Pictured: P-38, the adult mail mountain lion fatally shot and killed. National Park Service. 

by Kimberly Rivers

Man who killed big cat gets jail time, gun destroyed

Alfredo Gonzalez, a resident of Simi Valley, is serving a sentence of 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to fatally shooting a mountain lion, named P-38, in the head in July. Gonzales also tampered with the animal’s GPS collar, which is property of the National Park Service. Mountain lions are a legally protected mammal.

In addition to his jail sentence, Gonzalez has been ordered to serve 30 days in a work release program, log 240 community service hours at an animal shelter, serve three years’ probation and pay restitution.

Judge David Hirsh also declared the rifle Gonzalez used to kill the 7-year-old mountain lion a “nuisance” and ordered the gun destroyed.

First responders get Trauma Treatment Act

Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill package aimed at preventing suicide among firefighters and law enforcement officers related to post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). The legislation, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, allows first responders during an emergency to qualify for workers compensation assistance to take time off of work in order to seek needed treatment.  

“Every day, we ask firefighters and law enforcement officers to run into flames and gunfire — but too often, when the weight of these traumas becomes too much for these heroes to bear, we turn a blind eye to their struggles,” said Senator Henry Stern, author of SB542, one of the bills included in the package. “California is making clear that post-traumatic stress is not a disorder to be stigmatized. These injuries can be healed.”

Comment period open on marine sanctuary

The management plan for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is being revised by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The first phase of the revision, public scoping, is open now until Nov. 15.

Comments should include the “scope of issues and programs” NOAA should consider within the updated plan for how the protected area is managed. The current plan can be viewed online at channelislands.noaa.gov/manage/plan/.

The public can comment in writing online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov (Docket number:  NOAA-NOS-2019-0110), or by oral comment at two upcoming meetings: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 6-8 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Libray, 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara; and Wednesday, Oct. 23, 6-8 p.m. at Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill Road., Ventura.

Port unveils new air monitor on Clean Air Day

On Oct. 2, to commemorate California Clean Air Day (CCDA), the Port of Hueneme displayed two air quality monitors that will for the first time provide important air quality data for South Oxnard. Currently the county only has five air monitors monitoring particulate matter across the entire county. These monitors are the first of their kind in the county. Both monitors will be at Haycox Elementary School on Perkins Road in Oxnard.

The high quality monitors will provide a “starting point for us to get real inventory of the types of pollutants in our local air and gather data on how we can improve it,” said Kristin Decas, CEO and port director. The monitors cost $140,000 and are part of a wider plan aimed at reducing overall emissions from port operations.

Harrison says “Keep recycling”

With news about how federal trade policies are impacting the exchange of goods between the United States and China, the public has been getting mixed messages about the ongoing value of recycling. EJ Harrison and Sons, the company that handles most of the waste removal and recycling in the county, is beginning to see a decline in recycled goods.

“We do not want people to stop recycling,” said Nan Drake, Harrison spokesperson. “Leave it up to us to find a place to take it.”

She said that Harrison works with a broker who assists them in finding a market for the recycled products they receive that can no longer be transported to China. All green and food waste is handled and reused in county agricultural operations through a program with Agromin. Harrison has end markets for other recyclables like fiber, paper, glass and plastics. In addition, a new $6.5 million system enables the company to sort and process recycled items efficiently.

For example, all glass generally goes to a recycler in Los Angeles where it is used for wine bottles, “the largest use of recycled glass in California,” said Drake. She said it can be really “hard to get someone to go back to good habits . . . don’t stop recycling.”