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Another Green Idea for Santa Barbara: Rent a Tree

Be sustainable and rent a living, reusable holiday tree from Goleta Valley Beautiful (GVB). GVB grows over 2000 trees at their Devereux Growing Grounds. This holiday, you can rent a tree before they plant it in a public park, street or school. The trees are not pruned to a pyramid shape, well, some are, but please consider decorating with a tree that you don’t have to throw out after the holidays. Return it and they will plant it for a long, sustainable future. You can rent one during December for only a $25 donation. For an additional $10, they drop it off and pick it up.  Call 685-7910 to order your tree.

Out of the Darkness: Bike

By Cheri Rae

Driving down dimly lit Garden Street, the cyclist suddenly appeared, pedaling against traffic in the far right of the lane my car occupied. Dressed in black without a single light or bit of reflective material, the biker was barely illuminated by my headlights as I drove past, and the cyclist continued on, oblivious, I suspect to the proximity to split-second, life-changing tragedy.

Too close for comfort.
Too frightening to bear.

All the abstract talk about multi-modal transportation can’t compete with pure stupidity that’s seen on the road every day. There, I’ve said it.

I’m a careful driver, sick of returning home after a simple errand with heart pounding, hands shaking, and mind reeling about what might have happened.

It’s a three-ring circus out there these days. Everyone —drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders—is texting, phoning, yelling, applying make-up, shaving, eating meals, sipping coffee, flirting, flipping each other off, ignoring traffic signals, confused about right-of-way, and zooming around as if in the moment there is something far more important to do than pay attention to getting from Point A to Point B. All this multi-tasking on the move can have permanent consequences. And this is without considering mind-altering substances all too often in the mix.

I guess it’s the mom in me that sees potential danger in so many situations: The unhelmeted heads of cyclists and skateboarders who still manage to insert earbuds. They can hear their favorite tunes, but not the vehicles right behind them. The parents who put their strollers in the street while they check their phones and wait for the light to change, with vulnerable baby sitting closer to traffic than makes any sense at all. Whole families running across the street against the light—instilling scofflaw behavior, if not terror—in their little ones.

Yes, the City needs to act to install safety measures in well-known trouble spots. There are plenty of places where the citizens want—and need—traffic lights, crosswalks and better lighting. Maybe they could even produce a few television shows on that city channel to raise awareness about bike safety; the value of reflective tape and flashlights and the rules of the road that apply to all of us.

At the same time, all of us need to slow down, think and behave differently—and become more conscious of how little behaviors become habits and lead to the kind of unconscious chaos that reigns right now.

Nothing can replace common sense in movement from place to place. We owe that to ourselves, our families and lived ones, and our community at large. Please be safe out there; for all our sakes.

New County Employee Leaves her Mark

Santa Barbara County’s new assistant CEO, Renee Bahl, likes to leave her mark… a decade ago, Bahl carved her name in a historic adobe wall at the San Rafael Ranch in Santa Cruz County. At the time,  Bahl was assigned to protect historic resources. Take a look at the photo of how nicely she carved her name! So, if you see Renee walking around the Santa Barbara Mission, be sure  keep an eye on her.


A Good View Spoiled

The construction of 115 condos by Cottage Hospital has created quite a mess on Santa Barbara’s Upper East Side… and their newly-installed, super-sized utility pole is blocking some previously-spectacular views. Santa Barbara View has the pictures.

A Green Idea for Santa Barbara?

This weekend, the city of Los Angeles continued its efforts to make the downtown area more bike-friendly with bright green pavement coloring. A 6-foot wide green strip was painted along a 1.5-mile-long bike lane on Spring Street. Pavement colorization has been used in Europe, and various U.S. cities, including New York, and San Francisco.

How a Hyper-Local Online Magazine Exposed a Cover-up and Made National News

Our friends in Fullerton recently broke the Kelly Thomas story and made national news. Friend’s for Fullerton’s Future, gained a following as they exposed the mismanagement of Fullerton by former City Manager, James L. Armstrong. Armstrong is now Santa Barbara’s highest-paid employee—he makes more than the Governor of California.

The goal of their online magazine is to hold elected representatives accountable for their actions, a vision shared by Santa Barbara View. Even though this video is a little long, eight minutes, it’s timely as “bloggers” expose corruption and brutality within the Fullerton Police Department while the conventional media went along with the cover-up.

Anna’s Snack Time

Santa Barbara Photo of the Week by Bill Heller

Last weekend the Hummingbirds were very busy at the local nurseries. This girl (an Anna’s Hummingbird) in particular was spending a lot of time at her favorite flowers. She was not particularly excited to have me there at first. But it was easy to see she really loved these flowers, some kind of South African Lily I believe. So all I had to do was get a step closer each time she came by, and she eventually was pretty comfortable with me.

-Bill Heller


Black Friday, whether named for the traffic jams and headaches caused by shopping frenzy or from pushing businesses into profitable territory, also begins a season of tremendous food waste, with Thanksgiving cleanup heading it off.

Nearly 50 million turkeys were bought this past week, slaughtered 10 – 18 weeks after hatching. Okay fine, Thanksgiving is a wonderfully communing and delicious day, and we Americans love turkey. But what of the waste?

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Santa Barbara Garden Post

A Little about Onions, a LOT about GARLIC!

Onions: Are sensitive to temperature and day length, photothermoperiodic! Whew! They start bulbing only after enough daylight for a certain number of days. To avoid bolting, in SoCal we need to plant seeds of short day onions in fall, or intermediate varieties in late winter. Most sets are long-day types and won’t work. Plant Grano, Granex, & Crystal Wax seeds in the ground Nov 1 to Nov 10, or bare root in January. Granex stores a little better, all of them are sweet like Vidalia and Maui. If you miss this window, plant intermediate onions in Feb. Onion seeds sprout very easily!

Garlic LOVERS, if your garlic plants haven’t been as vibrant and robust as these in the image, really amend your soil, put them in full sun, feed them! Sometimes add a tad boron and zinc to give them great taste! Give them ample drainage and 24” deep watering.

Garlic is in the genes, I mean, the lily family, related to chives and onions. So pretty! Did you know roses make more pungent perfume, and more perfume, when interplanted with garlic and onions?! Tuck some garlic in among your other flowers and veggies, but NOT with your legumes! Like onions, garlic stunts peas and beans.

Research indicates garlic aids in lowering cholesterol, reducing cardiovascular disease, cancer prevention, relieving cold and flu symptoms.

Planting in the November/December will produce bigger cloves, but you can also plant garlic in the early spring – who can resist more fresh garlic?! Gilroy CA, 30 miles south of San Jose, just up the road from Santa Barbara, is called The Garlic Capital of the World! Gilroy’s Christopher Ranch was, and remains, the largest shipper of garlic in the world! Take note that the 2012 Gilroy Garlic Festival will be July 27, 28, and 29th! So their prime festival garlic roses had be growing all winter and spring! Count that backwards 7 months, and you have a Dec planting! That means they have more daylight growing time after Winter Solstice as the days lengthen, and more growing time during warmer months! Makes sense, yes?! Garlic takes time – a long growing season and plenty of sun. Be warned that overcast coastal weather may not go well with your garlic aspirations. Also, pause, do you want to tie up that sunny land that long for such a small return? Less insects, no vampires? Ok, read on. Some traditionally plant, not in late October, early November, but on Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, for harvest on the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice, or in July! Your garlic will grow slowly all ‘winter,’ making huge bulbs! It likes the cooler moist weather, and freezes are good for it! You just have to be willing to feed them fat, and wait for them!

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