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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 10:29 pm | Fog/Mist 56º


Bill Macfadyen: Want to Stop Traffic with a Freeway Stunt for Attention? Here’s Your Sign

NoozWeek’s Top 5 runs into 2 major Highway 101 wrecks on the same afternoon, learns cascarones are stronger than bureaucratic eggheads, picks up a bike wreck on Gibraltar Road, and encounters smoke from some distant fires

Freeway Click to view larger
Time to sign off, buddy. (Diego Topete / Noozhawk photo)

All this talk of the Space Force had me thinking that Space Ghost, Zorak and Moltar were back to protect us — coast to coast — with witty banter and biting rhetoric.

The impostornators don’t stand a chance, I thought to myself. But then I asked myself, “Are you getting enough oxygen?” Sadly, I had to admit to myself that I probably wasn’t.

Back on this planet, meanwhile, Noozhawk drew an audience of 122,253 readers this past week, according to our Google Analytics.

I’m your host of this talk show, er, column, and this is my take on your Top 5 stories of the week. Thanks for tuning in.

1. Authorities Rescue Man Perched on Freeway Sign Near Goleta

A guy who allegedly threatened to jump from a Highway 101 overpass near Goleta was retrieved before he could do himself any harm the afternoon of Aug. 5. The hullabloo over his public display of selfishness shut down the southbound freeway for the rescue — not that he likely gave it any thought.

According to the California Highway Patrol, a man clambered over the protective fencing of the Turnpike Road overpass just before noon. He was reported to be alternately sitting down on a sign directly over the freeway lanes below or standing and leaning against the bridge span behind him.

A phalanx of first responders — Santa Barbara County firefighters, law enforcement and an ambulance — was dispatched to the scene, near In-N-Out Burger at 4865 Calle Real.

Also responding was the ladder truck from county Fire Station 11 at 6901 Frey Way behind Camino Real Marketplace, 5½ miles away. The truck’s extension ladder proved handy because firefighters used it to reach the man and escort him to safety.

The CHP said the man was taken into custody, presumably for a mental-health evaluation. His identity was not disclosed.

There were no injuries in the incident, which tied up traffic for hours that Sunday afternoon.

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

2. Major Injuries Reported in Wrong-Way Crash on Highway 101 at El Capitán

Crash Click to view larger
What happened to the engine? (Capt. Dave Zaniboni / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

A couple of Highway 101 crashes snarled traffic along Santa Barbara County’s South Coast — even more than usual — the afternoon of Aug. 8. One of them involved a wrong-way driver who slammed into two other vehicles, including a pickup truck towing a travel trailer.

The California Highway Patrol said a motorist driving north in the southbound lanes plowed into an oncoming pickup truck about 2:20 p.m., just north of El Capitán Ranch Road on the Gaviota coast west of Goleta. After the collision, authorities say, the car continued about 100 yards before striking a second southbound vehicle.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the first crash impact caused the pickup driver to lose control of the truck — and the travel trailer it was pulling — and the rig ended up on the southbound exit ramp. He said neither occupant was injured.

A woman in the second victimized vehicle was not so fortunate. While that car’s driver escaped injury, a passenger — an Atascadero woman whose name was not released — suffered major injuries, Zaniboni said. She was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, he added.

The CHP identified the alleged wrong-way driver as Sarah Bernice Yates, 55, of Lompoc. Zaniboni said she, too, suffered major injuries in the double whammy and was taken by a second AMR ambulance to Cottage Hospital.

The cause of the crash is under CHP investigation.

“It is undetermined if anyone involved in the collision was under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” the CHP said.

In the aftermath of the wreck, Caltrans closed the southbound lanes at Refugio State Beach and rerouted traffic to Highway 154. All lanes were reopened about 90 minutes later.

At about the same time, and 15 miles to the east, a Ford Econoline van towing a 25-foot trailer jackknifed on northbound Highway 101 at El Sueno Road near Santa Barbara.

Mike Eliason, a county Fire Department spokesman, said the van ended up on the guardrail with the overturned trailer blocking two of the freeway’s three lanes.

He said the van’s four occupants were unhurt, but a fuel leak had to be contained by emergency crews.

The wreck jammed up the freeway — and nearby surface streets — for several hours afterward.

The CHP is investigating the circumstances of the crash.

3. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Monique Limón Lash Out Over Crackdown on Confetti Egg Vendors

Cascarones Click to view larger
California tries to raid the hen house one time too often. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

There just may be hope for California after all. It turns out there IS a tax and regulation line that not even a state politician will cross: Cascarones.

To quote the great Vin Scully, “If you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky!”

With uncharacteristic speed, two local elected officials sided with beleaguered taxpayers after state authorities announced they would be cracking down on the sale of confetti-filled eggs during Santa Barbara’s annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

As our Josh Molina first reported, more than a half-dozen agents from the sinister-sounding California Department of Tax and Fee Administration visited the vendors during a sweep of State Street on Aug. 1. In no uncertain terms, the intimidating bilingual revenuers informed the unlicensed and mostly Latino workforce that they were breaking the law and facing stiff fines, potential misdemeanors and the seizure of the 25-cent eggs from their baskets.

The terror-stricken egg folks were directed to fill out an online registration form or drive to a Ventura office to apply for a temporary permit. The agents warned they’d be back two days later to take “enforcement action.”

That didn’t sit well with state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywoman Monique Limón, both Santa Barbara Democrats, who quickly had the bureaucrats scrambling to wipe the egg off their faces.

“I found it ridiculous, preposterous and totally inappropriate,” Jackson told Noozhawk. “It made no sense to me what they were trying to do.”

She said the department would be issuing an apology — to the vendors and to the Santa Barbara community.

Jackson said there are bigger vendors statewide that don’t play by the rules, but “not the family on the corner that is just trying to make a few bucks engaging in a longstanding Fiesta tradition.”

Limón also was appalled.

“These are cascarones,” she said. “These are confetti eggs ... I know some families who do this as a way for kids to learn and make money.”

As far as I’m concerned, these smallest of small business people might as well find out now just how anti-business the State of California is — and remains so, in spite of Jackson and Limón’s intervention this one time. Maybe these kids will grow up to elect legislators who will enact common-sense taxation and regulation instead of the punishing extremism we have now, at every level of government.

Sounding more and more like me, Limón is on an egg roll at the moment. She says she’ll be working with state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, to pass his Senate Bill 946, the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act that would end criminal penalties for sidewalk merchants throughout California.

Both Limón and Jackson have less-than-stellar records of supporting small business when they’re in Sacramento. Once they discover how satisfying it is to save cascarones vendors and lemonade stands, perhaps they’ll realize the rest of us are not that different. Our once Golden State would be the better for it.

4. Bicyclist Suffers Major Injuries in Collision with Vehicle on Gibraltar Road

A bicyclist zooming down Gibraltar Road above Santa Barbara was severely injured Aug. 4 after crashing into a vehicle coming up the steep and winding roadway.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the head-on collision occurred just before 5 p.m. in the 2900 block of Gibraltar Road.

The cyclist, a man later identified as Neil Myers, 61, was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to an area higher up the mountainside where a Calstar medical helicopter could land. From there, he was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Myers suffered numerous broken bones in the wreck, and remained at Cottage Hospital on Friday.

The accident is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

Santa Barbara Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service personnel also responded to the remote crash scene.

5. Smoke from California Wildfires Affecting Santa Barbara County Air Quality

With the state of California pretty much one big fire map these days, it would stand to reason that smoke from the enormous Northern California wildfires would be infiltrating Santa Barbara County. And it has.

According to the county Air Pollution Control District, “moderate” air-quality conditions were reported Aug. 7 and 8, with smoke impacts likely lingering into the weekend.

The agency has been posting daily air-quality forecasts since December’s Thomas Fire created the worst-ever air quality in the county’s recorded history.

Click here for current air quality in Santa Barbara County.

Click here for APCD tips on how to be “air-quality aware.”

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Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? 2 Injured as Pickup Truck Plunges Over Side of Highway 154 Near Santa Barbara.

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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Interesting: Tiny Home Village for Homeless Thriving in Denver District.

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Best of Bill’s Instagram

My Instagram feed parades through @oldspanishdays, among other things. HT to my friend, Kirsten McLaughlin, and her Cox team for the wagon ride-along in El Desfile Histórico. #thankyou #vivalafiesta

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

How’s this for virtual reality?

(loketsan tusa video)

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk and Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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