Recent Press

Mudslides bury Montecito and leave 17 dead

Officials warned residents in mandatory evacuation zones for the Montecito and Summerland mudslides that rescue and repair efforts could take up to two weeks. … Water quality in the area served by the Montecito Water District was so severely compromised that residents were ordered to boil water before using it. The inability to supply potable water was a key factor that triggered the evacuation of the Westmont College campus. more

Westmont Athletic Director Dave Odell helps rescue a friend during mudslides

Dave Odell answered the call for help from his friend Kathi King. She had to escape from her car that was floating down the road during the deadly mudslides in Montecito on Janauary 9, 2018. more

Despite Repeated Warnings, Many Montecito Residents Didn’t Heed Evacuation Orders: ‘Evacuation fatigue’ and misplaced optimism likely led people to stay put during fierce storm, officials say

Many people who were given mandatory evacuation orders in Montecito before Tuesday’s deadly storm didn’t leave their homes, and as of Thursday there were still reports of those who chose to stay in their residences – without utilities or road access – when approached by rescue crews. … “It’s the only experience I’ve ever had in my life when you were really unsure about what your future might hold,” said Tom Walters, a kinesiology professor at Westmont College. more

A way around the closure

The mudslide that ravaged Montecito early Tuesday flowed onto Highway 101, causing the main thoroughfare between Santa Barbara and Ventura to shut down for more than 30 miles. And though Caltrans reopened the portion from State Route 126 in Ventura to State Route 150 at the Ventura-Santa Barbara county line Wednesday, the freeway remains closed in both directions between the 150 and Milpas Street, just north of the slide, through at least Monday afternoon. … Among the dozens of people lining up at Sea Landing for a 9 a.m. departure were Westmont College students Amber Nozzi and Susie Schmaeling, who decided to take an Island Packers vessel home to Ventura after their classes were canceled because of the mudslide. more

Local sports put on hold

Santa Barbara’s sports world, interrupted last month by the Thomas Fire, has been put on hold again by another natural disaster.

All of Tuesday’s events involving South Coast schools, except the cross-town high school soccer match between San Marcos and Dos Pueblos, were cancelled by the rainstorm and deadly mudslides that closed the 101 freeway between Santa Barbara and Ventura. … Westmont College, located near the mudslide area in Montecito, cancelled Tuesday’s classes as well as its nonleague men’s basketball game against Bethesda.

“If possible, the game will be made up later,” sports information director Ron Smith said. “The Westmont campus has not been adversely impacted, but many roads are impassible. Officials have asked residents to remain off the roads to keep them accessible for emergency vehicle use. more


Myrtle Vanderlip passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 30th , 2017 at The Samarkand Retirement Community. Myrtle was born in Traverse City, Michigan on September 10th, 1918. She received a Bachelors of Arts from Houghton College in New York and a Master of Arts from the University of Michigan, both in Library Science. … While in Santa Barbara, Myrtle worked as a librarian at Westmont College and remained an avid reader for the rest of her life. They were both beloved as they served at Westmont bringing both knowledge in their craft and jubilance in their work. more

With 101 Freeway Closed to Mudslides, Hundreds — Including Evacuees — Travel by Boat Between Ventura and Santa Barbara

With a major portion of the 101 Freeway shut down by mudslides until at least Monday, two boating companies are taking hundreds of passengers a day on boat trips up to Santa Barbara. … A group of students from Westmont College in Montecito — where hundreds were being rescued from mudslides that destroyed at least 100 homes — were escorted by the National Guard from their homes and taken to a ferry service in Santa Barbara, the women told KTLA. more

SBART: Local teams get back into a sense of normalcy

Home was any dorm in the firestorm for the basketball teams of Westmont College, which had to evacuate their campus in the hills of Montecito for nearly a month because of the Thomas Fire. Coach Kirsten Moore, speaking at Harry’s Plaza Café during Monday’s Athletic Round Table press luncheon, said her Warrior women even took up residence for a week in the dormitory of their rival, The Masters College of Santa Clarita. more

More Schools Close Wedesday as Storm Causes Major Flooding, Mudslides in Santa Barbara South Coast: Westmont College decides to evacuate campus

South Coast school closures continued Wednesday for schools impacted by the deadly winter storm that hammered Santa Barbara County Tuesday, and Westmont College decided to evacuate its campus. more

Community struggles with storm disaster, loss of life: Massive cleanup begins around the clock

The cleanup and re-opening of Highway 101 and other roads impacted by the storm and deadly debris flow will take time, coping with the tragedy and loss of life will take even longer. Coast Village Road is closed to vehicle traffic which has shut down the popular retail, dining, hospitality and business village center for the second time in a month. … “It just seems a little crazy, because its so much like what happened before”, said Westmont College student Nick Taylor, “I go up to Westmont, they told us we should probably leave, its a little weird that its happening all over again.” more

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