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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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Uninitiated here again. “Star Wars” uninitiated, that is. Which is just to say, I’m not a fanboy. I’m not a master of that universe. It’s just not my thing.

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It’s a new year, and with it comes toasts for health, wealth and happiness. While it’s tempting to sit back and rely on the adage, “All good things come to those who wait,” the only way to capture those elusive well-wishes is to take action. That’s right, you have to do something. Like what?…

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Right at the beginning of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” we get a reminder of how dorky, hokey, cheesy and incredibly slow Mr. Rogers (played by Tom Hanks in this movie) was. Yes, yes, he was also tender, kind, and totally wonderful (more on that below). But, man, was he slow.

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Diane and I moved to Carpinteria 20 years ago. When we moved in, we were in the garage assembling some shelves, and as neighbors drove by, almost every one of them slowed and waved to us. Each person walking a dog stopped to say,  “Hi.” I suppose that’s not very surprising, but it was someth…

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We paddled from the broad, craggy mouth of the Albion River in Mendocino in Northern California, and into tall stands of redwood trees towering above the gentle flow of this flatwater runnel. Osprey, mule deer and river otters foraged the shoreline as my friend Craig and I paddled to the flo…

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About two weeks ago I’d loaded the van with nine boards (five custom, three on speculation and one personal), filled the tank and merged onto Highway 101 northbound at 6 a.m. Five-and-a-half hours later, with one stop for gas near King City, I pulled into the Sunset District of San Francisco.

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Warm Christmas memories lure me into the holiday mood as I turn the calendar page to December. I envision baking cookies with grandchildren, forgetting the mess and the arguments that can happen between two small boys wanting the same big cookie. A vision of the perfect tree all decorated wi…

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Those words were whispered into my ear, followed by a soft kiss placed upon my cheek. I stirred but kept my eyes closed, remembering instantly that this was not Christmas Morning. There was no hurry to jump up today, no surprises by the fireplace, no stockings to unstuff. Not yet. But it was…

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The holiday season is upon us, and that can mean many things—visting with friends and family we don’t see often, wearing our stretchy pants to meals, or perhaps following a family tradition that is so old its origin has become something of legend.

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I’d waited six months for this moment and was hoping for an easier time of it, but sometimes you just have to put your head down and lay into it.

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I recently crossed paths with one of the biggest and most beautiful coyotes I’ve ever seen while walking my dog on the Bluffs just after sunrise. It was tall and sleek, with a thick, shiny coat and direct stare.  We walked towards one another until I turned so as not to trap it in a narrow s…

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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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There are all sorts of ways to scare someone. You could jump out at them. You could gross them out. You could make them feel unsafe. Or you could give them an itchy, eerie, creepy feeling—make it a skin-crawling spook fest.

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Many research studies support what educators know: Students are academically and socially successful when schools build positive relationships with their families.

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On a day to day basis, we stay busy repairing water main breaks, helping our customers find leaks and providing safe drinking water, but we also devote a lot of time to planning for the future. It is important that we look ahead so we can successfully manage our water resources and implement…

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We’ve all heard stories about the Mayflower and the First Thanksgiving—how the colonists left England in September of 1620, spent an arduous 66 days crossing the Atlantic before arriving at Cape Cod, suffered the loss of half the original passengers during that first disease-ridden winter, a…

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“Facing Ourselves,” the recently-closed art installment that centered on portraits by Patricia Houghton-Clarke of Carpinterians and immigrants from around the world hung throughout our community and at the Carpinteria Arts Center. The Arts Center’s website explained, “The exhibition is inten…

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The Cow Fire burned brightly to the south, smoke wafting skyward and colliding with billowing, puffy monsoonal clouds hovering above the Eastern Sierra.

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As we hope for winter rains as nourishing as last year’s, now is the time to prepare perennial garden space. Many vegetable farms and gardens operate on a seasonal cycle of annual plants whose short lives span the longer, warmer days of spring to fall. In contrast, perennial plants have life…

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Picture yourself driving in slow-and-go traffic toward Santa Barbara on a sunny fall day. Suddenly a little red sports car zooms past you on the shoulder, cuts in front of you, and zigzags its way through the traffic ahead.

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Ask any Carpinteria High School (CHS) student, “What are your post-secondary plans and more than likely you will learn about a “10yearPLAN” created in the freshman “Get Focused ...Stay Focused!” (GFSF) college and career readiness course at CHS.

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Major Roy McBride of the United States Space Command is a cool customer. He’s got ice in his veins. Strap him to a rocket, knock him off his footing thousands of feet in the air, shoot at him, yell at him, punch him—he won’t blink.  

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We all know a child that has special needs. We all know these children need and deserve specialized and unique educational services. What we don’t always consider is how the cost of special education in public school impacts the entire school budget.

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For my coworkers and I, October means having a moment to breathe after a busy September and the Avocado Festival and getting ready for what passes for winter on our little slice of coastline. In California, over 90 percent of precipitation falls between Oct. 1 and April 30, but on the Centra…

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I thought I had it all. I’d gone through all the places where photos and letters and gems and artifacts would be saved. Gramma was fully on board with my search—it was her memories and treasures we were after to write her life story—but my thoroughness at some point taxed her. She didn’t com…

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Now Rincon is not what you’d call a “secret spot.” The Queen of the Coast is an international celebrity, and always well-attended with even a hint of swell. It certainly does not belong to me, nor to any individual, although some surfers seem to own the place through sheer skill, and more th…

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The final Shore. Sounds ominous, like crossing the river Styx to reach Hades. But this, the final Shore that I’ll write, feels more like coming into harbor, stepping off onto warm sand for a nice walk on the beach.

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This column is not uplifting, not light-hearted; but I need to say some things. We have to look at the hard stuff sometimes. We must not be silent; we must not turn the other way and pretend it’s not happening when we are worried for a child. Children didn’t choose to be brought into the wor…

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A couple weekends ago, my wife Diane and I were in Memphis and had a little free time. We heard about the National Civil Rights Museum and, even though we knew nothing about it, we thought it sounded interesting, so we found the address and headed there.

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Nestled on the edge of town where tidal ebbs and flows inundate the shore, the Carpinteria Salt Marsh spans over 230 acres of some of the most biologically productive and diverse land remaining in Southern California. It is a place of overlapping boundaries, where habitats such as tidal zone…

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I love surprises when Mother Earth serves them up. A few years ago when I kayaked from Santa Cruz Island to tiny Santa Barbara Island, I just wanted the 42-mile slog to be over.

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Tucked along the business strip that shares a wall with John Wullbrandt’s mural, “World’s Safest Beach,” you’ll find the Carpinteria Cotton Co. For 30 years, fashionable fans have flocked to this boutique to shop its latest clothing selections. Cotton Co.’s distinct style grabs hold and tran…

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Global California 2030 is the newest initiative and call to action of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and it’s mission “is to equip students with world language skills to better appreciate and more fully engage with the rich and diverse mixture of cultures, heritage…

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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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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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