PICTURED: Surfers walk past a lifeguard stand at Harbor Cove Beach in Ventura. Photo courtesy of Ventura Harbor Village

Lifeguards return to Ventura Harbor

Daily lifeguard service begins this weekend at beaches near Ventura Harbor, with three lifeguard towers staffed through Labor Day. Harbor officials have contracted with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to provide the service at a cost of just over $140,000.

“The Port District has taken great pride in supporting enhanced beach safety by way of seasonal lifeguards on the harbor’s beaches,” said General Manager Brian Pendleton. 

Officials said the beaches near Ventura Harbor have increased in popularity in recent years. Harbormaster John Higgins said there are numerous reasons people are drawn to that stretch of shoreline.

“Ventura Harbor is one of the few locations in Ventura County that provides a complete user experience,” Higgins said. “Our harbor, beaches, merchants, restaurants, national park headquarters, sport fishing boats, dive boats and Island Packers give the visitor tremendous value and entertainment.”

Santa Paula offers free summer camps

More than 400 kids have the opportunity to participate in a free summer camp program thanks to a partnership between the Santa Paula Parks and Recreation Department and Santa Paula Unified School District.

The eight-week program includes outdoor recreation, arts and crafts, and field trips, officials said. There will also be a focus on academics, including enrichment opportunities in math, language arts and social-emotional learning.

Beakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack is also offered for Santa Paula students at no cost.

Santa Paula Parks and Recreation Director Gregory Barnes said they’re happy the program is going full steam ahead this year. “The city’s summer camp program has been limited over the last few years due to the pandemic and facility constraints, and we wanted to bring back some excitement this summer. Collaborating with SPUSD allows us to pool our resources together to offer exceptional programs and experiences for Santa Paula’s youth.”

While the program starting June 14 is full, people can join a waiting list at santapaulausd.org.

 VUSD’s Rice to retire

Officials with the Ventura Unified School District have announced Superintendent Roger Rice is retiring.

Rice is credited with improving the district’s technology, including a new website and an online school bus routing system, since starting in 2019. Board President Sabrena Rodriguez said Rice did an admirable job leading the district through pandemic-related challenges.

“Dr. Rice never wavered in his commitment to our community’s children, their bright futures, and safety. Often working around the clock to problem solve in an ever-changing landscape, he led our district with honor, passion and dedication,” said Rodriguez.

Rice will continue to serve as superintendent through Sept. 3, and district leaders have already begun the process of searching for a new leader.

Rose Valley Creek Restoration public scoping through June 9

People who enjoy visiting the Rose Valley area in the Los Padres National Forest north of Ojai could see some big changes in the future, including the removal of three artificial lakes. According to officials, lakes were built by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s and have impacted native fish species.  

A public scoping period for the Rose Valley Creek Restoration Project opened May 11 and runs through June 9.

More information about the project is available at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=61838.

$48M loan for Oxnard water project

Oxnard city leaders say a federal loan worth $48 million will help increase the supply of recycled water. The money will be used to expand the capacity of the city’s Advanced Water Purification Facility by more than 14 million gallons of water every day.

Officials said the project will lead to the creation of 315 local jobs in construction and operations and should be completed by 2027.

Oxnard Mayor John Zaragoza said he was happy the city received the loan. “In the face of climate change and California’s ongoing drought, investing in local water projects is vital for our future.”

Two plead guilty to identity theft

A mother and son from Chile suspected of being part of a South American theft group are facing jail time and probation after pleading guilty to identity theft charges.

Prosecutors say Theresa and Samir Valdenegro stole a victim’s purse from a shopping cart in Camarillo and used the credit cards at BestBuy locations in Thousand Oaks and Oxnard. 

The defendants each received 180-day jail sentences and two years formal probation, even though the prosecutor in the case asked for a two-year sentence, according to a news release from the DA’s office.

Authorities have recently reported an upswing in crimes committed by so-called theft groups from South America.

Transportation Commission seeks public input 

Officials with the Ventura County Transportation Commission are asking for help mapping out people’s transportation priorities. An online survey has been launched and everyone who responds by June 11 will be eligible to win a $50 gift card.

The data will be used for the Ventura County Comprehensive Traffic Plan which looks ahead 30 years into the future.

The survey is available in both English and Spanish.