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The nameless dusty track turned out to be a night-time buffet for a squadron of opportunistic burrowing owls. It was all about the crickets and grasshoppers, a menagerie of entomology living in the tall grasses and the cunning eight-inch-tall owls gobbling down as many as they could before t…

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Loyal docent and history lover Mazie Chauvin gives her time to help tell the story of her “forever home,” Carpinteria. Chauvin has been a regular helper at the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History since 2016 and was honored as their 2019 volunteer of the year. While Covid-19 has interrupted …

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Are you worried? The world is in the middle of a deadly viral epidemic. Millions of U.S. citizens are protesting the lack of racial equality and are questioning how we can “become” one nation with opportunity, liberty, and justice dispensed through color-blind eyes. On top of that . . . here…

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With most theaters still opting out of “in person” this fall, what counts as new in the movie biz is relative. Over the past months I have focused on movies that have started streaming relatively recently—that is, movies that you can watch in quarantine—as well as movies and T.V. shows that …

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As the weather cools and daylight disappears, it’s the perfect time of year to contemplate large structural changes in your landscape. Fall is the moment to assess the chaos of the growing season, “editing” your garden or landscape based on what you’ve learned the past few months. 

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“The first time I heard my gramma swear, I thought it was the most exciting thing I ever heard!”

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In this column a few years back, I wrote about an experience I had growing up. My older brother coached a youth soccer team, and I occasionally helped out at practice. He had a rule that any player who came to practice late or missed a practice had to have a good excuse. Without an excuse, t…

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The Townsend’s Warbler was hungry and thirsty. All night it had flown under the canopy of stars, finally visible after days of flying through smoke.

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On Aug. 21, Dr. Ansorg, health officer of Santa Barbara County Public Health, announced that Santa Barbara County would accept waivers for elementary schools to reopen in-person learning. The waiver application includes components of the Reopening Plan adopted by the Carpinteria Unified Scho…

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Sleep came easily at Prisoners Harbor on the northside of Santa Cruz Island. The soothing serenade of waves big and small converged with cobble not far from my dewy tent. 

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There I was, all ready to sit down with my family to watch Disney’s new live-action version of “Mulan.” We have a subscription to Disney Plus, so I thought we were good to go. Then, to my horror, I discovered that it costs an additional $30 to rent it! No way! My wife pointed out that Disney…

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As my friends can attest, my skin color is definitely white (or red if I’ve been in the sun too long). I really don’t have any other options. Frankly, I’ve never thought very much about my skin color other than to complain that I can’t ever tan. But watching and reading the news surrounding …

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Fall is the perfect time of year to turn your back on the coast and drive inland down Highways 150 and 33 into the Sespe Wilderness and Transverse Ranges. These rural highways span an immense amount of ecological and geological change in a day trip of unparalleled scenic beauty. Within a few…

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“I’m big in Japan,” the singer Tom Waits chants with ironic intensity, and I cannot help but think of the song and chuckle as I work to fill another batch of surfboard orders bound for the Land of the Rising Sun.

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“Have compassion for everyone you meet” starts a poem by Miller Williams, and I strive to apply that adage when I come upon ancestors who made unfathomable choices in their lives. I do not judge, I cannot condemn, for I have not walked their paths, but some things remain difficult to accept…

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If you are a seller, you probably don’t remember a time like this. This is the strongest seller’s market that we have been a part of. It is an incredible time to sell. But working first-hand with many buyers, I also know that on the other side, the sentiment is quite different. It is a very …

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Mike Wondolowski is president of the Carpinteria Valley Association (CarpinteriaValleyAssociation.org), a local organization dedicated to maintaining the small beach town nature of our community. In his 30 years of involvement in planning issues, he has witnessed visionary successes, as well as decisions that were later widely regretted. When not stuck indoors, he can often be found enjoying Carpinteria’s treasures including kayaking and snorkeling along the coast, running or hiking on the bluffs or the Franklin Trail, or “vacationing” as a tent camper at the State Beach.

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Like clockwork at 7:30 a.m., a flock of Band-tailed Pigeons shows up at our feeders in the hills above Carpinteria. I admire these big, slate-colored birds with their distinctive white band on the back of their neck. When sunlight hits them, their necks are an iridescent green and a pale gra…

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The launch off the secluded beach was nearly effortless, nary a ripple lapped on the sand in northern Avila at Port San Luis Harbor. Protected by a long rocky jetty extending out to the south, the calm waters were a safe haven for several species of marine mammals best observed from the seat…

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I would like to recognize the CUSD administrators, teachers and staff for their tireless work in opening the 20-21 school year remotely. Many of our colleagues spent their summer vacations researching and developing lessons in collaboration with grade level and/or department teams. Special t…

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Matt Duncan, a former Coastal View News editor, has taken physical but not emotional leave from Carpinteria to be a philosophy professor at Rhode Island College. In his free time from philosophizing, Duncan enjoys chasing his kids around, watching movies and updating his movie review blog, duncansreeldeal.blogspot.com.

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Can’t go to the movies. Can’t eat inside a nice restaurant. Can’t hug anyone you haven’t been exposed to in the last two weeks. Can’t fly on an airplane or take a cruise or travel to see grandkids in Texas—at least you can’t if you are over 60. So how am I supposed to survive the doldrums, d…

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While she’s no longer greeting guests in person at the Carpinteria Arts Center gallery, local volunteer Connie Geston carries on her passion for culture through online community projects.

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Independent label Listen to Turtle is one of Carpinteria’s well-known secrets. The brand is built upon the 1987 surf movie “North Shore,” the story of a kid from Arizona who was a wave pool champion and thinks he’s going to rule the waters of Hawaii without knowing the respect that comes wit…

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Instagram is my digital drug of choice (@christianbeamish—hit me!) and a surfboard I made was recently featured in a funny post by @jonathanwaynefreeman, a guy with a huge number of followers. His online performances are absurd and hilarious as he slips in and out of alter-egos with a convin…

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Last month, I began the story of the life of my great-grandmother Agnes Ziska Bina. I wrote about how her husband ended his own life in 1931 leaving Agnes with four young daughters; and how Agnes made a new life afterward, giving birth to an out-of-wedlock fifth daughter in 1935.

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High summer in the Carpinteria Garden Park is a riot of color and fragrance. Orange squash blossoms bigger than your hand peak out from the foliage of climbing scarlet runner beans with brilliant white and red flowers. Head-high sunflowers twist in the breeze and multi-colored zinnias bloom …

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Every summer, I make a pilgrimage to a different naturehood where I work as a volunteer warden and naturalist. It’s a seabird island called Mitlenatch Provincial Park. Mitlenatch, one of the world’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs), lies in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the m…

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The Santa Clara River Estuary was a graveyard of tattered driftwood, tangled kelp balls, a rotting sea lion carcass that was so putrid it could only attract a pair of turkey vultures. A high ceiling of overcast kept the early morning comfortably cool. The sand was coarse and gritty, perfect …

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Sea level rise. A series of words that has a different impact depending on where you are located in the world, but as someone who lives near the ocean and takes advantage of the proximity, it is something I pay attention to. Spending a lot of time at the beach makes you notice everything fro…

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Just a short time ago I finished my teaching credential at UCSB, got a job, rented a house on the beach in Carpinteria, had fun, got married, produced three sons over 11 years, retired, adored three grandsons and never felt “old.” Then the dreaded coronavirus attacked and spread and forced u…

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My great-grandmother Agnes Ziska Bina was born Feb. 11, 1900 in the farming community of Conway, North Dakota. Her parents had independently immigrated to the US from Czechoslovakia in the early 1870s and farmed on neighboring homesteads until they were wed in 1877. Agnes was the last of the…

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It’s as if we’d been flung into a kind of space-time continuum, an alternate reality, some things familiar and other things staggeringly foreign. Stores we recognize boarded up, empty paths, our kids un-huggable, friend groups dispersed like wind-blown seeds.

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What a challenging and potentially transformative moment for our local and national community. The coronavirus pandemic reminds us that humans are still a part of the natural world, as our livelihoods and personal safety confront a microbial world impacted by human development and unpreceden…

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For more than a century, the miraculous return of Cliff Swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano occurred on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, inspiring books, songs and festivals. A less famous group arrives around the same time to nest under the eaves of our garage in the hills above Carpinteria,…

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Last weekend I finally got around to watching the award-winning 2011 movie “The Help.” The story is about an author writing a book from the perspective of African American maids working for white families in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963.

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The grasses had been mowed down to the nub around the countless burrows built by busy giant kangaroo rats (GKR), the keystone species of the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

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We wish you a safe, happy summer and we are grateful for all your support during this most challenging and unprecedented spring semester. Your partnership during the school closure and online learning was critical to your child’s success and we appreciate how hard you worked to support your …

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Frequent CVN readers may recall articles in recent weeks featuring auctions supporting local businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Mission Possible took time to speak with the volunteer spearheading these efforts, Annette Fisher, a beloved community member who is honored to help her home an…

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Let me start by telling you that I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Southern Confederate states that fought for slavery in the civil war of the 1860s. In downtown Richmond, looming statues of the South’s Civil War “heroes” dominate important streets. For over 130 years, thos…

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While I’m sheltering in place at home to avoid the Covid-19 virus, my TV keeps inundating me with riots and protests and struggles with racial bias and police brutality.  As I’m questioning how and what we can do to bring about positive change, I start thinking about what happened in Gallup,…

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In August of 1867, my great-grandfather John Andrew Bina was born in the small farming community of Brocket, North Dakota. He was the second child and first son born to Czech parents, and over the years, nine more children joined the homestead. Suffice to say, John grew up in a typically lar…

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In my previous column (It’s All Surfing, “Friends in low places,” CVN, Vol. 26, No. 34), I wrote of mildly unpleasant encounters I’d had with Chinese people in the Cape Verde Islands. “But this is not a screed against Chinese people,” I stated, “I know they are a great society in many ways.”…

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