Pictured: A Ventura County Sheriff’s Office water tank truck providing water for sanitary needs to residents at Vallecito Mobile Home Park when the had no water service. Submitted. 

by Kimberly Rivers


PACC on rough track to stay open

In a statement on Jan. 3, the Oxnard Performing Arts Center Corporation (OPACC) announced that it has concluded negotiations with the city of Oxnard for the facility to remain open through March 1, 2020, with OPACC managing the site while the city finalizes negotiations with Sterling Venue Ventures for longer-term management.

“We are ecstatic that final negotiations are in the works between the city of Oxnard and Sterling Venue Ventures and anticipate securing our role as the 501c3 nonprofit representing and working on behalf of the community’s interests very soon,” said Carolyn Mullin, executive director with OPACC, the nonprofit organization that currently manages the Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center (the PACC). She emphasized that the center does not expect much revenue in the next 60 days.

“As part of the six-month extension agreement (July through December 2019) with the city of Oxnard, we had to cancel all events for 2020 that were on the books,” said Mullin via email to the VCReporter. She did compile a list of potential events to pass along to a new operator but was barred from booking events in January and February until the two-month extension was authorized on Jan. 3. Mullin said by that time, the larger events, like weddings and quinceañeras, had found other locations. “Currently we are not allowed to book anything past March 1, 2020, which further complicates cash flow. Compared to last year, we pulled in almost $60,000 in revenue in January and February.” This year, “we’re looking at $6,000.”

OPACC is seeking public support through an online fundraising effort. More info at www.oxnardperformingarts.com.

Local turtle rescue caring for trafficked turtles

The Turtle Conservancy in Ojai is providing long-term care to some of the 300 endangered and vulnerable turtles that were seized  as a result of a two-year, multi-agency, international poaching investigation conducted by the U.S. Wildlife Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The turtles are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. In the seize were seven turtle species, including Florida and eastern box turtles, North American wood turtles, spotted turtles, diamondback terrapins, yellow-blotched map turtles and a single Blanding’s turtle.

Xiao Dong Qin, 34, of Shanghai worked with an unindicted partner in Eugene, Ore., to purchase the turtles from sellers in nine states valued at over $250,000 in the Chinese pet trade.

In a statement the conservancy said that the turtles will not be able to be released to the wild. Qin pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $8,000 in restitution fees, which will be split among the three rescue facilities caring for the turtles. He will be sentenced in February and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Lourdes Gomez holding her new baby boy on Jan. 1, 2020 at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. Photo submitted.

New Year surprise for Oxnard family

Baby Gomez-Gonzalez was the first birth of 2020 at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. His arrival surprised the family by arriving about a week early. The healthy baby boy weighed in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 19 inches long.

Oxnard-based CEMEX to pay for hazardous spill

CEMEX Construction Materials Pacific, LLC (CEMEX) has entered into a civil environmental settlement with the Ventura County District Attorney following a 2018 spill of hazardous waste related to its Oxnard operations. Part of the settlement includes a $37,000 civil penalty to be split between the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Oxnard Fire Department and the District Attorney’s Office.

Mobile home park went days without water

Around 300, mostly elderly, residents of the Vallecito Mobile Home Park in Newbury Park were without water for 65 hours after a three inch water line 12 feet underground ruptured. Initial repairs were not successful.

“The issue came to our attention via a call for service to ‘check the wellbeing’ on an elderly subject at the location,” said Patrick Maynard, Interim director of the Ventura County Office of Emergency Services. The exact cause of the rupture is “unknown,” he said, “other than the pipe was old.”

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office learned of the issue on Jan. 1 and a response was initiated with several agencies — including the city of Thousand Oaks, Thousand Oaks Police Department and American Red Cross — working with Sun Communities, the corporation that owns the mobile home park, to supply bottled water and bring in a water truck for “sanitary needs.” Portable restrooms were also brought into the park.

Water service was restored on Jan. 2, with an initial “boil water” order for the first 24 hours.