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Local News

Bill Macfadyen: Motorist Has to Live with Suicidal Man’s Decision to Die

NoozWeek’s Top 5 unravels a deadly domestic dispute, checks up on Paula Lopez’s daughter’s brush with EV-D68, warily looks out for unvaccinated kids, then goes off Target

There were 83,077 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.

1. Pedestrian Struck, Killed on Highway 101 in Western Goleta​

A 54-year-old Santa Barbara man was struck and killed on Highway 101 west of Goleta the night of Oct. 26, and authorities are investigating the incident as a possible suicide.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the collision was reported at 10:15 p.m. on the southbound side of the freeway near the Winchester Canyon Road exit ramp.

The victim “sustained fatal injuries when he walked onto southbound Highway 101 north of Hollister Avenue,” said Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau is investigating the case. The man’s identity has not yet been disclosed, and no other useful details have been released — such as what happened to the driver of the vehicle that hit him.

Click here for free suicide prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day, or call 1.800.273.8255.

An apartment in the 500 block of West Los Olivos Street in Santa Barbara was the scene of an apparent domestic violence incident that left a woman dead, her husband arrested as a murder suspect and their daughter in the custody of Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
An apartment in the 500 block of West Los Olivos Street in Santa Barbara was the scene of an apparent domestic-violence incident that left a woman dead, a man arrested as a murder suspect, and their daughter in the custody of Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

2. Santa Barbara Police Investigating Apparent Homicide

Santa Barbara police were called out to a reported domestic disturbance at an apartment near Oak Park early on Oct. 29. Authorities say it wasn’t the first time officers had visited the residence in the 500 block of West Los Olivos Street, but this time the outcome was tragically different.

Bail has been set at $1 million for homicide suspect Aubrey Dupree Wadford.
Bail has been set at $1 million for homicide suspect Aubrey Dupree Wadford.

According to Sgt. Riley Harwood, a department spokesman, officers arrived at 1:40 a.m. and found a 39-year-old woman dead inside the apartment. Also at the scene was the woman’s 39-year-old boyfriend, who was promptly placed under arrest on suspicion of murder.

The couple’s child, a 2-year-old girl, also was present. She was unharmed, but was entrusted to the custody of county Child Welfare Services.

Police have not yet disclosed the victim’s name, and Harwood would not comment on how she was killed.

The suspect, Aubrey Dupree Wadford, 39, was booked into County Jail on a murder charge. His bail has been set at $1 million.

Harwood told our Tom Bolton that there had been a history of police calls to the apartment, but said he could not elaborate.

Wadford is to be arraigned in Superior Court on Oct. 31.

3. Enterovirus Strikes TV Anchor Paula Lopez’s Teenage Daughter

Like just about every teenager, 16-year-old Alana Ochoa has a lot going on her life. But her busy schedule was briefly interrupted earlier this month when the Santa Barbara High School junior became the county’s first confirmed case of enterovirus D68.

Alana Ochoa, with her mom, is on the road to recovery. (Ochoa family photo)
Alana Ochoa, with her mom, is on the road to recovery. (Ochoa family photo)

Alana, the daughter of KEYT News anchor Paula Lopez and Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa, was diagnosed when she went to the doctor complaining of severe shortness of breath. Although she has asthma, this was much worse, her mom told KEYT’s ​Beth Farnsworth and Tracy Lehr.

Ever the journalist, Lopez had just been reading about enterovirus and asked the doctor to check into it. The results came back positive, which is a negative.

Enterovirus D68, also known as EV-D68, can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, and even death. First identified in California in 1962, the virus is spread through the usual methods: coughing, sneezing and touching.

The county Public Health Department currently is monitoring seven other possible cases of enterovirus locally.

Meanwhile, Alana’s doctor prescribed a dose of heavy-duty steroids, and she has since made a full recovery.

HT to our partners at KEYT News for sharing this story with us. Click here for a related KEYT News video.

Dr. Dan Brennan of Sansum Clinic says the increasing number of parents who are not vaccinating their children is no laughing matter for the larger community. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Dr. Dan Brennan of Sansum Clinic says the increasing number of parents who are not vaccinating their children is no laughing matter for the larger community. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

4. High Rate of Vaccination Opt-Outs Raises Concern Among Local Physicians

It’s getting to be cold and flu season. So far this year, Santa Barbara County has logged 85 cases of pertussis, better known as whooping cough. Enterovirus D68 is as near as the previous item. The Ebola threat has the Obama administration contradicting itself almost daily. Once the province of sci-fi thrillers, fear of global pandemic is suddenly not so far-fetched.

With all that going around, it’s unfortunate that an alarmingly large number of parents is avoiding vaccinations like the plague. Thank you for that.

While there are legitimate reasons not to vaccinate in fairly limited circumstances, the fact remains that safe, readily available and cost-effective vaccines are medically — and scientifically — sound benefits of our modern society. Eradicating polio, smallpox and other deadly contagious diseases is a good thing.

Children entering kindergarten are required by state law to be fully vaccinated against a host of diseases, including chickenpox, diptheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella and tetanus. Parents can opt out, but they must file an exemption stating that such inoculations are against their personal beliefs.

According to the California Department of Public Health, 1.56 percent of parents opted out statewide in the 2007-2008 school year — a figure that more than doubled to 3.15 percent in 2013-2014. In Santa Barbara County, the number is even higher at 4.72 percent.

A pertussis epidemic made its way through The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara earlier this month with five stricken kids among its 125 students. In the last school year, Waldorf had a whopping 87-percent rate of vaccination opt-outs for incoming kindergarteners. Many other local schools have opt-outs in the double digits.

That’s ridiculous.

“When we are part of a community, we all have a responsibility to do what is right for our kids and families, but we also have an obligation to do what is right for the health of our community,” Dr. Dan Brennan, a Sansum Clinic pediatrician, told our Joshua Molina.

“Parents who are not immunizing need to understand that they are not only putting their own kids at risk, but our entire community’s health at risk.”

As if to underscore the point, Paige Batson, manager of disease control and prevention at the county Public Health Department, noted that doctors increasingly are choosing not to accept patients whose parents decide against vaccinations.

Keep that in mind the next time you see a kid sneezing and hacking away in the produce section at the grocery store. Happy Halloween.

5. Target Ditches Potential Store Location on Hollister Avenue in Goleta

Loyal Target customers on the South Coast will have to continue driving to Ventura or Santa Maria for the foreseeable future after the popular retailer apparently shelved its plans to expand in Goleta.

Although the Target audience is here, the company appears to have run into too many obstacles in negotiations over an 11-acre property at 6466 Hollister Ave. at Los Carneros Way.

“The owner of the property is disappointed to report that Target has elected to terminate the escrow to purchase the property, and we are no longer in discussions,” Hayes Commercial Group partner Greg Bartholomew told our Gina Potthoff on Oct. 24.

No specifics were provided, but Bartholomew told us previously that talks with three tenants at the site were among the sticking points. HCR LLC owns the property and leases space to EnviroscapingGoleta Valley Athletic Club and Santa Barbara Motorsports.

Target spokeswoman Kristen Emmons had little to add.

“Goleta is a great market for Target, and we continue to consider new opportunities to serve guests there,” she said.

                                                                 •        •        •

Who am I voting for? Sebastian Tretola. For Heisman.

(Arkansas Razorbacks 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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