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    Healing Garden Community Memorial remembers Borderline victims

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    By Michael Hernandez

    THOUSAND OAKS—The City Council approved a grant agreement with the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) for constructing a $250,000 healing garden community memorial to remember the 12 victim families and the 248 survivors of the Nov. 7 Borderline Bar and Grill shooting at Conejo Creek North (1379 East Janss Road)—the city’s largest, most centrally located, and most used park.

    The healing garden is anticipated to be completed by the first year anniversary. Some 26 family members of the 12 victim families participated with the City, CRPD, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the Thousand Oaks Police Department, Cal Lutheran University and other community leaders to plan the community memorial.

    City Councilmembers were told that the main objective in planning the healing garden was “to provide a natural quiet and reflective place for visitors to pause, reflect and heal.”  The community memorial will have 12 boulders (for the victims) overlooking the pond as well as 12 granite stone benches and 248 pavers to remember the Borderline survivors.

    The money for the memorial garden comes from the City’s General Fund and will be used for construction.  The Conejo Recreation and Park District will take responsibility for construction and ongoing maintenance of the healing garden.  The motion for the grant agreement passed 4-0 with Mayor Rob McCoy absent.

    City Council approves benefits and compensation for Executive Managers

    The City Council approved benefits and compensation for the city’s 10 executive managers (Assistant City Manager, City Clerk, Community Development Director, Cultural Affairs Director, Deputy City Manager, Deputy City Manager Department Head, Finance Director Human Resources Director, Library Services Director and Public Works Director) since they are not covered by a collecting bargaining agreement or contract.

    Low Monthly Salaries range from $10,096.24 (City Clerk) to a High Monthly Salary of $21,453.51 (Assistant City Manager) with each classification title having a low, midpoint and high salary amount.  (Editor’s Note:  The above figures do not reflect what these two executive managers are earning.)  The approved amount reflects a 1.5 percent range adjustment at the midpoint level.  Merit pay adjustments can range from 0 to 3.5 percent.

    Executive Managers receive a cafeteria plan monthly contribution of $830; a monthly car allowance of $461; a monthly health plan contribution of $435; a City cell phone or a monthly stipend of $75.

    Youth Commission Annual Report presented to City Council

    The Thousand Oaks Youth Commission serves as an advisory body to the City Council on all matters relating to local youth and is comprised of 15 members:  13 youth ages 13-18 and two adult commissioners—a Conejo Recreation and Park District Youth Outreach Worker and the Conejo Youth Employment Services Director.

    The Thousand Oaks Youth Commission meets on the first Wednesday of every month and has their meeting broadcast live on TOTV from 6:30-7:30 p.m.  The Youth Commission also hosted several guest speakers on a variety of youth-relevant topics.   They also have social media pages on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

    Highlights of the year included:

    • Participation in the National League of Cities 2018 City Summit in Los Angeles held at the Los Angeles Convention Center participating with members from other Youth Councils across the nation as well as various city councilmembers, mayors and other elected officials. Six youth delegates participated in such sessions as My Brother’s Keeper Panel & Discussion; The Power of the Youth Voice; Using your Voice After High School, Building Confidence in your Power to Create Change; and a Municipal Leader Social/Local Democracy Conference Workshop.
    • Participation in the Conejo Substance Prevention Committee Reality Parties on Oct. 20 and April 27 with each event attended by 300 parents.
    • Executed two $5 Friday Art Nights on Dec. 7 and May 10 at the local Art Trek studio in Newbury Park.
    • Therapeutic Dance on March 30 for young adults with special needs at the Thousand Oaks Teen Center with a theme of “A Night by the Campfire” with over 150 guests and volunteers.
    • Provided teen volunteers for the April 27 Thousand Oaks Arbor Day festival hosting three booths: recycled bottle caps creating a mosaic; a bottle tree sculpture; and Bikes for Success.
    • Youth Recognition Awards on May 23 that recognized youth volunteer activities with 76 awards out of 102 nominees. Two high school candidates (Maya Chan and Emily Nagamoto) and one middle school candidate (Audrey Arce) were chosen for Youth of the Year.
    • CITY (Community Internships Training Youth Program) which partners with California Lutheran University, Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, Conejo Valley Unified School District, Ventura County Office of Education and the Conejo Youth Employment Services to offer 59 interns at 30 workplace locations this summer. The interns work a minimum of 60 hours and attend five summer career and life skills classes held at Cal Lutheran University to receive five units of credit. 

    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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