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City of Santa Maria


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The City of Santa Maria is a multi-million dollar operation that has an annual budget of $193 million, over 700 employees, and takes great pride in the entrepreneurial spirit that they bring to the municipal services and programs that serve the residents and businesses of the Santa Maria Valley.


| MAY 2017



Mayor Alice Patino Dear Santa Marians: lot of good things can happen when people come together to do some really good deeds. The community of Santa Maria always steps up to the plate and helps those less fortunate and we are known around the Central Coast for our generosity to others. Caring and collaboration is what Santa Maria is known for. There often is a benefit BBQ where for a few dollars you can get a plate of delicious tri-tip or chicken with beans, or a benefit auction to help those less fortunate. We have so many giving individuals, organizations and businesses in our community. Sometimes it’s at a fundraiser, or people who volunteer hundreds of hours per year for various causes, or many of our worthy nonprofit organizations. The recent Serve Santa Maria event is a great example of hundreds of volunteers of all ages materializing to beautify the City. They clean up local parks, paint large maps of the United States on local elementary school playgrounds, and help some in-need homeowners reclaim their properties and spruce up a neighborhood. The volunteers, with gloves, paint brushes, shovels and brooms, get the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve made our City look even greater.


and we’re always working to solve the challenges facing our community. Current initiatives include district elections and the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety. Also, we are exploring creative ways, with your input, to beautify our downtown streetscape to create a more enjoyable downtown at Broadway and Main (State Routes 135 and 166) with enhanced corridors for pedestrians, bicyclists, and the driving public. As you can see, we’re exploring creative ways, with your input, to beautify the streetscape to create a more enjoyable downtown. The Downtown Fridays at Town Center West are now well into their second year, every time drawing about 2,000 people on average. My friends understand my affinity for rodeos and as such, I invite everyone to the upcoming Elks Rodeo and Parade held June 1-4. There’s the Elks Rodeo Queen Contest, which has so far raised more than $11 million over the years for CONTRIBUTED PHOTO local nonprofits and the rodeo cowboys will be When a Santa Maria roadway is adopted, raising funds to kick cancer, too. I encourage volunteers or organizations are recognized with a everyone to get into the rodeo spirit and come sign, like the one pictured, posted along the road. out to the Elks Events Center and watch a great show! There’s a lot of buzz around regarding the Another wonderful way to clean up and beautify Santa Maria is through our City’s new new retail and commercial development at Highway 101 between Betteravia and Battles Adopt-A-Road program. The commitment is Roads. Look for openings this year from Lowe’s to pick up litter for two years on a stretch of and Costco with a 24-pump gas station. Evenroadside once every two months, or as conditually there also will be an abundant amount tions warrant. The City provides safety gear, of new retail shopping, new restaurants, a new tools and trash bags—and City crews even come by after the cleanup and pick up the filled school, a new park, and more housing to accommodate our growing community. bags. Participating groups have their name on We have a lot to look forward to and a lot of City-installed Adopt-A-Road signs. This is a great way to promote civic responsibility, com- good things happening here in Santa Maria. munity pride, and camaraderie within your ALICE M. PATINO organization. Mayor of Santa Maria Santa Maria is great in so many other ways,

Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety helping at-risk youth CONTRIBUTED REPORT

To improve the quality of life in the Santa Maria Valley, the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety is creating a strategy to improve the lives of at-risk youth and their families through a blend of prevention, suppression, intervention, and re-entry. This is another step being taken by the City to curtail violence in the Santa Maria Valley, and to create a strategy of positive, long-lasting opportunities for at-risk youth and their families. “This takes our ongoing youth efforts up to the next level,” Mayor Alice Patino said. “We are not reinventing the wheel here. Instead, we are modeling our program after successful approaches from other California cities and then catering it to Santa Maria. Our intent is to leverage existing resources and develop strategic partnerships within the Santa Maria Valley.” The task force is a collaborative effort involving local community-based organizations, schools, the faith community, local elected officials, local law enforcement as well as agencies that specialize in dealing with at-risk youth. The group held its first meeting on April 24th, and its second on May 15th. Task force agendas and materials are posted on the City’s website at mayorstaskforce. The task force consists of two components. One is the Policy Advisory Committee, representing the leaders in governmental agencies and non-profits, who will develop a strategic violence presentation action plan to help address this issue. The action plan, once developed, will be implemented by the Technical Resource Committee, consisting of service agencies that deal specifically with at-risk youth; those agencies are local non-profits, faith based organizations, social service agencies and government. Members from these agencies will serve as the “boots on the ground” to “work the plan” as developed by the Policy Advisory Committee. “We are plunging forward, meeting on a monthly basis, to create a vision and identify goals to help mitigate youth violence,” the Mayor said. “We are aligning with other local efforts for children and youth, family support,

housing, recreation – really the spectrum of our community. We all know that reaching young people early on, makes a tangible difference.” The City has a long track record of programs that serve our local youth, ranging from sports and activities at its Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, day camps that served approximately 28,000 participants in 2016, and through its popular Police Activities League. Numerous nonprofit agencies also provide guidance counseling and support, as well as worthwhile activities for at-risk youth. Last year, the City hired longtime Santa Marian Eddie Galarza to serve as the City’s Outreach Coordinator. Eddie is well known locally, having previously worked for the Boys and Girls Club as well as collaborating with various local service providers in an effort to assist and serve at-risk youth. Since joining the City, he has been very active, meeting with youths, non-profits, and key school administrators. The Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety is being coordinated by the City Manager’s Office, the Police Department, and the Recreation and Parks Department. The goal of the project is to have programs and services available in 2018. The County of Santa Barbara is assisting in the effort by helping fund the project. The City and the County came together and had discussions with the California Cities Violence Prevention Network’s Executive Director Ernesto Oliveras on ways to address the youth violence that has plagued our community over the last few years. After seeing a model of the City of Santa Rosa’s Violence Prevention Program and other cities’ Mayor’s Youth Task Force efforts, staff recommended contracting with the Violence Prevention Network to assist with the creation of a strategic plan. “There are many service providers in Santa Maria, and this task force is intended to unite a good majority of them with a common purpose,” Patino said. “As a longtime resident of Santa Maria with deep roots here, I known we have a lot of high-powered people who are all committed to doing this the right way,” the Mayor said about the over two dozen participants on the Mayor’s Task Force.

District elections coming to Santa Maria CONTRIBUTED REPORT

The City will have four distinct districts for future City Council elections and the Mayor’s position will still be elected at-large by all voters. Starting in November 2018, voters will participate in the first district-based election when two Council seats will be up for an election. That will be followed in November 2020 by the remaining two district seats and the Mayor’s position. The City Council on February 21st launched the process to convert its elections to a district-based process from the current at-large voting system which has been in place since the City’s incorporation in 1905, to a district-based election system where a candidate must live in the district he or she wishes to represent. A series of public hearings were

held over the last several months about district elections. The City encouraged residents to submit draft maps for consideration. The City has been transparent about this process, posting information on its website at The final map was chosen after the Council listened to the public during numerous public hearings and considered suggestions and draft maps submitted by the public and the City-hired demographer. The Council decided that the City’s population had to be equally divided into four districts; the districts had to start their divisions at Broadway and Main (State Highways 135 and 166); a portion of each district had to contain a part of the City’s Downtown Specific Plan; there

had to be fair representation of renters in each district; and the districts had to adhere to the rules set by the Federal Voting Rights Act. Districts must have roughly the same population and meet various criterion as set by the Federal and California Voting Rights Act. Additionally, the demographer accounted for community input such as keeping neighborhoods contiguous and considering the Downtown Specific Plan. Other requirements are equal population, ethnic makeup, geography, and other factors The City Council decided to pursue a district-based election process after receiving of a letter on December 16, 2016 containing unsubstantiated allegations that the City’s at-large election system violates the California Voting Rights Act. The letter was

written by Santa Barbara-based attorney and City Councilman Jason Dominguez, on behalf of his client, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Santa Maria City Council in 2016. The letter alleged that there was evidence of “polarized voting” in the City of Santa Maria electorate. Under the California Voting Rights Act, any evidence of racially polarized voting is sufficient to require a court to order a change from at-large voting to a district-based voting system, when there is evidence of an electoral injury such as the inability of a protected class to elect a candidate of its choice. Racially polarized voting occurs when there is a difference between the choice of candidates preferred by voters in a protected class and the choice of candidates preferred by voters in the

rest of the electorate. Approximately 70 percent of Santa Maria residents are Latino, and unlike other cities where atlarge elections have prevented Latinos from electing candidates of their choice, the election history for the City Council of the City of Santa Maria demonstrates that Latino candidates have been regularly elected. Since 1996, at least one Latino has been elected to the City Council in each election except the November 2012 election. In all, 10 Latinos have been elected to the City Council in the last 20 years. In addition, partly because of appointments made by the City Council to fill unexpired terms, the City Council has been represented by a Latino majority from 2002 until 2010 and in fact, the current City Council is a Latino elected majority.


Jack Boysen, Councilmember

Mike Cordero, Councilmember

Dr. Michael Moats, Councilmember

Etta Waterfield, Councilmember


MAY 2017 |

Behind the City Seal


ehind the Badge is a reference in the public safety arena regarding the men and women in law enforcement and the good-natured things they do in the community that the public may not be aware of. I was exposed to this concept a few weeks ago and saw a correlation to our City employees and the RICK good-natured HAYDON CITY MANAGER acts of kindness that many of our employees do each and every day in the community but go unnoticed. Thus, the impetus behind this piece – Behind the City Seal. The City of Santa Maria’s easily recognizable trademark is the familiar image of the blue ship sailing in front of the sun’s golden rays. This image projects optimism and pride in the distinctive silhouette of the two-masted ship Santa Maria. Seen on official stationery and all City vehicles since its adoption in 1971, the seal projects the City’s image in bold and vigorous manner, and carries the message of Santa Maria’s activities with confidence and style. A few years ago, I commissioned the City Seal image to be

As an organization, we strive to provide the best municipal services to the community and in the most efficient, cost-effective and courteous manner possible.

management, between sworn employees and non-sworn employees, as far as options, interests, and philosophies are concerned, the one thing we all have in common is that we’re all public servants and we all here to serve the residents, businesses and visitors of this fine City. You should all take pride in knowing that your City employees are fine examples of placing a high priority in service to others. For example, last October, dreds of dedicated City employ- when one of our police officers ees, each of them playing a vital responded to a prowling incident at the home of two senior part in our organization – an The City of Santa Maria is like citizens, the next day he arrived organization that provides you, a puzzle, with each employee the resident and business owner, back at their house and to their representing a piece of the whole. with essential municipal services surprise, installed motion detector lights around the outside of like police and fire protection, their house as well as a deadbolt printed as part of a large puzzle. water, sewer and refuse colon their door – all at his own lection, planning and building The symbolism is appropriate inspection services, well-main- expense and all on his own dime. because the City is literally like He knew that they needed some tained streets and roads, code a big giant puzzle made up of enforcement, great recreational additional safety precautions many individual pieces that and leisure activities, and more. and that they weren’t in a poneed to work together in order sition to do the required work, As an organization, we strive to function correctly. At our anso he took it upon himself to do to provide the best municipal nual employee service awards, it for them – because it was the services to the community and employees receive a photo of compassionate and right thing in the most efficient, cost-efthemselves receiving their serto do. vice award (as presented to them fective and courteous manner A while ago, we had our fireby a City Councilmember) along possible. As public servants we fighters go to a house where an have all taken an oath to serve with a piece of this puzzle affixed to their picture frame. That others and to do it to the best of individual suffered a cardiac arrest while mowing his lawn. puzzle piece is a visual reminder our abilities. In that regard, we Upon triaging the victim and realize that public service is a to all of them of how they all privilege, it’s an honorable call- sending him to the hospital, the play, or have played, a signififirefighters took it upon theming and a noble profession. cant role in the shaping of our selves to finish mowing the indiAnd Behind the City Seal organization, our City and your vidual’s lawn – another example you’ll find that while there is a community. of random acts of kindness by Behind the City Seal, are hun- difference between labor and

our employees. Another act of employee kindness happened a few months ago when we were having those torrential rain storms. One of our library employees heard that a vendor’s husband was going to have surgery at UCLA and that the wife was not in a position to drive herself down there to be with him. Our employee volunteered to drive the individual down to Los Angeles to be with her husband, regardless of the weather conditions or the inconvenience because it was the humanitarian thing to do. Here again, another example of a City employee taking the initiative on her own time and on her own dime. There are countless examples of our employees coming together to help out those less fortunate in our community in order to make a positive difference in the lives of others – all of which is done on their own time and on their own dime. So the next time you see the City Seal on a passing City vehicle, just remember, there’s more Behind the City’s Seal. These types of stories (and there are many more) have virtually gone untold. The reason why I’m mentioning them now is because I am proud of these types of employees and it’s these types of employees that make the City of Santa Maria an incredible organization.


Gil Trujillo, City Attorney

Ralph Martin, Chief of Police

Leonard Champion, Fire Chief

Shad Springer, Director of Utilities

Steve Kahn, Director of Public Works

Alex Posada, Director of Recreation and Parks

Mary Housel, City Librarian

Chuen Ng, Director of Community Development

Mary Harvey, Director of Finance

Jason Stilwell, Deputy City Manager

Jayne Anderson, Director of HR and Records


A4 | May 2017



Department uses many different resources to serve and protect LOGAN B. ANDERSON‌

As the city of Santa Maria ‌ grows and changes, its police department must adapt to answer its needs. More than a year after the Santa Maria Police Department brought down the leaders of an international gang that was working in the city, the department’s Police Chief is looking at new and old school tactics to serve and protect Santa Maria. “We are getting to be a bigger city now. We are going to start acting like a big city police department,” Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin said. Martin is deploying his department’s resources in new ways with the goal of using the correct help, at the Martin needed time and the right place. The city is about to go live with a new radio communication system that will connect every city department and agency, provide real-time information about patrol car locations and provide a lifeline to protect the most vulnerable in a time of crisis. The new system will also be able to help other agencies and departments with a program that will eventually help pay for the communication upgrades. Old-school patrol tactics will also be used, like its expanded bicycle patrol unit to provide a greater presence in neighborhoods and at special events to interact with the community more and help the city’s homeless population. “Nothing is more important than filling our patrol cars, 911 calls are our priority. They have to be answered and they have to be answered as quickly as possible. We do have it down under four minutes; we are trying to push it to three,” Martin said. The department recently launched a new program which aims to put more than patrol cars on Santa Maria’s streets—detectives are joining the front lines of policing to speed up investigation response times and help victims. The program has two detectives patrolling the city four nights a week. By the end of summer, Martin plans to have detectives working every night of the week. “Most of our detectives now work court hours. However, we do have a number of detectives that have to be on call. Every night, two detectives and a sergeant are on call for a homicide, a shooting, a rape, something like that,” Martin said. “Having a detective unit out in the streets when something goes down is huge for us. They are going to be there in minutes. Rather


Members of the Santa Maria Police Department pose for a picture at the department’s new headquarters on Betteravia Road.



Building relations and the public’s trust are imperative for effective community-based policing. than calling someone from home, which could take an hour, detectives can be there in minutes. It has always been one of my goals to have night detectives. We are halfway there. We have two on, four nights a week,” Martin added. More than a year after the Department and its Detective Bureau brought down the international-criminal gang MS-13, local law enforcement leaders are still keeping a watchful eye on gang activity in the city. Operation Matador, launched in March 2016, saw the Department and its partner agencies pounce on the local MS-13 infrastructure. After a two year period where 10 people were murdered in the city and another 14 were seriously injured in murder attempts, police captured more than a dozen members of the criminal syndicate. Though the operation dealt a serious blow to the gang, Martin said it still has a presence in Santa Maria. “I think they are still in town, but certainly all the main players are not,” he said.

The Santa Maria Police Department is employing different ways, including this billboard on Highway 101, to recruit new officers.

“I think they understand that we pulled off something that they weren’t expecting. We got all 16 people in one day; 15 here and one in Ohio. I think it was a clear statement by our department and those we were assisted by that day,” Martin said. By deploying detectives on city streets at night and the ongoing efforts of the department’s gang unit, Martin said his department is ready to respond if there is another spike in gang activity in the future. “We have had some local street gangs that have existed here for a substantial period of time, but certainly nothing to the incredible savagery that we saw MS-13 was doing,” Martin said. “This can happen in any town, any city,” he added. Another new school way the department is working to serve the city is with a new upgraded Motorola radio system that works on a 700 megahertz frequency with broadband internet support. “The city has invested in the best Motorola has to offer,” Martin said.

The effort to upgrade law enforcement communication systems came after incidents like the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which brought police agencies from around the region to LA to help. When the police officers from San Diego, Arizona and even Santa Maria arrived in LA they couldn’t communicate with other officers. “With us going to 700 MHz, a police car from Santa Maria can go to Sacramento and can talk not only to Sacramento, but can still talk to Santa Maria,” Martin explained. There are few public safety agencies in the country that have upgraded to a system of this type. “We were one of the very first cities, besides Las Vegas Metro, to buy the best thing Motorola has available. They have it in New York, they have it in LA, and they’ve got it in San Francisco. I think we are No. 5,” Martin said. With the infrastructure investments made by Santa Maria and its location between the LA and San Francisco, Santa Maria will be able to help other local agencies upgrade too.

“We are right in the middle. This system will serve the whole Central Coast for decades,” said Martin. The radio system is like a highway, Martin said, “with 1,000 lanes.” Once it is live, the city will be able to rent some of the lanes to different agencies to help support and upgrade their communication systems. Police departments in Lompoc and Guadalupe along with the Santa Maria Fire Department and other agencies on the Central Coast will be able to benefit from the new system. The system will also, for a fee, be capable of putting direct lines of communication to emergency services in every classroom and school in the city of Santa Maria. “It will be like a cell phone. School districts will have to purchase the equipment and pay a fee every month. But in an emergency, teachers will only have to press a button and connect directly to us. We can also use the radios to communicate to people inside the school. They won’t be a distraction when they aren’t in use, they are only a direct line for help,” Martin said. The new system will also track where Santa Maria police units are at all times to aid in dispatching help where it is needed more efficiently. The Allan Hancock College Police Department is one of the first agencies to take advantage of the system. The Santa Maria Police Department is going a step further for Hancock by providing dispatch services too. Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.


Brice recognized for dedication and service LOGAN B. ANDERSON‌

‌Santa Maria Police Detective Andrew Brice always knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to serving and protecting others. His commitment to upholding the law and helping people was recently rewarded when he was selected Police Officer of the Year. He also received other awards and recognition. “I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a cop,” Brice said. “I’m originally from the Midwest. I didn’t know anything about California. I joined the military right out of high school. I went around the world, spent some time in the Middle East and parts of the U.S.” He was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base when he heard that the Santa Maria Police Department was hiring. “The first job I applied for, then the rest is history. I’ve established my family here. I am proud of this area and living here,” Brice said. Brice has been a part of the Santa Maria Police Department for 10 years, the last two he has been an investigator in the department’s detective division. He was nominated as the department’s Officer of the Year by his fellow officers. When he heard that he was


Det. Andrew Brice was selected as Santa Maria Police Department’s Police Officer of the Year. given the department’s top award, he said he was honored. “It is tremendous to have your peers recognize you,” Brice said. He was recognized for his work on multiple homicide, sexual assault, theft and violent gang investigations. Brice was an integral part of the Santa Maria Police Department’s operation that targeted the international criminal gang MS-13. Police Chief Ralph Martin said

Brice was chosen as the Officer of the Year for his heroic, lifesaving acts, and “his dedication in every aspect of his job.” “In addition to his caseload, he has had an extremely busy year to include Operation Matador, Field Training Officer, and two lifesaving awards,” Martin said. The first lifesaving award was for an incident in April last year. Brice was first on the scene at the home of a woman whose son

called police and asked them to check on her welfare. When the detective entered the home, he found empty prescription pill bottles, and an empty wine bottle, before discovering the woman in her bathroom submerged underwater in the bathtub. “I was lucky enough to be the first guy on the scene. Your training kicks in,” Brice said. “He pulled the female into the bedroom and initiated chest compressions until the arrival of Santa Maria Fire personnel who assumed life saving measures,” Martin said. The woman survived. “I don’t care what someone’s life circumstances are, it is our job to help people. After that all of the other functions of our job come into play. With her, I got to speak to her afterwards. She was genuinely contrite. She didn’t want to do that and she got an opportunity to continue on,” Brice said. The detective has kept tabs on the woman to make sure she is doing alright. “From what I understand she is doing OK,” Brice said. The second incident that earned him a lifesaving award also earned Brice a dear friend. In September, Brice responded to a call of a “man down” in the

area of Broadway and Main. When he arrived, he found a man in cardiac distress. Brice performed CPR until emergency medical help arrived. Because of his actions, the man survived. “Apparently, I did what I was supposed to do and we have developed a great friendship. We try and have lunch every month. It was extra special because his son is a former officer with our department. To share that with someone I was side-by-side with on calls for service was really cool,” Brice said. Santa Maria’s Police Officer of the Year said he is proud to be a part of the Santa Maria community. “I’ve had tremendous experiences with people across the board; be they wealthy, or poor, Spanish speaking or not, documented or undocumented. I’ve also been helped by people across the board. We need the community to do our job,” he said. “I would say that Santa Maria is safe. It is a great place to live. The police department management has done a great job turning things around,” Brice added. Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.‌ 00 1

May 2017 | A5



Using every tool and expanding programs to make city safe LOGAN B. ANDERSON‌

‌When some people think of fire departments they only think of fire engines, hoses and the Jaws of Life. The Santa Maria Fire Department uses all of those things, but it does so much more. Along with answering thousands of calls for help in the city, the Santa Maria Fire Department teaches communities how to help themselves while giving them the opportunity to assist the city in times of need if called upon by the department. The department is also busy checking fire prevention systems throughout Santa Maria to promote life safety and prevent major tragedy. “We are a very busy fire department. We run everything from medical calls, to vehicle accidents, vehicle versus pedestrians, to every kind of fire you can think of — from a Dumpster fire to a vehicle fire to a structure fire,” Santa Maria Fire Department Chief Leonard Champion said. Champion The city’s fire department responds to about 10,000 calls a year, Champion said. So far in 2017, the department has answered more than 3,000 calls for assistance. The city’s firefighters do more than fight fires. “Our firefighters are basic life support trained. They are EMTs. They can defibrillate someone in cardiac arrest. Early defibrillation, early CPR has proven to be very successful. The majority of our responses are medically related,” Champion said. The Fire Chief added that is why Santa Maria Fire Department trucks sometimes respond to medical emergencies if needed. The department has six fire stations placed purposefully around the city. “Strategically as we look to our city and our community, you place our fire stations in the community where you will have quick response times,” Champion said. The department’s firefighters work 24-hour shifts. At any given time, there are about 16 firefighters on duty throughout the city. “People don’t understand our staffing. People think that there are six or eight firefighters at every station. There are only three,” Champion said. The city is covered by the department’s five main stations. The sixth is a specialized station at the Santa Maria Public Airport. The city relies on mutual-aid agreements with other public safety agencies to help answer calls for help. “A single structure fire will get every engine in the city running. We rely on mutual aid agencies, Santa Barbara County to the south of us and CalFire to the north of us,” Champion said. “One structure fire can affect a big geographical area.” The Santa Maria Fire Department tries to use every tool to


Students of Santa Maria Fire Department’s Community Emergency Response Team class test their knowledge during a recent drill.

“What we are trying to do is give the tools to our community, to our citizens, to be able to be selfsufficient for a period of time.” Leonard Champion, Santa Maria Fire Department Chief


The Listos (Ready) program fills a void in Spanish-language disaster preparedness education by emphasizing the sharing of preparedness skills and information with family and friends. help keep the city safe, including its knowledge. A few times a year the fire department imparts its knowledge of emergency response during its disaster preparedness classes, part of its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. The 28-hour CERT course includes disaster medical skills, light search and rescue, disaster fire suppression, and more. “We teach them how to take care of their family, their home and their neighborhood. We give them basic skills like how to lift and move heavy objects, how to do a

basic search, how to do basic first aid care. These are the things that they can do that would help us out tremendously,” Champion said. The class meets two times a week for a few weeks. “At the end they have a final. They take all the skills that they have learned and apply them. It is a full on drill, a mock earthquake,” Champion said. The fire department also has a special CERT class in Spanish called LISTOS. (Which means “ready” in English.) Champion said he is working to formalize the CERT classes into

a team of volunteers to help the city in times of need or for special events. “On any given day we have roughly 16 firefighters on duty for a city of roughly 100,000 people. If we have a wide spread emergency, there is no way those 16 firefighters are going to be able to address all of the needs in our community,” Champion said. “What we are trying to do is give the tools to our community, to our citizens, to be able to be self-sufficient for a period of time.” Once the Community Emergency Response Team is formalized its members will have ongoing training and “ongoing opportunities for CERT members to engage in the community,” Champion said. “For example, we have the upcoming Rodeo. We will need parking attendants and help managing crowd control. We are organizing some CERT members to help out in that effort. This is a nonemergency type of event but we certainly can help. In times of evacuations we can bring in CERT members to help the police do traffic and crowd control,” Champion said. Champion, who began his fire service career with the Santa Ma-

ria Fire Department as a reserve firefighter on March 24, 1990, and became a full-time firefighter three years later, was named Santa Maria’s Fire Chief in November last year. Since becoming the city’s top firefighter, he has worked to improve how his department works to make the city safer. An example of that effort is the department’s sprinkler and fire detection system, inspections for multi-family units, hotels and motels in the city. Before taking the department’s reins, the program was halted because of budget issues. “So far it has been well received. We have already found a number of units that have had smoke detectors that were missing, not working or missing batteries. Getting those fixed has been a big win,” Champion said. “Smoke detectors have been proven to save lives by early detection of a fire and get people out. It has been very important message.” Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.


Gidlund recognized for dedication, service LOGAN B. ANDERSON‌

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‌Santa Maria Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year often is the lone sentinel for safety at the Santa Maria Public Airport. The Fire Department has six fire stations. Five are spread throughout the city ready to respond to medical calls, structure fires and vehicle crashes. Station 6, on the east side of the airport, routinely responds to aircraft emergencies, including landing gear malfunctions and aircraft fires. The city’s other fire stations have at least three firefighters on each shift, Station 6 only has one. Shane Gidlund, aircraft rescue firefighter (ARFF) specialist II, was picked as this year’s Firefighter of the Year for his dedication to the department and serving the Santa Maria Public Airport community. “Shane has been integral to the airport firefighting program. He stays on top of the needed training, the (Federal Aviation Administration) FAA requirements; he coordinates with the airport


Santa Maria’s Firefighter of the Year Shane Gidlund. officials. He has done an amazing job on a number of incidents that have happened out there,” Santa Maria Fire Chief Leonard Champion said. “It was quite and honor,” Gidlund said. “We all have a job and we all have a common goal, you never really think that you could be designated as Firefighter of the

Year. It is a pretty neat feeling to be chosen by your peers.” Gidlund has been in the fire service for 18 years. He has worked for the Santa Maria Fire Department for 16 years. “Firefighting just came to me. I wanted to help people and I liked the adventurous side of it,” he said. “I started in wild land fire-

fighting. Working on hot shot crews and repelling out of helicopters on wild land fires.” In 2001, he was hired by Santa Maria as a part-time fire prevention intern and prevention aide. He was promoted to full time Fire Inspector I in 2003, before becoming an ARFF specialist and taking his post at the Santa Maria Public Airport. “Aircraft Rescue Firefighter requires Shane to be self-sufficient, as most of the day he is the only person staffing Fire Station 6,” Champion said. “He is a hard worker and willing to do anything you ask of him.” Recently, Gidlund was called to a fully-involved airplane fire. The aircraft was inside an airplane hangar. When he arrived the fire was about to spread to the building’s structural supports. Gidlund’s quick response and thinking helped him to knock down the blaze preventing further property loss and damage. “The majority of what we deal with is aircraft, the whole aspect of aviation, airplanes, helicopters,

large amounts of fuel. It burns hotter and longer than a structure fire. We deal with different materials. It’s a totally different aspect of firefighting,” Gidlund said. Gidlund was also recently recognized by Federal Aviation Administration inspectors for meeting their record keeping, training and response time requirements. “The inspector remarked that the record-keeping and response times rivaled larger airports, and asked if they could refer agencies to this program as an example since it is so organized,” Champion said. When asked if he had a message for anyone who wants to be a firefighter, Gidlund said, “Don’t ever give up. If you have a dream, stick with it. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but don’t every give up, whether it’s fire fighting or any type of dream.” Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.‌


| MAY 2017



Ng working to build nice neighborhoods, improve lives Vision is key for developing vibrant downtown JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer

Building a vibrant, walkable, welcoming downtown community and providing personable public services are key goals of new Santa Maria Community Development Director Chuen Ng. “Nice places help people relate to where they live. If you build nice places, nice neighborhoods, good cities to live in, it will improve people’s lives. That’s why I care,” Ng said. Though only four months into his Santa Maria Valley residency, the father of two envisions further developing Santa Maria into a vibrant community with a walkable, family-friendly downtown while maintaining the city’s own unique flavor. “That’s the fun part of my job: thinking about the future,” Ng said. Certainly his department takes care of the day-to-day business of planning and permitting, making sure projects like Enos Ranch and Costco are built in a timely manner. “But our job goes beyond review plans for what’s going to be built tomorrow. We’re thinking 10 years down the line, 20 years,” Ng said. Place making, he said, is his favorite part of the job. “I think people accept places as just being places. I don’t know if they think about how places become what they are. That’s our business,” Ng said. While some cities are reactionary, Ng hopes Santa Maria will focus on becoming more proactive than ever. “We accept that people should develop with big parking lots and stucco, but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. We have to step back and say, ‘What do we want for our community?’ The more we step back and think about what we want for our community, the better we can define that. It’s very easy for no one to do any planning, to step back and let it all happen. But someday, it’ll be 2050 and we’ll say, ‘How did we get here?’ It may not be what we want it to be,” Ng said. Ng first made the shift by reconfiguring his department’s public service desk. “We want people to know we are accessible, approachable. Anyone


Santa Maria Director of Community Development Chuen Ng shops at the Farmers Market with his wife Sharon and sons Rylo, 4, and Tage, 1.

Future businesses at the Enos Rancho development

can call any time and reach a live person. Anyone can call me, the director, directly, and I will pick up the phone myself, or strive to call back within 24 hours,” Ng said. Staff has been working to address customer questions directly and minimize the number of times callers are transferred. Rather than forward customers on to other departments, his employees are encouraged to provide all the information they have available at the service desk. “Generally, there’s a mistrust of government. I believe that’s because most citizens lump federal, state and local governments under

one big umbrella. Local government is distinctly different because you can walk into a building and talk to someone, pick up the phone and talk to someone. We’re accessible. We’ll listen,” Ng said. Ng was also quick to begin developing relationships through the Directors Development Advisory Council, a committee of development community members which meets quarterly to discuss how the city can improve customer service. He has begun working with Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Suzanne Singh and the Santa Maria

Public Airport District to streamline business development, expansion and retention in the valley. “We want to be supportive because we know that with development comes jobs, revenue from property tax generation, revenue from sales tax. So we’re always sensitive to economic development goals as we do day-to-day work in community development,” Ng said. On a recent tour of Hardy Diagnostics, Ng was given an eye full of the operation and facility. “I walked away with a much better understanding of their operations and concerns, and it provided

food for thought about how we can improve our services for them,” Ng said. Walking the streets and living in neighborhoods, experiencing Santa Maria as new residents with his own wife and children, has also given Ng greater insight into the community which has fed his interest in development of a downtown district at Broadway and Main Street. “In the 1970s, someone probably thought the mall was a great idea. That was the thing to do for a lot of communities, but now it just feels outdated,” Ng said. While visiting the food court with his two boys works out great for his kids — “they could have corndogs while I could have sushi” — Ng believes the community is looking for more. “That there were a lot of people at the mall Saturday speaks to the fact that people are still looking for a place to go, for something to do. It’s not your ideal environment of walking down the street with lots of trees and little boutique shops, but it works and we still have new tenants coming in,” Ng said. He sees a future in which the mall and downtown businesses can coexist, perhaps by filling empty parking lots, expanding sidewalks and making improvements to existing streets in coordination with CalTrans, installation of street trees and median trees. “For storefronts, there are some things that don’t look inviting: metal bars or lots of posters or signs that just look dirty. The hard part is generating momentum. Someone has to be the trailblazer so we can regain that reputation of downtown being the place to go. We have a long way to go,” Ng said. Ng is quick to point out he has no plans for Santa Maria to become another San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara. “Santa Maria will take on its own character with a more authentic feel to our Latino community. If we have a downtown, it has to serve them and have shops that cater to them, but it should also include anyone else who lives here. I’m hoping there’ll be a broad diversity of places to eat, places to visit,” Ng said. The road to a vibrant community begins with the belief it can happen. “If people give up on it, it’s not coming back to life, but if people buy into the idea, it has a shot,” Ng said.


City partners with numerous community programs to serve thousands of residents JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer

Rosie Narez knows a thing or two about Santa Maria. The Guadalupe native has worked in five City of Santa Maria Departments, and now serves as the community programs manager overseeing grants and partnerships with myriad nonprofit agencies throughout the city. “I love helping Narez people and I feel like we are definitely doing that every, single day. In my family, we were raised to always give back and be thankful for what you have and must make sure that, whenever possible, you’re able to help someone else out,” Narez said. The Righetti High School, Hancock College and Cal Poly graduate began her career as a news producer working with Telemundo, KSBY and later a San Diego television station. Since 2006 when she joined the city as an emergency services dispatcher, Narez has worked as community outreach coordinator at the recreation and parks department, assisted the fire department in establishing Listos, a Spanish-based emergency preparedness program, and served as grant specialist with the community development department. She also has worked with the finance department and police department, and now, in the Special Projects Division of the community development department. “Dispatching was less stressful than news. I enjoyed my time


From left: Nicole Ridenour, staff, Alicia Vela, staff, Rosie Narez, Community Programs Manager, and Deisy Ruiz, staff, at Oakley Park. there, learned a lot. I’ve always appreciated law enforcement, but as a dispatcher I got a whole new appreciation for anyone in law enforcement. I learned a lot about the city, the people, what you can and can’t do. It was great,” Narez said. That introduction to the inner workings of a city prepared Narez for later city jobs. “What we do now, you have to know every department, every agency in the area. I got to do that working for dispatch and working news, so by the time I got to this job, I already knew a little bit about most everything we do,” Narez said.

In her latest role, Narez is charged with administering $1.3 million in federal and state funding delivered to the city through Community Development Block Grants. Her department also oversees a quarter-century-old home funding program, and writes grants for a variety of city programs. Some of them include business improvement projects, and a residential rehabilitation program in coordination with Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County. “In any given year, we’re juggling about two dozen different agencies with two dozen different

programs and projects, sometimes more, never less. There’s never a dull moment. Every day is a little different. Every year is different. Even though they have different things that need to be done, every agency is different, needs are different, so administration of each project varies,” Narez said. She’s quick to credit her team with the department’s success: Grant Specialist Alicia Vela, Account Clerk Nicole Ridenour and Staff Aid Deisy Ruiz. “We work really hard to provide the best service we can to the residents of Santa Maria. We’re a small team. Everyone has differ-

ent backgrounds, but when we all come together, it meshes really well,” Narez said. Together, they strive to serve as many community programs as possible. “Our goal is to serve the entire community, but really, most of our funding is focused on low and moderate income people. In Santa Maria, we’re over 62 percent lowand moderate-income, so we’re serving them with grant funding,” she explained. CDBG funds, she explained, are divided essentially into two groups: public services and capital. Public services funding is dished out to nonprofits for community benefit programs. For example, Community Action Commission provides senior nutrition which is funded, in large part, through CDBG grants. Capital funding goes to larger projects, like improving parks, rehabilitating homes, or improving land for development. “The best part about what we do, I get paid to learn about all these different agencies, get to work with them, know about what they do and offer, and I have a venue and way to transfer that information and get it out to the public. Some of the grants aren’t that big, but $5,000 or $10,000 really can make a difference for a lot of these agencies,” Narez said. “Most of these agencies do a lot of work with so little. You look at their budget and wonder how they’re able to offer all these amazing services. They make that dollar stretch. Our funding is so important to the sustainability of our agencies that benefit our residents.”

May 2017 | A7


City working collaboratively to curtail homelessness Assistant City Attorney Mollenkopf leading effort JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌


olving the problem of homelessness has become increasingly difficult as multiple agencies strive both to serve homeless people while also maintaining their confidentiality. Now, through partnerships with the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H), Landlord Liaison Project (LLP), and a community task force, the City of Santa Maria reports it is making strides. “The end goal is definitely to help them become self sustainable, clean, sober, mentally healthy on a plan where they are able to take care of themselves and working if they’re able,” said Assistant City Attorney Kristine Mollenkopf who heads the effort. C3H is a quasi-governmental agency formed at the request of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to serve as a liaison between the various service providers throughout the county. Members include representatives from law enforcement, cities, Marian Regional Medical Center, Department of Behavioral Wellness, American Medical Response, and Aegis Treatment Centers. “We want everyone with a seat at the table to share information. It’s been a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. We’re making great progress. We’re talking about issues, not compartmentalizing,” Mollenkopf said. While it was not intended to be a service provider, the agency development turned up gaps in services, from shelter to camping,


Kristine Mollenkopf, Assistant Santa Maria City Attorney, is active with Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H)—to serve as a liaison among all the different service providers throughout the county. counseling to medical care. “The City of Santa Maria has worked hand in hand for a very long time with Good Sam Shelter. In recent years, we’ve discovered a population of homeless people who don’t quality for services. A number of restrictions — they have to be clean, sober, shower regularly — make it difficult for the most recalcitrant individuals to qualify,” Mollenkopf said. A grant from Dignity Health funded the addition of Outreach Coordinator Andrea Sneed and Americorps employees to provide more outreach on the street. Together, the team organizes the care and referral center at Good Sam Shelter and leads 10 Now, a brand-new program focusing on the most vulnerable homeless people in Santa Maria. “There are different modes of working with homeless people. Good Sam has a housing-ready model: you come into the shelter, get clean and sober, get services,

find work, get housing-ready and step into a home,” Mollenkopf explained. 10 Now is a housing-first model which provides the shelter first, then works on matching people with the services they need. “Until they have a roof over their head at night, it’s going to be hard to get to doctor appointments or psych appointments or AA or whatever they need. 10 Now will get the most chronic and vulnerable homeless people into shelter so they get what they need,” Mollenkopf said. While potentially costly, the program is designed to ultimately provide cost savings to communities. “We’re talking about the people who are getting arrested most, hospitalized most, high utilizers of services. They work with case workers who get to know them, find out what they’re willing to accept, get them into housing and wrap-around services to prevent

them from dying on the streets,” Mollenkopf said. Many of Santa Barbara County’s homeless are in their 50s, 60s and early 70s. “If we can get them signed up for social security, whatever they qualify for, at least stable with a monthly income so they can pay rent, then they’re not on the street where the police department and rangers have to cite them and go to court for those citations on a regular basis. Even though they’re still receiving public benefits, they’re not a drain on other public services, so it’s ultimately a cost savings,” Mollenkopf said. Since becoming entrenched in the issues, Mollenkopf said she has become more fluent in the complexity of homelessness. Homeless veterans, for instance, are eligible for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing. Many of the homeless they encounter actually do have incomes, often through Social Security or Disability. “But they have perhaps friends or family members taking advantage of them, cashing their checks for them, but then taking large portions of those check, so we work with Adult Protective Services and other agencies to work that out. A lot of times they have money to pay rent, but it’s going to drugs or alcohol or the families are taking it. It’s difficult,” Mollenkopf said. While a variety of agencies, nonprofits and faith-based organizations strive to help the homeless through myriad programs, laws established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 preclude them from sharing information with each other. “HIPAA makes it difficult to communicate. Behavioral Wellness may have a caseload with

information about high service users, but without a universal waiver, none of us can communicate with each other. It makes it very challenging,” Mollenkopf said. In addition, Mollenkopf has begun a citation clinic for the homeless, staffed two Wednesdays per month during the free lunch program at Salvation Army. There, she makes herself available to answer questions about legal issues. “Typically, it’s open container, drunk in public, camping in the city. I also get questions about renewing visas, landlord/tenant issues, so we offer referrals and guidance and mostly serve as an ear to listen and see what other sorts of issues we or our colleagues down the table can provide for them,” she said. She also works with the Landlord Liaison Project (LLP), a countywide effort that works with landlords to educate them about housing low-income residents. “They casework individuals, make sure they’re clean and sober, and that they have sufficient income to pay rent. If issues come up with tenancy, LLP works to resolve those issues so people who may not typically be ready for stable housing have that ally and level of confidence and trust with the landlord,” Mollenkopf said. “Our goal is to reduce the homeless population to the greatest extent possible. I think there will always be, in our society, people who struggle with mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse. If, when people do suffer from homelessness, we want that to be transitional, not a permanent condition, it’s our community’s responsibility to identify the gaps people fall through, identify their need, find those services and get them off the street as soon as possible,” Mollenkopf said.

Educating residents improves quality of life JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

Sometimes residents break ‌ Santa Maria City codes through pure ignorance. A new resident might leave a trash can in public view even when it’s not garbage day. A driver might arrive home late to find the driveway full and leave his car jutting across the sidewalk. “I just fall to the mindset that the majority of people just don’t know. Sure, we have chronic offenders, but for the most part, people just don’t know,” said Santa Maria Code Compliance Officer Joy Castaing. So the logical solution for Castaing was education. Since 2012, code compliance officers supported by community service unit officers have participated in Santa Maria’s innovative Walk and Talk Program. They dedicate one day per month strictly to walking door to door to talk to residents, answer questions, address neighborhood concerns and hand out English and Spanish cheat sheets of phone numbers residents can call for specific issues. “We talk with anyone willing to answer the door, which is most doors we knock on, about things they can do to help preserve

property value, keep the community safe, help answer questions about things they’re struggling with on their properties. Sometimes there are streetlights out or „„ Garage Conversions—No unpermitted conversion of garage is alabandoned vehicles on the street, lowed for any purpose. but they just didn’t know who to „„ Commercial Vehicles—Vehicles used for commercial purposes may call. We provide them that infornot be stored in public view. Catering, tow, service and semi-trucks mation,” Castaing said. and other commercial vehicles are prohibited. Officers have visited some „„ Parking on Sidewalks—No vehicles of any description may be 8,400 residences since the proparked on or across sidewalks, pedestrian right of way, or public gram began. easements used for landscaping. “We work with everyone we „„ Garage Encroachment—Parking spaces within a garage must reencounter. We don’t issue citamain for car storage and must remain free of other personal proptions. It’s strictly educational,” erty. Castaing said. „„ Weeds—Must be kept under control and cannot overhang or imThe California Association of pede public rights of way. Code Enforcement Officers hon„„ Yard/Garage Sales—Permits are required for all garage/yard sales. ored the program with an award „„ Vehicles—All vehicles, including trailers, must be parked on paved for “Most Innovative Program.” areas, operational and currently registered. “As far as anyone in the asso„„ Personal Property, Trash & Debris—Must be stored out of public ciation is aware of, it’s the first sight except on trash collection day. program of its kind in California,” Important Phone Numbers Castaing said. „„ Abandoned vehicles on the street 928-3781 x2956 The program provides educa„„ Graffiti on fences and walls 925-0951 x2667 tion while also providing officers „„ Streetlight not working, potholes 925-0951 x2804 a break from their daily grind of „„ Overflowing garbage containers 925-0951 x7270 enforcing city codes, writing „„ Abandoned shopping carts 925-0951 x2667 citations and following up with „„ Community Development/Planning 925-0951 x2244 repeat offenders. „„ Building permits 925-0951 x2241 “When people are frustrated, it’s so nice to be able to go out and talk to residents. For us, it’s so neat to be on the education end. anyone. Our first job is always to most frequently addressed were: The last thing we want to do is educate,” Castaing said. trash, rubbish, junk; parking on In 2016, code enforcement re- lawn; parking on or over sideissue citations, bring people in for hearings, or criminally cite ceived 3,701 cases. The violations walk; abandoned or inoperative

City of Santa Maria Neighborhood Community Codes

vehicles; garage conversions; health and safety violations; building without permits; camping/storage in right of way. Among the most troublesome issues for code compliance officers in Santa Maria are vehicles blocking sidewalks. “People don’t understand that when you pull in and block that sidewalk, now you have someone trying to walk past your house, they have to go out into the street, and if they get injured because of that, the homeowner can be held responsible. And it’s just not safe. It only takes a couple of seconds for someone to get into the street and end up injured,” Castaing said. Another frequent safety issue in Santa Maria is unpermitted garage conversions. “Garages weren’t built with the same safety standards as living areas. There are no proper restrooms. Water heaters are located and if they’re vented improperly they can fill the room with carbon monoxide. There’s no heat, so when it gets really cold people pull in propane tanks to make cooking in the garage possible, but there’s no proper venting for the gas. Everything becomes an unsafe living environment,” Castaing said.

Code Enforcement partners with Serve Santa Maria to beautify city JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

00 1

‌Sometimes homeownership becomes overwhelming. Decades of personal property, once cherished, becomes piles of detritus. Foliage grows out of control. It happens so slowly, at times, that property owners don’t know how their homes got so out of control. That’s when Santa Maria District Attorney’s office Code Enforcement Division, in partnership with Serve Santa Maria, steps in to help. Since 2010, Code Compliance Officers Joy Castaing and Michelle Tasseff have worked with Pastor Carl Nielsen to partner overwhelmed property owners with community volunteers to clean up the community. The partnership began with the officers’ ongoing struggles with a resident of Park Street. Her place was overrun with weeds, abandoned vehicles and trash and neighbors who had fed on her place for years. There were further health and safety problems inside the house. Nielsen proposed coupling his Serve Santa Maria volunteer crews with the effort, and a partnership was born. Tasseff said officers typically


Wood and other materials for a new fence sit by the remaining tree in the back yard of a hoarder’s home in Santa Maria as volunteer Danny Brigham cuts fence posts for the new fence. encounter problem properties through complaints. On first approach, officers talk to property owners about the complaints, violations and discuss what help may be needed to get the property back into compliance with city standards. “Our biggest focus and No. 1 criteria is that the property be owner occupied,” Tasseff said. With the owner’s permission, officers provide Nielsen with photos of the proposed project and contact information. Nielsen then meets with the property owner to develop a plan.

Serve Santa Maria volunteer Cary Holt, of Santa Maria, starts to dig a post hole as he and other volunteers repair the fence at a home on West Orchard Street.

“He makes them comfortable with the plan. There’s no cost involved to the property owner. He doesn’t require anything of them. We just want to try to help them. We always want the property owner to be there to be a part of what’s happening. They can stand back and direct, or, if they choose, they can help. They will actually be in control of what happens, so if there’s something they don’t want done, the crew will leave it alone,” Tasseff said. The focus on owner-occupied homes is critical. “This isn’t about money. It’s

not about providing the owner of a rental property a cleanup to let other people in who are just going to trash it again. This is for people who need help, who live in the home, who have just gotten to a point where they don’t know how to deal with it,” Tasseff said. More often than not, the occupant’s appreciation is the greatest reward for the community effort. “When you are actually really interacting with people in their homes and see how appreciative they are, it makes it worth it,” Tasseff said. One resident on the northwest

side of town couldn’t control her tears when she saw the result of 30 volunteers who descended upon her home to clear it in a single day. “She couldn’t ever have done it on her own, and she wouldn’t let me do it, but she let Pastor Carl and Serve Santa Maria help her,” Tasseff said. The effect often spreads through the neighborhood. When one house is cleaned up, fixed up, sometimes even painted, neighbors sometimes follow suit. “When we’re out there working, talking to neighbors, asking questions, they’re very concerned. They’re asking questions. When you don’t maintain a neighborhood and a property, that tends to draw crime. If you go to Country Club, you rarely see problems with criminals there because criminals aren’t drawn to well-maintained properties,” Tasseff said. The extra effort has led to some unique community interactions for code compliance officers. “You meet some really interesting people. You build community. It’s sad when people won’t participate in something like this. It only takes three or four hours at a time and it creates a huge impact not just for the homeowner, but for the community at large,” Tasseff said.

A8 | May 2017


Restoring and preserving a big part of our city’s past CONTRIBUTED REPORT

Preserving ties to our com‌ munity’s history is important to Santa Maria’s identity. That is true for three of the oldest homes in Santa Maria, so far two of which have successfully been restored for new purposes. The third is about to become new again. The City Recreation and Parks Department’s administrative offices occupy the restored and relocated John Long House, a short distance up South McClelland Street from the Santa Maria Natural History Museum in the historic Reuben Hart House. Next, the City has designs to place the 145-year-old Smith-Enos House into a brand-new seven-acre park site in the Enos Rancho development as its focal point. “This new park, highlighting a house that is more than a century old, will give us the opportunity to create something special using a new model for design that hasn’t been done before in Santa Maria,” said Alex Posada, Director of the City’s Recreation and Parks Department. A fundraising campaign will be starting in the future to assist with restoration, purchasing of period-specific furnishing, and creating displays and exhibits. Included in other possible amenities is a garden, a small performing arts venue, and a small orchard. “It will be important to work with our community partners such as the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum to find the appropriate furnishings and exhibits for the house, Posada said. The original Smith-Enos House was constructed by Charles William and Sarah Jane Smith in 1871. The couple birthed and raised their three sons in this home. Charles tried his hand at farming for a bit with his father, and then moved onto local business, setting up a real estate agency, a grain market, and working with the oil Industry. Charles Smith was the tenth Santa Maria City Councilmember. Joe and Mary Enos purchased the property in 1901, where they raised seven children and started


John Long House

Smith-Enos House an agricultural and dairy enterprise. After Joe passed at the age of 65, and Mary when she was 77, the Enos family lived in the house for more than 50 years. The last living daughter of Mary and Joe, Mary Enos Buss, stayed on the property, living in a trailer until she passed at the age of 98 years in 1996. Now the weathered and relo-

cated house waits amid the flurry of construction for the massive Enos Rancho development near Bradley and Betteravia roads that will bring Santa Maria a Lowe’s, a Costco, auto dealerships, restaurants, offices, a school, and housing. This four bedroom, two-bathroom home is weathered and ne-

glected on the outside, but inside is in better condition. Original molding still surrounds some the entries and windows, rich redwood doors created during turn of the 20th century, designed with patterns etched by hand, and a beautiful wrap-around staircase reveal the elegance of the house. Other successful restoration projects in the City include the Reuben Hart House at 412 S. McClelland Street. Built in 1877, the “Hart” house is believed to be the oldest house still standing in Santa Maria. Built by Rueben and Harriet Hart, it is an unadorned Greek revival style. The couple owned many successful businesses in Santa Maria including a blacksmith shop, livery stable, lumber yard, and hotel. The Hart house was originally built on the corner of Main and Broadway. Since its construction, the house has been moved twice. The John Long House at 615 S. McClelland Street, was relocated

in 2004 to make room for the expansion of the Santa Maria Public Library. Originally designed in Victorian–style architecture, the Long House boasted a kitchen, pantry, dining room, a parlor, a library, four bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Believed to have been built by Doane Construction Co. for approximately $4,000, the home was elaborate by any standards. John Long moved to the Santa Maria area and began working for the Hart brothers. He later purchased Hart’s equipment and opened his own blacksmith shop on the corner of East Main and McClelland streets. His craft and thriving career allowed him to build the spacious home, now known as the John Long House. Built in 1884 at 419 S. McClelland Street, the house served as a family home to John and Annie Long and three generations of descendants up until 1960.

Enos Park set to get underway next year LOGAN B. ANDERSON‌

‌A highly-anticipated commercial project that crews are currently working on will not only bring new shopping, dining and living options to the region, it will work to preserve history and provide a place where people can come together and learn. The Enos Rancho development is growing on land once worked by the Enos family in the area of Betteravia Road and Highway 101. To build a development that will include a new Lowe’s home improvement store, Costco, car dealers and a more than 300 unit apartment complex, a portion of the property had to be set aside to be used as a public park. According to Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department leaders, plans for the park include preserving the Enos family home, planting an orchard and building a barn. “The park itself is funded mostly by fees paid by the residential component of the Enos


Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department officials recently released a concept plan of the Enos Ranch House and Gardens set to be a part of the Enos Rancho development. Work could begin on the park next year. Ranchos project, which is in the plan review stage now. So construction on the park itself will not begin until the residential component is completed, early 2018,” said Recreation and Parks

Department Director Alex Posada. City officials hope the Enos Ranch House and Gardens will be a place for weddings, gatherings, and educational opportunities. The old ranch house, which was

saved and moved from one corner of the property to the other will be restored and stand proudly again along the newly redesigned Bradley Street. Small gardens for visitors to stroll through will flank the house. The park will extend to a large open area at the rear of the house with a large oval-shaped great lawn with shaded promenade. The park will have a parking lot along its northern boundary, with access from Bradley Street and yet-to-be-built Shepard Drive. Park builders will construct a barn in the northwest corner of the open area to be used as an outdoor classroom or a place of festivals and other gatherings. An orchard and vegetable garden will also be planted on the site. The residential component, the Easton Plaza Apartments, recently received planned development plan approval from the city’s planning commission. The complex, being built by the Towbes Group, will consist of more than 300 rental units. When

complete the Towbes Group will pay more than $700,000 in park impact fees which will go to pay for the development of the Enos Ranch House and Gardens Park. Like a lot of other projects in the city, the Enos Rancho Development will also have to set aside space for a flood control water retention basin. Many similar areas in the city are used by soccer and other athletic teams as practice and green space. Though the space will be there, it will not be a part of the city’s park plans. “The retention basin is not part of the park design and is required to be completed along with the commercial development that will consist of planting grass, installing an irrigation system and maybe a few trees,” Posada said. Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.

Good things are happening at the Santa Maria Public Library CONTRIBUTED REPORT

‌INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS: The Santa Maria Public Library opens a world of possibilities and brings the community together by offering a wide variety of free resources and innovative programs for all ages. Ongoing adult program offerings include “The Valley Reads,” a book discussion and coffee club held on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Adult Coloring is held twice per month. Game Night is held once a month, providing patrons with stress relief and friendship. Makerspaces for those who want to create craft and technology items by hand are coming soon. For more information, please call the library at 925-0994. TEEN VOLUNTEERING: The Library has a thriving teen volunteer program where teens can gain experience while helping others.

The popular adult coloring program is held twice A literacy tutor and a student review sentence structure. a month. Every year, more than 100 teen volunteers complete over 900 hours of volunteer work doing a wide variety of activities from helping keep the Library Youth Services room clean and organized, to helping out with programs for

younger kids. Teen volunteers are being sought for the summer. Call the Library to find out more about adult and teen volunteer programs. LITERACY: Central Coast Literacy Council (CCLC) provides free English literacy services including


The Library has a thriving teen volunteer program.

one-to-one tutoring, community-based center instruction and workplace English literacy partnerships. CCLC is a non-profit organization located on the library’s first floor. Through a partnership with the Library and the Rotaract Club of

the Santa Maria Valley, CCLC will be expanding its services. On May 25th, the partners will be launching Bi-Lingo, a Spanish/English Conversational Group. For more information, please call 925-0994 extension 2837.

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PRIDE Allan Hancock College

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B2 | May 2017


Whatever the cost of attending a university, cut it in half by starting at Allan Hancock College. Complete the first two years of a four-year degree at Hancock, and save yourself half the cost of a bachelor’s degree. Cut those costs even more by accessing the financial aid available to you. More than 60 percent of students at Hancock receive financial aid. You could be one of those students. These are funds you do not have to pay back. Apply for the BOG and you could have your enrollment fee waived. Complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) and be eligible to receive up to $8,000 annually while at Hancock.

Don’t wait!

Registration for summer and fall 2017 classes is available now! Summer classes begin June 5 & 12. Fall classes begin August 21. For class search and registration information, visit 00 1

May 2017 | B3


Hancock students share lessons, dreams for future Each year, 11,000 students attend credit classes at Allan Hancock College. The following students are a few of the many who have demonstrated incredible skill, perseverance, and promise in their chosen majors. They embody the college motto, “Start here. Go anywhere.”


Hancock exposed me to amazing individuals who nurtured and directed me to grow, as well as expand and pursue my dreams.

Espindola joined a Santa Maria gang when he was 13 years old, and spent the next three years incarcerated. After attending the Los Prietos Boys Camp and holding a few odd jobs, he realized he needed to find a fulfilling career. Espindola discovered himself and his passion for helping others at Allan Hancock College. He completed the college’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) program and will receive an associate degree in liberal studies this spring. He is transferring in the fall to San Francisco State to pursue a psychology degree. Espindola plans to become a physician’s assistant to continue helping others.


Academically, my instructors and the counselors have been incredible at Hancock. I am so grateful I competed in two different sports. I’ve really grown as a person at Hancock and learned to give it my all every day in everything that I do.

After graduating from Hancock’s Law Enforcement Training Academy, Yee will serve as a police officer with the Santa Maria Police Department. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in criminology, law and society. After spending a few years as a program assistant at a Christian youth camp, he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. Yee hopes to one day become a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) operator.

A mother of three and a full-time student, Burns is currently majoring in recreation management and event planning. She has served on the Associated Student Body Government Board of Directors as student outreach director for two years and also works as a student ambassador representing the college across the community. Between raising a family, taking classes, and working diligently on campus, she also finds time to volunteer in the community through a number of organizations.

Valdez was first exposed to Allan Hancock College in the summer of 2014 when she completed the Law Enforcement Explorer Academy as a teenager. She returned to Hancock to major in administration of justice where she learned about the dispatcher course offered by the college. Now as a 9-1-1 dispatcher student, Valdez is excited to play such an important role in emergency response.



Allan Hancock College is a safe place for all students, especially DREAM students to learn and it supports us in every possible way. The college has helped me take life into my own hands and be able to take control of my own destiny. Hancock provides the resources for students to grow as individuals and the guidance to the right path of success.

Born in Mexico, Baez migrated with her family to the U.S. when she was just four years old and is the first person in her family to attend college. Baez is currently the president of Allan Hancock College’s DREAM Club, which helps undocumented students find resources and support to continue their education. In addition, she serves on the Associated Student Body Government Board of Directors as the director of student advocacy. She plans to continue her education in psychology and work with young kids as a school psychologist.

MICHELE BURNS Here at Allan Hancock College I have I’ve been able to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself and so much more. I’m confident that if you believe in yourself, you can overcome any obstacle!

Thanks to Allan Hancock College and its many encouraging and inspirational instructors, I decided becoming a 9-1-1 dispatcher will be the first step in my law enforcement career.

Naugle played soccer and ran track for two years at Allan Hancock College. The Santa Maria native qualified for SoCal Regionals and the State Track Meet last season. The business administration major has a 4.0 cumulative grade point average at Hancock. Naugle admitted it took a lot of hard work and perseverance to compete in two sports and be a full-time student. She plans to transfer to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the fall. She plans to pursue a career in merchandising or marketing in the fashion industry.

JASON YEE The Law Enforcement Training Academy staff, facility, and curriculum are outstanding and prepare recruits to meet and exceed the challenges presented by a career in law enforcement. The instruction we receive is second to none.


A lot of people doubted me before I came to Hancock, and my grades were so poor before college. I remember having a 0.6 grade point average in high school. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished with all the support I have received at Hancock. I want to make an impact on the community and continue to make Hancock and my family proud.



I really see Allan Hancock College as a giant stepping stone. I came here with a focus on science and physics, but attending the college has allowed me to pursue my other passions as well and meet great friends. It has been the greatest experience!

Full of energy and passionate about music, Barcus and some of his friends realized that the college didn’t have a jazz or a pep band, so they took matters into their own hands forming a band that is 100 percent student run. Barcus serves as the club’s musical director and conductor and the band currently performs at student athletic events and activities. At the end of this spring, he will graduate with an assortment of degrees including communication and music.

DeAlba grew up as a youth in at-risk situations but was able to turn his hardships and personal experiences into success. DeAlba was a founding member of the Students Organizing for Advocacy and Retention (SOAR) Club on campus that is dedicated to improving student life at the Lompoc Valley Center. He also helped to expand the college’s Food Share program to Lompoc to provide free food to more than 500 students and their families. DeAlba is one of only 50 students in the country to receive the prestigious Coca-Cola Gold Scholarship. He plans to become a career and guidance counselor with at-risk students.

So many people at Hancock have made a huge difference in my life and I want to do the same for others. My advice to any students starting out would be that when you set a date on your dream it becomes reality. If by that date it hasn’t been realized, it doesn’t mean it’s not for you. It just means you’ve got to change the date. Keep pursuing your dreams, only then will you find out what you’re truly made of!

As the first person in her family to receive a high school diploma, Pompa was encouraged by fellow workers in the lettuce fields to enroll in classes at Hancock. Now as a photography major, her passion is to help other people succeed and know their true potential. Her future goal is to earn a master’s degree and become an academic counselor. Pompa received the prestigious Latino Legacy Award earlier this year for her support of the Latino community.

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Incoming freshmen register during the inaugural Hancock Hello event last August.

Hancock College helping students find their passion Registration process, programs provide something for everyone JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

Connecting early with stu‌ dents, helping them discover their passions and reach their goals are the driving forces today behind Allan Hancock College. “We want to create an experience for students that this is a second home for them. We want them to graduate. We want them to reach whatever that end goal is for each student,” said Yvonne Teniente-Cuello, the college’s dean of student services. To that end, Hancock College has expanded its reach into area high schools, created a streamlined registration process that covers both summer and fall courses starting May 1, and developed myriad students services to include support groups, health support, tutoring and more. “Sometimes there’s a misconception that college is not for certain students, that it’s not affordable or not attainable. In fact, there are a lot of resources and support services for students in addition to the programs we offer,” Associate Superintendent/ Vice President, Student Services Nohemy Ornelas said. Instructor Mike Messina, center, talks to students during a photography class offered through Community Education at Hancock College. Among those are free tutoring services, math and English labs, “This is why I love counseling services, health serAllan Hancock College. vices, a broad spectrum of specialized programs targeting foster We will do whatever youth, male support groups, serit takes to get you vices for students with disabilenrolled, and we will ities all in addition to student clubs, a veterans’ services cengo to bat, we will ter, student life and leadership advocate. We really go opportunities, mentorship programs, athletics and an ambasabove and beyond.” sador program. “This is why I love Allan HanYvonne Teniente-Cuello, the cock College. We will do whatcollege’s dean of student services ever it takes to get you enrolled, and we will go to bat, we will advocate. We really go above and Getting the jump start‌ beyond,” Teniente-Cuello said. Hancock College Academic Counselor Ricardo Navarrette speaks during a New Student Orientation at Righetti In recent years, Hancock has changed its registration process High School. Reaching Out‌ to include both summer and fall class registration May 1 in an efHancock College’s influence on In addition, the college has de- day, high school time. The class credit,” Teniente-Cuello said. Both Teniente-Cuello and Or- fort to create a seamless transfer potential future students begins veloped programs that allow high is free, books are free, there are as early as elementary school. On school students to begin their no student fees and students nelas said talking early about ca- from high school to college. any given day, Ornelas said, 1,500 college careers tuition-free even have the same access to tutoring, reer goals and college options is a “Too often, we hear students to 2,000 elementary, junior high before wrapping up their high math lab, writing lab and library key to long-term student success. say they’ve had four years of and high school students attend school diplomas. as any college student,” Teni- Through Hancock’s Get Focused, high school, they’re excited to be classes and special programs on Concurrent enrollment courses ente-Cuello explained. Stay Focused program, freshmen able to get out there, work more Through its College Now pro- at Lompoc, Cabrillo, Santa Ynez hours, and once they have those campus. provide college credit for classes “Our overall mission and pur- taken by high school students gram, students in ninth through and Orcutt Academy high schools hours, it’s hard to give them up to pose is to change the odds for our during their regular school days at 12th grades may expand upon begin discussing potential college continue their education,” Teniente-Cuello said. community. Research shows that their regular high school campus. that program to attend classes at courses of study and majors. “Too many students here have students begin forming percep“You might take Film at the Hancock College campuses. In addition, she said, many tions of themselves at a really Righetti High School from some“Unlike the Advanced Place- never really looked at majors, or students in northern Santa Barearly age, so we have lots of stu- one with the same credential they ment classes where you’re not career, or what does that mean. bara County are the first in their dent here all the time taking part would have here at community guaranteed to get college credit We need to start that discussion families to graduate high school. in targeted activities that are age college and you get college credit unless you pass the AP exam, if in high school, and that’s where Many of them would be the first appropriate and really engage as well as high school credit. It’s you take our concurrent enroll- Hancock helps,” Teniente-Cuello students,” Ornelas said. during the regular high school ment courses, you receive college said. Please see HANCOCK, Page B7

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Some Hancock students who are transferring to four-year schools in fall 2016 pose for a picture during College Signing Day 2016.

Allan Hancock Foundation celebrating 40 years of filling needs JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

Agnes Grogan was a dance ‌ teacher, a choreographer, a mother and wife not to be underestimated. Where others saw problems, she found solutions. When students faced financial hardship, she found support. In 1977, she became the first executive director of the Allan Hancock Foundation, which celebrates 40 years of service this fall. “Sitting in the counseling center at Hancock College, I saw this tremendous need not only for the poorest of the poor—there were other avenues for them—but for lower income and even middle-income students from larger families who were struggling to help their students get through Hancock and have access to higher education. We had so many students in the community who were very capable, so this frustrated me,” Grogan recalled. Four decades on, that foundation and the community that supports it have provided millions of dollars for scholarships, programs, projects, and faculty and staff development. According to public records, the foundation reported more than $13.9 million in income in 2013, the most recent year available. In 2016 alone, the foundation provided $546,000 in scholarships to 375 students. “I’m delighted. Why wouldn’t I be? It’s become a much bigger thing. When you begin these Students celebrate Diversity Day at Hancock College. things, you never know where it’s going to go, but when one sees how much it’s grown, how many students it’s been able to fund, it gives me great joy,” Grogan said.


Once a teacher, always a teacher‌ Grogan was teaching at College of the Sequoias in Visalia in 1960 when her husband, Bob Grogan, got the call to serve as Santa Maria’s assistant city manager under Frank Fargo. “The city was set to triple in size in a span of three years. He would get a lot of experience with that kind of growth; parks, streets, water. Someone had to do it,” Agnes recalled. They packed up their children, then ages 4 and 1, and headed for the coast. Try as she might, Agnes couldn’t bring herself to stay at home. “I never was a stay-at-home mom. It just wasn’t my thing,” she said. Hearing she already had a secondary teaching credential, Santa Maria High School rang her up and brought her onboard with 32 additional new hires that year. Among them was Donovan Marley, who would establish PCPA shortly thereafter. Five years later, Agnes established the dance program at Hancock College in support of PCPA, provided dance instruction and



Hancock instructors Dustin Nouri and DK Philbin enterain the crowd during the Friday Night Science event in May 2016.

Six students receive AIM scholarships to help transition from noncredit to credit classes at Hancock College. choreography. She also took on roles in the college’s counseling office and served as dean of women.

Finding a need, and filling it‌ When she heard about students struggling to make it through their earliest college years, Agnes stepped up. “I kept looking for money to fund these students,” she said. She worked for more than three years in an effort to establish a foundation. She reached out to the community in efforts to es-

tablish scholarships. She tried to leverage money from a fund established largely by a $300,000 grant augmented by a $15,000 donation from a former dean of women, Ruth Higgins. “There was the money, drawing interest. I thought we should siphon off that interest to help students continue at Hancock and transfer on to higher education, but we had a conservative board that didn’t want to let go. It was a hard sell until Ann Foxworthy came on (as superintendent and president), and she saw the whole Please see FOUNDATION, Page B7


English as a Second Language students respond to their teacher in class offered through Hancock College’s Community Education program.

B6 | May 2017



Students put their models to the test during Hancock College for Kids’ science and math class offered through Community Education.

Community education classes help get feet in the door JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

Allan Hancock College is ‌ driven to connect the community with higher education. Nowhere is that more evident than in its community education program. “We’re working right now to develop bridges so students who start with the non-credit program can continue onto a credit, vocational pathway as their interest is piqued,” said Sofia Ramirez Gelpi, Hancock’s dean for academic affairs. Hancock College offers hundreds of noncredit classes serving the entire community, from English as a Second Language to flower arranging, workplace readiness to viticulture. There are courses for personal development, lifelong learning, enrichment as well as services and programs for children. “In Santa Barbara County, 25 percent of our population doesn’t have a high school diploma. This is where Allan Hancock College comes in with community education programs, elementary and secondary basic skills, GED program, noncredit ESL classes, citizenship classes and vocational education,” Ramirez Gelpi said. Imagine, she says, a young mother expanding upon her own childcare by earning a childcare certificate, then state licensing. Imagine that same woman moving from caring for her own children to making a business out of taking care of other people’s children while still raising her own. Look further down the road and imagine that woman discovering a love for early childhood education, continuing her education to earn a degree in childhood studies and winning gainful employment as a supervisor for a childhood care center. “It’s all about meeting community need. We’re trying to reenergize what we’ve been doing by going out in the community, finding out what the community needs, and how we can make it better,” Ramirez Gelpi said. According to the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, education ties directly to individual, and thereby community, health. According to its Education and Health Policy, “…better educated individuals are less likely to self-report a past diagnosis of an acute or chronic disease, less likely to die from the most common acute and chronic diseases, and are less likely to report anxiety or depression. The magnitude of the relationship between education and health varies across conditions, but it is generally large.” Ramirez Gelpi said additional studies have shown ties between


The lobby of the Student Services building on the Santa Maria campus of Hancock College is shown.

“In Santa Barbara County, 25 percent of our population doesn’t have a high school diploma. This is where Allan Hancock College comes in ...” Ramirez Gelpi continued education and improved personal and community economies. “The more educated our community is, the better our community will be. A more educated person will make more money, have better positions, move from renting homes to buying them, become more engaged in the community, more committed, have more doors they can open in terms of opportunity,” she said. Projects working with the county’s prison population are designed to provide skills that will reduce recidivism. “The lower the education, the lower the literacy. We’re trying to break that cycle of violence that brings them back into the sys-

tem again. Education does that,” Ramirez Gelpi said. Increased education can also mean increased job opportunity. “If I can barely speak English, there are only so many jobs I can get, but now that I can speak English, can work, say, as a receptionist, work a clerical job. If I include computer skills, my opportunities for an even better job have increased,” Ramirez Gelpi said. She said workplaces are increasingly interested in employees who come in with certificates proving they’ve been educated in skills related to the job on hand. Certificate programs coming down the pike include baking, catering and welding. “Employers want to see those certificates, and, especially for people who don’t have a high school or college diploma, those certificates become badges,” Ramirez Gelpi said. Specialized programs are in the works for certificates deCONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY KEVIN BOLAND, HANCOCK COLLEGE‌ signed to fulfill northern Santa Barbara County workplace needs Children of all ages take a break from their sewing machines during a College of Kids’ sewing class offered through Community Education in Please see COMMUNITY, Page B7 June, 2013.

May 2017 | B7



Alredo Rodriguez, left, Tiffanie Delaney, center, and Bret Matthews, right, recite the Code of Ethics at the Law Enforcement Training Academy graduation.

Hancock From B4

in the family to attend college. “The goal is really to connect with students right up front to let them know about options of service and the opportunities they have by coming to college. We want to get them registered for classes and on the path toward degrees or certificates or moving on to four-year programs before they start making other plans,” Teniente-Cuello said. The narrow window of time directly after high school graduation is critical in student development, she added. “Some come in thinking they can’t do it. A lot of it is that they just don’t know, don’t have the access to roll models as maybe my kids. A lot of times, we are those role models here. A lot of our counselors are first-generation,

from our community. We understand what it’s like to be afraid, unsure, doubting yourself. We’re here to say you’re going to do it,” Teniente-Cuello said.

Steps to Enrollment‌

“We try to make it easy,” Teniente-Cuello said. Students are invited to apply online via the college website where they share basic information before attending a new-student orientation session. Hancock staff then uses either results from START assessment tests or high school diplomas to determine course placement for initial English and math courses. And, finally, students sit down with an academic counselor to develop an education plan. All students are also strongly encouraged to apply for financial aid. Estimating the cost of attending Hancock College is straight-

forward at $46 per unit, or about $600 per semester for students carrying a full load of classes. “Surprisingly, 80 percent of our students do qualify for some sort of financial aid. We can also look at income, appeals, extenuating circumstances. Maybe they owe on medical expenses or bills. Our financial aid department can take a look at that,” Teniente-Cuello said.

Certificates to Degrees to University Transfers‌ “Even if students are not thinking right away about earning a college degree, we want them to know they have options and provide the opportunity and provide them the tools to make that decision,” Teniente-Cuello said. In addition to associate degrees, Hancock College offers an ever-expanding library of cer-

tificate programs. In addition, it runs police and fire academies that feed local departments. “They may say they just want a certificate. They want to go to cosmetology school or be a mechanic or legal secretary or any other kind of vocational program. That’s OK. Students need a certificate, a milestone. Once they attain that, they may be able to see the next degree, associates, is only a few classes away. Then, you know what? I think I can go on. Once they get around people with degrees, the trajectory changes. They don’t shortchange themselves,” Teniente-Cuello said. She also sees students returning to college to change careers. Some may already have degrees while others may just be beginning theirs. “They’re 40 or 50 saying, ‘Maybe I should have stayed in school.’ Or they’re students who

maybe felt they were forced to take a certain job or role when they were younger, but have found it’s really not making them happy. They come back to school to change their careers or to be role models for their children,” Teniente-Cuello said. She noted one student who, after a fruitful career in public service, dropped it all to return to Hancock to study viticulture. “At the end of the day, you just want your children to be happy, to follow their passion, their bliss, to find their purpose in life. The studies show the more education you have, the more money you’ll make. We want to make sure students are aware they have choices and they’re not limiting themselves,” she said. To learn more about Allan Hancock College, begin the registration process and check out course offerings, visit

Foundation From B5

picture,” Agnes recalled. Together, they redesigned the foundation to expand beyond Hancock board members, faculty and staff to include an array of community members. Today, businessmen, bankers, educators and more serve on the foundation’s 29-member board of directors. In addition, there are two trustee representatives, five college representatives and four staff members. Their first fund-raising event was a well-attended scholarship evening, Agnes recalled. Among the guests was Marie Wineman, a San Luis Obispo County-based, professional golfer and, it turned out, a significant supporter of higher education. “When I approached her, she said, ‘When you get to the deadline, tell me how much you need.’ I didn’t know whether I should ask for $1,000 or $10,000. When the time came, I asked for $10,000 and she gave it. Every year, for years, she would say the same thing, ‘How much do you need?’ I would tell her how much I thought we had, how much I thought would help, and she gave it,” Agnes recalled. There were countless others in CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY KEVIN BOLAND, HANCOCK COLLEGE‌ whose name some 200 separate Academic Dean Yvonne Teniente-Cuello welcomes students attending the Estudiantes Unidos Community Education ESL Event. scholarship funds have been developed. Among them, Patricia Jean Boyd, a well-known piano “All my life, I’ve been an advocate for students. been good to the foundation,” students than not need financial teacher at the college who left she said. aid. The cost of college is astro$10 million to $12 million to the Today, more students than not need financial Though she retired in 1988, Ag- nomical,” she said. foundation upon her death in aid. The cost of college is astronomical.” nes has remained an advocate for Allan Hancock Foundation 2013. Others have included Joe Allan Hancock College Founda- will celebrate its 40th anniver‌Agnes Grogan, dance teacher and choreographer tion, the college, higher education sary with a gala dinner Saturday, Olivera, Alfred and Rosalind Perlman, Angie and Charles Pasquini, and its students. Oct. 21. For details, visit www. Anna Ames, Art Mendez, Arthur Butch Simas, Aaron Allen, Charles deron. “All my life, I’ve been an ad-, and the families of and Virginia Adams, and Ana Cal“The community has always vocate for students. Today, more tion/40th.php.


interpreting. “There’s a massive need for From B6 individuals to take care of the elderly and sick, for help after surincluding in-home personal care, gery. This program would address workforce readiness for peo- a need in the community, but for ple with disabilities, and court students on the waiting list for the

nursing program who see the romantic side of being a nurse, this would help them understand what really goes on,” Ramirez Gelpi said. Ultimately, it’s all about making community education more accessible to everyone.

“People are interested in learning, but sometimes when they hear the classes are tied to the college, they think, ‘Oh, no! There’s grades! There’s tests!’ But it’s not about that. For a lot of these classes, there’s no tuition, no fees

or minimal fees, and it’s not about passing tests. For a student who starts with these classes, then transfers on to credit programs, and ultimately degree programs, it’s incredible,” Ramirez Gelpi said.

B8 | May 2017





Register for both terms now! Summer classes begin June 5 & 12. Fall classes begin August 21. For class search and registration information visit, .

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Real Estate

PRIDE Sponsor Williams Homes

‘We believe in our product and designs and workmanship and overall quality.’ Steve Johnson, vice president of construction for Williams Homes, Central Coast division

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C2  |

May 2017


The Gardens offers homes with similar family rooms.

Williams Homes offering eclectic style, neighborhood feel on Central Coast JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

‌Two of Santa Maria’s newest housing developments are welcoming families home, and their builders couldn’t be more proud. “It floats my boat. It’s what I love to do. Every time I do it, I feel good that we build a great product and it’s better than most of the alternatives people have,” said Steve Johnson, vice president of construction for Williams Homes, Central Coast division. “We believe in our product and designs and workmanship and overall quality.” The Gardens, bordered by Blosser Road and Biscayne Street, between Sonya and Carmen Lanes, features cottages and clusters of single-family, detached homes ranging in size from 1,450- to 2,250 square feet. The 126-home development across the road from one of the valley’s newest elementary schools features two different product types, seven floor plans, a recreation center, swimming pool, spa, as well as covered community patio area and outdoor dining area complete with fireplace. “It’s a really lovely community,” Johnson said. In an effort to move away from the cookie cutter homes of the housing tracts of yore, Williams Homes has incorporated eclectic styles into its latest development. “I’d call it a California eclectic style, a mixture of development styles: Spanish, cottage, Italian and Craftsman. Every home has its own, unique architectural element,” Johnson said. The intent is to reach back to the days when homes were individually planned, designed and constructed to meet varying tastes. “There was a time when each lot would be built separately and therefore had individual personalities. This is a way of getting back to that,” Johnson said. The Gardens homes do share some similarities among two basic product types. The first three floor plans are repeated in the smaller cottages which typically face the street with an alley behind each home. Four additional plans are shared in the cluster homes, designed so four homes come together to form a group with two in the back sharing a driveway. “The advantage of cluster homes is that they give the neighborhood a warmer feel, a more neighborly feel. It gives everyone a little more yard than they would otherwise have because it’s an efficient use of space, and it breaks up the line of homes you normally see all in a row. It’s a different feel from the street,” Johnson explained. The design is held together by

The Gardens homes feature lofts.

The Gardens homes offer unique features.

The Gardens homes feature a large master bedroom.

shared color schemes, complimentary roof styles and other details chosen by colorists and designers. “There’s a wide variety of elevation styles, plan styles and color treatments,” Johnson said. The development is one of several that Williams Homes has completed on the Central Coast in recent years. In addition to development of projects in Vandenberg Village, Atascadero and Paso Robles, Williams Homes has sold the last of its 139-unit Harvest Glen project just a stone’s throw from The Gardens. “The people have all moved in

older home. We’re building good things into them that didn’t exist 20 years ago. They’re much more efficient than in the past as far as electricity use, heating costs, cooling and comfort. All those things tie together, even in this coastal community with moderate types of weather,” Johnson said. Though it’s never extremely hot nor extremely cold on the Central Coast, Williams Homes include high-value insulation, quality windows and other materials that maximize energy efficiency, he said. As if the shiny new homes

to their new homes at Harvest Glen. It’s a complete project,” Johnson said. These Williams Homes communities are designed with first-time homebuyers in mind. They’re not too big, nor too expensively designed while also maintaining an aesthetic in quality of design and use of materials. “We try to make our homes feel rich and attractive,” Johnson said. Williams Homes projects also feature modern efficiency in design and construction. “I’m a firm believer that a new home, the way they’re being built at this time, is better than an

themselves weren’t enough of a draw, Johnson points to the Central Coast itself as a selling point. “The weather and conditions here are just so enjoyable, beautiful, comfortable. There’s clean, cool air all the time. It’s a great place from an environmental point of view,” Johnson said. “The culture of the Central Coast is much different from, say, the greater Bay Area or greater L.A. area. It’s a more relaxed and sociable kind of culture here that I think is very noticeable for someone who comes from a city. It’s a great place to live and raise a family.” 00 1

May 2017 | C3


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402 Marian Dr HANCOCK PARK Beautiful 4 bedroom, bonus room, game room, 3 car garage. 3,578 square foot home on large 16,553 square foot corner lot. $725,000

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801 Rain Tree Ct SUNRISE HILLS Newly Built Home, 4 bedrooms 2 baths, Wood Floors, Vaulted Ceilings, Quartz Counter tops, Soft Close Cabinets, Tankless Water Heater. $498,900

Paul & michelle RodRiguez

REal EsTaTE ConsulTanT bre# 01416809 • 01776165

c:805-478-5504 c:805-714-7820

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Keller Williams Coastal Valley

Are you relocating to the Santa Maria Valley

600 Amber LAne, SAntA mAriA -

Very attractive single story home in nice neighborhood. Lot’s of upgrades starting from tile flooringremodeled kitchen with breakfast bar and granite counter tops -all new stainless steel appliances- beautiful kitchen cabinets have all new facings with pull out and self closing drawers- recessed lighting-large pantry area. New plantation shutters- both bathrooms have been remodeled-stepdown living room with bay window. New lighting in bedrooms with new closet doors. Newer roof and Solar panels. Nice backyard with covered patio and built-in There is just too much to list, this is a must see! $445,000

and looking to reduce the high cost of buying a home? Or already a resident seeing a new home? Jeannie Lambert is not only an agent with Keller Williams Coastal Valley but a member of the Coastal Housing Partnership. This exciting program returns 20% of the sales commissions plus other discounts to buyers and helps local employers attract and retain valued employees. To find out more information please call Jeannie today.

2435 eLLiott Drive, orCUtt

This beautiful home can be found at 2435 Elliott Drive it is approx. 1942 sq.ft. has three bedrooms and two baths. It is in a very desirable neighborhood and has a low maintenance backyard. Listed at $489,000

CominG Soon Jeannie Bassett-Lambert, Realtor BRE#01360443 (805) 714-6444

2 neW LiStinGS in tHe orCUtt AreA.

CALL For more inFo

C4 | May 2017


May 2017 | C5


new homes designed for

you. The Gardens’ seven brand new model homes are now open! This limited release is your only opportunity to secure Grand Opening pricing at The Gardens – Santa Maria’s newest, gated community. Resident only pool and parks, distinguished schools, proximity to shops and services, and quick access to Highway 101 combine to make The Gardens the place you’ll want to call home.

The Clusters

The Cottages

2,046 to 2,249 Sq Ft 5 Bedrooms & 3 Baths From the $400,000s

1,446 to 1,705 Sq Ft 3 & 4 Bedrooms & 2.5 Baths From the $300,000s

Gated Living • Swimming Pool & Parks 805.631.5876

1850 S. Biscayne Street, Santa Maria, CA 93458 •

Prices effective date of publication, subject to prior sale and availability. Square footage is approximate. Williams Homes is a California Broker, License no. 01449126.

Join the VIP Buyer List Now!

C6 | May 2017


new homes designed for

The Gardens, Santa Maria – Grand Opening!

you. TOUR and COMPARE…there’s no better time to discover all that you gain when Williams brings you home. Visit us at any of our current locations or on the web at

NOW SELLING SENNA, Azusa Tri-Level Townhomes From the $400s

INDIGO, Baldwin Park Modern Homes • Gated From the $500s

THE GARDENS, Santa Maria 7 Floorplans • Grand Opening! From the $300s

TOVARA, Sylmar Luxury Townhomes From the $400s

WOODRIDGE, Atascadero Gated Townhomes From the $300s

PHANTOM TRAIL, Santa Clarita Hilltop Homes • Closeout! From the $900s ARBOR RIDGE, Paso Robles Detached Homes From the $300s

COMING SOON CIELO, Sylmar Opening 2017

RESEDA RANCH, Reseda Opening 2017

BRIDEWELL, Highland Park Previewing 2018

THE FARM, Ventura Opening 2017

ECHO TWO FOUR, Highland Park Previewing 2018

ROSEWOOD, Santa Paula Previewing 2018 24 ON CENTRE, San Pedro Previewing 2018

SALES OFFICES OPEN DAILY • Prices effective date of publication, subject to prior sale and availability. Models do not reflect racial preference. Williams Homes is a California Broker, License no. 01449126. 00 1

May 2017 | C7



WANTS YOU HOMETOWN HEROES EXCLUSIVE INCENTIVE Active and Retired Military• Service Doctors • Nurses • Firefighters • Police Officers • First Responders

Shea Hines® is more than a place to live. It’s knowing you’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. And for many of our owners, they wonder why they ever put off making the move. Try something unexpected. Know your neighbors. Experience a true sense of community. Be part of something bigger. Once you’re here, you’ll understand why everyone is asking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

CALL 877.298.1534

HOMETOWN HEROES EXCLUSIVE INCENTIVE If you or your spouse is a Hometown Hero, Shea Homes® at Rice Ranch is offering you an exclusive incentive. As a thank you for your service, you’ll receive 1% OFF THE BASE PRICE OF YOUR HOME to be used in design options and upgrades. with proof of service when you purchase a new home at Shea Homes® at Rice Ranch.

Up to a $5,000 incentive*! SHEA HOMES ® AT RICE RANCH Orcutt, CA | Homes from the low $400’s + A MEMBER OF THE


Sale offer valid only on select homes. Offer subject to change at any time without notice. Design center credit has no cash value, is non-transferable and may not be combined with any other offer. Buyers of Shea Homes are not required to use Shea Mortgage as their lender. Buyers may select any lending institution for the purpose of securing mortgage financing and are not limited to Shea Mortgage. NMLS ID #40397, CalBRE #01197403. Shea Homes® Marketing Company (CalBRE #01378646); Construction: Shea Homes Limited Partnership (CSLB #672285). Shea Homes at Rice Ranch is a community for people of all ages. This is not an offer of real estate for sale, nor a solicitation of an offer to buy, to residents of any state or province in which registration and other legal requirements have not been fulfilled. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Equal Housing Opportunity. 00 1

C8 | May 2017


For Your Security and Comfort ... We are licensed, bonded and insured. All Owner Operating and Tenant Security Deposit funds are kept in secure Client Trust counts. Our service areas range from San Luis Obispo County to Santa Barbara County.

We Manage ...

• Single Family Homes; and provide complete, tailored, worry free property management services. • Multi-Family Properties (Apartments / Condos); and fully understand and provide all levels of property management services specifically geared to the nuances of multi-family dwellings. • Commercial, Vacation and Industrial Properties Leasing and Management; implementing and administering programs for ongoing maintenance and repair of common use areas.

Here’s What We Do For You...

• Offer competitive rates. • Carefully screen all prospective tenants based on credit, tenant history and employment. • Collect and account for all fees and rents and pay out exactly according to owners’ instructions. • Operate a full-time bookkeeping and accounting department. • Handle ALL tenant relations. • Manage all necessary maintenance and repairs. • Pass on all volume cost savings to owners. • Provide owners with monthly and year-end statements. • Send all required 1099’s to vendors. • Deal only with reputable, licensed (Where applicable), bonded and insured maintenance and repair vendors. • Perform regular property inspections and provide condition reports to owners. • We are licensed, bonded, and insured.

Why Tenants Love Us

Our state-of-the-art website and accounting program allow us to offer online payment services to our tenants. Tenants have the option to pay with a checking account debit, credit card, or cash at any Seven Eleven store throughout the U.S. Tenants also have access to an online portal to submit maintenance requests at any time, helping us to keep accurate records and follow up on needed work efficiently; which, of course, will maintain the value of your property in the long run

Getting Started with PLUS...

Simply email or call one of our property managers and find out more about how we can create a management program tailored to meet your needs.

Plus Property Management Arroyo Grande/5 Cities

1176 E. Grand Ave. Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 Peggy King, Manager Email: 805-473-6565

Santa Maria

421 East Betteravia Street Suite 102 Santa Maria, CA 93454 Linda Kirchhof, Manager Email: 805-928-4320

Santa Ynez Valley

1623 Mission Drive #16 Solvang, CA 93463 Chris Obers, Manager Email: 805-688-7747

Lompoc / Santa Barbara

511 N. H Street Suite A Lompoc, CA 93436 Sara Grossini, Manager Email: 805-735-2492

Corporate Office

421 E. Betteravia Road, Suite 102 Santa Maria, CA 93454 Lawnae Hunter CRB, Broker/Owner Email: 00 1


PRIDE Sponsor Idler’s Home

‘We adapt to change. A lot of people haven’t, especially in appliances. We stayed in business through the recession because we know the product in and out better than large chain stores. We’re not just ticket takers.’ Brian Idler

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Jeffery Golden is the sales floor manager at the new Idler’s Home store on W. Betteravia Road in Santa Maria.

Idler’s Home on cutting edge of appliance technology, price matching JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

‌In the six decades and three generations since Wilbur “Bud” Idler opened his eponymous appliance store, refrigerator innovation has evolved from snazzy, rotating shelves to internet-enabled audio-visual systems. Idler’s Home, among the Central Coast’s longest-running, family-owned businesses, has been there to guide customers through it all. “There are ovens that scan your food’s bar code to set up the cooking temperature and time. If you have a smart phone, you can log in to an app while you’re away from home and look through the camera in your refrigerator to see what’s inside. It’s pretty wild, pretty cool. It’s not for everyone, but I need to show it’s available,” said company spokesman Brian Idler. In September, Idler’s brought its brand of customer service, complete with incomparable price matching, to Santa Maria with expansion to its newest showroom, now located at 1158 W. Betteravia Road. “It felt like the right time, the right climate. We had the right people in place. The landlord is fantastic. It’s the perfect spot,” Brian said of the 11,500-squarefoot location. As a key player in the family business and a member of the youngest Idler management generation, Brian understands both the importance of slow, managed growth and adopting cutting-edge technology. “I feel like the appliance industry has been slow to adopt these things, but we need to be able to stay ahead of the curve,” he said. Wilbur “Bud” Idler and Avis Idler started Idler’s in 1954 in San Luis Obispo. Their sons, Don, Rodney and Roger Idler, took the reins through the late 20th Century, and half a dozen years ago, Bud’s and Avis’s grandchildren, Brian and his sister Jennifer Idler, came into the fold. No doubt Bud would be proud to see his family continuing in his footsteps, though neither his son nor grandson ever shared his aspirations. Don wanted to be a chicken farmer and was studying at Cuesta College when Bud’s failing health brought the son back to help support the family business. Brian was busy surfing, studying creative writing, planning to travel, to be a journalist when he got the call back to Idler’s. “When my dad called with a job in the warehouse, it was perfect timing. I didn’t have a destined path. I needed to figure something out,” Brian recalled. “I was working as a bartender, growing up a little bit, thinking that staying out until 3 or 4 every morning wasn’t really a great


Appliances are shown installed in the showroom at the new Idler’s Home store on W. Betteravia Road in Santa Maria. idea for my whole life. I wanted to start a family. San Diego was crowded and I started to realize I’d had it pretty good up there (on the Central Coast).” He cleaned boxes, trucks, made deliveries, serviced appliances. He studied the business from the ground up. “We adapt to change. A lot of people haven’t, especially in appliances. We stayed in business through the recession because we know the product in and out better than large chain stores. We’re not just ticket takers,” Brian said. The business plan, always intended for a steady, calculated growth, now includes stores in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Santa Maria. During the recession, Idler’s stayed in business by continuing that customer service focus

“We’re constantly modifying the space to accommodate our needs. We want to offer a full variety of products to the whole Santa Maria area.” Brian Idler

while cutting back where they could, implementing a hiring freeze, doubling up on duties. They entered into the factory blemished market, picking up brand-new appliances with minor damage for reduced rates to sell at cut prices to customers. They expanded the business to include higher-margin household items including bedding and mattresses. “It was a very risky move, but we had to increase business and

try to keep ahead of everything,” Brian said. Today, the Santa Maria store includes new appliances, factory blems, recliners, mattresses as well as spas and requisite spa chemicals. Soon, an in-house kitchen designer will begin taking appointments to help customers plan everything from cabinetry to kitchen sinks. The showroom is already is encroaching on warehouse space, and Idler’s is looking toward further growth.

“It’s been awesome, obviously. We’re constantly modifying the space to accommodate our needs. We want to offer a full variety of products to the whole Santa Maria area,” Brian said. But the best part for the surfer-turned-business owner? “Working with my incredible family, and the tradition I get from the people who come in here. I never met my grandfather. He died before I was born, so when they tell me stories about them, that they knew them personally, that’s great. I understand the industry, love the industry. It’s long hours, trying at times, but we’re moving in a great direction as far as technology. It’s a totally different animal,” Brian said. For more information about Idler’s Home, hours and loca- 00 1 tions, visit


Humanity is the perfect remedy. To learn more, call 805.270.2513 or visit

May 2017 | D3

D4 | May 2017


May 2017 | D5


to Serving the Central Coast since 1954

T hree Generations Four Locations

Don Idler, Jennifer Idler & Bryan Idler

PASO ROBLES 2361 THEATRE DR 805 238-6020

SAN LUIS OBISPO 122 CROSS ST 805 543-6600

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SLO SLEEP & COMFORT 189 CROSS ST 805 269-6600

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1158 W BETTERAVIA RD 805 348-1000

D6 | May 2017



1102 Laurel Lane, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (805) 543-4171 2739 Santa Maria Way, 3rd Floor, Santa Maria, CA 93455 (805) 937-1400

The Central Coast Business Law Firm Beginning with our first office in San Luis Obispo in 1948 and growing to a team of lawyers serving thousands of clients at locations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, our connection to the people and businesses of the Central Coast runs deep.


Michael Morris Jim Buttery Dennis Law Todd Mirolla Scott Wall Kathy Eppright Bill Douglass Lisa LaBarbera Toke Gordon Bosserman Karen Gjerdrum Fothergill Amber Simmons Elizabeth Culley Tiffany Carrari 00 1

MAY 2017 | D7


Santa Maria Valley Chamber offering vision, opportunity “You get out of it what you put into it.”


Contributing Writer‌

‌The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce offers business networking and promotion, tourism marketing and economic development assistance to members and the community. The key: get involved. “You get out of it what you put into it,” said Communications Specialist Molly Schiff. The Chamber, and its related Convention and Visitors Bureau and Economic Development Director, provides its 850 members with a variety of events throughout the year, from monthly mixers to educational luncheons, public expos to recognition events. Most recently, the CVB has partnered with the City of Santa Maria to develop Santa Maria Wine Trolley. The shuttle, which will run weekends May 27 through Sept. 4, will connect downtown Santa Maria with Old Town Orcutt and three local wineries: Presqu’ile, Costa de Oro and Cottonwood Canyon. “Tourism trends are showing that people are wanting to pay for an experience, not just tasting or dining. Millennials who are spending a lot of money want that. The trolley embraces that trend,” said CVB Director Jennifer Harrison. Passes, which provide unlimited rides throughout the day, are available in advance for $10 from wineries on the stop as well as Old Town Market and Nagy Winery in Orcutt. Walk-on tickets are $18 per day. The route will begin at 11 a.m. near the pedestrian bridge at Town Center West, but riders may jump on anywhere along the route. The trolley will run a 76-minute circuit to allow visitors time to taste, eat, shop, relax or pick up a game of bocce ball before moving on to the next stop. A tourism marketing district launched about a year ago has re-

Molly Schiff, Communications Specialist


The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts a variety of mixers and business events. sulted in a rebranding of the city’s marketing campaign, including a new look to promotion packages, updated websites and an aggressive marketing strategy that Harrison said have already drawn attention of tourism-specific journals, blogs and magazines. “We’re rolling on that momentum right now, which is really exciting,” Harrison said. The chamber’s new economic development director, Suzanne Singh, sees some challenges for tourism in Santa Maria Valley that could be improved through business expansion, retention

and shifts in business thinking. “When people come here to wine taste or visit the region, they’re not staying here. Everything closes by 8 or 9 at night. If we want to have awesome tourism, we need to stay open later, allow wine tasting to run later, provide better transportation,” Singh said. Ultimately, her goal in her triple-duty job with the chamber, city and airport district, is to make sure businesses in Santa Maria Valley are thriving, staying put, growing while also attracting new businesses to the area and working

toward workforce development to support those businesses. “It’s wonderful and exciting to me,” Singh said. “The city has a new development director, and I admire the fact that the area is looking at how to strategically grow over the long term. We don’t want the community to just pop up. We want to be an active part of forming it so we don’t end up with a community that you look back on and say, ‘What happened?’” New, old, and incoming businesses are welcome to join the chamber and its member events. Build Your Business Breakfasts

are held every Friday to provide chamber members the opportunity to introduce themselves and network. Monthly evening mixers move from location to location to showcase chamber members and their organizations. Monthly educational luncheons often feature themes such as next month’s Salute to Volunteers. The chamber recently began its young professionals networking group, Santa Maria Connect. Members are welcome to attend the gatherings which are held the third Tuesday of every month. Then there’s the annual business expo, annual awards dinner and the recent strawberry industry recognition dinner. The chamber also provides ample opportunity for its members to get involved with community building through participation in a number of committees and partnership with Leadership Santa Maria Valley. The chamber markets members with online video presentations, website presence, news releases and inclusion in the newsletter which is distributed to 1,300 recipients. “I feel like Santa Maria can handle the growth that comes with successful marketing, tourism and economic development. We have so much space here. We are the largest city in Santa Barbara County now, which is great and we are growing tremendously. We can definitely pride ourselves on being a great home base. It’s not only exciting to check out Santa Maria Valley, but we’re certainly more affordable for lodging and dining while you can explore areas around us,” Harrison said.


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The Lanini Plumbing Story ENTER: Guadalupe/Oceano Sand-Dunes, where the story begins. Dune riding, driving, climbing had become more and more popular in the 50’s and 60’s. A local Santa Maria Family was participating in the fun when one of their members, a grandmother, got hurt. Roland with his dune buggy just happened to be near. “Would you please help us to get mother to the hospital?” said the gentleman, who owned a well respected plumbing firm in the Santa Maria Valley. (The Lanini family was acquainted with his, the plumber’s family through CEF, a children’s ministry.) “I would be happy to help,” responded Roland. Then away they went in his home-built “dune buggy,” which now substituted as an ambulance. It is interesting to note: The sand-dunes had begun to be a very popular place for the drivers and owners of the buggies for competition, challenging each other as who could climb the steepest hill and/or take the spookiest bowl. The drivers usually built their own buggies, scavenging parts from the dumps and creek beds and/or purchasing old, unused cars from farmers, usually not spending more than $150. The war was over and the ugly thirties depression was in

the past and demand for recreational equipment was growing; according to an article in Readers Digest. (as were babies) Ha!; Roland, a farm-boy, being familiar with machinery, and with the help of his buddies, enjoyed the challenge of building them. it was into one of these buggies which the two men lifted the injured woman. As the group traveled along those twelve plus miles to the hospital, the grateful man asked his driver, “What do you do for a living,” asked the grateful gentleman. “I work at General Box Co.” It was then that Roland shared with his travel companion about his present job, which he liked very much, but things were not looking so good for “wooden box-makers, “ in that the vegetable industry was moving toward cardboard boxes, which were cheaper to make. Roland had worked his way up to the top paying job at General Box Company, which could bring in as much as 10,000 a year with over-time, equal to a teachers salary at the time. Warehouse-labor paid only about half that much. So it didn’t look good for his family income. “You can come and work with

me,” responded Clayton Barks. Wow! and so he did. He, the owner, got Roland into a Rehabilitation program which gave him $1.00 an hour and a nice supply of tools. The firm made it up to $5.00 per hour. It was an 8 to 5 position, five days a week; but, the job required him to be on call seven days a week and 24 hours a day. As it were he often brought in the most hours. These hours were listed on the chalk board to encourage the workers. Roland learned the trade quickly. He appreciated Clayton Barks giving him the opportunity to learn the trade. Roland decided it was time to venture out on his own. Needing a co-signer, Roland and myself borrowed $5000, bought a van for his tools and plumbing parts, and he was on his way, ready for service-calls and work. As he went out the door to go to the answering service office, where he had signed up for their service, he, Roland looked at his wife, “Do you think we should do this?” “Why of course,” she responded being the more adventurous person in the family, with little hesitation or misgivings about stepping out into the new untried world. We moved from the ranch house to Santa Maria

and it was there where all the receipts the disbursements were handled by his wife, Eloise managed the paper work, i.e., receipts and disbursements as well as teaching school, which added up to sometimes 12 hours a day for her. As the business started to take off Roland began to study for his contractors test. He passed and got his contractors license. Additional workers were added as demands for Lanini’s Plumbing services were increasing. Then right before we moved into our current dwelling. He found and rented a shop which provided office space and he could store parts etc. He was very happy to hire Betty Small who has worked for our company for 34 years. She does a great job dispatching plumbers and keeping books. Also, her daughter Cheryl Salazar came into the firm 25 years ago and does a great job! Our plumbers work hard to keep Roland’s legacy continuing on. I am very proud of my staff! Thank you Team!

Lanini’s Plumbing Repair, INC.

Call Lanini’s Plumbing Repair, INC.

Est. 1970 - Proudly owned and operated by Eloise Lanini

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Tomorrow’s Leaders are at St. Mary’s School Today At St. Mary’s School, hands-on learning, technology, and a strong academic tradition come together to develop future leaders. Credentialed teachers emphasize values, ethSt. Mary’s & Basketball A Winning Combination

ics, and collaboration. Advanced STEM Programs Developing strong math skills is a priority. Students participate in the international Mathletics program. Advanced math classes including high school algebra and geometry are offered. Eighth graders learn financial management. Technology Life Skills Technology engages students and allows teachers to meet individual needs. By fourth grade, students have already created slide shows. Middle school students know how to use digital cameras, develop multi-media presenta-

As a parent, the most textbooks. Every stu- important thing for me is for my children to dent is provided with grow-up and become an iPad and taught good adults. They how to be good digital spend more time at school than anywhere citizens. else. At St. Mary’s, they aren’t afraid to teach what is right and wrong and the value of hard work. –Mandy Sheehy Ramirez tions, and use online

ties, and living history. You will find St. Mary’s School students at Youth Day events in Los Angeles; discovering sea life on Beyond the Classroom boats in the San Luis The world is our Obispo Bay; visiting We love basketball at St. Mary’s classroom! Gardens School. If Squires are on the local strawberry and playground, they’ll be playing a are located throughvegetable fields; sleepgame of hoops. Maybe that’s out the campus. Field ing under the stars why our girls have won over 125 games and six league and five trips include exciting on Catalina Island; tournament championships the science camps, PCPA uncovering history at last six years. The boys can play too with two league championtheater productions, a local mission or even ships and four appearances in environmental activi- in Washington DC; the finals marveling at the magic of Monarchs at the Pismo Butterfly Grove; and much more. Through strong community partnerships, students learn how to ride bikes and, starting this fall, swim. Physical education and healthy eating proMusic is taught in every grade and includes learning various instruments and grams build an awaresinging. The St. Mary’s School performs at community events during the year. ness for a healthy lifestyle.

St. Mary’s School

• • • •

small class sizes safe environment accelerated math program technology enriched learning

Now Enrolling for 2017-2018 Scholarships Available Call Now! 925-6713 St. Mary of the Assumption School 424 E. Cypress Street •

At St. Mary’s School students learn how to ride and bike safety. Starting this coming school year, a swimming program will get two grades in the pool.

Students learn teamwork and develop problem solving skills

tually. “Our graduates go on to do great things from being the city mayor, local bank president, and police officers to business owners and outstandThe school has three gardens ing parents. Squires for students to discover science, attend Stanford, healthy lifestyles, and caring for the environment. UCLA, Cal Poly and Values-based Learning Berkley,” said Cox. “At St. Mary’s we provide Morals, ethics and the love for all life are students the academic, infused in every class, spiritual, physical, and social foundations to every day. St. Mary’s pursue their dreams, School partners with no matter where their parents to guide students as they develop life journey may take emotionally and spiri- them.”

Music and Art Students develop an appreciation for the iPads Transform Learning arts through lessons playing recorders, performing skits and plays, and attending PCPA plays. Award winning performers are brought to the iPads were distributed to about 200 St. Mary’s School stuschool and dance is dents this school year. They were also provided a full data plan taught by acclaimed to ensure home internet access. Teachers immediately inteprograms such as Zulu grated the devices into every subject from history to science to art. Many homework assignments are now turned in online. Dance.

St Mary’s Preschool Earns National Accreditation St. Mary’s Preschool was awarded the prestigious National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation, placing it in the top tier of preschools nationally. “We’ve been a California licensed preschool for over 15 years. Earning the NAEYC recognition highlights the quality of education and care we provide every day,” said Mary Rowell, the preschool’s director. The year-long accreditation process reviewed ten areas including: facilities, curriculum, director certifications, and teacher training. The preschool offers full, half-day, part time, and extended

care programs under the guidance of a certified early childhood development program director. “Our focus is on providing the children with a safe

environment to learn through hands-on exercises and play,” said Rowell. The Prekindergarten program ensures students are ready to start school.

“St. Mary’s School has been recognized for outstanding studentfocused programs by many organizations,” said Michelle Cox, principal. “We are the

only PreK to eighth grade school in the Santa Maria Valley with Western Catholic Education Association and Western Association of Schools and

Colleges accreditations that is also California licensed and now NAEYC accredited.”

St. Mary’s


Now Enrolling 2 yrs 9 mos. and up Open 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Mon—Fri

Choose from full or half day programs. Fully Licensed

Scholarships are available and made possible through the William Lottie Daniel Fund of the Santa Barbara Foundation. 309 S. School Street, Santa Maria, CA 93454


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MAY 2017 | E3



An investment in the future Academics emphasized at private campus, but sports shine too JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

‌St. Joseph High School Director of Marketing and Public Relations Josh Wong has no problem selling his school as an academic magnet with an athletics program that’s better than ever. The challenge comes in convincing people that the tuition for the private school education is an investment in the future. “St. Joe’s is recognized as an academic school, and a bigger percentage of our students take the SAT and get accepted to fouryear universities with academic scholarships. Do you want to invest now, or pay more for college later,” Wong explained. Add to that initial investment the potential savings through the school’s own tuition assistance and scholarship programs, and the potential cost of a college education and the savings could be huge. “Sure, public schools are free, but if you look at the percentage that are graduating, the percentage of those who are taking the SAT and the percentage of those who are performing very well on the SAT, there’s a big difference between them and St. Joe’s,” Wong said. At $8,500 per year, St. Joseph High School is also the least-expensive, private, Catholic high school option on the Central Coast, Wong said, adding that tuition at Mission College Preparatory High School in San Luis Obispo is $14,000 while Bishop Garcia Diego High School in Santa Barbara runs $17,000 per year. “We provide all the things the bigger schools provide — clubs, academics, sports, activities — but because we’re a private school, we don’t receive state funding. People understand that’s why we charge tuition,” Wong said. Merit scholarships are also


St. Joseph High School students walk across campus at lunchtime. available for incoming freshman. Once earned, they follow the student throughout their stay at St. Joseph High School. “Just like colleges, we’re looking for good students with good character. We help them work toward adding that good SAT score, and, if they’re interested, athletics that colleges are looking for,” Wong said. On May 28, St. Joseph High School will graduate 92 students, 73 percent of whom are headed to four-year universities. Most of the others will begin their post-secondary education at community colleges. “People understand the value of St. Joseph. We get transfers like crazy from Righetti High School,

“People understand the value of St. Joseph. …. We don’t have to sell the school. They know it’s a great high school, a high academic challenge school.” Josh Wong, S‌ t. Joseph High School director of marketing and public relations Pioneer Valley, Solvang, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande. We don’t have to sell the school. They know it’s a great high school, a high academic challenge school,” Wong said. Some confusion also remains about St. Joseph High School’s affiliation with the Catholic Church. “We’re faith-based. We’re a Catholic/Christian School. You don’t have to be Catholic as long

as you have a faith,” Wong explained. For students interested in attending SJHS for athletics, Wong warns academics will always be placed first. “There’s a reason they say ‘student-athlete.’ The ‘student’ part comes first,” Wong said. With enrollment hovering around 400, students are also encouraged to participate heavily

in school activities, church activities, athletics and maintain their academics. “It’s more like college now. We want the kids to understand that managing their life is going to be important. If you’re in a club and sport and active in your religion and you have a scheduling conflict, you need to learn how to talk to people and work that out. These kids are held accountable,” Wong said. The effect of this interaction, communication and team-building has been the creation of a close-knit community at St. Joseph High School. “We all know each other, each other’s families. We’re a family here,” Wong said.

Home of the Knights Registration is Open

There is still time to apply for the 2017-2018 school year including incoming 8th grade students.

Monique Brunello, Beth Rigali, Marie Aquinaldo ‘14 UCLA

Gabrys Sadaunykas at University of Minnesota (Crookston)

Brad Edens, Lindsey Whitted, Kaitlyn Domingues, Kerry Sanchez, Megan Wilson ‘15 Cal Lutheran

St. JoSeph high School Contact Josh Wong at 805 937-2038 ext.117 or Student Tuition Assistance is Available


E4 | May 2017


Where Faith and Knowledge Meet SPIRITUAL

A St. Louis de Montfort student is a


With the parents as the primary faith educators of the child, St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School encourages students to actively and joyfully bring

faith to life and life to faith. Students learn the importance of cultivating a

personal relationship with God through Catholic faith, teaching and values.

We prepare them to become active members in our faith community.

LEARNER St. Louis de Montfort School has a strong student-centered curriculum that


is aligned with State Standards and Archdiocesan Guidelines. St. Louis is accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Students thrive

in our challenging learning environment and are held to high standards.

Determined to

Technology is integrated at all grade levels, greatly enhancing student

Make a Difference


M D L S S! K C O R

learning and increasing engagement in the learning process.

We promote well-rounded students determined to succeed in life. Moral development is taught, stressed and rewarded regularly through our “Chief

Example to Others (CEO)” program. Our athletic opportunities promote perseverance, good sportsmanship and teamwork.

Core subjects are

complemented by Music, Art, Hands-on Science and our Outdoor Garden project taught by specialty teachers at all grade levels.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE Students regularly participate in school-wide service projects to support

Mission Hope Cancer Center, Catholic Charities, the Alzheimer’s Association, and Josephite African schools, as well as our Parish Food

Pantry to name a few. SLdM students are encouraged to use their own gifts

to help others. Our students learn to be caring, dedicated, and productive citizens and future leaders.

Learn more at

St. Louis de Montfort School - Grades K-8 5095 Harp Road, Santa Maria, CA 93455 | Tel (805) 937-5571 | Fax (805) 937-3181 | 00 1



00 1

F2 | May 2017



The Santa Barbara Foundation’s new offices at 2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101 in Santa Maria.

Santa Barbara Foundation celebrating permanent North County home Doors are always open to help nonprofits collaborate JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer‌

‌For decades, the Santa Barbara Foundation has benefited residents and organizations throughout the county. Now, one of the region’s largest nonprofits has a permanent North County home. “Our goal is not only to demonstrate and expand our presence in the community, but to provide a community space where nonprofits and donors can come together, learn together, collaborate together,” said Santa Barbara Foundation Chief Strategy Officer Barbara Andersen. Though the foundation, which has been active in North County since the 1980s, has had a space shared with other nonprofits for years, its new location at 2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101 provides more space, privacy and flexibility. “We really needed more meeting space and more community space for donors and nonprofits,” said North County Director Kathy Simas. It is also now fully staffed, so the doors are always open both to donors seeking nonprofits and to nonprofits seeking networking, education and funding opportunities. “I love the spirit when you get that communication, networking going. It’s exciting to see. I think people just don’t understand the scope of what all we do. We’re more than student aid. We’re more than providing grants. We provide a lot of other services,” Simas said. Already, the facility has hosted foundation board meetings, committee meetings, community gatherings and educational events. In addition, there are offices for staff as well as guest office spaces so employees from the foundation’s Santa Barbara offices have workspace when traveling north. “It makes our whole staff much more accessible to the community,” Simas said. That’s key to the foundation, she said, to meet the growing needs and dynamics of the county. “We want to be not only responsive, but to empower the


Kathy Simas, Santa Barbara Foundation North County Director, center, is shown with staff members Lynette Musico, Director of Development, left, and Carie Lara, North County office coordinator, in the philanthropy’s new offices in Santa Maria.

“Our goal is not only to demonstrate and expand our presence in the community, but to provide a community space where nonprofits and donors can come together, learn together, collaborate together.” —Barbara Andersen, Santa Barbara Foundation Chief Strategy Officer community to build coalitions and work together to address needs and challenges,” Andersen said. Santa Barbara Foundation provides thousands of dollars of students scholarships every year, and thousands more in grant funding for a variety of programs. It also serves as a networking and educational hub to help nonprofits and donors find each other. Through education, the foundation strives to connect donors with nonprofits, and connect nonprofits with each other. “Our mission is to use every tool we have available every day to help build financial capital in the region, and to help build the nonprofit sector and address nonprofit challenges,” Andersen said.

Among its initiatives are: the Landscape, Ecosystems, Agriculture and Food System Initiative (LEAF) which aims to connect the needs of environmentalists and agriculturalists for sustainable systems; Community Caregiving Initiative to help connect caregivers to services that serve the region’s aging population and their care networks; and the latest, the Veterans Needs Initiative to define and address the gaps in service for the area’s military veterans. The Serving Those Who Have Served Veterans Project is currently in assessment mode with various stakeholders asked to provide feedback regarding gaps in services and researching evidence-based strategies for serving Santa Barbara County

veterans. “It’s truly not our project alone. We are introducing the project. We will have other partners. Whatever develops will be of the community and for the community,” Simas said. In addition, the foundation tracks needs across community programs with special focuses on early childcare and education, and youth development. The three-year-old Community Caregiving Initiative strives to help all caregivers, paid or unpaid, find support services. “If you are taking care of a loved one, a parent, grandparent, or other loved one, whether you are paid for that service or not, you are a caregiver. Most people don’t resonate with that, but at the end of the day, the people who are doing this are the safety net hiding in plain sight,” said Phylene Wiggins, the foundation’s senior director of community investments. The initiative aims to help those caregivers self identify and find the community support in a variety of forms, from respite

care to transportation, companionship to training in medical advocacy. “One of the challenges for caregivers is that they hit so many roadblocks for getting what they need in trying to do their care. We want to make this an easier process,” Wiggins said. The initiative, like other foundation-mediated programs, has helped service partners find each other, and beneficiaries discover them, such as Community Partners in Caring, LifeSteps Foundation, Wisdom Center, Family Services Agency, Alzheimer’s Association, Marian Medical Center, and Area Agency on Aging. “Networking is huge. When you provide an opportunity for nonprofits to network, what you see come out of that is a lot of collaboration. They talk to each other, discover what services they each provide, that whole collaboration that comes out of it is pretty powerful. It’s great to see them get excited when they discover each other and the opportunities that are here,” Simas 00 1 said.

May 2017 | F3


INVESTING TOGETHER IN BUILDING A STRONG FUTURE PHILANTHROPIC SERVICES The Santa Barbara Foundation makes it easy for donors to give effectively using tax advantaged vehicles and proven giving strategies. We provide on-going donor education opportunities, and facilitate connections between donors and organizations serving the community within a particular area of interest.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVES & PARTNERSHIP BUILDING The launch of strategic initiatives, which have had their genesis in North County, has enabled the Santa Barbara Foundation to delve deeper into the most complex community issues. The Landscapes, Ecosystems, Agriculture and Food Systems (LEAF) Initiative seeks to advance strategies to increase land conservation, promote ecosystem health, ensure agricultural viability, and improve the local food system. The Community Caregiving Initiative (CCI) is tackling the challenges our community is confronting with a growing aging population and providing a network of support to our 70,000 family caregivers.

SUPPORT THE NONPROFIT SECTOR The Santa Barbara Foundation, together with our donor investors, deploys millions of dollars to support the nonprofit sector whose work impacts every person in the county. Through a combination of technical assistance, grants, impact investments, leadership and capacity building — year after year, the foundation fosters unique and lasting relationships with community based organizations that work every day to sustain and enhance the region.

The Santa Barbara Foundation has opened a new headquarters in North County to strengthen our involvement, increase our investments and build philanthropic capital in the region.


2625 SOUTH MILLER STREET, SUITE 101 SANTA MARIA, CA 93455 PHONE: (805) 346-6123 FAX: (805) 346-6125 00 1


F4 | May 2017


105 North Lincoln Street, Santa Maria, CA 805.928.1707 • 4460 Tenth Street, Guadalupe, CA

MISSION STATEMENT: To provide a comprehensive continuum of quality, affordable, accessible and culturally competent prevention and treatment service to youth and their families to improve the overall quality of their lives.

Children Hurting. Children Healing. There are many components that comprise the Center’s services. Child & Family Counseling • Outreach Consultant Program • Healthy Start Adolescent Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Program School Counseling Program • Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services Healthy Marriage & Relationship Education Program • Basic Needs Department of Behavioral Wellness • Juvenile Probation Department of Social Services Intensive In-Home Services CWS Parenting Class • City of Santa Maria • Orcutt Union School District Santa Maria Bonita School District Migrant Education

Outreach Consultants Santa Maria Bonita School District

Parent Cafe Meeting

Parent Cafe Audience

Parent Cafe L-R Suguey Sanchez, Karin Dominguez, Francesca Sanchez, Ambar Moran, Rosa Lozaro and four volunteers from the Santa Maria High School Comadres

Join the Santa Maria Youth & Family Center for an unforgetable evening of world-class theatre under the stars in Solvang! Sunday, August 6th Solvang Festival Theatre Reception 5pm • Showtime 8pm TICKET INCLUDES Central Coast Wine Tasting Hors d’oeuvres Live music The infamous SMY & FC Raffle & Silent Auction Admittance to Disney’s Newsies


Don’t miss the fun!

Call Nellie (805) 928-1707

VISION STATEMENT: All children and their families in our community have a safe, nurturing and respectful environment to reach their full potential. 00 1

Friday, May 19, 2017 | G1

Santa Maria Special Section1



00 1

G2 | May 2017



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May 2017 | G3

G4 | May 2017


00 1

Guide for Readers, Advertisers and Newsmakers A

The Santa Maria Times Print • Online • MObile • tablet


anytime. anywhere.

Like us on

Follow us on

When Central Coast residents want news they can depend on,

they turn to the Santa Maria Times, one of Santa Maria’s oldest businesses in continual operation since April 22, 1882. Over the years our community and our business climate have evolved, but one thing remains unchanged — our reader’s reliance on the Santa Maria Times to assist in making decisions which impact their family and community. Our teams of experienced, locally based reporters are your neighbors, and the news of this community and region is as important to them as it is to you. Our news staff, including reporters, photographers and editors, brings you reliable, original news accounts reflecting our core values of objectivity, fairness, high ethical standards and editorial independence. We deliver state, national and world news as it breaks, providing interpretation

of distant events and the local implications. Our photojouralists create outstanding photos and videos of breaking news and sports as well as people enjoying the Central Coast. Our website,, contains photo galleries capturing these memories. Daily coverage beings with the legacy morning paper continuing throughout the day with news you can catch on your smart phone, iPad or desktop computer. Just download the APP and sign up for breaking news alerts. The staff of Lee Central Coast Newspapers is privileged to continue our commitment to be your leading source of news and information.

Stay connected with everything that’s uniquely local. Your news, your way — How you want it, when you want it.

Marga Cooley

one subscription, many paths to our content

Santa Maria Times Managing Editor

ConneCt me LoCaL


e trace our history at The Santa Maria Times to 1882, so we know a little something about staying power. As part of our long-term relationship with readers throughout northern Santa Barbara County, our next step is one firmly planted in the future: A Full Access subscription model. Full Access means all of our subscribers now get all of our content for one price – whether it is on the printed pages of The Santa Maria Times, the many brands on or through one of our

At the Santa Maria Times we no longer have “print subscribers” and “digital subscribers.” We simply have “subscribers,” and every one of them has full access to all of our content, whether it appears in the printed Times or on one of our many digital platforms — desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. All the content, all under one roof and all available for all subscribers. What a concept, eh? While it sounds simple, the “full access” model has been surprisingly hard for the newspaper industry to embrace. For years, newspapers offered all of their print content for free on the Internet. Once it became apparent that “free” was not a good business model, the industry moved toward pay walls and digital subscriptions. But as the media landscape continued to evolve, our digital newsgathering did, too. We now heavily invest in providing exclusive digital content: video, searchable databases, interactive features, live chats and blogs, social media interaction and real-time reporting. Our digital content has value, just like our print content, and the reality is that many of our customers today spend much time in both worlds. That means parsing out some content to print customers and some content to digital customers no longer makes sense. The full-access model that we now use is called CONNECT Me LOCAL, which is a nod to two things we do best: providing local news and information, and connecting our audience, to each other and to us. There are many ways to find and use our content — some of which are familiar, time-honored traditions, some of which are newer paths for our audience to explore. We love the printed product, and always will. Reading the paper in print is a tactile, genuine sensory experience that is also portable, foldable and, yes, even clippable, the result of which offers something permanent to share with family and friends. We also love our digital products. There is much we can provide you online that we can’t in print — helping to tell our local stories more fully and immediately. In short, we think the full-access model — CONNECT me LOCAL — is a perfect fit for the Santa Maria Times and

numerous digital apps. Many of the key components of our content in print and online are displayed and explained on these two pages. Providing Full Access – we use the CONNECT me LOCAL slogan to promote the concept – makes great sense in this new era of media consumption. Full Access gives subscribers the choice of getting their news and information how they want it, when they want it, on any platform they prefer.

go Mobile: get news as it happens, eVery day • Breaking news is a staple on, which is the most read website for local and regional news and information in Santa Maria and north Santa Barbara County. In addition to writing news, our reporters cover events in “live blogs,” updating readers on sports scores, political issues and more as events unfold. • Full Access subscribers get to use all of, which includes local news and commentary, searchable databases, sports, lifestyle and entertainment along with exclusive online shopping deals and much more.

go liVe: weather & More

e-edition for yoUr CoMpUter or tablet

Follow throughout the day for:

Our new e-Edition gives you an exact replica of the daily paper, on your computer or tablet screen. Our e-Edition includes each page of the paper, with all the stories and advertisements in each edition. You can print out puzzles and email stories directly to family and friends. Now your login works for all digital products – try out the website, mobile apps and more. Never miss a thing!

• Real-time weather radar and forecasts • Live blogs for reader engagement during major news events

log in for UnliMited aCCess Visit and click the big, blue button on the home page labeled “Activate your digital subscription.” Review your account information, establish a login and get started! Full Access subscribers get premium content and special features in many of our apps.

UniqUe VoiCes logan anderson

• The new Santa Maria Times e-Edition • The apps for iPhone and Android. • To find download links, go to:

Santa Maria/Public Safety Logan Anderson covers the City of Santa Maria and public safety. From the intricacies of city zoning and planning, to watchdog reporting and covering exciting events like Downtown Fridays, Logan is covering what matters to Santa Maria.

willis Jacobson Lompoc/Vandenberg AFB Wondering what that early morning rumble was? Willis Jacobson has your answer. Willis is an award-winning reporter based in Lompoc who puts a face on the work, the launches, and and the approximately 3,400 civilians and airmen who call Vandenberg home.

april Charlton Santa Barbara County

web eXtras:

• View photo galleries and videos with new items posted every day of the week • Follow as our reporters tweet breaking news and events • Comment on stories and engage with other readers

the tiMes print edition: CoveRIng the SpeCtRum SPORTS

Saturday, OctOber 8, 2016

Record crowds drawn to see ‘super bloom.’ STATE, A2 PLEASANT AND WARMER 75 • 47 FORECAST, D4 |

Titans, Braves battle for second place in LPL softball. SPORTS, B1 SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 2017



Federal officials defend agents California’s top judge asks for stop to courthouse arrests Associated Press

Elliott Stern has covered local sports in our region for more than a decade. He knows the players, and the families behind them. Whether he’s blogging on Little League, writing a column or participating in the community as a rodeo clown at the annual Elks Rodeo, Elliott puts a face on local sports.

gina kim Courts From the Good trial to Operation Matador, Gina Kim covers the court cases that make the news. Count on her to bring you the most up-to-date information on verdicts, testimony and the faces behind the headlines.

krista Chandler Education Krista Chandler covers education in the Santa Maria Valley including administration, student issues and programs. From school finance and curriculum to events that put your kids front and center, Krista is your education resource.







SectION d

FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2017 |

FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2017








EDITORIAL Established in 1882

Wildflower explosion

Game day



this week’s ads

moRe Content, moRe ConneCtIonS

April Charlton specializes in issues that impact readers when it comes to our county. With years of experience covering complex issues, you have a reliable source who keeps her finger on the pulse of the news that affects Santa Barbara County residents.

elliott stern

digital eXClUsiVes

photo galleries


Santa Monica firefighter Andrew Klein, who lives in Orcutt, resuscitates a dog overcome by smoke during an apartment fire. The dog survived, and Klein has become an internet sensation.

Local firefighter saves dog, now internet star Klein performed pet CPR during Santa Monica fire JENNIFER BEST

Contributing Writer

It was just another day for firefighter Andrew Klein, but his mouth-to-snout rescue of a fuzzy white dog has become an internet sensation. “Who would have thought a normal house fire would have turned into something as big as this?” asked Klein, who commutes to Santa Monica Fire Station 1 from his home in Orcutt. On March 21, Klein and his team were first on the scene of an apartment fire near Santa Monica High School. Several bystanders reported that a dog was trapped inside. Firefighter Mike River took the nozzle behind Klein as the pair entered the structure and began the search.

They started with the most dangerous room, the site of the fire, and worked their way through the apartment until they found the 10-year-old Bichon mix named Nalu lying lifeless on the floor. “Fortunately, he was a distance from the fire, but he was still getting some heat and smoke conditions. We grabbed him and ran out because we knew time was of the essence,” Klein said. Klein first gave Nalu mouthto-snout resuscitation, then his own personal mask before Fire Capt. Eric Himler and Engineer Tim Winger secured the specialty canine oxygen mask. “When we found out he didn’t have a pulse, we went into pet CPR and (Himler) started helping with compressions,” Klein said. After 20 minutes, Nalu slowly began coming around. “We kept encouraging him to breathe,” Klein said. “It was a miracle. Teamwork made this successful ... and everything fell

SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly have defended federal agents who make immigration arrests at courthouses after California’s top judge asked them to stop, a letter released Friday states. Sessions and Kelly sent the letter Wednesday to California Chief CantilJustice Tani CanSakauye til-Sakauye, saying state, county and city policies barring local law enforcement from turning over arrestees for deportation have compelled federal agents to arrest immigrants at courthouses and other public places. Courthouses are a safe place for federal agents to make the arrests because visitors are typically screened for weapons, the letter says. “While these law enforcement personnel will remain mindful of concerns by the public and governmental stakeholders regarding enforcement activities, they will continue to take prudent and reasonable actions within their lawful authority to achieve that mission,” it says. Please see ARRESTS, Page A4

Trump urges former adviser

Cabrillo St. Joseph

0 50

Pioneer Valley Lompoc

0 63

Santa Maria Mission Prep

21 28

San Luis Obispo righetti

14 27

Morro Bay Santa ynez

7 48

arroyo Grande Paso Robles

35 14

Templeton Nipomo

14 42

Orcutt academy Laguna Blanca

42 20


Braves whitewash Panthers Lompoc gets fifth straight shutout CHELSEY MICHAELIS

Lompoc rolled over Pioneer Valley 63-0 Friday at Huyck Stadium, moving to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in the Los Padres League while recording its fifth straight shutout. The start of LPL for both teams started Friday night. Pioneer LeN WOOd, STAFF Valley falls to 3-3 on the year and Lompoc’s Danny Ekstrum gets past 0-1 in league. several Pioneer Valley defenders to The Braves scored on every score a touchdown. possession except one in the

fourth quarter. Lompoc’s defense is interchangeable: No matter what opponents throw at them the Braves have been able to adjust and don’t make a lot of mistakes. The quick Lompoc defense was aggressive Friday night, giving up only five first downs in the game. Zion Harris had an interception for Lompoc. “We have great players,” said Braves coach Andrew Jones. “Coach (Don) Cross and coach (Paul) Terrones do a great job preparing them week in and week out. Overall, we are fast, physical, cover the pass and could be

discouraging for teams when we go up 7-0 or 14-0 and we are forcing three-and-outs and it takes them out of their gameplan.” Lompoc’s offense shined in all areas. The Braves’ passing game picked up more yardage than the Panthers running and passing game combined. The Panthers’ defense didn’t have an answer for the Braves offense. “It starts with your quarterback and offensive line,” Jones said. “The offensive line is a veteran group that works really hard. Probably one of the hardest work groups on the team. (Quar-

terback) Kameron Davis waited patiently last year being second string. He’s showing that he can be efficient and teams can’t put eight or nine guys in the box because we can pass the ball.” Lompoc’s defense has given up just 24 points all year and none since Sept. 2. Lompoc’s Davis found Johnny Manzo for a 63-yard touchdown with 9:41 left in the first quarter. The Braves were just getting started. On their next possession, they ran the ball all eight plays and found the end zone Please see braVeS, Page D4

Warriors beat SLO 27-14

Westside Little League christens Oakley Park. B1 SUNNY, WARMER 71 • 44 FORECAST, B10 |

Between homes, designer knows how to add personality to her apartment. A10 TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017




Associated Press


For the noodles: For the sauce:

 3 Tbsp. oyster sauce  3 Tbsp. fish sauce  1 Tbsp Maggi sauce (or Thai



Baconwrapped tenderloin

Golden Mountain Sauce)

 1 Tbsp. brown sugar  1 Tbsp. rice vinegar  1 Tbsp. water  14 oz. extra firm tofu, sliced into


St. Joseph’s CJ Cole runs for a first-quarter touchdown past Cabrillo’s Evan Strom (40) during Friday night’s Los Padres League game. The Knights beat the Conqs 50-0.

Knights cruise past Conqs St. Joseph wins LPL opener, 50-0 JOE BAILEY

yard touchdown down the right sideline. Maldonado completed 14 of his 18 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions

the best loCal sports CoVerage

We don’t just have the largest news and sports staff in Santa Barbara County, we also have a history of state and regional recognition for our reporting and photography.

No one covers more bases than the Santa Maria Times. Our sports team brings comprehensive coverage including: • Reporting from all classes of high school sports • Your guide to local sporting events, and what’s on TV. • Coverage of colleges and universities. • Sports columnists and bloggers, and the popular “Photo Finish,” which showcases local athletes. • Box scores and results of major professional sporting events.

cubes  ½ red onion, sliced  3 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces  2 c. shredded Napa cabbage  3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced  2 Thai bird’s eye chilies, thinly sliced  1 Tbsp. peanut (or canola) oil  1 Tbsp. sesame oil For the garnishes:  1 carrot, grated  1 c. roughly chopped Thai basil leaves  1 c. bean sprouts  Lime wedges for serving Place noodles in a large bowl; pour hot water over to completely submerge. Let soak until tender but not mushy, 7 to 10 minutes, maybe longer. Here’s a way to test them: The noodles are soft enough when they can be twirled around your fingers without breaking. Drain; add cold water to completely cover noodles, and then set aside. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Transfer sauce to a zip-close plastic

Plan for replacing Obamacare released

 8 oz. broad rice noodles  Hot water

Righetti gets first win of season

award-winning JoUrnalisM

Recent honors include: • California Newspaper Publishers Association awards for General Excellence, environmental, enterprise and investigative reporting. • First place feature photo, the Lompoc Record. • Second place news photo, the Santa Maria Times.

runken noodles, or pad kee mao, and less frequently pad ki mao, is a Chinese-influenced dish that was made popular by the Chinese people living in Thailand and Laos. In Thai, khi mao means drunkard. It is a stir-fried noodle dish very similar to phat si-io, but with a slightly different flavor JOHN D. profile. It is norFINLEY mally made with broad rice noodles, oyster sauce, fish sauce, garlic, meat, seafood or tofu, bean sprouts or other vegetables and various seasonings. Bird’s Eye chilies and holy (Thai) basil give rise to its distinctive spiciness.


Play ball!

Thai Drunken Noodles


The Righetti Warriors took the momentum built on a late second-quarter touchdown reception by Jurell Reed into the second half to beat the San Luis Obispo Tigers 27-14 Friday night for their first win of the season. “A lot of good things happened tonight, it’s homecoming and to get that first win and a league win, it feels great. The kids really deserve it,” said Righetti head coach Ed Herrmann. With the game tied 7-7 with 26 seconds left in the first half, the Warriors (1-5, 1-0 PAC 5) took the ball down field 59 yards in 21 seconds for the score, culminating with Johnuel Laron’s 49-yard connection with Reed. Righetti took a 14-7 lead over San Luis Obispo (0-7, 0-1) into halftime. “We got a nice spark right before the half on the long touchdown,” Herrmann said. “They scored and we answered. That really helped us.” Hermann made a change at

Noodles and Cuvee Natalie D

Temporary quarters

Beef tenderloin gets festive remake — with bacon ELIZABETH KARMEL

Associated Press

As much as I love prime rib, beef tenderloin is much easier to prepare, easier to carve and the leftovers are good cold. The only challenge with beef tenderloin is that it is lean (little to no fat) and it is best served rare. I wanted to do something that looked a little fancier than plain grilled tenderloin but was just as easy to execute. I thought about one of my favorite ways to prepare filet — bacon-wrapped — and thought, let’s see what happens if I wrap the whole tenderloin in bacon mummy style. I proceeded to wrap room-temperature bacon around the tenderloin, tucking the end pieces under the center of the tenderloin to make sure that it

was all roughly the same size. When bacon is room temperature, it will stick to itself and you don’t need toothpicks to secure it. Make sure to purchase a standard thin-cut bacon and make each piece slightly overlap the other, so it will bake into a beautiful bacon crust. Finally, to make it festive, I decided to add a rich green peppercorn sauce scented with fresh thyme and a splash of cognac. This is now my favorite presentation for beef tenderloin. I love the mash-up of the bacon-wrap with the old-school sauce. It just goes to show you that everything old can be new again. Please see TENDERLOIN, Page C7


Bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin Start to finish: 90 minutes; Servings: 10 Ingredients

 1 trimmed tenderloin, center

 Salt and pepper cut, about 4-5 pounds  Fresh thyme leaves for garnish  1 pound thin-cut bacon, at room  Green Peppercorn and Thyme


 Olive oil

sauce (recipe follows)

Directions Preheat oven to 325 F. Brush tenderloin with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tuck the small ends of the tenderloin under each side to make sure that the roast is about the same thickness all over. Beginning at one side, wrap the bacon around the tenderloin, overlapping the pieces of bacon so that they stick to each other. Make sure that the ends of the bacon are tucked under. Place bacon-wrapped tenderloin on a rack set into a pan with the ends of the bacon touching the rack so the bacon doesn’t unravel. Roast at 325 F for 60 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 125 F. Remove and let rest for 20 minutes, covered with foil. If you use thin-cut bacon, it should be crisp, but if you want the bacon to be crispier, you can broil the roast for 1-2 minutes before removing from the oven. Slice and garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve with sauce on the side.

A brisket recipe that’s perfect for any dinner party

the best of santa barbara CoUnty Let’s face it: Life is just better on the beautiful Central Coast. And, every week, the Santa Maria Times brings you engaging stories and columns about what life here has to offer. Columnists: • Kathy Marcks Hardesty, From the Vine • Shirley Contreras, Heart of the Valley • John D. Finley, Pairings • Donna Polizzi, Keys to the Coast • Judy Sanregret, Gardening Roots • Julia McHugh, South on 101

Elmer’s bar in Old Town Orcutt was the scene of the shooting death of Anthony “Tony” San Juan early Saturday morning. Owner Mike Denne spoke out Monday afternoon about the incident, which took place in the back parking lot of the popular local bar.

Orcutt bar owner calls fatal shooting ‘senseless’ Victim was not involved in altercation, bar owner says KRISTA CHANDLER

A community is in mourning after Anthony “Tony” San Juan, 43, of Santa Maria, was shot and killed early Saturday morning behind Elmer’s bar, in what some are calling a “senseless” act of violence. The shooting occurred at approximately 1:30 a.m., and during Highley the course of the investigation, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives developed information that pointed to a possible suspect — David Highley 35 of Orcutt,

which sheriff’s officials said included the processing of the crime scene, the gathering of physical evidence and interviews of several witnesses, Highley was arrested in connection with the homicide. Elmer’s owner, Mike Denne, spoke out about the shooting Monday afternoon. He said that following a brief altercation where punches were exchanged inside the bar, Elmer’s employees removed Highley through the back door, but he came around to the front entrance. Employees barred Highley from re-enterGOFUNDME.COM ing, Denne said, and called the police. A GoFundMe campaign has been created Denne said the altercation and shootto help support the family of Anthony ing were not linked: “I know the beef was San Juan, shown, who was killed early not with Tony.” Saturday morning. Denne said he believes Highley went to his home, then returned to the bar with the neighborhood where the suspect a gun. reportedly had fled. Shortly after 9 a.m. The shooting occurred in Elmer’s Saturday sheriff’s detectives took High- parking lot, located behind the Orcutt

WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Monday released their long-awaited plan for unraveling former President Barack Obama’s health care law, a package that would scale back the government’s role in health care and likely leave more Americans uninsured. House committees planned to begin voting on the 123-page legislation Wednesday, launching what could be the year’s defining battle in Congress and capping a seven-year Republican effort to repeal the 2010 law. Though GOP leaders expect their measure to win the backing of the Trump administration, divisions remain and GOP success is by no means ensured. The plan would repeal the statute’s unpopular fines on people who don’t carry health insurance. It would replace income-based subsidies the law provides to help millions of Americans pay premiums with age-based tax credits that may be less generous to people with low incomes. Those payments would phase out for higher-earning people. The bill would continue Obama’s expansion of Medicaid to additional low-earning Americans until 2020. After that, states adding Medicaid recipients would no longer receive the additional federal funds the statute has provided. More significantly, Republicans would overhaul the federal-state Medicaid program, changing its open-ended federal financing to a limit based on enrollment and Please see HEALTH CARE, Page A6

Trump quietly signs new anti-terror travel ban ALICIA A. CALDWELL AND JILL COLVIN




‘Whipping Man’ is powerful theater BRENT M. PARKER

Contributing Writer

“The Whipping Man” is historical fiction penned with strong sense of immediacy. The horrors of slavery and the Civil War are made personal as we witness their effects on the three characters. Playwright Matthew Lopez tackles a seldom-explored aspect of

this period: The Confederate family in this story, the DeLeons, are Jewish, and their former slaves, Simon (Derrick Lee Weeden) and John (Antwon D. Mason Jr.), have also adopted their faith. The celebration of Passover, and its significance to the characters, figures prominently in the play. Even before the action begins,

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CYNTHIA SCHUR President and Publisher MARGA COOLEY Managing Editor JOHN LANKFORD Editorial Writer

a palpable sense of dread fills the intimate Severson Theatre. Abby Hogan’s set uses the small space with incredible economy, evoking the gutted ruin of the once-grand DeLeon house. The wallpaper is LUIS ESCOBAR REFLECTIONS PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO smoke-stained and a haze hangs in the air. The landing by the door Antwon D. Mason Jr., as John, Matt Koenig, as Caleb, and Derrick Lee Weeden, as Simon, from left, in a scene from PCPA’s production of “The Please see ‘WHIPPING MAN,’ Page C6 Whipping Man.”

A new dimension D Disney’s isney’s n newest ewest llive-action ive-action rrelease, elease, ‘‘Beauty Beauty aand nd tthe he B Beast,’ east,’ oout ut M March arch 1177


Associated Press

The Disney “live-action” remakes, of which the new “Beauty and the Beast” is but one in an assembly line, are starting to resemble an iPhone software update. Click a button and that old cartoon interface changes Belle into Emma Watson, the Beast into Dan Stevens and maybe fixes a few bugs in the system. Director Bill Condon’s film — let’s call it “Beauty and the Beast 2.0” — often feels in search of a purpose beyond the dollar signs. Much of the live-action/digital effects makeover is less lifelike than the Oscar-winning 1991 animated film: It’s gained a dimension but lost a pulse. The merely fine acting and the lavish production design dutifully strive to make this a worthy enterprise. Opposites attract, of course. And this “Beauty and the Beast” is equal parts dispiriting and enchanting: overflowing in handsome craft, but missing a spirit inside.Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s songs still have their infectious kick, but most of the big musical moments feel more like very good covers of the originals. (There are also three less-memorable new songs.) Belle’s bookishn e ss

“Beauty and the Beast,” 1991

‘‘Beauty Beauty a and nd the Beast’ ★★½ out of 4 RATED: PG RUNNING TIME: 129 minutes

is more pronounced in Condon’s update. Watson’s performance is a little minor key, still, but she lends Belle a new intelligence and agency. She’s less of a Stockholm syndrome Victim and more deserving of young girls’ admiration.AndtheBeast, a pile of horns, makeup and effects on top of the former “Downton Abbey” star Stevens, is more haunted and melancholy. Butasthefilmnearsitscelebratory coda, a buoyant pluralism bursts forth. Characters — large parts and small — are freed from their prescribed rolesinagloriousdance. Here is where that already much discussed “gay moment,” as Condon has called it, arrives. It comes and goes in a flash. In fact, “Beauty and the Beast” would be better if it dared more such moments and went further with them. Nevertheless, the Dan Stevens uproar and Emma suggests Watson. even this must count as progress. Perhaps we’ll be readyforatrulyup-to-date “BeautyandtheBeast3.0” in another few decades.

Beauty and the controversy? Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in “Frozen,” plays LeFou, the doting sidekick of the caddish Gaston (Luke Evans), the dopey pursuer of Belle’s hand. LeFou spends much of the movie hinting at his affection for his lecherous friend, but LeFou, too, has a moment where the same-sex theme is more overt.

Luke Evans as Gaston, left, with Josh Gad as LeFou. Age restrictions in Russia The ministry told The Associated Press in an emailed statement that its decision for the 16-plus rating followed petitions by lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, known for his ultraconservative views, petitioned for the live-action film to be banned. In the U.S., the film has a PG rating. InaletterreleasedbytheRIANovosti news agency, Milonov protested the screening of a movie that disseminates “overt and shameless propaganda of sin and sexual perversion under the guise of a fairy tale.” Film out at Alabama drive-in A Henagar, Ala. drive-in theater won’t show “Beauty and the Beast” because LeFou is portrayed as homosexual. A Facebook post for the Henagar Drive-In Theatre says its operators are “first and foremost Christians” and will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. They said they will show family-oriented films so customers can “watch wholesome movies.” — Associated Press


Previous Disney live-action releases “Alice in Wonderland”

“Maleficent” (“Sleeping Beauty”) “Cinderella”

“The Jungle Book”

“Beauty and the Beast”

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Talking instead of Health impacts of fighting GUEST COMMENTARY


he Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors seems to have developed a split personality, at least when it comes to dealing with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Late last month, the board majority decided to file a lawsuit seeking to have a federal appeals court set aside the Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to allow the tribe’s Camp 4 property onto the reservation, thus continuing the locked-horns battle between county and tribal governments. The county’s split personality emerged last week when the board voted to resume direct negotiations with tribal representatives. This is not unlike a gambler placing a bet on one team in the Super Bowl, then placing a bet on the opposing team to cover a potential loss on the first bet. Unfortunately, unlike a gambler’s paranoid insurance betting system, the board suing to reverse a federal agency’s directive, while at the same time attempting to negotiate with the beneficiary of that directive is not only counterintuitive, but insulting. As most locals know, this is a war that has been raging since the Chumash embarked on what turned out to be a wildly successful casino venture, starting out in a bingo tent, and morphing into a growing business empire in the central part of Santa Barbara County. Under other circumstances, county officials would embrace such commercial success, and do what is necessary to keep the interests of the business prospering — if it were just about anyone but the Chumash. It’s less a personal thing than a sovereignty matter. These are two governments butting heads, with the county’s taxpayers caught in the middle. That was made abundantly clear at last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, at which the board voted unanimously to resurrect an ad hoc committee to continue discussions with tribal leaders. On the one hand, board newcomers Joan Hartmann and Das Williams are scheduled to sit down with tribal officials to discuss and negotiate, mainly over what the tribe plans for the Camp 4 property — the Chumash have announced a desire to develop more than 140 homes for tribal members — and how the county will be compensated for property taxes and others fees that disappear when private land becomes part of an Indian reservation. But if the county persists with its appeal of the BIA ruling, there will definitely be a cloud hovering over such talks. In fact, we wonder why the tribe would agree to negotiations while the county essentially challenges the tribe’s status as a sovereign entity. Chumash leaders have been gracious, and apparently eager to reopen talks that could improve relations between the two governments. Meanwhile, the court appeal seems destined to go forward, eating up taxpayer dollars in legal fees, fighting a battle that will have no winners. Even if the county’s Camp 4 challenge prevails, the sovereignty issue will remain. Two supervisors — Williams and Santa Maria’s Steve Lavagnino — voted against filing the appeal lawsuit. They seem to understand that

pot use are not good


roponents of recreational pot use are giddy over the prospect of being able to legally grow their own. Some of these folks are old enough to know better, but after all it’s the cause that’s important, not the long-term health and safety impacts that count. The National Institute of Drug RON Abuse and the FINK Office of National Drug Control Policy say, “Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have the same breathing problems that tobacco smokers have. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections; increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies; temporary hallucinations, paranoia and worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.” They also say, “Compared to nonusers, heavy marijuana users more often report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, more relationship problems and less academic and career success …” None of this sounds healthy to me. A University of California San Francisco News Center report by Leigh Beeson last July concerning

second-hand pot smoke states, “One minute of exposure to second-hand smoke from marijuana diminishes blood vessel function to the same extent as tobacco, but the harmful cardiovascular effects last three times longer, according to a new study in rats led by UC San Francisco researchers.” So, even though you and I and the children of users may not use pot, we are subject to some serious ill effects just by being in proximity to a user for a minute or more. Initially, pot users experience near-instant gratification as they puff away. But, over time they build up a tolerance that relies on increased usage to obtain the same high. The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports, “prevalence of higher-potency marijuana, measured by levels of the chemical delta¬9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is increasing. Average THC levels rose from less than 1 percent in the mid-1970s to more than 6 percent in 2002. Sinsemilla potency increased in the past two decades from 6 percent to more than 13 percent, with some samples containing THC levels of up to 33 percent.” I would say these institutions have a high degree of credibility. On the other hand, pot bloggers produce information that doesn’t sync with the available clinical evidence. You should decide which to believe.

The established impairment level in Colorado is five nanograms of active THC per milliliter of whole blood. Unlike alcohol, pot use can be detected for up to 100 days. Keep that in mind the next time you take a mandatory drug test for work, commercial drivers exams or a pre-employment physical. Lompoc is currently trying to figure out what to do about recreational marijuana growing and use in the city. Even though neither Santa Barbara County nor the state have figured out what to do yet, our elected leaders decided to plunge headlong into an effort to regulate this substance before the pot laws had been established. So, there are two basic questions — do city leaders want to condone an increased risk to public health, or will they execute their responsibility to protect the public and continue the ban on marijuana use in our city? Responsible leadership is needed here. Even though political pressure will be exerted to assure leaders they should approve this quickly, they must sift through the fog of pot supporters’ rhetoric and make decisions that serve the public good. In this case, waiting until the state/county acts is the best course of action. Ron Fink is a local activist and can be reached at


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