Pictured: Southern California Gas Company is replacing a portion of a gas pipeline on private property at Cañada Larga in Ventura, Sept. 2, 2020. Photo by Kimberly Rivers

SoCal Gas line project in Cañada Larga

A spokesperson for Southern California Gas Company confirmed that the utility is conducting a “routine pipeline replacement project” to a company-owned gas line located on private property off of Cañada Larga Road nearly two miles southeast of Casitas Springs. 

The Southern California Gas Co. Pipeline being worked on. Sept. 2020. Provided by Southern California Gas Co.

The gas line provides service to residential customers in Casitas Springs and one commercial customer in Oxnard, but the spokesperson for SoCal Gas did not respond to a request for details about how that pipeline at that location can provide gas for a customer in Oxnard. 

The line travels from a location at Highway 33 in Casitas Springs east, zigging back and forth and mostly travelling along the northern side of Sulphur Mountain, ultimately travelling along Sulphur Mountain Road, where it meets Highway 150 at Sulphur Mountain Road in the Upper Ojai Valley.

A Google Earth image that shows a portion of the Southern California Gas Co. pipeline that travels from Casitas Springs to Upper Ojai. Sept. 2020.

The project began on Aug. 3 and is expected to be completed by the end of October if there are no delays due to weather or other conditions. 

The pipeline is buried in some locations and visible above ground in others. 

Physical solution for watershed proposed

Several of the major water users in the Ventura River Watershed have released information on a “physical solution” they say will help address issues with habitat preservation in the Ventura River and ensure wildlife, including the steelhead trout, have enough water. 

The physical solution is essentially a settlement that includes the city of Ventura, Ventura River Water District, Meiners Oaks Water District, Rancho Matilija Mutual Water Company and the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation (owners of Taylor Ranch) along with some other private agricultural interest holders. 

“No one is looking at water rights,” said Susan Rungren, water resource manager with Ventura Water, explaining that the physical solution is really about the larger users looking at a “physical solution [for] habitat restoration” in the river. 

The agreement does not include Casitas Municipal Water District, which left the physical solution conversations earlier this year. Rungren said the adjudication action, in which the city served the property owners of over 12,000 properties in the Ojai Valley and Ventura with a notice that their water rights may be impacted by a court adjudication, is “essentially on hold.” According to the city’s website, the physical solution “is a way for local parties to create an equitable approach to address existing problems, without having to adjudicate water rights or determine water right priorities.”  

National Diaper Need Awareness Week

Sept. 21-27 is the Ninth Annual National Diaper Need Awareness week aimed at highlighting a common but often overlooked community issue during tough economic times. 

Secure Beginnings, an Oak View-based nonprofit organization is working to build awareness about the issue, especially during the pandemic. 

“Diaper need, second only to food need as a parental stressor, is having a cascading effect upon our youngest community members,” the nonprofit stated in a press release. 

“We have to ensure that this generation of babies, young children and young families come out of this time of pandemic healthy and resilient,” said Caryn Bosson, youth advocate with Secure Beginnings. Studies show that when parents are stressed it can impact the mental and emotional health of children. 

The organization has distributed diapers and wipes to over 200 children per month since the pandemic began; enough for around 45,000 diaper changes. 

For more information, visit www.securebeginnings.org.

County medical center facilities to get energy storage systems

On Sept. 22, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Swell Energy for the installation of energy storage battery systems at county-operated medical centers. 

The MOU states the total project cost is $324,646 and will be fully funded by a rebate through the California Self Generation Incentive Program. 

The system will be designed and installed to provide back-up power in the event of loss of electricity during weather events, planned public safety power shutoffs or any other power losses. 

The total number of hours the battery storage system will provide is not yet determined and will be based on the design of the final system. 

New state law ensures fair pay for adjunct faculty

On Sept. 9, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 736, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), that guarantees adjunct faculty at independent nonprofit colleges and universities will receive fair compensation. 

“By establishing a minimum compensation floor, this bill also represents a substantial pay increase for many faculty members and will ensure they can continue benefiting students with their professional experience,” said Irwin. 

Volunteers busting the virus

Global Team Corona Busters formed in Ventura early in the pandemic to provide masks to the community to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

The nonprofit organization reports that its group of volunteers has distributed over 15,000 hand-sewn cloth masks to medical workers, elderly patients, veterans, homeless residents and members of the Navajo Nation, at no charge to the recipient. 

For more information, visit www.teamcoronabusters.org.

Police take suspect into custody without force

On Sept. 15 at approximately 4 p.m., Santa Paula Police officers responded to a call about a family dispute. When officers arrived and began questioning those present, they learned that a 23-year-old man, Alexis Alcala, had struck a 52-year-old female family member. While being questioned, Alcala barricaded himself in his bedroom.

According to the police report, Alcala threatened to shoot officers if they did not leave and according told police he was a member of a gang in Santa Paula. Additional officers were called to the scene and after 45 minutes of negotiations, Alcala came out of his bedroom and was taken into custody without force or further incident.

The investigation found evidence that Alcala had battered and threatened to kill a family member. He was arrested on two felony charges and booked into Ventura County Main Jail. 

The Santa Paula Police report states that Ventura County Crisis Intervention training supported the officers’ efforts to de-escalate the situation.