News In Brief: Week of April 13, 2023

CSUCI aims for carbon neutral by 2040

Officials at California State University Channel Islands have pledged to make the campus carbon neutral by 2040, five years before a target set for the entire state of California.

Sustainability and Energy Director Roxane Beigel-Coryell said the goal is part of a Climate Action Plan. “This is a monumental moment in CSUCI’s history. We are honoring our founding as the ‘Green Campus’ 20 years ago by deepening our commitment to being responsible stewards and leaders in sustainability and social justice.”

Some of the steps expected to make the campus carbon neutral include using batteries to store energy created by a solar field on campus and replacing gas-powered vehicles with ones that run on electricity.

Arrest made in fatal reckless driving case

Oxnard Police have made an arrest in a double-fatal traffic collision that happened on Feb. 12 and allegedly involved excessive speed and reckless driving.

Police have been cracking down on dangerous street racing in recent months and were able to obtain enough evidence to arrest 19-year-old Sharbel Touma for gross vehicular manslaughter on March 29.

The crash happened at Fifth Street and Portofino Place just after midnight and claimed the lives of 31-year-old Samuel Jose Castro and 44-year-old Annette Viviana.

Oxnard police said they will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to street racing and other forms of reckless driving.

Carbajal supports OTC Narcan

Ventura County Congressmember Salud Carbajal is praising a decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the sale of the opioid overdose treatment Narcan over the counter. Earlier this month Carbajal joined a bipartisan group of 28 lawmakers urging the change.

“Putting Narcan directly in the hands of those impacted by opioids will save lives on the Central Coast,” Carbajal said. “Narcan is safe and effective, with no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system. Putting it within reach of those who may be encountering substance abuse disorder in their home or in their day-to-day life will give us a new way to protect our communities from abuse, overdose and loss of life.”

Carbajal said overdose deaths involving fentanyl and other opioids increased by nearly 30% between 2019 and 2020, and demand for Narcan continues to rise as synthetic opioids flood communities across the nation.

Coffee With a Cop on April 19

National Autism Awareness Month is getting a boost from Ventura Police this month through a fundraiser tied to the department’s “Coffee With a Cop” program.

On Wednesday, April 19, police will be at the Starbucks at 1945 South Victoria Avenue between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

“This month, we are proud to join the nationwide effort to support our community members living with autism,” said Police Chief Darin Schindler. “We are launching a limited-edition t-shirt design promoting autism awareness. All proceeds from t-shirt sales will support the Autism Society and its many great programs.”

The fundraising effort has special meaning for Ventura Police Officer Aric Almaguer.

“This is a cause that I am passionate about because I have a child with autism,” Almaguer said. “I hope that this event will help increase community awareness, strengthen relationships, and raise funds for local families in need of additional support.”

New director for Humane Society

The Humane Society of Ventura County has a new Director of Shelter Operations.

Karen Terpstra was previously Director of Operations at the Santa Barbara Humane Society and has worked at shelters in Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and New Jersey. Some of her past accomplishments include expanding spay/neuter programs and decreasing animals’ length of stays at shelters.

Terpstra has also fostered more than 700 orphaned kittens over the years herself.

Illegal gambling operation in Oxnard

The owners of an Oxnard tobacco store have been busted for running an illegal gambling operation, according to police.

Officers responded to JJ’s Tobacco at 3570 Saviers Road on March 23 and discovered two “coin push” machines that are considered illegal gambling devices in California. During the investigation more than $2,000 worth of coins and cash were recovered from inside the machines.

Police arrested the business owner, Mazen Nadddour, 49, who was charged with two misdemeanor gambling offenses punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a maximum six month jail term.

No underage customers at PH dispensaries

Cannabis dispensaries in Port Hueneme are apparently doing a good job making sure no underage customers get past the entrance and into the showrooms.

Police conducted a retail cannabis minor decoy operation on March 24 at all nine of the cannabis businesses currently operating in the Port Hueneme. The minor decoy presented their actual ID at all the dispensaries and was refused entry at all of them after staff members determined the decoy was under 21.

Police say people with concerns about how the cannabis dispensaries are being operated can contact Cannabis Control Officer Henry Montelongo at 805-844-9027 or via email at

Ventura County Fair Poster Contest

Entries are now open for the annual Ventura County Fair Poster contest.

Students in grades 5-12 are encouraged to submit artwork for the contest that’s become a long-standing fair tradition.

Winning images are used for the poster as well as other promotional materials that are used in newspapers and online. This year’s theme is “The Time of Your Life!” Entries will be accepted through April 28.

The fair is set to run between August 2-13 for its 148th year. More information on the poster contest and other fair details is available at