Back in action
PHOTOS BY BILL SWING, ROBIN KARLSSON, JOSHUA CURRY AND LEA BOYD
Aug. 23 was a big day for Carpinteria kids and parents. After two months of R&R, students filed back down the hallways of Carpinteria Unified School District campuses for another year of mind sharpening and social-emotional maturation.
The busy morning found clusters of parents taking fi rst-day photos and giving final hugs as their little ones embark on the next chapter of their academic adventure. CVN photographers made appearances on the local campuses to document the exciting start of the school year.
School board severs superintendent contract Teachers, parents decry abrupt decision
By Lea Boyd
Photos by Robin Karlsson
Despite two hours of impassioned pleas by teachers and parents, the Carpinteria Unified School District's Board of Education voted 4-0 (absent Alicia Jacobson) to release Superintendent Micheline Miglis after one year of her three-year contract at a special meeting on Aug. 22. A difference in vision and philosophy motivated the "mutual agreement," the board announced, adding that it could not comment further on reasons behind the decision that blindsided staff and parents just one day before the start of the school year.
Over 100 staff and community members turned out to show their support for Miglis, who was described by many as caring, smart, compassionate and student-centered. Several teachers were brought to tears during public comment; many said Miglis had gained their trust through her respectful interactions and willingness to listen to staff needs.
The staff’s relationship with past Superintendent Paul Cordeiro had soured early into his decade-long tenure at CUSD, and several teachers said that Miglis had begun undoing the damage done in the Cordeiro era. “Micheline Miglis has been a breath of fresh air,” said longtime CUSD employee Laura Manriquez. “She has been a 180-degree turnaround from what we had.”
The question of what could have driven the school board to such an extreme action was left unanswered. The decision was made in closed session, as are all confidential personnel matters. Furthermore, the board said there is a confidentiality clause in the agreement reached with Miglis.
“This was a very difficult decision and … in the end, the only people that know the whole story are the five board members and the former Superintendent,” stated board member Michelle Robertson in an email to CVN. “Any speculation or rumors only do more damage than good as we all will need to heal from this.”
Miglis’ contract included a six-month buy out, which would have cost the district approximately $XXXX. Ousting a leader who had won such overwhelming support from teachers was denounced as vindictive. “I feel like you are punishing Micheline for being too close to the union,” said Felicity Moore, union vice-president. Urging the board to reconsider plans to let Miglis go, she said, “The very spirit and morale of your employees is at stake.”
Teachers and the board have been deadlocked in salary negotiations for the 2015/2016 schoolyear since last spring. The board says that there is no room in the budget for the raises sought by teachers, but teachers argue that the budget could shoulder substantially more than the board is willing to give.
Teachers union President Jay Hotchner announced that the union plans to launch a recall campaign for the board members who retain their seats after the November election. Longtime Boardmember Terry Hickey Banks is not seeking re-election this fall, nor is Alicia Jacobson. Jaclyn Fabre, the Summerland board representative, is running uncontested this fall. Hotchner said a recall of Fabre will be attempted after the election.
The three board candidates for Hickey Banks and Jacobson’s two seats—Maureen Foley Claffey, Gary Blair and Rogelio Delgado—attended the meeting. Claffey spoke out against the secrecy surrounding the issue, including the board’s decision to hold a special Monday morning meeting that wasn’t announced until late Friday afternoon. She noted that unless there was some sort of criminal wrong doing, the board was making a mistake severing ties with Miglis.
A recent blunder related to the expansion of Transitional Kindergarten, an early childhood education program, was the most public display of the board’s displeasure with its new superintendent. Miglis took responsibility for allowing families to enroll their children in an expanded version of TK last spring before gaining the board’s approval. Board members characterized the move as putting the “cart before the horse,” and initially denied the expansion because of the added teacher’s salary the program would cost.
Parents of 28 children enrolled in expanded TK were outraged when notified of the board’s rejection. Several parents publicly requested that the board reconsider, and accused the board of a Brown Act violation for failing to correctly make a public notice of the meeting in which the initial decision was made. The board reversed the decision on Aug. 9 citing a need to “do what’s right” by the families admitted. (For full disclosure, the author of this article acknowledges that she was among the parents affected by the TK expansion.)
Boardmembers were visibly displeased that Miglis had allowed the expansion, and several stated that they had heard about it for the first time in June when it was folded into their budget approval. But at the Aug. 22 meeting, teachers and parents questioned whether the TK mistake could have warranted Miglis’ early end with the district. “(Board members) can’t tell you everything they know,” said Alex Pulido, retired board member.
On the heels of the Miglis vote, the board also approved the appointment of retired Santa Barbara School District Superintendent Brian Sarvis as interim superintendent of CUSD, effective immediately.
Beach day for a cause
On Aug. 21 the Jenny Schatzle Beach Party benefitting the Surf Happens Foundation was held at the picturesque setting of Santa Claus Lane. Perfect weather, soft sand and nice little waves greeted the crew on hand, along with an obstacle course by JSP, surf lessons by Surf Happens, gourmet food by Duo Catering, and beverages by Rincon Brewery. The event raised $4,950 for the Surf Happens Foundation, which will fund an afterschool program for 12 local children from September to January. The Surf Happens Foundation empowers low-income, at-risk youth and children surviving cancer through the sport of surfing, ocean safety and stewardship, and the Jenny Schatzle Program of Santa Barbara aims to change lives through fitness and empowering mantras.
African Keyhole Gardens come to Carpinteria
By Chris and Lisa Cullen
If you have never heard of an African Keyhole Garden, then join the club—neither had I. That was until I got an email from Carpinteria local Pam Rousseau asking me to come by and take a look at her garden.
I did some searching online for African Keyhole Gardens before our visit and was surprised and a bit embarrassed that I had never heard of this kind of garden. The other surprise was that Pam’s African Keyhole Garden is constructed on the brick patio at Vista de Santa Barbara Mobile Home Park.
The mastermind behind Pam’s Keyhole Garden is garden designer Lynn Adams, owner of Carpinteria Nursery (933 Elm Ave.). Pam and Lynn were in the process of redoing her patios and gardens, and Lynn suggested Pam look into the African Keyhole Garden. She was sold once she read up on the concept.
Constructed entirely out of free bricks and pavers from Craigslist adverts, Pam’s African Keyhole Garden is a self-sustaining system designed to provide food to families in drought stricken and resource-poor areas of the world, such as southern Africa. It is constructed entirely out of recycled materials, requires very little water and doubles as a compost bin.
The first step is to draw your circle and place chicken wire to keep out gophers and moles. The beds are constructed in layers, with the first layer consisting of broken bottles and rusty iron, broken bricks and other large pieces of debris. The theory on the rusty iron is that it not only provides drainage, but also adds minerals to the soil as time goes on. Isn’t that crazy? I love it! After the drainage layer comes cardboard, then things like wood ash, manure, shredded paper, more cardboard, etc.
This garden has a big output. Pam’s garden was constructed last summer and she has been harvesting carrots, beets, herbs and greens of all kinds, and now the tomatoes and cucumbers have taken over.
The central basket becomes a repository of all green waste, from coffee grounds to egg shells and everything in between; these organic ingredients become compost that continues to feed the garden, so there is no need for fertilizers of any kind. And unlike conventional compost piles, this one doesn’t need to be turned. You can also throw in a few worms for extra go power.
As the green waste breaks down, it generates heat that warms the soil and helps the garden grow more vigorously. A cage can be set over the garden, which could also be covered in shade cloth or plastic for a nifty makeshift greenhouse, heated by the compost.
There are numerous websites and YouTube videos that provide instruction on how to make your own Keyhole Garden. But, if you don't want to or can’t build your own, call Lynn Adams at Carpinteria Nursery and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to build one for you.
Until next time, fill your garden with joy!
Chris and Lisa Cullen, owners of Montecito Landscape, have been creating beautiful gardens for over 40 years. Listen to Garden Gossip radio show on AM1290 every Friday at 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. Do you have a question about your garden? Contact us at 969-3984 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or via snail mail: 1187 Coast Village Rd. Ste. 160, Montecito, CA 93108
Burglary suspect assaults deputies
Sage Wyttenberg of Santa Barbara appeared to be under the influence of stimulants when he repeatedly attacked Sheriff’s deputies during an arrest attempt.
Burglary suspect assaults deputies
Two Sheriff’s deputies were violently attacked repeatedly by a burglary suspect attempting to avoid arrest on Via Real in the early morning hours of Aug. 20. Deputies were dispatched around 7 a.m. to Franciscan Court condominiums for a vehicle burglary in progress. When officers arrived, the suspect, later identified as 33-year-old Sage Wyttenberg of Santa Barbara, had fled into the 3900 block of Via Real and was located hiding in a creek bed and apparently under the influence of stimulants.
Wyttenberg was arrested after deputies located stolen property on his person from burglaries in the area. A search of the surrounding areas uncovered a plethora of additional stolen property including jewelry and bicycles. Multiple victims in Carpinteria were identified through the investigation. During the transport to the Santa Barbara County Jail, Wyttenberg slipped his handcuffs to the front on three separate occasions.
While attempting to re-restrain him on the third occasion behind a local nursery, Wyttenberg charged out of the patrol unit and violently attacked the two deputies. He struck the deputies with a large metal industrial fan housing and a metal pipe. Deputies deployed a Taser and impact weapons in an attempt to overcome Wyttenberg’s resistance and prevent his escape. Wyttenberg continued his violent attack and fled the area on foot. Deputies chased Wyttenberg on foot and he again attacked them. Deputies again utilized impact weapons until Wyttenberg was able to grab ahold of one of the deputy’s batons. Additional deputies arrived shortly thereafter, and Wyttenberg was restrained.
Wyttenberg and two of the officers were transported to Cottage Hospital and treated for multiple injuries. The suspect was later medically cleared and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $500,000 for charges including possession of stolen property, escape, residential and vehicle burglary, possession of burglary tools, battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest with injury.
The Summerland Shore
Photo by Nick Wigle
By Fran Davis
It takes a community to rescue an owl
It all started in the morning with a bunch of crows going crazy in Lookout Park. Investigating the disturbance, Melinda, a park regular, spotted the great horned owl. It was caught in a line and hanging by the tip of one wing in a eucalyptus at the park’s upper end.
Word of the owl’s plight spread quickly. Rescue was imperative, but no one knew how to go about it. The owl was very high in the tree, one open wing caught at the very tip, the other wing spread, catching the breeze. She was like a great gray ghostly kite swaying slightly in the wind. (We learned later the owl was a female.)
The fire department arrived, but couldn’t do anything. Their ladder wasn’t right, not long enough. And then if a fireman got up there, what could he do? You don’t just grab a big, wild taloned creature like an owl. They wisely left the matter to the Wildlife Care Network guy, who’d arrived after a call from Summerlander Reeve Woolpert.
By this time the owl had been hanging in the tree most of the day and probably some part of the night as well. It was clear to Ed Meyers of the Wildlife Care Network that a tree climber was needed for the rescue.
Reeve Woolpert called Chris Newton of Branch Out tree service. Chris was unavailable, in Buellton, but he called Carpinterian Nick Wigle who owns Super Bee. Nick does a lot of climbing in his work. He was busy with an emergency bee removal from a utility box in Goleta, but he was definitely up for an owl rescue. The several parties whose utilities were compromised by the bee-infested box all agreed that Nick should break off and go help that owl.
I was one of a small group gathered under the tree to watch Nick begin the rescue effort. Fortunately, he’s licensed and insured to do county work, a necessity for doing anything in a county park. Ed, the Wildlife Care guy, instructed him on the danger posed by beaks and talons.
Nick donned full armor—bee suit, big goatskin gauntlets, a bee mask and safety harness. His 32-foot ladder could just reach a branch near the owl. But it was close, and I held my breath as he climbed. Ed had provided a cloth bag that Nick was supposed to get the owl into. But it was too small. And the owl was too far away. Nick had to do everything one-handed, hang on to a branch with one hand and reach out with the other.
Nick was eye to eye with that great horned owl trying to figure out how to proceed. “She looked so strong,” he said later. But the whole enterprise seemed so precarious it was making me sweat. I was really glad Nick had that safety harness. He gave up on the bag and reached out to cut the line she was hanging from. It was enough. Suddenly free, she spread both wings and made a smooth glide from the tree down to a fence.
Ed said when he saw that glide he knew she’d be okay. We watched him approach her—and she had her big dollar-sized yellow eyes on him, too—as he managed to wrap her in a canvas tarp. She was transferred to a cardboard box and then whisked off to the Wildlife Care Center on Fairview Center.
I called the Center later to check her progress. They determined that she had a very sore “arm,” but nothing was broken. After a few days, she was sent to the Ojai Raptor Center for more rest and rehabilitation. So maybe she’ll be flying free again soon. I kind of hope she returns to her roost in the big tree in Lookout Park—but after somebody gets that string trap out of the tree.
Ed said Summerland’s great horned owl quickly became “a poster child for expediting bird rescues.” They’ve had some experience with the cormorant population that roosts in the trees next to the freeway by Summerland. Cormorants, he said, get fishhooks stuck in their beaks and then get tangled in tree limbs, so they end up hanging by their beaks. A heartbreaking sight, and rescue is hard because of the height. On the advice of premier tree climber Nick Wigle, the Wildlife Care Center is now purchasing a 32-foot ladder and an avocado picker. Ed thinks it will serve as well for picking a bird out of a tree.
One good thing: The hoot of an owl at night.
Fran Davis is an award-winning writer and freelance editor whose work appears in magazines, print and online journals, anthologies and travel books. She has lived in Summerland most of her life.
Gal pals win bike
by Lea Boyd
Two local girls finished their summer on a high note. Makayla Halley, 9, and Sydney Harvey, 10, found themselves with a new set of wheels after their names were drawn in the Coastal View News summer bike raffle sponsored by Carp Sports. The girls had initially intended to share the prize, but decided after the drawing to donate the brand new bike to someone in need.
Halley and Harvey are neighbors and friends. They biked through town this summer solving clues in the CVN treasure hunt and winning raffle tickets along the way. Harvey mentioned that the game reminded her of playing detective, which she and Halley spent lots of time doing last year. Both girls said the hunt got them out of the house and following clues to learn more about their town and its restaurants and shops.
Their names went into a box with those of many other readers who played the word jumble, letter search, trivia quiz and treasure hunt featured weekly in the centerspread of the newspaper.
After the drawing, the girls decided to pay their win forward. They realized that sharing a bike could get tricky and that lots of people don’t already have bikes like they do. Now Halley and Harvey, who are both Girl Scouts, have the tough task of choosing a person in need for their bike donation.
Little Libraries invite any and all
By Justina Weinbender
Little Free Library is a worldwide movement where neighbors give and take books from each other. No due dates, bills anything else is required—just a love of neighbors and books. According to the website, LittleFreeLibrary.org, there are nearly 40,000 Little Free Library book exchanges, and this is just since 2010, when the idea started catching on. Two little libraries have popped up in Carpinteria in the last couple months.
Maybe you've driven by the artsy little library home on Canalino Drive where the roof is made out of license plates. Maybe you've played at Eucalyptus Park and noticed the fairy cottage book nook across from it on Chaparral Drive and wondered if these are yard decorations or invitations to come browse. These book hosts want visitors, and they want books in the hands of as many who'd like to partake. Simply stop at the curb, open the bookcase's door and browse until you're content. If you're on a walk, maybe the lure of a book will get you to walk a bit farther.
"A house without books is like a room without windows," said Horace Mann and many agree. However, many don't read much. The Literacy Project Foundation's website states that 50 percent of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level, 45 million Americans are functionally illiterate and read below a fifth-grade level, 44 percent of adults in the U.S. do not read a book in a year, and six out of 10 households do not buy a single book in a year.
These little libraries can help get books in people's hands in a very low pressure way. It's not about competing with our wonderful Carpinteria Library and Friends of the Library Bookstore, but rather complementing them. The target audience varies based on who adds books—the goal is that there's something for everyone. Give both a try or even create your own little library. Finding your niche will likely be easy and fun. Carpinteria is a charming city, and this little community activity helps keep literacy and our town vibrant.
A sud-sational time had by all
Photos by Robin Karlsson
Surf and Suds Beer Festival poured into town on Aug. 13 for a
full day of craft beer tasting and live music, flavored with a surf
twist. The annual festival, which takes place at Linden Field, hosted
70 microbreweries offering over 220 varieties of brew. Local surfboard
shapers were showcased, as well as nonprofits Santa Barbara
Channelkeeper, California Avocado Festival, Surfrider Foundation,
Young and Brave Foundation, Save the Mermaids, Buy a Dog a
Beer and Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. The festival benefits
California Avocado Festival Youth Scholarship Fund and Junior
New State Beach Visitor Center is for locals too
Story by Jay Bushey
Photos by Robin Karlsson
Carpinteria State Beach’s new and improved Visitor Center opens next week with exhibits that highlight Carpinteria State Beach’s natural, cultural and biological treasures. The renovation will be celebrated with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m.
“We really hope that the center will serve as a springboard for visitors. They can come here to learn about the park’s history and then go out and explore it for themselves,” said Supervising Ranger David Wilson.
Wilson believes that understanding Carpinteria’s history is an important part of appreciating the area today. “Many park visitors don’t realize that they’re camping on what used to be an open mine, or that they’re walking the same trails once walked by the Chumash people, or that the tar on their feet has been naturally seeping from the ground for centuries,” he said.
To help visitors get a fuller experience of Carpinteria’s history, the visitor center’s exhibits are designed to be interactive. Guests can feel what it’s like to be an animal stuck in tar, lift the spade of a 19th century asphalt miner, run their fingers along Chumash tools, and hold locally collected sea stars, muscles and sea urchins.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of the visitor center is a newly created salt-water aquarium. The 400-gallon aquarium hosts a beautiful collection of live fish, crabs, shrimp and various other tidepool creatures, all of which have been collected locally.
Planning for the new visitor center began in 2009 with the Carpinteria State Beach Interpretation Master Plan, which identified the park’s diverse resources and proposed specific strategies for the park’s development. The renovation of the visitor center was one of the prominent proposals outlined in the plan.
“The original visitor center was less than half the size of the current one,” explained Wilson. “The roof was starting to be affected by termites and rot, and the aquarium didn’t meet accessibility standards anymore. The whole thing needed an overhaul.”
The much-needed renovation was made possible by a $3 million grant from the Nature Education Facilities Program, a good portion of which went directly into the visitor center’s development. With the plans outlined and the funds in place, the original visitor center closed in 2014 so the renovation process could begin.
Wilson is very satisfied with how the project has come to fruition. “When the doors open on the 19th, this place will look better than it has in many, many years,” he said proudly. He went on to explain, however, that this is just one step in a big undertaking. “We still want to expand the variety of life in our tidepool aquarium and create a display to show the local dive team’s collection process. We would also love to expand the hours of the visitor center by finding volunteers in the community to supervise it during the week.”
Wilson hopes that the visitor center will appeal to locals and park visitors alike. “We really want the Carpinteria community to know that the center is just as much for them as it is for park visitors.” Wilson laughed a bit, “And we want kids to know that there’s a lot more to do at Carpinteria State Beach than chase Pokémon on their phones.”
Whether you’re a first time visitor to Carpinteria or a longtime resident, the redesigned visitor center offers a great introduction to the area’s rich, diverse history. It will be open weekly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and entry is free to the public.
Home is where the art is
Photos by Robin Karlsson
Creatively altered furnishings went home with high bidders last Friday night at the Carpinteria Arts Center’s annual Art-niture auction and reception. Live music, food and beverages, and unique art pieces filled the courtyard and highlighted fun First Friday activities taking place throughout town.
School Board reverses TK decision, expands program
By Lea Boyd
Citing the need to do what’s right, the Carpinteria Unified School District’s Board of Education voted to expand the 2016/2017 transitional kindergarten program to admit any child who turns 5 in the school year. The decision re-admits 28 children whose enrollment had already been granted before the board voted against extending the program at its June 28 meeting.
“It should not have gotten to the point where families were told they were enrolled,” said Board President Andy Sheaffer, who apologized for putting the 28 families in a bind.
The expanded programs will require additional staffing and cost the district around $100,000, which triggered the board’s rejection in June. That decision led to a backlash from parents granted enrollment in a program they’d been told was a certainty. (For full disclosure, the author of this article has a child affected by the TK decision.)
Parents also accused the board of violating the Brown Act for failure to properly notice the agenda item that did away with the program extension. School district attorney Craig Price said that by rescinding its initial decision, the board was not admitting to a Brown Act violation. The reversal, he said, was meant to correct an ethical wrong, not a legal wrong. “The board was not aware of all these children in the pipeline,” he said.
The State of California created TK with the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010. At that time, the cut-off date for kindergarten admission was beginning a multi-year shift from Dec. 2 to Sept. 1. TK was designed to serve as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten; it is free and the hours are the same as kindergarten. Schools are mandated to provide TK for children affected by that cut-off shift—i.e., those who turn 5 in the fall.
Last year, the state gave school districts permission to allow early admittance into the TK program but did not require it. Based on the state’s change to the educational code, CUSD began enrolling younger TK students without first obtaining board approval.
Re-extending the program just two weeks before school starts on Aug. 23 meant that several details needed to be ironed out at the Aug. 9 meeting. The board decided that to be fair, any child who turns 5 between Sept. 2 and June 30 may register for the newly expanded program before Sept. 30. TK will continue to be offered at both Canalino and Aliso schools, and children will attend their school of residence.
Art by the Sea summer camp
photos by David Powdrell
“Wild at Art” was the theme for this year’s art camp offered by the Carpinteria Arts Center in five week-long sessions, between June 20 and July 29. Elementary-age campers focused on “exploring art through nature and discovering nature through art.” Working in various mediums including graphite, watercolor, pastels, and wire and foam, students practiced techniques of bilateral symmetry in animals, painting, printmaking, batik dying and sculpture. Providing a foundation in art theory, instructor Sara Munro, assisted by Natasha Elliott, introduced campers to the work of artists Richard Diebenkorn, Alexander Calder and Heather Brown as examples of different artistic styles. Wednesdays included a beach visit for requisite ocean inspiration, which the artists-in-training applied to their work and each week culminated in a student art show.
Summerland fire station is top priority, study says
by Lea Boyd
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Study findings
from CityGate Associates
1. District cannot be served with similar response times to all populated areas without third station and staffed fire engine.
2. District needs to add one headquarters position.
3. Summerland station needs immediate repair.
4. Carpinteria station needs major repairs.
5. Options exist for the district to consider a merger or contract for service.
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District’s long-anticipated standards of coverage study underscored what many have argued for decades: Summerland badly needs a new fire station.
“Station 2 is a health and safety hazard and should be temporarily relocated and then be permanently replaced,” said Stuart Gary of CityGate, the company hired to complete the $XXX,000 study. Gary presented the study’s major findings at the board’s Aug. 3 meeting. “And if the relocation financing conversation means another three years—I’m going to be strident on this one—I would literally evacuate that crew. I would find a temporary building in Summerland, and get them out of that building.”
The study also found that the district should have a third station between Carpinteria and Summerland in order to reduce the response time to reach properties in a central population cluster.
Engines deployed from either station fail to reach the middle zone within four minutes, which is the goal. Shifting the Summerland station closer to Carpinteria, alternatively, would lead to lengthy response times within the Summerland community. “The district is just too long,” Gary noted.
The Carpinteria area is out of luck, Gary said, when a call requires three units in short order because Ventura and Montecito are too far to arrive quickly. Summerland now enjoys a decent three-unit response due to Montecito’s proximity. A third station would better position Carpinteria in an emergency requiring multi-unit response.
In his presentation to the Fire Board, Gary mentioned that the owner of an optimally located property may be willing to sell the land. “Parcels of that location and opportunity in a district like this don’t come along every decade. So if you’re going to walk the third station path at all, I wouldn’t talk about it for two years. I would start to actively locate a feasible parcel.”
Funding, of course, is the major hurdle to construction of a new Summerland station and a third station. In 2015, voters shot down a $24 million bond measure intended to be split evenly between a remodeled Carpinteria station and a new Summerland station. Plans for the proposed Summerland station had already been approved by the county for a downtown property owned by a willing seller, the Mosquito Vector District, but the district only secured XX percent of votes and needed a super majority.
The strong message conveyed in the standards of coverage study could help convince voters that replacing the stations is urgent. “I think it would have made the difference in the sale of the first bond,” said Interim Fire Chief Jim Rampton.
Consolidation with a larger agency also has been discussed for years and touted by the firefighters as a move in the right direction for the small district. CityGate’s study found that consolidation would be possible with a highly supportive board and public. The agency best positioned to annex the district would be Santa Barbara County, Gary said, recommending the board request a services merger proposal from the county department. A merger, Gary said, would be “a long and winding road” requiring several studies and LAFCO approval.
Benefits of consolidation would be “bench depth, resiliency and redundancy,” Gary said. If someone on staff retires, takes leave or quits, someone else in the large agency could step in. “You’re [a] small ecosystem,” Gary said, “and small ecosystems… are fragile.”
Board President Chris Johnson said he felt that the consolidation option should be considered but echoed several speakers, including former board members Lisa Guravitz and Ben Miller, who spoke in favor of maintaining a locally run district. Johnson said, “My preference would be to maintain local control, to go to the voters and say, ‘Hey, look, we need to pass a bond, otherwise we’re going to have to go to the county or someone else to build these stations.’”
Headquarters staffing should be increased, CityGate recommended, by hiring a fourth fire captain at the district’s headquarters. Record keeping and adherence to standards has improved under the interim chief, the study found, but another staff person would allow the district to catch up more completely in those areas.
The Carpinteria station needs attention but is in far less dire condition than Summerland, according to CityGate. Constructed about 50 years ago, the aging building has heating, electrical and plumbing issues that need repairs to meet California Essential Facilities Act and Cal/OSHA requirements.
An analysis of call types found that 67 percent of calls that the district receives are medical calls, amounting to nearly 1,100 from the Carpinteria Station last year and less than 200 from Summerland station. Both stations combined responded to less than 100 fires in 2015, making up just 3 percent of overall demand. Gary said these numbers are typical in an urban district.
Simultaneous incidents are rare in CSFPD. A second call comes in during just 21 percent of incidents, and a third simultaneous call occurs in just 0.69 percent of cases. Even in peak times, units are on calls an average of 6 percent of the time, far under the 30 percent that would prompt CityGate to recommend more manpower.
Having received CityGate’s findings, the district will consider its next steps. “Now the work begins,” said Rampton. “We have a lot to do.”
Walking gals share life’s ups and downs
By Megan Waldrep
Monday morning and the marine layer is thick. I’m scrambling up Linden Avenue just as the town is waking up. Did I miss them? Am I too late? I’m on the mission to find Jane Bianchin, Bonnie Milne and Martha Hickey, who are known to many locals for their morning walking routine. Going on two decades, they meet “20 of eight” in the morning at the Hickey building on 8th Street five days a week for a 3-mile loop. This time, they were kind enough to invite me along. I’m three minutes late, and mild panic begins to set in. At that moment, I look up and see three women, all about the same height in dark glasses and short hair, walking in a row. “Hi! Are you Jane, Bonnie and Martha?” They smile, wave, and welcome me in. We began to walk and talk.
Megan: You ladies are local celebrities! I spoke with two women this morning if they had seen the “walking ladies” and they knew exactly who I was talking about.
Jane: Well, they all say, “where’s the other one” if somebody is missing.
What has been one of the happiest walks you’ve been on together and one of the saddest?
Jane: That’s a hard one.
Bonnie: We weren’t walking when our husbands died, were we?
Martha: I was. We (late friends Margaret and Ruthie) used to walk, then we’d meet for coffee at the donut shop on Carpinteria Avenue.
Jane: We share all the sad things, of course. Probably the happy times are births and marriages. And grandkids.
Megan: So how many grandchildren between all of you?
Martha: I have seven grandchildren and six and a half great-grandchildren
Bonnie: I have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Jane: I have five grandchildren and no greats. I’m waiting.
Did you have family in the military?
Martha: My husband was in the military and 26 years with the State Department
Jane: Johnny was a prisoner of war in Germany in World War II.
Wow, a POW! Were you together when this happened?
Jane: No. Actually, we met on VJ Day.
Bonnie: I didn’t realize that, Jane!
Jane: Well, I met him before but…yeah. I was with Nana and her friends, she worked in Santa Barbara, and everybody was walking up and down the street. Johnny came by and said, “There’s a party at so-in-so’s house, why don’t you come?” The gals (I was with) were all married and said, “No, we can’t. But Jane will go!” and they pushed me in the car. And that did it.
Are there some days you prefer walking over other days? Foggy versus a clear day?
Bonnie: No, we just go anyway.
Jane: Just throw on a sweater and go.
Bonnie: One time, we got caught in a downpour.
Jane: Did we ever!
Bonnie: That was horrible!
Jane: We were over in Concha Loma, I think.
May I ask how old you are?
Martha: No problem, I’m 85.
Bonnie: We are not the same, are we Jane?
Jane: This year, we’re almost caught up.
Bonnie: What am I?
Martha: You’re 91.
Jane: And I’m 90.
Bonnie: Soon to be 91.
Jane: Thank you, Bonnie!
You are all from Carp?
Bonnie: We are (pointing to Jane and herself).
And where are you from, Martha?
Martha: I was born in Missouri and came to California during the Dust Bowl days to the Compton area. And I came (to Carpinteria) in ’52 or something like that. Right after my husband got out of college.
So walking with you gals is about as local as you can get!
Martha: Where did you move from, Megan?
Megan: Charleston, South Carolina.
Jane: Bonnie and I went to Charleston in the ‘90s, I believe. That’s when I got interested in racing. NASCAR!
Have you ever gone to a NASCAR race?
Martha: Oh, yes.
Jane: Every year in March!
Martha: Well, Bonnie and I stopped at the Brickyard once (Indianapolis Motor Speedway). We were driving back from Washington, D.C.
On a more personal note, what is your advice for a happy marriage?
Jane: Open communication!
Martha: Pick the right man to begin with.
Martha: Work together and each allow each one to have their own interests. Glen always supported me and my interests in politics and all. He hauled a lot of table and chairs event though he wasn’t exactly interested.
Bonnie: And be nice!
Martha: And be nice, yes.
How about maintaining friendships?
Jane: Grow old together! (Laughing) Bonnie and I grew up together…
Bonnie: (Wrapping her arm around Martha’s shoulder) then Martha came along.
Jane: She’s our adopted sister.
How about child rearing advice?
Bonnie: Oh my….
Jane: Should we tell them we spanked?
Bonnie: We spanked.
Jane: And our kids came out great.
How were you all able to cope with your husbands passing?
Bonnie: Not good. Mine was fast. Theirs were long. I think that might have been worse.
Jane: I don’t know; I think we were prepared. Martha’s and my husband had cancer and they were rather a long time going—a lot of care. Bonnie’s husband just dropped. And I think that’s worse because you had no preparation.
Bonnie: It took me a long time.
Jane: I don’t think you ever really get over it.
Bonnie: No, you don’t. We went to school together.
Jane: They were high school sweethearts.
How long were you married?
Bonnie: Almost 40 years.
Jane: I think we were short of 45 years.
Martha: My husband died 30 days before our 50th anniversary.
How long did it take for you to adapt to your new life without your partner?
Bonnie: It took me about a year. And I moved downtown.
Jane: You had the most change. Change in lifestyle and everything.
Bonnie: Well, yeah. We lived on a ranch, and I didn’t want to stay. And my parents had just died.
Jane: (Bonnie) had a triple whammy. I don’t know about Martha, but we had to run the business end of things so we could carry on with that.
Martha: Yeah, we did that. The kids took over shortly after. I had gone through something similar before in that I lost my first child. He was 7. You never get over that.
I’m so sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing. One last question, what advice would you give your younger selves?
Bonnie: My younger self? Oh my word…
Jane: I would stand up for myself more.
Bonnie: I wouldn’t have had a baby so soon because now he’s so darned old it makes me feel older!
Martha: I wish I had more patience.
Bonnie: Oh, Martha. Come on, you’ve got more patience than anyone!
Youth football bounces back
By Alonzo Orozco
Youth football in Carpinteria has been yanked from a deadly decline and given new life. After the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club dropped the Indians youth football program last season, Carpinteria High School alumnus and member of the Warriors first CIF champion football team in 1975, Tony Jimenez, knew he had a lot of work ahead of him in order to save this year’s football season.
“When we heard that the Boys & Girls Club couldn’t maintain the program anymore, a couple of people contacted me and asked if I could get involved,” said Jimenez, who worked as Athletic Director of the organization from 1995 to 2002. “So [Jason Whittenton and I] made a bunch of phone calls and got everything together.”
As a result, Junior Warrior Football and the Carpinteria Valley Youth Athletic Association were formed. The former Boys & Girls Club program consisted of a single team, and has now expanded into the three-team Junior Warriors program. Divisions are: Mighty-Might (ages 6 to 8); Sophomore (ages 10 to 12); and Senior (sixth- to eighth-graders, primarily ages 12 to 14, as determined by a player’s weight).
One of the goals of the program is to implement safer techniques and still have fun on the field. “We use what’s called ‘Heads Up football,’” said Jimenez. “In the old days, the tackling techniques were way different; they used the head as an aiming point.” The Warriors belong to the Gold Coast Youth Football League, which is dedicated to the “Heads Up” philosophy. “Every coach has to be certified,” Jimenez noted.
Although the Boys & Girls Club donated the helmets, pads and other equipment, the new organization faces a variety of other costs. Filing for a nonprofit 501c3 designation, liability insurance and the refurbishment and acquisition of new equipment are the big ticket items.
The community has been very supportive of the new football venture with a variety of donations, ranging from $10 to $1,500. Fundraising efforts at Rods & Roses Car Show and Giovanni’s Pizza have helped offset costs, and plans are in the works for a booth at the upcoming California Avocado Festival.
Ongoing fundraising, Jimenez said, should lower the player fees in the future and allow for scholarships. “Our goal is to try and get as many kids here to play as possible in a low cost and safe environment,” he said.
JGs prove their mettle at Fiesta Comp
The Carpinteria Junior Lifeguards competed at the Annual Santa Barbara Fiesta Meet on July 29, battling it out against 10 other teams at East Beach to see who would reign superior. “Our Carpinteria JGs did an outstanding job,” reported Program Director Morgan Youngs. “Our instructors and parents were very proud of the way our Carpinteria Junior Lifeguards were handling themselves on Friday.”
Carpinteria JGs dominated the competition, placing in the top eight in every event for each age group. “We were all at the edge of our seats watching these Carpinteria superstars battle it out against huge powerhouses like Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and Avila,” said Youngs.
1st Lexi Persoon
4th Sydney Endow
1st Lexi Persoon
2nd Aly Springer
2nd Wyatt Stevenson
1st Aly Springer, Sonya Vallen, Mikaela Torres, Luke and Soloman Nahooiakika, Wyatt Stevenson
2nd Shaya Alexander, Sonya Vallen, Jules Nesnadny, Luke Nahooiakika, Jack Gay, and Liam Slade
Taplin (run-swim-paddle relay)
2nd Aly Springer, Ytxzae Enriquez, Lexi Persoon, Caleb Classen, Jules Nesnadny, Jack Gay
1st Sam Meister
3rd Mercy Torres
4th Sam Meister, Diesel Slade, Boo Ridge, Mercy Torres, Alana, Natali Perez
3rd Boo Ridge, Mercy Torres, Natali Perez, Beau Persoon, Calvin Lundy, Aly Nesnadny
XX Sam Meister, Arata Tomatsuri , Cavlin Lundy, Piper Clayton, Aly Nesnadny, Calvin Lundy, Jasmin Umscheid
1st Ander Tobin, Luca Wiesenthal, Ainslee Alexander, Cailyn Lusk, Asher Smith, Grayson Macleod
2nd Ainslee Alexander, Landon Rogers, Grayson Macleod, Asher Smith, Catilyn Lusk, Luca Wiesenthal
3rd Landon Rogers, Carter Cox, Andrew Tobin, Maggie C, Whitney Meister, Ainslee Alexander
1st Whitney Meister
6th Michael Mascari
7th Maddie Caputo
2nd Grayson Macleod
4th Taylor Classen
2nd Carter Cox
Run - Swim - Run
4th Grayson Macleod
5th Taylor Classen
Measure U funds pour into “quick start” projects
Taxpayer dollars are hard at work this summer on five “quick start” projects to improve campuses throughout Carpinteria Unified School District. Measure U dollars are funding upgrades to the Canalino multipurpose room, walkway improvements at Carpinteria High School and new roofs at CHS and Carpinteria Middle School. Projects should be complete by the time school starts on Aug. 23.
The $90 million bond measure ultimately will pay for major construction such as a new science wing at CHS and the replacement of aging portables with new modular classrooms on all campuses. This summer’s “quick start” projects kicked off what will be years of construction because they do not require approval from the Division of the State Architect and could be completed in a short timeframe.
“These five projects, totaling $1.5 million in construction costs, represent the beginning of a long line of tangible and visible outcomes of the first bond issuance of Measure U,” said CUSD Superintendent Micheline G. Miglis. “We look forward to sharing this with our community, without which none of this would be possible.”
Of the five contractors hired for the summer project, two are Carpinteria-based companies. Shaw Contracting, Inc. and EJS Construction, Inc. are owned by CHS alumni Jeff Shaw and Paul Sanchez, respectively. Miglis said, “We’re thrilled to award nearly 50 percent of the total construction contracts for this round to firms right here in Carp, putting the community’s tax dollars back into the local economy.” The remaining projects were awarded to companies located in Santa Barbara and Oxnard.
New candidates join local races
As the November elections draw closer, local races have begun to take shape. Five governing boards that handle city government, schools, sewers, fire protection and water have seats up for grabs. The filing period to run for election began July 18 and ends August 12. In the event that no incumbent files for reelection in any of the races, the deadline to enter is extended to Aug. 17 for non-incumbent candidates.
For the Carpinteria City Council race, paperwork should be pulled at Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. For the other four school and special district boards, paperwork can be pulled at the Santa Barbara County Elections Office, 4440-A Calle Real, Santa Barbara.
The list of incumbents and candidates below indicates which seats are up for election, with the status of who has filed, or pulled papers intending to file for election, in parentheses.
Carpinteria City Council
Fred Shaw (filed)
Wade Nomura (pulled papers)
Bob Franco (pulled papers)
Carpinteria Unified School District
Terry Hickey Banks, Trustee area #1
Alicia Morales Jacobson, Trustee area #1
Jaclyn Fabre, Trustee area #2, Summerland (pulled papers)
Maureen Claffey (pulled papers)
Gary Blair (pulled papers)
Rogelio Delgado (pulled papers)
Carpinteria Sanitary District
Jeff Moorhouse (pulled papers)
Gerald B. Velasco (pulled papers)
Michael Damron (pulled papers)
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District
Alfred “Bill” Taff
Christopher D. Johnson
S. Suzy Cawthon (pulled papers)
Carpinteria Valley Water District
Polly Holcombe (pulled papers)
June Van Wingerden
Prepare to bid big on Artniture
Why sit on monotone chairs and eat at tables that are all function and no fun? Carpinteria Arts Center gives locals the opportunity to add whimsy and wonder to their furnishings with its annual Artniture fundraiser that auctions creatively altered décor to the highest bidder. This year’s event has yet again drawn works by several of Carpinteria’s finest artists, and these will be celebrated and sold on Friday, Aug. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the center, 855 Linden Ave. The reception will be paired with the second Summer Concert at the Arts Center which will feature Stuart Carey and X-Tet from 4-6 p.m. and Jazz Mandala from 6-8 p.m.
Arts Center cozies up to BEGA quilt donation
Story by Megan Waldrep
Photos by Robin Karlsson
The rocking chair creaks as she moves back and forth, humming a tune while the needle and thread bobs through the red fabric. It’s the year 1965, and the Civil War had just come to an end. Memories of her family in North Carolina bring a smile to her face, as she just received word they are safe. Relieved and thankful, she adds the finishing touches to the quilt. The clamshell pattern reminds her of Mother. It was the first design she was taught to sew.
A similar story and many others may lie between in the threads of over 100 vintage quilts, some museum quality, which were donated by BEGA, an international lighting company based in Carpinteria, to help raise funds for the Carpinteria Arts Center. According to Dianne Armitage, an executive and marketing assistant at BEGA, the quilts were originally part of a private collection belonging to the company’s former president Larry Routh and his wife, Linda. They were displayed at BEGA’s Carpinteria headquarters during Larry’s period in office and after he passed away, the quilts were bequeathed to BEGA and remained on rotating display for several years.
Today, the quilts are wrapped in tissue paper in acid free boxes awaiting their next incarnation. “For the past few years, the quilts had been stored for safekeeping,” said Armitage. “We wanted them to do some good, so we approached the Carpinteria Arts Center about whether or not they would like to have them.” The value of the entire collection is unknown, but some quilts date back to the 1800s and range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
“We are so please they thought of us!” said Susan Misemer, Carpinteria Arts Center board member. The self proclaimed “worker bee” volunteer said that the nonprofit is considering a range of options for how to make the most of the unique donation. The entire collection could be sold at a live auction, on eBay or leased out for photo shoots to raise money. The organization has decided to host a quilt show at the Carpinteria Woman’s Club sometime next year. The museum quality pieces will be stored for safe keeping, but two quilts will be put up for auction during the event.
The Carpinteria Arts Center, long located at 865 Linden Ave., purchased the neighboring property, formerly the Cajun Kitchen, late last year for $1.5 million. Profits from the quilt donation will go toward the cost of purchasing the property, its remodel into a functional art center and the operational costs. Misemer said the Arts Center board is still in the “plan and design” stage of renovations and hopes to reveal plans sometime next year.
On Aug. 5, First Friday, the community will have a chance to get up close and personal with two quilts at the Art-niture event, the center’s largest fundraiser of the year. There will be a reception with food, music and drinks and the whole town is invited to share in the fun and to experience a piece of history for themselves.
Killer strawberry shortcake
by Chef Randy Graham
This is a decadent, wickedly good and totally fresh dessert. It features a buttery shortcake, fresh cream, fresh strawberries and a secret “soak” borrowed from a recipe I found online. I also borrow the pairing of sweet-tart Grenadine syrup with the field-to-table fresh strawberries from a recipe given to me many moons ago.
This is one of the tastiest strawberry shortcakes you’ll ever experience. Think traditional strawberry shortcake on steroids.
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup butter (room temp)
2 cups coconut sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling and frosting ingredients
1½ cups seedless strawberry jam (divided)
2½ cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
Pomegranate reduction ingredients
8 ounces Grenadine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x9x2-inch baking or casserole dish with cooking spray. It’s important that it be 2 to 2½ inches high.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and whisk until creamy and thoroughly mixed. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir to combine. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 20 minutes in the pan. Carefully remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a baking rack.
While the shortcake is baking, stir together the “soak” ingredients (milk through vanilla extract) in a large bowl. Be sure to stir the coconut milk before adding. Set aside.
Once the cake has cooled, use a large knife to slice the cake in half horizontally. Place the top layer of cake on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side up. Slowly pour half the “soak” over the top of the bottom layer allowing it to soak into the cake. After the liquid has soaked in, spread half the jam over the top of the layer and cover with a layer of strawberries. Place the other layer, bottom-side up, on top of the first layer and slowly pour the remaining soaking liquid over the top. After the liquid has soaked in, spread the remaining jam over the top layer and cover with another layer of strawberries.
Whip the cream to soft peaks, add the sugar, and then whip to stiff peaks. Frost the cake all over with the whipped cream. Decorate the top with the strawberries. Carefully cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
To make the reduction, pour the Grenadine into a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Keep boiling (watch it carefully) until the juice is reduced by about half. Remove the pomegranate reduction from heat, pour into a cup and set aside to cool until ready to use.
To serve, drizzle the reduction onto a chilled dessert plate. Cut a 3x3-inch square of cake and carefully place it in the middle of the plate. Try not to drool as you serve each piece. There will be plenty enough left for the cook!
Longtime vegetarian Randy Graham is the author of several cookbooks and a popular food blog. His latest book, “Ojai Valley Vegetarian Cookbook,” is a compilation of 120 of the best recipes from his blog, Ojai Valley Vegetarian. He and his wife, Robin, are retired and live in Ojai with their dog Willow, who is not a vegetarian. See valley-vegetarian.com for more recipes.
Low Crime levels persist
by Lea Boyd
“Generally speaking, crime is down,” said Perkins, who moved into the role of Carpinteria police chief nearly a year ago. Perkins has said repeatedly over the last year that he is working hard to get deputies patrolling downtown on foot or bicycle and encouraging events like Coffee with a Cop that help to establish connections between law enforcement and residents.
“It’s been a challenging time for law enforcement of late, across the nation, but I have to tell you I’ve received nothing but positive comments from members of the public,” he said. “We enjoy a fantastic relationship with the community.”
Since 1992, the city has contracted with Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services. The contract affords Carpinteria access to a wide range of services, such as SWAT, Bomb Squads and Aviation, that a small town police force would not be able to provide.
Some residents have criticized the city’s decision to contract with the Sheriff’s Department for its expense and for hiring deputies who don’t stay in Carpinteria long before being promoted elsewhere within the large department. Perkins pointed out to the council that he got his start in Carpinteria in 1992 and has held several positions at the local substation over the years. Kelly Moore, a former chief of police in Carpinteria, is now a South County commander, Perkins reported.
Adam Alegria was recently promoted to serve as Carpinteria’s Community Resource Deputy. His predecessor, Jeff Ornales, was promoted to detective. Upon introduction to the council, Alegria said he is honored to take on the role and eager to serve as a liaison between law enforcement and the community.
Carpinteria gives cancer the smackdown
Photos by Robin Karlsson
Relay for Life Carpinteria walloped cancer with a $66,000 right hook last weekend. The annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society exceeded its fundraising goal by $11,000 and introduced new and unique ways to raise awareness for the ubiquitous disease. Along with the traditional Relay for Life formula of team fundraising competition and 24-hour track walking, this year’s event featured giant lit-up letters spelling out “HOPE” from a foothill perch along Franklin Trail. It concluded with the Paddle Out for Hope, another well-loved local twist. In a thank you email to event Chair Nancy Garrison and other hard-working volunteers, Katharine Hanna of the American Cancer Society stated, “Without extraordinary people like you, the American Cancer Society could not continue to raise funds for lifesaving cancer research and provide local services, programs and cancer prevention education.”
Shark attack on seal keeps Jr. Guards dry
By Lea Boyd
Local lifeguards witnessed a white shark attack a seal about 40 yards off Holly beach last Friday morning, just a couple hours before about 1,000 kids were scheduled to compete in a Junior Lifeguards competition. The incident took place around 7 a.m. on July 15 as city lifeguards were preparing for the annual Carpinteria Competition.
“It was kind of a National Geographic moment,” said Morgan Youngs, Aquatics Program Director for the City of Carpinteria.
Estimated at only 7 to 8 feet in length, the shark was likely a juvenile. Warning signs were placed along the beach after the attack, and water events for the Junior Lifeguard competition were canceled. No further sightings were reported of either the seal or shark, and warning signs were removed on the morning of Tuesday, July 19.
The attack took place in front of the swim platform to the east of Holly Avenue. Youngs said he was standing on the beach watching guards on paddleboards place buoys to mark paddle and swim courses when a group of instructors near him in the sand began to shout and point toward the water. He looked out to see the shark with a bloody seal in its mouth dipping down into the water, like the second of a whale breach. Seagulls quickly flocked to the site.
Youngs said it was an exciting interaction to watch and concluded that, “It’s kind of bound to happen. There are seals and sharks in the water all the time.”
Youngs used his megaphone to tell the instructors in the water to return to the beach immediately.
Children from 10 different Junior Guard agencies arrived soon after the incident expecting to compete in water sports. Instructors held beach events exclusively and worked to maintain the kids’ enthusiasm despite their ability to hold only three of the eight scheduled events.
Youngs said that by Tuesday, the program had resumed its normal water activities. Only a few parents asked that their kids be kept out of the water.
Bluffs III needs you
by Lea Boyd
Now that the shock has worn off and the news has settled in, Carpinterians are faced with a big task related to the recent purchase of 21 acres of blufftop property on the east end of Carpinteria Avenue—raising $451,000 to truly lock it in as preserved open space. The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County closed escrow on the $6 million property last month and has shouldered responsibility for bringing in most of the remaining funds needed, but Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs is looking to the community to pitch in the nearly half million in order to put the property permanently into the hands of the public.
The land overlooking Rincon Point will cost nearly $8 million when all’s said and done. That price includes the purchase as well as closing costs, property improvements and an endowment fund to help maintain it. Before going public with the effort to acquire Bluffs III, better known as Thunderbowl to many Carpinterians, the Land Trust quietly raised $3 million from anonymous donors. Another $1 million is anticipated from county and state resource protection grants, and the Land Trust and Citizens group are hard at work to bring in the rest. In response to last month’s announcement, community members already have contributed $60,000 toward the Citizens’ $451,000 commitment.
Chet Work, Executive Director of the Land Trust, said that the goal is to raise the necessary funds within a year. Remaining enmeshed in Bluffs III fundraising any longer could limit the Land Trust’s ability to pursue its next opportunity to preserve land. Former property owner Burton Hancock Trust accepted half of the purchase price upfront and financed the rest. The Land Trust hopes to pay off the debt within a year to accrue less interest and a lower overall price.
Citizens for the Bluffs is now distributing donation cans to businesses throughout town. A few quarters, a few dollars, a few hundred dollars—it all makes a difference, said Arturo Tello, president of the group. This weekend, the Palm Loft Gallery opens an art show benefiting the Bluffs purchase, and anyone interested in organizing a fundraiser for friends and family is encouraged to do so and to begin by informing the Citizens group.
Community fundraising is necessary not only to complete the land deal, Tello said, but to give Carpinterians a sense of ownership, pride and stewardship for the new piece of public land. “We are so blessed to have the ocean and the mountains, but we need open space where we can re-create ourselves,” said Tello.
Tello, a painter whose muse is open space, was highly involved in the 1998 effort to save the XX acres of Bluffs that are now Viola Fields and the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve. The community, Tello said, uses that open space extensively and respectfully. “I think people realize that it’s a local treasure and they treat it that way,” he said.
He expects a similar relationship to develop between the community and Bluffs III, though the property needs some TLC first. Heaped with fill dirt and used as a racetrack in the mid-1900s, the vacant land to the far east of town has struggled with illegal dumping issues and neglect.
Nonetheless, both the Land Trust and Citizens share an optimistic vision for its future. “There are no unsacred spaces, only spaces that have been desecrated,” said Tello. “It’s been a little mistreated. We need to help it along a little bit and then let it be what it is; I think it will be wonderful.”
Work said plans haven’t been formalized, but he expects with habitat restoration, improved parking, construction of trail and possibly bathrooms, the property will “really shine.” Ultimately, the Land Trust hopes to transfer the preserve to the city, much as the Bluffs Nature Preserve was handed over nearly two decades ago.
Zoned for a resort, Bluffs III has been in developer crosshairs for decades. The Burton Hancock Trust owned it since the 1960s, Work said, and had entered several purchase agreements with developers in recent years. None of the plans presented proved palatable to the city. Pressure to minimize the extent of development from grassroots groups like Carpinteria Valley Association and Citizens for the Bluffs, along with heavy scrutiny by city staff and elected officials had stymied developers looking to maximize profit. Work said they’d been forced to ask themselves, “Do we execute on a purchase agreement or do we want to walk away? And they’ve ended up walking away.”
The company that held the most recent option, Work said, filed a number of extensions that frustrated the eager-to-sell owner. In situations like that—a willing seller and a supportive community—the Land Trust sees opportunity. The organization, which is dedicated to preserving open spaces that offer agriculture, scenery, recreation and/or natural habitat, was careful not to show its cards in order to avoid pushing a developer into a purchase or to driving the price above market value. Legally, as a nonprofit, a Land Trust can’t pay more for a property than its appraised value.
“We just kind of had to sit on our hands,” said Work of the Land Trust’s approach to securing Bluffs III. At the end of February, the developer failed to secure another extension, and the Land Trust made its move. It vetted the property, locked in a small number of big donors and closed escrow within 100 days.
“It’s not over,” said Work of the Land Trust’s effort to preserve the Carpinteria Bluffs. A 2.5-acre property east of the recent purchase—the elevated area that serves as a launch site for paragliders—could still become a resort, and developers are expected to submit new plans for the Tee Time property to the city soon. “We only work with willing land owners,” said Work. “Those pieces of the puzzle are not ready now.”
U12 Tritons make waves with third consecutive championship
By Clifton Jones
Carpinteria Aquatics Club’s 12-and-under mixed water polo team found its way to another championship, this time coming in Division 1 of the Ventura Youth Water Polo league in Oxnard last Saturday afternoon. Although this season marked the toughest one of the year so far, the Tritons finished the regular season 4-3.
The Tritons found a clearer road to first place thanks to the withdrawal of South Coast Red, which has a chance to play in the Junior Olympics. Carpinteria went 3-0 in the season tournament championship beating Malibu Water Polo Club 12-3, Gold Coast 15-4 and the Titans of Rio Mesa 16-4.
While co-head coach Clifton Jones (who authored this article) was away with the 18-and-under boys team at the Shaver Lake Open, co-head coach Dylan Hathaway led the Tritons through the game sweep. Hathaway said he was proud of the team’s performance on Saturday, especially after a rough start against Gold Coast in the second game of the day.
“It was definitely a team win because we had everyone there this weekend, which is big for us as a 12–and-under team,” Hathaway said. “We have a solid core of seven players that can swim, pass and shot without difficulty usually. However, this weekend was how a full 14 players play together.”
The weekend before Carpinteria lost its third game of the short summer season and the second to South Coast Red because the team lacked the core players it relies on since its inception in the fall of 2015.
Tritons on Saturday found success because of the play from everyone, but especially Mateo Handall, Donovan Hart, Brandon Rogers, Diesel Slade, Reyn Clayton, Gavin Lohuis and Coby Gonzalez.
“The difference between from South Coast Red loss and this weekend was that the kids were really fired up to be playing in the season final tournament,” Hathaway said. “I really stressed that the first game was the most important against Malibu, but it actually was against Gold Coast. We started slow and we were able to come together after some difficulties in the first quarter to beat them 15-4.”
This latest championship win for the Tritons marks its third in the last year. The team also claimed the top spot in the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016.
“It is absolutely amazing that we were able to get first place this season, especially when this team started in the fall when they first starting playing the sport together. It is pretty unheard of you … I think that it will help them as they continue to play water polo,” Hathaway said.
Council denies vacation rental exemption
By Lea Boyd
The Carpinteria City Council denied the owners of two Sandyland Road units exemption from the moratorium on new short-term rental units at the council’s meeting on July 11.
Eileen Mira and Tum Muneio, who purchased their units in Sunset Shores and La Cabana in the months leading up to the temporary law forbidding new vacation rentals in the city, pleaded for a hardship waiver in order to operate the investment properties as rentals as they’d intended upon purchase. “To date we’ve made zero on the units, and we’ve had them for almost a year,” said Mira.
Councilmembers Brad Stein and Wade Nomura once again recused themselves from the short-term rental discussion due to their spouses’ work related to local real estate. The remaining councilmembers decided that since staff’s analysis indicated that the Sandyland units could be sold for at least as much as they were purchased for, the moratorium did not come close to qualifying as a taking and the city would be acting within legal precedence.
The moratorium will remain in place only until the Coastal Commission approves the city’s permanent ordinance restricting vacation rentals, at which time property owners like Mira and Muneio can enter the lottery for a license. Currently there are 144 vacation rentals legally operating on Sandyland; the new ordinance will allow up to 177.
City to consider capital improvement financing
City debt related to the late 1980s’ construction of the Community Pool, expansion of El Carro Park, construction of city parking lot 3 and City Hall improvements will sunset in 2018, and in the coming year the council may consider issuing new certificates of participation for capital improvement projects beyond the annual budget’s means. The $2 million in proceeds from COPs issued in 1988 have been paid off in annual installments, including a $176,500 payment scheduled for this year. The city is facing major road repairs that lack funding and could be paid for through similar long-term financing.
Red curbs coming
Recommendations by the Traffic Safety Committee to add red curbs in select places throughout town were signed off on by the council. For safety’s sake, parking on the south side of Malibu Drive’s will be more restrictive soon. New red curb will be added west of Linhere Drive, west of Limu Drive and west of Tomol Drive where the Franklin Creek channel reduces driver visibility. The red curb along the west side of Linden Avenue north of Dorrance Way will also be extended.
Talking about water
Greenhouse water world: Part 1
In my May column about the water district’s show and tell concerning a proposal to upgrade the sanitation district’s purification of our waste water and the potential return of that water to our aquifer, I got my tit in a ringer with some of Carp Valley’s growers. Basically, I believe we can no longer rely on rain falling from the sky, and if that is so, to me it seems the death knell for Southern California’s reservoir system.
Therefore, all the focus now must go to the health and sustainability of our aquifer. In our valley there are many wells that are owned privately and not metered. Basically, it feels like the line between them that got and them that want is creeping ever closer.
My friend and neighbor Eduard Van Wingerden called me and asked if I’d come to his nursery called Ever-Bloom and see how intense growers’ efforts are to preserve our water. The minute my wife Caroline and I walked in the door I felt like the kid who went to a sporting goods store to buy a rowboat and found himself in an assembly plant for nuclear submarines.
The growing complex of greenhouses is almost 12 acres large, somewhere around 650,000 square feet of glass and flowers. The Van Wingerden family has been growing flowers since 1699. That was in Holland of course. In 1967 (we all thought it was heaven in ’67) four Van Wingerden brothers packed up their wives and 24 kids and moved to Carpinteria.
What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing. Perfect climate, wonderful small town, affordable agricultural land. Ed told us the choice for a Van Wingerden young man and his career was this: become a priest or become a grower. His father did Ed a huge favor. In Carp as a kid he learned to become a very successful grower, and he grew up in the land of beach bunnies.
Ed founded Ever-Bloom in 1979, and in 1984 he decided to grow gerberas exclusively. Gerbera daisies. Long stems, brilliant colors, one bloom, no leaf. Each flower as beautiful as a piece of sculpture in a world-class museum.
And Ever-Bloom flourished in the 1980s and ’90s, when the western United States still had winters and rainfall. I was working in the movie business at this time, and something crept into the industry like a devastating bark beetle or a deadly leaf-mite. It was called Canada and its money-exchange rate. All of a sudden the work went north (first time I heard “More bang for the buck!”), our patriotic corporate leaders gave us worker bees the sad-eye, ‘Sorry but business is about bottom-line and profit, we’re on our way to Toronto and Vancouver. And you can’t come.’ If you were around LA during this time, you watched the communities near the studios start to dry up, the restaurants and shops and services that depended on the TV and film industry fold.
The same thing is happening today in the Gerbera daisy business. Same two cities: Vancouver and Toronto. The Canadian dollar is worth between 20 and 30 cents more than the U.S. dollar. Canadian flowers sell for a little less than U.S. flowers, and the growers make substantially more than our growers.
Canadian product is good, and Ed’s East Coast accounts aren’t lying when they say Canada’s product is cheaper.
Ed Van Wingerden sees himself as a glass half full person. As an entrepreneur he sees a problem and he goes right at it as though his livelihood depends on it. And usually it does. And Canada is not the only problem he’s sword fighting with these days. California is committed to a gradual increase in the minimum wage (a living wage that is), and Ed is as just and kind as any man around here, but in the 1980s his payroll was 20 percent of expenses, and today it’s closer to 52 percent.
The Affordable Care Act has also greatly strained his bottom line. He believes we all deserve a certain level of guaranteed health care. Many business people I know agree, but many feel this law was just a giveaway to the insurance pirates.
And of course the real scary voice in this business is water. You can’t grow anything without that. Especially not 650,000 square feet of flowers.
Next month this column will get into the battle for survival for Ed and the other flower growers in the valley. Hydroponics. A closed-system for water. Everything is cleaned, repurposed, recycled.
And the embrace of robotics. Until then, stay calm and cool this summer.
Steve Nicolaides was born and raised in Southern California. He has two granddaughters in the west, and he’s determined to understand and help fix our very serious water problems.
Filing period for local elected officials opens
There’s more going in this fall’s election than the omnipresent Trump versus Clinton Presidential showdown. Each of five local governing boards handling city government, schools, sewers, fire protection and water has seats up for a vote this November. The filing period to run for election begins July 18 and ends August 12. For the Carpinteria City Council race, paperwork should be pulled at Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave. For the other four school and special district boards, paperwork can be pulled at the Santa Barbara County Elections Office, 4440-A Calle Real, Santa Barbara.
In the event that no incumbent files for reelection in any of the races, the deadline to enter is extended to Aug. 17 for non-incumbent candidates.
The following council and board seats are up for election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Carpinteria City Council
Carpinteria Unified School District
Terry Hickey Banks (Trustee area #1)
Alicia Morales Jacobson (Trustee area #1)
Jaclyn Fabre (Trustee area #2, Summerland)
Carpinteria Sanitary District
Gerald B. Velasco
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District
Alfred “Bill” Taff
Christopher D. Johnson
Carpinteria Valley Water District
June Van Wingerden
Danger: yarn blast zone: Arts Center gets wonderful woolen makeover
Photos by David Powdrell
Months of handiwork by scores of crafty people went into the Yarn Blast installed at the Carpinteria Arts Center last weekend. The spectacular work of art will be celebrated on Saturday, July 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. with a grand opening and reception at the Arts Center, 855 Linden Ave. Arts Center Board Co-Chair David Powdrell photographed the installation and noted that local artist Zoe Iverson led the project and involved over 125 people in the artwork. “More importantly, from my perspective, was the look in the eyes of the people passing by on Linden Avenue,” Powdrell said. “They were watching art unfold. Every person that went by stopped, pondered, thought, questioned, discussed or simply admired the color and whimsical magic that was unfolding. That's what great art does.”
IBC turns 15 with flair
Just like their beers, the folks at Island Brewing Company like to put on events brimming with originality. Last week’s 15th anniversary met and exceeded that expectation. Starting Friday and bubbling right through Sunday afternoon, the three-day celebration of local brews made many beer drinkers very hoppy. Highlights of the anniversary party included Polynesian dancers, Japanese Taiko Drummers, VIP Beer Tastings and a conch shell blowing contest.
Making merry at St. Joe’s
Photos by Joshua Curry
The typically quiet field beside Saint Joseph Catholic Church became the epicenter of fun last weekend when the switch flipped on the colorful lights, big sounds and gut-dropping thrills of the annual carnival. The church’s largest yearly fundraiser served as a magnet for the kid population of Carpinteria and also attracted adults looking to cut a rug, eat handmade food, win games and tip one back in the beer garden. Photographer Joshua Curry pointed his camera at the fun and festivities on Friday, June 8 to bring readers this selection of magic moments.
2016 Rio Olympics: Go USA Water Polo from the Carpinteria Aquatics Club Tritons
Carpinteria Aquatics Club
The men's and women's US National Water Polo teams voted this video, entered into competition by Carpinteria Aquatics Club, the most motivational ahead of the Olympics. Top prize earned the club $2,500. Coach Matt Organista wrote, directed and edited the award-winning flick.
Saving the rest of the Bluffs
By Peter Dugré
Open space advocates scored a knock out punch over developers this week. Prime Carpinteria coastal property long coveted by hotel builders was acquired this week by The Land Trust of Santa Barbara County in a move that will protect the property—known as Bluffs III to city planners and Thunderbowl to locals—from development, announced the Land Trust at a June 15 onsite press conference.
The 21 acres overlooking Rincon and currently consisting of dirt bike scars and patchy vegetation stretching from Rincon Engineering in the bluffs business park to nearly the east end of Carpinteria Avenue was purchased for $6 million, of which half has already been raised, but the Land Trust together with Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs is fundraising for the remainder plus another nearly $2 million for improvements and longterm maintenance.
Land Trust Executive Director Chet Work characterized the acquisition as monumentally important considering the dearth of undeveloped coastal land remaining between Goleta and Ventura. Development plans for the property have come before the city several times over the past decade, most recently for a 162-room hotel, two restaurants and a conference center, but few have made it even to conceptual hearings owing to groups like Citizens for the Bluffs scrutinizing plans which were generally considered too large and incompatible with the small beach town.
“We constantly call developers informing them if they’re sick of the process we’re willing to buy the property,” Work said. “Another buyer fell out of contract, and we were prepared and lucky, really. We were waiting. That’s what we do.”
After the opportunity arose to purchase the property, which includes all of the easternmost portion of the bluffs other than uppermost 2.5 acres, private anonymous donors kicked in $3 million for the purchase. The former property owner, Burton Hancock Trust, provided a loan for the remainder of the money to the Land Trust. “The purchase is closed subject to the loan. We’re on the hook to pay it off and need to work with the community to find those funds,” Work said.
Arturo Tello, President of Citizens for the Bluffs, said he and the group, which spearheaded the 1998 acquisition of the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, “could not be more ecstatic.”
“If you consider the long term, it’s going to be there for generations to come. When there’s more development infill in Carpinteria, it’s going to be even more important to have access to open space,” Tello said. A painter and curator of Palm Lofts Gallery, Tello said he has spent more and more time at the property painting and walking since the quiet campaign to purchase it began months ago. “People use it quite a bit. There’s a lot to be done. People certainly are going to need to step up and put their money where their muse is,” he said.
Overall, the Land Trust estimates it will need $7.9 million to complete the purchase, improve the property and start an endowment fund for future maintenance. So far, $3 million has been donated plus another $2 million in pledges. Additionally an estimated $1 million in grant funding could be available for the acquisition, leaving $1.5 million in need. Citizens for the Bluffs and the Land Trust will work to raise the funds and both expressed confidence that it can be done in similar fashion to the acquisition of the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve in 1998, when $4.5 million was raised in four months. Work commented that the deadline for raising the remaining funds is ASAP since the loan is accruing interest.
The Land Trust delivered a letter to the City of Carpinteria prior to closure of its acquisition to ask for the city to accept the 21 acres as a gift in the same way that the city was gifted the Carpinteria Bluffs as a conservation easement. City Manager Dave Durflinger commented that the city council would review the request in a private session on June 13. The Land Trust has also asked the city to partner with it on grant writing that could raise $1 million toward the purchase.
Pending fundraising, Bluffs III could prove to be a key portion of the Coastal Vista Trail, a grouping of trails along the Carpinteria coastline currently composed of disjointed segments. Eventually, the city and county plan to create a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks between the bluffs and Rincon County Park.
Tello said that in addition to the open space adding to Carpinteria’s recreational offerings, preserving the property from resort development spares the community from negative impacts like traffic congestion and air pollution. “Even though there won’t be revenue from a development, those things never pay for themselves. Nobody had come up with a proposal that made sense for Carpinteria,” Tello said.
“The Bluffs and Franklin Trail and now this are such a resource for our bodies and souls,” Tello said.