PHOTO: umaš creek, July 26, 2019 Photo by Kimberly Rivers 

by Kimberly Rivers

umaš Creek improvements to alleviate flooding

In order to prepare for a potential 100-year flood, the Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Department of Watershed Protection has begun a project this month to enlarge the tšumaš Creek wash between Hueneme Road and Jane Drive in at the border of Port Hueneme and Oxnard. 

A 710-foot portion of the channel will be converted to a “buried reinforced concrete box culvert,” which will prevent trash dumping. The project also includes the installation of three full capture devices  in storm drain catchment basins along J Street to trap trash, keeping any debris out of the creek and Ormond Lagoon. The city of Oxnard has the responsibility of cleaning out the capture devices four times a year. 

During construction some parking may be unavailable on J Street, but all private driveways will be accessible. 

Project updates and plans are online at:

Supervisors swearing in on Jan. 12, and earlier

While the official swearing in ceremony for re-elected and newly elected Ventura County Supervisors is slated for Jan. 12, and will take place in an online-only event, two supervisors have started their terms early. 

On Jan. 5, at a special meeting of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, newly elected Supervisor Carmen Ramirez (Dist. 5) opened the meeting by leading the pledge of allegiance.  A statement issued by Ventura County after the meeting said she was sworn in and Ashley Bautista, Public Information Officer in the office of the county CEO confirmed Ramirez took the oath prior to the public meeting. 

Supervisor Matt LaVere (Dist. 1), who like Ramirez was newly elected last year to the Board of Supervisors, will also participate in the Jan. 12 ceremony, but he was appointed early to the seat on Dec. 7 as a result of former Supervisor Steve Bennett taking up his newly elected position in the California Assembly. Rather than leaving the seat vacant, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed LaVere to the seat on Dec. 7, just a few weeks early ahead of his January term. The pandemic was cited as a reason for LaVere’s early appointment. The first meeting he officially participated in was Dec. 8, 2020. 

Current Board Chair, Supervisor Kelly Long (Dist. 3), was reelected in March 2020 and will be sworn in on Jan. 12 for her second term. 

At the Jan. 5, meeting Ramirez was appointed to represent the board on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), replacing Supervisor Linda Parks (Dist. 2) who stepped down from the role and recommended Ramirez to fill the slot. Ramirez has already served eight years on SCAG in her capacity as a member of the Oxnard City Council for SCAG District 45, which includes Oxnard, Camarillo and Port Hueneme.

Free rentals for first responders through April 1, 2021

Wheel Fun Rentals at the Ventura Pier is offering free one-hour rentals of bikes, family bikes, ground choppers and more, to first responders — hospital and urgent care workers, paramedics and EMTs, firefighters and police officers — in an effort to show appreciation to their service to the community. First responders can enjoy some fresh air and exercise and spend some well-deserved time with family by simply mentioning this program and showing their employment ID or badge at the rental checkout to receive the free rental. All safety protocols are adhered to. 

For more information call 805-650-7770 or visit

Community Foundation welcomes two new board members

In December the Ventura County Community Foundation welcomed two new board members, Venkat Yepuri and Meryl Chase.

Yepuri is vice president of Global Business Solutions and chief procurement officer for Amgen, a company he has worked at for 19 years. 

Chase is co-owner of Clearmont, LLC, a Camarillo-based real estate investment company and has served a three-year term on the board of kidSTREAM, a nonprofit children’s museum in Camarillo, where she served as the founding vice president of finance. 

The VCCF has served the community since 1987 in following its mission of building philanthropy in the county by specializing in connecting resources with community needs.

Public input sought on county transit needs

The Ventura County Transportation Commission is asking the public for input at two upcoming community meetings and one public hearing about how local bus service can be improved in the county.

This outreach is part of the annual Unmet Transit Needs process, but due to the pandemic, this year the meetings will be held online. Specifically the process aims to identify reasonable transit needs not being met in Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Thousand Oaks and areas in between in the unincorporated county. 

“This year, with the coronavirus changing how people live their lives, your input can help local transit operators to offer the most essential transit service to passengers,” said Martin Erickson, director of VCTC. 

Two public meetings are set for Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 21, at noon. The public hearing is set for Friday, Feb. 5, at 9 a.m. Details and links to the meetings are online, and comments can be submitted at