Alisal Fire | Credit: Erick Madrid (file)

Since 1986, the Santa Barbara Independent has been required reading for the South Coast’s active and sophisticated population. We decided to mine the troves of 2022 to present a slice of the stories that resonated the most with our readers this year. According to Google Analytics, these were the posts that got the keyboards a-clacking. Thanks for caring, and have a Happy New Year.

1. Governor Declares State of Emergency in Santa Barbara, Monterey Counties | July 5 | Jun Starkey

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara and Monterey counties on July 1 to aid in the process of recovering from two significant wildfires.

2. Comedian Andy Dick Arrested for Burglary at Vacant Santa Barbara Home | October 20 | Ryan P. Cruz 

Santa Barbara police arrested Andy Dick on October 13, allegedly in the act of stealing tools from the empty home.

3. Did YouTuber Trevor Jacob Crash His Plane in Los Padres on Purpose? | January 4 | Jun Starkey

YouTube personality and former Olympic snowboarder Trevor Jacob sparked a Federal Aviation Administration investigation after he posted a video in which he parachutes out of an airplane that crashed into a mountainside near New Cuyama.

4. Isla Vista Resident Arrested for Planting Hidden Cameras in Bathroom | February 16 | Jun Starkey

The Isla Vista Foot Patrol arrested a suspect for allegedly placing hidden cameras in the bathroom of a victim’s home in Isla Vista.

5. Santa Barbara Takes Steps to Declare Chick-fil-A Drive-Thru a Public Nuisance | January 27 | Tyler Hayden

Back in January, the Santa Barbara City Council was gearing up to decide whether to schedule a hearing that could potentially declare the Chick-fil-A drive-thru on upper State Street a public nuisance.

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6. Say So Long to Santa Barbara’s Offshore Platforms | January 19 | Jean Yamamura

A look at how eight oil platforms off the Santa Barbara coast are set to be decommissioned in the next 10 years. This story was part of our cover package, “Is Big Oil Dead in Santa Barbara?”

7. Cottage Health Throws Down Gauntlet on Kaiser Permanente | March 21 | Nick Welsh

Attorneys for Cottage Health System did not merely accuse Kaiser Permanente of acting in ways both “illegal and unfair.” They also charged that Kaiser behaved in a manner that “may only be classified as immoral, unethical, oppressive, and unscrupulous.”

8. Santa Barbara’s Burrito Week Is Back! | September 22 | Indy Staff 

Our newest Food Week bested the long-running Burger Week (No. 11 on this list) by three slots! If readers’ photo submissions under the hashtag #SBIndyBurritoWeek were any indication, Santa Barbara can’t get enough of its burritos. 

9. Santa Barbara Neighborhood Rises Up Against ‘Fractional Ownership’ Property | May 24 | Ryan P. Cruz

A new type of fractional home ownership may have arrived in Santa Barbara, raising concerns of neighbors who say the business model is “suspiciously timeshare-like” as the company’s website boasts a “modernized and simplified” practice of DIY co-ownership.

10. Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits | June 16 | Lauren Bray and Tyler Hayden

Dr. Melissa Drake announced the sudden closure of a bustling practice.

Note: These were the rankings as of December 4.

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