Caruso Can Do So

Chances are, third time’s the charm, and new Miramar owner Rick Caruso is moving forward as planned, perhaps even quicker than planned; judging by the attendance of more than 250 at the April 10 Montecito town hall meeting held at El Montecito Presbyterian, people are not only eagerly anticipating both the construction and re-opening of this Montecito landmark, but more importantly are actively supportive of the effort. Because of – and in spite of – past mistakes, county planners and officials are likely to be more cooperative than some have been in the past. Barring anything weird occurring during the land use phase of the project, Caruso looks to be the man that will finally come through. We have not seen anything to dissuade us from believing that he will have the Miramar, its spa, restaurants, convention facilities, pools, beach & tennis club, even the ocean float/raft 50 yards offshore, up and running, maybe as early as Christmas 2008, certainly, if everything runs even semi-smoothly, the Miramar will be offering guests ocean-side cocktails in the summer of 2009. Montecito residents appear to be pleased with the preliminary plans and most of those that attended the town hall meeting spoke in favor of the direction the architects have taken. Politics too are swinging in Caruso’s favor; no appeals have been filed or threatened.

According to Matt Middlebrook, Vice-President of Government Relations with Caruso Affiliated, the goal of taking an application to county planning & development by June, complete with artistic renderings, sample elevations, and representative building samples, is on target.

We support this endeavor and wish the Caruso team both luck and speed.

The Summerland Home and Garden Tour

The full details are on page 33, but we thought we ought to reiterate here what a good idea it is to attend home and garden tours in areas you might be interested in moving to. This weekend it is Summerland’s turn; next weekend, Carpinteria holds its annual home & garden tour. If you are new to the area, a potential buyer, or simply seeking remodel ideas, a $25 ticket is a minimal investment that can pay dividends well into the future. Participants receive a map, coupons for coffee, beer, even a wine tasting, and take themselves on a self-guided tour of half a dozen homes and/or gardens. Each location has a docent-owner to guide you. Tickets are available at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 2375 Lillie Avenue from 10 am to 2 pm on the day of the tour: Saturday, April 21. To read more about the event please read our cover story, “Summerland Beautiful” on page 32.

Montecito Union School Carnival

When I attended Montecito Union School, the carnival was a big deal.

It still is.

I remember running around with the rest of my classmates playing games, having my face painted, and trying to get “Mr. B.,” our physical education teacher (who often dressed up like a bee and whose uniform is now retired and hanging in the hallway adjacent to the auditorium), or then-Principal Dr. Bronte Reynolds soaked in the Dunk Tank. During the Sock Hop, “Baron” Ron Herron would play the Beatles, Beach Boys, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, not to forget “At the Hop” by Danny & The Juniors, and other sing-along classics (some of them, like “Leader of the Pack,” were written by MUS dad Jeff Barry, and others like “Your Momma Don’t Dance,” written and sung by MUS dad Kenny Loggins of Loggins & Messina, or “I’m Henry The Eighth I Am,” sung by MUS dad Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits).

This year, like last year, “MUS Idol” takes the place of the old-fashioned sock hop; just like a scene from an American Idol tryout, Montecito Union kids put on outrageous costumes, and sing and dance to their favorite songs ranging from oldies to recent pop hits. Other treats in store include a rock-climbing wall, face painting booths, a giant slide, a 50-foot obstacle course, game booths, putt-putt golf, a cakewalk, and more.

This is Montecito Union School’s biggest fundraiser and remains an important monetary source of MUS extras like upgrading and purchasing of computers and helps pay for fifth- and sixth-graders’ class trips.

The Montecito Union Carnival takes place Saturday, April 21, from 10 am to 3 pm on the school terrace, 385 San Ysidro Road. Look for the Big Slide; you can’t miss it!