This article by Mike Hodgson ran March 28, 2017 in the Santa Maria Times:
About 20 people attended a Monday night forum in Solvang designed to gather support for blocking new oil wells in Santa Barbara County, pushing for full renewable energy sources in the county and state and ending California’s cap-and-trade program.
The group gathered in the Legion Wing of the Veterans Memorial Building to hear four speakers discuss plans for more than 700 “new” oil wells in the county, the potential for wells to contaminate groundwater, restrictions on developing alternative energy and the failure of the cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Speakers were Alena Simon, Santa Barbara County organizer; Adam Scow, California director of the national nonprofit organization Food & Water Watch; Rebecca August, of Safe Energy Now; and Ken Hough, of the Santa Barbara County Action Network.
Their presentations and audience questions were reserved until Andy Caldwell, executive director of COLAB, the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, questioned some of the statements and claimed they were misleading scare tactics.
Then interactions between Caldwell and audience members became contentious and nearly deteriorated into an arguing match before organizers calmed things down and began disbanding the meeting.
This article by Janene Scully was published in Noozhawk on June 10, 2016: https://www.noozhawk.com/article/santa_maria_river_levee_trail_recognizes_tom_urbanske
A multipurpose trail in Santa Maria sports a new name to recognize a former member of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and his years of service to the Santa Maria Valley.
“This will be a lifelong legacy for our community and the Urbanske family,” Recreation and Parks Director Alex Posada said during a ceremony celebrating the naming of the Tom Urbanske Multipurpose Trail.
The City Council earlier this year agreed to recognize Urbanske's service by naming the trail for him. Urbanske is credited with spearheading efforts to allow recreational uses on the levee trail.
The approval process for naming the trail took approximately a year after Jeanne Sparks and Barry Stotts first presented the proposal to city officials.
“It took awhile, but it got done,” said Sparks, who worked as Urbanske’s aide while he was a county supervisor and now is with Santa Barbara County Action Network.
“And we have to thank the staff for their effort on it because it did take coordinating with the county and they made that happen. We’re just happy,” Sparks added.
“Tom has been such a driving force in this community. He’s done so much as a county supervisor, as a city councilman and before that as a high school teacher and counselor and he’s still involved in nonprofit boards. He’s just so deserving, I'm glad to see this trail named after Tom.”
The Fund for Santa Barbara recently awarded a $7,500 grant to Santa Barbara County Action Network to support the organization as it addresses environmental, social justice and civic engagement issues.
“We appreciate the generous support from the Fund for Santa Barbara,” said SBCAN Executive Director Ken Hough. “This award will help us with our mission to promote social and economic justice, to preserve our environmental and agricultural resources, and to create sustainable communities.”
During 2016, SBCAN plans to develop initiatives and seek implementation funding in the following areas: 1. Healthy communities coalition, building on the State of California’s Health in all Policies Program, 2. Bicycle and pedestrian safety in North County, seeking to emulate similar initiatives in South Coast, and building on the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition’s plan to retain staff in North County, 3. Risks from transport of highly volatile oil to the proposed Phillips 66 rail terminal, 4. Community Choice for Clean Energy, 5. Promoting raising the minimum wage, and 6. Promoting even-year local elections to help ensure more voter participation.
SBCAN received the grant on January 4.
For more information about SBCAN, visit www.sbcan.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (805) 563-0463.
Hobnobbing with Helen
BY HELEN ANN THOMAS
As published in the Santa Maria Sun June 11, 2015: http://www.santamariasun.com/news/13283/hobnobbing-with-helen/
When I went to an event Sunday night, June 7, at the Santa Maria Inn, I did not expect to see the likes of Congresswoman Lois Capps, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, and 1st District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal.
But there they were in a room full of 140 folks who came to the Santa Barbara Community Action Network’s (SB CAN’s) North County “Looking Forward” annual awards dinner.
The trick of making an awards dinner something other than a big ho-hum is injecting something unexpected and fun into the program. SB CAN did just that.
Santa Barbara County Action Network will honor five individuals and organizations during its North County Looking Forward Awards Dinner on Sunday, June 7 at the Historic Santa Maria Inn, 801 S. Broadway, Santa Maria. Reception starts at 5 p.m.; dinner at 6 p.m.
Members of the public are invited to attend.
The awards are as follows: Deborah Tobola and the Poetic Justice Project, “Looking Forward Award” for leadership and vision; Al Thompson, “Environmental Protection & Sustainability Award;” Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt; ”Social Justice Award;” Peoples' Self-Help Housing, “Working Families Award;” and Laura and Ron Selken, “Giving Back to the Community Award.”