Library closes lower level

The Santa Barbara Central Library will be moving its lower-level materials to the main level, to reduce costs for the near term. The move is also intended to prepare for a new children’s library that is slated to open in the future.  The downstairs periodicals area, which houses newspapers, magazines, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks on CD and audiocassette and microfilm, will close to the public March 16. The materials will be integrated into the main level in various locations, and the staff will join the circulation unit. Some items may be unavailable for browsing during the move. The lower level, including the Townley Room, will remain closed until it reopens as the new children’s library in two years.


Woman arrested for embezzlement

A Goleta woman who was an employee of a local food company is facing charges of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from her employer.

On March 2, Santa Barbara County deputies were contacted by the owners of the Santa Barbara Olive Company who informed them that the company’s controller, 39-year old Cathy Latou, had admitted to embezzling more than $360,000 from the company.

Upon further investigation, investigators were able to discover another $90,000 dollars Latou is suspected of taking. The majority of funds were obtained through a company credit card or company checking account. Latou is suspected of spending the money to purchase personal items and for gambling. She was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on March 2.


Hit and run leaves woman dead

A Goleta woman was killed and two people injured March 7 when their car was hit from behind and flipped several times on southbound Highway 101 just south of Fairview Avenue.

California Highway Patrol officials said the driver of the second vehicle fled the accident scene but was apprehended several miles away. Macario Martinez, 27, of Goleta, was driving a Volkswagen Jetta with two passengers — Rosario Silvestre, 41, and a 17-year-old boy, both of Goleta — when they were struck from behind by a white Mercedes-Benz about 9:30 p.m. Martinez’s car, which had been traveling at about 65 mph, crashed and turned over several times before landing on its wheels.

Silvestre, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the backseat of the vehicle and was found to have severe injuries. She was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The driver received moderate injuries, while the other passenger was treated for minor injuries.

The driver of the second car, identified as Fabian Maduena, 21, of Hollister was arrested for being an unlicensed driver without insurance and multiple violations, including felony driving under the influence, felony hit-and-run and felony vehicular manslaughter. He was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail with $100,000 bail.