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Bill Macfadyen: Both Drivers Read their Rights in Wrong-Way Freeway Collision

Best of Noozhawk 08.03.12 mixes drugs, clouds, marijuana and historic rubble, then saddles up and goes to the rodeo

What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Head-On Collision Caused by Wrong-Way Driver Near Goleta, Authorities Say

A wrong-way collision on Highway 101 on July 29 sent both motorists to the hospital with major injuries and propelled the story to the top of Noozhawk’s Most Read list.

The head-on crash happened about 2:30 a.m. Sunday near Turnpike Road, Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton reported. According to the California Highway Patrol, Diana Rodriguez Villalobos, 25, was driving south in the freeway’s northbound lanes when her car smashed into a sedan driven by Anna Marie Fragosa, also 25.

Authorities say Villalobos suffered a broken right ankle, fractured kneecaps and multiple cuts, while Fragosa had non-life-threatening injuries but had to be extricated from her car by Santa Barbara County firefighters. Both women were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

While at the hospital, the CHP said its officers noted “an overwhelming odor of alcohol” coming from both drivers. Villalobos was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, and Fragosa was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI.

2. In Wake of Doctor’s Arrest, Physician Steps Up to Heal More Than Patients

When Dr. Julio Diaz was arrested in January for allegedly overprescribing prescription drugs, federal authorities shut down his North Milpas Street practice. With his trial not even expected to begin until late this fall, hundreds of his patients were affected.

A number of local doctors stepped in to help, among them Dr. Scott Saunders, medical director of the Integrative Medical Center of Santa Barbara at 601 E. Arrellaga St.

For about six months, Saunders has been seeing two dozen seniors who had been patients of Diaz. Saunders told Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper that he began observing patterns that are common in long-term care facilities: Patients will often be falsely diagnosed with conditions so they can be put on medications that will make care easier. As a former medical director of a nursing home himself, he said he began looking through the lists of medications prescribed to each patient and discovered other familiar situations.

Saunders’ practice focuses on integrative medicine, which combines conventional Western medicine with other types of alternative treatments when beneficial to the patient. He said he’s been able to take patients who had been on 20 medications and winnow them down to three or four.

“You can get people off medications and do it in a different way,” he said.

3. How Cloud Computing Is Changing the Way We Use Internet Technology

Cloud computing has nothing to do with weather forecasts but for South Coast entrepreneurs working in the space, the skies are as sunny as the day is long.

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik caught up with two local leaders — Michael Crandell of RightScale and Woody Rollins of Eucalyptus Systems — to talk about the evolution of the technology, which provides companies with crucial elasticity when their computer resources are being pounded by traffic and other needs.

“Exactly at the moment you are succeeding and throngs of people are using your service, it becomes slow and inoperable,” Crandell said. “That’s the irony, and that’s the terrible side of it. ... You need to have the software architecture and hardware to expand resources really quickly so you can keep serving customers.”

Enter cloud computing, which allows companies to focus on their core competencies and leave the technical details to the IT team.

Rollins said the spread of mobile technology will be driving an expansion and a wider adoption among smaller businesses and even individual users. Look for Eucalyptus and RightScale to continue to be major players in that game.

4. ‘Stirring the Pot’ Forum Panelists Say Regulation Is Key in Legalization of Marijuana

Amid a different kind of cloud, Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli waded back into the marijuana controversy to cover the “Stirring the Pot” public forum hosted by the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Guests with the munchies were even treated to pot-free brownies to set the mood at the July 26 forum.

The point of the forum was to discuss the ramifications for health care, society and the culture when — assuming, for the purpose of the event, not if — marijuana is legalized. Giana said most of the panel members agreed on the basics, saying there will need to be regulations for growing and distribution, keeping it away from children, and putting some of the tax revenues toward prevention and treatment programs.

The panel of experts included Dr. David Bearman, a pioneer in the field of medical marijuana; Alexandra Datig, president of High Road L.A., a Los Angeles-based public affairs firm; Dale Gieringer Ph.D., director of California NORML, a pro-legalization group; and Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen.

5. Historic Hotel Californian Coming Down

The four-story Hotel Californian opened just one week before the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake, which peeled away the building’s brick exterior walls and left them collapsed in rubble. No one was injured in the incident but it’s not really the kind of start the owners were expecting for the hotel located in the first block of State Street, in the heart of the tourist district by the beach.

The hotel was restored and reopened but, to longtime locals, it seems as if it has been abandoned for, well, about 87 years. This week, demolition crews began tearing down the building to make way for the long-awaited La Entrada project, which seems as if it has been abandoned for, oh, let’s be generous and call it 67 years.

Now under new ownership, La Entrada includes a 123-room hotel, timeshare condominiums, retail space and a parking structure on three parcels at State and Mason streets, including the site of the Californian.

If you’ve not had a chance to say your goodbyes, don’t worry. Because of required remediations and other permit-related issues, Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli reports that the Californian could languish, half-demolished, until the end of ... 2014. Welcome to Santa Barbara.

                                                                  •        •        •

Jarrett Kendall
Jarrett Kendall

Jarrett Kendall, a 4½-year-old Goleta Valley Nursery School student, will be riding for the Noozhawk brand in Sunday’s Mutton Bustin’ competition at the 88th annual Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo at Earl Warren Showgrounds.

The son of Kelly and Bob Kendall of Goleta won our contest to enter the event, in which children cling to sheep for as long as they can as the animals race around the arena trying to shed the weight. If you’ve never seen mutton bustin’, it’s hilarious. And if you’ve never been to the Fiesta Rodeo, you’re missing a real treat — and some of the most talented and athletic ropers, riders and livestock on the Central Coast.

The Friday and Saturday performances are sold out, but general admission tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children for the 1:30 p.m. rodeo on Sunday. Tickets are available at the Earl Warren Showgrounds box office, 3400 Calle Real, or call 805.682.5848.

                                                                  •        •        •

There were 44,360 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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