IRS and FTB Deadline for Filing 2018 Taxes for California Wildfire County Residents Extended to April 30, 2019

For tax return procrastinators out there. Did you know...that the IRS has automatically extended the deadline for 2018 tax returns and payments that would normally be due by April 15, to April 30 this year, as a result of the November 2018 Wildfires. This applies to anyone residing within Ventura, Los Angeles and Butte counties, regardless of if you were directly impacted by the fires.

More information on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-for-victims-of-november-8-wildfires-in-california.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief based on zip codes provided by FEMA. FEMA proclaimed a major disaster as a result of the Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires on November 12, 2018 in DR-4407. See www.fema.gov/disaster/4407 for more information.

The California Franchise Tax Board followed suit . They indicate at www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/disaster.shtml how to notate your tax return to reflect the fire impacted you.

Thousand Oaks Farmers' Market to Return to Former Site in East End Parking Lot on March 28th

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association has cancelled the relocation of the Thousand Oaks Certified Farmers’ Market to the West Side of The Oaks Shopping Center after fire department officials deemed that the site did not meet the current safety standards for emergencies and traffic control.

Although the grand opening did take place last Thursday on March 21, officials determined after an on-site visit that the new location would not meet safety requirements. “Even though we were looking forward to this new site, we absolutely want the market to be safe and accessible,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA). “We thank everyone who supported our “dress rehearsal” and we will continue to operate every Thursday bringing the best of California agriculture while we regroup,” she continued. “The new market hours of 12 noon to 5 p.m. did work out well and we will keep these hours when we move back to our previous location,” added Schott.

According to officials of the VCCFMA and The Oaks Shopping Center, the market will return to its former site and construction will be delayed until a new farmers’ market site can be determined on the mall grounds later in the year. The Thousand Oaks Certified Market is returning to its former site in the East End Parking Lot at Wilbur Road starting on Thursday, March 28, 2019 and will be operating with its new hours of 12 noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

Santa Barbara Zoo Announces Bradley The Golden Retriever, the Zoo's First Ambassador Dog

Bradley, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

Bradley, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

The Santa Barbara Zoo announced today that its latest addition is a ten-month old Golden Retriever named Bradley, who is in training to be the Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

As Ambassador Dog, Bradley’s overall duty “is to connect with Zoo guests so they can understand and care about all animals, especially those in the wild animals.”

“Bradley can connect with people in ways many of our other animals can’t,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health. “If people care about animals, then they are more likely to want to save them in the wild by preserving habitat, making sustainable choices, and other actions we talk about here at the Zoo.”

Dr. Barnes reports that Bradley is still young, so the training is takes place at his pace and is going quite well.

Bradley with Kristen Wieners

Bradley with Kristen Wieners

If it goes as hoped, Bradley will eventually participate in keeper talks on subjects like responsible pet choices and animal training using positive reinforcement. He may be involved in education programs such as Zoo Camp. He might provide outreach to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and elsewhere.

“Though they might catch sight of him with his handlers and wearing his ‘In Training’ vest, Bradley is not ready to meet the public,” adds Barnes. “Currently, we tell people not to make a special visit to the Zoo just to see him. He’s rarely visible and not on a regular schedule.”

About Bradley’s Training

As with the Zoo’s other animal residents, Bradley is trained using positive reinforcement, meaning he is rewarded for good behaviors and following instructions, and ignored or redirected for negative behaviors. The Zoo has retained a professional dog trainer who works with Bradley most days and is training specific staff to work with him as well.

“The goal is to guide him into making the right choices on his own,” says Dr. Barnes. “The training is currently going well, but will last as long as needed. Some training will continue indefinitely, to keep Bradley engaged as an ambassador dog.”

About Bradley

Bradley is an English Cream Golden Retriever who was born on May 12, 2018. The “English Cream” refers to the light color of his fur. His original family lived in Northridge and had him as a young puppy. A family member’s unexpected medical development made it impossible for them to care for a puppy. The Zoo adopted him when he was nine months old.

“Zoo staff spent six months visiting dog rescue facilities and following leads for a dog with the right temperament to be trained as our ambassador,” said Dr. Barnes. “Bradley has what we were looking for.”

Bradley lives at the Zoo. It is hoped that he will eventually make visits to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and community events, but that depends on his training.

His sleeping area is in a heated office. The Zoo’s security guard checks on him several times during the night and gives Bradley toilet breaks. Bradley has a fenced exercise and play area on Cabrillo Lawn, across from Cats of Africa. There he is allowed to run free and play, and have play dates with specially selected dogs. During breaks from training, Bradley also has “Sniff Time” while on the leash, when he is allowed to follow his nose and explore the Zoo.

“Zoo animals are not unfamiliar with dogs, as service dogs sometimes accompany guests,” says Dr. Barnes. “However, his presence does help reinforce that the sight or smell of a dog is normal. So far, Bradley has responded well to zoo animals by remaining calm in their presence. Acclimating him to the other animals that live at the zoo is part of his training.”

Bradley is sponsored by a local family that wishes to remain anonymous and is recognized at the Zoo simply as “Jackson and Alaia.”

Dogs in Zoos

Ambassador dogs are not uncommon in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The Oklahoma Zoo debuted canine animal ambassador Max, a two-year-old terrier mix, in summer 2018. Other zoos with ambassador dogs include the Denver Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (Tacoma, Washington) and Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Syracuse New York).

While dogs are sometimes used as companion animals for specific species, Bradley does not go into any animal enclosures.

The Santa Barbara Zoo provided dog companions for African lion cub Kiki when she was being hand-raised in 2004. The San Diego Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, and Metro Richmond Zoo, among others, have had companion dogs for cheetah cubs.

The Santa Barbara Zoo

Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Asian elephant, California condor, island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. A private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Santa Barbara Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements. Visit www.sbzoo.org

The Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission $18 for adults, $13 for seniors 64+, $11 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11.

Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month "Spotlight Myeloma" Skylight is Back Again at Amgen in Thousand Oaks March 17-29

Spotlight Myeloma Skylight from Amgen’s corporate headquarters (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

Spotlight Myeloma Skylight from Amgen’s corporate headquarters (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

Flashback to March 2018…there was a blue beam shining into the sky in Newbury Park for a number of nights and I was determined to find the source. I found it! The beam was coming from our local biotech powerhouse Amgen. The bright blue nightly beam was part of Amgen’s month-long “Spotlight Myeloma” initiative as part of Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month.

March 2019 once again is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, a time to recognize the patients, caregivers and healthcare providers who work courageously to improve the daily lives of patients living with this incurable blood cancer. Once again, Amgen will be shining a nightly beam into the sky; this year’s burgundy beam will shine March 17-29.

Although it’s the second most common blood cancer, multiple myeloma is rare. It’s estimated that only 32,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with the disease this year.

Thousand Oaks Farmers' Market to Move to New Location at The Oaks Shopping Center March 21st

UPDATE 3/26/19: NEVER MIND! Due to traffic control and safety concerns from fire officials, the market has been moved back to the east parking lot as of 3/28/19 (at least for the time being).

Thousand Oaks Move.JPG

The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market held at the The Oaks Shopping Center will soon have a new location and new market hours. The Thousand Oaks market, operated by the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA), will move from its existing site at the east end parking lot on Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard to the West Side Delivery Lane between The Oaks parking structure and the main food court entrance. The move will take place starting on Thursday, March 21 and the new hours will run from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

“We are looking forward to moving into a more convenient location for our customers,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the VCCFMA. “Shoppers will have access to ample parking within the parking structure and the nearby lower level parking lots, allowing for easier access to the market,” continued Schott. “In addition, we hope to introduce the market to a new audience with the Children’s Area and Food Court immediately adjacent to this new location,” she added.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets -- Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market held at the Oaks Shopping Center will soon have a new location and new market hours. The Thousand Oaks market, operated by the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA), will move from its former site at the east end parking lot on Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard to the West Side Delivery Lane between the Oaks Parking Structure and the Main Food Court Entrance. The move will take place starting on Thursday, March 21 and the new hours will run from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

“We are looking forward to moving into a more convenient location for our customers,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the VCCFMA. “Shoppers will have access to ample parking within the parking structure and the nearby lower level parking lots, allowing for easier access to the market,” continued Schott. “In addition, we hope to introduce the market to a new audience with the Children’s Area and Food Court immediately adjacent to this new location,” she added.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets -- Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

Segments of the Backbone Trail Re-Open Today, Four Months After Woolsey Fire

A portion of the Backbone Trail managed by the National Park Service in Malibu reopened today, along with the popular Grotto Trail in the Circle X area.

The majority of the 67-mile Backbone Trail is now open, with the exception of a four-mile stretch from Yerba Buena Road to the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead and a six-mile stretch from the Kanan Trailhead east to the Corral Canyon Trailhead. Large portions of the trail have been closed since the Woolsey Fire destroyed 88% of federal parkland in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area last November.

Backbone Trail repair work (Photo Courtesy of National Park Service)

Backbone Trail repair work (Photo Courtesy of National Park Service)

“Our small trails crew, assisted on some days by our valuable partners, which include members of the California Conservation Corps, Camp 13 and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, did a phenomenal job in restoring these trails,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “An especially rainy season hindered the work and created a variety of additional hazards, but these folks really came through and made it happen.”

Other trails and areas in the park still closed include Solstice Canyon and trails in Zuma/Trancas Canyons.

All official trails in Circle X Ranch, one of the park’s most remote and scenic locations, are now open ,including the Mishe Mokwa Loop, Sandstone Peak Trail, and the Tri Peaks Trail. Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons, Paramount Ranch, Rancho Sierra Vista and the Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch are also open.

Click here to see photos of the extensive post-fire work (including some before and after photos) that was done to mitigate safety issues caused by “hazard trees” (trees that were badly burned in the fire and are susceptible to falling), eroded trails and warped, burned culverts. Tasks included clearing trails of hazardous rocks, branches and sticks and reestablishing trail pads by spreading any slough that fell from the hillsides onto a trail and finding large rocks and dirt to fill deep ruts that cut directly across trails.

Although these areas are open, there is a closure order for all burned areas that restricts the public to the trails only. Visitors are being asked to stay on trails and be aware that numerous safety hazards still exist. Hikers going off trail can cause more damage to newly restored trails, trample new plants, and prevent the re-growth of fragile vegetation.

The NPS trail crew collaborated on multiple sections of the Backbone Trail with local members of the California Conservation Corps and Camp 13, the only all-female, Malibu-based fire camp in Los Angeles that occasionally assists with trail work. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council also helped repair a portion of the Backbone Trail section along Kanan Road in Zuma Canyon.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area boasts a network of approximately 500 miles of trails.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/samo.

City of Camarillo Provides Free Trolley Bus Service Seven Days a Week

CamTrolley.jpg

The City of Camarillo provides free trolley bus service Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.

The service provides convenient, air-conditioned, nostalgic transportation to Camarillo retail and dining destinations. Accommodations for persons with disabilities are provided.

The trolley bus route starts at the Metrolink train station, runs west on Daily Drive, south down Las Posas Road, and then east on Ventura Boulevard back to the Metrolink station. Here are the stops and the minutes the trolley reaches each stop after each hour and half hour:

  • Metrolink (Camarillo Train Station) (0 min)

  • Ponderosa Center (next to 99 Cent Store) (4 min)

  • Camarillo Plaza (Daily Dr west of Murray Ave) (7 min)

  • Carmen Plaza (Daily and Carmen) (9 min)

  • Las Posas Plaza (Daily and Calle La Roda) (11 min)

  • Camarillo Town Center (between Ross and Walmart) (17 min)

  • Premium Outlets Promenade (Ventura Blvd) (20 min)

  • Premium Outlets Main Court (Ventura Blvd and Camarillo Center Dr) (22 min)

  • Old Town (Ventura Blvd and Fir St) (27 min)

  • Dizdar Park and Camarillo Chamber (29 min)

  • Metrolink (30 min)

The trolley stops at shopping centers all along the route on a 30 minute schedule. Riders can also flag down the trolley to board anywhere along the route.

Where IS the trolley at any given point in time!? Well you can get that answer on the Trolley Tracker at www.camarillotrolley.com. How cool is that?

Call 805.988-4CAT for more information.

www.cityofcamarillo.org/residents/public_transportation/camarillo_trolley2.php

Channel Islands National Park Islands Accessible to Public During Government Shutdown

During the shutdown of the federal government due to the lapse of appropriations, national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures. At Channel Islands National Park the park islands, with the exception of San Miguel Island, will remain accessible to visitors, but emergency and rescue services will be limited. The park’s mainland visitor center and island visitor contact stations are closed.

There will be no National Park Service (NPS)-provided visitor services at Channel Islands National Park, including public information, and restroom and campground maintenance. Park concessioners will operate as usual.

Park visitors are advised to use extreme caution during their visit as NPS personnel will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, or emergency response. Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk.

All island campgrounds and restrooms are open and accessible to visitors. There will be no campground check-in/check-out services and visitors holding campground reservations should be aware that there is no guarantee their reserved campsite will be ready and available during a government shutdown.

www.nps.gov/chis/learn/news/pr122218.htm