Central Coast roundup

By Redaccion
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The Ventura College Foundation presented 439 scholarships for the 2023-24 academic year totaling $670,406 during its 34th Annual Scholarship Awards ceremony last week, at the Ventura College Athletic Center. 

Of the 235 scholarship recipients, many received multiple scholarships with an average amount of $2,417 for continuing students and $3,557 for students transferring to four-year universities in the Fall, at minimum, each student received a $1,000 scholarship.

According to Nicole Kreutz, incoming chair of the Ventura College Foundation board of directors, scholarship recipients come from all different backgrounds with different education and career goals. 

“Scholarships are critical for students in their ability to continue their education. Scholarship funds help offset tuition, books costs and other expenses. Every amount helps,” Kreutz said. 

Jimmy Flores, 23, grew up in a tight-knit Latino community in Santa Paula. 

He attended Santa Paula High School. 

“Soccer is a big deal in town and I was fortunate to be on the school’s team. After graduation, I didn’t want to disconnect right away so I began volunteering as an assistant coach. I found that I enjoy teaching and encouraging teenagers. It’s very rewarding.”

Flores plans to become a physical education high school teacher and coach. 

He will be attending Cal State Northridge in the Fall, majoring in Kinesiology with a Physical Education emphasis. He is the first in his family to attend a four-year university.  

“My volunteer coaching takes away from the number of hours I can work. The scholarship will allow me to focus on my education and coaching goals.”

 Kreutz stated the drive to succeed shown by our scholarship recipients is truly inspiring.

 “We know they will make a positive impact in their fields,” she said.


A total of 33 trainees from the 60th Ventura County Regional Training Academy graduated last week, joining the Ventura County and City of Ventura fire departments as probationary firefighters.

“Our standard is excellence, delivered with pride. These new firefighters have shown throughout their training that they are ready to deliver that level of service to our community. Now, the work to live up to that promise and their new badges begins,” Fire Chief Dustin Gardner said. 

The Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) added 31 of those firefighters to its ranks, and they will allow the department to add a paramedic squad in Simi Valley and replace firefighters who have retired or left the department. Meanwhile, the two other firefighters will join the Ventura City Fire Department.

«As these new firefighters graduate and join our team, we welcome them to Ventura and thank them for choosing to dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our residents,» said Ventura Fire Chief David Endaya. 

Under the leadership of the Ventura County Fire Department’s training staff, the trainees completed 20 weeks of training in all disciplines of firefighting, including structural firefighting, wildland firefighting, vehicle extrication and emergency medical care.

Over the next year, the new firefighters will be continually evaluated to demonstrate their competency before completing their probationary period.


In recognition of Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, the County of Ventura and the Ventura County Arts Council, in collaboration with PINAYSPHERE, who curated the collection, are hosting the “Flourish and Flow” art exhibition. 

Open through June 7, in the Atrium Gallery, located in the County of Ventura Government Center in the Hall of Administration, this is the first AAPI artist exhibition hosted by the County. 

According to Jen Benitez, founder of PINAYSPHERE, a non-profit organization focused on fostering pre-colonial mentalities and art within Pina/xy youth, the goal of the exhibition is to “highlight AAPI voices that are often overlooked, building bonds that allow AAPI voices to be seen.” 

Over 60 pieces of artwork from AAPI artists are featured in the exhibition, the artists range in age from 17-52 years-old and are based both here in Ventura County and across the United States. 

A variety of artworks will be displayed including, but not limited to, paintings, digital drawings, mixed media collages, photographs, and 3D sculptural pieces. 

Approximately 3,000 citizens and 1,200 employees pass through the Atrium Gallery daily. 

The location and opportunity provide AAPI artists a way to gain exposure and expand their portfolios, especially those who have yet to exhibit their work. 

The public is invited to experience the exhibit, which will culminate with a closing reception scheduled for June 7, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. 

“The reception will feature an opportunity to meet some of the exhibiting artists and participate in an artist talk,” said Benitez. 

The Hall of Administration is located at 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura and It is open to the Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.


The Ventura District Attorney Office announced this week that Shawn Michael Shirck (29), of Ojai, was convicted by jury of two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the 2019 deaths of Margaret Dahl of Oak View, and Phyllis Porter of Georgia. 

The jury also found true the special allegations that Shirck used a knife to commit the crimes.

In 2019, Ms. Porter, 82, was on an extended visit with her daughter, Ms. Dahl, 59, at Ms. Dahl’s home on Valley Ridge Street in Oak View. 

Ms. Dahl had been in a long-term relationship with the homeowner, and cared for the house when he was away. 

The homeowner had four sons, including Shawn Shirck. Shirck previously lived in the residence with Ms. Dahl but had moved out weeks earlier. 

Shortly after midnight on August 24, 2019, Shirck violently attacked and killed the two victims with a knife, in the home on Valley Ridge Street. 

The victims were discovered the morning of August 24, one of Shirck’s brothers came to the home and discovered a shattered glass door and the victims inside.

Shirck was arrested by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office the day after the killings.


The Ventura County Environmental Health Division (Division) in coordination with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is issuing a warning that the annual quarantine of mussels taken by recreational shellfish harvesters that went effective on May 1. 

This quarantine is due to hazardous levels of toxin causing paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) that may be present in mussels along the Ventura County Coast. 

The quarantine applies to all species of mussels taken by the public anywhere on the California coast including all bays, harbors, and estuaries. Commercially harvested shellfish are not included in the annual quarantine. By complying with the mussel quarantine and advisory, exposure to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) and Domoic Acid Poisoning (DAP) can be prevented. PSP affects the central nervous system producing a tingling around the mouth and fingertips within a few minutes to a few hours after eating shellfish that contain PSP toxins. This typically is followed by disturbed balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur. Symptoms of DAP can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, and dizziness. These symptoms disappear completely within several days. In severe cases the victim may experience excessive bronchial secretions, difficulty breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma and death. There is no known antidote to the toxins, and cooking cannot be relied upon to destroy them. Supportive medical care, however, has proven effective in managing the symptoms. Anyone who suspects they are experiencing PSP or DAP symptoms should immediately seek medical attention. Mussels may be sold for use as bait when displayed and sold in containers labeled in boldfaced type with letters at least one-half inch in height as follows:

The annual mussel quarantine will be in effect until at least October 31, 2023. The County Environmental Health Division has posted placards in conspicuous places advising the public of the quarantine.