Jim Alexander

Column: n.o.t.e.s from downtown

Jim Alexander is a master of disguise and has contributed a humor column to the Montecito Journal since 1996, under the headline “n.o.t.e.s from downtown.” His work has also been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Barbara News-Press and Santa Barbara Families magazine. His poetry, short fiction and nonfiction have been published in four books put out by Community of Voices (www.communityofvoices.com/books.html). He has two, as yet, unpublished novels and would like all literary agents out there to know that he’s an award-winning house painter who’s willing to exchange services. He’s heard rumors that it’s sometimes required that agents, publishers and writers gather at pubs and have “liquid” lunches. He’s more than willing to comply, but he’s not drinking any damn Merlot.

Hattie Beresford

Column: The Way It Was

Hattie Beresford, a native of the Netherlands, received her Bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She taught English and American history for the Santa Barbara School District for many years, was a school site coordinator for the GATE program, and developed a two-period Core program integrating the study of English with that of history. She retired from teaching in 2004 and has been actively pursuing her twin passions of historical research and writing through her column, “The Way It Was.” When she is not deeply immersed in some dusty tome, she can be found on the tennis courts, the hiking trails, or out on a kayak marveling at the dolphins. She and her husband, former Dos Pueblos volleyball coach, Mike Beresford, are avid campers and travelers and plan to investigate “the way it was” in Auvers-sur-Oise in May.

Joanne Calitri

Column: Our Town

Joanne A. Calitri is an international photographer with a focus on people, documentary work and high profile events. In front of her lens are celebrities, musicians, Nobel laureates, defense officers, both foreign and domestic, and politicians. She has photographed Aerosmith, David Crosby, Kenny Loggins, John Cleese, Jane Russell, Ivan Reitman, Kirk Douglas and family, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Secretary of the United States Navy Gordon R. England, Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark, Ty Warner, Baroness Lenis Fe Bland and many more. She has worked with renowned nature photographer Mark Muench and Getty Sports photographer Al Bello. Ms Calitri’s work is published in international educational programs and brochures for ROSCO, Inc., local newspapers, national magazines, independent films, found on board the United States Navy Vessels, in the homes of the Reagans, Clint Black, royal families, high profile clients and on the web. In 2002, she joined the faculty at Brooks Institute of Photography where she teaches commercial photo, lighting theory for still and visual journalism and lighting people. In addition, she is the primary and secondary thesis advisor for students in the Master’s Degree program, participates as a faculty advisor in the graduate reviews, and adjudicates the placement of students for undergraduate and graduate advanced standing.

Jerry Dunn

Column: Travel

Jerry Camarillo Dunn, Jr. has worked with the National Geographic Society for 27 years and written hundreds of magazine and newspaper feature stories, as well as guidebooks for Nat Geo and the Smithsonian. The Society of American Travel writers has recognized his work with three Lowell Thomas Awards, the "Oscars" of travel writing. He started his travel writing career as a young vagabond with a backpack, roaming around such exotic spots as India (where he worked as an extra in Bollywood movies for $4 a day). Jerry's "Montecito Journal" column, "The Curious Traveler," won the gold medal for Best Travel Column 2011 from SATW. His latest book is "My Favorite Place on Earth" (National Geographic), in which 75 remarkable people, from the Dalai Lama to Natalie Portman, talk about places they love (www.myfavoriteplacenatgeo.com).

Erin Graffy

Column: State Street Spin

Erin Graffy grew up in Santa Barbara and has written eight books, on topics ranging from local history, multiple personality disorder, to a workbook text on marketing. Her work has frequently appeared in Santa Barbara Magazine, Commerce and other regional papers and magazines. Ms Graffy is also author of the local bestseller “How to Santa Barbara: The Insider’s Exposé,” and “How to Santa Barbara: The Advanced Course.” As a social commentator on the unique Santa Barbara scene, she has been quoted literally worldwide.

Lynn Kirst

Column: Trail Talk

Seen here in her much younger days, Lynn started horseback riding at the age of two. One of her earliest memories is being chased down the McMenemy Trail by an angry swarm of hornets, which clearly presaged today’s mountain bikers. A fourth generation Californian, Lynn holds a bachelor’s in art history from the University of Southern California, and a graduate certificate in historic preservation from the USC School of Architecture. She has held senior administrative positions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Laguna Art Museum and the Southwest Museum. Lynn was the founding president of Spectrum Tours, a museum travel company that she ran for 10 years, providing high-end educational trips for dozens of cultural institutions throughout the United States. Lynn is a sustaining member of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Women’s Board, and has served on the steering committee of the Museum Collectors Council. When not riding her horses or hiking the trails, Lynn enjoys traveling, tennis, music, opera, history and cooking. She was the editor of “Southwest Cooks! The Tradition of Native American Cuisines,” which won the National Grand Prize of the 1992 Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards.

Steven Libowitz

Column: Entertainment Editor

Entertainment editor Steven Libowitz has written thousands of articles as a freelance journalist based in Santa Barbara for more than a dozen years (and a whole bunch more than he’d care to admit, previously in New Jersey). But he’d much rather be hitting volleyballs at East Beach than working the keyboard on his remarkably unreliable PC. Educated at Northwestern and Rutgers Universities, Libowitz has written about music and entertainment for daily and weekly newspapers, including the Newark Star-Ledger, Ventura Star-Free Press, Santa Barbara News-Press and a national news service, as well as Santa Barbara Magazine and online media. Other interests include hiking, swimming, crossword puzzles and body surfing (the latter when the water’s warm enough to eschew a wetsuit, which means rarely). But still, Libowitz would rather play volleyball than do any of those too. Send business suggestions (and volleyball invitations) to slibowitz@yahoo.com.

Randy Lioz

Randy is an automotive enthusiast with more than a decade of experience in the industry, from advertising and marketing, to data analytics and forecasting. Originally hailing from New York, he spent 8 years in the Motor City, immersing himself in car culture, and came to Santa Barbara to work for an automotive forecasting company. He has extensive experience in vehicle evaluations, having tested hundreds of vehicles on a long- and short-term basis, and attending manufacturer press events. He has an economics degree from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. You can regularly find him at Cars and Coffee with his Porsche 911 or Speedster replica.

Lynda Millner

Column: Scene Around Town

Lynda says “I love parties.” Lynda has written and taken the photos for the society column in “Scene Around Town” for every issue since 1996, shortly after Montecito Journal began. When she travels it’s called “Scene Around the Country” or “Scene Around the World.” Before that she wrote about Santa Barbara society for Club & Spots Society Magazine in Los Angeles and Sand to Sea in Palm Springs. Her first book was “Looking Great Without Diet Or Exercise” and her latest is “The Magic Makeover – Tricks for Looking Younger, Thinner and More Confident Instantly.” Lynda is a classic print and runway model, having appeared professionally in more than 1,000 fashion shows for more than 50 stores in California and Spain. She has appeared in such publications as the Harley Davidson catalogue and Woman’s World magazine. She conducts Magic Makeover seminars about the five “C’s” (color, clothes, closets, cosmetics and confidence) aboard cruise ships, for corporate groups and adult education. Lynda has spoken to hundreds of women’s clubs throughout Southern California.

Richard Mineards

Column: Montecito Miscellany

Richard has been an international journalist for four decades, working in London, New York and Los Angeles. He formerly wrote for the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, two of the world's largest publications, in the U.K., covering the Royal Family and working on the newspapers' respective gossip columns, before being invited by publishing mogul Rupert Murdoch to New York to become gossip columnist on his celebrity glossy, Star magazine, in 1978. Soon after, Murdoch bought New York Magazine and Richard became one of two editors on the popular "Intelligencer" column. His TV career started with a contract with Tribune Entertainment as gossip on "The Joan Rivers Show" and "Geraldo Rivera," before becoming a correspondent on the prime-time syndicated show "Extra" and a regular commentator on ABC Network's "World News Now." Richard was appointed an anchor on the CBS syndicated show "Day & Date" in 1996 and also hosted E! Entertainment TV's globally broadcast "Gossip Show" - shown in 160 countries - before moving to Los Angeles in 2001, where he was a commentator on the KTLA "Morning News" for five years before coming to Montecito in 2007 to become a columnist on the Santa Barbara News-Press, eventually starting his popular Journal column "Montecito Miscellany" five years ago. He has appeared on most of the TV talk shows, including Oprah, The View, Phil Donahue, Good Morning America, Larry King, Bill O'Reilly and Anderson Cooper, and is frequently in demand for his royal expertise, having covered Princess Diana's funeral for ABC, Prince Edward's wedding for MSNBC and, more recently, Prince William's nuptials and his visit to southern California for NBC....

Judy Willis

Column: World of Wine

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Dr. Willis attended UCLA School of Medicine, and practiced neurology in Santa Barbara for 15 years before receiving her Master’s of education from UCSB. She and her husband, Dr. Paul Willis, have been making award-winning home wine since 1992. Her articles about wine have been published in Wine Spectator, Decanter Magazine, Los Angeles Times Calendar, Vintage Magazine and Wine and Dine Magazine. Dr. Willis also teaches at Santa Barbara Middle School. Her book about how the brain learns will be published in August by ASCD Press. It is dedicated to Paul for his great taste in wine, and women.

Ernie Witham

Column: Ernie's World

Ernie Witham was born a long, long time ago in a land far, far away. He moved to California to become a waiter. Unfortunately, he spelled it wrong at the job agency and instead became a writer. It was just one more incident in a life filled with miscalculations that became known as "Ernie’s World," which, coincidentally, is the name of his Montecito Journal and Santa Ynez Valley Journal humor columns, the name of his website, and the name of his book. Today, utilizing something he calls “location humor,” he is not only able to write off every trip he takes, even if it’s just to the golf course and back, but he’s also able to write off everything he eats and drinks. Last year alone, his write-offs were more than quadruple his income. He hopes to continue his writing career even if he ends up in jail – again.