Santa Ynez Valley Star • May 21 - June 3, 2024

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MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024

Solvang greets the return of the Rancheros Visitadores

Father-son 'charros' Tomas and Luis Garcilazo put on a show for the riders with their roping artistry

An event that has been interrupted way too often in recent years was back on in Solvang on May 4, as the Rancheros Visitadores riders made their way through town. It was event that was not only a re-creation of an old tradition, but a major fundraiser for the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara.

In all, an estimated 750 cowboys from 37 states and six countries came up from Santa Barbara — either on horseback or in horse-drawn wagons — and paraded up Alisal Road past a throng of spectators lining the street and waving American flags given out before their arrival. It was a welcome sight for those who enjoy the annual ride, because the event hasn't been all that "annual" lately; in fact, it's only happened once in Solvang in the previous four years. The ride was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID pandemic. The ride made a triumphant return in 2022, but last

year it had to bypass Solvang because of the heavy storms in early 2023 that impacted that route from Santa Barbara. Solvang dentist Dr. Ken Nash


Sports | Pg. 10 Santa Ynez boys golf repeats as CIF Central Section Division II champions

News Briefs Pg. 2

• Ceremony to cap weekend of events for Memorial Day

Pg. 3

• Solvang City Council, city attorney discuss JPA negotiations for groundwater management

Opinion Pg. 8

• Who should pay for the Los Olivos Sewer Project? The six-year saga continues

Sports Pg. 12

• Runners enjoy scenic course, postrace sips in annual Wine Country Half Marathon

Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . Pg. 13

• Flamenco dancer and Solvang resident Georgey Taupin chosen as 'Spirit of Fiesta'

Education Pg. 14

• Buellton resident named Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year

Community . . . .

. . . . Pg. 15

• The Fourth is with the Buellton Brew Fest in 2024

Food & Drink Pg. 21

• Alisal Ranch announces chef lineup for summer cookout series

Calendar Pg. 23

• Government meetings and events

Making Communities Better Through Print.™ SANTAYNEZVALLEYSTAR.COM
News . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The father-and-son charro duo of Tomas and Louis Garcilazo put on quite a show May 4 for the Rancheros Visitadores at Mission Santa Ines. Photo by Mike Chaldu



Ceremony to cap weekend of events for Memorial Day

On Monday, May 27, VFW Post 7139 will conduct a hallowed VFW Memorial Day Ceremony at 12 p.m. in the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall. The ceremony will honor all veterans and their families, and will include The Santa Ynez Valley Chorale, Vandenberg Space Force Base and VFW Post speakers, Boy Scouts, and Flat Fender Club vintage military vehicles. A free barbecue luncheon hosted by the Vikings will follow the program in the American Legion Wing.

The Memorial Day remembrance includes a 233-year span in some 60 military actions that claimed 1.4 million lives. Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. America’s collective consciousness demands that all citizens be aware of, and recall on special occasions the deaths of their fellow countrymen during and after wartime. All Valley veterans, residents, and their families are invited to come and join in these solemn events.

The ceremony will wrap up a number of events for Memorial Day Weekend as we remember and honor all servicemen and servicewomen who gave their lives to protect us, our freedom, and way of life during all wars from the Civil War to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

On Saturday, May 25, The American Legion Post 160 and VFW Post 7139 will place American flags on veterans’ graves at Mission Santa Ines, Chalk Hill, Oak Hill, and St. Mark's Cemeteries. At Oak Hill, over 900 veteran graves will be decorated starting at 9 a.m. The public is invited to view or assist this solemn observance and take down the memorials on

Monday, May 27, at 3 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, VFW Post 7139 members will hand out red buddy poppies at the front of Albertson's in Buellton from 1 to 3 p.m. The red poppies were first distributed after World War I to honor the servicemen and servicewomen who perished in that war.

On Memorial Day, May 27, American Legion Post 160 will conduct short ceremonies at local cemeteries: 10 a.m. in Chalk Hill, 10:30 a.m. in Mission Santa Ines, 11 a.m. in Oak Hill, and 11:30 a.m. in St. Mark's. For more information, contact Alvin Salge, VFW Post 7139 Commander at or (805) 245-1763.

Solvang resident graduates from Biola University

Christiana Heron of Solvang graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, earlier this month. Heron is one of 1,118 students who walked the stage and commemorated their journey as Eagles at Biola's spring commencement. A total of 800 undergraduate and 318 graduate students moved from Biola into their next chapter on May 3 and 4.

Biola is proud of Heron and their commitment to reaching their goal of obtaining an undergraduate degree in communication studies.

Heron is part of the generation of students who may not have had a high school graduation due to pandemic cancellations, so Biola made the experience extra special, with social media mogul, "magical" filmmaker, and Biola alumnus Zach King ('12) delivering the keynote address with several interactive surprises for graduates to experience during the ceremonies. Prior to finals week, students had a chance to attend Biola's Grad Fair, a cele -

bration with various booths they could visit to help prepare them for life after graduation, including a station where students could make a tassel with their high school colors to honor the school from which they may not have been able to walk in a ceremony.

Founded in 1908, Biola is committed to the mission of biblically centered education, scholarship and service–equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. With more than 5,000 students at its Southern California campus and around the world, Biola's eight schools offer more than 250 academic programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Recognized as the most comprehensive Christian university, ranked highest in North America for operationalizing its mission (OCIG) and ranked as one of the "Best National Universities" by U.S. News and World Report, Biola offers its students a premier educational and co-curricular experience. For more information, visit biola. edu or call (562) 777-4061.

California Nature Art Museum seeks input through online survey

The California Nature Art Museum (formerly the Wildling Museum) invites the public to take an online survey to help museum staff plan for later this year and into 2025. "We want your feedback and hope you will take 3-5 minutes out of your busy day and fill out this survey," said Executive Director Stacey Otte-Damangate. "We want to know if you enjoy our exhibitions and family activities in the galleries. We are working on plans for later this year and 2025 and your input will help to guide us.

Go to SNSLPS9?blm_aid=265025537 to take this short (but informative) survey.

The California Nature Art Museum is lo -

cated at 1511-B Mission Drive in Solvang. To learn more, go to


Santa Ynez Valley to celebrate Juneteenth with Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball & Art Show

Prepare for an enchanting evening as the Santa Ynez Valley proudly presents its fifth annual Juneteenth celebration. Themed "Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball & Art Show," this event, organized by Juneteenth SYV, promises to be a spectacular affair, welcoming attendees of all backgrounds to join in the festivities and celebrate the multifaceted tapestry of American history and culture.

Set to take place on Friday, June 7, at the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum & Carriage House, the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball & Art Show invites guests to immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Juneteenth against the backdrop of the valley’s charm. From captivating 360 photo opportunities to thrilling blackjack casino tables, the evening will be brimming with entertainment.

Princess Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" will preside over the festivities, ensuring a night filled with live music, dance, and mesmerizing aerial performances reminiscent of the lively streets of New Orleans. Adding a unique flair, Loving Colors Photography will offer metaphysical Aura photos, and the museum exhibits will be open for viewing throughout the evening.

Art aficionados will have the pleasure of admiring the works of esteemed artist Martial Yapo while indulging in a delectable Creole menu prepared by High on the Hog Catering. From chicken and waffles to shrimp po'boys and red beans & rice, culinary delights will

2 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
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Assistant City Attorney discusses groundwater basin JPA negotiations with Solvang City Council Councilmembers voice

concerns about proposed agricultural representative, payment of seed money

In its regular meeting on Monday, May 13, the Solvang City Council discussed the progress of negotiations of a possible Joint Powers Agreement to to govern the Eastern Management Area (“EMA”) of the Santa Ynez Valley groundwater basin as that basin’s Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

The EMA includes Solvang, Santa Ynez, Ballard, and Los Olivos within its border, which stretches south past Cachuma Lake.

According to the staff report presented by Assistant City Attorney Dave Fleishman, the city staff has been engaged in discussions over the past two years with the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District-Improvement District #1 (ID1), the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District (SYRWCD) and the Santa Barbara County Water Agency (SBCWA), in an attempt to negotiate a JPA. These negotiations were last discussed by City Council at the March 27 meeting.

Fleishman said the reason the four sides are interested in this new JPA is to limit liability for each of the agencies, and it would give it the power to impose pump charges or regulatory measures on its own without having the single entities do it.

Fleishman said the various parties met May 1 and went through the latest draft of the JPA. Two sticking points remain, according to the attorney:

Group, a separate group that's not a public agency, has strongly advocated for a fifth board member to serve as a representative of agricultural interests in the groundwater basin. The City Council has conveyed to Fleischman and City Manager Randy Murphy that it considers that unnecessary at this time. Fleishman said the current JPA draft still contains language regarding appointment of a fifth director, and the other parties probably won't be willing to remove that language, although the appointment of that fifth director is subject to unanimous approval of the four public agencies.

Councilmember Robert Clarke brought up the possibility of the SYRWCD not agreeing to contribute to start-up costs. "Is it going to 4-for-4 on the seed money or 3-for-4," Clarke asked. "I wouldn't want to enter into it if the Conservation District didn't fund it as well. "

Fleishman said there are a few options, including not going forward with the JPA, or the remaining members putting their money in, although the party that didn't pay would still have a voice.

and who it might be.

"Are we talking produce growers? Are we talking vineyards? Are we talking cannabis growers?" she asked.

Fleishman said the list of agricultural producers supplied by the SYWG seemed to lean toward vintners, and he also said that the presence of just advisory members had been discussed, but it was a couple of the SYRWCD board members that pushed for a full agricultural member.

Mayor Mark Infanti brought up the JPA's role in pump charges and how they would measured in that not all water users have pumps on their properties.

"The EMA has no way of measuring for a pump charge [for those without meters]" Infanti said. "If you're not getting pump charges for everybody, then you're getting a disproportionate amount for the ones who do get charged. Can that even be legal."

Fleishman answered that it depends on how much power the JPA would assume on pump charges, and the whole idea of the JPA would be to protect the groundwater as a whole.

Councilmember Claudia Orona asked about the involvement of the Santa Ynez Water Group, wondering if they or the Conservation District, if they don't contribute seed money, could stay on as just advisory members. From there, she inquired about the proposed ag member to be part of the group,

At the end of the item, it was understood by Fleishman that the city's position was to continue that opposition to the addition of an agricultural representative at least the start of the JPA, though it might be acceptable after the JPA becomes more established. Fleishman said they would also hold the position of offering an entity an advisory role in the group in the absence of a contribution.

The next City Council meeting will at 6:30 on Tuesday, May 28, moved ahead a day because of the Memorial Day holiday.

The SYRWCD and the Santa Ynez Water

• The May 1 meeting also involved discussions over the start-up funding for the JPA. The initial seed money amount is left as a blank at present in Section 14.2 of the agreement, but the discussions ranged from $100,000 to $250,000 from each agency. However, no final agreement exists as to the contribution from each agency. On the subject of the seed money, City

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Solvang Assistant City Attorney Dave Fleishman updates the City Council on the city's negotiations for a JPA to manage the Santa Ynez groundwater basin. Screenshot from YouTube

tantalize taste buds. Enhancing the festivities, an open bar sponsored by Artiste Winery will offer a selection of libations. Please note, this event is exclusively for guests aged 21 and over.

Event information and ticket sales may be found at, with VIP early bird pricing of $99-$139. Guests are encouraged to buy tickets early, and to embrace the festive spirit by adorning themselves in their finest masquerade masks and Mardi Gras attire.

The Asher Market, a clothing and home goods boutique, has changed locations in Santa Ynez, and now can be found at 3551 Sagunto St. Contributed Photo

Asher Market moves to new location in Santa Ynez

Clothing and home goods boutique Asher Market has moved from 1090 Edison St. to 3551 Sagunto St. in downtown Santa Ynez. The new location, adjacent to Brass Track, will feature the same children’s clothing, casual adult wear, accessories and home décor as the prior Asher Market location on Edison.

“Downtown Santa Ynez is a gem and we are happy to continue serving the valley community and visitors with our unique handmade items, mere steps from our first location here,” said owner Ashley Hayes.

Hayes’ new space is located between Brass Tack and Luna Boutique. This marks three outposts for Asher Market, which has a Santa Barbara flagship at 535 State Street and a newly opened location in Fort Worth, Texas (the brand’s first out-of-state shop).

Hayes designs all her clothing and travels to Peru twice a year to personally choose and source the finest fabrics. She focuses on using remnant fabrics and produces small batch collections, helping to reduce waste, conserve resources and do her part to lessen the fashion industry’s environmental footprint. Her adult wear and dedicated children’s line, Asher Baby,

are made with the softest, highest quality fabrics. Meant to be “worn, washed and handed down without fading or pilling,” most styles are made with 100 percent Peruvian cotton. Hayes’ bestsellers include gender-neutral prints for babies and children, like her signature Math Print, and “Match the Family” sets (a popular choice for holidays, special occasions and family photos).

Asher Market Santa Ynez is located at 3551 Sagunto St. in Santa Ynez. Days of operation/ hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Fish Derby raises over $36,000 for Cachuma's Neal Taylor Nature Center in April.

The 27th annual Cachuma Lake Fish Derby, held on April 20 and 21, raised over $36,000 for the Neal Taylor Nature Center, located at Cachuma Lake.

The Derby began on April 20 at 6 a.m. and ended at 12 p.m. on April 21. A total of 565 contestants of all ages fished Cachuma Lake during the tournament hours and were also able to fish from shore at any time during the Derby, including Saturday night. Nature Center volunteer, retired Battalion Chief Mike Marlow, fired the flare off at 6 a.m. at the harbor to start the Derby on Saturday.

This year’s event was attended by anglers of all ages with 565 registered to fish in the Derby and many others along for a glorious weekend of perfect weather for camping and fun at Cachuma Lake & the Nature Center.

The weekend weather started out with perfect weather on Saturday with the lake draped in fog until the sun broke through on Sunday! Best of all lots of fish were caught in all categories, making for happy anglers of all ages.

The Fish Derby is a benefit fundraiser for the Neal Taylor Nature Center which is located at Cachuma Lake and offers programs and exhibits on the Santa Ynez River Watershed.

Sixty-one volunteers planned and operated the derby, raffle and children’s activities, bringing in over $36,000 through sponsorship, donations, and registrations with an additional $10,000-plus in merchandise donations for door prizes and raffle prizes.

Donations sought for SYHS's Safe & Sober Grad Nite

For more than 25 years the parents of the Santa Ynez High School senior class, with the help of the community at large, have thrown an all-night extravaganza for the graduates on their graduation night.

The 2024 SYHS Safe & Sober Grad Nite Committee, The Santa Ynez Pirate PTO, and the senior class parents aim to make this year’s Safe and Sober Grad Nite a celebration for them to remember, and are seeking donations from the community to reach that goal!

The Safe and Sober Grad Nite Party has always included age-appropriate entertainment including a DJ, games, hypnotists, tattoo artists, music, dancing, food, and drink specifically designed to attract ALL the graduating class. This year’s event will take it to a new level with the courtyard filled with carnival-style rides, dancing /DJ, games, and food and beverage offerings.

To make this event a reality, the Grad Nite Committee needs your help with funding. Your monetary assistance helps pay for entertainment, food, and decorations but most importantly, scholarships to any student who needs help in attending, as our goal is to get 100 percent attendance. Without the generosity of our community partners, this event would not have been successful year after year.

For more information, contact Shannon Hazard, SYHS Safe & Sober Grad Nite Chair, at (805) 886-1955 or go to www.syhsgradnite. com.

Company announces 2024 'Heritage Farmland and Flavors of Santa Ynez Valley' tours

Partnering with farms, ranches and wineries, Heritage Farmland Touring Co. is introducing tours that offer a taste of the rich agricultural heritage of the Santa Ynez Valley.

The first tour will be Friday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting from Saarloos Family Park, 2993 Grand Ave. in Los Olivos. Stops include the Ballard Walnut Grove, Zaca Creek Ranch in Buellton, and Zaca Mesa Winery in Los Olivos before returning to the park.

Those interested are asked to RSVP by June 7 to Mary Maranville, owner of Heritage Farmland Tours:

Tour participants learn about the abundant history of farmland and agriculture in Santa Ynez Valley and sample wines in a breathtaking setting. The tours include lunch, wine tasting, and transportation.

“The Santa Ynez Valley is one of the most beautiful, tranquil settings in all of Central and Southern California,” said Maranville, owner of Heritage Farmland Touring Company, “Harvesting from the bounty of the land and sea, farming and raising livestock have been part of the valley for thousands of years beginning with the native Chumash. The first vineyards were planted in 1973 and the valley has become known for its elegant wines.”

Maranville is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), which helps young students understand the origins of their food through education programs and farm tours. The long-term goal of Heritage Farmland Touring Co. is farmland preservation.

Part of the proceeds from the tour will benefit SEEAG's youth education programs.

For more about the “Heritage Farmland and Flavors of Santa Ynez Valley” tours and to secure a spot, visit Tours take place on weekends and are held in Spring, Summer and Autumn, with a maximum of 10 participants per tour.

For specific questions about the tour, email or call/text (805) 746-0606.


County releases draft Zero Emission Vehicle Plan for public comment

The County of Santa Barbara’s Sustainability Division is pleased to release the draft Zero-Emission Vehicle Plan (ZEV Plan) for public comment available to view online at The ZEV Plan aims to accelerate the adoption and utilization of zero-emission vehicles and reduce transportation-related emissions through a mix of policy, infrastructure, program and outreach actions.

The ZEV Plan goes beyond passenger vehicles and also considers the needs of commercial and transit vehicles, and mobility programs and devices, like carshare and electric bikes.

“This plan will create a road map for the County to reduce congestion, enhance mobility, and promote sustainability,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Steve Lavagnino.

The Sustainability Division will host two public virtual workshops to provide an overview of the plan and provide the community with an opportunity to provide comments. The public comment period will be open for 45 days from May 9 to July 7.

Virtual Workshops

Wednesday May 22 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Meeting Link #1: 6 to 7 p.m.

Meeting Link #2: us02web.zoom. us/j/81404363169

Spanish interpretation will be available at the workshops.

Registration and information for all events can be found at ca-santabarbaracounty.

4 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024

Carbajal co-authors bill to reduce law enforcement staffing shortages, strengthen vetting of recruits

24th District representative and Nebraska Republican introduce bipartisan legislation Staff Report

WASHINGTON – Congressman Salud Carbajal (California-24th) and Congressman Don Bacon (Nebraska-2nd) were joined by members of the nation’s top law enforcement groups to mark National Police Week and highlight their introduction of bipartisan legislation aimed at helping local police departments mitigate staffing shortages.

The Filling Public Safety Vacancies Act provides an emergency boost to the federal grant program that provides funding to departments for the purposes of recruitment and hiring.

With an infusion of an additional $162 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, the bill would double the amount of federal grant funding available for local departments this fiscal year.

The bipartisan bill also establishes a new vetting requirement for officers hired using the supplemental funding provided in the bill, creating the first-ever statutory requirement for background checks and mental health evaluations. Currently, federal law does not require agencies to perform background checks on new recruits through the COPS Hiring Program.

The text of the Filling Public Safety Vacancies Act can be found at uploadedfiles/carbaj_057_xml.pdf. Video of the event can be found on YouTube at www.

“Law enforcement officials keep our families, neighborhoods, and communities safe. While our departments are stepping up to combat crime, gun violence, the opioid epidemic, and natural disasters, they should not have to worry about not having the resources they need to recruit, vet, and hire the officers they need on the beat,” Carbajal said. “Recent years have brought shortfalls in staffing at departments across the country and in my home on the Central Coast. The Filling Public Safety Vacancies Act is a bipartisan recognition that our departments need more help from the federal government after years of declining hiring and staff shortages.”

Bacon also praised the legislation.

“I am happy to co-lead the Filling Pub-

lic Safety Vacancies Act with my colleague Rep. Carbajal," Bacon said. “This legislation will fund and assist with hiring law enforcement officers under the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Our law enforcement officers are vital to the safety and security of our communities, we must support them as they continue to do their duties and protect us all.”

The bill has the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, Major County Sheriffs of America, California Police Chiefs Association, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), California’s largest law enforcement organization.

“I applaud Congressman Carbajal for introducing the Filling Public Safety Vacancies Act,” said Major County Sheriffs of America President and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. “This legislation comes at a critical time when many county and city budgets across our nation are constrained, and when law enforcement agencies continue to struggle in recruiting sufficient numbers of men and women to fill their ranks. Not only will this legislation infuse additional grant funding into the COPS Hiring Program, but it will also require those

hired as a result of it to be properly screened and qualified in order to protect and serve others in communities across the country.”

Other law enforcement figures voiced their support.

“Policing staff shortages are a nationwide problem and law enforcement agencies are struggling to retain good veteran officers and to find the best and brightest candidates to protect their communities,” said Patrick Yoes, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police. This legislation provides a needed one-time boost of $162 million for the hiring program administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The additional funds can be used to hire or rehire law enforcement officers as well as pay for the required background checks and psychological examinations.

We are grateful to have Representatives Carbajal and Bacon lead this important effort.”

“As someone who has served on the frontlines for two decades, I've witnessed firsthand the strain that staffing shortages place on our communities and departments — which is why it is so important that we invest in additional resources to fill key law enforcement vacancies,” said Jared Wilson, President of the San

Diego Police Officers Association and Board Member of the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC). “The Filling Public Safety Vacancies Act is a lifeline for agencies. By providing much-needed funding for recruitment efforts, we can work towards ensuring that those who join the police force are well-suited for the role, ultimately continuing to build the trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve. PORAC is proud to support this bill, and sincerely thanks Congressman Carbajal for his leadership in addressing law enforcement staffing shortages and fostering a safer environment for all.”

The bipartisan bill has a Senate companion led by Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

According to a 2023 Department of Justice report, local police departments reported a 50 percent rise in resignations and a 20 percent rise in retirements in 2022 compared to 2019. California saw a similar trend, with more than 3,500 officers and 1,000 civilian staff leaving police departments between 2020 and 2022 — bringing the number of patrol officers per capita to its lowest level in California since 1994.

6 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
Congressman Salud Carbajal (right) and Major County Sheriffs of America President/Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown are shown in front of the U.S. Capitol on May 16 after Carbajal helped introduce a bipartisan bill to mitigate law enforcement staffing shortages. Contributed Photo

Change in California’s minimum wage laws for fast food workers drives up food prices

North County may increase wages for all restaurant workers over time, and ... the robots are coming

NORTH COUNTY — As of April 1, California implemented a new law mandating that fast-food restaurants with 60 or more locations nationwide pay their employees $20 per hour. This surpasses the previous state minimum wage of $16 per hour. This pioneering legislation marks the first of its kind in the nation.

Affected establishments include a range of local fast food chains, including In-NOut Burger, Carl’s Jr., The Habit, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Subway, and Starbucks.

In Atascadero, an In-N-Out Burger manager told Paso Robles Press/Atascadero News that they are not affected because they have always paid above minimum wage.

However, as astute readers might anticipate, how are these fast-food establishments adapting their business models to accommodate the increased labor costs? Surprisingly, they haven’t trimmed down their CEOs’ exorbitant compensation packages. Instead, they’re passing on the expense hikes to consumers. Many might argue, “That’s just how business operates; it’s fair game.”

According to a statewide study conducted by Kalinowski Equity Research, Chipotle has raised prices by 7.5 percent to fund the new wage costs, as predicted in a February earnings call, when Chipotle CEO Jack Hartung told investors, “To cover the cost of the wage increase, we would need to take a mid-single-digit price increase in California.”

However, most McDonald’s franchises have

not increased their prices — at least not yet.

As for Starbucks, a manager speaking on condition of anonymity stated that the company has increased prices due to the minimum wage increase and other increases in food costs, but that — interestingly — the company’s rate of increases depended on what region in California a franchise is located in.

Taking the analysis regarding the impact of the new law yet further, according to an article by Jack Kelly in Forbes titled, “California’s New Minimum Wage Law will bring higher pay to fast-food workers, along with unintended job losses,” although the bump in pay is intended to help improve the standard of living for more than a half-million fast food workers in California, “there may be unintended consequences that could do more harm to those employees, including restaurant closures, job cuts, reduced hours, and increased deployment of automation to bring down expenses.”

In anticipation of the April 1 mandate, affected California restaurant employers started both slashing jobs and reducing employees’ hours, especially pizzerias, according to the Wall Street Journal, which also noted that oth-

er establishments reduced or entirely deleted their employees who delivered food, opting instead to use delivery services, which is another way to pass the buck on to the consumer.

“Nasdaq reports that California businesses are expected to increase their prices at an anticipated rate of about 10 percent,” The Forbes article stated. “If higher prices deter customers from eating at these establishments, that could lead to additional closures and job losses.”

Of course, savvy consumers also should be on the lookout for “shrinkflation,” which is the practice by companies of reducing the size or quantity of a product while keeping the same price, another strategy used in the food industry to cut costs.

However, all of these analyses must be addressed in the context of our ever-burgeoning automation and use of artificial intelligence in the restaurant sector.

The robots are coming

The increase in minimum wage in the fast food sector in California may incentivize companies to hasten their automation efforts, many economists and market strategists opine.

Companies have already started to implement software to automate kitchen operations, the Forbes article reported, adding that Robotics integrator RobotLAB launched a franchising program last year to help businesses implement robotics solutions into their operations.

Chipotle has been working with Vebu Labs, based in El Segundo, on a robot that aids in the preparation of avocados, called the Autocado. It is also testing a chip-making robot from Miso Robotics, according to a CNBC report.

Kiosks are another way to lower employment-related costs and, according to Restaurant Business, they are expected to become far more common in California.

Whatever strategies are forthcoming in the local restaurant sector to restructure business operations in response to the new minimum wage law, it is important to know that AB 1228 also established a Fast Food Council, which is empowered to make future increases to the minimum wage for fast food restaurant employees and to adopt other minimum standards for fast food restaurants statewide. Undoubtedly, there will be more news to follow in that regard.


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Drilling in on who should pay for the Los Olivos Sewer Project: The six-year saga continues OPINION

The Los Olivos community’s involvement in deciding whether the whole town needs a sewer system is essential.

In 2018, the Los Olivos Community Services District was formed, and five board members were sworn in to address the perceived need to replace aging septic systems on the 390 parcels within the district’s boundaries.

Six years later, many neighbors share concerns over escalating assessment fees and ever-increasing expenditures for professional services, projects, planning, and studies already totaling approximately $1 million in taxpayer money.

There are also concerns that a sewer system will lay the groundwork for unchecked sprawl that will overwhelm our bucolic town.

At the same time, the town’s tiny commercial core clearly needs more restrooms, so prioritizing a plan that will address the aging systems struggling to serve the downtown businesses has obvious advantages.

“The lots in the downtown core, on average, generate more wastewater effluent,” according to the Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services’ Los Olivos Wastewater Management Plan from 2010.

The district’s last proposal, unveiled in early 2022, included construction of a sewage treatment plant.

The proposed site for the sewage plant, located outside the district and complete with effluent ponds and 24-hour outdoor lighting, raised a host of concerns.

Costs for engineering, construction, environmental review, operation and maintenance, and financing for such a large project can conservatively be estimated at well over $100,000 per parcel owner.

While owners would have to pay that cost in the form of increased assessment fees, every parcel owner would also be required to pay upfront and out-of-pocket for their lateral connection to the old-fashioned sewer system.

After repeated neighbor complaints and concerns that such a large and expensive system did not seem warranted, the elected board finally listened, stepped up, and agreed to perform groundwater testing six months ago.

Even before the groundwater monitoring data started to come in, community members were divided about the size of the problem and the size of the solution. Ultimately, the debates come down to “Who should pay?”

Unfortunately, the controversies have sometimes devolved into mistrust, with threatening messages mailed anonymously, neighbors not talking to one another, personal attacks on social media, and a board that views with suspicion offers of donations for a sound system intended to help elderly neighbors hear what is being said during public meetings.

Is there hope for a unified path forward, or is Los Olivos on track to become the next Los Osos? The answer might lie in the results of the groundwater testing.

Fifty years ago, the tiny, historic town of Los Olivos was designated a “Special Problems Area” based on 1974 groundwater monitoring data showing the potential for increasing nitrate levels.

It seems that wells within Los Olivos were not showing levels exceeding the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrates, but the concern was that, because Los Olivos was on septic, it was anticipated that nitrates levels would rise to dangerous levels.

It is important to acknowledge that the presence of high levels of nitrates in groundwater is not just a concern: it is a significant threat to our health and the health of our environment.

The MCL for nitrates in groundwater is 10 mg/l.

Just last month, the results from the CSD’s five new groundwater monitoring wells were presented to the public.

Three of the wells show levels well below the MCL. The other two wells (near the downtown core) reflect nitrates at 11 mg/l: one point above the MCL.

According to the EPA, the MCL for a contaminant is based on the MCLG (maximum contaminant level goal), which is “the maximum level of a contaminant in drinking water at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons would occur, allowing an adequate margin of safety.”

In other words, there are no known or anticipated adverse health effects — none — when nitrates measure at or below 10.

Thus, although this Special Problems Area has two wells with nitrate readings of single point over the MCL, those readings are

far better than had been anticipated, and it seems reasonable that the 11 mg/l readings, while suboptimal, are still near or within the “margin of safety.”

Questions arise with the first of the two wells showing nitrates at 11 mg/l at the very northeastern corner of the district, and the second well with an 11 mg/l located immediately south of that first well and the commercial core.

In fact, the test results have already led many to question whether the groundwater is already contaminated with slightly elevated nitrate levels when it enters Los Olivos from the north, particularly because the nitrate level is substantially lower (4.5 mg/l) when the groundwater is flowing out at the southern end of this tiny district.

The scientific consensus is clear: aging septic systems generally are not the sole or even the primary, source of nitrates in groundwater.

Nitrates enter groundwater from various sources, including septic systems, animal feed lots, agricultural fertilizers, manure, industrial wastewaters, and landfills.

Some community members are beginning to consider whether the path forward might include revisiting whether district residents — those who have already paid several years of CSD assessment fees in support of this undertaking — should now be able to look to other sources to help remediate contamination that may not even generated by residents of the township.

In other words, if sources north of the district are causing the nitrate levels in two of the town’s monitoring wells to exceed the MCL, that could alleviate a lot of the pressure on the owners of the 390 parcels inside the district’s boundaries to solve the problem with a large sewer system and to pay for it all on their own.

The next general meeting of the LOCSD is scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 12 at the Los Olivos Grange Hall, 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave. Please attend and bring your questions and concerns.

For more information go to or the Community Services District site at and bring your questions and concerns to the next LOCSD general meeting at 6 p.m. on June 12.

Michelle de Werd is a resident of Los Olivos

8 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
This map shows results of the recent groundwater testing conducted by the Los Olivos Community Services District. Graphic Courtesy of Michelle de Werd
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Santa Ynez boys golf repeats as CIF Central Section Division II champions

The Santa Ynez High baseball gets berth in Division 4 playoffs, but is eliminated in first round

The Santa Ynez High golf program can lay claim to another CIF championship.

The boys golf team on May 6 competed at the par-72 Lemoore Golf Course for the CIF Central Section Division 2 team championship, and the Pirates placed first out of 15 teams with a score of 413, edging second-place Templeton by one stroke.

Not only does this marks back-to-back CIF Division II titles in 2023 and 2024 for coach Sara Ovadia's boys team, but the SYHS girls team (also coached by Ovadia) won the Division II championship last fall, making this a three-peat for Santa Ynez golf overall.

For the Pirates in Lemoore, sophomore Von Gordon led the team with a 1-over-par 73, and won first place individually with a par on the first playoff hole against Luke Montoya of Mission Prep. Junior Brayden Mlodzik tied for eighth individually with a 79.

Cody Armenta and Marcelo Andrade each shot 83, finishing in a tie for 17th. Ernesto Suarez rounded out the team score with a 95, while Seb Perez finished the day with a 99.

A week later, May 13, four individuals from the Pirates competed at the Central Section Championships at the par-72 Ridgecreek Golf Course in Dinuba. The field today was comprised of the Central Section’s 12 Division I schools vying for that division's team championship, plus 30 individual qualifiers from the Division II, Division III, and Area tournaments held in Lemoore the previous week.

Gordon shot a 75, securing one of the 12 individual qualifying spots into next Wednesday’s SoCal Regional at Los Serranos GC in Chino. He tied for 13th overall. Andrade shot a 79, finishing tied for 31st in the field of 102 players. Mlodzik shot 83,

finishing tied for 52nd, while Cody Armenta shot 88, finishing tied for 84th.

Pirates baseball eliminated in first round of CIF playoffs

The Santa Ynez High baseball team succumbed to a three-run rally by host Taft on May 14, and fell to the Wildcats 3-1 in the first round of the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs.

The Pirates finished the season, their first under head coach Craig Gladstone, with an 11-13 overall record. SYHS was 3-9 in the Sunset League, finishing in fourth place.

The Pirates, who were seeded 15th in the postseason, took a 1-0 lead over the second-seeded Wildcats in the top of the fourth inning when sophomore Diego Pulido drove in senior Jed Silva with the run.

Pitcher Tate Minus, who didn't allow a hit in the first four innings, held Taft at bay until the bottom of the sixth, when the Wildcats had their three-run rally.

For the season, the Pirates had a few standouts: Dallas DeForest led the team in on-base percentage at .541 and RBIs with 22, and was second in batting with a .383 average. He also set a school record May 8 when he was hit by a pitch for the 24th time in his career.

Other team stat leaders in 2024 included Adam Stephens in batting average (.388), Ben Flores in home runs (2), and Bradley Lood in runs (26), hits (27), and stolen bases (19).

On the pitching side, Tate Minus was the top man on the mound for the Pirates. The junior was the only hurler on the team with

multiple wins, going 5-4, and led the Pirates with a 2.91 ERA and 49 strikeouts.

SYHS student-athletes sign with colleges

Three Santa Ynez High School student-athletes will continue their sports, and their studies, at four-year colleges, it was announced at a signing ceremony on the SYHS campus on Monday, May 20. Dallas DeForest, a three-sport star (football, basketball, and baseball) for the Pirates, will play football the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Nassau County, New York. Blake Smith will play football for Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon. And finally, Colin Bowman will play ice hockey for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. A more detailed story will come in the June 4 issue of the Santa Ynez Valley Star.

10 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
The Santa Ynez High boys golf team celebrates its second straight CIF Central Section Division II championship May 6 at Lemoore Golf Course. Contributed Photo
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Runners enjoy scenic course, post-race sips in annual Wine Country Half Marathon in Solvang

Event sees repeat winner on the men's side, completely new top three for the women

There's a well-known saying that's also the title of a classic Rod Stewart tune: "Every Picture Tells a Story."

Well, during the 17th annual Wine Country Half-Marathon on May 11 in Solvang, it seemed like every runner had their own story.

Topping them all on a cool, crisp Saturday morning was Orcutt's Josef Gertner, who finished first for the second consecutive year. The runner, who is a P.E. teacher at Fillmore Elementary School in Lompoc, hit the line at 1:11:18.26, besting his winning time of 1:11:19 in 2023.

"I figured I had to come back and do this again," Gertner said as he cooled down after the race. "I've been getting into more races this year; I've run in the one in Fillmore, and there are others in Ventura and Sacramento I'm planning to enter."

With that, he's been keeping up his training.

"I do my running with some friend through the streets of Orcutt," Gertner said. "It's not quite as hilly as it is in these parts [Santa Ynez Valley], but it prepares me for this."

Finishing in second was John McGrath (1:14:36), of San Francisco, who entered the race for the first time.

"I don't do a lot of this marathon type races — I'm more of a triathlete," he said. "However, my wife and I heard about this race and decided to come down. It's a fantastic course. I especially liked going through Los Olivos; that's great little town."

Coming in third was a runner familiar with this event: Carpenteria's Chris Gregory, who finished in 1:16:29. Gregory won the Half-Marathon in 2022, and placed second behind Gertner last year.

During the race, Gregory was battling more than just the other runners.

"I'm just getting over a sinus infection; I was trying to decide whether to skip the race, but ultimately decided to come and do it again," he said.

Oh, yes, and the race came during a rather busy weekend for Gregory.

Third-place finisher Kolbe Keating (1:29:05.57), who is originally from Philadelphia but now lives in LA, came up for the race with her boyfriend, and was also drawn to running in a bucolic setting.

"It was a beautiful course, but tough too," said Keating. "The hills were really brutal, but the scenery kind of distracted me from that, so I was OK."

Keating said she's definitely going to try and return and run the race again.

"I'm definitely coming back," she said. "I'd really like to get that free wine bottle again."

The Half-Marathon also had a relay category, where one teammate would run half the distance, to Los Olivos, and a partner would go from there to the finish line back in Solvang.

Team MoJo won the relay race with a time of 1:35:25, with teams N&J (1:37.21) and Double D (1:42.09) rounded out the top three.

While many of the runners ran competitively, others ran for the fun of it, or to enjoy the beverages afterward at the wine garden set up in Solvang Park. And then there were the several that jogged through the course carrying signs with a certain time on them; these runners were the "pacers." Two such people were Chantal Cravens and Tanya Buchanan of A Snail's Pace Running Club out of Orange County.

"I'm actually getting married tomorrow [May 5]," Gregory said. "I have to leave pretty soon, becuase I have a couple of errands to run for the wedding."

Meanwhile, on the women's side, the top three ended up being three different runners from last year.

The female winner was Sarah Czuprynski of North Hollywood who finished with a time of 1:24:24.58. Like the other top three female finishers, she was running the Wine Country race for the first time.

"I always wanted to do this one," Czuprysnki said. "I have about 18 races scheduled this year, and this is one of the hardest courses. It is very scenic, though, and I'm glad I had the

chance to run this."

Finishing second was Emily Vincent of La Crescenta, who hit the line at 1:28:55.75. Like many others, Vincent found out about the race through other runners and word-of-mouth.

"I thought it would be great to run a race that's was more out in the country," she said. "It was a great course, and well-marked. And [Solvang] is a great place to go for the weekend."

Vincent also disclosed another lofty goal she's shooting for as a runner.

"I would really like to run a race in all 50 states," she said. "I already had California covered, and there are just a few more left, but I think I'll get there eventually."

"What we do is keep running at a pace that matches what our time will be at the finish line," said Buchanan, pointing to their small signs that read 1:50. "It's not our race; people can check our signs when they see us on the course, and they know how fast they're going. They know we'll hit the finish line at about 1:50.

"We're not running a race; we're helping people who are. It's our gift to them."

Buchanan, of Covina, said A Snail's Pace Running Club was formed in 1979, and has a different mission from other clubs.

"It's not a deal where people necessarily are trying to improve their personal best," she said. "It's just encouraging people to keep doing it, no matter what the pace. Keep going out there and excercise."

With another Wine Country Half-Marathon in the books, plans are already in gear for next year's edition, which is scheduled for March 10, 2025. For more information, go to

12 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
The top three female finishers in the 2024 Wine Country Half-Marathon (from left) Emily Vincent (second place), Sarah Czuprynski (first), and Kolbe Keating (third) pose after finishing the race. Photos by Mike Chaldu The top three finishers in the 2024 Wine Country Half-Marathon (from left) Chris Gregory (third place), Josef Gertner (first), and John McGrath (second) pose for a photo after finishing the race. Gertner was the first to the finish line for the second straight year.


Flamenco dancer and Solvang resident Georgey Taupin chosen as 'Spirit of Fiesta' for Santa Barbara celebration

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Old Spanish Days Fiesta in Santa Barbara

Amonth and a half later, Solvang teenager Georgey Taupin still hasn't grasped the idea that she's the "Spirit of Fiesta," one of the ambassadors for the 100th anniversary celebration of Old Spanish Days Fiesta in Santa Barbara.

“It still feels kind of crazy,” said the 16-year-old Georgey, referring to winning the title. “I was shocked when I heard my name. It was like a blackout moment. One minute I was on stage waiting to hear the results and the next my ears were flooded with cheering and my eyes were filled with a blur of bright lights. La Primavera is the first event of Fiesta that kicks off the season. So, when I’m out there dancing flamenco, being chosen as Spirit of Fiesta will come to life.”

Georgey was chosen Spirit of Fiesta at the audition that was held on April 6 at the historic Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. Twenty-five flamenco dancers vied for the honor of being chosen either Spirit of Fiesta (14 constentants) and Junior Spirit (11). Nine-year-old Alleenah Soriano, a fourth-grader at Roosevelt Elementary School was named Junior Spirit.

Both dancers train with the Zermeño Dance Academy in Santa Barbara. Taupin was previously chosen Junior Spirit in 2018 at the age of 10. She is the first one in her dance studio to win both Junior Spirit and Spirit of Fiesta, which the studio is quite proud of.

The Spirit of Fiesta and the Junior Spirit will be ambassadors throughout the 100th anniversary celebration of Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

“I said to myself, I’m just going to do my best, do what I love, dance on that stage and if it is meant to be, it will happen," Georgey said. "This was the first year I auditioned for Spirit of Fiesta and all of the other participants were incredible dancers.”

Taupin lives in Solvang with her parents Heather and Bernie Taupin and sister Char-

The Spirit of Fiesta tradition started in 1949, naming one dancer as the visual representation of Fiesta and goodwill ambassador to local residents and visitors.

Leading up to Fiesta, Taupin and Soriano will be performing in more than 60 dances and appearances during July and August: at the Stowe House, Sunken Gardens, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, and the Santa Barbara Mission to name a few. Georgey will also lead the Historical Parade on Friday, Aug. 2. The official kickoff is called La Pequeña at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara and that’s the first time both Spirit and Junior Spirit appear in all white dresses. No other dancers are permitted to wear white.

“I am so happy to be representing the Santa Ynez Valley and hope many Valley residents will attend Fiesta,” she said. “I want to thank my grandma for telling my mother I was so loud, for my mom who steered me into taking flamenco lessons and for driving me to Santa Barbara and back every week, my dad and my sister Charley for all their support through the years and for Daniela Zermeño who has been my teacher and role model for as long as I can remember.”

Georgey's mother also had high praise for the teacher.

“I can’t think of a better role model for my daughter than Daniela,” Heather Taupin said. “She is a dynamo. She raises her own children, runs a business, has all the artistic vision for the choreography, designs the costumes, and still dances.”

Georgey admits that flamenco is not a widely accessible style in the U.S.

ley. She is an online sophomore student at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village. She has been dancing at the Zermeño Dance Academy for 11 years.

“When I was about 5½ years old, my grandmother said to my mother, 'She really likes to make a lot of noise, so maybe you should enroll her in a tap-dancing class,'”

Georgey said.

“Because Georgey was homeschooled, I was looking for something different, culturally enriching, for my daughter and I found the Zermeño Dance Academy in Santa

Barbara,” said Heather. “Flamenco clicked off all my boxes. I wanted a creative outlet or activity that was strong and feminine but not overly sexualized.”

Georgey described what it feels like to dance flamenco.

“When I’m dancing it’s a freeing experience,” she said. “I have the freedom to express myself through movement and through history, connecting with the audience. This is the 100th anniversary of Fiesta, so it is very special. It means a lot to me to be Spirit of Fiesta this year, especially.”

“Flamenco will always be a huge part of my life, but where I plan to go to school, hopefully in the south, flamenco will not be available,” she said. “To my knowledge, flamenco lessons are only available in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Santa Barbara County, and in Spain.”

Presently, Georgey teaches her own class of 5- to 6-year-old girls at her studio in Goleta.

Santa Barbara’s beloved Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2024, the Centennial, runs from July 31 to Aug. 4.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit

Georgey Taupin displays her flamenco skills as the new "Spirit of Fiesta" at the first event of Old Spanish Days Fiesta, called "La Primavera," which was held on Saturday, May 11, in Santa Barbara. Georgey, 16, lives in Solvang and is a sophomore online student at Oaks Christian High School. Photo by Fritz Olenberger

Laura Branch named Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year

Science instructor, who lives in Santa Ynez Valley, has taught at Righetti High in Orcutt for 25 years Staff Report

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — Buellton resident Laura Branch, a science teacher at Ernest Righetti High School (ERHS) in Santa Maria for the past 25 years, was announced today as the 2025 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year. The Santa Barbara County Education Office shared the news during the May 9 County Board of Education meeting.

Described by her colleagues as dynamic and engaging, and having the “giddiness” of a firstyear teacher, Branch teaches a variety of science courses, including concurrent physical geology through Allan Hancock College, Career Technical Education (CTE), AP environmental science, and Chemistry of the Earth System. She created and developed the curriculum for Santa Maria Joint Union High School District’s first CTE Environmental Resources pathway. Earlier in her career, she was one of the first teachers in California to develop a stand-alone geology course at the high school level.

During a brief ceremony, Branch — a self-proclaimed “rockhound” and geology buff — was beaming with excitement.

“When I began teaching 25 years ago, my goal was to create positive change in public education within Earth sciences along with teaching students of all abilities," she said. "Over the years, I believe I have done that. To be honored

for my accomplishments is an incredible feeling! This award is really dedicated to my students and all of the people I’ve worked with throughout the years.”

County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido offered Branch her warmest congratulations: “Laura’s energy and enthusiasm, mixed with her expert knowledge and love of geology and Earth sciences, have created an amazing learning environment for her students. On behalf of SBCEO, we congratulate Laura and the entire Righetti High School team on this recognition, and look forward to learning more about — and from — Laura in the coming year.”

Branch said serving as Teacher of the Year provides the unique opportunity to spotlight the work of teachers, through her own unique lens.

“I hope that this year I can share the passion of my craft along with the message of how creating a sense of community within the classroom engages all students,” she said.

Righetti High School Principal Ted Lyon said Branch is “a favorite here at Righetti.”

“She is always up for the challenge and this ‘can do’ attitude transfers to her students," Lyon said. "They know that every day may bring a new experience and this anticipation increases engagement. She makes

science accessible and fun.”

Antonio Garcia, superintendent of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, said Branch “will be a fitting ambassador for her colleagues in our school district and across the county.”

Branch is the second straight educator with ties to the Santa Ynez Valley (living and/or working there) to win County Teacher of the Year. Last year, Gregory Wolf, a social sciences teacher at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School (SYVUHS) won the honor.

Selecting the Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year is a multifaceted process. In the fall, all Santa Barbara County school districts are invited to submit a nomination, and teachers may nominate themselves.

Applicants must have eight full years of classroom teaching experience. The SBCEO Teachers Network and a selection committee conduct an extensive review of all applications and letters of recommendation. Finalists are selected for an interview round where they are asked about their unique instructional practices and philosophy of education. The selection committee also conducts a classroom observation of each finalist at their school site.

Branch, along with other award-winning teachers from Santa Barbara County, will be introduced at SBCEO’s Education Celebration on Thursday, May 23, and officially honored at the annual A Salute to Teachers event to be held in November at the Music Academy of the West.

As the recipient from Santa Barbara County, Branch becomes eligible for the California Teacher of the Year award.


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14 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
2024 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year Laura Branch is shown in her classroom at Righetti High School in Orcutt. Branch, a Buellton resident, has taught science at RHS for the past 25 years. Photo Courtesy of SBCEO


The Fourth is with the Buellton Brew Fest in 2024

Annual event at Riverview Park takes on a 'Star Wars' theme on the movies' unofficial holiday, May 4

Buellton Brew Fest attendee Ofelia Galvan said she needed help from her grandson to get for this year's event.

The Buellton Chamber of Commerces's Spring party fell this year on May 4, which is considered to be Star Wars Day by science fiction fans ("May the 4th be with ...."; get it?), and because of that Executive Director Kathy Vreeland suggested on the event announcement that people dress in Star Wars garb for the occasion.

"I thought it would be fun to tie it in and give it an extra twist," she said. There were also T-shirts made up for staffers and up for sale that had the slogan "May the 4th Be With Brew."

As for Galvan, she had a grandson who is a big "Star Wars" buff, and she was able to borrow a Jedi pilot helmet and custom-made light saber.

"The helmet's kind of old," she said, "but the light-saber is something he had built himself, so I'll make sure it gets back safely."

The backpack made up to look like Yoda? That was from a thrift shop.

So other than the occasional cosplay, the Brew Fest was pretty much like any other, with beer, wine, and other beverage, food from the food trucks on the ground, games, and live entertainment — the Molly Ringwald Project, the '80s tribute band.

Even some of the vendors got into the spirit of things; well sort of.

One of the many booths that sold some beer was a group called the Santa Barbara Brewing Society, and

one of its bartenders, Ricardo Robles, had dressed up as a character not from "Star Wars," but the character Barf (played by John Candy) the "Mawg" (half man, half dog).

"He's my favorite movie character, and we have the same body type, so I figured 'why not?'" Robles said.

Meanwhile, Robles' colleague at the SBBS tent, claimed bragging rights of sorts.

"We had to replace a keg that was

out," said Mark Soler of the club. "I believe we were the first to empty a keg today, so that's something to brag about."

Soler pointed out that his booth is not some business just out selling stuff.

"This is just a bunch of people who just like to get together and celebrate beer," he said. Even the club's Facebook page describes it as "A Homebrew club based

on beer...But welcoming all Fermentables!!!" www.facebook. com/p/Santa-Barbara-BrewingSociety-100065145415169/.

However, there were plenty of traditional breweries like Figueroa Mountain and Firestone Walker as just two examples, ready to display and sell their wares.

"We go to a number of beer and wine fests just to see what the public likes and doesn't like," said Matt

Malone, who was filling up cups and glasses with a number of his brewery's favorites. "I like to put four or five things we offer to see what everyone prefers, and seeing what sells at events like this, helps us figure out what to sell back at our place."

So, whether its eat, drink, and/or be merry, there was plenty to do to entertain the guests, and figure out what to do to make next year's event "be with the brew."

Molly Ringwald Project vocalist Ian (far right) belts out a tune as fellow vocalist Roxy, bassist Rob, and keyboardist Jay play on May 4 at the Buellton Brew Fest. Ray (left) and Ofelia Galvan are shown May 4 at the Buellton Brew Fest at River View Park. Since folks were encouraged to dress in "Star Wars" characters for the Fest, Ofelia said she borrowed the Jedi helmet and custom-made light saber from her grandson. Ricardo Robles, bartender for the Santa Barbara Brewing Society decided to dress up as Barf (the John Candy character) in "Spaceballs." Photo by Mike Chaldu Buellton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathy Vreeland (left) and Rolando Jimenez from En Fuego Events wear clothing with the slogan for this year's Buellton Brew Fest, held on May 4, Star Wars Day.

Kids have a rip-roaring time at Bethania’s Touch a Truck event

Annual display of community vehicles raises $15,000 for Solvang church's Preschool and After School programs

Although the prospect of inclement weather could have deterred some from attending the Touch a Truck fundraiser at Bethania Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 4, it didn’t appear to, as throngs of excited children explored all the different vehicles that were on display in the three parking lots behind the church. From towering construction trucks to sleek safety vehicles, there was something for children and their parents to enjoy.

Children excitedly climbed into the driver’s seat anxious to explore the inside of vehicle after vehicle under the guidance of friendly professionals who spent time explaining to the children the different gadgets.

Periodically, horns honked, sirens screamed, buttons were pushed, and loudspeakers on police vehicles conveyed the voices of delighted children. Families with sensitive ears could attend during the designated “No Horn” hour from 10 to 11 a.m.

Among the vehicles on display was a mini-Caterpillar called a CAT and a very large CAT, along with a mini-Excavator. The Santa Barbara Fire Department displayed its large crane lifted high into the sky. There was a PG&E truck, earth movers, a vehicle from the Lompoc Police Department’s SWAT team, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s patrol cars and a police motorcycle, emergency and rescue vehicles, construction, safety, and farming equipment, the Viking Ship, Dennis Beebe’s 1942 Ford built Jeep, a large yellow school bus, the Solvang Trolley, and a colorfully decorated food truck to name a few.

“The kids have been having the best time, it’s so much fun,” said Rebecca Towpasz, the mother of 1-year-old Niko and 4-year-old Natalie, who were excitedly exploring one of the vehicles. “The workers have been really great too. They have been so wonderful teaching the kids.”

The family-friendly event also featured a range of entertainment including face painting, custom helmet fittings, raffle prizes and concession stands. Disney music filled the air as children played in the playground next to Bernice Dotz’s Dream.

The late Ms. Dotz started Bethania Preschool and was a local champion archer and lover of all things Solvang, including its children. The building is presently the preschool office of Director Lola Gonzalez (Miss Lola).

There was also a wandering Star Wars Stormtrooper played by Chris Eubanks celebrating May 4, unofficially know as Star Wars Day. “May the 4th be with you,” is a common slogan, a play on the pop culture franchise's iconic phrase, “May the force be with you.”

All in all, it was an enjoyable event for the local families.

"We take our grandkids to this event every year, and it keeps getting better,” said Esther Jacobsen Bates. “They loved climbing on the big trucks, sitting in the driver’s seat of police vehicles, and checking out the controls of utility vehicles. Their favorite this year was the ambulance, where they learned about medical tools from an EMT. I always learn something new too!"

Gonzalez, the preschool's director, was pleased at another successful year for the event.

“It was a day filled with hands-on fun and unforgettable memories. We would like to thank all of our sponsors, participants, and community members who came out to support our school,” she said. "We raised over $15,000 dollars and all proceeds benefit Bethania Preschool and After School programs. We are already planning next year’s event.”

16 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
Weston Ranelletti enjoys being in the driver's seat with Dennis Beebe in Beebe's 1942 Ford-built Jeep on May 4 at the Touch a Truck event in Solvang. Photos by Devyn Marseilles James Robinson, who will be 3 in June, is enjoying himself in a big CAT construction vehicle May 4 at the Touch a Truck event in Solvang

Cheers to the return of Zoo Brew at the Santa Barbara Zoo

'Brew-tiful' fundraiser that brings beer and animal lovers together is seeking breweries to participate

Staff Report

The Santa Barbara Zoo announces the return of Zoo Brew, the annual fundraiser that caters to beer and zoo lovers alike! Zoo Brew will take place on Saturday, June 1 from 4 to 7 p.m., with a VIP hour from 3 to 4 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at sbzoo. tickets.

Guests are in for a “wild” day of sipping on a whole herd of beverages and interacting with the local brewers who crafted them, all while admiring the zoo’s hilltop ocean view. VIP ticket holders will also enjoy early entry, appetizers, and a chance to soak in the zoo views. This

year’s “brew-tiful” event features more than 20 beverage makers from California, including beer, cider, hard seltzer, wine, and more. Pub food, non-alcoholic beverages, and merchandise are also available for purchase.

General admission tickets are $75 per person and include unlimited beer tastings and one Zoo Brew 2024 commemorative tasting cup. VIP tickets are $110, and include all

general admission perks, plus early entry/VIP hour (3 to 4 p.m.) and appetizers. All proceeds benefit the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo. For ages 21 and over only.

For more information about Zoo Brew and to see participating partners, go to zoobrew/ or call (805) 962-5339.

The Santa Barbara Zoo strives to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage

and participate fully. To request accommodations or for inquiries about accessibility, please email the accessibility team at welcome@

About the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. for members and 9:30 a.m. for general admission until 5 p.m.; general admission is $25 for adults, $15 for children 2-12, and free

for children under 2. Parking is $11.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. Visit

Attendees enjoy last year's Santa Barbara Zoo fundraiser Zoo Brew. This year's event, scheduled for June 1, is expecting more than 20 beverage makers from California. Contributed Photos Two guest enjoy some "Zoo Brew" at a past Santa Barbara Zoo fundraiser. This year's Zoo Brew takes place on Saturday, June 1, from 4 to 7 p.m. with VIP hour from 3 to 4 p.m.


New Frontiers offering Hair Analysis for optimum health

Nutritional consultant

Robin Clifton can use method to determine if environment or eating habits are affecting health

Nutritional consultant Robin Clifton is back at New Frontiers Natural Marketplace for the month of May only, where she will be performing Hair Analysis on adults, children ages 1-11, and even your pets. Hair analysis can determine if a person or pet’s environment or eating habits are affecting their overall health and wellness.

Each appointment is one hour. In just 15 minutes, Clifton will analyze hair samples using non-invasive German technology and provide a 45-minute consultation making recommendations, along with a 38-page personalized wellness nutritional report to take home, which also contains 4,400 foods and drinks to use or avoid.

“Hair Analysis is a 90-day accumulation of information regarding the well-being of your body including the liver,” Clifton said. “Hair is a bio-marker that carries a lot of

individual influences.

The report will include a list of food restrictions to leave out of your diet for 90 days; a list of food additives to avoid and common additive information; a 90-day wellness plan, including nutrients, water, and lifestyle factors; a list of foods to increase or add to your intake; and self-check sheets to help you keep track of your progress.

personal information at a quantum epigenetic level. Epigenetic mapping has the potential of releasing you from your genetic limitations. By determining what our bodies require to maintain optimum health we can take a different path, where our genetic inheritance no longer controls us. We become empowered and in control of our own destiny.”

Explaining the process, Clifton said that four strands of hair are removed from the base of the neck.

The hair samples are digitally processed and sent via a secure Internet connection to a technology center in Hamburg, Germany, where a super-computer maps the epigenetic information. Based on these results, the tested person will receive a report that includes nine wellness categories, covering more than 800

The report provides information regarding your adrenals, emotions, sleep, detoxification, fat metabolism and more. It shows what foods may be causing some sensitivities. The EMF page provides information on any frequencies that may be a problem to the immune system, such as mobile phone, microwave, 5G, cell towers, and solar and electric batteries. The report also includes personalized information on such subjects as vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, environmental challenges such as chemicals and hydrocarbons, radiation, and toxic metals. The Resistance Indicators page provides information on bacteria, fungus, molds/spores, parasites, viruses, and post viruses that are in your body.

New to the program this year is the addition of dog/puppy and cat/kitten hair analysis. These programs are designed to highlight what is reducing

your animal’s well-being and what it takes to restore balance so that your animal’s genes and enzymes work optimally. In the 42-page report you get a tailored plan to deal with these challenges and optimize your pet’s health and well-being. It contains 12 key optimization indicators: system support, coat and skin, circulatory support, resistance, environment, food and addictive restriction, and suggested foods to eat.

“Hair analysis on your pet dog or cat may show the body’s response to its own environment. Food recommendations are included. You receive a print out and a manual of all the information provided in this hair analysis,” said Clifton. “The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is intended to offer insights into functional nutrition. Please note that the content of the analysis is non-diagnostic and should not be interpreted as a medical diagnosis or a substitute for professional medical advice.”

Clifton also offers a personalized 90-day dietary plan based on your epigenetic markers that might be the solution you are looking for if you want to lose weight. The plan is tailored to your unique needs and goals and contains dietary recommendations and other helpful information in your report.

Spring into Summer for the latest clothing styles

Dress Shop, now is the time to do so.

new season brings in new styles. Here is what's new at Elna’s Dress Shop right now. Will you know when what you wear will be perfect as you want? It will make the world around you more incredible the whole time you are wearing it.

Feel good and you look good. Remember, our sales staff is ready to assist in your wardrobe building. Personalized service is what we pride ourselves in giving our customers. If you haven’t discovered Elna's

At market, which my sister Carol and I attended the middle of April, we saw a lot of jeans — you know, the lived-in look. Great for casual wear, going to the farmers market (every Wednesday in Solvang), to the beach, and for warmer weather. Top your look with a solid or patterned T-shirt, a shirt, or jacket, and away you go looking put together and comfortable. Separates are always in, and it is so much fun to coordinate to give you more than one look. Remember, it is so nice to be able to touch and feel the items before you buy, and then you feel good wearing them.

Our Spring and Summer season is

showing a very big interest in dresses and shifts: Short sleeve, sleeveless, and three-quarter sleeve. We carry a variety of styles, casual and luncheon type, long and knee length. A very good way to vary your spring/summer wardrobe.

Our store invites you to come in and talk to us. Let us make suggestions, coordinating fashion with your lifestyle in mind. Wardrobe building is a free service at Elna's Dress Shop.

Elna’s Dress Shop is open Mondays, closed Tuesdays, open Wednesday thru Sundays. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We are located at 1673 Copenhagen Drive in Solvang.

She also does one-hour consultations via Zoom. Those interested can order a mailing kit for hair samples off her website at seekbetterhelath. com. Your report will arrive by mail in approximately two weeks.

Clifton has a Bachelor of Science degree in holistic nutrition and is AANC certified.

“We don't do medical. I can't tell you what virus you have," Clifton said. "We work with the epigenetic signals that include the experiences of our ancestors, our current diets, and lifestyles, as well as our thoughts and beliefs. Beliefs and thoughts have a direct effect in our emotions and overall well-being. By understanding some of the epigenomic influences, we can change diets and lifestyle to optimize gene expression and its impact on our daily performance. I then can recommend supplements and food, which are corrective to the outcome of the test.

“The test is a great way to show your overall health and determine if your body is nutritionally balanced."

For more information, including costs, or to make an appointment, visit Clifton's website at or call (949) 439-8083.

New Frontiers Natural Marketplace is at 1984 Old Mission Drive in Solvang.

18 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
Elna's Dress Shop is located on Copenhagen Drive in Solvang, and open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, closed Tuesday, and open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Star file photo Nutritional consultant Robin Clifton, will be performing Hair Analysis during the month of May only at New Frontiers Natural Marketplace. Contributed Photo FASHION CHATTER


SYV Performing Arts Company to hold 35th anniversary celebration of 'An Invitation To Dance'

Shows will be held on successive nights on June 20-22 at Santa Ynez High's Little Theater

Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Performing Arts Company, housed at the Fossemalle Dance Studio, is delighted to present its 35th Milestone Anniversary Celebration of “An Invitation to Dance” under the direction of Christine Fossemalle, assisted by Sonia Ibarra Corona. The performances will be held at the High School Little Theater in Santa Ynez on the evenings of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 20-22 at 7 p.m. Latecomers will be seated during the first short pause. The range of ages and expertise from our dancers makes for an entertaining performance of ballet, lyrical, jazz, hiphop and tap choreographies.

This celebratory presentation showcases the company's “most favorite” choreogra -

phies from the past 35 years. Once selected, SYVPAC's returning alumni vote for their favorites to perform along side the company members.

"Our 20-plus alumni have traveled from far (Mexico City, Texas, Utah, Indiana) and near to rejoin the SYVPAC to relive their childhood memories," Christine Fossemalle said.

In addition, this 25th season welcomes a generation of newcomers, the compa -

ny's dedicated Corps de Ballet, continuing their technical as well as artistic evolution, and celebrates its graduate: Marcelo Andrade.

"For our dancers, these performances are either the reward of their first year of involvement; for many others it is the compiling effect of years of devotion to their craft; for our alumni, it is a return to the source," Fossemalle said.

From the most classical sounds of

Tchaikovsky, to the powerful ones of Khatchaturian and contemporary ones of Stravinsky, the range is wide and thrilling! Jazz, lyrical, tap and hip-hop will have you dance on your seats and delight in the famous tunes of "Viva Las Vegas," "Lollipop," and admire the lyricism of "Against All Odds" and others too numerous to name.

Each dancer has the same desire to express themselves through dance and cherish these upcoming performing moments in the process.

"For us choreographers, we appreciate the continued opportunity to share our passion with our dancers as a beautiful gift we are most grateful for," Fossemalle said. "It was given to us and as artists, we feel compelled to pass it on to the next generation, for them to perform and blossom, and for you, our supportive audience, to enjoy."

Tickets are currently on sale and will be available exclusively at the Fossemalle Dance Studios in Santa Ynez. For more information please call the SYVPAC at (805) 688-8494.

Final concert of Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series season set for May 22

'Hidden Journeys' features Roger Roe on English horn/oboe and Dr. R. Kent Cook on piano

Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series will present its final concert of the 2023-2024 season at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, at St Mark’s in the Valley Church in Los Olivos. This concert will be performed by the principal English horn of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Roger Roe, and distinguished pianist Dr. R. Kent Cook.

SYV Concert Series Artistic Director Robert Cassidy, said, “I think this might be the first ever

English Horn/Oboe and piano recital given in Los Olivos! Don’t miss this opportunity to hear these world-class artists perform this worthy repertoire.”

The performance, titled "Hidden Journeys" will consist of

works composed by Pierre Max Dubois, Zachary Wadsworth, Samuel Barber, Ulysses Kay, and Pavel Haas.

St. Mark’s is located at 2901 Nojoqui Ave., a block from the flagpole in the center of Los Ol-

ivos. Tickets are available at www.

St. Mark’s in-the-Valley provides an intimate concert experience with seating for just over 100.

St. Mark’s is pleased to offer the SYV Concert Series as a community arts enrichment program. All are invited to come and enjoy these non-sectarian, non-religious concerts. Students are always free.

Stay tuned for exciting news about a special summer concert and the 2024-2025 season!

About St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church: Formed in 1926 and serving the Santa Ynez Valley at its present location in downtown Los Olivos since 1979, St. Mark’s practices a spacious Christianity and welcomes people of all faiths or none. St. Mark’s is a no-fee community center for

nonprofit groups and community meetings, an arts venue for musical and cultural events, a welcome center for residents and area visitors, and home to a vibrant, inclusive faith community. St. Mark’s top-flight, non-sectarian professional preschool serves Santa Ynez Valley families with quality early childhood education. The County-permitted SYV Community Kitchen at St. Mark's serves as a regional food hub. St. Mark’s is also grateful to be home to the area’s Jewish community and a local Zen sangha (part of Santa Barbara Zen Center). Open doors, restrooms, free Wi-Fi, a shady courtyard, gardens, a labyrinth, and water for pets are available for visitors and area residents all day, every day. For more information, please visit

The Santa Ynez Valley Performing Arts Company's 35th Anniversary Celebration of "An Invitation to Dance" will feature choreographies ranging among ballet, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop and tap. Contributed Photo DR. R. KENT COOK ROGER ROE


Taste of Americana: Friends, family, and food

When it comes to identifying the busiest months of the year, June makes the list. Check this lineup, and you will see what I mean: graduations, weddings, vacations, Father's Day, class and family reunions, and neighborhood gatherings. They all have something in common — friends, family, and food.

Summer makes me immediately think of picnics, barbecues, and potlucks, bringing everyone together to celebrate. Of course, they include those wonderful meals of summer that end with "to die for" desserts. The dessert recipes this month is sure to satisfy your guests, no matter what the occasion.

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Curd


• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

• 2 cups sugar

• 1 lemon, zest and juice

• 4 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup whole milk

• Raspberry Curd

• Lemon Buttercream

• Garnish: lemon slices, fresh raspberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 (8-inch) square cake pans with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice with mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Raspberry Curd between layers. Spread Lemon Buttercream on top and sides of cake. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh raspberries.

Raspberry Curd


• 3 cups frozen raspberries (see note)

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1 lemon, zest and juice

• 3 egg yolks

• 3 tablespoons cornstarch

• 1/8 teaspoon salt

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter


In medium saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, and lemon zest and juice over medium heat. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to container of blender; process until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Return mixture to saucepan, and increase heat to medium. In medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt. Add about 1/4 cup hot raspberry mixture to eggs, whisking constantly. Add egg mixture to remaining hot raspberry mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Lemon Buttercream


• 2 cups unsalted butter, softened

• 1 lemon, zest and juice

• 4 cups confectioners' sugar


In large bowl, beat butter with mixer at medium-high speed until creamy. Add lemon zest and juice, beating until smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until combined after each addition.

Strawberry Shortcake


For the Shortcake Biscuits:

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1 tablespoon baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

• 3/4 cup whole milk

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Strawberry Filling:

• 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the Whipped Cream:

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Prepare the Strawberries:

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced strawberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Toss well and let sit for at least 30 minutes to macerate and become juicy.

Make the Shortcake Biscuits:

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add the cold butter pieces to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the milk and vanilla extract to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined; do not overmix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently a few times until the dough comes together. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4-inch thick.

Use a round biscuit cutter (about 2.5 inches in diameter) to cut out biscuits and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Gather any scraps, gently knead, and cut out more biscuits until all the dough is used.

Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Make the Whipped Cream:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip.

Assemble the Strawberry Shortcakes:

Split each shortcake biscuit in half horizontally.

Spoon some of the macerated strawberries onto the bottom half of each biscuit, allowing some of the juices to soak in. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Place the top half of the biscuit over the whipped cream.

Add a few more strawberry slices and a small dollop of whipped cream on top for garnish, if desired.

Serve and Enjoy:

Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious homemade Strawberry Shortcake!

20 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024

Alisal Ranch announces chef lineup for summer cookout series

The California Ranch Cookout, now in its fourth year, will take place throughout the summer at Solvang ranch

Alisal Ranch, the 10,500-acre luxury dude ranch in Solvang, is excited to welcome a new lineup of culinary talent for its beloved California Ranch Cookout series, now in its fourth year, which is scheduled to take place throughout the summer from June 8 through Aug. 24.

The series welcomes several notable, award-winning chefs from around the country to the ranch, who will each use their own unique cooking styles to perform a live demonstration and prepare a feast of barbecued meats, grilled sides, seafood, roasted veggie dishes, specialty desserts, signature cocktails, and more. The al fresco cookouts, available to both guests and Alisal Ranch members, feature live music and sweeping views of the beautiful rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley.

The current lineup includes the following guest chefs:

June 8: Chef Brad Matthews —

Born in Ithaca and raised in Watkins Glen, New York, Brad Matthews's earliest memories of hyper-local cuisine spring from a childhood of hunting and fishing along the Finger Lakes. By the age of 14, he was already working in small, family-run restaurants with an emphasis on from-scratch seasonal cooking. In 2009, he headed west to Los Angeles, working as

the sous chef — and eventually executive sous — at Bar Pintxo. Matthews currently serves as the executive chef at Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos, where he enjoys developing creative seafood dishes, among a team of talented cooks who share his passion for coastal cooking.

June 22: Chef Jeremy Tummel —

Chef Jeremy Tummel leads the culinary team at La Paloma, a restaurant that focuses on the traditions of Santa Maria and influences from Baja Mexico. Tummel’s experience draws from his time at Wine Cask, Bacara Resort & Spa, Pebble Beach Company, The Rosewood Miramar Beach, Santa Barbara City College Culinary Academy, and The Bear and Star in Los Olivos. A third-generation Santa Barbara native and part Chumash Indian, Tummel’s love for Santa Barbara runs deep in his DNA.

July 13: Chef Nik Ramirez —

Born in Maui, Nik Ramirez had a passion for cooking from a young age. After starting his culinary career at Santa Barbara’s iconic Wine Cask in 2008, Ramirez continued to hone his skills, cooking, and staging at 108 in Copenhagen, Gaggan in Bangkok, and a seasonal izakaya restaurant in Japan’s remote Iya Valley. In 2019, Ramirez decided to move closer to family and accepted a position at Acme Hospitality in Santa Barbara. In 2022, Ramirez and his wife Ashley began a series of weekly Na Na Thai pop-ups at Companion’s Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos, and a year later in June 2023, they opened Na Na Thai’s brick-andmortar in Buellton, serving authentic Thai street food classics in a lively setting.

July 27: Chef Claudette Zepeda —

Claudette Zepeda is an award-winning, San Diego-based celebrity chef and culinary entrepreneur known for her fearless style and bold approach to regional Mexican cuisine. A celebrated culinary anthropologist, Zepeda draws upon more than 20 years of experience working in restaurant kitchens, as well as her extensive travels around the world and throughout Mexico that inform her vast knowledge of indigenous ingredients and cross-cultural expressions of cuisine. Zepeda’s multi-faceted expertise is showcased in her role overseeing the creative vision as founder of Chispa Hospitality, which started in the Spring 2022, including food concepts in Australia and Mexico. VAGA restaurant in San Diego’s North County is where she authors a love letter to her hometown with a menu that celebrates local flavors and immigrant influences.

Aug. 10: Chef Marcel Vigneron —

Esteemed celebrity chef Marcel Vigneron has dedicated his life to gastronomy and exploring his culinary abilities. Throughout his career, he has continued to pursue the progression of gastronomy, and at the age of 25 he gained national notoriety in season two of Bravo’s hit reality series, "Top Chef" where he made it to the finals finishing as runner-up. He has worked all over the globe with world-renowned chefs, including Joël Robuchon (named "Chef of the Century" by the Gault Millau) and Michael Mina (awarded “Best Chef of 2002” by the James Beard Foundation during the time of Vigneron’s employment). He currently

resides in Malibu and was recently appointed as executive chef of The Aster, a first-of-its-kind members’ club and hotel in the heart of Hollywood that is home to Lemon Grove, a featured restaurant open to the public that features fresh California fare with a menu that will pay homage to the agricultural traditions of the City of Angels.

August 24: Chef Brian Redzikowski — Chef Brian Redzikowski attended The Culinary Institute of America for a twoyear program in culinary arts. Before graduating from college with high honors, he was recognized as an “Outstanding Student” by Wine Spectator and was awarded a full scholarship. During his schooling, he completed an externship at New York City’s acclaimed Le Cirque 2000. After graduation, Redzikowski moved to Aspen Colorado, and worked as Chef de Cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa Aspen. After three years at Nobu, he moved to Las Vegas to accept a sous chef position at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion. Today, Redzikowski leads menu development for all nine of SDCM’s creative concepts, and he currently serves as executive chef at Kettner Exchange, which was selected to be included in the Michelin Guide’s prestigious Bib Gourmand list, an honor that it has maintained through 2024. During Redzikowski's career, he has had the opportunity to compete in Iron Chef America and he was also awarded as Rising Chef in the Los Angeles California area. For more information about the 2024 California Ranch Cookout Series or to make a reservation, visit or call (800) 425-4725.



was on the sidewalk curb along with his family waiting for the procession and said he was thrilled to see the riders returning.

"We've always enjoyed this, and missed it last year," he said. "But it should be really good."

According to the website highnoon. com, The Rancheros Visitadores is a riding group that was formed in 1930 in Santa Barbara. The ride was inspired by the early California “Mission days” tradition where Rancheros from the neighboring countryside would gather in the spring time at the nearest Mission with their cattle herds — then advance towards the next Mission working the cattle as they went — branding the calves, cutting out the beef for hides and tallow, castrating the calves and old bulls, and sending the sickly or injured cattle back to their respective ranchos.

The group had the idea of doing that ride and stopping off at Mission Santa Ines, where the priest would bless the herd and the riders before they moved on.

Among the Los Rancheros Visitadores members who would make the ride over the years were celebrities like Clark Gable, Walt Disney, Gary Cooper and Chuck Yeager. And in the 1970s, former actor and future President Ronald Reagan would make the traditional trek.

For the latest ride, the horsemen took their usual route up Alisal, right on Mission Drive/Highway 246 and onto the Mission Santa Ines grounds, where all gathered in front of the historic building face Mission Drive for the blessing of the riders.

After that, leaders of the Rancheros Visitadores reminded the riders a big reason why they were there as Corky Ullman, Peter Oppenheimer, and Kelly Riley presented a large check to the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara for $1.53 million, representing the amount the the Visitadores have given to the cause over the past 12 years. Stephanie Carlyle of the Cancer Foundation accepted the check for her organization.

Peter Oppenheimer, the fundraising lead for the Rancheros, mentioned how the efforts to help the Cancer Foundation began with a former member, the late Steve Benito.

"I co-chair along with Kelly Riley the

RV Bucking Cancer Fund that our beloved Steve Benito began 12 years ago," Oppenheimer said. "Cancer has a very negative impact on his family and so many Rancheros that he knew and he wanted to do something about it. But he also felt that we should support the people that live in this community."

Oppenheimer gave the example of a woman who was helped out by that generosity.

"[She is] a woman who was battling uterine cancer, who has benefited from your generosity," he continued. "She has been receiving her chemotherapy and immunotherapy just down the road and saving a drive multiple times a week to Santa Barbara."

After the check presentation, the crowd was treated to some entertainment as emcee Bob Feist introduced Mexican "charro" horseman and trick roper Tomas Garcilazo and his son, 8-year-old Louis, who, as the crowd would soon find out, has learned well from his dad on how to be a "charro."

Tomas Garcilazo may be familiar to rodeo fans for his performances at the National Finals Rodeo or for his stint on TBS talent series "Go-Big Show," where he won the show's $100,000 grand prize in 2021.

With PRCA Announcer of the Year Anthony Lucia calling the action, Tomas and Louis wowed the group of riders with their expertise and artistry with the ropes while riding and even standing atop the horses.

After the performance, Lucia exclaimed "Ladies and gentlemen, I think we can all come together as family, friends, and fans, as rancheros and mavericks, and show those two incredible cowboys and charros that we appreciate what they showed us today."

The gathering wound down with the performance of Rancheros member George Stillman, who did his customary rendition of "The Vaquero Song," in honor of past rancheros.

As the presentation ended and the riders started to exit the area, Ullman had a chance to comment on the proceedings of the day.

"It was good to be able to get back up here," he said as he rode alongside his son Chad. "It was a good day and a good ride, because it was overcast most of the day, it didn't get too hot for the horses. Hoping we can do it again next year."

22 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024
The father-and-son charro duo of Tomas and Louis Garcilazo put on quite a show May 4 for the Rancheros Visitadores at Mission Santa Ines. Stephanie Carlyle of the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara accepts a check May 4 from the Ranchero Visitadores representing the amount the Rancheros have donated over the last 12 years. Behind her (from left) are Rancheros President Corky Ullman, Fundraising Lead Peter Oppenheimer, Cancer Foundation Trustee Kristin Blabey, and Rancheros fundraiser Kelly Riley. Some rode in a horse-drawn wagon, and some rode on horseback during the Rancheros Visitadores ride through Solvang on May 4. Photos by Mike Chaldu



SANTA BARBARA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, 9 A.M. County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara For more info:



At LACSD Board Room, 82 Saint Joseph Street, Los Alamos For more info:



At Council Chambers, 140 West Highway 246, Buellton For more info:




At Solvang City Council Chambers, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang For more info:



At Solvang City Council Chambers, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang For more info:


SANTA BARBARA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, 9 A.M. County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara For more info:



At Solvang City Council Chambers, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang For more info:




Originated on the sandy shores of Cali-


fornia, Soul Majestic channels their sunny beach days and bonfire nights into their unique style of reggae music. They will be joined by Meta & The Cornerstones, led by Senegalese front man, Meta Dia. Enjoy an evening of roots rock and reggae. Reserved seating available for $25, $45, $65, and $77. At Solvang Festival Theater, 420 2nd St., Solvang. For tickets/more info:



10 A.M. TO 4 P.M.

An Artisan's Market is held in Solvang's PARc Place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month. The Artisan’s Markets feature a variety of kiosks manned by local artisans displaying their wares, including jewelry, clothing, gifts, soaps, crafts, candles, art and food. Farmers are also welcome. Vendors interested in participating in this Artisan’s Market or the ones in Los Olivos (every third Saturday of the month) or Santa Ynez (first Saturday) can call Georgina Guttman at (505) 270-2332 or on Instagram @solvangartisansmarket.

At PARc Place, 1623 Mission Drive, Solvang

For more info: Call Georgina Guttman (505) 270-2332, Instagram @solvangartisansmarket


Solvang Brewing Company is having a Tie-Dye party on Saturday, May 25, with $30 getting you a white shirt to design and a beer of your choice. Local singer/songwriter Sofia Guerra will be playing from 1 to 3 p.m., and drink specials will be offered all day.

If you’re interested, please pick up a ticket at either Solvang Brewing Company location from one of our lovely servers. We hope to see you there!!!! Proudly Brewed! Proudly Consumed!

At Solvang Brewing Company, 1547 Mission Drive, Solvang

For more info:




Get ready for a classic evening of funk, soul, and R&B with fan favorites Greg Adams and East Bay Soul, followed onstage by Blue Breeze Band. Greg Adams, a Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter, is one of the world’s best -known musical signatures as one of the original members of Tower of Power. What a perfect way to wrap up this very Memorial weekend at the Solvang Festival Theater. Get ready to groove to the smooth vibe that soothes the soul, as we celebrate our golden anniversary together. Reserved seating available for $25, $45, $65, and $77.

At Solvang Festival Theater, 420 2nd St., Solvang

For tickets/more info: app.arts-people. com/index.php?show=220245



“Giving Day” at the Santa Ynez Valley Children’s Museum is June 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Come tour the museum site, check out the exhibits, and have some fun!

At 202 Dairyland Road, Buellton

For more info: Email admin@



Savor a delicious Love for All Brunch, three-course meal crafted by Jake Francis and the talented team at Valley Piggery. The meal is expertly paired with the lighter side of Brave & Maiden’s wines: our Limited and Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Limited Rosé. Plus, a special edition Rosé bottled exclusively for Pride Month, decked out with a rainbow waterfall. Tickets are $150 each.

We are proud supporters of Santa Ynez Pride. An organization dedicated to creating a safe, supportive, and empowering home for our local LGBTQIA+ community in the Santa Ynez Valley. A portion of the proceeds from the brunch, as well as sales of our Pride Rosé wine, will be donated to this important mission.

At Brave & Maiden Estate, 649 N. Refugio Road, Santa Ynez

For tickets/more info: www.exploretock. com/braveandmaiden/event/480945/lovefor-all-brunch-2024


"Five fairly nice guys — one big mean sound!" The Santa Barbara-based Doublewide Kings play a uniquely tweaked blend of original music and cover tunes that brings new passion to the familiar pleasures of roots-rock, Americana, country-blues, and the glory days of '70s FM radio. Tickets cost $37.

At Solvang Festival Theater, 420 2nd St., Solvang

For tickets/more info: app.arts-people. com/index.php?show=220504




Join us indoors on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Come to enjoy songs, stories, movement, and a warm welcome. Please make a reservation at

At Solvang Library, 1745 Mission Drive, Solvang

For more info: Solvang Library (805) 6884214


Each week, the farmers in the marketplace display a colorful bounty of agricultural products grown right in our backyard. Seasonal diversity is available year-round rain or shine. Come. Shop. Socialize. Certified — the only way to buy! Join us in downtown Solvang every Wednesday on First Street, between Mission Drive (Highway 246) and Copenhagen Drive.


Please join us for an evening out with family fun for all in Buellton, hosted by Esfuerzo Wines and The Birria Boyz. This event will take place each Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. Each week we will have guest food vendors, live music and much more to be announced. We hope to see you there!

At 140 Industrial Way, Buellton

For more info:

24 MAY 21 – JUNE 3, 2024

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