Downtown Ventura tree lighting remembers anniversary of Thomas Fire

As the holiday season was set to kick off in December of 2017, the Thomas Fire erupted, disrupting plans across the county. One year later, the city of Ventura is looking to reboot a holiday tradition.

The Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Friday, Nov. 30, in Mission Park, featuring live entertainment, choirs, dancers and vendors offering food and drink. The tree, or to be accurate, trees, are 120-foot-tall twin pines located adjacent to Mission San Buenaventura. Decorated with 20,000 lights, the trees will be visible from the 101 freeway.

Following the lighting will come several events that were postponed or cancelled last year, such as Holidays at the Plaza featuring Candy Cane Forest at Plaza Park. Dozens of decorated Christmas trees will take over the downtown park, where outdoor events such as film screenings and more will be held, starting Dec. 7.

The Holiday Tree Lighting will begin at 6 p.m. For more information, visit

Public Works receives grant to study collision data across county

The Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Transportation Department is set to receive funding for implementing a new service, which can assist the county in determining where accidents happen and how to prevent them.

The so-called Geographic Information System database will compile and store data and share it with all agencies, including police departments and traffic engineers, in order to analyze at the county and local levels within said agencies.

The California Office of Traffic Safety awarded $223,575 to the Agency for the program.

“With the lack of such regional traffic collisions data, regional traffic collision problems are very difficult to identify, coordinate and implement joint solutions among separate agencies,” said David Fleisch, director of the VCPWA Transportation Department. “This database will not only help us to alleviate those problems but it also allows us to develop projects that will enhance the county’s traffic safety.”

Economic Development Collaborative receives expansion grant

The Economic Development Collaborative’s Small Business Development Center has received a $475,000 grant that they say will double the center’s capacity to serve the business communities of Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties.

The grant, awarded by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the California Small Business Development Center Network, will allow for the expansion of services and programs promoting growth and sustainability in small businesses.

“We are excited about this opportunity to double our outreach and service capacity,” said Bruce Stenslie, EDC president and CEO. “EDC’s Small Business Development Center is positioned to serve as one of the key resources in the region for economic vitality in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties, giving businesses, community partners and civic leaders the support and services they need to succeed.”

The Center will expand its role in helping with disaster recovery and strengthen disaster response outreach and communication. For more information about the program, visit