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Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups

The Oxnard Walk to End Alzheimer’s continues but not like this.

The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Ventura County residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on Saturday, September 26, 2020.

The Oxnard Walk to End Alzheimer’s continues, but instead of hosting a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups on sidewalks, and trails across their local communities.

“This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere,” said Wendy Vizek, vice president, constituent events at the Alzheimer’s Association. “The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the need to walk. This year, more than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia. With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”

For many participants, this year is a trivial and emotional time to come together in support of this cause. Some, like Mary Simpson, are experiencing a very recent loss; her mom struggled with Alzheimer’s for 10 years. “It is difficult now not being able to meet with my church and support group, but my faith, friends and family have been a huge support,” Mary said. “ I’ll still be walking this year as part of Team His Sparrows because it is so important to continue to raise awareness and support for the cause.”

For volunteer and Alzheimer’s advocate Terry Seidel, this year will be his fourth time participating in the annual Oxnard Walk to End Alzheimer’s – only his second Walk since the passing of his wife and love of his life, Gina. Terry explained the increased difficulty of navigating a new Walk experience amidst the pandemic.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 16 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In California alone, there are more than 690,000 people living with the disease and 1,624,000 caregivers.

To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimers, visit:

For questions and more information, contact Aracely Avila at

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®
The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Association®
The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Visit or call 800.272.3900.


Ventura Friends of the Library reaches out to the community

Leslie Bellmore and Sandy Greenberg at Hill Road Library.

by Jill Forman

The Friends of the Library bookstore at Foster Library, and the sale shelves at Hill Road Library, have been closed down for months due to COVID. This has been a loss to the community in several ways. People loved coming in, browsing, and finding book bargains. The libraries benefited from all revenues, for programming, supplies, and book purchases. The bookstore volunteers, and the customers, enjoyed the social interaction and being able to chat about books with others who value them.

Now, thanks to innovative thinking and a lot of hard work, the Friends once again offers gently-used books at good prices. Board members Leslie Bellmore, Mary Olson, and Sandy Greenberg have set up an online store, easily accessible through the Friends website ( Booklovers can browse by genre or choose bags of books, order and pay securely, and pick up their selections locally. No waiting for packages, no shipping fees!

New selections are added daily, so customers are encouraged to check back often. Nothing is over $5; most children’s and youth books are $1. There are educational aids also. Holiday items will be added soon for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and so on.

For now, pickups are Tuesday from 1-3 and Saturday 10-12 at the Hill Road Library, 1070 South Hill Road (near the government center.) All county COVID protocols are strictly followed.

VIP Fellows were sworn in

These VIP Fellows are part of a cohort serving sites across 17 California counties.

by Eric Harrison, President & CEO United Way of Ventura County

Recently, three AmeriCorps VIP Fellows were sworn in to serve United Way and our partner sites. Partner sites for the upcoming year include the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging and Westminster Free Clinic, a brand-new site. These VIP Fellows are part of a cohort serving sites across 17 California counties. United Way of Ventura County has served as the Supervising Organization for the AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Project (VIP) in our county since 2016.

AmeriCorps VIP is a capacity building program created to grow volunteer engagement at local nonprofit partner sites. VIP Fellows work to increase the infrastructure, volunteer support, and resources that will empower the nonprofit to serve their constituents more effectively. Over the past five years, United Way of Ventura County has placed 22 VIP Fellows with 13 different nonprofit organizations.

Our most recent class of fellows, who graduated in July, did remarkable work during the pandemic to mobilize COVID-19 volunteers for nonprofits in our community. Lauren Zika, our fellow here at United Way, helped us in countless ways–even serving as a 211 operator during the height of pandemic related calls in early March.

Nonprofits interested in participating as a partner site for 2021 should contact

Outdoor sculpture exhibit at Ventura Botanical Gardens and the Museum of Ventura

“The Where and the Why” – Wrona Gall

by Richard Lieberman

While the worldwide pandemic continues to alter the way we live, work and play the Museum of Ventura and Ventura Botanical Gardens have taken things outdoors. Dining, music, movies and haircuts have taken themselves outdoors. The Museum and the Botanical Gardens have taken art outside. Teaming up the Museum and the Gardens have joined to offer a sculpture installation at both venues.

“Colorspace”- Carlos Grasso piece called at the museum

Bringing art according to Denise Sindelar, MVC Deputy Director to the Gardens is a years old idea. VBG has been interested in a permanent art exhibit at the site since the beginning of the Botanical Gardens. Artist works from Ojai, Ventura, Channel Islands, as well as many other artists from the local area and from further afield. Most of the submitted entries however came from Ventura County. The exhibit consists of about 50 pieces, created by 20 artists.

The exhibit is at the entrance to the gardens and on the lower layers and at the courtyard of the Museum.

“Nuclear Family”- Paul and Kevin Carman.

Since the Museum is temporarily closed due to the pandemic the exhibits were displayed at the Museum plaza outdoors. The works can be viewed from the plaza and can be seen from Main Street. There are seven pieces currently on display, including Privitt’s “Captured Semisphere”, and a series of painted panels by Carlos Grasso called “Colorspace Plaza.” Paul Lindhard and Kevin Carman, while exhibiting at the Gardens also have two works at the Museum, “Flaming Medusa” and “Acorn”.

The theme of the exhibits was “Arte Forastero” it’s Latin root means outside. A fitting title for a very different art exhibit during a very trying time. Some might think it a little strange for artwork to be exhibited outside the walls of a Museum, but in this case outside works well.

“Captured Semisphere” – Bob Privitts

Come visit the Botanical Gardens and visit the Museum it will be well worth visiting, to view art among the splendor of the outdoors, where on one side the mountains and the other the sea form a background that enhances the experience.

Your MC21 Note – Nicole Cabell

Nicole Cabell from the 2012 Face Of Ventura series by Johanna Spinks.

by Susan Scott Executive Director

“Nicole Cabell is an American soprano.” So begins her formal bio, but I have a sense Venturans would write it differently – something like: “Nicole Cabell is a ‘hometown hero,” a local girl from a modest family who took the opera world by storm when she won the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2005.”

Nicole debuted at The Proms in London the next year (a very big deal) and her career from there would take her to opera houses throughout the world, like Covent Garden, Lyric Opera in Chicago, The Met and more. And – in the midst of this career rocket – she closes the 2008 Ventura Music Festival in a sold-out performance staged at Ventura High School, her alma mater, and follows it with a master class for 500 students the next day. This weekend was a very big deal for Ventura and the town went crazy. They loved Nicole and she loved them.

The appearance became even more mythic when she came down with laryngitis the night before she was to perform. She couldn’t sing at rehearsal the next day either and found her voice only that night when she opened it to sing on stage – a veritable (operatic) cliff-hanger.

Fast forward, I catch up with Nicole in July where her Pandemic experience has her in the middle of a long cross-country move and home remodel. She’s relocating from Chicago to Rochester NY to take up her new position as Assistant Professor at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. I congratulate her, and she agrees to participate in Music Connects. She’ll think about what music to connect with as she completes the move.

Nicole decides on the song version of Langston Hughes’ poem, Kid in the Park, because she thinks it reflects the mood of the deepening cultural awareness in the country. I think it does too and I think you are going to love the video and the music.



Arte Forastero Sculpture Exhibit

Artist Bijan Fan will be on exhibit.

Continuing through November 30, 2020, the Museum of Ventura County (MVC) and the Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG) host 14 regional artists in their first collaboration. Sculptures and installation works have been installed in the Botanical Gardens nursery and lower trails and in the Museum’s outdoor Plaza along Main Street in Downtown Ventura. This exhibit showcases works by the following artists: Emma Akmakdjian, Gloria Bradley, Kevin Carman, Bijan Fan, Wrona Gall, Sooz Glazebrook, Carlos Grasso, Paul Lindhard, Bob Privitt, Sudad Shahin. Additional works by artists Tanya Kovalesky, Marianne McGrath, Carole Shaw Sutton and Amy Sharp will be installed in mid-September.

This collaboration was initiated by VBG Executive Director Joseph Cahill and MVC Deputy Director Denise Sindelar in recognition that the Gardens and the Museum’s outdoor Plaza would provide an excellent venue for the community to safely explore and experience outdoor art installations. Jurors selecting the exhibiting artists included Christine Beirne, Ojai Studio Artists, Barbara Brown, Board Member VBG, Matthew Furmanski, Professor CSUCI, Michael Pearce, Professor CLU, Peter Tyas, Executive Director Studio Channel Islands and Denise Sindelar, Deputy Director MVC.

The funding to support the art installations was provided by the Bonita C. McFarland Endowment through the Museum of Ventura County. All art sales will 100% benefit the exhibiting artists. Patrons interested in purchasing works may contact Denise Sindelar at

During the run of this exhibit MVC members may visit the Gardens free of charge and when the Museums reopen VBG members will receive free admission to both the Ventura Museum and the Santa Paula Agriculture Museum. Members of both organizations are encouraged to support this exciting first collaboration.


New census deadline

The City of Ventura is encouraging community members to take the 2020 Census by the new self-reporting deadline of September 30, 2020. To date, more than 72% of Ventura residents have participated in the 2020 Census.

In August and September, Census workers will knock on doors to follow up with houses in lower-response areas and may return multiple times to uncounted homes. Census workers will wear official Census Bureau badges, face coverings, and follow all public health guidelines when visiting homes.

“Now more than ever, we need to ensure that our community is accurately counted in the Census,” said Ventura City Manager, Alex D. McIntyre. “The results of this once-a-decade count determine the amount of funding and resources Ventura will receive for the next 10 years. It’s important that every household and business is counted so we can secure critical resources for public and social services like education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects.”

The Census is a 9-question survey that takes less than 10 minutes to complete. All responses are confidential. Households and businesses are encouraged to respond by mail, or take the 2020 Census online or by phone. The Census is available in 13 languages.

To learn more, visit www.census.ventura.orgor call (844) 330-2020.

Countywide suicide prevention initiative to spread awareness and to save lives

by Carol Leish

During September’s National Suicide Prevention Month, Vista del Mar Hospital is presenting a countywide initiative to provide awareness and to ultimately save lives.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state. In California 4,491 died by suicide in 2018, including 94 people in Ventura County alone. This reflects a total of 84,137 years of potential life lost before age 65. On a national level, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24.

“The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have been far-reaching and fatal. In addition to the physical health concerns, there are emotional, mental, and behavioral health stains,” according to, Jenifer Nyhuis, Vista del Mar’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are constantly reminded of these challenges, such as: job loss; increased depression related to isolation; increased anxiety due to uncertainty and fear; economic challenges; food insecurity; child care needs; and, social challenges. We are also aware of the decrease in common coping outlets for social gatherings (gyms; churches; temples; spas; and, parks).” She continued by saying, “I am confident that nearly every person’s mental health has been brought into question, if only momentarily. The pandemic has only further exacerbated the suicide crisis. Thus, this is a time to come together to collaborate as a community in order to create lasting change.”

Therefore, Vista del Mar Hospital is collaborating with the Jason Foundation and community partners to provide free suicide prevention training online via Zoom. The one-hour training includes facts and figures about this silent epidemic, compelling survey results, warning signs such as out-of-character behavior, risk factors for suicidal ideation, resources, and the social media campaign: #1WONTBESILENT. Community partners include: The City of Ventura; Coalition for Family Harmony; NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), Ventura County; Mission FISH; Genesis Programs, Inc.; News Talk 1590 KVTA; QPR For Suicide Prevention; Ventura Downtown Lion’s Club; Ventura County Behavioral Health; Ventura County CIT; and, Women of the Moose. Vista del Mar has three scheduled trainings open to the public, as well as trainings by appointment.

“During this unprecedented time of uncertainty, suicide prevention is more important than ever,” according to, Kiran Sahot, Sr. Behavioral Health Manager with Ventura County Behavior Health. “We encourage the community to become trained in asking the difficult questions surrounding thoughts of suicide, and being able to recognize the signs of anxiety and depression.”

Resources on a list that is provided by Vista del Mar include resources in the areas of: crisis stabilization; outpatient services; chemical dependence; veteran services; LGBTQ+ services and support; and, other education and support. With help/support, situations can and will improve.

If in a dire situation, please call either: the Ventura County Crisis Intervention Unit at: 856-998-223; or, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 800-273-8255.

To find more available resources and/or information from Vista del Mar, go to their website at: “Realize that you’re not alone,” according to, Maya Lazos, community liaison at Vista del Mar. “There is help and there are free resources out there.” For questions or to schedule a training by appointment, contact Lazos at: (805) 794-1009; or,

Concerts in cars at the Ventura Fairgrounds

On August 17,18 and 19 the Rubicon Theatre Company presented Ventura’s own Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Ventura Fairgrounds at a live drive-in concert. The 9-member band had the audience blowing their horn in appreciation of the great music that they heard from their cars. Some attendees put chairs in front of their vehicles to listen and trucks backed into their spots and people sat in the trunk beds.

The high energy music ranged from jazz to blues and included a song about the fact that this was their first concert in over 5-months. By the great sounds they have spent the 5-months still rehearsing. At the end of the concert they played an encore because the beeping wouldn’t stop.

Food Share partners with Gas Co.

Brian Miller, Office of Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long, Chief of Staff ; John Marquez, Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director; Maria Ventura, Public Affairs Manager; Monica White President & CEO of Food Share of Ventura County and Manuel Minjares, Office of Ventura County Supervisor, District Representative attend the drive-thru distribution .

Food Share, Ventura County’s largest hunger-relief organization, has partnered with Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) to bring the “Fueling Our Communities” program to Ventura County with drive-thru meal distribution events in Santa Paula and El Rio community in Oxnard. The events, which were funded in part by the utility, provided more than 26,000 free meals to individuals and families struggling with food insecurity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to contributing to food purchasing for the drive-thru distributions, SoCalGas’ program is helping to stimulate Ventura County’s economy by enabling Food Share to partner with local restaurants whose sales have been impacted due to COVID-19 restaurant guidelines.

“In partnership with SoCalGas, Food Share has been able to distribute 800 gift cards to local restaurants during our drive-through food distributions. Those in need receive a free, delicious meal and in turn we’re happy to support our local food economy,” explained Monica White, Food Share’s President & CEO. “It’s really been a win-win for everyone.”

Food Share is one of five non-profit organizations that SoCalGas is collaborating with on the “Fueling Our Communities” program, to provide close to 140,000 meals to 40,000 individuals from underserved communities in Ventura, Tulare, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial counties. Funded by a $500,000 donation from SoCalGas, the program will span over the summer season in 44 cities and will feed seniors, students, families, and migrant farm workers while supporting local small businesses.

“We are proud to continue to support families facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Fueling Our Communities program,” said Maria Ventura, public affairs manager at SoCalGas. “So many people in Ventura County are struggling to put food on their table right now and SoCalGas wants to help however we can.”

In addition to these two events in partnership with SoCalGas’ “Fueling Our Communities” program, Food Share has provided food for just over half a million people since April through 123 drive-thru distribution events across the county.