United Way Ventura collects donations for victims of New Zealand terror attack

Donations have poured in from around the globe, including from here in Ventura County via the United Way, for the victims of the New Zealand mosque terror attack, which left 50 dead in the city of Christchurch.

United Way of Ventura County president and CEO Eric Harrison shared a message from United Way New Zealand CEO Teresa Moore on the incident, which occurred on Friday, March 15, at two separate mosques in the city.

“There are many people who are affected by this horrific act of violence in Christchurch,” wrote Moore. “United Way NZ will work to ensure ALL donations go to the charities and community groups providing ongoing post-traumatic support for the victims, families and community.”

Donations will assist community groups working overtime in Christchurch, refugees and English-language learners who help assimilate people into New Zealand, and groups who provide food and resources for post-trauma support, among others.

For more information or to donate, visit www.unitedway.org.nz/donate_to_christchurch.

Casitas Springs receives grant for fortifying homes against flooding

Flood protection is coming to 56 Casitas Springs homes by way of a $7 million project.

The hazard mitigation infrastructure project will reroute flood waters, sediment and debris from the Fresno Canyon watershed to the Ventura River via a debris basin in Fresno Canyon upstream of Highway 33 as well as a new concrete storm drain channel and a 12-foot diameter concrete pipe under the highway to the Ventura River.

The project will be funded by a $5 million Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, as well as $2 million from non-federal sources. 

Homes near the confluence of Fresno Canyon and the Ventura River have historically flooded due to debris clogging the community’s undersized storm drainage system.

FEMA says that the project will take 36 months to complete once construction begins.

Local leaders recognized as Ocean Champions

Assemblywoman Monique Limón and State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, both D-Santa Barbara, have been recognized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium for their California coastal leadership.

The 2019 Ocean Champion Awards recognizes state leaders who act on environmental issues concerning the California coast. Limón and Jackson were honored for their response to the 2018 federal action to open state waters for oil and gas exploration.

Limón co-authored AB 1775, which prohibited the State Lands Commission from approving new leases for pipelines that would support federal oil and gas development on offshore platforms. Jackson introduced the companion bill to AB 1775, SB 834.

“California has become a beacon of hope for the nation, and for the world,” said Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. “Our state is living proof that environmental and economic health are inextricably linked.”

Fire safety grants available in Ventura County

Community projects looking for a financial boost may want to apply for a California Fire Safe Council and Edison International grant in support of such endeavors.

Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison, will provide the grant to approved applicants within the SoCal Edison service area for projects such as community outreach and preparedness and permit-ready hazardous fuel reduction projects.

“The wildfire threat in Southern California is year-round,” said Amber Gardner, CFSC Clearinghouse Administrator. “CFSC is pleased to work with Southern California Edison to provide small grants for community fire prevention and preparedness projects.”

Grants max out at $25,000 and are not open to individuals or for-profit entities. Applications will be accepted through April 15.

To learn more and to apply for a grant, visit cafiresafecouncil.org.

Santa Paula man murdered over weekend

A 27-year-old Santa Paula man was declared dead at the Ventura County Medical Center following a gunshot wound in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 23.

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Santa Paula Police responded to a report of a gunshot victim on the 100 block of Felkins Road, where they found the victim. Police say that upon investigating, it was determined that a report of a shooting incident earlier in the night on the 500 block of Acacia Road is where the victim was shot, after which he drove himself to Felkins Road.

A person of interest has been detained as the investigation continues. Officers are asking that anyone with information call Detective Dan McCarthy at 805-525-4474, ext. 282.