Oxnard set to transform downtown into arts hub

Soon, your next visit to Oxnard may include a stop to admire the murals.

On Tuesday, April 17, the Oxnard City Council approved a five-year plan for the downtown area dubbed the Oxnard Downtown Arts Hub, appropriating $90,000 — half allocated from the Downtown Improvement Project Settlement Funds, the rest from the Public Art Fund — for three iconic anchor murals within the central business district.

Locations for the murals have yet to be determined, but installation is set to begin in June.

In a press release, the city says that “A vibrant arts hub has the ability to generate significant economic activity in downtown Oxnard.”

The plan to transform the area into an arts center has been in the works for several years, according to the city, with the “adoption of a Cultural Arts Master Plan, the creation of a Cultural Arts Commission and passage of the Downtown Vision Plan, which calls for the creation of an Arts Hub in downtown Oxnard.”

In 2015, a three-year-long legal battle between the city and the developers of the city’s downtown movie theater netted a $6.1 million earmark for downtown revitalization, enabling the city to put once-scrapped ideas back on the table.

County receives A, F in air quality report card

If you tossed out your face mask following the Thomas Fire, you may have done so prematurely, as a new report from the American Lung Association has painted Ventura County, and the entirety of Southern California, as having some of the worst air quality in the nation.

For the second year in a row, Ventura joins Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties in recording the nation’s highest number of unhealthy days for ozone, which can cause shortness of breath and, in the long term, COPD and cancer.

Ventura fared the best out of the five counties, however, recording only 12 so-called unhealthy days (compared to 122 for Riverside, 112 for Los Angeles) and zero unhealthy particle days (compared to 10 in Los Angeles), which resulted in A for particle pollution.
Particle days are recorded when matter is kicked up by high winds, including dust and other pollutants.

The American Lung Association supports the state’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, endorsing low emission vehicles, the use of biofuels and incentives for purchasing hybrid vehicles. The Trump administration, however, has challenged the federal Clean Air Act, which was enacted in 1963. The Association says that since the Act’s enactment, California has seen a 30 percent drop in ozone and an 80-percent reduction in particle pollution over the past 19 years, the period when the Association has issued reports on air quality.

To read the report in full, visit www.stateoftheair.org/california2018.

Ventura-based business pledges 1 million trees

Just in time for Earth Day, Ventura-based Paso Pacifico has announced plans to plant 1 million trees to combat climate change.

Paso Pacifico, a biodiversity conservation group focused on Central and South America, has set a goal of raising $10 million by 2020 to accomplish the project in Nicaragua, where rangers and volunteers will “plant, monitor and protect native species of trees that will not only help reduce harmful greenhouse gases, but will provide a source of food for villagers and improve habitats for endangered wildlife.”

“Earth Day is a perfect time to launch this campaign to combat the effects of climate change that are harming our planet, but we’re counting on the teamwork, enthusiasm and commitment continuing for the next two and a half years and beyond,” said Paso Pacifico Founder and Executive Director Sarah Otterstrom. “We understand that we are setting an aggressive goal, but the positive impacts of planting and caring for 1 million native Nicaraguan trees will be felt across the globe for decades, both for humans and threatened wildlife alike.”

In 2008, Paso Pacifico planted 750,000 trees in Nicaragua as part of its Return to Forest effort. For more information and to donate to the effort, visit www.support.pasopacifico.org/milliontrees.