Burger Madness Finals

The Burger Madness Championship has arrived. From 25 restaurants, two remain: Zookers and Rincon Brewery. Click the link below to vote for the champion! May the best burger win. 

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Drought gets expensive: Water rates likely to rise 15 to 20 percent

 By Lea Boyd
Facing $1.3 million in drought-related expenses for 2015-2016, the Carpinteria Valley Water District is considering a rate hike that would raise customer bills by 15 to 20 percent. The chance of any drought-denting rainfall is nearly nil at this point in the season; thus the water district’s $7.4 million draft budget includes water purchases and conservation efforts that could be necessary if Lake Cachuma continues its shift from Carpinteria’s main water source to no water source at all.

All indications point to Oct. 1 arriving, when annual allocations of Cachuma water become available, without an ounce of water allotted for the upcoming year to agencies that rely on the lake, said CVWD General Manager Charles Hamilton. The recent rainy season brought the lake level up just a few feet higher than where the last dry season had left it at just 25 percent of its capacity. Once CVWD, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Montecito Water District pull out what remains of the 45 percent allocation agreed upon for this year, the lake will be more mud than water.

Legally required releases of water to support endangered steelhead trout, which amount to 3,551 AF, formerly seemed like a drop in the bucket but have become highly sought after by thirsty water districts. Hamilton said that without naturally flowing water to support trout populations in creeks, the water releases from Cachuma serve no purpose. He and other Cachuma-reliant agencies have requested that the Bureau of Reclamation free up the fish release water simply to provide them with this year’s allocation of 45 percent of normal.

CVWD customers typically use 4,200 AF of water annually, but thanks to conservation efforts, about 3,600 AF of water will take the district through this budget year, which ends on June 30. The upcoming district budget was drafted on the assumption that CVWD will supply 3,900 AF to customers. About a quarter will come from carryover Cachuma water from the past year’s allocation. The State Water Project should provide 632 AF, which is based on the project allowing just 20 percent of the district’s full allocation. Groundwater, then, will be the district’s saving grace, amounting to 2,300 AF or more than half of what the district has budgeted for sales in 2016.

Drought costs factored into the draft budget include $10,000 for public information, $70,000 for water conservation programs, $260,000 to possibly purchase 400 AF off the “spot water market,” $210,000 to power pumps at district wells, $570,000 in variable State Water costs and $180,000 toward the district’s portion of a barge and pump at Lake Cachuma that will soon be necessary to lift water into the Tecolote Tunnel to feed it to South County water users.

At its meeting of March 25, which took place after CVN went to press, the CVWD Board of Directors was set to vote on a notice informing customers of the potential rate change. If the proposed rates are approved, a residential customer who uses 6 units of water would see a $10.75 monthly increase, while the increase would be $29.98 for a residential customer who uses 24 units of water.

Hamilton pointed out that customers who have already made significant efforts to conserve water will have little means of avoiding a rise to their water bills. Those who have not made changes to their water use habits, however, can reduce the impact of a rate hike by getting serious about water conservation.

Should more than half of the district’s customers oppose the hike, by law, the district cannot to implement the increase. Written protests must be received before the budget hearing on June 3.


Oil trains become grave Carpinteria concern

By Dale Myers
The Carpinteria City Council in its March 23 meeting voted unanimously in favor (without absent Councilman Brad Stein) of authorizing the mayor to sign a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation advocating for safety improvements regarding railroad transportation of crude oil and other hazardous materials.

“At a local level, this has become an important issue,” said City Manager Dave Durflinger. “We have a rail line that goes through Carpinteria in close proximity to residential and commercial properties.”

Durflinger added that any accident involving crude-oil transportation by rail could be disastrous for the community. The city manager referenced the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster that occurred in Quebec, Canada, in 2013 when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken Shale formation crude oil derailed resulting in an explosion and fire that caused the deaths of 47 people and the destruction of 30 buildings.

Mike Mingee, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Chief, said, “Bakken crude is highly flammable. All the firefighters in the world couldn’t do anything to help that fire.”

Emergency Services Coordinator Julie Jeakle also highlighted the findings of a State of California Interagency Rail Safety Working Group oil by rail safety in California report, which states that in 2012 only 1 million barrels of oil were transported in the state, but that number dramatically increased to 6.3 million barrels in 2013, or 506 percent. This uptick parallels a sharp increase in oil-by-rail shipments nationally, due in large part to increases in production of oil from the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota, one of the largest oil developments in the U.S. in the past 40 years. The findings also indicate a simultaneous surge in accidents associated with oil-by-rail transport. In fact, more crude oil by volume was spilled in rail incidents in 2013 than was spilled in the nearly four decades prior.

Of particular concern to the many Carpinteria residents in attendance was the proposed Phillips 66 rail spur extension project in neighboring San Luis Obispo (SLO) County, a highly contentious project that would add approximately 1.3 miles of new track to the Santa Maria refinery in Nipomo and enable Phillips 66 to offload an 80-car oil train from the mainline Union Pacific track. If the spur is built, the refinery will be able to handle five train unloads a week, with each train carrying between 1.8-2.1 million gallons of crude oil. Additionally, trains delivering crude oil would likely come through Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, with the biggest concern being highly flammable Bakken crude. “You can’t put those fires out with water, you need foam,” said Mingee.

“We think it is urgent for the city council to send a letter to San Luis Obispo County,” said Jim Taylor, vice president of the Carpinteria Valley Association. “If they don’t build it, they won’t come.” Former Carpinteria Mayor Richard Weinberg, who was celebrating a birthday, also weighed in, “My living room is 25 feet away from the railway,” he said. “I hope you give me a good birthday present and write us a good letter.”

However, federal law governs most major aspects of rail transport and preempts most state regulations, yet the state and local agencies have the lead in the areas of emergency planning, preparedness and response. “We are just as prepared as any other community,” said Mingee, “but it does take time.”

Durflinger added that Carpinteria can advocate for improved rail transportation safety by sending letters urging safety improvements to state and federal officials, but the Phillips 66 project is entirely up to SLO County decision-makers.

“What they do in SLO affects your community,” said Fran Farina, representing state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, addressing the council. “There is nothing we can do but stop this project.”

The next City Council meeting will take place on Monday, April 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Birthday prep

Birthday prep

On March 19, the City of Carpinteria’s Golden Jubilee Committee members discuss final details of a logo design for the 50th anniversary of Carpinteria’s incorporation. 

Carpinteria woman turns 106

Carpinteria woman turns 106
Florence A. Trouché Thelma “Mickey” Van Stane launched her 107th year last Saturday.

A local woman who turned 106 on March 21 credits simple luck for her good health and her 38,690 days on earth. Thelma “Mickey” Van Stane celebrated the incredible milestone with a chocolate cake and a party with her friends and housemates last Saturday.

Van Stane was warmly welcomed into her 107th year at the Carpinteria Senior Lodge, a residential care facility for elders where she has lived since the fall of 2013. Prior to that, the independent centenarian lived alone in Sandpiper Mobile Home Park.

A native of Texas, Van Stane moved west to Carpinteria about 20 years ago to be closer to her sister after her husband passed away.

Though she is hard of hearing now, Van Stane remains otherwise healthy and alert, according to her caregivers. She has a love of chocolate, which was indulged on her birthday with a slice of chocolate cake. Her caregivers also report that she is a talented artist.

Last year, on her 105th birthday, Van Stane told CVN, “It’s amazing that I’ve lasted this long.” CVN staff has already marked the calendar to photograph the amazing woman celebrating 107 a year from now.


In deep: Warriors fill the lanes with strong, abundant swim roster

In deep: Warriors fill the lanes with strong, abundant swim roster
Warrior swimmer Maria Zamora competes in the backstroke in a team win over New Jewish Community. (Bill Swing Photo)

By Peter Dugré
Carpinteria High School swim coach Matt Organista said the pool runneth over. The team’s greatest strength is in its numbers, a roster of 45, which will be an advantage when the Warriors meet up against Tri-Valley League opponents and score points by having multiple top flight performers in each event.

“We have a lot of swimmers who are above average who can score us a lot of points,” Organista said. Between now and the TVL championships in May 5, the trick will be to figure out how to maximize the team’s point-scoring potential.

In addition to freshmen swimmers who have built experience in the local youth program, several returners are already besting their times from last season.

Senior Noah Reed turned in a victory in the 500 yard freestyle in the team’s opening meet against New Jewish Community Prep. Reed had suffered a dislocated shoulder at the end of basketball season, followed by an illness and had yet to practice consistently. The meet was one of his first swims of the year and he had already returned to last season’s form. His victory helped the Warrior boys to a 105-56 team win.

On the girls side, junior Brenda Rodriguez will swim the 500 and is on pace to improve on last season’s times. Kelly Griffin and Kalen Sabean are also part of a core of female swimmers who beat JFCP 118-21 to open the season.

Organista commented that Sabean is one of those puzzle pieces who can fit in anywhere to score for the Warriors. “She’s a stroke technician and can swim all events. Swimmers like that make it easy on a coach,” he said.

On the boys team, Forrest Van Stein is similarly versatile. Other important pieces will be senior Sergio Cataneda, who already broke the elusive one-minute mark in the 100 freestyle, and freshmen Jordan Perez and Salvador Briceno. In the breast stroke, free style or back stroke, the team can rely on senior Chris Fedderson as a point machine.

Team captain Sierra Garibay is personally focused and working on keeping the team focused. She already turned in a sub 30 second 50 freestyle and is among nine swimmers who have already swum CIF consideration times.

Organista said the team must stay consistent in its training and continue to build while he figures out how to get all the pieces of the puzzle together. Quality is there for the sea of swimmers who make up the squad, so individuals can focus on getting faster and continuing to qualify for CIF consideration.

Burger Madness Finals cooking at fever pitch

Burger Madness Finals cooking at fever pitch
Representing Zookers restaurant, cook Nicholas Rodriguez, left, and Rincon Brewery co-owner Shaun Crowley face off over their burgers while referee Wally Burquez ensures that the Burger Madness Finals are a fair fight. Reader votes at coastalview.com will determine which restaurant slings the most stupendous burger.

From a field of 25 restaurants, two remain. Rincon Brewery and Zookers Restaurant have had the most Coastal View News readers give their vote of approval in online voting and newspaper balloting, catapulting the two finalists over fellow Final Four competitors Sly’s and The Spot. Remaining are Carpinteria’s newest spot for craft beer and pub fare and local fine dining fixture Zookers; may the best burger win.

New kid on the block Rincon Brewery offers two variations on a burger, its heaping Rincon Burger that combines a stack of ingredients that zings every zone of the palate and is also sure to fill every cubic millimeter of the belly. The Rincon Burger starts with Pointed Hills grass fed ground beef and is stacked with a fried egg, jalapeño, bacon, onion strings, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado on a brioche bun. An anaconda would have trouble getting its jaw around this tour de force. RB also offers its basic burger with cheese, a stripped down version where the beef is more in the spotlight.

Zookers, according to owner Jeanne Sykes, builds from the same philosophy when constructing its burgers as it does for all of its popular cuisine, locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients. Watkins Ranch fresh ground chuck is the foundation for this carefully sizzled burger that includes a healthy dose of lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, aioli and (don’t forget) the pickles. “It all starts with the ingredients,” Sykes said. Burger lovers long ago discovered the juicy gem among the restaurant’s wide ranging offering, and are known to heap it with grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon and cheese. In the last few weeks, Burger Madness has opened new eyes and won new fans for the palate-pleaser, and Sykes reports that burgers are flying off the grill these days.

Reader polling at coastalview.com will determine which restaurant brings the best ground beef patty to plates in all of Carpinteria. Vote by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30 to be a part of the madness!

Railroad construction accident causes temporary evacuation: Downed power poles and gas leak result from power line collision

Railroad construction accident causes temporary evacuation: Downed power poles and gas leak result from power line collision
A railroad boom collided with power lines, which knocked power poles into a gas meter and caused a temporary gas leak near the intersection of Calle Ocho and Calle Arena. (Photo by Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District)

An accident caused by a railroad repair vehicle led to a domino-effect of utility damages and temporary evacuation on the morning of Tuesday, March 24. Shortly before 8 a.m. Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District responded to downed live wires at Calle Arena and Calle Ocho. A railroad boom working on the tracks had collided with the wire, pulling it down along with two power poles. The falling poles collided into a gas meter, which also caused a gas leak. The leak was audibly hissing, according to a witness who had been cycling through the Carpinteria State Beach campground. Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department went door-to-door ordering evacuations at residences and a section of the state park was under evacuation. The evacuations were lifted at 9:20 a.m. when the gas line was turned off, according to CSFPD. The Gas Company and Southern California Edison reported to the scene to repair damaged utility and power lines. 

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Orchard to Ocean Race

Competitors put their endurance to the test for Carpinteria public school students at the Orchard to Ocean Race on March 21. Proceeds from the race benefit organizer Carpinteria Education Foundation and its mission to put dollars into Carpinteria classrooms. See race results at http://www.sbtiming.com/results.html.   (Photos by Antony Marciando)

Best of Pitchforks 2014

Yes, we know it. Many Coastal View News readers skip the cover news and turn to the Halos and Pitchforks first thing Thursday morning—and then they scroll down to read the pitchforks first. So, as we look back on 2014, it seems only courteous to resurrect a few favorites from the last year.

A reader sends a pitchfork to the Mexican restaurant that microwaves its overpriced food on plastic plates. “I can't even begin to name all the fails in that effort. Oven much?”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the cowardly wanker who sideswiped the reader’s aging luxury car in the Vons parking lot last week without leaving a note. “I was just returning from pre paying my funeral due to recent news. Nice timing. I enjoy a bit of irony, so I am off to buy a lottery ticket.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to Carpinteria for not having female representation on the city council. “There aren't any qualified women in town, really?”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the people who give out pitchforks. "Don’t you guys have other things to do rather than hate. Jeez, get a life.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the “gentleman” who, after enjoying his meal on the porch of a local restaurant last Friday, proceeded to floss his teeth for the enjoyment of all the diners still eating. “How crass.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to people who lack common sense. “Get off your smartphone and pay attention to the real world around you.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to a local restaurant that has orange juice with pulp. “Yuck!”

A reader sends a pitchfork to those women who think they can change a bad boy. “Trust me, the only way those guys change is through therapy—if they're lucky.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the host who lit himself on fire at his own poker game.

A reader sends a pitchfork to the local psychology academy for not teaching a class in common sense.

A reader sends a pitchfork to the people who spit out their chewing gum on the sidewalk in front of the post office. Nearly every morning there is a fresh wad of gum. “No one wants your gum on their shoes, so cut it out!”

A reader sends a pitchfork to all those people who say they are going to show up for a friend's birthday party and then flake. “You all had plenty of notice and some talked to me that day and flaked. Good friends. I'd never do that to you all.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the person who has too much time and an overactive imagination. “It's not a crime if eight people want to share one pizza. You should be ashamed for calling in that one.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the man who forgot his daughter's first name while trying to remember her middle name.

A reader sends a pitchfork to the woman who pitched a fit about a well behaved companion animal near her on a restaurant patio at dinner time. “Sorry your cats aren't considered companion animals, and your perfume was obnoxious.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the guy who thinks he is funny driving around town in a truck with a hockey mask from like Jason in the movie “Friday the 13th.” “It is very dangerous and scary for little ones.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to people who steal flip flops at the beach. “All I want to do is leave my flippies where the pavement meets the sand when I go to the beach, but they end up swiped half the time.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the pool patron who behaved badly and stole another patron's towel. “Shame on you!”

A reader sends a pitchfork to people who come into local businesses with a bad attitude and treat the employees rudely. “Stay home. Nobody likes to be treated like an indentured servant.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to all those dog owners who don't pick up after their pets on the Bluffs paths. “May karma deposit a flaming bag of pooch poo on your porch.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to beach-goers that place camping tents in front of parents trying to watch their kids in the water. “You cannot see through a tent.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to those women who complain about their bad boys acting bad. “They're not the problem. The problem is choosing to be with someone like that.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the army of ants and its queen for refusing to surrender. “I've made examples out of your friends and yet you continue to defy me. For this you will pay. Victory shall be mine.”

This reader sends a pitchfork to the ill-mannered individual who egged the reader’s house. “If you have something to say, just ring the door bell. We’ll be happy to listen.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to Cox Cable for failing to put the last six Dodger baseball games of the season on when they are made available to them for free. “Thanks for nothing.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the State of California for not having enough CHP officers to patrol the 101 corridor from Ventura to Carpinteria. “Now there have been four fatalities since Aug. 8 on this stretch. That fact alone should get the state’s attention.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to all the bicyclists riding in the wrong direction and not obeying the traffic laws.

A reader sends a pitchfork to those who water in the middle of the day and wash down the sidewalk. “They are the problem. And the rest of us suffer the consequences.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the father who forces his children to eat organic pasta "because it's healthy," everyday and then does nothing when his daughters are in pain from the sever constipation. It's ok to feed them other foods. Don't be afraid of cooking something that does not come in a box.

A reader sends a pitchfork to those who are stealing yards signs expressing positions on various ballot proposals. “Suppressing our fellow citizens' freedom of speech is un-American, and whoever did should feel ashamed.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the sociopathic personalities of the world. “One to four percent of the population are sociopathic. That's at last 150 sociopaths in Carpinteria. Suggestion: study this destructive type.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to cyclists who don’t pick up after their dogs

A reader sends a pitchfork to the clerk at a local convenience store for yelling at a 9-year-old boy for not knowing how to use a credit card. “You scared him and made him very upset and embarrassed. It was uncalled for and rude.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to Carpinteria for not having a Miss Teen Carpinteria or Miss Junior Teen Carpinteria. “It would be a good idea to have one.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to smokers who think the dirt around public benches and picnic tables are ashtrays. “You are littering and expecting others to clean up after your discouraged and unhealthy habit.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to equestrians who use bike lanes and/or hiking trails but don't take responsibility for cleaning up their horses’ massive piles of poo. “It’s about as rude as walking 10 dogs and not cleaning up after any of them.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the people in front of Starbucks yelling at a handicapped person with a parking permit because she was not "handicapped enough" to be parking in the designated spot. “Shame on you; that is not how we act in Carpinteria.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the woman in a small SUV who told the reader to "use the bike lane" when the reader was slightly over the line. “My friend and I bike to work together daily. I wanted to talk with her. Cyclists must obey the law, but you're driving. Please move over, so I can send you a halo.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the family that stays in a beach house near Holly Avenue and insists on hosing down the sand to cool it off before playing beach volleyball. “Um, get with the program. We’re neck deep in a drought, guys.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the unstable woman who eavesdropped on a personal conversation in a local eatery. “You butted into the conversation then followed us out into the parking lot and yelled some more. Take a chill pill, get a life and take an anger management class.”

A reader sends a pitchfork to the Carpinteria police for harassing teens over sitting in their car because it was cold and assuming the were "smoking marijuana" and having two squad cars go check it out.

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