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Chumash Casino Resort’s Proposed Expansion Draws Few Comments at Public Meeting

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Three people commented during a 20-minute public meeting Thursday night about the Chumash Casino Resort’s expansion project calling for a 12-story-tall hotel tower with 215 new guest rooms and 584 parking spaces.

Officials with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, which owns and operates the casino on its federally-recognized reservation, outlined the project in a nine-slide presentation that spelled out the environmental issues evaluated in connection with the project proposed on 99 acres of tribal trust land. They didn’t answer any questions but said concerns would be addressed in the final environmental evaluation.

Approximately 70 people attended the meeting held in the Samala Showroom.

Santa Ynez resident Greg Schipper spoke out against the expansion project in the valley’s “bucolic setting.”

“I want to make it really clear that the people in this valley — race has nothing to do with why we don’t want a 12-story building in the middle of the valley,” he said. “This would be the tallest building in the county of Santa Barbara. … Do we really need this to be Vegas.?”

He questioned how much money the tribe needs to make.

“Do you need to make $50 million a year? $100 million a year? $200 million a year? How much? What is it? How many high rises do you need to build? How much traffic do we need on the little 246 and the 154,” Schipper asked. “How many broken families do we need because of gambling? It’s not gaming. Gaming is what my kid does when he plays soccer against your grandchildren. Gambling is what happens when people lose their houses and cars and lives and families. That’s gambling, not gaming.”

He also expressed concern about the water that the expanded hotel would use, noting the valley is already “parched.”

Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson pointed out that the traffic study in the document mentions a future roundabout at Alamo Pintado Road and Highway 246, although the council canceled plans for a traffic circle at that intersection.

Richardson said he wondered about the timeliness of the environmental review.

“Is it boilerplate from past studies, or is it a recent study?” he asked.

He also lobbied for the tribe to increase its proportional share to Solvang for the city’s costs of roadwork created by the expected increased traffic on Highway 246.

Tribal officials say the expansion project wouldn’t add any more slot machines as the facility already has the maximum of 2,000. The $165 million expansion would provide more elbow room for guests during peak times, the tribe said.

The current Chumash Casino Resort has 106 rooms, fewer than originally planned when the hotel was originally built in 2004 and a number insufficient for demand, according to the tribe.

With 99 acres and more than 50 percent of it unusable, it’s difficult for the tribe to build a one-story facility, according to Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta, explaining after the meeting the reasoning for the 12-story-tall building.

“We obviously have other obligations including housing, education, health care and government operations for the tribe,” Armenta said. “Trying to house that on a creek bed is difficult. The options were no other than to go up.”

He also said the expanded project won’t require additional water beyond what was allocated when the original facility was built.

“Through our conservation efforts, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of water used in our existing facility, so the new facility will put no additional demand on what was originally allocated to us,” Armenta said.

He said he was surprised by the low number of comments made during the public meeting.

Written public comments will be accepted through Aug. 14. The environmental evaluation is available online by clicking here or at the Solvang Public Library at 1745 Mission Drive, the Santa Ynez Public Library at 3598 Sagunto St. and the Tribal Office at 100 Via Juana Lane.

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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Memorial Service to Be Held Friday for Lompoc Woman Found Dead in La Habra

By | Published on 07/31/2014


A memorial service for the Lompoc woman found dead in bushes in the city of La Habra amid suspicious circumstances earlier this month is planned for Friday in Santa Maria.

Emma Posadas-Espinoza

The celebration of Emma Posadas-Espinoza’s life will be held at 1 p.m. at the Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary chapel, 1001 E. Stowell Road.

A reception will immediately follow at the Community Health Centers Santa Maria Corporate Office, 2050 S. Blosser Road.

The body of the 58-year-old woman was found early July 21 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.

An autopsy was “inconclusive” regarding the cause of death.

Police were seeking information about her missing vehicle, a 2013 Acura sedan with a license plate of 7EDU04.

La Habra police have not released any information about the case since the autopsy findings last week, a spokeswoman said.

Posadas-Espinoza was born in Texas and grew up in Lamont, Calif., graduating from Arvin High School. She received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from California State University-Bakersfield and her master’s degree from San Diego State University.

She moved to Lompoc in 1989 and worked as a licensed clinical social worker with agencies including Head Start, the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County and Community Health Centers.

She also attended her son Gabriel’s academic and athletic events as he grew up, according to her obituary.

CAC Head Start Program representatives remembered her in a Facebook post: “She cared deeply about the children, families and her co-workers, and many times was their best advocate. We send our deepest condolences to her family. She had many lifelong friends at CAC, and she will be missed."

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, Plaintiffs Studying Voting Patterns for District Election Lawsuit

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Attorney Barry Cappello says his firm's experts have evidence to support the claim of racially-polarized voting in the city

Some Santa Barbara neighborhoods aren’t fairly represented in city government, and as a result, those residents aren’t given the same amount of access, attention or capital improvements, say plaintiffs who are suing the city over the at-large election system.

Five residents have enlisted attorney Barry Cappello to file a lawsuit this week that alleges violations of the California Voting Rights Act and calls for district elections.

Both sides, the city and the plaintiffs, are commissioning studies to examine whether racially-polarized voting exists in Santa Barbara. 

The lawsuit alleges the current system dilutes Latino votes by having council candidates elected on a citywide basis, and points to the lack of Latino representation on the City Council despite the fact that 38 percent of the city's population is Latino or Hispanic. 

Frank Banales, who was born and raised in the Eastside neighborhood, said the push for district elections is all about proper representation and having someone who will “go to bat” for that area.

“I would rather have one council member from my district than the seven up there who don’t return my calls,” he said.

If each district had a council member who was accountable to its residents and advocated for that neighborhood, decisions would be made differently, he said.

Banales pointed to the lack of street lighting — despite the area being considered dangerous and outlined as a “safety zone” in the proposed gang injunction — and the destroyed Cacique Street bridge, which is still closed after being washed away 30-or-so years ago.

If a bridge in the San Roque neighborhood was wrecked, he said, it would be fixed within six months.

“More than anything else, we want this so we can make our neighborhoods safe for all of our children,” Banales said.

Banales and three of the other plaintiffs joined attorney Cappello at a news conference Thursday to discuss the lawsuit filing.

“We don’t have a voice,” said Jacqueline Inda, who works with at-risk youth and vehemently opposed the attempt to get a gang injunction.

Cappello said his firm’s two experts for this case have data to support the claim that Santa Barbara has racially-polarized voting — where voters of a minority vote differently than the majority.

Plaintiffs say the issue of district elections isn’t new, but long overdue.

Banales pointed to a Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report from 2007, in which the jury recommended that every city change to a system with district-elected council members and an at-large mayor. No changes were made, and Santa Barbara's response letter said the city liaison positions make council members “tuned into those low income areas” like the Eastside and Westside. 

Lawsuits dealing with the California Voting Rights Act have a judge first consider whether racially-polarized voting exists and then, if it does, hold another trial to find a solution, Cappello said. 

The City Council has held several public meetings on the subject since Cappello and Banales announced the intent to sue in February. Council members considered, but rejected, putting the issue to voters this November.

Changing the election model can only be done by a majority vote or a court ruling, City Attorney Ariel Calonne said.

Now that the lawsuit was filed, the City Council could take its discussions behind closed doors.

Calonne will be talking to council members about “alternatives and options” at Tuesday’s meeting in closed session only, and the city-funded consultant presentation on demographics and voting patterns could be closed to the public.

Calonne has already spoken to Cappello several times and said the discussions have been cordial.

“I would hope that rather than this being a litigated matter it’s a data-driven process, where depending what the facts show for the voting study, we react based on that,” Calonne said.

The city’s next step is to get information back from its demographic consultant on whether there’s polarized voting in the city, he said.

The City Council expects the consultant, National Demographics Corp., to come back with results in September, based on city precinct data and election results.

National Demographics Corp. has worked with almost 200 California cities on this issue, including Anaheim, Compton and Palmdale. All three of those cities recently faced lawsuits due to their at-large election systems, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Two of those cases were settled, with the cities required to put the issue to voters this year, while a judge ordered Palmdale to impose district elections. The city is fighting that ruling, according to news reports.

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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BizHawk: Bunnin Chevrolet Cadillac Takes Over Santa Barbara’s Graham Dealership

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Hollister & Brace adds two attorneys, Get Happy Zone founder Jackie Ruka honored and lawyer Naomi Dewey recognized as 'rising star'

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

The official sign is still on the way, but those driving by the former Graham Chevrolet Cadillac Saab in Santa Barbara may notice the temporary replacements out front, announcing a name change to Bunnin Chevrolet Cadillac.

President Leo Bunnin, who used to boast nine California car dealerships, purchased the dealership at 301 S. Hope Ave. in what he called a “friendly deal” facilitated by General Motors, handled by Performance Brokerage Services and finalized in early July.

Bunnin said past president Richard Graham was looking to retire after 22 years in the business, and Bunnin expressed interest since Santa Barbara seemed a good fit. Until recently, he had a second home in Montecito for nearly a dozen years.

“He’s a lifer in the car business, as I am,” Bunnin said.

Bunnin sold off his other locations over the years and now owns just two dealerships — the second is in Culver City — and said he doesn’t plan to change much about the Santa Barbara lot. Most employees have stayed, he said, and some others were brought on from his previous dealerships.

“I’m giddy,” he said. “I see tremendous potential.”

He said he plans to create volume and bring lower pricing to Santa Barbara, along with his company’s catchphrase “Everyone’s runnin’ to Bunnin.”

Attorneys Join Hollister & Brace

Santa Barbara bankruptcy attorneys Peter Susi and Jon Gura have joined the law firm of Hollister & Brace.

Susi, who has acted as lead attorney on more than 100 Chapter 11 cases, will focus exclusively on bankruptcy, reorganization and other debtor/creditor-related matters.

Prior to joining Hollister & Brace, Susi practiced at the law firms Stutman Treister & Glatt, Danning Gill, Michaelson & Gould, and Michaelson Susi & Michaelson, which became Susi & Gura in 2011.

The firm said Gura was an experienced transactional attorney and litigator, with a strong background in bankruptcy, corporate restructuring, insolvency and real estate matters.

Prior to joining Hollister & Brace, Gura served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew, District Court Judge for the Central District of California, and practiced at the law firms Irell & Manella, Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern, Michaelson Susi & Michaelson, and Susi & Gura.

Entrepreneur Jackie Ruka Honored

Jackie Ruka, the founder of Montecito-based personal development company Get Happy Zone, has been named a winner in the 2014 American Riviera Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Circle of Light.

An American Riviera Woman Entrepreneur of the Year awards presentation luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 2:30p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Hilton Oceanfront Resort in Carlsbad.

Ruka, known as a lifestyle expert and trained art psychotherapist, has authored “Get Happy and Create a Kick-Butt Life,” a book published by Morgan James.

The entrepreneur award recognizes women who commit to changing their communities and the planet through their work.

Naomi Dewey Named Top Attorney

Super Lawyer Magazine has named Naomi Dewey, an attorney with Santa Barbara’s Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray LLP firm, as a "rising star" in the field. 

With this honor, Dewey was recognized of one of the top 2.5 percent of lawyers in California.

The magazine evaluates outstanding attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of professional achievement.

Dewey specializes in client-focused general counsel and litigation services, working with employers, government entities, private clients, contractors and Realtors. She has also served as Santa Barbara Women Lawyers President in 2009 and on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara chapter. Currently, she is the second vice president of California Women Lawyers and Secretary of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.

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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Allan Hancock College Celebrates Completion of New Public Safety Training Complex

By | Published on 07/31/2014


The Lompoc facility will be open for the community to get a peek from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

What began as a vision has become a reality at the Allan Hancock College Lompoc Valley Center, where current and future firefighters, law enforcement officers and other public safety personnel will be trained in a state-of-the-art facility.

Officials gathered Thursday morning to herald the completion of the Public Safety Training Complex on 68 acres at the community college campus off Highway 1.

A community open house is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Parking is free.

Along with a guided bus tour, the event will include displays of real emergency vehicles and equipment. Food and souvenir vendors will be on hand.

“This Public Safety Training Complex offers public safety personnel a way to train in ways that we’ve not been able to train in the past," said David Senior, interim associate dean of public safety.

It’s fitting that police and fire training is joined with emergency medical and environmental health personnel because they all make up the first responders in a natural or manmade disaster, speakers said.

“This facility truly is amazing,” Senior said, adding that the training conducted there “is only limited to our imagination.”

The importance of the training was obvious by the audience members who showed up for Thursday’s ceremony.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, Lompoc City Council members, two members of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, top law enforcement officers, firefighters and other public safety members from at least three counties gathered for the grand opening ceremony.

The facility actually began hosting training earlier this year and already has seen its first graduates.

“What we are witnessing and experiencing today is the transformation of need into vision into reality — the need for a full-service public safety training facility, the vision to site that facility in Lompoc and the reality of making it happen through perseverance, planning, a bond measure, hard work and a great team of people,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

He told the audience to imagine the number of careers that will be launched at the academy.

“Imagine the number of lives that will be saved in so many ways as a consequence of the training that will be provided here,” Brown said.

The $38 million facility was funded through Measure I, an $180 million bond passed by voters in 2006 to improve facilities at both the Santa Maria and Lompoc campuses.

Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers noted the “courage” it took elected board members and previous college leaders at the time to relocate the training programs long held in Santa Maria and create the Public Training Safety Complex in Lompoc.

“I know that created a lot of controversy at the time … but truly it’s an honor to work for a board that really put their own interests to the side to do what’s best for our students and for our community,” Walthers said.

The result of that decision is a six-story fire training tower, a 100-yard shooting range, a 1.3-mile emergency vehicle operations course, running track with obstacle courses, off-pavement driving area, low-angle rescue training area, city grid scenario village, academic building and more.

Lompoc Fire Chief Kurt Latipow, who also is president of the Santa Barbara County Fire Chiefs Association, said the Hancock Fire Academy has always had a high reputation for producing quality graduates. In fact, his top five candidates for a recent job opening were trained at the Hancock program.

This state-of-the-art facility will provide opportunities to train since other methods aren’t possible due to air quality and other regulations.

Local crews will be able to “keep their skills fresh” so they go into emergency situations — such as Thursday’s fatal mobile home fire Latipow’s crews battled in Lompoc — with confidence and the necessary training to come out unharmed, he added.

Latipow said he also is excited about potential new programs for training and has already talked to Hancock officials about hosting FEMA disaster preparedness classes and exercising urban search-and-rescue teams from throughout the state.

“As you can see, we have endless possibilities," Senior said, "and we’re still figuring out what those things are.”

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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City of Santa Barbara May Sell Airport Property to Direct Relief

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Humanitarian nonprofit Direct Relief has its eye on purchasing a piece of property near the Santa Barbara Airport, and city officials will consider the deal next week.

The Santa Barbara-based international humanitarian aid organization hopes to build a new state-of-the-art facility on land north of Hollister Avenue in the airport’s commercial industrial area.

That facility at 6100 Hollister Ave. would replace its existing building at 27 S. La Patera Lane, which officials say is too small for the global nonprofit’s needs. 

The Santa Barbara City Council will consider a proposal to sell the city land at a 2 p.m. meeting Tuesday at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.

Direct Relief, which was founded in Santa Barbara in 1948, is a privately funded apolitical organization that has established one of the nation’s largest charitable medicines program serving as a critical resource in local, state and national emergencies.

The organization has been searching for a new facility for the past two years, and officials entered into discussions with airport officials last year about the parcel just north of the Airport Administration Building.

Direct Relief is planning for a new facility with approximately 100,000 square feet of warehouse space and 25,000 square feet of office space.

Over the years, the city has considered a number of private commercial development proposals for the property, including two large single-tenant development concepts, an industrial condo ownership, a utility company maintenance-and-storage facility, a hotel, a corporate campus and a large retail store. 

None of the projects came to fruition, however, according to the city.

The land and existing buildings in question have been used for temporary short-term rental — generating rental income of approximately $300,000 annually to the airport — and are also subject to certain Federal Aviation Administration regulations, including a requirement that the airport receive fair market value for its use.

Airport Director Hazel Johns said Direct Relief has submitted a proposal to buy the property at a fair market value and to construct new offices and warehouse, with all sale proceeds helping to support airport operations.

“The sale of airport land will provide the airport with the funds necessary to construct new commercial industrial buildings on the remaining land without any borrowing, thereby strengthening the airport’s revenue base,” Johns said in a statement. 

The Direct Relief proposal also apparently gives the city a right to reacquire the property at a 10-percent discount if the organization ever decides to sell it.

“We are very grateful to the city for helping us find land that will help us continue our work into the future,” Direct Relief President Thomas Tighe said in a statement. “City officials have been enthusiastic supporters of our humanitarian mission, and that support is one of the keys to our success.”

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


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Gerald Carpenter: Music Academy Honors Marilyn Horne with ‘Carmen’

By | Published on 07/31/2014


The Music Academy of the West's opera this summer is Georges Bizet's inimitable Carmen, with a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée.

David Paul
David Paul directs the stage action for the Music Academy of the West's production of Carmen.

This new production is directed by David Paul, the Festival Orchestra conducted by James Gaffigan, with a cast of stars-in-the-making, otherwise known as Academy Voice Fellows, and also dancers from the State Street Ballet (choreography by William Soleau) and a chorus that includes local children.

Carmen will be formed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, both in the Granada Theatre.

“Many regard Carmen as the perfect opera," says the majestic mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne, "and it has maintained a constant place in the repertoire since its premiere in 1875. Whoever sings Carmen has to bring a lot of herself to the character. That’s one of the reasons she’s so interesting.”

This production is, in fact, dedicated to Horne, who has directed the Music Academy’s Voice Program since 1997, in honor of her 80th birthday. Horne has sung the role many times, and her 1974 recording of the opera, with Leonard Bernstein conducting, won that year's Grammy for Best Opera Recording.

Legend has it that Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré, the two hacks who wrote the libretto for Bizet's earlier opera, The Pearl Fishers, observed after hearing the finished product that if they had known what a great composer Bizet was, they wouldn't have given him such garbage to work with. Hmmph! As we might say now: As if! Anyway, except for a few lines from DaPonte's The Marriage of Figaro, no one ever quotes an opera libretto as text. Still, The Pearl Fishers is relevant to our appreciation of Carmen, not because it shows how much better Bizet got as a composer — because the music for The Pearl Fishers is in no way inferior to that for Carmen — but because it reveals his genius for matching the tone and color of the music to the mise-en-scène of the stage action.

The Pearl Fishers is set in ancient Sri Lanka, and the music is lush, mysterious and romantic. Carmen, in contrast, is set in "modern" times, among factory girls, soldiers and entertainers, and the music is more spare, sometimes ironic and always dynamic, while sacrificing nothing in the way of lyrical beauty and emotive grandeur.

It would be absurd to treat Carmen as some kind of proletarian drama, as if it were The Seven Brave Tractor Drivers, or some other horror of "socialist realism," but it does represent a significant departure from the long-standing operatic conventions which insisted that tragedy was the exclusive province of kings and gods and mythological heroes. The "Don" prefix of several of the male characters' names is a token of achievement or skill, not noble birth.

The fates of Carmen and Don José are determined neither by the gods nor class struggle nor even a love potion, but by the working of their unique, individual psychologies upon each other and the other people in their lives. Mérimée, after all, was a friend and disciple of Stendahl, who invented the psychological novel, and Bizet, with Carmen, used the discoveries of Stendahl and Mérimée to give us an opera that speaks to our modern condition.

Tickets to Carmen are $120 (box seat), $78, $58, $38 and $15; and they can be purchased by phone at 805.969.8787 or online by clicking here. Tickets are also available from the Granada box office at 805.899.2222.

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


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Randi Rabin: Husband and Daughter Don’t Get Along; Dad Throws Kink in Family Vacation Plans

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I have been married for three years. I have a 12-year-old daughter from my first marriage who lives with us full time. My husband and daughter fight all the time, and our home is filled with tension. Please help us.

— Pat in Santa Barbara

Dear Pat: There is always a shift in the family dynamics when there is a big change in life, i.e. moving, marriage. Those are two BIG things to adjust to. By taking the step to marry, the two of you adults have entered into an agreement together of maintaining the best, healthiest surrounding for everyone in your home — including your daughter!

If you haven’t already done so, go talk to someone who will help you three with whatever issues have you off balance. Be very specific; this will help get to the bottom of the matter more easily.

It usually takes a few years for everyone to feel their way into a new family situation like this and work out all the kinks, so be patient. Have weekly roundtable family discussions about what works, what doesn’t work, and continue loving each other, being kind, listening and having fun in this new adventure. Remember, everyone involved has a voice.

Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I have been saving for our family vacation for four years now. We had it all planned out with our two children, who have been saving their allowance and cutting out pictures of things they want to see on the family trip.

My husband told me last night that he has been invited to go on a fishing trip with his buddies, and it's the trip of a lifetime! The family is not invited, and he thinks that we can wait and go on the family cruise another time!

I am so hurt and really, really mad! What should I do? How can he possibly think this is all right?

— Mad Mama in Ventura

Dear Mad Mom: First of all, you need to check your husband’s pulse and vital signs. He must have fallen down and hit his head! The next thing would be to explain to him that this is his chance to be a hero with his children — simply by keeping his word. Go on this family trip of a lifetime, share the pictures from your trip with the fishing buddies when you get home, and spend the next 60 years reliving all the fabulous memories.

If he still thinks any part of his decision to going fishing and ditch the family plan, perhaps you could put it to a vote! He may need some time to mourn the big one that got away.

P.S. Children learn by examples, so whenever possible try to set good ones. Keeping your word is a great start!

Got a question for The Feelings Doctor? Click here to submit a question anonymously.

                                                                        •        •

Imagine This ...

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” — Joseph Campbell

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Free ‘Summer Breeze’ Community Walk to Kick Off Aug. 9 in Santa Maria

By | Published on 07/31/2014


The Santa Maria Recreation & Parks Department invites walking enthusiasts of all ages to a free community walk at Jim May Park, 809 Stanford Drive, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.

The Summer Breeze Walk is part of the monthly themed Community Walks Series held throughout the year to help participants maintain a regular walking regimen for health and fitness.

Join the fun and dress up as the tackiest tourist and win a prize. Participants walk at their own pace during the one-mile leisurely walk.

Light refreshments will be provided at the conclusion of the walk. No pre-registration required.

Questions may be directed to the Recreation & Parks Department at 805.925.0951 x260.


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Television Production Camp at TV Santa Barbara Aims to Give Youths Hands-On Experience

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Youths ages 10 to 15 will spend a week in a media production center learning how to operate professional media production equipment in TV Santa Barbara’s Youth Summer Camp program.

The camp runs Aug. 11-15 and will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the TVSB Media Arts Center.

Standard registration is $245 per student and increases to $275 this Saturday.

"The Introduction to Television Production Camp teaches youths the basics of media production in the TVSB Studios through hands-on experience," said Matt Schuster, executive director for TV Santa Barbara. “We have had two very successful summer camps so far and look forward to another great group of students in August.”

Students will learn the basics of script-writing, camera operation, lighting, directing, sound design, acting on-camera and video editing using TVSB’s professional studio production equipment. By the end of the week, students will have produced their own video and receive a DVD of their program.

All of this summer’s student videos will be shown at a later date on TVSB Culture during the Student Showcase hour which highlights the video production work of local students.

Click here for more information and to register.


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Village Properties Realtors Gives Its First Star Mentee Award to New Agent Cimme Eordanidis

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Village Properties Realtors, Santa Barbara’s largest independent real estate brokerage, awarded its first Star Mentee award to new agent Cimme Eordanidis.

A 26-year Santa Barbara resident and 15-year sales executive at a local software company, Eordanidis joined Village Properties as a real estate agent in June 2013. In one year, she has closed seven escrows and has one escrow pending.

“Cimme is consistent, diligent and hard-working,” said Renee Grubb, co-founder of Village Properties. “She has been able to accomplish about three years worth of results in her first year.”

New agents at Village Properties go through a mentor program where they are partnered with a seasoned agent for their first three transactions. Mentees tour houses with their mentors to learn the inventory and how to conduct an open house. Mentors can attend listing appointments with their mentees, help prepare offer documents, and double check forms and contracts.

Most mentees stay in the program for about one year. Eordanidis completed her first three transactions in five months.

“My mentor, Bob Curtis, gave me the additional support to ramp up and ramp up quickly,” Eordanidis said. “It was quite humbling having to ask so many questions after being in the workforce for so long. I was used to being in the mentor position, but Bob was wonderful. He loves to see people succeed and sell.”

Eordanidis said she hopes to double her transactions next year.

“To me, it doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “To me, it’s not about the house, it’s about the people. I want to help people be happy in their home.”

To contact Eordanidis, call 805.722.8480 or email

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Village Properties Realtors.


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Ken Williams: How to Manufacture Homelessness — Sinners and Saints, Part I

By | Published on 07/31/2014


“The poor will always be with us.” “Homelessness has always been a problem.” General beliefs shared by many. Statements that are wrong.

When I started working at the Department of Social Services, homeless clients were few. Women, children, the elderly and the disabled were always placed in a hotel, should they somehow stumble into the tragedy of the streets.

It was not uncommon for the director of the agency, Arthur Nelson, to receive a phone call from a concerned community member about a vulnerable homeless citizen. He would direct me to go to the streets, find the individual and place him or her in a hotel.

Ironically, I led a strike against the county, and thus, Mr. Nelson my boss, over dignity for the workers I represented. But, I never lost the admiration I had for this man, even though we found ourselves on opposite sides due to the strike. He was a man of deep faith — a man who put the welfare of the disadvantaged and weak before personal power and ego. They don’t make them like him anymore.

In those days, I had several hotels to work with: The Virginian, the Californian, the Garvey, the Faulding, The Adobe, The Neal and others. All took payments from Social Services to house those who qualified for GR (General Relief). No more. In fact, the payments for those disabled and on GR hasn’t increased in over 20 years!

Try to imagine going with the same income over that same time frame. Now, no hotels offer refuge. While Santa Barbara was being upgraded and gentrified, the poorest of the poor were being not only neglected, but through no fault of their own, finding themselves thrown to the streets to live and die. Instead of a bed in a hotel, now through neglect and indifference, we sent the poor to homeless shelters — if lucky, and the streets if not.

The stagnant GR benefits level is only one cause of homelessness. Another was the absence of an effective delivery system for those among us suffering from mental illness. When the state mental hospitals began to empty out their wards, there was neither systematic triage nor ongoing help for many. For those who suffered from mental illness over the last 30 years meant to be lost to a system that was prone to breakdowns on a perpetual basis.

Valuable time, endless meetings and constant battles by those of us who worked the streets to secure mental health services for those in need was the new norm. Finding that jewel within the mental health bureaucracy who really cared was the new paradigm.

This template of searching for such people would be repeated in other bureaucracies such as Veterans Affairs, and sadly, in shelters and other social service systems purported to be helping institutions. Shelters, hammered by some in the community, lost their moral bearings and instituted more and more rules denying more and more homeless people with wounded minds a safe bed.

These days, the morally challenged habit of running shelters on a half-full basis for months at a time is the acceptable new normal. One must look this fact full on. Shelter beds go empty while our homeless neighbors die alone on the streets. This trickle to the streets of the disabled, displaced, unwanted and abused over time turned into a flood. And death swept those streets looking for victims — hundreds of victims.

One only has to walk downtown to see the casualties. It should shame us all to see our mentally ill neighbors standing on tiptoes to dumpster dive for their meals, and to listen to incoherent mumblings and heart-wrenching cries of those battling unseen demons. Furthermore, witnessing the elderly, physically disabled and others living like Third World refugees in our land of plenty renders deep lacerations to our souls.

The state of perpetual wars added victims to the insane machine feeding the streets the disabled. Vietnam, Iraq I, Iraq II, Iraq III (?), Afghanistan. Hallowed eyed, combat veterans, searching for meaning to it all stumble through our streets, looking for a reason for the absurdities of war. For compassion and healing, for lost dreams and souls crushed by unspeakable violence.

Our government seems to have no trouble taking our sons and daughters to fight in dubious wars. Unfortunately, that government, our government, our society seem incapable of securing help for those maimed in body, mind and soul once we come home. “Welcome home” rings a bit hallow when veterans die on hidden waiting lists. When bonuses are handed out for this clever sleight of hand. When it takes years for the government to acknowledge and then legitimize the awful effects of Agent Orange, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Part 1, to be concluded with Part 2.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Can You Trust That App? UCSB Researchers Receive $1 Million to Study Smartphone Security Issues

By | Published on 07/31/2014


You’re on your smartphone, browsing through Facebook. In a fit of productivity, you search for, say, a project management app to help you use your non-Instagram and cat video time more effectively. You download and install the first one you come across … only to find that it doesn’t do anything. No reminders, no calendar, no clock, nothing.

Oh, well. You exit the app and go back to Facebook.

Sounds innocuous enough, right? What you might actually have done, however, is give a hacker access to your phone and all the important pieces of information it contains about you, your friends and family. And while the thief’s initial take can be relatively small compared to the kind of money he or she can make from hacking into your computer, over time, you could be leaking a lot of money without knowing it.

“The victims of these types of malware and scams could be counted in the hundreds of millions,” said Giovanni Vigna, a UC Santa Barbara professor of computer science who specializes in cybersecurity.

Smartphone hacking is one of the fastest-growing issues in terms of cybersecurity, he said, especially with the advent of cloud storage. In Europe, and increasingly in the United States, hackers are able to bypass two-stage identification, whereby a text message is sent to one’s smartphone bearing a private code for entry into account websites.

It is a problem that Vigna, UCSB computer science professor Christopher Kruegel and researchers from Northwestern University are getting ready to tackle with funding from a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

“The thing we’ll be seeing more and more are attempts to violate trust assumptions,” said Vigna, who is a member of UCSB’s Computer Security Group.

And what are these “trust assumptions”?

“Trust is the assurance that a certain application or platform will act as expected,” Vigna said.

These are the cues, he said, that prompt the user to drop their guard and volunteer sensitive information. These cues can range from icons on pages that proclaim the authenticity of the site or the security of the download to the very recognizable logos of certain sites and apps.

“People use their phones to click on the Facebook icon, for instance, and the Facebook application starts, and they inherently assume that it’s Facebook running on their phone,” Vigna said.

However, he and his team have found that users are also likely to click on a familiar icon that leads to a faux application.

The goal of these stealth attacks is to steal either your money or your information. Money is an obvious motivation, but personal information can be used to steal one’s identity or log in and exploit email or social media. Hackers leverage the trust between accounts in social networks to get the victim’s friends and contacts to click on malicious links.

Among the topics the researchers intend to study is what Vigna calls an “ecosystem of trust” unique to the smartphone world.

“There’s the guy who writes the application, benign or malicious,” Vigna said. “And then he puts it in an app store, so there’s a relationship of trust between those two. And then there’s you, the user, going to the market and downloading one or more apps, and you have some relationship of trust with those. If I’m a benign application developer and I use a certain ad framework to make money from my application, and then that ad framework starts sending malicious advertisements or links to malware, who’s responsible for this? Where’s the trust there? How do you control this trust? How can you be assured that the ad network is going to perform as stated?”

There is some comprehension of the issues, according to Vigna, but there is also a demand for more scientific modeling of these relationships and understanding of what their implications are. That way, flaws can be identified and fixed.

While the issues being studied are applicable to all smartphones, the group will examine trust in the Android world in particular.

“The main point is the tradeoff between openness and security issues," Vigna said. "The fact is that Android is a wonderful open platform that allows anybody to do anything — including hacking the cellphones of unsuspecting Android users.”

Android’s popular rival Apple iOS, he added, is less penetrable.

The researchers hope to identify not only flaws in the system but also mechanisms to fix or avoid them. Though it’s not guaranteed, they may even develop their own app that can be used to analyze other apps’ behaviors for flaws or potential untrustworthiness.

In the meantime, smartphone users can defend themselves by becoming more mindful of the apps they install, Vigna said. One way to do this is by choosing the better-known app markets and avoiding less reputable third-party sites.

Additionally, the number of downloads can be an indicator of an app’s legitimacy. If something has millions of downloads, it’s likely to be more trustworthy than a similar app with only a few thousand.

Some shady malware developers use intentional typos to entice people into downloading their app, Vigna said. “Angry Birds” becomes “Angry Bords” or some other variation in spelling. It’s clearly not the superpopular smartphone game, but it’s close enough to fool some users into installing it.

And application hygiene is also important, according to Vigna. Often, a user will download an app that promises great things only to be disappointed when it doesn’t work. However, it might be a malicious bit of code that captures user information, so if an app isn’t working as promised, uninstall it.

Of course, to bypass the entire issue of trust altogether, one can simply go low-tech with a cell phone that handles only the basics.

“But then you would be able to do so much less,” Vigna said.

Today’s smartphones allow users to do many things they couldn’t before, such as access the world’s libraries, monitor their fitness and learn a new language.

“Without your smartphone, you wouldn’t have ways to tell your friends where you are all the time and post pictures of embarrassing situations that you would regret later,” he quipped.


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Williams Urges Fiesta Revelers Not to Drink and Drive

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, encourages all those who will participate in this week’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta to make the responsible decision not to drink and drive.

“Injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving are preventable," Williams said. "You have the power in your hands to make the responsible decision to not drink and drive. There are many options for those that decide to drink at the Old Spanish Day Fiesta events such as cabs or friends that choose to be designated drivers.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), whose mission is to aid the victims of crimes performed by individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to aid the families of such victims and to increase public awareness of the problem of drinking and drugged driving, reports that there are 802 drunken driving fatalities with 0.8 blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher. They represent 28 of all total traffic deaths, a 3.6 percent increase from last year.

Alcohol decreases a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle safely. The more you drink, the greater the effect. The amount of alcohol required to become impaired differs according to how fast you drunk, your weight, your gender, and how much food you have in your stomach. Because of the great number of variables the safest choice is always not to drink and drive.

Designated drivers should plan ahead. Consider taking turns being the designated driver, and when you are part of a larger group there should be more than one designated driver.

Thousands of lives are saved each year by both designated drivers and those who don’t let friends or others drive under the influence. Make a difference by taking a pledge not to drink and drive.

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


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Tracking Giant Kelp from Space: UCSB Alumni Call on Citizen Scientists for Help

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won’t have to get their feet wet to do it.

Jarrett Byrnes
Jarrett Byrnes (Ginger Gillquist photo)

The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA, is calling on would-be researchers to examine 30 years of satellite photographs of coastal kelp-dominated areas around the globe to help identify their various sizes and locations.

In collaboration with colleagues at UCSB, Jarrett Byrnes, a former postdoctoral scholar at the campus’ National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), is trying to determine whether and how climate change is impacting giant kelp forests. To accomplish this, he needs to identify the green patches of kelp forest that appear in photos taken from space. Because of the sheer number of images — 100,000 in all —Byrnes and his team are soliciting assistance from the general public.

In the satellite photos, taken between 1983 and 2013, giant kelp forests appear as little green blobs in a big blue ocean.

“What people are actually seeing is the kelp forest canopy floating on the surface of the water,” Byrnes said. “Computers have trouble distinguishing between sea foam and kelp forest, but to the human eye, it’s easy to see the difference.”

As a result, Byrnes and UCSB alumnus Kyle Cavanaugh, an assistant professor in UCLA’s Department of Geography, developed Floating Forests for exactly this purpose.

The project will launch Aug. 7, with participants focusing on approximately 10,000 images from California and Tasmania. Once these images are classified, additional sets from other locations will be added.

Identifying the kelp forests is simple: Click to get a new photo, circle the kelp and submit the result to the research team.

Floating Forests was created in collaboration with Zooniverse, a citizen science Web portal owned and operated by the Citizen Science Alliance (CSA). Projects supported by CSA have involved tracking wildlife on a preserve and counting galaxies.

Giant kelp, which requires colder water to thrive, provides habitat for otters, fish, urchins and crustaceans.

Kyle Cavanaugh
Kyle Cavanaugh (Smithsonian Institution photo)

“Giant kelp is an incredible species,” Byrnes said. “It can grow up to a foot or two a day and forms these huge, beautiful redwood-like forests. If a forest is just recovering from a storm, swimming through it is like trekking through thick dense jungle.”

The NASA Landsat images that Byrnes and Cavanaugh have collected of kelp canopies floating on the ocean’s surface could tell scientists a lot about how kelp forests have fared through the past three decades of climate change.

“Our first effort will be an examination of changes in global area coverage of the giant kelp canopy,” explained Byrnes, now an assistant professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and former principal investigator of an NCEAS working group called Global Impacts of Climate Change on Kelp Forest Ecosystems.

With the kelp forest in the images isolated, Byrnes and his colleagues will analyze the results to help estimate how much total carbon over time across the globe is locked up in giant kelp.

Visitors to the Floating Forests website will see thousands of images from giant kelp forests in Chile, South Africa and other coastlines around the world. The researchers said they hope the project will help regular people engage with marine ecology and issues around climate change.


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Free Rides Highlight Goleta Railroad Days Weekend at South Coast Railroad Museum

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Free miniature-train and handcar rides will be given to South Coast Railroad Museum visitors during Goleta Railroad Days weekend, Aug. 9-10.

Visitors may ride as often as they like. The rides will operate continuously from 1 to 3:45 p.m.

The free train rides are made possible by a generous contribution from The Towbes Group.

The half-mile-long “Goleta Short Line” ride around the museum grounds takes about nine minutes. It is suitable for all ages, except the very young and very old. In the interest of safety, all train riders must be meet the minimum 34-inch height requirement. For the handcar, riders must be at least 48 inches tall.

Admission to the railroad museum is also free; donations are appreciated. The museum is located at 300 N. Los Carneros Road in Goleta.

— Gary Coombs is director of the South Coast Railroad Museum.


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Capps Co-Sponsors Bill to Promote Youth Safety in Sports

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Thursday joined Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey in introducing the Supporting Athletes, Families and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (SAFE PLAY) Act, a bill that would promote the safety of our young athletes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participation in organized sports has risen to nearly 30 million children across the country. While sports are an important part of a healthy childhood, we’ve seen a troubling increase in student athletes suffering from sports-related injuries, including concussions, heat stroke and even sudden cardiac arrest. Specifically, more than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year, and children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals.

To address this concerning trend, the SAFE PLAY Act would take a multipronged approach of research, community education and federal support for school district to adopt best practices to keep kids safe, focusing on several areas, including heat exposure, CPR and AED training, concussion response, and energy drink consumption, to ensure children’s safety in athletics and on campus.

“Our children’s safety should be of paramount concern to everyone involved in youth athletics,” Capps said. “While it is important to encourage teamwork, competition and fitness for our youth, it is equally important to provide a safe atmosphere for kids to compete. This common sense legislation will go a long way toward protecting our children. I am honored to introduce this important bill with Rep. Pascrell and Senator Menendez.”

“As co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, I have been working to address concussions and more severe traumatic brain injuries for over 14 years,” Rep. Pascrell said. “I am proud to introduce this more comprehensive sports safety legislation with Sen. Menendez and Rep. Capps. If we are to encourage young people to be healthy athletes who embrace ideas like teamwork and doing their best, then this Congress must do everything it can to protect them as they participate in sports.”

“The safety of our youth comes first – in school, at home and while participating in extracurricular activities,” Menendez said. “As students play their hearts out on athletic fields, we must do everything in our power to prevent injuries. I am pleased that Reps. Pascrell and Capps joined me on this common-sense legislation to keep our students safe while they stay healthy, competitive and well-rounded by playing sports.”

“I am honored to have partnered with Senator Menendez and Representatives Capps and Pascrell on this important legislation that will help to keep our children safe while participating in athletic activities,” said Lisa Yue, founding executive director of the Children's Cardiomyopathy Foundation. “This comprehensive legislation is especially important because it includes provisions for identifying children with life-threatening heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy who may be at risk of sudden cardiac death.”

“The National Athletic Trainers’ Association is proud to have worked with Rep. Capps in the introduction of the Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (SAFE PLAY) Act,” NATA President Jim Thornton said. “As the leading national organization representing athletic trainers and health professionals that are responsible for the prevention and treatment of injuries to athletes at all levels of sport and play, we applaud Rep. Capps for her leadership on the introduction of this comprehensive legislation to protect youth athletes. We look forward to working with other Members of Congress to build support for this important bill.”

Specifically, the SAFEPLAY Act would direct the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services to:

» Recommend guidelines for the development of emergency actions plans for student athletes.

» Report to Congress on the number of sports-related fatalities and catastrophic injuries and the cause.

» Develop and disseminate information about the health risks associated with exposure to excessive heat and humidity, and how to avoid heat-related illness.

» Develop information on the ingredients used in energy drinks, potential side effects, and recommend guidelines for the safe use of energy drink consumption by students.

The bill would also provide assistance for school districts to:

» Develop and implement a standard plan for concussion safety and management and set up concussion management teams to respond to incidents on campus.

» Assist schools in developing and implementing an excessive heat action plan to be used during all school-sponsored athletic activities that occur during periods of excessive heat and humidity.

» Provide access to critical resources to teach students across the country the life-saving skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use automated external defibrillators (AED), efforts included in an earlier Capps bill, the Teaching Children to Save Lives Act.

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


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No Injuries in Structure Fire Near Lompoc

By | Published on 07/31/2014


No one was injured early Thursday in a mobile home fire in a rural area outside of Lompoc, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze was reported at about 12:15 a.m. near the end of Sweeney Road, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, which was down a long, narrow dirt road that made access difficult, they found a single-wide mobile home engulfed in flames, Sadecki said.

Crews from the county and the city of Lompoc were able to quickly knock down the flames, Sadecki said.

Cause of the fire 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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Body Found Inside Burning Mobile Home in Lompoc

By | Published on 07/31/2014


Fire in 800 block of O Street threatened nearby structures before being knocked down

An elderly person was found dead Thursday inside this mobile home that was destroyed by fire. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

[Scroll down to see video of the fire]

Firefighters who responded early Thursday to a raging mobile home fire discovered the body of an elderly man inside the structure, according to the Lompoc Fire Department.

Crews from Lompoc, Santa Barbara County and Vandenberg Air Force Base were called out shortly before 2 a.m., and found a single-wide mobile home engulfed in flames in the 800 block of North O St., said Lompoc Fire Chief Keith Latipow.

The fire was threatening nearby mobile homes, and firefighters took aggressive action to knock down the flames, Latipow said.

"During initial attack, search crews located the body of an elderly adult who was obviously deceased," Latipow said.

The victim was identified as Douglas Arthur Garbers, Latipow said, adding that investigators determined the blaze was accidental.

An autopsy was planned by the county coroner to determine the cause of death, Latipow said.

Neighbors used hoses to try to control the flames before fire crews arrived.

Jennifer Cloud, who was still shaken by the incident hours later, recalled small explosions as neighbors directed hoses at the fire and nearby residences to protect the fire from spreading. She said she helped make sure those who lived closest to the burning mobile home weren't still inside and in danger in their own residences.

"I'm just overwhelmed," Cloud said.

Flames reached as high as the power lines, she said. 

"It was pretty intense, " Cloud added.

Garbers kept to himself, she said.

The county District Attorney's Arson Task Force was called in to assist Lompoc Fire and Police Departments in the investigation, Latipow said.

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully reported from the scene.

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

7-31-14 Lompoc-Structure-Fire (854 x 480) copy from Noozhawk on Vimeo.


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La Fiesta Pequeña Kicks Off Old Spanish Days from Steps of Santa Barbara Mission

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Mariachi music, horseback riders and Spirit of Fiesta Talia Ortega Vestal help launch the 90th anniversary of the community celebration

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

La Fiesta Pequeña twirled and flamenco-ed its way onto the steps of the Santa Barbara Mission on Wednesday night to herald the start of Old Spanish Days.

Fiesta is celebrating its 90th anniversary, and this year marks the 87th year for La Fiesta Pequeña, which reveled in Santa Barbara’s Spanish roots with a celebration attended by thousands.

This year’s theme was “honor your history” and featured mariachi, horseback riders and dancers of all ages in festive costumes.

The Rev. Larry Gosselin, an associate pastor with the Mission, co-hosted Wednesday's event with KEYT News anchor Paula Lopez.

Gosselin said he hopes visitors carry the spirit of Fiesta with them even after it ends.

“We are one. And if we can be one tonight, we can be one forever,” he told Noozhawk. “I hope everyone takes away a spirit of great joy, unity and peace.”

In a moment that captivated everyone in attendance, the broad doors of the Old Mission opened to reveal this year’s Spirit of Fiesta, Talia Ortega Vestal, in a traditional white dress. 

Vestal, 16, has been a dancer since age 2. Though she said the experience was overwhelming, her confident performance didn’t reveal it.

“I feel so overwhelmed; it was so emotional, it's crazy,” she said through tears. “Between the audience, the lights and looking up at the Mission, it's all so beautiful. I felt like I wanted to cry the whole time. The music just gets to you, and it got to me tonight.”

Elena Alvarez, a friend of Vestal’s and a self-proclaimed “Fiesta freak,” has been attending La Fiesta Pequeña for the last 15 years. She said she was ecstatic to cheer on her friend.

“She’s one of my customers at Judge for Yourself Café, and when I found out she was the one I was so happy for her,” she said. “The vibe you get from the Fiesta is amazing. I love everything about it.”

The event featured horseback riders, one of whom was 18-year-old Allie Hyatt. Though she said she’s ridden for the Old Spanish Days celebration before, this was her first appearance at La Fiesta Pequeña.

“I love watching all the people react to the beauty of the horses,” she said. “And when the children yell, ‘Look at the princess!’ it gets me every time.”

The original La Fiesta Pequeña, or “little Fiesta,” was held in 1927 to celebrate the restoration of the Mission after the damage it received in the earthquake of 1925. It has since become tradition to hold the event Wednesday evening as the opener for the Old Spanish Days celebration.

Launched in 1924, Old Spanish Days was conceived as a way to attract tourists during the summer months and as a way to commemorate the traditions of Santa Barbara’s Spanish and Mexican founders.

Click here for information and a full schedule of events.

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


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Santa Barbara Police Out in Force During Fiesta Revelry

By | Published on 07/30/2014


The city has budgeted $425,000 to pay for extra patrols during the celebration

More than 100 additional law enforcement officers will patrol the streets of Santa Barbara during this year's Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebration.

The Santa Barbara Police Department has budgeted an additional $425,000 to pay for extra law enforcement costs — much of it for overtime.

The department will get help from Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies, and law enforcement personnel from Ventura, Oxnard, Lompoc and Santa Maria.

Officers will attempt to "identify troublemakers early," said Sgt. Riley Harwood, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department. "We will make sure that we maintain a very visible presence. We try to set the tone early with regards to law enforcement efforts. We make a lot of pedestrian contacts."

The increased law enforcement comes on the heels of the recent court ruling against a proposed gang injunction in Santa Barbara. The city had asked the court to implement an injunction to help reduce gang violence in the city.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne, however, ruled against the injunction, which would have placed limits on where some members of Eastside and Westside gangs could be and with whom they could associate.

Sterne ruled that "Santa Barbara is not a community beset by substantial and unreasonable gang-related interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons."

Old Spanish Days Fiesta is Santa Barbara's largest celebration and typically draws tens of thousands of locals and people from out of the area. It also attracts members of rival gangs on the Eastside and Westside, and from Ventura, Oxnard, Lompoc and other areas.

"We have had serious gang problems during Fiesta over the years," Harwood said, adding that the department will beef up law enforcement numbers for Friday's Fiesta Historical Parade and the downtown area, particularly during the evening when more of the "drinking crowd" is present. "The volume of officers we have increases throughout the week. he level of activity peaks on Friday and Saturday nights."

Harwood said every year is different in terms of gang presence.

"I can't predict what the gang members and the gang leadership are going to do," Harwood said. "I hope they don't elect to cause problems. I assure you if they do, we will react quickly."

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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Dignity Health Rolls Out Robots to Expand Evaluations of Stroke Patients

By | Published on 07/30/2014


'Sheldon' connects local physicians with out-of-area neurological experts for consultations at Marian Medical Center and its sister facilities

Stroke patients at Marian Regional Medical Center may find a robot at their bedside, allowing expert neurologists to “beam in” and support local physicians providing treatment.

Marian plus its sister facilities, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center, have launched a neuroscience and stroke program in conjunction with Dignity Health Telemedicine Robots.

The program pairs expert neurologists with local emergency department physicians needing to consult with a specialist about stroke or other neuroscience patients.

Using a life-sized robot dubbed Sheldon — named by staff after the chief geek in The Big Bang Theory — experts located miles away from the Central Coast can help evaluate neurological conditions of patients at Marian’s Emergency Department.

“This is the future of the care we can provide here in our community,” said Kerin Mase, executive vice president of Marian Regional Medical Center.

The robots connect local physicians with experts around the clock, especially vital since local neurologists were available for consultations only half a month.

“Using telemedicine allows us to provide that neurologic expertise every day, rather than just half the time, to support our Emergency Department physician colleagues and the hospitalists,” said Kirsten Featherstone, a registered nurse and Dignity Health Central Coast Neuroscience Services manager. “This provides urgent telemedicine neurologic consultant.”

The life-sized robot employs two-way video and audio feeds so a doctor can remotely assess a patient, by having a stroke victim identify images or words, reviewing test results and zooming in on a patient’s pupils.

“One of our neurologists likes to say the pupil is the window to the brain,” Jason Close, a Dignity Health program manager, said as he demonstrated from his out-of-town location Sheldon’s zooming capability by getting a detailed look at a pen sitting on a table several feet away.

“It’s very good image quality on the camera,” he said.

An expert neurologist can swivel the camera to look at the screens of equipment monitoring a patient.

“I can even dance a little bit if you like,” Close said after directing Sheldon to move forward and backward.

The hospital has employed Sheldon since April. The robot is programmed with the layout of the Emergency Department and through an auto-drive feature can make its way to into patient’s rooms.

When the consult is finished, the expert can hit the “dock” function and Sheldon returns to its charging station so the nurse doesn’t have to take time away from patients to do that chore.

Another robot, Dexter, is stationed on the Critical Care Unit, but a nurse needs to push it into a patient’s room.

The time from contacting the consultant until the expert is involved in the case averages between six and 10 minutes, Featherstone said.

“It’s really timely and quick,” Featherstone said.

“It’s the consistency of care we want,” added Dr. David Ketelaar, director of the Marian Emergency Department.

When a neurologist is available, they’re able to provide a high level of care. Sheldon helps continue that high level of care during  the gap when a local specialist isn’t available, Ketelaar said.

Sheldon allows the expert to interact with the patient and then work with emergency physicians in coming up with a treatment plan.

The real time and “face-to-face” interaction make a big difference in caring for patients, Ketelaar said.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to convey some of the complex conditions some of these patients are having on the telephone to another physician,” Ketelaar said.

The expert, working with on-site nurses, also can conduct an assessment from afar.

“You can get a very quick feel for the level of the deficits someone has by just walking in the room and interacting with  them,” Ketelaar said. “You can’t get that in a telephone consult of someone trying to describe it.”

In addition to Dignity Health’s network of experts, the local doctors can contact Stanford Health Care stroke specialists 24 hours a day, according to Marian officials. The local hospitals are working to enhance the partnership with Stanford.

“It’s pretty amazing what we’re able to do with technology,” Mase added.

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


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Santa Barbara Council Agrees to Fund After-School Programs, Park Ranger Services for Schools

By | Published on 07/30/2014


The Santa Barbara City Council agreed Tuesday to continue funding after-school programs for another year and renewed a contract to provide park ranger services to 12 Santa Barbara Unified School District campuses.

The city will contribute funding to programs that include After School Opportunities for Kids (A-OK), Recreational Afterschool Program (RAP) and the Junior High Afterschool Sports Program.

The district and the city's Parks & Recreation Department coordinate programs and enter agreements for funding and management every year.

Among the after-school programs, RAP provides homework help, after-school care and recreation services at four elementary schools in the city. Participants pay $150 for 30 days of service, $70 for a 10-day pass or $10 for one-day drop-ins.

In addition to the RAP program funding, the city grants $60,000 in scholarships. 

A-OK provides tutoring at seven Title 1 elementary schools, which is funded with state grant funding and contributions from the city, district and local nonprofits. The program’s services cost $20 to $30 a month. 

The Junior High Afterschool Sports Program supports student athletics in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

The district is paying $31,420 for rangers to patrol school grounds and report vandalism, secure windows and doors, and coordinate with school administrators on security issues.

Park rangers patrol the seven elementary schools, three junior high schools and Santa Barbara High School on a daily or weekend basis. 

These agreements were already approved by Santa Barbara Unified's Board of Education. 

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


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Arrest Made in 2013 Attempted-Murder Case in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Jose Alejandro Perez

A 40-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on attempted-murder charges stemming from an attack that occurred early last year on the city's Westside, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Jose Alejandro Perez of Santa Barbara is accused of stabbing a 34-year-old man on Feb. 22, 2013, in the 300 block of West Arrellaga Street, said Sgt. Riley Harwood.

"Investigation … by detectives Michael Claytor and Brian Larson identified Perez as the suspect in this case, and revealed that the victim was a former neighbor of Perez and a friend of Perez’s estranged wife’s family," Harwood said.

"On the morning of the incident, the victim was riding a scooter out of his driveway when he was approached by Perez, knocked down, and stabbed."

The attack was unprovoked, Harwood said, adding that the victim was treated for non-life threatening stab wounds.

Perez is a gang member, Harwood said, but the attack was not believed to be gang-related.

A Santa Barbara officer leaving the Superior Court in the 100 block of East Figueroa Street saw Perez get off an MTD bus shortly before noon Wednesday.

"The officer contacted Perez and tried to arrest him for his warrant," Harwood said. "Perez resisted being handcuffed, fighting with the officer. Perez was taken into custody when additional SBPD officers and a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy responded to assist."

Perez was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on a warrant for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon , Harwood said. Bail was set at $500,000. He was also booked on an additional misdemeanor charge of resisting or delaying an officer with a bail amount of $2,500

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


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Santa Barbara Named Host City for 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Santa Maria also is selected to provide hospitality for athletes and representatives participating in next year's competitions in Los Angeles

Santa Barbara was announced Wednesday as a host city for next year's Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles and will welcome international athletes before the games begin. 

As many as 100 other Southern California cities will play host to a gathering of international team delegates and athletes next year for a three-day cultural celebration prior the opening ceremony.

The 2015 World Summer Games will host 7,000 athletes from more than 170 countries when they arrive in Los Angeles next July.

This year, both Santa Barbara and Santa Maria were named as host towns and will provide housing, food, recreation and entertainment for as many as 100 athletes and representatives.

Westmont College has volunteered to provide housing and recreational facilities for visiting athletes on behalf of Santa Barbara and hosted Wednesday's announcement. 

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate marginalized people with love,” Westmont President Gayle Beebe said. “I hope this city will come to be known as a place of celebration and joy.”

The host town program started in 1995 to help athletes acclimate to the culture and time difference of countries hosting the games.

Steve Vanderpool, vice president of communications with the 2015 Special Olympics Committee, said his organization is still canvassing Southern California for host towns, with more than 100 having expressed interest.

Thousand Oaks, Long Beach and Arcadia have already been announced. Vanderpool said he was happy to see Santa Barbara join their ranks.

“We want our athletes to get comfortable with their new surroundings while getting a taste of the local culture and flavor of the city,” he said.

Savannah Barclay, 17, is an athlete who is one of 23 global messengers who contribute to announcements made by the Southern California Special Olympics Committee.

Barclay, who has competed in track and field, bowling and soccer in regional competitions, said host towns are good opportunities for community members to interact with people with intellectual disabilities.

“I hope people come to be with friends and gain an understanding of people with intellectual disabilities,” she said. “People underestimate us, and this helps them get to know us better.”

Jerry Siegel, who has been a volunteer with Southern California Special Olympics for seven years, said now that the announcement has been made and accommodations set, planning for travel and activities will be the next stage.

Siegel said there are no concrete decisions yet, but he wants to allow athletes to mesh with locals. 

“We hope members of the community come out, celebrate with us and help us give these athletes an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” he said.

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


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Soak Up the Last Bit of Summer at Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Visit downtown Santa Barbara for 1st Thursday, an evening filled with free art, culture and music! The Aug. 7 event will include more than two dozen cultural art venues, all with exhibits, music and/or activities that will help you hang on to the last bit of summer.

You’ll find John Marks & Morganfield Burnett, both longtime local musicians, playing the blues at Paseo Nuevo Center Court. Do your musical tastes run more in the rock/soul/funk/hip-hop/folk genres? Then head to Marshalls Patio (900 State St.) for two-time L.A. Music Award-winning singer-songwriter Jamie Green. She’s a lady with a guitar, just right for a summer’s musical evening.

If you’re looking for a more health-related type of entertainment, how does qi-gong sound? Kristen Hoye from Friendship Center will lead short sessions of this gentle exercise (similar to tai chi) at the corner of State and Anapamu streets. This ancient practice is relaxing, energizing and promotes vitality.

The cascarones of Old Spanish Days Fiesta may be long swept away, but that’s no reason to halt our Viva la! Join Sullivan Goss — An American Gallery (7 & 11 E. Anapamu St.) for folklorico paintings from Mexico and Los Angeles, historical paintings of las Doñas of the Casa de la Guerra and paintings both historical and contemporary of the icons of Fiesta.

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum continues Old Spanish Days’ 90th anniversary celebration with their latest exhibition, “Project Fiesta!” Along with the photos, costumes and artifacts, you can try your hand (or feet) at impromptu Latin dance lessons with Dance Fever Studio owners Anastasia and Vasily.

Speaking of Casa de la Guerra (15 E. De la Guerra St.), the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation has partnered with Sullivan Goss and William Dewey to present “Orpha Klinker and Bill Dewey: Landmarks of California.” And did somebody say “sip sangria?” Yes, Salt did (740 State St.)!

ZFolio Gallery (1013 State St.) is celebrating its grand opening! Join Danielle Blade, discussing her unique style and approach to art glass sculpture. You’ll find more sculpture (bronze) at Oliver & Espig (1108 State St.), presenting a selection by gifted author, illustrator and animator Sue DeCicco. Be sure to swing by Santa Barbara Arts (1114 State St., No. 24) to meet local artist Danae Michele Liecht. She designs one-of-a-kind hats, as well as scarves, skirts and other wearable art pieces.

Gallery 27 at Brooks Institute (27 E. Cota St.) presents the photos of four alumni, Greg Cooper, Matt Perko, Ellen Webber and Brian Wilson — well worth the jaunt. If you prefer a “crawl,” join assemblage artist Sue Van Horsen, this month’s curator of The Art Crawl (meet on the back steps of City Hall by De la Guerra Plaza).

For something a bit more eclectic, join Get Oil Out! at the Faulkner Gallery (40 E. Anapamu St.). Environmental artists come together for a benefit art show to commemorate the 45 years since the oil blow-out in the Santa Barbara Channel, which helped inspire the modern environmental movement and the work of GOO! The artist/activist panel begins at 6:30 p.m.

Please note: 1st Thursday: After Hours is on hiatus for August. Please mark your calendar and plan to join Downtown Santa Barbara and the Historic Theatre District for the return of 1st Thursday: After Hours on Sept. 4, hosted by the Lobero Theatre.

All of these attractions and many more are free during 1st Thursday on Aug. 7. For more information and a complete listing of the programming offered, click here.

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


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FAA Awards $2.6 Million Grant to Santa Barbara Airport

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a $2.6 million federal grant to the Santa Barbara Airport.

The Santa Barbara Airport will use the funds to rehabilitate the runway, preserve the structural integrity of the pavement, and minimize foreign object debris. It will also replace lighted runway closure markings that have reached the end of their useful lives.

“Our regional airports, like the Santa Barbara Airport, play an important role on the Central Coast, making travel in and out easier for more people and helping drive our local economy,” Capps said. “This grant will make the Santa Barbara Airport safer for all types of aircraft by improving and strengthening the runways.”

“We are so pleased to have a strong working relationship with FAA, and these funds will continue to allow the Airport to improve its infrastructure,” said Hazel Johns, Santa Barbara Airport director.

Last month, the Santa Barbara Airport received $90,700 from the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a Wildlife Hazard Assessment.

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


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Center for Performing Arts Presents Winston’s Royal Roost, The Nightclub at Granada Theatre

By | Published on 07/30/2014


The Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts is excited to present Winston’s Royal Roost, The Nightclub at the Granada Theatre at 8 p.m. Aug. 15 in the McCune Founders Room.

Winston’s is a new upscale nightclub series modeled after the popular New York jazz club of the 1950s, the “Royal Roost.” It takes place monthly in The Granada Theatre’s upstairs lounge and features live music, cocktails, conversation and dancing.

Each month different local musicians join Winston’s Royal Roost House Band (Woody DeMarco on piano, Hank Allen on bass and David Grossman on drums) for a lively night of music and dancing. The guest artist for the Aug. 15 event is Margie Nelson on vocals.

General admission is $20 for the general public and may be purchased at the door, by phone or online. The admission charge is waived for Granada Theatre Giving Society members.

Complimentary valet parking is available for all guests and a special wine tasting by Clarets. Doors open at 7 p.m. for cocktail hour, with live music and dancing to begin at 8 p.m.

The 2014 schedule of Winston’s Royal Roost is as follows:

» Friday, Aug. 15
» Friday, Sept. 19
» Tuesday, Oct. 14
» Tuesday, Nov. 18
» Tuesday, Dec. 16

For more information about the Winston’s Royal Roost Nightclub event or any performances at the Granada Theatre, click here or call 805.899.2222.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.


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Paul Mann: The Cult Storms Through Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 07/30/2014


The English hard-rock band The Cult played an aggressive ear-splitting show in the Samala Showroom at the Chumash Casino Resort on July 24. Generations of hard-rock fans seemed delighted to be wallowing in the immersive thundering beat, indicative of an old school rock show.

The Cult
The Cult performed an explosive concert July 25 for fans at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez. (L. Paul Mann / Noozhawk photo)

But even as the thundering volume filled every corner of the venue, the elements of the sound maintained a near-perfect balance, another testament to what is no doubt the best sound system of any venue in the Tri-Counties. Although I have mentioned it in the past, I cannot stress enough how imperative a quality sound system is for a performance by a band like The Cult. No matter where you sat or stood in the showroom that night, the explosive sound came across crisp and clear — from the highest vocals to the lowest rumbles of the bass and drums. The near-perfect sound is no accident, with no expense spared in installing and utilizing the enormous sound system at the Chumash Casino Resort venue.

The Cult took full advantage of the towering system to tear through a no-nonsense, 90-minute set of some of their best songs. The band has built an enormous library of music, with no fewer than 10 full-length releases in the 30-plus years that the band has been together.

Fronted by charismatic lead singer Ian Astbury and lead guitarist extraordanaire Billy Duffy, the five-member group of veteran rockers captured the crowd's attention from the moment they stepped onstage.

The band actually dates back to the dawn of the new wave movement in 1981, when they were called The Southern Death Cult. The group emerged initially with a post-punk, Goth-inspired sound, about the same time that The Cure and Depeche Mode were entering the music charts with hit songs. The band changed their name eventually to The Cult and had some initial success, culminating with their classic rock hit of that era, “She Sells Sanctuary.”

In 1987, the band hooked up with master producer Rick Rubin, who shepherded the group into a more mainstream rock sound, which led to commercial success. Since then, the band has undergone numerous transformations, with a who’s who of 1980s rock veterans rotating through The Cult.

But Astbury has always led the group with his trademark vocal wail. The enigmatic singer has steered the band through decades of political and personal turmoil, sharing much of the same artistic anguish as Jim Morrison, his spiritual role model. From a fascination with indigenous religion that directly affected the sound and style of the band, to an actual stint as the lead singer of the New Doors, Astbury does seem to channel the energetic style of Morrison onstage.

Paired with the fierce guitar style of Billy Duffy, the two produce nearly the same dynamic live sound that they pioneered 30 years ago. Unlike many musicians of their genre, the pair have not mellowed into a more demure-sounding '80s nostalgic rock band. Instead, they continue to deliver live rock shows in the vein of testosterone-infused young rebel musicians.

The customary opening of the front of the stage for dance-crazed fans came halfway through the show at the showroom last Thursday. That sent music fans of all ages thrashing about like teenagers, fueled by the timeless energy infused in the live performance of this powerhouse rock group.

Long live The Cult.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Accident, Chlorine Spill On Highway Send 3 to Hospital

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Three people were hospitalized Wednesday afternoon after their vehicle struck a container of powdered chlorine that fallen onto the the highway west of Buellton, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The incident occurred shortly after 1:30 p.m in the 6100 block of Highway 246, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

A truck carrying the chlorine made a turn onto the highway, and its tailgate came down, dropping a 5-gallon bucket onto the roadway, Sadecki said.

The bucket was then struck by a vehicle and dragged down the highway, spreading the chlorine.

Three people in the vehicle, which had its windows open at the time, suffered moderate respiratory distress from the chlorine, and were taken to a local hospital, Sadecki said.

Details on their conditions were not immediately available.

A hazmat crew was called in to clean up the mess, and one eastbound lane of Highway 246 was closed for more than an hour.

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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Paul and Nadine Melancon with Therapy Dog Dr. Tessy Give Cottage Patients a Dose of Good Medicine

By | Published on 07/30/2014


[Noozhawk note: One in a series of articles highlighting Santa Barbara’s Man and Woman of the Year awards. This year's nomination period is now open.]

Dr. Tessy is everyone’s favorite “doctor” at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. She makes her rounds through Pediatrics, the ICU and the Pre-Op area, leaving patients relaxed and smiling. Sometimes the best medicine comes at the end of a leash.

A poodle maltese mix, Tessy visits patients with her handlers, Paul and Nadine Melancon. An exceptionally well-behaved and affectionate dog, Tessy is a member of Therapy Dogs International, an organization that evaluates and bestows the seal of approval to potential therapy dogs. The Melancons spent two years preparing Tessy for her hospital visits, making sure she was obedient, able to pass up food or treats, and be immune to loud noises. She undergoes annual health tests and is groomed weekly.

The Melancons underwent their own tests (tuberculosis and flu shots) and background checks in order to meet Cottage Hospital’s stringent standards.

For the last three years, the Melancons and Tessy have been delighting patients young and old, families and the medical staff. Until two months ago, they were accompanied by Toby, a standard poodle, who was a great favorite, but who passed away unexpectedly. Although immensely saddened, the trio have carried on.

Paul, a former aerospace engineer, and Nadine, a business/finance expert, are both seasoned volunteers committed to pet therapy. Paul says that he and Nadine have been lucky in their lives and now want to give their time to others. Nadine chokes up as she describes how proud they are to wear the hospital’s green volunteer smock.

After checking in with the volunteer coordinator, the trio begin their rounds. They honor special requests from patients and pop into Pediatrics where children are hooked up to tubes and other medical equipment. After placing a towel on the patient’s bed, Nadine places Tessy within reach. Then, the cuddling and petting begins. A child terrified by an approaching needle immediately calms at the sight of the little dog. Children, parents and nurses smile broadly, and for a moment, worries and discomfort disappear.

In the ICU, hardworking nurses and stressed family members all brighten visibly when Dr. Tessy visits. Pre-Op patients, nervous about upcoming surgery, are particularly pleased to see her. Paul and Nadine never discuss a patient’s illness, and once Tessy has been placed on a patient’s bed, sit back and allow the chemistry between patient and dog to work its magic. In fact, the magic works so well that one patient clung on tightly, not wanting her to leave.

Paul and Nadine even visit on Christmas Day. With their seven children grown and out of the house, the couple are happy to bring cheer to those in the hospital. They are impressed with the kindness of the nursing staff who do their best to decorate rooms. "Santa Tessy" helps make it a Christmas to remember!

Although the Melancons have other volunteer responsibilities (Paul serves on several boards and Nadine contributes as CFO for a Franciscan organization for $1 per year), they drive from Santa Ynez to the hospital every week. They say that they benefit as much as the patients as they watch Tessy bring a small taste of the outside world, delivered with unconditional love.

                                                                        •        •

Volunteers enrich all our lives.

Do you know a volunteer who has made a significant impact on the Santa Barbara community? You can nominate that person to be the next man or woman of the year! Just fill out a simple nomination form online by clicking here. Nominations are open until Aug. 26. The awards are sponsored by the Santa Barbara Foundation and Noozhawk.

Suzanne Farwell represents the Santa Barbara Foundation.


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Musician Erin Pearson Releasing New Album with Party at SOhO

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Local musician Erin Pearson is releasing her latest album, Get Your Answers, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21.

Erin Pearson
Erin Pearson

The event will also feature performances from local musician Rusty Lindsey, local band Erland and Bay Area band Art Nickels until midnight.

Dinner reservations are encouraged to ensure seating. Please call 805.967.7776 x6. The menu at SOhO features organic, local and sustainable food.

Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the door (all ages show). Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for dinner and music will continue on until midnight.

About the Artists

Pearson is originally from Minnesota, making her home in California for the past 12 years. In a few weeks, she will be moving to Nashville, Tenn., where she recorded her latest record. Get Your Answers is a country album featuring the title single “Get Your Answers” and stand out single “Beneath a Willow.” The album is about the courage to speak up, change your life and find love.

She will have a set of limited edition signed copies of her CD at the show. Pearson’s set begins at 6:45 p.m.

Lindsey has had a busy summer collaborating on a film score, recording his new solo record and marrying his longtime sweetheart. His newest is set to release in the fall reflecting his South Carolina roots and laid-back lyrical style. His last album, Devil in Drag, received amazing reviews and TV/film placement.

Lindsey is also a singer with the up-and-coming Ruben Lee Dalton Band. He will play a duo set with Pearson at 7:45 p.m. and begin his solo set at 8:15 p.m.

Erland recently released their album On Our Side, boasting rich soundscapes with intricate percussion and ethereal keyboard arrangements amidst lead singer and band namesake Erland’s laid-back folk rock vocal sound. After return from an extended tour in 2013, Erland continues to build momentum this summer and recently headlined at the Lobero Theatre this past July. Erland begins their set at 9 p.m.

Art Nickels was conceived in the spring of 2013 and is a rising presence in the East Bay and greater San Francisco music scene. Citing influences ranging from Radiohead to Dilla to Can, Art Nikels presents a unique blend of electronically fused psych-rock. They are currently finishing work on Primitives, an anthology of their earlier works to be released sequentially this summer as they tour the West Coast. Art Nickels begins their set at 10:30 p.m.


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Santa Barbara Sued Over Lack of District Elections

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Complaint alleges current at-large system hampers Latinos from being elected

As promised, attorney Barry Cappello has filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Barbara alleging the at-large City Council elections violate the California Voting Rights Act.

The complaint was filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Tuesday, according to a statement from the law firm of Cappello & Noel.

Cappello, a former city attorney for Santa Barbara, partnered with former councilman Leo Martinez and Zona Seca excecutive director Frank Banales to prepare the lawsuit, which aims to force Santa Barbara into implementing district elections.

At a community meeting announcing their intentions, they pointed to the lack of Latino representation on the City Council, despite the fact 38 percent of the city’s population is Latino or Hispanic.

The lawsuit alleges the current system dilutes Latino votes by having council candidates elected on a citywide basis.

[Scroll down to read a copy of the complaint]

“City Council members are in no hurry to see a change to the at-large election system,” Cappello said in a statement.

“Under the current system, they know that they can control elections, and keep getting re-elected, by preventing neighborhoods from voting for candidates that truly represent the neighborhood’s interests. It’s an old trick and it’s illegal.”

Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, elected in 2011, was the first Latino/Latina candidate to be elected since 1997, according to the complaint.

The complaint suggests there are different voting patterns, with Latinos more in favor of minority candidates than non-Latino voters.

If polarized voting can be proven, courts often impose district elections, City Attorney Ariel Calonne has said.

Santa Barbara’s City Council held several public meetings about different election models in response to the threat of a lawsuit, and recently hired a consultant to look into demographic voting data

“I am very disappointed to see this premature lawsuit filed since the council has been studying the issue of whether the city of Santa Barbara in fact has any racially polarized voting, and just last week authorized funds to a demographer to conduct such a study,” Mayor Helene Schneider said. “We expect to have those results in September.”

The next city election is November 2015, when three council seats are on the ballot.

Council members have discussed a hybrid system with four districts, two at-large council members and an at-large mayor, but there wasn’t support for putting that on this year’s ballot, which was an option.

They will also consider moving city elections to even-numbered years, when there is naturally higher turnout.

The complaint names Banales, Sebastian Aldana, Jr., Jacqueline Inda, Cruzito Herrera Cruz and Benjamin Cheverez as plaintiffs, along with all registered voters.

Aldana is co-founder of the Milpas Community Association and a member of the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Council. He has also served on the Franklin Center Advisory Committee and ran for council in 2011 along with MCA co-founder Sharon Byrne.

Neither was elected.

Inda, the founder of nonprofit Movimiento Esperanza, works with at-risk youth, and is a vocal opponent of the proposed gang injunction, which was denied by a Superior Court judge last week. 

Cruz ran for council in three consecutive elections, most recently in 2013, and has long advocated for district elections. He has never received more than 4 percent of the vote.

Cheverez runs the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara Alumni Association, a nonprofit that supports the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County.

District Elections Complaint Filed by Cappello & Noel

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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Waxing Poetic Heats Up with Dazzling New Summer Collection

By | Published on 07/30/2014


As beautiful Santa Barbara’s “June gloom” begins to fade, Waxing Poetic is introducing its hottest new summer designs — perfectly suited to accompany you on your holiday travels and adventures. Express yourself with its modern heirloom jewelry, for summer or for any season.

Welcome warmer days with easy-to-wear jewelry from Waxing Poetic’s summer 2014 collection — an assortment that is sure to stand out and amaze.

One of its top-selling pieces is the Transformative Dragonfly Pendant, a 1-inch sterling silver, brass and pyrite charm with a Labradorite and Swarovski Pacific opal. This glorious dragonfly symbolizing vibrancy and light is composed of gemstone and crystal settings. Intricately twisted wire creates the detailed texture of the beautifully crafted wings. The backside tail of the pendant is etched with the word “Transform” as a dragonfly experiences many transformations throughout its life and symbolizes peace, strength and good luck, providing a delicate transformation the moment placed around their neck. Whether it’s a summer birthday gift or an addition to your own jewelry collection, the Dragonfly Pendant is a charm to cherish. This piece is priced at $130.

There are two new enchanting insignia designs — including the tag insignia, a distinguishing rectangular sterling silver tag shape with a waxy edge with a carved serif-style initial cast in a warm bronze and the quatrefoil insignia, an architecturally and symbolically based quatrefoil shape holds a powerfully simple and strong sans serif style brass initial with etched silver and carved brass framework honor each letter like a tiny altar. These exquisite pieces are the perfect accessory to start off your summer in a uniquely personalized, and fabulous fashion.

“This collection is a demonstration of all things Waxing Poetic stands for — love, happiness, joy and faith," said Stephanie Kheder, Waxing Poetic's lead product designer. "The pieces are detailed, beautiful and meaningful. They’re perfect for everyday wear or any festive summer occasion.”

Click here for more information and to view all of these treasures and more, or visit one of Waxing Poetic's flagship stores in Summerland (2350 Lillie Ave.) and Los Olivos (2477 Alamo Pintado Ave.). You can also find a specialty retail location nearest you.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing Waxing Poetic.


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McCune Foundation Makes Unique Investment to Housing Trust Fund

By | Published on 07/30/2014


The McCune Foundation and the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund are pleased to announce a partnership between the two organizations in support of their mutual missions.

The McCune Foundation is providing a $100,000 loan to VCHTF to help finance affordable housing developments in Ventura County. The Housing Trust Fund’s $4 million Revolving Loan Fund makes below-market rate loans for the development of affordable housing.

The five-year loan from the foundation will be leveraged with a matching grant from the State of California, Proposition 1C (Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006) Local Housing Trust Fund Program.

“The McCune Foundation wanted to go beyond the impact of our grants by investing a portion of our endowment in a local project,” said Sara Miller McCune, the foundation’s president and co-founder. “It is our hope that other institutions with endowments might also consider redirecting some of their investments to projects that support their communities.”

Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of the Housing Trust Fund, stated that “leveraging the foundation monies with the State’s Prop. 1C grant doubles the impact to create new affordable housing units desperately needed in our high cost housing market. As the loan is repaid, both the foundation funds and the state funds will circulate through VCHTF’s revolving loan pool, thereby becoming available for loans to other worthwhile housing projects and helping both organizations to pursue their missions.”

“This five-year loan from our endowment will carry a two percent interest rate — comparable to our past investments in bonds,” said Claudia Armann, executive director of the McCune Foundation. “Our board was motivated by knowing that the loan would be matched dollar-for-dollar by the state and that the program supports affordable housing — an issue that is a priority for many of our grantees. We also believe that creating safe and affordable housing builds community and social capital.”

Braunschweiger added: “Today developers and funders of affordable housing must be creative and develop new partnerships to access capital not previously leveraged for affordable housing. This partnership is a great example of bringing new dollars to the table to help fill the gap left by drastic cuts in traditional Federal, State and local housing funding sources.”

— Claudia Armann is executive director of the McCune Foundation.


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American Riviera Bank Exceeds $200 Million in Assets

By | Published on 07/30/2014


American Riviera Bank has announced unaudited net income of $382,000 (15 cents per share) for the second quarter ended June 30, and $668,000 (26 cents per share) for the six months
ended June 30.

The bank’s focus on building relationships and addressing the lending and deposit needs of our community has also resulted in strong growth in assets. The bank reached $217 million in total assets at June 30, which represents a 20 percent increase from June 30, 2013.

The bank has achieved exceptional growth in loans, reporting $158 million in total loans at June 30, which represents 16 percent growth from the second quarter of 2013. In the second quarter of 2014, American Riviera Bank originated $20 million of new loan commitments locally with a net increase to outstanding loan balances of $10 million.

Loan quality remains high with no other real estate owned and no loans past due 30 or more days. The aforementioned loan growth enabled the bank to grow net interest income 12 percent compared with the same quarter last year and 9 percent compared with the first six months of 2013.

“Local economic conditions have picked up and while supporting the banking needs of our clients the bank was able to grow loan totals and expand our net interest income, which is a core driver of future earnings,” said Jeff DeVine, president and chief executive officer.

Deposits have also experienced significant growth, reaching $180 million in total at June 30, which represents a 25 percent increase from the same reporting period last year. Noninterest bearing demand deposits reached $44 million at this quarter end, representing 11 percent growth from June 30, 2013.

American Riviera Bank maintains a strong capital position with Tier 1 Capital to total average assets of 12 percent as of June 30; well above the regulatory guideline of 5 percent for well-capitalized institutions. The book value of one share of American Riviera Bank stock was $10.02 at June 30, an increase from $9.53 at June 30, 2013.

— Michelle Martinich is senior vice president and chief financial officer for American Riviera Bank.


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United Way Young Leaders Society Celebrating Five Years of Success with Sunset Cruise

By | Published on 07/30/2014


United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Young Leaders Society will celebrate its fifth anniversary on Thursday, Aug. 7 with a sunset cruise on the Condor Express.

The celebration will honor the group, which was formed in 2009 to provide community involvement, encourage philanthropy and provide personal development opportunities for young professionals.

This unique and dynamic group offers its members multiple avenues to become involved with various United Way and community initiatives, to directly make a difference in people’s lives and to ultimately become leaders in our community.

In the last five years, members have enjoyed many exclusive opportunities that have positively influenced the lives of the members, program recipients and our community. These events included volunteer projects, such as crafting holiday day cards with seniors and participating at Day of Caring, youth mentoring programs such as United We Read and the national award-winning summer learning program Fun in the Sun; networking and business workshops on leadership and management, green business and team building; and other fun events, such as the annual fundraiser United We Bowl.

The goal of United Way’s Young Leaders Society is to promote and encourage philanthropy and volunteerism among the young leaders of Santa Barbara County, through participation in a variety of social, educational, volunteer and networking opportunities — and to have fun while doing it!

The mixer will be held on the Condor Express from 6 to 9 p.m. The price of attendance is free for members and $25 for nonmembers. Must RSVP by this Thursday, July 31. The cost includes a raffle ticket, appetizers, music and networking.

For more information or to buy tickets, click here or contact Kerstin Padilla at

— Kerstin Padilla is a marketing assistant for United Way of Santa Barbara County.


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Ron Fink: Should Sexual Predators Be Allowed Access to Our Children?

By | Published on 07/30/2014


Recently, many local governments have had to revisit and modify ordinances that they had adopted concerning where child molesters, pedophiles and/or other sexual predators could live and hang out. This was after a small group of misguided do-gooders decided that they were much more adept than local government at determining where these deviants should live.

The Lompoc city attorney's staff report on July 15 said: “In the 1990s, federal and state legislatures enacted various laws intended to protect minors from registered sex offenders. At the federal level, this legislation includes Megan’s Law, which was adopted in 1996 and created a nationwide sex offender registry. At the state level, the California Legislature adopted a series of regulations on the day-to-day lives of registered sex offenders, including a voter-approved measure known as Jessica’s Law.”

The state regulates the residency of registered sex offenders and specifically prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a school or park. The state also regulates loitering by registered sex offenders and provides that any registrant who “loiters about any school or public place at or near which children attend or normally congregate” is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The residency restriction is being reviewed by state courts.

So, the Lompoc City Council sought to clearly define the loitering/congregating restrictions, and in 2012 it approved an ordinance — primarily to give police firm enforcement guidelines — that restricted convicted sex offenders from loitering or temporarily residing within 300 feet of a child care center, public or private school, park, an establishment that provides a children’s play area or a public library.

There were other conditions that further defined where sex offenders could live and congregate, and it was these clear definitions that bothered a few people — most of whom lived elsewhere.

These folks didn’t like the rules that Lompoc and other local governments approved, and following lawsuits initiated by a convicted sex offender, California courts made some decisions regarding the ability of local government to establish sex offender rules. Two published decisions determined that state law preempted municipalities from adopting ordinances prohibiting sex offenders from entering local parks.

Our kids and grandkids play in public parks and are now being subjected to a higher level of risk because of the illogical decisions of the California judiciary.

Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 or younger. Treatment of this disorder is largely dependent of the pedophile's acceptance of the treatment protocol — if they fail to follow doctors’ orders, they could submit to their urges and reoffend. And, when they are allowed to congregate with other pedophiles and/or visit places where their victims visit, then there can be both the means and motivation to attack their young victims.

According to the Megan’s Law database, there are 53 registered sex offenders currently living in and around Lompoc; some are listed as transients, some have addresses at the federal prison, but most live in the city limits. You can view their criminal history and find their addresses on the Megan’s Law website by clicking here.

Changing the rules to reduce the restrictions didn’t seem to raise much public concern since only three people spoke during the Lompoc City Council meeting, and they generally supported the changes. Of course, how could anyone dispute the changes since they were essentially directed by court decisions?

None of the council members wanted to make the motion to approve the staff recommendation, so after making the motion, the vote was taken and then Mayor John Linn, speaking for many of us in the community, said of the 5-0 vote: “Universally, we understand (why we have to make these changes), but we don’t have to like it.”

It’s a sad day in our society when a very small group of people, many of whom have been convicted of “lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age,” can legally be allowed to expose the most vulnerable in our society to serious mental and physical harm.

Every parent and grandparent must remain vigilant by first reviewing the Megan’s Law website. Then, don’t allow your children or grandchildren out of your sight, teach them not to engage in lengthy conversations with people they don’t know, pay attention to who is around you, and if strangers take an unusual interest in your child or grandchild, move away. If they make an overt move to contact your child, call the police.

Since the judiciary doesn’t have an interest in protecting innocent children from the menace of child molesters, pedophiles and/or other sexual predators, I guess it’s up to us to help ourselves.

— 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 The opinions expressed are his own.


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UCSB Professor Studies Mixed Impacts of World’s Largest — and Threatened — Parrotfish

By | Published on 07/30/2014


In the high-tech world of science, researchers sometimes need to get back to basics. UC Santa Barbara’s Douglas McCauley did just that to study the impacts of the bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) on coral reef ecosystems at two remote locations in the central Pacific Ocean.

Douglas McCauley
UCSB assistant professor Douglas McCauley. (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

Using direct observation, animal tracking and computer simulation, McCauley, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, and his colleagues sought to understand whether the world’s largest parrotfish is necessary for positively shaping the structure and functioning of ecosystems. The answer, published in a recent issue of the journal Conservation Biology, is yes and no.

“We actually swam alongside bumphead parrotfish for close to six hours at a time, taking detailed data on what they ate and where they went,” McCauley explained. “It was one of the more exhausting but wonderful experiences I’ve had as a field scientist.”

Often more than 4 feet long and weighing in at more than 100 pounds, bumpheads are major coral predators; one fish can consume just over 2 tons of living coral in a year. They are also a threatened species in serious decline across the Pacific. Hunted throughout the region — often at night in sea caves where they sleep — they have cultural significance (i.e., they’re coveted for feasting ceremonies) among many Pacific islanders.

“These large parrotfish crunch off entire pieces of reef and audibly grind them up into sand in their pharyngeal mill — specialized teeth in the back of their throat,” McCauley explained. “You know bumpheads are near when you begin noticing branches lopped off stony corals and golflike divot scars marking the reef.”

McCauley’s research demonstrates that bumpheads exert a complex mix of positive and negative effects on reefs. On the plus side, bumpheads reduce the abundance of fast-growing algae that compete with corals for light and space. Their feeding helps corals reproduce by opening up space on reefs. In addition, when feeding, they can disperse small coral fragments around reefs that can later grow into adult coral colonies, just as birds disperse plant seeds.

Conversely, bumpheads eat coral and this predation reduces its abundance and diversity.

“They can completely consume small coral colonies, and the feeding scars they leave on large corals can be a source of physiological stress,” McCauley said. “The coral skeleton that they grind up and excrete falls also back atop corals as biosediment and this can amount to 50 tons of sediment a year from a school of bumpheads. Sedimentation in other contexts is known to contribute to the smothering of corals.”

The team’s results highlight the diverse effects that species can have on ecosystems, adding a deeper perspective on understanding the ecological role of endangered species. McCauley noted that conservation often tacitly advances the expectation that endangered species must be good for the environment.

“This viewpoint is ecologically misleading,” he added. “Most species do things to ecosystems that we would construe as both positive and negative. Endangered species are no different from their more abundant counterparts.”

McCauley is quick to add that these findings by no means suggest that declining species like bumphead parrotfish are undeserving of protection.

“We can, in fact, strengthen the integrity of the field of conservation biology by being rigidly objective about the observations we make in nature — even if this means reporting occasionally that rare species can damage ecosystems,” he added. “If anything, better understanding the full complement of ways that at-risk species use and affect their environment empowers us to more effectively protect them.

“The case of the bumphead parrotfish is analogous in interesting ways to the African elephant. African elephants are a vulnerable and imperiled species that can be agents of deforestation and reduce regional biodiversity. These effects are particularly strong in areas where elephants have been artificially confined in high-density aggregations. Science that describes how elephants reshape ecosystems can help managers more effectively approach the complicated task of reversing severe global elephant declines while protecting local ecosystems. Bumphead parrotfish are to coral reefs what elephants are to African savannas.”


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Openings Available for CHP ‘Start Smart’ Driving Class in Buellton

By | Published on 07/30/2014


The Buellton office of the California Highway Patrol has announced there are openings available for the next Start Smart classes scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Anyone who is interested in enrolling their sons or daughters (ages 15 to 20) for this free one-time, two-hour class can make reservations by calling the Buellton CHP area office at 805.688.5551.

The class will be held at the California Highway Patrol office at 166 Industrial Way in Buellton.

Start Smart addresses traffic safety issues that directly affect new drivers in a way no other program does. Start Smart speaks directly to the newly licensed drivers and their parents/guardians.

Some of the topics of this class include collision avoidance techniques, collision causing elements, driver responsibilities, local collision trends and a viewing of Red Asphalt V. This 15-minute film emphasizes the necessity to drive responsibly and the consequences drivers face when they don’t.

For reservations, information or questions please contact the Santa Maria CHP office at 805.688.5551.

— Officer John Ortega represents the California Highway Patrol in Buellton.


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Santa Barbara County Supervisors Discuss Exemptions for Measure P Anti-Fracking Ban

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Amid concerns of litigation, the board asks staff to create exemption rules for the proposed oil and gas production initiative on November's ballot

Santa Barbara County officials on Tuesday considered the possible passage of Measure P, a countywide proposal to ban high-intensity petroleum operations.

Voters will ultimately decide whether the ballot measure is approved this November, but the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors needed to direct county staff to craft certain implementation ordinances, including rules for exemptions. 

After getting an earful from both sides of the oil production and fracking debate, the board unanimously voted to have staff preemptively work on the implementation ordinances. 

While most aspects of Measure P would go into effect immediately, county staff said, supervisors needed to administer exemption provisions.

More frankly put, staff asked supervisors to OK implementing ordinances to try heading off some of the litigation the measure might throw their way.

The county has received at least two serious threats of lawsuits since supervisors voted last month to submit the initiative to ban “high-intensity petroleum operations” to voters in the November general election, county counsel Michael Ghizzoni said.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino asked whether Measure P explicitly exempts existing operations from the ban, but Ghizzoni said the word “existing” does not appear in the ballot language.

Measure P’s main proponents, the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, showed up in full blue-T-shirt-wearing force to support banning all operations that use methods of hydraulic fracturing, oxidization and steam injection for onshore oil production in the unincorporated areas of the county.

According to the measure, exemptions from the prohibition of development, construction, installation or use of any facility or aboveground equipment could be granted when the ban would violate constitutional rights, constitute an “unconstitutional taking of property” or apply to a person/entity with a “vested right” as of the effective date.

Nearly 30 public speakers took to the podium in Santa Barbara and remotely in Santa Maria, sharing concerns over ballot language that could hurt existing oil operations.

“We do not have the option of changing a word of that ballot,” Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said.

“It does expressly state within the ballot measure that we then are obligated to come up with these implementation ordinances.”

If the measure doesn’t pass, the exemption ordinances don’t matter, she said.

Others called Measure P flawed, a fiscal risk to the budget, job-killer and general waste, since fracking was not an issue in the county.

“I am not surprised that you’ve been threatened with litigation,” said Katie Davis of the Water Guardians, alleging oil-company-fueled scare tactics. “I would ask that the Board of Supervisors and county staff not be intimidated.”

Davis said the initiative would prevent a massive increase in these operations, not disband those in existence.

County staff said 50 percent of 1,200 active area wells use a cyclic-steaming process, while the rest will use one or more of the procedures indicated in Measure P in their lifetime.

The measure was anything but neighborly, according to Santa Barbara City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss.

“How would we feel if our neighbors from the north decided to ban one of our means of employment?” he said. “Let’s not set a terrible precedent by being un-neighborly to them.”

Another speaker likened fracking to “environmental molestation of Mother Nature.”

Joining remotely from Santa Maria, Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam asked why ordinances needed to be created before a vote.

Ghizzoni said ordinances could mitigate litigation, noting that the county budget must be augmented and two attorneys added if Measure P passes in November. 

“I think it’s going to be challenging and (be on a) case by case exemption,” he said.

“And expensive,” Adam added. “I think that this thing is really ill-advised.”

The county is self-insured up to $500,000, counsel said, but other insurance might not cover litigation of the initiative.

Ghizzoni said staff wouldn’t know if the county would be covered until it came out of a potential litigation process at the court of appeal.

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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Police Lieutenants Claim Retaliation During Dan Ast’s Reinstatement Hearing

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Testimony wraps up on seventh day; decision expected by February but likely sooner

Two Santa Maria Police Department lieutenants claim they and Dan Ast faced retaliation from former and current supervisors for filing complaints alleging corruption and safety issues in the agency.

Tuesday marked the seventh and final day of testimony in the arbitration hearing for Ast, a fired police lieutenant who is seeking to get his job back.

Ast was fired in March 2013 for his role in the fatal shooting of Officer Albert Covarrubias on Jan. 28, 2012, as his colleagues tried to arrest him for having a sexual relationship with a teen girl who was part of the department’s Explorer Scout program.

Days before the fatal shooting, Lt. Norm Comé, Lt. James Ginter and Ast filed a complaint with a city human resources representative after unsuccessfully taking their concerns to then-chief, Danny Macagni, in November 2011.

“There were things going on that were illegal,” said Ginter, who still serves in the department. “There were things that were going on that were unsafe. They posed risk to not only our employees but citizens we’re supposed to be serving.”

The three veteran police officers in April filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.

Comé and Ginter testified about their concerns under both the current and former police chiefs Tuesday, but much of the rebuttal occurred behind closed doors because it involved personnel matters.

However, in a written statement, Chief Ralph Martin refuted “all unsupported allegations of misconduct.” City officials said they couldn’t provide any specifics because of the officers’ rights to privacy under the Police Officers Bill of Rights. 

In testifying, the two lieutenants told of profanity directed at them, unanswered emails, less desirable schedules and more after they filed complaints against Macagni.

“The retaliation became worse immediately,” Ginter said of the actions against them upon filing the complaint at City Hall.

“The atmosphere went from bad to worse at the police station,” Ginter added. “The command staff ignoring us outright. Things being said. Things being done.”

He said he thinks Macagni was behind the actions.

“I believe he directed them to mess with us in any way that they could,” Ginter said.

As actions against them continued, Ginter said he emailed the complaint to Santa Maria City Council members.

“When they found out I had done this they were enraged,” said Ginter, who added he received a phone call at home from former Councilman Mike Cordero, a retired police lieutenant, who had just met with City Manager Rick Haydon and City Attorney Gil Trujillo.

In that call, Ginter said, Cordero told him, “They’re coming after you. They’re going to get you.”

Testimony Monday and Tuesday also mentioned the former police chief approaching the Police Officers Association board of directors, soliciting any complaints against the three lieutenants — or what Macagni allegedly called the three stooges.

“I felt this was another example of retaliatory actions, clearly.” Ginter said.

In all, the three officers found themselves the subjects of eight internal affairs investigations, which they claim came at the former chiefs and other supervisors' urging.

Ginter also told of getting a letter from the city confirming Macagni had retaliated against him. No specifics were given.

Comé, who is on medical leave, talked about about an incident involving an officer who didn’t show up to testify in court. When the public defender contacted him as watch commander, Comé said to go through the District Attorney’s Office, because the department has never accepted phone subpoenas.

“There was no complaint against me. I was morphed into the complaint on the back end because they saw an opportunity to come after me,” Comé said.

Comé said the trio approached the police chief as a group to air their grievances in November 2011.

“It was clear to us the chief was not happy with us,” Comé said.

Some of their complaints include a drunken reserve officer teaching newer officers about assault rifles, falsified timecards, ticket fixing and an “exorbitant amount” of overtime to the point it was a safety concern for officers and citizens.

“My concern was somebody was going to get on the motorcycle after a 20-hour shift and get killed,” Comé said.

A short time later, police commanders reassigned them, removing Ast from his role as chief of criminal investigations but making him responsible for completing investigators’ evaluations.

“How was he supposed to accomplish that based on your knowledge and training?” Ast’s attorney, Jonathan Miller, asked.

“That was one of our chief concerns. We voiced that with the chief and commander. It fell on deaf ears,” Comé said.

Under questioning by Dennis Gonzales, the city’s attorney, Comé and Ginter said the three had not taken their concerns to other local or federal law enforcement agencies.

Days after the shooting in a city employees meeting, Macagni put the blame for the shooting on Covarrubias, Comé said.

“It was made very clear Officer Covarrubias was responsible for the shooting,” Comé said.

Ginter supported Ast’s actions the night of the shooting.

“Had I been there I wouldn’t have changed anything,” Ginter said. “That man did nothing wrong.”

The city’s attorney completed his case just before the lunch break Tuesday, the seventh day of the arbitration hearing which began in early June.

Hearing officer Catherine Harris could make her decision within 60 days or longer. City officials said the decision is expected to be released no later than February.

If the hearing officer rules in favor of reinstating Ast, city leaders said they would follow protocol outlined in the official decision.

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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Chumash Holding Public Meeting About Casino Expansion

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Locals will get the chance to check out the specifics of a planned expansion at the Chumash Casino Resort — including construction of a new 12-story hotel tower — at a public meeting Thursday.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, which owns and operates the casino and resort on its federally-recognized reservation, will host the meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Samala Showroom at the Chumash Casino Resort.

The meeting follows a letter the tribe sent this spring to Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, chairman of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, announcing plans to add 215 hotel rooms, 584 parking spaces, more gaming floor space and other improvements to alleviate overcrowding and circulation issues.

Construction is slated to begin as soon as later this year, and tribal officials are hosting the meeting to present plans and gather input — and likely some complaints — from neighbors of the 190,000-square-foot complex at 3400 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez.

Tribal chairman Vincent Armenta said those issues will be answered in a final environmental evaluation for the project — consistent with tribal government rules — and do not need to be brought before the county supervisors for approval.

The tribe has offered to meet with the supervisors to discuss mitigating environmental impacts, he said, and the 30-day public review period for the EE closes Aug. 14.

“It’s important for the public to know that this meeting is not a Q&A format,” Armenta said in a statement. “We are simply collecting comments from the public and will respond to those comments in our final EE. The tribe will make a good faith effort to mitigate all off-reservation impacts and will recirculate a final EE document.”

An overall budget of approximately $165 million has been earmarked for the project that would add to the existing 106 guest rooms and 17 luxury suites at the resort hotel.

The tribe opened the original casino in 1994 in a small building, adding two temporary buildings in subsequent years before consolidated into one complex that opened in 2004.

In the letter to supervisors, Armenta said expansion was necessary because the hotel was dramatically downsized during the tribal environmental review process — a disservice to the tribe’s long-term revenue.

The environmental evaluation, available online by clicking here, shows the tribe's plans to add a new 12-story tower and hotel rooftop pool deck perpendicular to the existing four-story hotel, spanning the East Fork of Zanja de Cota Creek to the existing southern parking structure. 

The tribe plans to construct a new six-tier parking structure adjacent to current parking and to renovate the casino to grow by 60,000 square feet.

Adding more machines to the 18-or-older, 24-hour gaming floor — already boasting 2,000 slot machines, dozens of table games, bingo, poker and more — is not part of plans, since the casino already has the maximum number allowed by the state.

The proposed project would be built over two years beginning this fall, and would create 250 new jobs at the complex that would be able to serve 10,000 patrons per day instead of the current daily average of 8,800.

“Guests of the Chumash Casino Resort will benefit with additional hotel rooms, more parking spaces and more space on the gaming floor,” Armenta said. “The community will benefit by the new jobs created by this project — both during and after construction.”

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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Fiesta Mercados Open at De la Guerra Plaza, MacKenzie Park

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Old Spanish Days kicks off Wednesday with merchant booths and La Fiesta Pequeña

Hoping to beat the afternoon heat Tuesday, a group of high-school wrestlers armed with small paint brushes and a ladder spent the morning putting final touches on a vendor booth for the Santa Barbara Jaycees in De la Guerra Plaza.

The San Marcos High School student athletes seemed to sense the tradition of working in the same space the local nonprofit has occupied during Old Spanish Days Fiesta since 1983, on the north side of the downtown plaza.

Working ahead of a kickoff Wednesday, the teenagers offered up a day of summer to continue the custom and raise money to replace a wrestling mat 40 years past its prime.

The Fiesta mercados are the biggest fundraisers of the year for Santa Barbara Jaycees and other nonprofits and businesses that set up food and beverage booths in De la Guerra Plaza downtown and in MacKenzie Park near Las Positas Road.

Visitors can begin enjoying the fare at 11 a.m. Wednesday, and El Mercado de la Guerra and El Mercado Del Norte at MacKenzie Park will remain open daily through Saturday.

Fiesta will feature extra events to celebrate its 90th anniversary, and the Santa Barbara Jaycees will offer something special, too.

Slushies have been added to an already simple yet successful menu of taquitos, chips and homemade guacamole that’s converted avocado-haters over the years, said Tony Becerra, Jaycees chairman.

“It’s all made here in the booth,” Becerra said. “People have known us for years and years.”

Ice cold lemonade, tacos, churros, burgers and more carnival-type food can also be found, provided by organizations such as Special Olympics Southern California, La Casa de la Raza and Santa Barbara Rugby Association.

In order to buy that new wrestling mat — costing $8,000 to $12,000 — the Jaycees need to sell a lot of guacamole, which shouldn’t be a problem considering the booth typically uses 60 to 80 cases of avocados, Becerra said.

Understanding the sanctity of mercados customs, Becerra said he hopes one tradition will fall this year.

He has a long-standing offer to anyone who requests the booth’s guacamole recipe, guaranteeing the ingredients if a person volunteers to work one shift during Fiesta.

So far, no one has taken him up on the deal.

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


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Santa Barbara Council OKs $644,000 to Fund Studies for Desalination Plant Reactivation

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Running the facility will cost an estimated $5 million per year, but without it, the city faces a 60 percent drop in water supplies in 2017

Santa Barbara’s desalination-facility permit is considered valid, but the California Coastal Commission and other regulatory agencies are requiring environmental studies before the city’s plant can reopen.

The Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility has been on standby status since the mid-1990s, and needs about $30 million in upgrades (and another $1.8 in preliminary design) before it’s operational again. 

City Council members started the reactivation process in May, and on Tuesday approved spending $644,000 for additional environmental studies and specialized legal services.

There was a concern the plant’s coastal development permit would not be valid, but it appears the city will have to amend the existing permit, not start the process completely over.

Santa Barbara’s desalination facility at 525 E. Yanonali St. is designed to pump seawater through filters to catch the solid matter first, after which pure saltwater is pumped at high pressure through semi-permeable membranes to separate out potable water.

Water is pumped in from an intake pipe three-quarters of a mile offshore, then solid waste is dumped with the discharge from the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant.

With the current schedule, the City Council would consider bids next April and the plant would come online in mid-2016.

The Coastal Commission, which issues the permit, is requiring a biological assessment of the ocean floor near the seawater intake facility, according to acting Water Resources Manager Joshua Haggmark.

The study will examine impacts from reinstalling the screens and pumps for the intake facility, he said.

Santa Barbara is also funding a water-quality sampling study, which is required by the California Department of Public Health, and a computer modeling study of the desalination discharge mixed with wastewater, which is being required by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

In total, the council unanimously approved $643,959 for additional desalination-related studies and legal support on Tuesday. 

Running the desalination facility will cost an estimated $5 million per year, so the City Council would prefer never restarting the plant. 

However, the city would need significantly above-average rainfall this winter to push back the schedule, Haggmark said.

“It would be a real hit to the finances of the water system,” Councilman Bendy White said.

Due to the huge amount of energy needed, the desalination facility water would also have a much higher carbon footprint than other water sources, he noted.

At the same time the city is dealing with the coastal development permit amendments, it's renewing its permit to discharge wastewater and desalination brine into the Pacific Ocean, Haggmark said.

Santa Barbara’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit allows 11 million gallons per day of wastewater from El Estero and 12.5 million gallons per day of desalination brine to be discharged, but it expires May 13, 2015.

Desalination is written into the city's drought plan, and city staff estimate that Santa Barbara will have shortages starting in 2016 without it. The city will have adequate supplies for the next water year, which starts Oct. 1, only if customers cut their use by 20 percent, according to water staff.

Without desalination, the city is looking at a 60 percent drop in available water supplies in 2017.

“That’s catastrophic for this community,” Haggmark said.

Santa Barbara has declared a Stage II drought, which includes water-use restrictions and drought water rates for utility customers.

So far, the drought water rates have raised customer bills across the board. Since July 1, when the rates took effect, customer bills have increased 3 percent for low water users, 16 percent for moderate users and 67 percent or more for high users, according to a city staff report.

Rates could increase more if desalination moves forward. As part of the reactivation plan, the City Council is studying what water rates are necessary to fund the facility’s capital and operating costs.

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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Wine Cask Partners with Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara for Etiquette Dinner

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Wine Cask is proud to welcome the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara for an evening of fine dining and social enrichment.

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, children from Mrs. Bock’s Social Manners program will pay a visit to Wine Cask to demonstrate their newly acquired proper manners, which they learned during the club’s summer program.

Wine Cask, too, will demonstrate its socially responsible etiquette through its Charity Lunch Promotion by donating 10 percent of guests’ checks this month, when they mention the local nonprofit organization.

“We are so proud to partner on this great initiative with the Boys & Girls Club to support and help further cultivate the youth of our community,” said Mitchell Sjerven, co-owner of Wine Cask. “A dinner at Wine Cask is the perfect setting for these young kids to practice their very best manners, while getting an introduction to fresh, local, farm-to-table cuisine.”

The children range from 6 to 12 years of age and will apply their sophisticated skills as they enjoy a four-course meal, which will include a savory soup, a fresh garden salad, a chicken entrée and a sweet dessert. During the summer program, students learn table manners and dining etiquette: how to properly place their napkin while eating, when to use the correct utensils and how to drink properly from their glass, among other skills.

“Everyone certainly appreciates how proper manners can make a difference in a child. Courtesy and good social skills acquired during the early years become valuable assets in professional and personal life,” said Vickie Prezelin, executive assistant of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara is dedicated to provide young people with hope and opportunity, a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals and life-enhancing programs.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara has several summer programs kicking off this month. Now through Aug. 15, it is offering its summer camp sessions planned to incorporate High Yield Learning Actives (HYLAs) that aim to reduce the amount of academic loss that long school breaks can often bring. Daily programs include reading activities, character and leadership development, art projects, recreational sports, and health and life skills, among many more. Wine Cask is pleased to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara and support these important initiatives for our local youth.

Join Wine Cask for lunch this month and savor the taste of summer with delicious dishes like the Grilled Wagyu Silron with spring pepper mashed potatoes, or bite into our Filet Mignon Enchiladas with black bean risotto, tomatillo-avocado salsa, Cacique cheese, and sour cream. Relax in the summer sunshine and enjoy lunch at Wine Cask’s lovely courtyard while giving back to the Santa Barbara community by supporting the Boys & Girls Club.

Click here for more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

Wine Cask is located in downtown Santa Barbara in the historic El Paseo complex, and offers the best of all worlds to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner in a stylishly relaxed setting. Our passion is serving great food, providing the highest caliber of service and bringing back the comfort and nostalgia of one of Santa Barbara’s favorite restaurants to our patrons. Wine Cask is located at 813 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara. Call 805.966.9463 or click here for more information.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Wine Cask.


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Michael Barone: Fighting Parasitic Bureaucracies and Crony Capitalism

By | Published on 07/29/2014


"Pare down the parasitic fringe" of government. "Favor a gospel of work" instead of aristocratic entitlement. "Rationalize finance" and "reverse the Parkinson's law of bureaucracy."

All of that sounds like rhetoric from the Tea Party or reform conservatives who assail what they call crony capitalism.

But it's not a contemporary criticism. Those are phrases from a long essay, written more than a half-century ago, by British historian H.R. Trevor-Roper, titled "The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century."

In his plummy prose, Trevor-Roper sought to explain why revolutions or revolts of varying sorts broke out in the British Isles, France, Spain, Italy and Germany in the years between 1640 and 1660.

He was especially eager to refute Marxist historians' claims that these were the necessary predicate to what their master proclaimed would be the inevitable and beneficent communist revolutions that unaccountably had not yet occurred.

Trevor-Roper argues that the growing nation-states of the 1500s, engorged with New World silver and inflationary currencies, built up large bureaucracies that stifled trade and manufactures. The Counter-Reformation Catholic Church had a similar effect.

These bureaucracies were particularly expensive because rulers gave their favorites "the right to exploit their fellow subjects," with monopolies in particular commodities and grants of land they could profitably dispose of. Crony capitalism was squeezing out a potentially productive private sector.

It's not hard to see some resemblance to America today. The federal bureaucracy head count is not significantly larger than it was 50 years ago. But the federal impact is much greater, through entitlement programs, subcontracted welfare provisions and regulation that favors entrenched interests.

Thus the Dodd-Frank Act gives favored financial institutions too-big-to-fail status that enables them to muscle aside potential competitors. The Export-Import Bank provides special favors to a few giant corporations. But there are few loans to start-up businesses.

Government subsidization of health care, even before Obamacare, and of higher education creates huge dysfunctional bureaucracies that vacuum up supposed benefits to patients and students.

Agricultural subsidies and price-fixing, "green energy" programs, laws such as the Jones Act and Davis-Bacon that restrict work to unionized firms — all siphon off money and resources from the productive private sector to politically well-positioned special interests.

Trevor-Roper points out that princely states and the Counter-Reformation Church proliferated "hatcheries which turned out the superfluous bureaucrats," as many colleges and universities do today.

State and local governments, often the captives of public-sector unions, pay higher-than-private-sector wages to bureaucrats and teachers and make pension promises that will burden the productive economy for generations.

Seventeenth century European reformers had another model in mind, the prosperous Renaissance city-states of Italy and Flanders, many of which were squeezed out of business by nation-states.

After 1660, the nation-states that pared back bureaucracies and allowed room for such trading cities to operate — England, Holland and, for a while, France — flourished, while Spain, Italy and Germany mostly languished.

Americans today, thanks to our federal system, have models available, too. Texas, with its low taxes and sensibly light regulation, has a booming multisector economy with high job creation. Fracking technology, on private lands not owned by the government, has increased oil and gas production far above levels government agencies and big corporations predicted.

Some conservatives nostalgic for the Reagan revolution insist that the key to sparking private-sector growth is cutting high tax rates. But rates aren't so high today, and crony capitalism, particularly since the 2008 financial crisis, has metastasized far beyond 1980s levels.

Today, the reform conservatives and Tea Partiers are moving, hesitantly and unevenly, on the path toward clearing away impediments to growth and paring down what Trevor-Roper calls "the monstrous parasite."

The bipartisan coalition that has supported farm bills has broken down. Proposals to raise the gas tax to fund transportation are going nowhere. House Republican leaders are talking seriously about refusing to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

Reform conservatives have called for measures to help struggling Americans without political connections work their way up. And last week, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a 73-page antipoverty agenda going beyond his previous tax cut and entitlement reform proposals.

Such proposals are emerging without any institutional economically motivated base. It's starting to look something like what Trevor-Roper saw in the 17th century: an "indeterminate, unpolitical, but highly sensitive miscellany of men" mutinying "against the vast, oppressive, ever-extending apparatus of parasitic bureaucracy."

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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UCSB Receives $499,888 NSF Grant to Research Bugs in Modern Software Systems

By | Published on 07/29/2014


UCSB Receives $499,888 NSF Grant to Research Bugs in Modern Software Systems

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday announced that researchers at UCSB received a $499,888 grant from the National Science Foundation to research new ways to find and eliminate bugs in modern software systems.

Most work, communication and entertainment done on smartphones and computers now involves using software applications. And increasingly, these applications are web-based and not bound to the computing devices being used, a benefit that comes with a cost — increasing complexity.

Developing software systems is a difficult and error-prone task, and most of the time, developers are not able to find all the errors in a software application before it is released to the users. So, bugs in modern software systems are common, leading to unintended behaviors, security vulnerabilities and crashes.

The UCSB research group is investigating new ways to find and eliminate bugs in modern software systems by developing innovative approaches to software verification, particularly focusing on code that manipulates and updates the data in modern software systems.

“With more and more people using web-based software applications, this funding will support research to make our interactions with these software applications easier, more efficient and more secure,” Capps said. “As technology continues to develop, I am proud that researchers right here at UCSB and all along the Central Coast are working to make sure that we stay on the cutting edge and ensuring that these technologies work for as many people as possible.”

“The funding provided by NSF will enable the group to extend their work on software verification and also develop novel techniques for automatically repairing bugs that they discover,” said professor Tevfik Bultan, who is the principal investigator. “The majority of the funding will be used to hire project personnel (such as graduate student researchers or postdoctoral scholars) to develop novel software verification techniques and implement them in collaboration with me and under my supervision. Some of the funding will be used to buy computers that will be used to implement and experiment with the software that will be developed within the scope of this project.”

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


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Rona Barrett Foundation Announces Start of $3.5 Million Campaign for Golden Inn & Village

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Representatives from the Rona Barrett Foundation have announced the start of an ambitious three-year, community-wide fundraising campaign to raise $3.5 million to complete the construction and furbishing of the Golden Inn & Village and provide seed money for essential programs and services to be delivered there for resident seniors and all seniors from the community.

The GIV will be the first senior housing project in the County of Santa Barbara and the State of California to provide affordable, aging-in place senior care for the Santa Ynez Valley's most vulnerable seniors.

It will be located at the heart of the community at the intersection of Refugio Road and Highway 246 across from the YMCA, Santa Ynez Valley High School, the Christian Academy and El Rancho Market.

For more information, click here or call 805.688.8887.

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


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John Daly: Unprofessional Behavior Could Lose Business and Your Job!

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Times are changing. Social norms have varied in today’s world but that doesn’t mean basic etiquette doesn’t matter. Take Brad Smith, for instance. His company had high hopes for what they thought would be a young mover and shaker. Brad was filled with self-confidence and felt fairly invincible out of the gate. But he forgot that business is really about people and that most of us would rather work with or buy from someone with professional behavior and high standards.

Brad was good about introducing people, but he often substituted a “hello” or nod instead of offering a handshake. When he was busy, he often failed to acknowledge or greet his co-workers unless he needed something from them. His management began to notice and thought it displayed that he was unapproachable and impolite. Their suspicions were backed up when he failed to say “please” or “thank you” for anything.

Brad was an “over-talker.” He was so eager to impress his own opinions that he often interrupted others in midsentence. It’s never easy to not interject, particularly when there is a point to be made. But Brad always pressed on, rudely disrespecting the opinions of others. He often appeared aggressive rather than assertive. In the heat of conversation, he sometimes used derogatory, rude or offensive language. His written communications were filled with slang, which added to the unprofessional impression he began to make on others. Oftentimes he would send emails without subject lines and content full of spelling and grammar errors. Instead of a proper closure, he would sign his emails with a smiley face!

After a few months on the job, Brad got in the habit of walking into someone’s office unannounced. No knock on the door or hello before opening it. Never questioning if it was a good time to talk. He never called or emailed ahead to find a good time to talk. His direct supervisors felt disrespected and often spoke to Brad about calling ahead. But Brad just ignored his boss’ words of warning. Brad also liked to stand over the boss’ shoulder at his desk and read over his shoulder or hang around and listen as his supervisor finished a phone call.

Brad developed a reputation among his co-workers as a gossip who liked to bait others on highly charged topics of politics and religion and then share those discussions to irritate others. He crossed the personal and professional lines on this one.

In meetings, (for which he was frequently late) whether in-house or with clients, he would stop the conversation to take calls, or he would text or check emails. He failed to show genuine interest through eye contact and making an effort to truly listen to others. He was easily distracted and began to lose business. Management began to lose patience and started writing him up because of his behavior.

After three warnings in six months, the company let him go. Is it any wonder that it took them so long?

As you go about your professional career, remember that companies hire for aptitude and work knowledge but fire for behavior. It is something to always keep in mind.

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


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Dos Pueblos’ Boys Tennis Mix-and-Match Doubles Fundraiser a Swinging Success

By | Published on 07/29/2014


“I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands.” — "Wake Me Up," Avicci

At the Dos Pueblos High School tennis courts on Sunday, our annual Boys Tennis Mix-and-Match Doubles Fundraiser finished well, like our historical season this spring. In addition to the hard work of our team, the immense community support of our program carried us through our winning season. Together, we made things happen.

Again, we are grateful to Yogurtland (Amanda Oh and family), which has sponsored us for the upcoming season. Participants came from the three Channel League schools as well as from the various clubs and city courts. Before the tournament started, we had instructors and coaches warm up the players for 30 to 40 minutes. Also, we received generous donations from everyone, even from those who could not play in our tournament.

Every year we honor a Charger enthusiast; this year, we gave a “shoutout” to Ralph and Dale Kistler, longtime DP boys tennis supporters. As for the competition,  “Come on,” “Let’s go” and laughter could be heard from all of the courts. We gave the “mature” players and younger players the option of partnering with a pro. After seeing them play, they could have easily held their own without one.

In some of the rounds on some of the courts, we used green-dot balls (usually reserved for 10-and-under competition). Of course, matches on those courts ran longer than on other courts. We finished the tournament with an exhibition match between our Channel League doubles winners, Patrick Corpuz and Miles Baldwin, and Jeff Villano and Ricky Echanique.

Throughout the tournament, we could also hear cheers and commentary from our little mascot, Alex Casady, proudly wearing his Dos Pueblos tennis shirt. He did go on court to be ball boy for his parents. After the tournament, we enjoyed sandwich platters and cookies from Subway.

I want to thank our team, fellow coaches (Allison Golledge and Alexei Prilepine), Amanda Oh and parents who did major setup and cleanup. I also acknowledge our local instructors, who contributed to our fundraiser: Hughie Stratman, Jeff Villano, Ross Skinner, Ricky Echanique, Alexei Prilepine, Peter Kirkwood, Sammer Aziz and Austin Trevillian.

I thank you all. “We are family.” Way to go, Chargers!

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


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Santa Maria Selected as Host Town for Special Olympics World Games

By | Published on 07/29/2014


The City of Santa Maria announced on Tuesday that the community has been officially selected to participate in the Special Olympics World Games “Host Town” program from July 21-24, 2015.

Before the Special Olympics World Games begin on July 25, 2015, more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to Southern California through the “Host Town” program. One hundred communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego will have the honor of being selected as an official Host Town.

“The Host Town program is an exciting way for Southern California locals to open our doors and show the athletes and coaches from around the world our hospitality and our culture,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee. “This is an important part of the World Games experience and a truly meaningful way for different communities to be part of the Games and create lasting memories for our visiting athletes.”

As a Host Town, the City of Santa Maria will roll out the red carpet for the international Special Olympics athletes visiting. The athletes will be treated to a true Santa Maria style experience of fun and excitement that will be truly memorable.

“We have a long and proud tradition of supporting and operating the local and regional games for Special Olympics, and so we are thrilled about this wonderful opportunity to see first‐hand the ability of Special Olympics athletes from around the world,” Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino said.

The Host Town program has been an important element of Special Olympics World Games since 1995, and the experience has left a lasting impression on the local communities in Ireland, Japan, China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have previously organized Host Town programs as part of the Special Olympics World Games.

LA2015 is actively identifying potential Host Town candidates to be considered for the program. Communities are evaluated on the availability of lodging accommodations, sports practice facilities and recreation/entertainment offerings for the athletes, among other criteria. Host Towns are also responsible for planning activities for the athletes to introduce them to the community and help spread the word about the Games. More Host Town selections will be announced in the coming weeks.

The City of Santa Maria joins the growing list of officially proclaimed Host Towns, which includes Long Beach, Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Studio City, West Covina, Manhattan Beach, Arcadia, Burbank, Palmdale, La Mirada, Santa Clarita, Palm Springs and Glendale. More Host Town selections will be announced in the coming weeks.


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Free ‘Aging Well & Aging at Home’ Seminar to Focus on Financial Health

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Senior aging is a common discussion among policymakers, families and the media. As the numbers of aging Americans, those age 65 or older, practically doubles in the next 15 years, more people are asking how they can maintain independence and stay at home.

Senior Planning Services is offering a wellness series that provides information on elder care resources, including insurance options, home equity conversion mortgages and Medicare.

To address the needs of the growing number of seniors in Santa Barbara, Senior Planning Services is hosting its second complimentary "Aging Well & Aging at Home" seminar, focusing on financial health. This event is co-sponsored by All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, El Montecito Presbyterian Church, Montecito Covenant Church and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, all of which believe that supporting their congregations is essential to long-term wellness.

The financial health seminar will discuss local and national resources available to the senior community. From 2 to 4 p.m. this Thursday, July 31, at El Montecito Presbyterian, 1455 East Valley Road, a panel of experts, including Suzanne McNeely, Brad Tisdale, Bill Batty and Jeanette Macias, will provide information on common senior needs, including:

» Guidance and advocacy for elder care and resources available

» Long-term care planning

» Medicare, Medigaps and Medicare Advantage

» Benefits and misconceptions of home equity conversion mortgages

Senior Planning Services has provided expert guidance on elder care issues to Santa Barbara County since 1989. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Cynthia Synder at or 805.966.3312.

— Marjorie Large is a publicist representing Senior Planning Services.


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Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team Holding First of Two Recruitment Meetings This Wednesday

By | Published on 07/29/2014


The Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team is looking for new members to fill its next search and rescue training academy.

Those interested in joining this elite organization of people giving back to the community are invited to attend a no-obligation recruitment meeting at 6 p.m. this Wednesday, July 30, or Wednesday, Aug. 27. Both meetings will be held at the Search & Rescue station at 66 S. San Antonio Road in Santa Barbara.

SBCSAR is a volunteer branch of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. This highly-trained team uses specialized training and equipment to handle a variety of emergencies, including high-angle rock rescues, car-over-the-side accidents, downed aircraft, swiftwater rescues and medical emergencies.

SBCSAR is a California Type I search and rescue team and one of only 19 teams in California that is fully certified as a Mountain Rescue Team. In order to qualify for MRA status, a team must pass proficiency tests in snow and ice, rock, and search operations every three years. MRA teams are viewed as the best in the country and are often requested to support search and rescue personnel of other counties.

Team members are men and women from all walks of life and are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

SBCSAR's primary jurisdiction is the wilderness and urban areas of Santa Barbara County. As such, team members have the opportunity to visit parts of the county very few ever experience to see the unique beauty of our backcountry. In addition, as part of the Mountain Rescue Association, the team responds to emergencies in other counties, states and national parks such as Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings National Parks.

As an active arm of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, the team is called to assist on evidence searches, provides medical support for large community events, and is the primary entity to coordinate and carry out evacuations during major disasters such as wildland fires.

Click here for more information on SBCSAR.

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


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Goleta Planning Commission Supports Marriott Hotel Project

By | Published on 07/29/2014


The Marriott Residence Inn hotel development plan was supported by the Goleta Planning Commission in a 3-2 decision Monday night, which pushes the project to the City Council for final approval.

The 118-room hotel would be located in the 6300 block of Hollister Avenue, across the street from the Santa Barbara Airport.

There is high demand for an extended-stay hotel where travelers stay an average of five to 11 nights, according to developer Bob Olson of R.D. Olson Development.

Olson’s company has pursued a hotel at this location for many years and also owns the Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 401 Storke Road, which opened in 2012.

The current project is smaller, with fewer rooms, than the original proposal. In addition to the brand-new hotel, the plans include landscaping and vehicle circulation improvements to the existing Hollister Center on the same parcel.

While representatives from the business community and UC Santa Barbara support the project and want more hotel rooms in the Goleta Valley, opponents object to the site itself, which has archaeological significance to local Native American tribes.

The proposed Marriott project was withdrawn several years ago after the preservationist group Friends of Saspili sued over the Chumash site, and the concerns haven’t gone away.

The project was revised and now includes plans for a sanctuary garden on the property — a place for visitors to learn about the history of Chumash in the Goleta Slough area and for tribe members to meet and reflect, Olson said.

David Stone, an archaeologist working for Olson, said early excavations of the property in the 1920s found — and destroyed — numerous burials in the area but maps indicate any cemeteries are outside the proposed hotel property.

According to the environmental impact report, about 17 percent of the original archaeological site remains today, and the project overlaps with a portion of it.

Under the proposed project, the 10.7-acre parcel would be split, with the hotel built on the undeveloped side.

Land use attorney Marc Chytilo is representing the Friends of Saspili for the second time regarding the Marriott project.

At Monday’s hearing, he called the hotel project “a house of cards that is built upon a lot split.”

The office building is nonconforming with the city’s General Plan and, if demolished, would make room for the proposed hotel, Chytilo suggested.

“We request that (the Planning Commission) deny the lot split and direct the applicant to pursue the hotel project on the entirety of the parcel," he said, "and continue to respect the sensitive archeological resources and spiritual significance of the western portion of this parcel.”

The environmental impact report concluded that the mitigation measures would reduce any impacts to less-than-significant levels, but local Chumash are concerned about the potential loss of cultural resources.

The Planning Commission members voted 3-2 to recommend approval of the revised final environmental impact report and development plan for the Marriott project. The recommendation will go to the City Council, which is the final decision-maker for the project.

The Marriott is one of two new hotels planned for the city, with the 138-room Rincon Palms Hilton Garden Inn going in at the intersection of Storke Road and Hollister Avenue.

With the ongoing drought, concerns have been raised about adding new water service connections, but the Goleta Water District has given its preliminary support for the project since it looks at water use over the long term, according to city staff.

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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Using Channel Islands as Model, UCSB Collaboration Demonstrates Importance of Historical Ecology

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Sometimes in order to plan for the future, you have to look to the past. That is what more than two dozen scientists from across the United States did when they met at UC Santa Barbara two years ago to participate in the Channel Islands Bio-cultural Diversity Working Group.

Lyndal Laughrin
Lyndal Laughrin, director of the Santa Cruz Island Reserve, which is overseen by UCSB. (Sonia Fernandez / UCSB photo)

The group’s goal was to use historical ecology — research that focuses on the interactions between humans and their environment over long periods of time, typically over the course of centuries — to demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinary research. They employed this approach in order to improve their understanding of long-term changes in island ecology and biodiversity and to assist conservation biologists in guiding ecosystem management. The results of their research project are published in the current issue of the journal BioScience.

Using California’s Channel Islands as a model system, the group’s analysis spans approximately 20,000 years from before human occupation through Native American hunter-gatherers, commercial ranchers and fishers, the United States military and other land managers. The Channel Islands encompass eight land masses, ranging from Catalina Island in the south to San Miguel Island in the north.

The main point of the findings is that all of this history can be used to inform the future.

“The trends show that we are moving into a period of climate change,” said Lyndal Laughrin, director of the Santa Cruz Island Reserve, which is overseen by UCSB. “So how do we take the past and what the present is telling us and prepare for the future? I think it’s important that we are connecting the past to the future using a multidisciplinary outcome.”

Co-owned by the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, Santa Cruz is the largest of the Channel Islands. The reserve is one of 39 in the University of California’s Natural Reserve System.

“The distant past had a whole different regime with larger islands due to a lower sea level and more forestation as a result of a cooler climate,” Laughrin added. “The more recent historical past was influenced by agriculture and ranching, which changed the islands, and now the changeover from private ownership as well as economic pressures have turned the focus to conservation and restoration efforts.”

Because of their relative isolation, islands make an ideal model to study. While the Channel Islands are not as remote as Hawaii or the Galapagos Islands, they nonetheless provide examples of endemics, species unique to a defined geographic location.

Endemics occur in two different ways. Some are the result of species getting out to islands but dying elsewhere, often due to climate change and loss of habitat. Others are the result of a species losing its connection to the original population so that genetic interaction ceases. The isolated species then evolves with a genetic difference that renders it unique.

Today, the Channel Islands are host to 10 endemic island mammal subspecies, including the spotted skunk found on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands and different subspecies of island fox found on all of the Channel Islands except Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands. Of the 271 endemic plant taxa, 44 are single-island endemics and 37 are endemic on the four northern islands — Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel.

According to the researchers, in addition to this natural selection process, climate change and human disturbances have contributed to the current degradation of Channel Island ecosystems. While the need for restoration may be clear, how to go about achieving it is not.

“The strength of this research is the idea of how this whole interaction between the natural world and the human world is built on the past,” Laughrin concluded. “Our job now as conservationists is to combine what we have now with what we need to do, incorporating an increasing human population and anticipated climatic change.”


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Crews Respond to Electrical Fire at Goleta Trader Joe’s

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Santa Barbara County Fire engines responded to an electrical fire at Trader Joe’s in the Calle Real Shopping Center Tuesday morning.

Crews responded to 5767 Calle Real in Goleta for a structure fire call around 10 a.m. and the store was briefly evacuated. 

The small electrical fire was contained to the refrigeration unit so the store has reopened, but one aisle is closed, Capt. David Sadecki said. 

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story. 

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


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Max McCumber: Baseball Happens Here, But Doesn’t Have to Stay

By | Published on 07/29/2014


It's an age-old adage: What happens here, stays here. Usually it's an oath to swear by with your pals on a promiscuous getaway to Las Vegas. When used in reference to baseball as seen on television, it undermines the spirit of the event.

Max McCumber
Max McCumber

Too often I hear commentators note that, "Not a lot of people outside [insert small market city here] know about how great a player so and so is." Major League Baseball repeatedly claims it has never been more popular. However, every "not a lot of people outside of" remark is a threat to its popularity.

The Oakland A's have an outstanding team this year, with the best record in MLB as of the All-Star break. For them to be outperforming teams with considerably higher payrolls, such as the New York Yankees, proves the game to be healthy. Yet for Oakland to reach the World Series could be catastrophic for TV ratings. Baseball has produced as much parity as ever, but how much has it truly accomplished if not all teams are supposed to generate national prestige?

Unless it's your local team or one from a wealthy market such as Boston, New York, Chicago or L.A. in action, there is little reason to follow baseball. This attitude has become conventional wisdom primarily because it's encouraged by the media. It's not really indicative of what the game has to offer to national audiences.

A Milwaukee Brewers game taken in with a sausage and beer at Miller Park is as iconic a Wisconsin sporting experience as a Green Bay Packers game. The Brew Crew just so happened to have lead the NL Central for most of this year.

The Pirates are a franchise historically significant enough for the Jolly Roger flags waved in Pittsburgh to carry notoriety equal to the Terrible Towels found at Steelers games. Besides, Pirates insignia has influence beyond the diamond. It evokes reminders of the Great One: Roberto Clemente and the humanitarian efforts he inspired.

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ought to be as much of a Denver celebrity as John Elway or Peyton Manning. He may have yet to win a World Series and does play in homer-happy Coors Field, but the display "Tulo" has put on is still impressive. After all, he did obtain the most All-Star votes in the National League this year. Let's hope he recovers in time from his current stint on the disabled list.

During my undergrad years at San Francisco State, I discovered how much of an event a Giants game can be. Unfortunately, with first pitches at AT&T Park thrown as late as 10:15 Eastern, many don't have a fair chance to do the same. A good chunk of viewers miss out on diving catches at third base by the Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, or clutch hits off the bat of Buster Posey.

With so many Dodgers fans here in Santa Barbara, I've heard more than a few complaints about the trouble accessing their games on SportsNet LA. They have every reason to be outraged.

At the same time, except for a few Late Show and 60 Minutes segments, baseball doesn't exist on America's Most Watched Network: CBS. To the game, this is as much of a black eye, no pun intended, as the Dodgers situation. So, too, is the absence of baseball on NBC, as it was a staple of the peacock network for so long.

Ideally, MLB would have Fox, CBS in partnership with TBS, NBC, ESPN and the MLB Network all involved as rights holders in some shape or form. Fox, CBS and NBC would rotate airing the All-Star Game and World Series on their over-the-air outlets. In case you noticed, this arrangement would be roughly similar to the National Football League. Still, it would be entirely in the best interests of baseball.

Instead, the one Game of the Week is just another game on ESPN. A bulk of the national coverage technically exists on MLB Network, but it's not a channel readily available to basic cable. On top of that most of the games MLBN airs are feeds of local broadcasts. Low World Series ratings tend to get blamed on which teams are involved. But I think it has more to do with Fox anchored by Joe Buck as the only production in charge of the Series year after year. That and because its Sunday pre-game shows don't get underway until doubleheaders of NFL coverage are over.

I get that now you can follow every game on your mobile phone, tablet, webcast, etc., and pay up for a subscription to MLB.TV or Extra Innings. You have 162 regular season games a year, played almost every night to choose from. As a result, a network broadcast is more of a draw if teams like the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers get in. All of this makes sense from a business perspective.

None of it, though, sounds like anything James Earl Jones recited in his "people will come" monologue as Terrence Mann in Field of Dreams. Nor is it any message I took away from the Ken Burns documentary I was raised on. I have a hard time letting go of such sentiments.

Whether Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum or anyone else tosses it, it's hard to diminish how special a no-hitter or perfect game can be. Unless its telecast only addresses a local audience.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.


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Attorneys Peter Susi, Jon Gura Join Santa Barbara Law Firm of Hollister & Brace

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Santa Barbara bankruptcy attorneys Peter Susi and Jon Gura have joined the law firm of Hollister & Brace.

Peter Susi
Peter Susi

Susi’s practice is limited exclusively to bankruptcy, reorganization and other debtor/creditor-related matters.

Susi has acted as lead attorney on more than 100 Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and served as counsel to Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 trustees on numerous occasions. He also has represented creditor and investor committees in many complex cases, and is experienced in negotiating and documenting complex business transactions and marital disputes and dissolutions involving insolvency issues.

Susi graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College in 1969 and received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1974.

Prior to joining Hollister & Brace, Susi practiced at the law firms Stutman Treister & Glatt, Danning Gill, Michaelson & Gould, and Michaelson Susi & Michaelson, which became Susi & Gura in 2011.

Susi has also served as an adjunct professor at Santa Barbara College of Law and a volunteer judge pro tem. He lectures regularly to bar associations and certified public accountancy groups as well as to the general public.

Gura is an experienced transactional attorney and litigator, with a strong background in bankruptcy, corporate restructuring, insolvency and real estate matters.

Prior to joining Hollister & Brace, Gura served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew, District Court Judge for the Central District of California, and practiced at the law firms Irell & Manella, Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern, Michaelson Susi & Michaelson, and its successor firm, Susi & Gura.


Jon Gura
Jon Gura

Gura graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California-Berkeley with a bachelor of arts degree in economics in 1996. He then received his J.D. from the UCLA Law School, where he graduated Order of the Coif in 1999.

Gura is active in the Santa Barbara community, having served on the foundations for Santa Barbara High School and Montecito Union School, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Montecito Union School District and as the president of the board of Knowlwood Tennis Club in Montecito.

Hollister & Brace was founded in 1966. The firm’s practice areas include business, real property, including land use, transactions and environmental practice, taxation, oil, gas and minerals, litigation, class actions, estate planning, bankruptcy and family practice.

Click here for more information.

— Marcus Bird represents Hollister & Brace.


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Visit Santa Barbara CEO Joins Governor’s Trade/Investment Mission to Mexico

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Visit California and Kathy Janega-Dykes, president/CEO of Visit Santa Barbara, will join Gov. Jerry Brown on his Trade and Investment Mission to Mexico taking place this Monday through Wednesday.

Participating tourism industry leaders will join a delegation that includes California policymakers and statewide leaders in business, policy and economic development.

During the Mission, Visit California will partner with AeroMexico to launch a multi-platform consumer marketing campaign and travel trade initiative that invites Mexican travelers to book their dream vacation to California. The new campaign builds on Visit California’s recent $1 million advertising campaign, which will be presented to media and delegation members during the Trade Mission.

“Mexico is California’s biggest international tourism market which benefits our State’s bottom-line,” Visit California President/CEO Caroline Beteta said. “The governor’s Trade Mission will help us further expand the direct link between visitors from Mexico and California’s growing tourism economy.”

Visit California invests $1.6 million annually in the Mexico market — an investment that’s paying off as visitors from Mexico spent $2.9 billion in 2013 alone while traveling in the State. Visit California’s Mexico marketing strategically targets travelers arriving by air who spend nearly three times the amount of travelers arriving by ground transportation.

“The Santa Barbara South Coast has always valued and respected Mexico’s significant contribution to the travel and tourism industry,” Janega-Dykes said. “We view this visit as a way to both further strengthen that alliance as well as provide incentives for Mexican companies and individuals to consider doing future business in California, contributing to immediate economic return and long-term revenue opportunities.”

California’s travel and tourism industry is an important economic engine that generates billions of dollars in local and state tax revenue and supports nearly 1 million jobs. In 2013, visitors from across the country and around the world collectively injected $109.6 billion into the California economy.

— Jaime Shaw is the communications manager for Visit Santa Barbara.


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Two Seriously Hurt in Highway 101 Crash in Buellton

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Removing critically injured patient from wreckage took 40 minutes, fire officials say

Two people were seriously injured early Tuesday in a single-vehicle accident on Highway 101 in Buellton, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The crash occurred shortly after 1:30 a.m. on the northbound freeway, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

For unknown reasons, the vehicle left Highway 101, smashed through a fence, and ended up in the 800 block of McMurray Road, east of the freeway, Sadecki said.

One occupant suffered major injuries, and required 40 minutes of "heavy extrication" to be removed from the wreckage, Sadecki said.

A second occupant suffered moderate injuries, and both were transported to local hospitals.

Cause of the accident remained under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

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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Nicole Romasanta Joins Hospice of Santa Barbara as Director of Volunteers

By | Published on 07/29/2014


Nicole Romasanta
Nicole Romasanta

Hospice of Santa Barbara is pleased to announce Nicole Romasanta as its new director of volunteers.

Romasanta graduated from UCSB with a bachelor of arts degree in communications. After graduating, she worked in hotel management.

After six years in the hotel industry, she went on to receive her master’s degree in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology of Pepperdine University.

Prior to joining Hospice of Santa Barbara, Romasanta worked at Sanctuary Psychiatric Centers in Home Supportive Services, as a clinical case manager at Devereux, and as an office manager at Family Practice Medical Group.

She is also a volunteer storyteller at Cottage Hospital and volunteers at the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation on the Program and Executive Committee, and as the Secretary on Board of Directors.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 600 adults and 125 children every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on eight local middle and high school campuses as well as UCSB to work with children, teens and young adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

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

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


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Jeff Moehlis: Beach Boys Singer Mike Love Talks Life in Santa Barbara, Music at Ventura County Fair

By | Published on 07/28/2014


Mike Love has been a Beach Boy since the band began way back in 1961, and wrote the lyrics to some of their best-known songs, including “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “California Girls,” “I Get Around” and “Good Vibrations.” And that’s him singing lead vocals on the recordings of the first three of these, plus “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)” and more. Overall, The Beach Boys have had three dozen Top 40 hits, and they were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.

Summer is a great time to catch The Beach Boys in concert, and it is our good fortune that they will be back in the area to perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ventura County Fair. The concert is free with paid admission to the fair. Click here for more information.

This incarnation of The Beach Boys includes Love and long-time member Bruce Johnston, and Love reports that the band’s early guitarist, David Marks, will also be joining in. While purists would prefer to see all of the surviving members performing together, as was the case for the 50th anniversary tour that stopped at the Santa Barbara Bowl two years ago, it seems that ship has sailed.

But don’t worry — Love, Johnston and Marks will be joined by a collection of first-rate musicians who quite nicely fill in the sounds and beautiful harmonies of all those Beach Boys songs that have become part of our cultural DNA.

Mike Love talked to Noozhawk about the upcoming show and his time living in Santa Barbara. Click here for the full interview.

                                                                        •        •

Mike Love: We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Fun, Fun, Fun.” Fifty years of “Fun, Fun, Fun.” That song came out in the spring of 1964. Then “I Get Around” came out in the fall. Those two big hits for us. We’re still enjoying doing it to this day, and it still seems to go over great with the audiences.

Jeff Moehlis: Can you tell us what you remember most fondly about your time living in Santa Barbara?

ML: Well, I lived at 101 Mesa Lane on the Mesa, and it was just a beautiful spot. An old friend of mine from Santa Barbara named Chuck Williams, who’s an avid Beach Boy fan, grew up and lived most of his life in Montecito, and he’s the one that turned me on to the place at 101 Mesa Lane. I was able to rent the place and buy it. It had several structures on the property.

It was quite an amazing place. We had a studio there, and I have a daughter, Summer, who was born there, and also a son, Brian, who was born there. It’s a very special spot to me.

It turned out that we moved to Lake Tahoe — Incline Village, Nevada — it must’ve been about 20 years ago now. But I love Santa Barbara. My favorite place to go is the Rose Café out on the Mesa. Mexican food. It just couldn’t have been a more beautiful setting.

But with the several structures there, I was becoming a landlord, and that wasn’t my cup of tea. So we decided to get a little more remote, I guess, by going to Lake Tahoe. It’s still overlooking the water, as the place on Mesa Lane was.

But there’s not much better environment than Santa Barbara. My oldest son, Christian, who has been touring with us up until this year for the last several years, he still is a Santa Barbaran, and he enjoys East Beach. He’s always in volleyball tournaments. He loves beach volleyball, grew up surfing and all that. So he’s living the life we sang about back in the early days.

JM: I saw you guys when you performed at the Santa Barbara Bowl as part of your 50th anniversary tour. What are your reflections on that tour, which got the surviving members of the band back together?

ML: Well, actually David Marks is going to be with us in Ventura, it looks like. I spoke to him a couple of days ago, and then re-spoke to him last night, and he's on board with there. Hes doing a weekend of touring with us. He’s always been a real cool guy to be with and hang out with. We have a lot of fun with him. He has a great sense of humor. But he was another one who was really adversely affected by my Uncle Murry (Wilson). He was actually pretty cruel to him. At a very young age, maybe 15 years old, he was eliminated from The Beach Boys in not such a great way. But we’re still friends.

My cousin, Brian (Wilson), he’s been doing his own thing for about 15 years. Bruce and I, we’ve been doing The Beach Boys touring ... I for 52 years now (laughs). So we’ve been carrying on the way we do things. We joined forces there for that 50th anniversary tour, which seemed to be a good idea to do. It was not without problems, but it was a good thing to do, I think, for the fans who wanted to see us together.

We were to have done 50 shows, but it grew to 73, actually. So we did actually more than we originally agreed to do. But there was an agreement that we would do “X” amount of shows, and it was signed by everybody and agreed by everybody. And at the end of it, there were some false statements put out, from Brian’s press people, saying that it felt like I fired him or something. But it’s not true, because it was well-documented that we were going to go back to doing things the way we had done once we accomplished these reunion shows. Everything wasn’t done in a way that I would consider on the up and up. So although it was great to do it, and we had many successes, the way things were done by certain people involved weren’t my cup of tea.

But we’re very happy now. We’re doing 130 shows this year, or more (laughs). We’re doing really great. A lot of people are saying how great we sound. We’re doing a lot of sell-outs here, there and everywhere. I think there will be a big crowd in Ventura on Thursday night. So I’m not complaining, I’m just saying we’re having a great time.

John Stamos is going to be there. He loves to come out and play drums. We back him up on a song. He has a great time, and I think it’s a real treat for the audience, as well.

Click here for the full interview with Beach Boys legend Mike Love.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, The opinions expressed are his own.


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Utt Construction Honored as Santa Barbara Contractors’ Builder of Year

By | Published on 07/28/2014


Annual awards recognize association members for their work in a variety of fields, niches and crafts

The Santa Barbara Contractors Association honored its finest at the 2014 Construction Awards Dinner on Monday night at The Fess Parker in Santa Barbara. Utt Construction Inc. garnered the Builder of the Year Award, with Rodney Utt accepting the recognition plaque on stage.

“Thank you to the judges and to my peers,” Utt said. “This business is so much fun. What a great honor.”

The Builder of the Year Award program recognizes exceptional performance in various categories in an effort to promote excellence in construction. Nearly 300 area construction professionals, suppliers and vendors joined together for the festive evening, which included a social hour, a sit-down dinner and the awards program. Eyman-Parker Insurance Brokers and Hayward Lumber & Design Center were recognized at the evening’s Title Sponsors.

Winning projects were judged on the basis of overall quality of workmanship, uniqueness, difficulty of project, green building practices and aesthetics, epitomizing SBCA’s mission statement: “Construction professionals shaping, serving and educating our community with integrity, quality and environmental balance.”

The well-qualified committee of judges included Todd Buynak of Seguro Construction, Seth Hammond of Specialty Crane & Rigging, Melanie Hunter of Stock Design Center, William Wolf of Pacific Architects Inc., interior designer Kristen Spann of The Kitchen & Bath Studio, Stephen Fontenot of Wells Fargo Bank and George Estrella, the City of Santa Barbara’s chief building official.

Estrella was also honored for his 17 years with the city. It was estimated that he had issued more than 49,000 building permits during his tenure.

Board members participating included president Jack Martin, David James, William Mace, Paulo Sitolini, Brian Larowski, Hans Betzholtz, Patrick Foster, Jon Kenney, Mark Magid, Shane Mahan, Robert Mislang and Rodney Utt. Bill Mace served as the Awards Committee chairman.

SBCA 2014 Builder of the Year Rodney Utt, right, with client Peter Kornbluth. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
SBCA 2014 Builder of the Year Rodney Utt, right, with client Peter Kornbluth. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

A partial list of the 2014 Builder of the Year Awards presented were:

» Builder of the Year: Utt Construction

» Industry Professional: Hayward Construction

» Members Choice Award: Young Construction

A partial list of other awards in other categories included:

» Green Building Commercial Construction: Allen Construction, formerly Allen Associates

» Landscape and Hardscape: Schipper Construction

» Outstanding Craftsmanship by a Subcontractor-Finish Trades: D.D. Ford

» Outstanding Craftsmanship by a Subcontractor-System Trades: HiFi Club

» Subcontractor of the Year: Insulate Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Contractors Association was founded by local builders in 1948 for the purpose of discussing common problems and exchanging ideas relating to their crafts. The original association was incorporated as The Building Contractors of Santa Barbara Inc., a nonprofit organization, and has grown to its present size of more than 700 members from its nine founders.

In 1967, the organization changed its name to the Santa Barbara Contractors Association Inc. and is recognized as one of the leading organizations representing the overall construction industry on the Central Coast. The SBCA continually strives to lead the way in innovation, strategic solutions, business opportunities and peer-to-peer networking.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Contractors Association, or contact SBCA executive director Karin Perissinotto at 805.884.1100 or email

Check back with Noozhawk for a complete iSociety report on the event.

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

Construction Awards Dinner chairman Bill Mace, SBCA executive director Karin Perissinotto and board president Jack Martin welcome attendees at The Fess Parker. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
Construction Awards Dinner chairman Bill Mace, SBCA executive director Karin Perissinotto and board president Jack Martin welcome attendees at The Fess Parker. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)


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Karen Telleen-Lawton: High School Reunion a Turning Point for Bullied Classmate

By | Published on 07/28/2014


My graduating class contained the usual assortment of jocks, nerds, artists and untouchables, plus the East Parking Lot smokers. We numbered about 250, from a small suburb of that big city east of here. This was before school shootings, so our biggest problems were whether to allow girls to run with the boys on cross-country (pre-Title IX) or if car rallies should be canceled during the energy crisis.

I recently returned from my high school reunion — never mind which year. Something about this one was different. It started on the reunion Facebook page, with a post from a classmate I’ll call Nancy S. Here it is, abridged:

"Thanks for the invite to the reunion but I'm not going to be able to make it. 1. It is way too much money. 2. I was never accepted and was always made fun of and bullied by others. It takes a long time to get over that, and why should I subject myself to that again when I'm happy with the life I have? I'm not rich but I own my home, have a guy who I love dearly and a daughter who has special needs who I wouldn't trade for anything. To everyone, thanks for many interesting years; I learned a lot about people."

Within a day, scores of responses and “likes” were added by classmates who had been on either — or both — sides of the bully fence. Here’s the first one:

"I am sorry the idea of our reunion brings up painful memories for you. You have certainly created a life rich with love and family, which is a very good place to be at this stage of all our lives. God bless your daughter ... she is fortunate to have such a caring mother."

This was followed by a progression of posts. A sampling:

"I hope that I didn't contribute to your pain and sincerely apologize if I did. Truly. I just grieve for you. I know that what's been done can't be undone, but I'm so glad that you've gotten past it and are leading a fulfilling life. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. That couldn't have been easy."

"Where are you now? “Yasmine P.” lives near the beach. If you come, let’s make plans to visit her there."

"Thank you for your heartfelt, honest note. There is no excuse for treating people the way you described, and I only hope that we have all matured over the years. If you change your mind about the reunion, let me know personally. Some have donated money so that everyone who wants to can come. I would be happy to make sure you are included in that."

"Nancy the trip will cost you nothing. I will send you a ticket and will get you a room. The meals are on me. Bring your daughter if you'd like I have that, too. PLEASE COME!"

Over half the class attended, coming from all over California to the East Coast; from Austria to Australia. I heard the expected laughter, old-story sharing and new business tips, but never a “Do you see what she’s wearing? or “How many marriages has he been through?” When I occasionally noticed a classmate standing alone, they were quickly approached with a smile and a welcome.

Nancy did come, and right afterward entered this on Facebook:

"Thank you Mike J. for making my trip to California awesome. It means a lot to me. If it weren't for you and the others the trip wouldn’t have happened. The reunion will long be remembered by me."

Nancy’s healing was healing for all of us.

— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations spanning sustainability from the environment to finance, economics and justice issues. She is a fee-only financial advisor ( and a freelance writer ( Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Santa Barbara to Celebrate 90th Anniversary of Old Spanish Days Fiesta

By | Published on 07/28/2014


Five-day festival plans special events to mark occasion, expecting to draw thousands

The 90th installment of Old Spanish Days Fiesta will bring the same spirited events to Santa Barbara, with a few extra treats for the thousands who will visit the area to mark the anniversary this week.

The five-day festival celebrating the city’s origins will kick off Wednesday with La Fiesta Pequeña, tours of the Santa Barbara Mission and Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the traditional food and drink mercados, and more.

Special this year is the tall ship traveling up from Dana Point to dock in Santa Barbara Harbor for the festivities, according to Fiesta spokesman Eric Davis.

Visitors will be able to tour the ship, a replica of the one that originally landed in Santa Barbara, and to learn more about the city’s history on Saturday and Sunday, he said.

“It’s really pretty incredible,” Davis said. “It’s going to be a great year.”

The first-ever Spirit of Fiesta, Lia Parker, will serve as grand marshal of the annual Historic Parade, which departs Friday at noon from the west end of Cabrillo Boulevard and proceeds up State Street to Sola Street.

Davis said a special partnership with the Music Academy of the West would offer two showings — Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. — of the opera “Carmen,” as set back in old Spanish days.

The performances will be at the Granada Theatre, and click here to purchase tickets.

The performances will pay tribute to those who settled in the area all those years ago, Davis said, bringing together talent, tradition and dance.

Based on social media, the 2014 Fiesta could draw the largest crowd it’s seen from out of town.

“I don’t know if it could get much bigger,” Davis said.

A schedule of other Fiesta events, available online by clicking here, also includes:

» Santa Barbara Mission Docent Tours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at 2201 Laguna St.

» Fiesta tours of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday

» El Mercado de la Guerra, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in De La Guerra Plaza, Wednesday through Saturday

» El Mercado Del Norte, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Mackenzie Park at the corner of State Street and Las Positas streets, Wednesday through Saturday

» Casa Cantina, noon to midnight in the courtyard of the historic Casa de la Guerra. 15 East De la Guerra St., Wednesday through Saturday

» La Fiesta Pequeña, 8 p.m. Wednesday at Santa Barbara Mission

» La Misa del Presidente, 10 a.m. Thursday at Santa Barbara Mission

» Celebración de los Dignatarios, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Barbara Zoo

» Las Noches de Ronda (“Nights of Gaiety”), 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

» Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo, 8 a.m. Thursday at Earl Warren Showgrounds

» Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour, 7:45 p.m. Thursday at showgrounds

» Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo, 7 a.m., noon and 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday at showgrounds

» Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday at 227 North Nopal St.

» El Desfile Histórico (Historical Parade), noon Friday at the west end of Cabrillo Boulevard up State Street to Sola Street.

» Flor y Canto, 7 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

» Kiwanis Fiesta Pancake Breakfast, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday in Alameda Park

» 84th Annual El Desfile De Los Niños (Children's Parade); 10 a.m. Saturday, parade proceeds down State Street from Victoria Street to Ortega Street

» Fiesta Arts & Crafts Show, Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Cabrillo Boulevard, west of Stearns Wharf

» Tardes de Ronda, children’s variety show, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the sunken gardens

» Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival, 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Santa Barbara Bowl

» Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo, 7 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at showgrounds

» West Coast Symphony 45th Annual Free Fiesta Concert, 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

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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Emotional Testimony Recounts Fatal Shooting of Santa Maria Police Officer

By | Published on 07/28/2014


Hearing continues for fired Lt. Dan Ast, who is seeking to be reinstated

Sgt. Chris Nartatez testified Monday that he questioned orders from former Santa Maria police lieutenent Dan Ast to arrest a fellow officer suspected of molesting a teenage girl. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

When Sgt. Chris Nartatez was told to arrest a fellow Santa Maria police officer suspected of having an improper relationship with a teen who was part the department's Explorers program, he repeatedly asked former Lt. Dan Ast to spell out the plan, and questioned the urgency in the case that ended with the suspected officer being shot to death.

Nartatez’s offered that emotional testimony Monday during the arbitration hearing for the fired Santa Maria Police Department lieutenant who is seeking to get his job back.

Ast was terminated in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Officer Albert Covarrubias by a fellow officer at a DUI checkpoint in Jan. 28, 2012.

Covarrubias was suspected of having a sexual relationship with an 17-year-old girl who participated in the department’s Police Explorer program.

While details of the night have come out in reports, this was the first public testimony of the circumstances leading up to the fatal shooting of Covarrubias by his friend.

Nartatez testified Monday that he was “shocked” when Ast told him they needed to arrest Covarrubias that night.

“I said, ‘What’s the rush? Why do we have to do it now?” Nartatez testified.

“It felt like we were just being pushed out the door to go do it,” Nartatez added.

Ast said the officers were wrapping up the DUI checkpoint and needed to act immediately to take Covarrubias into custody, according to Nartatez, who suggested then-Sgt. Mark Norling also be involved in the arrest.

“We got in the car,” Nartatez said, referring to himself and Norling. “As we were leaving the compound, I looked at Mark and said, ‘What are we doing? What’s the plan? This isn’t good. This is not good.’”

Norling, who testified earlier Monday, got out and went to the car behind them to talk to Ast before they left the police station parking lot.

“I basically went back and said there’s an investigation, he’s suicidal, he may know we’re coming …,” Norling said, explaining his questioning of Ast's urgency to arrest Covarrubias at the checkpoint. “I was voicing my concerns about going up there under those circumstances.”

Despite their concerns, the arrest plans weren’t canceled, and the officers proceeded to the checkpoint site just minutes way at Broadway and McElhaney Avenue, where they looked for Covarrubias, according to Nartatez, who choked up with emotion several times during his testimony.

“It was very dark. I could see a group of motor officers standing in the parking lot. I started looking for Officer Covarrubias, but it was very dark so I was depending on his stature,” Nartatez said. “He was shorter.”

Upon reaching the group, Nartatez said he intended to put Covarrubias — his second cousin — in a bear hug and then get help from Norling to subdue the man.

“I grabbed him. We continued walking north. I tried to take him to the ground, and as we were doing that I could hear the gun come out the holster — his gun,” Nartatez said, crying. “The next thing I heard and saw — there was gunshot about two inches from the left side of my temple. I saw the muzzle flash.”

“And then we went down the ground. I was on top of him and we struggled slightly. The gun was to my left. He had his hand on his gun. At that point Sergeant Norling was there. I could see Sergeant Norling place both of his hands on the gun to keep it down on the ground.

"A couple seconds went by, and another gunshot was to the right of my face and that’s when the struggle was over.”

“At that point, I got up, I called on the radio, ‘Officer down. Officer down, we need an ambulance,’” Nartatez said.

He recalled turning to Officer Matthew Kline, who asked if it was “Cova,” their nickname for Covarrubias. Nartatez confirmed the identity of the downed officer.

Nartatez testified that he yelled for help from the other officers, but Kline was the only one to respond.

“The only help that was received was Officer Kline, but that’s not the kind of help I was asking for at that time. I wanted somebody to come help us restrain him, to take him into custody,” Nartatez said.

Ast, who subsequently had arrived on scene, began administering first aid to Covarrubias, who had been shot in the neck by Kline.

Monday was day six of the hearing, which will resume Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday, as Ast attempts to get this job back.

Nartatez claimed as false Ast’s statement that everyone was on board with the intention to arrest Covarrubias that night.

“The only direction we got from Lieutenant Ast was 'for you two to go arrest him,'” Nartatez said.

Testimony on Monday revealed a dysfunctional department in which police supervisors allegedly were envious at the overtime one officers earned, and favoritism allegedly shown by the former chief, Danny Macagni.

The city’s attorney also asked about the relationship between Ast and Lt. Richard “Rico” Flores, who was overseeing the checkpoint and Explorers that night.

“It was not a good relationship,” Nartatez said.

He added that he was aware of the allegations that Ast may have pressed forward with the arrest that night to embarrass Flores.

But Ast has contended he was one of three lieutenants and whistle-blowers targeted by the former chief.

Ast contended after the shooting that the incident involved a five-man arrest team, although Norling and Nartatez testified they were unaware of this.

“I was not aware of a five-man arrest team,” Nartatez said.

Flores, who has since retired from the department, testified in the afternoon about his role that night.

As the shift began Ast didn’t reveal details of the investigation to Flores, who wondered if a parent had complained about treatment of Explorers. Ast asked for a list of the Explorers working that night, tipping Flores that an investigation was occurring.

During a briefing, Flores told his traffic officers about an investigation involving the Explorers, unaware an officer was considered a suspect.

When the city’s attorney, Dennis Gonzales, asked if he had been told it was confidential matter, Flores, responded, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”

Later, Flores gave the list to Ast, who told him, “By the way, don’t say anything to anybody about this.”

“That was shocker,” Flores said, wondering why the earlier conversation  in the middle of the traffic bureau didn’t occur somewhere private if there were concerns.

Later that night, Ast told Flores that Covarrubias was suspected in a molestation case in which the victim had been threatened and the officer claimed he wouldn’t be taken in alive.

“I was just floored,” Flores said.

Flores also denied he was part of a planned five-man arrest team, as Ast claimed.

“I don’t know how in the world I could possible be considered part of the arrest team,” Flores said. “That just blew me away when you say that.”

Ast’s attorney, Jonathan Miller, questioned if Flores knew Covarrubias had given the teen rides home alone and was having an inappropriate relationship.

“Sir, you are attacking my credibility and my character” Flores responded. "Absolutely not."

Flores also denied having a one-on-one conversation with Covarrubias, although Ast’s attorney played testimony from an Explorer Scout saying the two men were talking to each other before the checkpoint.

Flores said he was greeting the traffic officers as they arrived for the shift.

Monday's hearing was continued from early June because witnesses remained to testify beyond the originally scheduled five days. Typically these hearings are held behind closed doors, but Ast requested it be open to the public.

Current and former members of the department plus current Chief Ralph Martin, who joined the department after the shooting, took the stand during the first few days of testimony.

In March 2013, Martin disciplined or fired nine officers involved at varying levels in the fatal shooting of the 29-year-old Covarrubias.

Ast, a veteran with the department, filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against the city’s Police Department shortly after, alleging he was merely following supervisor’s orders

A hearing officer will make a final decision on the case, and could take three to four months before issuing a ruling.

If the hearing officer rules in favor of reinstating Ast, city leaders said they would follow protocol outlined in the official decision.

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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Fire Damages Commercial Building in Santa Maria

By | Published on 07/28/2014


A fire caused an estimated $20,000 damage to a multi-story commercial building in Santa Maria late Sunday night, but was kept in check by a fire-sprinkler system, according to the Santa Maria Fire Department.

The blaze was reported shortly before 11 p.m. at 1316 South Broadway, said fire Battalion Chief Rick Bertram.

"The fire was quickly extinguished by the (firefighters) due to the fire-sprinkler system keeping the fire in check until crews were able to make entry," Bertram said.

Police officers evacuated the second and third floors of the building, and fire crews checked for the spread of flames to those areas, but none was found, Bertram said.

Cause of the fire 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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Bakersfield Man Killed in Head-On Crash on Highway 166

By | Published on 07/28/2014


CHP is investigating the collision between a pickup truck and a semi tractor-trailer

A 29-year-old Bakersfield man was killed early Monday in a head-on collision on Highway 166 near Cuyama, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The crash on the rural highway occurred at about 3:15 a.m. near Aliso Canyon Road, and involved a 2000 GMC Sonoma pickup truck and a 2001 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The driver of the pickup, Isaac Chavez, was declared dead at the scene, while the semi driver, Alfonso Flores Moreno Jr, 20, of Bakersfield, suffered minor injuries but declined medical treatment, the CHP said.

Moreno told officers he was headed west on Highway 166 when the eastbound pickup crossed over into his lane and struck his vehicle head-on, the CHP said.

Moreno was wearing his seatbelt and was not under the influence, the CHP said.

Chavez also was wearing a seatbelt, the CHP said.

Highway 166 was closed down for more than two hours in both directions while officers investigated and cleared the wreckage.

The roadway was reopened shortly before 6:30 a.m., but traffic in the area remained slow, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.

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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Tam Hunt: Synchronicity As a Signpost to Deeper Meanings

By | Published on 07/27/2014


We’ve all had them — those moments when something happens that makes you ponder the role of design in the universe, and your own place in the universe. When falling in love, or when struggling with tragedy, or exploring artistic endeavors, these moments can occur frequently.

Are things indeed “meant to be” at some deeper level? Or is the universe just an unfolding of one random event after another with our little human minds desperate to fabricate meaning where there is none?

Synchronicity is the technical name given to the events I’m referring to. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, coined the term in his 1951 essay on this topic. A synchronicity is, essentially, a meaningful coincidence. Something happens in the world around us that seems to defy probability and “normal” explanations, and due to its correspondence in some manner with our mindset at the time it becomes a meaningful event.

The classic example is Jung’s own vignette in treating a particularly stubborn patient. He describes his talking sessions with her that delved into themes of her excessive rationality and rejection of any deeper meanings in the universe. As his patient was describing her feelings and a recent dream in which she was given a golden scarab, Jung heard a light tapping on the window behind him. The tapping persisted and Jung opened the window to find a large scarab beetle flying against the window.  He caught it and handed it to her, saying “here is your scarab.”

The scarab beetle is, according to Jung, a classic symbol of rebirth. So the dream scarab and the real world scarab beetle coincided to create a moment of transformation for the patient, who was able to overcome her problems.

I’ve been keeping a list of synchronicities from my own life for a few years now. Many are fairly trivial events that may best be explained as mere coincidence. One example: I bought a game on Amazon as a gift for my nephew. The game had 354 reviews. Right after this I bought Nelly’s song, “Just a Dream” (a great song), on iTunes. It also had 354 reviews. Is there any deeper meaning in these events? I doubt it! But one could stretch to find something if you wanted to.

A second example is a bit harder to dismiss as coincidence. I studied biology in college and I’ve continued to read widely in evolutionary theory since finishing college in 1998. (I’ve also published a few papers in this field since college.) I was reading a book on evolutionary theory and the strange but fascinating topic of bedbug sex came up. Female bedbugs don’t have vaginas — I know, it’s weird! Male bedbugs instead stab their penis into the female’s body, break through the carapace and deposit sperm directly into the body cavity. I shook my head in wonder and mild disgust. When I got home from the coffee shop where I had been reading I turned on my recorded Daily Show with Jon Stewart and, lo and behold, the topic of bedbug sex came up! He showed a very funny and exquisitely weird skit by Isabella Rosellini demonstrating bedbug sex. I had never before heard about bedbug sex and here it came up twice in one day in entirely unrelated contexts.

So what do these two episodes of bedbug sex offer in terms of deeper meaning? Well, I have no idea, but I can speculate a little. I have been thinking about and writing about sexual selection and other mechanisms of evolution for many years. I have developed a published theory that expands Darwin’s ideas on sexual selection. So perhaps I was somehow being encouraged to keep going on this path by my possibly synchronistic experience. It’s kind of a stretch, I know, but not entirely unreasonable.

OK, one last example from my life, as an example of a strong synchronicity: I’ve been to Hawaii a number of times since late 2013, with my primary motivation to buy property here (I’m writing this essay in Hilo). I almost never talk to people next to me on the plane because I really enjoy the quiet time to read or work on writing projects, and because I’m afraid of getting stuck in boring conversation as a captive audience for many hours.

The first trip to Hawaii, however, was with a woman I was dating at the time, so there was less risk in this regard in talking to the person next to us. I struck up conversation on a whim with a woman seated by herself next to us and it turned out that she lived on the Big Island and we learned a lot about the island in our conversation. We all became friends after she invited us to her birthday party that week. I’m still friends with her today and we have hung out many times.

The second trip to Hawaii was a month later, and I was traveling by myself this time. Another woman traveling by herself was in the seat next to me. I struck up conversation on a whim and she was also quite interesting and friendly. She was visiting a good friend of hers who lived in Hilo.

The same day we arrived in Hilo I was having dinner with the woman I met on my first trip and we ran into the second woman, who I’d just met on the plane that day, at the same restaurant, which is one of many restaurants in Hilo! I ended up hanging out with the second woman a couple of days later and we’re still friends, too.

My third trip was a month later. I was again traveling solo and was going for three months this time. I was hoping to finally buy some property after scouting a lot on the first two trips, and also to research a novel I’m working on that is set on the Big Island. This time I was seated next to a guy traveling by himself who seemed to be in his late 20s or early 30s. Again, I struck up conversation; again, this was strange because I almost never speak to people on the plane. Again, we had great conversation and it turned out that he was a traveling nurse going to Hawaii for a three-month contract. We became great friends and had many adventures during my stay.

Anyway, to wrap up: three of three trips to Hawaii yielded good new friends and opportunities to learn a ton about the Big Island. Coincidence may still be a good explanation, but despite my hard-nosed scientific outlook on most things, I can’t help but wonder if mere coincidence may not be the best explanation here.

If we’re looking, instead, at these events from the point of view of synchronicity, the deeper meaning is fairly obvious to me: in some manner the universe seemed to be helping me to make a home in Hawaii. This was the correlation between external events and my mental states that is the hallmark of synchronicity.

We could also look at these events as simply resulting from my excitement about going to Hawaii and a place that I was thinking about making a serious part of my life (I still live in Santa Barbara, but I split my time between Santa Barbara and my place near Hilo; paradise to paradise …).

My excitement made me more talkative and more interested in people around me. Possibly. But it’s also quite unusual that people traveling solo, youngish and interesting, would be seated next to me three times in a row, and would become friends.

I took a fourth trip to Hawaii in mid-2014 and I did not meet anyone interesting on the plane and didn’t even talk to the person next to me. But three out of four is still enough to make me scratch my head.

Explaining Synchronicity

So what’s going on with synchronistic experiences? First, let’s define our term carefully. Jung defined a synchronicity as meaningful and acausally related correlations between outer (physical) and inner (mental) events. A good shorthand is meaningful coincidence. The coincidence is between external events and inner meaning that matches in some way those events or was inspired by those events.

Jung attempted to explain synchronicity through an appeal to the “collective unconscious.” This collective unconscious is described by Jung as either the sum of our unconscious minds held in common by all people or, more intriguingly, as a deeper level of reality that undergirds our physical world. Synchronicities bubble up from the collective unconscious. Synchronicities are a goad to “individuation,” a key part of Jung’s teachings that focuses on finding personal meaning amid the universe’s larger unfolding meaning.

Jung suggested that the correlations between external and internal events had a similar root cause. So while the correlations were not causal — they are “acausal” — there may be a deeper causal explanation for each half of the synchronistic event. Jung seemed to believe that the universe itself was attempting to teach some lesson or insight in offering up these meaningful coincidences.

Another intriguing possibility is that synchronistic experiences are support for the idea that we — you, I and everything around us — are part of a much larger mind. Just as in our own dreams events can happen that skirt the laws of physics or logic, if we are indeed part of a much larger mind, a much larger dream, then synchronistic experiences are the clues. This idea was sketched by the German writer, Wilhelm von Scholz, and mentioned by Jung in Synchronicity.

So What Does It All Mean?

Looking at the bigger picture, and not only my own candidates for synchronistic experiences, synchronicity is perhaps the most compelling reason for me personally to remain agnostic about a higher-level intelligence in our universe. I’m not a religious person. I’m not a Christian and I was a militant atheist for many years. I’ve shifted, however, in the last 10 years to a softer stance on the big questions about God, spirituality and meaning.

I’ve written previously on the “anatomy of God,” describing how I find the evidence and rationale for a “God as Source” quite convincing. God as Source is the ground of being, apeiron, Akasha, the One, etc., that is the soil from which all things grow. The Source is not conscious. It is beyond the dichotomy of conscious/unconscious. It is pure Spirit, metaphysical soil.

God as Summit, a conscious being that may or may not take an interest in our lives or even our planet, is a different matter. The metaphysical system that I find most reasonable — a system known as process philosophy, with Alfred North Whitehead as its primary modern expositor — certainly has room for God as Summit. Whether God as Summit really exists, however, is a separate debate. If I had to bet on it, I’d bet that there is no God as Summit at this point. But I remain agnostic.

The synchronicities that have happened in my life are numerous and strange. They don’t add up necessarily to any compelling evidence for God as Summit. But they certainly do make me wonder.

Turning back to Jung’s famous scarab beetle example of synchronicity we must, to be fair and scientific, acknowledge that the beetle he caught wasn’t technically a scarab beetle; it was, instead, a scarabaeid beetle (common rose-chafer) whose “gold-green color most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab” beetle, in Jung’s own words. It seems, then, that Jung was exerting some poetic license at the moment he gave the beetle to his patient and in his later description of the episode.

Does it matter that it wasn’t technically a scarab beetle? Clearly it didn’t matter to the patient, of whom Jung claims “this experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism …” Would this have happened without Jung’s poetic license? We can’t know. These details demonstrate that there is a large gray area with respect to synchronicities that each of us must navigate in terms of assigning meaning to particular events.

This criticism aside, we have surely all had numerous synchronicities happen to us that demonstrate my broader points above: there are deep mysteries inherent in reality and we can’t, if we are to be scientific, ignore these mysteries and the dimly perceived world of deeper meanings that synchronicities sometimes highlight in each of our lives.

— Tam Hunt is owner of Community Renewable Solutions, a consultancy and law firm specializing in community-scale renewables. Community Renewable Solutions can help developers navigate this complicated field and provide other development advice relating to interconnection, net metering, procurement and land use. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Judy Foreman: Kristen Cramer Keeps a Global Eye on Her Art Collective Vision

By | Published on 07/27/2014


In the meantime, talented art entrepreneur crafts magic with ceramics and imaginative bouquets of flowers, fruit, vegetables and more

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

On a recent morning in the park adjacent to Pierre Lafond in Montecito’s Upper Village, I met with Kristen Cramer, who, with her young daughter and dog was enjoying the summer weather. She was making floral arrangements for her new business.

One of Shelley Koury’s lead designers and display specialists at Upstairs at Pierre Lafond, a hot house for emerging designers and artists, Cramer was a standout in every way.

She recently went out on her own. I first saw one of her gorgeous floral arrangements from her company, Global Eye, in a unique container on display at Upstairs at Pierre Lafond. I immediately wanted to buy it. Instead I picked up her business card and we set up a time to meet so I could hear about her latest project.

Cramer is now working on an art-based business that starts with the concept of providing locally grown flowers in a handmade vessel. The idea is to provide a beautiful arrangement, grown locally, and support artists while providing a unique and handmade item that will last long after the flowers fade.

“I want this collaboration — between artists, farmers and people who love flowers and art — to grow into a larger concept in which featured artists, making the vessels for flowers, also can show their other art pieces in an online store,” she explained.

According to Cramer, the online store “will include all kinds of art so that it becomes a place to shop for you own home or for gifts.”

She also will continue to do interior design and is hopeful that the artists that she comes to work with can be involved in making custom pieces for clients.

After starting out in art school, Cramer earned a Bachelor in Arts degree from UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. She began working as a floral designer while in school, loved it, and has kept at it for more than 15 years.

After college, she first had the idea to bring together many artists to form one company with its goal to empower artists and provide a space where artists could pursue their creative endeavors and make a living at it.

Cramer found she was good at running a business and wanted to help her fellow art students, so that they could all be successful together. To this end she earned an MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu.

“For many years after graduating, I tried on many hats but could not find the right route for me,” she said. “I designed displays for stores, took and sold photographs as stock, built and designed websites, interior designing and even helped design gardens!”

With no shortage of talent, the young mom and Santa Ynez resident is focused on creating a family of ceramic vessels that are beautiful and useful. She hopes they’ll get used for her flowers and sell in her online shop.

Each week, she also sends out arrangements made from local flowers, many grown in her own cutting garden.

In her arrangements, which I watched her assemble effortlessly, she used herbs, fruits and even vegetables. Her home garden has become the base for many of her arrangements.

She then focuses on what is in season and grown by local farmers. She recently used black-eyed Susans grown organically by Finley Farms, with chocolate sunflowers and mint from her home garden. One of her favorite arrangements included lush hydrangeas from Rancho Sarel.

Cramer is currently sending out highly aromatic roses from Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, whose proprietor, Danielle Hahn, recently received the highly coveted Rosarian of the World Award in New York City.

These latest arrangements will be placed in a series of pots that Cramer loves. The pots are tall, coated in a colored slip and carved. She then glazes them in her home studio in an opaque glaze that mutes the intensity of the colored slip and makes them look like a bit of a rainstorm.

Choosing to live in Santa Ynez with her husband, daughter, dog, a flock of chickens and many hives of bees, Cramer and her entire family love to garden and grow their own veggies, fruit, and grapes; lavender for their bees; and flowers for arrangements.

Global Eye offers a monthly flower subscription service, and bouquets, succulent garden plants, gifts, art and design services also are available.

Click here for more information, or call 805.259.6390.

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


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Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Elects New Officers

By | Published on 07/27/2014


Jim Talbott of Santa Maria was elected president of the Board of Directors of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens at the annual meeting held in July to serve during the fiscal year 2014-2015.

Talbott has served on the board for three years. In 2013-2014, he served as vice president and chairman of the Planning and Allocations Committee. He is the executive director of SMOOTH, a dial-a-ride service for the elderly and disabled in Santa Maria.

Bob Putman of Nipomo has been elected board secretary and Randy Harris of San Luis Obispo was elected as board treasurer.  

“This year begins with the challenge to work with decreasing federal monies to meet the increasing needs of older persons,” Talbott said. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the needs of senior citizens because funding is declining, and yet the needs are increasing.

“Needs of senior citizens are increasing due to numerous factors, such as increasing numbers of the old-old, reduced personal incomes due to the continuing recession and increasing housing costs,” he continued. “As president of this board, I will work with the board members and the foundation to generate local revenues to address the needs for services for the frail and vulnerable among us.”

The Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens serves as the Area Agency on Aging, Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) and Senior Information and Referral Program for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. As the Area Agency on Aging, the agency is responsible for the allocation of monies from the Older Americans Act.

“There are vacancies on the Board of Directors and the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council,” Talbott added. “Anyone interested in working with us to address the needs of senior citizens is invited to contact us and join us in our efforts.”

Click here for more information, or call 805.925.9554, 805.965.3288, 805.541.0384 or 1.800.510.2020.

— Joyce Ellen Lippman is executive director of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens.


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Overnight Power Outage Planned for Parts of Montecito

By | Published on 07/27/2014


Some 260 customers in and around Montecito were expected to be without power Sunday night into Monday as a result of a planned outage by Southern California Edison Co.

Crews were scheduled to replaced a switch in the vicinity of San Ysidro Road and Jameson Lane, providing an additional circuit to serve the Carpinteria Valley, according to Rondi Guthrie, an Edison spokeswoman.

“It’s really for enhancing reliability in that area,” Guthrie told Noozhawk.

The outage was planned from 8 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday, Guthrie said.

The overnight hours were selected, Guthrie said, to minimize impacts on some commercial customers in the area, including hotels.

Click here to see Edison’s outage map for additional details.

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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Michelle Malkin: Delphi Workers Obama Robbed Continue to Fight

By | Published on 07/27/2014


The White House pretended to champion American workers last week with gimmicky initiatives on federal job training and “workplace innovation.” But far from the Beltway dog-and-pony show, a group of American workers ruthlessly shafted by the Obama administration was finally getting some real support — and inching toward justice.

It was five years ago this summer that 20,000 white-collar nonunion workers from Delphi (a leading auto parts company spun off from General Motors in 1999) had their pensions sabotaged as part of a rotten White House deal with Big Labor. Two court rulings this summer have given the victims hope. Their plight must not be forgotten.

Remember when Washington rushed to nationalize the U.S. auto industry with $80 billion in taxpayer “rescue” funds and avoid contested court termination proceedings? Behind closed doors, the Obama administration’s auto team schemed with labor bosses from United Automobile Workers to preserve union members’ costly pension funds by screwing over their nonunion counterparts.

The federally backed Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which had the fiduciary duty to represent the best interests of all the Delphi workers, helped sacrifice the nonunion employees at the UAW altar. While union pensions were topped up with tax-subsidized auto bailout funds, nonunion pensioners were left high and dry.

In addition, the nonunion pensioners lost all of their health and life insurance benefits. The abused workers — most from hard-hit northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states — had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees at Delphi/GM. Some workers saw up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish.

Last year, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program confirmed what Delphi workers maintained from the start: They were victimized because, in the words of the IG, they had “no leverage.” No crony ties. No deep pockets. No legal representation during President Barack Obama’s closed-door negotiations with Big Labor donors.

As Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, put it, the IG report gave lie to the White House claim that it did not influence the bankruptcy process. “The administration thwarted the bankruptcy process for a politically expedient outcome,” Turner said. Treasury used “their influence to make certain that the outcome was politically desirable to the administration, and the Delphi salaried retirees (lost) their pensions.”

The Delphi workers have fought for five cruel years to force Treasury and the PBGC to disclose the full truth. The scheming feds have defied the workers’ public records requests and withheld more than 7,000 pages of critical emails and documents from the workers, who’ve been mired in time-consuming litigation that has cost millions of dollars.

“For more than four years, U.S. taxpayer-paid government lawyers have taken advantage of every procedural roadblock the law allows to hide emails and other evidence that the court has ordered be given to us,” the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association explained. “President Obama has ignored our direct appeal that he order a review of his Auto Task Force’s handling of our pension plan during the expedited GM bankruptcy directed by Treasury.”

But here are some glimmers of hope: Last month, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington ordered Treasury to cough up documents from Obama’s auto team leading up to the termination of the Delphi workers’ pensions. And last Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Tarnow in Detroit ruled that the PBGC can no longer sit on documents requested by Delphi salaried retirees suing for full restoration of their pensions.

Tarnow blasted the feds for their foot-dragging: “PBGC has been under court order since March 9, 2012, to respond to plaintiff’s discovery requests and has only asserted boilerplate objections. Filing boilerplate objections to discovery requests is tantamount to filing no objections at all. The court strongly condemns the practice of asserting boilerplate objections to every discovery request.” In addition, the inspector general for the PBGC has agreed to a request from House Republicans to investigate federal delays on the workers’ pension determinations.

The next time Democrats claim to care about American workers, remember the sacrificial lambs of Delphi, their heartache and their ongoing legal battle against stonewalling bureaucrats. The crony-driven Obama culture of corruption built that.

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


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Susan Estrich: No Simple Answer to The American Way of Death

By | Published on 07/27/2014


I will readily admit that I have been all over the map when it comes to the death penalty.

As a young lawyer and law professor, I was opposed to it. Actually, it was easy to be against it. The evidence that it was being administered arbitrarily and unfairly was so overwhelming that the U.S. Supreme Court had effectively placed a moratorium on it. When it came back, in the late 1970s, I was there, literally.

The first man to be executed after the moratorium was Gary Gilmore, who wanted to die. The second was a murderer named John Spenkelink, who didn’t. His last appeal, the night before his death, was to the Supreme Court. He needed one justice to sign a stay before midnight to keep him alive. He needed four justices the next morning to agree that the case was worthy of the court’s review and to keep the stay in force.

All the clerks were warned. It automatically went to the circuit justice, who was expected to deny it. Then they could go to one of the two justices, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, who were absolute opponents, but whose votes wouldn’t get him past morning. Or they could go to one of the votes he would need in the morning, probably Potter Stewart. We all figured he’d go to Brennan or Marshall, and we could go home. He came to us — us being the court’s junior member.

I drove an old yellow Maverick, and the overhead light was broken, so my co-clerk, who went on to become a leading death penalty defense lawyer and scholar, read out loud with the flashlight as we drove over to the justice’s apartment. When we got there, we read it again with him, issue by issue: Was there any basis for concluding that a mistake was made?

We didn’t come up with much, and then he called the other justice “in the middle” and went over it with him, and then we drove back with the unsigned papers and the windows down in case we threw up.

What if we had missed something? What if his lawyers had? We hadn’t read a transcript; we just read the papers. Was he the white guy picked to go first and head off a parade of minorities? Why him?

We got back to the court at 11:45 p.m. and found Marshall, then in his later years, waiting with his pen out. The execution took place the next day.

By the time he retired, Justice John Paul Stevens was among the most outspoken critics of the way the death penalty is administered. We reminisced, decades later, about the care we had taken to review that application. It doesn’t work that way anymore.

Even so, I came to view that, as a matter of principle, a society has every right to punish the worst of the worst. It was the murder of a pregnant woman at an ATM that did it for me — stabbed her in the stomach for some cash. It was a month after my son was born. Get the right guy, and you won’t find me fighting to save him, I heard myself say. And it was true.

The “get the right guy” problem is not insignificant. Most of those on death row are brutal murderers. But no system is perfect, and ours doesn’t aspire to be. So what percentage of error is tolerable when death is the penalty? And just how much are we willing to pay to achieve a tolerable error rate? The work of The Innocence Project, and other organizations, seems to show pretty clearly that it isn’t enough.

Now there is the newest problem. Killing people isn’t so easy. Or rather, as anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer could probably tell you, dying can be very hard. The drug companies don’t want to be a part of the debate by way of making these drugs, states are afraid to disclose what they use, and the last execution took so long that the lawyers filed for a stay.

Did the dying man suffer? They’re not sure. It’s a public embarrassment, or so death penalty opponents are treating it. Is that an argument that we shouldn’t be in the business of killing people? Maybe. I just can’t help but think about how most people suffer in death, and none more than those who are viciously murdered.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Craig Allen: After an Impressive Debut, Arlington Tavern Continues to Impress

By | Published on 07/27/2014


About three years ago, when Diego Barbieri first approached me about writing a business plan for a new restaurant concept he and business partner Ron True were contemplating, I was not sure what to expect. The restaurant business in Santa Barbara is highly competitive, and requires a significant up-front investment to have any chance of success.

But the more I spoke with the Arlington Tavern team the more impressed I became with the project, and with their enthusiasm and professionalism. Now, more than two years into the project, and with a proven track-record of success, Arlington Tavern has become a true culinary destination for those in the know.

To be successful in the restaurant business, you need a combination of key factors. The location is, by far, the most important. A restaurant with the best food in the world will struggle if it’s in a bad location. Nowhere is location more critical than in Santa Barbara, where locals think anything farther than a five-minute drive just isn’t worth the hassle.

Arlington Tavern, located at 21 W. Victoria St., is in an ideal location, next door to the “New Vic” Theater and immediately across the street from Alma del Pueblo and the Santa Barbara Public Market, at West Victoria and Chapala streets. This location didn’t seem quite so ideal, however, when construction was under way at both nearby projects, but now that they’re complete, foot traffic is significant, steady and impactful for Arlington Tavern’s sales.

The menu is also critical to success for any restaurant, and again, when it comes to Santa Barbara, the menu is a make or break factor. Arlington Tavern created the perfect menu for success, targeting only a few outstanding items for each section of the menu, and fitting everything onto a single page. Although highly focused, patrons will not be disappointed either with the selection or the culinary impact of the items offered.

One entree that really stands out (everything is fantastic) is the fried chicken. I have eaten at Arlington Tavern many times, but only recently ordered the fried chicken. While, at least for me, fried chicken isn’t something I would normally think to order at a restaurant, I heard so many positive comments about it that I had to finally try it. I was not disappointed. I have heard many say the fried chicken is the best they have ever had, and I concur. Cooked to perfection, with just the right thickness of the crispy crust, and presented on a bed of mashed potatoes, this dish will impress even the most discerning palate.

Specials are offered, based on locally available produce. One recent addition that is amazing is the melon salad, which offers watermelon cubes with balsamic vinegar, feta cheese, fresh greens and some interesting spices; a perfectly refreshing appetizer for a hot summer day.

There are some exceptional desserts as well, and the beer and wine list is chock full of local favorites. Although the number of items is relatively small, there is plenty of variety available to please a broad range of tastes.

Another key factor necessary for success in the competitive restaurant space is customer service. Many restaurants, even those with good locations and menus, will fail if their service is subpar. This is certainly true in Santa Barbara, where there are so many dining options available.

Arlington Tavern certainly has this box checked, with a casual but highly effective approach to serving its patrons. This was clearly evident on Thursday night, just before the play Looped began next door at the New Vic, with an 8 p.m. start. Arlington Tavern was at capacity, with virtually everyone scrambling to finish dinner before attending the play, my group of six included. With every table full, and the kitchen and wait staff buzzing, every table was served effectively and promptly, so that all patrons were able to enjoy their dinner and make it to the play on time.

Finally, every truly successful restaurant must have a pleasing ambiance — the inviting feeling the patron experiences when entering the establishment. Arlington Tavern receives a perfect score on this as well. The atmosphere is casual, comfortable, inviting and fun, from the moment one enters. The selection of Arlington Tavern for the name was certainly apropos, because the overall feel of the space gives the patron an authentic tavern experience.

Although the factors described above are important, there is a magic that occurs when these characteristics are combined that elevates the experience to a new level. Arlington Tavern certainly has that “X Factor” that only the most successful restaurants can develop.

If you haven’t had a chance to try Arlington Tavern, place it on your list of restaurants to visit. It is open from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Sundays.

Click here for more information about Arlington Tavern, or call 805.770.2626.

Craig Allen, CFA, CFP, CIMA, is president of Allen Wealth Management and founder of Dump That Debt. He has been managing assets for foundations, corporations and high-net worth individuals for more than 20 years and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA charter holder), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification. He blogs at Finance With Craig Allen and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.898.1400. Click here to read previous columns or follow him on Twitter: @MPAMCraig. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Nite Moves Keeps Up the Pace on 25th Anniversary of Popular Summer Race Series

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Run, swim or walk, weekly gathering at Leadbetter Beach pulls in veteran competitors and novices alike

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As the longest continuous aquathon series in California, Run Santa Barbara’s Nite Moves has a loyal following. Every Wednesday evening from May through August, the event attracts locals and visitors alike to run and swim along Santa Barbara’s Leadbetter Beach and Shoreline Park. This year, Nite Moves is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Nite Moves consists of three separate events: a Kids’ Mile run for children ages 5-11, a 1-Kilometer open ocean swim, and a 5-Kilometer run or walk along Shoreline Drive. The races are staggered so swimmers can participate in the run after their swim.

“As many as 65 percent of swimmers go on to run the 5K after the swim,” said Jake Clinton, who co-founded the race in 1989.

Nite Moves has evolved in the years since its founding. What started as a six-week series now runs for 18 weeks. The event originally included a kayak race, but after the first year, the 1K swim replaced the kayaks.

Nite Moves typically draws more than 100 swimmers and more than 200 runners to its athletic events and the family-friendly and social beachside gathering following the races.

Standing at the finish line, one sees a diverse group of participants. They range from highly trained, competitive athletes, to runners with strollers, to walkers there to enjoy the festive atmosphere while getting some exercise, to children crossing a finish line for the very first time.

When speaking to participants, their enthusiasm for Nite Moves is evident.

“I love running outside along the beach, the music and the ice cream,” said Jilli, a regular participant starting this year. “Nite Moves is really the whole package. It’s an opportunity to both exercise and have fun.”

Long-time participant Jayna, who has been running in Nite Moves since 2005, has built friendships with other runners over the years.

“Nite Moves is the only racing I do all summer,” she explained. “I love the food, the beer and the atmosphere after the race, and the opportunity to see my friends and get to know other runners.”

Various bands play live music at the après-race festivities and a rotation of restaurants provides food for hungry runners. McConnell’s Ice Cream and Pacific Beverage Co.’s beer consistently round out each week’s menu.

Clinton described Nite Moves as having “a social aspect, a family aspect, and a competitive aspect.”

“It has gotten a lot of people off of the couch and in shape,” he said. “And it’s a great excuse to be down on Leadbetter Beach on a Wednesday night.”

Registration begins at Leadbetter Beach at 5 p.m. Wednesdays. Vendors’ booths open at 5 p.m. The open ocean swim begins at 6:25 p.m. The running events begin at 6:35 p.m.
Tickets include dinner and a raffle ticket and cost $25 per night or $279 for the season.

Click here for more information or to register for Nite Moves online.

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


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Slightly Stoopid Aces Summer Sessions at Santa Barbara Bowl

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid brought their Summer Sessions Tour to the packed Santa Barbara Bowl on Friday night.

Slightly Stoopid, formed in Ocean Beach, covered a wide variety of fusion reggae, hip hop and punk, including a dedication to the late Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain.

Stephen Marley and Cypress Hill opened the bill on the hot summer evening and joined Slightly Stoopid on stage for the final two songs of the night.

The Summer Sessions Tour will be touring the country throughout the summer, finishing Aug. 16 in Boca Raton, Fla.

— Steve Kennedy is a Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.

(Steve Kennedy photo)
(Steve Kennedy photo)
(Steve Kennedy photo)
(Steve Kennedy photo)


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Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show a Waterfront Fixture, But Artists Feeling a Squeeze

By | Published on 07/26/2014


For going on 50 years, local participating artists say they love Sunday outlet but want more attention, advertising to sustain it

Every Sunday, locals and visitors alike can be found flipping through framed photographs and admiring paintings of sunsets and other breathtaking backgrounds, all just a stone’s throw from Stearns Wharf.

The Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show draws hundreds of artists to the waterfront from 10 a.m. to dusk each Sunday, requiring that participants pay an annual fee, live in Santa Barbara County and showcase their own work for wanting buyers.

Folks have been stumbling upon the show for nearly 50 years, witnessing an evolution from a mile-long creative display with more than 300 artists and a years-long waiting list to around 200 members who are feeling a bit like the city’s forgotten stepchild.

To complicate matters, the “top” of the show, from the Dolphin Fountain to the skate park, will soon close for 18 months while construction commences on the State Street Bridge replacement project across the street on East Cabrillo Boulevard.

Since 1966, the arts and crafts show has fallen under the umbrella of the city Parks and Recreation Department and is the only event written into the municipal code, back in 1974.

Jeff Kennedy, a longtime member and local artist, joins a chorus of others who think that means the show — an art institution in Santa Barbara — should receive more direct funding from the city for advertising.

Artists currently fund the show with the $100,000 they pay in annual fees, which foots the bill for use of the park, two monitors and other administrative costs.

Because the show is sponsored by the city, however, and not another organization as is the case with Old Spanish Days Fiesta or the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, direct funds cannot be allotted, according to recreation programs manager Judith McCaffrey.

Artists vent opinions at monthly meetings with parks officials and an arts and crafts show advisory committee, but Kennedy thinks they’re being ignored.

“Over the years, our fees have just ratcheted up, ratcheted up, ratcheted up,” he said. “Most people down there are doing it part time. Nobody’s making a living off that show. It’s in need of some assistance in advertising it. We’re not even allowed or given signage.”

Those participating in the show are used to rolling with controversial punches.

The show grew out of a small gathering in De la Guerra Plaza on Saturdays and Sundays, but was then moved by the city to the beachfront where three local artists began painting and displaying their work on weekends.

When merchants started staying open on Saturdays, the show was slashed to just Sundays and Saturdays only on special holidays, Kennedy said.

When hotels started moving to the waterfront on Cabrillo, such as The Fess Parker, the show was stopped where the hotel starts instead of spanning down to the public restrooms.

And when Skater’s Point was built in the 2000s, the show was cut again.

Kennedy, a UC Santa Barbara graduate who started showing in the crafts section in 1985,  said the 18-month closure starting in February would displace 20 artists.

The Parks and Recreation Department has decided to move them to an area near a parking lot, a fate Kennedy says artists are resigned to, especially if the city would start pitching into an advertising fund.

One of the affected artists, a longtime member who didn’t want to be named, said she hopes the city could give her and others a discounted fee.

“I love the camaraderie and feeling like it’s my own little business,” she said. “But everybody’s complaining because I feel like we’re a little taken for granted.”

Senior recreation supervisor Jason Bryan, who oversees the show, said the timing of the bridge project is unfortunate, since it will coincide with the show’s 50th anniversary in 2015. He said he understands some artists want to divert more funds away from Visit Santa Barbara and other arts organizations.

Artists air concerns and are very involved, Bryan said, noting quite a bit of city resources are used on the show that takes up a big swath of Chase Palm Park.

“These are people who draw outside the lines by their creative nature,” he said. “They’re some passionate people.”

Bryan said the $534 artists pay for a one-year permit is affordable, and about half of them use a payment plan that tacks on an additional small fee.

Fees include $20 that goes into an advertising fund, which Bryan said has about $10,000 — most earmarked for anniversary year festivities.

He agrees the show is a great face for Santa Barbara, displaying all handmade originals except for some photography and digital art reproductions.

“There are a lot of restrictions that go along with the show,” Bryan said. “That’s part of the charm that makes us so different from a lot of other opportunities. The show is constantly changing and evolving.”

Kennedy, who now shows his photography across from the Santa Barbara FisHouse restaurant, said he remembers when fees were just $25 and hopes the number of artists doesn’t continue to dwindle.

“There is nothing like our show,” Kennedy said. “It really puts a stamp of the art community on Santa Barbara. We have a whole group of people who work very, very hard all the time in order to be able to display their best work. Yet those in power in the city do absolutely nothing to show their appreciation for the attraction we all provide.”

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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Diane Dimond: Liberating the White House from the Political Money Game

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Let’s face it. We have too many antiquated laws on the books. Our laws often fail to keep up with the times. I mean, do we really need a statute that prohibits rams from trespassing as they have in New Jersey? Or a law that makes it a crime to carry fruit in an illegally sized container as Minnesota recently struck down?

Nonetheless, I would like to propose a new law that would benefit every man, woman and child in the United States. It has to do with how the top leadership in this country operates. Let’s adopt a law that prohibits presidents from engaging in overt political fundraising.

Yes, I know an appearance by a president at a fundraising event ensures a seven-figure take for these events. But, how about we leave the begging for political donations to the U.S. senators and congressmen who are already experts at it?

Let’s free up our president to be ... well ... the leader of all American citizens, not just those who belong to the president’s political party. Let’s emancipate our commander in chief from the mundane election-year hawking for money designed solely to enrich one political party’s coffers.

The end game for the ginned up money, of course, is to eviscerate the opposing party, which only goes to further divide us as a country. If you’ve ever wondered how we, as a nation, got so mired in the us-versus-them mentality we have today, look no further than the smarmy political strategists who spend their days concocting campaigns designed to slime candidates on the other side, everyone who doesn’t think like they do.

As those strategists hope, we the electorate absorb their negative messages and carry them into our everyday relationships. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “I can’t talk to Joe. He’s such a Republican!” If you are one of the rare citizens who truly hasn’t allowed the political spin to infiltrate your daily lives, I congratulate you.

So, let us do all presidents a favor and make it against the law for them to participate in the loathsome game of political fundraising. Let us help elevate presidents above the ugly fray. And while we’re at it, lets extend the political huckstering ban to include their spouses and children, too.

The need for this new legislation came to me in a flash as I was reading about the recent air disaster that took 298 lives in Eastern Europe and the latest war (let’s call it what it is) in the Middle East.

Buried within newspaper stories were sentences like this one in The New York Times: “As smoke billowed from the downed Malaysian jetliner in the fields of eastern Ukraine, President Obama pressed ahead with his schedule: A cheeseburger with fries at the Charcoal Pit in Delaware ... and two splashy fundraisers in New York City.”

At the very time initial dispatches reported there were 23 Americans aboard that downed Malaysian passenger jet (the number was later reduced to one), Obama was belly-up to the counter of that burger joint, which is framed by a cartoon figure on the wall eating a burger three times the size of its head.

White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri was asked if there had been any thought given to cancelling the day’s activities given the grim world events. Her bizarre answer as Obama headed toward those two glitzy fundraisers in Manhattan?

“Abrupt changes to his schedule can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people or creating a false sense of crisis,” Palmieri said in a prepared statement.

Now look, I don’t begrudge any leader of the free world some down time or a yummy burger with fries. (Although, I do wonder what first lady Michelle Obama thinks about her husband’s dietary choices.) But I take umbrage with a White House staffer thinking we are so mentally fragile as a people that we would be “unduly alarmed” at a president who returned to Washington to take care of business. Does she think the citizens of America are stupid?

Whether there is an international crisis or a humanitarian crisis on our own border to attend to, the president must set his own management style. I understand that. If he wants to handle pressing events while out in the field instead of in the Oval Office, that’s his decision. What I find disgraceful is the offensive image of an American president gallivanting around the country on Air Force One with his expensive, taxpayer-funded entourage hawking for money for his own particular ideology. That’s not leadership; that’s pure unadulterated politics.

Even the White House communications director knows this, which is why cameras are rarely allowed in to film one of these presidential fundraising events.

This is not a partisan gripe. I didn’t like it when Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush hit the mega-money-making fundraising trail either. It diminishes the office of the president to place our top elected official — the leader of the free world — on the podium next to big-money wheelers and dealers. It embarrasses me. It should embarrass our presidents, too.

So, the question: Which political party has enough guts, enough pride in the office of the presidency, to take a bold move toward removing the leader of the free world from the unseemly position of being the big-ticket draw to milk the most lucrative cash cows?

I am an enthusiastic voter, and I would be attracted to the party that sponsors such a bill. I bet other voters might very well see the party that backs such legislation as truly focused on America’s best interest instead of how much money they can raise to taint the opposition. That act has gotten mighty old. And it has resulted in nothing but stalemate in Washington.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at, follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Mark Shields: Guns in the Workplace, But Not for Pro-Gun Politicians

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Its official title is the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” and when it was signed by Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, the National Rifle Association praised it as the “most comprehensive pro-gun bill in state history.” That’s because, under its provisions, Georgia residents are now able to carry guns into churches, bars and public buildings. Georgia teachers, with a green light from their school board, can carry guns into their classrooms. This may explain why the statute is better known as the “Guns Everywhere” law.

While Christ remains for many the true Prince of Peace, and while firearms in churches do seem wildly inappropriate, you have to concede that it could provide a new definition for the often-coerced marriage commonly known as a “shotgun wedding.” As to the wisdom of mixing guns and alcohol in a crowded public place on a raucous Friday night, 19th-century Americans in Dodge City, Kan., were a lot smarter than that.

But here’s the inconsistency. Those same Georgia legislators who championed the “Guns Everywhere” law “to arm law-abiding citizens in order to confront and to take down, if necessary, armed law-breakers” in libraries or fast-food restaurants exempt one place where Georgians cannot bear arms: the state Capitol in Atlanta — the very place where those legislators work.

Georgia legislators are not alone in voting to keep guns out of their own workplace. Three-dozen states, which, like all 50, have their own concealed-carry laws that permit citizens to carry guns into public places, specifically prohibit law-abiding citizens from bringing firearms into their state capitols, where, incidentally, those very legislators can be found.

Credit goes to Esme Deprez and William Selway of Business Week for capturing this glaring inconsistency, which some might even call hypocrisy on the part of pro-gun politicians, when they interviewed South Dakota Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, who owns 17 firearms, is a dues-paying NRA member and favors the untrammeled right of South Dakotans to pack heat in public places, that is except the state Capitol, where, according to Hickey, “We have the most contentious issues being debated in public policy, affecting people in irate, angrily ways and affecting millions and millions of dollars.”

Here in Washington, within the space of five days, two law-abiding Americans, the press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and the past president of the National Turkey Federation and the president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, were separately arrested and jailed after Capitol police found each trying to bring a pistol and ammunition into the Cannon House Office Building, which connects to the Capitol. If found guilty, the sentence could be five years in jail.

Capitol Hill, where Congress spends its time, has become an armed camp with uniformed and plain-clothes security people everywhere. It’s true that in 1998 there was a tragic shooting, resulting in the deaths of two Capitol Hill police officers. But that was 16 years ago, long before four-fifths of the current House members had even come to Washington, and before the strong national movement to expand citizens’ right to carry firearms where they choose.

It’s clear these pro-gun/anti-gun control politicians must believe that more citizens carrying more guns in the community or the workplace will make you and me safer. But somehow these same politicians do not believe those same citizens with those same firearms would make the state Capitol and U.S. Capitol safer places. They believe these citizens could somehow be a threat to them.

If more guns were to make people safer, then the United States — which, with 310 million guns in private hands, leads all nations — would be the safest place on Earth.

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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Amid Heat and Humidity, Chance of Showers in Forecast through Monday

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Subtropical moisture pushing up the coast from Baja California is bringing above-normal temperatures and more humidity to Santa Barbara County. As part of the package, the National Weather Service said, there’s a slight chance of showers and thundershowers through Monday.

The weather service said precipitation — if it happens — is most likely to occur in the mountains Saturday night, Sunday and Monday.

A key concern, officials say, is dry lightning that could spark fires in the drought-parched region.

Sunday’s forecast calls for morning low clouds and fog along the South Coast, giving way to partly cloudy skies. High temperatures are expected to reach the upper 60s and 70s, and hit the mid-80s in the foothills.

Monday should end up with sunny skies and daytime highs in the upper 70s along the coast and in the upper 80s in the foothills.

The weather service is predicting clear skies and temperatures in the upper 70s to the low 90s the rest of the week — typical weather for Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta, which gets under way Wednesday night.

» 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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Marilyn Horne in Fiesta Spirit As Honorary La Diva of Old Spanish Days

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Music Academy of the West honors legendary opera singer on 80th birthday

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The Music Academy of the West joined the Fiesta spirit for the first time this year, partnering with Old Spanish Days to recognize legendary opera singer Marilyn Horne as part of her 80th birthday celebration and honoring her as “La Diva of Old Spanish Days.”

“We are thrilled to bestow this honor upon a legend and true legacy of the Music Academy of the West,” said Scott Reed, president of the Music Academy.

The El Desfile Histórico (Historical Parade) on Friday is also celebrating an anniversary, marking 90 years for one of the largest equestrian parades in the United States.

Horne will join in the parade festivities, riding in an antique carriage with Reed and the Music Academy’s presenting sponsors, Montecito Bank & Trust, represented by chairman Michael Towbes and president and CEO Janet Garufis.

“Having grown up in California — not in Santa Barbara but in Long Beach — I do know an awful lot about the history of Old Spanish Days in California because we all had to study it in school,” Horne said. “I feel very much at home with all of this and our Fiestas in Long Beach were never as cool as this.

“This is a very famous, famous Fiesta, and I’m so thrilled and honored that you made me a part of it.”

Accolades for Horne also include a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1974, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine, Kennedy Center honoree in 1995, National Medal of Arts in 1992 and induction to the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Horne attended the Music Academy in 1953 and, since 1995, has been a member of the faculty, also directing the Voice Program since 1997.

“In 2002, Opera News referred to Marilyn Horne as ‘the most influential singer in American History’,” Reed said. “We are so produce to have her as part of our Santa Barbara community.”

An upcoming fully staged production of Bizet’s Carmen is scheduled for Friday and Sunday, with conductor James Gaffigan, director David Paul and Horne as voice program director. Making this year’s performance an even more special celebration will be the setting — a post-1850s Old Spanish Days Santa Barbara with the final scene taking place at Fiesta in the historic Granada Theatre.

Founded in 1947, the Music Academy is a full scholarship training program for the world’s most talented classical musicians, and each summer brings 140 of the most promising young musicians to Santa Barbara to train with a world-class faculty.

The Honorary La Diva of Old Spanish Days event also included a special Carmen performance, and Horne introduced the singers as part of a thank you for the honor and to the community on behalf of the Music Academy.

“What better way for us to say thank you and for me to say thank you than music,” Horne exclaimed. “We have three of our wonderful performers from the summer here who are cast in Carmen – Deanna Pauletto and Andrew Manea, accompanied by Mario Antonio Marra.”

Admission to the program is strictly merit-based and Fellows receive full scholarships with tuition, room and board. Fellows who join the program from universities and conservatories across the country include Yale, Rice, Northwestern, The Julliard School and New England Conservatory.

Alumni of the Music Academy include prominent solo artists and members of major ensembles, opera companies, chamber and symphony orchestras, and university and conservatory faculties.

The Music Academy presents more than 200 public events annually with performances by Fellows, visiting artists and faculty. A vocal masterclass with Horne is scheduled for Aug. 6.

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


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Three Injured in Santa Maria Vehicle Rollover on Highway 101

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Three people were injured in a vehicle rollover crash on a Highway 101 offramp at Clark Avenue in Santa Maria.

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the wreck at 2:59 a.m. and found three hurt individuals at the scene, Capt. David Sadecki said. 

American Medical Response ambulances transported all three to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Two patients have serious injuries and one has moderate injuries, Sadecki said. 

No other details were available. 

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


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Firefighters Extinguish Structure Fire at Goleta Residence

By | Published on 07/26/2014


Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 500 block of Ripley Street in Goleta early Saturday, but authorities say the blaze was extinguished without any injuries.

The call came in at 1 a.m. and firefighters found a 10-by-10-foot shed fully engulfed in flames in the backyard of a residence there, Capt. David Sadecki said.

Fire spread to a nearby power pole but there was no damage to the home itself.

The fire appears to be electrical-related, since there was an extension cord running to the shed from the house, Sadecki said.

No injuries were reported.

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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Airman Who Died in Highway 1 Crash Remembered in Memorial Service at Vandenberg AFB

By | Published on 07/25/2014


Vandenberg Air Force Base hosted a memorial service in honor of Senior Airman Nicholas DiBona on Friday, 12 days after he died in a traffic accident on Highway 1 north of Santa Lucia Canyon Road.

“Heavy hearts on VAFB today as we remember SrA DiBona's life and military service. He will not be forgotten,” Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, said on social media Friday morning.

The California Highway Patrol said the July 13 accident occurred at 4:22 p.m. when the 2006 black Subaru was southbound on Highway 1 at a high rate of speed and drifted off the right side of the roadway. The vehicle overturned down an embankment and was not visible from the roadway, the CHP said.

DiBona, 21, of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., was sitting in the right front passenger seat and declared dead at the scene.

The driver, Donald W.S. Cox, 21, and another passenger, John C. Rivera, 22, both of Lompoc, suffered moderate injuries, the CHP said.

Both of them also serve in the Air Force, a Vandenberg spokeswoman said Friday, but refused to identify their ranks or units.

The CHP said Friday the cause of the accident remains under investigation.

“At this point, any charges are pending the outcome of the investigation,” CHP Officer John Ortega said.

DiBona was a 2011 graduate of Fuquay-Varina High School in North Carolina and served in the Air Force for nearly three years, according to his obituary. A funeral Mass was held Monday in North Carolina.

"The loss of one of our own is a tragedy, and we are leaning on each other across the base to make it through this difficult time,” Balts said. "The fact that SrA. Dibona's life was just beginning only adds to the sense of loss we feel. Our hearts and prayers go out to this young Airman's family, friends and co-workers."

Coincidentally, Friday’s memorial was the second service this week on the Central Coast in honor of airmen killed in traffic accidents on July 13.

A funeral for Airman 1st Class Andrew Padilla, 22, was held in Santa Maria on Wednesday, 10 days after he died in a car crash in Clovis, N.M. The passenger in a Hyundai, Padilla was ejected when the vehicle rolled over several times early July 13 and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a Clovis Police Department news release.

The driver, Tylan Bolden, 20, who also serves in the Air Force, lost control of the vehicle as it was traveling at a high rate of speed, police added. Alcohol is believed to be factor in the crash which remains under investigation, according to police.

Padilla was from Santa Maria but was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The two deaths with Central Coast connections fell in the midst of the  Air Force’s annual safety capping dubbed 101 Critical Days of Summer. Air Force leaders emphasize safety on and off-duty for airmen and their families between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

The theme of this year’s campaign, “Risk: Double Checks, Not Second Thoughts,” is aimed at reminding airmen to take care of themselves, their families, and their teammates.
Air Force officials reminded key factors leading to these fatal accidents include alcohol, speed, distractions, and fatigue, said.

“As you participate in summer activities with your family and friends use what you have learned about risk management,” Air Force leaders told military members. “Plan for the unexpected and avoid unnecessary risks. Embrace safety as the foundation of our core values. Enjoy the warm weather; get out and have fun, but always keep safety in mind.”

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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Review: DIJO Rises to the Challenge of ‘Ghetto,’ a Holocaust Drama

By | Published on 07/25/2014


In the Jewish ghetto of Vilna, Lithuania, near the end of World War II, a resident named Herman Kruk kept a diary. Ghetto, by Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol, is based on Kruk’s diaries, telling the story of a small group of musicians, actors and dancers whose lives were spared when it was decided they could put on shows for their Nazi captors and for fellow prisoners as a last chance to enjoy themselves.

Using the real music, songs, and snippets of plays they created, their story is told against the horrific backdrop of the Holocaust and the threat that hung over them at all times — transport to the camps.

Ed Giron directs this DIJO production, as well as taking a lead role as Weiskopf, the Jewish tailor who builds an empire in the ghetto, laundering and mending uniforms from the front lines. His energy crackles as the charismatic entrepreneur who is never at a loss for a clever line.

The quality of acting among the large ensemble cast is somewhat uneven, but they have surely put their hearts into this production.

Among the standouts are George Coe as the Nazi commander who delights in cruelly playing with the emotions of his prisoners, Jennifer Marco as the glamorous Jewish singer with whom he becomes infatuated — and who has a fine set of pipes, indeed — and Richard Lonsbury and Pacomio Sun as rebellious young men who take matters into their own hands.

Jerry Oshinsky is Kruk, who serves at times as a sort of narrator. Bill Waxman is musical director, providing some live piano music onstage, but also playing an eccentric puppeteer whose marionette (Maia Mook) gives him a mouthpiece to speak the truth.

Kudos to DIJO Productions for bravely tackling this difficult material, inspiring at the same time as it is heartbreaking. It is ironic to note that while it is challenging in the best of times for artists to make a living, in certain circumstances, art can save lives.

The play runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 10 at Center Stage Theater. Click here for tickets and more information.

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


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Police Arrest Suspect in Santa Maria Stabbing

By | Published on 07/25/2014


Santa Maria police arrested a man Friday on suspicion of attempted murder after finding him near a stabbing victim, authorities said.

Police were called to a fight in the area of Church Street and Russell Avenue at 3:12 p.m. Friday and located a victim with multiple stab wounds.

The 34-year-old man refused medical treatment for the non-life-threatening wounds, according to police.

Police said Manuel Calles Arias, 34, of Santa Maria was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

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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David Sirota: Stadium Subsidies Financed By Pension Cuts

By | Published on 07/25/2014


As states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.

Detroit this week became the most prominent example of this trend. Officials in the financially devastated city announced that their plan to slash public workers' pension benefits will move forward. On the same day, the billionaire owners of the Detroit Red Wings, the Ilitch family, unveiled details of an already approved taxpayer-financed stadium for the professional hockey team.

Many Detroit retirees now face big cuts to their previously negotiated retirement benefits. At the same time, the public is on the hook for $283 million toward the new stadium.

The budget maneuvers in Michigan are part of a larger trend across the country. As Pacific Standard reports, "Over the past 20 years, 101 new sports facilities have opened in the United States — a 90 percent replacement rate — and almost all of them have received direct public funding." Now, many of those subsidies are being effectively financed by the savings accrued from pension benefit reductions and cuts to public services.

In Chicago, for instance, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently passed a $55 million cut to municipal workers' pensions. At the same time, he has promoted a plan to spend $55 million of taxpayer money on a hotel project that is part of a stadium development plan.

In Miami, Bloomberg News reports that the city "approved a $19 million subsidy for (a) professional basketball arena" and then, six weeks later, "began considering a plan to cut as many as 700 (librarian) positions, including a fifth of the library staff and more than 300 police."

In Arizona, the Phoenix Business Journal reports that regional governments in that state have spent $1.5 billion "on sports stadiums, arenas and pro teams" since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, legislators are considering proposals to cut public pension benefits.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is blocking a planned $2.4 billion payment to the pension system, at the same time his administration has spent a record $4 billion on subsidies and tax breaks to corporations. That includes an $82 million subsidy for a practice facility for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The officials promoting these twin policies argue that boosting stadium development effectively promotes economic growth. But many calculations rely on questionable assumptions.

In a 2008 data review by the University of Maryland and the University of Alberta, researchers found that "sports subsidies cannot be justified on the grounds of local economic development." In addition, a 2012 Bloomberg News analysis found that taxpayers have lost $4 billion on such subsidies since the mid-1980s.

"Sports stadiums typically aren't a good tool for economic development," said Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson in an interview with The Atlantic. "Take whatever number the sports promoter says, take it and move the decimal one place to the left. Divide it by 10, and that's a pretty good estimate of the actual economic impact."

Of course, while stadium subsidies are promoted in the name of economic development, pension benefits are rarely described in such terms — even though the data suggests they should be. Indeed, an analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based National Institute on Retirement Security notes that spending resulting from pension payments had "a total economic impact of more than $941.2 billion" and "supported more than 6.1 million American jobs" in 2012.

Despite that, retirement benefits are often the first item on politicians' chopping blocks. Pensions, after all, may support local economies, but they don't result in shiny new stadiums.

In a sports-obsessed country, that makes those pensions a much bigger political target than any taxpayer handout to a billionaire team owner.

David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @davidsirota, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Gerald Carpenter: N.Y. Philharmonic’s Alan Gilbert to Conduct Academy’s Festival Orchestra

By | Published on 07/25/2014


This is the first official year of the New York Philharmonic's four-year partnership with the Music Academy of the West (the unofficial ambassadors like the great Glenn Dicterow have been a presence for several years). We have had the benefit already of the conducting of the NY Phil's assistant conductor leading the Festival Orchestra for Concerto Night, and now the music director himself will step onto the podium to conduct a selection of players from the Festival Orchestra in a fascinating program of works for small orchestra, at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Lobero Theatre.

Allan Gilbert
Maestro Alan Gilbert of the New York Philharmonic.

Maestro Alan Gilbert cannot, I think, achieve a higher position in the music world than he has now attained, numbering Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler among his predecessors, he can only go somewhere else. But why would he?

The program he has chosen is like an archeological excavation, starting more or less in the present, the jumping back almost a century to the peak of the "Modernist" era, then back another century to finish on the Classical-Romantic cusp. We will hear Thomas Ades' Chamber Symphony 15 Players (1991), Arnold Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 in Eb-Major, Opus 9 (1906) and Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 2 in Bb-Major, D. 125 (1815).

Adès (b. 1971) is a British conductor, pianist and composer. One of his earliest teachers was Paul Berkowitz, who was born in Canada and was then living and teaching in London (he is now professor of piano at UCSB). The Chamber Symphony is a relatively early work, written when he was 20. I haven't heard it yet, so I can't describe it to you, but the works of his that I have heard are quite engaging.

Getting people to listen to Schoenberg is pretty much an exercise in futility, I have generally found. Even when the piece is totally accessible, harmonically, the name "Schoenberg" (he changed the spelling from "Schönberg" when he came to live in Los Angeles) is so fixed in our heads as belonging to the guy who ruined music that we just won't give him a fair hearing. Unfortunately, schedulers try to sugar coat the composer by focusing on the very earliest of his works because they song like late Romantic works, rather than modern.

But if all we get to hear is the dreary Transfigured Night or the dismal Pelleas und Melisande, we will never figure out that he really was a great composer. The Chamber Symphony No. 1 is, in fact, a perfect introduction to the real Schoenberg: no wilder harmonically than Debussy, but shaken free of the morose Teutonic slog of his early compositions (always excepting the miraculous Gurre Lieder).

The risks he takes are in form, not harmony. It is a spellbinder, and besides, Maestro Gilbert holds out the ineffable sweetness of Schubert for those who have stayed in their seats to the end.

Tickets to this concert are $48, and they can be purchased from the Music Academy ticket office at 805.969.8787 or online by clicking here. They can also be purchased at the Lobero box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., or by calling 805.963.0761 or online by clicking here.

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


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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Seeks Community Votes in ‘Your Favorite Charity’ Contest

By | Published on 07/25/2014


Help the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County continue to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County by voting in KSBY and PG&E's "Your Favorite Charity" contest!

The charity that gathers the most votes overall will walk away with $10,000, and the charity that gathers the most votes per category will receive $2,000 each.

In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive food support from the Foodbank; over 104,500 unduplicated people of whom 44 percent are children. Some of the nourishment programs that help solve hunger are the Brown Bag Program and Picnic in the Park. The Brown Bag Program provides a grocery bag of nutritious staple foods including high-protein items, canned soups, pasta, cereal, eggs, bread and seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables to low income seniors, and Picnic in the Park provides free nutritious meals to children over the summer.

In addition to its nourishment programs, the Foodbank also provides nutrition education to foster nutritional independence and health in children. One of these programs is Kid's Farmers Market. Each month the Kid's Farmers Market Program provides fresh produce and nutrition education to children from low-income families at 27 after-school programs countywide. The nutrition education teaches children healthy recipes, how fruits and vegetables are grown, how they are cooked and their nutritional value and importance.

Last year, the Foodbank distributed the food and resources to support 8.5 million meals — half of which was fresh produce. Vote now to help continue providing the award-winning programs to residents throughout Santa Barbara County. And keep voting once a day until Friday, Aug. 1. You can vote for one charity per day per IP address. Click here to vote.

The winner will be announced Aug. 7.

Click here to learn more about Foodbank and its programs.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.


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Dog Mauled to Death in Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter

By | Published on 07/25/2014


A dog was mauled to death at a Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter on Thursday after the gates to several kennels were left open, releasing several dogs. 

The incident occurred at the county shelter located at 5473 Overpass Rd. in Goleta. Two of the loose dogs engaged in a fight with Kitti, a 12-year-old Boxer/Pit Bull/Terrier Mix, and Kitti was killed, according to a statement from the county's Public Health Department, which oversees the county's animal shelters.

"An employee accidentally left a kennel gate open, allowing multiple dogs to have direct contact with each other," the statement said.

Kitti had been in the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter since June 12, following an incident in which she attacked another dog, resulting in its death.

"Kitti was being kept in a separate area of the kennel where she did not have regular contact with other animals, and had been designated as a 'dangerous dog' after a hearing on July 1," the county said.

Any dog declared to be a dangerous dog requires the animal be humanely destroyed, the county stated, and Kitti was being held in the kennel awaiting a potential appeal of the finding by the dog’s owner.

"The entire agency is extremely concerned about the incident and is taking immediate steps to review the procedures in place to ensure it cannot happen again," the statement said.

"We take very seriously the need to protect the animals in our care and know that while this was a tragic mistake, it was an unacceptable death of an animal in our care."

The employee responsible is "extremely upset" about what happened and the county stated that once a complete set of facts is known about what happened, they will take personnel actions if necessary.

"We extend deep sorrow to Kitti's owners," the statement said.

Several in the rescue community expressed shock at the event on Friday, including Elizabeth Mazzetti, President of Second Chance Cocker Rescue Inc.

"It's just inexcusable," she said.

Mazzetti said that safety concerns at the shelter have been raised before, and that the dog's owner  "is just devastated."

"All of the volunteers are really upset," she said.

As for the animals, "if there's one place they should be safe, it's the shelter."

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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Captain’s Log: Cruising for Fish, Fun at Santa Cruz Island

By | Published on 07/25/2014


Santa Cruz Island is one of my favorite places in the world and for a number of reasons. Fishing is a big part of my reasons for loving the waters around this island, but the awesome beauty and soul-settling natural spots capture my heart. I love that island.

I run a charter boat, and during a majority of our trips we spend some time fishing. We are blessed with a multitude of fishing options here on the Santa Barbara Channel and around the Channel Isles. I enjoy most all forms of fishing, but I must confess that I have a favorite. I get all excited when we are going boiler rock bassing at Santa Cruz Island for calico bass.

Over the weekend, my charter boat, WaveWalker, made a run to the front (north) side of the island. It was a calm crossing, and we had to stop repeatedly along the way to enjoy dolphins and whales.

Our first planned destination was my spiritual home — Painted Cave. We were blessed that sea conditions were perfect for taking the WaveWalker deep into the cave. Our passengers were completely enthralled. Before entering the long cave, I said to them, “Folks, we are about to enter a profoundly spiritual place.” I was pleased that they really got it and it meant a great deal to them, being spiritual people themselves.

After that we cruised east along the island to get out of the Marine Protected Area (MPA, or a place where no extraction is allowed — in other words, no fishing) that was cruelly imposed on recreational anglers for little reason of need and only driven by desires to preserve rather than conserve.

Once outside of that zone, we brought out our rods and spent some glorious time casting swimbaits (a type of fishing lure) to the edge of the boiler rocks where waves crash over them and catching beautiful calico bass. These fish are tough, fun to fight and absolutely beautiful. They are carefully managed and were legal to keep; however, this group of people believed in letting the calicos go, so it was catch-and-release fishing.

I enjoy boiler rock bassing fishing so much that I put my crew member, Capt. Tiffany Vague, at the helm of the vessel, and I joined our passengers on deck and had a blast making long casts and hooking up with feisty bass. I haven’t had that much fishing fun in a long time.

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


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‘Luminous Sea’ Crowdfunding Campaign Donating 50% of Profits to Ocean Foundation

By | Published on 07/25/2014


Luminous Sea, the latest underwater photography book in the Sea of Light trilogy, is rounding up its crowdfunding campaign on the popular crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

Richard Salas
Richard Salas

The last day that campaign contributors and those interested in the Sea of Light trilogy can pre-order the Luminous Sea book and help the campaign reach its funding goal is next Wednesday, July 30.

Now, in an attempt to help conserve the world’s oceans, 50 percent of the future non-crowdfunding profits from Luminous Sea will be donated to The Ocean Foundation, an organization that works with donors to grow the financial resources available for marine conservation. In addition, the first 1,000 copies of Luminous Sea pre-ordered on Indiegogo will also be signed by Richard Salas, the man responsible for taking the stunning images featured in the books.

“These wonderful creatures have become like family to me,” Salas said. “Doing whatever possible to help conserve the natural habitats of these wonderful creatures is something I am very passionate about, so choosing to donate to The Ocean Foundation was a natural choice.”

Luminous Sea is the third and final book in the Sea of Light trilogy, a three-book series featuring jaw-dropping images of the underwater life along the eastern Pacific Ocean. The 12-inch-by-12-inch coffee table book features over 150 pages of high-resolution underwater photographs taken in numerous locales along the western coast of North and Central America, from Alaska to the Equator.

The Sea of Light trilogy is comprised of three books, Sea of Light, Blue Visions and Luminous Sea. The first two books in the series featured photography taken in the temperate waters near the Equator. Luminous Sea, however, features stunning imagery captured off the coasts of the Pacific Northwest.

Reaching the $45,000 funding goal will allow for the production of Luminous Sea as well as a reprint of the first book in the series, Sea of Light, which is currently sold out. Potential backers of the campaign can choose from a variety of perk levels. Backers who pledge at the $90 perk level will receive one book in the Sea of Light trilogy personalized with their named printed inside the front cover, while those who pledge at the $270 level will receive the entire collection in an Indiegogo exclusive slip case along with an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch print from each book.

To back the Luminous Sea Indiegogo campaign and pre-order a copy of the book before the campaign ends Wednesday, click here. Also, like Sea of Light on Facebook and follow @ASKphotoH2O on Twitter.


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SBCC Receives $7,000 Grant from The Fund for Santa Barbara for Transitions Program

By | Published on 07/25/2014


California’s recidivism rate clocks in at 67.5 percent. Compare that figure with Santa Barbara City College students who have been incarcerated, and who have completed the Transitions program: a recidivism rate of 5 percent. For these students, education is the only successful intervention, and their experience has shown that their best hope for staying off the streets and in school is working with other students who are making the same transition.

All Transitions students are parolees or probationers. Some are one strike shy of life in “the system.” Others have never known an adult life outside the criminal justice system. College is the last place any of them expect to end up. Thanks to The Fund for Santa Barbara, these individuals are successfully turning around their lives — and their futures.

"I rely on this program like it's my life," said Transitions student Tia Macias, a recovering addict now studying to be a drug and alcohol counselor. "It is my life."

Outside of class time, these students meet weekly to share emotional stories and to motivate and inspire each other to move beyond the past. Program Director Noel Gomez is one of the key reasons these parolees and probationers show up at SBCC. A native of Boyle Heights, Gomez grew up in the gang capital of America in the turbulent 1990s.

"If I'd pledged allegiance to any of these gangs, I would have been dead in two or three days," Gomez said.

So Gomez stayed “out,” got through high school, and against the advice of a school counselor, applied and was accepted to UCSB (and ultimately to Harvard). Gomez's journey is what inspires these students to take what for them is a terrifying leap of faith and join SBCC's six-week summer college-readiness program, Transitions.

As part of the Transitions program, Gomez and his peer advisors teach these students how to navigate the SBCC campus, how to write essays and how to read a syllabus. Just as important, Gomez and his staff of peer mentors (all former Transitions students) teach trust, how to stay out of trouble and believe in oneself.

A college education has become one of the most valuable assets in the United States — a bachelor’s degree is worth more than $1 million in lifetime earnings. Gainful employment is one of the defining characteristics of successful reentry, and successful reentry and readjustment into society ultimately lower the likelihood of an individual turning to illegal activity. And the benefits go well beyond each individual — postsecondary education programs have demonstrated a break in the harrowing cycle of intergenerational incarceration.

“This program is changing lives, families and future generations," SBCC Extended Opportunities Programs and Services Director Marsha Wright said. "And so far, education has proven to be the only answer to the problem of recidivism.”

The Fund for Santa Barbara just granted the Transitions program $7,000, which will help pay for crucial elements of the six-week summer programming.

“Without ongoing funding from The Fund for Santa Barbara, this program would not remain in existence," said Madeline Jacobson, SBCC Foundation board president. "Social change is taking place right here on campus thanks to The Fund.”

The consistency of The Fund for Santa Barbara’s support of Transitions has had a direct impact on the viability and sustainability of this program.

“We are so appreciative that The Fund understands the impact Transitions is having on this entire community, and the long term change it is creating,” Jacobson said.

“After going through the Transitions program I have developed a passion for learning, a passion for education, and I want to further my education and further my career goals,” said Larry Davidson, Transitions student at SBCC. “The program has given me a chance to reevaluate my life and the determination to succeed and become a productive part of society. I have gained a sense of self-worth, a sense of pride and sense of accomplishment.”

Peer counselor Mauricio Isaac, who just returned from a semester abroad in Italy, said: “I never dreamed while sitting in my jail cell that I really could change my life — Transitions changed my life and my mind.”

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the SBCC Foundation.


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Lompoc Theatre Project Holds Board, Committee Elections

By | Published on 07/25/2014


The Lompoc Theatre Project’s Board of Directors held elections on June 17, with several members gaining new or expanded titles.

Mark Herrier, previously a board member at large, is the new president of the board. He replaces Cecilia Martner, president from June 2013 through June 2014. Martner is now president of the LTP’s advisory committee.

Herrier is also chairman of the Operations and Restoration Committee.

Laurie Jervis, secretary since December 2013, retains that title, and also was elected as chairwoman of the Media and Communications Committee.

Ron Bock was re-elected as treasurer.

Jack Carmean and Steve Stormoen are co-chairmen of the Membership and Volunteers Committee.

The current members of the LTP are Martner, Katie Baillargeon and Barbara Satterfield, as well as founding members Pam Wall, Ken and Carol Calvert, Carol Benham and Brian Cole, first board president.

— Laurie Jervis is secretary for the Lompoc Theatre Project.


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23 Cadets to Graduate from Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy

By | Published on 07/25/2014


After two weeks of physical and mental challenges, 23 local young people representing six law enforcement agencies will graduate on Saturday from the Central Coast Law Enforcement Explorer Academy at the Dick DeWees Community Center, 1120 W. Ocean Ave. in Lompoc.

The young men and women, ages 14 to 20, will have a final inspection by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown along with dignitaries from the participating agencies at 1:30 p.m. They will receive their certificates of completion at a graduation and awards ceremony at 2 p.m.

The Law Enforcement Explorer Academy is a worksite-based program for young men and women who are interested in the fields of law, law enforcement or public safety. The goal of the program is to educate and involve youth in law enforcement operations, to interest them in possible law enforcement careers as well as to build confidence and responsibility.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Leah Urzua, 17, of Santa Barbara said she will be proud to graduate on Saturday.

“We have learned about teamwork, integrity and how to be accountable," Urzua said. "I know it will help me in my future. I originally signed up for this program for community service hours and found through this experience my passion to be in law enforcement grew.”

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department sponsors the program and this year had five Explorers participate. The agencies involved in addition to the Sheriff’s Department include the Arroyo Grande Police Department, the Guadalupe Police Department, the Lompoc Police Department, the Morro Bay Police Department and the Santa Maria Police Department.

Click here for more information on the program.

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


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Santa Barbara Council Approves Proclamation in Support of 2020 A Year Without War

By | Published on 07/25/2014


After some lively debate, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday in favor of a resolution supporting 2020 A Year Without War.

Year Without War
Professor Joe White, founder of 2020 A Year Without War, presents the proclamation to the Santa Barbara City Council. (2020 A Year Without War photo)

Santa Barbara joins Lompoc and Carpinteria as cities with proclamations supporting this growing global community that is dedicated to ending war in the year 2020.

“In the spirit of ‘Thinking Globally, Acting Locally,’ I commend the local 2020 A Year Without War Committee and their efforts embarking on an ambitious and worthwhile endeavor and hope that many other governmental bodies both locally and around the world also step up and support this group’s goals,” Mayor Helene Schneider said.

The proclamation states: “Santa Barbara, California is a City of Peace and has chapters of many peace-oriented global and national organizations chartered in the city.”

Professor Joe White, founder of 2020AYWW, expressed appreciation to the City Council for their support.

“Having a proclamation of support from Santa Barbara is most appropriate given that 2020 A Year Without War has its roots at Santa Barbara City College, where we launched our social media website in 2012,” he said.

White is chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Santa Barbara City College.

2020AYWW hopes to obtain proclamations from Santa Barbara’s sister cities: Dingle (Ireland), Weihai (People’s Republic of China), Toba City (Japan), San Juan Metro Manila (Philippines), Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Kotor (Montenegro) and Patras (Greece).

The organization will continue to obtain proclamations from all governments, churches, and peace groups around the world through 2020.

2020AYWW has more than 10,000 supporters in 125 countries. The nonprofit group is nonpartisan, nonreligious, nonpacifist, not anti-military and not a peace organization. The group is endorsed by many organizations, including the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, the National Veterans’ Association, and Beacon of Hope for Afghan Children’s Society.

For more information, click here. Show your support by joining; click here. Please follow and like us on Facebook.

— Luella Engelhart is the public relations coordinator for 2020 A Year Without War.


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State Lands Commission Completes Recirculated Draft EIR for Proposed 421 Recommissioning Project

By | Published on 07/25/2014


The California State Lands Commission has completed a recirculated draft environmental impact report for the proposed Revised PRC 421 Recommissioning Project.

The EIR is being recirculated because significant new information has been added to the EIR, including new and revised alternatives and an expanded discussion regarding repressurization of the Vaqueros Reservoir.

For more information about the Revised APTR, how to access the document, how to comment on the project, and who to contact with questions, click here for the Notice of  Public Review.

The CSLC staff will also conduct two public meetings to receive oral or written comments on the recirculated draft EIR. These meetings will be held at 3 and 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15 at the Goleta Council Chambers at City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B.

Each session of the public meeting will begin with a brief presentation on the proposed project and the contents of the EIR, including alternatives, significant environmental impacts and proposed mitigation measures. The CSLC staff will then receive comments on the proposed Project and adequacy of the Recirculated Draft EIR.

This information is provided by the City of Goleta as a courtesy. The Goleta City Council does not have a decision-making role at this juncture.


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Shelby Sim Named Executive Director of Visit The Santa Ynez Valley

By | Published on 07/25/2014


Visit The Santa Ynez Valley board president Michael Hendrick, general manager of the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Hotel in Buellton, announced on Friday that Shelby Sim has been named executive director effective Aug. 5.


Shelby Sim
Shelby Sim

Sim will be responsible for providing administration in strategic planning, events and member development for the nonprofit destination marketing organization that promotes year-round sustainable tourism in the Santa Ynez Valley communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang.

“We welcome Shelby’s high level of energy and enthusiasm as our new executive director for our rapidly growing organization,” Hendrick said.

Sim was most recently director of business development for the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce for three years. Previously, he worked as branch manager for Select Staffing in Santa Barbara; and in management positions with, Fidelity Financial, Paychex Inc. and Delco.

Sim achieved a bachelor of arts degree during his six years of active duty with the U.S. Navy.

He is a founding board member of Contacts N Coffee, a networking group that has grown to over 20 locations across the state of California.

During his limited free time, Sim has served as a driver/educator/host for a Santa Ynez Valley area wine tour company from 2007-13. A native of Santa Barbara County, Sim lives here with his wife, Amy, and three children, who all enjoy outdoor recreation from the mountains to the sea.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this position and eager to promote and bring the world to the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley,” Sim said.

— Laura Kath is the media relations director Visit The Santa Ynez Valley.


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