Shortly before 7 a.m. on February 7, a 45-year-old local woman was struck and killed by a freight train headed south across State Street. According to witnesses, Judy Williamson attempted to rush across the tracks in front of the massive Union Pacific train, despite the blasting lights and sounding bells of the crossing signal. Williamson – who is believed by authorities to have been homeless – is the first train-track fatality of the year in Santa Barbara.
Westmont College alumnus David Batstone, author of Not for Sale: Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It, spoke at his alma mater on February 7 as part of a daylong seminar on human trafficking. Batstone – who appears in USA Today as “America’s ethics guru” and is senior editor of the business magazine Motto – claimed that 200,000 people live enslaved in the United States, having been smuggled across borders and then sold into prostitution and forced labor. Batstone said he was unaware of any slave-labor arrangements in Santa Barbara.