Category Archives: Featured News

Contest from June 20 Issue

In our June 20 issue we had a contest that we thought would be difficult but our readers are too smart (of course). This minor league baseball team played at Seaside Park (the fairgrounds).

Pro baseball in Ventura lasted from 1947 to 1955. The New York Yankees were the first sponsoring the Ventura Yankees from 1947 to 1949. The Braves from 1950 to 1952. The Ventura Oilers played as an unaffiliated club in the California League in 1953.

Council to receive overview of City’s 2021 General Plan Update

On Monday, July 16th, City Council will receive an overview of the initial steps of the City’s 2021 General Plan Update from the Community Development Department covering state legislative mandates, background data collection, and the identification of opportunities and constraints.

The general plan is the city’s comprehensive development framework guiding policies on land use, housing, roads, recreation, historical and natural resources, balance of adequate water supply infrastructure, safety and noise and serves as a basis for decisions that affect all aspects of our everyday lives from where we live and work to how we move about. It is implemented by decisions that direct the allocation of public resources and that shape private development. In short, the general plan is the embodiment of the community’s vision for the future of Ventura. Iain Holt, Principal Planner, will be managing the General Plan Update which was last revised in 2005.

Under California State Planning Law, each city and county in the state is required to update their general plan every 10 years which consists of an interrelated public process of informing the community, development of the plan and environmental review. It must address both existing conditions of the community and State legal requirements associated with general plan preparation.

As part of the initial stages of the civic engagement process, staff would solicit input on the current community vision and General Plan format which will either reaffirm or further develop the Community Vision, Goals, Policies and Actions for the next 20 years and lay out how the city may meet its growth demand and future needs sustainably with adequate water supply and infrastructure while responding to state mandates regarding housing, Climate Action Planning and Environmental Justice as well as our rapidly changing local market for housing and jobs. An interested parties list is being established by city staff, please contact the main planning line at (805) 654-7893 or 7894 to be included.

Interested in running for Ventura City Council?

Be prepared for long meetings when dealing with controversial agenda items.

The Ventura City Council election is months away, but potential candidates who reside in Districts 1, 4, 5 and 6 can start getting ready for the seats up for grabs in the November election by attending a Candidate Orientation Meeting. The meetings will kick-off the Nomination Period of July 16 through August 10, 2018 and will be hosted by the City Clerk’s Office. Two meetings will be held on Monday, July 16, 2018 at City Hall, the first will be at 8:30 am in Council Chambers and the second meeting will be at 4pm in the Community Meeting Room. Candidates only need to attend one meeting, the same information being presented at both meetings.

Eligible candidates running for Ventura City Council must be at least 18 years of age, a registered voter and a resident of their respective District.

One of the first steps for potential candidates is paperwork. Citizens wanting to run for office must pull nominations papers and then return them to the City Clerk’s Office for verification and signature during the nomination period, or by August 10th. Pulling nomination papers can be completed during the Candidates Orientation Meeting. Other required forms include Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement, and Campaign Finance Disclosure Statements (to track campaign contributions, or your own funds, spent for your campaign as established by the Fair Political Practices Commission).

As a reminder, the City of Ventura transitioned to district-based elections in January 2018 after broad outreach and citizen input. Changing to district-based elections resulted in the City being divided into seven geographic districts. Each District will have one City Councilmember who resides in the district and is chosen only by the voters residing in that district. Residents in Districts 1, 4, 5, and 6 will be voting for a Councilmember in their district in the November 6, 2018 election; and residents in Districts 2, 3, and 7 will be voting for a Councilmember in their district in the November 2020 election. All registered voters will vote on all local, state and federal ballot measures and candidates for county, state, federal and special districts.

Serving as a Councilmember provides the opportunity to make a real difference in our community. Individuals interested in becoming a candidate are highly encouraged to attend the Orientation Meeting or schedule a one-hour appointment with the City Clerk’s Office by calling 805-658-4787.

Several candidates have already announced that they are running.

Vista del Mar where every day matters

Carol Ramirez, Jenifer Nyhuis, Jetta Zellner and Debbie English are all smiles at the opening of the outpatient facility.

by Jennifer Tipton

Before that fateful night when the Thomas Fire destroyed most of the Behavioral Health Hospital located at the top of the hill on Seneca Street, Vista del Mar provided ¾ of the total psychiatric inpatient beds in Ventura County and was the only facility to provide adolescent beds in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura County.

After the fire, reports of adolescent suicides were trending upward, “this is what was driving us, so twelve of us stayed together”, said Carol Ramirez Business Office Director for Vista del Mar. She added, “that AND our leadership – she fought for us!” referring to Chief Executive Officer Jenifer Nyhuis. CEO Nyhuis acknowledged, “because every day matters”.

The very afternoon the Thomas Fire struck, Carol Ramirez was able to secure a location for them to meet. “The Residence Inn by Marriott in Oxnard opened up a room and gave it to us for the entire month of December for free, we met there a couple times a week”, she said. Fact is, since the Thomas Fire, they never stopped meeting, after Residence Inn, they moved to the home of Jetta Zellner Director of Clinical Services.

And on the evening of June 19th, Vista Del Mar held an open house for their new outpatient services facility located at 801 South Victoria Avenue, Suite 301. “The outpatient services here will include adolescents, the services are for someone needing help greater than what traditional therapy provides”, informed Jetta.

The 5days/week program is called the Adult Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) focusing on active treatment for individuals with acute mental illness and/or addiction issues. Attendance is Monday through Friday 9:00am – 3:00pm for one to two weeks with opportunity for step-down and continued care with the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Patients participate in group therapy as well as educational and family group sessions. Treatment team includes psychiatrist, psychiatric nurses and licensed therapists. Transportation is provided at no cost within Ventura County and there’s a contract with Hill Street Café to provide lunch!

The 3days/week program (IOP) meets 3hours/day and provides extensive short treatment with flexible scheduling with program completion within two to four weeks. Groups focus on tools for symptom management and sustained recovery.

Both programs include medication consultation and management, and aftercare referrals.

In the past, our ladies each had their own office, now there are 4 desks squeezed into one small room. Carol showed me her “filing cabinet”, it was a box with her name on it. There is talk of expanding into the space next door and once the inpatient hospital is open, administrative offices will return there.

While at the open house, Debbie English RN Chief Nursing Officer teased, “don’t ever put a nurse at the switchboard!”, but as she took a crisis call, she did not hang up until the problem was resolved. “We just really want to get back into the community – there’s such a need”, she told me. Debbie has been with Vista del Mar for 11 years.

While the outpatient facility is currently open, the inpatient facility (back on Seneca), is under its final construction phase to correct the damage caused by the fire. Utilities are being restored which includes the pump house that was destroyed and extensive electrical work. It is expected to re-open in August. The ladies give special thanks to Assemblywoman Monique Limon who co-sponsored the bill allowing them to open the outpatient facility while the inpatient facility was still closed.

To learn more, or refer a patient Please call: (805) 653-6434 Or visit:

“You are not forgotten”

The Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County is proud to announce the hosting of the Moving Wall.

Two memorials honoring fallen members of the U.S. military branches will be on display at the Ventura County Government Center. The Remembering Our Fallen photo display will be located on the Main Plaza inside the Hall of Administration, and The Moving Wall, a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall replica, will be on display on the large lawn along Victoria Avenue.

The Remembering Our Fallen California Memorial is a traveling display honoring military personnel from California who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The display is one of 20 state and one national displays that tour the country as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by service personnel who were killed in the war against terrorism. The California memorial recognizes almost 750 service men and women.

An opening ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 19, in the Lower Plaza Assembly Room in the Hall of Administration.

The Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County Inc. (VVVC) is proud to announce the hosting of the “original Moving Wall” from June 21 through June 25, at the Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave.

The Wall will be available for viewing 24 hours a day for the duration of its stay here in Ventura.

“The Moving Wall” is a half-scale mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall located in Washington DC.

“The Moving Wall” was founded by Vietnam Veterans John Devitt, Gerry Haver and Norris Shears, and first placed on public display at Tyler, Texas in 1984.

There will be a Memorial Ceremony commencing on Saturday, June 23, at
11:00a at the Veterans Memorial at the corner of Victoria Ave and Telephone Rd. honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The focus is to pay homage to the 111 casualties from Ventura County.
There will be a separate display honoring those 111 Vietnam Veterans from Ventura County whose names are etched on the Wall.
Volunteers will be present to assist those who need help finding names and provide rubbings for those who have friends or loved ones listed.

For those people who wish donate or volunteer please visit or or

Michael O’Kelly-the man behind the mural / part 1

Michael O’ Kelly in his studio with tile of son Devin.

by Jennifer Tipton

Michael O’Kelly has been making art for nearly 5 decades. Growing up in South Ireland and Wales, he is half Irish and half Welsh – “pure Celtic”, he says. He comes from a family of artists, his father, great uncle and great aunt were all artists, his mother was a classical violinist and aunt a classical pianist. “My sister, Jane was a great painter and I, a musician, they called us child prodigies.”

He sold his first piece of art at age nine while vacationing with his family in a little village called St. Ives. He was up earlier than the rest of his family, drawing a king fisher diving into the river to catch a fish. A lady was sitting next to him watching, and said, “that’s beautiful, how much do you want for it?” That piece brought in ½ crown (2 shillings and 6 pence) and he bought himself breakfast.

Still drawing, he also studied winds and clarinet until age 13, when he sold his coin collection and bought a guitar. His family moved to London and, “terrible at school” he started studying classical guitar and found his way to a music school at Chiswick Polytechnics in London from age 15 – 17. He went on to The Royal College of Music and started performing classical guitar with the Omega Guitar Quartet. “We toured all over Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Canada and I loved playing, but I didn’t like the lifestyle”.

Moving to Mexico City, he joined a friend that had a dream to build a ferro-cement boat and sail the world. The project was started, but his friend became involved with politics and lost interest. Michael didn’t want to go back to England, so he got a scholarship to the National University of Mexico to study pre-Colombian music and dance.

The Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City needed someone that could draw artifacts and record them as they came out of the ground. “I did that for a couple years and in 1977 decided to start dealing Central and South American art and exporting it to Europe, that’s how I started collecting”, he said. His collections were exhibited all over Europe and in 1982 went to the Santa Barbara museum where it was “the longest running show they’ve ever had”.

After being in Latin America for 10 years, “I met the woman who would become my wife, Gisele. We stayed here in Ventura to open a gallery in Santa Barbara on State Street, but unfortunately when they started to build the Paseo Nuevo mall, it shut down State Street, and that was the end of that”.

“In the late 80’s, we moved back to Mexico City because I had the opportunity to work with Rufino Tamayo”. This was a huge pivotal point for his career. Tamayo was 88 years old when Michael joined him. “He was a legend, teaching me about honesty and integrity, it was about the intellectual aspects of being a painter, not the technical aspects”. Tamayo died in 1991.

“We came back to Ventura and it was during that time we lost our baby girl, Juliette, and then my sister… it drove me to delve into my painting”.

In 1995 Michael and Gisele welcomed their son, Devin, “which was a huge, wonderful thing!”

Devin passed during the making of the mural, see part 2 in next issue

What do city council district elections mean?

This Voting District Map and elections information can be found online at

by Councilmember Christy Weir

District elections mean that registered voters of a district will elect a City Councilmember from their district. The November, 2018 election will be Ventura’s first District Election process, with Districts 1 (Westside) 4, 5 and 6 (East Ventura) electing a City Councilmember for a term of four years. Residents in those districts will receive ballots and can only vote on eligible candidates running in their district.

Current council members with terms expiring in December 2018 are Erik Nasarenko (district 4) and Jim Monahan (district 5). With switching from at-large to district elections, the districts that Mike Tracy and Neal Andrews reside in are not scheduled for a 2018 election, therefore they are not eligible to run at their current address. Residents of districts 2 (midtown), 3 (college) and 7 (Pierpont, coastal) will vote in 2020.

Individuals wanting to run for office must pull and then return nomination papers to the City Clerk between July 16-August 10. A candidate manual will be provided to all candidates, with required forms and deadlines.

Coffee with a Cop (donuts allowed)

This year join the cops at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

The Ventura Police Department will be hosting Coffee with a Cop at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf located at 4360 E. Main St. from 8:00 am to 10:30 am on June 26. The community is invited to come together in a friendly, informal environment to discuss community issues and build relationships.

Most contacts police officers have with the public happen during emergencies or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street or during the course of their duties. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows time for relaxed one-on-one interaction.

Engaging the community in public safety efforts is a top priority of the Ventura Police Department. We share the community’s concerns and make every effort to address them. We offer monthly opportunities at Community Council meetings to learn about crime trends and crime prevention. We also provide community presentations and neighborhood meetings upon request. Coffee with a Cop is an additional opportunity for residents to get to know the officers who serve Ventura.

The Coffee with a Cop effort is a national initiative supported by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are being held across the country as police departments strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve. The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members one cup of coffee at a time. Coffee with a Cop provides an opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s service. There is no formal agenda, just a casual opportunity to voice concerns and share ideas.

Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship Award Winners

Winner Philip Drescher accepting his check from VPOA board members Schuyler Heard, Mike Hibdon and Bill Griffin.

The Ventura Police Officers’ Association (VPOA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 15th 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 the following 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, or a Ventura Police Department employee or employee’s child.

Have a grade point average of 3.0 or better (based on a 4.0 system);

Maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better if selected as a recipient;

Submit a resume of school and community activities, including a copy of transcripts through the most recent semester;

Submit an essay of 1000 words or less on “Leadership, what it means to me”;

Submit a letter of recommendation from a public servant.

2018 Scholarship Awards Winners:

1st Place $5,000.00 Philip Drescher

2nd Place $3,500.00 Haiden Henderson

3rd Place $2,000.00 Elissa Root

The VPOA thanks all of the applicants and congratulates the 2018 winners of the Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship!

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