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Category: Ventura County

Subfreezing temperatures, strong winds expected in L.A. area

PHOTOS: Snow dusts local mountains

Strong winds and subfreezing temperatures are expected in inland and mountain areas across Southern California on Thursday in the wake of a winter storm that dumped snow and rain on the region.

Temperatures are expected to range from the upper 20s to low 30s from interior valleys in San Luis Obispo County to the Antelope, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys in Los Angeles County, according to the National Weather Service.

PHOTOS: Snow dusts local mountains

The frigid temperatures are a result of a cold, dry air mass. The agency said crops, sensitive vegetation and animals need to be protected. Frost advisories were issued for inland valley areas from the Central Coast to the San Gabriel Valley.

Powerful northwest winds were blowing Wednesday night and gusts were expected to hit 50 mph to 60 mph in mountains in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, forecasters said.

On Wednesday morning, ice and snow blanketed mountain areas, forcing the California Highway Patrol to temporarily close Interstate 5 in the Grapevine area.

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Photo: Sheley Roberts shovels snow in a parking lot Wednesday at Lake of the Woods in Kern County. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Storm expected to bring cold rain, snow; road closures planned

A cold, blustery storm originating from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to move down the California coast Tuesday, creating traffic headaches in some places, authorities warned. 

Possible thunderstorms were expected to affect most of the Southland, bringing between one-tenth to half an inch of rain in most areas.

Snow could fall as low as 1,500 feet, and there was high potential for icy roadways, including Interstate 5 from the Grapevine to the Santa Clarita Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

Highway 14 through Soledad Canyon and Antelope Valley, Highway 33 in the Ventura mountains and Highway 138 through the Antelope Valley might also be difficult to pass, according to the National Weather Service.

For roads entering the Angeles National Forest, the L.A. County Public Works Department said it would begin closures at 3 a.m. Tuesday. The closures will affect the Angeles Forest Highway from Aliso Canyon Road to Angeles Crest Highway, Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Vogel Flats and Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Angeles Forest Highway to Angeles Crest Highway

Once the roads are closed, county officials warn, local access will not be permitted. The closures are to remain in effect until the storm system has passed and the roads have been inspected.

More information and updates can be found on the county’s website.

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Ventura County officials crack down on 'bath salts'

Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten in 2004. Credit: Los Angeles Times

When a woman smashed into a Moopark home with her car last June, police at first thought they were dealing with a garden-variety DUI.

Instead, the incident led Ventura County prosecutors to file charges against three alleged distributors of "bath salts" --  designer drugs that can cause psychotic episodes and are readily available in many head shops and on the Internet.

At a news conference Tuesday, Ventura County Dist. Atty. Greg Totten said the prosecution is likely the first of its kind in California. Cases involving bath salts have been difficult for prosecutors because manufacturers swiftly change the drugs' composition to stay ahead of legislation banning specific components.

The solution for Ventura County, Totten said, is to file "the same charges as if they were distributing and selling methamphetamine or ecstasy."

The local investigation led to Jonathan Kirk Riedel, in West Jordan, Utah. He has been extradited to Ventura County, where he is being held on $1 million bail, Totten said.

The other suspects are associated with two Doughmain head shops, in Moorpark and Thousand Oaks. They are Joshua Longfellow Wright, 36, and Brandon James Sarrail, 26.

"Bath salts" can be snorted, smoked or injected. They are also referred to with wink-and-a-nod designations like "ladybug attractants" or "window cleaners". They can come as pills, powders or liquids and often are packaged with names like "Bubbles" or "Vanilla Sky" that are thought to convey an exciting appeal. Some are marketed with images of popular cartoon figures, like Scooby-Doo.

Officials said the drugs cause long-lasting hallucinations and sometimes trigger violent outbursts. Raising body temperature, they can cause frantic users to remove their clothing. Authorities say the drugs are extremely addictive. 

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Photo: Ventura County Dist. Atty. Greg Totten in 2004. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Fillmore man who fatally shoots dog is shot dead by a deputy

Josue JimenezA Ventura County man who fatally shot a dog was shot and killed by a deputy, authorities said Thursday night.

Josue Jimenez, 33, allegedly had two handguns, one of which he fired after deputies arrived at the scene Wednesday afternoon in the 700 block of Blaine Avenue in Fillmore, according to authorities.

A deputy fired back, striking Ramirez with multiple rounds, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

"Deputies quickly realized the shot Jimenez fired was directed at a dog," the agency said in a statement.

Deputies performed first aid on the dog and Ramirez. The wounded animal was placed in a patrol car and rushed to a veterinary clinic in Fillmore, where it was pronounced dead, the agency said.

Jimenez was pronounced dead at a hospital. 

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Photo: Josue Jimenez. Credit: Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Neighbors heard shots during apparent murder-suicide in Oxnard

Residents of the densely populated Oxnard neighborhood where an apparent murder-suicide took place, killing three, heard the shots ring out Wednesday afternoon, they said.

“We got quite a number of calls from this area after the shooting,” Det. Luis McArthur of the Oxnard Police Department told the Ventura County Star.

Two women were found dead after police responded to a report of shots fired in the 1200 block of Hull Place about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

About 30 minutes later, police received another report of shots fired in the 200 block of south Marquita Street, where they found a man dead from a gunshot wound.

Hull Place is a residential neighborhood in Oxnard with apartment buildings and townhomes, as well as single-family homes near the Oxnard Airport.

Resident Frank Lorenzo said he was visiting a friend across the street from where the women lived when he heard what sounded like four shots, according to the Star.

“I didn’t get to see the person who shot them,” said Lorenzo as he stood among a group of onlookers standing near the crime scene Wednesday night. Helicopters hovered overhead.

The killings were the first homicides in Oxnard this year, police said.

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Motive unclear in apparent Oxnard murder-suicide that left 3 dead

Police are still investigating an apparent murder-suicide in Oxnard that left two women and a man dead, officials said Thursday.

The women were found after officers responded about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to a report of shots fired in the 1200 block of Hull Place, police said.

About 30 minutes later, police received another report of shots fired in the 200 block of south Marquita Street. They found a man dead from a gunshot wound.

"We have reason to believe that his wound was self-inflicted," Det. Luis McArthur told The Times.

He said investigators had not established a motive but suspected the slayings were related. The names of the dead were not yet released.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the department at (805) 385-7650.

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3 killed in suspected murder-suicide, Oxnard police say

Map shows area where two women were fatally shot in Oxnard.
Two women were shot to death and a man was also fatally shot in an apparent murder-suicide in Oxnard, police said Wednesday night.

The women were found after officers responded about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to reports of shots fired in the 1200 block of Hull Place, police said.

About 30 minutes later, police received another report of shots fired in the 200 block of Marquita Street. They found a man dead from a gunshot wound.

"We have reason to believe that his wound was self-inflicted," Det. Luis McArthur told The Times.

He said investigators had not established a motive but suspect that the slayings were related.

"Right now we have no reason to believe there is any immediate threat to public safety," McArthur said.

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Map shows area where two women were shot in Oxnard. Credit: Google Maps

San Diego breaks 103-year-old heat record

Kayakers at Dana Point Harbor enjoy summer-like weather
San Diego broke a daily heat record Tuesday that had stood for more than a century as temperatures in the 80s were recorded across Southern California.

Records were set elsewhere in the Southland, but the region was expected to begin cooling over the next several days as low pressure brings clouds and a possibility of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The high of 80 degrees in San Diego broke a record of 76 degrees for the date that had stood since 1910, according to the National Weather Service. 

A record high for the day of 84 degrees was recorded in El Cajon. The previous record was 80 degrees, which was set in 1979.

In Los Angeles County, UCLA topped out at 82 degrees. That broke a record high for the date of 79 degrees that was set in 1976, the weather service said. 

Camarillo Airport in Ventura County reached 82 degrees, breaking by one degree a high for the date  recorded in 1968.

The summer-like weather has been the result of high pressure, which was expected to give way to a cold front moving in from the northwest, forecasters said. The cold front was expected to generate a slight chance of rain Wednesday evening and below-normal temperatures by the weekend.

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Photo: Kayakers enjoy the warm weather Monday at Dana Point Harbor. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Teacher fired for porn work can appeal to return to classroom

Stacie HalasThe Oxnard teacher who was fired for appearing in porn movies has until Feb. 13 to decide whether to appeal a decision dismissing her from the classroom, school officials said.

The Commission on Professional Competence, in a 47-page report dated Jan. 3, found that Stacie Halas, 32, was unfit to teach eighth-grade science at Haydock Intermediate School and ordered her dismissal.

Although Halas filmed the scenes between 2005 and 2006, before she was employed at the middle school, the ongoing availability of the videos will continue to hamper her ability to be an effective teacher, Judge Julie Cabos-Owen wrote.

Halas can appeal the dismissal order to Ventura County Superior Court, her attorney Richard Schwab told The Times. He didn’t know if Halas would ask for an appeal.

On Wednesday, the Oxnard School District Board of Trustees moved to terminate her administrative pay as of Feb. 13. The board fired Halas in April after students discovered her pornographic films.

Halas then appealed the board’s decision to the Commission on Professional Competence, which ruled against her.

That’s “the last day for her to file an appeal in Superior Court, which runs for 30 days from the ruling,” said Tom DeLapp, school district spokesman.

“We have no indication whether she will pursue this option.”

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Photo: Stacie Halas. Credit: KTLA

Oxnard teacher fired for porn shoot losing her paycheck

The Oxnard teacher who was fired for making porn movies will be taken off administrative leave next month, effectively cutting off her paychecks.

Stacie Halas was fired in April after students discovered her pornographic films.

On Wednesday, the Oxnard School District Board of Trustees moved to terminate her administrative pay Feb. 13.

It’s the last day she can appeal a dismissal order from the Commission on Professional Competence to the Ventura County Superior Court. The commission found 32-year-old Halas unfit to teach eighth-grade science at Haydock Intermediate School and ordered her dismissal in a 47-page report.

That’s “the last day for her to file an appeal in Superior Court which runs for 30 days from the ruling,” said Tom DeLapp, school district spokesman. “We have no indication whether she will pursue this option.”

On Wednesday, Halas’ attorney said he wasn’t sure if she was going to pursue an appeal.

“I’m very disappointed,” Schwab said Wednesday.

“We believe Ms. Halas was very honest and forthright, but extremely nervous and embarrassed by her past," he said. "She’s obviously very disappointed and hurt.”

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