Category Archives: News and Notes

Homelessness in Ventura

Educational workshop on homelessness in Ventura on Thursday, September 6, 5:30-8:30 PM at the Poinsettia Pavilion- 3451 Foothill Rd. Hear an overview of homelessness in Ventura from those on the front line of this issue.Law Enforcement…Mental and Physical Health.., Housing and Shelter Substance Abuse/Addiction…Employment/Income…Current and Former Homeless Residents

RSVP to Include your main concern about homelessness in the city. Sponsored by the Faith Subcommittee of the Ventura Social Services Task Force. All are welcome.

Mosquito, tick, and flea bite illnesses increasing

by Kevin O’Connor

Illnesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites have actually tripled in the U.S. over the last 13 years, according to a new report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  There were more than 640,000 cases reported between 2004 and 2016.  In addition, nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered during this time in the U.S.

It is the female mosquitoes bite humans. The females need the nutrients in our blood to produce eggs. After a female mosquito bites you she will go off to lay eggs and eventually will be back for more.

An interesting study showed that consuming just 12 ounces of beer makes a person more likely to be bitten by a mosquito.

According to research, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide from breath, heat from our bodies and the lactic acid that humans secrete.  That’s why exercising makes you more attractive to mosquitoes.

Because citronella masks the chemicals that humans secrete that are attractive to mosquitoes, many people burn citronella candles.  However, mosquitoes can sense those chemicals in your skin whether or not citronella candles are burning.

The bug sprays proven to be most effective against mosquitoes are those that use diethyltoluamide (DEET), a pesticide geared towards protecting you from all sorts of bugs; use one that contains 50 percent of DEET or less.

Researchers have declared that mosquitoes are most attracted to dark colors, like the large, dark-colored mammals mosquitoes prey upon.  So wear light colors, plus loose-fitting clothing to make it more difficult for biting females to reach your skin through the fabric.

“Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya—a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea—have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick…,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

“The data show that we’re seeing a steady increase and spread of tickborne diseases, and an accelerating trend of mosquito-borne diseases introduced from other parts of the world,” said Lyle Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

To protect your family from mosquito, tick, and flea bites, obtain a solid service contract with a quality pest control company, such as O’Connor Pest Control with their professional expertise.

Help collect school supplies for kids with cancer

The NALA hosts inaugural back-to-school donation drive to benefit the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and to help families that have children battling cancer.

The NALA, a national marketing agency headquartered in Ventura, is spearheading a back-to-school donation drive for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF), 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.

“We love helping the children and families through our partnership with Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and welcome the community to join in with us. So many of us are buying supplies for our children right now and if you can just pick up that extra pack of glue sticks or another box of crayons”, said Tiffani Tendell, Vice President – Communications and Business Development at the NALA.

Donated items can be dropped off at the NALA’s headquarters, 1891 Goodyear Ave., Suite 620, Ventura, , now until Monday, August 27. Needed items include school supplies such as backpacks, erasers, notebooks, binders, crayons, pencils, pens, colored pencils and glue.

“We are so appreciative for the NALA’s community support. Their school supply collection for our families battling cancer will be instrumental in aiding their transition back to school after treatment. We cannot thank them enough,” stated Lindsey Leonard, Executive Director of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

In addition to helping families during the holidays or at special times during the year with items such as holiday presents, canned food at Thanksgiving or Easter baskets, TBCF also 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 parents usually have to take time off work or quit their jobs to spend quality time caring for their child in the hospital during their treatment.

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 (805) 962-7466, or visit

Property tax relief available for those impacted by fires

If your property has been damaged by the recent fires, you may be eligible for property tax relief. In many cases, the damaged property can be reappraised in its current condition, with some taxes refunded to the property owner. Once rebuilt, the property’s pre damaged value will be restored.

To qualify for property tax relief, you must file a claim with your county assessors’ office within 12 months from the date of damage or destruction. The loss estimate must be at least $10,000 of current market value to qualify.

Owners of eligible property may also apply for deferral of the next property tax installment on the regular secured roll or tax payments on the supplemental roll, without penalties or interest. The disaster must be the result of a Governor-proclaimed state of emergency. When a timely claim for deferral is filed, the next property tax installment payment is deferred without penalty or interest until the county assessor has reassessed the property and a corrected tax bill has been sent to the property owner.

For further information on property tax disaster relief, please see go to

Red Cross urgently needs blood donations before summer ends

As summer winds down, the American Red Cross urges individuals to give blood and platelets now and help end an emergency summer blood shortage that began last month.

A critical need remains as many regular donors delay giving to take final summer vacations and prepare for school to start. To ensure lifesaving treatments remain available for patients in the coming weeks, donations are needed now, especially type O.

In thanks for helping at this urgent time, all those who come to donate blood or platelets through Aug. 30, 2018, will receive a $5 Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply; see More information and details are available at

Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Those who donated blood earlier this summer may be eligible to give again. Blood can be safely given every 56 days, and Power Red donations can be given every 16 weeks.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Ventura.

8/21/2018: 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 36 S. Figueroa St.
8/27/2018: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, visit

For more information, please visit or, or visit Twitter at @RedCross.

United Way amplifies recovery assistance for those Impacted by Thomas Fire

Relief in the form of $1,500 from the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund is on its way to the primary residents of households whose homes were destroyed or majorly damaged in the December blaze, United Way of Ventura County has announced.

In the latest round of funding, The American Red Cross of the Central Coast has identified more than 600 households whose homes were destroyed or majorly damaged, as classified by FEMA and CAL FIRE. United Way is distributing the funds to victims with the assistance of the Red Cross and 2-1-1 Ventura County. Similar to Phase I distribution, there are no income restrictions associated with this financial assistance.

“Rebuilding and recovering from the Thomas Fire will take years, and many victims may just be finding out they are in more difficult situations than they had thought,” said Eric Harrison, CEO, United Way of Ventura County. “Recovery has been a community effort, and we know residents will find these funds useful as they continue through the long-term process.”

Recipients of this latest round of funding will also be assessed for inclusion in Long-Term Recovery, the next phase in the United Way’s recovery efforts.

Identified households will be receiving a phone call from 2-1-1 Ventura County to assist with accessing services available from a variety of long-term recovery agencies and, in some cases, verify addresses if they have not been provided. Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211 to inquire about United Way’s amplified assistance and services from long-term recovery agencies.

To date, the United Way Thomas & Fire Flood Fund has raised more than $4.5 million.

Applications will remain open through August.

Since 1945, United Way of Ventura County has advanced the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. For more information about United Way of Ventura County, visit

Ventura Fire and Police Departments respond to vehicle into a structure

On Aug.3, at 1:09pm the Ventura Fire and Police Departments were dispatched to a vehicle into a structure in the 6300 block on Ralston.. Upon arrival, crews discovered a sedan into the side of a garage with the solo occupant still in the vehicle. Firefighters removed the victim from the vehicle, searched for residents in the structure and assessed the structural integrity of the building. This incident was due to a vehicle collision. The driver of the other vehicle was assessed on scene and transported to a local emergency department.

Ventura Fire respond to vehicle accident into a tree

On Aug. 8, at 7:07pm Ventura Fire responded to a reported vehicle accident into a tree with an entrapped passenger on Harbor near San Pedro. Upon first unit arrival, crews discovered a single vehicle collision with major damage and a front seat passenger entrapped. Advanced emergency medical care was initiated for the passenger while additional crews controlled hazards and began extricating the trapped victim using hydraulic and electric tools. The driver was assessed on scene. Both occupants were transported to a local trauma center.

Bald Eagle population expands on the Channel Islands

Over two million eagle enthusiasts watched the bald eagles up close. Photo by Dr. Peter Sharpe

The bald eagle breeding season this year has been the most productive since the restoration efforts began in 1980. A record 20 breeding pairs successfully reared 19 bald eagle chicks across five Channel Islands.

“This has been the best breeding season since I began working on the bald eagle restoration project over 21 years ago. The number of breeding pairs has increased from only three in 1997 to 20 this year,” said Dr. Peter Sharpe with the Institute for Wildlife Studies. “On Santa Cruz Island we had two nests that each produced three chicks, something that is not commonly seen on the Channel Islands.”

The overall tally of fledged chicks includes 11 from six nests on Santa Cruz Island, two from one nest on Santa Rosa Island, five from four nests on Santa Catalina Island, and one on San Clemente Island. New nest sites were discovered on Santa Rosa Island at East Point and on Santa Cruz Island at Yellowbanks.

Recent sightings of bald eagles from the Channel Islands have increased throughout California with birds seen in Orange, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Bernardino Counties and were spotted as far north as Washington and British Columbia.

Over two million eagle enthusiasts watched the bald eagles up close via live webcams provided by Explore Annenberg and the Institute for Wildlife Studies on Santa Catalina and Santa Cruz Island this year. To view the bald eagle webcams visit or

Bald eagles disappeared from the Channel Islands in the 1960’s due to the effects of DDT and human disturbance. Today, there are about 60 resident bald eagles on the Channel Islands.

The Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife species, is involved in conservation projects around the world. IWS has conducted bald eagle restoration on Catalina Island for nearly 40 years.

The Explore Annenberg LLC is a charitable, nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the selfless acts of others, create a portal for the education of humanity and inspire lifelong learning. Explore uses the power of the internet, images, music, dialogue and the written word to fulfill its mission. Explore offers a portal for public viewing of live video and live webcams at

Land owners that support restoration efforts include the National Park Service (NPS) as the manager on five of the eight California Channel Islands, The Nature Conservancy who jointly owns and manages Santa Cruz Island with the NPS, the Catalina Island Conservancy for Catalina Island, and the U.S. Navy on San Clemente Island.

Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP), a multi-agency program dedicated to restoring natural resources harmed by DDTs and PCBs released into the environment in southern California, funded bald eagle restoration efforts. MSRP is overseen by representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Lands Commission, and California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Thomas Fire evacuation focus groups

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley are conducting two focus groups in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area on the 2017 Thomas wildfire evacuations.

Focus Group 1: Low Income
Saturday, August 25th – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – E.P. Foster Library in Ventura


1) Evacuated or received an evacuation order for the 2017 Thomas Fire

2) Have a household income under $40,000

Focus Group 2: Spanish Speaking

Sunday, August 26th – 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – E.P. Foster Library in Ventura


1) Evacuated or received an evacuation order for the 2017 Thomas Fire

2) Speak Spanish as the primary language at home

For those chosen to participate, each person will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Participants will be selected on a first-come-first-serve basis.

If you are interested, please go to

And fill out the form.