The coronavirus crisis may still be spreading its death and devastation, but baseball is back and this weekend the world champion Los Angeles Dodgers begin chasing back-to-back glory. All is right with the world.
This is my opinion column, and although it may be light on that this week, this is not a news story.
1. Bill Macfadyen: Tragedy All Around in High School Student’s Alleged Attempted Murder of Classmate
I have nothing new to report in the case of 18-year-old Cora Vides, the Laguna Blanca School senior who has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and related charges in the Feb. 14 stabbing of a classmate. She’s due back in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on March 8.
The victim, also 18, is recovering at a Los Angeles hospital, but her family has released no information on her condition as they try to protect her privacy.
It seems that Santa Barbara’s Eastside Neighborhood Park may be a little too shady. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
Santa Barbara’s Eastside Neighborhood Park is charming and inviting. Whenever I drive past it on a hot summer day, the shade from its canopy of oak trees beckons. I just want to lie down for an afternoon nap.
Unfortunately, neighbors don’t necessarily share my romanticized view of the small park at the corner of East Yanonali and South Soledad streets across from Franklin School.
Looks can be deceiving, they say, and if you peer closer and for longer you’ll observe plentiful criminal activity, already limited parking spaces occupied by people living in their vans and cars, too much shade, and a children’s playground too secluded for parental comfort.
“People avoid coming into contact with criminal activity,” Denise Johns, an associate park planner for the city Parks & Recreation Department, said in a sweeping understatement.
“These are people loitering at the restroom or areas intended for picnicking or play.”
As our Josh Molina reported Feb. 21, the department has put together a $750,000 plan to overhaul the park, perhaps as soon as next year.
Looks like my nap will have to wait.
A proposed project in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone would have visitors hit the roof for drinks and views of the waterfront. (DMHA rendering)
Plans for the creative conversion of a Funk Zone warehouse won unanimous support from Santa Barbara’s Architectural Board of Review, clearing the way for the project’s next stop at the Planning Commission.
As our Josh Molina first reported, Hannah Beachside LLC owns a 1,643-foot warehouse at 16½ and 20 Helena St. and 11 Anacapa St. and wants to turn it into a wine-tasting business with a rooftop deck and bar.
The project includes an elevator and stairwell, along with a 22-vehicle mechanical parking lift structure to complement the 45 parking spaces at the site.
“We’re very excited about this project,” said Jill Johnson, owner of Loveworn, a vintage clothing boutique at 11 Anacapa St. “The rooftop vistas are going to be incredible and lend something incredibly new and innovative to the Funk Zone.”
The ABR voted 6-0 to approve the project, but board members expressed concerns about the modern look of the rooftop design.
“It’s sort of this midcentury, modern pavilion that just landed on top of this funky old building,” board president Kevin Moore said.
“There is such a great opportunity to make something on top of this building that fits in really well and has materials similar to what we see here and has a little bit more Funk Zone flavor.”
The Santa Barbara Unified School District sent the proposed Thoreau Community School from a Life in the Woods to wandering the wilderness. (Thoreau Community School photo)
The proposed Thoreau Community School may have hoped to inspire students, in part, with lessons from Life in the Woods. After the Santa Barbara Unified School District shot down the charter school, perhaps Civil Disobedience should be added to the reading list.
As our Josh Molina reported, Thoreau is envisioned as an outdoor learning school with up to 100 students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade. The emphasis would be on an experiential, hands-on education.
Organizers have been working on the concept for more than three years and had a letter of intent to use La Casa de la Raza’s community center building on the Lower Eastside, although other sites were being explored downtown.
“We really believe we are offering something unique and wonderful, and the children are going to thrive there,” said Marianne D’Emidio-Caston, the nonprofit school’s board president.
SBUSD staff disagreed, and recommended that the district’s school board deny the charter application. According to staff, special-education services were incomplete, the board organization was insufficient, there were financial concerns, there was uncertainty about a location and there were questions about the school’s demographics.
Trustees Laura Capps and Kate Ford voted for the charter, while Virginia Alvarez and Rose Munoz voted against it. The fifth trustee, Wendy Sims-Moten, was absent.
In other news, the board voted to reopen SBUSD elementary schools on March 1. It’s not clear when secondary school students will return to in-person instruction.
You may get your Starbucks order to go, but soon it will be gone at the corner of State and De la Guerra streets in downtown Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
By sheer volume, Starbucks may still be ubiquitous, but downtown Santa Barbara will lose one of its two stores when the shop at the corner of State and De la Guerra streets closes March 16.
As our Josh Molina reported, the termination is part of a move by the Seattle-based coffeehouse and roasting chain to close up to 400 stores throughout the United States, and 300 more in Canada.
The company’s “transformation strategy,” announced last summer, is a response to changes in consumer habits during the COVID-19 crisis, and includes adding new drive-through locations, curbside pickup-only coffee shops and expanded delivery service.
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Last Year on Noozhawk
What was our most-read story this time last year? Officer Fires Nonlethal Rounds in Subduing Suspect Inside Santa Barbara Store.
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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week
Just to be clear, the reward is for the dogs and not the dog walker?! Lady Gaga Offers $500,000 Reward After Thief Stole 2 Bulldogs and Shot Her Dog Walker.
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Best of Bill’s Instagram
Had to add a #mailtheft public service announcement to my #mailboxesofmontecito2021 feature in my Instagram feed this past week.
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This fluffball otter know it would be so much easier in the water. HT to Maddie Dougherty.
(RM Videos video)
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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.