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Good Grief, It’s Great Here!


NUTS FOR PEANUTS: If you ask Montecito resident Jill Schulz what Charlie Brown would say about Montecito, she is quick to respond, “Only my father (Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz) can put words in Charlie Brown’s mouth.” But gregarious PR maven Mo McFadden (pictured with Jill), a woman with few limitations, chimes right in: “He’d say, ‘Good Grief …it’s great here!’”

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It’s clear that Jill agrees with that sentiment, no matter who says it. The daughter of the creator of the famous Snoopy cartoon strip moved to Montecito eight years ago with her husband Aaron Transki. The couple lives in Riven Rock with their two children and, after almost a decade here, Jill’s enthusiasm about Montecito has not waned.

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“When we first came here, we were looking to rent. We drove everywhere and when we got to Montecito and saw the trees we said, ‘This is beautiful, this is home,’” Jill recalled. She says as a child she used to play on the beach at the Miramar Hotel while her father attended the S.B. Writers Conference. “I love the sense of community I’ve found in Montecito and the diverse backgrounds. There is the great common denominator — we all want to be here! That alone makes for a great community!

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“I am so happy here that I wanted to give something back,” she said. To that end, Jill will produce a special engagement of It’s Christmas Snoopy! On Ice. This fully costumed, opulent skating extravaganza has been performed in Santa Rosa, near where her father lived, for nearly 25 years, but this is the first performance in Santa Barbara. The ice show, benefiting DAWG (the Dog Adoption Welfare Group), will debut on December 1 and 2 at the Arlington Theater and run for four performances.

The production will, of course, feature the world’s most famous beagle and VIP ticket holders will get a personal introduction. Jill’s creation will also showcase a cast of champion ice skaters, performing Olympic skating routines choreographed by Karen Kresge. To accommodate the short-run show, the Arlington stage will be transformed into an ice rink complete with falling snow — which might, in itself, be worth the price of admission.

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According to Jill, the Schulz family has had a long tradition with ice shows. One time, after putting on the Santa Rosa show, Charles Schulz commented, “The thing I enjoy most of all, even more than drawing cartoons, is putting together an ice show.”

Jill carries on that ice-interest legacy. She joined the Ice Follies at 21, skating with pros like Peggy Flemming, and was featured in Holiday on Ice at the Radio City Music Hall. A move to L.A. took her off the ice and onto rollerblades. She toured the world with Team Rollerblade, choreographing and directing roller skate events. It was in that venue that Jill learned how to produce full-scale events, and now she says she is excited about sharing that talent with Santa Barbara.

“I am hoping this show will be the first of many annual holiday performances, because I’d love to make this an tradition. I’d love to have Snoopy to be synonymous with Santa Barbara!” Tickets are available through the Arlington ticket office, by calling 963-4408, or by visiting snoopyiceshow.com.

IT’S TREE TRIMMING TIME! It seems we are hardly past Halloween and here we are trimming holiday trees — or at least that’s what Kevin Costner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Peggy Flemming have been doing.

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These community-minded celebs have decked out miniature trees (Costner’s is pictured) that will be auctioned off as part of the third annual Casa del Herrero’s Annual Christmas Gala, “Noche de los Pinitos.” The auction will be held December 9 from 5 until 8 p.m. Other locals offering artistic trees are Fanny Flagg, Barnaby Conrad, and Lee Wardlaw, along with some of Santa Barbara’s best known and talented interior designers and architects.

In its third year, this is a delightful and creative event, put together to support one of Montecito’s most beautifully preserved historic homes. The auction is preceded by two weeks of daily holiday tours at the Casa, which is decorated for the season and a not-to-be-missed holiday stop. Tickets for the event are $100 for members and $125 for non-members and may be reserved by calling 565-5653.

WESTMONT’S NEW DEAN: Warren Rogers, professor of physics at Westmont College, will serve as the new interim academic dean, filling a vacancy left by outgoing provost Shirley Mullen. Rogers has agreed to serve while the college continues its search for a president, who will then be tasked to launch a national search for a new academic dean or provost soon after arriving on campus.

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For the time being, Rogers will supervise the college’s academic program, including the budget, faculty development, and curriculum. He has served in several important leadership roles, including chair of the Academic Senate, member of the Faculty Personnel Committee, and Faculty Council, and vice chair of the faculty for two terms.

“I love this institution very deeply,” Rogers says. “I’ve enjoyed my various administrative roles at Westmont, especially as faculty vice chair, and look forward to serving as interim academic dean. I’m honored to be in a position to help the college navigate this season of transition and prepare for new leadership. I look forward to working with Chancellor David Winter and my faculty and administration colleagues in this important task.”

Faculty nominated Rogers for the position, and he was then considered by the Faculty Council before being selected by Mullen and Chancellor Winter. Rogers recently was appointed to the prestigious position of fellow of the American Physical Society. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvey Mudd College before getting his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Rochester. A Westmont faculty member since 1994, Rogers chairs the physics department.

mm%20hh.jpgWHAT’S YOUR 10-4 GOOD BUDDY? At the very tranquil installation of ocean art at Gallery 113, on exhibit to support Hillary Hauser’s Heal the Ocean, the tide was flowing toward a brand new Santa Barbara cocktail party game.

Guests were divulging their blog names! Peals of delight went up when “Hiall” found out who” Sponge Monitor” was — and then things got serious as two Montecito residents pondered the unexposed. Who, their inquiring minds wanted to know, is “First District,” “Ex Inmate”, “dd,” and “Moteofdust”? With more noms de plume to be revealed, this intriguing new amusement has high hopes for carrying us right through that normally dreary December party chitchat!mm%20art.jpg

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