Pictured: The future of the Petrochem site along the Ventura River will be discussed on Oct. 10 at public hearing.

by Kimberly Rivers

Public hearing on plan for Petrochem site

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 11 a.m., the Ventura County Planning Department is holding a public Planning Director hearing where comments can be submitted on the Proposed Planned Development for the site located at 4777 Crooked Palm Road, Ventura, where the large, round, ball-like ammonia tanks await removal. The property is owned by Petrochem LLC, and the plan for the site includes a transportation service yard, vehicle holding lot (new vehicles) and a contractor services and storage yard.

Written comments can be submitted in advance to Kristina Boero, planner, by email: Kristina.boero@ventura.org or phone 805-654-2467.

Previous coverage of this story by the VCReporter: https://vcreporter.com/2013/02/epa-orders-cleanup-at-usa-petrochem-site/

Camarillo and County seeking public input

Through Oct. 7, Ventura County and the City of Camarillo are seeking public input regarding the 2020-2024 Regional Consolidated Plan. The online survey is aimed at gathering input on priorities related to housing, public infrastructure and services. Input gathered will help identify how various grant funds will be utilized.

The online survey is in English and Spanish at: https://www.cityofcamarillo.org/departments/community_development/housing_cdbg/

Santa Paula library to eliminate fines

In an effort eliminate any barriers to access and in conjunction with Library Card Sign-up Month, the Board of the Santa Paula Library District voted to eliminate fines for overdue books. Forty-two percent of the 3,215 cards that are blocked due to fines are with library card holders under 18. There are over 12,000 active card holders in the area the library serves. 

We have heard from some parents that they chose not to get library cards for their children because they were worried about not being able to pay fines for overdue books and materials,” said Ned Branch, district director with the Blanchard Community Library in Santa Paula. “We want to encourage everyone to use the library, so we eliminated one of the things that could get in the way.”

Blanchard Community Library, 119 N. 8th St., Santa Paula, 805-525-3615, www.blanchardlibrary.org

New security screening for T.O. performing arts center

Following a two-year investigation into safety and security measures at venues across the county, audiences of all shows at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza are being advised to arrive at least a half-hour early for all events in order to accommodate additional security screenings.

The new procedures include inspections of all items or bags larger than a small clutch purse or wallet and a wand inspection. An updated list of prohibited items includes selfie sticks, large bags like backpacks and professional cameras. The complete list is online at www.civicartsplaza.com/patron-safety. Prohibited items may be confiscated, and those who refuse to be searched can be denied entry.

Barry McComb, cultural affairs director for the city of Thousand Oaks, said that these types of screening protocols for theatre guests are included in the contract of many performing artists.

Limón announces bid for state senate

Assembly member Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) has announced her bid for California’s District 19 Senate seat in 2020, which will become vacant with Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) terming out.

District 19 includes portions of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, including the Ojai Valley, Ventura, Oxnard and the Santa Clara Valley, Port Hueneme and Camarillo.

Limón is in her second two-year term in the California State Assembly and currently serves as chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee and vice chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.  She said that the move to the senate will allow her to better serve her constituents.

State asks public to stop vaping

Due to hundreds of reports of lung damage across the nation, including several deaths in California, last week the California Department of Public Health issued a health advisory encouraging the public to stop vaping.

“We are seeing something that we have not seen before,” said Dr. Charity Dean, acting state public health officer. “There are numerous unknown factors at this time, and due to the uncertainty of the exact cause, it is our recommendation that consumers refrain from vaping until the investigation has concluded.”

The advisory is issued on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom signing an executive order about health risks from vaping.

“We want to work with the governor to get to the true root cause,” said Kenny Morrison, president of the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association, pointing to the need to go after “unregulated operators who use unvetted and untested ingredients.”

More information at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

Low cost breast cancer screenings

As part of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Community Memorial Health (CMH) System is offering low-cost imaging to all women who make appointments in October at CMH in Ventura and Ojai Valley Community Hospital.

Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) for $150 is available for all “dense breast” patients, and is used with mammography, while 3D Breast Tomosynthesis is offered for $90. In Ojai, traditional 2D mammograms are available for $65. All fees are due at time of service.

To schedule an appointment, call the Breast Center at 805-948-5093 or Ojai Valley Community Hospital at 805-640-2250. More info at: bc.cmhshealth.org

Hannan pleads no contest in freezer murder trial

by Gracee Arthur

Mary Francesca Hannan arrived at Ventura County Superior Court on Sept. 5, 2019, to plead guilty to multiple criminal felony charges related to the 2011 murder of Jeffrey Korber.

Hannan had previously attempted to plead guilty in exchange for 365 days of house arrest with electronic monitoring. This was rejected by the Ventura County District Attorney and the court.

Before the case was heard, Hannan’s attorney, Ron Bamieh, requested a meeting with Assistant District Attorney Anne Spillner at the bench, resulting in Hannan changing her plea to “no contest” to a series of felony charges including conspiracy to commit a crime, accessory to a crime after the fact, and conspiracy to commit a crime injurious to the public. Spillner’s sentencing recommendations included 365 days of incarceration.

The case goes in front of a sentencing judge on Nov. 7, 2019, in Ventura County.

Hannan’s son, Michael Bresnak, is currently serving 18 years to life for the 2011 murder of Korber, whose body was found inside a freezer in a Ventura storage unit in 2013. Prosecutors allege that Hannan helped him hide the body.