Welcome home, Seabees
Having been deployed under the banner of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, nearly 250 Port Hueneme-based Seabees recently completed their 6-month assignments and returned home Feb. 16.
According to Lt. Cmdr. Lore Aguayo, executive officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, their duties were varied and far-flung, and included both military and humanitarian activities.
In Kuwait, she reports, they upgraded security at naval bases and built troop housing; in the horn of Africa, they drilled water wells, constructed schools and medical clinics; in Afghanistan, the battalion repaired airfields and readied operating bases for winter use; in Peru, they constructed water wells, built schools and medical clinics; in Spain they constructed a combat training facility for the marines. In Ethiopia, they erected a tent city for citizens displaced by flood.
“We did a lot of exceptional construction work in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Aguayo. “We were very proud of the humanitarian projects we did in the horn of Africa. Our projects went a long way to show the people that we are there to help support them.”
Now the Seabees are back and training for their next deployment, approximately 10 months from now.
The problem with torture
At Global Exchange Ventura County Supporter’s invitation, a noted expert will speak on the uses and impact of torture worldwide.
Michael Nutkiewicz is the former senior oral historian at the Shoah Foundation, a collective largely concerned with documenting the experiences of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. Since 2001, Nutkiewicz has acted as executive director of the Program for Torture Victims, a Los Angeles-based organization founded 27 years ago to address the needs of torture survivors.
PTV is a non-profit organization funded in part by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The organization offers everything from medical resources to counseling to expert witnesses at asylum trials, and was founded by two South American political refugees.
Nutkiewicz’s talk is titled “The Problem of Torture.”
Michael Nutkiewicz will speak from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. For information, call 241-8855.
Air your grievances
The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that, before awarding various grants — some benefiting community development and emergency shelter — the City of Oxnard must articulate a fiscal year action plan. Now the city is holding a public hearing to discuss very specific community needs, specifically the needs of Oxnard’s low-income population.
“It’s important that we get that information,” said Oxnard City Councilmember John C. Zaragoza, “and also report to [residents] on a yearly basis.”
The public is also invited to comment on issues it feels are being overlooked, ranging from affordable housing to provisions for the homeless population to public resources, services and economic development.
The hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Oxnard City Hall, 305 W. Third St, Oxnard. For information, call 385-7803.
Museum of Ventura County, East County
Fresh from a name change, the Museum of Ventura County has renewed its commitment to preserving local history beyond Ventura proper by opening a “satellite location” in Thousand Oaks.
“We serve the whole county,” said Susan Gerard, the museum’s director of marketing, “and there are a number of communities we want to serve better.”
The museum’s extension will be installed at a storefront in the Thousand Oaks Shopping Center’s upper level. Its opening exhibit, titled “Tradition and Transition: The California Missions,” focuses on “that juxtaposition of the mission system” with Native American culture.
The exhibit opens Feb. 24, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oaks Shopping Center, Thousand Oaks. For information, call 496-7460.
Ugly Kitchens help the community
Ventura is a county of plenty and beauty. Those in the home improvement sector happen to know that there is also plenty of ugliness
So, Channel Islands Do It Best Hardware Home and Garden decided to hold the Ugly Kitchen Contest, in which contestants can submit photos of their embarrassing, not-quite-retro kitchens for a chance to win a $13,000 kitchen makeover, complete with new cabinets, new coat of paint, tile work and even a kitchen sink.
The competition will be capped off with a celebration, where local celebrities will judge the final round of sins in interior design. Admission to this event will be a suggested donation to FOOD Share.
“We had a big freeze recently,” said organizer Karine Adalian. “Because this does have to do with a kitchen, we thought FOOD Share would be a good countywide effort.”
The worst they’ve seen so far in kitchen decoration?