MFPD Considers Installing Sirens

In response to a community forum last week in which over 200 residents discussed the response and management of November’s Tea Fire, Montecito Fire Protection District is looking into installing emergency sirens in the hillsides of Montecito, according to Fire Chief Kevin Wallace. “It’s obvious from the meeting that this is what the community is asking for,” he told us.

At the January 26 forum, hosted and organized by Montecito Association, several residents complained that the reverse 911 system in place was not effective; a few people said they received the warning call several hours after fire had already destroyed their homes. Many residents suggested sirens as a better, quicker, and safer alternative. Wallace said previous discussions about installing sirens have been unproductive because of concerns that the idea would not be embraced by Montecito residents, but the response at the meeting proved otherwise. In the past, residents have been opposed to the unattractive look of sirens and the nuisance of testing them; according to Wallace a new generation of sirens are available that can test the circuit without actually using the siren.

Another previous issue was funding, but ironically MFPD may be able to pay for siren installation because less brush clearing is necessary since the Tea Fire destroyed nearly 2,000 acres; other funding options are being discussed if installation is approved. At this time, the District is in talks with First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal’s office to get direction on what the next step is. Executive Assistant Jeremy Tittle tells us they are in the early stages of looking into land use planning issues to determine the logistics of where the sirens would be placed and which (if any) permits are required. “We are going to work closely with the fire department on this,” Tittle said. MA President Peter van Duinwyk expressed satisfaction that the Tea Fire Forum has elicited this response. “It’s so exciting, we are getting results!” he said.

Wallace said another outcome of the meeting is the collaboration with the Mountain Drive Volunteer Fire Company. “We want to work with them on training, communication, equipment and better coordination for next time,” he said, adding, “There will be a next time.” Montecito Association Update

On Tuesday, February 3, Montecito Association held its first Land Use Committee meeting of 2009. Led by former President Bill Palladini (and now new Land Use Committee Chair), the group’s members include Monica Brock Petersen, Darlene Bierig, Tom Bollay, Tony Harbour, David Kent, Richard Nordlund, Robertson Short, Ralph Baxter, Dick Thielscher, Victoria Greene, and newcomer Laura Bridley. “I think she will be a terrific addition to our committee,” Palladini said about Bridley, citing her extensive background in county planning procedures and processes.

The committee will begin its year looking into landscape lighting issues, fire rebuilding, and new construction projects, along with residential and commercial projects making their way through MBAR and MPC processes.

In other MA news, President Peter van Duinwyk tells us the Board is in the follow-up phase of the Tea Fire Forum. They have compiled over 30 questions – both through transcribing questions asked at the forum and those submitted afterward – that will be submitted to the appropriate government agency for answers.

Janie B

Named after owner Jane Barrett, Janie B is a gift and home accessory store located next to Bryant & Sons. Showcasing Barrett’s sense of style, the shop is described as “transitional,” a decorator term used to describe a style somewhere between trendy and traditional. You’ll find contemporary pieces with a modern flair at every price point. Dinnerware, linens, furniture, lamps and decorative accessories are available, as well as a small line of gourmet foods, Voluspa candles, Tea Forte tea, and whimsical gifts. Barrett also carries the popular pewter line Mariposa, hand-blown glass by Simon Pearce, and handmade Italian tableware by Vietri. Barrett, who’s children attended Montecito Union School (she is a past PTA president), says she saw a niche in Montecito for Janie B. “I wanted to open a store where people feel comfortable coming in and browsing, and hopefully they’ll find something they love,” she said.

Janie B is located at 1482 East Valley Road, Studio 36. 805-969-4400.

Davis and Taft

Open about a year, this shop features a “harmonious mix” of 18th century antiques and 20th century modern pieces. Owner Leanne Baker moved the store from its previous home in Summerland to the Upper Village. She collects the items she sells from her various travels, and believes combining new and old pieces “brings the best out of both.” She says she is careful to stock only quality pieces with unique designs. “The new peps up the old, and the old nurtures the new,” she said.

Art, lamps, glassware, chairs, tables, mirrors, and decorative accessories adorn Baker’s brightly lit shop. The ever-changing inventory features lighting by Italian designers including Joe Colombo, Harvey Guzzini, Massimo Vignelli, and Reggiani.

Davis and Taft is located at 1482 East Valley Road, Suite 28. 805-969-7987.

This Little Piggy

To round out the newest additions to the Upper Village, hip baby store This Little Piggy Wears Cotton opened its doors at the end of November. This is the seventh Piggy store; the flagship store was opened in Paseo Nuevo in 1989. Other stores are located in Berkeley, Santa Monica, Palo Alto, Newport Beach, and Phoenix. Owner Jennifer Powell opened the store after she became a first-time mother; she realized a need for high-quality baby goods. This Little Piggy carries European and American made merchandise for babies and children up to age fourteen. In 2001 PiggyBrand was launched, a private label line of clothes and accessories, part which is adorned with, what else, piggies. Many items are made with organic cottons, and new designs and merchandise can be found each season.

This Little Piggy Wears Cotton is located at 1470 East Valley Road, Suite V. 805-617-4337.

Dr. Lita Singer at Tecolote

On Friday, February 13, just in time for Valentine’s, Dr. Lita Singer will be signing copies of her new non-fiction book, “Adam was Trapped; Eve was Framed: Five Steps to Relationship Freedom” The book focuses on the link between achieving personal freedom and relationship freedom, which Dr. Singer says starts from within.

Recently described as “the General Petraeus of our time,” Dr. Singer says her focus is on an equal partnership, as opposed to one based on dominance and submission. Dr. Singer is a clinical psychologist as well as a professor, and has led professional study tours around the world for the last three decades. Originally from New York, she now lives and practices in Santa Barbara. For more information about her book and signing visit