Category Archives: News and Notes

Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Report

Storm water runoff can transport physical hazards into the ocean. Photo by Richard Lieberman

As part of the Ventura County Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program, the Environmental Health Division is providing the following precautionary information for the public. Rainfall that is significant enough to result in runoff can flow into storm drains, channels, creeks, and rivers that empty onto the beaches of Ventura County. In general, 0.2 inches (2 tenths of an inch) of rainfall may be enough to create significant runoff conditions.

There is a potential for storm water runoff to carry disease causing bacteria to the beaches and into the ocean water. In addition, storm water runoff can transport physical hazards such as partially submerged tree limbs and logs into the ocean that could result in serious physical injury. Contact with this runoff water will result in an increased risk to human health and should be avoided for at least 72 hours after all rainfall activity has ended.

As a result of the recent and predicted rainfall, the public is advised to avoid body contact with all storm water runoff and ocean water at all Ventura County beaches. Any items that may have come in contact with runoff or ocean water should also be avoided. If contact occurs, wash thoroughly with soap and water.

Any shellfish on or from Ventura County beaches may have also been exposed to this contamination and should not be eaten.

This advisory will remain in effect for 72 hours (3 days) after all rainfall has ended.

Bacteriological sample results for specific beaches are also available on the Environmental Health Division hotline (recorded information), 805/662-6555, and on the Division’s Web page at:

You can also view any current beach advisories and learn about the State ocean water quality standards on the VC Safe Beaches app, available for Android and Apple devices.

The NALA helps kids through Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Project Easter

The NALA, a boutique marketing agency headquartered in Ventura, is asking the community to participate in the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Project Easter, which entails collecting Easter baskets for children with cancer and their siblings. The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF), the NALA’s charity partner, is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization providing financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation provides emotional, educational and financial assistance to families living in the Tri-County Region that have a child with cancer. The vision of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is to be the lead agency to instill resilience in families experiencing pediatric cancer. It provides programs that allow parents to be supported and to know they are not alone. For more information, please call 962-7466, or visit

“We will put together the baskets with all of the goodies donated and TBCF will then deliver them to hospitals. The baskets are given to children with cancer, as well as their siblings,” said Tiffani Tendell, the NALA’s Press Manager and Charity Director.

Santa Barbara area residents can donate directly at the office of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, 3892 State Street, Suite 220, until March 22nd.

TBCF helps defray costs that are often overlooked. These include monthly bills (rent/mortgage, utilities, etc.), automobile and related transportation costs, and other similar expenses, as a parent usually has to take time off work or quit their job to spend quality time caring for their child in the hospital during their treatment. To donate directly to TBCF, please visit

Ventura County is breaking the chain of human trafficking

Community leaders, advocates and concerned citizens attended the sold out viewing of the groundbreaking film Break the Chain recently at the Museum of Ventura County. The film gave a detailed look at how sex and labor trafficking goes unnoticed and is happening in our backyard. In attendance was producer and co-director, Laura E. Swanson; Interface Children & Family Services’ Human Trafficking Program Manager, Christan Perez; VC Coalition Against Human Trafficking, April De Pretis; Ventura County DA Investigator II, Michael Munn; The Acorn Project Founder, Junemarie Justus; and Ventura City Councilmember, Cheryl Heitmann.

When asked their perception of the prevalence of human trafficking in Ventura County, Mike Munn responded “Human trafficking is definitely here. We’ve identified it. If we don’t combat it, it’s going to just fester; it’s going to be like a cancer because the pimps are going to know that they can operate in the county that’s not going to enforce those human trafficking laws.”

Since the start of the human trafficking program last year, Interface Children & Family Services has served 36 human trafficking survivors in Ventura County. Situated between major trafficking hubs of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the U.S. 101 freeway through Ventura County serves as a corridor for human trafficking activities along the central coast. Interface’s human trafficking program provides a trauma-informed and confidential shelter for adult survivors of trafficking. Survivors are provided a safe and supportive residential setting to begin healing from their trauma and work towards reclaiming their independence. Immediate, in-person response is available when requested by law enforcement or medical providers, to emotionally support adult survivors of sex and/or labor trafficking (both U.S. born and foreign nationals). The advocates assess for basic and immediate needs, provide referrals and linkage to supportive services, inform survivors of their rights and discuss options for safely exiting their trafficking situation.

Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin will be hosting a second Break the Chain screening at California Lutheran University, titled Combating Human Trafficking: Local Efforts on a Global Issue on March 28.

For community members who would like to further support human trafficking efforts in Ventura County, Interface Children & Family Services will be hosting the 5th annual Love is Brewing at the Kentucky Derby Champagne Luncheon & Tea on May 12, 2018. Proceeds from this inspiring and educational event will be used to directly support domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking prevention, intervention and awareness programs. Tickets are on sale for $100 per ticket/$1,000 per table and sponsorships are still available. For reservations or for more information, visit or contact Laura Everest at 485-6114, Ext. 628 or

Fire survivor’s Benefit Festival checks

Thank you for your incredible patience as we work on the distribution of the one-time Thomas Fire Benefit Festival checks. Each person/household will receive $750! We can confirm that the checks will be ready Friday, March 16.

There are three distribution centers:

Ventura Residents: Please come to the Downtown Ventura Partners offices at 420 East Santa Clara St. Come only on Friday, March 16 between 1pm-6pm. And on Wed., March 21 through Friday, March 23 from 1pm-6pm. If you cannot make these times, email to discuss other arrangements.

Ojai Area Residents: Please go to Help of Ojai’s Community Assistance Program at 108 Fox Street, Oja between 9am-3pm on Friday, March 16. And again 9am-3pm on Monday, March 19 through Wednesday, March 21. Help of Ojai is graciously volunteering to be a pick-up location. Please do not call their office or go to their main offices. If you cannot make these times, please email to discuss other arrangements.

Santa Paula/Fillmore Residents: We are finalizing a pick-up location. We have your email addresses and we will be communicating directly with you to provide the location and times.

To collect your check, you must present a form of ID and FEMA paperwork, or (if you don’t have FEMA papers) a utility bill or documents that describe your loss and a valid ID linking yourself to the affected property. Please do not email these documents. Just bring them when you pick up your check.

We appreciate your patience throughout this process! We truly hope this money will help soften the incredible blow you have endured. These funds are to address any unmet needs beyond any insurance payouts or disaster assistance you have received. #VenturaCountyStrong!

The Thomas Fire Benefit Team

Event to help raise funds for overcoming childhood cancer

KNOX 25/8 will be hosting its first motivational speaking event to help raise funds for overcoming childhood cancer. In this half day event, you’ll learn certain teachings and techniques on how to overcome any obstacle in your daily life, realize your full potential, and find the power within.

There will be four incredible speakers who have various backgrounds that can’t wait to take you on the roller coaster of a lifetime!

Five hours starting at 7:30am on March 31 at the Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill. Sign up at

May be inappropriate for ages 14 and under. Be sure to bring pen/pencil and notepad.

Parking is free but get there early as spots are limited.

The featured speakers are:

  • Eric Lemarque – international bestselling author, former Olympic professional hockey player, and subject of the movie 6 Below: Miracle On The Mountain
  • New Asianism – life management coach and ancient Asian principle teachings
  • Tim Wallace – active military professional, life coach, and motivational speaker
  • Allyson Phelan – Eagan – inspirational cancer survivor and motivational speaker

KNOX 25/8 Group is a Non-Profit organization that is dedicated to assisting the efforts of finding a cure for childhood cancer. By building a network of sports coaches who are willing to raise money through volunteering their time and expertise in coaching our youth, KNOX 25/8 Group will help fund specific organizations that are working hard to find a cure for pediatric cancer.

Ventura-based environmental organization garners international awards

Local nonprofit organization Paso Pacifico is quickly making a name as a global leader in wildlife conservation. Paso Pacifico works with local communities, landowners, and partner organizations to restore and protect the habitats that form building blocks for wildlife corridors. Headquartered in Ventura, they also have a team in Nicaragua, where much of their conservation work takes place. One of their most noteworthy projects in recent years was the creation of a device called the InvestEGGator, which could help restore populations of endangered sea turtles.

The InvestEGGator decoy egg – an innovative solution for tracking international trade routes of turtle egg poachers in Central America with the help of GPS trackers – has been making headlines, but Paso Pacifico’s impact extends far beyond fighting turtle poachers. Some of their other initiatives include helping Nicaraguan women learn the business, management, and technical skills needed to farm sustainable wild oysters, working with communities in Central American to protect the recently-endangered population of Yellow-naped Amazon parrots, studying and increasing the population of black-handed spider monkeys, and inspiring Nicaragua’s youth to become the next generation of environmental stewards.

Since creating the groundbreaking InvestEGGator decoy sea turtle eggs, the team at Paso Pacifico has been hard at work perfecting this tool that could be a gamechanger in the fight to protect sea turtles. Their efforts are not going unnoticed.

Paso Pacifico was named a Prize Winner in USAID’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge in January of 2016. After showing encouraging signs of progress developing and implementing the InvestEGGator decoy eggs, USAID then awarded the Ventura-based nonprofit organization an Acceleration Prize in September of last year to continue improving the production and distribution process for their wildlife crime solution.

It was also announced in December of 2017 that Paso Pacifico was one of 111 organizations across 34 countries selected to receive a grant from the National Geographic Society.

In addition to their recent accolades, Paso Pacifico has also been attracting major media attention from some internationally-recognized companies and personalities.

In January, wildlife conservationist and biologist Jeff Corwin joined the Paso Pacifico team as they monitored the activity of hawksbill turtles in Nicaragua. Corwin’s crew filmed the excursion for a future episode of his nature show Ocean Treks.

“It is critical that we spread the word about our mission and our conservation programs, both internationally and here on the Central Coast,” said Pacifico Founder and Executive Director, and Ashoka Fellow, Sarah Otterstrom. “Our goal is to build on this momentum to create a strong support network that will enable us to continue finding new and innovative ways to protect and restore our environment.”

Have you ever wanted to know more about police operations?

The Ventura Police Department’s Community Academy is coming! Have you ever wanted to know more about police operations? Not the ‘TV’ version, but the facts? Here’s your chance! The Community Academy will take you on a ride-along with a patrol officer, show you what a SWAT team does, let you experience a simulated firearms training course, give you a look at issues officers face in our community and much more.

The Community Academy is scheduled to begin April 18 and will be held on 10 consecutive Wednesday nights from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Each night features a new topic, with speakers, demonstrations, and discussions. Select nights include a visit to the Ventura County Criminal Justice Training Center, Ventura County Sheriff’s Aviation Hangar and the Ventura County Jail. Will answer your questions and give you an in-depth behind the scenes look at police operations.

Community Academy participants are selected by the Ventura Police Department through the application process. Applications are available at the Ventura Police Department or online. Applications accepted until March 28, 2018.

Potential candidates must meet the following criteria: minimum age of 18 years, live or work in the City of Ventura, no felony convictions, no misdemeanor convictions within two years of application.

The Community Academy aims to educate residents on the capacity and operations of the Ventura Police Department so that police officers and community members can work together to make Ventura a better and safer place.

For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Ashley Bautista 339-4317 or

“We recently attended the Ventura Police Department’s Community Academy Class, It was eight evenings consisting of different aspects police work, including the 911 command center, investigations/crime analysis, major crimes, the criminal justice system, crisis intervention, patrol operations, SWAT team, a tour of the Criminal Justice Training Center, a ride-along, K-9 demonstration and more. Chief Ken Corney, the officers and staff gave excellent presentations and demonstrations. We quickly learned a police officer has to be so much more than an officer who writes traffic tickets. He or she needs to be a person of integrity, professional, compassionate, fair, courteous, a quick decision-maker and a counselor. We here in Ventura are fortunate to have an outstanding VPD as protectors of our community. We highly recommend to other citizens that they apply to attend when the academy is offered again.” Dan & Vicki Stowell

Were you affected by Thomas Fire or the flood?

The Ventura and Santa Barbara County Lions Clubs have a onetime offer for Thomas Fire and flood survivors.

They have grant money to assist in your loss. If you need a one-time grant for assistance with rent, clothing, and vehicle or food expenses they want to help you.

Please email and he will reply back with a grant request form.

All grant request forms must be received by April 1st, 2018. All our funds must be distributed by April 30th, 2018.

Donations funded by:

  • Camarillo / Somis PV Lions Club
  • Ventura Downtown Lions
  • Orcutt Lions Club
  • Camarillo High School Leos Lions Club
  • Santa Paula Lions Club, El Cajon Lions Club
  • Pismo Beach Lions Club, Nipomo Lions Club
  • Lincoln Lions Club, Saratoga Lions Club
  • Santa Maria Sunrisers Lions Club
  • Pismo Beach Lions Club
  • Templeton Lions Club
  • Lions of Multiple District C6 (Monterey, San Benito & Santa Cruz Counties)
  • Carpinteria Lions Club
  • Goleta Lions Club.

A few days left to register for disaster assistance

Southern California residents recovering from the December wildfires and January mudslides and flooding have until March 16 to register for federal disaster assistance .

Individuals and families who were living in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and suffered damage or losses from the fires and mudslides are encouraged to register for assistance.

After applying for disaster assistance with FEMA, they may also be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Survivors are encouraged to submit their application for a low-interest disaster loan, if contacted by the SBA to do so.

Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 from SBA to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses and private non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury.

So far, 629 individuals and households have been deemed eligible for FEMA individual assistance and more than $3.7 million has been approved in grants. The SBA has approved 287 disaster loans for businesses, homeowners and renters for more than $30 million.

Survivors are encouraged to register even if they have insurance. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance or other benefits but may be able to help with uninsured or underinsured losses.

Survivors can apply for disaster assistance by going online at, by using the FEMA app on a smart phone or by calling 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time, seven days a week.

The Salvation Army focuses on long term recovery

Volunteers that came from our community to help receive and sort donations for the fire victims.(That’s Silvia all the way on the right end)

Although fully contained the Thomas Fire will have an effect on Ventura County for years to come. In addition to burning more than 300,000 acres, the blaze destroyed over 1,000 structures, including many homes. The Salvation Army has been serving the greatest needs of Ventura County residents affected by the fire since the initial evacuation, and the long term recovery continues today with assessments and financial assistance.

After the emergency shelters scaled down, The Salvation Army began initial recovery support operations in December through a Local Assistance Center. The Salvation Army distributed financial assistance with a total value of $128,490 to 513 households. Since January 8, The Salvation Army has shifted recovery efforts with an eye toward long-term support, including those in Santa Barbara County. As of February 13, eighty-four households have been given financial assistance valued at $68,342. These funds are the result of an assessment provided by The Salvation Army Ventura Corps and Santa Barbara Corps stationed at the Los Angeles County Disaster Recovery Center, set up at the Lake View Terrace Recreation Center.

In addition to this, The Salvation Army has supported clean-up service projects in Montecito, with more than 100 lunches served on February 10 and 11.

Salvation Army Lieutenant Silvia Simoes stated “It was a blessing to see the support from our community during such a difficult time. I had the opportunity to share love and care with so many people in so many ways and we continue to be able to provide help to individuals each day.”
The Salvation Army is asking the public for financial donations, which can be used to meet immediate challenges and specific needs. To donate, go to or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and donate to fire relief today.