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Public health strongly recommends all community members wear masks indoors

With cases of COVID-19 rising locally and increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the County of Ventura Public Health Department strongly recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places. This serves as an extra precautionary measure for those who are fully vaccinated and will further limit spread of the Delta variant in the community at large.

“The Delta variant is spreading quickly in our State. All community members should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,” said County of Ventura Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin. “While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection. Ventura County data have recently shown that unvaccinated people are 22 times more likely to become infected and hospitalized than vaccinated residents. Several of our hospitalized people have been vaccinated and that is several too many.”

In June, the Delta variants comprised 43 percent of all specimens sequenced in California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for 58 percent of new infections across the country. Fully vaccinated people are well-protected from infections and serious illness due to known COVID-19 variants including Delta variants, and vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, continues to be our best defense against severe COVID-19 infection, and the harm it can do to our region. Vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available to everyone 12 and older. “For the most part this is a surge of cases among our unvaccinated and it is preventable. Get vaccinated,” said Doctor Levin.

Out of an abundance of caution, people are strongly recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated as an added layer of protection for both themselves and unvaccinated residents. Businesses are asked to expect universal masking for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. Workplaces must comply with Cal/OSHA requirements and fully vaccinated employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors if their employer has not confirmed the vaccination status of those around them. For masks to work properly, they need to completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face and around your nose.

Public Health will continue to monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths and increasing vaccination rates throughout the County and will reevaluate the recommendation in the coming weeks. COVID-19 information can be monitored at www.vcrecovers.org.

COVID-19 vaccines are available at multiple locations throughout the County of Ventura for all community members 12 or older. Information about locations can be found at www.myturn.ca.gov or by calling 833-422-4255.

Crowd gathers to protest SoCalGas compressor site in Ventura

The Westside Community Council was there supporting the cause.

On July 17, from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, hundreds of community members from around California including Ventura, Culver City, Playa Del Rey, and Aliso Canyon met at Kellogg Park to demand Gov. Newsom instruct the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct an Environmental Impact Review before any further work can be completed on the SoCalGas facility, and to phase out oil and gas drilling immediately.

More than 200 people attended the ‘Fight to Stop Ventura SoCalGas Compressor’ protest. They displayed signs opposing the compressor station and lisend tgo speakers opposing the site.

For years, Ventura’s Westside community has lived near the Southern California Gas Company compressor station. It has been considered by NASA as a super-emitter of methane.

SoCalGas has initiated efforts to double the size of the facility that sits across the street from an elementary school and Boys and Girls Club. Approximately 500 people live within a quarter mile of the facility, but as many as 4,750 live within a half mile radius close enough to be impacted by a gas explosion. The site s located at 1555 N. Olive St.

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, Inc. stated “As CEO of Patagonia, I am working in solidarity with the community of West Ventura and Patagonia’s 500 Ventura based employees to oppose this dangerous project. Patagonia’s headquarters has been located down the road on West Santa Clara Street since our founding in 1973. As a global company that is in business to save our home planet, it’s our responsibility to use our resources to protect our employees, neighbors and community from harm. We believe it’s urgent to put people before the interests of the fossil fuel industry.”

“Oil and gas infrastructure has no place near homes and schools. Patagonia applauds Mayor Rubalcava and our city councilors, along with community groups and environmental activists, for protecting residents. We urge our elected and appointed officials to continue to block the expansion of this dangerous facility. We want SoCalGas to safely clean up this site under the watchful eyes of government officials and local activists and shut down this compressor station.

To learn more about the efforts to stop SoCalGas’ expansion of the gas compressor on Olive Street, please visit westsidecleanair.org. Their demands are:

The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) must hold a bilingual community hearing with residents that would be affected, including parents of children who attend EP Foster Elementary School;

There must be an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Health Impact Assessment of the entire scope of the cleanup and expansion project at 1555 N. Olive St;

Rather than expand this facility, SoCal Gas must create a plan to clean up the toxic soil and shut down the compressor station. We do not want this in our neighborhood.

Kindness Really Matters Now

Ventura’s wonderful Park Safety Ambassadors would be a fine place to start.

Why, Here in Ventura — and Throughout California — Kindness Really Matters Now

Now that California and Ventura have reopened, folks are flooding out into the world with joyous abandon. That is happy news. We all can use plenty of joy. But there is a flip side to this flood. Businesses that had gone to a skeletal staff (or no staff) are suddenly short staffed. The simple, unequal math is reduced to this — many of our Ventura businesses are struggling to do a lot more with fewer people. Our Ventura businesses — from hotels, to restaurants, to retail — are working hard to hire staff, but it takes time. Lines are a little longer. Waits are a little longer. Phones ring a little longer.

Our businesses are doing the best they can in the face of a happy deluge of visitors and locals eager to greet life, all of them boosting our economy (for which we are deeply grateful). And our businesses are working equally hard to do better. Until they catch up — and they will — we ask for some simple, but game-changing, things. Like patience. An understanding smile. A kind word. Maybe even an unasked for thank you. Ventura’s wonderful Park Safety Ambassadors would be a fine place to start (They’re easy to spot; wearing bright red colored shirts with Ventura’s logo, they’re perpetually cleaning and graciously answering every kind of question).

That’s right, who better to get the kindness ball rolling than the locals? We Venturans know how to do this. No town knows better. We know how to move a little more slowly; see what’s important and what isn’t. These businesses that are working so hard to adapt to this bright world, most of them are run by our friends and neighbors. These are people we know. How could we not be patient and understanding?

Venturans and visitors, we all walk through this time together. Who wouldn’t want to make it more pleasant? And it requires pretty much nothing. No effort (how hard is a smile?). No real inconvenience (how hard, a few extra beats of patience?) No timetable. “Be kind whenever possible,” the Dalai Lama once said. “It is always possible.”

Why not even be proactively kind? There’s the story of a man who sets his phone alarm so that it goes off a few times a day. At that moment, he does something kind.

Makes you feel good just reading that, doesn’t it?

Why not spread that feeling?

 

Where happiness comes in waves at the Ventura Harbor

Celebrate seaside entertainment all summer long.

The sights and sounds of Summer continue weekly at Ventura Harbor Village through Labor Day with a stellar line up of live seaside entertainment and an array of after dark experiences.

Set sail into the weekend with harborside entertainment at Ventura Harbor Village where a menagerie of summer seaside vibes is in the air on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Revel in genres that include Blues, Pop, Rock Soul, Caribbean, and Reggae.

A roster of top-notch local DJs set the stage and take turns showcasing an ongoing musical variety (made possible by Party Proper!) as part of NEW Friday Nite Seaside DJ Set from 4-7 pm every Friday through Labor Day weekend. Stroll the Seaside Promenade Stage and embrace some evening bliss as the sun goes down and sound turns up. Enjoy the sea-inspired soundtrack while meandering the waterfront and sipping cool cocktails on the patio of a nearby restaurant.

Amid a toe tapping upbeat tropical vibe, visitors celebrate the return of the destination’s popular live Steel Drum Performances with Steel Drum Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. at the seaside Promenade Stage which showcases breathtaking views of both the harbor and mountains. Arrive early to shop, dine and relax at one of the Village’s scenic restaurants and savor fresh seafood, a variety of cuisine choices, and toast to summer with refreshing hand-crafted cocktails

Showcasing a variety of duos and trios with a musical line-up that includes pop to soul and rock to a blend of Caribbean and reggae, Ventura Harbor’s live Summer Sundays live musical performances, from 1-4 p.m. on the oceanfront Promenade Stage, are the perfect way to spend the afternoon. With an array of options to sit back, relax and listen to music on the scenic Promenade patios, on the water aboard a kayak, SUP, electric boat, or on a paddle boat, all offer ways to get the best floating seats in the harbor.

 

Combatting teen vaping is focus of new website

Nearly a third of Ventura County eleventh graders say they have tried vaping.

The Ventura County Office of Education has launched a new website called The Triple Threat to Teen Health that’s aimed at combatting the serious problem of teen vaping. The website is available in English and Spanish at vaping.vcoe.org. “While many may think vaping is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, the most popular vaping products all contain nicotine and have a high potential for addiction,” said Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. “This new website gives parents, guardians, students and educators an important tool to learn about the real risks that vaping poses to our students,” he said.

Nearly a third of Ventura County eleventh graders say they have tried vaping. Many young people are attracted to the thousands of sweet flavor options and slick new device designs used by the vaping industry. In addition to vaping nicotine products, students are using e-cigarettes to consume concentrated cannabis (marijuana). Both nicotine and cannabis use can permanently affect adolescent brain development.

Just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was investigating cases of severe lung injuries caused by the vaping of these unregulated cannabis products. A recent Stanford University School of Medicine study showed a strong link between youth vaping and an increased risk of lung injury related to COVID-19 infection. Additional research by the University of California and Stanford University has found a concerning connection between nicotine, cannabis, and electronic vaping products.

In an effort to address this risk, the Ventura County Office of Education’s Comprehensive Health and Prevention Programs department has created a new website called The Triple Threat to Teen Health. The site is intended for use by parents, guardians, families, and school staff. It provides an initial introduction to these three intersecting issues that pose a significant health risk to today’s young people. It also offers local resources for those who would like to learn more or to get help with addiction.

While the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) shows that Ventura County students’ use of conventional cigarettes has been on a downward trend for the last two decades, vaping devices are being used at dramatically higher rates at every measured grade level. Only recently has the initial data from the most recent CHKS suggested that student vaping behaviors have dropped slightly. In addition, students’ “perception of harm” caused by vaping devices has increased dramatically – across all grade levels and in nearly every demographic. While additional analyses are pending, this suggests that public messaging and education on the risks of vaping are having an impact on teens.

The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at: www.vcoe.org.

Adopt a bright and caring and personable teenage boy from Kidsave Summer Miracles Program

Weston is a smart and caring 14-year-old foster child from Columbia.

by Carol Leish

Sueanne Chadbourne is a lawyer who does personal injury, governmental defense and social services work. Her husband, Stephen, does operations/distributions for a medical device company. William (Weston) is staying with their family here in Ventura. They also have their own 16-year-old son.

Sueanne said, “Recently my family welcomed a smart and caring 14-year-old foster child from Columbia. Weston, who doesn’t have a family of his own, will be with us in our home for five weeks. As an older kid, his chances of finding an adoptive family in Columbia are slim to none. We are hoping that this visit with us will give him the opportunity to meet parents who will love and care for him. He is staying with us and he is hoping to meet prospective parents here who will nurture and support him. He traveled here with Kidsave, a nonprofit organization that helps older kids who need families find their forever homes.”

“Kidsave’s Summer Miracles Programs gives older orphans from oversees the chance for a family.” Their website: www.kidsave.org, also says, “Kids travel to the United States for a memorable 5 week stay. While the kids are here, they learn about the U.S. culture, attend summer camp, and experience life with an American family.”

“With your support, our innovative programs both here and abroad give older kids in foster care a voice and a choice in who they get to know and who will ultimately become their forever family. And, with an estimated 8 million children living in institutional care worldwide, and more than 440,000 in foster care here in the U.S., the need has never been greater.”

Sueanne Chadbourne emphasized that, “Weston has a great temperament. He is looking for a new start. He is great with little kids and great with pets, too. He is sweet and well-behaved. He is definitely mature for his age of only being 14 years old.”

“He is polite, loving, and and a funny young man that loves being outside. He is a great bike rider and loves soccer and basketball. He hopes to become a lawyer when he grows up. He has so much to offer and is a joy to be around. He’s a special kid who deserves to be in a loving family that can support his every step of life.”

Those interested in giving Weston a chance to grow in a supportive home, please contact either, Lauren Reicher Gordon (Sr. VP and Director Family Visit Program), at (310) 642-7201; or, Madeline Thrachtenberg (Summer Miracles Assistant Program Manager), at (310) 241-3083. Or email either of them at: summermiracles@kidsave.org. By becoming an adoptive family, you will be giving Weston the chance to thrive in a loving and supportive home.

VCAAA wins national awards for Senior Nutrition Garden, COVID-19 Response

A volunteer helping plant at the Senior Nutrition Garden.

The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging is the recipient of three National Mature Media Awards and an Innovations Award from the National Association of Area Agencies of Aging (n4a). Projects that received acknowledgement include the Senior Nutrition Garden, LIVEWell, and the Robotic Pet Companion and Walk with Ease video productions, both of which are being recognized among the nation’s best marketing, communications, and educational materials produced for older adults.

The VCAAA’s Senior Nutrition Garden, which won an Innovations Award, was honored for expansion efforts designed to increase harvests and provide even more fresh, organic produce to older adults living in Ventura County.  The 2021 n4a Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards recognizes Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American Aging Programs that develop and implement cutting-edge approaches to support older adults, people with disabilities and their family caregivers. Among the selection criteria was the ease with which other agencies could replicate the program in their communities.

LIVEWell, which won a Bronze Award from the National Mature Media Awards, is the premier resource guide for older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers in Ventura County. LIVEWell is published annually with content available in English and Spanish.

The VCAAA Robotic Pet Companions video production received a Bronze Award from the National Mature Media Awards, while the Walk with Ease video production received a merit award. Both were produced as part of the VCAAA’s COVID-19 Response.

“The VCAAA is honored to receive this recognition and is proud of the impact our marketing and communication efforts have made on the community, particularly through the COVID-19 crisis,” said Victoria Jump, Director of the VCAAA. “We take pride in the work we produce and strive to find new ways to strengthen our methods of communication so that we can continue to empower Ventura County residents to remain healthy and engaged in the community.”

For more information, visit www.vcaaa.org or call (805) 477-7300.

The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, an agency of the County of Ventura, is the principal agency in Ventura County charged with the responsibility to promote the development and implementation of a comprehensive coordinated system of care that enables older individuals, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities to live in a community-based setting and to advocate for the needs of those 60 years of age and older in the county, providing leadership and promoting citizen involvement in the planning process as well as in the delivery of services.

 

City of Ventura’s City Hall and facilities have opened

Has it been this long since City Hall was open?

The City of Ventura has opened City Hall and other facilities to the public on Monday, July 12, 2021. The reopening aligns with the State of California’s move to Beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and the full reopening of business sectors.

“We are thrilled to reopen city facilities and welcome the community back after more than a year of being closed for in-person service,” said Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava. “Ventura, thank you for your sacrifices, commitment, and resilient spirit throughout it all. It is because of our community’s collective efforts that we are where we are today.”

Cleanings and improvements at all city facilities have been made to ensure the health and well-being of residents, businesses, visitors, and City staff when using public counters. Patrons and vendors visiting City facilities and City Hall will be required to wear masks when indoors, and physical distancing shall be practiced.

“During the last year, the important and impactful work of the City continued as we pivoted quickly to work remotely and provide virtual services,” stated Ventura City Manager Alex D. McIntyre. “Bringing the public back is a significant step forward as we look to recover from the pandemic. We are reopening City facilities for business and looking forward to serving the community in-person again.”

City Facility Reopening

City Hall and City facilities will reopen for normal business hours. Hours of operation vary at each location. For more details, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov.

City Council, Boards, and Commission Meetings

Public meetings will continue to be hosted virtually as well as be open for limited in-person participation with social distancing and masking required. The first modified in-person City Council meeting will be hosted on July 19, 2021.

To participate virtually in public meetings, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/AgendaCenter.

Virtual City Services

As the City reopens, Ventura’s services will continue to be available online, ensuring residents and businesses have more options to take care of important matters and connect with City staff.

Electronic applications for City permits and development projects must be submitted online. Residents, developers, and business owners can visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/PermitServices to submit applications.

Parks & Recreation

Parks, beaches, golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, the Ventura Aquatics Center, and public restrooms are open.

The Ventura Avenue Adult Center as well as other community centers and recreational buildings are open to pre-registered participants participating in scheduled activities, camps, and programs, which are available by advance registration only.

To learn more, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/ParksRec.

Special Event Permit Applications

Applications for block parties, free speech events, parades, processions, athletic and sporting events, walk-a-thons, and festivals will be accepted digitally.

Before advertising or promoting your event, be sure to receive conditional approval from the City to ensure the date and event location you are requesting is available.

To learn more, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/SpecialEventPermits.

The City of Ventura is committed to maintaining the health and safety of the public and will be closely following Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).

Even with California relaxing distancing and masking requirements, the risk of community spread still remains high, and the COVID-19 vaccination remains critical to slowing community transmission. To find a vaccine near you, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

Mayor Sofia Rubalcava supported the Ventura Really Really Free Market

Mayor Sofia Rubalcava reading a story to young West Ventura resident, Cosmo, while Shannon López looks on.

City of Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava participated in the Ventura Really Really Free Market (RRFM) on the 4th of July, 9 am-1 pm at Kellogg Park in West Ventura.  Organized by the Ventura County chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSAVC), the event brought the community together to share their talents and lightly used items with one another.  Rubalcava shared her talents for Spanish translation and children’s storytelling.  Other community members offered free workshops: yoga instruction with Sarah Aspell, a Privilege Walk with Nicollete Walker of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a Medicare For All talk with RN & activist Gina Currie.

“RRFMs are a chance to reimagine sharing in our community. Be it home goods, backyard veggies, or knowledge of gardening or knitting, we all have something to share and we all have something to gain,” said Event Organizer, Alyson Warner.

Other talents shared included a collaborative art station with John Caravello, professional chair massage from Allen Chinn, a Tea Ceremony with Taylor Buck and Julie Marie, seed plantings with Shannon & Tomás López, and more.

This event was made possible with support from the Ventura chapter of Black Lives Matters, Bike Ventura, Westside Community Development Corporation, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Ventura Tenants Union, and the Diversity Collective.

For more information on Ventura RRFM, follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RRFMventura.