County 7-3

Santa Barbara County filed a lawsuit on 6/13 against the County Employees’ Retirement System-a non-legislative board that controls pension plans-in an attempt to bring the county’s supplemental retiree benefits up to Internal Revenue Code. The definition of “excess earnings” is also in dispute, as the county sees the earnings as opportunities to reduce unfunded liability while the retirement board continues to use any excess earnings to increase benefits.

Clean Air Express-the hybrid electric fleet of motor shuttles running between North and South County-increased the number of daily round-trips from Lompoc to Goleta from 10 to 12, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) announced on 6/30. SBCAG explained that the decision to add routes resulted from rising gas costs, which, in turn has increased the number of daily riders. (/newroutes)

After a year at the post, Colonel Steve Tanous passed the title of Commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base to Colonel David Buck at a 6/27 ceremony. During Tanous’s command, Vandenberg successfully launched 11 rockets and deployed 540 airmen and women worldwide. “We’re the most deployed base in the [space] command, and we help ensure success in our nation’s war on terror,” said Tanous in his farewell speech. (/tanous)

Gabriel Luis Aguilera, a meal delivery driver for Community Action Commission Senior Nutrition Program, was honored at the Board of Supervisor’s 7/1 meeting for “genuine compassion and heroism” for aiding an elderly woman on his route who had fallen from her wheelchair. Aguilera called 911 and comforted the disoriented woman until emergency help arrived.

With a lowest bid of $4.3 million, Granite Construction was awarded the contract to improve Highway 154 by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. At more than $2 million under the estimated cost, construction-which will include turning lanes at Vista Point and Paradise Road, and an improved interchange at Highway 246-will begin this month and is expected to continue into summer 2009.


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