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One of the truly great things about this planet is its seasons. They come, they go, and they generally offer diversity.

We’re having highs in the 70s, lows in the mid-40s, little chance of rain — and a glorious weekend to enjoy. Why don’t we start this off with a mini-Rose Parade.

Roses to the decision makers in the city of Santa Maria, for a couple of big reasons.

First, to city planners and members of the City Council for successfully launching a downtown streetscape renovation. We can’t imagine a better gift to local residents who have been longing for a pretty, safe place to enjoy themselves.

The strategy is to narrow downtown streets, giving pedestrians and bicyclists much more room. It comes at the expense of the almighty automobile, but maybe, just maybe California is turning the corner on the century in which cars were king.

The second batch of roses goes to the Santa Maria Police Department for ramping up enforcement operations focusing on bike and pedestrian safety, and for good reason. The Santa Maria Police Department has investigated nearly 230 injury collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists over the past three years, and six of those events resulted in someone being killed. In California about 300 pedestrians and bicyclists are killed every year, and nationally, 5,987 pedestrians and 840 bicyclists were killed.

Given those numbers, Santa Maria’s clamping down on unsafe behavior by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians is essential.

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The Lompoc Theatre was for generations the place to be in the Lompoc Valley.

The facility opened in 1927, and until modern cinemas, TV and the internet changed the way we live it played host to local civic theatre and orchestra groups, world-class acts ranging from jazzman Sonny Clay to cowboy crooners Sons of the Pioneers, to classical pianist Van Cliburn, to Tex-Max superstar Freddy Fender and R&B legends the Coasters. Liberace also graced the theatre’s stage.

But the aging venue began to sag in the 1970s, and seemed on a path to destruction until the Lompoc Theatre Project group took ownership of the building about three years ago, and began the task of restoring the vintage beauty.

Although the facility’s restoration is incomplete, a special event was held there last weekend — what is believed to be the first-ever wedding on the theatre’s stage.

Libby Janatsch and Matt Samaniego were married in what was the first formal event at the theatre requiring city permits and inspections since the Theatre Project group took ownership of the building.

Roses and bravo to those whose tireless efforts are helping to resurrect a historic Lompoc landmark.

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Three things about being a volunteer.

First, it can be fun. Second, it can definitely be hard word. Third, and perhaps most importantly, being a volunteer can bring personal satisfaction unlike almost anything else in life.

Volunteerism comes in many forms, and to be honest, our communities have some of the best and most faithful volunteers on the planet — and all deserve roses.

The first batch goes to local individuals and businesses helping furloughed federal workers and those forced to work without pay to make it through a difficult time. It is clear our elected leaders at the federal level aren’t really noticing the pain and deprivation their partisan bickering has caused.

The second batch of red beauties goes to the men and women who participated in the annual head count of the local homeless population. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Roses to all volunteers, and keep up the good work.

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