A Soggy Successful Beautification Day

Between intermittent rain showers, residents rolled up their sleeves to help beautify the village and its surroundings; Montecito Association’s 23rd annual Beautification Day was held Saturday, November 1. Although the turnout in the early hours seemed to be affected by the wet weather, a crowd of people, including First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, came out in the early afternoon to celebrate Montecito history and honor this year’s Citizen of the Year, author David Myrick.

Mindy Denson, chair of Montecito Association’s Beautification Committee, along with committee members Elisa Atwill, Jo Thompson, Darlene Bierig, Jean von Wittenburg, Nina Terzian, Clay Williams, LeAnn Madden, Andrea Newquist, Caryl Crahan, and John and Christy Venable were on hand to facilitate the event. Montecito Association board members, including President Bill Palladini, were also in attendance; this year marks the Association’s 60th Anniversary. Other community leaders, including Fire Chief Kevin Wallace, Montecito Water District GM Tom Mosby, and Montecito Water Board members Doug Morgan, Jan Abel and Dick Shaikewitz were at the village green to show their support in beautifying Montecito.

Local organizations including the Fire Protection District, Water and Sanitation, Casa Del Herrero, Montecito Association, Montecito Trails, SB Zoo, Montecito YMCA, MERRAG, and Friends of the Library had informational tables set up, and Four Seasons Biltmore provided brunch and a commemorative cake honoring Myrick.

During the awards presentation, several children were awarded $25 gift certificates from Tecolote Book Shop for artwork based on Montecito history. Winners included Delainy Tarleton and Soren Walker from Cold Spring School, Andrew Gutierrez and Sonia Lopez from Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Sangay Sherpa from Laguna Blanca. Montecito Union School, as in years past, declined to participate.

Brian and Christine Wolf, who live on Humphrey Road, were honored with a Beautification award for their home’s restoration. The residence, built in 1910, was restored in 2007 with an “East Coast beachy flair.” Mr. Wolf explained he was careful to maintain the character of the architecture, but added modern day conveniences such as high ceilings, skylights, and state of the art appliances and lighting.

Homeowner Carol Hicks was given a Beautification Award for the creative use of drought tolerant landscaping at her home on Alston Road. Montecito Landscape’s Chris and Lisa Cullen, who designed the landscape, were also recognized. The Cullens reduced the size of the lawn, planted drought-tolerant plants and flowers, and replaced traditional sprinklers with water-saving drip irrigation. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” Hicks said about the Cullens, “They made my dreams a reality.”

In the Exceptional Fence or Gate category, Music Academy of the West was honored for the beauty and elegance of the entry gate on Fairway Road. The iron gate was built in 1995 and designed by longtime Academy staff member Alan Hughes.

Citizen of the Year Mr. Myrick was recognized by Supervisor Carbajal, who read out loud the resolution being awarded to him. Afterwards, Carbajal added, “You exemplify community service and what it means to give back.” Tecolote Book Shop in the Upper Village displayed Myrick’s books in its window for the entire week leading up to the event; he has written several books on railroads and Montecito’s history. In addition to serving on the Montecito Association Board of Directors for six years, Myrick is former chairman of the History Committee, and current secretary of the Montecito Community Foundation.

After completing litter pickup throughout Montecito, volunteers enjoyed mellow music from bluegrass-inspired band Glendessary Jam. As the sun peeked through the clouds, hot dogs, homemade chocolate-chip cookies and the Fire District’s toned-down “Five Alarm” chili were served. “The day was a huge success,” Denson told us.

Ghost Village Road

At one end of Ghost Village Road, Coast Village Business Association President Danny Copus and his staff spooked revelers in their “Joker’s Play House” held at the Montecito Inn, while at the other end Bob and Ellie Patterson held their annual Halloween costume contest while offering free tastes of the popular “worms & dirt” gelato.

San Ysidro Bridge Repair

Construction is slated to begin this week on a county bridge located on East Mountain Drive, just east of San Ysidro Ranch. The project includes removing remnants of rotten timber rails and chain-link fence barrier and replacing them with new steel railing to provide a safer structure for pedestrians and hikers. Chris Sneddon with Santa Barbara County Public Works advises pedestrians to refrain from using the bridge while the estimated two weeks of construction is underway. The footbridge is and will remain closed to vehicle traffic, but is commonly used to access nearby hiking trails by residents and guests from San Ysidro Ranch.