Category Archives: News and Notes

Ventura and Gold Coast Recycling celebrate 25th anniversary

Photos by John Ferritto

Gold Coast Recycling and Transfer Station, established in 1990 to help local cities, including Ventura, and the County of Ventura meet state mandates to cut the amount of trash they send to landfills in half, held a 25th anniversary celebration on Nov. 19.

Gold Coast Recycling and business partner Harrison Industries honored the cities they serve – also including Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Ojai, Fillmore and Carpinteria – as well the County of Ventura with Certificates of Appreciation during the event at the 75,000-square-foot facility in Ventura.

stuff gold coast insetGeorge Harrison, general manager of Gold Coast Recycling, presented certificates of appreciation to representatives of the cities, chambers and communities Harrison serves for helping the communities exceed the trash diversion goals of California Assembly Bill 939, passed in 1989.

“We couldn’t have reached these state goals without the extraordinary commitment of the citizens, businesses and institutions of all of the jurisdictions, and for that we thank them also,” Harrison said.

Working in conjunction with Harrison Industries, GCR established a three-barrel curbside program for trash, recycling and green waste for residents and a white recycling bin program for businesses as well as roll-off and Construction & Demolition programs for both businesses and residents, GCR processes over 90,000 tons of recyclable materials each year.

Government officials presenting GCR with certificates of congratulations included State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann and Ventura City Councilman Jim Monahan. Representatives of the offices of Congresswoman Julia Brownley, State Senator Fran Pavley and Assemblyman Das Williams also presented certificates of congratulations.

In the future Harrison Industries and GCR will be adding green and food waste recycling bins for its business customers, in compliance with California Assembly Bill 1826, which takes effect in 2016. AB 1826 is designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and create a source of green energy.

Anacapa Middle School teacher recognized

The Ventura Commerce and Education Foundation (VCEF) named Danna Lomax, language arts teacher at Anacapa Middle School in Ventura, as November’s Teacher of the Month. VCEF board member, Pattie Braga, along with elected representatives and members of the business community, presented Lomax with a plaque to commemorate the award .

Lomax was acknowledged for her commitment to creating engaging learning experiences, her high level of involvement in on-campus and district committees, and her expertise in bilingual education. Her recognition-worthy efforts include presenting at numerous county and district workshops on bilingualism as well as bringing a salsa dance instructor into her classroom to supplement a cross-curriculum course on bilingualism and biculturalism.

“Danna is extremely dedicated to Anacapa’s students, both in her classroom instruction and outside of class time,” said Anacapa’s principal, Barbara Boggio. “Her doors are always open to interested students, whether or not they are in her classes, and she is constantly seeking ways to develop new and exciting learning opportunities.”

In her 18-year teaching career, Lomax has received multiple Impact II awards, including the Ed Lyon Award for Excellence in Education in 2013. Her efforts have also earned the school several Ventura Education Partnership (VEP) grants.

Teacher of the Month nominees must be credentialed teachers and display certain qualities, such as outstanding commitment to students, service to school or district committees, involvement in projects on their own time and/or participation in youth-focused activities in the community. All principals and parent-teacher organizations from schools within the Ventura Unified School District are eligible to submit nominations. For more information about the Teacher of the Month program, please contact Pattie Braga, chair of the Teacher Appreciation Committee with the VCEF, at or (805) 477-4052.


The greatest threat facing humanity

Ahead of the historic United Nations conference in Paris on climate change, join the Ventura Sierra Club in a call to immediate action on the greatest threat facing humanity, climate change. November 29, at 1pm, community leaders and local politicians will gather on the steps of Ventura City Hall to demand the transition to 100% clean energy in Ventura County. A colorful brigade of sunflowers will lead the climate march to the E.P. Foster Library Topping Room for a presentation by Dr Nancy Merrick of Ventura, former student of Dr. Jane Goodall on climate change and its impact on Chimpanzees in West Africa.

General Magnaplate faces potential federal lawsuit for illegal storm water discharges

The Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) and Keller Rohrback L.L.P. has notified Ventura global coating company General Magnaplate of EDC’s intent to sue the company for allegedly operating its electroplating facility in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The notice letter alleges that the facility is illegally discharging storm water containing pollutants, including zinc and aluminum, into the Santa Clara River, less than two miles from where the River flows into the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Clara River, southern California’s last naturally free-flowing major river, is critical to the communities’ health and recreation, and is home to numerous endangered species.

EDC and Keller Rohrback’s investigation has revealed that, over the past five years, General Magnaplate has apparently continuously violated California’s General Industrial Storm Water Permit (“General Permit”) by discharging iron, zinc, aluminum, and other pollutants in concentrations that are magnitudes above lawful limits.

“General Magnaplate’s ongoing pollution in violation of the Clean Water Act threatens our communities, beach-goers, and the numerous species that rely on this important watershed,” stated Maggie Hall, Staff Attorney at the Environmental Defense Center. “By notifying General Magnaplate of our intent to sue, we hope to force them to clean up their operations and protect the Santa Clara River from polluted runoff.”

The General Permit is intended to protect our state’s waterways from pollution caused by storm water runoff from industrial facilities. Storm water is among the nation’s top sources of water contamination. Electroplating facilities like General Magnaplate are required to collect and analyze storm water samples for iron, zinc, aluminum, and other pollutants.

The Santa Clara River was listed in 2005 as the 10th most endangered U.S. waterway. It also provides crucial aquatic ecosystem functions in the region, including groundwater recharge and riparian habitat. The River is home to as many as 17 species listed as threatened or endangered, and includes critical habitat for many species, including the Santa Ana Sucker, Tidewater Goby, Unarmored Threespine Stickleback, California Red Legged Frog, Arroyo Toad, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Least Bell’s Vireo, and the Southern California Steelhead.

General Magnaplate has been in operation since 1980, and has global corporate headquarters in New Jersey.

Under the Clean Water Act, potential litigants must send a 60-day notice of intent to sue before lawsuits can be filed alleging that a facility is in violation of the Act. While EDC and Keller Rohrback are committed to pursuing legal remedies if necessary, their hope is that submission of the notice will prompt General Magnaplate to comply with its mandatory permit requirements, thereby protecting water quality, without court intervention.

Registration for Corporate Games can start now

by Eric Burton, Ventura Corporate Games Director

Registration officially opens on January 11 for the 2016 Ventura Corporate Games, but you can reserve your spot now! The registration and event selection form — easy to fill, save and send — plus all the essential information for 2016 are now online at

I look forward to welcoming back our family of agencies, businesses and companies that return to “The Games” year after year. These organizations already know the value of Corporate Games to their employees.

But if your organization has never taken part, this is my personal “pitch” and invitation to you to consider joining us for the 2016 Corporate Games to be held from March 19 to May 7.

There are so many reasons why you should make this investment, but here are my top three: participation in Corporate Games will increase employee (1) productivity, (2) teamwork and (3) fitness within your organization.

Over the past 26 years of its existence, I’ve seen 80 to 90 companies come to include participation in Corporate Games as an essential part of their wellness culture each year. And I’ve seen this culture grow from the simple “let’s go out and have fun” to a more profound “let’s get healthy and break down barriers that prevent us from reaching our full potential.”

But, make no mistake, Corporate Games remains the fun way to build your team and provide your employees with the benefits of improved health, efficiency and unity. What better “bottom line” investment can you make in the single most important resource in your company?

I invite you to call me at 658.4738 or contact me at to make your commitment early or discuss your possible participation in Corporate Games next year. I look forward to hearing from you.

National Family Volunteer Day celebration in Ventura Nov. 21

When: Saturday, Nov. 21 from 9am – 11am
Where: Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli, front steps

National Family Volunteer Day will be celebrated in the city of Ventura with local families performing Acts of Kindness. As part of the City of Ventura’s 150th anniversary events, Mayor Cheryl Heitmann is asking community members to perform A Million Acts of Kindness.

Volunteer Ventura! is hosting Family Volunteer Day to celebrate the power of families working together, and to help teach children valuable real-life lessons about compassion and caring.

Families will participate in “Kindness Stations” such as:
~  Donating canned/boxed food for FOOD Share, stuffed animals for the Ventura Police Department outreach, or a new, unwrapped toy for Ventura City Fire Department’s Spark of Love Toy Drive
~  Decorating a pebble in our Kindness Rocks station
~  Making a holiday letter/card for one of our deployed servicemen/women
~  Participating in a service scavenger hunt
~  Offering a free cup of coffee to a stranger or to a favorite downtown merchant (thanks to donations provided by Starbucks)

Ventura Commerce and Education Foundation recognizes local teacher

On Oct. 28, the Ventura Commerce and Education Foundation (VCEF) named Mrs. Patricia “Trisha” Lewis, third-grade teacher at Portola Elementary School in Ventura, October’s Teacher of the Month. VCEF board member, Pattie Braga, along with elected representatives and members of the business community, presented Lewis with a plaque to commemorate the award.

Lewis has 30 years of teaching experience and has played an integral role in the development of several key on-campus programs, including the school’s PTA and peer mediation group. Committed to helping her students flourish in the area of technology, Lewis also helped establish a technology committee at Portola Elementary. To supplement her involvement and experience, she attends training workshops on both technology and peer mediation.

“Trisha is a highly experienced teacher, and throughout her career she has maintained an unwavering dedication to providing the best possible education for her students,” said Portola Elementary School’s principal, Robert Ruiz. “She consistently find ways to go above and beyond, and her leadership and innovation make her a tremendous asset to our team.”

All principals and parent-teacher organizations from schools within the Ventura Unified School District are eligible to submit nominations. For more information about the Teacher of the Month program, please contact Pattie Braga, chair of the Teacher Appreciation Committee with the VCEF, at or 477-4052.

2015 Adoption and Foster Care Fair at Pacific View Mall

by Veronica Johnson

On National Adoption Day, which is Saturday November 14th, the Ventura Superior Court is sponsoring the 2015 Adoption and Foster Care Information Fair with the goal of educating the public and providing interaction with families who are interested in adopting or becoming foster parents. Foster VC Kids, a division of the County of Ventura’s Children and Family Services will be on hand to provide information on county-wide foster and adoption processes. The Fair is from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pacific View Mall.

Foster VC Kids is a division of Children and Family Services, Ventura County Human Services Agency (VCHSA). The agency strengthens families, supports self-sufficiency and promotes safety, health, and well-being. All of their service areas operate and perform at the highest level to meet the needs of individuals, families, and the community by providing assistance, aid, and protection for foster youth and beyond. VCHSA demonstrates the ability to work in multicultural environments and ensures that policies, programs, and actions communicate respect for the dignity of all people. Visit for more information.

For more information on the event, contact Patti Morua-Widdows at 289-8827.

Fundraiser held for Ventura Botanical Gardens

Entertainer Hannah Davey started the day with her wonderful rendition of America the Beautiful
Entertainer Hannah Davey started the day with her wonderful rendition of America the Beautiful

On Sunday, Oct. 5, the Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG) annual “Grow Your Garden” fundraiser brunch was held in Grant Park.

The nearly 500 guests who attended the brunch, prepared by Seasons Catering, were given the option of either hiking the trail up to the lunch area or riding shuttles from the City Hall parking lot up to the site.

The cooler weather and two large tents made for a comfortable event. Several speakers talked to the invited attendees and films were shown presenting inspirational photos and additional speakers.

Welcoming speeches were given by Beverly McCaslin, Founding member of the Gardens’ board of directors, Kevin Clerici, Executive Director of the Downtown Ventura Partners Improvement District and a member of the board, Gavin Garrety, an 8th grade student at DeAnza Academy of Technology & the Arts and Barbara Brown, founding partner of BBM&D Strategic Branding and a Charter Member of the VBG, who currently serves as its Vice President.

Barbara Brown stated, “We have much to do for the Gardens, from putting in water and plants to creating new buildings, to building our corps of volunteers. Support from our donors helps ensure that we can create a world class Gardens for Ventura County.”

The location of Ventura Botanical Gardens is Grant Park. The first trail, the Demonstration Trail, is complete. Almost a mile long and six feet wide, with a decomposed granite surface and hand‐built stone walls, the trailhead begins at the upper parking lot behind City Hall. Planting for the Chilean Gardens has begun. When completed, the Chilean Gardens will be the largest in the world, outside of Chile. Grant Park is open from dawn to dusk. Nearly 1,500 people per month now hike the trail.

For more information, visit