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Soldiers call it the POW Camps of PTSD

Since 2010 thousands of veterans and their families have walked into the Reins of Hope arenas and found the only safe space they know. Today, service men and women face serious re-integration challenges and traumas that can lead to tragic consequences.  22 veterans a day, on average, take their lives.

Reins of Hope is a local non-profit offering equine-assisted mental health services throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura County. The H.O.P.E. for Warriors program addresses the challenge of treating the effects of trauma by using qualities and sensitivities of the horse in an alternative therapeutic form.

Because horses are prey and herd animals, they are highly attuned to subliminal energy and hyper-alert to their environment, similar to those suffering from PTSD.

Like horses, veterans on the battlefield experience extra anxiety and awareness of threats that can be a lifesaver. When veterans return home, many can’t leave that mindset and their instincts prevent them from living in the civilian world.

Michael, an Army captain who did two tours in Iraq, was one of them, he stated.

“Resilience is not just a buzzword, it’s a way of life. Equine therapy saved my life. I was broken and depressed and after 6 years of gradually going downhill physically and mentally, I had no idea what to expect from therapy. I figured I was going to wash horses and do farm work. If you have never been hugged by a horse, I highly recommend it.  I don’t know what happened in that arena, I just know it works.”

Support those still living with the effects of combat and donate to H.O.P.E. for Warriors Program online at or  633-9199.




The Rotary Clubs to collect and distribute coats and jackets

The Rotary Clubs of Ventura and Ventura South and Four Seasons Cleaners plan to collect and distribute 6,000 coats and jackets of all sizes until December 31 to keep children and adults warm and dry this winter.

Collection boxes were distributed to businesses, schools, government centers and public parks in Ventura County the week of November 1. Members of the Rotary Clubs of Ventura (Downtown), and Ventura South, collect the donated coats and jackets, deliver them to Four Seasons Cleaners for cleaning and then distribute them to service organizations and schools in the community. Some of the beneficiary organizations include Boys & Girls Club of Oxnard and Ventura, Project Understanding, The Rescue Mission, The Salvation Army, local churches, the county Sheriff’s Departments and Casa Pacifica.

Last year over 5,000 coats and jackets were given to children and adults in the greater Ventura community. Last year over 70 needy elementary school students were able to select coats for themselves. The students’ entire families will feel the warmth of the Rotary Club’s project. This year the club will again distribute coats and jackets to children from local schools.

For questions, donations or more information, please contact Kristin Taylor at 643-3800. Coats, jackets and heavy sweatshirts are welcome donations. Information and collection sites can be found on

The VCS is the representative organization of all seniors  in the City of Ventura

The Ventura Council for Seniors (VCS), formerly the Ventura Council on Aging, formed in 1975, is designated by the Ventura City Council as the representative organization of all seniors (50 and over) in the City of Ventura. The VCS board is comprised of senior volunteers who reside in the city, along with non-voting City liaison appointed by the Parks, Recreation, and Community Partnerships Department. This group meets monthly to consider and gather input on local issues important to seniors.

  • Makes recommendations and presentations to the Ventura City Council
  • Provides senior forums for Ventura seniors
  • Participates in selected Senior Health and Fitness Fairs
  • Works with the Area Agency on Aging, local non-profits, and other agencies, making a collaborative effort to create community partnerships

You are invited to participate in the Ventura Council for Seniors board meetings during the member/public communications segment of the agenda, 9:30 –11 am, 3rd Wednesdays No meeting in December.

Held at the  Ventura Avenue Adult Center 550 N. Ventura Ave. ,648-3035 .



CMHS promotes Cynthia Fahey to VP of Patient Care Services

stuff CMH
Fahey joined CMHS in 2012 as Clinical Quality Coordinator.

Cynthia Fahey, R.N., interim Chief Nursing Officer at Community Memorial Health System, has been promoted to Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.

Fahey joined CMHS in 2012 as the Clinical Quality Coordinator, then as Director of Quality, before serving CMHS as Interim Chief Nursing Officer. She came to CMHS after serving six years as Executive Director of the Perinatal Advisory Council in Tarzana, where she was responsible for the organization’s operating plan and services for 44 hospitals in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties, where 54 percent of births occur in California.

“Cynthia has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the nursing field having served in many leadership, auditing and advisory council roles,” said Gary Wilde, President & CEO of CMHS. “Equally important, she is a problem solver, a listener and an effective collaborator among clinicians.”

Before coming to CMHS, Fahey began her extensive nursing career as a registered nurse at local hospitals in Ventura County. In 1982 she began employment at Ventura County Medical Center and worked in various positions in both inpatient and outpatient departments. In 2000 Fahey transferred to the Public Health Department eventually serving as the Maternal Child Health Coordinator, before accepting the position at the Perinatal Advisory Council.

Fahey received her nursing diploma from the Los Angeles County/USC School of Nursing and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Phoenix.

Vol. 9, No. 5 – December 9 – December 22, 2015 – Harbor Patrol Blotter

Sunday  11-22  10:30am, officers attended a memorial ceremony with the fireboat.  The celebration of life was for a former outrigger paddler, Harbor patrolman and was organized by the Hokolua Canoe club.

4:01pm, received a request to tow a disabled sailboat back to its slip in the keys.  Officers responded and safely returned the vessel to its slip.

Monday 11-23 2:40pm, officers concluded a search for the missing fisherman in the Sandtrap/breakwall area where he disappeared last week.  Several items were found: hoop nets, hip-waders.  No identifying marks were on the items and none of them were believed to belong to the missing person.
 Tuesday  11-24 9:00pm, U.S. coast guard requesting berthing for a 24ft vessel they are towing from Rincon Island.  Officers advised they could utilize the Port’s longdock.  
Wednes  11-25 2:20pm, officers observed a small boat heading out in 30+ knots of wind and 8 foot seas.  They responded to contact the skipper and his three passengers but were unable to find them.  After searching the entire harbor, officers found the vessel in the keys and warned them of the dangerous conditions outside.

11:03pm, while on patrol, officers observed a suspicious person wandering around the Marina Mobile home park.  Contact was made and the individual advised he was looking for a restroom.  Officers followed the individual and escorted him out of the mobile home park to his vehicle parked near-by.

Thursday  11-26 1:07pm, received a dispatch to a fall victim at marina mobile home park.  Officers responded and assessed a 65 year old male who fainted.  The patient had ongoing issues and refused further treatment and/or transport to hospital.
Friday  11-27 2:53pm, received a dispatch to an assault near Margarita Villa.  Officers responded and staged near the incident.  Ventura PD arrived to mitigate the fight and eventually cancelled all responding units because no injuries occurred.
Saturday 11-28 All-day, officers conducted periodic searches by vessel for the missing fisherman.

1:55am, U.S. coast guard towed a commercial fishing vessel to Ventura Harbor after terminating their voyage because of numerous equipment violations.


Ventura Police Department receives grant


The Ventura Police Department has been awarded a $97,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.   The Ventura Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.

After falling dramatically between 2006 and 2010, the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions has been slowly rising.  Particularly alarming are recent increases in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, the growing dangers of distracting technologies, and the emergence of drug-impaired driving as a major problem. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk driving, speeding and crashes at intersections.

“Overall, California’s roadways are among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft.  “But to meet future mobility, safety, and accessible transportation objectives, we have to reverse this recent trend in order to reach our common goal – zero deaths on our roadways.  The Office of Traffic Safety and the Ventura Police Department want to work with everyone to create a culture of traffic safety across Ventura and the state.”

Activities that the grant will fund include:
Educational presentations
DUI checkpoints
DUI saturation patrols
Distracted driving enforcement
Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement
Speed, unsafe lane changes, and right of way enforcement
Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders
Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders
Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)
Court “sting” operations to cite individuals driving from DUI court after ignoring their license suspension or revocation
Stakeout operations to observe the “worst-of-the-worst” repeat DUI offender probationers with suspended or revoked driver licenses

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Vol. 9, No. 5 – December 9 – December 22, 2015 – Police Reports

Armed Robbery

On Tuesday, December 1st, at 7:45 a.m., the VPD received a call from a victim in reference to an armed robbery. The victim was walking to her vehicle parked in the parking lot of her apartment complex. The suspect startled the victim and pointed a handgun at her. The suspect demanded the victim’s property, and she complied with the suspect’s demands. The victim was unharmed during the commission of this crime.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his 20s, wearing a blue beanie and bandana. The investigation is ongoing.

Elder Abuse

In late October 2015, VPD Street Crimes Unit detectives began investigating a residential burglary in which a large amount of jewelry had been stolen from an elderly couple.

The wife of the 91 year old victim suspected that her husband’s caregiver may have been involved in the theft. The value of the items stolen was estimated at over $6,700.00.

Detectives followed up on the information provided by the victims and were able to identify the caregiver, Valerie Olmos, as the person who had pawned some of the stolen jewelry at a local business.

A search warrant for Olmos’ residence was obtained and on Thursday, December 3rd, in the 100 block of Leighton Drive, detectives served the warrant and took Olmos into custody for burglary and elder abuse. During the search of her residence no additional stolen jewelry was located, however detectives did locate a controlled substance and narcotic paraphernalia.

Olmos was later transported and booked into the VC Jail.

Shooting With Arrest

On Friday, December 4th, at 3:53pm, the Ventura Police Command Center received numerous calls regarding a shooting that had just occurred in the area of Hill Road and Telephone Road.  Patrol officers and detectives responded to the area, however initially they did not locate any potential victims or the suspect.  As the search continued in the surrounding neighborhoods, officers located the suspect running away from the scene on Swift Avenue south of Ralston Street.  The suspect, Jonathan Sabalza, 19 years of Ventura was detained by the officers, and during the initial contact with him, a loaded handgun was found.  The victim was never located.

The investigation revealed the suspect had been involved in an argument with the unknown victim. During the argument, the suspect pulled out the gun and fired one round in the direction of the victim.  The suspect and the victim then fled the area.  It does not appear that the victim was struck by the bullet.  At the conclusion of the investigation, the suspect was booked into Ventura County Jail on the charges of assault with a deadly weapon, street terrorism, carrying a loaded firearm, prohibited person in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and a firearm and an unrelated no bail warrant for violation of his Post Release Offender status.

Armed Robbery

On Friday, December 4th, at 10pm the Ventura Police Command Center received a 911 call of a robbery that had just occurred at the Gasco Station on North Ventura Avenue. Officers arrived on scene and learned that an unknown male wearing a black ski mask, described as an  Hispanic male 25-35 years of age entered the business and brandished a black semi-auto handgun pointing it at the clerk Alfredo Villagomez.

The suspect demanded the money from the register and the clerk’s cell phone. The clerk gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money and his personal cell phone. The suspect fled northbound from the business on foot. Officers searched the area and were unable to located any suspects matching the description.

Assault With A Cane

On Saturday, December 5th,  at noon the Ventura Police Command Center received several 911 calls of subjects physically fighting, one armed with a cane, at the Bus Depot, 3330 Telegraph Rd.  Before officers arrived on scene, it was reported the subject with cane had hit a female in the head.  Upon the arrival of officers, they contacted the victim, Kristen Kleider (36 years, vagrant).

Kleider told the officers that she had gotten into a verbal altercation with the suspect, later identified as Mark Lemmon( 55 years Ventura)  Both were waiting for a bus at the bus depot.  Several other witnesses reported that Kleider was causing a disturbing when she confronted Lemmon and got into an argument.  Lemmon then struck Kleider in the head with his cane.

Kleider was checked on scene by Ventura City Fire, but only had a complaint of pain.

Lemmon was still at the scene and arrested.  He was booked into the Ventura County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon.  No one else was injured as  a result of this incident.





Vol. 9, No. 5 – December 9 – December 22, 2015 – Ventura Music Scene

Medicine Hat recording Ventura Rocks music show at CAPS Media.

By Pam Baumgardner

Though the evening isn’t really about the music (hint: it’s about the wine), the Ventura Winter Wine Walk was a huge success with live music at the corner of Main and California.  There’s nothing quite like families coming out on a gorgeous December evening with men on stilts, women hula hoop dancing, snow falling while dancing to popular R&B and funk tunes from the Bomb on a huge stage, with professional lighting while City Hall is lit up in the background.  Along with the tree lighting ceremony, and the Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights, this has become my favorite holiday tradition.

Speaking of which, the Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights runs December 18 and 19. I hear you can get a pair of 3D glasses to watch the fireworks display while supplies last at Coastal Cone Ice Cream parlor.  I’m not sure how the glasses will enhance fireworks as they’re already 3D, but I’m sure they’ll be in high demand. The two-day celebration includes music, a carnival with rides on the main lawn, fireworks, and decorated boats with this year’s theme, “Surf, Sand & Santa Celebrating 150 Years of Ventura.”  Be sure to be on the watch for Santa making an earlier flyby during the evening.

RJ Mischo & the Down Home trio have begun a Tuesday night residency this month at the 805 Bar and Grill Cheese.  I’m hearing the Copa Cubana (next to the 805 Bar) is getting close to opening soon.

The Watermark will host The Pullmen’s “Going Dark” vinyl release Xmas party on Friday, December 18. The event will be held on the ground floor as upstairs will be closed for a private party that evening.

It promises to be yet another “one of those evenings” at Squashed Grapes on Saturday, December 19th when The Frank Potenza Trio will be in the house.  The trio features Potenza (Joe Pass, Dizzy Gillespie, George Van Eps and more), who is a professor of jazz guitar at USC Thorton School of Music; Jim Hughart (Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Pass and Tom Waits, Sinatra and more); and Colin Bailey.  I love that Bailey was the drummer on the Charlie Brown Christmas special, in fact, he’s done over 100 jazz albums, T.V. shows and toured with Benny Goodman and Joe Pass.  Earlier the same day, Bailey will be holding a drum clinic across the street at Pulse Drumming.  Get tickets and/or sign up for the clinic at

We’re working on post production of the debut episode of Ventura Rocks music show on CAPS Media featuring Medicine Hat. CAPS, Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura is a private non-profit television channel available through Time Warner and Charter. Check in with for updates on when the program will air this month.

Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing?  Send all information short or long to, and for updated music listings daily, go to


It’s a wrap at Assisted again this Christmas

Maria Leyva and Marianne Cody, Volunteer Coordinator will be providing holiday cheer

Assisted Hospice in Ventura is busy again this year, providing holiday cheer to their hospice patients.  They are busy wrapping holiday blankets once again to kick off their “Will Anyone Remember Me Campaign” this Christmas.  So many patients are alone for the holidays and Assisted is spreading holiday cheer in preparation for our cold California winter.  They were able to provide over 100 Christmas blankets to hospice patients thanks to a generous donation from Michael Boyko from Reardon’s Mortuary in Ventura. The blankets will be delivered personally by staff and volunteers.

Anyone interested in becoming an Assisted Hospice Volunteer, please contact Marianne Cody, Volunteer Coordinator at 677-7405.





The friendliest lunch hour in Ventura

senior westside cafe
“We could have gone to the Westside Café and saved ourselves a lot of trouble.”

Join the Westside Café  on Monday through Friday, 11:30am to 12:30pm, in the Ventura Avenue Adult Center’s Two Trees Banquet Room for the friendliest lunch hour in Ventura with a meal that includes a nutritious hot entrée, salad bar, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Check out the Adult pages of My Ventura each issue for Westside Café Days, seasonal celebrations that mark birthdays and feature special desserts and musical entertainment. Suggested donation: $3 per meal for those 60 and over and $5 for those under 60.

Also the Home Delivered Meals Program is designed for homebound individuals 60 years and up who live in Ventura. For more information call 648-3035.