What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Train Strikes, Kills 15-Year-Old Boy Near Old Town Goleta

A 15-year-old Dos Pueblos High School student was struck and killed by a freight train the evening of June 21 in Old Town Goleta.

Authorities say the boy was among a group of youths that had congregated on the railroad tracks just before the train rolled through. There were no other injuries in the incident, but the investigation is ongoing.

Edwin Garcia

Edwin Garcia, 15, of Goleta, was killed by a train in Old Town Goleta. (Garcia family photo)

A family friend, Sal Güereña, told Noozhawk the next day that the teenager’s name was Edwin Garcia.

In an obituary Güereña wrote and shared with Noozhawk readers, he described Edwin as a talented artist with a ready smile and aspirations of becoming a car mechanic. The son of Bernarda Castro and Jose Garcia, Edwin had just completed his freshman year and was looking for a summer job to help his family.

The Edwin Garcia Memorial Fund has been established at a local bank to receive donations to help the family pay for burial expenses. To make a donation, contact Linda Güereña at 805.450.9343.

Güereña said Edwin’s beloved dog, Rico, with whom he was inseparable, was quickly adopted by another family.

2. Creature-Length Summer Solstice Parade Brings Out Animals of All Stripes

Local color at Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice Parade. (Fritz Olenberger photo / www.olenberger.com‎)

An estimated 100,000 people packed State Street on June 22 for the annual spectacle known as the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration.

Amid the colorful costumes, scantily clad dancers, flamboyant entries and the drumming — always the drumming — was our intern, Jordon Niedermeir, gamely walking the parade route, interviewing participants and spectators as he went.

Lola Rosales told Jordon she couldn’t recall how many Solstice Parades she’s attended over the years, but she said it never gets old. She and her daughter were surveying the scene from their prime parade-viewing spot near Paseo Nuevo.

“I used to tell my daughter, whose birthday is the 21st (of June), that I arranged a parade for her every year,” Rosales joked.

Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the Solstice Parade.

3. Russell Collins: Are Relationships the New Prozac?

Russell Collins is a Santa Barbara psychotherapist and divorce mediator. It’s been a couple of years since he wrote a popular bimonthly column for us, but thanks — apparently — to a timely link from Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple, he was right back in the thick of Noozhawk’s traffic jam last week.

Collins’ column, from Sept. 21, 2011, explored the question of whether there’s a social aspect to depression. The theory is that people are depressed because they feel unloved, unwanted, disconnected, rejected and alone. Deep down, they just don’t believe anyone is really there for them.

According to Collins, most of us don’t think about our mood as a barometer of our relationships, and we don’t really notice how often depression and emotional disconnection travel together. His advice? Your relationships have the power to lighten the load of the chronic worry, helplessness and hopelessness that make up depression.

In the meantime, thanks to Mark Sisson for giving us the bump. We appreciate our new relationship, however fleeting it is.

4. Bittersweet Ending for Ducks on Santa Barbara Streets

A Santa Barbara motorcycle police officer helps reroute traffic as a mother duck crosses Garden Street on June 22. (Sarah Graham Sinclair photo)

Our friend, Sarah Sinclair, and another motorist noticed some ducks in the road near downtown Santa Barbara on June 22 and stopped to help.

It turns out that a mother duck and two ducklings were loitering on Garden Street at the Highway 101 underpass, in the vicinity of a storm drain into which two other ducklings apparently had fallen. Santa Barbara police were called and officers soon arrived to assist.

Sinclair told Noozhawk that officers were able to corral the two ducklings from the street, but they were unable to to catch the mother. Because of the logistics of trying to move the heavy grate of the storm drain, she said they were simply not able to do anything for the lost pair. The mother duck eventually flew away and the two ducks that had been held in a cardboard box were turned over to the Wildlife Care Network.


Kind of a scene to see five officers, a patrol car and four motorcycles on Solstice Saturday morning, herding baby ducks out of the street and into a cardboard box,” Sinclair said.

5. Santa Barbara Landlord Dario Pini May Pay $750,000 to Settle Class-Action Lawsuit

Dario Pini

Dario Pini

Controversy tends to follow Dario Pini, but it’s usually related to what officials say are the often deplorable conditions of his rental properties.

In a diversification of sorts, 467 of his former employees filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging labor-law violations at hotels and motels Pini owns in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern counties. Pini could not be reached for comment but a settlement appears to be near, Noozhawk’s Lara Cooper reported June 24.

Two of Pini’s former employees, Polina Erokhina and Daniella Todorova, are listed as plaintiffs in the suit, which claims he didn’t observe wage-and-hour laws, “including the failure to compensate employees for overtime at the appropriate rate, and failure to compensate employees for missed meal and rest breaks.” Both women previously worked for Pini at the Ala Mar Motel, 102 W. Cabrillo Blvd., and the Villa Rosa Inn, 15 Chapala St.

The plaintiffs have agreed to settle the case for $750,000, and the hearing on the final approval of the settlement is scheduled before Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Donna Geck on July 26.

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As a big-time UCLA baseball fan, I’m still feeling the euphoria over the Bruins’ victory at the College World Series. Much has been written and said about the distinction of the school’s 109th national championship, which was the first for baseball.

Less remarked, however, was how dominating UCLA was on its 10-game winning streak in the post-season. Playing John Wooden-type baseball, the Bruins used discipline, fundamentals and wicked pitching to force every opponent to play on their terms, and then relentlessly took advantage of almost every mistake. I’ve never seen such a commanding performance over so prolonged a stretch, and against the most elite and explosive teams in the country. It was extraordinary.

Copyright restrictions won’t allow me to embed this video, but click here to view it. Go Bruins!

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If you’re looking for something to do on a Friday evening, my pal, Jim Worthen, has invited me on his show, Worthen One on One, which airs live at 7 p.m. June 28 on TVSB Channel 17. If you’ve got other plans … hey, I’m not offended. Besides, the public-access show repeats several times, although I’m not quite sure of the schedule.

The agenda is usually free-flowing, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to promote an in-depth reporting project that Noozhawk has been working on with our friends at KEYT NewsChannel 3. It’s powerful stuff, and our two organizations expect to air and post the first installment of the collaborative undertaking in early July.

I also hope to discuss Noozhawk’s upcoming investigative series that reporters Lara Cooper and Giana Magnoli are tackling as California Health Journalism Fellows at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. With the guidance of executive editor Tom Bolton and their senior fellows at USC, Lara and Giana have been exploring Santa Barbara County’s safety-net population and the health-care services provided by Cottage Health System, Marian Regional Medical Center, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s Health Care Centers.

The series is not our first foray into community health reporting (click here for our Prescription for Abuse series or read any of Lara’s reporting on mental health issues and services). But it’s the kind of in-depth journalism that I keep hearing is missing around here these days. You can always find it on Noozhawk.

See you on Channel 17.

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

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.