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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 4:10 am | Fair 43º


Bill Macfadyen: Self-Inflicted Gunshot Likely Cause of Woman’s Death at Closed Shooting Range

NoozWeek’s Top 5 includes 2 wrecks, says goodbye to Dr. Dan Secord and, wait, is that really rain?

Authorities have an open investigation of an apparent suicide at the closed “Glass Factory” shooting range on East Camino Cielo above Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Authorities have an open investigation of an apparent suicide at the closed “Glass Factory” shooting range on East Camino Cielo above Santa Barbara. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

OK, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve been away from Santa Barbara for a week, gallivanting through the Burgundy countryside — as anyone who follows me on Instagram surely must know.

While in France, I’ve discovered that Santa Barbara County isn’t the only wine-producing region in the world. Who knew?

Burgundy does have one spectacular advantage over my home field, however, and that’s the Canal de Bourgogne. If you get the opportunity to cruise the historic waterway, take it. If you can, make it Barge Prospérité because the experience and service are world class.

Meanwhile, forgive me if this week’s column is a little light on details. I blame rural France’s spotty Internet connection. And the cheese.

There were 103,055 people who read Noozhawk this past week, according to our Google Analytics. Here’s my take on your top five stories:

1. Woman’s Body Found at Shooting Area in Mountains Above Santa Barbara

A passerby made a gruesome discovery while walking through the closed “Glass Factory” shooting range in the mountains above Santa Barbara on Oct. 22: the body of a woman who is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Just before 10 a.m., emergency personnel and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the desolate site on East Camino Cielo in Los Padres National Forest after the passerby called 9-1-1 to report the find.

Witnesses told Noozhawk that a vehicle was parked nearby at the public shooting range, which is closed due to fire restrictions in the national forest.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover later identified the woman as Sarah Lynn Hambarzumjan-Calhoun, 29, of Santa Barbara. Based on a preliminary investigation, she said authorities think the woman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

She said the sheriff’s Coroner’s Office will determine an official cause and manner of death pending toxicology and lab results.

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

What happened here? (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)
What happened here? (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

2. Santa Barbara Man Killed in Fiery Highway 101 Crash in Carpinteria

A Santa Barbara man was found dead in his car the night of Oct. 20 after the vehicle crashed off Highway 101 in Carpinteria and caught fire.

The California Highway Patrol said the single-vehicle wreck occurred just before 8 p.m. on the southbound side of the freeway near the Santa Claus Lane exit ramp.

Witnesses told the CHP that the Subaru WRX got on the freeway in Summerland, and was driving erratically and without its lights before it crashed.

The car ended up in bushes about 50 feet off the roadway, and witnesses told Noozhawk that it was engulfed in flames by the time emergency personnel arrived moments later.

The driver — later identified as 62-year-old John Scheuermann — was declared dead at the scene, said Grace Donnelly, spokeswoman for the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department.

She said firefighters quickly put out the fire, which had spread to the brush.

The CHP is investigating the cause of the wreck, and the sheriff’s Coroner’s Office will be conducting toxicology tests.

3. Heavy Rain Expected Thursday from Season’s First Big Storm

I forget. Does rain early in the season portend a wet winter or a dry one? With the first big storm of the rainy season rolling into Santa Barbara County, it won’t be long until we find out.

By the time it’s all said and done, the National Weather Service said the Central Coast could receive up to one or two inches of rain, with four inches possible in mountain areas.

Rainfall rates of a half-inch an hour could trigger mudslides, especially in the Rey and Sherpa fire footprints, according to Stuart Seto, a weather service specialist.

On Oct. 27, the county Office of Emergency Management issued an evacuation warning for residents in the 7,500-acre Sherpa Fire burn area, particularly those in El Capitán, Las Flores and Refugio canyons.

Early on Oct. 28, authorities issued a flash-flood warning for the Rey Fire burn area.

Most of the rain is expected to pass by Oct. 30, but intermittent showers are possible through the morning of Oct. 31.

Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

4. Dr. Dan Secord, Former Santa Barbara Councilman, Dead at 80

Dan Secord of Santa Barbara died Oct. 22 from bladder cancer. He was 80.

Dr. Dan Secord was many things, including my source for Alaskan malamute cuteness on the Internet. (Santa Barbara Choral Society photo)
Dr. Dan Secord was many things, including my source for Alaskan malamute cuteness on the Internet. (Santa Barbara Choral Society photo)

“Dr. Dan” was a fascinating guy with experience and expertise in truly diverse subjects, some surprisingly so.

He was accomplished and renown in several, which makes his obituary a challenge to write. Our Tom Bolton was up to it.

After leaving home as a teenager, Secord served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps before attending UC Riverside, where he earned a zoology degree in 1961.

He went on to graduate from the California College of Medicine, then was a practicing ob/gyn on the South Coast from 1969 until 2001 — a 32-year span during which he delivered an estimated 6,000 babies.

Following stints on the Santa Barbara Harbor and Planning commissions, Secord was elected to the City Council in 1997, serving two terms from 1998 to 2006.

He served on the California Coastal Commission, and he twice waged unsuccessful campaigns for the Second District seat on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

In retirement, which was not spare time to Secord, he led the Santa Barbara Choral Society as board chairman, was active with Santa Barbara Middle School and was even more active with nearly a dozen grandchildren.

He also was a committed sailor, cyclist, runner, pilot and BMW motorcycle enthusiast.

On a personal note, Secord was an avid supporter of Noozhawk since well before we launched in 2007. He frequently called me to ask how we were doing, emailed me with story questions and tips, and buttonholed me in person to offer blunt — but much appreciated — constructive criticism. I’m going to miss all of that, as well as his biting wit.

What I’ll miss most are the treasures he would find during his peripatetic searches of the Internet. Knowing I’m a longtime Alaskan malamute owner, he must have forwarded to me more than a hundred videos and cute pictures over the years. They were day brighteners, every one, and I’ll be thinking of him with each new YouTube discovery of my own.

Secord is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary; children Cindy Secord, Richard Secord, Stephanie Curtis, Lara Mislang and Jenny Secord; and 10 grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, 21 E. Constance Ave.

A reception, with an open mic for “telling Dr. Dan Stories,” will immediately follow at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, 130 Harbor Way.


Rear ending. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Rear ending. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

5. Elderly Woman Hospitalized After Highway 101 Crash in Goleta

A two-vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Goleta put an “elderly” woman in the hospital the night of Oct. 20.

There were no other injuries in the wreck, which occurred around 9 p.m. on the northbound side of the freeway at the Fairview Avenue overpass, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the victim was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor injuries. Her identity and official medical condition were not disclosed.

The CHP is investigating the crash.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? CHP Names Woman Killed in Highway 101 Crash in Summerland.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

A hot find from the Cold War: Secret Nazi Military Base Discovered by Russian Scientists in the Arctic.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

Best political ad of the season — especially if you’ve ever wanted to vote for Hank Hill.

(Gerald Daugherty 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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