New clean air rules adopted

Ventura County officials announced May 13 a new plan to bring Ventura County’s air quality in line with federal standards. The new Air Quality Management plan outlines actions that must be taken to bring smog (ozone) levels down to .08 parts per million, a release from the county’s air pollution control board, which adopted the measure, said. In addition to control measures to reduce smog forming emissions, the release said computer models show the entire county can reach the standards by 2012, even accounting for growth in the county.

According to the release, the biggest challenge will be reducing smog in Simi Valley and Ojai, which both still exceed the federal standards. Those areas have improved, and fewer days over the standards are expected under the plan, but Air Pollution Control Board Executive Officer Michael Villegas said it will be a challenge to meet the 2012 goal.

“If we can’t demonstrate attainment throughout the county by 2012 we will revise the plan to make sure we keep on improving air quality to ensure all county citizens have healthful air to breathe,” Villegas said in the release.

Bill Lascher

Highway 126 speed limit reduced to 55 mph

Caltrans reduced the speed limit to 55 mph on Highway 126 in Fillmore and Santa Paula. The speed limit, which was previously 60 mph, was decreased for safety reasons, Caltrans said.

The new speed limit signs, which were installed May 13 and in days following, stretch about seven miles from Hallock Drive in Santa Paula to just west of E Street/Levee Drive in Fillmore.

Caltrans plans to install a concrete median barrier on the highway soon to reduce head-on crashes.

Third District Supervisor Kathy Long asked Caltrans to lower the speed limit on Highway 126 at a Santa Paula community meeting in January.

“Public safety is our No. 1 priority for this highway. There is still more work to do, but I am pleased that the concerns raised by residents, myself and city officials are being addressed and soon we will see new, larger signs of the reduced speed limit and radar enforcement reminders,” she said in a release.

— Hannah Guzik

Entrepreneurs to graduate from program

After participating in a 14-week business program, 65 locals will graduate from Women’s Economic Ventures program in Ventura Tuesday, May 20.

WEV’s Self-Employment Training program is targeted at women, but it also serves men and provides guidance on how to start, operate and expand a business.

An additional 75 students will graduate this month from programs in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.

The Ventura County graduation ceremony will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks.

— Hannah Guzik