CSUCI: New veteran service, therapy dog program

While any old dog can be called man’s best friend, it takes a special breed to be a hero, too.

The Dr. Richard Grossman Community Foundation has donated $220,000 to California State University, Channel Islands, benefiting services offered to student veterans.

Of the grant, $150,000 will be given to the CSUCI Veteran Affairs Program, as well as $50,000 to establish a service dog program for veterans with post-traumatic stress. The remaining $20,000 will go toward procuring two campus therapy dogs from the New Life K-9s training facility in San Luis Obispo.

It costs roughly $10,000 for each individual therapy dog to be trained, says Assistant Director for Veterans Affairs Program Jay Derrico.

“Our Foundation has been looking for ways to support our local veteran community for several years,” said Elizabeth Grossman. “The Veterans Affairs effort at CSUCI is the perfect match. Our late board member, Lane Weitzman, was a veteran and Dr. Grossman served in the Naval Reserve. Supporting veterans through education is something that resonates with us.”

The names have already been chosen for the two therapy dogs: “Doc” after Richard Grossman, and “Lon” for Lon Morton, who served on both the CSUCI Foundation Board and the Grossman Community Foundation Board.

For more information about the program, visit www.csuci.edu/veterans/.

United Way Thomas Fire assistance period extended

Individuals and families impacted by the Thomas Fire now have until April 30 to apply for assistance through the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund, since the deadline has been extended.

The individual hardship assistance fund is made up of $1.5 million and is available to assist residents with expenses related to housing, livelihood, income and habitability of their homes due to smoke or water damage.

The entire fund comprises over $4 million, and the next phase of disbursements will be focused on long-term recovery assistance.

For more information and to apply, visit www.unitedwaythomasfirefund.org.

Stomach virus cases on the rise across county

Yes, it might be something you ate, if you’re feeling the tell-tale symptoms of giardiasis (jee-ar-DEE-uh-sis), and you wouldn’t be alone. Cases of the viral infection are on the rise in Thousand Oaks and officials have yet to find the source.

Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia, which that can be procured via water or food. For some, there are no symptoms, but others may experience “diarrhea that smells especially bad, gas, nausea, cramps, vomiting and weight loss,” according to Ventura County Public Health.

The Public Health department is asking that anyone who has eaten at a Thousand Oaks restaurant after Jan. 1, 2018,and is experiencing at least two of the above listed symptoms but also including fatigue, bloating, or anorexia, to contact a health care provider for testing.

Giardiasis can be passed via hand contact with food and can live in the body for up to six weeks.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/prevention-control-general-public.html.