Semi truck hits bridge on 101 North
Traffic through Carpinteria this morning was snarled more than usual due to a semi truck striking the Franklin Creek Bridge near the Santa Monica exit of Highway 101 North at 4:21 a.m.. Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District reported the cause of the accident is still under investigation, and the driver was transported to Cottage Hospital for evaluation.
County reopens Summerland Beach
After an oil-induced closure that spanned the weekend, Summerland Beach has been reopened to the public. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department closed the beach on Aug. 21 but downgraded the closure to a warning on Monday, Aug. 24. The volume of oil and petroleum odors have decreased due to tides and natural processes, according to the county, since the ordered closure last Friday spurred by health concerns. The county warned that “the situation with oil and odors can change rapidly. It is recommended that people and animals avoid exposure to crude oil compounds and strong odors.” The Public Health Department has continued to monitor the beach daily along with the Air Pollution Control District.
In addition to monitoring, both the Public Health Department and Air Pollution Control District have taken water, sand and air samples for testing. According to the press release, testing results take a number of days and reflect findings from the date on which the samples were taken. These tests provide a perspective of the trends in the quality of the ocean, land and air.
There are seeps and old oil wells in the area, either of which may be the cause of the recent oil on Summerland Beach. Long-term analysis and evaluation will be required to make determinations as to the source of the increased oil and odors. While the source of the oil will be important for developing long-term solutions, the Public Health Department and Air Pollution Control District will remain vigilant in timely posting of warnings and closures when there is a potential risk to public health.
Any oil sightings should be reported immediately to: USCG National Response Center (NRC) at 800-424-8802 or California Office of Emergency Services (Cal-OES) 800-852-7550.
Borrellos bring back Tony’s style dining
By Lea Boyd
Mike and Lucy Borrello know that Carpinterians are hankering for Tony’s cheeseburgers and banana cream pie. With that in mind, the couple is working hard to open the doors to its new restaurant, Borrello’s Pizza & Pastaria, at 3807 Santa Claus Lane.
“It’s exciting. We can’t wait to open and do what we love,” said Mike.
What they loved doing was managing Tony’s on Linden Avenue for nearly 30 years. They plan to bring a similar recipe to their new endeavor. Mike will work the kitchen while Lucy runs the front of the house. And the menu will have a familiar feel too. Customers can expect pizzas, calzones, burgers, sub sandwiches, pastas, salads and appetizers, all with the same family-style Italian flavor that they loved at Tony’s.
Tony’s was opened in 1962 by Mike’s parents, Antoinette and Anthony Borrello. After Antoinette’s passing in 2013, the business was run by various family members. It closed earlier this summer, and the family-owned building on the corner of 7th Street and Linden Avenue was sold.
The closure of the well-loved restaurant had many of its loyal fans up in arms. As a result, Mike and Lucy decided to open their own eatery with a few new twists on the successful Tony’s formula. They plan to install flatscreen televisions in the new space to screen surfing and sporting events. A kids area will include arcade games and a TV with children’s programming.
Mike said that affordability and great taste will guide the menu. Fans of the Tony’s cheeseburger should look no farther than the TC Burger at Borrello’s. Beer and wine will also be served.
Plans are to start serving belly-filling meals in the first week of September, though the arrival of the pizza oven will dictate specific timing. Restaurant hours will be 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week.
Borrello’s Pizza & Pastaria replaces The BBQ Company, which owner Gary Nielsen opened in 2009.
Lifeguards complete killer run
City of Carpinteria lifeguards, from left, Oscar Desario, Garrett Prather, Allie Skiba, Brianna Stout and Kyle Millhollin completed The Quest, a 17.5 mile coastal run and swim between Carpinteria State Beach Lifeguard Headquarters and Ventura State Beach Lifeguard Headquarters. Runners left Carpinteria at 5 a.m. on Aug. 12 and traced the beach unless it was impassable and forced them into the water. This marked the fifth year of the event. Runners averaged 3:39, and State Lifeguard Graham Mcalpine finished ahead of the pack in 2:24.
Looking back on a half century
By Eydie Kaufman
As the 50th Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the city started to approach with its fun 1960's theme, I began to wonder what people recalled most from the year of the city’s incorporation 1965.
Since I was not yet around in 1965, I researched some of the key historical events occurring at that time. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill and the Voting Rights Act, which helped ensure African Americans would have access to voting. The Vietnam War continued on as anti-war protesters marched on Washington in November 1965.
In the fashion world, 1965 marked the year that the miniskirt first appeared. Tie-dye also began to become increasingly popular. The most popular toys at the time were the Super Ball and skateboards. The beehive hairdo became the rage. This hairdo, created by a stylist from Chicago, Ill., was also known as the B-52, because it resembled the unique nose of the Boeing B-52 airplane.
In sports, 1965 was the year Muhammad Ali floored Sonny Liston in their title-bout rematch, knocking Liston out with a first-round punch that was so fast, some at the fight swear they never saw it thrown. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series against the Minnesota Twins, and the Green Bay Packers prevailed over the Cleveland Browns to clinch the NFL Championship.
In Carpinteria, fishing was quite popular in 1965, and the town had its own expert. Reggie Reynolds owned a bait and tackle and candy shop in Carpinteria and wrote surf fishing articles for the Carpinteria Herald, the predecessor to Coastal View News. Reynolds opened his shop in 1941 at 586 Palm Ave. and has been described as a gentle soul with a unique fishing handshake ritual and a serious knowledge of fishing. There are at least two blogs that honor his memory online, and virtually everyone I talked to who was here in 1965 reported fond memories of Reynolds and his shop. Reynolds created a free Rod and Reel Club, printing up hundreds of cards by hand with a rubber stamp, and by 1972, his free fishing club had reached 50,000 members.
Reynolds wrote about the great fishing off the pier west of the Carpinteria Creek mouth. In 1976, he advocated for the return of the pier, noting “Now that Carpinteria has grown so large, they should have a good pier again for the town people, and tourists to fish from.” Reynolds predicted in his articles from 1975, “I believe Carpinteria Valley will go ahead, toward becoming a great vacation town where the air is pure, scented with the salty smell of the sea, and the sweet scent of sage brush from the deep valleys, and mountains, that fringe Carpinteria Valley. What more could a person want in life.”
And Carpinteria has moved towards keeping its air pure, passing a series of progressive smoking bans. Interestingly, the city was incorporated the same year that Congress passing legislation to mandate labeling of cigarettes with a warning that smoking is hazardous to your health. Carpinteria banned smoking at its public parks and beaches in 2004, and since May 16, 2011, the city has effectively banned smoking throughout all public areas to minimize the effects of second hand smoke.
The music scene of 1965 is also noteworthy. A local band from Santa Barbara, Ernie and the Emperors, hit it big that year. The band, which started its career as an opening act for the Isley Brothers at Earl Warren Showgrounds, landed at number one on the charts with “Meet Me At The Corner.” For the City’s Golden Jubilee Anniversary event, on Oct. 1, the band will be playing its hit and others right here in Carpinteria.
The Billboard top 10 songs of 1965
1. “Wooly Bully,” Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs
2. “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” The Four Tops
3. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” Rolling Stones
4. “You Were On My Mind,” We Five
5. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” The Righteous Brothers
6. “Downtown,” Petula Clark
7. “Help!” The Beatles
8. “Can’t You Hear my Heart Beat,” Herman’s Hermits
9. “Crying in the Chapel,” Elvis Presley
10. “My Girl,” The Temptations
September of 1965 brought some big changes to television. Several series premiered that month, including “The F Troop,” “Green Acres,” “I Spy,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Get Smart,” “Gidget,” “My Mother The Car” and “The Dean Martin Show.” As a true SciFi geek, I have to mention this is also the year “Lost in Space” premiered, the movie “Dr. Who and the Daleks,” starring Peter Cushing, came out, and it is the same year Gene Roddenberry came up with 16 possible names for the Captain in his upcoming space series, “Star Trek,” (which of course included the name Kirk). Those planning to attend the city’s anniversary event can watch these shows online to come up with ideas for 1960s themed clothing for the event.
Fisher family welcomes Gracie home
By Lea Boyd
It’s been eight months since the Fisher family’s world turned upside down. On the evening of Dec. 21, 2014, Gracie Fisher, a senior at Santa Barbara High School with a bright future in music, started experiencing back pain and tingling in her fingers. Over the next six hours, the 17-year-old lost the ability to move her body or breathe on her own. A groundswell of community support and extensive media coverage of the young girl’s plight ensued, and now, after spending the last seven months at a specialty hospital in Colorado, Gracie is finally back home with her family.
Acute flaccid myelitis is the diagnosis that doctors arrived at a few days after Gracie’s shocking shift from healthy to paralyzed. The pediatric condition is believed to be viral, but little is known about its cause and no treatment has been established. Only 100 other cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been diagnosed.
Gracie’s father, Bill Fisher, owns Via Real Physical Therapy in Carpinteria. He has spent most of 2015 beside Gracie’s hospital bed at Craig Hospital, along with his wife, Debbie, who is also a physical therapist.
Gracie returns home exhibiting some improvements to her condition. She can move her head now and breathe some on her own. She also has some involuntary movements in her lower body. Still, her prognosis remains uncertain. Fortunately for her, she lives with a pair of professionals in facilitating physical recovery. Bill and Debbie have added to their years of training and experience by researching and working with the specialists in Colorado.
“My wife and I are the experts in this now,” said Bill. “I don’t think we’d find anyone to work on this case with the background that we have now.”
Before the disease robbed her of movement, Gracie was an upbeat teen who ambitiously strived toward a career in music. She was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she would have focused on guitar.
Bill reported that Gracie has a “remarkably good” attitude despite the obstacles she faces. She plays piano using a mouth stick and stays connected to friends through her phone. When Gracie’s class graduated last June, she recorded an uplifting, moving speech that was broadcast at the event, and a few weeks earlier she was nominated as a prom princess.
While the Fisher family has focused all its attention on Gracie over the last many months, Via Real Physical Therapy has continued to operate in Bill’s absence. Patients have been served by Bill’s staff of PTs.
Rumors have gotten back to Bill of a possible closure to the office, and he wants his patients to know that these are false. He remains dedicated to the community of Carpinteria, where he opened his practice in 2007. Exactly when he’ll return to treating patients or be back on the sidelines of the Carpinteria High School football field, he can’t predict at this point in Gracie’s recovery, but when it comes to long term plans for Via Real Physical Therapy, he said, “We want to be there another 20 to 30 years.”
Locals launch first ever Carpinteria Sea Glass Festival
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Such is indisputably the case for sea glass, a treasure from the ocean that has thousands of devoted seekers and admirers around the world. This year, the folks who love the sea-smoothed surfaces and dazzling colors of sea glass have an event just for them in downtown Carpinteria. The Sea Glass Festival, taking place over the weekend of Aug. 29 and 30, will include 28 vendors of jewelry and art that showcase spectacular finds from beaches around the world.
“People are drawn to sea glass for its beauty and uniqueness,” said Kiona Gross, Sea Glass Festival Chair. “Sea glass collectors are modern day treasure hunters. We are delighted to bring some of the world’s finest collections to Carpinteria, along with a diverse array of handmade products that showcase these treasures.”
Gross, who grew up in San Diego, didn’t start collecting sea glass until she moved to Carpinteria. About five years ago, her friend Karen Clark, owner of Whimsy Antiques, took her on her first sea glass scavenge. She was hooked. Scouring the sand for special bits of ocean-worn glass is therapeutic and calming, she said. It can turn a bad day good.
Last winter, Gross gathered a group of like-minded sea glass lovers together to bring the first ever sea glass festival to Carpinteria. The success of festivals in Cayucos and Santa Cruz helped motivate the group. About a dozen committee members ultimately took up the task. The all-volunteer group is knit together by a love of sea glass and Carpinteria; they hope that the festival will bring over 1,000 people to the downtown area to enjoy sea glass while bringing new businesses to local retailers and restaurants.
“There’s such a huge following for sea glass, and it’s incredible to bring people to Carpinteria to celebrate it,” Gross said.
The festival, which will be held in the Hickey Building at 700 Linden Ave., boasts not only sea glass artisans from as far as Texas and Washington, but also live music and food trucks. Just down the street, the Carpinteria Arts Center will concurrently host a free Beach Bazaar with arts and crafts, live music and a beer and wine garden.
Sea Glass Festival admission is $5 per day. Half of the proceeds will help to fund next year’s festival while 25 percent will benefit the Junior Carpinterian of the Year Scholarship Fund and 25 percent will go toward the Carpinteria Arts Center.
Festival hours are Saturday, Aug. 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information and to see a list of the festival’s artists and space locations, visit carpinteriaseaglassfestival.com.
- Lea Boyd
Sea Glass Fest gets its own chocolate
In honor of the inaugural Carpinteria Sea Glass Festival, Chocolats du CaliBressan has custom designed a special sweet treat decorated with palm trees and sea shells. “Being that it is going to be the Sea Glass Festival, it was decided that the chocolate had to have, yes, sea salt,” said owner Jean Michel Carré. “The theme of course had to be beachy and so voila, the design was easy! It is a dark chocolate and caramel ganache with sea salt in a dark chocolate shell.”
Carré said the decision to make a Sea Glass Festival chocolate was easy. “It’s important for us to be part of the community that helped us launch our business back in 2007,” said Carré. Chocolats du CaliBressan makes its chocolates in Carpinteria and has stores in both Carpinteria and Santa Barbara.
CITY OF CARPINTERIA
5775 CARPINTERIA AVENUE
CARPINTERIA, CA 93013
NOTICE OF REGULAR QUARTERLY MEETING
OF THE TREE ADVISORY BOARD
Notice is hereby given that the City of Carpinteria Tree Advisory Board will meet at 5:30 P.M. on Thursday, August 20, 2015 in the City Hall Council Chamber, 5775 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria, California. The Tree Advisory Board acts as an advisory to the City Council, City Manager, and City Staff and meets quarterly to discuss and administer all street tree matters. The meeting agenda will be posted on the Department of Public Works web page at www.carpinteria.ca.us on Friday, August 14, 2015.
All interested persons are invited to attend, participate, and be heard. Persons wishing to participate who are unable to attend may send written comments to the Department of Public Works, 5775 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria, CA 93013.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Department of Public Works at (805) 684-5405, extension 445 or the California Relay Service at (866) 735-2929. Notification of two business days prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements for accessibility to this meeting.
City moves to tighten vacation rental restrictions
By Lea Boyd
Joining droves of cities nationwide, the Carpinteria City Council took its first step toward tightening restrictions on vacation rentals at its Aug. 10 meeting. Fears of losing workforce housing and changing the character of single family neighborhoods drove the council’s unanimous decision to draft an ordinance capping the number of such rentals in the downtown area and more stringently enforcing restrictions on rentals that crop up illegally in single family neighborhoods.
“I strongly want to protect long term rental housing,” said Councilman Al Clark, whose argument steered the council toward limiting the number of units allowed for short term rentals in the downtown area. Currently, 63 licensed units exist in that zone; the council directed staff to draft language that would prohibit any more.
The ordinance in the works will continue to allow vacation rentals in the beach neighborhood and contain a fee schedule to pay for added staff costs to track and enforce stricter regulations. Councilmembers also instructed staff to include language permitting home stays, in which a portion of an owner-occupied home is rented short term, throughout the city.
The growing success of online vacation rental companies, like airbnb and VRBO, which simplify the short term rental process, has fueled the conversion of massive numbers of homes to vacation rentals throughout the state and country. In Carpinteria, 271 such rentals are licensed, but city staff estimates that anywhere from 300 to 500 units are in operation. The majority of Carpinteria’s legal vacation rentals, 206, exist in the beach neighborhood, an area that has historically held the highest number of short term rentals.
City Manager Dave Durflinger explained that Carpinteria’s challenge with illegal rentals is nowhere near as severe as some other visitor-serving communities, such as the City of Santa Barbara, but given the increasing popularity of vacation rental websites, their proliferation is likely to continue, causing increasing issues along the way.
Currently vacation rentals are regulated by city zoning code and not permissible in single family neighborhoods, many of which are on the north side of Highway 101. City staff has become aware of short term rentals cropping up illegally and has fielded some neighbor complaints over noise and parking.
“I think we should preserve our single family neighborhoods at all costs,” said Mayor Gregg Carty.
Carpinteria resident Jim Reginato said an unpermitted rental near his home creates regular disturbances. “They’re constantly making noise, early in the morning until late at night,” he said. “I think we need more regulation on it.”
Rentals operating without proper permitting fail to pay city transient occupancy tax, or hotel bed tax, which is required for any lodging rented for 30 or fewer days. This year, the city projects TOT revenues of $2.3 million, about 25 percent of which comes from vacation rentals.
In addition to generating city tax revenue, vacation rentals provide supplemental income to property owners, create an expandable market of lodging and stimulate retail, restaurant and other commercial business within the community.
Theo Kracke, a Santa Barbara resident and owner of Paradise Retreats, encouraged the council to implement “fair regulation” that minimizes problems caused by vacation rentals but allows for the benefits of such operations. Managed properly, he said, short term rentals can be a great asset to neighborhoods and the city.
Putting a face to concerns over diminishing long term rental inventory and affordability, Carpinterian Stephanie St. Gal de Parg commented that the long term rental where she lives on 6th Street is about to be converted to a vacation rental, and she is finding it difficult to locate another place to live in a tightening rental market.
Councilman Brad Stein noted that he recently sold a home in the beach neighborhood and most potential buyers asked whether they would be able to increase the size of the structure and rent it to vacationers. Over the decades he has lived in Carpinteria, he said he has seen more and more affordable long term units become vacation rentals. “Those units are being lost, and they’re not coming back,” he said.
City staff will prioritize drafting an ordinance for public review and approval by the planning commission and the city council.
Talking about water
By Steve Nicolaides
A closer look at the precious stuff below
My conversation continues with Charles Hamilton, general manager of Carpinteria Valley Water District: he’s planning on taking very little from Cachuma Lake this water year (starts on Oct. 1) and even less state water. Both of these allocations are banked water from past years. And that puts all the heavy lifting on groundwater resources; water under the ground.
We began with the question, if El Niño hits this winter are we out of the woods? “Even with an El Niño year, the drought is not over,” he said. “In Carp we need at least three wet years to replenish the groundwater basin.” I lived in Upper Ojai during the last two El Niño winters, and though the rain did soak the ground, most of the water ran down creeks and rivers and washed out roads and ended up in the ocean. It was a mess, and we aren’t any more prepared now than we were then. If we get a big rain this year, and we’ve done nothing to capture the runoff, it’s on us.
“Think of the Carpinteria Valley aquifers like a big bathtub,” Hamilton said. There are four water storage areas, each separated from the other by an impermeable layer of sediment. “The first (A) is about 100 feet deep, then a layer of sediment, the second (B) about 300 feet deep, contained by another layer of sediment, the third (C) 500 feet deep, another layer of impermeable sediment, and the final one (D) 800-1,000 feet deep. Mother Nature blessed the Carpinteria Valley with a deep water resource.”
“We have enough water to get us through the next water year,” Hamilton continued, “unless one of our big wells goes down—mechanical failure, earthquake. Then our only choice of action would be mandatory rationing.”
Nevertheless, we have been going at the aquifer like gangbusters. This is, after all, an agricultural community. And as the drawdown on our underground water levels continues, with or without El Niño, many people worry about the ocean’s saltwater coming into our aquifers. Saltwater kills a freshwater aquifer. And our aquifer extends out into the ocean, protected by a geologic shelf. Yikes.
Our water board has been considering a cluster of monitoring wells in the Sandyland wetland area. “The estimated cost of two sentry wells is around $500,000, plus whatever it takes to obtain the land or easements to place the wells,” Hamilton said. If the board votes to go ahead with the plan, he’s confident there’s loan money available.
(Note: The water board last month voted to go ahead with a cluster of three sentry wells, monitoring the top three layers of the aquifer, A, B and C.)
“But we have to remember,” Hamilton said, “(sentry wells) still won’t prevent incursion. Only an injection of fresh water can keep the seawater from filling in at the low points in our aquifer.” Orange County and to a lesser degree Ventura County (on the Oxnard Plain) have been using injection wells to keep the ocean out of their aquifers. Injecting cleaned wastewater back into the ground. “We go from detection to prevention,” Hamilton said. But it’s major money to drill injection wells. We spend trillions of dollars to protect our shorelines from foreign invaders. Who knew the most likely one might be the ocean where we swim and fish and sail?
This would be a perfect emergency use of reclaimed water. It continues to seem to me that an infrastructure strong enough and prepared enough to use our “one use” freshwater over and over again is a no brainer.
Did you know?
June was the first month for which California’s urban water districts were required to meet state mandated reduction targets based on water consumption from June 2013. Californians slashed urban water use by 27 percent overall, banking 59 billion gallons of water.
The Coachella Valley Water District (think La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, etc.) missed their target of 36 percent reduction by a whooping 15 percent.
Seattle Washington just had the warmest June in the recorded history of the city, which closed out the warmest first half of a year ever. The state itself issued a drought emergency after the snowpack in the Washington Cascades was measured at the lowest level in 64 years.
More than 1,000 people died in Pakistan in June in one of the deadliest heat waves in history.
Steve Nicolaides was born and raised in Southern California. He has two granddaughters in the west, and he’s determined to understand and help fix our very serious water problems.