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Nurse Debra Lawry Daisy Award winner

Every day Debra holds the hands of patients who have just been diagnosed with cancer.

Community Memorial Health System is proud to announce that Registered Nurse Debra Lawry is the health system’s most recent DAISY Award winner.

Created in 1999, the DAISY Award is a special recognition that honors extraordinary nurses internationally who demonstrate clinical expertise, provide skillful, compassionate care, and go above and beyond for patients and family members. The DAISY Foundation was established by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at the age of 33 from complications of an autoimmune disease. During his eight-week hospitalization, Barnes’ family was awestruck by the care and compassion his nurses provided to Barnes and his family. The family created a foundation in Barnes’ memory to recognize extraordinary nurses everywhere who make a difference. Today, over 2,700 healthcare facilities in all 50 states and 18 countries give DAISY awards.

Every day, Debra Lawry holds the hands (literally and figuratively) of patients who have just been diagnosed with cancer. In her role as Cancer Patient Nurse Navigator at the Community Memorial Health System Cancer Resource Center, she guides patients through the diagnosis, treatment and cancer recovery processes, serving as a vital source of education, support and friendship along the way. Lawry goes above and beyond for her patients, often attending appointments with them and spending extra time ensuring they feel truly supported on their cancer treatment journey.

Many patients have called Lawry their “angel,” and have said they aren’t sure how they would have gotten through treatment without her. Lawry is always willing to provide her co-workers with education or moral support as well, and she works hard to broaden her knowledge so she can provide the latest and most accurate information to patients and coworkers.

To nominate an extraordinary nurse from Community Memorial Health System for a DAISY Award, go to Learn more at

Thirteen young women are 2018 Debutantes!

All of the young women are high school seniors.

Seven local young women were introduced at the 61st Annual Las Patronas Tea. The Tea was held at the home of Mrs. Stephen Resnik in Camarillo.The girls were presented to the members of Las Patronas, an auxiliary of Assistance League of Ventura County and their guests.

The Tea is a first in a series of events that will culminate in the Las Patronas Debutante Ball on March 10, 2018 at the Ventura Beach Marriott.
Proceeds from the Ball are used to benefit Assistance League philanthropies, including Assistance League School, Girls Club/Teen Club, B.U.F.F.Y. Bear Program and Operation School Bell®.

All of the young women are high school seniors, the debutantes represent seven high schools in Ventura County. In their high school careers, they have distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, leadership, the arts, and philanthropic service.

The following are the Ventura 2018 Debutantes:
Miss Jacqueline King, daughter of Mr. and and Mrs. Joseph King. She attends Buena High School.
Miss Sadie McCormick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jack McCormick. She attends St. Bonaventure High School.
Miss Lauren Powell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Powell. She attends Ventura High School.

Christopher Beck joins Ventura Family YMCA Board of Directors

The Ventura Family YMCA is proud to announce that Christopher Beck has joined the Board of Directors.

Chris is a community leader who concurrently serves as General Counsel for the Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura and as Counsel for the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara. Public agency attorney versed in administrative law and process; nonprofit law; litigation; Brown Act; Government Claims Act; unlawful detainers; contracts; real estate transactions – financing, purchases, and sales; municipal and planning law; grand juries; public art contracts; Fair Housing Act claims and enforcement; Americans with Disabilities Act; and, other general legal counsel.

For more information at the Ventura Family YMCA, visit or call 642-2131.

Vol. 11, No. 8 – Jan 17 – Jan 30, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• The Thomas Fire, which began more than six weeks ago and became the largest wildfire in modern California history, is now fully extinguished. The blaze consumed 281,893 acres in both Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, destroyed 1,063 structures, most of which were in Ventura.

Infrared and helicopter sightings did not locate any active flames or heat in the fire area after the rainstorm.

Even though the Thomas fire is now completely out it is really difficult to feel good because of what has happened to our neighbors and friends in Montecito, where about 25 people have died from mudslides.

We all feel very attached to Montecito, as many of us go there to have dinner or to walk around their wonderful downtown. After visiting the Santa Barbara Zoo, many people drive through Montecito to get on the freeway.

This is a town of only about 10,000 residents, so the financial and personal impact on the city is overwhelming.

Roy Rohter, who founded St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, died in the mudslide. Ironically, Rohter’s daughter graduated from Thomas Aquinas College, from which the name Thomas Fire came from.

Sadly, many residents had received voluntary evacuation notices but decided to stay. I’m sure with future potential disasters, authorities will deliver many more mandatory evacuation notices. Some people, in mandatory evacuation areas, refuse to leave. The answer may be to always err on the side of caution and leave whether voluntary or mandatory.

We were all happy when 2017 ended and were looking forward to a new start in 2018, and then this tragedy happened. When people ask me how I am doing, I find it is difficult to say, “I’m doing well” even though these dual tragedies has no serious direct impact on me. But the loss of many friends’ homes and the deaths in Montecito makes it difficult to feel very good these days.

• There are many Venturan’s complaining and wondering why there was not adequate water while fighting the Thomas fires. We must remember that this was the largest fire in the recorded history of California. It would be almost impossible or economically feasible to prepare for a fire of this magnitude. We are attempting to find out exactly why this occurred and what future solutions might be.

This would be a similar event to experiencing 30 inches of rain in 24 hours. It would be impossible to prepare for that type of scenario also.

• Reminding you that Harrison customers can get four free bulky item pickups each year.

• Impossible to believe that even this President would use the term s—hole to describe other countries. 41% of immigrants from the s—-hole country of Africa who are over 25 years old have bachelor’s degrees compared to 32% of US born citizens. And, 16% have master’s degrees or above compared to 11% of US born. Both percentages are higher than immigrants from Norway.

Conspiracy 101: First “they” caused and controlled the Thomas Fire and the winds that spread it. Then, “they” seeded the clouds by contrails and caused the heavy rains which resulted in many deaths. Who are “they”? We are not sure but the rumor is “they” are a group of 12 that control the entire world, including perhaps 2 Martians. What “they” gain from this is not clear.

The workmanship on the Ash overpass is deplorable.

• We are all happy that the construction on the freeway overpass at the end of Ash is now complete. But the workmanship is deplorable. I mistakenly thought that this was a City of Ventura project and complained to the wrong people, but it is a Caltrans project. I am attempting to find out more from Caltrans about who the contractor was and if they have been paid. The concrete work is awful, and the handrail looks as if it was installed by someone who had been drinking too much.

And, it’s hard to believe that painting of the overpass wasn’t included in the Caltrans contract. I’ve been in contact with our City Council and hopefully, even though the bridge is not owned by Ventura, can have it painted as it certainly reflects on Ventura.

• The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has stated their opposition to new offshore oil and gas leases in the Pacific Ocean. This is based on the announcement by Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, that the federal government plans to open up the Pacific coast to new oil and gas drilling for the first time in 30 years. The plan was made possible by President Trump’s April 2017 executive order opening up the offshore plans already in place.

This is a bad idea for many reasons, one being the fact that we now have a glut of oil in this country and do not need further ocean drilling. No company has shown any interest in doing this.

• As reported on some news outlets, “Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old Jewish student at the University of Pennsylvania who went missing from his parents’ Southern California home, has been found dead.” What the h— does the fact that he is Jewish have to do with this tragedy? Would it have been reported that “Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old Presbyterian student” or “Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old Catholic student” was dead? Of course not.

The sad part is that his death is being investigated as a homicide and his friend that he was with has been arrested as a suspect in his death. The religion of his friend was not reported.

The need to continue to support each other

Michael White has been a long-term member of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team.

Going Forward
by Jennifer Tipton

Filling in as the acting Disaster Services Coordinator for Ventura County Behavioral Health for just several months, Michael White had already been a lead in Behavioral Health’s Disaster Response Team for several years and a long-term member of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team.

In the event of a disaster, Michael and his staff respond to the individuals who have experienced a traumatic event, such as the recent Thomas Fires. Michael states, “the orientation that we take is psychological first aid (P.F.A.), it’s not therapy or trauma counseling, it’s a first aid response that entails listening, validation and normalizing their reaction to the event. We provide education and resources to help them establish a plan.” The teams also provide debriefing to the responders.

Michael is overcome with how rapidly his team acted, “the staff came together with administration even though some were directly affected by the fire themselves.” Teams were mobilized immediately after their initial meeting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, December 5th and over the course, a total of 478 staff have filled 121 assignments with over 3,000 hours response time collectively.

“From a mental health perspective, I’ve learned a lot about the sheer generosity and resilience of this community, many people had a strong support group already in place and the need for mental health services was minimal”, Michael said.

Although the immediate crisis has subsided, Michael states the next phase will be slower, but his team will still be responding to community needs. “It’s going to shift, people that have held it together during the initial crisis may struggle in the coming weeks”, he said and he wants us all to be aware that just because someone appeared to be doing well initially, the overwhelming support we saw at first has now subsided and some individuals are left very much alone. He warns, in the next couple months, we’ll see who needs additional support, so we still need to keep an eye out for our neighbors and added one last thought,

“whenever there’s tragedy, there’s always an opportunity for hope and positive change.”

If you or someone you know has a mental health emergency or seeking services, please don’t hesitate to call the 24 hour crisis assessment referral line: (866) 998-2243.

Vol. 11, No. 8 – Jan 17 – Jan 30, 2018 – Harbor Patrol Blotter


10:57am, received a dispatch to a water rescue near 1600 Anchors Way Drive. Officers were on patrol and responded from near the breakwall. After a brief search, officers discovered a Standup paddler swimming his board towards the Marina Park dock. The paddler refused assistance.

10:48pm, received a dispatch to a fall victim at the Ventura Marina Community. Officers responded and assisted Ventura Fire/AMR with an 88 year old male who was transported to local hospital for moderate injuries.


4:00pm, received a dispatch to a person bleeding at Harbor Cove beach. Officers responded and found a 37 year old male who hit his head on the steering column. He sustained large lacerations on his forehead, was treated and transported to the lot where AMR transported him to local hospital.

11:00pm, while on patrol, officers issued warnings for several violations to a fisherman hoop netting for lobster in the harbor entrance.


7:45pm, while on patrol officers discovered an inflatable with 3 POB’s. Their voyage was terminated for no PFD’s and no navigation lights.


11:50am, received a dispatch to a traffic accident, vehicle into a hydrant. Officers responded and assisted Oxnard fire/AMR with the patient who was transported to local hospital for further evaluation. The water had to be turned off by Ventura city and the vehicle was towed.

11:55pm, received a dispatch to an unconscious person at the Comedy Club in the village. Officers responded and found an intoxicated/upset female. The female’s boyfriend was contacted and he arranged to have her picked up.


10:20am, received a report of a hazard to navigation approximately 1 mile offshore from a NOAA vessel. Officers responded and retrieved a metal 55 gallon trash can from the water.


11:23am, observed a commercial fishing vessel entering the Harbor at an excessive amount of speed. Officers responded and issued a warning for the violation to the captain of the vessel Prince Victorio.

Vol. 11, No. 8 – Jan 17 – Jan 30, 2018 – Police Reports

by Cindy Summers

Police reports are provided to us by the Ventura  Police Department and are not the opinions of  the Ventura Breeze. All suspects mentioned  are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty  in a court of law.

Robbery & Assualt with Deadly Weapon Arrest

On December 31 at 1:30pm, the Ventura Police Command Center received a 911 call of a possible stabbing that had just occurred at the Family Discount Store, at 107 W. Main Street. Officers, along with Ventura City Fire and AMR personnel responded to the scene and located two stabbing victims. The first victim, a female employee of the store, had sustained a small laceration to her face and hand. The second victim, a male passerby, was found to be suffering from non-life threatening stab wounds to the neck and upper torso.

During the investigation, officers learned the suspect, later identified as 29 year old Ventura resident Gilbert Ortiz, had entered the store and began to select merchandise from behind the front counter. The female clerk confronted Ortiz and asked him to leave the store. Ortiz produced a knife and lunged over the counter at the clerk, cutting her on the face and hand. A male passerby witnessed this act and confronted Ortiz who proceeded to stab him in the neck and torso.

A security guard, assigned to the surrounding shopping center, witnessed this crime and followed Ortiz as he fled out of the store on foot. Ortiz turned on the security guard, brandished the knife and threatened to harm the guard. Fearing for his safety, the security guard discontinued his pursuit.

Officers were able to obtain security footage of the crime and recognized Ortiz as the suspect. Officers located Ortiz in front of a residence in the 300 Block of Olive Street a short time later and took him into custody without incident.

Identity Theft and Grand Theft Arrest

On December 21, 2017 the victim was at the Ventura City Hall to conduct some business. When he left he inadvertently forgot his backpack which contained a laptop computer, personal documents, and credit cards on a counter. When the victim realized this, he returned to city hall but found that his backpack had been taken.

Ventura Street Crimes Detectives reviewed video surveillance from city hall as well as a gas station where the suspect used the victim’s credit cards.

Detectives recognized the suspect as 49 year old Ventura resident Susan Plechner who is currently on probation for narcotic related offenses.

On January 3 at 2:30pm, Street Crimes Unit detectives located Plechner at a residence in Santa Paula. She then led the detectives to the whereabouts of the stolen backpack she had hidden in her garage on North Bank Dr.

Bicycle Theft Sting Operation Arrest

On January 5 at 3pm, Detectives from the Ventura Police Departments Street Crimes Unit conducted a bike theft sting at the Von’s Shopping Center at 2764 E. Thompson, due to the fact several bike thefts have occurred in the area.

After a bait bike was left in the area, a known narcotics and property crimes offender, 41 year old Ventura resident Jason “Hornz” Garner, rode up to the area on his bike, which was later believed to be stolen as well. Garner waited until customers in the area had passed, then stole the bike and attempted to flee through the parking lot, but was apprehended after a short pursuit. Garner was then taken into custody without further incident and booked into the Ventura County Jail.

Due to an increase in bicycle thefts, the Ventura Police Department is asking the public to register their bicycles after purchase. For more information, visit or our Facebook page.


On December 29, at approximately 7pm, the Ventura Police Department Command Center received a call of shooting victim in the parking of the Northbank Plaza in the 2800 block of Johnson Dr. Patrol officers, along with Ventura City Fire and AMR personnel, responded to the call and found a 25- year-old male victim suffering from a life threatening gunshot wound to his torso. He was treated at the scene by Ventura City Fire personnel, and immediately transported to VCMC. The suspect was last seen by witnesses fleeing the scene westbound on foot.

During the investigation, detectives spoke to witnesses who described a verbal altercation between the victim and suspect just before the shooting. Based on witness statements and security camera video obtained by Ventura PD Detectives, the suspect was identified as 21 year old Santa Paula resident Josue Rizo.

On January 3rd, 2018, an arrest warrant was issued for Rizo for attempted murder. On January 4th, 2018, LAPD patrol officers located Rizo inside a vehicle in the 9100 block of Sharp Avenue in Arleta, California, and took him into custody. A firearm believed to be used in the crime was recovered during the arrest.

Fire/storm updates by City Council

by Burris DeBenning

While a strong, rainy cold front descended on Ventura, city staff provided updates at the Monday, January 8 City Council meeting on preparations underway for possible storm debris flows and the latest efforts with the Thomas Fire recovery. A very positive and articulate interim City Manager, Dan Paranick, conducted a presentation in conjunction with Public Works on Ventura’s preparations for this and future rain events and how the recovery process is on-track.

Mr. Paranick emphasized that city staff took this storm and future winter fronts very seriously by opening the city emergency operations center, coordinating with the Red Cross on an overnight evacuation center at Ventura College and notifying Westside, Downtown and Midtown residents of a voluntary evacuation that would be followed up by mandatory notices via VCAlert if necessary. Prescient news, especially since many people died in mudslides in Montecito.

“The watershed here is Priority 1A due to the potential rain impact,” said Mr. Paranick. The city has five key goals to meet this challenge: evacuation, response, emergency protective measures, long-term mitigation and protective measures “Sandbags ran out, so we made sure these were immediately replenished before the rain arrived later Monday evening,” he said. Residents in specific neighborhoods who may face debris flows because of the Thomas Fire were contacted by the city.

Clifford Tully, Public Works Director, presented a comprehensive storm mitigation plan along with engineering models that consider several scenarios, such as a 100-year or 10-year storm. Mr. Tully conveyed to several council members who asked about the areas of concern in the model, such as Ondulando and Clear Point storm drains, that the city and county are working together on preventative and recovery actions and even have storm patrols out at city hot spots to warn residents and officials about clogs and flooding.

Thomas Fire recovery has completed important milestones, according to Mr. Paranick, the highlight being President Trump’s declaration of the burn zones as a major disaster area, which opens the door to well-needed FEMA federal funding. The toxic substance removal phase is now 75% completed and the collection and dispensing of recyclable materials will begin on January 15.” We’ll also have town halls after the recycle assessment after the 18th of January,” said Mr. Paranick.

In addition, the City Attorney Greg Diaz reminded council that a curfew is still in effect in hillside burn areas until dangers have been removed by official personnel. For rain emergency issues, log onto and for recovery information, the website is