Pictured: Chiara E., a Brownie Girl Scout, shows off her Financial Literacy badge. Photo submitted. 

by Kimberly Rivers


Rubalcava chosen as Mayor of Ventura

On Monday, Dec. 14, the Ventura City Council, with new members Mike Johnson, Doug Halter and Joe Schroeder, selected Sofia Rubalcava as mayor and Schroeder as Deputy Mayor. 

Rubalcava was elected in 2018 representing District 1, or West Ventura. 

The council said farewell to Christy Weir, Cheryl Heitman and Matt LaVere. LaVere is now seated as the District 1 representative on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

Girl Scouts add Financial Literacy badge

Local Bank of America employees are getting in on the act of helping 180 Girl Scouts along the Central Coast follow the organization’s motto “Be prepared” by earning a brand new Financial Literacy badge.  

In an eight-week online course available in English or Spanish, bank employees teach local Girl Scouts the basics of budgeting, setting financial goals and how to meet those goals. Like many organizations the Scouts had to go virtual during the pandemic and this course became a natural fit for the times. 

Chiara E., a 6-year-old Brownie Girl Scout who completed the program, said, “This will help me in the future because I learned how to save and use money wisely.” 

Ojai seeks input on Go Ojai road plan

The city of Ojai is seeking public input on a plan to reduce a four-lane section of Highway 33 that runs in front of Nordhoff High School and Ojai Valley Community Hospital down to two lanes with additional bike lanes and buffer areas that will include plantings. 

The proposal, called Go Ojai, has been in the works for several years following complaints regarding safety issues, including the death of a pedestrian struck while in a crosswalk. 

The temporary demonstration began on Dec. 8 to give the public a real-live opportunity to see what has been proposed and city officials say they want to hear all input and that changes can be incorporated to improve the project. The project is being funded through grants. 

The public can provide input at the online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/FS6HXHM

Details online at www.ojaicity.org/goojai/ 

Ex-firefighter pleads guilty to fraud

On Dec. 8, Perry Lieber, a former Ventura County firefighter and resident of Santa Barbara, pled guilty to felony workers’ compensation fraud charges. He admitted to special allegations related to the value of the theft being over $100,000 in losses for the victims. 

The fraud stemmed from Lieber providing false information in order to obtain disability benefits that he was not legally entitled to in the course of a workers’ compensation claim. York Rise Services and Ventura County are alleging losses of $148,177. 

The maximum sentence for the crimes to which Lieber pleaded guilty are five years in jail and a fine double the amount of the fraud. 

Lieber’s personal bank accounts and other assets have been frozen and pursuant to the plea agreement, a portion of the assets will be used to pay the fine and victim restitution. He is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on Jan. 6, 2021 at 9 a.m. in courtroom 12 at Ventura County Superior Court. 

Arrest and citations at Santa Paula DUI checkpoint

On Dec. 18, one person was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI),13 others were cited for driving without a license and one was cited for an open container of alcohol during a DUI checkpoint instituted by the Santa Paula Police Department (SPPD) at Harvard Blvd. and Laurie Lane. 

The checkpoint was live from 6 p.m. to midnight, according to a statement issued by SPPD. The goal of the checkpoint was to promote public safety by deterring driving under the influence. 

Federal grant funding for the checkpoint was provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Funding for landowners impacted by fires

Funding is available to landowners impacted by fires that occurred in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and resulted in the need for mitigation measures to prevent soil erosion or other land movement on their property. 

The Ventura County Resource Conservation District has emergency grant funding available from the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce, prevent and mitigate post-fire erosion that can occur sometimes for years after a fire event. Funds can be used for projects and materials including native seeding, wattles, silt fencing, culvert replacement and implementation of other Best Management Practices for project materials costing up to $20,000 each. 

Interested landowners can contact Andrew Spyrka, resource conservation specialist with the Ventura County Resource Conservation District, at andyspyrka.vcrcd@gmail.com, 805-764-5135 or 707-291-8327. Details and application information are online at  www.vcrcd.org/fire-recovery


— Kimberly Rivers