Deadlines fast approaching for Thomas Fire relief grants

Are you one of the thousands impacted by the Thomas Fire who hasn’t applied for federal, state or local financial assistance? Time is running out to do so, as deadlines for applications quickly approach.

The United Way of Ventura County’s Thomas Fire Relief Fund will be accepting applications for financial assistance through Friday, March 15; individual assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is available through Saturday, March 16; and the Employment Development Department’s Disaster Unemployment Assistance will end on Tuesday, March 20.

The United Way’s Southern California Wildfire and Flood Fund has raised over $570,000 to date in support of recovery and long-term rebuilding efforts. For more information, visit www.vcunitedway.org.

For more information on these expiring programs, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org or www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Oxnard selects redistricting map, holds recall debate

Good news for folks living in Oxnard: You’ve got a brand-new district!

The Oxnard City Council on Feb. 20 selected Map 635, featuring six districts drawn to equally represent a portion of the city’s populace. In addition to the map selection, the Council also selected dates for the individual districts’ elections: Nov. 2018 for Districts 1, 2 and 5, and Nov. 2020 for Districts 3, 4 and 6. Each District will elect a representative to sit on the Council, with the exception of District 6, which will have a special election in November 2018. Currently, there are five councilmembers; the special election will increase that number to six.

To see the map, and for more information, visit www.oxnard.org/draft-district-maps/.
On Thursday, March 15, the Oxnard Revelations Alliance will host a debate featuring candidates running for the Oxnard City Council recall special election to be held on May 1. Challengers and incumbents will gather at 5 p.m., with the debate beginning at 5:45 p.m., at 658 S. A St. in Oxnard.

For more information or to submit a debate question, visit http://citizensjournal.us/oxnard-special-recall-election-candidate-debate-3-15-18/.

Slowing ships improve emissions, whale migration

In 2014, a 52-foot fin whale floated into the harbor at Naval Base Ventura County, dead from what was believed to be an encounter with a vessel at sea. A necropsy confirmed blunt-force trauma as the cause of death, strong enough to break bones.

An average of five whales die every year in the Santa Barbara Channel due to collision with shipping vessels; and because of that, a coalition of conservation groups, including the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, launched the Vessel Speed Reduction Trial in 2016. Five companies took part in the initial trial. In 2017, 11 companies took part in the voluntary program and have been recognized at a ceremony in Santa Barbara.

During 2017 incentive period, which began on July 1 and ended Nov. 15, “more than 140 transits were successful in reducing speeds to 12 knots or less, and more than half of these were successful in achieving a bonus incentive for slowing to 10 knots or less.” By doing so, the program “reduced 83.5 tons of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a smog-forming air pollutant, and 2,630 metric tons of greenhouse gases.”

“The expansion of the vessel speed reduction program in 2017 demonstrates that ocean commerce and ocean conservation can work together when the shipping industry, NGOs and government are in partnership,” said Chris Mobley, superintendent of NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Incentives ranged from $1,000 to $2,500, with a bonus of $250 provided if the ship slowed to 10 knots or less. For more information on the program, visit www.ourair.org/air-pollution-marine-shipping/.

Easter fundraising drive for child cancer patients

An Easter fundraising drive for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is underway and donations are being accepted in the form of wrapped candy, chocolate bunnies and more.

The fundraiser, launched by Ventura-based marketing agency The NALA, is in support of the Foundation’s Project Easter, which collects Easter baskets for children with cancer and their siblings.

“We will put together the baskets with all of the goodies donated and TBCF will then deliver them to hospitals,” said Tiffani Tendell, Press Manager and Charity Director for The NALA.

Donations can be dropped off at The NALA’s headquarters, 1891 Goodyear Ave., suite 620, in Ventura through Wednesday, March 14. For more information, visit www.thenala.com or www.teddybearcancerfoundation.org.