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Bill Macfadyen: David Bisol Did His Part to Ensure Santa Barbara’s History Has a Future

Best of Noozhawk 04.27.12 welcomes Lori Gaskin to SBCC, sees Tea Fire victims gain some closure, celebrates the life of Heidi Hubrecht, and follows a brazen home invasion

What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Santa Barbara Historical Museum’s David Bisol Dies at 60

A little over two weeks ago, David Bisol, executive director of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, had a wicked fall. He died of his injuries April 21 at age 60.

As the grandson of a Cota, one of Santa Barbara’s founding families, history was Bisol’s destiny and his love. He grew up in Goleta, majored in history at UCSB, joined the museum as a junior historian, served as its curator for 17 years and, in 2007, was appointed executive director.

David Bisol
David Bisol

In a 2010 Locals Only interview with Noozhawk’s Jenn Kennedy, Bisol described his innovative vision for modernizing the traditional impressions of a historical museum to capture the soul of the city.

“I don’t want us to be a repository for old objects,” he said. “Instead, we offer perspective on Santa Barbara’s history.”

His perspective was razor-sharp, too. I still smile at the memory of a raucous behind-the-scenes museum tour he led with his frequent cohort and kindred spirit, Erin Graffy. I don’t know who was funnier, or more knowledgeable, but the two of them together had our small group laughing through the eras.

Bisol also had a typically sardonic tale to tell about fending off marauders at the Isla Vista Theater during the 1970 Isla Vista riot. He was just a teenage employee with a garden hose, but I think it’s fair to say that he saved the place from burning. I couldn’t convince him to write up an account of it for the riot’s 40th anniversary in 2010, but he promised he would for the 50th.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. May 6 at the museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St. Donations in his memory may be made to the museum’s David S. Bisol Memorial Fund to continue his legacy of “building a future worth remembering.”

2. SBCC Trustees Name Lori Gaskin as School’s New President

Lori Gaskin
Lori Gaskin

Lori Gaskin, president of West Valley College in Saratoga, was named SBCC’s new president April 26. The career community college educator starts work in Santa Barbara on July 1.

The decision by the SBCC Board of Trustees, first reported by Noozhawk staff writers Lara Cooper and Giana Magnoli, comes nearly a year after the trustees parted ways with then-President Andreea Serban and installed executive vice president Jack Friedlander as interim president.

Gaskin will have her work cut out for her. Facing a potential budget shortfall of nearly $15 million, the trustees are exploring options that include fewer classes and higher fees ... while hoping for a Sacramento miracle.

3. City of Santa Barbara to Pay Damages for Preventing Rebuilding After Tea Fire

Three Tea Fire victims could be a step closer to rebuilding the homes they lost in the 2008 wildfire after Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Tom Anderle ruled they’re entitled to monetary damages from the City of Santa Barbara.

Luke Brost and Paula and Ruben Barajas were residents of what is known as the Conejo Road Landslide Area in upper Sycamore Canyon before their homes were destroyed in the fire. A city ordinance, which has since been amended, barred any home construction in the zone as a result of safety concerns related to possible land and mudslides.

The trio sued the city, and Anderle ruled that they “would have been permanently deprived of all use of their property” if they hadn’t filed suit to win the right to rebuild. Therefore, he determined, they’re entitled to damages for the lengthy delay.

It may yet be too little, too late. Despite the victory, Brost and the Barajases say they’re not sure whether they’ll rebuild or sell their properties.

4. Family, Friends Grapple with Loss of Heidi Hubrecht, Victim of Apparent Murder-Suicide

Heidi Hubrecht was the victim of a horrific murder, apparently at the hands of a former boyfriend who also stabbed her roommate and then took his own life earlier this month.

Heidi Hubrecht
Heidi Hubrecht

With emotions still raw from her slaying, family and friends gathered April 26 at Shoreline Park to celebrate Hubrecht’s life. Those attending the vigil say the 23-year-old UCSB grad and Education First Santa Barbara teacher had a preference for bright red lipstick, loved motorcycles and relished skating with the Brawlin’ Betties, Santa Barbara’s roller-derby team.

“She was just colorful and creative and easy-going,” Education First co-worker Ellen Savaria told Noozhawk’s Lara Cooper.

Bree Medley, a Brawlin’ Betties teammate, encouraged those present to approach life with fearlessness.

“All we can do is live a little extra for her,” she said. “And maybe throw on some red lipstick.”

5. Five Suspects Arrested in Isla Vista Home-Invasion Robbery

Sheriff’s deputies arrested five men April 21 after an alleged Isla Vista home-invasion robbery that yielded cash, drugs and electronics.

From left, Colin Campbell, Darren Gales, Eric Stewart, Jaylen Stewart and Miguel Valencia are being held on felony armed robbery and criminal conspiracy charges.
From left, Colin Campbell, Darren Gales, Eric Stewart, Jaylen Stewart and Miguel Valencia are being held on felony armed robbery and criminal conspiracy charges. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photos)

Authorities say the incident occurred in broad daylight in the 6700 block of Trigo Road. Two of the suspects were armed with knives, while a third had a realistic-looking, plastic Beretta handgun that he used to pistol-whip two of the victims, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars said. He said the suspects fled the scene after taking cash, jars of marijuana, smoking paraphernalia, cell phones and a laptop computer, but they were quickly apprehended on Highway 101 in Montecito.

Colin Joseph Campbell, 18, of Oxnard; Darren Vondell Gales, 18, of Camarillo; Eric Cameron Stewart, 22, of Compton; Jaylen Julian Stewart, 19, of Oxnard; and Miguel Valencia, 20, of Los Angeles, were booked into the County Jail on $100,000 bail for felony armed robbery and criminal conspiracy.

                                                                  •        •        •

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