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Group Submits Legal Challenge Over Highway 101 Project; City Has Yet to File as Deadline Passes

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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The deadline to challenge the Caltrans environmental report for the Highway 101 widening project came and went, but the City of Santa Barbara apparently hasn’t filed anything in court.

Caltrans released the final environmental impact report for the southern Santa Barbara County highway-widening project on Aug. 28, which started a 30-day window to file a challenge under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The Santa Barbara City Council voted to pursue litigation over the EIR at a Sept. 16 closed session meeting, but had another closed session meeting the week after regarding anticipated litigation.

Details of that meeting are not being disclosed, and interim City Administrator Paul Casey would not confirm that the city has dropped the issue.

He did say that under CEQA, any legal challenge to the Caltrans EIR should have been submitted by Monday.

However, there was a challenge filed by environmental law attorney Marc Chytilo on behalf of a group that formed in response to this specific project.

It’s called the Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species, and its Transportation Futures Committee specifically is involved in this lawsuit.  

Both groups formed after the project was approved, but individual members — who are not named in the petition — objected to the project and submitted comments to the EIR, which gives the group standing to file a lawsuit now, Chytilo said.

"Caltrans has not yet seen the lawsuit but stands behind its recently completed final environmental impact report on the U.S. 101 South Coast HOV Lanes Project," said Caltrans' Jim Shivers, public information officer for District 5.

Other than hearing about this lawsuit, Caltrans hadn't received notice from the court of any CEQA challenge filed by Tuesday night.

"We believe this project will improve the lives of thousands of people who both live in Santa Barbara County and travel this major highway corridor every day," Shivers said in a statement. 

The group represented by Chytilo is made up of Santa Barbara residents and “has no affiliation with any groups that have previously been involved in the 101 widening project,” Chytilo said in an email.

The committee filed the action “to keep open the door to question Caltrans’ environmental assessment of the 101 widening project.”

The petition against Caltrans and SBCAG claims the EIR is “deeply flawed,” and Caltrans didn’t recognize significant negative impacts of the project, particularly with more congestion on local intersections, or provide adequate mitigation measures.

“Here, Caltrans acknowledged in a backhand way that the Project will actually increase congestion at many locations on the South Coast, blight coastal views and cause serious cumulative impacts, yet does little or nothing to mitigate these impacts,” Chytilo said in a statement.

The petition asks the Santa Barbara County Superior Court to set aside the EIR and for Caltrans to comply with CEQA. 

Concerns in the petition mirror the ones expressed by the City of Santa Barbara during discussions of the project. 

Santa Barbara officials have long pushed for some municipal interchanges to be improved alongside the widening project, arguing that the freeway improvements will lead to more congestion on city streets.

When the SBCAG board approved moving forward with the widening project, it also voted to pursue the city-jurisdiction projects separately.

The assumption is that the city would have to come up with funding for the desired projects, including the replacement of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge over Cabrillo Boulevard and interchange improvements at Olive Mill Road.

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 5-1-1 to initiate litigation on Sept. 16, with Mayor Helene Schneider and Councilmen Dale Francisco, Frank Hotchkiss, Randy Rowse and Bendy White voting in favor of litigation, and Councilwoman Cathy Murillo voting against it.

Councilman Gregg Hart abstained from the vote, according to City Attorney Ariel Calonne. Hart works as a government affairs and public information coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, the agency that approved moving forward with the widening project in January. 

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

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UC Santa Barbara Welcomes Students to Campus

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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The Educational Opportunity Program hosts a party at Stroke Plaza ahead of the first day of fall classes on Thursday

New university, course load, friends and environment.

UC Santa Barbara’s Educational Opportunity Program was specifically designed for students like Isaac Hernandez, a Covina native and chemistry major.

As a third-year transfer to UCSB, Hernandez felt more like a first-year than a veteran Wednesday, the day before fall quarter was set to start.

The community college he transferred from had a similar retention-based program, designed to give extra help to lower income and first-generation undergraduates.

“Sometimes you don’t know what (classes) to take,” Hernandez said, adding he was grateful for counseling.

He was one of hundreds gathered Wednesday afternoon for an EOP welcome party at UCSB’s Storke Plaza, which featured encouraging words from the program director, raffle prizes, even dancing from student mentors.

Some EOP advisers staffed a table ahead of the event, sandwiched between booths touting Greek life, academic clubs and school spirit, with a waving Gaucho mascot posing for pictures.

The campus bustled with activity ahead of the first day, and EOP advisers tried to flag down and inform students of its opportunities, including mentorship, academic programs, advising, support service referrals and social/cultural programming.

“I have heard of EOP,” one student said as she signed up.

The program — emphasizing excellence, achievement, leadership and community service — serves all students, although about 30 percent of UCSB undergraduates are automatically eligible to join, according to Joanna Hernandez, an EOP counselor.

This year’s incoming freshman class has the highest number of EOP students ever already, she said, noting that numbers usually increase throughout the academic year.

UCSB has approximately 1,560 EOP-eligible freshmen and 380 transfer students, equaling roughly 32 percent of new incoming students, according to university statistics.

As a 2007 UCSB graduate, who also participated in EOP, Hernandez was passionate about the value of program’s resources.

“Our goal is really to help students navigate the university system,” she said. “We don’t turn anyone away.”

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

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Teen Defendant to Be Tried Separately in Santa Maria Torture-Slaying Case

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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A teenager charged in connection with the 2013 torture-killing of a Santa Maria man, along with the now-16-year-old’s dad, grandfather and several other defendants, will have a separate trial.

On Wednesday afternoon, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rick Brown granted defense attorney Michael Carty’s motion to sever Ramon David Maldonado Jr.’s case from the six other defendants’ trial.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen stipulated to the motion, later saying she agreed because of the boy’s age — he was 14 years old at the time of the slaying — his alleged role in the crime and his lack of prior criminal history.

However, Maldonado Jr. will continue to be tried as an adult and his case will remain in adult court, she added. 

The judge ordered both sides to return to court Dec. 4 for the teenager’s case.

With the teenager’s case separated, the trial for the six remaining defendants continues to move toward the planned Nov. 17 start date. The trial is expected to last several months and will be held in Santa Maria Juvenile Court to accommodate the large number of defendants, attorneys, deputies and court staff.

Six men and one teen will stand trial in connection with the slaying of Anthony Ibarra, 28, of Santa Maria in March 2013. His body was found later in a U-Haul truck parked in Orcutt.

Also charged are the teen’s dad, Ramon David Maldonado, and the boy’s grandfather, David Maldonado, along with Reyes Gonzalez, Santos Sauceda, Anthony Soils and Jason Castillo. Four other defendants, Pedro Torres Jr., Carmen Cardenas, Verenisa Aviles and Robert Stan Sosa, accepted pleas in the case.

On Wednesday, the judge also rejected a defense motion seeking access to all jail recordings of phone calls and visits involving defendants and witnesses for the past 17 months.

On behalf of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Senior Deputy County Counsel Kevin Ready Sr. filed a motion to quash the subpoena seeking the recordings, which amount to approximately 30,000 minutes, or 500 hours.

“That is a lot of information. It’s very costly,” Ready said, adding it would take the Sheriff’s Department a couple of weeks to prepare the recordings for defense attorneys. “We’ve argued it’s unnecessary. It’s the purest form of a fishing expedition.”

One recording provided by the prosecution earlier served an example of the type of information expected to obtain through the motion, according to defense attorney Adrian Andrade.

“It is not a fishing expedition,” defense attorney Tom Allen added. “They are throwing it out there as kind of a red herring.”

Defense attorneys noted that this was not the first time they sought the jail recordings. The judge also rejected an earlier bid.

But Brown ruled the defense attorneys failed to show “plausible justification” and didn’t specify the information they sought.

After Brown approved the county motion to quash the subpoena, Allen responded, “Your honor, as to my client, I don’t believe he’s going to be receiving a fair trial.”

The attorneys again raised concerns about the schedule set by Brown.

The judge said he plans to hold the trial from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. five days a week with two short breaks. Defense attorneys have expressed concerns about handling their cases in other courts and keeping their law offices operating.

Defense attorney Michael Scott said the attorneys hoped Brown would agree to take Wednesdays off so they could have a day to handle other cases.

“I’m not going to be popular today,” Brown said, adding a four-day schedule would add a month to the trial.

Other judges have agreed to accommodate the defense attorneys’ schedules while the multidefendant trial is under way, Brown said. 

“They know the burden your under,” Brown said. “It’s going to take a lot of cooperation.”

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

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Governor Signs Tighter Gun Regulations Into Law in Wake of Isla Vista Rampage

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Families of the victims gather to celebrate the newly approved gun restraining order and gun purchase database bills

Standing just yards away from where Elliot Rodger drove by on his May 23 murder spree throughout Isla Vista, lawmakers and family members of the rampage's victims gathered Wednesday in Anisq'Oyo' Park to celebrate the passage of two state laws they hope will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

A day earlier, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two laws —​ Senate Bill 505 and Assembly Bill 1014 — which were developed by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams, respectively, as a response to what happened in Isla Vista earlier this year.

SB 505 requires that local law enforcement agencies develop policies encouraging officers to conduct a search of the Department of Justice’s Automated Firearms System, California’s database of gun purchases, prior to conducting a “welfare check” on a person who is potentially a danger to themselves or others.

Law enforcement had been called to Rodger's apartment before the killings to check on his welfare, but did not enter the apartment.

"They did not look on the existing database to see if he was in possession of firearms," Jackson told reporters Wednesday.

Rodger killed six people and injured 13 before killing himself, according to authorities.

He stabbed three UCSB students to death in his apartment, including his two roommates, before going on a shooting spree through the streets of Isla Vista on the night of May 23.

Though it's impossible to know whether law enforcement would have had a legal basis to seize Rodger's guns had they known about them, the law is a start for law enforcement, Jackson said.

"It'll protect them, and it will protect the community," she said, adding that a larger national dialogue still needs to occur on gun violence as well as mental health.

Brown also signed AB 1014, authored by Williams and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, that would allow for the temporary removal of firearms from individuals who are at-risk for committing acts of violence.

The law would allow family members to petition a judge if they believe the person is a danger to themselves or others in order to prevent them from having a gun.

"There are still people out there that can be saved," Williams said.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, who was present at Wednesday's press conference, said she has been acting at the federal level to promote the Pause for Safety Act, which is similar to the state bills approved Tuesday.

"Gun safety and the Second Amendment are not mutually exclusive," she said.

Richard Martinez, father of 20-year-old Christopher Martinez, who was shot and killed while inside the I.V. Deli on Pardall Road that night, said that if the laws had been in place in May, his son might still be alive.

"I don't want other families to suffer in the way that we have," he said. "It's worse than you can imagine to lose your child in this way."

Bob Weiss, who lost his 19-year-old daughter, Veronika, in the shooting, said that while nothing will bring his daughter or the other victims back, "this legislation does honor their memories by reducing gun violence in California."

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley also spoke at the event, as well as several leaders from anti-gun violence groups.

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

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CenCal Health Provides Tips, Resources at Senior Expo in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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CenCal Health, the largest local insurer in the region, participated in the 26th annual Senior Expo at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara on Wednesday.

The Senior Expo is the county’s largest health and active aging fair. At the Senior Expo, senior citizens had access to free flu shots, hearing exams, more than 90 exhibitor booths from organizations that provide goods and services for seniors and many other resources.

At the CenCal Health booth, seniors learned about preventive health guidelines and other health tips. CenCal Health serves more than 20,000 members over age 65 in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

In addition to participating in the Senior Expo, CenCal Health was also one of many sponsors of the event. CenCal Health provided Senior Expo vouchers for 50 seniors who otherwise would not have been able to afford to attend the event.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing CenCal Health.

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Local Crowdspending Website Aims to Help Consumers Save Money

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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The Santa Barbara-based company hopes customers will spend or donate their rebate savings toward worthy causes

Chris Norton sees his company as a sort of agent for the American consumer, who is as much a star of the economy as a high-powered actor in a movie.

Santa Barbara-based Crowdspending is a website using cloud software to obtain rebates for consumers, who can then spend, save or donate money to worthy causes locally, nationally or globally.

If that doesn’t already sound too good to be true, the new social spending platform, which just began signing up “crowdspenders,” estimates each American household could generate $1,000 in savings annually, according to Norton, founder and CEO.

The site collects money consumers would already be spending on cell phone bills, insurance plans, TV packages, credit cards, mortgages and loans.

Those who sign up would switch to the certified to-be-determined providers picked by Crowdspending.

Instead of spending millions on advertising and marketing, those major companies would work with Crowdspending to offer a rebate of 10 to 20 percent per product.

The companies get access to a customer base of millions, and Crowdspending makes a small profit acting as agent for its members, who use the service for free.

It's kind of an AARP for the rest of us, the CEO explained.

“We give people free money back they wouldn’t otherwise get,” Norton told Noozhawk. “We’re in the process right now of building up our crowd. January is when we will get people to actually start generating their spending.”

Jan. 7 to be exact. Crowdspending is currently weeding out eager companies to fill the desirable product slots, and it plans to start with one provider for each.

Signup numbers so far weren’t available, although Norton said more people have signed up in the first six days than the number who signed up to use Uber in the first six months.

Norton, a native of London, was writing a book about marketing and spending while living in Boulder, Colo., two years ago when he moved to Santa Barbara. That’s when the idea struck.

As someone who has conducted research for major real estate firms, retailers, financial institutions and hotel companies, Norton was aware of the money being thrown at advertising.

“This is an idea that couldn’t have worked a few years ago,” Norton said. “All we’re doing is cutting out the marketing and advertising costs.

“As a crowdspender, you essentially are combining your spending money with the crowd. We need to solve problems on a larger scale. We should all use our economic power together. The balance in power shifts.”

Crowdspending focuses on rebates instead of discounts to put money back into the hands of consumers, who could help fund political campaigns, nonprofits and more.

Norton said he realizes many will spend on themselves, but one local to-be-named school will soon take part in a pilot project for parents planning to fund student programs.

Crowdspending hopes to create 50-plus jobs and to sign up at least 20 million people nationwide within two years before expanding abroad.

So far word has gone out via friends and family and the company’s dozen employees.

“This model of putting people together has already existed,” Norton said. “We think this is pretty explosive.”

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

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Goleta Council to Consider Parking Restrictions for Halloween Weekend

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Next Tuesday, the Goleta City Council will consider a temporary off-street-only parking program for Halloween weekend because of the impacts of Isla Vista Halloween on the city’s neighborhoods, particularly those that are adjacent to Isla Vista.

No on-street parking would be allowed for the neighborhoods known as University 1 and University 2 between Cannon Green Drive and Storke Road and from Hollister Avenue to the southern city limits along Whittier Drive.

For those residents with more vehicles than can fit in their driveways, specially permitted parking would be available overnight though a partnership with Girsh Park and Camino Real Marketplace.

“Isla Vista Halloween has huge impacts on Goleta’s neighborhoods and those who live in close proximity to Isla Vista have repeatedly expressed their displeasure at the public nuisances associated with this event,” said Vyto Adomaitis, director of Public Safety and Neighborhood Services. “This proposal is being presented to the Goleta City Council for their consideration as a means to enhance public safety and minimize impacts to these neighborhoods.”

The staff report prepared for the item will be available by clicking here no later than 5 p.m. Thursday.

— Valerie Kushnerov is a public information officer for the City of Goleta.

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Probation Employee Charged with Workers’ Comp Fraud

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Junious
James Levice Davis Junious

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Wednesday that James Levice Davis Junious, 33, of Lompoc was arrested Monday.

He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail and charged with four felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud and one felony count of grand theft.

Junious is employed as a juvenile institutions officer with the Santa Barbara County Probation Department.

The arrest was the culmination of a six-month investigation conducted by detectives from the California Department of Insurance Fraud Division, along with the assistance of local law enforcement and the Probation Department.

Junious is scheduled to appear in Santa Barbara County Superior Court for his arraignment hearing on Oct. 10. 

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Carpinteria Couple Launch Crowd-Funding Campaign for ‘ReMoved Part Two’ Foster-Care Film

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Carpinteria couple Nathanael and Christina Matanick hope to increase awareness of foster care system dynamics through the powerful impact of storytelling in film.

Their first film on the subject, ReMoved, did just that — winning awards at film festivals and being swiftly adopted by agencies throughout the country and world as part of the core training curriculum for new foster parents.

ReMoved featured 9-year-old Santa Barbara resident Abby White in a phenomenal debut performance, and was entirely filmed within Santa Barbara County. ReMoved also was accepted and screened at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival earlier this year.

Now the Matanicks are at the drawing table again, drafting together another powerful story that chronicles the faceted dimensions of the foster care system — all through the eyes of the child in care. They are currently running a crowd-funding campaign, which you can participate in by giving and spreading the word. Click here for more information.

Foster care affects more than 400,000 children in the United States per year, and the average length of time a child spends in the system is 22 months. Some kids’ stays are shorter, some longer. But for all, it is a tumultuous time, with the trauma of entering the system sometimes being worse than the trauma of their birth home experience.

By revealing the emotional journey of a child experiencing this trauma, the short film ReMoved has helped countless adults working with these children to understand and to empathize with the seemingly erratic behaviors of traumatized children. It has also been embraced by foster alum themselves, who have felt that for the first time, there is a film speaking for them.

And with the current funding campaign for ReMoved Part Two, the creative storytellers on the ReMoved team are excited to venture again into the murky waters of child welfare services and the foster care system as a whole, exploring the interconnectedness of all the players in shaping the future of childrens’ lives. ReMoved Part Two will look at how the social workers, birth parents, foster parents, and teachers all intersect in impacting the child — for better or for worse.

It was while Nathanael and Christina Matanick were in foster parent training for their own personal family journey that they became so inspired by their social worker trainer, Chris Poynter with Arrow Child & Family Ministries, that they decided to make a short film exploring the emotional journey of foster care through a child’s eyes. Their 13-minute film, ReMoved, has the feel of a music video — a story you enter into emotionally — and can’t stop watching until the very last scene (which is worth getting to!).

After winning multiple awards at several film festivals, the filmmakers decided to put their poignant film online for free, in the hopes that it could be useful for foster care agencies and similar organizations in their training and recruiting endeavors. The ReMoved team’s goal was that the film would inspire loving adults to consider foster care through the eyes of the child, and to step up to the challenge of loving the nation’s most vulnerable children.

The film went viral, rapidly accelerating to over 3 million online views. In response to the demand, the Matanicks made the film available for agencies to download for training purposes. Over 300 agencies have downloaded the short, and even more have incorporated the heart-felt film into their training program.

As a result of the film and nonprofit agencies’ use of it nationwide, countless individuals and families have begun to consider and commit to becoming foster parents, court-appointed special advocates (CASA), and social workers. In addition, hundreds of foster alum have reached out and communicated their resonance with the film, expressing how amazing it was to feel as though another person articulated their own thoughts and emotions, and the sense of solidarity and community they found in that.

Interested individuals can help with the filmmaking effort by visiting the film’s Facebook page by clicking here and by spreading the word and giving to the campaign. The goal of the campaign is to fund ReMoved Part Two, which will explore new dimensions of the foster care story they began, proving useful yet again for training and recruiting loving families to journey with children through their very difficult circumstances. 

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Report of Possible Downed Aircraft Proves Unfounded

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Search crews responded Wednesday to the area north of the Santa Ynez Valley after authorities received a report of a possible aircraft emergency beacon, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

After more than four hours of searching, no downed aircraft was found, and the report was determined to be unfounded, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

"There were no reports of any overdue or missing aircraft in the area," she noted.

The report of a possible emergency-locator transmitter (ELT) activation came in to the sheriff's Search and Rescue Team  at about 4 a.m. from ARES, an amateur radio group, Hoover said.

Search personnel on the ground responded at 6 a.m., and were assisted later in the morning by a county helicopter, Hoover said.

"The search was suspended at 10:30 a.m.," Hoover said. "There was no evidence to suggest a downed aircraft."

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

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2 Injured in Scooter-Bicyclist Head-On Collision

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Officials say the person on the scooter was driving uphill on North San Marcos Road and the bicyclist was riding downhill when they hit

Two people were injured Wednesday afternoon in a head-on collision between a scooter and a bicycle on the 2000 block of North San Marcos Road.

A scooter was driving uphill on the narrow mountain road and the bicyclist was riding downhill when they hit head-on, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki said.

The accident occurred on a straightaway portion of the road, which has some sharp switchback turns. It was reported around 12:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Both people, who are unidentified at this point, were taken by ambulance to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The bike rider suffered serious injuries and the scooter rider suffered moderate injuries, Sadecki said.

County Fire, the Los Padres National Forest Service and California Highway Patrol responded to the scene and the CHP will be investigating the accident. 

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

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Critical Solutions Protective Services Group Expands Into Santa Barbara

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Bercovici
Adam Bercovici

The security company behind the first active anti-terrorism security program at a major American mall is now offering its private security services to Santa Barbara County residents.

Critical Solutions Protective Services Group specializes in executive and celebrity protection, event security, corporate security, estate and residential security details, health-care and hospital security, and private school safety security. The company also offers security trainings and assessments.

“It is an unfortunate truth of our day and age that robberies and the threat of terrorist attacks are on the rise while police departments’ budgets are being reduced,” said Adam Bercovici, a retired Los Angeles Police Department lieutenant and Critical Solution’s chief executive officer, now based in Carpinteria.

Critical Solutions employs off duty and retired police officers who have extensive experience and proven loyalty. Employees have experience in tactical, surveillance operations, consulting, large venue security and retail security, according to Bercovici.

“We are excited about our recent expansion to Santa Barbara,” said Joseph Scully, an attorney and Critical Solutions partner. “We want to help our clients feel as safe and secure as possible, no matter what the occasion.”

“Customer care is one of our top priorities,” Bercovici said. “We remain available to our clients day and night, and we solve problems as discreetly and confidentially as possible.”

Based in California, Critical Solutions operates in the United States and has employees in the United Kingdom and Europe.

For more information, call 800.278.4575 or click here.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Critical Solutions Protective Services Group.

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Coral Reef Winners and Losers: UCSB Study Evaluates Corals’ Ability to Persist

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Contrary to the popular research-based assumption that the world’s coral reefs are doomed, a new longitudinal study from UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) paints a brighter picture of how corals may fare in the future.

Peter Edmunds
Peter Edmunds, lead author of the study.

An NCEAS working group reports that there will be winners and losers among coral species facing increasing natural and human-caused stressors. However, its experts demonstrate that a subset of the present coral fauna will likely populate the world’s oceans as water temperatures continue to rise.

The findings were published Wednesday in PLOS ONE.

Drawn from universities in California (including UCSB), Hawaii and New Hampshire, the 20 scientists in the working group — Tropical Coral Reefs of the Future: Modeling Ecological Outcomes from the Analyses of Current and Historical Trends — sought to understand the future changes in coral reefs motivated by the threat of increasing ocean temperatures.

“This NCEAS working group brought together coral reef experts with diverse perspectives from ecology and paleoecology,” said Frank Davis, the director of NCEAS. “The ongoing collaborations have been creative and productive.”

To simulate future outcomes, the researchers analyzed contemporary and fossil coral reef ecosystem data sets from two Caribbean locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Belize, and from five Indo-Pacific locations in Moorea, Taiwan, Hawaii, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Kenya. Based on this cumulative knowledge, the team built a trait-based dynamic model to explore ecological performance in a warmer future.

“Although many corals are becoming less abundant, there remain a number of species that are holding their own or increasing in abundance and these corals will populate tropical reefs over the next few centuries,” said principal investigator and lead author Peter Edmunds, a biology professor at California State University, Northridge.

The study uses current case studies to describe the events taking place on extant reefs; it also uses fossil records to explain the temporal novelty of the changes affecting the community ecology on these reefs. The investigators’ mathematical model provides insight into the future ecological fate of coral reefs under increased thermal stress.

The working group’s analysis shows that the winning subset coral species is fast-growing, phenotypically smaller and wider, and more stress-resistant and that it readily produces offspring. Sensitivity analyses also demonstrate that thermal tolerance, growth rate and longevity are predictors of coral persistence when under thermal stress. While this subset of species still supports diversity, a lot is still unknown about its functionality.

“This work is important as it reveals a range of nuanced outcomes for tropical reef corals other than near-complete loss of live coral cover in the face of the current onslaught of environmental assaults,” Edmunds said. “While it is unlikely future tropical reefs will provide the same ecological goods and services as the coral reefs of the past, our study provides optimism that some reef corals will persist in a warmer and more acidic future.”

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

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Catherine Wilbur Joins Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Board

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Catherine Wilbur, an attorney at the Ambrecht & Associates law firm in Montecito, recently joined the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

Wilbur
Catherine Wilbur

As a planned giving specialist, Wilbur will act as board secretary and spearhead the new Legacy League Endowment Committee, according to Kevin Marvin, the Chamber Orchestra’s executive director.

“We are excited and honored to welcome Catherine to our board,” Marvin said. “Her energy and talent in estate planning will certainly benefit our organization.”

Expanding the Board of Directors is part of a larger effort to strengthen and revitalize the chamber orchestra, which has performed well-known classical repertoire and hosted world-class soloists since 1978.

“As a lover of classical music, I am delighted to be able to give back to the community through the arts by my involvement with the chamber orchestra,” Wilbur said. “I hope this will be a long and beneficial relationship.”

Wilbur specializes in complex tax and estate planning issues, international estate planning issues, estate and gift tax controversy matters and estate and trust administration matters. Before joining Ambrecht & Associates, she clerked for the Honorable Kathleen Kerrigan at the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C.

A native of Southern California, Wilbur earned her bachelor of arts degree in classics at Washington University in St. Louis. She then went on to earn her juris doctor from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law and her LL.M. (Masters in Law) in Taxation from New York University School of Law. Wilbur is admitted to the California State Bar.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

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MAD Academy Presents ‘An Album of Santa Barbara Faces’ by Photographer Stephanie Baker

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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The MAD Academy is proud to present "Now & Then: An Album of Santa Barbara Faces" by Santa Barbara portrait photographer Stephanie Baker.

This collection of photographs, on display through Thursday, represents a 25-year retrospective of her work.

Baker sees this exhibition as an opportunity to share the 25 years of portrait photographs, and in a sense she is "giving back" to the community that helped her create them.

“I really feel this is a community photo album, and that I’m a historian capturing a moment in time,” Baker said.

The hope is to create an event that the community will come to experience the history and view thousands of faces, possibly their own, or those of their children and friends.

Baker has served on the board of the MAD Academy, and has contributed numerous fundraising photo sessions to various arts organizations, including Kindermusik, the Santa Barbara School of Performing Arts, State Street Ballet and Santa Barbara Dance Arts. She has also done portrait photography for Stage Left Productions, Santa Barbara High School Theatre and National Charity League.

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Woman Dies of Injuries Suffered in Hit-Run Accident

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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A 20-year-old woman found critically injured on a Santa Maria roadway early Saturday has died, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Beatriz Milan-Absalon passed away Tuesday night due to the injuries she received in what police believe was a hit-and-run accident, said Sgt. Mark Streker.

Milan-Absalon was found lying in the 1600 block of North Blosser Road at 4:50 a.m. Saturday, with injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle, police said.

She was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center, where she was reported in critical condition, with her family by her side, after the accident, he said Saturday.

Police are trying to piece together information about Milan-Absalon's activities surrounding the accident.

“The SMPD Traffic Unit is still seeking information about the vehicle involved, as well as Milan-Absalon's location prior to the accident and her destination,” Streker said. 

There were no skid marks and there was very little evidence at the scene when officers arrived.

Anyone who may have been with Milan-Absalon during the early morning hours Saturday or the previous evening — or has information about the vehicle involved — is asked to contact Santa Maria police at 805.928.3781, or CrimeStoppers at 1.877.800.9100.

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

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Who’s New at UCSB? Meet Several of the Incoming Graduate Students

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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UCSB is welcoming 758 new graduate students into its ranks this week. These incoming students are diverse in many ways, such as their ages, countries of origin and fields of study. Here, we break down the statistics on our incoming graduate student cohort and introduce you to several of our new students. All infographics created with Piktochart.

UCSB

There is an almost even split of men (51 percent) and women (49 percent) in the incoming class. Most of the students are between ages 20 and 30, but 10 percent of them are 31 and older. Our youngest incoming student is 20 years old, and our oldest is 65 years old.

Our new graduate students are coming from 35 countries — from China to Chile, Saudi Arabia to Serbia, New Zealand to the Netherlands — representing nearly every continent. In fact, roughly one-third of incoming students (280, to be exact) are coming from places outside the U.S. Our U.S. students hail from 43 of the 50 states, but over half of them are California natives.

The most popular disciplines that our new graduate students chose were Environmental Science and Management (103 new students), Electrical and Computer Engineering (90 new students) and the Teacher Education Program (79 new students).

By division, the most new graduate students are in Mathematical, Life, and Physical Science (163), followed by Education (125) and Humanities and Fine Arts (108). One-third of incoming students are pursuing a Ph.D., but a sizable number are also pursuing a Ph.D./M.A., Master of Environmental Science and Management (M.E.S.M.), Master of Science, or M.A. degree.

We asked several of our new grad students to tell us more about themselves, including what degrees they will be pursuing, their favorite things to do, and what they are looking forward to most about graduate school. Read on to find out what we learned about them.

Fernanda Figueiredo grew up in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. Brasília boasts the biggest urban park in the world — as well as a plethora of waterfalls, hikes, and biking trails close to the city center — so it’s only natural that Figueiredo, the daughter of a biogeography and ecology professor, would go on to specialize in environmental science and conservation.

Figueiredo
Fernanda Figueiredo has traveled around the world. She is pictured here, from left, in Santa Barbara, Berlin and San Francisco.

Having graduated with her bachelor’s degree in geography from Universidade de Brasília, she comes to UCSB through a Science Without Borders scholarship to study geographic information systems, landscape modeling and remote sensing in the Geography Department.

“I was always interested in environmental conservation since my childhood when my parents took me to visit some National Parks and do some trips that I could see different biomes and habitats in Brazil,” Figueiredo said.

She also participated in Girl Scouts as a child, where she “learned about protecting nature, [and the] importance of discipline and working in groups.” At UCSB, she hopes to become an environmental specialist and learn conservation techniques that she can take back to Brazil.

Figueiredo is excited not only about the beautiful scenery in Santa Barbara but also the healthy lifestyle — including eating organic food, practicing sports and cycling everywhere — that many adopt here. She enjoys cycling, hiking, and photography as well as music, cooking, and crafting. One of her favorite places here in the U.S. is Yosemite National Park, which she visited recently. Figueiredo said that she fully expects her time here in Santa Barbara to be “awesome.”

Jennie Kim
Jennie Kim always knows how to capture the moment.

Jennie Kim grew up in Toronto, Canada, before moving to San Diego in high school.

She recently received her bachelor of arts degree from UCLA, where she majored in political science with a concentration in international relations. She will be pursuing an M.A./Ph.D. in political science here at UCSB. Kim says that her research interests are focused on international security – particularly counterterrorism and counterinsurgency.

“I’m looking forward to being in a new environment and starting a ‘new chapter’ of my life," Kim said. "I want to be able to develop close relationships with professors, as well as peers within various graduate departments at UCSB, and hopefully fulfill my dream of becoming a professor teaching in the realm of political science. It’s always amazing to meet individuals from all walks of life and see everyone come together to provide their own insight and wisdom about a subject he or she is passionate about.”

Not only is Kim looking forward to the bonds she will form on campus, she is also excited to learn how to surf.

“I feel like it's necessary to at least try whilst at Santa Barbara,” she said. She is already versatile in a variety of sports and activities, including archery, yoga, and hiking. “I also really enjoy cooking; my favorite dish I've made is a miso-glazed salmon.”

In addition to athletics and cooking, Kim also has her motorcycle license.

McLaughlin
Cady McLaughlin throws herself headfirst into whatever she is pursuing, whether it be a particularly intense gaming session, left, one of the many crazy colors she has dyed her hair, center, or a death-defying climb up the Great Wall of China.

Cady McLaughlin grew up in rural Ohio, where “the closest shopping mall was about a 20-minute drive and the closest big city — Pittsburg — was 45 minutes away.” She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she double-majored in modern languages (with emphases in French and Mandarin) and Asian and Pacific studies. At UCSB, she will be pursuing an M.A. and then a Ph.D. in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, where she will focus on issues of media and sexuality.

McLaughlin told us about her connection to each part of her research interests.

“My interest in media has no strong foundation, but rather builds from the fact that today's society is so media-heavy," she said. "[Media] impacts our daily life so heavily but still silently, so to study the change of media through time is fascinating. My interest in sexuality stems from being a queer person myself and because the strongest community I found as a new student in college was through the university GSA [Gender Sexuality Alliance]. My specific interest in studying East Asia has always been innate, even when I had no concept of the differences between the countries. Despite growing up in a heterogeneous community, whenever I found something Asian-inspired I was drawn to it — from food to language to entertainment.”

In coming to UCSB, McLaughlin is excited to be a part of the academic community.

“I was raised by a single mother who worked as a high school and college educator and I was babysat frequently by my grandparents and great-grandparents," she said. "I always loved school and I blame that on my family constantly reading to me as a child. Education has been a huge part of my life and personal identity, so to have the chance to further mine is the aspect I look forward to most.”

In her free time, McLaughlin enjoys everything related to sci-fi and fantasy as well as video games and board games.

“I'm not one to do nights out on the town and would prefer to sit at home," she said, "and marathon a TV show like Dexter or Breaking Bad.”

Ehsan Omidi
Ehsan Omidi comes from a "rather tall family," as he put it; here he is stooping to get into a picture at his cousin's recent wedding.

Ehsan Omidi comes to UCSB all the way from Tehran, Iran.

He earned both a bachelor of science and a master of science in electrical engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. He will be entering the Ph.D. program in electrical and computer engineering with a concentration in control, communication, and signal processing.

Both of Omidi’s parents were schoolteachers, and he has always excelled in academics. Growing up, he had many of the same hobbies as his friends, including soccer, cartoons and video games.

“But,” he said, “my real hobby started when we had a computer in our home and I started programming with it. Since then, programming has been my main entertainment.”

When he realized that computer programming didn’t challenge him enough, he began to study electrical engineering in order to figure out what goes on inside a computer. He also worked on his university’s robotics team in creating a simple robot that could do funny tasks such as playing with a golf ball.

Omidi is very excited to be studying at UCSB, which is among the top 10 engineering schools in the world (Academic Ranking of World Universities). It also doesn’t hurt that Santa Barbara is, in Omidi’s words, “totally a perfect city.” He said, “Living in an always-sunny city with beautiful landscapes wherever you look and doing your desired research is what every grad student dreams.”

Omidi’s hobbies include soccer, violin and chess, and he hopes to add hiking and surfing to the list when he moves to Santa Barbara.

Moore
John Retterer-Moore is always up for some fun. Here he sports a handmade feather hat for a puzzle hunt, left, soaks in the beauty of San Clemente, center, and enjoys his last day in Pittsburgh atop the number garden at Carnegie Melon.

John Retterer-Moore grew up in Concord, Mass., and has been making his way — slowly but surely — toward more hospitable climates ever since then.

He earned a bachelor's degree with double majors in computer science and discrete math from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn., before deciding to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science in the much more mild locale of Santa Barbara.

Retterer-Moore said his “main research interests mostly lie in the intersection of computer science and math. I'm interested in complexity theory (studying what fundamental limits exist on our ability to compute certain things), cryptography (studying how to securely encrypt various types of messages and protect them from various types of attackers), and computational social choice (applying ideas from computer science to solve problems that arise in humanities research, like designing voting systems and dividing goods fairly).” He is excited about working with great professors to try to answer interesting research questions in the field of theoretical computer science.

Retterer-Moore is understandably looking forward to enjoying the scenery of Santa Barbara by doing things like hiking, swimming, and reading papers on the beach. He also enjoys all kinds of gaming, including board games, card games and computer games, and he is “definitely looking for fellow gamers at UCSB to hang out with.” At Carnegie Mellon, he competed in and also helped run a lot of puzzle hunts, and he said that he would love to start one here with some like-minded individuals.

A fervent rock music fan (some of his favorite artists are Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen and Modest Mouse), Retterer-Moore also plays the drums and dabbles in creating mashups. (You can check out some of his mashups on YouTube.)

Sriram
Shyam Sriram in his element: hiking in various locales (left and right), and visiting the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Shyam Sriram had a unique childhood. Born and raised near Chicago, he moved with his family to their heritage country of India when he was 9 years old. He then migrated back to the U.S. after high school to pursue a bachelor's degree in political science from Purdue University and then a master's degree in political science from Georgia State University. At UCSB, he will be pursuing a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on American politics.

In his earlier studies, Sriram’s research interests vacillated among a variety of topics, including Jewish studies and black politics. Eventually, one of his professors, Dr. Robert Melson, asked him, "Shyam, is it possible that you are so interested in these other communities because they are leading you to study your own community?"

From then on, Sriram began to focus his research on the area of Asian Pacific American politics, with emphases on issues of identity, citizenship and nationalism. Sriram is excited to work with the outstanding professors in UCSB’s Department of Political Science — particularly Dr. Pei-te Lien — and is looking forward to the interdisciplinary nature of graduate school, where he can take many classes across the curriculum.

Sriram will definitely take advantage of the natural beauty of Santa Barbara as he regularly trains for a variety of competitive athletic events, such as the Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands, N.M., happening in March.

And, if you ask him nicely, he might even show you his tattoo of William Faulkner, which he believes is the only one of its kind in the world.

— Shawn Warner-Garcia is a linguistics Ph.D. student and the professional development peer for the UCSB Graduate Division. She also writes for The Graduate Post.

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Channel Islands YMCA Named Gold Fit-Friendly Worksite by American Heart Association

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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The American Heart Association recently recognized the Channel Islands YMCA as a Gold Fit-Friendly Worksite.

This honor is awarded to organizations that acknowledge and promote the importance of a healthy workplace for employees.

“As a Gold level award recipient you have not only recognized the importance of a healthy workplace for your employees, but have taken important steps to create a culture of wellness by providing support to employees, and we commend you,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.

Healthy living is one of the focus areas of the YMCA. Branches of the local seven-branch Y assocation encourage employees to improve their own health, while working simultaneously to improve the well-being of their local communities. Examples include monthly challenges focused on wellness goals, such as 30 minutes of exercise a day or developing better eating habits such as eliminating processed foods.

Chief Operating Officer Margo Bryne invites other local businesses to visit ciymca.org for more information on creating a healthy workplace and a listing of employee wellness challenges.

“We’re thrilled to receive this recognition," Bryne said. "We hope to help other businesses do the same for their employees.”

Employers are encouraged to contact the YMCA at info@ciymca.org to talk about ways the Y can help create healthier and happier employees.

The American Heart Association gives recognition to CIYMCA on the American Heart Association’s website by clicking here, in addition to local recognition by the American Heart Association at community events.

— Tina Hernandez is the marketing director for the Channel Islands YMCA.

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Ted Friedel and Scott Vincent Elected to SBCC Foundation Board of Directors

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Ted Friedel
Ted Friedel

Ted Friedel and Scott Vincent have been elected to the SBCC Foundation Board of Directors, each beginning their term in September.

Selected for their passion and commitment to education, Friedel and Vincent join a diverse group of individuals who are committed to developing philanthropic support for Santa Barbara City College.

“In a lot of ways, foundation board members are the life blood of the organization,” said Jim Rivera, interim executive director for the SBCC Foundation. “Through their dedication to the foundation, and its mission to support SBCC students through sustained philanthropy, foundation board members are removing barriers so students can achieve academic success.”

Friedel was the managing director and portfolio manager at NWQ Investment Management Corp. in Los Angeles until his retirement in 2008. In this position, he was responsible for managing institutional and large individual equity and balanced portfolios. Previously, he was the vice president of investments at Beneficial Standard Life Insurance in Los Angeles, and is a chartered financial analyst.

Friedel received a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California-Berkeley and a master of business administration degree in finance from Stanford University in Palo Alto.

Living in Santa Barbara since 1998, he enjoys tennis, travel, managing personal investments and the many cultural institutions Santa Barbara has to offer. He is married, and his only son, Christopher, is a senior at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Vincent is an assistant city attorney for the City of Santa Barbara. In this position, he advises the Community Development Department and the Planning Commission on land use law. He also advises the city’s Finance Department, Fire Department, Library Department and the Parks & Recreation Department.

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Vincent attended local public schools before transferring to The Thacher School in Ojai. He later received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Penn., before attending the University of San Diego School of Law.

Scott Vincent
Scott Vincent

A longtime volunteer, Vincent has been involved with Special Olympics and the Down Syndrome Association, also assisting the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CADA) by serving as a Teen Court judge for nearly 10 years.

Citing his parents as his role models for public and philanthropic service, Vincent (along with his siblings) marked the occasion of his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary by endowing a scholarship in their honor through the SBCC Foundation.

The SBCC Foundation was established in 1976 to support Santa Barbara City College students through sustained philanthropy. Today, the foundation continues to be a critical link for those interested in pursuing goals for higher education, providing financial support in the form of scholarships, book grants, child care opportunities, tutoring, and programmatic aid. Last year, the foundation gave more than $3.5 million in assistance to SBCC students, helping them prepare for careers and/or transfer to four-year universities.

Click here for more information.

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

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Figueroa Mountain Brewing Launches ‘Win the Ultimate Figcation’ Contest

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. wants fans everywhere to have an opportunity to experience the beauty of Santa Barbara County while enjoying their handcrafted beer. Craft beer lovers can try their hand at "Win the Ultimate Figcation" contest for a four-day, three-night stay for two at The Fess Parker, a Doubletree Resort by Hilton.

Click here to enter the contest, before Oct. 31.

“We love Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley so much that we wanted to share it with craft beer lovers everywhere,” President Jaime Dietenhofer said. “The ‘Ultimate Figcation’ is an opportunity for anyone to win a luxury vacation where they can learn all about Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. and experience the area that we pay tribute to with every bottle of beer.”

The contest winners will enjoy pints of beer in FigMtnBrew’s Santa Barbara taproom just a few blocks from The Fess Parker resort along with a meal from Lucky Penny. Also included in the trip is a free ride to the Santa Ynez Valley, 45 minutes north of Santa Barbara in the wine country.

While in the Santa Ynez Valley, the winners will go on a special brewery tour with Brewmaster AJ Stoll in Buellton along with a guided tasting of their beer offerings. Lunch at Petros Los Olivos will precede an afternoon of wine tasting at Epiphany and Fess Parker wineries followed by dinner at the Los Olivos Café & Wine Merchant. The winners won’t go home empty-handed. Each will receive some Fig gear to take with them to wear in their hometown.

Can’t wait to see if you’re a winner? Fess & Fig Fall Escape packages can be purchased at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. Receive two 22-ounce bottles of beer from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. and two souvenir pint glasses in your room along with a 15 percent off voucher for merchandise and beer “to go.” Then enjoy a brewery tour and two tasting flights at the nearby FigMtnBrew taproom in the FunkZone.

Click here to book your escape today! Hurry, this package is only offered until Dec. 31.

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Cystic Fibrosis Program at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Receives National Accreditation

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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The Cystic Fibrosis Program at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has been awarded accreditation by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, one of the leading organizations in the search for a cure for the life-threatening, genetic disease of the respiratory and digestive systems.

The Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital program is the only adult care center between Santa Barbara and the San Francisco Bay area accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The center’s integrated multidisciplinary group of professionals is led by Richard Belkin, M.D., and Myron Liebhaber, M.D. The program, which opened in July 2012, provides state-of-the-art medical care for cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis patients from the Central Coast and beyond.

“Our mission is to provide the highest possible quality of care for the evaluation and treatment of cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis-related diseases for patients in our community,” Dr. Belkin said. “This is an exciting time to be involved with cystic fibrosis as there are many advances and new treatments in the pipeline and, hopefully, one day there will be a cure for this devastating disease.”

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation provides funding for and accredits more than 110 cystic fibrosis care centers and 55 affiliate programs nationwide, including 96 programs for treating adults with cystic fibrosis.

For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Program at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, please contact Tim Kadrie, program manager, at 805.569.8382.

— Maria Zate is the manager of marketing and public affairs for Cottage Health System.

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Public Forum Planned to Discuss Uses of Isla Vista Community Buildings

By | Published on 10/01/2014

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In Isla Vista, the desire to build on community resources and use buildings for communal purposes has been a historical battle.

Recently, Isla Vista has seen progress on this front in the County of Santa Barbara's purchase of 970 and 961 Embarcadero Del Mar. These buildings have been purchased for communal uses, and can only be leased by nonprofit and governmental entities.

The county has issued a RFP (Request for Proposals), and different organizations are beginning to submit their proposals for the uses of these spaces.

Now it is time for the public to weigh in.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 9 at Santa Barbara Korean United Methodist Church, 892 Camino Del Sur in Isla Vista, please join the Isla Vista Community Development Corporation for a public forum to discuss the potential uses of these community spaces. Collaborate with other residents to come up with innovative ideas for the uses of our community spaces, and hear some of the proposals that other groups have submitted for these buildings.

Forum highlights will include:

» An introductory statement from Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who was instrumental in obtaining these buildings for community use

» Explanatory remarks from the County of Santa Barbara's General Services department, which will explain the RFP process

» Community dialogue and discussion, facilitated by Geoff Green of The Fund for Santa Barbara

» Summaries of past needs assessment surveys conducted in Isla Vista by Thrive Isla Vista, Associated Students-UCSB and the County of Santa Barbara Social Services department

» Pizza courtesy of Sorriso Italiano Inc.

» Water courtesy of the Isla Vista Food Co-op

» Sandwiches courtesy of South Coast Deli

» Translating services courtesy of Vivana Marsano of UCSB

» Many opportunities for collaborative discussion and communication with some of the groups making a proposal for the spaces to the county

Special thanks to the Santa Barbara Korean United Methodist Church for agreeing to let us host this event in their space.

For more information and updates about the event, check out IVCDC on Facebook by clicking here.

Don't miss this chance to contribute to the discussion surrounding the future uses of your community spaces.

— Monte Richardson is the public relations coordinator for the Isla Vista Community Development Corporation.

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Santa Barbara Seeking $900,000 in Grants for Cliff Drive Improvements

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Funding from the Highway Safety Improvement Program would pay for bike lanes and other changes on the Mesa roadway

Making Cliff Drive more accessible to bicyclists could happen in the future if the City of Santa Barbara is awarded the federal grant it hopes for next spring.

Bikes lanes and other improvements to Cliff Drive were discussed at Tuesday's City Council meeting, and the changes will be pitched by staff asking for $900,000 in grants from the Highway Safety Improvement Program next spring.

The council unanimously approved the request to start outreach to the community about the proposed changes.

The roadway — formerly Highway 225, which was maintained by Caltrans — is now owned and maintained by the city, a move that Mesa residents encouraged so that the city would be free to make improvements to the busy stretch.

Because the city owns the roadway, it can do things Caltrans would not have been allowed to do, such as narrow the street lanes in order to add a bike lane, according to city traffic engineer Derrick Bailey.  

"This effort was not possible while this was Highway 225," Councilman Bendy White said Tuesday. "Things are happening, and the roundabout is happening. … Good things sometime sneak up on us."

Bailey said there's no guarantee the city will get the grant, but staff feels confident.  

Santa Barbara has been awarded several grants from the same fund, one of which was to implement new traffic signals at Anacapa and Carrillo streets.

The grant requires applicants to demonstrate a pattern of collisions, Bailey said, and based on those numbers, the project could likely be able to fund bike lanes from Las Positas to Loma Alta, as well as a continuous center left-turn lane.

Pedestrian crossings are difficult on Cliff Drive, but because there is little correspondence between pedestrian-versus-vehicle accidents, the grant would not be a right fit for funding those, he said.

The city is trying to look at the entire roadway and improvements as a unit, including the roundabout slated for Las Positas and Cliff Drive.

A public meeting will be held later this year on the roundabout, which is in the design phase, Bailey said.

The idea of a pedestrian scramble has also come up in conversations with the community. A scramble would involve a traffic-signal system in which pedestrians would have their own signal phase and would be allowed to cross in any direction, including diagonally.

It is being contemplated at the Meigs and Cliff intersection. 

"This isn't the best location for a pedestrian scramble," Bailey said, based on the amount of time it would take for people to cross the street diagonally, and which would cause cars to sit at the light for a longer time. "That's a pretty big intersection."

If the city is approved for the grant, construction most likely would begin in 2017.

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

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Venues to Celebrate Santa Barbara Culture, Cuisine During Epicure.sb in October

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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During the monthlong event, restaurants, tasting rooms, hotels and more will reveal lesser known secrets and recipes under the theme 'epic-Scoop'

Clinging to summer weather but ready for fall, October is a month Alessandro Cartumini has come to look forward to since moving to Santa Barbara four years ago.

As the executive chef at Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, the native Italian is able to flex his cooking muscles, and the overlap of growing seasons means avocados, citrus, berries and pumpkins peacefully mingle.

Those skills will once again be highlighted this month during the sixth annual epicure.sb event, a month-long homage to Santa Barbara culture, cuisine and libations.

Beginning Wednesday, restaurants, tasting rooms, hotels, museums and more will show visitors and locals lesser known secrets and recipes under the theme “epic-Scoop.”

Cartumini’s special sea urchin appetizer with avocado and corn at Bella Vista is one of 90 offerings during the October celebration, which includes 54 events, 26 special menus and 13 hotel packages, according to Visit Santa Barbara, the tourism organization spearheading the annual promotion.

A list of participating local businesses can be found by clicking here.

“It’s like the month where everything kind of comes together in terms of produce,” Cartumini told Noozhawk. “We’re going to showcase an appetizer dish that’s all about Santa Barbara. It’s a great way to attract people from outside of town, which is what we want.”

Alessandro Cartumini, executive chef at Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, has made a limited-time appetizer featuring avocado, abalone and corn. (Four Seasons The Biltmore photo)

After training and working as a chef in Italy, Cartumini began working for Four Seasons restaurants, including ones in Milan, London, Scottsdale, Ariz., San Diego and Palo Alto, where he helped open a hotel restaurant in 2005.

He moved down to Santa Barbara in 2010, and has since fallen in love with the area he calls home.

The hotel near Montecito’s Butterfly Beach historically draws many visitors, but Cartumini enjoys epicure.sb for showcasing the entire county’s harvest and talents, not just certain restaurants.

Last year, Cartumini worked up a tasting menu with 100 percent locally sourced dishes.

This year the hotel’s Ty Lounge will offer a Lepanza brandy cocktail — the Peña Flamenca  — inspired by Santa Barbara’s Spanish heritage, as another example, he said.

He hopes to find time to venture out and try what other chefs have crafted, possibly for inspiration.

“I think it’s great because we’re not just promoting the venue, we’re promoting Santa Barbara as a destination,” Cartumini said. “Everybody wants to be here. It’s a pretty dreamy setting.”

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

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Surf Beach to Reopen as Nesting Season Ends for Western Snowy Plover

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Public access was cut off in June over violations of restrictions that were implemented to safeguard the federally protected shorebird

Surf Beach and other beaches at Vandenberg Air Force Base will reopen Wednesday following the end of the federally protected western snowy plover nesting season.

Since June 27, the Air Force has prohibited people from the closest publicly-accessible beach for Lompoc Valley residents. The shoreline access remained closed for the remainder of the nesting season after the number of violations topped the limit of 50.

This year’s complete closure at Surf Beach marked the earliest in the more than 10 years the base has implemented the restrictions.

Even after the closure, docents remained at the entrance to the beach to educate visitors about the rules and reasons for the restrictions.

Limited access begins each March 1 and typically runs through Sept. 30, the nesting season for the small shorebird which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to allow people access to the coastline while protecting the snowy plover, the Air Force restricts access to one-half mile of Surf Beach, one-quarter mile of Wall Beach and one-half mile of Minuteman Beach. 

Wall, just north of the Santa Ynez River mouth, and Minuteman, located on North Base, are accessible to people with base access. Ten violations are allowed at each beach. This season the number of violations hit five for Wall and three for Minuteman.

Because Vandenberg has 20 percent of the western snowy plover population, Fish & Wildlife officials have said the base beaches are considered critical to the recovery of the shorebird. 

In 2014, Vandenberg recorded 214 breeding adult snowy plovers, up from the 204 spotted at the base in 2013's survey.

Fish & Wildlife officials have said the rules are more strict at Vandenberg, compared to other Central Coast beaches, because it’s federal property, which has a higher responsibility under the Endangered Species Act.

The recovery plan calls for an average of 3,000 breeding adults for 10 years and distributed among six segments on the West Coast. Those goals say San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, should have 1,200 breeding adults. Specifically, the recovery plan calls for Vandenberg to sustain a population of 400 breeding adult snowy plovers for 10 years.

Vandenberg officials also noted that beach visitors should not litter (including fishing bait and fish remains). People are urged to use trash containers located at beach entrances. 

Additionally, the rules don’t allow off-leash pets, camping, beach fires, fireworks, kite flying, wildlife feeding, horses or all-terrain vehicles (except for authorized enforcement personnel).

Since lifeguards are not present at Surf Beach, base officials said people should never swim alone and should be cognizant of their surroundings.

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

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UCSB Professor Arrested on False Imprisonment Charge

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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A UC Santa Barbara professor is facing a charge of felony false imprisonment after a domestic dispute allegedly occurred at his home in faculty housing.

Kevin Falvey, 56, was arrested Friday after University of California Police responded to his home, according to UCPD Sgt. Rob Romero.

Falvey is listed as an associate professor for UCSB's Department of Philosophy and is a UCSB employee. 

Just after 6 p.m. Friday, a female victim reported that a domestic disturbance had taken place involving Falvey at his apartment at UCSB's North Campus Faculty Housing Complex, police said. 

Romero said the department had received a call earlier that day for vandalism, and that the reporting party, one of Falvey's neighbors, believed he was involved.

Romero said police received another call later that afternoon reporting "loud yelling and thuds" from the home, and officers were asked to check the welfare of the residents.

The female victim, whose name was not released, suffered no injuries, Romero said, and Falvey was arrested without incident when officers arrived.

Falvey was released from custody and is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 21 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

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

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Pedestrian Killed on Highway 101 in Santa Maria Identified as Transient

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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The man struck and killed while walking on Highway 101 in north Santa Maria last week has been identified.

The California Highway Patrol identified the man as Michael Scott Cimoric, 50, a transient whose last known address was on Chapala Street in Santa Barbara.

The CHP said the incident happened at 9:05 p.m. Sept. 24 on southbound Highway 101, south of the Broadway overpass.

A 35-year-old Nipomo woman driving an Acura struck the man walking on the freeway.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy confirmed his cause of death was blunt force trauma from the accident, according to the CHP.

The incident remains under investigation.

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

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Statewide Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Signed Into Law

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Residents all over California will be urged to bring their reusable bags when shopping, thanks to a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday that makes the state the nation's first to ban single-use plastic bags.

The bill, known as SB 270 and authored by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, prohibits grocery stores and pharmacies from distributing single-use plastic bags after July 2015 and enacts the same ban for convenience stores and liquor stores the following year.

More than 120 local governments — including Santa Barbara and Carpinteria — have approved their own bans on single-use bags after state measures failed in the past due to heavy lobbying from the plastics industry.

Advocates of the ban maintain that single-use bags end up in waterways and the ocean, adding pollution to the environment and taking a toll on marine life.

“This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

Some agencies in Santa Barbara County are already ahead of the game, and the law states that a city, county or other local agency that adopted a ban before Sept. 1 can continue to enforce that set of regulations.

Carpinteria approved a single use bag ban in 2012, and not only bans plastic bags but paper as well.

The City of Santa Barbara approved its own ban last fall and is implementing that decision in phases. 

In May, supermarkets and stores with a pharmacy that are 10,000 square feet or larger were required to begin charging 10 cents for paper bags and have reusable bags available for purchase.

Bags used for produce, meat and fish are still allowed, as are plastic trash liners.

On Nov. 14, smaller stores will have to adopt the ban in Santa Barbara.

Kathi King of the Community Environmental Council said her organization has been handing out reusable bags at school carnivals, health fairs and in grocery store parking lots to raise awareness about the ban and get people in the habit of using the bags in preparation for the full implementation.

King said she and her group had been working for six years to get Santa Barbara's bag ban passed, and that local action enacting bans made all the difference at the state level.

"We got the momentum and that's what it took," she said.

The day after Santa Barbara's ban passed, the City of Los Angeles passed its own ban, and "that was a huge tipping point" for a city of 3 million people to pass such a law, she said.

Statewide, King said the decision to ban the bags will result in 12 billion fewer plastic bags being distributed.

"Other states look to California for leadership," she said, adding that it's likely that Tuesday's decision will spurn others to adopt similar legislation. 

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

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Judy Foreman: Success of Girls Rock Santa Barbara Is Music to Jen Baron’s Ears

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Self-empowerment, mentoring among the many musical interludes nonprofit provides while strengthening self-esteem — and you can help

Small but mighty, Santa Barbara is a philanthropic juggernaut. With an estimated 1,500 nonprofit organizations (last time I checked), there is something for everyone to get involved in. Giving back to the community is what we do.

Kristi Marks, marketing director at Saks Fifth Avenue, is one of those people. Each year she chooses to partner with a local nonprofit to donate a portion of sales from the store’s annual fall beauty event. This year, Saks is partnering with Girls Rock Santa Barbara.

“It is a special opportunity to highlight one of the local organizations in our community,” she said.

Girls Rock Santa Barbara was started in 2012 by Jen Baron, a Santa Barbara High School and Antioch University grad who had been writing songs and playing music most of her life. Although her professional background was in marketing and public relations, she decided at her father’s suggestion to get herself out there as a musician.

“Music is meant to be shared,” went the reasoning.

Baron took her dad’s advice at a time when he had been diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. She went to work in a studio and eventually recorded her own music with the help of Robinson Eikenberry. Two of her songs were purchased for a Sharon Stone film.

Zeroing in on her true calling, Baron decided — without knowing much about the nonprofit world — to create a program that would help instill self-confidence through music in girls aged 6-17. The seed for Girls Rock Santa Barbara was planted.

After a year spent researching everything she could about how to start a nonprofit, the now-34-year-old Baron launched the first summer program in 2013. It attracted 100 girls.

Since then, the organization has grown to a community of more than 600 students, and now boasts an after-school program running five days a week.

Girls Rock Santa Barbara differentiates itself from other community arts programs by using music to deliver its messages of self-empowerment and mentoring. As part of Baron’s research, she discovered some startling statistics that plague young women with low self-esteem. They tend to underestimate themselves academically, she found, and are prone to eating disorders, cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking and early sexual activity. Any and all of these conditions can negatively affect their future endeavors.

Jen Baron plays a mean bass of her own. (Girls Rock Santa Barbara photo)
Jen Baron plays a mean bass of her own. (Girls Rock Santa Barbara photo)

“The goal of GRSB is to help change these statistics,” Baron told me. “Girls Rock is doing that in a lot of different ways within the programming — from female-to-female mentorship built into their curriculum, to their bands of diverse backgrounds that bring girls together as a group to write songs that represent their unique vision.”

While leadership, team building and life skills are important individually, perhaps the biggest impact the Girls Rock has is its continued investment in diversity.

“We bring girls together from all different backgrounds, and together they learn to tell their group story,” Baron said.

Girls Rock Santa Barbara created an environment that fosters self-confidence, creativity and teamwork. Under Baron’s leadership, Girls Rock challenges gender stereotypes, encourages collaboration and tolerance among peers, and provides comfortable space for girls of all backgrounds to express themselves.

Through music lessons, workshops, group activities and performance, girls learn skills that will help guide them throughout their lives. Baron and her staff and volunteers — among them chief cheerleader Sandy Stahl, a Realtor who met Baron through her involvement with the Santa Barbara Bowl’s community education outreach program — make sure that young girls have a forum for their music.

“The emphasis has really nothing to do with nailing that chord or drum solo,” Baron said. “It’s that these girls ... are given the forum and freedom and encouragement to create art without perfection, permission and without peer pressure.

“We are not just teaching girls to play an instrument, we are teaching them to find their voices.”

Girls Rock Santa Barbara’s annual performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St. Click here to purchase tickets, which also are available at the door.

Meanwhile, Saks Fifth Avenue’s annual fall beauty event takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the store, 1001 State St. Local singer-songwriter Jamey Geston will be playing live music, and free champagne and appetizers will be served. The Saks staff will be providing beauty makeovers and henna tattoos. Girls Rock of Santa Barbara will have an information table and live-streaming video.

Rock on, ladies.

Click here for more information about Girls Rock Santa Barbara, or contact executive director Jen Baron at 805.861.8125 or girlsrocksb@gmail.com. Click here to make an online donation.

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

This girl band is ready to rock on. (Jen Baron photo){
This girl band is ready to rock on. (Jen Baron photo)

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Lompoc School District’s Sid Haro Nominated for Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Sid Haro, assistant superintendent of the Lompoc Unified School District, has been nominated for the 2014 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Sid Haro
Sid Haro

Haro was the moving force as LUSD converted spare classroom space at the former El Camino Junior High School into a community education center housing seven programs and agencies.

“Sid Haro has brought a new form of energy and dynamism to the Lompoc Unified School District,” City Councilwoman Ashley Costa said. “He was able to coordinate multiple partners including for-profit, nonprofit, government and community entities and bring life back to the El Camino campus.”

El Camino now houses CalSAFE (School-age Families Education), the Center for Employment Training, El Puente Community School, LUSC Adult Education, Migrant and State Preschool, Workforce Investment Board and the National College of Technical Instruction.

Haro was stunned when informed he had been nominated. He recalled the words of his father, once a migrant farm worker, when learning barely more than a year ago that his son had accepted a position as assistant superintendent in Lompoc.

“Lompoc was one of the places we used to camp,” he told his son. “I’m very proud that you’ve gone back in a leadership position.”

Haro has served educational institutions in 12 states and in Canada. He was twice honored as Instructor of the Year at California State University-Hayward, where he earned two degrees and two educational certificates.

He has been married for 36 years to his high school sweetheart, Shirley Haro. They have two children, Sara and Ysidro.

Haro is the first Peace Prize nominee this year. Nominations may be made by the public prior to Dec. 1 by contacting committee chairwoman Allie Kay Spaulding at 805.741.7000 or alliekay31@comcast.net. Current holder of the prize is the Rev. Doug Conley. Previous recipients include Conrad Gonzales, Shannon Rose Chavez and Robert Almanza.

The Peace Prize ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25 at Valley of the Flowers Church.

— Allie Kay Spaulding represents Valley of the Flowers Church.

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City National Bank, United Way Provide Free Backpacks and Supplies to Franklin Students

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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On Sept. 23, 20 students at Franklin Elementary School received a wave of backpacks filled with school supplies. The backpacks were distributed to students in need, compliments of City National Bank.

These back-to-school backpacks help ensure local low-income youth have the tools and supplies necessary to be successful, confident and prepared students this school year.

“Most of us remember well the excitement of starting the new school year with a new backpack and school supplies,” said Leo Hamill, senior vice president and regional manager for City National Bank’s Private Client Services Group in the Central Coast. “Every student in our community deserves the chance to know how that feels and to not be worried about how they will carry their supplies back and forth to school. We’re thrilled to be opening a new office in Montecito and for the opportunity to contribute to such a worthy cause.”

Improving education is one of three major focus areas for United Way of Santa Barbara County. The organization is working to achieve a community driven 10-year goal to increase local high school graduation rates and the number of students reading at or above grade level in every grade by 50 percent. Getting backpacks to students who need them the most is just one piece of the larger picture.

“United Way of Santa Barbara County is advancing the common good by helping local students get access to some of the most basic tools they need to succeed,” said Paul Didier, president and CEO. “Organizations, businesses and individuals have the power to work together to improve local education and create long term improvements.”

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing City National Bank.

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UCSB Researchers Help Produce the First Health Index That Rates All of Earth’s Oceans

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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The most comprehensive assessment conducted by the Ocean Health Index rates the Earth’s oceans at 67 out of 100 in overall health. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the 15 ocean regions beyond national jurisdiction (high-seas areas) — all critical regions for maintaining a healthy climate, safeguarding biodiversity and providing sustainable food sources.

In the third annual update of the index, a partnership led by scientists from UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and Conservation International, the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean region scored 72, while the average score of the high seas was 67 out of 100. These distant areas had not been included in earlier assessments because they required additional data.

Together with the 220 exclusive economic zones (EEZs) measured in 2012 and 2013, the index now measures all of the oceans on planet Earth. The overall score for global EEZ, accounting for modification and updates of data and methods, was 67 in the first two years and 68 in 2014. These EEZs along with the inclusion of the high seas and Antarctica and the Southern Ocean assessments begin to provide a more complete picture of ocean health, even though most of those areas are not yet adequately studied.

“During our first two years, we were able to show the health of the oceans within 200 nautical miles of coastlines, but it was like doing a jigsaw puzzle where you put the edges together first,” said Ben Halpern, professor at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and an NCEAS associate. “Filling in the rest of the puzzle with Antarctica and the high seas completes the picture and is a major step toward better understanding the state of our entire oceans.”

For the Antarctic and Southern Ocean the eight goals assessed were Food Production (55), Natural Products (29), Coastal Protection (99), Economies and Livelihoods (83), Tourism and Recreation (55), Sense of Place (46), Coastal Protection (99), Clean Water (100) and Biodiversity (94).

“The Antarctic’s biodiversity score of 94 out of 100 is encouraging, but it is based on data from only 132 species that have been formally assessed,” said Catherine Longo, project scientist at NCEAS and lead scientist of the Antarctica assessment.

“Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are protected by distance from many of the threats caused by human populations, such as chemicals, excessive nutrients, and pathogens and trash,” noted Greg Stone, chief scientist and executive vice president of the Moore Center for Science and Oceans at Conservation International. “That’s why we see a very high score in a goal like Clean Water.”

“The score of 100 that is set as a target for each goal reflects a status that is feasible to achieve and can sustainably produce maximum benefits now and in the future,” added Steve Katona, managing director for the Ocean Health Index. “Any score below 100 means there is room for improvement.”

The high seas assessment included three goals and subgoals: Fisheries, Iconic Species and Biodiversity (measured as the threat of extinction to all assessed species). “The high seas are home to important fisheries for species such as tuna and provide habitat or migratory pathways for iconic species such as whales, sharks and sea turtles,” said Elizabeth Selig, conservation scientist with CI and the lead scientist on the high-seas assessment. “Like the Antarctic assessment, the vast size and remoteness of the high seas has limited our ability to study all of the habitats and organisms present, so the biodiversity scores for these regions were based only on species whose populations have been formally assessed.”

The Western Indian Ocean and Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean scored highest overall at 79 and the Northwestern Pacific Ocean scored lowest at 53. The Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean had a Fisheries score of 81 out of 100, followed by the Western Indian Ocean with 80, making them the highest-scoring sectors for fisheries. At 7, the Northwestern Pacific Ocean had the lowest Fisheries score because, among other things, its stocks were farthest from the biomass that provides maximum sustainable yield.

In addition to this third global update of the Ocean Health Index, two regional assessments were issued this year: one that evaluated ocean health of Brazil’s 17 coastal states and a second measuring the health of the United States West Coast. The next global assessment is planned for September 2015.

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

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Letter to the Editor: CLUE-SB Board Endorses Measure P

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Dear members of the Board of Supervisors:

The Board of Directors of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice-Santa Barbara (CLUE-SB), after prayerful discernment, has chosen to endorse the Healthy Air & Water Initiative, Measure P, on the November countywide ballot.

We believe this is a watershed opportunity for our fellow local citizens to determine their future emphasis on energy usage.

Instead of allowing future extraction of more oil from over 10,000 newly proposed wells by companies in Santa Barbara County, using techniques like fracking, acidizing and steam injection, they may choose to reduce carbon emissions by fostering a clean energy economy. We believe the risks to health and well-being of all life in the county and beyond are too high to continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Santa Barbara has been a bellwether in the awareness and stewardship of our local ecology, and can again inspire the state and the nation to choose an environmentally healthy energy future.

Sincerely yours,

John A. Michal, M.D.
CLUE-SB, on behalf of the members of the board

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Rae Largura: Common Core 101 — What Does It Mean for Our Children?

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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If you have a child in school, you have more than likely heard about one of the biggest education reforms in history — Common Core.

Seven years in the making, it is in full force as of this month. With hours of research and reaching out to colleagues for help, I am attempting to simplify the complicated and to answer what we all want to know: What does this mean for our children?

The Common Core State Standard Initiative is a state-led effort intended to provide more clarity and consistency in the expectation of every student to be prepared for college and careers. Until now, every state and every district has had its own set of public school academic standards with obvious different levels of funds and means. Forty-five states in our country, including California, have adopted this set of standards.

College and career readiness is the heart and purpose. Consistency and uniformity are fundamental; giving every student a level playing field, and for all states to be on the same “page.” In addition, Common Core was developed with the intent to be more challenging than the current standards, to better prepare students for life.

In general, there will be fewer requirements per subject, but the standards will require a deeper understanding. Students will be required to focus more on critical thinking and problem solving than the memorization of facts.

In English language arts, we will see more emphasis on reading nonfiction, more complex reading and more writing. More writing will be given in all subjects. Our children will be required to back up assertions based on evidence found in information sources.

In math, we will see more emphasis on “depth versus breadth.” Students will learn fewer skills and topic in each grade, but will spend more time practicing and mastering each skill. They will be expected to understand and explain the problem and to use math to solve real-world problems.

Until now, in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the math track was pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, algebra 2, trigonometry, then statistics. Now, our math track takes a more comprehensive approach and includes all of these subjects on some level starting in elementary school. Statistics, a subject not even mandatory for high school graduation, is now introduced in sixth grade and incrementally gets more in depth. High school math is now Integrated Math 1, 2 and 3.

In science, there will be more emphasis on writing, clarity, taking positions, then explaining the position using evidence — basically, defending the understanding. The higher literacy standards will be visible in all subjects.

Teachers are going through their own learning curve, and change doesn’t happen overnight. The “core” of Common Core wants consistency, equality, better critical thinking skills, more problems-solving skills, higher-level writing skills and articulation of what is learned.

Click here for more information about Common Core, subject and grade level specifics, FAQs, articles and even a newsletter.

Any subject, any grade: What is your question for a tutor? Email rae@leadingedgetutors.com.

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Santa Maria Students to Explore Local Career Options During National Manufacturing Day

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Students with the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District will find out Friday that they don’t have to manufacture jobs in the Santa Maria Valley.

More than 80 students from Santa Maria, Righetti, Pioneer Valley and Delta high schools will explore careers during “National Manufacturing Day” at Allan Hancock College.

The students will get a chance to meet local representatives from companies in the manufacturing industries, ask questions and take a tour of the college’s new $17.6 million industrial technology building.

Manufacturing instructor Robert Mabry believes many students need to know about jobs and opportunities available after graduation and the important role manufacturing plays in the U.S. economy.

“Santa Maria is a manufacturing center, and many students are not aware with some post-secondary education, career opportunities are plentiful right here at home," said Mabry, adding that more than 82 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of skilled production workers nationwide.

SMHS student Kimberly Gomez Santos plans to explore how welding skills fit into the manufacturing world.

“I’m very excited to see the welding components and hoping to see the different varieties and skills used to create and weld things," the 11th-grader said. “This is an opportunity to learn about a future career that I never thought was possible."

Participating companies will include Helical Products, Melfred Borzall, North American Fire Hose, Malcolm DeMille Sculptor, Hardy Diagnostics and Titan Frozen Fruit.

— Kenny Klein is a media affairs coordinator for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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Adams Elementary School to Host Internet Safety and Internet Sign-Up Night

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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If you wish to learn the keys to keeping your child safe online and hear the latest in what students are doing online, you are encouraged to attend Internet Safety and Internet Sign-Up Night at Adams Elementary School from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Eligibile parents will have the chance to sign up for discounted Internet at $9.95 per month and secure a wireless router. There is also an opportunity to win a new printer. All this while enjoying pizza and snacks.

To be eligible for the Connect 2 Compete Internet discount, you must not have had Cox Internet during the past three months and have no outstanding bills with Cox. At least one of your children must be on the free lunch program.

To reserve a spot, you must contact Adams Elementary School by Tuesday. Connect 2 Compete is presented by the Santa Barbara County Education Office and Cox Communications.

— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

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UCSB Fun & Fitness Festival on Wednesday to Feature Vendors for First Time

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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The UCSB Department of Recreation will once again host its annual Fun & Fitness Festival on Wednesday during the university’s Week of Welcome.

The event showcases the many offerings of the department, including exciting opportunities through UCSB Recreational Sports programs such as Adventure Programs, Sport Clubs and Intramurals. Information and sign-ups for programs, demonstrations and live presentations will be featured at the event along with contests, demo exercises, live performances and free giveaway items.

First held in 1993, the popular campus event has grown over the years to draw crowds of over 7,000 students, faculty and community members.

New to the 2014 event will be the presence of local vendors such as IVSP and Juice Ranch, who will be selling and advertising their products and services. Additionally, the festival will feature the launch of two newly redesigned recreation programs: GauchoREC and the Wellness and Fitness Institute.

GauchoREC is a rebranding of the popular Leisure Review exercise and arts classes, launching alongside the 50th anniversary of the Department of Recreation. GauchoREC will continue Leisure Review’s tradition of providing a variety of classes focused on dance, well-being, music and sports.

The redesigned Wellness and Fitness Institute is a human performance lab designed to provide education, experience, and personal health/fitness assessment. Originally founded in 1985, the new lab will be located in UCSB’s Recreation Center, offering BMI testing, information on nutrition and workout plans and more health related information.

The Fun & Fitness festival will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Recreation Center. Entry is free, and all are welcome to attend. Attendees are encouraged to wear active clothes in order to participate in demonstration activities, and to bring money to purchase discounted food and merchandise from vendors.

The Department of Recreation at UCSB offers a wide variety of activities, programs and services for students, faculty/staff and the community. The Department of Recreation’s goal is to encourage the development of new skills and interests essential to a balanced, healthy, and active lifestyle.

The UCSB Recreation Center is located at 3025 Ocean Road in Santa Barbara. Lots 16 and 18 of the Mesa Parking Structure are located across the street on the corner of Mesa and Ocean roads.

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Supervisor Doreen Farr to Dedicate Little Free Libraries in Isla Vista

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr will be speaking at the celebration and dedication of the Little Free Libraries at Isla Vista Children’s Park, 810 Camino Del Sur, at 4 p.m. Oct. 6.

The Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 secured funding through the Elks National Foundation to complete the purchase and installation of four Little Free Libraries, which are placed in accessible community locations in Isla Vista, including Isla Vista Children’s Park, the Isla Vista Food Co-Op, the Isla Vista Teen Center and the Peoples’ Self Help Housing unit on Phelps Road. 

The Elks Lodge collaborated with the Isla Vista Youth Projects, G.F.W.C. Town & Country Women’s Club, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks, Isla Vista Food Co-Op, People’s Self-Help Housing, and Isla Vista Teen Center (a branch of the Channel Islands YMCA) in the completion of this project. Additionally, United Way is donating books and reading materials. 

Little Free Libraries provide easy access to books and other reading materials, with no late fees or memberships. Children, youth and adults of all ages and backgrounds can participate by donating or taking books. The Little Free Libraries are officially registered with Little Free Library, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is to promote a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world.

Founded in 2009, this grassroots effort encourages participation for people of widely diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, influencing community quality of life and building social capital.

— Tyler Speier is the business manager for Isla Vista Youth Projects.

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Speaking of Stories Seeks Submissions for November Performances

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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On Nov. 22-23 at Center Stage Theater, Speaking of Stories will present a show inspired by the Moth Radio program — true stories, performed by their authors, without scripts, notes or props.

If you are interested in participating in this unique performance submit first-person true stories for consideration.

The selection of the stories for the performances will a two-phase process. Artistic Director Maggie Mixsell will review the submissions and narrow it down to a group that will be invited to audition.

From the auditions she will select the final stories/authors for the show, and they will receive one-on-one coaching and direction in preparation for the final performances.

The submission deadline is Friday, Oct. 3. The word count should be 500 to 2,000, and take three to 15 minutes when read aloud.

Stories can be submitted by email to speakingof@sbcoxmail.com, or mail hard copies to Speaking of Stories, 751 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, call 805.966.3875 or email speakingof@sbcoxmail.com.

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Hope School Board Candidate Nels Henderson Announces Endorsements

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Nels Henderson, candidate for Hope School Board, has announced that his campaign has been endorsed by well-respected present and former public officials, school board members and two Democratic Party organizations.

Last week, former Santa Barbara council member Dan Secord joined present council member Gregg Hart; Goleta council members Roger Aceves and Tony Vallejo; as well as Santa Barbara school board members Ed Heron, Kate Parker and Monique Limon in endorsing Henderson’s campaign.

“I am honored to have support from both sides of the aisle, and from a growing list of public officials that don’t always agree but have a commitment to our schools,” Henderson said. "I’ve been meeting voters and excited to get my message of 'education first’ out loud and clear. Hope is a small district with a great reputation — I’d like to keep it that way.”

Although a nonpartisan race, the Democratic Party endorsed Henderson earlier this month. The Democratic Women of Santa Barbara joined the county party last week in endorsing Henderson in his campaign.

The Hope School District governs Vieja Valley, Monte Vista and Hope schools. Interestingly enough, the race for Hope School Board is one of the only local races in Santa Barbara County that is contested, with five people seeking three seats. In comparison, the race for Goleta City Council, Santa Barbara City College Board and multiple other jurisdictions did not have enough candidates to have a contested race.

Henderson has been a senior web project manager for Citrix System's SaaS Division in Goleta for over six years. Prior to that, he was a freelance graphic design, marketing and political consultant for over 20 years. Also an educator, he has served as adjunct faculty for Antioch University Santa Barbara on a part-time basis for over 15 years.

For more information on his campaign, please visit nelshenderson.com.

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Suspects Sought in Convenience-Store Robberies

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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A pair of gunmen committed back-to-back robberies at two convenience stories Monday night, and escaped with an undisposed amount of cash, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

The first hold-up occurred shortly before 10 p.m. in the 1100 block of South Blosser Road, Sgt. Terry Flaa said.

"At gunpoint, the suspects demanded money from the store clerk," Flaa said. "Once they obtained the undisclosed amount of money, the suspects fled the business in an unknown direction."

Both suspects appeared to be male, wore dark clothing, and had their faces covered, Flaa said.

About 15 minutes later, two suspects matching the same descriptions entered a convenience store in the 500 block of East Boone Street and robbed it at gunpoint, Flaa said.

They remained at large as of Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information about either crime or the suspects is asked to call the Santa Maria Police Department at 805.928.3781 ext. 277 or CrimeStoppers at 877.800.9100.

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

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SBCC Honored as Top Program in Associate Degree Category at Increasing Latino Student Success

By | Published on 09/30/2014

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Elected officials and higher education leaders from across the United States came together Tuesday in Washington, D.C. to honor Santa Barbara City College’s Express to Success Program (ESP) as the nation’s top program for increasing achievement for Latino students at the associate degree category.

ESP was selected from among 217 programs from 26 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia nominated in four categories: associate's degree, bachelor's degree, graduate degree and community-based organization. Conceived and run by Excelencia in Education, this is the only national initiative to systematically identify, recognize and catalogue evidence-based programs that improve Latino college success.

Kathy Molloy, SBCC professor of English/English skills and Express to Success project director, represented the college at the Washington, D.C., award ceremony and also spoke on a panel with the other three winners at the ALASS (Accelerating Latino Student Success) Workshop following the announcement of the awards. Diana Soto, former Express to Success student and current ESP Gateway to Success tutor, was asked to speak at the opening of the ALASS Workshop.

National statistics indicate that approximately 70 percent of students entering community colleges are not prepared for college-level studies due to deficiencies in English and math skills. Through a federal grant awarded in 2010, SBCC developed the Express to Success Program to increase the percentage of Latino and low income students who complete their developmental math and English courses and the first transfer-level college course required in English and math.

“Express to Success continues to be one of SBCC’s most outstanding programs for student success,” SBCC President Lori Gaskin said. “The college is fully committed to ensuring that Latino and underrepresented students get the academic foundation they need in order to complete their community college studies in a timely fashion and transfer to four-year universities. ESP is a transformative program and is richly deserving of this national recognition by Excelencia in Education.”

Express to Success officially launched in fall 2011 with nearly 300 full-time students divided into 10 accelerated learning communities in which specific groups of students took specially selected courses that combined to optimize their learning and prepare them for college-level study. The students in each learning community attend classes as a group, work closely together and receive specialized support inside and outside of the classroom including counseling and peer tutoring.

Since the start, the program has expanded to 17 learning communities in fall 2102 and 21 learning communities in fall 2014. ESP expects to enroll over 1,200 students this academic year and plans to continue expanding to serve all students who wish to participate.

Express to Success course completion rates and college persistence rates have far exceeded the SBCC average.  ESP students completed two levels of accelerated math or English in one semester at a 40 to 50 percent higher rate than students taking traditional courses over a two-semester period. Latino ESP students made the largest gains when compared to their peers.

Tuesday's announcement event, Celebraciòn de Excelencia, coincided with the release of the 2014 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” a compendium of all 29 recognized programs along with the evidence of their success. Through this annual process, Excelencia in Education continues to grow America’s largest inventory of programs and strategies that education leaders, policymakers, and others tap into to accelerate degree completion among Latinos.

This is the ninth annual release of Examples of Excelencia. Excelencia in Education has systematically reviewed more than 700 programs to identify and recognize 125 programs and departments — including, for the first time this year, community-based organizations — that demonstrate with evidence that they effectively boost Latino enrollment, performance and graduation.

“Santa Barbara City College is at the forefront of meeting the challenge of improving higher educational achievement for Latino students,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “No longer should policymakers and institutional leaders ask how to improve college success for Latinos — we have the largest accumulation of proven examples and tested strategies that show them how. Today’s question is do leaders have the will to put these practices into action.”

Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify and promote evidence-based programs and departments effectively boosting Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. It is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). The 2014 sponsors are ACT, Univision, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, DeVry University and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.

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Lompoc School District Awarded $1.2 Million to Provide Fresh, Healthy Meals

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The grant, from the Orfalea Foundation School Food Initiative, will help remodel the central kitchen, with an aim toward reducing childhood obesity

The Orfalea Foundation School Food Initiative has awarded the Lompoc Unified School District $1.2 million to help bring healthier, fresh foods to 10,000 children in the district.

The money will allow the district to replace its central kitchen to prepare and cook more foods from scratch, and offer a fresh daily salad bar. 

"This will not only be a gift for today, but will be a gift for future generations," said Trevor McDonald, president of the district's board of trustees. "We will get healthier, more quality foods into the hands and stomachs of our children."

The new kitchen will feature more refrigerator space, and an additional cooking line with a tilt skillet, two steam-jacketed kettles, a roll-in combo oven, and exhaust hood and a new blast chiller.

The money will also pay for a new area for processing fresh produce, a new dishwasher for pots and pans, new flooring and an upgraded air-conditioning system.

"We are able to cut, prepare and serve fresh food all in the same day," McDonald said. 

McDonald said the district five years ago began to move away from the traditional school lunch program, where meals were prepared and frozen days and weeks in advance.

"They are not the healthiest things that kids should be eating," he said. 

The grant will allow the district to expand its fresh food ingredients with local produce for meals such as salads, stir fry or wraps. 

Lompoc Unified Superintendent Trevor McDonald is working with the Orfalea Foundation's director of the School Food Initiative, Kathleen de Chadenèdes, to help bring healthier food to students. (Lompoc Unified School District photo)

"It is a whole shift in thinking in the way we are doing things and the way we are serving kids," McDonald said.

The fresh produce for those meals, however, takes up a lot of storage space. 

"We have slowly been making the push for whole ingredients, but that hits a ceiling when prep space storage space reaches its capacity," McDonald said. "Now we can continue to push the limits on preparing this quality whole food for the students."

The new facility, at the district's headquarters at 606 E. Central Ave., will benefit three high schools, two middle schools and 10 elementary schools.

Officials hope the facility, which is already under construction, will be completed by the end of the year.

The healthier foods, McDonald said, will also help Lompoc continue to educate about the challenges of childhood obesity.

"This is a phenomenal investment in the youth of Lompoc," McDonald said. "We are hoping to continue the education of the community ,of parents and the children, to really highlight that there's a significant problem, but we also have solutions."

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

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Finding Friends in Dementia-Friendly Places

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Two couples are seated at a table in a nice restaurant. The waiter comes to take their drink orders. “I will have water,” Jill says. The waiter takes note. “I will have iced tea,” Karen says. The waiter takes note. “I will have the lasagna,” Brian says cheerfully. The waiter frowns: “Sir, I’m taking drink orders only.” Confused and embarrassed, Brian is now unable to select a drink. Brian is in the beginning stages of dementia. Jill, his wife, steps in and orders iced tea for him. Everyone is upset.

This kind of situation can happen every time a person with dementia is out in public. Dining, shopping, visiting a museum or the local coffee shop may be some of the activities people with dementia enjoy doing and families and friends wish to accompany them. However, dementia often causes people to skip social conventions, misunderstand instructions or behave in spontaneous ways, eliciting reactions including surprise, contempt or even disgust. Depending on the reaction, a happy get-together can turn gloomy and distressing on a dime.

Many families stop going out in public all together, for fear of embarrassment or rejection. They feel the need to protect their loved ones with dementia from the criticism of strangers, who may not know or may not understand dementia behaviors. Families may find unbearable the anxiety of being in a social setting, not knowing which dementia-related behavior will show up next, and what unpleasant reaction will follow. They give up on this part of their social lives, isolating themselves and further withdrawing into a small world dominated by dementia.

Being able to enjoy social settings is a valuable way of staying connected, getting much needed support and reducing caregiving stress. It could also be a big part of someone’s life prior to dementia, and maintaining social activities is an important source of self respect and contentment. Thus, some caregivers encounter creative ways of promoting quality interactions in social outings and minimizing anxiety.

This is the case of Santa Barbara resident Susan Stewart, who cares for her dad, Bill. Being social, frequenting restaurants and going out with friends has always been a great source of enjoyment for Bill. Now that he is living with Alzheimer’s disease, which causes dementia and difficulties navigating social conventions, Susan is doing all she can to make sure her dad can go out with her and still have a good time.

One of the first things Susan did was identify businesses willing to accommodate the unique needs of Alzheimer’s patients. She highlights the Mesa Café, where server Ventura immediately brings hot chocolate to Bill as soon as he spots him coming through the door. They always get a warm welcome at the Arlington Tavern, another favorite spot for dinner, where smiling waiters assure Bill, when he protests at the price of his meal, "Sir, it’s the best mac and cheese you’ve ever had!" They have also found a friendly environment at the Daily Grind, on upper De la Vina Street, where the staff makes a point in greeting Bill with enthusiasm, calling him by his preferred nickname, “The Commander,” and even naming him customer of the week.

“It’s just nice the way they treat my dad,” Susan says. “Their attention makes him feel good about being there, and it is really not that hard. Alzheimer’s should not keep him from enjoying what he always liked to do. It is the way it is, and there is nothing you can do except respect the person.

“Besides, who cares if he orders hot chocolate 10 times? Who cares?”

Frequenting places that are accepting of the peculiar behaviors of dementia patients and provide a safe environment has been a big source of comfort and joy for the Stewarts.

Peter Gruber, the Daily Grind’s manager, appreciates the opportunity of accommodating the needs of Alzheimer’s patients.

“My own grandmother had dementia,” he said, “so I understand what it feels like. And it is not like we are giving them special treatment. They are just nice people and the staff really enjoys having them around.”

Another place where Susan feels safe is Trader Joe’s: “There is a man there who always greets dad warmly. He likes going to TJ’s. He feels good carrying the bags, helping with the shopping. Life feels normal again.”

In addition to frequenting friendly places, Susan has found some great strategies to optimize the family outings. Here are some of the things she suggests:

» Pull the menu online ahead of time. Knowing what you are going to order in advance reduces anxiety.

» If mobility is an issue, request a table close to the door. Call ahead, and don’t let them take you to a table all the way in the back.

» Reorganize the table. Feel free to remove sugar bowls, jellies, nick-knacks or anything that could be distracting from the table. Make the table setting look as close as it is at home.

» Let them order out of order. It is OK to have dessert first.

» Pay the bill separately. They may be still expecting the prices to be as they were in the 1950s. It’s best to avoid sticker shock.

» Educate staff and waiters. Their understanding and disposition will have a big impact on the success of the outing. Let them know that your companion has dementia, and they may be less likely to become impatient when repeatedly told the same stories.

» Bring a patience card. The Alzheimer’s Association has free “patience cards” that can be used to discreetly inform a staff member or a fellow customer about dementia. They may help in an embarrassing situation and raise awareness to the disease.

Resourceful caregivers like Susan are all around us, dedicating themselves to keep the quality of life and provide dignity to their loved ones as they go through the devastating path of living with a progressive dementia. Their days would be much easier if more business and organizations, such as the Daily Grind, Arlington Tavern, Trader Joe's and Mesa Cafe, where more aware and welcoming of dementia patients.

As the number of dementia patients continues to grow, it is important that more businesses get help in developing dementia-aware and responsive customer service. Many communities across the country are now organizing to promote a dementia-friendly environment. In Santa Barbara, Friendship Center, the Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations are gathering information and support for a plan of our own to raise awareness and support for caregivers and families touched by dementia and promote meaningful participation in community life. Look for more to come on this!

For more information, contact Heidi Holly at the Friendship Center at 805.969.0859.

— Luciana Cramer is a care specialist for the Alzheimer’s Association-California Central Chapter.

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Pacific Pride Foundation’s Heart + Sole AIDS Walk to Kick Off Oct. 4

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The Pacific Pride Foundation will hold its 24th annual Heart + Sole AIDS Walk at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4 at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara.

Held annually as Pacific Pride Foundation’s largest fundraiser for its HIV/AIDS services, every dollar raised at the Heart + Sole AIDS Walk stays local and directly benefits Santa Barbara County, providing the community with free and anonymous HIV testing, medical case management, prevention and education services, and two food pantries for low-income HIV-positive clients and their families.

Online registration has opened for the Heart + Sole AIDS Walk and is available by clicking here. Participants in the AIDS Walk form a diverse, friendly community where all are welcome regardless of age, HIV-status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Day-of registration will open at 9 a.m. The AIDS Walk will begin promptly at 10 a.m.

The 24th annual Heart + Sole AIDS Walk is generously supported by its sponsors: Cottage Health System, Hub International, Jessa Tucker Marketing Design, KEYT, The Berry Man, The Santa Barbara Independent and Venoco.

The Pacific Pride Foundation is the only provider of free and anonymous HIV testing on the Central Coast, providing more than 1,500 HIV tests per year and educating over 3,200 at-risk people on basic HIV prevention.

Its state-certified HIV/Hep C test counselors provide both walk-in clinic hours at our Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices, as well as mobile HIV/Hep C testing in neighborhoods, downtown nightclubs, agricultural fields, schools, parks and all corners of the county.

— Karen Blakeman represents the Pacific Pride Foundation.

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Montecito School District Asks Voters to Approve Bond Measure

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Outdated plumbing, aging buildings and safety improvements are some of the issues the Montecito Union School District is hoping to tackle if a school bond measure is approved by voters in November.

Measure Qone of several bond measures Santa Barbara County school districts will have on the Nov. 4 ballot — would have to be approved by 55 percent of the voters in the district before it could move forward.

It would authorize the district to obtain financing for no more than $27,150,000 to go toward specific school facilities projects.

Montecito Union School at 385 San Ysidro Road was built in 1927, and although classroom additions were made in the 1990s, supporters of the initiative say upgrades are needed.

Those projects deal with upgrades to meet current health and safety codes, reducing traffic and improving safety on San Ysidro Road, as well as renovating heating, plumbing, electrical and energy systems.

The district's single K-6 campus has about 460 students. 

Some of the specific projects might include expanded parking, new classrooms, expanding the library and computer labs, and upgrades to extend the life of the district's buildings.

Gwyn Lurie, president of the district's board of trustees, was one of a handful of people who authored the arguments in favor of the measure.

Lurie said that a committee of teachers, staff, parents, neighbors, architects and many others had given input on what projects to include in the measure, and that the process had been an "exceptionally thoughtful one."

While Lurie said most of the bond will be spent on safety issues and mandated programming, building a cafeteria is also in the plans.

Up until now, students have had their lunches brought in through a mobile cafe from the Santa Barbara Unified School District, "with the understanding that we would solve this problem on a more permanent basis."

"Building a cafeteria so that we can provide healthy, hot meals to our students is our solution to this problem," she said.

No argument against the measure was filed.

The money could not be seized by the state, and would come from property owners in the district, who would pay an estimated $12 for every $100,000 of assessed property value each year, according to district Superintendent Tammy Murphy.

The bond monies are prohibited from going towards other expenses, such as teacher or administrative salaries or other school operating expenses.

The measure also includes language requiring an annual, independent performance audit to make sure the monies have only been used for the projects listed.

A citizen's oversight committee to monitor expenditures and make sure the monies go to the approved projects will also be formed.

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

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Home Alone Safety for Kids Course Now Offered in Santa Barbara

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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A new safety course designed to prepare children to be on their own at home or elsewhere for short periods of time is being introduced in Santa Barbara.

The Home Alone Safety for Kids course will be offered by Safety Matters Certified Training. The first class session will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 11. Safety Matters is located at 4141 State St., Suite A3.1 in Santa Barbara in the El Mercado Plaza.

There are fewer stay-at-home parents, so there comes a point where independence becomes part of development.

“Some kids are fearful staying home on their own, and some parents are fearful of making that first step,” said Justin Haagen, owner of Safety Matters Certified Training. “There’s a planning process the entire family needs to be committed to, to ensure the child’s safety.”

One of the program’s key components is cyber safety.

“We show kids how easily anybody can pull up enough information to find them," Haagen said. "We ask them to tell us why certain comments, pictures or videos posted on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube are dangerous or inappropriate. It really does open their eyes.”

Another critical learning piece is first aid training, Haagen said.

“We teach them what to do in the event of choking or accidental poisoning, for example, and when to call 9-1-1,” Haagen said, adding that age isn’t a fair assessment to determine a child’s readiness to stay home alone. Only three states have laws governing when you can leave a child alone; California is not one of them.

Parents should talk to their children and make that decision as a family.

“One 10-year-old might be ready to stay home alone whereas another 12- or 13-year-old might not," Haagen said. "The more proactive families are in keeping their children safe, the safer our community will be.

“Our No. 1 goal is to help educate families and help keep children safe. With or without this course, these children are going to start staying home alone. There will come a time when a parent is either not able to make it home, schedules collide so neither parent can be at home or finances just won’t allow for paid after school care any longer. We want families to feel confident when they leave their kids home alone.”

The course uses digital technology and interactive tools to teach children ages 9 to 13 about Internet safety, people safety, street smarts, house rules, injury prevention, fire and emergency safety, and first aid.

Safety Matters Certified Training, a fully insured local company, specializes in providing CPR/AED, first aid, babysitter training, safety and occupational training for businesses, organizations, community members and health-care professionals in Santa Barbara County. For more information, contact Haagen at justin@safekidsinsb.com or 805.705.9222.

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Nebula Dance Lab Returns to Center Stage with Four Performances of ‘Dreamscape’

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Nebula Dance Lab returns to Center Stage for its fourth season with four performances of "Dreamscape" featuring choreography by Nebula Dance Lab.

The company returns fresh and hungry to explore new territory as a company with its dynamic movement language. Dreamscape from its beginning has been centered on the collaborative process Nebula holds near and dear — from the initial concept, through the choreography into the lighting, costumes and musical score, the entire company has been a participant in the creation of this work. With a new collaborative commitment comes an unleashing of energies and talents previously untapped to create this powerful, intimate and even humorous evening-length work.

Since its beginning just four years ago, Nebula Dance Lab has presented their vibrant work to the Santa Barbara community through venues such as the NECTAR artist forum, SB-ADaPT Fest, Synergy (Fusion Dance), Kinesis, performances with local nonprofit organizations and its annual self-produced show.

Additionally, the company has toured their work performing in Los Angeles at the Mix Match Festival in San Diego, and has an invitation to perform in Chile as part of a volunteer service program in Santiago and in addition offer wellness programming to the communities. Nebula is excited to grow its touring opportunities and plans to travel its repertoire to the Midwest in 2015.

Nebula’s four performances of Dreamscape this October debuts the world premiere of original work choreographed by Nebula Dance Lab and members Devyn Duex, Meghan Morelli, Megan Butala, Megan Ragland and Shelby Lynn Joyce, and guest choreographers Emily Tatomer and Meredith Cabaniss.

Both literally and figuratively, the purpose of this work is to explore the various forms and concepts of dreaming. The goal is to take the audience on a journey oddly familiar, transitory and hopeful. This work showcases Nebula’s whimsical and humorous side with powerful choreography and storytelling. Nebula collaborates with a variety of artists to bring this dream world to life, including Anaya Cullen on costume design, Meredith Cabaniss, lighting/visual arts design, William Pasley, music composition, and other guest artists such as Kaita Mrazek, dancer and Marco Pinter, visual arts consultant.

Dreamscape intends to suspend your reality for a moment in time and explore the inner landscape at work within the dream world.

All four of Nebula Dance Lab’s performances are opened with live music played by a different musical guest each show. Starting when theater doors open, guests will be treated to musical artists Kate Graves, Adam Phillips and more. Come to each show and catch them all.

Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 9-11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12. Tickets are $18 for general admission, $13 for students with ID and $13 for children under 12. Tickets are available through the Center Stage box office, 751 Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara. Call 805.963.8198. Please note that a box office facility fee will be applied to each ticket upon purchase.

Pre-Show Musical Artists

» Oct. 9 at 7:45 p.m. — Kate Graves
» Oct. 10 at 7:45 p.m. — Adam Phillips
» Oct. 11 at 7:45 p.m. — TBA
» Oct. 12 at 1:45 p.m. — Adam Phillips

— Devyn Duex is the founder/president of Nebula Dance Lab.

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Michael Barone: Obama Stands Aloof from America’s Four Foreign Policy Traditions

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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President Barack Obama's speech at the United Nations last week was "an important turning point in American foreign policy — and in his presidency." That's the verdict of Brookings Institution scholar and former Clinton White House aide William Galston, a Democrat who has not been an unqualified admirer of this Democratic president's foreign policy.

Whether Obama's decision to launch air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Khorasan terrorists is a turning point, it was at least a move in the direction of a tradition in American foreign policy that has been conspicuously lacking in his administration.

That tradition was christened by Walter Russell Mead in his 2001 book, Special Providence, as the Jacksonian Impulse, one of four that have together shaped American foreign policy since the founding of the republic. The others, named after American leaders, are the Hamiltonian, Wilsonian and Jeffersonian traditions.

Jacksonians, like their namesake, Andrew Jackson, are generally not much interested in foreign policy. But when Americans are attacked, they respond with righteous fury and a determination to utterly destroy the enemy.

Franklin Roosevelt invoked that tradition when in his Pearl Harbor speech he said, in a line that drew not just applause but whoops and hollers, "The American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory."

That's not Obama's style. He came to office pledged to make nice with hostile Iran and unfriendly Russia. Even while announcing air strikes in Iraq and Syria, he made sure to say America needs allies and will not put boots on the ground.

Obama's reluctance to take a Jacksonian stand is obvious, but ISIS' beheadings of Americans were something he could not let pass unrebuked. Mead's analysis in his American Interest blog was headlined, "A President Surrenders."

Which of Mead's other three traditions has Obama followed?

Certainly not the Hamiltonian tradition, named for Alexander Hamilton, which seeks to make the world safe for American commerce, accepts amoral concepts like national interest and balance of power and is willing to use force in morally ambiguous situations.

Obama has been willing to let Pacific and Atlantic trade negotiations languish in order to placate labor unions nostalgic for long-gone steel and automotive jobs. He invokes but does not imitate the supposed "realism" of George H.W. Bush. He has allowed the budget sequester to hollow out American military forces.

One might expect Obama to embrace a Wilsonian affection for international institutions and respect for international law. Many Democrats criticized George W. Bush for ignoring them. As a presidential candidate, Secretary of State John Kerry disparaged the "trumped up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted."

But Bush's coalition that went into Iraq included more than 30 nations, most of them democracies. Kerry's and Obama's coalition against the Islamic State includes maybe eight, mostly autocracies. On Iraq, unlike both Bushes, Obama has not sought authorization from Congress or the United Nations.

He was happy to pocket the Nobel Peace Prize. But unlike Woodrow Wilson, who sought to subordinate the United States to the League of Nations, Obama seeks only applause, not approval, from international organizations.

The one of Mead's four traditions that Obama comes closest to embracing is the Jeffersonian. Thomas Jefferson wanted to keep a pristine agricultural America apart from the evil European empires. Obama talks repeatedly about "nation building at home," which appears to mean maintaining and expanding a tottering entitlement system and welfare state.

Jefferson did make accommodations to reality. He swallowed constitutional qualms and purchased Louisiana. He sent the Navy and Marines to quell the Barbary pirates. His successor, James Madison, accepted a Hamiltonian Bank of the United States.

Obama's actions against the Islamic State, however limited, and his support for the Dodd-Frank Act, which props up the big banks, are in the same spirit.

But the impulse is different. Jeffersonians want to protect virtuous America from a vicious world. Obama has generally sought to keep a too-often vicious America from sullying a supposedly virtuous world. Obama's foreign policy initiatives — negotiations with Iran, the reset with Russia, mollifying rhetoric for Muslims — were based on the assumption that his own election would make the rest of the world take a benign view of America. That assumption seems to be in tatters.

Mead's argument is that American foreign policy has been successful because American leaders have, in varying proportions, blended its four traditions together. Obama seems to be aloof, to varying degrees, from all of them.

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

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Montecito Fire District, La Casa de Maria Mark 3 Years Since Installation of Remote Weather Station

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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In 2011, the Montecito Fire Protection District and La Casa de Maria Retreat & Conference Center entered into a cooperative agreement for the installation of a second Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS).

For the past three years, the RAWS has assisted the Montecito Fire Protection District, the National Weather Service and Santa Barbara fire service agencies in monitoring up-to-the-minute weather observations to better provide for fire severity predictions and weather-related emergencies.

“The benefits of this installation are outstanding, and we are grateful to La Casa de Maria for welcoming this installation on their private property for the benefit of our entire community,” said Al Gregson, fire marshal at Montecito Fire Protection District. “As our region sits between mountains and canyons, we have microclimates that can differ greatly from one another. Weather stations located at both this ‘ground-level’ and the 1600 ft. elevations are imperative to predicting real-time data.”

Because the RAWS has been in place on the La Casa de Maria property for three years, meteorologists are able to identify patterns that they are now able to track, which has become a beneficial tool for weather prediction services. With two RAWS stations now in place, Montecito Fire is able to prepare real-time data at both the 1,600-foot elevation and 375-foot levels. Relying solely on the former RAWS presented a huge difference in weather predictions. Access to the RAWS data greatly affects how agencies are able to view daily fire danger ratings and gauge a potential fire threat.

“As the severe drought drives fire season into a year-round event, access to real-time weather data is one of the few things that allow citizens on the ground to prepare for disaster,” said Geri Ventura, public information officer for the Montecito Fire Protection District.

The RAWS provides hourly weather observations that measure wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture, precipitation, solar radiation, and can be accessed by the public via the Internet. Information is also readily accessed by fire officials for current and real-time results via radio transmissions. Furthermore, the RAWS is registered as part of the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and is utilized by fire management agencies to assess current fire danger predictions at local, regional, and national levels.

“We are thrilled to house the RAWS at La Casa de Maria,” said Stephanie Glatt, co-director of La Casa de Maria. “We delight in the fact that we are assisting in protecting local homes and the safety of our entire community.”

La Casa de Maria Retreat & Conference Center in Montecito has long maintained an active partnership with the Montecito fire district with regard to public service contributions. As members of the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Action Group (MERRAG), La Casa de Maria has made a continued commitment to assist the MFPD and the community with support during emergencies. By partnering to allow the installation of the RAWS on La Casa de Maria property, they continue to further that commitment to serve the Montecito and Santa Barbara communities.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing La Casa de Maria Retreat & Conference Center.

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Dream Foundation Announces Honorees of Celebration of Dreams Gala

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The Dream Foundation, the only national adult wish-granting organization for individuals and their families suffering life-threatening illness, is pleased to announce its 2014 Celebration of Dreams Gala honorees.

The 20th anniversary celebration will recognize Humanitarian Award recipient John Paul DeJoria and 2014 Outstanding Corporate Partner Award recipient Genentech.

Best known as the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and The Patron Spirits Company, DeJoria has made a significant impact through his vital contributions to Dream Foundation programs, helping dream recipients and their families since 2002.

“John Paul DeJoria is a caring and accomplished humanitarian who has helped bring peace, comfort, and closure to countless dream recipients and their loved ones through the fulfillment of final dreams,” Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer said. “A true humanitarian, he lives each day by his renowned philosophy that ‘success unshared is failure,’ and he has demonstrated this in the time and resources he’s invested in making the world a better place for our dreamers.”

In addition to his generosity toward Dream Foundation, DeJoria supports a multitude of organizations dedicated to helping others. He launched the solely-funded philanthropic venture, Grow Appalachia, which aims to empower the hunger-stricken people of Appalachia by providing skills and resources to grow, prepare and preserve organic, nutritious food.

DeJoria has not lost sight of his humble beginnings, and regularly supports the Los Angeles community where he grew up. His ongoing support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where he spent much of his time as a child, includes funding the renovation of his hometown, Echo Park, Variety Boys & Girls Club location. He also takes great pride in his support of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Chrysalis, dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. John Paul routinely visits the center to share his story of change and provides generous financial support.

Genentech has been a Corporate Partner in Dreams since 2006. The biotechnology company is committed to treating diseases beyond scientific development by helping patients realize their dreams. Through Genentech’s highly successful employee volunteer program, more than 1,000 team members have served as dream hosts to ensure dreams are delivered with joy, an embrace and a celebration.

“We are thrilled to express our gratitude to Genentech, whose philanthropic support extends beyond generous funding,” Heyer said. “Their invaluable support for the Dream Foundation mission has helped to inspire hope and provide joy in communities across the nation.”

The Celebration of Dreams Gala will be held at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara on the evening of Nov. 8. Celebrities, special guests and foundation supporters will gather to enjoy a night of heartwarming dream reflections, unparalleled entertainment and both a silent and live auction. Net proceeds are vital to supporting the program, which receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants. Dream Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has never turned down a qualified dream request.

— Dani Cordaro is a publicist representing the Dream Foundation.

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Steven Crandell: Listening Is Often the Best Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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A philanthropist and a nonprofit executive director walk into a bar ...

The philanthropist sighs and says she has money to give, but no nonprofit will agree to carry out her intent as she envisions it.

The executive director commiserates, saying he has a program that really helps the community, but he can’t find the right donors to provide the money his nonprofit needs to keep operating.

The bartender approaches and waits for them to stop talking. Then he asks if they would like a hammer.

They look at him incredulously.

“What about a pair of pliers?”

They shake their heads.

“How about a crescent wrench?”

Irritated, they both say, “No!”

The bartender pauses and wipes the bar thoughtfully. It’s a slow evening.

“If you don’t want a hammer, pliers or a wrench, what do you want?”

“A drink would be nice,” says the executive director.

The bartender takes their order and swiftly fills it. His customers take their first sips of micro-brew. The philanthropist catches the bartender’s eye and asks, “What was all that about the hammer, the pliers and the wrench?”

The bartender smiles. “I have a little Internet hardware business on the side. Most people come in here for drinks, but I ask them anyway. I know chances are slim for a sale. And I get rejected a lot, but I almost always learn something.”

“What have you learned?” says the executive director.

“The only real mistake is to stop asking.”

“Why is that a mistake,” asks the philanthropist.

“If I don’t ask, I can’t listen to the answer. And the listening is the best deal-making strategy I’ve ever found.”

“I thought everyone tells you no,” says the ED.

“They do.”

The philanthropist shakes her head. “Then how do you make deals?”

“By finding out what they do want. By having a conversation. There was this guy. He didn’t want a hammer or a drill. But when I asked him what he did want, he told me he needed a birthday present for his 10-year-old son. So I suggested he take him to The Lion King.”

“Did you get a commission?” asks the ED.

The bartender smiles. “I got something better — a relationship. Turns out the kid loved Timon and Pumba. Dad was a hero. Three months later, I got an order for 200 carpenters’ tool kits. The guy ran a construction company that built high-rises.”

A silence falls over the three people.

The bartender straightens. “Anything else?”

“Have you ever considered a career in fundraising?” says the ED.

“I’ll have a screwdriver,” says the philanthropist. “And two more beers.”

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

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SBSPA Workshop to Help High School Performers Prepare for Collegiate Auditions

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The Santa Barbara School of Performing Arts is pleased to announce a day of workshops designed to bring performers from pre to pro from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11.

"How to Get Into College: For Actors, Singers and Dancers" is designed to help high school students prepare for the vigorous process of auditioning for a collegiate performing arts program. Led by a professional panel of college professors and advisors, this workshop day will be invaluable to the aspiring studying artist.

Members of the panel include San Marcos High School alumni William Christensen, professor of music at Oklahoma City University; Laguna Blanca alumni Kameron Tarlow, former admissions counselor at Emerson College in Boston; and Heather Castillo, professor of dance at CSU Channel Islands and prominent Southern California choreographer.

The day will include mock auditions in front of the panel, talk back and Q&A sessions, and individualized workshops on monologue preparation, song choice and performance, and dance calls. The entire workshop is generously priced at $95 and will take place at La Colina Junior High School in the auditorium.

To enroll, please click here and download the registration form. Please send your check and enrollment to SBSOPA, 27 W. Anapamu St. #175, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Students should prepare a one-minute monologue (classical or contemporary) and 32 bars of a musical theater selection. Dress appropriately for an audition, but bring clothes for a dance workshop.

Please contact Jessica Hambright at jessica@sbsopa.com or 805.705.7310 with any questions.

— Jessica Hambright is a co-director of the Santa Barbara School of Performing Arts.

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Tam Hunt: Do We Worry Too Much About Terrorism?

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Over half a million people die in the United States each year from heart disease. Almost as many die from cancer each year. These are the two biggest causes of death, by far. Number three is respiratory disease. Then stroke, and then injuries from accidents.

Suicide is responsible for about 50,000 deaths each year.

In the annual report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, terrorism doesn’t even get a mention, and we have to go back to 2001 to see any large numbers of deaths from terrorism in the U.S. The horrific 9/11 attacks resulted in about 3,000 deaths in the U.S. — by far the biggest ever from terrorism in the United States.

So why do we spend so much time worrying about terrorism? It seems clear that the attention given to terrorism is far higher than is warranted by the actual harm caused by terrorists.

I think two things explain this trend pretty well. First, we aren’t collectively very good at recognizing the kinds of threats that do the most damage in today’s world. We have a long biological heritage, many millions of years, that weighs heavily in favor of recognizing and paying attention to obvious threats like another human trying to kill us. Paying attention to the things that kill us today (in massively larger numbers than terrorism) isn’t built into our psyches like the obvious threats from those who would do violence to us.

However, we can, of course, become better at recognizing those threats that are serious and discount those that aren’t. Education and a course of “intellectual self-defense” are the keys for each of us becoming better at discerning real threats.

Second, our political and media systems are organized to play up threats of terrorism because this earns votes for politicians and earns money for media sources. Scott Brown, the former senator from Massachusetts who is now running for Senate in Vermont, stated in a campaign ad that Islamic terrorism is threatening to “cause the collapse of our country.” This kind of absurdity should be dismissed, but Brown clearly thinks such hyperbole will earn votes.

Similarly, Lindsey Graham, senator from South Carolina, said on national TV recently, criticizing President Barack Obama’s actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria: “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” This kind of thinking should also be dismissed because it is so dramatically over-stated and patently contrary to the facts.

And while this is purely speculation, the timing of President Obama’s new campaign against ISIS is suspicious when we consider the fact that the important midterm elections are coming up soon, and the 2016 presidential election isn’t far off in terms of its ramp up. Democrats (wrongly) often face charges of being “weak on defense,” so political silly season can provoke ever greater shows of strength and resolve against threats real or perceived.

In terms of the second major factor behind our overblown fears of terrorist threats, it is well-known that in journalism “if it bleeds it leads.” Violence and the threat of violence is indeed fascinating to most of us and our media knows this. But it would be great if more of our media outlets placed such events in context and challenged our leaders when they discuss these kinds of threats out of context.

So even though we shouldn’t discount the threat of terrorism we should do a much better job of putting it in perspective. Yes, terrorism is a significant threat — we saw that abundantly on 9/11. And people are still dying even here in the U.S. from terrorist attacks. But the numbers are so small that most of should lose no sleep at all from this threat.

And the threat of terrorism certainly shouldn’t dominate our news cycle like it currently does.

How Do We Educate Ourselves?

As the numbers above show, and Figure 1 below, terrorism is dwarfed to the point of insignificance by the major causes of death in the U.S. (and around the world, too).

Hunt
Figure 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures for leading causes of death in 2013.

Why don’t more people know these figures? It’s not hard to find them. We can literally ask our smartphones with a press of a button today. I asked Siri on my iPhone: “What were the leading causes of death in the us in 2013?”

Hunt

The graphic to the right shows what she gave back in about one second.

The first article links to the CDC report and the image in Figure 1. My point is that this information isn’t hard to come by. And for those without a smartphone, you can do a quick web search on any computer or go to a library and use a public computer.

What About Terrorists and Weapons of Mass Destruction?

We need to acknowledge that there is at least some risk of terrorists obtaining weapons of mass destruction and achieving far higher damage than is possible with conventional weapons. Terrorists did indeed succeed in using planes as such weapons in 9/11, and there have been some reports of terrorists planning “dirty bomb” attacks. So we can’t discount the possibility, even if very remote, of terrorists succeeding in a major attack.

The obvious problem, however, is that if major attacks with major weapons are our main concern (as they should be), rather than small attacks with guns, homemade bombs or knives, our default military approach to such perceived threats is all but certain to increase the threat of major attacks.

This is the case because by using massive “kinetic force,” the new euphemism for military action, we are using a hammer when a scalpel is more appropriate. When massive force is used it is all but certain that unintended consequences will result because it is impossible to control the spinoff effects, the resentments, the generational hatred, the vendettas, that result from massive use of violence.

Using fire to fight fire, when it comes to terrorism, simply makes the fire bigger. As I highlighted in my last column, the U.S. is the major arms dealer to the world and, in particular, to the Middle East. We are directly inflaming the region and creating more threats with each attempted military solution and with each infusion of weaponry. Each new war in the Middle East has created more problems while solving very few. It’s time to seriously rethink our default military approach to perceived problems.

National Security Strategy Threat Assessments

Where do U.S. security planners place the threat of terrorism? The White House issues a National Security Strategy every few years. The most recent version, the 2010 National Security Strategy that the White House issued shortly after Obama came into office, was a big shift from previous strategy (at least rhetorically) under President George W. Bush. The document states: “Terrorism is one of many threats that are more consequential in a global age. The gravest danger to the American people and global security continues to come from weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.”

More recently, the U.S. intelligence community issued its own assessment of major threats to the U.S. in early 2014. Cyber threats are listed first, then difficulties in counterintelligence, and only then is terrorism discussed. The report concludes that “U.S.-based extremists will likely continue to pose the most frequent threat to the U.S. Homeland.” So, yes, let’s be vigilant for homegrown terrorists, but let’s not let our entire country be thrown off-kilter by perceived threats half a world away.

The report doesn’t address the problem of WMD falling into the hands of terrorists. However, the U.S. is working to contain that threat through the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, an international effort to improve accounting and handling rules for civilian nuclear stockpiles to prevent them from falling into terrorists’ hands. This effort has made much progress since 2008, when it was created.

There is indeed a non-negligible risk of major harm from terrorists using weapons of mass destruction that can’t be ignored. This problem is, however, best addressed through international efforts to reduce and secure WMD, and a law enforcement approach to terrorism. Massive military action is all but certain to make this problem worse, not less.

Of course, we need to ensure that the homeland is kept safe, with strong borders and vigilant defenses against actual plots here at home. But, again, massive military action in countries that haven’t attacked us is all but certain to create more enemies than it destroys.

Terrorism is a tactic of weak actors confronting strong actors. It relies on the ability to sow fear: this is what “terror” means. So today’s Islamic terrorists have certainly succeeded in sowing fear and terror. But they are doing so not because they generally pose a serious threat to us here in the U.S. but, instead, because our politicians and our media amplify and exaggerate the threat.

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

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Santa Barbara Axxess to Host Goleta Chamber of Commerce’s October B2B Breakfast

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Santa Barbara Axxess will host the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s October Business-2-Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Earl's Place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

The 2015 Axxess book is available now! Learn more about how Axxess can promote your business while supporting the local community.

Attendees will be provided an opportunity to introduce themselves and their business in a 20-second elevator pitch to the crowd.

A hot breakfast from Marmalade Cafe, coffee from Zizzo’s and water from Team Cashman of State Farm will be served promptly at 7:30 a.m.

The cost is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers.

Click here to register. For more information, contact Dan Skidmore at 805.967.2500 x5 or dan@goletavalley.com.

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UCSB Move-In Weekend Kicks Off Next Big Adventure for Undergrads and Their Families

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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UC Santa Barbara’s residence halls were abuzz with excitement and emotion over the last few days as the rite of passage known as Move-In Weekend brought new and returning undergrads to campus. Thousands of students, their families and friends rolled onto campus in vehicles packed with all the necessities to create a comfortable home away from home, while Housing and Residential Services staff and Move-In volunteers were on hand to make sure everything moved swiftly and smoothly.

“We have lots of excitement, lots of parents, lots of students,” said an animated Brennan Bowen, a newly minted resident assistant who, like his colleagues, trained for weeks on keeping the steady stream of people organized and providing information as needed. Other volunteers helped with transport, pushing rolling bins of belongings to their appropriate destinations.

Amid the hustle and bustle, the lives of thousands of people underwent change, from the freshmen starting the next phase of their lives, to parents seeing their children begin their transition into adulthood. Everyone spoke of excitement and optimism and the hope of the best that was yet to come, as well as gratitude for all the support and love that brought them to this moment.

Move-In was a momentous step for incoming freshman Daisy Gonzalez and her tight-knit family. Originally from Hawthorne, in the southwestern area of Los Angeles, Daisy traded her familiar urban environment for the suburban and college-town aspect of the Santa Catalina residences. Though not the first in her family to attend university — her sister Melinda just graduated from Cal State Long Beach — she is the first of the Gonzalez sisters to move far from home.

“It’s a new freedom that I’m going to have, that I’m excited for, but I feel that I’m also going to miss home a lot,” said Daisy, who initially considered staying closer to home.

A Young Eisner Scholar, she prepared well for college, attending the highly regarded private coed prep school in the L.A. area. To be prudent, she considered other universities in the state but fell in love with UCSB.

“When I came, I could imagine myself walking and going to class here,” said the new psychology major, who was considering about a dozen other universities at the time.

“Whatever she does, it’s going to be amazing,” said her teary-eyed mother, Maria. “I want her to be happy, take advantage of all the opportunities and every experience, every happy moment…and be safe.”

For John Mead, father of Madison, also a new UCSB psychology student, coming to campus was like coming back home. A graduate of the UCSB College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, he’s careful to point out that he did not try to sway his daughter’s choice of UCSB.

“I didn’t say a word even though I went to school here,” he said. Just a few yards away from the Santa Cruz residence hall, where the family was helping Madison move in, was his own stomping ground at Santa Rosa Hall.

“I wanted to choose UCSB because it had so many great things about it,” said Madison, listing decision-making factors such as the environment, the activities, the opportunities for outdoor adventures and the education. She looks forward to meeting new people and learning more about herself as well, and comparing notes with dad about her experience.

Students moving into the Santa Cruz residence hall were in for a treat. The latest of the residences to be remodeled for sustainability, the building features the latest in energy-efficient design, with elements such as LED lighting for cooler burning light and double-paned glass for insulation. As part of UCSB’s ongoing effort toward sustainable building and design, the 60-year-old building also got revamped plumbing, new flooring and paint, and some other amenities such as remodeled kitchen and laundry facilities. The remodel also resulted in a high-end TV lounge, complete with soundproofing, giant high-definition TV screen and theater-style seating. The other two residences in the area — Anacapa and Santa Rosa — had been remodeled in previous years.

It was pride, anticipation and perhaps a touch of apprehension for 17-year-old Zoey Brandt and her mother Zelah as they prepared for the next big step in Zoey’s life, one that would take them away from each other for extended periods of time. “I will definitely miss my baby,” Zelah said. “She is my only one, and we are very close.”

UCSB represented the best choice for various reasons, including the mix of education, environment and experience. It also helps that Zelah graduated from UCSB with a bachelor’s in sociology in 1992 and has maintained close ties with friends in the area, friends to whom Zoey can turn if she needs any assistance. With those contingencies covered, the travel time between campus and their home in Northern California will feel not so long, and the brand-new English major can still spread her wings, maybe dive into choir and theater, or even try out for the campus’s unofficial quidditch team.

“It’s kind of scary,” Zoey said. “I keep looking at things and realizing that I won’t be seeing them every day anymore. It feels like I’m saying goodbye to a whole era…But at the same time, it’s exciting to have the freedom that comes with living five hours away from home.”

The Move-In events continue until the first day of class, Thursday, Oct. 2, with the Week of Welcome — activities designed to help students become better acquainted with the campus and with each other.

— Sonia Fernandez represents the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

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Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 95) — The Good Old ‘Slam Dunk’ Case

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Dear Pinky and Spike:

The good old “slam dunk” case.

In the last letter, I recommended the podcast Rationally Speaking as a source of information that can help the curious listener both understand the way we think and also explore potential areas for improvement. It is also an opportunity for those involved in divorce to emerge as a “better” person at the conclusion than they were at the outset.

In a recent podcast, Julia recommended a book called Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. Julia is remarkably guileless when she describes the way she engages the external world with her capacity to think. In one program she said something to the effect of, "As a Baysian, I have lots of opinions but try to be aware of my 'priors' [viz. beliefs held before receipt of new relevant evidence] and to hold them loosely so I can do a better job of giving appropriate weight to new evidence."

For those of us who tend to form more opinions than necessary, trying to “think like a Baysian” is more feasible than trying to “keep an open mind.”

On Julia’s recommendation, I got a copy of the book, which is written by Chip Heath, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and his brother Dan Heath, who is a fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. Their previous books, both bestsellers, are Switch and Made to Stick.

For me, it was a quick and not-very-memorable read until I got to page 120, which brought me to a dead stop. They say:

“As an example, imagine that you are indeed consulting an IP [Intellectual Property] lawyer about a potential patent-infringement suit. The right kinds of questions to ask him are: 'What are the important variables in a case like this?,' 'What kind of evidence can tip the verdict one way or the other?,' 'In percentage terms, how many cases get settled before trial?' and 'Of those that go to trial, what are the odds that the plaintiff prevails?' If you ask questions like that — questions about past cases and legal norms — you will get a wealth of trustworthy information.

“On the other hand, if you ask a predictive question — “Do you think I can win this case?” — it will trigger the lawyer to slip into the inside view … [and] your lawyer will be too optimistic about the chances of success.

“We don’t want to overstate the case here — a good IP lawyer will surely know the difference between a slam dunk case and a long shot. The point is that the predictions of even a world-class expert need to be discounted in a way that their knowledge of base rates does not. In short, when you need trustworthy information, go find an expert — someone more experienced than you. Just keep them talking about the past and present, not the future.” [emphasis supplied]

This is bad advice. In addition to the fact that after several readings I don’t understand the second sentence of the third paragraph, there are at least three problems:

1. Slam dunk! The Heaths say, “... a good IP lawyer will surely know the difference between a slam dunk case and a long shot.”

There is no such thing as a “slam dunk case” for presentation to a jury. A lawyer making this kind of characterization is a lawyer who hasn’t handled enough jury trials. In the context of the quoted material, the “good IP lawyer’s” evaluation is made before a case has been filed, before a jury has been selected and before evidence has been presented to that jury. The information on which to base an evaluation increases significantly at each stage, but we can never responsibly and reliably anticipate a jury’s verdict.

A client who acts in reliance of a lawyer’s assurance that she’s got a “slamdunk case” is likely to have exactly the same experience that President Bush had when he relied on George Tenant’s Dec. 12, 2002, statement that the evidence of Iraq’s possession of WMDs amounted to a "slam dunk case."

2. Past, present, future. The example ends by labeling information about the past (good), about the present (good) and about the future (bad). This is a slippery distinction. The information about the past and present (whatever that might be) is useful only for the purpose of anticipating future outcome. Other than idle curiosity, why would anyone be interested in historic information such as: “How often do plaintiffs in patent infringement cases prevail?”

3. So what? The first set of questions seeks information that we are rarely able to provide — and when it is available, it is of dubious usefulness. The quotient of the number of plaintiffs’ verdicts divided by the total number of cases tried yields a percentage. That percentage is significant of nothing unless there is some established relationship between the previous ration of plaintiff-to-defendant verdicts and the population studied is a statistically sufficient representative sample.

A statement like, “There were 41 plaintiffs’ verdicts in the last 100 trials,” could be the same as saying, “In the last series of 100 coin tosses there were 41 heads.” In the latter example we know from zillions of coin tosses that the odds remain 50-50. It may or may not be the same for the jury trial outcomes — some sort of relationship between the historical information and the probability of a future event has to be established.

Lawyers are not very good at predicting the outcome of trials, and the kind of information described by the Heaths is of dubious value. Far more useful questions would be: (a) “If we prevail, will we be able to collect damages from this defendant or will it go bankrupt?” and (b) “What will the lawsuit cost and is your firm willing to put a cap on its fees?”

While writing this letter I recall that I did some defense work for a major automobile insurance company for three years and was able to observe and participate in an elaborate and conscientious case evaluation and settlement process. I attended several major internal settlement conferences at which a dozen experienced claims agents sat at a circular table and evaluated 20 or 30 cases. Each gave an opinion as to the value of the case before the senior claims adjustor established a “settlement range” to be communicated to the defense lawyer. If the case was actually tried, the company sent a new claims rep to the trial to observe and to report to the senior adjustor, who would increase the settlement range if the case didn’t go as well as expected. This company could and would have commissioned any statistical study that might make claims adjustment more efficient, but I never heard a company employee or representative refer directly or indirectly to the use of statistics as a basis for evaluation of settlement of claims.

When a jury is involved, predictions of outcome are notoriously unreliable. This is partly because of the enormous complexity of the interaction of twelve sequestered people. Juries are no longer used in divorce cases. It’s easier to anticipate what a single judge will do in a particular case, but even then, the use of the adjective “predictable” is dubious.

In the next letter I’ll describe the circumstances where we can make fairly reliable predictions within a range and the circumstances that can result in decisions we don’t expect and can’t explain.

Your friend,
Bucky

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

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Governor Signs Bill to Combat College Campus Sexual Assaults

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Enacting critical policies and procedures to change the way colleges prevent and treat sexual assault, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 967, jointly authored by Sens. Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles, and Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

Known nationally as the yes-means-yes bill, SB 967 makes California the first state in the nation to define affirmative consent and require institutes of higher education to educate students about consent and sexual assault. To ensure a fairer campus adjudication process, the bill requires increased training for the faculty reviewing complaints so that survivors of assault aren’t revictimized by inappropriate questions when they seek justice. The bill also requires access to counseling and health service resources which are absolutely critical for recovery when assaults occur.

Meghan Warner, chair of the University of California Associated Students Sexual Assault Commission and the leader of the Cal Consent Campaign at UC Berkeley, declared, “I am so grateful Gov. Brown has signed SB 967 into law. Education and outreach measures will help create a culture of consent where survivors are supported instead of blamed, doubted and ignored, as many of us are. The affirmative consent standard will help change the re-victimizing, insensitive reporting procedures, instead allowing students to seek help and hold perpetrators accountable. This is a major victory for all California students, not just survivors. I hope the rest of the nation will follow suit and require these much needed changes.”

“Our sisters, our daughters, our nieces — every woman deserves the right to pursue the dream of higher education without being threatened by the nightmare of violence and sexual abuse,” de Leon said. “The governor’s signature on this legislation is an important step to prevent that kind of nightmare on our college campuses.”

Joint author of SB 967 and vice-chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, Jackson said: “This bill is about changing the culture on college and university campuses to a culture of ‘no excuses’. No excuses for rape, no excuses for blaming the victims of rape, no excuses for not supporting these victims, and no excuses for turning a blind eye to the problem of campus sexual assaults. SB 967 will create safer environments for students.”

After months of discussions with stakeholders to develop workable solutions to a devastating problem, SB 967 received support from all three public higher education systems in California. University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy White, and California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris all sent letters to Gov. Brown asking for him to sign the legislation.

Sexual assault survivors from all across California came to the Capitol to testify in front of committees, and most recently to deliver thousands of petitions to Brown asking for his signature.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

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Transitions-Mental Health Association Plans Two Suicide Prevention Forums

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The Transitions-Mental Health Association is hosting two Suicide Prevention Forums on the Central Coast. One is focused on college age youth while the other features an internationally recognized speaker and author.

» Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo: The Suicide Prevention Forum at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will feature Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds Inc., from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 in the Chumash Auditorium. A resource fair will be available before and after the program.

Malmon’s brother died by suicide during her first year in college after a protracted and silent struggle with schizoaffective disorder. Left with more questions than answers, she looked for a student organization on her campus that was talking about mental health. Finding none, Malmon started her own.

Today, Malmon has been executive director of Active Minds Inc. for over 10 years and continues to inspire audiences with her story and calls to action. While dispelling the myths, fear and shame that surround people who struggle with their mental health, she mobilizes communities to take action and join the mental health movement. Active Minds Inc. is the leading national organization that uses students as the driving force to change the perception about mental health on college campuses.

This event is presented by Transitions-Mental Health Association, Cal Poly Health & Counseling Services in partnership with Cal Poly Active Minds and the Student Veteran Organization/Veteran Success Center. This event is funded by CalMSHA.

» Santa Maria: The Suicide Prevention Forum in Santa Maria will feature Kevin Hines, author of Cracked ... Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt, from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria (near the airport). A resource fair will be available before and after the program, as well as a book signing with Hines. Books will be available for sale for $25.

When Hines was 19 years old, two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he attempted to take his own life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of 33 to survive the fall and now actively spreads the message of living mentally healthy around the country and the globe. Cracked ... Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt is his first book.

A discussion will follow the keynote presentation, led by Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. Dr. Firestone is the director of research and education at The Glendon Association and senior editor at PsychAlive.org. She is a clinical psychologist and suici­dologist specializing in the assessment, treat­ment and management of high-risk individuals. Learn more about Firestone’s work by clicking here.

This event is presented by the Transitions-Mental Health Association and The Glendon Association and is funded by CalMSHA. Click here for more information about these events.

— Shannon McOuat is the marketing coordinator for the Transitions-Mental Health Association.

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Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Musicians Finalize Labor Agreement

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and the American Federation of Musicians Local 308 have finalized their union labor agreement for the next three concert seasons.

“The board and the musicians were able to negotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement so quickly because we share the same vision for the future of the orchestra and its importance to the Santa Barbara community,” said Kevin Marvin, executive director of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

Local 308, the labor union for professional musicians located in Santa Barbara, represents the 30 to 40 musicians in the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. The national union comprises 424 Locals representing 85,000 musicians throughout North America.

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, a critically-acclaimed chamber orchestra that has performed well-known classical repertoire and hosted world-class soloists since 1978, kicks off its 2014-15 concert season with a tango-themed gala event titled “Tapas and Tango” and presented by Chaucer’s Books. The gala starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Lobero Theatre.

Professional tango dancers Sandor and Parissa, from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, will perform during the gala. The concert, sponsored by the Walter J. & Holly O. Thompson Foundation, starts at 7:30 p.m. and will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

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Heat Wave, High Fire Risk Expected in Santa Barbara County Starting Thursday

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Another heat wave is expected to head into Santa Barbara County on Thursday, bringing toasty temperatures and heightened fire danger through the weekend.

Balmy 90-degree temperatures moving into the county’s coastal and inland areas — and falling humidity levels — will give Thursday through Saturday the greatest potential for red flag warning conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

Although the weather service has not yet issued an official warning or advisory, forecasters on Monday were keeping an eye on offshore flow in anticipation, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“They’re not going to put out anything at this point because they haven’t really decided on what activity can happen as far as with the offshore flow,” Seto said. “It looks like this weekend’s going to be a hot one.”

Warm, dry conditions were expected Monday through Wednesday, as temperatures linger near 80.

However, accompanying 10- to 20-mile-per-hour winds could decrease relative humidity down to single digits by Friday or Saturday, Seto said.

Moderate northerly winds were supposed to begin affecting passes and canyons on the western South Coast on Monday night, with the strongest offshore winds likely to occur late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, he said.

Temperatures are likely to spike into the 90s in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and the Santa Ynez Valley beginning Thursday and peaking Saturday.

Seto said that’s about 15 degrees above average, since temperatures this time of year are normally in the mid-70s, but likely won’t break any of the 100-degree records already on the local books.

More than heat and winds, Seto said forecasters were concerned with humidity levels, something they’ll be monitoring most.

The National Weather Service warned the hot, dry conditions could possibly continue into early next week as well.

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

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Laurie Jervis: Raise a Glass to Autumn Warmth with Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Residents of Santa Barbara County know that our region's warmest days show up in late August and linger through September.

While the calendar proclaims "autumn," Mother Nature happily dishes out more summer-like days.

So the odds are good that the Santa Barbara Vintners' annual Celebration of Harvest festival Oct. 10-12 will feature balmy temperatures ideal for outdoor wine tasting.

This weekend-long event will be the second time Santa Barbara Vintners has teamed with Relevé Unlimited, an event planning company, to produce its twice-yearly festivals.

The addition of the Solvang-based Relevé for the April Vintners Festival expanded the weekend from the traditional Saturday Grand Tasting and weekend-long Vintners Visa to a multiday jubilee with a golf tournament, wine seminars, vineyard tours and private winemaker dinners.

Poor ticket sales forced the cancelation of an all-day wine education seminar program and a couple of outings, but the Saturday tasting and most of the vineyard- or winery-specific events resonated with attendees.

The Celebration of Harvest weekend, for many years based at the rustic Rancho Sisquoc Winery on Foxen Canyon Road, relocates this year to Solvang's Mission Santa Ines. This site hosted both the original Vintners Festival in 1982 and the April 2013 event.

The Grand Tasting will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mission. Participating will be more than 110 member wineries, as well as food and lifestyle purveyors. Cost: $75.

After being pulled from the April Vintners' Festival lineup, the popular Vintners Visa will return for October's weekend. At $50, it remains a bargain for those who eschew the crowds. The visa is ideal for those who wish to visit new wineries and partake of special tastings offered throughout the weekend. Check details by clicking here.

Each Visa provides one free wine tasting at 12 of the participating wineries, Friday through Sunday or, in some cases, Monday. Check the above link for details.

New to the Celebration of Harvest this year is the Santa Barbara Wine Seminar, 10 to 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, across from the Mission. The cost is $30.

Matt Kettmann, senior editor of the Santa Barbara Independent and a contributing editor and reviewer of Central Coast wines for Wine Enthusiast, will moderate a panel of six Santa Barbara County winemakers. 

The panelists are Dick Doré, Foxen Vineyard & Winery; Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz Wines; Doug Margerum, Margerum Wine Company; Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray Vineyards; Richard Sanford, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards; and Peter Stolpman, Stolpman Vineyards

Click here for details on participants.

And raise of glass to our beautiful fall weather. Everyone should be so lucky.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Yes and No of Measure P

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Yes, I work for an oil company.

Yes, I have worked in the industry for 45 years.

Yes, I have lived in this county for 51 years.

Yes, I am an American.

Yes, I am a veteran

Yes, I breathe the same air as everyone else.

Yes, I drink the same water as everyone else.

Yes, I would like to believe people think before they act.

Yes, I believe Measure P proponents are misguided and are easily influenced.

Yes, Measure P is misleading and counterproductive.

No, I do not have cancer nor does my family.

No, I am not from Texas.

No, I am not big oil but a working citizen of this county for many years.

No, I am not influenced by those who protest something that does not exist.

No, I do not want the county countryside looking like Mojave, or Tehachapi, Calif.

No, I do not want solar sites like State Line, Nev. 

No hope for hypocrites.

No on Measure P would be a great choice when you vote.

Phil Hosch
Santa Maria

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UCSB’s Paul Atzberger Uses Mathematics to Advance Problems in the Sciences

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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In popular culture, mathematics is often deemed inaccessible or esoteric. Yet in the modern world, it plays an ever more important role in our daily lives and a decisive role in the discovery and development of new ideas — often behind the scenes.

UC Santa Barbara’s Paul Atzberger, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, often works in areas where science and math intersect. Some of his recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) and featured on the cover of the journal Soft Matter focuses on problems specific to lipid bilayer membranes. These microscopic structures can form a sheet that envelopes the outside of a biological cell in much the same way that human skin serves as the body’s barrier to the outside environment.

In the PNAS paper, Atzberger and his graduate student Jon Karl Sigurdsson worked in collaboration with the experimental laboratory of Patricia Bassereau and David Lacoste at the Institut Curie in Paris, to develop new mathematical approaches to gain insights into how proteins move around within lipid bilayer membranes.

“Proteins are not just passive voyagers within the bilayer, but rather their very presence can change the local properties of the lipid bilayer membrane in interesting ways,” Atzberger said. “This includes bending the bilayer with a local preferred curvature or changing the nature of a viscous flow. This dual coupling of responding to the local geometry while also affecting it makes it very difficult to formulate concise models and to make predictions.”

To address these issues, Atzberger developed a statistical mechanics description of the membrane sheet and the proteins based on his past work on immersed-boundary approximations. The idea is to treat the heterogeneous membrane-protein material uniformly but use a moving marker to demarcate the parts associated with the proteins. This approach allows for a simple and reliable description, which captures many of the essential features of membrane-protein dynamics and not only facilitates not only performing analytic calculations but also carrying out efficient computational simulations.

“It used to be just theory and experiment,” Atzberger added. “Now computation serves an ever more important third branch of science. With simulations, one can take underlying assumptions into account in detail and explore their consequences in novel ways. Of course, theory and abstraction are still very important to gain understanding. What computation provides is the ability to grapple with a level of detail and complexity that is often simply beyond the reach of pure theoretical methods.”

Sophisticated mathematics is often required to bridge the realms of theory, simulation and experiment. Atzberger notes that the order of complexity in biology is especially tricky.

“If you look at a biological cell, many of our current methods for investigation are similar to looking down from a low-altitude blimp at a big city such as New York or Hong Kong,” he explained. “It’s phenomenally complex, and the level of understanding that can be attained with current methods — while impressive — is also very limited. While experimental methods are advancing, it cannot be ignored that new mathematical approaches are going to be needed for progress.”

For example, Atzberger’s collaboration with his colleagues in France sought to explore specific mechanisms by which proteins move within bilayers using the idea that the protein locally bends the bilayer and creates a little bump that moves along with the protein.

“Not only is the protein diffusing but so is that little bump that has to be carried along with it,” Atzberger explained. “This idea has been suggested by a number of theoretical papers.  However, in practice this is a really hard thing to measure, particularly because such a mechanism cannot be seen directly since it occurs on length scales that are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. A typical protein is about 10 nanometers in size; the wavelength of visible light is on the order of 300 to 700 nanometers.” 

Because the researchers could not make direct observations, they tagged the protein with quantum dots that emit light when excited. They then tracked and analyzed the motions of individual quantum dots to obtain a measurement of how the individual proteins moved within the bilayer. Like temporarily pulling wrinkles out of a shirt, they applied a tension that would reduce the size and shape of a possible bump induced by a protein. The investigators found that the locally induced shape appears to matter a great deal to a protein’s rate of diffusive motion within the bilayer. 

“This showed us that you cannot ignore the local interactions of the protein that augment the bilayer when considering protein motion,” Atzberger said. “Unlike a particle diffusing in a simple fluid, such complex membrane-protein interactions appear to be at the heart of protein diffusion.

“These studies are potentially useful, since the rates of protein diffusion play an important role in many cellular processes,” he added. “If you really understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for protein diffusion, you might be able to come up with novel ways to augment it.”

In related work with UCSB colleagues, Atzberger has also applied his mathematical expertise to analyze experiments on supported lipid bilayers (SLB). SLBs are membrane sheets that are bound directly to a surface or anchored in close proximity. They are important in many biophysical studies of membrane-protein interactions and in the development of biosensors.

Atzberger analyzed experiments conducted by Kim Weirich, then a student in UCSB’s interdepartmental graduate program in biomolecular science and engineering, who investigated an approach in which lipid vesicles are induced to rupture on the substrate to form the SLB. A big challenge is to obtain reliable vesicle rupture and coverage of the substrate. 

To better understand this process, Atzberger and his students developed a mathematical model and computational methods to study the stages in the process of SLB formation. A central question addressed by the model concerns how the SLB process initiates from the crowding of vesicles on the substrate. Another important question is how the lipids from the ruptured vesicles spread out on the substrate as either isolated islands that grow in size or as a multitude of small distinct islands that merge in parallel.

“Using our computational methods, we were able to simulate rupture events and island dynamics that matched well the trends seen in the experimental data,” Atzberger said. “This led us to strongly favor a specific hypothesis concerning the SLB formulation process: that a local critical concentration of vesicles is required and that the rupture occurs from a mechanism we call ‘adhesive jamming.’

“By attempting to model the experimental data quantitatively, we found that many of our initial ideas were simply not plausible,” he added. “This led — after a fair amount of thought — to our final model. Of course, more experimental work will be required to see if our theory is ultimately correct. This work was featured on the cover of the journal Soft Matter.

“I’m proud of these works because we managed to make links between theory, computation and experiment,” Atzberger concluded. “One of my goals as an applied mathematician is to be a bridge between these worlds. When everything comes together harmoniously, this type of research is not only productive but also a lot of fun.”

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

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Community Action Commission Providing Free After-School Snacks

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The Community Action Commission Community Child Nutrition Snack Program will provide a nutritious daily after-school snack each weekday.

Four sites* are open to children and youth with the only requirement being that those who receive a meal be under 18. Ten more sites are open to children whose families are eligible by income and who are attending after-school programs in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe.

CAC anticipates serving over 1,000 snacks daily for the Community Child Nutrition Snack Program. This is the 15th year that CAC has operated the program, which is funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Snacks will be provided at the following sites, dates and times (*sites with an asterisk are open for snacks to anyone age 17 or younger):

Carpinteria

Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club, 4849 Foothill Road — After-school snack, 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. (through June 13)
Carpinteria Girls Inc., 5315 Foothill Road — After-school snack, 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. (through June 12)

Santa Barbara

St. Vincent’s, 4234 Pozzo Circle, Santa Barbara — After-school snack, 3:30 to 5 p.m. (through June 6)
Girls Inc., 531 E. Ortega St. — After-school snack, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m. (through June 6)
Salvation Army, 4849 Hollister Ave. — After-school snack, 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. (through June 6)

Goleta

Goleta Boys and Girls Club, 5701 Hollister Ave. — After-school snack, 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. (through June 6)
Girls Inc., 4973 Hollister Ave. — After-school snack, 2:45 to 4 p.m. (through June 12)
Goleta Boys and Girls Club (UCSB), 7966 Seaway Drive — After-school snack, 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. (through June 6)

Santa Maria

Good Samaritan, 401 D W. Morrison St. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (through June 10)
*Boys and Girls Club, 200 W. Williams St. (Evans Park) — After-school snack, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. (through June 13)
*Boys and Girls Club, 901 N. Railroad Ave. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. (through June 11)
*New Love Community Services, 1619 S. Thornburg St. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (through June 11)

Guadalupe

*Boys and Girls Club, 4689 11th St. — After-school snack, 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (through June 6)

Lompoc

Lompoc Boys and Girls Club, 501 North W St. — After-school snack, 2 to 6:30 p.m. (through June 12)

(Locations and times subject to change. Most locations are closed on federal holidays — please check.)

Snacks will be provided to all eligible children free of charge. To be eligible children must meet the income guidelines for reduced price meals in the National School Lunch Program. The income guidelines for reduced-price meals by family size are listed below. Children who are part of households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), California Work Opportunity and Responsibility for Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits are automatically eligible to receive free snacks.

Acceptance and participation requirements for the Community Child Nutrition Snack Program and all activities are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

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

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Letter to the Editor: See What Fracking Can Do for You

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Does fracking use — and bring into the environment — chemical substances that can harm, sicken or even kill you?

Pennsylvania, New York: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEB_Wwe-uBM) 17:52

Wyoming: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b8s1JkkvxI) 08:02

California: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH1W9HXne7I) 04:33

Does the oil/gas industry create fake names — shills — to discredit critics of fracking? Do oil/gas industry and government representatives lie as to to the source of environmental damage caused at a fracking site? Does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce teach oil companies how to respond to online fracking critics?

Colorado: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2Omha8C4WY) 18:45

Can wells on your property pollute your drinking/irrigation water?

Illinois (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3Jf9OBo_1w) 10:53

How close to you can they drill?

Texas: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_Cu6Y4LWYM) 15:00

Text messages:

Is cyclic steam injection safe?

Canada: “This report highlights the wide-aperture fracture that exists between those in the industry that write advertisements and PR and those in the industry, the engineers and scientists who know what they don't know.” (http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/07/24/CNRL-Seepage-Review/)

United States: “Scathing state reports show new and serious problems in the oil field … where a Chevron worker died in a sinkhole” (http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/127624563.html)

Is acidizing drilling technology safe?

California: “A critical tool — but mistakes can be deadly.” (http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/frackings-more-dangerous-bedfellow-acidizing-halliburton-introduces-technology-to-control-fracture-face-damage-and-help-improve-production-from-unconventional-reservoirs)

What they have said:

“A problem not confronted is a problem that grows.”
“There is a system here that is corrupt.”
“Cheaper [for oil/gas companies] to pay the fine and keep on goin'.”
”We're destroying our country day by day, little by little”
“It's toxic to the environment; it's toxic to the political process.”
“It's not about energy independence, it's about human rights.”
“If I drink water, breathe air, or eat food, this is my business!”

Measure P will ban the use in Santa Barbara County of the oil/gas drilling technologies called hydraulic fracturing (fracking), cyclic steam injection and acidizing.

Working together, we can protect ourselves, our families and neighbors from the sickness, pollution and environmental/social damage these practices have brought others.

Measure P protects. Vote yes on Measure P on Nov. 4.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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Dos Pueblos PTSA to Host Screening of ‘Race to Nowhere’ Documentary

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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The Dos Pueblos High School PTSA will be screening the documentary Race to Nowhere at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13 in the DP Performing Arts Center.

A Q&A session will follow with Dos Pueblos administrators and counselors, who will discuss what is being done to “Replace the Race at DP.”

— Carrie Hawn represents the Dos Pueblos High School PTSA.

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Central Coast Bioneers Conference Will Explore Our Blue Minds

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Four water-related events are among the featured workshops and keynote talks at the 2014 Central Coast Bioneers Conference, scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at the San Luis Obispo Grange Hall. As we end a third year of drought and rationing is implemented, water is much on the minds of all Central Coast residents.

J Nichols
Wallace “J” Nichols

On Friday morning, Oct. 23, a field trip to Kukkula Winery in Paso Robles will show us "The Future of Farming."

Kevin Jussila, owner of Kukkula, farms 33 acres of walnuts and 49 acres of vines without irrigation. He has eight acres of French varietal olives that are minimally watered through a drip system.

To put this in perspective, Jussila’s 80-acre parcel, including the winery facility, tasting room and residence, uses about 80,000 gallons of water per year, compared with an average of 250,000 gallons per week at neighboring, irrigated vineyards. Jussila will talk about his research into dry farming best practices and how he and the plants make it work. Participants will enjoy lunch and wine tasting at the winery.

On Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Water Committee chair Charming Evelyn will provide alternatives to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Giant Bay Delta Tunnels, which would divert Delta-bound water from the Sacramento River and accelerate the decline of the largest estuary on the West Coast.

“California needs a statewide water policy that gives all residents adequate clean drinking water, respects and protects our rivers, streams, bays and deltas, and supports a sustainable economy,” state the December 2013 Sierra Club White Paper on the subject. We do not have to pit environmental issues against jobs creation. Alternatives will be discussed about how we can have it all.

Also on Saturday, Ecologistics will present its annual "Dreaming the Salinas" workshop, as part of its region-based restoration and conservation initiative to restore the Salinas River.

This year, Gretchen Hayes, a scientist, environmental planner and principal with Tessera Sciences, will take the stage with Devin Best of the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District, and Bob Fredenburg, chief consultant for the California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Material to vision a Salinas River that runs free from the mountains to the sea. Hayes was instrumental in the Napa River Rutherford Reach Restoration Project, a private-public partnership that was successful in funding and implementing a watershed management plan for the Napa River.

Finally on Saturday, Oct. 25, the recorded National Bioneers keynote talk by award-winning scientist, eco-activist and author Wallace “J” Nichols “I Wish You Water” will be shown. According to Wallace, the cognitive and emotional benefits of healthy oceans and waterways have been celebrated through art, song, romance and poetry throughout human history. He will dive deeper and explore our “blue minds” through the dual lenses of evolutionary biology and cognitive science, reminding us that we are water.

Tickets to the conference and more information about other activities at the conference can be found online by clicking here. Tickets can also be purchased at Earth Tones in Paso Robles, Bambu Batu in San Luis Obispo or Volumes of Pleasure in Los Osos.

Ecologistics Inc., a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, hosts the annual Central Coast Bioneers Conference in San Luis Obispo every October. Other projects include the Dreaming the Salinas Initiative, the Community Café project in conjunction with the SLO County Food System Coalition, and the SLO Down Cancer project with the Noor Clinic to provide free cancer screening for residents of SLO County. Ecologistics also operates the Blue C Community Garden in Los Osos.

— Stacey Hunt represents Central Coast Bioneers.

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Santa Barbara Library Starting New Season of Theatre Book Club

By | Published on 09/29/2014

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Theatre Book Club is not a typical book discussion group. It is a program of the Santa Barbara Public Library that provides copies of plays that Ensemble Theatre Company produces, for community members to read, analyze and talk about.

The theater company’s dramaturg, Anna Jensen, leads a discussion of each play — the written script — at the Central Library, bringing nuances and meaning that are often not apparent at first reading.

The first meeting of this season’s Theatre Book Club will be at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 15 to discuss Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, the tale of an artist of average talent living in the shadow of a genius.Ensemble’s publicity describes the play this way: “Life is comfortable for Antonio Salieri, Court composer to Austrian Emperor Josef, until the greatest musical genius of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lands on the scene, leading to jealousy and political intrigue.”

Book club discussions are held in the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library at 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. Ten copies of each play are available at the Central Library for one-week checkout, beginning four or five weeks before the discussion.

The other play discussions this season are set on the following dates:

» Dec. 10 — The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor

» Feb. 11 — Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage

» April 22 — Woyzeck adapted by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan

» June 17 — Venus in Fur by David Ives

Readers who are new to play discussions are encouraged to attend and join the conversation, or just sit and listen. It is not necessary to see the play to participate in and enjoy Theatre Book Club. Call the library’s reference desk at 805.564.5604 or email cgallery@santabarbaraca.gov for more information.

Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at SBPLibrary.org to find out about library locations, hours, programs and events. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Christine Gallery is a reference librarian for the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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Postcards-Only Policy Revoked for Santa Barbara County Jail Mail

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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Santa Barbara County Jail inmates can now receive mail other than just postcards after county authorities revised the mail delivery policy — one deemed unconstitutional in Ventura County.

The Sheriff’s Department originally revised its codes to include a postcards-only policy in March 2013, meaning no letters or other packages could reach those behind bars.

At the time, the logic was to restrict incoming, nonprivileged mail to postcards only to cut down on contraband being smuggled into the jail, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said last week.

Inmates and outsiders alike abhorred the so-called security measure change, and a group called Right to Write SB actively fought it.

Hoover said the policy was revised again effective Sept. 15, removing the ban on nonpostcard material after a recent policy review.

“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office regularly reviews the Custody Operations policies and the inmate management procedures to remain consistent with the most recent laws and court rulings,” she said. “The only change was the postcard-only portion of the policy was removed. The inmates at the jail have been notified of the change.”

The department’s decision did not directly correlate with a recent Ventura court case, according to Hoover.

In May, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that a similar Ventura County Sheriff’s Department policy that allows jail inmates to receive only postcards was unconstitutional.

However, Hoover did say the original policy was changed in 2013 after a department review of court rulings from several different jurisdictions, including Ventura County.

The action is considered a victory for Right to Write SB, whose volunteer members worked more than a year to switch the anti-privacy policy back.

“We’re all really, really excited,” said Anni Telfer, a group organizer who regularly writes notes to incarcerated friends. “Everybody here is, or has been at some time, affected by jail policies. All were upset about having to switch to postcards. I definitely noticed, for myself, that the content of the letters I was writing changed because of that.”

Telfer expressed gratitude for the Ventura activities and lawyers, some of whom contacted Right to Write SB. She said the group was considering filing legal action if the policy wasn’t reversed.

“The Sheriff’s Department hasn’t really given a reason for why it changed either,” Tilfer said. “I’m so, so happy that it was able to change without a lawsuit.”

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

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Buellton Voters Mull Direct Election for Mayor vs. Continued Rotation Among Council Members

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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Voters in Buellton will decide Nov. 4 whether their mayor should be directly elected in the future or continue to be rotated among the five members of the City Council.

Measure R also asks the city’s voters whether they want the directly elected mayoral term to be for two years or four. 

If approved, the changes would take effect with the council’s election in November 2016.

The City Council is divided on whether Buellton should have a directly elected mayor, with a 3-2 vote earlier this year to place the measure on the ballot.

Mayor John Connolly and Vice Mayor Leo Elovitz opposed the measure while Council members Ed Andrisek, Judith Dale and Holly Sierra favored it.

Currently, the council rotates the gavel-wielding job and role of vice mayor among the five members with one-year stints beginning at the reorganizational meeting in early December.

Those who support the measure say the directly elected mayor provides some continuity.

The measure also lets voters have a say in how the city is run, supporters say.

Those who oppose it say the current rotation system allows each council member to gain experience and new insight into the city operations.

If voters approve the measure, Buellton would join other Santa Barbara County cities in directly electing their mayors, including Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Solvang and Guadalupe. 

Carpinteria and Goleta rotate the job among council members, however.

In addition to the mayoral measure on the ballot, Buellton’s voters are choosing three council members to serve four-year terms.

The three incumbents, Andrisek, Connolly and Dale, are running for re-election and are challenged by Ron Anderson, a Realtor and president of the Buellton Chamber of Commerce; Dan Baumann, an RV resort manager; Joe Padilla, a local restaurateur/winemaker; Mark Preston, a retired program manager; and Tom Widroe, a local business consultant.

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

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Michelle Malkin: Colorado Education Battle About Teachers’ Unions, Not Censorship

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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There’s a big battle brewing in the Jefferson County, Colo., school system. The manufactured controversy over a proposed curriculum review is generating national headlines. But the fight is not about what misguided students and biased reporters say it’s about. “Censorship” is a red herring. The real issue is union control.

Here’s the deal: Public school teachers in this Denver-area district walked out of their classrooms last week to protest the implementation of performance-based pay. The JeffCo school board recently approved the new compensation system, which rewards the most highly effective teachers with 4.2 percent raises, effective teachers with 2.4 raises and inferior teachers with nothing. Only 2 percent of teachers received no pay raises.

One fact the grievance-mongering teachers conveniently left out of their politicized pep talks to student sympathizers: The board gave bonuses to 450 teachers who would have otherwise received no raises under the union’s arbitrary step scale. The old system didn’t take performance into any consideration at all.

Despite the hefty rewards for teacher competence and excellence, disgruntled union leaders called for a strike on Sept. 19 (or as they prefer to whitewash it, a “sickout”). The Big Labor avengers succeeded in shutting down two schools — and enlisting students to protest with them. But the optics of robbing kids of valuable educational time to protest an $18.2 million salary compensation package did not play well with taxpayers.

Enter the “censorship” fakeout.

At the same board meeting where the new pay system was approved, elected school board members heard a proposal to form a curriculum review committee. Under the state Constitution, elected local school boards are responsible for instructional and curriculum matters. It’s their duty. The proposal called for the creation of a new, nine-member panel “to review curricular choices for conformity to JeffCo academic standards, accuracy and omissions, and to inform the board of any objectionable materials.”

The panel’s first review items would be the elementary health curriculum and the A.P. U.S. History (APUSH) curriculum, which has undergone a radical revamp over the past few years.

The chief architect of the APUSH revisions is David Coleman, a progressive ideologue who is also one of the prime movers and shakers behind the Common Core standards scheme. Objections to the shoddy, intrusive, costly, top-down, backroom-designed Common Core agenda cross party lines. Rank-and-file teachers across the country have joined a diverse anti-Common Core coalition of parents, administrators, scholars, grassroots activists, privacy advocates and anti-cronyism watchdogs.

The JeffCo school board takes its deliberative role seriously. The proposal is the opposite of censorship. The debate over history standards is part of a wider battle between left-leaning militant teachers’ unions, who explicitly see their primary role as Saul Alinsky-trained political agitators, and those who want to restore academic excellence, rigor and ideological balance in the schools.

While every liberal “-ism” has been incorporated into the school day — from environmentalism and collectivism to social justice activism to mandatory volunteerism, feminism and transgenderism — JeffCo school board members are now being mocked for simply proposing that citizenship, individualism and patriotism have a fundamental place at the schoolteacher’s table.

Somehow, this perfectly reasonable proposal morphed into “JeffCo wants to remove slavery from the history curriculum!” Next thing you know, students were walking out of class two days in a row last week with “We (Heart) Our Teachers” signs. And the liberal Denver Post was running propaganda stories on Twitter mockery of the school board.

“It upsets me greatly to see children being used as pawns and missing educational time,” school board president Ken Witt told me. And “we’re not just going to rubber-stamp” the top-down APUSH changes, he says. But the bigger picture, Witt points out, is that the district’s “union contract expires in August. It will be entirely redrafted.” The agitators’ ultimate goal is “to create turmoil and discredit board before those negotiations.”

And they are trying to do so by any means necessary — including misleading kids, spreading falsehoods in the classroom and instigating walkouts through student-managed organizing websites.

The parting words of former top National Education Association lawyer Bob Chanin a few years ago in explaining the union’s main agenda say it all. After calling conservative opponents “bastards,” he said: “This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary — these are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.”

Listen up, class. For public employee union leaders, it’s not really about the children or academic excellence or curricular freedom. It’s about their own political self-preservation. Always.

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

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Craig Allen: Good News is Now Bad News for Financial Markets

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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Investors in both the stock and bond markets, throughout the recovery, beginning in mid-2009, have viewed positive economic data as positive for financial markets, and they have traded accordingly. With the clock ticking on the inevitable start to Fed interest rate increases, good news will become bad news for financial markets, and for investors.

Despite the weak durable goods number this past week, which showed a larger than expected decline of 18.2 percent (economists had expected a decline of about 17 percent), the majority of economic data recently has been positive. Everything from GDP growth of 4.2 percent for the second quarter of 2014, to unemployment dropping to 6.1 percent, consumer confidence of 92.4 percent, strong auto sales, and more, have underscored the improvement in the U.S. economy. This improving economic landscape has provided a strong foundation for multiple new all-time highs for U.S. stock market indices, and historically low interest rates across the yield curve have driven bond prices sky-high.

The most recent Federal Reserve meeting yielded no surprises, but what was made perfectly clear is that the Fed intends to begin raising interest rates sometime next year — most likely around the middle of 2015. The takeaway for investors should be that regardless of exactly when the first rate increase takes place, higher rates are coming shortly. The timing of the first rate hike will be determined by the pace of the continuing improvement in the economic data.

This week we will receive September employment — the ADP private sector payrolls report on Wednesday, as well as the Commerce Department’s official U.S. employment report due Friday. While these reports, and especially Friday’s government data, will be the most important economic data of the month, we will see various other reports this week, including consumer spending, inflationary trends and auto sales. Virtually every economist expects these reports to be positive, with the average economist’s estimate for employment topping 200,000 versus the 142,000 reported for August employment.

Last week’s volatility, with the net drop of 166 points for the week for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, could turn into a significant and sustained downtrend this week. The markets’ overall direction will be determined by the way in which investors choose to interpret the economic data this week. If the data disappoints, investors, taking their cue from last week’s action, could resume their selling. Should the reports contain positive results for the economy, investors may choose to view it as a reason to buy. However, given the dwindling time window for the beginning to the next interest rate-raising phase for the Fed, investors may choose to see positive data as a reason to sell stocks and bonds.

Another reason for investors to be nervous is that technical indicators for U.S. stock market indices have turned decidedly negative. This past week the Russell 2000 experienced a “death cross” where the 50-day moving average crossed below the 200-day moving average. Also this past week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index traded below their 50-day moving averages, and the Dow is sitting on its 50-day moving average.

While moving average breaks are fairly common, it is far more uncommon for so many different indexes to exhibit breaks at the same time. If we add to this picture the fact that valuations are incredibly high, that the stock market has not had a significant — 10 percent or greater — correction in abut three years, and the pending increase to interest rates mentioned above, you have a technical and fundamental alignment of indictors all signaling lower market levels.

Investors throughout the current 5½-year bull market have been consistently bullish, even in the face of some formidable obstacles. They have been willing to step in and rally markets after minor corrections with supreme confidence. It will be interesting to see if the pattern repeats this week, or if investors begin to view good economic news as bad news for financial markets, with the result being the start to a major market correction.

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

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Manuel Liñán Brings a Spanish Flair to Santa Barbara’s Flamenco Arts Festival

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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Weekend of performances capped off with a blaze of color and choreography at The Granada Theatre

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Distinguished Gentlemen Ride With a Purpose — Even in a Sidecar

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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Owners of classic motorcycles don dapper duds while raising awareness, funds for prostate cancer cause

Instead of donning traditional motorcycle gear, J.P. Prichard and some buddies put on their Sunday-morning finest for an event that was part fun and part fundraising while showing off their classic rides.

They participated in the Central Coast segment of the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, a worldwide event to raise awareness for prostate cancer while “smartly dressed gentlefolk” have fun in fine clothing riding classic motorcycles.

Participants, who came from Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Arroyo Grande, included four owners of Russian-made Ural sidebar motorcycles.

“The whole point of this ride isn’t about going on a long ride,” said Prichard, who lives in Los Alamos. “It’s mobile theater with a purpose.”

As participants parked in front of Corner House Coffee in Los Olivos on Sunday morning, they attracted quizzical looks and spectators interested in learning more about the unique Urals, which featured different paint themes, and dapper riders.

“Told you it was mobile theater,” Prichard added.

Santa Barbara resident Jeff Carroll rode his red Ural in Sunday’s event, which he learned about from a friend.

“It sounded right up my alley,” Carroll said. “I think the sidecar is a gentlemanly way to ride.”

Arroyo Grande resident Mike Byrd drove with his wife, Eve, both decked out in distinguished suits and ties.

Facebook calls us a group,” he said. “I prefer to call us a motorcycle gang.”

Distinguished gentlelady Eve Byrd takes a photo of a dapper Mike Byrd. The Arroyo Grande couple participated in the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride on Sunday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Distinguished gentlelady Eve Byrd takes a photo of a dapper Mike Byrd. The Arroyo Grande couple participated in the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride on Sunday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“Three axles of evil,” Eve added.

Riders dressed in their best distinguished attire, which can range from a tuxedo to a three-piece suit to tweed.

“Typically it turns into a tweed-fest,” Prichard said.

Prichard has ridden motorcycles for 40 years but said he has had more fun with his Ural equipped with a sidecar. 

Formerly an enlisted airman during the Cold War, he noted the poetry of owning a motorcycle purchased on the commercial open market from a former foe. Fittingly, the civilian who oversees the Space and Missile Heritage Museum at Vandenberg Air Force Base calls his Ural motorcycle Yuri, after the former Soviet Union’s first astronaut.

“I can tell you have I have had more fun in my sidecar than any of those other machines,” he said. “It’s a mobile cultural experience. It really fits the distinguished gentleman theme in that it’s from that romantic lost era. ... You can’t take somebody for a ride in a sidecar without them smiling from ear to ear.”

The Distnguished Gentleman’s Ride began in Sydney, Australia, in 2012 before spreading across the globe thanks to social media. It was inspired by a photo from the television series Mad Men.

A friend in Australia forwarded the Facebook link to Prichard.

“He sent it to me and said, ‘Here’s a challenge for you’,” he said.

He participated alone locally the first year and had eight participants in 2013.

“The first year, it was just for fun,” Prichard said. “Last year, it was decided to make it purposeful.”

Organizers chose a men’s health issue — prostate cancer — as the cause they would focus on to raise both awareness and funds while working to end the stigma of the exam.

“The real issue is about awareness about the subject,” Prichard said. “It’s one of the most survivable cancers so early diagnosis is absolutely imperative.”

This year’s event was expected to include 258 rides in 57 countries and 20,000 riders while raising more than $1.3 million. Last year, they raised $277,000.

Among those drawn to the motorcycle riders Sunday morning was Robert Spining, a Franklin, Tenn., resident visiting Los Olivos with his wife, Jackie, to attend a friend’s wedding.

“What a spectacle,” he said.

Attracted by unique motorcycles and dapper riders, he later found out the event’s secondary purpose, timely since September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

“I’m just really excited,” the Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner said upon learning the ride’s purpose for prostate cancer awareness.

The purpose is personal for Spining. A prostate cancer survivor, he is former chairman of the Prostate Cancer Education Committee in his hometown and remains involved in a research initiative.

Since his 2004 diagnosis, Spining has worked to urge men to get the both the digital rectal exam plus blood test to measure the PSA level because each play vital roles in early detection.

“The awareness is not there” he said. “We’re chivalrous. We don’t want to talk about health. And it’s all early detection.”

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.

Participants in Sunday's Central Coast segment of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride stopped for coffee in Los Olivos. Pictured are Kyle Milliken of Oceano, Josh Snow of Santa Maria, Billy Haas of Santa Maria, J.P. Prichard of Los Alamos, Jeff Carroll of Santa Barbara, and Eve and Mike Byrd of Arroyo Grande. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Participants in Sunday's Central Coast segment of the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride stopped for coffee in Los Olivos. Pictured are Kyle Milliken of Oceano, Josh Snow of Santa Maria, Billy Haas of Santa Maria, J.P. Prichard of Los Alamos, Jeff Carroll of Santa Barbara, and Eve and Mike Byrd of Arroyo Grande. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride participants J.P. Prichard, left, and Kyle Milliken discuss the Ural motorcycles with Tanner Antles and Rich Antles, dirt bike riders from Solvang. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Distinguished Gentleman's Ride participants J.P. Prichard, left, and Kyle Milliken discuss the Ural motorcycles with Tanner Antles and Rich Antles, dirt bike riders from Solvang. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Randy Alcorn: From a Host of Critics, Unnecessary Roughness on the NFL

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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Like buzzards flocking to road kill, the media are feasting on several incidents of domestic violence committed, or allegedly committed, by a few professional football players. Squawking and screeching over every fetid morsel of real or suspected NFL sin, the ravenous media vultures are circling over wounded NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and voraciously picking away at the career carcasses of the affected players.

While battering defenseless women and children is a most reprehensible crime, why is the NFL responsible for investigating, judging and punishing its employees for such off-duty criminal behavior? Isn’t that the function of the judicial system?

Imagine if everyone convicted or even accused of a crime or of a perceived immorality would have to forfeit his or her job. Every arrest or conviction for DUI, incorrect tax filing or possession of marijuana would result in job loss. If legal and moral purity were a requirement for employment, half of Congress would be unemployed. And, certainly, hundreds of Catholic priests would have been fired a long time ago.

When contemplating the extent, duration and severity of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, the moral outrage directed at the NFL over the transgressions — real or alleged — by a few football players is curiously disproportionate. I don’t recall flocks of media buzzards circling over the Vatican for weeks on end calling for the pope’s resignation. If entire institutions are to be damned for the bad behavior of some of their members, why limit condemnation to professional sports leagues?

The typical response given to this question is that because football players are considered roll models for children they must be held to a singularly high standard of exemplary behavior and, therefore, any pedestal falls must be quickly, severely and publicly punished.

Nonsense.

Professional athletes are not responsible for socializing children, parents are. One can argue that nearly any adult is a role model for some child. Ask boys who they admire, who they want to emulate, what they want to be when they grow up, and you will get a range of answers that typically includes fireman, policeman and doctor as well as professional athlete. Some kids even want to be rock stars.

Yet, how many rock stars are forced to stop performing because their flagrant immoral or illegal behavior might pervert young minds? How many police departments quickly, severely and publicly punish or fire cops who abuse police power? There have been far more transgressions by these “role models,” as well as attempted cover-ups of their criminal behavior, than anything found in the NFL. Why are so many more personal foul flags being thrown on professional athletes than on other failed role models?

Focus on any segment of adult society, any profession, and you will find spousal and child abuse. Doctors, lawyers, judges, police and politicians are all role models, yet some beat their wives and children. Even so, medical, judicial and political institutions are not seen to be indifferently incubating and harboring brutal criminals, but the NFL is.

Probably the most disturbing load of rubbish stemming from this NFL fiasco was dumped by a morally incensed sports commentator who ranted that the constitutional right to due process of law should be suspended or denied for anyone accused of crimes against children. Essentially, this guy is advocating a guilty-until-proven-innocent system of justice. Sort of like what existed centuries ago when one could be accused, even by children, of witchcraft, then bound in a rock-filled sack and thrown into a river. If the accused floated to the surface, he or she was innocent. If not, well, guilty as charged.

That seems to be what passes for justice in the NFL, at least for players accused of battering women or children. Imagine that because a 7-year-old accuses you of sexually or physically abusing him, you are presumed guilty. You lose your job, and go to jail, until you can prove your innocence.

Does the overwrought sports commentator not realize that with a system of justice that presumes guilt, anyone including himself could be subject to witch hunts? I never cease to be amazed and appalled by the eager willingness of people to surrender constitutional civil rights for some emotionally exaggerated, often poorly thought out, reason, typically to protect society from some evil like drugs, terrorism or, now, child abuse.

Let’s not jump offsides here. Because a few football players behave badly does not mean every player in the league is a moral reprobate any more than a few rogue cops mean all cops are arrogant thugs. And, it certainly does not mean that fundamental civil rights should be curtailed or suspended for anyone.

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

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Letter to the Editor: 843 Days to Go

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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On Monday, Sept. 29, there are just 843 days until the end of President Barack Obama’s term in office.

The 22nd Amendment does not allow him to return to that office, thank God.

Perhaps he will resign before then.

Justin Ruhge
Lompoc

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The Recovery Ranch Expands Outreach to Costa Rica

By | Published on 09/28/2014

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The Recovery Ranch men’s sober living has expanded its opportunities for residents. On Feb. 12, 13 graduates of the program will leave Santa Ynez on a nine-day trip to Costa Rica.

These gentleman have reached a point in their recovery where they push each other to keep giving back. Partnered with Habitat for Humanity, they will travel to Biolley, Costa Rica, a rural area four hours south of the capital San Jose and build homes for people less fortunate than themselves.

Recovery Ranch guides and supports each resident to develop strong work ethics, lead with selflessness, and live in gratitude. They are actively involved in helping the communities of Santa Barbara County and have recently pursued possibilities outside the country. Recovery Ranch is not tied down by any government regulations and has the freedom to expand what their program offers. To be able to do something like this in recovery, with a sober living home, is an exceptional example of the gifts quality sobriety can bring at the Recovery Ranch.

The Ranch is organizing fundraisers and accepting donations online. Click here for more information about The Recovery Ranch’s Costa Rica trip. Click here to make an online donation.

Click here for more information about The Recovery Ranch, or email therecoveryranch@gmail.com. Connect with The Recovery Ranch on Facebook.

— Sean Terwilliger represents The Recovery Ranch.

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Santa Barbara Heart Walk Draws 1,000 Participants, Raises $200,000

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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More than 1,000 people from Santa Barbara and nearby cities raised $200,000 for the Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Run on Saturday. The 5K walk and run encourages healthy habits while raising funds to support the American Heart Association’s research and education efforts to fight heart disease and stroke — the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers.

The three top finishers in the Men’s and Women’s 5K run were awarded medals.

Women’s Winners

» Jose Steeves, first place

» Darina Pearson, second place

» Hilary Morman, third place

Men’s Winners

» Kyle Visin, first place

» James Sanchez, second place

» Dominic Capmass, third place

Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are the leading killers in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 831,000 men, women and children every year. The Heart Walk brings the community together to raise awareness and much-needed funds to fight these diseases.

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving lives from heart disease and stroke by funding innovative research, setting best practices for improving patient care, fighting for stronger public-health policies and providing lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat the leading causes of death in the United States.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Run.

— Tamara White is the communications and marketing director for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

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Chumash Refute Claims Against 12-Story Hotel Tower, to Proceed with Casino Expansion Now

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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Tribe agrees to fund more law enforcement but approves its own environmental evaluation to push project forward

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will help fund additional fire and police personnel but is otherwise prepared to begin a planned expansion of the Chumash Casino Resort — and a new 12-story tower — this fall.

Tribal leaders last week self-certified the project’s environmental evaluation, which included lengthy responses refuting concerns from Santa Barbara County officials and residents, with some concessions.

The Chumash comments follow recent meetings with residents, county staff and the Board of Supervisors — all involving a myriad of concerns about air quality, aesthetics, water supply, law-enforcement resources and more.

The tribe plans to add 215 hotel rooms, 584 parking spaces, gaming floor space and other improvements to ease overcrowding at the 190,000-square-foot complex on its federally recognized reservation at 3400 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez. The existing hotel has 106 guest rooms and 17 luxury suites.

Because the tribe does not adhere to the county’s planning process, the Chumash were able to respond to remarks and move forward, with construction to begin soon. The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who represents the valley, sent a letter to constituents last week, explaining the tribe’s intent to ignore mitigations and alternatives, particularly to the 12-story tower and hotel rooftop pool near the existing four-story hotel.

She said the tribe and county staff agreed to continue discussions, but the Chumash subsequently decided to push forward because the county hadn’t supported claims of off-reservation impacts with actual evidence.

The tribe’s offer to fund a full-time equivalent local county Fire Department position (not to exceed $400,000 annually), pay 50 percent of a new full-time firefighter and/or replace a county fire paramedic with a full-time paramedic, and to provide an on-reservation tribal ambulance was insufficient, Farr said.

Likewise, suggestions to pay about 50 percent (not more than $480,000) for one full-time sheriff’s deputy position in Solvang and offer one on-site patrol vehicle were also deemed inadequate.

“The county’s position on this project is certainly hampered by the fact that the requirements of the 1999 gaming compact are so few and with little to no ability for the county to require certain mitigations,” Farr said.

In its responses, the Chumash asked the county to fund the balance of a full-time deputy and to provide maintenance and fuel for a new patrol vehicle to be funded by the tribe.

The final environmental evaluation dismisses concerns about the rooftop pool and impacts to water, air quality, traffic and noise, because commenters didn’t provide specific details as to how the report failed to evaluate impacts.

The 136-foot hotel tower design will align with the existing resort, the report said, so it would not clash aesthetically. Enhanced landscaping would help shield it from view.

Avoiding a county fire request, the tribe contended fire safety has more to do with building design — such as fully sprinklered buildings — than ladder trucks.

The Chumash also vowed to maximize recycled water use on its reservation (to reduce impact to groundwater and water supply) and emphasize mass transit to lessen traffic impacts.

Farr said the matter would soon come back before supervisors for discussion, since the County CEO is drafting a response letter.

Farr will also continue working with state agencies and the Gov. Jerry Brown’s office to ensure counties have stronger standing in such future discussions.

Tribal chairman Vincent Armenta has said the expansion would provide a much-needed increase in revenue and provide more local jobs.

“Supervisor Farr’s objection to the tribe self-certifying its own projects is insulting,” Armenta said in a statement. “What she’s saying, essentially, is that the county as a government can self-certify their projects, but our tribal government shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

“Once again, Supervisor Farr claims the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has turned its back on the county, or as she notes, is ‘discounting’ most of the county’s concerns. In fact, the tribe has brought numerous proposals to the county yet Supervisor Farr has continuously led the charge to reject every one of them. The tribe, however, has and will continue to meet with county fire and sheriff’s officials to work out any concerns they may have.”

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

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Letter to the Editor: Oil Money Fills the Airwaves

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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The local media is saturated with big ads against Measure P. Who is paying for all those ads and slick mailers? Obviously oil companies, and that includes big out-of-area companies in addition to our local ones.

They have promoted the idea that Measure P will shut down all existing oil production in Santa Barbara County, even though the County Counsel’s office has stated on several occasions that this shutdown scenario is not true. If you want to hear it yourself, go to the Sept. 3 Planning Commission meeting on the county website starting around 04:26:00 and listen. Realize that if existing production is not shut down, then all the fears about lost tax revenue and lost jobs and money in our economy are not true.

Of course, saying they want to drill 10,000 new wells would not be so popular so they don’t mention that. The oil companies are even telling their own investors, in private publications, that the shutdown idea is absurd.

Yes on Measure P is all volunteer and is endorsed by every environmental group in the county as well as many elected officials, farmers, businesses and others. See the endorsement list at the voteyesonp.org website. None of these folks have the millions to buy a lot of advertising so if you want to see Measure P pass take some time now to study it and to tell all your friends to vote YES on P. Help it go viral!

Linda Bernson
Goleta

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Carpinteria School District Seeking Voter Approval of $90 Million Bond for Campus Upgrades

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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The Carpinteria Unified School District is pursuing its first general obligation bond initiative in 20 years, and officials hope local voters support the $90-million amount to upgrade aging facilities.

The K-12 district’s nine schools in Carpinteria and Summerland serve about 2,300 students.

“The need is very self-evident,” Superintendent Paul Cordeiro told Noozhawk.

“You’ve got old schools and you can’t have bake sales to raise the money you need to make the improvements — the only recourse is to go to the voters.”

The district studied its facilities for about 18 months and adopted a Facilities Master Plan that outlines all the needs, he said.

Most classrooms were built in the 1960s or earlier and fall short of today’s technological needs, with only two or three electrical plugs and low capacity for Internet access, Cordeiro said.

With the switch to Common Core State Standards, educational technology is given a central role in the curriculum, and students will be doing Smarter Balanced Assessments testing on computers, not with pencils and paper.

Bond money will also be used for “essential repairs and upgrades,” according to the ballot language, with needs such as fixing leaky roofs, tearing out asbestos, repairing broken restrooms and updating antiquated safety systems.

A large portion of the bond money will likely be used to remove the district’s 63 portable classrooms, which are in poor condition. A consultant firm recommended that 50 of them be demolished outright.

To replace them, the Carpinteria district has its eyes on modular classrooms, which are built offsite and then placed onto cement foundations on the school grounds.

They’re cheaper than traditional buildings, more energy-efficient than the portables and would be constructed with “green” building materials, Cordeiro said.

It would cost an estimated $24 million to replace the portable classrooms with the modular structures at $250 per square foot, compared to $13.8 million for the basic modular buildings or $33.5 million for traditional classroom buildings.

Another specific project is adding a science wing at Carpinteria High School and creating a space for the design and engineering program, Cordeiro said.

“This isn’t about extravagance,” he said. “This is about taking a facility built in 1962 and taking it into the 21st century. These buildings are old!”

Preliminary polling showed strong community support for the measure but advocates are still launching a full campaign, said Marybeth Carty, a board member of the Carpinteria Education Foundation.

“The basic infrastructure of the entire district needs an overhaul,” Carty said. “We haven’t floated a bond in 20 years, so this is the one that should be built to last.”

The proposed science wing and design/engineering space at the high school would replace the “really obsolete science lab that’s kind of a joke — it’s out of the ’60s,” she said.

“The marvel of all of this is, kids being as resilient as they are, it hasn’t inhibited their ability to learn. I think it’s inhibited their ability to compete.”

To pass, the $90-million Measure U on the Nov. 4 ballot needs 55-percent approval from voters.

Carpinteria residents Bernard Fink and Royce Stauffer wrote the ballot argument opposing the measure, but there doesn’t appear to be any campaign fighting the bond.

“It is remarkable that 63 individual buildings should all fail at once,” Fink wrote. “School upgrades should be limited to individual projects, as needed, that the public can monitor and understand.”

Stauffer said the bond was too large and the ballot wording is too vague, not tying the district to explicit projects.

The district estimates the bond will cost property owners $47 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for the first year after bonds are issued and will remain unchanged, but tax rates can’t be accurately predicted 10 years into the future.

School board member Alison Livett, a former physics teacher, said the high school science classrooms are so out of date she’s amazed the faculty can even teach in them.

Carpinteria Middle School was modernized with the last school bond in 1995, so students go from those facilities into “pretty bad facilities” at the high school, particularly with the science classrooms, she said.

Measure U ballot language says the bond-funded facilities improvements will help the district attract and retain teachers.

Livett says the nicer facilities will contribute to teachers wanting to work there and the upgrades will allow more money for salaries if the board isn’t using general fund dollars for expensive emergency repairs.

“We’ve realized that we needed to do a bond because the money we had in the general fund wasn’t even enough to really cover the basic maintenance at the schools,” she said.

“It sounds weird, but we’re the few people in California who hope it’s not going to rain, because when it rains, we know we’re going to have a lot of leaky roofs.”

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

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Measure P Backers Set Record Straight at League of Women Voters Forum

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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Supporters of Measure P came out in force to the League of Women Voters of Santa Maria Valley forum in Santa Maria to see Katie Davis and Linda Krop set the record straight about Measure P, the initiative banning the expansion of high-intensity oil extraction techniques like fracking, steam injection and acidization.

Opponents of Measure P have attempted to minimize the risk of water contamination, pollution and health problems caused by these techniques, while claiming that Measure P bans existing oil production in Santa Barbara County. Davis, of the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, and Krop, of the Environmental Defense Center, soundly refuted opponents’ claims.

“Extreme oil extraction techniques like fracking, steam injection and acidizing waste billions of gallons of precious water,” Davis said. “The oil companies make empty promises saying we can trust them not to contaminate our air and our water supply, but they have broken those promises all across America. We simply cannot afford to let them drill over 10,000 new high-intensity extraction sites using these techniques.”

Krop pointed to recent actions by the county Planning Commission confirming that conventional drilling and current wells will not be affected by Measure P.

“As the county Planning Commission reaffirmed, conventional drilling and existing wells will continue to operate as before under Measure P,” she said. “Measure P does not cut a single existing job or a single dime of current tax revenue.”

Measure P will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. It is widely expected to be a close race, despite more than $2 million in spending against the measure by foreign and out-of-county oil companies.

Click here for more information about Yes on Measure P.

— David Atkins is the campaign manager for Yes on Measure P.

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Pedestrian Critically Injured in Apparent Santa Maria Hit-Run; Public’s Help Sought

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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A 20-year-old pedestrian was critically injured early Saturday when she apparently was struck by a vehicle, and the public’s help is being sought in the hit-and-run investigation, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Beatriz Milan-Absalon of Santa Maria was discovered shortly before 5 a.m., lying in the roadway in the 1600 block of North Blosser Road, Sgt. Mark Streker said.

Milan-Absalon was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center, where she was reported in critical condition, with her family by her side, he said.

“There were no vehicles located at the scene,” Streker said, “and officers are developing leads that will assist in determining the pedestrian’s location prior to the accident and her destination.”

Anyone who may have been with Milan-Absalon during the early morning hours Saturday or the previous evening — or has information about the vehicle involved — is asked to contact Santa Maria police at 805.928.3781, or CrimeStoppers at 1.877.800.9100.

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

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Diane Dimond: Calling the ISIS Conflict What It Is — War

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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Let’s not kid ourselves. We are back in the business of war again.

Oh, the politicians can call it whatever they want — like a counter-terrorism campaign — but when U.S. fighter planes are dropping bombs on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria, we are at war.

When we send Navy vessels out to sea to facilitate the fight, we are at war.

When we are simultaneously attacking a secondary group of Muslim extremists calling themselves Khorasan, we are, in fact, engaging in a multilevel war.

Washington might cling to the belief that absent battalions of boots on the ground, it isn’t really a war. But the fact is we already have plenty of troops on ground in that region (left over from past conflicts) and what are called “advisers.”

Our elected officials might believe that if they don’t utter the word, then it really isn’t a war. Don’t buy it.

ISIS cowards and their sympathizers brazenly beheaded two innocent Americans, a Briton and a Frenchman — all on video. They taunt the free world from behind their headscarves and dare us to do something to stop them. Their bloody campaign across the Middle East has, so far, claimed the lives of countless thousands of people who refused to sign on to their Byzantine idea for a bloody Muslim Caliphate.

Because they have been astute enough to seize valuable property and assets as they go, ISIS has become, according to The New York Times, the wealthiest terrorist group in the world, having access now to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Some may view America as a diminished country, but we are still a superpower, the conscience of the world. We are morally right to engage this enemy in battle.

So, why can’t Congress and President Barack Obama step up and call it what it is? A justified war against a sworn enemy. THIS IS WAR.

I believe it’s because the American people will have to be told some unpleasant realities, and politicians will have to acknowledge — just weeks before the midterm elections — that thoroughly defeating this evil will take many years and, undoubtedly, cost more American lives.

Our political leaders today are very adroit at dodging unpleasant messages. They’re also experienced at dodging their duty.

The U.S. Constitution lays out a format for Congress to make an official “Declaration of War” for times like this. Yet Congress hasn’t officially declared a war since right after the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Think of how many battles we’ve sent our young warriors out to fight since then.

The War Powers Act of 1973, passed after presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were seen as overstepping their authority by committing U.S. troops to Vietnam, mandates that Congress has to OK the use of U.S. troops if they are in a combat region for more than 60 days.

Yet we’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for 13 years, and Congress never bothered to take an approval vote on continuing what became the longest undeclared war in U.S. history. Easier to do nothing and tiptoe around reality than to stand up for a principle, right?

Our more than eight years of conflict in Iraq was also never officially labeled a war (declared ended in December 2011), yet here we are in the skies over that same country still attacking another group of religious extremists who want us dead.

No, our “leaders” will not call it what is it or explain what it all means. So, I will humbly say what they will not.

Get set, America. This could be an epic battle — one that lasts a decade or longer. Diplomacy or reasoning with this enemy will never work. The zealots we face care nothing about human life. They willingly blast themselves into oblivion believing heavenly rewards wait for them on the other side.

Before this fight is over, I predict there will have to be a lot more American boots on the ground in that region — and more U.S. forces in the sky and on the nearby water. Yes, we have allies who will help us in the battle, but make no mistake about it: The United States of America is the driving force now and in years ahead. And we aren’t in that region of the world to make nice-nice.

Forget looking to the politicians for answers. Ask any seasoned military person. They will tell you honestly. This is war.

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

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Chalk Art Provides a Canvas of Color in Old Town Orcutt, and a Boost for Arts

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation stages annual arts benefit and festival geared toward families

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South Broadway in Old Town Orcutt became a canvas for artists of all ages and abilities Saturday as Disney characters Olaf and Sven shared asphalt with a snake, suns and more.

The Orcutt Chalk Festival, organized by the Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation, attracted multiple artists, including professionals, amateurs and students.

“It’s to help raise awareness of art and to raise funds for the Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation,” said Rick Corbo, a member of the foundation’s board of directors.

The event also included musical performances by students, including the Righetti High School Jazz Band and dance groups.

A purchased passport, dubbed a “PassArt,” provided youths who attended the festival a box of pastel chalk for coloring a square on the asphalt, a chance to participate in crafts, and impetus to track down and read arts-related quotes worn by volunteers.

“It’s not just about visual arts,” Corbo added. “Art is in everything we do.”

Covered in chalk from working on his creation, Lompoc resident John Gayton offered passersby a chance to view a section of his chalk art close through a magnifying loupe.

“Would you like to see the flower?” he asked, providing a pillow for knees, and loupe to peer through.

Laura Ortega, 8, of Orcutt, was one of several youths and adults to take turns observing the small flower tucked into his larger artwork as Gayton delivered an impromptu lesson linking math and art.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” she said. “I though it was really awesome.”

After Gayton was done, Laura’s mom, Audrey Ortega, said, “Thanks for bringing math to the Chalk Art Festival. It makes it less scary for me. ... To have it combined with art makes it palatable.”

Ortega said her son worked on his small square of art on the asphalt, getting inspiration from the images created by the more experienced participants and making improvements to his own throughout the day.

She also said she appreciated having a weekend arts-themed event aimed at families.

Tyler Harding, a student at Allan Hancock College, carefully worked on his depiction of Sven and Olaf from the movie Frozen.

“I do Disney characters every year just because the kids like it better,” he explained.

Proving his point, a young girl walked by, blurting out, “That’s cute.”

Harding is studying animation and has participated in the event for three years.

“I love art” he added. “I like supporting art and the community.”

Recognizing that arts programs were vulnerable to budget cuts, OCAF started in 2002 to keep arts programs — visual and performing — alive in Orcutt Union School District classrooms.

“I think this is fabulous,” OUSD Superintendent Deborah Blow said. “It’s just a great community event to promote the arts.”

It’s something the longtime educator, who started her Orcutt job in the summer, hadn’t seen at other districts.

“It means art at all,” added Kathy Meissner, who said arts programs weren’t available when her son attended local schools.

“What OCAF does for the Orcutt school district cannot be measured,” added the former Orcutt school board member.

The foundation doesn’t just support elementary students but those at all levels in the district, Meissner said. 

The organization holds an annual gala and auction — the next one is Feb. 21 — to get some of the funds for the programs. OCAF needs to raise between $30,000 and $40,000 each year in addition to grants used to fund programs for the students.

OCAF also now offers after-school and summer art programs.

“Anything we do now we want it to be about art,” said Hannah Rubalcava, OCAF executive director.

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

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Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Circle Soirée Celebrates Women in Business

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s New Venture Challenge gets a boost from Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation

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Women empowerment was the inspirational theme at an intimate gathering hosted last week by The Fess Parker. The celebratory evening featured a group of successful businesswomen from across Santa Barbara County at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards Winners’ Circle Soirée.

The mixture reunited the past and current winners from an awards ceremony that the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation held in May, and offered an opportunity to assemble old friends and new acquaintances alike in the same room.

The foundation honors women as well as students associated with the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, business academic programs offered at Santa Barbara City College. The experimental curriculum teaches youths the tools necessary to build and launch their businesses in a class taught by successful entrepreneurs, a combination that was clearly in evidence from the overwhelming support and in the words of the award winners themselves.

“I am proud to play a part in this amazing circle of women and I am thrilled that the foundation also finances scholarships for student entrepreneurs,” said Kymberlee Weil of Strategic Samurai who won the 2014 Professional Services award. “This is validation that we can look forward to a steady stream of future young winners who will be acknowledged for their ideas and financially supported for their aspirations.”

Proceeds from the awards event benefited the winners of the Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge. The program is a business plan competition for regional high school and college students.

Darya Bronston of Annovium Products, the 2012 Science and Technology award winner, echoed Weil’s enthusiasm regarding the organization’s investment “in the next generation of inspirational women.”

“The Spirit Of Entrepreneurship Foundation is a truly special organization to be involved with,” she said. “They provide a wonderful opportunity to pay it forward, to pay it backward and to pay it sideways.”

The mission of the SOE Foundation is to support entrepreneurship at all levels in Santa Barbara County.

Carol Ashley, the 2013 Real Estate and Construction award winner and owner of Demo 2 Design, is another example of a woman breaking down barriers.

“It is unusual for a woman to build and maintain her own business in the construction industry,” she told Noozhawk.

“Demo 2 Design inspires creative re-purposing of structural building materials by providing sustainable options to depleting our natural resources.”

Kathy Griver, PhD, LMT, RM, won her 2012 Health, Fitness and Beauty award for a medical massage practice, but she is also host of a national TV series, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, on OTV, and an author who has a zest for life.

“I do flying trapeze for fun and someone recently asked me if I had a death wish,” she said. “I said no, I have a life wish, I want to stretch my boundaries and comfort zone; body, mind and spirit. I want to live each moment to the fullest and experience everything.”

The SOE Foundation was well represented on this special evening and acknowledged a few board members who were unable to attend, including Kathy Ackley, catering manager at The Fess Parker; Liz Seitz, vice president and branch manager at Bank of the West; and Sabrina Tinajero, downtown branch manager of Wells Fargo.

Another talented woman who was honored by the SOE Foundation this year with the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award was Betty Hatch, who ran the La Belle Modeling Agency and has since formed the La Belle Foundation website with her life stories and the curriculum that she followed for her own long-term success.

“I realized the value of the training was the curriculum on professionalism — training in appropriate presentation, excellent performance and a loving personality — I called them the three Ps,” she said.  

“Now I know that any woman can succeed in her own business by sharing the work she loves with others.”

Click here for more information about the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, or call Cathy Feldman, CEO and board chairwoman, at 805.682.8775. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Mark Shields: Republican Gains in 2014 Likely to Portend Big Loss in 2016

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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If Republicans have become more bullish about their party’s prospects for victory Nov. 4, it could be traceable to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg Public Policy Center poll, which found that Republican-leaning voters are much more highly interested — and therefore likelier to vote — in this year’s election than are voters who support Democrats.

Consider this: In the 2012 presidential election, voters ages 18 to 29 were the most Democratic voting bloc by age (60 percent for President Barack Obama) in the electorate, whereas voters older than 65 were the most loyal GOP voters (56 percent for Mitt Romney). The poll found that among voters age 65 or older, 62 percent of them self-identified as highly interested in the 2014 campaign, whereas among the youngest voters, just 20 percent said they are highly interested in this election.

If real estate is all about location, location, location, then national elections are all about turnout, turnout, turnout, which, as of today, looks favorable for Republicans in 2014.

But first, if you would, return with me to the immediate aftermath of the 2012 election, in which the GOP again, for the fifth time in the past six presidential contests, lost the U.S. popular vote.

The Republican National Committee, after a hard-eyed assessment of the party’s problems, delivered a blunt postmortem in March 2013, which urged a renewed outreach to female voters and stated, “We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.” The Republican autopsy was specific: “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.”

That was logical advice, considering that in 1992, Republican President George H.W. Bush (while capturing just 38 percent of the national vote) still won 55 percent of the Asian vote but, by 2012, 73 percent of Asian voters were backing Democrat Obama. And even though Republican President George W. Bush in 2004 won 44 percent of the Latino vote, in 2012 the Democratic president received 71 percent support from Latino voters. In the past 20 years, the share of the national electorate represented by Asian and Latino voters has more than quadrupled, while white voters have dropped from 87 percent of the total down to 72 percent.

Republicans in power, as you may have noticed, did not “embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.” With overwhelming opposition from Republicans in Congress to equal pay for equal work legislation endorsed by civil rights and women’s groups, the GOP’s recommended renewed outreach to female voters was not evident.

So if the Republicans do win the upcoming midterms — in which more older white male voters tend to show up than younger and minority voters — then, because the winners do get to write history or to say what an election result really means, the GOP’s most conservative partisans will insist that the touchy-feely RNC postmortem was wrong.

All you need to do, the argument will go, is to give the voters what we gave them in 2010 (when the GOP picked up 63 House seats) and 2014, unapologetically conservative candidates who offered no yielding either on principles or, heaven forbid, to Obama or Democrats. There’s obviously no need for “pandering” to Hispanic, black, Asian or gay voters.

Such thinking and feelings will strengthen that 2016 Republican presidential candidate who condemns political compromise as weakness or even surrender. A 2014 win could well convince Republicans that while the nation continues to change at accelerating velocity (the widespread support for same-sex marriage and the fact that more white Americans, for the first time, died last year than were born), the GOP does not need to change. That would frankly be a 2016 formula for the Republicans to again lose the White House.

Mark Shields is one of the most widely recognized political commentators in the United States. The former Washington Post editorial columnist appears regularly on CNN, on public television and on radio. Click here to contact him, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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45 mph Gusts Expected as South Coast Wind Advisory Extended

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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Gusty winds will be returning to Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on Saturday afternoon, and the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory from 5 p.m. until 3 a.m. Sunday.

Northwest to north winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected, with gusts between 35 and 45 mph, the weather service said.

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

Sunday’s forecast calls for clear skies and high temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s.

The weather service said a warming trend is expected to push temperatures into the low 80s and then into the 90s by midweek.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

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

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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County Fire Responds to Oil Spill in Santa Maria

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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A Santa Barbara County Fire Department engine responded to a reported oil spill Saturday morning in Santa Maria.

Firefighters found a small spill, less than one barrel, from a broken underground pipe at the site in the 1300 block of East Battles Road in Santa Maria, Capt. David Sadecki said.

Greka Oil & Gas plant personnel were on the scene dealing with the cleanup, he said.

The call came in at 7:12 a.m.

Sadecki said there was no threat to the environment from the spill. 

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

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Lompoc Man Arrested on Assault Charges; Victim Hospitalized

By | Published on 09/27/2014

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A 25-year-old Lompoc man was arrested Friday night after he allegedly committed an assault with a deadly weapon that sent the victim to the hospital with serious injuries.

Antonio Morales Jr. turned himself in at the police station shortly after 8 p.m., according to the Lompoc Police Department.

Morales is the suspect in an attack that occurred at about 6:15 p.m. in the 700 block of East Pine Avenue.

Officers who were called to the scene found a victim who had suffered significant injuries, police said. The victim was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

Details on the victim were not released.

Police also did not say what type of weapon was used.

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

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Santa Barbara Council Discussing Lawsuit Against Caltrans Over Highway 101 Project

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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The Santa Barbara City Council has been considering litigation against Caltrans over the Highway 101 widening project, but details of the deliberations are being kept from the public.

The council met in closed session Sept. 16, and Noozhawk has learned that the council initially voted to file a lawsuit over the project’s environmental impact report.

City officials have long pushed for some municipal interchanges to be improved alongside the widening project, arguing that the freeway improvements will lead to more congestion on city streets.

At the January meeting where the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments board voted to move forward with the widening project, City Administrator Jim Armstrong gave a presentation, and said the city projects are critical to the highway interchanges working well.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, a member of the SBCAG board, said she couldn’t support the motion to move forward unless those city projects were included, saying she was worried the funding would never materialize.

After the Sept. 16 closed session meeting, City Attorney Ariel Calonne confirmed to Noozhawk that the council had voted to initiate litigation but he declined to confirm the specific case.

He did acknowledge that the vote was 5-1-1, with Schneider and Councilmen Dale Francisco, Frank Hotchkiss, Randy Rowse and Bendy White voting in favor of litigation, and Councilwoman Cathy Murillo voting against it.

Councilman Gregg Hart abstained.

The council reported the action after the Sept. 16 meeting — the cameras were off and everyone had left, Calonne said — but “they did not announce the nature of the action, defendants or any other particulars,” he added.

If and when litigation is “formally commenced” — with the city filing something in court — the lawsuit’s details will be disclosed, Calonne said.

He said the session was the first time the council had discussed the particular issue, at least since he’s been city attorney. Calonne was appointed to the post in February following the retirement of Steve Wiley.

The council discussed another anonymous litigation item at this week’s closed session, titled with the same Government Code sections, but no reportable action was taken.

Sources contacted by Noozhawk would neither confirm nor deny whether the second closed session involved the same litigation as the first, or whether a lawsuit is proceeding.

In both instances, the closed session items were described identically on the council’s agenda: “That council hold a closed session to consider anticipated litigation pursuant to subsection (d)(4) of Section 54956.9 of the Government Code and take appropriate action as needed (one potential case).”

That code section specifically refers to a legislative body deciding whether to initiate litigation.

In January, the SBCAG board voted to continue the Highway 101 widening project, which will add a third lane in either direction between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. There was some pushback on the project, particularly with the design elements that would eliminate the left-hand highway ramps, that reached all the way to Sacramento.

Schneider is Santa Barbara’s representative on the board, and Hart, in addition to serving on the council, is employed by SBCAG as its public information and government affairs coordinator.

The 10-mile stretch of freeway is the last piece of the South Coast 101 HOV Lanes project that aims to ease commuter congestion between Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Caltrans recently released the project’s final EIR, and has begun the project design and construction planning phases.

The city of Santa Barbara has pushed to have some city-jurisdiction projects move forward at the same time as the widening project.

SBCAG agreed to pursue the projects separately but concurrently with the Caltrans project.

On the city’s wish list are the replacement of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge over Cabrillo Boulevard and interchange improvements at Olive Mill Road.

In a Noozhawk opinion piece published before the January SBCAG meeting, Schneider wrote that “Caltrans and SBCAG staff acknowledge that the project as presented will result in increased traffic congestion and other negative impacts on city streets; however, the project’s EIR fails to either address, mitigate or fund any solutions. One of the most glaring and publicized omissions is that of the Union Pacific bridge bottleneck at the Cabrillo Boulevard-Highway 101 interchange.”

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

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Carpinteria Woman Wounded But Alive After Being Attacked By Black Bear

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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Emily Miles says 'my life was on the line' when she fought back against the 300-pound animal while walking with her dogs

A fourth-generation Carpinteria woman is recovering after being attacked by an adult black bear earlier this week near her avocado ranch, an experience that she knows could have ended her life.

Emily Miles, who owns an avocado orchard in Ventura County, was walking in Rincon Canyon with her two dogs near the orchard about 1 p.m. Monday when she spotted a black bear on the trail chasing her two dogs and charging after her.

"That's the hike I do almost everyday. It's very normal for me," she said.

Despite the familiar territory, a horrifying situation unfolded as the adult black bear, which Miles estimates weighed about 300 pounds, began to chase her down.

"It was a good-sized bear," she said.  

The animal knocked Miles to the ground, clawing her back and biting her thigh, but she fought back against the animal — actions that may have save her life.

"I gave it all I had," she said. "I knew my life was on the line."

She also knows that she easily could have not survived.

"I really thought, 'This could be the end for me,'" she recalled. "I know that I'm very lucky to be alive."

At the beginning of her hike, Miles had passed the home of a friend, and saw that her car was there, planning to say hello on the way back.

Instead, Miles ended up staggering up to the home after the attack and was driven to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

Her back was injured, a rib broken and the bear took a large bite out of her thigh. Miles' husband, Bradley, said the space between the bite marks of the bear's top and bottom teeth were 9 inches.

In the midst of recovering and planning for next month's Avocado Festival — Miles sits on the board of directors — she has been barraged by calls from reporters, from both local and national outlets.  

When Noozhawk spoke with Miles on Friday afternoon, Good Morning America had called her that morning asking for an interview.

"It's been so overwhelming," she said.

Miles and her husband ride horses on the trails near their properties, and own a camp in the High Sierras and said that bears are not something with which they're unfamiliar.

"I've had a lot of bear encounters, but never one chasing me — never in this aggressive way. We see bear footprints and bear scat everyday," she said, adding that she thinks that the drought may be driving the bears even farther into more populated areas.

Janice Mackey of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife said Friday that the department had placed bear traps in the area, but had not caught anything.

The department has launched a campaign to urge anyone who lives or plays in bear country to be safe.

Making noise to warn bears in the area that you are passing through, not running if you see one, trying to appear as large as possible and not approaching cubs even if they appear docile are key, Mackey said. Homeowners should work keep fruit fallen from trees picked up and trash covered.

"Bears are completely motivated by food," Mackey said.

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

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Letter to the Editor: What Would Measure P Actually Do?

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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I spent a lot of time recently trying to understand what Measure P will actually do. The conclusion I’ve come to is that it will essentially preserve the status quo and prevent a local oil boom that might result in 10,000 or more new wells.

Here's how I arrived at this conclusion: First, here's a look at the concerns of both sides. The concern of the oil industry seem to be two: 1) existing wells will be shut down and, 2) they will not be able to drill thousands of new wells using the more intense methods now needed to get the oil out. The concern of the proponents of P are three: 1) that too much water will be used, 2) concern about aquifer pollution and 3) climate and air pollution concerns.

Opponents call it the oil shutdown initiative. In order to understand how the county might enforce this, I looked at statements made by the County Counsel’s Office. Opponents of Measure P are saying 100 percent of existing wells could be affected. What does affected mean? Does that mean they'd be shut down or something else, like they'd have to get a permit?

Listening carefully to recordings of the Board of Supervisors meetings and the Planning Commission meetings addressing this issue, I found that Santa Barbara County counsel Mike Ghizzoni was asked about this. He cited the landmark California Supreme Court case Avco Community Developers vs. South Coast Regional Commission. He applied the Avco standard to the Measure P and concluded current production will be allowed to continue.

Near the end of a later meeting, Sept. 3, of the Planning Commission, Bill Dillon of the County Counsel’s Office said that existing wells do not even have to come in and apply for an exemption if they already have a permit. “If they have a vested right and they are sure of it, they do not have to come in” (for an exemption). They do have the option of applying for an exemption just to have that determination if they want to, or have some doubt.

It seems that the shutdown concern of the industry is unfounded, but their second concern is real. They may not be able to drill their 10,000-plus new wells. At the Planning Commission meeting, Santa Maria Energy (one of the 16 companies operating here) states that they have approval for 136 wells on 32 acres but what about their other 4,000 acres and the 7,700 well locations they have planned? This is just one of the companies indicating they plan to ramp up oil production, most of which do to propose to use high-intensity oil extraction.

As for the proponents’ concerns about water use and water and air pollution, some basic research online does validate these concerns. These techniques are water-intensive and thousands of new wells will increase the risk of water and air pollution. We’ve had an extensive history of spills here just due to conventional oil production. High-intensity wells increase the risk of fracturing of well casings and bedrock, and so thousands of new wells would certainly cause environmental damage. In addition, steam injection is the most carbon-intensive form of oil production. It takes a lot of energy to power the injection engines, and that does mean a big increase in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

At this stage I think everyone should be reassured that the attacks on Measure P are unfounded. Oil companies should be reassured they won't be shut down. Despite all the fears, if Measure P passes, pretty much everything stays the same for the foreseeable future. That’s a reasonable compromise, and the County has the latitude in adopting its ordinances to administer Measure P the make sure that the status quo is basically what we will see if Measure P passes. If it does not pass we will probably see a fairly large oil boom.

Helmut Klauer
Gaviota

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Los Alamos to Mark 68th Annual Old Days This Weekend

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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The small community of Los Alamos will celebrate Old Days this weekend with the theme of “Bountiful Harvest.” 

The Old West-style community will mark its 68th annual celebration of its heritage with a car show, parade, arts and craft booths, entertainment and a Civil War re-encampment.

The Peddlers Mart and food booths will be set up on Bell Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Also Saturday will be an an All-American Classic Car Show on Bell Street. Entry forms are available by clicking here.

A traditional part of the event, a Civil War encampment, will feature the “California Hundred,” Company A, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry re-enactors who will be in the garden of the 1880 Union Hotel, 362 Bell St. 

Sunday’s “Greatest Little Small Town Parade” starts at 11 a..m. on Bell Street (Highway 135) at Augusta Street and continues west before ending at St. Joseph Street.

Riding in a place of honor is Grand Marshal Carl C. Abeloe, whose father, Carl A. Abeloe, was 1979 grand marshal — the first time two generations, father and son — have been honored, organizers said.

The Abeloe family has lived in the Los Alamos Valley since the early 1900s, and been involved in dry-farming and ranching. 

He attended the first Old Days in 1948. 

He and his wife, Charlene, attended Los Alamos Elementary School and graduated from Santa Maria High School. They were married at the little Presbyterian Church in 1958, and held the reception at The Men’s Club.

Los Alamos Old Days is sponsored by the Los Alamos Valley Men’s Club — a nonprofit group of men, women and families — dedicated to preserving the town’s unique character and hospitality. The club also provides scholarships and funding to local students and organizations, as well as offering its facility at 429 Leslie St. for rent for private events. 

Additional support for Los Alamos Old Days is being provided by Visit Santa Ynez Valley.

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

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‘I AM Santa Barbara County’ Training Program Aims to Inspire Tourism Industry

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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Local industry employees participate in the first of monthly ambassador classes organized through Visit Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is an original destination, a freeing, romantic, comfortable place offering an authentic experience for travelers and locals alike.

At least those were thoughts that came to mind for about a dozen local hospitality industry and business employees who recently took part in a program teaching them more about the area and how to relay that knowledge to tourists.

There were no wrong answers during Visit Santa Barbara’s “I AM Santa Barbara County” Ambassador Training Program, where ideas and memory of local history were rewarded with M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces.

“As you can see, Santa Barbara has a lot to offer,” said Kate Schwab, director of marketing and communications for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.

As one of three people leading the program’s first class at the Santa Barbara Zoo Discovery Pavilion last week, Schwab next asked participants to jot down what the Santa Barbara brand means to them.

“It’s not a race,” she said. “It’s just candy, people.”

Some of the more than 12,000 locals supported by jobs in the tourism industry paused before writing and calling out answers.

“A lifestyle,” one offered.

“Home,” another said.

Visit Santa Barbara is offering the free three-hour destination-training program on a monthly basis, featuring a guided bus tour from Goleta to Carpinteria and hands-on classroom sessions.

Representatives from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, the Spanish Garden Inn, the Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara Valet, IT company CIO solutions and others sat in pairs at tables taking down interesting facts to spice up their sales pitches.

Who knew Santa Barbara was one of only five Mediterranean climates in the world?

Pictures of landmark South Coast restaurants, businesses and festivals flashed across a projector screen, highlighting beaches, wine tasting, hotels, fine dining, water sports and golf courses.

Even parking lot kiosk attendants are area ambassadors, said Jessica Dietmeyer, Visit Santa Barbara’s industry relations manager.

Katie Titus wasn’t just working in the box office at Lobero Theatre, but also providing hotel and dinner suggestions to visitors.

“We’re really good at that,” Titus said. “We do little things like we give directions to people. We’re helpers.”

Hotel employees noted they do a lot of the same things.

“You are the Santa Barbara brand,” Dietmeyer said. “You’re not just the person who sells the tickets. You’re recommending the next place.”

A lesson in geography, nightlife, family-friendly events and public transportation followed, including a crash course in the local shopping, food and libations scene.

Living artwork — the Chromatic Gate rainbow sculpture and assorted murals — was also highlighted, along with where to get the best panoramic views of the coastline (the top of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and La Cumbre Peak were recommended).

Most of the program's facts focused on the South Coast, with brief mention of the Santa Ynez Valley and no note of North County destinations. 

There were 6.1 million visitors to the Santa Barbara County South Coast last year, according to Visit Santa Barbara. 

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

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David Sirota: A Pension Jackpot for Wall Street — at Taxpayers’ Expense

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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Most consumers understand that when you pay an above-market premium, you shouldn't expect to get a below-average product. Why, then, is this principle often ignored when it comes to managing billions of dollars in public pension systems?

This is one of the most significant questions facing states and cities as they struggle to meet their contractual obligations to public employees. In recent years, public officials have shifted more of those workers' pension money into private equity, hedge funds, venture capital and other so-called "alternative investments." In all, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators reports that roughly a quarter of all pension funds are now in these "alternative investments" — a tripling in just 12 years.

Those investments are managed by private financial firms, which charge special fees that pension systems do not pay when they invest in stock index funds and bonds. The idea is that paying those fees — which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year — will be worth it, because the alternative investments will supposedly deliver higher returns than low-fee stock index funds like the S&P 500.

Unfortunately, while these alternative investments have delivered a fee jackpot to Wall Street firms, they have often delivered poor returns, meaning the public is paying a premium for a subpar product.

In New Jersey, for example, the state's alternative investment portfolio has trailed the stock market in seven out of the last eight years, while costing taxpayers almost $400 million a year in fees. Had the state followed the advice of investors like Warren Buffett and instead invested its alternative portfolio in a low-fee S&P 500 index fund, New Jersey would have had more than $5 billion more in its pension fund. In all, as New Jersey plowed more pension money into alternatives, its pension returns have routinely trailed median returns for all public pension systems.

It is the same story in other states that have been increasing their alternative investments.

In Rhode Island, Democratic State Treasurer Gina Raimondo's shift of pension money into alternatives has coincided with the pension system trailing median returns. Had the state generated median returns, it would have had $372 million more in its pension system.

Likewise, a Maryland Public Policy Institute study shows that returns from that state's $40 billion pension system have trailed the median for the last decade. Had the state met the median, it would have $3.2 billion more in its pension system — an amount the study's authors note is enough to "award 80,000 poor children with $40,000 four-year college scholarships."

It is a similar tale in North Carolina, Kentucky and many other locales. In short, public officials are spending more and more pension money on high-fee alternative investments, and those investments are generating worse returns than other low-fee investment vehicles.

That brings back the original question: Why are pension funds pursuing such an investment strategy? Some of the answer may have to do with the same psychology that encourages the gambler to try to big-bet his way out of deficits. But it also may have to do with campaign contributions. After all, many of the politicians who have been pushing the alternative investments just so happen to benefit from Wall Street's campaign contributions.

That spotlights a pernicious dynamic that may be at work: The more public money that goes into alternative investments, the more fees alternative investment firms generate, the more campaign contributions are made by those firms, and thus the more money politicians devote to alternative investments, even as those investments deliver poor results for pensioners. It is a vicious cycle whereby the financial industry wins and taxpayers, once again, lose.

David Sirota is a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @davidsirota, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Santa Barbara Reaches Deal with TAP Employees After Months-Long Impasse

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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After more than nine months without a new contract, the City of Santa Barbara has come to terms on a new deal with its Treatment and Patrol bargaining unit.

The city and the Treatment and Patrol employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 620, agreed on Thursday to a three-year, nine-month labor agreement with the 120 employees in the TAP unit.

The city and the workers hit an impasse in May and met unsuccessfully with a state-appointed mediator in July. The previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2013.

The treatment and patrol unit consists of 10 armed peace officers who patrol the city’s harbor and waterfront, 89 employees in the city’s water and wastewater departments, and 21 other types of patrol officers who work at the Santa Barbara Airport and city parks.

Harbor Patrol officers will receive an 11.5 percent salary increase over the the life of the contract, said Kristy Schmidt, administrative services director for the city.

The employees will start paying 9 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. The employees had been paying 3 percent, while the city was paying the other 6 percent on behalf of the employees in addition to the employer contribution the city already paid. 

"These contributions were covered by the city for many years, but escalating mandatory CalPERS employer contributions made that unsustainable," Schmidt said. 

The deal brings the Harbor Patrol officers in line with the rest of the city's public safety officers.

The union membership must still vote to ratify the deal and the City Council needs to vote on the final contract at a public meeting.

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

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Mark James Miller: Cyber-Plagiarism Not as Foolproof as Students May Think

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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“Isn’t it funny,” the student’s essay began, “how life itself is not just a fight for survival, but more a fight for mastery? Some people are satisfied with just survival, but others ...”

I had assigned my freshman composition class at Allan Hancock College the task of writing a critical analysis of Jack London’s novel, The Call of the Wild. This particular essay, which focused on the theme of the survival of the fittest, was average in quality, rating only a C. I graded it and set it aside, not knowing the far-reaching implications it was going to have.

I had graded another 10 or 15 essays and was getting near the end of the pile when I came upon one that began, “Isn’t it funny how life itself is not just a fight for survival, but more a fight for mastery ...” Nonplussed, I thumbed back through the papers I had already graded. Soon I realized I had two identical essays, every word the same, except for the student’s name in the upper left-hand corner.

What had happened? Had one student copied from the other, line by line? That seemed unlikely. Then another thought struck me. I typed the first sentence into Google. Less than a second later I was looking at the very same essay at a website that advertises college papers for sale. Two of my students, unbeknown to one another, had purchased the same mediocre essay on The Call of the Wild for $19.95, then turned it in as their own work.

This was my introduction to the brave new world of cyber-plagiarism, the buying and selling of essays from the thousands of sites that offer compositions for sale on every conceivable subject, from anthropology to zoology, available to anyone with Internet access and a credit card. But the price these two students paid was much higher than the money they wasted on the essay. They failed this assignment and ultimately, the class, for now my suspicions were aroused and I subjected the essays they had previously turned in to the same scrutiny I had just given The Call of the Wild. It was no surprise to learn they had purchased other essays as well.

There is nothing new about cheating in college. Yale University Dean Clarence W. Mendell declared in 1931 that cheating was widespread on the New Haven campus. In a 1964 survey, 75 percent of college students admitted to cheating, and a similar percentage was found in 2011. In 1994 the U.S. Naval Academy was rocked by a cheating scandal involving a purloined electrical engineering exam being passed around campus; 24 midshipmen were expelled and 62 others disciplined. In 2007, 34 Duke University MBA students were expelled or disciplined for cheating on an exam. In 2013 70 students were expelled from Harvard University for cheating in a government class.

But the Internet opens up a new universe of opportunities for students to turn in work that is not their own. When I entered the words “College papers for sale online” on Google I got more than 104 million responses!

With titles like “College Essay Writing Help,” “Buy Essays Cheap,” “Same Day Essay.com,” “Essays R Easy,” these sites encourage students to use their services with promises of good grades, money-back guarantees, and making their lives easier by letting someone else do their work for them. A tagline at one site reads: “Easy to choose — Easy to use — Easy to get an A.”

“You are not in college to just write an essay,” says another. “We know there are other things that require your attention.”

These sites also attempt to assuage any pangs of conscience students might have for such blatant dishonesty with comments of this kind: “Prayers won’t help. Essay Writers will!” Another states: “With the constantly rising standards of paper writing, it becomes more and more difficult to cope with your writing tasks. Let us help!”

The students are also assured they will get away with their cheating. “Our online essay writing company supports 100 percent confidentiality ... By no means will your professor get to know that you are our customer.”

Prices typically start at around $10 per page, although they rise very quickly. At one site a “standard-quality” essay starts at $21.99 per page when 10 days’ notice is given. From there, the price soars to $26.99 for each page of a “platinum-quality” essay, and skyrockets to $48.99 when an essay is needed within three hours.

These sites offer more than just freshman composition papers. Essays are tailored to very specific needs. A first-year, college-level composition on “The Massacre at Wounded Knee,” five pages in length, can be gotten in seven days for $45. Another, on “Women in Business,” at a fourth-year college level, costs $27 if ordered in advance. If none of the papers advertised are what the students are seeking, this site advises them: “If you do not have enough information to complete an essay or dissertation, send us the basic guidelines and we will do the rest.” Another promises, “Just name the subject and the topic, state the number of pages and references, add the details from your task, and you’ll have yourself a masterpiece of academic paper in no time.”

What can be done? Since my baptism into cyber-plagiarism with The Call of the Wild, I have started each semester by including a demonstration on plagiarism in the very first lesson. I show the students how easy it can be to determine if someone has plagiarized an essay, and emphasize how stiff the penalties for it are. But more important, students need to know that writing an essay is not an impossible task. Writing is a skill that can be learned with hard work and study. As a student of mine once said, “Even though those essays gave me headaches, I actually learned how to love this.”

Every student is not going to love writing. But they can be taught how to write, and shown that writing a good essay is not as difficult as they may imagine. Nothing beyond except effort, concentration — and a good-sized dose of honesty — is required.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Are Obama, Kerry and U.N. Living on Planet Mars?

By | Published on 09/26/2014

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Radical Islam, not climate change, is the No. 1 threat facing the world.

There has been a cooling trend for 10 years, and now there has been a beheading in the heartland of America.

What planet do President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and members of the United Nations live on? Mars?

Don Thorn
Carpinteria

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