In Brief

In Brief

Ventura Rotary’s annual Coats for Kids project is inviting donations of used coats, sweaters and heavy jackets as part of its drive to provide warm coats to those in need.

Since its debut, the “Coats for Kids” campaign has collected over 50,000 articles of clothing, used in distribution throughout the year. The Ventura Rotary distributes around 7,000 coats every year to area charities, according to Ken Leandro, a volunteer member of the Rotary. Leandro says that this year, there may be a greater need for donations.

“Our sense is that this year will be larger than last year,” said Leandro. “Winter has come earlier and there’s a need in the community.”

Once collected, the coats are taken to Four Seasons Cleaners, where co-owner Sonny Shah says that his cleaners have cleaned 50,000 coats since the beginning of the drives in 2003.

“Not everyone can write a big check to charity, but many can find a coat or two in the back of the closet and then feel good about making a very real and practical difference to someone in their community,” said Sonny Shah in a press release. “With the weather turning cold and the number in need growing, we challenge the community to fill those donation boxes and make us clean 10,000 more this year!”

Donations can be made at 50 locations around the county. For an interactive map of drop-off locations, visit or

In Brief

In Brief


An encounter with a Northrop Grumman engineer at a meeting of the Channel Islands Chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has led to a gift of two unmanned aerial vehicles for use in the school’s biology, chemistry and environmental science departments.

The vehicles, built in 2003, were used as test platforms for military defense and homeland security operations. For CI, the vehicles will be adapted for use in aerial photography, search and rescue and mapping, among other tasks.

The six-foot vehicles have a range of 2,000 miles, can reach an altitude of 10,000 feet and top speeds of 140 miles per hour.

“The integration of sensors focusing on marine wildlife monitoring, first responder needs, or those aligned with search and rescue or firefighting needs are areas of opportunity that students are likely to explore,” said Mark Mendenhall, a principal engineer at Northrop Grumman in Camarillo, in a press release.

Don’t expect to see the vehicles hovering over dormitories just yet, however. A certificate of authorization, issued by the FAA, must first be obtained, and the drones must be reconfigured to perform their academic duties. In the meantime, the drones will be loaned to Ventura County’s Career Education Center Air Academy for use in specialized training for high school students interested in careers in the aerospace industry.

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