July 19, 2024
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Street Smarts: New top officer at Naval Surface Warfare Center at Naval Base Ventura County


Capt. Anthony “Tony” Holmes has been named commanding officer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Naval Base Ventura County.  Holmes relieved Capt. Andrew Hoffman on Dec. 2. The warfare center provides engineering and other technical support for the Navy’s surface fleet and its combat systems. Hoffman’s command included adding directed energy, hypersonic weapon and unmanned vessel support capabilities to the surface fleet, according to a release. He also guided the surface warfare center through the COVID-19 pandemic. The new command is a bit of a homecoming for Holmes, who already has already served two tours at the NSWC in various capacities.

Welcome aboard.


From Paso Robles comes word that Calwise Spirits and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. have teamed up to create “Old Tom Big Sur Gin”—a brewery-inspired riff on the distillery’s Big Sur Gin. 

The combo combines elements of Firestone Walker’s ingredients with the Big Sur line, according to Calwise Master Distiller Aaron Bergh. The distillery is just a mile from Firestone Walker’s flagship facility in San Luis Obispo county. 

“Aaron is our neighbor and we’ve always admired his creations, so it was a natural collaboration,” said Firestone Walker’s Chief Operating Officer Nick Firestone. The “Old Tom” in the name is a nod to 18th century British gins known by that name, and to the English heritage of brewery co-founder David Walker.


Stearns Wharf is gearing up for its 150th anniversary with merchants holding Wharf Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of each month. There are anniversary specials, free concerts, a bit of history and family-friendly activities. Among other milestones, the wharf it where the first lima bean plants were brought ashore in California in the 1870s, sparking a revolution in agribusiness that lasted into the mid-20th Century. 


• Ventura County Community Action is helping out with rising water bills. Its new Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program started in July, thanks to state funding from COVID-19 legislation and will support some 800 Ventura County households with one-time payments of up to $400.

• The County of Santa Barbara is actively collecting Toys for Tots through Dec 15. Drop-off boxes can be found in the lobby of the County Administration on Anapamu Street. All toys collected will be distributed to low-income needy children through the Unity Shoppe.

• The Rotary Club of Montecito Foundation has awarded a total of $11,000 to support 11 Santa Barbara-area nonprofits, including C.A.R.E.4Paws, Friendship House, Little Village Foundation, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, Choral Society, Montecito Trails Foundation, Mission Scholars, Teacher’s Fund, South Coast Youth Orchestra, and Nuclear Peace Foundation.


The return of the Ventura County State of the County address to a live venue on Nov. 30 brought a slew of movers and shakers with CEO Dr. Sevet Johnson delivering the county overview. Among them: Maria Ventura, Mike Salacci, Peter Godinez, Marni Brook, Kathy Odell, Erin Antrim, Monica White, Bruce Stenslie, Mike Petit, Matt LeVere, Kelly Long, Pedro Chavez, Celina Zacarias. Kudos to host Ventura County Taxpayers Association.


Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Laura Capps County Supervisor Santa Barbara County’s District 2 on Dec. 6, which will allow her to take office about a month before the term she was elected to starts on Jan. 10. She replaces Gregg Hart who moves up to the California assembly.


Gold Coast Transit District launches the seventh annual appearance of its holiday bus, which will be dashing through the streets of West Ventura County until Jan. 6, 2023. All rides on board the candy cane striped bus are free.


Rambling Spirits Workshop in the SLO Public Market rolls out new cocktails and small bites just in time for the holidays.  This husband-and-wife venture intends to provide a community gathering place where people can relax and feel welcome, while enjoying their spirits distilled onsite, fresh crafted cocktails and small bites. Among the new offerings from the husband-and-wife team is a lavender flavored gin.


VIRTUAL FORECAST: California Bank & Trust and the UCLA Anderson Forecast are hosting a free webinar titled “Evolution of the New Normal in 2023” on Dec. 13,  from 1 to 2 p.m. Info at calbanktrust.com and look for the December 2022 Economic Outlook.

NAWBO AWARDS: Santa Barbara NAWBO chapter is looking for nominations for the 2023 Bravo awards. Apply online by Dec. 31.