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Bill Macfadyen: Apparent Suicide of a Sex-Crimes Suspect Tops Best of Noozhawk 01.27.12

In more positive news, look for a new e-Bulletin, pins,'s milestone celebration and a Charger Account report on homework at Dos Pueblos High

By William M. Macfadyen, Noozhawk Publisher | @noozhawk |

Noozhawk subscribers will receive a refreshed Daily Noozhawk on Saturday, with a more streamlined format that incorporates a number of suggestions from our readers.

Among the changes are separate sections for two of our faster-growing categories: Business, which is sponsored by Pacifica Commercial Realty, and iSociety, which is sponsored by Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.

We’ve also added more pronounced links to our four partner sites: Presidio Sports, The Charger Account, and Santa Barbara Surfer

Alice Chein of Alice Chein Design spearheaded the modifications, and we’re exploring some customizable versions that are pretty cool, too.

Click here to subscribe to the Daily Noozhawk. It’s free and it’s delivered to your inbox every day at 4:15 a.m. You can set your alarm clock by it. Actually, I often hear that readers use it as their alarm.

We’re also excited to announce the addition of Noozhawk’s Pinterest site, which is where we’re shifting our iSociety photo coverage to take advantage of the social network’s engagement opportunities. Noozhawk intern Danna Wahlund will soon be adding a couple of virtual pinboards for readers and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with your suggestions for others.

Many thanks to my friend, Eva Turenchalk, who helped me understand Pinterest’s finer points. Eva’s not just a brilliant land-use planner, she’s also quite the pin-up queen. And very patient.

Unlike other social networking sites, you need not have a Pinterest account to see what’s there. If you’d like an invitation to join, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I’ll send you one.

1. Mammoth Lakes Doctor Accused of Sex Crimes with Santa Barbara Teen Found Dead

The truly bizarre case of Dr. Andrew Bourne, a respected Mammoth Lakes surgeon and school board member who was charged with a friend in a Santa Barbara child-sex investigation, took an equally bizarre turn Jan. 24 when he was found dead of an apparent suicide.

Bourne, 46, and Joseph Walker, 48, both of Mammoth Lakes, were arrested Jan. 4 by Santa Barbara police on suspicion of illegally contacting a minor for sexual activity. They pleaded not guilty and were released on bail Jan. 10.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Walker may face additional charges in the case, which allegedly involves a now-16-year-old Santa Barbara girl whose family was friends with both men.

2. Santa Barbara Doctor Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges of Overprescribing

Dr. Julio Diaz pleaded not guilty Jan. 23 to 12 federal counts of overprescribing prescription drugs. The 63-year-old Santa Barbara physician was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents Jan. 4 after a lengthy investigation of his practice and prescribing habits.

If convicted, Diaz faces a total sentence of 300 years — 20 years for each of seven counts of distribution, and 40 years for each of four distribution counts to people younger than age 21.

Click here for the complete series index to Noozhawk’s Prescription for Abuse series, a special project exploring the misuse and abuse of prescription medications in Santa Barbara County.

The six-week investigative series, which appeared in the fall of 2011, was the result of a partnership with USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which awarded Noozhawk a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship to undertake this important work.

3. Santa Barbara School Board Votes to Put $54-Per-Parcel Tax Measure on June Ballot

With the ongoing vacuum of leadership in Sacramento, more and more local jurisdictions are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to creative ways to finance certain projects and services. The Santa Barbara Unified School District has become particularly adept at the bond and parcel tax process, which at least ensures local control over often vital initiatives.

On Jan. 24, Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli reported that SBUSD trustees have agreed to a June ballot measure that would impose a $54-per-parcel tax, beginning in July 2013 when parcel tax Measures H and I expire. If voters approve the measure by a two-thirds margin, the money will be used for math, science, technology, music, arts, foreign language and theater programs.

4., a Go-To Source for Santa Barbara Families, Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

On Jan. 23, Rachael Steidl was the brightest star shining at the milestone anniversary celebration of, the parents-resource Web site she founded in 2002. Rachael’s site has seen phenomenal growth over the last 10 years and Noozhawk is proud to be a partner of hers on a number of different initiatives. She’s a good friend and I admire her entrepreneurial drive, determination and enthusiasm. In fact, it’s fair to say that Noozhawk wouldn’t be here without having Rachael’s example — and her advice — to follow. Thanks, Rachael!

5. Dos Pueblos High School Staff Wades into Homework Debate

This isn’t actually a Noozhawk story, of course, but many of you know we’re a partner of The Charger Account, the online-only student news publication at Dos Pueblos High. The budding journalists have done a fantastic job adapting to the digital world, which has provided them with more opportunities to report, write and gain experience.

Another exciting aspect of their Web work is the collaboration, and Noozhawk’s three reporters — Lara Cooper, Alex Kacik and Giana Magnoli — got to see it firsthand this week. We try to visit the campus newsroom on a weekly basis to help faculty adviser Bill Woodard coach and mentor the troops. On Jan. 25, our staff was there to talk about covering live news events, which turned into a discussion about how the team would be reporting on the school’s monthly staff meeting the next day. Homework has been hotly debated on campus and school administrators and teachers were going to be discussing the results of the 2012 Comprehensive Homework Survey, which gathered opinions from 743 students, 183 parents and 73 teachers on the subject.

Lara, Alex and Giana came away impressed at how organized The Charger Account team was and I think you will be, too, when you read the story. Four students covered the staff meeting and Charger Account staff writers Emma Craine and Harry Menear wrote the story. Dual bylines are difficult to pull off among professional journalists so we can appreciate the challenge less-experienced teen reporters have.

We’re proud to be partners with The Charger Account and I encourage you to sign up to receive the free daily e-Bulletin, which actually beats Noozhawk’s by a couple of hours. Click here to subscribe.

                                                                  •        •        •

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Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

comments powered by Disqus

» on 01.30.12 @ 10:25 AM

This is a thoughtless and unprofessional title for your article. Sex-crimes and suicide should not be in the same sentence of “... the best of ... ” And to say it the “Tops” the list—- what were you thinking? A little sensitivity in wording could be displayed here.
Mr. Macfadyen, I would expect a more careful use of wording from you.

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