Bill Cirone, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools and a contributing writer to the Valley Journal, was named chairperson of the national board of trustees of the Teachers Network at the board’s recent meeting.

Teachers Network is a nonprofit organization that is involved in grant-making, connecting great teachers, supporting new teachers, providing online networking, and helping set public policy — by teachers, for teachers — with a track record dating back more than twenty-five years of successful programs dedicated to improving student learning in public schools nationally and internationally. Teachers Network focuses on professional development as the key to improving student achievement. Santa Barbara was the first county in the nation to become a Teachers Network site.

Lompoc City Council approves hiring
D.C. lobbying firm

LOMPOC, Calif. (AP) — The Lompoc City Council has agreed to hire a Washington, D.C., consulting and lobbying firm.

The council voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of a measure to hire government consultant group Marlowe & Co. using $49,000 of general fund reserves through 2008.

Representatives of the lobbying group met with City Manager Gary Keefe and Mayor Dick DeWees in October with a proposal to help prepare federal funding requests and provide a face-to-face presence with federal lawmakers.

DeWees says it is “time for the city to roll the dice, and see if this company can do what they say they can.”

An agreement with the company is expected to be negotiated this month.

Boy’s Scout volunteer arrested for lewd conduct

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives arrested a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America for lewd and lascivious conduct Dec. 5.

The accused, 28-year-old Al Stein allegedly performed lewd acts on a minor under the age of 14.

The victim, a boy scout, reported the incident to his parents and they informed authorities. The victim reported that the incidents took place while he and Stein were working at the Boy Scouts Troop 36 Christmas Tree lot, 5875 Calle Real in Goleta on Dec. 4.

After investigating the allegations, detectives obtained a search warrant for Stein’s residence and arrested him.

Stein is currently being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail on $100,000 bail.

The Sheriff’s department encourages anyone with information regarding the case or victims to contact headquarters at 805-681-4150.

Red Cross to offer disaster training classes

The Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Red Cross announced that it will be offering disaster training in Santa Ynez and other county cities in January. The classes include courses in shelter operations, disaster action team training and aviation response training.

For more information or to sign up for classes contact Michele Rod, disaster services specialist at 805-687-1331, ext. 124 or visit www.sbredcross.org.

Los Padres National Forest announces road and trail closures

The forest service announced that Reyes Peak Road, located about 30 miles from Ojai, off Highway 33, will be closed at 3 p.m. on Dec. 9 until 5 p.m. Dec. 14. A segment of Romero Camuesa Road between Middle Santa Ynez Campground and the Little Caliente as well as the segment of Romero Cumuesa between Saddle and the middle campground areas will remain closed through the winter. The Forest Service says that the road closure is meant to enforce public safety because the road’s conditions are still dangerous.

“I have determined that the enforcement of these closures will protect the public and prevent trail damage and soil erosion,” said Forest Supervisor Peggy Hernandez.

For more information call 805-967-3481.

Board ok’s 2007-2008 property tax administrative fee

In an unanimous vote, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved the 2007-2008 property tax administrative fee.

The county will recover approximately $1.7 million, about 25 percent of the total net costs. The 2007-2008 administrative fee has decreased by about $283,000 from the 2006-2007 fee and will be applied toward the county offices that collect property taxes, including the Auditor Controller’s office.

“From the property taxes that are collected this fee is taken out of those taxes,” said Theo Fallati, county auditor controller.

The fee will become effective in April 2008.

Inn names new executives

Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn has announced the appointment of new officers, directors and its executive chef. Cammy Pinoli has been named general manager for the Inn, located at 2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. A graduate of Northern Arizona University in hotel management, she will manage the new Restaurant Marcella as well as the four-diamond inn. She grew up in the Santa Ynez area and has worked with several local businesses while gaining experience in the industry.

Jessica Larsen has been named Director of Events at the Inn. A long-time Solvang resident and professional in the industry for years, she will be responsible for the catering division at the Inn and Fess Parker Winery.

Shannon Cummins was named Executive Chef at the Inn and will oversee the kitchens for Restaurant Marcella. Coming to the region from Colorado, he is a graduate of the Colorado Institute of Art Culinary Program and the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, N.Y.

More projects expected at Sunny Fields Park

New bathrooms and a fence along the road are being built at Sunny Fields Park in Solvang on Alamo Pintado Rd. Kristen Thomsen, director of parks and recreation in Solvang, said upcoming projects at the park include the addition of landscaping, picnic tables, trash cans and trees.

The bathrooms are expected to be completed in January, as long as the weather permits. The future projects will be open for bid after the sewer line, fencing and restroom facilities have been installed, she added.