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There’s a saying that those who can’t do, teach. Joe (Jaime Foxx)—the main character in Pixar’s latest animated feature, “Soul”—hopes he’s the exception.

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I had a knee replacement last February in anticipation of many more years of playing with my grandchildren, traveling to exotic countries, enjoying San Francisco with my son and adventuring with friends. Well, my knee is strong and ready with hardly a scar, but the Covid-19 virus is really c…

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Winter is my favorite time to garden in our mild coastal climate. Cooler temperatures and the slower pace of plant growth allow you to focus your energies on the long-term life of your garden: soil health, perennial plantings such as trees and shrubs and water conservation measures. Our unus…

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My best friend from childhood sent a photo of his 12-year-old daughter a week ago with a text message: “I wish I’d spent more time with her.” He and his wife split up last year, and it’s not so much the pain of divorce he’s referring to (there were plenty of reasons), but the 15-hour days he…

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It is with tremendous gratitude that I write my last column and leave “It Takes a Village” and the Carpinteria Children’s Project (CCP) in the generous and capable hands of Interim Executive Director Teresa Alvarez and CCP’s Board of Directors. Next week, I will take the next step in my prof…

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January is the time to acknowledge the school board and its role in supporting student achievement during School Board Recognition Month. We are proud to join more than 1,000 local educational agencies in the state in recognizing the contributions of our board members who in this time of unp…

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Following our first rainstorm of the year, I ventured out into a freshly washed world with my binoculars. After the previous day’s steady rainfall, which measured an inch and a half in our rain gauge, birds were swarming the feeders. They too had been hunkered down and were hungry. They fed …

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New Year’s Resolutions are overrated. Statistics show that 92% of New Year’s resolutions are destined for failure. Why?

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This year has presented enormous challenges. Stay-at-home orders, online schooling, empty grocery store shelves, cancellations of events and gatherings – they all impacted people differently, but nobody was unaffected. Added to this were periods of air choked with smoke from wildfires near a…

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Only the owls knew what had happened. After stepping inside a prominent sandstone cathedral, I discovered the fresh carcass of an adult barn owl lied sprawled out on the dusty floor of the gritty rock outcropping.

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I would like to recognize all CUSD employees for their tireless work in providing safe and healthy learning environments for elementary students and for creating engaging remote learning for secondary students. In this most challenging school year, our staff has continuously demonstrated the…

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We are all darn sick of the pandemic and the limitations it has put on our lives. Sharing a casual meal with a friend, gone. Movie theaters, museums, the Santa Barbara Bowl, all gone for now. And I don’t know about yours, but the walls of my home are shrinking every day. Those close to me an…

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As the hope and promise of winter rain grows, I look forward to the season of mushroom hunting.  While the semi-arid climate of southern California isn’t as famous for mushroom hunting as the lush rainforests of the Pacific Northwest or the rainy redwoods of Northern California, there are st…

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To Carpinteria’s Liz Pretzinger, volunteering is practically a full-time job. She spends nearly 30 hours each week volunteering in the community. Farmers Market frequenters may know Pretzinger and her husband BD Dautch from Earthtrine Farm, which has been growing organic produce since 1986 w…

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My buddy Simon is 20 years my junior and a mad man in surfing. The scarier and more remote the surf spot, the happier he is. With big waves forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 8 and 9, 2020, I am on the Central Coast where he lives, and we are investigating a boulder-strewn cove in Big …

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This past spring, when we entered the first lockdown, I departed from the usual movie review to recommend something longer and more binge-able—something that could eat up more of those quarantine hours. It was Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance.” Now, as we enter our second lockdown (or is it …

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Think about someone who has been a role model for you at some point in your life. It may be a parent or a teacher, an older brother or sister, possibly a mentor at work, or maybe someone you never even met, but who inspired you to accomplish something. How might things have been different fo…

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It did not hit me until a couple days after finishing my day trip, kayaking around Point Bennett, arguably the most exposed region of the Channel Islands National Park, located on the west end of San Miguel Island. After skimming through my photos from the day, I determined that most, if not…

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Jamie Weitzman has turned her call to serve into a family affair by volunteering alongside her eldest daughters Sarah, 18, and Julia, 16. Since moving to Carpinteria with her husband, Joshua, 15 years ago, Weitzman has balanced being a wife, mother of four and a homeschool teacher with givin…

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Libraries have literally rescued me from boredom nearly all of my life. Choosing a book to read, meeting the characters, turning each page as I explore what happens next, and saying goodbye at the end are all parts of not only entertainment but also ways to broaden my view, experience empath…

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Hi, I’m Matt—I’m an email-aholic. I check it too much. I can’t resist. I get a little rush each time I tap “refresh,” though, I have to admit, the high isn’t what it used to be. I want to stop checking my email. There’s no real reason to. It’s not like I get a ton of urgent messages, nor is …

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The Carpinteria Garden Park’s goal is to provide affordable access to organic vegetable gardening, especially for folks without the space, sunlight, or ability to garden where they live. However, as the wild edges of the garden have matured in the last few years, the garden has also become a…

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For the last nine months, I have been writing about my eight great-grandparents (GG), and this is what I learned.

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On Sept. 11, 2001, I was on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, participating in a surfing festival organized by the eccentric and visionary Australian surfer Derek Hynd. Santa Barbara’s own Tom Curren was there, as was his brother Joe and a small coterie of other professional…

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It’s owl season. At dusk and dawn listen for the sounds of male and female Great Horned Owls duetting back and forth.  Or if you hear a raspy shriek, look for a Barn Owl floating by on moth-like wings. This is the time of year owls are bonding with their mates and looking for nesting sites.

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This year, there were some concerns regarding the Carpinteria Unified School District Adopted Budget. Normally, the budget is approved by July 1, which is a few months before the county of Santa Barbara releases its property tax roll collection estimates in October. 

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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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