Amgen Tour’s 2019 cycling route with Ventura stop

Don’t call it a comeback. Well, actually, do call it a comeback. The 2019 Amgen Tour of California will return to the city of Ventura for the second year.

The 773-mile cycling race launched Stage 2 from Ventura in 2018, having previously passed through on its way across the state in prior years. This year’s Stage 5 will begin in Pismo Beach for the men, where cyclists will pass through San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties on their way to Ventura. Women’s Stage 5 will begin and end in Ventura in a 60-mile loop.

The seven-day race begins in May and is watched around the globe as a premier cycling contest.

County cities get low grades in Tobacco Control report

The American Lung Association has released its annual State of Tobacco Control report and several Ventura County cities aren’t looking so hot as the rest of the state receives high marks.

The report assigns grades to cities statewide, awarding points in categories such as whether or not a city has smoke-free housing, outdoor air and the proximity/saturation of tobacco-related businesses. It also awards bonus points for handling issues such as having retailer location restrictions, flavored tobacco products and more.

Oxnard received an overall B grade, with an A in the “Smokefree Outdoor Air” and “Reducing Sales Of Tobacco Products” categories, but an F in the “Smokefree Housing” category, receiving zero points for failing to have smokefree apartments, condominiums or common areas.

Both Ventura and Camarillo received C grades while Thousand Oaks received a D.

Statewide, California received an A for its smoke-free air policies and Bs for funding of state tobacco prevention programs. The association, however, rang the alarm bell after finding a 78 percent increase in e-cigarette usage among high school students between 2017 and 2018.

To read the full report, visit www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/california2019citysearch.

Naval Base Ventura County hosting two-week-long exercise

Naval Base Ventura County is in the midst of a two-week-long exercise that may affect traffic around the base.

The training exercise, known as Exercise Citadel Shield / Solid Curtain 2019 (SC/SC-19), will take place on Naval bases across the country through Friday, Feb. 15, with the goal of “increasing training and readiness of Navy Security Forces.”

According to a press release from the NBVC, the exercises may increase traffic around the base and may cause delays upon entering the base. Residents living near to the base may hear sounds associated with training.

Report: Matilija Dam’s removal should be priority

California Trout, a nonprofit conservation group, has released a report listing the top five dams that provide the least benefit for people while causing the greatest hazard for native fish — and Ventura County’s Matilija Dam is one of them.

The report, released in response to a “statewide fish extinction crisis” which the group says indicates that 74 percent of California’s native trout, salmon and steelhead species could be extinct by the next century, says that removal of the Matilija Dam, which is “essentially defunct” due to sediment build up, would benefit the Southern California steelhead trout the most.

“The top five dams identified in the report provide only marginal value for people, while their removal would provide significant ecosystem and economic benefits,” said Curtis Knight, executive director of CalTrout.

A plan to remove the dam was chosen in 2016 with a potential date of removal coming in 2020, though plans to remove the dam have been discussed since the year 2000 when a chunk of the dam was ceremoniously removed at a press conference hosted by then-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.