Milpas post office is slated to be closed in November
Sue De Lapa
On the Beat

Milpas PO to Close: There’s been no announcement, but the Milpas Street post office will close next month after nearly a half-century of duty.

Reason: The lease is nearly up, the building needs work, and it makes sense to consolidate normal package mailing, stamp selling, postal boxes, and other public services over at the present postal facility for letter carriers at 107 Nopal Street, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman told me.

I wasn’t aware of this until I heard from an anonymous reader this week: “Thought you would like to know that our great local postal gurus are going to close the Milpas post office, about November 1.”

No disclosure yet to the boxholders at the Milpas station. I expect they will drop this on the Eastside residents about Halloween,” they said.

But spokesman Rich Maher said that when the new public facilities being built at the Nopal Street location open in mid-to-late November, there’ll be a smooth transition and that boxholders will be able to keep their same addresses. The Postal Service has leased the Milpas location since 1958, he said. The owners of the building are Sidney and Edith Schuman.

Maher sees the move as a “benefit” to Eastsiders, who will have a “completely modern” facility and plenty of parking.

Fess Hotel Work Begins: Site clearing work has begun at Cabrillo Boulevard and Calle Cesar Chavez, where Fess Parker plans to build his long-debated, long-awaited oceanfront hotel. It’ll be next to Chase Palm Park.

Site clearing begins for Fess Parker's new hotel
Sue De Lapa

Nuns on TV: The saga of the three Sisters of Bethany being evicted from their Eastside convent continues on TV. In a CNN report Wednesday night, Sister Angela, 69, told the nation, “We work for the poorest of the poor.” Scoffed L.A. Archdiocese PR man Tod Tamberg: Having to vacate the convent – home to the Santa Barbara order for a half-century – is “a small price to pay.” (Easy to say, eh?) The archdiocese wants to sell the modest home next to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to make a dent in the multi-million-dollar settlement they’ve been forced to make with the victims of abuse by priests. Donations to the nuns can be sent to 215 N. Nopal St., 93103. But Ernie Salomon, spokesman for the Save Our Sisters committee, deplored that some people not affiliated with SOS are apparently soliciting cash for their own use. He urged that cash not be donated, and that checks be sent to the sisters or to the SOS at 827 State St., 93101. NBC’s Today Show is also reported to be preparing a story.

Community Kitchen: The first annual Savor the Season event will take place Saturday, November 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will visit six remarkable kitchens and dining rooms. The styles range from contemporary to Provencal Farmhouse. The event includes festive floral and table designs from top local retailers and designers, including Cabana Home, Botanik, Lewis and Clark, and S.R. Hogue & Co. Call 964-8049 to make a reservation. Community Kitchen is a non-profit organization that serves over 150,000 meals a year to the hungry of Santa Barbara. “We provide free healthy snacks for children’s after-school programs, homeless meal programs, hot meals for those fighting addictions or mental illnesses, as well as those taking the first steps to transition out of homelessness,” said to Nancy Salvucci. Erik Talkin has been executive director of the Community Kitchen of Santa Barbara for six years.

Death of Fr. Benny: Christine Milne laments the death of Fr. Benny Bavero, OFM, “a beloved and inspiring teacher at St. Anthony’s for many years. The reason I’m bringing him to your attention is that for the last 15 to18 years, in retirement (he was almost 89 when he died) here in Santa Barbara, he has devoted himself tirelessly to a ministry to the children at Juvenile Hall and the Los Prietos Boys Camp.” A funeral mass was said for Fr. Benny at the Santa Barbara Mission on Thursday.

My Life as a Spy: No, not me, but Valerie Plame Wilson, the former CIA operative whose cover was blown in apparent retaliation against her husband, UCSB grad Joe Wilson. She’s speaking at the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County luncheon Saturday, November 3 at Fess Parker’s Doubletree. She’ll also sign her book: Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House. Former diplomat Joe Wilson says the White House ousted her in retaliation for his op-ed piece challenging President Bush’s nuclear-based rationale for invading Iraq. Call 568-5932 for info.

Halloween Bash: The Hollywood Nights Halloween bash will benefit the Legal Aid Foundation on Saturday, October 27. “Come dressed as your favorite celebrity or movie-TV character.” Sounds like fun. It’s at Fess Parker’s Doubletree. Awards will be presented to special supporters of the foundation; Anticouni & Associates, Hatch & Parent, Reicker, Pfau, Pyle and McRoy, and Cappello & Noel.

Gifts for Foster Kids: Then there’s the Annual Halloween Hoedown, raising funds for the Downtown Rotary Club’s holiday gift fund for children in the foster care system. For many, it’s their only present. The bash will be held at the Carriage and Western Art Museum on Friday, October 26. “Wear your favorite costume, rock out to the sounds of King Bee, and you’ll enjoy a fine dinner, drink, and a costume contest, all for $40 a person,” said chairman Joe Scifers.

Hansel and Gretel: What opera could be more perfect for Halloween than the classic story of Hansel and Gretel, two children lost in the woods at the mercy of a wicked witch? Santa Barbara Opera is putting it on, in English, full of music and aimed for children. There will be two performances, Saturday, October 27 at 2 and 4 p.m. at Santa Barbara Junior High’s Marjorie Luke Theater. Free for kids, $13 for adults. Tickets and info at 963-0761.

Speaking of Halloween: Would a tour of the Santa Barbara Cemetery interest you? Cemetery historian David Petry will lead All Souls and All Hallows Halloween Tours there on October 24, 28, and 31. Tours are $15 for adults, $5 for children 10-16. I’ve taken one of Petry’s tours and I’m ready to do it again. His stories hark back to the town’s founders and celebrities. Don’t forget to ask about the stone pyramid. Email for details.

Boo at the Zoo: Last but not least, the Santa Barbara Zoo is inviting kids ages 2-12 for Halloween festivities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday October 26, 27, and 28, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Zoo promises wicked witches, brave knights, beautiful princesses, and fiery dragons during a walk-through wonderland of costumed actors. Plus “Boo-Choo-Choo” train rides and “Creepy Crawler” animal encounters. Info at 962-5339.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a print column on Thursdays.


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