Santa Barbara-Goleta, Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weather: Fair 73.0º Logo

In Pushing for Passage of $288 Million Bond, SBCC Touts Long List of Facility Improvements

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Priorities include new classroom buildings and modernization of others, but critics of Measure S question the long-term cost to taxpayers

Santa Barbara City College wants local voters to approve $288 million in bonds to finance construction projects on its three campuses, and has a priority list ranging from library renovations to a $45 million sports pavilion.

SBCC President Lori Gaskin says she was “chagrined, dismayed and disappointed” by the physical condition of the campus when she took the job in 2012.

The college’s academic achievements, including the prestigious 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, aren’t matched by the infrastructure, she says.

The Measure S bond initiative, which requires a 55 percent majority vote for approval, includes general improvement plans and a few specific projects.

According to the Nov. 4 ballot language, the bond would “maintain access to a quality, affordable education for students, including local high school graduates and returning veterans” and “prepare students for careers and transfer to four-year universities” by upgrading facilities.

Bond money cannot be used for administrator salaries and spending will be subject to an oversight committee.

“In the absence of state matching funds, which the district will aggressively pursue to reduce the district’s share of the costs of the projects, the district will not be able to complete some of the projects listed above,” the proposition states.

While school bonds tend to enjoy broad support, Measure S opponents say they’re concerned about its potential costs, specific projects that would be funded, and the fact that SBCC draws a large number of students from outside the community.

The Projects

The list of proposed Measure S projects isn’t included in the ballot language but the SBCC Board of Trustees on May 8 approved a priority list. Those projects include the following:

» Campus Center replacement: $29.5 million

» East Campus classroom and office building (to replace portables): $34.7 million

» Administration/Occupational Education building modernization: $33.1 million

» Student Services building modernization: $15.7 million

» Wake Center replacement, change to “mixed-use campus” with credit and noncredit programs: $40 million

» Physical Science modernization of east wing and lecture hall: $6.8 million

» Marine Diving Technology building modernization and addition: $2.8 million

» Sports Pavilion replacement or modernization: $45.4 million

» Library modernization and addition: $16.5 million

» Building efficiency and energy generation projects: $10.3 million

» Schott Center modernization and addition: $17.4 million

» Site improvements: $10 million

» Aquatics Facility: $10.6 million

» Swing space as temporary space during construction projects (required): $25.5 million

Total: 283,246,919 in estimated costs

The project costs include estimates for planning, design, project management, furniture, equipment and any staff training expenses, according to the ballot measure.

The Need for Improvements

“I don’t believe in piecemealing facility improvements,” Gaskin told Noozhawk.

“I believe in letting the public — the electorate — know and understand what our full facility needs are, and that’s where the $288 million came from. It’s not pie in the sky; it’s an accurate assessment of what we need to modernize this very old set of campuses.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has made it clear he won’t support a statewide schools bond — the previous one was in 2006 — and many community college districts have been passing their own bonds in the meantime, some of them for more than $400 million, Gaskin said.

SBCC’s Measure V passed in 2008 with 70 percent approval, funding $77 million in renovation and repair projects.

The big-ticket items are the Humanities building modernization, at $14.6 million, and a West Campus classroom building to replace about 30 portable classrooms.

Like Measure V, this year’s bond would focus on modernizing and renovating buildings, not expanding to attract more students, Gaskin said.

SBCC’s Physical Science building is on the Board of Trustees’ priority list for improvements and would be modernized with bond funds if Measure S is approved by voters. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The older buildings are generally run down and have heating and cooling issues, uncomfortable furniture and outdated technology, said English professor Kimberly Monda, president of the Academic Senate.

“Some days it’s almost unlivable if the HVAC systems are not working,” she said.

Many professors need screens and white boards for lessons, she said, adding that funding from the bond would enable classrooms to be redesigned so both displays can work.

“It’s funny they just don’t exist, the lighting and the spacing,” Monda said. “It’s relatively minor but it really makes a difference in how you can present material.”

SBCC trustee Marsha Croninger said the board has been focused on future planning, which is why it commissioned an Educational Master Plan and Facilities Master Plan.

The campus’ buildings range from 40 to 80 years old and have had “exceptionally heavy use,” Croninger said.

A proposed East Campus classroom building would eliminate the last 19 portable buildings on the main campus. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk file photo)

“The priorities to me, it’s classrooms — replacing portables with classrooms and upgrading buildings so we can accommodate the technology that students need to know to get jobs today,” she said.

The Opposition  

School bonds and parcel tax measures generally do very well in Santa Barbara County. Since 2002, there have been 23 bond or parcel tax measures on the county’s ballots and 17 of them passed.

Bond initiatives are often unopposed — even the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association is among supporters of the SBCC bond — but Measure S has more vocal opponents.

Among those is community activist Ernie Salomon, who has hosted a local public-access TV show for 17 years. Salomon wrote ballot arguments against the bond and has been speaking at various meetings around town.  

He worked briefly with the No on S committee, which is handling the campaign, but recently quit to pursue the issue individually.

Salomon’s criticisms of the measure are threefold: the percentage of nonlocal students at SBCC, the nonacademic facilities funded by the proposed bonds, and the long-term financing costs of the bonds.

2013-2014 SBCC Enrollment Data

» Students from inside district boundaries (Carpinteria to Gaviota): 63 percent

» Students from San Luis Obispo or Ventura counties: 7 percent

» Students from California outside the tri-counties: 20 percent

» Students from out of state: 4 percent

» International students: 6 percent

Total enrollment: 30,687

Credit program students: 24,494 (80 percent)

Noncredit/continuing education students: 6,193 (20 percent)

Neighboring community college districts have higher rates of local students.

Allan Hancock College, with its main campus in Santa Maria, has enrollment of about 11,500 students per semester in the credit program and 5,500 in the Community Education program. More than 98 percent of its students are local, according to the college. Allan Hancock district voters passed a $180 million bond in 2006.

In the Ventura County Community College District, 82.7 percent of students live within Ventura County, 11.3 percent of students live in Los Angeles County and 6 percent are from other areas. The total fall enrollment is 30,679 in students on the district’s three campuses. The VCCCD voters passed a $356.3 million bond in 2002.

Anti-Measure S ballot arguments point to what they say are nonacademic projects built with Measure V money, such as La Playa Stadium track and field replacement, the new Luria Conference and Press Center at the stadium, landscaping improvements and a West Campus snack shop remodel.

Glen Freeman Mowrer, who also wrote ballot arguments against this year’s initiative, said previous bond funds were spent on items not mentioned in the ballot (such as the media center) and it could happen again.

Salomon also points to the money paid toward bond administration — $3.1 million for the $63.3 million in bonds issued so far — and swing space, the temporary space erected during construction projects.

SBCC is estimating $25.5 million in swing space from Measure S bond monies.

The Cost to Taxpayers

This $288 million bond is estimated to cost every property owner $16.65 per $100,000 of assessed value for the first fiscal year, 2015-2016.

The district estimates the rate will be the same after the last series of bonds is issued, in 2027-2028.

Property owners within the district, from Carpinteria to Gaviota, will contribute to the total Measure S debt service, which SBCC estimates at $456 million.

There’s no way to guarantee or estimate future tax rates, according to the county Auditor-Controller’s Office.

Tax rates are calculated by dividing the debt service requirement over the total amount of assessed valuation. A higher valuation would yield lower tax rates and, if the overall value drops or growth is lower than expected, the rates would increase.

Measure V tax rates have stayed at $8.50 per $100,000 for the first two bond issuances in 2008 and 2013. That accounts for a principal amount of $62 million and interest of $50.2 million, for a total debt service of $112.2 million so far.

SBCC hasn’t yet issued the last $15.2 million in Measure V bonds, which will fund the new West Campus classroom building.

Projections for Measure S have four bond sales, the last one in 2027, for a principal of $288 million and projected interest of $167.8 million.

Opponents are concerned the total cost of the bonds could be higher than expected.

Salomon says Measure S will be “inflationary to everybody” and claims supporters aren’t being realistic about the long-term costs to taxpayers since estimates are based on having the same tax rates for decades.

“This is not a vendetta about education,” he said. “We’re against mismanagement, and misspending of peoples’ money that’s getting harder to come by.”

“If people vote for this thing and know what they’re voting for, fine. If they know the consequences — the good, bad and the ugly — we believe they won’t want to.”

Supporters of the bond say these projects wouldn’t be possible without local bonds, since there’s no chance at statewide funding to pay for the necessary improvement projects.

Like a home mortgage, the bond will have immediate benefits and the community will slowly pay if off over time, said Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services for SBCC.

“We’ve been great stewards in terms of maintenance, but it degrades and ages over time,” Gaskin said. “Think about your home; the same thing happens here.”

Monda, who has taught at SBCC since 1995, pointed out the long-term effects of the deterioration.

“It’s amazing what you can get used to,” she said.

“You get used to it if you’re there, and we wanted to spend money on student services at the time of budget cuts, we thought that was more important than buildings,” she said. “But if you get to a certain point it starts to wear on the investment and looks like a lack of care.

“It makes such a difference when you go into the Humanities building now that has been remodeled; oh my goodness, this is such a beautiful facility! It makes the students feel the investment that we all have in their education.”

The Campaign

The bond measure has broad support from the local education community, including K-12 school districts whose graduates enroll at SBCC and whose high school students participate in the dual enrollment program.

Supportive ballot arguments are signed by Dave Cash, superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and SBCC trustees; community activist Lanny Ebenstein; Jean Blois, a former Goleta mayor and a member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association; Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria; and QAD Inc. president Pamela Lopker.

“City College is the primary option for local, affordable access to higher education,” supporters wrote in ballot arguments. “Nearly half of all local high school graduates rely on SBCC for higher education or career preparation and advancement. 2,000 local students in our high schools take SBCC credit courses every term.”

The initiative is being opposed by several individuals working on the No on S campaign and the Santa Barbara County Republican Party.

“A lot of people were concerned about the fact that so many students at City College are not from the Santa Barbara area at all,” local GOP chairman Gregory Gandrud said.

“People felt that local taxpayers should not be burdened with providing facilities for students who are not from this local area ...,” he said. “When property taxes go up, a lot of that is passed onto tenants, so it could actually make the cost of housing more expensive across the South Coast. ”That would impact all kinds of people.”

Gandrud said the GOP will be delivering literature to Republican voters and writing opinion pieces opposing the measure.

“A lot of people felt it was a very large blank check,” he said.

The Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County decided not to take a position on Measure S, according to party chairman Daraka Larimore-Hall.

“Being endorsed would have meant having that endorsement printed on election material and part of our calls and other voter outreach,” he said.

Both sides will be campaigning ahead of the Nov. 4 election. The No on S and Yes on S campaigns both already developed websites and have started fundraising.

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.

Measure S Arguments

Arguments for Measure S: Santa Barbara County Elections Office by Giana Magnoli

Full Text of Measure

Full Text of Measure S: Santa Barbara County Elections Office by Giana Magnoli

Debt Service

Debt Service on Measure V and Projections for Measure S Bonds by Giana Magnoli


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Prosecutor Cites ‘Plethora’ of Evidence Against Alleged Gang Leader in Lompoc Kidnapping-Torture

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Raymond Macias retrial reaches closing arguments in case involving drug dealer who failed to pay gang his taxes

The kidnapping of a Lompoc gang member delinquent in paying his drug taxes occurred with the full knowledge of “the big homie” in Santa Barbara, a prosecutor said Monday afternoon in the retrial of Raymond Daniel Macias.

In a Santa Maria courtroom, Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen began her closing argument in the retrial of Macias, who stands accused of the kidnapping for extortion of a drug dealer and gang member known as Sicko.

“Raymond Macias is a hard-core Sureños gang member,” Bramsen said. “Mr. Macias was head of the crew. As such, he set the rules and expectations for those who worked for him.”

Bramsen is set to finish her closing arguments Tuesday, and will be followed by defense attorney Michael Scott.

Macias, a member of the Eastside Krazies in Santa Barbara, oversaw drug tax collections in the county for the Sureños, an affiliate of the Mexican mafia, according to Bramsen.

“There is a plethora of evidence on his role in the organization and his role as chief of Santa Barbara County,” Bramsen said, citing calls recorded by law enforcement officers of gang members in and out of prison.

She told the jury that while not paying taxes to the government might result in fines in a normal society, the gang culture is different.

“In the gang society, the consequence is violence,” she said.

The Macias case stems from the assault of Sicko, who was behind in his payments and hiding out from those trying to collect the money. On Jan. 3, 2013, gang members took him to a Lompoc garage, where they beat him severely and broke his arm. At the request of prosecutors, Sicko’s identity is not being revealed.

Macias, also known as Boxer, arrived after the initial assault as the victim sat bound and gagged in the garage. Testimony during the trial noted the victim began shaking upon Macias’ arrival.

“That’s because he knows the one person deciding his fate that night is Mr. Macias,” Bramsen said. “He was scared to death.”

Sicko was freed once he agreed to pay back Macias and to later be “poked,” or stabbed, by a Lompoc gang member, she said.

Macias initially was charged with kidnapping for extortion, solicitation for extortion, torture and drug sales. In late June, however, a jury failed to reach a verdict on the first two charges, prompting Superior Court Judge Patricia Kelly to declare a mistrial for those counts.

His co-defendant in the first trial, Luis “Lucky” Almanza, was found guilty of kidnapping for extortion, torture plus special allegations for use of a firearm, gang involvement, and use of a deadly or dangerous weapon. The prosecution contended Almanza was selected to collect taxes on behalf of Macias in Lompoc, which is notorious for being delinquent on its payments to the gang.

Another recording captures a jailed Macias using sign language to communicate about one gang member, “He was there when I had Sicko,” Bramsen said, replaying the video.

“The defendant’s own words or signs are telling,” she added.

A  newspaper quote from Lompoc’s then-police chief about the county Grand Jury indictments stemming from the kidnap-torture case prompted Macias to make a sound of disgust in one recorded conversation, Bramsen said.

“He’s offended because Chief (Larry) Ralston used the word ‘kind of’ in the sentence,” she added.

Several gang members indicted alongside Macias and Almanza ended up testifying for the prosecution in exchange for lighter sentences.

But the plea bargains come with a high price: more than one has had his life threatened and one had to be rescued by a Special Weapons and Tactics team, Bramsen said. She said that by testifying for the prosecution, more than one will enter the witness-protection program.

“As Officer (Scott) Casey testified, the benefit to him as we sit here is that he stays alive,” Bramsen said of the former gang member.

In a recorded conversation with a gang member, Macias expressed anger about the newspaper article noting his arrest and ties to Palabra, a nonprofit organization that works to stem youth-on-youth violence in Santa Barbara.

Juan Pablo Herrada, executive director of Palabra, was the final witness Monday morning before closing arguments in the afternoon. He and the prosecutor verbally tussled over the definition of active gang member.

Earlier, Bramsen listed a serious of gang-related violent crimes in Santa Barbara before asking, “So Palabra has not stopped gang violence?”

“We’re out there all the time,” Herrada said, adding the organization has stopped more gang violence.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara County Officials Consider Replacing Goleta Beach Park Bridge

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Sole vehicle route to Goleta Beach Park will be replaced with wider bridge across Goleta Slough

Goleta Beach Bridge, the sole vehicle access route to Goleta Beach Park, will soon be replaced with a safer, wider structure featuring new separate bike and pedestrian paths.

The bridge connecting Sandspit Road near Santa Barbara Airport to the popular Santa Barbara County park near the entrance to UC Santa Barbara is set to be replaced in spring 2015, when crews will build a new, less obstructive bridge over the Goleta Slough.

The current bridge, built in the 1970s during the Highway 217 project, will remain open and be demolished after construction of the new one is complete, hopefully by fall 2016, according to Charlie Elbert, project manager with the county Public Works Department.

The county Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the project, and an accompanying Mitigated Negative Declaration of environmental impacts, during Tuesday’s meeting, also making way for the public works department to put out construction bids for the work early next year.

Elbert said the county has been working on the project since 2010, two years after Caltrans was forced to make emergency repairs on Goleta Beach Bridge, installing extra support to piles suffering from an irreversible condition called “reactive aggregate.”

“The concrete and the rock they used in the concrete have a chemical reaction going on that causes deterioration from the inside out, which is a real bummer,” he said.

The project is complicated, since the existing 137-foot concrete bridge is located near the environmentally protected Goleta Slough and serves as a vital connection for the coastal bike path to UCSB across the slough to the park, which sees one million visitors each year.

“It’s very sensitive,” Elbert said.

“We’ve got at least three endangered species in the area. It’s going to be tough because we have to protect everything.”

To mitigate some potential significant impacts, public works will conduct an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, Water Pollution Control Plan, pre-construction biological surveys and environmental monitoring throughout construction and restoration.

Although the new 168-foot long structure will be built 60 feet west of the current bridge, locals will still see some inconvenience, since a contractor will use about 40 parking spaces to store equipment.

The new bridge will be 20 feet wider, offering enough room for a raised five-foot pedestrian path — currently three feet — adjacent to a 12-foot bicycle path running parallel to, but separate from, northbound traffic.

The bridge will be more aesthetically pleasing, Elbert said. It will feature guardrails stained to look like wood and will be eco-friendly, since just one supporting pier will be located on the north bank of the slough, outside of the normal wetted perimeter of the channel.

Since the Federal Highway Bridge Program will fund nearly 90 percent of the $3.2 million project — the state pays the rest — Elbert said the county must abide by a longer list of regulations, which include working alongside the California Coastal Commission and several other federal and state agencies.

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.

The new bridge will be built 60 feet west of the current bridge to Goleta Beach Park and will be wide enough for pedestrian sidewalks and a bike lane.(Quincy Engineering photo)


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Guadalupe Councilman, Former Police Chief Jerry Tucker Dies

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Guadalupe City Councilman William “Jerry” Tucker died Saturday morning after struggling with health problems for several months.

His health forced him to miss council meetings or participate in them remotely if he was able.

Before being elected to council, Tucker served as chief of the Guadalupe Police Department.

“He’ll always be Chief Tucker to me and I think to a lot of us,” Mayor Frances Romero said.

“When he won a seat on the council he was so proud to represent the community. He really placed a high value on serving the public here.”

Tucker led the Guadalupe department for about a decade after arriving in 1998 from a job in Huron in western Fresno County. 

He was elected to a four-year term the Guadalupe City Council in 2012.

Tucker was “the voice of common sense and reason,” Romero said.

Councilman and former chief of police Jerry Tucker. (Guadalupe Police Department photo)

“I considered him a friend because he was always there for you. You didn’t necessarily have to agree but he was always respectful of differing opinions. And he was never scared of differing opinions.”

During turmoil faced by the city, Tucker was supportive of the city being transparent. 

“What you saw is what you got with Chief Tucker. You never had to wonder where you stood,” Romero said.

“You could count on him to have reasonable thought process.”

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Judy.

A memorial is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at Pacific Christian Center, 3435 Santa Maria Way.

Visitation is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary. After Friday’s memorial, burial is planned for the Guadalupe Cemetery. 

The service reportedly will include full police and military honors for the man who served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

The council can decide whether to appoint a replacement or hold a special election to fill the remaining two years of Tucker’s term.

However, a special election is the most costly option, and unlikely for the cash-strapped city.

The Guadalupe City Council is expected to start talking about filling the vacancy during its next meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at City Hall, 918 Obispo St.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Police Seek Suspect in Daylight Bank Robbery

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Santa Barbara Police were searching Monday for a man who robbed the Bank of the West and made off with $2,000 in cash.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said police responded just after 2 p.m. Monday to report of a robbery at the bank in the 3700 block of State Street.

Witnesses told arriving officers that a lone white male in his late 30s had entered Bank of the West and handed a bank teller a note demanding money, with no visible weapon, Harwood said.

The suspect fled the scene with $2,000 in cash in a white pickup truck, traveling westbound toward Highway 101, he said.

The suspect was described as 5-foot-9 and about 200 pounds with salt-and-pepper-colored hair, wearing prescription glasses, a blue baseball cap and brown T-shirt, Harwood said.

Anyone who spots the suspect should call 9-1-1, Harwood said, and anyone with information about the incident should call the on-duty police watch commander at 805.897.2376.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Elderly Woman Hits Neighbor’s Tree, Own House in Santa Barbara Vehicle Accident

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Santa Barbara City Fire Crews had a busy Monday morning and responded to two separate vehicle accidents within an hour of each of either.

At 8:53 a.m., firefighters responded to the 1600 block of Payeras Street to find a vehicle that had crashed into a home. 

City Fire Engineer Hank Homburg said a 95-year-old female driver had mistakenly hit the accelerator while backing out of her driveway and struck a tree that was across the street.

That pushed the tree into her neighbor's yard and the tree took down several cable wires, Homburg said. 

"She then put vehicle into drive and apparently hit the accelerator, running into her own residence," he said. 

The front of the home and kitchen area had sustained major damage and the driver sustained minor to moderate injuries.

A 95-year-old woman sustained minor to moderate injuries after hitting a tree and her home in an early morning accident. (Santa Barbara City Fire photo)

She was taken to a local medical center for further evaluation. 

A city Public Works tree crew removed the damaged tree from the neighbor’s property and a city building inspector was called to the scene to determine the extent of structural damage sustained to the home due to the accident.

An earlier accident, just before 8 a.m., occurred on the 900 block of West Valerio Street. 

Firefighters responded to a single-vehicle rollover and found a four-door compact vehicle on its roof, Homburg said, adding that a female driver and two children got out of the vehicle with the help of bystanders.

A woman and two children were involved in a rollover accident Monday morning. (Santa Barbara City Fire photo)

The driver sustained moderate injuries to her hand and the children were transported with the mother to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor injuries, Homburg said.

"Fortunately, the two children were secured in car seats," he said.

The accident occurred near Harding University Partnership School, and Homburg urged drivers to driver carefully and with their full attention in an active school zone.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Music Academy of the West Posts Record Attendance, Revenue Totals

By | Published on 09/15/2014


The Music Academy of the West has posted its highest attendance and revenue totals in its storied 67-year history, campus officials have announced.

Sales revenue for the Music Academy’s 2014 season, which concluded Aug. 9, was up 3.5 percent over the previous year, while overall attendance grew to just shy of 35,500.

Driving much of the gains were two sold-out performances of Carmen — presented in honor of legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday — at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre on Aug. 1 and 3.

The 2014 Summer Festival also saw the Music Academy net a record $459,000 for its full-scholarship program through its annual Cabaret gala fundraiser on Aug. 7 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.

Such successes are part of a broader trend at the Music Academy. Ticket sales have grown 19 percent over the last three years, and the academy’s Annual Fund will have increased almost 20 percent in just the last two years. Subscription and applicant totals are also on the rise.

Notable recent programmatic achievements include an unprecedented four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic that will send selected Academy instrumentalists to study and perform with the celebrated orchestra each winter. The inaugural contingent of these “Global Academy Fellows” will be in New York this January.

The Music Academy is also gearing up to present soprano Michelle Bradley and pianist Michael Gaertner — winners of the 2014 Marilyn Horne Song Competition — in recital in New York, Dallas and Santa Barbara next spring.

“The Music Academy is well positioned to build on its recent successes and capitalize on its core strengths," academy board chair Robert Toledo said. "Our community is clearly responding to the high artistic quality and innovative programming that have come to define the Music Academy Summer Festival.”

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Granada Theatre to Honor Constitution Day with Free Screenings of ‘We The People’

By | Published on 09/15/2014


The Granada Theatre Film Series is proud to present two free screenings of the film We The People at 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Granada Theatre.

This powerful giant screen historical documentary, shot in 4K Digital Cinema, is the story of America's founding documents and the people who wrote, shaped and tested them. Narrated by the iconic voices of Morgan Freeman and Kenny Rogers, We The People is meant to engage and inspire its audience to learn more about and participate in our country's democracy. The nation's finest constitutional scholars, augmented by a nonpartisan committee of prominent Americans, have overseen the making of this iconic film.

From men who would defy a king, to a man who would not let the "more perfect union" die, to women who struggled for equality, We The People delivers through the giant screen a powerful national self-reflection and inspired every citizen to uphold the ideals and truths of our Republic, tenets that so strongly influence all of our daily lives. The magnificent buildings, monuments and memorials of Washington, D.C., archival paintings and photographs from America's great museums and dramatic reenactments of key events in Philadelphia, Boston, Mt. Vernon and other historic locations come alive through the immortal words of Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Lincoln, Martin Luther King.

Stunning special effects and giant screen surround sound create a truly powerful storytelling experience. Shot in IMAX, We The People is more than 200 years of history that truly comes to life on a 60-foot screen. The film is designed to engage learners of all ages, from elementary school students beginning their historical knowledge base to adults looking to revisit and refresh their sense of history.

Complimentary tickets are available at the door of the Granada Theatre's box office. This performance is presented by the Granada Theatre Film Series, sponsored in part by the Santa Barbara Independent.

For more information, please call 805.899.3000 x130 or click here.

The Granada Theatre' new Digital Cinema features a "state-of-the-art" 4K rear-projection system and is the first of its kind on the central coast. The Digital Cinema was made possible by the generous support of Roger and Sarah Chrisman, and, in memory of Mike DeGruy, the Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation.

— Sydney Gardner is a publicist representing the Granada Theatre.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Goleta Mayor Asking County for ‘Conversation’ About Revenue Neutrality Agreement

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Goleta's mayor is asking officials from Santa Barbara County to sit down and have a conversation about revenue neutrality, the agreement between the two agencies that requires the City of Goleta to give half of its property taxes and a significant portion of sales tax revenues to the county.

Mayor Michael Bennett has asked the county to start a discussion about the agreement, which was one of the conditions for Goleta incorporating in 2002.

On two occasions, the city has requested renegotiation of the agreement and the county has entered into confidential discussions, but there have been no changes to the ongoing payments.

Bennett wrote to Supervisor Janet Wolf, whose district includes Goleta, on July 23, asking for the meeting to discuss the RNA once again.

"As you are aware, the topic of RNA is of great importance to the city. We look forward to reopening discussion on this matter which is critical to the financial health of our community," Bennett wrote. "I am requesting a small group of participants including Assemblymember Das Williams, County CEO Mona Miyasato and interim City Manager Michelle Greene to attend this meeting."

Wolf is bringing the request before the entire Board of Supervisors on Tuesday in an effort to get feedback and see if another supervisor would like to sit in with her on the discussions.

Bennett told Noozhawk on Monday that his request was just to talk.

"I'm not looking for more than a conversation at this time," he said.

Bennett spoke with Assemblyman Das Williams in Sacramento this spring, and said the lawmaker indicated a willingness to sit in on the discussion.

Bennett first ran for council in 2006 with revenue neutrality as a central issue, and has repeatedly raised concern during his tenure at the city, taking issue with the agreement having no end date.

"The county clearly recognizes that it's not going to go away," he said.

Calling it the most "egregious" RNA in the state, Bennett said the state enacted guidelines after Goleta's agreement was passed to limit the amount counties could charge for city formation.

"I'm really concerned about it," he said, adding that the city has always been willing to work with the county.

Wolf said she doesn't have an official stance on the agreement because much of the negotiation is done in closed session and "the implications are big for both sides."

"This isn't a negotiation, it's simply responding to a neighborly request from Mr. Bennett," she said.

Wolf and former Supervisor Joni Gray were privy to one meeting with Goleta when both served on a subcommittee dealing with the issue.

Another meeting occurred when county staff met with city officials. Both meetings were confidential, Wolf said.

A meeting, if approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, wouldn't represent a third round of negotiations, but a new discussion.

"There's nothing to read into it and we'll see what the board says," Wolf said. "This is a cordial response to Mr. Bennett's invitation."

Tuesday's meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the board hearing room on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Workers Break Gas Main on Santa Barbara Eastside

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Twenty people are evacuated out of homes near Montecito and Soledad streets

Santa Barbara City firefighters briefly evacuated 20 people out of homes near Montecito and Soledad streets after SoCal Gas Company workers accidentally caused a break in a six-inch gas main. 

The gas company was doing work in the area with a trenched-out area and somehow the line got cut from workers' equipment, Battalion Chief Mike de Ponce said. 

A resident in the area alerted authorities after hearing the high-pitched hissing noise of the leak. 

Two engines and a truck responded to the scene to pull a protective hose line, since active gas leaks have the potential for a large fire, de Ponce said. 

Gas Company crews at work Monday afternoon.(Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Firefighters briefly evacuated nearby residents and the gas company workers were able to stop the leak after about 10 minutes, he said. 

Residents were then allowed back into their homes around 2:15 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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Coast Guard Intercepts 3 Suspected Smugglers, Ton of Marijuana Off California Coast

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Three Mexican national men are facing federal drug smuggling charges following their arrest early Saturday by Coast Guard units in connection with the interdiction of a panga carrying more than a ton of marijuana about 57 miles southwest of San Nicholas Island, Calif.

A C-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento spotted a suspicious panga boat while on patrol. The aircrew relayed the coordinates to the Cutter Active, a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter, for further investigation as they were patrolling nearby.

The Active began to move into a position to intercept the vessel while the Coast Guard Cutter Blacktip was maneuvering to assist. The Active launched their onboard small boat to intercept the panga with a boarding team onboard.  The Coast Guard team was able to board the vessel without incident. A visual inspection of the vessel by the boarding team led to the discovery of 267 bales of marijuana, with a total weight of more than 3,300 pounds.

“As we’ve become increasingly effective at interdicting maritime smuggling attempts, smugglers are resorting to more advanced and diverse tactics,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “That includes carrying multi-ton loads of contraband and going farther out to sea. However, as the crew of this panga discovered, those efforts are increasingly proving fruitless in the face of the overwhelming federal law enforcement response.”

The panga, contraband and three suspected smugglers were transferred from Active to Blacktip. The crew of the Blacktip transported the suspects to shore and turned them over to investigators with the multiagency Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST), spearheaded by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, for questioning. The case has been accepted for prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the three men were expected to make their initial appearance in federal court on the drug charges Monday afternoon.

"Every shipment of drugs stopped at sea denies international criminal organizations some of the resources they need to continue their illegal and deadly enterprise, and helps us better target their illicit networks," said Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio, Commander of the 11th Coast Guard District. "The Coast Guard crews involved in this bust, along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, can be proud of their accomplishments. As our brave men and women work to stem the flow of smuggling we ask boaters and the public to help us by reporting any suspicious activity they observe at sea or along the coast. If you see something, say something."

The Cutter Active is homeported in Port Angeles, Wash. The Cutter Blacktip is a 87-foot patrol boat home-ported in Oxnard.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Amid Heat Wave, Red Flag Warning for Santa Ynez Mountains Extended Through Tuesday Night

By | Published on 09/15/2014


The National Weather Service has extended the red flag warning for the Santa Ynez Mountains through 9 p.m. Tuesday due to the hot and unstable weather conditions.

A high pressure system is expected to maintain a prolonged heat wave through Tuesday night with temperatures expected to spike as high as 110 degrees in locations farther away from the coast.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department has set its fire danger level to high and residents are asked to use extreme caution and report any sign of smoke or fire immediately.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. David Sadecki said residents should take special care with power tools, cars or any outdoor appliances or equipment that can generate heat or throw sparks during red flag conditions.

"As many as 94 percent of wildland fires are human-caused and most are accidental," Sadecki said.  

"The difference between getting through this safely and starting a fire could be as simple as where you park your car."

High temperatures broke records Sunday near the Santa Barbara Airport with a high of 87 degrees, breaking a record of 86 degrees originally set in 1959.

The same area is expected to average 90 degrees through Wednesday, according to National Weather Service Specialist Scott Sukup.

Mostly sunny weather is expected this week with highs near 90 degrees and lows in the 60-degree range through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Persistent hot weather with low humidity has covered Santa Barbara with dry vegetation characteristic of drought conditions.

For this reason, Sadecki asks residents to avoid placing hot equipment on grass or near foliage since they can cause fires.

Dried vegetation usually acts as kindling for wildland fires, especially when they occur alongside sundowner winds that can turn even a minor flame into a county-wide blaze, he said. 

Residents are also asked to have an emergency evacuation plan ready including exits from neighborhoods and to be watchful of suspicious behavior.

The National Weather Service issues red flag warnings when critical fire weather conditions are either in progress or are expected to occur in the near future, usually within the next 24 hours.

These warnings have been issued throughout Southern California, including parts of Ventura and Los Angeles County.

Warnings are calculated based on daytime wind speeds, topography, distance from water sources and other factors that create ideal conditions for wildland fires.

The initial red flag warning was set to expire Monday, but was extended due to erratic conditions. 

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Montecito Trails Foundation Saddles Up in Celebration of 50th Anniversary

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Annual barbecue and fundraiser kicks off with trail rides, followed by lunch, music and a silent auction

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The Montecito Trails Foundation held its annual barbecue and fundraiser on Saturday at the home of Hal and Mary Coffin in Montecito Valley Ranch at the corner of Sheffield Drive and Ortega Hill Road in Montecito.

The Montecito Trails Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of public trails in Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria. Hikers, bikers, trail runners, equestrians and nature lovers gathered in the morning to begin a day of varied activities. Los Padres Outfitters provided horses for rent if needed, and about 30 equestrians headed out for three-hour trail rides. There were also guided hikes on Montecito’s miles of trails.

Robin Cederlof of Goleta is a member of the Montecito Trails Foundation and came to the event with her childhood friend, Patricia Krout.

“We used to ride together when we were girls, so this was a great opportunity to do it again," Cederlof told Noozhawk. "The weather was warm, but it was a beautiful ride in the hills and near the beach.”

Around noontime the walkers, riders and neighbors joined together in the large lawn area where they enjoyed a hearty outdoor barbecue lunch, along with vegetarian fare, cooked up by Los Padres Outfitters. Live music by popular guitarist and vocalist Steve Woods set a festive scene. A silent auction was arranged on decorated tables around the lawn and featured unique original art, jewelry, wine and hospitality packages. Wine, beer and the "famous MTF Margarita Bar" rounded out the fun.

Energetic MTF board president Bobbi King was busy selling raffle tickets to help the cause.

"We look forward to this fun celebration of our 50 years of trail support,” King said. “We are so proud of 200 miles of trails we have helped to keep open to the public here in Montecito.”

The Coffins, who purchased the land in 1989, generously provided the venue for the casual fundraising event.

“The Montecito Trails Foundation is such a good cause," Mary Coffin said. "We have three miles of trails right here on the property. We have hosted the event here for the past five to six years and everyone seems pretty comfortable here.”

Along with Hal and Mary Coffin, sponsors included Diana Meehan and Gary Goldberg, Joan and Robert Holleran, RB and RL Mazes, Richard Kahler, Georgene Vairo, Kelley and Bruce Giffin, Lonnie Millington and Jack Mithun, and Judith and Richard Thielscher.

The Montecito Trails Foundation is a volunteer nonprofit organization funded through tax deductible membership dues and donations. For more information, click here or call 805.969.3514.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Issue & Policy Roundtable to Feature Candidates for Goleta Water District Board

By | Published on 09/15/2014


The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce's Issue & Policy Roundtable will double as a Goleta Water District candidate forum from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24 in the Frog Bar at Glen Annie Golf Club, 405 Glen Annie Road in Goleta.

During the biggest drought in recent history, four Goleta citizens are vying for two seats on the Goleta Water District board. Incumbents Jack Cunningham and Bert Bertrando are being challenged by Meg West, a landscape architect and businesswoman, and Charles McClure, a landscape architect.

The district, which spans approximately 29,000 acres, is bound on the south by the ocean and on the north by the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains. The district uses 270 miles of pipeline to provide water to approximately 85,000 people.

The forum will be moderated by Peter Brown of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

The cost is $25, which includes lunch.

Click here to register. For more information, email or 805.967.2500 x4.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Max McCumber: Watching Sports in Age of Social Media

By | Published on 09/15/2014


In some ways I'm an atypical Gen Yer. I don't use hashtags, tweets or Instagrams to communicate. Sure, I have Facebook, but few human beings on this planet don't, even if they seldom log in or post anything. So, I may not be the most qualified columnist to write this, but here's to trying.

Max McCumber
Max McCumber

The older us millenials get — with my August birthday passed now, I'm only two years shy of 30 — the more the world relies on our expertise of the digital age. We are labeled as a generation with no comprehension of the world without the Internet, social media, etc. There is some truth to that. In my lifetime I can recall there being a computer available more often than not, so that's fair. Most of us born in the 1980s to early 1990s, though, have some recollection of less extreme technological influence.

When I was in high school, from 2000-04, the Internet sure as hell existed. The dot-com boom had passed. Google and Yahoo! were around. Much of the population had an email address. Although they lacked oracle-like intelligence and cameras for us to take selfies with, cell phones were prevalent.

Even so, we didn't have YouTube, Twitter or Instagram back then. MySpace had little following beyond musical acts. Wikipedia was just getting started. Mark Zuckerberg was a kid at Harvard experimenting with an idea that would become Facebook. The world bereft of such online platforms now seems so primitive.

In order to better illustrate my train of thought I turn to sports, which I am more versed in than social media. To narrow it down even further, you may have guessed it coming from me — baseball.

Lets go back 11 years, to October 2003. Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs are a win away from their first pennant since 1945. Cubs ace Mark Prior is on the mound.

In the eighth inning, a spectator named Steve Bartman interferes with a ball in play down the left-field line. The then-Florida Marlins pull off a stunning comeback immediately afterward as the Cubs choke. Bartman is deemed the scapegoat, and his life is changed forever.

Enough advanced visual technology was at hand when this happened. The shot of Bartman snatching the ball out of the reach of the Cubs' Moises Alou got plenty of replays accompanied by whooshing graphics on the FOX broadcast. ESPN played it many times on SportsCenter.

As if poor Bartman had a rough go of it already, imagine the torment he would be subject to had Twitter been around in 2003. It would only be amplified. Millions of irate Cub fans would break out their smartphones to tweet their displeasure. Amazingly, this was not 1983 or 1993 but 2003. Less than a decade later, reaction to events of this nature changed considerably.

Mike Trout may be the most prolific baseballer of our generation, when it comes to position players. To name someone who achieved a similar level of success in the not-so-distant past, Ken Griffey Jr. comes to mind.

At least in Seattle, Junior had his face everywhere from game telecasts, commercials, magazine covers, video games and trading cards to various knickknacks.

These days, it's safe to say Trout gets the same amount of exposure. Yet Griffey never had to deal with numerous Twitter followers and Facebook likes. Social media has added another dimension to stardom in a short period of time.

I suppose from a traditionalist point of view, social media is not a detractor to the game. The major league debut of your best friend and/or the top prospect in the organization. A walk-off home run or bloop single. A leaping, snow cone outfield catch. A 3,000th hit or 300th career pitching win. Many use # or @ symbols to express awe toward occurrences like these, but it's not absolutely necessary.

On the iPhone, it's second nature for me to check MLB At Bat for the news and score alerts. It's one of the apps I use with the most frequency. All the more reason to when the season winds down in September.

Some facets of baseball fandom remain constant but evolve with the times. MLB At Bat serves the same purpose and provides the same sensation as tuning the radio dial did in eras past. Reactions and updates just flow in far more instantaneously.

— Max McCumber is a Santa Barbara resident.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Fall Fitness Classes Offered Through Allan Hancock College Community Education

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Register now for fall fitness classes beginning in October, offered through Allan Hancock College Community Education.

Intermediate Senior Exercise is a low-impact aerobic exercise class designed to promote cardiovascular conditioning, firm muscles and increase the body's ability to metabolize fat. Learn aerobic routines, strength exercises using light, hand-held weights for upper-body conditioning and resistance floor work that concentrates on toning the lower body. This class is an excellent addition to a walking program.

The class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Oct. 14 through Dec. 4, from 8:30 to 9:25 a.m. in the Columbia Business Center, Room 33 (behind Costco) in Santa Maria. Register for course number (CRN) 23100. The fee is $60.

Pilates is a mind/body fitness technique emphasizing balanced development of the body through core strengthening, flexibility and graceful movement. In this low-impact class, students improve physical fitness, posture, agility and coordination. Pilates is suitable for all levels of fitness and is perfect for a person who wants to start or resume an exercise program.

The class meets on Thursdays, Oct. 16 through Dec. 4, from 8:15 to 9:10 a.m. at the Yoga for Mankind classroom, 103-B, North Broadway in Orcutt. Register for course number (CRN) 23102. The fee is $28.

Students can register online 24/7 by clicking here. Log on to myHancock and click the Student tab to proceed. Or, receive registration assistance in person at Community Education (Building S) on the Santa Maria campus, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Print copies of the fall 2014 Spectrum schedule of Community Education classes are available at all campus locations.

For more information, call 805.922.6966 x3209.

— Gina Herlihy represents Allan Hancock College.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Human Resources Association to Present Workers’ Comp Faceoff

By | Published on 09/15/2014


The Santa Barbara Human Resources Association presents a unique approach to defending workers' compensation cases with “Plaintiff vs. Defense Counsel: Who Wins and Why?” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17 at Mulligan's Cafe & Bar, 3500 McCaw Ave. in Santa Barbara.

Workers' compensation attorneys Ben Feld and John Lamoutte will face off contesting and defending evidence from real cases, and the audience will decide the verdict.

This novel approach allows for learning through experiencing what happens in the court, examining the evidence thus offering an opportunity to be better prepared when faced with a similar situation. 

Workers’ compensation many times is a yawn for HR practitioners and risk managers when it ought to be top of mind and on the list of “Things I need to know to protect the organization and care for our employees.”

Feld and Lamoutte are both experts in this field. Feld specializes in the plaintiff side and Lamoutte on the defense side.

Feld is a law partner with the firm Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld and has been representing injured workers since 2002, providing his expertise in the areas of workers' compensation, Social Security disability and third-party litigation services. Lamoutte is the managing partner of Tobin-Lucks’ Central Coast office. He represents insurance carriers and self-insured employers in the defense of workers’ compensation claims.

Click here for cost and registration details.

— Keri Taylor represents the Santa Barbara Human Resources Association.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Food Trucks Returning to San Marcos for Dinner on Wednesday

By | Published on 09/15/2014


San Marcos High School is the place to be this Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Food Trucks are back on the corner of Hollister Avenue and Turnpike Road. Georgia’s Smokehouse, Tacos Aaron, Sweet Arleen’s, the Burger Bus and Dolce di Roma will all be present for all community members to enjoy.

Georgia’s Smokehouse specializes in Southern smokehouse barbecue and Southern comfort foods. The famous Burger Bus will be bringing its vast combinations of burgers using local ingredients. Ventura’s famous Tacos Aaron will satisfy your hunger for burritos, asada fries, and an amazing bacon wrapped hot dog. The Food Network’s award-winning Sweet Arleen’s will also be there serving its amazing cupcakes. Sweet Arleen’s has won three consecutive Cupcake Wars competitions. Dolce di Roma will also be there serving Via Veneto Italian Ice. A perfect way to end the evening.

This event is sponsored by the award-winning San Marcos High School Marching Band and Colorguard. The Royals are currently raising funds for their season as they defend their 2013 California State Championship.

On Wednesday, the hours for the dinner time event are 5 to 7 p.m. on the corner of Hollister and Turnpike.

— Aaron Solis represents San Marcos High School.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Vehicle Goes off Road Near Buellton, 1 Person Injured

By | Published on 09/15/2014


One person was seriously injured after a vehicle accident in the 700 block of Ballard Canyon Road on Monday morning. 

A single vehicle went approximately 30 feet off the roadway and firefighters had to extricate one patient from the vehicle, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki said. 

The call time for the incident was 5:09 a.m. 

The extrication took about 15 minutes and the patient was taken by AMR ambulance to the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital and then transferred by CalStar helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, he said. 

County Fire was assisted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol, which will investigate the incident. 

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Lee & Associates Secures Industrial Lease in Santa Maria for Fresh Venture Foods

By | Published on 09/15/2014


Lee & Associates has negotiated a four-year, 31,500-square-foot industrial lease at 1259 Furukawa Way in Santa Maria.

Allen Segal and Tom Davidson of Lee & Associates-Central Coast represented the lessor.

The new tenant, Fresh Venture Foods, a produce distributor, will occupy the state-of-the-art cooler and distribution building.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara to Replace Traffic Signals, Add Countdown Timers at 40 Intersections

By | Published on 09/14/2014


The city receives a $900,000 federal grant for the safety project, to which it will contribute $100,000

The City of Santa Barbara plans to replace traffic signal lights and add countdown timers at more than 40 intersections around town in an attempt to make the roads safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The city wants to eliminate traffic signals with an 8-inch diameter and replace them with modern, 12-inch faces that are easier for everyone to see.

The city received a $900,000 federal safety grant for the project, which requires a $100,000 city contribution for the total project cost.

"Something as simple as enlarging traffic signals at key intersections can proactively improve safe transit for pedestrians and motorists alike without significantly altering the intersection," Mayor Helene Schneider said. "Moving from Point A to Point B within our city should be as easy and safe for all, regardless of whether they are moving by car, foot or bicycle."

The new signals and countdown timers are the latest examples of the city's quest for parity on the roads.

With projects such as eliminating a car lane to create a wide bike path like on upper Chapala Street or blanketing the upper Eastside with sidewalk and curb extensions, the city's transportation planners have long aimed to transform Santa Barbara into a place where traveling on foot or bike is as convenient as hopping into a car. 

Transportation planners said they could not provide Noozhawk with collision or accident data at the intersections until they complete designs this fall.

Derrick Bailey, supervising traffic engineer for the city, said he hopes construction will begin next year. He said the city is targeting Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Micheltorena and Mission streets as hot spots for traffic signal replacement.

"The indications are being replaced and upgraded to modern standards, which are easier to see," Bailey said. 

He said the standard now is 12-inch faces. He also said the plan is to add pedestrian countdown timers at some intersections.

Countdown timers won't be possible everywhere, however. 

"There are some intersections where (we) can’t add countdown timers because the underground conduit won’t accommodate the additional wiring needed," Bailey said. 

The city has already upgraded a few intersections — the traffic signal faces at the intersections of Chapala and Haley streets, State and Haley streets and State and Gutierrez streets all have the 12-inch faces and new pedestrian timers.

Eva Inbar, a bicycle and walking activist, said the changes are a good idea.

"We're generally supportive, especially if they include the countdown timers," said Inbar, who is also a board member for COAST, the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation. "It helps to know how much time is left."

Inbar said the timers are key, particularly for senior citizens, who are hesitant to cross the street if they don't know how long it will take before the lights turn yellow or red. 

"That's the great fear seniors have," Inbar said. "The countdown timers are really valuable."

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Local Artists Peddle Their Works with Stabiles Mobile Boutique

By | Published on 09/14/2014


Samuel Guzman's pop-up truck, with inviting indoor décor, sets up shop along Santa Barbara streets

Samuel Guzman never had a green thumb, although he did warm up to a plant he found while searching for succulents to brighten the boutique winery he helped manage.

About a year ago, Guzman stumbled upon an “airless,” rootless Tillandsia flower, which struck a chord the Santa Barbara resident couldn’t quite explain.

The lively plant wasn’t something the Grassini Family Vineyards and Winery tasting room needed, but it provided the inspiration required to start Guzman’s business: a mobile pop-up boutique called the Stabiles Project.

Guzman, who always loved art growing up, decided to go back to his roots by crafting creative wire structures to prop up the Tillandsias — preventing them from going flat — and originally displayed and sold them and the plants at the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show on Sundays.

Encouraging online sales led Guzman to purchase a food-truck-like vehicle about a year ago, and he and girlfriend and fellow hospitality industry employee, Kris Hansen, designed and built the truck, which they launched earlier this year.

Locals and visitors may have spotted the Stabiles Mobile (Sta-beels Mo-beel) in the Funk Zone or on Cabrillo Boulevard, with its inviting indoor décor featuring the work of local artists.

Alpaca throws, pillows, Riviera rings and jewelry, handmade salt and pepper shakers, pottery and more line shelves that will soon be lit under locally-made fixtures powered by solar panels.

The Stabiles Mobile sells works by local artists. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The Stabiles Mobile has become one of the area’s first mobile boutiques, bringing its business to customers in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

With no regular schedule, most people have to happen upon the truck or book it for private events as a gift or souvenir truck for friends, family or corporate functions — a new service this fall.

Stabiles Mobile also plans to have a pop-up shop on Oct. 25 with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art shop, a location that sells its products, along with Potted in LA.

“It’s a relatively new style of business,” Guzman said. “It’s all such a big experiment. People have fully taken to them. They somehow found us.”

One day Stabiles Mobile could acquire a fleet of trucks or become a brick and mortar store, since feedback has been so favorable, but, in the meantime, Guzman said he’s content with slowly introducing new products into the Stabiles formula.

“We’re always looking for something cool,” he said. “We’re making an impact.” 

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Craig Allen: Clean Business Investment Summit at UCSB Doesn’t Disappoint

By | Published on 09/14/2014


CBIS IV, the Clean Business Investment Summit took place Thursday at the Corwin Pavilion Center at UCSB, and offered the most impressive slate of presenters yet. From a company that uses whole trees in construction, to a transparent solar cell maker, to a student entrepreneur using crickets as a source of protein, the new ideas were compelling, innovative and exciting. Commensurate with the quality of our presenters, the number and size of our investors was the best ever as well.

Each year, CBIS brings together entrepreneurs looking to build companies, investors looking for opportunities to invest in the most innovative new businesses, and service providers offering specialized services to entrepreneurs and investors.

This year’s theme, "Making the Impossible Possible: Resilience & The Spirit of Entrepreneurship," underscored the emerging business concepts presented.

As the largest venture capital forum held in coastal California, CBIS brings together high impact sustainable, socially responsible enterprises to present their companies to investors looking for viable, ethical clean business opportunities.

The industry sectors represented include clean tech, renewable energy, agriculture, technology, food and beverage, health and wellness, lifestyle products, remediation, water and much more. Participating companies are carefully screened, vetted and mentored. They are provided with a platform to present to leading investors through dynamic presentations and industry-focused roundtable engagements with experts, investors, media and more. More than 575 startup and growth companies have been introduced to venture investors and related services experts, with more than $125 million invested through the summit.

Jerry Knotts of the California Coast Venture Forum has been the driving force behind CBIS for the past 19 years and continues to spearhead a dedicated team of professionals, including Alissa Sears of Christie Communications, who works tirelessly to ensure that every aspect of this event exceeds all expectations. Our Executive Committee members, volunteers, and especially Gillian Christie and everyone at Christie Communications come together each year, giving their time, energy and expertise to make CBIS the success that it is.

This year the event featured 15 entrepreneurs presenting with two additional student entrepreneur teams.  he all-day event marked the sixth annual occurrence for CBIS in its current format and the 19th year overall for the event. Each year I am more impressed than the last, with the quality of the presenters, investors, service providers and the overall level of quality of the event. To date we have been able to package the event into a single day of activities, but as the event grows in popularity, I could easily see it expanding to become a multiple-day summit (although Jerry will certainly have the final say on that issue!).

Originally, CBIS was intended to be a central California summit, offering both entrepreneurs and investors a forum to meet, connect, exchange information, collaborate, mentor and ultimately build successful businesses. Today, the event has expanded in scope, and is attended by entrepreneurs and investors literally from all over the world. While many of the presenters come from California, we are seeing an increasing number of entrepreneurs coming from outside of our region. Investors from around the globe, recognizing the power of the innovative ideas gathered together at this event, are traveling great distances to gain access to these exciting investment opportunities.

Each year we capture the event digitally and will provide access to the video feed from the event via the website. For those interested in attending the event, as a presenter, investor or service provider, it is best to start the process early to secure a slot. We have been selling out each year, and I am certain 2015 will be even more in demand than all previous years.

For entrepreneurs looking for information on CBIS, or for help with navigating the funding process, the CCVF website is a great place to start. You can connect with Jerry Knotts, find guidelines and examples of approved presentation formats, gather information about the process of submitting materials for next year’s CBIS event and much more.

The CBIS event is not only a fantastic opportunity for all who attend, but is also significant for its ability to place Santa Barbara on the map as a hub for entrepreneurship. UCSB’s materials sciences department, solar expertise and other highly respected faculty and degree programs lay the foundation for many new emerging business ideas that are drawing investor capital to our community.

The future is indeed very bright for CBIS, UCSB and Santa Barbara, and I for one look forward to next year’s CBIS with optimistic anticipation and enthusiasm.

Craig Allen, CFA, CFP, CIMA, is president of Allen Wealth Management and founder of Dump That Debt. He has been managing assets for foundations, corporations and high-net worth individuals for more than 20 years and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA charter holder), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification. He blogs at Finance With Craig Allen and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.898.1400. Click here to read previous columns or follow him on Twitter: @MPAMCraig. The opinions expressed are his own.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: Santa Barbara Earthquakes — Modern Record and Devastating Risks of Fracking

By | Published on 09/14/2014


Since 1800, the following earthquakes have occurred in Santa Barbara:

» 1812: “Shaking was so intense that the mission's church bells rang out, the adobe walls of the mission buildings were shattered, were thrown out of plumb, and in some instances collapsed, reducing Mission La Purisima to 'rubble and ruin.'”

» 1857: “Many people think that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was the largest earthquake to strike California in historical times, but that distinction actually belongs to the shaker that rocked southern and central California on Jan. 9, 1857, uprooting trees in the San Bernardino Mountains and causing the Kern River to flow backwards for a time. Because of the small population in the state in 1857 (perhaps 350,000 people), there were only two fatalities, one near Fort Tejon, where many buildings were destroyed.

“The earthquake was strongly felt from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The rupture on the surface of the Earth can still be traced to this day, extending from near Parkfield, Calif., to near San Bernardino, Calif., over a distance of roughly 225 miles.”

» 1902: “The earthquake occurred along the San Andreas fault, the major fault in California. The latest estimate of the size of this earthquake is magnitude 7.9. An earthquake of this size will certainly recur along the San Andreas fault, with devastating results given California's population today. The average recurrence interval for this earthquake has been estimated at 140 years, plus or minus 40 years.”

» 1925: “In the downtown area, along State Street, the rubble was so thick in the middle of the street that travel by car was impossible. Several hotels partially collapsed, some other buildings completely collapsed, and the Sheffield Dam, within city limits, cracked apart, sending a wall of water to the ocean. Thirteen people were killed, many fewer than would have been had the earthquake occurred several hours later.”

» 1927: “Several hundred thousand cubic feet of sand underneath the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad shook loose and fell to the beach below.”

» 1978: “In Goleta, store goods were thrown to the ground, windows of businesses and residences were shattered, the Santa Barbara airport terminal was left leaning, dozens of mobile homes were thrown from their supports, and a landslide blocked San Marcos Pass. Ten minutes after the earthquake a freight train heading through Goleta derailed at a kink in the tracks.”

In September 2014, it has become well known that the blasting of chemical-laced fracking fluids into rock formations has caused numerous earthquakes in other parts of the U.S. It's well known that we in California are among the most at risk in the U.S. for the devastation earthquakes bring.

The Hayward Earthquake Fault lies across the whole of — and partly in the center of — Santa Barbara County. The Andreas Fault passes within a few miles of the county.

» So: (1) hydraulic fracturing causes earthquakes; (2) conversely, earthquakes can readily weaken, crack or destroy altogether the steel/cement casings of nearby fracked, acidizing and steam-injections wells; (3) the damaged/destroyed casings can easily permit the highly toxic fracked wastewater they contain to leak into adjoining earth/rock formations and migrate into underground water tables used by communities for drinking and irrigation.

Given the nature of any of the California earthquakes described above, I am not willing to expose my family or my neighbors in Santa Barbara County to this risk. Are you?

Vote yes on Measure P.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Fall Quarter at UCSB Starting Week Later to Avoid Conflicts with Religious Holidays

By | Published on 09/14/2014


Fall quarter will start a week later than usual this year at UC Santa Barbara and seven other UC campuses, which will result in a shortened winter break.

Classes will begin Oct. 2 to avoid conflicts with religious holidays, according to Brooke Converse, a UC Office of the President spokeswoman.

Because of the change, winter break was shortened from the typical three weeks between quarters to two, she said.

The end of spring 2015 quarter will remain the same, concluding June 12 for commencement weekend.

This marks the first time calendars will be adjusted to comply with a relatively new university policy, which was established in response to conflicts between fall residence hall move-in days and the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Converse said the policy enacted in 2007 provides specific accommodations for years when move-in conflicts with a major religious holiday, requiring all academic calendars after 2010 to prevent such clashes.

One such conflict occurred in fall 2006, according to the “Addressing Religious Holiday Conflicts with Residence Hall ‘Move-In’ Days” policy.

This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 24 and continues through sundown on Friday, Sept. 26 — when campus activities and the first day of instruction would typically have begun.

Officials decided against lengthening spring quarter because the later start of the 2015 winter quarter would put the Cesar Chavez holiday (March 31) during finals week, which can’t be shortened, Converse said.

The number of days of instruction can’t be shortened, either.

“Starting the 2015 winter quarter later would push the start of the 2015 fall quarter later into October, which would cause the same winter break problem the following year,” she said, and changing the approved and already published 2014-15 academic calendar now would disrupt already booked and contractually obligated conferences, travel plans and family events.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Suspect Arrested After Leading Santa Maria Police on Chase in Stolen Vehicle

By | Published on 09/14/2014


Steven Diaz
Steven Diaz

A Santa Maria man was arrested Sunday after police say he struck one of their units with a stolen car before leading officers in a vehicle pursuit and then a foot chase.

Sgt. Eligio Lara said officers located a vehicle about 10:30 a.m. in the 300 block of East Inger Drive that had reported stolen earlier Sunday morning.

The officers conducted surveillance of the vehicle, and attempted to arrest a suspect, identified as Steven Diaz, when he approached and entered the vehicle.

Lara said Diaz then tried to run over one of the officers and struck a police unit before driving off and again attempting to ram a police unit.

When officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, the suspect failed to yield and led officers in a vehicle pursuit, according to Lara.

He said that after an eight-pursuit, during which the driver struck a tree in the 1000 block of West Morrison Avenue , the suspect stopped the vehicle in the 300 block of West Battles Road and fled on foot.

After a short foot chase, Diaz was arrested in the area of Newlove Drive and Roschelle Lane.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Michelle Malkin: Post-9/11, We Must Protect the Freedom to Warn

By | Published on 09/14/2014


"If you see something, say something." That's what our homeland security apparatchiks incessantly preach. But 13 years after the 9/11 attacks, the freedom to warn is in danger and vigilant whistleblowers are under fire.

Listen to Robert MacLean. He's a former Air Force nuclear weapons specialist and Border Patrol agent recruited by the government to serve as one of the first federal air marshals after 9/11.

In 2003, MacLean underwent emergency training to prepare for a new round of al-Qaeda hijacking threats. Jihadists exploiting visa and screening loopholes had planned to target East Coast airliners, according to intelligence analysts. For unknown reasons, however, the Transportation Security Administration abruptly called off air marshals from duty on nonstop, long-distance flights — just two days before the anticipated hijacking.

How did they notify the air marshals? Cue the Keystone Cops.

"TSA chose to send the unlabeled text message to our unsecured Nokia 3310 cellular phones instead of our $22 million encrypted smartphone system. There were no markings or secrecy restrictions on the message," MacLean recounted to Congress last week. "We all thought it was a joke given the special training we had just received and the post-9/11 law that nonstop long-distance flights were a priority."

A supervisor told MacLean the agency was broke and there was nothing he could do. Appalled at both the dangerous pullback and the reckless way in which the feds notified the air marshals, MacLean then contacted his department's inspector general hotline and was warned he would be "cutting (his) career short if (he) pursued the issue further." Instead, he went to the press and made his homeland security concerns public. In 2006, MacLean was fired.

More than a decade later, the dedicated security expert has battled the feds who retaliated against him. He was forced into bankruptcy and shut out of law enforcement jobs. His legal case heads to the Supreme Court this fall. God bless him. Despite the consequences, MacLean would do it all again in a heartbeat.

"I blew the whistle because I had to," he testified last week. "I could not live with the tragedy risked if I had been the cynical silent observer."

MacLean is not alone. Do you remember 10 years ago when then-Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn refused to allow his employees to dress undercover? Quinn, a former Secret Service agent, insisted that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. Yes, really. Marshals were ordered to dress like characters straight out of Men in Black — leaving them vulnerable to terrorist identification.

Critics of the code dubbed Quinn the Captain Queeg of homeland security. He even assigned fashion police to enforce the rules his own spokesman denied existed. Homeland security bureaucrats in Washington back then downplayed the marshals' complaints about the dress policy and other directives and leaks that undermined the marshals' anonymity.

Officials at headquarters smeared the messengers inside and outside the agency and denied any wrongdoing. One top special agent in charge of the marshals' Atlanta office, Don Strange, was fired after criticizing the dress code and boarding procedures that made the marshals' identities obvious. Another agent, Frank Terreri, faced retaliation for whistleblowing and was forced to sue to protect his job.

Today, the Federal Air Marshal program remains riddled with mismanagement, corruption and neglect. In April, FAM Director Robert Bray resigned amid an embarrassing gun scheme probe. And earlier this year, six of 24 air marshal offices closed, and hiring was frozen in Las Vegas, Seattle and Denver. Yet, according to one of my sources, "the last class of air marshals graduated from the academy in 2012. The service has not hired any mission-flying FAMs since. In that same time frame, they have promoted or hired over 300 people, and continue to do so, for supervisory and administrative duties. Almost every supervisory position includes a paid move and a yearly salary of $100,000."

Every 9/11, pundits talk about how "everything changed" after the attacks. But the homeland security bureaucracy is as petty, vindictive, wasteful and stupid as ever.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Laurie Jervis: There’s More to Wine Tasting Than Meets the Tongue

By | Published on 09/14/2014


For a while now, a column on tasting wine has been rattling around loose in my head. Since the subject has too many moving parts to address in one sitting, I'll focus on just two: how our brains "map" wine, and the nose as a key tasting tool.

In August 2012 at the Wine Blogger's Conference in Portland, Ore., I had the pleasure of listening to master sommelier Tim Gaiser lead a seminar titled "The Neuroscience of Wine Tasting: Unlocking the Tasting Strategies of Genius."

(The article I subsequently wrote can be found by clicking here.)

When each of us examines, smells and tastes a glass of wine, our eyes access information cues we've stored in our memory as an "internal map or grid," Gaiser explained.

Not a believer? At first, neither was I. Yes, wine is "just a beverage," but consider this:

Folks who taste wine for a living — judges, sommeliers and master teachers — employ such cues and imagery at an unconscious level. The rest of us, Gaiser said, have these tools at our fingertips — but may not know how to put them to use.

The challenge in teaching "regular" wine tasters comes from "trying to give students our own experiences and vocabulary of wine while knowing that everyone has different neurologies, memories and life experiences," Gaiser told seminar participants.

In 2009, Gaiser, former education chairman and director of the Court of Master Sommeliers of America, led a team of researchers that included Karen MacNeil; Evan Goldstein, MS; Tracy Kamens, Ed.D., DWS, CWE; Emily Wines, MS; Doug Frost, MS MW; Peter Marks, MW; and Brian Cronin, MS.                                                                                                 

What they discovered: Each expert taster utilized the same eye positions and patterns as they sipped through wines, Gaiser told our group of seminar participants.

In other words, the position of our eyes — whether we look upper left and right, center, or down to the left or right — is vital to the imagery we "see" when we smell and taste wine.

Quite simply, we taste by unconscious association, Gaiser said.

I recall being super skeptical of Gaiser's theory — until we put it to the test with red wine. 

I relaxed and let my eyes "focus" into my natural position — about two feet straight out and slightly down. 

We were told to detail what imagery we envisioned; I wrote that I "saw" black cherries. Alright, he continued: Now, old your head steady but move your eyes in any other direction — and pay attention to what happens.

I looked straight up at the ceiling, and immediately the nose of black cherry vanished. But when I repositioned my eyes back out and down, my perception of black cherry returned.

To this day, I still "position" in the same direction — straight out and slightly down — when I first sniff a glass of wine. And that brings me to my nose.

If you taste a lot of wine, you understand how vital your sense of smell is to the process. 

Enter Gaiser, again, who calls our sense of smell the most important when evaluating wine. "While one can only taste five things — sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami — scientists tell us that we can smell over 100,000 different things."

Herein lies my favorite factoid: "Smell accounts for as much as 85 percent of the sense of taste. No mystery here if you think about how bland everything tastes when you're dealing with the mother of all head colds," he wrote on his blog.

As far as how to smell, Gaiser said he employs several "short" sniffs, or one long, gentle one, "or something in between." Whatever works for you, gentle reader, is ideal.

I've encountered folks who routinely hold off sipping a wine until a good 15 minutes of just sniffing and swirling have ensued. Part of their reasoning may be that a wine's character changes in the glass.

I have been known to postpone a first sip when sampling a flight of wines; experience has taught me that once wine hits my tongue, my sense of smell gets overwhelmed. And since I trust my nose more than my tongue, I want it to get first dibs.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Jennifer Karapetian and Joyce Dudley: Ray Rice Incident Sheds Light on Domestic Violence

By | Published on 09/14/2014


Domestic violence is a problem that affects our entire county. Horrendous acts of domestic violence occur between both men and women and to people from all socio-economic conditions. Anyone can be an abuser, including artists, athletes, military personnel, lawyers and laborers. And anyone can be a victim — it could be your neighbor, your family member or you.

Jennifer Karapetian
Jennifer Karapetian

Crimes involving domestic violence almost always happen behind closed doors. There are rarely any witnesses or independent corroboration. The physical injuries inflicted upon the victim are often the only visible sign of abuse.

The recent high-profile case involving NFL football player Ray Rice provides the public an unfiltered view into the world of domestic violence.

In the first video, Rice, appearing completely devoid of any compassion, drags the victim’s limp body out of the elevator. Although court documents describe the incident as an assault so severe the victim was rendered unconscious, it took the actual video recording of the assault to cause public outrage.

Hopefully the one good thing that can come out of this tragic incident is that people will better understand the reality, severity, complexity and gravity of domestic violence.

In the aftermath of the assault, Rice's now wife stood by her husband. To some this is shocking behavior, but to those of us who are intimately familiar with domestic violence cases, her conduct is all too common. Victims of domestic violence rarely “turn their backs” on their abusers. Why? Because the person who has abused them is someone they might still love.

Their abuser is their partner, their spouse, their child’s parent, someone they may depend upon emotionally, psychologically and financially. Victims of domestic violence also have a tendency to blame themselves for the abuse they have endured. They frequently focus on all the things that they could have done differently. To make matters worse, family members and friends of the abuser may also blame the victim, and attempt to dissuade them from reporting the crime.

For all these reasons, a victim might feel that by calling the police they will be doing more harm than good. They may also think that if they change their own behavior or they ignore the violence it will just stop. Tragically, those assumptions are usually painfully untrue.

Most people who commit acts of domestic violence are serial abusers, especially when the perpetrator also abuses drugs or alcohol. Still the victim remains hopeful, even after suffering physical, sexual or psychological abuse, because the perpetrator will apologize for their conduct. The perpetrator will promise to change. The perpetrator may also place blame upon the victim for their role in causing the abuse.

The victim, in turn, may minimize the incident in his/her own mind. The victim may also blame themselves and believe that it was their fault the abuse occurred in the first place. The victim may accept the abuser’s apologies and believe that they will change. For a while the relationship will seem normal, until something happens to upset the abuser. Then the cycle of violence repeats itself all over again.

Joyce Dudley

Even after the physical injuries heal, the emotional scars can last a lifetime and children raised in this toxic environment are at a greater risk of becoming victims or abusers themselves. A victim/survivor can break this cycle of violence by coming forward and reporting domestic violence when it occurs. Victims need to know that they are not alone. They do not have to feel ashamed or embarrassed for what has happened to them.

There are many services that are available to assist victims of domestic violence with counseling, relocation and support. In addition, by reporting the crime the abuser can get help with their anger, drug and alcohol problems.

First and foremost, if either you or someone you know is in danger, call 9-1-1. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are multiple local services for victims of domestic violence:

For the 24-hour Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline, call:

» Santa Barbara Shelter, 24-Hour Crisis Line — 805.964.5245

» Lompoc Shelter, 24-Hour Crisis Line — 805.736.0965

» Santa Maria Shelter, 24-Hour Crisis Line — 805.925.2160

» Santa Ynez Valley, 24-Hour Crisis Line — 805.686.4390

Legal Aid may be able to assist victims with obtaining Civil Restraining Orders. Their contact information is:

» Santa Barbara — 805.963.6754

» Santa Maria — 805.922.9909

» Lompoc — 805.736.6582

For cases that have been reported to law enforcement, and referred to the District Attorney’s Office, victim/witness advocates with our District Attorney’s Office are available to provide assistance to all crime victims:

» Santa Barbara — 805.568.2400 or toll-free 855.840.3232

» Santa Maria — 805.346.7529 or toll-free 855.840.3233

» Lompoc — 805.737.7910

If you suspect anyone is being abused, please make the call. Be a part of the solution; the alternative can just be too hard to live with.

— Jennifer Karapetian is a deputy district attorney specializes in domestic violence in the Santa Maria District Attorney's Office, and Joyce Dudley is Santa Barbara County's district attorney.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Public Library System Awarded $250,000 in Federal Grants

By | Published on 09/14/2014


Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, has announced that approximately $250,000 in federal National Leadership Grants have been awarded to the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

The grant funds will be used to develop untapped family and community resources to address persistent achievement gaps, motivate reluctant readers, and reinforce essential literacy skills for young children.

“These grants will support the important efforts of our local library system to address some of the most challenging literacy issues in our community,” Capps said. “Facilitating and positively reinforcing early childhood reading habits can build lifelong habits that will serve our children for a lifetime.”

Capps has long been a strong advocate for the Library Services and Technology Act, which funds the NLG program, most recently working to keep it funded. NLG awards are used to support projects that address challenges facing libraries with the potential to advance best practices in those fields.

All NLG awards must be met with matching funds, which means the Santa Barbara Public Library System will receive over $400,000 to develop these programs.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

2 Men, 4 Juveniles Arrested in Gang-Related Assaults

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Wilfredo Hernandez
Wilfredo Hernandez

Two men and four juveniles, all of Santa Maria, have been arrested in connection with two gang-related assaults against one victim.

Sgt. Woody Vega said Santa Maria police officers responded at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday to a gang-related stabbing in the 1600 block of North Pine Street.

He said the victim sustained several stab wounds and was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center.

Investigating detectives determined that the victim had also been assaulted on Sept. 4 in the 1000 block of South Thornburg, according to Vega.

Detectives of the Gang Suppression Team this week arrested Wilfredo Hernandez, 18, Omar Raymundo, 18, and four juveniles as suspects in the assaults.

Vega said Hernandez was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of attempted murder and gang enhancement.

Omar Raymundo
Omar Raymundo

Raymundo was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and gang enhancement.

Three juveniles were booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of attempted murder and gang enhancement. One juvenile was booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and gang enhancement.

Vega said the investigation is ongoing.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Lompoc Residents Form ‘Trash Mob’ to Spruce Up Community

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Dozens of volunteers take action to remove litter from all over the city for the first of what is now planned to be a monthly event

Fed up with litter dotting their community, some residents took action Saturday by forming the first Lompoc "trash mob."

Dozens of volunteers spread out across the city to spruce up Lompoc in an effort that sprouted from a Facebook post.

Brent Hamner, one of the organizers, estimated about 60 people participated in the first of what’s planned to be a monthly event.

“(It’s) more than we expected, which is good considering it’s brand new,” Hamner said.

They plan to hold other trash mobs on the second Saturday of each month.

Hamner, one of the administrators of the Lompoc Forum group on Facebook, said a post about litter sparked many comments of complaint but little action toward solving the problem.

On Aug. 22, he created the Clean Up Lompoc group, which quickly gained members interested in targeting the trash in their community. Within 24 hours, the group had more than 50 members.

“Then it just took off from there,” he said.

Group member Frank Campo of Lompoc suggested calling it a trash mob, a play on the “cash mobs” that form to spend money at one business to help boost the economy.

Wild West Pizza & Grill supplied lunch for the volunteers. The city of Lompoc supported the effort and provided some supplies.

The grassroots clean-up group targeted a few sites Saturday such as the flood control channel near V Street and Olive Avenue, the ditch near A and D streets and fields around Home Depot and the Wine Ghetto.

Another organizer, Opal Andreatta, picked up garbage with her 8-year-old son, Trent.

“This is a way to do community outreach and care about the town,” she said.

People don't have to be part of the trash mob to participate, they can pick up litter whenever they’re out walking in the community, she said.

Lisa Reutzel of Lompoc picked up trash with her daughter, Lily. Her husband, Mark Reutzel, collected trash nearby.

A new resident of Lompoc, she said she noticed the trash.

“I figured I can’t complain about it unless I’m willing to do something about it,” she added.

At the end of the day, the organizers said they hauled five truckloads of trash to the landfill.

“I’m hoping this thing continues growing," Hammer added. "I’m sure it will.”

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Three-Dimensional Mural Comes Ashore in Lompoc

By | Published on 09/13/2014


'The Boatmen' by renowned artist John Pugh sits on the north exterior wall of Sissy’s Uptown Cafe

A ceremony Saturday afternoon marked the long-awaited addition of a seemingly three-dimensional mural, "The Boatmen," to Lompoc’s collection of big art.

The Lompoc Mural Society held the ceremony for the community’s newest wall art, which sits on the north exterior wall of Sissy’s Uptown Cafe, 112 South I St.

“I think we’re lucky, and we’re proud to have a John Pugh here given his reputation,” said Vicki Andersen, project administrator with the Lompoc Mural Society.

“The Boatmen” has been years in the making by renowned artist John Pugh, known for large trompe-l'oeil murals.

Trompe-l'œil is French for "deceive the eye” and refers to an art technique that employs realistic imagery to create an optical illusion of a three-dimensional image.

Some of those who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony approached the artwork for a closer look, needing to reassure themselves that the large vessels weren’t actually protruding from the wall, as they appeared. 

In addition to the three-dimensional appearance, the mural tells a story in three layers, Pugh noted. The large vessel depicts one of the Navy ship’s that ran aground at Honda Point in 1923. Additionally, it reflects a Spanish galleon to hearken to the conquerers and a Chumash wooden boat with members to show that era of local history.

Andersen learned of Pugh more than a decade ago when she saw one of his works in Twentynine Palms and coveted one for Lompoc.

“That mural down there, to this day when I see it again I have to go up and look at  it and touch it because I can’t tell where the ground really stops,” Andersen said.

Complications and other commissions delayed completion of Pugh’s Lompoc project, which finally was installed a couple of months ago. 

“You did 18 Mural in a Day (events) — I don’t know if you’ve heard about the mural in five years,” Pugh said, before thanking the group’s members for their patience. “I feel very good about his project and I hope you do, too.”

The Mural Society received donations from individuals and businesses.

“I just want to tell you that big art is alive and well in Lompoc,” said Carol Oliveira, board chairwoman for the Mural Society. “And aren’t we  proud? This is just such a magnificent thing to add to our inventory.”

In addition to celebrating completion of “The Boatmen,” the group restored two older murals in the past couple of months and installed another one that had been in storage.

For 25 years, Lompoc has embraced murals with dozens now decorating the Old Town walls. The project started to revive a deteriorating downtown and each piece of art reflects local history.

Some murals were commissioned to well-known artists while others were completed by locals. Additionally, the nonprofit group has held 18 Murals in a Day.

More than two decades later, restoration and preservation also have become a big focus. 

“We save part of every dime we get for a mural, we save that for restoration knowing that public art is something that we have to repair,” Oliveira said. “It is not forever.”

One of the looming projects involves restoring the Chumash-themed mural near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and H Street, she added

Today, the murals attract tourists each year.

“Our murals are known across the country and it’s interesting they’re known across the world,” Mayor John Linn said. “This is a big draw for our community.”

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara County Agencies Send Strike Teams to Silverado Fire in Orange County

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Santa Barbara County fire agencies have sent two strike teams down to the Silverado Fire burning in eastern Orange County.

The Silverado Fire broke out in the Cleveland National Forest on Friday morning and burned 1,600 acres by Saturday night, causing evacuation orders to be issued for the Silverado Canyon Road area.

A five-engine strike team from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department was send down Friday night, public information officer Mike Eliason said.

The 18-or-so people were joined by a battalion chief.

A multiagency strike team from Santa Barbara County left on Sunday, which included brush fire trucks from several fire departments, including Santa Barbara City Fire, Montecito Fire Protection DistrictCarpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, Lompoc Fire and Vandenberg Fire.

The Silverado Fire had about 738 personnel on site, 10 helicopters in use and five fixed-wing aircraft as of Saturday night.

Hot, dry weather is expected throughout Southern California for the weekend and early next week.

High temperatures are forecast for Santa Barbara County through Tuesday, and a red flag warning with high fire danger has been issued for the Santa Ynez Mountains through Sunday night.

Temperatures will be in the high 80s for Santa Barbara through Tuesday and then the mid-80s for the rest of the week.

The heat wave could break 100 degrees in the Santa Ynez Valley on Sunday, and it’s forecasted to be high 90s through Tuesday.

The National Weather Service also has issued a high surf advisory for the coming week, with the possibility of rip currents on local beaches due to the swells from Hurricane Odile moving off Mexico. 

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

New Building to House ICE Operations Under Construction in Santa Maria

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Century Street facility begins to take shape, with completion expected next spring

Construction is well under way on the new building to house Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in Santa Maria.

Walls have been raised for the building on Century Street, which runs parallel to nearby West Betteravia Road and West McCoy Lane.

“Barring any unforeseen delays, they anticipate ICE will move into the new office sometime this spring,” ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said.

The facility will house ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations that since 1996 have been based in temporary office space on the grounds of the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. The existing facility has become outdated, Haley said.

Approximately 12 employees now based at the federal prison complex will work at the new site in Lompoc.

ICE officials said the space would be used for administrative purposes and for working with area prisons and jails to pick up undocumented inmates set for release to determine their deportation status.

The federal agency’s representatives have repeatedly said the facility wouldn’t be a detention center and would have two or three rooms to temporarily hold 12 to 15 people. 

“Anyone arrested by ICE who is going to remain in the agency’s custody for more than 12 hours will be transferred to a detention center specifically equipped for that purpose,” Haley said.

The development sparked protests from immigrant and farming communities who expressed fears of random round ups of farmworkers.

Hundreds of opponents attended Santa Maria City Council meetings to protest the facility they feared would be used to randomly round up farmworkers and immigrants for deportation.

At the end of a marathon meeting in late March, the City Council ultimately upheld a Planning Commission decision to allow the project to proceed.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: When It Comes to Measure P, Misinformation Abounds

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Last Monday, Sept. 8, a defining feature of the dialogue surrounding Measure P was again on display: The Yes and No campaigns called for an end to their opponent’s misinformation and went on to contradict each other. Both sides continue to insist the other is not telling the truth (that about sums up politics as we know it!) and issue opposing statements, particularly on how the measure will affect current fossil fuel operations that use high-intensity extraction techniques. I would like to address some of the issues being raised.

First, can we please stop referring to the staff report presented to the county Board of Supervisors on June 13? One confusing line in the report misleadingly implied that the measure might apply to well maintenance, in which acids are used to clean a well; pretty much any well drilled into the earth and intended to be used for years on end needs this procedure to remain unclogged.

This is where the implication that the measure will affect all current operations stems from. This confusing line was the very reason that the Board of Supervisors voted to reject this report. It was a unanimous decision; even Supervisors Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino, who have both stated they oppose Measure P, agreed to not accept the report that continues to be quoted by No On Measure P supporters — for the very reason it was rejected.

Yes, the Water Guardians used the term “fracking” as a buzzword to quickly publicize the Healthy Air and Water Initiative. Steam injection, fracking and acidizing all share the need to pump vast amounts of water underground and involve toxic chemicals that can spill and seep into water supplies. They are also sometimes used in conjunction with one another; it is simpler to lump them together under a single term.

We know this state is in severe drought, and we know water is precious! There is currently no prohibition on fracking or other high-intensity techniques in the county. If the oil industry can get three of five votes from the Board of Supervisors, they can do whatever they want.

Most of the controversy surrounds existing operations using high-intensity techniques and how this measure would affect them. The initiative itself and the exemptions ordinance proposed by the county’s Planning and Energy Department very clearly exempt vested rights (Land Use & Planning Code 35.50.040 — A.3.), which is the legal term for existing, “non-conforming” operations. A non-conforming land use is considered to have a vested right to continue operating if it has obtained a valid building permit and has incurred substantial liabilities relying on the permit (meaning that construction/drilling has begun based on the issued permit). Clearly, all existing operations qualify and will be safe if Measure P passes.

Less than a third of current fossil fuel operations in this county use high-intensity techniques, but thousands of wells are expected to begin using them in the near future.

“By incurring substantial upfront expenditures based on existing zoning and preliminary approvals, a developer takes a ‘calculated risk’ that the rules of the game may change[1] … The courts in California have determined that the interest of a developer in proceeding with the development of its property should be assigned low priority on the scale of affected rights, and therefore can be offset by a relatively moderate compelling need[2]."

Arlo Bender-Simon
Isla Vista


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: ‘Profit Over Safety’ — A Century of Oil/Gas Company Corruption

By | Published on 09/13/2014


On Sept. 4, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans found the BP oil conglomerate guilty of “gross negligence,” “recklessness” and “willful misconduct” in its behavior leading to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The finding renders BP liable to as much as $17.6 billion in fines.

Found guilty of “negligence” in the same trial were oil companies TransOcean and Halliburton (which has paid $1 billion to settle claims against it).

All involved, said Judge Barbier, “chose profit over safety.”

Such negligent, reckless, illegal behavior of oil conglomerates is not confined to these companies, is not confined to the technology involved in deep water drilling, is not confined to any one area of the globe and is not confined to any single decade since 1900.

A corruption index published by Transparency International, based on 13 surveys globally, finds that the oil and gas industry and mining are the industries that account for most global corruption. The evaluations were performed by business leaders in each country.

At No. 22 out of 178 countries, with a rating of 7.1, the U.S. was rated below (more corrupt than) virtually every European country, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It even rated a little below Hong Kong, Chile and Qatar.

Here are a few typical examples:

Earlier this year, the Alberta (Canada) Energy Regulator published findings that Plains Midstream Canada had released close to half a million litres of crude oil into the Red Dear River in 2012 due to a pipeline failure. (That spill occurred while PMC was still cleaning up the results of its massive spill in April of the previous year.) The report found that the company failed to comply with both the AER's and its own regulations regarding pipeline maintenance and inspection.

The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 14, 2014) revealed that since 2010, 33 oil companies in 12 states using at least 351 wells, illegally used diesel — known by the Environmental Protection Agency to contain carcinogens and neurotoxins — in their fracking operations. No permits in these states, required for such use, were ever issued. The Environmental Integrity Project, not industry regulators, brought this to light.

A YouTube video records an oil company in Shafter, Calif., dumping large quantities of toxic fracking wastewater into an unlined pit, in violation of California Water Code and California Water Quality regulations. The whistleblower videographer, not industry regulators, exposed this corruption.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported serious drinking water contamination caused by oil production in Montana: almost 18 square miles of the aquifer that's the only source of drinking water for about 3,000 people of Poplar, whose private drinking water wells and public water supply wells for the city are irremediably fouled by brine, requiring them to build a pipeline to bring in drinking water from the Missouri River.

By EPA estimates, more than 40 million gallons of brine have entered the drinking water aquifer over five decades. In early 2014, the agency ordered Murphy Exploration, Pioneer Natural Resources and Samson Hydrocarbons to pay the city $320,000 to reimburse costs related to water infrastructure and relocating water wells.

November 1902: Ida Tarbell, in McClure's Magazine, begins her famous expose of John Rockefeller's Standard Oil, which had achieved a monopoly by corrupting public officials and eliminating competition with dishonest practices.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

William Smithers
Santa Barbara


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara County Local Fest in Lompoc a Homegrown Hit

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Fourth annual event celebrates the area's music, arts, food, beer and more

The fourth annual Santa Barbara County Local Fest heralded homegrown music, arts, crafts, food and more in Lompoc on Saturday.

The event at Ken Adam Park near Allan Hancock College’s Lompoc Valley Center was organized by the Village Farmers Market Association

Lompoc-based Cellar Roots opened the festival, performing on a stage tucked among oak trees. Multiple other performances occurred during the day.

Nearby arts and crafts booths sold various handmade items, including jewelry, candles and more.

Local beers and wines also were available at the site.

Local Fest
Colbie Bailey, 2, of Lompoc is drawn to the rabbits in the petting zoo at the Santa Barbara County Local Fest in Lompoc on Saturday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A bounce house and petting zoo with goats, rabbits, poultry and other critters attracted the youngest visitors.

Organizer Joel Marshall, executive director of the Village Farmers Market Association, noted that this is the fourth year for the Local Fest.

“We’ve kinda got it down,” he said, adding the organizers still remain ready to adapt as needed.

This year’s event features more vendors than the earlier festivals, he added.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Agrees to Settle Civil Rights Lawsuits

By | Published on 09/13/2014


The Santa Barbara City Council has agreed to pay settlements in two federal civil rights lawsuits filed against the city and Santa Barbara police alleging excessive use of force, according to the defense attorney in the case.

Both incidents occurred in 2011 and involved Santa Barbara police Officer Aaron Tudor.

In October of that year, Tudor pulled over Santa Barbara resident Tony Denunzio on suspicion of DUI after allegedly changing lanes without signaling on Las Positas. He claimed Denunzio resisted arrest, which led to a physical altercation eventually involving hitting and Denunzio being tasered 13 times, defense attorney Darryl Genis said.

In the second case, about a month later, Tudor reportedly broke the arm of 19-year-old Britteny Cotledge while putting on handcuffs, also for allegedly resisting arrest.

During a closed session meeting Tuesday, council members agreed to pay Denunzio $120,000 to settle the case, and allocated another $50,000 to avoid Cotledge’s lawsuit, Genis said.

He said a private insurance company also agreed to pay Denunzio $25,000 on behalf of phlebotomist Lessor Michaels, who faced a similar civil rights suit for allegedly drawing a blood sample from Denunzio in County Jail without his consent and under hazardous, unsanitary and unsafe medical conditions.

Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne on Friday said he couldn’t confirm settlement details or offer further comment on the case.

“Under the Brown Act, if the settlement were final, we would’ve had to disclose that fact on Tuesday,” Calonne said.

Genis said the settlement would not be final until all documents were approved and signed by both parties, although he didn’t know when that might occur.

Denunzio should have been taken to the hospital first, and not jail, because of his injuries, which included broken ribs, Genis said.

Being tasered so many times for switching lanes without signaling is “absurd,” he said, noting that a hung jury later vindicated Denunzio from the DUI charge, which the District Attorney’s Office never re-filed.

“Our Police Department has chosen to protect the City of Santa Barbara with someone who doesn’t understand their own strength,” Genis said. “We shouldn’t need protection from them.”

Genis said his clients are glad to see some justice, but he admonished the city for not adding language to the settlement that might prevent future occurrences.

“They’re happy with the settlement, but the problem hasn’t been corrected,” he said. “Tudor was never disciplined, but should have been. This was a bad situation that easily could’ve been stopped, but wasn’t. I’m not happy it happened in the first place.”

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Mark Shields: Renouncing American Citizenship — for Profit

By | Published on 09/13/2014


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people with all the rights of flesh-and-bone citizens — beginning, of course, with the First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money in American election campaigns. But corporations, it turns out, do not have the same responsibilities as do their fellow citizens.

Corporations have all the rights and privileges of citizenship. Their copyrights, property and contracts are protected by American courts and law enforcement. The corporations' leaders, thanks to the work of the U.S. government, can confidently fly in safe skies, breathe clean air, enjoy national parks and, even more importantly, have their homes and their families defended and kept safe by the U.S. military.

And unlike the Marine privates or the hometown firefighters who put their lives on the line, an American corporation can legally — and outrageously — evade paying a single cent in U.S. taxes.

All that corporation has to do is renounce its American citizenship and, through a legalized bait-and-switch technique called corporate inversion, pretend to be bought by a company located in a country, such as Ireland, with a low corporate tax rate. The U.S. corporation's legal headquarters moves on paper, but the company continues to do business as usual in this country, where the nation's public sector will continue to protect and defend that corporate freeloader.

All the corporations' leaders and stockholders have to do is shamefully put profits over patriotism. Just over a half-century ago, a new American president pledged, on behalf of the nation he led, to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship." These expatriate corporations, which welcome all the benefits of American citizenship and abdicate all the responsibilities, have rewritten John Kennedy's words: We, the privileged and the powerful, will pay no price; we will bear no burden; we will meet no hardship.

This is not about whether U.S. corporate tax rates are higher. They are. But let it be understood that the effective tax rate paid by profitable U.S. corporations is not the 35 percent in the federal statute but instead 13 percent. The New York Times reported that tax avoidance has helped push "down the corporate share of the nation's tax receipts — from 30 percent of all federal revenue in the mid-1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009."

Apologists for the runaway corporations that refuse to pay any part of their fair share to support America argue that the entire tax code should be overhauled. But that cannot be done in the next six weeks. Just because we cannot do everything does not mean we cannot do something. Who should pay more to cover the public costs the parasite companies stiffed us on? Doctors? Nurses? Cops? Teachers? Small-business women?

This ought to be a defining issue in the 2014 campaign. If a corporation willing to renounce its American citizenship for the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver while sponging off working American families does not outrage us, then our moral compass is broken. It's time to find out.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Tam Hunt: U.S. Hypocrisy on International Law?

By | Published on 09/13/2014


President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a major new front in the war on terror. He stated his administration’s resolve to attack the terrorist group, now known as the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), wherever it exists, including in Syria, a new front in the never-ending war on terror.

The U.S. has already been hitting IS in Iraq for the last month, launching over 150 strikes. Obama’s speech was meant to announce a new multiyear effort to root out the IS threat from its stronghold in Syria as well as Iraq.

International law is widely acknowledged to be a central part of the modern world order, touted by western leaders both left and right. “Order” requires law, and there is a large body of treaties, charters and related precedent that constitute “international law.” The U.N. Charter, created in 1945 by the U.S. and its allies in the wake of World War II, is the basis for most international law. When Russia appeared to be involving itself militarily in Crimea and Ukraine, western leaders, including President Obama, frequently cited international law as the basis for their critiques.

It is thus with great irony, after scouring U.S. media for any mention of international law in relation to Obama’s planned strikes on ISIS in Syria, that almost the only mention of international law in this context comes from statements by Russia’s foreign minister, who stated (accurately) that U.S. attacks in Syria without United Nations support would constitute aggression, a major crime under international law.

(Whether Obama has secured the required domestic legal authorizations is another, also quite controversial, matter that is outside the scope of this column.)

The key component of the international legal order that the U.S. created with its allies after World War II, which includes the United Nations as the primary institution for deliberating and enforcing international law, is the principle of sovereignty. Sovereign nations may be not invaded or attacked without provocation or without Security Council authorization. These are the only two circumstances where the U.N. Charter allows one nation to take up arms against another.

Syria, whether we despise its leaders or not, is a sovereign nation. Syria has strenuously objected to Obama’s announced plans to strike ISIS in Syria. So if Obama does strike inside Syria without U.N. support or Syrian permission the U.S. is clearly an aggressor under international law. Moreover, the U.N. Charter is, by operation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the “supreme law of the land” because the U.N. Charter is a treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate. So Obama would be breaking U.S. law as well as international law.

So why does Obama and the U.S. media ignore international law? Strangely, it seems that right-wing complaints about the mainstream media are in some ways correct: Obama does seem to enjoy a free pass, at least when it comes to foreign affairs. (We shouldn’t forget, however, The New York Times’ shameful free pass for President George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War, however — remember Judith Miller and her stories about the non-existent WMD.)

Bush got a lot of justifiable flack for his arguments for war in Iraq, and particularly for the idea that Iraq was a threat that needed to be dealt with at that time even though he didn’t argue that it was an immediate threat. This type of war was described as “preventive war” and was a new argument for major military action. Preventive war is far more tenuous than arguments for preemptive war, which is actually allowed under normal international law when the threat of attack is imminent.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Obama’s arguments for striking ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The arguments are almost identical to Bush’s and rely largely on the idea of preventive war. Obama stated in his Wednesday night primetime address:

"If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners, including Europeans and some Americans, have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks."

But there has been nary a peep from our media about these new arguments for preventive war.

As a lawyer, I understand arguments. That’s my job. Lawyers in private practice are paid to defend their clients or to otherwise advance their clients’ interests in a way that doesn’t rely on principle so much as it relies on arguing whatever will achieve the objectives, even if those arguments are contradictory. Similarly, Obama seems to be ignoring any mention of international law in the context of Syria because he knows it’s a losing argument — despite the fact that he was happy to invoke international law vociferously in criticizing Putin’s actions in Ukraine just months ago.

Admittedly, a U.N.-approved approach to attacking ISIS in Syria would be tricky because both Russia and China have since 2011 vetoed five attempted Security Council resolutions that may have opened a path for military action against Syria. However, things are different when it comes to ISIS instead of Bashar al-Assad as the target in Syria. Russia and China have both supported two recent Security Council statements (lacking the force of resolutions) condemning ISIS as “responsible for thousands of abuses against the Syrian and Iraqi people” and arguing that ISIS “must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out.”

It is not entirely unreasonable to think that Russia, China and Syria may support carefully prescribed U.S. airstrikes against key ISIS targets in Syria because none of these entities is a friend of ISIS and, as demonstrated by at least three recent U.N. Security Council statements, China and Russia recognize the brutality of ISIS and the need to take some kind of action against ISIS.

But nowhere in Obama’s recent statements is there any acknowledgement of the need for U.N. support of any kind. It seems that Obama has given in to the chorus of support for war outside the international legal system, yet again, even though he campaigned as a candidate who would not only end the Iraq War but would “end the mindset that got us into the Iraq War.” Well, Obama did ultimately end the Iraq War, after another two years of war, but based on a schedule set entirely by Bush. And now he’s restarting the Iraq War. He is also winding down the Afghanistan War, 13 years after it began, but has waged it heartily for five years now.

I won’t discuss Libya here, but it is quite telling that the three places the U.S. has invaded in the last decade or so — Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya — are in a shambles. War is clearly not the solution to the acknowledged problems in these countries, whether it is approved by the U.N. or not (for the record, the U.N. did approve military action, of some kind, in both Libya and Afghanistan, but not in Iraq).

One thing is clear: Obama has, with this most recent military action, cemented his membership in the bipartisan “war party.” My next piece will examine the roots of the war party in the U.S. and why almost every president seems to give in to the war party before too long.

— Tam Hunt is a lawyer based in Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Diane Dimond: In Wake of Ray Rice Domestic Violence, NFL Still Doesn’t Get It

By | Published on 09/13/2014


The statistics are easy to find. One in every three women in the United States will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

It is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Every single day in America women are murdered by their "loving" husbands or boyfriends. And, studies report that up to 10 million children are eyewitnesses to the brutality every year.

Anyone with half a brain knows domestic violence is a big, under-reported problem in the United States. So, why didn't it dawn on executives at the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens that running back Ray Rice could be a domestic abuser?

When they watched the first video of Rice, 27, and his then-girlfriend, Janay Parker, 26, going into an empty casino elevator and seconds later emerging on a lower floor with Rice manhandling her limp body, what did they think might have happened?

Did Rice's bosses think a tipsy Parker simply tripped and fell as the elevator descended? If they did, that's just nonsense.

Rice was clearly seen dragging his unconscious fiancee off the elevator, dropping her face first to the floor, giving her legs a kick as he tried to get them past the elevator threshold and might have, as some reports indicated, actually spit on her. By the way, this occurred last Valentine's Day weekend, and the initial police report specifically stated that Rice had assaulted his sweetheart with his hand, "rendering her unconscious."

So, after seeing the disgusting display and reading the police report, the league tells the five-year, $35 million player that he's suspended from playing in the first two regular season games. Big deal. Rice was also fined $500,000, as if money could erase the deed.

It took NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about a month to hear the howls of protest from victim advocates. Going forward, he then announced, all first-time domestic abuse violations would be met with a six-game suspension. He didn't mention what would happen if one of his prized athletes went to jail for the offense.

The NFL has an official intervention policy for athletes who take illegal drugs, but up until now no official response to team members who beat the crap out of a girlfriend. Something is off-kilter there.

Domestic abuse exists because we let it. We, collectively, fail to adequately shame and punish the perpetrator. Too many people focus on why the victim didn't pack up and leave after the first attack instead of asking the common-sense question: What is wrong with him?! (For the record: Domestic abuse can also happen to males, but it occurs at a vastly less frequent rate.)

As we all know, it took a second, much more graphic videotape to surface — one from inside the elevator that captured the moment Parker was dealt a left hook so vicious that it knocked her unconscious — before Goodell announced Rice would be "suspended indefinitely." Only then did the Ravens terminate Rice's contract.

Apparently Goodell, the father of twin daughters, couldn't imagine there had been a domestic assault. He had to actually see the 5-foot-8-inch, 206-pound Rice decking his soon-to-be bride and treating her like a gym bag full of dirty clothes before taking definitive action.

As I write this, the NFL's credibility has taken another blow as opposing versions have surfaced about when league officials first saw the knockout video. The Associated Press reports the football big wigs received a copy back in April. Goodell denies that and says he first saw it when the TMZ website posted it as an exclusive on Sept. 8.

That's beside the point, in my opinion. No one should have needed to see the pathetic sight of Parker being brutalized and struggling for consciousness before condemning the man who put her in that position.

Having said all that, let's remember it wasn't the NFL or Goodell or the Ravens that slammed a fist into the face of a young woman. It was Ray Rice. And it is his new wife who refuses to see herself as a victim.

It's a dynamic that plays out every day in countless intimate relationships. Someone gets horribly hurt but still clings to the abuser. Healing that kind of tortured psychological mindset is what we should focus upon because many times someone gets killed.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Adelante Students Teleconference with Caribbean Research Vessel

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Students from fourth, fifth and sixth grades at Adelante Charter School in Santa Barbara experienced a live two-way video conference with scientists aboard the EV Nautilus, via a specially equipped auditorium at the UCSB Marine Sciences Department last Tuesday.

The EV Nautilus is an educational research vessel currently exploring underwater volcanic seamounts in the Caribbean Sea, in the Anegada Passage near the British Virgin Islands.

Students were inspired as they entered the darkened room, illuminated by an ocean-light projector, which threw underwater-light patterns on the walls. Students were able to ask direct questions of scientists aboard the Nautilus who helped them understand more about their explorations through the lenses of oceanography, geology and biology.

Later on the same trip, students were able to enter the REEF center and the marine science laboratories. Sixth-grade students who had previously visited the touch tanks quickly became enthusiastic docents and were able to teach fourth and fifth graders about marine life in the tanks including sea slugs, decorator crabs, sea urchins, sea stars, sea cucumbers, swell sharks, sea snails and more.

During another rotation, students were able to dissect the holdfast (or root-like fastening structure of giant kelp) in the laboratory. During the dissection, students discovered abundant forms of life, including pistol shrimp, sea urchins, brittle stars, decorator crabs, baby lobster, scallops, tube worms and more. Students were amazed at the biodiversity in these holdfasts. Students were also able to quietly tour the marine laboratories and peek in on scientists conducting experiments.

Overall, it was an extremely inspiring day for everyone involved, from being immersed in a live-feed from the remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) Hercules tethered to the Nautilus 3,000 miles away, to being in university laboratories discovering a variety of new organisms and watching expert scientists at work, this experience deepened all of the students ability to envision themselves in a science academic career. Of the 54 students present, 30 are now considering a future in marine science, while 15 think that a future in marine science is highly probable. The teachers are grateful to everyone involved who made the trip a possibility as it was a great foundational experience for another year rich with science learning.

Click here to learn more about the Nautilus and watch a live feed of their work.

— Michael Macioce is a sixth-grade teacher at Adelante Charter School.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Dr. Jeffrey Fried: On World Sepsis Day, a Call for Much-Needed Research Funding

By | Published on 09/13/2014


Today, Sept. 13, has been designated as World Sepsis Day. You probably know little or nothing about sepsis, but it is more common and more deadly than diseases you hear about regularly.

Jeffrey Fried
Jeffrey Fried

Sepsis, the body’s response to severe infections, kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. It is the most common cause of hospital death in the United States, ahead of both myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and stroke.

When people speak of death due to overwhelming infection, they are generally referring to severe sepsis, and septic shock, both of which have high mortality rates. Between 2000 and 2007, the incidence of sepsis in the United States increased by 10 percent each year. Despite advances in sepsis management, which have improved the chances of surviving this disease, the increasing number of people developing sepsis has caused more people to die than ever before.

Pneumonia, urinary tract infections, abscesses, meningitis and perforated bowel are just a few examples of infections that lead to sepsis. But other severe and deadly infections we hear about in the news, such as the ebola virus, influenza, toxic shock, MRS, “superbugs” and “flesh-eating bacteria” are also forms of sepsis. Due to the many causes of sepsis, it has many different manifestations and presentations. It is a great mimic of other medical conditions, and thus can be difficult to diagnose, often leading to delays in treatment.

We know that early recognition and rapid and appropriate treatment of sepsis saves lives. For example, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, a sepsis protocol begun in 2005 reduced the mortality of septic shock, the most deadly manifestation of sepsis, from 43 percent in 2005 to currently 18 percent. This striking improvement in mortality was accomplished not with new antibiotics, or new equipment, but by continually improving and standardizing the processes of how we care for these patients. This was all done at a nominal cost — in the tens of thousands, not millions of dollars.

Unfortunately, while these protocols save lives, they are not yet the standard of care at most hospitals in the United States. Additionally, while the improvements in outcome have been dramatic, hospitals using them the longest, such as ours, have reached a plateau in terms of improving outcome. We have grabbed the “low hanging fruit,” and further reductions in mortality will likely come at a much higher cost. We need simple rapid tests to identify sepsis quickly and accurately in our hospitals and clinics. We need better treatments, including new classes of antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals, as well as agents to reverse the body’s often overwhelming and deadly response to these infections, which we call sepsis.

Our health care system spends $30 billion treating sepsis and pneumonia in our hospitals, more than twice the second-place condition — osteoarthritis. In addition to the financial cost, a recent study suggests that in spite of accounting for only 10 percent of hospital admissions, as many as half of all deaths in our hospitals are due to sepsis. Nevertheless, while sepsis places an extraordinary burden on our society in terms of loss of life, productivity and financial cost, we spend very little on sepsis research. In fact, the entire 2013 NIH budget allocated to sepsis research was only $88 million, or less than three-tenths of 1 percent of the NIH research budget. We are thus spending only $458 per death for sepsis, while we are spending $20,000 per breast cancer death. This is in no way meant to belittle the need or importance of research for breast cancer or other diseases. I am trying to point out the completely inadequate investment in sepsis research.

Why is so little devoted to sepsis research? Likely, because there is no real sepsis “constituency.” Sepsis is not a chronic illness like many other diseases. While everyone knows someone living with cancer or heart disease or stroke, once successfully treated, sepsis resolves and generally does not lead to chronic illness. Nevertheless, it is now recognized that some survivors do develop persistent physical, psychological or cognitive deficits due to sepsis, but patients and their physicians generally do not make this connection.

People who survive sepsis usually think of surviving an illness from pneumonia or some other specific infection, without recognizing that this was actually a form of sepsis. This "recognition gap" keeps these patients and their friends and families from forming a coalition of advocates. Consequently, in addition to a lack of federal research dollars, private funding for sepsis is miniscule. Without a constituency of chronic patients, there are almost no private sepsis organizations, and the ones that exist are small and receive relatively little financial support from the public.

Thus, while we commemorate World Sepsis Day and celebrate our significant successes in improving our outcomes in treating septic patients, we need to consider prioritizing our government and charitable funding toward increasing sepsis awareness, education and research. For further information, readers should see

— Dr. Jeffrey Fried is pulmonary and critical care specialist at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The opinions expressed are his own.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

City of Lompoc Warns of Utility Phone Scam

By | Published on 09/13/2014


The City of Lompoc’s Municipal Utilities has been made aware of fraudulent demands for payment to avoid the disruption of utility services.

A common ruse is that a meter is scheduled for removal and a payment has to be made immediately to avoid the disruption of service. The city does not require a customer to pay for meter maintenance other than through his or her usual and customary utility charge.

The city will never notify you only by phone for any meter maintenance or account servicing. Beware of anyone demanding you to pay by a specific payment method. The city only mails notices for delinquent payments and always notifies customers of pending equipment changes by hand-delivered methods (in person or with door hangers). The city has several methods of payment that we accept, and we do not require the use of prepaid cards to satisfy obligations.

The current scam includes at least one person, representing themselves as Vanessa Ocampo of the city, notifies a customer their meter is being taken out and that to ensure its quick replacement requires a prepaid payment to avoid shutoff.

The scam has been able to “spoof” the city’s main phone number with caller ID systems to make the scam appear more legitimate. To further enforce the legitimate nature of the scam, at least one of the callers provides their name, a Vanessa Ocampo. Please be aware the city does not have caller ID for the main phone number or any other phone number, and there is no Vanessa Ocampo employed by the city. Also be aware that any meter maintenance is arranged well in advance and is done with excellent customer service to ensure the absolute minimum in service outage and never for multiple days.

To ensure you have a legitimate request, feel free to call City Hall’s main number at 805.736.1261, where you will be greeted by our receptionist. While the “spoofed” scam call gives a caller ID for the city’s main number a return call to the main number will not go to the scammer.

Never provide private information to anyone unless you have initiated the request. Always call to get your account information if you don’t already have it available from your utility bill.

This is a common scam, and if you are called, please ask for as much information as possible from the caller including their company name, the individual’s name and their direct callback number. Do not agree to pay any amount, and never give any account information over the phone (card or utility information) and report to the Lompoc Police Department.

— Sgt. Chuck Strange is a public information officer for the Lompoc Police Department.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Agriculture Secretary: California Products, Food Safety Vital to World Supply

By | Published on 09/12/2014


The state's Karen Ross is among the featured speakers at the 'Growing Possibilities Ag Forum' in Lompoc

California supplies two-thirds of the world’s fruit and tree nuts, along with one-third of the vegetables, a status that must be protected by following food safety standards.

That was the message delivered Friday by the state’s agricultural leader to a group gathered in Lompoc.

“One of the trends we all need to keep in mind is we are part of an interconnected global society, and California has become that reliable, safe, high-quality provider to the global food chain,” California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said.

Ross spoke to more than 150 people who attended the “Growing Possibilities Ag Forum” at the Dick DeWees Community and Senior Center.

The forum was hosted by the Economic Alliance of Northern Santa Barbara, the City of Lompoc and Allan Hancock College.

“It’s easy to get lost in the numbers of what we do, but they have such big impact, and it’s something to bear in mind,” Ross said.

California is the nation’s No. 1 ag state, with $42.6 billion in agricultural productivity annually, she said, adding tha tag exports totaled more than $18 billion, a number that increased 176 percent in the last decade.

“What would the world do without California?” Ross asked.

California now ships wine to 102 countries, and the state is the world’s fourth-largest wine producer, she added.

“I love all 400 commodities equally, but there are just some that help me get through the day better,” said Ross, drawing laughter from the audience.

She is the former president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers and former executive director of the Winegrape Growers of America.

Ross noted that the value of the state’s produce may be taken for granted by Californians, but is obvious to anyone who has tried to find quality fresh vegetables or fruit in another nation or on the East Coast in the winter.

“The bounty of agriculture in California and the diversity of choices that we offer to consumers here and around the world is unparalleled,” Ross added.

During her international trips, Ross said, she repeatedly hears about how other nations that experienced their own food-safety scares know they can count on California agriculture, noting the state’s growers learned “a hard lesson in very harsh ways.”

“That fact is, we have learned, and that investment that we do on our farms, ranches and processing plants to maximize safety and prevent an incident has translated into something very very positive,” she added.

Scott Horsfall, chief executive officer of the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement, told about the successful rules and practices put into place by lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens growers. 

The agreement followed an especially virulent e.coli outbreak pinpointed to spinach, leaving more than 200 people sick and causing four deaths in 2006. 

“It’s really that culture of food safety we’re driving towards establishing and creating in our industry,” he said.

Eight years ago, a federal alert warning people not to eat spinach hit the California industry hard. 

“It basically went from a fairly robust market to zero sales overnight,” he said.

In response, the leafy greens industry created the marketing agreement calling for safety regulations, covering basically everything found in a bowl of salad, Horsfall noted.

“A really important reason they did this was to bring mandatory government oversight on the farm. There had never been a government program on the farm related to food safety in the past,” he said.

This program means farms undergo several safety audits each year, and must regularly test water sources. Worker hygiene also is important, with hair nets required in the fields.

Members are certified as meeting the food safety standards, he said, adding the rules have led to a culture change in the field where workers are commended if they report possible problems.

Santa Barbara County Ag Commissioner Cathy Fisher told the crowd that while agriculture is a multimillion-dollar industry between Santa Maria and Carpinteria, its value actually is much higher. 

Her agency hired a consultant to identify the broader impact of ag in the county, using the 2012 crop report of $1.3 billion for production value. In reality, using the multiplier effect to include indirect aspects such as supplies, ag contributed $2.8 billion to the economy in Santa Barbara County.

“That’s quite a difference,” she added.

Fisher also said agriculture in the county created approximately 25,000 jobs.

The forum include a panel discussion focused on the opportunities and challenges of the ag sector.

Andy Rice of OSR Enterprises urged those in attendance to focus on working together.

“Collaboration is the key word. If you take nothing else out of today, take that,” he said.

Along with food safety, the event highlighted agriculture in northern Santa Barbara County, and included a showing of the “Growing Possibilities” video created by Hancock College. 

Awards were given to a six longtime ag-industry employees from several firms plus the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Stand Down Event for Veterans in Need Still Seeking Community Donations

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Socks, T-shirts, underwear and towels will be accepted at locations in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara

Last fall, the Santa Barbara County Stand Down event reached out to more than 450 veterans in need, and volunteers are already gearing up to make this year's event another success.

The event invites veterans to partake in an array of free services, including more basic services such as free showers and haircuts, meals and clothing to résumé help, job-hunting advice and even legal advice for those in need.

The Santa Maria Fairpark will host the event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, and veterans in other locations, including five places in Santa Barbara, can take a free shuttle to the park for the event.

The event's organizers are asking people to pitch in and contribute donations they still need, including men’s and women’s socks, T-shirts, underwear and towels, and different locations in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara will be accepting those donations, according to Sandy Agalos, coordinator for the event.

Agalos said a storage container had already been filled with donations after just a few days.

Agalos works as an aide to Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, who first proposed a local version of the event after watching a 60 Minutes episode on the Stand Down event in San Diego.

Agalos traveled to the event to see if it could be done locally.

Upon returning, "I said I think we can do it and [Steve] said, 'Go for it,'" Agalos said.

Since then, Agalos said the event has highlighted "the goodness of people," from the fairgrounds letting the event use the space for free to the hundreds of volunteers who help.

More than 70 service providers will be on site during the event, and Agalos encouraged veterans to take advantage of the offerings.

"It's a respite, it's a safe enclosure and no one is going to hassle them," she said.

To drop off donation items in Santa Barbara, the Common Ground Santa Barbara County Office, 131 E. Anapamu St., will be accepting items from 10 a.m. to noon next Monday and Tuesday.

In Lompoc, donations can be taken to the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce, 111 Sout I St., next Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also in Lompoc, collection boxes have been set up for drop-off during normal business hours at the City of Lompoc, Lompoc Unified School District, Excel Personnel Services, Coast Hills, Lompoc and Vandenberg Village, Valley Medical Group Counseling Center, South Side Coffee Co. and the Lompoc Family YMCA.

In Santa Maria, donations can be taken to the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg St., to the PODS container at Gate 7 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Also accepting items in Santa Maria is the American GI Forum Community Center, 116 Agnes St., which will be open from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 20.

For more information on donating or volunteering with the effort, visit the group's website by clicking here or call 805.346.8402.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

After Search, Report of Possible Missing Swimmer at Arroyo Burro Beach Determined False Alarm

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Santa Barbara County Fire crews and water rescue teams responded to Arroyo Burro Beach Park on Friday afternoon to reports of a possible missing swimmer shortly before 4:30 p.m., but the incident was later determined to be a false alarm.

There were conflicting witness accounts over the man's general description, and a 30-minute search of the area didn't find anyone in distress in the water, County Fire public information officer Mike Eliason said.

Authorities determined it was a false alarm around 5:15 p.m. and called off the search.

The swimmer was reportedly last seen in the water between the surf line and the buoys near the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach restaurant, swimming with two dogs, according to radio traffic. 

The dogs came to shore, but the person hasn’t been seen, according to radio traffic.

It appears someone swam out with their dogs and went past the area the dogs were comfortable, then the two dogs returned to shore and started barking, Eliason said.

Santa Barbara county and city fire crews searched for a possible missing swimmer Friday afternoon. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

There was a coordinated search for about 30 minutes, including the county helicopter, rescue boarders from Santa Barbara, a rescue swimmer, a Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol boat, County Fire jet skis and people searching from the nearby hillside looking out over the water, he said.

A Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched out of Los Angeles but got called off, he added. 

Because neither witness could more accurately describe what the man looked like — both said he was tall and thin — authorities didn't have enough to go on, Eliason said.

He said the search could serve as a teaching moment for others who might find themselves in a similar situation where something is amiss.

"Try to pick some article of clothing to remember," Eliason said.

Authorities were doing traffic control at the beach’s parking lot for the responding fire engines, but cleared the area by 6 p.m.

Noozhawk reporter Gina Potthoff contributed to this story.  

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Hotel Indigo Shows Off Santa Barbara Area’s First ‘Air Water’ Dispenser

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Santa Monica-based Skywell LLC produces devices to create water from moisture in the air

A new water dispenser in the lobby of Hotel Indigo in Santa Barbara resembles the clean, classic look of purifiers used before the metallic machine, but its production process is anything but predictable.

The Skywell 5T uses technology creating water from moisture in the air through a so-called air water dispenser.

It looks like water, tastes like water and hydrates like the stuff.

Although sounding too good to be true, especially during a devastating regional drought, Santa Monica-based Skywell LLC has developed the technology to create “air water” — what we all know and love, sans additives and natural minerals.

Hotel Indigo just plugged its machine into a standard electric outlet this week as one of a dozen Southern California hotels and businesses piloting the company’s first models for free in a “first-glass program,” said Jonathan Carson, Skywell co-founder and president.

The five-gallon 5T unit draws in air and takes that collected moisture to purify through a multi-filter process, which involves ultraviolet and ozone exposure.

Each machine has a touch-screen app to control temperatures and monitor daily water usage, with production depending on the climate — humidity of at least 35 percent required, creating about five gallons per day.

Users can press one of two buttons, hot or cold, and then dispense and drink.

If businesses like the dispensers after 30 to 60 days, they can lease one for about $80 per month or buy one for about $2,800.

Skywell co-founder and president Jonathan Carson presses a button to fill a cup with cold water created in one of his company's "air water dispensers," which are being piloted in a dozen places in Southern California, including Hotel Indigo in Santa Barbara. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The technology has been around awhile, but Carson said other companies haven’t been so successful marketing a product, partly because picking a target market can be difficult.

Carson co-founded the company more than a year ago with Skywell CEO Ron Dorfman and Eric Kurtzman, a fellow Los Angeles attorney who helped Carson create technology firm Kurtzman Carson Consultants.

Skywell plans to focus initially on offices and multi-unit environments, such as hotels, schools, hospitals and other businesses whose owners want to do their part to help the environment by limiting plastic-bottle usage and water waste, Carson said.

Skywell could extend to other U.S. markets and the home as soon as next year.

“The need is pretty dire up here,” Carson said. “It’s very similar to your average small refrigerator when it comes to energy consumption.”

Carson expected the five-gallon Skywell model to be in 25 more businesses by next month, with a 100-gallon version for consumption and one for irrigation coming soon after. Figuring out how to filter in additives and minerals will follow.

Realizing the scarcity of water and other resources, Skywell will compete with the five-gallon delivery model and other water filtration systems, Carson said, not your average tap water.

Hotel Indigo manager Dan Alvarado is already enjoying what he called a “beautiful machine,” which replaced a more wasteful reverse osmosis device purifying tap water.

“We are excited to have this opportunity,” Alvarado said. “I hope we can keep it long term.”

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito Selects New Rector

By | Published on 09/12/2014


The Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delevett comes to the local parish from Illinois, and will start in December

After an extensive search, a new rector currently working in Illinois has been chosen to lead one of the South Coast's oldest churches, and will begin her tenure this December.

The Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delevett has accepted the call to serve as rector of All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church at 83 Eucalyptus Lane.

Eyer-Delevett will become the eighth rector in the church's 114-year history, according to statement sent by the church on Friday.

“My journey to your spiritual home to discern with your vestry confirmed that I believed God was calling me to be your rector,” Eyer-Delevett wrote in a letter to the parish. “I am eager to discern the path God lays before us, for our sake and for the sake of the world we serve in Christ’s name."

She will be coming to All Saints from the Church of the Holy Nativity in Clarendon Hills, Ill., where she has been serving as rector for the past eight years.

Eyer-Delevett brings with her 10 years of training and experience in congregational development, including six years of service on the Commission on Ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and as chaplain at Grady Memorial Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in the United States, the statement said.

She holds a master of divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where she studied with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. 

The Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delevett, left, with her daughter, Willa, and longtime partner, Alyson, has been chosen as the new rector for All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito. (Contributed photo)

Eyer-Delevett will be moving to the area in December with her partner of 17 years, Alyson, and their 4-year-old daughter, Willa.

“This is an exciting new chapter in the life of our wonderful parish,” said Senior Warden Chip Nichols, adding that a search began for a rector more than a year ago and included three independent committees. “When we looked at Aimee in relation to the qualities that our profile called for in our next Rector, she was a perfect fit.”

Eyer-Delevett was chosen for the position on Sept. 3 with the All Saints Vestry’s final discernment meeting, the statement said.

"Passionate about creating vibrant communities of welcome, relevance and nurture for all people, her priesthood is marked by leading congregations and individuals to discover how God is calling them to use their lives and gifts for ministry," the statement said.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

David Harsanyi: Actually, Senators, You’re the Ones Who Threaten the Country

By | Published on 09/12/2014


We are, as it always seems, "at a pivotal moment in American history." At least that's what Sens. Tom Udall and Bernie Sanders maintained in a melodramatic Politico op-ed last week as they explained their efforts to repeal the First Amendment.

Let me retort in their language:

It's true that building the United States has been long, arduous and rife with setbacks. But throughout the years, the American people have repelled efforts to weaken or dismantle the First Amendment. We have weathered the Sedition Act of 1918, a law that led to the imprisonment of innocent Americans who opposed the war or the draft. Since then, we have withstood numerous efforts to hamper, chill and undermine basic free expression in the name of "patriotism." We have, however, allowed elected officials to treat citizens as if they were children by arbitrarily imposing strict limits on their free speech in the name of "fairness."

But nowadays, after five members of the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment and treated all political speech equally, liberal activists and Democrats in the Senate would have us return to a time when government dispensed speech to favored institutions — as if it were the government's to give.

In 2010, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion striking down major parts of a 2002 campaign-finance reform law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This case and subsequent rulings, including McCutcheon v. FEC, have led to more political activism and more grass-roots engagement than ever before.

In the 2012 presidential election, we quickly saw the results. More Americans voted than in any election; more minorities voted; more Americans engaged in more debate and had more information in their hands than ever before. More than 60 percent of all those super PAC funds came from just 159 donors, each of whom gave more than $1 million. And still, every vote held the same sway. You may be convinced by someone, but no one can buy your vote. I wish the same could be said for your senators.

Even less worrisome is the propaganda surrounding scary-sounding "dark money" — dollars spent by groups that do not have to disclose their funding sources. The 2012 elections saw almost $300 million spent on engagement in our democratic institutions, and the 2014 midterm elections could see as much as $1 billion invested in political debate. That means more democratization of media and more challenges to a media infrastructure that once managed what news we were allowed to consume. Still, no one can buy your vote.

No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans than upholding the Constitution over the vagaries of contemporary political life. The people elected to office should be responsive to the needs of their constituents. They should also be prepared to be challenged. But mostly, they should uphold their oath to protect the Constitution rather than find ways to undermine it.

When the Supreme Court finds, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company's bank account is constitutionally protected speech and that attempts to impose coercive restrictions on political debate are unconstitutional, we realize that we live in a republic that isn't always fair but is, for the most part, always free.

Americans' right to free speech should not be proportionate to their political power. This is why it's vital to stop senators from imposing capricious limits on Americans.

It is true that 16 states and the District of Columbia, along with more than 500 cities and towns, have passed resolutions calling on Congress to reinstitute restriction on free speech. Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support the abolishment of super PACs. So it's important to remember that one of the many reasons the Founding Fathers offered us the Constitution was to offer a bulwark against "democracy." Senators may have an unhealthy obsession with the democratic process, and Supreme Court justices are on the bench for life for that very reason.

On Monday, Democrats offered an amendment to repeal the First Amendment in an attempt to protect their own political power. Whiny senators — most of them patrons to corporate power and special interests — engaged in one of the most cynical abuses of their power in recent memory. Those who treat Americans as if they were hapless proles unable to withstand the power of a television commercial are the ones who fear speech. That's not what the American republic is all about.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: Santa Barbara Needs a New City Arborist

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Getting information from Santa Barbara's arborist, Tim Downey, is ridiculous. He has proven time and again he is incompetent.

Why? Just look at any city tree on any of our city streets in this once beautiful town. There are dead, dying, butchered, infected trees all over the town. Some have been dead for as long as three years.

Example: Go to Alameda Padre Serra and Coda Street and look. Yes! There is an oak that has been dead for three years. It has not been removed, and it is passing on infection to other oaks.

As I warned the Parks Department last year, if they did not do anything about the way Mr. Downey has the ficus pruned on Milpas Street, they would split and fall over. So far this has happened three times. As for the stone pines on Anapamu, some of the trees are being held up by the phone wires. Any fool can see this, but not the Parks & Recreation Department run by Nancy Rapp, Jill Zachery and Downey.

The reason for this lack of care for our city trees is because Mr. Downey spends his time ambushing the public when they dare to have their trees pruned in a fashion he finds artistically not to his liking. "You pruned more than a fourth of your tree." Citation. "You have changed the shape of your tree." Citation.

Yes, folks, I know this sounds unbelievable, but it's true.

To prove my point, I have been cited by him twice in this town, for pruning he didn't like. Naturally, this was just revenge for being outspoken. I refused to pay the extortion fine, took him to Superior Court and won both cases. This, I might add, cost the city about $4,000 to prosecute me out of shear malice.

We need a new man to run this city's tree program and dump the incompetent, ambushing bureaucrats that are pushing us around without any common sense.

The suggestion that we deep water the trees in the city is only about a year too late, and some can't be saved even now. It's too bad, as Anapamu was our great iconic street — now a disaster. Go to my site,, for an education.

We used to have a great city arborist by the name of Dan Condon. He was loved by everyone and was helpful to the people in this city — and the trees on the streets looked great. He was a hands-on arborist. Not a week goes by when I'm not asked what happened to him, why did they replace him with this no-nothing bureaucrat who threatens all the homeowners in town with his power to tell them how to prune their trees or, even more, a rock on their front lawn with buying a permit?

Contact me if you have found Downey to be a troublemaker — not a problem solver. Call me at t805.969.4057, or email me at I will present your name to the growing list of unhappy homeowners in this city to the City Council to show they have a man who has no support as our city arborist, as one has only to look at the trees on the streets to see he is a giant failure at his job.

We deserve better than this.

Gene Tyburn
Certified arborist
Santa Barbara


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Laguna Blanca School Welcomes Four New Members to Board of Trustees

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Greg Bartholowmew
Greg Bartholowmew

Laguna Blanca School is proud to welcome four new board members to its Board of Trustees: Greg Bartholowmew, Karen Fry, Christian Heyer and Layli Sobhani.

Laguna Blanca’s Board of Trustees has three primary responsibilities: to ensure the School is fulfilling its Mission and core values of Scholarship, Character, Balance and Community; to work collaboratively with the Head of School and provide advice, counsel, and guidance as needed; and to serve as fiduciaries of the school ensuring the school has adequate financial resources to meet its mission.

Bartholowmew joins Laguna Blanca School with an extensive background in elementary school leadership, having served as a founding board member of Roosevelt Elementary School’s Foundation, its Parent Teacher Association and Parent Teacher Organization transition team.

He is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, serving on the Finance, Investment and Audit Committees.

Professionally, he is partner at Hayes Commercial Group and has been actively involved in the sales and leasing of commercial real estate in the greater Santa Barbara area since 1992.

He and his wife, Jane, reside in Santa Barbara with their three children, Chris, Will, who will graduate from Laguna Blanca in 2017, and Allison.

After more than 23 years living in London, Fry is pleased to call Santa Barbara her home.

Karen Fry
Karen Fry

A keen yoga and gym enthusiast, Fry developed KX Gym, a private gym that offers spa, fitness and restaurant facilities in the heart of one of London’s most fashionable districts. The club is now 14 years old, and Fry is still busy with all aspects of its operations, including introducing new and innovative fitness and lifestyle techniques.

Previously, she worked in the fashion industry for several years before accepting a sales position with the major Japanese Investment Bank, Nomura.

This fall, she will be attending Pacifica University in Carpinteria to pursue a long-held ambition to study for a master’s degree in psychology and counseling.

Fry and her husband, Simon, have one son who will graduate from Laguna in 2018.

After attending junior high school and high school in Santa Barbara, Heyer returned to Central Coast with his family in 1999 after living in London.

Christian Heyer
Christian Heyer

Heyer has more than 20 years of real estate development, and entrepreneurial experience. Currently, he is a real estate consultant to an independent asset management company that provides advisory services to European investors. He is also a partner at a privately owned real estate company based in Santa Barbara.

Heyer has served on numerous local nonprofit boards, including Santa Barbara County Parks Foundation, Crane Country Day School, and Knowlwood Tennis Club.

Heyer has two children, Natasha, a current student at Laguna, and Oliver.

Originally from Santa Barbara, Sobhani has lived all over the United States. She is an interactive marketing professional with over 18 years of experience in all areas of marketing communications. She is currently the director of digital marketing for Biosense Webster, a Johnson & Johnson company, where her responsibilities include establishing and driving the worldwide digital strategy.

Layli Sobhani

Prior to her role with Biosense, Sobhani was the director of interactive for Ethicon Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.

She and her husband, Celso, have two sons, Nikolas and Gabriel, who both hope to attend Laguna Blanca.

Laguna Blanca School is an Early K-12 co-educational, college preparatory day school. It guides students to greater heights by building upon the 80-year tradition of academic excellence with new and innovative teaching methods and programs. With the thriving experiential learning, STEM, and global studies programs, resourceful iPad initiative, and competitive Condor League athletics, the school continues to broaden and enrich its students’ educational experience.

Click here for more information.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

County Offers Free Mulch for Residents to Save Water, Beautify Yards

By | Published on 09/12/2014


For residents of Santa Barbara County looking to beautify their yards and gardens and save water, the offer of free mulch is mulch appreciated.

The nutrient-filled ground covering made from green waste reduces weed growth, retains water in the soil and prevents erosion.

Free mulch is available for pickup by any Santa Barbara County resident at three locations: South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station at 4430 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer at 4004 Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos and Waste Management at 1850 W. Betteravia Road in Santa Maria.

Intrepid gardeners willing to get their hands dirty and take advantage of the free mulch offer are invited to visit the recycling sites and pick up a small load of unscreened mulch at no cost. Don’t forget to bring gloves and garden forks and closed containers or covering.

At each location, county staff can load up qualified trucks — no pickup trucks or single-axle trailers (commercial or double-axle trailers are OK) — with mulch in the South Coast and Santa Ynez Valley for a fee of $15 per load (up to 6,000 pounds) or $5 per ton. Screened mulch can be loaded for a fee of $30 per load or $15 per ton.

For more information, please call the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station at 805.681.4345 or the Santa Ynez Valley Recycling and Transfer Station at 805.688.3555.

But wait, there’s more! Water customers of the City of Santa Barbara can receive up to two deliveries of an 8- to 10-yard dump truck load per site every 12 months, compliments of the city, by filling out a Mulch Purchase Agreement, available by clicking here. A handy table to determine how much mulch you need is available on that website as well.

Delivery is also available for all Santa Barbara County residents. Simply fill out the Mulch Purchase Agreement, determine how much mulch is needed and send it in with the required fees, outlined on the website. The fee for the delivery of mulch is $10 per ton, while the fee for deliveries of screened mulch is $20 per ton. Deliveries of over 30 miles will incur an additional cost of $2 per mile one way. Mulch can usually be delivered within one to two weeks of a request.

For questions and to make a delivery appointment, call Joey Costa “The Mulch Guy” at 805.681.4981.

Mulch — a great way to save resources, save water and save money! Learn more about water conservation by visiting today.

— Stacy Miller is a publicist representing WaterWise.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Mark James Miller: A as the New C = Teaching as a Popularity Contest

By | Published on 09/12/2014


“A C is acceptable college work,” a professor told me many years ago, when I was a first-year undergraduate. He went on to say that a B was considered above average, and an A was reserved for truly exceptional efforts. He gave few Bs and fewer As. A C was the most common grade he gave. Nearly all of the professors he knew graded the same way.

This was in another era, when 75 percent of the instructors in American higher education were tenured, full-time teachers who could count on being employed from one semester to the next, and whose livelihoods were not put in danger by negative comments from students. Instruction in American higher education has changed a great deal since then. Teaching is becoming a popularity contest, and those teachers who are the most popular with their students are more likely to be employed next semester than the professor who is not — a result of the overuse of contingent faculty. This, in turn, has led to the modern phenomena of grade inflation.

Through the end of the 1950s, a C was the most commonly given grade in higher education, and grade-point averages fluctuated between 2.3 and 2.5. Ds and Fs were given out far more often than As.

This changed in the ’60s, when grade-point averages climbed higher, a fact that some attribute to the Vietnam War. Professors were reluctant to fail students when flunking out of college could mean being subject to the military draft, which could then result in that student being sent to fight in an unpopular war.

Whatever the cause, when the war (and the draft) ended in the ’70s, grades declined once more, close to their 1950s levels. Grades began their present rise in the ’80s, a climb that continues to this day.  Studies consistently find that As now account for 43 percent of all the grades given in American colleges and universities. Ds and Fs now make up only 10 percent. As are far more commonplace than Cs. At Brown University, for example, two-thirds of all letter grades are As. Eighty percent of the grades given at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are As or Bs. At Harvard, one professor now gives two grades — the official grade on the student’s transcript, and the (often lower) grade he feels they deserve.

The present rise in grade-point averages began at the same time the current trend toward relying more and more on contingent faculty began, and that is no coincidence.

What is the connection between the growth of adjunct faculty and the rise in grade-point averages? There is actually nothing mysterious about it. A part-time instructor’s continued employment often hinges on two salient factors: Student enrollment and student evaluations.

“Students vote with their feet,” is an expression I have heard administrators use on more than one occasion. A part-time instructor whose classes are full semester after semester has a much better chance of being rehired than a teacher whose classes appear to be shunned by students. Add negative student evaluations to the equation and an instructor who has no job security may find herself looking for employment elsewhere when the next term begins. You don’t become a popular instructor by being a hard grader or by getting reputation as a teacher whose courses are difficult to get through.

Students have always had a “grapevine” that keeps them informed of who the popular teachers are, which ones are easy graders and which ones whose courses are more difficult to get an A in. Nowadays, with the advent of social media and websites like Rate My Professors and, students are even more acutely tuned in to which professors they would prefer and which ones they want to avoid. Whereas a tenured instructor has little to worry about in terms of student popularity (although I’m sure few go out of their way to be unpopular), for a contingent faculty a bad student evaluation can be a kiss of death.

Make no mistake: Student evaluations are extremely important. No instructor should ignore them, especially if the same concern or complaint is heard over and over. But good teaching is more — or should be more — than just a popularity contest. While measuring good teaching is difficult and often subjective, the instructor who asks more of their students, who demands excellence, for example, may be doing more toward helping their students learn than the teacher who settles for mediocrity. But the teacher who demands excellence can end up with comments such as, “very difficult grader”; “class began with 36 and ended with 10”; “I will never take his class again,” on his evaluation.

Comments like this can put an adjunct’s job in danger. A person whose livelihood is hanging from a wire than can be cut at any time is not inclined to take actions which might cause the wire cutters to close. Many adjuncts often say they wish they could push their students harder, but are afraid to for fear of generating student complaints or receiving negative student evaluations.

Some schools are taking steps to deal with the problem of grade inflation. In 2004, Princeton University mandated that no more than 35 percent of the grades given in an undergraduate course can be As. This year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is introducing a new grading system wherein the student’s transcript will show not just the student’s grade in a particular class but also the median grade and the number of students in that class. An A will look much less impressive if everyone in the class got one.

Few people actually support the idea of settling for mediocrity. Americans traditionally want to push for excellence. But excellence won’t be achieved when mediocrity becomes the norm. Giving adjuncts more job security and placing less emphasis on student evaluations is one way to start reversing the trend of teaching as a simple popularity contest.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Montecito District Adds Smaller, Agile Engine for Quick Response to Vegetation Fires

By | Published on 09/12/2014


The Montecito Fire Protection District has recently taken delivery of a Type 6 brush engine.

The new apparatus was built by Pierce Manufacturing utilizing a Ford F-450 four-wheel-drive, heavy-duty truck chassis.

The Type 6 engine is a small agile engine designed specifically to provide quick attack on vegetation fires. A typical Type 6 engine must have at least a 150-gallon tank that can pump 30 gallons per minute. Montecito’s new Type 6 engine has the capacity to hold up to 250 gallons of water which can be pumped at over 120 gallons per minute. It has the additional ability to utilize fire fighting foam to make every drop of water more effective.

The new Type 6 engine will be part of the district’s initial response to all vegetation fires in Montecito. During extreme weather events, the engine will be staffed with extra duty firefighters and utilized to provide additional patrol in the foothills of Montecito. This will supplement initial response resources in the event of a fire occurring during high fire danger weather.

This new engine does not replace any of the district’s current apparatus and was added to the district’s fleet to provide increased vegetation fire response capabilities in the urban interface and difficult access areas of Montecito.

Please visit our website by clicking here for links for more information on fire and disaster readiness.

— Geri Ventura for the Montecito Fire Protection District.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Judy Crowell: Tiptoe Through the Tulips in Amsterdam

By | Published on 09/12/2014


This capital city in the Netherlands has much to offer visitors in early spring — or any time of year

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

What could be a more vivid harbinger of spring than tulips? Pink ones, red ones, striped ones — millions of them in every color of the rainbow, sitting in crates at the Aalsmeer Flower Auction outside Amsterdam, Netherlands, ready to be bid on by thousands of buyers stationed at computer desks and shipped to your local Schnucks, Whole Foods and florists.

Set your alarm early for this largest flower auction in the world, open to the public for tours beginning at 7 a.m. This gigantic display of beauty and frenetic activity is on a scale not to be missed, and, I promise you, you’ll never look at a bunch of tulips in the same way again.

Amsterdam has much to offer the early spring visitor. For tulips in a garden setting, head to the fabulous Keukenhof Gardens with more than 32 hectares and be dazzled by more than 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, their breathtaking color and heady fragrance. There’s not a more beautiful spring garden in the world.

Spend a day at the Rijksmuseum, which originally opened in 1885 and was completely renovated, rebuilt and restored over a period of 10 years, reopening in April 2013. This imposing and spectacular building combines the best of old and new. Bright and airy, it boasts a new Asian Pavilion and houses more than 800 years of Dutch art and history, presented in a creative chronological order. Lovers of Rembrandt and all 17th-century Dutch Masters will delight in this museum.

With 165 canals and 1,200 bridges, Amsterdam is indeed a "watery" place, so hop on one of the low-slung, glass ceilinged canal boats for a leisurely tour of the city’s beauty. I highly recommend doing this at night, by candlelight, when the architecture of the old city center is most effectively illuminated and enjoyed.

Don’t miss the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, where the horrors of this young girl and her family will linger in your mind for a very long time. Shopping takes on a bohemian flavor in Amsterdam with flea markets and antique shops at every corner.

And, yes, I know I’m deferring on reporting on one of Amsterdam’s main attractions: the Red Light District. Alive and well (used as a euphemism), this part of the city’s most historic neighborhood and close to the train station is a major tourist attraction with many walking by the enormous windows and under the glow of red lights simply to observe this phenomenon. Some planning to buy. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, but be wary of unsavory and untouristy folks who would come under the heading of thieves and drug dealers.

Luxury hotels include The Toren in the center of the canal area and a chic haven for a memorable and unique stay. The Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam was once a grand Dutch residence. Located near financial, cultural and shopping areas, it is ideally located and oozes palatial grandeur right along the Amstel River. Hotel Seven One Seven is a 19th-century building with all the modern conveniences. Here you can pick from the Dickens, Mahler, Schubert or Picasso suites.

For the feeling of being in a Dutch living room, be sure to visit several “brown cafes,” akin to the pubs of London and the epitome of cozy watering holes. For a true Dutch breakfast, lunch or dinner, try Gartine, a tiny gem needing prior reservations. Greenwoods is another little gem specializing in eggs benedict, smoked salmon and marvelous sandwiches. Book this one, too. Bussia for creative and delicious Italian. Vinkeles for French, contemporary cuisine and superb service. And the trendy Café George for a French brasserie feel. For nightlife, music, food and fun, try the Supperclub.

You’ll find that Amsterdam is indeed a “tiptoe through the tulips.”

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Captain’s Log: If Ever There Were a Time to Go Fishing, It’s Now!

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Opportunities for adventure come and go. Sometimes we take advantage and build life’s memories. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we don’t.

A rare fishing opportunity is presenting itself now. Fishing is phenomenal now, for warm water species. I would be surprised if we get a wahoo off the Channel Islands, like the one a young man caught recently off of the Orange County coast, but then, it could happen.

What I do expect are tuna outside of the Channel Islands, yellowtail under kelp paddies, lots of barracuda, bonito and mackerel, a wild calico bass bite and improved halibut fishing. I won't discount the possibility of some real surprises, even locally inside the Santa Barbara Channel.

During our last El Niño event some years ago, it was September when we found yellowtail and even a few dorados under kelp paddies inside the channel. On the outside of the channel, they were more common.

The reason for all of this exquisite fishing fun is a moderate El Niño currently under way. The way these things work, in conjunction with our fishing seasons, our best fishing opportunities are in September and maybe the early part of October. This is when our waters are the warmest, and this year we are adding El Niño warming on top of that.

Large plumes of warm water have moved up from the south, and exotic fish are riding those plumes in search of happy hunting for big shoals of baitfish and squid. Good catches have already been made off the back side of Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands. Diver friends reported seeing bluefin tuna behind Anacapa Island. Catches of yellowfin tuna and yellowtail (a member of the jack family) have recently ben caught. Santa Rosa Island will likely light up with exciting fish this month. In similar conditions in previous years, I’ve anchored right off of East Point and hooked up with yellowtail, white seabass and halibut.

Has it been awhile since you went fishing? Have you ever went deep sea fishing? Well, no matter your answer, this would be a great time to go.

Stop by Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center at 4010 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, and we’ll help you understand your fishing options. Click here for its website.

— 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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Gerald Carpenter: Westmont Music Faculty Start Fall with Melody

By | Published on 09/12/2014


The Westmont College music faculty will open the fall season with a concert at 7 p.m. Friday in Deane Chapel on the Westmont campus.

Soprano Celeste Tavera will sing arias by Gershwin and Meyerbeer at Friday's Westmont faculty recital.

Admission is free, and the public is invited.

Bass-baritone Dr. Emil Dorian Cristescu, with pianist Dr. Steve Hodson, will open with two arias by Giuseppe Verdi: “Come dal ciel  Precipita" from the opera Macbeth and "Il lacerato spirito" from Simone Boccanegra.

Then, violinist Dr. Han Soo Kim and pianist Neil Di Maggio will play the first movement "Presto" from Ludwig Beethoven's Sonata No. 4 in A-Minor, Opus 23 (1801), followed by soprano Celeste Tavera and pianist John Douglas, performing "Summertime" from George Gershwin's opera, Porgy and Bess (1935); pianist Douglas playing his own composition, "Svetlana"; flautist Andrea Eden Di Maggio and pianist Neil Di Maggio playing Maurice Ravel's Pavane pour une infante defunte (1899); Tavera returns to sing, with the collaboration of pianist Aaron Wilk, "Nobles Seigneurs," by Giacomo Meyerbeer; organist Dr. Hodson plays two of his Hymn-tune Preludes: "New Britain" and "Eventide" (Monk); and the concert ends with clarinetist Joanne Kim, violist Dr. Han Soo Kim, and pianist Seungah Seo playing the third movement "Rondeau-Allegretto" from Mozart's Trio in Eb-Major for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, K. 498, "Kegelstatt" (1786).

Now, this is quite a delectable sampler, you must admit. I only know the Ravel as an orchestral piece, but the flute-piano arrangement — especially as played by the De Maggios — will probably conjure up the misty moonlight mysteries of the "Sicilienne" from Faure's incidental music for Pelleas et Melisande, and is very much the sort of ravishing ambiguity the French — and the Belgians — were into at the birth of the 20th century.

When we listen to "Summertime" as an aria, instead of a number in a Broadway review, it seems some unique form of masterpiece, achieving the maximum emotional effects with the simplest of means, as close as we have come yet to a perfect fusion of jazz and classical.

"Today, I think that melody is out of favor," wrote my favorite French crackpot, Jean Dutourd, in 1958. "Only technique is admired ... Johann Sebastian Bach, whom people are so mad about just now, is fine only when his work has melody; after all, it is in melody that genius lies. The rest of the time, in his icily arithmetical compositions, he is mortally dull. Bacchic frenzy is one of the characteristics of our contemporary pedants. Everyone lays claim to knowing music, but almost no one yields to its sweetness, its joys, its raptures. People go to concerts the way they go to stare at electronic machines. Alain [Emile Chartier] has said, 'I am close to regarding as a monster the man who would read a novel to find out how that novel was put together.' When one isn't a performer or composer oneself, and one listens to music to find out how it is put together, one is a monster."

This concert, including the Mozart and Beethoven, is all about yielding to music's "sweetness, its joys, its raptures."

Admission, once again, is free. For more information about Westmont musical events, call 805.565.6040.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Autism Conference at UCSB to Focus on Intervention, Treatment

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Families, educators and health-care professionals are invited to attend

Lynn Kern Koegel

Hundreds of autism experts from around the world will gather at UC Santa Barbara Sept. 18-19 for the seventh annual International Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) Conference for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Sponsored by UCSB’s Koegel Autism Center, the two-day conference at Corwin Pavilion features scholars, educators, health-care professionals, parents and even grandparents discussing innovative, naturalistic intervention strategies for ASD.

Among the topics to be covered are the history, development and characteristics of ASD; PRT motivational procedures for teaching beginning verbal communication; facilitating social interactions with typically developing peers; teaching social conversation skills; self-management; functional behavior assessment; and motivational academics.

Keynote speakers will be Robert Koegel and Lynn Kern Koegel, director and clinical director, respectively, of the Koegel Autism Center.

“Our annual PRT conference attracts hundreds of people from all over the world,” said Lynn Koegel, who is also director of the campus’ Broad Asperger Center. “The rate of autism is now 1 in 68, a 30 percent increase from just a few years ago, so there is an enormous need for training parents and professionals.

"Participants can learn effective ‘hands-on’ strategies they can implement immediately after attending the conference. PRT is an effective, evidence-based intervention that produces incredibly rapid gains.”

Developed at UCSB, PRT is rooted in principles of positive motivation. Researchers have found that increasing children’s participation in activities they enjoy can actually lessen the severity of autism spectrum disorder symptoms and open the door to more positive social interaction. Their work with infants has been highlighted in the Journal of Positive Behavioral Interventions.

Additional information, including a complete schedule, is available by clicking here.

— Andrea Estrada represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Caltrans Completes Roundabout at Highways 154, 246

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Caltrans has completed a roundabout on Highways 154 and 246 near Santa Ynez.

This roundabout will reduce or eliminate the number and severity of broadside collisions at this intersection.

The contractor for this $3.3 million project was Granite Construction of Watsonville.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway work zones.

For traffic updates on other state highways in Santa Barbara County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805.549.3318 or visit the District 5 website by clicking here.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Outdoors Q&A: Will Cold Smoking Kill Fish Parasites?

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Q: I recently caught a number of trout that had what I believe to be parasites called “Lernaea” attached to them in various places. I know after reading another posting from this column titled “Parasites and Trout” that these “are killed during cooking, effectively eliminating any possibility of infecting humans eating the fish,” but I am considering smoking them. Would these parasites pose any threat if the trout were cold smoked rather than cooked, or would the curing that takes place eliminate any threat as well? Presumably if they were hot smoked there would be no threat because the fish are then cooked. I appreciate any info you can provide. Thanks. (Keith R.)

A: First off, Lernea and other external parasitic copepods of fish are not transmissible to humans.

As far as fish brining and smoking (even hot smoking), according to Dr. William Cox, California Department of Fish & Wildlife program manager of fish production and distribution, there are other parasites that warrant more serious consideration, such as anasakine nematodes and human tapeworms. These parasites are not reliably killed by brining, smoking or even freezing. The only way to ensure they are killed is to thoroughly cook your fish. Generally, we are not worried about those parasites in freshwater fish caught in California. But, nematodes are a concern and they are commonly found in saltwater fish of all species.

For any additional questions related to human health issues, please contact the California Department of Public Health.

How Are Deer Hunting Zones Determined?

Q: What is the history of the deer hunting zones in California and how were they formed and decided upon? I assume the decision on the zone boundaries, tag quotas, seasons, etc. involved the Fish and Game Commission, science gathered by wildlife biologists and land managers, the public, etc. When did the random drawing fund-raising tags for big game begin? (Travis B.)

A: California deer zones were originally developed in 1978 to reduce deer hunting pressure in certain areas of the state. Here’s how they came about.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was a tremendous demand for lumber to satisfy a growing demand for housing. Timber harvest created large areas of early successional habitat upon which mule and black-tailed deer thrived. By the 1960s and 1970s, changing land use practices began to change the landscape. Fire suppression, grazing and commercial/residential development projects caused the loss or degradation of deer habitat. With the reduced areas of deer habitat (and land available for hunting), the result meant higher concentrations of hunters in certain areas.

As land use practices changed and deer habitat was lost, by the winter of 1966-67 significant decreases in deer numbers were also observed. These low deer numbers were likely due to a combination of factors including habitat loss and degradation, and severe winter conditions.

Harvest numbers continued to show a downward trend into the 1970s and it was during this time that CDFW began to implement more conservative deer hunting regulations. Fewer deer and intense hunter pressure (particularly on mule deer) required new conservation measures to sustain deer populations. To relieve hunting pressure on mule deer, the decision was made to go to a zone system.

In 1978, CDFW used the best available information (along with the public’s input) to establish hunt zones that reflected the biological needs of the state’s 81 deer herds and their associated habitats. Currently, California has 44 hunt zones with some designated as premium hunts available through a lottery system. The zone/tag quota system currently in place is the result of the changes that began in 1978.

Handing Off?

Q: Can two people be in a boat (both with licenses) with one person diving and handing abalone to the other person on the boat? (Janet R.)

A: No. Abalone may not be passed to another person until they are tagged and recorded on the abalone report card. “Cardholders … shall not transfer any abalone from his or her immediate possession unless they are first tagged and recorded on the report card” (CCR Title 14, section 29.16(b)(1)). After they are tagged and recorded, the diver can give his or her daily bag limit of abalone to the other person, but the diver cannot take any more abalone that day.

Can Mice Be Used as Bait?

Q: Is it legal to use mice as bait for stripers and bass? (Chris M.)

A: Despite the fact that there are many artificial lures on the market that look like mice, real mice may not be used in inland waters. Only legally acquired and possessed invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians (except salamanders), fish eggs and treated and processed foods may be used for bait (CCR Title 14, section 4.00). In ocean waters, there are no restrictions on using mice as bait for stripers.

— 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).


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Lompoc Theatre Project Invites Volunteers to Potluck Work Party

By | Published on 09/12/2014


The Lompoc Theatre Project invites current and future volunteers to a Potluck Work Party on Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Lilley Building, at the corner of Ocean Avenue and H Street.

Bring either appetizers or a dessert to share, and join us from 7 to 9 p.m. in the upstairs conference room.

LTP's Board of Directors will update volunteers on future plans and opportunities for helping with the ongoing work to acquire, restore and reopen the theater.

We’ve got lots happening behind the scenes — and will have a continual need for volunteers.

For more details on the Potluck Work Party, please contact membership/volunteer chairman Jack Carmean at, Steve Stormoen at 805.284.6911 or, or call the LTP information number at 805.380.6777.

Street parking includes North H Street, Ocean Avenue and the parking lot adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce, on I Street and Ocean Avenue.

The Lompoc Theatre Project is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization working to restore the historic Lompoc Theatre as a venue for arts, entertainment, culture and education for the community and its visitors. 

— Laurie Jervis is the publicity chairwoman for the Lompoc Theatre Project.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Bill Macfadyen: Saturday Afternoon Head-On Crash Has a Deadly Impact on Highway 154

By | Published on 09/12/2014


NoozWeek’s Top 5 includes two more collisions on Highway 101, a Russian billionaire’s mega-yacht sighting and a blind man’s lawsuit over Stearns Wharf

There were 86,418 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top stories?

1. Two Killed, 2 Injured in Head-On Crash on Highway 154 in Los Olivos

A fiery head-on collision involving three vehicles left two Santa Maria women dead on Highway 154 in Los Olivos on Sept. 6. Two other people were seriously injured in the crash just west of Foxen Canyon Road, but a third escaped harm.

The California Highway Patrol said a Toyota sedan driven by Olivia R. Sandiego, 58, was traveling east on the highway when for unknown reasons it crossed into the westbound lane and slammed into a Ford F-150 pickup truck about 1:30 p.m.

The sedan caught fire after the crash, and at least one of the victims was trapped in the wreckage, said Paul Christensen, a Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman.

Sandiego and her passenger, Carmelita Conner, 64, were declared dead at the scene, the CHP said.

The pickup driver, John Gil, 46, of Reseda, and his wife, Heidi, 45, suffered major injuries, and were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

A third motorist, driving a Ford Fusion behind the pickup, struck a tree after running off the roadway to avoid the wreckage. The CHP said the driver, E. Gutierrez, 44, of Nipomo, was uninjured.

Crash reconstruction isn’t that easy to do in the dark. (KEYT News photo)
Crash reconstruction isn’t that easy to do in the dark. (KEYT News photo)

2. Fatal Wreck Ties Up Northbound Highway 101 Traffic in Carpinteria

An overnight collision on northbound Highway 101 in Carpinteria on Sept. 8 killed one man and tied up freeway traffic for 10 hours.

The crash near Bates Road was the second fatal wreck in less than two weeks in the area, part of the interminable freeway widening project that appears to be finished but apparently is not.

According to the California Highway Patrol, a Granite Construction Co. work truck was placing traffic cones for a lane closure around 1:45 a.m. when it was struck from behind by a Ford Ranger pickup truck.

The pickup driver — identified as Julio Pegueros, 34, of Santa Barbara — was declared dead at the scene, CHP Officer Joel Asmussen said. 

Jose Becerra, 40, of Ventura, who was a passenger in the Granite truck and possibly the worker dropping the cones, suffered minor injuries when he was ejected, Asmussen said. The driver of the Granite truck, John Avalos, 45, of Santa Maria, was uninjured.

The collision remains under investigation, and Asmussen said it was not known whether alcohol or drugs were a factor.

The wreck and subsequent CHP investigation reduced traffic to one lane through the area, backing up the morning commute “all the way to the state beaches in Ventura County,” Asmussen said. All lanes were reopened just before noon.

On Aug. 27, a wrong-way driver — identified as Daniel James Perez, 16, of Santa Barbara — was killed when he ran into a northbound tractor-trailer near Bates Road. The big rig driver was uninjured. That crash also remains under investigation.

A Russian mega-yacht off Santa Barbara? No worries here. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)
A Russian submarine mega-yacht off Santa Barbara? No worries here. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

3. Russian Billionaire Anchors Mega-Yacht Off Santa Barbara Harbor

Looking more like a surfaced submarine, a massive yacht belonging to a Russian billionaire dropped anchor a half-mile off the Santa Barbara Harbor on Sept. 9.

Known only as the cryptic A, the sleek 394-foot yacht is owned by Andrey Melnichenko, a 42-year-old industrialist and banking mogul. Designed by French architect Philippe Starck, the vessel reportedly cost $300 million.

The boat features the requisite helipad and three swimming pools, including one with a glass bottom. One of its most interesting features is the smooth hull design that is said to leave almost no wake at 25 knots (around 29 mph for landlubbers).

Melnichenko apparently isn’t shy about showing off his wealth. Click here for a video peek inside the yacht.

Yeah, go around. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
Yeah, go around. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

4. Two Injured in Highway 101 Crash Near Glen Annie Road in Goleta

An early morning collision on southbound Highway 101 in Goleta left two people injured, one seriously, and tied up commuter traffic Sept. 5.

According to Santa Barbara County fire Capt. David Sadecki, the two-vehicle crash happened about 6:25 a.m. just north of Glen Annie Road.

He said one person was seriously injured and had to be extricated from what was left of a sedan. The other motorist suffered minor injuries.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the wreck, which shut down the freeway for a couple of hours and forced southbound traffic to be diverted at Winchester Canyon.

Living on the edge at the end of Stearns Wharf — for now. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
Living on the edge at the end of Stearns Wharf — for now. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

5. Blind Man Sues Santa Barbara After Falling Off Stearns Wharf

A blind man who fell off Stearns Wharf last year is suing the City of Santa Barbara, maintaining that the pier should have railings around the entire structure.

Jun Yang, who is visually impaired and gets around with the help of a cane, alleges in the lawsuit that he was injured when he walked off the end of the wharf near Santa Barbara Shellfish Co. He reportedly suffered a concussion in the Nov. 21 fall and is being examined by doctors for evidence of a brain injury.

Yang is seeking unspecified damages for hospital and medical expenses as well as general damages.

The suit also alleges that the city has allowed dangerous conditions on public property. Although there are railings around much of the 2,300-foot wharf, where Yang fell there are neither railings nor signs warning visitors to stay away from the edge.

In a recent ruling, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Tom Anderle agreed with the city’s contention that it isn’t negligent, but ordered a response to the “dangerous conditions” charge.

Assistant City Attorney Tom Shapiro maintains the city has immunity because the area where Yang fell “was part of an approved and reasonable design.”

Baird Brown, the Los Angeles attorney representing Yang, declined comment.

                                                                 •        •        •

I’m traveling, with lousy Internet service, so instead of a video this week, how about the greatest test answer of all time? HT to Jack Hawley.

(Jack Hawley photo)

                                                                  •        •        •

If you value our unmatched breaking news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about, please support our experienced staff of professional journalists and help us continue to provide a vital forum for the community.

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club.

Membership Options


Red-Tailed Hawk, $5 a month; Cooper’s Hawk, $10 a month; Red-Shouldered Hawk, $25 a month; Birds of a Feather, $52 a year.

Checks can be snail-mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

» .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or market your business, organization, service or event.

» Subscribe to our free daily A.M. Report.

» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Twitter.

Please note that personal contributions to Noozhawk are not deductible as charitable donations.

Thank you for your support.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

French Hospital Medical Center Volunteer Guild Scholarship Recipients

By | Published on 09/12/2014


The French Hospital Medical Center Volunteer Guild recently awarded four scholarships, totaling $2,000, to promising students, who will one day be medical professionals.

The scholarship money is used for books and supplies.

Cuesta College first year nursing students Kate Bounds, Kathrin Simpson and Kathleen Yeung were awarded $500 each. In addition, Brooke Crawford, who will be attending physician’s assistant’s school in Florida, received $500. Crawford is a volunteer at FHMC.

The FHMC Volunteer Guild is made up of more than 120 volunteers. They operate the gift shop and raise money through bake, book and jewelry sales. Recognizing worthy students and furthering their careers, are one of the highlights of their outreach. Over the last five years, the guild has provided some $7,500 in scholarship money.

Selected nursing student scholars must be second semester, first year nursing students at Cuesta College in order to qualify. Noteworthy academic standing and an essay detailing how the scholarship will help the students achieve their educational and nursing goals are considered by the Volunteer Guild when selecting recipients.

— Samantha Scroggin is a marketing specialist for Dignity Health.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

County Education Office’s Breakfast with the Authors Slated for Oct. 4

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Members of the community will be able to enjoy a delicious quiche brunch and conversation with world-renowned children’s authors and illustrators at the 62nd annual Breakfast with the Authors sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

The breakfast will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 in the SBCEO auditorium, 4400 Cathedral Oaks Road.

Confirmed authors and illustrators include Caroline Arnold, Susan Casey, Mel Gilden, Heidi Gill, Joan Bransfield Graham, Valerie Hobbs, Amy Goldman Koss, Sara Louise Kras, Robin Mellom, Alexis O’Neill, Marianne Richmond, Sherry Shahan, Greg Trine and Eugene Yelchin.

The registration deadline is Sept. 26. Pre-registration is required and can be done online by clicking here.

More information and registration materials are available by clicking here or by contacting Rose Koller at 805.964.4711 x5222 or

— Kris Bergstrom represents the Santa Barbara County Education Office.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Goleta Biotech Firm GENiSYSS Launches Website About DNA Storage

By | Published on 09/12/2014


GENiSYSS, a bio-technology firm in Goleta, announces the public launch of their website,

GENiSYSS has a very unique, patented product, combining room-temperature, long-term storage of DNA and associated information. GENiSYSS is the only company to make personal storage of DNA practical and readily available.

DNA research is one of the fastest expanding areas of science today. Both the ability to predict medical conditions far in advance of their physical expression and the ability to use early, healthy DNA to help block the expression of diseases will become reality in medicine within the next decade.

Right now, DNA is influencing drug labels and drug usage. Very recently, scientists identified DNA mutations associated with diseases such as autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome and breast cancer.

Could healthy DNA stored from earlier in a person's life be used to block or treat these and other diseases including cancer? Cancer and other diseases are currently in research with positive anticipation for using DNA to track, predict and even treat.

The growing interest and participation in determining ancestry and the family tree has added to the interest in DNA. National Geographic's Genographic Project uses DNA analysis in indigenous communities around the world to help answer questions about where humans originated and how they migrated as the earth was populated. A massive database has resulted and continues to grow. This information helps people understand their heritage going much deeper into history than has been possible through mere lineage research. Online search engines have started using DNA testing to add to their own databases facilitating people finding living relatives as well as discovering the possible historic ties to the movement of human tribes.

Before now, DNA had to be frozen and carefully kept in climate control labs. Often, a power shortage would ruin years of scientific work. However, GENiSYSS has exclusive use of patented technology in combination with memory and customized software to make DNA storage easily accessible and inexpensive enough for personal use.

Product will soon be available to the public. Visit the GENiSYSS website to learn more and to sign up for advance notification of the product launch. Receive product in time for the holiday season. People who sign up early also have the opportunity to benefit as an affiliate for sales commissions. Get details by visiting the website and signing up now.

— Robin Eschler represents GENiSYSS.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Police Arrest Suspected Drug Dealer

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Juan Nunez
Juan Nunez

A Goleta man was arrested on drug and weapons charges after detectives served a search warrant at his apartment.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said that in recent weeks, the Santa Barbara Police Department’s narcotics detectives developed information that Juan Nunez, 49, was selling cocaine and methamphetamine in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

He said their investigation culminated with detectives obtaining a search warrant for Nunez’s apartment in the 400 block of Ellwood Beach Drive. It was served Thursday morning with assistance from investigators with the Santa Barbara Regional Narcotic Enforcement Team.

At 6:50 a.m., Nunez was detained as he left his home for work, Harwood said. He was searched and found to be in possession of 11 bindles of methamphetamine and eight bindles of cocaine, according to Harwood.

Detectives also searched his apartment and found more drugs and more than $8,000 in cash believed to be proceeds from drug sales, Harwood said.

Found near the drugs in the residence were two handguns, a 9mm pistol and a .45 caliber pistol, and ammunition, he said. In total, 1.75 ounces of cocaine and 5.4 grams of methamphetamine valued at about $1,800 were seized.

Nunez was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of possession of cocaine for sale, possession of methamphetamine for sale, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a drug offense. His bail was set at $50,000.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Man Arrested on Narcotics, Weapons and Child Endangerment Charges

By | Published on 09/12/2014


Juan Manuel Cisneros Gavia

Juan Manuel Cisneros Gavia, 41, of Santa Barbara has been arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sale, possession of heroin for sale, being armed with a firearm in the commission of a drug offense, and child endangerment.

Six children are among those who share the home where Gavia resides, including his own 3-year-old son.

For the last several weeks, Santa Barbara Police Department narcotics detectives had been investigating methamphetamine sales taking place from a residence in the 1100 block of Indio Muerto Street.

Their investigation culminated with a search warrant being obtained for Gavia’s residence, which they served Tuesday evening.

Just prior to the warrant service, detectives conducting surveillance observed Gavia perform two hand-to-hand drug transactions outside of his home.

At 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, Gavia was detained during a traffic stop and his residence was searched. There, detectives found 9.65 ounces of methamphetamine packaged for sale in 322 bindles, .5 grams of heroin, $3,000 in cash and other indicia of drug sales. They also found three loaded handguns that Gavia had staged in the premises: a .22 caliber pistol, a .25 caliber pistol and a .38 caliber revolver.

Some of the drugs and at least one of the handguns were accessible to children.

Gavia was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on the aforementioned charges with a bail amount of $100,000.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Leaders Talk Drought, Economic Development at Legislative Summit

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Elected officials discuss the biggest issues facing businesses at an event hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce

Candor and brevity were encouraged Thursday as five South Coast elected officials convened to discuss the biggest issues facing businesses.

Drought, minimum wage changes and economic development were at the forefront of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual Legislative Summit, sponsored by MarBorg Industries and Bacara Resort & Spa, where the late afternoon event assembled.

More than 100 business leaders gathered for the hour-long program and accompanying networking reception, pegged as the community’s only opportunity to hear from regional elected officials on matters most affecting commerce climate.

Keith Woods, a Santa Rosa-area businessman, returned again as moderator to keep the five officials and panelists honest and the audience laughing.

After remarking on how rarely regional lawmakers find an hour together, Woods welcomed two panelists who weren’t part of last year’s dialogue — Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Goleta Water District President Bill Rosen.

“Water, water, almost everywhere,” Woods said, focusing on the drought and how a recently enacted moratorium on new uses would impact Goleta business. “Was this a last resort?”

Rosen said the water board was forced to make the decision this week to deny all new water connections effective Oct. 1 because of a 1991 ordinance. When Lake Cachuma supplies are cut, he said, the board must act according to guidelines or open itself up to litigation.

All officials noted efforts to cut back on water usage. Schneider said the Santa Barbara City Council would soon decide whether to start up the city’s DeSal plant, and Assemblyman Das Williams urged for more incentives to make drought-tolerant landscaping and for state bond funds.

Woods turned talk to planned minimum wage increases in January, specifically whether the gain for some was worth others losing their jobs.

Second District County Supervisor Janet Wolf quoted statistics, explaining the difficulty with raising wages at the county level, but Williams identified a parallel between wages and productivity.

“I voted for it,” Williams said. “I know it’s not always easy to deal with.”

Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett and Schneider agreed wage increases would not have a negative impact on tourism, even helping.

Woods said many politicians — “Not any of you, of course.” — have unrealistic views about business profit margins, which drew laughter from the crowd.

He moved on to Goleta Beach Park, where officials lauded a collaboration between the county and Goleta to maintain an erosion management plan, which should go back before the California Coastal Commission in a month after supervisors made a requested amendment, Wolf said.

“We have struggled with this issue, but we really have come together,” she said.

Rosen and Schneider didn’t have much to add, although Schneider expressed love for the park.

“Mayor Schneider sucks up to Goleta,” Woods said, pretending to jot down notes and eliciting more chuckles.

When asked about Measure M, the failed county infrastructure spending ballot measure, officials agreed creating a list of maintenance priorities — and finding funds to carry it out — was still at the forefront.

In terms of economic development strategies, Bennett said recent residential development and other construction might create opportunities for the city to work with business — i.e. providing more housing for local workers and focusing on the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet.

Schneider said Santa Barbara would soon embark on a startup project that would require regional input, an approach Wolf said she favored.

Although a disconnect often exists between local business and development and state resources, Williams said he hopes to continue speaking to stakeholders to learn their needs, notably more housing and skilled entry-level employees.

“We need to hear from you,” Williams 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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Local Software Developer Hal Finney Dies After Five-Year Battle with ALS

By | Published on 09/11/2014


He was an avid runner, and he played major roles in the development of encryption software and bitcoin source code

Hal Finney. a well-known software programmer and cryptographer who was a mainstay in the local running community, passed away recently after a five-year fight against ALS, his family said.

Finney, 58, played major roles in the development of PGP Corp. encryption software and bitcoin source code.

His contributions to the field won him a lifetime achievement award and international recognition as a pioneer in “cypherpunk” programming.

When his involvement in bitcoin source code development became public, he was interviewed by reporters from Forbes, Wired and other national media.

Finney kept working on his programming as long as he could, using various technologies to help him type and communicate as he lost mobility.

Born in Coalinga, Finney met his wife, Fran, at Cal Tech and the two moved to the Santa Barbara area in the early 1990s.

They had just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary when Finney was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in August 2009.

ALS affects motor neurons, the muscle-controlling nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

Hal and Fran Finney at a Chuck's beach run in 2009. (Finney family photo)

Over time, muscles get weaker and patients lose control of voluntary movement, which can lead to paralysis.

Hal and Fran joined the local Muscular Dystrophy Association support group, and started a fundraiser linked to the annual Santa Barbara Marathon.

Locally, Finney was known as a serious runner and a member of the Santa Barbara Athletic Association.

“His favorite long run was to wait until very low tide and run from Leadbetter to Goleta Beach,” Fran said.

Before his diagnosis, he had hoped to get a Boston Marathon-qualifying time in the Santa Barbara Marathon.

He couldn’t run within a few months, and ended up walking across the finish line hand in hand with Fran.

The marathon fundraiser event became an annual tradition.

Finney also had a private pilot’s license and loved to fly.

“When our daughter Erin was going to college at UC Irvine, Hal loved to fly from Santa Barbara Airport to Irvine to bring her home for a weekend visit and then fly her back,” Fran said.

Finney died Aug. 28, and will have his body cryogenically frozen in an Arizona facility, according to his wishes.

The Finney family on a walk around the neighborhood this year. Hal enjoyed life to the end, Fran says. (Finney family photo)

He is survived by his wife, Fran; their children, Jason and Erin; his brother, Mike; and his sisters, Kathy and Pat.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the nonprofit ALS Association Golden West Branch or Hospice of Santa Barbara.

Hospice staff gave the family a lot of support over the past three years, Fran said.

The ALS Association Golden West Branch can be reached at P.O. Box 565, Agoura Hills, CA 91376. Hospice of Santa Barbara can be reached at 2050 Alameda Padre Serra, Suite 100, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.

The monthly ALS support group is sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and meets at the Cottage Rehabilitation Institute at 2415 De la Vina St. The next meeting is at noon Sept. 19 and is open to the public.

“After he was diagnosed with ALS, he and I together did the monthly Santa Barbara ALS support group for five years, and I intend to continue doing it on my own,” Fran said.

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

A year after the ALS diagnosis, Hal and Fran Finney continued to go on the runs they had always shared. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Casey Says Interim Appointment to Top Santa Barbara Post Is ‘Honor and Privilege’

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Paul Casey, Santa Barbara's longtime community development director and assistant city administrator, will take over the city's top job on Oct. 6.

Paul Casey

The City Council this week selected Casey, 49, to serve as interim city administrator when current top executive Jim Armstrong retires.

"It's an honor and a privilege," Casey told Noozhawk of his interim assignment.

Casey, known for his calm demeanor and ability to explain complex issues to the City Council and the public, will run the city while officials conduct a "nationwide search" to find a permanent replacement for Armstrong.

The appointment of Casey, well liked by Armstrong and the City Council, was expected.

“Paul’s appointment will ensure a smooth transition for city departments while a nationwide recruitment is under way," Mayor Helene Schneider said. "He has a wealth of experience managing city departments and a strong understanding of issues facing Santa Barbara.”

The council will appoint Casey permanently to the position or hire someone from the outside by early January 2015.

Casey took over the community development director position from Dave Davis more than a decade ago, and then spent eight years as the city's top planner.

During that time, he led the city through battles over community issues, such as updating the neighborhood-preservation ordinance, the general plan and decisions about downtown redevelopment.

Four years ago, Armstrong moved Casey over to serve as assistant city administrator, splitting his time between Community Development and City Hall.

As assistant city administrator, Casey's job description broadened, and he provided oversight to the finance, parks and recreation, library and airport departments.

He also at one point served as interim public works director. Casey also held various roles in Santa Monica.

Casey, who earned about $200,000 last year as assistant city administrator, will oversee the city's 10 departments and a budget of $275 million. He said he plans to "work harder" than ever during the transition period.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

American Spirit on Proud Display at Santa Maria Business Trade Show

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Chamber of Commerce’s annual event attracts hundreds to Santa Maria Fairpark

Businesses and organizations in the Santa Maria Valley displayed their American pride along with their goods and services Thursday during the 29th annual Business Trade Show.

The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted the event it touts as the largest trade show between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Hundreds of people wandered the aisles of the Santa Maria Fairpark buildings where car dealers, hotels, restaurants, nonprofit groups, and other businesses set up tables to show off their products and services.

In all, some 150 vendors participated in this year’s event, which organizers expected to attract 1,500 people. 

The event typically is held in June, but was moved to September for the first time this year. Organizers decided to hold the event on the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks to feature a patriotic theme.

“We also really wanted to talk the opportunity to honor our heroes and our public servants, and infuse our event with some good old American pride,” said Marcy Lariz, events and marketing manager with the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

While most booths carried out a patriotic theme with red, white and blue decorations, others went beyond. 

Smith’s Alarms & Electronics included Ron Smith, company vice president, decked out as Uncle Sam. A woman at another booth sported a Lady Liberty costume.

In a corner of a building, Tim Ritchie, the Chamber of Commerce’s chairman of the board, stood near the booth for Home Motors.

As a businessman — Ritchie is the co-owner and general manager of car dealership that has been in business since 1955 in Santa Maria — said the event provides a chance to show off the dealership’s vehicles and to meet clients in a low-key setting.

But he also noted the event’s benefit from the Chamber of Commerce perspective. 

“I think what it does is it gives us the ability to get businesses together and meet each other, network and provide the community with an opportunity to see what types of services and products are available to them right here in their own backyard, in a fun format with food, music, games, interaction,” Ritchie said. “It creates kind of a fun energetic environment.”

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Guadalupe Police Arrest 2 After Vehicle Pursuit to Santa Maria

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Guadalupe police engaged in a pursuit Thursday afternoon after a vehicle failed to pull over during a traffic stop.

Police initiated a traffic stop on a grey Chevrolet Tahoe in the 4600 block of Second Street in Guadalupe at 1:30 p.m., Sgt. C. Limon said in a news release.

The passenger, Jonathan Maurice Hays, 26, had several outstanding felony warrants and was known to police.

Driver Griselle Vicky Ponce, 21, failed to stop and then led officers on a pursuit from Guadalupe into Orcutt and Santa Maria.

Ponce was driving recklessly and committed several moving violations, Limon said.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies, a county helicopter and California Highway Patrol officers assisted in the pursuit, and Ponce eventually pulled over at Knudsen Way and Western Avenue in Santa Maria.

Hays fled on foot and was later taken into custody in the 1100 block of Blosser Road.

Ponce was arrested on suspicion of evading police while driving recklessly, driving on a suspended driver’s license and could be charged with multiple moving violations, Limon said.

Hays was arrested on three outstanding felony warrants for possession of a controlled substance, sales of a controlled substance and assault with a deadly weapon.

Both suspects were transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail and booked, Limon said.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Goleta Receives Federal Grant for Old Town Traffic Plan

By | Published on 09/11/2014


About 26,000 cars travel through Old Town Goleta every day, and now the city has received federal monies that it hopes will bring some traffic relief to the area.

The City of Goleta was awarded $236,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation to do traffic planning in Old Town, which lines Hollister Avenue between Highway 217 and Fairview Avenue.

It's part of the Hollister Avenue Complete Streets Corridor project, which will conduct engineering and traffic studies in an effort to find solutions for the congestion.

"It's an extremely competitive grant process," said Rosemarie Gaglione, interim public works director for Goleta.

There were $600 million in funding to give out and $9.5 billion in requests for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program.

Public works staff submitted the application in April, and has had impressive success with streets grant funding this year. 

The department was approved for four of the five applications it submitted, bringing in several million dollars for local projects.

"We've had a lot of people interested in making Hollister through Old Town a two-lane street … but given all the traffic that goes through there now, it can't be done," Gaglione said.

The city will hold three workshops in the future to get an idea of what people want to see in the area, and if narrowing the streets is a priority, the grant funding will allow the city to look at how to make that happen.

For example, if the road was narrowed, traffic funneling from Highway 217 onto Hollister would inevitably back up on to the highway, so the city would need to study upgrading those interchanges, Gaglione said.

The grant can also be used to help fun an environmental impact report.

"It's very exciting and we will look at not only the long term goals but also more immediate things the city could do," Gaglione said.

Rep. Lois Capps issued a statement Thursday about the grant.

"While there were several projects along the Central Coast that I supported in the TIGER grant application process that were also worthy of funding, I look forward to seeing the results of the Corridor Plan, and soon experiencing the upgraded and improved Old Town Goleta," she said.

Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett was also quoted in the statement, saying the funding was critical to get the project off the ground.

"Improving circulation and creating an efficient environment that works for motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and transit is something we look forward to providing," he said.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Community Gathers in Remembrance of 9/11 Attacks

By | Published on 09/11/2014


13 years later, Bob Niehaus recalls witnessing the airliners hit the World Trade Center and the chaos that followed

Bob Niehaus recalled the dust and smoke that smothered city blocks in Manhattan after the World Trade Center collapsed 13 years ago, and as the community gathered Thursday in remembrance, Niehaus said the memories are still vivid for he and his wife, Marty, who lived through the terrorist attacks in New York City that day.

Almost 3,000 people perished on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers flew three airliners into the World Trade Center towers in Lower Manhattan in New York and the Pentagon building outside Washington, D.C.

A fourth airliner was brought down by passengers over Shanksville, Pa., foiling the terrorists’ attempt to attack elsewhere in Washington.

The Niehauses were at the World Trade Center that day and witnessed the attack.

"We were separated in chaos, and we both watched in horror as the second plane flew into the tower," Niehaus recalled Thursday morning at the annual remembrance ceremony at the Santa Barbara County Fire headquarters. "I saw people jumping from the highest level of the north tower rather than face the inferno."

Like the rest of the country, the Niehauses do not see the world the same after the attacks.

"Our alabaster cities still gleam, but they are no longer undimmed by human tears," he said.

In spite of the atrocities of the day, Niehaus said that so many acted that day to rise above the fear and chaos, channeling courage to save and help others.

That courage was epitomized in the firefighters who ran up the stairs to try to help, he said, and thanked the firefighters present for their work to keep Santa Barbara County safe.

County Fire Chief Michael Dyer speaks during Thursday's remembrance ceremony. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Santa Barbara County Undersheriff Don Patterson said that 60 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty that day as the towers collapsed, adding that the incident was the deadliest in history for U.S. law enforcement.

"Let us celebrate them and show our appreciation for them, for they demonstrate the best of human nature," he said.

Eight emergency personnel and 343 firefighters were also killed in the attacks, and the total number of innocent lives lost amounted to almost 3,000 people, most of whom were civilians from more than 80 countries.

First responders were able to coordinate the largest rescue operation in history, however, and were able to save more than 25,000 lives, County Fire Chief Michael Dyer said.

Dyer said his department will continue to protect the community — "we have sworn to do so" — and encouraged others to remember those who gave their lives 13 years ago.

"We Americans vow that they will never be forgotten," he said.

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

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Michael Klusyk rings the bell at a ceremony on Thursday. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Eastside Library to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

By | Published on 09/11/2014


The Eastside branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library System will celebrate the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month with music, crafts and a photo display of Hispanics on the Central Coast from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17.

The ensemble Vientos del Sur will perform next Wednesday at the Eastside Library as part of Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. (Santa Barbara Public Library System photo)

The event will include a musical performance by the ensemble Vientos del Sur at 3:30 p.m.

The public is invited to enjoy the celebration. The Eastside Library is located at 1102 E. Montecito St. in Santa Barbara.

An exhibit of historical photographs, titled “Central Coast Hispanics — 300 Years of History,” is at the Eastside Library until Oct. 15 to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The photos are on loan from the Black Gold Cooperative Library System’s historical photo collection, and appear in its 1992 publication of the same title.

The photos depict the contributions of Hispanic people to life of the community in the counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Several of the historical photos are available for viewing at the Online Archive of California.

The Library of Congress notes that Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observance started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to a month-long period.

The date Sept. 15  is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at for information about library locations, hours, programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Marivel Zambrano-Esparza is a supervisor for the Eastside Library.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Highway 101 Carpool Lanes Open Near Mussel Shoals

By | Published on 09/11/2014


The Caltrans project widening Highway 101 near Mussel Shoals is nearly complete, with lanes opening up to traffic this week.

The southbound lane opened from Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria to Highway 33 in northern Ventura County this week, said Judy Gish, public information officer for Caltrans District 7.

The northbound lane also opened this week, from Bates Road to Casitas Pass Road.

The additional lane in each direction will be high-occupancy vehicle — carpool — lanes during busy commute hours.

Signs and enforcement aren’t in effect yet, but the lanes will be restricted to vehicles with two or more people in them from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. every weekday, Gish said.

The lanes will be open to all other traffic at other times and on weekend.

“It will be continuous access to the lane, you can get in and out at any time,” she noted. "The bike lane is open even though it's not officially christened yet — people have been using it for a few weeks now."

The entire six-mile, $102 million project from Mobil Pier in Ventura County to Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria will be finished next spring, according to Caltrans. 

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Joe Conason: GOP Reaction to Obama Speech Reveals Much — About Them

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Minutes after President Barack Obama concluded his strong and sensible address explaining how he intends to destroy the terrorist organization the Islamic State, Republicans popped up on television like political snipers. He should have kept a "residual force" in Iraq, complained Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and he is to blame for the Islamic State's advances.

He sounds just like George W. Bush and gloated former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and he is reluctantly enacting the advice of Dick Cheney.

None of those remarks was accurate, but the falsehoods revealed once more the irrepressible Republican impulse to slur a Democratic president — even when the nation faces a serious security threat. In this instance, as the president attempts to unite us and bring together a broad coalition of allies, their behavior is worse than inappropriate. Indeed, were the roles reversed, the Republicans would surely describe such conduct as unpatriotic.

When the roles actually were reversed, as the anniversary of 9/11 might remind us, Democrats rallied immediately behind President Bush and his plan to attack the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Even while Republicans scurried to lay blame on former President Bill Clinton, the loyal Democratic opposition stifled obvious questions about why the Bush White House had done so little to thwart those who had just attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As American troops went into Afghanistan, those questions would, years later, await the 9/11 Commission (which Bush and Cheney furtively attempted to derail).

Dissent is always to be valued and protected in America, but the instant Republican attacks on Obama's speech scarcely qualify as principled criticism. After all, the president is already hitting the Islamic State with airstrikes, as most Americans now believe he must, and has vowed to extirpate that barbaric and blasphemous gang. Unless the Republicans want to urge a wholesale reinvasion of Iraq — which they know would be politically suicidal — there isn't much for them to dispute in the president's announced strategy.

Substantive debate over tactics and strategy isn't what Republicans want anymore. Rather than contribute constructively to the policy process, they blather on and on about mistakes and gaffes that can be marked against the president. Some of those alleged errors, such as his decision against arming the Syrian opposition, are matters for serious argument. Others — such as McCain's contention that we should have left a "residual force" in Iraq, preventing the rise of the Islamic State — are not.

As noted here months ago — when the Arizona Republican made the same claim — both the Iraqi government and the American public clearly wanted U.S. troops out of that country. Nouri al-Maliki, the divisive Shiite sectarian then leading Iraq, refused to provide legal immunity to U.S. troops. That triggered the status of forces agreement signed by President Bush in December 2008, which required a complete withdrawal by Jan. 1, 2012.

Would a remnant force of U.S. troops have stopped the rise of a new Sunni insurgency, led by jihadi, under the divisive al-Maliki regime? That seems a doubtful assertion, no matter how often or how angrily McCain says so. What seems considerably less arguable, however, is a simpler thesis: Without the invasion of Iraq, the Islamic State would never have been spawned.

The neoconservatives who promoted that ruinous adventure have loftily advised us all not to reargue the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein and occupy Iraq. Their desire to avoid accountability for a historic blunder — still costing so many lives and so much treasure — is understandable, if not quite honorable. But if they want amnesty for themselves, they might stop trying to frame President Obama for the awful consequences of their misconduct.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JConason, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

DA Charges Driver In Triple-Fatal Santa Barbara Crash with Drug Crimes

By | Published on 09/11/2014


A woman involved in an April car crash that left three young people dead and one injured is facing drug charges but not manslaughter, according to a statement issued by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office Thursday.

Kimberly Ann Kreis, 52, of Santa Barbara, was arrested April 21 on DUI charges after her vehicle slammed into the left side of a car that had crashed into the center divider and overturned on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara. 

Three people were killed in the early morning crash — Danielle Nicole Murillo and Jessica Lee Leffew, both 17 and from Torrance, and Brian Adonay Lopez, 20, of Los Angeles, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Erick Hoel August, 20, of Los Angeles, was the driver of the overturned vehicle that was struck by Kreis and was critically injured in the crash.

Kreis, who suffered minor injuries, was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail and later released on $100,000 bail.

She was initially charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated but an investigation by the California Highway Patrol resulted in different charges. 

Kreis, who has yet to be arraigned, is now being charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor driving while under the influence, misdemeanor possession of an instrument for the injection or smoking of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor driving while under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug.

Thursday's statement said that August fell asleep at the wheel, causing the vehicle to go off the right shoulder, hit the guard rail, slide along the top of the guard rail and eventually land upside down in the southbound lanes of Highway 101 near the Castillo Street exit. 

Within seconds of the August vehicle ending up on its roof, Kreis collided into the vehicle, according to authorities.

August survived the impact but Murillo, Leffew and Lopez were all pronounced dead at the scene.  

Senior Deputy District Attorney Arnie Tolks told Noozhawk Thursday that August was not intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Tolks said the CHP had conducted an extensive crash investigation and come up with the charges as a result.

"I think the investigation was such that although she may have caused the death of those people, we didn't think she was criminally liable," Tolks said.

"It was CHP's decision, and the bottom line is that they didn't feel that even a sober person could have avoided the collision."

Kreis could face local custody time and fines if convicted. 

She will be arraigned in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Oct. 2.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

$500,000 Gift Launches Scholarship for UCSB Undergrads in Marine Science

By | Published on 09/11/2014


With a handful of motivated undergrads serving as his assistants, UC Santa Barbara marine scientist Craig Carlson spent part of his summer at sea on the South Pacific, leading the biogeochemical component of a multidisciplinary research cruise aboard the RV Kilo Moana.

For Carlson, professor and chair of UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, such trips are routine. For the students, however, they can be the experience of their college careers.

Similar field research opportunities may soon be available to more students, courtesy of a new scholarship program conceived by two UCSB alumni and funded by their family foundation.

A gift of $500,000 from the Bentson Foundation will fund the Bentson Scholars Program at UC Santa Barbara, a merit-based initiative for undergraduates with an interest in aquatic biology. The program is something of a passion project for former Gauchos Laurie Bentson Kauth, chair of the foundation, and her husband, William Kauth, a longtime marine biology teacher who retired from Santa Barbara High School.

“When Bill was teaching, there was a sort of unofficial collaboration between his class and UCSB — they visited the campus labs quite often — and it was wonderful,” Bentson Kauth recalled. “With the Bentson Foundation we have scholarships other places, so bringing one here seemed like the perfect thing to do. And we’re really excited about it.”

The feeling is mutual.

“We are thrilled by the Bentson Foundation’s generous gift to establish the Bentson Scholars Program at UC Santa Barbara,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “This merit-based program for undergraduates will be a tremendous boost to our Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, for those studying aquatic biology. We are especially grateful to our alumni Laurie Bentson Kauth and William Kauth for their pivotal role in making this possible, and for investing in the futures of aquatic biology and of our students.”

For Carlson and EEMB, the hope is that the Bentson scholarships will support high-achieving aquatic biology students, in part, by affording them invaluable research opportunities as they pursue their educations in marine science. Participating in a research cruise, for example, is exactly the type of “immersion experience,” Carlson said, that can set UCSB students apart when they seek entry to graduate programs and scientific jobs.

“This fantastic gift clearly gives a great shot in the arm to what we can offer our undergrads from the standpoint of research experience as well as of enrichment — so they can take what they’re learning in the classroom and bring it into the field,” Carlson said. “This looks like a win-win for students supported by the scholarships and the faculty working with these outstanding students. It will create opportunities for undergrads and help them excel in this important field.”

Which is precisely the point, according to Bentson Kauth.

“We are firm believers in protecting our natural resources and it is our hope to nurture a new generation of leaders in the field to preserve our coastline,” said Bentson Kauth, whose parents, Larry and Nancy Bentson, founded the Bentson Foundation in 1956. “We hope these students go on to help save the ocean, which is really the reason that you study marine biology. And certainly UCSB is one of the very best places to do that. Hopefully they will be so inspired that they will eventually give back to UCSB, too. That’s the whole idea.”

The partnership with UCSB also made perfect sense for the Bentson Foundation, a Minnesota-based philanthropic organization with public education at its heart — and scholarship programs part of its efforts on other campuses. This is the foundation’s first gift to UCSB and to the UC system.

“We are pleased to support UCSB in this manner and foster future leaders in marine science, who we believe will play a critical role in protecting the world’s oceans,” said Judi Dutcher, the Bentson Foundation’s executive director. “We hope not only to grow this program at UCSB but also to inspire other donors to create a legacy of support for students that attend this important institution.”

— Shelly Leachman represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Country Group The Band Perry to Perform at Chumash Casino Resort

By | Published on 09/11/2014


The Band Perry, one of the hottest acts in country music, will perform their hits at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2.

Tickets for the show are $75, $85, $95, $115 and $135.

Since releasing their self-titled debut album in 2010, The Band Perry has skyrocketed into the mainstream. Fronted by Kimberly Perry and rounded out by her younger brothers Reid and Neil, the band has notched a string of hit singles from their platinum self-titled debut and their gold sophomore release, “Pioneer,” including the quadruple-platinum “If I Die Young” (which climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Country and Adult Contemporary charts), the platinum “You Lie,” and the country chart-topping hits “All Your Life,” “Better Dig Two” and “Done.”

They’ve also enjoyed sold-out tours, multiple ACM, CMA and CMT Music awards — including the 2014 ACM Award for “Vocal Group of the Year” and CMT’s 2014 “Group Video of the Year” award — along with Grammy, AMA, ACA and Billboard Music award nominations. They are currently nominated for a 2014 Fox Teen Choice Award for “Choice Country Group.”

All of which has cemented the sibling trio as one of the hottest acts in recent history.

The Band Perry is touring the U.S. on their own headlining tour and, on selected dates, alongside country star Blake Shelton.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this top-selling country trio when they take the stage in one of the most popular music venues in Santa Barbara County.

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

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Work on Goleta Drainage Project Expected to Cause Delays Next Week on Calle Real

By | Published on 09/11/2014


As part of the Highway 101 Goleta Drainage Project, there will be traffic control on Calle Real from west of Valdez Avenue to east of Carlo Drive starting Monday, Sept. 15 and continuing through Friday, Sept. 19.

Large trucks will be delivering rocks to fill in a hole between Calle Real and the freeway approximately every 20 minutes between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

During these times, traffic will be stopped to allow the trucks to dump the load and enter and exit the road. Expect delays of up to 10 minutes in each direction.

The City of Goleta urges drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to consider using alternate routes. One such route would be to use La Patera Lane to Parkhurst Drive to Windsor Avenue to Stow Canyon Road (or the reverse) for those coming from Fairview Avenue.

This 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 2017.

— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra’s New Season Focused on Lively, Celebratory Music

By | Published on 09/11/2014


The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, a critically-acclaimed chamber orchestra that has performed well-known classical repertoire and hosted world-class soloists since 1978, will kick off its 2014-15 concert season with a “Tango & Tapas!” gala event on Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Lobero Theatre.

The gala, presented by Chaucer’s Books, will feature tapas appetizers and local tango dancers.

At 7 p.m. there will be a pre-concert lecture on Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, which violinist Martin Beaver will perform with the Chamber Orchestra. The concert, sponsored by the Walter J. & Holly O. Thompson Foundation, will start at 7:30 p.m.

“This is a particularly exciting season for us,” said Joe Campanelli, chair of the SBCO board of directors. “With a new, full-time executive director; a growing endowment; and increased annual support, the Chamber Orchestra is well-positioned for a bright future. The excitement and energy of both Vivaldi’s and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons aptly shows our enthusiasm as we look forward.”

In December, the Chamber Orchestra, led by conductor and Music Director Heiichiro Ohyama, will perform a Brandenburg Marathon at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Lobero Theatre. The concert will feature J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra’s Chamber Players will celebrate Valentine’s Day by performing Sergei Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34, Francis Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet, Op. 100 and César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor, N. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Fleischmann Auditorium at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

To close the 2014-15 concert season, the Chamber Orchestra will perform Frank Bridge’s An Irish Melody (‘Londonderry Air’), H. 86, Frederick Delius’ "Intermezzo" from Fennimore & Gerda and Prelude from "Irmelin," Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s The Hebrides, Op. 26 ("Fingal’s Cave") and Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15.

Following the concert — which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 17, at the Lobero Theatre — Chamber Orchestra subscribers are invited to attend a “Bit O the Blarney” craft beer tasting.

For more information, call the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra at 805.966.2441 or click here.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Letter to the Editor: CHP’s Traffic ‘Control’ After Accidents Is Out of Control

By | Published on 09/11/2014


I was one of the tens of thousands of motorists who Monday morning thought they were leaving on the soothing scenic coastal drive to work.

Upon leaving my home about 8:30 a.m., it became very obvious something was terribly messed up with traffic. A couple miles north of the 33 on Highway 101, all northbound motor vehicles were moving at a crawl.

For over eight years I've commuted to Santa Barbara from Ventura and never experienced a freeway traffic backup like this!

While helplessly stuck in traffic, I contacted a co-worker, who informed me of "another" freeway fatal accident near Bates Road. This time, the accident occurred at 2 a.m. Yes, I was sad about the news of the fatality that occurred, but even more saddened by observing how many people and businesses would be significantly affected by this significant delay as a result of the California Highway Patrol's "mismanaged accident traffic control."

It took 10 hours to move two crashed vehicles from the freeway. Really?! I hope these officers don't apply for jobs as paramedics — they wouldn't save any lives!

Three hours later, at about 11:30 a.m. when I finally reached the scene of the accident, I was totally surprised to see the wrecked Ford Ranger pickup still sitting on the flatbed tow truck like a trophy while other uniformed officers stood around and chatted while at least 20 miles of backup traffic was growing.

Please, CHP, learn to "step up" your game, because this type of inadequate traffic control service will only lead to road rage.

Walter Peter


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

BizHawk: Sundance Beach Closing Up Shop to Dive Into Online Sales Market

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Landmark building in Summerland sold, South Side Coffee in Lompoc celebrates 20 years and Curves fitness center hosts open house

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

Sundance Beach will soon sell its swimwear and clothing only online, as the longtime South Coast staple closes up shop to focus on website sales.

The retailer at 7048 Market Place Drive in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace will close the doors of its brick and mortar shop at the end of September to “move worldwide,” embracing an online trend the company has experienced for some time, according to Melissa Franzen, Sundance’s purchasing coordinator.

Owners Judy Bartlett and Rick Bennett purchased Sundance Beach in 1988, then a windsurf and skateboard store based on the Mesa called Sundance Ocean Sports. The married couple moved the shop downtown to State Street in 1995, renaming it, and in 2001 moved to the Goleta location.

Sundance Beach — proud to have been dubbed the first certified “green” retail business in Santa Barbara — will still offer the same products, continue shipping worldwide and will keep its warehouse headquartered in Goleta, Franzen said.

Franzen said Sundance was particularly proud of being the first certified “green” retail business in Santa Barbara.

“We’ve just seen a shift of more customers coming to our website,” she said. “That seems to be the wave of the future.”

Summerland Building Sold

A local, unnamed investor has purchased one of Summerland’s landmark commercial buildings in an off-market transaction.

The 4,344-square-foot, mixed-use building at 2330 Lillie Ave. sold for more than $600 per square foot, although a final sales price was not disclosed, according to Hayes Commercial Group, which represented the seller, another unnamed local investor.

The building, sitting on a more than 11,000 square-foot parcel, is currently home to the Summerland Winery Tasting Room and Bonita Boutique, as well as two residential units on the second floor.

Hayes Commercial reported the sale marked the highest price per square foot ever paid for a Summerland commercial property larger than 2,000 square feet.

South Side Coffee Co. Celebrates 20 Years

Lompoc’s South Side Coffee Co. is celebrating 20 years in business Friday with festivities for loyal supporters.

The coffee shop at 105 South H St. will also mark new ownership during the 4:30 p.m. gathering, which will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, South Side’s signature draft coffee, giveaways, live music all weekend and more, according to new owner Stacy Lowthorp.

Longtime owner Julie Biolley will be staying on, just stepping back a bit, said Lowthorp, who was excited for the opportunity to take the lead at the 20th anniversary.

“It’s hard to do when you’re not a franchise,” she said.

Curves to Host Open House

Curves fitness center in Buellton at 252 E. Highway 246 will host an Open House next week, offering deals to new members.

Curves International Inc., one of the world’s largest fitness center chains for women, will host the open house events at several locations for week of Sept. 15-20.

New members can receive 30 days free in addition to a free workout.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Capps Announces Federal Funding for Hollister Avenue Traffic Project in Goleta

By | Published on 09/11/2014


On Thursday, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced that the City of Goleta received a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for $236,000 to support the Hollister Avenue Complete Streets Corridor project in Old Town Goleta.

The funding will be used to conduct engineering and traffic studies along a stretch of Hollister Avenue in the Old Town Goleta neighborhood. The Corridor Plan includes evaluating the Hollister Avenue corridor for transportation, parking, safety and drainage needs. It will also include multimodal transportation options to link Old Town Goleta to centers of employment, education and services. This work was originally identified in the Santa Barbara County Old Town Revitalization Plan, which was adopted by the City of Goleta upon incorporation.

Capps wrote in support of this grant application, which was submitted to the competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, which provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects.

“I’m so pleased that this federal funding will go toward revitalizing an important part of Goleta,” Capps said. “This coordinated effort by several agencies will make Old Town Goleta’s streets safer and more convenient for more modes of travel, while boosting the local economy by allowing better access to businesses along this important stretch. While there were several projects along the Central Coast that I supported in the TIGER grant application process that were also worthy of funding, I look forward to seeing the results of the Corridor Plan, and soon experiencing the upgraded and improved Old Town Goleta.”

“The City has been planning transportation improvements for Old Town for many years,” Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett said.“This funding is critical to getting this important project off the ground. Improving circulation and creating an efficient environment that works for motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and transit is something we look forward to providing.”

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Ken Williams: Years from Now, Our Children Will Pay the Price of War Today

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Blood hangs heavy in the air. Again we hear the cries, the insatiable demands for war, but no talk of the costs.

War hawks circle the coming slaughter from the comfort of their safety. God knows that the imperial land grab by Vladimir Putin, and the satanic acts of ISIS are both appalling. But before we cross the Rubicon and engage in yet another war in the Middle East, we need to stop and think. Who exactly are we fighting for? Who exactly will pay the cost years and decades down the road? And when did the stated objectives of war in the beginning ever reflect the outcome?

Forty years after the Vietnam War, veterans of that conflict continue to suffer and die, not only from the lingering physical wounds, but also the long-term effects of the chemical witch’s brew that modern war is infused with. (And least we forget so do the people of that tragic land.) Agent Orange birthed a variety of cancers and other illnesses that consume the bodies of Marines and Army veterans to this day.

Silently and alone, they pay the lingering cost while the country pretends war is without costs. Disability claims by the tens of thousands collect dust while overworked Veterans Affairs workers try to tea-leaf the convoluted ways modern chemicals of war can deform the intricate human body. In the meantime, veterans, wives and their children stand in shocked awe of the long reach of that war.

Already, American airstrikes have engaged the enemy. However, it is not ISIS alone that fights the Iraqi government. Disgruntled Sunni tribes feeling betrayed by the central government’s marginalization of them have temporarily allied with ISIS. Our intervention threatens to cement that alliance, guaranteeing a wider and more deadly war.

Have we learned nothing from our history? Our invasion of Iraq gave birth to al-Qaeda in Iraq, which then grew into ISIS. Before that war, al-Qaeda had no presence in that country. Yet now as a direct consequence of that war — a war that we were lied into — an enemy that didn’t exist now threatens our existential existence.

Our sons and daughters fought and died battling the barbaric Shiite militias that our Air Force now provides support for. Are the killers of our sons and daughters now our allies? And least we think they have changed, two weeks ago these same militias slaughtered 76 Sunni worshippers as they attended their Mosque within the central government’s control. These same militias were as barbaric in their civil war and against us, as ISIS is today.

Furthermore, if history repeats itself, will we provide military support to former ISIS Sunni insurgents in a few years? Our intervention in Libya didn’t go so well either. We helped bomb Muammar Gaddafi out of office and into the hands of sadistic torturers, while the same men who killed our ambassador now threatens to turn Libya into a fundamentalist state with a hatred of America. The war hawks that demanded our intervention then claim amnesia now as a consequence of their pontifications.

Look further into history. World War I was supposed to last weeks. Instead, four years of butchery led to the collapse of empires and sowed the seeds of Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin's rise to power. Vietnam wasted millions of lives, and accomplished nothing.

Beslan: Three Days in September, a film about the slaughter of children by Chechnya insurgents, is a must see film. The barbarity of it is beyond description. But one only has to read human rights reports of the Russian occupation of their country to see where their twisted hatred and brutality come from. Rape, inhumane torture, disappearance, arbitrary executions by Russian federal forces would give ISIS militants a run for the satanic medal of barbarism. The novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena puts into words the suffering of the people of Chechnya at the hands of the new Cossacks.

Evil begets evil. Violence begets violence. Somewhere, sometime in history, a people must stand strong and say, enough is enough and decide to forgo war. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King are not platitudes to be rolled out once a year so we can all feel good about ourselves. His words of nonviolence are a direct challenge to a worldview, a mindset that violence is not only an answer, but the only answer to all problems.

I don’t pretend to know all, but I do know that without a national debate, without dialogue and creative thinking, we are condemned to live in an endless cycle of war; inclusive of seeing our children forever coming home either in coffins or maimed and twisted from the effects of war, and fighting for constantly shifting enemies and friends.

In the meantime, veterans continue to suffer and die in silence. We must remember that when we go to war, it is our children that we place in harm’s way. That in decades to come, when this war and that war become mere footnotes in history books that bored teens are forced to read, veterans — our children and their children and their wives and husbands — will silently and alone pay the price for our decisions today.

War has a consequence. War is pain. War demands that a price be paid, now and in the future. Our children deserve better than a compliant population. Enjoy and love your children. Honor them as something other than mere cannon fodder. Let them live long lives and enjoy their own children. Let them grow peacefully into old age, without maimed bodies and tortuous nightmares.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Montecito Motor Classic Car Show Returning to Coast Village Road

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Event will benefit Santa Barbara Police Activities League and Police Foundation

The Montecito Motor Classic weekend returns to wow crowds with more than 150 classic rides, free festivities and a charity gala at the third annual car show on Coast Village Road next weekend.  

Montecito Motor Classic committee co-chair Dolores Johnson said the car show has raised roughly $120,000 since she helped start it in 2012.

This year, Johnson and her 40-member committee decided the annual event will benefit the Santa Barbara Police Activities League and the Santa Barbara Police Foundation primarily to support after-school programs for local children. 

Dolores said the car show and gala were really all about giving back.

"The reason are all doing this is so we can raise money for these nonprofits," Johnson told Noozhawk. "We have amazing volunteers who put this together, and I feel privileged to be working with them."

The event will kick off with a charity auction gala at 5 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Montecito Country Club featuring a sneak preview of the weekend's cars.

As many as 30 items will be auctioned off including a Christmas Parade ride, VIP tickets to the Petersen Automotive Museum's 2015 grand opening and even a ride in a Cold War-era Douglas A-26 Invader twin-engine light bomber attack plane. 

The car show will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 on Coast Village Road in Montecito, which will be closed off for the event.

Each featured car will be judged in 11 distinct categories including best foreign, best sport and most elegant. Winners will be given special trophies awarded by the event's donors including the biggest donor, the Armand Hammer Foundation.

The event will include the Senior Home Vintage Car Tour, which visits senior homes and facilities in the area. 

During the car show, the event will feature the first Future Car Designers and Model Car Building competition at noon Sept. 21.

Participants ages 8 to 17 will compete to develop the most compelling new car design. 

For more information, click here

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Cinema in Focus: ‘The Identical’

By | Published on 09/11/2014


3 Stars — Wholesome

As they grow up into adulthood, identical twins have an additional hurdle in finding their own identity. Looking into the face of another human who looks exactly like you presents an additional challenge to achieve the sense of uniqueness that most of us desire. But even when separated at birth, identical siblings share a complexion of similarities as well as a sense of incompleteness without the other that catches our interest and curiosity.

These and other themes are explored by novice director Dustin Marcellino in his first film, The Identical.

Written by Howard Klausner, who is known primarily for Space Cowboys, the plot is an obvious fictionalization of Elvis Presley's life and the fact that he had a twin who was stillborn. This is reinforced in several ways from the decision to cast Elvis impersonator Blake Rayne as the lead character Ryan Wade, who is the identical twin of the rock star Drexel Hemsley, to the style of music, dance and stage costumes.

However, in this fictional tale, the twins are born healthy but to desperately poor parents who can barely afford to provide for one baby.

The twins' father, William Hemsley (Brian Geraghty), seeks solace at a tent revival meeting and meets the minister Reece Wade (Ray Liotta) and his heartbroken wife, Louise (Ashley Judd). Hearing their grief that Louise had miscarried again and request that the congregation pray for them, William feels that God wants him to give one of their twin boys to the minister and his wife to raise as their own. Although his wife, Helen (Amanda Crew), does not want to do so, she finally agrees, gives up her son and so the twins are separated to be raised by two different sets of parents.

We won't spoil what happens next or the spiritual, emotional and familial price that is paid by both couples. Nor will we explore how the two boys reflect one another's gifts and interests or how their individual journeys demonstrate an emptiness and longing for the other. But it is a difficult journey that none of them could have predicted when they took that first step.

Woven within the tale are a variety of other messages, some pedantic and preachy with stereotypical depictions of pastors, musicians, agents and romance. One example of this is the preaching style of Reece, whose rigidity and authoritarian style reflects a 1930s rural Christianity. This is shown again when he declares the Six-Day War of Israel as one of God's miracles but also as a pronouncement to support Israel for religious reasons.

Ryan eventually comes to peace with his identity as an identical, and that is the message that all of us can gain. Though we may not have been taken from our parents or twin at birth, and most of us are not preacher's kids with parental expectations to continue the pastoral call, and most of us do not have the ability to uncannily imitate a great musician, we all have our own journey to come to an understanding and acceptance of who we are.


» Have you ever wondered if what others have told you about who you are is really true? Do you have a general sense of unease about being who others expect you to be? How can you resolve the difference between others' expectations and being true to your own identity?

» Ryan's ability to create his own music was rejected by his agent. Do you think he made the right choice? Why or why not?

» As Christians, these types of films can cause us to feel uneasy. The stereotypes reinforced by such a film sometimes cause more misunderstanding of our faith rather than giving a helpful or realistic depiction of believers. Do you think this film was helpful or not? Is your answer based on the inexperience of this cinematic team or this genre of film? Why do you answer as you do?

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Bone Marrow Registry Drive for 3-Year-Old Marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

By | Published on 09/11/2014


September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and Be the Match — City of Hope will be registering Santa Barbara and Ventura County residents to the bone marrow registry in an effort to find a match for almost 3-year-old Magnus Kalins of Ventura.

Magnus was diagnosed with juvenile myelomoncytic leukemia (JMML), an incredibly rare leukemia that accounts for less than 1 percent of all childhood leukemia.

After a shockingly fast and sudden diagnosis, the family is now faced with the reality that the only course of treatment is a bone marrow transplant.

Every four minutes, someone in the world is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia, and 70 percent of patients who need a marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family. When there is no match from a family member or relative, organizations like the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and Be the Match — City of Hope assist with finding a match.

In Magnus’ case, no family member is a match. The Kalins family is of unique Latvian decent, and though they hope to find a match within the tiny Latvian community, they know the importance of registering as many people as possible to the bone marrow registry.

“If you are between the ages of 18 and 44 and have diverse or Latvian ancestry, Magnus especially need you,” said Vivian Abernathy, community outreach specialist at Be the Match — City of Hope. “Donors and patients who share the same ancestry are most likely to match.”

Please plan to visit any of these locations on these dates and register; you can be the match for Magnus!

» Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at  Island Brewing Co. in Carpinteria
» Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Dolphin Fountain (at Cabrillo Drive) in Santa Barbara
» Sept. 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at YMCA in Ventura
» Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Latvian Community Center in Riverside

If you are unable to able to attend a registration event, please register online by clicking here and using the code “Match4Magnus.”

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Golf Tournament Aims to Raise $75,000 for Teacher’s Fund

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Renee Grubb of Village Properties Realtors is chairing the fourth annual Teacher’s Fund Golf Tournament, a fundraiser benefiting the Teacher’s Fund.

Renee Grubb
Renee Grubb

Founded in 2002, the Teacher’s Fund helps support local public and private K-12 school teachers buy specifically-requested supplies, materials, equipment and special projects that each teacher needs to benefit their classroom.

Grubb said she hopes the golf tournament will raise $75,000 for the nonprofit.

“Teachers desperately need supplies that school funding no longer covers,” said Grubb, who co-founded Village Properties, Santa Barbara’s largest independent real estate brokerage, in 1996. “This is our way of supporting our local teachers and thanking them for tirelessly educating our children.”

Tee-off is at noon Oct. 3 at the Glenn Annie Golf Course. The golf tournament will be preceded by a putting competition and followed by a catered dinner, silent auction and raffle items. Each golfer will receive a goody bag decorated by students at Washington Elementary School.

Joining Grubb are golf tournament committee members Lara Castagnola, Sheela Hunt, Dianne Johnson, Brianna Johnson, Adrienne Schuele, Carol Frazzano, Gary Welterlen, Wayne Natale and Bob Curtis from Village Properties; Steve Puailoa and Grant Brostrom from Cox Media; Amy Clemens from Alliance Wealth Strategies; and Kris Listoe.

Village Properties underwrites the event. Sponsorships still available at $1,500, which includes a foursome and other perks, and Tee Sponsorships at $300. There are also a limited number of foursomes for $1,000. Non-golfer cocktail/dinner tickets cost $50.

For more information about sponsorships or to donate a silent auction or raffle item, contact Castagnola at 805.683.7354 or For more information about the nonprofit, click here.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing Village Properties.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

San Marcos, Dos Pueblos Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

By | Published on 09/11/2014


It's official. On Wednesday the National Merit Scholarship Program announced the names of the seminalists for 2015.

Congratulations go out to the following students, who are now eligible to continue in the competition.

According to the program, nationally, "about 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to reach finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title."

San Marcos High School

Oliver Piltch

Dos Pueblos High School

Michael Aling 
Ameet Braganza 
Adam Dai 
Caroline Gay 
Quinn Hensley 
Jason Mally 
Mark Raphael 
Brian Su 
Andrew Yang

— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Coalition Against Gun Violence Hosting Town Hall Forum to Discuss Violence Against Women

By | Published on 09/11/2014


The Coalition Against Gun Violence is honored to present a Town Hall Community Forum on Sunday, Sept. 28 at SBCC’s Fé Bland Auditorium to discuss a major national concern about why American culture continues to experience violence against women.

The event will begin with the first showing in Santa Barbara of the powerful documentary, Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture, introduced by its creator and primary writer, Jackson Katz, Ph.D.

Dr. Katz is a pioneer in gender violence prevention education, an author, filmmaker and cultural theorist. Tough Guise 2 explores misogyny and why men are so frequently the perpetrators of violence.

A panel discussion will follow moderated by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson. Panelists include Jackson Katz, Ph.D., Assemblyman Das Williams, Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, Santa Barbara City College professor Joe White, marriage family therapist Toni Wellen and two college students.

The grim reality is that male perpetrators have carried out all but one of the mass shootings (four or more people) in America; and male shooters have carried out every school massacre. As the roles of women have expanded in society, the roles of men are changing. This town hall forum will provide the community an opportunity to discuss how men and women can improve communication and mutual awareness.

The co-sponsors of this event include the Anti-Defamation League of Santa Barbara, the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County, the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, 2020 A Year Without War, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

For more information, contact Wellen at 805.684.8434.

— Danny Fitzgibbons is the media coordinator for the Coalition Against Gun Violence.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Airport to Observe Moment of Silence for 9/11

By | Published on 09/11/2014


A moment of silence will be observed at 8:46 a.m. Thursday, the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, at the Santa Barbara Airport airline terminal.

All airport operations will be temporarily suspended for 60 seconds in order to observe Patriot Day and honor those who lost their lives during the attack on the United States 13 years ago.

By presidential proclamation, Americans are called on to observe Patriot Day each Sept. 11 in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 people who died in 2001, when terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and struck targets in the United States.

The time of 8:46 a.m. (EST) marks the moment when the first plane flew into the World Trade Center.

Flags will be displayed at half-staff throughout the airport in honor of the fallen.

— Hazel Johns is director of the Santa Barbara Airport.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Lompoc Invitational Cross Country Meet Results

By | Published on 09/11/2014


Boys Varsity

San Marcos — 20 points

Lompoc — 46

Santa Maria — 71

1. Walker Odell (senior), San Marcos — 16:19

2. Lompoc

3. Logan Briner (sophomore), San Marcos — 16:34

4. David Peterson (senior), San Marcos — 16:49

5. Keaton Shinn (junior), San Marcos — 17:05

Girls Varsity

San Marcos swept the meet placing 1-7 and a perfect score of 15

Orcutt was 2nd — 112 points

Lompoc, 3rd — 124

Santa Maria, 4th — 192

1. Adilene Aldapa (senior) — 18:31

2. Erica Schroeder (sophomore) — 18:45

3. Mya Adornetto  - (freshman) — 19:55

4. Emily Pearlman (sophomore) — 20:36

5. Kendra Dayton (freshman) — 20:37

6. Elsa Robertson (sophomore) — 20:38

7. Natalie Widmer (sophomore) — 20:42

The San Marcos JV boys also swept the meet with the first 12 runners.

— Tracy Jenkins is the assistant cross-country coach at San Marcos High School.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Injury During Cave-In Raises Neighbors’ Safety Concerns of More Mesa Bluffs

By | Published on 09/10/2014


Residents say visitors to the area are overstaying their welcome, putting themselves at risk and leaving behind trash

It's a short walk — about 100 yards — from the gate of Bonnie Freeman's More Mesa Shores home to the edge of the sandy colored bluffs and the view of the glittering blue Pacific Ocean beyond.

Freeman, her neighbors and the community enjoy the trail that encircles and runs through More Mesa, located near the southern end of Patterson Road, but lately the area has been drawing visitors who are overstaying their welcome, camping in the indentations and small caves of the bluffs, starting campfires and leaving trash in their wake, she said, as well as risking serious injury.

Freeman maintains she has had a front-row seat to the issue for a while — she has lived in her Austin Road home for 13 years — but that it came to a head on Saturday, when a 19-year-old man suffered major head and chest injuries after being hit with a large boulder during a partial cave-in in the area.

Firefighters said four college-age students were in a cave on the cliff face between the bluffs and the beach when there was a partial collapse. The victim was struck by a boulder weighing 100 tto 200 pounds. Firefighters conducted a rope rescue to access the victim.

His current condition and identity have not been released.

For Freeman, she says she has been seeing groups of young people climb over the fence near her Austin Road home to get to the bluffs, carrying coolers full of food and beer in an effort to spend the night in the caves.

"We've been saying a tragedy has been coming for years," she said.

On the path, which makes its way toward access of the caves, sits a pile of dirty socks and trash. A few yards away, there is a discarded cardboard beer box.

She and her neighbors have tried to stop the entry of the mesa from their properties, even putting concertina wire on the tops of the fence to keep people out, an effort that Freeman suspects garnered resentment and resulted in a spate of graffiti vandalism on the mesa side of her fence.

"The county's hands are tied because it's private property," she said.

The property was sold in 2012 to a Saudi real estate investment group, Kahlid Bin Saud Al Shobily LLC, led by a man of the same name for $25 million. 

Representatives from the company could not be reached for comment, and Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki could not confirm whether it had been notified.

Freeman said she wants to meet with the property owner or someone representing him to make a plan of action to deal with security on the bluffs.

"He's got a liability issue," she said. 

Neighbor Gail Johnson said there is a "steady stream" of people headed to the caves on most nights.

"They take up temporary residence, drink, litter, tag anything they can with a flat surface -- signs, plants, the cliffs themselves -- and are generally disruptive," she said. 

Johnson said she'd like to see more patrol efforts, to crack down on the cars parked on the streets. She also said she'd like to see an education effort go forward to inform people how to better steward the area.

"Obviously, the owners do not care," Johnson said.

Freeman met with sheriff and county fire officials about the issue in Aug. 2013, along with a representative of Supervisor Janet Wolf, whose district includes the area.

She and other neighbors lobbied in January for "No Overnight Parking" signs to be installed, and since they were put in about two months ago, they've made a difference, she said.

"It's all the little steps we've taken that have helped make an impact," she said.

Wolf told Noozhawk that her office began receiving a variety of complaints from residents of More Mesa Shores about multiple issues, such as the impact of short-term rentals, unpermitted special events and parking, the use of fireworks by a neighbor, as well as the use of the caves on the bluffs. 

"We provided the More Mesa Shores Homeowners Association with contact names and numbers of appropriate county staff and encouraged them to host a meeting in their neighborhood," she said, adding that the HOA did host the meeting.

Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department Lt. Butch Arnoldi, who was part of last year's meeting, said the department regularly patrols the area and is well aware of the problem.

"People should report any activity because it's a complaint-driven process," he said, adding that the calls are a low priority for law enforcement, unless there are other circumstances such as high winds when campfires in the bluffs are going. "This is the third time that I'm aware of that we've had cave-ins in the area, including a fatality that occurred over a decade ago."

The department tries to be proactive about the problem, he said, and encouraged people to report anything they see to the nonemergency dispatch line at 805.692.5714.

In the meantime, Freeman said she wants would-be cave visitors to be aware of the safety risks and cognizant that the ground could give way.

"It's about the bluffs being insecure," she said.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

SLO Op Climbing Club Gearing Up to Open Gym in Santa Maria

By | Published on 09/10/2014


A fundraising campaign is under way to finance 'The Pad,' slated to go in at an existing business park on A Street

A climbing club that maintains a popular gym for bouldering enthusiasts in San Luis Obispo has announced plans to open a similar facility in Santa Maria.

The board for SLO Op Climbing, based at 289 Prado Road in San Luis Obispo, last week announced plans to open a gym, to be called “The Pad,” in an existing business park on A Street in southwest Santa Maria.

“I’ve been pushing it for quite awhile,” SLO Op Executive Director Kristin Horowitz said.

A former instructor at Allan Hancock College, she said she became familiar with the area and the need for recreation opportunities for young professionals and families.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” she added.

She estimated that about 15 percent of the gym’s membership lives in Nipomo, Lompoc and Santa Maria.

“SLO Op has grown by leaps and bounds, and we are proud of our service to the community,” officials said on the SLO Op website. “Many northern Santa Barbara County residents are making the trek to the gym, and there is a large population that has not had the benefit of the kind of services and facilities that SLO Op maintains. By bringing 'The Pad' to Santa Maria, we hope to give a new demographic (consisting of families and young professionals) the opportunity to pursue a healthy pastime and be a part of a cohesive community in an area with very few competing options.”

Horowitz met with the gym’s future neighbors and said they reacted positively to the facility and said they would join.  

The climbers created a tight-knit community she is excited to see develop in Santa Maria. They hope to open in February, assuming permits, engineering and financing come together.

The new gym needs about $300,000 to get built and operate for three months while getting established, but the group is one-third of the way toward the goal so far, according to fundraising monitor on the SLO Op website.

The nonprofit group estimates the Santa Maria site would need 459 members to break even, a number club leaders expect to reach within five months of opening.

SLO Op’s board, staff and crew will oversee the project, but plan to develop a local staff and volunteer corps.

The facility would be open initially from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but other options are being considered.

The new location, with approximately 10,000 square feet, will allow the gym to host more corporate and other events.

“We would ideally provide services like a workout room, kids programs, afterschool programs, camps, team building, yoga and — yes — birthday parties at this new facility over time, building in stages as we did with SLO Op,” officials said.

In 2002, SLO Op started in a storage unit with a loose-knit group of climbers. But when the lease ended they sought another location, using volunteers to construct a steel-framed building and money loaned from interested climbers.

They filed as an LLC and a nonprofit, reportedly becoming the nation’s first nonprofit bouldering gym.

Another move took the gym into a larger facility that boasts approximately 3,500 square feet of bouldering with top outs, a crack machine, slackline, and hangboard. 

The gym is available to members, but people also can purchase one-day passes.

The business model used to launch SLO Op Climbing is mentioned in a book, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.

SLO Op officials say the Central Coast concept has spawned a huge movement toward smaller co-op bouldering gyms all over the world — “and we couldn’t be more honored.”

“We get contacted from people all over the country to emulate what we’re doing,” Horowitz added.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Council Approves Funding for Emergency Repairs of Groundwater Wells

By | Published on 09/10/2014


Three of Santa Barbara’s groundwater wells aren’t working right now, prompting the City Council to approve emergency equipment purchases to get them online by October.

The Ortega Groundwater Treatment Plant is budgeted to treat 1 million gallons per day, but all source wells for the plant are down right now, according to water system manager Cathy Taylor.

The City Hall Well, located in the parking lot of City Hall, and the Vera Cruz Well, on Cota Street between Anacapa and Santa Barbara streets, need pump motor replacements and other repairs.

The new Corporation Yard Well was drilled last year and needs more equipment installed to get it working, Taylor said. 

The Vera Cruz well is located near a day-care facility, so workers are only on site when children aren’t present.

“There would be big cranes pulling many tons of piping and equipment right next to a playground with 3- and 4-year-olds,” she said.

Council members approved emergency purchase orders for equipment repairs on Tuesday.

Getting well contractors in this environment is difficult since they are in such high demand across the state, Taylor noted.

These downtown wells are three of the city’s nine groundwater wells. They'll be used more as the city's surface water supplies dwindle with the ongoing drought. 

The City Council on Tuesday also approved a five-year contract for filter media for the treatment plant.

The filter media remove hydrogen sulfide from groundwater, which can give it a sulfurous smell.

Taylor said it’s a budgeted treatment cost, but pumping additional groundwater during the drought could add to the expected costs.

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


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk

Heat Wave Brings Heightened Fire Danger Through Weekend

By | Published on 09/10/2014


Hot, dry temperatures are expected to persist through the weekend, prompting the National Weather Service to warn of elevated fire danger across the Central Coast.

Strong winds will not accompany prolonged highs into the mid-80s and 90s, however, which hopefully will prevent a red flag warning from being issued, according to Joe Sirard, a weather specialist from the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.

Because vegetation is already so dry due to the drought, NWS issued the special weather statement Wednesday.

Temperatures throughout the Santa Barbara Coast and valley areas are expected to peak Saturday through Monday as a low-level onshore flow of high pressure passes through the area, according to Sirard.

“It’s running 10 to 15 degrees above normal,” he said. “But, in September, oftentimes we get these hot spells.”

Patchy morning clouds will give way to clear skies this weekend, where South Coast beaches are forecast to remain in the mid-70s and low-80s, he said.

The Santa Barbara and Santa Maria areas can expect highs in the mid-80s to low-90s beginning Saturday, although Sirard said it’s more likely heat records will fall in Southern California than anywhere locally.

The Santa Ynez Valley and mountain areas are expected to heat up well into the 90s and close to 100 degrees, Sirard said.

He said heat could lead to an increase in heat-related illnesses, especially among the young and elderly. Sirard encouraged locals to wear lightweight clothing, check on the elderly and to not overdo outdoor activities.

“It’s going to be uncomfortable for those without air conditioning,” Sirard said. “We advise folks to stay hydrated through the day and to try to stay in a cooler environment.”

Temperatures should drop off a bit Tuesday to coastal highs in the mid-70s and 80s, with the valley cooling to the 80s and 90s.

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.


Noozhawk Newsletter

subscribe to Noozhawk