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UCSB Art Professor Kim Yasuda Gets Creative in Encouraging Isla Vista Engagement

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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The decade-long resident spearheads projects to address the demographics and challenges of the campus-adjacent community

Spending six months away from UC Santa Barbara on sabbatical in Mexico — researching the part art plays in community development — got Kim Yasuda thinking about why she chose to live in Santa Barbara instead of Isla Vista.

After all, the unincorporated area adjacent to UCSB did speak to her curious nature as an artist and as a university professor of spatial studies.

Young college students, poor people and longtime residents made Isla Vista an interesting laboratory where Yasuda could learn and help effect change.

Engagement before enforcement is sort of her mantra.

So in 2004, after serving as a UCSB faculty member since 1992, Yasuda moved to Isla Vista with her young daughter and tried to convince her colleagues to do the same.

A decade later and Yasuda says she’s still among a mere handful of faculty who call Isla Vista home, unless you count West Campus housing on the outskirts, where she said many faculty don’t go into Isla Vista regularly.

“I am advocating for a mixed population,” Yasuda said on a recent morning while sitting at Crush Cakes near the Loop in the heart of Isla Vista. “One of the big missing pieces in Isla Vista has been faculty.”

Yasuda isn’t alone in that assessment. A recent report of the UCSB Foundation Trustee’s Advisory Committee on Isla Vista Strategies encouraged more faculty to live within the area plagued last year by riots, an alleged gang rape and a mass shooting.

The report also suggested options for self-governance and community policing, routes Yasuda thinks are helpful but not immediately attainable.

“What do you do in the meantime?” she said.

Yasuda, 54, has a laptop PowerPoint presentation on the ready, explaining the lack of community space in Isla Vista and efforts thus far to understand the area’s demographics and challenges.

The Bay Area native has for years encouraged faculty to study Isla Vista instead of taking sabbaticals to foreign countries.

In 2005, Yasuda started a Friday Academy for arts students who worked to create artist housing from two donated shipping containers. She organized banner projects for downtown Isla Vista and spearheaded the redesign of a local bakery at 6558 Pardall Road that has since closed and become Hana Kitchen.

Yasuda was part of an Isla Vista commission in 2008 and received grant funding to hire an urban planner to study the area. She’s persuaded a geography class to examine Isla Vista, too.

Over the course of summer, she helped gather more than 80 faculty members to Sorriso Italian on Embarcadero del Mar for a wine-tasting on Thursday nights, and even UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and his wife showed up for the discussions.

Yasuda will help with an art installation for the victims of May’s shooting and stabbing rampage as part of Project IV Love, which was started by former art student Jordan Killebrew, who had nothing but kind things to say about his former teacher.

Most recently last fall, Yasuda has come up with “First Friday” events, similar to First Thursdays in Santa Barbara but hosted in Isla Vista’s Loop and organized by students getting credit for enrolling in IV Open Lab.

“I think that after last year, we needed to hit the ground in the fall,” she said. “Students here have a knowledge about Isla Vista that I don’t.”

The key gathering component: light.

Just a few strands of white Christmas-like lights seem to make all the difference, as UCSB students partner with the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District, the Isla Vista Food Co-op and more to present a night of live music, food trucks, couches Yasuda brings out for coffee-drinking and even “silent disco” — students wear headphones and listen and dance to music that way after midnight.

“Where there’s light, people will go,” Yasuda said. “In three months they created something very, very important, and they want to keep it that way. By planning, you take ownership.”

The next First Friday is Jan. 9, and Yasuda is hoping to persuade faculty to pitch in more LED lighting and to start the event earlier so families could also join in.

In the meantime, she’s still pitching the idea of faculty living alongside her and her now 16-year-old daughter in Isla Vista, a place she has come to call home.

“People immediately wanted to do something,” Yasuda said of the reaction after May’s mass murder rampage. “I think it is Isla Vista that’s going to change all of us.”

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

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Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale Welcomes New Singers for Spring Concert

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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The Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale will begin rehearsals on Jan. 13 for our Spring Concert.

Ballerino
Dr. John Ballerino joins the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale as its new accompanist.

We welcome new singers. New vocalists (age 17 or older) should come to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2672 Janin Way in Solvang, at 7:15 p.m. for a brief audition. Returning members may come at 7:30 p.m.

Rehearsals are every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. with two or three additional practices just prior to the two concerts on May 2 and 3. The program this spring will feature the Baroque music of Bach and Handel, including Part Three of Handel’s Messiah. Members are expected to prepare between rehearsals.

Under the direction of Chris Bowman, the Master Chorale has performed classical works by Bach, Mozart, Handel, Schubert and Beethoven, jazz by Gershwin and Porter, traditional and Broadway tunes, and some of Bowman’s original compositions, including the musical Toad Hall and international award-winning Sanctus.

Mozart’s Requiem in D Major and Vivaldi’s Gloria were highlights of the Master Chorale’s latest presentations to the community.

Bowman is a multifaceted musician with credits as a conductor, award-winning composer, arranger, organist, trumpet player and tenor soloist. He holds a double master of music degree in conducting and vocal performance with additional study in composition, organ and trumpet. He has directed the Master Chorale since 1998.

Joining the chorale as its new accompanist is Dr. John Ballerino. Dr. Ballerino has been on the music faculty at UCSB since 2005 as a Continuing Lecturer of Vocal Accompanying, Coaching and Collaborative Arts. He served as the musical director and chorus master for the UCSB Opera program in the fall of 2013 and winter of 2014.

He holds a master of music in piano performance and a doctorate of musical arts in accompanying.

The Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale has “brought music to life” to the valley for 37 years and welcomes all who would love to sing a wide range of music as part of  a hardworking, fun group of enthusiastic music lovers.

For more information, singers are invited to call 805.350.4241.

— Theresa Duer represents the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale.

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Santa Maria Public Library Beginning New Book Club

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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The Santa Maria Public Library will be kicking off a new book club at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 in Shepard Hall.

The book club is open to all library patrons, and signups will begin on Friday, Jan. 2.

The first meeting of the book club will establish the name of the group, when future meetings will occur, and what types of books will be read and discussed. The club facilitators will be seeking ideas and suggestions from the new members.

The book that has been chosen for the first meeting is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Coffee and a light snack will be provided at the meeting.

The library’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The library is closed on Sundays.

Questions may be directed to the Santa Maria Public Library Reference Desk at 805.925.0994 x331.

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Captain’s Log: Fishing Effort to Shift from Boats to Shore for Two Months

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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The term “seasons change” is particularly meaningful to those who tune into critters. As stewards of the sea, our fisheries managers use the seasons to strive to balance the needs of the fish with the needs of people and maintain a very important thing called “sustainability,” which allows us to be involved in the management process and take fresh fish for our meals or, in the case of commercial fishers, take fish for market.

It’s working pretty well, gauged by the successful fisheries management stories we have built. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are the exception, but then they were not put in place to help manage fisheries. They exist to generate grant money for the few while excluding the rest of us anglers.

A big seasonal change is coming right up. From Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, groundfish will be off-limits to boaters. An off-season is part of our successful overall fisheries management plan, which has given us good healthy fish stocks, with fluctuations based upon natural cyclical changes such as cold water regimes, El Niño events and other natural occurrences.

Groundfish includes rockfish (such as red snapper and other members of the sebastes family), cabezon, sheepshead, ocean whitefish and lingcod. Those fish are pretty much the backbone of our local fisheries. We go to great lengths to catch white seabass, halibut, bass and other fish, but most fishing trips include some time fishing for groundfish in order to be assured of taking home some groceries when the others will not bite or cannot be found.

Fisheries management allows take of groundfish from shore or pier, however, and that is to allow folks a modicum of fresh, healthy fish through the year and especially for subsistence fishers who rely on fish for dinner. There is much more subsistence fishing going on than most people realize.

During the winter season, surf and pier fishing comes into its own. Yes, for many it is about dinner, but to folks seeking recreation, winter surf fishing is a way to get out and enjoy nature and have some action during the cold part of the year. Many of the recreational surf fishers I know release nearly all of what they catch and perhaps only keep enough for a meal now and then. Besides groundfish, they catch surf perch, sharks and rays and every once in awhile a keeper halibut.

With surf fishing being very popular during the winter and groundfish being closed to boaters, the fishing effort shifts from boat to shore. This shift is a sure sign of the changing seasons, and it is all good.

                                                                        •        •

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the annual no-motor fishing derby to benefit restorative work on Carpinteria Salt Marsh. The fishing derby was well attended and successful, allowing for money to be put toward good work in the salt marsh.

Recently, the Sportfishing Conservancy held a small ceremony to turn over a check for $1,600 to Chet Work, executive director of the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. The money, proceeds from the no-motor derby held Nov. 8, is to fund restorative work at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh.

Represented at the ceremony were supporters from: Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara, Danny’s Deli/Car Wash/Bait & Tackle in Carpinteria, the Carpinteria Sportfishing Club, the Santa Barbara Sportfishing Club, and representatives from the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and the Sportfishing Conservancy.

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

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Allan Hancock College Receives $100,000 Grant to Enhance Internship Program

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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Plans to increase student internship opportunities available to Allan Hancock College students have received a major boost from the Marcled Foundation. The college has been awarded a $100,000 grant over two years for the Career Integration Initiative.

The college will receive $50,000 in both 2015 and 2016 to fund the initiative that will allow the college to create a structured and centralized Cooperate Work Experience internship program. The plan is based on three interwoven principles: student-focused, institution-focused and employer-focused strategies to connect education to employment.

“The apprenticeship model is back,” said Paul Murphy, dean of mathematical sciences. “It is no longer sufficient that students attain technical knowledge solely in a classroom. They also need the skills learned in a workplace to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment.”

The program’s coordinator will focus on employer recruitment, student-to-internship matching, faculty involvement and compliance with state regulations.

“The generosity of the Marcled Foundation will help Hancock enhance its capacity to provide students and employers with a comprehensive, well-coordinated and quality internship program,” said Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers, Ph.D.

A recent survey showed 43 percent of the college’s 10,000 students work part-or full-time while taking classes. The 200-plus regional employers already affiliated with the college will be surveyed to determine their interest in hosting and supervising interns.

Derek Aspacher, executive director of The Marcled Foundation, said he was proud to support the Career Integration Initiative because it would provide both a quality education and internships for students.

“Leveraging Allan Hancock College’s direct relationship with local businesses in the community, we see this program as creating a talent pipeline, benefiting the students and the region’s economy,” Aspacher said. “With strong support from the community and the leadership we’ve noted from the college, Allan Hancock College is a natural partner to accomplish this in the community.”          

Based in San Francisco, the Marcled Foundation provides financial support to organizations, program and policies that effectively focus on the economic success of low-income youth, young adults and families. The foundation seeks to build their careers and assets.   

“Hancock is the only point of access to public postsecondary education in northern Santa Barbara County," Walthers said. "We have a responsibility to ensure these students are exposed to technical and professional careers that enable them to earn a living wage and stay in the community.”

— Gina Herlihy is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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Ventura Family YMCA Produces Campaign Video Featuring Pro Boxer Maureen Shea

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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The Ventura Family YMCA has released a series of videos showcasing the impactful results of its programs to gear up for its annual campaign on Feb. 6.

Shea
Maureen Shea

Each “My YMCA Story” is told from the perspective of a member and highlights how he or she was positively impacted or changed by the Y.

The third video in this series features professional female boxer Maureen Shea, who shares how the YMCA helps in the development of athletes, and the equal opportunities the Y gives to child athletes who are in homeless and transitional living situations through programs like Operation Ventura.

“We may have a child that comes in that nobody would have known is an amazing soccer player, an amazing swimmer, and they’re going to have this opportunity to find this out because of Operation Ventura,” Shea said.

The YMCA’s annual campaign supports Operation Ventura and more than 150 children who are in homeless or transitional living situations. Watch Shea’s story and donate today by clicking here.

Learn more about Shea at Sheaboxing.com. Get the latest scoop on who’s airing next by logging onto ciymca.org/ventura, or find the Y online on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.

Help make these stories possible by donating to the Y’s campaign by clicking here or by visiting the Ventura Family YMCA at 3760 Telegraph Road in Ventura. For more information, contact Alicia Cattoni at alicia.cattoni@ciymca.org or 805.642.2131 x18.

— Alicia Cattoni is the marketing director for the Ventura Family YMCA.

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Driver Suffers Serious Injuries in Rollover Crash on Highway 101 Near Padaro Lane

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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In a separate accident, the driver of an SUV loses control and overturns on an embankment along Highway 101 near Montecito

The driver of a Nissan Frontier crashed into a guardrail on southbound Highway 101 south of the Padaro Lane off-ramp in Santa Barbara early Friday, forcing the closure of the highway for morning commuters for nearly 30 minutes.

The driver, identified as William Avila Jr., 44, of Carpinteria, was found on the highway, ejected from the vehicle, shortly before 9 a.m.

"For an unknown reason, Mr. Avila allowed his Nissan to drift toward the center divide guardrail," California Highway Patrol officer Jonathan Gutierrez said. "He allowed the left front of the Nissan to strike the guardrail."

Gutierrez said the Nissan overturned after it hit the guardrail and the driver was ejected, landing in the No. 2 lane.

The CHP said alcohol and drugs were not contributing factors to the collision.

The driver was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries, including a broken jaw and ribs, according to the CHP. 

All lanes were reopened as of 10 a.m.

In a separate accident about 10:30 a.m. Friday on northbound Highway 101 near Montecito, the driver of a red Ford Expedition allegedly made a rapid lane change, went up an embankment and overturned, according to the CHP.

There were reportedly five people inside the vehicle but no injuries. 

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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Bill Macfadyen: Join Noozhawk on the Urban Hikers’ Walking Tour of Whimsical Jeff Shelton Projects

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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NoozWeek’s Top 5 catches a high-profile freeway crash, goes grocery shopping, gives a sheriff’s deputy a shot in the arm, witnesses a crazy wreck, and scores Helene Schneider’s losing streak

The Urban Hikers Walking Tour of Santa Barbara is a popular annual tradition on New Year’s Eve led by the Urban Hikers themselves, Peter Hartmann and Stacey Wright.

This year, the Noozhawk-sponsored event will be visiting a few of the downtown buildings designed by architect Jeff Shelton. What’s more, Shelton himself will be accompanying the entourage, providing insights and observations on his whimsical projects while we walk and talk.

The tour starts at 2 p.m. Wednesday, at a location that will be determined over the weekend. The group will meander over the lower downtown area, ending up at Casa Blanca Restaurant & Cantina, 330 State St., at around 5 p.m.

The tour is free — although donations are suggested and gratefully accepted — but attendance is limited to 60 people. Click here to RSVP and to receive a printable ticket to bring with you. And don’t forget comfortable walking shoes, water and a camera. No pets, please.

I hope to see you — well, 60 of you anyway — on Dec. 31.

                                                                 •        •        •

There were 65,267 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.

1. 2 Seriously Injured in SUV Wreck at Carrillo Street Exit on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

A mother and daughter were seriously injured Dec. 20 when their SUV crashed into a wall along Highway 101 in Santa Barbara. One of two dogs traveling with them reportedly was killed in the wreck.

The crash occurred about 9:30 a.m. as the Cadillac Escalade was getting off the freeway at the northbound Carrillo Street exit ramp, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said the vehicle struck some trees before slamming into the sound wall. Both women had to be extricated from the wreckage.

McCoy said the passenger was freed rather quickly, and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

The other victim was not so lucky.

“The driver was very entangled and up against the sound wall,” McCoy told Noozhawk. “The dashboard was down on her legs, and basically her whole capsule was crushed down on her.”

She, too, was taken to Cottage Hospital.

Santa Barbara Animal Control officers were called to the scene to tend to two dogs traveling in the vehicle. One of the dogs reportedly died in the crash, but the other was taken to a local veterinary hospital.

The names of the victims and details on their conditions were not immediately available.

The northbound Carrillo Street exit ramp was closed for more than an hour, the CHP said, and freeway traffic was all but stalled through the area on the last Saturday morning before Christmas.

The Vons market at 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta is in the express checkout lane for a purchase by the Washington-based Haggen grocery chain. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
The Vons market at 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta is in the express checkout lane for a purchase by the Washington-based Haggen grocery chain. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

2. Washington-Based Haggen to Buy Some Local Albertsons, Vons Stores

As part of a previously announced merger between Albertsons and Safeway, a handful of the two grocery chains’ stores in Santa Barbara County will be sold to Washington-based Haggen. The transactions are part of a divestment of 168 stores in eight states to four buyers.

According to our Janene Scully, the affected Albertsons stores are at 1500 North H St. in Lompoc and 2010 Cliff Drive and 3943 State St. in Santa Barbara. The Safeway stores, under the Vons brand, are at 850 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria, 175 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta and 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta.

Haggen, which is headquartered in Bellingham, is also buying stores in Oxnard, Ventura, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Los Osos and San Luis Obispo. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The Albertsons-Safeway merger is expected to close in January.

3. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputy Shot in Training Mishap

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy was shot in the arm accidentally during a Dec. 20 training session in Goleta.

Kelly Hoover, a department spokeswoman, declined to describe the training exercise, except to say it occurred at a building in the 7400 block of Hollister Avenue in the Ellwood area. 

“It was a minor injury, and he is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound to his arm,” she said.

No other details were released.

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the incident along with American Medical Response paramedics.

Does this still qualify as parallel parking? (Chris Donahue photo)
Does this still qualify as parallel parking? (Chris Donahue photo)

4. Driver Injured After Hitting Multiple Parked Cars in Santa Barbara

A pickup truck driver speeding down Yanonali Street in Santa Barbara came to an abrupt stop Dec. 22 when he ran into — and then under — one pickup truck and drove it into a third pickup truck.

Former Noozhawk Chris Donahue was working in his nearby print shop, Paper Moon Printing, and got some amazing photos of the unlikely sight. He also had some hilarious details that are probably best kept between the two of us.

As one might imagine, the driver appeared to be “altered,” Santa Barbara Fire Capt. Gary Pitney told our Giana Magnoli.

The driver was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with unknown injuries. No one else was hurt.

The circumstances of the wreck are under investigation by Santa Barbara police.

At the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments these days, it’s almost like Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider isn’t even there. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
At the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments these days, it’s almost like Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider isn’t even there. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

5. Helene Schneider Snubbed for SBCAG Board Chair Seat

Feuding with the business community, increasingly abandoned by former liberal allies, and at odds with the vast majority of South Coast residents, who want Highway 101 widened yesterday, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider is having a bad run.

To add insult to her self-inflicted injuries, the Santa Barbara County Association of Government board met Dec. 18 and voted overwhelmingly to bypass her as next year’s chairwoman. It was a bold move for the board, which usually rubber-stamps the ascension of whomever is serving as No. 2. In this case, that was Schneider.

So, why the exception? Well, for one thing, Schneider recently has become an outspoken supporter of a lineup of potential lawsuits against the long overdue and already approved 101 widening project. This after she was unable to convince her fellow members of the Santa Barbara City Council to file a lawsuit of their own.

But the SBCAG board is enthusiastically behind the project, and apparently isn’t in the mood for further delays.

As our Giana Magnoli reported, the board isn’t alone. More than a dozen speakers lined up at the meeting to voice their opposition to Schneider, and what an extraordinary group it was. Among them were former county Supervisors Gail Marshall and Susan Rose; philanthropist Sara Miller McCune; activist Micky Flacks; and a spokesman for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

“You must follow the wishes of the voters that you are pledged to serve and you must do it today,” McCune said to the board, urging them to stay the course with the freeway.

Marshall and Rose argued that SBCAG should be led by someone who agrees it’s time to move forward, rather than throwing up red lights. “It’s time to finish the job,” they said.

In the end, Schneider voted for herself, picking up the support of just one other board member. The rest of the board voted for Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson as chairman and Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf as vice chairwoman.

                                                                 •        •        •

Sienna Miller’s brownie scene is worth the watch.

(Vogue video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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

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Santa Maria Police Seek Public’s Help Identifying Juvenile Suspect in Market Robbery

By | Published on 12/26/2014

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The Santa Maria Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in identifying a juvenile suspect in a strong-arm robbery Thursday at the Blosser Market.

Lt. Dan Cohen said the suspect entered the store at 401 S. Blosser Road about 4:15 p.m.

According to Cohen, the suspect took merchandise, assaulted the store's owner/employee and then fled without paying.

The store was equipped with video surveillance cameras, from which police took photos and video of the suspect.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male juvenile, about 16 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds.

Information about this case can be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 877.800.9100.

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

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Another Night of 60 mph Wind Gusts in Forecast for Montecito, South Coast

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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The National Weather Service issued another wind advisory for Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Thursday night, cautioning that the Montecito foothills could experience at least one more night of 60 mph gusts.

The weather service said the wind advisory would continue until at least 8 a.m. Friday. An even stronger wind storm is expected Saturday morning.

Cold, northeast winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph are likely overnight on the South Coast, with local gusts to 60 mph possible in the foothills above Montecito.

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 weather service said wind-protected areas of the Cuyama Valley are at risk of a hard freeze Thursday night, with a freeze warning in effect for the Santa Ynez Valley.

Northwest to north winds of 15 to 20 knots are forecast for the Santa Barbara Channel, with local gusts to 25 knots, or about 29 mph. High surf and rip currents are expected along west- and northwest-facing beaches.

Clear skies and cool temperatures are in the South Coast’s weekend forecast, with daytime highs in the mid-60s Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and overnight lows in the mid-30s.

» 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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Curious Cup Bookstore Pops Up for Holidays

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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The Carpinteria store specializing in children’s books reopens on Santa Claus Lane, and owner Kiona Gross hopes it remains into the new year

Holiday shoppers flipped through shelves filled with adult fiction, journals and eclectic gifts while Kiona Gross smiled and happily hurried to answer questions.

Keeping busy is a blessing for the Curious Cup Bookstore owner, who this month reopened a pop-up shop version of the Carpinteria children’s bookstore she has closed twice in less than two years because of tougher economic times.

Gross thinks of the temporary shop at 3817½ Santa Claus Lane as her own holiday miracle — one she hopes will remain open into the new year.

“Keeping books in kids’ hands is all that matters to me,” she said. “This is the first thing we found we could afford."

Owning a bookstore has taught Gross a thing or two about survival.

She opened Curious Cup four years ago in a highly visible downtown Carpinteria storefront at 929 Linden Ave.

When rent became too expensive to bear in October 2013, Gross moved Curious Cup into the back of Carpinteria Toy Company at 5285 Carpinteria Ave., four blocks away.

Teaming up with toy company owner Sarah Hinton, the two small-business owners attempted to split rent and utility costs and to capitalize by offering their children-themed products under the same roof while operating separately.

That dream ended in June, when someone else bought the toy store and Gross had to close.

Gross opened the pop-up shop in the hallway that leads to a bathroom between Hawthorn and Reed Floors at Padaro Beach during Carpinteria’s Holiday on the Lane event two weeks ago.

Hearing the faint whir of a hand dryer hasn’t been ideal, but Curious Cup regulars have managed to find the place. 

“It’s the bathroom aisle!” one customer said on a recent afternoon.

Gross is offering a limited selection of adult fiction, cookbooks, travel books, how-to guides for gardening, local floral and fauna and more.

Her lease is through Dec. 31, but Gross is hopeful she might be able to stay open longer.

She’s been working other part-time jobs since summer, and the ultimate goal would be to be able to open the shop as needed on the side or to order books for customers.

“The idea is to have books in Carpinteria — and new books,” Gross said. “We’re selling. People are starting to find us.”

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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Retiring CEO Jim Glines to Take on New Role for Community Bank of Santa Maria

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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Glines, who helped start the financial institution 14 years ago, will remain active as board chairman and with mentoring younger employees

“Retirement” for James “Jim” Glines won’t look like it does for other people. But then banking under Glines doesn’t look like it does for others in this era of big corporate financial institutions.

At the end of this year, Glines will step aside from his role as chief executive officer for Community Bank of Santa Maria, the financial institution he and William “Bill” Hares started 14 years ago.

“I don’t think the complexion, direction or the philosophy of the bank is going to change,” Glines said. “And we don’t want it to change.”

Not the type to retire to a rocking chair on the porch, Glines, 72, will remain very active in the bank — serving as chairman of the board and maintaining a desk in the main branch to continue working in marketing, business development and community relations along with mentoring younger community bankers.

“I’m not one to plant two trees close together in the backyard and sit in a hammock,” said Glines, father of four and grandfather of five. “I need to stay busy. I will stay very involved in the community as we have.”

Glines, an award-winning auctioneer and avid barbecuer, also expects to continue that community service on behalf of the bank.

“He is banking in the Santa Maria Valley,” Hares said of Glines. “Jim is a true community banker.”

Janet Silveria, an original staff member at Community Bank of Santa Maria, will take over as president and CEO. Hares will retire as board chairman but stay on as chairman emeritus. The changes take effect Jan. 1.

“Jim has been a wonderful mentor to me, but not only to me; he has impacted a lot of careers over his history of banking,” Silveria said, adding this will ensure his philosophy of banking continues. “I don’t think people realized that and how much his legacy will live on.”

The nephew of a longtime Santa Maria Valley banker, Glines intended to work on the family’s Rock Front Ranch off Highway 166 after graduating from Cal Poly, but his parents sold the property and retired. Instead, Glines joined Wells Fargo Bank on a management training program in 1966. 

He worked for Wells Fargo in Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley before returning to Santa Maria — ironically somewhat reluctantly in 1973.

“Honestly, there was something a little bit frightening about coming to your hometown and being a banker because you’re dealing with people you grew up with and did stupid things with, and proving yourself to the older generation,” he said. 

After 13 years with Wells Fargo, in April 1983 he joined the staff of Bank of Santa Maria where he remained until it sold in 1998 to Mid-State Bank (now part of Rabobank). He spent six months with Mid-State through the merger, and later a little more than a year at Hacienda Bank (since acquired by Heritage Oaks Bank).

In June 2000, Glines and Hares, Bank of Santa Maria’s former president, joined forces to bring back hometown banking, kicking off the legal process.

“We felt the need for a hometown community bank,” Glines said.

They secured regulatory approval, sold initial stock and opened the doors March 1, 2001, in a temporary site while waiting for the completion of the permanent home in a stand-alone building in a shopping center on Broadway between Stowell Road and Enos Drive.

The bank became profitable in its 22nd month of operation.

Yet, it hasn’t all been rosy. In 2009, the bank reported a loss of approximately $790,000 after having $1 million profit for two previous years.

While not in danger of shutting down or failing, Glines said, “It was scary.”

“That was a difficult year for us,” he added. “When you’re the CEO of the bank that’s eight years old you do a little three o’clock-in-the-morning soul searching about what’s happening to you and where you’re going.”

The losses were the result of a bad economy that saw real estate values drop as much as 60 percent so some commercial buildings, houses and home equity lines were underwater.

A year later, the bank ended in the black with profits of $25,000 and continues to operate in black. But he’s especially proud the recovery didn’t involve government assistance. 

“The way we did that was just common sense, hometown banking,” he added. “We didn’t take any TARP (federal Troubled Asset Relief Program) money. We didn’t ask for any assistance from anybody. We tightened up our belt, saw our way through the difficult times, stayed clean of regulatory issues and weathered the storm.”

Today, Community Bank of Santa Maria also has a branch in Orcutt plus a division dubbed Lompoc Community Bank. It also has an administration office on East Betteravia Road. In all, the bank employs 52 people and boasts $200 million in assets.

Hometown banking remains at the heart of the operation.

“Decisions are made local," he said. "When you confine your banking, especially loans, to a specific geographic area that’s home to you and that you understand and know, you tend to do a considerably better job and less risk.”

One of the bank’s ads touted, “Here your loan request goes across the lobby — not across the nation.”

“We don’t have to call people in faraway places to get things done, and I think that’s huge,” he added. “We understand the local economy and the local business.”

He remains very happy and a little bit surprised at the community bank he helped create.

“I’m very proud of the foundation we’ve built,” he said. “We have a very clean loan portfolio, a strong deposit base, excellent community involvement and excellent community support.”

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

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Santa Barbara High Schools to Host Academy Showcase for Eighth-Graders

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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Junior high school students can scout out the specialized academy programs at Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Santa Barbara high schools during the second annual Academy Showcase.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District has a transfer deadline of Feb. 17 for the next school year, so the showcase event will have local students and counselors on hand to help eighth-graders and their families decide where to attend high school.

The free event is being held from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real.

More than 700 people showed up last year, and the district hopes even more will show up this time, district spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said.

Counselors from each high school, UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College will be at the showcase and Spanish interpreters will be available.  

There will be students to talk about programs at Dos Pueblos High School, including the Engineering Academy and International Baccalaureate program.

From San Marcos High School, there will be students from the AAPLE Academy (Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment), the Entrepreneurship Academy and the Health Careers Academy.

Santa Barbara High School will have booths for the Computer Science Academy, the MAD Academy (Multimedia Arts & Design) and the VADA Visual Arts & Design Academy.

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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Cinema in Focus: ‘Foxcatcher’

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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2 Stars — Tragic

Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher is based on the true life autobiography Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother’s Murder, John du Pont’s Madness and the Quest for Olympic Gold by Mark Schultz. It chronicles the events that culminated in the shocking 1996 murder of Schultz’s brother David, an Olympic wrestling champion by multimillionaire John du Pont of the American chemical dynasty.

This story is a sobering tale of both the state of affairs of great athletes who are dependent on the whims and largesse of rich donors and the utter disintegration of a rich family that has become rotten to its moral core.

Du Pont (Steve Carell) was an heir to the family fortune that was built on 150 years of munitions, chemicals and fabrics. Like so many sons and daughters of great wealth, his life had lost any semblance of meaning. His mother, Jean du Pont (Vanessa Redgrave), was more interested in her horses than her son, and John admits that he had only one friend when he was growing up and later discovered that his mother had paid the boy to be his friend.

Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his old brother, David (Mark Ruffalo), both achieved gold medals for wrestling in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Schultz writes in his biography: “Ours had all the makings of a rags-to-riches tale. From poor beginnings, we fought our way through life and the world of wrestling to win a combined four National Collegiate Athletic Association championships, two Olympic gold medals and three World Championship titles. But the riches never came. We won plenty of gold, but never found the brass ring that would allow us to compete without having to rely on the likes of John du Pont, a credibility-craving, controlling misfit of a multimillionaire.”

Schultz’s life of post-Olympic poverty changed when he received an invitation to move to du Pont’s fabulous farm in Pennsylvania and to become a friend and trainer at the new “Foxcatcher Olympic Training Facility” that du Pont fashioned as his chance for personal and social recognition. In reality, it became a place where du Pont played out his illusions as a respected coach in front of his mother, a skill he unfortunately did not possess. Schultz’s time as a new member of “Team Foxcatcher” resulted in his joining du Pont in a slow disintegration of their moral core and self-esteem.

Craving more and more recognition, du Pont would buy and sell anyone to make himself feel important.  When he could not get the satisfaction he desired from Schultz, he paid to bring Schultz's more stable brother and mentor, David, to Foxcatcher. Realizing that he had become just the possession for a rich man who seemed to be descending even deeper into hell, Mark Schultz fell into even deeper depression.

Being quite self-assured, David Schultz would not give in to du Pont’s demands for phony recognition, and in a moment of madness, du Pont shoots and kills David in front of witnesses, including his own security man. In a celebrated court trial, he was ruled to have been mentally ill but not insane and was sentenced to prison, where he died 13 years later in 2010.

A happy movie, this is not. It is, though, a well-acted morality play displaying how money can corrupt and send a person to a hellish prison of his or her own making for life.

Discussion

» The thought that leaving your family a fortune will be a blessing is often not true. What would you do if you had a great fortune? Would you make it so your descendants did not have to work? Why or why not?

» Some athletes seem to be able to parlay their athletic skills into wealthy endorsements and contracts while others do not. What do you think makes the difference?

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

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Westside Dance to Celebrate New Studio with Grand Opening Party

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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Westside Dance, a classical ballet and dance school offering a variety of quality dance education for children and adults, will celebrate the opening of its new studio at 2009 De la Vina St. with a grand opening party from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3.

The celebration is open to all ages and will include dance games, giveaways and the opportunity to win prizes and discounts on dance classes. Refreshments will be also be provided.

“Everyone wants to boost their productivity in 2015, and the new year brings that push to create new goals, start new exercise programs and the drive to get fit,” said Jennifer Phillips, teacher and owner of Westside Dance. “As part of our expansion, we’ll be offering new classes for adults, including daily 30-minute workout classes to kick-start the day. Pair that with a cup of coffee next door at The Daily Grind and you’re good to go!”

Westside Dance offers affordable dance education for children and adults, without enrollment fees or annual registration. Courses range from $6-12 per class depending on frequency.

“We’re also one of the only ballet schools in town with a simple, drop-in enrollment program for children,” Phillips said. “We help them learn to love dance so they want to be there. I believe the early years of training should be fun, not mandatory.”

Phillips contributes the success of her classical ballet studio to the community’s support and volunteerism. Over the past two years, Westside Dance has been thriving in the most unlikely place — amid the many tasty Mexican eateries on San Andres.

When Phillips and her husband bought their home in Santa Barbara’s upper Westside, they were excited to explore and invest in their new neighborhood.

“On a walk one day I saw a group of little girls outside a karate studio waiting for their brothers and I thought, ‘I bet these girls would love to learn to dance!’” Phillips said.

The initial support came from the owner of local business Koei Kan Karate, who rented Phillips studio space in off hours at a reasonable rate, creating an opportunity for her to offer ballet classes for only $10.

“It wasn’t an ideal dance studio, there were nunchucks on the walls after all, but I was so grateful to be in the middle of the community and the response was immediate,” Phillips said.

The second major community boost came from La Cumbre Junior High, whose theater department hosted the studio’s first recital. Since their first performance in June 2013, Westside Dance has grown to 75 students with a beautifully diverse socio-economic and ethnic makeup.

Above all, Phillips says it was the support she received from the parents who volunteered at every turn, from providing cookies after dance recitals to flowers to throw during Fiesta. The giving spirit has made it possible or her to offer a top quality experience at an affordable cost.

Westside Dance’s success is a reflection of a community that may not necessarily be able to afford high costs, but certainly has a lot to give.

For more information, click here or call 805.637.8773.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Westside Dance.

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Valley Haven Volunteer Sally Bass Nominated for Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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Mesa Oaks resident Sally Bass is the 11th nominee for the Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Sally Bass
Sally Bass

As the principal caregiver for her mother, Bass became acquainted with the respite services provided by the Valley Haven Senior Day Program and, as a result, volunteered to serve on the nonprofit’s Board of Directors, which she has done for over five years.

Valley Haven operated for 13 years in facilities provided by St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. In 2013, Valley Haven acquired property of its own at 502 N. Third St. in Lompoc, a large lot with an 80-year-old house, a garage and a small rental house.

To be able to operate at the new facility, costly alterations would be required, greatly straining Valley Haven’s financial resources.

Board member Bass stepped up and volunteered her services. At her own expense, fiscally and physically, she worked alongside the contractor as he renovated and enlarged the existing bathroom to meet licensing standards. She provided and applied all the paint and decorating materials.

This activity expanded into Bass painting the entire interior of the house, including sanding, repairing and painting 300 small window frames, making and hanging window treatments throughout, and shampooing all the carpets. The project extended from August to November 2013, with Bass working four to seven hours a day, six to seven days each week.

When the tenant in the rental house moved out, she did the same refurbishing of the vacated house. She continues to assist the newly appointed executive director.

The Peace Prize award ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25 at the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ, 3346 Constellation Road.

Other nominees are Assistant School Superintendent Sid Haro, volunteer Jon Vanderhoof, discussion leader Lauren Pressman, musician Bill Carlsen, gardener Jan Martinez, writer Luciana Gallegos, chef Norma Anderson, cooperative organizer Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez, winemaker Mark Cargasacchi and community activist Darrell Tullis.

— Allie Kay Spaulding represents Valley of the Flowers Church.

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65 mph Wind Gusts Expected on Christmas Day

By | Published on 12/25/2014

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Winds gusting to 65 mph were sweeping across Santa Barbara County’s South Coast early Thursday, most likely giving Santa Claus a bumpy ride as he made his rounds Christmas morning.

The National Weather Service issued a high-wind warning through noon Thursday, forecasting cold north winds of 20 to 30 mph with abrupt gusts to 65 mph below canyons and passes on the South Coast.

Motorists were advised to use caution and to expect sudden, powerful gusts 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 is in effect in the Santa Barbara Channel through 9 a.m. Thursday, the weather service said. West to northwest winds of 20 to 30 knots with gusts to 35 knots, or 40 mph, are expected offshore.

Sunny skies are forecast for Christmas Day, but high temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 50s to mid-60s.

The weather service said temperatures are likely to plummet to the mid-30s to mid-40s overnight, with winds of 15 to 25 mph.

In response to the frigid conditions, organizers say five Freedom Warming Centers will be open for the homeless from 6 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday:

» Veterans Memorial Building , 941 Walnut Ave., Carpinteria

» University United Methodist Church, 892 Camino Del Sur, Isla Vista

» Peace Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Ocean Ave., Lompoc​

» Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1525 Santa Barbara St.

» Salvation Army, 200 W. Cook St., Santa Maria

Pets and couples are allowed, and there is no sobriety condition.

For more information, call the warming centers hotline at 805.324.2372.

» 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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Sally Cappon: Not Just Decorations, Christmas Ornaments Tell Family’s Story One Memory at a Time

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Tree’s up.

Sally Cappon (South Coast Railroad Museum file photo)
Sally Cappon (South Coast Railroad Museum file photo)

For several years, we eschewed a Christmas tree, opting instead for a family gathering at a son’s condo in Colorado.

This year, after our son bought a home in Santa Barbara, the family will gather here.

So we hauled out the tree, albeit a decent looking artificial one.

Digging into the box of ornaments, my husband said, “There’s a lot of memories here.”

Jim took out the shabby angel for the top of the tree from its traditional resting place, a 1967 Toronado model kit box. More than once I’ve wished we had the model kit instead of the damned angel.

Faded red balls are left over from our aerospace days moving around the country when all we could afford was a small tree and a box of 12 bulbs.

Cheap and high end, nostalgia and a bit of whimsy mingle on the tree.

Don’t get me wrong. I admire those who create stunning all-white trees. Unfortunately, mine comes in a mish-mash of colors — red, gold, blue, green, silver, even brown — in all shapes and sizes.

On the tree are Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Princess Leia. A rocket sits on a pad, ready for liftoff — a testimonial to our years at Cape Canaveral.

There are an abundance of birds, a throwback to a Cape Canaveral store owner who swore it was a Scandinavian good luck charm to have birds and nests in Christmas trees. Who are we to mess with good luck?

There are other animals — red reindeer with shiny silver antlers, two or three teddy bears, Snoopy.

There are ornament-reminders of when our kids were growing up — a miniature yellow Tonka dump truck, a dollhouse, a football.

There's a lighthouse, a plethora of trains — two loves of mine.

In a paean to New Mexico are several hot-air balloons, a three-inch-high wood replica of the famed Sanctuario at Chimayo, two Nambé ornaments — one in the shape of a chile, the other set with a turquoise.

There are long-ago gifts from the kids — a paper stocking with names inscribed with red glitter and absolutely the ugliest clay snowman ever, which today nobody takes responsibility for. Conversation pieces, definitely.

On the other hand, there are two exquisite ornaments from Saks Fifth Avenue (an on-sale indulgence when I worked a half-block away).

All, or most, of the ornaments have some meaning, however obscure. But a silver wrench? A tarantula, for God’s sake? Another good luck charm?

Jim grubbed for an ornament he remembered, finding it in the bottom of the box. Triumphantly he held it high — a cheap plastic Santa and sleigh and four tiny reindeer, each with red nose.

I understand how one of the things most mourned by friends who lost their homes in the massive 1990 Painted Cave Fire was Christmas ornaments.

For some, history comes in books.

We find it in ornaments.

Noozhawk contributing writer Sally Cappon is an author and local freelance writer. Contact her at news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Geoff Green Starting New Adventure as SBCC Foundation Director

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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He's transitioning from his 18-year tenure with the Fund for Santa Barbara

For the past 18 years, Geoff Green has been the face of the Fund for Santa Barbara, a nonprofit group focused on social-justice issues.

But early next year, Green will begin a new journey as the leader of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, a private organization that helps fund scholarships, programs, tutoring and other areas essential to the local community college.

Green will start his new job Feb. 9, and in the meantime is transitioning from the leadership at the Fund for Santa Barbara, which will be searching for its own new director in his absence.

Noozhawk sat down with Green last week to talk about his past in the Santa Barbara community and his future.

Green has deep roots in Santa Barbara, which began at UCSB, where he studied theater, geology and evolutionary biology, leaving school a few credits short of graduating to take what he calls his "dream job" — the position of park ranger at Yosemite National Park, where he worked to educate visitors to the park.

Prior to that, Green served on the Isla Vista Parks and Recreation Department and was elected president of the Associated Students at UCSB.

After several years of hiring freezes, the Yosemite instituted permanent budget cuts, and Green found himself back in Santa Barbara, after several mentors had recommended he call Nancy Weiss at the Fund for Santa Barbara.

He was hired as Weiss's executive assistant in 1997, and the two of them made up the total of the staff at the organization at that time.

Green recalls their first project while he was at the fund — a group of renters successfully suing local landlord Dario Pini for untenable living conditions.

During that same time, Green recalls attending a retreat for the Downtown Organization at the Montecito Country Club, just a few miles from where those renters lived.

"Those places are barely a mile apart," he said. " The fund's job is connecting those worlds."

During Green's time at the fund, it went from two employees and an annual budget of $150,000 per year, to six employees and a $1.1 million budget.

"It does critical work and it's a great organization, but I'm very much ready for a new adventure," he said of the fund.

SBCC's mission is an important one for Green.

"I come from a family of teachers," he said, adding that he enjoys his role as occasional speaker to classes at UCSB and Antioch University.

The Santa Barbara City College Foundation is key to raising money for new programs, and that the college itself has worked to democratize education, making it accessible for everyone.

"It's not just a neighborhood college, it serves in its capacity as a gateway for higher education," he said, adding that the foundation approached him about the job.

"There is a lot of love for the college," he said.

He's been able to use the past five directors as a resource, and plans to continue reaching out to them for their institutional knowledge.

"They're all just expert fundraisers," he said.

Green's tenure begins as the college is facing some critical issues, including how to deal with housing and the impacts on the lower Westside neighborhood, and the aftermath of bond measures that voters did not approve in the fall to make improvements to the campus.

A Lower Westside Task Force has been formed to discuss the housing issues and has been in talks with the college, and Green said the foundation may have a role to play in those talks.

"That's a place where the foundation may be a critical partner," he said.

As for the bond measures failing,"That was the community saying we still have some questions on this," he said. "It's up to SBCC to make the case."

Green admits the last five years have brought challenges for the college.

A leadership transition from former president Andreea Serban to Lori Gaskin; adult education woes; and tumult with the college's board of trustees have all been in the works.

Green himself served as moderator to public forums discussing how to proceed with adult education programs, a contentious process that took place over several years. 

"I've had glimpses of it," he said of the conversation about adult education.

Four staff from the Santa Barbara Foundation are now working with Green's team at SBCC, as well as others from Partners in Education and other groups.  

It's a staff of 12 and they're ready "to jump right into the big issues," Green 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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Veteran Santa Maria Firefighter Reflects on Career As Retirement Nears

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Battalion chief marks more than three decades on city force — ‘I have loved every minute of it’

The longest-serving member of the Santa Maria Fire Department will hang up his hat after one last shift on Christmas Day.

Battalion Chief Richard Bertram surprised himself by choking up with emotion as he bid farewell during a special recognition before the Santa Maria City Council on Dec. 16 in honor of his 34 years of full-time service. 

“I have loved every minute of it,” he said Thursday. “I’m not leaving because I don’t love my job.”

Chief Dan Orr noted that those who belong to an organization are “simply shepherds of the organization.”

“The goal is always to leave the organization better then you found it,” Orr said. “It is not hard to find Chief Bertram's fingerprints on many of the improvements that have been made to the organization over the years.

"Rick cares deeply the department and the city as a whole and filling his shoes is going to be difficult.”

Bertram chose the career as a youth growing up in West Los Angeles, and attended Santa Barbara City College. He originally spent a year as a member of a Santa Barbara County Fire Department hand crew.

He then attended the Hancock College fire academy en route to becoming a full-time firefighter.

Bertram first served as a reserve firefighter with the Santa Maria department before being hired full-time as the city’s third fire station, then near College Avenue and Donovan Road, was about to open.

While rising through the ranks, he’s seen the department through five chiefs, the addition of three more stations, plus replacement of Station 3 and the celebration of the agency’s 100th anniversary.

“I love these guys. It’s fun to watch them work,” Bertram said. “They are so good.  It’s very exciting to be involved in this stage of the fire service. It’s changed so much, and that’s fun to be involved with.”

During his career, he’s also seen the dramatic changes in equipment and skills employed by firefighters.

“The technology is really incredible. It makes it a much safer job for these guys,” he said. 

When he started, firefighters responded to a few basic medical calls and fires. Nowadays, their training has much more importance as crews must have skills in handling assorted disciplines such as hazardous materials along with urban search-and-rescue situations.

Bertram recalled seeing crews employing some of those skills after the Town Center Inn fire in October 2013, as they built a temporary structure to shore up the unstable facade.

“To watch those guys put that together that quickly and know exactly what they were doing, it’s fun to see,”  Bertram said. “It really is exciting to watch them perform and, as the chief says, to do their craft. They’re very good at it.”

He noted he has worked with three generations of firefighters, including the older ones who were on the job when he joined the agency and retired long ago. He’s the last of his generation and now gets to see a new generation making a mark on the fire service.

“It’s fun to see that evolution and the camaraderie and how they all mold together,” he said. “They are so much better than I ever was at that stage of my career. They are so well-educated, so well-trained.”

When he retires, the Shell Beach resident and his wife, Theresa, plan to travel and enjoy his freedom of not having to regularly report for shifts. 

And he isn’t totally leaving the profession, since he will continue to work part-time as a member of the Central Coast Interagency Incident Management Team, whose members respond as needed to wildland fires across the West.

It’s yet another chance to do the job he loves so much. 

“What I find unique about it is I don’t know a fireman that doesn’t love their job," Bertram said. "I look forward to coming to work. I look forward to being around the people that I’m around and I look forward to everything that we do."

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

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Laurie Jervis: Of Bubbles and Still Wine, Sustainable and Organic Vineyards

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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During the past decade, I've soaked up a ton of wine knowledge. As a bonus, I actually remember most of it. I recently found a new term: grower champagne.

By definition, these champagnes are produced in the Champagne region of France — just like "real" champagnes. The difference: Grower champagnes come from estates that, well, actually grow the grapes that end up in the champagne. The key word here is "grower" of the grapes that are used in the champagnes.

Since I favor those who work the land and vines themselves, be they folks in my county or across the globe, curiosity won me over, and I sidled up to the bar during a "green" tasting at the Los Olivos Cafe & Wine Merchant on Dec. 10.

While huge champagne houses such as Mumm, Moët & Chandon and Perrier Jouët use grapes sourced from several vineyards, grower champagnes come from one vineyard, or just a handful of sites that are adjacent to one another.

During the cafe's event, titled "Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Biodynamic, Organic, Balanced and Natural Wine Fair," representatives from three distributors (Farm Wine Imports, Southern Wine & Spirits and Wine Wise) joined local winemakers who also focus on sustainable, organic and, in a couple of cases, biodynamic and organic grape growing and winemaking.

Jenna Congdon, sales rep for Wine Wise, poured bubbles from five producers who favor sustainability — one of them, the Greek label Karanika, follows organic and biodymanic practices, and another, Vilmart, sustainable and organic.

All five labels happen to utilize grapes from old vines, be they in Germany, Greece or France.

The Geoffroy NV Cuvée Expression Brut Champagne is a blend of pinot meunier, pinot noir and chardonnay grapes from sustainable vineyards. The Geoffroy family has grown grapes in the village of Cumieres since the 1600s, although its first bottling was not until 1980, Congdon told me.

The evening also featured local wines grown from sustainable, organic or biodynamic vineyards. Included were A Tribute to Grace/Farmers Jane, Alma Rosa, Ampelos, Amplify, Beckmen, Bernat, Ground Effect, Lo-Fi, J Brix, Presqu'ile, Solminer and Roark Wine Co.

The winemakers from all of these labels focus on sustainable farming and winemaking. Two vineyards, those of Beckmen and Ampelos, are certified biodynamic sites, and the Bernat and Alma Rosa vineyards are certified organic.

Anna and David deLaski of Solminer Wine also farm a three-acre vineyard in Los Olivos that is certified organic. Yes, in practice, farming organically requires "a lot of labor," Anna deLaski said, "but we want to take care of the Earth." (As the Solminer website states, Anna's motto is "go green or go home.")

The couple are turning heads with their new releases, among them a 2013 Riesling and the 2013 Estate Sparkling Syrah, "Nebullite."

In practice, how do sustainable, organic and biodynamic differ?

Sustainable practices address water conservation and efficient use of energy, as well as air quality, social responsibility and habitat conservation. Click here for more information.

Certified organic vineyards cannot use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

And finally, viticulturists farming vineyards that are certified biodynamic must follow the cycles of the lunar calendar, which dictates certain days for pruning, weeding, harvesting and much more. The biodynamic vineyard is considered an ecosystem, and all chemicals are strictly forbidden.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via winecountrywriter@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Steven Crandell: An Open Letter to Bill Gates and Kevin Roberts

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Dear Bill Gates and Kevin Roberts,

Here’s the challenge:

The people of the world are ready for one of the biggest innovations ever — the merger of business and philanthropy.

Climate change has presented the unifying threat. Technology has given us hope for solutions. Governments around the globe seem more willing to collaborate than ever before. But only business has the horsepower to accelerate positive change by adopting philanthropic goals into their strategy.

There is no bigger sales challenge in the world than getting businesses to see that their market share can increase and the long-term profitability can grow as they build sustainable, pro-social goals into their products and services and operations.

There is no greater positive benefit to be reaped than this transformation in how the world operates. (September’s U.N. Climate Summit showed hints of what is possible.)

The big question, gentlemen, is: Are you up to promoting the biggest business and philanthropic opportunity of the century?

“We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams.”
Willy Wonka, from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Of course, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which you co-chair, Bill, is already a leader in impact investing and already works with for-profit partners toward philanthropic ends. (Click here to read the foundation’s investment strategy.)

Saatchi & Saatchi, headed by you, Kevin, already supports philanthropy in creative ways.

But I’m asking for more:

I want the man with unmatched achievement and leadership in technology, business and philanthropy (that’s you, Bill) to appear in a campaign devised by the clever minds and hearts of one of the world’s most creative ad agencies (those are your mates, Kevin). The goal of the campaign: build awareness so businesses can start planning now for the collaborative, pro-social/ for-profit future that awaits the planet.

Does the goal seem impossible? The plan far-fetched?

Doesn’t innovation often present this way in the beginning?

What about when two college students decided in 1975 to democratize computers by writing software (the precursor to Windows) that would empower anyone to use the most complicated and powerful tools on the planet?

Wasn’t that far-fetched?

“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. / Anything you want to — do it. / Want to change the world — there’s nothing to it.”
— Willy Wonka

Change is upon us whether we like it or not. Once upon a time, baby boomers made up the biggest part of the U.S. population. Not any more. Now millennials (born 1980-2000) are No. 1.

NPR reports that millennials are not only really good at tech innovation — as a rule, they are more tolerant, diverse and optimistic than us boomers.

Is the millennial generation simply going to accept that for-profit companies focus only on growth and an attractive return on investment without regard to the sustainability of the planet or the quality of life of its inhabitants? Or might this powerful new generation start buying more — a lot more — from companies that steward the earth and improve the lot of the people who live here?

Worth thinking about, isn’t it?

Worth discussing.

Bill ... thoughts?

“If technology is purely market-driven and we don’t focus innovation on the big inequities, then we could have amazing inventions that leave the world even more divided. We won’t improve public schools. We won’t cure malaria. We won’t end poverty. We won’t develop the innovations poor farmers need to grow food in a changing climate.”
— Bill Gates, from the commencement speech he made with his wife, Melinda, to Stanford University students in June 2014

Kevin?

“We need radical optimists and extreme enthusiasts but most of all we need ideas. Ideas have magical power. In a world of major impasses and eroding differences, ideas improve the way we live.”
— Kevin Roberts, speech to INSEAD in France, September 2014

I like how this is developing. Let’s continue.

Bill:

“Innovation can solve almost every problem.”

Kevin:

“Institutions such as governments, churches and media are limited as agents of change. Geared defensively; a lot of reporting and policy and a little bit of absolution. Humanity will never strategize, rationalize, negotiate, consult or hope its way to glory. Only business can take direct action to move hearts. Business meets needs, solves problems, innovates, improves lives, create jobs and offers everyday joy. Only business has the freedom to win through imagination and ideas.”

Bill:

“I often talk about the miracle of vaccines: With just a few doses, they protect children from deadly diseases forever. When it comes to clean energy, we need breakthroughs that are just as miraculous. Just like vaccines, clean-energy miracles don’t just happen by chance. We have to make them happen, through long-term investments in research and development.”
Gatesnotes’ blog June 25, 2014

Kevin:

“We live, work and play deep in a participation economy ... Consumers are becoming producers, and small players have big reach.”
Saatchi & Saatchi Red Paper

Bill:

“Optimism is often dismissed as false hope. But there is also false hopelessness. That’s the attitude that says we can’t defeat poverty and disease. We absolutely can.”

Kevin:

“Let’s do it together, for none of us is as strong as all of us.”

Wow, so glad you are both so positive about this.  

I just want you to know that you won’t be in this alone. Not only will I volunteer my services pro bono to write and fundraise for this effort, I am prepared to give 1 percent of my annual income to Saatchi & Saatchi to fund the cause.

Would you both do the same?

I believe profit and pro-social purpose will join forces. It’s ultimately about survival. Collaborate or die. That’s one of humanity’s oldest — and most motivating — stories. The seed of community. The spur for innovation.

The only question is how much time will we waste — and how much suffering we will condone — before we start the process of change.

So, Bill ... Kevin ... can I count on you?

— Author and writer Steven Crandell helps integrate story and strategy for organizations, with nonprofit foundations a particular focus. “Thinking Philanthropy” aims to provide practical, thought-provoking ideas about giving. This article was cross-posted on Tumblr. Steven can be contacted at stevencrandell@noozhawk.com, or follow him on Twitter: @stevencrandell. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Westside Gang Members Sentenced to State Prison for Eastside Robbery

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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A pair of Westside gang members learned their sentences this week after a jury convicted them of robbery and false imprisonment stemming from a 2012 incident outside an Eastside market in Santa Barbara.

Marcial Garcia was sentenced to 35 years in prison and Christian Botello was sentenced to 21 years in prison, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury convicted both men in October of robbery and false imprisonment by violence or menace with criminal street gang allegations and active participation in the Westside criminal street gang. 

“As a result of the rigorous investigation by Santa Barbara Police Department gang detectives and the focused prosecution by Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel, dangerous gang members will once again be sent to prison for decades,” Dudley said. 

In a separate bifurcated trial, the jury further found Botello sustained a prior conviction in 2001 for felony active participation in a criminal street gang. 

In a court trial held several weeks after the verdicts, Judge Frank Ochoa found that Garcia also sustained prior convictions for the crimes of robbery and active participation in a criminal street gang in 2006, and grand theft person with criminal street gang allegations in 1999.  

Those findings helped lead to the longer sentences for the two defendants.

Co-defendants and fellow Westside gang members Luis Jaimes and Juan Carlos Gomez pleaded to robbery and active participation in a criminal street gang prior to trial; Jaimes was sentenced to 5 years prison and Gomez was sentenced to 5 years, 8 months in prison.  

Prosecutors contend that on Aug. 26, 2012, Garcia and Botello drove into rival Eastside gang territory with codefendants Jaimes and Gomez, stopping at the Mi Fiesta Market, 410 Salinas St. 

The victim remained in the car while his cousin went inside the market

The victim, who told the defendants he “didn’t bang,” was robbed of his wallet, cell phone, cash and other items, and threatened with being stabbed if he didn't comply with the suspects' demands.

Jaimes and Gomez were accused of acting as lookouts during the robbery.

Garcia, Botello and Gomez were among seven people arrested in October 2012 as part of a gang sweep conducted by Santa Barbara police.

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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‘Serial Rapist’ Given to 19 Years in State Prison

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Jerry Providence Bonhomme

A man described as a serial rapist was sentenced in Santa Barbara Superior Court to 19 years in state prison for attacks involving two women, District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday.

Jerry Providence Bonhomme, 33, of Santa Barbara received the punishment after being found guilty of raping two women. He also must register as a sex offender and pay restitution costs for the victims' therapy.

A jury convicted Bonhomme in July of four charges including two rape charges.

At the sentencing hearing Tuesday in Judge Frank Ochoa’s courtroom, one victim contended in a statement read on her behalf that she believed Bonhomme is a danger of women.

“In my 32 years on the bench, I have never seen a more sophisticated manipulation of a position of trust and friendship to avail persons into victimization.,” Ochoa said. “I cannot give you enough time for what you did to these [victims].” 

In July 2012, Santa Barbara police detailed three incidents, dating back to December 2011, in which Bonhomme allegedly sexually assaulted highly intoxicated women he met at local bars and parties.

A few weeks later, a fourth victim came forward after reports of Bonhomme’s arrest.

“Jerry Bonhomme is a sexual predator,” stated Senior Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman.  “With this sentence, a serial rapist is out of the public and away from women for the maximum allowable time under the law. We could not have accomplished this just result without the bravery of the victims who came forward and testified.”

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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Son Arrested in Death of Lompoc Woman Found in La Habra

By | Published on 12/24/2014

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Gabriel Antonio Espinoza, 30, of Santa Maria is accused of murdering Emma Posadas-Espinoza

Gabriel Antonio Espinoza

The son of a Lompoc woman found dead amid suspicious circumstances in Orange County during the summer has been arrested in connection with her death.

Gabriel Antonio Espinoza, 30, of Santa Maria was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder with special circumstances Tuesday by La Habra police.

His mother, 58-year-old Emma Posadas-Espinoza, was found dead in La Habra on July 21.

A man walking a dog found the woman in foliage, with only the feet and a limited portion of the body appearing to be uncovered, according to police in the Orange County city.

Police initially said the woman’s white, four-door Acura sedan was missing.

However, it was found July 30 in the 600 block of North Curryer Street in Santa Maria after someone reported that the vehicle appeared to be abandoned, police confirmed in September.

The initial findings at the scene and preliminary autopsy were “inconclusive” regarding the cause of death. 

Last week, the Orange County Coroner's Office gave police the final autopsy results, which indicated the woman had died of asphyxiation. 

"Based on the information gathered in the investigation, which included search warrants and court orders, the La Habra Police Department was able to identify a suspect responsible for the homicide," police said in a news release.

At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, La Habra police arrested Espinoza at his Santa Maria residence with the assistance of Santa Maria police.

Posadas-Espinoza moved to Lompoc in 1989, and worked as a licensed clinical social worker with agencies including Head Start, the Community Action Commission and Community Health Centers.

Her son remained in custody in Orange County Jail where he is being held without bail.

He reportedly is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at the Orange County Central Justice Center.

After his mother went missing, Espinoza contacted Lompoc police but never filed a missing person's report last summer, La Habra police said.

Upon the discovery of the body last summer, Espinoza talked to KEYT/KCOY television reporter about his mother, describing her as a caring person and a mom who regularly showed up to support him when he played baseball as a youth and coached as an adult.

"That's my mom. I want that person, whoever it was, I forgive them, but it's just so hard," he said.

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

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Allan Hancock College’s Luis Sanchez Named President of Moorpark College

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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A career-long journey to fulfill his dream as an educational administrator has ended for Luis Sanchez, J.D., LL.M. The associate superintendent and vice president of academic affairs at Allan Hancock College has accepted an offer to become the next president of Moorpark College.

Sanchez
Luis Sanchez

“To receive this opportunity is a milestone for me,” Sanchez said. “To be the president of a community college has been a goal of mine since I can remember. I feel incredibly fortunate.”

Sanchez began working at Hancock in July 2011 in his current role. He plans to continue working at Hancock into February, before starting his new position at Moorpark in early March.

“I truly love Hancock, the students and people I work with,” Sanchez said. “I am proud to work at a college where we weathered the biggest possible storm during the economic downturn and came out on top because of everyone’s deep devotion to helping students succeed.”

During his time at Hancock, Sanchez has worked under three presidents: José Ortiz, Ed.D.; Elizabeth Miller, Ed.D.; and current president Kevin Walthers, Ph.D. He said he would take something from each of them to his new post.

“Dr. Ortiz was charismatic and great with students. Dr. Miller was unshakeable and a great steward for the college. Dr. Walthers is highly entrepreneurial and someone I feel will lead Hancock to greatness,” he said.

Walthers wished Sanchez the best in his new position. “Luis is one of the most thoughtful and insightful leaders I have ever worked with,” Walthers said. “Moorpark College is fortunate to have him join the institution.”

Sanchez said the new position allows him to be closer to his two children, Robert and Elizabeth, who live in San Diego, as well as his mother in Seal Beach and his siblings in Long Beach and Irvine.

He plans to immerse himself in Moorpark’s culture for a few months before identifying his main goals.

“I want to see a broader picture before I can figure out how to support Moorpark to becoming as great of a college as possible, ultimately, to the benefit of the students,” he said.

Sanchez earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University-Los Angeles. He went on to earn his juris doctorate and master’s from McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. He practiced law full time for seven years before he started to teach law full time. Prior to arriving at Hancock, Sanchez spent 20 years at Sierra College where he was an instructor, as well as the dean of business, public safety and technology.

Moorpark has been searching for a new president for nearly one year. Dr. Bernard Luskin is currently serving as Moorpark College’s interim president.

The search for Sanchez’s replacement at Allan Hancock College will begin in the spring.

— Gina Herlihy is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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Jim Hightower: Citigroup Becomes Its Own Self-Serving Lawmaker

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Congress, which has long been so tied up in a partisan knot by right-wing extremists that it has been unable to move, suddenly sprang loose at the end of the year and put on a phenomenal show of acrobatic lawmaking.

In one big, bipartisan spending bill, our legislative gymnasts pulled off a breathtaking, flat-footed back-flip for Wall Street, and then set a dizzying new height record for the amount of money deep-pocketed donors can give to the two major political parties. It was the best scratch-my-back performance you never saw. You and I didn't see it — because it happened in secret.

The favor was huge — allowing Wall Street's most reckless speculators to have their losses on risky derivative deals insured by us taxpayers. Yes, such losses were a central cause of the 2008 financial crash and subsequent unholy bank bailout, which lead to passage of the Dodd-Frank reform law, including a provision sparing taxpayers from covering future losses. But with one, compact, 85-line provision inserted deep inside the 1,600-page, trillion-dollar spending bill, Congress did a dazzling flip-flop on that regulation, putting us taxpayers back on the hook for the banksters' high-risk speculation.

In this same spending bill, Congress also used its legislative athleticism to free rich donors (such as Wall Street bankers) from a limit of under $100,000 on the donation that any one of them can give to political parties. In a spectacular gravity-defying stunt, lawmakers flung the limit on these donations to a record-setting 15 times higher than before. So now bankers who are grateful to either party for being able to make a killing on taxpayer-backed deals can give $1.5 million each to the parties.

Perhaps you recall from your high school civics class that neat, one-page flow chart showing the perfectly logical, beautifully democratic process that Congress must go through to pass our laws.

What a bunch of kidders those chart makers were! To see how the sausage is really made, let's take a look at that trillion-dollar budget bill that Congress squeezed out just before Christmas. It was crammed with special corporate favors, such as: reinstating a Bush rule allowing mining giants to explode the tops off ancient Appalachian mountains and then bulldoze the rubble down into the valley below destroying pristine mountain streams; another letting long-haul trucking outfits require their drivers to be on the road more than 11 hours a day and up to 82 hours per week, filling our highways with highballing, sleep-deprived truckers; and cutting $60 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency, freeing up polluters to go unpunished for polluting.

None of these favors had anything to do with that "how-a-bill-becomes-law" flow chart in our civics textbook. No bill was filed, no public hearings, no debate, no vote. Just — BAM! — there they were, a thicket of benefits secretly slipped into the 1,600-page budget bill by ... well, by whom? Largely by corporate lobbyists, though they get one of their for-hire Congress critters to do the actual dirty deed.

The taxpayer subsidy for Wall Street, for example, was written by Citigroup. The bank's lobbyists then handed the provision to Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder, who slipped it into the bill. Thus, the Wall Street conglomerate that took a $50 billion bailout from us taxpayers just seven years ago to save itself from its own bad deals essentially was allowed to become an unelected, self-serving, do-it-yourself, backroom "lawmaker" to make sure that your and my tax dollars will be there to cover its next mess-up.

And that, boys and girls, is the real flow chart for making our laws. It's always an amazing sight when Wall Street and Congress get together — especially when they get together out of sight.

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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Downtown Santa Barbara Names Winners of Holiday Window Décor Contest

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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'Twas a week before Christmas and all along the street, the shop windows were all decorated — oh, what a treat!

Downtown Santa Barbara staff strolled along State Street to judge the Holiday Window Décor Contest last week. Here are the results, along with a hearty congratulations to the winners:

» 2014 Award of Excellence — Spanish Garden Inn

» Best Holiday Spirit Award — Renaissance Fine Consignment

» Most Traditional Award — K Frank

» Most Festive Award — 33 Jewels

» Best Vintage Holiday — Rocket Fizz

» Most Whimsical Award — Palace Grill

» Honorable Mention — Socorro

The handmade tree topper, fireplace wreath and ornaments, using orchids and origami, made Spanish Garden Inn (915 Garden St.) the hands-down favorite. Renaissance Fine Consignment’s (1118 State St.) windows and tree of huge elves working diligently on holiday projects truly puts the viewer in the holiday spirit.

Spanish Garden
The Spanish Garden Inn at 915 Garden St. earned the 2014 Award of Excellence. (Downtown Santa Barbara photo)

Simple yet lovely – the red and gold decked tree tucked in the corner of K Frank (1023 State) along with boughs and lights along the adobe ceiling, clinched the Most Traditional award. Window shoppers peering into 33 Jewels (814 State St.) found intricately cut butterflies flitting among the jewelry and even into the shape of a beautiful white tree. Candy is dandy and when a tree is decorated with vintage candy, you’ve got a winner.

And putting a Rudolph nose on Marilyn Monroe clinched the Vintage award for Rocket Fizz (1021 State St.). With hand-painted windows depicting that old Cajun tradition of alligators pulling Santa and wait staff in a motorboat, Palace Grill (8 E. Cota St.) easily nabbed the Whimsical award. Socorro (1106 State St.), with its snow-crusted windows, adorned palm tree and huge snowflakes, warmed the hearts of the judges enough for an Honorable Mention award.

Downtown Santa Barbara serves as the champion and advocate for the merchants and property owners of the downtown district in Santa Barbara, with more than 1,400 members. The Downtown Organization represents a vibrant, authentic downtown core that celebrates itself as an urban community and an internationally known destination. It also manages the Downtown Santa Barbara Business Improvement District, providing enhanced services to make downtown Santa Barbara a cleaner, safer and more vibrant place for visitors, investors and residents.

Programs, activities and events sponsored by Downtown Santa Barbara include the Downtown Holiday Parade, the Downtown Art & Wine Tour, the decorative State Street Flag Program, 1st Thursday and 1st Thursday: After Hours, Downtown Trick-or-Treat and Film Feast. Like us on Facebook (Downtown Santa Barbara), follow us on Twitter (@SBDowntown) for the latest info on events, promotions and downtown information.

— Kate Schwab is the marketing director for Downtown Santa Barbara.

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Letter to the Editor: Laguna Blanca School Mourns Loss of Dotsy Adams

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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It is with great sorrow that I share the recent loss of Dorothy "Dotsy" Adams, wife of Jack Adams, our headmaster from 1961 to 1981.

Jack preceded Dotsy in passing in July of this year. Together, they helped build Laguna into the thriving and tightly knit community that it is today. Dotsy will always be remembered for her profound warmth, generosity and dedication toward those around her.

As many of you may recall, Dotsy took great pride in the Laguna community. She attended nearly every school function during her time here, and she was always the first to lend a helping hand to welcome new families into the community. Whether she was organizing the Fall Festival or supporting her husband Jack, Dotsy was without a doubt the heart and soul of our Hope Ranch home.

The family has extended a heartfelt invitation to all members of the Laguna community to attend Dotsy's Celebration of Life on Saturday, Jan. 10 (tentatively at 2 p.m.). The service will take place at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church at 83 Eucalyptus Lane in Santa Barbara. Afterward, a reception will be held at Casa Dorinda at 300 Hot Springs Road in Santa Barbara.

I deeply regret that I did not have more time to know Dotsy and learn more about her time at Laguna Blanca. It is my hope that Laguna will carry her spirit of compassion into future generations. We are a better school because of the love and care she and her beloved Jack poured into our community, and I know she will be greatly missed.

Warmest regards,

Rob Hereford, head of school
Laguna Blanca School

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Santa Barbara County Unemployment Rate at 5.7% for November

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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The unemployment rate for Santa Barbara County was 5.7 percent in November, as we approach the end-of-year holiday season, according to figures released Tuesday by the State Employment Development Department.

A year ago, in November 2013, unemployment for the county was at 6.4 percent.

Between November 2013 and November 2014, total labor force in Santa Barbara County grew from 223,200 to 228,200 or 5,000 workers. The year-to-year change in the labor force in October was 4,600 workers.

“As expected, the sector that produced the most jobs was retail; which is consistent with the holiday season, and are probably temporary jobs,” said Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Raymond McDonald.

“There were unexpected gains in local government jobs (300), while the Professional & Business Services sector was flat — as employers delayed permanent hiring during the holidays, and routinely make up for this lull during the first few months of the new year.”

Looking to the sub-county areas in Tuesday's release, there are some unfortunate changes from the previous month, with Lompoc and Guadalupe slipping back into double-digit unemployment.

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John Daly: New Year’s Bash Dilemmas

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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​It’s almost 2015! And New Year’s celebrations often bring about more questions than answers, whether business–related or personal. I get asked these questions frequently. Let’s look at how to resolve them with ease.

What to Wear?

It’s perfectly fine to ask others how they will be dressing. Here’s a tip: In cold, dry winter weather, silk is victim to static cling, even in Santa Barbara! To prevent it, run a wire hanger over your clothes to eliminate electric charges.

May I Bring a Few Friends?

It’s only polite to ask in advance. Don’t spring it on the host. However, if you are thinking of bringing more than four friends, think again. That’s pushing it.

Do I Have to Bring a Host or Hostess Gift?

That’s the considerate thing to do.

If So, What?

Here are some thoughts:

» Flowers already arranged in a nice keepsake vase

» Chocolates (particularly if you know your host loves them)

» A selection of cards for birthdays, anniversaries and other happy occasions (that will save your host some time)

» A morning-after basket of teas and coffee, muffins or scones and aspirin!

Do I Have to Dress Up for a Masquerade Party?

If you want to show your appreciation, yes! If you don’t want to wear a costume, at least put on a mask. If your host gives out party hats and favors, get in the spirit and just do it!

Does It Matter If I’m Late?

If it’s a cocktail party, don’t arrive any later than an hour after start time, and that’s pushing it. Never arrive early.

If it is for a meal, be on time! It’s rude to be late and potentially will cause difficulty with the timing of the food presentation.

When’s a Good Time to Leave?

Look for clues. If your host starts yawning, taking off her shoes and rubbing her feet, that’s a signal. If you are in a large crowd and the lights are turned up, the food isn’t being replenished and the bar is closed, take the hint.

What About Posting on Social Media at the Party?

Whoever thought that posting your food at a party or a restaurant is worthy of social media is just plain wrong! Nobody cares! Remember that what you post should be of interest to others — something post-worthy to pass along. Don’t bombard Facebook, Instagram and the like with endless selfies of yourself at parties, and don’t take embarrassing photos of your friends in compromising positions. That’s not being a friend at all.

And above all, don’t criticize the party host, food or situation. Remember, that’s a good way to lose friends. Once posted, it never goes away. My best advice yet: unplug from technology when you are socializing.

How Do I Avoid an Unwanted Kiss at Midnight?

To prevent unwanted attention, get together with a bunch of your friends and plan a group hug when the clock strikes midnight. Huddling together will create almost a barrier to unwanted kisses.

How Do I Get Out of An Invitation?

Have your friends invited you to hang out or pay too much money to get into an uninteresting club, and you don’t want to go? Your attendance is not required. First of all, if you do go, you’ll be miserable. And, in turn, you’ll put a damper on everyone else’s fun.

Instead, just politely tell your friends you have other plans. If they push you, explain that you have some things you want to accomplish or that you need some alone time. If they are your friends, they’ll definitely understand.

Remember, never let others push or guilt you into something you don’t want to do.

How Do I Follow Up after Attending a Hosted New Year’s Eve Party?

Definitely send a handwritten thank-you note. It is the polite thing to do and will make you stand out in your host’s mind. If you did take nonembarrassing digital photos, email your host and send him or her a few.

The bottom line to all of this is to be safe. If you plan to drink, go with a designated nondrinking driver or take a cab or an Uber car.

Happy New Year!

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at johnkeyclass@gmail.com. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjrClick here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Sheriff’s Department to Conduct ATV Enforcement Near Riverbend in Lompoc

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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In response to a large number of complaints from Santa Barbara County residents living near the riverbed in the unincorporated area of Lompoc, the Sheriff’s Department will be strictly enforcing three county ordinances that prohibit motor vehicles from driving on unimproved public or private property.

Numerous property owners have recently expressed concern over off-road vehicles being operated in the riverbed at various times of the day and night. The complaints include noise from the vehicles, and bonfires and campfires being held in the area. There has also been an increased amount of trash left behind and vandalism of private property, including crop damage and cut fences and gates.

Additionally, cattle have been injured and let loose from their pastures. There has also been a large number of drug- and alcohol-related offenses related to the bon/campfires. Most often the subjects involved in committing crimes in the area accessed the private property illegally on an ATV.

The Sheriff’s Department wants to notify the public that starting this Sunday, Dec. 28, and over the next several weeks, deputies will conduct a riverbed enforcement of Santa Barbara County and state ordinances. The targeted area will be the unincorporated area of the Santa Ynez River bordering the City of Lompoc.

County Ordinances 24-28, 24-29 and 24-30 were amended in 2008 to extend the prohibition of operating motor vehicles on unimproved private property to also include unimproved public property. Individuals who are found in violation of these ordinances or of committing other crimes in the riverbed area will be cited and or arrested and could face potential prosecution.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

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Tara Jones: Villa Wine Bar and Kitchen Serves as an Oasis Amid the Chaos

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Sean and Gabi Larkins, longtime owners of Vino Divino on De la Vina, have opened this new quaint venue on Anacapa Street

Last year I pushed off Christmas shopping until the last minute, and as my fellow procrastinators know all too well, I was that frantic shopper mowing people down trying to get that last pair of mittens for so-and-so before the stores were all sold out.

This year I started my shopping in August. That’s right. This year I vowed not to be that person who was elbowing her way toward the perfect gift for so-and-so. And my plan would have been flawless if I had bought more than one present that month.

Instead, I found myself wrestling among the masses Thanksgiving weekend and was ready to lie down and take a nap on the nearest bench when I came across an oasis in the land of holiday shopping.

Villa Wine Bar and Kitchen, opened just three months ago, offers rare craft beers such as Chucklehead IPA, a very limited production beer from Anderson Valley Brewing Co., as well as Schonramer Gold beer on tap.

Sean Larkins, along with wife Gabi, are the decade-long owners of the flourishing wine shop Vino Divino on De la Vina Street, known for its fair-priced, hard-to-find wines.

Recently, Larkins has expanded their libation offerings to the new digs on Anacapa Street in Santa Barbara, featuring a revolving menu of German and Bavarian lagers and beer, wine and food.

With a classic sandwich and tapas menu, and plans to eventually expand the kitchen to include a pizza oven, Larkins has teamed up with his wife to offer one-of-a-kind winemaker dinners that pair three courses with five wines for an affordable price of $30 to $40.

And keep an ear to the ground about possible upcoming events, such as bottle sharing nights for all beer aficionados.

This quaint venue is sure to keep frequent beer and wine tasters on their toes and is the perfect respite for all you last-minute holiday marathoners.

Villa Wine Bar and Kitchen is located at 618 Anacapa St. The hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 3 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at tara@eatthisshootthat.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Cynder Sinclair: Time to Assess Your Nonprofit’s Year and Set New Intentions

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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As each year draws to a close, I encourage organizations to look back over the past months and make a list of their accomplishments. Most nonprofits are so focused on projects lying ahead that they forget to reflect on their successes. Yet, acknowledging triumphs can energize the team to surge ahead in the new year with renewed vigor.

I’m not suggesting a formal strategic plan, although that is always critical to long-term success. I’m just proposing a simple reflective process — the secret to replenishing your momentum. Here’s how this simple, effective five-step process works.

Gather Your Team

Don’t do this alone. Others on your team will benefit from this vital process, too. Invite board members, staff members or volunteers to an informal gathering — better yet, invite them all. A cross section of stakeholders always produces a wider scope of ideas and builds a more cohesive team.

Create a welcoming atmosphere by serving a beverage and snacks — and maybe play a little upbeat background music. Start by asking each person to describe what draws him or her to the organization’s mission — a powerful way of helping team members get in touch with their deep commitment to your mission.

Review the Year

Ask everyone to brainstorm a list of all the organization’s accomplishments over the past year — big ones and little ones. Remember the main rule of brainstorming: There are no bad ideas. Let occasional silence encourage timid ones to speak up. You may be surprised at the long list you create. Now make a list of any lessons learned: What would you have done differently? What has this past year taught you?

Celebrate Together

Now it’s time to celebrate your successes. Don’t forget that lessons learned are successes, too. Make your official “celebration list.” Assign a theme for the past year and choose something to represent the theme.

One organization proclaimed it their year of “building our foundation” because they finished reviewing and revising all their governing documents, refurbishing their board membership and restructuring their committees. They gave each person a small ceramic brick to symbolize their theme and to remind everyone to celebrate their accomplishments. Review this celebration list at the next staff meeting and at the next board meeting. Watch as it re-energizes everyone.

Set Your Intentions

Pull out your organization’s goals and review the progress made. Simply acknowledging your positive movement forward will give everyone a sense of accomplishment. Next, peek into the future. Look at each goal individually and list all actions necessary to complete it. Identify the gap between where you are today and where you want to be. Ascertain who needs to do what by when and then create a simple matrix clarifying roles, responsibilities and timelines. Create a plan to hold each person accountable for assigned tasks.

Some organizations use an outside consultant to help shepherd the goals through to completion. If there are goals that never seem to be accomplished, identify potential obstacles and make plans to remove the barriers. Some goals may need to be changed — they made sense at the time you created them but no longer serve the organization.

Conduct an Annual Review

At the end of the year, I also like to review all organizational documents to identify any that need revision or updates. Look at documents like bylaws, a strategic plan, an emergency response plan, financial policies, a board handbook, a board evaluation tool, ethics and conflict of interest statements, a confidentiality statement, a succession plan, a safety plan, a compensation and benefit structure, insurance and contracts, and committee structure. Prioritize these documents according to their need for modification and schedule them on a calendar for revision. Decide which revised documents will be presented at your annual meeting for approval.

Get Ready for an Energizing Year

The secret of this process is a cross section of organizational stakeholders reminding themselves of all they have accomplished in the past year, revisiting their beloved mission and clarifying their intentions for the coming year. This simple practice will reinvigorate your team and focus their energy on greater triumphs for the coming year.

— Dr. Cynder Sinclair is a consultant to nonprofits and founder and CEO of Nonprofit Kinect. She has been successfully leading nonprofits for 30 years and holds a doctorate in organizational management. To read her blog, click here. To read her previous articles, click here. She can be contacted at 805.689.2137 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

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Santa Maria Police Release Shooting Victim’s Name

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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The man found shot to death early Monday in the 1000 block of West Morrison Avenue in Santa Maria has been identified as Pedro Antonio Lainez-Lopez, 28, of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria police said they received multiple 911 calls just before 6 a.m. Monday and found Lainez-Lopez in a parked vehicle.

He had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Officers attempted to render aid, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“There is no information at this time indicating this crime was gang-related,” police said. 

Lainez-Lopez died on the day before his birthday. 

Police are asking that anyone with information contact the department at 805.928.3781 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1.877.800.9100.

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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Williams Receives Perfect Score from Consumer Federation of California

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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When it comes to votes on key consumer rights bills, the 2014 Consumer Federation of California scorecard found that Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, has sided with consumers 100 percent of the time.

Williams has a perfect lifetime favorable rating on the CFC’s annual scorecard, which rates lawmakers’ votes on a range of legislative proposals, including protections for vulnerable elders, truth in advertising, cell phone safety regulation, medical credit arrangements, computer spyware, financial privacy and defective products.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a lawmaker who stands up to protect the working people of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties,” Williams said. “It’s important to keep consumers’ rights and protections at the forefront of our laws as we work to rebuild our economy.”

The scorecard includes bills that the CFC sponsored, supported or opposed and grades lawmakers based on votes they have cast as well as non-votes.

Among the bills that Williams is noted for casting the correct vote for consumers is Assembly Bill 1710, which requires a business responsible for a data breach of their customers’ personal information to notify their customers and offer identify theft prevention services at no cost for at least 12 months. Williams also co-authored and voted favorably on behalf of consumers in support of Assembly Bill 1522, which provides that employees are entitled to paid sick days to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked, limited to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment.

Click here to view the full scorecard.

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

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Former President of Orcutt Youth Football League Arrested, Accused of Embezzling $20,000

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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A former president of the Orcutt Youth Football League has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $20,000 in league funds, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Tyrome Lee
Tyrome Lamar Lee

The investigation began earlier this month when two board members from the Orcutt Youth Football League filed a complaint with the sheriff’s Santa Maria station accusing former league president Tyrome Lamar Lee, 35, of Orcutt of embezzling money from the organization, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

She said Lee had been president for the past year but resigned shortly after board members questioned him about discrepancies in the league’s bank account.

An internal audit showed the organization was short by more than $20,000, with several questionable checks, falsified invoices and suspicious cash withdrawals, she said.

A subsequent sheriff’s investigation uncovered evidence to support Lee had made unauthorized cash withdrawals and falsified invoices, embezzling a little more than $20,000 in league funds, Hoover said.

Deputies secured a search warrant and stopped Lee for a traffic infraction last Saturday, citing him for driving his BMW on a suspended license, she said.

Lee voluntarily went to the sheriff's station to be interviewed and was arrested on felony embezzlement charges.

Hoover said he was booked into the Santa Maria Jail on $25,000 bail, which he posted the same day and was released.

A search warrant served on Lee’s vehicle and residence found numerous electronic devices, which were seized, and evidence supporting embezzlement allegations, she said.

Deputies also seized two firearms, which Lee was not allowed to possess because he is a convicted felon, Hoover said.

She said the department would be requesting an additional charge for the firearms from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

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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Toyota Named in Products Liability, Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Crash That Killed Buellton Woman

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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A products liability and wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Toyota on Friday as a result of a traffic accident that resulted in the death of a Buellton woman (Robert Francis Wall Jr. vs. Toyota Motor Corp., LTD et al, Superior Court, Santa Barbara County, Dec. 19, 2014, Case No. 1470003).

On Dec. 19, 2013, Linda Wall, 68, was slowing down from highway speed, approaching a red light at the intersection of Highway 246 and Casino Drive near Santa Ynez. She was driving a 2004 Toyota Highlander. While slowing, Wall’s vehicle was rear-ended by a 2010 Jeep Wrangler, forcing the Highlander into a 2010 Chevy Equinox that was stopped at the light.

The lawsuit states that because of a defect in the Highlander’s design, the rear-end collision caused the Highlander’s driver’s side seatback to break and collapse backward into a fully-relined position. The impact forced Wall toward the back of her vehicle, past the fully reclined headrest, striking her head on the rear seat. Wall died seven hours later at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

According to the hospital, the cause of death was cervical vertebral fractures due to blunt force injury of the neck.

Also named in the lawsuit is Rebecca Sandoval, 37, the driver of the Wrangler. The day prior to the accident, Sandoval drove to the front gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base where the complaint says she was crying hysterically and acting irrationally. Base personnel called an ambulance, and when it arrived, Sandoval became physically resistant while being checked by paramedics. She was eventually taken to Lompoc Valley Medical Center. After inspecting Sandoval’s vehicle, base personnel found multiple used and unopened nitrous oxide containers. Her car was towed and placed in a tow yard.

The next day, prior to the accident that killed Wall, Sandoval retrieved her car. She drove to the Chumash Casino Resort, where the complaint says she abused the illegal drugs left in the vehicle, got back into her car, and while under the influence of nitrous oxide, rear-ended Wall.

“Neither Sandoval or the occupants of the Equinox suffered serious injury,” said Barry Cappello, managing partner of Cappello & Noël and one of the attorneys representing Wall’s husband and three adult children in the case. “Sandoval and others, including Toyota, contributed to the cause of Linda Wall’s untimely death.”

Sandoval is charged with murder, felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury, and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence. She is currently in custody with bail set at $1.1 million.

— Diane Zakian Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Cappello & Noël LLP.

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Allan Hancock College Offering Eight Environmental Health, Safety Courses for Spring Semester

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Allan Hancock College is offering a clear path into a career projected to experience a 26 percent increase in employment demand through 2022. Students will be able to choose from the eight environmental health and safety courses in the spring 2015 semester that starts on Jan. 20.

enviro studies
Students learn how to protect human health and the environment, as well as workplace safety, in the environmental health and safety program at Allan Hancock College. (Allan Hancock College photo)

All classes will take place at the college’s new state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Complex in Lompoc.

The college offers an associate in science degree in environmental health and safety, as well as certificates of achievement and accomplishment.

“The environmental health and safety program prepares students for a career in a variety of public and private employment sectors,” said program coordinator Kristy Treur, who is also the chairperson of the public safety department. “Students explore the importance of protecting the environment through management and conservation of natural resources, as well as how to provide safety in the workplace.”

According to the California Employment Development Department, the median annual salary for an environmental health and safety technician is $46,650. The agency also predicted a 26 percent increase in employment demand through 2022.

Students looking to explore the field may take Introduction to Environmental Technology (ENVT 101). The three-unit course is taught by Treur and meets every Tuesday from 1 to 4:05 p.m. The class provides a general overview of environmental hazardous materials, the history of pollution, environmental effects and possible careers.

“Completing the introduction class opened my eyes to countless things happening around us,” Hancock student Jeff Brown said. “I am looking into a career in environmental health and safety because it is a field of the future.”

The program is also designed to accommodate students who are full-time employees looking to receive additional training or career advancement.

“I enrolled in the program because the company I work for combined its safety and environmental offices,” student David DeVaux said. “I have years of safety experience, but lacked the environmental background to efficiently manage our program. Now, I have that knowledge and can effectively manage our office to stay in compliance.”

Other environmental health and safety classes offered in the spring are two four-week courses: Haz Mat — Site Supervisor (ENVT 151) and Industrial Safety Program (ENVT 153). Monitoring and Sponsoring (ENVT 154) is a six-week class. The college is also offering a two-day First Response Operational (ENVT 156) course, and a one-day hazardous waste operations refresher course (ENVT 450). There is also an eight-week, online first responder refresher course (ENVT 456).

For more information on environmental health and safety courses, contact Treur at 805.735.3366 x5243 or ktreur@hancockcollege.edu.

Spring classes begin the week of Jan.20. To view the schedule of classes, click here and click on Class Search. All California residents pay a $46 per credit enrollment fee. For more information on enrollment or registration, call the Admissions and Records office at 805.922.6966 x3248.

— Gina Herlihy is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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Ron Fink: Christmas Has Always Meant Goodwill and Happiness

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Christmas is one of the best holidays of the year; it is an iconic day celebrating the birth of Christ.

When I was young, Christmas morning was the long-awaited culmination of a boy’s hopes and dreams. I lived in the San Fernando Valley where we saw angels, mangers, tumble weed snowmen and Santa’s sleighs erected in front of City Hall, the library and many other public places.

My mom and dad always took us to Wilshire Avenue along the “miracle mile” in downtown Los Angeles where all the stores were alight with merry displays. Some had elaborate religious scenes complete with moving figures, huge Lionel train sets looping through miniature towns, and seemingly live reindeer pulling gift-laden sleighs through the winter sky.

Those were the good old days — no 24-hour news networks, no Internet to bombard us with more information than we could possibly process, and no cell phones. There were only a handful of black and white TV stations to entertain us.

I can still remember the first time I saw snow on Christmas — coming from Southern California and the only snow we saw was on our TV screen. One winter it snowed, but then it was quickly gone as the winter sun came up.

I was stationed with the U.S. Air Force at Rhein-Main Air Base, just outside of Frankfurt, Germany, and it snowed several inches of big fluffy flakes on “the night before Christmas.” It was an amazing sight to an 18-year-old far from home. I took a long walk in the pine forest surrounding our air base that morning, and then went to the mess hall for dinner.

The military always has a big feast on Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially overseas where the young men and women are so far from home. This was no different as we ate turkey, stuffing, gravy and lots of baked goods.

As I grew older, I remember “Christmas parties” where people gathered and exchanged small gifts, ate lots of food and shared some cheer. Church celebrations were always full of smiling and singing people who were all very happy with life and brimming with good cheer. There were Christmas plays in schools, and Jimmy Stewart always saved Christmas from the Grinch.

Yes, Christmas has always meant goodwill and happiness.

A few years ago, the displays in public places started disappearing. A handful of misguided people have ruled the day and are trying to totally exclude this joyous holiday from “official” public discussion. Christmas parties have now been replaced with the more politically correct “holiday gatherings.” school children take a “winter break,” we have “holiday parades” or a parade of lights, and mangers now only appear in our neighbors’ yards.

Our grandchildren are not allowed to sing or hum carols in many schools for fear they will somehow be tainted by the positive message of Christmas. And those Christmas skits and plays are mostly gone.

Here in Lompoc, there are some encouraging signs. Some brave shopkeepers have erected Christmas-themed displays in our storefronts. Most developers have done away with the large windows that used to house the colorful displays in their anchor stores because of “security reasons,” but some remain and many are decorated.

But Christmas lights and displays are a common sight in the yards of Lompoc. Hundreds of houses are lit up with icicles, Santas, reindeer and snowmen. The power lines must hum throughout the month of December as local residents erect even larger displays than the year before.

Thankfully the city still places illuminated Christmas trees on all the light poles on the main thoroughfares, and there are those Christmas trees all over town, which is really sentimental. And a couple of years ago, the City Council reinstated the Christmas Parade.

Lately I have noticed that Christmas carols are returning to the lineup on radio stations after a multiyear hiatus. Finally we are slowly getting back to the traditions I remember as a young man.

Some traditions shouldn’t be sacrificed to political correctness, and Christmas is one of those special times that should be left alone. Merry Christmas to all — are those sleigh bells I hear in the night sky?

Now, get ready for the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl game.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at news@noozhawk.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Linzy Prudden, Erin Stone of Santa Barbara Graduate from Tufts University

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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More than 3,000 students graduated from Tufts University on May 18 during a university-wide commencement ceremony with public policy expert Anne Marie Slaughter as the speaker, the university announced in a news release sent Tuesday.

The graduates from the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering included:

» Linzy Prudden of Santa Barbara with a bachelor of arts, summa cum laude

» Erin Stone of Santa Barbara with a bachelor of arts

Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions.

A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

— Robin Smyton represents Tufts University.

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Lobero LIVE Blasting Into the Past with ‘Bill Frisell: Guitar in the Space Age!’

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Lobero LIVE is pleased to present "Bill Frisell: Guitar in the Space Age!" with Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen on Monday, Jan. 26.

For this special night, Frisell blasts into the past to mine the catalog of the largely instrumental guitar-based music from the 1950s and 1960s — when America was racing to the moon, and the sounds of an electric guitar were pushing popular music into the future.

Frisell is joined by fellow guitar master Leisz on electric and pedal steel guitars, and his trio partners Scherr on bass and Wollesen on drums. From surf and rock classics like the Chantay’s "Pipeline," Duane Eddy’s "Rebel Rouser," Link Wray’s "Rumble," plus the Byrds’ "Turn, Turn, Turn," the Beach Boys’ "Surfer Girl" and the Kinks’ "Tired of Waiting for You," this evening of truly iconic electric guitar music will be outta this world.

Since his early days as a key collaborator with John Zorn, Frisell has steadily expanded his sonic purview, staking a claim to an ever-greater range of media, material and musical traditions. From Charles Ives and Aaron Copland to Buster Keaton and Bob Dylan, from urban thrash and American Songbook ballads to country blues and Nashville twang, Frisell distills the essence of the American experience.

Tickets for "Bill Frisell: Guitar in the Space Age!" are on sale now at Lobero.com, or by calling the Lobero box office at 805.963.0761. Section A tickets are $49/Section B $39. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $105. VIP tickets include entrance to VIP reception before the concert, a listing in the event program, and a tax-deductible gift to the Lobero Theatre. All prices include facility fee.

Complete calendar listings can be found by clicking here.

— Angie Bertucci represents the Lobero Theatre.

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‘Play With Me, Learn With Me’ Parent/Child Workshops to Begin in January at Goleta Library

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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The Santa Barbara Public Library System announces the next sessions of the very popular “Play With Me, Learn With Me” parent/child workshop series for parents and caregivers with children ages 1 to 3.

The series of informational and fun meetings will begin Saturday, Jan. 10 and continue each Saturday through Feb. 7, from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room of the Goleta Library, 500 N. Fairview Ave. Pre-registration is required for this five-week program.

“Play With Me, Learn With Me” workshops provide an opportunity for parents to teach their young children early concepts like colors, patterns, shapes and sequences through play, stories, songs, crafts, nursery rhymes and other developmental activities. Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity to speak with a different community expert each week on topics of interest such as nutrition, dental health, common stages in the life of young families and much more. Librarians will be present to help find books and other materials on parenting topics as well as fun, learning materials for children.

This project is made possible through funding by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, and administered by California State Library. The Friends of the Goleta Library co-sponsors the program.

Information about Santa Barbara Public Library System locations, hours, events and programs is available at SBPLibrary.org. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Anne Curtin is a children's librarian for the Goleta Library.

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Lompoc Council Candidate Darrell Tullis Nominated for Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Recent City Council candidate Darrell Tullis has been nominated for the 2014 Lompoc Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Darrell Tullis
Darrell Tullis

The phrase "speak truth to power" was a charge given to 18th century members of the Religious Society of Friends, who refused to support the king's military expeditions against Native Americans, to speak up and tell the truth about the wrongness of the king’s military actions.

We believe we saw truth spoken to power in Tullis’ statements during the recent election campaign. He addressed the City Council with regard to controversy over the Lompoc swap meet.

“The swap meet was one of the few places where different parts of our community could come together,” Tullis said. “Some council members said swap meet difficulties were the concessionaire's fault. I told them, ‘If that is the case, [since] the property belongs to the city, you have power to fire the concessionaire and hire a new manager. Don't punish the vendors and the public because the city allowed it to be mismanaged for so many years. Don't close a 25-year tradition when so many were able to benefit from it.’

"Every reason they gave to close it could be solved if they were willing to do the hard work, not the easy thing of just shutting it down.”

Tullis is a 14-year resident of Lompoc. The son of Pastor Dan Tullis (deceased), longtime pastor of Grace Temple Missionary Baptist Church, and Deloris Washington Tullis, he is the father of four and grandfather of three.

He is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran. He holds a degree from Mercer University. He is an associate minister at New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church and is employed at Vandenberg.

Tullis joins nine other nominees, including assistant school superintendent Sid Haro, volunteer Jon Vanderhoof, discussion convenor Lauren Pressman, musician Bill Carlsen, gardener Jan Martinez, writer Luciana Gallegos, chef Norma Anderson, cooperative organizer Raquel Ceja-Gonzalez and winemaker Mark Cargasacchi.

The Peace Prize will be awarded Sunday, Jan. 25 at Valley of the Flowers Church.

— Allie Kay Spaulding represents Valley of the Flowers Church.

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Inogen of Goleta Announces Insurance Reimbursement for Inogen One G3 in Germany

By | Published on 12/23/2014

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Inogen Inc., a Goleta-based medical technology company offering innovative respiratory products for use in the home-care setting, announced Tuesday that the Inogen One G3 portable oxygen concentrator has received coverage for insurance reimbursement within Germany.

Germany is estimated to be the second-largest market in Europe for medical oxygen systems, according to independently published market research data.

The GKV Spitzenverband in Germany has added the Inogen One G3 to its approved products list, called the Hilfsmittelverzeichnis or HMV. The HMV is a register which includes medical devices that are covered by the German public health insurance providers. The specific code assigned to the Inogen One G3 is 14.24.04.6007. In like manner, the Inogen One G2 portable oxygen concentrator previously received similar coverage in Germany.

"Inogen's mission to provide freedom and independence to oxygen therapy users is a global mission," said Raymond Huggenberger, Inogen CEO. "The listing issued in Germany should help to improve access to Inogen technology and thereby increase the freedom and independence for more oxygen therapy patients throughout Europe's second largest market."

Inogen has used, and intends to continue to use, its Investor Relations website, www.inogen.com/investor, as means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with its disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Click here for more information.

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Santa Claus Delights Children in Visit to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s Pediatric Wing

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Volunteers bring holiday cheer and gifts for the young patients, part of a decade-long Christmas tradition

As soon as the elevator doors opened Monday to the fourth floor at Santa Barbara Cottage Children's Hospital, 7-year-old Nathan Mendoza began waving excitedly.

Down the hall from his hospital room, Santa Claus had just stepped off the elevator and had two red Radio Flyer wagons full of gifts at his side to hand out to the good little boys and girls in the children's wing of the hospital.

"Hi Santa!" Mendoza called from just inside his room, where he was tethered to an IV drip that administered fluids and medicines.

Mendoza was in the hospital for his monthly chemotherapy visit, but got a little holiday cheer as Santa walked into the young boy's room, ho-ho-ho-ing and laughing with the excited youngster.

Climbing into Santa's lap, Mendoza watched as two elves and Mrs. Claus rummaged through the wagons for the perfect gift.

Tearing through the wrapping, a box of Legos was revealed. Mendoza was delighted.

Mendoza's mother, Naomi, stood nearby, watching her son open his gift and bask in Santa's attention.

"It means a lot to him," she said.

Nathan Mendoza gets a box of Legos during Santa's visit Monday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Santa's appearance in the Cottage corridors is an annual tradition put on by the Santa Barbara Association of Health Underwriters. 

Christmas is just a couple of days away, and many families and children in the pediatric wing of the hospital are unable to experience the holiday from their home, so the group brings some holiday cheer right to their rooms, delighting the children, many of whom are facing serious medical diagnoses.

Santa, also known as Brent Anderson, as well as Mrs. Claus, Kim Novak, and several elves who handed out toys — all of whom work in financial and insurance planning with the association — were all part of the fun Monday as they roamed the hospital's halls. 

The group has been doing the Christmas visits for about a decade and every year "it touches me deeply," Anderson said.

"We look forward to this every year," Novak said, adding that seeing the smiles of the kids make it the "best part of the year."

Excited 14-month-old Jaden Munoz smiles after receiving a Doc McStuffins pillow book from Mrs. Claus. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

A dozen or so children — from 4-month-old Luke to 17-year-old Maria — all got a hug from Santa and a toy or stuffed animal from the wagon.

Nurses and hospital staff also got to hug Santa and take photos with the group.  

One of the last children to receive a gift was 4-year-old Matthew Mayhew, who was in the pediatric intensive care unit of the hospital. 

Mayhew's eyes lit up as he saw Santa peer through the glass doors to his room, and was excited to open a gift — dinosaur gift set — from his bed.

"He definitely wasn't expecting this," said Mayhew's mother, Leanne. "We're not sure he's going to be able to go home before Christmas, so I know this means a lot to him."

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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Driver Injured After Hitting Multiple Parked Cars in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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No one else is hurt in the Yanonali Street accident Monday afternoon

A man was injured after hitting three parked cars at a high rate of speed in Santa Barbara Monday afternoon, according to fire officials.

The driver did appear to be "altered' by responding units at the scene and police will be investigating the possibility that it was a driving-under-the-influence case, Santa Barbara City Fire Capt. Gary Pitney said.

The other vehicles involved were unoccupied parked cars. The unidentified driver hit a Toyota Tacoma truck which then hit two other cars, ending up on top of another pickup truck on Yanonali Street near Garden Street, Pitney said. 

The driver was transported to a local hospital with unknown injuries and no one else was injured in the accident, Pitney 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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Washington-Based Haggen to Buy Some Local Albertsons, Vons Stores

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The acquisition arises out of a merger announced earlier this year between the Albertsons and Safeway grocery chains

Some Albertsons and Vons grocery stores in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and Lompoc will be getting a new owner and a new name. 

The stores’ owners, AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway Inc., announced recently that they have entered into agreements to sell 168 stores across eight states to four buyers.

Haggen, which is based in Bellingham, Wash., will purchase 146 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The affected local Albertsons stores are at 2010 Cliff Drive and 3943 State St. in Santa Barbara plus Albertsons at 1500 North H St. in Lompoc. 

Local Vons stores at 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta, 175 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta, and 850 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria also will become part of the Haagen chain.

The Haagen deal also includes stores in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Los Osos, Ventura and Oxnard.

The full list of affected Albertsons stores is available by clicking here and Vons is available by clicking here.

Divestiture of these stores is part of the process to secure Federal Trade Commission clearance of the proposed merger of Albertsons and Safeway (owner of Vons stores). 

Merger plans for Albertsons and Safeway were announced in March, and the deal is expected to close in January. 

The deal means Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies, and from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees.

“With this pivotal acquisition, we will have the opportunity to introduce many more customers to the Haggen experience. Our Pacific Northwest grocery store chain has been committed to local sourcing, investing in the communities we serve, and providing genuine service and homemade quality since it was founded in 1933,” said John Caple, chairman of the Haggen board of directors and partner at Comvest Partners, a private investment firm that owns the majority of shares of Haggen.

“We will continue our focus on sourcing and investing locally even with this exciting expansion.”

After the transaction closes in early 2015, Haggen will convert all of the acquired Albertsons and Safeway stores to the Haggen banner in phases during the first half of the year. 

All Albertson’s LLC and Safeway store employees will have the opportunity to become employees of Haggen as their individual stores are transitioned to Haggen, the company said.

Additionally, Haggen plans to retain the current store management teams, officials said.

“We warmly welcome these new employees and stores into the Haggen family. The stores are well run and very successful, thanks to the dedicated store teams,” said John Clougher, Haggen CEO, Pacific Northwest. “We want to retain these existing teams while allowing our growing company to build on their past successes. We plan to adopt the best practices of our new stores to offer a superior shopping experience for our valued customers in all of our stores.” 

“We committed to this acquisition because we knew we had the experience, talent and drive to get it done,” Caple added. “The strength of our management and store support teams, combined with the talent of the store teams at each of the new store locations, will enable Haggen to be a successful West Coast grocer.”

Founded in 1933, Haggen, Inc. is one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading grocery chains and supports regional farms, ranches, fisheries and other businesses. Company officials say Haggen is also deeply rooted in the communities it serves, providing support to local events and partnerships.

The purchase agreements with Haagen and three other buyers — purchasing stores in Texas, Wyoming, Montana and Washington — are all subject to approval by the FTC.

“We’re pleased to have found strong buyers for these stores, and to have completed this important step toward combining Albertsons and Safeway,” said Safeway President/CEO Robert Edwards, who will serve in the same roles with the combined company. “We look forward now to the transaction’s close, so we can begin working together to enhance the loyalty of grocery shoppers by delivering high-quality products, great service and lower prices to become the favorite local supermarket in every neighborhood we serve.”

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

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Santa Barbara Sets Temp Record on First Day of Winter

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The first day of winter? No so much.

Santa Barbara County basked under sunny skies Monday, with balmy temperatures recorded throughout the region.

The Santa Barbara Airport reported a high Monday of 81 degrees, setting a temperature record for Dec. 22, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for the date of 76 was set in 1989.

Forecasters were calling for another summer-like day Tuesday, with a high of 77, followed by a gradual cooling trend through Christmas and the end of the week.

Gusty northeast winds that raked parts of the South Coast on Sunday night were not expected to return with the same intensity overnight Monday, forecasters said, but the National Weather Service did issue a High Wind Warning effective through 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Gusts to 65 mph were possible in the Santa Ynez Mountains, forecasters said.

A High Wind Watch also will be in effect from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 3 p.m. Thursday.

The forecast for Thursday, Christmas Day, is mostly sunny with a high of 67.

Overnight lows are expected to drop into the low 40s by the end of the week.

[Click here for the latest forecast]

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

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Rona Barrett: Holiday Wish for Our Senior Caregivers

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Happy holidays, dear readers!

I'm a terrible shopper. Last year, three people I gave gift cards to tried to exchange them!

So this year I thought I'd call on an expert to help on behalf of our patient, self-sacrificing but beleaguered professional and volunteer senior caregivers — our very own SCs!

Dear SC: Oh bearded one, I will dance the “Horah” if you have the presence of mind to deliver just a few of these services to help our own SCs bring joyful and triumphant quality care to our senior loved ones:

A trusted Marley-like mediator to investigate grandparent scams — especially this time of year — so they don't get Scrooged.

An oh-so-bright Rudolph, to help guide our families through an assessment of the psychological, environmental and health needs of those who are having difficulty in their present living situations.

And oh by gosh by golly, wouldn't it be nice to have a free-/low-cost toyshop from which they could borrow or rent medical and adaptive aids equipment?

How about an ombudsman ­— with a voice as big as the sea ­— to advocate for our seniors living in mobile home complexes?

And, oh kringled one, a small but important request: a list of local grocery stores that deliver — not down the chimney, but to the front door.

And did you know, sweet Sinterklaas, Medicare does not cover routine dental care? Seniors would love to know there are Hermies who aren't nitwits that provide these services at a reduced rate.

Just as you have your man-elf Buddy and other Santa's helpers, our caregivers would consider it a GINORMOUS gift to have a trusted substitute caregiver provide them some relief.

And how much comfort and joy it would give to those with Alzheimer's or dementia if they could get a free silver or gold ID bracelet?

Maybe you know of an elf or two who specializes in providing free/low-cost home repairs and senior-friendly or ADA safety modifications in the home.

Santa baby, you would make my Kalikimaka Mele if you could make assisted living and memory care “affordable”  — just like we're trying to do with senior housing.

Miracle of miracles, dear readers, the right jolly ol' elf responded.

Dear Child: Affordable assisted living and memory care, alas, stings the toes and bites my nose. It must happen — and Mrs. Claus and I hope soon. Santa's not getting any younger, you know.

But have a cup of cheer because as for the rest of your wishes, I spoke not a word, went straight to my work, checked my list twice and it seems all the services for senior caregivers are dancing on the pages of the Santa Barbara County Senior Resource Directory provided by the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens-Area Agency on Aging. Accessing them is as easy as laying a finger aside your nose and calling 805.925.9554 or click here.

Yes, Rona, the real bearers of the finest gifts are our senior caregivers. They are truly good for goodness sake.

— SC

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

— In honor of her late father, entertainment journalist, author, senior activist and Santa Barbara County resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village, the area’s first affordable senior living and care facility, scheduled to begin construction in early 2015. Contact her at info@ronabarrettfoundation.org. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Scented Stuffed Animals Bring Joy to Patients in Pediatric Unit at Marian Medical Center

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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On Monday morning, local Scentsy independent consultant Monica Loats generously donated eight scented stuffed animals to the children in the pediatric wing of Marian Regional Medical Center.

She presented 7-year-old Edgar with a scented raccoon, which brought some much-needed cheer and surprise to the young patient.

Through Scentsy’s Charitable Cause Program, Loats has donated the plush toys for three years in a row to bring joy to local children who may spending the holiday season in the hospital.

Loats is always sure to bring more animals than needed should there be any additional patients in the pediatric unit in the coming days. She stacked the extra “buddies” under the tree to share during the remainder of the season.

“It is great to be able to do this for these children,” Loats said. “I am happy to be able to give, year after year, and bring some happiness to these kids.”

— Sara San Juan is a marketing specialist for Dignity Health of the Central Coast.

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Michael Barone: The So-Called Epidemic of Rape on Campus

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The total discrediting of Rolling Stone's story on rape at the University of Virginia has shined a light on one of the least palatable features of American life: the so-called epidemic of rape on campus.

Authorities from President Barack Obama on down have cited the phony statistic that one in five college women is raped. Phony because it's based on a 2007 survey conducted in two Midwestern schools not of a random sample, but of a small number of self-selected respondents and includes unwanted touching and kissing as "sexual assault."

A Department of Justice survey released this month presents a different picture. Between 1995 and 2013, it reports, an average of 0.61 percent of female students were raped or sexually assaulted every year — 2.4 percent over four years, not 20 percent. Moreover, DOJ reports, that rate has been declining significantly in recent years, in line with a national decline in violent rape.

In other words, there is no suddenly raging epidemic of rape on campus. Nevertheless, colleges and universities have been scampering to comply with mandates by the Obama Department of Education to set up procedures in which campus administrators, untrained legally, act as investigators, prosecutors, judges, juries and executioners.

Accused students are not allowed to have lawyers or to confront witnesses, and legal rules of evidence do not apply. The California Legislature has passed a "yes means yes" law requiring express consent at each stage of sexual encounters, with similar effects.

These kangaroo courts can and do expel male students, putting a blot on their records for life. No wonder dozens of them are suing universities and getting big dollar settlements. No wonder 28 current and retired Harvard Law professors signed a letter calling such processes "deeply unfair and undemocratic."

Someday, I suspect, this frenzy will be seen as akin to the hysteria over satanic abuse in day care centers in the 1980s. Many people went to jail over utterly fraudulent charges, based on bogus psychological research. Or as akin to the Salem witch trials.

It's not surprising, however, that these abusive frenzies have taken hold at the nation's colleges and universities. Increasingly, they are our society's least free, least fair and least honest institutions.

Consider campus speech codes. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — FIRE — reports that 58 percent of the 427 colleges and universities it monitors have speech codes banning and penalizing speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

The good news is that the number of speech codes is declining, partly in response to FIRE's advocacy and lawsuits. The bad news is that the Obama Education Department continues to use threats to cut off funding to get universities to ban "sexual harassment," defined as "any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature." As FIRE notes, "This is an overbroad definition that is not in accordance with the First Amendment."

The rationale for speech codes? Usually it is so that students, especially racial minorities and women, should not encounter anything offensive on campus. Thoughts that someone doesn't want to hear, administrators evidently believe, should not be allowed to be expressed. The authors of the First Amendment had a different idea.

A third way in which universities and colleges are corrupted is in the widespread resort to racial quotas and preferences — literally, racial discrimination — in admissions to selective institutions.

Of course, administrators do not admit they are discriminating by race. That would, among other things, violate the letter of the Civil Rights Act. But everyone knows they are using "holistic" standards to admit more blacks and Hispanics (and thus fewer Asians and whites) than they would under the criteria they admit to using. They evidently feel that "diversity" justifies discriminating by race and lying about it.

Kangaroo courts, speech codes, racial discrimination: I suspect that some older readers cannot believe that such practices have become standard operating procedure at American colleges and universities — indeed, the major focus of many of the administrators who now outnumber teachers on the nation's campuses.

Historically, universities and colleges saw themselves as havens of free speech and fair play, insulated from the larger society to protect those things from interference. Now they insulate themselves in order to violate due process, suppress speech and discriminate by race.

There's still some good scholarship and teaching on campus. But it exists, uneasily, amid a culture of lying and intellectual corruption.

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

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Lompoc Police K9 Awarded Ballistic Vest

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The Lompoc Police Department's K9 Bolt has been awarded a ballistic vest thanks to nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc. and a generous donation from the Hausman Family Foundation.

Vested Interest in K9s is a charity located in East Taunton, Mass., whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.

The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four legged K9 officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. provided over 1,125 law enforcement dogs in 39 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of $1,068,750.

Vested Interest in K9s Inc. announces its calendar on sale now for $15 online by clicking here and at select retailers. Proceeds from the sales will provide bullet and stab protective vests. All goods and services for the calendar were donated by generous sponsors, photographers and participating law enforcement agency, for police dogs actively working without the potentially lifesaving equipment. 

The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, Mass., which also does the custom embroidery on the body armor. Vests are manufactured by Armor Express in Central Lake, Mich.

 New K9 graduates as well as K9's with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are US employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508.824.6978. Tax deductible donations accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s Inc., P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718, or via the website by clicking here.

— Sgt. Chuck Strange represents the Lompoc Police Department.

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Filipino Star Sarah Geronimo to Perform at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Sarah Geronimo, a world-class Filipino entertainer who has earned the moniker of “Popstar Princess” among her fans in Asia, will take the stage at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15.

Geronimo
Sarah Geronimo

Tickets for the show are $45, $55, $65, $75 and $85.

Geronimo is a popular singer, host, dancer and actress from the Philippines who has performed in several worldwide concert tours, often in conjunction with a new album or movie appearance.

Winning the Grand Champion title at the “Star For a Night” singing competition at age 14, in 2002, immediately launched her professional career.

Geronimo substantiated the fame with the release of her first album in the same year titled Popstar: A Dream Come True. It became the best-selling debut album in her country’s history. Following the success of the record, she staged her first major solo concert at Smart Araneta Coliseum, a renowned sports arena in the Philippines.

At age 17, she became the youngest solo artist to have filled “The Big Dome.”

As a singer, she has won eight Awit Awards, seven Aliw Awards, 19 Myx Music Awards and was recognized as Best Asian Artist in the Philippines at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in 2012 as well as National Best-Selling Artist at the World Music Awards for the year 2013.

At age 26, she has evolved into a multi-talented performer, solidifying her popularity as a singer, recording artist, TV host, movie/TV actress and commercial endorser.

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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Chief Assistant District Attorney Hilary Dozer Retiring

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced on Monday the retirement of Chief Assistant District Attorney Hilary Dozer.

Dozer has been a prosecutor with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office for more than 30 years and was responsible for prosecuting major felony trials for more than 25 years. His varied and significant trial experience included the successful prosecutions of numerous homicides, gang crimes, three strikes offenders, and other numerous serious and violent felonies.

He is a recipient of the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Outstanding Performance and has been twice recognized as the Deputy District Attorney of the Year.

Dozer has also been an instructor for the California District Attorneys Association and served on its Board of Directors from 2000 to 2002. He lectured locally to law enforcement groups on gang crimes and other law enforcement issues and also conducted community outreach on gang prevention in our local elementary schools.

He was appointed to the position of chief deputy district attorney in 2010. As chief deputy district attorney, he was placed in charge of a special prosecution team tasked with concentrating on gang and youth violence along with major narcotics. As chief deputy district attorney, he was also responsible for general felonies, filing and arraignments.

In 2012, Dozer was further promoted to the position of chief assistant district attorney for Santa Barbara County. In this position, he maintained all of his previous responsibilities and also took on numerous special projects, including establishing policies and procedures for implementing new laws.

Dozer will be missed by our entire law enforcement community.

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Lou Cannon: State Budgets Show Improvement but Are Dogged by Pension, Medicaid Costs

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Most states will see improved fiscal conditions in 2015, but their economic growth rates remain below the levels they enjoyed before the Great Recession, according to a comprehensive new report.

“Economically speaking, states are a mirror of the nation,” said Scott D. Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).

Using a phrase coined by economist Larry Summers, Pattison said the “new normal” for state economic growth is an average of 3 percent a year. Before the Great Recession, which started in December 2007 and ended 18 months later in June 2009, states routinely had economic growth rates of 5 percent or higher.

Forty-three of the 50 states will have higher general fund spending levels in 2015 than in 2014, but “for most states spending growth will be limited,” according to the NASBO report.

Voters sent their own message of fiscal restraint in November by electing a near-record number of Republican governors and state legislators. Several Democratic governors have also promised to keep a tight rein on spending.

The NASBO report said that states “face rising costs in critical areas of the budget, such as Medicaid and higher education, which continue to outpace inflation as well as general fund revenue growth.”

The NASBO findings come on the heels of a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts that shows that tax revenues have yet to reach pre-recession heights in 29 states. Another report, by the credit rating agency Fitch, found the state fiscal situation “stable” but said many states face tough decisions on Medicaid, “the area of state budgets that is usually most difficult to control.”

Meanwhile, unfunded pension liabilities remain a “dark cloud on the horizon of state budgets,” according to State Budget Solutions, a nonpartisan think tank. SBS estimates that this “cloud” totals $4.1 billion for state-administered pension plans.

The bill to cover future retirements is far higher. Last month, California Controller John Chiang, the state’s paymaster, reported that CalPERS, the California State Employees Retirement System, had $281 billion on hand to cover the benefits promised to 1.3 million workers and retirees but needed an additional $57 billion to meet future obligations.

Overall, state and local government retirement systems cover more than 14 million workers, about a sixth of the U.S. work force, with 8 million beneficiaries.

On fiscal performance, including pensions, there are enormous differences among individual states as well as regions of the country. States in the Midwest — with the conspicuous exception of Illinois — are doing well. Economic growth in the Northeast is slow. Most Southern states are holding their own. Energy-producing states such as North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming are booming. California, not so long ago an economic basket case, has stabilized under Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who is soon to begin a fourth term.

Illinois and Pennsylvania provide revealing case studies in fiscal adversity. In both states incumbent governors were overwhelmed by economic problems and lost to challengers of the other party in November. The winners are wealthy businessmen who must now work with hostile legislatures to reduce inherited deficits.

Tom Wolf, soon to be the new governor of Pennsylvania, was the sole Democrat in 2014 to oust a Republican gubernatorial incumbent. He routed Gov. Tom Corbett but inherited a $2 billion deficit. As Wolf promised during the campaign, his key proposal for addressing this shortfall is a new severance tax on shale-oil drilling. But a GOP-controlled Legislature with new, conservative leadership is wary of tax increases.

Bruce Rauner, Republican governor-elect of Illinois, inherited a larger deficit — $4 billion — and has an even steeper political hill to climb. Rauner, a former private-equity investor, spent $26 million of his personal fortune and defeated Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in a mild upset. But Illinois Republicans fell one seat shy of breaking the Democrats’ veto-proof hold of the House of Representatives. Since Rauner campaigned against the Legislature — singling out the Democratic leaders of both chambers by name — he does not start out with much goodwill in Springfield.

Illinois, in Pattison’s words “the only state that does not pay its bills on time,” has long been a poster child of public pension dysfunction with an estimated $111 billon in unfunded liabilities. As The New York Times put it recently: “Not only does the huge imbalance put workers’ benefits in jeopardy, but as more and more are qualifying to retire and draw their benefits, the situation is also undermining the finances of the whole state.”

Quinn sought pension reform against legislative skepticism in his own Democratic Party. The legislators eventually compromised on a mild reform bill over the opposition of public employee unions. But even this relatively weak measure was struck down in November by a state judge who found that the law, which reduced some benefits, violated a clause in the state Constitution that makes pensions “an enforceable contractual relationship” that cannot be changed.

This decision is now under appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Since many states have constitutional provisions or laws prohibiting pension reduction similar to the Illinois clause, pension analysts widely anticipate that the issue ultimately will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pension-reform advocates have been given hope by bankruptcy judges in Stockton and in Detroit, meanwhile. Judges there have ruled that public pensions are not necessarily inviolate.

It’s a big leap, however, from municipal bankruptcies to state pension laws. A more direct test is likely to come in Rhode Island, where a judge has scheduled an April jury trial on a union-backed lawsuit that seeks to strike down the state’s far-reaching 2011 pension reform law.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, a Democrat who will take office as governor in January, tried earlier this year to strike a deal with firefighters, teachers and retirees, but the police union rejected the agreement. She continues to seek a settlement that would head off the scheduled trial.

The Rhode Island law suspended cost-of-living adjustments, raised the retirement age, moved workers into a hybrid pension plan and reduced future benefits for current employees. It’s become a model for other states and municipalities seeking to reduce pension liabilities.

Every state except Idaho enacted some sort of pension reform in the wake of the Great Recession. Although most of these laws fell short of what reformers were seeking, Pattison believes they’ve bought time in most states, postponing any day of reckoning on unfunded pension liabilities.

Some states are worse off than others. Most notable in the “worse-off” category apart from Illinois is New Jersey, where in 2011 Republican Gov. Chris Christie agreed to put more state money into the pension system in exchange for union concessions. In June of this year, however, Christie infuriated the unions by saying he would forego $2.4 billion in payments into the pension fund during the next two years as he tries to close New Jersey’s budget gap.

Thomas Healey, a former Goldman Sachs partner who chairs Christie’s pension commission, said the suspension of payments had exacerbated the plight of the state’s pension and health-benefits system, which is underfunded by $90 billion.

“Every day you don’t fund it, it just gets bigger,” Healey said.

The NASBO report said state spending increases in 2015 most heavily target education and Medicaid. Thirty-nine states enacted general fund increases for K-12 education in the amount of $11.1 billion. Forty states increased spending for higher education, for a net increase of $4.4 billion. Thirty-six states increased spending for Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health care for the poor, by $8.5 billion.

In many states, Medicaid provides mental health services for clients who are otherwise too poor to receive them. That’s significant because a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) warned that momentum to improve mental health services may be slowing. According to the report, 29 states plus the District of Columbia will increase mental-health spending in fiscal 2015. Thirty-seven states did so in fiscal 2014 in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.

Overall, state spending will continue on an upward arc in the year ahead. But it will in many cases be cautious and restrained. The new economic normal does not allow much running room for overspending.

Lou Cannon, a Summerland resident, is a longtime national political writer and acclaimed presidential biographer. His most recent book — co-authored with his son, Carl — is Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy. Cannon also is an editorial adviser to State Net Capitol Journal, which published this column originally. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 101) — She Looked So Nice

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Dear Pinky and Spike:

She looked so damn nice ...

This will not only be the last letter of the year, but also an opportunity to amend Letter No. 100 to include a glaring omission and to complete a thought I’ve had on the subject of depression and divorce.

The last letter discussed how to identify a Toxic Divorce. The direct way is to answer the Inventory questions. The problem with the Inventory is that people whose answers give rise to a prediction of a high probability of a Toxic Divorce won’t want to take the quiz.

In the last letter I suggested books and movies about divorces that were clearly Toxic. I also recommended the benefits of an exercise in which specific characteristics of the Toxic Divorce be differentiated from those in another “divorce of interest.” This is a way to appreciate the depth of the differences between the two.

It wasn’t until after the last letter had been submitted that I realized the major omission of Gone Girl as a contribution to the diagnosis of Toxic Divorce. I suppose inferences can be made from what others say about their reactions to either the movie or the book, but here I’ll keep it simple.

In Gone Girl, I was particularly impressed by the effective use of alternating the point-of-view between the two narrators as they become increasingly unreliable. The beginning of the story is nearly static until each protagonist has had two opportunities to tell a segment of their story. Then the plot shifts accelerate until the last page, which caught me by surprise. I was surprised to the point that I thought about the story for the next two days, and I couldn’t come to a conclusion other than: that’s a Toxic Divorce.

Whether as a movie or a book, Gone Girl can serve as a touchstone for toxicity. Watch it or read it and if you are disturbed, you are Ordinary. If you watch or read the entire story and are not disturbed, you are likely to be involved in – either now or later — a Toxic Divorce.

                                                                        •        •

The other omission was a popular fictional account of emersion from a depression characterized by the loss of “hope.” Everything — both external and internal — is perceived as dark, foul and without redeeming value.

I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye in high school and laughing so hard that I fell out of bed when Edgar Marsalla disrupted the speech of “this guy Ossenburger” (a successful undertaker) at chapel.

The theme of death is stated and restated throughout the book, and it’s clear that Holden hasn’t come to terms with the death of his brother, Allie. Why should he? If Allie is alive and part of his life one day and absent the next, what does anything mean? How can anything have meaning? And anyone who isn’t perplexed by the same question is a phony. Why isn’t everyone preoccupied by this transience?

But I couldn’t come up with an explanation for the ending. It felt like it made sense but I couldn’t say why. It took several decades (and as many readings of the book) to discover an answer that made sense to me.

The Catcher in the Rye takes place at the beginning of Christmas vacation while Holden travels from his school in Pennsylvania to his home in Manhattan. It’s a trip in shame because Holden knows his lack of academic performance will lead to another expulsion from another school. Holden invites and attracts negative experiences with all he meets. The one person he loves is his 10-year-old sister, Phoebe.

At the end of the story, Holden tells Phoebe that he doesn’t intend to face their parents and will "go away." He arranges to meet her the next afternoon at the Museum of Natural History. He’s surprised when she arrives at the museum pulling a big suitcase of his that she’s packed with two dresses and her underwear — she intends to go with him. He tells her she can’t; they argue; he says he won’t leave. They make their way to the carousel in Central Park where Phoebe selects a big, brown, beat-up-looking old horse.

It starts to pour and Holden gets soaked. After the word “depression” is used a half-dozen times in as many pages Holden says, “I didn’t care, though. I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don’t know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, and the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all. God, I wish you could have been there.” In an afterword he says, “About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddamn Maurice. It’s funny … .”

“That goddamn Maurice” is an elevator-operator-pimp who punched Holden out. This is the ending that puzzled me for dozens of years, but I understand it now in terms of Hope. It’s not hope that an expectation will be satisfied or a wish will be granted or even that things will change. Instead, it is a word to stand for a state of mind where one can accept the coexistence of the good and the bad, the cruel and the kind, life and death, beauty and ugliness. The co-existence of a Phoebe and a Maurice is an observation Holden can accept and build on rather than a conclusion he can’t explain.

Your friend,
Bucky

— Brian H. Burke is a certified family law specialist practicing family law and mediation in Santa Barbara. A researcher and educator in the field of divorce and family conflicts, he is also the creator of the Legal Road Map™. Click here for more information, call 805.965.2888 or e-mail info@burkefamilylaw.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara Fire, Police Respond to Gas Leak

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Officials say a contractor using a hand-held electric digging device with a metal space hit a natural gas line

Santa Barbara fire and police responded to a gas leak Monday afternoon near Bishop Garcia Diego High School in Santa Barbara.

There was a natural gas explosion on the 4000 block of Via Diego around 1:36 p.m., according to Santa Barbara City Fire.

A contractor was using a hand-held electric digging device with a metal space and hit a natural gas line, which triggered the explosion and fire. A coworker pulled the worker out of the hole and went to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. A city parks and recreation employee working nearby used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire in the hole, City Fire said. 

The workers had left the scene to go to the hospital before firefighters got to the scene, so it's unclear how badly burned the worker was, fire Capt. Gary Pitney said. 

Bystanders said the workers were trying to put out the fire from the broken gas line with a garden hose, but couldn't get it out. The parks worker just happened to stop across the street at the nearby park, Pitney added. 

"He ran over there with an extinguisher because they had no luck with the garden hose." 

Southern California Gas Company crews responded to the scene and City Fire will notify Cal/OSHA, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, of the incident, according to emergency radio traffic. 

City Fire posted a message reminding people to check www.callbeforeyoudig.org or call 8-1-1 prior to digging.

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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Forest Service Rose Parade Entry Will Include Los Padres Connection

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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U.S. Forest Service rangers, firefighters and volunteers will participate in the 126th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1.

The agency celebrated its centennial a decade ago with a Rose Parade entry in 2005.

The U.S. Forest Service entry will be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act while highlighting the historic role of packers in supporting wildland firefighters and other backcountry operations, as well as acknowledging the outstanding contributions made by national forest volunteers.

Five employees and a volunteer will represent Los Padres National Forest in the parade. The Forest Service Wilderness Volunteer of the Year award winner Mike Heard will ride in an authentic 19th century wagon along with Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore, and Smokey Bear. Two Los Padres firefighters will be part of the 20-person “crew” that walks alongside the wagon, and three other Los Padres employees are part of the pack strings. The all-mule equestrian entry will include an entourage of Forest Service Rangers in period uniforms and anchored by three-mule pack strings.

“The U.S. Forest Service is excited to be a part of the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade,” Moore said. “Our entry is a chance to showcase our outstanding packers and wildland firefighters as well as honor the thousands of volunteers who help care for your national forests every day.”

In addition to about 35,000 employees nationwide, the U.S. Forest Service volunteer workforce numbers in the tens of thousands. These dedicated Americans contribute thousands of hours each year to the conservation of national forests in California and across the U.S. The contributions of volunteers are highly regarded in the U.S. Forest Service and constitute a large part of the workforce.

The entry is unique in that the parade mules are also working pack animals, having come off the frontlines of supporting wildfires across Northern California for several months in the summer and fall. The mules are used for long treks deep into national forest wilderness areas to resupply firefighters and wilderness rangers.

— Andrew Madsen represents Los Padres National Forest.

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Warming Centers to Open Christmas Eve and Night

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The Freedom Warming Centers in Santa Barbara County will be open Wednesday and Thursday nights this week.

The centers, located throughout the county, are intended "to relieve suffering and save lives to our neighbors without homes on nights of severe weather conditions," according to organizers.

Pets and couples are allowed, and there is no sobriety condition.

The following centers will be open from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Night, Dec. 24 and 25:

» Unitarian Society, 1525 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara.

» Veterans Memorial Hall , 941 Walnut Ave., Carpinteria. 

» University United Methodist Church, 892 Camino Del Sur, Isla Vista.

» Peace Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Ocean Ave., Lompoc.

» Salvation Army, 200 W. Cook St., Santa Maria.

For updates, call the information hotline at 805.324.2372. 

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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Foodbank Collaborates with 330 Community Partners in 2014

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Through the work of community partners along with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s own series of programs, last year 9.3 million pounds of food - half of which was fresh produce, was distributed throughout Santa Barbara County.

The Foodbank collaborates with more than 330 member agencies throughout Santa Barbara County, including top agencies such as: Boy’s & Girl’s Clubs countywide, CALM, Casa Esperanza, Catholic Charities, Community Action Commission, Domestic Violence Solutions, Nipomo Food Basket, Pacific Pride Foundation, People Helping People, Salvation Army, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, Santa Ynez Senior Citizens Foundation, Transition House, Unity Shoppe and many more. Click here for a full list of member agencies.

The following lists the Foodbank's nonprofit partners, followed by pounds of food distributed and the market value.

» Boys & Girls Clubs, countywide — 45,949, $79,032

» CALM — 6,838, $11,761

» Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara — 31,409, $54,023

» Casa Esperanza — 74,249, $127,709

» Casa Serena — 13,252, $22,793

» Catholic Charities — 1,195,516, $2,056,288

» Community Action Commission — 185,371, $318,838

» Council Alcoholism & Drug Abuse (CADA) — 31,606, $54,362

» Domestic Violence Solutions — 33,619, $57,825

» Food from the Heart — 42,143, $72,486

» Good Samaritan Services Inc. — 206,169, $354,611

» Isla Vista Youth Projects — 19,372, $33,320

» Nipomo Food Basket — 154,856, $266,352

» Organic Soup Kitchen — 15,189, $26,125

» Pacific Pride Foundation — 66,802, $114,900

» People Helping People — 222,833, $383,273

» People’s Self Help Housing — 45,007, $77,412

» Salvation Army — 426,329, $733,286

» Sansum Diabetes Research Institute — 17,150, $29,498

» Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics — 4,786, $8,232

» Santa Barbara Mental Wellness Center — 22,075, $37,969

» Santa Barbara Rescue Mission — 129,528, $222,788

» Santa Ynez Senior Citizens Foundation — 72,662, $124,979

» Transition House — 7,536, $12,962

» Unity Shoppe — 176,077, $302,853\

» WillBridge of Santa Barbara — 18,692, $32,150

“The Foodbank thanks the community for supporting those in need of nutritious food and resources in our community,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank. “In collaboration with our 330 nonprofit partner agencies, we are able to reach a greater number of people who face food insecurity and offer them nutrition, education and tools.”

The Foodbank strives to solve the underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition through education about high quality nutrition and healthy lifestyle, as well as provide the resources necessary to maintain these healthy habits. Foodbank programs that target children along the continuum of development and school ages are: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies; Food Literacy in Preschool; Kid’s Farmers Market; Backpack Program; Teens Love Cooking; Grow Your Own Way; Picnic in the Park and Nutritional Independence.

The Foodbank’s programs play a critical role in solving hunger and providing good nutrition in Santa Barbara County. For example, this past summer, Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park program helped to bridge childhood hunger by providing nearly 38,000 nutritious lunches to over 2,650 children at 16 different outdoor sites throughout the summer months.

The Foodbank also providing a forum for partner organizations to share ideas and solve the underlying causes of hunger together. In the fall, Foodbank hosted a Partner Summit themed “Building Relationships for Lasting Impact,” which featured Elaine Waxman, Vice President of Research and Nutrition at Feeding America, as key note speaker. The Summit, which included representatives from 40 local nonprofits, covered topics such as: building capacity to more effectively reach out to clients and innovative practices with community partners.

The Foodbank and partner agencies rely on volunteers throughout the year, and the community is encouraged to make 2015 your year to volunteer! There are numerous opportunities to participate.

As the year comes to a close, there is still a need for food and fund donations this holiday season. People can drop off nonperishable food at both the Santa Barbara warehouse at 4554 Hollister Ave. and the Santa Maria Foodbank warehouse at 490 W. Foster Road between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For the holiday, the Foodbank will be closed on Thursday, Dec. 25, Friday, Dec. 26 and Thursday, Jan. 1. You can also donate online to help support food distribution this holiday season. Click here to learn more, or make a secure online donation by clicking here.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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Laundromat Fire Near Goleta Contained to Dryer

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Adjacent businesses not affected by blaze at Turnpike Center

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded Monday to a fire at a laundromat at the Turnpike Shopping Center near Goleta, and were able to contain the blaze to a clothes dryer.

Crews were dispatched shortly after 10 a.m. to a report of a dryer fire that was spreading to the building.

The first units on scene at the Turnpike Coin Laundry, 157 S. Turnpike Road, reported light smoke coming from the structure, and described the incident as an "appliance fire."

Fire Capt. David Sadecki said the fire was limited to the dryer, and flames did not extend to other parts of the building.

Crews were able to quickly douse the fire, he said, and ventilated smoke from the building.

Adjacent businesses — which include a dry cleaners, a barber shop, a hair salon and a pizza restaurant — were not affected, Sadecki said.

Cause of the blaze 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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Granada Theatre Concert Series Hails Return of The Peking Acrobats

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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The Granada Theatre is thrilled to welcome the return of The Peking Acrobats, the largest and most acclaimed group of its kind, to the stage for an epic performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11.

Carefully selected from the finest acrobat schools in China, these expert gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists and tumblers transform 2,000-year-old athletic disciplines into a family friendly kaleidoscope of eye-popping wonder. Accompanied by a live Chinese orchestra playing traditional instruments, amid a dazzling backdrop of lights and plumes of fog, the dramatic stage completes a scene of spectacular entertainment for the entire family.

Since their Western debut in 1986, The Peking Acrobats have redefined audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs; and are experts at trick-cycling, precision tumbling, somersaulting and gymnastics. Defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility and control, they push the envelope of human possibility with astonishing juggling dexterity and incredible balancing feats.

Showcasing tremendous skill and ability, they are masters of agility and grace. The combination of live music and awe-inspiring feats, fused with today’s state of the art technology, creates an exuberant entertainment event featuring all of the excitement and festive pageantry of a Chinese carnival in the 21st century.

Tickets range in price from $23 to $66 and are available through the Granada Theatre box office. Click here to purchase, or call the box office at 805.899.2222. This performance is presented by the Granada Theatre Concert Series, sponsored in part by the Santa Barbara Independent.

For all sponsorship opportunities, please contact director of development Kristi Newton by phone at 805.451.2932 or via email at knewton@granadasb.org.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.

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Man Found Shot to Death in Santa Maria

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Victim found in vehicle on West Morrison Avenue with multiple gunshot wounds

A man was found shot to death inside a vehicle Monday in Santa Maria, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Officers were called to the 1000 block of West Morrison Avenue shortly before 6 a.m., and found the victim, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, inside a white Toyota Camry, police said.

The man was declared dead at the scene.

Sgt. Paul Van Meel, from the department's Detective Bureau, confirmed they are investigating the killing as a homicide, and were trying to retrace the victim's movements.

"We have no information about it being gang- or drug-related right now," Van Meel said late Monday afternoon.

Investigators spent several hours at the cordoned-off segment of West Morrison on Monday, setting up a screen at the site, presumably to shield the body, while battling strong winds that knocked the shelter over at least once.

The shooting reportedly involved a handgun, but police didn't say what caliber ammunition it used. 

Police did not release the victim's name, age or city of residence Monday. Van Meel declined to say if the suspect lived in the neighborhood where he was found.

An autopsy is expected to be conducted within a week, Van Meel said.

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

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Dan Ellington Named Head Football Coach for Santa Maria High School

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Head varsity football coach Dan Ellington’s winning attitude is moving to Santa Maria High School.

Ellington
Dan Ellington

Ellington, who teaches special education, was recently selected to take over the athletic program from former head coach Gabe Espinoza. Espinoza will remain part of the football program, according to Athletic Director Brian Wallace.

The Orcutt resident has high hopes for the future as students, parents and boosters support a championship-caliber athletic program.

“I am excited," said Ellington, who played football and graduated from Ernest Righetti High School in 1982. “The pieces are here to have a successful program. I am looking forward to putting the pieces together."

Ellington believes athletics and academics play important roles in building responsibility, a work ethic and becoming a better citizen.

“My motto is it turns boys into men using the tools of football," he added.

For the last five years, Ellington has been the Pioneer Valley High School head varsity football coach. He also served as an instructional aide assistant there.

Ellington has more than 26 years of coaching sports under his belt.

Wallace knows Ellington is the right man for the job.

“The team will be taking a community and collaborative approach to our upcoming season," he said. “The school is pleased in Dan’s approach and we expect to have a competitive team in the future."

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

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Cinema in Focus: ‘Birdman’

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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2 Stars — Shallow

It is an easy prediction to say that Birdman will be loved by the cinema community. It is a well-crafted story, artfully told, about a series of remarkably shallow people.

The center of the story is the disintegrating life of a movie star who became famous for portraying “Birdman” (similar to the Batman comic book series) and who walked away from the successful franchise and now lives paycheck to paycheck acting in a show on Broadway.

The film is a filmmaker’s delight, but the people being portrayed are not the kind you would want to invite home to dinner. If anything, they are despicable characters whose day-to-day moral choices are templates for empty and vapid lives.

In an ironic twist, the once famous Riggan (aka “Birdman”) is played by Michael Keaton who in real life twice portrayed Batman in the 1989 and 1992 big screen franchise. Riggan is a self-absorbed actor who has conversations in his head with himself, mostly centered on his loss of celebrity status in the superficial world of Hollywood. He has decided to write, produce and star in a play on Broadway to revive his career.

In order to get the show open, Riggan and his manager, Jake (Zach Galifianakis), will say and do anything to get what they want. What they need most is another lead actor in their play, and through a series of circumstances they entice Mike (Edward Norton), a favorite of Broadway critics, to join the show. Mike is so self-centered that he makes Riggan look like a saint.

Add to this toxic human cocktail Riggan’s ex-wife Leslie (Naomi Watts), his just-out-of-rehab daughter Sam (Emma Stone), and a cattle call of other character actors. Sam is the assistant to her once famous father, and carries a smoldering contempt for his love of self over love of family. Her bitter assessment of her father’s fleeting attempt to recapture his superficial glory is the best dialogue in the show.

There are many comedy moments, but there are also many moments of lying, cheating, sexual immaturity, self-loathing and suicide attempts. If anything, it is a human tragedy masked as a comedy.

What makes fame so attractive? Pop culture is filled with the news of unhappy rock stars, arrests of drug-filled TV actors, and hounded celebrities whose lives end tragically. And yet, the seduction of celebrity culture feeds an ever growing need for recognition — for feeling like I am “somebody important” and my life is a success. It is the ultimate drug-induced illusion.

Birdman may bring a few laughs, but it also brings a sense of sobering disillusionment about the shallowness of fame. Its antidote is to focus on others rather than yourself, sharing your talents for the good of all rather than building a monument to your own ego. The models of great personal fulfillment are found more in Mother Teresa rather than Michael Jackson. Both shared great talent, but one life ended in total fulfillment and the other, like Birdman, in a world of hurt and loneliness.

Discussion

» It is said that living a life of “significant contribution” is basic to a meaningful life. What significant contribution are you making with the years you have on this planet?

» Living a life that feeds a narcissistic ego only makes that malady stronger. How do you deal with your own ego and the egos of others? What would your family and best friends say about your behaviors — do they feed your own ego or love and care for others?

» When we see the pain in Sam, we recognize that it is the children of egotistical people who suffer the most. How do you help relieve the pain of those you know who are suffering from being the child of such a parent?

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

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David Sayen: What’s New in Medicare for 2015?

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Good news for people with Medicare in 2015: Part B costs will remain the same as in 2014.

Sayen
David Sayen

Medicare Part B helps pay for doctor bills, outpatient care, durable medical equipment and other items. It requires a monthly premium and an annual deductible. I’m happy to report that Part B costs for 2015 will be identical to 2014: $104.90 a month for the premium (for most beneficiaries) and $147 for the deductible.

Most people with Medicare don’t pay any premium for Part A, which helps covers hospital care. But for those who do, the 2015 premium is dropping, from a maximum of $426 per month to $407 per month. The annual deductible is going up a little, from $1,216 in 2014 to $1,260 in 2015. Once you pay the deductible, Medicare covers your first 60 days of hospitalization with no co-insurance.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare no longer have co-pays for a long list of Medicare-covered preventive health services.

Preventive shots and screenings are intended to keep you healthy and to detect disease in the earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.

Medicare’s preventive health services include vaccinations for flu and Hepatitis B; screenings for colorectal, breast and prostate cancer; screenings and counseling for diabetes and depression; cardiovascular disease screenings; and counseling to help you stop smoking or abusing alcohol.

In addition, you can get a one-time “Welcome to Medicare” visit with your doctor, during the first 12 months you’re enrolled in Part B. During this visit you and your doctor can review your medical and social history, and your physician can recommend specific preventive screenings for you, if needed.

Medicare also now covers an annual “wellness” visit with your doctor. This visit is intended to develop or update a personalized plan to prevent disease or disability based on your current health and risk factors.

Another benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that it’s gradually closing the “donut hole,” or coverage gap, in Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program.

The coverage gap begins after you and your drug plan together have spent a certain amount for covered drugs. In 2015, once you enter the gap, you pay 45 percent of the plan’s cost for covered brand-name drugs and 65 percent of the plan’s cost for covered generic drugs until you reach the end of the gap.

However, not everyone will enter the coverage gap because their drug costs won’t be high enough. (There’s a full explanation of the coverage gap in the “Medicare & You” handbook for 2015, which can be found online by clicking here.) The gap is scheduled to be completely closed by 2020.

Finally, Medicare has expanded its “Blue Button” feature to provide better access to your Medicare claims and personal health information.

With the Blue Button you can download 12 to 36 months of claims information for Part A and Part B, and 12 months of claims information for Part D. This information can help you make more informed decisions about your care and give your healthcare providers a more complete view of your health history.

You can find the Blue Button at MyMedicare.gov.

Once you’ve used the Blue Button, there are a variety of health applications and services to analyze your health information. Click here to learn more about these useful tools and how to protect your health information once it’s in your hands.

— David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Trust Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 800.MEDICARE (633.4227).

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First Church of Christ, Scientist Holding Christmas Eve Service of Gratitude

By | Published on 12/22/2014

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Those who desire to share their gratitude for the ways God has blessed them are invited to the testimony meeting on Christmas Eve at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 24.

Time will be provided during the meeting for the public to tell others of their gratitude for the healings they have received by turning to God for health and well-being.

Experts report that gratitude is invaluable in promoting a meaningful and progressive life. The founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, understood this when she wrote: “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.”

The local Christian Science Church in Santa Barbara holds a weekly evening testimony meeting on Wednesdays, and this year it falls on Christmas Eve.

In recent weeks, people have shared testimonies of permanent healing they have experienced regarding health issues, relationship problems, lost opportunities and financial burdens, all because they have relied on Jesus’ teachings that God is all-loving and all-inclusive in bestowing good to all creation.

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

Children are welcome at the service, and childcare is also open for youngsters, while their parents attend the Christmas Eve meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

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

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Carpinteria Council on Board with Plans for Skate Park Near City Hall

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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After years of talk but with a long ride still ahead, city agrees to seriously pursue skateboard park for rippers, groms and newbies

After years of spinning its wheels, the City of Carpinteria is rolling ahead with its plan for a skateboard park.

The City Council on Tuesday night voted to pursue a skateboard park on City Hall property, at 5775 Carpinteria Ave. Mayor Gregg Carty and Councilmen Al Clark, Wade Nomura and Fred Shaw voted for the proposal. Councilman Brad Stein was absent.

Exactly where, how and when are decisions still up in the air. What is known is that the city will partner with the Carpinteria Skate Foundation to fund and run the park.

“I am in favor of the skate park and I can’t wait to see it get built,”​ Carty said. “It would be a great asset to our park system.”

A standing-room-only crowd, featuring skaters of all ages, packed the council chamber to call for a skateboard park. They said skateboard parks are safe, friendly and good for tourism. A few residents spoke at the meeting objecting to one of the proposed locations in a residential neighborhood.

“We’re not talking about building a park for hooligans and hoodlums,” Ben Pitterle said. “We’re talking about building a park for our kids.”

City staff is considering a 10,000-square-foot facility that would cost about $500,000 to build. The city has touted the need for a park, noting that Carpinteria has public facilities for traditional sports, but nothing for the skateboard community.

The city had also considered building the park on city-owned property at 395 Linden Ave., near The Spot restaurant, and at 4835 Fifth St., but both of those sites are near homes.

Many of the parents who spoke said their children had to travel 11 miles to Santa Barbara to use the waterfront skate park near Stearns Wharf. Others talked about how skating changed their lives, and offered them the focus and purpose to stay out of trouble as youths.

Steven DePinto said he grew up in a rough neighborhood and that skateboarding changed his life. He said kids need an opportunity to express themselves in a positive way.

“I don’t know any skateboarders who do drugs,” he said.

Some said skateboarding boosts tourism because families will build vacation schedules based on whether a community has a skateboard park.

“No matter where you go, which way you go, it’s going to be great,” said Pat Kistler, government relations director at the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Several children also spoke at the meeting in support of the skate park.

“We want this skate park,” said Julian Contreras, 12, with a crowd of his friends and fellow skaters standing behind him. “We don’t want to skate in the streets anymore.”

Not everyone, however, was thrilled with the idea.

“I am really frightened that someone is going to fall and get seriously hurt,”​ Carpinteria resident Kate Hutchings said. “Who’s going to pay if someone gets seriously hurt? I hope it’s not the taxpayers.”

City officials stressed that they want to work with the residents and that there is no way a skateboard park would be built in a residential area. As for liability issues, the city expects to partner with the Carpinteria Skate Foundation to figure out all those details.

At the meeting, Skate Foundation president Peter Bonning handed the council cards with 700 signatures of skateboard park supporters who he said couldn’t be at the meeting. He said he was grateful to the city for its efforts to work with the community.

“I think we have made great progress with this concept,”​ Bonning said. “It’s been a long time coming. Regardless of where it goes, we believe it’s going to be great on many levels.”

Ultimately, the city’s Planning Commission would need to approve the project. Council members acknowledge that despite the positive momentum, there’s a long way to go.

“It looks like we might get a skate park in Carpinteria,” said Clark, who added that even though the concept has been pursued for years, this is just the beginning.

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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Santa Barbara Plugs In to Tesla Motors Plan to Expand Site of Future Dealership

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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City Council grants request to allow expansion of Hitchcock Way operation through ‘community benefit’ code

The City of Santa Barbara has made way for a new Tesla Motors Inc. dealership to expand a soon-to-be proposed location on Hitchcock Way by deeming the project a “community benefit.”

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution finding the potential development at 400 Hitchcock Way a Community Benefit Project per city code, allocating 8,700 square feet of nonresidential floor area to the environmentally friendly car dealership in the process.

The request was granted as part of a pre-application review process.

Proposed remodel plans that the Palo Alto-based electric car maker and seller has for the three-acre site — currently Hughes Automobile Co. — required an amount of space conflicting with a Nonresidential Growth Management Program ordinance approved by the city in 2013, according to city planner Renee Brooke.

The ordinance limits total new nonresidential growth to 1.35 million square feet over 20 years, of which 600,000 square feet is reserved for Community Benefit Projects.

The three qualifying categories of such projects include community priority projects, economic development projects and development plan-new automobile sales projects.

Since Tesla falls into the latter, and because the site next to DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara has been an auto dealership since the 1960s, the council approved the designation.

What would happen to Hughes Automobiles Co. and whether the business could reopen somewhere else was not immediately known.

The site that could become the region’s first Tesla sales and service center includes an 8,377-square-foot showroom and approximately 17,433 square feet of storage and open bay structures, Brooke said.

She said Tesla plans to apply to remodel the existing auto dealership showroom by enclosing open service bays to secure its electric automobile repair center, creating 9,700 net square feet of new nonresidential floor area on the site.

Tesla would use the showroom for new automobile display and sales and operate an electric automobile repair and service center from the enclosed structures.

The dealership would also encompass 200 total parking spaces, Brooke said.

Tesla representatives have repeatedly refused to comment publicly on project plans.

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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Isla Vista Report Recommends Uniform Community Policing Practices, Restorative Court

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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To strengthen shared civic responsibilities among stakeholders, UC Santa Barbara trustee committee emphasizes success of policing, justice court, task force

In the minutes and hours after last spring’s murderous rampage in Isla Vista, law enforcement agencies scrambled to respond to the unincorporated Santa Barbara County area adjacent to the UC Santa Barbara campus.

Coordinated confusion was how UCSB senior Ali Guthy described the aftermath.

Blue uniform-clad UCSB police officers, Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers in green and sheriff’s deputies in tan swarmed the area, doing their jobs yet illustrating a potential problem outlined in a recent report by the UCSB Foundation Trustee’s Advisory Committee on Isla Vista Strategies.

The independent report recommended making resources and community policing training more uniform, an interesting idea for an area with so many possible first responders.

“They all look the same to us,” said Guthy, the UCSB Associated Students president who served on the trustee committee that began meeting in May. “Are they being trained the same? Isla Vista is a very unique place. That’s a specialized interaction.

“It’s just getting everyone in sync. The question is always whose job is it? The people who ultimately suffer are the people in the community.”

Establishing an Isla Vista neighborhood restorative justice court, hiring a dedicated deputy district attorney and creating a joint safety task force made up of representatives from local law enforcement, students and local residents were among the other two dozen report recommendations to improve viability and safety in Isla Vista.

The committee also hoped authorities could better compile crime data — a major frustration in developing the report, said Dan Burnham, retired CEO of Raytheon and a member of the panel.

He said statistics back community policing models as a way for officers to work closely with the community they serve, whether that means meeting regularly with residents and business owners or finding ways to unify training and resources to better communicate when it matters most.

“Not simply to fight crime but to be aware of the factors that create crime, and to do that you have to be plugged into the community,” Burnham explained. “The cars look different. The bikes look different. Is that good or isn’t it good? The solution to I.V. is not more policing.”

UCSB police and the Sheriff’s Department already cross-train to some extent, and have the same state-mandated education, but officials from both agencies believe more could be done.

Acting Undersheriff Don Patterson said the department will consider asking the county Board of Supervisors in June for funds to hire the first-ever community resource deputy exclusively serving Isla Vista, similar to the beat coordinator positions used by Santa Barbara police.

“Over the years, the population and the calls for service have increased, but the staffing levels have not,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelley Hoover said. “Now deputies are busy handling calls and it would be beneficial to have a deputy who is designated to handle community outreach services.”

UCSB police already embrace a community policing model — regularly meeting with students and residents — but Sgt. Rob Romero said the department is open to more joint, formalized training.

The model’s main challenge lies with a transient population. As a result, officers are continuously teaching students before more rotate in and out of campus and Isla Vista.

“A lot of these young people are out (on their own) for the very first time in their lives,” Romero said. “This is a growing-up age for a lot of them, and we understand, and we don’t want to ruin their good time. We don’t want to be the party poopers out there. It needs to be a combined effort from law enforcement and the community.

“Everyone can do better. We’re not the experts at everything. It’s the responsibility of the officers to do their best to explain why we do what we do.”

Community policing first came up in a separate joint task force called IV Safe, led by District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

That’s also where Dudley debuted her Isla Vista community restorative court idea.

A veteran district attorney would work from an Isla Vista office to prosecute all local cases, and a paralegal would decide whether offenses could instead go to a restorative court made up of community member volunteers.

“When you live and work in the community, you understand it better,” Dudley said of the dedicated prosecutor. “Most district attorneys haven’t even been to Isla Vista. You have a higher level of vestment in that community.”

Instead of being prosecuted and building a criminal record, a young person charged with minor offenses such as vandalism, public urination, drunk in public, minor battery or other crimes deemed an affront to the community could be sentenced by restorative court to clean up the beach, etc.

“This gives back to the community,” Dudley told Noozhawk. “What we have found is that when people do that ... the community feels better, and the person who committed the crime feels better because they actually improved the community.”

Ideally, Dudley said a joint effort from the county, UCSB and Santa Barbara City College would fund the salary and benefits of the new prosecutor, paralegal and one office staff person at $500,000 annually.

She would want at least a two-year commitment, so she needs $1 million to be safe.

All the entities like the proactive idea, but so far no one has stepped up with money, Dudley said.

“Isla Vista would not be Isla Vista without UCSB and SBCC,” she said. “In my world it seems like a win-win.

“It would be so sad if nothing came out of this report. It’s frustrating for me because I feel like I have one of the answers.”

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 Schools Link Drop in Student Suspensions to Success of ‘Restorative’ Discipline

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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The Santa Barbara Unified School District’s restorative discipline program has resulted in a significant drop in student suspensions for participating schools, and staff say the positive effects go far beyond that data.

“You come on the campus and you can see a more positive, respectful and responsible culture,” said David Ortiz, principal of La Colina Junior High School.

“It’s a philosophy, a philosophical intervention of a more responsive nature instead of a reactive perspective,” he said.

The program works in tandem with the traditional discipline system, and the criteria for suspensions and expulsions haven’t changed.

Building relationships between students and staff members is at the core of the program, which expanded to include nine schools this year.

“It’s working out great,” Santa Barbara Junior High School Principal Lito Garcia said. “It has definitely allowed us as a teaching staff to take the time to work with kids.

“I think really that’s the main reason behind the reduction in suspensions, is that the students are feeling more connected to the staff, feeling more ownership for their education and wanting to do well because of it.”

SBUSD trustees are concerned with the suspension rates for secondary schools, which — compared to total enrollment — are disproportionately high for socio-economically disadvantaged students and Hispanic or Latino students. They were glad to hear that numbers were heading in the right direction, with suspensions falling across the board.

Superintendent Dave Cash has called the restorative discipline program a “game changer.”

Among the schools that implemented restorative approaches last year, there was a 39-percent drop in total suspensions compared to the six-year average, said Aaron Harkey, a teacher on special assignment to manage the district’s program.

According to district data, the six-year average was 630 suspensions per year, with Hispanic or Latino students accounting for 81 percent of them.

For the 2013-2014 year, there were 387 total suspensions — 78 percent of which were Hispanic or Latino students. Hispanic or Latino students represented 55 percent of enrollment at those schools.

“We could just not suspend on a superficial level and say we’re doing better,” Ortiz said. “What’s better is all of us are evolving as better citizens within the school community and community at large in Santa Barbara.”

Santa Barbara Junior High, which has two full years of experience with the restorative approaches program, showed a 71-percent drop in suspensions for the 2013-2014 year, compared to its five-year average from before, Harkey said.

“Since implementation of restorative approaches at Santa Barbara Junior High, Latino representation in all suspensions decreased from an average of 87 percent in previous years to 73 percent in both implementation years,” Harkey said during a recent presentation to the Board of Trustees.

“The numbers, they’re great, they’re impressive,” Garcia said. “I am proud to see we’ve dropped the suspension rate by over 71 percent, that means over 71 percent more kids are in school.

“But there is more work to do, and I think as a district, one of our charges from Dr. Cash that we all believe in is to be culturally proficient, in the classroom with instruction and in social-emotional work with kids, across the board.”

The restorative approaches program started at Santa Barbara Junior High School in the 2012-2013 school year and expanded to Goleta Valley, La Colina and La Cumbre junior highs and Santa Barbara High School last year. This fall, Cleveland and Washington elementary schools and Dos Pueblos and San Marcos high schools were added.

Restorative approaches focus on a new perspective on discipline and the five Rs: respect, responsibility, repair, relationships and reintegration. When a problem arises, teachers rely on five questions to determine the problem, what harm was done and how it can be repaired.

Some schools have pursued these ideas on their own, but the benefit to a top-down restorative program is that schools have a common language now so it’s easier for students to know the expectations, Garcia said.

“I say it sarcastically, but what a crazy idea,” he said. “We’re teaching kids how to solve problems and be part of the solution. We’re in the business of education and we’re doing that every day with math, science, English and history, so why shouldn’t we be doing it with social issues?”

As the program expands to more schools, it can only make it better for everyone, Garcia said.

“I can’t wait to have kids start rolling in with restorative approaches under their belt,” he added. “My hope is as we have more and more students going through this experience, this eventually will spread out into the community at large.”

The restorative approaches program isn’t the easiest way to do things, but it’s the most effective, Ortiz said.

“You can still incur disciplinary consequences and still go through a restorative approach, the dialog and informal conference to formal conference,” he said. “​But the idea is that we’re going to stay with the person and care about them, support and guide them over time.”

Students may have issues with their home lives that manifest in inappropriate behavior at school, and teachers and staff become more aware of that by talking to students one-on-one, Ortiz continued.

“I’m so proud of our district and schools, but I’m going to be honest with you — many, many of our students are just incredible, caring, respectful, responsible citizens,” he said. “I wish I could take more credit. I just can’t go there because we have these kids who are just amazing.”

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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Michelle Malkin: Michelle Obama’s Tall Tales of Racialized Victimhood

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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Oh, woe is she. In an “exclusive” interview with People magazine last week, first lady Michelle Obama lamented the “sting” of “racist experiences” that she and her husband allegedly still suffer. My message for America’s Marie Antoinette? Cry me a river.

To show how she’s down with The Struggle of post-Ferguson agitators, Obama cited a supposedly horrifying incident at a Target store where she was treated, in her paranoid mind, as a subservient. “Even as the first lady,” she bemoaned, “not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf.”

A lowly peon asked her for an innocent favor? It’s Jim Crow all over again! ABC News reports that Obama said such “incidents are ‘the regular course of life’ for African-Americans and a ‘challenge’ for the country to overcome.”

Newsflash: Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe that it is part of the “regular course of life” of tall people of all colors (Obama is 5-foot-11) to be prevailed upon to reach high on behalf of those of us who are vertically challenged. These are not odious “incidents” of racism between slaves and masters. They’re matters of common courtesy between equals.

So overcome your ridiculously hypersensitive, privileged self and deal with it, girl! (And now don’t get all hot and bothered about the “girl” thing. Sheesh.)

There is, of course, a truly insidious “-ism” at work here: cynicism. Obama’s dissemination of her false racial narrative in a popular celebrity rag is cunningly calculated to pander to America’s aggrieved leftists. We know Obama’s victim sob story is a steaming pile of rotten turnips because the last time she talked about The Incident, it was a feel-good late-night talk show anecdote devoid of discrimination.

On David Letterman’s TV show in 2012, the haute-couture-clad first lady recounted the same “incognito” Target visit to demonstrate her just-like-you bona fides. She chuckled as she shared how the shopper asked: “Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?” As the audience laughed with delight and Obama grinned from ear to ear, she told Letterman: “I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down — she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was my interaction. I felt so good.”

From overjoyed Regular Mom to Oppressed Martyr, can Obama’s shopping fable get any more absurd? To paraphrase a popular slogan of the social justice mob: Jig’s Up, Don’t Compute.

It just goes to show you: Once a race hustler, always a race hustler. The first lady demonstrated a willingness to employ accusations of racial oppression for political gain from the earliest days of her adult life. Take her senior thesis at Princeton University, titled “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.” Decrying her racial otherness, the Ivy Leaguer accused her university of pushing her down the dreaded path toward “further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.”

Yet, while regaling campaign crowds with complaints about bias, burdensome education loans and the beastly lily white corporate world, Obama neglected to mention that it was a white male Princeton alum who went beyond the call of duty to bring her from her imagined “periphery” to the center of power.

As I recounted in my book Culture of Corruption, Sidley Austin corporate law partner Stephen Carlson offered the elite student generous career guidance and mentoring while she was an undergrad and then reached out to her again when she was at Harvard Law. She secured a coveted job as a summer associate in 1987, accepted a full-time job upon graduation and never looked back. Obama, perpetual victim, hopped from Princeton to Harvard to prestigious law firms, cushy nonprofit gigs, an exclusive Hyde Park manse and a crony corporate board appointment before landing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Only in America is such upward mobility possible by a thin-skinned incessant whiner who has fabricated racial tall tales all the way to the tippy-top of the ladder of opportunity. God bless the U.S.A.

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

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Randy Alcorn: Santa Barbara County Supervisors Present Themselves with Generous Christmas Gift

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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Sometimes, government feeds at the public trough with such obvious gluttony that it confirms condemnations of its fiscal irresponsibility.

Earlier this month, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, in a quick vote, gifted itself a nearly 12 percent pay raise. At the same time, it also spread the joy of Christmas to five other elected officials, giving them raises ranging from 4 percent to 14 percent. The beneficiaries of this gift giving are the auditor/controller, the treasurer, the clerk recorder, the district attorney and the sheriff, each of whose total compensation now exceeds $200,000 per year.

Only Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam voted against these pay increases, noting that given the county’s large unfunded pension liability and deteriorating roads and other infrastructure, the supervisors shouldn’t make Santa’s list of deserving boys and girls.

Of course, the taxpayers of Santa Barbara County play Santa — willingly or not. For elected officials to have the power to increase their own compensation is like plundering Santa’s sleigh rather than asking Santa for gifts. Santa just doesn’t get the opportunity to check who has been naughty and who has been nice. Any increases in the compensation of elected officials should be approved by voters.

This latest round of self-gifting by the supervisors will cost taxpayers an additional $1.6 million per year — year after year. How many county residents would prefer filling potholes than filling elected officials’ Christmas stockings?

The rationale the county gives for increasing compensation of its elected officials is that elected officials in other counties are being paid more. This is a familiar justification employed by governments at all levels. To escalate their own compensation, even beyond fiscal prudence, governments engage in a tacit game of pay escalation whereby one or more jurisdictions increase the pay of its officials above that of other jurisdictions. The other jurisdictions then justify increasing their pay levels to match or exceed those of the instigating jurisdictions, and away we go on the next round of government gluttony.

This rationale for increasing the pay of elected officials assumes that taxpayers are either stupid or not paying attention — assumptions that are sadly often valid. If Santa Barbara County’s elected officials are so poorly compensated, why do they keep running for re-election? Why is there never a shortage of qualified people interested in running for county offices, even at those paltry six-figure salaries?

And, it’s not as if elected officials can just quit their positions and take the same position in another jurisdiction that has higher pay. Elected officials are, after all, elected, not hired. Is anyone really concerned that if the supervisors aren’t paid more they will establish residence in Orange County and run for supervisor there? Is anyone afraid that without more pay there will be no qualified candidates who will run for office?

For that matter, regardless of pay levels, do we always get qualified candidates for public office? Think of Congress. Voters are likely to be better served by candidates whose primary motivation for seeking office is not how much they can enrich themselves with that office.

Why did the supervisors give the county’s other elected county officials pay increases? Was the sheriff threatening to quit if he didn’t get this latest increase? Did the supervisors fear that, at $189,000 per year and the chance to retire relatively young with nearly full pay and benefits for life, there would be insufficient interest in the position, or that qualified candidates would look elsewhere? Why was a $12,000 salary increase necessary?

This past year’s race for sheriff was hard fought between two qualified candidates who, given the intensity of their campaigns, really wanted to be elected. Apparently their enthusiasm for the office was not diminished by a salary of $189,000. So why did the supervisors find it necessary to raise that salary by nearly $12,000?

Elected officials move on. Some climb the political ladder to higher office; some retire, often with generous taxpayer-funded benefits. The repercussions of their fiscal irresponsibility and greed, however, endure past their tenures. Remember, taxpayers not only pay for the salaries of those government officials and employees reporting for work each day, but also for a growing number of retired officials and employees reporting to the golf course each day.

The generous retirement packages that elected officials have bestowed on themselves and on public employees are not being covered by investment income alone. The resulting shortfalls in funding are, by law, the responsibility of taxpayers. Santa Barbara County taxpayers are currently on the hook for an unfunded county pension liability of about $1 billion.

Jurisdictions in California and other states are staggering under the crushing burden of public employee compensation excesses — especially retirement benefits. Some have declared bankruptcy. Given these disturbing realities, how can the county supervisors increase their pay and that of other county officials?

Merry Christmas, taxpayers.

— 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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Winds Pick Up Along South Coast, with 60 mph Gusts and Power Outages

By | Published on 12/21/2014

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Westmont College library damaged as strong gusts sweep through region in advance of warming trend through midweek

A weekend wind advisory was extended through Monday morning as gusty northerly winds whipped around Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Sunday.

The National Weather Service said north winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, were expected through at least 9 a.m. Monday. Isolated gusts in excess of 60 mph were possible at higher elevations overnight on the South Coast.

Shortly after 10 p.m., the National Weather Service reported a gust of 86 mph in the Montecito foothills.

The strongest winds were forecast below canyons and passes, especially in the Montecito.

On the campus of Westmont College at 955 La Paz Road, a large oak tree toppled across the road near Clark Hall on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday night, the wind blew out a large window on the second floor of the Roger John Voskuyl Library.

“It looks like a tornado hit,” Debra Quast, director of library and information services, wrote in an email to staff announcing that the facility would be closed for cleanup Monday.

“The library was open 24 hours a day all last week and was packed with students,” Quast told Noozhawk, noting that students had left for their Christmas break on Saturday. “The window blew in in an area where students love to study.”

There were no injuries in either incident.

On Sunday night, santa ana-like conditions had pushed temperatures into the mid-70s in Montecito, where power was also flickering off and on in some neighborhoods.

Late Sunday, Southern California Edison reported six power outages affecting at least 400 customers. The utility said it expected service to be restored by 4 a.m. Monday. 

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

The weather service said high surf conditions were tapering off along Central Coast beaches as a large northwest swell began to subside Sunday afternoon. Strong rip currents are still possible, however.

Gale force winds were forecast for the outer Santa Barbara Channel through Monday morning, the weather service said. Sustained surface winds of 34 to 47 knots, or 39-54 mph, were expected from Point Sal down to San Nicolas Island.

In spite of a blustery beginning to Christmas week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should see clear skies with daytime highs in the upper 60s to mid-70s and overnight lows in the upper 40s to low 50s.

The weather is expected to cloud up by Christmas Day, with cooler temperatures reaching only into the mid-60s.

» 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.

Sunday’s wind blew in a plate-glass window at the Westmont College library, damaging books, furniture and ceiling tiles. (Molly Riley photo / Westmont College)
Sunday’s wind blew in a plate-glass window at the Westmont College library, damaging books, furniture and ceiling tiles. (Molly Riley photo / Westmont College)

There were no injuries when this massive oak tree fell across a roadway Sunday on the campus of Westmont College in Montecito. (Tom Beveridge photo / Westmont College via Instagram)
There were no injuries when this massive oak tree fell across a roadway Sunday on the campus of Westmont College in Montecito. (Tom Beveridge photo / Westmont College via Instagram)

Sunday’s sunset at Butterfly Beach in Montecito included a fiery, pink sky. (Dana Fisher photo / www.santabarbarafun.net)
Sunday’s sunset at Butterfly Beach in Montecito included a fiery, pink sky. (Dana Fisher photo / www.santabarbarafun.net)

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Wind Advisory in Effect for Santa Barbara County’s South Coast Through Sunday Morning

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Gusty winds were sweeping across Santa Barbara County’s South Coast late Saturday, and the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory through 9 a.m. Sunday.

The weather service said north winds of 15 to 25 mph, with gusts to 35 mph, were expected through early Sunday. The conditions are likely to redevelop Sunday night.

The strongest winds were forecast below canyons and passes, especially in the Montecito foothills.

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

High surf conditions are expected to persist along Central Coast beaches through Sunday night as a large northwest swell continues to roll in, the weather service said. Strong rip currents are possible, as well.

Northwest winds in the outer Santa Barbara Channel could reach gale force by Sunday afternoon, and authorities urged boaters and and mariners to take precautions.

Onshore, Sunday’s weather forecast is for partly cloudy skies and high temperatures in the mid-60s to low 70s.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should be clear with daytime highs in the upper 60s to mid-70s, but the weather may cloud up by Christmas Day, with cooler temperatures reaching only into the mid-60s.  

» 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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Village Dirtbags Roll Out New Bicycles in Annual Giveaway for Vandenberg Air Force Base Youths

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Delivering Christmas cheer, mountain biking enthusiasts mark ninth year of supporting military kids for the holidays

As members of the Village Dirtbags fitted helmets and adjusted seats Saturday, it was difficult to tell just who was more excited — the adults who make up the club or the youths getting the brand-new top-quality bikes.

This marked the ninth year the Vandenberg Village group of mountain biking enthusiasts gave away dozens of bicycles to children of military members at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

“It’s such a nice event,” said Randy Baumgardner, a Vandenberg Village resident who joined the Villages Dirtbags four years ago. “There’s great energy here. I love it.

“I love serving those who serve.”

The program began in 2006, when the organization gave away 12 bikes and helmets. The numbers have grown since then, and organizers pinpointed this year’s giveaway at 125.

“We just want to support the military,” said Roger McConnell, who spearheads the bike drive that began when a high number of Vandenberg airmen were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The group works with VAFB officials to identify the recipients, focusing on kids who had a parent deployed overseas. The mission hit its target.

“It only took three or four moms to really show their appreciation and we said, ‘This is what we’re doing every year,’” McConnell said.

They don’t do any formal fundraising, instead accepting donations.

After getting her new helmet fitted, 2-year-old Narayan Peterson high-fives Randy Baumgardner, a member of the Village Dirtbags. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
After getting her new helmet fitted, 2-year-old Narayan Peterson high-fives Randy Baumgardner, a member of the Village Dirtbags. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“We ask for donations from families, friends and business associations,” McConnell said. “It just builds upon itself. They see that every dollar they put into it buys a bike, buys a helmet, gets to the kids — every dollar.”

Several businesses support the effort. PODS Moving & Storage supplies a containers for bikes, Bicycles Unlimited determines the size and type of bike kids should get and Imerys Filtration Materials donated funds to buy 15 bikes and helmets.

“It’s become a community event,” McConnell added. “It’s not just the Village Dirtbags and Vandenberg Air Force Base.”

Club members assemble the bikes ahead of time so they just have to make last-minute adjustments to pair the bikes with their new owners.

Observing the various stations for bikes, adjustments, helmets and pictures, Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, remarked on the military precision employed by the civilian club.

“Not only is it great to get a bike for these kids, but this is going to be a huge memory for them ...,” he said. “It’s a great memory just above the doughnut and the bike.

Roger McConnell, left, who leads the Village Dirtbags bike giveaway, greets Air Force Col. Keith Balts, commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s 30th Space Wing. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Roger McConnell, left, who leads the Village Dirtbags bike giveaway, greets Air Force Col. Keith Balts, commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s 30th Space Wing. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“I really want to thank the Village Dirtbags for doing this. It seems to be growing every year.”

In a Lompoc shopping center parking lot off North H Street five days before Christmas, youths showed up with parents to get their new bicycles.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Stephannie Fletcher, mom to DaKari Williams, 6. “I think it’s great the community is so involved with us.”

Abbie Carr, 10, tried out her bike while waiting for her siblings to get theirs.

“I really like it,” she said, adding that her previous bicycle broke. “I was hoping for a mountain bike.”

“I’m very grateful for this,” added her mom, Kathy Carr. “They all need new bikes.”

Traci Willett watched as sons Declan and Aidan were fitted for helmets.

“It is beyond awesome,” she said as Declan sat atop his first bike, five days before Christmas, which coincides with his birthday. “I think this is amazing. This is so cool.

“Oh, my gosh, buddy. Your first bike,” she exclaimed. “He’s going to love it.”

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.

Abbie Carr, 10, visits with Santa Claus after receiving her bike and helmet Saturday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Abbie Carr, 10, visits with Santa Claus after receiving her bike and helmet Saturday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Gerald Carpenter: French Organ Music on Menu at Trinity Episcopal Church

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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The Advent Organ Series at Trinity Episcopal Church continues at 3:30 p.m. Sunday with a free concert of “Parisian Masters of the 20th Century” by the church’s new minister of keyboard music, Thomas Joyce.

The gourmet program for this concert includes the Fantaisie-Improvisation sur “​l’Ave Maris Stella” from Cinq Improvisations (reconstituée par Maurice Duruflé) by Charles Tournemire (1870-1931); the Symphonie Gothique, Opus 70 by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937); La Nativité du Seigneur by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992); Trois Poèmes Évangéliques, Opus 2 by Jean Langlais (1907-1991); and Variations sur un Noël, Opus 20 by Marcel Dupré (1886-1971).

“Advent,” as we all know, is the Christmas season, the time of anticipation of Christ’s coming. Although she was decisively and permanently disconnected from the French state by the Revolution (1789-1793), the Roman Catholic Church has continued down to the present as a powerful force in French culture.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, French and Belgian composers have derived a considerable portion of their incomes from church commissions and church offices. Even freethinkers like Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré wrote masses; as did ultra-modernists like Francis Poulenc and Olivier Messiaen.

Many, like César Franck, served most of their lives as organists in the great cathedrals. It is thus not surprising that there is a huge body of French organ music — much of it fabulous stuff — and that French organists still dominate the market.

Most of the time, alas, what plays in France stays in France — until some enterprising Anglo-Saxon Yankee like Thomas Joyce makes a raid on the pantry to serve some of it to his guests.

Admission is free for the concert at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in Santa Barbara, although donations are welcome.

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

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James Mosby to Fill Lompoc City Council Vacancy Created by Bob Lingl’s Election As Mayor

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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During special meeting Saturday, four-member council taps utilities commissioner from field of 12 applicants

The Lompoc City Council went shopping Saturday for a fifth member before choosing a lifelong resident who serves on the Santa Barbara County Parks Commission.

James Mosby was picked from a field of 12 applicants by a 3-1 vote during the two-hour special meeting Saturday.

Mayor Bob Lingl cast the lone opposition vote.

Mosby, 50, said after the meeting that the selection “kind of caught me off guard. I wasn’t really sure which direction it was going to go.”

He noted that the City Council has a tendency to go into the wee hours of the morning, and braced for the possibility the four members might not reach a consensus Saturday and would have to meet again next week.

“I am still a little shell-shocked,” he said.

Mosby has served on the Lompoc Utilities Commission for the past two years but must resign from that role with his appointment to the council.

He was named to the county Parks Commission by Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam in 2012, but expects to continue that role.

Mosby also will step down from leading the nonprofit Lompoc Valley Parks, Recreation and Pool Foundation.

A couple of years ago, Mosby was at the center of a controversy over a recreational facility on his land just east of the city, as county officials contended the use wasn’t permitted.

Running for the City Council had been on his mind, he said. 

“I had some minor plans in two years from now of potentially running, and that’s one of the reasons why I made the commitment to try to learn as much about the process of this town as I have, and made the commitment in the last four years to get involved ...,” Mosby said.

He also said he has regularly attended City Council meetings for the past four years.

Mosby submitted his application for the council vacancy on the final day.

“I saw the opportunity and the need for it, and decided to put my name in there and see what happened,” he said. “Have to start somewhere, right?”

The new council member will finish the final two years left on Lingl’s term after his recent election as mayor.

Before voting, the council heard brief statements from the dozen people who applied for the job.

Among those who applied were third place vote-getter Ann Ruhge plus other previously unsuccessful candidates — Darrell W. Tullis, David G. Grill, Robert Cuthbert, Frank Campo and Steve Chudoba.

Former Mayor John Linn, ousted in the Nov. 4 race that Lingl won, also applied.

Rounding out the field of applicants were Jenelle Osborne, Christian Martinez, John Fragosa and Adrienne Boyd.

The dozen candidates included the seven people who were unsuccessful in the races for the council and mayoral seats in the Nov. 4 election.

Others, such as Osborne and Mosby, were familiar for their roles serving on city committees. And a few of the applicants were newcomers to city politics.

While some residents had urged the council to select the third-place vote-getter to fill the vacancy, the four men were split on choosing Ruhge to fill the position during the Dec. 2 meeting.

During Saturday’s meeting, the first round of ballots to narrow the field saw Mosby get three votes, Osborne get two votes and one each for Fragosa and Tullis, City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller said.

With Mosby getting three marks on the unofficial ballot, Councilman Victor Vega made the motion to appoint him and Councilman Dirk Starbuck seconded the nomination, which passed as Councilman DeWayne Holmdahl cast the third vote.

“All of the candidates were good,” Vega said after the meeting. “But basically when it comes down to it, there were a couple who stood out from the rest.”

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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Diane Dimond: Ominous Predictions of Worldwide Ebola Epidemic Prove Untrue

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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How is it that some of the pending catastrophes we read or hear about in the media simply fade away? What seems so cataclysmic today barely gets a mention next week.

If only irresponsible reporting was declared an actual crime, even just a misdemeanor, there might be less of it. And a lot more doubling back to correct the record when journalists come to realize they’ve been duped.

Case in point: the much ballyhooed prediction of a widespread — even worldwide — Ebola epidemic.

Consider this my mea culpa. It’s my attempt to double back to underscore what appears to be deliberate misinformation from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Back in mid-October, I, along with countless other scribes, repeated the dire WHO warnings that new cases of the deadly disease would soon reach 10,000 per week.

Wow. What a frightening prospect. So reporters everywhere dutifully repeated the breathtaking projection. WHO’s Ebola chief, Bruce Aylward, added to his prediction saying that by the “first week in December” the world would come to see the awful consequences of ignoring the Ebola threat.

Well, we’re nearing the end of the month now, and guess what the latest WHO figures show? In the first week of December there were a total of 529 new cases. It turns out that Ebola cases had peaked three weeks before the WHO held that scary news conference.

Too bad official exaggeration isn’t a crime, either.

More WHO facts: The grand total of all Ebola cases is just under 18,000. Approximately 6,400 people have died, almost all of them in West Africa.

Those are sad numbers, but a far cry from the fear-provoking prognostication of our own CDC. Earlier this year, the CDC predicted that by mid-January 2015, Liberia and Sierra Leone alone would see as many as 1.4 million cases.

What a bunch of hooey.

My eyes were opened on this subject after reading — and then double-checking — the work of Michael Fumento, a journalist lawyer who penned a column titled “The Great Ebola Lie.”

“You’ve been lied to, folks,”​ Fumento wrote. “And they’ll keep repeating this Chicken Little game as long as the media keep falling for it and the politicians keep rewarding it with billions of dollars.”

And there you have it. The motive for the exaggeration? Money.

The World Bank originally calculated that combating the spread of Ebola would cost the world $36 billion. Countries across the globe began to chip in. No matter that the bank later reduced its assessment to more like $3 billion or $4 billion.

And, guess which country is tossing a very generous $5 billion into the Ebola-fight honey pot? That’s right, the United States of America. A lot of that money is earmarked to set up more than 50 Ebola treatment centers throughout the United States.

Really?

Do you remember how many cases of Ebola were contracted here? Two. Just two Texas nurses who tended to one of the few patients who came here after contracting Ebola in West Africa. The facilities we already have proved to be more than enough to treat the victims we received. Why build more?

Look, Ebola is still a deadly problem in West Africa, and we should remain hyper-focused on developing vaccines, establishing a few more Ebola treatment centers and monitoring at-risk travelers entering the United States. But I have a nagging feeling that much of that $5 billion is being earmarked by lawmakers who drank the Kool-Aid of a vastly overstated Ebola threat — lawmakers who failed to check the predictions against the reality.

There was a time when public health experts warned of a pending AIDS pandemic among heterosexuals. Billions more dollars were allocated to counter a problem that didn't exist. Is AIDS still a scourge on the Earth? Of course it is, and it continues to effect many heterosexual black women. But the idea that the general population was at risk has now been rejected.

Driven by spasms of misguided (or sensationalized) media coverage, many people were once scared into thinking that swine flu, the Y2K computer glitch or rising sea levels were going to make our lives unbearable. Those events came and went, leaving a mark, but not the predicted catastrophe.

Let’s all put on our critical thinking caps when we hear these most ominous predictions. And to my colleagues in the media, admit when you’ve repeated exaggerations. In doing so, you both increase public awareness and your own credibility.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at diane@dianedimond.com, follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Mark Shields: Price of Raising Political Money Too High a Price for Public Trust

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Mark A. Hanna was a wealthy Cleveland businessman who shrewdly laid out the winning strategy and personally, out of pocket, paid all the costs required to secure the 1896 Republican presidential nomination for his fellow Ohioan, William McKinley.

Sometime after McKinley’s election and re-election to the White House, Hanna, based upon his personal experience, offered this timeless insight: “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

The New York Times’​ Binyamin Appelbaum has become the latest in a growing number of scholars to argue that political money is not that influential in deciding the winners of congressional elections or even in affecting how the winners, once in office, will vote on policy. We should, Appelbaum writes, be less anxious about cash in campaigns because “over the past year, Americans spent more on almonds than on selecting their representatives in Congress.”

To borrow the immortal phrase of Hollywood's Sam Goldwyn, “Gentlemen, include me out.” Forget the wealthy campaign donors, who — please take my word for it — almost always write their checks not out of altruism but fully expecting a “return” on their “investment.” Instead, think about the typical House candidate, who — just to cover the costs of her campaign — has to raise an average of $18,000 a week, 52 weeks a year, every year. Beyond raising that war chest, if a congressman hopes to rise to a position of leadership within the House or to win appointment to a powerful House committee, then he has to raise money for his party’s campaign committee.

This means going to a cramped cubicle at party headquarters and, several days a week, turning into a telemarketer, calling a list of people, most of whom you don’t know, and begging for money. Because you are provided the information on a sheet, you know what the potential check writer’s legislative and policy priorities are. You emphasize how your voting record is in harmony with the potential contributor’s values, and you are careful to avoid any potential areas of disagreement.

Because the member of Congress does this for hours on end every week, it means that the member is not spending his time meeting with and listening to his constituents or mastering a subject or getting to know personally his congressional colleagues and potentially collaborating on the public’s business.

Beyond all that fundraising lies more fundraising. Why? Because of the legitimate fear that a misnamed “independent” committee, underwritten by anonymous big money, could spend millions of dollars against any at-risk incumbent, baselessly defaming and possibly destroying him politically for being sympathetic to child pornographers or worse. The one insurance policy many members of Congress believe they have against that career-threatening “nuclear option” is to stockpile millions in their personal campaign accounts — which means more hours putting the arm on everyone who lobbies you on any issue from school lunches to bridge repairs.

The casualties of the endless cycle of fundraising are, too often, the independence, integrity and ideals of those who become its prisoners, and sadly, there’s an even greater loss of public trust and confidence in our own self-government.

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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Toppled Trailer Spills Hay Near Vandenberg Air Force Base Gate

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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A trailer loaded with hay overturned on Highway 1 while making a left turn in front of the Vandenberg Air Force Base main gate Saturday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The overturned vehicle was part of a double-trailer rig carrying hay bales, according to CHP emergency dispatch reports.

The crash occurred at 3 p.m., and traffic reportedly was detoured around the resulting mess for a short time, the CHP said.

A Caltrans crew was called out to clean up the spilled hay.

The driver reportedly was not injured in the wreck.

Additional details were not immediately available.

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

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Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputy Shot in Training Mishap

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy suffered an accidental gunshot wound Saturday afternoon during a training session in Goleta, authorities said.

The incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. as undisclosed training was being conducted at a building in the 7400 block of Hollister Avenue, said Kelly Hoover, a department spokeswoman.

“Fortunately it was a minor injury, and he is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound to his arm,” Hoover said.

She did not describe the nature of the training session or indicate how the deputy was shot.

The deputy’s name and other information also were not released.

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the incident along with American Medical Response paramedics.

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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For Many Wilderness Youth Project Kids, Time in Nature a Transformative Experience — Inside and Out

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Staff recount emotional stories of youth changing before their eyes as a result of first-time engagement with the outdoors

[Noozhawk’s note: This article is the third in a series sponsored by the Hutton Parker Foundation.]

The environment of Santa Barbara County provides an abundance of opportunities for youth and adults to embrace a variety of natural habitats, and the Wilderness Youth Project helps to inspire local kids who are curious to learn and play in the great outdoors.

“Our after-school programs with Wilderness Youth Project are all about helping kids get out into the natural world and enjoy some great free time and some unstructured play time,” associate director Erika Lindemann told Noozhawk. “And ... a number of different awareness games and times where we can focus in on things in the natural world.”

Preschool-age children benefit from exploring the boundaries of natural spaces to develop decision-making skills, while school-age kids who participate in running and playing games in the outdoors develop important team building and social skills.

“It’s the connection these kids have with nature, but also a big part of it is the connection these kids have with each other — the social aspect of it,” lead program staff member Mario Mendez said.

The Wilderness Youth Project utilizes unique mentoring and active outdoor experiences to provide youth with the opportunity to spend time in nature and become future stewards of the environment.

Staff and volunteers keep kids engaged by observing what draws their interest in the outdoors.

“In that moment where there’s some sort of engagement from the kid to something in nature, you jump in and you do nature connection techniques and questioning to try to get them even more intrigued,” Mendez explained.

Programs are offered year round and throughout the school week and weekends for children from Santa Barbara County schools, including Adams School, Adelante Charter School, Brandon School, Crane Country Day School, La Cuesta Continuation High School and McKinley School.

Although there is a local focus, WYP also has worked with youth from elsewhere, including some from the Los Angeles area who “walked out of the bus and had never even walked on uneven ground, had never really hopped on rocks or across a creek,” Mendez said.

Everyone can face an initial fear or some type of anxiety about things that are different, but the connection to nature is something that’s ingrained in each of us.

“It’s such a familiar feeling that within hours you see these kids transformed and you see that transformation — their eyes getting wide and their bodies transform,” Mendez said.

Wilderness Youth Project participants gather wildflowers during a recent outing in the Santa Barbara County backcountry. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)
Wilderness Youth Project participants gather wildflowers during a recent outing in the Santa Barbara County backcountry. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)

This transformational effect crosses all boundaries, and Mendez shared an emotional example that created a lasting impact for one local boy. He said the youth was from a gang family, and his father and brothers were in jail.

The touching moment occurred on a three-day trip to the wilderness above the Santa Ynez Valley. On the last day, the group formed a circle to share what they were thankful for. During the boy’s turn to share, the group finally understood why he had spent part of each day collecting wildflowers from around the camp area.

“He said that I’m thankful for all of these wildflowers that are growing because my mom sometimes takes care of this old lady,” Mendez recalled. “And before coming here on the trip he had visited the woman and told her he was going on a long weekend trip out into nature.”

The woman told him to not forget to look at all the wildflowers because that was her favorite thing when she was young, to be able to see all of the wildflowers.

“We all got really teary-eyed and started crying because this was a kid, when I met him, who showed no emotion and was on the fast track to going down the wrong path for sure,” Mendez said. “And here we were a group of peers and mentors going around for like 20 minutes collecting wildflowers for this lady!

“That was really emotional for me, that sense of empathy that was created in this boy from the nature connection,” he added. “That was a reminder for me that the work that we do touches people in a very positive way and you could see the results.”

The Wilderness Youth Project could not thrive without the support of volunteers and donors who help drive its mission. Click here for more information about the Wilderness Youth Project, or call 805.964.8096. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Fairview Gardens in Goleta was a recent destination for Wilderness Youth Project staffers Erika Lindemann and Ulises Rios and program participants Juan Escobar, Angel Estrada, Jair Jaramillo, Jesus Medina, Helene Navarrete, Osiel Ocampo, Eminnen Pachucas, Samantha Sandoval, Samuel Sandoval and Nitzy Verdusco. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)
Fairview Gardens in Goleta was a recent destination for Wilderness Youth Project staffers Erika Lindemann and Ulises Rios and program participants Juan Escobar, Angel Estrada, Jair Jaramillo, Jesus Medina, Helene Navarrete, Osiel Ocampo, Eminnen Pachucas, Samantha Sandoval, Samuel Sandoval and Nitzy Verdusco. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

Wilderness Youth Project lead program staff member Mario Mendez describes flora and fauna during an outing. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)
Wilderness Youth Project lead program staff member Mario Mendez describes flora and fauna during an outing. (Eric Isaacs photo / EMI Photography)

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Waves of Young Surfers Join Lakey Peterson at Inaugural Leadbetter Beach Surf Competition

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Popular local pro surfer partners with Surf Happens to help inspire kids to paddle out and follow in her wake

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Scores of young surfers stormed Santa Barbara’s Leadbetter Beach on Saturday for the inaugural Lakey Peterson Leadbetter Classic surf competition.

The free event was open to all skill levels for youths 14 and under, and no one was eliminated in the first round.

The competition was hosted by the nonprofit Surf Happens, an arm of the Surf Happens Surf School. Organizers hope to make the Lakey Peterson Leadbetter Classic an annual December event.

The day’s events also included a surfing class to promote the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Peterson, 20, a champion professional surfer who grew up in Montecito, first competed in a Surf Happens Santa Barbara Surfing Series event at Campus Point when she was 9 years old. She has been a longtime Surf Happens supporter, including as a regular at the annual Rincon Classic.

Before she was 13, Peterson had won several National Scholastic Surfing Association​ titles and, at 14, won the NSSA Open Women’s Title. As a 16 year old, she was runner-up in the 2011 U.S. Open of Surfing, and earned a spot on the official Association of Surfing Professionals Women’s World Tour.

She is currently ranked No. 6 in the world on the 2014 tour.

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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John Haan: How New Vintners Can Get a Start Through a ‘Nontraditional’ Winery

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Opening a traditional bricks-and-mortar winery can be complicated, expensive and time consuming. As an alternative, new vintners can elect to start a “nontraditional” winery, which allows them entry into the wine business without incurring the substantive acquisition and development expenses of a traditional winery.

The two basic structures of a nontraditional winery are the custom crush arrangement and the alternating proprietorship arrangement.

Custom Crush Arrangement

In a custom crush arrangement, the client (i.e., an aspiring vintner) pays the host winery to make wine to the client’s specifications. The client buys (or grows) grapes, delivers them to the host winery, and provides general instructions for producing and bottling the wine. The client may supervise the production, but the host winery is responsible for making the wine.

As the holder of a federal basic permit (i.e., a bonded winery), the host winery handles all production, recordkeeping and reporting to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB. In this type of arrangement, the client is not a bonded winery, does not own or lease a facility or equipment, and is not subject to any regulatory reporting requirements with respect to the winery premises.

The client is not required to hold fermentation or production licenses, and relies on the production permits and bond of the host winery until the wine is bottled, labeled and released by the host winery as “tax paid” (meaning that the federal excise tax on that wine has been paid, and the wine has been removed from the bonded premises) or the wine is transferred in bond to another bonded premise such as a warehouse.

Before the client can bottle or sell the wine, the TTB must approve the label for that wine by issuing a Certificate of Label Approval, or COLA. The host winery applies for and obtains a COLA for the client’s brand name. To obtain the COLA, the host winery must first adopt the client’s trade name, which may or may not be the same as the brand name, by adding it to the host winery’s federal basic permit. The label will reflect that the wine is “Produced and Bottled by (client’s trade name).”

In California, a custom crush client will typically obtain a Type 17 - Beer & Wine Wholesaler’s license, which allows sales of wine to other licensees (in state) for the purpose of resale, and a Type 20 - Off Sale Beer & Wine license, which, when held in conjunction with a Type 17 license, allows the sale of wine directly to consumers (in state) in a retail sales outlet and/or by telephone, Internet and mail order.

A client must also obtain a wholesaler’s basic permit from the TTB, which authorizes the client to sell wine that has been made for it to other wholesalers and retailers. Finally, a client must comply with state and federal tied-house regulations.

Although the custom crush arrangement allows aspiring vintners to enter the wine business relatively easily, there are some limitations to this structure. For example, the holder of a Type 17 license may not conduct wine tastings. and the custom crush client has limited rights to sell wine directly to consumers in other states as compared to licensed producers. In addition, many state tied-house exceptions are only available to licensed winegrowers and not wholesalers or retailers.

Alternating Proprietorship Arrangement

In a typical alternating proprietorship arrangement, an existing operating winery (the “host winery”) agrees to rent space and equipment to another wine producer (the “alternating proprietor”) to produce wine. This type of arrangement allows existing wineries to use excess capacity and gives new wineries an opportunity to begin on a small scale without investing in equipment.

In an alternating proprietorship, the use of the facilities alternates between the host winery and the alternating proprietor. Each winery (i.e., the host winery and alternating proprietor) may have a designated area dedicated to the exclusive use of the winery for the storage of its wine. The host winery and all alternating proprietors are separately bonded wineries, and each is responsible for its own production, recordkeeping, excise tax payments and label approvals.

In California, an alternating proprietor is required to obtain a Type 02 - Winegrower license, its own federal basic permit, and is solely responsible for its own winemaking, recordkeeping and reporting to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the TTB and other governmental agencies, including the payment of excise taxes.

Since alternating proprietors (as independent producers) are eligible for the Small Producer’s Wine Tax Credit, which has the potential of reducing revenue to the government, the TTB carefully scrutinizes an alternating proprietorship arrangement to verify that the alternating proprietor is truly acting as a separately bonded winery rather than as a client of the host winery under a custom crush arrangement. In the custom crush situation, the excise tax is paid by the host winery, which, when it combines its own production with that of all its clients, might not qualify for the credit.

During the TTB’s review of an alternating proprietor’s application for a federal basic permit, the TTB will strictly evaluate the written agreement between the alternating proprietor and the host winery. The alternating proprietorship agreement should expressly state that the alternating proprietor is responsible for its own production, record-keeping, reporting, labeling and payment of taxes.

The agreement also should provide that the alternating proprietor will pay the host winery directly for its floor space, equipment use and, where applicable, personnel time and material consumed if the host winery is to provide services or materials. Pricing should be structured around rental of space and rates for specific services rendered.

Payment to the host winery should not be based on volume rates (tons, gallons or cases), a method of charging more appropriate for custom crush agreements. The TTB reviews all of these factors to determine if the arrangement is a true alternating proprietorship and not a custom winemaking relationship in disguise.

Although it is acceptable for the alternating proprietorship agreement to provide for the use of the host winery’s employees for certain services, it must be clear that such employees will be acting solely at the alternating proprietor’s direction or be hired directly by the alternating proprietor.

The contract should clearly state that the alternating proprietor is in control of, and responsible for, bottling under its permit, storing wine and removing wine from the bonded premises. The alternating proprietor must have absolute access to its bonded premises and its wine at all times. The agreement must also allow the TTB unfettered right of access to the bonded premises.

The alternating proprietorship arrangement is attractive to new vintners for a variety of reasons. As mentioned above, if the alternating proprietor’s production is less than 250,000 gallons, it will qualify for the Small Producer’s Wine Tax Credit.

Additionally, as the holder of a winegrower’s license in California, the alternating proprietor enjoys the same rights and privileges as a bricks-and-mortar winery holding the same license, including the right to conduct wine tastings and operate an off-site tasting room. Furthermore, the alternating proprietor has no obligation to comply with burdensome and expensive local regulations and use permit processes.

In conclusion, there are advantages and disadvantages to the custom crush arrangement and alternating proprietorship arrangement. New vintners must carefully consider a number of factors before deciding which structure to use. This can be a complex and confusing process, thus, speaking with a qualified attorney will help new vintners evaluate and determine which structure works best for them.

John Haan is a senior associate at Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell LLP of Santa Barbara and chairman of the firm’s Wine Law Group. His practice is concentrated in the areas of business, real estate and wine law. A version of this article was first published in the September issue of Santa Barbara Lawyer. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Louise Palanker: How to Find a Job, Confronting Life After Death, and That First Crush

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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Question from Max V.

This might seem dumb, but how on earth do you get a job? I understand, you go to school you can get a degree, blah blah blah. But how do you find jobs and apply for them and get known? Like the literal process? It’s so stupid that they never teach this at school.

Weezy

I don’t know your grade so I don’t know how much you should already know about getting a job, but I will give you my best advice. When you are 16, start applying for summer jobs. Between now and then babysit, mow lawns, sell lemonade. Work. Get used to how it feels to work and make your own money, because nothing really changes. It just evolves.

If you work, at least during the summer, through high school and college, then the idea of going out and getting a job within your chosen field will not seem so foreign. Once you graduate college, you will put together a résumé that shows you have worked at camps or restaurants or golf courses or whatever it is. This proves work ethic and it gives you potential reference letters for future employers.

Every person has a different career path story. If, for example, you want to become a teacher, you will do student teaching while you are in college. This gives you on-the-job experience and it introduces you to a network of teachers should you wish to apply for a job in that school district. After graduation, you can become a substitute teacher in more than one school district. If you are well liked, this often leads to job offers.

Should you choose a field that is challenging to enter, internships are the best way in. My motto is, “Give it away until somebody is willing to pay for it.” Internships opened the door to the entertainment industry for me.

An internship will offer you three layers of opportunity:

» You will observe the workplace in action and determine which jobs would be a good fit for you, thereby helping you choose a specific career path.

» You will learn by doing.

» You will make connections. The workplace is a family. If you are hard working and well liked, you will be hired ahead of a name on top of a résumé.

The Internet is a great way to display your work. Once you are old enough to be online, use it. If you want to make films, put your movies up on YouTube. If you are into fashion, show your designs on Tumblr. Create an online presence and résumé. When your name is Googled, the search results should be positive.

You can also use the Internet in your job hunt. Google firms that do what you want to do. Make lists. While you are still in college, start calling and asking if they have any openings, or internships.

If you land an excellent unpaid internship, talk to your parents about living at home for a year so that you can make the most of this opportunity.

When you enter the workplace, be the first one there and the last one to leave. Be proactive. Look around. What needs to get done? Get it done without always being asked to do it. Have a smile and an upbeat attitude for your co-workers. When you are asked a question by a superior, the answer is either, “Yes,” “I’m on it” or “Let me find out.”

There is nothing that is “Not your job,” unless it is illegal. Doing exactly what nobody else wants to do is exactly how you will earn respect and the opportunity to do exactly what you one day hope to do.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Tyler W.

I have gone into the depths of depression over a single question. What happens after death? I am Christian, but lately I dove into the world of science and it wrecked my faith, to say the least. I am too young to be thinking about this and I would rather have remained ignorant to it. I don’t need an answer just something to give me peace.

Weezy

I do not know if this will give you peace but here is what I believe: No person on earth knows what happens after death. That is why we have faith. Faith is the concept of “knowing” with all of your heart, even without concrete evidence, so that you don’t have to be so scared.

Learning more about science need not negate your Christian beliefs. For example: The Bible says that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and on the seventh day he rested. It does not sound possible, does it? But before the existence of the Earth and our current concept of space and time, one day may have been a billion years.

Additionally, there are many religious people who believe that the Bible should not be interpreted literally but should serve as a guidebook full of morals and wisdom and lessons.

My faith tells me that no matter your religion, we are all a part of one human experience. We are here on earth to learn, to grow and to share together. The most powerful force known to us is love.

When we cross over, all of the mysteries of life become abundantly clear. We are not meant to fully know them while we are on our human journey. We are meant to connect with one another and to share knowledge, art, music, laughter, experiences and most of all, love. Know that your life has great meaning and that you are here for a purpose.

In a long, long time, when you do cross over, that meaning will become clear. Right now, just live.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Kendra B.

Today, I am worried about ... not ever getting my crush. It frightens me that he thinks I’m creepy. I’m really not on the inside with his group. How can I show him my feelings without him walking away? I feel left alone to rot with no one by my side. Should I change my personality or be myself? It’s just depressing.

Weezy

You should be nothing more than your own true self. It’s called a crush for a reason. It crushes you. There is no way to make a person like you. All you can do is show him who you are. If you don’t know the kid, think of ways to get to know him better.

Everybody goes through these painful crushes. They make you feel like you will never love anybody the way you love this person. The truth is, you will. A crush is like sending your heart to the gym. It’s a workout and it builds you up for a lifetime of knowing what it means and how it feels to love. It sure as heck gets your attention.

And when you are in your 29th year of marriage and you have had it with that guy and the stupid sounds he makes when he cleans his ears and the piles of debris he leaves in his wake and the oil dripping onto your driveway from the old car he plans to restore, you will remember how much you once longed for him and smile because this is still him and you still do. That’s what real love is all about. Your crush is here to teach you.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at news@noozhawk.com and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (Family Band: The Cowsills Story is currently airing on Showtime Networks), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Our Place, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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2 Seriously Injured in SUV Wreck at Carrillo Street Exit on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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CHP says Cadillac Escalade slammed into trees and a wall after exiting freeway; one dog reportedly killed in the crash, another hurt

Two people were seriously injured Saturday in a single-vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara.

The wreck occurred at about 9:30 a.m. at the northbound Carrillo Street exit ramp, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A Cadillac Escalade that was exiting the freeway went off the roadway and crashed into some trees and a sound wall, Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said.

He said two women — possibly a mother and daughter — were seriously hurt and had to be extricated from the wreckage.

“It was a significant extrication for our crews,” he said.

The passenger was freed rather quickly, McCoy said, and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

A Santa Barbara Animal Control officer carries a dog from the scene of a Cadillac Escalade crash Saturday. Two people suffered serious injuries in the crash, and a second dog reportedly was killed. (Urban Hikers photo)
A Santa Barbara Animal Control officer carries a dog from the scene of a Cadillac Escalade crash Saturday. Two people suffered serious injuries in the crash, and a second dog reportedly was killed. (Urban Hikers photo)

However, it took much longer to remove the second victim from the vehicle, he said.

“The driver was very entangled and up against the sound wall,” McCoy told Noozhawk. “The dashboard was down on her legs, and basically her whole capsule was crushed down on her.”

The second victim also was taken to Cottage Hospital.

The names of the victims and details on their conditions were not immediately available.

Fire crews requested that Animal Control respond to the scene to attend to two dogs that were in the SUV, McCoy said.

One dog reportedly was killed in the crash and the other was taken to a veterinary hospital.

The northbound exit ramp at Carrillo was shut down for more than an hour, the CHP said, and freeway traffic through the area was slowed by the wreck.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Another Bad Deal

By | Published on 12/20/2014

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President Barack Obama recently stated, “Today the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.”

However, is that true? Simply put, Obama made a bad deal with the communist, dictatorial Castros. There is no democratically elected government in Cuba and the Cuban people have no say in how they live or are governed.

Our imperial president wants to economically bail out a country whose leaders are pals with Marxists and Islamic terrorists. And to make things even worse, our military is concerned Obama will make a deal with the Castros to close Gitmo, thereby releasing the most dangerous jihadists to kill again.

Once again, Barack Obama has put the interests, safety and welfare of Americans second. Why are we letting him get by with this tyranny? Will our Republic survive under two more years of his control?

Diana and Don Thorn
Carpinteria

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Santa Barbara County Police Agencies Prepare to Use Body-Worn Cameras

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Local law enforcement looks to pilot models while others are still searching after President Barack Obama's recommendation to implement the devices

Body-worn cameras have recently become a large part of a national discussion about law enforcement transparency, but many Santa Barbara County police agencies have been considering piloting the devices for some time.

To wear or not to wear the cameras, allowing a sense of accountability for officers as well as the public, has — not so surprisingly — mostly come down to finding the funds.

Before police-involved shootings in Ferguson, Mo., and the like shone a light on potential need, Santa Barbara police began investigating body-camera types.

Facing a consistent price tag of $600 to $1,000 each, Sgt. Riley Harwood said police would welcome an opportunity to find finding through a program championed by President Barack Obama earlier this month.

A proposed three-year, $263 million investment package puts body cameras and law enforcement training and reform at the center of the initiative, which would provide a 50 percent match to states or cities purchasing the devices. 

The initiative’s $75 million investment over three years aims to assist in buying 50,000 body cameras nationwide.

Included in that program would be the cost of processing and storing video — a huge IT expense, Harwood said.

Police wouldn’t be forced to make footage available to the public, as is the policy with dashboard cameras in SBPD patrol cars, but the video could be used in court cases, Harwood said.

Santa Barbara police were also holding off to find a model to mesh with its dash cameras, which were installed last year.

This Vidmic model being tested by sheriff's deputies connects with the department's radio system. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

“The cost is more significant than simply paying for units for 143 officers,” Harwood said. “If all goes well, our hope would be to get it into this budget process. Ultimately, that’s a decision the City Council would have to make.”

Technical difficulties were also hampering body camera discussions for the Santa Maria Police Department, which is currently updating all its software to accommodate a switch from a Ford Crown Victoria patrol car to Explorers and the all-wheel drive Ford Taurus.

Lompoc Police were still exploring the idea this week, but a handful of UCSB Police officers were already piloting some.

UCSB Police Sgt. Rob Romero said most of the 36 officers were still waiting on an official policy, which he expected to soon be adopted for the entire University of California System.

“As of right now, some officers are carrying their own,” he said.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department purchased 40 body cameras in October, assigned 20 of them to deputies and eight of them are actually piloting the devices, spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. 

She said most were using VidMic units connected to patrol car radios, although a second, bigger body camera was being tested within the department should the decision be made to equip all deputies.

Sheriff's deputies are testing two possible body-worn camera models. This body cam model isn't in circulation yet. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

According to policy, deputies using body cameras must activate them during interactions with the public while on duty, with some exceptions for sensitive investigations.

Each camera runs anywhere from $300 to $550, Hoover said.

“The deputies who were selected to use the body cameras are ones who typically do not use a patrol car for their shifts and benefit the most from having the equipment, such as Isla Vista Foot Patrol deputies, school resource deputies and community resource deputies,” she said. “The video is archived on a secure, local server similar to the in-car video systems. 

“At this point and time, the reason every deputy is not equipped with a body camera is both a budget issue and an administrative choice. Even though body cameras are being used by other law enforcement agencies, the technology is relatively new and emerging and we are looking at all the potential issues surrounding their usage.”

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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Highway 101 Ramp Closures Could Cause Headaches for Motorists

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Delays shouldn’t affect holiday travelers, but little else is clear about the schedule

Orange Caltrans signs at the entrances to Highway 101 on-ramps and off-ramps in the Santa Barbara area are alerting motorists to potential headache-causing “intermittent” overnight and early morning closures, but the notices don’t give much insight as to when.

That’s because the Caltrans engineers themselves aren’t sure exactly which ramps will be closed in what order, only that no two consecutive ramps will be closed at any time — unless necessary to ensure worker safety — and that the public-safety work that began this month should be complete by Jan. 31, weather permitting, -Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers said.

A pattern of nighttime collisions near Santa Barbara has prompted the latest projects on Highway 101 from Milpas Street to Fairview Avenue.

Overhead-sign panel and light-fixture replacements make up the bulk of work, along with some new “no pedestrian crossing” signs.

Shivers did emphasize that the ramps wouldn’t be closed the days before or after the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“The contractor has to work their way through town in multiple passes, sometimes in the inside lanes, sometimes the outside lanes,” Shivers said. “The durations are also approximately one to three hours per closure, depending on what they are installing (delineators or sign panels or electroliers), and they will be leap-frogging closures from the north end to the south end.” 

Drivers will encounter periodic lane and ramp closures Sunday night through Friday morning on northbound Highway 101 — from 8 p.m. until 5 p.m. — and on southbound Highway 101 from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m., he said.

Shivers said all overhead sign panels from Fairview Avenue to Milpas Street would be replaced with reflective signs to increase visibility during wet and foggy conditions.

In an effort to reduce energy consumption and replacement costs, lighting fixtures on the overhead signs will be retrofitted with inductive-sign lights, and electroliers near the Castillo Street ramps will receive LED lights.

The safety project will add 12 more lights to improve visibility on southbound Highway 101 from the Ortega Street pedestrian bridge to the southbound Castillo Street on-ramp.

Shivers said “no pedestrian crossing” signs will be added at all ramps to deter pedestrians from accessing Highway 101. Reflective strips will also be added to the median barrier and metal-beam guard railings to improve nighttime delineation in select locations.

Moorpark-based Traffic Development Services will complete the work for $555,000.

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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Preview: Reveling in Tradition with the Santa Barbara Revels

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Susan Keller is founder and artistic director of Santa Barbara Revels and is stage director of the current production, The Christmas Revels, An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice, taking place this weekend at the Lobero Theatre, with 2:30 p.m. matinees each day and an evening show at 7:30 on Saturday.

Meredith McMinn has been with SB Revels for the past three years and has a leading role in this production. In addition, she's been acting as dialect coach, helping cast members with their Irish accents.

Adam Phillips joins the ensemble this year as music director.

Each took time from their busy rehearsal schedules to share their thoughts on what makes Revels special.

Justine Sutton: With each year’s Revels show portraying a different era and culture, how is this year’s show different from past productions?

Susan Keller: This year, I'm pleased to see the next generation of revelers getting involved. Matt Tavianini has been assisting me as stage director this year, and he's poised to take the reins next year. Adam Phillips is our new music director, and he's done a fabulous job, finding and arranging many beautiful musical numbers, getting top notch instrumentalists to play with us, and preparing our wonderful Solstice Singers. Sarah Eglin is new to our Children's Chorus this year, and she has pulled together an energetic group from seven different schools. We also have amazing dancers from the Claddagh School of Irish Dance coming in as guest artists. They are so talented, and it's such a pleasure to see them dance.

Meredith McMinn: Every year is different, of course, with a different script and a different culture being showcased. This script has more realistic characters than those of the previous few years and much that's rather poignant. I'm partial to things Irish, but I think the emigrant experience is something that most people can relate to, even if they were born right here, because almost all of us have had the experience of leaving something behind to embark on something new. So there's some nostalgia and some excitement and some pure fun--just what you want in the holiday season!

Perhaps the biggest difference this year is in personnel, particularly Adam Phillips as musical director. He came into the first get-together, even before chorus rehearsals began, with the sheet music of the songs we were going to sing and he got recordings to us early on, too, which helped tremendously to learn them. He's also done beautiful arrangements of songs. The caliber of the singing is especially high, and music rehearsals have been a joy.

J.S.: So you’re the new kid on the Revels block this year. How is that for you?

Adam Phillips: I really enjoy the Revels presentation because it involves so many different people and showcases their different strengths. There is music and dance, pageantry and acting, all while striving for a high degree of authenticity. It is a great program for the holidays because it always has a common thread but is different each year. So it can be a tradition with a fun familiarity, without being a carbon copy of the year before.

Revels is perfect for me because it comprises a lot of what I love to do. I get to make music with a lovely chorus, select and arrange music for voice and instruments, and I get to sing and play guitar and mandolin. What more could I ask for?

J.S.: How is Revels different from other Christmas/winter holiday celebrations or performances?

M.M.: Most holiday shows or events are one thing or another — there are dance performances (chiefly The Nutcracker), choral concerts, plays that are either traditional (assorted versions of A Christmas Carol) or contemporary, concerts and recitals by children for families, shows by adults for children and their families, and at some special events there may be storytelling or sing-alongs. Revels has it all. Each year is a different script, but there are always some traditional Revels elements — including some audience participation — and each year's theme brings to life traditions of a different culture, at least some of which may be new to all of us.

Most notably, though, what sets Revels apart and brings people back year after year is the sense of community it engenders. It brings together people of all ages and a wide range of backgrounds, on the stage and in the audience. Total strangers sing and dance together and share in the celebration of the turning of the seasons. Long before they leave the theater, they no longer feel like strangers to one another. Revels may be the only thing outside of a disaster that has such a broad unifying effect — without the pain! I think the slogan Susan came up with, "Join us and be joyous!," perfectly captures what Revels is all about.

For tickets, call 805.963.0761 or click here.

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

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Gerald Carpenter: Quire of Voyces Will Sing the ‘Song of Songs’

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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In a department store two days ago, I was standing in a long line at a cash register, watching a Christmas hire fumble items past the barcode reader while the people in front of me craned their necks to see what was holding things up and the line behind me got longer and longer.

As Tom Petty truly noted, the waiting was the hardest part, and what made it exponentially harder was the insipid pseudo-Christmas music that poured pitilessly out of the PA system. It was not music to be listened to, qua music, and it was certainly not music to connect us with any of our Christmases past; it was just music to lubricate our shopping. Stalled as I was in the line, it had the opposite effect on me. Has anyone, ever, had "A Holly-Golly Christmas"?

If this has happened to you lately, you might want to purify your audio system with an influx of sublimely, exquisitely real Christmas music of the sort which the Quire of Voyces produces in gratifying abundance.

As it happens, the Quire, under founder and director Nathan Kreitzer, will be performing their eagerly awaited Christmas concerts, called "Song of Songs," this very weekend — at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21 in the acoustically vibrant St. Anthony’s Chapel at the Garden Street Academy, 2300 Garden St.

This year, the Quire promises "a gorgeous array of choral gems by composers both ancient and modern, from Palestrina, to Durufle, to as-yet unheard, commissioned works by award-winning composers Daniel Brinsmead and Michael Eglin." They urge us to "let yourself be swept away by an exquisite collection of works based on the true meaning of Christmas."

If you have ever been to a Quire concert, you probably already have your tickets. If you haven't heard them yet, you won't believe what a treat you have in store.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors, and they can be purchased at the Garvin Theatre box office (City College West Campus) by phone at 805.965.5935 or at the door.

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

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Villa Serena, Carpinteria 93013

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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This exquisite gated estate is located near the beach and the Santa Barbara International Polo Fields. It offers beautiful botanical gardens and idyllic outdoor spaces, horse facilities, a pool, guest houses, a gym, children’s play park and a magical ocean view. Perfect for the ultimate executive, this elegant and charming home is ideal for grand entertaining, but offers comfort and convenience for everyday family living. Main house is 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a high-quality home, with a media room, formal dining room, gourmet kitchen, sun room, wet bar, game room and family room. Guest house No. 1 is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Guest house No. 2 is 1 bedroom, separate access to the kitchen, bathroom, executive home office.

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price: $3,925,000

Gary Goldberg
Broker ~ Attorney ~ Realtor®
805.455.8910
gary@coastalrealty.com
DRE Licenses #01172139 / #01208634

(Coastal Properties photo)
(Coastal Properties photo)
(Coastal Properties photo)
(Coastal Properties photo)

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4063 Naranjo Drive, Santa Barbara 93110

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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This '“turnkey”​ 4 bedroom / 2½ bathroom home is located within the desirable La Colina Park development. The owners have revamped this 2,704-square-foot, split-level home with new interior paint and updated landscaping. The upstairs consists of the master bedroom and bath, a spacious second bedroom or den, half-bath, kitchen and living room. The downstairs contains two additional bedrooms, a full bath, and a large family/media room with a wet bar. The attached two-car garage has interior access to the home and the laundry area. This property is in exceptionally clean condition! The exterior boasts a gorgeous paver driveway and lush tropical landscaping. Enjoy the community pool, clubhouse and common area shared by this neighborhood association.

Click here for more information about this property.

List Price: $1,179,000

The Richardson Team
Mike Richardson, Broker
805.451.0599
mike@mrrealtors.com
License #00635254

Kyle Richardson, Agent
805.680.3131
kyle@mrrealtors.com
License #01902531

(The Richardson Team photo)
(The Richardson Team photo)
(The Richardson Team photo)
(The Richardson Team photo)

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Ventura County Man Pleads Guilty in 2009 Murders of Faria Beach Couple and Unborn Child

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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A Ventura County man has pleaded guilty in the grisly 2009 slayings of a Faria Beach couple and their unborn child.

Joshua Packer was charged with stabbing to death Brock Husted and his wife, Davina Husted, who was pregnant with the couple's third child, after breaking into their Faria Beach home on May 20, 2009.

Packer was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, burglary, robbery, and forced oral copulation, and on Thursday pleaded guilty to all counts in Ventura County Superior Court, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Frawley of the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

Packer's plea was part of a deal brokered by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office; he pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death penalty, and instead will be sentenced to life in prison without parole and without the possibility of appeal.

The killings occurred after Packer walked into the couple's home through an unlocked door at about 10 p.m., where the couple's 9-year-old son and Davina Husted were watching television.

Packer had a gun drawn and told Brock Husted to get down on the floor and told the young boy to retrieve money and jewelry.

The boy then hid behind the couch as Davina and Brock were taken to the master bedroom, where were both were stabbed dozens times. 

Joshua Graham Packer
Joshua Graham Packer

Packer is also charged with forcing oral copulation on Davina Husted before stabbing her and her unborn child to death, and his DNA was recovered from her body, Frawley said.

The son awoke the couple's 11-year-old daughter and the pair were able to run to a neighbor's house for help.

Perhaps most chilling is that the home invasion seemed to be totally random, and Packer had been looking to rob the home. 

There's no indication that Packer knew the Husteds, and ""there's no tie between them at all," Frawley said.

A breakthrough in the case came when Packer allegedly robbed a Thrifty Gas Station at 4069 State St. in Santa Barbara on Sept. 23, 2009, four months after the murders, and DNA collected in that case matched DNA found on the Husted's bodies.

He was arrested almost 11 months after the murders occurred.

That Santa Barbara robbery case was put on hold while the murder cases proceeded, but now will resume.

Packer's defense said that Frawley's children had met Packer, and presented it as a conflict, which would have prolonged the case by another year.

"It was a manufactured conflict," Frawley said, adding that Packer did ultimately accept the plea deal.

"We felt it was time to let them move on," Frawley said of the Husted's family.

"We're never going to get justice... [Packer] has orphaned two children and they're going to live with that the rest of their lives, but this is a way of putting it to rest, at least as far as the legal system is concerned."

Packer will be sentenced on Feb. 6.

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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Gordon Auchincloss Appointed Chief Assistant DA, Paul Greco as Chief Deputy DA

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced on Friday the appointment of Gordon Auchincloss as chief assistant district attorney and the appointment of Paul Greco as chief deputy district attorney for the Santa Maria office, both effective next Monday.

Auchincloss has been a deputy district attorney for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for 24 years. During that time he has held multiple positions and successfully prosecuted all variety of crimes.

Raised locally, Auchincloss attended high school, college and law school in Santa Barbara. He has served as a board member on the PARC Foundation and Tthe Santa Barbara Children’s Museum and has been a longstanding volunteer for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Fighting Back Program, acting as both a mentor and a Teen Court judge.

In July 2010, Auchincloss was appointed chief deputy district attorney. In that capacity he supervised vulnerable victim crimes, including sex crimes and crimes involving domestic violence, financial crimes and misdemeanor operations. Auchincloss was also tasked with forming and supervising a new prosecution team to focus on white-collar crime, including major fraud cases, financial elder abuse and cyber crimes.

During the past four years, he has played an integral part in designing and implementing a new Truancy Program, Misdemeanor Diversion Program, Workers Compensation Fraud Program, Auto Insurance Fraud Program, Volunteer Attorney Extern Program, and is actively engaged in designing and implementing a new therapeutic court to help treat the root causes of homelessness.

Greco is a career prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office. Prior to his promotion to chief deputy district attorney, he managed the Lompoc branch of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. While supervising the Lompoc location, Greco assisted in all aspects of prosecution ranging from reviewing law enforcement investigations to criminal prosecution of cases in the Lompoc community.

Recently, Greco has led the prosecution of Rebecca Sandoval for murder charges from a DUI collision in December 2013 in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Originally an Orange County native, Greco graduated from UC Davis in 1999 with degrees in political science and history. He went on to obtain his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Greco’s criminal prosecution career began in November 2004 when he became a deputy district attorney in Tulare County. After years of prosecuting high level gang members in Tulare County, he joined the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office in November 2010. Greco prosecuted gang and narcotic cases in the Santa Maria area for several years prior to his promotion to Supervising Attorney in the Lompoc office in July 2013.

Now returning to the Santa Maria area as a chief deputy district attorney, Greco will be supervising the litigation operations for both the Santa Maria and Lompoc branches of the District Attorney’s Office.    

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State Street Motel Evacuated After Report of Suicidal Man

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Officers evacuated a State Street hotel Friday afternoon after a man staying there threatened to kill himself, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

At about 4:30 p.m., evacuations were taking place at the Sandpiper Lodge, 3525 State St., in an effort to keep motel guests safe from the suspect, who was reportedly was in possession of guns or other weapons, Sgt. Marylinda Arroyo told Noozhawk.

More than an hour later, officers took the man into custody without incident, and he was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for a mental-health evaluation, said Sgt. Aaron Baker.

No gun was found in the man's room, Baker said, but other weapons, including knives, were confiscated.

The man's name and age and other information about the incident were not available.

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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Zodiac Aerospace Expanding in Santa Maria

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Aircraft seat manufacturer leases the former DenMat Holdings facility on Skyway Drive

An international firm that manufactures aircraft seats is again expanding its operations in Santa Maria.

Zodiac Aerospace has leased the old DenMat Holdings headquarters facility at 2727 Skyway Drive, according to Jerry Schmidt, principal and broker at Pacifica Commercial Realty in Santa Maria.

A huge tent has been set up in the parking lot for crews working to renovate the interior of the facility. Shipping containers also are being unloaded into the facility amid a flurry of activity at the site.

The building encompasses 75,000 square feet and will house Zodiac Seat Shells operations.

The firm already makes seat shells in its Airpark Drive facility. Another Zodiac division makes airplane cabin interiors in the 2850 Skyway Drive location, across the street from the new site.

Schmidt, who brokered the deal, said it represents “a significant expansion of jobs’ in Santa Maria.

“It’s just a long-term commitment to Santa Maria,” said Schmidt.

Zodiac officials did not return several calls and emails for comment.

The property, which is owned by NCR Corporation, was the long-time home to DenMat Holdings. before the dental products manufacturer moved to Lompoc in 2012.

“Zodiac has a lot of options to expand elsewhere,” Schmidt said, adding the firm chose to add to its Santa Maria operations.

Schmidt said Mayor Alice Patino and Etta Waterfield, former planning commissioner and newly elected councilwoman, were helpful in the process, by meeting with Zodiac representatives to support the firm opening a third facility.

"I think it's wonderful they added a new division in Santa Maria rather than go somewhere else. We're very happy to have them here," Patino said. "They are such an asset to our growing community."

Zodiac promotes literacy among its employees, she added.

“It’s a welcome expansion,” said Dave Cross, economic development director with the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a great sign for Zodiac as well as very beneficial for the community. Of course, it means more jobs.”

Patino said the new manufacturing may bring approximately 100 jobs.

It also proves the Santa Maria Valley manufacturing industry “is doing very well,” Cross said. “They’re not only holding their own, they’re continuing to expand.”

For example, Atlas Copco Mafi-Trench also is expanding in Santa Maria. The firm at 3037 Industrial Parkway manufactures turboexpanders for the energy industry.

“Again the expansion is very welcome and we hope it continues,” Cross added.

Zodiac Aerospace, which has its headquarters in France, makes aerospace equipment and systems for commercial, regional and business aircraft and for helicopters and spacecraft. 

Zodiac Aerospace has approximately 30,000 employees at 98 sites worldwide with its five business segments: Zodiac AeroSafety, Zodiac Aircraft Systems, and three segments related to cabin interiors: Zodiac Cabin & Structures, Zodiac Galleys & Equipment and Zodiac Seats.

The Airpark Drive facility was formerly C&D Aerospace, which was acquired by Zodiac in 2005.

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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No Injuries in Vehicle Accident, Fire in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 12/19/2014

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Two-car crash occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on Sycamore Canyon Road

A vehicle went into a creek and caught on fire after a two-vehicle accident on the 1300 block of Sycamore Canyon Road Friday afternoon, according to Santa Barbara City Fire.

All occupants were out of both vehicles and had very minor injuries or no injuries, fire inspector Ryan Diguilio said.

City Fire was called out to the incident around 3:30 p.m. Friday and found one vehicle over the side of the road and on fire.

The vegetation was still wet from the rain so it didn't spread, and was extinguished by firefighters, Diguilio 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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