Carpinteria Magazine Winter 2023

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MAGAZINE WINTER 2023
CARPINTERIA
Sansum Clinic provides complete and coordinated care with more than 30 medical specialties, convenient Urgent Care, and state-of-the-art outpatient surgical care — close to home. Our secure and easy-to-use technology including MyChart electronic health record, mobile access and custom apps, online payment portal and appointment reminders by text keep you connected to your healthcare from anywhere at anytime. Carpinteria Family Medicine 4806 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 (805) 566-5080 Monday - Thursday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Friday 8:00 am to 12 noon Same-Day and Telehealth Visits Available Your health. Simplified. Providing primary care for you and your entire family in Carpinteria. Call 1 (800) 4-SANSUM SansumClinic.org

“I cannot find the words to say how impressed I am with Jon-Ryan and Sarah. I’ve bought and sold a few homes in California over the years, and it’s not new to me. I never imagined an agent that would go to such extreme lengths as Jon-Ryan and Sarah did.” “Jon-Ryan & Sarah are incredible. Hire them!”

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Kept
Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01991628. ll material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. Changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal may be made without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. ll measurements and square footages are approximate.
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8 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com Every p Counts Dr Visit CVWD.net for information on drought conditions, watering restrictions, conservation actions and available rebates. Conserve Water Drought Emergency_Winter 2022.indd 1 09/28/2022 12:57:04 PM Buying or selling a home with us is like a walk on the beach! Seascape Realty
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The
Board
WINTER2023 13 We’re proud to use only the leanest meats, tender chicken, fresh seafood, and traditional herbs and spices to create the essence of real Mexican avor in all our family recipes. Breakfast • Lunch Dinner • Catering Dine In or To Go: 1-805-684-2212 Open Monday-Saturday 7:30am-8pm Closed Sundays 4795 Carpinteria Ave. www.reyesmarket.com Every item Fresh & Made-to-Order CHILLY WEATHER SOUPS! Menudo Saturdays 7 Flavorful Soups Daily Tamales for Christmas! Breakfast All Day • Chile Rellenos • Tortas Hamburgers • Burritos • Carnitas Champurrado Daily • Homemade Corn Tortillas 13 Meat Choices • Fish Tacos 805.684.4101 5441 Carpinteria Ave. Carpinteria, CA 93013 Sales • Vacation Rentals • Notary Public Property Management www.murphykingrealestate.com Leah Wagner, Realtor Kim Fly, Broker Associate Debbie Murphy, Broker Rebecca Griffin, Realtor Heidi and Jim Michener, Vacation hosts

Way

14 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com
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WINTER2023 15 JEFF MOORHOUSE CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM CERTIFIED PLAN FIDUCIARY ADVISOR A team specializing in multi-generational Financial Planning and Wealth Preservation Strategies for Professionals and their Families. Serving the Central Coast for over 28 years Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. Moorhouse Financial is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. moorhousefinancial.com CARPINTERIA PO Box 122 Carpinteria, CA 93014 8O5.684.2245 VENTURA HARBOR 1575 Spinnaker Dr. Ste. 201 Ventura, CA 93001 8O5.586.3636 TAPROOM OPEN: Monday-Thursday 12-9pm Friday 12-10pm Saturday 11am-10pm Sunday 11am-9pm 5049 6th Street - Carpinteria islandbrewingcompany.com 805-745-8272 Brew by the Beach… PRIVATE PARTY ROOM AVAILABLE FOR EVENTS Dog WANT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHED? contact: Robin Karlsson jagheterobin @ yahoo.com Purchase books at Animal Medical Clinic • 1037 Casitas Pass Road Seastand • 919 Linden Avenue Lost & Found • 905 Linden Aveue

CARP features

30 WIGGY RANCH: LOG HOME, ENDLESS VIEWS, TRUE GRIT

The Wiggy Ranch is where Western meets West Coast. Or so it seems when Mac and Debbie Brown relax in their log cabin as the sun sets over the sparkling Pacific.

41

CARP-FIT-ERIA: ATHLETES AMONG US

Toned and tough, this crew of athletes doesn’t work out seasonally in search of a beach bod. This crew sweats it out year-round for the love of the sport.

56 COMPLEMENT & CONTRAST

Artists and studiomates Stephanie Dotson and Madeleine Eve Ignon have carved out a creative perch above Linden Avenue where they make abstract art. The historic space provides a unique habitat for contemporary works.

64 BEYOND & BACK

70

When Chuck Graham’s name is on it, you know there’s adventure involved. This time, Chuck tests his own limits, and those of a few companions, with a hike that starts in Carpinteria and ends 102 miles and nine days later on the Carrizo Plain.

70 IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL DONATE

Carpinteria is home to several world records, one of which was earned in 1998 with a stack of 282 surfboards atop a car. And the goal? Cleaning up the water at Rincon Point.

73 QUEEN OF THE COAST CAPTIVATES ON THE CATWALK

No need to visit Paris or Milan to find fashion inspiration. Just head down to the annual Rincon Classic surf contest where the styles seen on the sand are a stunning mix of form and function.

84 COOKING FROM THE HEART

You might walk into Thario’s Kitchen on Santa Claus Lane as a stranger, but you leave as a friend. Owners Thaïs and Mario Rios always prepare their scratch-cooked meals truly come from the heart.

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WINTER2023
WINTER2023 17 CARP 944 Linden Ave. • Carpinteria • pacifichealthfoods.com • 805-684-2115 COME SHOP WITH US! YOUR LOCAL, ORGANIC MARKET Juices • Smoothies • Açaí Bowls Sandwiches • Coffee & Tea Baked Goods • Fresh Salads Groceries • Vitamins Follow us on Instagram @pacifichealthfoods and check out our menu online at www.pacifichealthfoods.com Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. @INGRIDBOSTROMPHOTOGRAPHY
18 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com …and more 20 FROM THE EDITOR 26 93013 52 THE EFFICIENCY PROJECT 79 RECOMMENDED EATS RESTAURANT GUIDE 80 A COLD-BLOODED PLOT 90 REAL ESTATE REVIEW 94 CONTRIBUTORS 96 FINAL FRAME 30 52 MAG ON THE COVER COWBOY CHIC It's comfortable and cozy, and this log cabin home of Mac and Debbie Brown is the culmination of 50 years of dreams and hard work.
~ Photo by Matt Dayka
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Tuck in, enjoy

Recently a few people have asked me how we choose our subjects for Carpinteria Magazine . Where do our story ideas come from and how do we keep finding new things to write about in a small town? The answer to the first part of that question is “everywhere,” and the answer to the second part is “we keep our eyes and ears open always.”

Carpinteria Valley seems to contain an endless supply of people, businesses, homes, gardens, history, and food to fill this magazine year after year. I used to worry that we’d run out of ideas, but I’ve come to trust that our problem will always be just the opposite: more fascinating subjects than we can fit between the covers.

What are the incredible subjects you’ll find in this edition? You get a look inside Mac and Debbie Brown’s house on the incredible Wiggy Ranch—get prepared for a wowing. We have six stellar athletes who may surprise you. You’ll meet the charming couple behind Thario’s Kitchen, and their shepherd’s pie recipe will make a lot of bellies happy this winter.

In this edition, we have two history pieces, one from the 1990s and one from the 1870s. And they are both crucially connected to Rincon Point. We also take you to the same point for photographer David Powdrell’s collection of winter beach fashion photos shot over the last decade at the annual Rincon Classic.

That’s not all, folks. Our talented writers and photographers stocked the pages that follow with interesting material. So check it out, and don’t forget to look at the ads. The businesses that support Carpinteria Magazine allow us to keep showcasing this special place and its special people.

Onward and upward,

Published by RMG Ventures, LLC

Michael VanStry, President • Gary L. Dobbins, Vice President

4180 Via Real, Suite F, Carpinteria, California 93013 Tel: (805) 684-4428 Email: info@carpinteriamagazine.com

CARPINTERIA MAGAZINE

WINTER 2023

EDITOR Lea Boyd

PRODUCTION & DESIGN

Kristyn Whittenton

WRITERS

Stephen Bates

Vince Burns

Ryan P. Cruz

Glenn Dubock Peter Dugré Chuck Graham Debra Herrick Amy Marie Orozco David Powdrell Evelyn Spence

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ingrid Bostrom Matt Dayka Glenn Dubock Chuck Graham Debra Herrick Robin Karlsson Emily Merrill David Powdrell

PRODUCTION SUPPORT

Rockwell Printing

ADVERTISING

Karina Villarreal karina@coastalview.com (805) 684-4428

GET SOCIAL WITH US

CarpinteriaMagazine.com Instagram and Facebook @CarpinteriaMagazine

All articles, photographs and artwork appearing in this publication are the copyrighted intellectual property of RMG Ventures, LLC. RMG Ventures, LLC aggressively protects its intellectual property rights. No part of this publication may be reproduced or copied in any form without the express written permission of the publisher. ©2023 RMG Ventures, LLC.

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WINTER2023 21 THIS LIFESTYLE WILL MOVE YOU HOMES • VIEWS • LIFESTYLES Carpinteria’s most celebrated Real Estate Advocate for both Buyers and Sellers. Call Yo and Ask her why! YOLANDA VAN WINGERDEN 805.570.4965 • Yolanda @ AskYo.com www. AskYo.com DRE: 01308141
22 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com Lunch Counter Mon-Fri 11am-3pm TheFoodLiaison.com 1033 Casitas Pass Road Carpinteria 805.200.3030 Skip the Wait Order Online A place to EAT LUNCH order CATERING take a COOKING CLASS enjoy a POP-UP DINNER The Arts & Entertainment Center of the Entire Carpinteria Valley The Alcazar is such a wonderful asset of our community; one that celebrates music, dance, drama, film and so many other wonderful acts. - David Powdrell The Alcazar presents •First Run Movies •Music Concerts •Theatre Productions •Community Events •Improv Classes •Special Presentations •Private Events and so much more! 4916 Carpinteria Ave • 805.684.6380 www.thealcazar.org For questions or to book an event: info@thealcazar.org
WINTER2023 23 CATERING FOR ALL OCCASIONS Best Bagels Since 1996 • Delicious Salads Gourmet Sandwiches • Grand Parties Hors D’oeuvres • Social & Corporate Catering 5050 Carpinteria Avenue • To Go 805.566.1558 Monday-Friday 6:30am-2pm • Weekends 6:30am-3pm 53 S. Milpas St. • 805.564.4331 Daily 6am-2pm Catering 805.319.0155 • bagelnet.com 4193 Carpinteria Avenue, “Sweet” 805-684-6900 chococalibressan.com Truffles, Bon Bons, Single Origin Chocolates Tempting your taste buds… Carpinteria’s Newest playalodging.com Reservations: 805.684-6555 Beach Lodging ~ Relaxed Luxury PLAYA
24 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com at the Earl Warren Showgrounds with FREE PARKING 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, California NOV 18,19 & 20, 2022 Fri 11-6 , SAT 11-6, Sun 11-4 $6 w/this AD•$5 Senior (62+)•Child (Under 12 Free) For dealer inquiries contact Gae Ann Mchale 619-925-2346 From 17th Century to Mid-Century... Future Show: FEB. 24-26, 2023 Decorative Arts &Vintage Show & Sale Formerly the CALM Antique Show $5 SBAntiqueShow.com Tickets available at the door. Over 60 Quality Dealers with something for everyone! Chicken & Rice 44 lbs. $54.99 All 24 lbs bags or larger on sale while supplies last PET FOOD & SUPPLIES GROOMING • HAY & FEED 890 CACTUS LANE • 805-684-9988 (next to Smart & Final) Issue No.6 Now in Print Online featuring Jansson Stegner California Central Coast Contemporary Art lumartzine.com LUM Art M agaz ine
WINTER2023 25 NATIONALLY KNOWN LOCALLY OWNED 805-684-6688 901 LINDEN AVE. STE C CARPINTERIA, CA HABLAMOS ESPAÑOL Who’s #1 in real estate in Carpinteria? My clients. Nancy Hussey REALTOR NancyHussey.com 805.452.3052 S/B 01383773 MURPHY’S VINYL SHACK RECORDS • POSTERS WALL ART • COMICS • DVD’S BOOKS • CD’S & MORE! 977 Linden Ave. 805-318-55O6 • Open Daily 10am

SHOW

OFF:

WESTERLAY SHOWROOM

HAS JUST THE THING

It’s not uncommon for jaws to drop when new customers walk through the door of the Westerlay Orchids showroom. The orchid eye candy plays a leading role, and the 5,400-square-feet of home décor, unique gifts, colorful ceramic pots, and design inspo go a long way to support that dramatic first impression.

Most of Westerlay’s business is wholesale—its greenhouses grow 4 million orchids annually for sale far and wide. The showroom, in contrast, is a local gem. It provides an important link between the community and the company. Owner Toine Overgaag generously supports myriad Carpinteria causes, often donating proceeds from the retail showroom.

When Toine’s parents immigrated to the US from Holland in 1978, they established a cut rose business they operated for decades. “We didn’t officially have any retail sales then,” Toine says, “but people would wander in and ask, so we always had a few bunches of roses ready for walk-ins.”

The family switched its crop to orchids in the early 2000s and converted the no-longerneeded rose cooler into a retail space. In the 15 years since, the showroom has evolved and grown as a result of “the talent of our staff and the traffic from our customers,” says Toine.

Westerlay’s showroom ranks high among Carpinteria’s best kept secrets in part because orchids top the list of universally loved gifts. Consider this a warning though: you may pop into the showroom looking for a teacher or hostess gift and leave with plans to refurnish your living room or turn the breakfast nook into a home nursery.

The showroom staff, including manager Virginia Hayes and assistant manager Mayra Romero, keep the merchandise sophisticated and on trend, and always at a variety of price points. The team also builds custom orchid arrangements, and many customers bring their own decorative containers, select their orchids, and allow the staff to work its magic.

The Westerlay Orchids showroom is located at 3504 Via Real in Carpinteria.

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93013
WESTERLAY ORCHIDS

PUCKER UP

Before avocados ruled the valley, the lemon was Carpinteria’s agricultural darling. Hundreds of acres were planted in the tangy citrus species that gets guzzled around the world as lemonade, satisfies sweet tooths in pies and bars, and makes an iced tea complete. Lemon acreage in Carpinteria certainly has shrunk, but the crop remains prominent. And perhaps the well loved lemon has a few secrets up its sleeve. Read on!

LEMONS ARE A HYBRID between a sour orange and a citron, and they are native to Asia.

Lemons make good cleaners thanks to their HIGH ACIDITY One lemony trick: clean your dishwasher by adding lemon juice to the rinse cycle. A lemon tree can produce up to 600 POUNDS of fruit every year. The lifespan of a lemon tree is approximately 50 years, but they can LIVE TO BE 100.

California and Arizona grow 95% OF THE LEMONS PRODUCED in the United States. India and China are the largest lemon producers globally.

In the mid-1700s, Scottish doctor James Lind discovered that LEMONS CURED SAILORS with scurvy. That was before Vitamin C had been identified.

WINTER2023 27

GARBAGE GANGSTERS

CARPINTERIA BEAUTIFUL TRASH MOB DOES THE DIRTY WORK

Rain drops fall, collect, flow downhill, make their way into streams and then the ocean. Along the way, they pick up vile companions like candy bar wrappers, energy drink cans, fast food containers, and dog poop bags. But not if the Carpinteria Beautiful Trash Mob gets there first.

Formed in 2019, the core crew of eight die-hard trash collectors removes hundreds of bags of garbage from the local watershed annually. The group meets most Sundays and divvies up sections of the valley under the leadership of Carpinteria Beautiful President Bryan Mootz.

The Trash Mob is a new-ish addition to the organization’s slate of efforts aimed at keeping Carpinteria “clean, green, and beautiful.” For many years, Carpinterians have signed up to “adopt-a-spot” and individually accepted responsibility for trash removal within a specific area. A few years ago, however, Board Member Sally Galati noted that there were plenty of gaps between “spots”

and suggested they form a group to target the gaps. Thus, the Trash Mob.

In 2022, the mob has filled more than 250 bags of trash and hauled off several large items, too. A massive dog house, a recliner, and a mobility scooter come to mind when Mootz is asked to recall the big stuff. The job of a Mobster isn’t glamorous, but it is fulfilling. There’s a treasure hunt mentality that kicks in, and each bit of plastic triggers a little dopamine boost. And by the time it’s Sunday afternoon, the Trash Mob has helped to clean the town and keep waterways free of harmful litter.

Will littering ever become a thing of the past? Well, Mootz says, there are fewer cigarette butts now than there were a few years ago, but the volume of trash doesn’t seem to be trending downward. “We would love to be ‘put out of business,’” he says, “but that just won’t ever be the case.” 

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BOYD
WINTER2023 29 SPARK45 Fitness and Physical Therapy 466O Carpinteria Avenue • 8O5.275.3OOO • www.spark45.com Offering the patented Megaformer workout, Lagree Fitness, indoor cycling and Physical Therapy. Get strong and be safe Class sizes limited • UV air filters • Hospital grade cleaning products. NEW CLIENT SPECIALS 1st class: $25 (includes socks) 3-Class package: $75 ONGOING PACKAGE OPTIONS: 5 Classes: $135 1O Classes: $225 3O Classes: $6OO We accept most major health insurances. P INSPECTIONS • TESTING SALES • REPAIRS • INSTALLS PRIVATE RESIDENCES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Fire SprinklerSystems Fire Extinguishers • Suppression Systems Kitchen Hood Systems Fire Protection Property Assessment / Evaluations Fire Protection Paints • Foams • Gels Pool Pumps • Fire Hoses "YOUR FIRE PROTECTION CONNECTION SINCE 1978 SERVING SANTA BARBARA" WWW.JOYEQUIPMENT.COM 5690 CASITAS PASS ROAD, CARPINTERIA, CA 93013 CA LICENSE C16-741286 FIRE SAFETY (805)684-0805FIRE SAFETY 805-684-0805 WWW.JOYEQUIPMENT.COM INSPECTIONS • TESTING SALES • REPAIRS • INSTALLS Private Residences • Commercial Real Estate 5690 Casitas Pass Road, Carpinteria, 93013 CA. LICENSE C16-741286 Fire Sprinkler Systems Fire Extinguishers • Suppression Systems Kitchen Hood Systems Fire Protection Property Assessment/Evaluations Fire Protection • Paints • Foams Pool Pumps • Fire Hoses “Your Fire Protection Connection Since 1978”
30 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com

Log home, endless views, true grit Wiggy Ranch

Rugged and refined rarely combine as mutually appropriate descriptors of a single place. Wiggy Ranch, where the Brown family tamed over 100 acres of wild Casitas Pass Road terrain with grit and heavy equipment, may be the exception to the rule. The emblematic log home perched on a rolling hilltop is spectacular for its use of location, an infinity pool that kisses the Pacific, custom furnishings and decor, manicured grounds, and ample comforts of laid-back living. That Mac and Debbie Brown and family DIYed the whole thing over the last few decades is a point of pride for the home, its history, and a family that considers major earthwork weekend fun.

In Mac’s telling of the history of Wiggy Ranch, he was a guy on a tractor carving roads and utility culverts into a hillside in order to place a massive Lincoln Logs project atop a 900-foot perch. Family and friends all rolled up their sleeves to get dirty and help erect the home on the hill, where now on a perfect day, all nine grandkids can swim in the pool, dogs run loose through the avocado groves, and there’s not a cloud in the sky. The expansive view out to Santa Barbara and across the channel provides a mesmerizing backdrop for Carpinteria-brand ranch life.

Wiggy Ranch has been a source of family fun since the 1970s, when the Browns purchased the 117 acres and embarked upon decades of incremental evolution best

WINTER2023 31
Mac cruises the avocado grove with Sancha and Chapo.

characterized by defying obstacles and obliterating challenges. At first, the place was “nothing but brush,” according to Mac, who recalls the initial trips up the canyon done on hands and knees. That tangled acreage served as a blank slate for building.

“We always said: ‘The difficult, we can do right away. The impossible might take a little longer,’” says Mac.

They planted avocados on about 60 acres starting in 1990, and had installed the driveway winding up a half mile to where the house would some day land.

Daughter Melissa recalls hours and days saddled on a tractor fender as a girl, her dad making passes to dig utility ditches or carve and grade the narrow peak of a hill into buildable space. “That was dadsitting,” she says.

GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED BARN RAISING

They brought in the log home by the truckload from British Columbia, Canada, starting in March 1995. It was a wet winter. The logs had been cut and assembled onsite in the town of 100 Mile House, aka “The Handcrafted Log Home Capital of North America.” The company labeled all the logs according to where they belonged within the structure and loaded them on trucks to be reassembled-by-number when they reached their destination at Wiggy Ranch. The trucks would arrive in phases, but the Browns couldn’t know when exactly the massive timber would make it down the coast through a steady stream of storms.

The logs began arriving during a sunny barbecue for Debbie’s birthday held on the recently installed plywood floor at the future home site. The family was anxious to start building. Suddenly a truck loaded with logs and trailed by thick diesel smoke appeared laboring up the steep, single-lane driveway. To the amazement of those looking on, the driver made it to the top with his load intact, no sweat.

“We were so impressed that we kept him on for the next week. When a new truck arrived, he’d drive it up the hill for us,” Mac says.

The logs were all laid for the home, bunkhouse and garage over the following week with a little help from construction industry friends and Sweet Lorraine, the crane Mac’s company used for excavation projects. The roof and interior took more time to finish, and the family moved in—Mac, Debbie, Melissa, and Will Brown—on Thanksgiving Day 1995.

Debbie with her eyes on the pool and the grandkids.

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WINTER2023 33
A bird's eye view of the Brown house. Mac and Debbie's grandson Mac Simpson with one of the Mac Brown Excavation trucks.

Wide open yet cozy, the log house's main room encourages relaxing.

WINTER2023 35

INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR TOUCHES CANNOT BE RUSHED

Over the months and years, furniture, rugs, paintings, and interior touches called to Mac and Debbie. Nothing is forced at Wiggy Ranch. Furniture fashioned from the upcycled hull of an old woodside shipwreck was selected for the shaded pool deck. Friends’ horse saddles are currently draped from the center beam above the interior living area. Both are weathered, sturdy, and made to last. Perfect for the ranch.

Long spells have elapsed with exposed plywood on the interior floor or a space on the wall asking to be filled. The Browns never had a contractor on the project, nor an overarching design plan other than comfortable and livable family space with distinctive Western touches that speak to them. Debbie has been a collector and instigator of progress, while Mac, a veteran of installing luxury pools, mountain roads, and mammoth rock walls, has found ample inspiration over the years working at ranches and estates. The concept of a project being “finished” is relative to when the next spurt of inspiration presents itself.

The infinity pool came in a decade after the home and was inspired by both the brood of grandkids and an estate project Mac had worked on for the producer of “The Love Boat” in Santa Ynez Valley. The Browns had already decided to orient the log home facing due east and west for optimal lighting over the open floor plan and single lofted bedroom. The pool would take advantage of the steep slope at the edge of the yard that gives way to near panoramic ocean views. It doesn’t take an oversized imagination to look over the length of the pool, forget about the valley below and welcome the optical illusion

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Grandkids Ameila Isaac and Brooke Simpson take the plunge.

of the pool extending out into the Santa Barbara Channel. The outdoor kitchen framed by elaborate stonework was installed on the patio in the last decade. Bunkhouse apartments have been modernized with the times along with interior kitchen and baths that are tastefully tiled. In keeping with Wiggy character, there’s a deep Jacuzzi tub with valley views next to the bed in the lofted bedroom. Deer heads hang from wooded walls keeping watch over a stone hearth that anchors the interior space, providing warmth even on stormy winter days.

LONG LIVE WIGGY RANCH

Even before the home and avocados, the 117 acres were known for wild ATV rides and water and stone features that served as a backdrop for the “Wiggy Parties” of the 1970s and ’80s. Later, the space down the hill morphed into a rentable events venue for weddings with a natural waterfall backdrop and ringed by oak trees. Family

gatherings routinely take advantage of the home and ranch including the weddings of three-of-four of Mac and Debbie’s children.

The Thomas Fire in December 2017 scorched the entire ranch and threatened the home—right up to the edges of the lawn. Along with a crew of firefighters, Mac and son Mike Isaac defended the home from the devastating firestorm. Palm tree fronds standing just 30 feet from the log home blazed like hellish pom-poms against the night sky. In the morning, Wiggy’s log home stood, but the avocados were torched.

Over the past five years the palm trees have come back, and much of the avocado acreage has been restored. Wiggy Ranch survived its toughest test yet. The wild spaces along its canyon roads are lined with sycamores springing fresh growth and the sturdiest oaks are reemerging after a thinning from the fire, a new and natural symbol of resilience at Wiggy Ranch. 

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Outdoor living space gives Mac and Debbie front row seats to the pool party.
WINTER2023 39 DESIGN PRINT BIND DELIVER 805-684-0013 rockprint.com 4850A Carpinteria Avenue Carpinteria, CA 93013 Mention this ad for 10% off your first order. Applies to first time customers only. INSPIRATION COMES FROM MANY PLACES. THE PRINTING COMES FROM US. DIGITAL PRINTING OFFSET PRINTING LETTERPRESS BOOKLETS FOLDING BUSINESS CARDS POSTERS • FLYERS …EXCELLENT, BEAUTIFUL, AND FANTASTIC…ON TIME, AS PROMISED
40 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com Coastal View News CARPINTERIA Vol. 29, No. 5 October 20 26, 2022 coastalview.com 15 27 Thursday: Carpinteria’s tomato wars 4 Eagle Scouts honored by City Council 2 Ziegler joins arts center staff CHS science students get Carpinteria Royalty From left, Viviana Medina and 2022 Homecoming Royalty Homecoming Warriors football game. Although the Warriors ultimately lost to the visiting Fillmore Flashes, the pair took 2022 Homecoming Court on pages 16–17, and more about the Homecoming football game Expires10/31/22 Daily Updates Every Thursday Summer & Winter Serving the Community and Local Businesses Since 1994 4180 Via Real, Suite F (805) 684-4428 www.coastalview.com Thank you, Carpinteria! For continuing to support your free community publications

Carp-fit-eria Athletes Among Us

Social, emotional, and mental wellness are an incomplete package without physical wellness. On the pages that follow, you’ll find Carpinterians who are the complete package—they make the time for fitness and sports among school, jobs, and families. Perhaps you’ll learn that your kindergarten teacher also operates

a Jazzercise franchise, your favorite local artist wrote the book on pickleball, or that the professor next door defends a water polo goal in his spare time. These individuals demonstrate that passions are worth pursuing, and that the size of the town doesn’t dictate the depth of its athletic talent.

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PHOTOS
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Sisters toned to the beat

Connie Fourqurean was a teenager when she first took a Jazzercise class at Canalino Elementary School in 1991. Not long after that, the 1980s dance-cardio fitness craze became a family affair, with Connie’s sister Teresa Till and mother Maria Angulo joining her at Jazzercise. Those classes sparked a long-term commitment to Jazzercise that led Connie and Teresa from membership to instructorship to franchise ownership.

For the sisters, Jazzercise is even more than a lifestyle, it's “ingrained in our DNA,” they say. Their popular Jazzercise classes fill the Carpinteria Veterans Hall auditorium at 941 Walnut Ave. with booming beats and total body workouts disguised as dance sessions. Connie and Teresa worked for years as instructors before purchasing the Jazzercise franchise in 2016. Now, with fellow instructor Christina Shea, the sisters draw people of all ages to their almost daily morning and evening classes.

“You don’t have to know how to dance beforehand,” Teresa emphasizes, adding that many of their clients are beginners. “It’s not your grandma’s Jazzercise,” she laughs.

The sisters stress the importance of their all-levels classes, with an eye for knowing where and how a client can push themselves. During any given class, you may find a handful of 20-somethings bouncing through the same moves that a handful of 70-somethings are completing with a toned-down bounce. The sisters pull from iTunes for their playlists, and they tap into their years of combined knowledge to curate the classes.

“It’s a stress reliever; it’s a lifestyle,” Connie says.

“I’m very lucky to own (a business) with my sister, who is my best friend. Family means a lot to us,” Teresa adds.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the business hard, reducing membership by 70 percent when restrictions peaked. The

pair adapted with live Facebook and Zoom classes, before temporarily moving in-person classes to Teresa’s garage while the Veterans Building was not available.

But that didn’t deter them, and they “are so grateful” for the loyal clients who stuck by them and are now back, ready to work out, at the Veterans Building.

Outside of running a full-time business and working as teachers—Connie as a transitional kindergarten teacher in Fillmore; Teresa as a kindergarten teacher in Carpinteria— the pair tells Carpinteria Magazine they love hopping into CrossFit classes and spending time with their families.

Visit jazzercise.com/ and search “Carpinteria.”

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From left, Connie Fourqurean and Teresa Till are the powerhouse sisters behind Carpinteria Jazzercise.

Focused on the goal

No position on the soccer field is more isolated, specialized, or pressure-packed than goalie, the last line of defense. Goalies also risk being overlooked and undercoached due to their uniqueness, but Vi cente Torres seeks to stop the dearth of development opportunities for goalkeepers. The Carpinteria husband and father has developed a system to train soccer goalies that honors the importance of the position, teaches techniques that reduce injuries, and encourages kids to have fun despite intense pressure.

Pressure is something that Vicente understands. He put a lot of it on himself while growing up playing soccer as soon as he could kick a ball. And though that pressure

played a role in Vicente’s success on the field—including a CIF championship as a sophomore goalie at Carpinteria High School in 1999, and a second CIF championship as a senior goalie at Santa Barbara High School in 2001—it also taught him how crushing youth athletics can be.

After high school and a year on the Santa Barbara City College soccer team, Vicente scaled back his involvement. He continued to compete in an all ages league, and even now as he approaches 40, he’s out playing every Sunday for the same team he started with at age 16, UDEG (Universidad de Guadalajara).

Then, about four years ago, Vicente created a new soccer opportunity for himself. At that point, he had become a fulltime landscaper and was raising two boys. In his spare time, he developed a brand called Arkero and began selling a line of goalie gloves. His eye-catching logo was based on a soccer photo of Vicente that had run in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

To connect the gloves with their target audience, he held a goalie camp with his mentor from Xolos, a Mexican professional football club based in Tijuana. It drew about 50 kids, and many of them sought additional training. The product line, Vicente now says, opened his eyes to the demand for goalie training, as well as his own ability to supply goalie training.

Now he regularly works with about 30 kids, some individually and some in group sessions. They travel from as far as San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles to train with the veteran goalie on motor skills, coordination, and balance. Vicente says his methods treat the body as a tool that should be preserved and protected, in contrast to “old school” goalie methods where “you just dive, and it doesn’t matter how you land or how you get up.”

Job satisfaction is high, he says with a humble smile. “It makes me proud because the kids I’ve trained are now playing in the highest club level.”

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Goalie coach Vicente Torres in his Arkero gear.
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She's in a pickle

Meganne Forbes literally wrote the book on pickleball. Two books, actually. The local artist-turned-pickleball enthusiast picked up the sport four years ago, and has hardly put down her racquet since.

“It’s so fun,” she says, leaning in and smiling. “It’s so fun that it’s highly addictive.”

Addictive enough that Meganne spends six mornings a week at the Municipal Tennis Center in Montecito, where a vibrant culture has developed around the newly popular sport. Though Meganne plays between 15 and 18 hours weekly, she says that the movements are gentle enough on the body—thanks to the small court and limited running required—that her pickleball obsession doesn’t lead to injuries or wipe her out during her time off the court.

Meganne is not your typical jock. She has always focused on a healthy diet and made room for fitness in her life, but the local grandmother of two is best known for her watercolor works that weave together themes of nature, mothers, and goddesses in soft hues. Pickleball simply offers her another outlet for expression, another way to connect the physical and the spiritual.

“You have to have compassion for yourself and others,” she says. “It’s not just about hitting the ball over the net, you have to come together with your partner.”

Her competitive side, Meganne admits, sometimes threatens to drag her down during a game. She sees that struggle and works hard to focus on the joy of the game, rather than any self-criticism or negative thoughts. Her books, “365 Days of Inspired Pickleball” and “100 Benefits from Playing Pickleball,” address this, too, offering tips and advice, as well as anecdotes from the court.

What inspired her to write the books? “As with anything in my life, I followed my intuition,” she says. “I just thought, ‘Oh, that would be fun.’” Her books are

meant to be easy reads, and they are guaranteed to make you a better pickleball player. That, Meganne says with a laugh, is because anything you read about pickleball will improve your game.

Fun is the overarching goal of the game, as far as Meganne is concerned. She says there are plenty of other locals, including Paula Galbraith, Nancy Stevens, Lisa Wolf, and Gigi Van Zanten, who are better players than she. Without a doubt, there are other great Carpinteria pickleball players in development, because Meganne’s warm “You should come out and try it” is incredibly hard to resist.

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Meganne Forbes at the ready on the pickleball court.

Shooting for the stars

Carpinteria born-and-raised hooper Brooklyn Shamblin has been capturing the attention of the women’s basketball world since before she even entered high school. In junior high, Brooklyn was asked by late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant to join his daughter to play high school ball at Sage Hill. After instead deciding to start her freshman year at Oaks Christian in Thousand Oaks, Brooklyn made waves by committing to play college hoops at the University of Southern California under former Pac-12 Coach of the Year Lindsay Gottlieb—one of the earliest women’s basketball commits in history.

All the hype surrounding Brooklyn’s freshman season at Oaks Christian paired with the pressure of playing in a new school against high quality teams may have proven too much for most. But Brooklyn not only lived up to the hype, she shattered it, with a monster freshman year that ended with her team winning their first Division 3A CIFSS Championship since 2003.

Brooklyn was named CIF Southern Section Player of the Year, placed on the first team All-State list, and Oaks Christian coach Kristy Hopkins was named Coach of the Year. Not bad for a freshman season.

But for Brooklyn, these accolades are just business as usual. The teenager has racked up invites to some of the most exclusive summer leagues and tournaments, like Nike’s EYBL Circuit and the USA Basketball trials— where she was one of just a handful of freshmen invited to play alongside some of the best high school hoopers in the nation.

“It really helped my confidence,” Brooklyn says, adding that her time training with Team USA was the “most difficult and biggest learning experience” of her life.

In the past decade, the culture surrounding women’s basketball has exploded, and Brooklyn is part of a rising tide of athletes—like Sabrina Ionescu, Paige Beckers, Sue Bird, and Chiney Ogwumike—all focused on pushing the game further each year. “It’s like a sisterhood, where everyone wants to see each other succeed,” Brooklyn says. “Everyone is doing whatever they can to get the word out; the support is crazy.”

Part of her success can be credited to the long list of women’s hoops superstars she’s in contact with, and the great coaches and trainers she’s worked alongside, from “trainer to the stars” Olin Simplis to Nike Basketball Camp Director Terri Bamford. “I have such a good support system,” she says.

And although she hit a snag this offseason, with a knee injury that will likely keep her out for much of her sophomore season, Brooklyn is using the setback as an opportunity to face adversity and return even better.

She’s also taking the time to play a more active role in helping build up her future home at USC, reaching out to fellow recruits and giving them helpful nudges to join her to play for the Trojans in 2025. “I’m super excited,” she says, “going into a program that’s being built up. It’s fun seeing all the recruits, knowing these are the players that I’m going to be playing around.”

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Brooklyn Shamblin in her happy place on the court.
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At home in the water

Originally from the Washington D.C. and Maryland area, Andrew Fedders took an unusual route to the Central Coast, drawn out west by the promise of playing Division 1 water polo at U.C. Santa Barbara.

As a youngster, Andrew dipped his toes into competitive swimming. By junior high, the strong swimmer had already sprouted over six-feet tall, and was invited to try his hand at goalie on a local me n’s water polo team.

“There was no youth water polo over in D.C.” he says. “I was one of the few kids playing with these guys.” Andrew found a new home amongst the West Coast transplants and European water polo veterans on his team. He was a natural at the sport and took quickly to his position as goalie.

In high school, he was a standout. He was named on the All-East Team as a senior and helped his team win the Eastern Championship in 1996. By then, Andrew was a towering six-foot-six force in the pool.

In the summers, he drove every day to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland for training, and annually traveled to California to compete in the Junior Olympics. Eventually, he set his sights on a Division 1 career on the West Coast.

He was recruited by UCSB, and jumped at the chance to make the move to California. “While I’m an East Coaster, I’m a better fit on the West Coast,” he says.

He had a solid career with the Gauchos, including a sophomore season when he finished 10 games with 63 saves. After graduation, he started working in special education. It was a new passion, and for a few years he focused on teaching, exploring his creativity as a musician, and building a family with his wife Hayley.

Eventually, the Fedders family found a place in Carpinteria, and Andrew began dropping by the Carpinteria Community Pool to swim for exercise. He was

stunned to find out the town had its own masters water polo team, which he happily joined.

Nowadays, Andrew competes with the masters team and coaches for the Carpinteria Aquatics Club, which he finds times to do when he's not teaching at UCSB. Last spring, he helped the Carpinteria Tritons join forces with neighboring water polo clubs to form Channel Islands United, and in the summer of 2022, he coached the 10U team to an amazing second place finish at the Junior Olympic National Championship. His son Junius was on the team. 

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UCSB professor and Carpinteria water polo coach Andrew Fedders in a rare dry moment.

Alia Glasgow, pictured above and at right with box in hand, and her crew go to work bringing order to chaos.

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HAVE NO FEAR,

The Efficiency Project is here

Ithought they were mean,” Alia Glasgow describes her parents, who she now gives partial credit for the success of her company The Efficiency Project, a consultancy dedicated to refreshing, organizing, and styling homes so clients can achieve their lifestyle goals.

“They were strict about chores.”

“Crisp and clean” is how she describes her father, adding that he just loves hospital corners on a bed. In a decidedly more efficient manner, she sums up her mom as “nitpicky.”

When she and sole sibling sister Casey (now Casey Geeb) got home from school, they had to do chores first (there was a list), followed by homework, and then they could go out to play. Gregarious and full of energy, Alia got good, i.e., efficient, at cleaning and other chores so she

could go out and play with her Santa Barbara Westside neighborhood friends.

“I’m a creative person who taught herself to be organized. How to quickly get from point A to B,” explains Alia, who also credits not being a perfectionist to the growing popularity of The Efficiency Project. Simply, she rolls up her sleeves and gets the job done.

Like many career paths, the road to The Efficiency Project was winding. Entrepreneurial and industrious, Alia began an at-home daycare so she could stay home with her children—Chase, 18, Payton, 15, and Bryce, 10— rather than drop them off somewhere else when she went to her preschool teacher job. Husband Matt, a carpenter, worked at a woodshop.

As a way to use her adult brain, Alia did wedding

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planning as a side to the daycare. After her youngest, Bryce, entered kindergarten, she was ready to close her daycare business but knew wedding planning couldn’t be her only source of income because working on the weekends was too difficult.

One day, she was on a stepladder hanging curtains in a friend’s home with Casey—you know, for fun—when they looked at each other and said, “We should be getting paid for this.”

The organizing and styling business the sisters conceived on a stepladder began as a side hustle. Today, Alia runs The Efficiency Project, and Casey is the principal of Casey Geeb Interiors. The two businesses complement each other but are separate. According to caseygeebinteriors.com, the sisters “aim to create efficient and stylish interiors to help you conquer your space and win back your precious time so you can spend it doing what you love.”

Jobs have ranged from a beachfront billionaire’s beautiful home to the cramped and unsanitary conditions of a true hoarder’s lifestyle. A typical client, though, is a mom with kids at home. Most likely the client heard about The Efficiency Project by word of mouth or Instagram/ @theefficiencyprojectsb. There is a free 15-minute discovery call that often leads to a Purge Session of three hours

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Alia with hubby Matt Glasgow, who recently joined The Efficiency Project team.

with a $300 price tag. Another efficiency indicator is the website’s clearly stated services and costs, saving lots of time by avoiding unnecessary haggling or negotiations.

Other services include different levels of organizing (death cleaning is one example), help with moving (staging an owner-occupied home with their possessions, packing and unpacking) and home styling. Custom jobs are welcome—the company does photo organizing, helps decorate and undecorate for the holidays, and digitizes office files, among other tasks. Alia loves the variety and challenge, not to mention she’s not afraid of messes. “I wiped butts for 15 years,” she explains, adding, “everything is figure-out-able.”

Her favorite task is organizing a kitchen (she’s a foodie). The team takes everything out of the kitchen, facilitates the decision-making process of what to purge and what to keep, which they put back into a perfectly organized fashion. The satisfaction comes from making a big difference in someone’s home.

What sets her apart from competitors—her environmental consciousness—is the hardest part of the job. She’s a witness to a lot of wastefulness, of plastic and consumption in general. Brand new color-coded storage containers won’t always get you from point A to B, but hiring Alia to roll up her sleeves will. 

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From left, Stephanie Dotson and Madeleine Eve Ignon in their Carpinteria studio.

CONTRAS TComplement &

AND STUDIOMATES STEPHANIE DOTSON AND MADELEINE EVE IGNON CREATE ABSTRACT ART IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN SPACE

There’s an ineffable spark that some studiomates have, a chemistry like the one freshman-year roommates sometimes have. Perhaps it’s the magic of spending long hours in close quarters with a completely different person while catapulting towards personal and professional goals.

Artists Stephanie Dotson and Madeleine Eve Ignon have this magical rapport in their shared studio on the corner of Linden Avenue and Wullbrandt Way. Both artists work in the realm of abstraction with affinities for paper, mixed media, and the color yellow. They also both teach college art and commute to their Carpinteria studio from Santa Barbara.

As early as 1913, the studio’s historic two-story property was known as the Knights of Pythias building. It has been home to many artists and cultural activities in its 100-year history, including the Carpinteria Masonic Lodge, the Alcazar Theatre, then known as Carpinteria Theatre, and the Christian Science Reading Room, Alegria, and Señor Frog’s. Today, the building has artist studios on the second floor and commercial space on the first.

Madeleine and Stephanie’s second-floor studio looks over Robitaille’s Fine Candies. Sunlight beams through oversized windows, and their view is of the Santa Ynez mountains darting behind downtown’s vanishing point. Both artists have found inspiration in the city’s natural charm and proximity to the ocean. They also each find that there’s a benefit to traveling to work, to putting separation between their artistic practice and their other roles (such as household and family caretakers or as art professors).

As artists, they both approach abstraction by physically manipulating materials, particularly paper. Both artists work with paper, as a canvas, a media, a muse, and a process. They print, draw, collage, and paint on it. They make it, layer it, fold it, stack it, and replicate it. But their techniques diverge often, and while there is a palpable conversation between their use of color and their mutual ability to incorporate happenstance in geometry, their work is easily distinguishable.

If anything, the artists provide the complement and contrast to each other that makes each artist’s work ever more vibrant.

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ARTISTS
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"Shifting" by Stephanie Dotson

STEPHANI E DOT SON

Originally from Kansas, Stephanie moved to Santa Barbara to teach printmaking at Santa Barbara City College after receiving her MFA from University of Georgia in Athens. With two young kids at home and a teaching career to boot, Stephanie found the perfect place to focus on her art practice in Carpinteria’s former Knights of Pythias lodge.

In the studio, Stephanie is working on a series of drawings in color pencil and mixed media called “Folding.” The series is her latest exploration into transforming familiar patterns into abstract designs, a thread she weaves through her textile art and printmaking as well. For “Folding,” Stephanie creates her drawings by first folding and arranging paper and fabric until it has the composition she’s looking for. Next, she chooses her palette and starts to draw.

Paper drawn in soft colors reminiscent of the Day-Glo era crease and fold in softly shaded, deconstructed origami. There’s a casual ‘90s fervor in her work: pastel colors vibrate quietly against structure.

In her drawings, Stephanie says there’s “a contrast of time-intensive labor and quick intuitive compositions.” Her textile pieces call for laboriously unbraiding rugs to then recreate them in a new design “that is familiar yet chaotic.”

Textile and fiber art along with crafts like weaving and quilting are often associated with women’s work and domesticity. Likewise, folding, such as folding laundry,

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"Soft Garden III" by Stephanie Dotson

has associations with domestic labor, which Stephanie says, “really resonates with me as a mother, artist, and lover of textile arts.”

When Stephanie is drawing in her studio, she says it’s a methodical and meditative period, and that’s a lot of what she’s getting out of it. “I think I need the long periods of process, binding rugs together or drawing large surfaces in pencil,” she says, “It’s when

I come up with my next ideas and try to solve all of life’s problems.”

Having a studio in Carpinteria has its perks too. “I feel like I’m arriving at an oasis, but working here, I really get a sense of the community and how much the locals care for this space,” Stephanie says, “I don’t hate the quick walk to the beach either.”

Check out more of Stephanie’s work at stephaniedotson.com.

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"Fall Reverse" by Stephanie Dotson

MADELEINE EVE IGNON

A Los Angeles native, Madeleine received her MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, having studied art at Connecticut College. She currently teaches art and design in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB and design at Santa Barbara City College.

It was a bit out of the blue that Madeleine landed on a work space in Carpinteria, but she has grown to love her studio by the sea. She says she even likes the commute, which she often does by train.

“It gives me a sense that I’m really ‘going to work’ in a way,” she says. “I love taking a break and going to Lucky Llama, The Worker Bee, or Pacific Health Foods. I love taking a moment to look at the mountains and the fog when I’m waiting for areas of paint to dry.”

In her work, Madeleine juxtaposes text with imagery and gestural elements, transforming messages into abstract marks and landscapes. By combining legible and illegible visual expressions, Madeleine’s art engages with concepts of how we read and decode patterns.

In part Madeleine’s handlettering and bold palette reference the tradition of sign painting as perhaps best known by Mission School artist Margaret Kilgallen, as well as pop-culture, think ‘90s and early 2000s teen magazines, which Madeleine read in her youth. Print clippings from YM and Seventeen magazines, mostly from her personal collection, also pop up in her collage and paper works.

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"sure as shit" by Madeleine Eve Ignon

"time told on a Sesame Street clock" by Madeleine Eve Ignon

“I mine the editorial and advertising content of teen magazines from my youth, letters, my old journals, as well as current signage (including protest signs) and idioms in an attempt to merge the old and new, the past with the present, the public with the private,” Madeleine says.

Madeleine likes her studio time to be many things, and she spends the hours buzzing around the two-room space with high ceilings and floods of afternoon light. She floats between the “wet” area, where she paints on paper and canvas, and the “dry” area, where she sews collage pieces from repurposed billboard vinyl, canvas, and fabric scraps.

But she also says that sometimes her

studio time in Carpinteria is just about being there. She uses it to flip through favorite monographs, explore ideas in her sketchbook, experiment with new materials, and organize her collections.

And sometimes it’s a chance to see an egret or a great blue heron, or to find something unexpected in the free little library, Madeleine says.

“The little lending library in front of our studio has had quite the interesting finds lately—if you consider a VHS of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and a Julia Child/Jacques Pepin cookbook finds, which I most certainly do.”

See more of Madeleine’s work on Instagram, @madeveart, or at madeleineignon.com/.

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Beyond Back AND

Once we crested the Santa Ynez Mountain ridgetop, there was no denying the unique diversity surrounding Carpinteria and the rugged coastal range towering above it.

I’d easily convinced two lifeguards that I’ve worked with on the Carpinteria City Beach over the past several years to join me on the trek. Forest Van Stein and Malek Mehai are two Carpinteria High School alums who I knew would be up for the task. Forest’s dad, artist Thomas Van Stein, accompanied us on the first leg of the journey via the Franklin Trail. He watched the three of us hop over the ridgeline and descend into Alder Creek. Thomas would graciously ferry us back to Carpinteria from the Carrizo Plain nine days later.

From left, Danny Trudeau, Malek Mehai, and Forest Van Stein pause on an unnamed route in the San Rafael Wilderness.

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Tent view of the South Fork cabin on the Sisquoc River.
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In some ways, the first day walking up to the top of the Franklin Trail was the hardest of the entire 102 miles. There’s not much of a warmup on the route, which steepens quickly. Our packs were heavy, carrying lots of water, and my pack seemed to maintain the same weight throughout, thanks to all my camera gear.

In other ways, it was the prettiest and most epic day of the trek. Vibrant bush poppies and prickly phlox were blooming in profusion on the final section of the Franklin Trail during the second week of January 2022. From the lofty ridgetop at 3,700 feet, the view is arguably the most stunning on the entire South Coast. Carpinteria is nestled between the coast, the Santa Barbara Channel, and the Channel Islands National Park. To the northeast, the Santa Ynez Mountains offer an incredible, rugged backdrop and are the gateway into the chaparral-choked Los Padres National Forest.

We left our coastal town behind. The unknown beckoning across four mountain ranges—the Santa Ynez, San Raphael, Sierra Madre, and the Caliente ranges. The Sisquoc Wild and Scenic River also awaited, free-flowing

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Settling into Upper Bear Camp on the Sisquoc River. Forest Van Stein stocks up on precious water at the edge of the Sisquoc River.

through the San Raphael Wilderness. Beyond were the sweeping potreros and sandstone cathedrals atop the Sierra Madre, and those teeming grasslands of the Carrizo Plain that always beckon me.

WHERE THERE IS WATER

A walk such as this required water, but who can depend on such a resource when normal winters seem like a thing of the past. Each fall I begin watching for rain, hoping to experience the wet all the way through March. Sounds as if I’m asking for a lot, but the winter of December 2021 delivered barely enough, because in November 2021 there was nary a drop, and the same held true for January 2022.

With just over 7 inches of rain in December, we began backpacking to the Carrizo Plain on Jan. 8, 2022. Alder Creek was gushing, so was Foxen Creek just west of Jameson Lake, and our first campsite of the trip. However, after meeting up with old friend Danny Trudeau at Mono Camp, water sources were scarce—a mere inch or two deep at Mono Creek and then at Lower Buckhorn Camp.

Before reaching the Sisquoc River, locating water was anything but certain. We scraped patches of snow shaded from the sun and never stopped thinking about our next refill. In years past, I’ve gotten water on the Montgomery Potrero just west of Lion Canyon on the Sierra Madre Mountains. This time though, it was a muddy black muck, no water to be had.

Mid-January 2022 was dry, and the steady rains received in December were of no consequence on the rolling Sierra Madre Mountain Ridge. When we reached the junction for

The Big Pine area provided water in its solid form. Dry socks and boots are step one for a good day on the trail.

McPherson Peak and Aliso Park, we were all nearly out of that precious resource, but we had to keep moving.

Ten paces toward Aliso Park in Cuyama Valley, lying in the trail was a gallon of water. We all just stood and looked at each other, and then we filled our bottles. When we reached Aliso Park, the only camp under the prolific oak grove gave us another ¾ gallon.

The next morning, water had uplifted our spirits; our strides were longer as we approached the Cuyama Badlands looming on the immediate horizon. Unfortunately, we were about to endure the wrath of Highway 166, the only pavement on our backcountry sojourn.

POUNDING THE PAVEMENT

I’ve hitchhiked on Highway 166 before, but not during the Covid-19 pandemic. Who on earth would pick up a bunch of filthy backpackers during a global pandemic? After 12 miles trudging on the pavement with our thumbs pathetically sticking out, we learned the answer: no one, that’s who.

Twelve miles west of Aliso Park, I stuck my thumb out

one more time, and a sweet, young family of three pulled over in their shiny new van. They told us to hop in the back. We kept our packs on as they handed us two Sprites. Three miles down the road they dropped us off at our water cache hidden in the tumbleweeds.

Once again there was a bounce in our steps. Danny had left us two days prior on the Salisbury Potrero. He’d come through and stashed water, Doritos, and a few energy bars for our push over the Caliente Mountains.

One of the best evenings in the backcountry was our last in the foothills of the Calientes. Gentle rain fell early in the morning, and then the sun broke through, the Sierra Madre aglow. The air was cool and crisp as we blazed our own route to the ridgeline.

There’s no denying the sight of the Carrizo Plain. For me, it always feels like the first time. The rising sun forced shadows to retreat into narrow gullies revealing the vast grasslands. It could have been a day 200 years prior, except this day Thomas Van Stein awaited at the Selby Campground with burritos and a ride back home.

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Salisbury Potrero Campground at 4,500 feet in the Los Padres National Forest.
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The hikers put their thumbs out in hopes of some help getting a few miles along Highway 166.
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The CURE crew pictured on Wullbrandt Way with their 1998 world record-breaking surfboard stack.

If you build it, they will donate

In the late 1990s, Rincon surfers were coming down with infections after riding the long winter waves.

Pollution from heavy rains that raged down Rincon Creek during El Niño storms was blamed by most, but some wave riders suspected another culprit—leaky septic systems from the homes on the point.

The only sure way to identify the source of the high bacterial count in the local waters was a very expensive DNA test. To that end, Rincon devotees Wayne Babcock, Joel Smith, and Doug DeFirmian formed a grassroots environmental group called CURE (Clean Up Rincon Effluent) aimed at effecting change via public awareness and political power.

“Many surfers suffered with serious eye, nose, and

especially terrible ear infections. They were the coal mine canaries of coastline bacteria pollution,” says Wayne.

The group generated a petition and conducted a protest march to the Santa Barbara County Supervisors Building, “complete with children and dogs carrying signs demanding action to test the waters and fix the polluted findings,” Wayne recalls.

Not satisfied with the response, the group pooled its considerable creative talent to come up with a unique way to raise awareness of the situation and gather some of the necessary funds to accurately and decisively determine the source of contamination.

And that’s when Carpinteria set the world record for the largest number of surfboards stacked on a car.

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The 282 boards go for a spin—a requirement to cinch the record.

The CURE surfboard stacking stunt was held on Wullbrandt Way during the 1998 California Avocado Festival. In order to beat the standing record, the group would have to tower at least 142 surfboards atop a car. It was, as Wayne says, “an all-hands-on-deck grassroots community event.”

“Rob Coleman took charge of stacking the boards on the Hummer he borrowed from the dealership,” says Wayne. “David Letinsky took charge of acquiring donations to be raffled off. Doug DeFirmian found dozens of helpers for the event who sold raffle tickets. About a dozen of my old wooden surfboards were shown in an exhibit put together by Joel Smith.”

Scaffolding was erected around the vehicle to allow proper placement of each part of the foam and fiberglass monument. Gathering crowds watched the construction as teams of stackers worked like ants building a giant nest of surfcraft.

Hank Weedn loaned dozens of his boards, and many others were brought out of the backyards and barns of Carpinteria. When the team got to the existing record of 141 boards, they calculated that the number could be doubled due to the frame strength of the Hummer and the construction technique of the stackers.

Wayne brought in his massive collection of surfboards, and soon the record was shattered. A total of 282 boards topped the Hummer.

To affirm the integrity of the project, the car was fired up and driven to the beach.

The record-setting event raised nearly $4,000 for CURE.

Fifteen years, much controversy, major involvement by the non-profit Heal the Ocean, and millions of dollars later, CURE’s 1990s vision of a septic-to-sewer conversion came to be. In 2013, Carpinteria Sanitary District connected 72 homes at Rincon Point to a new sewer line. 

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Queen of the Coast captivates on the catwalk

A photographic glimpse into the world of Rincon fashion

Rincon Point is to surf wear what Milan is to haute couture. While shimmering waves peel around the cobblestone point, the high tide line is the runway, and beachgoers are the models: athletic, sun-kissed, and smiling.

Unlike other fashion epicenters, Rincon is unpretentious and authentic. Carpinteria may neighbor wealthy communities, but most of its residents lack the desire to keep up with the Joneses. That casual Carpinteria lifestyle is on full display at Rincon, where fashion, form, and

function converge into a beautiful array of color and style. On this catwalk, wrinkled T-shirts, disheveled hair, hip sunglasses, and weathered hats serve their wearers well. The annual Rincon Classic surf contest serves up an ideal opportunity to photograph fashionable watermen and women celebrating a world class surf spot. Inevitably, the styles present at the Classic will find their way onto the sidewalks of Des Moines, Austin, Boulder, and even Singapore in the months and years to come.

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Layering allows for cozy, cool, and stylish.

Wool caps are warm, comfy, hip, and popular at Rincon.

Below, Rick Sharp.

Above, Amy Stanfield-Jarmi.

Right, Matt Moore.

Far Right, Geoff Faoro.

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SURF FASHION IS GLOBAL

The surf fashion industry is big business. Sunglasses, hats, swimwear, sandals, wetsuits, hoodies, and jackets are expected to generate over $1.35 billion in annual worldwide sales in 2023 with a 5 percent annual growth rate through 2028, according to Grandview ResearchSurfing apparel market research.

Surfboard shaper Matt Moore has quietly played a role in surf fashion at Rincon for over 40 years, and his shop, Rincon Designs, started selling its slice of surf fashion long before it was a global business.

“In the 1960s, when I was growing up,” Matt says, “my crew and I would ‘get our equip’ before heading out on a surf run. Our equip: old working boots, like hunting boots from Field and Stream magazine, wool socks, Levi's, scruffy flannels, and a wool hat. I see a retro movement happening at Rincon these days. I see myself as a teenager when I visit Rincon, and that’s cool.”

At Rincon Designs, the clothing not only looks great, it has to function. Matt wears a mocha colored, fleece-

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Cool sunglasses, floppy hats, and puffy jackets celebrate both form and function and help define our local fashion.

Kids wear pretty much anything they want at Rincon.

Top, from left, Lucia and Holliday Smith and Hiver Johnston.

Below, Clover Martinez.

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lined MM flannel jacket while we discuss Rincon fashion. He says of the piece, “It reminds me of an old gas station jacket—tons of pockets and it works as a great windbreaker. That’s what I love about the jacket, great function, casual style, and reasonably priced.”

For surfer, mom, and business owner Jenny Keet, Carpinteria’s healthy relationship with fashion is part of the town’s appeal. “My husband, Chris, and I travel throughout the beach towns of California, and here in Carp, our style is relaxed, it’s comfortable. The Carpinteria style is simple. It’s about fitting in with nature.”

Jenny was once destined for New York high fashion and costume design school, but she changed her course when she discovered the magic of surfing. She’s now raising two boys and running Surf Happens with Chris. Her incredible sense of style remains intact.

“I like to dress and feel like the air. No restrictions. No constrictions. Comfortable. Casual. A perfect blend of both form, function, color, and style,” says Jenny. “There’s no pressure to impress anyone in Carp, and that feels really good to me.”

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Above, Belinda Baggs. Right, Jenny and Jack Keet.

IN A NUTSHELL

• Rincon has a style of its own: it’s colorful, it’s casual, it’s brave, it’s fun, and it’s natural.

• Carpinteria style celebrates both form and function. It’s got to be warm, and it’s got to be comfortable, but there’s no need to impress anyone.

• Kids practice creativity. Tutus and hoodies and mismatched socks are okay—even when worn all together.

• Surf fashion is constantly evolving, but retro is always cool.

• Rincon style includes disheveled hair and wrinkled clothes, and it’s stunning.

• People who line the beach at Rincon are tan, fit, strong, hip, and fun, and they comfortably tolerate a lens pointed their way.

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Surf wear at Rincon is consistently colorful, functional, and fashionable. Left, Andy Neumann and Ravi Pandya.

If you’re looking for anything from a snack to a nice dinner out with friends or family, try some of Carpinteria’s favorite local eateries.

Call

RecommendedEats

ahead for hours, reserved seating or curbside pickup

CHOCOLATS DU CALIBRESSAN

“Tempting your taste buds” with confectionery delights expressing a true joie de vivre!

Must Try: French Bisous: Dark and milk chocolate ganache flavored with tangerine liquor 4193 Carpinteria Ave. Ste 4, Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-6900 • chococalibressan.com

DANNY’S DELI

Danny’s Deli has been serving Carpinteria for 32 years with tri-tip, turkey and roast beef all cooked on site.

Must Try: Famous Tri-Tip Sandwich 4890 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-2711

THE FOOD LIAISON

Catering. Counter. Classes. Utilizing local, organic ingredients. Daily rotating entrees, soups and desserts, seasonal menus and gourmet salad bar.

Must Try: Avocado Meets Toast 1033 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria, CA 93013

GIOVANNI’S PIZZA CARPINTERIA

Specialty pizzas (meat and veggie), pastas, calzones, sandwiches and games in a casual, sit-down space, delivery or to go

Must Try: Giovanni’s Original Lasagna 5003 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-8288 • giovanniscarp.com

JACK’S BISTRO

Healthy California cuisine. Enjoy freshly baked bagels with whipped cream cheeses. Breakfast, lunch and beyond!

Must Try: Blackstone Benedict: w/avo, bacon, tomato 5050 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-566-1558 • bagelnet.com

PACIFIC HEALTH FOODS

Pacific Health Foods serves the best smoothies in Carpinteria. Also fresh juices, organic baked goods, sandwiches, acai bowls, coffee & tea.

Must Try: Scarlet Begonia Juice 944 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, CA, 93013 805-684-2115

PADARO BEACH GRILL

Great food, spectacular views, friendly service, pet-friendly, and a family-style atmosphere make Padaro Beach Grill the perfect place to dine.

Must Try: Any burger, especially The Padaro 3765 Santa Claus Lane, Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-566-9800

REYES MARKET

Folks come from near and far to eat these burritos, tacos, tortas and other tasty options. Close your eyes and you’re in Mexico.

Must Try: Chile Relleno Soup, Chilaquiles, Gordita 4890 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-2711

REYNALDO’S BAKERY

Mexican & European Bakery. From handmade, traditional Mexican fare to the finest quality wedding cakes & desserts.

Must Try: Chile Verde Pork, Eggs & Cheese. 895 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-4981 • reynaldosbakery.com

SIAM ELEPHANT THAI RESTAURANT

With its reputation of authenticity and excellence, Siam Elephant stays true to the culinary culture and influences of Thailand.

Must Try: Pad Thai 509 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-2391 • siamelephantusa.com

THARIO’S KITCHEN

“European Style” family restaurant. Homemade from scratch bread, pizza, pasta, salads and desserts. Catering and To Go.

Must Try: One-pound Lasagna Brick 3807 Santa Claus Lane, Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-2209

THE SPOT

Just steps from the beach, The Spot is a classic hamburger stand serving up delicious American and Mexican food at affordable prices!

Must Try: Famous Chili Cheese Fries 389 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-6311

UNCLE CHEN RESTAURANT

Longtime, family-run standby, Uncle Chen offers Chinese meat dishes, noodles and seafood in an informal setting.

Must Try: Casitas Green 1025 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-566-3334

ZOOKERS RESTAURANT

Local organic produce, fresh fish, and sustainably raised meats. The “FARM TO TABLE” approach ensures the freshest food in town.

Must Try: Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon 5404 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013 805-684-8893 • zookersrestaurant.com

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In her second trial, the jury found Caroline Norton guilty of firstdegree murder and recommended a life sentence.

“A Cold-Blooded Plot Executed with Villainous Cunning * ”

150-year-old true crime story set at Rincon

In the summer of 1875, Californians were transfixed by “one of the bloodiest episodes ever chronicled in Southern California,” in the words of the Los Angeles Herald: a love-triangle murder at Rincon Point. The ensuing events enthralled residents and culminated in a barn-burner trial with local and state audiences eagerly following events in the newspapers. And then the story disappeared as Rincon Point gradually assumed its role as beloved surf spot and tony neighborhood.

The story begins with John Norton, his wife, Caroline, and their two young children living in a house just across Rincon Creek from the stagecoach station. Jack Cotton, an ex-sailor farmhand who had been working for them for a few months, shared the home with the Norton family.

In April 1875, a distraught Caroline Norton told neighbor Andrew Bailard that her husband was dead. He had succumbed to inflammation of the bowels while looking at farmland south of Los Angeles. His dying wish, she said, was that with Bailard’s assistance, she should sell all of their property. Bailard agreed to help. Meanwhile, Caroline continued living in the house with her children and Jack Cotton.

A couple of people noticed that Caroline seemed to take particular interest in a sand mound behind the house. Once, she stood close by while her children played

Point

on it—running, sliding, and throwing bits of cloth. When a prospective buyer came to look over the Norton hay crop, Caroline stood in the yard and watched intently as he passed the mound.

Bailard gave her the proceeds from the sale of the property, and she left Carpinteria in late April. About a month later, Bailard got a letter from Susan Sanor, the late John Norton’s sister. She said she had heard that John was dead. Did Bailard know where he was buried and what happened to his belongings? She also said she understood that Caroline had remarried. Her new husband was Jack Cotton.

“That aroused my suspicion,” Bailard later testified. He rounded up several neighbors to conduct a search. The sand mound looked as if it might have been disturbed. Bailard poked around with an iron rod. About two feet down, it struck something. He and the others dug up a badly decomposed corpse clad in John Norton’s wool coat. The skull was in pieces, according to the coroner, shattered by the back of an axe, a wagon spoke, or some other blunt instrument.

The Santa Barbara County grand jury indicted Jack Cotton and Caroline Norton for murder. The crime was so gruesome that on June 1, 1875, California’s Santa Barbaraborn governor Romualdo Pacheco offered a $500 reward

* Santa Barbara Weekly Press, June 19, 1875

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This photograph of Jack Cotton and Caroline Norton played a pivotal role in their Santa Barbara trial. Cotton claimed that Caroline spent lavishly while they were on the run. Her silk dress here cost $140, or more than $3,500 in today’s dollars. Newspapers described the photograph during the trial, but they couldn’t reproduce it with 1870s technology. This may be the first time it has ever been published.

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GLEDHILL LIBRARY, SANTA BARBARA HISTORICAL MUSEUM

for their apprehension. The Santa Barbara sheriff added $200, and the constable of Santa Clara (where Norton’s sister lived) added another $100. By then the couple and the children were on the run. The two were arrested on June 6 in Wadsworth, Nevada.

In court, Jack Cotton and Caroline Norton accused each other of the crime. Cotton said that Caroline hired two killers who shot John Norton by the stable. Cotton then helped her bury the body. Handling a corpse didn’t faze her, he told a reporter: “That woman has got more pluck than any man I ever met.” She then killed the family dog because it kept digging around the sand mound, according to Cotton, and she told the children to play on the mound in hopes of hiding the fresh grave. The San Francisco Chronicle considered that last detail worthy of Poe.

In Caroline’s account, John Norton and Jack Cotton went south to look at land, and then Cotton told her to come to Los Angeles right away. There, he told her he had killed her husband because “I am determined to have you.” If she went to the police, he and his men (he claimed to have a gang) would kill her and her children. He forced her to sell everything in Carpinteria and travel with him to San Francisco and ultimately to Nevada.

Cotton, first to go on trial, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The conviction was no surprise, but the sentence was—people had expected the death penalty. The jurors, said the Santa Barbara

Morning Press, were plainly “obtuse in intellect and lax of conscience.” Even Cotton seemed satisfied. After his sentencing, Cotton let forth some curses and this parting shot: “It’s only for a time that I’ll be in San Quentin. A change of politics will fix me. When the next Democratic Governor is in office, Jack Cotton will be free.” He was partly right, as we shall see.

Caroline Norton’s first trial ended in a hung jury, and the prosecutor retried her right away. As is often the case today, lawyers and experts spent a long time arguing about blood. On the floor of Cotton’s bedroom in the Norton house was a 12-inch bloodstain. If it was John Norton’s blood, that would cast doubt on Caroline’s claim that she knew nothing of the murder until Cotton told her in Los Angeles. Her lawyers wanted to create reasonable doubt by arguing that the stain might be animal blood. Two Santa Barbara physicians, Charles Bell Bates and Reuben W. Hill (both future owners of portions of Rancho El Rincon), testified that it was virtually impossible to distinguish human from nonhuman blood. Another local physician, Robert F. Winchester, however, testified that he could tell the difference. Based on his examination, the blood in the Norton house was definitely human.

To test Dr. Winchester’s skills, the defense team produced two bloodstained chips of wood and asked him to identify which was animal and which was human. After studying them under a microscope, he returned to court

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In 1865, the artist Edward Vischer drew this sketch of a stagecoach descending toward Rincon Creek. BANCROFT LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

and testified that both samples were indisputably animal blood. The defense announced that he had gotten it wrong: One sample was hog blood, and the other was blood from Caroline Norton’s father. In his closing argument, Norton’s lawyer made much of Dr. Winchester’s goof. (Dr. Dana Devine, who now directs the Centre for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia, sides with Bates and Hill. Human blood and hog blood, she says, look the same under a microscope.)

CARPINTERIA, CALIFORNIA

Rincon Point is renowned as the Queen of the Coast, one of the premier surfing spots in the world, but that is only a fragment of its rich history. Before the arrival of Europeans, it was a Chumash village called Shuku. In the 19th century, it was part of Rancho El Rincon, whose owners included a rich but illiterate Californio rancher, an English physician who made house calls by bicycle, and a Chilean pharmacist who dispensed drugs out of an old ship’s cabin. It was the site of a scandalous love-triangle murder in the 1870s, a rickety highway on stilts in the 1910s, and a raunchy honky-tonk in the 1920s. Banditos, nudists, movie stars, long-boarders—they have all shaped Rincon Point, a place immortalized by novelists, poets, painters, photographers, and the Beach Boys.

R INCON POINT

Authors Vincent Burns and Stephen Bates have deep roots in the area. Burns helped build his grandmother’s house on the point and writes regularly on surf history. Bates’s great-grandfather acquired Rancho El Rincon in 1885, and it remained in the family for more than a century. This book features unique photographs from the Bateses and other early settlers, pioneer surfers of the 1950s and 1960s, the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History, and elsewhere.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

MADEINTHE www.arcadiapublishing.com

ISBN 978-1-4671-0000-7 52399 $23.99

9 781467100007

Another key item of evidence was a studio photo of Cotton and Caroline, taken while they were in San Francisco. Defense lawyers tried to keep it out of evidence. When that failed, Caroline testified that although the photo might not show it, she was terrified. Cotton had a gun in his pocket, she said, so she couldn’t get away or alert the photographer. Cotton, by contrast, claimed that the photo was her idea, and she spent $140 on a silk dress for the occasion. In his closing argument, the prosecutor told jurors to take a close look at the photo. “Does her picture look as if there had been any force used?” he asked. “Does not her position with her hands upon Cotton’s shoulder look as if she were the mistress of the situation?”

There was no hung jury this time. After little more than an hour, the jury found Caroline Norton guilty. She, too, was sentenced to life in San Quentin.

Cotton and Caroline accused each other of premeditated murder, but the bloodstain in Cotton’s bedroom suggests an alternative explanation: Norton caught the two of them in bed and attacked, and Cotton fought back and killed him. Had they told the truth, said the Los Angeles Herald, both might have been convicted of manslaughter rather than murder and gotten off with lighter sentences. But Victorian mores likely played a role. A sympathetic reporter described Caroline just after her arrest: “She says she cares nothing for herself, but is horrified at the thought of the shame and disgrace she has brought upon her mother and little sisters.”

In any event, both were eventually freed. Caroline’s well-connected family got Governor George Perkins to commute her sentence in 1884, and Governor Robert Waterman, a Republican, pardoned Cotton in 1890. Records indicate that Cotton died in a veterans’ home in Napa County in 1910, around age 87. Caroline Norton remarried and died in Oakland in 1938, age 89.

Where was the grisly deed committed and the unfortunate John Norton buried? Newspaper accounts and court records offer some clues. The most useful testimony came from John Pyster, a Carpinteria farmer who helped dig up the body. He placed the grave in a sandbank about 100 yards southwest of the Norton house. If the house was in the vicinity of the current Bates Road offramp or the Rincon Beach parking lot, Pyster’s testimony puts the grave near the former Rincon Point Road dunes, an area known to contain Chumash middens. The blend of soft sand and dirt would have been ideal for a quick burial. 

The Norton murder is just one of the many stories illustrated in new book “Rincon Point” authored by Vince Burns and Stephen Bates. Published in October 2022, the book tells the tale of the Queen of the Coast through historical pictures, many of them published for the first time. The book’s chapters trace the point’s history from Chumash village and inclusion in a Mexican land grant in the 1800s, to its evolution from isolated stagecoach stop to a refuge for eccentrics, artists, and early surfers in the 1950s, before becoming today’s beloved beach and surf break.

A professor of journalism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Stephen Bates splits his time between Las Vegas and Carpinteria. His great-grandfather acquired Rancho El Rincon in 1885, and it remained in the family for more than a century. Historian and publishing veteran Vincent Burns helped build his grandmother’s house at Rincon Point in the 1970s and writes regularly on surf history.

“Rincon Point” is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, and it’s available on Amazon and in local bookstores: amazon.com/dp/1467108707

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R INCON P OINT VINCENT BURNS AND STEPHEN BATES
Vincent Burns and Stephen Bates
0870RINCcvr.indd 3/1/22
IMAGES of America
11:36 AM
There’s more where that came from…
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FROM THE

Cooking He art

Thario’s Kitchen brings old-fashioned dining to the beach

Nestled in the beachfront shops on Santa Claus Lane, a charming dining experience awaits at Thario’s Kitchen, where homestyle European dishes are made with love. At Thario’s, the lights are dimmed in the dining room and the seating is cozy. Tables are donned with candles and flowers, all guests receive complimentary bread, and the owners take your order on paper tickets. Thario’s is the kind of place that makes you feel at home.

Thaïs and Mario Rios opened Thario’s Kitchen in 2019. Thaïs, of Belgium and Brazilian heritage, is the restaurant’s chef; and Mario, originally from Los Angeles, runs the front of house.

With its traditional fare and comfort-food staples, Thario’s is quickly becoming a favorite family dining outpost on The Lane, just as former purveyors at the location were. In the 1960s, the restaurant’s building—the home of Santa’s Kitchen—proudly beamed an oversized Santa on its roof as The Lane buzzed with Christmas festivities below. By 1969, as Santa Claus Lane entered its hey-day as a roadside attraction, a recreational children’s train did loops in front of Santa’s Kitchen.

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Mario and Thaïs Rios are the husband and wife owners of Thario's Kitchen.

Fresh bread is made in house daily and served with each meal.

Below left, shrimp and zucchini in a spicy pink sauce is a regular special.

Above, Gorgonzola and crispy prosciutto pizza with roasted tomatoes and basil.

Far left, Issac Carrillo preps tiramisu shown at left.

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Thaïs puts the finishing touches on a tiramisu order.

Today, Santa’s engine has stopped running, but Santa Claus Lane continues to be known for its family friendly shops and restaurants. Thaïs and Mario took this spirit to heart when they created their menu with many of Thaïs’s own family favorites. “Our menu is ‘home-casual,’” she says. “It’s an old school type of cuisine, nothing fancy, just simple food made from the heart that takes time to make.”

To create the restaurant’s name, Thaïs and Mario combined their names: “Tha[ïs] + [Ma]rio = Thario” and added “Kitchen,” referencing the iconic Santa’s Kitchen. Everything Mario and Thaïs have created since has been in a warm and welcoming dining style, a natural extension of their pride in being a “true family restaurant.”

“We are a ‘mom and pop’ restaurant,” Mario says. “You’ll see our kids, Suëly, 22; Luna, 13; Hugo, 11; and Isabella, 8, helping out or doing their homework on the tables.”

Wanting their guests to feel at home too, Thaïs created Thario’s’ small menu with only the most comforting of elevated home cooking staples. Each dish is made from scratch using traditional and wholesome ingredients.

Highlights of the menu include lasagna, pizza, and shrimp dishes. As seasons change, Thaïs offers specials that give diners a taste of some of the region’s most flavorful foods. In the winter, Thaïs leans towards foods that are straightforward and make you feel good, she says. Seasonal specials Thaïs plans to have on the menu this winter are belly-pleasers like beef stew, Shepherd’s pie, brisket, chicken piccata, creamy mushroom pasta,

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and salmon. For dessert, a crème brûlée or blueberry pie. Though Mario and Thais were drawn to relocating to Carpinteria from Los Angeles to open a restaurant because it was an opportunity to be by the ocean, they acknowledge that it hasn’t always been a vacation. The pandemic was particularly hard on the then newly opened restaurant. Thario’s was forced to close temporarily, and it was a slow return to “normalcy” for the small family business. Thario’s didn’t qualify

for a pandemic relief loan, and Thaïs suffered from depression, which she continues to heal from.

Mario credits the community with helping their business stay afloat during the pandemic. Thario’s was included in the senior suppers program, funded by the 93013 Fund, which paid for restaurants to create boxed meals and distributed them to Carpinteria senior citizens during the 2020 quarantine.

“We’ve had a lot of angels,” Mario says. “There were customers who were really supportive during Covid. Some people ordered big meals to help keep us going, especially when tourism was at its lowest.” The pandemic experience showed Mario and Thaïs that the community appreciates their food and how they strive to continue the tradition of family businesses on The Lane.

“People who grew up here have a lot of attachment to this place,” Mario says, “People are always asking, ‘where is Santa?’”

“It’s the oldest house on this part of The Lane, and we feel that history sometimes,” Thais adds. “Multiple generations have come here to dine, and we are continuing that tradition.”

Not surprisingly, Mario and Thaïs say they love to serve their food family style, and when their guests order wine and linger through coffee and desserts, they’re delighted. If a guest wants to stay for the whole lunch or dinner service, they’re not rushed.

“We don’t kick you out!” Mario says. “When you’re at Thario’s, it’s like you’re at home.” 

88 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com

Italian Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect example of a winter staple. With its rich, nutty flavors, this is a great dish to share on a cold or wet day. And best of all, it keeps wonderfully in the fridge, and when you reheat it, it tastes even better.

INGREDIENTS: 3.5 POUNDS POTATOES

1 YELLOW ONION finely chopped 2 GARLIC CLOVES finely chopped 1 CARROT finely chopped 1 SMALL BUNCH FRESH THYME 1 SMALL BUNCH FRESH BASIL 1.6 POUNDS GROUND BEEF (85/15% fat preferably) 3 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL SALT & PEPPER 1 EGG + 1 YOLK 10 OUNCES MILK 10 OUNCES BUTTER 10 OUNCES GRATED MOZZARELLA AND FONTINA CHEESE MIX

PROCESS:

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Bring pot of water to boil.

Peel the potatoes, rinse and cut them into medium cubes.

Cook potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes. Strain and put back in pot.

Stir in 1 egg, milk, a good pinch of salt and pepper, butter. Mash and keep warm.

In a large pan at medium heat, sauté the finely chopped carrot, onions, and garlic in butter and olive oil. Add thyme leaves, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for about 8 minutes while stirring, until onion is golden brown.

Add ground meat and another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for 8 minutes until brown, breaking the meat down.

Remove from heat and add 1 egg yolk and chopped basil.

Spread a thin layer of mashed potatoes on the bottom of a gratin dish, spread the meat on top, and then cover evenly with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.

Cover with cheese.

Bake in the oven at 500°F for about 20 minutes. Serve warm with green salad. 

89
Enjoy!
RECIPE
90 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com
REVIEW
REAL ESTATE

Looking to vacation in Carpinteria?

Fantastic, fully stocked, 3 bedroom, 2 bath roomy condo with large front yard and private hottub area. This condo is perfect for a large family. It is walking distance to the beach and downtown Carpinteria.

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Wonderful three bedroom, two bath in the heart of Carpinteria. Beautifully remodeled home within walking distance to everything Carpinteria. Available for three night minimum stays. Everything you need for a perfect getaway.

The Beachcomber is located right across the street from Carpinteria Beach, where you can swim or just relax. At night you can enjoy the beautiful sunsets. All of the downstairs units are available for weekly rental. 1 & 2 bedrooms available.

WINTER2023 91
DRE
#00580025
DEBBIE MURPHY Broker/Property Manager/Notary www.murphykingrealestate.com
YOLANDA VAN WINGERDEN 805.570.4965 • Yolanda @ AskYo.com www. AskYo.com THIS LIFESTYLE WILL MOVE YOU HOMES • VIEWS • LIFESTYLES 3675 FOOTHILL ROAD - $20,500,000 29 flat acres close to SB Polo & Racquet Club Remodeled home and pool, ag property with warehouses, hoop houses and beautiful views. DRE: 01308141 1315 VALLECITO PLACE - $1,995,000 Brand new custom home, 3 bedrooms, o ce/4th bedroom, 3 baths, over 2000 SF and stunning views.
92 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com REAL ESTATE REVIEW Jon-Ryan Schlobohm REALTOR® 805.450.3307 jr@jon-ryan.com DRE 01876237 Sarah Aresco Smith REALTORS® 805.252.3868 sarah@lovecarpinteria.com DRE 01882574 As Carpinteria natives and seasoned real estate professionals, Jon-Ryan and Sarah recognize and value the trust their clients place in them, and they work hard every day to exceed expectations. CarpinteriaSanta Barbara’s Best Kept Secret Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01991628. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. Changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal may be made without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. 26 Years of Combined Local Knowledge & Exceptional Service www.schlobohmteam.com 5459 Shemara St. (Sold) 1092 Toro Canyon Rd (Sold) 4740 4th Street (Sold) 4953 Foothill Rd. (Sold) 1701-1795 Cravens Ln. (Sold) 5455 8th St. (Sold) V3 2022 10-25 Schlobohm Real Estate Team - Brand & Listing Full-Page Ad V6.indd 1 10/27/22 12:51 PM

Seascape Realty

Buying or selling a home with us is like a walk on the beach!

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Please call Shirley Kimberlin at 805-886-0228

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VERY CUTE ‘STUDIO-PLUS’ CONDO , across street from the beach! Includes private porch that fronts on Sandyland Road, putting you right in the middle of the Carpinteria lifestyle. Can be rented full-time, or turned into a vacation rental (upon getting license from the City). HOA fees cover pool, spa, laundry room, gated parking, AND utilities, including cable TV, and wifi. Hurry--this will go fast!

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WINTER2023 93 4915-C Carpinteria Ave. Carpinteria • 805.684.4161
Explore Our BEACHSIDE VACATION RENTALS SeascapeVacation.com
DRE Lic. #01484280 SOLD!

CONTRIBUTORS

WHY DO

COWS WEAR BELLS? Because their horns don’t work.

CHUCK GRAHAM

Chuck Graham is a freelance writer and photographer from Carpinteria. He’s been leading kayak tours at the Channel Islands National Park for over 20 years. His stories and photos have appeared in National Geographic publications, BBC Wildlife Magazine, High Country News, American Forests, Natural History Magazine, Backpacker and The Surfer’s Journal. Instagram: @chuckgrahamphoto

HOW MUCH DOES A RAINBOW WEIGH? Not much! They’re pretty light.

MATT DAYKA

Matt Dayka spent the better part of his 16 years as a commercial photographer in near perpetual motion around the globe. Though the pandemic put an abrupt end to that, he has enjoyed spending more time rooted with friends and family up and down the Santa Barbara coast. matt@mattdayka.com

WHY DON’T THE IRISH MAKE CHILI WITH MORE THAN 239 BEANS? Because one more bean and it would be 240 (Irishaccent:toofarty)

PETER DUGRÉ

Peter Dugré is co-owner of Two Trumpets Communications with Lea Boyd and specializes in crafting clean, concise messages for

The companies and organizations. He contributes to newspapers and magazines, and his highest profile role is as executive director of CARP Growers, the association of local cannabis farms. peter@2trumpets.com

WHAT DID THE OCEAN SAY TO THE BEACH? Nothing, it just waved.

INGRID BOSTROM

Ingrid Bostrom totes her camera around Santa Barbara County, capturing faces and places of this distinctive community. She is drawn to (and seeks to honor) the stories

underlying each snapshot. She believes there can’t be too much sunlight or negative space in a frame and that Carpinteria is her middle name. Instagram: @ingridbostromphotography

WHAT DO YOU CALL A BEAR WITH NO TEETH? A gummy bear.

EMILY MERRILL

Emily Merrill is a commercial photographer based in Santa Barbara who photographs a wide array of advertising, corporate, and fine art work. Her studio and environmental portraiture, along with her lifestyle campaign work, complement the fine art and experimental still life photography she brings to her clientele. When she’s not shooting, she’s a road tripper, cocktail enthusiast, perfume fanatic, hiker, voracious reader, and animal lover. emilymerrill.com

Thiscomesfroma womaninoneofmyclasses:

and IF I HAD A DOLLAR FOR EVERY TIME A LESS QUALIFIED MAN WAS PROMOTED OVER ME, I’d have 80 cents.

STEPHEN BATES

Stephen Bates is a professor of journalism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the author of five books, most recently Rincon Point (with Vince Burns), which can be purchased on MARTHA STEWART PHOTO Amazon. His family owned the Rincon del Mar Ranch in Carpinteria for more than a century. stephen@stephenbates.org

94 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com

WHY DON’T OYSTERS SHARE?

They’re shell-fish!

DAVID POWDRELL

David Powdrell has several passions, photography, music, writing, gardening, and volunteering. David serves as Advisory Board Chair for the Lynda Fairly Carpinteria Arts Center.

Professionally, he’s a CPA who absolutely loves his work. His happy place is sipping chilled Prosecco at Jelly Bowl beach with his wife, Valerie. davidpowdrell.com

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CATS AND A COMMA? Cats have claws at the end of their paws, and commas are a pause at the end of a clause.

RYAN P. CRUZ

Ryan P. Cruz was born and raised in Santa Barbara, and covers a wide range of local topics for Santa Barbara Independent and Coastal View News, including food, sports,

local news, city government, music, arts and culture. ryan.p.cruz@gmail.com

WHAT DID THE PHOTOGRAPHER SAY TO HIS WIFE BEFORE THEY WERE MARRIED? I can truly picture us together.

GLENN DUBOCK

Glenn Dubock has been roaming Carpinteria with his camera in hand since his arrival in 1976. Drawn to the perfect surf at Rincon Point, he started photo documenting the

wave riders and their unique lifestyles. dubockgallery.com

WHY DID THE BANANA GO OUT WITH THE PRUNE?

Because they couldn’t find a date.

DEBRA HERRICK

Debra Herrick is a writer-editor based in Santa Barbara County. She has been writing for Carpinteria magazine since 2018. editor@lumartzine.com

WHAT’S A JOURNALIST’S FAVORITE ANIMAL?

A thesaurus.

EVELYN SPENCE

Evelyn Spence, managing editor of Coastal View News in Carpinteria, has been a reporter and editor in Santa Barbara County for more than

five years. In her spare time, she loves to read, do yoga, and attend Tuesday night trivia, where she loses—honorably—every time. evelynrosesc@gmail.com

WHAT DO YOU CALL A SURFER WHO JUST BROKE UP WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND? Homeless.

VINCE BURNS

Local writer Vince Burns worked in book and database publishing for many years. Vince has written a book on global terrorism and on Rincon Point (awith Stephen Bates), which is available on Amazon. He has a doctorate degree in history from the University of Wisconsin. vinceburns805@gmail.com

WHY IS 6 AFRAID OF 7? Because… 7, 8, 9!

ROBIN KARLSSON

Robin Karlsson is most likely to be seen with a camera, on a bike, or walking around town with her grandchildren, Sven and Zoe. She’s a lover of sea glass, fonts, and always up for a good winter sunset. Instagram: @bobnrbn

WHAT WERE YOU EATING UNDER THERE?

Under where? You were eating underwear!

AMY MARIE OROZCO

Readers may know Amy Marie Orozco better as the Sea Witch, author of Coastal View News’ advice column. Her other Carp claims to fame include her #15 status in Island Nation Membership and being editor of Cannabis by the Sea magazine. (Fun girl, that Amy!) amymarie@amymarieorozco.com

WINTER2023 95

FINAL FRAME

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

The mirrored surface between sea and land doubles the fun of an afternoon bike ride. Behind cyclists Sheila Hess and Carie Smith, a beach platform indicates the summer season, but Carpinterians know that riding into the sunset is most magical in the winter months. 

96 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE.com

Cultivating Excellence

We strive to set best farming practices among California farmers in alignment with our community partners.

Consistent

high-qualitygreenhousecannabisgrownby9memberfarms undertheCarpinteriaValleysunontheSantaBarbaracoast.

Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

THE RETAIL SHOWROOM
VISIT
Via Real
Follow us on Instagram @Westerlay Orchids Inspire Your Home Commercial Orchid Nursery with retail showroom open to the Public Orchids and other tropical plants, ceramics and arrangements
3504
• Carpinteria • CA 93013 retail@westerlayorchids.com • 805.684.5411