“Cape Buffalos”

“Cape Buffalos,” by Doris Drabbe. Drabbe, a Summerland-based artist, is participating in this year’s Artists studio Tour.

At its April board meeting the Summerland Citizens Association announced the formation of several new committees charged with reviving, protecting and beautifying our little town.

Elizabeth Winterhalter is serving as head of the beautification committee, a revival of the defunct Summerland Beautiful committee. She outlined steps her committee will take to brighten the downtown area. An immediate goal is to clean up medians, sidewalks and gutters. Weeds have taken over these areas since the county abandoned its maintenance program. (The county is in the process of renegotiating a landscaping project.)

“We’ve had a couple of meetings,” Elizabeth said, “and there is great energy and desire to get beautiful back into Summerland Beautiful.”

Her committee will work in tandem with another newly formed group, the business revitalization committee, on the commercial landscaping along Lillie Avenue. One idea is to have commercial and residential Summerland Beautiful awards to encourage business and property owners to take pride in their businesses and homes.

Another idea floated at the SCA meeting was installing an Adopt a Highway sign for the section of freeway fronting Summerland. There was some debate about whether to label the sign Summerland Beautiful or Summerland Citizens Association.

I kind of like the idea of the latter—the SCA sign—as being a clearer statement that the people of this little town, as a group, care about their environment. But either would work. Litter removal goes a long way toward keeping our surroundings inviting and attractive.

Summerland artists star

Downtown Summerland will open some long-closed doors for the annual Artist Studio Tour May 11 and 12. The tour, sponsored by the Carpinteria Arts Center, will feature three local artists displaying their works in the quaint cottage that once housed Café Luna and in the former Waxing Poetic building on the same property.

Doris Drabbe, Ted Rhodes and Reeve Woolpert will share the unique gallery spaces. An introduction to their art works will take place in the Waxing Poetic space, followed by a short walk to an expanded show in the larger cottage.

Current plans call for wine and snacks to maximize the pleasure of the viewing experience. According to Doris, who is on the tour’s planning committee, the property’s representative plans to line up a special food truck to serve hungry tour participants at the location.

Doris, who studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, Netherlands, has had her mixed media work featured in many galleries. Her paintings are inspired by nature, animals, plants, fossils, skulls, insects, as well as ancient tribes.

Photojournalist Ted Rhodes’ luminous photographs capture the illusively unique moments in peoples’ lives, which he describes as the “unexpected or unseen.” His widely published work has been featured in many galleries and shows locally and nationally.

Much of Reeve Woolpert’s fine landscape photography has been focused on the vanishing South Coast, its seascapes, meadows, mountains, trees and flowers. He is currently working on a Nature Conservancy project to photograph a large north coast preserve recently acquired by the Conservancy.

The tour, which features more than two dozen artists, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, May 11 and 12. Brochures containing directions for the tour sites are widely available or can be picked up at the Arts Center in downtown Carpinteria.  

Stranded sea lion

A juvenile elephant seal hauled itself ashore below Lookout Park last month. When we and our leashed dogs approached, Susan Mailheau, a volunteer with the Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institute, intercepted us for a chat.

The little pup looked to be in a poor state, and she told us that it had already been weened, was on its own and needed to rest. People were already too close for comfort, and since it was a big wave day, surfers were also busy right there.

Beach goers seem to need constant reminding about how to treat stranded marine mammals. Leave them alone. Stay far enough away not to alarm them. Definitely keep dogs leashed and at a distance. Call the Marine & Wildlife Institute’s rescue hotline: (805) 567-1505. They will send someone out to evaluate. Website is info@CIMWI.org.

Sanitary District wins gold

The Summerland Sanitary District, the smallest special district on the South Coast, won the prestigious certificate of excellence from the Special District Leadership Foundation, a nonprofit independent organization based in Sacramento. The award is given yearly to California special districts that exemplify essential governance transparency requirements.

In accepting the award, General Manager Michael Sullivan stated, “The entire district’s staff as well as the board of directors are to be commended for their contributions that empower the public with information, facilitate engagement and oversight.”

One good thing: The unexpected rush of childhood glee you experience on discovering a bright left-over Easter egg still hidden in the grass.

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