driving down the closest thing to fraternity row in Isla Vista, a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy pointed to a ladder placed outside a Greek-lettered house, one he’s warned fraternity brothers to remove because they make females unsafely climb in and out of second-story windows.

Many of the 39 sororities and fraternities recognized by nearby UC Santa Barbara have Embarcadero Del Norte addresses, but houses are spread across the densely populated unincorporated area west of campus.

As the Isla Vista Foot Patrol liaison to the Greek community, Deputy Kim Fryslie easily locates all of them.

“They’re typically the ones who get into more trouble,” he said of fraternities.

A frat house on the west end of Isla Vista was shut down years ago for repeatedly violating the noise ordinance. It was across the street from a three-story apartment complex where students and families lived — the same reason another fraternity fell victim to closure around the same time.

Fryslie compiles complaints filed with other officers and presents the grievances to the UCSB Office of Student Life via Greek Affairs.

If the university sees a troubling pattern, officials can notify national chapters.

Fryslie thinks Greek organizations are unfairly painted with a “broad brush” of negativity, but he said he wasn’t surprised that after two years of relative quiet, three UCSB fraternities were shut down this academic year.

The most recent closure was of Nu Alpha Kappa, which was shuttered last month because rape allegations were levied at a friend of a fraternity brother last October.

In February, the national chapter closed Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, citing “unsafe new-member education practices.”

Two months earlier, Beta Theta Pi lost its charter due to alleged disciplinary violations that culminated with alcohol hazing, which sent two members to the hospital.

A sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha, also was suspended in March due to an investigation, the details of which its national chapter wouldn’t share.

“This is a problem nationally and locally with alcohol abuse,” Fryslie said. “I believe it’s seen as harmless fun, but we see a lot of harm that results.”

Fryslie has helped oversee some of the 2,200 Greek student members in addition to patrol duties since his appointment to the position last fall. The department has intermittently filled the liaison position in the past.

Between 11 percent and 12 percent of UCSB’s undergraduate population belong to 18 fraternities and 21 sororities, according to university spokesman George Foulsham.

Fryslie said 12 of those organizations don’t have houses, but some that do boast one or two “satellite” homes off campus because there are so many members.

As liaison, Fryslie introduces himself to presidents of Greek organizations and offers to give talks on three topics: safety in Isla Vista, alcohol and drug abuse, and sexual assault.

Students are busy and rarely take him up on the offer, but he has spoken to sororities about the dangers of sexual assault, especially at frat houses, and participated in question-and-answer sessions at fraternities.

No one requests the alcohol speech ironically, he said, considering that the overwhelmingly majority of problems within the community are related to violating one university policy: all Greek chapter events are supposed to be alcohol free.

Greek parties turn into “pseudo night clubs” without the burly bouncers, so fights and sexual assault can occur, and no one contacts Fryslie for help until after the fact.

Since the most recent closures, however, some fraternities have taken the opportunity to remove certain instigating members, said Fryslie, who spent nearly 30 years with the Santa Barbara Police Department before joining the Sheriff’s Department seven years ago.

Some fraternities are also launching positive initiatives and planning a social media campaign to counteract sexual assault, said Gregory Rousso, president of the UCSB Inter-Fraternity Council.

Greek members assist during Deltopia, require new members to attend university workshops, and have a vice president of risk management position to educate others.

“Safety in I.V. is a primary issue for anybody within the community, whether it is UCSB students, (Santa Barbara City College) students or local family members,” Rousso told Noozhawk. “The position of IVFP Greek liaison is to ensure a transparent and healthy dialogue between one of the largest organizations on campus and the police.

“By working together, we can move toward a positive goal of Greek involvement with the police, as was demonstrated during Deltopia weekend.”

He said Greek houses last week spearheaded a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event to raise awareness for sexual violence, rape and gender discrimination.

IFC also plans to launch a workshop this fall to highlight alcohol and drug abuse and sexual assault for Greek life members via UCSB resources like CARE, CAPS, and Health and Wellness.

Although Fryslie never belonged to a fraternity when he attended college in his native Los Angeles, he said he sympathizes with Greek organizations whose members are trying to find ways to host social events without alcohol.

“What I do really isn’t all that complicated,” he said. “I see the effort as worthwhile if it prevents some of the terrible events, if it makes (students) more cognizant of the importance of keeping people safe.

“I want them to be successful.”

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 Trust for Historic Preservation Feasts on History with Presidio Chapel Dinner

By | Published on 04/25/2015


Candelight soirée celebrates all things Santa Barbara, including Founding Day and those who work in behalf of community’s rich heritage

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As part of its weekend Founding Day celebration, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation held a Candlelight Dinner in the historic Presidio Chapel at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. The evening proved to be beautiful and memorable for nearly 200 guests, who sampled a taste of the past — complete with period costumes, Spanish food and live music.

After a friendly social hour and reception in the Presidio’s courtyard and in its historic rooms, guests were directed toward the chapel. Each person was granted a formal red carpet entrance with drum roll as they entered. Guests were individually announced inside the elegantly illuminated chapel, which was filled with layers of candlelight, from small votives on the tables to four-foot high candelabra.

Such a magical evening had never before been experienced in the Presidio Chapel.

Spanish hors d’oeuvres were followed by a four-course dinner prepared by Montecito Country Club executive chef Michael Blackwell and David Reardon. The menu included a heritage garden salad, tamale de Puerco, grilled skirt steak or chicken, frijoles, chilies en raya, and a dessert of flan and berries.

The formal program was opened by trust board president Terease Chin. She acknowledged the Celebrate Santa Barbara co-chairs Debby Aceves and Keith Mautino, as well as Candlelight Dinner chairman David Bolton.

Also recognized were the event’s important sponsors, including the Hutton Parker Foundation; Montecito Bank & Trust, represented by president and CEO Janet Garufis; David Bolton; Hollister & Brace; Helene and Jerry Beaver; Terease Chin and Ken Yamamonto; Mary Louise Days; Omega Financial Group; Susan and Bob Tuler; Zaytoon Restaurant; the California Missions Foundation; La Huerta at Old Mission Santa Barbara; and Produce Available.

In between courses, board member Craig Makela took the microphone to orchestrate the Paddle Raise. After securing a challenge to match a pledge of $20,000 from past board president John Poucher, the paddles were waving in the audience to match the pledge at $5,000 and $1,000. Ultimately, $90,000 was raised to support the trust and its mission to preserve Santa Barbara history.

“We are so appreciative of this enthusiastic support,” Makela said. “Thank you for making this a truly memorable evening.”

After the Friday night fete, the trust hosted an all-day Founding Day Festival on Saturday and a Rancho Roundup event after the festival that featured live music by the Doublewide Kings, Young Millions, The Caverns and other musical groups. There was food to purchase and beer and tequila booths, as well.

Founded in 1963 by Pearl Chase and other concerned community leaders, the nonprofit SBTHP is the primary force in the reconstruction and preservation of El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park — Santa Barbara’s 18th century birthplace — and Casa de la Guerra — the 1820s home of Santa Barbara patriarch José de la Guerra. Today the casa is an historic house museum featuring original furnishings and temporary exhibitions.

In 2008, SBTHP signed an agreement with California State Parks to operate and develop the Santa Inés Mission Mills in Solvang — two 1820s fulling and grist mills that are part of a National Historic Landmarks District — as a future state park.

SBTHP recently purchased the building that housed Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, providing an opportunity to interpret the history of Santa Barbara’s Asian community in the presidio neighborhood.

With continuing education activities and exhibits, SBTHP strives to encourage community involvement and foster an appreciation for Santa Barbara’s distinct history.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, or call 805.965.0093. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Raw-Sewage Leak Prompts Road Closure in Orcutt

By | Published on 04/25/2015


A sewage leak in Orcutt closed roads and kept firefighters and other personnel busy for much of the day Saturday, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The leak was reported shortly before 10 a.m., with “a large amount of raw sewage emerging from a manhole cover” in the 200 block of North Broadway, fire Engineer Glen Dupont told Noozhawk.

He said the sewage was running into a nearby culvert and creek.

Roads in the area of the leak were closed off for several hours while fire crews and sanitation workers stopped the flow and cleaned up the sewage, Dupont said.

County crews used heavy equipment to build a dam in the creek between Broadway and Blosser Road, Dupont said, and vacuum trucks were being brought in to pick up as much of the sewage as possible.

The cause of the leak remained under investigation.

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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Rain Can’t Dampen Spirits at Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend in Buellton

By | Published on 04/25/2015


Grand Tasting highlight of Saturday’s festivities at four-day affair, with more activities to be uncorked Sunday

The 2015 Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend is under way with a variety of events planned for four days, including Saturday’s Vintners Festival Grand Tasting.

Held this year in Buellton, the Vintners Festival Grand Tasting showcases more than 120 Santa Barbara County wineries, along with food from local restaurants and catering companies.

Cloudy skies and occasional light showers greeted attendees during the early going, but did not seem to put a damper on the event.

In addition to wines and food, afternoon activities also provided a taste of local arts and music.

The 33rd annual gathering, formerly called the Vintners Festival, took place at River View Park in Buellton.

The Grand Tasting is just one of many events that were part of the Spring Weekend.

On Saturday morning at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, wine writer and sommelier Chris Sawyer moderated a seminar featuring four winemakers — Bob Lindquist from Qupé, Ken Brown from Ken Brown Wines, Eric Mohseni from Zaca Mesa and Jim Clendenen from Au Bon Climat — whose careers were influenced by their stints at Zaca Mesa Winery.

Rain gear was much in evidence Saturday at the Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend in Buellton. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Additionally, local wineries are hosting assorted Spring Weekend events such as open houses, special winemaker dinners or lunches, vineyard hikes, and more.

Click here for a calendar of weekend activities.

Spring Weekend and Celebration of Harvest in the fall are two of several events hosted each year by Santa Barbara Vintners.

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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Wind Gusts of 55 mph Expected in Montecito Foothills

By | Published on 04/25/2015


After flirting with scattered rain Saturday, Santa Barbara County turned its attention to wind.

By late afternoon, most of the day’s clouds had been blown away and a National Weather Service wind advisory was in effect for the South Coast until at least 3 a.m. Sunday.

A second Wind Advisory was issued Sunday morning — from 6 p.m. until 3 a.m. Monday.

Isolated gusts of 55 mph were possible in the Montecito foothills, the weather service warned. The rest of the region was expected to experience northwest winds of 15 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph.

Motorists were advised to use caution and to expect sudden, powerful crosswinds on Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast, on Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass and on Highway 192/East Valley Road through Montecito.

A gale warning was issued for the outer Santa Barbara Channel through Monday morning, with a small-craft advisory in effect closer to shore.

Seas of 10 to 12 feet are possible, the weather service said, with northwest to north winds of 20 to 30 knots and local gusts to 40 knots, or about 46 mph.

Back on shore, clear skies and daytime highs in the mid- to upper 70s are in the Sunday forecast and could reach near 80 by midweek, the weather service said.

Earlier on Saturday, light rain was reported in areas throughout the county, with the heaviest precipitation expected north of Point Conception.

» 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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Mark Shields: Remembering My Brother, Who Did Well and Did A Lot of Good

By | Published on 04/25/2015


Tom Shields, my big brother, lived a long and good life. When he died earlier this month, he was widely — and deservedly — praised for generously giving millions of dollars to fund struggling inner-city Catholic schools and scholarships for hundreds of kids who hadn’t been so lucky in life’s lottery as he, our wonderful sister, Ann, and I were to be born to loving, intelligent, stable parents who gave their children self-confidence.

For more than a half-century, Tom was completely in love with his late wife, the former Mary Murphy, who always, even when their family’s finances were deep in the red and the bill collectors had turned surly, was absolutely certain that her Tom was smarter than anyone else and destined for great success.

He was loved and mourned by his and Mary’s four daughters and three sons, their 21 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and at least 1,000 different people who came to tell us how Tom had personally given them time, encouragement, counsel and support.

It once was said about at least some of the Congregational missionaries who went to Hawaii and eventually prospered financially: They came to do good and did very, very well. My big brother, by all earthly indicia, did well, and by just about any standard, he also did an awful lot of good.

Let me be candid: Being his brother was not any uninterrupted day at the beach. He was the firstborn and always remained the apple of our mother’s eye. By actual count, there were in the family albums 3,418 developed photographs of Tom. Of my sister, Ann, there were only 106 photos. After exhaustive effort, we were able to find 14 pictures of me (which included at least one police surveillance tape). The numbers tell the story: 3,418 to 106 to 14. This, understandably, led to a running family joke that “Mom liked Tom best,” a charge that our mother could never persuasively refute. As a family, we laughed often about this alleged favoritism.

But Mary, my brother’s lifelong love and No. 1 booster, did not know what all this back-and-forth could be about, thinking that of course our mother, just as any other perceptive person would, liked Tom best.

For me, my brother’s death means that the person whom I’ve known and loved the longest in my life is gone. We shared bunk beds, a bedroom until he got married and a lot of secrets. I was the younger pest who idolized and shadowed my big brother and, yes, who, as a 7-year-old, rushed to tattle to our dad that I had, that very afternoon, seen Tom, then 13, smoking a cigarette.

He and I became the closest of friends and rivals. We did disagree, from time to time, about politics, but we laughed together a lot more.

The death of your last sibling often means that there’s no one left who really knew you before you could tie your own shoes or ride a bicycle and when you were still full of childish hopes, fears and dreams. It means that never again will caller ID tell you he’s calling and you can share both the latest gossip and your fondest memories. With no one else will you have that emotional shorthand of remembrances about the uncle who got drunk at Thanksgiving or the neighborhood peeping Tom who went into the seminary. Your shared story is no more. It leaves a hole in your heart.

Thank you, Tom, for the example and the love you always gave me. And for a million laughs.

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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Young Artists Take Center Stage at Trinity Episcopal Church Concert

By | Published on 04/25/2015


Trinity Episcopal Church on Sunday will host a special edition of “Music at Trinity,” its annual Young Artists Showcase, featuring the junior division of Santa Barbara’s vast musical talent pool.

The program and artists are as follows: Georg Philipp Telemann’s Sonata in c-minor, TWV 42:c2, performed by three Dos Pueblos High School ninth-graders called “Trio Primavera” (Ilana Shapiro, flute; Maya Reese, violin; and Sara Muir, cello); Frédéric Chopin’s “Etude in Ab-Major, from Trois nouvelles études (1839) and the first movement “Allegro” from Wolfgang Mozart’s Piano Sonata in Bb-Major, K. 570 (1789), played by pianist Vivian Wang, in the ninth grade at Oak Grove School in Ojai; Johannes Brahms’ Rhapsody in g-minor, Opus 79, No.2 (1879), played by Savannah Hodson, a junior at San Marcos High School; Roger Quilter’s Three Songs, Opus 1 (ca1904) and Thomas Joyce’s “When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought,” sung by tenor Geoffrey Lambeth, a senior at San Marcos High, with Thomas Joyce, composer and Trinity’s music minister, on piano; Arthur Honegger’s La Danse de la Chèvre (The Goat Dance) for Solo Flute, 1921, H 39 with Marissa Condie, a home-schooled 11th-grader; Eric Ewazen’s “The Resplendent Quetzal,” from A Suite from the Cloud Forest (1992) performed by pianists Elizabeth and Eliana Van Renterghem, homeschhooled 11th-graders; and the fourth movement “Allegro con brio” from Serge Prokofieff​’s Sonata in D Major for Flute and Piano, Opus 94 (1943), played by Ilana Shapiro, flute, with the support of pianist Anne Weger.

In the credit-where-credit-is-due department, Trio Primavera is coached by Linda Holland; Vivian Wang and Savannah Hodson are students of Egle Januleviciute; Geoffrey Lambeth is a student of Carolyn Teraoka-Brady; Marissa Condie studies flute with Andrea Di Maggio; and the Van Renterghem sisters study piano with Neil Di Maggio.

The concert begins at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Church, 1500 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. The performance is free, although those who find themselves with a surplus of lucre and have an inclination to chip in a contribution, are certainly encouraged to do so.

For more information, call 805.965.7419, or contact Thomas Joyce, the church’s minister of keyboard music, at [email protected].

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.


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One Injured After Vehicle Overturns on Highway 101 Near Gaviota Tunnel

By | Published on 04/25/2015


One person was transported to the hospital with moderate injuries after a vehicle rollover Saturday on Highway 101 just south of the Gaviota tunnel.

The crash was first reported at 11:24 a.m., when a northbound vehicle overturned on the freeway, eventually coming to rest on the southbound side, according to Santa Barbara County fire engineer Glen DuPont.

One person was reported to be on the ground but conscious, and multiple vehicles had pulled over just minutes after the crash to assist.

DuPont said one individual was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate injuries.

The California Highway Patrol also reported at 12:13 p.m. that the number one lane of Highway 101 would be shut down near the southbound rest area so crews could remove the wrecked vehicle.

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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Light Rain Possible Saturday in Santa Barbara County

By | Published on 04/25/2015


A chance of light showers was forecast for Santa Barbara County on Saturday as a weak weather system moves through the region.

The best chance of rain was north of Point Conception, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters were giving North County communities a 60-percent chance of precipitation, compared to 30 percent for the South Coast.

By midmorning, light rain was reported in areas throughout the county.

Gusty sundowner-type winds will follow the front, forecasters said, mainly along the South Coast in the afternoon and evening hours Saturday.

A wind advisory will be in effect from 3 p.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday, the weather service said. Northwest winds of 15-30 mph, with gusts to 45 mph, are expected, especially along the Gaviota coast west of Goleta.

Daytime highs in the mid to upper 60s are expected Saturday and Sunday, warming to near 80 by early next week.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

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

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


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DPEA’s Team 1717 Advances to Round of 32 at FIRST Robotics World Championship

By | Published on 04/24/2015


That’s one giant step for a robot — and two more giant leaps remaining for the students doing the driving!

On Friday, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy’s Team 1717 put up some impressive scores on their way to a fifth-place qualifying rank. That earned them a shot in the final round of the Carver Field, one of eight at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, Mo.

By Saturday morning, they’ll be hard at work battling for one of the eight spots in the championship round to be held Saturday afternoon.

The top eight teams from Carver will form three-team alliances by choosing from the other robots they’ve been competing with and against for two days. DPEA’s large scouting team will compile their data overnight and work with the rest of the team to form a strategy for what is basically an NFL-style draft.

“Our job as scouts is basically to watch all the other robots to find out who would be good partners for us in the final-round alliances,” student Owen Mackenzie said. “I watch how much they can score, try to find out if they can do something special.”

Owen also noted the higher level of competition at the world finals, compared to the regionals (DPEA won the Ventura regional to earn a trip to St. Louis).

“The competitors here can do so many more things than we saw at the regionals,” he said. “We see a lot of robots here that are pretty advanced, showing some new strategies that we haven’t seen before.”

DPEA began the competition on Friday ranked 16th after the first day of qualifying on Thursday. Only two matches into Friday, they busted out with a single-game score of 268 points. That was the third-highest total put up by any alliance — pretty impressive when you consider there are more than 600 teams from around the world taking part in the annual event. That score helped them leap ahead in the rankings, and they clinched their high spot with a 200-point score in the final qualifying match.

Speaking of giant steps, along with the challenges they face on the field, the students are getting in their exercise.

“The Jones Dome and the Convention Center are a lot bigger than anything I was expecting,” student Emily Robison said. “The biggest surprise has been all the walking and moving around because everything is so far apart!”

The entire DPEA contingent hopes to make one more long giant step on Saturday — to go up and accept some medals for a successful conclusion to a long and winding road. Follow all the action by clicking here, including live coverage of the Carver Division playoffs and then the championship finals. The alliance selections begin at 5:30 a.m. Santa Barbara time, with the Carver playoffs starting at 7:30 a.m.

— Jim Buckley is a communications mentor for the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. He was assisted by mentors Annette Shimada and Jack Meyer and student Yesenia Terriquez.


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Letter to the Editor: UCSB Needs to Grow Backbone When It Comes to Alcohol

By | Published on 04/24/2015


UCSB’s reputation as a party school extends back, literally, to the campus inauguration in 1958. As a student during the 1960s, I experienced my share of partying in Isla Vista. I am now a 30-year resident and a retired substance abuse counselor. Today my alma mater is consistently recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the top party schools in the United States — No. 3 in 2015.

UCSB/IV’s alcohol-fueled mega-parties are legendary and attract national news. In 2014, tens of thousands of partiers went out of control at Deltopia, two blocks from my home, leading to numerous arrests and the injury of law enforcement officers. This year, arrests were down but my mailbox was ripped off its post and a neighbor’s home was invaded by a drunken reveler.

Overconsumption of alcohol and drugs are well-known problems at UCSB, which employs counselors and medical personnel to staff two centers — one on campus and the other at Embarcadero Hall in IV. Every Friday and Saturday night, Isla Vista Foot Patrol and UCSB Police struggle to combat alcohol-drenched parties. The reality is Deltopia fires up like clockwork every weekend and extends into the early hours of the morning. Sheriff’s officers are universally frustrated with UCSB’s unwillingness to put some backbone into the penalty for violation of laws prohibiting public drunkenness and underage consumption of alcohol.

Why is this campus expending hundreds of thousands of dollars counseling drunk students? Two-thirds of UCSB students are underage. That means two-thirds of students availing themselves of counseling are actually breaking the law. How hard would it be to inform a student arrested for public drunkenness or underage drinking that “you will take a quarter off, return home, undertake counseling on your parent’s dime, and return with a letter from your doctor?” One more chance after that and you are out. UCSB can save thousands in counseling dollars and, at the same time, put a fork in the party problem that causes injury both to students and the university’s reputation.

This action requires leadership. That leadership must understand the gravity of what is happening in Isla Vista. Building $70,000 fences to contain drunks and spending untold thousands on counseling drunken minors are band aid measures that do nothing to resolve the problem. UCSB’s current leader regularly attends the early hours of Halloween weekend and was actually ushered away by police during the 2014 Deltopia riot. In other words, after 20 years of watching this juggernaut, Henry Yang does not comprehend the realities of student life in Isla Vista. For lack of a better term, UCSB’s students “tee pee” the campus every weekend and Yang has no clue what that even means. Needless to say the students love him.

Yang gushes about nobel laureates, UCSB’s popularity and their thousands of applicants. The new city Yang is building adjacent to my home will add rooms for an new underage mob that will troop into IV and get drunk. This embarrassment needs to end before they arrive. UCSB must require incoming freshmen to sign a contract with consequences for underage inebriation. This is basic discipline — the law is already on the books — why would it not apply to the best and brightest daughters and sons of California? If UCSB cannot grow a backbone when it comes to supporting basic law enforcement, then it is time for the Regents of the University of California to give Yang a permanent time out.

Spencer Conway
Isla Vista


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Santa Barbara DA’s Office Honors Crime Victims, Advocates

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Annual event helps commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Week

Delaney Henderson was 15 when she was raped by a male classmate.

She didn't speak out about the crime. Like many sex-crime victims, she felt ashamed and afraid.

But when another girl confided in her that she had been raped by the same boy, she decided it was time to stop the violence.

"I didn't want to be in the spotlight," she said, "but someone had to speak up. It's not shameful to be a victim or a survivor. It's shameful to be a predator and a bully."

After Henderson reported her attack, she was bullied and called a snitch by other classmates. One of the attacker's friends made a rap song attacking her with words. 

Henderson, now 20, was one of three people honored Friday by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney Attorney's Office to commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Week. 

Henderson received the Citizen of Courage Award.

Cecilia Rodriguez and Crystal Bedolla each received the Victim Service Award.

Rodriguez, executive director of CALM, was recognized for her "tenacious and tireless work" with the Sexual Assault Response Team. Rodriguez has interviewed 2,000 children over the course of the last 25 years.

"Two thousand times she looked into the eyes of a child who had been hurt," said District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who recalled first meeting her decades ago when she was prosecuting a mother for torturing her 3-year-old child.

Dudley said she watched Rodriguez make the child feel safe enough to express the truth.

Rodriguez said she is committed to helping children.

"When I was a little kid and silent about what was happening to me, in my family, I made a promise that when I was grown up, I would listen to kids," Rodriguez said, fighting back tears. 

Santa Barbara Police Department Detective Crystal Bedolla was recognized for her investigative efforts prosecuting a grandfather who molested his two grandsons. Manuel Peter Munoz, 65, was sentenced to 75 years in prison for the acts.

The victims originally did not want to say anything about the crimes, but they worked with a CALM therapist and the Police Department. A couple years after the crimes, they came forward. 

Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman said Bedolla worked tirelessly, seven days a weekend, to gather information to prosecute Munoz.

"Detective Bedolla worked with the boys in a way to instill confidence," Waldman said. 

Bedolla said it is a privilege to serve the community. She thanked Police Chief Cam Sanchez for supporting her and letting her do her job.

She said even though she was being honored, it takes a team to solve crimes.

"I am a crime fighter," she said. "That's what I signed up for."

Sanchez said he loved Bedolla like a daughter and thanked everyone in law enforcement.

"I want to thank all of you for putting our victims first," Sanchez said. 

Nora Wallace, a former staff reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press, received the Media Award for her more than two decades of law-enforcement and victim-advocacy reporting.

It's the second time the District Attorney's Office has given out the award.

Last year, the DA's office gave the first award to Tom Bolton, executive editor of Noozhawk, for his gripping reporting on victims of sexual predator Tibor Karsai.

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


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Strawberries Star at Santa Maria Festival

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Annual event at Santa Maria Fairpark continues through Sunday

Not all strawberries taste the same, as some samplers learned Friday during the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival, where a steady supply of people stopped to savor the differences in Santa Barbara County’s top crop.

The 28th annual festival, with the theme of “Carnival Lights & Strawberry Delights,” opened Friday and runs through Sunday at the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg St.

Inside the Strawberry Pavilion, four local growers supplied samples of the red gems for tasting — and scoring. Tasting continues from noon to 4 p.m. the final two days of the festival.

The tasting is a long tradition at the Strawberry Festival, where California Women for Agriculture members from the Santa Maria chapter organize the activity with help from various youth and student groups through the weekend.

“It’s just kind of a fun way for the public to realize that there are more than one variety of strawberries, “ said Nancy Machut, a California Women for Agriculture member who also works for Daren’s Berries. “A lot them believe there’s only one strawberry variety — there are several.

"We like to feature different varieties each year just to kind of get an idea what the public is looking for in a berry. It’s not scientific. It’s a fun thing.”

Youngsters enjoy a carnival ride at the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival on Friday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Four types of berries — Fronteras from Daren’s Berries, Monterey from Mar Vista Berry and two propriety varieties from Driscoll’s and Manzanita Berry Farms — were served up with color coded tags for tasters to score most to least favorite.

Diego Herrera, 11, of Orcutt cast his top vote for the green-coded red fruit.

“It’s sweet,” he said.

His sister, Eva Herrera, 7, had a different choice, saying, “It wasn’t that sweet and it wasn’t that sour.”

The booth expects to handle 1,000 tastings each day of the three-day festival, with a fresh supply of berries showing up every morning. 

At a nearby information booth, California Women for Agriculture handed information from the California Strawberry Commission

“It’s really a collaboration of a lot of groups together,” Roberta Alderete from California Women for Agriculture said of the effort to promote the fruit.

Fairpark gates are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with an assortment of local musical acts, cooking demonstrations and other attractions throughout the Fairpark.

Attractions include strolling jugglers, a trackless train, a petting zoo, a magic act and more.

A wildlife show and educational puzzle exhibit also are free. 

The Midway of Fun Carnival is open from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Nationally syndicated radio show host Dianne Linderman demonstrates how to make Strawberry salsa. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Former MLB second baseman Steve Sax will make an appearance to meet with fans and sign autographs at 2 p.m. Saturday at Center Stage. Sax played for the LA Dodgers, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox and the Oakland Athletics during his career, which spanned 1981 to 1994.

He will take pictures and sign autographs, plus will talk to fans about the Steve Sax Foundation, which is dedicated to motivating and encouraging American youth through mentoring and life coaching.

General admission to the festival is $9 for adults, $7 for youths 6 to 11, and $6 for senior citizens 62 and older. Children 5 and younger will be admitted for free. 

However, since Saturday is Kid's Day, children ages 6 to 11 will be admitted for $1.

Also in the Strawberry Pavilion on Friday, the red fruit starred in cooking demonstrations by nationally syndicated radio show host Dianne Linderman with Everything That Matters in the Kitchen. She will provide several demonstrations during the festival.

At a presentation Friday afternoon, she showed how to make strawberry salsa, with sweet onion, Anaheim green chilis, a healthy amount of garlic, parsley, maple syrup, lime juice and garlic salt.

“Pretty weird, huh?” Linderman said to the crowd while adding strawberries instead of the traditional red fruit found in salsa.

“No tomato. Only strawberries,” she said later in response to an audience member’s question before hitting the button on the blender to mix the concoction while ensuring it didn’t turn into a liquid.

“Chunky and beautiful — just like a lot of us,” she added before moving on to demonstrate a salmon recipe.

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.

Small bags camouflaged as strawberries were given away at the Physican's Choice booth during the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival on Friday. Pictured are Amber McCombs, left, and Thania Palacios. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)


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Capps Briefs Press on Fracking Moratorium Bill

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Legislation would impose a 'time out' until environmental review is completed

Almost as if on cue, one sharp-eyed reporter spotted a surfacing whale in the Santa Barbara Channel on Friday, just beyond where Rep. Lois Capps was giving a press conference at Shoreline Park about her recent legislation to impose a moratorium on offshore oil fracking.

Capps had gathered with Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Environmental Defense Center Attorney Brian Segee to talk about the Offshore Fracking Transparency and Review Act, which she introduced in Congress on Wednesday.

The oil platforms that sit in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf could be seen easily on Friday, and the whale's appearance served to punctuate the point made by Capps and the others that the channel is rich in marine life, which often sits in tension with the goals of the energy industry.

Capps' bill, which faces a doubtful future in the Republican-conrolled House of Representatives, would impose a temporary halt on hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" and acidizing techniques in the OCS region until an environmental impact statement could be completed.

The bill also would require a comprehensive list of tracking and acidizing activities to be documented and would include what chemicals and how much are used, the amount of wastewater generated, and how it was disposed of.

"It's amazing what happens out there without, apparently, any oversight at all," Capps told reporters.

Segee said that oil companies had been fracking and acidizing in the Santa Barbara Channel for the past two decades.

That was unknown until 2013, when Freedom of Information Act requests revealed that the activity had been taking place. The EDC issued a report on the activity and called on the government to put in a moratorium on the activity.

"Our requests actually mirror closely the legislation," he said.

The EDC filed a federal lawsuit last year, maintaining that issuance of more than 50 offshore permits violates environmental law.

Jackson said that the states's oversight agency, the California Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR, has been too beholden to oil companies in the past.

To combat that, she said she'll be introducing legislation that will change the mission, requiring the oversight agency to put the public's interest first.

"We are not a state that says 'drill, baby, drill,'" Jackson said. "We are a state that says, 'If we're going to drill, it better be done responsibly.'"

Capps said her bill did not call for a ban, but rather a "time-out" until more in known about the impacts of fracking and acidizing in ocean waters.

The bill would also required that state and local regulatory agencies be notified whenever a fracking permit is issued.

When the revelations of the fracking came out in 2013, the California Coastal Commission had no idea it was taking place, Capps said.

"This must never happen again," she said. "The public has a right to know what is being done on these drilling platforms."

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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Mark James Miller: Why Republicans Wage War On the Poor

By | Published on 04/24/2015


In South Carolina, former Republican Lt. Gov. André Bauer compares feeding the poor to the feeding of animals and suggests it should stop “because they breed.”

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, compares the unemployed to children who refuse to do chores around the house. “We borrow money from China,” he proclaims, “to pay people not to work.”

Former Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Georgia, wants children who receive subsidized meals at school to do manual labor in exchange for their food so they will learn “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., pontificates, “If anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

By now it has become a cliché to point out that the Republican Party is waging a war against the poorest citizens of these United States. (Even some Republicans, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are admitting this).

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is exploring running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has called for the elimination of the minimum wage, citing the discredited conservative dogma that the minimum wage suppresses job creation when in fact the opposite has been proven to be true.

Perennial Republican presidential also-ran Newt Gingrich has long called for the abolition of child labor laws (which he refers to as “truly stupid”) so that children as young as 9 years old from poor families can work as janitors at the schools they attend.

In red state after red state, law after law has been proposed or enacted that punishes, degrades, and stigmatizes poor people for the crime of being impoverished. These range from mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients to a proposed Tennessee law that would reduce welfare benefits to families whose children “fail to maintain satisfactory progress in school.”

Kansas is only the most recent in a long line of Republican-dominated states (23 at last count) to pass laws that would make Ebenezer Scrooge wince. On April 16, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill enacting “some of the country’s strictest prohibitions” on welfare recipients. While some of these restrictions are simply asinine — those receiving welfare can no longer spend their money in tattoo parlors, on cruise ships or on fortune tellers (and few, if any, ever did waste their money that way) — they reflect the conservative mythology that poor people live a comfortable, self-indulgent lifestyle while sponging off the hard-working majority.

The truth is the exact opposite: Studies — as well as common sense — show that impoverished people spend their money on the basic necessities of life. Following Abraham Maslow’s 1943 paper “Hierarchy of Needs,” poor people use their scant resources on housing, food and transportation.

A 2014 federal report found that only 1 percent of eight states’ welfare transactions were for “luxuries” or entertainment, findings corroborated by an analysis done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Republicans ignore these facts. They attack the poor by asserting that poverty is a moral failure, that people are poor because they have chosen to be poor.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., refers to the social safety net as a “hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” In this he is seconded by conservative rock star Ted Nugent, who wrote, “being poor is a largely a choice, a daily, if not hourly decision ... We need to punish poor decisions instead of rewarding them” — both reflecting the general Republican attitude toward the poor.

If, then, poverty is actually something that people have chosen, there is a simple solution to it.

“I want to see more Americans step up,” said King, referring to the unemployed. Presumably, the Iowa congressman meant that people who are out of work should just go out and get a job, which will, in the eyes of Republicans, solve the problem. It’s just that easy.

As with most simplistic solutions, it isn’t just that easy. The “just-go-get-a-job” mantra ignores the fact that three-quarters of the people receiving public assistance are either working already or are part of a family in which someone is working. These are people with minimum-wage or near minimum-wage jobs, the pay of which is not enough to lift people above the poverty level.

The truth, which conservatives do not want to admit, is that these people are working, working hard and working long hours, and still do not have enough money to meet the fundamental necessities of life, and so have no other choice but to turn to public assistance for help.

Why do Republicans harbor such intense hatred toward the poorest and most vulnerable of their fellow citizens?

Republicans proclaim a great love of country but in the next breath spew out hate toward anywhere from a third to half of their fellow countrymen and women, from Mitt Romney’s 47 percent who will not “take personal responsibility” to the 100 million Steve King claims “aren’t contributing anything.”

Conservative commentator Neal Boortz likens the poor to “toenail fungus.” Right-wing radio show host Michael Savage refers to people on welfare as “deadbeats” who prefer to stay at home so they can “smoke and drink and fornicate.” Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly says poverty is the result of “irresponsible behavior and laziness.”

The examples go on and on but the question remains: What is behind such hate? On the part of the politicians and pundits, it may be simple divide and conquer tactics, attempting to pit those Americans who are not receiving public assistance against those who do. But beyond cynical Machiavellian political calculation lies something even deeper: Failure.

The poor, especially the working poor, are a daily reminder of the failure of Republican economic policies, policies they have succeeded in imposing on the country since the days of President Ronald Reagan. Deregulate the economy, they say, cut taxes on the rich and on corporations, and we will find ourselves in a conservative nirvana wherein everybody (except the lazy) will either be rich or on their way to getting rich.

It hasn’t worked. Far from taking us to a conservative paradise, the result of these policies has been an enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, while the middle class has been shrunken and squeezed, and the poor have fallen even further into poverty. Large numbers of poor people and the struggle of the middle class are living repudiations of Republican dogma, and rather than admit failure, they blame and scapegoat the victims.

They wage war on the poor.

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


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David Harsanyi: For Hillary Clinton, No War But the Class War

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Near the end of a recent New York Times article detailing the imaginary populist roots of Hillary Clinton — the original Elizabeth Warren, her people would have you believe — the reader crashes into this implausible scene:

"In a meeting with economists this year, Mrs. Clinton intensely studied a chart that showed income inequality in the United States. The graph charted how real wages, adjusted for inflation, had increased exponentially for the wealthiest Americans, making the bar so steep it hardly fit on the chart.

"Mrs. Clinton pointed at the top category and said the economy required a 'toppling' of the wealthiest 1 percent, according to several people who were briefed on her policy discussions but could not discuss private conversations for attribution."

Does anyone believe that Hillary was "intensely" studying a chart — one that could barely contain the lines illustrating the real-wage growth of those reviled 1 percenters (how's that for color?) — before she had a socialist epiphany? Does anyone believe that our hero had never even contemplated this well-traveled liberal talking point before coming to a realization that we must overthrow the top 1 percent to save America? In a single meeting? Using one chart?

Well, even if it were true, it would seem a bit impetuous to me. But let's go with it.

It's established media practice to talk about the GOP as the party that's lurched to the far right, an ideologically intractable group on a disturbing trajectory that leads to 2008-era tax rates and other forms of fanaticism. But I would love for someone to point out the last time a Democratic Party candidate suggested that government should topple an entire class of Americans for the good of everyone else.

Has anyone, including President Barack Obama, ever gone that far? Remember that this isn't just some slip of the tongue; this is Hillary's camp laying out a fantastical story to an accommodating media outlet — going out of its way to make sure the word "topple" would be specifically mentioned in quotation marks. Also, I'd love to know which economists nodded their heads in agreement as Hillary embraced this harebrained Robert Reich zero-sum economic "toppling" theory.

And shouldn't the public know more? Seeing as it's imperative for the political press to find out exactly how a Marco Rubio or Rick Perry — and, no doubt, all prospective Republican presidential candidates — would deal with a theoretical invitation to a gay wedding or what the Republican candidates' thoughts on macroevolutionary theory are, I imagine the press will be scurrying to find out exactly what Hillary meant by her "toppling" comment.

After all, the 1 percent includes anyone making about $350,000 a year — or, as Hillary might put it, booking one speaking engagement. We're talking about business owners, entrepreneurs and folks living off their investments. We're talking about some people who earned their money legally and productively and perhaps even create jobs and make life better for other Americans. Some of those who have "disproportionately" benefited from the economy may even have worked harder. The Democratic Party believes that technocrats have the moral authority to decree who deserves to benefit from growth. So good for Hillary for saying so.

But to understand the Democratic Party's hard left turn on economic policy, think about this: Progressive economist Dean Baker, for instance, is conscripted for the Times piece to help distance Hillary from her husband's economic policies.

"I remember when Bill Clinton was running in 1992 and his line was 'putting people first,'" Baker explains. "He just didn't follow through on that"; instead, he emphasized such things as deficit reduction and trade deals. Yes, indeed, Hillary Clinton's handlers want to impress upon you that she will not be repeating Bill's tenure -- which saw a strong labor market and strong economic growth and in which median wages grew, poverty shrank and entrepreneurship exploded — but that she will run to the left of Obama, who presided over a stagnate economy and the slowest recovery in history. Yes, only the GOP has lost its way.

Now, obviously, Hillary doesn't really mean any of it. "Toppling" was meant to telegraph to activists that she has embraced hard left-populist economic policies, the kinds of ideas that have taken over her party. And because she has no genuine or cogent philosophical belief system and her own life is an example of how disproportionate wealth works, the rhetoric she offers on this front will often sound clumsy, prefabricated and bogus. She's just not going to be as good at this as Obama. So it's not surprising that, according to the Times, we're going to be hearing a lot of familiar small-fry, feel-good items — hiking the minimum wage, closing corporate tax "loopholes" and paid medical leave — that would neither spur middle-class growth nor close the wage gap.

But it may well win her the election. And really, isn't that all that matters?

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


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Kelly Sweda of Santa Barbara Makes International List of ‘100 Photographers to Watch’

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Santa Barbara-based photographer Kelly Sweda of Kelly Sweda Photography has been included on an international list of the "top 100 photographers to watch in 2015."

The list is published annually by Clickin Moms, a community of more than 16,000 professional and aspiring photographers.

According to Clickin Moms, “[Our] mentors, staff and vendor partners scoured the websites of thousands of photographers for fresh talent, powerful artistic voices and creative evolution. From the resulting list of nominees, a selection panel comprised of 29 talented photographers and image curators voted for those whose work they are most excited to follow this year.”

A working mother of three, Sweda grew up with a hobbyist photographer father and studied photojournalism in graduate school from 2000-02 at the University of Montana School of Journalism. Shortly thereafter, however — fueled by what she remembers as a “lack of direction and confidence in my work” — she abandoned the craft all together.

It wasn’t until 2013, simply by beginning to snap iPhone shots of her children and share them with friends and family on social media, that Sweda reignited her passion and endeavored to begin a career in photography. Soon her Instagram account started to amass fans and followers by the thousands, drawn by her unique use of light and candid, un-staged composition. Compelled to hone her skills, she enlisted the training of photography pros and participated in workshops to refine her work and collections.

Today Sweda specializes in on-location, natural light child lifestyle photography and children’s fashion editorial. Her images are natural, carefree and evocative of real life. She serves local communities from Goleta to Ventura; has international clients and relationships in regard to her editorial work; and offers travel sessions. She also photographs families.

“I am humbled and honored to have a place on the ‘Top 100’ list among so many of my idols and talented artists,” Sweda says. “In my sessions, I love witnessing the openness and imagination of children as they explore and engage with the world around them. I strive for strong, emotive moments that may otherwise go unnoticed. To me, those moments are magic, and that’s what I aim to capture.”

Sweda’s work has been featured by the internationally recognized children’s magazines: Babiekins (Los Angeles) and Enfants Terribles (Denmark); blog Mini Style (Los Angeles); various children’s brands including Stride Rite and Children of the Tribe; and more.

Local clients include Dani BOY Kids (Montecito) and Glop & Glam (Santa Barbara), and numerous Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta families.

According to Montecito resident Michelle Ebbin, "Kelly is such a talented photographer and an absolute pleasure to work with. She has a special way of making kids feel comfortable, which comes through in her photographs that truly capture the moment. Her brilliant use of light brings out the best in everything she shoots."

In addition to photography, Sweda manages the communications for the Dream Foundation, a Santa Barbara-based national nonprofit organization that serves the final dreams of adults with life-threatening illness, and is actively involved in the preschool and preschool sports programs at the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.

She can be found at, on Instagram @kksweda and on Facebook at Kelly Sweda Photography.

— Dani Cordaro is a publicist representing Kelly Sweda Photography.


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Anacapa School Offering Barney Berglund Scholarship for Incoming Seventh-Grader

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Anacapa School has announced the Barney Berglund Scholarship, a full scholarship for an incoming seventh-grader to attend Anacapa School for six years in the name of Barney Berglund.

Worth more than $150,000 over the six years spanning the student’s enrollment for grades 7-12, this scholarship was established to honor the positive legacy of the school’s dear friend and long-term member of the Board of Trustees.

The Barney Berglund Scholarship is intended to offer the Anacapa School experience to a student of merit who would not otherwise be able to attend the school due to financial considerations.

The ideal Barney Berglund Scholar will have excellent grades and conduct, solid standardized test scores, good school attendance, and the strong recommendation of his or her teachers. Because of Barney’s special spirit, which was infused with kindness, creativity, intelligence and optimism, Anacapa will also be looking for students with sparks of life reminiscent of Barney’s.

"We are proud of the fact that, since our school’s founding in 1981, Anacapa has had a robust tuition assistance program for students who qualify on the basis of both financial need and merit," Anacapa School Headmaster Gordon Sichi said. "In addition to our regular in-house scholarships, we have also been fortunate from time to time to be able to offer generous 'special' scholarships, such as this one."

Sichi went on to explain that last year, Anacapa School was able to provide a Board Scholarship to an incoming seventh-grader from Cleveland School. She has successfully completed her first semester, and her Anacapa teachers describe her as a dedicated student who is always prepared, respectful and fun to teach. She is passionate about her education and is performing at a high level — developing her critical thinking skills and written expression. She has quickly become a valued member of the Anacapa community, contributing on all levels.

"We hope to identify an equally deserving recipient this year for the Barney Berglund Scholarship," Sichi said.

For information about this scholarship opportunity for an incoming seventh-grader, please contact Susannah Lewis-O'Dea, director of admissions for Anacapa School, at [email protected] or call 805.965.0228.


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Santa Barbara Transient Occupancy Tax Up 10% in March

By | Published on 04/24/2015


The City of Santa Barbara received $1,360,235 in transient occupancy tax (TOT) for the month of March, a 10 percent increase over March 2014.

This growth is particularly notable as March 2015 contained one less weekend night than March 2014.

Continued good weather conditions and higher occupancy rates have contributed to this increase. The average room occupancy rate for hotels citywide increased nearly 10 percentage points compared to last March.

Through the first nine months of the fiscal year, the city has collected more than $13.6 million in TOT revenues, 12.1 percent ahead of last year through the same period. TOT continues to exceed original estimates and is expected to exceed the current budget for TOT of $17,641,400.

Click here for additional information on transient occupancy tax results.

— Julie Nemes is the treasury manager for the City of Santa Barbara.


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Captain’s Log: Dolphins, Mermaids and the Spirit of a Captain

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Captains have special spirits — always have. Every day we venture forth onto Mother Nature’s dance floor we call the sea, never absolutely certain what adventure or harrowing experience lies just over the horizon. It may be a slow comfortable dance or we may be spun, lifted up and slammed down. That’s what the sea means to us and after many years of this, saltwater seems to flow in our veins.

No profession is more deeply steeped in myth and superstition. It all began when the first courageous caveman shoved off from shore on a log. He, or she, was the very first captain. When early captains failed to return to shore, or returned with stories of the seemingly unexplainable, myths and superstitions grew into imaginary monsters and imaginary friends.

Things haven’t really changed much. Those early logs have turned into beautiful well-made vessels, but the call of the sea and our intrepid spirit remain eternally young.

When things go right at sea, myths and superstitions still play a part. I love that about the sea, too. When I am fortunate enough to encounter dolphins, my passengers revel in the power of that interaction with nature’s finest, yet I view it as a sign that I am on the right course for the day. Those dolphins are my friends.

On some days, after a successful fishing trip, we’ll take in sights such as Painted Cave or Hole-in-the-Wall on Santa Cruz Island or great swells breaking over Rodes Reef at Santa Rosa Island. Such side trips are appreciated by most passengers because of the stunning scenery. These spots bring out something different in me, however — the ancient mystical captain. I wonder why the passengers can’t see the mermaid at the entrance to Painted Cave, in the arch at Hole-in the-Wall, surfing the powerful break at Rodes Reef and frolicking with her friends the dolphins and whales. She is clearly there, waving to me and helping to keep me safe.

Here is a way to really enjoy a sea adventure. Spend some time at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. While there, consider that the fascinating displays are about relatively modern history of this area. Think, too, about the early cavemen and women who shoved off to sea on whatever would bob and float. Then board a boat for hire and consider the crew. Your captain is an educated, trained and skilled mariner, handling a wonderful modern vessel with all the latest in navigational wizardry, but the heart and imagination of your captain is still shoving off on a log to find a mermaid.

May it always be so!

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit 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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Santa Maria District Students Recognized for Academic Achievements at ‘UC Success Night’

By | Published on 04/24/2015


The academic achievements of more than 100 Santa Maria Joint Union High School District students was recognized during “UC Success Night” this week.

The young scholars and their families were treated to a dinner at the Veterans Memorial Hall. Speakers at the event stressed the importance of education and how it makes goals a reality. Nearly 300 people including staff attended.

“It was great to see the Santa Maria community celebrate student success," SMJUHSD’s Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) coordinator Juan Gallardo said. “This is a crucial part of creating a college-going culture in the Santa Maria Valley."

Pioneer Valley High School student Yesenia Farfan said it was “great to see” all the SMJUHSD students who have been admitted to the UC system.

“I felt better knowing that other people from Santa Maria are going to UCLA like me," Farfan said.

Santa Maria High School student Jose Covarrubias agreed.

“It felt great to be recognized for our achievement," Covarrubias said.

EAOP is a partnership between SMJUHSD and UCSB to engage college readiness and provide guidance, according to LCFF Task Force coordinator Steve Molina.

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


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Community Action Commission Names Its 2015 Community Action Champions

By | Published on 04/24/2015


The Community Action Commission has announced its 2015 Community Action Champions, selected because of their profound effect on the greater good of the community and their emphasis on helping those who are most vulnerable.

The awardees are County Public Health Director Dr. Takashi Wada, the Rev. Jon-Stephen Hedges of Doctors Without Walls/Santa Barbara Street Medicine and Santa Maria philanthropist Franziska Shepard.

The honorees are selected by a committee that includes CAC board members, elected officials and representatives of community agencies and nonprofit programs. They will accept their awards at the Community Action Commission Champions Dinner on Thursday, May 7 at the Hotel Corque in Solvang.

Proceeds from the event will go directly to the CAC Healthy Senior Lunch program, which provides meals to 1,350 low-income seniors each year at twelve community centers and through home delivery to disabled seniors.

Tickets to the Community Action Champions Dinner are $125 each or $1,000 for a table of 10. Those wishing to purchase a ticket should visit the CAC website by clicking here or call 805.964.8857 x101 or x140.

— Elizabeth Lee is a grant writer for the Community Action Commission.


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Video Shows Santa Barbara Officer Knocking Cell Phone from Man’s Hands

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Police Department has reviewed video and is investigating the March 7 incident, spokesman says

A Santa Barbara police sergeant is accused of knocking a cell phone out of the hands of a man who was recording video in front of the Velvet Jones nightclub on State Street in a March incident that was posted to YouTube earlier this week.

The video was uploaded by a user called “Santa Barbara Man,” and shows multiple Santa Barbara officers who had a suspect handcuffed on the curb in front of the Velvet Jones bar at 423 State St.

Four officers were on the scene at the time, after responding to a March 7 fight call. The call was reported at 10:31 p.m. and reporting parties said at least 10 people were involved in the fight, according to police.

After a few minutes, the video shows Sgt. Eric Beecher arrive and take his phone from his right breast pocket and point it toward the man filming, as if he was filming as well.

The posted video claims “the officer strikes the camera and the man in the head while doing so.”

In the video, Beecher walks over and says, “How’s it going? What’s your name?” before the phone drops to the ground and the camera shows someone picking it up.

“What was that? Are you kidding me? What was that?” the man filming says. Beecher can be heard apologizing, saying it was an accident.

“That was not an accident. You did not walk over here to have an accident and knock the phone out of my hand.”

Beecher walks back to the curb and puts the phone back into his pocket. Facing the man filming, he says, “Have a good night.”

The Police Department became aware of the video when it got calls for comment from the news site Photography is Not a Crime Wednesday night, Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

The site was also the first to identify Beecher.

Police Chief Cam Sanchez and his command staff watched the video Thursday morning and initiated an administrative investigation, Harwood said.

He wasn’t sure if anyone had filed a complaint, as the man posting the video said he planned to do, but Sanchez can start an internal investigation without one, Harwood said.

Officers get constitutional law training at the police academy, he said.

“It’s understood that people are free to record whatever they want if they’re in a location where they can lawfully be and the manner in which they’re doing it is lawful.”

If the internal investigation reveals that Beecher violated a department policy, it could be addressed with more training if it’s a training issue, or discipline, Harwood said.

In general, disciplinary actions can range from a reprimand all the way to possible termination, and it depends on the severity of the case and the history of the employee.

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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Outdoors Q&A: Fishing or Foul Hooking?

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Q: When sport fishing for black bass, California Department of Fish & Wildlife regulations say the fish must willingly take the bait in its mouth. However, it doesn’t say if the hook has to be inside the mouth or not. For example, when fishing a multi-hook bait, can the hook go from the outside to the inside of the mouth? As bass often hit these baits while attempting to eat it, the rule seems a little vague. (Randy R.)

A: No, this would be considered foul hooking and not legal since the fish is essentially snagged rather than voluntarily trying to eat the lure. Angling is defined in the regulations to only include “such manner that the fish voluntarily takes the bait or lure in its mouth.” The outside of its mouth is not in its mouth (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.05).

Hunting Pigs and Turkey Simultaneously?

Q: There is a bit of a debate going on the Nor-Cal Wild Pig Hunters Facebook group regarding the legality of hunting pigs and turkey simultaneously during turkey season. Is it legal to carry No. 6 shot shells (for turkey) and rifled slugs (for pigs) at the same time while out hunting turkey in an area that holds pigs? Many say it is common practice, others say it is illegal to carry slugs (or any shell holding larger than No. 2 shot) while pursuing turkey. Who’s right? (Mark, San Bruno)

A: It would be legal to hunt pigs and turkeys simultaneously because a slug is not shot. A hunter who possesses shot size larger than No. 2 could be cited while turkey hunting, but the regulation limiting shot size that may be possessed when taking turkey does not address slugs.

Methods authorized for taking big game (wild pig) include shotgun slugs, rifle bullets, pistol and revolver bullets, bow and arrow and crossbow (2014-2015 Mammal Hunting Regulation booklet, page 24, section 353).

Methods of take for resident small game (wild turkey) are shotguns 10 gauge or smaller. Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey (CCR Title 14, section 311(b)).

How Can I Prove My Innocence Regarding a Fishing Citation?

Q: If I am cited by a wildlife officer for a short fish or an overlimit of crustaceans but believe I am innocent, how can I prove it? Do I have to go to court at my own expense to prove my innocence? (Dustan B.)

A: If you believe that you are innocent of the violation(s) you were charged with, then yes, you need to appear in court on the date listed on the citation. You will then have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, no contest or not guilty. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you will have your opportunity to explain your side of the story to the judge.

Fishing with Mosquito Fish/Guppies for Bait?

Q: I live in the Central Valley, Fresno to be exact. In inland waters where mosquito fish are resident, is a person legally able to use “mosquito fishes” as bait (similar to using minnows as bait)? I would already presume transferring them from one body of water to another is prohibited, but what if the body of water is already inhabited by mosquito fish? (John T., Fresno)

A: Mosquito fish are not native to California waters but were introduced into California around 1922 to consume and suppress mosquitos and their larvae. Allowable live baits that may be used in the Central District, which includes the Fresno area, can be found in section 4.20 of the 2014-2015 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet (page 17). Legally acquired mosquitofish can be legally used in any body of water for bait except those listed under 4.20(f).

Use and transportation of bait fish is strictly regulated in the Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet (CCR Title 14, section 4.00) to prevent the inadvertent transfer of a baitfish species from one body of water to another. It’s a good idea to double-check this section of the regulations booklet whenever you are transporting baitfish to your favorite fishing spot.

— 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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Gerald Carpenter: Opera Santa Barbara Offers André Previn’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

By | Published on 04/24/2015


For its final production of the 2014-15 season, Opera Santa Barbara will present one of the greatest American operas: André Previn's transformation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.

Beverly O'Regan Thiele plays Blanche DuBois and Gregory Gerbrandt is Stanley Kowalski in Opera Santa Barbara's production of A Steetcar Named Desire. (Opera Santa Barbara photo)

The orchestra will be conducted by Mark Morash with stage direction by Omer Ben Seadia and starring Beverly O'Regan Thiele (Blanche DuBois), Gregory Gerbrandt (Stanley Kowalski), Micaëla Oeste (Stella Kowalski) and Casey Candebat (Harold "Mitch" Mitchell).

The production plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24 and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26 in the Granada Theatre.

I have always disliked Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, for reasons that aren't really relevant here, but once I heard that Previn had turned it into an opera, I slapped my forehead. "Of course!" I exclaimed. "Now I get it! It was always an opera! It just took a composer of Previn's genius to bring it out of the closet, as it were."

The story of Blanche DuBois's fragility, the disintegration of her personality in the face of her brother-in-law's brutality, and her mental collapse has become the archetypal myth of the fate of an oversensitive soul in our crass, coarse, materialistic society. I've never bought into it as a stage play, but as an opera I can thoroughly enjoy its flambouyant melodrama and the heartbreaking beauty of the arias, without having to sort out its various allegorical levels. One can have a good sniffle, sigh "Such a pity!" and go to a cafe for a snack.

I shudder to think what would have happened if virtually anybody, but Previn had been commissioned to set the Williams play to music (OK, so Michael Tilson Thomas could probably done a good job, too). Previn has conducted many operas, and he knows how they go together. He has won four Oscars for his scoring of motion pictures, most notably the film version of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. He knows Broadway, he knows Hollywood, he knows the classical music capitals of the world. I could almost say, he was born to compose this opera.

But the ultimate justification for turning A Streetcar Named Desire into an opera was written almost 50 years ago, by the art historian Kenneth Clark. "What on earth," Clark asks, "has given opera its prestige in western civilisation — a prestige that has outlasted so many different fashions and ways of thought? Why are people prepared to sit silently for three hours listening to a performance of which they do not understand a word and of which they very seldom know the plot? Why do quite small towns all over Germany and Italy still devote a large portion of their budgets to this irrational entertainment? Partly, of course, because it is a display of skill, like a football match. But chiefly, I think, because it is irrational. ‘What is too silly to be said may be sung’ — well, yes; but what is too subtle to be said, or too deeply felt, or too revealing or too mysterious — these sings can also be sung and only be sung … ."

Too silly, too subtle, too deeply felt, too revealing — that about covers every part of Williams' ouevre, wouldn't you say?

Single tickets to A Streetcar Named Desire range from $28 to $188, according to your demographic, and they can be obtained from the Granada box office at 1214 State St., by phone at 805.899.2222 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara Hosting ‘DISRUPTION’ Benefit & Auction

By | Published on 04/24/2015


The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara is hosting its first Spring Benefit & Auction, DISRUPTION, at Belmond El Encanto’s Arbor and Lily Pond in the Riviera neighborhood of Santa Barbara from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

This fresh addition to our community's annual benefit calendar will celebrate the second anniversary of the museum, shedding light on its talented artists, unforgettable exhibitions and impactful education efforts. A commonly used term among the startup set, disruption of the status quo leads to innovation and new ideas. As a museum dedicated to contemporary art, we are an incubator for experimentation and a hub for the burgeoning creative community in our region.

“It is so rewarding to witness the growing support for our institution over the past two years as we continue to bring vital arts programming to a wider segment of our community free of charge," MCASB Executive Director Miki Garcia said. "The Board of Trustees and staff are grateful for the broadening recognition of the importance of the art of our time and arts engagement with diverse audiences. We sincerely believe art changes lives!"

Renowned artists Ry Rocklen (Los Angeles) and Radamés Juni Figueroa (Puerto Rico) lend their artistic talent to DISRUPTION by creating unique and interactive cocktail experiences. Rocklen's free-standing bar will be constructed completely of trophies. Figueroa's colorful punch fountains are made of fresh cut tropical fruits.

In addition to these one-of-a-kind cocktail bar installations, the benefit’s program also includes musical guest BOUQUET and a boutique auction of unique artwork, including works by internationally recognized artists who have recently exhibited at the Museum: Cassandra Jones, Russell Crotty, Vargas-Suarez Universal, Desiree Holman, Seyburn Zorthian, Nick Wilkinson, Erik Reel and others. We are excited to announce that Ry Rocklen's ten-foot custom bar titled Mini-Watermelon Springs will be auctioned off at the event to the highest bidder.

Click here for tickets.

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.


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Cinema in Focus: ‘Woman in Gold’

By | Published on 04/24/2015


3 Stars — Powerful

The true story of the return of art stolen by the Nazis from an Austrian family of Jewish descent is a powerful one. Demonstrating that modern justice no longer allows the spoils of war to be the possession of the mighty, the manipulative or the opportunistic, director Simon Curtis weaves together present and past in Woman in Gold, an artistic film resembling the painting around which this story revolves.

The screenplay is written by Alexi Kaye Campbell and is based on the writings of E. Randol Schoenberg and Maria Altmann.

It is the story of Altmann (Helen Mirren, Tatiana Maslany and Nellie Schilling) and Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who took Austria to court and were victorious over the Austrian government’s attempt to keep the stolen art.

The story begins with Maria, who becomes aware after her sister’s death that she had attempted to get back their family’s paintings in the 1940s after the war. Since she had been unsuccessful, Maria decides to take up the cause and solicits the help of a friend’s son who is not only a lawyer but also a grandson of a family from Vienna who were lifelong friends of her family. This is the journey not only of Maria as she faces the ghosts of her past but also of Randol, who discovers his roots that shape his present.

The ensemble of actors is wonderfully cast and the interactions between present and past characters are artistically presented. Maria’s aunt, whose image is captured by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt (Moritz Bleibtreu), is the beautiful Adele Bloch-Bauer (Antje Traue). Having died just before the Nazi invasion, it is her portrait and her will, as well as that of her husband, Ferdinand (Henry Goodman), that are the center of this legal battle.

Also part of the story is an Austrian journalist, Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Brühl), whose family shame compels him to help Maria and Randol in their battle to reclaim their stolen art. Judge Florence-Marie Cooper (Elizabeth McGovern) plays a pivotal role early in the legal battle when she rules that the case has standing in American courts. Pam Schoenberg (Katie Holmes) gives her husband support as Randol makes personal and career sacrifices to see this battle through, and Barbara Schoenberg (Francis Fisher) is his mother who initially gets him involved in the case.

The progress of human and international relations such that the spoils of war can be taken from the victors or opportunists is a great step forward in the cause of justice. It might even be that such post-war restitutions may cause those considering war as a means of gaining wealth to reconsider such a choice.

We still have a long way to go before restitution is consistently upheld throughout the world, but experiencing the human suffering caused by such unjust plundering as Maria experienced makes the case in a powerful way, which is why this is an important film.


» The evil of genocide and greed are two primary legs of the warring madness of our world. What do you believe would have to change in human beings such that we could actually end war?

» On a cinematic level, the telling of this tale is visually and artistically engaging. What was most impactful on you as the viewer?

» If this were not a true story, it would seem improbable. How did the film affect you and your views of post-war restitution?

— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.


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Bill Macfadyen: Noozhawk Readers Put Up a Bite on Aggressive Dog Story Comments

By | Published on 04/24/2015


NoozWeek’s Top 5 orders an art deco pizza parlor, wrangles over Obamacare, helps a teacher look for a kidney donor and is back on a party bus — but first, a few words about Rob Kuznia

Noozhawk had 88,185 readers this past week, and I want to call out a very special one: Rob Kuznia, who can now replace “former Noozhawk staff writer” with “Pulitzer Prize winner.”

If he wants to, that is.

Rob helped us launch Noozhawk back in 2007 and was our lead reporter for more than two years during that tumultuous start-up phase. He was instrumental in establishing our credibility as a comprehensive, professional news organization — and he did it with a remarkable equanimity and wry sense of humor.

Rob Kuznia, a Noozhawk original.
Rob Kuznia, a Noozhawk original.

He was versatile and relentlessly productive for us, his reporting was perceptive and fair, and his writing was concise and clean. Noozhawk would not be the force it is today without the strong foundation and leadership Rob provided for his colleagues and for those who would follow in his footsteps.

Of course, I was disappointed to lose him to the Daily Breeze in Torrance, but I always knew he was destined for great things. Richly deserved is his Pulitzer, which was earned with fellow journalists Rebecca Kimitch and Frank Suraci for their investigative project exposing corruption in the Centinela Valley Union High School District in Lawndale.

Further, the accolades being heaped on Rob now are especially gratifying to me because, knowing how humble he is, I am certain he did not seek this honor himself.

I am enormously proud of and excited for him. From all of us at Team Noozhawk and Noozhawk Nation, congratulations on a job well done.

Now, for Rob, and for the rest of you, here were your top stories:

1. Aggressive Dog Shot and Killed by Sheriff’s Deputy During Arrest in Montecito

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies were called out to a Montecito home the morning of April 18 to follow up on a report of a neighborhood disturbance. So far, so relatively routine.

While at the residence in the 800 block of Coyote Road west of the Westmont College campus, they discovered that one of the parties involved in the alleged disturbance had four outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants related to alcohol charges. A little less routine, but not unheard of.

According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, when deputies tried to talk to the subject — 46-year-old Serena Elaine Schoepp — she instead ran to a nearby mini-van. Not unheard of, but unusual nonetheless. With a low probability of a successful escape.

“As the deputies approached, she opened the sliding rear door and called her dog out in what appeared to be an attempt to have the dog intercept the deputies,” Hoover said.

Now that’s just plain stupid. And cowardly. But maybe she didn’t have a baby she could toss at them.

At first, the dog — which Hoover described as a 65-pound mixed breed — wisely decided to sit it out. But as Schoepp’s struggle to avoid detention escalated to a full-fledged fight with a deputy, she said, animal instincts took over and the dog charged.

“The now-loose dog became agitated and began attacking the deputy,” Hoover said.

She said a second deputy tried to intervene but the dog kept lunging in spite of the officer’s attempts to kick it back. As the dog continued to attack, the deputy shot and killed it.

Hoover said Schoepp eventually was taken into custody on the outstanding warrants, with an additional charge of interfering with a peace officer in the performance of duty.

The second individual, who was not involved in the altercation with deputies, also was arrested on outstanding warrants.

As soon as our Tom Bolton posted the story, Noozhawk readers were wading in with comments. Even though it’s been almost a week, the controversy is ongoing as they debate over use of force and other aspects of the case.

For me, however, Hoover said it best: “The sheriff’s office is saddened by this incident, and concerned that an owner would negligently put their pet in such a situation.”

Now that’s not something you see every day. (Allen Construction rendering)
Now that’s not something you see every day. (Allen Construction rendering)

2. BizHawk: Rusty’s Pizza Headquarters Going Up on Calle Real in Goleta

As far as I know, Goleta isn’t widely recognized for its art deco architecture. So — to me — the stylish new flagship restaurant and headquarters of Rusty’s Pizza may be atypical for the commercial neighborhood just west of the Calle Real Center.

The former site of Takenoya, a sushi place that closed two years ago at 5934 Calle Real, has been cleared for the Rusty’s take off. The project of Allen Construction is expected to be completed this fall.

​Scott Jacobs, manager of Allen’s commercial division, told our Gina Potthoff that Rusty’s founder Roger Duncan and his family, who live locally, settled on the art deco design as a legacy and a gift to the Goleta community. Duncan opened the first Rusty’s in Isla Vista in 1969, and the regional chain now has eight restaurants.

Once the new Rusty’s is open, a nearby store will be relocated from across the street from the Fairview Center.

News of that move sent our Josh Molina on a wistful trip down memory lane. According to Josh, he was a videogame phenom there during high school.

3. Lou Cannon: Obamacare Again Faces Crucial Legal and Political Tests​

With a U.S. Supreme Court ruling expected in June in a lawsuit challenging a key pillar of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, our Lou Cannon provided readers with an update on Obamacare.

For anyone wondering why the law is so persistently controversial, I give you Exhibit A: Noozhawk’s comments section on Lou’s column.

Exhibit B might be me: As someone who liked my insurance and repeatedly was assured I could keep it, the “new and improved” version has been an absolute pain in my ass and is far less comprehensive than what I had.

And although it was proclaimed far and wide that the insurance premiums for my average family of four would fall by $2,500 a year, that figure headed sharply in the other direction.

Other than that, I’m sure my unicorn will be delivered any day now.

Ashley Somics, ever the educator. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Ashley Somics, ever the educator. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

4. Santa Barbara Teacher Ashley Somics Hopeful a 2nd Kidney Donor Will Emerge to Help Save Her Life

For the second time in her life, Ashley Somics needs a new kidney.

The popular teacher at La Cumbre Junior High School has suffered from kidney disease for most of her 30 years. When she was 14 and fighting an uphill battle against Lupus and kidney failure, her mom, Tori Somics, gave her one of her organs.

It worked for more than a decade, but Somics contracted H1N1 swine flu and pneumonia in 2011, triggering a new battle.

The wait could be eight to 10 years for a cadaver organ for Somics’ O blood type so she recently turned to social media in an attempt to locate a new kidney donation.

A Go Fund Me campaign also has been launched to help raise $50,000 for medical bills, which include the cost of dialysis.

Somics is upbeat about her plight, however.

“I want to have a family,” she told our Josh Molina. “I want to do something with education. I still have so much I want to do.”

She also says she hopes people who hear about her story will educate themselves about organ donation.

Click here to make an online donation.

5. Santa Barbara Party Bus Driver Charged in 2nd Incident

A driver for Santa Barbara-based D&D Limo Bus seems to be stuck in a loop these past few months. According to authorities, it’s because he’s making nothing but wrong turns.

Alonzo Houston, 49, of Santa Barbara, was charged last week with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor, and violating the California Vehicle Code section pertaining to having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle’s passenger area.

The District Attorney’s Office filed the charges after investigating a February incident in which police boarded Houston’s bus and allegedly found underage foreign exchange students with alcohol.

For Houston, it was the second time to face such charges. There’s an earlier case against him stemming from a November 2014 incident with allegedly similar circumstances — involving 62 underage students — on the Santa Barbara High School campus.

D&D Limo Bus could not be reached for comment on the latest charges.

Authorities are not sitting idly by. On April 20, the Santa Barbara Police Department and the California Public Utilities Commission announced plans to create a joint training program for local charter bus companies that aims to prevent underage drinking on the vehicles.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: The Surprisingly Complex Design of the Ziploc Bag.

                                                                 •        •        •

This was me this week. In the car.

HT to Natalie Tran for acting out my frustration with pokey pedestrians. I realize this will all be moot when Santa Barbara eventually bans motor vehicles from downtown.

(communitychannel video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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


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Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Reveals 2012 Slaying of Goleta Man

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Investigators believe Peter D’Orazio was killed locally before his body was taken to North Las Vegas

Details about the slaying of a Goleta man whose body was found in North Las Vegas more than two years ago were made public for the first time Friday by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators say they believe Peter D’Orazio, 55, was murdered in Santa Barbara County before his body was transported in a large storage bin to North Las Vegas, where it was discovered by a passerby, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

D'Orazio was last seen alive about 4:30 p.m. on  Sept. 6, 2012, when he clocked out for the day from his job as an emissions specialist at the ExxonMobil plan west of Goleta, Hoover said.

He was reported missing a week later, and on Sept. 14, 2012, the Clark County Coroner's Office in Nevada notified local authorities that a body found three days earlier in their area was D'Orazio, Hoover said.

The Sheriff's Department offered no specific reason why it waited to long to disclose the homicide.

"Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the case and the sensitive nature of the investigation, details have not been released until now," Hoover said.

An autopsy was performed on D'Orazio, Hoover said, but the cause of death was not being released due to the ongoing investigation.

"Sheriff’s detectives assisted North Las Vegas Police detectives on the case until evidence revealed that the crime likely occurred in Santa Barbara County," Hoover said. "At that point, sheriff’s detectives took over the case."

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the sheriff’s anonymous tip-line at 805.681.4171.

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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Santa Barbara Police Release Photo of Suspect in Commercial Burglaries

By | Published on 04/24/2015


Catch a Thief
Santa Barbara police are looking for this man, wanted in connection with commercial burglaries.

The subject depicted in the attached surveillance photograph is the suspect in three commercial burglaries that have occurred in recent weeks in Santa Barbara.

If you recognize this person, please contact Santa Barbara Police Department Detective John Ingram at 805.897.2327 or [email protected], or call anonymously to 805.897.2386.

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


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Warren Butler Opens Two More Event Centers in Santa Barbara, Old Town Goleta

By | Published on 04/23/2015


The centers take over the former Cafe del Sol space on Los Patos Way and the former Sizzler restaurant on Hollister Avenue

The building that formerly housed Cafe del Sol is now home to the Montecito Event Center and open for business, according to the center's owner.

Warren Butler, owner of the Butler Event Center at 3488 State St., said his team has been working since early April to update the interiors of the old restaurant to accommodate group events.

The 6,000-square-foot State Street location has been open since 2011 and offers space for events such as luncheons, rehearsal dinners and corporate events.

Butler's expansion to the Cafe del Sol building at 30 Los Patos Way will allow that location to host 150 to 200 people. It sits next to Stella Mare's and overlooks the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge.

"We've lightened and brightened it, putting in new lighting," Warren said of the interior building changes. "People love the old Cafe del Sol, so we won't change it up too much."

The location is open currently, and Warren said he is looking for catering partners to work in the building's kitchen or bring food from off-site.

"It's ready to rock and roll," he said.

Butler has also claimed a location in Old Town Goleta, and is working to open a large event center in the building that formerly housed the Sizzler Restaurant at 5555 Hollister Ave.

That location will be more similar in size to the State Street location, able to host 300 to 400 people, but with options for smaller groups, including smaller rooms and a patio.

"It will always be flexible," Butler said, adding that a similar food arrangement will be held in this location, with a kitchen available for catering partners or for groups to use on their own.

The first party at that location is scheduled for May 9, he 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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Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy’s Team 1717 On a Roll at FIRST Robotics World Championship

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Local team is ranked 16th in its large division after day one of the three-day event

Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy’s Team 1717 hit it big in St. Louis, Mo., for the FIRST Robotics World Championship — literally.

“This place is huge,” team member Yesenia Terriquez said of the tournament site at the Edward Jones Dome, usually the home of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. “I was surprised at the vastness of the building and the competition.”

Through day one of the three-day event, Team 1717 is ranked 16th in its division, named after famed scientist George Washington Carver. DPEA is facing 75 other teams, but they are just one of eight divisions in the sprawling arena. Four full fields of Recycle Rush robot action take place at once, creating a cacophony that thrills fans who are packing the stands.

Some of those fans came from a long distance to cheer.

“It’s been great coming in contact with teams from all over,” DPEA’s Emily Robinson said.

DPEA joined teams from Ontario, Canada and Israel in one of its Thursday matches. Other schools sent teams from Russia, England and China, along with nearly every state.

The FIRST competition continues with more qualification matches on Friday. The winning teams from each of the eight fields will meet Saturday afternoon in a playoff to determine the world champion.

DPEA arrived with staff, mentors and visiting parents on Wednesday and they’re enjoying not only the competition, but the chance to visit a new city and play “on the road.” It’s also a continuation of the learning process they’ve been using since joining the DPEA in ninth grade.

“We’re working to learn how to create things, not just to get a grade,” student Michael Tam said. “The whole academy emphasizes the value of taking the time to complete something by going through a process. That’s a much better way to learn.”

The process of winning the world championship continues on Friday. Local fans can follow all the action by clicking here, which includes live video feeds of the matches, ranking updates and details about all the teams.

— Jim Buckley is a communications mentor for the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. He was assisted by communications business team student Yesenia Terriquez as the on-site reporter and social media mentor Annette Shimada.


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Fugitive Child-Molestation Defendant Seeks to Remove Judge from Case

By | Published on 04/23/2015


The child-molestation defendant who fled on the eve of his Santa Maria trial before accepting a plea deal he later sought to withdraw now wants to remove the judge from his case.

Clive Badi Decomarmond
Clive Badi Decomarmond

Instead of being sentenced as scheduled Thursday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Clive Badi Decomarmond, 42, of Santa Maria, filed a motion to recuse Judge John McGregor.

The judge has rescheduled sentencing for May 21, Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens said Thursday.

This is the latest delay in the case for the man arrested in 2013 for allegedly molesting multiple victims. 

The new motion comes weeks after McGregor denied the defendant’s previous motion to withdraw his plea agreement accepted in December before his second scheduled trial was set to begin. 

Just before his first scheduled trial last summer, Decomarmond, who was out on bail, fled the state and later was captured in Texas. 

In seeking to toss his plea, Decomarmond claimed his prior attorney pressured him to accept the plea agreement in December. A month later, he fired her and now is represented by the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office.

He also claimed he had a headache the day he entered into the agreement, contending his ailment stemmed from an injury received in Texas, where he was recaptured. But in early April the judge rejected the motion, saying there was no undue pressure and that the process of accepting the plea “was not a short one.”

After rejecting the motion, the judge set sentencing with an emphatic statement it would occur on that date. 

The new motion to recuse the judge cites the fact that McGregor, as a private attorney, had represented Decomarmond’s ex-wife in divorce proceedings, according to KEYT. An independent panel will review the situation.

The defendant faces a sentence of 42 years and four months in state prison, less than the 100 years to life possible if a jury had found him guilty of the charges.

Decomarmond originally was taken into custody in May 2013 in Grover Beach after a two-week investigation, the Santa Maria police said in a news release. 

He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. The investigation and reports of his arrest led to the discovery of other incidents. 

In all, the allegations involved five victims, authorities said previously.

Since his recapture, he has remained in custody.

A large contingent attends each hearing, with some reportedly connected to victims and others belonging to the Atascadero chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse.

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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Heavy Rainfall Causes Flooding on Highway 166

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Heavy downpours in the northeast corner of Santa Barbara County were causing flooding on Highway 166 Thursday evening, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Shortly before 6 p.m., the CHP received numerous reports of flooding near Highway 33 and the Kern County line.

Sheriff's deputies on scene reported portions of the roadway washing away, the CHP said, and water on both sides of the highway.

By 6:30 p.m., the water was reported to be receding, but there was mud and debris on the roadway.

The highway remained open, but both Caltrans and the CHP were dispatched to deal with the situation.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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


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Santa Barbara Man to Compete in Burger Contest at Stagecoach Music Festival

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Scott Wallace looks to win, advance to finals for $100,000 grand prize

Santa Barbara real estate developer Scott Wallace will build something a little different this weekend — a juicy burger made out of ground veal and pork, splashed with a special mesquite marinade.

Wallace, president and CEO of Montecito Custom Homes, is competing in the Budweiser Bud and Burgers Championship event at the Stagecoach Music Festival in Indio this weekend.

Stagecoach, billed as “California’s Country Music Festival," follows on the heels of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the Indio desert.

The event features a Honky Tonk Dance Hall and musicians such as Tim McGraw and The Band Perry.

It’s also one of 10 events across the country where two chef semifinalists will compete, and the winners will advance to St. Louis in July for a chance at the $100,000 grand prize.

The contest is designed to find the best amateur burger chefs in America.

Wallace, whose favorite television cooking show is The Iron Chef, said he has loved cooking his whole life, and enjoys taking risks with his recipes.

Scott Wallace of Santa Barbara is hoping his Cuban burger will help take him on his way to a $100,000 prize when he competes in a cookoff this weekend at the Stagecoach Music Festival in the Coachella Valley. (Facebook photo)

“My burger hosts many different flavors,” Wallace said. “I tried to stay traditional with the basic Cuban sandwich, but stepped it up a notch by introducing applewood smoked ham and pepperjack cheese.”

Wallace said his mother and grandmother were both great cooks who inspired him to dabble in cooking.

“It is so much fun taking random ingredients and creating a masterpiece,” Wallace said. “I will be honest, though, some of my best pieces of work started out as more of a Picasso than a Rembrandt.”

Wallace has lived in Santa Barbara for the past four years. He hopes to meet country singer Blake Shelton, who will perform at the festival, but ultimately he wants a victory.

“I have been passionate about cooking my whole life and finally took this one chance to share my talent,” Wallace said.

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


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UCSB Honors Singer Jack Johnson as Distinguished Alum for Edible Campus Project

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Jack and Kim Johnson's nonprofit foundation has long supported the effort to start farming food on the Santa Barbara campus

Two orange trees will be planted in UC Santa Barbara’s Storke Plaza this week, the first step in a larger campus sustainability conversation that involves singer Jack Johnson.

The presence of the Washington navel orange trees marks a launch of the Edible Campus Project, which aims to repurpose underutilized campus space to produce food for students and to engage them as growers and producers.

The ultimate goal is to create a full-scale student farm, the logistics of which are being explored by project partners, including the university, students and the famous UCSB alum.

Not so coincidentally, UCSB plans to honor Johnson and his wife, Kim, this week as well during a private 2015 UCSB Distinguished Alumni Awards event Friday night.

The Johnsons have used musical success to encourage environmentally friendly practices through their nonprofits — enough reason to earn an award from the UCSB Alumni Association for embodying this year’s All Gaucho Reunion theme.

The singer’s namesake nonprofit, the Johnson Ohana Foundation, has been involved in the Edible Campus pilot project from the beginning, designing and mentoring members of the Associated Students Department of Public Worms, AS Food Bank and UCSB Sustainability Program.

“They have been very supportive of our students and have given advice that empowered our students to achieve their vision,” said Katie Maynard, sustainability coordinator and staff to the AS Sustainability Work Group. “We are so thankful for their encouragement and advice!”

Edible Campus aims to address food insecurity, a cause UCSB students have focused in on the past three years to find a way to grow food on campus.

Part of the motivation: in 2014, 14.6 percent of UCSB students reported often skipping meals due to a lack of money to purchase a meal.

Because the AS Food Bank has also grown its membership exponentially, Maynard said, students were even more inspired to increase the amount of fresh produce available to students.

“We are in the process of fundraising to support the expansion of this program to add several more trees and develop other edible campus efforts,” she said. “Five students are employed as paid staff through the Associated Students Department of Public Worms and will be the primary caretakers of the trees. We also hope to recruit volunteers to help during harvest and with educational workshops that will be developed over the coming year.”

The groups don’t have a timetable for when a student-run farm might be established, since Maynard said the details are still being sorted out.

“We believe a student farm provides a space for students not just to produce local, fresh, healthy food for their community," she said, "but also will create a space dedicated to greatly enhancing students’ knowledge about growing food so that they gain the skills to grow food for themselves and their community.”

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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BizHawk: GroupGets Launches Crowd-Buying Platform for Existing Products

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Santa Barbara Art Foundry abruptly closes, OsteoStrong opens in Santa Barbara and Nurse Next Door senior care now available in Goleta

[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 [email protected].]

There’s a new crowd-sourcing tool in town, and it caters exclusively to individuals or manufacturers who want to buy existing products.

Unlike crowd-funding platforms Indiegogo or Kickstarter, Santa Barbara-based GroupGets allows crowd-purchasing options for people who want to buy items that typically are only sold in large quantities. Think design or electrical parts for projects.

GroupGets CEO Ron Justin launched the online tool with co-founder and fellow electrical and computer engineering friend Kurt Kiefer last fall, helping to facilitate more than 800 individual purchases valued at more than $250,000 since.

Local and overseas companies have already embraced GroupGets, the first of which was Goleta-based FLIR Systems Inc.

“I know how crowd-funding worked, and I know people were really comfortable with it,” Justin told Noozhawk. “It is unique in that GroupGets can only be used for products that already exist, and it optionally allows for private invite-only campaigns. We provide the security. We made it accessible to everybody in the world.”

GroupGets and its team of engineering-minded employees hope to expand the platform to purchase products outside the industry, staying true to its slogan of “crowd purchase anything in any quantity.”

Justin said the company is searching for a physical Santa Barbara space to call home.

Santa Barbara Art Foundry Closes

The Funk Zone’s Santa Barbara Art Foundry has abruptly closed, and its owners are reportedly going through bankruptcy court.

The art foundry at 120 Santa Barbara St., which last month changed its name to Warehouse 120 as an event venue, has shuttered for good after less than two years in business.

A local who booked the now-closed venue for a summer wedding was told the owner had let town with his deposits. He wished to remain anonymous pending future litigation.

Building owners reportedly told those who had already reserved the venue that another event space called Aperture Collective would soon move into its place.

The property managers would not share future building plans with Noozhawk, and requests for comment from foundry owners went unanswered.

Fox Wine Co., the family-owned winery inside the same art display space, continues to operate.

OsteoStrong Opens

OsteoStrong, part of a national and soon to be international franchise, has opened in Santa Barbara to serve people concerned about having osteoporosis and those who want stronger bones, healthier joints and better balance and agility.

Founder and CEO Kyle Zagrodsky developed the franchise in response to a national report that showed fall-related injuries for people over the age of 65 caused one-third of all fatalities.

OsteoStrong is located at 2277 Las Positas Rd. in Santa Barbara in the Las Positas Center.

Nurse Next Door Opens in Goleta

A new Nurse Next Door home care services location in Goleta hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week at 5266 Hollister Ave.

Nurse Next Door serves seniors in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and has more than 90 locations across North America.

Nurse Next Door Home Care is billed as an affordable and caring solution for loved ones, offering a full spectrum of home care for seniors ranging from three-hours-per-week of friendly companionship and light housekeeping to around-the-clock care.

Rabobank Hires New Vice President

Rabobank has named Ricardo Calderon as vice president and wealth advisor for its Wealth Management Division. In his new role, Calderon will work with investors to identify and pursue financial goals, providing personalized wealth management solutions.

Calderon, who has 15 years of experience in financial and investment management, joins Todd McGinley and Paul Tozzi in covering Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Prior to joining Rabobank, he served as managing director and wealth advisor for First Republic Investment Management in Santa Barbara and held related positions at Montecito Bank & Trust and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.

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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Gerald Carpenter: English Tenor to Sing Schubert’s Crowning Achievement at Lobero

By | Published on 04/23/2015


The Community Arts-Music Association (CAMA) will present the notable young tenor Ian Bostridge with pianist Wenwen Du in recital at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Lobero Theatre, as a part of their Masterseries.

Bostridge's program will consist of a complete performance of Franz Schubert's epic song cycle, Winterreise (Winter Journey), 1827, a setting of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827).

Bostridge has been making quite a name for himself with performances of this work. In addition to his ongoing tour with the cycle, he has recorded it with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, and made a video recording of the complete Winterreise with pianist Julius Drake, which you my watch in its entirety on YouTube. The reviews, uniformly laudatory, have sometimes suggested that the tenor's interpretation bordered on the eccentric or extravagant.

"It was a Winterreise stretched to the breaking point of inherited musical tradition," said one reviewer, breathlessly.

Now there's a big stick to beat up a performer — "inherited musical tradition" — as if as if there were an unbroken apostolic succession for interpretation, bearing Schubert's blessing, from the first performance to the latest. In fact, Schubert sang and played the first performance of Winterreise for a small gathering of his friends, who found them baffling and somewhat off-putting (he was, in any case, not a professional singer). The date, performers and venue of the first public rendering of the whole work is not definitely known, but it was certainly long — perhaps decades — after Schubert's death. The cycle was not recorded until 1928. There is, in truth, no "inherited musical tradition" for the performance of this work, there are just the music, with the composer's markings, and the words.

Winterreise is a long work, and its 24 songs differ from each other only in very subtle, nuanced ways. The gloom of Müller's words is faithfully maintained in Schubert's settings. Bostridge has done his utmost to ensure that his audiences are still awake and listening at the end of his performance, without doing violence to the score, as published. The swelling chorus of approval for his Winterreise attests to the success of his efforts. Those of us, in other words, who are not writing our doctoral dissertations on Schubert's songs will find nothing eccentric about Bostridge's singing: We will find it breathtakingly beautiful.

Single tickets to this Winterreise are $39 and $49. They can be purchased at the Lobero box office (33 E. Canon Perdido), by phone at 805.963.0761 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour Planned for Mother’s Day Weekend

By | Published on 04/23/2015


The annual Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour presented by Village Properties takes place for the ninth consecutive year this Mother’s Day weekend, May 9-10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This event is free and open to the community with 33 artist studios open for touring throughout Carpinteria and Summerland.

The Artists Studio Tour is a unique opportunity to see and buy work of established artists as well as emerging talent who live in the Summerland and Carpinteria Valley. Art in a huge variety of media and styles is displayed and sold by artists directly in their homes and studios, and many artists have live demos and works in progress, to see the art being created and get a feel for the process from concept to completion.

A web version map and Art Studio Directory will be available both online by clicking here and from the Carpinteria Arts Center and will guide people through some of the diverse fine artists studios of Carpinteria and Summerland.

Some of this year’s highlights include new works by renowned local artist Ginny Speirs, who aspired to be a professional artist from the early age of 7. She is well known for her paintings of local flora and fauna and will be showcasing her new series of paintings on Saturday and Sunday at Hummingbird, a local boutique on Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria.

Painter Whitney Abbott’s rustic and eclectic studio is another one not to miss. This local artist is best known for her beautiful interior and landscape oil paintings. Abbott comes from a family of artists. Her mother is well-known oil painter Meredith Abbott and her brother Robert Abbott.

For those looking for international flare Miri Mara ceramic studio is a definite must-see. Roman born, Miri Mara moved to the United States in 2000. The artist only builds ceramics by hand and develops a limited amount of each design. His studio was recently featured in Elle Décor with large steel windows and display of white washed salvaged timber.

For a full list of participating artists please, visit the Carpinteria Arts Center website by clicking here or on Facebook by clicking here. A small percentage of art sales will benefit CVAC's missions to promote, support our local artists in their studios and galleries, Bellas Artes program, Art by the Sea kids camp, Art in Public Places, Flicks film club and more. In the belief that the arts are vital to a healthy community, the Carpinteria Arts Center is committed to providing challenging exhibitions, innovative learning opportunities, and cultural enrichment for people of all ages, interests, and abilities.

The Carpinteria Valley Arts Council would also like to thank Village Properties that generously donated at the Presenting Sponsorship level for this year's ninth annual Artist Studio Tour. Visit its website by clicking here.

Additional Tour Events

In conjunction with the weekend’s activities there will also be a Studio Tour Art Show that opens at the Carpinteria Arts Center on Thursday, April 23 and run through May 12.

Most of the participating studios will exhibit one or two pieces in this show. The public is invited to an artist meet and greet reception on May 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Carpinteria Arts Center, 855 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria.

For more information, click here or contact Gary and Geri Campopiano at [email protected] or 805.684.2164.

— Leigh-Anne Anderson represents the Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour.


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David Sirota: Cities and States Paying Massive Secret Fees to Wall Street

By | Published on 04/23/2015


California's report said $440 million. New Jersey's said $600 million. In Pennsylvania, the tally is $700 million. Those Wall Street fees paid by public workers' pension systems have kicked off an intensifying debate over whether such expenses are necessary. Now, a report from an industry-friendly source says those huge levies represent only a fraction of the true amounts being raked in by Wall Street firms from state and local governments.

"Less than one-half of the very substantial [private equity] costs incurred by U.S. pension funds are currently being disclosed," says the report from CEM, whose website says the financial analysis firm "serve(s) over 350 blue-chip corporate and government clients worldwide."

Currently, about 9 percent — or $270 billion — of America's $3 trillion public pension fund assets are invested in private equity firms. With the financial industry's standard 2 percent management fee, that quarter-trillion dollars generates roughly $5.4 billion in annual management fees for the private equity industry — and that's not including additional "performance" fees paid on investment returns. If CEM's calculations are applied uniformly, it could mean taxpayers and retirees may actually be paying double — more than $10 billion a year.

Public officials are overseeing this massive payout to Wall Street at the very moment many of those same officials are demanding big cuts to retirees' promised pension benefits.

"With billions of public worker and taxpayer dollars put at risk in the highest-cost, most opaque investment schemes ever devised by Wall Street for a decade now, investigations that hold Wall Street profiteers accountable are long, long overdue," former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Ted Siedle said.

Private equity firms have argued that their fees are worth the expense, because they supposedly deliver returns for investors that beat low-fee index funds, which track the broader stock market. But those private equity returns are typically self-reported by the firms over the life of those longer-term investments, meaning there are few ways to verify whether the returns are real.

Indeed, a recent study from George Washington University argued that private equity firms are using their self-reporting authority to mislead investors into believing their returns are smoother and more consistent than they actually are.

In a 2014 speech, the SEC's top examiner, Andrew Bowden, sounded the alarm about undisclosed fees in the private equity industry, saying the agency had discovered "violations of law or material weaknesses in controls over 50 percent of the time" at firms it had evaluated.

To date, however, the SEC has taken few actions to crack down on the practices, but some states are starting to step up their oversight.

In New Jersey, for instance, pension trustees announced a formal investigation of Gov. Chris Christie's administration after evidence surfaced suggesting that the Republican administration has not been disclosing all state pension fees paid to financial firms.

In Rhode Island, the new state treasurer, Seth Magaziner, a Democrat, recently published a review of all the fees that state's beleaguered pension fund has paid. The analysis revealed that the former financial firm of Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo is charging the state's pension fund the highest fee rate of any firm in its asset class.

In Pennsylvania, the new Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf used his first budget address to call for the state "to stop excessive fees to Wall Street managers."

These moves are shining a spotlight on one of the most lucrative yet little-noticed Wall Street schemes. With so much money at issue — and with pensioners retirement income on the line — that scrutiny is long overdue.

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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Review: SBCC Theatre Group Dials Up Humor, Intrigue with ‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Sara Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone, like her modern retelling of Eurydice — artfully directed by Jeff Mills at UCSB in 2013 — moves from normal everyday happenings to the fantastical, interspersing humor with poignancy in its themes of death and loss. Sharp and witty, it provides a compelling view of someone becoming intimately involved with the family and friends of a person she’s never met — who has, in fact, died — by answering his phone.

Katie Laris’ sure direction and a stellar ensemble cast bring this intriguing and highly entertaining story to life.

Dead Man's Cell Phone by The Theatre Group at SBCC plays through May 2 at SBCC’s Jurkowitz Theatre. Click here for more information.

Jenna Scanlon is superb as Jean, a well-meaning woman who stumbles into a whole other reality when she answers a stranger’s phone in a café one day. A seasoned actor excelling at both comedy and drama, here Scanlon’s humor is subtle, as she mainly plays “straight man” to the bizarre goings-on around her.

Brian Harwell plays Gordon, the titular dead man. When we do finally get a chance to “meet” him in the second act, he reveals himself to be a fascinating character, though less than noble. Harwell is excellent here, bringing to mind a different Gordon, once played by Michael Douglas.

Kathy Marden is satisfyingly eccentric as Gordon’s mother, prone to grand proclamations and sweeping gestures. While generally stern, she inexplicably takes a liking to Jean, telling her, “You’re very comforting, like a small casserole. Has anyone ever told you that?” Marden’s comic timing is sharp and her delivery is delightful.

As her oft-forgotten other son, Justin Stark brings a refreshing realness to the role. He is eccentric, too, but unlike his mother, his quirks are small and quiet — he works in a stationery store and eschews technology. He is used to being ignored, but when Jean enters their world, he senses a kindred spirit and a sweet romance blossoms.

Shannon Saleh is fantastic as the dead man’s widow. Coiffed and dressed to the nines at dinner in the first act, she is proper, with a biting wit. But later when she meets Jean at a bar — and has had a hefty head start on cocktails — she is much more, shall we say, loose. Saleh is hilarious here, with a genius ability to play comically drunk.

New to the Santa Barbara stage is Leona Paraminski. Sultry, lithe and mysterious, she is at once luminous and menacing as Carlotta, Gordon’s mistress with a hidden agenda. There is also an impressive climactic comic tussle between her and Jean, choreographed by Mills.

Effective and evocative set design by Francois-Pierre Couture features a spare set with gauzy white floor-to-ceiling curtains. Well-choreographed set changes by stage crew all in white add to the other-worldly atmosphere.

Don’t miss this funny, touching, thought-provoking production. And be sure to turn off your cell phone!

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


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Police Pursuit Ends in Crash, Arrest in Orcutt

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Driver in stolen vehicle leads law enforcement officers in chase from Pismo Beach before crashing in apartment complex parking lot

A police pursuit on Thursday that began in Pismo Beach ended in Orcutt, where a man crashed a stolen vehicle in a parking lot and ran through a second-story apartment before being taken into custody.

The incident began when Pismo Beach Police Department officers attempted to stop a vehicle with a mechanical violation, but the driver failed to yield, California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Kenny said.

CHP officers from the San Luis Obispo office joined the high-speed pursuit as the black SUV drove south on Highway 101 and exited in Nipomo, going through the town before traveling southbound on Thompson Road where it dead-ends at Highway 166 near the onramp to Highway 101.

Santa Maria area CHP officers took over the pursuit as it continued southbound on Highway 101, where the driver exited at Clark Avenue, crossed over the freeway and entered northbound Highway 101.

The driver, Stephan Alan Brewer, 29, of Fresno, again left the freeway at Santa Maria Way and turned south onto Bradley Road before going east on Foster Road.

“H-70, our CHP helicopter, was above the pursuit at all times, and was able to give us direction on where he was going,” Kenny said.

While on Foster, the driver turned left onto Cedarhurst Drive and went into a parking lot where he struck a classic car — a 1964 Chevrolet Malibu — and crashed when driving over a curb, coming to rest against a telephone pole near a brick wall.

“He exited the vehicle and ran into the apartment complex, up the stairs and entered an occupied residence,” Kenny said. “Our officers followed him up the stairs, and he then went through the residence, jumped out the second-story window and landed on the ground below, where he was taken into custody.”

The man kicked in the door, knocking it off the hinges, as he entered the apartment and pushed out the screen as he fled, the CHP said.

A CHP officer used a stun gun to take Brewer into custody, the CHP said Thursday evening.

CHP officers later determined the man was driving a stolen Ford Expedition out of Santa Maria. 

"I'm assuming that he thought the officer was wise to that instead of just the mechanical violation," Kenny said.

As the pursuit traveled through the quiet neighborhood, CHP officers used loud speakers to instruct residents of nearby condos and apartments to remain in their homes. 

The driver was taken by ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center for assessment, and was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of felony reckless evading, vehicle theft, probation violation and entering a dwelling.

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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Steven Stricklen Shares His SBCC Story in Support of Campaign for Student Success

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Growing up as one of seven children, Steven Stricklen always had encouragement from his family. His parents supported him regardless if he wanted to go to college or enter the workforce right out of high school, but Stricklen always knew he would end up in college.

He became acquainted with Santa Barbara City College through a friend, and recognized right away the school would provide the opportunity and resources necessary to meet his academic needs.

An avid reader, Stricklen can be found in the SBCC Luria Library most days, and is making the most out of his time at SBCC through his participation in the school’s Honors Program.

For Stricklen, his education is a good investment because he is developing the skills and knowledge he will need to pursue a career in economics and/or finance. He is hoping to work on monetary policy and is interested in the economy.

“As a young child, I loved to read and was interested in learning new things,” Stricklen said. “I always knew I would go to college, but I did not want to attend a four-year university right out of high school. I wanted to save money by going to a community college and then transferring. I knew Santa Barbara City College was the right college for me.”

Stricklen shares his SBCC story in this short video available by clicking here.

Just like Stricklen , there are many SBCC students pursuing their passions — everything from nursing to culinary arts to mathematics.

During the month of April, the SBCC Foundation is running its annual Campaign for Student Success, and is seeking the broadest possible participation from the community. Funds raised during this time enrich the academic experience.

When you support the campaign, you invest in students — the future of Santa Barbara. Make a donation today by clicking here.

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


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Capps to Attend Groundbreaking for Golden Inn & Village Senior Housing Project

By | Published on 04/23/2015


On Friday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will participate in the groundbreaking of the Golden Inn & Village, a senior housing project being built in Santa Ynez through the Rona Barrett Foundation in partnership with the Housing Authority for the County of Santa Barbara.

The Golden Inn & Village is a mixed-use development at the corner of Highway 246 and Refugio Road in Santa Ynez, in a neighborhood setting that will provide roughly 150 affordable units for low-income seniors to reside in a comfortable, supportive environment that meets their needs as they age.

“The Golden Inn & Village will serve some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Capps said. “This new housing development will be a vital asset to our community, and I look forward to celebrating the groundbreaking.”

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


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UCSB Researchers Cradle Silver Nanoclusters Inside Synthetic DNA to Create Tunable Fluorescent Array

By | Published on 04/23/2015


The silver used by Beth Gwinn’s research group at UC Santa Barbara has value far beyond its worth as a commodity, even though it’s used in very small amounts.

The group works with the precious metal to create nanoscale silver clusters with unique fluorescent properties. These properties are important for a variety of sensing applications including biomedical imaging.

The team’s latest research is published in a featured article in this month’s issue of ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society. The scientists positioned silver clusters at programmed sites on a nanoscale breadboard, a construction base for prototyping of photonics and electronics.

“Our ‘breadboard’ is a DNA nanotube with spaces programmed 7 nanometers apart,” said lead author Stacy Copp, a graduate student in UCSB’s Department of Physics.

“Due to the strong interactions between DNA and metal atoms, it’s quite challenging to design DNA breadboards that keep their desired structure when these new interactions are introduced,” said Gwinn, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “Stacy’s work has shown that not only can the breadboard keep its shape when silver clusters are present, it can also position arrays of many hundreds of clusters containing identical numbers of silver atoms — a remarkable degree of control that is promising for realizing new types of nanoscale photonics.”

The results of this novel form of DNA nanotechnology address the difficulty of achieving uniform particle sizes and shapes. “In order to make photonic arrays using a self-assembly process, you have to be able to program the positions of the clusters you are putting on the array,” Copp explained. “This paper is the first demonstration of this for silver clusters.”

The colors of the clusters are largely determined by the DNA sequence that wraps around them and controls their size. To create a positionable silver cluster with DNA-programmed color, the researchers engineered a piece of DNA with two parts: one that wraps around the cluster and the other that attaches to the DNA nanotube. “Sticking out of the nanotube are short DNA strands that act as docking stations for the silver clusters’ host strands,” Copp explained.

The research group’s team of graduate and undergraduate researchers is able to tune the silver clusters to fluoresce in a wide range of colors, from blue-green all the way to the infrared — an important achievement because tissues have windows of high transparency in the infrared. According to Copp, biologists are always looking for better dye molecules or other infrared-emitting objects to use for imaging through a tissue.

“People are already using similar silver cluster technologies to sense mercury ions, small pieces of DNA that are important for human diseases, and a number of other biochemical molecules,” Copp said. “But there’s a lot more you can learn by putting the silver clusters on a breadboard instead of doing experiments in a test tube. You get more information if you can see an array of different molecules all at the same time.”

The modular design presented in this research means that its step-by-step process can be easily generalized to silver clusters of different sizes and to many types of DNA scaffolds. The paper walks readers through the process of creating the DNA that stabilizes silver clusters. This newly outlined protocol offers investigators a new degree of control and flexibility in the rapidly expanding field of nanophotonics.

The overarching theme of Copp’s research is to understand how DNA controls the size and shape of the silver clusters themselves and then figure out how to use the fact that these silver clusters are stabilized by DNA in order to build nanoscale arrays.

“It’s challenging because we don’t really understand the interactions between silver and DNA just by itself,” Copp said. “So part of what I’ve been doing is using big datasets to create a bank of working sequences that we’ve published so other scientists can use them. We want to give researchers tools to design these types of structures intelligently instead of just having to guess.”

The paper’s acknowledgements include a dedication to “those students who lost their lives in the Isla Vista tragedy and to the courage of the first responders, whose selfless actions saved many lives.”

— Julie Cohen represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Capps, Jackson, EDC to Hold Press Conference on Offshore Fracking Legislation

By | Published on 04/23/2015


On Friday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, will host a press conference to discuss her newly introduced bill, the Offshore Fracking and Transparency and Review Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on offshore fracking in federal waters off the West Coast until environmental impacts can be assessed.

Capps will be joined by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Brian Segee, senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Center.

The press conference will be held at 11 a.m. at Shoreline Park in Santa Barbara, near the parking lot to the west.

Capps introduced the bill Wednesday, on Earth Day. Under the bill, no hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or acid well stimulation treatment (acidizing) may take place in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf Region until the secretary of the interior conducts a preliminary study and completes an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.

“There is still too much we do not know about offshore fracking, and until we have more information, these activities should be halted,” Capps said. “We should not be putting the environment at risk because of inadequate oversight.”

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


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Filipino Singer Lani Misalucha to Perform at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Lani Misalucha, an award-winning Filipino recording artist who’s known by her fans as “Asia’s Nightingale,” will perform at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 21.

Lani Misalucha

Tickets for the show are $75, $85 and $95.

In her last appearance at the Chumash Casino Resort, she performed alongside Filipino great Martin Nievera. This time, she will treat the audience to a performance that includes a very special guest.

In 1996, Misalucha became a breakthrough artist in the Philippine recording scene when she won the Record of the Year award and earned 12 nominations for her first album, More Than I Should. Two years later, she clinched the Minuro Endo Best Interpreter/ Singer award at the Third Asian Song Festival, making her mark in the international music arena.

Misalucha made history in 2004 by becoming the first Asian to headline a main showroom on the Las Vegas Strip. She performed alongside Hawaii’s premier show band, Society of Seven, at the Jubilee Theater in Bally’s Hotel and Casino.

With her successful 15-month run at the Bally’s, a series of road tours and subsequent offers to headline shows in the entertainment capital of the world, Asia's Nightingale skyrocketed to worldwide recognition as the new “Siren of the Strip.”

The singer/actress continues to entertain her fans with tours throughout the Philippines and the United States.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this world-class performer when she takes the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

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

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


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Catholic Church of the Beatitudes: Homelessness — What Do We See and Hear?

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Recently my friend and I hosted a lunch to benefit Beatitudes House, a Catholic Worker home in Guadalupe; it is a place of hospitality for the poor. The afternoon was successful, in terms of letting others know of the work being done for migrant workers and marginalized in that area and also in raising money to help the Catholic Workers continue their ministry to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and give care to the sick; some of the works of mercy from Matthew 25.

We had decided that the uneaten food from our lunch would go to the homeless. I left my friend’s home with many fresh, uneaten submarine sandwiches packed in the trunk of my car and headed for Alameda Park, just across from Our Lady of Sorrows Church.

As I walked through the park I spied three men sitting on a bench. They looked as if they had faced some hard times, so I approached to ask if they were hungry and would like some sandwiches and if they would help me distribute them to others in the park. I got an enthusiastic response, and one man helped me carry the food from my car.

As we walked he told me a bit of his story of how he ended up living on the streets and what he hoped to accomplish in his life. On the way back he asked, “Would you stay and talk with the two sitting on the bench, listen to their story and tell yours?” I mumbled something about the time being late and having to get home, but when we got back to the bench, I was drawn to sit down. The man who had helped me said he would take the extra sandwiches around to others in the park.

That left me with John and Jerry. Their clothes were very worn and there was a urine and alcohol smell in the air, but I found myself fascinated as they each talked.

I was curious and asked questions and they were open in responding about how they came to be homeless and some of their health issues. I wish I could tell you something deeply profound happened, but it was just a lovely half-hour in the park. I marveled that I was there sitting in the sun with John and Jerry, listening to their stories and feeling great compassion for the challenges they each faced.

Before meeting Dennis and Tensie Apel and Jorge Manly Gil, Catholic Workers in Guadalupe, I am sure I would have seen these men as “other” — people who had lost their way. Maybe they had, but as we talked that day, I wondered what I was holding onto that prevented me from glimpsing their goodness. I thought of the scripture passage from Jeremiah where we hear God had written on the minds and hearts of the people. I asked myself if God hadn’t also written on the hearts of these men. Weren’t they full of God’s grace also? It became clear that this was my chance to see a bit of their humanity.

Richard Rohr in his book Immortal Diamond writes of symbols and sacred stories where we can find deep and lasting meaning — or personal truths. Surely my short grace-filled time in the park was opening up something about the richness of the human spirit.

A few weeks ago, actress Tiffany Hoover joined our Beatitudes community to perform a monologue about the life of Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement in the 1930s. It was a sobering, insightful and delightful evening.

Dorothy was a journalist and radical activist who longed to find leadership within the church to guide her in living out the works of mercy — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick.

She prayed to find someone who would help her find answers to her unfailing desire to help the poor and oppressed. Her prayers were answered when she met Peter Maurin, who taught her about Catholic Social Teaching. Together they founded the newspaper Catholic Worker and then the first House of Hospitality for marginalized in New York City.

Outspokenness was part of their commitment, “We are here to: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” was their motto and they took it to heart challenging those in power and being champions of those in need.

In the next few weeks, Christians will continue to reflect on the meaning of Easter — the resurrection of Jesus. It is a time of great meaning in the Christian world, one of reflecting on how every day we each have small or possibly large psychological, physical and spiritual issues to deal with — the times of wrong choices in our life or events that just come up unbidden, but bring us to our knees. Jesus’ death and rising is a sign to us that these events are not failures, but can be our greatest teachers. We can live in hope that we can again be refreshed and lifted up to life anew.

As I reflect on my time with John and Jerry in the park a few weeks ago, I wonder about who was nourishing whom. I am sure they appreciated the sandwiches that took away some of the gnawing hunger in their bellies. I also hope our conversation helped them feel valued, if only for a few moments. For my part, I know that something profound did happen within me that day — I felt nourished and the conversation we had has not left my mind.

Clearly homelessness is not just a simple one-answer issue of hiding these people from our visibility or getting them off our streets and out of our parks. We have been doing that for years without any apparent success. This experience brings me late to the discussion, but I think of Pope Francis who washed the feet of homeless people during Easter week saying, “God loves us without limit, each and every single one of us. He never ceases to love us, whatever we do. And he will always continue to love us, you and you and you” (America Magazine, April 2). Should we not be searching for ways to look the homeless in the eye and turn an ear to listen?

Jeff Dietrich, a Los Angeles Worker, wrote of feeding the poor on Skid Row in his recent book, The Good Samaritan: “The cynics would say that there is no such thing as a free lunch but for 15 years (now 40, the essay was written in April 1985) we have served a free meal to the hungry of Los Angeles. It is a small act of hope that fills an emptiness deeper than physical hunger. It is the bread of the Eucharist, the matzo of Passover, the meal taken in communion that inspires us in hope — a wild, improbable hope that all human beings may one day sit down at the same table as brothers and sisters and break bread together.”

Harriet Burke is a member and homilist at the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes. Readers are welcome to join us for Mass on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. 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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Santa Barbara Public Market Hosting Ladies’ Day Out Event

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Public Market
The Santa Barbara Public Market at 38 W. Victoria St. features 15 artisan food merchants under one roof.

In honor of Mother’s Day, and to celebrate all women, the Santa Barbara Public Market is hosting a Ladies’ Day Out event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2.

Ladies won’t want to miss this fabulous day of indulgence, pampering and fun!

The Public Market is partnering with some of Santa Barbara’s cream of the crop boutiques and brands that will pop-up in The Kitchen, and offer demos, samples, treatments, shopping and more!

Flagstone Pantry kicks off the day at 10 a.m. in The Kitchen with a special “Mother’s Day Brunch” cooking class. Guests will learn how to make Chef Kristen Desmond’s signature savory quiche/tart, Wine Country Cob sandwich and famous Strawberry Vinaigrette dressing. Brunch, of course, wouldn’t be complete without a complimentary mimosa!

The cooking demo is $20 and includes complimentary food samples and a mimosa. Call 805.770.7702 to reserve.

In the afternoon from noon to 3 p.m., The Kitchen will transform into a Ladies' Day Out pop-up shopping and pampering paradise. Sephora will offer complimentary makeup applications, Vamp at Home, Santa Barbara ’s newest “beauty to you” service, will offer ladies complimentary hair braids, and Santa Barbara’s premier day spa, Float Luxury Spa, will melt all stress away with complimentary personal chair massages.

Lola Boutique will showcase their latest spring and summer boho-chic fashions and accessories, and Waxing Poetic will showcase their latest jewelry collections and demonstrate how to style their pieces.

The complete Ladies' Day Out schedule of events is as follows:

Saturday May 2

» 10 to 11 a.m. — Flagstone Pantry Cooking Demo, Mother’s Day Brunch inspirations

» Noon to 3 p.m. — In The Kitchen: pop-up shopping, pampering treatments, demos and more with Float Luxury Spa, Lola Boutique, Sephora, Vamp At Home and Waxing Poetic

» Noon to 3 p.m. — Live music

» All day — Champagne specials at Wine + Beer

The Ladies' Day Out pop-up shopping and pampering event is free to attend and open to the public. Mother’s Day Brunch cooking demo with Flagstone Pantry is $20. Call 805.770.7702 to reserve. For more information, click here or call 805.770.7702.

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


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Gas Leak Reported at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Santa Barbara fire crews responded to a gas leak at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Thursday morning but monitoring equipment has determined there are no gas odors inside the museum itself, Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said.

Crews got the call and responded to the museum at 2559 Puesta del Sol at 10:54 a.m.

It was a small leak in the 1-inch service line leading to the cottage offices in the back of the museum, Capt. Brad Waters said. The gas company showed up in 20-30 minutes and dug up the line, crimped it to stop the leak and repaired it, he said.

The gas pipe was broken by construction crews doing repairs to the museum parking lot area, Waters said.

“What we did was just pull a protection line and sprayed around the area to prevent any static electricity from forming which could cause a spark and ignite,” he said.

There were children at the museum doing class tours during the gas leak but the museum stayed open, McCoy said.

Some of the class tours were evacuated from buildings near the gas line break to other areas of the museum.

Fire crews closed down the parking lot area so no one would walk by before the leak was repaired, in case something ignited, Waters said. 

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


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Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog in Goleta Carries on U-Haul Legacy

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Kayvon Fouladi is following some pretty big footsteps when it comes to equipping his community with U-Haul products. His father, Farzin Fouladi, made his company, Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog, one of U-Haul’s top 100 neighborhood dealers some 10 years ago.

Now Kayvon is providing Goleta and the Santa Barbara region with products from the industry-leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage at Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog, located at 6398 Hollister Ave.

Ever since Kayvon returned from Cal State-Northridge with his business management degree, Farzin has taken a back seat. Prior to his son taking ownership of Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog, Farzin had been a U-Haul dealer for more than 20 years.

“I’ve been a sort of stress reliever for my dad,” Kayvon has said.

The younger Fouladi said a good portion of his U-Haul business comes from UC Santa Barbara students in need of moving supplies.

U-Haul and Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog are striving to benefit the environment through sustainability initiatives. Truck sharing is a core U-Haul sustainability business practice that allows individuals to access a fleet of trucks that is larger than what they could access on an individual basis.

Every U-Haul truck placed in a community helps keep 19 personally owned large-capacity vehicles, pickups, SUVs and vans off the road. Fewer vehicles means less traffic congestion, less pollution, less fuel burned and cleaner air.

Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog is the place to go for your automotive needs, smog tests and U-Haul rentals. It is also a great place to become U-Haul Famous. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo through Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go online to submit photos and learn more.

Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog rents U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, support rental items and in-store pickup for boxes. Reserve U-Haul items at this location by visiting U-Haul's website or calling 805.685.2279 today.

Casey’s Garage & Discount Smog is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. After-hours drop-off is available for U-Haul customers.

— Brittani Gomez represents U-Haul.


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Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Holding First Founding Day Street Festival

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Los Soldados del Reál Presidio de Santa Bárbara. (Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation photo)

Celebrate 233 years of history at the birthplace of Santa Barbara, El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park (123 E. Canon Perdido St.) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

Celebrate all things Santa Barbara during the first Founding Day Street Festival, featuring Presidio Neighborhood businesses and local entertainment on an open street in the heart of downtown. Enjoy a costumed reenactment of the original Founding Ceremony held in 1782 and other family activities across the Presidio grounds.

This free event begins with a church service at 11 a.m. in the Presidio Chapel honoring the founding families, followed by an outdoor Founding Day program from noon to 1 p.m. featuring Los Soldados del Reál Presidio de Santa Bárbara, Early California dance and musical performances, and the presentation of Saint Barbara 2015 by the Native Daughters of the Golden West, Reina del Mar Parlor No. 126.

Following the ceremony, enjoy on-site educational activities throughout the Presidio that focus on the history and culture of early California. Converse with costumed demonstrators and experience life in Santa Barbara as it was during the late-1700s through heritage gardening, colonial cooking, pottery making, Chumash storytelling, archaeology and more.  

The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara will offer free sketch session from 1-3 p.m. for the Kids Draw Architecture program. Other activities will include hula dancing, appearances by the Hawthorne Navy JROTC and Sino West Performing Arts, and performances by two of UCSB's a cappella groups Brothers From Other Mothers (BFOM) and Naked Voices.

Santa Barbara’s Founding Day is funded in part by the City of Santa Barbara Community Events and Festivals Program in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the Towbes Foundation and the California State Parks Foundation.

Schedule of Events

Candlelight Dinner in the Historic Presidio Chapel

A memorable evening in the historic Presidio Chapel elegantly illuminated by candlelight as we enjoy an unforgettable taste of the past.  Servers dressed in period costumes, a courtyard reception, four-course dinner, and light music will create a magical night never before experienced in the Presidio Chapel.

DATE & TIME: Friday, April 24 at 6 to 9 p.m.

LOCATION: Presidio Chapel, El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park
123 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, CA

COST: $350 per couple; $200 per person

For more information and to purchase tickets call 805.966.1279.

Founding Day Festival

Join us at Santa Barbara’s birthplace, El Presidio de Santa Bárbara, for a costumed reenactment of the founding ceremony, originally held on April 21, 1782. Afterwards, we’ll celebrate all things Santa Barbara during the first Founding Day street festival, featuring Presidio Neighborhood businesses and local entertainment on an open street in the heart of downtown.

DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

LOCATION: El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park
123 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara

FREE Admission

For more information  call 805.965.0093 or visit

Rancho Roundup

You won’t want to miss an evening including live music, dancing, entertainment, BBQ from Georgia's Smokehouse, Figueroa Mountain Beer, a VIP area and more.

DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 25 from 4 to 10 p.m.

LOCATION: El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park
123 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara

COST: $15 pre-order; $20 at the door; $75 VIP Tickets

Tickets can be purchased online at

For over 50 years, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) has worked to protect, preserve, restore, reconstruct, and interpret historic sites in Santa Barbara County. Founded in 1963 by Dr. Pearl Chase and other concerned community leaders, SBTHP operates El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park — Santa Barbara’s 18th century birthplace — under a unique agreement with California State Parks. The state has purchased the building that once housed Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, providing an opportunity to interpret the history of Santa Barbara’s Asian American community in the Presidio Neighborhood. SBTHP owns and operates Casa de la Guerra, the 1820s home of Presidio Comandante José de la Guerra and his family; the restored home is now a museum featuring original furnishings and rotating exhibits. In 2009 SBTHP signed an agreement with State Parks to manage and develop the Santa Inés Mission Mills, located near the town of Solvang, as a future California State Park. In 2011, SBTHP was awarded the Trustees’ Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

With the help of continuing education programs and exhibits, SBTHP strives to encourage community involvement and foster an appreciation for Santa Barbara County’s distinctive history. Click here to learn more.

— Christa Clark Jones represents the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.


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Acupuncturist Monica Kaderali Joins Integrative Medicine Center of Santa Barbara

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Monica Kaderali

Integrative Medicine Center of Santa Barbara, a local wellness practice that incorporates both eastern and western medical philosophies, has hired Monica Kaderali to offer comprehensive acupuncture services.

Kaderali joins a team of wellness experts, including Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D., naturopathic doctor Jennifer Salcido, and nutritionist and life coach Suzanne Landry. Kaderali will provide acupuncture for a range of acute and chronic illnesses.

“I am thrilled to be a part of a practice that focuses on getting people off pharmaceutical drugs, when possible, and, instead, treating disease with an integrative approach," Kaderali said. "In my experience, this not only works, but leads to a better quality of life overall.”

Prior to joining IMCSB, Kaderali worked with Spa Medicus and Issels Medical Center, where she performed acupuncture focusing on pain management.

Kaderali earned her master's of science degree in oriental medicine (MSTOM) from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She has more than a decade of experience treating patients using acupuncture and Chinese herbal preparations and is licensed both nationally and with the state of California.

For more information, click here or contact Kaderali directly at [email protected].

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing the Integrative Medicine Center of Santa Barbara.


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Channel Islands Outfitters Named to ‘Best for Community’ List

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Channel Islands Outfitters, a local paddle sports rental center and outdoor adventure company, has been named to the "B Corp Best for the Community" list among businesses from 38 other countries.

This honor, awarded by B Lab, recognizes businesses with a positive overall community impact and is granted to the top 10 percent of Certified B Corporations.

Honorees are businesses recognized for creating positive impacts for their workers communities, and the environment. Categories of honorees were recognized for micro, small and mid-sized businesses around the globe.

Channel Islands Outfitters is a local service based company that operates guided kayaking and snorkeling adventures at the Channel Islands National Park and offers paddle sports rentals at the Paddle Sports Centers in the Santa Barbara Harbor and at Goleta Beach.

CIO became a B Corp in 2013 and was awarded “Best for the World, Overall” honors in 2014. In its continued efforts to give back to the community, CIO not only encourages all full-time employees to volunteer time to local non-profits, but also pays each of its employees for 20 hours of this volunteer time annually. Additionally, CIO donates 1 percent of gross sales to local organizations that educate, preserve, and protect the ocean and natural places.

“Giving back to the community is a value that my parents instilled in me at an early age. Now I get to promote this value with my employees. I hope that they, too, appreciate the significance and impact they can make in their community,” CIO co-founder and CEO Garrett Kababik said.

Each company recognized for its socially conscious achievement is a Certified B Corporation, a certification that identifies companies using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. To become a Certified B Corporation, companies must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Today there are over 1,200 Certified B Corporations, across 121 industries and 38 countries.

“Today's honorees inspire all companies to compete not only to be best in the world, but best for the world. We hope many will take the first step by using the B Impact Assessment to measure and manage their impact with as much rigor as their profit,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab.

Additional 2015 Best for Community Honorees include a telecommunications company in Afghanistan, a social housing production company in Mexico and business throughout the United States.

Click here for more information about CIO.

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing Channel Islands Outfitters.


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Renowned Bagpipe Player Cristina Pato to Perform at UCSB Campbell Hall

By | Published on 04/23/2015


UCSB Arts & Lectures presents the Santa Barbara debut of the Cristina Pato Quartet, featuring gaita virtuoso, pianist and composer Cristina Pato, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Pato, who was last seen in Santa Barbara in 2013 in a show-stealing performance with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, is hailed as “one of the living masters of the gaita” (The Wall Street Journal).

Renowned for her exuberant showmanship, Pato fuses Sephardic, Latin, jazz, pop and contemporary influences to create a high-energy, flamboyant and virtuosic performance. Don’t miss this audience favorite, who will forever change how you think of the bagpipe!

The New York Times raves “Ms. Pato will amaze you. Her playing dismisses any notion of a square, martial quality, infusing almost constant exotic coloration, finding entire ranges of microtones between pitches and bending one into another [to create] ‘something incredibly primal.’”

About Cristina Pato Quartet

Internationally acclaimed as a gaita, or Galician bagpipe, master, as well as a classical pianist, Cristina Pato uses her artistry and unprecedented virtuosic skill to bring her musical vision to life by fus­ing the influences of Latin, jazz, pop and contemporary music. In 1998, she became the first female gaita player to release a solo album, and since then has collaborated with world music, jazz, classical and experimental art­ists including the Chicago Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma, The Chieftains, Arturo O’Farrill, World Symphony Orchestra and Paquito D’Rivera. She is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.

An active recording artist and performer since age 12, Pato has released four solo gaita recordings and two as a pianist. She has also collaborated on more than 30 recordings as a guest artist, including the Grammy Award-winner “Yo-Yo Ma and Friends: Songs of Joy and Peace” (2008); “Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain” (2011); and the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble album, “Off the Map” (2010).

Pato served as a founding member of the Silk Road Ensemble Leadership Council, collaborating closely on programming at Harvard University, where the Ensemble is in residence. She has served as a panelist, mentor and fac­ulty member on various projects with the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In 2014, Pato’s Gaita and Orchestra Commissioning Project was awarded a grant from New Music USA. With this award, she hopes to build a repertoire for the gaita and symphony orchestra. Pato is collaborating with composers Octavio Vazquez, Emilio Solla and David Bruce to create music that would combine her two passions: world and classical music. Emilio Solla’s “A Galician Voyage: Concerto for Gaita, Piano & Orchestra” is scheduled for its premiere in Barcelona (Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès) and with the Chicago Sinfonietta at Chicago Symphony Hall with conductor Mei-Ann Chen in 2015.

In May, 2014, Pato was part of a performance at The White House, hosted and organized by First Lady Michelle Obama and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Music Merchants.

In 2015, Pato will release a new album titled Latina. In this album she embraces the strength of women in Latin culture through one of the essential rhythms of traditional music: 6/8 meter. “Latina” is a musical journey that begins with the Italian rhythm, the tarantella and the Galician muiñeira, and on to the Americas, where the joropo, the llano and the festejo thrive to this day.

Cristina Pato Quartet’s performance is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures and sponsored by Jody M. and John P. Arnhold.

Tickets are $25 for the general public and $10 for UCSB students with a current student ID. For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535 or purchase online by clicking here.

UCSB Arts & Lectures thanks for its major corporate support of the 2014-15 season.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing UCSB Arts & Lectures.


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Public Invited to Celebrate Female Modernist Artists at Sullivan Goss

By | Published on 04/23/2015


For 1st Thursday in May, Sullivan Goss will present an exhibition that focuses on the art of strong women modernists active between 1915 and today.

The exhibit will have a particular focus on Santa Barbara modernists like Lyla Harcoff (1883-1956) and Grace Vollmer (1884-1977), but it will also feature a fine selection of works by East Coast modernist Betty Lane (1907-1996). The gallery will round out the selection with the works of other important California modernists and a few contemporary artists whose works share aspects of the iconoclastic spirit of their predecessors.

At the beginning of the modernist movement, it was unseemly for women to travel alone, and perhaps even more difficult for them to get professional training, because making art could get in the way of being a wife or a mother. Selling art meant that making it became a job (when it was still a radical idea for women to earn an income. Modern art — whether Post-Impressionist or totally abstract — was in itself radical.

So what did these women do? They found ways to get good training. They traveled to Europe, to Mexico and elsewhere; Dorr Bothwell spent a year in Samoa, relocated throughout Europe and finally settled in San Diego. Bothwell and others worked to establish an identity beyond the titles “wife” or “mother,” even though many of the artists in this exhibition were both. They made work that pushed the limits of good taste. They chose to pursue the modern, the new, the avant garde. The nerve!

"The Declarations of Independents" celebrates that nerve.

An exhibition curated around gender is necessarily contentious. Is there any point to an exhibition that focuses on women artists? Doesn't such an exercise perpetuate a difference that feminism seeks to erase? That is a good question, and one without an easy answer. Sullivan Goss has never particularly focused on gender diversity, and yet finds that nine out of fourteen of its contemporary artists are women, but only six out of its eighteen estates are women. So, this exhibition focuses on a historical period in which women braved an indifferent and/or hostile art world in increasing numbers. It recognizes their talent, their courage, and the likely role these Independents played in creating a world where a gallery like Sullivan Goss can "accidentally" claim such a strong representation of art by women today.

Artists in the exhibition will include Mabel Alvarez, Dorr Bothwell, Phoebe Brunner, Marge Dunlap, Lyla Harcoff, Sohpie Harpe, Nell Brooker Mayhew, Angela Perko, Edna Reindel, Elise Seeds, Henrietta Shore, Nicole Strasburg, Dorothy Winslade, Beatrice Wood, Grace Vollmer and Betty Lane.

Sullivan Goss is located at 7 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara and is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week.


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UCSB Professor Shuji Nakamura Named 2015 Global Energy Prize Laureate

By | Published on 04/23/2015


In recognition of his groundbreaking work in LED (light-emitting diode) technology, UC Santa Barbara materials professor Shuji Nakamura has been chosen as a 2015 Global Energy Prize Laureate.

Shuji Nakamura

The prestigious Russian award “honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.”

“I am so pleased that the Global Energy Prize committee has recognized my breakthrough work on InGaN LEDs, which has led to energy-efficient white LED lighting,” said Nakamura, who was one of three 2014 Nobel Prize winners in physics for the invention of the bright blue LED. This was an innovation that would lead to the creation of the white LED and the ability to save energy, reduce carbon emissions and provide a low energy, durable and sustainable light source for those with little or no access to electricity.

“We are so proud to congratulate our colleague Shuji Nakamura on this prestigious recognition as a Global Energy Prize Laureate,” said UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “The applications and consequences of his pioneering work in solid-state lighting continue to grow, with far-reaching impact on fields ranging from information and communication, to energy and the environment, to health care and life sciences. By making it possible to bring affordable, energy-efficient lighting to developing countries, Professor Nakamura has made a tremendous humanitarian contribution to our world.”

Ubiquitous in today’s electronics, from cellphones to cars, computer and television displays to interior lighting, LED technology took decades to develop, beginning with red LEDs in the 1960s, followed by green, orange and yellow. Blue LEDs were the most challenging to invent and were the remaining primary color needed to make white LED light. Nakamura took on the challenge, not only using the very promising but notoriously difficult semiconductor material gallium nitride (GaN), but also inventing a means to manufacture high-quality GaN crystals. He debuted his high-efficiency bright blue LED in 1993.

Now a professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at UCSB, Nakamura is also the co-director of the campus’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC), where his research focuses on growth and device fabrication of light-emitters based on gallium nitride.

“The Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center is so pleased that LED lighting is saving the world billions in energy costs and with further potential to bring cost-effective lighting to the developing world,” said Steve DenBaars, professor of materials and SSLEEC co-director.

This award is the latest in a stream of honors for Nakamura, including the Nishina Memorial Award (1996), the Materials Research Society Medal (1997), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Jack A. Morton Award, the British Rank Prize (1998), the Benjamin Franklin Medal (2002), the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), the Czochralski Award (2007), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research (2008), The Harvey Award (2009), the Technology and the Engineering Emmy Award (2011), the LED Pioneer Award (2012), the Nobel Prize in Physics (2014), Japan’s Order of Culture Medal (2014) and the Charles Stark Draper Prize (2015).

Nakamura joins 31 Energy Prize laureates from 10 countries. Winners have included prominent scientists such as Arthur Rosenfeld (U.S.A), awarded for his pioneering work in energy-efficient buildings; Akira Yoshino (Japan), recognized for the invention of lithium ion batteries; and Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson (Iceland); honored for developing hydrogen into a viable alternative power source in Iceland. Nakamura will receive his award at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 19.

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


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Web-Based Service Resource Now Available to Local Community

By | Published on 04/23/2015


A new community-service resource,, has been developed and is now available to our community.

Service organizations, schools, food banks, churches, cities and many other deserving groups will benefit from this incredible new web-based resource.

Families and individuals looking to volunteer or entities needing help with worthwhile service programs and projects can simply go to, register and sign up to help or post a program or project wherein help is needed. It’s that easy. For those submitting projects or programs, requesting help, once approved, your submission is uploaded on the website and volunteers are notified by email of new opportunities to serve. As a volunteer, you can serve as much or as little as you like. exists to provide service opportunities for every member of the community.

“Christ lived a life of service and asked us to do the same,” said Darren Hulstine, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Santa Maria stake. “We are proud to introduce as a service resource in every Central Coast community. What a great way for individuals, families or organizations to quickly and conveniently access and provide opportunities to serve those in need.”

To kick off this new service resource, from 8 a.m. to noon this Saturday, April 25, hundreds of volunteers will be participating in projects at the local Food Banks to build a fence, paint donation barrels and sort food. At Dana and Pinegrove schools, there will be landscaping, painting, repairs and much more. Log on to to see all the projects needing your help or post your own worthwhile project you need help with.

Start serving today. For more information, please contact Glenn Morris at 559.909.1012 or [email protected].

— Jeff Lind represents


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Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation ‘Moments in Time’ Gala Named for Program That Grants Requests for Kids

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Moments in Time, a new signature event for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, is aptly named after one of the organization’s most beloved programs, which grants special requests to children with cancer, such as special outings, meeting celebrities and uniquely themed parties.

The inaugural Moments in Time event will be “A Masked Affair,” a masquerade-themed fundraiser held on Saturday, May 2 at the Santa Barbara Club, 1105 Chapala St. from 7 to 11 p.m.

“At Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, we provide a variety of support programs to families of youth up to age 21 with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties,” said Lindsey Leonard Guerrero, TBCF executive director. “Only through the generosity of our community can we continue to support the critical financial and emotional needs of the families we serve.”

This extraordinary event is coordinated by a hardworking and dedicated volunteer committee and will offer up a special night to enjoy delectable hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, a DJ party, and a one of a kind auction featuring items from Daniel Gibbings Jewelry, a private party with Kenny Loggins, VIP tickets to Dancing with the Stars and many more exciting items!

In 2014, TBCF supported 649 individuals and to-date has granted $1.3 million of financial assistance. Among their many programs designed to offer wrap-around assistance to families from initial diagnosis, during treatment and into recovery, TBCF’s Moments in Time program creates special "moments" for children and teens to provide an uplifting "emotional boost" during treatment and into their recovery period.

TBCF works with the hospital social workers and the child’s parents/family to organize fun events such as birthday parties in the hospital, attending concerts, meet and greets with celebrities, and family reunions. Some of the Moments in Time programs granted last year included requests from the following TBCF youth:

A New Room for Amanda

Amanda Jackson, 20, was going through an extremely difficult time, battling cancer for the fourth time and wanted a new bed and new wall color. The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation teamed up with one of its generous donors and Taylor House Interiors to create a full room makeover, including a brand new full-sized bed frame, mattress, headboard and bedding; a fresh coat of  paint; a new ceiling fan; a brand new custom designed closet instillation; crown molding installation, two night stands, and many special extras!

Maddy Gets a Surprise Princess Party

Six-year-old Maddy missed her princess party at home because she got very sick and had to be airlifted by helicopter from her home in Paso Robles to Cottage Children’s Hospital. She spent nine days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in a medical induced coma and in the months after, had to do physical and occupational therapy to learn how to walk and talk again. When she regained her strength, TBCF surprised her with a very special princess party at Cottage Children’s Hospital.

For information on these or other Moments in Time stories, or other TBCF programs or about purchasing tickets to Moments in Time “A Masked Affair,” please contact Bryan Kerner at 805.962.7466 or click here.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.


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Letter to the Editor: Efficient Core Transportation Routes Is Planning 101

By | Published on 04/23/2015


Cars Are Basic's 17-year position on bus transportation continues to support core routes and the elimination of expensive little-used routes and shuttles. To justify "alternative" transportation, cities demand failed feeder routes since they rationalize "mitigated transportation" as a justification for intentional street congestion.

South County MTD is the odd duck in the world of government. It is not an elected body, like a city, with an appointed Board of Directors from an association of elected officials (South County Transportation Committee). Purely for political purposes, MTD was appointed as a voting member of the Couth County SBCAG. This happened shortly after its former director and half the board were forced to resign for conflict of interests.

MTD as an organization has specific interest in seeing private transportation fail! Auto failure will benefit its operation, yet it is allowed to vote on projects and directions in transportation! This is a grantee (getting funds) acting as a grantor (issuing funds) that has immediate and significant impact on money grants and planning. MTD reported it lost 170,000 riders last year, making it a questionable operation.

A local paper ran a piece about how MTD is changing its scheduling. At the beginning of the article, MTD is quoted as stating its change of timing and numbers on certain routes is primarily due to street congestion. CAB has repeatedly stated that the failure of MTD and "alternative transportation" is evidenced on the streets of South County and particularly Santa Barbara and Goleta.

What is the MTD answer? Add more buses on the streets at rush hour with shorter head ways (pickup times). MTD states that buses are delayed by congestion. MTD buses contribute to the congestion because of their size. (Many cities have narrowed traffic lanes for bikes adding to congestion.) Why not keep the headway times where they are? Add an extra bus to handle increased passenger pickup, thus making the congestion footprint as small as possible?

Planning by cities and counties not including adequate street capacity, maintenance and parking is a recipe for congestion leading to terrible business and residential environments (bad planning = 19 bedrooms and 7 parking places).

CAB predicted this issue a decade and a half ago. Government planners intentionally ignored reality for projected unrealistic outcomes. Reality is "today" not failed goals of a past decade. MTD cannot exist at its current size without increasing government subsidy draining the taxpayer pocket (cap 'n trade diversion). Isn't it time to stop tax-'n'-spend politicians and create a lean bus system? Do you need increased taxes for fantasy goals?

Scott Wenz, president
Cars Are Basic


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American Riviera Bank Reports 55% Growth in First-Quarter Net Income

By | Published on 04/23/2015


American Riviera Bank has announced unaudited net income of $443,000 (17 cents per share) for the quarter ended March 31, a 55 percent increase compared with $286,000 (11 cents per share) for the quarter ended March 31, 2014.

Average deposits increased 31 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2014, with total deposits reaching $200 million at March 31. Average non-interest bearing demand deposits increased to $60 million, a 44 percent increase compared to the same reporting period last year.

The bank increased average loans to $166 million in the first quarter of 2015, a 12 percent increase from the $146 million in the first quarter of 2014. Growth came primarily from increased requests for residential, commercial real estate and business loans. The aforementioned loan growth enabled the bank to grow net interest income by 15 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the first quarter of 2014. At March 31, the bank had no loans 90 or more days past due and no other real estate owned.

“It is a testament to our clients and the surrounding community that American Riviera Bank is able to report strong earnings, a clean credit profile and significant growth," President/CEO Jeff DeVine said. "The bank looks forward to establishing new relationships and deepening existing relationships that will help the community grow and prosper.”

American Riviera Bank had $230 million in total assets, and maintained a strong capital position with a Tier 1 Leverage Ratio of 12 percent as of March 31; well above the regulatory guideline of 5 percent for well-capitalized institutions. The bank reported a return on assets of 0.81 percent and a return on equity of 6.92 percent for the first quarter of 2015. The book value of one share of American Riviera Bank stock is $10.24 at March 31, an increase from $9.55 at March 31, 2014.

— Michelle Martinich is the chief financial officer for American Riviera Bank.


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Emergency Room Doctor Talks Drugs, Alcohol with Dos Pueblos High School Students

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Dr. Joseph Freeman shares the gory details of the potential harm from substance use and abuse

During his years practicing emergency medicine, Santa Barbara physician Joseph Freeman has seen countless people come into the hospital with alcohol- and drug-related problems.

Many would tell him that they were never told what could happen if they abused alcohol or drugs.

Those encounters prompted Freeman to start making presentations to high school students so they can make informed decisions about drinking and drug use.

“This is not a ‘say no to drugs’ presentation," Freeman told a crowd of students at Dos Pueblos High School on Wednesday. "I went to UC Santa Cruz, so I’m not the person to tell you not to use drugs.”

Freeman came as part of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse's COMMITTED campaign, and colloquially explained the brain chemistry and physical impacts of alcohol and drug use and abuse.

“I’m not telling you guys not to use drugs," he said. "I’m just telling you what’ll happen when you do.”

So now, if any Dos Pueblos students go to the ER for alcohol- or drug-related emergencies, “you can’t say no one ever told you,” he said.

Freeman has been working at the Santa Barbara and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital emergency rooms for about a year and a half, coming from inner-city hospitals in San Francisco. He’s been in emergency medicine for six years, and never learned any of this stuff, even though he attended a top medical school, he told students.

He has never worked a shift in his career without a case in which drugs or alcohol were the direct or indirect cause of the ER visit.

Starting off with alcohol, which he called "yeast poo," he explained about complications from liver failure and alcohol poisoning.

Freeman had a slideshow of graphic photos to illustrate his points and a video of esophageal varices (expanded blood vessels in the esophagus), which can burst when blood backs up from liver failure. He described them as “basically geysers,” saying patients can die within minutes if they burst.

Doctors try to stabilize patients and operate to stop the bleeding, but anyone who has one of these has a 50 percent mortality rate within three months, Freeman said.

“Has anyone heard of these?” he asked. Hearing nothing, he added, “And this is like my job. I deal with it all the time.”

He sees patients with alcohol-related liver failure frequently in the ER. Some people come in when they can’t breathe because of the swollen liver and blood vessels in the belly, and he has to drain the fluid — just to see them again in a week or two for the same issue, he said.

Even though he said he purposefully chose the “calmest” and “non-graphic” examples he could find, he warned students to close their eyes and take deep breaths if they started to feel faint.

One student got up during the presentation, started to walk away from his seat and fainted on the auditorium floor.

Students asked about alcohol poisoning, which can cause people to pass out and stop breathing. If patients come into the ER who have passed out from drinking, doctors have to guess how close they are to not breathing, Freeman said.

If a patient is close to not breathing, or already not breathing, doctors have to shove a breathing tube into their windpipe, which is a painful and high-risk procedure, he told students.

Doctors first give patients drugs to knock them out, if they’re not already, paralyze them and then insert a breathing tube, called intubating. 

“If we miss (the windpipe), you die,” he said. “This is what I have to do as an emergency room doctor on Friday and Saturday nights.”

The youngest person he has intubated for alcohol poisoning was 12 years old and the youngest in Santa Barbara was 14, he said.

When asked if he drinks, Freeman said he does, adding that he knows the risks and is very aggressive about not drinking and driving since he’s seen sad cases in the ER from DUI accidents.

“What nobody tells you” is that alcohol use and abuse can cause female characteristics in men, since livers break down estrogen, he said. That means enlarged breasts and shrunken testicles.

Women’s bodies don’t break down alcohol as well as men’s, regardless of size, he noted.

Women get worse hangovers, also because of body chemistry, can experience hair loss and have a heightened risk of breast cancer with regular drinking, Freeman said. 

He didn’t plan to talk about marijuana, saying he’s only seen two cases in the emergency room of people with marijuana intoxication. Students clapped at that news, but Freeman warned that he’s seen plenty of cases where marijuana was laced with other drugs.

He showed pictures and explained some of the gruesome side effects of other drugs, including cocaine, meth and ecstasy.  

“I’m not here to tell you not to use drugs, but don’t use meth,” he said. “I don’t know any emergency department nurse or doctor who doesn’t think meth is just a horrible creation.”

Students asked about ecstasy, or MDMA, which can cause schizophrenia-like symptoms, hyperthermia and hyponatremia, which is low sodium levels that can cause seizures.

Normal seizures stop when the brain resets, but the MDMA sodium-caused seizures don’t stop, he said. Doctors can try to reverse the effects with a special type of saline, but only if they know ecstasy is causing the seizures.

Freeman lost a patient in San Francisco, a young girl, who came in with seizures but doctors didn’t know she had taken ecstasy.

She died by the time the test came back, 10 minutes later, to indicate the hyponotremia and the autopsy showed ecstasy use, he said. If a friend takes ecstasy and suffers seizures, tell the medics, he urged students.

“An ER doctor is not the person you want to lie to,” he said.

In closing, he told students that “none of these drugs give you anything that your brain does not already have.” There are natural ways to release the same chemicals, by doing something they enjoy, he said.

For more resources and help with substance abuse issues, he directed students and families to 211 and the California Youth Crisis Line

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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Laguna Blanca School Celebrates Earth Day

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Students feast on Solar S'mores and kick around a giant Earth globe

Students at Laguna Blanca Lower School in Montecito celebrated Earth Day on Wednesday, enjoying environmentally conscious and Earth-friendly interactive exhibits.

Children ate Solar S'mores, kicked around a giant Earth ball, colored pictures using recycled crayons and painted bug rocks, among other activities.

The students, who normally wear uniforms to school, were allowed to dress in Earth Day themes — blues, greens, browns, ocean and other planet-related attire. 

"We celebrate Earth Day at Laguna Blanca Lower School because we feel it is important to teach our students to care for the environment," said Andy Surber, head of the Lower School. "We hope that our students will carry these values throughout their lives, and be lifelong stewards of the Earth."

Science teacher Clara Svedlund arranged the many activities at the Earth Day Festival, which was held on the official Earth Day and has emerged as one of the most popular events the school holds every year.

Laguna Earth
Laguna Blanca students talk to the bag monster, covered in 500 plastic bags to illustrate how many of them people use in a year. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Students also learned about composting and sustainable gardening, while getting the opportunity to pet baby goats and a tortoise.

"We want our students to know that everyone, big and small, can make a difference in this world," Surber said. "There are little things that we can all do to have a positive impact. Having this day to provide activities focused on the environment while having a school-wide celebration makes the lessons engaging, impactful and fun."

Laguna Blanca Lower School in Montecito offers a pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade curriculum. The upper campus in Hope Ranch is comprised of fifth- through 12th-grade students. 

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


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Goleta Water District Proposes Plan to Increase Rates, Implement Drought Surcharge Fee

By | Published on 04/22/2015


The Goleta Water District plans to raise its water rates and adopt a drought surcharge for all of its customers so the agency can pay for increased costs and compensate for dropping sales.

The Board of Directors unanimously supported a plan that increases water rates and levies a drought surcharge model that charges the same dollar amount, per unit of water, to all customers.

It’s the same surcharge model adopted by the Montecito Water District, with the same fee per unit applied to the highest and lowest water users. Goleta’s model would increase with each drought stage. Stage 3, which the district plans to declare in May, would bring with it a $2.60-per-HCF (hundred cubic feet) surcharge.

Goleta’s highest users will see the biggest impact to their bills with the changes, which are meant to encourage more conservation. The plan proposes implementing these new rates, surcharges and fees on July 1 and then raising those amounts by 3 percent for the 2016-17 year and by 4 percent every year after.

The drought surcharge would be eliminated after the drought is over, general manager John McInnes said.

The district’s proposed plan also funds three capital projects aimed to increase conservation: replacing small meters that may “under-register” water use; distributing 50-gallon rain barrels to catch and store rainwater; and installing storage tanks to make better use of groundwater well water, according to the district.

The tiered monthly base water rates for customers who use less water are actually expected to drop initially, with the proposed model. Customer classes with low per-unit rates, such as agriculture and recreation irrigation, will see big increases from the new rates and fees.

A flat surcharge to all customers would send the message that agricultural customers need to cut their usage to make supplies last longer, board president Lauren Hanson said. While customers have cut back by more than 20 percent overall, agricultural customers have actually increased use by 25 percent over the last year.

The district will send out notices of the proposed changes and hold a Proposition 218 hearing in June to make a final decision.

About 20 residents showed up to Wednesday’s board meeting, which was moved to the Goleta Union School District headquarters to accommodate more people.

Catherine Epperson said her family’s 300-acre avocado farm has been conserving water through mulching the trees and stumping some of the land — cutting trees down to stumps to temporarily take them out of production.

“Of the 300 acres we farm and own, we have stumped over 100 of them,” she told the board.

Their water costs totaled $218,000 last year and with the proposed increases, that number could more than double to $569,000 next year and potentially put them out of business, she said.

A representative from the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District said the park land has already cut water use by 25 percent but the changes would boost its water bill by 106 percent, which is unaffordable.

It would be “excellent” if the district could bring reclaimed water to Isla Vista, she said.

Several residents asked about ongoing development projects, which are adding hundreds of housing units and more water demand.

The district stopped handing out water entitlements to new developments in September, but there were plenty of projects already on their way to building, district staff said.

The backlog of projects approved before the moratorium is “an unfortunate series of events,” Director Meg West said, adding that the board and City Council will work closer together on this issue in the future.

Someone working at a development project on Patterson Avenue was using a fire hose to keep dust down and “probably used in five minutes more than I’ll use all month,” one Goleta resident said.

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


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Detective Testifies About Interviewing Man Who Shot Parents in Orcutt

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Brian Keith Reid claimed his parents were poisoning him after child molestation allegations, deputy says

An investigator in the case of a man charged with fatally shooting his father and critically wounding his mother in Orcutt testified Wednesday about interviewing the defendant, who said hours after the 2012 incident he had been “put through hell.”

Detective Matt Fenske from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department took the witness stand Wednesday afternoon in the trial Brian Keith Reid, 42, in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.

Fenske interviewed Reid for more than five hours after the man shot his father, William Forrest Reid, and wounded his mother, Pamela Reid, at Orcutt Community Park on Labor Day 2012. Pamela Reid survived the shooting.

The defendant allegedly shot his parents amid revelations that his father inappropriately touched Brian Keith Reid’s three daughters.

“He said he’s been put through hell,” Fenske said, adding the defendant claimed he had letters and recordings related to the incident. 

Brian Keith Reid said he learned of the molestation in 2005 and confronted his dad about it.

Fenske testified the son claimed William Forrest Reid admitted to molesting the girls while they were sleeping. 

“He told me he wanted his father to seek specific counseling regarding what he had done,” Fenske said. 

William Forrest Reid also admitted some of the acts of molestation during an interview with detectives five days before he died, prosecutors said.

Instead of a first-degree murder conviction sought by prosecutors, defense attorney Robert Ikola said last week the jury should find Brian Keith Reid guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

During the post-shooting interview, the son said his mom denied the molestation occurred but then gave details, the detective said.

“That was frustrating for him,” Fenske said. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy asked the detective if Brian Keith Reid said how he felt about his parents.

“I believe one of this statements was, ‘if I’m not with them, I’m against them,” Fenske said, adding the Brian Keith Reid felt “it was fight or flight.”

Although the defendant was upset at his parents and didn’t let them see his daughters for three years following the molestation revelations, he later returned to Santa Maria when his marriage fell apart. Brian Keith Reid was living with his parents at the time of the shooting. 

“I believe the term was something to the effect of it was awkward,” Fenske said. 

The defendant also told the detective he thought his parents were poisoning him, first complaining of carbon monoxide in his room and later claiming his mom was acting unusual and encouraging him to eat the fish.

He also contended his dad had a hatchet at the barbecue they attended at the park.

“First, he thought it was odd William would bring a hatchet to the barbecue when they were cooking with briquettes,” Fenske said.

No hatchet was found at the crime scene after the shooting.

Before Fenske began testifying, a friend of Brian Keith Reid’s discussed phone conversations and encounters with the defendant in the days before the shooting.

But Leonard Ochoa, a friend from childhood, said he didn’t remember in response to many questions from Duffy, including about phone calls with the defendant and interviews with investigators the day after the shooting. 

“Like I said, I don’t recall these conversations,” Ochoa said. “How can I remember these conversations word for word?”

Several times, Ochoa noted  the passage of time since 2012 and the fact he has had several cell phones since then.

“You don’t remember or you don’t want to say anything in court that will hurt Mr. Reid?” Duffy asked at one point.

With the jury selected, the trial in Judge Rogelio Flores’ courtroom began last week. Due to scheduling matters, the trial will be dark until Tuesday morning, the judge told jurors Wednesday.

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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Statewide Survey: Most Public School Parents Unfamiliar with New Online Tests

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Respondents express high hopes but little knowledge about Common Core and new funding formula

As California schools begin administering new online standardized tests, most public school parents say they have heard nothing about them, according to a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.

A majority (55 percent) say they have heard nothing at all about the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, which replaces paper-based tests. The new tests are based on the Common Core math and English standards. About a third of public school parents (36 percent) have heard a little about the tests, and just 8 percent say they have heard a lot. Latino public school parents (54 percent) are much more likely than white parents (32 percent) to say they have heard about the tests.

While concerns have been raised about whether all schools have enough computers, bandwidth, and technology staff to effectively administer the online tests, most public school parents say they are very confident (29 percent) or somewhat confident (42 percent) that their local schools do.

Other states have found that the switch to the Common Core standards and new tests significantly reduced student scores. How do California public school parents expect students to score on the Smarter Balanced tests? A plurality (42 percent) predict that scores will be about the same as those on past tests, while 29 percent expect scores to be higher and 23 percent predict that they will be lower.

More generally, Californians are divided about whether standardized tests are accurate measures of a student’s progress and abilities, with 51 percent very or somewhat confident that this is true, and 46 percent not too confident or not at all confident. But few say there is too much testing in their local schools (24 percent too much in elementary and middle schools, 22 percent too much in high schools).

A year after the Common Core State Standards were implemented, 66 percent of public school parents have heard of them (43 percent a little, 23 percent a lot), while a third (32 percent) say they have heard nothing at all. White public school parents are nearly three times as likely as Latinos to say they have heard a lot (38 percent vs. 13 percent).

A third of public school parents (34 percent) say their child’s school or district has provided them with information about the Common Core standards and that this information has been adequate. But 20 percent say they have received inadequate information, and the largest share of parents (42 percent) say they received no information about the standards.

“Many public school parents are in the dark when it comes to Common Core," said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Local schools need to do a better job of keeping parents informed as the state implements the new English and math standards.”

Based on what they’ve read and heard about Common Core, 47 percent of adults and 57 percent of public school parents favor the standards. There is a partisan divide, with Democrats (49 percent) much more likely to be in favor than independents (37 percent) or Republicans (30 percent).

Concerns have been raised about teachers’ readiness to teach the new standards — concerns that are shared by California adults (73 percent very or somewhat concerned) and public school parents (80 percent very or somewhat concerned). But Californians are optimistic that Common Core will meet two goals: Most (57 percent) are confident that implementing the standards will make students more college or career ready, and most (57 percent) are confident that the standards will help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Public school parents express even higher levels of optimism (71 percent confident about each goal).

Baldassare summed up: “Most Californians are hopeful about the effect of Common Core on improving student achievement, but many worry that teachers are not fully prepared to implement these new standards in the classroom.”

Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos are much more likely than other groups to express confidence that Common Core will make students more college and career ready (75 percent Latinos, 65 percent Asians, 58 percent blacks, 44 percent whites) and help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills (77 percent Latinos, 60 percent blacks, 51 percent Asians, 45 percent whites). Yet Latinos are also the most likely to express concerns about teacher preparedness to implement the standards (80 percent Latinos, 79 percent blacks, 70 percent Asians, 67 percent whites).

Most Expect New Funding Formula to Boost Achievement

As the state implements a new system for financing schools — the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) — most Californians say they have heard nothing about it (75 percent adults, 69 percent public school parents). Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (30 percent) are the most likely to have heard a little or a lot about the LCFF, followed by Asians (27 percent), blacks (20 percent) and whites (19 percent).

When they are read a brief description of the LCFF, strong majorities of adults (70 percent) and public school parents (73 percent) favor it. Among those who have heard at least a little about the LCFF, 75 percent favor it. 

The LCFF allocates extra money to districts with more English Learners and lower-income students. Californians have long expressed the view in PPIC surveys that school districts in lower-income areas of the state lack the same resources — including good teachers and classroom materials — as those in wealthier areas. Today, 82 percent hold this view, which is consistent with their support of the LCFF. A majority (59 percent) also say they are very concerned that students in lower-income areas are less likely than other students to be ready for college when they finish high school. About half of Californians (48 percent) say they are very concerned that English Learners score lower on standardized tests than other students.

The LCFF allows local districts more control over spending decisions, and it gives additional funding to districts with more lower-income students and English Learners. How confident are Californians that districts receiving the extra money will spend it to support these students? Most adults (56 percent) are at least somewhat confident, and public school parents (66 percent) are especially likely to express this view. Will the LCFF improve academic achievement of English Learners and lower-income students? Strong majorities of adults (68 percent) and public school parents (78 percent) say it will, at least somewhat. Latinos (85 percent) are much more likely to expect improvement than Asians (67 percent), blacks (62 percent) and whites (59 percent).

The LCFF requires each school district to get input from parents in designing a Local Control Accountability Plan. While 42 percent of public school parents say they were given information about how to get involved, most (54 percent) say they did not receive any. Lower-income parents (51 percent of those with household incomes under $40,000) were much more likely than wealthier parents (37 percent of those with incomes of $40,000 or more) to say their child’s school or district provided them with information.

Among the parents who received information about participating, most (72 percent) say they were not involved in the process. Notably, public school parents with lower household income are more likely than those with higher incomes to be involved (25 percent with incomes under $40,000 vs. 8 percent $40,000 or more).

State Funding for Schools Is Up, But Most Say It’s Not Enough

California funding for K-12 public education has been rising in recent years, but 60 percent of all adults and 70 percent of public school parents today say current state funding for their local public schools is not enough. Among likely voters, 54 percent say there is not enough funding. Asked to identify the most important issues facing public education today, Californians are most likely to mention lack of funding (16 percent) and quality of teachers (12 percent). Public school parents are most likely to mention lack of funding (18 percent), large class sizes (13 percent) and quality of teachers (12 percent).

How do residents think California K-12 education compares to that of other states? About a third of adults (35 percent) say California’s spending per pupil is lower than average and 26 percent say it is higher than average. Only 29 percent correctly say that spending per pupil is average. Asked about K–12 test scores, 46 percent correctly say California’s results are lower than average (11 percent higher than average, 38 percent average).

How can California significantly improve the quality of public schools? Just 9 percent say increased funding alone will do this, while 38 percent prefer using existing funding more wisely. The largest share (49 percent) prefers that the state do both.

The survey also asks a series of questions about ways to fund education projects.

» A state bond for school construction projects: 66 percent of adults and 55 percent of likely voters say they would vote yes if there were a measure on the ballot.

» A local bond for school construction projects: 65 percent of adults and 53 percent of likely voters would vote yes if their local districts put a measure on the ballot. (A 55 percent majority vote is required for passage.)

» A local parcel tax for schools: 57 percent of adults and 49 percent of likely voters would approve an increase in local parcel taxes to benefit local schools. (A two-thirds majority vote is required for passage.) Half of adults (50 percent) think it is a good idea to replace the two-thirds requirement with a 55 percent majority vote to pass local parcel taxes for local public schools. However, only 44 percent of likely voters express support — short of the majority vote required to make the change.

More Key Findings

» Half approve of Gov. Jerry Brown’s job performance — The governor’s approval rating is holding steady (50 percent adults, 53 percent likely voters), as is the Legislature’s (42 percent adults, 36 percent likely voters). Approval of the way both the governor and Legislature are handling of K-12 education is lower.

» Local schools get record-high ratings for college, career preparation — Most adults (58 percent) say their local public schools are doing a good to excellent job of preparing students for college, and 48 percent rate their schools as good to excellent when asked how well they are preparing students for the workforce.

» Half give local schools an A or B — While 53 percent of all adults give their neighborhood schools good grades, blacks are much less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to do so (blacks 38 percent, whites 50 percent, Latinos 59 percent, Asians 63 percent).

This PPIC survey is conducted with funding from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Silver Giving Foundation and the Stuart Foundation.

About the Survey

The PPIC Statewide Survey has provided policymakers, the media, and the general public with objective, advocacy-free information on the perceptions, opinions, and public policy preferences of California residents since 1998. This is the 11th annual survey focusing on K-12 education.

Findings are based on a survey of 1,706 California adult residents, including 1,023 interviewed on landline telephones and 683 interviewed on cell phones. Interviews were conducted from April 3-13 in English and Spanish, according to respondents’ preferences. The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus or minus 3.7 percent for all adults. For the 1,405 registered voters, it is plus or minus 4 percent, and for the 1,069 likely voters it is plus or minus 4.4 percent. For the 501 parents, it is plus or minus 6.4 percent and for the 355 public school parents, it is plus or minus 7.7 percent.

Click here for the complete survey.


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Fumigation Tent Covers Historic First United Methodist Church in Downtown Santa Maria

By | Published on 04/22/2015


The building at South Broadway and Cook Street is undergoing termite-control measures and is expected to remain closed through Friday

The historic First United Methodist Church in downtown Santa Maria has taken on a temporary, but dramatically different, look.

A bright blue-and-white striped termite fumigation tent sits over the church at the busy intersection of South Broadway and Cook Street, with the cross standing uncovered on the rooftop and signaling the house of worship underneath.

Due to the pest-control measures that began Tuesday, the church building at 311 S. Broadway will remain closed through Friday, officials said on the church website.

First United Methodist Church of Santa Maria reportedly was the first church constructed in the city in 1873 and continues to sound its church bells during the day.

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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Jackson’s Equal Pay Bill Passes Out of Committee

By | Published on 04/22/2015


A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to close the wage gap that women face at work passed out of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on Wednesday. The vote was 4-0.

Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, would ensure that women are paid equally for work that is comparable or substantially similar to the work of their male colleagues, and do not face retaliation if they discuss or ask about pay at work. If signed into law, it would be the strongest equal pay law in the nation.

“Equal pay is long overdue. It isn’t just the right thing for women, it’s the right thing for our economy and for California. Families rely on women’s income more than ever before. Because of the wage gap, our state and families are missing out on $33.6 billion dollars a year," Jackson said. “That is money that could be flowing into families’ pocketbooks, helping to feed our children and assist families in making ends meet. It is money that could be flowing into our businesses and our economy. But this is also an issue of basic fairness, of ensuring that women’s paychecks reflect their work and true value. It is time that we fix the wage gap that women face at work once and for all, and lead the nation in showing how it can be done.”

“Promoting fair pay and eliminating the gap between the wages of women and men in California is more important than ever. Women are critical to building a strong and vibrant economy in this state and have played a pivotal role in the economic recovery of the past few years. They are also breadwinners in two-thirds of families with children. Yet women, especially women of color and mothers, continue to lose precious income to a pervasive, gender-based wage gap. SB 358 will make California’s equal pay law clearer, stronger, and more effective,” said Jennifer Reisch, legal director for Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization.

When the bill is amended next week, it would go further than current, federal gender-based discrimination law in a number of ways:

» It would prohibit retaliation against employees who discuss or ask about pay at work.

» It would allow employees to challenge pay discrimination based on wages paid to other workers at different worksites of the same employer. For example, a female grocery store clerk who works at a store could challenge higher wages being made by male grocery store clerks at a store owned by the same employer a few miles away.

» Employees could challenge pay discrimination based on wages paid to those doing substantially similar work. For example, a female housekeeper who cleans rooms in a hotel could challenge the higher wages being paid to a male janitor who cleans the lobby and banquet halls.

» It would require employers to show that differences in wages are due to factors other than gender, that the factor is job-related and reasonable, and that these factors – rather than discrimination – account for the difference in pay. For example, if a male chef is making more money than a female chef because he works weekend shifts, the employer would have to show that the weekend shifts are busier and require more work and account for the difference in wages. In addition, the employer would have to prove that the weekend shift position was open to all chefs, and that the employer hired the male chef because he was the most qualified or willing to work the shifts.

In 2013, a woman in California working full-time made a median 84 cents to every dollar a man earned, according to the Equal Rights Advocates. The gap is significantly greater for women of color. Latinas in California make only 44 cents for every dollar a white man makes, the most significant Latina wage gap in the nation. As a group, women who are employed full-time in California lose approximately $33.6 billion every year due to the wage gap.

Jackson is chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. SB 358 is one of the bills prioritized by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus this year as part of a package titled, “A Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunity for All Women.” The package of budget recommendations and bills is designed to advance women’s economic opportunities as the state rebounds from the economic downturn.

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

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


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Jim Hightower: ‘Dr. Evil’ Rick Berman Turns Out to Be ‘Dr. Silly’

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Big Oil, labor exploiters, industrial food factories, frackers and other corporate profiteers have been paying a lot of money to a man that celebrates himself "Dr. Evil" — the scourge of all progressive groups!

But Rick Berman is not a doctor, not evil and not a scourge. While he is a wholly unprincipled little man, he's just a self-serving huckster who grubs for corporate dollars by offering to do their dirty PR work. His specialty is taking secret funding from major corporations to publicly slime environmentalists, low-wage workers and anyone else perceived by his corporate clients as enemies.

Berman's modus operandi is not exactly sophisticated. Taking money from the likes of Philip-Morris, Monsanto and Tyson Foods, he sets up tax-exempt front groups (with non-descript names like the Center for Consumer Freedom, the Employment Policies Institute and the Environmental Policy Alliance), posing them as independent research and academic outfits.

Each one is an empty shell, run by his small staff of political hacks out of his Washington, D.C., office, and, using the names of the front groups, Berman and Co. buy full-page newspaper ads and write opinion pieces filled with made-up facts and manufactured horror stories for clueless media outlets that amount to raw hatchet attacks on whatever progressive groups or public policies the corporate funders want to kill.

His mad dog style is hardly worrisome to those targeted, for rather than drawing converts to the corporate funder's cause, it merely rallies the usual anti-labor, anti-enviro, anti-"fill in the blank" crowd. But it still appeals to brand-name corporate clients, for Berman promises to spew their message into the media without having any of the nastiness stick to them. "We run all this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors," he assured energy executives last year. "There is total anonymity," he bragged. "People don't know who supports us."

And can you even imagine a political PR campaign against environmentalists that was so negative, so ridiculously slanted and downright dirty, that it actually repulsed executives of some of America's biggest fracking corporations?

Wow — it's got to take a big wad of ugly to gag a fracker! But in the gross world of political rancor, few cough up hairballs as foul as those produced by Berman. Last year, he was in Colorado Springs, speaking at a meeting of Big Oil frackers about his down and dirty plan to smear and ridicule the grassroots enviros who've dared to oppose the fracking of Colorado's land, water, people and communities. Dubbing the campaign "Big Green Radicals," the Berman team revealed that their PR firm had dug into the personal lives of Sierra Club board members, looking for tidbits to embarrass them. Gut it up, Berman cried out to the executives, "You can either win ugly or lose pretty." The Little Generalissimo then urged them to pony up some $3 million for his assault, saying they should "think of this as an endless war," adding pointedly, "and you have to budget for it."

Unfortunately for the sleaze peddler, one appalled energy executive recorded his crude pitch and leaked it to the media. "That you have to play dirty to win," the executive explained, "just left a bad taste in my mouth." Even Anadarko, an aggressive fracking corporation with 13,000 fracked wells in the Rockies, publicly rejected Berman's political play, telling The New York Times: "It does not align with our values."

Berman likes to be called "Dr. Evil," but he's so coarse, strident, bombastic and clownish that he's become known as "Dr. Silly." And oops, not only is this huckster an ineffectual fake, but big holes in his curtain of anonymity are now revealing some of the corporations hiding behind it and his big funders want no part of that. To take a peek, go to

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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Goleta Council Awards $100,000 in Grants to Nonprofits

By | Published on 04/22/2015


The Goleta City Council has awarded local nonprofits $100,000 in grants to continue providing some of the city’s most vulnerable residents with essential services.

Overall, 47 organizations received some grant assistance for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

All but 10 of the groups catered to low-income, educational or cultural opportunities and took home Goleta City Grant funding — part of $75,600 officials doled out of the city’s general fund at the Goleta City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development chipped in another $24,400 for annual Community Development Block Grants to fund public services.

For the first time, one committee reviewed both types of grant applications, with requests totaling $165,215, according to Vyto Adomaitis, the city’s neighborhood services and public safety director.

Mayor Paula Perotte and Mayor Pro Tempore Jim Farr sat on the committee along with two appointed citizens, recommending some level of funding in various categories including cultural activities such as music, art and dancing, recreation and Goleta-oriented special events.

Among the 37 applications recommended for Goleta City Grant funding, most went to low-income services ($14,000) and youth and educational programs ($13,600 and $13.500, respectively).

Representatives from a dozen or so of the nonprofits showed up to Tuesday’s council meeting to thank officials for their continued support.

Farr said the whole experience made him feel “like Santa Claus.”

Recipients included the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens ($2,750), the Goleta Valley Historical Society ($3,000 in three grants), the Goleta Education Foundation ($3,000), the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy ($2,000), the Goleta Boys & Girls Club ($2,500), the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center ($3,000), and the Friends of Goleta Valley Library ($2,500).

On the list of 10 nonprofits awarded block grants were the Community Action Commission ($3,500), Goleta Neighborhood Clinic ($3,400) and the Family Service Agency, which will use the $3,000 for its Big Brothers Big Sisters program, among others.

“The funding really makes a huge difference in the services we’re able to provide,” said Lisa Brabo, executive director of Family Service Agency.

For a full list of organizations awarded, click here.

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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Tree Workers Hospitalized After Bee Swarm Attacks

By | Published on 04/22/2015


One of the men is stung 30 to 40 times in incident on Santa Barbara's Westside

Two tree workers were taken to the hospital Wednesday afternoon after being attacked by a swarm of bees on Santa Barbara's Westside, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The incident occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Valerio Street near San Pascual Street, said fire Capt. Mike Meyers.

The workers were trimming branches away from power lines when they were attacked by the swarm, Meyers said.

One worker suffered 30-40 stings, Meyers said, while the other was only stung two or three times.

Both were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Fire crews dispatched to the scene found two separate swarms on opposite sides of Valerio Street, Meyers said.

Beekeepers were called in to assist, and were able to capture one of the swarms.

Neighbors on Valerio Street said the swarm had been growing in recent days, and they had notified the city, but nothing had been done. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara City Tree Inspector Randy Fritz was suited up and lifted into the foliage, where he was able to contain the swarm in a wooden box.

At 4:15 p.m., they were preparing to corral the remaining, larger swarm, which Meyers estimated was two feet long and a foot across.

After assessing the situation, the beekeepers decided to wait until later in the evening to allow the swarm to calm down. Crews returned at dusk and removed the second swarm.

Valerio Street was shut down to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic from San Pascual to San Andres Street, and the closure lasted several hours.

Neighbors were watching the activity from both ends of the cordoned-off street, and several said they had called the city to report the swarm in the previous days but had not seen anything done.

Valerio Street Resident Lisa Lopez was in the area, and said that she walks her dogs on the street each day, and had seen the swarm growing larger and larger each day over the past several weeks.

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.

Santa Barbara firefighters, some wearing special protective gear, responded to the city's Westside Wednesday after a swarm of bees attacked two tree workers, sending them to the hospital. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)


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Santa Maria Council OKs Water, Sewer Rate Hikes for Next 3 Years

By | Published on 04/22/2015


The City of Santa Maria's water and sewer rates will rise 5 percent annually for the next three years, continuing a trend that began more three decades ago.

By a vote of 4-1 Tuesday night, the City Council approved the increases, which will become effective each July 1 from this year through 2017.

Councilwoman Etta Waterfield was the lone opponent.

The typical family will pay $3.79 a month more under the first increase for the combined water and sewer rate hikes, Utilities Director Shad Springer said.

“Our goal is to manage and operate the system as efficiently as possible, including day-to-day operations, planning for expansion, and completing maintenance and repair projects,” Springer said. “It’s important to maintain the infrastructure to reduce the chances of catastrophic failure. 

“Catastrophic failures are expensive and a waste of an important water resource,” he added.

A recent water line failure in Los Angeles led to the loss of 8 million gallons. To put that in perspective, city customers use 12 million gallons a day, he noted.

The city has implemented annual rate hikes of at least 5 percent since 1981 to cover operating costs, acquisition costs, maintenance expenses, and more. 

Springer said staff looked at various options before recommending the 5-percent increase, the alternative that keeps the water and sewer funds financially healthy.

“The proposed 5-percent increase allows the city to maintain sufficient revenue to operate the city’s water and sewer system, pay for costs associated with State Water delivery, and maintain existing infrastructure,” Springer said. 

The rate hike proposal failed to draw the required number of protests to stop the increase, according to Springer.

As of Tuesday, the city received two official protests of the more than 20,000 accounts served by the city.

The city needed written opposition from 10,874  customers to block the increase.

Two residents also spoke during the public hearing Tuesday night. 

Following the public hearing and initial approval, the council is scheduled to give the final approval at its May 5 meeting.

Even with the increase, the water and sewer rate of $80.81 per month paid by city customers will still fall among the lowest on the Central Coast.

Montecito and Solvang are at the highest end, while residents in Grover Beach, Buellton and Guadalupe pay the lowest rates, according a survey conducted by the Santa Maria city staff.

In opposing the rate hike, Waterfield noted residents see price increases at the gas pumps, in grocery stores and more.

“I’m tired of being increases in my life everywhere I go,” Waterfield said.

But other council members noted their predecessors and prior staff were forward thinking in lining up a good supply of quality water for residential and ag users, Councilman Jack Boysen said. 

“Santa Maria has really accepted its responsibility as stewards to future generations by ensuring a high quality recharge to our ground basin,” Boysen said. “And one way we do this is by blending our State Water along with our well water to provide a very high quality product… .”

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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Child Struck By Car, Injured on Hollister Avenue

By | Published on 04/22/2015


A child who was struck by a vehicle Wednesday afternoon on Hollister Avenue near San Marcos High School sustained minor injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At 12:32 p.m., emergency dispatchers received a report of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian accident near the school, and Santa Barbara sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers were dispatched to the scene.

The child was taken by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment, the CHP reported.

Additional details were not available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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


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Susan Miles Gulbransen: Sameer Pandya, Lee Wardlaw and Poet Laureate Sojouner Kincaid Rolle

By | Published on 04/22/2015


What’s a writer to do with several finished short stories and a manuscript not long enough to make a full book? If you are local author Sameer Pandya, you put some of those short stories together, add the short novel, (called novella) and end up with a book, The Blind Writer: Stories and a Novella (University of Hawai’i Press).

Sounds like a slam dunk? Hold it a minute. It’s not so easy.

Pandya, born in India but raised in California, attended UC Davis and received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. For his “day job” he teaches literature and creative writing at UC Santa Barbara. He had his first story published 10 years ago, “Welcome Back, Mahesh.” It is now included in the book.

The two of us talked about how an author decides which stories to use and in what order. After going through his writings, Pandya chose nine of them, a number common with collections of short stories. Some works jump out as perfect; others can be like problem children.

“I kept tweaking and rewriting four of the nine,” he said. “They wouldn’t come together. Finally I put them aside and worked on another 10-page short story.

“The more I worked on it, the more it grew. It ended up being over 100 pages and became the title story.”

The novella format offers the advantage of writing more sustained narratives.

“Themes that had popped up in my short stories, like fatherhood and motherhood, echoed in the novella,” Pandya said. “I could stay with those themes and develop them and the characters with more depth.”

Next he had to arrange the chosen stories in an order the reader could follow, similar to pacing the plot of a novel.

“I wanted to start the book with flashes of short stories and then finish with a longer one,” he explained. “That’s where the novella fit in. When looking over my final collection, I found one with the mother as the protagonist and another with the father.

“They became the first and last of the five short stories. In between are three stories from the point of view of sons.”

Another irony of looking back on the stories is how his own life has changed. Since Pandya’s first published short story more than a decade ago, he admits that his age allows him to see his earlier work in a new light.

“Planning the book allowed me to say ‘This story works,’ or ‘That one doesn’t,’” he said. “The four I took out of the original nine are still on my hard drive. Some of those characters I’m devoted to and like, but right now is not the time to use them.”

Pandya is drawn to thematic issues about domesticity and family.

“The strange thing is that much of my writing is about families with young sons — long before we had two boys,” he said. “In one story, the older boy has an allergy to wheat and dairy. As it turns out, my younger son has allergy to dairy.”

Two of the stories deal with conflicts between sons. Although Pandya has no brothers, he has two older sisters and a strong family life.

“My writing is often about Indians living in California, but my intent is to make the stories more universal, make the characters like all of us,” he said. “Stories are often about life you don’t have.”

                                                                  •        •        •

For those of us who have a keen interest in books, we owe huge thanks to children’s book authors. They are the key to literature’s future and the ones who make it possible for children to learn to read for pleasure, get drawn into a story and to discover something new.

The best of children’s books, I believe, are the ones that please parents and grandparents, as well. A recent favorite in our family has been Lee Wardlaw’s Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, about a Siamese cat that a family adopts and how the cat adjusts to its new home.

Haiku, a form of Japanese poetry, has a sub-form called Senryu, which tells tales and adventures. Wardlaw uses this form and it works. Even our 3-year-old grandson chooses her books time and again. OK by me.

Now Wardlaw has a follow up book, Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, about the same family adopting a dog! Talk about sibling rivalry. Wardlaw gives the story universal appeal so all the parents in our family like reading it out loud as much as the kids love hearing it.

Spoiler Child Alert: These books make great gifts.

                                                                  •        •        •

As a part of National Poetry Month, poet, playwright, educator and mediator Sojouner Kincaid Rolle stood before the Santa Barbara City Council earlier this month to be named the city’s sixth poet laureate. Behind her in the standing room-only chambers sat three previous poet laureates: Perie Longo, Paul Willis and Cryss Yost, the outgoing honoree. All were awarded the position for their poetry and active roles within the community to encourage creativity and enrich our lives with the spoken word.

Kincaid Rolle, dressed in a flowing Tibetan coat with a gold-trimmed scarf and head bandeau, wore a wreath on her head. It was a gift from Willis and his wife, Sharon, who together made the wreath out of laurel leaves.

“I have been lucky to have received many honors, but this is among the most significant,” Kincaid Rolle began her acceptance speech. “... Since the announcement I have received hundreds of messages. It’s overwhelming to have all that energy directed toward you. I’ve been lifted.”

A former lawyer before becoming a poet, she has led and encouraged creative writing and poetry across our community from UCSB classes to workshops in the schools as well as within the whole community. Her last count reports more than 300 active poets in Santa Barbara.

At the end of her speech she read her first public poem (scroll down the page for the poem), this one about Santa Barbara. It received a standing ovation.

For the next two years, Kincaid Rolle will be part of several city events and ceremonies. Look for our poet laureate with a new poem in hand to help us see our city and its people with refreshed eyes.

A Song of Santa Barbara

We honor the first people of this place:
Chumash, Barbereños.
We honor the elders
the keepers of this ancient culture.
O’ the beautiful city by the sea,
city by the side of the Royal Road.

Stately palms sway in harmony with the wind
and the soaring hawks.

Dancers, yellow hibiscus blossoms
in their hair, twirl and clap.
Magenta bougainvilleas snake along the pathways,
crawl across scape of land,
climb the stucco walls.

In the name of Saint Barbara,
patron of mariners and surfers,
we pay homage to the dolphin
relating the legend of the Rainbow Bridge.

We honor those whose forebears
built a life here.
We know their names.
They are as familiar
as the names off our streets,
our paseos, our placitas:
De la Guerra,
Ortega ...

We take shelter beneath
the Moreton bay fig,
a canopy of hope.
We hang our holiday lights
on the Norfolk Island pine.

We are known for graceful palm
the lavender jacaranda,
the California scrub oak.

to the watershed,
we lift our eyes
to hills.
Our creeks — Mission,
Sycamore, Arroyo Burro —
some dry beds,
carry the precious liquid
more valued than gold.

We are keepers of bees.
Hummingbirds flitter
among birds of paradise.

Monarchs graze in our front yards,
traveling the yellow-blossomed coast
clustering in the warm embrace
of our eucalyptus groves.

We share our plenty with the seagulls
and the crows.
We hold sanctuary for the California condor,
the bald eagle, the brown pelican
the snowy plover, the green turtle,
the island fox.

We wake each day
to the sounds of a mixed flock.
Mockingbirds serenade us
through long afternoon into night.

Singing a song of Santa Barbara.

— Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
​April 7, 2015

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 to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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San Marcos Royals Win Silver at Virtual Enterprise Competition in New York

By | Published on 04/22/2015


In what was just the start for San Marcos High School in New York City last week, their Virtual Enterprise “company,” Coastal Glass & Creations, was thrilled to take the silver in the Web Design Competition at the 2015 Virtual Enterprise International Trade Fair Competition.

Things only got better from there. For the first time ever for San Marcos and Santa Barbara Unified, the eight students represented San Marcos beyond expectation in the nail-biting Global Business Challenge — a challenge where the Royals were separated and regrouped with students from eight other countries for a cutthroat, unrehearsed presentation.

In this special twist, the Royals were randomly mixed with other international Virtual Enterprise students, and handed the challenge to justify why a real corporation, Victorinox, should launch a perfume line.

“All 30 groups competed in the preliminary round; after which only six groups qualified for the Finalist Championship Round,” VE teacher Tami Ryan said, “and in those six finalist groups were three San Marcos students, Elizabeth Carlos, Armando Chavez and Marcos Valdivia Jr.”

Valdivia and his group proudly placed second.

This was the inaugural visit to the New York competition for San Marcos High School.

The eight students were able to visit iconic New York sites, and even take in a Bull vs. Nets game and a Red Sox vs. Yankees game.

“It was fantastic to see San Marcos’ name up on the score boards,” said Florita Charco, “we were so thrilled to be there!”

Other iconic Manhattan visits included the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Ground Zero 9-11 Memorial, Barclays Center, the Body Worlds Exhibition, Wall Street and the Stock Exchange, Times Square and Central Park.

According to the Virtual Enterprises International website, VEI simulates a real business, in which students perform as executives and department employees to run a fictitious company. Through hands-on projects, students create and sell a product for virtual dollars. Students gain a skill set in commerce — something many young people do not learn until they are actually employed.

— Aaron Solis is the activities director for San Marcos High School.


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Bill Cirone: Common Core Explained — What, Why and How We Measure Student Success

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Few things excite the passions of concerned parents more than substantive changes to the ways in which their children are taught and their progress is measured. The new “Common Core” set of standards for teaching and learning being enacted nationwide has a lot of parents and teachers very excited, though there are some who are understandably concerned about what Common Core is, what it does and how it will affect their school-age children.

While not exhaustive, this article will provide a brief overview of Common Core, as well as address some of the apprehensions parents have about Common Core that have evolved over the several years since the new standards were announced.

Common Core State Standards, or CCSS, were developed by educators, adopted by 43 states, and implemented voluntarily by communities and districts to help prepare students for a complex and unpredictable future. The motivation for these new standards was the overwhelming consensus that “No Child Left Behind” requirements were actually impeding learning and the development of critical thinking skills in students.

Further, they were hamstringing teachers by forcing them to “teach to the test” — or face dire consequences.

Common Core seeks to move away from a “Test-and-Punish” policy and move toward a “Build-and-Support” approach, according to former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig. Honig also served as chairman of the Instructional Quality Commission, an advisory body to the California State Board of Education.

While states like New York and Kentucky have seen considerable consternation surrounding Common Core — due to what many argue was a “too much, too soon” approach — California’s approach has been more measured. There has been less reliance on testing, while local districts have been empowered and provided more autonomy and resources necessary to improve. While there is not — and never will be — unanimous support for Common Core, even among educators, the majority have embraced these new expectations embedded in CCSS, and feel they will make an important difference in how children learn and how we measure our classroom outcomes.

In the past, testing was largely relegated to one end-of-year assessment, called “summative” because it ostensibly summed up the year’s work. The first major shift, then, is that there will now be three components to assessment, rather than one single end-of-year assessment.

Summative tests will be retained as an important means of identifying progress that has been made. In addition, there will be interim assessments in the middle of the year, for teachers and districts to gauge how and what students are learning, and to make adjustments if they are not. The third component involves process. A digital library will be available to teachers year-long, providing strategies, tools and resources for determining how students are learning as the year progresses.

The second major shift involves test targets — what are the goals? Instead of having students merely accumulate knowledge, the Common Core targets are now designed to measure how well students understand the material and can use their new learning. Along with reading to follow a story, for example, students will learn to read in order to cite evidence and draw logical conclusions. They will use math to solve real-world challenges, rather than merely picking out the correct multiple-choice answer.

The new tests are not just harder versions of the old tests; they are truly testing new things — ways of thinking and analyzing information. A fourth grade math question, for example, will have students select and use the right tools to solve a problem and interpret the results in a given context. If you or your child is interested in seeing what kinds of questions will be on the California Common Core tests, you can take a sample test by clicking here.

These new tests are made possible by newer technology involving computer adaptation. Students take the tests on computers that enable them to highlight passages, drag and drop a series of symbols that answer a question, and even react to a correct or incorrect answer by changing the type of question that follows. Rather than requiring five to ten questions to see if a student has mastered a given concept, the new computer adaptation enables students to move ahead to higher levels of questions if they answer the first levels correctly, or step back to a slightly easier version of the same question if they are incorrect.

Why make these changes? “The standards are seen both to embody the kind of education we have long desired for our students,” Honig says, “as well as providing a tremendous opportunity to stimulate much-needed discussions on how best to improve practice at each school and district and develop the collaborative capacity to support such efforts.”

In Santa Barbara County, we encourage that collaboration to continue — in the form of a robust, meaningful conversation among parents, teachers and students — as we move forward with Common Core.

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


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Jeff Moehlis: A Funny Evening with Janis Ian, Interspersed with Moments of Deep Depression

By | Published on 04/22/2015


The folk music icon will perform April 29 as part of the Tales from the Tavern series at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez

Folk music icon Janis Ian first made her mark with the hit song "Society's Child" about the challenges facing an interracial couple.

Remarkably, this was written when she was only 14 years old, and became a hit in 1967 after it was featured on a TV special hosted by Leonard Bernstein. An even bigger hit for Ian came in 1975 with "At Seventeen," a song about not fitting in that almost anyone who was a teenager can relate to. Other acclaimed recordings have appeared over the years.

Ian will be performing at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez on Wednesday, April 29 as part of the Tales From the Tavern concert series. Although the show is sold out, there are often "no-shows," meaning that some seats may become available at the door. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Ian talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show. Click here for the full interview.

                                                                 •        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to hearing at the upcoming Tales From the Tavern concert?

Janis Ian: Tales From the Tavern — God, I love that place. But it's going to be a bittersweet show. Tom Paxton's retiring this year, and we'll have finished our last show together on the 26th at the Freight & Salvage [in Berkeley]. So Tales From the Tavern will be my first solo show this year. I'm only doing four total. So it'll be a little bittersweet, but it'll also be fun because I really, really like that venue. I'm actually going there at my own request [laughs]. It should be good.

I've started incorporating a couple of new songs into the show. I'm starting to think about starting a new record. I'm taking requests, because I'll be solo. I expect a pretty relaxed, funny evening, interspersed with moments of deep depression [laughs].

JM: Well, that's what we're looking forward to!

If you don't mind going back in time, I find it fascinating that you started out having success at such a young age with the song "Society's Child." How did that song come together, especially with you being so young at that point?

JI: Oh, Jeff, if I knew how those things worked I would bottle it. I have no idea. I think that there's a reason that most of the artists I know are pretty humble. I mean, that sounds gratuitous, but I think in general we're a pretty humble bunch. And I would include journalists in that, too. It's not something that we learned. We perfect it, and we worked really hard at it, there's no doubt. But it's not something that we do anything to get. It's been handed to us.

So I always look on it as a very happy accident that I was born into the right time for my talents, with the right talents for the time.

And that I have the energy to use the talent, the good fortune to be born into a family that respected this sort of talent, because God knows that there are families that don't. There's so many variables that could go wrong with something like this that it's a miracle to me that anybody ever gets anywhere. That being said, I was born, apparently, with a lot of drive and desire to make music. I don't remember ever not wanting to make music as my life. So I can't really look at it as anything extraordinary, because it just always was.

JM: "Society's Child" got a lot of exposure from being on the Leonard Bernstein TV special [Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, broadcast in April 1967]. Did you realize at the time how big of a deal that was to be on that show?

JI: No. I think my parents understood that, but I certainly didn't.

To me it was pretty cool to be on TV. I thought that was great, but beyond that it didn't occur to me. That was when we only had seven channels in New York, five in most of the rest of the country. On a Sunday night to be featured for that long, it just didn't compute. I wasn't thinking about it. He was very kind to me.

JM: It's the 40th anniversary of your album Between the Lines, which is arguably your biggest one. What are your reflections on that album, looking back?

JI: It was great. We knew that it was something special when we were making it. In fact, Brooks Arthur — the producer — and I tried to get more funding so that we could cut another six or seven songs, because we felt like something really extraordinary was happening in the studio that we wouldn't be able to repeat. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the funding, so there you go. But it was a joy, because the musicians were so into it. I mean, they were just having a big time, and that's also so unusual for the musicians — the studio guys — it's unusual for them to get excited, but they did, which was great. I feel very lucky that I got to make that record. I think it's a really outstanding record, sonically, too. Brooks was doing things that people still aren't able to do.

JM: Of course, that has your song "At Seventeen" on it. How did that song come together?

JI: I was staying with my mom because I was broke, and I was waiting for an advance so that I could buy some clothes and go out on tour, and get some guitar strings and stuff like that. I was reading The New York Times, and there was an article in there where a woman said she had learned the truth at 18. She had thought that when she came out as a debutante everything was going to be fixed, and her life would be perfect. And of course it wasn't. And I just took it off from there. It took a long time. I was nervous writing it. It's not an easy song to sing, let alone write.

JM: It's a pretty universal theme, but was it also autobiographical?

JI: Yeah, I don't think you could write a song like that without it being autobiographical. I can't imagine that.

JM: You wrote an autobiography that came out in 2008. In the process of writing that, were there any surprises about yourself or otherwise that you learned?

JI: Yeah, I was surprised at how focused I had always been on music.

I mean, from the very first time I wrote in my little journal I wrote about music, and I wrote about wanting to use words and wanting to play with words. I was surprised at how much that theme recurred, how often and how strong it was. Because even though I say I always wanted to do music, I don't think back to when I was 9 years old, or when I was 13 years old writing about how can I become a better writer, and why don't I write better right now. Stuff like that, you don't think about..

— 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, The opinions expressed are his own.


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Cream the Competition with Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival’s Daily Dessert-Eating Contests

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Who hasn’t at some point dug into a tasty dessert — not just thoroughly enjoyed it — but all-out-eat-like-no-is-watching devoured that sweet treat? This weekend anyone can do just that with daily strawberry dessert eating contests at the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival.

According to the California Strawberry Commission, strawberries are voted a top favorite by kids. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Strawberry Festival dessert eating contest. With whipped cream on their faces and strawberry smiles, kids and adventurous adults get to play with food and see who is the most adept at eating without utensils.

Watch as dessert aficionados compete in strawberry dessert eating contests held daily at 4:30 p.m. On Friday see who can stuff themselves with the most strawberry pie. On Saturday dive into fluffy layers of strawberry shortcake and on Sunday, it’s all about the strawberry-topped funnel cake. Whether you dig in and compete for the title of supreme strawberry eater or simply watch the sweet, messy-good action, the strawberry dessert eating contests are sure to put a smile on your face.

The 28th Annual Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival “Carnival Lights & Strawberry Delights,” takes place April 24-26. Check out this year’s new attractions like Puzzle-mania, Ken Garr’s amazing strolling magic show and the crazy juggling antics of the Something Ridiculous jugglers. Visit some kid favorites like the Great American Petting Zoo, pony rides and the SUN Extreme Sports Zone. Don’t forget to bite into some of the tastiest strawberries in the country.

The festival kicks off with the Strawberry Queen coronation at 7 p.m. Friday, April 24. That day is also Senior’s Day with all seniors 62 and older receiving free admission. On Saturday, April 25, the younger set gets the special treatment with Kids Day and admission just $1 for youth, ages 6 through 11. The festival wraps up with Fiesta Day on Sunday, April 26 featuring Hispanic entertainment.

General admission is $9; $7 for youth; and $6 for seniors. Children 5 and younger are free.

The festival is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Carnival wristbands are $28 at the festival. Festival attendees can buy one wristband and get one free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 24 for $28. Riders must be present at time of purchase.

For additional information, click here or Like us on Facebook.

— Shelly Cone represents the Santa Maria Fairpark.


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Santa Barbara Harbor’s Operation Clean Sweep Celebrates 9 Years

By | Published on 04/22/2015


The seafloor in any busy harbor can grow littered with lost or discarded junk, impacting boating safety and the environment. You may ask yourself, “What’s really down there, and how does it ever get cleaned up?”

Enter Santa Barbara Harbor’s Operation Clean Sweep, with its ninth annual event taking place Saturday, May 2.

A team of volunteer divers will plunge into harbor waters off Marina 1 fingers “Q,” “R” and “S” from 9 to 11 a.m., supported by 25 dock workers who will help cart off what the divers retrieve.

During the past eight Clean-Sweep events, 15.7 tons of debris have been removed from Santa Barbara Harbor! This year’s event reflects a special achievement — all marina fingers will have been "swept" one time, finishing the first-ever circumnavigation of Santa Barbara Harbor. Items retrieved during past years range from bicycles, barbecues, satellite dishes, plastic barrels and boat propellers, to outboard engines, fishing poles, dock carts, buckets, beer bottles and the occasional marine battery.

The Santa Barbara Waterfront Department joins Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, Surfrider Foundation, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, harbor dive businesses and local fishermen in this effort. The public is welcomed to watch or participate in the dockside activities. You may be surprised to see just what turns up!

— Mick Kronman is the harbor operations manager for the City of Santa Barbara.


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Rona Barrett: Old Is Cool, Not Old School

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Raise your hand if you know what Throwback Thursday means. tells me — and any of you who didn’t raise your hand — that it’s “the name of a weekly social media posting trend game that users participate in to share and look back fondly on some of their favorite memories.”

With all these 21st century words that are being thrown at us of a certain age, it got me thinking nostalgically of words that no longer have a place in our language. So, here are some “old school” words that have passed so far from our lexicon that college students age 25 or younger, when recently asked, had no clue of their meaning.

Penny candy: The students’ best guess? Penny candy was an actress. XXX-cuse me if I don’t mention which type of film she would star in. I hear “penny candy” and I immediately taste fruit slices, Annie Rooneys, Boston drops, Trilby cuts and Humbugs.

Green stamps: I remember when the S&H Green Stamps’ reward catalogue was the largest publication in the U.S. The students’ response? "Like what they do at Disneyland when you want to re-enter?"

Rumble seat: They thought it had something to do with professional wrestling. This flesh jiggling exterior seat at the rear of a jalopy finally disappeared in 1949.

Gams: Our generation’s slang for a nice pair of female legs. Their guess? "That orange potato thing."

Galoshes: Them: "Aren't those the eyelashes sold by Lady Gaga?" If you grew up in any state east of Arizona, you must remember the rubber outer shoes worn in the rain or snow.

Instamatic: As ubiquitous as our cell-phone cameras are now, remember the easy-load cartridge "Pocket Instamatics" when you wanted to grab a moment? The students guessed "Instamatic" was some sort of coffee machine.

Mary Janes: They had no idea about the tooth-extracting peanut butter and molasses candy or the children's shoes. Their guess was "something you smoke at a party."

Mercurochrome: Try describing the orange chicken-like glow of the topical antiseptic now banned because of its mercury content. One student thought that it might be a science fiction movie from the '50s.

Service station: "A place you visit in Las Vegas," one student joked.

Bouffant: Remember those '60s beehive-hairstyles balancing on top our heads? The closest student guess was a puffy shirt — like those made famous by Seinfeld.

Rabbit ears: Students thought the top-of-the television antenna that brought in VHF signals was something you ordered in a restaurant — like buffalo wings.

LOOK: "At what?" was all they could say when they heard the name of the magazine that biweekly sold 7.75 million copies.

Oh well, despite the vast new knowledge of the under-25 set, I still think these 20th century “old school” words are very cool.

Well, maybe I shouldn't use the word "cool" (year of origination: 1930). Neat (1806)? Just dandy (1794)? Nifty (1865)? I think I’ll go with my 21st century buds (translation: pals) and just say, “They’re sick!”

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Capps Introduces Bill to Halt Offshore Fracking and Require Environmental Review

By | Published on 04/22/2015


On Wednesday, Earth Day, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, introduced a bill that would place a moratorium on offshore fracking in federal waters off the West Coast until a full environmental review of the controversial practice is completed.

Under the Offshore Fracking Transparency and Review Act of 2015, no hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or acid well stimulation treatment (acidizing) may take place in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf Region until the secretary of the interior conducts a preliminary study and environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The preliminary study would compile data on the practice and impacts of fracking and acidizing in the area to ensure that the relevant agencies have a better understanding of the latest science and practices of the oil and gas industry. After completion of this study, the secretary and other relevant agencies would conduct an EIS to assess the impacts of offshore fracking and acidizing on our marine environment and public health and present various alternatives that would avoid or minimize any adverse impacts.

The bill would also require the secretary to compile and maintain a list of all offshore fracking and acidizing activities that have taken place, or will take place, in the Pacific OCS Region. It would also require the secretary to notify all relevant state and local regulatory agencies after receiving any application for a permit to frack offshore and after fracking is conducted offshore.

“Today we celebrate Earth Day, a day established largely in response to the devastating 1969 oil spill off the Central Coast of California,” Capps said. “This week we also commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. These are two of the most devastating environmental catastrophes in the history of our nation, and we must do everything we can to ensure our economy and environment don’t one day again face the same devastation they endured during these two terrible events.

“While we still know very little about the impacts of onshore fracking, we know even less about impacts of offshore fracking. Until we can gain a better understanding of the scope and impacts of these activities, offshore fracking should be halted. We should not be putting the environment at risk because of inadequate oversight.”

“Despite the profound risks that offshore fracking and acidizing pose to the Santa Barbara Channel, its extraordinary wildlife, and the public, the U.S. Department of the Interior continues to rubber stamp new permits without any environmental study or even public notification,” said Brian Segee, senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Center. “We thank Rep. Capps for her leadership in introducing the Offshore Fracking Transparency and Review Act, which would finally shine a light on the use of these dangerous practices off California's coast, and require the Interior Department to put a halt to their use unless and until they can be proven safe.”

According to media reports and an analysis from the Environmental Defense Center, California’s coastal waters have been fracked at least 15 times in the last 20 years. Capps has been pushing federal regulators for information on this issue since the fracks were first revealed in August 2013 and she continues to monitor onshore and offshore fracking activities closely.

In 2013, Capps sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for a moratorium on offshore fracking activities in federal waters off the coast of California until a comprehensive study is conducted to determine the impacts of fracking activities on the marine environment and public health.

Capps also supports several pieces of legislation that would increase the transparency and safety of onshore fracking activities, including the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, the Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects (BREATHE) Act, the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act, and the Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations Act (CLEANER) Act. These measures would close loopholes that currently allow the oil and gas industry to avoid complying with environmental protection laws on hydraulic fracking and other activities.

On Wednesday, Capps also reintroduced the California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act, which would permanently ban new oil and gas development in federal waters off the coast of California. Capps has introduced this legislation every Congress since 2006.

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


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RRM Design Group Adds Structural Engineering Services

By | Published on 04/22/2015


RRM Design Group is pleased to announce the expansion of its engineering services with the addition of structural engineering.

As a multi-discipline design firm comprised of architects, engineers, landscape architects, planners and surveyors, RRM recognized that the demand for this service would fit seamlessly into its structure and complement the other services it provides.

As a licensed structural engineer with more than a decade of experience, Michael Doremus will be leading this new service for RRM.

Doremus has spent most of his professional career in the Los Angeles area working on a wide variety of projects, including large health-care facilities, laboratories, performing arts centers and other project types.

Having received his degree from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, he is happy to be returning to the Central Coast with his family.

Jerry Michael, principal and leader of engineering at RRM, stated, “By bringing structural engineering in-house we will be able to provide our clients a well-coordinated, higher quality product in a shorter period of time.”

— Nicole Stephens is the senior marketing coordinator for RRM Design Group.


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UCSB’s David Morrison Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

By | Published on 04/22/2015


David Morrison, a UCSB professor in both the departments of mathematics and physics and currently chair of the mathematics department, has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

David Morrison

His selection brings to 34 the number of UCSB faculty members who have been named fellows of the academy.

The academy is an independent policy research center that conducts interdisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems.

Since its founding in 1780, the academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century, and Margaret Mead and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 20th century.

The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

“The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, and David Morrison’s election as a member is a well-deserved honor,” UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said. “I congratulate Professor Morrison on this outstanding achievement. As a member of the academy, he joins some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts, including 33 other UC Santa Barbara faculty members.”

Morrison works at the interface of geometry and theoretical physics, applying geometric techniques to address questions in string theory and quantum gravity. He uses results and ideas from theoretical physics to suggest new directions of research in mathematics. Among his accomplishments are the description of space-time singularities and topology change in string theory, mathematical ramifications of duality between quantum gravity theories, and other scale-invariant physical theories and foundational work in F-theory (a branch of string theory). Morrison has been at UCSB since 2006.

Members of the 2015 class include winners of the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony awards. The 2015 class includes University of California President Janet Napolitano; host and co-executive producer of National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” Terry Gross; Nobel-winning physiologist Brian Kobilka; Pulitzer Prize winners Mary Oliver, a poet, and New York Times art critic Holland Cotter; actors Audra McDonald and Christopher Plummer; and singer-songwriter Judy Collins.

“We are honored to elect a new class of extraordinary women and men to join our distinguished membership,” said Don Randel, chair of the academy’s board of directors. “Each new member is a leader in his or her field and has made a distinct contribution to the nation and the world. We look forward to engaging them in the intellectual life of this vibrant institution.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 10 at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

— Julie Cohen represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Three Diverse Dance Companies to Share ‘Common Ground’ at Granada Theatre

By | Published on 04/22/2015


State Street Ballet Director Rodney Gustafson believes collaboration broadens perspectives — for artists, audiences and communities. So when he was approached by Montreal-based choreographer Edgar Zendejas about a work featuring Max Richter’s recomposition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Gustafson seized the opportunity to collaborate.

State Street Ballet, Eisenhower Dance and Santa Barbara Dance Theater will present an evening of eclectic artistry May 9 at the Granada Theatre.

The result is an evening of eclectic artistry, featuring a world-premiere work performed by three diverse dance companies: State Street Ballet, Eisenhower Dance and Santa Barbara Dance Theater.

“Interaction with others happens from the moment we are born, always changing and always moving, starting from the new to the old in every relationship,” Zendejas explained. “In The Four Seasons, my idea is to explore the change of seasons within each one of us.”

Zendajas has accomplished that in his choreography by showcasing the uniqueness of each company in portraying one of the seasons, culminating in a finale where the stage is shared by all three, creating a new vision through the common language of dance.

The signature styles of the companies are well-defined in the first half of the evening’s program, as each showcases a work with choreography that integrates multi-media components:

» Santa Barbara’s Chris Fossek, master guitarist, composer and top-10 Billboard recording artist, has teamed up with choreographer William Soleau to create a new work for State Street Ballet. The inspiration for the piece comes from the paintings of artist Mark Rothko. Soleau describes the piece, titled "Canvas," as “music and dance layered like paint on a canvas. Chris will perform the music live on stage where the colors of the guitar take the dancers through an emotional journey of human interactions.”

» Detroit’s Eisenhower Dance, who last collaborated with State Street Ballet on the popular Motown in Motion, brings "Between Shadow and Soul" to the stage. The piece was originally created as part of The Light Show, a production that paired choreographers with lighting designers and gave them the task of creating a work based on unique lighting design. Choreographer Gina Patterson was teamed with New York lighting designer Burke Brown for this production, described as “gorgeous and passionate” by Eisenhower Dance Artistic Director Laurie Eisenhower.

» Artistic Director Christopher Pilafian has incorporated a projection of a painting from his Penumbrae series in Santa Barbara Dance Theater’s presentation of "Smolder." Pilafian said his piece is “a chamber work that sprang from a color and a piece of music. I was reading A Perfect Red, about the centuries-long search for a crimson pigment. At the same time I fell under the spell of one of Rachmaninoff’s beautiful pieces.”

Gustafson explained that directing State Street Ballet for the past 20 years has shown him that “collaborative work has the deepest and most meaningful impact on the community at large.” With that in mind, State Street Ballet has organized outreach programs, master classes, and pre-performance discussions to fully involve audiences in all facets of this creative milestone.

Common Ground is funded by Sara Miller McCune (20th anniversary sponsor); Margo Cohen-Feinberg and Tim Mikel (performance sponsors); the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission; and the Santa Barbara Independent and Santa Barbara News-Press (media sponsors).

There will be one performance only: May 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Tickets are available at or the Granada box office at 805.899.2222. Tickets are priced from $35 to $55; Patron tickets, $103; Student/children's tickets, $23. Group discounts (for parties of 10 or more) are available. Special discount for UCSB Dance 45 students with ID.

— Barbara Burger represents State Street Ballet.


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Kathi King Shares Her SBCC Story in Support of Campaign for Student Success

By | Published on 04/22/2015


Kathi King has always been passionate about the environment, doing what she can as an individual. When she started to see a bigger picture emerge of wanting to do more in the community, she became a re-entry student at Santa Barbara City College focused on environmental studies.

King found the college to be a very welcoming place as she figured out the next chapter in her life.

Today, King is a program manager at the Community Environmental Council, working on programs such as putting water refill stations in schools, issues surrounding food waste, and accessible biking. While the community has come a long way in becoming cleaner and greener, she acknowledges there is still a great amount of work to be done.

“Working for the environment is a legacy in Santa Barbara,” King said. “The environmental studies education I received at SBCC helped me gain the skills and confidence I needed to find a job in this field while becoming connected to the environmental community.”

She shares her SBCC story in a short video available by clicking here.

Just like King, there are many SBCC students pursuing their passions — everything from nursing to culinary arts to mathematics.

During the month of April, the SBCC Foundation is running its annual Campaign for Student Success, and is seeking the broadest possible participation from the community. Funds raised during this time enrich the academic experience.

When you support the campaign, you invest in students — the future of Santa Barbara. Make a donation today by clicking here.

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


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Young Musicians to Take Center Stage for Santa Barbara Middle School’s Songfest

By | Published on 04/22/2015


This Saturday, April 25, Santa Barbara Middle School will celebrate its 30th year showcasing music, talent, community and youthful courage at its annual Songfest event at Chase Palm Park from 2 to 5 p.m.

This musical celebration, known as Songfest, is a flagship event of Santa Barbara Middle School. It has humble beginnings, and through the years has evolved and grown into a concert-style community celebration. Last year, more than 300 people came and enjoyed a day of live music, food truck fare and beautiful sunshine at this free beachside celebration.

Ted Rhodes, a name well-known name in the local and L.A. movie production scene, has been the steadfast, passionate co-producer of this event, along with Marco Andrade, SBMS Spanish teacher, alum and passionate musician for 20 of those 30 years. For the past 18 years, the “Grateful Dads,” a dedicated group of volunteer alumni parents, have formed the backdrop and have performed backup music to support the young musicians on stage. They will be on stage again this Saturday to support the young musicians.

The spirit of SBMS Songfest this year has more of a public purpose as it opens the stage to include more Santa Barbara community youth music programs such as RockShop Academy, Girls Rock Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy, New Noise and Notes for Notes. These community music groups will perform a pre-show set from noon to 2 p.m. at Chase Palm Park.

“With so many individual youth music programs in town, all of which share a common mission, it just seemed to make sense to bring these groups together, to use the power of music to educate and connect our community,” Andrade said. “There are so many key supporters for the youth music scene. Some of which include the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation and Santa Barbara Education Foundation, specifically, Rick Boller, executive director of the Santa Barbara Bowl and SBMS alumni parent, Margie Yahyavi, executive director of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, along with Harry Rabin, SBMS dad and founder of ‘Keep the Beat.’”

Andrade shares that these folks, their staff and their committees are an inspiration.

“All of these groups are excited to see the synergy of the youth music culture coalescing to form a local collective of inspired young musicians under one promisingly blue sky!” he said.

Food will be provided by local food trucks and the nonprofit Freedom4Youth, and will be available for purchase at the event.

— Sue Carmody is the community outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara Middle School.


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Santa Barbara Officials Say More Must Be Done to Address Homelessness

By | Published on 04/21/2015


The results of the latest point-in-time count highlight a decrease in the number of people living on the city's streets since 2013

The number of homeless people in Santa Barbara has gone down, but on Tuesday city officials said more must be done to quell homelessness — and young “urban travelers” in particular.

One plan of action discussed at the Santa Barbara City Council meeting involved launching a pilot program on State Street that’s seen success in the Milpas corridor, where nine of the Eastside’s 10 most chronically homeless have been housed in the past year.

Jeff Shaffer, community coordinator for the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness, or C3H, said his organization was working with the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization to replicate the program, which combines the efforts of local business with essential services.

The reason Shaffer came to the council was to share results of the latest point-in-time count, which was conducted over two days in January by C3H, Common Ground Santa Barbara and hundreds of volunteers.

Every other year since 2011, the organizations conduct the count and create a vulnerability index to determine the number of homeless living in the county, whom to house and what strategy to pursue.

This year, volunteers contacted 893 homeless people in Santa Barbara.

That’s down from 946 in 2013 and 1,040 in 2011 — a 14-percent decrease over the past four years — but Santa Barbara still boasts most of Santa Barbara County’s homeless at 61 percent.

Rent is high, housing vacancy is low and there’s not enough assistance to go around — a perfect storm keeping Santa Barbara at the top of the local homelessness list.

Notable statistics from this year’s count showed 52 percent of respondents said they were living in the county before becoming homeless, with 22.4 percent coming from elsewhere in California and 23.9 percent from out of state.

The average age of those contacted in Santa Barbara was 45, the average time each had been living without a home was 6.1 years, and 15 percent of them were veterans.

The count found local homeless continue to face a high risk of violence and trauma, serious injury, chronic disease and mental illness.

An encouraging 74 percent of those surveyed reported they were enrolled in some type of health insurance.

Shaffer shared three of C3H’s strategies to reduce the number of homeless, including “housing first” (permanent housing right away), “housing ready” (placement in emergency shelter before transitioning into permanent housing) and “reunification,” where an individual is reunited with a family member or former employer who can provide support.

He said C3H was still tallying the cost savings of the Milpas pilot program, which he expected to be significant after compiling all ambulance use, jail visit and other data.

City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss wondered how many homeless reported receiving other government assistance, along with the number of urban travelers passing through, but exact figures weren’t available.

Shaffer said C3H was also still examining the street youth issue.

“The more we understand, the more we know what to do,” Hotchkiss said, asking for more detailed data in the future.

Council members paid special notice to another C3H initiative, a landlord liaison program meant to create incentives for property owners renting to those coming out of homelessness.

More landlords are looking at market rental rates and deciding against catering to low-income brackets, according to C3H.

Shaffer said half of the homeless housed through the Milpas program had mental-health issues, with the others battling substance abuse.

“The nine have not gone back to the streets,” he said, agreeing that more information was needed to best decide where future funding should go.

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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Despite Pleas from Families, County Supervisors Opt Against Vote on Laura’s Law

By | Published on 04/21/2015


Despite the pleas of a dozen public speakers, several of whom have had family members die while struggling with mental illness, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors backed away Tuesday from a vote on a program that county staff say would save money and provide treatment for the most severely mentally ill.

One family member called the board's decision "profoundly sad."

The supervisors heard from county staff Tuesday about Laura's Law, a bill that has been adopted by several California counties and calls for mentally ill people who refuse treatment and meet specific criteria to enter a court-ordered treatment program.

On the table was a pilot program that would take 10 of the patients in the Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services department who are resistant to treatment and begin a system of outreach in order to get them to choose to treat their illness voluntarily. 

If, after repeated tries, a person still refused treatment and met the criteria, which include repeated mental health crises, a judge could order him or her to begin treatment in an outpatient setting.

County staff estimated that most likely only one person would reach that point out of the 10 who entered the program.

Although Supervisors Doreen Farr and Salud Carbajal said they felt it was time to embrace the law, the other three supervisors said they could not support it after hearing from ADMHS Director Alice Gleghorn that the department was overtaxed already, and could not take on another program as it works to make changes that were highlighted by an outside report.

The supervisors ultimately voted to come back after the upcoming budget process is complete to hear about the changes to the system that are being made, but punted on a Laura's Law vote.  

Lynne Gibbs, who Noozhawk profiled last year during a story on Laura's Law, was one family member who said she was "profoundly sad and disappointed" by the decision.

"I feel we have let down the families, some of whom have advocated for Laura's Law for years," she said.

In the meantime, she said, many have seen their family members suffer or die as a result of untreated mental illness. She added that the time for the law's passage in Santa Barbara "was a decade ago."

Gibbs, who serves on two of the ADMHS systems change committees, said that no degree of changes to the system "will help persons who are able to reject treatment for their mental illness when they don't know they are ill."

During Tuesday's presentation, Assistant County Executive Officer Terri Maus-Nisich gave an encyclopedic presentation, stating that the law has been significantly debated across the state and the country.

Proponents say the law reaches out to people who are so severely mentally ill that they don't recognize they have symptoms, and who are "unlikely to survive in the community," she said. "Frankly, they don't recognize they have a need."

Opponents often say that adults should be able to choose treatment for themselves and that civil liberties are at stake.

Forty-five states have legislation authorizing assisted outpatient treatment, or AOT, and New York is the only state with widespread implementation, she said.

Twelve counties in California are currently considering AOT, including Santa Barbara, she said, and six are in the process of implementing the law.

More counties are looking into the law at this time thanks to a 2013 clarification that stated Mental Health Service Act monies could be used for court-ordered treatment services, Nisich said.

MHSA monies may be used for components of the law, like housing that might be needed while a person is in treatment, but the county's general fund would have to fund court costs and costs to county counsel and public defender as the person is moving through the court process.

If the program were to be fully implemented, about 75 people would qualify, and by the time the extensive outreach was conducted, only about three three would received a court order, since most will chose treatment voluntarily before then, she said.

The cost to operate a full program would be $2.2 million, and would include the costs of a full-time psychologist, a psych tech, court costs for a public defender, county counsel and all associated housing for about half of the clients.

Perhaps most astounding were the cost figures given.

Under the full program, each client moving through AOT would cost about a third of what those clients cost to the system now. The cost of each would be about $30,000 under AOT, as opposed to about $89,000 now.

Maus-Nisich later clarified those costs only include treatment, and do not include the amount the county spends for incarceration for those clients.

A "small yet meaningful 10-person program" was also considered, and would have cost $630,000 for a half-time psychologist and all the accompanying court expenses. 

With a smaller program, economies of scale would be lost, Maus-Nisich said, but the cost savings would still be significant, from $165,000 per client under the current system to $63,000 a person under AOT. The program could save over $4 million in hospitalization costs, according to the county estimates.

Supervisor Farr reminded the board that she and District Attorney Joyce Dudley gave direction to staff to look into the law because "we were asked by the public to bring it."

"We've heard so many heartbreaking stories about people in our community," she said.  

The department's system changes are going well, but Farr said she felt the law would complement the work being done. Dudley was also on hand at Tuesday's meeting to support the law.

When Supervisor Janet Wolf asked about success rates for the law, Maus-Nisich responded that L.A. County's program reported an 80-percent decrease in incarceration and a decrease of 70 percent in hospitalizations of patients in the program.

Nisich said it was more difficult to tell whether that success came from expanded services or the court-order itself.

Gleghorn said positive changes in the department are ongoing, but that "moving forward on so many fronts at once is proving very difficult."  

"It's probably too great a strain on the system at this time," she said, adding that the county could come back in a year and revisit.

Supervisor Peter Adam sympathized with Gleghorn, who began the position in December 2014.

"We hired you to fix a troubled department," he told her, adding that it is a "bit much" to ask somebody who has been there four months to take on another project.

About a dozen people spoke during public comment, many of whom were parents of adult children with mental illness who stated that many families are in crisis and urged county supervisors to approve the law. Some parents who spoke have children in the Incompetent to Stand Trial Program that is currently a cost burden to the county.

Ann Eldridge said she's been hearing the same arguments for a decade against the program, and "I am horrified that they still exist." 

Eldridge said the county should not wait until changes to the system are complete.

"It's a bit of magical thinking that if we have all this stuff done, then they will come," she said. "We have waited too long. ... It's time to do it."

On the dais, Adam said he didn't believe Laura's Law would fix the department.

"Fundamentally, we just have not been doing a good job," he said. "Better management is the only thing that is going to solve this problem."

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said the board is more committed to mental health than ever before, but that he had to defer to Gleghorn's observations.

"Until I get the ADMHS department head to say she's ready for it and her department is ready for it, I can't move forward," he said.

Farr said that not only does she look to staff for recommendations, but "I'm looking to the public we serve. Sometimes it's our job to push and ask for more," she said, adding that she supported the pilot project. Supervisor Carbajal agreed.

Ultimately, Wolf served as the deciding voice on the issue, and said she felt things were moving in the right direction and didn't feel good about taking on another program.

"In all good conscience, I can't vote for it, it's not working for me," she said.

The board approved coming back in several months to review the systems change process, with Carbajal saying he was voting yes, but "with discontent that we're not looking at Laura's Law."

"I think we all have the same thought," Lavagnino replied.

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


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Goleta Council Votes to Increase User Fees, But Drop Signage Costs for Old Town Businesses

By | Published on 04/21/2015


Bending to the pleas of Old Town Goleta business owners who were tired of paying hundreds of dollars to put up new signs, the Goleta City Council on Tuesday decided to exempt the group from a planned bump in city user fees.

The council unanimously voted to approve a 4.4-percent increase in user fees for planning-related services, the first such raise since 2012 made in order to keep up with a Cost Price Index, or cost of living, increase.

The change, effective July 1, is expected to bring in $40,000 in revenue to Goleta’s general fund.

User fees are based on the cost of city staff providing a service, and Goleta’s fee structure is based on a 2008 consultant cost analysis — a study the city plans to update later this year to ensure the amount of time and effort aligns with each task.

Business license fees were exempt, since those increases must be approved via ordinance or resolution, but two Old Town business owners highlighted the cost of signage.

To put up a new wooden sign on her Magnolia Avenue business, Santa Barbara Gift Baskets owner Anne Pazier said the city was charging $575 to put the sign up plus $773 to go through the Design Review Board process.

Under new fee increases, the cost to put up a sign rises to $600 and the DRB process is $807. For a full list of fee increases, click here.

Pazier suggested that the council put a moratorium on fees through the end of 2015 so business owners could be included in the re-evaluation process.

“The moratorium of fees is critical, especially to small-business owners like myself,” she said.

Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Kristen Miller seconded Pazier’s idea, saying, “I love that she’s got a solution and not just a complaint.”

Goodland Kitchen owner Julia Crookston said she went through the same hassle with the city except she just put up a sign and ignored the fees.

The council holds the hands of big businesses all the time, she said, so officials should help the small ones, too.

“Why do we have to charge $575 … to have somebody look at a wooden sign?” City Councilman Roger Aceves asked. “It doesn’t make sense to me. I hope the (future) study shows where we’re totally out of whack with what we’re charging.”

Council members were sympathetic to the plight of business owners but contended fees need to be raised sooner than later because the city would be eating up inflation costs until a follow-up fee study was completed, most likely not until 2016.

Goleta staff said a user-fee study would be worked into the upcoming 2015-16 fiscal year budget.

Aceves put forward a motion to hold off all fee increases, which was seconded by City Councilman Michael Bennett before failing 3-2.

Bennett then proposed a motion to approve the fee increase but to exempt businesses in the Old Town heritage district from paying a new sign fee or for the Design Review Board fee, although they would still go through the process. Those fees would remain at zero until the new study was complete and adopted, he said.

“What about the ones outside the district?” Aceves said, noting it was somewhat discriminatory.

In the end, council members agreed to bolster Old Town business and to realign fees again upon completion of the fee study.

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


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Santa Barbara Council to Tackle Infrastructure, Staffing, Vacation Rentals During Budget Talks

By | Published on 04/21/2015


The Santa Barbara City Council kicked off two months of budget discussions Tuesday, receiving a general overview of 2015-16 financials and scheduling several public workshops on the topic, the first of which is set for next week.

Santa Barbara’s finances are looking good, according to City Administrator Paul Casey, but officials already picked out some key competing priorities for the coming year’s budget, which the council will approve in June.

Does the council want to restore city government jobs, close a policy-reserve gap or increase funding for capital projects and infrastructure?

Two more curveballs: whether the city will change city zoning policies to curb short-term vacation rentals in residential areas — losing out on valuable bed tax dollars — and how it will do without $1.7 million the city will lose this year in legal settlement costs.

The Santa Barbara City Council got its first glimpse Tuesday at the recommended two-year financial plan for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, with proposed operating and capital expenses for 2016.

General fund sales tax and transient occupancy tax revenues have been strong the past two years and are expected to stay that way, but council members still must find a way to keep up with continued increases in retirement costs and significantly underfunded capital needs.

City departments will share proposed budgets during the public hearing process, which begins with the first special budget work session on April 30 from 3-6 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers. 

High on the list of “asks” will be spending $780,000 to hire eight full-time employees across several departments, bringing the city employee total to 1,025, said Bob Samario, the city's finance director and acting assistant city administrator.

The city’s proposed 2016 operating budget of $126.8 million — total budget of nearly $400 million — will be funded in part from expected property tax growth, which Samario said is anticipated to increase 4.2 percent.

As usual, public safety expenses made up the bulk of the budget, with 32 percent proposed for the Santa Barbara Police Department and 20 percent for the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Samario said the drought is having a “significant financial impact” on the city’s budget, since it has to purchase more outside water and likely will restart the desalination facility.

City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said she was concerned the budget seemed to rely on funds from short-term vacation rentals, which pay TOT and for a business license but are technically illegal in residential zones.

The City Council is expected to take a look at modifying its zoning on that issue in six to nine months, Casey said, the impacts of which wouldn’t be felt until 2017.

Last year, Santa Barbara collected $800,000 in TOT from short-term rentals, he said.

Mayor Pro Tempore Gregg Hart suggested that the council factor that loss into this year’s discussions.

Hart called hits from settling the district elections lawsuit and the $700,000 the city has set aside in case it needs to repay Southern California Edison customers for an illegally collected surcharge “a big deal.”

“The vacation rental revenue stream is going to be a problem in the future,” he said, adding that a strong reserve fund is another of his priorities.

The list of budget work sessions, all of which will be held in council chambers, is as follows:

» Thursday, April 30, 3 to 6 p.m. for the library department, community development department and Redevelopment Agency successor agency

» Monday, May 4, 3 to 6 p.m. for the departments of finance, general government, administrative services, City Attorney's Office, City Administrator's Office, and Mayor and City Council

» Monday, May 11, 6 to 9 p.m. for the parks and recreation department, including the creeks and golf funds

» Wednesday, May 13, 3 to 6 p.m. for enterprise funds including the Santa Barbara Airport, waterfront and solid waste fund

» Monday, May 18, 2 to 5 p.m. for the public works department

» Wednesday, May 20, 2 to 5 p.m. for the police and fire departments

» Monday, June 1, 2 ti 5 p.m. for budget recommendations by the Finance Committee, deliberations by the City Council and final direction to staff 

Two more dates were set aside in case council deliberations continue — 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, June 3 and 3 to 6 p.m. Monday, June 8 — and council is set to adopt a final budget at a regular meeting June 23.

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


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Board of Supervisors Approves Delay for Rice Ranch Affordable Housing Project in Orcutt

By | Published on 04/21/2015


A major development in Orcutt can construct 14 more single-family homes before reaching the requirement to build affordable housing, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors decided in a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

But the project’s current developers intend to seek permission to pay fees, as allowed under the county’s inclusionary housing rules, instead of building the affordable homes at the site.

The ordinances and resolution to defer building the affordable housing units drew opposition Tuesday from Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr and Chairwoman Janet Wolf, who represents the Second District.

The supervisors approved the item without comment Tuesday, a week after they aired their reasons for supporting or opposing the request.

“Today is predominantly to allow us to build the last 14 homes to complete the single-family at Rice Ranch,” Shea Homes representative Andrew Daymude said last week. “This is really a stop-gap action today to allow us to continue to build out the lots that are constructed on the site today.”

The Rice Ranch Specific Plan, originally approved in 2003, calls for 725 residential units in five neighborhoods to be developed on 580 acres south of Rice Ranch Road, along with a 26-acre community park, which has opened.

Since then, the housing market collapsed, the project got a new developer, and the county passed the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, which allows builders to pay fees in-lieu of building the affordable housing units.

In 2013, Shea Homes revived the stalled Rice Ranch project, which had fallen into foreclosure.

The new name is Trilogy Enclave at Rice Ranch. The firm also has built the Trilogy at Monarch Dunes in Nipomo.

“These guys have come in and tried to rescue this project,” said Supervisor Peter Adam, whose Fourth District includes Orcutt. “I think they’re really good people. I know they put out a really outstanding product.

"I think we should work with them to get this thing moving and keep a little construction going on in Orcutt.”

In a separate application, Rice Ranch developers want to modify the project to pay in-lieu fees, plus include other amendments such as reconfiguring residential lots and roadways and a request to privatize the smaller neighborhood parks.

The application is being processed by county staff and will have to go to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for approval in the future. 

The developer currently is required to build 73 units for low-income residents plus 73 workforce units. 

Originally, the plan called for the project to complete one affordable unit for every 10 market-rate houses built. The plan was revised twice before the latest request.

Construction on affordable housing is required after the 181st home is built, under a revised plan supervisors approved in 2012.

But developers sought this year to push that number to 195 and then require three affordable units for every eight market-rate units. 

So far, approximately 170 building permits have been issued for the development, county staff said. 

Wolf asked if the on-site affordable housing is required under the Orcutt Community Plan, saying the county should protect the integrity of its community plans. 

“Everybody thought that because this project was so large that if there was any one project in the Orcutt Community Plan that could provide and build a significant amount of affordable housing that it was at Rice Ranch,” Farr said. “I realize that sales prices in the area are probably at workforce but I would think the community could still use some built affordable housing.

“It really troubles me that applicant is considering not building any and considering doing some other pretty massive revisions to what the original plan was as far as reconfiguration,” Farr added.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino noted the lengthy span of time since the board first approved the project.

“A lot of things have changed between 2003 and 2015,” he said, adding that the Orcutt Community Plan’s approval was followed by the revised Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. “The rules under which this was originally approved, a lot of things have changed in that 12-year period.”

Shea Homes acquired the project with intentions to apply for in-lieu fee option instead of building the affordable housing at the site, Daymude said. 

“So it was never your intention, once you bought the project, to build any affordable units?” Farr asked.

“Our understanding was that we would be able to use the in-lieu housing fee and to pay the fee, which the county would like to have for that,” Daymude said.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said the in-lieu fee ordinance provides another vehicle to create affordable housing that may not be lucrative for developers.

“It allows us to partner and leverage and maximize those resources to build it, in some cases even more appropriately,” Carbajal said.

Planning and Development Director Glenn Russell agreed.

“The way that affordable housing is actually successfully built in the community, more so than any other way, is using in-lieu fees and partnering with other organizations to construct affordable housing,”  Russell said. “That’s really the way it’s done."

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


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Boys Tennis: Chargers Lose Battle with Dons

By | Published on 04/21/2015


The Dos Pueblos High School Chargers hosted the Santa Barbara High Dons on Tuesday in a league boys tennis contest under cloudy cover, with the Chargers falling 5-13.

In singles, Joshua Wang gave us a lesson in consistency and calmness as he took down the #1 and #3 singles' players in 6-0 wins. Quinn Hensley gave us the other set in singles after being down 0-3. Chris Lane battled to the end and almost won his first match, and climbed back from a deficit of 2-5. He fell 5-7 but stayed focused and energized for the remaining two rounds and took some games off tournament players.

In doubles, Miles Baldwin and Vincent Villano eked out two long and aggressive sets, and Ameet Braganza and Ryan Daniel battled in their first round but fell in a set tiebreaker.

We appreciated the numerous spectators who came out to support us.

I'm proud of our Chargers, who played gutsy and fiery plus showed great improvement from the last time we played this powerhouse team.

The Chargers head to Santa Ynez on Monday for a 3 p.m. match. 

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


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Santa Barbara Chapter Leaders to Attend NAWBO-CA ‘Propel Your Business’ Conference in Sacramento

By | Published on 04/21/2015



Kim Clark, NAWBO-SB president, Amy Ackerman, president-elect, Karen Mora, immediate past president, Julie McGloin, events chair, Amber Wallace, social media chair, and Staci Caplan, public policy chair, will be attending the NAWBO-CA “Propel Your Business” conference on behalf of the NAWBO Santa Barbara Chapter.

Jenny Schatzle, NAWBO-SB Woman Business Owner of the Year, has been nominated for NAWBO California Woman Business Owner of the Year 2015, and will also be attending PROPEL with her business partner Stephen Stowe.

Registration is still open for women entrepreneurs to celebrate in Sacramento when the California Woman Business Owners of 2015 will be in the spotlight next Monday and Tuesday, April 27-28, at the annual NAWBO-California "Propel Your Business" conference at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Sacramento.

Come hear the secrets of negotiation, the latest on insurance issues, how to build your business, and officers from State of California, including Controller Betty Yee and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

The National Association of Women Business Owners presents this educational conference for members and nonmembers to meet the leaders of the 10 NAWBO chapters in the state, and to hear updates from women legislators on issues affecting business.

Click here for registration. Hotel rooms are available at Embassy Suites in Sacramento.


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Ron Fink: It’s Time for Montecito to Start Living Green

By | Published on 04/21/2015


Gov. Jerry Brown has concluded that we have a water shortage. This isn’t a recent revelation, but it takes some people a few years to catch on.

So what did he do? Instead of planning ahead — he could have started in his first stint as governor — he mandated emergency measures that include a mandatory reduction of 25 percent for all domestic water users. Agriculture is justifiably exempt because we have to eat, but so are environmental programs that flush hundreds of millions of gallons of water down the rivers and into the sea.

Fortunately, the state water board seems to think across-the-board cuts are not justified and has established a sliding scale based on past performance. But these “emergency measures” point to a larger problem: Why does the government wait until we are deep into a drought before it starts planning for the event?

Long before I was born, water was an issue in the west. The place I was raised, Los Angeles, needed vast quantities of water so that politicians, who were closely associated with land developers, could line their pockets with gold. The San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin were dry and arid places.

So what did they do? They sent William Mulholland out to find water and bring it to L.A. This involved the construction of hundreds of miles of concrete-lined canals that eventually dumped into a reservoir system at the north end of the San Fernando Valley.

Everywhere else needed water, too. In our county the waters of the Santa Ynez River watershed were commandeered by the South Coast and an entire ecosystem was decimated in the process. South Coast growth wasn’t limited to the available water; instead, a smoke and mirrors approach that future conservation measures would make up for the lack of water was used to justify growth.

But that has proven to be false because people with money do not conserve, they just pay the bill.

The other answer was the State Water Project, installed in the late 1990s, and the construction of a desalinization plant for Santa Barbara. Both promised vast quantities of water. The water project doesn’t deliver water in drought periods, and the first desalinization plant was disassembled and sold. But, Santa Barbara city leaders have now decided to build another one at a great cost to ratepayers.

And the waters of Lake Cachuma are frequently released for a few fish that reside below the dam, simply exacerbating the shortage.

So, how are conservation efforts going? According to recent reports, Montecito — the home of many who actively and aggressively support so-called “green initiatives” — is the largest water user in the county. To its credit, the local water agency has implemented new restrictions, but the folks living on those manicured estates will simply pay the bill and ignore water reduction goals just like they have in the past because the water bill is only a minute portion of their household budget.

On the other end of the scale, the City of Lompoc not only met but exceeded the previous water reduction goals. In fact, the per-person water use is about one-third less than the average daily consumption. The result was across-the-board rate increases because there were fewer units of water being sold!

As Lompoc utility director Larry Bean pointed out, Lompoc has been more than cooperative with previous water saving programs. In fact, we were overachievers when compared to the rest of Santa Barbara County and the state.

It costs money to conserve, and it costs money if you fail to follow conservation goals. In addition, the cost to operate and maintain a domestic water supply system is the same if you pump one gallon of water or a million — thus, if you save water it will cost you plenty.

I don’t object to conserving water; in fact, I converted all of my indoor fixtures to low flow long before there was a water shortage. I also carefully manage my landscape watering schedule and avoid sending water down the street.

But I notice that commercial users aren’t quite as careful. I frequently see water running for several blocks down the gutter from many businesses and some city government facilities in town. I also see sprinklers watering the streets and parking lots. Maybe these folks could be a bit more responsive to the drought.

I water my lawn once a week for about 20 minutes. It looks great. I see others water two or three times a week, which based on my results seems a little excessive. I get my car washed at a place that recycles the water; I see others washing their cars in the driveway.

In Lompoc, we have all been fairly responsible citizens while others who claim to be strong supporters of every green program there is have simply ignored the problem. It’s time for the idle rich to contribute to the overall good and start living green.

— 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 [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.


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