Category Archives: Featured News

Trash Pickup Not Available in Evacuation Areas

Harrison Industries advises that trash pickup is not being allowed in mandatory evacuation areas until further notice. No removal of fire debris can occur from properties without a hazardous material inspection conducted by either the Environmental Protection Agency or the State Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Several areas affected by the Thomas Fire have been under mandatory evacuation.

Not only are trash trucks not permitted in some evacuation areas, no debris  bins can be provided to property owners for the purpose of fire debris removal without the authorization of the Ventura County Environmental Health Division.

On Dec. 8, the Ventura County Public Health Officer declared a Local Health Emergency to limit the public’s exposure to hazardous substances.

This Declaration enables the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to survey damaged properties and remove household hazardous wastes at no cost to property owners. It also enables property owners to participate in a voluntary Fire Debris Clearance program administered through the State Office of Emergency Services (OES) and CalRecycle.

Property owners who opt out of the Fire Debris Clearance Program must obtain permission from the Ventura County Environmental Health Division before beginning the removal of fire debris to ensure the private debris removal, transport, and disposal is conducted in a manner that does not endanger the community.

Ventura County Board of Supervisors approves $500,000 rental assistance program for fire victims unable to return to their homes

On Dec. 12, the County of Ventura Board of Supervisors approved the use of $500,000 in General Fund to establish a rental assistance program for eligible residents who cannot return to their homes due to the impact of local wildfires.  The program, which expands upon current rental assistance programs for low-income households administered by the County of Ventura Human Services Agency, will begin accepting applications this Wednesday, December 13th

Eligibility criteria for the program include:  county residency; displacement from housing due to local wildfires; financial ability to maintain housing after receiving assistance; and a household income up to 120% of the median income for the local area, based on household size.  The yearly income limit for a household of one person, for example, is $84,000.  For a household of two, the income limit is $96,000, and for a household of four, the income limit is $119,880.

 “Short term rental assistance will help our lower and middle income neighbors who lost their homes get back on their feet more quickly,” said Steve Bennett, County Supervisor for the First District. “Individuals and families with children need the stability of a home to regain some normalcy in their lives and return to work or school while they make longer term plans.”

The new program may offer eligible fire victims help with:  interim housing, rental payments, replacement of household and personal items, moving and storage costs, rental deposits, utility deposits and payments, and credit counseling, as needed.  Barry Zimmerman, Human Services Agency Director stated, “We have years of experience running similar programs successfully, so we can implement this one quickly and ensure that assistance begins to flow.”

Beginning Wednesday, December 13th, information about applying for this new program may be found in English and Spanish on the Ventura County Recovers website, which provides a comprehensive source of information for all matters relating to fire recovery, and on the Ventura County Human Services Agency’s web site (www.vchsa.org/help).

Ventura County Recovers: www.VenturaCountyRecovers.org

Human Services Agency:  www.vchsa.org/help

Ventura County and City of Ventura open “One-Stop” Local Assistance Center at Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura

On Wednesday, December 13, the County of Ventura and the City of Ventura will open a Local Assistance Center at the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura. Located at 3451 Foothill road in Ventura, the center is a one-stop resource for residents affected by the Thomas Fire.

The Local Assistance Center will be open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the next two weeks, and longer if necessary. The hours are subject to change depending on demand. Bilingual staff will be available to provide assistance.

The center will be staffed by representatives from the County of Ventura, the City of Ventura, and nine state agencies, including the Department of Motor Vehicles. The County is also working on providing additional service centers in the Ojai and Santa Clara Valley areas for social, health care and permitting services. The Local Assistance Center is a short-term facility and will close after the initial recovery period, but the services will remain available at the normal city and county offices.

Residents will be able to use the Local Assistance Center to start their recovery from the fire. There will be information on debris removal, permits, housing, rental assistance, vital records, property assessments, public assistance, crisis intervention and stress management, and even services such as replacing driver’s licenses. Health care resources will be available on site to provide assistance, education, and connections to other health services in the community.

The center is expected to be very busy and, although walk-ins will be welcomed, appointments are strongly encouraged. Residents with appoints will receive priority service. Appointments can be made on the Ventura County Recovers website or by calling 211. Those requiring transportation to the center can call the hotline at (805) 465-6650.

To further aid fire victims, Ventura County Recovers is now offering a registration feature that allows residents to register their contact information to receive information on specific topics. They can also register the address of their damaged or destroyed property so that officials can proactively provide them with information and official notices related to the rebuilding process.

Because there will be numerous updates to the site as new information becomes available, registering on the site will help to ensure that current information gets to the people who need it most.

The registration feature is fully accessible by mobile, tablet and desktop devices.

Cooper wants to share some puppy love with fire victims

Occupational therapist Lauren Taluy and her registered therapy dog Cooper are available to visit places supporting displaced families for Cooper to share some puppy love with those affected by the fires. Cooper is 10 years old and has been with Lauren since he was 8 weeks old, which is when he began his life as a therapy dog. Cooper’s family lives in Ventura and includes Lauren’s husband Timur and her 2 children, 4 year old Ellie and 2 year old Hudson. Please contact Lauren at 805-300-8103 or email Im.taluy@gmail.com to arrange for a visit from Cooper.

Ventura Police Department hosting free Active Shooter Response Training Dec. 20

The for business and church leadership on December 20 at Ventura Baptist Church located at 5415 Ralston Street in Ventura. The training will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. A new location was selected because the Ventura Police Department training room is currently occupied as an Emergency Operations Center. Ventura Baptist Church can also accommodate a larger group allowing for those waitlisted to attend. Registrations are still being accepted until December 19.

The training is being offered in response to community concerns regarding active shooter incidents in Nevada, Texas and California. FBI statistics show that mass shootings are rare, but the Ventura Police Department is committed to partner with the community in providing safety information. According to the FBI, between 2000 and 2016, there were 216 active shooter incidents throughout the country.

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Because active shooter situations are often over within a short time, before police arrive on scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

The training is free. Registration is required by calling 805-339-4317 or emailing abautista@ci.ventura.ca.us.

52nd Annual Parade of Lights to continue as planned Dec. 9th

The 52nd Annual Parade of Lights, “Fairy Tales Afloat,” and daytime activities are planned to be held as scheduled on December 9th, the Ventura County Harbor Department announced today.

“After consulting with weather and public safety officials regarding potential impacts from the Thomas Fire, we have determined that we can proceed with this much-loved community tradition,” said Ventura County Harbor Department Director Lyn Krieger. “With this week’s tragic wildfires, we hope this event will bring some much needed holiday cheer to Oxnard and surrounding communities.”

Everyone is invited to enjoy a full day of holiday activities and watch festively decorated boats in the parade while listening to carolers sing holiday songs. Families can play in 36 tons of snow falling at the north end of Harbor View Park, located off Harbor Blvd. near Marine Emporium Landing, beginning at noon. Santa will be there from noon – 4 p.m. and will take pictures with families free of charge. There will also be holiday arts and crafts vendors starting at 10 a.m.

The Parade of Lights, themed “Fairy Tales Afloat,” will begin at 7 p.m. The lighted boat parade is visible from many Harbor locations, including parks and walkways that line the route along the west side (Harbor Boulevard) from Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club to Channel Islands Yacht Club, along the walkways on the west side of Peninsula Road (Peninsula Park to Porpoise Way), and Victoria Avenue from Hobie Beach to the Public Launch Ramp, as well as from most Harbor restaurants.  The boat parade makes two circuits to maximize viewing opportunities.

Grand opening of Hill Road Library

A standing room only crowd heard from County Supervisor Steve Bennett and Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko and other speakers. Photos by Richard Lieberman.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one.” – John Lennon

Library staff and friends wore T-shirts that said, “Imagine…..Hill Road Library.” Indeed this new branch is a triumph of imagination and collaboration to being this dream to reality. 1100 celebratory Venturans showed up for the library opening on Sunday, Dec.3 at noon. There hasn’t been a library in the Midtown area since the Wright library closed nine years ago, and the local residents are overjoyed.

The program was MC’d by Ivor Davis, local author and celebrity. There were brief speeches by library officials, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Steve Bennett, and Erik Nasarenko. The emphasis was on the collaborative effort and financial support that it took to get this branch up and running.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved ongoing funds in the amount of $250,000 to operate the new library, while the City of Ventura approved $50,000 annually that will allow for an additional 16 open hours per week. The City also provided $25,000 for one-time capital expenditures. The Ventura Friends of the Library raised and contributed $200,000, much of which came from used book sales to local residents.

In addition, there was entertainment by the Harmonix, a Rubicon Theater group of young people who sang “Imagine,” to go along with the theme of the afternoon, among other songs.

Nancy Schram (see additional article introducing the new Director), new Ventura County Library Director says, “We are thrilled to be opening a new library on the East side of Ventura. It’s a wonderful example of how the County, City, and community came together to provide funding and support so that we can reach more people with library services and ultimately improve lives and enrich the entire community.”

There was a lot more at the event than speeches. Children could make folk dolls and play with a Lego setup, there was a booth for fancy costumed selfie photos, a flower card reader, 3-D printer and wood etcher.

The Lions club supplied and served free hot dogs to all comers.

Kathy Thomson the President of the Ventura Friends of the Library, echoes this sentiment, “The Hill Road Library is an example of the collaborative efforts between government, nonprofits, corporate sponsors and citizens. When these entities work together toward a common goal the possibilities are infinite.”

Citizens of all ages lined up for get library cards, check out books on the new self-serve machines, talk to the librarians and buy books from the Friends shelves.

Mayor Nasarenko, a library supporter, gave this heartfelt statement, “To see the return of library services to the east end of Ventura is wonderful. Our thanks to Supervisor Bennett and the Board of Supervisors, Friends of the Library and County Library Director Jackie Griffin for helping to make this opening possible. I encourage Venturans to bring their families, their curiosity and their passion for lifelong learning to this new community resource.”

And Steve Bennet, who has backed the libraries all the way, had this to say, “I am really happy our residents in the east end will have a local library and very appreciative of all the efforts by the library supporters who helped make this happen.” Thank you, Supervisor Bennet, it wouldn’t have happened without you.

The Hill Road Library is located at 1050
Hill Road in Ventura.

Beginning December 3, 2017 hours of
service are Monday through Wednesdays,
10am to 6pm; Thursdays, 2pm to 6pm;
Fridays through Sundays, 10am to 2pm.

Ocean Friendly Garden in honor of Surfrider OFG National Coordinator Paul Herzog

Spearheaded by the Ventura Botanical Gardens’ Executive Director Dr. Joe Cahill and Paul Herzog’s friend Elizabeth Alvarez, the VBG has pledged this exquisite site as a future Ocean Friendly Garden in honor of Surfrider OFG National Coordinator Paul Herzog.

Friend, peer, brother, son, activist, environmentalist, gone too soon, the impact Paul made in Ventura and to Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program will not be forgotten. They are dedicated to raising $1600 by the end of December to finish the funding needed to build the garden. Ventura is grateful to the VBG that this Ocean Friendly Garden will be available to the community as a memorial and as a teaching opportunity.

Go to www.gofundme.com to support Paul Herzog’s Ocean Friendly Garden.

Fundraising event at Jewelry Couture Dec. 9 to support Ventura Police K9 Unit

The Ventura Police Department currently has five K9 teams.

Jewelry Couture will be hosting a fundraising event to support the Ventura Police K9 Unit on Dec. 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 390 S. Mills Road. A portion of the sales will be donated to the Ventura Police K9 Unit. The community is invited to meet the K9s and handlers and support the effort. The K9 meet and greet will take place between 2p.m. and 4:00 p.m. with a K9 demonstration beginning at 2 p.m.

“We are honored to be giving back to those who continually give so much to our community. After being a part of the wonderful City of Ventura for over 30 years and residents ourselves, we really want to show our support for the Ventura Police Department” said the Sehati Family of Jewelry Couture.

The Ventura Police Department currently has five K9 teams. Two new K9s, Bolt and Miles, joined the team in July of 2017. Officer Anthony Avila has been partnered with K9 Bolt. Bolt is related to current K9 Yoschi and retired K9 Yankee. Bolt was purchased by a generous donation made by Automotive Racing Products. Officer Jack Ortega has been partnered with K9 Miles who was purchased by a generous donation made by Mile 26 Sports.

K9s are assigned to the Patrol Unit so that a team is on-duty seven days a week, providing around the clock service to the community.

On average the cost of a canine is $12,000 with an additional $8,000- $10,000 for training and certification, all of which is paid for through donations to the Ventura Police K9 Unit. All of Ventura Police K9s past and present, have been purchased through community donations and event fundraising. The K9 Unit appreciates the support of the community and the many businesses and organizations who have supported the crime fighting team.