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The Santa Barbara Garden Post

Weekly Column by Cerena Childress – Sustainability, Eating Fresh and Organic

gardenpostApril 15, 2011 I had my first encounter with a huge male carpenter bee – see image!  Awesome!  They are all fuzzy and yellow (not all black like the females), sometimes called Teddy Bear Bees, and I could totally see why!  They hover closely and look you right in the eye, buzz off and come back for another look!  They are the largest bees found in California, don’t sting.  What a pollinator!

May Magic in Your Garden, it’s Cantaloupe Time!!

Keep planting your summer veggies and year-arounds!  If you haven’t put in the summer heat lovers, do it NOW!  That’s peppers, eggplant, okra, melons.  Absolutely get winter squash in now.  It takes time to mature and harden.  Beans, beets, carrots, chayote, corn, cucs, summer lettuce varieties, pumpkins, radish, zuchs, chard, tomatoes, more tomatoes, turnips!  Omigod, I’m hungry!

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EcoFacts: Fantastic Fungi

Weekly Column by Barbara Hirsch

Outside of the psychedelic and culinary worlds, mushrooms have not had much visibility, both figuratively and literally. They tend to grow in dank, dark places like little gnomes, but it is not apparent what super productive gnomes they are, with their massive underground networks of strands – mycelia – that create the healthy soils which give life.

mushroomsThe mushroom kingdom really is a fantastical one.  There are thousands of species in many shapes and sizes.  To eat, they can be delectable, poisonous, or powerfully medicinal. But they themselves will feed off the nastiest stuff acting as biological filters, and as such are incredible tools for bioremediation. So incredible, they have their own noun – mycoremediation. Paul Stamets, mycologist extraordinaire, believes that mushrooms will save the earth. His studies have proven that their talents are just beginning to be discovered. As organisms that thrive on hydrocarbons (e.g. oil), ecoli and other bacteria, rendering them all harmless, can rid a home of termites or carpenter ants, are antiviral and antimicrobial, can be used to make fuel, and are all around habitat restorers, maybe they will save the earth!

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Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market and California Lime Pie Recipe

By Georgina Stassi – Food, Wine, & Travel

rootsI went to our local Certified California Farmer’s Market this week. The colors of California’s Spring bounty were breathtaking. The sweet carrots were in a rainbow of colors: purple, orange, yellow and white. The daikon radishes were bursting out of their opalescent skins just ready to be sliced up, salted and accompanied by a good, artisan California beer like Firestone brews. The market’s horticulturalist was busy assisting his patrons to pick out their seedlings. It seems as though everyone was motivated to begin their vegetable gardens in anticipation of warmer days to come. Another great thing to see was how many shoppers rode their bikes to the market. It was a cheerful sight seeing their bicycle baskets overflowing with carrot tops and the last of the season’s fresh lilacs. This mode of transportation seems to be a growing healthy trend.

applesMr. Ha was their with his crispy apples from Hong’s Organic Apple Farm in Tehachapi. He still has some of his most flavorful varietals available. It’s almost heartbreaking to know that soon these apples will be sold out, but comforting to know that we can then embark on enjoying California stone fruit such as cherries, nectarines, plums, apricots and peaches.

pieThe crucifers are still rich in color, flavor and form as well as the citrus in it’s glory. I bought twelve limes for my California Lime Pie which is very similar to a Key Lime Pie. You could actually use this recipe with any citrus to make a California Citrus Pie too. This recipe makes 2 – 9 inch pies. I top one with the Sour Creme Topping and one with Meringue Topping :

My California Lime Pie Recipe:

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Santa Barbara Gas Check

gascheckThe surge of gasoline prices in Santa Barbara County continues… a gallon of regular gasoline has climbed near the $4.50 mark locally.

California’s all-time average high is reportedly $4.588, although in June, 2008 $4.95 a gallon gas was spotted in Montecito. California is one of six states with gasoline averaging more than $4 a gallon.

Santa Barbara’s Area of Contamination


Dear Santa Barbara View:


Heal the Ocean has been working on this problem for years.

The attached (below) Google map shows an outline of contaminated properties in SB waterfront area, made by Heal the Ocean, piecing together reports of contaminated soils and groundwater. This is only a start, because since we started this research we have the findings of Cheri Rae re: 617 Garden Street, we know about Artisan Court on Cota Street, and since we made this map we have discovered the locations of old burn dumps beneath Ortega Park and Santa Barbara Junior High School. The actual landfill operated by the City on the lower east side is 132 Garden Street, at the corner of Garden Street and 101 south onramp. The landfill materials were discovered by a City-hired engineering firm, whose report HTO has.
Hillary Hauser, executive director

Adding up the Costs: 617 Garden Street

Special Investigative Series: “A Building on Garden Street”
By Cheri Rae

It’s a building scheme that began with a plan that the public hears a lot these days: redevelop an old area of town with a brand-new project to provide affordable housing for the needy or for downtown workers, along with office space and parking.

Financing for such projects typically comes from a combination of (mostly governmental) sources, including Redevelopment Agency funds.

And so it was with the 113,000 square-foot, 51-unit publicly funded, mixed-use building at 617 Garden Street in Santa Barbara, designed as a “healthy, healing community” to house individuals with mental illness and downtown workers, as well as to provide offices and parking for city workers. Monies for the project came from several individuals and non-profits plus federal, state and city coffers.

The project’s developer, the Mental Health Association, is itself mostly government funded. According to IRS reports from 2008, some 96.8 percent of the organization’s budget came from public funds.

By 2008, the project had already cost $27.15 million. The City of Santa Barbara’s Redevelopment Agency contributed $6.3 million. It also donated a parking lot (in order to utilize new parking spaces at the new building) and purchased a condominium in the building for $1,164,145.00. (The condo is designated as office space for the Water Division; as yet, it is unoccupied and construction work continues to this day.)

A source close to City Hall revealed that substantial development fees were waived for the developer.

“With all those waterproofing repairs, including the ones still on-going, the cost to taxpayers of that building must be well north of $30 million,” calculated one Santa Barbara real estate expert familiar with the financing of the City’s subsidized housing developments.
water in basement

By way of comparison, the purchase price of the huge St. Francis Hospital, complete with a large parking lot and 7 acres on Santa Barbara’s Riviera, was only $18 million, the local expert pointed out.

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Why I Believe in the Santa Barbara View

PNava_smSanta Barbara View is the first place I go to get fair, unbiased information about what’s going on in Santa Barbara. Take the recent story by Cheri Rae, a City public financed construction project hauling contaminated material to an unknowing residential project in Oxnard. This is a scandal with serious repercussions and it took the Santa Barbara View to break the story. Congratulations on a job well done.”
– Pedro Nava

You can help keep investigative reporting alive in Santa Barbara, California.

No Texting While… Bicycling?

Nothing stirs the pot in Santa Barbara like protocols for bicyclists and a bill  just passed the California State Senate, by a vote of 24-12, that fines bicyclists who text while riding. Under the current proposal, bicyclists would:

  • Face a $20 fine for the first offense
  • Face a $50 for each additional offense

This bill also makes it illegal for bicyclists to talk on a hand-held cell phone while riding. Not everyone is pleased… “Bicyclists are a marginalized group that needs more rights, not less,” said the owner of a bike shop. “Everything about how our streets and sidewalks are set up favor cars. This is only going to be one more obstacle for someone who uses their bicycle for transportation.”

Payroll Woes: Study of the Santa Barbara School Districts Released

We’ll have to forgive the glaring misspelling on the front page of the School District’s website—the word “extentions” rather than “extensions”—because there are more important matters at hand.


Namely, the release of yet-another study commissioned to determine what’s going wrong in a school district department. The Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) report this time is a “Payroll Management Review.

The report, dated March 31, 2011, is scheduled to be delivered at tonight’s School Board meeting at 9:00.

The Executive Summary notes, “The work flow, the integrity of the payroll data and reporting, meeting of payroll deadlines, and communication with other departments and employees has been lacking.”

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