County study shows hawks better rodent control than poison

Think again before setting out poison for the neighborhood rat population, as a new study published by the Ventura County Public Works Agency shows that owls and hawks can be more effective in controlling rodent damage.

The Agency presented data collected from its Raptor Study for Levee Protection using hawks and owls to control the rodent population. The study showed that raptor-friendly habitats reduce ground squirrel burrowing damage by 50 percent when compared to the alternative, anticoagulant rodenticides.

The issue of secondary poisoning has become a hot-button issue in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, after bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions in the area have appeared to show signs of having ingested the poison to their detriment. New methods to control the rodent population were considered; thus the study.

The study shows that installing and maintaining perches, owl boxes and nesting stands could eliminate the need for applying anticoagulant rodenticides at flood control facilities.

“We believe the VCPWA Raptor Pilot Study is the first to quantify the dramatic impact of attracting raptors and finds a natural, chemical-free way to control burrowing rodents,” said Karl Novak, VCPWA deputy director of operations and maintenance. “We think that comprehensive monitoring and continued expansion of the raptor program will result in cost-effective and environmentally safe rodent control throughout our watersheds.”

National Day of Mourning vigil to be held in Port Hueneme

A somber event will be held in recognition of the National Day of Mourning in Port Hueneme, a day set aside to recognize disabled filicide victims across the country.

Disability rights advocates will honor the lives of disabled people murdered by their families or caretakers, and share stories about their experiences with the misunderstanding and violence. Advocates from the Oceanview Adult Day Program will share a message of remembrance and awareness about the need for better understanding and education about autism and other disabilities.

The first National Day of Mourning was held in 2012 in response to the death of a California man at the hands of his mother. Over the past five years, the program says that there have been 550 such murders in the United States by the group’s count, though it says that the number could be higher.

“The motto of this event is to “Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living-” (Mother Jones),” said Karen Reilly, behaviorist at the Oceanview Adult Day Program. “Our event is held locally to show international solidarity and proclaim that disability is not a justification for violence. We will showcase the gifts of our members to celebrate the lives of those lost to us too soon.” 

The National Day of Mourning vigil will be held on Thursday, March 1, at the Oceanview Adult and Senior Day Program, 575 E. Surfside in Port Hueneme, 10-11 a.m. For more information, call 986-4818.

PFLAG accepting national scholarship applications

The Ventura chapter of PFLAG, a network made of lesbian, gay, transgender and queer peoples, along with their families and friends, has announced that the application period for a national scholarship is open, which will award thousands of dollars to young activists and advocates.

The scholarship is aimed at people “who have worked tirelessly on numerous programs, projects and activities aimed at making schools and communities safe and welcoming for all.”

To qualify, you must be graduating senior year of high school and entering into higher education, self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, or as an ally, demonstrate an interest in service to the LGBTQ community and have applied to an institute of higher education.

Application deadline is March 26. For more information and to apply, visit

Free produce in Ventura

Restore Ventura, a nonprofit focused on the revitalization of the Westside, will host the last Free Farmers’ Market, which had been popping up for the last several weeks. The next open, free event will be held this Sunday, Feb. 25 from 3-4 p.m. at Restore Ventura at 572 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura.

The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura (HACSB) collaborated with Food Forward, a hunger relief agency out of Los Angeles, to provide free, fresh surplus produce to Ventura residents. This effort led to the creation of the Ventura Pop-up (Free) Farmers’ Market. Since January 28, 2018, the Free Farmers’ Market provided more than 270 Ventura residents with over 1,660 pounds of (free) fresh produce. Food Forward’s mission is to supply fresh produce recovered from backyard gleaning events, local farmers’ market surplus and, recently, Los Angeles Wholesale. The market has “popped-up” at HACSB’s Westview Village neighborhood and the Bell Arts Factory.