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Ventura College Foundation introduces Tuition-Free VC Promise Program

Samuel Ponce just started his first semester as a transfer student at Cal State Northridge.

At its September 26 meeting, Ventura College Foundation board of directors approved funding for a second-year Ventura College (VC) Promise program where Ventura College students can have tuition costs of their second year of academic studies paid for by the foundation. A first-year VC Promise is already in place.

“Our first-year VC Promise began in 2007. It was the first of its kind in the state and a model for other California community colleges,” says Anne King, Ventura College Foundation executive director.

In addition, the foundation, through private donations and proceeds from its Weekend Marketplace, will cover supplemental fees for all VC Promise students.

Because of the new public-private funding, an estimated 1,500 students will now benefit from the expanded first-year VC Promise.

The second-year VC Promise will begin in the 2019-2020 academic year. Students will receive second-year VC Promise support on a first come, first served basis and must meet specific academic and career planning criteria to qualify. An estimated 200 students will be served by adding the second-year Promise program.

“The goal is to remove the financial barriers that keep students from pursuing a college education,” says Dr. Damon Bell, president of Ventura College. “With 70 percent of our students living in low or moderately low-income households, tuition costs make college out of reach for many.”

“This collaborative effort between the Ventura College Foundation and Ventura College will help increase student completion of certificates and degrees,” says Dr. Greg Gillespie, chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District. “Students will then be prepared for transition into careers and transfer programs.”

According to the Ventura College Foundation, VC Promise students are 70 percent more likely to earn a degree or certificate in four years. One example is Samuel Ponce, a 2018 Ventura College graduate and former VC Promise student. He just started his first semester as a transfer student at Cal State Northridge.

VC Promise is also available to veterans, active duty military, and DACA students. For more about VC Promise and the Ventura College Foundation, go to, or call 805-289-6461.

Established in 1983, the Ventura College Foundation provides financial support to the students and the programs of Ventura College to facilitate student success and grow the impact and legacy of Ventura College as a vital community asset. The Foundation also hosts the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace; an outdoor shopping experience held every weekend on the Ventura College campus east parking lot. For more information, contact Anne Paul King at (805) 289-6461 or

Seaside BOO-tacular happenings at Ventura Harbor Village

If you want to participate, it takes some preparation! Photo by Bernie Goldstein

Ventura Harbor Village welcomes wee pirates and costumed mermaids (along with spooktacular parents) waterfront for a Seaside Trick or Treat on Saturday ,October 27, from 1pm-3pm. Dress up and navigate through the waterfront Village with over 20 treat stops at participating Harbor boutiques and restaurants. It will be an afternoon full of Halloween sweets, face painting, and fun!

That very same day, Zombies will roam the promenade and come together for a World Record breaking flash mob to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Spectators should be sure to show up by 3pm to catch the dance in action. Dancers around the globe convene at to try and beat the World Record of dancers at one time to Thriller. However, if you want to participate, it takes some preparation!

Learn the dance, by joining Molly at FitZone in Ventura for classes and get creative with zombie costumes and make-up. To sign up, email or call 805-766-4480. Ages 6 and up are welcome to join in on the fun. There is a $20 Dancer Registration fee (all proceeds go to “Make a Wish Foundation”.)

Fairground is transformed into a virtual Scottish village of this or any age

Participants in the Seaside Games travel from all the western states.

Southern California’s Seaside Highland Games – the premier Scottish festival on the Pacific Coast – will launch their 16th outing on October 13 & 14. Staged on the Ventura County Fairgrounds the venue is transformed into a virtual Scottish village of this or any age. Set on the Pacific shores, the festival is fortunate to enjoy the ocean breezes in virtually every year. And October it the optimal time to enjoy the ‘twixt’n tween” time between summer and fall.

Participants in the Seaside Games travel from all the western states to take part – Washington and Oregon to the north and Arizona, Utah and Nevada to the east. This year, because our honored clan will be Clan Graham Society of North America, we will be flooded with Grahams from all across this nation as well as our neighbors in Canada. There could be a new native Scots thrown into the mix as well!

The special guests this year will be the Honorable Ms Joni Smith, Scottish Counselor for North America from her Washington DC offices. And the World Champion Grade 3 pipe band …the Pasadena Scots!

On Friday night of games weekend there is the “A Scottish Evening”, which consists of a sumptuous buffet supper, great Scottish music and a Scottish fashion show! A Single Malt Tasting precedes the dinner with a dozen plus premium Scotch brands to taste!

Saturday brings the gala opening ceremonies and grand parade at noon in front of the Alex Beaton Stage. Clan names and mottoes will be called out by the Voice of the Seaside Games, Bill Graham, as clan members march by, interspersed with all the fine bagpipe and drum bands in attendance. A true color spectacle! Four stages of wonderful music will be playing continuously throughout the weekend, while nearby the Highland heavies, the braw Scottish athletes, will amaze you. The herding dogs demos will amuse and thrill you and the dancers of all ages will enthrall you! The St. Andrew’s Society of Los Angeles Harp Glen is an awesome stop and the World War II military encampment will teach you a thing or three about our tremendous history. Fine vendors, tasty Celtic food and drink when the need arises, and a precious Children’s Glen for the wee ones add to the amazing offerings.

Come to Seaside and see it all! October 13 and 14 on the Ventura County Fairgrounds! For more information or call John and Nellie at 818-886-4968.

Tree watering best practices

City of Ventura provides free gardening classes.

Sustainability Now News
by Maryann Ridini Spencer

During times of drought, there are water efficient tips you can employ to keep the trees in your landscape healthy and thriving. At Ventura Water’s September 8th free gardening class held at Green Thumb Nursery, Certified Nursery Professional Richard Flowers shared his expert tips.

Flowers encouraged customers to understand their soil type, “If your soil is hard, dry and compacted you may have a clay soil which needs to be watered slowly and less often, rather than sandy soil which can be watered more frequently for not as long.”

Flowers provided recommendations for maximizing soil moisture and improving soil health. “When you first plant a tree, I always suggest creating a basin around the base and filling it with mulch. Avoid mulch touching the main trunk. Incorporating an organic soil mix under the tree’s canopy or by the tree’s drip line (the area located outside the boundary where rainwater would flow off the leaves to the ground) is beneficial because the organic material helps feed the soil biology improving water uptake, and reducing soil compaction.”

To test your soil’s moisture, Flowers suggested using a screwdriver and inserting it approximately 6-8 inches deep at the tree’s drip line. For watering best practices Flowers suggested, “early morning or dusk which limits water loss due to evaporation.” He explained a newly planted tree requires more frequent watering when compared to an established tree which may only need to be watered once a month being careful not to water in one place.”

“Segment your tree watering into zones. Like the face of a clock, water at positions12, 3, 6, and 9 for a total of 100 gallons of water. If you’re watering with a sprinkler system, use a soup can or something similar to measure when approximately 2 inches of water has been applied. A watering hose on a timer can also work well. Just remember, it’s important to water slowly.”

To find out more about the City of Ventura’s free Gardening classes, visit

Knowledge is power

ECTV kids share their knowledge.

by Elizabeth Rodeno

Local election coverage is in full swing with the first of the election forums featuring candidates for Ventura City Council, Ventura Unified School District and the Ventura County Community College District. The League of Women Voters is hosting two comprehensive forums with CAPS Media providing media coverage. The most recent forum was held at DeAnza Middle School. The next one will be held at Citrus Glen Elementary on October 3rd. These programs as well as the deep dive into the California Propositions on the ballot in November are broadcasting on Channel 6 and available as video on demand on

Candidate statements will begin airing on Channel 6 in mid-October. These three-minute statements allow the candidates to share their views and ideas on the key issues to voters. Go the Schedules tab on the website for dates and times of all our election programs.

A new group of El Camino students are already recording interviews, producing both video and radio shows and the school year has just begun. The experienced students are mentoring the first timers. It’s great to see how enthusiastic and proud these students are of their ECTV programs. The team has lined-up some fascinating and influential guests for this season as well as outlined additional episodes of their series of bi-lingual talk show. Several new ECTV programs have been completed and are airing on Channel 15.

KPPQ-LP or CAPS Radio’s venue has brought together a passionate group of deejays, personalities and producers. The latest shows include Spotlight on Special Education, Ventura Sports and Beyond, Dylan’s Deep Cuts, and The Shiver Show, sharing spooky stories perfect for Halloween. With more eclectic music programming on the air, you can sing along Mondays through Fridays at 5 and 7pm. Great music is featured throughout the weekends. The program schedule is available on the radio page of Training classes continue the fourth Wednesday and Thursday of each month. We will be adding podcasting to the curriculum as well.

We are community radio and are here to become an essential part of the fabric of Ventura. Let’s get KPPQ into the community. Volunteers are needed to help get the message out to the community to share your stories. You can listen to KPPQ throughout the county @ 104.1FM , on the myTuner app or streaming on Share all that Ventura has to offer by telling your friends to listen.

Learn to produce your own television or radio program. Get orientation and training class information on Sign up for our mailing list and like us on social media. Get engaged, become a member of CAPS Media Center and share your story.

Ortega Adobe

A presentation was given on the true history of the adobe. Photo by Michael Gordon

On Sunday, September 9th, the Native Daughters of the Golden West, Poinsettia Parlor, 318 Ventura, held an open house at the Ortega Adobe, 215 W. Main St. A presentation was given on the true history of the adobe by Mr. Ernie Cabrillo.  Mr. Cabrillo gave a live presentation and covered much of the historical facts surrounding the Ortega family and the adobe.

The large crowd of mostly local citizens were very much impressed on the local history, and many did not know Ventura had such a historical adobe on Main Street.

In 1857, Emigdio Ortega purchased the land that would become home to the Ortega family for more than forty-years.  Emigdio died in 1896; in the following year his son, Emilio used the home to start his “pioneer “Ortega Chili” business.  This is believed to be the first commercial food operation of its kind in California.

Emilio Ortega, the eleventh grandchild developed the fire roasting process for chilies.  He originated canned chilies, salsa, and the Snap-E-Tom vegetable drink.

During the depression the Ortega family – who made a great contribution to the area – decided to keep its workers on the payroll despite the hard times.  In doing so they lost their Ortega chili business.

The city of Ventura acquired the building in 1921.

A guzzler installed at Botanical Gardens

Hopefully as many quail show up as volunteers did.

On Friday, September 21, the Ventura chapter of the national organization Quail Forever installed a wildlife water source, commonly called a guzzler, at the Ventura Botanical Gardens.

Guzzlers are devices that capture and store rainwater underground so that wildlife has water available throughout the year.  In our dry Southern California climate, water is usually the thing that limits the survival of wildlife.  The guzzler will provide water for all of the wildlife found in the Ventura Botanical Gardens area; helping it to thrive throughout the year.

The installation was done by volunteer members of the chapter.

Ventura Quail Forever is installing the guzzler to improve habitat conditions for wildlife in the area.  This is consistent with its objectives and the mission of Quail Forever nationwide; namely to develop, maintain and conserve wildlife habitat.  The chapter also hopes that the presence of the guzzler at the gardens will raise awareness of its existence and purposes in habitat conservation.

Are seniors prepared for natural disasters?

Help might not always be there for you, so be prepared.

From the wildfires raging across our state to the Hurricanes on the East Coast, there is no shortage of recent news about natural disasters, but are seniors prepared? Studies have found that older adults are especially vulnerable, often from being socially isolated and facing chronic conditions that hamper their ability to prepare and respond to a disaster.

September is National Preparedness Month, designed to encourage and remind Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies. SCAN, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to keeping seniors healthy and independent, has provided tips for Southern California’s seniors, caregivers and their family members to ensure they’re prepared for the unexpected.

Dangerous weather conditions create unique hazards for senior citizens—especially those with chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes or hypertension. Seniors and caregivers should keep extra medication on hand and stock extra batteries for necessary medical support equipment. SCAN also recommends creating an emergency preparedness pack that includes water bottles, non-perishable food, a whistle, blankets, and flashlight with extra batteries.

Medical emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s important to have a list of emergency numbers for family members, local police, firefighters and doctors in one place. Those with a cell phone should update their contact list to include “ICE” with their family members’ names and phone numbers so first responders know whom to contact “in case of emergency”.

Speak to your healthcare provider about where to obtain an emergency-ready tool:

Containers such as Vile of Life are free and can be placed on the refrigerator door, wallet or glove compartment to hold important health-related information such as one’s name, address, doctor and medication list for emergency personnel to quickly access.

Bracelets and necklaces from organizations like MedicAlert hold information on a person’s medical history in case they fall or are otherwise incapacitated. This ensures first responders are aware of any important medical conditions such as a history of stroke, heart problems, chronic conditions or allergies

How can I prepare for an emergency?

Fire Chief David Endaya, Assistant Fire Chief Matt Brock, and Fire staff at Station 1 during the official launch of Medic Engine 7 (ME7).

Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time, and the time to be ready is now. This September, in celebration of National Preparedness Month, the Ventura Fire Department is asking you to recommit to being prepared for a crisis.

Planning ahead can help you and your family stay safe during a natural disaster or emergency. You should have an emergency kit ready and stocked with enough water, food, and medication for you, your family, and pets for at least 72 hours. Your kit should also include items such as a first-aid kit, tools and supplies, hand-crank or battery operated radio, sanitation items, clothing, and any other unique needs. It’s also a good idea to keep a backpack or plastic tote with basic items at work and in your car in the event that there is a disruption in your ability to commute home.

During a disaster, you may receive critical information from VC Alert, the notification system used to deliver messages to your landline telephone number in the event of an emergency. Ensure that you and your loved ones stay informed and connected by registering to receive alerts on your cell and work phone, email, text, fax or instant messaging. Residents should not rely solely on this system, but should also follow instructions from public safety officials, and seek information from official sources such as details posted on city, county and government websites.

You and your family also need an emergency communications plan in place so that you know how to contact each other and where you will meet if you are not together when emergency strikes. Our dependency on technology has grown to the point that many of us can’t recite our kids’ or partners’ phone numbers. Take the time to think about which phone numbers you need to know (including an out-of-area contact as local phone lines may be jammed) and carry these contacts in your wallet or backpack. Remember, when cell networks are inundated, it will be easier to communicate by text message rather than a voice call.

Part of being prepared for a disaster also includes safeguarding important financial, legal, and insurance documents. Securing these items now will ensure that you can focus on safety, and not worry about searching for documents at the last minute. Learn your area’s evacuation route before an alert is issued and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

Chances are that after a large-scale disaster, a bystander or neighbor will be the first one to help you until emergency workers arrive. When we are prepared to help ourselves and our neighbors, we also increase our community’s disaster recovery success. I am proud to say that during the Thomas Fire, Ventura residents were and continue to be a powerful example of neighbor helping neighbor.

Emergency preparedness is a joint effort between citizens, businesses and city government, and we look forward to working with you to keep you and your family safe.

Register for VC Alert at, and visit to learn how to prepare for a disaster.

New Tai Chi Balance Classes in Ventura 

Tai Chi focuses on improving the mobility and balance of older adults.

Three new senior Tai Chi classes are forming in Ventura over the next few weeks and registration is now open. Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance is a 12-week program offered by Oxnard RSVP and focuses on improving the mobility and balance of older adults.

Classes are free, designed for those age 50 and older, and taught by certified senior volunteers. The evidence-based program consists of a simplified eight-form routine of Yang-style Tai Chi. Intended for beginners who can walk easily with or without assistive devices, it teaches participants balance skills and good body alignment by using coordinated and flowing movements. The classes have been proven to reduce repeated falls by 55%.

New classes are:

  • Emerging Spirits Center, 4601 Telephone Road, #113, Oct 2 – Dec 13, T/TH, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • The Bonaventure, 10949 Telegraph Road, Sept 18 – Dec 11, T/TH, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • CMH Wellness and Fitness Center, 2723 E. Main Street, Sept 11 – Dec 4, T/F, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

New participants are accepted only until the third class of each session. To achieve results, they should attend at least 75% of the classes. Call 385-8019 to learn more or to register.

A federal grant received by the City of Oxnard and its RSVP program funds the free exercise classes, which follow curriculum developed at the Oregon Research Institute (in Oregon) where studies showed improved strength and balance, increased mobility and reduced incidence of falls among seniors who participated in the classes.

RSVP is a volunteer recruitment and placement program, helping people 55 and older find volunteer positions that match their interests, talent and available time.  The Oxnard RSVP has almost 575 members and is sponsored by the City of Oxnard.  To learn more about being an RSVP member or to discuss other volunteer opportunities, call 805-385-8023.