A dream lives on

On June 3, 700-plus people enjoyed an evening of joy and happiness, one of those participants being Cathy Allen, Aaron Allen’s mom. More than $238,000 in scholarships was given to students at the Allan Hancock College (AHC) Scholarship Banquet through the monetary gifts/ donations provided by generous community members to the AHC Foundation.

Two of those scholarships were given in the memory of Cpl. Aaron Allen, USMC, a lifelong resident of the Santa Ynez Valley who had planned to enroll in the Fire Academy at AHC after being discharged from the USMC. Tanner Belen, a graduate of SYVUHS and David Boeken, a Marine, were awarded scholarships/grants this year after they had successfully completed their Fire Academy training and received their Certification in the Class of 119,2010. Through these scholarships, Aaron’s dream lives on. After Aaron’s death, a group of Marines decided to honor his memory with donations to the AHC Foundation. Thanks to other Marines, local businesses and individuals, more than $30,000 was raised last year to create an endowment – an endowment that will provide scholarships to deserving Fire Academy graduates for many years to come.

Thank you again to the Santa Ynez Valley and North County residents for making this living memorial to Cpl Aaron Allen a reality. You all should be proud of your accomplishment and your thoughtfulness to the Allen family.

God bless the United States of America, God bless our troops, God bless the generous people of the Santa Ynez Valley and northern SB County, and God bless the Allen family and newly arrived baby boy Aaron Daniel, son of Aaron’s sister, Amy and grandson of Cathy.

A humbled and grateful friend


Quick query

To the Board of the Santa Ynez Humane Society: Can’t you get anyone who’s not a husband to defend you guys?

Joy Jones

Santa Maria

Stop the machine

I have been following the local issues with sad amusement. Nancy Crawford-Hall’s column in the Valley Journal describes the 2008 election fraud litigation, including multiple Isla Vista/UCSB precincts with more than 100 percent voter turnout and Ahmed Ali Bob, paid $3,000 by the Farr campaign and who signed the card as the person responsible for getting a voter’s registration – too bad for the voter, because Ahmed Ali Bob had her Social Security number, and she said she had never heard of Ahmed Ali Bob and it was not her signature on the card.

It is so outrageous, it should be comedy. Why have laws to protect our vote if the Registrar of Voters is going to ignore them? Add to that the debacle of the Historic Landmark issue – the use of a process intended to incentivize people to invest in historic property, not used as a hammer to pound them into submission – and it sure seems like we have a machine in place, with the intention of taking our vote and our property rights, the cornerstones of democracy.

Oh, and not to be forgotten is the casino tribe that is completely unaccountable to the community and throwing millions of dollars around to buy up the Santa Ynez Valley and probably a few politicians to boot.

Interestingly enough, these issues are all 3rd District issues. Isla Visa/UCSB precincts where the voter fraud occurred is in the gerrymandered 3rd District, the property rights grab is in Los Olivos and the casino is in Santa Ynez.

What is going on in the 3rd District? It is time to find out what this machine is and throw a big wrench into it.

John Jakers


Unhappy camper

I was camping at Davy Brown campground on Friday night, this past weekend (June 4-5). My boyfriend and I hiked Davy Brown trail from Davy Brown campground to Figueroa Mt. Road and back.

We arrived back down at Davy Brown Campground around 4 p.m. Just before we reached the end of the trail where the gate was, we heard continuous gun shots for about 10 minutes prior to reaching the campground. As we got closer, the shots grew louder. Right before camp we came upon four men, covered in tattoos, who looked like gang members. One guy had a 9-mm handgun and at least one of the other men had a large shotgun. They were shooting at empty cans on a rock and were not friendly as we walked by. They stopped shooting once they heard us yell (prior to approaching them), and then resumed shooting after we had only continued about 40 feet from their location.

They were on the trail, beyond the fence – within the national (or state) forest – and within about 50 feet of the campground. In addition, there were countless shells and buckshot left in there in the wilderness by these people and they also had two pitbulls roaming off leash around the campsite. There was one other concerned older couple in the campground who were looking for a ranger, but could not find one. And no one had cell service to call either. Thank goodness there were not any children in the campsite, as we don’t know if these guys were drinking or doing drugs or both. Who knows what could have happened. And we weren’t going to stick around to find out. We immediately packed up and left.

On our way out, we also saw a young blonde woman, at a different campsite, shooting a pellet gun in her campsite. We went straight to the ranger station and reported the incident to firefighters that we saw there, who said they would alert the ranger. We are not sure if anything happened or not, so I wanted to report this to you as well. I was surprised to hear, from a gal at one of the wineries, that this sort of thing happens “all the time.”

This is very disturbing and makes camping and hiking and recreating in your area a scary thing. And since I value my life, I don’t think I’ll be camping there again. It is a shame that these few irresponsible people are ruining your beautiful area campgrounds and nature experience for everyone.

Kathy Krasenics

Marina Del Rey

Humane Society

I’ve heard about the problems they are having at the Santa Ynez Humane Society, and I’m not surprised.

I went there looking for a playmate for my dog. I asked what kind of dogs they had, and the woman told me they only get selected dogs. I didn’t see a dog that was right for me, so I left.

I went to the Lompoc shelter to see what animals they had. I ended up adopting a Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound mix, just the right size for my other dog. When I brought her home, they got along fine until dinner time, and then she started fighting with my other dog over the food.

I was in Buellton, so I went back to the Humane Society, figuring they’re an animal shelter and would know what to do. I explained my problem to the woman at the desk and she said, “You need to get rid of it.” I said, “What?” and she repeated herself. To say the least, I was pretty shocked by that response, because I never thought a Humane Society would suggest a person get rid of their pet. I wasn’t about to get rid of her. I just adopted her.

She gave me no decision as to where I could go to get help, so I left disappointed and went home. With no assistance from the Humane Society, I decided to try it myself and with a little patience and love, my two little dogs are getting along much better now.

Name withheld upon request


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