Assist in California condor egg staging

As the 2018 nesting season begins, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking volunteers to assist the endangered California condor in its bid to repopulate the species.

The service, in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Zoo, will monitor the California condor nesting situation to determine whether or not the endangered native bird will have the “right stuff” to provide a successful nest for a hatchling. The California condor lays one egg per year, typically between the months of January and May, says Joseph Brandt, supervisory wildlife biologist for the California Condor Recovery Program.

“We’re working on recovering the California condor, and a part of that recovery effort has to do with monitoring and managing the condor nests that happen each season,” says Brandt. There are two flocks of condors in the region, one north in San Luis Obispo County, and the other local, monitored out of the Hopper Mountain National Refuge Complex. Brandt says that volunteers will monitor and report back conditions of the nests so that the service can intervene if need be to help the nest be successful.

There will be two training dates, the first on Thursday, Feb. 22, and the second on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office, 2493 Portola Road, in Ventura. For more information, visit

County shelters reduce pet-adoption days

Mondays have just become worse for Garfield since Ventura County Animal Services announced that the Camarillo shelter would no longer be open for adoptions on his least favorite day of the week.

The shelter will remain open for lost and found pets, but not adoptions, due to what Animal Services says is a shift in resources to “better manage the county’s two seven-days-a-week shelters,” adding that redeploying employees and volunteers will improve the lives of the animals.

The new schedule will take effect on Thursday, March 1, at both the Camarillo Animal Shelter located at 600 Aviation Drive and the Simi Valley Animal Shelter located at 670 W. Los Angeles Ave. For more information, call 388-4341.

Ventura Botanical Gardens names welcome center

Though the Ventura Botanical Gardens remain closed due to hell unleashed by the Thomas Fire in December, there is a bit of good news to share. At a meeting of the Perennial Society, Botanical Gardens President Barbara Brown announced the naming of the Merewether Welcome Center, due in spring.

The center will be named after Mike and Loretta Merewether, who provided financial support for construction of the center, designed by architect Martha Picciotti.

“We’re proud to make this dream a reality,” said Mike.

“We’ve believed in this transformative project from the start,” added Loretta. “We couldn’t be more excited about this significant milestone in the development of the gardens. It will be a wonderful gathering space for events and educational programs. This center will serve as a way of announcing the gardens.”

The center is the first commercial shipping container project approved by the city of Ventura and will house a ticket and information booth, a gift shop, restroom and educational center for lectures and demonstrations. The center is slated to open in late spring.

For more information, visit

Free tax preparation for Ventura County seniors

The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging and the AARP Foundation will offer tax preparation assistance to residents of Ventura County through April 16.

This service is particularly geared toward low-to-moderate-income individuals over the age of 50 who may need assistance. To receive a service, individuals must bring all necessary documentation, including applicable Social Security cards, a photo ID, a copy of 2016 tax return, and 2017 documents showing income from all sources, including wages, Social Security, interest, dividends, investments, self-employment and pensions.

Representatives will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays, noon-4 p.m. through April 16 at the VCAAA offices, 646 County Square Drive, Ventura. For more information, call 477-7306. 

The AARP will also be teaming up with the IRS to host tax assistance workshops at these locations: 

Ventura Avenue Adult Center, 550 North Ventura Ave, on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Wilson Senior Center, 350 North C St., Oxnard, on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and at the South Oxnard Center, 200 E. Bard Road on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 am to 2 pm. 

Leisure Village, 200 Leisure Drive, Camarillo on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-2:30 p.m.; appointments are required and the service is available to Leisure Village residents only.

Camarillo Health Care District, 3639 E. Las Posas Road, Bldg 117 on Wednesdays from noon to 3 pm. Appointments required, call (805) 388-1952; also at the Camarillo Senior Center at 1605 E. Burnley Street on Mondays from 9 am to noon by appointment at (805) 482-4881.

Port Hueneme Community Center, 550 Park Avenue on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and no appointment is required.

For Santa Paula and Fillmore, Tax Aide assistance is at the Santa Paula Community Center, 530 West Main Street on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and no appointment is required.

Little House of Ojai, 111 West Santa Ana Street, on Thursdays from noon to 3:15 p.m. Call (805) 646-5122.