Today is Saturday the 13th! If it was Friday the 13th, maybe you’d have something to worry about. Whew!

It’s also the day we hand out roses and/or raspberries, so without further delay, here we go:


The first batch of red beauties goes to the decision-makers at the Santa Maria Public Library for planning free bike clinics, the first of which took place yesterday, with another scheduled for local riders from 3-5 p.m. Friday, July 26.

The clinics focus on repair and maintenance of your two-wheelers, but the real focus is on keeping your machine operating safely. That is critically important because federal highway safety officials report that while injuries and deaths for car passengers are declining, pedestrian and cyclist deaths/injuries are spiking.

So, if you want to keep your bike in tip-top, safe condition head over to the library, 421 S. McClelland St., on Friday, July 26.

For more information, call 805-925-0994, ext. 8562.


On the subject of bicycling and walking and/or jogging, Lompoc city leaders deserve a bouquet of roses for seeking community input on developing a citywide pedestrian/bicycling master plan.

You can take the city’s survey at home or at the office. City officials are asking residents to complete a community survey and view maps and information posted on the city’s website at www.cityoflompoc.com/government/departments/public-works/pedestrian-and-bicycle-master-plan.

We encourage Lompoc Valley residents to participate in the survey, helping your elected leaders build a stronger, safer community.


We don’t pass out many raspberries, but we have a special gift basket of them today for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose officials recently announced suspension of the department’s tracking of the decimated honeybee population. It’s the usual federal excuse — a budget deficiency.

The federal government spends money on so many things that are exponentially less important than helping bees, which have recently been designated the most important species on Earth with regard to this planet’s survival as a host to most all living things — including the human race.

What that means to us is that if the world’s bee population is severely crippled or disappears, eventually we all disappear, unless humans can somehow figure out how to pollinate trillions of plants.

Various members of Congress have promised to investigate the ending of the bee program, apparently while investigating how the federal government can afford a lavish military event on the Fourth of July.


Back to the happier roses distribution.

Bouquets to all the youngsters who put in countless hours of preparation for the livestock portion of the Santa Barbara County Fair, the 128th version of which is happening as you read these words.

The youngsters and their animals started showing up at the Fair Park last Monday, brushing, feeding and preparing the lovely creatures for a four-day competition and judging. More than 1,200 animals will be sold at auction by the time the fair gates close.

Judges will be on hand to decide which animals advance to Sunday’s finals. It can be a gut-wrenching experience for the young handlers, but also an experience every one of them will remember for a lifetime.

The common theme among the newcomers is that they had no idea raising and caring for an animal could be so much work — and so very much pleasure. There usually are a flood of tears at the auction. Life-changing and life-affirming.

And roses to the folks who put on the County Fair, one of the best in California.

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