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Fran Davis is an award-winning writer and freelance editor whose work appears in magazines, print and online journals, anthologies and travel books. She has lived in Summerland most of her life.

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Some moments in life are so dramatic they stay vividly seared in our memories. I was a high school freshman sitting in my history class when the announcement came through on the intercom: President Kennedy had been assassinated. I was a sophomore in college when we waited fearfully for draft…

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Have you found yourself this summer in a verdant park next to a glassy lake, surrounded by 80 familiar faces of all ages, eating and laughing and catching up, making new friends with old cousins? Did the celebration make you stop to think of the wondrous journey that brought you all together…

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The joke about “Good Boys” is that none of the main characters are old enough to see the movie. There’s lots of cussing. It’s crude. There’s sex and drugs and alcohol, and plenty more talk about these for-mature-audiences-only topics. It has a well-earned R-rating.

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The beginning of the school year is here! Kids (and parents) hope they like their teachers, teachers hope they get a class that gels, and everyone hopes things go smoothly. Let’s capture that warmth and positivity and keep it going! In fact, a 2019 Harvard study found that the positive effec…

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Recycling and plastics was not always a hot topic in the news. For years, the people who followed the market-driven recycling stream were primarily managers of recycling programs, commodities brokers who worked in the recycling markets, waste haulers and anyone else with a financial stake in…

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After work the other day, I went for a run along the salt marsh and then onto the beach at Ash Avenue. I slogged through the loose dry sand down to the water line and turned left. As I ran along the firm moist sand, I noticed how clean the entire beach was. Just about anywhere was a great pl…

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Last month I wrote about the new store coming soon to downtown Summerland, decrying what I saw as frivolous offerings on the website. Turns out it was the wrong Field and Fort or Fort and Field.

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It’s Monday and you’ve just sat down to your computer. You place your coffee mug in its usual spot and settle in. Your phone rings and as you stretch your arm to turn off the ringer, your elbow brushes the mug, toppling it onto your laptop.

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Where I live in the mountains just outside town, the early mornings are chilly lately, with a cool and dry wind blowing down the canyon—a sure sign that fall is on its way no matter the recent sunshine. 

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We welcome new and returning families to the 19-20 school year and look forward to greeting our students on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 26.

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I found them curled up tightly together, fending off a combination of chilly northwest wind and wispy fog—island fox pups keeping each other warm on windswept Santa Cruz Island.

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Fog loves Summerland, lingering on our doorsteps, caressing the hillsides long after it’s deserted Carpinteria and Montecito. I used to joke that there was a fog vacuum on Ortega Hill that sucked the long, misty streamers into town. Lately, the fog machine has been fully operative.

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Dear Readers, please send me questions. You can email to Donnie@coastalview.com or mizdoni@gmail.com. Don’t worry about how to write it because we will edit for brevity and clarity.

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Every morning I enjoy coffee and a newspaper. I usually check the sports page first, so I don’t have to think too much while I’m waking up. We read the Los Angeles Times so several days a week Bill Plaschke gets me worked up about how the Lakers blew their latest recruiting negotiations or h…

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I was recently interviewed on “The Boardroom” podcast by a surf-industry colleague, Scott Bass. We riffed on growing up surfing in Southern California, the notion of surfing values and the ethical implications of bringing surfboards—and by extension, surf culture—to isolated coastal communities.

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Two men, one woman—one of them real-life, two fictional. One at the beginning of a career, one at the end, and one without much of a career at any point. Seemingly disparate stories are intertwined by a fateful history, or, rather, they could have been intertwined, if only in our imaginations.

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Last month I wrote about La Casa de No Problemas, the house my parents built in Campo Lopez, Mexico, in 1981. The home has given my family nearly 40 years of rest, relaxation, perpetual projects and memories.

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Several years ago, I wrote about community choice energy (CCE) in this column, and as the city of Carpinteria nears a decision regarding who has the buying power of our energy, I thought a reintroduction to the topic would be helpful.

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“Doctor, it hurts when I move my arm like this.”

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The plum tree was loaded, even a few branches broken under the weight of the ripe fruit. Santa Rosa plums littered the ground, plundered by ants. It’s been a very good year for fruit.

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Carpinteria’s beauty lies in the natural world that surrounds us: steep bluffs crumbling into the ocean, the sprawling, tidal world of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh and the rugged peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains. These wild spaces, which community members and local government work to preserve…

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Carpinteria’s beauty lies in the natural world that surrounds us: steep bluffs crumbling into the ocean, the sprawling, tidal world of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh and the rugged peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains behind town. These wild spaces, which community members and local government work…

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The skies were dark gray, which allowed spring wildflowers to prolong their brilliant bloom well into summer. Northern elephant seals appeared sickly on the windswept beach of Piedras Blancas but it was only their annual molt, shedding old, tired skin and beginning anew. Their annual molt ca…

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Raw foods guru Gerri French led a garden-to-table inspired cooking class at Carpinteria Garden Park on July 13. A professional dietitian, French demonstrated the preparation of a gourmet raw foods meal featuring legumes, grains and dressings. Following the cooking demo, class participants en…

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We suspected that the various $50-per-head “adventure tours” on offer near Lake Arenal in Costa Rica would leave us feeling confined, under-inspired and ripped off. So, we asked the nice lady at the hotel where she and her family went for outings, and she told us about a river spot just past…

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Dear Readers, I really appreciate your questions and comments. I need to hear from you to keep this column interesting.  Please send questions and comments to me at Donnie@coastalview.com or mizdoni@gmail.com.  All names are kept confidential and all questions will be edited for brevity and …

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My husband and I bought our first home in Carpinteria in 1974 for less than $30,000. We thought we would never leave this area, but about 16 years ago we went a little crazy and moved to Ojai, a charming small town with lots of quirkiness (if that’s a word). We kept our Carpinteria house bec…

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The stories of our lives come from what we’ve done and where we’ve gone. But more than likely, the dearest memories are mined from within the walls that cocooned us from the outside world. And sometimes those memories come from how those walls came to be…

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If you have read this column before, you know that I have a personal mission to reduce the amount of waste I generate. I don’t always succeed, in fact sometimes I fail spectacularly. But I try, and I encourage others to do the same. Individual behavior change is important, but large-scale re…

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The judge asked, “Has the jury reached a verdict?”

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Finally! After years of lobbying by the Summerland Citizens Association (SCA) and others, the east end of Lookout Park will get a fine new look.

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A man and woman walk into Sandcastle Time on Carpinteria Avenue and search the jewelry-filled counters, looking for something new. A curious looking ring grabs their attention—the antique-styled one in the back row. Jocelyn Jones, owner of the shop, brings it out from the display. The lady s…

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Last week, families and friends gathered to cheer 141 Carpinteria High School and 17 Rincon/Foothill graduates proudly walking across the stage to receive their congratulatory handshakes and more importantly, their high school diplomas. Earning a high school diploma is a meaningful milestone…

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I had to take the drive slow on Soda Lake Road. It was a muddy slip-and-slide going off Highway 166 to the dirt road north heading behind Soda Lake. I knew right where I wanted to be with light rain soaking life into already blooming carpets of wildflowers.

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On July 3, the California State Lands Commission (CSLC) will carry out work to uncover and investigate another of Summerland’s old improperly abandoned oil wells. The leaky C.H. Olsson 805 well was identified as the source of beach oil, tar and stench just below Lookout Park.

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I push open the shaping bay door, emerging in my Tyvek suit, goggles and mask, covered in foam dust. My son Miles is standing there with a short length of two-by-four he’s found, and Natasha tells me he’s been there quite a while, “shaping” with his “planer,” making the high whine of the pow…

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I love research. Send me off to the deepest basements in county records buildings near or far, and I’m one happy camper. Yes, these caverns are mostly cold and creepy; yes, you risk running a gauntlet of misinformed clerks who don’t mind sending you on wild goose chases. But, oh, the rewards…

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Yippie!! School is out! At its best, summer provides a break in the action, a chance to sleep in and get a mental health break. It is also an opportunity to focus on all aspects of well-being, and to pursue one’s interests. But the flexibility can lead to a little more pushback from young pe…

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I play “Pokémon Go” with my six- and three-year-old sons. Yeah, that’s right. We play it. Laugh it up. We like it. It’s fun. I’d never played or watched anything Pokémon-related before, so I never developed any particularly deep love for the franchise. Still, when I recently took my six-year…

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Someone recently asked me about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and how it will affect our community. I didn’t have an immediate answer for that, since I am still learning about it. But it seemed like a good opportunity to dive into the world of groundwater management and r…

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Spending the extra effort to start with good soil is an investment in your summer crops, as well as an acknowledgement of the Carpinteria Valley’s limited and precious water resources.  As southern Californians facing a future where the effects of climate change remain uncertain, we must do …

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Surfers are a hardy lot. Those in the “dawn patrol” have their wetsuits on and are paddling out in chilly water at Rincon while many of us are still warm and toasty under the covers. They may not arrive at work exactly the same time I do, but they definitely have more fun before breakfast th…

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So, what happened to May? It flew by with the speed of a peregrine falcon, the fastest of all birds, only lingering long enough to douse us with some surprise showers. May days passed a blur of change, fog, cold, sun, wind, wet. It was a promiscuous month, subject to whim, sudden fits and tu…

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May every spring be like the last! Our backcountry has received record amounts of rainfall this winter including late showers in May to replenish depleted reservoirs.  Lovely, cloudy days for weeks have allowed spring’s wildflowers to unfurl at a leisurely pace. This welcome reprieve from th…

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I’d barely begun bushwhacking up a side canyon in Scorpion Canyon—located on the southeast end of Santa Cruz Island, the largest isle in the Channel Islands National Park—when I felt an annoyingly familiar pinch on my upper back. A dreaded something was burrowing in.

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Dear Readers, I really appreciate your questions and comments. I need to hear from you to keep this column interesting.  Please send questions and comments to me at Donnie@coastalview.com or mizdoni@gmail.com. All names are kept confidential and all questions will be edited for brevity and clarity.

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Children and teachers are gunned down while in school. Riots break out over racial prejudice. Foreigners are under suspicion and threatened with deportation. Places of worship become targets for angry militants brandishing assault rifles. All of these tragedies could—and should—have been pre…

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Light rain fell in intermittent showers across south LA as I motored north late in the evening on Cinco de Mayo. I’d spent the afternoon with my cousin and his wife and two kids in their Aliso Viejo, Orange County in their tract-house paradise, overlooking other tract houses and Laguna Canyo…

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