Nurses rally for better working conditions

On Wednesday, July 31, about 150 nurses rallied outside of St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard to demand more nurses and better security. They say patient safety is jeopardized because not enough nurses are on duty and the hospital needs to improve security procedures.

“I was kicked in the head while trying to restrain a violent patient,” said Don Hadland, a veteran ER Nurse at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo

The hospital is one of two Dignity Health-owned locations in Ventura County. The Camarillo location is also being targeted by the nurses who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 121RN. (online correction 8/9/19 removed “union nurses of dignity health”)

“The health care workers participating in the informational picket are valued and respected members of our team. We will continue to negotiate in good faith in the hopes of reaching a fair and equitable agreement,” said Megan Maloney, senior director of marketing and communications for Dignity Health, Central Coast. “We remain dedicated to serving our patients with high quality and excellent care.”

When asked about the specific issues raised by the nurses regarding needing more nurses and improved security, Maloney responded, “We believe negotiations belong at the bargaining table and not in the media, therefore I cannot comment further.”

Lawsuit filed to stop logging in Los Padres National Forest

On July 29, four organizations filed action against the U.S. Forest Service, claiming that a logging plan being proposed to reduce fire hazard will actually lead to more and larger wild fires. The logging plan is for areas of national forest near Mount Pinos, along the Ventura and Los Angeles county lines. 

“If this commercial logging proposal is implemented, it would make wildland fires burn hotter and faster and put local communities at greater risk,” said Dr. Chad Hanson, forest and fire ecologist with the John Muir Project, a claimant in the suit. “We need to get the U.S. Forest Service out of the commercial logging business.”

Los Padres National Forest from Cuddy Valley looking toward Ventura County.

The claim argues that the federal government did not use the correct level of environmental review when approving the project in 2018. The claimants state that the government used a “loophole” allowing the impact review to exclude logging because it is aimed at protecting homes from wild fires. Claimants argue that this is false, because half of the 1,200 acres slated for logging are part of a commercial timber harvest. 

The John Muir Project is joined in the lawsuit by Los Padres ForestWatch, Mountain Communities for Fire Safety and Natural Resources Law.

OSD failed to address special ed needs

(UPDATED BY REMOVING UNIFIED FROM DISTRICT NAME)

 As of July 30, a federal court has confirmed that Oxnard School District failed to properly identify students in need of special education instruction, thereby denying access to a proper education. The court declared this failure was “systemic,” and has, in some cases, led to students reaching the 7th and 8th grade without being able to read and write. The first motion on this matter was filed on Nov. 22, 2017.

Cesar Morales

Since July 1, the former superintendent of Oxnard School District, Cesar Morales, has been serving in his new position as Associate Superintendent of the Ventura County Office of Education.  Part of his duties will be to oversee special education programs. He had been at Oxnard Unified since 2013.

Arts Council extends deadline for submissions

Ventura County artists have an opportunity to show their work of “any genre, any media” in the Atrium Gallery of the Ventura County Government Center as part of the Ventura County Arts Council regular rotation of competitive exhibits.

The new deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Aug. 14. The theme for the next exhibit is Essence – Intrinsic Nature / Indispensable Quality.  Works are judged by a jury with cash prizes. No charge to enter;  exhibit fees apply. Information and submission form online at www.vcartscouncil.org.

 Handiwork competitions at fair celebrate homemaker arts

The Ventura County Fair includes exhibits featuring Home Arts, or the handiwork of homemakers. Think sewn and knitted pot holders, cooking, table décor and place setting design. Five Star Culinary Connection is sponsoring seven cooking competitions as part of the Home Arts events, with first place winners being part of a drawing for a Platinum Professional Cooking System worth $3,000.

Valerie Ulmer manages the Home Arts program at the fair and has been involved in some way with it since 1976. “I live to cook and try new recipes. I love working in the exhibits department. We carry on an old tradition from our grandparents and theirs: a county fair for all to come and participate in if they choose to.”

Events this week include a table setting competition called “Secret Garden” on Thursday, Aug. 8. “Best Pizza” is an onstage cooking contest on Saturday, Aug. 10.