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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Panel: Wallabies, Kangaroos and YouTubers, Oh My! Plus: Covid Strikes SB Schools

Starting 2022 on a decidedly strange note, the Newsmakers TV gang roamed to the furthest reaches of Santa Barbara's local news landscape in the first show of the New Year, encountering a weird collection of critters and humans alike.

The Indy's Jun Starkey won top honors for offbeat story of the week, recounting the bizarre tale of an Olympic snowboarder turned YouTube influencer who took off in a small and rickety aircraft from Lompoc's airport, with the stated mission of scattering in the Sierra the ashes of a friend who died seven years ago, only to jump out of the plane at high altitude -- equipped only with a parachute and a, ahem, selfie stick -- later to post clickbait video of the whole thing, including GoPro footage from cameras fixed on the wings, on his social media channel.

Oh yeah, then he rented a helicopter to recover the wreckage and made off with it on the back of a truck just as the FAA began to investigate what some in the flying community suspect was a reckless and dangerous stunt.

So there's that.

Noozhawk;s Jade Martinez-Pogue provides all the latest - bad - news on the pandemic, as the omicron variant sends Covid cases soaring, tests become scarce and public schools scramble to keep up with the ever-changing maze of regulations decreed by a host of alphabet soup agencies. In happier news, she also offers an up-close-and-personal review of the zoo's new kangaroo, wallaby and emu exhibit.

There were no injuries.

And political reporter Josh Molina offers a preview of Mayor-elect Randy Rowse's unprecedented outdoor swearing-in next week, as well as some choice words for SB Unified School District officials, saving a few for the genial host.

If it's Friday, it's Newsmakers TV -- all here, right now.

Check out the show via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here.

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