5.8-mile bike path finished near Ventura

The Ventura County Public Works Agency announced on Tuesday, Nov. 14, that it has completed a 5.8-mile bike lane construction project along Santa Ana Road north of Ventura.

The 4-feet-wide bike lanes are on both sides of the oft-used-by-cyclists road, beginning near Foster Park and ending at Lake Casitas.

The bike path project had a budget of $3 million, most of which was received from a 2016 federal grant, and took seven months to complete. The path “was necessary to close an important gap in Ventura County’s regional bicycle routes,” said an agency representative. “This is a popular route among bicyclists, who have been requesting safe bike lanes for more than 15 years; and since its completion, the path has been in constant use.”

Environmentally sound steps were taken during the construction period, including removing vegetation prior to bird nesting season and shifting the road’s yellow line to avoid removing oak trees.

Send Casa Pacifica CEO to the dunk tank

For six weeks, two teams from the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families have raced to see which could raise the most funds before Giving Tuesday, an international movement launched in 2012 by the New York-based Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact. Now, the stakes have been raised as CEO Dr. Steve Elson will walk the plank as a reward for one of the two teams.

The teams, one comprising staff of Casa Pacifica’s Development Agency and the other one comprising all other staff members, both have a goal of raising $10,000 by midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 28. If the Development Agency wins, Elson is saved from a dunking in a water tank during Casa’s employee town hall in December. If the staff wins, however, Elson will explore the contents of Davey Jones’ locker.

Casa Pacifica must raise up to 12 percent of its annual budget through donations to fill in the gap between expected revenue and government service contracts. As of Friday, Nov. 17, just under $4,000 had been raised.

For more information on the effort, visit www.tinyurl.com/cpgivingtuesday.

Ojai hospital receives national recognition

The Ojai Valley Community Hospital announced this week that it has been recognized by the Chartis Center for Rural Health/iVantage Health Analytics and the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health, or NOSORH, for overall excellence in patient satisfaction and outcomes, making the top quarter of all hospitals in the country.

The rankings are created by the Hospital Strength INDEX created by IVantage, which captures analytics from rural and Critical Access Hospitals, which are hospitals certified by certain Medicare Conditions of Participation criteria.

“We remain dedicated to serving the residents of the Ojai Valley,” said Haady Lashkari, Chief Administrative Officer, Ojai Valley Community Hospital. “This achievement underscores the commitment of our physicians and staff to providing outstanding patient care. We are proud to be recognized among the top quartile of rural providers in the nation.”

Ventura releases wild Christmas creature downtown

From Dec. 1 through 25, if you spot an elf in downtown Ventura, it isn’t the eggnog: The city is spreading cheer through daily giveaways.

Trips to the Channel Islands National Park, gift certificates to restaurants, hotel stays and more will be given to those who follow @VisitVentura on Instagram and comment, with a random winner selected the following day.

For more information, visit www.visitventuraca.com/ventura-holiday-elf/.