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Playing Games with Sports Blackouts

Dear Editor:
It’s bad enough for Dodgers fans who can’t watch the Boys in Blue here in Santa Barbara, because Cox doesn’t have a contract with Time Warner Cable to carry their games. It was especially bad this week, when the Dodgers played the Giants. But hockey fans were out of luck, too, as the USA station carrying the Stanley Cup Playoffs was just a blue screen with a message on it.


West Downtown Neighborhood Clean-up‏

By Sharon Byrne

Saturday, about 25 neighbors took to the streets of West Downtown: Haley, Chapala, Bath, Gutierrez and De La Vina. The team was led by Mark Gisler of the Salvation Army (‘the Sally) and myself. We picked up 40 bags of trash and weeds, cleared overgrown brush, and wiped off graffiti. We also weed-whacked a bunch of foliage, that was acting as cover for drug use and public inebriation in the area. We bagged 30+ bags of trash (!) and dragged furniture, shopping carts, and tree limbs to the curb. Afterwards, we ate a lunch at the Sally donated by Happy’s Autobody, International Autohaus, and the Sally.

The equipment was provided by the City of Santa Barbara’s Looking Good program. Councilman Frank Hotchkiss was part of the graffiti crew at 8 AM. Councilman Gregg Hart came by to view the results and thank everyone at lunch after the clean-up.


Photo credits, Sharon Byrne and the Salvation Army’s Sharon Kerr.

Running the Gauntlet

Local Views of Santa Barbara by Dan Seibert

I joke with my friends that I live 137 steps from JJ’s Liquor, it might be 144. Regardless, it’s very close. This evening I needed a Tecate refill and stepped out on the sidewalk, was almost run over by four youths on skateboards.  Whew, glad they weren’t on bikes.

As I turned into the driveway of JJ’s I saw a trio of regulars on the side. Shoot. I know these people and I feel for them. All they want is to drink. I didn’t want to enable so I turned and quickly crossed Montecito street with the green light. 7/Eleven is my second choice but this time it was overrun. 1, 2, 3… 5, omg, 7 people in front. Right underneath the signs that say no loitering.

Anyway, I got my brew, didn’t make eye contact with anyone and walked home. Then I grabbed my camera and walked back to document everything.

One more episode of my Santa Barbara View.


Earth Day, A Santa Barbara Story


Earth Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson following a trip he took to the Central Coast where he witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The Senator was so outraged by what he saw that he went back to Washington and helped pass a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. An estimated one in 10 Americans took part in the first Earth Day, observed across the country on April 22, 1970. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

Happy 233rd Birthday Santa Barbara!

Today marks the 233rd anniversary of the Founding of El Real Presidio and the City of Santa Barbara by his Majesty King Carlos III of Spain.

El Presidio de Santa Bárbara was the birthplace of Santa Barbara and home to the original founding ceremony, held on April 21, 1782.

There will be a two-day celebration this weekend which will include three events: Candlelight Dinner in the Historic Presidio Chapel, Founding Day Festival, and Rancho Roundup.  The candlelight dinner in the Historic Presidio Chapel has never been done before and will be a once-in-a-lifetime evening… for more information, CLICK HERE.

EcoFacts: Juicy Flesh, Butter on Our Toast‏

Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

No one wants their meat bony and dry, at least the animals themselves and those who eat them don’t. The point being, in the words of a favorite eco writer –  “It takes a lot of water to grow and feed a large mammal, and yet more water to cut it up into small pieces and clean up the mess.” Besides beef and pork, the raising and processing of our poultry and of our dairy cattle for our milk, butter and cheese are also water intensive. Growing alfalfa here uses more water than cash crop almonds, and most of it goes to dairy cows.

ecocattleHow much water? California, behind only Texas, uses between 100 and 250 million gallons of water PER DAY of freshwater withdrawals for livestock production – 47% of all water used in California. In short, most of all of the water used in agriculture in the state is for meat and dairy.  A pound of beef took at least 1600 gallons of water, some estimates run much higher. A half pound burger required the equivalent of tens of showers (at 2-4 gallons per minute).

21% of the country’s milk comes from California and dairy farmers are struggling in this drought. Estimates do vary but some say it takes 109 gallons of water to produce one stick of butter, 683 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk. (Soy or coconut milk wins in the milk category, using the least.)

Clearly vegetarians and vegans win with their water footprints.

Thanks to reader Susan for inspiring this research!

Satwiwa: Hike In the Steps of the Chumash

Column by Outdoor Editor John McKinney, aka The Trailmaster, follow on Facebook.
Satwiwa offers a chance to explore a place where Chumash walked for thousands of years before Europeans arrived on the scene. I hiked this little spread in the western Santa Monica Mountains recently just after reading “TIQSLO’W: The Making of a Modern Day Chief” (Amethyst Moon Publishing) by Mary Louise Contini Gordon.

It’s an “ethnographic biography” of a Native American Chief, better known as Charlie Cooke (1935-2013) and tells the story of an unassuming truck driver who devoted his life to preserving his Chumash heritage and sharing it with others. The author presents a lively and detailed account of Cooke’s activism and successful efforts to create a living museum, Satwiwa, to celebrate Native American Indian culture. Especially intriguing is the story of how Cooke, with limited schooling, acquired a deep knowledge of the history and ways of his people and shared it with others.

I remember taking Cooke’s guided walks at Satwiwa. Cooke showed how the Chumash ate the delectable purple pears from the prickly pear cactus without getting a mouth full of thorns. He explained how acorns were gathered, leached, ground into mush and prepared for cooking.

Rancho-SV-Satwiwa-lodgeHe pointed out the seeds, roots, bulbs, berries and black walnuts that made up the Chumash diet. Birds, deer and squirrels were caught year round. Fish and shellfish from Mugu Lagoon and from the Santa Barbara Channel also provided a major food source.

It was this abundant food supply that helped the Chumash become the largest Indian tribal group in California at the time of Cabrillo’s arrival in 1542. Chumash territory ranged from Topanga Canyon near the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains, all the way up the coast to San Luis Obispo, and out to the Channel Islands.

“A lot of visitors are really surprised to learn of the extent of Chumash settlement,” Cooke told me on a hike through Satwiwa. “And they’re even more surprised to meet a living Chumash.”

A visitor center and guest speakers help moderns learn the habits of birds and animals, the changes the seasons bring, and gain insight into the ceremonies that kept—and still keep—the Chumash bonded to the earth.

The name of this park site, Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa reflects its history as both a longtime (1870s-1970s) horse and cattle ranch and ancestral land of the Chumash. Satwiwa means “The Bluffs” and was the name of a Chumash settlement located at this end of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Rancho-SV-satwiwa-centerThe National Park Service prefers to call Satwiwa a culture center rather than a museum in order to keep the emphasis on living Native Americans. Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center is open Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is staffed by a Native American guest host or ranger ready to answer questions about culture, history or the nearby trail system.

The park service decided not to interpret the loop trail through Satwiwa with plant ID plaques and brochures; instead of the usual natural history lessons, it’s hoped that hikers will come away with a more spiritual experience of the land.

From the parking lot, Satwiwa Loop Trail is about 2 miles round trip with 200-foot elevation gain. If you’d like to extend the hike, I recommend hitting the trail to Big Sycamore Waterfall, 5.6 miles round trip or continuing along the From parking area, add 0.5 mile round trip to all hikes.

Directions: From Highway 101 in Newbury Park, exit on Wendy Drive and head south a short mile to Borchard Road. Turn right and travel 0.5 mile to Reino Road. Turn left and proceed 1.2 miles to Lynn Road, turn right and continue another 1.2 miles to the park entrance road (Via Goleta) on the south side of the road opposite the Dos Vienta housing development. The paved park road passes an equestrian parking area on the right and a small day use parking lot on the left before dead-ending at a large parking lot 0.7 miles from Lynn Road.

Photo Captions: Hike in the footsteps of the Chumash at Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa in the Santa Monica Mountains. Satwiwa, the ancestral land of the Chumash, in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Learn about the Chumash and other tribes at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center.

Miramar Project Moves Forward

The Miramar Beach Resort and Bungalows project got the green light this week… “Caruso Affiliated is extremely pleased that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in support of our moving forward with the proposed plan for The Miramar Beach Resort. We are confident that we will be able to build a resort that not only echoes the great heritage of The Miramar, but also one that the Montecito community will be proud to call its own. We thank the community for its continuous support and look forward to breaking ground in 2016 and opening our doors in 2018.” Vintage views of the glory years below.

Art Critics: The Summer Solstice Poster

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Earth Day and Old Spanish Days/ Fiesta posters get a lot of attention around town, so here’s the 2015 Summer Solstice poster for the many art critics. It was created by local artists Stacie Bouffard and Pali-X-Mano.

PS: The 2105 Summer Solstice theme is “Sci-fi”.