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Community Appreciation Breakfast

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Fire Chief David Endaya was there to accept the check from the Ventura Townhouse.

For the past 3 years the Ventura Townehouse has hosted a monthly Community Appreciation Breakfast honoring local people who have contributed to the community in recognition of their continued dedication, exceptional service, compassionate care and commitment.

The Ventura Fire Foundation  received a $1,000.00 check at a recent Community Appreciation Breakfast. Foundation creator Engineer Peter McKenzie, explained  why he started the foundation to those attending the breakfast.

Attending residents spoke  about how the fire department has served them in time of need and how they feel the fire department never makes them feel embarrassed about their concerns.

Attending the event were David Endaya, Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief Matt Brock, Battalion Chief Jack Hansen, EMS Coordinator Heather Ellis, Captain John VanMannekes, Engineer Peter McKenzie, Captain Jason Kay, Engineer Logan Hughes, and Firefighter/Paramedic Jarrett LaShure.

When asked to explain more about the fire department Chief Endaya said his department serves over 100,000 residents in Ventura with 7 fire trucks and 22 crew members. He explained all the duties they perform and the 14,000 calls they have received in 2015. Chief also explained that his fire fighters have to be paramedics as well as a fire-fighters.

If you know of anyone who should be honored for their tireless service please contact Ventura Townehouse, Samantha Crisp, Director of Marketing at 642.3263.

Local writer receives lifetime achievement award

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Libby has also been writing her own series of memoirs

Ventura resident Libby J. Atwater recently received a lifetime achievement award in the field of personal history at the 20th Anniversary Association of Personal Historians, Inc. (APH) Conference. As a journalist and personal historian, Atwater has helped others tell their stories for the past 24 years by writing articles and books as well as recording audio interviews and creating DVDs. She has served APH on its Executive Committee as its secretary, Print Communications Director, Toolkit Editor, newsletter editor, workshop presenter, and as the Marketing Team Leader for this hallmark anniversary conference.

APH is an international organization with nearly 700 members throughout the world. Conference attendees came to this year’s Sacramento-based conference from as far as Israel, Brazil, and Australia.

Atwater has been transitioning from teaching life-writing classes; volunteer activities, such as chairing the Oral History Program at the Museum of Ventura County; and writing others’ stories to writing her own series of memoirs. Her award-winning tale of her early life, What Lies Within, began a quartet now in progress. The paperback book is available through her new website and on Amazon and Apple as e-books.

Her next book, The Spirit of Villarosa, a true adventure that tells the story of the extraordinary life of Horace Dade Ashton, a man dubbed the “original Indiana Jones” and his son Marc, who was kidnapped in Haiti in 2001.

Atwater has written articles and spoken to numerous groups about her work throughout her career. She is available for speaking engagements and books signings. To book an engagement, please contact

emPowering Ventura for safe and efficient homes and businesses

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Energy Coach Javier Saucedo explaining emPower to a homeowner at a recent event.

by Karen Helen

We have been increasingly concerned about water in these years of drought which has been headlined frequently “over the fold” and on almost every newscast. A lot of Venturans have stepped up and participated in reducing home water usage.

What has had less enthusiastic coverage is the energy load and the resources we have here in Ventura County to save on our power needs through the emPower program that has partnered with the county government.  The program has many avenues to aid the homeowner and business owner to revamp their structures and save on electricity and gas year round.

How much do you know about your insulation, heating and air conditioning ducts, sealing of windows, efficiency and safety of your hot water heater and furnace?  A site inspection by an energy expert can tell you exactly what is going on and there are even low interest, unsecured loans from avaialble for repairs.  Tax credits are also still available to go solar for your hot water needs.

The program specifically designed for the individual homeowner can provide an energy coach to do the free site visit and inspection. This aspect is lauded as emPower’s Personalized Customer Support, providing expert energy advice and access to utility incentives and qualified contractors for any work that is needed. After the inspection a full report will be produced for the homeowner along with pictures. The program in Spanish is available as well.

emPower takes the whole house approach to give you a snapshot of the energy use in your home and does it for free.  Besides the financial savings don’t discount the improvement in the comfort of your home and enhancing the quality of the inside air itself. There are always the options for upgrades including going solar, window replacement, high efficiency furnace/air and water heater appliances by contractors certified through emPower.

There is also an outreach program run by emPower that provides businesses with a presentation for their employees. A presentation that explains their services in which they will talk about all the energy related aspects of a home or commercial building that many of us don’t think about when we turn on the electricity or natural gas.

Sustainability of safe and efficient energy is the core purpose of emPower.  You can contact them at  654-3834; and

Health Care Agency announces new Chief Deputy Director

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Timothy R. Patten joins Ventura County Health Care Agency.

Ventura County Health Care Agency Director Barry Fisher has announced the appointment of Timothy R. Patten as Chief Deputy Director; he assumes the position following the retirement of Meloney Roy in July 2015. Patten comes to the Health Care Agency from HealthSouth Corporation, where he has been Regional President in the North East Region, overseeing 17 hospitals in six states, three home health agencies and numerous outpatient programs.

Previous to his role at HealthSouth Corporation, he was with Vibra Healthcare, Promise Hospital in San Diego, and Paradise Valley Hospital/Adventist Health, where he served as CEO. He was COO and Vice President of Operations at Simi Valley Hospital/Adventist Health, from 1989 – 1998, where he was responsible for the daily operation of over 300 employees and an annual budget of $40 million.

He has a Master’s of Business Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare Management, from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; his career spans 30 years in health care operations and management.

“After a nationwide search to fill this important role in our Agency, I am looking forward to working with someone of Tim’s caliber and experience,” said Barry Fisher, Health Care Agency Director. “He will be a tremendous asset to us.”

Patten will help oversee a workforce of approximately 2,700 employees.


Jennifer Willis-Teacher of the Month

Teacher at De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts receives recognition

The Ventura Commerce and Education Foundation (VCEF) named Jennifer Willis — science teacher and Associated Student Body advisor at De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts (DATA) as Teacher of the Month.

Willis was recognized for her involvement in, and commitment to, providing above-and-beyond educational experiences for DATA’s students. In addition to developing innovative projects to support key learning outcomes, including a biotechnology-focused project and she also coordinates school dances, carnivals and spirit days.

“Jennifer is a highly effective and engaging teacher who truly cares about all of our students,” said DATA’s principal, Hector Guerrero. “She works tirelessly to create a safe, healthy and fun learning environment that enables students to grow and thrive.”

Along with actively supporting the growth of her students, Willis also continuously pursues her own professional development through participation in conferences hosted by the California Association of Directors of Activities (CADA) and the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA).

Teacher of the Month nominees must be credentialed teachers and display certain qualities, such as outstanding commitment to students, service to school or district committees, involvement in projects on their own time and/or participation in youth-focused activities in the community. For more information about the Teacher of the Month program, please contact Pattie Braga, chair of the Teacher Appreciation Committee with the VCEF, at or 477-4052.


Ventura College expands schedule, offers Saturday Classes

This January, Saturday classes return to the Ventura College schedule, as the college continues to give students new options to access learning conveniently, as increasing student access and attracting working adult students are priorities for the college.

“We are here to serve students and the community, so we’re delighted to offer Saturday classes as a way to give busy people a way to further their education and careers,” said Kim Hoffmans, Ed.D., vice president of academic affairs.

Most courses begin on January 16 and meet for 18 weeks. Course offerings include introductory classes in sociology, speech communications, United States history and guitar. Also offered are courses toward certified nurse assistant, for smog license update, in intermediate guitar and in cardio machine training.

Saturday classes are an especially great option for high school seniors who want to get a jump-start on their college requirements, Hoffmans noted. “Students can apply online and receive their acceptance instantly. Then they can enroll in the class online and just like that, they’ve launched their college education,” she said.

For more information and to register, visit, or call Ventura College at 289-6000.

CMHS Bariatric Weight Loss Center

Community Memorial Health System’s Bariatric Weight Loss Center has achieved a Comprehensive Center with Adolescent Qualifications accreditation under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Adolescent qualifications require the center to provide pediatric and psychiatric expertise, and also to include the very specific health needs of an adolescent. Families are an integral part of the process and are included in this major health challenge.

“Community Memorial is committed to providing our patients with the highest level of comprehensive bariatric care,” said Helmuth Billy, M.D, director of Bariatric Surgery at the Bariatric Weight Loss Center located at Community Memorial Hospital.

To earn the MBSAQIP designation, Community Memorial met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The center also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.

For more information about the CMHS Bariatric Weight Loss Center call 658-5839.