Special Olympics offering basketball in SY Valley

This spring, the Santa Barbara Region of Special Olympics will begin offering programming in the Santa Ynez Valley in collaboration with the cities of Buellton and Solvang.

Basketball will be the first Special Olympics sport offered in the valley, for people 8 years and older who have intellectual disabilities. All Special Olympics programs are free of charge to participants.

David Ibsen will be the head coach, but the group is recruiting additional volunteer coaches to help. Anyone interested should contact Tim Ballaret at 805-884-1516, ext. 104, or tballaret@sosc.org.

People interested in volunteering to cheer this new team on during practice or games can call Jerrie Domingos at 805-688-5041.

The nonprofit Special Olympics Santa Barbara Region serves more than 1,200 children and adults, with more than 500 volunteers assisting with coaching and fundraising events throughout the year.

To learn more, become an athlete, or offer support for Special Olympics programming, visit www.sosc.org/sb.


PG&E to install 7,500 EV charging stations

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has announced that it will install 7,500 electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations, in partnership with business customers and EV charging companies, at condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces across Northern and Central California.

More than 500 customers have expressed interest in the program, and other interested business customers can learn more and apply for the program at pge.com/evchargenetwork.

In the first quarter of 2018, PG&E will begin installing new EV chargers in partnership with business customers, including at the first participating customer Merced College.

In California, transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions. Expanding access to EVs is considered essential to increasing clean air and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in the state. However, while electric vehicles are becoming more common in California, one of the biggest barriers is the lack of available places to charge.

PG&E’s EV Charge Network program will pay for and build the infrastructure from the electric grid to the charger. Additionally, PG&E will offset a portion of the charger cost for all participating customers, based on the site and location.



Alpha Pi Sorority serves Buellton Senior Center

Women of the Alphi Pi Sorority cooked and served an enchilada dinner for 35 happy diners Jan. 23 at the Buellton Senior Center.

The tables were decorated for Valentine’s Day and included tortilla chips and salsa to whet appetites. A green salad started the dinner menu, followed by beef enchiladas and Spanish rice. Dessert consisted of a sundae of rainbow sherbet and whipped cream.

Assisting the sorority members were center employees Linda Linton, Merrill Clayton, Gracie Love, Wanda Nelson and Jim Nichols.

Alpha Pi members took a bow and described what they do as raising money for those who fall through the cracks. One of their better-known events is Solvang’s Turkey Bingo each November.

Also during the event, Executive Director Pam Gnekow introduced the 2018 board of directors for the center and announced that Los Olivos Rotary is providing additional sheds for the center.

For more information, visit www.buelltonseniorcenter.org.



Limon named co-chair of disaster response, recovery panel

California Assemblymember Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, has been named co-chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Natural Disaster Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding.

“As the impacts of extreme and irregular weather become more present in our lives, a greater understanding is needed about the compounding effect that drought, fire and rain will have throughout California. … Through this committee in the state Assembly we will address forward-thinking policies and focus on sustainable solutions that will help us all rise to this challenge,” Limon said.

Natural disaster responders and weather scientists have reported increasingly long fire seasons, nearly year-round in many parts of the state. The committee will cover a range of issues related to wildfires and mudslides, including climate disruption and causation, streamlining the recovery process for affected communities, and preparation efforts for the future.

The 2017 California wildfire season was the most destructive and expensive on record. Statewide, 43 people died in wildfires, more than the last 10 years combined.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates that 9,054 fires burned 1.4 million acres, destroyed 10,780 structures, and damaged more than 15,000 other residential properties.