Homeshare Program assist Thomas Fire victims

If you’ve got a home open and available for a family impacted by the Thomas Fire, the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging would like to hear from you.

The Agency’s Homeshare Program is actively seeking local homeowners who are interested in assisting families and individuals displaced by the Thomas Fire. Homeowners with vacant bedrooms or homes to rent under short-term agreements are asked to contact the agency and to apply. Special consideration for families with pets is encouraged.

Homeowners must go through a background check and application process, but the process is being fast-tracked in order to secure short-term housing options for affected families.

For more information, or to apply to become a Homeshare Provider, call 805-477-7324 or visit

Halaco site abatement delayed due to fire

The Army National Guard Armory in Ventura, which was to serve as the winter warming shelter serving the area’s homeless population, is being used by the National Guard as its staging area while doing battle with the Thomas Fire. Thus, the scheduled opening of Dec. 15 was delayed with no scheduled opening cemented.

The use of the Armory has also delayed a scheduled abatement of the Halaco superfund site, a former power plant that has attracted a sizeable population of homeless individuals over the years. A mini-camp had been established with numerous vehicles, trailers and the like parked on the site illegally.

In 2017, according to the city of Oxnard, the number of police and fire calls to the site located at 6200 Perkins Road in Oxnard has increased dramatically. Serious assaults, an armed carjacking, injured people and more have all been reported. The City Council allocated $400,000 from the city’s General Fund to abate the site.

As of Friday, Dec. 15, a new abatement date had yet to be determined.

Popular parade pig receives proper send-off in Ventura

Mourners marched through downtown Ventura, celebrating the life of Sham Hock.

Sham Hock is no more; long live Sham Hock.

Mourners gathered on Thursday, Nov. 30, to celebrate the life of the 12-foot-tall, 20-foot-wide green pig that had entertained revelers attending the Ventura St. Patricks’ Day Parade for over 30 years, replete with bagpipers, funeral attire and a coffin draped with the Irish flag. In lieu of pall bearers, the coffin was towed on a gurney, surrounded by tearful friends and family of the departed float.

Faye McDonald, treasurer of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, was dressed in her funeral best, waiting in the Museum of Ventura County parking lot for the coffin to arrive. She said that the green pig meant a lot to the community.

“He’s a symbol of fun, and we need that right now,” said McDonald.

After a heartwarming eulogy by Sham Hock’s human representative on the mortal plane, Tim O’Neil, the procession moved down Main Street, stopping in at several bars where donation envelopes were handed out after a moment of silence.

On March 11, emergency crews responded to reports of a pig deflating rapidly on Main Street in downtown Ventura during the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade. Responders determined that the fabric of the pig had torn, and handlers diagnosed the wound as irreparable. Hock was pronounced dead on the scene.

The committee needs $3,300 to replace Sham Hock, said committee member Jerry English, adding that a mock-up for a new Sham Hock has been completed and that the committee expects the successor to be ready for St. Patrick’s Day 2018.

For more information on how to donate, visit