SHE QUIT: Why would a young, rising star at the
News-Press resign? Leah Etling started as
a 17-year-old unpaid intern at the paper and went on to become the
first female sports staffer (not counting freelancers) while at
UCSB. She left to earn a master’s degree at UC Berkeley in
2000-2002, then returned to cover higher education, the Santa Ynez
Valley, and sports.

Her father, William Etling, was among the
community columnists fired recently. “Not sure what my next move
will be,” she said. When I asked why she quit, she answered, “I
left because I felt that my hard work was no longer appreciated at
the paper, and the emotional and physical stress of the situation
became overwhelming. My father’s termination, without one single
sentiment of respect or admiration expressed by management for his
great columns, was a major factor.”

The elder Etling is now writing a column for the Santa Ynez Valley
, owned by Lee Newspapers.

LIGHT FINGERS: “We have our suspicions but no
proof” about who walked off with the large black antique theater
spotlight that was part of the recent La Cumbre Junior
rummage sale, Karen Dutton tells me.
The sale was to raise money to send Core Knowledge seventh graders
to Europe in the spring, Karen said. The spotlight was from the old
La Cumbre theater. “Shame on the persons who walked away with this
item without paying for it,” she said. “If anyone sees this item
for sale anywhere” call the school at 687-0761.

and Julia Kauffman say they’ve been complaining to
the city since mid-August about bright “San Quentin yard” arc
lights afflicting their neighborhood. But, they say, despite a
series of back-and-forth e-mails with city staffers, there’s been
no action, although they claim the lights at State and Pedregosa
are illegal. “Unfortunately, the zoning enforcement program does
not have the resources to address all complaints immediately,”
Turner and Kauffman were told. The company that owns the property,
Hoppy Toad Land Co., 5383 Hollister Ave., has an
unlisted number, the city said.

GOING TO THE DOGS: How come some dog-lovers
treat their neighbors like shit? Sue and I have made many friends
among owners who come by equipped with plastic bags to clean up
after their pooches. But judging from mounds of dog doo-doo we’ve
been finding along the curb outside our house and adjoining ones,
and because we don’t see loose dogs roaming, we’ve got to wonder
who’s not picking up after Fido. That means that
Sue has to do the messy, smelly job. (My bad back, you know.)

peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Unaccustomed as I am to quoting scripture, I couldn’t help
recalling that when I read about the feds getting after a Pasadena
church. Seems as though the IRS hankers to lift All Saints
Episcopal Church
’s nonprofit status because a visitor
preached an anti-war sermon just before the 2004 presidential
election. I wonder if a pro-war sermon would have gotten the IRS so
fired up?

LEN’S NEW JOB: No sooner did Len
, News-Press photo chief for the past decade,
decamp from De la Guerra Plaza than he signed on as assistant
managing editor for visuals and design for the Santa Maria
and Lee Central Coast Newspapers. They include the
, Santa Ynez Valley News, Times Press
in Arroyo Grande, Adobe Press in Nipomo, and
Tiempo. Len started at the News-Press while still
in high school 29 years ago and, conveniently for his new post,
lives in Lompoc.

RALLY FOR $$$: News-Press newsroom
folks say they’ll hold a rally Sunday at De la Guerra Plaza, from 3 to 4
p.m., followed by a fundraiser at Ruby’s Café, 4 to 6 p.m., with
music and snacks. The suggested donation of $20 will go to the
growing Journalist Loan Fund to help current and
former News-Press employees “who have been forced out,
fired, or suspended without pay,” the journalists announced. They
said they expect to win their union election by a large margin
September 27 and are urging subscribers to cancel until a fair
contract has been agreed on.

HUSH PUPPIES: With rock legend Bo
due to play the Lobero on September 25, Elements
chef/co-owner Paul Becking is planning a
pre-concert dinner featuring dishes from the Deep South, honoring
Bo’s Mississippi roots. How about a black-eyed pea and smoked ham
soup or fried green tomato and hush puppy salad, plus free-range
chicken pot pie with Southern greens or crawfish andouille sausage
gumbo, followed by peach cobbler?

BROOKS DEN: Faculty members at Brooks Institute of
will be auctioning off their work at the
Sunday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. to help support an
upcoming student visit to China for documentary photography.
Viewing of the photos begins Wednesday.

SWEET MUSIC: When the Santa Barbara
’s new music director, Nir
, arrives here for the first concert of the
season on October 14, he’ll not only bring his baton but his bride,
Gaja. They met cute, as Hollywood puts it, at an
opera in Florence. She’s a lawyer and vocal student.

SCRABBLE TIME: You’re good with words, right?
Well, the Santa Barbara Public Library is holding a
Scrabble tournament on September 30, from noon
to 4 p.m. to raise money for its adult and family literacy program.
For $20, you get to play two rounds. Call 564-5619 for tickets.
That’s also the day of the Santa Barbara Book
and Author Festival
at the library.

Santa Barbara’s Jean-Michel Cousteau brings his
final “Ocean Adventures” episode to the big outdoor screen at
Elings Park on Wednesday, September 20. The film, titled
America’s Underwater Treasures, is a peak at all of our
country’s national marine sanctuaries along with Jean-Michel’s son
and daughter. The park’s gates open at 5:30 p.m., Jean-Michel will
talk at 7 p.m., and then the two-part film will hit the screen.


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