Coral Casino: Almost, But Not Quite, Open

The day before Coral Casino was scheduled to reopen (without the yet-to-be-constructed, kitchen, ballroom, and second-story restaurant) and two days after the Journal went to print, an accident involving a sprinkler head delayed the opening. According to Erinn Lynch, a representative for Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, on Thursday, August 23, “a subcontractor accidentally ruptured a sprinkler head in the main lobby causing damage to the computer system and flooring.” Erinn says the flooring needs to be repaired and “tile in the lobby had to be cleaned and also resealed.”

Over the weekend, Four Seasons orchestrated a trial reopening to make sure operations ran smoothly and would be up to Four Seasons standards. As for a new opening date, Erinn promises “it will be in days, not weeks.”

The 80 available Coral Casino club memberships should be offered soon, and are likely to go fast. Since our front-page story first appeared, Erinn says “we added 50-60 to the interest list.” New rates and initiation fees, however, have yet to be released.

Reconstruction of the sea wall at Butterfly Beach in front of the Biltmore could resume construction soon. With summer officially ending Labor Day, construction on the seawall is expected to begin. By next summer, then, the steps and handicap access ramp to the beach will be completed and the long overdue facelift to Channel Drive will have been more or less completed.

Montecito to be “Ground Zero” for both Rudy and Barack

Rudy Giuliani’s camp has informed MJ that he will be returning to Montecito on Thursday, September 27 rather than Friday the 28th. The date change was announced on Monday, August 27, when Giuliani reps realized that separate travel issues would make it impossible for Rudy to be in Montecito on September 28. The luncheon schedule remains the same, however; he’ll be at Four Seasons Biltmore from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, September 27, and if you’d like to attend, you are invited to call Mary Belle Snow at 805-969-0148.

As for Barack Obama, both his events remain scheduled for September 8. If you are eager to attend one but cannot come up with the required $2,300, a $25 fundraiser raffle is being held that will allow at least one person, possibly two, to participate in the more intimate Obama gathering at the Montecito home of Nancy and Larry Koppelman. Read more about it in Montecito Diary, beginning on page 10.

A Montecito Radio Station

During the heated days of the threat of the Zaca Fire to Montecito, residents that tuned into the ten-watt 1370AM station on their radio dials could receive a daily update on the fire. Any immediate notices of evacuation or change of status was broadcast there too, so it would be a good idea to have that battery-powered radio you’ve kept stashed in your closet with a separate pair of batteries, tuned to this station during an ensuing emergency, whether it be fire, flood, earthquake, or other disaster, natural or otherwise.

However, a ten-watt station isn’t exactly a “Tower of Power.” Many areas of Montecito could not tune in at all, so while 1370AM is useful, it is nowhere near ideal.

But, “there’s this window in October, for one week, where the FCC is going to be accepting applications for radio licenses,” says Keith Frick, a longtime MERRAG volunteer. “It would have a larger mission,” he says, “in that because it puts out a real solid signal, institutions other than the fire department could use it. When there was an emergency,” he continues, “it would fulfill the same function as the AM station, but on a normal basis, it could provide a lot of different programming.”

Mr. Frick explains that the process will cost something close to $10,000 for an attorney to prepare and hand in the application, and for an engineer to come out and decide what frequency would work best. After that, it would be three to five years before the granting of the license. A community-oriented group must make the application, not an individual. “Any of the churches, any of the schools, any of the special districts. The Montecito Association could make the application, just some group that represents the community is all that is required,” says Mr. Frick.

Montecito should have its own FM station and Montecito Journal would join the effort, including financially. Keith stresses that this auction of the station is “a once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, so if your group is interested, you are invited to call Keith at 805-565-0659, or me (Tim) at Montecito Journal: 805-565-1860.

See you on the air!