Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 7:10 pm | Fair 71º


Local News

Bill Macfadyen: SpaceX Rocket Has Its Ups and Downs While Waiting for Launch

NoozWeek’s Top 5 discovers a body on a Carpinteria beach, runs into Julia Di Sieno, closes the menu at Max’s Restaurant, and adds up mostly underwhelming storm rainfall totals

Hold on. Click to view larger
Hold on. (SpaceX photo)

That was a waste of an off-season.

Los Angeles Dodgers fans who waited four months to get rid of the bad taste from the first World Series appearance in three-flipping-decades instead had to choke down a crap sandwich March 29.

Flush with optimism on Opening Day, that confidence went right into the toilet when the offense picked up where it left off, making the injury-riddled San Francisco giants pitching staff look like a cast of Clayton Kershaws.

But, at least for one game, the giants are No. 1 and the Dodgers are No. 2. And, boy, do they smell like it.

Moving on, Noozhawk enjoyed a relatively quiet week for news after the grueling excitement of the last three months. According to our Google Analytics, we had 124,085 readers this past week.

What follows is my take on your Top Five stories. Batter up.

1. SpaceX Falcon Rocket Poised For Launch With Fifth Batch of Iridium Next Satellites

The next batch of Iridium Next satellites was all set to be carried into space March 29, until it wasn’t. Because of a faulty ground harness test cable, the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was delayed a day.

“We are having an issue with 1 of the 10 satellites in prep for #Iridium5,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch tweeted March 27.

By the time you read this, the satellites were well on their way from Space Launch Complex-4, with the rocket having blasted off at 7:13 a.m. March 30.

“All issues have been resolved and the satellites and rocket are green to go,” an Iridium representative said later.

The Iridium Next project is a second-generation network of satellites providing voice and data communications. In all, 75 satellites will be sent aloft over eight SpaceX launches. The current launch was the fifth since January 2017.

2. Coroner’s Bureau Identifies Body Found on Carpinteria Beach

A Santa Barbara woman apparently fell to her death from the Carpinteria bluffs, to the east of the seal rookery, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department officials say. The Coroner’s Bureau is investigating the incident as a possible suicide.

The body of the woman — identified as 37-year-old Anita Rebecca Ruiz — was discovered on the beach about 10:15 a.m. March 27.

According to sheriff’s Lt. Brian Thielst, who oversees the Carpinteria substation, foul play was not suspected.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Coroner’s Bureau at 805.681.4145.

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

3. Animal Rescue Team Founder Julia Di Sieno Arrested in Alleged Assault on Neighbor

Not two weeks ago I was discussing the Julia Di Sieno saga with an attorney friend of mine. Shaking our heads at the seeming absurdity of what already has been alleged, we agreed the only certainty was that there would be another chapter.

Julia Di Sieno is an active animal activist. Click to view larger
Julia Di Sieno is an active animal activist. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

That page turned March 25 when Di Sieno was arrested near her Santa Ynez Valley home on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after she allegedly clipped a neighbor with her truck.

Di Sieno, 57, is the founder of Animal Rescue Team, which she operates out of her home in the 800 block of Carriage Drive outside Solvang. Although her heart for animals may be in the right place, her neighbors — and Santa Barbara County officials — don’t think her facility is.

That controversy has led to an escalating feud, as well as previous misdemeanor charges against Di Sieno for alleged stalking and making criminal threats.

She had been ordered to surrender firearms and ammunition, but earlier this year when Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies were investigating a possible violation of a criminal protective order, they discovered ... firearms and ammunition. A search warrant turned up more, and she was arrested Feb. 5.

While all of that is hanging over her head, sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Calderon said a neighbor called 9-1-1 the night of March 24 to report that Di Sieno had followed him to the nearby El Rancho Marketplace, at 2886 Mission Drive.

“After the victim got out of his car, Di Sieno drove her truck toward him, striking him on the shoulder with the side mirror of her vehicle,” said Calderon, who added that she then drove off.

The man, whose identity was not released, was not injured and he declined medical treatment. Calderon said video surveillance and witness accounts backed his story.

A search that night was unsuccessful, but deputies spotted Di Sieno leaving her home the next morning and she was taken into custody.

Di Sieno was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon involving the vehicle, and she was booked into County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.

An April 25 court hearing has been scheduled, but a lot can happen between now and then. Check back with Noozhawk for the next episode.

4. BizHawk: Max’s Restaurant in Santa Barbara Closing After 34 Years

Ciao. Click to view larger
Ciao. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Max’s Restaurant & Cucina has served its last breakfast, lunch and cena, and has closed its doors after 34 years. Owner Henrietta Forystek is moving out of Santa Barbara to be closer to family, and is in the process of selling the eclectic eatery at 3514 State St.

“I will miss them,” Forystek told our Josh Molina, referring to her customers. “I was very happy to be here to serve them. This is a very wonderful place to be.”

Forystek would know. She started out as a hostess at Max’s in 1985, a year after it opened. She rose through the ranks to assistant manager and then general manager, and bought the place herself in 2002.

Max’s was open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. Tuesday through Thursday, it would reopen at 5 p.m. for four hours of dinner. As I said, eclectic. But the food was good, especially the Penne al Fungi, a #bestofbillrecommendation.

In case you’re wondering, Max’s was named after founder Linda Thompson’s golden retriever, which eagerly greeted customers. A portrait of Max hung by the front door.

Best wishes to Forystek. Thanks for the memories.

5. Lake Cachuma Reservoir Level Rises a Foot with Rain From Three-Day Storm

Just ducky. Click to view larger
Just ducky. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

As reported in my previous Best of Bill, last week’s three-day storm was long on mandatory blanket evacuation orders and stern warnings of “severe debris flows” but short on actual rain.

How short was it? Nowhere near the wild predictions made by the National Weather Service. It looks like the most rain over the three-day period was 5.43 inches logged at West Big Pine Mountain, 5.38 inches on La Cumbre Peak and 5.33 inches at San Marcos Pass.

Above Montecito, 4.12 inches was recorded. Fortunately for the flash flood-fearful community, most of that was spread out over more than 72 hours and easily handled by creeks that had raged so destructively on Jan. 9.

Officials say the county has received 59 percent of normal rainfall for the calendar year and 51 percent of normal average rainfall for the water year, which started Sept. 1. That’s not good for a region still considered to be in severe drought.

But Lake Cachuma did rise about a foot, to 40 percent of its capacity; Santa Barbara’s Gibraltar Reservoir is now at 85.3 percent capacity; and Montecito’s Jameson Reservoir is at 64.1 percent capacity.

And did I mention there was very little storm damage? All things considered, we’ll take the win.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Man Hit By Car at Goleta Trader Joe’s Sues Driver, Shopping Center.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Royal devotion: 20,000 Bees Chased a Car for 24 Hours to Rescue Their Trapped Queen Bee.

                                                                 •        •        •

Best of Bill’s Instagram

My Instagram peeps know how transfixed I am by Hot Springs Canyon and how the flash flooding was triggered up there. For the first time, I noticed what appears to be a significant “land slump” way up on the mountain. Check out the East Mountain Drive bridge over Hot Springs Creek and see for yourselves.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

This perp saw his garage door of opportunity closing so he made a run for it. He may have bought himself an extra day of freedom, but the long arm of the law ultimately caught up in Porter County, Ind.

(nwitimestv video)

                                                                 •        •        •

How You Can Help Noozhawk

Talk is cheap. Professional news gathering is not. If you like what you’re reading on Noozhawk and think our reporting is essential to the community, please support our work by becoming a member of our Hawks Club.

While most of Noozhawk’s revenue comes from advertising and sponsorships, we believe that reader contributions are a vital source of support — financially and fundamentally.

Your loyalty membership helps us continue to provide you with unmatched local news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about.

How can you help? It’s easy.

» Join our Hawks Club.


Red-Tailed Hawk, $5 a month; Cooper’s Hawk, $10 a month; Red-Shouldered Hawk, $25 a month; Birds of a Feather, $52 a year.

Checks can be snail-mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102.

» .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or market your business, organization, service or event.

» Subscribe to our free daily e-Bulletins.

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Instagram.

» Follow us on Twitter.

» Follow us on YouTube.

Please note that personal contributions to Noozhawk are not deductible as charitable donations.

Thank you for your support.

— 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >