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Bill Macfadyen: Samantha Steele Leaps from the Sidelines to Give Noozhawk a Lift

In the Best of Noozhawk 11.02.12, push comes to shove for UCSB soccer, Isla Vista tones down Halloween, a CPA's deeds add up to a conviction, and the Santa Barbara Airport terminal gets a new name

More Adventures of Samantha Steele. ( video)

What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Samantha Steele: Time to Remove the Chains on Sideline Reporters?

As veteran news professionals, we often have a pretty good idea of which stories are going to draw the heaviest traffic each week. We didn’t see this one coming, but we weren’t exactly looking in our rear-view mirror either. Let me explain.

Samantha Steele
Samantha Steele

My friend, Samantha Steele, is a host and reporter for ESPN’s College Game Day and a former sideline reporter for the Longhorn Network. In January of 2010, she wrote a column for Noozhawk about her sideline experience. Driven by a Wall Street Journal story breaking down NFL game telecasts into actual time frames, she suggested, among other things, that sideline boundaries be expanded so reporters could interact with fans as well as coaches on their way on or off the field.

On Oct. 26, one of her 87,210 Twitter followers discovered her nearly 3-year-old column and tweeted it to her. Sam laughed at the memory and dutifully retweeted it to her Twitterverse, and the blitz was on.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton was doing a routine midmorning check of our Google Analytics when he noticed that our site traffic was showing a dramatic spike — at a time of day when it’s usually coasting.

“Who is Samantha Steele?” he asked me.

“Why?” I replied.

“Because there are 450 people reading her column right now,” he said.

We quickly figured out how it happened and then sat back and watched the traffic jam. In less time than it takes to televise a football game, almost 3,000 Sam fans had pulled back the Steele curtain and gotten a good look at Noozhawk.

Clearly, there’s power in social media. So, Sam, when you read this, please retweet it!

2. DA’s Office Filing Charges Against UCSB Soccer Player Who Shoved Referee

When it comes to soccer, I’d sooner watch grass grow. It can be terribly exciting at times, I’m told, although a slam-bam finish to the UC Santa Barbara men’s team’s Oct. 28 match against UC Davis is probably not the best example.

According to our partner site, Presidio Sports, the Aggies beat the Gauchos 2-1 on a disputed play in overtime. In the on-field argument afterward, which was captured on video by KEYT, UCSB’s Peter McGlynn ran up behind referee Reed Christy and shoved him to the ground.

Christy was uninjured in the attack but UCSB police immediately arrested McGlynn. After a review by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, he was charged Oct. 31 with misdemeanor battery on a sports official. According to Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter, McGlynn will have his day in court in about two weeks, and, if convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in County Jail and a $2,000 fine.

While the wheels of justice grind away on the outside, the UCSB Athletics Department wasted no time in meting out punishment. On Oct. 29, athletic director Mark Massari announced that McGlynn — a fifth-year senior defender from Skerries, Ireland — had been kicked off the team and head coach Tim Vom Steeg had been suspended for the Gauchos’ Oct. 31 match against Sacramento State.

Massari also said UCSB would not be participating in post-season play, a long-shot opportunity at best for the struggling team. All in all, it’s been a disappointing season for UCSB, a perennial Big West Conference powerhouse that had made the NCAA tournament for each of the last 10 years and won the national championship in 2006.

3. Despite Over 100 Arrests, Isla Vista Halloween Called ‘Fairly Tame’

UCSB soccer matches aside, the annual nightmare that is pre-Halloween in Isla Vista ended up being a rather hum-drum affair this year. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department reported 85 arrests on Friday night, Oct. 26, followed by more than 100 on Saturday and just a handful on Sunday. The weekend tally of 196 arrests was down from 228 arrests in 2011.

“Crowds were fairly tame compared to years past,” sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Williams told Noozhawk.

4. Local Accountant Convicted of Federal Tax Charges

Santa Barbara accountant Steven Pybrum was convicted on federal tax charges Oct. 25. after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Pybrum, 61, founder of Pybrum & Co. and the Family Business Center, was found guilty of underreporting more than $1 million in income by pretending it was instead earned by his nonprofit organization, the Foundation for Harmony and Happiness.

He faces up to 12 years in federal prison and $1 million in fines when he’s sentenced March 4. Until then, he’s out of custody on a bond.

5. Santa Barbara Council Votes to Name Airport Terminal After Former Mayor John Rickard

The late John Rickard may no longer be a household name in Santa Barbara but he soon will be again — at least for air travelers. On Oct. 30, the City Council voted 5-2 to name the Santa Barbara Airport terminal for the former mayor and Superior Court judge.

Rickard, who died in 2000 at age 86, was instrumental in arranging for the City of Santa Barbara to annex the airport through a rather gerrymandered orchestration that involves a strip of real estate more properly described as seabed. Among his other accomplishments are the resurrection of Old Spanish Days after World War II, a revamped sign ordinance, the establishment of boat slips at the harbor, the preservation of Shoreline Park and the creation of a no-oil drilling sanctuary along the Santa Barbara coast.

                                                                  •        •        •

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