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<h3>Newsmakers</h3>

Health and social justice were front-page stories this year, whether that meant the immigrants' rights march through Santa Barbara on May Day or treating the homeless people who roam the streets sick with diseases of all sorts.

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Immigrants' rights march through Santa Barbara on May Day.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Mimi Doohan (pictured treating one of her patients) aids the homeless as part of her Doctors Without Walls program, traveling from Isla Vista to the lower Eastside in search of souls to help.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Then there's medical marijuana, which is being sold in a haze of legality (the state's cool with it, the feds aren't) at numerous shops around Santa Barbara. Grow rooms (such as the one pictured above) are taking root in many neighborhoods, and the city is finally starting to put regulations down on the books about this curative cannabis. Will everything remain groovy in 2008? That's up to the feds.

Published on December 20, 2007

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The Indy took a particular interest in covering the religious beat this year, and we think our light shined pretty brightly. For instance, the story about the women who were anointed as Catholic deacons and priests attracted attention from around the world, and made that story one of our Web site's most popular ever.

Published on December 20, 2007

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But we did our best work thanks to former staffer Sarah Hammill, a Westmont grad who was attracted to the evangelical Christian services led by a man named Phillip Gladden (pictured above). She followed Gladden for the better part of a year, witnessing his blessings, delving into his personal past, and uncovering someone who seemed more demonic than godly.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Home to many of our fondest memories, the Santa Barbara Bowl celebrated growth and endured one significant loss this year. The season began a little late due to the brand-new, cutting-edge roof pavilion, which now allows the hillside, ocean-view venue to host the biggest rock bands around.

Published on December 20, 2007

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The entire season was dampened by the passing of longtime caretaker and all-around good guy Rex Marchbanks, who died in April after an 18-month battle with cancer. His smile will always shine upon the eucalyptus-covered hills behind the Bowl.

Published on December 20, 2007

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While Marchbanks's passing affected many in the community, another tragedy is still resonating in more lives than could be counted. That's the January 2006 Goleta post office shooting, when a disgruntled, crazed former employee killed six innocent postal workers. Last February, more than 200 people attended a memorial service (pictured bottom right), and most were still trying to make sense of the disaster.

Published on December 20, 2007

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There was lots of community uproar in 2007, especially for Randy Wheeler, who had every reason to think the skids had been greased when he brought forward his plans to build a brand-new community of 7,500 homes and 500,000 square feet of commercial development. After all, it had the blessing of county executive Mike Brown. But members of the County Planning Commission had other ideas, and the deal was shot down before it got out of the starting gate.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Despite that setback, Brown remains the most powerful man in Santa Barbara County. But even he can't make the multimillion-dollar fiscal woes afflicting the county's mental health programs go away.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Uproar is an understatement for the community reaction that came when the Catholic Archdiocese in Los Angeles-which needed some fast cash after settling for $660 million with victims of pedophile priests-decided to kick out the Sisters of Bethany. The sisters, who've provided care to the poor for decades, found their Eastside digs put on the auction block to pay the archdiocese's bills and have since found temporary refuge with an Episcopalian order.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Electricity was in the air throughout 2007, whether you were indoors or out. For these school kids with the Police Activities League, the charge they felt was from touring the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which elevated its reputation with several noteworthy exhibits of paintings and photographs this year.

Published on December 20, 2007

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For most of us, though, the biggest shock came in late summer, when a bizarre lightning and thunder storm (pictured at night with the Cold Spring Bridge below) whipped through town one evening, putting hairs on end and sending pets running for cover. It was one of the most exciting electrical displays in a decade, albeit a very short one.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Faces familiar and friendly popped up throughout the South Coast in 2007. You probably recognize Perie Longo, who was named Santa Barbara's Poet Laureate and took the helm as The Indy's Poetry Matters columnist.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Or perhaps you saw environmentalist extraordinaire Paul Hawken speak about the reality of global warming at the Lobero

Published on December 20, 2007

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The face you'll likely be seeing the most of in years to come would be Larry Feinberg, who was named the new director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in December.

Published on December 20, 2007

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