Santa Barbara Independent

Thomas Fire Pushes South and West into Montecito Foothills, Triggers Evacuations in Santa Barbara

Sheriff’s deputies are reporting fire around Ashley Road in Montecito, directly south of East Mountain Drive and east of Westmont College. Despite fire burning in that area, throughout the Montecito foothills, and now towards Gilbraltar Road, County Fire spokesperson Dave Zaniboni is reporting that no structures have been lost in this morning’s firefight. “It’s been a true firefight out here today,” Zaniboni said. more

Santa Barbara Mobilizes Buses to Shuttle Eastside Evacuees to Shelters

As the Thomas Fire continues to burn above Westmont College, Spanish-speaking city workers are informing Eastside residents about evacuating warnings in areas east of Salinas Street and north of Highway 101. In the city, 20,000 residents are under mandatory evacuation orders. more

Thomas Fire Friday Morning Update: Slow Growth Overnight but Bad Winds on the Way

Considering the low humidity and the terrain in the hills above Montecito — steep, craggy, and loaded with boulders and thick chaparral — the fact that firefighters, both on the ground and in the air, have been on the offensive against the Thomas Fire the past couple days is just shy of miraculous. … Major staging areas at Westmont College, Manning Park, and the polo fields east of Summerland have been busy with engines and crews regrouping for rest, sustenance, and updated attack plans for their next shift in the mountains. more

In Memoriam: Silvio Dante DiLoreto, 1925-2017 Santa Barbara Businessperson, Mentor, Philanthropist

Silvio Dante DiLoreto died peacefully in the company of family on March 17, 2017, at age 91. He had been an active member of the Santa Barbara community for 61 years. … He also worked with the March of Dimes, Project Concern, and Direct Relief International. He supported the Community Prayer Breakfast, SBCC Culinary Arts, S.B.Scholarship Foundation, Westmont College, Museum of Natural History, S.B. Maritime Museum (where he was a docent), Cottage Hospital, Sansum, Prime Time Band, American Institute of Food and Wine, and Alpha Resource Center. more

Closing Schools and Moving Finals Due to Thomas Fire A Look at Our Education System’s Response to the Wildfire

A steady progression of setbacks to normal operating procedures culminated on December 10 as Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka closed classes districtwide until January. … President Gayle Beebe said Westmont College’s wildfire emergency plan predates the 2008 Tea Fire, which destroyed eight buildings and 15 faculty homes as 1,000 students sheltered in place inside Murchison Gymnasium. Members of the college’s grounds crew are trained volunteer firefighters, equipped with a 2,400-gallon water tanker truck and a smaller vehicle toting 350 gallons. more

Firefighters Focused on Defending Carpinteria from Thomas Fire on Monday Over 6,000 Fire Personnel Fight On; Voluntary Evacuations Stretch to Highway 154

As the western edge of the Thomas Fire, now about 2 miles to the northeast of Toro Canyon Park, continues to spread to the west, fire crews will begin using Westmont’s campus as a staging ground for operations in the Montecito foothills, according to Westmont College Manager of Media Relations Scott Craig. About 500 firefighters and 100 engines will cycle through the campus as strike teams are assigned to defend structures throughout Montecito, north of Highway 192. more

The S.B. Questionnaire: John Blondell

“I’m interested in the process of turning on the lightbulb in students’ minds, of turning students to a state of awareness,” says John Blondell, the chair of theater arts at Westmont College. “Their confidence is growing. Their intentions are refined.” more

The Sport of Giving Thanks

It’s not just this week, but daily or monthly, I feel gratitude about many things. The sun rising and setting over the Pacific, full moons, low tides when you can walk as far as you want along the shoreline. … Scandal-free college athletics. Knock on hardwood, but UCSB and Westmont have been promoting true student athletes, otherwise known as four-and-done players. more 

In Memoriam: Keith Julius Puccinelli, 1950-2017

Keith Puccinelli had a term to describe the essential quality of his work, no matter if it was his artwork or his design: It has Puccinality. Whatever he did had his unique being embedded in it. … His work is included in numerous private collections as well as area public collections such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, and the Berkus Collection. In 2010 FOTM, Focus on the Masters in Ventura, California, documented his artistic life. more

The Irresistible Elena

Theatergoers might recognize Indy intern Elena White from her recent portrayal of Arturo Ui in Westmont College’s eponymous The Resistible Rise of. Or maybe not. The cross-gender portrayal of a Chicago mobster placed Elena in clownface as she and her fellow theater majors stepped through Bertolt Brecht’s dark play. more

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