Tiny cabins replace domes at River Haven in Ventura

The domes of River Haven have run their course and have been replaced by newer, sturdier structures, thanks to a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Turning Point Foundation. The domes, a unique feature of the community situated off of Harbor Boulevard in Ventura, were an answer to the city’s homeless crisis, providing affordable shelter replete with case management and other services for $300 a month on city owned property.

On Sunday, June 24, Turning Point Foundation will celebrate the successful fundraising that allowed for each of the domes to be replaced by “Tiny Cabins” at the transitional living enclave, the last of which to be installed on Saturday, June 23.

Members from Temple Beth Torah stand with friends of the Turning Point Foundation next to a tiny cabin, recently installed in River Haven.

After a fire destroyed several of the domes structures and winds tore apart another, the domes outlived an expected 5-6 year life expectancy since being installed in 2009. The new cabins will have a decidedly more traditional appearance.

The final three cabins come via a collaboration with the Ventura and Orange County chapters of the National Association of Women in Construction, says Suki Sir, marketing and fund development manager at the Foundation.

“It makes me believe I do live in the right place,” said Sir on the many contributors to the effort. “These are good people and I’m just happy to be able to help.”

For more information on the celebration, visit www.turningpointfoundation.org.

Oxnard lays groundwork for citywide fiber optic network

If the city of Oxnard has its way, get ready to surf the World Wide Web at speeds never before experienced by humankind.

Gigabit-speed Internet may be coming to Oxnard residents as part of the city’s Fiber Master Plan detailing how to build a high-speed fiber-optic network. Oxnard has enlisted contractors Magellan Advisors and Iteris Inc. to help make real its goal to turn Oxnard into a so-called “Gigabit” city.

Keith Brooks, Oxnard’s Information Technology Director, says that “Gigabit fiber is akin to a renewable natural resource that benefits everyone for years to come.”

“This network will be the foundational infrastructure investment for the city that will provide high-speed Internet services for businesses and residents, as well as countless modern Smart City initiatives,” said Brooks.

Currently, the city has 35 miles of fiber-optic cable connecting traffic signals and city facilities. Magellan Advisors will assess the existing infrastructure and develop an analysis to better understand the broadband “supply and demand” in the city, which will be followed by a conceptual design.

“This is a crucial pathway to economic development and the ability to attract advanced businesses that offer high-paying jobs in the city of Oxnard,” said Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn. “Access to high-speed Internet and data networks will also give existing businesses the tools they need to expand.”

County home-care workers win new contract

Ventura County’s In-Home Supportive Services Program workers have voted to approve a new contract that of Supervisors.

Employees will receive a minimum of $13.64 per hour rate, a 64-cent increase over the minimum wage by 2020.

“This win isn’t just for us but for the seniors and people with disabilities that we care for,” said Vickey Manning, caregiver. “I love being a caregiver but it’s hard to do this job when I have to struggle to pay the rent or bills. This new contract will definitely help.”

Currently, just over 5,000 seniors and people with disabilities who depend on an in-home caregiver reside in Ventura County. Caregivers assist in basic and intimate tasks, including bathing and administering medication. Projections forecast a 22 percent increase in caregiver need by 2024, an increase of 1,300 in need of in-home care.

Operation Splash kicks off to teach kids how to swim

Children from the Ventura Unified School District’s PEAK Program took part in 30-minute swim lessons over the school year, courtesy of the District, Ventura Parks and Recreation Department and Kaiser Permanente’s Operation Splash Program.

Program Enrichment for After-School Kids, or PEAK, offers students activities beyond the school day.
Students in the third, fourth and fifth grades were transported to the Aquatic Center for 30-minute swim lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school year in an effort to increase physical activity for children living in low-income areas.

“[The program has] trained thousands of children over the last 10 years to swim, and these are kids who would likely not have access to swimming lessons otherwise,” said Mary Jarvis, Area Director of Public Affairs at Kaiser Permanente. “They start out timid, but they transform by mastering the skill which, beyond the swimming part of it, helps build their confidence and self-esteem.”

For more information on the program and other after-school activities, visit https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/1054/After-School-Programs.

Channel Islands YMCA also offers scholarships to kids in need of swimming lessons.
“In 2017, the Ventura Family YMCA provided 5,539 swim lessons. It’s our goal to protect our communities from drowning by providing them with the knowledge to stay safe around water year-round,” wrote Audrey Graves, public relations specialist with CIYMCA.
For more information, go to ciymca.org.