I have diversions.
What follows is my own take on the Top 5 stories you were reading during that period.
As a reminder, this is my opinion column. It is not a news story.
Following a series of very poor decisions, a rogue driver was arrested in Santa Barbara on June 6 after allegedly striking a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the collision witnessed by police.
Santa Barbara police Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale told our Tom Bolton that the incident started just before 12:30 p.m. with some kind of a disturbance in the 1900 block of De la Vina Street, between West Mission and West Pedregosa streets.
He said a 9-1-1 caller reported “a subject was pounding on the windows and attempting to enter a locked door of a local business.”
“Officers arrived and contacted the subject without incident,” Ragsdale continued. “The subject was asked to leave the property and they (he) complied.”
Things unraveled from there.
Ragsdale said the man hit a retaining wall as he drove off in a pickup truck, so officers pulled him over a few blocks away in the 2000 block of Bath Street.
A bystander apparently tried to help by standing in front of the truck — to no good end.
“The driver struck the good Samaritan, fled the scene, and a pursuit was initiated,” Ragsdale said.
The man, whose identity was not released, was rushed to nearby Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Details on his condition were not available.
Meanwhile, police were pursuing the suspect up to the Mesa, where Ragsdale said he was stopped and taken into custody about 1:35 p.m. in the 2300 block of Carlton Way, off Mohawk Road.
On June 9, the suspect was identified as 43-year-old Cary Glenn Allen of Santa Barbara.
Tom reported that the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office has charged him with aggravated mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon, leaving the scene of a crash resulting in permanent serious injury, and evading an officer causing injury — all felonies.
He also has been charged with misdemeanor hit and run resulting in property damage, and domestic violence contempt of court.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Chanda said Allen pleaded not guilty to the charges. A preliminary hearing was set for June 13.
As of June 9, he remained in County Jail on $1.13 million bail.
At the time of this week’s mayhem, Chanda said, Allen was out on bail from an earlier series of alleged crimes, including felony corporal injury to a spouse and a misdemeanor charge of violating a domestic-violence court order.
She said he previously was convicted of battery upon a spouse, and had been sentenced to probation.
If convicted on the slew of charges he’s now facing, Chanda said, Allen could get a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison.
2. 99-Unit Housing Project Designed for Local Workers Is Proposed for Tri-County Produce Site in Santa Barbara
Plans are afoot to transform the long-desolate parking lot adjacent to Tri-County Produce in Santa Barbara into workforce housing. If approved, the popular market itself will be part of the major mixed-use makeover.
As our Josh Molina reported, local investors purchased the property at 335 S. Milpas St. last year for $9.75 million.
According to preliminary plans that the Santa Barbara Planning Commission will review on June 15, the market would be demolished and replaced by 99 residential units and a new, smaller market.
Of the 99 apartments, 55 would be two-bedroom units, 18 would be one-bedroom units, and studios would account for the remaining 26.
The project includes a parking garage with 122 spaces, a surface parking lot and the requisite bicycle parking.
The investor group — which includes Tri-County Produce owner John Dixon and general partners Austin Herlihy, Steve Leonard and Chris Parker — envisions addressing both the community’s chronic housing shortage and the specific housing needs of market employees.
“We’re excited to team up with a local business like Tri-County to try and solve their employee housing issues and the community’s housing crisis,” Herlihy told Josh.
“We’re local guys teaming up with locals to help solve one of our biggest local issues,” Parker added.
As our Josh Molina was first to report, the new market will feature a wide variety of fresh fish — including wholesale seafood from its venerable outpost at the Santa Barbara Harbor.
The market will also have a smoker, a raw-bar element and a small restaurant serving, you guessed it, seafood.
“I have always envisioned having a place in Goleta to offer our seafood,” owner and Dos Pueblos High School grad Brian Colgate told Josh.
“I have always had a vision of a having a fish market there with a restaurant element.”
Renovations at the space are underway with an October opening expected.
A June 6 head-on collision near Vandenberg Village killed all three people in one of the two vehicles.
The two people in the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries in the wreck, which was reported just after daybreak.
Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Scott Safechuck told our Janene Scully that the crash between a Kia sedan and a Chevy pickup truck occurred around 6 a.m. on Highway 1/Cabrillo Highway south of Constellation Road.
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Michael Griffith, the driver of the southbound Kia drifted left across the center line and directly into the path of the oncoming pickup.
On June 7, sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau spokeswoman Raquel Zick identified the dead as 48-year-old Adelina Cortez Olea, 47-year-old Zeferino Chavez Martinez and 18-year-old Rosalva Chavez Cortez, all of Santa Maria.
Griffith said the pickup driver, 52-year-old Isidro Galvez, and his passenger, 19-year-old Erid Ortega, both of Lompoc, had minor injuries and were transported by ambulance to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment.
The CHP is investigating the circumstances of the wreck, but Griffith said alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors.
The saga of Fresco Café is still drawing our readers’ attention. And who am I to get in their way?
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Here are another half-dozen stories that are worth your time:
» County Fire Agencies Declare Beginning of High Fire Season — Things may be soggy and dreary around here, but staff writer Serena Guentz delivers a sobering wildfire warning.
» A Year Later, Public’s Help Sought in Finding Killer of 96-Year-Old Montecito Woman — Executive editor Tom Bolton has an update on the 2022 murder of Violet Alberts, whose cold case is several levels of tragic.
» The Pad Climbing Gym Opens BoardRoom Training Facility Near Santa Barbara — Serena drops in on a new recreational option for local climbers.
» Dan McCaslin: Hiking Along the Roaring Manzana Creek to Fish Creek Camp — Outdoors columnist Dan McCaslin heads to the backcountry for the first time since the intense winter storms blasted through.
» June Rainstorm Dampens Santa Barbara County — Speaking of winter, managing editor Giana Magnoli has a forecast for weather that should have moved on months ago.
» Westmont’s World Series Title Gives School 10 NAIA Championships Overall — Sports editor Barry Punzal covers the Westmont College baseball team’s first, and last, NAIA national championship.
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Last Year on Noozhawk
What was our most-read story this time last year? Firefighters Stop Spread of ‘Suspicious’ Vegetation Fire East of Highway 154 Near Santa Barbara.
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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week
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Here’s What I’m Up To
- June 2 — Thank you to Frankie Romero and Giana Walker for being my gracious Class of 2023 interviewees at the annual sixth-grade exit interviews at Mountain View School in Goleta, and thank you to Principal Joanna Lauer for inviting me again. Click here for our Serena Guentz’s report on the day.
- June 2 — Spoke to the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. HT to my friend, Steve Baker, for the invitation.
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Best of Bill’s Instagram
It’s always #rodeotime in my world, Ol’ Son, and the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo is my kind of ride. The boots and chaps and cowboy hats — and Miss Rodeo California McKensey Middleton — are all in my Instagram feed.
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