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KVTA Local News

Rey Fire Approaches 30,000 Acres

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo courtesy USFS)

The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County was put at 29,664 acres Tuesday morning.

Fire officials say it's 30% contained.

They expect what they describe as "extreme burning" on the fire's eastern flank as it moves towards the Dick Smith Wilderness" area.

There are more than 1400 personnel assigned to the fire.

The steep, rugged, terrain limits the ability to build containment lines so a lot of the containment will be based on allowing the fire to burn to natural fire breaks.

In this case, the fire has approached the area burned out by the 2007 Zaca Fire.

Aircraft, including water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft dropping fire retardant.

The fire started last Thursday north of Paradise Road in the Santa Ynez Valley and has burned mainly in remote areas.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

So far it's not been a threat to populated areas but wind shifts have sent smoke and ash towards southern Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

Major Sex Trafficking Ring Busted

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff's Department)

The authorities say that a sophisticated sex trafficking operation that kept more than two dozen Chinese women in what amounted to slavery at motels throughout Central and Southern California has been brought down following a six month investigation that began in Ventura County.

Five people from Los Angeles County have been arrested and millions of dollars seized in connection with the human trafficking organization that conducted business through Internet ads.

The victims, women in their 30's and 40's, were brought into the United States on what appeared to be legitimate visas and then forced to work providing sex to customers at motels in eight California counties, including Ventura County.

It was a prostitution sting at one of those motels in Ventura County that morphed into a major local, state and federal agency investigation into the organization that operated like a well organized company.

Ventura County authorities say the leaders of the sex ring allegedly laundered the profits through real estate transactions while the victims were beaten and abused and mired in debt created by charging them for the basic necessities of life plus the costs of conducting business.

The authorities say most of the victims spoke little or no English and were forced to work from early morning until late at night, never being allowed the leave the motel room.

The five suspects who were arrested in connection with operating and controlling the operation were identified by the authorities as 40-year-old Hsin Chieh "Jerry" Wang of Covina, 33-year-old Defung Hu of San Gabriel, 42-year-old Yiwen Wang of Covina, 63-year-old Jiuyin Cui of Rosemead, and, 32-year-old Runan Xia of Alambra.

All were booked into the Ventura County Jail on $5 million bail each.

Laut Sentenced To 50-Years-To-Life In Prison

KVTA News Tuesday August 23, 2016

(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News of Laut family and prosecutor at courthouse)

The Oxnard woman convicted of killing her Olympic medalist husband seven years ago was sentenced Tuesday to 50-years-to-life in prison.

A jury had earlier found 59-year-old Jane Laut guilty of first degree murder in the August 2007 shooting death of her husband Dave Laut at their Oxnard home.

She had claimed the killing was in self defense after years of spousal abuse but the jury did not buy that story.

Dave Laut's family was in court and spoke at the Tuesday sentencing hearing saying his good name had been dragged through the mud in a defense effort to justify what had happened.

The sentencing came a day after the defense lost a bid to seek a new trial on the basis of an appellate court ruling in another case regarding the scope of expert witness testimony on the issue of spousal abuse.

The defense still plans to appeal the conviction and sentence on several grounds.

Santa Barbara County's Rey Fire 27,096 Acres

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

(Photo by Mike Eliason, SB County Fire shows Ventura County Copter 6 against a massive smoke cloud from the Rey Fire)

**Updated---Drift smoke from the "Rey Fire" could impact Ventura County**

Updated--The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County has grown to 27,096 acres as of Monday evening.

It is 30% contained with its most active and explosive flank heading east and northeast towards the Dick Smith Wilderness area.

Almost 1400 personnel are assigned to the fire with nighttime efforts limited by the steep, rugged terrain.

Daytime operations are dominated by retardant-dropping fixed wing aircraft, including a DC-10, and water-dropping helicopters including one from Ventura County.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for the campgrounds north of Paradise Road near where the fire started on Thursday afternoon.

The fire continues to produce massive smoke clouds that can be seen over a wide area, but officials say it is still burning in remote areas far away from population centers.

Cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Deputies Check Up On Registered Sex Offenders

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

Ventura County Sheriff's deputies spent Saturday checking up on registered sex offenders in several areas of the county.

They conducted compliance checks from 8 AM to 2 PM in Fillmore, Ojai, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark as well as the unincorporated areas near those contract cities.

They checked up on 37 registered sex offenders to make sure they were living where they were supposed to and were in compliance with the terms and conditions of their sex offender status.

Of the 37, 35 were verified to be in compliance.

Deputies say of the two others, one of them, 58-year-old Robert Chrysler of Ojai was allegedly found to be out of compliance and arrested for the felony offense of failing to report that he had moved.

The other person was not located because he had moved and deputies will do follow up to see if he is out of compliance.

These compliance check sweeps are conducted in every jurisdiction in the county on a regular basis and are financed through a special grant that can only be used for doing this.

Residents can check up on registered sex offenders by using the Megan's Law website www.meganslaw.ca.gov

Ojai Woman Arrested For DUI In Wrong Way Crash

KVTA News Monday August 22, 2016

The California Highway Patrol says an Ojai woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI-alcohol following a wrong way driving traffic collision on the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara Sunday night.

They say it happened as the vehicle driven by 22-year-old Amanda Rose Valenzuela of Ojai was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the 101 starting around Garden Street in Santa Barbara around 8:14 PM.

The CHP alleges that her vehicle caused or was involved in several vehicle crashes just south of Mission Street.

They say Valenzuela was the most seriously injured person in the incident, receiving moderate injuries when her vehicle collided head on with another vehicle.

She was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where she was arrested by the CHP.

The drivers of five other vehicles, including residents of Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Clarita, and San Francisco, either had minor injuries or were not injured in the incident. 

The incident blocked the middle and left lanes of the SB 101 at Mission for about a half hour Sunday night.

Rey Fire In Santa Barbara County 21,172 Acres

KVTA News Sunday August 21, 2016

(Photo courtesy of Ventura County Air Unit-Gibraltar Reservoir Lake in foreground)

The "Rey Fire" in Santa Barbara County continues to grow, but officials say despite the large, ominous, smoke cloud that can be seen from Ventura County, populated areas are still not threatened.  

As of late Sunday afternoon, the fire has grown to 21,172 acres with only 20% containment.

Fire officials say the steep, rugged and remote location of the fire makes night operations difficult.

They say the fire continues to grow on its eastern flank.

There are 1260 personnel from several different agencies involved in battling the blase.

The fire started Thursday afternoon north of Paradise Road and burned towards the northwest.  

Campgrounds in that area were evacuated, displacing several hundred people.

Paradise Road remains closed, but Highway 154 is open.

One Dead, One Injured, In Crash Near Santa Paula

KVTA News Sunday August 21, 2016

(Photo courtesy Air Squad 8

Updated--One person is dead, another injured, in a head on crash on Highway 150 near Steckel Park north of Santa Paula.

The crash happened short after 2 PM Sunday and involved two vehicles.

Both the person who died, and the other who suffered moderate injuries, had to be extricated from the wreckage by firefighters.

Ventura County Air Squad 8 responded to the scene but was released after it was determined that the person who was injured would be taken to the hospital by ground ambulance.

The crash and the emergency vehicles that responded blocked the roadway backing up traffic on Highway 150 in that area.

The roadway was reopened around 5 PM

The CHP and Ventura County Medical Examiner's Officer will investigate the crash.

No name or other details have been released yet.

Santa Barbara Wildfire More Than 13,000 Acres

KVTA News Saturday August 20, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Air Unit)

Updated--The "Rey Fire" burning in Santa Barbara County is now more than 13,000 acres.

Officials say that while the fire has been producing large smoke cloud that can be seen over a wide area, it is still burning very far away from populated areas and is not a threat.

The latest information is that containment remains at 10% and that 550 firefighters are assigned to the blaze.

The fire is burning in the Los Padres National Forest near the Santa Ynez Valley in remote and rugged terrain.

The fire started Thursday afternoon near Paradise Road and grew quickly to the northwest.

Several hundred people, mainly campers, were evacuated when the fire broke out.

There are firefighters from the USFS, Santa Barbara County Fire and other agencies battling the fire.

Cause of the fire is unknown, but there was a report of a downed power pole near the point of origin.

First Confirmed Case Of Zika Virus In Ventura County

KVTA News Friday August 19, 2016

Ventura County Public Health Officials said Friday they have confirmed the first case of the Zika Virus in Ventura County.

Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin said it is a female who is not suspected of being pregnant.

He added that with most people who contract the virus her symptoms were mild and did not require hospitalization.

This case makes 171 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in California.

While the mosquito that transmits Zika Virus is NOT thought to exist in Ventura County, residents should use this as an opportunity to protect themselves against mosquito bites and other viral diseases by practicing the “Three Ds”:

1. DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Insect repellents should not be used on children under

two months of age.

2. DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

3. DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property by emptying flower pots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact the County mosquito and vector control agency in the Environmental Health Department.

Santa Barbara Wildfire Grows To 3000 Acres

KVTA News Friday August 19, 2016


(Photos courtesy Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

The Rey Fire in Santa Barbara County has grown to 3000 acres in the Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Ynez Valley.

It is still only 20% contained, but crews have been making progress towards increasing containment lines in remote and rugged terrain.

More than 500 firefighters from the USFS, Santa Barbara County Fire and other agencies have been battling the blaze since it was reported Thursday afternoon around 3 PM.

Several hundred people were evacuated from scattered residences and campgrounds in the area.

The fire initially closed Highway 154, but it was reopened Thursday night.

Paradise Road remains closed.

Cause of the fire was under investigation but the point of origin appears to be near a downed power pole.

Two firefighters were injured Thursday.

For officials updates: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4971/

Plane Make Emergency Landing Near Camarillo

KVTA News Friday July 19, 2016

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Aviation Unit-Copter 8)

A small single engine plane with two people on board made an emergency landing east of Camarillo.

It happened around 12:30 PM Friday in a field south of Santa Rosa Road and west of Hill Canyon Road in the Santa Rosa Valley.

The plane was headed to Camarillo Airport when it lost power.

There were no injuries.

Ventura County's Jobless Rate Jumps Up In July

KVTA News Friday July 19, 2016

The unemployment rate in Ventura County increased to 5.8 percent in July from 5.4 in June.

That's still below the 6.1 percent recorded in July of last year and it's slightly below the statewide average in California of 5.9, but above the 5.1 percent national average.

From June to July, Ventura County lost 6800 jobs, 4500 of those in non-farm sectors.

The only sectors showing an increase in jobs from June to July were construction (100), trade transportation and utilities (100), and, professional and busines services (500).

All other sectors show either declines or no change from June to July with government leading the way with 4700 fewer jobs.

Education and health services showed a decline (100).

Meanwhile, looking over the past 12 months, Ventura County gained 4300 jobs, all but 100 of them in the non-farm sector.

The sectors that gained jobs during the past 12 months included professional and business services (1300), education and health services (1300), leisure and hospitality (1900) and government (1500)

All other sectors showed declines or no change during the past 12 months.