Category Archives: News and Notes

Diesel Technology Program at Ventura College

A partnership was formed on August 11th as the Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees approved an action to establish a new Diesel Technology Program at Ventura College under a five-year, $900,000 agreement between Ventura College, Ventura College Foundation, and Gibbs Truck Centers.  Chair Dianne McKay, Chancellor Bernard Luskin, and the Board of Trustees recognized Ed Gibbs, Sr., President/Owner, and his son, Ed Gibbs, General Manager/Owner, of Gibbs Truck Centers at a public Board meeting at the District Administrative Center in Ventura.

“The Board was pleased to approve this new community relationship with Gibbs Truck Centers.  Building successful pathways for our students would not be possible without innovative partnerships. With the Gibbs’ support, we are able to provide students in Ventura County the education and experience needed to access both good and available job opportunities,” stated Board Chair Dianne McKay.  Chancellor Bernard Luskin commented, “This Diesel Technology program represents the first of its kind in Ventura County.  We feel privileged to create this program with Gibbs Truck Centers and appreciate the Gibbs’ generosity and vision.”

Their business needs for qualified mechanics inspired Ed Gibbs, Sr. and Ed Gibbs to fund the new program and create an onsite lab for students at Gibbs Truck Centers, which is headquartered in Oxnard.  Matt LaVere, Ventura College Foundation Board Member, initiated discussions between the Gibbs, Ventura College, and the Ventura College Foundation.  “Over the five-year term of our funding agreement, the program is expected to graduate 100-150 technicians with all the skills needed to succeed in our industry, from soft skills like customer service and ethics, to technical knowledge of engines,” said Ed Gibbs.  Dr. Greg Gillespie, President of Ventura College, commented, “Ventura College is excited to have the opportunity to administer the program and supply faculty, students, and curriculum approved by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).  Classes will start in fall 2016, and the first graduating class is anticipated in spring 2018.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the diesel technology field are expected to grow nine percent from 2012-2022.  The national average pay was cited as $42,320 annually in 2012.

Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship award winners

stuff dee dowellThe Ventura Police Officers Association (VPOA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 12th annual Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship. The scholarships are to honor Sergeant Darlon “Dee” Dowell, who was shot and killed on August 7, 1978. Sergeant Dowell is the only officer in Ventura’s history to die in the line of duty.

In selecting scholarship recipients, the VPOA considered academic achievement, school and community service, financial needs, and the following requirements:

Applicants had to submit  a resume of school and community activities, including a copy of transcripts through the most recent semester;

Submit an essay of 1000 words or less on “Service, what it means to me”;

Submit a letter of recommendation from a public servant.

2015 Scholarship Awards winners:

1st Place $5,000.00  Joshua Rance
2nd Place $3,500.00  Alex Brunk
3rd Place $2,000.00  Jordan Schindler
Honorable Mention(s) $500.00  Jonathan Richmond and Aaron Borkovec

The VPOA would like to thank all of the applicants and congratulate the 2015 winners of the Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship!

“Be honest, be safe, and look forward to each day.” –Sgt Dee Dowell

Local woodcarver created the wooden copy of future saint

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

Foto: Besides in front of City Hall Father Junipero Serra hangs out in the atrium at City Hall

When Pope Francis’ announced that Father Junipero Serra, would be canonized it was welcomed by some and condemned by local Chumash leaders. Serra personally founded nine of the 21 missions that exist along the California coast, the first, Mission Basilica San Diego in 1769 and the last, Mission San Buenaventura, in 1782, by decree of the Roman Catholic Church and the Spanish government.

Local Chumash Ceremonial Elder Mati Waiya of the Wishtoyo Foundation stated that the Chumash people were made to work on building the missions, and if they refused, they were beaten. And the Spaniards brought with them diseases that nearly wiped out the native peoples.

You have all seen his bronze statue across from City Hall but perhaps not the wood carving that the statue was formed from.

The 9”-4” wooden statue was carved by volunteers from the Channel Islands Carvers under the direction of W.L. Rubottom, a master woodcarver before he was a cabinet manufacturer.  Throughout 1950s and 1960s he put his carving on hold to focus on growing the fine cabinet business (Still active in Ventura the W.L. Rubottom Co. in West Ventura is run by his sons and son-in-law.), but in the 1970s he picked it up again.

Around this time one of Ventura’s most important landmarks, the concrete statue of Father Junipero Serra in front of City Hall, was disintegrating.  The statue had been commissioned in 1935 during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

The sculptor, John Palo Kangas, was commissioned by the WPA and Ventura County to create a statue of the Franciscan missionary, Father Junipero Serra.  The Finnish-born sculptor used concrete  to create the statue.  However, over the decades the combination of the materials used for the statue, the salty ocean, and some minor vandalism inevitable decline and disintegration.

In the 1980s the city of Ventura, led by Councilman Russell Burns, set on a course to recreate the statue.  Because of the frailty of the original, there was no way to remove it or create a cast of it and so, in the creativity characteristic of their generation, it was decided that an exact wooden copy would be carved and then used to create a bronze casting.  Keep in mind, the status is over 9′ tall!  As you might guess, Wilbur Rubottom was tasked with leading the team of volunteer woodcarvers to complete the project.

Carving on the Father Serra statue began in February of 1987 and was completed on July 21, 1988.  Wilbur recorded almost 10,000 hours of work by all carvers involved.