Virtual Vacation to Honduras
By Leslie Westbrook   |   November 19, 2020

We could all use a virtual vacation. Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary board member Leslie Rugg reached out to me enthusiastically via email to get the word out about the parrot haven and rescue center in Summerland whose director of the Sanctuary is longtime Montecito resident Jamie McLeod. Birds with chronic conditions remain at the Sanctuary […]

A Matter of No Party Preference
By Leslie Westbrook   |   October 29, 2020

In the newsroom of the Washington Post, Lou Cannon cultivated a reputation as a “reporter’s reporter.” Concealing his political loyalties was as much a matter of professional integrity as it revealed his facility to see both sides. “I’ve been a Democrat and I’ve been a Republican,” Cannon revealed during a recent Zoom conversation just before […]

 

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On My Soapbox: To Agree or Not?
By Leslie Westbrook   |   October 1, 2020

This week I’m taking the opportunity to sound off from my soapbox, since the lead item on the Summerland’s popularity vote “yea” or “nay” for a cannabis dispensary in town, which ran a few weeks ago, created quite a little stir that resulted in three letters to the editor printed over three issues. First, I […]

More Messages from ‘The Great Beyond’
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 17, 2020

Congratulations to Summerland-based author Cynthia Hamilton, whose latest mystery book, the fifth in her private investigator Madeline Dawkins series, The Patience of Karma, came out this week from her new publisher, Severn River Publishing. This story revolves around three crimes, including a tragic boating accident off the coast of San Diego, some Santa Barbara shenanigans […]

Porch Opens: It’s in the Cards (Tarot Cards, That Is)
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 17, 2020

Porch, the popular Santa Claus Lane home, garden, and gift store, has moved from Santa Claus Lane and officially opened in its new location in the space long known as Just Folk on Lillie Avenue. With a new coat of white paint and the two-story space filled with lots of tempting items, large and small, […]

Not Safer At Home
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

Quarantine can heighten the risk of domestic violence, but help is available Maria Carbonell gratefully remembers the week she took refuge at a Domestic Violence Solutions safe house eight years ago. “A lot of people didn’t know I went to a safe house. I never shared it with anybody,” says Carbonell, 52, in a recent […]

Santa Barbara Magazine Summer Issue Out: A Secret Message?
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

A reader called me to ask whether I knew why the summer issue of Santa Barbara Magazine with a wonderful, whimsical piece of cover art by Pedro de la Cruz included the number “45” on it? “Was the magazine promoting the re-election of our 45th president?” she pondered. Nope, this is not some subliminal message: […]

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Space Opens in Carpinteria: You’re Invited!
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

Congratulations to Zelda Prune and her business partner Jonathan Brandan, who have opened the doors to their new home and garden showroom, Space, at 4856 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria. Stop by for some socially distant shopping, mint lemonade, and “safe” nibbles this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (August 28-30) from 11 am to 6 pm. Vintage […]

Natalia Alarcon: Bringing Diversity to the Table
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 20, 2020

Natalia Alarcon, 34, is not the first woman, nor is she the first Hispanic, to run for a seat at the Carpinteria City Council dais. But she is the first Latina woman – and the youngest – to run, at least in recent history. Two seats are open in the race – a new mayor […]

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Closed in the Time of Corona
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 14, 2020

As I waltzed through the mostly empty streets of Summerland this past Sunday, the cowboy ballad “The Cowboys Lament” (aka “Streets of Loredo”) came to mind: “As I walked out on the streets of Laredo.As I walked out on Laredo one day,I spied a poor cowboy wrapped in white linen,Wrapped in white linen as cold […]

A Final Love Note
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 6, 2020

From the Gandhi of the USA John Lewis (1940-2020), activist and congressman, penned an essay that ran in The New York Times on the day of his funeral. Lest we be reminded, or perhaps you missed it if you were hiding under a rock, here are a few highlights worth remembering or even clipping out […]

The Gardening Lady of Summerland
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 6, 2020

Sonya Harris keeps the seaside town in the green Most people recognize Sonya Harris from, er, behind. Often seen bent over the landscape edging the 101 northbound entrance, or the Summerland Memorial Garden or other spots in town, Sonya has taken it upon herself to keep the seaside town looking healthy and green ever since […]

Gentrified or Not? A Chat with a Summerland Gentleman and Some Food for Thought
By Leslie Westbrook   |   July 23, 2020

Guy Hamilton and his wife, author Cynthia Hamilton, have lived in Summerland for 33 years. He wouldn’t live anywhere else. Guy recently reached out reminding me that he owned Chanticleer (now the site of Lucky’s) back in the late 1970s-early ‘80s and suggested he could offer a “little different perspective on things.” “Wouldn’t it nice […]

More Buzz…
By Leslie Westbrook   |   July 9, 2020

Longtime fixture Summerland Oriental Rugs has moved their showroom across the street to the former home of Clive Markey’s Pine Trader. Longtime treasure-filled Summerland Antiques Collective re-opened a few weeks ago and has been buzzing with activity adding to the retail mix… Carpinteria’sPorchis moving from Santa Claus Lane to Lillie Avenue (into the space formerly […]

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