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It’s Saturday, our roses-and-raspberries day, and we have one solid piece of advice — if you don’t like Christmas parades, tree-lighting ceremonies, high school football and crowds, avoid downtown Santa Maria.

On the other hand, if those activities appeal to you, we offer a rose for your true pioneering spirit.

Getting back to regular Saturday business, our first bouquet of red beauties goes to the decision-makers at Santa Barbara County Animal Services’ local shelter for creating what they called “cuddlebuster deals” last weekend during the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

For a few hours last Saturday the shelter offered half-off to free adoptions. The promotion was a good way to ensure that plenty of dogs and cats found loving homes — just in time for the holidays.

Thankfully, the strategy worked, as individuals and families stood in long lines waiting to adopt a new friend.

If you’ve always wanted one of our Saturday roses, visit a local shelter and find a new friend of your own.


Any program that encourages young people to develop their artistic talents is rose-worthy, so we bestow roses on the folks at the nonprofit Arts Fund for setting up a 12-week art enrichment and mentorship program that promotes youth art.

The works of 19 aspiring North County teen artists are on display at the Betteravia Gallery in Santa Maria. The exhibition features work from students studying character illustration, studio photography, mixed media/collage abstract painting and relief printmaking, and includes a mix of pieces from students countywide.

Visit the center and take a look at what young artists are into these days.


The past lends context to the present and future — even if that past is made-up Hollywood stuff from the early 1920s.

So, to the team that dug up a 300-pound plaster sphinx’s head at the Guadalupe Dunes, roses for helping us celebrate one of our region’s contributions to remembering the Golden Age of movie-making.

The sphinx head was among the props of legendary film director Cecil B. DeMille’s movie production on the sand dunes west of Guadalupe to create a large Egyptian-themed set for the movie, “The Ten Commandments.”

When the blockbuster film wrapped, DeMille and the crew decided removing the set would be too costly so they left it behind. In today’s world, DeMille and crew would have been fined for littering.

Officials insist it’s important to preserve the pieces of 20th-century history from the Guadalupe/Nipomo Dunes because they are one-of-a-kind and attract people to the area to learn about movie history and this region.

The nearly-century-old find reminds us of how time flies when you’re having fun.


And to close this week’s roses/raspberries edition, we offer a final rose to Lompoc’s Joni Gray, who passed away Nov. 22 after suffering an aortic aneurysm.

Family and friends gathered Thursday at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge 1538 to pay their last respects to Joni, sharing their favorite stories about a storied political life in Santa Barbara County.

They remembered and related what it was like to work and play with her — and there is plenty to remember. Her most recent gig was representing the 4th District on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, but she also was a private attorney who appeared many times in Superior Court on behalf of clients. She also was announcer and grand marshal for the Elks Rodeo Parade. Joni was just about everywhere a person needed to be on the Central Coast, and she will be missed.