After destructive wind storms, crop-killing frosts, and weeks of
unseasonably dry weather, Mother Nature finally offered some
goodwill toward Santa Barbara County farmers in the form of a
weekend rainstorm. Before the front rolled in last
Saturday morning, seasonal rain totals were several inches behind
schedule throughout the county. The storm – which lasted well into
Tuesday in some areas – brought between one-half inch to two inches
of rainfall throughout the county.

After nearly 50 years at Santa Barbara Airport, the
United Sates Forest Service is moving its
firefighting air attack operations out of the Good Land to the
Santa Maria Airport. According to Forest Service spokesperson Kathy
Good, the move will not only save the agency some $30,000 annually
in lease expenses but will also improve response time, even to
Santa Barbara’s front country trails.

Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer Jan Martinez won first place
in the first annual Santa Barbara Firefighters Association
Longboard Classic
, beating 31 other public safety workers
ranging from lifeguards to ambulance drivers and police officers.
Though the event was not widely publicized and only sparsely
attended, the January 26 surfing competition at Leadbetter Beach
raised $1,600 for the firefighters’ charity fund. T-shirts and hats
can still be purchased at

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted in secret not to hold
operators of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power
 – and other nuclear-powered energy
generators – responsible for defending their facilities from
9/11-style aerial attacks. The five-person commission argued that
defense against such attacks should be handled by the military and
Homeland Security, allowing power plant operators to focus on
preventing the escape of nuclear radiation in the event of such an
attack. In the past, Diablo Canyon spokespeople have insisted their
reactor dome was invulnerable to air attacks. But antinuclear
activists, including Mothers for Peace (MFP), argue the real danger
lies in radioactivity escaping from the cooling pools for the spent
fuel rods. MFP expressed keen disappointment at the commission’s

In response to growing concerns about global warming, the Santa
Barbara City Council took its first steps toward requiring all
new construction within city limits to meet
significantly higher energy-efficiency standards.
Councilmembers responded enthusiastically to a presentation by a
coalition of architects, building contractors, and
environmentalists demonstrating how homes and buildings generate
about half of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global
warming. The City Council referred the plan to its sustainability
subcommittee, which will study the specific proposals for impact,
cost, and practicality.


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