It’s for the Birds

By Richard Mineards   |   April 1, 2021
Ariana Katovich, executive director of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network

Santa Barbara’s Wildlife Care Network has just broken ground on its new state-of-the-art $6 million, 5,400-square-foot hospital in the Goleta foothills.

“It will allow us a greater capability to save and serve thousands of wild lives,” says Ariana Katovich, executive director.

“Current conditions have staff working out of old, meager facilities. Diets are prepared in a shed. Surgeries have been taking place in a trailer.”

The new hospital, run by Dr. Avery Berkowitz, director of animal care, includes a baby bird nursery, an intensive care unit, and surgery and radiology suites, among a host of other facilities.

The 33-year-old organization, which serves Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, serves 4,500 animals annually.

So far $4.5 million has been raised for construction, so if you’d like to help with the outstanding $1.5 million, give them a call.

Ellen Gets Discovered

Montecito TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has inked an exclusive multi-year deal with the Discovery Channel to produce natural history documentaries.

The 63-year-old comedienne and former Oscar host, who faced accusations from both current and former employees that she fostered a toxic workplace last year, is slated to narrate and executive produce a documentary entitled Endangered, which will be released on Earth Day, or April 22, on Discovery.

It will follow “dedicated wildlife conservationists across the globe as they compile the latest version of the Red List, which records plants and animals facing extinction,” according to Deadline.

“Ellen’s dedication to the environment and her love for animals, including the most endangered creatures who call the planet home, is unmatched,” says Nancy Daniels, the channel’s chief brand officer.

Out on a Technicality

Henry Cotsford, a producer with ITN Productions in London, a division of Independent Television News which provides daily news for ITV and channels 4 and 5 in the U.K., called asking me to participate in a forthcoming documentary on the scandal-ridden royal family of Monaco.

Although not the Windsors, I have written and broadcast frequently on the postage stamp-sized principality’s Grimaldi family, particularly after the tragic death of Princess Grace in 1982 in a car accident with her daughter Princess Stephanie.

A three-hour interview with various producers was arranged with the BAFTA and Emmy-winning company that produces 10,000 hours of content annually for broadcasters, business, and brands focusing on Prince Albert, and his sisters, princesses Caroline and Stephanie.

As well as being on Zoom, I was sent an iPhone for video and audio purposes as it is considered of better quality for broadcast.

Sadly, it was not to be.

Being a total troglodyte and despite enormous patience from Henry in England, I was unable to complete the technical set-up as planned and the scheduled interview, like many plans of late with the pandemic, went kaput.

C’est la vie!

Remembering Joanne

On a personal note, I remember Joanne Talbot, who has moved to more heavenly pastures at the age of 85.

A New Yorker at heart, where she received her nursing diploma, Joanne moved to our Eden by the Beach in 1983 and became Director of Nursing at Santa Barbara Supportive Services.

She also worked at the Pacific Pride Foundation as an AIDS nurse-case manager for nearly a decade doing particularly sterling work.

Joanne received her BA degree in 1986 from Antioch University and went on to earn an MA from the University of San Francisco through a satellite campus program in Santa Barbara.

She worked at the VNA-Hospice Services of Santa Barbara and also opened up a small, private practice providing counseling in the evenings and at weekends.

Joanne’s influence and impact will carry on in our rarefied enclave for many years to come. An incredible lady who has left an enduring and indelible mark.

Sightings will return in due course now that Governor Gavin Newsom has lifted the total lockdown.

Pip! Pip! Be safe, wear a mask, and get vaccinated.


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