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EJ Harrison

Working Together for a Better Environment
Happy Thanksgiving from the Harrison Family!
The Harrison Family wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving! But Thanksgiving is more than just a large shared meal, it is a time to stop and think about how fortunate we are to be able to live and work in a country that allows us so much freedom of choice.

Last year we interviewed our employees about what they were thankful for. Almost to the letter, they mentioned that they were thankful that they had healthy and happy families and were looking forward to sitting down an enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner with them. They also mentioned that they were thankful for their jobs, enjoyed what they were doing and hoped that our troops all over the world would be home soon so that they could also celebrate with their families

The Harrison Family wishes for you and yours continued health and happiness and are very thankful that they still have their 95-year-old mother Myra, the company's co-founder, to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.

Are Plastic Bags "sacking" Ventura's Environment?
The shear numbers are staggering:
  • Over 19 billion single-use plastic bags distributed each year in California; that's over 500 bags per Californian.
  • Less than 5% of bags are recycled, the rest end up in the landfill or as litter in the environment.
  • Plastic bags in the environment eventually wind up in the ocean where they join a garbage patch in the Pacific twice the size of Texas and where there is 45 times more plastic than plankton.
  • Thousands of marine animals are harmed or killed each year due to plastic bags and other debris reaching the ocean.
  • Over 75% of all litter found in the Ventura River estuary is plastic, including a significant number of single-use plastic bags.

While a modern day convenience for many, single-use plastic bags have become a visual blight in Ventura's environment and a hazard to marine animals. But there are simple things that you can do to prevent plastic bag litter.

  • Opt for reusable bags! Reusable bags can be used many times, which conserves resources and eliminates plastic bag litter.
  • Reuse them! Reuse bags for picking up pet waste or lining trash cans at home.  
  • Recycle them! Grocery stores and other large retailers offer free recycling at the store. More than 800 million plastic bags were recycled in California last year.
  • Close the lid! Keep your trash barrel lid shut and bundle bags together so that they won't fly out and become litter.
  • Pick them up! If you see litter, even if it isn't yours, pick it up and throw it in the trash.
Let's work together to keep Ventura's environment beautiful!
Gold Coast Recycling Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Cities and County
Picture: Three generations of the Harrison family celebrated Gold Coast Recycling's 20th anniversary. They included, front row from left: Darren, Donnie, Danny and David Harrison. In back are Lynn and Myron Harrison, Caren Carlson, Jim, Ralph, George and Tom Harrison.

Gold Coast Recycling and Transfer Station, established in 1990 to help local cities and the County of Ventura meet state mandates to cut the amount of trash they send to landfills in half, held a 20th anniversary celebration on Oct. 27.

Gold Coast Recycling and business partner Harrison Industries honored the cities they serve – Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Ojai, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Santa

Barbara and Goleta – as well the Counties of Ventura and Santa Barbara, with Certificates of Appreciation during the event held at the state-of-the-art 75,000-square-foot facility in Ventura.

Ralph, Jim and Myron Harrison also presented certificates to representatives from several other government entities, school districts, regulatory agencies and businesses for helping the cities and county exceed the trash diversion goals of California Assembly Bill 939, passed in 1989. They included: California State University Channel Islands; Ventura College; the Ventura Unified School District; the Ventura Regional Sanitation District; the Channel Islands Beach Community Services District; Naval Base Ventura County; Ventura and Carpinteria State Beaches; the Limoneira Company, Agromin Premium Soil Products; the Ventura County Fair and local Chambers of Commerce.

In Gold Coast Recycling's first full year of business in 1991, it recycled 25,200 tons of materials; in 2009 it recycled 87,400 tons. As a result of the large increase, Gold Coast's franchise clients have exceeded AB 939's mandates.

Mark Leary, deputy director of permits and certification for CalRecycle, told the large audience that "Yeah, AB939 worked. Thanks for fulfilling the dream."

Presenting Gold Coast Recycling with special commendations were County Supervisors Kathy Long and Steve Bennett and representatives from the offices of Congressman Elton Gallegly and state officials George Runner, Pedro Nava, Audra Strickland and Tony Strickland.

Hundreds Get in the Swing at Ventura Boys & Girls Club Auction
Picture: George and Danielle Harrison enjoy themselves at the 43rd annual Great Auction put on by the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura.

Dancer-Choreographer Louis van Amstel of "Dancing with the Stars" fame did a wonderful job as Master of Ceremonies of the 43rd annual Great Auction on Nov. 6 that raised an estimated $177,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura.

The theme of this year's auction was, appropriately, "Dancing with the Stars of Tomorrow" with young members of the B&G club entertaining the crowd of about 300 patrons with their graceful ballroom moves around the dance floor. CEO Diane Koranda wants me to pass on her thanks to the House of Dance studio in Ventura for giving the kids dance lessons and the Fordney Foundation for – excuse the pun – footing the bill.

Harrison Industries was proud to present this festive event at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Hotel that also featured a champagne reception, live and silent auctions, gourmet dining, music by Karl Keller's "Sax and the City" jazz band and a special performance by Sandra Laby, the winner of the 2010 Oxnard Salsa Festival dance competition.

There were over 200 silent auction items. Live auction items included a female Shih-tzu Puppy with accessories; a diamond necklace; Lady Gaga backstage passes with hotel accommodations; a week's stay at a Desert Hot Springs Villa; gourmet dinner parties in private homes prepared by celebrity chefs; a week's stay by the sea; sport fishing trip for four to Cabo; a chalet in Switzerland; trips, sporting events; assorted gift baskets and wines. An after-party in the Aqua Lounge featuring Jodi Farrell and the Front Street Prophets followed the main event.

What a night! And what a great organization the Boys & Girls Club is! The club serves over 3,500 kids and their families at five sites in Ventura, Oak View and Saticoy. As they say, they are a "Positive Place for Kids."

Laura Ballesteros Thankful for Her 13-Year-Old ‘Miracle Baby'
Picture: Laura Ballesteros shows a picture of her "Miracle Baby" Andrew.

Laura Ballesteros says she has much to be thankful for – a loving family, a wonderful husband, three great children and two adorable grandchildren. She also loves her job as office manager for Harrison Industries, and in May will celebrate her 30th year with the company.

But not a day goes by that Laura gives special thanks for the continued good health of her youngest child Andrew – her "Miracle Baby."

Andrew weighed barely 1 pound when he was born four months prematurely and had an open chamber in his tiny heart that was pumping blood into his lungs. Doctors told Laura and her husband Jorge that Andrew had little chance of surviving and recommended removing him from life support.

"They said that even if he lived, he wouldn't be able to walk or talk," Laura remembered, before adding with a chuckle.

"But everything they said was going to happen was the opposite of what happened."

Luckily, the Ballesteroses refused to pull the plug. Andrew is 13 years old now and an eighth-grader at Frank Intermediate School in Oxnard. " Andrew's very active. He likes basketball and he likes video games a lot," Laura said. "He's starting to like girls. He's a regular kid."

Yes, there were early struggles. Andrew spent the first four months of his life in the hospital on a respirator, oxygen and medication. Three days after leaving the hospital, Andrew stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated. Before he was a year old, he also underwent a hernia repair operation and developed meningitis.

Laura said it wasn't until Andrew was 3 before doctors believed he would live a normal, healthy life. The Ballesteroses' medical bills over the years have been staggering, but fortunately they have been paid through insurance provided by Harrison Industries. Laura also appreciates the non-financial support the Harrisons have shown her and Andrew.

"If I had to take time off to take care of my son, or to take him to a doctor's appointment, they always said to go ahead," Laura said. "They've been so understanding."

As for Andrew, "He's come such a long, long way," Laura said. "He's made us a complete family."



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