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Bill Macfadyen: Join Noozhawk on the Urban Hikers’ Walking Tour of Whimsical Jeff Shelton Projects

NoozWeek’s Top 5 catches a high-profile freeway crash, goes grocery shopping, gives a sheriff’s deputy a shot in the arm, witnesses a crazy wreck, and scores Helene Schneider’s losing streak

[Noozhawk’s note: So sorry, but as of 9:30 a.m. Saturday, the tour is sold out. We’ll let you know if we can schedule a second tour later in the year. Thanks!]

The Urban Hikers Walking Tour of Santa Barbara is a popular annual tradition on New Year’s Eve led by the Urban Hikers themselves, Peter Hartmann and Stacey Wright.

This year, the Noozhawk-sponsored event will be visiting a few of the downtown buildings designed by architect Jeff Shelton. What’s more, Shelton himself will be accompanying the entourage, providing insights and observations on his whimsical projects while we walk and talk.

The tour starts at 2 p.m. Wednesday, at a location that will be determined over the weekend. The group will meander over the lower downtown area, ending up at Casa Blanca Restaurant & Cantina, 330 State St., at around 5 p.m.

The tour is free — although donations are suggested and gratefully accepted — but attendance is limited to 60 people. Click here to RSVP and to receive a printable ticket to bring with you. And don’t forget comfortable walking shoes, water and a camera. No pets, please.

I hope to see you — well, 60 of you anyway — on Dec. 31.

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There were 65,267 people who read Noozhawk this past week. What’s my take on your top stories? I’m glad you asked.

1. 2 Seriously Injured in SUV Wreck at Carrillo Street Exit on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

A mother and daughter were seriously injured Dec. 20 when their SUV crashed into a wall along Highway 101 in Santa Barbara. One of two dogs traveling with them reportedly was killed in the wreck.

The crash occurred about 9:30 a.m. as the Cadillac Escalade was getting off the freeway at the northbound Carrillo Street exit ramp, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said the vehicle struck some trees before slamming into the sound wall. Both women had to be extricated from the wreckage.

McCoy said the passenger was freed rather quickly, and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

The other victim was not so lucky.

“The driver was very entangled and up against the sound wall,” McCoy told Noozhawk. “The dashboard was down on her legs, and basically her whole capsule was crushed down on her.”

She, too, was taken to Cottage Hospital.

Santa Barbara Animal Control officers were called to the scene to tend to two dogs traveling in the vehicle. One of the dogs reportedly died in the crash, but the other was taken to a local veterinary hospital.

The names of the victims and details on their conditions were not immediately available.

The northbound Carrillo Street exit ramp was closed for more than an hour, the CHP said, and freeway traffic was all but stalled through the area on the last Saturday morning before Christmas.

The Vons market at 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta is in the express checkout lane for a purchase by the Washington-based Haggen grocery chain. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
The Vons market at 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta is in the express checkout lane for a purchase by the Washington-based Haggen grocery chain. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

2. Washington-Based Haggen to Buy Some Local Albertsons, Vons Stores

As part of a previously announced merger between Albertsons and Safeway, a handful of the two grocery chains’ stores in Santa Barbara County will be sold to Washington-based Haggen. The transactions are part of a divestment of 168 stores in eight states to four buyers.

According to our Janene Scully, the affected Albertsons stores are at 1500 North H St. in Lompoc and 2010 Cliff Drive and 3943 State St. in Santa Barbara. The Safeway stores, under the Vons brand, are at 850 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria, 175 N. Fairview Ave. in Goleta and 163 S. Turnpike Road near Goleta.

Haggen, which is headquartered in Bellingham, is also buying stores in Oxnard, Ventura, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Los Osos and San Luis Obispo. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The Albertsons-Safeway merger is expected to close in January.

3. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputy Shot in Training Mishap

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy was shot in the arm accidentally during a Dec. 20 training session in Goleta.

Kelly Hoover, a department spokeswoman, declined to describe the training exercise, except to say it occurred at a building in the 7400 block of Hollister Avenue in the Ellwood area. 

“It was a minor injury, and he is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound to his arm,” she said.

No other details were released.

Santa Barbara County firefighters responded to the incident along with American Medical Response paramedics.

Does this still qualify as parallel parking? (Chris Donahue photo)
Does this still qualify as parallel parking? (Chris Donahue photo)

4. Driver Injured After Hitting Multiple Parked Cars in Santa Barbara

A pickup truck driver speeding down Yanonali Street in Santa Barbara came to an abrupt stop Dec. 22 when he ran into — and then under — one pickup truck and drove it into a third pickup truck.

Former Noozhawk Chris Donahue was working in his nearby print shop, Paper Moon Printing, and got some amazing photos of the unlikely sight. He also had some hilarious details that are probably best kept between the two of us.

As one might imagine, the driver appeared to be “altered,” Santa Barbara Fire Capt. Gary Pitney told our Giana Magnoli.

The driver was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with unknown injuries. No one else was hurt.

The circumstances of the wreck are under investigation by Santa Barbara police.

At the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments these days, it’s almost like Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider isn’t even there. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
At the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments these days, it’s almost like Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider isn’t even there. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

5. Helene Schneider Snubbed for SBCAG Board Chair Seat

Feuding with the business community, increasingly abandoned by former liberal allies, and at odds with the vast majority of South Coast residents, who want Highway 101 widened yesterday, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider is having a bad run.

To add insult to her self-inflicted injuries, the Santa Barbara County Association of Government board met Dec. 18 and voted overwhelmingly to bypass her as next year’s chairwoman. It was a bold move for the board, which usually rubber-stamps the ascension of whomever is serving as No. 2. In this case, that was Schneider.

So, why the exception? Well, for one thing, Schneider recently has become an outspoken supporter of a lineup of potential lawsuits against the long overdue and already approved 101 widening project. This after she was unable to convince her fellow members of the Santa Barbara City Council to file a lawsuit of their own.

But the SBCAG board is enthusiastically behind the project, and apparently isn’t in the mood for further delays.

As our Giana Magnoli reported, the board isn’t alone. More than a dozen speakers lined up at the meeting to voice their opposition to Schneider, and what an extraordinary group it was. Among them were former county Supervisors Gail Marshall and Susan Rose; philanthropist Sara Miller McCune; activist Micky Flacks; and a spokesman for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

“You must follow the wishes of the voters that you are pledged to serve and you must do it today,” McCune said to the board, urging them to stay the course with the freeway.

Marshall and Rose argued that SBCAG should be led by someone who agrees it’s time to move forward, rather than throwing up red lights. “It’s time to finish the job,” they said.

In the end, Schneider voted for herself, picking up the support of just one other board member. The rest of the board voted for Solvang Mayor Jim Richardson as chairman and Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf as vice chairwoman.

                                                                 •        •        •

Sienna Miller’s brownie scene is worth the watch.

(Vogue 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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