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Local News

Bill Macfadyen: Fatal Highway 101 Crash Leads Dark Cloud of News While Deltopia Fears Fizzle

Before taking a hike on Micheltorena Street, NoozWeek’​s Top 5 holes up in a condo, enjoys a muted Deltopia and marks a second fatal collision

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Noozhawk had 105,771 readers this past week. Quicker than you can figure out how to use a subway turnstile, here’​s my take on our five most-read stories, as tracked by Google Analytics:

1. Santa Barbara Man Dies in Highway 101 Crash in Carpinteria

A 66-year-old Santa Barbara man was killed the night of April 3 when his minivan crashed into a tree along southbound Highway 101 in Carpinteria.

According to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jim Richards, Philip Robert Nevarez was driving a 2000 Plymouth minivan when the vehicle drifted off the highway about 11:35 p.m. and slammed into a tree near Santa Claus Lane.

Nevarez, the van’s only occupant, was declared dead at the scene. Richards said he was not wearing a seatbelt.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the CHP, and it is not known whether alcohol or drugs were factors.

Condolences and prayers to the Nevarez family. R.I.P.

We’ve got all night, Dude. But you don’t. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
We’ve got all night, Dude. But you don’t. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

2. Man Barricaded in Condominium Surrenders After Allegedly Threatening Police

A Santa Barbara man was taken into custody in the wee hours of April 2 after an hours-long standoff with police.

According to Sgt. Riley Harwood, officers responded to a domestic-disturbance call at 9:30 p.m. April 1 at a condominium in the 3700 block of Greggory Way, off Hitchcock Way east of the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.

He said a woman and a 2-year-old child had escaped from the condo, but a man, later identified as 42-year-old Mario Andrew Edwards, barricaded himself inside, allegedly making threats toward law enforcement.

Police surrounded the complex and called in reinforcements, including SWAT and a crisis-negotiation team.

Edwards eventually surrendered about 1 a.m., Harwood said. He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of domestic battery, making terrorist threats, resisting arrest and child endangerment.

There were no injuries in the incident.

3. Sun & Fun on Tap As a Tame ‘Deltopia’ Returns to Isla Vista

Our newest reporter, Sam Goldman, is a recent UC Santa Barbara grad who still lives in Isla Vista. Knowing that, the rest of us quickly touched our noses and exclaimed “not it” when it came time to assign “Deltopia”​ duty this year. He should have seen it coming.

This year’​s Deltopia revelers may have been few in number, but their enthusiasm bubbled over. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
This year’​s Deltopia revelers may have been few in number, but their enthusiasm bubbled over. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

Being a good sport, and wanting to leave a good impression with his new colleagues, Sam eagerly leaped at the opportunity to cover the annual alcohol-fueled bacchanalia along Del Playa Drive. The unsanctioned community party moved ashore a few years ago after authorities shut down “Floatopia” on the beach below.

Little did Sam know that the most exciting news he would have to report from the April 2 shenanigans was an unrelated underground electrical vault fire that knocked out power to the east end of the densely populated community west of UCSB. 

For wary law enforcement and campus officials, that was a good thing.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover estimated the 2016 crowd to be only around 3,500 hearty partiers, well below last year’s 10,000.

She also said there were just 45 arrests this year, three of them felonies, along with 48 citations and 10 medical calls that required trips to the hospital.

“The vibe out here is festive, people are enjoying the beautiful day, having a great time,” Hoover told Sam late that Saturday afternoon.

“We’re very pleased with the cooperation from students. The No. 1 reason why this event was so successful was the fact that the students did not encourage out-of-towners to attend, did not advertise on social media, or invite and hype the event.”

Also out and about was our Zack Warburg, who put miles on his shoes as he walked all over the place capturing the scene in pictures. Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery of mostly Zack’s work.

4. Pedestrian Fatally Injured by Truck on Highway 246 in Lompoc

A 66-year-old man was struck and killed by a pickup truck while walking along Highway 246 in Lompoc just before dawn April 6.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of the Ford F-150 called 9-1-1 to report that he thought he had hit a pedestrian who had run out from bushes near Sweeney Road at about 5:30 a.m.

CHP Officer Cliff Powers said the man was wearing dark clothing and walking partially in the eastbound lane when he was hit by the eastbound truck driven by Kevin Rounds, 35, of Lompoc.

“Mr. Rounds was unable to see the pedestrian and the right side of his pickup struck the pedestrian as it passed by him,” Powers said.

The pedestrian, a Lompoc man whose name is being withheld until his family can be notified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Powers said Rounds was not impaired but toxicology tests would be conducted to determine whether the victim was.

West Micheltorena Street, with not one bike in sight. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)
West Micheltorena Street, with not one bike in sight. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

5. Urban Hikers Take a Stroll Through Micheltorena Bike-Lane Controversy

The City of Santa Barbara ran into a buzz saw of opposition to its ill-conceived plan to clear out parking along four blocks of West Micheltorena Street so a handful of bicyclists can pedal in peace.

Facing the prospect of litigation from residents and businesses in the neighborhood between Castillo and State streets, the City Council backed off. Now, the city’s controversial bicycle master plan will follow a more customary process for review.

I still maintain that voters should have a say on the entire scheme.

Meanwhile, our Urban Hikers — Peter Hartmann and Stacey Wright — were thinking long and hard about the charming, eclectic neighborhood, which includes historic Victorians and bungalow courts filled primarily by renters and a little over a block of commercial occupants.

Their plan, as they explained to me one night at The Nugget downtown, was to stroll through and write about what they found.

They also would walk Sola Street, a block away, because Sola is less-traveled and much wider than Micheltorena as a result of its inclusion in the city’s streetcar master plan from 1875 until 1929.

We published their story on April 5, and it was an immediate hit with readers. As is typical of Peter and Stacey, the report is well-researched and well-written, and it includes a plethora of photographs to orient the reader.

I think they really captured the essence of a neighborhood that deserves far more respect than it’s received from elected leaders and city officials.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? In Cost-Cutting Move, U.S. Postal Service Scraps Most Next-Day Local Letter Delivery.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Given Santa Barbara’s endless debates over traffic, intersections, roundabouts and bike lanes, I found this intriguing: MIT’s Not-So-Crazy Plan To Get Rid Of Stoplights. Be sure to click on the video link.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

This pinpoint accuracy will string you along.

(Nathan Johnson 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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