Child Hit by Car on Middle Road

On Monday December 15, a ten-year-old boy was struck by a car on Middle Road. According to a report from California Highway Patrol, the driver, a 38-year-old female, was unable to avoid hitting the child, who crossed the road suddenly. The youngster sustained minor injuries and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Miramar Latest

After emerging victorious following a December 9 Board of Supervisors meeting in which two appeals of his project were denied, Miramar developer Rick Caruso is expected to be challenged yet again. Errin Briggs, Santa Barbara County planner on the project, tells us that although no formal appeal of the Supervisors’ decision have been filed, a request for information has been submitted by the California Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission is an independent state agency that regulates land and water use in the coastal zone.

“We are anticipating an appeal,” Briggs said. Appellants have 30 days from the hearing date, which was December 9, to file. Matt Middlebrook with Caruso Affiliated remains hopeful. “We think it’s a good project and we are working with the community to clear up any issues,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to deny two appeals of the Montecito Planning Commission’s approval of the hotel project. The appeals focused on environmental issues, flooding, traffic, water use, community impacts and other issues.

Safe Route to MUS

On Wednesday December 17, First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, along with several prominent community members, gathered at Montecito Union School to announce a Federal Safe Routes to School Grant recently awarded to Santa Barbara County. The $392,000 grant will be used to construct a decomposed granite pathway along the west side of San Ysidro Road that will extend for ½ mile between 101 and MUS.

MUS parent Stephen Murdoch, instrumental in the effort to establish the project, said his “vision” had been realized with the procurement of the funds. His wife, Melissa, and their two daughters were also present at the press conference. Carbajal credited Murdoch with spearheading the effort with the help of the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST), Montecito Trails Foundation (MTF), Santa Barbara County Public Works, MUS administration, and Montecito Association. The path will allow students to travel along San Ysidro on foot, without having to dodge mailboxes and shrubbery. It will also connect to Laguna Blanca Lower School, Upper and Lower Manning Parks, the Upper Village and Miramar Beach. “It’s going to get us out of our cars,” Carbajal said.

The 5 foot-wide path way will be made of decomposed granite; curb cuts and curb ramps will be included at intersecting streets and driveways to provide access by all pedestrians. The path will meet ADA standards. It will be maintained by MTF, according to President John Venable. “MTF has really stepped up to the plate,” Carbajal said. Dick Douglas, Superintendent of MUS said the path will make the community safer, and thanked Carbajal for his efforts.

Bill Palladini, who is in the last month of his two-year MA presidency, said the challenge now is gaining more support for the project, especially among residents whose properties may be encroached upon by the path. “We’ve got a big job ahead of us,” he said. He also thanked fellow MA Board member Elisa Atwill, who has been an advocate of Safe Routes to School. Environmental review for the path is expected to commence in 2009; Carbajal estimated construction will likely occur in 2010.

MWD Swears in Board Members

At their Board meeting on December 16, returning Montecito Water District directors Larry Wilson, Jan Abel, and Douglas Morgan were sworn in to their seats on the Montecito Water District Board of Directors by MWD General Manager Tom Mosby. We asked Mosby what the main goals of the Board are for the upcoming year, considering the recent significant changes to the District’s water rate structure and the (almost) water emergency scare which took place over the summer. Mosby’s first response? He hopes for “lots of rain this winter, ending the drought in northern California.”

Mosby also hopes the District’s water conservation message succeeds; successful results are measured by a minimum 10% permanent reduction in customer water usage. The District is also aiming to reduce the need to purchase expensive supplemental State water through conservation, therefore being able to still provide water at a reasonable cost to customers.

The District is constantly dealing with the fragile balance between supply and demand. Mosby says on the supply side the picture looks bleak. “Reports on State Water for 2009 and the foreseeable future do not look promising,” he told us. State Water entitlement reductions look like they are going to continue in 2009 due to northern California drought conditions and the Delta environmental issues affecting State Water deliveries. “Our goal is to balance customer water demand with our available water supplies,” he said.

Tea Fire Recovery Satellite Office at Cold Spring School

On Thursday December 18, a County trailer was installed in the staff parking lot of Cold Spring School to assist homeowners looking to rebuild homes lost in the Tea Fire. The heated temporary building is equipped with computers, office supplies, telephones, and Wi-Fi, and is meant to be a “home base” where victims can access County resources and facilitate the rebuilding of their homes.

The Center is scheduled to be open from 9 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday, even during the county’s two-week furlough program. Designer Adele Goggia will staff the trailer and Tony Nisich, the County’s Tea Fire Ombudsman will be available for meeting with residents who lost their home in the fire. The center is located at the Cold Spring School staff parking lot on Stoddard Lane, at the corner of Sycamore Canyon.

Lance and Carla Hoffman Benefit

Over $14,000 was raised at a movie showing benefiting Lance and Carla Hoffman, the couple severely burned during the Tea Fire in November. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (a favorite of Carla Hoffman’s) was shown at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara on Monday, December 15.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Lance & Carla Hoffman Trust because of generous donations from Metropolitan Theatres Corporation, Paramount Studios, Santa Barbara Travel Bureau, Olio e Limone, Café Buenos Aires, Los Arroyos, Pascucci, opal restaurant and bar, California Pizza Kitchen, Santa Barbara Olive Company, Fess Parker Winery, Wildcat Lounge, Paseo Nuevo, Metro Entertainment, The Daily Sound, CASA Magazine, The Santa Barbara Independent, La Arcada Investment Corporation, and The St. Cecilia Society.

The Trust for the couple, who continue to improve at the UC Irvine Regional Burn Center, is still accepting donations to help pay for their months of expensive recovery and rehabilitation, as well as their eventual return to the Santa Barbara area. Checks can be made payable to the Lance & Carla Hoffman Trust, c/o Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, 1483 East Valley Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.

New Year’s Eve at Bacara

Wine, dine and dance in the New Year at Bacara Resort & Spa on Wednesday, December 31. The producers of Upright Cabaret, a “new generation cabaret,” bring their hip twist on Broadway and Hollywood’s brightest stars to entertain Santa Barbara. “It’s the first New Year’s Eve I’ve been looking forward to in a long time,” said Wendy Jenson, a representative with Bacara.

Upright Cabaret has featured cast members from over 75 Broadway shows, as well as countless film and television stars, since its inception over three years ago. Critically acclaimed singer, actress and Broadway diva Jennifer Leigh Warren will headline this special cast of Upright favorites. Warren has been lauded as an “original” for her theatrical work, from her show-stopping performance as a slave in the original Broadway cast of Big River to originating the role of Crystal in the off-Broadway smash Little Shop Of Horrors, to her performance in the original Broadway cast of Marie Christine at Lincoln Center in New York. Warren was featured on the Grammy Award-nominated original cast albums for all the aforementioned shows.

Joining Warren will be singers Spencer Day and Audra Mae. These three, along with their band, will lead the champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. “These performers know how to put on a show; they can ‘bring down the house,’” Jenson told us. The price for the show to hotel and/or dinner guests is $50 per couple; for those interested only in the show and not staying at Bacara and not eating there, the charge is $100 per couple, but there is a wait list.

If dinner is what you’re after, Bacara has several options to choose from. Miró, the resort’s signature fine dining restaurant, is featuring a five-course prix fixe menu including a glass of champagne ($185 per person). The Bistro at Bacara has a three-course dinner at 6:30 pm ($85 pp/no champagne) and a later four-course prix fixe menu for $125 per person that includes champagne. For Santa Barbara County residents concerned about driving home, Bacara has guest rooms starting at $295 per night. Stay two nights and receive a third complimentary night. “We are offering this rate so locals don’t have to worry about driving; they can stay with us at an attractive price,” Jenson said.

For room reservations call 877-422-4245, and for restaurant reservations call 805-968-0100.