ON THE PICTURE : A The $30,000 grant awarded to the American Educational Zoo at Moorpark College will be used to build new housing for the zoo’s parrot population, including this colorful macaw. Photo submitted

Heglund named Ventura city attorney

The Ventura City Council has appointed Andy Heglund as the new city attorney. Heglund has served as the acting city attorney since Gregory Diaz retired in February. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief City Attorney for Transactions, with a focus on planning and public works, a position Heglund started in July 2019.

Andy Heglund has been named Ventura’s city attorney. Photo submitted

In addition to serving as chief legal counsel for the Ventura City Council, the City Attorney oversees a team of legal professionals and support staff who handle all aspects of municipal law by supporting the various city departments in Ventura. This includes advising city council, commissions, councils, committees and staff on a wide variety of legal matters.

Heglund has over 10 years of public service experience. Before coming to Ventura, he served as an assistant city attorney for Bakersfield. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Pensacola Christian College and a law degree from Regent University.

For more information, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov.

VPD takes over the Community Academy

For the first time since 2018, the Ventura Police Department once again hosted its popular Community Academy, a 10-week program designed to strengthen community partnerships and increase transparency. Classes are taught by police officers, dispatchers, and professional Ventura staff; participants are encouraged to ask questions, voice concerns and provide feedback. The goal is to create greater awareness and understanding of the role of law enforcement in the community through the education and engagement provided by the Community Academy.

“We are constantly striving to provide the highest quality service and after four years of absence due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud to bring back our community academy as a continuation of our commitment to improving the collaboration between the police and the community,” police said. Chef Darin Schindler, speaking during the first class on Wednesday, April 6. “I hope that by opening our doors and demystifying police operations, we can work together to make Ventura a safer community.”

With 31 community members selected, the 2022 Community Academy includes a diverse mix of residents and business owners from multiple generations, backgrounds and careers, representing each of Ventura’s seven districts.

For more information, call 805-339-4312 or visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/CommunityAcademy.

Arroyo Verde playground reopens

On April 1, Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura officially opened its new playground, an all-inclusive space that can be used by youngsters of all skill levels. The 10,750 square foot space features new landscaping, gathering areas, swings, hammocks, balance beams, sensory garden, motion carousel, embankment climbers and musical play areas . It also includes a sensory wall with recognition tiles dedicated to those who donated to the project. The new playground replaces the structure that burned down in the Thomas fire in 2017.

The playground design was developed with input from families, community members, healthcare professionals and playground manufacturers. Through meetings and conversations, the park’s designers developed a suitable play space where children of all abilities can play together. Construction began in May 2021, supported by donations from the Ventura Community Partners Foundation, community groups, residents, medical professionals and local businesses.

The new all-inclusive playground at Arroyo Verde Park opened on April 1, 2022. Photo submitted

“The all-inclusive playground means a lot to our community and is a great addition to Arroyo Verde Park,” said Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava. “This area has transformed into a space where people of all ages and abilities can play without barriers and experience the joy of connection.”

For more information, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/AVP.

Santa Paula allocates $250,000 to nonprofits

The City of Santa Paula is using federal funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act to distribute $250,000 to 10 local nonprofit organizations. During the ordinary meeting of the municipal council on April 6, the members of the council unanimously approved the allocation of the following grants:

  • Santa Clara Valley Boys and Girls Club – $42,500
  • Santa Clara Valley Hospice – $42,500
  • LUCHA / Poder Popular – $35,000
  • SPIRIT of Santa Paula – $30,000
  • Food Sharing – $25,000
  • Promotions and promotions – $20,000
  • Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center – $20,000
  • Santa Paula Latino City Hall – $20,000
  • Canine Adoption Rescue League – $10,000
  • The House of MAGIC Foundation for the Arts – $5,000

“Our local nonprofit community continued to operate, many times in limited or innovative ways, to help those in need during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Santa Council Member Carlos Juarez. Paula. “We are extremely grateful that we were able to use this federal funding to give back to the organizations that work so hard to keep the Santa Paula community safe and healthy.”

TO is looking for candidates for a roundtable on the arts; deadline May 5

Thousand Oaks is seeking candidates interested in serving on the City’s Arts and Culture Roundtable, a city council-appointed committee that will serve as an advisory body on matters relating to arts, cultural programs and related activities. Committee members will represent a mix of arts organizations, active artists and educators.

There are six vacancies. Members must be at least 18 years old, residents of Thousand Oaks, and not city officials or employees. No organization may have more than one representative on the Arts and Culture Roundtable at any given time.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, May 5 at 5 p.m. For more information, contact Jonathan Serret at .805-449-2767 or [email protected] Applications and more information are available at www.toaks.org/committeesand can be requested from the City Clerk Department, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., 805-449-2151 or [email protected]

TO Youth Commission deadline extended to April 20

High school students who reside in the City of Thousand Oaks are encouraged to apply to fill eight vacancies on the Youth Commission, which is an advisory committee appointed by the Thousand Oaks City Council to advise the city on matters related to young people in the city. Recruitment has been extended and applications must now be submitted by Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

The youth commission is made up of 13 members aged 13 to 18; each member serves staggered two-year terms. Applicants are due to enter grades 9-11 in fall 2022. Seniors with previous experience are encouraged to apply for a one-year term. Commission and application details are online. Interested persons may contact [email protected], 805-449-2151, www.toaks.org/youth.

Zoo receives $30,000

America’s Teaching Zoo received a $30,000 grant from the Ventura County Community Foundation. The funds will be used for the final phase of construction of the alumni aviary. The first two phases provided new housing for the birds of prey and half of the zoo’s parrots, respectively. This third phase will provide a new home for the remaining parrots, including macaws and cockatoos – all of which are abandoned pets.

“While our current parrot housing is adequate, we are motivated to make changes that will go beyond what are considered minimum requirements,” Mara Rodriguez, the zoo’s development coordinator, explained via press release.

She went on to note that the project will allow parrots to be at the center of the visitor experience, giving them much-deserved attention, fostering an appreciation for these species.

“When one animal is served, all animals are served. Modernization brings more visibility, resources and contributions. This project would directly address the individual needs of our parrots,” Rodriguez said.

Prisoners Harbor is getting a new campground

Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley has announced that planning is complete for a small, primitive campground near Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. The campground, which is expected to open in late 2022, will be located along an unimproved road about a quarter mile from Prisoners Harbor Pier and will consist of seven tent campsites, including an accessible site and vaulted toilets. It can accommodate up to 24 people.

The project, whose cost is estimated at $140,000, is made possible thanks to the financial support of the Channel Islands Park Foundation and the Fund for People in Parks. Work is expected to begin this summer and will be completed by National Park Service staff.

The campground was designed by the National Park Service. It will not be visible from the ocean and is designed to minimize impact on natural and cultural landscapes. Campers will need to bring all supplies and provisions to their reserved site. Campfires and smoking will be prohibited. For more information on the project, visit the Channel Islands National Park website at www.nps.gov/chis.