Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch

woodpulpSome of our clothing is made with fabric that is both synthetic and natural. The fundamental substance is wood pulp, which is then synthesized through a chemical process.  This process, of extruding filaments into thread from a highly viscous, or viscose solution of dissolved cellulose (also used to make cellophane before the advent of plastics), was first developed in the 19th century. The American Viscose Company began producing this material in 1910.   The soft and shiny stuff was sometimes called artificial silk because of its similarities to the natural stuff, for which silk worms did the work, extruding their own viscous saliva.

Rayon became the common name and in recent years other varieties and trade names have emerged, such as Lyocell and Tencel, Modal,  and Danufil.  Bamboo based fabrics require the same processes in its manufacture.  Environmentally speaking, these are unfriendly, even by the Federal Trade Commission’s standards, using “harsh chemicals that release hazardous air pollution.” Sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide are two of these, with associated harmful effects on rayon workers and the factory environment. Lyocell and Tencel are preferred, as their process is less toxic and closed loop, meaning that the chemicals are recovered and reused rather than disposed of.

The methods and sustainability of growing and harvesting the wood for these fabrics is another factor. FSC cerified (Forest Stewardship Council)  eucalyptus is used for Tencel, and as we’ve all heard, fast growing bamboo – most grown in China – can also be extremely sustainable, but perhaps it is better utilized in buildings and flutes, rather than in our t-shirts and sheets.

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Santa Barbara Person(s) of the Week

personsThis week, the  Santa Barbara Writers Conference came back. And according to all accounts, it was a successful return. Before declaring for bankruptcy in 2008, the conference had been a part of the Santa Barbara community since 1973.  In June of 2010,  The Santa Barbara Writers Conference was purchased by Monte Schulz, the Santa Barbara son of the late “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.  For bringing back this community jewel and for a great event,  Schulz and his fiancee, Nicole Starczak, the Conference Director, are Santa Barbara View’s Persons of the Week.

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Vintage Views of Santa Barbara

From the Thomas Schmidt collection… Old Franklin School, corner of Montecito and N. Nopal, Circa 1910. The building still there!

Photo Credit for Vintage Series: Early Santa Barbara Photos taken by J W Collinge and other Santa Barbara photographers. Solely for use on the Santa Barbara View.

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Pointless Plastic: Rethink the Drink

A video message (below) from the Santa Barbara Community Environmental Council

Americans buy nearly half a BILLION bottles of water every WEEK. More than 17 million barrels of oil are used each year to transport bottled water to our stores — enough to fuel one million vehicles for a year. Despite being recyclable, most bottled water is consumed ‘on the go’ and fewer than 30% of the bottles are recycled. The rest end up in landfills or as trash in storm drains, watersheds and the ocean.
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Another Local Business Shuttered

From Russ’ Camera to Video Schmideo and Blue Bee, “mom and pop” stores have been disappearing from Santa Barbara’s downtown landscape. Now comes word that Santa Barbara City Councilman Grant House is closing his sewing machine shop – Grant House Sewing Machines – after 30+ years in business. In a related note, H&M – a Swedish retail-clothing chain – opened in Paseo Nuevo today.

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Santa Barbara City Council Straw Poll

Even though City Councilman Randy Rowse told the Santa Barbara Independent, “I have zero plans to run in November… I do not have plans to be a politician,” Mr. Rowse will hold a press conference today to launch his campaign.

With Rowse officially in, most expect a clean showdown between three conservative incumbents and three liberal challengers. However, sources have additional candidates ready to declare once the filing period opens in July. But before the City Council race becomes convoluted, how about a straw poll?

[poll id="20"]

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Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Launch

An unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off from Vandenberg Airforce Base yesterday… below is the always anticipated launch video.

Not everyone was pleased with the test flight from Santa Barbara, California. “The launch demonstrates that, in spite of proclamations by the Obama administration of the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world, the United States is sending a clear and expensive message that it continues to be reliant on nuclear weapons,” said David Krieger, President of the Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
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Clark Estate to Become Art Museum

The cliff-side home of Huguette Clark is to become an art museum, according to Clark’s will. The heiress, who died last month at the age of 104, said her famous Santa Barbara home, known as Bellosguardo or “beautiful view,”  should be open to the public… housing her valuable collection of paintings, books, and musical  instruments. “It is in this beautiful seaside setting, with its formal gardens and grand galleries displaying magnificent artwork not seen for many decades, that Mrs. Clark’s passion and inner being will come to life,” said Clark’s lawyer Wednesday.

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Santa Barbara Home Burglaries Rising

theftscreenHome invasions in the city of Santa Barbara are on the rise, according to local police officers. “We’re outnumbered,” said one officer who estimated that reports of home invasions have jumped from 10 a month to 10 a week. A review spot crime shows that all Santa Barbara neighborhoods have been affected by theft, burglaries, and vandalism. The thieves are using a wide variety of tactics (see video below), so stay vigilant… local citizens have to do a lot more to make this stop.
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Neighborhood Crime: What You Can Do

By Cheri Rae

cheriA neighborhood isn’t just a bunch of houses—it’s a group of people who share common interests and have managed to learn to live and work together for the good of all. In my neighborhood, we’re uniquely bound by an affinity for the comfort of the Craftsman style—and more universally in the desire for a clean, attractive, and most of all safe place to live.

We stay in communication in front yards and at kitchen tables, through our e-mail group and with our monthly meetings. This month, our chairperson Leslee Sipress invited a representative from the Police Department to offer expertise on what more we can do to keep person and property safe and secure in our neighborhood. The minutes from that meeting, addressing the officer’s information, were compiled by good neighbor Joe Rution and used with permission. The information below is helpful for every neighborhood throughout the city—since we’re all in this together.

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Santa Barbara Redevelopment Funds to be Used for Homeless Outreach Workers

Even after acknowledging that, “the Governor released his Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Revision which maintains his original proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies“, the Santa Barbara City Council will likely adopt a resolution approving the Redevelopment Agency Budget for Fiscal Year 2012.

According to today’s Agenda, the RDA budget includes funding for outreach workers.

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Happy Solstice: Do the Math

By Cheri Rae

cheriJust looking at an equation usually makes me exceedingly unhappy, remembering torturous days in algebra class—but this one is different. Here’s a math problem that applies to the real world:

British research psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall has calculated the factors that add up to happiness, in an equation looks like this: (O  (N x S) Cpm/T  He)  = Happiness

The symbols represent the following:

O = Outdoors Activity

N x S = Nature times Socialization

Cpm = Childhood positive memories

T = Temperature

He = Holiday expected

What especially makes me happy about Dr. Arnall’s theory—far more relevant to me than Pythagoras’s ever was—is that he has calculated the “Happiest Day of 2011” either June 17 (which must have been a mistake) or June 24 (right answer). The equation obviously adds up when applied to our upcoming Solstice Festival—which kicks off on Friday, June 24 at Alameda Park, followed by the parade at noon on Saturday.

Many of us have long considered our annual Solstice celebration the time when Santa Barbara shines brightest and people feel happiest. And now we have proof—not that we ever needed it. Some things in this world actually do make sense, even if it’s just sharing fun in the sun.

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Central Coast Wine Classic is Coming

For wine lovers, the Central Coast Wine Classic is the most anticipated event of the year. Friday, June 24th at 6pm come to Tastes of the Valley in Pismo Beach and meet Archie McLaren, founder and Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic.  Enjoy special wine tastings and sample fine cheeses and other other speciality foods from Meza Cafe & Market. Learn what is planned for this year’s Wine Classic, as the they celebrate their 27th year as one of the area’s most prestigious wine events to be held July 7th through July 10th in Avila Beach. Proceeds from the CCWC go to support the many different disciplines in the arts of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. For more information CLICK HERE.

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Quel Dommage: Le Festival Francaise est Morte

LEF220978Put away your berets, keep FiFi home and forget about transporting yourself to the streets of Paris right here in Santa Barbara. The days and nights of July 16 and 17 this year will no longer be filled with the joie de vivre Santa Barbara has come to expect as its annual celebration of savoir-faire.

For nearly a quarter of a century, Francophile Steve Hoegerman has dedicated much of his personal and professional life to the creation and successful production of Santa Barbara’s annual French Festival. But no more.

Scheduled to coincide with Bastille Day celebrations, the quirky French Festival grew annually, along with Hoegerman’s marketing savvy. Each year he transformed Oak Park with food and entertainment celebrating all things French, including can-can dancers, the poodle parade, a huge Eiffel Tower and Edith Piaf impersonators among others.

Although he had arranged a deal to sell the French Festival to a new owner, the deal fell through, with no time—or funding—to all the event to be held this year. Hoegerman has long protested the rising costs of mounting a festival, particularly without a non-profit organization or network of volunteers; the coup de grace was the increase in out-of-pocket permits required by the City and County to produce the event.

C’est la vie in Santa Barbara, aka “America’s Riviera,” where the celebration of the French Riviera c’est trop cher.

Merci beaucoup, Steve. Au revoir.

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Best of Travel Along the Central Coast

By Georgina Stassi – Food, Wine, Travel

There is so much happening in food, wine and travel in California that I can hardly keep up with writing about it all. Strangely, I never miss the opportunity of conducting an interview with one of our exceptional winemakers, chefs or persons of interest or the chance to eat great food, drink great wine, and check out California’s beautiful places.

Being a California native (even though I’ve been told on many occasions that my sisters and I speak like Canadians — simply good diction, I always say) has not completely spoiled me. California continues to fascinate me. While visiting the Central Coast last week to check out the Edna Valley Wine Country and visit with Mike Sinor, San Luis Obispo Vintners Association President and master winemaker, I stopped in at Dolphin Bay Resort in Pismo Beach. Pismo Beach is one of those incredibly unique places where the wine country meets the waves in less than 10 minutes. I love it there for many reasons, but this one is an ongoing draw for me. I can visit some of our state’s best winemakers and then return to enjoy my latest acquisitions of the vine and relax by the sea in first class luxury at Dolphin Bay Resort.
Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa

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