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Beverage and food vendors for Pier Under the Stars

Diane Brown, Staci Brown and Pam Baumgardner enjoying a previous Pier Under the Stars.

Beverage and food vendors for Pier Under the Stars—the 25th annual benefit for the historic Ventura Pier on Saturday, October 6th, from 5-8pm are needed.

Each year more than 800 residents and visitors attend this beachfront culinary fair adjacent to the pier to sample the county’s best food and spirits provided by over 40 area businesses. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Ventura’s premier wine, beverage and food event.

Restaurants, cafes, wineries and breweries serve their signature dishes and beverages from tented booths along the seaside Promenade while guests enjoy live music & dancing under the stars and an amazing silent auction. It’s a community celebration to honor the City’s 145 year old pier.

Vendors do not have to pay a fee to participate and it provides a great way for them to market their food and beverages to over 800 community members. Please contact or call 805.804.7735 for details.

YMCA will host the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson

The YMCA has always been America’s Number One Swim Instructor.

On June 21, at 2pm, Ventura Family YMCA will host the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, an event that seeks to break the record for largest Swim Lesson Worldwide. The 2017 WLSL event included 41,068 participants from 26 countries.

Tens of thousands of kids and adults at aquatic facilities around the world will unite for the ninth year in a row to make noise that Swimming Lessons Save Lives.™ A global event, The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL), will take place over the course of 24 hours at an estimated 600 locations in more than 20 countries with the goal of generating 1 billion media impressions by 2019.

Participants can sign up for free online at or they can sign up at the YMCA at 3760 Telegraph Road. Registration is also available at the door.

“The YMCA has always been America’s Number One Swim Instructor. It’s our duty to participate in World’s Largest Swimming Lesson and tell the world the Swimming Lessons Save Lives,” Vanessa Tooch, Programs Director at the Ventura Family YMCA.
Since its inception, more than 235,000 children and adults have participated in WLSL lessons generating more than half a billion media impressions about the vital importance of learning to swim.

Tragically, in the U.S. drowning remains the leading cause of unintended, injury related death for children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training.

“Drowning is an epidemic for children under 14, especially during the summer time. Over two thirds of drowning incidents occur between May and August. These drownings are preventable. With the proper water safety training, children can learn how to swim and avoid dangerous situations in the water. World’s Largest Swimming Lesson is a critical opportunity that no parent should ignore,” Tooch explains.

Ventura Family YMCA will serve as an official Host Location Facility for the WLSL 2018 event. Parents are invited to learn more about this phenomenal event by visiting or For more information about the Ventura Family YMCA, visit or call 805.642.2131.

Water saving tips for your smart garden

Toro’s Scott Donoho teaches a free City Gardening Class at A Smart Garden in Downtown

Sustainability Now News
by Maryann Ridini Spencer

Every year, one Saturday morning a month except for December, the City of Ventura and Ventura Water hold free Gardening Classes offering informative lectures and Q&As, practical water-wise tips, and fun, hands-on experience. Classes cover everything from smart controllers to the benefits of permeable surfaces, how to install an ocean-friendly landscape and everything from A to Z about designing and maintaining water-wise landscapes and balanced garden eco-systems.

At a recent Drip Irrigation Workshop that took place at A Smart Garden in Downtown Ventura, I spoke to Toro Company’s Scott Donoho about irrigation best practices for residents. Here are some of his top tips.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Eliminate Water Waste — Check Your Irrigation System For Leaks

Outdoor water use accounts for upwards of 30-60% of the total household water use. As much as 50% of the water used outdoors can be lost to wind, evaporation, and runoff. One of the most important things you can do to eliminate water waste is to observe your irrigated areas after watering to see what you are losing to the sidewalk, driveway, or street. Make adjustments to the clock by adjusting the run times. Instead of having one long run time break them up into two run times to allow the water to be absorbed instead of trailing off onto impervious surfaces.

Adjust Your Irrigation Schedule So You’re Not Watering Your Hard Surfaces

If you discover that the hard surfaces around your yard (your driveway, sidewalk, patio) are saturated, or that water is flowing from your yard into the street, check your irrigation system to make sure water is directed into your landscape. Additionally, adjust your irrigation clock and make any necessary adjustments.

Repair and Design Your Landscape Before Making Irrigation Changes

Find out what isn’t working with your irrigation and make the appropriate repairs. Then, think about the changes you may want to make in your landscape and the uses you’ll require. If you’ll be making small changes and feel confident about making them, do it yourself. However, if you decided to remove your turf, or make other significant changes, consult with a C-27 Licensed California Contractor to discuss your ideas and to plan out what type of an irrigation system will work best for your needs.

Eliminate Plant Stress and Over-Watering

Since Ventura has a mandatory limitation allowing residents to water only twice per week, if you start to see stress in your plants (i.e., they are turning brown or look wilted), it may be that you are watering too little.

If you see that the top layer of your soil is always saturated, it may be that you’re watering too much.

As a reminder, the City of Ventura remains in a stage 3 water shortage event. The following activities are prohibited and are considered a violation of the City’s Water Waste Ordinance.

Be mindful to:

  • Never allow water to run and be wasted during outdoor use
  • Limit the use of potable water irrigation to two days per week
  • Fix water leaks (Don’t allow water leaks to persist for more than 48 hours)
  • When using a handheld hose, use an automatic shutoff nozzle
  • Don’t operate fountains unless the water is recirculating
  • Never hose down hardscape surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks
  • Don’t irrigate your outdoor landscape during (and within) 48 hours of measureable rainfall.

Sustainability Now News is a new column in the Breeze by Award-Winning Screenwriter, Author, Producer, TV and Print Lifestyle Journalist Maryann Ridini Spencer with a focus on the environmental, social, economic, and cultural pillars of sustainability covering green practices, programs, news and events, industry leaders, green business, and healthy living ideas.

Ventura City Council Adopts Fireworks Social Host Ordinance

The Ventura City Council adopted a Fireworks Social Host Ordinance during its regular meeting on June 18, 2018.  Under the new ordinance, any homeowner, renter, or person in charge of a residence or other private property who knows or should know of the sale, use, and/or possession of any fireworks on private property are subject to a civil penalty levied by the City of Ventura.

The Social Host is responsible for the sale, use, and/or possession of fireworks on their property by anyone on their property. The ordinance pertains to any person who hosts, organizes, supervises, officiates, conducts, or accepts responsibility for a gathering on private property.

Violators in the city of Ventura can be reported online, by emailing video of the alleged use of fireworks to the Ventura Police Department.  The Ventura Police will be sending out more information on the reporting process in the next week.

“Illegal fireworks are a safety issue,” said Police Chief Ken Corney.  “The new ordinance provides another disincentive to use illegal fireworks.” Ventura police and fire departments will be patrolling neighborhoods throughout the city of Ventura on July 4th to keep citizens and their property safe and enforce the City’s ordinances.

“Put the community first,” said Fire Chief David Endaya.  “Extreme drought conditions and tinder-dry brush are dangerous. I am asking every resident and visitor in Ventura to keep our city safe and be considerate of your neighbors. Do not use fireworks.”

For more information visit

Strong Thomas Fire recovery efforts in the City of Ventura

New homes will soon start replacing the lost ones.

The City of Ventura has issued the first full-home Thomas Fire rebuild permits to property owners who lost their homes in the fire last December. The City of Ventura Community Development Department worked closely with the homeowners and architects to issue building permits.

The Ventura City Council took several steps early on to help residents rebuild homes on fire-damaged properties by instituting a streamlined and expedited approach. After the Thomas Fire, policy changes were made to accelerate the recovery process such as a allowing homeowners to maintain their legal nonconforming status and instituting a 14-business day turnaround for permit plan check(normally at least 6-weeks). To help review rebuilding permits, the City contracted with outside firms to support the workload and ensure Thomas Fire rebuilding applications are given priority.

“We have made rapid progress,” said Mayor Neal Andrews. “It’s been just five months since the Thomas Fire and we will continue to work diligently and support the needs of our residents to reinvest in their properties.”

Additionally, the City established a Thomas Fire Rebuild office to expeditiously serve residents and improve the workflow. “It’s been a tremendous team effort,” said Community Development Director Jeffrey Lambert. “Collaborating with local architects early on and working with departments citywide has been the key to our success.”

In the City of Ventura, the Thomas Fire destroyed 524 homes and damaged approximately 168 homes.

City staff has held more than 125 one-on-one meetings with homeowners and design professionals.

First Thomas Fire rebuild in Ventura is underway

The Fuller’s are number one.

by Richard Lieberman

Six months ago, the Thomas Fire raged through communities in Ventura County. Burning nearly 282,000 acres and destroying 1,063 homes and buildings. Today in our on-going series we examine the re-building process of one homeowner in the Scenic Way Dr., community. Homeowners Ed and Sandy Fuller are the first homeowners to receive re-build permit approval from the city.

We met Ed and Sandy Fuller at the site of their destroyed home, burned to the ground during the fire. The re-build had already begun, and the organized chaos of the job site was evident. A new structure on the property was already in the final stages. The small out-building will serve as Ed Fuller’s workshop, and office during the re-build process. Still remnants of the destructive fire could be seen around and on the site. Burned shrubs, the remnants of burned and disfigured trees and plants all a reminder of the devastation the fires caused.

“There is no sense in grieving about it for a long time the loss was the loss.” Fuller said. “The reality is its just things and things can be replaced” he added. Like others the Fullers were glad that they got out safe. “We did get out with a few of our photos, some of our important documents, we had enough time.” said Fuller. The Fullers even managed to get out with a few paintings that held sentimental value to them. They evacuated to a friend’s house on the same street and the house didn’t start to burn until three in the morning” said Sandy Fuller. “All we could see was this huge fireball wafting across our property.”

One possession that meant a great deal to Ed was a wooden toolbox that his grandfather had made that was in his woodshop that burned to the studs. “To me it was big deal.” Added Fuller. After getting to see the damage the fire caused Sandy said, “We looked at each other and said we know how to re-build we know how to do this.”

Some of the Fullers neighbors have also begun the re-building process and Fuller believes some will even surpass them on the re-builds. “Since the fire we are probably closer to our neighbors than we have been.”. he said. “We even met neighbors that we had not met before.” Added Fuller. “Now it seems like everybody knows everybody.” He added. “We try to encourage each other, this is what we did to get through this process, this is what we did to get through permitting or this is who we are using for whatever. Were all trying to help one another.” Sandy said.

Ed Fuller retired now but was a construction manager for a large oil company so “I am very familiar with the construction process. “he said. The Fullers are acting as general contractor for their re-build. Their insurance company paid only 75% of total value, and Fuller added “most contentious thing we have with the insurance company is some of the personal property.”

When asked about how the city has responded Sandy responded, “When we went into Building and Safety with our architect we took our plans to a back room and with all the department heads and they mark up the plans with what is additionally needed.” “What most people need to know is that most of the rules and guidelines are state mandated and not city rules that make the process so overwhelming.” She said.

When asked about the timeline for completion Ed said” We have an incredibly aggressive timeline with the hope of celebrating Christmas in our new home.” “We are just finishing compaction and next week we expect start laying the foundation.” Fuller said.

“The only thing I can say in conclusion, in the end this can be a very positive experience.” Ed Fuller added.

Yolanda Bundy, Chief Building Official at the Building and Safety Division, Ventura was instrumental in aiding and guiding the Fullers in expediting the permit process for the first permit to be issued for re-building after the fires.

“We’re very excited that the Fuller family is on their way to rebuilding.” “It was a true team effort” said Bundy. The detailed and comprehensive effort by the Fullers was instrumental in speeding the process. “The Fullers were very responsive and cooperative throughout the process.” Bundy added. Acting as their own general contractor the Fullers were able to present to the city plans that met the requirement of both local and state governments. “The quality of the plans provided by their design professionals was a key to successfully helping us meet our goal of issuing their permits with a 14- day business turnaround.” Bundy continued.

Bundy also commented “We want our community to know that we care about them, and that we are committed to working with both Thomas Fire Rebuild applicants and with all the other permit applicants who come into our office at city hall daily. As members of the Ventura community we take our role in helping our community build or rebuild very personally. We all need these milestones of hope right now.”

Ventura Harbor Village celebrates Pirates Day

Hold onto your valuables when you see the pirates.

Ahoy all you landlubbers and buccaneers – head to Ventura Harbor Village for a newly designed pop-up pirate experience at the 13th Annual Pirates Day on Sunday, June 10th from 11:00am – 4:00pm. Pirates Day 2018 offers guests an unforgettable voyage around the Village as the “Streets of Port Royal” with pirate characters, entertainment, activities, and photo opportunities around every corner.

For one day only, Ventura Harbor Village transforms into the “Streets of Port Royal”. Venture along the waterfront to find pirates in sword fights by professional Pirates for Hire, mermaids, treasure, exotic birds, live entertainment, rum drinks, and pirate eats. Keep an eye out for Reece Ryan’s on-land Kids Pirate Ship, Captain Jack, Hook & Tink (look-a-likes), belly dancing, and strolling pirate musicians. Take an exclusive look inside the underwater Mermaid Curse Ultimate Escape Room. Visit Port Royal Privateers’ historical encampment, unique vendor booths for face painting and henna body art or find precious wares, such nautical-themed loot. Unique selfie spots everywhere you turn!

Everyone is encouraged to come dressed in their best pirate garb! Strut in the Pirates Day costume contests held throughout the day for different age brackets

For grog and grub, Village restaurants offer a variety of cuisine for hungry crews; including roasted turkey legs and rum specials. Live entertainment will range from Steel Drummers to the Sword Coast Medieval Fighters Club. Ventura Harbor Pirates Day gives you a chance to get in your best piratical gear and wander by the sea to interact with pirates and gypsies of all ages.

Admission and parking for Pirates Day are free. Book your overnight stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort or Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ventura Harbor. Catch the Downtown – Harbor Trolley for a free ride to Pirates Day.

For a list of shopping and dining specials and entertainment schedule please visit, or call 477-0470. The 2018 Pirates Day is supported by Cumulus Broadcasting, VC Reporter, The Ventura Breeze and The Santa Clarita Signal.

The American Red Cross raises funds for military families and veterans

From Ride for the Red Allyn Rice, Jim Sennett , Denise Rice, Ken Bauer, Diane Krehbiel-Delson, Kris Meathrell , Susan Wolf and Kevin Delson.

The American Red Cross of Ventura County, a leading humanitarian organization with nearly 600 volunteers, held the kickoff of its third annual Operation: Ride for the Red cycling event. The ride took place on Saturday, May 19, and all proceeds support the organization, which helps members of the military, veterans, and their families prepare for, cope with and respond to the challenges of military service.

There were three rides going through Ventura County, a century (100 miles) a metric century (about 62 miles)  and a half metric century (30 miles) . Each registered rider received a rider bag with several free items. All active and retired veterans road for free.

“Each time we participate in Operation: Ride for the Red, I’m overjoyed by how the community comes together to support such a worthy cause,” said Ken Bauer, ride event director for Operation: Ride for the Red. “It’s such a fun way to bring the community together to raise support for the military, veterans and their families. We owe a big thanks to our sponsors for allowing the Red Cross to host this ride year after year.”

The Red Cross is able to help local military families thanks to the generosity of donors who support the SAF program. This year’s Operation: Ride for Red sponsors included California Resources Corporation (CRC), Wells Fargo, Premier America Credit Union, and Capital Insurance Group (CIG), in addition to many generous in-kind donors.

Ride for the Red was created by passionate, local volunteers eager to share the story and history of the Red Cross SAF program. Since 9/11, the Red Cross has served more than one million military families, and it is the only military service organization that supports military families from the day they enlist through their time as a veteran.

To donation, or learn more

BeeCause art installation realized

Four years from conception to funding, the BeeCause art installation has finally been realized. Community members painted hubcaps, under the direction of MB Hanrahan who designed this latest public art project for our Barranca Vista Recreation Center.

The project was funded by the California Arts Council, and City of Ventura Community Partnerships.

In addition to being colorful and fun, and involving our community, the project advocates for awareness and protection of native bees and honey bees.

Thomas Fire Stories Project premieres on CAPSTV

ECTV interviewed Ventura Fire Chief Endaya at CAPS studio.

The Thomas Fire Stories project will premiere on Friday, June 1 at 6pm on CAPS Media TV Channel 6. Every Friday evening a new story will début and repeat throughout the week on channel 6 and on CAPS Radio (104.1FM). The ongoing series features personal stories by fire fighters, first responders and community members impacted by the fire. The stories are supported by photos and videos contributed by the public and news agencies.

For the past few months CAPS Media has recorded dozens of first-person stories in the CAPS Media studio and at radio recording events throughout the county. The diversity and depth of the individual experiences is captivating, breath-taking and heart-warming. The Thomas Fire stories include first-hand accounts from fire fighters in the field and directing the army of response from command posts to citizens helping others, fighting to save their homes and fleeing for their lives. The unscripted accounts capture personal experiences of extraordinary heroism, sacrifice, tragedy and healing surrounding the Thomas Fire.

Each 30 minute story will rerun throughout the week. The stories also stream on and are available on the CAPS Media website at Audio recordings will air and stream on CAPS Radio, KPPQ 104.1FM.

The Museum of Ventura County is gathering all of the stories into an all-inclusive archive and will include some of the material in the museum’s Thomas Fire exhibit in the fall. Selected stories from the video series will be included in a comprehensive documentary scheduled to premiere in December – to coincide with the museum’s exhibit and the one-year anniversary of the Thomas Fire.

CAPS Media’s Digital Storytelling Summer program is accepting applications for three-day sessions on June 26 – 28, July 10 – 12 and July 17 – 19. The June 28 session will feature production in the CAPS Media studio, July 10 focuses on documentary production with field and studio production, and the July 17 session is geared to dramatic production. The sessions are geared to ages 10-15 and no experience in media or production is required. Every week crew members receive hands-on instruction in the use of video cameras, audio, lighting, studio production and postproduction editing. The fast paced, activity packed programs are directed by CAPS Media professional staff and assisted by student interns from El Camino’s award winning ECTV media program. Digital Storytelling Summer Sessions will teach teamwork and skills needed to produce commercials, documentaries, news reporting, comedy shows and more that include organization and teamwork. To learn more or sign up call the CAPS Media Center, 805.658.0500 or go to

Recently the CAPS Media crew recorded graduation ceremonies for Ventura College and the work continues with recording, broadcasting and streaming graduation ceremonies for El Camino High School (June 8) and Foothill Technical High School (June 14).

Everyone in the community is invited to tour the CAPS Media Center and learn more about the resources available to the public. General orientation sessions are held on the first Thursday of every month at 6pm at the CAPS Media Center which is located at 65 Day Road, on the eastside of Ventura College directly across from Foothill Technology high school. CAPS Media’s mission is to create an engaged and informed community through participation in electronic media. For more information, go to or call 805-658-0500.