Oxnard College offers free tuition to eligible students

Oxnard College has announced the fall 2017 launch of its Promise program, offering two semesters of tuition-free classes to eligible students within the Oxnard Union High School District, as well as Santa Clara High School.

The program, funded by the Oxnard College Foundation, aims to increase college access to local residents. Promise scholars will also receive priority registration, tutors, advisers, counselors, dedicated support programs and an expanded college orientation. To qualify, applicants must be under 20 years of age on June 30 and have graduated from an eligible high school in spring 2017.

“We want to build a college-going culture in this area,” says Cynthia Azari, president of Oxnard College. “We want to encourage students to go to college, take a full load and transfer, or get a degree or certificate.”

The application period opened March 1 and runs through May 12. The College is expects that the Promise program will serve 200 students. For more information, visit www.oxnardcollege.edu/promise.

E-cigarettes easy to come by in Ventura County

A new report out from Ventura County Public Health finds a sharp increase in e-cigarette availability across the county, raising concerns of a potential spike in use among teens. The “Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community” statewide survey shows that the availability of e-cigarettes has grown by 35 percent in Ventura County since 2013, the last time the survey was conducted.

“Retail stores play a critical role in our community’s health, especially among youth, and this survey shows offerings and messaging are out of balance, tipping heavily toward unhealthy options,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Ventura County Public Health director. “Our goal is to help recalibrate the balance toward health.”

SoCalGas begins pipeline safety work in Ventura

SoCalGas has begun installing new pipeline, or retrofitting older ones, at two separate project sites in Ventura, one at Mills Road and Telegraph Road and the other at Kimball Road and Telegraph Road, the former having begun on Monday, March 6, while the latter is set to begin in late March.

The company says that the upgrades are part of the Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan, a multibillion-dollar program that tests and updates the natural gas pipeline infrastructure in Southern California.

Commuters can expect traffic delays during the construction period, affecting the northbound traffic on Kimball Road, where a left turn will be impossible as the turn lanes will be closed. Construction is expected to take two months to complete.

Interactive tour offers glimpse of life in Kenya, Philippines

Every wondered what life is like for the impoverished in Kenya or the Philippines? Now’s your chance to find out, as The Compassion Experience arrives in in Oxnard from Friday, March 17, through Sunday, March 20.

The Experience features a 2,000-square-foot exhibit with replicas of the homes and environments of the impoverished people of the two respective countries. The self-guided tour will immerse visitors in the lives and stories of two children that start “in hardship but end in hope.”

“When people think of poverty, they often think of the lack of things, the lack of stuff, the lack of money,” said Mark Hanlon, Compassion International’s senior vice president of global marketing and engagement. “Those are all symptoms of poverty. The real issue of poverty is the lack of hope.”

The event will be hosted in the parking lot of Calvary Chapel Oxnard at 2001 Eastman Ave. in Oxnard. For more information, visit www.CompassionExperience.com.

County nonprofits can apply for $1,000 sign grant

Got a message to get out? With the help of $1,000 in signage, the message couldn’t be clearer, if you’re a nonprofit selected for a FASTSIGNS of Ventura grant.

Now through April 15, Ventura County 501(c)3 nonprofits can apply for a grant worth $1,000 in signage, which includes a full-color table throw, retractable banner stand with graphic, bent easel table-top sign, 250 decals and 250 postcards.

Saurabh Bajaj of FASTSIGNS of Ventura says that “not all nonprofits have the budget for high quality, professional signs, accessories and materials” and that the company is “excited to offer this sign grant package to support a nonprofit’s work in our community.”

For more information and to apply, visit www.fastsigns.com/264.