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Mayor defines a full-service city

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 19, 2014 - 11:29pm

Q: What is the definition of a “full-service” city?

A: This question has come up at several of my “Coffee with the Mayor” events. People hear city staff and council members refer to Ventura as a full-service city and want to know more about what it means. A full-service city is one that delivers most or all of its local essential services. The city of Ventura takes pride in being a full-service city and provides our residents with nearly all public services, including police, fire, water, wastewater, parks, youth and senior recreation, stormwater, street maintenance, traffic management, building regulation and planning.

Alternatively, some cities receive water and wastewater service from a district, police and fire services from the county, and parks and recreation services from a special district.

Advantages of living in a full-service city include convenience, local control, excellent customer service and an enhanced relationship with municipal government through an array of opportunities. It also allows for a more coordinated response between departments.

Ventura has stretched every dollar it can to maintain the quality of public services we deliver. Services from the city’s general fund translate to just $2.28 a day for each resident, and our residents get a very good value for these services.

Property and sales taxes are the largest sources of the city’s $91.7 million general fund. The city of Ventura receives about 16 percent of every property tax dollar and 10 percent of every sales tax dollar to fund core day-to-day operations. Many of the services the city provides are mandated by law, essential to protecting public health and safety, support infrastructure maintenance or obligated by agreement. As financial steward, the Ventura City Council remains steadfast in its commitment toward long-term financial stability and continues to look for ways to deliver services in the most efficient way possible.

Ventura is like an old home that requires ongoing attention and improvements. As an older city, we are fiscally challenged with maintaining our aging infrastructure, but despite the work, the rewards are well worth it. Ventura is a unique and desirable community that offers ample opportunity to live a healthy, active lifestyle, and we are committed to providing the best level of service we can.

As a full-service city, I am very proud of the services and programs we offer. Whether you are a resident, or just visiting Ventura, I hope that you will join me in taking care of our city and making it stronger for the future of our children and grandchildren.

Visit http://www.cityofventura.net or http://www.facebook.com/thecityofventura to learn more.

Cheryl Heitmann is the mayor of Ventura

Teen drivers, parents invited to class

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 19, 2014 - 9:53pm

The California Highway Patrol and Ventura County Medical Center are joining to offer a free traffic safety class intended to help save teenage drivers’ lives, officials said.

The patrol said traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds, and the Start Smart program is designed to help combat that statistic by giving teens and their parents an understanding of the consequences of poor choices behind the wheel, officials said.

The class will provide teens and parents with information on defensive driving, traffic laws in California, the dynamics of traffic accidents, tips on avoiding traffic collisions, and awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence.

Click here for more county news.

The next Start Smart class will begin at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in Building 340, Suite 201, at the Ventura County Medical Center, 3291 Loma Vista Road in Ventura.

Call Steve Reid at 477-4100 or Elena Gutierrez at 652-5904 for more details or to make a reservation.

Low temps, rain showers in county forecast

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 19, 2014 - 9:46pm

Low temperatures and a possibility of rain showers are expected this week in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Temperatures in the mid to upper 60s are expected to last through the week. A low-pressure system is forecast to move through the region Thursday night into Friday morning bringing a possibility of a rain showers, said Scott Sukup, a meteorologist with the agency.

“If we do get any it’ll be a couple hundredths of an inch,” Sukup said.

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Winds are expected to return to the area Friday night and last through Saturday, Sukup said.

A high surf advisory remains in effect for west-facing county beaches. A large westerly swell generated by the winds from a low-pressure system in Alaska is generating the high surf. Swells between 5 feet and 8 feet are expected, the meteorologist said.

Dangerous swimming and surf conditions are associated with the high surf. The weather service advises anyone caught in a rip current to swim parallel to the shore until free of the current. The high surf advisory remains in effect until 7 a.m. Thursday.

Low temps, rain showers in county forecast

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 19, 2014 - 9:46pm

Low temperatures and a possibility of rain showers are expected this week in Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Temperatures in the mid to upper 60s are expected to last through the week. A low-pressure system is forecast to move through the region Thursday night into Friday morning bringing a possibility of a rain showers, said Scott Sukup, a meteorologist with the agency.

“If we do get any it’ll be a couple hundredths of an inch,” Sukup said.

Click here for more county news

Winds are expected to return to the area Friday night and last through Saturday, Sukup said.

A high surf advisory remains in effect for west-facing county beaches. A large westerly swell generated by the winds from a low-pressure system in Alaska is generating the high surf. Swells between 5 feet and 8 feet are expected, the meteorologist said.

Dangerous swimming and surf conditions are associated with the high surf. The weather service advises anyone caught in a rip current to swim parallel to the shore until free of the current. The high surf advisory remains in effect until 7 a.m. Thursday.

El Rio man arrested after high-speed chase

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 19, 2014 - 9:26pm

An El Rio man was arrested Tuesday night after leading police on a high-speed chase from El Rio to Moorpark, officials said.

The chase began just after 9 p.m. in el Rio. The motorcycle the man was driving crashed about 9:30 p.m. in the 300 block of Moorpark Avenue. Soon after the crash he was taken into custody after leading officers on a foot pursuit, police said.

Deputies with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office attempted to arrest the man in connection with a felony warrant before the chase began.

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Hugo Cisneros, 32, of El Rio, was arrested in connection with unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, driving without a license, resisting arrest, felony evading and possession of burglary tools, police said.

Cisneros was booked into county jail but posted a $65,000 bond and was released Wednesday. He is due in court Dec. 2 in connection with Tuesday’s charges but will be due back in court again on Nov. 25 and Jan. 21, 2015 in connection with two prior charges.

El Rio man arrested after high-speed chase

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 19, 2014 - 9:26pm

An El Rio man was arrested Tuesday night after leading police on a high-speed chase from El Rio to Moorpark, officials said.

The chase began just after 9 p.m. in el Rio. The motorcycle the man was driving crashed about 9:30 p.m. in the 300 block of Moorpark Avenue. Soon after the crash he was taken into custody after leading officers on a foot pursuit, police said.

Deputies with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office attempted to arrest the man in connection with a felony warrant before the chase began.

Click here for more crime-related content.

Hugo Cisneros, 32, of El Rio, was arrested in connection with unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, driving without a license, resisting arrest, felony evading and possession of burglary tools, police said.

Cisneros was booked into county jail but posted a $65,000 bond and was released Wednesday. He is due in court Dec. 2 in connection with Tuesday’s charges but will be due back in court again on Nov. 25 and Jan. 21, 2015 in connection with two prior charges.

House flipping profits drop in Ventura County

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 19, 2014 - 9:18pm

In Ventura County, house flipping profits continue to drop from last year.

The average return on investment in the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metropolitan statistical area was 8 percent in the third quarter of 2014, down from 28 percent a year ago, market researcher RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

The report shows 4.8 percent of total home sales in Ventura County were flips, or homes bought and sold within 12 months. That’s down 47 percent from the third quarter of 2013 and 29 percent from the previous quarter.

Nationwide, 26,947 single family homes were flipped in the third quarter of 2014, representing 4 percent of all U.S. single-family home sales, down from 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and down from 5.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

Click here for more county news.

Nationwide, investors averaged a gross profit of $75,990 per flip on homes flipped in the third quarter of 2014, a 36 percent gross return on the initial investment, which does not include rehab costs and other expenses. The average gross return was up from 35 percent in the second quarter but down from 37 percent a year ago.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said flipping has returned to its historic norm as home price appreciation cools in many of the hot flipping markets across the country.

“Meanwhile, the record-high average profits per flip in the quarter demonstrate that flippers are still filling an important niche in an aging housing market with historically low levels of new homes being built,” he said. “The most successful flippers are buying older, outdated homes in established neighborhoods and rehabbing them extensively to appeal to modern tastes.”

House flipping profits drop in Ventura County

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 19, 2014 - 9:18pm

In Ventura County, house flipping profits continue to drop from last year.

The average return on investment in the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metropolitan statistical area was 8 percent in the third quarter of 2014, down from 28 percent a year ago, market researcher RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

The report shows 4.8 percent of total home sales in Ventura County were flips, or homes bought and sold within 12 months. That’s down 47 percent from the third quarter of 2013 and 29 percent from the previous quarter.

Nationwide, 26,947 single family homes were flipped in the third quarter of 2014, representing 4 percent of all U.S. single-family home sales, down from 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and down from 5.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

Click here for more county news.

Nationwide, investors averaged a gross profit of $75,990 per flip on homes flipped in the third quarter of 2014, a 36 percent gross return on the initial investment, which does not include rehab costs and other expenses. The average gross return was up from 35 percent in the second quarter but down from 37 percent a year ago.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said flipping has returned to its historic norm as home price appreciation cools in many of the hot flipping markets across the country.

“Meanwhile, the record-high average profits per flip in the quarter demonstrate that flippers are still filling an important niche in an aging housing market with historically low levels of new homes being built,” he said. “The most successful flippers are buying older, outdated homes in established neighborhoods and rehabbing them extensively to appeal to modern tastes.”

University of California Is Set to Raise Tuition

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
Despite protests and a last-ditch effort by Gov. Jerry Brown to block an increase in costs, the University of California Board of Regents approved a plan to raise tuition 27.6 percent over five years.

Reaction to Uber Tactics Highlights Tech Journalists’ Fine Line Between Critic and Booster

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
Comments by an Uber executive about spying on a tech journalist have roiled the outspoken, competitive and often conflicted group of publications that cover Silicon Valley.

Nutcrackers: Masters of the Hard Shell

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
Chris Cosentino, a San Francisco chef, shops for practical and aesthetically pleasing nutcrackers.

Meet Jaysea DeVoe, One of the Youngest Yoga Teachers in the United States

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
Ms. DeVoe, 13, is among the youngest yoga teachers in the United States and something of a minor celebrity in her local yoga community.

Open With Care (for Nordic Design)

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
Ana Denmark founded Skandicrush to sell Scandinavian housewares by subscription. Her name is a happy accident, or maybe destiny?

Chrysler Unveils a More-or-Less New 300

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
With a significant midcycle refresh of its 300 sedan, Chrysler tries to boost flagging sales.

Ford Unleashes a Powerful Mustang

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
The sixth-generation Mustang gets Shelby treatment, including a 500-plus-horsepower V8 engine and track-oriented components.

Uber Scandal Highlights Silicon Valley’s Grown-Up Problem

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
The core values of start-up culture can conflict with the responsibilities that come with being an economically important company.

An Open-Air Bentley With Upper-Crust Roots

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
Bentley introduced the Grand Convertible concept, a version of its Mulsanne flagship, at the show on Wednesday.

Audi’s Prologue Concept Marks New Styling Direction

New York Times - California News - November 19, 2014 - 9:00pm
The company says the car’s design will influence the next generation A8, A7 and A6.

National Book Award Goes to Phil Klay for His Short Story Collection

NY Times Books - November 19, 2014 - 8:50pm
Mr. Klay won the fiction award for his debut collection, “Redeployment,” which draws on his experience as a Marine who served in Iraq.






R.A. Montgomery, 78, Dies; Published Choose Your Own Adventure Series

NY Times Books - November 19, 2014 - 8:18pm
Mr. Montgomery recognized the potential of a book that let the reader choose between two actions and endings.
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