Oxnard pauses gang injunctions

Citing recent court decisions in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the Oxnard Police Department has temporarily brought a halt to its gang injunctions involving two Oxnard gangs, Colonia Chiques and Southside Chiques.

The pause actually began in November, but Oxnard police say that they have kept the decision quiet while working with the Ventura County District Attorney’s office to resolve the issue.

The issue that has arisen involves due process. A lawsuit brought by several suspected members of gangs in Los Angeles and Orange Counties claims that the defendants were not allowed to challenge their suspected involvement in gangs. To avoid the issue, officials are working on a judicial hearing process for those served with injunctions.

The new process would affect 370 individuals who would be subject to being re-served with the injunction.

The original civil restraining orders were served in the early 2000s, and the injunction became permanent in 2005 against the Colonia Chiques and in 2006 for the Southside Chiques, making certain areas of Oxnard “safety zones” dictating what individuals identified as gang members could wear and what activities they could take part in.

County wins against groups vying to halt oil drilling

Correction: an earlier version of this story erroneously stated that the Los Padres ForestWatch have lost two court rulings. They have only filed one lawsuit and have lost in court once. 

Conservation groups seeking a new environmental review of oil industry activity in the Santa Paula Canyon area have lost a lawsuit against the County of Ventura. 

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kevin DeNoce said that the groups, Los Padres ForestWatch, the Center for Biological Diversity and Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas, did not provide “substantial evidence” that could potentially lead to a new review.

The organizations argued that circumstances had changed significantly since the permit for 36 oil wells was issued in the early 1970s, and the organizations say that they do not account for risks to the endangered California condors, steelhead trout or water quality for outdoor recreation. In 2015, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and Planning Director Kim Prillhart ruled against the organizations, triggering the lawsuit.

“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling,” said an official statement released by ForestWatch. “We are reviewing our legal options and remain firmly committed to doing everything we can to protect the things that make Santa Paula Canyon so special — its popular hiking trail through the national forest, its rare wildlife like condors and steelhead, and the clean water it provides for farms and homes downstream.”

Benches made from remnants of beloved tree in Ojai

Much was lost when the Thomas Fire reached Ojai. From home to landmark, the indiscriminate flames took whatever was in their path, including damaging a much-revered landmark atop Meher Mount known as Baba’s Tree. In the wake of the fire comes the rebirth, and the several hundred-year-old coast live oak is returning again in the form of three unique benches crafted from recovered portions of the tree.

Renowned artisan craftsman Harold Greene of San Pedro’s Antiques of the Future crafted the benches from large branches recovered from the crown of the tree, curing other parts for use in furniture after the curing process.

Margaret Magnus, volunteer communications director for Meher Mount, says that the tree is very special to visitors.

“In 1956, the Indian spiritual master Meher Baba visited the mount, which is dedicated to him, and he sat under that tree; and ever since then visitors, whether they follow Meher Baba or not, have gone there to mediate and to get inspiration,” said Magnus.

On Saturday, May 12, an unveiling will take places during a celebration of Meher Mount’s renewal.

The unveiling will take place during an open house from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Meher Mount, 9902 Sulphur Mountain Road, Ojai. For more information, visit www.mehermount.org.

Oxnard school district serves free summer lunches

Oxnard Union High School District will take part in the 2018-19 Summer Food Service Program, serving free lunches to youth aged 1 to 18.

The district says that many students within the population do not have access to food over the summer months, resulting in hungry children, and that taking part in the program is a way “to make sure students in our community have an opportunity to eat a nutritious meal during the summer.”

The program will launch on Monday, July 2, and run through Friday, July 27, at various school locations. For more information, including a full list of schools and times, call 385- 5749.