County fire department offers chimney safety tips

The Ventura County Fire Department has offered up a few helpful tips on preventing fires when sparking up the fireplace during the winter months. Chimneys go oft unused for most of the year, especially in Southern California, making them prime targets for birds’ nests and raccoon stashes.

The department provided information from the Chimney Safety Institute of America, which says that chimney fires cause over $125 million in damages yearly in the United States.

The Department recommends that you have your chimney inspected by a professional and cleaned if necessary before the holiday season, make sure the flue is open before lighting, keep a screen in front of the fireplace and not dispose of a Christmas tree in the fireplace, among many other tips.

For more information, visit

Oxnard library wipes fines for food donation

If you’ve been holding on to that copy of Fifty Shades Darker for a little longer than you should have, gather up a dozen or so cans of food and bring them with you to the Oxnard Public Library, where your late fee will be partially forgiven as part of the annual “Food for Fines” event running Monday, Nov. 27, through Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Patrons who donate one nonperishable canned food item will have outstanding dues waived. The library has partnered with FOOD Share and the city of Oxnard’s Police Activities League to benefit families over the holiday season.

Donated items will be counted toward overdue fines only and cannot be counted toward lost or damaged items. Donations can be made at the Main Library, 251 S. A. St.; South Oxnard Branch Library, 4300 Saviers Road; and Colonia Branch Library, 1500 Colonia Road #26. For more information, call 385-7507.

CSUCI Nursing Program celebrates 100 percent graduation

California State University, Channel Islands, nursing graduates have scored a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for the fourth straight year.

Fifty-seven nursing graduate students took the exam between July 1 and Sept. 30, and all 57 passed on their first attempt. The university students also scored a perfect 100 percent during the 2011/2012, 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 school years.

“The national pass rate was 81.4 percent,” said Nursing and Health Sciences Chair Lynette Landry, Ph.D., R.N. “I’m very excited. To me, it’s reflective of the quality of our faculty and their commitment to student success.”

The California pass rate for 2016 was 88.2 percent.

The CSUCI nursing program had recently undergone a streamlining, shrinking from 136 units to 120, raising some concern that the change would affect outcomes of testing.

“We admitted 22, and graduated 22 on time,” said Professor of Nursing and former Nursing Chair Karen Jensen, “and all 22 passed the boards on their first try. I’ve been in educational administration for 30 years and had never seen that. Never.”

For more information on the CSUCI Nursing program, visit

Santa Paula animal shelter seeking holiday foster homes

Animals in need can sometimes go overlooked during the busy holiday season, leaving many to sleep the long nights away in shelters. Now, the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, also known as SPARC, is seeking volunteers to foster pets from now through Jan. 3.

SPARC says the effort is underway to give pets a break from shelter life, if only temporarily.

“Even a one-night stay in a home can be a beneficial break for a shelter dog,” said Nicky Gore-Jones, executive director of SPARC. “They all seem to enjoy a ride in a car and are so grateful for getting some one-on-one attention!”

There is no cost to becoming a foster parent, and everything from food to medication is provided for the specific animal.

“All we ask is that they have a fun time together, whether going for long walks or just hanging out on the couch watching TV,” said Jones. “The dogs don’t care too much, as long as they’re with a caring human!”

SPARC is located at 705 E. Santa Barbara St., Santa Paula. For more information, visit