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Pictured: NOAA staff release a northern fur seal in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Robert Schwemmer/NOAA

Ventura City Council adopts Black Lives Matter resolution

In a unanimous vote on Monday, July 13, the Ventura City Council adopted a resolution “declaring racism as a public health crisis and condemning police brutality.” 

The resolution follows the June 29 meeting at which Brown told of personal experiences as a black woman in Ventura experiencing police bias and at that meeting made a motion that a resolution be drafted to declare the city’s commitment to fighting implicit bias towards black people, all people of color, women, immigrants and LGBTQ community members. That motion passed unanimously. 

In drafting this resolution, Councilmember Brown collaborated with her colleagues, including, Mayor Matt LaVere, Deputy Mayor Rubalcava, and city staff, including Police Chief Darin Schindler and City Attorney Gregory Diaz.

The staff report and full resolution is online at: www.tinyurl.com/venturablm

Ventura gets grant for Climate Action and Resilience Plan

The city of Ventura has been awarded nearly $200,000 as part of the Proposition 84 Wildfire Resiliency and Recovery Planning program, which will be used to build a Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP) as part of the city’s General Plan Update.

The city applied for the funding as a participant in the Institute for Local Government (ILG) BOOST pilot program to support local governments in building equity into preparing for, responding to and recovering from natural disasters in the wake of climate change. 

“This grant will help our local government leaders build on lessons learned from the Thomas Fire and engage our community in a meaningful way,” said Joe Yahner, division manager for Environmental Sustainability for Ventura. “We are thankful to our partners, CAUSE, the Housing Authority for the City of San Buenaventura, and the Institute for Local Government, for helping support our small, dedicated team navigate the grant application process. Without their support we would not have been able to compete for these critical funds.”

The CARP will be drafted to take what was learned from the Thomas fire and develop a comprehensive plan for the city to “better protect its residents, infrastructure and economy.” 

Thousand Oaks closes City Hall

In order to maintain safety related to the coronavirus pandemic Thousand Oaks City Hall will be closed to walk-in traffic. The public will be able to make appointments for certain services. The closure went into effect on July 15. 

Staffing has been evaluated and the following “critical” services will continue: building inspections, code-compliance inspections, street maintenance,  water infrastructure maintenance, wastewater infrastructure maintenance, and landscape maintenance. 

Staff in all departments are available by phone or email. 

Many services are available through the city’s website including payments and permits: www.toaks.org/virtualservices. City staff continues to remain available by phone or email in all departments. 

County Air District Hearing Board seeks members

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has two open positions on the district’s hearing board. The open positions are for an attorney and a medical professional. 

Candidates must live in Ventura County; the attorney must be a member of the State Bar of California and the medical professional must have “specialized skills, training or interests in environmental, community or occupational/toxicological medicine.” 

The hearing board acts as a quasi-judicial body reviewing requests by project applicants, generally operators of air pollution emission sources or APCD staff and the public. The hearing board holds public hearings and makes decisions regarding air pollution sources in the county. Examples of items considered by the hearing board include whether to provide a pollution emitter a variance from APCD rules, reviewing appeals of APCD suspensions, and the revocation or granting of a permit. 

Meetings occur periodically as needed on Monday evenings at 5:30 p.m. They are open to the public and generally last about two hours. Board members are paid $75 per meeting. Members of the hearing board are appointed by the APCD Governing Board. Those appointed will attend a two-day training conducted by the California Air Resources Board. 

Those interested can contact Keith Macias at keith@vcapcd.org or call 805-645-1494. 

Southeast YMCA offers free online classes

The Southeast Ventura County YMCA is offering online fitness classes every day for all ages. All online classes are drop in, no registration required, and offered to all members of the community without YMCA membership requirement. 

Classes will take place on Zoom and will be led by instructors from three YMCA locations: Conejo Valley, Simi Valley and Yarrow. Classes offered for kids include preschool fun time, Fit Kids and hip-hop workouts. Adult classes include yoga, Zumba, boot camp, tai chi and more. Classes are offered Monday to Saturday, and range from 30 minutes to one hour. 

“It is important for adults and kids to exercise in the summer months even if they cannot enjoy their normal summer activities,” says Megan Glynn, chief development officer. “Participating in online classes not only keeps us in shape but also enables us to stay connected.”

 The full online class schedule and links to individual classes are at www.sevymca.org/onlineclasses. The link becomes active just before class starts. 

Skilled nursing center opens at Ojai Valley Community Hospital  

The Continuing Care Center at Ojai Valley Community Hospital (OVCH) is now open and provides 75 new beds for longterm care. The expansion is part of a series of improvements at OVCH that include a relaunch of the surgical program and the ROSA Total Knee Replacement System, a cutting-edge robotically assisted surgical system. 

 The center is the only skilled nursing facility in the county that resides on a hospital campus and is designed to provide access to hospital services as needed to patients and residents. All physicians at the care center are staff members of Ojai Valley Community Hospital and Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura. 

“The new Community Care Center will be a major asset to the healthcare landscape in the Ojai Valley and Ventura County, and it fills an important local healthcare need,” said Haady Lashkari, Ojai Valley Community Hospital’s chief administrative officer. “All of us at Community Memorial Health System are excited to open the center and are grateful that so many community members supported this important project.”

The center provides on-site imaging and lab services and includes a rehabilitation center for in- and outpatient therapy services. Available therapies include physical, occupational, speech and language therapy. The center is equipped to care for patients with a variety of needs including balance/fall prevention, brain injuries, joint replacement and stroke issues.  

Bank of the Sierra food drive and grant program

Bank of the Sierra branches in Ventura County are participating in a food drive across Central and Southern California. Nonperishable food items can be brought to any of the 40 branches including Ojai and Ventura through July 31.  The food collected will be donated to food banks and other local nonprofits organizations including Food Share Ventura County, Spirit of Santa Paula and HELP of Ojai. 

A grant program offered by Bank of the Sierra offers area nonprofits impacted by the pandemic an opportunity to apply for a share of $2.2 million for local communities. Applications for the Sierra Grant are available online at www.bankofthesierra.com/sierragrant

Marine Sanctuary council still seeking members

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary advisory council has six open seats. The council is vital to ensuring the perspective of the general public is part of the management and protection of the sanctuary. Several positions are available as current members have reached term limits and are unable to reapply to serve on the council. 

The sanctuary is accepting applications for the following seats:

  • Business seat – member and alternate
  • Conservation seat – alternate
  • Commercial fishing seat – member and alternate
  • Non-consumptive Recreation seat – member and alternate
  • Research seat – member and alternate
  • Public At-Large seat – member and alternate

Applications are due by July 31, 2020. Applications are online at channelislands.noaa.gov/sac/council_news.html. For further information, please contact Claire Nasr, program support specialist, via email at claire.nasr@noaa.gov; by phone at 805-893-3644.