Fatal stabbing on the Ventura promenade

On Dec. 25, at 9:50 p.m., the Ventura Police Command Center received a call in reference to a stabbing that occurred at the city parking structure located at 500 East Harbor Blvd.

Ventura patrol officers responded to the call and upon arrival, located the victim, 30, homeless, who sustained numerous stab wounds to his body. The victim was transported to Ventura County Medical Center where he later died from his injuries.

Ventura Police Detectives were notified and have taken over the investigation. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Tyler Buck at 805-339-4462. This story will be updated.

Oxnard to fund homeless services

The Oxnard City Council voted unanimously last week to fund extended hours for Community Action’s homeless day center. Beginning Dec. 27, Community Action’s Transition Center, located at 621 Richmond Ave., will be open to serve the homeless seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Homeless individuals will receive bus passes to go to the Winter Warming Shelter at the Ventura Armory, which will be open from 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. The passes will enable them to return to the Transition Center each morning.

While the city of Oxnard continues to search for a suitable site for a year-round shelter for the homeless, the combination of nighttime service at the Armory and day time service at Community Action will suffice for this year.

“This plan will provide a seamless overlap of day services to support the night services offered at the Armory,” said executive director Cynder Sinclair. “We will continue to offer a high quality program with the lowest barrier to entry. This program will help vulnerable members of our community come in out of the cold and begin working on a sustainable plan that promotes dignity and self-sufficiency.”

Community Action’s Transition Center also offers clients a variety of services including laundry, mail delivery, showers, computer and phone use, resume building, as well as referrals for housing, healthcare and employment. Other services at Community Action include help for low income families with payment of utility bills and weatherization of homes.

County nurses vote to ratify new contract

Five-hundred and 50 nurses, as well as 150 per-diem nurses — which are nurses called in when needed — voted on Tuesday, Dec. 26, to ratify a new contract that will improve healthcare benefits, provide educational opportunities for nurses and guarantee meal breaks, among other perks.

The nurse agreement is good for two years, while the per-diem nurse agreement is good for three.

“We’re so proud that nurses stood together to achieve such a strong contract to help us protect our patients, and to help protect nurses at work,” said Monica Diaz, RN. “We know, especially in times like this, with the wildfires, how many people in Ventura County depend on us. We will always be there for our patients, and this contract really upholds our ability to advocate for them when they need us most.”

The nurses are members of the California Nurses Association, which represents registered nurses throughout the state.

“As nurses, it’s our job to stand up for our patients. We can do that best when we can rely on the power of our collective voice,” said Shelly Moore, RN. “The people of Ventura County deserve the best possible care, and our nurses came together, united, and won an agreement that really upholds our ability to provide it. Today is a big victory.”

Thomas Fire hits agriculture, and economy, in Ventura County

Ventura County’s agriculture took a big hit during the Thomas Fire, none more so than the county’s bounty of avocados.

In a report from The Los Angeles Times, Ventura County’s farmland is the focus of a dire look at the devastation left in the wake of the Thomas Fire. Of note: Mud Creek Ranch, located just a quarter mile from where the Thomas Fire began, was decimated by the flames. Owners Steven and Robin Smith estimated 5,000 of the 20,000 avocado trees were destroyed by the fast-moving fire, as well as their home, barn, workshop, garage and a historic family home built in the 1880s.

“One grower I know is estimating as much as 80 percent of avocados are gone,” Farm Bureau of Ventura County Chief Executive John Krist told the Times.

In 2016, Ventura County produced 90 million pounds of avocados, and has the most land used for avocado growing in the state.

Other crops that weren’t subject to fire damage suffered smoke and ash damage. Lettuce and hardy greens growing in Oxnard were covered in ash; while fruit fell to the ground due to gasses in smoke that promote ripening.

Further, businesses in Ojai and Ventura were forced to close for the better part of a week during the busiest shopping season of the year. Now that shops are open, customers are slow to return, according to several downtown Ventura business owners spoken to in December, as air quality only recently improved in both cities.