Rambling wreck stops traffic in Montecito. (Casey Pieretti photo)

A couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning the also-ran status of the Los Angeles Lakers, an organization now living in the distant suburbs of Golden State Warrior Nation.

And then LeBron James happened.

But as promising as the King James version of the Lakers might be, I can’t help but recognize in the Warriors the team spirit of the Lakers’ Showtime era from the mid-1980s. I just wonder if that’s the real secret to Golden State’s golden run as NBA champions.

Regardless, California now defines basketball in a way it never has before. Who knows? I may even start paying attention before the interminable playoffs start in a month or two.

While we wait for tip-off, there were 105,644 Noozhawk fans reading the site over the past past week, according to our Google Analytics.

What follows are my opinions on your Top 5 stories. It’s showtime …

1. Crash Closes Part of Highway 192 in Montecito for Up to 24 Hours

A BMW sedan crashed into a power pole on East Valley Road/Highway 192 in Montecito just before dawn June 30, shearing off the pole at its base and shutting down the roadway for 24 hours of repairs.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the high-speed crash occurred just before 5:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of East Valley Road, about a quarter-mile east of San Ysidro Road.

The driver suffered minor injuries in the collision, the CHP said.

The utility pole was a goner, however. East Valley Road was closed between El Bosque Road and Hodges Lane so Southern California Edison crews could replace the pole and repair power lines.

The CHP is investigating the cause of the wreck. No further details were available.

HT to Noozhawk reader Casey Pieretti for sharing his picture from the crash scene.

2. Santa Barbara County Goes Red, White and Boom with Fourth of July Parades and Fireworks


A sparkling night in Santa Barbara. (Fritz Olenberger photo / www.olenberger.com)

Pancake breakfasts, parades, picnics, concerts, family-friendly activities and massive fireworks shows filled the day, and night, on July 4 as Santa Barbara County celebrated Independence Day.

Our Brooke Holland and Janene Scully were out and about at many of the events, from Montecito to Santa Barbara to Goleta to Solvang, and Noozhawk readers were gracious enough to share their photos to round out our coverage.

After all, on the Fourth of July, you can never have too many pictures of American flags; red, white and blue patriotic pride; and sparkling fireworks displays.

Happy birthday to us!

3. Google’s Plans for AI Project Building Get Positive Review from Goleta Board


Google it. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Google has gone all in on artificial intelligence, and recently entered a partnership with UC Santa Barbara to research and develop quantum computing using superconducting integrated circuits. The project is connected to the global Internet giant’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.

But that’s apparently a story for another day.

As part of the deal, the Mountain View-based company is planning to move into 40,000 square feet of commercial office space just west of Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. Like most new tenants, it needs to make some changes to the site at 301 Mentor Drive.

On June 26, Google and its architects, ShubinDonaldson, made an appearance before Goleta’s Design Review Board with an updated proposal incorporating board feedback and requests from two previous hearings over the last two months.

After public comment that included a clearly spellbinding explanation of what an arborist does, the board voted unamiously to support Google’s latest proposal.

The end.

4. Palm Springs Expert Says Santa Barbara Needs More Millennials, Downtown Housing


State Street. Again. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The elusive search for a solution to the woes of Santa Barbara’s downtown has reached Palm Springs. The Riverside County city of 50,000 boasts a thriving downtown — in spite of its location in the middle of the desert where it’s too bloody hot to be outside during the day for the better part of most of the year.

Thanks to the Santa Barbara-based World Business Academy, Palm Springs downtown development consultant Jerry Ogburn was in town for a panel discussion on what makes his city “like no place else,” and how Santa Barbara might become more like it.

“You need energy,” he told about 100 guests assembled at the Belmond El Encanto on June 28.

“People who live downtown bring energy. Downtown is everyone’s neighborhood.”

Ogburn outlined several potential long-term strategies, including the construction of more downton housing and the recruitment of millennials. For the short term, he suggested implementing policies that would encourage more outdoor dining to revitalize State Street and the downtown core.

At one point, he said, Palm Springs had a downtown commercial vacancy rate of 45 percent, but more lighting, outdoor dining and downtown housing began to reverse that all-too-familiar trend.

VillageFest, a one-block Thursday night street fair, now stretches for a mile with more than 150 vendors, food courts and live entertainment. On some Thursdays, Ogburn said, the event draws more than 10,000 people downtown.

“We went from God’s waiting room to an attraction for millennials,” he remarked.

Ogburn was joined at the event by World Business Academy founder and president Rinaldo Brutoco; former Santa Barbara Mayor Hal Conklin, now president of USA Green Communities; Amy Cooper, owner of Plum Goods Santa Barbara, at 909 State St.; and Ron Fox, a board member of PATH (People Assisting The Homeless).

Click here for Noozhawk’s Reimagine: Santa Barbara project.

5. Vehicle Strikes Mountain Lion on Highway 101 in Gaviota Area

A car struck a mountain lion that was crossing Highway 101 near Gaviota State Park the night of July 3. The injured animal disappeared into the darkness but was discovered dead on the shoulder the next morning.

The California Highway Patrol said the incident was reported around 8:30 p.m.

The three occupants of the Volvo were not hurt, but the vehicle had some front-end damage.

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We’re Hiring

As I mentioned last week, Noozhawk business development vice president Kim Clark is searching for an experienced, detail-oriented marketing assistant to join the sales team. Click here for the job description on Noozhawk’s LinkedIn profile. Kim can be contacted at kim.clark@noozhawk.com.

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Last Year on Noozhawk


It may have been our top story this time last year, but this is our all-time greatest photograph. (Christopher Foley photo / https://ambulant.photo)

What was our most-read story this time last year? Speedboat Crashes into Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara Harbor, Damaging Piling.

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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Talk about fixer-uppers: Ruin Renovation Turns 6 Abandoned Structures into Luxury Homes.

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Best of Bill’s Instagram

Time travel brought me face to face with the Qin Dynasty and the Comstock Lode on successive days, and my Instagram feed has the pictures to prove it. HT to my old friend, author @gregory.crouch, and his new book, The Bonanza King. Buy it at Chaucer’s Bookstore; it’s a #bestofbillrecommendation.

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Watch It

It’s Cowboy Christmas, Ol’ Son. If, like me, you’re missing the annual rodeo circuit sprint, here’s my favorite cowboy, Dale Brisby, helping world-champion barrel racer Fallon Taylor put her shoes on the other hooves.

YouTube video

(Dale Brisby video)

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk and Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Bill Macfadyen

William M. Macfadyen, Noozhawk Publisher

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