by Kimberly Rivers

Coalition forms to block RI-NU

A coalition has formed between a community group called Santa Clara Valley Together and the Santa Paula Latino Town Hall in an effort to block a proposal by RI-NU Services LLC to reopen a wastewater treatment facility on Mission Rock Road in Santa Paula. 

The group submitted a 17-page document to the Ventura County Planning Division during the comment period for the environmental review of the project. 

The county is suggesting a Mitigated Negative Declaration (a level of environmental review that while identifying significant impacts states they can be mitigated) is sufficient for the project pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The comment period ended Nov. 30. 

The comments submitted made references to environmental justice as well as the county’s failure to conduct proper inspections and consider public records associated with the 2014 chemical explosion and fires that occured when the site was operated by Santa Clara Waste Water. Some noted that the documents could be beneficial in understanding the risks and hazards of operations at the facility. 

The county will be reviewing and responding to all comments received during the public comment period in preparation for the project to be reviewed by the Ventura County Planning Commission and then the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. 

Click link to read the letter submitted to Ventura County by Santa Paula Latino Town Hall and Santa Clara Valley Together Coalition: SP Latino Town Hall Santa Clara Valley Together RI NU letter 11 30 21

County COVID update

In a Nov. 29 statement Ventura County reported that since the previous Wednesday there were 323 new cases of COVID-19, with 14,189 tests performed. Thirty-six people currently require hospitalization for COVID-19 symptoms, and five require care in the ICU. 

In those given days, one death associated with COVID-19 was reported. 

Data continues to indicate the spread of the virus is decreasing.

Regarding vaccination, 71% of county residents age 5 and over have had one or more COVID vaccine doses, with 69.2% of eligible county residents being fully vaccinated; 77.2% of those over 18 are fully vaccinated. 

In light of the emergence of the new Omicron variant, the state of California is emphasizing getting the booster shot, getting fully vaccinated and ongoing testing. In addition, testing is being ramped up at airports for those who may be returning from countries identified as having Omicron variant prevalence. Those countries include South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. 

Ventura PD Community Academy

The Ventura Police Department has announced that through Dec. 31, 2021 it is accepting applications for the department’s next Community Academy. 

Open to 30 Ventura city residents and business owners, the academy aims to improve community partnerships and increase transparency of police operations. The program is free and includes a ride-along, interactive training and hands-on activities that expose participants to the inside of local policing. 

The program takes place Wednesday evenings, starting on Feb. 23, 2022 through April 27, 2022. 

To be eligible applicants must be at least 18, live in or own a business in the city, pass a background check with no misdemeanor convictions in the past two years, and no felony convictions. The application process includes an in-person interview and those accepted must be able to attend all sessions. For any questions regarding the Ventura Police Community Academy, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Emily Graves at or by calling 805-339-4312.

Public help sought in slew of suspicious fires 

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in an investigation into the cause of several suspicious fires in Moorpark. 

Several fires appear to have been intentionally set starting in September through November at four locations in Moorpark. 

First, several small fires were set in an arroyo near Spring Road. In October a tree at Mission Bell Plaza on Los Angeles Avenue was set ablaze. In the past week, a restroom and trash can at Waterstone Apartments on Moorpark Avenue have been set on fire, and later a trash can at Magnolia Park on Charles Street was also burned. 

At this time, while it is unconfirmed that all the fires are related, investigators tie some of them together based on the manner and method of the arson fires. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Kevin Lynch at 805-532-2716 or you may report it anonymously to Ventura County Crime Stoppers. Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).