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Hiker Safety in Santa Barbara

Hiking Expert John McKinney had a busy summer, but it wasn’t all happy trails. Hikers fell off Half Dome and got lost in the woods. Hikers were swept to their deaths over mighty Vernal Fall in Yosemite and over tiny EatonCanyonFalls in a park near Pasadena.

And the media kept asking The Trailmaster for explanations about these hiker deaths.

“My heart goes out to the friends and families, as well as to the horrified onlookers,” McKinney told ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. “But my head cannot comprehend the decision-making that took place to step around the guardrail at Vernal Fall and into those raging waters.”

Recently John took the KEYT news team on the trail and encouraged the audience to take a hike—with the right preparation of course. “Nature is not a theme park,” he said.


Questions for the Candidates… High-Density Housing

How does high-density housing with limited open space improve the ability of families to live in Santa Barbara? Sharon Byrne, Santa Barbara City Council Candidate

“I am a fan of the downtown living experience, as I live it! But I understand it’s not for everyone, and families in their peak earning years often desire a house, with a yard, a dog, and markets nearby. The idea of living in high density, with no yard, little available parking, and no nearby markets is not attractive to most families. You can see this clearly from New York City’s demographics. Families buy homes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, and commute in for work. Unless we plan high-density communities to allow for pets, easy access to local markets, safe routes to schools, and nearby parks for recreation spaces, it’s not going to draw families to live in the city. We really have to solve the public safety issue first, because people are going to live away from what they perceive as unsafe for their family. If the city had a very safe feel to it, and other family needs for shopping, school access, and open space are resolved, you might see some families gravitate here. My largest concern, though, with high-density zoning, is that it raises property values, and long-term working class families and small businesses that have been here for years might suddenly find it prohibitively expensive, from their property-tax bills, to continue. Displacing these families and businesses is not the way a responsible city treats its citizenry.”


30th anniversary of the Diablo Nuclear Plant Protest

By Santa Barbara View’s Outdoor Editor, John McKinney @TheTrailmaster

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Diablo Nuclear Plant Protest—by some accounts the largest anti-nuclear plant demonstration in the nation’s history—and perhaps its most significant. Many Santa Barbarans were among the 1,960 protesters arrested.

In September 1981, many thousands of anti-nuclear activists assembled at the plant’s entry gate, about seven miles from PG&E’s nuclear facility. Under the leadership of the Abalone Alliance, a California conservation group, they attempted a human blockade to stop the opening of the shoddily constructed plant, built on an active earthquake fault.

CLICK HERE to read John McKinney’s retrospective of that event, “The No-Nukes That Turned to Slow Nukes” posted on the online magazine Miller McCune


Newspapers Now the Third Choice for News

According to a new study produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, the public’s top two sources of news remain television and the internet. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say television is where they get most of their news and information, while 43% say they turn to the internet. About three-in-ten Americans (31%) say they get most of their news from newspapers. Radio was a distant fourth (19%).

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Among those younger than 30, the internet far surpasses television as the main source for news (65% vs. 51%). While those 65 and older are only age group in which more cite newspapers (49%) than the internet (15%) as a main news and information source.


Questions for the Candidates… High-Density Housing

How does high-density housing with limited open space improve the ability of families to live in Santa Barbara? Cathy Murillo, Santa Barbara City Council Candidate

“High density housing isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t belong in every neighborhood. It’s about providing options. Compact sustainable development is a way to create housing options, while protecting our remaining open space. Some people prefer to live in compact areas with little or no outside maintenance needs, where they can walk to stores, restaurants and entertainment. This is particularly true of some of our young singles, seniors, or “empty nesters.” Santa Barbara will always have a limited supply of housing, but as some of or “empty nesters” move into compact developments, it frees existing neighborhood housing for families. Many of our residents live in apartments or other areas with limited open space; they make use of our parks, beaches and open space. I am an advocate for protecting our remaining open space and enhancing recreational activities for families and our youth.”


A View of the Local Media… Another Blog Down?

More than two years after Blogabarbara—a website purportedly associated with former Mayor Marty Blum—shut down, blogger Craig Smith appears to have given up the gig.

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Smith’s insider coverage of the Santa Barbara News-Press meltdown made him a celebrity in the community and go-to source for everything News-Press related. Smith was a early staple for EdHat, but the site has since moved away from aggregating columnists.  His blogging even led to a column in the Daily Sound and Montecito Messenger. Smith, who used to entertain and inform on a daily basis, has penned one post (and one column in the Montecito Messenger) since the middle of August.


The Moving Wall is Coming to Santa Barbara

Honoring those from Santa Barbara County who died during the Vietnam War will be the mission of the five-day visit of The Moving Wall, the original replica of the national memorial designed to honor the sacrifice of the more than 58,000 men and women who died in that conflict. It will also serve as a reminder of the 11 million who served during the Vietnam War era.

Members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 218 of Santa Barbara are bringing The Moving Wall to Chase Palm Park from noon Thursday, September 29 through noon Monday, October 3, 2011.  The mission of all Vietnam Veterans is that “never again will one generation of veterans abandon another” and the exhibit of The Moving Wall is one way to achieve this goal.

Photo credit David Perry. Read the rest…
The Moving Wall is viewable 24/7 during the five-day stay. The UCSB ROTC members will stand guard at The Moving Wall; it will be illuminated throughout the night and volunteer docents will be on hand to help guide visitors locate a name and provide information on the memorial itself.

Dedication ceremonies begin at noon on Saturday, October 1 followed by a fly-over of Vietnam era fixed wing aircraft and helicopters at 1 p.m.  This could be the last time we will see such a large group of Huey Helicopters in formation, making this dedication ceremony very unique. There will also be a Huey parked at The Moving Wall for Saturday’s events.   Major General Joseph Franklin, former Commandant of West Point and a veteran of two tours in Vietnam will be the keynote speaker. Chapter 218 will also honor and remember the 99 veterans from Santa Barbara County who were killed during the war, by reading their names aloud.

Additionally, on Sunday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. there will be a non-denominational Candlelight Vigil to include all who wish to honor and remember our veterans – past, present and future and come together in one voice.

Hap Desimone, President of the VVA Chapter 218 said, “By providing the community with an opportunity to see it and reflect on what happened to this country, and indeed, the world from 1959 to 1975, we honor and remember all Vietnam Vets.” The Moving Wall has been here before – in 1997, again in 2001 just a few weeks after 9/11, and in 2005.

Visitors are encouraged to bring notes, artifacts, wreaths and photos to commemorate their loved ones.  The Moving Wall staff will gather up all of these mementos to be carefully stored with The Moving Wall in Minneapolis.

Donations and sponsors are sought to help defray the costs of bringing The Moving Wall to Santa Barbara. Sponsorships range from $100 to $5,000.  Individuals, families, businesses or organizations can also sponsor a flag at The Moving Wall for $100.  When The Moving Wall comes down on Oct. 3 the flag will be presented to the sponsor. All these opportunities are online www.vvachapter218.org.  You can also send a check in care of VVA #218,  P.O. Box 4862, Santa Barbara, CA 93140.

Volunteer docents are also needed to help staff the exhibit while it’s here.  Members of the VVA #218 and Vietnam Vets will be the first groups from where docents are sought, but any resident who wishes to help may also sign up.  Shifts are three hours each and will require attendance at one of the advance training sessions for docents: Tues., Sept. 20 @ 7pm; Sat., Sept. 24 @ 10am; Tues., Sept. 27 @7pm at the Veterans Memorial Bldg., 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.   Call (805)284-6372 or Don Matter by e-mail: donmatter51@yahoo.com

Please visit the Chapter website for updates at: http://www.vvachapter218.org/