Category Archives: Featured News

Leadership Ventura 2015

Leadership Ventura 2015 – Team 1 chose The City Center Transitional Living (on Thompson)for their community project. The Leadership Ventura team whose members  Rick Jeffery, Deborah Lofthouse, and Terry McBreen worked with the Chamber’s Marketing Director  Charleen Morla who designed, created, and sketched out a mural where the young residents of TCC can paint on the wall. Twice a year, the children of TCC will be able to use their artistic ability to paint artwork on the wall.

Ventura the 23rd best city to live in –

Ventura the 23rd best city to live in –
With a few corrections by the Breeze

With near-perfect weather, ocean and mountain views, a thriving arts community, and endless recreation, dining, and entertainment options, there really isn’t much not to like about Ventura, California.

Nestled on the Pacific coast about 30 miles from Santa Barbara and about 60 miles from Los Angeles, Ventura, originally named Buenaventura (actually San Buenaventura and still our name)) , was founded in 1782 with the San Buenaventura Mission. While many southern California natives have been priced out of their hometowns, Ventura has retained its close-knit community and a more reasonable cost of living compared to its neighbors. The median home price in Ventura is $485,000 according to real estate website Trulia. (For comparison, the median home price in nearby Santa Barbara is $920,000. Los Angeles is $589,000.)

Ventura’s population of 108,000 includes a mix of young and old, from life-long farmers to hip artists. Compared to picture-perfect resort town Santa Barbara, Ventura is “much more laid back, and more eclectic,” Mayor Cheryl Heitmann says. “We are a community of friendly, accessible, welcoming people.”

Although Ventura sees its share of tourists, the city takes very good care of its residents. Ventura offers quality K-12 education. One K-5 program teaches kids English, Spanish and Mandarin. “We have a strong school board and superintendent,” Heitmann says of Ventura Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Trudy Tuttle Arriaga. (ex superintendent)“She has brought the district to a whole new level.”

Ventura also offers three community colleges (really what are the other two?), with two four-year Universities nearby: California State University Channel Islands and UC Santa Barbara.

When kids and adults clock out from work or close the books, they have more than enough options for play. Miles of well-kept beaches provide soft ground for sunset strolls, while the more adventurous can bike around the harbor or wade, boogie board or surf in the water. Ventura Harbor also features an arcade and carousel, as well as many boutiques and restaurants.

The Los Padres National Forest, with more than 1,200 miles of hiking trails, is a short drive away. One of the city’s main attractions, the Channel Islands, offers stunning scenery and earns Ventura the nickname “Galapagos of Southern California.” The historic park offers diving, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and camping and includes more than 2,000 different kinds of plants and animals. The visitor’s center, located at Ventura Harbor, features a museum, tide pool, and a tower with telescopes.

Ventura’s vibrant arts scene sets it apart from many central coast towns. Artists have gravitated to Ventura for years, and the city benefits with dozens of galleries, performing arts events, live music performances, and more. The city (and others) reciprocated with the WAV -Working Artists Ventura(at a cost of $65,000,000), a live/work space for artists and cultural businesses (only one business and it’s not cultural). The WAV hosts an open studios the first Friday of every month as well as special exhibits year-round.

Although some people perceive Ventura as a commuter town, nearly half of the population also works in the city, according to Heitmann. Community Memorial Hospital, one of the city’s two major hospitals, employs about 2,000; Wal-Mart, Patagonia, and Ticla employ hundreds of workers; and Allied Beverage Company will bring more jobs with its new 123,000 square foot distribution center (too much too correct).

With so much to offer, there’s good reason to stay close to home in Ventura. “You want to make the city better? We love you. You’re in,” Heitmann says of the residents’ welcoming nature. “If you’re committed to the community, the community is committed to you.”

Lexington Assisted Living hosts special luncheon for first responders

On September 10 The Lexington Assisted Living hosted a special luncheon for first responders to salute those who serve our community. The event was open to the public and included a wonderful lunch. Attending were Sheriff Deputy J Olmos  and Sheriff Deputy G Heiberger  Ventura City Firefighters   Josh Betha,  David Mendoza  and Chris Deitz senior lexington sheriffs
Lexington is at 5440 Ralston, 644-6710.

Photos by John Ferritto

Youth & Government runs from September through February and includes weekly meetings

youth YMCAVentura Family YMCA Youth & Government teens in front of the California State Capitol building where they had the opportunity to practice their legislative skills.

The Ventura Family YMCA is paving the way for the leaders of tomorrow through its Youth & Government program.  Since 1948 this nationwide initiative has been the top youth leadership and development program for 9th through 12th grade high school students.  Through hands on experience, each participant is enlightened on how the U.S. government is run.  They review the passing of government bills, practice public speaking and case work, and they even travel to Sacramento to put all of their skills into practice at the California State Capitol Building.

This program is unique because of the impact from the Y’s leadership staff and the knowledge each participant gains. There is also fundraising in place to provide scholarships (while they last) for students who may not be able to afford the program otherwise, giving those students an educational advantage like no other.

“We want to make sure that everyone in our community has the equal opportunity to better themselves, and one example of us helping is through our Youth & Government leadership program or by raising money to provide scholarships so that those who would not be able to attend because of the cost, may do so,” says Alicia Cattoni, the Y’s Marketing and Communications Director.

The Y’s Youth Programs Coordinator, Sherry Gutsch, speaks about the importance of nurturing our youth to become future leaders.

Youth & Government runs from September through February and includes weekly meetings, two training weekends in Fresno and a 5-day trip to Sacramento.  Current Ventura Y members may join for a discounted rate of $198/month, while Program Members may join for $210/month. Scholarships are available, while the funds last.  Spots are filling up fast so make sure to register as soon as possible.

To learn more about Youth & Government, logon to, visit the Ventura Family YMCA at 3760 Telegraph Road, or contact Sherry Gutsch by email at Sherry., or call 642.2131 ext. 16.



National Fall Prevention Awareness Week, September 23rd – 29th this year, will be recognized by the Elderly Fall Prevention Coalition (EFPC) of Ventura County by hosting its third annual public forum. On Friday, September 18th, 2015, at the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park Community Center Auditorium, 1605 East Burnley Street, Camarillo, from 10 am – 3 pm, the forum will include an introduction by 2nd District Supervisor Kathy Long, exciting presentations on fall prevention measures, demonstrations on evidence-based programs, hydration techniques, Zumba, home assessment measures, and individual assessments, including, but not limited to: equilibrium/balance, bone density, vision, blood pressure. The public, especially those who are caregivers, will enjoy this no-cost forum.

Thirty percent of adults over the age of 65 fall each year. The cost of falls to the US Health system was $28 billion in 2010, and projected to rise to $60 billion by 2020. Muscle strengthening, aerobic and balance exercises all aid in the prevention of falls. “It is a known fact that every 29 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury,” says Dr. Thomas Duncan, Trauma Medical Co- Director for Ventura County Medical Center and Medical Co-Director of Anacapa Surgical Associates. “Falls are the #1 cause of injury deaths, unintentional injuries and hospital admissions in the elderly.”

The EFPC has been in existence for over three years. The coalition’s goals are to prevent repeated falls in the elderly population by including them in evidence-based programs. Under the auspices of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, a pilot program was launched in west Ventura County, in July 2014. The coalition is a collaborative effort including, but not limited to: Ventura County Medical Center, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, Ventura County Public Health, Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, the Camarillo Health Care District, Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Hospital, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), all Ventura County ambulance providers,


Ventura and Oxnard fire departments, Livingston Memorial, Scan Health, Kaiser, HealthWise Home Care Solutions, Oxnard Family Circle Adult Health Care Center, Equilibrium Balance Performance Center, and Habitat for Humanity.

The County’s Area Agency on Aging was recently awarded the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging – n4A – Achievement Award for Fall Prevention during the n4A Annual Conference and Tradeshow held in July 2015, in Philadelphia. Winning such a prestigious national award validates the hard work of the staff, the Advisory Council, the Fall Prevention Coalition and volunteers, and demonstrates VCAAA’s commitment to being an Agency that is innovative and responsive to the changing needs of the seniors in Ventura County,” said Area Agency on Aging Director Victoria Jump.

“National awards like these also substantiate the forward-thinking of the Board of Supervisors and Mike Powers, CEO, in supporting this agency wholeheartedly in our efforts in the HomeShare and Fall Prevention programs. Dr. Thomas Duncan, Trauma Medical Co-Director of the Ventura County Medical Center, whose vision of the creation of the Fall Prevention Coalition and Fall Prevention Program was the catalyst for those efforts, deserves special recognition.”

The EFPC has developed a unique program that involves instituting fall prevention measures at the initial point of contact, when EMS personnel respond to a 911 call after a fall. A series of events occur that will enable EMS to leave educational material in homes and conduct a rapid fall assessment. Victims transported to emergency rooms will undergo further evidence-based testing to assess their fall risk. Prior to discharge from the hospital, it will be determined whether a fall victim requires close follow-up for health issues, versus the need for home safety improvement. Recently, other evidence-based programs (Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance, Stepping On, Walk with Ease, A Matter of Balance) have been incorporated into our program, to prevent primary falls.

Ventura City Fire Department invites the public to commemorate 9/11

On Friday, September 11, beginning at 6:45am, community members are invited to visit any of the six Ventura City Fire Stations for a special remembrance ceremony of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Join us in honoring the 2,977 people who lost their lives 14 years ago including Firefighters, Police Officers, Military Personnel and civilians. Let us remember their sacrifices and acts of heroism.

6:45 a.m. – Fire apparatus will roll out of the stations and be positioned on the station ramps.

6:55 a.m. – Firefighters will stand at attention and raise the U.S. flag to half-staff. Silence will be maintained.

6:59 a.m. – A special tone will be broadcast over the fire radio followed by four sets of five bells. The bells are traditionally used by the fire service to commemorate firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. One minute of complete silence will be maintained. Following the silence, Fire Captains will give a brief tribute.

Ventura City Fire Station locations:

Station 1: 717 N. Ventura Avenue

Station 2: 41 S. Seaward Avenue

Station 3: 5838 Telegraph Road

Station 4: 8303 Telephone Road

Station 5: 4225 E. Main Street

Station 6 10797 Darling Road

Ventura City Fire personnel responded to a reported structure fire

On Sept. 6, at 11pm Ventura City Fire personnel responded to a reported structure fire in the 6900 Block of Heron St. The first arriving engine company found an exterior mattress fire extending through eve vents into the attic of a single story, single family dwelling, with bystanders attempting to extinguish the fire by use of garden hoses.

fire2The fire was quickly knocked down using hand lines, but the fire and smoke extension that occurred into the attic required mechanical ventilation and extensive overhaul. Salvage measures were employed to protect personal belongings within the residence while personnel used hand and power tools to remove wall, ceiling, and roof coverings in order to ensure complete extinguishment.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.



Ventura Police Department DUI/CDL Checkpoint statistics

On Friday September 4, 2015 between the hours of 9:00 PM to 2:15 AM the Ventura Police Department conducted a DUI/CDL Checkpoint in the area of Harbor Blvd and Schooner Dr. The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes.  Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely.   

As a result of the checkpoint the following enforcement action was taken:
2 drivers were cited for 14601 VC, Driving on a suspended license and had their vehicles towed.
9 drivers were cited for 12500(a) VC, Driving without a drivers license.
1 driver was cited for 23222 (b) VC, Driver in possession of marijuana in a vehicle.
1 driver was given a DMV Re-Exam for driving under the influence of marijuana.
1 driver arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.  

Any questions regarding the Checkpoint can directed to Sgt. Darrick Brunk at 805-339-4323, or by email at     

Ventura Police Dept. conducting DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint Friday, Sept. 4

Ventura Police Department Traffic Unit will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint this Friday, September 4, 2015 at an undisclosed location within the city limits between the hours of 8:00 p.m to 3:00 a.m.   

The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes.  Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely.

In California, this deadly crime led to 802 deaths in 2012 because someone failed to designate a sober driver.  Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an i mpaired driver. “Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 6 lives and resulted in 71 injury crashes harming 94 of our friends and neighbors,” said Sgt. Darrick Brunk.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking driveDUIfor proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily.  When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving.  Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems.  A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent).  Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent.  Nearly 90 percent of California drivers approve of DUI checkpoints.

DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to Ventura Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1’.

Single family residence fire near Atlas Elementary

At 4:45 on Aug. 31, the principal of Atlas Elementary, formerly known as Saticoy Elementary, saw a large head of smoke and flames protruding from a single family residence on Jasmine Avenue. As she ran across the street to help, the neighbor was on the phone calling 911. Both tried to hose down the adjacent homes to keep the fire from spreading to neighboring residences.

IMG_3165First arriving fire crews encountered heavy flames coming from the front of the house and dense smoke. Crews attacked the fire and searched the home for occupants. No pets or occupants were home at the time of the fire. A total of 4 engine companies and one truck company fought the blaze and knocked down the fire within 16 minutes and fully extinguished the fire within 35 minutes.

Ventura Police IMG_3167provided immediate traffic control and assisted in securing the street. An electrical feed for the home severed in the blaze and blocked a portion of the front of the house and was eventually secured by Southern California Edison.


The 1000 square foot house suffered major damage from smoke and flames. Nearly all of the 1000 sq foot two bedroom, two bath home was affected. A preliminary investigation indicated that an unattended candle was to blame for the blaze. It was also discovered the fire had been burning freely in the home for some time prior to being noticed by neighbors. IMG_2219
Damage was estimated to be $150,000 for the structure and $50,000 for contents. The building was yellow tagged by fire prevention, and occupants were escorted by firefighters to gather belongings. One resident was displaced from their home due to the fire and there were no reported injuries.