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Bill Macfadyen: Police Go All Out at Shoreline Park But Danger Signs Appear to Have Been Misread

NoozWeek’s Top 5 runs into El Niño, shuts down a freeway, takes a fall from a train trestle, and ... Paula Lopez

Hold it right there.
Hold it right there. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

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Thanks to all of you who shared your prayers and contributed to the fund to help former Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson and her family. You guys are awesome.

As I told you last week, Michelle’s youngest son, Blake, was rushed to the hospital March 1 after contracting a very abrupt, deadly serious bacterial infection. The teenager has since undergone more than a half-dozen surgeries as doctors battle to keep the infection at bay.

There are small signs of progress, but it’s a scary ordeal, and the Nelsons continue to need our prayers and our help.

A GoFundMe page has been started to assist the family with medical expenses. Click here to make an online donation.

Click here to send Michelle a note through Facebook.

Thank you for all you have done.

                                                                 •        •        •

While the Obama administration continues scouring dictionaries, searching for the word “genocide,” Noozhawk had 124,251 readers this past week.

This column is my own take on your top stories, determined solely by our Google Analytics.

1. Santa Barbara Police Make ‘High Risk’ Arrest at Shoreline Park

Santa Barbara’s scenic Shoreline Park is a pretty quiet place on Sunday mornings — a few joggers, a few strollers, a few people walking their dogs. It usually doesn’t get more exciting than that.

But the morning of March 6, a report of a possibly suicidal man, with a gun, in an SUV, brought an overwhelming response from Santa Barbara police, including the SBPD’s armored Bearcat vehicle.

With weapons drawn, numerous officers creeped up on the Lincoln Navigator, which was parked in the upper park around 8:30 a.m.

As our Tom Bolton first reported, they eventually were able to coax the driver out of the vehicle, after which he was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication without further incident.

Sgt. Todd Johnson told Tom that the man — identified as Jeremiah Freeman of Santa Barbara — apparently was upset about being arrested the previous night on an alcohol-related charge.

He said Freeman did not appear to be suicidal, and no weapon was found in the SUV.

Authorities ordered people out of the popular park and blocked off Shoreline Drive during the incident.

It wasn’t clear who first reported the incident to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, or why.

(Mike McGeee / Noozhawk​ video)

2. Heavy Rain, Snow Fall on Santa Barbara County

El Niño may be mostly a bust for drought-weary Santa Barbara County, but a March 7 storm made its presence felt with heavy rain, powerful winds and even snow.

A rare El Niño storm made for some snow going for locals who ventured up to La Cumbre Peak. Click to view larger
A rare El Niño storm made for some snow going for locals who ventured up to La Cumbre Peak. (Diego Topete / Noozhawk photo)

According to county gauges, the storm — combined with another that blew through over the weekend — dropped more than 5 inches of rain in the mountains, with the South Coast recording 2 to 3 inches.

The National Weather Service issued county-wide wind advisories for gusts in excess of 30 mph, and added coastal flood advisories in the Lompoc and Santa Maria valleys.

Snow was reported at higher elevations, including 3,997-foot La Cumbre Peak above Santa Barbara. Some areas were pummeled by hail.

As our Giana Magnoli reported, snow and ice forced the county to close Gibraltar Road and East Camino Cielo, and storm debris and downed trees blocked other roadways, including part of northbound Highway 101 in Summerland.

Scattered power outages also were reported around the county.

Another storm is in the March 11 forecast, although the intensity and duration are expected to be milder.

Click here for Noozhawk’s El Niño section.

A hazmat crew scrambles to clean up the mess from the crash of a big rig hauling eggs. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)
A hazmat crew scrambles to clean up the mess from the crash of a big rig hauling eggs. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

3. Crashes Near Montecito Cause Massive Highway 101 Traffic Back-Up for Commuters

An early morning big-rig crash in Montecito brought the northbound Highway 101 commute to a screeching halt March 4. Traffic on the freeway and surface streets was backed up all the way to the Ventura County line east of Carpinteria — 13 miles away.

According to Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Mike de Ponce, an 18-wheeler carrying eggs slammed into a guard rail near Cabrillo Boulevard about 4:30 a.m.

The crash ruptured the truck’s 100-gallon gas tank​, forcing authorities to close the freeway just north of the Hermosillo Road exit so hazmat crews could clean up the leaked diesel fuel.

Traffic at the crash scene was detoured off the freeway at the Cabrillo Boulevard exit until a three-vehicle pileup shut down that option.

There were no injuries in any of the wrecks, but commuters — and Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria residents — were inconvenienced well beyond 8:30 a.m. when the freeway finally was reopened.

Just a reminder: The freeway is still just two lanes through Montecito, and will be for years to come, thanks in large part to the work of a determined minority of local residents and their elected political allies.

Beach landing. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Beach landing. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

4. Woman Seriously Injured in 100-Foot Fall from Gaviota State Park Train Trestle

A 56-year-old woman walking along the iconic train trestle at Gaviota State Park was seriously injured March 6 after she fell 100 feet to the beach below.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni told our Giana Magnoli that the woman was conscious when emergency responders arrived. A Calstar helicopter landed on the beach and flew her to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The woman’s identity was not disclosed, and it wasn’t immediately clear why she was on the trestle in the first place. 

There was no train running on the tracks at the time of the early afternoon incident.

5. Bill Macfadyen: Paula Lopez Case Is No Big Deal Yet, But Apparently One’s Coming

My March 4 column on Paula Lopez got several thousand reads a day for a few days. Who could have foreseen that?

In other news, Lopez’s DUI case is due back in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on March 11. Apparently, a plea deal is imminent.

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Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Santa Barbara Police to Investigate ‘Party Buses’ After Catching Underage Drinkers on Board.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Math isn’t the only thing they should have checked: Spelling Mistake Prevented Hackers from Taking $1 Billion in Bank Heist.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

This time of year there’s a lot of buzz about bee swarms. Here’s why.

(Dos Pueblos High School Charger Account​ 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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