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We’re into the season of giving, but our first batch of roses today goes to those who take — as in, adopting a new member of the family.

Specifically, roses to the families that willingly added the nine children during National Adoption Day.

The ceremony itself was a family affair. In a large courtroom presided over by Judge Arthur Garcia, dozens of people gathered to see six families finalize the adoptions of their children. Also in attendance were social workers from the county’s Child Welfare Services' Our County Our Kids program, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), all of whom helped represent each child during the adoption procedure.

Actually, we could make a case for every day being National Adoption Day. At the moment there are more than 400,000 children in foster care nationwide. Our guess is that most of those kids would prefer a more permanent arrangement. The Santa Barbara County foster care system currently includes 350 children, and 100 of them are waiting for permanent families.

A similar situation exists for another group — the pets lost and/or abandoned in the three major wildfires raging in California.

The Santa Maria Valley Humane Society has taken in dozens of dogs and cats this week, all refugees from the two big fires burning down the coast from us. Most of them come from animal shelters in Ventura County that have been swamped with pets due to the fires.

If you’re interested, call the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society at 805-349-3435. Adoptable animals also are pictured on the website at The fee is $65 for cats and $100 for dogs, and all adopted animals are spayed or neutered, microchipped, examined by a veterinarian and go home with a bag of pet food.

What do you say? Either way, child or pet, an adoptive parent really can’t lose. And think of the roses you’ll have earned.


That’s it for the taking segment, now for the giving part.

Roses to donors and participants in the local YMCA's RiseUP Program who this week helped in the distribution of more than four dozen frozen turkeys to needy families in our communities.

RiseUP began two years ago as a three-year risk-aversion pilot program for area youth. The purpose was, and is to steer school-aged children — primarily students in third through fifth grades — away from dangerous situations or potentially violent confrontations. RiseUP's emphasis is on classroom-based enrichment, nutrition and exercise programs, all of which help students and builds trust with parents.

We expect to see a lot of these types of giving events in the weeks ahead.


The red kettles are out, a signal for you to donate some of your holiday coins — or paper money — to the Salvation Army’s holiday-season fund-raising effort.

Here’s an observation many decades in the making — we’ve never encountered a grumpy red kettle bell-ringer. The volunteers seem always to be smiling, even when folks passing by just keep walking.

The red kettles first appeared in San Francisco in the early 1890s, and have been gracing local sidewalks for the past half-century. The fund-raising is to ensure no one in the community goes hungry, especially during the holidays. Last year’s effort resulted in the distribution of 2,400 boxes of food and 3,500 items of clothing to families in need, plus 4,000 meals and snacks were served to local homeless folks.

This year’s campaign aims to raise $100,000, with the money going to an array of programs to help those who most need our help.

Roses, all around.

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