Category Archives: News and Notes

Tsunami activity in the Ventura Harbor and Ventura Keys

There were over 20 homes in the Keys with damage to their docks/ramps. Photos by Patricia Schallert, Russ Jenkins and Sheilla Leiman

An undersea volcano erupted in spectacular fashion near the Pacific nation of Tonga, sending large tsunami waves crashing across the globe. Harbor Patrol Rescue Boat 17, docked at the time, was inundated with an outgoing surge, capsized and sunk in the Pierpont Basin.

From the Ventura Fire Department

“On the above date (Jan. 15) and time, a call was received by the on-duty Fire Battalion Chief of extreme tidal activity in the Ventura Harbor and the Ventura Keys. Fire personnel arrived on scene within minutes of the initial call and upon assessment of the harbor area, it was determined that the extreme high and low tidal surges were a result of seismic activity in the Tonga region of the South Pacific. Emergency personnel from various agencies assessed the area and found that numerous docks and boats were damaged because of the extreme tidal surges. The surge activity lasted several hours, and emergency personnel rescued numerous boats and docks that had broken loose during this incident.”

“At the time of this media release, no injuries to emergency personnel have been reported. The Ventura City Fire Department would like to remind the public to review the Ventura City Tsunami evacuation plan and be familiar with evacuation routes.”

Tsunami activity in the Ventura Harbor and Ventura Keys

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Ventura Port District Board of Commissioners approves emergency action for Hunga Tonga tsunami damages

Ventura Harbor experienced unpredictable currents and damaging surges following a massive undersea volcanic eruption near Tonga on Saturday, January 14, 2022. As a result, the Ventura Port District Board of Commissioners took immediate action at their Board Meeting held January 19, 2022, by approving a State of Emergency resolution to restore District assets in the Ventura Harbor.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported in the Ventura area following the Hunga Tonga Tsunami Advisory. However, the powerful surges led to damage of both public and private property in the Ventura Harbor and the adjoining Ventura Keys. There are at least two dozen damaged docks at multiple marinas and private residences and two Ventura Harbor Patrol Boats have been rendered out of commission.

“Our Commission’s swift action in adopting an emergency resolution paves the way for the repair and replacement of Port District assets,” said Brian Pendleton, Ventura Port District General Manager. “It will also help the Port to expedite and restore redundancy for our on-water patrol and emergency response capabilities,” Pendleton added.

The Harbor remains open, including the public launch ramp. Recreational activities on the water were temporarily discouraged during the surges, however all activities have since resumed. It is still advisable to proceed with caution as some navigation buoys are absent and residual debris may still be in the water.

Following the tsunami activity, Senior Harbor Patrol Officer, Pat Hummer, conducted a depth soundings to evaluate the conditions of the entrance channel and inner harbor. The sounding showed that sand removed during the surges has increased the water depth, which is one silver lining for the boat traffic in Ventura Harbor overall.

“The efforts by our Harbormaster and Ventura Harbor Patrol officers are commendable, as they offer around the clock support to help safeguard the public and property whenever possible,” said Pendleton. Channel Watch Marine/Tow Boat US/Vessel Assist Ventura also aided in towing and removal of debris. Both teams partnered for a quick response to those in our coastal community during the surges.

The Harbormaster is pursuing solutions to address the reduction in the Harbor Patrol on-water capacity. “Currently the Harbor Patrol’s Fire Boat 1, along with additional vessels, are available to support many of the services in Ventura Harbor,” said

John Higgins, Ventura Port District Harbormaster. “As we work to quickly evaluate solutions for boat replacements or repair, we’ll be relying on the strong relationships that the Ventura Harbor Patrol has developed with fellow community agencies to assist in the Harbor and beyond.”

Pendleton states, “We will continue to work closely with local, regional and state agencies to connect businesses and property owners with permitting agencies to complete necessary repairs to Harbor marinas and private docks.”

“Time and time again I have seen the Ventura Harbor community come together whether there’s been an accident, weather-related incident, pandemic, or in this case, response to a natural disaster half-way around the world,” Pendleton said.

Below, the Ventura Port District shares resources and contacts for assistance to those affected by the tsunami surges in the Ventura Keys and Ventura Harbor. As more information becomes available, updated resources and information will be available on VenturaHarbor.com.

City of Ventura-Contact: Dara C. Sanders, Planning Manager, Community Development Department, City of Ventura: dsanders@cityofventura.ca.gov

California Coastal Commission-Contact: SouthCentralCoast@coastal.ca.gov and visit https://www.coastal.ca.gov/cdp/cdp-forms.html to identify the appropriate applications

For repair work that involves pile replacement or other disturbance of the seafloor

US Army Corps of Engineers-Contact: Antal Szijj, Team Lead, Regulatory Division, Ventura Field Office: Antal.J.Szijj@usace.army.mil

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board-Contact: Emily Duncan, Ph.D., Senior Environmental Scientist, Regional Programs Section: Emily.Duncan@waterboards.ca.gov

Worst blood shortage in over a decade

The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care. Doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments. Please schedule your blood donation today.

What is causing the blood shortage crisis?

10% overall blood donation decline since March 2020.
62% drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors accounted for ~25% of donors in 2019 accounted for just ~10% during the pandemic.
Ongoing blood drive cancellations due to illness, weather-related closures and staffing limitations.
Additional factors like a surge of COVID-19 cases and an active flu season may compound the already bad situation.

At a time when many businesses and organizations across the country are experiencing pandemic challenges, the Red Cross is no different. We are all learning how to live in this new environment, how we spend our time, where we work, how we give back, how we make a difference in the lives of others – donating blood must continue to be part of it.

The Red Cross, which supplies 40% of the nation’s blood supply, has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals as a result of the shortage. In fact, some hospitals may not receive 1 in 4 blood products they need.

Blood cannot be manufactured or stockpiled and can only be made available through the kindness of volunteer donors. Less than a one-day supply of critical blood types in recent weeks.

As a special thank-you for helping to meet the immediate need for blood and platelets during this blood crisis, the Red Cross has teamed up with the NFL to offer one lucky winner an exciting 2022 Super Bowl LVI getaway to Los Angeles and the opportunity to experience the first Super Bowl in SoFi Stadium.

Tuesday, February 8, Knights of Columbus
36 S. Figueroa St. 11:30 AM – 05:30 PM
Wednesday, February 16,
Ventura County Credit Union
2575 Vista Del Mar Drive 10:00 AM – 03:00 PM
Tuesday, February 22, Knights of Columbus 11:30 AM – 05:30 PM

https://www.redcrossblood.org

Department of Education awards VCCCD colleges grants of nearly $10 Million

Two Ventura County Community College District colleges have received multi-million-dollar federal grants to support STEM programs targeting underrepresented students interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering and math-related fields. A grant for Oxnard College totals $4,901,245, and the grant for Ventura College is $5 million. Both grants are for the period of Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2026.

“For the third consecutive time, the U.S. Department of Education has recognized Oxnard College’s leading work in STEM education through the Hispanic-Serving Institution STEM grant,” shared Luis Sanchez, president of Oxnard College. “This grant’s renewal will infuse additional resources and staffing into our academic programs, expanding career pathways in STEM for countless Ventura County students and their families. We relish the opportunity to continue this life-changing work for our community.”

Oxnard College’s grant supports the college’s Guided Pathways to STEM Careers project, which is grounded in published research and modeled after programs that produce intended outcomes in STEM.

Ventura College will use its grant for its Servingness: Aspiration, Identity, and Learning (S:AIL) in STEM project for students attending its main campus in Ventura and Ventura College East Campus in Santa Paula. This project aims to increase access and participation in STEM degrees/careers, provide more equitable degree and career outcomes and increase transfer rates to STEM programs in the California State University and University of California systems.

“The college degree pipeline for Hispanic students most often starts at the community college level, but there are many barriers to educational attainment and transfer, particularly in STEM. This grant will help close the achievement gap for Ventura College students from underrepresented communities by providing them with resources to ensure their success in coursework at our college and later at a four-year college or university,” said Dr. Kim Hoffmans, president of Ventura College.

Through the grant, Ventura College students will receive enhanced tutoring, counseling and service programs created to improve their academic success. This includes innovative and customized instruction in gateway English and math courses to retain students and accelerate program completion and transfer rates to four-year higher education institutions. The grant will also address the gaps in the community college to university pipeline by fostering flexible and affordable paths to obtaining knowledge and skills. This will occur through students’ participation in experiential and work-based learning.

Oxnard and Ventura colleges are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, meaning they meet certain eligibility requirements as institutions of higher education, and the student population has at least 25% Hispanic students at the end of an award year immediately preceding the date of a grant application. Oxnard College counts 76% of its students as Hispanic, and Ventura College, 61%.

Ventura Fire personnel respond to traffic collision with trapped occupant

On Jan.7, a 911 call was received at the Fire Communication Center to report a traffic collision on the N/B 101 Fwy at the Lemon Grove turn. Fire personnel arrived on scene within minutes of the initial call and found a heavily damaged small passenger vehicle with one occupant that was trapped. Fire personnel performed advanced medical treatment, vehicle extrication and hazard mitigation to free the victim from the vehicle entrapment. The victim was treated and transported to a local medical center for further evaluation and treatment.

Memorial service at Ventura Harbor for Vuong Tran

A memorial service was held at the docks at the Harbor for Vuong Tran (January 1, 1957-December 8, 2021). Attended by his large family and many many friends.

From the Harbor Patrol:

Wednesday 12/08, 4:23pm, dispatched to an offshore Search & Rescue for missing fisherman from the commercial boat John Start. Officers responded in the Fireboat and Rescue B17 with multiple agencies to aid in the search.

Search patterns were conducted for five hours in the Santa Barbara Channel along with USCG vessels/aircraft & TowBoat US. Sadly, and with heavy hearts, only his vessel was found and he is still missing.

Tran was one of the longest tenants of Ventura Harbor, beloved by everyone, he always made the effort to say hello, shake your hand with a huge smile. Fishing, years ago, Tran rescued a former Ventura HP officers’ father in an outrigger canoe accident.

Ventura College Foundation provided $696,095 in direct student support during

This past academic year was like no other for students.

Despite pandemic challenges, the Ventura College Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and financial assistance to Ventura College students and school programs, distributed $696,095 in direct student financial support during the 2020-2021 academic year and another $871,749 to 28 Ventura College programs across 17 department and divisions.

“This past academic year was like no other for students and their families, college leadership, faculty and staff, donors and the foundation,” says Anne Paul King, Ventura College Foundation executive director. “Despite everything, the foundation was able to build its financial reserves while distributing over $1.5 million in student and school program aid.”

The foundation awarded 400 scholarships (including 8 new scholarships) to 228 applicants. Its lending library and veterans’ textbook program provided textbooks to 602 students including 53 veterans.

According to Ventura College data, 55 percent of the college’s 10,000-student population are classified as extremely low income or low income and 18 percent are housing insecure. Twenty-eight percent sought assistance from the college’s Basic Needs Office, which helps students with food and housing. 

“Because of the effects of the pandemic, we saw the number of students in economic crisis grow,” says King. “The foundation responded by redirecting some of its fundraising efforts to raise more than $19,000 to help support students with their basic living expenses. When these needs are met, we know students can better focus on their academic studies. We are so grateful to our donors. Their commitment to education is building a stronger and brighter future for VC students and our community.”

For more information on the Ventura College Foundation’s financial impact on student education and donor honor in 2020-2021, go to https://venturacollegefoundation.org/foundation-impact. To learn about Ventura College Foundation donation options, click on https://venturacollegefoundation.org/giving.

Established in 1983, the Ventura College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and operates financially independent from Ventura College. It transforms students’ lives through education by providing innovative and vital resources and financial support. The Foundation collaborates with Ventura College to enhance human potential, civic engagement, careers and academic success of students enabling their effective impact and legacy on the college, local workforce, and our community. The Foundation also hosts the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace; an outdoor shopping experience held every weekend on the Ventura College campus. For more information, contact Julie Harvey at (805) 289-6502 or jharvey@vcccd.edu or visit www.VenturaCollegeFoundation.org.

Free virtual seminar addresses kids and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Are you thinking of vaccinating your child against the COVID-19 virus? If you have questions or are looking for more information, join Community Memorial Health System for a free and informative online discussion about the COVID-19 vaccine and children.

CMHS’s pediatric specialist, Dr. Alison Shuman, will talk about the data, safety, and the most recent FDA recommendations for children and the vaccine. CMHS is hosting this free online seminar at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13 to kick off the Speaker Series Online for 2022. There will be a live question-and-answer session for participants to have their questions addressed by an expert. To join in, please RSVP at www.cmhshealth.org/RSVP.

Community Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system that comprises Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, a skilled nursing facility, and a network of primary and specialty care clinics that serve communities throughout Ventura County, California.

Campuses will start Spring 2022 semester primarily online

To protect the health of students and employees within the Ventura County Community College District and to help mitigate the surge in the county’s COVID-19 cases, Ventura County’s community colleges will start the Spring 2022 semester primarily online beginning Jan. 10. Spring classes at Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges and Ventura College East Campus will be mainly remote for a limited time with exceptions for classes requiring in-person instruction. Scheduled in-person class sessions will be reinstated following a reduction in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

“The health and safety of our students and employees has been paramount in operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We made the current decision to help reduce transmission and support ongoing public health efforts. We know we must be flexible in our planning as we approach the start of the Spring semester. Remote instruction will contribute to reducing employee and student absences as we help students attain their educational goals,” said Chancellor Greg Gillespie.

“We need to make sure that our campuses are safe, which is why the board of trustees voted unanimously to mandate the vaccine for all students, faculty and staff on our campuses. Online options are available for students who choose not to be vaccinated,” added Board Chair Dianne B. McKay.

Only vaccinated employees and students, and those with an approved exemption, can be on-site. All health and safety protocols currently in place will continue, including daily screening, wearing face masks and twice-weekly testing for people with medical or religious exemptions.

The District’s action related to remote learning for the Spring semester will be continually monitored with input from the Ventura County Public Health Department and in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and guidelines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines state the best protection against COVID-19 is to be vaccinated and get a booster shot. Ventura County vaccination information is available at Ventura County Recovers. Vaccination appointments can be scheduled online at MyTurn.

Help with the homerless count

The Ventura County Continuum of Care is looking for volunteers to assist with the 2022 Homeless Count on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. This count is required for all of our state and federal grants that fund local homeless shelters, permanent supportive housing, rental assistance programs, street outreach and more! The survey is anonymous and we need to make sure everyone gets counted. This year we will provide hygiene supplies and recommend face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We will be using a mobile app to capture the survey data which will be reviewed during training in mid-January. Volunteers can sign up online to assist during shifts between 6:30am to noon: https://forms.gle/cmByTeEBArQZJV7k6