Monday, November 30 , 2015, 11:57 pm | Fair 45º

Bill Macfadyen: USS Ronald Reagan Appears to Take Evasive Action in Stealth Visit

What else is in NoozWeek’s Top 5? Fire truck withstands car crash, getting mad at Diane Dimond, Noleta injury collision, and another Isla Vista bluffs fall

Near or far, the USS Ronald Reagan is the embodiment of peace through strength.
Near or far, the USS Ronald Reagan is the embodiment of peace through strength.  (Mike Eliason photo)

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

There were 94,830 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What were your top stories?

1. USS Ronald Reagan Stationed Off Santa Barbara Through the Weekend

It’s pretty hard to hide an aircraft carrier but the organizers of the USS Ronald Reagan’s weekend visit to Santa Barbara did an admirable job in keeping the ship’s arrival cloaked in secrecy.

Unlike with its previous port call, in 2008, the first clue many locals had that it was here was when they awoke on May 30 to find the massive flattop filling the horizon.



Many of the ship’s crew of 3,000 disembarked to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Santa Barbara. And as is always the case when the Navy comes calling, they were welcomed with open arms.

Facebook and Instagram feeds were filled with pictures of locals proudly posing with their guests, and downtown teemed with knots of sharply dressed sailors on shore leave.

Free tours of the ship reportedly were booked-out within hours. Public and private events were held for officers and crew. And some 600 sailors participated in local volunteer projects, including Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County’s affordable homes project on East Canon Perdido.

After three days anchored off the harbor, the Reagan sailed into the sunrise on June 2.

Something had to give. (Zack Warburg photo)
Something had to give. (Zack Warburg photo)

2. County Fire Engine Collides Head-On with Car While En Route to Goleta House Fire

Mercedes-Benz makes some of the safest cars in the world — definitely a good thing in a head-on collision with a 20-ton fire truck.

On the evening of June 1, a Santa Barbara County fire engine en route to a Goleta structure fire crashed into a Mercedes-Benz coupe at the intersection of Calle Real and Valdez Avenue west of Fairview Avenue.

The car’s driver reportedly suffered minor injuries, but the impact crumpled the front of the car. According to fire Engineer Russ Sechler, the fire truck had minor bumper damage.

I know what you’re thinking: How do you not see a fire truck coming? That may not be the right question in this case, but the circumstances of the collision are under investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.

The Engine 14 fire call-out at San Patricio Drive was canceled just prior to the wreck.

3. Diane Dimond: Blame for Isla Vista Massacre Lies with Elliot Rodger

My friend, syndicated columnist Diane Dimond, has made the NoozWeek Top 5 before. Her columns on the topics of crime and punishment tend to draw strong reactions — for and against — and the debate in the comments section can go on for days, and sometimes weeks.

Diane Dimond: Crazy for you.
Diane Dimond: Crazy for you.

She was at it again with her latest column, this one about Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger and the futile search for understanding after his murderous rampage.

Many of us — yours truly included — have expressed our opinions on the matter, but most of us — yours truly included — don’t have a national audience of, well, let’s just say passionate readers. And a few stalkers.

Rather than jump on the gun-control bandwagon that inevitably follows such killing sprees — even ones in which half the victims are killed by knives — or blaming the failures of parents, police, the system or society, Dimond made the case that Rodger himself owns his actions.

In her opinion, the demented, delusional 22-year-old idler was one sick individual who needed to be aggressively treated for his mental illness, but wasn’t. It’s a movie we’ve all seen before.

That was too much for a few readers who have dominated the comments section, expressing their outrage at what they seem to be considering her callous treatment of those with mental-health issues. In their errant reading of what she wrote, she’s somehow packed everyone into the same tinderbox and struck a match. I didn’t read it that way at all; I see a call for an increase in specialized treatment and care for the Elliot Rodgers who walk among us even now.

We actually heard from one of them, an abusive, bullying spammer who spent a day or two attacking our managing editor, Michelle Nelson. Poor Michelle was just trying to be accommodating at first, but when he became increasingly agitated and unmoored, and she stopped responding, he went bat-crap crazy.

Class act that she is, Dimond apologized to Michelle for the flotsam that sometimes floats behind her, even though it wasn’t necessary and we know it comes with our territory. One thing’s for sure: The job of a journalist is never dull.

And keep those comments coming!

Wrong kind of mash-up. (Zack Warburg photo)
Wrong kind of mash-up. (Zack Warburg photo)

4. Major Injuries Reported in Collision Near Goleta

A powerful collision between a Toyota minivan and a Volkswagen Beetle convertible sent several people to the hospital and tied up a Noleta intersection for more than an hour as firefighters worked to free victims from the mangled wreckage.

The California Highway Patrol said the crash happened about 4:20 p.m. June 3 near the intersection of Hollister Avenue and San Marcos Road, east of Patterson Avenue.

At least three people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

Ouch. That hurt. (Zack Warburg photo)
Ouch. That hurt. (Zack Warburg photo)

5. Man Taken to Hospital After Falling Off Cliff in Isla Vista

Another week, another fall from the bluffs in Isla Vista.

Witnesses say a young man fell off the bluffs along the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive the evening of May 30. He apparently knocked himself out in the plunge to the beach but had regained consciousness by the time county firefighters arrived not long after.

“I don’t know the extent of his injuries, but he was at least talking,” fire Capt. Vicki Mills told Noozhawk.

Authorities say the man was taken to the hospital with moderate injuries.

                                                                        •        •

Although I ask myself why every January, I’m a lifelong (i.e., long-suffering) Minnesota Vikings fan. We don’t have many highlight plays so I take ’em where I can find ’em.

(KARE 11 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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