Hello Spring

Hello Spring

Well Spring is in full swing in Montecito and what better way to spring-into-action by sprucing up your garden. What's missing in your garden? Discover practical ways to get your hands dirty + plot out that gorgeous garden you've always wanted. Take your cues from Veranda and add wildflowers to the mix this year.

Santa Barbara Rainfall + Lake Cachuma

Santa Barbara Rainfall + Lake Cachuma

The creation of Lake Cachuma took almost 20 years. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors commissioned a report early in 1938 regarding the “utilization of water resources.” This report, completed the following year, called for a new dam “between the mouth of Santa Cruz Creek and Cachuma Creek” on the Santa Ynez River. The report further stated that “the future of Santa Barbara County depends upon the prompt execution” of the proposal.

Disaster Resource Hub Opens in Montecito

Disaster Resource Hub Opens in Montecito

A new center is opening in Montecito Thursday, March 8, to serve as a central source of support, information and resources for residents, businesses, employees and communities affected by the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 debris flow.

Upper Village Celebration!

Montecito, CA – Boutique shopping, complimentary food tastings, live music, kids’ activities and much more are in store on Saturday, February 24, from 2 pm to 6 pm at various locations in Montecito’s Upper Village.


All local businesses are open and ready to welcome shoppers following the devastating Thomas Fire and subsequent mudflow that shut down business for multiple weeks in December and January. Celebrate Montecito’s Upper Village is an opportunity for the community to show love and support to the restaurants and retailers who help to make the Montecito community the magical place that it is.

“The businesses in the Upper Village have really suffered during the recent events,” said event committee chair Ted Simmons. “We have heard that some businesses lost as much as forty percent of their annual revenue during closures over the holidays. The idea of this event is to gather and show that we appreciate them with our presence and by buying gifts, flowers, home decor, clothes, food and more!”


The event, organized by a group of community volunteers and neighbors, is kid friendly, with various activities including face painting and crafts geared toward the youngest members of our community. There will also be several musical guests at various locations in the Upper Village throughout the afternoon and evening.

Upper Village Businesses will be open and most will be offering discounts and donating to local non-profits to support mudslide relief.

The schedule is as follows:

2:00 to 4:00 pm: Face Painting, Station for Writing Thank You Cards for Firefighters and Rescue Workers in the grassy circle in front of Tecolote Bookstore.

3:30 to 6:00 pm: Music located near Pan e Vino; bands include Bryan Titus Trio, Paradise Kings, Tina Schlieske & the Graceland Exiles. There will also be a DJ spinning tunes in front of Village Wine & Cheese. Dan & the Dairy Queens with Leslie Lembo will be performing in the courtyard by Pierre La Fond & Wine Bistro 


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Montecito Lifestyle



Montecito Floods & Fire: Coping with Natural Disasters

Our Montecito community has been hit with two devastating blows from the Thomas Fires to the Floods that destroyed homes and lives. Many are grieving, trying to make sense of what happened and dealing with the stress of the situation. These events have created a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for those directly and indirectly affected.


In the days and weeks following the disaster, you may begin to have some of these common reactions:

Common Reactions

  • Disbelief and shock
  • Fear and anxiety about the future
  • Disorientation; difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Apathy and emotional numbing
  • Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the event
  • Irritability and anger
  • Sadness and depression
  • Feeling powerless
  • Changes in eating patterns; loss of appetite or overeating
  • Crying for “no apparent reason”
  • Headaches, back pains and stomach problems
  • Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
montecito flood - coping.jpg

Tips for Coping

It is ‘normal’ to have difficulty managing your feelings after major traumatic events. However, if you don’t deal with the stress, it can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Here are some tips for coping in these difficult times:


  • Talk about it. By talking with others about the event, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your feelings.
  • Spend time with friends and family. They can help you through this tough time. If your family lives outside the area, stay in touch by phone. If you have any children, encourage them to share their concerns and feelings about the disaster with you.
  • Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise, and eat properly. If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake, since nicotine and caffeine can also add to your stress.
  • Limit exposure to images of the disaster. Watching or reading news about the event over and over again will only increase your stress.
  • Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, catch a movie or do something else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities can help you get your mind off the disaster and keep the stress in check.
  • Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. “Checking off” tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less overwhelming.
  • Do something positive. Give blood, prepare “care packages” for people who have lost relatives or their homes or jobs, or volunteer in a rebuilding effort. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose in a situation that feels ‘out of your control.’
  • Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you were already feeling.
  • Ask for help when you need it. If your feelings do not go away or are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function in daily life, talk with a trusted relative, friend, doctor or spiritual advisor about getting help. Make an appointment with a mental health professional to discuss how well you are coping with the recent events. You could also join a support group. Don’t try to cope alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.


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Montecito Lifestyle



A Fight by Land & Air

On a Personal Note  

My Father is a retired 30 year veteran of Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Station 31 Buellton.   When our County is facing a firestorm like we are now, it brings back childhood memories of my Father being called for duty, fire alarms at all hours (we lived at the firehouse) and never knowing if he was going to return to us. There were fires where he was stationed in Big Sur in a lookout tower in the forest, by himself, Mc Donald’s his only meals.  He spent days protecting two large jet fuel storage tanks under brush fire threat at Vandenberg, talk about scared! 

Every goodbye had the possibility of being extremely final.   

He is still the bravest man I have ever known

Please be safe,

Susan J. Pate

Pray for SB & Ventura.png

The Latest Update on the Thomas Fire

The good news is that the Thomas Fire grew by maybe 1,200 acres Monday, as compared to the 50,000-acre-growth spurt it experienced the day before, bringing the inferno’s total shoeprint to 231,700 acres. It’s also 20 percent contained, as measured by the fire’s Incident Command.

The bad news is that for the first time, the fire is now — as of nightfall — visible to City of Santa Barbara residents. While the visual impact is decidedly unnerving, Santa Barbara City Fire Department Public Information Officer Amber Anderson said, “The fire is moving up the slope. It’s moving as expected.” She added, “I understand it’s causing concern, but we have a lot of resources on it.” Her boss, City Fire Chief Pat McElroy added,” It’s going exactly where we want it to go — back up the hill to patches that have already burned.” As for resources, he said Carpinteria, Montecito, and Summerland had 15-20 strike teams, which translates to about 80 engines.” McElroy said one reason the fire is so visible now is because much of the smoke has cleared.

As of this writing, about half the involved acreage is located in Los Padres National Forest, but the part of the fire backing up against the fuel-laden backyards off Toro Canyon is still giving fire commanders gray hair and keeping them and the 6,400 assembled firefighters up late at night.

Toro Canyon — just up above Highway 192 — was the real point of attack today, with a DC-10 and a 747 aerial tanker dumping retardant when smoke allowed and about 28 helicopters dropping water. Keeping the fire contained to Toro Canyon is Plan A and B. Today’s winds were less forceful in pushing the fire westward, and tonight’s winds are predicted to be mild, said Santa Barbara County Battalion Commander Chris Childers. “We had some success putting it out and holding it in its place,” said Childers at a community forum held Monday afternoon at the San Marcos High School auditorium. “I’m optimistic and hopeful we’re going to stop it today.” Childers then added, “Optimistically, I’m hopeful, but don’t count on it.” At a previous forum, Childers had stated, “Hope is not a plan.”


Should the fire get past Incident Command’s clutches in Toro Canyon — and some unconfirmed Facebook posts indicate that might have taken place, with flames showering down Romero Canyon — Childers outlines a succession of backup plans. The ultimate line in the sand is Highway 154, but that’s still a long way away. A phalanx of eight divisions has been assembled along the front-country interface between human habitation and undeveloped wildland. Each division has four to eight strike teams, and each strike team has five engines, each with three to five firefighters. They are prepared to engage the fire in house-to-house combat as much as possible. The hope, however, is either to contain the Thomas Fire where it is, or to funnel it into the pathway of fires that burned in the past decade, where the fuel load is notably lighter.

Of the six major fires in Southern California, the Thomas Fire is by far the biggest and has been declared the top priority for state and federal firefighting agencies. Although Thomas started in Ventura County, the real action is now taking place in Santa Barbara County. To date, 100,000 people have been evacuated because of the fire. Of those, 7,200 are in Santa Barbara County, though another 34,000 county residents have been placed on warning they could soon be evacuated. No new evacuation notices have been sent out today, though rumors to the contrary have popped up.

County Undersheriff Bernard Malekian announced that one would-be looting suspect was arrested near Highway 192 and San Ysidro Road, an evacuated zone. “That person has now been evacuated to the main jail,” Malekian told the crowd. He also announced that the sheriff and the district attorney were putting price gougers on notice they will be arrested and prosecuted if they try to take unfair advantage of the fire. That, he said, constitutes raising prices more than 10 percent.

Smoke cloud

For those seeking a statistical smorgasbord, Monday’s forum had plenty to graze on. To date, 1.7 million gallons of water has been dropped on the fire, and more than 200,000 air respirator masks have been passed out free of charge by Direct Relief and County Public Health officials. About 100 law enforcement officers have helped execute the evacuations, and the CHP has blocked off 26 roads heading up the hillside from Highway 192. No firm number, however has been released on structures destroyed or damaged in Santa Barbara County. The Thomas Fire total to date has claimed 798 structures — one reportedly the caretaker’s residence at the Juncal Reservoir — but the exact number of those in Santa Barbara County is something “less than 20” but more than a handful. That information should be released Tuesday.

In the question-and-answer portion of the forum, one attendee asked why any effort was spent saving the backcountry. “Why not just let it burn?” he asked. He was informed that Los Padres Forest was created by the federal government in the 1930s specifically to create a safe watershed for the emerging South Coast communities. If the forest were allowed to burn, he was told, the water supplies impounded in Lake Cachuma, Juncal Reservoir, and Gibraltar Dam would all be seriously compromised. As it is, the deposit of ash and mud will compromise all three to extents still unknown.

Another attendee asked about satellite mapping that seemed to indicate the fire had spread down San Ysidro Road south of Highway 192 in one location and in another close to Cold Spring School in Montecito. If true, he stated, the fire would have spread four or five miles from the rest of the fire. “Is there something burning there?” he asked. The answer, he was told, was no. While fire agencies also subscribe to the same satellite imaging services, the results are not always reliable, and false positives have proven problematic. “No. There is no fire by Cold Spring School,” he was told.


Monday, December 11, 2017



Montecito Lifestyle

It's more than a home, it's a lifestyle



Downtown Holiday Parade!


More than 65,000 spectators line State Street each year in anticipation of Santa Barbara’s only nighttime parade, the 65th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc! Officially kicking off the holiday season, this signature Downtown Santa Barbara event brings a colossal contingent of high-stepping marching bands, fabulous holiday-themed floats, spectacular performance groups, local personalities, and our amazing Grand Marshal, Noah Wyle! The Holiday Prince and Fairy, selected from winning artwork best capturing the parade theme, lead the parade and light up the street on their way down the parade route.


This year, we're celebrating the Colors of the Season via the many traditions, holidays, and colors of the Winter season. We are inspired by vibrant colors, kaleidoscopes, rainbows, and anything festively neon or colorful! For more inspiration, check our our style guide HERE. Share your ideas and pictures with our official hashtag #DSBHolidayParade. Click here for more information or contact Downtown Santa Barbara staff: (805) 962-2098


When: Friday, December 1st, 6:30 pm

Where: State Street, from Sola to Cota

Happy Holidays, please let me know if you or your friends

have any Real Estate needs during this wonderful season!


Post Thanksgiving action, "Giving Tuesday"

Once Thanksgiving dinner has been served, leftover turkey sandwiches consumed and holiday savings swooped up during the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, individuals can embrace the spirit of the season by helping others through Giving Tuesday.


Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday was launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y cultural center in New York City and the United Nations Foundation in response to post-Thanksgiving commercialization and consumerism.

The Giving Tuesday website describes the rapidly growing movement as “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration,” which is meant to kick off the charitable season.

“#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving,” according to the website.

Individuals are encouraged to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag to spread the word about the day on their social media accounts and share all the ways they’re giving back — locally and globally — following two days dedicated to post-Thanksgiving holiday spending.

Noozhawk will be participating in Giving Tuesday for the first time this year through its social media channels, reminding readers that Nov. 28 marks the sixth year of the campaign and highlighting local nonprofit organizations that have partnered with the hyperlocal news site to be part of the movement.

Digitals ads around the site link to Noozhawk’s 2017 Giving Tuesday Nonprofit Guide, a brand-new feature of Noozhawk’s second annual Good for Santa Barbara special section, which officially launches on Nov. 28.

The Good for Santa Barbara section, sponsored this year by Montecito Bank & Trust, takes an in-depth look at philanthropy and charity, covering the local nonprofit community as the industry and economic driver that it is.

“When we were planning our annual Good For Santa Barbara project, we wanted to extend the spirit of philanthropy to also include direct benefits to our local nonprofit organizations,” said Kim Clark, Noozhawk’s vice president of business development and a partner in the 10-year-old company.


Kim Clark, Noozhawk’s vice president of business development, sees a natural bridge between the global Giving Tuesday movement and the hyperlocal news site’s annual Good for Santa Barbara special section. “Giving Tuesday creates (a) timely opportunity, enabling nonprofits to capitalize on the scope and reach of our reporting and the issues it raises,” she says. (Noozhawk photo)

“Giving Tuesday creates that timely opportunity, enabling nonprofits to capitalize on the scope and reach of our reporting and the issues it raises.”

Clark said it also is important to consider the bigger picture.

“As a global movement,” she said, “Giving Tuesday not only benefits our local community, but also unites countries by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another through collaboration and social media.”

Since launching in 2007, Noozhawk has been a stalwart supporter of local nonprofit organizations and causes through news and iSociety coverage, heavily discounted advertisingsponsorships, a media grants partnershipwith the Hutton Parker Foundation, training sessions and a wide range of community collaborations.

Clark noted that Noozhawk has seen its readership “grow by leaps and bounds, as digitally delivered local news and information becomes more and more entrenched within peoples lives.”

With Noozhawk’s recent 10th anniversary milestone, she said it made sense for the company to take one more step and get directly involved in the promotion of Giving Tuesday campaigns.

“Digital and social media offer huge potential to reach across geographic and cultural boundaries,” Clark said. “If it’s good for the world to embrace collaboration between businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, families and individuals on this global day of caring, it’s good for Santa Barbara County.”


If you want to join the global day of giving, there are numerous ways to get involved:

» Donate to charity. Perhaps one of the simplest ways to participate is to donate to a charitable organization of your choice. Keep donations local by choosing an organization from Noozhawk’s 2017 Giving Tuesday Nonprofit Guide, or go national with your dollars.

» Give extra attention to your loved ones, friends and neighbors. Volunteer to take out the neighbor’s trash, mow their lawn or walk their dog. Finish a to-do project at home without being asked.

» Give nonmonetary gifts this season. Volunteer at the local animal shelter or homeless shelter. Donate blood. Visit seniors and/or veterans at care facilities. Read to children. The possibilities are truly endless.

— Noozhawk contributing writer April Charlton can be reached at news@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkSociety@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.


The Best Small Cities in the U.S. (Santa Barbara included!)

What do Carmel, Aspen, Charleston and Santa Barbara all have in common? They were all rated as the best small cities in the U.S. by ‘Condé Nast’!


Santa Barbara has been recognized as one of the Top Small Cities in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards. Santa Barbara first appeared on the list in 2015.

The destination, which welcomes more than 7.2 million total visitors per year, is one of 15 winners ranked in the category among other top reader favorites.

More than 300,000 travelers took part in the 30th annual survey — a record high for participation — voting on 610 cities and 7,320 hotels and resorts, according to Condé Nast Traveler.

Several Santa Barbara South Coast hotels were named as winners under the survey’s Top 25 Hotels in Southern California category, including The Kimpton Goodland Hotel, Spanish Garden Inn, Belmond El Encanto and Kimpton Canary Hotel.


“We’re honored to be named a top destination for travel by Condé Nast Traveler readers and proud to see so many Santa Barbara South Coast hotels recognized,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, Visit Santa Barbara president/CEO.

“Santa Barbara’s small-town charm and relaxed coastal vibe combined with its sophisticated, well-curated shops and attractions offer visitors and our local community the best in hospitality. Its excellent restaurants, stunning coastal landscape and world-class wine country also have helped create the bucket-list appeal of the destination,” she said.


Santa Barbara and all the winners of the 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards are featured in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler and on CNTraveler.com, which together reach 6.1 million readers per month.

A full list of winners can be found at www.cntraveler.com/rca.

— Natalie Bovee for Visit Santa Barbara.

Full Article:   https://www.noozhawk.com/article/conde_nast_readers_rank_santa_barbara_among_top_small_cities



Redesigning the Future of State Street

State Street Redesign

Architects Team Up to Brainstorm a 

New Downtown Corridor

State Street Sign Santa Barbara | Image: Stock Images

State Street Sign Santa Barbara | Image: Stock Images

With the retail future of State Street morphing into a major campaign issue, Santa Barbara City Councilmember Randy Rowse enlisted about 60 area architects to do what they do best — evise big plans for other people’s property.

This past Saturday, nine teams assembled at the Louise Lowry Davis Center and spent all day trying to reimagine what State Street could look like from Gutierrez to Sola streets if housing were allowed to be built downtown. City Hall provided the space free of charge; enough architects volunteered their services that an extra room was required. Had they charged for their time, it would have cost $100,000. “It was like Santa Claus’s elves on Christmas Eve,” said Rowse afterward. “I was back-on-my-heels impressed.”

Before putting pencils to paper, the architects had been prepped: A couple of prominent commercial real estate brokers warned them some property owners would rather let their real estate lie empty and fallow than make the investment — nd endure the red tape — eeded to make their square footage attractive to new tenants.

Possibly using unoccupied Macy's space for UCSB students | Image: Panoramia

Possibly using unoccupied Macy's space for UCSB students | Image: Panoramia

Each team took a two-block stretch around State Street extending from Chapala to Anacapa. Some plans were singular: Perhaps the vast, empty Macy’s space could be occupied by UCSB; students would definitely bring life to the street. Perhaps the 99 Cents Only store, another team wondered, could be reimagined as a single-room occupancy hotel to complement the Faulding as a place where people otherwise on the street might go. Most involved agreed the system of historic paseos that run parallel and perpendicular to State lent themselves to defining visual patterns.

Others talked of blocking off State Street, parts of State, or, more particularly, the streets leading into De la Guerra Plaza, and making the plaza pedestrian-only with sidewalk cafés. Others talked micro, about the need for some shop owners to get new awnings and for City Hall to allow brighter paint colors on paseo walls. Other architects advised caution: Don’t wage gratuitous battles with the palette of designs acceptable to the Historic Landmarks Commission. One architect said a city commissar told him after Saturday’s architectural jam session: “You’re wet behind the ears. Did you just graduate from college?”

State Street Santa Barbara | Image: Trip Advisor

State Street Santa Barbara | Image: Trip Advisor

The real issue, however, was not so much visual “spring cleaning,” as one architect put it — t was housing. How can City Hall modify its rules and regulations to promote housing? What incentives are necessary to entice otherwise recalcitrant property owners to invest in housing? Some architectural warhorses, such as Detlev Peikert, suggested that existing parking lots offer prime development opportunities. Peikert’s crew designed plans to drastically reconfigure the Victoria Court parking lot. By moving all the spaces into the center of the lot and installing stacked robotic parking lifts, enough peripheral space could be freed up to accommodate about 90 units of housing, five stories high. Peikert is currently working with a developer to explore such an approach.

State Street from the Sky | Image: Trip Advisor

State Street from the Sky | Image: Trip Advisor

State Street leading to Stearn's Wharf | Image: Trip Advisor

State Street leading to Stearn's Wharf | Image: Trip Advisor

During recent City Council and mayoral forums, most candidates agreed downtown is in sore need of serious help and that housing is part of the answer. Breaking into mainstream lingo now is an architect/planner buzzword: “decoupling.” Housing and parking have long been “coupled” in traditional planning codes. For housing to happen downtown, they will have to be “decoupled,” meaning no parking —  major expense — ould be required of developers building housing. Downtown parking garages could be used instead.

The city’s new zoning ordinance, passed just months ago, might prove problematic, as it requires a certain amount of open space per unit. That, too, could be space and cost prohibitive. For housing on State Street to make a difference, the architects agreed — nd some city planners too — here needs to be a lot of it. According to Peikert, who designs affordable housing projects, there need to be at least 1,500 units. According to a city planner, at least 100 units per block. That’s a lot. That’s different. But for the architects involved in last Saturday’s “charrette,” it’s just a start.

Content: Nick Welsh / Santa Barbara Independent


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