Amgen Tour will launch stage 2 from Ventura

In an anticipated move, Amgen Tour of California announced on Thursday, Oct. 26, that stage 2 of its 600-mile cycling road race will launch from the city of Ventura on Monday, May 14, 2018; this after city leaders submitted a letter of intent expressing a desire to host the annual event.

Cyclists will arrive in Ventura on Sunday, May 13, having started in Long Beach, and begin early morning on Monday, starting from the Ventura Pier. The “Queen Stage,” as it’s dubbed, will end atop Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara County.

In September, Community Development Director Jeffrey Lambert said that hosting a stage of the internationally recognized race would bring worldwide attention to the city.

“We think, for people following the race, it’ll put Ventura on the map for them; and a lot of times people want to come and ride the route that the Amgen Tour route was,” said Lambert.

On Sept. 25, Ventura City Council approved a transfer of up to $75,000 from the General Fund to cover costs associated with the event, including funds for police service (estimated at $20,000), planning ($19,500), race-day staff ($23,400) and EMT services ($1,000). The city will be required to provide a certain number of hotel rooms, including 30 VIP rooms, but Lambert said that they “expect the tour will bring 600 extra rooms that will be paid for that one [Sunday] night.”

For more information about the 2018 Amgen Tour of California, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

County receives first West Nile Virus case of 2017

Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for years. Ventura County Public Health announced on Tuesday, Oct. 24, the county’s first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus this year.

The virus often presents with flulike symptoms, including a fever, muscle weakness and confusion, but only in the most severe cases. People 60 years of age and older are the most susceptible to the bird-born disease transmitted via mosquito bite.

If there is good news, at this time last year 327 human cases of West Nile Virus had been reported in 29 counties. So far this year, only 315 cases have been reported from 21 counties.

Halaco superfund site cleared of homeless encampment

On Oct. 19, multiple Ventura County agencies began the process of clearing the Halaco property at 6200 Perkins Road of trespassers, most of whom are homeless individuals.

The Oxnard Police Department plus Ventura and Simi Valley Police Departments’ homeless liaison officers and California State Parole, as well as the city of Oxnard’s Code Compliance, Animal Safety, the City Attorney’s Office and Public Works collaborated in the effort. Twenty social service workers from nine agencies participated as well.

Eighty-five people were served notices to vacate the property for trespassing, 60 of whom were also connected withsocial-service workers. The trespassers have until Dec. 5 to vacate or be subject to arrest.

Seventeen arrests were made for outstanding warrants, and a stolen trailer was repossessed as well.

“In addition to being a hazard to public health and the environment, Halaco has become a public safety hazard,” said Assistant Police Chief Jason Benites. “The type of activity, as well as the amount of activity that has been occurring at the Halaco site, has far surpassed a tipping point, and requires intervention by a number of stakeholders.”

Over the past several months, the Halaco site has seen an increase in calls for service. At an Oxnard City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17, a report was presented stating that the “Oxnard Fire Department has responded to the Halaco site twenty-nine (29) times. Sixteen (16) of these responses involved medical assists, including three (3) overdoses, and four (4) responses related to assault/penetrating wounds/traumatic injury. Seven (7) responses by the Fire Department involved fires at the site, including an encampment that burned down.”

One homicide also took place at the site in January of this year.