CVS arrest
Not sure there will be a CVS ExtraBucks Reward for this. (Stacey Wright / Noozhawk photo)

Well, we did it. We crammed more than a dozen journalists into the conference room at Noozhawk World HQ for our first-ever Solutions Journalism Network training seminar.

As I explained in last week’s Best of Bill column, the concept of solutions journalism is to report on positive solutions while we’re reporting on challenges and problems. It sounds simple but, with a small staff operating in a fast-paced world of breaking news, it ends up being something we have to force ourselves to do.

And we’re committed to start doing that — because it’s necessary for our community, it’s important to our readers and, frankly, there’s really no excuse not to.

We’re also hopeful of wrangling some of our colleagues into joining us so it was exciting to welcome old friends and new to the workshop led by Michelle Faust Raghavan, the Solutions Journalism Network’s West Coast region manager. Those participating ranged from KEYT News, the San Luis Obispo Tribune and the Ventura County Star, to the Santa Ynez Valley Star, to KCSB-FM to DPNews from Dos Pueblos High School.

I’m grateful to and proud of our managing editor, Giana Magnoli, who organized the workshop and has been a champion of solutions journalism in our newsroom. She’ll be posting her own wrap-up over the weekend, and has a long list of story ideas to get our team started.

While you’re waiting on that, let’s get this week’s Best of Bill started — with a bang. According to our Google Analytics, we had an audience of 156,090 readers this past week.

This is my take on the Top 5 stories you were reading. In other words, this is my opinion column.

1. Officer Fires Nonlethal Rounds in Subduing Suspect Inside Santa Barbara Store

Trips to the drugstore usually are devoid of drama and inconvenience. Well, drama anyway.

Customers in the CVS store at 2973 State St. in Santa Barbara had a doozy of a shopping experience Feb. 21, however, after they were quietly ushered out of the store by employees so police officers could rush in to subdue an allegedly armed vandalism suspect.

As our Tom Bolton was first to report, police were dispatched to the 2800 block of State Street just before 10 a.m., chasing a 9-1-1 call about a woman vandalizing a vehicle with a machete.

Sgt. Chris Payne told Tom that the vehicle owner had confronted the woman, who then ran across the street and into the pharmacy, between East Calle Crespis and East Calle Laureles.

Police and CVS staff quickly began evacuating the sprawling store while looking for the suspect. A friend of mine was among the shoppers, and she told me that an employee instructed her to put down her basket and promptly walk out the front door.

Payne said two officers located the suspect, who charged at them. He said a third officer fired a single less-than-lethal shotgun beanbag round at her, striking her in the lower chest.

Rather than surrender, Payne added, the woman made a run at other customers, at which point the officer fired three more rounds, all of which hit her in the back. She still managed to run outside, where she was tackled at the front door and taken into custody.

Payne identified the suspect as 28-year-old Patricia McCoy of Santa Barbara.

She was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where she was examined and medically cleared. There were no other injuries in the incident,

McCoy was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of felony resisting arrest, and misdemeanor counts of battery on a police officer, brandishing a knife, vandalism and resisting arrest, Payne said.

As of Feb. 28, she remained behind bars with bail set at $30,000.

2. 3 People Hurt in Head-On Crash on Foothill Road Near Santa Barbara

An infant was among three people injured in a Feb. 24 head-on collision on Santa Barbara’s Foothill Road.

Foothill Road crash

Familiar scene, different site. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

According to the California Highway Patrol, a sedan and an SUV crashed into each other around 1:20 p.m. at the intersection of Foothill and Duncan roads, on the sweeping curve east of North La Cumbre Road.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Daniel Bertucelli told our Tom Bolton that fire crews and two American Medical Response ambulances were dispatched to the scene. The three injured victims were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with minor to moderate injuries, he said.

Details of the crash were hard to come by, but Foothill Road was shut down for more than an hour as CHP investigators scoured the site and the wreckage was cleared.

3. Bill Macfadyen: Santa Barbara Woman Never Had a Chance in Deadly Head-On Crash Near Lompoc

And speaking of head-on crashes, there’s nothing new to report in the Feb. 14 head-on collision near Lompoc that killed 24-year-old Selena Josefina Araiza, but my column, and our stories, have sure gotten a lot of reader attention.

Araiza was a passenger in a car driven by 27-year-old Joseph Hernandez of Santa Barbara. The California Highway Patrol said the couple was traveling south on Highway 1 about 6:20 p.m. when an oncoming car driven by Michael Hanson, 55, of Lompoc, suddenly zig-zagged across the road and slammed into them.

The cause of the crash remains under CHP investigation. Araiza died at the scene, and Hanson and Hernandez were airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with serious injuries.

After a Feb. 27 funeral mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in San Diego, Araiza was laid to rest in a nearby cemetery.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help her family with expenses. Click here to make an online donation.

Hernandez is facing a future of multiple surgeries and a lengthy rehabilitation, and a GoFundMe account also has been established to assist with his medical expenses. Click here to make an online donation.

4. ‘Urban Travelers’ Arrested After Allegedly Attacking Elderly Couple in Downtown Santa Barbara

Two transients described by police as “urban travelers” — NOT to be confused with my friends and Noozhawk contributors, Peter Hartmann and Stacey Wright, who are known as the “Urban Hikers” — were arrested after they allegedly attacked an Oxnard couple and their 13-year-old grandson in downtown Santa Barbara.

SBPD spokesman Anthony Wagner told our Tom Bolton that the couple — both in their early 70s — and their grandson were walking in the 700 block of State Street about 3:30 p.m. Feb. 26 when they encountered a homeless man collecting aluminum cans. He said some sort of incident occurred between the homeless man and the teenager, and that was followed by a shouting match between the man and the grandfather.

No sooner had the trio walked away, Wagner said, then a second transient — a woman who was not involved in the previous altercation — hauled off and punched the couple.

Bystanders broke up the attack, and police arrived within minutes, he added.

Wagner said the couple suffered minor injuries in the assault, but did not require hospitalization.

The woman suspect was located a short time later and taken into custody. Wagner identified her as 23-year-old Caitlin Rose Crenshaw, and said she was an “urban traveler” who had arrived in Santa Barbara the day before.

Her companion, 23-year-old Cody Huynh, also was arrested.

Wagner said both were booked into County Jail on suspicion of assault, battery and elder abuse. They were released a day later.

5. Parents, Activists Speak Out About Sex Ed in Heated Board Meeting

The Santa Barbara Unified School District has gotten itself into yet another boiling controversy, this time over its choice of a sex education curriculum it wants to roll out in its junior high schools.

Santa Barbara Unified School District meeting

Parental supervision at Santa Barbara Unified School District headquarters. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

As our Josh Molina has been reporting, district officials are proposing to implement Health Connected’s Teen Talk Middle School, which they say complies with the 2016 California Healthy Youth Act that requires comprehensive instruction about sexuality and sexual health.

Parents — on both sides of the merits of the Teen Talk program — and a handful of student proponents packed the school board’s Feb. 25 meeting, overflowing into a second room and out into the parking lot. In all, several dozen people got coveted speaking time before the trustees.

Teen Talk opponents object to what they say are the curriculum’s aggressive, overly explicit and age-inappropriate instruction for 12-14 year olds.

As an alternative, they’re asking the district to consider a program called HEART: Healthy Education and Relationship Training, which fulfills the state requirements but instead focuses on building healthy relationships and teaching sexual risk avoidance and reduction.

A few high school students spoke in favor of Teen Talk, noting that their peers are turning to pornography as an educational resource — as teenagers have for forever.

OK, boomers, back in olden days before the Internet, do you remember there was always at least one high schooler — but not you, of course — reading Playboy and Penthouse magazines “for the articles”? Thought so.

The school board took no action, but will revisit the issue next month.

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Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? 5 People Seriously Injured in Crash on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.

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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Every sports fan’s dream come true: Zamboni Driver Gets Win as Carolina Hurricanes’ Emergency Goalie Against Hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Best of Bill’s Instagram

It was back to an array of unexpected — and expected — encounters in my Instagram feed this past week, including #myfavoritepalmtree.

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Watch It

Trashing the cheating Houston Asterisks is baseball’s new national pastime. Turn up your speakers to get the full sound effect.

Four Astros getting hit by pitch . . . with enhanced audio@AsteriskTour

— Jeff Dobbs (@jeffdobbs) February 27, 2020

(2020 Astros Shame Tour video)

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Yes, I’ll set up a monthly donation today!
Yes, I’ll set up a monthly donation today!
Yes, I’ll set up a monthly donation today!
If you value dependable local reporting, will you support Noozhawk today?
Yes, I’ll set up a monthly donation today!
Yes, I’ll set up a monthly donation today!
Yes, I’ll set up a monthly donation today!
Yes, I’ll set up a monthly donation today!
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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk and Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.