Garden Day on Sunday, May 29, North County Awards Given

1. The Green Team is working on the Edible Landscaping Demonstration Garden in Santa Maria, Sunday, May 29 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
2. SBCAN honored five individuals on Sunday during annual North County “Looking Forward” Awards Dinner in Santa Maria


1. The Green Team is working on the Edible Landscaping Demonstration Garden in Santa Maria, Sunday, May 29 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.


Leonardo Espinoza Jr. is leading this "fun day" at the Edible Landscaping Demonstration Garden. He says:

Spring is here. Time to get back in the garden. Bring your garden gloves and get ready to spruce up the garden. Invite your family and friends. Hope to see you there.

For more information, contact Leonardo Espinoza at [email protected].

2. SBCAN honored five individuals on Sunday during annual North County “Looking Forward” Awards Dinner in Santa Maria 

Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN) honored five individuals for their outstanding contributions to the community during the North County “Looking Forward” Awards Dinner on Sunday May 22 at the Radisson Hotel, 3455 Skyway Dr., Santa Maria.


SBCAN president Margaret Connell presented awards to Franca Bongi Lockard, Doug Jenzen, Patricia Solorio, Rosemary Holmes and Chuck Madson. SBCAN board member Janet Blevins was the emcee while board member Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt conducted the fundraiser.

Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino and Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl presented certificates from their cities. Joyce Howerton presented certificates from Hannah-Beth Jackson and Blanca Figueroa presented certificates from Lois Capps. SBCAN South County vice president Dick Flacks presented certificates from the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. 

Other elected officials also attended: Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, Santa Maria Council member Terri Zuniga, Allan Hancock College Trustee Hilda Zacarias, Vandenberg Village Community Services District Director Charlie Blair. Three candidates for office also attended the popular event: Joann Hartmann running for Third District Supervisor, Eddie Ozeta for Fourth District Supervisor and Hector Sanchez running for Santa Maria City Council.

The dinner was dedicated to the memory of Joann Marmolejo and Jerry Connor. Both served on the SBCAN board of directors for many years, Marmolejo as president and Connor as North County vice president. Both passed away this year. Blevins, South County vice president Dick Flacks, executive director Ken Hough and Joe Pierre of UFCW Local 770 paid tribute to them.

Entertainment was provided by SBCAN treasurer Gale McNeeley, vocals; Chuck Osborne, electronic accordion; Betty Faas, piano; Rosella Apel, vocals and guitar; and Tom Apel, drums and vocals.

Lockard received the “Social Justice Award” for promoting fairness, tolerance, respect and compassion for all people in our community. Born in Pistoia Italy, Franca Bongi met and married American soldier Walter Lockard in Italy in 1948. After the war, she moved to the U.S. and worked for the U.S. Army. 

In Washington, D.C., Lockard was the branch manager at the military personnel center, which managed The Old Guard for the President, Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Currently Lockard volunteers for the Special Needs Network, as a tutor for the Literacy Council, at Board and Care Homes and at a local convent. She is an active member of the League of Women Voters, Friends of the Santa Maria Library and the Democratic Club of Santa Maria Valley. For 12 years she was a mainstay at Marian Hospice working both in the office and with people and families in their homes. 

She’s given support to the Santa Maria Philharmonic and her contributions to PCPA have helped to produce both Outreach Shows in local schools and Main Stage shows throughout the community. She is a strong advocate for LGBT Rights and for all humanity. She believes passionately that the arts in education enrich lives and strengthen the country.

Jenzen received the “Environmental Protection & Sustainability Award” for valuing, protecting and preserving our natural resources and environment. He holds a B.A. in History from California State University Channel Islands and a M.A. in History from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He is an author and has received several awards recognizing his work as executive director of the Dunes Center, including California State University Alumnus of the Year, Historic Preservationist of the Year, and Best Nonprofit Management and Governance Practices.  He serves on the San Luis Obispo County Archaeological Society’s Board of Directors and the California Association of Museums’ Programs Committee, and holds a seat on the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.

The Dunes Center promotes the conservation of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes, which stretch from Pismo Beach to Point Sal. It achieves this by operating a natural history museum in the heart of Guadalupe and offering a variety of educational opportunities for 8,000 children per year. Jenzen has refined the Dunes Center's existing educational programming, implementing more hands-on activities focused on local natural resources and piloting programs that focus on science and art so that children of all backgrounds and interests can participate. He has also forged partnerships that advance the museum’s standing in the community while simultaneously working towards social justice.

Solorio received the “Working Families Award” for helping to improve the lives of working families. A native of Santa Maria and mother of two, she is the executive director for Central Coast Future Leaders in North County. She is bilingual, bi-cultural and has a profound understanding of the community and the constituents she serves. She has worked with youth and families in Santa Maria for the past 10 years. Her work with CCFL is focused on leadership, personal and educational development, including providing youth with alternatives to the use of drugs and alcohol. She was recognized by the Association of California County Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators for her work in drug and alcohol abuse prevention in Santa Barbara County.

Solorio is dedicated to working collaboratively with other community groups to provide youth and the Latino community with opportunities to develop the skills to be successful in education, parenting and giving back to their community. She is closely involved in the planning of several large community events including Day of the Farm Worker, Dia De Los Muertos, and "Take the Lead" Youth Leadership Conference in addition to coordinating CCFL Summer Leadership Camp and year-round activities. In addition to spending time with her children, Elias and Clarissa, Patricia enjoys spending time at the beach, reading and wine tasting.

Holmes received the “Giving Back to the Community Award” for selflessly giving back to the community. Born in England, Holmes came here as a young child. She has had a long and varied life, evolving from counterculture years during which she raised her two sons. Her surviving son, David Reich, who she is very proud of, is a high school teacher and avid motorcyclist.

Holmes’ career started in the 1970’s with the University of California, retiring in 2006. The department she retired from was the Education Abroad Program where she placed incoming reciprocal students from various universities around the world for short-term study at one of the UC's. A long-held passion is a local weekly film club, active since 1996 in which she indulges her passion for foreign films, documentaries and other films of note, particularly those of a humanist bent.

Other interests include arts and crafts such as making jewelry, sewing, occasionally writing newspaper articles, and working with the local horticultural group, fighting to preserve their drought-tolerant garden in Lompoc. She wrote a grant in 2009 to fund Citizens Against Walmart Expansion. She is involved with the Lompoc Valley Democratic Club and is on the board of the local Sierra Club. Her daily life involves reading and walking with her beloved terrier, Evan.

Madson received the “Looking Forward Award” for strong leadership and vision in community building, civic engagement, and improving the quality of life in our community.

Madson moved to Lompoc in 2008 from the San Fernando Valley after being released from the California Department of Corrections. Struggling with a long history of addiction and the effects of incarceration, he connected with Coast Valley Treatment Center in 2010 and then was hired as an Adolescent Counselor. With the support of his son, Matt, and Pastor Craig Hamlin, Madson’s dream of giving back to the community has been realized in many different projects such as Miracle House Men's Home, Feed Lompoc Food Distributions, Pay It Forward Thrifts and Gifts Store, Recovery Day in the Park, and Lompoc Community Meeting. The bulk of his work has been with the thousands of clients served in Coast Valley Substance Abuse Treatment Centers, both in Lompoc and Santa Maria.

Madson has also facilitated collaboration with numerous other agencies, which provide support to many Coast Valley graduates for ongoing recovery. In 2013, he was instrumental in getting the first Spice/Synthetic Ban Ordinance passed in Lompoc—the first such ban in Santa Barbara County. Madson’s constant motivation to help those suffering in the community comes from his own past experiences and the realization that so much comes from giving to others.

The dinner was sponsored by UFCW Local 770, SEIU Local 721, SEIU Local 620, The Fund for Santa Barbara, May Kwok and UDW Local 3930. Other sponsors were Democratic Club of Santa Maria Valley, Law Office of Marc Chytilo, Lompoc Valley Democratic Club, Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club, McCune Foundation, Ng and Ng Dental and Eyecare Center, and Santa Maria-Lompoc Branch of the NAACP. 

Thanks to everyone for your contributions and involvement with SBCAN. Our work together makes a difference throughout the county as we dedicate ourselves to creating sustainable communities, promoting social and economic justice, and preserving our community’s environmental and agricultural resources. 

For more information, visit, call (805) 563-0463, or email [email protected].

SBCAN Executive Director