Three projects proposed for Ventura Harbor 

The two parcels upon which one of three as of yet decided upon proposals will be built.

The two parcels upon which one of three as of yet decided upon proposals will be built.

The Ventura Port District met on Wednesday, Nov. 9, an informational meeting regarding possible construction of a hotel and other amenities at the Ventura Harbor.

The District owns two properties along Spinnaker Drive — midway and at the end — that may be used for any one of three proposals being considered: one by the owners Brighton Management of the Four Points By Sheraton and Holiday Inn Express; one by H. Parker Hospitality, owners of the Fess Parker hotels; and the last by developer John Ashkar, who has already-approved and/or under-construction multifamily residential projects in Ventura.

The parcels of land are 120,000 square feet in total. Brighton proposes for the two parcels a three-story 75-room extended-stay hotel and another 75 rooms in a larger building with an exercise room, lobby and more. H. Parker proposes a 30-room hostel and pocket park and a 75-room boutique hotel. Ashkar’s group, Pacific Heritage, proposes a three-story mixed-use building and a 75-room boutique hotel. The Ashkar proposal also includes a 2,000-seat amphitheater.

Officials note that no decision will be made on Wednesday. For more information, visit

Compost a solution to Ventura River pollution

Horse and livestock owners in the Ojai Valley are learning a new way to make use of their animals’ leavings: composting. Thanks to an outreach program begun in 2011 by the Ventura County Resource Conservation District, farmers are beginning to see the benefits of a sustainable resource while keeping pollutants out of the Ventura River.

Since 1998, the Ventura River watershed has experienced increased algae growth, which can be detrimental to aquatic life by starving the ecosystem of oxygen. Runoff from neighboring farms exceeded the total maximum daily loads, and ever since, the Conservation District has worked to reduce the output through the creation of the Storm Water Quality Program, which includes composting, among other practices.

On Oct. 22, horse and livestock owners, a representative from the Thacher School and staff from the District gathered to share ideas on how to reduce runoff pollutants.

Ojai resident and horse owner Andrea Gaines, who offered her property to host the event, demonstrated three O2Compost aerated compost bins that now, after several months of composting, provide fertilizer for her garden, orange trees and pasture. The process takes roughly 90 days from filling a 4- by 6-foot compost bin to completion.

“I like knowing that I’m keeping manure out of the landfill and the watershed, and putting it to good use!” said Gaines.

For more information on the District’s Storm Water Quality Program and future outreach events, call 925-642-8380.

Oxnard Strawberry Festival launches poster contest

It is time once again to whip out the pencils and crayons for the Oxnard Strawberry Festival’s poster contest. Every year, the California Strawberry Festival selects one piece of art for its official poster — and the winning artist receives a $2,000 prize, plus the recognition and glamor of having that artwork displayed for the most-attended yearly event in Ventura County year after year.

New this year: Festival organizers are allowing digital, oils, watercolors, inks and mixed-media entries, bucking a three-decade tradition.

For those interested: No more than two submissions allowed. Submissions will be judged by a panel of judges looking for “creativity and best use of theme while paying tribute to Ventura County’s unique landscape.” Entries must be no more than 16.5 inches wide and 17 inches high, centered and mounted on a black matte board 18.5 inches