Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 7:02 am | Overcast 64º


Local News


Bill Macfadyen: Roadside Distraction Turns Out to be an Apparent Suicide

NoozWeek’s Top 5 checks in on short-term rentals in Santa Barbara, needs a rescue from high surf, investigates a pedestrian death and catches norovirus

Passersby couldn’t help but notice something was going on along the Rincon the afternoon of Dec. 6.
Passersby couldn’t help but notice something was going on along the Rincon the afternoon of Dec. 6. (KEYT News photo)


Fellow Dodger fans, know what the difference is between #Frankrupt McCourt and Guggenheim Partners? Back in the McCourt era, you could still watch the team on TV.

While I’ve been trying to figure out if Clayton Kershaw can win about 87 games in 2016, 104,003​ of you were reading Noozhawk this past week.

Here’s my take on your top stories:

1. Body Found in Vehicle Parked Along Highway 101 Near Rincon

Details remain scant, but authorities discovered a dead man inside a car parked along Highway 101 on the Rincon the afternoon of Dec. 6.

Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Denise Silva told our Tom Bolton that the man had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities found the body after they stopped to check on the vehicle, which was parked on the southbound shoulder just east of Bates Road and the Santa Barbara County line.

The size of the resulting investigation — which included Ventura County sheriff’s detectives and California Highway Patrol officers — slowed traffic along the busy freeway on a Sunday afternoon.

The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as 55-year-old Joseph Massimino. Authorities have not yet determined where he lived, but he’s apparently not a California resident.​

Not signs of the time — this time. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Not signs of the time — this time. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

2. Airbnb Crashes at Santa Barbara City Council Meeting

The “sharing economy” may be the future, but at this point in time Santa Barbara is standing athwart collaborative consumption and yelling stop.

The City Council took its stand Dec. 8, electing not to create a home-sharing ordinance that would have made it easier for local hosts to rent out their residences on a short-term basis.

Airbnb, which matches hosts and guests in transactions coordinated over the Internet, is a growing presence here — as it is in nearly 200 countries across the globe.

According to data released by the San Francisco-based company, in the last year 770 Santa Barbara “hosts” have rented out their homes to an average of 2.4 guests per trip.

Many homeowners say the practice of renting out their places for less than 30 days allows them to pay a mortgage in Santa Barbara. Many tourists prefer the experience of living like a local for several days, rather than staying in a hotel or motel.

“I do believe home-sharing is a very valuable way for people like me to supplement their income,” homeowner Dorothy Wallstein remarked at a news conference prior to the council meeting.

That sentiment wasn’t shared by council members.

Councilman Dale Francisco noted that residential zoning was created so “families could have a certain expectation of stability in their neighborhood.”

“I know there’s technology out there that allows this, but our zoning doesn’t,” he said.

Of course, zoning isn’t the only issue. As Noozhawk has reported previously, rental vacancy rates in Santa Barbara are at nearly zero this year.

“Santa Barbara wants to be visitor-friendly, but it has to be focused on the community first,” Councilman Gregg Hart said. “We have enormous numbers of people commuting to the city of Santa Barbara simply because they can’t afford to live in Santa Barbara.

“The housing crisis is so serious and severe,” he added. “We have to get back to the equilibrium we used to have. Houses are for people to live in and hotels are for people to stay.”

You know this isn’t over, though. Stay tuned.  

(Zack Warburg / Noozhawk video)

3. 3 Rescued from Heavy Surf Pounding Beach Below Isla Vista Bluffs

Three surfers trapped by treacherous waves below Isla Vista were rescued from the bluffs above Dec. 5.

According to Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni, the trio — two women and a man — became stuck on the beach below the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive at about 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5.

Heavy surf and a tumultuous high tide had driven them to shore, where they were being pounded by large breakers despite managing to seek partial shelter behind a ragged row of large pilings.

Zaniboni said firefighters used a rope system to haul them up the cliff to safety.

No injuries were reported, and the trio’s identities were not disclosed.

Neighbors say this Buellton intersection of Highway 246 and La Lata Drive is at cross purposes with pedestrian safety. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Neighbors say this Buellton intersection of Highway 246 and La Lata Drive is at cross purposes with pedestrian safety. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

4. Pedestrian Dies After Being Hit by Vehicle on Highway 246 in Buellton

A Buellton man was struck and killed by a pickup truck the night of Dec. 7 as he walked across Highway 246 at La Lata Drive a block west of Industrial Way.

Hilder Galindo’s family hopes to send him home. (Galindo family photo)
Hilder Galindo’s family hopes to send him home. (Galindo family photo)

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the man — later identified as 41-year-old Hilder Galindo — was in a crosswalk with flashing warning lights when he was hit about 7 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hoover said the pickup driver — Bryant Ehrenborg, 53, of Santa Ynez — was not cited and was not impaired. The cause of the collision is under investigation.

Nearby residents are critical of the intersection, citing the five lanes of traffic, the lack of street lights, and the 35 mph speed limit that they say is often ignored.

“We all kind of stopped using it because it’s not safe,” a Ranch Club Estates mobile home park resident told our Janene Scully, dismissing the crosswalk’s flashing lights as a seriously inadequate safety measure.

The night after Galindo was killed, Santa Ynez Valley traffic-safety advocate Mary Beth Kerr was at the scene with a radar gun, recording vehicles traveling as high as 53 mph in the posted 35 mph zone.

Kerr, who administers the Facebook group “SYV Lives Matter,” also pointed out the absence of street lights over the crosswalk.

“It’s kind of silly, because the street light is not where the crosswalks are,” she said.

Meanwhile, Galindo’s family has set up a GoFundMe site to raise money to send his remains to his mother in Nicaragua. Click here to make an online donation.

5. Norovirus Outbreak Sickens Hundreds in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County appears to be in the throes of a norovirus outbreak, with several hundred cases reported — including more than 100 at Samarkand Retirement Community in Santa Barbara.

On Dec. 10, the county Public Health Department issued a statement urging folks to take preventative measures against the highly contagious infection, which causes the sudden onset of severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Norovirus is not unusual at this time of year, and outbreaks often occur in closed and crowded environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and cruise ships. Dozens of passengers and crew members were sickened on a cruise ship that dropped anchor in Santa Barbara in 2014.

​Samarkand’s outbreak has involved more than 100 residents and staffers since it became evident Dec. 7.

In a Dec. 10 statement, the campus’ wellness clinic said the number of new cases had slowed, and those afflicted with the virus were “reporting their symptoms are improving.”

Thoroughly washing your hands is one of the most important measures you can take to prevent the spread — which reminds me: Don’t touch me.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our top story this time last year? Man Found Dead at Pershing Park in Santa Barbara.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Because the hipster lifestyle, slumlord subsidies and the science of beer koozies are terrible things to waste: The Farce Awakens.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

Bear with me for an avalanche of stuffed toys. HT to Noozhawk video content producer Mike McGee.

(WHLHitmen video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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.

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club.

Membership Options


Red-Tailed Hawk, $5 a month; Cooper’s Hawk, $10 a month; Red-Shouldered Hawk, $25 a month; Birds of a Feather, $52 a year.

Checks can be snail-mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

» .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or market your business, organization, service or event.

» Subscribe to our free daily A.M. Report.

» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Twitter.

Please note that personal contributions to Noozhawk are not deductible as charitable donations.

Thank you for your support.

— 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >