Bee-loving in Ojai — for good reason

To report now and again for a small town newspaper means documenting something that happened or is happening in a small town, but sometimes what at first seems purely local turns out to be much bigger — even international in scope. From the Ojai Valley News: A move is under way in Ojai to loosen restrictionsContinue reading “Bee-loving in Ojai — for good reason”

A song and prayer for rain on a hot spring day in Ojai

In the first chapter of the climate book that caught the imagination of The Guardian (and myself), called This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein argues that we are entering an era of climate change cognitive dissonance: Meanwhile, each supercharged natural disaster produces new irony-laden snapshots of a climate increasingly inhospitable to the very industries most responsibleContinue reading “A song and prayer for rain on a hot spring day in Ojai”

Ojai fracking panel agrees: more transparency please!

Over the last four or so months I put together a panel on fracking for the Ojai Chautauqua, a centrist group that holds public forums/discussions on controversial issues at the Ojai Valley Inn. (Think I'm beginning to learn how to do it: This is the third such panel I put together this year, and theContinue reading “Ojai fracking panel agrees: more transparency please!”

CA drought hits home — in Upper Ojai

Or, to be precise, the drought hits my backyard. Yesterday the second of two enormous oak trees that have fallen in the same area in the past month came crashing down. About a year ago an even bigger and more beloved oak in vicinity split apart and fell. Here's a basic phone pic that givesContinue reading “CA drought hits home — in Upper Ojai”

Record CA drought hits illegal pot grows

From a story in last week's Ojai Valley News:

Three years ago, local narcotics officers eradicated about 168,000 marijuana plants from Ventura County's backcountry.

This year, they've found much less — closer to 100,000.

So is that good news or bad?

Neither, say law enforcement officials. California's historic drought is drying up more than just lakes and reservoirs, it's draining the creeks and aquifers far upstream — the ones that marijuana growers utilize to water their gardens, which often contain thousands of plants.

"We had one up in Coyote Creek … and half of the grow was abandoned," said Sgt. Mike Horne of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office (VCSO) Narcotics Bureau. "They're just running out of water." In another grow near the Ortega Trail, he added, "When we went to cut it, it was gone — the reservoir had dried up."

Arguably this is burying the lede. It's not a question of good news or bad news. It's simpler — the drought is devastating everyone, even the illegal farmers ready and willing to cut corners.We may recall the Biblical words from Matthew: the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. Here's a new version: the drought hits the law-abiding farmers and the unlawful farmer alike.

More detail from Misty Volaski, editor of the paper, below the fold, with a pic from a back country grow in Rose Valley busted last month.  


Harvesting the California drought: gold and wood

On the front page last Sunday the LA Times ran a story about how the drought — three years old in California, and now rated "severe" or worse in 100% of the state — had led to an upsurge in gold panning in streams and rivers. Such as the Kern River.  Researchers said last week thatContinue reading “Harvesting the California drought: gold and wood”

A spiritual retreat ruled by a cat: St. Barbara Monastery

Hidden in an oak woodland, across a bridge and over a stream, on Highway 150 not far from Thomas Aquinas College in Ventura County, can be found one of the least ordinary of sanctuaries for the traveler in search of spiritual renewal.

Everything you always wanted to know about drought*

Four of us from the Ojai Valley area, all concerned citizens from very different backgrounds, think that we need to talk frankly about the drought, and more, do what we can about it. Not just for ourselves, our properties, gardens, orchards, trees, lands, and wildlife, but also for our community.

Ojai has the oldest population in Ventura County: Study

Sometimes the news you would like to cover is not the news you encounter in a day at work — but it's still news. Here's just such a fact which tumbled, unannounced, from a 127-page assessment of Ventura County's overall health by its healthcare agency, in a major report released in December (2013), whose fundingContinue reading “Ojai has the oldest population in Ventura County: Study”

Global weirding 2013: same temp in Ojai as in Greenland

In Greenland this week, temperatures reached an all-time high: 80F.  The temperature in Ojai (in Southern California) today: 80F. WTF?  In Greenland, the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) gently suggested that climate change might have something to do with the high temperatures. As reported by Jason Samenow for the Washington Post:  The DMI says the warmthContinue reading “Global weirding 2013: same temp in Ojai as in Greenland”