Category Archives: News and Notes

New Locations to pick up the Breeze

New and even more locations where you can pick up your favorite newspaper the Ventura Breeze

Baja Fresh 4726 Telephone
Plaza Dental Group  4744 Telephone
UPS Store  4744 Telephone

4255 Main Locations
My Gym
Honey Baked Ham
Jenny Craig
Elements Nails
Super Cuts
Round /table Pizza
Shells Petals

A comprehensive list can be found on our website under “Pickup Locations”

Please feel free to contact us if there are other locations you
would like to see the Ventura Breeze. or 805.653.0791

A May graduation for VCLA

VCLA’s mission is to connect and empower a diverse group of leaders.

by Jenny Guy

The 35 cohort members of the 2016 Ventura County Leadership Academy (VCLA) will be graduating this May, with a celebration at Ventura City Hall.

Founded in 1994 as an initiative of United Way of Ventura County, VCLA’s mission is to connect and empower “a diverse group of leaders whose actions enhance the quality of life throughout Ventura County.” Now in its 21st year, the academy’s “Blackjack” Cohort XXI consists of a prestigious roster of executives and budding personnel from a wide variety of regionally based organizations. Organizations of VCLA’s Cohort XXI include Habitat for Humanity, Ventura County Animal Services, Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast, Ventura County Credit Union, American Red Cross, Ventura County Fire and many more.

Basing curriculum on the relational leadership model, the 10-month VCLA program promotes and trains members on ethical and inclusive decision-making that benefits the common good. Once per month, the academy holds full-day sessions which confront cohort members with the interconnected realities of Ventura County’s economic development, transportation, health care, public safety, governance, agriculture, natural environment and education

“VCLA offers an amazing opportunity to be exposed to key challenges of, and opportunities for, the county as well as to meet the people that are charged with creating new visions to serve and grow our local economy,” said Ventura resident and employer liaison to VC Innovates, Hilary Howard of Cohort XXI.

The program spans from September to May with sessions taking place in various parts of the county. Beyond the monthly meetings, VCLA members are invited to participate in ride-alongs with local fire stations and law enforcement in order to gain additional insight into the county. They are also encouraged to network, socialize and share ideas outside of the academy’s scheduled itinerary.

“The VCLA program has taken my strength as a connector, and allowed me to expand my reach,” said Jill Shaffer, current executive director of VCLA. “Along the way, I’ve learned so much about the critical issues in our county and the actions I can take as an individual.”

For one session each year, the VCLA members are divided into small groups and assigned to explore Ventura County’s 10 cities. Each city group is then responsible for presenting their community explorations back to the cohort at later sessions.

VCLA members are also asked to Sacramento to hear from elected officials and other influencers of policy over a three-day session. On the 2016 Sacramento trip, Cohort XXI heard from Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Assemblymember Das Williams, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and a number of other dignitaries on issues relating to Ventura County — as well as the state of California and the nation.

For more information on VCLA, visit

Jenny Guy is the director of communications for Mustang Marketing, a current member of the VCLA’s Cohort XXI, co-chair for the Public Relations Society of America’s Young Professionals Club and a resident of the City of Ventura.

Ventura College holds inaugural Diversity in Culture Festival

stuff ventura collegeRecently Ventura College held its inaugural Diversity in Culture Festival on the Ventura College campus.

The event featured a wide variety of cultural performances, art, food and speakers from around the world.  Events included a poetry slam contest featuring Ventura County’s poet laureate Phil Taggart and director Jonathan Carlander presenting his short film on Asperger Syndrome, “The Pleasing List,.”

Many performances included American Sign Language interpreters.

Ventura County Fair in the news

Shanté Morgan-Durisseau was one of seven honorees at CSU Channel Islands.

The Board of Directors of the 31st District Agricultural Association, better known as the Ventura County Fairgrounds, has elected Bonnie Atmore to the office of President and Director Daniel Long to the office of Vice-President.

Atmore is President and CEO of FOODShare, Inc. She has been listed by the Pacific Coast Business Times (2007-2015) in the “Top 50 Women in Business.” Her honors include the Rotary International “Service above Self Award,” City of Oxnard Woman of the Year, Tri County Women’s Economic Ventures Trailblazer Award and various proclamations and commendations from Ventura County, Assembly and Senate representatives.

Long is a founding Board member on The Midtown Ventura Community Council and The San Buenaventura Conservancy and has been a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties for over twenty years. He has volunteered at the Ventura County Fair since 1989 and has served since 2007 on the City of Ventura Planning Commission. He is owner of Daniel Long Painting.

The Ventura County Fairgrounds is proud to announce that director Shanté Morgan-Durisseau has been honored at CSU Channel Islands’  4th Annual African American Achievement Awards Luncheon for her work in civic engagement. She was one of seven honorees, who were chosen for their work to make the community a better place.

The awards ceremony, hosted by CI’s Intercultural Services, recognized individuals who have made a substantial difference in their respective fields and have worked to better the community.

Morgan-Durisseau, a Moorpark resident, was appointed to the Ventura County Fairgrounds Board of Directors in June 2015. She is managing editor at the California State University, Northridge Marketing and Communications Office. She has been an instructor at California Lutheran University, a lecturer at the CSUN department of journalism and a political affairs reporter at Copley News Service. She also has served as chair of the Ventura County Commission for Women; is an appointee to the Ventura County Women’s Economic Roundtable; and is a member of the Simi Valley AAUW, Ventura County branch of the NAACP, and Ventura County Women’s Political Council.

“We are proud of Shanté for her achievements and for the honor that has been bestowed on her.” said Fairgrounds CEO Barbara Quaid, “Her work in our community reflects the Ventura County Fairgrounds’ own commitment to making Ventura County a better place.”

The 2016 Ventura County Fair, “A Country Fair with Ocean Air” will open Wednesday, August 3 and run through Sunday, August 14. More information can be found at or by calling  648-3376.



Homeless Workshop draws interested parties

Homeless Workshop held at the Derby Club.

by Sheli Ellsworth

More than 250 people gathered for the City Council’s Community Homeless Workshop held at the Derby Club on April 18. Attendees worked in groups to complete exercises designed to define, understand and help the homeless community. Post-its were used to chronicle past efforts to help the homeless population and discussions focused on issues like mental illness, addiction, lack of affordable housing and the impact of homelessness on the community.

Attendee Dave Grau commented, “We seem to have the ‘have nots’ in every community and it is easy to forget about them because we don’t want to see it.” Behavioral Health Department Director Elaine Crandell has attended several homeless workshops and noted the economic impact of homelessness, “All the studies say that homelessness affects things like tourism and Ventura relies on tourism.”

Ventura is second only to Oxnard in the number of homeless in the community. According to research from the Ventura Community Development Department, Oxnard has about 600 homeless people while Ventura numbers 334 homeless. Simi Valley places third with about 200 homeless while Thousand Oaks has 83. Fillmore and Moorpark each have 7 homeless of record. The upshot is that the City of Ventura has 41 services available to help the homeless community while Oxnard has 31. According to county reports, 118 places in Ventura County offer homeless services like shelter, food, clothing, counseling, hygiene, medical care, transportation and others.

Several attendees commented that increased coordination between the different agencies to include all private and faith-based organizations might improve the distribution of homeless services. Perhaps a central council or agency could coordinate efforts of the entire community?

Other discussions involved the types of homelessness. Homelessness due to the loss of a job may be different from the type of homelessness due to mental and physical challenges. According to the VCDD, “In 2015, City of Ventura had 239 unsheltered individuals. 56% or 134 were chronically homeless individuals, which is 41% greater than the national average.” Of those who are chronically homeless, I learned that 30% usually have a mental illness or substance abuse. Councilman Neal Andrews commented, “One thing I have come to know through the years is that many people who are homeless only want help on their own terms.”

Workshop attendees asked each other if this type of individualized help was feasible. “If a person is only willing to accept a certain kind of help so they can continue to be homeless, how far should a community go to accommodate them?” one person commented. “Does our moral obligation extend to people who embrace the homeless lifestyle?” Another attendee said that in her experience many homeless want be in a particular area.

One problem in sheltering Ventura’s homeless is that zoning does not allow overnight sheltering and other services at the same location. Time consuming and costly city permits also slow the availability of shelters.

At the conclusion of the Workshop Mayor Erik Nasarenko made a motion that would allow the city to forgo some of the zoning/permitting process. The motion passed 5-2. City Attorney Gregory Diaz said the motion does not change zoning, but allows the city staff to examine the issue further.

Councilman Mike Tracy made a motion that no changes occur until the community’s homeless workshop recommendations could be considered at the June council meeting. Tracy’s motion failed, 5-2. Mike Tracy and Jim Monahan voted against the motion since homeowners had not had the chance to weigh in.

Councilman Neal Andrews made a motion asking city staff to consider strategies developed by the council’s subcommittee on homelessness several years ago. Andrew’s motion failed, 6-1.  The City Council is hoping to have some of the workshop’s ideas and observations organized, ready for discussion at the June 13 City Council meeting.

Ventura City Fire Department respond to mobile construction office fully involved in fire

On April 25, at 7:24pm, Ventura City Fire Department responded to a report of smoke coming from behind a business in the 2400 block of Channel Drive.  Upon arrival firefighters found a mobile construction office fully involved in fire.  Firefighters worked to protect a boat and additional construction materials that were being impacted by the fire.  The fire was extinguished eight minutes after firefighters arrived on scene.  Power lines above the fire were damaged and began to arc while the wind was blowing.  Southern California Edison was called to the scene and shut off the power to the effected lines.

Ventura City Fire Department personnel and apparatus respond to structure fire

On April 21, at 1:37pm, Ventura City Fire Department personnel and apparatus responded to a reported structure fire located in the 100 block of Prospect St. The initial arriving units found a 20′ length of wooden property fence, multiple trash cans, and other misc. materials burning in between two residences and impinging on the eaves of an another adjacent residence. The fire was quickly knocked down, and then the affected structure was investigated and ventilated to rule out possible extension into the attic. The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

Apply Now to Serve on Ventura City Council Advisory Boards, Commissions and Committees

Ventura residents can apply for an exciting opportunity to support their community by serving as a volunteer on one of the City Council Advisory Boards, Commissions or Committees that advise the City Council on an array of issues.  There are open positions on 12 multi-member Council Advisory groups that examine issues and help shape Ventura. The semi-annual recruitment process is now open and applications are available online at or from the City Clerk’s Office, Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street, Room 204. The application deadline is 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 9, 2016.

Qualified applicants will undergo interviews with the City Council Appointments Recommendation Committee in May. The recommended appointees will be considered by the City Council and confirmed in June. Volunteers must be willing to serve two to four-year terms; some positions require special qualifications.

Applications are being accepted for vacancies on the following Council Advisory groups:

  • Cultural Affairs Commission
  • Design Review Committee
  • Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
  • Historic Preservation Committee
  • Housing Authority Board
  • Library Advisory Commission
  • Mobile Home Rent Review Board
  • Parks and Recreation Commission
  • Planning Commission
  • Public Art Commission
  • Tree Advisory Committee
  • Ventura Port District

Applications may be submitted by e-mail to, by fax to the City Clerk’s Office at (805) 641-1046, by mail to the City Clerk’s Office P.O. Box 99, Ventura, CA 93002, or hand-delivered to the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall.

For more information call the City Clerk’s Office at (805) 658-4787.

Ventura City and County Fire Departments respond to traffic collision with vehicle into building

On April 16, at 3:36pm Ventura City and County  Fire Departments responded to a traffic collision with a vehicle into a building located in the 9200 block of Telephone Rd.. Upon arrival, crews discovered a vehicle into an occupied restaurant. The driver and solo-occupant was extricated from the vehicle.  First arriving Firefighters quickly assessed the driver and building occupants for injuries while others assessed the structural integrity of the building. No injuries were reported.

Ventura Police Department provided traffic and scene control. This incident is under investigation by law enforcement.




Ventura City Fire personnel respond to grass fire along 101 freeway adjacent to railroad tracks

On April 20, at 2:30pm Ventura City Fire personnel responded to a reported grass fire along the 101 freeway adjacent to railroad tracks and an auto mall. Initial arriving units found a wind driven fire, approx 50’x50′, burning quickly through light to medium fuels, and moving South along the right shoulder of the Southbound 101 freeway. Engine company and hand crew personnel worked steadily to fully contain and extinguish the fire, using hand tools and hose lines, while apparatus shuttled tanks of water from hydrants in a nearby industrial area back up onto the freeway. Traffic on the Southbound 101 was heavily impacted, due to both heavy smoke and multiple fire apparatus operating, however railroad activity was not affected. The estimated final size of the area burned was approximately 1/4 acre, with no infrastructure or property being reported damaged. The origin of the fire was adjacent to a homeless encampment, however the exact cause is still undetermined.