Pictured: The U.S. National Forest has closed a portion of the Los Padres National Forest due to the need to clean up unexploded ordinance from the 1940s. 

by Kimberly Rivers

Eight confirmed injuries from vaping in county

Ventura County physicians sent 10 patient histories to the state that they felt were consistent with severe respiratory injuries related to vaping, the state verified that eight of them met the profile.

“They approved eight of them in the county… as being what is classically being seen,” that is consistent with vaping injuries, said Richard Levin, M.D., Ventura County Public Health officer.

He said the patients came to their doctors with “severe respiratory distress, pneumonia,” and were treated with antibiotics. When the patients “don’t get the expected result,” improvement in their symptoms, that indicates the issue is not a typical infection but rather the lungs are actually injured.

Levin emphasized that while many members of the public associate symptoms such a nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with influenza, he said only about 25 percent of people who have the flu exhibit those kind of “gastrointestinal symptoms.” In contrast he said the pattern with injuries from vaping includes those symptoms most of the time.

“95 percent of the people presenting with respiratory distress associated with vaping also have gastrointestinal symptoms…vomiting, diarrhea and nausea, one or more of those symptoms,” said Levin.

As of press deadline Levin said there have been no deaths in Ventura County associated with vaping injuries.

Levin said in cases when antibiotics do not improve symptoms of respiratory distress, and lung injury is diagnosed, the next course of treatment involves “steroids to assist the lungs in healing.” He said “supportive care” like oxygen “or in some cases a ventilator” may be needed.

Levin said they have not seen enough vaping injuries, and patients have not been treated long enough for doctors to fully understand whether full recovery is likely. He said “we don’t know… if they will ever get back to normal function.”

The Pierpont hotel gets its name back

The company that owns The Pierpont hotel, DKN Hotels, has announced that the branding they had previously added to the historic name is being removed. The Wyndham Garden name will be removed from the property. The hotel will go back to simply being called The Pierpont.

The latest name change follows a series of permitting issues and violations issued by the City of Ventura involving construction at the property.

“The yellow tag has already been removed and appropriate permitting is in place for the main lobby and dining room of the hotel,” said Shanna Davis, director of marketing with DKN Hotels, regarding the current status of past violations and construction permits. “Construction is slated to begin the first week of November.” They expect to complete work in May 2020.

Got a complaint about local government? Tell the Grand Jury! 

The 19 member Ventura County Grand Jury is seeking issues to investigate in Ventura County. Any member of the public can submit a complaint online, and if the Grand Jury decides to investigate and issue a report, the subject agency must respond within 90 days.

Complaints can involve any county or city agency or department, city government or special district. This includes port districts, school districts and harbor districts, as well as law enforcement agencies.

The Grand Jury has the authority to investigate issues related to mismanagement of public funds, and processes that can make government more efficient. Last year’s reports included Detention Facility and Law Enforcement, Drug and Sharps Disposal, School Implementation of Sex-Education Programs, Youth Sports and Public Liability.

Forms are available in English and Spanish online at www.grandjury.countyofventura.org

Unexploded ordinance causes forest closure

Officials with the Los Padres National Forest have announced that a remote forest area called Dry Canyon, near Lockwood Valley and Mt. Pinos, will be closed to the public due to unexploded ordinance from when The Dry Canyon Artillery Range was used for army training in the 1940s.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) did a partial investigation in a very small section of the area and found six unexploded ordinances and 600 pounds of munitions debris. Due to the finding the USACE ranked the site as a very high risk to the public. The area will be studied and cleaned up during the closure.

Closed areas include: Dome Springs Campground, Dome Springs Road, Dry Canyon Trails and an area of the Chumash Wilderness north and northeast of Dry Canyon.

The closure, effective through Oct. 21, 2020, will be strictly enforced with penalties of $5,000 and up to six months in jail.

County considering renewing oil drilling moratorium – Nov. 5

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m., the Ventura County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether or not to extend an existing moratorium on new oil drilling and re-drilling of existing wells in areas where groundwater aquifers could be impacted. The moratorium may be extended for up to two years. The hearing will take place at the Board Hearing Room, Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura.