Meeting of the Board of Directors – WE Watch members are invited to attend all Board of Directors meetings. Meetings are usually held the 3rd Tuesday of each month at St. Marks Church parlor in Los Olivos from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m.
Our December meeting is Tuesday, December 20th, at 12:00 noon. We will be meeting in the “Parlor” at St. Marks Church, Los Olivos.
NEWS AND EVENTS, LETTER FROM PRESIDENT PENNY KNOWLES:
Dear Members and Supporters:
2016 is almost over, and I am writing to thank you for your support and to report on the year’s activities.
We began the year with a social event at the Alma Rosa Wine Tasting Room, with many thanks to the generosity of Richard and Thekla Sanford, an original member of WE Watch.
We had a nice Water-wise Gardening Workshop on March 19 at St. Mark’s with our own Puck Lohnas as presenter.
In May we co-sponsored with the Santa Barbara League of Women Voters and the Santa Ynez Valley Realtors’ Association, a very well-attended 3rd District Supervisor Candidate Forum. In the following months, we attempted to put together other candidate forums, for the 24th Congressional District race and for the Buellton City Council, but the timing on these proved to be trickier than we realized, and couldn’t be arranged.
In the meantime, we staffed a booth at the Santa Ynez Valley Earth Day event at Buellton Riverview Park.
We contributed our annual scholarship for a graduating senior at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. The scholarship recipient, Ghiwa Samaan, a refugee from Syria, is studying biology at Long Beach State University with WE Watch’s help.
In June we had a very informative talk by member Len Fleckenstein, a former administrator at the EPA and water conservation officer for the Santa Barbara County Water Agency. Thanks to his stimulus, we have formed a water-issue subcommittee, which will begin work in earnest in January 2017.
Of course, throughout the year, our Save Our Stars Committee members Nancy Emerson and Susan Bott, have been monitoring County Planning Commission and local Design Review boards, to make sure that new developments have shielded lighting fixtures so we can all enjoy our breathtaking night skies. They also manage our “Astronomy in the Schools” program which continues to provide invaluable information about our universe to 3rd, 5th and 8th graders in the Valley. SOS was pleased to give an award to Solvang Theaterfest for the lighting upgrades at their Second Street location.
In November, we co-sponsored an excellent film about climate change, “A Time to Choose,” with the Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society. It was screened free of charge at the Little Theater at the High School. We had a nice audience of adults and high school students.
Recently, we became a member of a new Valley coalition consisting of four organizations committed to defeating the passage of HR 1157, a Congressional bill which would effectively approve the transfer of the “Camp 4” property to the Santa Ynez Tribe of Chumash Indians’ reservation through fee to trust. We contributed funds which had been given to us for the purpose and participated in a press conference to draw attention to this issue.
We could not have accomplished all that we have in 2016 without the dedication and hard work of Board members Nancy Emerson, Susan Bott, Nicole Peña, Susan Belloni, Teresa McNeil MacLean, Carol Herrera, and newest board member Barbara Radom who joined us this year. I personally thank them!
At year’s end we are already planning for 2017. We hope you will feel inspired by what we have done this past year to renew your WE Watch membership, and to reserve Feb. 5, the date of our Annual Meeting, which will be held at a private house and feature our own new 3rd District Supervisor, Joan Hartmann as speaker. A Board member will be contacting you in January with details.
Despite turmoil on the national scene, we remain optimistic that we can make positive contributions to life in the Santa Ynez Valley.
LATE NEWS UPDATE: December 13, 2016
Congress left Washington without taking action on H.R. 1157, thus killing this legislation that would have expanded the boundaries of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians’ reservation to include the 1,400 acre Camp 4 property.