In Brief

Sladek’s short stay

California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks announced July 23 that President Dr. John Sladek resigned, effective that day. Sladek, who was appointed president in 2006, came to CLU from the University of Colorado, where he was a vice chancellor and neuroscience researcher. He will return there to continue research into the debilitating effects of Down syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.
In the release, Sladek characterized his move back to Colorado as an opportunity to focus his passion for his research and to be closer to his family. He was still on an unpaid leave of absence from the University of Colorado.

Rev. Dr. Howard Wennes will serve as interim president until a successor to Sladek is found. The school’s board of regent’s could take up to a year to find a new president.

Sladek was the school’s sixth president. During his tenure CLU experienced its largest-ever freshman class. According to a release from the university, Sladek oversaw a new budget model for university salaries and helped reach out to alumni and private donors to increase giving.

Man turns self in for hit and run

After a weekend-long search for a suspect in a July 20 hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a 45-year-old woman, the Ventura Police Department announced July 22 that a man was arrested after he turned himself in.

Beth Dunn was killed after riding her bike through the intersection of Victoria Ave. and Thille Street in Ventura, near the Ventura County Government Center. Dunn was killed after she was struck by a Ford F150 pickup truck. The truck was traveling on Victoria and failed to stop at a red light on Thille. After it struck Dunn, the driver drove off into the government center. Witnesses performed CPR and called for help, but Dunn passed away at the Ventura County Medical Center.

Two days later police announced that 20-year-old Randall Painter, of Ventura, turned himself in for the incident. He was arrested and charged with felony hit and run and vehicular manslaughter and booked into Ventura County Jail.

Fire under investigation

No injuries were reported in a July 22 fire that brought 15 firefighters and three fire engines to the scene of a fire at 919 Albany Ave. in Ventura. Ventura Fire Department officials said after the incident that the cause of the fire was under investigation by the department’s own investigator as well as officials from Southern California Edison and The Gas Company.

A press release describing the blaze said that the first unit on the scene determined the fire occurred in the house’s attic, above the garage. It took eight minutes to douse the flames, which the release said appeared to originate in the garage near a water heater before spreading up through an opening into the attic.

The owner was home during the fire and was told about it by a friend who arrived on the scene and saw the blaze.

Building and safety inspectors from the City were expected to examine the electrical system at the house on July 23.

Bus-Home repairs begin

With a lawsuit brought by the City of Ventura against the contractor who built the controversial Bus-Home public art project at the north end of the pacific view mall, repairs and paint remediation have begun.

Built in 2004, the bus transfer center has been the target of derision from many public observers who view the project, which resembles a bus transforming into a house, as an eyesore that wasted public funds. At a cost of $2.2 million dollars, the center was dedicated in 2002. Since 2004, paint has been peeling from the structure.

City maintenance staff determined that the paint coating failed and the city has sued the general contractor who built the center because of the failure.

According to a release from the city, the remediation will be complete by the end of the year. The city will also construct additional shelter materials to increase protection for bus riders from rain and other inclement whether.

In Brief

Fire restrictions tightened in Los Padres

As fires cause destruction across the West, federal forestry officials imposed new restrictions on visitors to the Los Padres National Forest as part of an effort to prevent more blazes this summer. The news came July 9, one day after a helicopter crashed near Buellton during the firefighting effort against the Zaca blaze, which has charred more than 10,000 acres (the pilot and co-pilot suffered minor injuries in that crash).

The new restrictions start July 13 and will remain in effect until the end of the high fire season, which typically comes in late August.

During that time, all wood and charcoal fires are prohibited throughout the Los Padres forest, even in developed campgrounds and campfire use sites. Target shooting is now prohibited from the forest, except at the Winchester Gun Club in Santa Barbara County and the Ojai Valley Gun Club. Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the forest except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated campfire use site. In a restriction that lasts year-round, internal combustion engines can only be used on roads and trails designated for such use.

Campers must now get free campfire permits to use portable stoves or lanterns that use gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid film, and such stoves can only be used at campfire use sites, with five feet cleared in any direction and a shovel available.

Big-box ordinance explored

A community group announced July 2 it would explore the possibility of an ordinance limiting the development on so-called “big-box” stores along Ventura’s Victoria Ave.

Livable Ventura, A grassroots organization focused on community planning, economic justice, and historic and environmental preservation in that city, said a poll conducted by the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy — a related organization organization — showed that 74 percent of Ventura residents would support an ordinance requiring retailers like Wal-Mart to pay prevailing wages. It also showed that 62 percent of respondents oppose a Wal-Mart location on Victoria (the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer already signed a lease at a current Kmart site but must now cope with a city ordinance require a conditional use permit before anything is done on the stie).

The organization also cited a decision by the California Supreme Court upholding the City of Hanford’s right to control big-box store locations as further support for its position. The announcement said Ventura’s City Council should use the decision as authority for a possible ordinance to restrict big-box development.

County takes green building online

Ventura county builders, developers, and others interested in lessening their environmental impact may want to check out the new “Build it Smart” Web site. With an interest in promoting energy- and resource-efficient building practices and smart land use, the County of Ventura launched the Web site,

Users can visit the site to learn about local efforts towards more green building practices. The site is also intended to encourage building projects countywide to limit energy use in buildings and to create more walkable communities.

Developed in phases as grant money becomes available, the site will begin with a focus on energy efficiency and include examples of local projects built with efficiency in mind. The page will include tips on ways to apply power-saving technology to both new and existing buildings. Although the site is offered by Ventura County, it is intended to encourage green practices in unincorporated areas and the county’s 10 cities. It also includes examples of how individual cities are revamping their planning to create more environmentally sensitive communities.

Armed robbery in the USA

Police in Ventura reported that two suspects robbed the USA Gas station on Thompson Blvd. in midtown Ventura early in the morning July 10. Armed with a wooden broom handle, one of the two suspects — both were white, blond-haired males in their late teens to early 20s — used the broom to hit the attendant, who was leaving the bathroom at the time of the attack.

After the suspects forced the attendant back into the bathroom they took the keys to the gas station’s office, where they took cash registers and an undisclosed amount of money. The attendant suffered only minor injuries.

Police were still searching for the suspects at press time and asked the public to contact them at 339-4394 or use an anonymous tipline at 385-8255 or 494-8255 with any information.






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