Students, staff and families in the Santa Barbara Unified School District received an official mass text today from the district announcing school closures to begin Monday because of concerns around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido worked with district superintendents, charter school administrators and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to close all schools in the county by Wednesday. Districts will monitor the situation to determine when campuses will reopen.
“It’s going to be looked at on a day-by-day basis, if not an hour by hour basis,” said SBUnified administrative assistant Carol Tait.
The district has not commented on whether courses will be moved to online instruction or suspended entirely.
“District officials are working on a plan to continue providing meals to our students during the school closure,” says SBUnified’s official statement.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said, “We support the decision to close public schools. While there are no confirmed cases at this time, this demonstration of social distancing will help to slow the spread of the virus and minimize the public health impacts in our community.”
The update comes one day after the halt to local high school sports, and three days after UC Santa Barbara moved courses to remote instruction. At the time of writing, Santa Barbara City College remains open.
Santa Barbara City Council denied property goliath Edward St. George’s appeal to build a hotel on Montecito Street Tuesday night; still the developer has reason to stay hopeful.
A 4-3 vote of the council gave St. George one month to plan to downsize his hotel and replace the four rental apartment units which currently reside on 302 and 308 West Montecito Street. This means the saga of St. George versus local government continues.
Who exactly is Edward St. George? He’s not your typical fat cat property owner in a suit, that’s for sure. He’d rather don t-shirts and baseball cap. If you ask one of the 20-so Santa Barbarians who supported him at City Hall, you might think he lives up to his name as a saint.
The former carpenter, who has built his way up to power, has developed 180 units across the coast with another 160 in development.
“Ed’s a visionary,” said Adam Pirozzi, on escrow across the street from where the hotel may stand. “[He has] consistently provided a need before anyone else saw it.”
The proposed hotel has been in the works for over three years, and was trudging through the necessary bureaucratic hoops. Until August 22nd when the Santa Barbara Planning Commission denied it with a 5-1 vote on the grounds of “sound community planning” and “neighborhood compatibility.”
In layman's terms, they wanted housing built there, which St. George claims the area is unfit for. The current apartment units are within 250 feet of the 101 Freeway, posing potential air hazards, and the area is a frequent hub for the homeless and crime.
For these reasons, St. George only houses “guys who could really take care of themselves,” reports Joshua Molina for Noozhawk. Among them, a Santa Barbara City College football coach who agreed with his sentiments in front of City Council Tuesday.
City Council was split. Councilmembers Eric Freidman, Oscar Gutierrez, and Kristen Sneddon sided with the commision and opposed giving St. George time to reconfigure his plan. Jason Dominguez, Mayor Cathy Murillo, Meagan Harmon, and Randy Rowse voted to give him a month to rework his plan into something smaller, and build four apartment units to offset the ones lost to the potential hotel.
St. George wasn’t present for the vote. He stormed out with his wife and son seemingly assuming the council would not side with him. The meeting ran four hours, 22 minutes.
Pirozzi and 21 other community members spent Tuesday night at city hall advocating for the hotel. They claimed it would reinvigorate an aging part of the city, provide needed jobs to it, and give 24/7 eyes on the streets in the neighborhood.
“I spent more time on that property than anyone,” said a generational Santa Barbarian to City Council. His parents owned a restaurant on Montecito Street. “It was a dump when [St. George] got it, and it’s a dump now. It’s a great project, my grandparents would love it, I love it, you will not regret [approving it]”
On the other side, community activist Anne Marie Gott gave the council an enthusiastic (so enthusiastic that Mayor Cathy Murillo had to remind her to watch her language) powerpoint presentation defending the Planning Commission's decision. She urged the council to look at luxurious room sizes, averaging 488 square feet to the nation’s 325 average, and changes to St. George’s blueprints which may have flown under the radar of some.
Seven community members, including Gott and Professor Arthur Sylvester of the Coast Geological Society spoke out in detest of the new hotel. Sylvester worried the hotel may be built on top of the Mesa Fault, and excavation underneath the site could affect the groundwater table, and maybe kill the Geological Society’s trees.
“The mesa fault’s location is uncertain,” said Sylvester. “It is considered an active fault and the cause of the 1925 earthquake.”
The excavation would be to build a parking lift system for 33 spaces, as the plans for the hotel were shown to a packed house via projector at City Hall. 11 additional spaces would be available on the surface.
Other concerns to the project included increased traffic near SBCC and a modern-style architecture might disrupt the traditional spanish buildings which surround it.
Is change coming to the westside? The question remains until the council reviews a new proposal from St. George.
Correction: The Planning Commission voted 5-1, denying St. George’s project, not 6-1 as previously stated.
By Judah Brody
Edited By Bill Woodbridge
Umpires blow calls all the time, right? It's true, but this time it may have cost Dos Pueblos their game, and possibly their season. In the top of the 8th, it was a 4-4 tie game in extra innings with two outs.
The Royals had runners Josh Swanson on 1st and Diego Sandoval on 2nd. SM’s Erik Larsen hits it, but the throw to chargers first baseman JJ Frausto was high, allowing him to reach first base. With the winning run Swanson racing home, Catcher Evan Steinberger attempts to block the plate, receives the throw from Frausto and applies the tag. In a controversial call, the umpire called Swanson safe. “I was safe at home”, said Swanson in an interview. “Definitely strikes and balls were...very inconsistent."
Steinberger tagging Swanson on the slide home
One problematic call may have decided Dos Pueblos’ season. A win would have kept DP just two games behind Santa Barbara for 1st place in channel league. Instead they are 3 games behind 1st with only 3 games left in the season.
After the call, Chargers head coach George Hedricks stormed the field to dispute the umpire’s call. Aggression between fans from both sides erupted. A bat was thrown towards a crowd of SM players in front of their dugout. DP Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus had to intervene at one point, issuing a warning to an SM fan who called for Hedricks to be thrown out of the game.
As the top of the 8th continued, SM’s Jack Winterbauer singled up the middle on a ground ball that barely missed shortstop Mason Boelter’s glove, scoring SM’s Sandoval and Larsen. The score was 7-4.
The Chargers ended the game by stranding two runners on the basepaths in bottom of the 8th. A common theme this year for the Chargers was missed opportunities, as they failed to play competitive baseball too many times. They lost two games against Santa Barbara after they won the league opener against them. They also went 1-2 against a last place San Marcos team.
Umpires are only human. The questionable home plate call could have gone either way, but this time it was extremely discouraging for the Chargers. DP Head Coach George Hedricks described, “The umpire believed he was correct and stuck with his call and that’s baseball. You don’t always agree with the calls, strike zones, or guys out at the plate… you move on and find a way to compete.”
1st base umpire calls JJ Frausto out a high throw to 1st base.
DP would have clinched a CIF playoff spot with a win on Friday. There is hope... they only need to win one out of their final three games to capture a place in the playoffs. The teams with the top three records in channel league will go to the playoffs. The Chargers have six 1st place finishes in the last seven years.
Dos Pueblos in 2nd looks to get back on track after a tough loss. They face the Santa Ynez Pirates and the Lompoc Braves twice each to close the season. You can watch all of the following games through DPNews for $10, with commentary by Judah Brody.
All games begin at 3:15pm
Correction 4/18/19: DP lost two games to SB. Schedule adjusted.
4/24/19: Schedule adjusted.
It had been over a month since my live team and me had live-streamed ANY sports. I was perusing the spring schedule for some time and volleyball and baseball seemed like the next to-dos. After picking a volleyball game to stream that I never ended up organizing, I realized I would much rather be pouring my energy into baseball broadcasts.
This was Monday night. The schedule said the boys had games Wednesday and Friday and I said to myself (completing ignoring my busy week and the fact I had a track meet on Saturday), "We're doing both of them!" Tuesday night I researched DP's season so far, big moments, factoids, and by Wednesday I would be ready.
Then the rain hit. From the morning I wasn't sure if the game would even be played, but I luckily had two friends on call ready to help me if needed. Right before 5th period rolled up (which I would leave to start setting up) I ran into Coach Hedricks in the halls, as I was on my way to the office to attempt to radio him! He told me the game would still be played through the mist and I was ready.
My team and I began setting up around 2:00, first pitch was set for 3:15, when we realized we had thousands of dollars worth of equipment to protect from water damage! We settled on a pop up tent to cover the commentator (me), technical head, and our power strip and we placed the Macbook Pro in a cardboard box to protect it. We threw Santana, our camera man, on the roof in the 55 degree rain and placed a plastic bag over the camera.
Also while setting up, we realized our Ethernet cable was not long enough and we needed an extender to connect two. No one knew where one was, so I phoned a friend who came in, hooked both Ethernet cables up to a school phone, and it worked! So sitting in the athletics center walkway was a phone with a trashbag on it.
The broadcast appeared to have ran smoothly, but the game was called at the end of the 3rd inning when DP was losing 9-0 to Arroyo Grande and everyone was cold. We got very muddy cleaning up, I had to wipe down 4 long a$$ extension cords, but we were finally finished. When my team returned to T-3 (which a janitor opened for us), I looked at the Video On Demand which should have recorded the whole broadcast to NFHSNetwork.com, 7 runs scored by the visitor were missing! Guess we'll never know if those moments were actually streaming live...or if they ever happened ;).
I'm excited to stream Dos Pueblos vs longtime rival San Marcos baseball on Friday, March 1st. You can find out how to watch, and also watch what parts of this game did get saved, at DPNews.org/live. I greatly appreciate anyone who supports me with a view.
I didn't think this would be a special Friday of any sort. I just got up, threw on a DPNews shirt, and got to 1st period a bit late to take a math test.
I get to 2nd period and get asked by DPNews Campus anchor, Lindsey Fischer, if I can anchor Campus News with her! I've filled in for campus, sports, and world news this year, and love being a sub, so with little hesitation, I said yes. I was fooling around with my hat backwards and asked people in a frat bro voice if I should do the show as my alter ego "Judah BROdy" today. The only real approval I need is from my producer Elizabeth and all she said was "It sounds like you've already made up your mind."
I joined Lindsey who was putting some finishing touches on the script, and I always like to spice them up so I reworked the intro, and added a good amount of awkward humor in the show, because it's a Friday and why not! The ending "Wait, your name is spelled with an e?" is based of a real moment that morning. We headed into the studio, did a run-through, I ate a quesadilla, and then did the show, which I thought was pretty great.
I had a lot of fun, I also forgot that I scheduled my Spongebob segment to go on Friday, so I went on the show twice!
Always more to come,
Sunday night. I'm sad Tom Brady won and that Sweet Victory wasn't played at halftime, but I can't sleep. In a panic I voice dictate to my phone the script I was going over in my head for an NFL recap to air on DPNews. I should give some context...
In 2017-18 I created a series of updates on the NFL Playoffs which appeared on DPNews. I slacked this year, but after multiple friends at school clamored for me to make one, and an (un)eventful Super Bowl, I felt I had to recap every crazy thing that happened this year, from Spongebob to Tom Brady to the Rams no-call penalty to... you get it. I wrote an awesome long script, and even had a friend write a part she could report on, but when I got to editing Monday night, I found I had wayyyy too much content. I decided to stick to the Super Bowl and the plays within it, and release an extended version later. The segment about Spongebob was easy to edit and I released Tuesday night.
I had a good amount of feedback (even though I did it in a day) and learned a lot from this project. For example, Monday morning I told my video production teachers about how I was going to recap the Super Bowl and air the video on Friday for DPNews. They both immediately recognized that Friday was far too late to air something like this, so I planned for Tuesday and the timer was on. A friend offered to help and you can see her in the full version coming soon. I shot the video in the DPNews studio after Track & Field practice and boy was I tired after a strength circuit and spin bike class. I was planning on recording the video with my teams livestream switcher, but couldn't get the camera I wanted to work! I facetimed my producer, she didn't pick up, so I facetimed my floor producer, and he helped me get up and running. After a janitor told me we were livestreaming to the school (whoops) we ignored the fact that anyone still on campus could hear us, and pushed through, shot an awesome video and then I headed home to edit.
I struggled editing because the video format I recorded in from my school's livestream switcher was .avi which is HUGE and takes forever to download from Google Drive, so much of the time I spent editing, I spent waiting. When I was editing, when trying to figure out where to put video, I was messing around and moving my self side to side (because the green background was keyed out), I put myself on the right side of the screen which allowed the video to be big! I had never done this before and was pleased with the result. After getting close to meticulous with my editing (which is never a good thing) my dad saw and said enthusiastically "send it! You're done! Don't obsess over perfecting it!" I heeded his advice, made a few last edits and exported around 11:15pm.
Today, as I was posting it to Facebook, I told my mom about the longer version and she said the same as my dad. "This is perfect, no one wants to watch a 6 minute video!" I think I'm still going to finish the longer one.
Stay tuned for more
your friend Judah