Senior Awards Assembly

Carpinteria High School's class of 2015 was showered with awards and scholarships on May 28. Some of the seniors who earned recognition and about $120,000 in scholarships were caught on camera. 

June Gloom lineup filled with fun

The fifth annual June Gloom celebration is set to sweep through Santa Claus Lane on Saturday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Conjured up five years ago as a means of celebrating the fog rather than demonizing it, the festival includes fun and festivities at Porch, A Frame, Curious Cup Bookstore, Garden Market, Hummingbird, Rowan and Ze Bird.

Porch, located at 3823 Santa Claus Lane, will host coffee and pastries from Lucky Llama and live music by Soul Season from 10 a.m. to noon; a “Fog Fairy” assemblage class led by Judy Nielson will take place from 11 a.m. to noon; Tim Doles will offer a Kill Your Lawn presentation from 1 to 2 p.m.; the Sugar & Salt Food Truck will be on hand from 1 to 3 p.m.; the Americana Cats will play music from 2 to 4 p.m. and Nadia Van Wingerden will lead a presentation called Urban Chicken Care from 3 to 4 p.m.

Hummingbird, at 3823 Santa Claus Lane, will host a trunk show featuring Kim Vyn pearls all day as well as classes at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. to make custom glass flower vase arrangement with Ginny Speirs. Just down the lane, Chef Suzanne Landry will hold cooking demonstrations outside the Garden Market, 3811 Santa Claus Lane.

Curious Cup Bookstore, located at 3817 ½ Santa Claus Lane, will show art by Karen Mealiffe, entitled "Off the Wall: Titillating T-Pots for Fun and other ceramic work," with live music by Jamie Green. At 11 a.m., authors Page Jasinski and Eric Friedman and Celeste McConnell-Barber will hold book signings, and at 1 p.m., author Emily Gallo will sign her books. A bookmaking class taught by Beryl Reichenberg will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. for $5 per child. And kids can make free bookmarks from 2 to 4 p.m.
 

Christie’s Chateau offers cuts on Carpinteria Ave.

Christie’s Chateau offers cuts on Carpinteria Ave.
Christie’s Chateau is located at 5212 Carpinteria Ave.

A new hair salon is close to finishing its first month of business in the small, yellow building next to Rusty’s Pizza Parlor. At Christie’s Chateau, owner Christie Colson is happy about the public’s response to her new business. Colson used to work at her family’s salon, Lola Bella, until the owner decided to retire the business. She has worked as a stylist for 15 years and currently employs three part-time workers who offer haircuts and waxes. Her future plans include adding a manicurist to her staff in the near future. Christie’s Chateau is located on 5212 Carpinteria Ave. To schedule an appointment with the salon, call 684-5600

Canalino preps for dual language program

Starting in the fall of 2016, kindergarten students in Carpinteria Unified School District may have the opportunity to develop fluency in English and Spanish in the classroom. Canalino School Principal Jamie Persoon is working with her staff and a parent advisory committee to implement a dual language immersion program that should lead to proficiency in both languages by the third or fourth grade.

“If you want your children to be bilingual, this is the way to do it,” said Jeff Chancer, interim superintendent for CUSD. Chancer spent several years working in Ventura and Oxnard school districts where successful dual immersion programs are in place.

Various dual language models exist, but Canalino is likely to implement a 90/10 model in which 90 percent of kindergarten instruction is in Spanish. That percentage decreases each year until, by fifth grade, students are receiving half of their lessons in English and half in Spanish. The program encourages a deep understanding of the language because subjects like science and math, as well as reading and writing, are taught in Spanish.

Canalino is in an ideal position to launch such a program, Persoon said, because 10 of its teachers are bilingual. Five of them are native Spanish speakers, which is best for higher level learning in upper grades.

At a recent presentation to the Board of Education, Persoon listed several benefits to students from dual language immersion, including acquisition of future marketable skills, longterm cognitive benefits and the opportunity to learn a language at an optimal point in development.

Classes should be an even mix of native Spanish and English speakers, and enrollment would be completely voluntary. Persoon said that she has been contacted by numerous parents interested in participating.

The program, which is no more expensive to operate than a traditional classroom, must first gain the support of the board. Depending on demand, Canalino could launch its dual language program with one or two kindergarten classes in just over a year.
- Lea Boyd

Streets get short-term attention, longterm problems persist

By Lea Boyd
The City of Carpinteria’s general fund surplus of $500,000 will soon be spent on maintaining one of the least glamorous yet most necessary assets, its roadways. A decision by the Carpinteria City Council on May 26 will fund a street maintenance project in 2015-2016 by using this year’s excess dollars accrued from higher-than-anticipated sales, bed and property taxes.

City officials have warned Carpinterians for years of impending shortfalls between the street rehabilitation pricetag and funds earmarked for the city’s aging roadways. City Manager Dave Durflinger told the council that in the past revenues for roads were higher and the roads themselves were younger and in better shape. Gas tax income to the city is now flat, he said, and Measure A’s funds for local roadways are lower than its sales tax predecessor, Measure D, due to other countywide priorities such as the widening of Highway 101 and public transportation.

Durflinger called the $500,000 proposal an anomaly, iterating that the general fund won’t support that kind of subsidy for streets in perpetuity. “This is kind of a stop gap project for this year,” he said.

According to a study of local roadways, $1.5 million is required annually to maintain the roads’ status quo condition. Five years ago, the 28 miles of local streets were assessed as being in “very good” shape; they’ve slipped to a rating of “good” and will continue to drop if the city’s continues with its average annual funding of about $300,000.

Specifics of how the one-time infusion will be spent will be ironed out through the use of a database that contains detailed information on the state of Carpinteria roadways. It will be used to determine which roads and which treatments will stretch the dollar the furthest.

A longterm remedy for the street maintenance dilemma has yet to be decided upon. The council will discuss possible solutions at a meeting a few months out.

Carpinteria appears safe from oil spill
In response to a barrage of questions fielded by the city from concerned Carpinterians, City Manager Dave Durflinger publicly announced at the May 26 city council meeting that oil from the recent spill at Refugio State Beach is not expected to reach local shores. At this point, the oil has migrated as far as Haskell’s Beach in Goleta. Anyone interested in helping is advised to call California Spill Watch at 228-4544.

Council voices interest in Community Energy
Energy that is both cleaner and cheaper gained the Carpinteria City Council’s interest at its May 26 meeting. The four councilmembers present (Wade Nomura was absent due to his wife’s medical condition) agreed that a Community Choice Aggregation, in which a local government acts as an energy purveyor by purchasing energy on the wholesale market, would be worth considering. A letter will be sent to the County of Santa Barbara expressing interest in, and possible contribution to, a feasibility study for such an undertaking.

CCAs allow customers to decide what type of energy they wish to support, which can lead to greater use of alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar.  “I think the future is renewable energy and we need to get there sooner than later,” said Councilman Fred Shaw.

The transmission, maintenance and billing of electricity would be left to the existing utility company, in Carpinteria’s case, Southern California Edison.

Three CCAs are now in operation in California, and Jefferson Litten of the Community Environmental Council spoke about the success of these programs in saving customers money while drastically reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. He said the additional benefits of a CCA are that revenues stay local, there is added choice and competition, and local jobs are created.

A feasibility evaluation for Santa Barbara County is expected to cost from $280,000 to $335,000. Carpinteria has not committed to participating, but the council’s support opens the door for potential participation.

Jim Taylor of Carpinteria Valley Association noted that catastrophe like the recent oil spill could be avoided if dependence on fossil fuels were reduced or eliminated. Oil is transported to and from Carpinteria, where, Taylor said, “We live constantly at risk of disaster.” He added, “There is nothing to fear from a solar spill.”
 

For the love of the library

Robin Karlsson
Library lovers packed the Carpinteria Woman’s Club on May 20 to show their support for the downtown hub of books, magazines, digital media, quiet contemplation and community events. Friends of the Carpinteria Library Annual Meeting attendees stomached a rather sobering view of the library’s future before shifting gears to enjoy a lasagna dinner and panel discussion featuring four longtime locals who spoke on their personal history and its overlap with the city’s.

 

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Mingee to step down as fire chief

Mingee to step down as fire chief
Fire Chief Mike Mingee has resigned.

By Lea Boyd
The Fire Board unanimously voted on May 19 to release Chief Mike Mingee from his employment contract with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District more than a year before its close. The fire chief’s request to step down, effective Aug. 1, came on the heels of the settlement of a lawsuit brought on by three firefighters against the chief as well as a failed bond election to fund new fire stations.

Mingee will leave with a $150,000 severance payment, which was negotiated when he was hired in 2007.

In a prepared statement he read aloud during the fire board meeting, Mingee said that plans to leave the district early have been in the works since last September. He told Coastal View News that he is “not being forced out” by the lawsuit, though his decision to leave early was assisted with the settlement of the lawsuit. He declined to comment further on the lawsuit.

The suit, filed in November 2013, alleged that Mingee and the fire district failed to act in the interest of firefighter safety and retaliated against the plaintiffs, Christopher Blair, Han Domini and Michael Hayek, when they raised safety concerns.

Mingee told CVN that he stands by his initial claims that the allegations in the lawsuit are false.

The Santa Barbara Independent reported this week that Mingee’s early departure from the district is a direct result of the settlement. The lawsuit was settled outside of court, and the parties involved have been asked not to speak on the terms. CVN does not have details on the settlement.

At the board meeting, Mingee said he had been “kind of beat up at bit in the press” and added, “They’re fishing in the wrong pond here; this is no scandalous issue.”

Measure Z, which aimed to raise $10.65 million for a new fire station in Summerland and a remodeled Carpinteria station, failed to obtain the two-thirds voter approval necessary to pass in the May 5 election. The bond measure and station plans were of great importance to Mingee, who said he is disappointed by the outcome. “I’m convinced that the Board will continue to seek a solution to this critical issue,” he stated.

The lawsuit alleged misconduct by Mingee starting in 2012 after Blair was hired as a battalion chief. Blair began reporting concerns over unsafe workplace conditions and health and safety violations, which Mingee failed to act on and which led to a firefighter getting hurt. The suit also claims Domini was unfairly held back from a promotion due to testing manipulation by Mingee, and Blair was fired by the chief for whistleblowing.

The district’s Insurance Services Organization score downgrade in late 2012 is cited in the lawsuit as an indicator of health and safety conditions declining under the chief’s leadership. ISO, however, evaluates water delivery effectiveness, and workplace safety concerns fall under the purview of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA). Mingee pointed out at this week’s board meeting that the district has received no citations or recorded complaints from Cal-OSHA.

In addition to labor code violations, the lawsuit alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress by Mingee and the district. Mingee, the lawsuit states, began referring to the plaintiffs as the “cancer shift” after Blair’s brother died of cancer in August of 2012.

When the suit was filed, Mingee, who has held a leadership role in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for years, said those allegations were particularly painful. “What hurts me personally is the allegation that I would use the word ‘cancer’ as a bullying tactic,” he stated.

The fire board voted without comment to release Mingee from his contract but released a statement later that evening. “After much deliberation and negotiation over the past few weeks, we have entered into a separation agreement with Chief Michael Mingee,” the board stated. “The Chief has faithfully served the communities of Carpinteria and Summerland over the past 8 years and the board thanks him for that service. We wish him the best in his retirement.”

It went on to state, “Because this matter is associated with litigation against the Fire District initiated by current and former employees, we feel it is in the best interest of the district to not comment any further.”

During the meeting, Craig Murray, general manager of the Carpinteria Sanitary District, spoke briefly about the positive professional relationship he has had with Mingee. Carpinteria resident Dave Vega also commended Mingee for his service to the community.

The board will appoint an interim chief to take over on Aug. 1 and begin its search to hire the next Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Chief.

Fire Chief statement
I want to thank the board for entering into a mutual agreement to release me from my contract year early and allowing me to submit for my retirement. As you know, we have been discussing my desire to leave in 2015 since September of last year. I wanted to wait until the Measure was decided to make my official announcement. As in any business, there may come a time when the CEO has fulfilled his goals and the agency may need to change direction. I believe that time has come for CSFD.

I’m comforted by the fact that I leave the agency with a vetted Master Plan, in a healthy financial position, a brand new reliable front line fleet, a staffed and in-service Rescue Squad and a management staff that is fully capable of a successful transition.

While I’m disappointed that the District was not able to secure the funding necessary to address our aging fire stations, I’m proud that we were able to provide the opportunity for the citizens to be informed about the issue and decide upon the solution. Also, I’m convinced that the Board will continue to seek a solution to this critical issue.

The District is poised to be even more healthy and prosperous in the future. Since it still has available large estate sites, our District has ample room to flourish and become even more financially sound. With a positive employee culture, and values of service before self, this fire District can prosper and only continue to improve over time. I would advise the Board to settle for nothing less than these values and be very protective of this Fire District and its potential. I look forward to working with the Board over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition. My immediate goal will be to assist the next Chief in this transition and the Board in developing a feasible plan to address our infrastructure needs.

We sold our home last year in preparation of this move. (My wife) is securing employment at Eisenhower Medical Center and has given notice at her work. As we move onto the next phase of our life, I want to thank this wonderful community for all the personal support I have received over my eight years as their Fire Chief. It has been an honor to serve as Carpinteria’s and Summerland’s Fire Chief.

Sea Glass Festival springs up in Carpinteria

Sea Glass Festival springs up in Carpinteria

The first ever Carpinteria Sea Glass Festival is in the works for this summer. Coordinated in partnership with the Carpinteria Arts Center, the festival will bring together hundreds of sea glass lovers to celebrate the treasures of the sea on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 700 Linden Ave. Dozens of sea glass artisans and experts will offer their original ocean inspired artwork, from sea glass jewelry, home décor, art, accessories and rare sea glass collections, including Krista Hammond’s prize specimen cases for the public to view.

The festival, which also will include music and local food vendors, will benefit the Junior Carpinterian of the Year Scholarship Fund and the Carpinteria Arts Center. Sea glass vendors interested in displaying and selling their works at the festival should visit carpinteriaseaglassfestival.com/vendor-info and submit an application by May 31, 2015. Admission to the Sea Glass Festival is $5, and on Saturday, Aug. 29, a special preview will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. for $15. For more information, visit carpinteriaseaglassfestival.com.

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