Daylight Saving Time Ends on the First Sunday of November

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Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday of November each year in the U.S. (with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii). In 2017, that will be Sunday, November 5th at 2 a.m.

At 1:59:59 a.m. on Sunday, your clocks will revert back to 1 a.m. Yes! FALL BACK!! An extra hour of sleep!

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave us an extra month of DST by starting DST 3 weeks earlier and ending it one week later.

For my more precise readers, it is officially called Daylight Saving (not Savings) Time. So if you want to annoy your friends, correct them any time they call it Daylight SavingS time.

Also as one website I found mentioned, Daylight Saving Time is technically inaccurate, since we don't really gain daylight. It would more appropriately be called Daylight Shifting Time but I don't see that being a high priority initiative.

Falling back is probably my favorite day of the year as I thoroughly enjoy the gift of an extra hour. I despise the Daylight Saving Time transition and rant about it here.

Halloween Events and Activities In and Around Ventura County

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Here, once again, is our boo-rific compilation of Halloween events, activities and goings on around Ventura County and surrounding areas for the Halloween 2017 season! Spooky houses, pumpkin patches, trick or treating, carnivals, community events, storytelling and more! 

Dates/times subject to change; contact event organizers to confirm. For calendar view, click here.

Pumpkin Patches in Ventura County and Surrounding Areas

Upcoming Events/Activities

Ventura County Air Pollution Control District Old Car Buy Back Incentive Program

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The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) old car buy back program will pay you $1,000 to voluntarily retire your 1995 or older car, pick-up truck, van, or SUV. Funding of this program is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until each year’s grant funds are depleted.

Motor vehicles produce more than half of the air pollution in Ventura County. Removing older, high-emitting vehicles from the roadways helps clean up the air.

To qualify for the buy back program, vehicles must be operational and registered in Ventura County. Additional eligibility requirements apply. To find out if your car qualifies, visit www.oldcarbuyback.com/ventura.php or call the Old Car Buy Back Hotline: (800) 717-7624.

You generally must show that the vehicle has been registered with the DMV under a Ventura County address for at least 24 months to be eligible. Other requirements must also be met.

APCD is required by state regulations to offer to sell any eligible vehicle to the public and hold the vehicle for a minimum of 10 days during which the vehicle will be made available for public inspection prior to dismantling. There is an Excel spreadsheet link at www.oldcarbuyback.com/ventura.php showing the vehicle inventory.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Programs in Ventura County

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The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using this training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in the community.

The Ventura County Fire Department in coordination with FEMA have joined together to assist local residents with disaster preparedness education and training. Visit the VCFD CERT Facebook page by clicking here.

GET YOURSELF TRAINED! IT'S FREE! AND YOU COULD HELP SAVE LIVES IN AN EMERGENCY!

CLICK HERE for a schedule of upcoming CERT classes in Ventura County.

CERT training programs throughout Ventura County and adjacent areas:

Forty-Seven Things to Do In Thousand Oaks

The City of Thousand Oaks was incorporated on September 29, 1964. Most of Newbury Park was annexed by the city in the 1960s/1970s. Casa Conejo, Newbury Park's first planned community built in the early 1960s and the Lynn Ranch area of Thousand Oaks are unincorporated areas of Ventura County that technically are not annexed into the City of Thousand Oaks. Why that is, I'm not sure. The City of Thousand Oaks also annexed the Ventura County portions of Westlake Village in 1968 and 1972. A bit complicated, eh?

Enough history for now! Let's look at the future...like tomorrow or this coming weekend. Here are 47 things to do in the City of Thousand Oaks in random order.

View of Boney Mountain from the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area.

View of Boney Mountain from the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area.

Older version of City of Thousand Oaks sign.

Older version of City of Thousand Oaks sign.

Pumpkin Patches in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

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The star of the Halloween show is the pumpkin. According to my favorite resource Wikipedia, the name pumpkin originated from the Greek word pepon ("large melon"). The French called it pompom. The British changed it to pumpion. Then American colonists changed it to pumpkin. Why? Heck, I dunno.

Pumpkins are gourd-like squashes and technically are a fruit. They can range in size from 1 lb to 1,000 lbs.

But who cares about all that...what we REALLY want to know is, where are the pumpkin patches in Ventura County and surrounding areas!? Well, here are some choices...but make sure to call before you go for hours, etc.

OTHER HALLOWEEN EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES AROUND VENTURA COUNTY

Big Wave Dave's Pumpkin Patch is located at 4075 Telegraph Road in Ventura (adjacent to Ventura College) with hours from 10am to 9pm in October. In addition to pumpkins, they offer free games and prizes for the kids. There's also a new location at the Pacific View Mall in the Trader Joe's parking lot. Visit bigwavedaveschristmastrees.com/pumpkin-patch.html or call 805.218.0282. 

Boccali Ranch Pumpkin Patch located at 3277 Ojai-Santa Paula Road, Ojai (Highway 150 - at the base of the Dennison grade). Open October 7-31, 2017, 7 days a week, 10am to 7pm (9pm Fri/Sat beginning the 13th). Daytime hayrides $2 per person on Sat/Sun 11am to 5pm. Free hay maze for the kids. Visit www.boccalis.com/PumpkinPatch.html or call 805.646.6116. ALSO: Haunted Hay Rides 10/13-14, 20-21, 27-28 from 7-9pm.

Bennett's Best Pumpkin Patch once again anticipates opening locations at the corner of Kanan and Agoura Road and at 28900 Roadside Drive (near Do It Center) in Agoura Hills as well as at 24439 Calabasas Road in Calabasas). bennettsbest.net 

Fillmore & Western Pumpkinliner Trail Rides in October

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McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch is located at 5156 McGrath Street, Ventura (south of the 101 between Telephone Road and Victoria).  Opens on Sunday, October 1, 2017. There will be hay rides, pony rides and plenty of pumpkins! Call 805.658.9972 or visit www.mcgrathstreetpumpkinpatch.com.

McGrath Brothers Great Pacific Pumpkins is located at 5100 Olivas Park Drive in Ventura. Tractor hay rides, hay maze, horse drawn hay rides and farm animals on hand. More information at www.greatpacificpumpkins.com or call 805.644.1235. Open daily October 1 to 31 from 9am to 6pm.

Prancer's Pumpkin Village will be opening on Sat, September 30th through October from 10am to 9pm weekdays and 9am to 9pm weekends at 3075 Johnson Drive in Ventura (adjacent to the 101 freeway). In addition to an array of pumpkins, they offer pony rides, bouncers, hay maze, petting zoo and other activities. Visit prancersvillage.com.

The Santa Paula Rotary's Pumpkin Patch at the Limoneira Ranch in Santa Paula will be open every weekend in October 2017, starting the 7th, from 10am to 5pm. Gigantic corn MaiZe, hay wagon rides, the infamous "Pumpkin Chucker," and more on hand. $5 admission (Corn MaiZe is an additional $5). Visit www.PumpkinPatchAtLimoneiraRanch.com to learn more.

Stu Miller's Pumpkin Patch is open September 29 through October 31, 2017 and is located near the Simi Valley Town Center on Erringer Road and in Thousand Oaks at 450 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Pumpkins, petting zoo, rides, inflatable attractions and more (no admission cost; activities vary in cost). www.seasonaladventures.com/location.htm

Stu Miller's Pumpkin Patch just east of the Simi Valley Town Center.

Stu Miller's Pumpkin Patch just east of the Simi Valley Town Center.

The 20th Annual Underwood Family Farms Fall Harvest Festival in Moorpark is open September 30 to October 31, 2017 with themed events each weekend, massive pumpkin patch and lots of fun activities.

The Underwood Farm Center in Somis at 5696 Los Angeles Avenue also has a pumpkin patch along with its year-round animal center.

Bennett's Best Pumpkin Patch on Roadside Drive in Agoura Hills

Bennett's Best Pumpkin Patch on Roadside Drive in Agoura Hills

Pumpkins no longer in 2017:  Malibu Funny Farm

Three Asian Small-Clawed Otter Pups Born at the Santa Barbara Zoo on Saturday, October 7th

A pair of Asian small-clawed otters at the Santa Barbara Zoo have produced their first litter of pups with three healthy offspring born in a nesting box in their holding area on Saturday, October 7.

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As in the wild, where the parents keep their pups in a den, these young otters will not leave their behind the scenes holding area until they are old enough to safely swim and have grown teeth so they can eat solid food. Depending on their development, keepers estimate the pups could go on exhibit as early as mid-December. 

Animal Care staff had recently confirmed that Gail was pregnant and estimated that she was due any day. When keepers arrived Saturday morning, Gail and Peeta remained in the nesting box.

“The parents didn’t come out to greet us and then we heard squeaks,” said the Zoo’s Curator of Mammals Michele Green. “That’s how we knew Gail had given birth.”

Gestation is 68 days, and after birth the female stays in the nesting box with the pups, but is relieved by the male for breaks.

Both of the Zoo’s otters are first-time parents, but are showing excellent parenting skills for the two pups (females and one male), according to keepers.

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“Gail only arrived in March and it’s been fun to watch them bond, and now become parents,” says Green. “She’s a young mom, but doing very well. Peeta is attentive and diligent.”

Peeta was born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. in 2008. Gail was born at the Greensboro Science Center in South Carolina in 2013. The two were paired as part of a cooperative breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Their names, inspired by characters in the popular “Hunger Games” books and movies, were given to them by their Santa Barbara Zoo sponsors Peter and Pieter Crawford-van Meeuwen.

The last time Asian small-clawed otters were born at the Zoo was in May 2011 when six pups were born to a pair named Jillian and Bob. That pair also produced five young in August 2010, the first of the species to be born at the Zoo in more than 20 years. The entire family group later moved to the National Zoo, where they live today. Another female, Katniss, was paired with Peeta, but they did not breed. She passed away in December 2016 from a kidney ailment.

When Will the Otter Pups Go On View?

Asian small-clawed otters usually keep their pups in their dens for several weeks until the young have learned to swim and have teeth to eat solid food. Green estimates that the family group may venture into their exhibit in December for swimming lessons in the small pool. By January, the pups should be proficient swimmers, and on view at varying times during the day. By spring, they could be diving in the larger pool. Information on their progress will be available at www.sbzoo.org.  

Foster Feeder Special to Support the Otter Family

The public can help the otter pups by becoming a Foster Feeder, which supports the cost of feeding the growing otter family. New otter Foster Feeders who donate at least $50 receive a custom otter plush embroidered with the Zoo’s logo, along with a Foster Feeder certificate, otter fact sheet and photo, recognition on the Zoo’s Foster Feeder board and in Zoo News, and a one year subscription to Zoo News. For information, visit www.sbzoo.org.

About Asian Small-Clawed Otters

Although this species is not listed as endangered, Asian small-clawed otters are seriously threatened by rapid habitat destruction for palm oil farming and by hunting and pollution.  They are considered an “indicator species,” meaning their population indicates the general health of their habitat and of other species.

This species, the smallest otter in the world, lives in freshwater wetlands and mangrove swamps throughout Southeast Asia including southern India and China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Borneo, and the Malay Peninsula. They prefer quiet pools and sluggish streams for fishing and swimming. Unlike sea otters, they spend more time on land than in water, but they are skillful, agile swimmers and divers, with great endurance. They can stay submerged for six to eight minutes.

Asian small-clawed otters are about two feet long and weigh under 10 pounds, less than half the size of North American river otters. Their claws do not protrude beyond the ends of the digital pads, thus their names, and their feet do not have fully developed webbing and look very much like human hands.

They are one of the few species of otter that live in social groups. The bond between mated pairs of Asian small-clawed otters is very strong. Both the male and female raise the young and are devoted parents. In the wild, Asian small-clawed otters live in extended family groups of up to 12 individuals. The entire family helps raise the young, which are among the most active and playful of baby animals.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission is $17 for adults, $10 for children 2-12, $13 for seniors 65+, and free for children under 2. Parking is $7.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats.