Category Archives: Featured News

Drunk Driving Ruins the Holidays

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Crackdown

If you’re enjoying the holidays with a drink, The Ventura Police Departmenthas a message for you:Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be actively searching for and arresting drunk drivers from December 18 to January 3. 

As part of the nationalDrive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period; police, sheriff and the CHP will be deploying DUI Checkpoints and DUI Saturation Patrols during the upcoming 17 day DUI Enforcement Campaign throughout the region.  Ventura PDs conducting a DUI Checkpoint on Saturday December 19, 2016.

There are 10,000 reasons to crackdown: in 2013, 10,076 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver. In December 2013 alone there were 733 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.  Twenty-three of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day. California was witnessed to 98 deaths and another 1,852 injured in alcohol involved collisions in December 2013.

“It’s time for all drivers to get the message,” said Chief Ken Corney. “Drunk driving is a choice you make, and when you make that choice, people get hurt or die. That’s why we’re joining with law enforcement nationwide to share the message: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” “The safest way to get home,” Chief Corney said, “is to drive sober or catch a ride with a sober designated driver.”

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. Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication – whether prescription or over-the-counter – drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects. 

Law Enforcement emphasizes the preventable nature of drunk driving reminding everyone that all it takes is a little planning ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don’t drink and drive. The California Office of Traffic Safety DDVIP (Designated Driver VIP) mobile app is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices. Launched last year, the new DDVIP app offers enhanced features, allowing users to “Map a Spot” with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area or a “List of Spots” to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout California. Users will be offered free incentives at each bar to celebrate their life saving role.  They can stay up-to-date with the latest from DDVIP and see what other users are saying via its social tab. Also through the app, for those who want to imbibe but also make it a point to plan ahead, users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft or Curb – all from one screen.  

Ventura PD reminds everyone to follow these simple tips to stay safe:

  • Plan a safe way to get home before you attend the party. Alcohol impairs judgment, as well as reaction time. If you’re impaired you’re more likely to choose to drive drunk.
  • Designate a sober driver; take public transportation, a car service, or a call a sober friend of family member to get home.
  • Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
  • Use your community’s sober ride program.
  • If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.

If you’re caught drinking and driving you could face jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average. That’s not a small price, and that doesn’t even count the heftier price you could pay: the price of your life or someone else’s.

In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, Chief Corney is calling on everyone to be alert and ‘Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911!  If you see a dangerous driver call immediately!  If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely. “We’ve got to work together to make our roads safer thi

s December and year-round,” he said.

Remember, driving after drinking should never be an option. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Funding for this holiday campaign is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Shop Local This Holiday Season to Discover Unique Gifts for All

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) encourages community to support local businesses

As the holidays are approaching, many people are joining the crowds at malls and big chain stores seeking  the right gift for friends and family – or camping out in front of their screens, avoiding the crowds and  shopping the biggest online retailers. This season, Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) encourages holiday gift givers to do a little something different and shop local at the many locally owned shops and other local businesses.

“Purchasing gifts from local businesses not only provides loved ones with a unique gift, but also stimulates the local economy,” said Marsha Bailey, WEV founder and CEO.  “When you purchase a gift from a small business, you can feel great about your money staying in the community and helping to create more local jobs.”

A study in San Francisco found that for every $1 million in revenue local businesses created 2.14 jobs while chains created only 1.27 jobs.

This year, consider purchasing gifts from these local shops, owned and operating by participants in WEV’s continuum of business training, support and small business loan programs. Gift giving will be made more meaningful with the help of these small business in Ventura County:

Paradise Pantry  is a gourmet artisan cheese and wine market featuring shareable bites such as hummus, meats and cheeses as well as hearty salads and sandwiches. The market also features a popular weekly Mac’ n’ cheese special created by Chef Kelly. Past dishes have included a Thanksgiving mac ’n cheese featuring turkey, stuffing and cranberry; a loaded baked potato mac ’n’ cheese; and a chicken enchilada mac’ n’ cheese. During the holidays, Paradise Pantry will also feature sparkling wine flights to find the best bubbly for your Holiday and New Year celebrations. This eatery is a perfect place to find gifts for the foodies in your life – or to treat a friend to a tasty break during holiday shopping on downtown Main Street. Located at: 222 E. Main Street.

Sauna Studio: Help your loved ones relax this holiday season with a gift from Sauna Studio. Sauna Studio offers infrared sauna treatment, hot yoga and massage therapy designed to help you destress and give you a healthy glow. The infrared therapy will also help with weight loss, pain relief, and improve the strength of one’s immune system and cardiovascular health. Located at: 3459 Telegraph Road.

Scrubs on the Run: is an affordable place for medical professionals to buy scrubs, with styles and sizes to accommodate all body types and personalities. Scrubs are also available for purchase online. Located at: 2542 E. Main Street.

Skincare by Adriana: Give the gift of healthy and radiant skin this season with a facial or waxing from esthetician, Adriana. Skincare by Adriana offers a variety of spa and express facials to help skins glow. Adriana is skilled in treating acne, rosacea and uneven skin tones and can help anyone achieve the results they want to see in their skin. Located at: 35 Oak St. in Ventura.

Spice-Topia: Gifts from Spice-Topia are sure to spice up any occasion or dish. This specialty spice and tea store sells products from over 25 local artisan food chef creations, including specialty ketchups, hot sauces, jams, coffees and much more. Perfect for those on your list who love to cook. Custom gift baskets and pre-made gift baskets are also available. Located at: 576 E. Main St. in Ventura.

Very Ventura Gift Shop and Gallery: offers an array of Ventura-branded merchandise for visitors and natives alike – and serves as a key source of recommendations for out-of-town visitors or residents looking for new ways to entertain their holiday guests.  The gift store and website give an insider’s take on local dining, shopping, landmarks and unique excursions within Ventura County, aiming to please a wide range of interests and abilities. Located at:  540 E. Main St.

About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)

WEV is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. Since 1991, WEV has been providing a continuum of comprehensive services – training, consulting and loans – to help entrepreneurs start grow and thrive in business. WEV’s service area includes Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, with offices in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Santa Maria. WEV provides start-up and expansion loans of up to $50,000 to pre-bankable microenterprises. For more information, visit WEV’s Web site at

Scorpion Pier on Santa Cruz Island Closed Temporarily Due to Damage from High Surf

The Scorpion Pier on Santa Cruz Island is closed temporarily until
damages caused by the high surf last Friday are fully assessed and
repaired. The island will remain open to visitation. Landings at
Scorpion Anchorage will be beach landings via skiff until the pier

Storm surge and high waves inundated Scorpion Anchorage last Friday,
causing flooding in the valley, road damage to the pier access road,
and damage to the pier decking, concrete abutment, and metal frame.

The Scorpion Pier is a flatbed railcar that was installed as a
temporary pier in 2000 and has been deteriorating due to wave action
and saltwater. The park plans to replace the existing pier in
approximately three years.

Scorpion Anchorage is the most visited destination in the park, with
over 55,000 people coming ashore each year to enjoy recreational
activities such as hiking, picnicking, camping, kayaking, and

The high surf also caused minor damage to both the Prisoners Pier on
Santa Cruz Island and the Santa Barbara Island landing dock. Repairs
at each of these landings are underway. Public access was restored at
Prisoners Harbor on Sunday and Santa Barbara Island landing is
expected to be open by the end of the week.

Ventura City Fire personnel responds to structure fire, visible fire coming from the roof of a strip-mall

On Dec.13, at 5:16pm Ventura City Fire personnel responded to a reported structure fire, visible fire coming from the roof of a strip-mall in the 4800 block of Telephone. Units arrived to find occupants being evacuated out of a single-story retail business by Ventura Police. Sprinkler heads on the roof were flowing, the fire alarm system was alerting, and a small amount of visible fire and smoke was coming from the roof behind a large parapet facade. An aerial ladder on the first arriving support company was used to make access to the roof from the rear, while engine companies entered through the front of the business and made roof access via fixed ladders and hatches. Simultaneous efforts were required to effectively mitigate the hazard and prevent further damage to the business and its inventory. Rope bags were used to hoist hose lines up from the sidewalk to the roof, while chainsaws were used to open up the vertical rear surface of the parapet wall. Electrical utilities were controlled, a water supply was established and the building sprinkler system was supported. While the fire was being knocked down on the roof, salvage operations were employed to cover and/or remove inventory from the showroom area beneath the fire, where water and ceiling tiles were dropping down.

Ventura Botanical Gardens appoints new leadership

stuff VBGVentura Botanical Gardens (VBG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world-class botanical garden and cultural landmark, has chosen Dr. Joe Cahill as its first-ever Executive Director. New Board President Dr. Tracy Long and Vice President Barbara Brown join Dr. Cahill.

Dr. Joe Cahill is a professional botanist who has served VBG in a leadership capacity for 8 years.  He has a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California Riverside and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan.  He is an adjunct professor at California Lutheran University and has over 20 years work experience in a combination of botanic gardens, conservation non-profits and NGOs, Convention on Biological Diversity, and horticulture.

“I am honored and excited to devote myself to serve as the first Executive Director of Ventura Botanical Gardens,” Dr. Cahill. “The Gardens are a unique public-private partnership with the City of Ventura and a valuable resource for our community to learn about and celebrate nature conservation. As Executive Director, I look forward to seeing the gardens grow into a world-class legacy that will be enjoyed for generations.”

Dr. Tracy Long, a board member since 2010, will serve as President of the Ventura Botanical Gardens. Dr. Long is an applied anthropologist with a doctorate in human and organizational systems.

Barbara Brown is the founding partner of BBM&D Strategic Branding, one of the largest branding firms in the area. She is a Commissioner for the City of Ventura Public Arts Commission, is on the Advisory Board for Interface Children & Family Services and serves as Chair of the Sister Cities Cultural Exchange focused on cultivating international awareness and understanding. She is a Charter Member of the Ventura Botanical Gardens and has been on the board for six years.




Olivas Links receives award from CGCOA

stuff olivas links
General Manager Carl Van Vallier and Anna Atwell, Director of Sales & Marketing accepting the award on behalf of the golf course.

Olivas Links has been awarded the 2015 Community Environmental Award at the annual meeting of the CGCOA (California Golf Course Owner’s Association).

The highlights for Olivas Links receiving the award included:

●  The renovation of the 12.5 acre driving range with the use of artificial turn and decomposed granite which greatly reduced water usage and need for fertilizers and pesticides
●  Use of reclaimed water for irrigation
●  Expansive native areas
●  Paspalum turf which is very salt tolerant thus requiring less water that would normally be needed to flush out naturally occurring salts in the soil
●  Recycling all consumer beverage containers as well as golf course green waste and maintenance equipment oil
●  On site natural habitat home to many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and recognized by the Audubon Society

In addition to the award, Olivas Links was also recently named by to a list of the most water-conscious golf courses.  A link to that article can be found at

Experience the magic of the season seaside

The two-day celebration includes the Parade of Lights and visits by Santa & Mrs. Claus.

Photo by Dan Harding

The Ventura Harbor presents the 39th Annual Ventura Harbor Boat Parade of Lights and Fireworks, Friday & Saturday, December 18 & 19, at 6:30 pm and Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace on Saturday, December 19 from 1- 5 pm.  Decorated boats and holiday décor kick off this year’s “Surf, Sand & Santa- Celebrating 150 Years of Ventura” themed parade, in recognition of the City of Ventura’s 150th Anniversary.

The two-day celebration includes the Parade of Lights,  Carnival & Rides on the Ventura Harbor Village Main Lawn, visits by Santa & Mrs. Claus for last minutes gift requests at the Carousel Stage and delicious waterfront dining throughout Ventura Harbor. Saturday evening, December 19, at 6:45 pm, watch for Santa and his sleigh fly across the sky above the Harbor, kicking off the boat parade, courtesy of Aspen Helicopters.  A fireworks display lights up the night each evening at approximately 8 pm.

At the Harbor’s Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace enjoy free visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus and their live reindeer ,Victorian Carolers, Toy Soldier Band, faux snowfall, craft stations,holiday characters, and boutique shopping make Winter Wonderland a fun traditional holiday experience for all ages!  Enjoy festive fun at this free event and explore the sixteen seaside boutiques and art galleries for holiday finds. Plus, Harbor restaurants are overflowing with good cheer for lunch and dinner.

At the Parade of Lights stop by the Ventura Harbor Village booth to get a pair of 3D glasses to watch the fireworks display (while supplies last).  Get up close and on the water for the spectacular display of lights with public cruises offered by Island Packers (805-642-1393).

Admission to the Parade of Lights on Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19, along with Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace on December 19, is free. Parking is free in Ventura Harbor Village, along Spinnaker Drive, and in the Ventura Harbor beach lots.  Ventura Downtown – Harbor Trolley will be running with complimentary rides from 11 am – 11 pm from downtown, hotels, and Pierpont neighborhood.  Arrive early for best parking and shopping throughout the Ventura Harbor Village. Dinner reservations are recommended or arrive early to dine in venues throughout Ventura Harbor.

Boater Applications are available by calling 477-0470 or online at and  No charge to enter a decorated watercraft and includes an 8 x10 keepsake photo, awards, prizes, and Boaters Brunch courtesy of The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood!

Visit or call 477-0470 for more information or get updates on Ventura Harbor Facebook and Twitter #Venturaharbor.


City Council approves Regent prescreen

The opposition failed to keep the hillside project from continuing to proceed through the city approvals.
The opposition failed to keep the hillside project from continuing to proceed through the city approvals.

Regent Properties took a giant step forward towards the eventual development of 55 homes in the hillsides above Ventura.  On Nov. 30, the Ventura City Council approved the prescreen application submitted by the developer and previously approved by the Planning Commission.

At the special council meeting, which lasted more than 8 hours, the council voted 4-1 to allow the developer to move forward in what will be a very long and very expensive application process  to build  the luxury houses. Regent has named the development the La Viera Project.

Contrary to what some of those opposed believe, the City Council did not approve the specific drawings presented by Regent but just the concept of this development.

To start the meeting, Community Development Director Jeff Lambert very carefully explained what the prescreen process was and what its approval would mean. He stated, “It is allowing the developer to file a formal application.”

As also explained by Councilmember Carl Morehouse, he said this is not the approval of a project but just a concept, a process, a beginning.

Only 5 council members were allowed to vote because members Tracy and Weir were asked to recuse themselves from participating because of where they currently live. Mayor Cheryl Heitmann, Deputy Mayor Erik Nasarenko, Neil Andrews and Carl Morehouse voted yes and Jim Monahan voted no to proceed with the prescreen.

This will allow Regent, and the City to have CEQA-EIR reports and many other reports, studies and documentation created that will need review and approval by the planning department, design review and City Council before this project is ever approved.  This process could take another 3-4 years. There will still be many opportunities for both those opposing and supporting the project to be heard.

In approving the prescreen, the council members made it quite clear that they had many concerns about the final plans for the project and that they were just approving the very general concept of the proposed development.

Member Eric Nasarenko said, “What I lack is impartial, third-party data. This is the process, this is the vehicle by which we collect that information.”

Based upon his concerns, and to take the public’s comments into consideration, he made a second motion to include a list for Regent to consider in preparing their next stage of drawings. Other council members and planning staff added to the list which was approved 5-0 by the council.

Items included in that list were:

Minimize grading and artificial creation of steep slopes through low terracing and retaining walls and varied lot and pad sizes.

Allow roads to exceed 15% grade in short stretches if it improves the overall design.

Allow development within areas of over 30% slope as long as it results in better overall design & is instituted only when necessary.

Daniel Gryczman, President of the Regent Land division, told the council the proposal would be good for Ventura. He said the “state-of-the-art” development would create $164 million in economic output for the city and that “the project over many years will create millions of dollars of new money in the general fund.”

Regent is not expected to submit a formal application until 2017.

Although she didn’t vote, member Christy Weir told the Breeze, “Ventura will benefit in many ways from the addition of executive housing — increased tax base, high-income homeowners who support our local businesses and non-profits, and the availability of homes for business owners who would otherwise locate in other areas. Every city needs a healthy balance of homes to provide a “full-service” community. We don’t want our lower-wage workforce or our highest-income individuals to have to commute. “

“We have two under-construction hospital facilities that are in the process of hiring many new physicians. The majority of these health professionals are purchasing homes in surrounding communities because of Ventura’s small supply of executive housing. As we consider where high-end homes could be located, the lower hillsides within the city limits are one option. However, stringent levels of review, including attention to public input, are essential to ensure safety, neighborhood compatibility, environmental sensitivity, aesthetics and community benefit.”