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I grew up in a big family in a house filled with the energy of a bunch of rambunctious kids. I am not sure how long it was before my parents figured out that unbreakable plastic dinner plates were a good idea, but except for holidays, that’s what we used.

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It’s the mobile basecamp transporting you to hidden natural wonders, where time slows down and the only set schedule moves along on its own course. You’re just along for the ride because you chose to be there, making the drive with enough provisions to see you through on your car camping exc…

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In the wake of the 2018 Montecito mudslides, CVN interviewed local Jaime Diamond about the founding of the Carpinteria Food Pantry alongside fellow volunteer Jessica Clark. Two years later, Diamond has donned a face mask to provide her community with food during a new crisis: the Covid-19 pandemic.

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I hit a wall last week. I was overtired, overstressed and added a dash of too much sugar and not enough exercise. I was done—unable to concentrate, accomplish much or anything, or even care that my son was on a screen for the 25th hour in a row. I’m on plenty of zoom calls with a lot of peop…

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We’re still distancing. Still streaming. And if you’re anything like my family, you’re doing it a lot. Our latest Sunday evening tradition is to rotate picking a Disney movie for all of us to watch. Thomas (7) recently picked “Cool Runnings” and says he is going to pick “Honey I Shrunk the K…

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Well over a decade ago, I went on a surf trip to the Cape Verde islands for Surfer Magazine when the idea of a global pandemic just made for a good horror film. I’d been there a decade before, as a member of an eight-man Seabee detachment tasked with building a schoolhouse with a crew of Cap…

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Since everyone in my household has been home a lot more, our compost has been working overtime. Now, I know how to correctly compost. I haven’t ever lived somewhere that I didn’t have a composting system of some sort. My mother still has an aerobic composting pile that she or my stepfather t…

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Every day when I get up I put on earrings. Not because I’m going anywhere or seeing anybody but because the little silver hoops remind me that once I did go places and see people and may again. Call them my hope amulets.

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On Earth Day, I was talking to my neighbor Val from six feet away in her driveway, when a little gray fox trotted past. It was a beautiful creature—grizzled gray with cinnamon accents and a billowy black-tipped tail.

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If you walk around the corner from Crushcakes Cafe and start down Yucca Lane toward the parking lot behind that building, you see a large mural on the wall that resembles an old-fashioned postcard showing the beach paradise and glamour that is the stereotype of California. It is a colorful i…

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What a meaningful time to build a garden and plant seeds.  People around the country are finding the time and purpose to grow food, as our social world and time commitments diminish and self-reliance increases. Growing some of your household’s fresh fruits and vegetables is a powerful invest…

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She chirped defiantly at the aerial assault. A low-flying American kestrel had a bead on her kits, a couple of cheeky, tiny, and unaware Nelsons antelope ground squirrels.

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At the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, volunteer captain Jed Hirsch is ready to take on tasks of any size with a smile on his face and an eagerness to help others. Hirsch is the most senior member of the brigade, having first joined efforts in the aftermath of the 2018 Montecito Mudslides. His…

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“Great job, Team Carpinteria!” Don Hall of United Boys & Girls Clubs, Carpinteria exclaimed. Yes! I want everyone to know how well coordinated the leaders of organizations in Carpinteria are right now. This strong team is built on years of relationships. And, in a weird way, the experien…

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On June 18, 1885, 214 crates containing the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York on the French frigate Isere. That same day, my great-grandmother Elizabeth Maria Paulina Gelser Miller was born in St. Louis, Missouri; and 125 years later I was to discover a closer French connection.

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While trying to think about what I could write about for this column, I found myself struggling. I don’t need to go down the road of “things are rough” since I know everyone is feeling that way (and if you aren’t, please share your secret with the rest of us). Every aspect of our lives has b…

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During this time of coronavirus stress, I have rediscovered a tonic for what ails us: watching birds. Typically, I travel for my work. Now like everyone else, I’m grounded.  

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We’re rounding the corner on a month now of sheltering-in-place. Aside from the uncertainty of this time, we’re enjoying being together as a family. The morning rush to school is no longer an issue, and we’re able to focus the hours of study in the areas our daughter is working to improve on…

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My workday while sheltering-at-home mostly involves sitting at my desk working on the computer. My big midday adventure is going outside to get the mail. As the day winds down, I look forward to getting outside for some exercise—maybe a walk around the block or a run that takes me along the beach.

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What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. While much has shifted rapidly, the natural world continues to move at the slower pace of fresh green growth and abundance. The recent generous rainfall triggered the first flushes of spring at the Carpinteria Garden Park, a slow unfurling that …

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The ticks were moving up my pant legs faster than I thought after tiptoeing across a year-round spring that flows to a deserted beach located south of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Sand Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, I’ve always been a tick magnet, and at times have found them on me i…

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In this time of unprecedented school closures and swift changes, Carpinteria Unified School District is challenged to continue the education and support for our students and families. On March 13, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order ensuring California public school districts ret…

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It’s a pretty thing, isn’t it? Magnified images of the virus—a rotund ball studded with little pink florets. Similar enough, I guess, to a crown, a corona, to merit the name. In spite of the royal name, it’s a boogeyman, a monster, bearer of our worst fears.

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The ticks were moving up my pant legs faster than I thought after tiptoeing across a year-round spring that flows to a deserted beach located south of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Sand Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, I’ve always been a tick magnet, and at times have found them on me i…

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Tom Beland is no stranger to lending a hand to others, especially when it involves lessening hunger in our community. He has stretched his service across Carpinteria, from the Sealwatch to the Carpinteria Birdwatchers to the Carpinteria homeless count, but his greatest passion is aiding grou…

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The story of Delgado’s, the traditional Mexican restaurant on Carpinteria Avenue, goes back four generations to when the Delgado’s Grocery and gas station opened in the 1950s near the current building, just down the street.

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Sea level rise—words that are tossed around more often in coastal communities, words that can still spark controversy depending on where you live and what you do.

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“Long ago, the world was full of wonder. It was adventurous. There was magic.”

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Moving house strains the “it’s all surfing” metaphor to the breaking point. But now that everything is settled and our family’s boxes are mostly unpacked in our new place across town, I’m looking to get back to a shaping and surfing program. The North Pacific is heading towards its seasonal …

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I just returned from Costco where I was one of many who swarmed the pallet of toilet paper in what felt like a crazed moment of desperation. We really were on our last roll of TP and totally out of Kleenex (in part because TP had been doing double duty). Is the sky falling? Is it just me or …

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In continuing the series on the lives of my great-grandparents, I bring you the story of how in 1893 my Italian great-grandfather, Michele Lombardi, arrived in the United States at the age of 9 with his mother. The following is in his own words, from the “Rambling Episode” he wrote in 1969 a…

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In this column, I frequently write about serious issues: ocean water bacteria levels, air pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and sea level rise. Just last month, I discussed sediment dumping on the beach at Ash Avenue. I describe public meetings of the City Council, the Planning …

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One of the greatest pleasures of my job as coordinator for the Carpinteria Garden Park is working with young people. The community garden hosts multiple class trips every semester, a bilingual garden program for homeschoolers and helps tend vegetable gardens on school campuses with the help …

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SLOW DOWN! Our crosswalks are filled with students walking, running, biking to and from school, and traffic is heavily congested with freeway, road and school construction projects. Carpinteria drivers are creating unsafe crosswalks for students traveling to/from school. It is unacceptable t…

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My Irish great-grandmother, Catherine Frances Grimes, was born in Denver, Colorado, on Jan. 7, 1883. She was the ninth of 10 children born to Frances and Elizabeth (Delaney) Grimes, who came to New York from Ireland with their infant daughter in March of 1870. Frances and Elizabeth added six…

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Ice on the Channel Islands National Park. It’s a rare occurrence but back on the morning of Dec. 29, 2019, the rainfly on my tent in the upper campground of Scorpion Anchorage, on Santa Cruz Island was cracking under a thin sheet of ice.

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2020 is off to a running start, but we should take a moment to reflect on last year’s accomplishments and share all that the Carpinteria Valley Water District (CVWD) hopes to achieve in the busy year ahead. A great deal of hard work goes into ensuring that safe and reliable drinking water fl…

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I did so much better this year in the Rincon Classic than I did last year. Yes, I took another fifth place in my heat and failed to advance, but gone was my expletive-laden self-recrimination. I merely shrugged my shoulders and congratulated my buddy Geoff Faro on advancing. Last year, I fel…

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Energy is a hot topic in California right now. With wildfires and power outages becoming commonplace, utility companies, local and state governments, environmental groups and many others are working diligently to find innovative solutions to the current energy crisis we’re facing. We’re in t…

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It is so crazy hard to watch your kids fail. And yet, letting a kid fall flat on their face may be the most loving and optimistic thing we can do.  

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Entering Giannfranco’s Trattoria, a local mom-and-pop Italian restaurant on Linden Avenue, patrons are met with smiles, white linens and a touch of glamor to make Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack proud. The name itself is a familial blend: Chef Giovanni Contreras combined his first name with h…

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The Carpinteria Garden Park is a community garden in the heart of downtown where 104 local households grow their own organic food.  Many community garden members are first-time growers learning through personal experience how to successfully tend a garden without relying on chemical inputs. …

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Walk out to the beach at the end of Ash Avenue and what do you find? If it is not high tide, you see huge ribbons of rocks ranging from pebbles to softball-sized and even larger. They fill this section of the beach, and require a detour to get around, or ninja-like care to walk across. These…

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The start of a new year—a new decade! Many of us I’m sure are taking this opportunity to look inward and change the only person we can change, ourselves. Times like a new year, a birthday or the start of spring bring with them an opportunity for a fresh start.  

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I wasn’t sure what was going on with the juvenile California condor, but I couldn’t shake the velvety-feathered scavenging raptor.  

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Who was the best teacher you ever had? Can you remember her name? Did he ever contact your parents to discuss your progress? Did she make learning fun or welcome you to the world of reading or push you to explore your limits? Good teachers can be found in all our public schools, but they are…

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A new year means different things to different people. Some people enter the next year ready to change lives, theirs or others, while other people continue along content with things as they are. I tend to use the change of the calendar to reflect on the past year with friends, and talk about…

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