De Goede makes good

Kathleen de Goede, a freshman at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, was named to the Dean’s List for the Fall Semester. Kathleen is a 2011 graduate of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. Wake Forest University is known for its academic rigor and is often referred to as “Work Forest.”


Softball sign-up

It’s not too late to sign up for girls softball. Registration ends Wednesday, Feb 1. Visit www.syvgsa.org to learn more and to download a registration form. Contact Lisa at lmelby@syvgsa.org with any questions.


Wine Fantasy

The Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association invites you to the 10th annual Wine Fantasy Passport event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11-12. Twelve award-winning wineries will welcome patrons to their individual tasting rooms in Solvang, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez.

Advanced tickets for the event are available online at www.santaynezwinecountry.com. For phone orders, please call (800) 563-3181. Passports are available to purchase on the day of the event at Lucas & Lewellen in Solvang, Imagine Wine in Santa Ynez and Alexander & Wayne in Los Olivos.


Vehicle donations

Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People (PHP) has announced a new program, “Donate Vehicles to make a Difference.” PHP will begin to accept direct donations of motor vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats) effective immediately. The vehicles need not be running and PHP will pay for towing, if necessary, if the organization accepts the donation.

According to Dean Palius, chief executive at PHP, the non-profit will not take every vehicle, but if it can be put in operating condition for a reasonable cost or sold for parts, will accept the donation and provide the donor with appropriate IRS tax receipt forms.

If interested in donating a vehicle to PHP, contact Jordan Granite at 686-0295 or at jordan@syvphp.org. PHP is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation. For more information, visit www.syvphp.org.


Spay or neuter

Valley Humane Society, is offering $20 per cat spay/neuter surgeries through our CatNips 2012 program, which is available to Santa Barbara County residents only.

Cat owners are encouraged to call Santa Barbara County Animal Services’ Project PetSafe team, Santa Maria Animal Center, at (805) 934-6968 or the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society at (805) 349-3435 to schedule an appointment to spay/neuter cats for only $20 between now and the end of February 2012 for the first 100 cats signed up.


Volunteer training

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County will host a volunteer training class in Solvang, beginning Feb. 18. Provide stability and hope to foster youth by advocating for them in the court system. If interested in becoming a CASA, complete an application and interview prior to the first class. To begin the process, email: volunteer@sbcasa.org or call (805) 739-9102, ext. 0.


25th anniversary

Frank Ostini, Chef/Owner/Winemaker of The Hitching Post II Restaurant and Winery in Buellton, California announces a month-long celebration of the restaurant’s 25th anniversary with a special menu of signature dishes served at the Santa Barbara County landmark since 1986.

The celebration began Jan. 16. Guests are offered a three-course menu of Hitching Post II favorites. Included is a choice of soup or salad and house made dessert and is priced at $25 per guest to mark the anniversary.

For further information, the public can contact The Hitching Post Restaurant and Winery at 688-0676 or visit www.hitchingpost2.com. 406 E. Highway 246.


On the lake

Fishing from shore in the campground or from a boat is open all year (except Christmas Day) with a valid fishing license.

The lake supports healthy populations of large- and small-mouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish. Our next trout plant is Friday, Feb. 17.

See www.cachuma.com for the trout planting schedule, the Weekly Fishing Report and for strict boat inspection and launch requirements to control invasive plants and animals. The Cachuma Lake Marina & Boat Rentals is open daily dawn to dusk; approximately 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in February.

Boat rentals, slip rentals, 1-day fishing licenses and a full bait and tackle are available. Call (805) 688-4040 for prices and specific times. Park admission is $10 per vehicle.


All that jazz

The “Famous Jazz Artist Series,” the popular, one-of-a-kind attraction in Cambria, will expand its audience to Solvang, with the first appearance set for Saturday, Feb. 18, at The Terrace Dinner Theatre.

The announcement was made by Solvang businesswoman/producer Ruth Hoover and original Cambria-based series producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemaker.

The Feb. 18 event includes dinner at 6 p.m., followed by music from 7-9 p.m. Doors open at 5:30.

The Terrace Dinner Theatre is upstairs at Manny’s Restaurant, located at 1693 Mission Drive in the heart of town. Drinks can be purchased separately throughout the evening at the full bar. Entrance is by ticket only, at $35 per person, available in advance from Manny’s Restaurant, telephone 691-9137.


Book signing

Santa Ynez Valley writer Jayne Martin will be at The Book Loft in Solvang from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, to sign copies of her new book of humor essays, Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry.

Each month, Martin is selecting a different non-profit to receive a portion of the sales. A portion of the proceeds from this event and all sales during the month of January will be donated to the Rona Barrett Foundation. For more information, visit www.suitableforgiving.com.


Free tax help

Free assistance for the preparation of federal and state income tax forms will be available from Feb. 3 through April 13 for low and middle income taxpayers with special attention to those 60 and older.

The Tax-Aide program is sponsored by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service. All assistance is by appointment only. To schedule, call the Solvang Senior Center (805) 688-3793 for Monday or Friday afternoon appointments.

Taxpayers must bring Social Security cards, a valid picture ID, records of any 2011 wages (W-2 forms), and 1099 forms received that report income from such items as: interest, dividends, pensions, and IRAs, as well as copies of tax year 2010 Federal and State tax returns.


For art’s sake

“People and Places,” an exhibit of paintings by nonagenarian Gladys Efantis will be the featured show at the Cypress Gallery in Lompoc from Jan. 31 through Feb. 26. Efantis began drawing during childhood and has had a career in the arts and graphic design.

There will be a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5. The Cypress Gallery is located at 119 E. Cypress Ave. It is open every day except Mondays. Winter hours are noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call the Cypress Gallery at (805) 737-1129.


Just for funds

Even though it’s the dead of winter, things are heating up as the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration plans a “Bollywood” fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at India House, 418 State St.

The fundraiser is being organized to ensure the nonprofit 2012 Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration is even better than last year’s three-day festival, which brought thousands to Alameda Park. “Fantasy” is the theme for this year’s celebration. The weekend festival opens June 22, with the parade on June 23. The festival will continue through June 24.

“Bollywood” refers to the East Indian movie industry in what used to be called Bombay.

The cost to attend the fundraiser is $25 per person, excluding the price of beverages. Last year’s Bollywood fundraiser sold out early. Tickets may be purchased from India House at its outdoor bazaar at 518 State St. or the restaurant, through Solstice office at (805) 965-3396 or online at www.solsticeparade.com.


Ireland in September

The Solvang Chamber of Commerce will be offering a trip to Ireland slated for Sept. 23 until Oct. 2. There will be an orientation meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Veterans hall in Solvang concerning the trip. All persons who register for the trip that evening will receive a $150 per person discount.

Highlights of the trip will be touring Dublin, the medieval village of Kilkenny, the historic city of Waterford and the crystal factory tour, and Blarney Castle where we can kiss the famous Blarney Stone.

The visit covers Limerick and King John’s Castle and the 700-foot high Cliffs of Moher, as well as a tour of Galway. The tour will include transportation from Solvang, all flights, most tours and meals.

There will be three optional tours available including a medieval banquet in a castle, a pub lunch in Brazenhead Pub, Ireland’s oldest pub, and an Irish cuisine and cooking lesson in Killarney.

Linda Johansen will escort and handle all details regarding the trip. Please contact her at 686-1644 for a brochure and pricing.