Santa Barbara-Goleta, Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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Crews Work to Uncover Ruptured Pipeline, Continue Cleanup of Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/25/2015


The cause of the rupture is still unknown, with more than 6,000 gallons of oil removed so far and more than 800 people involved in the response effort

As part of the investigation into the cause of last week's oil spill near Refugio State Beach, crews are preparing to excavate the underground pipeline, officials said Monday.

Cleanup efforts by boom-bearing boats and shoreline assessment crews are still going strong, with more than 800 people involved in the response effort as of Monday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which is one of the leading agencies within the incident’s unified command. 

The spill began late on the morning of May 19, when a 24-inch line owned by Plains All American Pipeline ruptured on the north side of Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach, sending an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil down through a culvert, onto the beach and into the ocean. The spill site is about 10 miles west of the City of Goleta

Officials have estimated that as much as 101,000 gallons leaked altogether, with the bulk remaining on shore.

Plains decreased the worst-case scenario from 105,000 gallons to 101,000 gallons on Sunday. As of Monday morning, officials said 6,090 gallons of oil had been removed by vacuum trucks, skimmer boats and other sources.

Federal officials issued an order to have Plains shut down the ruptured pipe indefinitely and remove the damaged section of pipe, which will be sent off for metallurgical testing.

Line 901 carried crude oil from ExxonMobil and Venoco Inc. offshore oil platforms in southern Santa Barbara County north to Plains’ Gaviota pump station. The cause of the pipe rupture is still unknown. 

Patrick Hodgins, safety and security director for Plains, said the pipeline is monitored and inspected regularly, with the most recent inspection done in early May.

A preliminary report back from that inspection shows four areas along Line 901 where they will do “confirmation digs” to see if any maintenance work is necessary. He compared the process to a maintenance light coming on in a car.

“We regret the impact this incident has had on the community, and pledge to remain aggressively engaged in the recovery efforts until the job is done,” Plains said in a statement.

The company will be paying all of the oil-spill response costs.

The unified command for the spill response is dedicated to not using dispersants to clean up the oil, Coast Guard Commander Charlene Downey said Monday.

In addition to boats using hard booms and absorbent booms to collect oil on the ocean surface, crews are using fire hoses and water to “herd” oil away from environmentally-sensitive areas such as kelp forests, she said.

According to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife's Oil Spill Prevention and Response, state regulations prohibit using dispersants on or along shorelines, and other policies limit the use of dispersants in water less than 60 feet deep. 

"Experts also knew that dispersants would not be effective on this type of heavy oil," OSPR said in a statement on its Facebook page. "Other factors influencing the decision, included difficulty in avoiding contact with near-shore wildlife, especially sensitive species like snowy plover. When analyzing dispersant use, the final determinant is whether there would be an overall environmental benefit, and there would not have been one in this case." 

The state, County of Santa Barbara and Goleta declared states of emergency after the spill, and so far, there has been no oil on the shoreline southeast of El Capitan State Beach that has been confirmed to be from the Refugio oil spill.

There is a slick offshore of the Goleta area — and there were boats booming in the area of Haskell’s Beach on Monday evening — but that oil may from natural seepage near Coal Oil Point, said Jordan Stout of NOAA.

Yvonne Addassi, deputy director of the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response, said oil is being removed from large boulders near Refugio State Beach with shovels and wire brushes, but crews are not removing the mussels, barnacles or kelp from the boulders.

There is an active fishery closure for the area between Gaviota and Coal Oil Point, up to seven miles out to sea, and the campgrounds and day-use areas at Refugio and El Capitan state beaches remain closed to visitors.

As of Sunday night, crews had found 17 oil-impacted birds and 10 oil-impacted mammals, as well as nine dead oil-impacted birds and six dead oil-impacted mammals, said warden Santos Cabral, state on scene coordinator for the spill response.

Anyone who finds oil-impacted wildlife is asked to report the animal to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 877.823.6926.

Volunteers are being accepted to help with cleanup efforts after they participate in hazardous-materials training, and more information can be found by clicking here.

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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New Veterans Plaque Dedicated in Solvang Park Remembering Santa Ynez Valley’s Casualties

By | Published on 05/25/2015


The monument bearing the names of 18 men rests at the base of the park's flagpole, serving as 'a reminder for generations to come'

After the speeches and songs were done, Jeanine Moniot showed her young grandson the newly unveiled plaque bearing the names of 18 Santa Ynez Valley men who died while serving in the military between World War I and today.

Solvang memorial
Eighteen names of men who died while serving in the military are included on the new plaque at the base of the flagpole in Solvang Park. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Veterans organizations dedicated the new plaque on the base of the flagpole in Solvang Park as part of this year’s Memorial Day ceremony. Included among the 18 names listed on the plaque is Moniot’s first husband, David Tibbetts, who died while serving in the Army in Vietnam.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Moniot, adding she is pleased at the plaque remembering the valley’s sons. “It’s wonderful. We all kind of try to just put everything behind us and forget. But I don’t think we should forget. 

“It was more than I expected,” Moniot added about the effort to remember her former husband. “It was a beautiful day. I’m very appreciative of what everyone’s done. I know we all are.”

Approximately 400 people, including families of fallen warriors, local residents and tourists, attended Monday’s ceremony.

Memorial Day, which originated from Decoration Day, is considered by many to be the unofficial start of summer and a three-day weekend. 

Col. Shane Clark, 30th Space Wing vice commander at Vandenberg Air Force Base, said those who attended the Santa Ynez Valley ceremony recognize the day means much more.

“It’s a time for reverence and reflection,” Clark said in his keynote speech, adding it’s a time to pay homage to the 1 million people who died while serving the U.S. military.

Clark also reflected on the loss of a Vandenberg employee, noting that this year’s Memorial Day fell on May 25, as it did in 2009 when Naval Reserve Cmdr. Duane Wolfe was killed in Iraq. In his civilian job, Wolfe worked at Vandenberg as deputy commander of the 30th Mission Support Group.

"He, too, was a hero,” Clark said.

Also making this year’s Memorial Day especially poignant is the 70th anniversary of the World War II’s end, Clark said.

Orcutt resident Robert “Bob” Hatch, a highly decorated veteran who served in Vietnam after growing up in Santa Ynez Valley, personally knew three of the people listed on the new plaque. He learned about others through the years.

“This need to remember is why families and friends, along with total strangers, will come here long after today’s dedication is over,” Hatch said. “We are informing all of you assembled here that we will never forget these men. 

Solvang memorial
Robert "Bob" Hatch, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran who grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley, speaks to Benihien Powell, who fled Vietnam 34 years ago and works at a Solvang nail salon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“They died so that others might live in freedom and they deserve a place in the valley’s history. This memorial will continue to served as a reminder for generations to come of their sacrifices and that freedom has a heavy price.”

While he prayed for an announcement that wars would end, Hatch said he recognized that in this world today many wish to harm people in the United States — some simply due to their hatred for the American way of life.

“This monument placed directly underneath the symbol of our freedom will act as a reminder to those who will serve in the future that we will remember them and honor them as they continue to defend the United States of America,” he added.

Hatch also expressed his appreciation for those behind creating, sponsoring, designing, installing and maintaining the plaque. 

“The  joint venture between the VFW and American Legion brought a vision to reality,” Hatch said.

After the ceremony, Solvang manicurist Benihien Powell, who arrived in the United States as a refugee from Vietnam 34 years ago,  spoke to Hatch to express her appreciation for his service and share that veterans should not view the war that ended 40 years ago as a loss. Western freedoms are enjoyed by many in Vietnam, Powell added.

Both became emotional during the quick meeting.

"Because I value the freedom," she said afterward about her tears, noting the price paid by the 58,000 American service members killed in Vietnam and the 1,643 still listed as missing in action.

Other Memorial Day ceremonies were held at North County cemeteries in Santa Maria, Orcutt, Lompoc and Guadalupe. 

Additionally, Lompoc residents gathered in the afternoon to celebrate the completion of a multiyear effort to renovate the Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building on Locust Avenue.

The Santa Maria Elks paused during rodeo preparations to hold a short ceremony for Memorial Day on Monday afternoon at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center.

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 Police Say Meth, Pot Use on the Rise

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Methamphetamine and marijuana use is on the rise in Santa Barbara, and may be tied to a spree of residential and auto burglaries, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department

Meth use is up possibly because of its relatively low cost on the street compared to heroin and cocaine, Sgt. Alex Altavilla said during a recent City Council budget hearing

"Santa Barbara is a really, really beautiful place, but we always recommend that you go ahead and lock your home when you leave," Altavilla said. "And when you leave your car, try not to leave anything inside that's in plain view, and go ahead and lock your vehicle, too."

Heroin right now is $1,000 to $1,200 an ounce, Altavilla said.

"Methamphetamine is $350 to $500 an ounce, which it makes it something everyone is kind of interested in because of the low cost," he said. 

Santa Barbara experienced 21 unusual residential burglaries between Feb. 3 and March 6.

"We do know that there is a subset of people that use narcotics that actually go out and do burglaries," Altavilla said. 

He also noted that applications for marijuana dispensaries are on the rise.

Altavilla was one of the several speakers who gave updates during the Police Department and Fire Department budget presentations. 

The department is also struggling to increase its staffing levels.

"We're hurting for people," Police Chief Cam Sanchez said.

The Police Department is down between nine and 12 employees from injuries, he said.

Sanchez also temporarily suspended the use of a school resource officer. 

"I feel the pain of not having a school resource officer, but to deplete patrol would not be a good thing," Sanchez said. 

The department has seven vacancies and expects to lose about seven more through retirements or to other police departments, according to Capt. Gil Torres.

He said he hopes to hire 15 people out of the police academy over the course of the next year. 

Torres said the Police Department is competing with heavy recruitment efforts from places such as the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, which advertises starting salaries of $75,000 to $105,000, about $14,000 higher than the Santa Barbara Police Department at the high end. 

Fire Department officials also spoke at the meeting, with Fire Chief Pat McElroy saying the department is looking to improve its 9-1-1 dispatch efforts by installing a computerized version of the existing flip chart that allows dispatchers to quickly offer assistance on how to treat the person calling. 

McElroy also said the department wants to develop a Spanish-language certified training program to increase accessibility to the Spanish-speaking community. 

He said the volume of Spanish-speaking calls is "not an insignificant number." He also said that many of the calls that come in are from European tourists.

"We have a tremendous amount of people from Europe, from all over the world, especially during high tourism season," McElroy said. "There's a lot of languages we are running across."

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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Hundreds Mark Memorial Day with Ceremony at Santa Barbara Cemetery

By | Published on 05/25/2015


The solemn commemoration honors the sacrifices of America's fallen soldiers and salutes the veterans and military families in attendance

Things like the pledge of allegiance, presentation of colors and the national anthem took on special meaning Monday morning at the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

The added meaning — the fact that it was Memorial Day — brought tears to the eyes of many gathered for an annual ceremony at the final resting place of generations past.

Hundreds spent their federal holiday off from work at the Memorial Day commemoration on a hill overlooking the American Riviera and the Pacific Ocean, honoring the sacrifices of those men and women in the armed services who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“Our debt to them is eternal,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Frederick Lopez, who served as master of ceremonies for the event organized by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation.

He and other speakers at the ceremony featuring bagpipers, vintage war flyovers, singing and more remarked on the large size of the crowd as a testament to fallen heroes and the veterans and military families present.

Memorial Day originated in 1868, Lopez said, as “Decoration Day” in Arlington Cemetery as a time to adorn graves with flowers and flags to honor servicemen and women who lost their lives in service of freedom.

Memorial Day
Commander Col. Keith Balts, commander of the 30th Space Wing and Western Range at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, delivering the keynote address for Monday's Memorial Day ceremony at the Santa Barbara Cemetery, reminds local residents to remember the sacrifices of soldiers. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Thousands of colorful flowers, wreaths and miniature American flags were strewn Monday for the same reason — respect.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, asked that local residents continue to honor veterans by giving them top-notch care after they return home — a cause she champions in Congress.

“I believe the greatest way to honor our heroes is to take care of them,” she said.

Vandenberg Air Force Base Commander Col. Keith Balts served as the keynote speaker, explaining that he represents 3,500 airmen at the Lompoc base.

Balts said the number of people in attendance encouraged him. He told stories about some of the Santa Barbara County servicemen who lost their lives in recent years.

The crowd gathered on the gray morning reserved especially loud applause when Lopez recognized veterans from each war, asking them to identify themselves to receive their thanks.

Acknowledging their service was important, he said, lest we forget their sacrifice.

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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With Feasibility Study Complete, Goleta Moving Forward with Civic Center/City Hall Project

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Negotiations continue with the school district to relocate its bus yard, and the council votes to extend RNT Architects' contract to allow for further scaling down of plans

The City of Goleta recently took another step toward moving its City Hall, keeping plans alive by working to relocate a Goleta bus yard that would offer the project more space.

Officials hope to move the current City Hall at 130 Cremona Drive to the seven-acre site of the Goleta Valley Community Center on Hollister Avenue in Old Town.

Last Tuesday night’s Goleta City Council meeting marked completion of the Civic Center and City Hall feasibility study, which began in January 2014 and involved numerous public workshops and outreach to residents, stakeholders and officials.

Designers at Ventura-based RNT Architects asked for final direction last Tuesday, this time as guidance for staff who wished to continue negotiations with the Goleta Union School District to buy 2.8 acres adjacent to the proposed site at 5679 Hollister Ave.

That district-owned parcel includes a bus yard and Operation School Bell, an organization that works to clothe needy local children.

School district officials are receptive to the idea, but only if the city can find and build a suitable relocation site.

Council members voted 4-1 to allocate $13,500 from the city’s general fund to conduct a second phase of environmental work on the current school site for additional soils testing.

City Councilman Roger Aceves opposed the motion, explaining he believed there were already too many issues with the site to pursue.

Aceves did, however, side with the rest of council when it unanimously voted to extend RNT’s contract so designers could continue facilitating a scaling down of the project.

“We’ve covered a lot of ground, so it’s not like we’ve wasted money,” Aceves said.

Under the proposed civic center plans, all buildings would be one level except the parking garage and the three-story City Hall, which would be higher at its center so the council chambers could look down on the courtyard.

In addition to the community center, the parcel also currently includes the Boys & Girls Club and educational classrooms for the Headstart preschool program and the Rainbow School.

Officials are fans of a courtyard scheme, which would put City Hall south of a civic center separated by a public courtyard. It would also provide more parking throughout the property and potentially a police substation, a branch library, replacement Headstart and/or Rainbow School classrooms and community swimming pool.

Depending on the project scope and budget, civic center development could also include renovation of the GCC building, which was built in the early 20th century and needs accessibility, seismic, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and other upgrades.

Staff asked the council for a list of project priorities and goals, but officials said they would prefer hashing out those details in a future workshop session, most likely in July.

Council members agreed the project should be refined, especially since designers presented four iterations ranging in size and cost from $42.3 million — basic City Hall, community center renovation, police substation, Headstart classrooms and western parking area — to $72.2 million.

The largest option added features such as a branch library, a swimming pool, a parking structure, commercial space and acquisition of the school district site.

The city compared project costs to the approximately $646,000 it spends annually to rent and operate City Hall. A staff report showed rent is $476,000, common area maintenance accounts for $85,000 and utility costs hover around $85,000.

“We’re not quite sure what it is we’ll be designing here,” Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr said. “This all began in a discussion to revitalize Old Town. That was the genesis of this, and, of course, it’s still critical. We are looking at the big picture here, and there are a lot of things we’re going to be doing.” 

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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Association Hosting Outreach Event for Proposed Eastside Business Improvement District

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Instead of just telling locals what a proposed Eastside Business Improvement District could do for Santa Barbara’s Milpas corridor, business leaders want to show them.

The Milpas Community Association will host an outreach “walkthrough” event Friday, explaining what the EBID and MCA do and even letting the public pretend they’re members of the EBID board, according to MCA Executive Director Sharon Byrne.

Since last year, the MCA has been working on plans for the proposed business improvement district, which would assess businesses along the Milpas Street corridor and Eastside commercial/industrial area to pay for marketing and promotion services, events, security and more.

The City of Santa Barbara would collect the EBID fees, and the nonprofit improvement district would decide how to spend funds on services the city doesn’t already cover.

So far, the MCA is about halfway through efforts to gather enough business owner signatures to present the EBID to the City Council for approval sometime in July, Byrne said.

At the event Friday, scheduled for noon to 6:30 p.m. at 331 North Milpas St., an old pot dispensary, Byrne said the MCA would work to “de-mystify” those who have already spoken against the district.

Opposition alleges the EBID could lead to gentrification of the neighborhood or force smaller businesses to close, especially those with owners in the Latino community.

Byrne said that’s the opposite of what the district would do. An EBID would provide funding to help the Milpas corridor as a whole, she said, with a focus on keeping mom-and-pop shops around.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” she said. “We want to make this very transparent.”

While collecting signatures — often after more than one visit — Byrne said most businesses weren’t aware they could actually be members who sit on the EBID board. When they found that out, she said, they were more receptive.

The MCA plans to bring bilingual speakers to Friday’s walkthrough, where the public can visit six different stations.

Byrne said she was most excited about an EBID game, where locals make-believe they’re on the board with five other people and then decide how to dole out money based on priorities.

“Here’s a budget,” she said. “Now make budget calls. Anybody can play it. We want them to see how this really is going to work.”

Other stations explain the history of business on the Eastside, what an EBID is and how the Milpas area one would work.

Byrne said the MCA hopes to make peace with EBID opponents, some of whom have formed a group called the Greater Eastside Merchant and Business Association.

The association represents the historical part of Milpas and focuses on improving the business economy, supporting the community and (soon) suggesting some EBID alternatives, according to association leader Jacqueline Inda.

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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Laurie Jervis: Creating Art in the Vineyards

By | Published on 05/25/2015


As Santa Barbara County’s wine industry continues to flourish, so do the various local businesses that are byproducts of winemakers’ success.

One such enterprise is Gypsy Studios, which calls itself “the art studio on wheels.” It’s the brainchild of longtime Santa Ynez Valley resident and artist Christi Schaeffer, who combined two passions — art and wine — into a hands-on company.

Since founding Gypsy Studios in January, Schaeffer has guided experienced and novice artists in painting classes situated in outdoor “classrooms” — mostly in the vineyards now in bloom across the county.

“We conduct painting classes all over the Santa Ynez Valley and mostly in a plein air environment, meaning outside, capturing the landscape as it is on that given day, often accompanied by great wines from the valley," said Heidi Riehl, Gypsy Studios’ event manager. "This is such a cool pairing, if you will, especially during our 'Painting in the Vineyard' sessions, where we use the parallel between the artistry and unique approach of each winemaker to how each individual has a unique style and approach to art.

“Oftentimes, that winery’s winemaker or tasting room staff will share about the vineyard’s history, the vision for their wine and vineyard, and the style of the wine. It really brings the whole experience together.”

Schaeffer grew up in South Orange County, but at age 16, moved with her family to Santa Ynez and graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

“Christi is a working artist and grew up drawing and painting," Riehl said. "She studied studio art in college at Santa Barbara City College and at Cal State-Fullerton, and took a semester in college to study art history in Florence, Italy.”

Before deciding to pursue her passion as an artist, Schaeffer worked in graphic design, social work, marketing for nonprofits, project management and in the local wine industry, where she worked for in tasting rooms for both Kaena Wine and Kalyra Winery.

Riehl, a native of Tillamook, Ore., now pours wine at Stolpman Vineyards’ Los Olivos tasting room, and previously worked for Oregon’s Lumos Wine Co. She spent nearly 22 years working for a marketing agency, where she focused on publicity and fundraising for nonprofit organizations.

“Photography is more my speed, so (now) I mostly stick to that and marketing, writing and event planning,” Riehl said.

Gypsy Studios’ “Painting in the Vineyard” events accommodate groups of up to 30 people, as well as private classes, company team-building painting sessions, six-week series of classes geared toward small groups, and birthdays/special events, Riehl said.

Speaking of California’s thriving wine industry: According to the Wine Institute, California wine shipments in the United States were 225 million cases in 2014, up 4.4 percent from the previous year. The case figure translates to an estimated retail value of $24.6 billion, up 6.7 percent. California wine sales to all markets, both domestic and international, increased 3.7 percent by volume to 269 million cases in 2014.

“California has had three excellent harvests in both quantity and quality in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and these vintages are receiving global recognition,” said Robert "Bobby" Koch, president and CEO of the San Francisco-based Wine Institute in a May 20 news release.

According to Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into consumer preferences and purchases in U.S. food stores, total wine volume sales grew 1 percent, while total revenues increased 4 percent.

In measured U.S. off-premise channels, the most popular wine types by volume were Chardonnay (19 percent share), Cabernet Sauvignon (13 percent), Red Blends/Sweet Reds (10 percent), Pinot Grigio (9 percent) and Merlot (8 percent), followed by Moscato (6 percent), Pinot Noir (5 percent), White Zinfandel (5 percent), and Sauvignon Blanc (4 percent). Red blends accounted for the strongest volume gains, along with Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.

U.S. wine exports, with 90 percent from California, reached $1.5 billion in winery revenues in 2014. Volume shipments were 443 million liters or 49.3 million cases. The European Union was the top destination for U.S. wine exports, accounting for $518 million; followed by Canada, $487 million; Japan, $101 million; China, $71 million; Hong Kong, $69 million; Mexico, $24 million; and South Korea, $22 million.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.


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San Marcos Vocal Groups Score an Array of Awards at Bay Area Festival

By | Published on 05/25/2015


The San Marcos High School vocal music groups spent the weekend in the Bay Area competing at the Heritage Spring Festival.

San Marcos High School's Enchante vocal group earned a trophy in the Gold Women's Choir Category and the Adjudicator's Award for Women's Choir at the Heritage Spring Festival. (Rachel Shalhoob photo)

Seventy-seven kids and eight chaperones, including San Marcos vocal music teacher Carolyn Teraoka-Brady and her husband, filled two buses and headed north at 4 a.m. Friday morning. 

From Mrs. Teraoka-Brady:

Bus #2 had a flat tire about 30 miles south of King City. They pulled off of the freeway, and while everyone remained on board enjoying snacks and participating in the games provided by  Matt Marquis, a mobile tire service was sent out from Paso Robles. The tire was repaired with everyone on board and we only were delayed by an hour. Bus #1 waited in King City and we drove up to Monterey together.

Beautiful Monterey, Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf allowed everyone time to settle in and make a few new friends and deepen other friendships. It was the perfect day for everyone to invest in our group, be responsible thinkers.

After listening to the video recording Bill took, I think Friday's bonding day made us better musicians and singers on Saturday. A little noisy hotel hour or two and thanks to our chaperones, everyone settled in for the next early call on Saturday.

On Saturday, we had breakfast early and boarded the bus dressed in uniforms at 8 a.m. Cubberly Theatre at 8:30, and we met our fantastic accompanist, Margaret Halbig. Margaret played at SMHS while she completed her DMA in collaborative piano from UCSB. Each of the groups had 20 minutes with her and performed for the adjudicators and audience.

Our clinicians were Pat and Marcia Patton of Casper Wyoming College and Casper Children's Chorale. I had the opportunity to meet them at a weeklong choral educators workshop. They are both people who have great hearts and passionate educators. The other clinician was Chris Emig from Diablo Valley College.

After the choir performed, one judge would come up and give a clinic to help make a musical point to help the group. We will have a recording of this soon. The choirs were all receptive, followed their directions and acted very professional with the judges.

We have the written score sheets and I think we will receive the recorded comments, too.

After our performances, we took a few photos and headed off for lunch and the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, with more than 100 bedrooms, more windows than the Empire State Building and many more facts about the woman who married the heir to the Winchester Repeating Rifle estate.

Madcappella of San Marcos took home the trophy for the Gold Large Group Choir Category and the Adjudicator's Award for Large Group Choir. (Rachel Shalhoob photo)

Dinner was at Great America. It was a huge space with bands and choirs all eager to pick up one of the large shiny gold trophies.

In the hour that followed, SMHS choirs received trophies/ awards for:

» Gold Women's Choir Category — Enchante

» Gold Large Group Choir Category — Madcappella

» Gold Chamber Group Choir Category — Madrigal Singers

» Adjudicator's Award for Women's Choir — Enchante

» Adjudicator's Award Large Group Choir — Madcappella

» Adjudicator's Award Chamber Choir — Madrigal Singers

» Sweepstakes Award for the top scores of any band or choir (all three groups)

» Outstanding Choral Group — Madrigal Singers

» Outstanding Soloist, Choir — Megan Wilson

We spent Sunday at Great America and then headed home.

— Rachel Shalhoob is a San Marcos High School parent.


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Block Party, ‘Nonprofit Showcase’ Returning to Calle Real Center in Goleta

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Calle Real
Representatives from local nonprofits will provide resources and information during the fourth annual Caring and Sharing event June 6 at the Calle Real Center. (Calle Real Center photo)

On June 6 from noon to 3 p.m., the Calle Real Center, located on Calle Real between Patterson and Fairview avenues in Goleta, will be transformed into a neighborhood Block Party and “nonprofit” showcase.

It will be a great day of fun with three bounce houses and an obstacle course. There will be two face painters, fantastic balloon animals, a wandering musician and costumed characters featuring your favorite green tinker fairy and Captain Jack the Pirate. Kids will also be able to meet our first responders up close and see a county fire truck, AMR ambulance and sheriff’s cruiser. Delicious food samples will be available from participating restaurants.

Animal rescue and adoption groups will show off the cutest dogs and cats to potential new family members in several places around the mall, including The Pet House. There will be music with groups from Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy at the Nugget, Doug Giordani playing something for everyone as he wanders the event with his guitar and vocal stylings by Sloane Reali and some of her students courtesy of Baroness Jewelers.

At the same time all that fun is going on, the center will be overflowing with nonprofit organizations, sharing the spaces in front of the stores, ready to show the public just what it is that makes these nonprofits so valuable to our community. This is a fun and educational opportunity. Both the Goleta and Santa Barbara Chambers of Commerce are supporting the event once again.

A big thanks to the media sponsors, Rincon Broadcasting/K-Lite, Noozhawk, the Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Sentinel, ParentClick, Goleta Gazette and Santa Barbara Big City Buzz. Support is also provided by Tea in Tiaras, Sidekick Creative, the UPS Store, Macaroni Kids and the many fine merchants of the Calle Real Center. The wonderful students at EF International will be helping to staff the event this year.

Fifty merchants will participate and hundreds of parents and kids are expected to come by and enjoy the festivities while supporting their favorite non-profits and learning more about our community and the people and groups that make it such a special place.

Nonprofits already signed up to participate this year are: Habitat for Humanity, Center for Sustainable Energy, American Heart Association, AAUW (American Association for University Women), SB Genealogical Society, Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast, Girls Inc., Coastal Self Defense, Tri County Arthritis Foundation, Jodi House Brain Injury, Friendship Center, United Boys and Girls Club Goleta Unit, Rental Housing Mediation Task Force, Domestic Violence Solutions, Rotary Club of Goleta, Rape Crisis Center, Devereux, Ice in Paradise, Alzheimer’s Association, Center for Successful Aging, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Calm, IV YMCA, Toastmasters International Santa Barbara, Humane Society, Central Coast Type I Diabetes Foundation, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, Little League Challengers,, Down Syndrome, Friendship Center, American Cancer Society, Santa Barbara Response Network, Pathpoint, United Way, Isla Vista Youth Project, Santa Barbara Village, K-9 Pals, ASAP, Villa Majella,  North Side Optimists, FoodBank of SB, Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, SB County Air Pollution Control District, SEE International, Parkinson’s Association of SB, What is Love Teens, Family Services Agency, Goleta Chamber, Give a Dog a Home, William Sansum Diabetes Center, Goleta Library, Friends of Goleta Library, New Directions Travel, Special Olympics, Goleta Valley Historical Society, Goleta Valley Community Center, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, Koinonia Family Services, SBCC New Center for Lifelong Learning, Food From the Heart, Unite-to-Light, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Visiting Nurse Hospice and Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy.

Presented by the Calle Real Merchants Association. For more information, contact Glenn Avolio at [email protected] or 805.886.5438.

— Glenn Avolio represents the Calle Real Center.


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Woman Hurt in Fall From Horse in Hope Ranch

By | Published on 05/25/2015


A woman was seriously injured Monday afternoon when she fell from a horse while riding at Hope Ranch Beach, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Crews responded just after 12:30 p.m. to a report of a woman in her 40s who had fallen from her horse at the private-access beach, Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

The woman suffered a moderate head injury and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment, he said.

No other details were immediately available.

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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Steven Crandell: Laura Spelman Rockefeller Could Always ‘Paddle Her Own Canoe’

By | Published on 05/25/2015


“Surely whatever others may think, it is our opinion that women, even as man, ‘can paddle her own canoe.’”

Those were the words of Laura Spelman at her high school graduation in Cleveland in 1855. The daughter of an Underground Railroad operator, an outspoken opponent of slavery and eventually an independent-minded teacher, she went on to become the wife of a philanthropic pioneer and industrial titan, John D. Rockefeller.

She helped him with his business as well as his philanthropy.

“Her judgment was always better than mine,” said her husband, who built Standard Oil into the first modern industrial corporation.

“Without her keen advice, I would be a poor man.”

Her deep religious faith drove her charitable activity, and her efforts to provide educational opportunity and training to newly emancipated African Americans were reflected in the strong support the Rockefellers gave to Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women in Atlanta that was named in her honor.

Click here for more information about women philanthropists, in a free guide, Women and Giving, that I wrote with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

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


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Searching for Inspiration, Interior Designers Borrow Nostalgic Trends from Hit TV Shows

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Whether mining a collective longing or appealing to mass psyche, some of the most popular home décor can be all set

Most of us who have been around for more than a decade or two have had the experience of seeing something from the past come into vogue again.

Fashion is perhaps the most obvious area where this occurs, but home décor is equally influenced by nostalgia. Whether they inspire happy memories or make you cringe, the trends in both fashion and home décor are often the result of a hit television show that both appeals to the mass psyche and taps into a collective longing.

For design enthusiasts, these shows pay homage to home design and the power it has to shape — and reshape — our lives. Here are a few examples:

Mad Men

Mad Men’s sophisticated early-1960s décor harkens to a time when we lived differently, arguably more dangerously and less self-aware and certainly less self-censoring. Google the word “Mad Men” with the words “home décor” and a plethora of websites appears with the tools and products to bring the inspiration behind the show’s sets into your home.

The bold freedom of these interiors feel glamorous and appeal to us today. Perhaps we believe that by living in spaces that feel similar to the characters’, we can become more like them.

At the time of Noozhawk’s posting of this article, Houzz had no less than 5,700 Mad Men (inspired) Home Design Photos.

After seven seasons, Mad Men’s final episode aired May 17.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is another television series that has influenced our aesthetic and taken us back in time. The elegance of a large English estate and an attraction to the people and stories lived in that environment has led to a feeding frenzy of Downton-inspired ideas on Pinterest for how to bring a bit of Yorkshire country style into your home.

There are also a large number of Downton Abbey products available on such websites as, which sells “a truly inspired collection of beautiful products for your home and garden.”

Desperate Housewives

Desperate Housewives is perhaps not an immediately obvious blast from the past in terms of home design, but as one of the designers of the sets openly admits, it is.

Feeling that contemporary suburban households were “too beige,” set designer Tom Walsh turned to the American ’50s aesthetic for inspiration for the sets of Desperate Housewives.

“We use Universal Studios’ ‘​Colonial Street’ for our set on Wisteria Lane, and the houses are basically a Whitman’s Sampler of Americana,” Walsh explained in an interview during the show’s run from 2004 to 2012.

According to the paint company Hirshfield Paints’ website, Walsh used “common elements in landscaping, color and paint. All of the houses incorporate Benjamin Moore’s Whisper Violet 2070-70 for the trim and the fences.”

According to Walsh, “That not only creates the sense of continuity, but it also helps with our goal in making it clean and bright and ideal America.”

Websites like ModernMoms helped homeowners in love with the the program analyze and replicate the design of each wife’s home.

Lonesome Dove

While the memories of this mini-series may have faded a bit, with 26 million viewers every week, no one can question the fact that the 1989 hit show Lonesome Dove caused a resurgence of the western look in home interiors and fashion. Put the words “Pinterest” and “Lonesome Dove” in any search engine and you will find proof that many are still under that series’ aesthetic spell.

So what will be the next big television-inspired influence on home design? It’s hard to say, but it’s arguable that Netflix’s influence on viewing habits may have bled into the design world, where there is currently an explosion of love for the color gray.

A closer analysis of the sets in House of Cards will reveal a very murky — not white and not black, but something in between — color palette.

And it’s too soon to call, but the sets of the new Netflix thriller-drama Bloodline are perhaps the answer to what we will be craving in home design after we are done with all that gray.

— Noozhawk contributing writer Hilary Doubleday 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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SBPD Invites Community to Have ‘Coffee with a Cop’ This Thursday at Starbucks on State Street

By | Published on 05/25/2015


The Santa Barbara Police Department invites you to have "Coffee with a Cop."

Please join us for the next in a continuing series of informal community meetings that take place at different coffee shop venues throughout the city.

No agendas or guest speakers, just an opportunity to sit and talk to a Santa Barbara police officer about anything that may concern you, your customers, clients or employees.

Our last event brought residents, community leaders and representatives from the Police Department together to discuss quality-of-life issues and to exchange ideas.

This time we'll be downtown, from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, May 28 at Starbucks, 800 State St.

Please contact the Beat Coordinator Unit with any questions at 805.897.2407.

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


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Curious Cup Bookstore Hosting Book Signing with Children’s Author Lee Wardlaw

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Award-winning children’s book author Lee Wardlaw will read from and autograph copies of her newest book for preschoolers, Won Ton and Chopsticks: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14 at Curious Cup Bookstore, 3817½ Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria.

The event is free.

Won Ton has a happy life with his boy, until …

Ears perk. Fur prickles.

Belly low, I creep … peek … FREEZE!

My eyes full of Doom.

A new puppy arrives, and nothing will be the same. Told entirely in haiku and with plenty of catitude, the story of how Won Ton faces down the enemy is a fresh and funny twist on a familiar rivalry.

June is National Adopt-a-Cat Month, and to celebrate, Wardlaw will be reading and signing copies of her newest book. There will also be face painting (kitty faces!), paw print balloons, cat cupcakes, a raffle, free catnip mousies, cat chopsticks, bookmarks and more.

Fifteen percent of the book's proceeds will go to ResQcats, a nonprofit sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, care and adoption of abandoned cats and kittens.

Please tell a friend and join the fun! All ages welcome.

— Kiona Gross represents Curious Cup Bookstore.


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SBCAN to Honor Five Individuals, Organizations During North County Looking Forward Awards Dinner

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Santa Barbara County Action Network will honor five individuals and organizations during its North County Looking Forward Awards Dinner on Sunday, June 7 at the Historic Santa Maria Inn, 801 S. Broadway in Santa Maria.

The reception starts at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Members of the public are invited to attend.

The awards are as follows: Deborah Tobola and the Poetic Justice Project, “Looking Forward Award” for leadership and vision; Al Thompson, “Environmental Protection & Sustainability Award”; Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt, ”Social Justice Award”; Peoples' Self-Help Housing, “Working Families Award”; and Laura and Ron Selken, “Giving Back to the Community Award.”

The Looking Forward Award recognizes strong leadership and vision in community building, civic engagement and improving the quality of life in our community.

Tobola started the local Poetic Justice Project in 2009 to engage formerly incarcerated youth and adults in original plays that examine crime, punishment and redemption. It helps people to reintegrate into the community.

Through the project, 87 actors have appeared in 12 theater productions. Many are active in their communities — creating art, mentoring at-risk youth, counseling people coming out of jail and prison, advocating on behalf of indigent people, and studying at Hancock or Cuesta colleges.

Several PJP actors have gone on to act in local community theater productions. One started a theater company. Another stars in a new web TV show.

The Social Justice Award is given for promoting fairness, tolerance, equality, respect and compassion for all people in our community.

Lyons-Pruitt grew up with the injustices prevalent in the Deep South. This helped her develop her passion for defense-related work, civil and human rights, and social justice.

She is the chief investigator for the county Public Defender’s Office, the first African-American female in California to hold this distinction. She is a founding member of the Defense Investigator Training Accreditation Academy and a board member of Defense Investigators Association.

She is the president of the Santa Maria-Lompoc NAACP and hospitality chair and trustee of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. She is a member of the Five Cities Diversity Coalition and of the Santa Maria Valley Democratic Club.

The Giving Back to the Community Award recognizes those who give back selflessly to the community through volunteer activities and community projects.

The Selkens volunteer with the Santa Maria Noontimers Lions where Ron has served as club president, among other positions, and Laura is serving as secretary and newsletter editor.

They are involved with the Democratic Club of Santa Maria Valley, with Laura serving on the board and editing the monthly newsletter. They are active in their mobile-home park, assisting with various activities including the monthly news magazine.

Laura also sits on the boards of the local Literacy Council, the North Santa Barbara County Manufactured Homeowners Team, and the AAUW and the Santa Maria Public Library. She also serves on the county Library Advisory Committee.

The Environmental Protection and Sustainability Award is given for valuing, protecting, and preserving our natural resources and environment.

Thompson has written garden columns on sustainability, encouraging the idea that gardens can be practical and artistic.

He has interpreted Chumash uses of native plants and became the garden historian at La Purisima Mission. He encouraged exploration of wildflowers and plants along the mission trails, eventually having one of the trails named after him.

He is a docent at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve where he leads hiking tours and explains the importance of natural habitats. His own garden is open for the sharing of ideas.

The Working Families Award is for helping working families to obtain affordable health care, housing, educational and job opportunities; or to improve wages, benefits, working conditions, and worker rights.

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing develops affordable housing and community facilities for low-income households and homeownership opportunities for working families, seniors, veterans, the disabled and the homeless in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

Since 1970, they have developed about 380 self-help homes in Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Tanglewood and Los Alamos, including 117 in Santa Maria for farm workers and their families and 57 units for limited-income elderly residents and developmentally disabled households; 80 units in Orcutt; and 80 in Guadalupe.

Click here for more information.

— Jeanne Sparks represents the Santa Barbara County Action Network.


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Chumash Administrator Veronica Sandoval Named to County’s Child Welfare Safety Net Task Force

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Veronica Sandoval

Veronica Sandoval, the administrator for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and a tribal descendant, has been appointed to Santa Barbara County’s Child Welfare Safety Net Task Force.

In April, the county Board of Supervisors voted to convene a task force that would assess the overall system of public- and community-based child welfare services that address the needs of children who become, or are at risk of becoming, dependents of the court. According to the county’s website, there are more than 500 children in the foster care system, and approximately one-third of them are age 5 or younger.

“In my experience as a foster/adoptive parent, and through my work commitments and involvement in the community, I have become increasingly aware of the high number of foster youth in our county,” Sandoval said. “Joining this task force is a chance to make sure our community’s foster kids are provided with as many opportunities and resources as possible.”

The Child Welfare System is composed of at least 25 public- and community-based organizations that play a role in identifying, reporting, investigating and responding to reports and findings of abuse or neglect. While these organizations assess their own systems, the county determined there was a need to conduct an in-depth analysis of the Child Welfare System as a whole.

The Child Welfare Safety Net Task Force features five individuals who have committed to participating in a nine- to 12-month appointment that will culminate with a report to the county Board of Supervisors. The report is intended to identify which parts of the system are working, which areas need to be improved, which needs aren’t currently being met, and the possible solutions that could fill the gaps.

— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.


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Volunteers Can Now Help With Refugio Oil-Spill Response

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Training sessions scheduled for dealing with hazardous materials

After being held at bay for nearly a week for safety reasons, volunteers are now being accepted to help with the Refugio oil spill clean-up efforts.

There will be several local training sessions this week to get people prepared for the hazardous-materials environment on the affected beaches west of Goleta and Santa Barbara.

The unified command handling the oil spill have turned away volunteers in the past week, not wanting people to head out on their own, but are now using trained members of the public to help, including the Santa Barbara County Community Emergency Response Team, California Conservation Corps, local fire hand crews, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Natural Resource Volunteer Program. 

The May 19 spill from a crude oil pipeline sent an estimated 21,000 gallons into the ocean near Refugio State Beach and could have leaked a total of 105,000 gallons, with the majority of the spill on land, according to the company responsible, Plains All American Pipeline.

A multi-agency response effort has resulted in thousands of gallons skimmed off the ocean surface and scooped off the beaches of the Gaviota Coast.

The state, County of Santa Barbara and City of Goleta declared states of emergency in response to the spill, which has resulted in closures of campground and day-use areas at both Refugio and El Capitan state beaches.

Oil from the spill has not appeared to hit beaches southeast of El Capitan, which is about 10 miles east of Goleta, but oiled wildlife have been found outside the area, officials said.

Volunteers from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network have been working with OSPR to collect and help oil-impacted wildlife, and people are asked to report any oiled animals to 1.877.823.6926.

People who want to help with the clean-up efforts must be 18 years old and can register for trainings and assignments here. Only registered volunteers can participate in the trainings, according to authorities in the incident's unified command.  

The following trainings are currently scheduled, with more information available on the CalSpillWatch website. There is also a volunteer hotline activated at 1.800.228.4544. 

Hazard Safety Communication Training: 

Monday, May 25, from 1-5 p.m. 100 slots open. 

Thursday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m., both sessions have 100 slots open. 

Beach Cleanup: 

Wednesday, May 27, from 1-5 p.m.  

Saturday, May 30, from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. 

Sunday, May 31, from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. 

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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Letter to the Editor: Do Not Forget the Sacrifices of the Fallen

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Today, May 25, is Memorial Day. It is a day many of us will attend parades, barbecues or other social events.

More importantly, it is a day when Americans can reflect, honor and remember the sacrifices of our soldiers throughout history. They have sacrificed everything so we can be free.

As Winston Churchill said, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

May we all honor in our own way the memory of our fallen so their spirits live on.

Diana and Don Thorn


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‘SWEAT & Flow for Gracie’ Community Fundraiser Planned to Support Gracie Fisher, Family

By | Published on 05/25/2015


Bring your family out and join us for an awesome community fundraiser, "SWEAT & Flow for Gracie," supporting Gracie Fisher and her family from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 31 at De la Guerra Plaza behind Lululemon.

The event will feature a 45-minute SWEAT workout with Kayla Johnson, followed by a 45-minute Flow Yoga session led by Stephanie Besler of Yasa Yoga. The workout is free, but we are asking all participants to donate toward the Gracie fund.

Local DJ Mike Edwards will be there to get things rocking, and food will be provided by Carlos Luna of Los Agaves, the good folks at Proyo and others.

This is sure to be a good time, so come get your sweat on for a great cause!

Hosts Kayla Johnson, Stephanie Besler and Lululemon Santa Barbara are looking forward to seeing you there!

More information is available on the SWEAT Outdoors website and Facebook page. We’re asking that you RSVP via Eventbrite by clicking here.

— Kayla Johnson is a host for the SWEAT & Flow for Gracie event.


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SBCC Ready to Begin Construction on $15 Million West Campus Classroom Building

By | Published on 05/24/2015


Coastal Commission signs off on project, which finishes off the last of $77 million in bonds from Measure V authorization

With the California Coastal Commission’s final approval behind it, Santa Barbara City College will start construction this summer on its last major capital project funded by Measure V, the $77 million bond measure local voters approved in 2008.

The three-story West Campus Classroom Building will be built north of the Garvin Theatre and the Drama/Music Building on the campus at 721 Cliff Drive.

Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017, said Joan Galvan, SBCC’s public information officer. Building the project will use up the last $15 million of the bond money, she said.

The project — which is required to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards — will add 23 classrooms and 15 faculty staff offices to the campus. According to SBCC, the building also will house existing programs that are overcrowded elsewhere on campus, as well as those that are currently using the East Campus portable classroom buildings.

Galvan said the new building will replace existing classrooms, and 12 portable structures will be removed once it’s finished.

“The college is not in growth mode,” she noted.

The Coastal Commission approved the notice of impending development at its meeting in Santa Barbara earlier this month, giving the final go-ahead for construction. Commissioners were concerned about parking, since no additional spaces are proposed as part of the project and, in the words of a staff report, on-campus parking is “already significantly constrained.”

Instead, SBCC put together an alternative transportation plan with new do-it-yourself bicycle repair stations and more bicycle and motorcycle parking spaces. SBCC will also remove the 10 unpermitted portable classrooms on the project site.

Parking studies found that vehicle parking in peak hours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ranges from 89-percent occupied to 97-percent occupied, according to the Coastal Commission staff report.

Measure V was passed in June 2008 and authorized SBCC to sell $77.2 million in bonds, which have been spent on capital projects, including major renovations, deferred maintenance and repairs.

SBCC spent $17.1 million on the Drama/Music Building modernization and put $15.7 million toward the Humanities Building modernization projects, according to an audit of the bond spending.

Other major projects included the replacement of La Playa Stadium’s football field and track, building the Luria Conference and Press Center, pedestrian bridge repairs, installing keyless entry and locks, and remodeling the East Campus and West Campus snack shops.

SBCC tried for another bond last year but voters shot down the $288 million measure.

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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I Madonnari Festival Chalk Full of Color as Artists’ Creations Come to Life

By | Published on 05/24/2015


Drawing on famous artwork and iconic scenes as inspiration, street painters get down and dirty at Santa Barbara Mission

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

For the 29th year, the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival brought art, food and entertainment to the Santa Barbara Mission. The annual Memorial Day weekend festival is a fundraiser for the Children’s Creative Project.

Artists coated in chalk from head to toe sprawled across the pavement in front of the church, turning the hot black asphalt into a kaleidoscope of color as passers-by gawked at and took photos of the large-scale drawings.

The I Madonnari festival continues Monday, Memorial Day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the mission, 2201 Laguna St.

Tents set up in the grassy area by the chalk drawings featured a variety of food and drinks for spectators.

The scent of barbecued chicken and veggies wafted over dozens of tables where families and friends gathered together to eat while a band played jazz standards in the background.

Proceeds from the purchase of barbecued food, Italian sausage sandwiches, snow cones and gelato all fund the Children’s Creative Project, a local nonprofit arts organization affiliated with the Santa Barbara County Education Office and host of the I Madonnari festival.

“Every piece of food you put in your mouth has donated money toward this effort,” said Diane Pulverman, board vice president of the Children’s Creative Project.

The mission of the Children’s Creative Project is to keep art in local schools. Proceeds from the fundraiser provide stipends for the programs.

“When they are bringing in performing artists, musicians, fine artists, storytellers, etc. they will be able to use that to pay for it,” Pulverman said. “We use it to put on at least one free performance at a local theater where the students are bused in. We try to piggy back off of (UCSB) Arts & Lectures, where the artist will do their UCSB performance and then work with us the next day.”

The first I Madonnari festival was held in Santa Barbara in 1987, before the idea caught fire and spread throughout California and elsewhere.

Kathy Koury, executive director of the Children’s Creative Project, had just been to Italy where she had seen the street painting festival in Grazie Di Curtatone.

“I had been seeking a fundraising idea for many years, so when I saw this, I thought, ‘This is perfect because it shows the creative process in action,’” she told Noozhawk. “It’s not about a finished project its about the joy of making art.”

Koury came up with the idea of sponsored squares to raise money, along with food and drinks.

This was the first festival of its kind in North America. Now there are at least 100 of these in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America, she said.

“I feel really happy today,” Koury said. “It’s a lot of work building up to it but now I can just sit and watch what we’ve created.”

Amanda Zunino was putting the finishing touches on the square sponsored by Arts for Humanity!, a local nonprofit organization that helps low-income, at-risk youth, persons with disabilities and the elderly through participatory performing and visual arts programs.

“It’s really interesting, working with pastel chalk,” she said. “It’s a lot more like painting than drawing.”

Karsen Lee Gould, founder and creative executive director of Arts for Humanity!, explained the group’s choice for inspiration.

Marc Chagall is our iconic ‘resident artist,’” she said. “Each year, I choose one of the Chagall pieces and then I tweak some piece of it to add an element of Santa Barbara.

“This year, we took his original and included a palm tree and the ocean in the background.”

Noozhawk intern Ana Mezic​ can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.


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Judy Foreman: Middle College Charts a Different Course for Some High School Students

By | Published on 05/24/2015


Santa Barbara High seniors Caitlyn Morton, Haley Powell reflect on inspiration, ‘educational savior’ of alternative program

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The hustle and bustle at Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery in Montecito faded into the background for me while I shared a recent late-morning coffee with Santa Barbara High School seniors Haley Powell and Caitlyn Morton.

We chatted about the next stage of their lives, as the soon-to-be SBHS alums have been accepted to their first-choice colleges — Powell at UCLA and Morton at New York University.

But I also sat transfixed as they described their high school experience at Middle College, a lesser-known community asset on the campus of Santa Barbara City College that profoundly changed their lives.

While “senioritis” affects most high school students at this time of year, both young women say they’re sorry to be saying goodbye to their teachers and social life at SBCC. Powell attended her junior and senior years of high school and Morton her senior year.

Both say Middle College was their “educational savior” for boredom and plain burned-out feelings with the day-after-day regimen at SBHS.

They say they had longed for a schedule that would accommodate work and study, while fueling their interests as they prepared themselves for the rigors of college.

“We had a transformative educational experience when we transferred to Middle College,” they agreed.

They say they gained a range of skills through a 1-to-1 teacher ratio and motivation for their personal, academic and social growth — something they felt “was missing as we entered our later years in high school.”

That was exactly the point of Middle College when it was founded in 1996 as a collaboration between SBCC and Alta Vista Alternative High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Diane Thomas, then a teacher at La Cuesta Continuation High School, noticed a need in the district for students who were performing at high academic levels or who had high academic potential, but who did not like traditional high school. They were struggling as a result.

While La Cuesta was successfully working with students who had academic challenges, there was nothing at the other end of the spectrum. From that premise, Middle College was born.

As Middle College expanded, and SBUSD’s independent study program grew, it only made sense under the California Education Code for the program to become its own school. Under then-SBUSD Superintendent Brian Sarvis and principal Kathy Abney, Alta Vista High School was created and later accredited by the Western Association of Secondary Schools.

“I’m proud that SBCC is a partner with SBUSD to provide Middle College,” SBCC President Lori Gaskin said. “I’ve always maintained that high school is not a one-size-fits-all experience.

“As with our dual enrollment program, Middle College fuels option and choice. Providing a different learning environment and academic structure maximizes student potential. SBCC remains committed to fostering these opportunities.”

After Thomas retired in 2005, Regina Freking became the director and counselor, while continuing to teach.

“While Middle College has existed for nearly 20 years, it is still a niche program that relies on word of mouth from student ambassadors like Haley and Caitlyn, rather than large-scale promotion,” she told Noozhawk.

Middle College has been designed to help bridge the gap between high school and college. The program targets students in 11th and 12th grades who have completed the majority of their math, science and P.E. requirements.

Potential students are those seeking methods other than those offered at traditional high schools for achieving a high school diploma, and who have an interest in pursuing high academic endeavors or career exploration.

Freking said the rigorous program integrates a curriculum based on current events that are discussed weekly at student-teacher meetings. The one-on-one relationship benefits students by providing guidance and support, as well as challenging them to delve into the course in a deeper way.

The flexible course selection enables students to build an individualized schedule that suits their interests and helps them attain their academic goals — especially those who are independent learners, she said.

“Santa Barbara is full of wonderfully unique individuals who may not thrive best in a traditional high school setting,” Freking said. “We are excited to offer this alternative opportunity for students and want to make sure that prospective candidates and families hear about Middle College and understand how it might better suit and support their goals!”

All students — regardless of whether they’re headed to top-tier universities — should know that Middle College would be good for them, she added.

Freking says she and her colleagues — Dominic Freking, her husband, and Nancy Stevens — feel fortunate to be teaching in an environment with an opportunity to get to know their students so well.

“It’s rewarding to see our students open their eyes to the world around them and explore their interests and passions as they begin to find their places and purpose,” she said.

“As a bridge to college and life, we want our students to graduate being strong communicators, independent thinkers, creative problem solvers and advocates for themselves and others.”

For their final senior project, “Something that Matters,” Morton and Powell created a page on the Alta Vista High School website where information and student/teacher testimonial videos can be found.

Middle College graduates also have the opportunity to choose to attend either the Alta Vista commencement ceremony at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden or commencement at their home high school. Morton and Powell say they’re looking forward to walking with the Class of 2015 and receiving their diplomas at storied Peabody Stadium on the Santa Barbara High campus.

Click here for more information about Middle College, or contact Freking at 805.897.3561 or [email protected].

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


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Randy Alcorn: We Must Stop the Political Rot in America’s Infrastructure

By | Published on 05/24/2015


The ancient Romans understood that the cohesion of empire required more than military might. It required infrastructure that facilitated trade and improved people’s daily lives. Water and sanitation systems, ports, roads, public baths, forums and stadiums strengthened the empire and tangibly demonstrated its benefits.

The Roman Empire eventually fell not because people wanted to leave it, but because too many people wanted to come in — something immigration reformers might think about.

The infrastructure Rome built lasted for many centuries. America’s vital infrastructure may not endure a single century. Were the Romans better engineers or use better materials? Not necessarily, but they did assiduously maintain what they had built.

Over a land mass rivaling that of the Roman Empire, America built the greatest infrastructure ever seen, but unlike Rome, America hasn’t been so diligent about maintenance. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the nation has a $2.2 trillion backlog of repairs and upgrades to vital infrastructure.

With every passing year hundreds of more bridges are closer to collapsing, miles of highways crumble into gravel, corroded water pipes rupture, airports become more outdated, dams weaken, school buildings, public parks, utility and sanitation systems deteriorate across the country.

While the nation’s infrastructure rusts and rots away the House of Representatives cuts funding on transportation infrastructure by almost 93 percent in the 2015 budget.

After the recent deadly Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, peevishly dismissed questions about the lack of Amtrak funding and blamed the crash on excessive speed. Boehner’s blustering distracts from the fact that available safety systems would have prevented the train’s excessive speed had the money been there to install them.

When in 2011, President Barack Obama proposed a $60 billion program for building and repairing infrastructure, Senate Republicans blocked it. They unanimously opposed it because it would have been funded by a surcharge tax on the wealthy. They also objected that the amount was too high.

They countered with a smaller infrastructure repair plan of $40 billion funded by cuts to other domestic programs, and that would have required scuttling or inhibiting environmental regulations. Of course, the then-majority Democrats quashed that measure.

So, there we are.

Given a $2.2 trillion critical infrastructure repair backlog, $40 billion or $60 billion is just a thumb stuck in a leaky dike, but even that is too much for the perpetually bickering ideological stooges in Congress who would rather stick thumbs in each other’s eyes than provide for the nation’s general welfare.

Every year, Congress will spend hundreds of billions of dollars for various military misadventures and on policing the world. It will spend a trillion dollars, and counting, fighting the hundred-year war in the Mideast, including building and rebuilding infrastructure there, but it quibbles about spending nickels and dimes to maintain our own infrastructure.

The Highway Trust Fund that maintains our nation’s highways has been running on fumes for years and is just about out of gas again, but once again, Congress, rather than raise taxes or redirect funds from dubious programs or bloated defense, will only refuel the fund with loose change it finds under couch cushions.

Yet, Congress will bestow billions of dollars in subsidies to wealthy corporations. It will lower tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.

It will pay Halliburton and other contractors hundreds of billions of dollars to build and rebuild in the perpetually war-torn Middle East. It will ladle out billions for foreign aid and disaster relief around the world. It will give itself lavish compensation and retirement benefits. But, it won’t maintain our homeland.

President Dwight Eisenhower, the builder of America’s splendid interstate highway system, warned us about the military/industrial complex. Essentially, he was warning us about the insatiable greed that can rot any society great or small. Fueled by corporate greed and jingoistic patriotism, America spends more on defense than does the next seven highest-spending nations combined.

Nero allegedly fiddled while Rome burned. Thereafter, he was quickly deposed and his successor embarked on a massive rebuilding program that included the magnificent Colosseum. The fiddlers in Congress — those venal, ethically challenged lackeys of the highest bidders — must be deposed and America’s priorities realigned to put America and Americans first.

America cannot maintain its greatness by patrolling the world with its massive war machine while the homeland rots away from neglect. It’s time for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to come home and rebuild our infrastructure. It’s time to spend our money on our country rather than wasting it interfering in chronic conflicts among peoples incurably addled by theology and savaging each other over their religious fantasies.

It’s time to take care of America and let the world take care of itself. Why do we give a rat’s pelt about Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria or, for that matter, Israel? They have nothing we want or need, and all they give us in exchange for our blood and treasure is more trouble.

Wouldn’t we rather repair our bridges, dams and roads than rebuild Baghdad or construct another military installation in some corner of the globe?

America’s rotting infrastructure is a manifestation of its political rot. Only we can fix that.

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


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Motorcyclist Suffers Major Injuries in Highway 154 Crash Near Rancho San Marcos Golf Course

By | Published on 05/24/2015


A motorcyclist suffered major injuries Sunday in a crash on Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The wreck occurred at about 10 a.m. near Live Oak Camp and Rancho San Marcos Golf Course, fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

The rider — a man who appeared to be in his 30s — suffered a likely broken femur and possible shoulder injuries, and was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The man’s name and condition were not immediately available.

County firefighters were assisted on the call by crews from Los Padres National Forest.

The cause of the crash 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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Bakersfield Woman Dies in Highway 166 Crash East of Santa Maria

By | Published on 05/24/2015


20-year-old driver ejected in rollover wreck after apparently losing control of car early Sunday near Rockfront Ranch

A 20-year-old Bakersfield woman was killed Sunday in a single-vehicle wreck on Highway 166 east of Santa Maria, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Emergency crews were called out shortly after 7:30 a.m. to the crash scene — two miles west of Rockfront Ranch and about 20 miles from Santa Maria, fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the Ford Focus was eastbound at a high speed when the driver lost control of the car.

The vehicle rolled down an embankment, and the driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected, the CHP said.

Zaniboni said the driver, the sole occupant of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was not known if alcohol was a factor in the crash, the CHP said.

The victim’s name was withheld pending notification of relatives.

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 Maria Woman Jailed on DUI, Hit-and-Run Charges After 2 Collisions

By | Published on 05/23/2015


Tarcelia Perez

A 21-year-old woman is facing felony hit-and-run and DUI charges after she allegedly was involved in two collisions Saturday in Santa Maria.

Tarcelia Perez of Santa Maria was taken into custody shortly before noon, according to Santa Maria police Sgt. Mark Norling.

The first collision occurred at Donovan Road and Railroad Avenue.

“The vehicle that caused the collision, a 2002 Toyota Corolla, fled the scene but was followed by a witness,”​ Norling said.

A short time later, he said, the Corolla was involved in another collision at Main Street and Blosser Road.

“Officers observed the suspect fleeing and attempted to stop it at Highway 166 and Black Road,”​ Norling said.

“The vehicle failed to yield to officers for approximately four miles.”

He said the vehicle became disabled and pulled over just east of Simas Road.

Perez was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of felony DUI, felony hit and run, evading a peace officer, and driving with a suspended license, Norling said.

The 28-year-old driver of one of the vehicles hit by the Corolla sustained minor injuries and was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center.

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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Isla Vista Lights Up As Community Remembers 6 UCSB Students Killed in 2014 Massacre

By | Published on 05/23/2015


Hundreds join procession from Storke Plaza into the heart of I.V. for one-year anniversary vigil at People’s Park

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Enveloped in warm blue LED light, walking arm-in-arm or standing apart, a procession of hundreds quietly moved through Isla Vista on Saturday night to remember those who no longer walk beside them.

The crowd passed the IV Deli and the 7-Eleven, making their way around the community, where a candlelight vigil at People’s Park would mark one year since a deranged man’s murderous rampage on May 23, 2014, left six UC Santa Barbara students dead and dozens more injured.

With tiny lights in the palms of their hands — and blue woven bracelets on their wrists — the continuous glow seemed to make mourners stronger, creating a light bigger than any individual and one that would lead them out of the darkness of their grief.

The vigil traveled from UCSB’s Storke Plaza to the park, where attendees sat on chairs, on the grass or on some of the six newly dedicated benches in the memorial garden.

The names of the victims were spoken aloud, each given life through the words of family, friends and UCSB administrators:

George Chen, Katie Cooper, Chen Yuan “James” Hong, Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, Weihan “David” Wang and Veronika Weiss.

Everyone was invited to speak in the open-mic format, beginning with the families who lost the most.

Parents of the slain young men and women thanked supporters for continuing to honor their loved ones, and wished them a lifetime of happiness — something their children were robbed of.

“I love you, regardless of who you are,” said Chen’s mother, Kelly Wang.

She brought the crowd to tears with her emotional plea to end senseless killing of the innocent, acknowledging the “light of love” they all held in their hands.

Attendees respectfully raised their blue lights skyward in somber salute.

UCSB professor Kum-Kum Bhavnani read a letter from Hong’s family, who described their son as a kindhearted person with a big smile.

Hong was the type of young man who saved seats on the bus for strangers who needed them, who became a vegetarian at a young age because “animals have feelings, too.”

The letter urged others to quell the violence in video games, television and media that make aggression seem commonplace.

Richard Martinez read a short poem his son, Christopher, wrote years before he was fatally shot. In it, he left a message of living on even after loved ones are gone.

“For their sake, we must also live,” Martinez said.

Michael-Martinez’s uncle said he had been dreading the anniversary but was heartened by the sight of so many.

Attendees made no mention of the 22-year-old murderer, Elliot Rodger, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as authorities closed in on him on Del Playa Drive. According to authorities and to videos he posted online, the Santa Barbara City College dropout from Woodland Hills was seeking revenge and retribution for what he perceived as an unending string of rejection from women.

Authorities say Rodger brutally stabbed to death his roommates, Hong and Wang, and then Chen, who had gone to their Seville Road apartment to check on his friends. Rodger then raced his BMW around Isla Vista, shooting to death Cooper, Weiss and Michael-Martinez.

Many of those in attendance Saturday night spoke of getting more help for those who seek — and so desperately need — it.

On the anniversary of one of the most difficult moments in UCSB history, Chancellor Henry Yang said the vigil showed that tragedy unites, not divides.

He said a scholarship has been created in each of the six students’ names and will be presented to students who share similar passions and interests.

“Their memories are shining down on us like the soft glow of these blue lights,” Yang said.

A student wearing a sorority sweatshirt led a couple of verses of “This Little Light of Mine,” with the crowd readily joining in.

Another student read a poem. One of Weiss’ water polo teammates asked that everyone live life to the fullest — as she had — and a third lamented that more people weren’t in attendance.

A friend of Cooper’s encouraged mourners to open up to other people as he had with her. Although he lost a friend, he said, he’s gained so many since because of the love she inspired in others.

“If I’m remembered like this when I’m gone, then that’s all I could hope for,” he said.

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


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With Santa Maria Elks Rodeo on Horizon, Judges Whittle Down Winning Whiskers at Beard-A-Reno Dinner

By | Published on 05/23/2015


Continuing a 56-year tradition, contestants split hairs for best beard before 72nd annual rodeo rides into town Thursday

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With whiskers on full display, the best beards and most marvelous mustaches were plucked from a field of contestants Saturday night in Santa Maria.

The 56th Annual Beard-A-Reno starts a busy week leading up to the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, which begins Thursday and runs through May 31.

Approximately 400 people attended Saturday night’s dinner at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge, where awards were given out for winning whiskers in a dozen categories.

“If you didn’t come here to have fun, by God you’re in the wrong place,” exclaimed Keith Barks, a past exalted rule and former rodeo chairman who served as the master of ceremonies for Beard-A-Reno.

The 44 contestants began entering the whisker-grown event in February as they competed for custom-made silver belt buckles.

Categories included longest beard, blackest beard, whitest beard, reddest beard, best goatee, best mustache, best sideburns, best attempt, wildest, best Western characterization, ladies’ choice and best All-Around.

The winner of Miss Wrangler also was named.

“Let’s git ’er done, boys,” Barks said as the judges began their handiwork.

The best beards weren’t picked by eyesight. Armed with flashlights, the judges peered deep into the whiskers to ensure the growers weren’t involved in shenanigans such as using dye.

The rowdy crowd cheered on their favorites, often chanting their contestant number to sway the judges.

The full list of winners were:

» Reddest — Steven Davis 

» Blackest — Michael Gonzales

» Whitest — Jeff Fitzgerald

» Best Goatee — Tyler Maretti 

» Longest — Jaime Needham 

» Wildest — Brian Elwell 

» Best Mustache — Kyle Wilson 

» Best Sideburns — Maxwell Shrubb

» Best Attempt — John Chisum 

» Best Western — Junior Galindo 

» Ladies Choice — Bill Wurth 

» Best All-Around — Mike Sczepanik and Brian Elwell

»  Miss Wrangler — Elaine Twitchell

Saturday night’s event leads up to the 72nd annual rodeo at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center, east of Highway 101 near Santa Maria Way.


Performances, featuring a full slate of rodeo competition, will start at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. May 31. Gates open two hours before the starting time.

Throughout the rodeo, pro athletes and animals will compete in saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and bareback riding. On Friday night, the rodeo queen will be crowned, capping a six-week fundraising campaign.

This year’s princesses and their sponsors are Sarai Calderon, Your Orcutt Youth Organization; Taylor Glines, VTC EnterprisesTaelor Janes, Santa Maria Noontimers Lions Club; and Jasmine Rodriguez, Kiwanis Club of Guadalupe.

More than 200 entries will travel south on Broadway from Main Street to Enos Drive, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Click here for the parade lineup.

Also Saturday, Cowboys Kickin’ Cancer will raise money for Mission Hope Cancer Center.

Rodeo tickets can be purchased at a discounted price through Wednesday from the Albertsons stores in Santa Maria, Orcutt and Buellton; Boot Barn in Santa Maria; and Carr’s Boots in Santa Maria. Click here to purchase tickets online.

Active-duty military members and their families (limit four tickets) will be admitted for free with a current identification card.

For more information, call the Elks Rodeo Office at 805.925.4125.

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


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Santa Barbara County Firefighters Join Oil-Spill Cleanup — Again

By | Published on 05/23/2015


Hand-crew team was among first to respond to pipeline break, then was delayed from further work by bureaucratic red tape and required training

Members of Santa Barbara County’s wildland firefighting hand crew were among the first emergency personnel to respond to last week’s oil pipeline break near Refugio State Beach.

They were called in to provide extra manpower for the initial effort to dam up the crude oil, which was flowing to the shoreline and fouling the park’s picturesque cove.

The 25-member team remained on the sidelines after the first day, however, as federal and state agencies took control of the response to the spill and the cleanup effort.

That all changed Saturday, when County Crew 1 donned white protective suits and blue helmets, and hit the shoreline at Refugio, helping to remove oil-soaked sand and vegetation from the beach, according to Capt. Dave Zaniboni, a Fire Department spokesman.

“It’s a good thing,”​ Zaniboni said. “We’re finally able to provide some local support. We’ve been wanting to get involved since the beginning.”

The spill began late on the morning of May 19, when a 24-inch line owned by Plains All American Pipeline ruptured on the north side of Highway 101, sending an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil down through a culvert, onto the beach and into the ocean.

Officials have estimated that as much as 105,000 gallons leaked altogether, with the bulk remaining on shore. Cause of the break has not been determined.

Globs of oil coat rocks at Refugio State Beach on Saturday. Crews were concentrating mainly on the sand and vegetation. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
Globs of oil coat rocks at Refugio State Beach on Saturday. Crews were concentrating mainly on the sand and vegetation. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

The county firefighters, who are based at Lake Cachuma, already had been trained in hazardous-materials response, Zaniboni said, but the department had to provide the necessary documentation to the U.S. Coast Guard, which is heading up the response. That took time.

The crew was put through additional training specific to dealing with petroleum on Friday and Saturday morning, Zaniboni added, and then was cleared for duty.

“They were given a stretch of beach near Refugio, and another just north of El Capitán,” he said. “They’ll keep doing it as long as they’re needed.”

The county crews join hundreds of other workers, who continue to toil on land and sea to remove the oil contamination and rescue injured wildlife.

At an afternoon media briefing, Dr. Mike Ziccardi, director of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis, said his organization has received reports of oil-covered wildlife from as far away as Point Conception and Ventura.

This is due to animals traveling through or exiting the spill area, he said.

Rick McMichael, senior director of operations for Plains All American Pipeline, told reporters that the fleet of vessels involved in skimming oil from the ocean had collected negligible amounts in the last 24 hours.

Excavation at the site of the pipeline break was halted Saturday afternoon while bins of tainted material were removed, he said.

A seal pup hauled up onto the shore Saturday at Refugio State Beach. The animal did not appear to be affected by oil. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
A seal pup hauled up onto the shore Saturday at Refugio State Beach. The animal did not appear to be affected by oil. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

The company is still working to remove oil from the damaged pipeline, although he said more than 15,000 gallons had been removed as of Saturday morning.

It will take until at least Sunday night to complete that process, he said.

The line has been shut down indefinitely, and federal officials have ordered the damaged section of pipe to be removed and sent off for testing.

While officials from various agencies were providing updates for assembled media at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, a group of 30 to 50 protesters chanted slogans outside. The demonstrators were kept away from the event by sheriff’s deputies.

Refugio and El Capitán state parks remained closed to the public, a significant blow for the Memorial Day weekend, and are unlikely to reopen until early June, officials have said.

Authorities provided the following phone numbers to the public:

» To report oiled wildlife: 1.877.823.6926

» Volunteer information: 1.800.228.4544

» To file damage claims: 1.866.753.3619

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.

Anti-oil protesters demonstrated Saturday at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, where officials were providing a media briefing on the Refugion spill cleanup efforts. (Michel Brewer photo)
Anti-oil protesters demonstrated Saturday at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, where officials were providing a media briefing on the Refugion spill cleanup efforts. (Michel Brewer photo)


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Diane Dimond: We Can All Learn from Young Man Who Simply Did What’s Right

By | Published on 05/23/2015


Some of us need laws to keep our behavior in check. Others just know the right thing to do.

I do an awful lot of writing about the laws of this land and people who break them. This time, I want to write about the lesson learned from an honorable 17-year-old who lives in Susquehanna Township, Pa. Only the law of innate good character was involved.

His name is Ben Moser, and he’s the quarterback of his high school football team. His story tells you all you need to know about this young man.

When Ben was in the second grade, one of his classmates was Mary Lapkowicz, a pretty, petite girl who happened to have been born with Down syndrome. Ben and Mary became fast friends. His teachers report that the boy constantly watched out for Mary both in class and outside during recess. Ben always insisted on including Mary when he spotted her shying away on the sidelines.

In fourth grade, after watching a cousin preparing for prom, little Ben asked his mother, “Do kids like Mary go to prom?” And his mother said, “Sure, honey, if someone asks them.” According to Lisa Moser, her son immediately and resolutely declared, “Well, you know what? I’m going to take Mary to prom.”

A couple of years later, Mary and her family moved to another Pennsylvania town, and the two young friends lost touch.

Flash-forward several years to when Ben’s Susquehanna High School traveled to Mary’s Central Dauphin High School for a football showdown. Ben spotted Mary on the sidelines, working with her dad and helping out with her team’s equipment. As the two old elementary-school chums caught up, Ben quietly remembered his vow made seven years earlier.

“I’m going to take Mary to prom.”

His “​prom-posal” to Mary, which came shortly after that field-side catch-up session, included a fistful of pink and silver mylar balloons on which he wrote, “Prom?”

The pictures taken of the couple on the night of the dance say it all. The towering Ben, in a tuxedo and lavender vest that matched the color of Mary’s full-length gown, brought his prom date a white rose wrist corsage. She gave him a matching boutonniere. A video camera captured the pair posing for pictures, and Ben was asked to say a few words.

“There shouldn’t be a barrier between somebody who doesn’t have Down syndrome or not,” he said in his understated way. “You should just be who you are.”

With a shrug of his shoulders, he added, “Do what’s right. Simple.”

Yes. It is just that simple. That prom date didn’t happen because Ben felt sorry for Mary. It didn’t happen because Ben’s mother had pushed him to keep his long-ago promise. It happened because this young man has integrity. He wanted to take his childhood friend to the dance and to live up to his pledge.

This story made me wonder what might happen if the rest of us just followed that simple creed. Do what’s right — not for ourselves but for others.

I think of the countless other young people in this country who need to hear and embrace Ben’s lesson — those who turn to crime or drugs or see their own victimization at every turn instead of the opportunities in front of them.

Imagine what this country could be if elected politicians, government workers, bankers, businesspeople, health-care workers, teachers, police officers and students kept in mind the needs of others. Imagine the recent crises that could have been avoided if we were guided by Ben’s principle — the mortgage collapse and resulting economic crisis, the paralyzing political divisiveness we now have in this country and the recent violence masked as civil rights protests, to name a few examples.

Imagine what we could be — how strong and united we would be — if we finally laid down the petty bickering, the self-aggrandizement and greed and decided that we don’t need to pass more laws to control one another but rather should just “do what’s right.”

My husband says I’m a dreamer. Maybe I am. But if more parents were raising children like Ben Moser, this country’s future would be brighter.

Moser is about halfway to the age when he could run for president of the United States. I wonder what he’ll be doing in the 2032 election year.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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Mark Shields: Don’t Believe Christie When He Says Voters Want Him to Stay

By | Published on 05/23/2015


History, just by what it selects to remember, can indeed be cruel. Consider, for example, Republican Ralph Perk, who, during the 1970s in heavily Democratic Cleveland, was elected mayor three times.

But what Perk is mostly remembered for was that day in 1972 when, while using a blowtorch to cut the steel ribbon to ceremonially open the convention of the American Society for Metals, he set his own hair on fire. (Yes, you can see it on YouTube.)

Later that same year, Perk declined an invitation from the president to dinner at the White House because the date conflicted with his wife’s bowling night.

Personally, I shall always remember Perk for his inventive explanation for his loss in the 1974 U.S. Senate race, when Democrat John Glenn, while carrying all 88 of Ohio’s counties, would become the first candidate in the state’s history to win a contested election by more than 1 million votes. Everywhere he went in the closing weeks of the campaign, Perk said voters would tell him that though they preferred him for the Senate, they were not going to vote for him.

“We don’t want to lose you as our mayor,” he reported them as saying.

Fast-forward to May 2015. Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie helped Fox News’​ Megyn Kelly and her audience understand why 65 percent of Garden State voters, in the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, had said they do not think Christie would make a good president. Channeling Cleveland’​s Perk, Christie explained that actually those voters want him to stay as governor.

“A lot of those people in that 65 percent want me to stay,” he said. “And I’​ve heard that from lots of people at town hall meetings: ‘Don’​t leave to run for president, because we want you to stay.’”

Not that many of his constituents who allegedly want him to “stay” in Trenton are pleased with his performance. In that same Quinnipiac poll, just 38 percent of New Jersey voters approved of the way Christie is “handling his job as governor”; 56 percent — an all-time high — disapproved.

Christie’s “we want you to stay” account is just about as credible as Chico Marx’s classic retort when his wife discovered him kissing a young showgirl: “I wasn’t kissing her. I was whispering in her mouth.”

It’s been barely two years — but now a political eternity — since Christie, with a sky-high job approval rating of 73 percent, was on his way to a smashing re-election and all but destined to be a national leader. As U.S. attorney, he had been the scourge of corrupt public officials, winning more than 100 convictions, including of county executives in both Hudson and Essex counties, a longtime mayor of Newark and the president of the New Jersey Senate.

As governor, Christie was dominating the Democratic Legislature. By 2011, Henry Kissinger and an impressive roster of the country’s most prominent CEOs were trying to persuade him to run for the White House in 2012. Christie declined and instead decided to endorse Mitt Romney.

Now it’s 2015, and Christie painfully is learning what other might-have-beens have learned over the years: In presidential politics, if you’re lucky, you get one shot at the brass ring.

And if you pass it up, that’s it. You find yourself explaining on television — while listeners, embarrassed for you, look away — that a lot of the 65 percent of people who disapprove of the job you’re doing want you to stay in that job.

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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Locals Rally at State Capitol for Disability Capitol Action Day

By | Published on 05/23/2015


A contingent from the Independent Living Resource Center took the train to Sacramento from Santa Barbara for the 12th annual Disability Capitol Action Day. Among those on the trip were Jacob Lesner Buxton, Danny Drennan and Bonnie Elliott, Roy Fuentes, Anthony Gonzales, David Harrell, Richard Nelson, Kathleen Riel and Jorge Uribe. (Independent Living Resource Center photo)
A contingent from the Independent Living Resource Center took the train to Sacramento from Santa Barbara for the 12th annual Disability Capitol Action Day. Among those on the trip were Jacob Lesner Buxton, Danny Drennan and Bonnie Elliott, Roy Fuentes, Anthony Gonzales, David Harrell, Richard Nelson, Kathleen Riel and Jorge Uribe. (Independent Living Resource Center photo)

Nearly a dozen Central Coast residents were among thousands who gathered at the Capitol in Sacramento earlier this week for the 12th annual Disability Capitol Action Day.

Coordinated by the Disability Action Coalition, the event is one of the largest and most diverse cross-disability legislative opportunities in the nation. On Wednesday, people of cross disabilities and their allies lobbied legislators on issues ranging from living independently under the Americans with Disabilities Act to restoring in-home support services funding to increasing funding for the State Supplemental Payment program to cultural competency training for police.

The event included a resource fair, an educational rally, live entertainment, speeches and networking.

Several Central Coast residents took Amtrak to Sacramento to represent the Independent Living Resource Center of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

Among the locals on hand were Jacob Lesner Buxton, Danny Drennan, Bonnie Elliott, Roy Fuentes, Anthony Gonzales, David Harrell, Richard Nelson, Kathleen Riel and Jorge Uribe.

While in Sacramento, the group met with state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblymen Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, and Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.

​— Roy Fuentes represents the Independent Living Resource Center.


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Letter to the Editor: Put Oil Spill in Perspective Before Hysteria

By | Published on 05/23/2015


Do not get too hysterical over some spilled oil at Refugio Beach. It is only a small part of the natural flow that goes on every day on the Central Coast. Crude oil is biodegradable and is “eaten up” by ocean microbes, otherwise our beaches would be covered with oil from all of the natural seeps around us.

Our oil companies have a good safety record overall, and when you consider that they are handling million of gallons of oil every day in that pipeline, their record is very good.

Let’s get the facts before going ballistic. FYI, there is no fracking involved.

Justin Ruhge


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3 UCSB Students Rescued in Ocean Off Goleta Beach

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Trio in inflatable inner tubes were blown out to sea

Three UC Santa Barbara students were rescued Friday afternoon after they were blown out to sea in their inflatable inner tubes.

The trio launched from Campus Point at UCSB, but brisk winds soon pushed them away from shore, said Mike Eliason, a Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman.

A boat associated with the Refugio oil spill clean-up spotted the students, and called 9-1-1, Eliason said.

Only one of the three was wearing a wetsuit, and Eliason estimated they were in the low-60-degree water for more than 90 minutes.

Crews were dispatched to the scene at about 4:15 p.m., and firefighters using personal watercraft took about 15 minutes to rescue the three.

Two were transported to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for treatment of hypothermia, and the third declined medical attention, Eliason said.

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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As Effects on Wildlife Mount, Officials Can’t Say How Long Refugio Oil Spill Cleanup Will Take

By | Published on 05/22/2015


An injured sea lion pup is among the animals rescued after an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude flow into the ocean from a ruptured pipeline

Three days after thousands of gallons of oil poured onto the shoreline and into the ocean at Refugio State Beach west of Goleta, officials on Friday were unable to say when the cleanup might be finished.

"How long it will take is a really hard question to answer," U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams, incident commander, said in response to a question at a press briefing Friday afternoon.

The spill began late Tuesday morning, when a 24-inch crude-oil pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline ruptured across Highway 101 from Refugio State Beach, sending an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil down through a culvert and into the picturesque park's cove.

Company officials say as much as 105,000 gallons of oil may have been spilled.

In a bit of good news, officials on Friday seemed to downplay the possibility that beaches down the coast in Goleta and Santa Barbara would be affected by the spill.

Jordan Stout with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said survey flights conducted Friday showed the footprint of the spill had extended to the south and to the east. But he noted that wind would be the primary factor in the spill's movement over the next few days, and forecasts called for it to blow from the south and southwest.

That would reduce the chances of significant amounts of oil hitting the shores of Goleta and Santa Barbara.

Biologist Justin Greenman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration captures a sea lion pup that appeared to be suffering from exposure to oil on Friday afternoon at Sands Beach near UCSB's West Campus. (Melinda Burns photo)

"And I'd be really surprised if oil would make its way to the Channel Islands," Stout said.

The City of Goleta has declared a state of emergency, and warned that the spill could reach its shores in the coming days.

Meanwhile, as cleanup efforts continued around the clock, the impacts on marine life became more evident, including the discovery Friday afternoon of an oil-stricken sea lion pup on Sands Beach near UCSB's West Campus.

Officials reported that six oil-soaked brown pelicans have been taken to a rehabilitation facility in San Pedro, and another three have been found dead.

The tally for marine mammals was three sea lions — including the one found at Sands Beach — and one elephant seal. They were captured and taken to a facility in San Diego.

A dead common dolphin also was found, but it was not clear whether that was related to the spill, officials said.

Freelance reporter Melinda Burns told Noozhawk that the sea lion pup hauled itself out of the water and onto the sand, and appeared to be trying to rid itself of the oil.

"Then it collapsed on the sand, shivering," Burns said. "A crew of three spill workers put the pup in a portable cage and took it away."

Dozens of dead fish and invertebrates also have been found.

A wildlife-rescue team works the shoreline at Refugio State Beach, looking for animals injured by the oil spill. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Officials told reporters that crews were seeing diminishing returns from efforts to use boats, booms and skimmers to get oil out of the ocean, suggesting that the focus of the cleanup work soon will shift to the land.

"The harder part will be onshore," Williams said. "That could take weeks or months."

The cause of the pipeline break has not yet been determined, and a Plains All American spokesman said it likely would be another couple days before the damaged section is unearthed and removed for examination.

On a less positive note, the two state parks most affected by the spill — Refugio and El Capitan state beaches — will see their campgrounds and day-use areas remain closed to the public until at least June 4, said Eric Hjelstrom, State Parks superintendent for the Santa Barbara area.

Officials provided the following phone numbers to the public:

» To report oiled wildlife: 877.823.6926

» Volunteer information: 800.228.4544

» To file damage claims: 866.753.3619

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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Five Men Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole for Torture-Murder of Anthony Ibarra

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Judge rules on numerous motions during the hearing, during which family members of Ibarra speak out about 'the nightmare that will never end'

After denying numerous motions for a new trial, a Santa Maria judge on Friday afternoon sentenced five men to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for their roles in the killing of Anthony Ibarra two years ago.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown sentenced the men late in the day, six weeks after a jury found the five guilty of first-degree murder.

The five are alleged shot-caller Ramon "Crazy Ray" Maldonado, 39; his father, David “Pops” Maldonado, 57; Santos “Lil Tuffy” Sauceda, 35; Reyes “Pumpkin” Gonzales, 44; and Jason Castillo, 31.

They were among 11 people — the youngest being a teen whose dad and grandfather were two of the defendants — charged with the murder of Ibarra, 28, who prosecutors say was tortured and killed March 17, 2013, in a house at 1142 W. Donovan Road. Ibarra reportedly owed money for drugs. 

His body, with multiple stab and puncture wounds, was found a few days later in a rented U-Haul truck parked on an Orcutt street.

The prosecution contended it was a gang-related crime, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the gang allegations. Some of the defendants were called gang members while others were labeled associates by law enforcement.

Before the judge handed down the sentences, family members of Ibarra spoke about the loss of the man who was a son, brother and father. They also prepared a video of Ibarra in different stages of his life before showing his lifeless body in a casket and his gravesite.

His mom called it “the nightmare that will never end,” adding Ibarra’s young daughter doesn't know about his violent killing and thinks he got sick and died.

“It hurts every day of my life of the horrifying torture that somebody could do to a person,” one of Ibarra’s brothers said.

Ibarra trial
Reyes Gonzales and David Maldonado sit in a Santa Maria courtroom on Friday morning. They are two of five defendants awaiting sentencing for the death of Anthony Ibarra in March 2013. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

An aunt said that two years after Ibarra’s death the family has good days and bad days even as they think of and talk about Ibarra.

“It’s been really hard on our family, hearing what they did to him over and over again. It’s like we relive it every single time,” the aunt said. “Their lives aren’t over. They still have an opportunity to see their families and hear their voices even if it’s through a glass window.

“And what do we have? Nothing but a picture of Anthony on a headstone.”

Sentencing came after the five defense attorneys — Michael Scott, David Bixby, Adrian Andrade, Fred Foss and Tom Allen — argued several motions.

In one, they claimed juror misconduct should lead to a new trial. However, the judge struck most of the statements, after Senior Deputy Defense Attorney Ann Bramsen argued they didn't meet the admissibility standard.

One concern centered on the fact a juror allegedly declared the defendants guilty upon entering the room at the start of deliberations, prompting worry the woman had made up her mind.

"It's not the best practice I'll acknowledge that," Brown said, adding there was no evidence she failed to participate in deliberations. 

Another concern involved an allegation a juror withheld critical information about a family member who was the victim of a crime. It prompted the judge to inquire why Juror No. 10 didn’t reveal her son’s attack when the attorneys questioned potential jurors.

“I just forgot about it,” the juror said from the witness stand about the incident that occurred 24 years ago.

After questioning the juror, Brown said he was convinced she didn’t withhold the information on purpose and rejected the defense request to declare a mistrial.

The assorted attorneys argued their points on other motions, asking the judge to act as the 13th juror and overturn the verdicts against the individual defendants.

In a sentence he repeated frequently Friday, Brown said he found the evidence supported the jury verdict as he denied some of the motions.

Other rejected motions focused on the judge’s decision to deny a change of venue request, that the court erred in not allowing a childhood photo to be shown to the jury, that the jury instructions were inadequate and that jury verdict forms were confusing.

Before officially hearing their fates, some of the defendants asked to speak before the judge cut them off. 

Ramon Maldonado told the family that it’s “very unfortunate how our paths crossed” before he offered his condolences to Ibarra’s loved ones.

“For what it’s worth, we are not monsters. These hands, our hands are not the hands that took the life of Mr. Ibarra,” Maldonado said, before the prosecutor objected the comments were not appropriate.

The defense team contended during the trial that someone other than the five men delivered the fatal blow that killed Ibarra, pinpointing prosecution witnesses. 

Jury selection for the trial began in mid-November, with testimony starting in January for six of the men charged with Ibarra’s death. 

Members of the jury said they could not reach a verdict on the sixth defendant, Anthony “AJ” Solis. Immediately after the verdict, Solis, who was represented by Addison Steele, accepted a plea and will be sentenced this summer.

Friday's hearing for the five men came a day after another defendant in the case was sentenced. Per her plea agreement, Verenisa Aviles was sentenced Thursday to nine years and eight months in state prison.

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


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Allan Hancock College Superintendent Wishes Graduates Well in Their ‘New Adventures’

By | Published on 05/22/2015


The Santa Maria campus celebrates the achievements of 933 students during its 94th annual commencement ceremony

Hundreds of students graduated from Allan Hancock College on Friday afternoon as the 94th annual commencement ceremony was held on the Santa Maria campus. 

Hancock grad
Members of the Allan Hancock College class of 2015 begin their processional for Friday's graduation ceremony. (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)

The class of 2015 boasted 933 graduates, a 9 percent increase from last year, school officials said. 

Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers delivered the keynote address during his second commencement at the college.

“Today you are at the end of a journey that is also the beginning of a new adventure — what started here will take you anywhere,” Walthers said. “Your professors, instructors and administrators are proudly affirming that you possess the inherent qualities of an educated person, worthy of a degree.”

He urged graduates to commit themselves to lifelong learning and challenged them to follow their dreams without fear.

“Like the choose-your-own adventure books of your childhood, you are in charge of what happens next. Rely on the values you have learned from your family, your friends and your time at Hancock so that you can realize the dream that you truly deserve,” he added.

Associated Student Body President Daniel Hernandez, who will attend Cal Poly in the fall, spoke on behalf of the graduates.

“We will always be Bulldogs. Enjoy this moment and have no regrets. We’ve earned it,” he said.

Members of this year’s graduating class earned 1,345 degrees in 82 majors as well as 816 certificates. The number of degrees and certificates both represent 11 percent increases from 2014.

Hancock grad
U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Santa Maria native Jose Alvarez stands during the playing of the national anthem during Friday's graduation. (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)

Sixteen students earned five or more degrees. Two students, Alex Carrasquillo and Andrew King, will receive eight degrees and graduate with honors.

The night before graduation, the Allan Hancock College Foundation handed out a record $537,000 in scholarships to 363 students. 

Aurora Ruvalcaba received the prestigious Marian Hancock Scholarship on Thursday evening.

The $5,000 scholarship was started in honor of the late Marian Hancock, the wife of Capt. G. Allan Hancock, for whom the college was named. Marian Hancock wanted the gift bestowed on a student who demonstrated a commitment to continuing his or her education, and who had shown great promise and dedication. 

Ruvalcaba intends to transfer to the University of California-Los Angeles to obtain a degree in sociology and later become lawyer.

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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Arraignment Continued for Mom, Caregiver Charged with Killing ALS Patient

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Marjorie Good
Marjorie Good (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The caregiver and mother charged with killing an ALS patient made their second Santa Barbara County Superior Court appearance Friday morning.

The arraignment hearing for Marjorie Good, 89, and Wanda Nelson was continued until June 18 and assigned to Santa Maria Department 6. 

The women are charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 2013 death of Solvang resident Heidi Good Swiacki, reportedly by tampering with her ventilator.

Marjorie Good is the mother of Heidi Good Swiacki. Nelson is believed to have been Swiacki's caregiver.

At the last hearing 10 days ago, Judge Gustavo Lavayen agreed to release Marjorie Good on her own recognizance while the case makes its way through the courts.

Nelson remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail. 

A criminal grand jury indicted the two women May 1, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. Before handing down the indictments, the grand jury heard from 33 witnesses, including 13 law enforcement personnel and Swiacki's husband and two children.

While sheriff’s investigators and prosecutors have provided little information about the case, some details can be gleaned from a blog that was started by Good after she was diagnosed several years ago with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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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Mary Buren Elementary in Guadalupe Receives $100,000 on ‘Ellen’ Show to Restore Flooded Library

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Dreams have come true for students, teachers and staff at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has responded to a plea to restore the library at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe with $100,000 from Target's Thanks A Billion campaign. The show, which was taped Thursday, aired at 4 p.m. Friday.

“Our students are so deserving of this very generous gift from Ellen,'' Principal Jesely Alvarez said. "The level of quality, high-interest books and resources this funding will be able to provide for our library is going to really make a difference in raising student literacy skills and in continuing their passion for reading. We are forever grateful and still can’t believe how fortunate we are!”

The library was flooded and many of the 11,000 books, furniture and other learning tools were lost. The staff discovered the library was totally destroyed when they returned from winter break after a big storm in December. The salvaged contents were moved to a temporary classroom.

A short time later, teachers Cathee Barkley and Ashley Thompson wrote a letter contacting the television show and explaining the circumstances.

A crew from The Ellen DeGeneres Show was at the school campus this week to document and film students, staff, parents, the school and damages from the flood.

The school's fundraising before the gift only gathered about $8,000. Significant funding was needed.

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


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One Year Later, Lasting Grief and Renewed Resolve for Father of Victim of Isla Vista Rampage

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Progress has been made with gun-safety legislation, law-enforcement policy and mental health care, but some say much work remains

Bob Weiss will be avoiding the memorial events going on this weekend at UC Santa Barbara and nearby Isla Vista, following the advice of newfound friends who also had a family member killed in a mass shooting.

The first anniversary is always rough, they said. You’ll have enough to deal with without taking on other people’s grief.

So, Weiss will stay home with his wife in Thousand Oaks when residents across Santa Barbara County and the country remember and honor their daughter, Veronika, and the five other UCSB students lost a year ago Saturday after a mentally ill gunman went on a warpath around Isla Vista on May 23, 2014.

The university will host a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. in Storke Plaza before a processional of hundreds marches to People’s Park in the adjacent college community, where a new memorial garden is planted.

Everyone will gather in memory of Veronika, Katherine Cooper, Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, Weihan “David” Wang, George Chen and Chen Yuan “James” Hong.

Weiss will sit that event out, but he’ll never stop telling legislators, college students, members of the media and whoever will listen about his daughter.

That’s how he honors her.

He works to keep the tragic incident at the forefront to inspire change, along with a number of local organizations, agencies and institutions that see the anniversary as a time to look back at what’s been done and what more we can do to prevent future heartbreak.

“It’s a real simple message: At the rate our country is experiencing gun violence, the time will come soon when every family is affected by gun violence,” Weiss told Noozhawk this week. “At a certain point, if we don’t curb that, it’s going to get a lot closer to home.

“People keep getting on airplanes even though they read about a plane crashing yesterday, and they do it because they don’t think it will ever happen to me. It’s in everybody’s best interest to have better gun safety.”

                                                                        •        •

Weiss and Richard Martinez, whose son, Christopher, was also fatally shot, have tirelessly worked with elected officials and served as advocates for gun safety, with Martinez famously reciting “Not one more” on many occasions. 

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, reiterated that quote Friday in a statement, acknowledging her continued efforts to “not sit idly by until the next senseless tragedy occurs in our country.”

In the aftermath, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson brought forth two laws, the first requiring local law enforcement agencies to develop policies encouraging officers to search California’s database of gun purchases before conducting a “welfare check.”

County sheriff’s deputies conducted one of those visits at 22-year-old Elliot Rodger’s Isla Vista apartment in the month prior to the shooting, but failed to find any issue or to locate his rounds of ammunition and automatic weapons.

Jackson’s second law takes effect early next year and creates a gun violence restraining order, which would allow family or authorities to obtain court orders to temporarily take guns from a person demonstrating a tendency toward violence.

Mental health has become another passion for Weiss, who sees 22-year-old shooter Elliot Rodger as another victim, one who came from a background of bullying, isolation and rejection whose cries for help went unanswered.

In the past year, county mental health services has implemented several new initiatives, but efforts don’t necessarily stem from the tragedy, said Suzanne Grimmesey, chief strategy officer of the county Department of Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services.

One such program launches new outreach on college campuses to train students and staff to detect early psychotic symptoms. The initiative, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also supports educational materials and mental health awareness at Allan Hancock College, Santa Barbara City College and UCSB.

Sheriff Bill Brown said he hoped his department’s extensive report on the incident would help mental health experts shed light on how to prevent future events.

“Our hope is that by them examining materials, it will give us some insight into what prompted him to cross this line,” Brown said. “How can we prevent this in the future? That’s a question that always gets asked. I think the bottom line is there has to be a way to identify and treat people with serious mental illness and to encourage treatment to them and their families while not stigmatizing the issue.”

The sheriff wouldn’t comment on the efficiency of his department’s welfare check — the Sheriff’s Department and others have been sued by some of the victims' families because of the outcome — saying only that 20/20 hindsight makes a judgment unfair, especially since deputies must balance civil rights and what they can legally do.

Brown did say the department has already adopted the gun database search into its welfare check policies.

"We never forget the six vibrant, young bright UCSB students who were so innocent and so tragically taken from all of us on that terrible evening," he said. "We always need to have a place in our hearts for them."

                                                                        •        •

UCSB has dramatically shaken up its level of involvement in Isla Vista, taking on more responsibility for the community where so many of its students live.

The university has helped fund permanent safety fencing along Del Playa near the bluffs, more officers for UC Police and more lighting and sidewalks on streets, to name a few. It will also soon have more counseling services located inside a soon-to-be renovated portion of the IV Neighborhood Clinic building on Embarcadero del Mar.

“Our efforts to improve the quality of life in Isla Vista, to build upon its vibrant and diverse culture and to better integrate it with our academic community have begun to bear fruit and lead to significant changes,” UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said in a statement to the university community. “The leadership demonstrated by our students, faculty and staff members, alumni, donors, and members of the broader community has shown that change in Isla Vista is not only necessary but also possible. It will take concerted effort and cooperation to bring about lasting solutions. While Isla Vista remains a work in progress, given the many positive changes already in motion, I am confident we will continue to move forward together with even greater momentum.”

Outgoing UCSB Associated Students president Ali Guthy hopes students will hang on to the drive to change the culture in Isla Vista. The senior’s organization strove this year to quantify how it spends resources in the area. 

Student leaders also established “pizza with police” events, helped create alternative events to alcohol-fueled Deltopia and Halloween celebrations and passionately advocated for AB3, a state bill that aims to create a Community Services District to govern Isla Vista, a densely populated, unincorporated community of about 23,000.

Assemblyman Das Williams, who introduced AB3 late last year, is still steering that bill through the legislative process.

“I think that everyone wants this time and the weekend to really reflect the strength and all of this progress and the change that’s happening in Isla Vista,” Guthy said. “In face of tragedy, and celebrating lives of students lost, it’s really a time to come together.”

The new memorial at People’s Park, the one with a bench designed in honor of each of the six victims, is likely something Bob Weiss’s family will visit in the coming weeks.

He will see the waves and water representing his daughter’s love of water polo and renew his resolve and advocacy for gun safety.

“It’ll take time, but it’ll happen,” Weiss said of gun laws. “State by state or city by city, it’ll be a long and hard road.”

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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Big-Rig Fire Backs Up Holiday Traffic on Highway 101

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Holiday traffic was slowed to a crawl Friday afternoon when a big-rig caught fire on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The incident occurred shortly before 5 p.m. in the southbound lanes just west of the Highway 154 exit.

The big-rig was reported to be engulfed in flames, which had spread to some roadside vegetation, the CHP said.

Fire crews were on scene, and no injuries were reported.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

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


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Letter to the Editor: Heartfelt Thanks in Honor of Memorial Day

By | Published on 05/22/2015


We are now coming upon Memorial Day.

A time we take a chance to say,

How grateful we are, to just exist.

Too many benefits, to now list.

High on this list, those whose lives,

Were sacrificed, so we now survive.

Throughout this world, so many graves,

We can now observe, since we were saved.

Or perhaps, a beloved mother,

Who gave us her Life, like has no other.

It is a day we must take the time,

To review those memories, so sublime.

So to your life, now add this favor,

Your most grateful thanks for all you savor.

It's such a right thing that you can do,

On this day, that is made for you.

With heartfelt thanks,

Bud Stuart
Santa Barbara


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Wildflowers on Peak Display at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

By | Published on 05/22/2015


spring wildflowers
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s meadow display is carefully planted and cultivated to produce colorful blooms throughout the spring. (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden photo)

While the wildflowers may have faded from the hillsides, you can still enjoy the spectacular spring wildflower display at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., including Memorial Day.

“The meadow has several species that will carry over into the summer, but if you want to experience the full effect of many species of California native wildflowers all blooming at once, you had better get here soon!” according to Bruce Reed, horticulturist for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

The continuing drought resulted in a shorter wildflower season in most areas, but the garden’s meadow display is carefully planted and cultivated to produce colorful blooms throughout the spring. The two-year Meadow Revival Project restored the meadow to its historic design intent: a low carpet of flowers that leads the eye up to the mountains, creating the iconic garden view enjoyed by generations of visitors.

While the view is iconic, the meadow changes daily. As blue lupine of March fade away, yellow lupine take their place, and finally the bright orange California poppies spread across the expanse. On the far border, white and yellow Matijala poppies stretch four to five feet into the air, leading your eye upwards towards Arlington Peak.

In order to create this effect, several rounds of intensive weed control efforts were employed and 6,000 native grass plugs were planted by staff and volunteers. Garden staff worked with Victor Schaff of S&S Seed in Carpentaria to create a unique mix of seven wildflowers including: poppy, Gilia, lupine and Clarkia designed to fill the meadow with color from February to June.

This week you can see a stunning wave of deep pink giving texture to the orange poppies. Those are the Clarkia bottae, otherwise known as Farewell-to-Spring. Be sure to catch them before you say farewell to spring.

— Rebecca Mordini is the communications manager for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.


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Santa Barbara Environmental Groups ‘Saddened and Disgusted’ by Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Cleanup and wildlife rescue crews are still at work on the fourth day of response efforts

The offshore oil platform well blowout that caused the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill led to most modern environmental protection laws and advances in safety technology — “and yet, here we are,” said Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center.

Environmental activists gathered to condemn Tuesday’s oil spill near Refugio State Beach that leaked crude oil from a Plains All American Pipeline pipe into the Santa Barbara Channel, which Krop called one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world.

It’s home to many threatened species, migrating whales and sea birds, and a robust commercial fishing and shellfish industry.

Krop and representatives from the Community Environmental Council and Sierra Club California said the country needs to reduce its dependence on oil, since Tuesday’s spill proves there is no safe way to produce it, particularly offshore.

The ruptured pipeline was carrying oil produced on ExxonMobil’s offshore oil platforms.

“We really need to say no from now on,” Krop said.

Dave Davis, president and CEO of the Community Environmental Council, said the organization, which formed after the 1969 spill, is “saddened and disgusted” by the spill, adding that “it is déjà vu for us.”

He hopes this week’s spill is a catalyst for people to make the change to alternative energy sources, a goal shared by Sierra Club California director Kathryn Phillips.

“This should be a message to every elected official and politician, that we should unhook our dependence on oil,” she said.

The CEC is advocating for the City of Santa Barbara to move to a community choice aggregator model for electricity service, which allows residents to choose plans based on what energy sources they want, including more renewable energy options.

It’s expected that the city, and the County of Santa Barbara, will fund a feasibility study to look into the idea. The Santa Barbara City Council supported the move at Tuesday’s meeting, which coincidentally was held as news of the spill was spreading.

In addition to the federal and state agencies responding to the oil spill, research teams from UC Santa Barbara have visited the scene to do surveying, examine microbial responses, and investigate impacts to animal life in the beach and rocky intertidal zones, according to Robert Miller, an assistant research biologist with the Marine Science Institute. (Bob Miller photo)

There is still no word on the cause of the spill, as investigators from multiple agencies are on scene, led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EDC executive director Owen Bailey said an automatic shutoff system in the pipeline — which Santa Barbara County requires but Plains doesn’t have — could have created a less urgent situation. He also questioned early response efforts to stop oil from getting into the water and contain the oil from spreading farther down the coast.

"This emergency shows it doesn't have to be offshore oil development to impact the marine environment," he said. 

Plains has taken full responsibility for the spill and released a full safety statement Friday, saying, "Releases from Plains pipelines have significantly decreased while throughout volume has increased since 2008." Plains officials have been attending oil spill response news conferences and say they are committed to getting the area back to its original condition. 

The Plains pipeline that ruptured was proposed as an alternative to marine tanking oil to refineries, Krop said, and the company sued the county saying it had no right to regulate the interstate pipe. Plains won, which limited the county’s jurisdiction in reviewing the operations permit.

Plains was ordered Friday to shut down the impacted pipeline, Line 901, by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the federal agency that regulates pipelines. PHMSA's corrected action order requires Plains to empty and purge the pipe, review its records and its emergency response plan, and commission a root cause failure analysis. The company will also have to submit a work plan and restart plan before starting operations again.

Line 901 carried oil from Las Flores Canyon to the company's Gaviota Pump Station and the shutdown impacts operations at ExxonMobil and Venoco Inc., which both use the pipeline to carry oil north from its offshore oil and gas production platforms. 

PHMSA investigators are on scene and sent people to the company's operator's control room in Texas. 

As of Friday, a no-fishing zone was declared for a 23-mile-by-7-mile area generally between Gaviota State Park and Coal Oil Point. Refugio and El Capitan state beaches are closed indefinitely, and while Goleta has declared a state of emergency, no city beaches are closed.

There is a full-scale cleanup effort led by federal, state and county agencies with boats booming to collect oil from the water and hazardous-materials crews walking the shorelines to collect oil. Additional crews are excavating soil from the inland area, near the ruptured pipe itself north of Highway 101.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response is working with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network trained volunteers to collect and rehabilitate oiled animals. So far, pelicans, a sea lion and at least one crab have been collected. The DFW reported dead kelp bass, lobsters and other invertebrates washing up in the spill areas.

The local business and tourism industries are concerned about the impact of the spill on visitors, some who have already called to cancel plans for the Memorial Day weekend, sources told Noozhawk. Businesses in Santa Barbara are putting out the message that the spill hasn’t reached the area, and everything is still open to visitors.

Michael Cohen, owner of the Santa Barbara Adventure Company, had 25 people cancel kayaking trips to Refugio this weekend and worries about the spill’s impact not only on the pristine coastal environment but for local tourism in the long term.  

His company has led kayaking trips there for 15 years, he said, adding, “Refugio is a magical place for us.”​

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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Despite Missing Documents, Lompoc Council Agrees to Enter Negotiations for Space Center Project

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Months after a Polish woman failed to provide requested documents, the Lompoc City Council has agreed to proceed forward on ambitious plans to develop a space center despite the absence of significant information from Eva Blaisdell.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to enter into a one-year exclusive negotiation agreement with Blaisdell and her California Space Center LLC. Yet, the council made the approval conditional after Blaisdell failed to two critical pieces of information.

The decision comes more than three months after the council agreed in February to spend 90 days crafting the agreement with Blaisdell. At the time, city staff pointed out her proposal was significantly flawed and lacked critical information the city sought from any potential developers should provide.

Months later, many more questions remain about Blaisdell, who calls herself an entrepreneur and a member of the Polish media.

Proposed for 82 acres of city land near Allan Hancock College’s Lompoc Valley Center, the for-profit, multimillion-dollar California Space Center would be a combination entertainment, education and research facility. It would serve as a visitor center, have an IMAX theater and a museum. Other features include a hotel, restaurant, convention hall, business park, light theme-park attractions or what a one supporter called a “space Disneyland.”

“We put a lot of confidence in you,” Mayor Bob Lingl said after the vote. “Please don’t let us down. I know you won’t. Just as a reminder, there’s some hard deadlines in here. We’re going to hold you to them, OK?”

Blaisdell formed California Space Center LLC as a Delaware corporation in February after the council agreed to work toward the exclusive negotiation agreement. 

However, Tuesday’s approval was conditional. City officials said they lacked proof she had the right to do business in California, a situation now rectified according to the state website, which lists the California Space Center.

City staff also said they needed proof Blaisdell had authority to sign the exclusive negotiating agreement on behalf of the limited liability corporation.

The exclusive negotiating agreement also includes several critical milestones Blaisdell must meet in the upcoming months. For instance, in 30 days after the exclusive negotiating agreement is signed, Blaisdell must provide the missing information she was supposed to submit as part of the request for qualifications. If a deadline is missed, the agreement would allow the city to issue a 45-day cancellation.

“This is a serious document. We’re not taking this lightly,” Councilman Jim Mosby said.

“This is a tall order but if there’s anyone who can meet it, it’s I and my team,” Blaisdell said under further questioning from council members.

Additionally, she is required to deposit $25,000 to the city to cover staff costs for their time related to the project. If the amount falls below $10,000, she must contribute more money to boost the fund total at $25,000.

Blaisdell said she is seeking venture capital for the project from across the world for the project and says she had used her own funds so far in the last 18 months.

When Councilman Victor Vega asked if any investors would be willing to speak up now, Blaisdell said she could produce documents from senior executives at IBM pledging to invest in the project. 

“I am very happy to disclose this information in a more confidential way,” she said, adding she agreed to join an exclusive investors club in Silicon Valley to take their money.

The value of the land won’t make the project occur, she added. 

She said she has been busy meeting with assorted firms such as IMAX, Sony, Bechtel and Apple about the project, with a photo of her and Apple CEO Tim Cook included in her video and on social media sites.

Blaisdell’s version of the project has drawn support from people eager to the see the space center developed and wariness from those who have seen more other endeavors fail for assorted reasons.

The site has long been targeted for space center. Yet, the proposals by various groups including a former mayor and former congresswoman, have fizzled for assorted reasons.

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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Zack Warburg and Gerry Warburg: Consumer Advice for New Baseball Commissioner

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Election of Rob Manfred as the new baseball commissioner affords the opportunity to look anew at critical challenges. Baseball is as wonderful as when we fans entered our first bejeweled major league park, accompanied by Mom and Dad.

Baseball remains the Great American Pastime. However, with too much time passing between pitches, multiple concerns loom. Instant replay has advanced the cause of justice. But it has also exacerbated a festering problem: the interminable pace of play. Every fan has struggled with dates or small children, who question our sanity for insisting on staying through 4½-hour games.

From declining participation by African-Americans, to the game’s waning attractiveness to Millennials, to international indifference — the game has been dropped from the Olympics — baseball may fall off the screen for restless youngsters worldwide. Herewith, some advice from two devoted fans.

We share a reverence for the traditional game and the sanctity of records. We cringe at yawning attendees who show up in the third and leave in the sixth (you know who you are, Dodgers fans). But after a generation of tolerating steroid-tainted records and introducing record-skewing twists (four playoff wild cards?!?), some further action to advance fan interests is in order.

Radical measures are called for. Following are several ideas (most of them are serious) to speed things up while improving the fan experience.

» Problem: Five-minute mid-inning pitching changes and mound gab fests.

» Solution: Managers point to bullpen from dugout; relievers are motored in on a golf cart. Zero warm-up pitches. No mound conferences.

» Problem: Silly, clown-like appearances on field of aged, uniformed managers.

» Solution: Use an NFL-style challenge flag. Managers must stay on the bench, in civvies, as in other major sports. Leave the dugout, get suspended.

» Problem: Batters step out and adjust their jockstraps and gloves after every pitch.

» Solution: Automatic strike for leaving the batting box.

» Problem: Pointless intentional walks consuming precious time.

» Solution: Pitcher points to first base. Batter runs, or he is out.

» Problem: Showboating, bat-flipping Puig-like hot dogs calling attention to HRs.

» Solution: Sixteen-second time limit to circle bases. Flip the bat, get ejected.

» Problem: Interminable pick-off attempts by slow-as-molasses pitchers.

» Solution: Two per batter; third is a balk. Like replay challenges, use ‘em wisely!

» Problem: Two and one half commercial-filled minutes between innings. More during playoffs.

» Solution: Fight owner-ad revenue greed. Limit to 60 seconds, then pitcher delivers.

These modest changes would cut average game times as much as an hour. They would greatly assist improvement of game quality, with negligible impact on records. 

Now, about the fan experience. Here, perhaps even more creativity is called for.

» Problem: Rich, no-show jerks with $500 behind-homeplate-seats = lifeless TV

» Solution: Top of fourth inning move fans from upper deck to bring energy behind home plate and completely fill the lower deck. Arrive late and lose your primo seat.

» Problem: Idiot fans in primo seats who forget their gloves.

» Solution: Every 10th game, ball has gold stamp, redeemable for $1,000. Watch the energized scrums that ensue.

» Problem: Lengthy rain delays

» Solution: Player goggles. They don’t stop football and pond hockey for weather!

» Problem: The all-time date-killer = extra innings.

» Solution: Take a page from NHL. Start the 10th inning with three infielders and two outfielders. Eleventh-inning ties resolved, like soccer, with a five swing HR Derby.

Finally, if the next generation of Americans is to treasure live baseball, kids need to experience a few real-time World Series games that end before 1 a.m. Require 6 p.m. local start times. Owners should also abandon the obscene more-is-better approach to between-inning advertising. Improving the game here may sacrifice a fraction of the $8 billion in annual revenues 30 owners reap. But, it would be a sound investment; it would do more than any other move to tell fans that owners get it.

Owners struggle to overcome the image of an anti-trust-violating cabal, self-interested billionaires who rip off cities for sweetheart stadium deals, then charge $40 for parking and $10 for sodas. We hear owners pledge they’ll be “faithful stewards of the game.” The commissioner is handpicked by the owners but supposed to support fan interests. Move on even a few of these items, and he’ll send a positive message for generations to come.

— Zack Warburg is a computer engineer in Santa Barbara. His father, Gerry, teaches public policy at the University of Virginia’s Batten School. Both are lifelong San Francisco Giants fans.


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Capps Releases Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Tragedy in Isla Vista

By | Published on 05/22/2015


On Friday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy in Isla Vista, which is Saturday, May 23:

“As our community continues to heal on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy in Isla Vista, we come together to remember those who were injured and honor those no longer with us," Capps said. "This senseless event touched each of us in a powerful way, but what endures is the strength of a community bonded together, and the everlasting memory of those we lost.

“This solemn anniversary is also a time to remember the call from Richard Martinez — father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez — that ‘Not One More’ parent should have to endure the loss of a child. It is our responsibility to commit ourselves to not sit idly by until the next senseless tragedy occurs in our country.

“We must work together to break the cycle of tragedy followed by inaction, which is why I am committed to doing whatever I can in Congress to ensure meaningful actions are taken to make our communities safer through commonsense gun violence prevention legislation. It is why I have reintroduced the Pause for Safety Act and why I continue to bring attention to this critical issue - we must keep the conversation going. Gun safety and the Second Amendment are not mutually exclusive. Responsible, law-abiding Americans have the right to own a gun, but the residents of Isla Vista also deserve to feel safe in their homes and community, and I will continue to work on ways to do just that.”

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


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Santa Barbara Response Network Mobilizes Compassion Patrol to Support Isla Vista Community

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Members of Santa Barbara Response Network's Compassion Patrol respond to the scene in Isla Vista. (Santa Barbara Response Network photo)

After a recent violent rampage in Isla Vista left six people dead and 13 injured, UC Santa Barbara students, faculty and staff and Isla Vista residents are still trying to heal and move forward from the harrowing ordeal.

The Santa Barbara community and many others have rallied around the university and surrounding neighborhood, offering support and resources for those affected by the tragedy.

The Santa Barbara Response Network is continuing to offer psychological first aid, providing compassion to those needing a human connection in the aftermath.

SBRN Mobilizes Compassion Patrol Members to Support the Isla Vista Community

The evening of May 23 saw an unspeakable tragedy in Isla Vista. The Santa Barbara Response Network learned of the situation that very night from a member of the Sheriff's Department, who is also part of SBRN's large network of volunteers. Anthony Rodriguez, chief of operations for SBRN, began to mobilize team members so that they could come into Isla Vista if they were needed. About 1 a.m., the Sheriff’s Department confirmed SBRN would need to begin its work in Isla Vista the next day.

"Our organization never over steps its boundaries in responding to an incident because ultimately, we do not want to lose the trust we have built up in the community," Rodriguez said. "Post-intervention becomes prevention if you help someone dealing with trauma. The service we provide is extremely valuable because people understand that for us it is all about the heart. We are providing one of the most important things you can provide in traumatic times — just being there to listen."

SBRN established a Compassion Center in Isla Vista, a physical location and sustained operation that was in place for two months after the shootings. This is a unique situation for SBRN, and really an innovation, because the organization typically tailors its involvement to the incident, with volunteers meeting individuals or groups where they feel most comfortable, whether that be in a person's home, a church or school.

Playing off of the name given to the Isla Vista Police Department (the officers are known as the IV Foot Patrol), SBRN named its volunteer team the Compassion Patrol and began providing mobile outreach support for the community. More than 80 volunteers donated a total of more than 400 hours in response to the Isla Vista tragedy, and are still volunteering today. The Santa Barbara Foundation was pleased to provide an emergency grant to help make this work possible.

"Coming into the community, we did not assume anything and I feel like we asked the right questions to determine what had already been done and what the needs would be," said Sergio Castellanos, board member for SBRN. "From our questions and conversations we found that there were layers of responses in relation to need as Isla Vista is a very diverse community."

Psychological First Aid Offers Unique Response to Community Need

SBRN was founded as an all-volunteer, grassroots organization in response to a cluster suicide that happened in Santa Barbara in 2009. Today, SBRN's mission is to offer psychological first aid and response in the aftermath of critical and traumatic incidences. The organization must be invited into the community to begin its work, an invitation that can be extended by an individual, family, or organization. SBRN is unique in that it is not an agency doing mandated work, but instead consists of a group of committed volunteers giving both their heart and their time.

"An individual does not have to have a specific background to volunteer with SBRN. We are looking for compassionate citizens, and there are many people in the community who are fully qualified to help us, although they may not know that about themselves," said Gil Reyes, executive director of SBRN. "People tend to think we only need experienced grief counselors, psychologists, that kind of thing. But really, we can use anyone who has that type of humanity about them, where they are able to be around someone who is in pain.

"We are compassionate citizens, responding in a unique way to those in need. When something traumatic happens, and an individual feels as if he or she is losing that human connection, SBRN helps that individual get that connection again so that they can move forward."

SBRN provides psychological first aid training in both English and Spanish to its volunteers, preparing them to be more efficient and effective as compassionate community responders. Volunteers are trained on how to use eight core actions, which are seen as culturally sensitive and responsive tools that can be adapted to uniquely fit overwhelming situations. Part of a volunteer’s work is to normalize with a grieving individual, helping this person to get oriented so that it is easier to make decisions and to feel in charge of their life.

"We have a sort of dos and don'ts list for psychological first aid — do listen; don't talk too much; do demonstrate your curiosity; don't ask too many questions. We do not want people to feel like they are being interviewed, let alone interrogated," Reyes said. "But we do want people to know that we are open and caring for what they have to say. We send a validation of the individual's experience that is also interlaced with a gentle sense of hope."

SBRN is purposely narrow in scope, mostly responding to suicides and violence. The organization is not interested in duplicating services, but instead collaborates with the people in the community who are in place already doing their jobs well.

"I think it is a very powerful message when you show up to help someone — you are not getting paid for it, there is no 'reason' for you to be there except for the fact that you want to provide assistance," said Jina Carvalho, public information officer for SBRN. "I have seen some painful stuff for sure. But to be able to help our community feels really good. What we do is very human and necessary."

The Future of the Santa Barbara Response Network

In its own way, SBRN has come to terms with the fact that there is a lot more violence in the world then most people want to admit. Its response to this realization is to change the climate of violence by seeing compassion as the anecdote. For SBRN, the future is not just about crisis response, but doing more to prevent traumatic experiences from happening, getting ahead of the situation so that the organization is not always coming from a reactionary position.

"None of us could have prevented the situation that happened in Isla Vista, but we can do more to influence our local culture so violent means are not preferred," Reyes said. "Research shows that exposure to violent situations in childhood lead to poor health in adulthood, poor earnings in adulthood, and a shorter life. We want to be interrupters by pouring compassion on the fire of violence so that we can keep it from spreading — not just helping the folks who need to heal from that pain, but also keeping the pain from spreading."

— Jina Carvalho represents the Santa Barbara Response Network.


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Airports, Law Enforcement Gear Up with Travel Over Memorial Day Weekend Expected to Hit 10-Year High

By | Published on 05/22/2015


More people will travel this Memorial Day weekend than last year — more than any year in the past decade, in fact — and local airports and law enforcement agencies are preparing to deal with them.

The vast majority of those journeying between Thursday and Monday were expected to drive to their destinations, according to a Triple A travel report, which projects 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their homes over the holiday weekend.

That’s nearly 5 percent more travelers than last year, and marks the highest travel volume for Memorial Day in 10 years, the report showed.

Santa Barbara Airport Director Hazel Johns said this weekend kicks off the beginning of summer travel season and is typically one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

“Santa Barbara Airport expects airport traffic to be heaviest on Thursday and Friday and Tuesday, so passengers are encouraged to give themselves a little extra time prior to departure,” she said.

The airport, which serves 700,000 passengers annually, also encouraged visitors to pay homage at its two World War II memorials, which will be adorned with wreaths for the holiday.

The California Highway Patrol will focus on ensuring drivers and passengers wear their seat belts, with all available officers out on freeways and county roads as part of a maximum-enforcement period.

Just about every other Santa Barbara County agency will deploy DUI saturation checkpoints throughout the weekend.

Santa Barbara Police will conduct checkpoints somewhere in the city on Friday and Saturday between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.

“Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed eight lives and resulted in 88 injury crashes harming 109 of our friends and neighbors,” Sgt. Mike Brown said, noting the crime caused 802 deaths and nearly 24,000 serious injuries statewide in 2014.

Lompoc and Santa Maria police departments will host their own checkpoints, as will the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department within the city of Goleta, according to Kelly Hoover, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

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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A Magical Night in Store at Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria

By | Published on 05/22/2015


The original Hollywood-based Magic Castle organization brought the first of two nights of a special showing of the first science fiction film ever made, Georges Mêlies A Trip to the Moon.

The evening also featured an awesome live magic show by magician John Carney, who has won more awards from Hollywood’s Academy of Magical Arts (Magic Castle) than anyone in their history.

Thursday night's performance began with free champagne or cider for mingling guests. Of course, Island Brewery beer and local winery selections were also on hand, as usual for a $5 donation. The movie showing celebrated the 113th anniversary of the classic film.

A magician himself, French director Mêlies shared his fanciful vision of the first trip to the moon. The “Cinemagician” was one of the first filmmakers o use multiple exposure, time lapse photography, and dissolves in his productions. The film has been digitally restored with the original hand tinted frames, making it one of the first color films as well as the first science fiction movie. An electro pop soundtrack has been added and the short film presentation wowed the audience.

Following the film, magician John Carney performed a spectacular 90-minute show crammed full of astounding illusions. But Carney is more than just an accomplished illusionist. He is also a skilled comedian with precision timing, and a character actor as well.

In a set filled with props and furniture provided by Wayne M, curator of Carpinteria’s most unusual antique emporium and surf board museum, Wayne’s World, Carney devolved into an ever morphing character. In the vein of Garrison Keiler, Carney would take on different personas of magical proportions.

The skilled performer incorporated large parts of the audience in everything from a multi-person card trick to mixing and baking a cake in one audience member’s shoe. The result was a nonstop, hilarious and astonishing one-man show that has to be seen to be believed.

There are a few tickets remaining for the final performance Friday night at the Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria. Click here for information.

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


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Captain’s Log: Peaceful Fishing on a Budget

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Look for a job until noon and fish for dinner all afternoon, then cook it up on a park barbecue pit. That’s how I got my start in Santa Barbara, after moving here some decades ago. It took me a couple of months to find work, but I look back at those two months and remember being happy.

So, if I had it to do over again, I think I’d do the same thing.

Spending an afternoon fishing can be a perfect escape, on the cheap. Here’s the drill: Grab an old fishing rod/reel, a few hooks and weights (rocks will suffice) and a bucket. Make a gourmet fisherman’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottle of tap water (no sense buying bottled water when you’re recreating on the cheap). What makes a P&B sandwich gourmet? Simple. Make it a double-decker, which is a very filling lunch. Also bring along a few pieces of meat leftovers from the fridge for bait. Other good choices include bacon or cold cuts, which can be tied onto the hook with a little piece of fine string or fishing line.

Your destination is the local pier or breakwater because it makes good fiscal sense. No fishing license is needed when fishing from a pier or breakwater. If you step onto the beach and fish, you’ll need a license. Our local coastline has good piers where fisherfolk relax as well as work on their healthy dinner plans.

Goleta Beach is one of the best fishing piers on the whole coast. Park nearby and walk out over the water. I have always enjoyed looking down through the cracks between the planks at the water below when I walk on a pier.

Take a look at what other folks bring and you’ll quickly learn some tricks. People have all manner of luggage racks, dollies and other devices to aid in hauling pier stuff between their car and the pier. I always enjoy the ingenuity of fisherfolk.

Find a spot on the pier just behind the breaking waves. It is tempting to walk way out on the pier, and you are certainly free to do so. The greatest variety of fish, however, is found in the surf zone. You may catch surfperch, smelt and, if you are really lucky, a corbina or halibut. Little shiner perch can be caught right next to the pier pilings, and they make appealing live bait for larger predators.

Bait up, weight up and drop down. If you can catch a small fish, it might suffice for additional bait — either whole or in pieces. It doesn’t hurt to have multiple baits available to test the desires of the fish on any given day.

— 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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Designer Danielle Rocha Hosting ‘Summer Dream’ Swimwear Runway Show to Benefit Dream Foundation

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Dream Foundation — the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness — is partnering with cutting-edge local swimwear designer Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim to host Summer Dream, a swimwear runway show event aimed at engaging young adults in the mission of Dream Foundation and raising funds to help make dreams come true.

One-hundred percent of proceeds raised will be earmarked to serve the dreams of applicants in their 20s.

“About 11 percent of our dream recipients are between the ages of 18 and 35,” said Kisa Heyer, Dream Foundation executive director. “Their dreams range from basic needs items like laptops and tablets to stay connected with family and friends, to the opportunity to meet a personal hero or experience a rite of passage such as a graduation or prom.”

Summer Dream will feature a runway show by Rocha Swim, as well as fashion from other local designers including CA Makes, Studio 399 Jewelry, Make Smith, Lisa Sands Design and Chapala & Parker. On hand serving up burgers and bites will be the mobile Carl’s Jr. Star Diner. There will be live performances by Danny Winter and DJ IDEX, as well as a raffle, wine and beer.

According to event chair Arlene Montesano, “It is exciting to be working with a talented young designer like Danielle Rocha, who has channeled her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into giving back to the community. This is going to be the first event of its kind for Dream Foundation and we are working hard to make it a great success.”

Tickets are on sale now for $75 each and may be purchased online by clicking here.

Event sponsors include Blue Star Parking, Cabana Home, Carl's Jr., Don and Susan Kang, Jim Nigro, Eric and Nina Phillips, Walter Claudio Salon Spa and SpaceNK Apothecary.

Dream Foundation maintains a four-star Charity Navigator rating (the highest rating) for sound fiscal responsibility and has never turned away a qualified dream request.

— Kelly Sweda represents the Dream Foundation.


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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Musicians to Present Personal Progress Reports

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Out at UCSB, the spring quarter is drawing to a close, which means that the 2014-15 academic year, too, is ending. The UCSB Department of Music has a sterling program in musical performance, and this is the time of the year when the students have their recitals — closing off their class' year, and closing off their bachelor's or master's degree.

These student recitals are always worth attending, and not just in the sense of the moral support you can provide for the next generation of musicians. They would be worth attending, in that sense, even if we were talking about students at a community college somewhere in the benighted Midwest. UCSB Music, however, wouldn't even let these students in if they didn't show great promise, and they wouldn't give them degrees unless they were ready for the big time. We will hear very good performances of beautiful, often fascinating, music. All the recitals take place somewhere in the UCSB Music complex, and admission is free.

At 6 p.m. Friday, May 22 in Music 1145, hornist Jarrett Webb, with faculty pianist Natasha Kislenko and sophomore violinist Sara Bashore, will play a program of all-20th century music, including a concerto for horn and strings by Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck; a double concerto for violin and horn by Dame Ethel Smyth; and an unaccompanied piece, Patrick Kavanaugh's Debussy Variations, No. 11 in F-Major, for solo horn.

Schenck (1886-1957) was solidly 20th century in his dates, only rarely in his music. This concerto reminds me more than a little of Robert Schumann's Kozertstück for Four Horns and Orchestra, Opus 86. Smyth (1858-1944) remains the only woman composer to have an opera produced at the Met. She was an ardent feminist and composed the stirring "March of the Women," which became the anthem of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Great Britain.

At 8 p.m. Friday, May 22 in Karl Geiringer Hall, pianist Felix Eisenhauer will present his Doctor of Musical Arts Recital, with the collaboration of Adriane Hill on flute, Karen Yeh on cello and Luvi Avendano, voice. Solo or with friends, Eisenhauer will perform works by Carl Maria von Weber, Ludwig van Beethoven and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, May 30 in Karl Geiringer Hall, bass-baritone Keith Colclough, with pianist Bridget Hough, will sing an all-Schubert recital — an [e]xploration of Schubert’s incorporation and transcendence of Recitative in Lieder," using Schubert's settings of poems by Johann Goethe, Friedrich Müller, and Heinrich Heine. (Müller was also a notable graphic artist, and was consequently known popularly as "Maler" — i.e., "Painter" — Müller.)

At 4 p.m. Saturday, May 30 in Karl Geiringer Hall, pianist Mark Gutierrez will play a solo recital. Alas, there is no program available at this time, but as the banner proclaimed, in Stanley Kramer's On the Beach: "There is still time, Brothers and Sisters!" As soon as I learn more I will try to post it.

Or, you can go online to the department's user-friendly website by clicking here and check for yourselves.

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


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Local Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Screening of Film Based on His Life

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Thomas Blatt's book, From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival, tells the story of the most successful revolt and escape from any Nazi camp during World War II. Fifteen years old at the time of the revolt, Oct. 14, 1943, and himself a prisoner at the camp, Blatt played a pivotal role in masterminding it along with two of his fellow prisoners.

Now 88 years old and living in Santa Barbara, Blatt will be the honored guest at the screening of Escape from Sobibor, the film based on his book, and the final film in the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara’s Holocaust Spring Film Series.

During the revolt, 200 prisoners escaped and 150 were captured and killed, but close to 50 survived. Blatt was one of these few to survive this miraculous escape from an extermination camp.

Following his escape, Blatt was shot by a Polish farmer and wandered through the surrounding forest until the liberation — the bullet remains lodged in his lower jaw today.  He has extensively researched the event and its related history and has written two books on the subject, as well as spoken widely on the topic.

"We knew our fate. We knew that we were in an extermination camp and death was our destiny. We knew that even a sudden end to the war might spare the inmates of the ‘normal’ concentration camps, but never us. Only desperate actions could shorten our suffering and maybe afford us a chance of escape. And the will to resist had grown and ripened," Blatt writes in his book. "We had no dreams of liberation; we hoped merely to destroy the camp and to die from bullets rather than from gas. We would not make it easy for the Germans."

Blatt served as a writer and technical consultant on the film. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers following the screening. The free event will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, 524 Chapala St.

For more information, please contact Diana Oplinger at 805.957.1115 x114, 805.701.1232 or by email at [email protected].

— Diana Oplinger is the marketing and communications manager for the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.


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Dos Pueblos Team Takes Second Place in Financial Advisor Contest

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Congratulations to Dos Pueblos High School seniors Connor Kanan, Will Macfarlane, Anthony Ochoa and Tyler Wilson on their second-place finish in the finals of the Financial Advisor Contest.

They each won $300 for their work.

They presented a seven-minute PowerPoint presentation on their plan for guiding a 60-year-old couple through their retirement years — outlining an appropriate investment strategy to secure their desired income so as to maintain their current lifestyle up to the age of 95.

Their outstanding presentation, which they defended in front of Chartered Financial Analysts, qualified them for the quiz bowl round in which they finished in second place.

They also created an exceptional spreadsheet in which to illustrate their analysis.

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


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One-Time Performance of ‘The Origin of the Seasons’ to Benefit Domestic Violence Solutions

By | Published on 05/22/2015


For one night only on Sunday, June 7, young actors from an Arizona arts academy will perform a provocative new play, The Origin of the Seasons, by Kathleen B. Jones exploring the dynamics of domestic violence.

The murder of one of her students propels a professor on an uncanny journey into the labyrinth of loss and mourning. Invoking the myth of Demeter and Persephone and loosely adapted from her nonfiction narrative, Living Between Danger and Love: The Limits of Choice, Jones’ play tells a story about the ways we search to make sense of the separations that wound us.

What happens to love if we fail to negotiate separation successfully? Is love not only about attachment but also about letting go enough to love another for herself instead of as one’s own shadow?

The original cast from Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, whose members trained with a local domestic violence service provider as part of their performance preparation, includes six young actors accompanied by a pianist, a trombonist and a flautist playing an original score written by one of the young musicians.

The troupe asks for a suggested $15 donation, which will benefit Domestic Violence Solutions of Santa Barbara. The play contains mature content and strong language, and the performance will take place at Unity of Santa Barbara, 227 E. Arrellaga St. at 7 p.m. June 7.

For more information, contact Layne McGhee at [email protected].


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Bill Macfadyen: Oil Spill Waters Run Deep, and That’s What We’re Afraid Of

By | Published on 05/22/2015


Before filling up on a gas station design, NoozWeek’s Top 5 finds a dead body in a crashed car, tracks a gruesome apparent suicide and rescues a badly injured bicyclist

There were 101,916 people who read Noozhawk this past week. We welcome all readers to the debate over your top stories — regardless of where you stand in the polls.

1. Cleanup Under Way for Large Oil Spill Near Refugio State Beach​

An underground pipeline was discovered ruptured May 19 near Refugio State Beach west of Goleta. Unfortunately for just about everyone and everything, an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude oil spilled out before it could be shut down.

The less-bad news is that most of the spill remained on land, where cleanup and remediation are more precise.

The potentially catastrophic news is that quite a lot of the spill still flowed downhill through a drainage culvert underneath Highway 101 and the railroad tracks ... right into the ocean. Once in water, oil can spread easily, erratically and elusively.

It did, and still is.

As of the morning of May 22, authorities said oil slicks covered about nine square miles of the Santa Barbara Channel.

As a precaution, 161 square miles have been declared off-limits to fishing and much recreation. The expanse is between Coal Oil Point near Isla Vista west to Canada de Alegeria near Gaviota State Park, and roughly seven miles out to sea.

State beaches in the area are closed for the ordinarily jam-packed Memorial Day weekend, and Goleta officials declared a state of emergency while nervously watching the shoreline for signs of encroachment. So far, so good, however.

The multiagency spill response has grown to include nearly two dozen boats deploying oil-skimming booms, and more than 600 trained haz-mat cleanup personnel onshore. 

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency are coordinating the federal effort, and multiple state and Santa Barbara County agencies are involved, as well.

State Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response crews are working with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis to locate and rescue wildlife. Authorities advised that oiled animals should not be touched, but reported to the network by calling 1.877.823.6926.

An assortment of agencies is investigating the breach of the 24-inch pipeline, which is operated by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline.

The line — which was constructed in 1987 and, according to company officials, was inspected as recently as two weeks ago — carries crude oil north from ExxonMobil’s Las Flores Canyon processing facility. It was operating at full capacity at the time of the spill, Plains spokesman Darren Palmer said.

Plains officials have taken responsibility for the leak, and have said the company will pay for the response operation. Any fines, fees and/or settlements likely will take months — if not years — to negotiate and litigate.

As our Giana Magnoli reported, county employees actually informed Plains of the problem and county firefighters were the guys who traced the source of the spill back to the pipeline. 

“How come our people had to be the ones to notify them?” asked an incredulous Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr.

That’s a good question, and one we can all look forward to hearing the answer to. As our Lara Cooper reported May 21, Plains apparently has had to do a fair amount of explaining in the past.

Meanwhile, Lara was one of the first journalists to arrive at the scene, and she captured numerous riveting images on camera and video. Click here for a photo gallery.

Among the most poignant of her pictures is the nearby photo, which depicts would-be wildlife good Samaritans Steven Botello and Derek Fisher trying to rescue an oil-coated bird. Alas, they couldn’t reach it.

As national media interest in the story picked up, Noozhawk was deluged with requests for our pictures. Lara’s photo was beamed around the world by Reuters and television news networks, and it made the front page of the Washington Post and ABC’s Good Morning America, among hundreds of other outlets.

Thanks to our Tom Bolton’s​ insistence on mandatory credit, Noozhawk’s​ name is much more recognizable nationally now than it was earlier in the week. And to all of our new readers, thank you for your support.

Check back with Noozhawk for complete spill coverage, including the latest updates. Click here to email me your cell number if you’d like to receive our free NoozAlerts on your phone. And click here for more information about how you can help with the spill cleanup.

A new fatality off Highway 154, but apparently not from the crash. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
A new fatality off Highway 154, but apparently not from the crash. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

2. Man Dies After Car Crashes Off Highway 154

A 57-year-old Agoura Hills man was found dead in the Ford Mustang he was driving after the car veered off Highway 154 north of Paradise Road on the morning of May 18.

Authorities believe the man suffered a fatal medical emergency just before the crash.

County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said emergency crews found the man unresponsive and not breathing when they arrived at the northbound crash site.

He said the Coroner’s Office would conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The man’s identity was not immediately released, pending notification of relatives.

Authorities are investigating another apparent ‘suicide by train’ in Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Authorities are investigating another apparent “suicide by train” in Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

3. Transient Killed by Amtrak Train in Santa Barbara

A transient was run over by an Amtrak passenger train just west of Santa Barbara’s Milpas Street railroad crossing May 20. Authorities say the man died instantly in the midday incident.

“Indications are that it was a suicide, and he intentionally lay down on the tracks,” police Sgt. Riley Harwood told our Josh Molina.

He said the man had been tentatively identified as a 60-year-old transient who was known to officers.

The westbound train was stopped for about 45 minutes so the man’s remains could be removed from the scene.

The Coroner’s Office is handling the investigation of the incident, which appears to be another in a recent spate of apparent “suicides by train” in the corridor.

Click here for free suicide prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day, or call 1.800.273.8255.

4. Injured Cyclist Airlifted to Santa Barbara Hospital

Two bicyclists, participating in a 630-mile ride to San Diego from San Francisco, ran into each other in the Lompoc Valley on May 20. One of the cyclists suffered major head trauma and had to be flown to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

As our Janene Scully reported, the crash happened just before 11 a.m. near the intersection of Highway 1 and North H Street.

Lompoc Fire Chief Kurt Latipow said a county helicopter happened to be in the area so the aircraft made a beeline for the hospital, with a flight-qualified county Fire Department paramedic along to administer care in the air.

“​It was one of those times when everything came together,”​ Latipow said.

The injured cyclist’s identity and condition were not disclosed.

Both riders are members of the private Navy Cycling Club, which includes active-duty personnel, military retirees and civilians.

Whose convenience is in store for this business anyway? (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Whose convenience is in store for this business anyway? (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

5. Carrillo Street Gas Station Design Raises Concerns at Santa Barbara Planning Commission

Downtown Santa Barbara has a grand total of two gas stations.

One of them sports the requisite Santa Barbara style of white stucco and red-tile roof. It even has a balcony to add further charm to its otherwise industrial use.

But USA Gas at 340 W. Carrillo St. — just about the first thing you see when driving into downtown on that gateway entrance — looks more like the full-service station it once was: Basically nondescript, and heavy on the frosted glass panels, especially where the long-ago abandoned mechanics’ bays used to be.

The place recently was sold and the new ownership wants to complete the conversion of its interior into a full mini-mart, modifying the service bays with aluminum and glass windows, and adding landscaping outside. The idea is to make it look more inviting and obvious to potential customers, a concept that actually is considered mainstream in many parts of the country.

The proposal came before the Planning Commission and, wouldn’t you know it, one of the appointees appeared to question why the panel couldn’t require the business to conform to the city’s ​El Pueblo Viejo District design guidelines.

“This is an area of town that demands a better project than this will be,” commissioner Mike Jordan said, apparently in all seriousness. “The sense I am getting from this project is that it is all about resignation.

“Something is there in appearance right now and we are just going to make it better, and we are resigned to the fact that we can’t bring it up to our normal standards within (El Pueblo Viejo).”

Commissioner June Pujo disagreed. According to our Josh Molina, she noted that the gas station’s permit does not constitute a project and that it’s not starting from scratch.

“It would be difficult for me to require a complete remodel that would meet the standards of EPV,” she said.

“I just don’t think that ... allowing the internal tenant improvements for a mini-mart really gives us that kind of nexus to basically start over with the design of the gas station.”

Common sense prevailed, and the commission ended up approving the conditional-use permit on a 5-2 vote. Commissioner and former Mayor Sheila Lodge joined Jordan in dissent.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web ... and beyond: 4 Ways Elevators Will Get Totally Insane in 2016. This will leave you floored — and grateful that our local ups and downs are low profile.

                                                                 •        •        •

It hasn’t been a good week for local wildlife so how about some happy news: A freshly hatched — as in minutes old — snowy plover chick, born May 20 at UC Santa Barbara’s Coal Oil Point Reserve. HT to my friend, Mo McFadden of Hack & Flack Ink, AKA McFadden & McFadden P.R.

(Maureen McFadden video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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


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Santa Barbara Garage, Home Damaged by Fire Overnight

By | Published on 05/22/2015


No injuries reported in blaze in 300 block of La Marina Drive

A garage on the Mesa was severely damaged by fire early Friday, but Santa Barbara city firefighters were able to prevent the flames from reaching a nearby residence.

Three engine companies and a truck crew were dispatched shortly before 1:30 a.m. to the 300 block of La Marina Drive, where they found smoke and flames pouring from a single-car garage, said fire Battalion Chief Mike de Ponce.

"Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the fire, and kept the fire’s spread from getting into the residence," de Ponce said.

The home's sole occupant and his cat were safely evacuated by a city firefighter who lives nearby, de Ponce said.

"In addition to the damage in the garage, there was heavy smoke damage to the inside of the single-family home," de Ponce said.

The blaze, which caused an estimated $20,000 damage, was found to be accidental, de Ponce said.

No injuries were reported, and de Ponce reminded the public to make sure all smoke detectors in their homes and businesses are in working order.

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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Pipeline Company Responsible for Refugio Oil Spill Has Spotty Safety Record, Data Show

By | Published on 05/21/2015


Officials are investigating the rupture of a Plains All American pipeline that sent thousands of gallons of crude into the ocean off Santa Barbara County

The company that operates the pipeline that spilled thousands of gallons of crude oil onto the southern Santa Barbara County coastline this week has a spotty safety record, according to federal data.

Plains All American Pipeline LP has been in trouble in the past for corrosion of its pipelines, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which oversees regulation of the nation's 2.6 million miles of pipeline. 

Officials are still working to uncover the cause of Tuesday's spill near Refugio State Beach, which originated from a 24-inch Plains pipeline used to carry crude oil north from ExxonMobil’s Las Flores Canyon processing facility.

PHMSA records state that the company has reported 175 incidents in its pipelines since 2006.

The agency also reports that the company reported $23.8 million in property damage, according to those incidents, and that 16,404 barrels were spilled since 2006.

Those numbers do not account for one of the biggest settlements that Plains was a part of, when it was ordered to spend millions of dollars upgrading pipes and paying civil penalties after a federal lawsuit was filed.

In 2010, the company and several of its operating subsidiaries settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department, agreeing to spend about $41 million upgrading its pipelines across the United States.

That settlement was a response to the company's Clean Water Act violations for 10 crude oils spills in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas.  

The federal lawsuit maintained that the company's corroded pipes had caused 273,420 gallons of crude oil to leak into nearby wetlands, bayous and other water sources.

In addition to upgrading that pipeline, the company was also required to pay a $3.25 million civil penalty.

Plains safety and security director Patrick Hodgins said the company's incidents by percentage of pipeline are within industry norms, but "we must focus our efforts on goal zero." 

The company has more than doubled its safety staff and increased maintenance funding since 2008, he told reporters during a press conference on the Refugio oil spill response effort. 

The company operates 480 miles of pipeline in California, and had a high profile leak occur just last week.

On May 16, an oil spill reportedly sent a 40-foot geyser of crude oil from a Plains pumping station that leaked 10,000 gallons of crude oil into a Los Angeles neighborhood.

Plains Officials stated that they believed the cause of the spill to be due to a faulty valve.

Santa Barbara County Planning and Development’s energy division handles the permitting and oversight for oil and gas projects in the county, including the ruptured Plains pipeline.

All pipeline regulators are required to have a computer system to alert operators about changes in pressure, temperature, etc. called SCADA, supervisory control and data acquisition, energy division director Kevin Drude said.

Santa Barbara County “goes above and beyond” and requires applicants to have automatic shutdown as part of their SCADA system, but Plains doesn’t have one, Drude said.

His office is still waiting on a report to see why Plains doesn’t have an automatic shutdown in place, and instead relies on operators to respond to alerts and do manual shutdowns in the pipelines.

The county has “every other authority except what’s in the pipeline” to oversee Plains operations, due to limitations imposed in a past court settlement, he said.

Plains has an operating permit from the county and has been in compliance, Drude said. That includes the company’s mitigation monitoring program, erosion control plans and emergency plans like the oil spill response plan.

County energy division staff are on scene taking pictures and doing follow-up permit work, following the issuance of emergency permits so clean-up work could begin immediately. Plains has to apply and pay for all of the permits they would have needed to do work in the coastal zone. 

The pipeline that ruptured is used by ExxonMobil and Venoco, Inc. for transporting oil north from offshore oil platform operations in Santa Barbara County.

Venoco shut down Platform Holly on Wednesday since the company has limited storage at its Ellwood Onshore Facility in Goleta, operations manager Larry Huskins said.

“They are the main conduit for going north for us and Exxon,” he said.

ExxonMobil uses the pipeline to transport crude oil north from Las Flores Canyon facilities, which process oil and gas from Platform Hondo, Platform Harmony and Platform Heritage. 

Plains spokesman Darren Palmer said that the Las Flores Canyon-to-Gaviota pump station pipe, built in 1987, had been inspected two weeks ago, but the results of that inspection aren't known.

Based on the flow rate and elevation of the pipe, Plains officials have estimated a maximum spill of 105,000 gallons. 

Pipeline operations director Rick McMichael said the pipeline had some pumping issues Tuesday morning and operators noticed a "pressure anomaly" in the pipeline in question, causing them to manually shut down the pipe at 11:30 a.m.

The company's control center received a call from Santa Barbara County Fire reporting an odor around 12:30 p.m. and the spill was verified by a Plains employee in person at 1:30 p.m., according to Plains. 

There is still no word on a possible cause of the spill, which started at the underground pipe about a quarter-mile from the water, and worked its way to the shoreline through a Caltrans culvert that runs under Highway 101 and the railroad tracks, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. 

In addition to the EPA investigators, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration stated earlier this week that four of its inspectors were at the scene of the incident and will investigate the cause of the crude oil pipeline release, the condition of the pipeline and any potential regulatory violations. 

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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Oil Spill Off County Coast Impacts Local Business, Tourism

By | Published on 05/21/2015


The oil has stopped leaking into the ocean off Santa Barbara County’s coastline, but it’s merely the beginning of efforts made by local business and tourism leaders to quell misinformation.

Since Tuesday’s spill, travelers have been calling into Santa Barbara hotels trying to cancel reservations, believing the oil slick that originated 20 miles north at Refugio State Beach was already upon the coastal city’s beaches.

It definitely is not, was the message Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Ken Oplinger wanted to get out Thursday.

That’s the point Visit Santa Barbara was trying to convey, too — until Thursday.

After the City of Goleta, about 10 miles west, declared a state of emergency in case the miles-long oil slick reaches its beaches, local leaders scrambled to develop new messaging headed into the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Santa Barbara County and the state also declared an emergency in response to the spill.

“This is a major natural catastrophe for the coastline north of us,” Oplinger told Noozhawk. “It’s really going to be a long-term issue for us. This is major news, and I don’t think we truly understand what this means.

“I think the issue now is, if all that is wrong, and we’re going to have oil on the beaches here, we have to figure out what that means.”

Right now, Santa Barbara and Goleta beaches remain open, while beaches and campgrounds up north at Refugio State Beach and El Capitan State Beach are closed until further notice.

Beyond that economic impact, commercial fishermen are also feeling the pinch from a ban on fishing and harvesting shellfish up to six miles into the ocean, west of Coal Oil Point.

The extent of financial impact is unknown, and there is not an accurate estimate of the amount of crude oil spilled.

Visit Santa Barbara is regularly updating its website with information, the latest of which lets visitors know regular beach-going and waterfront activities are happening, and all restaurants, hotels and businesses are still open.

Luckily — and ironically — the last cruise ship visit of the spring season was Tuesday, when the spill was first reported.

“The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management has estimated the cleanup may take three days,” the tourism organization wrote in an update.

In a statement Thursday, Visit Santa Barbara reiterated that its first concern is keeping visitors accurately informed.

“Second, we are engaging our industry partners to assess how we can support them through this crisis,” the statement said. “At this early stage we cannot determine the potential impacts on our tourism industry.

"We are in contact with Visit Santa Barbara board leadership and the local hospitality community to ensure that we communicate that Santa Barbara remains a safe and quality destination, including all of the beach areas not currently affected by the oil spill.

“Visit Santa Barbara is working closely with state partners, including Visit California, to communicate with international and targeted national travel trade media. We are reinforcing that the incident is contained, cleanup is in progress, and that Santa Barbara is open for business and largely unaffected outside of the immediate spill area.”

As a sort of silver lining, Oplinger said some hotels, including Hyatt Santa Barbara downtown, saw at least an initial up-tick in business as out-of-area cleanup crew members booked rooms.

“We’ve got to get the cleanup done first,” he said. “I’d like to understand more about what they mean about oil hitting the area of beaches near Goleta. The hope is that through the emergency operations center, we’re getting good information.”

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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Faced with Tragedy, Good Samaritans Stepped Up to Help During Isla Vista Rampage

By | Published on 05/21/2015


A year after the deadly tragedy, the heroic bystanders, the first responders and the families of the victims reflect on the selfless acts amid the horror

The evening of May 23, 2014, began as typical Friday nights often do, with a liquor store run for a college student in Isla Vista.

UC Santa Barbara student Max Potter jumped on his bike and headed out to pick up a six-pack to help celebrate the birthday of a roommate in his Beta chapter house, pedaling just four blocks before the evening took a sharp turn from typical.

After hearing what sounded like pops from fireworks in the unincorporated community adjacent to UCSB, Potter saw three girls with gunshot wounds lying on the ground in front of the Alpha Phi sorority house just before 9:30 p.m.

Two of them were moving.

Adrenaline kicked in. Potter bound off his bike to perform CPR on Katie Cooper, channeling training acquired for his student supervisor job at the Recreation Center.

The scene scared away some students, who ran into homes, but another passing student stabilized Cooper’s head. A second tended to Veronika Weiss, and a third tried to soothe Bianca DeKock, who was talking to her mother on her cell phone.

A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene, obtaining a description of the shooter’s vehicle from another student.

“I was only doing CPR for less than a minute before the second round of gunshots went out,” Potter told Noozhawk this week. “They were very loud.”

He didn’t realize the magnitude of what happened until he was safely huddled inside the Alpha Phi house, when a deputy came to the door and asked for two bed sheets to cover the bodies of Cooper and Weiss.

Potter, now 22, reluctantly shared the story of the night 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six UCSB students and injured 14 others before ending his own life with a gun used during the Isla Vista rampage.

What he did wasn’t special, Potter said, preferring to remember victims who, unfortunately, had been out during those 10 terror-filled minutes nearly a year ago.

His hesitance to bring attention to himself is characteristic of dozens of other civilians, who unexpectedly responded to that night with the helping, humble hands of Good Samaritans.

A report released by the Sheriff’s Department earlier this year details some of these acts, as well as heroics of responding deputies, outside officers and paramedics.

When a third victim, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, was shot as he entered the IV Deli, at least four people tried to revive him with CPR.

A pedestrian struck by Rodger’s vehicle near Embarcadero Del Norte was helped into Woodstock’s Pizza by two UCSB students.

A girl who was shot while riding her bike to a friend’s house was corralled into 7-Eleven, where workers hid student customers.

Having been shot at, students rushed into the nearest homes on Del Playa and Sabado Tarde, where young residents applied pressure to wounds and called police.

Friends tended to injured friends who were struck from behind while riding a bicycle or skateboard.

One skateboarder even followed Rodger’s BMW for a few blocks after he was hit before stopping when he came upon more run-down victims.

“At that time, keeping log, we had 12 different crime scenes,” said sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi, who manned the department’s phones and fielded dozens of 9-1-1 calls during the incident.

Michael-Martinez’s father called in trying to locate his son. Sorority sisters reported Cooper and Weiss missing.

Officers were just doing their jobs, Arnoldi said, playing down any heroics.

Everything was silent by the time Bob Weiss and his wife arrived, having sped up from Thousand Oaks to check on their daughter, Veronika, who wasn’t answering her phone. Six hours after the shooting began, they found out she was among the dead.

That night, deputies discovered the first victims were Rodger’s roommates and their friend — Weihan “David” Wang, Chen Hong and George Chen — who had multiple stab wounds.

Weiss couldn’t speak to first-responder efforts; he knew only the outpouring of support that followed.

“I know that the community responded in a big way post-May 23,” he said.

Community effort was how Potter also described the healing process, with candlelight vigils, hugs, flowers, written notes and donations.

“Everyone was impacted,” he said. “I think that really showed just how special those people were.”

As the senior environmental science and anthropology major prepares to graduate this year, he periodically pulls out a piece of that night he keeps in his wallet — a small section of yellow police tape.

“I think of them and I think about what it means to me; what I wish I would’ve done differently,” Potter said. “There’s a lot more to life than just school, drinking and money. You realize how many people you can impact when you’re no longer here. It’s a life-changing experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life.”

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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Wearable Blood-Alcohol Sensor Takes Top Honors in UCSB’s New Venture Competition

By | Published on 05/21/2015


Six teams of student entrepreneurs compete as finalists for cash prizes to fund their business ideas

Young entrepreneurs tried to impress judges with a cricket powder recipe, video-conferencing tool and more, but the students who created a wearable blood-alcohol sensor walked away with top honors Thursday at UC Santa Barbara’s New Venture Competition.

Six student teams involved in the university’s Technology Management Program — spanning all majors and college-education levels — competed as finalists in the yearlong contest that culminates with great business ideas, cash prizes and bragging rights in a program that has historically produced several successful startups.

Not to mention the fact that UCSB students got to present pitches in front of an audience of hundreds of potential investors, academics and promising mentors.

Milo ran away with the most money during the 16th annual event Thursday evening, taking home the grand prize and raking in $20,000 overall.

The team of Evan Strenk, Daniel Imberman, Bob Lansdorp and adviser/post-doctoral student Netzahvalcoyotl Arroyo won the heart of the audience and the panel of judges with a pitch for a Fitbit-type wristband that monitored alcohol consumption levels by detecting the amount the wearer sweats — and letting the individual set alerts to say when enough is enough.

“These products have the potential to save lives,” said Imberman, a master’s student in computer science. “There is a very wide potential for this product.”

Milo earned the $2,500 People’s Choice Prize from attendee voters and first place in the tech-driven category, tallying another $7,500.

A panel of expert judges asked students to defend their ideas, questioning them about revenue, operational costs and where certain device materials were made.

Because the finalists were more competitive than ever, TMP department director Bob York said, judges decided to dole out two second-place awards instead of any third places in each category: tech-driven and market pull.

New Venture
Insiight placed first in the market pull category. Pictured here are UCSB student team members Katie Koehler and Rush Patel. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Chemoguard Diagnostics was the second-biggest winner of the night, tying for a second place $3,500 tech-driven award and earning another $5,000 from the Elings Prize. Brett Cook, Alex Sercel, Dayton Horvath and Letitia Mueller spearheaded that business, which offered personalized toxicity screening of chemotherapy treatments.

The team of Ph.D. students Katie Koehler, Rush Patel and Mathieu Rodrigue came in third best overall — earning a $7,500 first-place award in the market pull category — as a software company that uses online eye-tracking to improve marketing. 

Chuckles could be heard from the crowd during the presentation from Slightly Nutty, a group that aimed to use a sustainable “cricket powder” as a protein and flour ingredient substitute.

After teammates offered judges a cricket protein bar and explained what makes a cricket organic — the insect consumes organic materials — they tied for second place in the market pull category, earning $3,500.

Slightly Nutty tied with Sesamo, which developed an app that connects a hotel key to a person’s smartphone.

Caugnate, a video conferencing tool designed for space-to-space collaboration, earned one of the tech-driven, second-place $3,500 awards.

For a complete list of student finalists, click here.

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


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Refugio Oil Spill Fuels Sustainable-Energy Rally with Renewed Calls for Ban on Fracking

By | Published on 05/21/2015


oil protest
Attendees of Thursday's sustainable-energy rally in Santa Barbara let their signs do the talking. Click here for more photos from the event. (Robert Bernstein photo)

The Gaviota Coast oil spill was cause for a noon press conference on the Santa Barbara Courthouse steps Thursday.

Speakers and organizations included Rebecca Claassen of Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, county Supervisor Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, Linda Krop of the Environmental Defense Center, Chumash elders, Matt Renner of the World Business Academy, the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Get Oil Out (GOO), and Marc McGinnes, who was here at the 1969 oil spill.

Supervisor Carbajal and Mayor Schneider both emphasized the need to transition to sustainable fossil-free energy — not only because of the local damage done by oil, but because of the global impacts such as climate change and international conflict.

Renner of the World Business Academy talked about plans for Community Choice Energy: Creating the energy we need locally through solar energy.

Claassen and Krop called on Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a moratorium on fracking and other extreme extraction methods that drive local oil extraction — both on and off shore. They noted that this spill was caused by an on-shore pipeline failure.

Claassen had been asked by a reporter if the Gaviota Coast deserves special protection. She said she grew up in Lompoc and Orcutt and those areas deserve just as much protection.

"No place is acceptable for an oil spill," she said.

Transitioning to sustainable energy was the common theme of every speech as well as many of the signs. The Chumash elders especially reminded us of the importance of planning many generations ahead. The transition will have to happen.

Sign holder Danielle explained that the cost of not transitioning is far more expensive: foreign wars, environmental destruction, global warming and oil industry subsidies.

After the event I rode my bike out to Coal Oil Point State Reserve and out several miles to remember what is at stake locally. As I paused a flock of pelicans flew over. The wind was blowing directly from Refugio toward Coal Oil Point.

Robert Bernstein is a local photographer and frequent Noozhawk contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Former Fugitive Sentenced to 41 Years in State Prison for Molestation of Five Girls

By | Published on 05/21/2015


A Santa Maria man called a child predator, a monster and a coward by his victims and their families was sentenced Thursday to 41 years in state prison for molesting five girls.

Clive Badi Decomarmond
Clive Badi Decomarmond

Clive Badi Decomarmond, 42, of Santa Maria heard his sentence in Santa Barbara County Superior Court following more than 90 minutes of statements from some of his victims, their mothers and a sister.

Sentencing came after months of delays as Decomarmond fled the state on the eve of his first trial, accepted a plea before his second trial could start, fired his attorney, tried to withdraw from the plea and, most recently, sought to remove the judge.

After the sentencing as Decomarmond was led from the courtroom, the victims’ families and supporters, including members of Bikers Against Child Abuse, applauded.

In the first of several victims' impact statements, the mom of Jane Doe No. 5, recalled hearing the defendant had raped and sodomized her niece for several years. She asked her own daughter whether Decomarmond did anything to her.

“She didn’t answer right away,” the mom said. “She didn’t have to. I could see it all over her face.”

It took months before the girl admitted that she, too, was a victim, even as her grades dropped, she suffered nightmares and became mean while hiding the dark secret, the mom said, adding that the acts completely devastated their lives.

“He had shown no signs of remorse at all,” she said. “He has acted like a coward.”

She noted the delays in the case further abused the victims.

“He just kept tormenting the girls even more,” she said. 

Jane Doe No. 5 noted the man acted like a father figure, buying her clothes and a dog before taking advantage of her. 

“Forty-one years in prison is not close to what this cowardly piece of crap deserves,” the girl said, adding she hopes he dies a painful death in prison. 

Another mom spoke saying she knows at least one of her daughters is a victim of Decomarmond and suspects others might be also.

A longtime friend, Decomarmond took advantage by using information about the girl’s previous abuse as a foster child. The girl’s grades fell, she began cutting and attempted suicide.

“I cannot believe the pain Clive has caused not only to my family but to everyone,” the second mom said.

Once close families have been torn apart.

“Best friends are not longer best friends,” she added.

And several of the victims’ impact statements referred to the inability to trust people anymore.

“The trust has been lost and broken,” the mom said.

Another mom of a victim listened to the court proceedings via telephone since she lives in Mississippi as a relative read her letter.

“He stole my daughter’s innocence,” she said.

Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens said it would be impossible to top the impact of the victims’ statements, but noted Decomarmond’s ongoing selfish manipulative behavior in addition to the devastation he caused five families. 

Due to a technicality involving Decomarmond’s plea agreement, the original 42-year sentence he agreed to actually was shortened by a year, Jebens said.

As the judge started to hand down the sentence, Decomarmond’s attorney, Steve Rice, said the defendant wanted to speak.

After talking to both attorneys and calling for a break, Judge John McGregor agreed to allow Decomarmond to speak but warned he needed to remain facing the front of the courtroom and would be limited in the scope of his comments.

“I’ve been called a lot of things in this court today,” Decomarmond said. “Mr. Jebens, I’m no coward. I requested to go to trial on the matters I’m accused.”

McGregor interrupted the defendant and told him to address the comments to the judge. 

“I know that I have done wrong in certain ways,” Decomarmond said, adding that whether he is or isn’t remorseful will be left to a higher power. 

The most recent delay in the case stemmed from Decomarmond’s motion to dismiss the judge and withdraw his plea. The defendant claimed McGregor had a conflict since as a private attorney years ago he represented Decomarmond’s former wife. 

Another judge ruled no conflict existed, McGregor said Thursday.

On the eve of his first trial, Decomarmond, who was out on bail, drove to Texas and boarded a boat he intended to use to flee to Mexico, the prosecutor said. He manipulated his court-ordered GPS-tracking equipment to avoid alerting Santa Maria authorities he had fled.

However, he became stranded on an island and was picked up by fishermen. His refusal to give his name made them suspicious so law enforcement was waiting when they returned to shore. 

Authorities suspected the defendant would attempt to flee the country since he immigrated from the Seychelles Islands, located in the Indian Ocean.

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


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BizHawk: Tesla Motors Rolls Out Mobile Store, with First Stop in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 05/21/2015


Mountain and Sea Dental hosts grand opening, Amy Dunphy joins the Ambrecht & Associates law firm and businessman establishes National Tamale Day

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

A temporary Tesla mobile store is opening in Santa Barbara on Friday, allowing the public to test drive one of its award-winning electric models for free.

For the first time ever, Tesla Motors is launching a retail experience featuring a pop-up store made from four shipping containers that will travel the country this summer — starting in Santa Barbara for a month beginning Friday.

Crews worked to quickly build the store Thursday in the parking lot at 32 W. Carrillo St. in Santa Barbara, across the street from Canary Hotel, where Tesla received permission from the city to spring up, company spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson told Noozhawk.

Anyone can test drive Tesla’s Model S all-electric sedan, which starts at $75,000 and gets anywhere from 230 to 270 miles per charge, she said.

“This is an important market for us,” Georgeson said, noting Santa Barbara drivers have already signed up to drive the tester before it heads next to the Hamptons.

People can also learn more about electric cars in general, she said, noting Tesla makes all its cars custom-to-order.

The mobile store comes to Santa Barbara just months before a permanent location opens at 400 Hitchcock Way. Tesla hopes to open that store this summer, Georgeson said.

Dental Office Hosts Grand Opening

A Mountain and Sea Dental location has opened at 2780 State St., Suite 6 in Santa Barbara.

The business, which recently hosted a grand opening, provides dentists for the whole family and serves locals living in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Goleta and the surrounding areas.

The practice is owned by Dr. Michael Carley & Associates at Santa

Dunphy Joins Law Firm

Amy Dunphy

Amy Dunphy has been hired to join the team of attorneys at Ambrecht & Associates as a senior associate, according to John Ambrecht, senior partner of the firm.

Most recently, Dunphy worked as an attorney in the Los Angeles office of a global law firm, focusing her practice on estate and gift tax planning, estate and trust administration, fiduciary litigation, charitable giving and tax-exempt organizations.

Dunphy, who is fluent in Spanish, graduated in the top 10 percent of her class from the University of Southern California Law School in 2009.

Officials Recognize National Tamale Day

The efforts of a local businessman to establish a National Tamale Day have paid off.

Santa Barbara Tamales To Go owner Richard Lambert, who launched an appeal to recognize the tasty food last year, was rewarded recently with an official notification in the mail from Chase's National Calendar of Events.

The organization accepted his request — and the signatures he gathered in support — and will ask people to celebrate National Tamale Day on March 23, beginning in 2016.

“Chase's Calendar of Events is the official book for special days, and they just accepted our application for their 2016 edition,” Lambert said. “We'd like to thank all those tamale fans who signed our online petition. March 23rd is now the day for people all across the country to officially enjoy eating tamales.”

Carpinteria Taps New CEO

Joyce Donaldson

After a nationwide search, a new president/CEO has been selected for the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Joyce Donaldson will take over the helm of the chamber June 1.

She takes over for Lynda Lang, who has held the position since 2007 and will retire at the end of May, making the transition seamless for both chamber and community members.

With more than 11 years of professional chamber leadership experience, the chamber said Donaldson has a history of enhancing operations, bolstering financial stability, increasing visibility and strengthening community and government relations.

She most recently served the last five years as president and CEO of the Indio Chamber of Commerce in Indio, and was executive director of the Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce in Romeo, Mich., for seven years before that.

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 County Partners in Education Honors Students at Awards Breakfast

By | Published on 05/21/2015


The program provides real-world experience through paid internships and job training, as well as matching volunteers with local classrooms

San Marcos High School senior Giani Roberts loves the Health Careers Academy because her teachers “bring in the real world as much as possible” by inviting speakers and setting up internships with local businesses.

The Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Partners in Education program coordinates paid internships and job training for students, in addition to matching up volunteers with local classrooms, and celebrated the internship program at Thursday’s Student Awards Breakfast.

Roberts, who received an award for health care and science, told the crowd about her experiences interning at MedCenter Inc. and learning she wanted to become a radiological technician after hearing one speak in her classroom.

Many students are intimidated by the idea of college and looking for jobs, and local businesses can get students confident for college and the field of their choice, she said.

“I have learned being the best you can be means pushing yourself because it’s the only way to find your strengths,” Roberts said.

Partners in Education has many supporters in the business and education communities, and several hundred people gathered to celebrate the students being honored for their work this year with awards in health care and science; business and finance; specialized technology and design; and education and nonprofit fields.

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


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Outdoors Q&A: Aggressive Deer Gone Rogue in Local Park

By | Published on 05/21/2015


Q: I had a weird thing happen the other day. I was walking with my dog in a local Monterey park when a doe deer came right up to us. My dog ran out after her and the next thing I knew I heard yelping and looked out to see the doe standing over my 60-pound dog, kicking it repeatedly. This cannot be normal! Typically, the deer run away from my dog when he chases them. There’s something wrong with this deer. Can you please come get this rogue deer so that it does not threaten other people in our neighborhood? (Spooked in Monterey)

A: While this situation may seem unusual, there is probably nothing wrong with this doe. You should be aware that this is fawning season and it sounds like this doe may have had a young fawn or fawns nearby that it was trying to protect. For California black-tailed deer, fawning season runs roughly April through July, and during this time the does can be very protective and will do all they can to defend their young against predators.

These deer may view domestic dogs as a threat even if the dog is being walked by the owner on a leash or even in the owner’s backyard. This doe may have viewed your dog as a potential predator and instinctively acted quickly and aggressively to drive it away from the area in order to protect her fawn(s) against this perceived threat. Does that have lost their fear of people may also act aggressively toward humans who wander too close to their fawns. This is a temporary situation and aggressions usually subside once the fawns become more mobile.

Does will hide their fawns in locations away from other does while they go out foraging. This ensures that the fawns imprint on their mothers and not on another doe. In urban or suburban areas, these fawning sites may quite often be in public parks or secluded backyards where plenty of plant life creates protective cover. Once the fawns become strong enough to travel and can keep up with their mother, the doe will lead them back to where she lives. In the interim, it is best for you and other dog owners this time of year to give any deer you encounter a wide berth and keep your dogs on a leash.

Guns on Boat While Fishing?

Q: We do not have a concealed carry permit but while camping we keep a loaded pistol in our camper for personal protection. We would prefer not to leave it in the camper while we are out on the boat fishing. Is it legal to carry an unloaded firearm (pistol) on a boat while fishing in the ocean? If so, does it have to be in plain sight or can it be kept in a glove box on the boat? (Lisa G., Granite Bay)

A: California Penal Code, section 25400 provides: A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when the person does any of the following:

» Carries concealed within any vehicle that is under the person’s control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

» Carries concealed upon the person any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

» Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which the person is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

However, the above section does not apply to, or affect, licensed hunters or fishermen carrying pistols, revolvers, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person while engaged in hunting or fishing, or transporting those firearms unloaded when going to or returning from the hunting or fishing expedition (California Penal Code, section 25640).

A summary of firearms laws is available online by clicking here and under Helpful Information on the right margin.

Out-of-State Hunter Safety Cert Valid Here?

Q: I recently moved to California from Michigan and am wondering if I will be required to take another hunter safety class to be able to hunt here? Also, during archery season, are you able to hunt from a tree stand or an elevated platform? (Noah S.)

A: California has no restrictions against using tree stands. And no, you will not need to take another hunter education course as long as you can show proof that you have passed a hunter education class in Michigan or can produce a valid hunting license issued to you within the last two years. If you cannot produce proof of a hunter ed class or a recent hunting license, you will need to complete another course to get your hunting license. Information regarding hunter education courses in your area is available online by clicking here.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Goleta Water District Board of Directors Approves 2015-16 Budget

By | Published on 05/21/2015


On Wednesday, the Goleta Water District Board of Directors approved the district's fiscal year 2015-16 budget following two special board meetings on the subject held May 13 and Wednesday.

The balanced budget includes forecasted revenue and expenditures for the upcoming year of $39.1 million. The district will invest $8.1 million in capital improvement projects during FY 2015-16, including $3.1 million on the district’s wells, which will supply the majority of the district’s water in the next year.

“As we enter another summer of critical drought, this budget provides necessary investments in the district’s wells to continue to supply adequate water for drinking, health and public safety,” board president Lauren Hanson said. “We have made our well program a priority to ensure reliable groundwater supplies. Even with drought conditions expected to significantly limit the availability of Lake Cachuma water in the coming year, we will be able to serve our Goleta Valley community.

“Our financial plan for the coming year focuses intensively on addressing the continuing impacts of the drought.”

Major drought-related expenditures include the increased costs of extracting groundwater, as well as the district’s portion of the Cachuma Operation & Maintenance Board pumping project that will facilitate continued water deliveries of available Cachuma and State Water to the South Coast. The district will continue several major conservation and rebate programs for agricultural, commercial and residential customers, as well as expand the current public outreach program on drought awareness.

The district expects to have $8.9 million in reserves as of June 30.

“The reserve the district has built over the last four years is critical for our ability to handle the costs of unexpected events and maintain service without interruption,” Hanson said. “As we increasingly rely on groundwater, the operational effort needed to maintain our wells and distribution system becomes more challenging. Our reserve gives us a necessary financial buffer that our Board feels is very important in this time of exceptionally difficult drought conditions."

The district provides water to a diverse population of approximately 87,000 in the Goleta Valley, including residential, commercial, agricultural, industrial and institutional customers. The district water supply portfolio includes the Goleta Groundwater Basin, connections with the State Water Project and Lake Cachuma, and a recycled water program. The district's system includes over 270 miles of pipelines, the Corona Del Mar Water Treatment Plant, storage reservoirs, pumping facilities, eight active groundwater wells and treatment facilities, as well as an array of valves, pumps, meters and other integral equipment. The total replacement value of the district water treatment and delivery assets is approximately $1 billion.

The FY 2015-16 budget is available on the district website by clicking here.

— Dave Matson is the assistant general manager for the Goleta Water District.


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Santa Barbara’s Transient Occupancy Tax Revenue Grows 3% in April

By | Published on 05/21/2015


The City of Santa Barbara received $1,505,556 in transient occupancy tax (TOT) for the month of April, a 3 percent increase over April 2014.

Through the first 10 months of the fiscal year, which ends in June, the city has collected more than $15.1 million in TOT revenues, 11.2 percent ahead of last year through the same period.

TOT remains ahead of initial estimates and is expected to exceed the current budget of $17,641,400.

Click here to view the transient occupancy tax table.

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


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David Sirota: Accident Confirms Clear Vulnerabilities in Amtrak’s Safety System

By | Published on 05/21/2015


In the public eye, the disaster on the rails last week in Philadelphia was not only tragic but also shocking. As a crowded Amtrak train approached a bend in the track, it was barreling along at more than 100 miles an hour — twice the mandated speed for that section. The resulting derailment killed eight people, highlighting grave deficiencies in Amtrak's safety system.

But while Amtrak officials may have been devastated, they could not have been surprised: The accident confirmed clear vulnerabilities in the safety system, shortcomings that the rail company's internal watchdog had been warning about for more than two years.

In a December 2012 report, Amtrak's inspector general wrote that "formidable" and "significant challenges" were delaying deployment of a safety system known as Positive Train Control, which identifies cars that are traveling at excessive speeds and automatically slows their progress. Four years earlier, Congress had required that Amtrak and other American rail companies add the technology to their operations, but only a fraction of the rail systems were by then covered. Had the PTC technology been in place in Philadelphia, federal regulators say, the derailment might well have been prevented.

The inspector general's 2012 report zeroed in on one missing element that was crucial to the broader deployment of the safety system: Amtrak had for years failed to acquire adequate rights to broadcast communications signals through the public airwaves. Without these so-called spectrum rights, Amtrak's trains could not communicate with the electronic brains of the safety system, preventing its use along key stretches of track.

This lack of spectrum had become the "most serious challenge" in the railroad's efforts to deploy the safety equipment more broadly, Amtrak's watchdog warned.

The failure to more quickly address this challenge seems like a story that the political world can oversimplify into a standard tale of cut-and-dry blame, featuring singular villains. But in this saga, many factors appear to have contributed to the disaster.

For one, there was a lack of adequate resources. Flush with profits, private freight companies had the cash to buy the spectrum they needed for their own PTC system. By contrast, Congress did not provide Amtrak with the same resources.

There was also a lack of political will. When public transportation officials begged Congress to pass a bill ordering the Federal Communications Commission to give the railroad unused spectrum for free rather than selling it to private telecommunications firms, lawmakers refused.

But some technology experts argue that Amtrak itself was also to blame for doggedly sticking to an outdated plan. They say that because communications technology has advanced so quickly, the railroad officials did not need to build a PTC system on exclusive spectrum — whose scarcity makes it difficult and expensive to obtain. Instead, they assert, new technologies would have allowed Amtrak to more quickly construct a system using shared spectrum, existing telecommunications infrastructure or even unlicensed frequencies that are used for things like in-home Wi-Fi.

"We have boatloads of fiber running alongside train tracks in the rights of way," said Harold Feld, a senior vice president of the think tank Public Knowledge. "If I were architecting this system, I could deploy it tomorrow using unlicensed spectrum." Amtrak's "obsession with exclusive licensing kills," he concluded.

How much each of these factors contributed to the catastrophe certainly can be debated. What is not debatable, however, is the existence of warning signs. The 2012 inspector general report proves they were there for all to see.

That, then, raises two pressing questions: Why were those warning signs not more urgently addressed? And will such warning signs be acted on in the future? America deserves answers.

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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Katrina Rogers: Oil Spill’s Lessons for Education System

By | Published on 05/21/2015


The oil spill that occurred 20 miles north of Santa Barbara on Tuesday raises once again the specter of an increasingly polluted world. With all of us so dependent on fossil fuels, there is no one to blame. Our economy is predicated on infinite growth: Growth requires energy.

Indeed, the history of modern society is the history of oil. The more we take from the planet, the more consequences there are. Sadly, these consequences are felt not just by human beings, but are borne by other species as well.

While we in Santa Barbara may bemoan our beautiful coastline sullied by oil once more, we need to remember that the Environmental Protection Agency records such spills every day all year long — from pipelines, trains, oil derricks, off-shore platforms and other industrial activities. It may be easy to shake our heads at the “oil companies,” yet that is too simple. The real issue is that we are having a failure of imagination to create the conditions for a post-fossil fuel society.

How can we intentionally restore our own imagination? One might look to the early days of American history, where a group of people decided to write down the essential principles for a new democracy. Over the centuries, the definition of democracy has changed and, for the most part, expanded.

The women’s movement, civil rights movement and the most recent extension of liberties to our LGBTQ brethren are good examples of this expansion. Our country’s founders were broadly educated. Many of them were educated in the sciences, history, economics, engineering and philosophy. They were adept at politics and knew how to use the written word to persuade others. As such, they had the ability to make connections across knowledge domains to solve the big, vexing questions of their day. They became good leaders.

In today’s world, we are educated in specialties. In fact, we sometimes brag about how specialized our knowledge has become. While this is a model that has served us well to get us where we are today, it will not serve us well in the future. The oil spill is a good example of where knowledge intersects: the ocean environment, the new technologies for mitigation, the way we communicate, the political and social frames we use. All of these elements swirl around events such as these — and the leaders of the future will need to be prepared to be complex thinkers, quick analysts of information, adroit at communication, and able to move swiftly in the face of uncertainty.

In thinking about what we leave our descendants, the single most important thing we can do is build an educational system that provides them a multi-disciplinary approach to the world. Only then will they have the flexible minds that can make connections across different areas of knowledge, and to give them the abilities and skills to do so. Only then can we address the fundamental weakness of our global economic system, which is ultimately unsustainable.

Infinite growth in a finite world is an impossibility.

— Katrina Rogers, Ph.D., is president of Fielding Graduate University.


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UCSB Again Places Among Top 10 in Leiden Ranking of 750 Major Universities Worldwide

By | Published on 05/21/2015


UC Santa Barbara has once again placed among the top 10 in Leiden University’s annual rankings of the 750 best major universities in the world, in terms of impact in the field of the sciences. UCSB took the No. 7 spot overall.

Compiled by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the ranking is based on data from the Web of Science bibliographic database produced by Thomson Reuters. It includes the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index and Arts & Humanities Citation Index.

The Leiden Ranking is a compilation of the top 750 universities worldwide with the largest publication output in the Web of Science database. Impact is determined by several indicators, including the average number of citations of the publications of a university, and the proportion of publications that belong in the top 10 percent most frequently cited. Based on 2010 to 2013 numbers in the Web of Science database, UCSB’s scientific publications — which include papers in the areas of life, biomedical, mathematics, engineering, computer, natural and social sciences and humanities — are cited an average of 11.66 times, and 20.3 percent of its scientific publications belong in the top 10 percent of most frequently cited publications.

Compared with the 2014 edition of the Leiden Ranking, the current edition offers the possibility to perform trend analyses. Bibliometric statistics are available not only for the period 2010-2013 but also for earlier periods. In addition, the 2015 edition provides new impact indicators based on counting publications that that belong in the top 1 percent or top 50 percent of their field.

According to the Centre for Science and Technology Studies, the Leiden Ranking “offers more advanced indicators of scientific impact and collaboration and uses a more transparent methodology.”

The ranking does not use data from reputational surveys, or data provided by the universities themselves, and employs bibliometric methods — quantitative analyses of patterns of publication — to analyze the impact of and collaboration by the top 750 universities in the field of the sciences. The Centre is a leading provider of science and technology indicators, and of performance and benchmark studies of scientific groups and institutes.

— Andrea Estrada represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


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Goleta Declares Emergency Amid Concerns Refugio Oil Spill Could Reach City Beaches

By | Published on 05/21/2015


Officials expand no-fishing ban from Gaviota to Coal Oil Point, and bring additional cleanup response crews and equipment to the site

Clean-up crews have filled dozens of bins with oil-soaked vegetation since Tuesday's spill at Refugio State Beach. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

The Refugio oil spill expanded farther Thursday, leading the City of Goleta to declare a state of emergency based on information that the impacts could hit city beaches. 

As of Thursday night, the spill hadn't reached the Goleta and Isla Vista areas and U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said it doesn't appear that the slicks will reach that far south from the source site near Refugio State Beach. 

No Goleta-area beach closures were in effect as of Thursday, but the city was advising people to avoid beach areas. 

The city has been working toward contingency planning since the oil spill was first reported Tuesday afternoon, and the declaration means the city can access and implement any necessary measures to respond, city officials said.

Santa Barbara County and the state also have declared an emergency in response to the oil spill.

[Scroll down to see Goleta's proclamation of a local emergency]

Since the spill was discovered at Refugio State Beach, the multi-agency response effort has grown to include 18 boats deploying booms to skim oil from the ocean surface, and more than 300 trained personnel doing hazardous-materials cleanup on the shoreline, authorities said Thursday. Another 300 responders are expected on Friday. 

The fishery closure near the spill site was expanded Thursday to a 23-by-7-mile area, from Canada de Alegeria on the western end (near Gaviota State Park) to Coal Oil Point on the eastern end, in Isla Vista. It impacts the shoreline and offshore areas up to six miles offshore, effective immediately, to ban taking finfish and shellfish, according to the state. 

The U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency are coordinating the incident response for the federal government, and multiple state and county agencies are involved in the effort, which is the first major use of Santa Barbara County’s Emergency Operations Center.

Workers scour the sand at El Capitan State Beach Thursday afternoon, cleaning up oil that spread east from the spill at Refugio State Beach. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

There was still no estimate on the amount of crude oil spilled onto the shoreline and into the ocean, but the company responsible, Plains All American Pipeline, has used 105,000 gallons as a worst-case scenario, with the majority of oil spilled on land.

Investigators from multiple agencies are looking into the cause of the spill and expect to soon excavate the piece of underground pipeline where the spill started, EPA federal on scene incident commander Michelle Rogow said. 

The Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response crews are working with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network to find and rescue wildlife, and six brown pelicans are already being stabilized in a local rehabilitation facility, according to Capt. Mark Crossland.

There have been reports of many dead kelp bass, lobster and other invertebrates washing up in the oil spill area, he said.

Authorities also reported rescuing a juvenile sea lion that was 35 percent covered in oil and was transferred to Sea World in San Diego for treatment. 

Any oiled wildlife should not be touched, but reported to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 877.823.6926.

Skimmers and shoreline clean-up teams have recovered more than 9,500 gallons of oil water mixture and additional booms — to collect oil from the water — will be put into use Friday, authorities said. 

All responding agencies are asking locals to go through official channels to volunteer and not go out onto the beaches, which are closed and considered hazardous-materials areas. Incident command for the spill has activated a hotline at 800.228.4544 for volunteers, which will be updated as opportunities become available.

Dozens of clean-up workers were working along the shoreline Thursday afternoon at El Capitan State Beach, removing oil from a spill that occurred on Tuesday. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Local nonprofits are directing people to check CalSpillWatch and California Volunteers for updates as well.

Refugio and El Capitan state beaches are closed, and the parking lots are being used to stage the cleanup efforts on the shoreline.

“We really don’t want to see anybody getting hurt with good intentions,” Crossland said.

There could be progress seen in the first week or two of cleanup, but it can take months to restore a site to its original condition after a crude oil spill, Williams said. 

She said some oil in the water will naturally dissipate and some will sink to the bottom over time, which is considered in the cleanup strategy.

Weather can be a challenge, as boat skimming had to be canceled Thursday night due to high winds and waves, she said. Time is always a big concern in a response, with the focus of getting people and equipment to the scene as fast as possible, she added. 

"You're just fighting the clock."

There will be lane closures on northbound Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach during clean-up operations, especially when crews are flushing out the Caltrans culvert, which oil traveled through between the burst pipe and the ocean. 

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.

Goleta Proclamation of Local Emergency - Oil Spill May 21, 2015 by Giana Magnoli


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Local FIRST Lego League Team Scores in Top 10, Receives Project Award at Championship

By | Published on 05/21/2015


A local FIRST Lego League team recently came back from the FLL North American Open Championship Robotics Tournament held at Legoland.

Seventy-six teams from all over the world, including South Korea and Turkey, spent three days competing for both the best Robot score and on their Project invention. They were very successful in both areas, scoring in the Top 10 for their Robot Performance and also winning the Project Award (Innovative Solution).

Their team, FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3, consists of one ninth-grader at Dos Pueblos High School (enrolled in the DPEA program), four eighth-graders at La Colina Junior High and two sixth-graders at Foothill Elementary School. They are the only Santa Barbara County team in this year’s North American Championship tournament.

This was the third time in four years that the team has been invited to this prestigious tournament, and it was a great way for them to end their involvement with FLL. They had also recently been invited to St. Louis to attend the FIRST World Festival for their Project in the Global Innovation Award competition, and was a semi-finalist in that competition out of 527 FLL entries.

“The great part of FLL and of this team is the high level of teamwork and participation from everyone,” coach Rip Chou said. “Everyone helped build and ran the robots in all the tournaments, and they all spent an enormous amount of time developing and producing the games for their project. They had to handcraft most of the pieces for the games, and certainly developed an appreciation for manufacturing and costing. The awards in these competitions are very competitive, and it was an honor for the team to have been recognized in both tournaments.”

FLL team
Chloe and Mia Chou watch their robot successfully perform a mission. (Avery Juan photo)

For their project as part of the FLL theme (World Class), the kids had to come up with an innovative solution to improve the way that someone can learn. The team decided to figure out an easier way for kids to learn chemistry, and ended up creating two brand new games “ChemBattle” and “Raiders of the Lost Elements.”

The kids made two production runs of their products and even sold them at a local Bennetts Education store. They sold out of their games, and are considering going into volume production of their products during the summer to sell the game online.

“We were able to present the games to several audiences in both competition, and we got a lot of great feedback and interest from many people for the chemistry games,” Chou said. “We are thinking about manufacturing and selling more during the summer as a fun summer project for the kids to learn more about business and entrepreneurship.

“We started an e-mail list to contact people in case they are interested in the games if we produce more. Those that are interested can contact the team through [email protected].”

The team also wanted to acknowledge several local companies that have helped the team tremendously over the years, including FLIR Systems, Raytheon and Pacific Design Technologies. They are also very appreciative of their amazing co-coach, Mack Fixler, and for all the supportive parents through all these seasons.

— Ri-Pen “Rip” Chou coaches FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3.


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UCSB Surfrider Battalion Cadets Receive Awards in Annual Ceremony

By | Published on 05/21/2015


On Friday, May 8, the UCSB ROTC Surfrider Battalion handed out awards in 30 categories to the most deserving cadets at the Mosher Alumni House on campus. Awards acknowledged the students’ characters, military and scholastic studies, leadership qualities, and their exceptional aptitude for military service along with ideals noteworthy of an Army officer.

Honoring one of the largest donors to the ROTC program, the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation presented the “Alex Newsom Outstanding Cadet Award.” Honor went to Cadet Gabriel Albertson, a senior who epitomizes leadership, military bearing, physical fitness and the Army values. This cadet holds the highest moral character and demonstrates the ability to lead under extreme stress.

The award, which comes with a $500 scholarship, is named for USCB Surfrider alumnus of 2005 Captain Alex Newsom, who was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry (3rd highest medal of valor) while serving in Afghanistan. His calm and focused actions saved many lives and turned the tide of battle and against a numerically superior enemy. Albertson received two more commendations, further cementing his high standards. Previous awardees were Cadets Raelyn Guzman, Eric Chu and Brooke Smith. The UCSB Surfrider Battalion is #1 in standing in California and holds sixth place in the nation.

Each of the men in the photo, when asked about the program had only high praise. John Blankenship, Co-Founder of the PCVF said, “We have been and will continue to be stalwart supporters of the ROTC Program. Our annual gift of $100,000 adds up to one million dollars now since we began funding ten years ago for the whole cadre — from individuals who are experiencing financial hardships, to help with underwriting the costs involved in getting cadets in the ROTC unit to events like the annual marathon, which honors the men who were in the Bataan Death March Memorial, among many other needs.”

In regard to this year’s awardee, John continued, “Gabriel has consistently proven himself to be a great asset to the program and his fellow cadets. He has the potential to set an incredible example of the leadership the ROTC program instills.”

“The level of achievement the ROTC cadets are recognized for by the diverse organizations presenting the awards always awes me,” said Jose Ramirez, who has been coming to the ROTC Awards for many years. As a member of the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), I am gratified to see that love of country is thriving, and as a board member of the PCVF, I am pleased to note our support on behalf of this outstanding ROTC unit is being utilized wisely.”

Surfrider Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Davis remarked on this class of 2015, “The UCSB Army ROTC Program continues to produce quality leaders for the future of America. No matter the generational concerns, these young men and women are willing to serve their nation for the greater good.”

Phil Conran, Board President for PCVF added, “Attending award ceremonies where we honor cadets who excel in the present day college environment always does me proud. Newsweek Magazine alleges 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction this country is headed. That may be so but, when I interface with the UCSB cadets, I see only a promising future. America will continue to be a great nation as long as we produce cadets with high standards of excellence like the ROTC program here.”

— Maureen McFadden is a publicist representing the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation.


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Pile Driving Operation as Part of Goleta Drainage Project to Begin June 4

By | Published on 05/21/2015


A pile driving operation as part of the Goleta Drainage Project will begin Thursday, June 4.

This pile driving operation will continue Monday through Friday for approximately a month period (June 4 through July 3) during the daytime hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Residents who live in the neighborhoods north of Calle Real can expect this work to be noisy. Residents are encouraged to prepare accordingly for this work.

This pile driving operation is part of the Goleta Drainage Project, which will improve the capacity of two large drainage culverts located along Las Vegas Creek and San Pedro Creek at Highway 101 near Fairview Avenue. Caltrans is the lead agency for this project, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District and support from the City of Goleta.

This project is expected to be completed in early 2016.

All local businesses in the Fairview Shopping Center remain open for business during the project.

Click here for traffic updates on other state highway projects in Santa Barbara County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.568.0858 or visit the District 5 website by clicking here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans District 5.


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Ken Williams: Memorial Day — Hero on Front Lines to Homeless on Homefront

By | Published on 05/21/2015


A veteran no more.
Too many claimed
Stolen honor insured.
Sits abandoned
cold concrete his home.

War memories
best shared alone.
Indifferent citizens
battles fought by others.

Came home
separated from others,
to become
an animal on display.

A land, a war
Forsaken by god.
Veterans abandoned to fate:
to die alone,
PTSD-infused nightmares
waiting for Agent Orange’s fate.

In truth,
misty-white came Death’s agent,
Orange another lie.
Spit from warbirds, wingtip to wingtip
Death’s foggy breath trailing
scarlet rays prism, setting sun.

Disability approved for designer diseases
except for the ones that kill.
The VA’s bureaucratic demands
overlooking cemeteries of accusers.

Wrapped in red, white, blue
came black body bags.
home sent shinny coffins,
tears welcoming.
Color red flowed our blood
cancer inherited to our blood.

“We had to destroy the village,”
the Captain informed,
“In order to save it.”

We had to destroy the Army
the Corps
they told us
In order to save us.
Kill the Marine
in order to save him.

Lies built upon sands of lies
in time becoming sand dunes of lies,
Fodder for chickenhawks
demeaning slogans for warhawks.

Came home to be dishonored
a citizenry weary of war,
shamed by those who fought.
Forgotten by the VA
simply a number.
Dishonored by an immoral war
War ever moral?
tore at veterans’ souls.

In the land forsaken by God
till the name Vietnam ‘came a curse.
Chickenhawks shamelessly use
yet they themselves forsake the angry bullets.
Veterans as cannon fodder
as long as they are the “Other.”

The next Great adventure
purchased by amnesia.
C.O.D. down the time.
Children blinded by John Wayne
come home to pay dues
past due.

Con Thien,
“Hill of Angels,” the French called it.
Death wholesale
Marines inherited.

Now …
angels with tin cups
suffer the hell of abandonment,
wound that hurts the most.
Honor the veteran?
then honor their memories
And by all means,
Let chickenhawks come home to roost.

So the veteran sits
beggar’s cup extended.
Weary citizens walk by
not knowing the truth.
They despise.

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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Eight Local Teachers Present at 2015 Showcase of Innovation

By | Published on 05/21/2015


“I have eight programmers who work for me,” a smiling Jim Hurley said as he talked with the assembled students. “Four women and four men. And let me tell you,” he concluded, his voice brimming with excitement, “it is obvious from the energy and enthusiasm they bring to work every day that they love what they do. So keep at it. Keep learning, keep improving and keep doing great work!”

Jim Hurley, left, CEO of Santa Barbara-based education company Lesson Planet; and Matt Zuchowicz, director of educational technology services for the Santa Barbara County Education Office. (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

Hurley, CEO of Santa Barbara-based education company Lesson Planet, wasn’t speaking to an upper-level computer science class at UCSB. He was addressing the attentive, bright-eyed third grade students of Heather Cash, a teacher at Brandon Elementary in the Goleta Union School District.

Cash was one of eight Santa Barbara County teachers who, with several of their students, gave engaging presentations at the 2015 Showcase of Innovative Learning, held at the Santa Barbara County Education Office Auditorium on May 6. Hurley’s Lesson Planet was one of the leading local technology company sponsors of the event. He, along with Matt Zuchowicz, Director of Education Technology Services for the Santa Barbara County Education Office, visited several of the schools that had participated in the Showcase to applaud the efforts of those students and teachers.

“At this point it is almost passé to say that technology is revolutionizing the education experience for school kids,” Zuchowicz says. “But the fact is, it’s true. And it’s especially gratifying when I get to connect local technology companies who are doing amazing things in the private sector with schools and teachers and students who are eager to push the “technology envelope” in the classrooms.”

“It’s fun to watch that dynamic unfold,” Zuchowicz continues. “You really do get the sense that it is a mutually beneficial experience, for both the corporations and the students and educators. They feed off each other’s energy.”

That energy was clearly present when Hurley and Zuchowicz visited Russ Granger’s auto shop class at San Marcos High School.

“Auto shop in high school for me was oil changes, mounting and balancing tires, and an occasional tune-up,” Granger says. “Auto shop for my students is using programs like SolidWorks and SketchUp to create 3D CAD designs for their Electric Motorcycle Project. They blog about their experiences in electric vehicle forums. They use Photoshop and Illustrator to design the graphics and logos. My students are constantly thinking critically and using technology to problem solve in a transportation-based environment.”

Clearly, this is not your father’s shop class. But Cash’s classroom could be your younger sibling’s or your child’s. Hurley, taking his smart phone from his pocket, reminded Cash’s third graders of the rapidly evolving state of technology. “This really is a super computer,” he marveled. “And by the time you guys are fifth graders, the technology inside these things will be twice as fast, twice as powerful.” Cash’s students, who use Google Sites to archive and curate the year’s accomplishments, as well as all those other students and teachers in Santa Barbara County making innovative use of technology, are, to use Cash’s term, “true digital natives.”

In addition to Granger and Cash, special thanks go to the following Santa Barbara County teachers who, with their students, gave presentations at the Showcase: Brian Malcheski (Open Alternative School, Santa Barbara Unified School District); Candice Grossi (Fillmore Elementary, Lompoc Unified School District); Paul Muhl (Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara Unified School District); Chris Hanna (Ellwood School, Goleta Union School District); Sara Metz Outland (Miller Elementary, Santa Maria-Bonita School District); and Sharon Ybarra (Taylor Elementary, Santa Maria-Bonita School District).

To learn more about the Innovation Showcase or about ways in which Santa Barbara County Schools are incorporating developing technology in their learning environments, contact Matt Zuchowicz at 805.964.4710 x5247.

— Kris Bergstom is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.


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Vitamin Angels Increases Support to Nepal Following Second Earthquake

By | Published on 05/21/2015


Vitamin Angels — a tax-exempt, nonprofit charity that provides life-changing vitamins that offset the effects of undernutrition to women and children around the world — has once again responded to requests from partner NGOs in Nepal following the occurrence of a second 7.0-plus earthquake in the region.

Thanks to a substantial program base in India, where much of the relief efforts are being staged, Vitamin Angels was able to quickly organize a shipment of inventory to provide an additional 2 million doses of vitamin A and albendazole to Unicef Nepal, which is working alongside the government of Nepal to provide relief to those affected by the natural disaster. Vitamin Angels is also working closely to support partner organizations such as AmeriCares India and Doctors for You as they assist in the relief efforts.

“Vitamin Angels’ assistance in this unusual circumstance will assist authorities in Nepal to quickly fill the need for an emergency nutrition response that may avert further illness and deaths among those already devastated by the earthquakes,” said Howard Schiffer, president and founder of Vitamin Angels.

This new grant supplements the previously reported increased and expedited support Vitamin Angels is providing to it partners in Nepal. Vitamin Angels’s direct assistance to Nepal and to our Indian partners working in Nepal is provided in complement to the already outstanding efforts of the Nepalese community to respond to the devastating earthquakes in their country.

Vitamin Angels is gratefully accepting donations which will support its efforts in Nepal (and around the world) and suggests parties interested in supporting the Nepalese relief effort consider directly contributing to its NGO partners: Global Nutrition Empowerment, Project for a Village and Citta, which supports our partner, Aatiyma.

Vitamin Angels helps at-risk populations in need — specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five — gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals. Vitamin Angels works to reach underserved communities in partnership with over 700 NGOs in almost every U.S. state and more than 50 countries around the world. Vitamin Angels has received seven consecutive four-star ratings from Charity Navigator for Financial Health, Accountability and Transparency. To learn more, visit

— Natalie Hernandez is the media coordinator for Vitamin Angels.


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Allan Hancock College Bids Farewell to Nine Retirees, Names Counseling the Department of the Year

By | Published on 05/21/2015


To say a lot has changed since David Senior started as a part-time fire academy instructor at Allan Hancock College in 1977 would be an understatement. The college’s interim associate dean of public safety spent his first 36 years with the academy when it was located on South Campus. The last two years were spent at the college’s state-of-the-art, $38 million Public Safety Training Complex that opened at the Lompoc Valley Center on 68 acres.

“Hancock had one of the top fire training programs in the state despite the old facility, not because of it,” Senior said. “Now, we have one of the top programs in the state because of our staff, as well as because of our facility.”

Senior, once named Firefighter of the Year by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, started his career in the fire service 42 years ago. He recalled meeting with Hancock administration when he worked for Santa Barbara County to discuss a regional training center. Decades later, he developed and designed the complex that opened in December 2013.

“I am extremely proud of our complex that is second to none. The public safety department has an incredible staff, and tremendous support from the college to help the facility meet its potential,” he added.

Senior is retiring after 38 years with the college. He served on numerous regional and national boards and committees, including the International Public Safety Leadership Advisory Board and the California Fire Technology Directors Association. He said his proudest moments during his tenure were when his nephew and two sons graduated from the college’s fire academy.

He plans to spend his retirement exploring the country with his wife and spending more time with his family, which includes 10 grandchildren. He also plans to get back into building furniture and playing music.

Senior was honored along with eight other retirees during a college-wide retirement and recognition event Wednesday at the Santa Maria campus.

This year’s nine retirees have contributed 230 years of combined service to the college. The other retirees are Geraldine Valdiviezo, library/multimedia services technician, Library/Learning Resources Center, 14 years; Rebecca Alarcio, director, Public Affairs & Publications, 30 years; Elizabeth Miller, Vice President of Administrative Services, 23 years; the late Gerhard Johnson, custodian, Plant Services, 14 years; Donna Bishop, counselor, 30 years; Julie Kuras, instructor, health services, 27 years; Leslie Mosson, faculty librarian, Library/Learning Resources Center, 19 years; Domenico Maceri, professor, Languages and Communications, 35 years.

The retirees, like Bishop, said their time at Hancock flew by quickly.

“I loved the people I worked with at Hancock. We are all here for the same thing and that’s helping our students,” said Bishop, who started working at Hancock in 1985. “I love working with our students because they are so diverse with different backgrounds, ages and stories. Honestly, I learned something new from my students every day.”

Bishop plans to immerse herself in films and the arts, as well as travel and volunteer after retiring from Hancock.

Also honored at the reception were three faculty members who achieved tenure during the 2014-15 academic year: Alexandra Bell, Health Services; Yvon Frazier, Children’s Center, early childhood studies; and Robert Mabry, machining and manufacturing technology.

The reception included recognition of the college’s department of the year, and employees’ years of service. Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers, Ph.D., named Counseling the college’s department of the year. He also recognized the Early Registration Committee as the college’s project team of the year. The 27-member committee was honored for enhancing enrollment and enabling students to register for summer and fall terms several months earlier than in previous years.

— Stefanie Aye is a public affairs coordinator for Allan Hancock College.


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County Emergency Medical Services Accepts American Heart Association’s Lifeline EMS Gold Award

By | Published on 05/21/2015


In honor of National EMS Week, May 17-23, the Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services Agency would like to recognize our first responders: 9-1-1 dispatch centers, fire departments, ambulance companies, law enforcement, emergency departments, trauma centers and all other providers who work 24/7 to deliver vital and timely access to appropriate treatment for the people of our community.

In validation of Santa Barbara County’s commitment to excellence, the EMS Agency has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes those emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care (STEMI heart attacks are the deadliest) and improving the quality of life for these patients. Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold Award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years and treated at least eight STEMI patients for each year. Achieving this award shows that the county meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

“The Santa Barbara County EMS Agency would like to thank our EMS providers for helping us achieve recognition among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all cardiac patients,” says John Eaglesham, Santa Barbara EMS director. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical services.”

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.


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Women’s Economic Ventures Honors Trailblazers at ‘Empowerment Is Priceless’ Breakfast

By | Published on 05/21/2015


On May 13, 300 women and men ventured to the Fess Parker Resort to attend the nonprofit Women’s Economic Ventures’ annual event, Empowerment Is Priceless.

The breakfast fundraiser recognized WEV’s 2015 Trailblazer, Business of the Year and Volunteers of the Year. WEV clients also shared stories of their personal experience with WEV’s continuum of programs, and they also discussed where their businesses are today.

This year’s fundraiser featured a generous matching gift from Lynda Weinman, co-founder of the online-learning site As a result, WEV surpassed their fundraising goal — raising $270,000 to support local women-owned businesses.

“Women start businesses with roughly half as much money as men,” says Marsha Bailey, WEV’s founder and CEO. “Women often won’t apply for a business loan because they assume they’ll be turned down. At WEV, we build both skills and confidence to help women think bigger.”

WEV has made four million dollars in small business loans and plans to increase its lending to one million dollars per year within the next three years.

“Lynda Weinman is a great role model for women, not just because she’s been so successful, but because of the way she has succeeded and given back to our community. Her leadership and generosity has inspired others and will help WEV expand our economic impact,” Bailey says.

The Trailblazer Award is typically presented to a woman who is a pioneer in her industry, exemplifying courage, vision and the tenacity to overcome barriers. This year, WEV honored Renee Grubb, co-founder of Village Properties, for her excellence in business, her community involvement and her philanthropy.

Each year WEV also honors a business owner who represents the visionary clients the organization serves. The award is not necessarily for the biggest or the fastest-growing business, rather, WEV recognizes the unique and inspiring nature of a business and the contributions it and its owner make to the community.

The 2015 WEV Business of the Year award went to Alethea Tyner Paradis, owner of Friendship Tours World Travel, a business dedicated to meaningful travel in countries recovering from conflict. Through her business, Paradis inspires students to engage with vibrant cultures of nations healing from war and to gain an experiential education rich in the living history and modern culture of now-peaceful locales. She exemplifies the ingenuity and passion of WEV business owners.

WEV also honored two Volunteers of the Year for their commitment and service to WEV clients: Santa Barbara County Volunteer Sara Caputo, owner of Radiant Organizing, and Ventura County Volunteer Timothy Weaver of California Lutheran University.

Major sponsors of the 2015 Empowerment is Priceless event were Union Bank, Silsbury Wealth Advisors, Pacific Western Bank, Rabobank, , Fell, Marking, Abkin, Montgomery, Granet & Raney, LLP, and The Fess Parker Resort. All proceeds from the Empowerment is Priceless event will directly benefit client programs in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties including: Self-Employment Training (SET), SET to Launch, Thrive in Five, WEV Loan Program, and  Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co. LLP.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing Women's Economic Ventures


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Stephanie Sokolove, Liam Murphy Join CALM Board of Trustees

By | Published on 05/21/2015


CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) is proud to announce that Stephanie Sokolove and Liam Murphy have joined its Board of Trustees.

Stephanie Sokolove

Liam Murphy

As a successful businesswoman who also has been involved with CALM for several years, Sokolove will play an important role in supporting the organization to fulfill its mission to prevent and treat child abuse throughout Santa Barbara County.

She has served on the CALM at Heart event committees for the past three years. She has been a food service professional for over 25 years, and is the owner of several successful restaurants in Boston. Her flagship restaurant, Stephanie’s on Newbury, which she opened in 1994, is a 300-seat American Bistro, situated in the heart of Boston’s upscale Back Bay Area. It has received innumerable accolades from The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, USA Today and The New York Times. She has since also opened Stephi’s on Tremont and Stephi’s in Southie.

Sokolove graduated from Wheaton College and was trained by the world-renowned French chef and food educator, Madeleine Kamman, who identified her as a protégée early on.

Sokolove’s interests include cooking, golf and travel. She and her husband, Jim, moved from the Boston area to Montecito in 2010 with their teenage daughter, Madeleine, to join Sokolove's two adult daughters, Courtney and Lindsey, and their families.

As a leading commercial real estate broker, with a background in engineering and physics, Murphy brings an analytical mind and a vast network of connections to CALM and its mission to prevent, treat and assess child abuse in Santa Barbara County.

He is a commercial real estate broker at Hayes Commercial Group in Santa Barbara. He has completed more than 375 lease and sale transactions encompassing 760,000 square feet of space for his office, retail and industrial clients. Prior to joining Hayes Commercial Group, Murphy was vice president of Advisory Services and Leasing for The Stone Group Corporate Real Estate. For two years preceding his commercial real estate career, he proudly served as a youth pastor at Montecito Covenant Church.

Murphy has served on the Facilities Committee at CALM for several years. He is a recent graduate of the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Katherine Harvey Fellows, a program that teaches young leaders to more effectively engage in the philanthropic community of Santa Barbara County.

Murphy graduated cum laude from Westmont College with a degree in engineering/physics.

CALM was founded in 1970 to reach stressed parents before they hurt their children. CALM continues to be the only nonprofit agency in Santa Barbara County focusing solely on preventing, assessing, and treating child abuse and family violence through comprehensive, cutting-edge programs. CALM offers children, families and adults a safe, nonjudgmental, caring and strength-based environment to heal and increase family well-being.

For more information about all of CALM’s services, please call 805.965.2376 or click here.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing CALM.


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County Officials Address Health Concerns Related to Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/21/2015


Although there have been a few reports of people who experienced headaches or eye and throat irritation Tuesday, we are not aware of anyone who has required medical attention related to the oil spill near Refugio State Beach.

However, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department cautions residents that there are potential health impacts from the Refugio oil spill.

There are three immediate health risks related to exposure:

» Direct contact — Direct contact with oil can cause skin irritation.

» Inhalation — Breathing oil fumes can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lethargy, eye, nose and throat irritation and respiratory difficulties.

» Ingestion – Eating contaminated fish or seafood can cause illness.

The Health Department recommends all residents avoid contact with areas where the oil spill is present. Refugio State Beach remains closed and is considered a hazmat area and only personnel with hazmat credentials are authorized be on the beach.

A public health work group comprised of health experts, toxicologists and hazardous materials specialists has been established within the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is performing 24-hour ambient air testing. They will also be doing water and sediment testing during and after cleanup. Testing will detect substances harmful to human health and the environment and this data is being reviewed on a continuous basis by the public health work group. At this time there have been no levels of harmful substances detected that met threshold levels of concern.

Simply smelling an odor does not equate to health effects. Testing will continue through the initial clean-up phases until we are confident that there is no ongoing risk to public health.  


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Gaviota Coast Oil Spill Strengthens Resolve of Community Environmental Council

By | Published on 05/21/2015


The Community Environmental Council is, like much of our community, feeling both shock and outrage over Tuesday’s 21,000-gallon oil spill, caused when a Plains All American pipeline ruptured.

For our founders, this is the worst type of déjà vu, recalling the 1969 oil spill over 45 years ago that spurred CEC’s formation. Sadly, we were born out of a dirty energy crisis, and we have made it our mission to transition the Santa Barbara region away from fossil fuels.

Tuesday was both a step backward and a step forward in our fight to preserve the nature we love and protect the climate. The tragic oil spill off the Gaviota Coast — a unique bioregion that CEC fought successfully to protect in the 1970s — is a sharp reminder of all that still needs to be done to defend our precious coast. Both our founders and the next generation of activists who comprise our team have been hit hard by the images of destruction, and we are feeling this spill at a visceral level.

We are dedicated to preserving this particular coastline not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is a place we love. Our staff knows each beach not as a name on the map, but as a place where we surf, swim, walk and bird-watch. It is where we bring our children, the place that we call home.

On a practical level, we also know that this spill could not have happened in a worse place. Oil spills are devastating no matter where they occur, but Gaviota happens to be one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world. It is a pivotal bioregion between the cooler waters of the north and the warmer south, with a vibrant diversity of species not found elsewhere.

At the same time, Tuesday was a step forward. After months of advocating for stringent thresholds on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, CEC staff members emerged triumphant when the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to reduce 99.2 percent of GHG emissions for stationary sources. This decision will have far-reaching implications for county-wide policies, and is a huge step toward the goal of moving toward clean, renewable energy.

While we are moved to anger and sickness over this spill, we have a path forward. Multiple clean energy initiatives that have been in the works for months and years happen to have coalesced this month into opportunities for the public to engage. In May, you can take part in guiding the Bike Master Plan, comment on the county’s Energy and Climate Action Plan, and participate in a series of events on Community Choice Energy.

We encourage community members to channel their dismay over Tuesday’s gut-wrenching tragedy into positive action. As you hear the helicopters overhead racing to rescue our coastline, increase your involvement in decisions that will help move us away from fossil fuels. Together, we can ensure that this is the last oil spill in Santa Barbara; together we can create a post-oil world.

The Coast Guard/EPA on-scene coordinators have requested the public allow them space to respond to the oil spill cleanup with the proper tools, equipment and personnel. If you see an oiled animal, please do not touch or approach it. Instead, please report the animal(s) to the OWCN Response Hotline at 877.UCD.OWCN (823.6926) or the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Center at 805.681.1080.


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Assembly Appropriations Committee Hears Williams Bill on Underground Injection Control

By | Published on 05/21/2015


AB 356 by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, requiring groundwater monitoring plans for underground injection projects, was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. The bill was sent to the suspense file for further review.

This week, the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources admitted that even more oil and gas wells are injecting into aquifers that did not go through a proper aquifer exemption process; and identified 30 more oilfield injection sites as high-priority potential risks to nearby water wells. DOGGR is continuing to allow further wastewater injections in those wells until more testing is done.

“These events underscore the need to reform California’s Underground Injection Control Program (UIC),” Williams said. “Mistakes and lax oversight of this program have harmed aquifers that could have been used for a beneficial use.”

AB 356 will reform California’s UIC program to ensure thorough vetting of aquifers prior to exempting them, annual project reviews, and groundwater monitoring to protect California’s groundwater from potential contamination.

"AB 356 is urgently needed to protect groundwater in the midst of this extreme drought," said Andrew Grinberg of Clean Water Action. "This common sense bill would put drinking water first by ensuring that oil companies can no longer inject toxic chemicals into high quality aquifers, and by requiring monitoring of water quality threatened by oil and gas activities. After decades of mismanagement, the time to reform the UIC program is now."

The Assembly Appropriations Committee will decide which legislation will come off suspense and be sent to the Assembly floor next week.

— Lourdes Jimenez is the chief of staff for Assemblyman Das Williams.


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How to Help During the Refugio Oil Spill Cleanup

By | Published on 05/20/2015


Authorities are asking people to keep checking volunteer hotlines for opportunities to help, but stay away from the scene during the multi-agency response efforts

Santa Barbara County is known for its environmental activism, and residents are understandably eager to help with the cleanup of the Refugio State Beach oil spill.

But authorities keep stressing that, at least for now, they want people to leave the cleanup and wildlife rescue to the professionals.

The spill, caused by a ruptured Plains All American Pipeline 24-inch crude-oil pipeline on Tuesday, has coated the beach at Refugio and spread out to nine square miles of ocean.

The pipeline itself was shut off by 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, and investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency and Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are on scene to find the cause of the spill and stop additional oil from making its way to the beach.

Hundreds of responders arrived on scene Wednesday and more were expected Thursday, including more cleanup contractors from Clean Seas and Patriot Services, which are taking out boats to do booming and collect oil in the ocean.

Late Wednesday, Plains officials announced they got approval to do cleanup efforts around the clock, and will have hundreds of people in white hazardous materials suits doing shoreline cleanup Thursday, in addition to nighttime operations.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County on Wednesday, pledging state resources to help respond to the spill. 

Volunteers showed up at Refugio State Beach throughout the second day of oil spill response, some with buckets and shovels as they worked to remove oil from the sandy areas.

The concern is appreciated, authorities said, but they want well-intentioned volunteers to stay away from the areas closed off to the public.

“What we’re finding is people are coming to the beach, they want to help either with the clean-up or help locate wildlife that could be impacted, and while we appreciate their concern, they can actually hamper the clean-up effort and the investigation,” Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

The unified incident command decided to close the beach — which is considered a hazardous-materials area — and deputies were at the scene asking people to leave the area.

“We’re asking for the public’s cooperation to stay off the beach because we don’t want any of the hazardous materials to be spread around,” Hoover said.

Cleanup crews collect bags of oil and sand during the multi-agency spill response effort at Refugio State Beach on Wednesday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

If people interfere with the clean-up or investigation, they are subject to arrest, she added.

Incident command for the spill has set up a hotline at 800.228.4544 for volunteers, which will be updated as opportunities become available.

Local nonprofits are directing people to check CalSpillWatch and California Volunteers for updates as well.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Oil Spill Response and Prevention is adding additional response crews, and is working with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network to catch and care for wildlife affected by the spill, Capt. Mark Crossland said.

“Be a good witness,” DFW warden Santos Cabral said.

Members of the public are asked to call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 877.823.6926.

“We appreciate the public’s desire to volunteer and understand their concern,” OSPR said in a statement Wednesday.

The organization is not asking for volunteers in the oil spill response effort right now.

“Please do not pick up oiled wildlife; you can cause more harm than good,” the agency said.

The SB Wildlife Care Network will be stabilizing birds brought in by California Department of Fish & Wildlife staff, getting them warm before being transferred to another facility, said June Taylor of SBWCN.

Fish and Wildlife officials will then transfer the animals down to the International Bird Rescue organization in San Pedro, which responded to the BP oil spill and has the experience and facilities to take care of the animals, Taylor said.

“We’ve got it under control,” she added

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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Marian Regional Medical Center Reflects on Its History in Celebrating 75th Anniversary

By | Published on 05/20/2015


Several nuns from the religious order that founded the Santa Maria hospital attend the ceremony, which included recognition of employees with service awards

Seventy-five years after a group of nuns opened a hospital to serve the 8,000 residents of Santa Maria, the Marian Regional Medical Center Emergency Department treated approximately that many people last month.

That’s just one of many changes for the Santa Maria Valley’s only hospital, which marked its 75th anniversary with a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the Ferini-Ardantz Healing Garden on the campus. The event also included recognition of several employees.

“We are celebrating 75 years of fulfilling our promise to our community here at Marian Regional Medical Center to provide compassionate, quality health care to all,” said Kerin Mase, chief operating officer.

A group of Roman Catholic nuns started the hospital, and much like sisters celebrate milestones in their religious service, the hospital commemorated the important anniversary.

“This is, in effect, our shared jubilee,” said Kathleen Sullivan, a vice president of post acute care services.

Originally called Our Lady of Perpetual Help Hospital, the facility was started by the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Charity and opened on May 20, 1940. In its first year, Sisters Hospital, as it was dubbed by locals, treated 1,030 patients and delivered 106 babies.

Locally, the facility was dubbed Sisters Hospital and housed in a building on six acres of land on College Drive. The cost of that first hospital? A whopping $130,000, not including equipment or furnishings.

Several nuns from the religious order that founded the hospital attended Wednesday’s ceremony. 

Marian hospital
Kerin Mase, chief operating officer for Marian Regional Medical Center, welcomes visitors to the 75th anniversary ceremony Wednesday for the hospital. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The first administrator was Mother Noella Dieringer, one of two nuns who were instrumental in creating the valley’s health care today.

“She was a woman of quite of bit of authority and also ingenuity,” Sister Pius Fahlstrom said.

With early patients often paying for their care in vegetables and meat, cash flow became a problem for the new hospital. The sisters called in an accountant who diagnosed the facility as being bankrupt.

Using her strong voice, Mother Noella told the accountant, “This hospital is God’s work and God is never bankrupt,” Fahlstrom said Wednesday. “She firmly believed in the motto that God would provide.”

A growing community soon forced the sisters to seek land for a bigger hospital, a project led by Sister Marilyn Ingram., a former nurse turned administrator.

Thanks to a 10-acre donation of land from Capt. G. Allan Hancock and his wife, Marian Mullin Hancock, the hospital found a new home on East Church Street. 

More than 40 years later, another new building, this one near the previous structure, opened as the name of the 191-bed hospital became Marian Regional Medical Center, which is operated by Dignity Health.

“This celebration is a reminder of 75 years of love being committed to our community, 75 years of the sisters committing to the common good because love is their motivating factor,” said Matt Kronberg, spiritual care director. “And that commitment to love, that commitment to human kindness, continues today.”

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration, officials also recognized several employees with extraordinary service awards. 

The recipients were Heidi Summers, Mission Integration and Education, Sister Noella Leadership Award; Jenni Davis, oncology, Sister Marilyn Achievement Award; Anthony Taylor, environmental services, Franciscan Ecology Award; Sandy Underwood, community education, Franciscan Community Service Award; and Christine Sewell, emergency services, Values in Action Award.

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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SBPD Introduces Online Shoplift Theft Reporting for Retail Businesses

By | Published on 05/20/2015


The Santa Barbara Police Department has expanded its Citizens Online Police Reporting System to now include a specific link for retail businesses to make noncustodial shoplift theft reports.

Retailers that frequently report incidents of theft and those with loss prevention staff should find this dedicated reporting system time-saving and convenient.

Included in the system is the ability for retailers and their staff to transmit copies of their own in-house theft reports and suspect photos to SBPD.

Incidents involving suspects in custody should not be reported online and should still be handled in the traditional manner by contacting the SBPD Combined Communications Center by calling 9-1-1 or 805.882.8900; officer response is required.

The Citizens Online Police Reporting System can be accessed on the SBPD website by clicking here.

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


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Letter to the Editor: Invasion of America

By | Published on 05/20/2015


Our border and immigration laws are America's first line of defense against terrorism and criminals.

However, you would never know it by reading most newspapers, mainstream media news programs, listening to President Obama, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson or Attorney General Loretta Lynch. You would not learn this by listening to the mayors and governors (Jerry Brown) who have declared their cities and states to be "sanctuaries" for illegals and providing them with driver's licenses (Goleta).

Today, President Obama is leading the way for the invasion of America. According to Leo Hohmann (WND), Obama's plan is to change America by changing the people. Already he has allowed millions of illegals from Mexico and Central America to enter the United States, with a second wave slated for this summer. Even more frightening, millions of immigrants from the Middle East have come.

The FBI admits they have no idea who or what they are letting in. This covert, unscreened Muslim invasion originated in the U.N. with the State Departments as its accomplish. The goal of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, is to deculturalize European nations and the USA. Already, 190 American communities are impacted and in 10 years over 10,000 anti-American Somali refugees settled in Minnesota alone. In 2015, 4,425 Somalis have come.

Guterres is also responsible for sending 9,000 anti-American Syrians to Boise and Twin Falls. Most recently, the FBI said ISIS is in all 50 states and it has been reported that ISIS has a camp just eight miles south of our border.

It is time to protect America. There is a link between immigration and national security. We must close our borders, enforce our immigration laws and demand the president/politicians protect our country.

Diana Thorn


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San Marcos High School Class of 1985 to Gather for 30-Year Reunion

By | Published on 05/20/2015


The San Marcos High School Class of 1985 will gather Aug. 14-16 for a 30-year class reunion.

Activities will include a tour of the campus by some of the San Marcos students on Friday, Aug. 14 for all fellow alumni and family, followed by a golfing tournament and an adult dinner reception planned for Saturday, Aug. 15 at Endless Summer Rest. A family barbecue is planned for Sunday, Aug. 16.

For more information, click here to visit the event website, or click here for the Facebook page.

— Kris Ewing represents the San Marcos High School Class of 1985.


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Sen. Boxer Statement on Refugio Oil Spill

By | Published on 05/20/2015


U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer released the following statement Wednesday in response to the oil spill near Refugio State Beach:

“This oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast is tragic. This highlights the dangers posed by these pipelines and underscores why I have spent decades fighting against oil drilling off the California coast.

“I hope that by deploying all necessary resources to clean up this spill, we can prevent even greater harm to wildlife and our local communities.”

— Zachary Coile is the communications director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.


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Joe Armendariz: Refugio Oil Spill a Tragic Accident, But the Risks Are Still Worth the Rewards

By | Published on 05/20/2015


As the cadre of professional environmentalists continue commandeering local TV news cameras to announce the end of the world as we know it, due to an accidental leak of 21,000 gallons of oil from a pipeline along the Gaviota Coast, it’s worth keeping a few things in mind.

Joe Armendariz

However, let me be clear from the outset, one gallon of oil spilling onto our local beaches and into the Pacific Ocean is one gallon too many. So needless to say, 21,000 gallons finding its way to our beach and local marine environment is a fiasco — although, in my view, it is more of a political fiasco than an environmental one.

Eventually, the oil in the water and on the beach will be cleaned up with no traces to be seen or found. And this will likely happen within a matter of a few months, if not several weeks. The political impact, however, will likely last for a decade or more, as local environmental agitators work tirelessly to keep despair alive.

But as reasonable people know and understand, there are advantages and disadvantages with every human enterprise. There are some negative impacts from oil production, and this is and has always been true. Obviously the occasional, albeit rare, oil spill is one such negative. Perhaps greenhouse gas emissions is another. But there are positives also associated with America’s use of oil and gas as our primary energy source. And this is and has always been true as well.

Let’s consider some of these positive changes to our world as a result of fossil fuels courtesy of our friends at the Center for Industrial Progress.

Three hundred years ago, before the industrial revolution, families living in America breathed in smoke all day from the fires they had to burn in their furnaces and stoves. And because families in pre-industrial America didn’t have electricity to harness and transport clean water to homes, families were forced to drink water from local brooks they shared with animals. As a result, kids and the elderly were constantly getting sick and in far too many cases would even die. And consider also weather in the pre-industrial era. While weather in America hasn’t changed much over the past three centuries, how we live with it certainly has. Today we can simply turn a knob to make it cooler when it’s hot, or warmer when it’s cold. And what about disease? Children 300 years ago often died of diseases, such as malaria, which were spread by insects.

If someone from pre-industrial America were to travel in time to today and ask how it is we no longer get sick from our drinking water, or die from diseases spread by insects, or freeze to death in the winter, or die from heat exhaustion in the summer, or breathe in polluted air from indoor fires, the answer would be simple: energy. Particularly fossil fuels, including oil, coal and natural gas.

Because of fossil fuels, we can use machinery to efficiently transport resources, which then transforms lives. Abundant energy sources such as oil and gas allow us to power the technology that makes it possible to drain swamps, reclaim land, clear forests, build roads, and even construct steel and glass skyscrapers. Thanks to cheap, reliable energy from fossil fuels, we’ve irrigated deserts, developed fertilizers and pesticides, and we’ve even linked oceans all for the purpose of creating a safer, cleaner and more habitable world for mankind. And we did all, or most of it, using machinery running on cheap, plentiful and reliable energy from fossil fuels.

Has using that energy to accomplish these life-saving, world-improving changes carried with it some risks and other negative impacts? Absolutely. However, because of technology, which is constantly improving, we’ve gotten better and better at neutralizing those risks. The reality is if you want to live in an environment that is safe, healthy and clean, a highly industrialized nation is where you want to be.

Whereas pre-industrial Americans died from drinking water that was contaminated, we have clean water today thanks to manmade reservoirs, treatment plants, underground pipes and indoor plumbing. Whereas pre-industrial Americans had to walk in places that were contaminated with large quantities of human and animal waste, today we easily dispose of it thanks to sewer systems and the waste management industry. Whereas pre-industrial Americans had to endure large-scale death due to a severe freeze and/or extreme heat wave, today we enjoy comfortable climates year-round thanks to insulated homes, and modern high-energy heating and air conditioning.

Thanks to industrial agriculture and transportation, we have grocery stores that are stocked and full of clean, healthy food year-round. Thanks to modern transportation, we have unprecedented access to the rich cultural experiences and natural beauty the world has to offer. In addition to all of these wonderful benefits made possible by energy from fossil fuels, other benefits that today’s environment has to offer is reflected in life expectancy and population statistics. Today, the average person lives longer and in better health than before.

The facts are clear: Human ingenuity has resulted in a world with an abundant source of reliable energy that has made our lives better by an order of magnitude compared to previous generations. And yet, there’s no shortage of people who would rather blame us for our success, and guilt-trip us into feeling like we’ve somehow managed to do all of this by paying an unacceptable environmental price, or somehow caused irreversible damage to our globe. And that simply is not the case.

Armendariz chart

What happened on Tuesday on the Gaviota Coast is unfortunate. Indeed, it is always unfortunate when these sorts of accidents happen. But the emergency response process, which is a strategic partnership among the public, private and volunteer community, once again showed itself to be the envy of the world.

And again, no human-designed system will ever be perfect. Accidents happen, and this will always be so. When tragic accidents happen in other industries, there’s not this same rush to judgment. There are no calls to ban that industry from existence. In fact, let us consider some of the statistics that plague certain industries in America as measured by the number of annual fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. This data is for the year 2013 as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. See chart above.

As shown, tragic accidents are an unfortunate everyday part of life in many industries, and again, these fatalities occur on an annual basis. But who would suggest we ban logging, or fishing, or farming, or roofing, or trash collecting, or flying? These are simply the risks associated with bringing to market, and ultimately to the homes of America, essential products and services, not to mention life-changing opportunities that can dramatically improve the quality of our lives.

— Joe Armendariz is executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, and served eight years on the Carpinteria City Council and six years for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.


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Jim Hightower: Obama’s Ugly Show of Presidential Petulance

By | Published on 05/20/2015


When the going got tough, Barack got in a huff, and then he got gruff.

President Obama has worked himself into such a tizzy over the TPP that he's lashing out at his progressive friends in Congress. He's mad because they refuse to be stereotypical lemmings, following him over this political cliff called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It masquerades as a "free trade agreement," but such savvy and feisty progressive senators as Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have ripped off the mask, revealing that TPP is not free, not about trade and not anything that the American people would ever agree to.

It is a stealth power grab, written in top-secret negotiations by and for multinational corporations from the United States and 11 other nations. This raw deal effectively empowers these profiteering corporate giants to overrule actions by the governments of any of these countries — including ours — that protect consumers, workers, the environment and other interests from corporate abuse.

This gift to the Trans-Pacific Titans is going to expand the rules of trade deals of the past such as NAFTA, World Trade Organization and Korea FTA. A few examples of what we have to look forward to with this turd of a deal the president is trying to polish and force onto the American people are: more off-shoring of American jobs, which in turn leads to greater income inequality; higher costs for lifesaving and sustaining medicines; our environmental protections will be under threat of corporate attack; food and product safety regulations will be undermined; net neutrality will once again be challenged; Wall Street reform will be nothing but a memory; and say so long to Buy American initiatives.

Why an American president — especially a Democrat — would embrace this private usurpation of our people's sovereignty is a mystery, but the great majority of congressional Democrats are not going along. So he's been publicly scolding them (as though they're disobedient children), huffily whining that they're playing politics, "whupping on me" and making up "stuff" about how this deal allows corporations to challenge and even change American laws.

Yet, rather than offer any evidence that they're making up stuff, Obama gruffly made up stuff about them. By opposing the TPP, he prevaricated in a recent speech, the Democrats are anti-trade and want to "pull up the drawbridge and build a moat around ourselves."

The president is on such thin ice with this ponderous giveaway to global corporate giants that his appeals for support have turned desperate, including this recent claim that TPP "is the most progressive trade deal in history."

Wow, that's a low bar! Does he mean more progressive than the thoroughly regressive NAFTA? Or maybe he's comparing TPP to King George III's East India Trading Company, which was such a bully that it sparked the American Revolution.

Indeed, Obama is doing some bullying of his own. He's pushing the lie that such Democrats as Warren are lying when they point out that TPP would let foreign corporations sue the USA in corporate-run international tribunals to force our officials to weaken or kill laws that might pinch a corporation's profits. "There is no chance, zero chance" of that happening, the president barked.

But, as he knows, it already has happened!

In April, under another trade agreement, his own administration was directed by a WTO tribunal to change — and essentially gut — a U.S. food-labeling law that dramatically reduced the killing of dolphins by commercial tuna-fishing fleets. Responding to public outrage over the mass slaughtering of the mammals, our Congress passed an effective dolphin-free law. But some tuna operations in Mexico complained that using dolphin-free nets hurt their profits, and the WTO ordered our sovereign nation to surrender our law to the dolphin-killing Mexican profiteers.

And just this past Monday, the WTO ordered the USofA to change its country-of-origin labeling laws, effectively saying our consumers do not have a right to know where the meat they eat is coming from.

By claiming that "no trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws," Obama is either lying, or he doesn't know what's in his own agreement.

What a pathetic show of presidential petulance! It's time for Obama to question himself — not his friends.

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


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Group to Deliver Gun Industry Divestment Petition at UC Board of Regents Meeting

By | Published on 05/20/2015


At 8 a.m. Thursday, the Campaign to Unload in partnership with Generation Progress will deliver a gun industry divestment petition to the University of California Board of Regents during the public comment section of their regular meeting.

The petition was written after the 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista when Campaign to Unload and the UC Santa Barbara community came together to call for transparency of the University of California system’s $88 billion endowment and a ban on all future investments in the gun industry. So far 45,000 signatures have been collected.

Bob Weiss, father of Isla Vista shooting victim, Veronika Weiss, Bay Area gun violence prevention activists and UCSB students, alumni, and staff will also join the petition delivery. With the one-year anniversary of the Isla Vista tragedy approaching and a second shooting at Isla Vista occurring earlier this month, the participants are eager to have their voices heard by the University’s Board of Regents.

In the lead up to the petition delivery, students from across the university have passed gun industry divestment campus resolutions and requested investment information from the UCSB’s Office of the President, but the University of California Board of Regents has yet to take action on divestment.

The distribution of the petition is particularly timely as the group is encouraged by Friday’s news that Cerberus Capital Management announced that investors will be allowed to divest from gun conglomerate Freedom Group — proof that successful divestment initiatives can be implemented.


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Bill Cirone: This Memorial Day, Consider These Fundamental Elements of Citizenship

By | Published on 05/20/2015


In one of the most powerful speeches in American history, Abraham Lincoln sought to pay tribute to those who “gave the last full measure of devotion” on the bloody battlefield of Gettysburg in early July 1863. As our country prepares to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in its wars and conflicts through the years, it is fitting that we consider some fundamental elements of citizenship that we as parents and educators hope to encourage in the developing minds of our children.

While each of the three elements discussed below have historically strong military associations, they are by no means exclusive to the profession of arms. Rather, I would argue that these ideas are every bit as important for a civilian populace to learn, internalize and demonstrate, too.

» Respect. While the U.S. military has a rich tradition of customs and courtesies, our understanding of respect is by no means limited to “Yes ma’am,” “No sir,” standing at attention and sharp salutes. Indeed, “respect” has a much wider application. The Golden Rule, generally defined as treating others as you would like to be treated, has its roots in antiquity, and is instilled in most youngsters in some of their earliest learning environments.

Yet, as I have noted in these pages before, at some point along the path to adulthood, that admonition to treat others with dignity and respect is often exchanged for rancor, partisanship and expressions of self-interest. I sincerely hope that this erosion in common decency and valuable dialogue is reversed. It is relatively easy to be respectful of those whose ideas and opinions accord with our own. The challenge, however, is to extend that same respect to those with whom we disagree. In order to recapture a discourse that is constructive and edifying to our society, we would do well to remember the importance of treating others with respect.

» Courage. The examples of courageousness in our country are simply too numerous to count. From the bold signatures that 56 Founders put on the Declaration of Independence, to Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on that crowded Montgomery bus, to the intrepid battlefield gallantry of Medal of Honor recipient and California native Clinton Romesha, American history is replete with instances of ordinary people undertaking extraordinary actions.

But acts of courageousness need not be so conspicuous as the three examples I provide above. Bravery can just as easily take the form of doing the right thing when no one is looking. Indeed, those moments that test our integrity, which many of us encounter every day, can be more imposing or challenging than the more obvious opportunities for a demonstration of courage. “Right” and “easy” do not often go hand-in-hand, but it is our personal and collective commitment to the former that will have positive, lasting impacts on our families, our schools and workplaces, and our communities.

» Sacrifice. On the last Monday of every May, our country pays tribute to those brave women and men who paid the highest price. But we should also be willing to accept a much broader understanding of sacrifice. In a recent conversation I had with Colonel Keith Balts, the current wing commander at Vandenberg, I learned one of the Air Force’s core values: “Service Before Self.” There are countless ways for us to demonstrate subordinating our own interests to a greater good. Perhaps it comes in the form of sacrificing our time and our talents by volunteering in our local community.

Sacrifice can also come in the form of charitable contributions. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, American donations to charities have increased by over 20 percent since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. One need only conduct a casual survey of any given day’s headlines to know that there are many societies less fortunate than ours. But the ways in which we can help ease the burdens of those in need are legion, too. There is nobility in sacrificing some of our abundance in an effort to improve the lives of others. And doing so invariably makes the world a better place.

“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here,” Lincoln said with characteristic modesty and understatement in his Gettysburg Address. “But it can never forget what they did here.” Our 16th president was correct: It is imperative that we remember.

In modern times, Memorial Day weekend is too often associated with mattress sales, new car deals and appliance closeouts. But this weekend I would encourage you to give consideration to the more substantive, lasting ideas of respect, courage and sacrifice. These ideas have long been — and must continue to be — essential to the growth and development of the extraordinary country in which we live.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools. The opinions expressed are his own.


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Catholic Church of the Beatitudes: The Man Who Rescued John McCain

By | Published on 05/20/2015


Last month’s column, in which Beatitudes community member Harriet Burke wrote of the unexpected grace and shared humanity of her conversation with three men on a park bench here in Santa Barbara, made me think of the many moments of grace and humanity I had chanced upon in Vietnam after the wars there, before relations were restored. One of these was a conversation with Mai Van On, who in 1967, in the midst of a heavy bombing raid, rescued pilot John McCain from the Hanoi lake into which he had been shot down — a rescue that called for courage and humanity in face of the cries for vengeance from some in the crowd of frightened people who gathered at the scene that day.

I was introduced to On by Chuck Searcy, a U.S. veteran who had returned to Vietnam to be part of the post-war reconciliation and reconstruction, and has spent the last two decades and a half working to mitigate the ongoing effects of unexploded ordnance and Agent Orange. More on Searcy’s work will appear in another column. He had been living in On’s neighborhood for some time by then, and had determined that among all the claims and counterclaims, On was indeed the principal rescuer.

Between the busy boulevard that cuts across that neighborhood and the lake where On rescued McCain stretch layers of close-packed houses and single rooms. To reach On’s room, we turned off the boulevard onto a foot path that led through an ornamental arch where an old woman sat selling small cups of tea and single cigarettes.

The path continued down a gentle slope through rows of two-story houses where Brazilian and Chinese TV soap operas could be heard through the open windows, passed through a short tunnel formed by the sideward extension of the upper floors of two parallel houses, then wound past a print shop and down into a patchwork of single rooms that housed whole families.

On’s room was two removed from the lake, and the last one made of bricks and concrete. It contained a wooden bed covered with a reed mat, pegs to hang clothes, and a picture calendar. Beyond his room, the path continues only a few feet farther, through his neighbor’s house of woven reeds, to the muddy shore of the small lake from which On rescued McCain.

Here is the story of that rescue, in the words of Mr. On:

“The day John McCain was shot down there were so many airplanes bombing, and the anti-aircraft artillery was falling like rain. I saw it all happen — the artillery streak, the explosion in the sky, the airplane falling, the white parachute. Saw him bobbing up and down — and then, how he didn’t come up again.

“I had come home for lunch just before the bombing began. I was sitting crouched outside the bomb shelter, ready to dive in if I had to. I knew it was dangerous, but I couldn’t resist watching.

“People hiding in the shelter kept shouting at me: ‘Don’t go!’ they said. ‘You’ll be bombed. Let him die,’ they said, ‘he deserves it.’ You have to understand how much death there was that day to understand their feelings.

“But I didn’t listen. There was a big bamboo pole lying beside the shelter — one we used for teaching kids to swim. I picked it up and pushed it ahead of me so I could swim very fast.

“I got to the spot where the parachute was floating, and then I clutched the pole under my armpit and pulled John McCain up by his parachute strings. He had a big head, very short hair, a red face. His eyes were closed. Then he opened his eyes and let out a long sound: 'Aaaaaaahhhh.' He said some things I couldn’t understand — English words. Thanking me, maybe.

“I remember many details: a big, fat hand, white and hairy; the black leather band of his watch, with its face on the wrist side; the dark hair on his chest.

“While I was holding him draped over the pole, a young neighbor swam out to help, and then there were many, bringing him to shore. We were in water just up to our knees, but the pilot couldn’t walk, so I took him under the arm.

“People began to throng around. Some rushed him and beat him. A local policeman gave him the hardest beating, twisted his arm behind his back. Bombs were everywhere, and people were very scared.

"'Stop it!' I told them. 'I have saved his life, now let him live.'

“A nurse bandaged his knee and hip, and splinted his arm with bamboo and torn sheeting. Then we waited for the authorities. The policeman was later fired for wrongdoing. Now he claims to be the rescuer. Many people make the same claim.

“I went back to work, and my fellow workers congratulated me.”

At the time, those who shot down an airplane were rewarded with a cow. Those who saved the pilot were also given a reward, but in the confusion of the bombing, no one was rewarded for McCain’s rescue.

“When McCain was in the sky,” On continues, “he was an enemy. But when he was drowning — I just knew that I had to save him, that’s all. Something instinctive, human. I didn’t understand the impulse then, but now, when I read about McCain’s work for reconciliation, I think maybe I understand.”

On had learned that McCain now returns to Vietnam from time to time, and hoped one day to shake his hand. He didn’t want money, he insisted, just a chance to shake hands.

“Money quickly disappears,” On observes, “but affection endures. You see him, you tell him I asked about his family, OK? Tell him I’m an old man, ready to die, but I’d sure like to shake his hand before I do. You tell him, OK?”

Some time later On got his wish. Searcy arranged a meeting in which they did indeed shake hands, and McCain presented On with a medal.  

                                                                        •        •

What accounts for this humanity in the face of the terror of the exploding bombs and the vengeful anger of his neighbors? On muses on his own past, searching for clues.

“I myself was saved from drowning once,” he tells me. “I was 13. It was in the Day River, near my home. I couldn’t swim, and began gulping water. But a man saved me. I still burn incense to him, because he saved my life.

“After that — I was about 16 — I saw two women bathing in the river, clutching each other and going up and down, up and down. I waded in and grabbed their hair and pulled them out.

“Then again, after I went south, I rescued five school children whose boat had capsized in the river. By that time I was a good swimmer. I used a piece of banana tree floating by on the river to rescue them.

”I was born in a poor family in Ninh Binh. There were four children. My older brother died in 1950, in the war, and his body was lost. My elder sister is still alive, nearly blind. My younger sister still lives near home. So there were six of us to feed on just two sao of land (one sao equals 360 square meters). I was 12 when my mother died. Then my father died — died of sickness, died of poverty — and when I was 17 or 18, I went south.

“I worked as a ‘boy’ for Monsieur Casaire. I did the washing and managed his household supplies. He had a lot of gold, and he used to let me play with it. He loved me because I worked hard — wanted me to come to France, told me he would find me a French wife. I was handsome then. One day I told him I was going to visit my brother, and I never returned. I went to join the resistance. He couldn’t understand.

“In the army I was taught to be a commander. I shot soldiers, but not women or children. I didn’t take watches or personal possessions; when I saw someone killed, I would bury them.

“I was illiterate — couldn’t afford school. But after 1954 [the formal end of French colonial rule in Indochina], I began to study. I went to evening class every day after 7 p.m., and finally passed the fifth grade. I was still in the army, but by then I was kitchen manager — looked after meals for thousands of soldiers.

“I saw to it that there was no pilfering or lost food. Poor we were, but honest. I was rewarded by meeting Uncle Ho — twice. We shook hands and talked at the Presidential Palace. I was a ‘con chim dau dan’ — a model soldier, one who set the standard. I would have been promoted if I had had more education.”

So what prompts us to be decent, enables us to keep our humanity and honor the humanity in others, in the face of death, fear, anger and death? Mai Van On had been rescued himself, had rescued others, and had earned the respect of both the French and the communists for his upright honesty. Gratitude and the experiences and habits of a lifetime may be a partial explanation. But there is also mystery.

To borrow On’s words again: something instinctive, human, an impulse towards a reconciliation unimaginable at the time. A moment of grace.

Diane Fox is a member of the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes. Readers are welcome to join us for Mass on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, 2101 State St. Click here for more information, or call 805.252.4105. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Maria Valley Now Accepting Summer Memberships

By | Published on 05/20/2015


Every child deserves a great future. For every hour a child spends in school, they spend two hours out of school. The way a child spends those hours after school and during the summer can significantly influence the path they take later in life. Too many kids are not given the tools, opportunities, and encouragement needed to be ready for success.

Serving nearly 8,300 children annually, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Maria Valley is the valley's leading after-school and summer learning provider that is helping close the educational opportunity gap in our community. Through fun, life-changing academic success programs, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Maria Valley encourages kids to graduate from high school on time-ready for a post-secondary education and 21st century career. Through its fun and educational Summer Brain Gain Program, BGCSMV aims to prevent summer learning loss and keep kids on track for the coming school year.

Summer Brain Gain is comprised of six one-week modules for each grade level with themed activities for elementary school, middle school and high school students. Supported by Disney and Old Navy, each module takes a project-based learning approach; youth engage in a process of learning through discovery, creative expression, group work and a final project or production. Examples of these modules include "Bio Motion" and "Bug Off!" where club youth can explore how living things navigate their environments or examine the incredible amount of diversity in the insect world.

"We are committed to ensuring that Santa Maria's youth, especially those who need us most, graduate from high school on time with a plan for the future," said Jeremy Deming, chief professional officer of BGCSMV. "To fight the detrimental effect of summer learning loss, Summer Brain Gain offers fun, hands-on learning opportunities that keep the kids' minds active and engaged."

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Maria Valley is accepting enrollment for their summer programs. Both clubs in Santa Maria and Guadalupe will be running the Summer Brain Gain Program. The summer membership fee is only $60 per child and that includes lunches provided by the Community Action Commission.

The Santa Maria Club located at 901 N. Railroad. Summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from June 15 through Aug. 7. Call 805.922.7763.

The Guadalupe Club is located at 4691 11th St. The summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from June 15 through Aug. 13. Call 805.343.7813.

Boys & Girls Clubs summer members will also take part in other fun activities like photography classes, drama/performing arts, fine art lessons, sports, field trips and much more. Membership applications can be downloaded online by clicking here or contact either location today to learn more.


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Laguna Blanca School Honors Newest Cum Laude Society Members

By | Published on 05/20/2015


On April 23, students from Laguna Blanca Upper School filled Spaulding Auditorium for a ceremony to recognize their newest inductees into the Cum Laude Society, the renowned organization dedicated to honoring scholastic achievement in secondary schools.

Nine new members were inducted at the sixth annual Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony — seniors Rebecca Brooks, Katherine Carrillo-Castro, Elia Doussineau, Libby Hasse and Bryn Jewett, and juniors Armon Ghodoussi, Phoebe Madsen, Cameron Morello and Pierce O’Donnell.

Cum Laude Society membership is considered the highest scholastic achievement at independent schools nationwide, and Laguna Blanca is one of only 30 schools in the state of California authorized to admit new members. Chapters are permitted to admit no more than 20 percent of a graduating class, 10 percent of whom may be admitted at the conclusion of his or her junior year. Last year, seniors Justin Bollag, Miles Crist, Scott Johnston, Ethan Katnic and Stephen McCaffery were inducted into the Cum Laude Society as juniors.

1998 alumnus Jonathan Keith was the keynote speaker at the induction ceremony and expressed to the students the importance of being open to your passions — even if they change. He is an associate in his family’s asset management practice, Laguna Capital Management in Santa Barbara. He graduated from Laguna Blanca in 1998 and attended Cal Poly, where he received his B.Sc., magna cum laude, in aerospace engineering in 2003.

After founding an aerospace consulting firm on the Central Coast, Keith went back to school and received his MBA, with distinction, from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in 2011. As a Certified Financial Planner, his responsibilities include investment research and portfolio management for his family’s practice.

Laguna Blanca School is an Early K-12 co-educational, college preparatory day school. It guides students to greater heights by building upon its 80-year tradition of academic excellence with new and innovative teaching methods and programs. With the thriving experiential learning, LEGO, STEM, and global studies programs, competitive Condor League athletics and state-of-the-art athletic facilities, the school continues to broaden and enrich its students’ educational experience. For more information, please visit

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.


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Carbajal Releases Statement About Oil Spill Off Refugio Beach

By | Published on 05/20/2015


Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal released the following statement Wednesday regarding the oil spill in Santa Barbara.

"First responders are doing heroic work responding to this crisis by rapidly cleaning up our beaches and protecting our coastline from further damage.

"Right now, we need to focus our efforts on the cleanup, but this is a wake-up call for all of us. We must make decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels a top priority and start expanding green energy alternatives and protecting our environment by increasing safety standards with stricter oversight and increased inspections.”

— Cory Black represents the Salud Carbajal for Congress Campaign.


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