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Bill Macfadyen: Stabbing and Manhunt at Goleta Beach Park Followed by Silence

NoozWeek’s Top 5 smokes out a ‘suspicious’ fire, reveals the brutal autopsy results in a murder-suicide, smacks around Hollister Village, and resumes crashing on Highway 154

He may have been tackled for a loss, but I’m pretty sure that’s not Jared Goff. Click to view larger
He may have been tackled for a loss, but I’m pretty sure that’s not Jared Goff. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Fall is here. It actually skittered unmistakably past my office a day early on the afternoon of Sept. 21. Anyone else sense the change?

The Dodgers, meanwhile, are whistling past the graveyard as they try to fritter away their best season in decades.

While I fret that the Boys of Summer may become the Bums of Fall, Noozhawk is maintaining its record-setting pace for traffic, even though we were down slightly this past week, to 113,453 readers.

Our Tom Bolton, the Wizard of Google Analytics, has been fishing in Mammoth and I’m too lazy to do the math, but I’m pretty sure 2017 is on track to be a monster year for Noozhawk’s readership. I promise to have more on that next week because, well, Tom will be back. But we’re also coming up on our 10th anniversary and we’ve got some other announcements to make, as well.

What follows is my take on your Top 5 stories for the week. In other words, it’s my opinion column. You’re welcome.

1. 6 Detained After Stabbing at Goleta Beach Park Prompts Hunt for Suspects

Goleta Beach Park is one of Santa Barbara County’s most popular — and family-friendly — recreation areas so it’s more than a little unnerving that a man was stabbed there the afternoon of Sept. 16. The dearth of details about the incident is inexcusable.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies, UC Santa Barbara police and California Highway Patrol officers converged on the park just after 5 p.m. They were met at the entrance by witnesses who reported that several suspects had fled on foot across the Highway 217 overpass.

According to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, authorities quickly established a perimeter near the Goleta slough, called in a sheriff’s K-9 team and summoned a county helicopter for aerial support in the manhunt.

Working the brush like quail hunters, they flushed out six people who were detained for questioning.

Curiously, no arrests were made, and the Sheriff’s Department has not responded to Noozhawk’s requests for an update.

The victim, after having been stabbed multiple times, apparently was driven by his companions to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. From there, an American Medical Response ambulance took him to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The man’s identity and medical condition have not been released.

2. Structure Fire Destroys Bubbles & Beans Laundromat in Santa Barbara

Bubbles & Beans at the top of its flames. Click to view larger
Bubbles & Beans at the top of its flames. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

A spectacular fire lit up the night in a charmingly quirky block of Santa Barbara’s De la Vina Street in the wee hours of Aug. 18. There were no injuries in the blaze at Bubbles & Beans laundromat, but the business was a goner.

Santa Barbara fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said crews were dispatched just after 2 a.m. to a single-story building at 1930 De la Vina St.

That address near the intersection of West Mission Street may not mean anything to you, but it’s directly across De la Vina from Mission Street Ice Cream & Yogurt, formerly McConnell’s. That I know you know, because I’ve seen many of you there when I’ve been on a hot fudge sundae bender.

McCoy said crews found the front laundromat area engulfed in smoke with the fire burning at the rear of the structure.

“We made an attack through the rear door and the front window blew out,” he said, nonchalantly describing it as having “self-ventilated.”

Preliminary damage estimates are around $500,000. By Sept. 21, arson investigators had declared the fire “suspicious.”

Although an adjacent tobacco shop had extensive smoke damage, firefighters kept the flames away from the two neighboring businesses.

In addition to laundry services, Bubbles & Beans offered self-serve washers and driers and shoe repair.

3. Sheriff’s Department Releases Autopsy Results for Victim in Goleta Murder-Suicide

The Florida orthodontist found bludgeoned to death in a Goleta apartment Sept. 12 suffered a horrific fate: “dual modality homicidal violence resulting in multiple traumatic injuries,” according to the county Coroner’s Office.

Dr. Christine Martin is survived by two children in Florida. Click to view larger
Dr. Christine Martin is survived by two children in Florida. (Martin family photo)

You need not be a pathologist to get the meaning of those autopsy results. That’s bad.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the body of Christina Marie Martin, 57, of Tampa, Fla., was discovered inside the apartment in the 7000 block of Aldus Drive, in Hollister Village across from Camino Real Marketplace.

Her presumed killer, 42-year-old Beth Curnow, who lived in the apartment with her two children, was found dead in the garage below. Authorities say she had taken her own life.

The children were not physically injured in the incident, Hoover said, nor was Curnow’s father, who apparently had stayed overnight. The children were placed in the care of county Child Welfare Services.

Detectives are still investigating the possible motive and circumstances of the murder-suicide. Hoover said the two women were “long-time acquaintances” and that Martin was a frequent visitor.

Martin, who operated a dental orthodontics practice with offices in Tampa and Wesley Chapel, Fla., is survived by her own two children, Lauren and Jack Martin; her ex-husband; and her father.

According to her obituary in the Tampa Bay Times, Martin’s family is holding a celebration of her life on Sept. 24 in Tampa. Donations in her memory are encouraged for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay or The Spring of Tampa Bay, a domestic violence center.

To everyone’s frustration, details in this case are likely to remain scant and undivulged. For one thing, detectives do not believe anyone else was involved. For another, there are two young, now-motherless children here who also have been victimized and traumatized.

That won’t slow down the puerile speculation among our comments chorus, but I would advise readers to keep in mind that such conjecture can fairly be described as “fake news.” I’m not saying it is, but it certainly does not meet any standards of independent corroboration that Noozhawk requires of its professional journalists.

Click here for suicide prevention resources and information that are available 24/7.

4. Goleta City Council Rejects Hollister Village’s Plan to Add 33 Apartments

Still a short-term view. Click to view larger
Still a short-term view. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

In no uncertain terms, the Goleta City Council has shot down a proposal for an additional 33 more apartments in the 266-unit Hollister Village complex across from Camino Real Marketplace.

Westar Associates, the Costa Mesa-based developer of the 23½-acre mixed-use project, had sought a General Plan amendment to switch to all-rental residential units from its previously approved plans for five live-work units and 12,600 square feet of commercial space. The site is along Glen Annie Road on the east end of the development.

No way, the council declared in a 4-1 vote on Sept. 19. Mayor Paula Perotte and Councilmen Michael Bennett, Stuart Kasdin and Kyle Richards voted to deny the request, with Councilman Roger Aceves in dissent.

Neighbors turned out en masse to voice their objections to the Westar proposal, with many citing the size and the snarled traffic they blame on the flurry of recent development in the city.

“We do need more housing, but this is a bad place for it,” resident Christine Hall said. “Adding these units would turn this place into a crowded ghetto for rich people.”

Barbara Massey, Goleta, objected to the breadth.

“This project will worsen traffic at Storke and Hollister,” she said, referring to the nearby intersection that long has been one of the South Coast’s most congested parking lots.

“The project needs to be scaled back significantly. This is bad planning.”

Kasdin invoked the Lord Almighty, awkwardly.

“Goleta looked in a way like a place where God went on vacation to, and that isn’t the case now,” he declared.

Kasdin did make an interesting admission later, however.

“The developer has a right to develop his property, but there isn’t a right to receive a General Plan amendment,” he said.

To that end, Westar years ago agreed to change its original plans in an unusual settlement with a Glen Annie Road homeowner who had sued over the project. If memory serves, and at my age that can be a big if, Westar already has in its possession full city approval to build five three-story units on the site once that lone resident is no longer living ... there.

Under the company’s freshly rejected General Plan amendment proposal, as apparently only Aceves noticed, the scale would have been reduced to two two-story buildings.

5. Driver Injured As Vehicle Crashes Off Side of Highway 154 Near Santa Barbara

A motorist drove off the side of Highway 154 above Santa Barbara on Sept. 15, ending up about 75 feet down the rugged hillside and disrupting an uncharacteristic break in traffic crashes along the Windy Gap stretch of the roadway.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said firefighters responded to the crash scene east of Old San Marcos Road just before midday. The vehicle’s lone occupant, a man believed to be in his 30s, had managed to get himself out of the wreckage and clamber up.

Soon after, a California Highway Patrol officer spotted the man walking along the roadway and flagged down a responding American Medical Response ambulance.

The driver, whose identity was not disclosed, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, but the nature of his injuries and his medical condition were not available.

The CHP is investigating the cause and circumstances of the crash.

                                                                  •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Canyon Fire Chars More Than 4,500 Acres at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

“Ten-Hut:” The “Living Photographs” of Arthur Mole and John Thomas.

                                                                  •        •        •

Watch It

I can’t believe my friend, Pete Sitterle, and I didn’t think of this first.

(colinfurze 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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