Animals in the Valley

By Richard Mineards   |   December 31, 2020

Former California State Assemblyman Brooks Firestone is giving paws for thought!

Brooks Firestone publishes third book

Brooks, 81, who will be moving with his wife of 62 years, Kate, a former Royal Ballet dancer, into Casa Dorinda from their Santa Ynez Valley home in the New Year, has just published his second volume of animal stories from the valley.

The first volume Valley Animals hit shelves ten years ago, and the new book is titled, appropriately enough, More Valley Animals 2020.

Both volumes are full of true adventures involving residents, ranging from President Ronald Reagan and actress Bo Derek, and their animals from parrots to mountain lions.

“There is even an encounter when Queen Elizabeth named a baby deer for Monty Roberts, a trainer known as The Horse Whisperer,” says Brooks, a longtime member of the Santa Barbara Choral Society with his wife.

“I also write about singer Shaun Cassidy’s giant family turtle to my own canine encounter depicted on the cover with a sheriff’s K9 dog enforcer. The funny, sad, revealing, and informative stories are all a good read and interesting as they depict how we interact and inhabit our daily lives with a vast variety of animal characters.”

It was in 1972 when Brooks and his father, Leonard, son of the legendary tire innovator Harvey Firestone, established the Firestone Winery which was sold to uber vintner Bill Foley, proprietor of nearly 20 wineries, in 2007.

Foley, owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey team, recently just purchased comedian Dennis Miller’s Padaro Lane beach house from its new owner, tech entrepreneur Lynda Weinman, and Bruce Heavin, who paid $19 million for it in 2015.

Brooks and Kate also sing regularly in the choir of St. Mark’s in-the-Valley in Los Olivos, a church built in 1982 after a gift of land from Leonard with Brooks, a Santa Barbara County supervisor from 2005 until 2008, chairing the building committee.

Community animals both…

Santa Barbara Love Affair

Santa Barbara Magazine’s latest issue features a wonderful celebrity photo-filled article by New York Times bestselling author Tracey Jackson, 62, about her late mother, Beverley Jackson, who left us in August just short of her 92nd birthday.

“Yet no matter where she went or what she did or whatever side alleys of interest she wandered down, her heart and allegiance and her love affair was always with Santa Barbara,” writes Tracey, who is also an accomplished screenwriter, film director, and producer.

Tracey adds that Beverley, who moved to our Eden by the Beach in 1962 and was society columnist for the News-Press for more than 20 years, was still the Grande Dame.

“She worked for it, she earned it, and she coveted it.”

I couldn’t agree more. A helluva gal!

Put a Ring on It

Montecito’s latest celebrity resident, singer Ariana Grande, 27, has announced her engagement to boyfriend Dalton Gomez on Instagram.

Grande was previously engaged to Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson. The pair broke up in October, 2018.

Gomez, a real estate agent, appeared in the warbler’s music video “Stuck with U” in May.

Ariana’s new home in our rarefied enclave, The Porter House, boasts 5,500 sq. ft. in two separate Tudor-style barns, originally built in the 1700s and transported from England.

She bought the property for $6.75 million from TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi, who completely renovated the houses.

More Engagement News

Former international racketeer Maria Sharapova, who recently bought a $8.6 million five-acre ranch in Summerland, has just got engaged.

The 33-year-old retired Russian tennis superstar took to Instagram to announce she is betrothed to 41-year-old British art dealer Alexander Gilkes.

The tony twosome has been dating since 2018.

Gilkes, who attended exclusive Eton College with princes William and Harry, was married to popular New York fashion designer Misha Nonoo – a good friend of Meghan Markle – for four years until they split in October, 2016. His younger brother, Charlie, used to date Pippa Middleton, sister of Prince William’s wife, Kate.

During her almost two-decade career Sharapova won five Grand Slam titles, the only Russian to have accomplished the feat, and raked in around $39 million in prize money, plus another $246 million in promotion and endorsements.

Obviously a wonderful courtship…


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