In Brief

In Brief


Nearly 4,000 runners are expected to participate in this year’s 7th Annual Santa to the Sea Half Marathon, two-person relay race, 5K run and 1K kids fun run on Sunday, Dec. 14, meaning a slew of volunteers will be needed to ensure that the race goes as planned.

Last year’s half-marathon and other events attracted 3,250 participants and required over 500 volunteers. This year, according to event organizer Mike Barber, won’t be very different in that regard.


Mike Barber.


“We couldn’t do it without our volunteers,” said Barber. Volunteers will man water and fruit stations, greet runners at the finish line and do various tasks throughout the day.

The half-marathon begins at the giant Santa statue near the 101 freeway in Oxnard and ends at the Marine Emporium Landing in Channel Islands Harbor.

For the fourth year in a row, participants can take part in the “Charity Challenge.” This year’s charities include FOOD Share of Ventura County, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, Inlakech Cultural Arts Center, The Autism Society, Ventura County, and Future Leaders of America.

New this year is the Neighborhood Cheer Challenge, involving five junior high schools in Oxnard along the half-marathon route that will give lengths of the route certain themes. Winning schools can receive between $500 and $2,500.

More than 2,500 toys are collected at the annual event, which are sent to “Santa Claus Park” prior to Christmas. Since 2008, 15,000 toys have been collected for foster youth.

Several scholarships are awarded to area high school students for continuation at Oxnard College, with $5 from every entrance fee going toward the program. Since 2008, 190 scholarships of $500 each have been awarded.

For more information on the race and to volunteer, visit

In Brief

In Brief


The Ventura County registrar of voters updated the latest election results on Tuesday, Nov. 18. Two tight races in the county remained, for the most part, unchanged from the last update on Nov. 7. Those in the lead last week remained so.

In Oxnard, City Councilman Bert Perello has been hanging on by a thread to keep his seat. The earliest preliminary results showed candidate Steve Huber held the lead by more than 200 votes. Then the lead tightened by 25 votes; the next update showed Perello ahead by 31 votes. On Tuesday, Bert Perello remained ahead by 43 votes.

Perello, a postal carrier, has been an outspoken advocate of transparency in government and won a special election in June 2013 when then-City Councilman Tim Flynn won the mayoral election. Huber is a longtime planning commissioner, a newcomer to the race for City Council.

While Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, conceded to Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, last week for the 26th Congressional District, the race has been a nail-biter since the ballots started rolling in. On Friday, Nov. 7, the last election results update showed Brownley in the lead with 81,627 votes with 51.1 percent of the vote compared with Gorell’s 78,100 votes for 48.9 percent.  On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Brownley has 82,340 votes and Gorell at 78,764. The percentages remained the same.

Brownley, who served as an assemblywoman for six years and was based in Santa Monica, will be serving a second term in office. Gorell will wrap up his second term as an assemblyman at the beginning of the year, vacating his seat in the 44th Assembly District. Jaqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, won the 44th Assembly District over pastor Rob McCoy, R-Newbury Park. Irwin served as the mayor and on city council of Thousand Oaks for 12 years.

In Brief

In Brief


Kennel dogs OK after nearby explosion on 126

Seventy-one dogs stranded at the Canine Adoption Rescue League (CARL) center in Santa Paula after a vacuum truck explosion rocked a nearby waste water facility on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 18, were found in good condition the next day. Safety officials had ordered a mandatory evacuation after the explosion sent dozens of people to area hospitals.

CARL President Sharon Clark says that she and volunteers were not being allowed onto the premises to evacuate the dogs on site on Tuesday evening after the kennel’s caretaker was taken to the hospital after developing respiratory problems.

A mandatory evacuation was issued for all residents within a one-mile radius of 815 Mission Rock Road, the address of the Santa Clara Waste Water facility, after a type of organic peroxide spilled, following an explosion. CARL is located at 901 Mission Rock Road. The highly flammable chemicals caused several explosions throughout the day and a snow-like cloud of highly volatile chemicals falling over the area.

“They’re saying its too dangerous for humans to go in there; we’re saying it’s too dangerous for the dogs,” said Clark.

Late Tuesday afternoon, two veterinarians were allowed into the facility to check on the well being of the dogs. After checking on the animals’ state, CARL released a statement via Facebook saying that “all the dogs are good,” and requested donations for care items such as blankets and dog food.

One dog in particular by the name of Brandi was evacuated from the premises showing signs of irritation around the eyes, but checked out fine by a veterinarian.

The explosion sent 44 people to area hospitals for treatment after developing respiratory problems or as a result of the explosion. All but one had been released by Tuesday afternoon. First responders on the scene reported stepping in the chemical in rubber boots only to have the boots combust. The 126 freeway was closed for much of the day and reopened Tuesday afternoon in both directions.

As of Wednesday morning, the exact cause of the explosion and the type of chemical that was spilled is still unknown but an official with environmental health said it may have been something thrown in a Porta Potty that caused a thermogenic reaction which had been pumped into the vacuum truck.

Tension over mentally ill office reveal safety issues

The search for an alternative location is underway for the CONREP facility that had relocated to Santa Clara Street in downtown Ventura, according to Jeffrey Lambert, the city’s community development director. While attorneys for the operator MHM Services Inc., which provides services for patients who have been declared criminally insane, have filed an appeal after the denial of a business permit that was issued in error, an incident with a person associated with CONREP, allegedly a patient, and a neighbor, revealed safety issues and caused tensions to rise.

The forensic conditional release program, or CONREP, moved from the Ventura County Behavioral Health center on Telegraph Road on Oct. 31 and into the new location at 40 W. Santa Clara St. with little notice to area residents at the beginning of November.

Lambert sent a strongly worded letter to the operators last week saying that the facility could not continue operations in the area because such services were not allowed under the Downtown Specific Plan, and over the weekend the landlord placed an eviction notice on the front door.

“I understand that you received a business license and a zoning clearance from the City,” Lambert said in a letter to MHM Services Inc. “However, I have determined that the zoning clearance was issued in error and therefore, your business license is invalid.”

CONREP treats patients sent from state mental hospitals by court order for treatment. According to the Department of State Hospitals, 85 percent of the patients have committed violent felonies, which could include sexual assault and homicide.

While a KEYT reporter was interviewing local resident Brian Hassenflug on Monday, Nov. 17, a person associated with the CONREP facility approached the reporter and began filming and photographing, and according to a witness nearby, became confrontational. Hassenflug then pushed the man to the ground and a scuffle ensued. Part of t he incident was captured on the reporter’s camera.

After the incident, members of the community stressed neighbors to keep away from the facility until the licensing issue is resolved.

Lambert says that MHM has filed an appeal, but he hopes the facility will relocate before the process begins, which could take weeks.

“We are hopeful that based on the bad press and the unfortunate incident that they realize that this is a bad idea,” said Lambert. 

In Brief

In Brief


A group of Ventura County activists are looking for volunteers to join them in recognizing National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week by partnering with the county’s homeless for hot meals in area restaurants.

Co-sponsored by Lift Up Your Voice and the Ventura Interfaith Ministerial Association, “Take a Hungry Person to Lunch Day” will pair members of the community with a homeless person for a rare lunch-date that will give the individuals an opportunity to have a frank and open discussion.

Event Coordinator Kathy Powell, who also serves as the vice chair of the Ventura Social Services Task Force, says that there are many misconceptions about the homeless.

“People tend to drive all of them into one group, but when they get to know them individually, they find out that they’re people just like everyone else,” said Powell. “A lot of homeless people have had really tragic stories in their lives and a lot of things that have led them to be where they are.”

Making the news this month, a 93-year-old pastor from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arrested twice for publically feeding the homeless. Powell says that if cities transitioned to the housing first model, as has become the national standard, cities and the activists who wish to provide for the homeless would mutually benefit from less homeless being on the street.

“It’s very difficult for anyone to make any sort of life changes while they’re still on the street,” said Powell. “It’s difficult for people to make decisions when they’re hungry, when they’re running or trying to hide.”

Prior to the event, volunteers will be taken through an orientation and shown an hour-long film on the homeless, followed by being paired for lunch at one of several participating restaurants in Ventura.

For more information and to volunteer, call 910-8860 or visit


In Brief

In Brief


Students heading to school in the early mornings in Port Hueneme will no longer be faced with the daunting task of crossing the road alone after a deal was made between the city and the Hueneme School District to reinstate crossing guards.

The crossing guards were discontinued after the city of Port Hueneme said that it would stop funding the guards, which annually had cost roughly $65,000 a year, due in part to budget cuts at the state level. The new joint agreement will see the school district and the city split the cost.

Guards will be placed on four intersections at Pleasant Valley Road and Florence Avenue, Pleasant Valley Road and Ventura Road, Ventura Road and Clara Street, and at Ventura Road and Sixth Street.

Port Hueneme mayor Jonathan Sharkey said in a statement that he’s pleased with the new arrangement.

“I realize that budgets are tight for both the city and the school district, but by partnering together we can assure the long term sustainability of this program,” said Sharkey.

The company All City Management Services, which the city of Port Hueneme has contracted with, said that most of the original guards will be reinstated beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 5. The new yearly cost will total nearly $60,000, and All City Management Services will handle all administrative and liability responsibility.








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