Today’s edition of roses and raspberries is special, because the first bouquet goes to a truly special group of folks who do good deeds in the community.

We are referring to the Santa Maria Elks, widely known and appreciated for staging a top-notch rodeo every summer for the past three-quarters of a century. The roses could be awarded for having another spectacular show, but there is an even better reason.

Earlier this week at an ice cream social the Elks handed out $1,000 checks to 25 local families whose kids are fighting cancer. It was a bittersweet occasion, because two of those youngsters couldn’t be at the party.

Esneider Vasquez Salvado, 3, and Alexys Ruiz, 15, lost their fight with the dreaded disease soon after the rodeo weekend ended.

All the kids are part of the Golden Circle of Champions and Elks collaboration, which raised the money through a series of local fund-raisers.

Roses to the Elks and all who contributed to such a meaningful cause.


The show dogs are back in the spotlight in the Lompoc Valley, so roses to those responsible for resurrecting a special event.

The Lompoc Valley Kennel Club’s annual dog shows have returned to Ryon Park this weekend with a fresh, new look that has already surpassed the expectations of some of the lead organizers.

The event began with specialty shows on Thursday and Friday, and now will close with all-breed shows and the return of obedience and rally trials today and Sunday. The shows were canceled last year for the first time in the four-decade-plus event’s history.

Nearly 700 dogs were entered, and if you really want to have a bit of fun and see some fine pooches — many with tails a-wagging — Ryon Park is the place to be today and Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.

Roses also to city workers who repaired Ryon Park, especially dealing with gopher holes. The park’s condition is what caused officials to cancel last year’s event.


When it comes to teaching younger kids and teens important things that could affect their lives, we can’t think of a better program than the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department’s summer camp detailing the ins and outs of being a firefighter.

It’s on again this summer, which is the time of year when wildfire knowledge and firefighter skills are most crucial. There are a half-dozen large fires burning throughout the state as you read these words, and likely many more on the horizon.

The firefighter camps teach youngsters what it means, and how to face wildfire dangers, and along the way also instruct in the importance of their families being ready for the next big fire.

Roses all around.


It’s difficult to keep score in the ongoing war between California and the Trump administration, but at least maybe Californians will have cleaner air to breathe in the future.

Four automakers — Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen — have reached an agreement with the California Air Resources Board to increase their vehicles’ gas mileage and improve emission standards, which the Trump administration plans to freeze at 2021 levels.

Other manufacturers are considering California’s standards proposal, but as yet are not on board. The four that have signed on represent about 30 percent of auto sales in the United States.

This is a good step, given the realities of global politics, and the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource that will someday be gone.

Bravo, and roses to California policymakers for demonstrating foresight in preparing for a more sustainable energy future.

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