Supervisors vote for animal protection with wildlife zone

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to pursue the creation of a so-called Wildlife Corridor Overlay Zone, which would establish permanent routes for wildlife traveling between the Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Monica Mountains.

The concept originated with Supervisor Linda Parks, District 2, who, with her staff, has been working on the concept for several years. The plan would identify areas in which wildlife traverses regularly on county zoning and land-use maps, and develop standards for the zone that preserve the ability of wildlife to travel in those areas, undeterred, between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Los Padres Forest.

“Urban encroachment is reducing habitat and increasing incidents of roadkill,” said Parks, “and we’re seeing the impact to several species, most notably mountain lions, which will become extinct in the Santa Monica Mountains without work to counter these trends.”

A proposed wildlife overpass near Calabasas has received growing support since being suggested several years ago. In Ventura County, there exists no designation for a wildlife corridor. Parks says that planning staff will work with stakeholders “to draft special standards for properties that are in wildlife corridors” and that “then there will be hearings at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors before adoption later this year.”

The cost to complete the initial study is estimated to be around $171,440, sourced from the current General Plan Update Budget and General Fund.

Ongoing tax preparation workshops across county

Beware, the tax man cometh. There is hope yet for those scrambling for assistance: Several groups across the county are holding tax-preparation workshops ahead of the April 15 filing date.

The Conejo Senior Volunteer Program will host free tax-preparation services on a first come, first served basis, Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., through April 13 for seniors 60 years old or older, or for individuals who make less than $53,000 a year, at Newbury Park Library, 2331 Borchard Road, Newbury Park. For more information, call 381-2742.

The Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation’s HomeOwnership Center, United Way of Ventura County, County of Ventura Human Services Agency and the IRS are partnering to offer volunteer income tax assistance for Ventura County residents who earn less than $54,000 a year, beginning Saturday, Feb. 4, through April 15, at several locations throughout the county. To schedule an appointment and for more information, dial 2-1-1.

Finally, the American Association of Retired Persons, in conjunction with the IRS, will host free-income tax preparation assistance and e-filing for seniors and low-income individuals through April 15 throughout Ventura County. In some cities, appointments are required. Click here for more information and for a list of locations.

Measles return to Ventura County

Four additional cases of measles have been confirmed in Ventura County for January, bringing the total number of cases to five.

All of the cases are within the same household, according to Ventura County Public Health. While none of the cases has required hospitalization, the infected individuals were isolated and are said to be either doing well or recovered.

“We are doing our best to contain this measles outbreak so that we can prevent any further cases in our county,” said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County public health officer. “I urge anyone who has not been immunized against measles to get vaccinated. Measles is both a serious and a highly contagious disease.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, measles can cause encephalitis, pneumonia and even death. Young children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to serious complications from the virus.