Supervisors Commend J’Amy Brown

Community dynamo J’Amy Brown was honored by the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday “for her years of dedicated service to the citizens of Santa Barbara county.” She received the commendation, signed by each of the five supervisors, during the regularly scheduled hearing.

In an area where community good will and charity work are almost the county pastimes, Ms Brown has made volunteerism a near art form. A Montecito resident of 11 years, she spent six years on the Montecito Association’s Board of Directors, serving two as the homeowners organization’s president. She was also president of Santa Barbara City College’s Adult Education Advisory Committee and is credited for revitalizing that program during the 2003 “budget crunch.” She is past marketing chair for the Goleta Valley Art Association, has served on the Music Academy Wine Auction Committee and is a former docent at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, Ms Brown spent a successful stint as a journalist, a career that culminated with a 1985 UPI Texas Editors Award for investigative reporting. Since moving to Montecito, she has been a columnist for the Santa Barbara News-Press, Montecito Journal and she currently writes the online “Montecito Montage” for the Santa Barbara Independent.

Montecito’s Christmas Tree

Building on a tradition that has lasted more than three decades, Montecito volunteers decorated the towering pine tree at the corner of San Ysidro Road and Jameson Lane. The decorating began 35 years ago when “Montecito Elves” Helen and Don Hathaway, living at the El Bosque Road home they still reside in, brought their children to drape garlands and colored ornaments on the tree, a small sapling at the time.

Through four generations the Hathaways returned every December to decorate the tree, but only at night when no one would notice. They came forward a couple of years ago to unveil the mystery, but not before turning the responsibility over to a new batch of Montecito Elves who like their predecessors are staying anonymous, for now.