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Ventura City Fire personnel respond to incident involving natural gas leak

On July 13, at 11am Ventura City Fire personnel responded to a Hazardous Condition incident involving leaking natural gas and operating heavy equipment in the 200 block of S. Mills Rd. The first arriving company found a commercial boom/bucket lift vehicle, which had been performing work on the exterior of a business and had broken through an access door located in the sidewalk. When the heavy equipment broke through it damaged underground natural gas equipment and piping which resulted in an active leak.

The immediate area was evacuated, and the gas leak successfully mitigated by closing adjacent valves. Both a USAR and a truck/support company were requested. Engine company personnel stood by with hose lines while the vehicle was removed from the hole using a heavy wrecker. After removal, the gas company began repairing the damaged equipment and piping.

Safeguard the Central Coast

by Jack Dyer, Steve Dunwoody, and Graciela Cabellos

The Central Coast is one of the most treasured landscapes in California, and for good reason. Three distinct ecosystems— grassland, semi-desert, and redwood forest—join together here to host more than 470 animal species, including more than 90 that are at risk of extinction.  It’s one of the few places in the world where giant redwoods and desert species can be found growing next to one another. These extraordinary natural areas are one reason residents and visitors choose the Central Coast, and they are a magnet for business, recreation, and tourism.  Making sure these public lands continue to succeed requires a commitment from all of us.

People connect to our local wild places in different ways and for different reasons. Active duty military personnel at Port Hueneme all the way up to Vandenberg Air Force Base find respite and recreation in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Many more veterans have chosen to retire here because of the quality of life and opportunity for recovery from overseas deployments that are offered by having access to public lands.

At the same time, public lands are an underutilized recreational resource for the millions of Latinos that live in and around the Central Coast. The Latino population is the fastest growing demographic in the United States and among the most underrepresented groups in conservation. The great irony is that a strong conservation ethic has been ingrained in Latino cultura for generations. Local advocates are coming together to protect public lands and recreational access to ensure we have places for Latinos to be present, to share their voices, and to showcase their deep appreciation for our natural heritage.

In June, we traveled to Washington, DC to share these messages with our elected officials and voice our support for the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which would safeguard important areas in the Los Padres and the Carrizo Plain. In addition to protecting 245,500 acres of wilderness, the legislation would create two scenic areas encompassing 34,500 acres, safeguard 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers, and establish the 400-mile-long Condor National Recreation Trail.

We need to be good stewards of this shared natural resource, so our area will be a good place to live and work for generations to come. Keeping in mind, too, that protecting these public lands is good for our economy.

Outdoor recreation in California generates $85.4 billion in consumer spending, supports 732,000 jobs, and contributes $6.7 billion in state and local taxes, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. In 2011, visitors to the Los Padres National Forest contributed $24.1 million dollars to the regional economy.

The legislation Rep. Lois Capps and Sen. Barbara Boxer crafted is the product of years of discussion and negotiation involving business leaders, conservationists, elected officials, ranchers, mountain bikers, and other stakeholders interested in the use and well-being of these iconic lands. That is why our communities support the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act and urge Congress to take the steps necessary to pass it.

We thank Rep. Capps and Sen.Boxer for their leadership and urge them to make this legislation a priority for the remainder of the Congress. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and the rest of the California delegation can help by co-sponsoring the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.  Safeguarding outstanding natural areas in the Central Coast is essential to our region’s economic health and an irreplaceable legacy for future generations.

Jack Dyer is a co-founder of Topa Topa Brewing Company in Ventura CA., Steve Dunwoody is California Director of the Vet Voice Foundation, and Graciela Cabello is National Director of Latino Outdoors.

Jack Dyer / Co-Founder

Orientation being held July 7th to learn about visiting Ventura’s sister city – Loreto, Mexico

Loreto was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula.

For the first time since former Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann officially exchanged keys to the city with Loreto, Mexico, in 2015, the Ventura/Loreto Sister City Committee is inviting Venturans to travel with them to explore their sister city.

Planning is underway for biannual visits to Loreto including hotel and non-stop flights from LAX. These trips are meant to promote and strengthen the sister city relationship between the cities, and the cost of the trip includes a donation to support the Ventura/Loreto Sister City Committee whose objectives include collaboration on tourism, culture, education, environment, and business initiatives.

Loreto is a small city of approximately 17,000 people that sits on the east coast of Baja California, facing the Sea of Cortez. It was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula and is the starting point for the historic El Camino Real corridor that follows north along the ancient route of the Spanish missions.

Loreto is also home to Loreto Bay National Park where Coronado, Del Carmen, Danzante, Montserrat and Santa Catalina Islands are home to over 800 species of marine life. With breathtaking cliffs, spectacular beaches and dramatic rock formations, these islands are a perfect landscape for the ecologically-minded or those who delight in a vast array of marine life.

The public is invited on July 7 at O’Brien Hall, San Buenaventura Mission, at 6:00PM. For more information, visit Trip inquiries should be directed to Stephen Joyce with Ventura Travel Professionals at 218-1962.

For more information on, or to join the Ventura/Loreto Sister City Committee contact Fiorella Calderoni at [email protected] or visit

Ventura City Fire and Police Departments respond to single vehicle accident

In the early morning hours of July 3rd, Ventura City Fire and Police Department responded to a report of a single vehicle accident with a trapped victim by Victoria and Ralston.

IMG_6603When fire crews arrived they discovered a passenger vehicle that had hit a traffic camera pole as well as a tree in the median of Victoria. Firefighters using hydraulic rescue tools to cut and pry the vehicle from the victim were able to free the trapped driver 45 minutes after their arrival. The extrication was complicated by the extensive damage to the vehicle which entangled the drivers’ legs under the dashboard. While the extrication was taking place, additional firefighters provided advanced life support to the driver and worked to suppress any fire potential from the vehicles’ leaking fluids.

Once extricated, one adult male was transported to a local trauma center with non-life- threatening injuries.

Public invited to free Civil War talk on July 6 at the Olivas Adobe

Members of the public are invited to attend the Olivas Adobe Historical Interpreters (OAHI) general meeting at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, July 6, at the Olivas Adobe, 4200 Olivas Park Drive in Ventura, to hear about OAHI activities, and the “Native California Cavalry and its activities and impact during and after the Civil War” by the featured speaker, Museum of Ventura County Director of Education & Outreach Megan Gately.

“Hear about local Union soldiers and their triumphs and tragedies during the mid-1800s. Learn about the California Column, the Civil War’s most Western battle and the shock waves from the East Coast felt out here in the West,” says Ms. Gately. Along with stories from the Civil War, she will present artifacts from the museum’s collections. A social hour with snacks begins at 5:30 pm with the presentation at 6 pm.

Megan Gately has a bachelor’s degree in Education and History from the University of Arizona, and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership & Policy from Arizona State University. She has worked extensively with historians and educators at the Arizona Historical Society and the Minnesota Historical Society. She also served as the founding director of education and outreach at the Museum of the Horse Soldier in Tucson, AZ. Megan has returned to her native Southern California—she is originally from Solvang and went high school in Thousand Oaks—to continue her career in museum education at the Museum of Ventura County, which is celebrating 103 years serving the community.

“The OAHI offers weekend training programs to become a docent at the Olivas Adobe, dress in period costumes and share the multi-cultural history of this landmark site through school field trips, weekend tours and special events,” says OAHI President Rose Burtchby.

City of Ventura and State Parks Urge Safety for July 4th Holiday

Enhanced beachfront patrol to ensure a safe and clean Ventura

The City of Ventura and State Parks urge citizens to ensure a safe and enjoyable 4th of July holiday by observing local laws that prohibit fireworks in the city of Ventura. Ventura Police, Fire and State Parks will provide increased law enforcement presence on the sand and beachfront area to mitigate the use of illegal fireworks and keep citizens and their property safe.

Given the dry and potentially dangerous conditions from the ongoing drought fire safety is a priority. Even a sparkler can cause injury or start a fire from dying embers hitting dried out vegetation or a shake shingle roof. Residents are encouraged to attend a professional fireworks show such as the Ventura Rotary Club Fireworks Show & Family Picnic held at Ventura Community College.

“On behalf of the fire department, we wish residents and visitors an enjoyable and safe holiday,” said Fire Chief David Endaya. “We urge everyone to refrain from using fireworks, especially with the dry conditions.”

Fireworks pose a significant risk to health and safety and civil infractions for possession or use of fireworks in the city of Ventura carry a penalty of $424. Violators are liable for damages and fines. Ventura police and fire departments will be patrolling neighborhoods throughout the city for fireworks violations.

The City and State Parks are also gearing up to keep Ventura beaches clean from litter that is often left behind by beachgoers and visitors on the 4th of July weekend. The City will be placing more than 100 temporary trash bins, donated by Harrison Industries, on the sand and public areas at Ventura’s busiest beaches including two miles of San Buenaventura State Beach. Convenient and readily accessible bins will help prevent litter from adversely impacting water quality and our beaches.

“We want to keep Ventura beaches looking good,” said State Parks Ventura Sector Superintendent Tyson Butzke. “The holiday always brings more guests and trash to the shoreline. We want to remind visitors to protect our shared environment by picking up their trash.”

The City is also hosting a Volunteer Beach Cleanup July 5, to clean up leftover debris in key areas. Volunteers can sign up at

How safe are Ventura County’s Special Education Schools?

by the Grand Jury

When parents send their children to school in the morning, they trust their children will have a productive day of learning in a safe environment. Similarly, when teachers report to work they hope to focus their efforts on teaching without fear for their safety and that of their students. Unfortunately, with the increase in school violence over the past several years, children, parents, and teachers no longer feel as safe as they once did.

The 2015-2016 Ventura County Grand Jury opened an investigation based on a public complaint about safety in the Phoenix schools in Ventura County. The Phoenix schools servestudents with serious emotional disturbance from all of Ventura County and the Las Virgenes Unified School District.

From this investigation, the Grand Jury learned that Phoenix schools provide an intensive educational program for their students through low enrollment and high staff-to- student ratios. Although Phoenix students often act out in frustration, the staff is well trained in, and regularly uses, techniques to de-escalate hostile behavior at the earliest possible stage. Despite the consistent use of positive behavioral interventions, administrators at the Phoenix-Airport campus call law enforcement an average of two to three times weekly for situations they are unable to de-escalate. However, responding patrol officers may not have Crisis Intervention Team training to be able to deal effectively with these emotionally disturbed students. The Grand Jury also learned that it is the position of the Ventura County Office of Education that having a dedicated School Resource Officer would escalate rather than defuse volatile situations in the Phoenix schools.

The National Education Association has established best practices regarding school safety. These practices recommend that schools partner with law enforcement (and social service agencies) to promote a safe environment. Ideally, a sworn School Resource Officer should be dedicated to one school and work collaboratively with staff and students to build positive relationships and to support administration with crisis intervention.

The Grand Jury recommends that the Ventura County Sheriff and the Ventura County Superintendent of Schools formalize a collaborative relationship to increase law enforcement presence on all Phoenix campuses. Additionally, the Grand Jury recommends that the Ventura County Sheriff ensure that any patrol officers who may be called to respond to a Phoenix school have Crisis Intervention Team training. Finally, the Grand Jury recommends that the Ventura County Board of Education authorize and seek funds for a dedicated School Resource Officer for the Phoenix-Airport campus.

The complete report may be accessed at; click on the Annual Reports tab and consult “Fiscal Year 2015-2016.”