PACC fate uncertain

The fate of Oxnard’s Performing Arts and Convention Center (the PACC) hangs in the balance as a Dec. 17 funding deadline looms.

PACC Director Carolyn Merino Mullin said a staff recommendation for action by the city council would be on the Dec. 17 agenda. In the meantime, the center has events scheduled through Dec. 21, including several performances of The Nutcracker.

The city planned to close the center in July due to budget cuts, but decided instead to give the center $400,000 — enough to stay open through the end of the year — after a public uproar.

There was brief hope the center had found an operator when VenueTech Management Group, a San Francisco entertainment management company, showed interest. But after getting a lukewarm reaction at a Nov. 12 Community Services Committee meeting, VenueTech — which has only operated theaters with about half the capacity of the PACC — opted out.

— David Michael Courtland

Woman jailed for arson, child endangerment

The Santa Paula Police Department (SPPD) has arrested Maricela Magana Ruiz, 47, on charges of arson and felony child endangerment of her three-year-old son for putting “a plastic bag over his head” and tying his hands “before placing him in a bedroom by himself,” and then starting a fire in the home, according to statements by SPPD.

Maricela Magana Ruiz. Booking photo, Santa Paula Police Department.

Officers with the Ventura County Fire Department found the boy on Sunday, Dec. 1, when they responded to a 6:30 p.m. 911 call. The downstairs living room was on fire, and Magana Ruiz was tied to a bed. When asked if Magana Ruiz tied herself to the bed, SPPD Detective Christopher Rivera said the criminal investigation is ongoing and he was unable to comment on those specifics at this time.

The boy is currently with Child Protective Services and an investigation regarding whether he can be placed with any family members is ongoing. He was treated for smoke inhalation at Santa Paula Hospital.

Magana-Ruiz is being held on $500,000 bail.

Barnes and Noble hub for Holiday Book Drive

Through Dec. 31 the public can donate new books at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, which will be distributed to eight local nonprofit organizations including: Children’s Services Auxiliary, First 5 Ventura, Tri-County GLAD, Lighthouse for Women and Children, Rainbow Umbrella, Boys & Girls Club Santa Clara Valley, Tri-County Family Services and City Center.

For more information contact Crystal Star, community business development manager for Ventura Barnes and Noble, at 805-339-0167. Barnes and Noble, 4820 Telephone Road, Ventura.

Hemp odors are not air pollution

According to Dr. Laki Tisopulos, air pollution control officer, the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD) has received several dozen complaints from across the county about the odor of industrial hemp operations. He said it is in the middle of the harvest and the smells become stronger during the flowering and harvest process. “It can be quite odorous,” said Tisopulos. He acknowledged that residents who live close to the hemp fields are reporting major “impacts to their everyday lives.” He said hopefully the smell will decrease throughout December as the harvest wraps up.

Tisopulos said the VCAPCD has essentially no regulatory authority regarding the odors because state laws (California Health and Safety Code, Sect. 41705 and VCPACD Rule 51) which govern the jurisdiction of the VCAPCD exempt odors from agricultural operations, which are governed and permitted locally by the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner. He said concerns and complaints regarding the growing of industrial hemp should be directed to the Ag Commissioner’s office at 805-933-2926, ag.inspector@ventura.org.