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Bill Macfadyen: Tara Cranfield’s Legacy Will Live On In the Next Generation of Sisterhood

Best of Noozhawk 07.13.12 shops a fire sale, cooks up a Cat Cora story, checks in to the El Encanto Hotel, talks to new SBCC President Lori Gaskin and surveys a Chumash dispute

Tara Cranfield was a loving wife, a devoted mother of three, a successful business owner, fearless, plainspoken, fond of flowers and frilly dogs, and one of my wife’s closest friends.

She died of cancer July 11 at age 51.

Tara, Andrea Sitterle and my wife, Missy, had been the fastest of friends from before they all ended up at the University of Texas at Austin, and would remain that way for the next 30 years.

Tara Cranfield, 1960-2012
Tara Cranfield, 1960-2012

Before they were married, you could always find two of them together and usually the complete set. Despite distance and decades, the bonds never loosened.

As impressed as I am with their relationship, I’ve always been fascinated by the example they set for their three daughters, who were born less than a year apart and whose own close ties have been blossoming for 20 years. It was always amusing to observe three moms chattering nonstop in Tara’s kitchen in Houston, with the junior league doing the exact same thing on the patio outside.

As that scene has repeated itself over the years, the only noticeable difference is that those three little girls are now three beautiful young women. It’s hard to contemplate that such an outsized piece of that memory will be missing when we’re all together next week.

Cancer is a sneaky and invidious disease, and it nested in Tara’s body right after a regular physical. By the time she was re-checked just a few weeks later, it had already begun to strangle her.

Displaying the indomitable spirit that had been a hallmark of her life, Tara refused to go without a fight. While the cancer and chemotherapy tried to rob her of all dignity, her defiance made her a warrior to the end. She may have lost the battle, but all who knew her will attest that she left the field a winner.

My heart aches for Tara’s husband, Shaw; their daughter, Ryan; and their twin sons, Aaron and Julian.

Godspeed, Tara. It was a privilege to be part of your life.

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What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Make It Work Holding Liquidation Sale to Fund Employees’ Final Paychecks

Just days after Make It Work ceased operations, the computer support company opened its doors one last time for a public liquidation sale. Computer equipment, electronics, furniture and Make It Work swag were all available for pretty much a Make Me An Offer-type price. Proceeds from the sale were to be used to help fund employees’ final paychecks, Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik reported.

The familiar Make It Work-branded red Mini Coopers were not part of the clearance; those vehicles have been repossessed.

2. Celebrity Chef Cat Cora Faces DUI Charge After State Street Collision

Cat Cora
Cat Cora

Noozhawk intern Sam Loomis had no sooner settled in for his first week of work when he was assigned a DUI story that was anything but routine. It seems that celebrity chef Cat Cora was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after a June 17 accident on Upper State Street. There were no injuries in the collision but Santa Barbara police say breathalyzer tests administered at the scene placed her well above the legal limit.

Cora, 45, of Santa Barbara, is to be arraigned July 26.

In addition to her title of Iron Chef on the cooking show Iron Chef America, Cora has written several culinary books and is a co-host of Around the World in 80 Plates, a Bravo reality show.

3. Revamped El Encanto Hotel Slated to Reopen in Santa Barbara in 2013

It’s not the long-running eyesore otherwise known as the Miramar Hotel, which has languished in plain view of Montecito for more than a decade, but the Riviera’s El Encanto Hotel project has not exactly been building toward a conclusion. Until recently.

Construction work at the luxury hotel, which closed for renovations in 2006, has picked up the pace and the property at 1900 Lasuen Road is now a beehive of daily activity. Officials with New York-based Orient-Express Hotels, which paid $26 million for the hotel in 2004, say they expect to reopen for business early next year.

4. New President Lori Gaskin Takes the Helm at SBCC

Lori Gaskin
Lori Gaskin

New SBCC President Lori Gaskin had not even finished unpacking when Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper dropped in for an interview. The former administrator at West Valley College in Saratoga started work in Santa Barbara on July 9 and is moving quickly to get beyond the last two years of campus tumult.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Gaskin and Cooper discussed where SBCC has been, where it’s going, and what Gaskin’s priorities are for her new gig. Among the hot topics: SBCC trustees’ decision to convert adult-ed classes to a fee-based system. Click here to read her answers.

5. Santa Barbara County Supervisors Won’t Appeal Chumash Annexation

For several years, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has been trying to annex just under seven acres of land to its reservation in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. The effort has drawn fierce opposition from local organizations, notably the Preservation of Los Olivos (POLO) community group.

Tribal leaders say they want to build a museum, a cultural center and a gift shop on the property, which is located along Highway 246 near the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez. Opponents say the action, which would remove the land from local and state jurisdiction and property tax rolls, will lead to additional inequities in development standards as well as possible land-use changes.

On July 10, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted not to appeal the annexation, which was approved by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2005 and upheld last month. Opponents say they will likely file an appeal themselves.

                                                                  •        •        •

Noozhawk is excited to be a sponsor of this year’s 70th Annual Man & Woman of the Year awards, which will be revealed at a dinner celebration Oct. 11 at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

It’s a privilege for us to be asked by the Santa Barbara Foundation to join KEYT and KDB 93.7 Classic Radio in promoting the prestigious awards, which highlight the community’s spirit of volunteerism. You’ll be seeing more about the program on Noozhawk in the next two months.

In the meantime, the Santa Barbara Foundation is now accepting nominations for Man and Woman of the year. Click here for more information or to make a nomination.

                                                                  •        •        •

There were 41,209 people who read Noozhawk this past week. If you value our unmatched breaking news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about, please support our experienced staff of professional journalists and help us continue to provide a vital forum for the community.

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