Santa Paula Fire to merge with county

A plan to add the city of Santa Paula to the Ventura County Fire district has won the approval of the Board of Supervisors by a unanimous 5-0 vote.

In June, the Santa Paula City Council disbanded the city’s Fire Department in favor of joining with the property tax-funded county district. The new agreement between the city and county will see the city paying the county 79 percent of property tax revenues, which will cost the city millions of dollars more than it had paid previously to maintain its own department.

By fiscal year 2026-27, the county will receive approximately $5.4 million from Santa Paula property taxes. City Council approved the move, suggesting that increased property taxes from recently approved developments will help to cover the increased costs, and that the services provided by the county are worth it.

Current Santa Paula firefighters aren’t guaranteed positions with the county, however. It is still up in the air whether or not they’ll have to pass certain physical tests required of new hires, undergo a probation period or otherwise, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told county supervisors.

The move now goes before the Ventura Local Agency Formation Commission for final approval.

Funds Available for Programs Offering Housing for Homeless Persons

Programs offering new or expanded permanent supportive housing for persons who are chronically homeless are now able to submit applications to be considered for funds from the Ventura County Continuum of Care.

Applications will be ranked and scored by committee, and a final decision will be made on Sept. 13.

Chosen applicants will receive money from a fund of $180,000 available from reallocated funds, and $205,510 is available as part of the permanent supportive bonus.

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Massive tree trimming underway in Oxnard

Say goodnight to your favorite tree branch, as the city of Oxnard has approved a massive tree trimming project involving hundreds of trees in downtown Oxnard.

The trimming has begun in the Central Business District of downtown Oxnard and will continue through Sept. 17, with contractor West Coast Arborists performing the deed. The work began on Seventh Street between Oxnard Boulevard and C Street.

“The Downtown Stakeholders have been asking for these improvements to be made for several years,” said Kymberly Horner, the city’s economic development director, “and the City Council has responded very positively to the request. We also plan on bringing temporary bathrooms into the downtown.”

The City Council also approved LED lighting to be installed at Plaza Park.

In February 2016, the Oxnard Community Planning Group, Congress for the New Urbanism and the city of Oxnard hosted a five-day charrette and gathered input from community members and organizations and drafted a vision plan for the district that includes art installations, retail spaces and pocket parks. Scheduled tree trimming is part of the city’s revitalization plans.

Trial over hit-and-run death begins this month

The jury trial over the hit-and-run death of a 14-year-old boy will begin on Aug. 17 at Ventura County Superior Court in Ventura.

Hermin Martin Henderson, 52, of Ventura was charged with felony hit and run for a collision that led to the death of Jonathan Hernandez, 14, on Feb. 18, 2016. Henderson has also been charged with misdemeanor concealing evidence for allegedly replacing the front license plate of his truck with the back.

Henderson pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Hernandez had been attempting to cross against a red light on Telegraph Road from Saticoy Road around midnight in February when Henderson, who was driving his tow truck at the time, struck and killed him.

The Hernandez family filed a civil suit against Henderson and his company, Double R Towing. Henderson is currently out on bail while awaiting trial.