REMC Press Releases


SB High Alum Produces Comedy Shows; Next Feb. 15

Santa Barbara High alumnus Orr Redko produces a local, monthly comedy show called “Laughing Nomad” with a purpose behind the entertainment. 

He wants to use humor to entertain, but also someday to help military veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

His next comedy show is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Community Arts Workshop, 631 Garden St., Santa Barbara. 

The lineup for the show will feature comedians Jessica Inserra, Usama Siddquee, Lauren Valentine, Jessica Johnson and Samantha Bearman, with Redko as host.  

The show is BYOB and for adults 21 years or older. 

Tickets can be purchased at 

Orr Played football at Santa Barbara High, class of 2006. After graduating, he served as a squad leader in the Israeli Defense Forces in a Special Operations Reconnaissance Company overseas. 

After the military, Orr continued his education and graduated cum laude from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s of science in business.  

In November 2018, he decided to pursue stand-up comedy. He moved back to Santa Barbara and could easily see there was a local market for comedy shows. 

Orr said adjusting to civilian life was difficult. He spent many years battling depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD.  

Comedy has helped alleviate his depression and curb symptoms of PTSD. He said with a creative outlet to channel his thoughts, comedy may have saved his life. Orr is planning on establishing an organization to help other veterans overcome their PTSD through comedy.

Posted Feb. 10, 2020.


Women Entrepreneurs Can Get Scholarships for Retreat

Female entrepreneurs may be eligible for scholarships to participate in the Project Impact Retreat, a three-day business boot camp Oct. 18 to 21 at a private home in Santa Barbara.

Retreat organizers are offering a limited number of scholarships for those interested in attending the business boot camp. For more information on scholarships, see

Female business experts will discuss topics ranging from technology and automation, to productivity, health and wellness, and building successful teams. 

“The retreat will focus on creativity, collaboration and implementation,” said organizer Robin Elander. “Many programs, events and conferences offer so much information that you go home overwhelmed and not sure how to take action on what you’ve learned.”

Elander said the retreat will allow women to take time in break-out groups to use what they have learned right after it is taught to  them.  Each morning will begin around 8 a.m. with yoga and meditation and will end after dinner around 6 p.m., she said.

“This retreat is perfect for female entrepreneurs at any stage of business from only a budding idea about a business to seasoned professionals with years of experience,” she said. “We will all learn from each other and grow together.”

Another retreat organizer, Alisa Wilcox, specializes in automated systems and powerful sales funnels.

“We want you to create big goals during your stay with us, and to also have all the support you need to put your plans into action,” Wilcox said. “You will leave with a clear game plan, new connections to help guide you and specific tools to take you to the level of success you know you deserve.”

Industry experts will share secrets on digital marketing, abundance mindset, impacting your community, branding a business, creating $100,000 with ease, goal setting and other topics. 

To apply to be a speaker, exhibitor, sponsor or participant of the retreat, visit or email[email protected]


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Emily Atkins at (805) 455-4707 or [email protected]

Identity Protection Workshop Planned for Oct. 6

An identity protection workshop is planned for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Rusty’s Pizza Parlor private room, 4880 Hollister Ave., in the Turnpike Shopping Center. 

Admission is $10 online at At the door, the cost is $15. Admission includes a gift. 

The Santa Barbara Business Network is hosting the workshop, which will include presentation on ID protection, tools and tips and question-and-answer session. 

One of the presenters will be Emily Atkins, local independent associate for Legal Shield, which provides legal services for businesses. 

Atkins specializes in legal service plans, identity theft protection and restoration plans, as well as small business and employee group benefits. 

She can be reached at [email protected] 

Other presenters include representatives from T-Mobile, Constant Contact Email Marketing, and the Santa Barbara Business Network.

‘Fire Woman’ Aids Disaster-Related Charities

A Santa Barbara musician and songwriter is helping raise funds for disaster-related charities through a series of recordings he is releasing.  

“Fire Woman” is the latest release from soul and indie rocker David Segall, who is a UCSB graduate. 

The song was completed shortly before the Thomas fire swept through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In response to the fire’s devastation and subsequent debris flow, Segall was inspired to raise funds for the Santa Barbara Chapter of Habitat for Humanity by donating half the proceeds from every download of “Fire Woman.” Later this year, other charities will benefit from his new songs. 

To hear “Fire Woman,” visit or see” 

The title of the song came to Segall when he met author Josephine Reynolds, Britain’s first female firefighter, through a mutual friend in Santa Barbara last year.  

When she told him that she was going to release a memoir about her life as a firefighter in the early 1980s, entitled “Fire Woman,” Segall offered to write a theme song for the book.  

“I had already begun writing a song about the sacred power of fire to purge and renew,” he said. 

After he met Reynolds and heard some of her stories as a firefighter, Segall knew what the title of the song had to be.  

“The image of a brave and empowered ‘Fire Woman’ is what informed the rest of my lyrics,” he said. 

The song was written and recorded in Santa Barbara, featuring international and South Coast musicians. 

Australian-born songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Jones, a longtime bandmate of Segall’s who also lives in Santa Barbara, produced the song and provided bass guitar and vocal harmonies.  

Iranian-born singer Mandana Mirabrishami lent her voice to the harmonies as well. The song also features violinist Ilaria Gianfagna of Italy, who recorded remotely from her studio in Sicily, and Austin Beede on drums, Angus Cooke on cello, and Philippo Franchini on guitar. 


Colorful Guatemala Documentary Screens March 21

The new documentary “Guatemala: On the Edge of Discovery” will premier at 6 p.m. March 21 at Impact Hub Santa Barbara, 1117 State St. Admission is free for this community event. 

The documentary reveals the wonder and resilience of a land and people that are emerging from the shadows of a long and painful civil war. 

“On the Edge of Discovery” takes viewers to the far corners of the Guatemala, exploring the mysteries of the ancient Maya and the challenges of today. “Along the way, we’ll visit the fabled Lost Kingdoms of the Maya and witness shamanistic ceremonies and rituals,” said Santa Barbara-based film maker Brent Winebrenner.  

“We’ll examine colorful customs and practices that are rooted in the ancient past,” Winebrenner said. “Throughout our journey of discovery, we’ll meet leading archaeologists, artists, explorers and shamans as well as the ordinary Guatemalans who hold the future in their hands.” 

This beautifully shot, authentic film is of special interest at this point in our country’s relationship with our neighbors to the south. 

The documentary delves into the Meso-American past of the country with its still-uncovered pyramids and treasures that conquistadors tried to bury in the dense tropical forests. 


CAPTIONS: Two Guatemalan women sport colorful garb.

A Mayan pyramid stands in Tikal, Guatemala.

MEDIA ADVISORY CONTACT: Lisa Amador at (805) 699-5650 or [email protected]

Crush Grand Opening Starts Thursday Afternoon

A grand opening Crush Wine Tasting & Kitchen, 432 E. Haley St., Santa Barbara, will start at 3 p.m. Sept. 27 and continue into the evening.

Councilman Jason Dominguez is scheduled to attend at 4:45 p.m.

Along with the unique dishes served at Crush, a Napa Technology wine dispenser is featured. Patrons buy a card, insert it into the dispenser and press a button for a taste, half glass or full measure of wine. Such a device may only be found on the Central Coast so far in Buellton and Ventura.  

The dispenser uses argon gas to keep the wines fresh. A patron may dispense his or her own wine or ask the wait staff to do it.

Also on hand Thursday will be the  Crush proprietors:

La Cumbre Country Club food and beverage manager Michael Amador and his certified professional matchmaker wife, Lisa.

 They are known as the “Amadorables.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  CONTACT: David Segall at [email protected] 

New Music Video Features Santa Barbara Songwriter David Segall 
 Santa Barbara singer, musician and songwriter David Segall will debut his latest music video, “Rising All Along,” at 7 p.m. March 1 at Night Lizard Brewing Co., 607 State St. Admission is free. 

“Rising All Along” is the latest video from soul and indie rocker Segall, a Santa Barbara High School and UCSB graduate who sings in English, Spanish and Italian. 

The music video launch party at Night Lizard Brewing will double as a fundraiser for the Segall’s next video release, entitled “A Touch of Love.” He is partnering with the Community Environmental Council and the NOAA-sponsored “Ocean Guardians” of Adams Elementary School. 

Together, they will be filming a piece about “leaving every person and place better than you found them” through compassionate action, Segall said. The video will feature fifth-graders’ views on ocean health and coastal preservation, and will demonstrate “love for our ocean and for one another in action,” he said. 

Students will be shown in the video cleaning up beaches, saying “no” to single-use plastics, and encouraging one another to put forth the effort to “be the change” they want to see in the world and the environment, the songwriter said.  

Segall is launching his March 1 music video release party (and Spotify and Apple Music release) for the new song, “Rising All Along,” which is an anthemic song about realizing one’s dreams by using one’s innate imagination to “feel the feeling of the dream already fulfilled.” He first wrote the song in 2014 after realizing a lifelong dream of learning to fly with Eagle Paragliding instructors Rob Sporrer and Marge Varaino. 

“I was invited to learn how to fly via paragliding, which is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid,” Segall said. “I was playing some music out in front of a cafe on State Street in November 2012, shortly after moving back to Santa Barbara after living in Chicago.” 

Sporrer came up to Segall to tell him how much he enjoyed the music. “We got to talking and I learned he was a flight instructor,” Segall recalled. “I told him it had always been my dream to fly. He told me he’d be thrilled to trade me paragliding lessons for some guitar instruction, and that was the beginning of our friendship.” 

A month later, Segall was on the training hill at Ellings Park, taking off on his first solo flight, and “feeling in absolute awe of finally learning to fly,” he said. 

The process of learning to fly inspired the lyrics to “Rising All Along,” whose opening lines are, “I am a man of my word and I can fly like a bird, I’m catching air every day.” 

Attendees at the March 1 event are encouraged to leave a love donation to cover the production costs of the “Touch of Love” video project, although no one will be turned away for lack of funds. A silent auction will be a part of the March 1 event where attendees can bid on music lessons, yoga class packages, a sunset sailing cruise, and many other specialty items. 

For more information, see 

CAPTION: David Segall performing in studio.

From left, Nick Vourney, Kaitty Swanson, Gillian Irelandand Jackie ValadezFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Gillian Ireland at (805) 892-4300

Salon Marks Anniversary at New Location, Introduces Staff Members

Chandler’s Men’s Hair Salon is marking its first anniversary at its new location at 401 Chapala St., Suite 104, with the introduction of hair stylist Kaity (cq) Swanson and barber Jackie Valadez and pre-Fiesta parade celebration from 10:30 a.m. until noon Aug. 7.

Chandler’s owner Gillian Ireland also said for the first time her shop with offer straight-razor shaves, facials and skin cleanse for men.

“The skin cleanse treats age and sun damage spots,” said Valadez, who came to Santa Barbara 15 years ago from Riverside.

Originally located in the Funk Zone, Chandler’s has operated in Santa Barbara for 13 years. Chandler’s was the first to move into the Sevilla building at the corner of Gutierrez and Chapala streets.

Valadez, who joined Chandler’s two months ago, said her family thought she might study to be an engineer. However, she started styling hair and that brought out her creative side. She was trained in cosmetology at Riverside Community College.

Ten years ago, Valadez started teaching at the Paul Mitchell School in Santa Barbara where she still is the head instructor of the barbering program. She specializes in coloring and cutting men’s hair.

Swanson was born and raised in Santa Barbara. She has Associate of Arts and Sciences in cosmetology.

Ireland started working at Chandler’s several years ago after attending the Vidal Sassoon Hair Styling School in San Diego from 2005 to 2006 and Joe Blasco Cosmetics & Makeup School in Hollywood in 2008. She moved to Santa Barbara from San Diego in 2011.

Chandler’s staff includes Gillian Ireland, Jackie Valadez, Nick Vanourney and Kaity Swanson who provide haircuts, hot towel treatment, coloring, straight razor shave, facials and neck and scalp massage. For more information, call (805) 892-4300 or see

During August, Chandler’s is offering $10 off all services for first-time clients.


CAPTION: From left, Nick Vourney, Kaity (cq) Swanson, Chandler’s owner Gillian Ireland and Jackie Valadez

City Responds to Residents; Fish Market Warehouse Noise, Odor Curbed

After complaining of noise and odors for six months, eight Eastside residents and business were told Monday the Santa Barbara Fish Market warehouse, 528N.Quarantina St., must cease seafood process operations at that location.

Residents who live around the warehouse brought a bucket of aging fish to the Santa Barbara Community Development Office to display what they have to put up with every day.

“I can’t even use my backyard at night because of the smell,” said Abbey Fregrosa, a resident of the 700 block of Bond Avenue. She said it would be difficult if she ever decided to sell her property.

During the residents’ ad hoc meeting with city officials, Fish Market owner Brian Colgate arrived and quickly met with George Buell, city community development director. Colgate told TV news his company has responded to neighbors’ concerns.

However, earlier, Colgate was sent a letter from the City Attorney’s Office that said, in part, “(S) seafood processing is not an allowed use either in the (commercial-manufacturing) or (commercial use) zone,” which is the zoning in that neighborhood. The city attorney said complaints concerned “receiving, processing and packing of fresh seafood products.”

As of Monday afternoon, most activity around the warehouse had ceased, but by 7:30 p.m. trucks could be heard packing cargo and some odors returned.

Businessman Dave Blunk said earlier he and his neighbors have been complaining about the fishy smell and loud trucks at the warehouse since early this year without any action by the city until today.

The Fish Market warehouse has a truck entrance located between 709 and 715 Bond Ave. where most of the noise and odors emanate. Neighbors have made nuisance complaints to city officials to no avail.

Bond Avenue is situated between Quarantina and Nopal streets, near Haley and Milpas streets. That block is a mixture of family homes and commercial properties.



As published at:

CONTACT: Mike McCormack (805) 452-0932 or [email protected]

SB Real Estate Expert Named Executive Vice President of Financial Firm

Mike McCormack, a 40-year veteran of the real estate industry, has been named executive vice president of the Alaska Financial Company III, LLC.

Alaska Financial a $50 million real estate investment fund, specializing in the purchase of first trust deeds they pool as collateral for their investors who receive secured notes on fixed income quarterly payments.

McCormack began his career in Hawaii where he was a prominent developer involved in real estate sales and multiple property developments. Fifteen years ago, Mike came to Santa Barbara and was instrumental in developing Oak Creek Canyon in Montecito. He now operates his advisory firm, McCormack Pacific Ltd.

In his new role, McCormack will project Alaska’s promise of certainty for accredited investors with fixed income returns. Returns of 7 percent paid quarterly for the past 10 years.

“I’m enthusiastic about Alaska Financial, because it’s available to investors in a form that’s transparent and simple to understand, McCormack said.  “To predict with reliability your future income of 7 percent in a fixed rate of return in this volatile market, is really gratifying; it’s actually comforting.

About Mike McCormack

Born and raised in Hawaii, McCormack is a graduate of Punahou School and Santa Clara University. He launched his development career in Hawaii after statehood and expanded the business into multiple residential and commercial projects throughout Hawaii.

Mike McCormack Realtors became Hawaii’s largest real estate brokerage company in 1987, when he launched the Coldwell Banker McCormack franchise. In 1995, McCormack Properties developed the prominent Harbor Court Hi rise on the waterfront in downtown Honolulu.



CONTACT: (805) 319-0744 or [email protected]

New Mythology Discussed Jan. 22 at Granada Books

Bay area mythologist and entrepreneur Willi Paul will present the “Mythic Roundtable: Tools and Inspiration for Creating New Myths” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Granada Book Store, 1224 State St., Santa Barbara.

Paul will read one his recently published “New Myths” and engineer a live “Myth Lab” exercise that will generate a new myth with the audience. Writers, artists, mythologists, storytellers, teachers and activists are encouraged to attend the roundtable.

Paul is active in the sustainability, permaculture, transition, sacred nature, new alchemy and mythology spaces since the launch of Magazine on Earth Day 2009. Paul’s network now includes four websites:

Permaculture is a new agricultural design system that promotes local and renewable resources.

“There is a do-or-die episode coming for humans on this planet, a Chaos and Post-Chaos Era where resources and friendships will be severely tested,” Paul said. “Those among us, who can manifest a new community spirit where bankers become teachers, and teachers become farmers, may see the dawn of the Post-Chaos Era.”

In August 2012, Bay area-based Paul put on the workshop “Mapping Future Myths for the Transition” the first Study of Myth Symposium at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Montecito.

Paul held a free eWorkshop “Building the Future -with New Global Mythology” on June 18, 2014.  See.  He also put on “Tools and Inspiration for Creating New Myths,” a free online roundtable on Nov. 18, 2014. For an event summary and transcript, see:

Paul is the founder of the New Global Mythology group at the Depth Psychology Alliance. He is the founder of the LinkedIn group, “New Mythology, Permaculture & Transition.” He has three Twitter accounts: @planetshifter; @openmythsource; and @PermacultureXch, which have generated 4,950 followers. On Google +, he is the founder the Permaculture Age group, with 325 members.

He has produced 19 eBooks and more than 375 interviews with thought leaders in mythology, permaculture and sustainability.

For more information, contact [email protected].


CONTACT: Patricia Guerrera, (805) 637-6334 or [email protected]

South Coast Make-Up Artist Offers Aug. 21 Demonstration at Carr Winery
“All About You,” a free demonstration by longtime Santa Barbara make-up artist and licensed esthetician Patricia Guerrera, is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 21 at Carr Winery, 414 N. Salsipuedes St.

Guerrera is owner of Tru beauty, her studio at 120 W. Mission St., Santa Barbara. The “All About You” event will include demonstrations of makeup touchup and brow waxing by Guerrera. The event also will feature Vidal Sassoon alumna Tara Jenée, who has 11 years of experience in hair styling, specializing in precision cut and color, keratin smoothing, natural hair extensions, weddings and events. ([email protected]) She will be demonstrating style, up do and braiding at Carr Winery.

For the “All About You” event, Guerrera is offering $25 Tru beauty gift certificates toward any Tru beauty services. Purchase of a certificate includes a glass of Carr wine the night of the event. Admission is free to anyone older than 21 years of age.

“All About You” gift certificates can be purchased online at event/810920. The gift certificates may used toward any of Tru beauty’s services, including the “Mimosa Cocktail,” which is a facial treatment that includes: a shot of concentrated vitamin C; two shots of cell renewal; one shot of brighteners; a shot to repair sun damage; and a shot to boost collagen for brighter skin.

Guerrera started her career in South Coast retail stores and spas. She has conducted skin therapy and training sessions locally and in large cities across the nation. Her passion and creativity led her to open her own business where women can feel special and pampered.

Born in Italy and raised in Santa Barbara, Guerrera has 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. She has traveled all over the nation from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston helping women look beautiful.

She was influenced by a family artist growing up in Italy. Now, she creates artistry on live canvas of beautiful faces. “Tru beauty is what I believe,” she says. “Tru beauty starts from within.”

For more information, see


FuelBox Wins ‘Maker Challenge,’ Exceeds Funding Campaign by 142 Percent

FuelBox Inc., makers of the ultimate mobile charging solution, the powerStation, were named winners of Indiegogo’s “Maker Challenge” best campaign, sponsored by Amazon and Autodesk.

The Indiegogo “Maker Challenge,” part of President Obama’s White House program to encourage U.S.-based technology development and manufacturing, promotes innovative programs and campaigns on its crowd-funding

In winning, FuelBox raised $71,000 in five weeks, or 142 percent of its fundraising goal. The company was featured on Indiegogo’s newsletter twice. The newsletter highlights the most interesting and innovative campaigns.

“We cannot even begin to fully express how excited we are to have won this award for entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Dan Friedman, co-founder and chief marketing officer. “The powerStation is our first product; however, as true innovators we have many additional innovative mobile-charging products in our developmental pipeline.”

The FuelBox powerStation™ is the first mobile device power charging product to offer universal compatibility for all mobile devices, including all cords built-in, 25-hours of charging time, home and travel capability, and a lightweight, compact design.

As challenge winners, FuelBox receives an entrepreneurial mentorship from online retailer Amazon, Amazon credit, and a three-month professional Amazon account subscription. Autodesk, the leading 3D CAD/CAM software company, is providing FuelBox with its Fusion 360™ 3D CAD/CAM software tool. In addition, it is providing mentorship to help FuelBox bring new products to market, from conceptual design to rendering to 3D printing.

“FuelBox is a shinning example of an exceptional entrepreneurial campaign that was able to utilize our platform to their advantage,” said Evan Cohen, Indiegogo spokesperson. “We are very impressed with their campaign and believe these innovators will be extremely successful moving forward.”

FuelBox Inc. Santa Barbara, Calif., is a mobile charging technology company committed to creating the ultimate charging solutions for mobile devices. The company was founded in the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Santa Barbara City College. Its co-founders are Robert Herr and Dan Friedman. The company’s flagship product The FuelBox powerStation™ is the only mobile charging device to feature universal compatibility for all mobile devices, with all cords built-in, 25-hours of charging, and a lightweight, elegant design for at home and on-the-go travel usage.

‘Get Happy’ Book Launch Events Planned

The founder of a Monecito-based company has released her book “Get Happy and Create a Kick-Butt Life” and plans unveil it at a launch party at 6 p.m. June 19 at Carr Winery, 414 N. Salsipuedes St., Santa Barbara.

The events are free to attend, but the book can be pre-ordered at the June 19 party at, which will include a free glass of wine and a raffle ticket. Raffle sponsors include Carr Winery, Calla Gold Jewelry, Go with the Glo, Nerium, SB Heli Tours, Tru Beauty and Yogalicious.

“Get Happy and Create a Kick-Butt Life” author Jackie Ruka, a lifestyle strategist known as “America’s Happyologist,” has developed the Gross Domestic Happiness concept, in which she describes happiness as being at the intersection of meaning and pleasure. In her book, she shares the “how” to find happiness through her life enhancement techniques and key points.

“I hate seeing people unhappy and not following their truth,” Ruka writes in her book. “So, I developed an organization, the Get Happy Zone, for individuals and organizations to unearth their truth toward happiness.” Ruka is a trained art psychotherapist and will be offering well-being teleclasses.

Some 300 South Coast residents may remember Ruka as the host of the Santa Barbara premiere of the “Happy” movie at the Marjorie Luke Theater in 2012.

In her book, “Get Happy and Create a Kick- Butt Life,” Ruka addresses why one’s happiness matters and how to get more of it.

“Job dissatisfaction, time imbalance, divorce, lack of emotional fulfillment, and economic downturn, weighs heavy in today’s complex world,” Ruka writes. “Life has a way of kicking you down.” To which Ruka says: “It’s time to kick butt and create the life you truly desire.”

In her book, which she describes as an action guide, the author shares grounded research, psychological life enhancing techniques and the wisdom of one’s own true self that will empower people to transform the status quo of resilience. The author says she believes the only constant nowadays is change, which is leading to a conscious evolution as people grip the edge of a new revolution.

“This is not your typical ‘how to’ self-help book,” Ruka says. ‘“Get Happy and Create a Kick- Butt Life’ is a call to action for men and women who desire to be the architect of their own destiny, and experience massive positive transformation in a conscious and inspirational manner.”

Ruka says she is on a mission to transform the status quo of professionals and corporations toward a more positive quality of life.

“Get Happy and Create a Kick-Butt Life,” $19.95, is published by Morgan James and is available on . For pre – orders, well- being gifts and more information, see

CONTACT: Jackie Ruka (805) 570-8850 or [email protected]

Look into her eyes : SB woman credits hypnosis for getting her on road to recovery from mercury poisoning


Santa Barbara hypnotherapist Nancy Seagal tells about overcoming health challenges in “Rising Above Mercury: My Story of Poisoning and Recovery” (self-published, 2011, $19.95).STEVE MALONE/NEWS-PRESS

January 21, 2014 5:42 AM

Nancy Seagal’s symptoms sounded like a list from a horror movie.

The 49-year-old Santa Barbara resident said they included muscle spasms, sharp pains, weakness and heaviness in her legs, dehydration, rashes, shortness of breath, hypoglycemia, low body temperature, hormonal imbalances and tremors. Sometimes her cognitive ability was affected to the point she couldn’t complete a sentence.

At times, Ms. Seagal said, she was paralyzed.

Ms. Seagal, who became a licensed clinical hypnotherapist in 1996 in Maui, said all that came from mercury poisoning.

“My symptoms started in 1991, and I finally got diagnosed in 2003 (by a physician in Las Vegas).”

She credits hypnosis for helping her get to the cause.

Ms. Seagal documents her experience in her self-published book, “Rising Above Mercury: My Story of Poisoning and Recovery” ($19.95). She will sign copies of it at 6 p.m. Thursday at Granada Books, 1224 State St.

Despite her symptoms, doctors told her the illness was all in her head, Ms. Seagal said. “The test results always came back negative.

“I didn’t buy into that,” she said. “I was sure there was something there.”

Ms. Seagal said a classmate in Maui, where she and others studied hypnosis from a private teacher, hypnotized her before she graduated in 1995, and that led her to realize her illness was genuine.

“It (hypnosis) fueled my determination to keep looking for an answer,” she said. “Eventually I did. I attribute hypnosis to saving my life.”

Mercury levels in fish around the world have risen because of polluted waterways, Ms. Seagal said.

“Before I was diagnosed, I was eating a moderate amount of fish. When I was living in Hawaii, my consumption of tuna increased a lot, and I started eating sushi,” she said. “By the way, it doesn’t matter if it’s cooked or raw. Mercury stays in the meat.” She also ate lobster, crab and mahi-mahi.

Mercury levels tend to be higher in tuna and other large fish such as swordfish, Ms. Seagal said. She noted smaller fish such as sardines have lesser amounts. That’s confirmed by data from the National Defense Resources Council, an environmental action group. The council reports oysters, crabs and salmon contain small amounts but notes wildly caught salmon is safer than the farm-raised variety, which can contain polychlorinated biphenyls. Doctors and agencies report it takes consumption of high levels of mercury over a long period to harm your health.

Ms. Seagal said after her diagnosis, it took two years to lower the mercury levels in her; her medication was dimercaptosuccinic acid or DMSA. She said she feels good today.

Ms. Seagal, a former real estate broker and massage therapist who grew up in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., said self-hypnosis helped her during her recovery. She visualized her body being healed and used hypnosis to help her with her anger over the sickness. “Those negative emotions foster more illness.”

Ms. Seagal said she has used hypnosis to help her clients stop smoking, lose weight, stop procrastinating, get over fears, cope with chronic diseases and do better in sports.

And she uses it to make people laugh. She plans to hypnotize volunteer audience members at a show sometime in February or March at UCSB Isla Vista Theater, the former Magic Lantern Theater. She’ll have them do things such as imagining they’ve lost their belly button, are sweating on a beach or are the best player in a symphony orchestra.

“No one gets embarrassed,” she said. “It’s all good clean fun.”

email: [email protected]


Nancy Seagal, hypnotherapist and author of “Rising Above Mercury: My Story of Poisoning and Recovery” (self-published, 2011, $19.95), will sign copies of her book at 6 p.m. Thursday at Granada Books, 1224 State St. (845-1818).

The book also is available at Chaucer’s Books, 3321 State St. (682-6787); Tecolote Book Shop, 1470 East Valley Road, Montecito (969-4977); and

Ms. Seagal plans to hypnotize audience members sometime in February at UCSB Isla Vista Theater (the former Magic Lantern Theater), 960 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista.

For more information, go to and


CONTACT: Bibi Taylor (805) [email protected]

South Coast Financial Firm Marks Silver Anniversary with Focus on Women Investors

South Coast-based AmeriFlex Financial Services is marking its silver anniversary by addressing the need for financial advice for women.

AmeriFlex has been a leading provider of sound financial advice for its clients for the past 25 years. The new Ameriflex Woman Investor program is for business owners, executives and busy families.

The AmeriFlex Woman Investor program provides: financial empowerment; collaboration between spouses and trusted advisors; and establish goals to address family financial security.

On average, women live between five and 10 years longer than men, according to a Boston University study. Half of those women will outlive their spouses. Women start 70 percent of all new businesses, according to Forbes Magazine, and by 2020 women are projected to control two-thirds of the wealth in the United States.

After providing financial and retirement planning services for the past quarter of a century, Ameriflex team members pride themselves on core company values of integrity, professionalism, client satisfaction and teamwork. Ameriflex strives to earn its clients’ trust by providing excellence and assisting in financial stability.

“We endeavor to offer the highest level of customer satisfaction in the financial services industry,” said Bibi Taylor, AmeriFlex financial advisor, MBA. “We focus on responsiveness to our clients’ needs; we believe our clients are best served by the holistic approach to professional integration of various financial disciplines.”

One of the company’s key services is clients’ portfolio snapshot, which represents a combination of the most frequently used reports, including a portfolio summary, performance by account, core value and benchmark information, and asset allocation graphs that depict holdings for both asset allocation by investment objective and asset allocation by asset type.


Vegan Chef to Sign New Cookbook

The author of  “Karma Chow: The Ultimate Cookbook” will sign her book from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at Tecolote Book Shop, No. 52, 1470 East Valley Road, Montecito.

Santa Barbara author Melissa Costello is founder of Karma Chow and creator of “The Vital Life Cleanse,” as well as the personal chef to celebrity fitness guru Tony Horton.

In her new book, “The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook,” Costello shares more than 125 recipes for anyone who is vegetarian or vegan and for the growing number of people embracing more plant-based meals. Costello finds creative ways to keep her clients happy, fit and fueled.

“The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook” (HCI Books, $18.95) shows readers how to reconnect with their food and honor it as Earth’s source for keeping us alive — all while finding it easier to rock their workouts and sculpt a well-defined physique,” Costello said. “It’s a winning recipe for success for anyone looking to transition to a healthier way of life.”

Costello also has a book signing planned for 4 p.m. March 7 at Chaucer’s Book Store, 3321 State St., Santa Barbara.

A certified nutritionist and wellness coach, Costello seeks ways to keep her clients happy, fit and healthy through a whole-food, plant-based way of life. She works one-on-one with clients and leads 30-day, food-based cleanses with large groups.

Costello was featured on “TV Guide’s Secrets of the Hollywood Body” as well as CNBC’s “How I Made My Millions with Tony Horton.” “The more than 7 million vegetarians and 3 million vegans in the United States are proving that chowing down on planet-friendly fare not only helps them look and feel better, but it can be delicious, too,” Costello said.

With her “keep it simple” and “make it tasty” approach, she offers a smorgasbord of dairy-free and animal-free appetizers and desserts, breakfasts and dinners, as well as holiday- and company-worthy menus.

Recipes include: Mac & Cheeze, Karma Burgers with Chipotle “Mayo,” Thai-Style Tempeh Lettuce Wraps, Supreme-Oh Burritos, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Korean-Style Tempeh Tacos with Red Dijon Slaw, Enchilada Casserole with Ranchero Sauce, Artichoke and White Bean Dip, Cilantro Cauliflower Smash, Pad Thai in Peanut Coconut Sauce, Stuffed Mushroom Poppers, Indian Spiced Coconut Yam Soup, Chili Sweet Potato Fries, Un-Shepherd’s Pie, Strawberry Crème Mousse with Pistachio Nut Topping, Banana Carob Bread Pudding, Apple/Pear Crisp, Brownie Bites, Chocolate Truffles, and Cardamom Chocolate Chippers (a Tony Horton favorite).

For more information, see


CONTACT: Melissa Moreno (805) 892-3643 or [email protected]

Small Business Development Center Has Impressive 1st Year Numbers

 In its first year of operation, the Santa Barbara County Small Business Development Center based at Santa Barbara City College served 116 clients at no charge, who reported almost $7.2 million in capital infusion or sales increases while creating 82 local jobs.

The SBCD also provided 754 consulting hours, served 325 workshop trainees and helped create six start-up companies. The SBDCs around the country are funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA.

When the Ventura County SBDC opened its Santa Barbara County satellite office last year, it had a very small marketing budget.

“We hoped to build awareness by word-of-mouth and some grassroots efforts by attending and hosting business networking events and workshops,” said Melissa Moreno, SBDC director, who also runs the Scheinfeld Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at SBCC. “We had some daunting metrics to meet, but did all we could to push our services out to the community. “

Moreno said that slowly, but surely, small business owners and start-ups from both north and south Santa Barbara County are starting coming out of the woodwork and seeking SBDC’s no-cost services. “Clients are astounded when they learn there is no gimmick,” she said. ‘”You don’t charge anything for these services? You are not going to take an interest in my company?’ they ask.”

SBDC does not charge for the business consulting services it provides. “We are largely funded by the SBA and the community,” Moreno said. “We are in the fundraising mode, once again, to match the dollars coming from the SBA. Now that we have proven our worth in Santa Barbara County, we hope to garner bigger support from the local community.”

SBDC provides consulting on many issues, from leasing commercial space, to product development, and international trade. “Since we are a satellite office to the larger Ventura County SBDC, we have the benefit of collaborating with over 30 highly skilled consultants: Most of whom are active, successful entrepreneurs or business consultants, with advanced degrees and real-world entrepreneurial experience,” Moreno said. “Since we have some strict government reporting requirements, we are committed to creating a long-term relationships with clients, and seeing them through completion of their economic goals, be it increasing sales, obtaining financing, or hiring more employees. We guide the clients, step-by-step, but they have to do the work.”

SBDC numbers met or far exceeded the metrics it was assigned. “We made significant inroads to helping small businesses obtain financing or investment, and we helped create numerous new jobs, and helped businesses actually start, or increase sales,” Moreno said. “We think these numbers are significant, and speak volumes not only to the need that’s in our community, but to the value of the SBDC.”

For more information, see


Vets to Share Stories at Pepper Estate Open House Aug. 17

“World War II … My Way” is the topic of a 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 17 panel discussion at the Peppers Day Center, 430 Hot Springs Road, Montecito, a licensed day center for adults.

From 3 to 6 p.m., the Peppers Day Center will hold its Grand Opening Event to the public. Everyone is invited to these free-of-charge events, held in conjunction with the Central Coast Alzheimer’s Association.

The panel discussion will feature veterans of World War II who will recant their own personal stories of the war and the war effort. The audience will hear why their role was so important then and why it is essential for them to tell their stories to today’s young people.

Seniors with stories to relate are asked to call (805) 698-9390. The public is invited to attend and encouraged to bring children for these first hand stories and reports from the many varied fronts and home fronts of WII. Refreshments will be served and a question-and-answer session will follow.

The Peppers Day Center is a new facility for the Santa Barbara area, providing weekday and weekend services for the adult and senior population, including a walker, wheelchair, incontinent and rehabilitation friendly environment full of activities and interest.

For more information, call (805) 451-2222 or e-mail [email protected]


CONTACT: Michael Holliday: (805) 452-9542

[email protected]

Three related, but distinct, topics highlighted the most recent meeting of the only South Coast group of its kind that brings together business, educational and governmental organizations from Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria.

The South Coast Business Forum on June 21 heard Kyle Ashby, of Kaldera Marketing, talk about the next Startup Weekend Santa Barbara planned for Nov. 2 to 4, and from Gideon Rubin, of Local Market Launch, who discussed a proposed South Coast ongoing initiative related to Startup America.

“I’ve never seen so much activity around business and entrepreneurship in the Santa Barbara area,” said Ashby, a 40-year South Coast resident who spearheaded the first Startup Weekend Santa Barbara from June 1 to 3 at Synergy Business and Technology Center. The behemoth beehive-like business brainstorming session drew 118 participants who paid $99 each to pitch startup ideas, vote on a project they wanted to work on, and join a team to develop the idea and conduct the research to prepare them for launch.

“For an entrepreneur, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend 100 dollars,” said Ashby, who along with Ben Tucker, of Merrill Lynch and an organizing team, will produce two Startup Weekends each year. Each event, like the first, one would provide a venue, food, drinks, as well as volunteer mentors and judges. Ashby and his partners rounded up South Coast sponsors to provide donated or discounted food.

Put on around the world, Startup Weekends, focus on creating technology-related startup ventures in a 54-hour weekend. While the business that get created are web and mobile based, designers, developers and entrepreneurs from all types of industries, such as manufacturing, retail, hospitality and financial services, are also encouraged to attend, Ashby said. “The offering may not be technical, but the delivery is,” said forum member George Rusznak, of the volunteer business-counseling group known as SCORE.

Forum members also heard from Gideon Rubin, who traveled to Boulder,Colo., the day after Startup Weekend Santa Barbara concluded. In Boulder, Rubin heard about the ongoing initiative called Startup America, which is based on premise that young, growing companies create jobs. During the last four months, it has spawned a Startup California with some regional branches. He called Ashby and South Coast Business Forum Chairman Michael Holliday to ask them if they thought the initiative could be grown in Santa Barbara.

Rubin said the initiative has drawn more than $1 billion worth of commitments from dozens of companies and other partners to support the growth of startups. “Sign ups get free resources from large corporations,” he said, noting that one of the goals is to bring in “under-served” group of community members. Membership is free.

Rubin said Startup Santa Barbara wouldn’t be so much based on events, but it would provide easier access for businesses to find small firms that could provide solutions to their problems through an information network.

Launched at the White House early last year, the Startup America Partnership is a national movement of thousands of founders, experts and resources providing new businesses access to the corporations, investors and services they need to grow. It brings together startups and business leaders to form networks for them to thrive. The Kaufman Foundation and Case Foundation are its founding partners, Rubin said.

Holliday added another separate, but still related, idea to the discussion that came from a “Build It in Boulder” campaign in Colorado. He called it, “Start It in Santa Barbara.”

“Plans are still in the early formative stages with our Start It In Santa Barbara program 2012,” Holliday said. “The program is envisioned to be a two-to three-day locally produced effort to promote the best of the South Coast Region Business with a focus on our communities leading educational, technology and creative industries with a real emphasis on startup ventures.”

He said the goal is to find ways to help identify, support and encourage South Coast startup ventures that may be come out of the community’s brain trust, including those at UCSB, SBCC, Westmont College or any of the community’s higher education institutions.

“We also would like to highlight the best and brightest of the South Coast’s high school systems with a focus on San Marcos High’s Business and Accelerated Placement programs, Dos Pueblos High’s Engineering Academy, Santa Barbara High’s Film and Creative Media Academy and perhaps a few more,” Holliday said. “The focus of the Start It in Santa Barbara program will be to highlight local leading industry business opportunities from Carpinteria to Goleta with a specific focus on clean-tech, green-tech, and high-tech industries.”

Holliday said the plan is to work with the hospitality, restaurant and tourist industry leaders to celebrate and promote aspects of the region’s economic vitality interests. “That is the goal of the South Coast Business Forum,” the chairman said.

Forum members expressed general support for the evolving idea. Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Goleta Mayor Ed Easton, both forum members, have expressed initial enthusiasm and support for the idea. Forum members plan to meet again July 19.



CONTACT: Heather Bond (805) 448-7470

[email protected]

Undaunted by 2008 India Ordeal, Santa Barbara Woman Pushes Business Forward

Four years after an ordeal that would traumatize most people for life, a Santa Barbara fitness trainer and business owner is spreading the word of exercise, nutrition and stress reduction for today’s woman.

Heather Bond is a Santa Barbara native, a San Marcos High School graduate and has been in the fitness and wellness profession for more than 20 years.

Her ordeal began in April 2008 when authorities in India arrested the South Coast woman and her mother on suspicion of illegally selling ammunition. Officials at an airport in West Bengal found 11 9 mm cartridges that had been left mistakenly in Bond’s baggage and passed through security at four airports before they were detected in India.

“We were in the Silguiri Special Correctional Facility for almost a month and then detained outside the prison for almost another two months,” Bond said. While in prison, she was able to get some of the inmates interested in exercise programs.

Family and friends helped her get out of India. Despite the trauma of the experience, Bond pushed on with her life and career. Her personal training practice is called Evolutionary Wellness. She trains her clients out of Superior Fitness & Wellness Center, 1331 San Andres St., on Santa Barbara’s Westside. Bond is also the owner and founder of Healing Adventure Retreats.

Her next retreat, probably in October, will provide “emotional and physical renewal” for women, Bond said. “They are about healing – providing tools for empowering and refocusing.” She said the retreat will explore how to find balance and reduce stress.

“Stress is the greatest problem for women 35 to 50,” she said. The retreats also offer “high-octane” foods cooked for the participants, Bond said.

Through healing bodywork, nature and empowerment tools, Bond and her team share their gifts of healing for physical and emotional renewal. Daily activities at the retreat include breathing exercises, meditation techniques, yoga and creative expression. The retreat also offers workshops for the body, mind and spirit and a chance to meet other like-minded women and connect with them.

Bond eats, drinks, and sleeps fitness. She has competed internationally as extreme athlete, been a part of the Hollywood stunt world and was on the old TV series “The American Gladiators.” In 1999, Heather was hired on with the elite U.S. Forest Service Hot Shot firefighting crews and then furthered her career at the Los Angeles City Fire Department as a firefighter.

However, five years later, Bond suffered a career-changing spinal injury on the job, which led her down a path of not only self-healing, but as a new approach to her Healing Adventure Retreats.

For more information about Bond, the training she offers and her retreats, see



CONTACT: Melissa Moreno (805) 896-7707

[email protected]

Santa Barbara City College student Justin Connell’s Garden on Wheels business plan won first place May 4 at the SBCC Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s second annual New Venture Challenge competition.

The New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered business plan competition for students from Antioch University, SBCC and South Coast high schools who competed for $15,000 in start-up funds, said Scheinfeld Center Director Melissa Moreno.

Garden on Wheels is an elevated mobile garden for people who are unable bend and lack very much space. The 38-inch-tall wooden garden has a sealed bed and draining system that recycle water and a tool rack.

Judges for the student finalists included co-founder Lynda Weinman, Noospheric founder Jacques Habra and Montecito Bank & Trust associate Chris Morales

Connell said he has sold six of his gardens and has received calls from across the country about them. He sold a model to Emeritus Senior Living, which might purchase gardens for its 500 facilities.

Kitchens of Africa by Patience Ncube won second place. Ncube developed an organic pepper sauce made from dried shrimp, smoked herring, vegetables and spices. An African immigrant, Ncube says no African restaurants or goods in supermarkets are on the South Coast. She plans to sell the sauce to retail stores, supermarkets and online.

Adam Kopras’ Santa Barbara Succulent Art took third place. His living walls made of redwood are planted with succulent plants that need little water. They can be made to grow on walls, fences and indoors, Kopras said.

Winners were selected for the concepts that will have the most viability in the market place, Habra said.

Other college finalists included Juice by Jennica Diaz; Treefish Inn by Scott Cohen; DN Fitness by Jeffrey Englert; CShell Boutique by Courtney Cunningham; Fuel Box by Robert Herr, Erik Stuckey and Dan Friedman; and Joesf by Josef Demangeat.

In the high school competition, Duck Butter by Santa Barbara High School students Jeremy Wallop and Shane Meares won first place. Fun Support Organization by Lompoc High School student Jose Guerrero took second place, and the Ubuntu Box by Santa Barbara High students Olivia Alvarado, Alyssa Espinosa, Brandon Smith and Johnathan Ramos won third place.

Other finalists included Good by Santa Barbara High students Daniela Orozco, Jenny Aguilar, Teon West and Juan-Diego Lopez; Rising Sun Café by Dos Pueblos High School students Sean Handley, Jim Lam and Connor Colton; Swage Clothing by Santa Ynez High School student Robert Park; and Pack a Closet by San Marcos High School students Yazeed Alhashim, Maria Perez, Crystal Flores and Kristy Hernandez.

Volunteer judges from the Small Business Development Center selected the finalists. Student prizes will be awarded May 11 at the National Association of Women Business Owners-Santa Barbara Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort & Hotel. Eight South Coast women entrepreneurs also will receive awards at that dinner, which raised the funds for the student prizes.




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