Thursday, January 18 , 2018, 10:23 am | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Bill Macfadyen: Postal Service Puts Its Stamp on Further Mail Delivery Delays

NoozWeek’s Top 5 avoids a riot sequel in Isla Vista, opens an On the Alley in Goleta, shuts downs a medical clinic, and gets caught up in another freeway crash

Eh, just deliver it yourself. Click to view larger
Eh, just deliver it yourself. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

It’s a question no one has been asking, but I will not be a candidate to succeed ​Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

Interestingly, Capps’ retirement announcement was not one of our readers’ top stories this past week. For 90,630 of you, these were:

1. In Cost-Cutting Move, U.S. Postal Service Scraps Most Next-Day Local Letter Delivery

The U.S. Postal Service has rolled out its latest plan to fix its budget, which has been delivering red ink for years. What does it mean for us? Local first-class mail won’t be arriving at its destination any time as soon as it used to.

Blaming the old chestnut of declining mail volume, USPS is consolidating its processing facilities and revising its delivery standards. The result is that mail that used to take one day to process will now take at least two.

Of course, the drop in volume is real — by more than 50 percent in the last decade — and I’​m as much to blame as anyone. Noozhawk does 100 percent of its customer invoicing online and snail-mails only about a dozen items each month. Were it not for Christmas cards, pretty much nothing would ever be mailed out of my home.

But delivery issues aren’t the only culprit. Ballooning employee costs sent annual USPS budget deficits to a record $16 billion in 2012, although, in fairness, the reported deficit was only $5.5 billion in 2014.

It’s way past time for Congress to get serious about privatization, open competition and entrepreneurial innovation for the nation’s second-largest civilian employer. That’s right: With a workforce of 600,000, the U.S. Postal Service trails only ​Walmart.

I know that some readers will try to school me on the sanctity of government-run mail, but I’m not buying it. People used to make similar claims about Fossil Media.

This year’s Deltopia wasn’t a total bust for Isla Vista party animals, but it also had none of the violence that marred the 2014 edition. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
This year’s Deltopia wasn’t a total bust for Isla Vista party animals, but it also had none of the violence that marred the 2014 edition. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

2. Estimated 10,000 Revelers Pack Deltopia, But Isla Vista Avoids Repeat of Last Year’s Violence

After riotous violence a year ago, this year’s Deltopia street party was a shell of previous Isla Vista bacchanalia.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department estimated a crowd of about 10,000 hearty partiers this time, half of the 2014 attendance.

While there were still scores of alcohol-related arrests and medical calls throughout the day and night April 4, authorities said it appeared the muted atmosphere was a result of a concerted campaign to keep outsiders away.

“We’re very pleased with the lower turnout, and are hoping that it’s an indication that locals are continuing with the sentiment they had at Halloween that they are not inviting out-of-towners,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told our Lara Cooper.

Camino Real Marketplace’s vacant look will soon have a new On the Alley serving seafood-infused breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
Camino Real Marketplace’s vacant look will soon have a new On the Alley serving seafood-infused breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

3. BizHawk: On the Alley Restaurant Opening in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace

Since opening four years ago, On the Alley has been a real gem at the Santa Barbara Harbor, tucked away around the corner from its high-profile sister restaurant, Brophy Bros. In July, a second location is due to open in Goleta’s red-hot Camino Real Marketplace.

On the Alley will be taking over the space formerly occupied by the now-closed Gina’s Pizza, 7038 Marketplace Drive, about 10 feet from Camino Real Cinemas.

The new restaurant will mirror the seafood-infused breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of the harbor store, owner John Bennett told our Gina Potthoff.

Bennett and his mother own and operate several local restaurants, including Arch Rock, Benchmark Eatery, Brophy Bros., Farmer Boy Restaurant and The Cliff Room on the Mesa.

4. Officials Name Medical Clinic Closed For Unsafe Practices​

Santa Barbara County public health authorities shut down the office of Dr. Allen Thomashefsky after an investigation allegedly found unsafe infection-control practices at his clinic, located across the street from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Officials say conditions at the office, at 2320 Bath St., Suite 301, may have exposed patients to blood-borne viruses, including Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.

Thomashefsky, a sports medicine specialist who divides his time between Santa Barbara and Ashland, Ore., could not be reached for comment.

According to the county Public Health Department, an investigation was launched last month after a new case of Hepatitis C virus infection occurred in a patient with no other known risk factors.

Investigators made an unannounced site visit at Thomashefsky’s office, where they determined standard-infection control precautions were not being followed. They closed the office March 19.

“This was concerning enough for public health to take immediate measures to protect the public,” county officials said in a statement.

The word “immediate” must have an elastic definition, given that the county didn’t get around to announcing anything publicly until April 7 — three weeks later.

Now the county is trying to track down additional patients who may have visited the clinic in the last several years.

Meanwhile, a couple of readers wanted to know why Noozhawk didn’t immediately identify the clinic when one local publication apparently had.

It’s not because we were following the county’s timeline guidelines, but because we had not yet independently verified the name. Thomashefsky wasn’t talking and the county was being coy.

As soon as we confirmed the clinic, we posted the information. While we always strive to be first, it’s more important to us that we get the story correct.

5. Four Injured in Multivehicle Crash on Highway 101 in Goleta

A three-vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Goleta left four people injured the afternoon of April 4. Two of them were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the wreck occurred about 1:30 p.m. on the northbound side of the freeway west of Fairview Avenue. The freeway closes in right there as it goes through a construction zone for the Las Vegas and San Pedro creeks flood protection project.

Minor injuries were reported, but the northbound lanes were closed for a time so emergency personnel could tend to the victims and clear the wreckage.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web, is a fatwa we can all get behind: Turkey’s Top Religious Body Allows Use of Toilet Paper.

                                                                 •        •        •

I’ve had this discussion with my daughter. Language warning. But not from the discussion with my daughter.

(Fast Company video)

                                                                  •        •        •

If you value our unmatched breaking news and in-depth reporting on the issues that you care about, please support our experienced staff of professional journalists and help us continue to provide a vital forum for the community.

How can you help?

» Join our Hawks Club.

Membership Options

 

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 A.M. Report.

» Display your Noozhawk pride with a 3-inch-square Noozhawk sticker. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Noozhawk Promotions, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. The free stickers — as well as full-sized bumper stickers and pens — also are available at Noozhawk World Headquarters, 1327-A State St., by the historic Arlington Theatre.

» Like us on Facebook.

» Follow us on Twitter.

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, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • 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 >

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 PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



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 >