Tuesday, September 1 , 2015, 8:01 pm | Mostly Cloudy 72.0º




Bill Macfadyen: If a Car Crashes Into a Tree on the Mesa, We Hear About It

NoozWeek’s Top 5 goes on a rescue mission, remembers the Isla Vista mass murder victims, dances around the Elephant Bar, tracks an Amber alert, and wins the rodeo’s Mutton Bustin’ contest

A Prius is the big loser when it knocks on wood.

A Prius is the big loser when it knocks on wood.  (Urban Hikers photo)

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

There were 73,076 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top stories?

1. Woman Critically Injured, 2 Children Hurt in Santa Barbara Crash

News tends to travel fast on Santa Barbara’s Mesa, so it’s not surprising that a car crash on La Cresta Circle sent Noozhawk’s traffic analytics soaring the evening of Aug. 6. Three people were injured, one critically.

According to Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Lee Waldron, a Toyota Prius was traveling east on La Coronilla Drive about 6 p.m. when it left the roadway for unknown reasons and slammed into a tree on La Cresta.

The driver, a 39-year-old woman, was found slumped behind the wheel with major injuries, Waldron said. He said two passengers — an 11-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy — were able to free themselves from the wreckage and suffered only minor injuries.

All three were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

“There were no skid marks or signs she tried to avoid it,” Waldron said. “She just ran into the tree.”

The driver’s name has not been released. The cause of the crash is under investigation, according to Santa Barbara police Sgt. Aaron Baker.

Santa Barbara firefighters were in for a long haul while rescuing a woman who fell 150 feet down an embankment in the 1700 block of Eucalyptus Hill Road, trapping herself overnight. (Urban Hikers photo)
Santa Barbara firefighters were in for a long haul while rescuing a woman who fell 150 feet down an embankment in the 1700 block of Eucalyptus Hill Road, trapping herself overnight. (Urban Hikers photo)

2. Woman Rescued After Hiking Mishap in Santa Barbara

Locals are accustomed to dramatic rescues on the numerous trails crisscrossing the foothills and mountains above the South Coast. It’s not often that one occurs right in our front yard, however.

Just after dawn Aug. 5, a passerby called 9-1-1 to report a woman screaming for help from down a steep embankment in the 1700 block of Eucalyptus Hill Road in Santa Barbara. Firefighters responded to the scene, descended the slope and hauled her up in a Stokes basket.

The woman told authorities she had gone for a walk the evening before when she slipped and fell down the Sycamore Canyon hillside, landing about 150 feet below and trapping herself overnight.

Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said she suffered cuts and scrapes in the fall and may have broken several bones. The woman, whose name was not released, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

UC Santa Barbara alum Jordan Killebrew is organizing a botanic garden and sculpture project at Isla Vista’s People’s Park in memory of the six UCSB students killed nearby in a May 23 mass murder. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
UC Santa Barbara alum Jordan Killebrew is organizing a botanic garden and sculpture project at Isla Vista’s People’s Park in memory of the six UCSB students killed nearby in a May 23 mass murder. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

3. Victims of Murderous Rampage in Isla Vista to be Remembered with Botanic Garden, Sculptures

The six UC Santa Barbara students slain in a lunatic’s murderous rampage through Isla Vista will be remembered with a botanic garden and sculptures that a Gaucho grad hopes to install at People’s Park.

Amid the horror of the May 23 carnage, Jordan Killebrew, 25, of Santa Barbara, was inspired to create a website called Project IV Love to collect donations for a permanent memorial to the victims, our Gina Potthoff reported.

Killebrew, who graduated in 2010 with an art degree, got in touch with Katya Armistead, UCSB’s associate dean of student life and activities, who introduced him to Rodney Gould, general manager of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District. Gould came up with the idea of installing a self-guided botanic tour at People’s Park in the heart of Isla Vista.

Art students in a UCSB sculpture class will design six memorials to place along the walk, which volunteers will help plant with native succulents this fall, Killebrew said.

The parks district recently approved the plan.

“I’m so glad that they opted to do something that would add life and put smiles on people’s faces,” Gould said.

To be commemorated at the park are UCSB students George Chen, 19; Katie Cooper, 22; James Hong, 20; Chris Michaels-Martinez, 20; Weihan “David” Wang, 20; and Veronika Weiss, 19 — all of whom were murdered by a self-indulgent, 22-year-old homicidal maniac who then killed himself.

So far, Project IV Love has raised more than $7,500. Click here to make an online donation.

Will the old Elephant Bar Restaurant be the place to get down, turn around, go to town Boot-Scootin’ Boogie? (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
Will the old Elephant Bar Restaurant be the place to get down, turn around, go to town Boot-Scootin’ Boogie? (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

4. Dance Hall, Restaurants Express Interest in Former Elephant Bar Space

Two regional restaurant chains appear to have serious interest in the empty former Elephant Bar Restaurant adjacent to the Santa Barbara Airport, but an idea for a honky tonk may try to cut in to the dance.

As our Gina Potthoff first reported Aug. 6, a couple of restaurant chains are considering leasing the 8,700-square-foot building at 521 Firestone Road.

“We do have two restaurant operators that are very, very interested in the space,” said Jim Turner, a senior associate with Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments. “I think either operator would be a good fit.”

The property has been vacant since the Elephant Bar shut the place down a year ago after 30 years at the location, which is on airport land.

However, Turner added that an unofficial proposal has been floated to open a community dance hall called the Honky Tonk.

The brainchild of Chris Orr, a Santa Barbara man who describes himself as a “country dance fanatic,” Turner said discussions are ongoing.

“I commend him for doing a lot of homework upfront,” he said. “I think it’s kind of a unique idea for the site.”

Regardless, the final say belongs to the airport district and the Santa Barbara City Council, and Turner said a restaurant is the preferred tenant.

Nayeli Martinez, a 6-month-old infant from Ventura, had a wild weekend road trip that ended safely for her. (California Highway Patrol photo)
Nayeli Martinez, a 6-month-old infant from Ventura, had a wild weekend road trip that ended safely for her. (California Highway Patrol photo)

5. Authorities Find 6-Month-Old Girl Abducted from Santa Barbara

A Ventura infant abducted in Santa Barbara on Aug. 3 was rescued safely the next day in San Diego County, where her father was taken into custody on suspicion of kidnapping.

The 6-month-old girl reportedly was unharmed in the incident.

Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood said the baby, Nayeli Martinez, was taken by her dad, 28-year-old Joshua Ivan Martinez, after he and her mother got into an argument at the couple’s Ventura home. The family feud apparently continued as they drove to Santa Barbara, where Harwood said Martinez lit out for Mexico with his daughter, leaving his wife behind.

A statewide Amber alert was issued and authorities tracked down Martinez in San Diego County on Aug. 4.

Harwood had no further details on the arrest.

                                                                        •        •

Noozhawk mutton buster Lucia Smith was all business at the 90th annual Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)
Noozhawk mutton buster Lucia Smith was all business at the 90th annual Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

For me, it’s always a good day for a rodeo. For 4-year-old Carpinteria cowgirl Lucia Smith, Aug. 3 was a really good day.

Lucia, the daughter of Sarah and Aaron Smith of Carpinteria, was the winner of this year’s Noozhawk Mutton Bustin’ contest. On Sunday, she was all set to ride for our brand at the 90th annual Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo.

Before saddling up on the livestock, she was far from sheepish about her chances, confidently telling me that she was good to go. And she was, so much so that she first won the Best-Dressed Cowgirl contest, earning a silver belt buckle from my friend, Josiah Jenkins, at Jedlicka’s Western Wear.

Then she came out of the chute like she knew what she was doing, her arms and legs clamped around her sheep until she was nearly halfway across the Earl Warren Showgrounds arena. In the end, Lucia left the other buckaroos in her dust — all except runner-up Wyatt Minus, 6, of Santa Barbara. Wyatt, the son of Tracy and Craig Minus, came within a nose of catching her before he hit the dirt.

Also competing was Jarrett Kendall, 6, of Goleta, but this wasn’t his first rodeo. The son of Kelly and Bob Kendall was Noozhawk’s 2012 Mutton Bustin’ rider.

Congratulations to all of the cowgirls and cowboys in this year’s contest. Until next year, heads up, heels down.

                                                                  •        •        •

Standing tall for America.

(Mortenson Construction video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.




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