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President Obama spurns GOP

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 6:39pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spurning furious Republicans, President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation and refocus enforcement efforts on "felons, not families."

The moves, affecting mostly parents and young people, marked the most sweeping changes to the nation's fractured immigration laws in nearly three decades and set off a fierce fight with Republicans over the limits of presidential powers.

In a televised address to the nation, Obama defended the legality of his actions and challenged GOP lawmakers to focus their energy not on blocking his actions, but on approving long-stalled legislation to take its place.

"To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill," Obama said, flexing his presidential powers just two weeks after his political standing was challenged in the midterm elections.

As Obama addressed the nation from the White House, immigration supporters with American flags draped over their shoulders marched on the street outside carrying signs that read, "Gracias, Presidente Obama."

Despite Obama's challenge to Republicans to pass a broader immigration bill, his actions and the angry GOP response could largely stamp out prospects for Congress passing comprehensive legislation under the current administration, ensuring that the contentious debate will carry on into the 2016 presidential campaign.

Republicans, emboldened by their sweeping victories in the midterms, are weighing responses to the president's actions that include lawsuits, a government shutdown, and in rare instances, even impeachment.

"The president will come to regret the chapter history writes if he does move forward," Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who is soon to become the Senate majority leader, said before Obama's address.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who has refused to have his members vote on broad immigration legislation passed by the Senate last year, said Obama's decision to go it alone "cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left."

The president spent months trying to gain a House vote on the Senate bill, frustrating immigration advocates and some Democrats who wanted him to instead take action on his own. While Obama had long insisted that his powers to halt deportations were limited, the White House began seriously exploring options for unilateral action.

Still, that process has been beset by delays, especially Obama's decision to hold off on announcing the executive orders until after the midterms. Some Democrats had feared that thrusting the immigration debate to the forefront of the campaign would hurt their chances of keeping control of the Senate, though the White House's delay ultimately did little to stem their defeats.

While Obama's measures are sweeping in scope, they still leave more than half of the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally in limbo. The president announced new deportation priorities that would compel law enforcement to focus its efforts on tracking down serious criminals and people who have recently crossed the border, while specifically placing a low priority on those who have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years.

He insisted that his actions did not amount to amnesty.

"Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time," he said.

The main beneficiaries of the president's actions are immigrants who have been in the U.S. illegally for more than five years but whose children are citizens or lawful permanent residents. After passing background checks and paying fees, those individuals can now be granted relief from deportation for three years and get work permits. The administration expects about 4.1 million people to qualify.

Obama is also broadening his 2012 directive that deferred deportation for some young immigrants who entered the country illegally. Obama will expand eligibility to people who arrived in the U.S. as minors before 2010, instead of the current cutoff of 2007, and will lift the requirement that applicants be under 31. The expansion is expected to affect about 300,000 people.

Applications for the new deportation deferrals will begin in the spring. Those who qualify would be granted deportation deferrals for three years.

Immigration-rights activists gathered at watch parties around the country to listen to the president announce actions they have sought for years.

"This is a great day for farmworkers. It's been worth the pain and sacrifice," said Jesus Zuniga, a 40-year-old who picks tomatoes in California's Central Valley and watched the speech at a union gathering in Fresno.

In New York City, however, a couple of protesters held "no amnesty" signs outside a New York union office where advocates of the president's plan were gathering to watch him and celebrate.

"We have a lot of unemployed Americans right now, and I don't understand why unemployed Americans can't be hired to do the jobs these illegals are doing," said John Wilson, who works in contract management.

The White House insists Obama has the legal authority to halt deportations for parents and for people who came to the U.S. as children, primarily on humanitarian grounds. Officials also cited precedents set by previous immigration executive actions by Democratic and Republican presidents dating back to Dwight Eisenhower.

A senior administration official said the decision to protect parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents is in line with an existing law that allows adult citizens to sponsor their parents for immigration. Obama's plan goes a step further because the sponsoring citizen doesn't have to be an adult.

GOP lawmakers disagree with Obama's claims of legal authority, calling his actions an unconstitutional power grab.

Republicans are weighing a range of responses, including filing legal challenges and using must-pass spending legislation this fall to try to stop Obama's effort. One lawmaker — Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama — has raised the specter of impeachment.

GOP leaders have warned against such talk and are seeking to avoid spending-bill tactics that could lead to a government shutdown. They say such moves could backfire, angering many voters and alienating Hispanics for the next presidential election.

___

Associated Press writers Erica Werner, Alicia A. Caldwell, Jim Kuhnhenn, Donna Cassata and Josh Lederman in Washington, Scott Smith in Fresno, California, and Jennifer Peltz in New York City contributed to this report.

GOP, Obama Tread a Delicate Political Path

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 20, 2014 - 6:31pm
Analysis: This much is clear: President Obama sets off an explosion with his plan to act on his own to change the nation’s immigration practices. What’s less clear is what happens next in Washington, Gerald F. Seib says.

Immigration Plan Seen Affecting Wages, Jobs

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 20, 2014 - 6:28pm
President Obama’s move to offer legal-worker status to undocumented immigrants will send unpredictable ripples through the economy, prompting many to seek higher paying jobs and heightening wage competition, economists say.

California tuition hike fight shifts

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 6:27pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California President Janet Napolitano prevailed Thursday in persuading the system's governing board to authorize five years of tuition increases, a politically risky move likely to ignite months of debate to determine if the costs ultimately fall on students or taxpayers.

Over the shouts of demonstrators and the opposition of Gov. Jerry Brown, the UC Board of Regents voted 14-7 to approve increases of as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years unless the state devotes more money to the 10-campus system.

Napolitano said the tuition hikes, which would increase the cost of a UC education by 28 percent by fall 2019, are needed to maintain the quality of the nation's largest public university system, promote stability and accommodate more students in the face of inadequate funding from Sacramento.

"I understand that the state operates on a year-to-year cycle. But we owe it to the university not to be prisoners of that cycle," the former Arizona governor told regents before the first of two votes on her five-year framework.

Approval shifts the question of whether the increases will be enacted or averted to Sacramento, where the governor and legislative leaders will start negotiating in January over the university system's budget for next year.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who joined Brown in voting against the hikes, predicted the talks would include trying to boost that funding beyond the additional $119 million now budgeted so a tuition increase in fall 2015 could be averted or reduced.

But Newsom said the gamble Napolitano took in trying to force the governor's hand without allowing time to consider alternatives could backfire.

"They have completely divided themselves and created a rift that I have not seen in four years between themselves and the governor and the Legislature, at a time when the governor was more amenable to more funding," Newson said. "This whole process was, I don't want to use the word despicable, but I will."

Former California Assembly Speaker John Perez, whom Brown appointed as a regent this week, said he thinks the proposal was a politically unsavvy and "cynical" move by Napolitano that was more likely to alienate elected officials than pressure them into boosting the system's budget.

"It's starting off with an overly contentious posture when there doesn't need to be one, contentious toward the governor and contentious toward the Legislature," he said.

Tuition rates have been frozen at the University of California for the past three years following a series of increases that have nearly doubled tuition since 2006.

Under the new plan, the average annual cost for a California resident would increase by $612 to $12,804 next fall and to $15,564 by fall 2019.

Other public universities have raised their tuition amid state funding cuts during the recession. But the rapid rate of the increases at UC, where higher education was once free and fees have historically been below the national average, has made the issue particularly contentious in California.

Brown, who earned his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and has made fiscal restraint a hallmark of his second stint as governor, is insisting that the university find a more frugal way of doing business.

He has suggested reducing costs by offering more online classes, requiring faculty members to devote more time to teaching instead of research, and curbing salaries for administrators and professors.

Napolitano and other UC leaders are resisting his suggestions, saying the ideas would destroy the university's standing as the nation's premiere public university.

They say the additional money is needed to cover rising employee retirement and health care costs, hiring more faculty members to lower class sizes and improve course availability, admitting more students, and increasing financial aid.

"It's really about the competing visions," UC Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom said. "We really want to increase access, we want to increase financial aid and we want to improve our quality."

Brostrom, who oversees the system's budget, said only students with annual family incomes above $175,000 would pay the entire increase, and more than half of all UC students would continue paying no tuition thanks to financial aid.

Students have called for the ouster of Napolitano and said they were angry about the tuition hikes and because the outcome seemed certain even before the proposal could be debated.

"Seeing you all come in laughing and smiling and talking about stuff made me sick to my stomach," tearful UC Davis student Amelia Itnyre, 23, told the board. "You should be crying, you should be praying, you should be figuring out what you are going to do to fix this."

2 suffer minor injuries in crash near Oxnard

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 6:23pm

From staff reports

Two people suffered minor injuries after a five-car crash Thursday near Oxnard, officials said.

Emergency personnel with the Ventura County Fire Department responded about 5:26 p.m. to a crash on North Harbor Boulevard and West Gonzales Road.

Tow trucks were requested for five cars after they collided on the south side of the Santa Clara River bridge on North Harbor Boulevard, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Two people suffered minor injuries.

Southbound traffic on North Harbor Boulevard was diverted to Telephone Road via Olivas Park Drive.

Ex-CEO Pleads Not Guilty in Mine Blast

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 20, 2014 - 6:22pm
A criminal case against former coal-mining executive Don Blankenship is already generating controversy after a judge imposed a broad gag order to find an impartial jury for the trial.

Anterra accepting more waste in wake of blast

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 20, 2014 - 6:09pm

The Anterra Corp. has temporarily expanded operations at its Oxnard plant because an explosion near Santa Paula has shut down the only other commercial facility for disposal of oilfield waste in the county.

Planning officials normally allow Anterra to accept no more than 24 trucks filled with nonhazardous oilfield waste per day. But they are allowing up to 64 until the Santa Clara Waste Water Co. resumes business.

Ventura County Planning Director Kim Prillhart predicted late Thursday that the daily cap of 64 would continue into next week because the Santa Clara facility is not ready to reopen.

Planning officials said they settled on the 40 additional loads because it equates to the normal level of business at the closed plant.

Doug Edwards, board chairman of Santa Clara Waste, said he doesn’t have a firm date for reopening but hoped it would occur by next week. He estimated the cleanup would only take six to eight hours but said that cannot begin until regulators investigating the incident give the OK.

Prillhart allowed Anterra to accept about 50 truckloads of waste Tuesday, the day that a truck exploded at Santa Clara’s treatment plant at 815 Mission Rock Road west of Santa Paula. About 100 were allowed the next day and 64 each day for the rest of the week.

Anterra also received an extension in operating hours during the emergency. The company may accept waste from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at its disposal site off Wooley Road instead of the normal 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., officials said.

Planning Manager Brian Baca said the exception will last only as long as the emergency does.

Anterra attorney Peter Goldenring said Thursday that the company is able to accommodate the increased truckloads despite recent layoffs.

About a fourth of Anterra’s staff of 40 lost their jobs after the Planning Commission upheld Prillhart’s determination that the company’s permit only allowed 24 truck trips daily. Anterra argued that the limit applied only to liquid-carrying tanker trucks and not all types of trucks.

The company is working closely with county officials to handle the emergency, he said.

Goldenring said Anterra officials are dismayed over the incident.

“This is a very scary thing, and we don’t want to wish this on anybody,” he said.

Anterra puts the oilfield waste fluid into the ground via injection wells, depositing it thousands of feet under the water supply. Santa Clara Waste sends the fluid through a pipeline to Oxnard. It is treated multiple times before being discharged into the ocean, Edwards said.

Ventura woman finalist in singing contest

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 20, 2014 - 6:06pm

A 24-year-old Ventura woman is a finalist in a national competition hosted by Disney and Kohl’s Department Stores to find the nation’s favorite singer of the song “Let It Go” from the animated movie “Frozen.”

Nani Edgar, a hula and ukelele teacher, in September submitted a video of herself performing the song and was notified in October that she had been selected as one of 10 finalists in the Sing Your Heart Out campaign.

“A lot of my family sent me emails about the contest because they know how much I love Disney and how I sing a lot of the tunes from Disney movies,” Edgar said.

“I know the song inside and out. I actually taught the song to the kids I teach because it’s easy to teach them the chords on the ukelele.”

Edgar, who graduated in spring from CSU Channel Islands with a degree in history, used her laptop computer camera to record herself singing the song and playing the ukelele.

She said she’d been told that performing it in Hawaiian style made her version original, and that’s one of the reasons she was chosen as a finalist.

The public can watch the videos and cast votes online at www.disney.com/frozenfriday until Sunday for their favorite performer and version of “Let It Go.”

The biggest vote-getter will be featured in a Kohl’s holiday commercial to be shown during the American Music Awards broadcast. The awards ceremony in the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live will be broadcast on ABC starting at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Edgar and the other finalists were brought by Disney and Kohl’s to Hollywood, where they spent five days performing their versions of the song live on stage and doing interviews that will be featured in commercials during the awards telecast.

“Each commercial will air sometime during the show, and whoever wins will get the main spot,” Edgar said.

“It was such an amazing experience, and I loved doing the on-camera stuff and performing. It was a blast.”

She said she plans to watch the awards show at home with her parents and a few friends.

Ventura real estate agent Heather Drucker’s 7-year-old daughter Emily has learned hula with Edgar, who also baby-sits Emily and her twin brother Nick.

Drucker said she’s thrilled to see Edgar getting all this attention.

“She’s a beautiful soul,” Drucker said. “She just lights up a room, and she’s just a joy to be around.”

“She’s got a really unique style and she really deserves this recognition.”

Ventura woman finalist in singing contest

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 6:06pm

A 24-year-old Ventura woman is a finalist in a national competition hosted by Disney and Kohl’s Department Stores to find the nation’s favorite singer of the song “Let It Go” from the animated movie “Frozen.”

Nani Edgar, a hula and ukelele teacher, in September submitted a video of herself performing the song and was notified in October that she had been selected as one of 10 finalists in the Sing Your Heart Out campaign.

“A lot of my family sent me emails about the contest because they know how much I love Disney and how I sing a lot of the tunes from Disney movies,” Edgar said.

“I know the song inside and out. I actually taught the song to the kids I teach because it’s easy to teach them the chords on the ukelele.”

Edgar, who graduated in spring from CSU Channel Islands with a degree in history, used her laptop computer camera to record herself singing the song and playing the ukelele.

She said she’d been told that performing it in Hawaiian style made her version original, and that’s one of the reasons she was chosen as a finalist.

The public can watch the videos and cast votes online at www.disney.com/frozenfriday until Sunday for their favorite performer and version of “Let It Go.”

The biggest vote-getter will be featured in a Kohl’s holiday commercial to be shown during the American Music Awards broadcast. The awards ceremony in the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live will be broadcast on ABC starting at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Edgar and the other finalists were brought by Disney and Kohl’s to Hollywood, where they spent five days performing their versions of the song live on stage and doing interviews that will be featured in commercials during the awards telecast.

“Each commercial will air sometime during the show, and whoever wins will get the main spot,” Edgar said.

“It was such an amazing experience, and I loved doing the on-camera stuff and performing. It was a blast.”

She said she plans to watch the awards show at home with her parents and a few friends.

Ventura real estate agent Heather Drucker’s 7-year-old daughter Emily has learned hula with Edgar, who also baby-sits Emily and her twin brother Nick.

Drucker said she’s thrilled to see Edgar getting all this attention.

“She’s a beautiful soul,” Drucker said. “She just lights up a room, and she’s just a joy to be around.”

“She’s got a really unique style and she really deserves this recognition.”

Snowstorms Pound Buffalo Again

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 20, 2014 - 6:04pm
A new blast of lake-effect snow pounded Buffalo, N.Y., piling more misery on a city already buried by an epic, deadly snowfall that could leave some areas with nine feet of snow on the ground when it is all done.

Police arrest suspect in Simi Valley burglaries

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 20, 2014 - 5:59pm

Police arrested a Simi Valley woman in connection with residential burglary after a search warrant was served at her home Thursday, officials said.

Teresa Housley, 47, was identified as the suspect in several residential burglaries that occurred in June in the 4500 block of Apricot Road.

Detectives served a search warrant at Housley’s residence in the 2600 block of Kadota Street and found property identified as stolen in the June burglaries. They also found $20,000 worth of jewelry stolen from a casino in Primm, Nev., Wednesday night, authorities said.

Housley was booked into county jail in connection with two counts of residential burglary and felony possession of stolen property.

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Police arrest suspect in Simi Valley burglaries

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 5:59pm

Police arrested a Simi Valley woman in connection with residential burglary after a search warrant was served at her home Thursday, officials said.

Teresa Housley, 47, was identified as the suspect in several residential burglaries that occurred in June in the 4500 block of Apricot Road.

Detectives served a search warrant at Housley’s residence in the 2600 block of Kadota Street and found property identified as stolen in the June burglaries. They also found $20,000 worth of jewelry stolen from a casino in Primm, Nev., Wednesday night, authorities said.

Housley was booked into county jail in connection with two counts of residential burglary and felony possession of stolen property.

Click here for more crime-related content.

New consignment store opens

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 5:58pm

San Francisco Bay Area based clothing retailer Fillmore & 5th, which focuses on high-end consignment clothing for men and women, has opened a store in Westlake Village.

The store, the chain’s fifth, opened Thursday at 30750 Russell Ranch Road.

Fillmore & 5th is known as the “big sister” company to Berkeley-based buy-sell-trade retailer, Crossroads Trading Co. The stores carry items from designers like Lanvin and Missoni, Kate Spade and Tory Burch.

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Shoppers can follow the brand’s Instagram feed to snap up items. Those who want to sell items can make an appointment to bring them in during buying hours or leave pieces at the store for valuation and a follow-up quote via email.

The store is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 818-706-0700 for an appointment.

Three stores to open at The Collection

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 5:53pm

Professional skateboarders will meet with fans Saturday when action sports retailer Active Ride Shop opens its newest store at The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard.

Chris Cole, Mikey Taylor, Matt Miller, Mike Mo, Wes Kremer, Davis Torgerson, Cyril Jackson and T-Funk will attend the grand opening that begins at 9 a.m. at 600 Collection Blvd. There will a team signing at 2 p.m.

The store offers a variety of action sports items including clothing, shoes, skateboards and related equipment, and snowboards. There will gift cards for the first 150 people in line and special rewards for those who spend more than $100.

The grand opening is one of three set Saturday at the shopping center.

Kriza Aveda Salon also will hold a grand opening, while M. Fredric will host a one-day sneak peek before its official opening next week on Black Friday.

Kriza Aveda Salon, which opens its doors at 10 a.m., will give first-time guests a free $40 gift card toward their first color and cut-hair service. The salon offers hair care, skin care, makeup, perfume and styling for women and men.

M. Frederic, a clothing store, will hold a sneak peek from 1-9 p.m.

The Collection is at 2751 Park View Court near Highway 101 and Oxnard Boulevard.

 

Ventura hires assistant city manager

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 20, 2014 - 5:41pm

The city of Ventura has hired a Ventura native with experience working in multiple city governments as its new assistant city manager.

Dan Paranick, who spent the last four years in the same position in Camarillo, will start Dec. 8.

"I'm excited about returning to work in a full-service city and being part of the team that finds solutions to help realize the full potential of Ventura," he said in a news release announcing the hire.

Unlike Camarillo, Ventura has its own fire and police departments.

Paranick will work with City Manager Mark Watkins and other department heads.

Watkins said Paranick's "professional experience and knowledge of citywide business operations will allow him to hit the ground running and help us meet the goals directed by the City Council."

Paranick also spent time in Simi Valley and as budget coordinator for Maricopa County's Office of Management and Budget in Arizona. He also worked with the Mono County Administrator's Office and the city of Beverly Hills.

Paranick holds a master's degree in public administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA.

More than 90 people applied for the job, the release said.

The city eliminated the assistant city manager position from the 2013-14 budget to cut costs.

The council voted to reinstate funding for the position in the 2014-15 budget. The position has been vacant since September 2013, when James Mason was laid off.

Ventura hires assistant city manager

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 5:41pm

The city of Ventura has hired a Ventura native with experience working in multiple city governments as its new assistant city manager.

Dan Paranick, who spent the last four years in the same position in Camarillo, will start Dec. 8.

"I'm excited about returning to work in a full-service city and being part of the team that finds solutions to help realize the full potential of Ventura," he said in a news release announcing the hire.

Unlike Camarillo, Ventura has its own fire and police departments.

Paranick will work with City Manager Mark Watkins and other department heads.

Watkins said Paranick's "professional experience and knowledge of citywide business operations will allow him to hit the ground running and help us meet the goals directed by the City Council."

Paranick also spent time in Simi Valley and as budget coordinator for Maricopa County's Office of Management and Budget in Arizona. He also worked with the Mono County Administrator's Office and the city of Beverly Hills.

Paranick holds a master's degree in public administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA.

More than 90 people applied for the job, the release said.

The city eliminated the assistant city manager position from the 2013-14 budget to cut costs.

The council voted to reinstate funding for the position in the 2014-15 budget. The position has been vacant since September 2013, when James Mason was laid off.

Fed Launches Review of Practices for Supervising Big Banks

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 20, 2014 - 5:30pm
The Federal Reserve launched a sweeping review of how it supervises big banks amid growing criticism that its process for policing Wall Street isn’t effective and stifles internal dissent.

Mobile home park residents get some help

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 20, 2014 - 5:25pm

About a dozen residents of Ranch Mobile Home Park in Thousand Oaks will get repairs to their homes, new appliances and improved landscaping over the next several months, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County and the Home Depot Foundation.

The residents getting a helping hand are military veterans or spouses of veterans, some of whom are elderly and frail.

Volunteers gathered Thursday at the mobile home park on Los Feliz Drive to begin the first of several planned work days.

The Home Depot Foundation provided a $20,000 grant to pay for the materials needed for projects that included repairing a wooden porch that was in danger of collapsing, strengthening handrails on steps up to homes, paving uneven concrete walkways and upgrading landscaping with small rocks, pebbles and plants.

Volunteers over the next few weeks also will install water heaters and furnaces, air conditioning and heating units, and energy-efficient refrigerators and stoves.

“Habitat just wants to make sure that people can age in their homes and feel comfortable and safe in their homes, and it’s nice that the community comes together and realizes the need and makes sure that simple things are taken care of,” said Chris Grasso, on-site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County.

“To see the joy and peace it brings to them is worth more than any paycheck,” he said.

Barbara Brown, who’s lived at the mobile home park for six years, has a small air conditioning unit in her home but has no furnace.

“I can’t afford a furnace,” she said. “I have those little plug-in heaters, but that’s very expensive.”

Brown, whose late husband, Marvin, served with the Army in the Korean War, couldn’t believe it when she learned the program was going to install a new central heating and air conditioning system for her.

“That’s astounding. I would think I’ve died and gone to heaven,” she said. “I appreciate it very much.”

Margaret Riggs, 83, has lived in the mobile home park for 10 years.

“I’m getting a new refrigerator, and I’m going to have rocks put in for landscaping for water conservation,” she said.

Her late husband, Clyde, was a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam.

“I think it’s great that someone is doing something for vets. I don’t think we’ve treated our vets well, and so this is great. And the volunteers have a great attitude about them. They’re really nice,” she said.

Retiree Chuck Brinkman, of Newbury Park, is a regular volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and is working on projects at mobile home parks throughout Ventura County.

“This is what Habitat is all about, helping the most in need who have the least resources,” he said.

Brinkman and Larry Carignan, of Thousand Oaks, worked together Thursday to strengthen a damaged handrail for steps leading up to the door of a home of a resident who uses a walker to get around.

Carignan is a member of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, which also has contributed funds to support Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County’s projects to help mobile home park residents locally.

Across the way from Brinkman and Carignan, half a dozen Home Depot employees were replacing a crooked sidewalk, leveling a wooden deck and installing new landscaping around another home.

“This is impacting so many people. It’s very rewarding,” said Mike Prete, of Ventura, who works in customer service at the Camarillo Home Depot.

Mobile home park residents get some help

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 20, 2014 - 5:25pm

About a dozen residents of Ranch Mobile Home Park in Thousand Oaks will get repairs to their homes, new appliances and improved landscaping over the next several months, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County and the Home Depot Foundation.

The residents getting a helping hand are military veterans or spouses of veterans, some of whom are elderly and frail.

Volunteers gathered Thursday at the mobile home park on Los Feliz Drive to begin the first of several planned work days.

The Home Depot Foundation provided a $20,000 grant to pay for the materials needed for projects that included repairing a wooden porch that was in danger of collapsing, strengthening handrails on steps up to homes, paving uneven concrete walkways and upgrading landscaping with small rocks, pebbles and plants.

Volunteers over the next few weeks also will install water heaters and furnaces, air conditioning and heating units, and energy-efficient refrigerators and stoves.

“Habitat just wants to make sure that people can age in their homes and feel comfortable and safe in their homes, and it’s nice that the community comes together and realizes the need and makes sure that simple things are taken care of,” said Chris Grasso, on-site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County.

“To see the joy and peace it brings to them is worth more than any paycheck,” he said.

Barbara Brown, who’s lived at the mobile home park for six years, has a small air conditioning unit in her home but has no furnace.

“I can’t afford a furnace,” she said. “I have those little plug-in heaters, but that’s very expensive.”

Brown, whose late husband, Marvin, served with the Army in the Korean War, couldn’t believe it when she learned the program was going to install a new central heating and air conditioning system for her.

“That’s astounding. I would think I’ve died and gone to heaven,” she said. “I appreciate it very much.”

Margaret Riggs, 83, has lived in the mobile home park for 10 years.

“I’m getting a new refrigerator, and I’m going to have rocks put in for landscaping for water conservation,” she said.

Her late husband, Clyde, was a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam.

“I think it’s great that someone is doing something for vets. I don’t think we’ve treated our vets well, and so this is great. And the volunteers have a great attitude about them. They’re really nice,” she said.

Retiree Chuck Brinkman, of Newbury Park, is a regular volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and is working on projects at mobile home parks throughout Ventura County.

“This is what Habitat is all about, helping the most in need who have the least resources,” he said.

Brinkman and Larry Carignan, of Thousand Oaks, worked together Thursday to strengthen a damaged handrail for steps leading up to the door of a home of a resident who uses a walker to get around.

Carignan is a member of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, which also has contributed funds to support Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County’s projects to help mobile home park residents locally.

Across the way from Brinkman and Carignan, half a dozen Home Depot employees were replacing a crooked sidewalk, leveling a wooden deck and installing new landscaping around another home.

“This is impacting so many people. It’s very rewarding,” said Mike Prete, of Ventura, who works in customer service at the Camarillo Home Depot.

Republicans Unsure of Response to Immigration Plan

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 20, 2014 - 5:21pm
Republicans nearly unanimously agree the president’s solo action on immigration will be a mistake. But there is no such consensus yet on how they will respond to it.
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