Congrats to science fair students, teachers

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the Santa Barbara County Science Fair. Science fair projects require a tremendous amount of work for both students and teachers but it is hard to think of a more academically integrated project than science and engineering fairs.

They require students to not only understand how to set up and carry out a controlled experiment but to also reach conclusions from the data they collect. Experimentation is fundamental to the field of science and engineering but sadly, it is the part most often ignored in school.

The work required is huge and all of it is facilitated through the teacher. Teachers who partake in these fairs deserve as much recognition as the students. They teach students how to design an experiment, collect data, present their data with charts and graphs, interpret the data and then reach conclusions by examining the data.

Then, they have to write it up in basic scientific format and display it in order to pass along the information to others. This is what real science looks like. It is hard to find a project that requires more skills and understanding and thinking than science/engineering fairs. This is what the Common Core is all about.

Congratulations to all the students and teachers who facilitate these demanding projects and add it to their already daunting workload.

David Hosking

Flagstaff, AZ

Oil oversight intense, water protection in place

For over 100 years, Cat Canyon has produced countless gallons of oil to drive the economy while supplying all of our local needs including the thousands of roads in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Where will all this oil come from and what will the impact be to local taxpayers after importing oil from outside the local area? Do the few people protesting understand all the different agencies involved, micro-managing these oil companies?

We have come a long way safeguarding environmentally sound best management practices without polluting the group water. I grew up hunting the De-la Guerra Ranch in Cat Canyon and think it is a beautiful place that is a biological treasure of diversity of man and the environment.

Kevin Will

Santa Maria

Death Row inmates should pay restitution

The ancient Hammurabi Code states "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", and by implication "a death for a death". Thus is codified our basic human reaction to anyone who brings great harm or death to loved ones.

We want to kill them. In fact, this is what has been done for centuries, and is still done in some countries, and in the U.S. It supposedly satisfies our primitive need for revenge. However, moral and religious scruples strongly oppose this action. Thus, we have seen a compromise. Perpetrators convicted of heinous crimes are sentenced to death, but not executed. So it has been in California since at least 2007.

This outcome supposedly satisfies both sides of the issue. However, in my opinion, it satisfies neither. People have lengthy trials, are finally sentenced to death, and sit (or stand) on Death Row in our prisons for long periods, meanwhile filing endless writs alleging their innocence and clogging court time further.

Beside the state having to provide them with food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care, not much is expected of them. I do not call that justice.

Gov. Newsom made a bold move in abolishing the death sentence. But he has offered no satisfactory alternative. As a start, I suggest that we incarcerate these individuals, but expect them to work in some capacity, be allowed only limited writs, and contribute with their time some sort of restitution to their victims and the state.

Roy Moss

Santa Maria

Lompoc's stagnant image must change

City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce have been working to draw tourism and businesses to Lompoc. However, one quick look at the shabby state of some buildings at the center of Old Town and adjacent streets of historical houses would be an immediate deterrent.

Derelict vehicles parked or abandoned illegally, refuse, increased late night noise, unkempt yards, and no city funds to enforce violations. Homeowners pay property taxes. Property values drop when neighborhoods deteriorate.

Our Police and Fire Departments must be a top priority with adequate funding. Are some members of the council trying to win over voters by not agreeing to pass the 1 percent sales tax increase? The sales tax would be the most equitable path to increasing the city's funds.

Please attend the council meetings and urge the members to offer us a chance to vote on this proposal. We must change this stagnant image of our city.

Sarah McLenahan


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