Category Archives: Featured News

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is far from over

They also held their annual Candlelight Vigil. Photos by Pacific Eagle Air Cam

Thousands of cyclists and volunteer “roadies” will embark on a 545-mile journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, from June 4 through 10, united by a common cause: fighting to end HIV/AIDS. Over 2,200 cyclists camped overnight at San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura on the way to Los Angeles. They also held their annual Candlelight Vigil to remember those who have died from AIDS.

This year, AIDS/LifeCycle participants raised more than $15.1 million to support the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Participants are ages 18 to 97 from nearly every state.

Now in its 16th year, AIDS/LifeCycle is a fully supported, 545-mile bike ride—not a race—that raises important awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, in addition to funding services such as HIV testing and screenings for other sexually transmitted infections, HIV medical care, prevention services, and more.

“The commitment that AIDS/LifeCycle participants demonstrate to raising awareness and funds for HIV-related services is awe-inspiring,” said San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Joe Hollendoner.

Since 2002, when AIDS/LifeCycle first began, participants have raised more than $236 million and completed more than 58,000 journeys on bikes from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

“We’re living in unsettling times when the health care of many Americans, including those living with HIV or AIDS, is at stake,” says Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “That’s why we’re more grateful than ever for the heroes—and sheroes—of AIDS/LifeCycle who are journeying 545 miles to help end AIDS and care for those living with HIV.”

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is far from over. Currently there are 1.2 million people living with HIV nationwide and an estimated 39,000 will become infected this year.

For more photos go to

Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship award winners

Scholarship award winners were all smiles when presented their checks.

The Ventura Police Officers Association (VPOA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 14th annual Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship. The scholarships are to honor Sergeant Darlon “Dee” Dowell, who was shot and killed on August 7, 1978. Sergeant Dowell is the only officer in Ventura’s history to die in the line of duty.

In selecting scholarship recipients, the VPOA considered academic achievement, school and community service, financial needs, and other requirements:

Applicants must be entering his/her freshman through senior year in college.
Plan a course of study related to the field of public service;
Ventura resident or have graduated from a high school in Ventura within the past three years and have a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

2017 Scholarship Awards Winners:

1st Place $5,000.00 Taylor Grosenbach
2nd Place $3,500.00 Emily Kinnaman
3rd Place $2,000.00 Reyn Hoffman

Honorable Mention $500.00 Spencer Tilken

The VPOA would like to thank all of the applicants and congratulate the 2017 winners of the Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship!

“Be honest, be safe, and look forward to each day.” –Sgt Dee Dowell

City of Ventura’s 9th annual Art Tales

City of Ventura’s 9th annual Art Tales “writing contest inspired by art” recently held a standing room only reception to honor the 2017 contest winners. Youth, high school and adult writers submitted a record 123 works of short fiction and poems inspired by the City of Ventura’s Municipal and Public Art Collections that can be seen in the corridors of City Hall.

Contestants ranged in age from kindergarten to over 80 years old and most entries came from Ventura County.

Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko welcomed the writers and their guests at the reception held at the E.P. Foster Library in Downtown Ventura held on June 8. Mayor Nasarenko stated “Thank you, teachers, all of you, for inspiring your students to write such beautiful pieces inspired by art.”

Denise Sindelar, Ventura Community Partnerships Manager told those in attendance “The Art Tales program introduces the city’s Municipal Art Collection to a whole new community. Over 120 creative writing submissions were contributed by writers from all over the state. Wonderful works by talented writers inspired by world class art.”

Fun at the Super Run

Photo by George Robertson

Almost 600 attended the Super Run 5K Run in San Buenaventura State Beach Park and on the bike path up to the pier held on Saturday, April 22. The Super Run 5k is a superhero themed run where you become a real life superhero! The Super Run included music, festivities and more. Every participant got an authentic event Superhero Cape and collectible run bib. The finishers get a super finishers medal!

Ventura Breeze wins VCAAA award for Age-Friendly Media

Christine Voth, Suz Montgomery, Antoinette Olson, Kara Ralston, Carie Salas, Vicky Odle,, Kathy Terry, Harry Norkin, Kris Martin, Randy Martin  and Richard Lieberman (on behalf of Sheldon Brown of the Ventura Breeze) at the awards ceremony.

The Ventura Breeze was awarded the 2017 VCAAA Optimal Aging Champion Awards for the Age Friendly Media Award. The award was presented Wednesday May 10 during the agency’s advisory council meeting at VCAAA Ventura office.

At the ceremony Suz Montgomery, recipient of the Advocacy and Leadership Award said, “this award is a great opportunity to widen my network and continue educating our community”. Montgomery also added “recognition is relevant and matters. I have been teaching seniors for 16 years and the teaching aids in keeping seniors minds engaged and healthy”.

Richard Lieberman was honored to fill in for Sheldon Brown. He stated “Accepting the award from the Ventura County Area Agency on aging’s first Optimal Aging Champion Award was an honor. The Breeze thanks the council and will continue to cover and support Ventura County seniors.”

“I want to thank Richard for filling in for me at the presentation. I have heard that he did a great job and he is even better looking than me” stated Publisher Brown. “I also want to thank the folks who recommended the Breeze for this award and VCAAA for selecting us for this award. We have always been large supporters of the senior community (like me) so being recognized for the hard work of our wonderful staff is very rewarding.”

Other winners are:

Suz Montgomery, Advocacy and Leadership Award for an Individual

Camarillo Health Care District, recipient of Optimal Aging for Organization Award

Conejo Valley Senior Concerns, recipient of Dementia Friendly Organization Award

Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, recipient of Advocacy & Leadership for Organization Award

Harry Norkin, recipient of Optimal Aging Award for an Individual

Homewatch CareGivers Kris & Randy Martin recipient of Shining Star Award for Innovation


City of Ventura’s Art Tales contest honors writers of all ages

2016 Art Tales’ winners being honored by Cheryl Heitmann.

All participants of the City of Ventura’s 9th annual Art Tales “writing contest inspired by art” and the public are invited to attend a special reception and reading with refreshments at E.P. Foster Library, 2nd floor on Thursday, June 8 at 5:30 pm. Community members are invited and encouraged to hear the winners  read their entries and receive their prizes.

Youth, high school and adult writers, from around the country, submitted a record 123 works of short fiction and poems inspired by City of Ventura’s Municipal Art Collection and public art created by artists Blue McRight & Warren Wagner, Tom McMillin, Leonard Poteshman and Michelle Stevens and team.  Contestants ranged in age from kindergarten to over 80 years old. Most entries came from Ventura County: 33 adults (18 & up); 30 teens (13-17); and 60 youth (12 & under). Many teachers from the Ventura Unified School District encouraged their students to enter.

The five contest judges were Ventura County Poet Laureate Phil Taggart, Ventura County Librarian Irma Morales, Ventura Poet Richard Newsham, Ventura Library Advisory Commissioner Debbie Giles and Community Partnerships Manager Denise Sindelar. The judges received all entries “blind” – identified only by (1) a number, (2) the artwork that inspired it, (3) prose or poetry category and (4) age group of the writer.

The 2017 winners of Art Tales are:

Youth Poetry: 1st  Rachel Patrykus  2nd Gianne Garman     3rd  Katie Trevisan

Youth Fiction: 1st  Sidney Crutz  2nd  Amy Baumgardner 3rd  Sienna Mody

Teen Poetry:   1st  Penelope Duran  2nd  Jolee Niberding-Swanberg 3rd  Sophie Stimer

Teen Fiction:   1st  Nadia Connelly 2nd  Calista Marsh  3rd  Anna Berezovskiy

Adult Poetry:  1st  Melissa Waters 2nd  Andres Rodriquez  3rd  Anabelle Warren

Adult Fiction:  1st  Patty Vickers    2nd  Juan David Cure  3rd  Rick Garcia

“We thank all participants for sending in such beautiful poems or stories,” said Art Tales Curator Tobie Roach. “It is amazing to read the many ways the artworks in our Municipal Art Collection inspire more creativity than anyone could imagine.”

Evidence pointed to Liampetchakul as having started the fire in April

Tipps Thai Cuisine has closed.

by Gail field

Tipps Thai Cuisine restaurant has officially closed its doors after serving Thai food to Ventura locals and visitors since 1983.  Owner Chang Liampetchakul and his family have made this decision.

Chang has been known throughout Ventura as a kind and generous person, often providing trays of food to families in need.

In February, Liampetchakul was hospitalized after suffering a stroke, but returned later to work at the restaurant.

On April 17, a fire erupted in the two story building on Main St. which housed Tipps on the ground floor and a meeting place for the Odd Fellows on the top floor.

Ventura Fire and Ventura Police investigated and found evidence that pointed to Liampetchakul as having started the fire.  He was arrested on May 10 and booked into the Ventura County jail for arson.  The case is set for a hearing in Superior Court on June 7.

A motive has not been determined, according to Sergeant Matt Cain of the Ventura Police Department.

Family Reconnection Program has reunited over 100 homeless individuals

Homeless camps in the Santa Clara riverbed happen overnight.

by City Councilmember Christy Weir

There are a growing number of camps being constructed in the Santa Clara riverbed behind the city’s golf courses.  It is very sad to see people living in these conditions. The City of Ventura and our social service agencies offer help to the homeless who are living there, and we periodically clean up the encampments for environmental reasons. The trash and human waste that accumulate are a source of pollution that cannot be ignored. It is essential that we continue to clean up our river areas so they are free from the pollution that impacts water quality at our beaches.

Last week we ran into several people. The people were known by the VPD as chronically homeless who have been offered help many times over the years, including today. One man is a veteran from Santa Clarita and has declined services and housing. Another woman came to the river bottom after being in jail. She is a meth user, who has refused all help, including transportation to her family in SF. She told us she didn’t like taking “charity” and supports herself by panhandling. The man with her had previously turned down help because he had a dog– but he doesn’t have a dog now and today was not open to receiving services. This is our biggest dilemma with entrenched homeless individuals- how do you give a “hand up” to people who won’t accept it? We need to keep trying. Giving cash to panhandlers is not helpful–it only prolongs their unhealthy lifestyle by enabling them to live on the streets or in the riverbeds, rather than accepting services that permanently improve their lives.

On a positive note, just last week, a chronically homeless woman who has been living on the streets accepted help for her alcoholism, after it being offered to her many times over the past few years. She is now receiving treatment. And our Family Reconnection Program has reunited over 100 homeless individuals with loved ones who are now helping to care for them.