Category Archives: News and Notes

NSWC Port Hueneme Division to host industry day

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) will host an Industry Day on Thursday, Dec. 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ventura Beach Marriott located at 2055 E. Harbor Blvd.

The event is free and open to all current and potential companies interested in conducting business with NSWC PHD.

During the forum, attendees will have the opportunity to formally meet NSWC PHD’s new leadership team—Commanding Officer, Capt. Ray Acevedo, and Division Technical Director, Paul D. Mann—who will each share their strategic vision for the command.

In addition, NSWC PHD’s Small Business Deputy, Chief of Contracting, and technical department representatives will shed light on command operations, the acquisition process, technology forecast, and other industry-specific information needed to conduct business with the Navy.

Areas of support include engineering (hardware/software), integrated product support, management services, industrial (shipyard), financial and technical services.

To attend the event, submit a registration form to Registration forms are available for download at NSWC PHD’s public web site.

Ancient sea cow fossil discovered on the Channel Islands

Paleontologist Dr. Jonathan Hoffman led the team of volunteers.

A fossil of an extinct species of sea cow was discovered on Santa Rosa Island, a new find for the Channel Islands and conceivably one of the oldest of its kind on the west coast of North America with an estimated age between 20-25 million years ago.

Scientists think that the fossilized remains of a skull and partially articulated rib cage may represent a new species of sea cow, an ancient relative of dugongs known as sirenians. They anticipate this to be confirmed when the skull is analyzed by Dr. Jorge Velez-Juarbe, a marine mammal taxonomic expert at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The discovery was made by United States Geologic Survey (USGS) scientists Scott Minor and Kevin Schmidt as they were mapping faults on the island on July 17, 2017.

A team of volunteers led by paleontologist Dr. Jonathan Hoffman with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are protecting the specimen for the upcoming winter and planning for an excavation next spring or early summer.

“This sea cow may have only been exposed the past few years after being buried for millions of years,” said Hoffman. “It came from a different place and a different time period.”

Scientists believe the sea cow lived in shallow seas when the island’s coastal landscape was situated hundreds of miles south of its current location. The remnants of at least four other sea cow fossils from different individuals were also found in the near vicinity.

The scientific team plans to analyze the sea cow’s skull shape and features to identify its relationship to other sirenians. They hope to find teeth remains, pay dirt used to detect the diet and age of the specimen.

To refine the era in which the sea cow lived, the team has collected marine microfauna fossils (snails, clam shells, and crustacea) within the surrounding rock strata for USGS experts to study.

Sirenians or sea cows are torpedo-shaped aquatic mammals that live in shallow waters and grow to be massive in size, up to 10 feet in length. In some parts of the world their fossil records date back to 50 million years ago.

At one time there were over a dozen different genera of sirenians, a name derived from the mermaids of Greek mythology. The cause of their decline is unclear but may be linked to changes in food availability and environmental and oceanographic conditions.

Their modern relatives include three manatee species and the one remaining direct relative, the dugong, found in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and the east coast of Africa. The last remaining dugong on the west coast of North America, the Stellar’s sea cow, was hunted to extinction by humans in the 1760s

Grand opening of Hill Road Library

A standing room only crowd heard from County Supervisor Steve Bennett and Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko and other speakers. Photos by Richard Lieberman.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one.” – John Lennon

Library staff and friends wore T-shirts that said, “Imagine…..Hill Road Library.” Indeed this new branch is a triumph of imagination and collaboration to being this dream to reality. 1100 celebratory Venturans showed up for the library opening on Sunday, Dec.3 at noon. There hasn’t been a library in the Midtown area since the Wright library closed nine years ago, and the local residents are overjoyed.

The program was MC’d by Ivor Davis, local author and celebrity. There were brief speeches by library officials, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Steve Bennett, and Erik Nasarenko. The emphasis was on the collaborative effort and financial support that it took to get this branch up and running.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved ongoing funds in the amount of $250,000 to operate the new library, while the City of Ventura approved $50,000 annually that will allow for an additional 16 open hours per week. The City also provided $25,000 for one-time capital expenditures. The Ventura Friends of the Library raised and contributed $200,000, much of which came from used book sales to local residents.

In addition, there was entertainment by the Harmonix, a Rubicon Theater group of young people who sang “Imagine,” to go along with the theme of the afternoon, among other songs.

Nancy Schram (see additional article introducing the new Director), new Ventura County Library Director says, “We are thrilled to be opening a new library on the East side of Ventura. It’s a wonderful example of how the County, City, and community came together to provide funding and support so that we can reach more people with library services and ultimately improve lives and enrich the entire community.”

There was a lot more at the event than speeches. Children could make folk dolls and play with a Lego setup, there was a booth for fancy costumed selfie photos, a flower card reader, 3-D printer and wood etcher.

The Lions club supplied and served free hot dogs to all comers.

Kathy Thomson the President of the Ventura Friends of the Library, echoes this sentiment, “The Hill Road Library is an example of the collaborative efforts between government, nonprofits, corporate sponsors and citizens. When these entities work together toward a common goal the possibilities are infinite.”

Citizens of all ages lined up for get library cards, check out books on the new self-serve machines, talk to the librarians and buy books from the Friends shelves.

Mayor Nasarenko, a library supporter, gave this heartfelt statement, “To see the return of library services to the east end of Ventura is wonderful. Our thanks to Supervisor Bennett and the Board of Supervisors, Friends of the Library and County Library Director Jackie Griffin for helping to make this opening possible. I encourage Venturans to bring their families, their curiosity and their passion for lifelong learning to this new community resource.”

And Steve Bennet, who has backed the libraries all the way, had this to say, “I am really happy our residents in the east end will have a local library and very appreciative of all the efforts by the library supporters who helped make this happen.” Thank you, Supervisor Bennet, it wouldn’t have happened without you.

The Hill Road Library is located at 1050
Hill Road in Ventura.

Beginning December 3, 2017 hours of
service are Monday through Wednesdays,
10am to 6pm; Thursdays, 2pm to 6pm;
Fridays through Sundays, 10am to 2pm.

Seabin project, floating debris interception device, at Ventura Harbor

The Seabin project, a floating debris interception device has come to Ventura Harbor. Installed at the Ventura Isle Marina the device is designed to be installed in the water partially submerged. The device will work in any calm marine environment like marinas, yacht clubs, and ports. The device is placed in specific parts of marinas and ports that are prone to debris problems. The partially submerged device literally vacuums the surface and collects debris and stores the debris in a large capture bag that normally needs to be cleaned twice daily.

The device is designed to make the marina environment cleaner and more environmentally sound by capturing cigarette butts, plastic particles and food wrappers. Each installed Seabin can capture a half ton of debris yearly.

Grand Jury Speakers Bureau

The County of Ventura Grand Jury is an all-volunteer group serving as an independent agent of the public to investigate complaints from the public pertaining to government agencies within Ventura County.

For organizations that are interested in hearing about these investigative duties and procedures, the Grand Jury Speakers Bureau is available to educate the public in its endeavors as the “public watchdog” for Ventura County. To learn more or schedule a date for a presentation, please call the Grand Jury at 477-1600.

For additional information, please refer to the County of Ventura Grand Jury website at

New board members bring higher education experience to EDC-VC

Dr. Greg Gillespie, chancellor, Ventura County Community College District and Ysabel Trinidad, vice president for finance and administration at California State University Channel Islands are the newest Economic Development Collaborative–Ventura County board members.

“Greg and Ysabel each have more than 25 years’ experience in higher education leadership. Their insight into university-level administration will be beneficial to our board’s efforts to continue to develop partnerships, programs and services for clients we serve throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties,” said Bruce Stenslie, EDC-VC’s president and CEO.

Dr. Greg Gillespie

Prior to serving as chancellor, Gillespie spent four years as president of Ventura College. Gillespie has worked for more than 24 years in the community college system and has served in faculty, director, dean, vice president, and president positions at four different community colleges in Arizona, California and Washington. Gillespie is focused on supporting the colleges in providing student-centered access to quality and relevant educational programs and support services.  He works with employer, education and governmental partners to address shared educational and community priorities.  He also serves on several local, state and national organizations and boards.

Ysabel Trinidad

Trinidad became vice president for finance and administration at CSU Channel Islands in 2011. She has more than 30 years of leadership experience in finance and operations in the field of higher education. Prior to CSUCI, she served as vice chancellor for administrative services at the University of Washington, Tacoma, where she oversaw finance and budget, capital planning, institutional planning and research, facilities, human resources, campus safety and risk management for the growing, urban campus of 3,500 students. Trinidad holds an MBA from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno.

Mayor for A Moment honors VUSD 5th graders

Aaron Cortez films Allison Cabeza from Citrus Glen Elementary with assistance from Principal Susan Martinez.

The City’s Mayor for A Moment series continues with 5th graders Vivian Ryan, from Will Rogers (November) and Allison Cabeza, from Citrus Glen (December). The Mayor for A Moment program is a collaboration with the City, Ventura Unified School District and CAPS Media. Each month teachers and faculty identify an outstanding 5th grader to represent the school. CAPS Media produces an on site profile of the student which includes the young mayor directing a tour of the school. Each Mayor for A Moment presents an original essay at a City council meeting on a topic of importance (caring, kindness, integrity, etc.) and receives recognition from the council including a key to the City. The program continues with a second, more extensive video presented at a VUSD board meeting during the “Good News” segment, and additional recognition of the young mayor and school by the district.

Pacific High School’s AIM project (Ancestry, Immigration and Memories) is in full production at the CAPS Media Center. Working in teams, Pacific students conduct interviews with family members to record and document personal stories and memories. The studio production crews are all Pacific students, operating cameras, audio and lighting gear, and the control room equipment. Coordinated by Pacific High teacher Jesse Barnett, and mentored by CAPS Media educator/instructor Phil Taggart, more than 30 Pacific high students are engaged in the immersive experience of broadcast journalism and media production. The AIM program, similar to the El Camino High School Digital Media Education program at CAPS Media, enables students to receive hands-on instruction in all aspects of studio production and post production, as well develop communication skills including research, storyboarding, writing and interviewing.

2018 is almost here. Consider closing out 2017 or starting the new year by becoming a Member/Producer at CAPS Media. If you are interested or just curious, orientation meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month. HD videography/camera classes are on the 2nd Thursday, Final Cut postproduction editing classes are on the 3rd Thursday, and CAPS Radio (KPPQ, FM 104.1) holds classes on the 4th week. In every training session Member/Producers receive hands-on instruction in videography, video editing, radio production and more. All classes begin at 6pm at the CAPS Media Center, 65 Day Road. Once trained, member/producers may check out CAPS Media’s video cameras, tripods, audio gear and other production equipment to record their story and then book postproduction editing suites to craft the story they want to tell. Details of training and signups are on the website at

CAPS Media’s mission is to create an engaged and informed community through participation in electronic media. Go to to see programming schedules, search the archives for past programs, get general info and sign up for classes. Anyone who lives, works or attends school in the city of Ventura may become a Member/Producer. Annual membership fees are only $25 for an individual and $75 for a non-profit organization. CAPS Radio DJs require an additional annual fee of $50. For complete information go to

FOOD Share, Inc. names Monica White new President and CEO

Starting day one, Monica White has proven to be an extraordinary leader.

FOOD Share, Inc. has announced that the board of directors has appointed Monica White, current interim CEO and former board member as President and CEO.

Following four months as interim CEO, White was selected during an executive search process to lead Ventura County’s regional food bank serving 74,500 people every month and distributing 11,000,000 pounds of food annually.

“Starting day one, Monica White has proven to be an extraordinary leader bringing immediate stability to FOOD Share,” said Joe Schroeder, Board Chair and President of Ventura County Credit Union. “As interim CEO, Monica’s ability to tackle FOOD Share’s challenges head on with immediate revenue results solidified our decision.”

Since her initial hire in June 2017, the FOOD Share board of directors has remained consistent in outlining the goals of the organization. “We needed a budget that realigned our expenses to match our revenue projections,” explained Schroeder. “Monica delivered exactly what we needed without sacrificing any of our core services.”

White comes to FOOD Share after twelve years at the Ventura County Star as a member of the executive team and most recently as the Director of Marketing and Consumer Sales. Her career also includes positions with the Walt Disney Company, ABC Television, and Wham-O! White earned her degree from the University of Southern California, School of Business, Entrepreneur program.

“It’s an honor to be asked to lead FOOD Share,” says White. “I now understand more than ever the important role FOOD Share serves in our community. Without the support of our donors, volunteers and pantry partners, we couldn’t serve 74,500 hungry people every month. I am excited about continuing the work started by FOOD Share’s founders nearly 40 years ago.”

“Monica is the right leader for FOOD Share at this time,” said Schroeder. “Her deep understanding of the mission and strong commitment to the organization has helped make this a seamless transition.”

Ocean Friendly Garden in honor of Surfrider OFG National Coordinator Paul Herzog

Spearheaded by the Ventura Botanical Gardens’ Executive Director Dr. Joe Cahill and Paul Herzog’s friend Elizabeth Alvarez, the VBG has pledged this exquisite site as a future Ocean Friendly Garden in honor of Surfrider OFG National Coordinator Paul Herzog.

Friend, peer, brother, son, activist, environmentalist, gone too soon, the impact Paul made in Ventura and to Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program will not be forgotten. They are dedicated to raising $1600 by the end of December to finish the funding needed to build the garden. Ventura is grateful to the VBG that this Ocean Friendly Garden will be available to the community as a memorial and as a teaching opportunity.

Go to to support Paul Herzog’s Ocean Friendly Garden.

A new pig is on the way

Mourners attend Irish wake. Photo by Michael Gordon

On Nov. 30, a traditional Irish wake and memorial procession was held in Downtown Ventura by about 70 mourners accompanied by the Pacific Coast Highlanders Pipe Band. All for a large green pig. His name was both Sham Hock or Pig O’ My Heart.

On March 11, at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade his life ended after 26-years as he deflated in front of shocked parade goers.

The wake started at the Museum of Ventura County and proceeded through downtown with drinks along the way.

Parade committee member Jerry English who has been working on the new pig told the Breeze “I have been directing the new pig manufacturer on all of the unique aspects to give us a new pig that resembles the old pig.”

The new pig will cost about $3,525. For information about donating to the construction of the new pig email Nan Drake at, parade co-chair Jim Monahan at jim.monahan or parade committee member O’Neil at