Some relief is in store for businesses impacted by last month’s sudden cold spell and crop-killing freeze. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest loans to non-farming businesses, such as trucking lines, agricultural equipment providers, and packing houses, which rely on a healthy farm industry for their own livelihoods. Twenty different loans totaling more than $3 million were granted last week alone. With satellite offices now open in Santa Maria and Carpinteria, the SBA will accept loan applications until October 24.
State-mediated negotiations between Santa Barbara school teachers and the school district failed once again last week. Now it’s up to a three-member fact-finding panel, under the auspices of the Public Employment Relations Board, to examine the district’s budget and try to identify an agreeable middle ground between the district’s offer of a 1.5 percent raise and the teachers’ union demand of a 6 percent increase. The panel will include both district- and union-appointed representatives, as well as a non-affiliated chairperson chosen from a list of state-approved labor professionals. The panel plans to hold its private hearing no later than next month.