Pictured: Rear Adm. Stephen Barnett, commander, Navy Region Southwest, center with Capt. Robert “Barr” Kimnach III, commanding officer, Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), right, discuss building projects with Cdr. Kimberly Mazur, public works officer, NBVC, on Aug. 30, 2021. United States Navy photo by Ensign Drew Verbis.

by Kimberly Rivers
kimberly@vcreporter.com

Dance flash mob in Santa Paula

On Sept. 3, as part of the first Friday Cruise Night in Santa Paula, nearly 30 dancers with Alias Dance Company of Oxnard surprised the crowd with a flash mob performance. The event included traditional mariachi music with Mariachi Reyes and dancers from Ballet Folklorico sol de Pacifico. 

The event included horses dancing in front of the town’s Palazzio, and a procession led by jazz and blues band the Barrelhouse Wailers to Rabalais’ Bistro in Downtown Santa Paula. 

The event was organized by the city of Santa Paula with community partners to celebrate the “unique community and the resilience our residents have shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dan Singer, Santa Paula City Manager. 

Hiker’s body found in Thousand Oaks. 

On Sept. 2, the body of James Ledbetter, a resident of Sunset Hills in Thousand Oaks, was found just off the trail in Lang Ranch. Ledbetter had been missing since Tuesday, when his wife reported that he had not returned from a hike. A search occurred with search and rescue, a K-9 and horse-mounted unit and helicopter. On Thursday morning authorities were notified that hikers had found Ledbetter’s body near a trail. 

The statement issued from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office stated that Ledbetter, an experienced hiker, had “accidentally fallen and suffered a major head injury.” Officials did not immediately respond to inquiries about how the head injury was confirmed. 

The Lang Ranch area is in the northeast area of Thousand Oaks and includes 1,025 acres, next to another 8,000 acres of designated Open Space. The area is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. 

Kidstream hosts first Lego League

Early bird registration for the Lego League 2022 hosted by Kidstream museum opened on Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 31 for ages 4-10. 

Participants should form a four-person team, including one coach and one assistant coach. Teams will need to meet for 8 to 12 building sessions (at any location) to be ready to present at the 2022 Expo on April 30, 2022. 

Details online at www.kidstream.org/fll-jr-2021.

Two arrested for narcotics sales

On Aug. 20, Thousand Oaks resident Ross Cumming and Ojai resident Ariannah Bessa, both 24, were arrested for allegations related to the sale of illegal narcotics. 

Both suspects were contacted in Ventura and placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance, and for sales and conspiracy to commit a crime. Bessa posted bail and was released from custody. Cumming remains in custody, unable to post $60,000 in bail. 

County officers deployed to Caldor Fire

On Sept 1, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub announced that 27 deputies along with equipment and police vehicles were being deployed to support efforts to combat the Caldor Fire located east of Sacramento and south of Lake Tahoe. The deputies will be deployed in the area for five to seven days. 

The deputies are deployed as part of mutual aid agreements between all counties across the state, and are coordinated by the California Office of Emergency Services. 

As of press deadline on Sept. 7, the fire was at about 50% containment. 

“We have the unfortunate benefit of having extensive experience in handling large scale fires,” said Ayub. “Our staff, along with many of our neighboring peace officers, will now take that experience to protect and evacuate those facing the harsh realities of the Caldor Fire.”

 Navy Region commander visits Naval Base Ventura County

On Aug. 30, Rear Admiral Stephen D. Barnett, commander, Navy Region Southwest, visited Naval Base Ventura County and toured Point Mugu and Port Hueneme base areas. 

He said the tour provided an opportunity “to review the capabilities to complete fleet missions” and to get an understanding of “the support” he can provide for the base efforts. 

The tour included force protection projects, Seabee operations and the future “port site of the extra-large unmanned undersea vehicle prototypes.” 

According to United States Navy records, Navy Base Ventura County operates the world’s “largest instrumented sea range.” 

Barnett, originally from Columbia, Tennessee, was sworn into command in July of this year and is the 53rd commander of the region. 

Ramirez hosts “No on Recall” Conference. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 7, Ventura County Supervisor Carmen Ramirez along with John Zaragoza, Mayor of Oxnard, and other local elected officials gathered at the Oxnard Main Library to urge local residents to vote no in the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. 

Speakers cited Newsom’s record and echoed his office’s messaging that the recall effort is a “power grab.” 

“As someone who has lost a family member and friends to COVID-19, I trust Governor Newsom to lead us through this crisis,” said Ramirez in a written statement prior to the gathering.