Pictured: Harbor Patrol at Channel Islands beach on April 30, ensuring beach visitors comply with public health orders.  Photo by Kimberly Rivers

Sitting and lounging allowed at area beaches and parks

Ventura County continues to ask the public to follow physical distancing guidelines while the restrictions on activities like sunbathing, picnicking and generally sitting at local beaches and parks put in place in April are now lifted. 

Gatherings of people in different households are still not allowed due to the Stay Well at Home orders issued by Dr. Robert Levin, health officer with Ventura County Public health. 

“Our ability to provide increased access to our beaches and parks is a direct result of Ventura County residents’ ability to practice social distancing guidelines and flatten the curve,” said Mark Sandoval, director of the Ventura Harbor Department. Restrictions in activities are being lifted at Kiddie, Silver Strand and Hollywood beaches, along with Peninsula and Harbor View parks. “We are appreciative of everyone’s patience and need them to continue to be safe.”

The cities of Port Hueneme, Ventura and Oxnard along with state managed beaches are all aligned with Ventura County in the loosening of restrictions at area beaches. The City of Ventura opened the parks, beaches, Promenade, pier, public restrooms and some parking lots but emphasized that pathways and trails in public parks remain open for “active recreational use.” 

The county has stated that law enforcement will continue to patrol beach areas and parks to ensure physical distancing and gathering restrictions are being adhered to. 

County issues vehicle parade “protocol”

On May 27 the Ventura County Public Health Department (VCPH) issued a statement that “car line celebrations for graduations, birthdays and other special days,” allowed and issued a Car Line Celebration Public Health Protocol aimed at “minimiz[ing] the risk of spread of COVID-19.” 

The protocol includes rules that a “car line must be organized by a designated host who is responsible” for compliance with the protocols and that “adequate security” is present to ensure protocol compliance. 

VCPH reports the protocol is aimed at ensuring compliance with state Stay at Home Orders prohibiting mass gatherings. 

The Ventura County Car Line Celebration Public Health Protocol is online at:  https://s30623.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Car-Line-Celebration-Public-Health-Protocol.pdf

Property near contaminated Simi site considered for Historic Registry 

On June 8, at 1:15 p.m. the Ventura County Cultural Heritage Board will hear a presentation and give feedback on a request for 2,850 acres, a property called Burro Flats in the Santa Susana Mountain Range, to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. 

The property is next to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, where the U.S. Department of Energy has just issued an order to begin a clean up of a radioactive material including carcinogenic compounds in the area as a result of a partial nuclear meltdown that occurred in 1959 and was kept from the public until the 70’s. 

California in coalition suing federal government over emission roll backs

On Wednesday, May 27, California, with 22 other states, filed a legal challenge to efforts of the Trump Administration to roll back vehicle emission standards. 

Since 2012 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been enforcing rules to improve air quality in the state. Some areas, including Ventura County, continue to have local emissions that exceed air quality standards. CARB is represented in the action by the California Attorney General. 

“For 50 years, California has led the way by requiring automobile innovations that reduce the health impacts of tailpipe pollution,” said Jared Blumenfel, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. “The Trump Administration wants to take us back to a time of increased air pollution, which will have devastating effects on public health. We can’t afford any more kids with asthma – especially given the impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic. California will continue fighting for a clean air future.”

CLU raises $1.9 million in online fundraiser

An annual fundraising event was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, but California Lutheran University reports the event made over three times the amount it normally does. 

Previously scheduled for April 1, the “Giving Day” the new event ended on May 20,  and was retitled “Cal Lutheran Cares Day” highlighting how students, alumni, faculty and staff help others. Their stories were shared on social media. CLU created a new fund that listed community needs related to the pandemic to support. 

 Funds are targeted to students impacted by the pandemic as well as the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, the School of Management and the Presidential Scholarship. 

“The community’s response to the funds established to support students experiencing hardships due to COVID-19 was remarkable,” said Regina Biddings-Muro, vice president for University Advancement. 

Stories shared as part of the event are online at: https://www.callutheran.edu/cares-day/stories.html