Update From Ventura County Community Foundation Regarding Distribution of Funds

Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) President Vanessa Bechtel has provided an update regarding distribution of funds thus far in connection with the recent tragedies in our area.

Conejo Valley Victims Fund

The first two rounds of support to the victims and survivors of the Borderline shooting have been distributed. VCCF awarded an immediate $70,000 in $500 pre-paid Visa cash cards so immediate basic needs could be met through the Thousand Oaks Victims Assistance Center.

VCCF also awarded a total of $240,000 to help cover memorial costs to families who lost loved ones. Chief of Police Tim Hagel personally delivered the funds to the families during this devastating time.

Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire Sudden & Urgent Needs Effort

Over $500,000 in funds have been distributed thus far in connection with relief from the recent wildfires in the area:

  • $150,000 to the Pacific Coast and Ventura County Chapter of the American Red Cross for an Emergency Response Vehicle

  • $115,000 to the Red Cross for Ventura County Recovery Coordination

  • $146,250 to the Red Cross for General Operations Support

  • $5,000 to 805 Help to support their immediate response to bring online access to our community during the fires

  • $15,000 to Senior Concerns for adult daycare, meals and support for our community’s seniors who were evacuated and need care

  • $5,350 to Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association to help cover costs associated with evacuations of those on hospice

  • $7,000 to the Camarillo Boys & Girls Club to cover costs associated with emergency childcare needs due to school closures

  • $9,500 to the Southeast Ventura YMCA to cover costs associated with emergency childcare needs due to school closures

  • $1,827 to Mark Watring Stables for the evacuation of 43 horses, hauling of feed and water supplies and overtime

  • $25,000 to the Economic Development Collaborative for General Operations Support as they serve business owners impacted by the fires

  • $21,500 to Cal State Channel Islands Foundation to feed and house students evacuated by the fires

  • $500 to Cal Lutheran University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership to sponsor a free webinar entitled “Fundraising in Response to a Community Crisis” (contact nonprofit@callutheran.edu for details)

VCCF is working to award funds as quickly as possible to nonprofit organizations serving those in need during this challenging time. The organization is particularly interested in supporting organizations who are assisting in housing and basic needs, animal welfare, business and resiliency support for our community and medical needs of individuals as a result of the fires. The application is very short and should take no more than 15 minutes to submit at www.vccf.org.

805 Undocufund

This is a collective effort to ensure undocumented individuals and families impacted by natural disasters have the support they need. Please join us in helping support our neighbors during this challenging time at www.vccf.org.

VCCF Scholarship Program

VCCF has launched its 2019 Application for College Scholarships and thanks to local generosity will be awarding $1.147 million in scholarships to local students this year – more than ever before! The deadline for applications is January 30, 2019 at 10 p.m. PST.

How You Can Make A Difference

Applications for Support: Massive wildfires that cause severe displacement make connecting and supporting fire victims challenging. While VCCF has received some organizational applications for support, FEMA has received a modest number of applications for direct fire victim support. Please encourage those impacted by the fires to apply with FEMA as soon as possible and to also open a case with 2-1-1 who can help connect resources to those in need.

Fundraising for the Conejo Valley Victims Fund: VCCF is in the final stages of raising funds to support the families of victims and survivors of the Borderline shooting. We are working with Ken Feinberg, Special Master of the US Government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, who has volunteered to help advise us during this time. Please encourage all you know to donate now and offer support to those impacted by this tragic event at www.vccf.org.

Support Services: Please help spread the word that Kaiser Permanente is offering free support groups in Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura for the Borderline tragedy and fires. Please contact them directly at (805) 449-3442.

Las Virgenes Fire Relief Raises $30,000 for Woolsey Fire Victims in First Two Days

Las Virgenes Fire Relief Raises $30,000 for

Woolsey Fire Victims in First Two Days

Parent-Run Relief Organization Partners with Local Businesses to Serve Impacted Families

D isplaced residents "shop" at LV Fire Relief's donation center.

Displaced residents "shop" at LV Fire Relief's donation center.

In the days during the devastating Woolsey Fire in Southern California, a group of parents in the Las Virgenes Unified School District founded LV Fire Relief (LVFR). LVFR raises money and collects physical donations to serve district-area families whose homes were lost or severely damaged. Nearly one hundred student and staff member families either lost their homes or have been displaced long-term following major damage.

“We believe in the power of community,” said Jenn Kurtz, involved Agoura Hills resident and parent group president with children in three LVUSD schools, who organized the swift creation of LVFR with the blessing of school district leaders. “Some of these families have lost everything. Can you imagine being 9 years old and knowing that your house and everything in it is gone?” Families can seek help at lvfirerelief.org.

LVFR accepts financial donations in partnership with the Southeast Ventura YMCA. “Donations will be distributed on a need basis, and 100% of the funds will go to the families,” said Kurtz. The group is also collecting physical donations of non-perishable food, household goods like paper and cleaning products, baby products, and housewares. Donations have come from businesses, Baby 2 Baby, and individual donors from all over Los Angeles, some driving from as far as Long Beach and Pasadena.

A vacant office space has been loaned to the effort by the Dale Poe Real Estate group and the Agoura Business Center. Volunteers made up of teachers, staff, parents, students, and other community members organize donations and walk fire victims through selecting much-needed items that will help them get through the next several months. The space was nearly filled within its first day, and displaced families came to “shop” for clothes, toiletries, and other items lost in the fire. One recipient broke into tears at the sight of such generosity. “I’ve been fine up until this point,” she said, “but this put me over the edge.”  

About LV Fire Relief

Founded in response to the destruction of the Woolsey Fire in November, 2018, LV Fire Relief raises money and collects goods for families who lost their homes or have been displaced long-term by severe damage to their homes. LV Fire Relief is a community effort by local parents, staff, students, and business owners, and is not affiliated with the Las Virgenes Unified School District. Donations are processed with support of the Southeast Ventura YMCA, and are tax-deductible. For more information about LV Fire Relief or to learn how to donate, drop off supplies, or volunteer, please visit lvfirerelief.org.

Rancho Sierra Vista in the Santa Monica Mountains is Open Again November 16th

As of Friday morning, November 16th, the entire Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was closed to public use because of the Woolsey Fire, with the exception of Rancho Sierra Vista, which became publicly accessible at 10 am. However, the entrance to Point Mugu State Park remains close.

For updates on the Santa Monica Mountains, visit www.nps.gov/samo/index.htm.

For updates on Point Mugu State Park, visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=630.

Boney Mountain.JPG

Update From Woolsey Fire Unified Commanders on November 15, 2018

Unified command is working with local utility companies to ensure that critical infrastructure is repaired and restored. Burned out power poles, burned and damaged homes, debris filled roadways, broken gas lines, and burned guardrails pose serious safety hazards to residents attempting to return to the area.

The safety of both residents and first responders is the primary focus of our mission. Fire crews and heavy equipment are busy working to mitigate safety concerns to ensure that residents can return home safely.

The Woolsey Fire is unlike any previous fire in the Santa Monica Mountains due to the vast destruction and devastation to homes and critical infrastructure. A reminder to residents returning to the area, please stay vigilant on current fire conditions, and heed to the warning of emergency personnel. Please continue to adhere to road closures and any evacuation zones. All residents returning to the area are asked to drive slowly and yield to emergency personnel. If at any time you feel unsafe, call 911.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses can begin applying for FEMA aid now. Register online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

Safety information for those returning home can be found at: www.readyforwildfire.org/After-a-Wildfire.

Although the fire has not directly impacted the communities of Monte Nido and Topanga, the threat of a wildfire due to wind reversal after the Santa Ana’s subside remains a concern. The wind reversal will test our fire lines and validate our fire behavior prediction to declare the area safe. Unified Commanders are constantly evaluating the Malibu Fire area and while smoke is no longer visible we need to ensure infrastructure is safe for you to return.

Schools in Conejo Valley, Oak Park and Las Virgenes School Districts to Close through Thanksgiving Break as a Result of Wildfires

vcoe.png

All schools in the Conejo Valley Unified School District, Las Virgenes Unified School District and Oak Park Unified School District will be closed through the Thanksgiving holiday. The districts anticipate re-opening schools the morning of Monday, November 26th. This is to provide time to make need repairs and cleaning resulting from the Hill and Woolsey wildfires.

www.vcoe.org

Community resources and Q&A from the CVUSD

Westlake Village Trolley Holiday Service Offered November 23, 2018 to December 29, 2018

WLVTrolley.jpg

The Westlake Village Trolley is back in service beginning on Friday, November 23, 2018 and will operate on Friday and Saturday nights through December 29, 2018.

The Trolley begins its run at Westlake Village City Hall at 3:00 pm and concludes each night at 10:00 pm. The free, fun service stops at all major retail centers, including the Shoppes at Westlake Village, hotels, and neighborhoods...a great way to get around town. Free, live entertainment on board the Trolley enhances the experience.

Entertainment will be offered on board the train between 6-8PM most nights!

Riding the Village Trolley is easy. Simply hop on at one of 16 stops and hop off whenever you want. The trolley is outfitted with a GPS locator device allowing riders to use their smartphone to track the trolley’s progress. The trolley is not just transportation; it is a mobile City event perfect for residents and visitors of all ages.

For more information, including all trolley stop locations, visit www.wlv.org/villagetrolley.

Three Ventura County Schools Named 2018 California Distinguished Schools

caldistinguished.png

Three Ventura County elementary schools are being honored as 2018 California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education. Schools that applied were eligible based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates and English learner progress.

The local schools being honored are:

  • Sycamore Canyon (Conejo Valley Unified School District)
  • Walnut Canyon Elementary (Moorpark Unified School District)
  • Oak Hills Elementary (Oak Park Unified School District)

Additionally, Oak Park Unified School District is one of just 22 in the state to be named an Exemplary District for making positive impacts on student outcomes. The district and the Distinguished Schools will be honored in May during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The complete list of the honorees is available here.

About the Ventura County Office of Education

The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at: www.vcoe.org.

Kids World Wooden Playground at Alameda Park in Santa Barbara to be Renovated

Kids World, the unique wooden playground at Alameda Plaza, will soon undergo a major renovation to improve access, upgrade structural integrity, and preserve this important community feature for future generations. The playground will be temporarily closed to the public from September 5 to December 15, 2017. Alameda Plaza and the adjacent Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden will remain open during construction.

KidsWorldAlamedaPark.JPG

Kids World was originally constructed in 1993 by hundreds of community volunteers under the direction of Leathers and Associates, an internationally renowned company recognized for their one-of-a-kind playground designs. With the current renovation project, the City of Santa Barbara and its residents are making a significant investment to preserve this unique playground and upgrade the facility to meet today’s accessibility and building codes.

The playground will be deconstructed, worn posts and boards will be replaced, and the structure will be reassembled with building code-compliant hardware. Additional improvements include better access to the play area for 2-5-year-olds, additional gates and fencing to better secure play areas, and installation of rubber pads in high use areas to reduce maintenance needs. The overall aesthetics and adventurous atmosphere of the playground will remain intact. This renovation project, including design and permitting, is anticipated to cost approximately $650,000. 

www.santabarbaraca.gov