The holidays have come and gone. Now, for a return to the daily routine, which today includes roses and raspberries for deserving people and things.

We begin with a bouquet of red beauties to decision-makers in Santa Maria, who once again have emphasized giving local kids fun things to do.

In this case it involves the opening of a second skatepark, this one at Atkinson Park. Well, it’s not exactly new. The gear is from the city’s other skateboard facility, which got all-new stuff. The old gear was still good, so rather than dumping it, city officials opted for opening a second site.

TV’s “Rehab Addict” star Nikki Curtis would be proud. She reuses most everything in her projects.

The repurposed equipment at Atkinson means skaters can go there or Fletcher Park, where the new gear was installed. Both parks are near schools, and perfect places for kids to shred — and stay out of trouble.

That’s what the roses are for, acknowledgment of the city’s continuing efforts to give local youth ample venues for exercise and entertainment. It’s all part of the campaign to keep our young people out of violent gangs.


Roses also to the folks behind the Future Farmers of America Leadership Program.

Local FFA leaders visited Nipomo Elementary last month to tell fourth and fifth-graders about what they can discover through the FFA organization.

The event provided booths for students to visit, including a booth that explained what FFA is, a floral-arrangement booth, a booth where the kids could plant their own seeds into a cup filled with soil, a soil horizon edible booth, a chemical-reaction booth, an agricultural mechanics booth, and even a petting zoo that featured a pygmy goat and baby lamb.

It wasn’t exactly a classroom exercise in the classic sense, but it sure grabbed the students’ attention, which in this fast-paced age can be extremely difficult.

And it taught them something very important about this place they call home — that we are, essentially, a farming community, and it’s a part of our heritage that needs protecting and conserving.

This simple exercise of bringing the FAA to urban students aimed to inform and stimulate our next generation of movers and shakers on what agriculture is, and how important it can be in each of their lives.

That is a lesson that will benefit all of us in the long run.


The choice between roses and raspberries is a toss-up when it comes to the Trump administration’s announcement this week to open up U.S, coastal waters to offshore oil and gas development.

From a jobs and tax revenue standpoint, the decision to go all-in on oil drilling received mostly roses from local business operators and governments that benefit from residual tax revenues and potential job creation.

But oil has always been a hot-button topic in Santa Barbara County, and shortly after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement on Thursday, many local elected leaders vowed to block the move to protect our coastline from oil spills and potential harm to the tourist industry that supports so much of the Central Coast economy.

What Zinke’s announcement will likely produce is a full-on battle between federal edicts, and the protectionist attitudes of state and local governments along California’s coast.

Tourism, fisheries, national seashores and safe, pristine beaches are a major part of the California franchise — and produce a lot of income and jobs, just as does the oil industry.

Raspberries go to the Trump administration’s refusal to look to our sustainable energy future.