Category Archives: Featured News

Ventura launches its 150th anniversary celebrations on November 8

A special reception, free and open to the public, officially launches the city’s 150th anniversary celebration on Sunday, November 8, from 2 to 4 pm at the Museum of Ventura County, 100 East Main Street.

Attendees are invited to enjoy refreshments and special limited edition 150th anniversary souvenirs as they take part in a rich menu of festive activities: stories by a panel of descendants of historic families (Chaffee, Harrison, Smith-Hobson, and Tumamait), a presentation on our local history and performances courtesy of the Ventura Music Festival.

A video created by (CAPS-TV) Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura will introduce the Ventura Legacy project. Also on display will be simulations of the 1860 census, finalists in the poster contest presented by the Boys and Girls Club, Friends of the Library and the Ventura Unified School District and the museum’s current “Portraits” exhibit featuring local historic photos.

Guests are encouraged to bring copies of family photos from past decades to post on special  photo boards which will travel to various events and be on display at the Pacific View Mall. The sesquicentennial finale on April 2 will be a free community fair and picnic in downtown Ventura, followed by a concert in Mission Park by “hometown boys made good,” Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a partnership between the City and the Ventura Education Partnership to benefit arts in our schools.

The City’s 150th anniversary is made possible by the generous donations of the Ventura Auto Center Dealers and Ventura Townehouse; and this inaugural event is supported by EJ Harrison and Sons.

The City of Ventura turns 150 on April 2, 2016. To observe this milestone the city is working with community partners to present a series of special events, programs and activities over five months (150 days) celebrating the amazing span of Ventura history and culture reaching before and after the California State Senate approved “An Act to Incorporate the Town of San Buenaventura” on March 10, 1866 that took effect on April 2 – from the indigenous Chumash to the waves of Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, European, Yankee and today’s international immigrants who have enriched our city over the years.

Ventura Fire Department responds to another fire in Ventura River bottom

Photo by Breezy Gledhill

On Nov.3, at 8:30am Ventura City Fire Department was dispatched to a reported fire in the Ventura River bottom adjacent to the Ventura Fair Grounds. First arriving fire crews discovered a 50’ x 50’ fire burning 20’ tall brush and arundo directly adjacent to a railroad trestle. Train service was halted while crews from both Ventura City Fire and Ventura County Fire extinguished the fire. As crews were finishing operations and exiting the area an additional fire was started 100 yards south of the initial start. Fire crews extinguished the second fire within 30 minutes.

Fire investigation revealed an intentional start in the second location and also a third location where burning material was placed on top of a debris pile. Ventura Police department assisted with a search of the area; however, no suspect was located.


Firefighters respond to fire in the Ventura River bottom

On Oct.30, at 9:36am the Ventura City Fire Department received a report of a fire burning in the Ventura River bottom between the 101 freeway and a railroad trestle. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a 100’ x 200’ fire burning in the aforementioned location. Access to the fire was hampered by heavy Arundel and brush. California Department of Forestry hand crews were requested to cut fire lines into and around the fire.

Firefighters extinguished and overhauled the fire with hand tools and water achieving full containment 4 hours after the initial report. The cause of the fire remains under investigation; however, several homeless encampments were noted in and around the origin of the fire. No firefighters were injured as a result of this incident.

Fire Department hosts National Fire Prevention Week

Fourth Graders taught fire safety at training grounds

On, October 13, and, October 14, as part of National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 4-10), the Ventura City Fire Department and the Ventura Unified School District hosted two days of hands-on demonstrations, fire science and fire safety lessons for about 1,500 fourth-grade students, their parents and school staff at the Ventura City Fire Training Grounds.

Fire Chief David Endaya led the day’s activities. He spoke to the kids about fire prevention, what firefighters do in their daily jobs, and what it takes to become one.

youth fire daysThere were several demonstration areas at the facility, which is located at 765 S. Seaward Ave. at Alessandro Drive. One area included a simulated fire displaying how and why firefighters sometimes cut through the roofs of burning buildings.

This year’s National Fire Prevention Week focused on educating families about what causes home fires, how to prevent them, and what to do in an emergency situation. Fire prevention and safety was emphasized to the students so that they could take the information home to teach the whole family.

They were told that everyone in their families has a role to play in home’s fire safety. Both adults and kids should be familiar with smoke alarms and home fire escape planning. Ventura City Fire Department encourages you to visit to find in-depth information and tools that will make your home, your work, or your classroom a safer place.

Fires spread amazingly fast due to modern construction materials and synthetic based home furnishings. Sometimes the difference between life and death can be minutes, or even seconds. A little preparedness and prevention can go a long way toward keeping you and your loved ones safe in the event of a fire.

More emergency preparedness information is available at or visit and

Former Ventura Mayor shot by burglar

Gregory Carson became Mayor at only 33 years old.

A police report stated that on Oct. 9, at 7:50pm, in the 8200 block of Denver Street, Gregory Carson (57) had been shot in his home while interrupting a residential burglary. The shots Carson received non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

Shortly after the incident was reported, an alert Ventura Police Officer saw a vehicle that witnesses described as leaving the vicinity of the crime. The officer followed the vehicle south on Montgomery Ave. across North Bank Drive. The suspects abandoned the vehicle on Topaz Ave., and Alejandro Valdez, 26, an Oxnard resident, was immediately taken into custody. With the use of Ventura Police K-9’s and assistance from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Air Unit, Ventura Police Officers searched for the remaining 3 suspects, however, they were not located. The additional suspects were described as Hispanic males 20-30 years old.

Gregory Carson served on the Ventura City Council and as Mayor in 1991 when he was only 33 years old. He was appointed to the Ventura Port District Board of Port Commissioners on June 23, 2008 and has served on several other boards as well.

Turning Point Foundation’s Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race at Ventura Harbor

Turning Point Foundation’s  Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race was held on October 17 in, and around the Ventura Harbor. The Race featured people-powered works of art built to travel in mud, water, sand and pavement. The vehicles were launched into the water at the boat ramp on Spinnaker. This year the mud pit was located by the launching pad and used salt water instead of fresh water as it did when it was located in the Harbor.

stuff kinetic insetThe race is meant to bring attention to the non-profit Turning Point Foundation that provides many services for the mentally ill.

For information on how you can get involved and make your own vehicle for next year visit For information on the Turning Point Foundation go to

Receivership used to clean-up deplorable Ventura property

The neighbors are delighted.

For the first time, the City of Ventura used its receivership abilities to take over a blighted property. A judge appointed a receiver to take control of four small houses located on one lot at W. Ramona Ave. Tenant conditions were deplorable. Cockroaches, rats and pit bulls resided at this property. A lack of water flow, or no water, was the norm. Plugged and rotted out sewer and water lines, little or no electrical service, rickety rotted wooden stairs, hand rails, and platforms, junk and trash lining the outside perimeter and many more people than bedrooms were found living inside, outside, and even under the houses. Open evidence of drug use was also found.

City receivorship before
City receivorship before

This was one of the worst (if not the worst) blighted parcels in Ventura.

The houses were remodeled and cleaned to comply with city codes. Water, sewer, electrical service, code violations, safety hazards have all been corrected. Interiors and exteriors have been freshly painted, new electrical and plumbing fixtures have been replaced as needed and each house has been provided with a new refrigerator and stove.

The property was sold to MTICapital Inc. They will be required to pay the City and the receiver’s costs that were spent to make the property livable. The receivership company assumes full control of the property, provides funds for the projects evicts tenants, hires contractors to correct the deficiencies and coordinates with the city to insure appropriate changes and corrections are completed to health and code standards. Any legal residents at a property are helped to find new living accommodations, but in this case there were only squatters.

The previous property owner was unable to correct the conditions and was reportedly in jail. To add to the dilemma, public records indicate that he was in default of his mortgage. Neighbors were thrilled that the City took this action.

2015 Color Run comes to Ventura Saturday, October 17 – Street closure info

2015 Color Run – Street Closures, No Parking, and Traffic Impacts
Run Begins and Ends at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Traffic to be Impacted Within the Surrounding Area. Details Listed Below.

Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 8:00 a.m.
Road closures: Saturday, October 17, 2015 beginning at 6:00 a.m. All roads opened by approximately 1:30 p.m. Details below.

On Saturday, October 17, 2015, beginning at 8:00 a.m., the 2015 Color Run will take place in Ventura. The run begins and ends at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

We want to inform the community of street closures, no parking within designated areas, and potentially congested roadways in and around the area of the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Harbor Blvd, San Jon Rd., Hemlock St., Thompson Blvd., and portions of the downtown corridor.

Street closures will take place on Saturday the 17th beginning at 6:00 a.m. As runners circulate through the route roads will be reopened along the way with all roads anticipated to be reopened by 1:30 p.m.

Street Closures and No Parking Areas:

• Hemlock St. between Thompson Blvd. and Main St.

• Harbor Blvd. from the Fairgrounds to San Jon Rd.

• Main St., between Hemlock St. and Garden St.

• Thompson Blvd. between San Jon Rd. and Hemlock

Color Run Path:

• Runners will begin from northbound Figueroa St. (from Shoreline Dr)

• Proceed eastbound onto Harbor Blvd.

• Left turn (northbound) onto San Jon

• Westbound onto Thompson Blvd.

• Right turn (northbound) on Hemlock

• Left (westbound) on Main Street

• Left (southbound) to Garden and enter the Garden Street Fairgrounds gate

The Color Run is a unique race that that involves biodegradable colored cornstarch powder to be thrown at the participants along the route. The Color Run celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality. To learn more about the event please visit the following link:

VMF introduces season 2016

Guests gathered in the Laby’s living room after enjoying a wonderful dinner to listen to Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta.

On October 1, at the beautiful home of  Sandra and Jordan Laby a Ventura Music Festival  Donor Appreciation and 2016 festival preview was held before about 30 invited guests.

Betsy Chest past Board President, Doug Wied  current Board President and Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta welcomed the guests and spoke about the plans for next year’s concert series.

stuff VMF insetArtistic Director Nuvi Mehta told the gathering that the Festival will start in July instead of the usual May and explained the reasons for this decision. He presented a multi-media of the “possible” acts that will be featured in next year’s VMF but explained that not all contracts have been signed so names of the performers cannot be divulged yet.

For the first time the Festival will have a theme and it will be the piano, from jazz to classical. In keeping with this pianist Egle Januleviciute  played magnificently for the event on the Laby’s recently tuned grand piano.

A wonderful dinner was served that included salmon, chicken and lasagna prepared and served by   Regina’s Catering of Ventura. Wine and deserts were also available.

Jordan and Sandra Laby  told the Breeze “We have been with the Ventura Music Festival from the very beginning of its inception with Sonia Towers, Elena Brokaw and our then city administration.  We believe in the concept of  this music festival of bringing world class entertainers to our intimate venues in our city.  We value the collaboration of  all the arts in this city such as the Ventura county Ballet Company, the Rubicon Theater, the New West Symphony and the many varied artists that have contributed to making our festival such a huge success for the last 21 years.   With great joy we have opened our home each year for a celebration and introduction into the next years music festival season.”

In 1994 the Ventura Music Festival was created calling for “creation of an artistically focused music festival Burns Taft was named its first Artistic Director.  As far back as 1998 the Laby’s received the first Festival Founders Award. Ventura is lucky to have them, and other wonderful supporters of the arts that help to enrich out lives.

“The Ventura Music Festival Board has recently concluded a productive year-long organizational assessment that resulted both in a renewed vision for going forward and, we believe, in a sustainable budget. The vision includes moving the Festival from May to July, which is viewed as a more optimum time for music Festivals and also provides for a pre-Festival series of more intimate concerts and events designed to bring our supporters closer to VMF, one another and the music. We’re excited about the changes and feel ready to commence our search for a new full-time Executive Director” said Doug Wied.

“Susan Scott, our wonderful “Consultant to the Festival,” has helped lead us through this important year of assessment, decision-making and renewal. While she continues to work hard on VMF plans for the coming Season, she is eager to move on to her next assignment and see VMF welcome a new ED. Please join us in thanking her and in supporting our search if you can.”

“Weave the cloth so tight that no child falls through”

Education Service Center named for retired VUSD superintendent.
Photos by Michael Gordon

stuff arriaga insetOn September 29 the Ventura Unified School District held a dedication ceremony for the naming of the Trudy Arriaga Education Service Center at the District’s office located at 255. W. Stanley Ave.

The longtime superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District Dr. Trudy Tuttle Arriaga retired after 14 years as superintendent and forty years working for the Ventura school district.

When Trudy was a small child attending Loma Vista Elementary School she would climb into an old oak tree.  In later years the tree became sick and had to be cut down.  The Facilities Services Department salvaged enough of the tree to fabricate a Memorial Bench in her honor.

stuff arriage inset2Her retirement was just the start of another job in academia as she joined the faculty in the California Lutheran University’s Graduate School of Education where she will serve as the Distinguished Educator in Residence.

Arriaga began working for the Ventura Unified School District in 1975 as a paraeducator. Her journey toward the role of superintendent includes teaching grades three – adult in special education, migrant education, and adult education, as well as serving as an assistant principal, principal, and director of administrative support services. Arriaga is the first woman superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District, the third largest district in the county.