emPower San Luis Obispo County: Energy efficiency tips to be featured at Inspired Home Expo

emPower San Luis Obispo County: Energy efficiency tips to be featured at Inspired Home Expo


Posted: 8:30 am, February 10, 2015 by News Staff

EmPower San Luis Obispo County will be at the Inspired Home Expo in Paso Robles Feb. 21 and 22 sharing what Energy Coach Paul Menconi has learned while inspecting local homes for energy efficiency issues.


“I’m seeing a lot of homes with poor insulation and air sealing, which is driving utility bills up in a big way,” said Menconi, who has more than seven years of experience in home energy efficiency. “The biggest part of the typical energy bill goes to heating and cooling air, but poor air sealing and insulation allows this air to escape our homes without doing much good. Furnaces and air conditioners are then left working overtime.”

In addition to cutting down on bills now, getting energy usage under control can also lead to other savings down the road for homeowners looking to upgrade to solar energy.

“A home that uses less power can get away with using a smaller photovoltaic system, which carries a much smaller price tag,” said Menconi. “It’s why I’m constantly recommending to ‘reduce before you produce.’”

Menconi and emPower staff will be at emPower’s Inspired Home Expo booth 10 a.m-5 p.m. Feb. 21 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 22 offering additional advice. Homeowners will also be able to schedule a free Home Site Visit from Menconi for a comprehensive look at a home’s energy performance, including the condition of the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system, insulation levels, water heater, and other major appliances that can contribute to high energy bills.

The expo will be held at 2198 Riverside Road in Paso Robles and is free for attendees.

About emPower Central Coast

The emPower program offers voluntary incentives, financing and other services to help single-family homeowners in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties make home energy upgrades easier and more affordable. EmPower was originally established by Santa Barbara County to help the community preserve the environment by helping to lower energy consumption and stimulate the economy by creating jobs through innovative, voluntary solutions to support a sustainable building performance market.

EmPower is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison Company and Pacific Gas & Electric under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission, the US Department of Energy Better Buildings program and the California Energy Commission with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars. emPower’s low cost financing is offered in partnership with Coast Hills Federal Credit Union and Ventura County Credit Union. More information at www.empowersbc.org.



Santa Barbara Symphony: Interview with Steven Sloane

Santa Barbara Symphony: Interview with Steven Sloane




I chatted with conductor Steven Sloane in Berlin on February 8, 2015 on the eve of his conducting debut with the Santa Barbara Symphony Saturday and Sunday, February 14 & 15 in a program of music by Robert Schumann (Manfred Overture), Clara Schumann (Piano Concerto, with soloist Natasha Kislenko) and Brahms’Symphony No. 1

Granada Theatre

(805) 899-2222


video interviews with California’s diverse arts community

Links to: https://vimeo.com/119513512

Family Service Agency: Caring Together campaign aims to help caregivers

Family Service Agency: Caring Together campaign aims to help caregivers



Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl, left, Barry Marks, a member of the Advisory Council of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens, Area Agency on Aging, and Lisa Brabo, executive director of the Family Service Agency, launched the Family Service Agency’s Caring Together campaign at the Dorothy Jackson Family Resource Center in Lompoc on Wednesday.

The Family Service Agency launched its Caring Together campaign Wednesday in hopes of responding to the needs that caregivers are experiencing in Lompoc.

“Our goal is to bring the community together in support of families facing the challenges of caregiving,” said Lisa Brabo, FSA’s executive director. “Sharing resources for caregivers to care for themselves will help improve their personal health and the quality of care they can provide for their loved ones.”

Brabo said her group provides support for whatever caregivers may be experiencing, including counseling services.

“No matter if they are in Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Carpinteria or Goleta, we will connect them with a local person that can help them,” Brabo said. “And all our services are free of charge.”

The challenges of caregiving can be overwhelming with anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of caregivers reporting depressive disorders and symptoms, according to Selected Caregiver Statistics and the Family Caregiver Alliance.

“We provide support for whatever they might be experiencing and we provide counseling so they can actually talk through some of the challenges they might have,” Brabo said.

In addition to individual counseling services, the FSA also provides group and family counseling, said Cynthia McNulty, FSA’s senior services program manager.

“Caregivers are the unseen people and the unseen patients,” McNulty said. “They are just highly unrecognized and have lots of needs as well.”

In Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, more than 50 percent of caregivers spend 40 hours or more on caregiving activities each week, according to the Family Caregivers Survey Report and the Area Agency on Aging. The two groups also found that 75 percent of caregivers did not know where to access support services available to them.

Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl was in attendance for the presentation and said that he was honored to join the effort to raise awareness for caregivers.

“The main thing I wanted to point out is that my wife and I have been caregivers for my father and now currently her mother, so this type of agency means a lot to me,” Lingl said. “It’s important that this community gathers around and supports seniors and shows them that they are loved and cared for.”

Lingl asked the staff for guidance in dealing with his own personal situation where his wife occasionally gets upset at her mother when she doesn’t necessarily have to.

Staff said that those are the types of problems and situations that they specialize in and said that counseling services may be the way to best handle those types of scenarios.

For more information on the FSA and its free services, visit them online at fsacares.org or call them at 965-1001.

Those seeking services in Santa Maria are encouraged to contact the Coast Caregiver Resource Center, which also provides counseling for family caregivers, at 962-3600, ext. 14.


Rona Barrett Foundation: Community Donations Push Golden Inn & Village Project Halfway to Fundraising Goal

Rona Barrett Foundation: Community Donations Push Golden Inn & Village Project Halfway to Fundraising Goal

Noozhawk 2011

senior living noozhawk

By Kelly Kapaun for the Rona Barrett Foundation | Published on 02.12.2015 7:40 a.m.

With the support of the community, the Golden Inn & Village is off to an impressive start to become the first affordable senior housing and residential care “aging in place” facility in Santa Ynez Valley that is designed to serve the community’s most vulnerable residents.

The Rona Barrett Foundation is spearheading the GIV initiative and thanks its community partners and individual donors for donations so far toward a critical $800,000 funding goal.

Since the campaign launched in January, major donations have been received from the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation, the Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation and other local foundations, and donations from individuals all throughout the community.

As a condition of receiving the $23 million in tax credits needed to start building GIV, the Rona Barrett Foundation must raise the remaining $400,000 by Feb. 28. The tax credits also mean that for every $1 a supporter donates to the Campaign for the GIV, an estimated $23 will be returned as community dividends in the form of local jobs, local salaries and local expenditures for equipment, transportation and supplies.

“My heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to Rona Barrett and all of those who have been so critical to the success of the Golden Inn & Village project. This project will not only provide housing and vital support services to its community members but will go a long way to making our future brighter by helping so many seniors access quality, affordable retirement,” said Lois Capps, U.S. representative for California’s 24th Congressional District.

“Thanks to the generosity of community supporters, our senior loved ones will be able to create new friendships, build new futures and participate in meaningful activities within an affordable, dignified and familial setting,” said Rona Barrett, founder and president of the Rona Barrett Foundation.

The Golden Inn & Village is a mixed-use development in a neighborhood setting that will provide approximately 120 affordable units for low-income seniors to reside in a comfortable, supportive environment that meets their needs as they age and 27 affordable family units, some of which may be occupied by employees of the GIV. Services will range from independent to assisted living and memory care to hospice, with staff residing on premises and available 24 hours a day. The programs and services provided will be coordinated in collaboration with multiple community partners and include:

» 60 independent living units for low-income seniors

» 60 units of memory care/assisted living

» Senior Community Center (with extended hours for family visits and caregiver respite)

» 27 affordable family units, some of which may be occupied by employees of the GIV

» Supportive services such as Hospice coordinated with multiple partners

» Small shops (barber, beauty shop, and other services), staff offices, drought tolerant gardens, and walking paths

The Golden Inn & Village was conceived specifically to address the needs of our senior loved ones, parents, friends, neighbors and especially orphaned seniors — those who have no one left to care for them. It is for seniors who live within our area but, with resources dwindling, are forced to survive on little more than Social Security. Construction on the project is slated to begin in March. Click here for more information about or to donate to GIV.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing the Rona Barrett Foundation.


Pin It on Pinterest