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Another beautiful Saturday in paradise. At least that’s what the weather gurus predicted at the time we were writing this.

You expect rain chances and cooler weather early next week. We just can’t seem to shake winter.

Because this is roses-or-raspberries Saturday, we’d have to give the weather mostly roses, because we have a lot more good days than bad.

On with today’s business, and the first batch of roses goes to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District board for starting the process that will eventually lead to district-based elections.

High school district trustees are now elected via an at-large process, which means each board member is elected by all the registered voters living within district boundaries.

The so-called "by-trustee area" model to be implemented by 2022 mandates that each trustee live within separate areas, and will be elected by that specific area's voters.

The Santa Maria City Council recently switched to district elections, but only after a disgruntled office-seeker threatened legal action.

But even considering lawsuit threats, district voting is probably the best way to go — as long as the candidate elected has the courage to vote for the good of the entire system, even if it’s not completely favorable to his or her district.

It’s all part of natural growth.


Roses to the volunteers who will hit the streets of Santa Maria and the Tanglewood neighborhood today to make everything beautiful.

It’s part of the Serve Santa Maria project organized by local Pastor Carl Nielsen, who leads the congregation at Bethel Lutheran Church. The event attracts hundreds of volunteers to work on cleanup and beautification projects throughout the Valley.

Past projects included painting at local schools, planting trees and flowers at Preisker Park, landscaping improvements at Perlman Park, and some major home makeovers.

Today’s menu includes some audacious goals — painting the First Mexican Baptist Church, and a project to beautify up to 12 homes in Tanglewood. Also on tap are mowing lawns, cleaning up trash and planting gardens.

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The day of community service grew out of a 2009 trip when Nielsen took a group of high school students to New Orleans for a national youth gathering, which involved projects to help renovate parts of that city. Nielsen figured, correctly, that if it could work in New Orleans, it would work here.

Roses to everyone who gives of their time and energy to make this a better place to live.


There is one sure thing about the annual income tax season — the scammers will be out in force. And for that outrage, a bushel of rotting raspberries.

The Sheriff’s Department is reporting an increase in phone scams, which is to be expected this time of year. But in fact, the prevalent scams involve callers posing a sheriff’s deputies, telling whomever answers the phone that there is a bench warrant for their arrest, and unless you pay up … Well, you know the rest of the story.

The same process plays out when scammers pose as IRS agents, demanding an immediate payment of back taxes, or else.

Here’s the thing, and law enforcement and federal officials repeat this message every year — neither the Sheriff’s Department nor the Internal Revenue Service will notify anyone by phone of payments owed.

The Golden Rule for avoiding a costly rip-off is as follows — if you get a phone call from someone asking for payments of any kind, just hang up, make a note of the calling number, and get in touch with the agency the scam calling is claiming to represent.