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EJ Harrison

Working Together for a Better Environment
Carrots for Kids

Picture: Bob Mucica, left, chairman of the FOOD Share Board of Directors, and Agromin’s Bill Camarillo, visit with members of the Boys and Girls Club of Ventura who are learning how to grow vegetables with the help of Agromin’s “Carrots for Kids” kits.

Agromin, which manufactures premium soil and gardening products from green waste collected by Harrison Industries, is helping area children learn how to grow their on vegetable gardens through a donation to FOOD Share, Ventura County’s regional food bank.

Agromin has donated 300 “Carrots for Kids” gardening kits that FOOD SHARE is distributing through its
Share’s Kid’s Café, an after-school and summer program designed to feed boys and girls who may not get enough food at home. Children are receiving the kits at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Ventura and Oxnard as well as at the Many Mansions after-school program in Thousand Oaks.

Each kit contains carrot seeds, a planter box with tray, plant labels, a planting instruction bookmark, a green recycling activity booklet, a pencil made of recycled wood, stickers and two, two-quart bags of planting soil. The kits are designed to teach kids ages 6 through 12 how food is grown and the importance of green waste recycling. The soil included with the kits contains recycled green material (i.e., lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs) collected from Ventura County yards and landscapes that is naturally composted before being placed into the potting soil bags.

“With the “Carrots for Kids” kits, children will learn how to grow their own nutritious food and understand the importance of green recycling for our community and the environment,” said Ann Sobel, general manager of FOOD Share.

Agromin President Bill Camarillo agrees, adding, “Although we live in an agriculture-rich county, many kids here don’t understand how vegetables grow. The kits give them the skills to grow their own food and appreciate what it takes for even a simple vegetable like a carrot to end up in their local market.”

The kits retail for $24.95 and can be purchased by visiting For every kit purchased online and “FOOD Share” is typed in the coupon box, Agromin will donate $5 to the nonprofit organization that feeds 38,000 adults and children each month through 220 certified charitable agencies throughout the county. For more information, go to

Harrisons Support Music Festivals

The 2006 Ventura Music Festival and the 2006 Ojai Music Festival both had outstanding seasons this year.

The 2006 Ventura Music Festival was a resounding success. Over 6 concerts were completely sold out - a first in Ventura Music Festival history! International names like Branford Marsalis, Cho-Ling Lin, Jennifer KOH, Chu-Fang Huang joined Artistic Director, Nuvi Mehta for a very special Festival for 2006.

2006’s theme “Stories in Music” reflected a unique blend of music and words including poetry, and drama,
which have inspired great composers through-out history in creating their music. From Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to modern Pulitzer Prize winning composer Paul Moravec’s Tempest Fantasy, audiences were thrilled.

As a special core value - the Ventura Music Festival’s great Artistic Director, Nuvi Mehta visited and taught MUSIC (this year the theme was “What is rhythm ?” ) to children in 22 Ventura schools! Mr. Mehta, a pianist, and a percussionist enjoyed the enthusiastic response from many children, including the Ventura Boys and Girls club which he also visited.

For the thousands of music lover’s, both classical and jazz, that attended this year’s Festival -- Ventura really had the welcome mat out. Art and Music Critic Rita Moran described this year’s festival as “a treat to the senses and a welcoming and friendly atmosphere typical of Ventura.” Plans are underway for another 2007 Festival of world class dimension.

Celebrating its 6oth anniversary, the Ojai Music Festival brought in record-breaking crowds this past June to recognize its rich and storied tradition. The Festival’s commitment to adventurous programming, its history of presenting the world’s great artists, its unique reputation for discerning and curious audiences, and doing all of this in the magical setting that is Ojai has created indeed a one-of-a kind musical experience in Southern California.

Described by the prestigious Financial Times of London as an “iconic” festival, Ojai enjoyed a daring program of music with acclaimed conductor Robert Spano as music director, who brought the Grammy-nominating Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus for its west coast debut. Helping redefine ne classical music and opera, composer Osvaldo Golijov’s passionate works Ainadamar, Ayre and Oceana were given remarkable performances by such musical luminaries as Dawn Upshaw, Luciana Souza, Gustavo Santaolalla, and eighth blackbird.

All of this would not be possible without the support of the businesses in our community including Harrison Industries, a long-time supporter of both Music Festivals. The commitment of local businesses and individuals to bring world-class music to Ventura and Ojai is a remarkable gift to all of us.

Clean Air Efforts

Picture: Ralph Harrison, left, President of Harrison Industries, and driver Rafael Cervantes, show off one of the trucks converted to LNG usage.

The California Air Resources Board has singled out Harrison Industries as being one of 20 refuse companies statewide to be ahead of schedule in meeting strict cleaner air regulations for its trash and recycling collection vehicles. Harrison has already retrofitted 27 of its fleet’s 51 vehicles with engines built between 1988 and 2002 (Group 1) with ARB-certified diesel oxidation catalysts that cut diesel particulate emissions almost in half. The ARB Refuse Rule, approved in September 2003, requires all refuse companies in the state to retrofit, or replace, at least half of their Group 1 vehicles by Dec. 31, 2006.

“We are excited to be ahead of schedule in meeting the strict cleaner air regulations in the state of California,” said Ralph Harrison, President of Harrison Industries. “We have taken an aggressive and multi-faceted approach towards minimizing the emissions from our trash and recycling fleet vehicles.”

Harrison added: “The trash industry has been faced with higher air quality standards than any other trucks running on the roads of California, and we are proud to be in compliance with the California Air Resources Board air quality regulations.”

Harrison said he expects the company’s 24 remaining Group 1 vehicles to be retrofitted well ahead of ARB’s Dec. 31, 2007 deadline for full compliance.

The ARB Refuse Rule further requires all companies to retrofit or replace the engines in all their vehicle engines by 2010.

ARB’s progress report on its Refuse Rule “contains very encouraging news,” said Catherine Witherspoon, CARB executive officer. The rule, she added, “is working effectively and is stimulating companies to accelerate emissions reductions.”

CARB estimated in 2003 that the Refuse Rule will eliminate 2.3 million pounds of particulate matter in the air in 2020.

Trucks fueled by LNG produce 50 percent less smog-producing oxides of nitrogen and 90 percent less soot than diesel-powered vehicles.

Sean Robledo Edgar, director of Regulatory Affairs for the California Refuse Removal Council, praises Harrison for its efforts to improve air quality.

“Whether through advanced alternative fuels and engines such as LNG and dual fuel, or cleaner diesel and retrofits,” Edgar said, “the Harrison fleet has consistently advanced cleaner technologies.”

Sons Serving Our Country

Picture: Ed Lopez points to Italy on a wall map in his office, where his son Eddie (bottom right) is stationed in the Air Force. His other son Gabriel is pictured on the top right.

To many Harrison Industries employees, it may not seem that long ago when Ed Lopez’s two sons were young tykes tagging along with their father in the maintenance yard. But Eddie and Gabriel have grown up in a hurry. Both are serving their country, having enlisted in the Air Force.

Eddie, 23, is a senior airman stationed in Italy, where he lives with his wife Carolyn and their three
children. He is involved in classified military intelligence. While previously stationed at the FE Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, Eddie took part in dismantling Peacekeeper missile nuclear warheads.

Gabriel, 21, is an airman stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, where he is a mobile communications specialist, helping set up phone lines as well as computer and radar systems, home and abroad. Last fall, he was dispatched to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck to help fix the city’s damaged communications infrastructure. Gabriel also spent two months in Bahrain, a tiny island
nation off Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.

“He’d worked a 20-hour shift there, and then he’d sleep in the dirt,” said Lopez, maintenance shop foreman for Harrison Industries and a company employee for 26 years.

While neither son has experienced combat, Lopez still worries. “I worry all the time,” he said. “I guess that’s parent’s instinct, to worry–no matter how old they are.”

Lopez is extremely proud of his sons and their accomplishments. He just wonders where they got their technological know-how. “I’m the dumb one in the family,” he said, laughing. “They didn’t follow my lead, that’s for sure.”

Both sons are seeing the world and learning valuable work skills. They are also learning a lot about history, particularly Eddie, who recently visited Adolph Hitler’s infamous Bavarian hideaway known as the “Eagle’s Nest.”

“Eddie said it was an eerie feeling stepping on the grounds that once belonged to the craziest son of a bitch there ever was,” Lopez said.

Lopez, his wife Lupe and 17-year-old daughter Sandra will be experiencing a lot of history themselves this summer. They’re flying in June to visit Eddie and his family and see as many sites in Italy and surrounding countries as they can in two weeks.

“I’ve never been to Europe before, and we’re all very excited, “Lopez said. “I’m going to take a lot of pictures, you can count on that.

Summer Fun in the Garden

The longer days of summer means more time spent in the back yard doing those chores that have accumulated over the winter. Remember if you recycle those trimmings from the trees and shrubs, your branches, leaves and the grass cuttings all of this can be turned into useful products for your garden. Doing the right thing is simple: put only green waste in your yard waste barrel—dirt, rocks, palm fronds and other contaminates like plastic bags makes it difficult to recycle the material into soil products. Also remember that those pots and flats that the plants come in can now be recycled in your blue recycle barrel.

California Wood Recycling processes the material into soil products such as mulches, compost, wood chips
and over 250 other specialized products for agricultural uses that fertilize plants and trees. The use of these
products have helped reduce the use of non-organic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides—making our local air and water cleaner—keeping green waste out of landfill reduces green house gases that is one of the major causes of global warming.

Cal Wood creates these custom products for retail gardening stores under its Agromin label. Products include PowerMix bagged soil products (planting mix, soil conditioner, potting soil and vegetable garden mix). Agromin also uses its soil products in four new seed planting garden kits: Culinary Herbs Garden Kit, Salsa Kit, Pesto Herb Kit and Carrots for Kits Gardening Kit. For information about ordering these products call (805) 650-1616 or visit or

Universal Waste Ban

New California regulations that went into effect last February ban state residents and small businesses from placing hazardous “universal wastes” such as batteries, fluorescent lights, thermostats and small electronics in their curbside trash containers.

In 2000, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) adopted new regulations governing “universal waste,” common household items that are deemed hazardous to people and the environment.

In order to allow city and county waste management agencies time to develop the procedures to handle
the new items, a four-year exemption from the rules was granted households and small businesses
(business with less than 50 employees). This exemption ended Feb. 8. As of Feb. 9, these products must be separated from the regular trash and collected for safe disposal.

The following are universal wastes that should not be placed in trash containers:

  • Common batteries (AA, AAA, C cells, D cells and button);
  • Automotive batteries;
  • Non-Empty aerosol cans that contain hazardous materials;
  • Fluorescent tubes and bulbs and other mercury-containing lamps;
  • Mercury thermometers and thermostats;
  • Electrical switches and relays;
  • Pilot light sensors;
  • Barometers, manometers, blood pressure and vacuum gauges that contain mercury;
  • Electronic devices such as televisions and computer monitors, computers, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios and microwave ovens.

Electronic Waste – commonly called E-Waste – is one of the fastest growing segments of our nation’s waste streams. Some researchers estimate that nearly 75 percent of old electronics are in storage, in part due to the uncertainty of how to manage the materials. Combine this with the increasing advances in technology and new products headed towards the market and it is no wonder that E-Waste is a popular topic.

The mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” applies to E-Waste. Reduce your generation of E-Waste through smart procurement and good maintenance. Reuse still functioning electronic equipment by donating or selling it to someone who can still use it. Recycle equipment or materials that cannot be repaired.

There are many easy-to-use programs for recycling obsolete E-Waste. At no charge, EJ Harrison‘s residential customers may recycle E-Waste at the following location:

Residential Drop-Off:
Limit of three items or 125 pounds
Gold Coast Recycling Center • 5275 Colt Street, Ventura
Mon – Sat (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) • (805) 642-9236 or



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Nan Drake
Harrison Industries

phone: 805-701-9809