Ventura Council OKs homeless shelter

The Ventura City Council has voted unanimously, 7-0, to move forward with plans to open a homeless shelter on the city’s east end.

The vote gives the green light for officials to begin planning the opening of a year-round shelter at 2323 Knoll Drive, a building that the city owns and is expected to lease to itself for $1 a year with an outside contractor handling operations. Proposals are currently being accepted through Aug. 15.

The shelter is expected to have a 55-bed capacity with the ability to add more if the need should arise due to inclement weather or emergencies. Neighboring Oxnard is also looking into opening its own year-round shelter that could host up to 150.

The County of Ventura has agreed to match the city’s share of opening costs. The city’s total includes $600,000 toward the property and $250,000 further for operating costs upon opening.

Safe-sleep parking, which allows people to sleep in their vehicles with valid ID and insurance, will be located onsite, and pets will be allowed to stay as well.

The shelter could be open by the end of the year, though a permitting process through the city’s Planning Division has yet to begin.

Santa Paula animal rescue store robbed in Ventura

In the late hours of Wednesday, July 4, the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center’s Second Chance Store located in downtown Ventura was burglarized, with perpetrators grabbing jewelry and cash worth potentially thousands of dollars in the process.

“This is a blow to everyone at SPARC and especially at the store, where they’re so disappointed that anyone could steal from the animals,” said SPARC Executive Director Nicky Gore-Jones. “Whether the police find the perpetrators or not, we surely won’t be able to replace the value of the items or cash stolen, and as a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, we can’t afford a loss like this.”

SPARC is seeking donations to recover from the loss and asking the community to shop at the Second Chance store, which is located at 347 E. Main Street in Ventura.

Oxnard Farmers Market fights food waste with recovery program

Ever left wondering what happens to food left unpurchased at a farmers market? Patrons of the downtown Oxnard farmers market, wonder no longer: Food Forward has announced that it will introduce its Farmers Market Recovery Program to the market beginning Thursday, July 12.

The program, launched by the nonprofit organization, offers vendors at farmers markets boxes in which unsold produce is placed. At the end of the day, volunteers from Food Forward weigh and collect the boxes for distribution to direct-service agencies within 10 miles of the market. Living Oaks Church and The C Street Family Plan will be beneficiaries of the food from the downtown Oxnard market.

Since inception, the program has worked with 23 farmers markets in and around Ventura County, the Oxnard market making the 24. In all, the program collects and distributes 52,000 pounds of surplus food from farmers markets across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties per month. “t just Ventura County markets, over 59,000 pounds were recovered in 2017.

For more information on the program, visit www.foodforward.org.

One County, One Book selects novel for county readers

Bookworms, on your mark, get set, and read Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan as part of the One County, One Book reading challenged hosted by the Ventura County Library system.

One County, One Book is a program designed to “unite the Ventura County community around a common narrative,” according to an official press release. This year’s novel, Barbarian Days, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography following the surf adventures of William Finnegan, a portion of which involves his time in Ventura County.

Copies of Barbarian Days will be available at any of the 12 Ventura County libraries. Come October, events tailored around the book will be announced.
For more information, visit www.vencolibrary.org.