News In Brief: Week of May 11, 2023

X Games coming to Ventura

Ventura will be in the alternative-sports spotlight when the X Games finals arrive at the Ventura County Fairgrounds July 21-23. The event will include more than 150 skateboard, BMX and Moto X athletes as well as live music and an “interactive festival,” city officials said. Live broadcasts of the events will be aired on ABC and ESPN.

“Our city has a long history of supporting big events, and it is an honor to be selected by the X Games to host this prestigious international competition,” Ventura Mayor Joe Schroeder said. “We look forward to welcoming thousands of athletes and fans to our community and showing the world all the unforgettable things Ventura has to offer.”

Tickets went on sale May 10 with more information available at

Squid ink suit settled

A Ventura seafood company has reached a settlement with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office over two squid ink wastewater spills that happened in December 2021 and January 2022.

Prosecutors said Silver Bay Seafoods released squid ink wastewater into Ventura Harbor instead of dumping it at least three miles offshore as state law requires because it can be lethal to marine life due to its high concentration of ammonia.

The company agreed to pay $12,500 in penalties to the Ventura County Fish and Wildlife Propagation Fund and $12,500 in penalties to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish and Game Preservation Fund. Civil penalties totaling $5,000 and $6,815 to cover investigative costs will also be paid by the company.

In addition, Silver Bay Seafoods will create written protocols for squid ink wastewater disposal that all employees will be required to follow.

Honorary doctorates for Jackson, Ramirez

Two female political leaders who championed the creation and growth of California State University Channel Islands will be honored with Doctor of Humane Letters degrees on May 20.

Former State Senator and Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson co-authored the 2001 bill providing the land where the campus main entrance was built and helped guide the university’s development as a “green campus.”

“As a state legislator serving this community during the past two decades, I have watched with great pride as CSUCI has emerged to become one of California’s premier educational institutions. I am, therefore, deeply humbled and honored to receive this honorary degree,” Jackson said.

The other doctorate degree will posthumously honor former Oxnard Mayor Carmen Ramirez, who was serving her first term as a Ventura County Supervisor when she died last August after being hit by a truck in Downtown Oxnard. Her husband, Roy Prince, will accept the degree on the late supervisor’s behalf.

“The Ramirez family and I are grateful for CSUCI’s recognition of our beloved Carmen with this honorary degree. It’s meaningful because she was instrumental in the forming of CSUCI and worked closely with the university through the years because she believed in education for all people,” Prince said.

Ventura Pier closed through 2023

People who enjoy a long stroll on the Ventura Pier will be out of luck until at least the end of 2023, city officials said.

January storms battered the pier and it’s been temporarily closed ever since.

Deputy Public Works Director Mary Joyce Ivers said the current repair costs are estimated at $715,000. Funding for the repairs might be supplemented by federal and state disaster recovery grants and donations to Pier Into the Future, the charity that supports maintenance of the pier.

“The pier lost a total of 15 timber piles and sustained damage to the brackets and bracing,” Ivers said. “A contractor was able to stabilize the pier to prevent additional damage when the closure first occurred, and we are looking forward to safely reopening after completing the critical repairs.”

The end of the pier closest to the beach and two restaurants located there remain open.

Strawberry Festival poster contest winner

The winner of the California Strawberry Festival poster contest was also victorious in 2020, but 16 days after Kimberly Duran was announced the winner, the event was canceled due to the pandemic.

Festival chairperson Dean Kato said they are happy Duran got the nod again this year while competing against more than 60 entries.

“She’s a gifted artist and her design captures the wonderful community spirit that’s always present at the festival,” Kato said of the Santa Ana-based muralist

The California Strawberry Festival will be held May 20 and 21 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds for the first time this year after many years at Oxnard’s College Park:

Ships brake for whales

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say a program designed to protect whales in the Santa Barbara Channel by slowing down ship traffic had more shipping company participants in 2022 than ever before.

Last year 23 shipping companies agreed to reduce speeds to 12 knots or less, which was five more than participated in 2021.

The voluntary Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies vessel speed reduction program also aims to reduce air pollution runs annually from May through December, which are considered the months of peak air pollution as well as whale abundance in local waters.

NOAA officials said ship strikes are a major threat to whales globally and to the recovery of endangered blue, fin and humpback whales off the California coastline.