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Another Saturday, another roses-and-raspberries parade.

Thanks and roses to Mother Nature for delivering enough winter rain to address some of the state’s drought issues. The snow pack is decent and reservoirs have filled a bit.

Roses to Mom for delivering a fine, wintry display in the Santa Ynez Valley, dusting mountains with sugary powder. We don’t need to make a habit of such frosty weather, but it’s a nice visual relief.

At the same time, raspberries to Mother Nature for dumping too much rain in such short time spans, causing travel mayhem on Highway 101, and on Highway 154 near Cachuma Lake.

Rain we can use. Poor roads because of it are a problem for North County folks who have to commute to the South Coast.


We hand out a lot of roses to the decision makers at Allan Hancock College, because they seem to be making all the right moves to (1) motivate local high school students to dive into higher education, and (2) build an academic structure that best suits the needs of local governments and businesses in search of trained and highly-skilled employees.

Now, the college is fostering a new group to help local young people get fully involved in farming and ranching — yet another rose-worthy undertaking.

The students call themselves the Hancock College Young Farmers and Ranchers, which has earned the full support of the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau.

The group’s goal is very straightforward — cultivating leadership skills and promoting a greater understanding of local, state and federal hurdles facing the agriculture industry.

The Young Farmers group hopes the effort will help them build connections and open doors to internships or other hands-on learning experiences at local agricultural operations.

Hancock officials reinvigorated the college’s dormant ag program last summer as part of a two-year plan to prepare students for local jobs and four-year degrees in agriculture.

This sort of program is truly good news for American farmers, who as a group are aging, and the hard work involved in ranching and farming scares off a lot of young people seeking a good career path.

Bravo and bouquets to the students, their club and Hancock College.


Valentine’s Day is on the horizon. Are you ready?

We know an eager group that’s more than ready — the dogs and cats being housed at local shelters who will be the focus of attention at a special Pet Wellness and Adoption event scheduled at the Elwin Mussell Community Center, 510 E. Park Ave., on Feb. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. That’s Valentine’s Day for those who don’t keep up with such matters.

Guest speakers will be on hand with information about animal services and how to adopt a pet, volunteer opportunities, disaster preparedness for pet owners and other topics. The event will showcase adoptable pets from Santa Maria's County Animal Shelter.

This special holiday event is being organized in partnership with CARE 4 Paws, Project Pet Safe, Santa Barbara County Animal Services, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society and That’s Fetch Pet Bowtique and Grooming Spaw.

And for all those fine, caring humans, a gift of roses for doing things that need to be done.


How’s your beard coming along? We’re talking to the gents, of course.

The 76th Santa Maria Elks Rodeo and Parade season is under way, which means the fellas have begun their bearding process. It all leads to the big parade and rodeo over four days in early June.

Roses to all the guys who hair up.

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