News in Brief: Feb. 28 to March 6



The university announced last week that Waldo R. Tobler, professor emeritus in the geography department, passed away on Feb. 20. Tobler was active in the department until his death and believed to be “one of the world’s leading cartographers,” according to an obituary posted on Noozhawk. Tobler was well-known for what would become Tobler’s First Law of Geography: “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related.” He was 88.


Nine Isla Vista residents were treated for a drug overdose on Thursday night, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded to a call for one unconscious male and found others who showed symptoms of an overdose at a complex on the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive. People at the home reported that the victims had ingested what was believed to be Oxycontin, and at least one victim also drank an unknown amount of alcohol. One deputy administered naloxone, a drug designed to reverse opioid overdose.

The Santa Barbara Foundation announced on Thursday that it would give a $34,000 grant to sponsor the Isla Vista Project Action Plan, an initiative that UCSB professor Kim Yasuda leads. With the funds administered by the university, representatives from campus, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, and Isla Vista Community Services District will focus on “high impact infrastructure projects” in the area, according to a press release from LegacyWorks Group, a local non-profit. No specific projects have been named yet.


Proposals to build Santa Barbara’s first cannabis shops are ramping up, with 35 prospective retailers sending in applications from all over the country, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. The city plans to allow up to three permitted shops, with proposals due at the end of this month. Applicants have complained about the limited zones such shops can operate in, noting that they are not allowed to set up in areas like the Funk Zone and “much of Milpas Street.” The city will review the applicants beginning in April, but there are no set opening dates for cannabis retailers in the area.


Belated winter storms hitting the West Coast brought rain to Santa Barbara County and avalanches in the Sierra Nevadas over the weekend. The avalanches closed Mammoth Mountain on Saturday; although the resort reopened on Sunday, state officials had difficulty measuring snowpack in the area. Despite the stormy weather, California saw less water than average during winter and is slipping back into moderate to severe drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.


In a turn away from recent U.S.-North Korean relations, leader Kim Jong-un allegedly told South Korean diplomats that he may work with the United States on negotiating a deal to abandon North Korean nuclear weapons. “The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the United States on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations with the United States,” according to a South Korean statement reported in The New York Times on Tuesday. President Donald Trump tweeted that “possible progress [was] being made,” and in the case that the plan falls through, “the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction.”