Category Archives: This ‘n’ That

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Gold Ribbon Campaign raises awareness for pediatric cancer

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Gold Ribbon Honoree, Susie Perry, helped host a special birthday for the Ortiz Family as their daughter, Ximena, battled cancer.

Just imagine having a child with cancer during this COVID-19 crisis–a pandemic that is leading to job loss and insecurity, financial hardship, mounting health concerns, and an overworked and exhausted health care community.

COVID-19 is creating even greater challenges for local families battling childhood cancer. Many of these families have lost their jobs and are no longer able to buy food and clothing for their families, or pay rent or medical expenses, including critical prescriptions.

During this challenging time, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) has been providing even more services for families, including money for rent assistance, grocery gift cards, additional emotional support groups with licensed therapists, virtual and in-person tutoring, meal and care package delivery, and virtual family fun events to keep their kids engaged. Community support has made it possible for TBCF to provide additional financial assistance to 31 local families who have been severely affected by the pandemic.

When Ximena was five, her family noticed she was having difficulties using the bathroom properly. After seeing the doctor a few times and not receiving a diagnosis, the Ortiz family noticed she had a bump on the right side of her stomach. They took Ximena to Ventura County Medical Center to receive a cat-scan, where it was discovered that she had Wilm’s tumor – a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. The doctors told the Ortiz family Ximena would need surgery, as the tumor on her kidney was putting pressure on her veins.

Ximena went into surgery just a few short days later and began to receive small doses of preventative chemotherapy once weekly for six months. This became complicated for the Ortiz family, as the treatment location was two hours away. During this difficult time, TBCF helped support the Ortiz family as Ximena’s mom, Araceli, had resigned from her job to take care of Ximena.

To date, TBCF has helped the Ortiz family through their Direct Financial Assistance fund, which provided Araceli with food, gas and car repairs as she took Ximena to receive treatment. TBCF has also provided support to the Ortiz family with in-person and virtual Family Connection Events, where they bonded with other families going through similar situations.

Ximena’s treatment ended in December 2019, but TBCF has continued to provide support during the pandemic. Additional ways the organization has helped the family are by providing Ximena and her two siblings toys through their Project Christmas program, and by offering continued virtual support and phone check-ins. One of this year’s Gold Ribbon Campaign 2020 Honorees, Susie Perry, helped the Ortiz family by hosting a special birthday party for Ximena when she was sick.

TBCF will be hosting their annual Gold Ribbon Campaign throughout the month of September to raise funds during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the annual in-person Gold Ribbon Luncheon at the Four Seasons Biltmore has been cancelled, which is a major source of funding for the nonprofit. This year, the Campaign is solely focused on raising funds and awareness for the organization and the families they serve.

Through donations and continued support, TBCF can help more families like the Ortiz family.

To participate in TBCF’s Gold Ribbon Campaign for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, please visit TBCF at:

Physicians for Progress: Healing the healthcare system

Dr. Leslie-Lynn Pawson at the Ventura March for Science.

by Amy Brown

Most people are familiar with the Hippocratic Oath for physicians, which—paraphrased—binds them to treat the sick, preserve confidentiality, and pass on medical knowledge to the doctors coming after them. Physicians for Progress, a group of about 50 doctors in Ventura County, are committed to both the Hippocratic and the democratic. The organization was founded in 2017, focused on solving issues with the current healthcare system, preserving democracy, as well as protecting the environment, which directly affects everyone’s health. They share concerns about the current administration’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act, and are working to influence lawmakers to consider a single payer system, to ensure that all Americans have access to insurance and healthcare. Their endeavors so far have included advocating directly and vigorously with members of congress and state legislators, during town halls and in their offices, holding a Healthcare Forum earlier this year for Ventura residents, and raising awareness through strategic social media outreach.

Dr. Leslie-Lynn Pawson speaking at the Physicians for Progress HealthCare Forum in Ventura.

Dr. Leslie-Lynn Pawson is one of the founding members of Physicians for Progress, a family physician since 1982 who now teaches Family Medicine and Palliative Medicine at VCMC. During her long tenure in the field, she’s had many years to see what works and what doesn’t in the current healthcare system. “Every other wealthy democratic nation on this planet has a variation of single payer healthcare system that provides health insurance to 99 if not 100% of their people. We are absolutely alone as a wealthy democratic country that does not provide health insurance to everybody,” said Pawson. When asked how she and other members of the organization counter some of the typical arguments (concerns about higher costs, for example) against government-engaged healthcare, she shared “Our current system is so much more expensive! We spend 17-18% of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product), while other nations spend 10%, and they get better care for less money. Yes, our taxes will go up, but what each of our individual families will pay in healthcare will actually be less. Access will go up, availability will go up and our health outcomes will go up.”

Many doctors in the organization have seen firsthand what tragedies can happen with the capriciousness of the current health insurance system. Dr. Zadok Sacks is a double board certified internist and pediatrician and has been at VCMC since 2014. He’s seen patients lose their insurance through divorce or loss of employment, and then develop cancers that went untreated, unchecked, and ultimately metastasized. “When you see even one case like that, it’s such a shocking indictment of the way that we fail so many,” said Sacks. “Single payer would keep the same providers in place, with the same range of service, and give folks the safety net of a universally available public insurance system that will pay for all the care they need. Ultimately it is going to drive the cost of healthcare down.”

Some opponents suggest that single payer health care will eliminate competition. “I consider myself very much a capitalist,” said Dr. Clint McBride, who now teaches at the Fort Collins Family Medicine residency program, after his residency at VCMC. “People should be able to work hard and achieve differential levels of economic success. I actually think the correct place for competition in our medical system should be among hospitals and providers—if all patients had the same insurance, then they’d have the freedom to choose the doctors.” According to McBride, often the choice of which medicine a patient is prescribed is based on the type of insurance they have—not what type of medicine would actually benefit them. “I’ve had many, many patients, both in California and Colorado, go without the dose of insulin they need because they can’t afford it. I will often see patients that ration their medicine or take less than they should. They then often progress to needing dialysis or amputations and ultimately they incur even higher healthcare costs.”

McBride has words of encouragement for those who may feel powerless to effect change in something as monolithic and embedded as the current healthcare system. “You have incredible power,” said McBride. “Organize, vote—remember that generations that came before us overcame huge challenges in this country: we abolished slavery, we guaranteed women the right to vote, and we fought world wars against fascists. When you take a historical context and the magnitude of those challenges, certainly guaranteeing the right to healthcare and eradicating medical bankruptcies is a big challenge, but we’ve achieved bigger things before.”

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.

You can purchase books at the online store

Ventura Friends of the Library invite you to visit their newly launched online store for local sales. You can purchase books at the online store and pick them up at Hill Road Library!

They are also accepting donations of books at those times.

Purchase Friday through Sunday – pick up Tuesday 1 pm to 3 pm

Purchase Monday through Thursday – pick up Saturday 10 am to noon.

Purchases will be available to pick up in the loading dock area (by the rear patio gate) We will wear masks and observe social distancing. We will also accept donations of books in bags or boxes during these times.

Answer in a Breeze


I don’t know what council district that I live in for the coming city council election?
How do I find out?

Randy Vita


Randy: You can go to (A little complex) and type in your address to find your district.

To expand on your question this is the make up of our city council (and a little more information).

Matt LaVere, Mayor – at large

Sofia Rubalcava, Deputy Mayor – District 1

Lorrie Brown, Councilmember – District 6

Jim Friedman, Councilmember – District 5

Cheryl Heitmann, Councilmember – at large

Erik Nasarenko, Councilmember – District 4

Christy Weir, Councilmember – at large

There are 7 members of the Ventura City Council. Each member must be a registered voter in the City. Each member represents the interests of the City as a whole. Starting with the 2018 Election, four (4) Councilmembers were elected by Districts with the remaining three (3) Councilmembers to be elected by Districts in 2020. Until a City Councilmember is elected by Districts, they remain “at-large”.

The newly elected Councilmembers assume their seat on the City Council in December and serve for a term of four years.

At the same time, the Council is reorganized and one of its members is selected to be mayor (we don’t vote for our mayor). The Mayor serves a term of 2 years. He/She is the presiding officer of the Council. The Mayor has been delegated the responsibility to act as the City Council’s ceremonial representative at public events and functions. The Deputy Mayor is also selected in the same manner and serves a 2-year term.

To be placed on the ballot a candidate must circulate a nomination form provided by the City Clerk, gathering not more than 30, but not less than 20 signatures of registered voters in the City to qualify for placement on the ballot.

Have a question send to and we will try to get an answer.

Ghostly Tales of the Old Mission

by Richard Senate

As Fall approaches, inching its way into Ventura, It is natural to turn to stories of the supernatural and ghosts. The Old Spanish Mission of San Buenaventura is the oldest building in town and as such, it has a bevy of ghostly stories that date back to the 19th Century. All of the 21 Missions of California have similar legends.  In the daytime when the sun shines bright it is easy to dismiss their tales as just so much folklore, but, when the cool fog rolls in from the Pacific and the moon is full, such accounts take on a new life and they become believable.

The most persistent story, and one of the oldest is that of the phantom monk, a gray robed Franciscan padre who wander the Mission grounds.  The earliest stories told that seeing the monk was an omen of approaching death!  Seeing the apparition was a sign one should put their affairs in order, go to church because their time on this Earth was limited.  The Ghostly Monk is still being seen today, but the story has changed.  Today the phantom is a proto-saint out to help people in need.  Now, seeing this figure is a good thing as it means your prayers will be answered.  The accounts I have sound like something from the middle ages.  People go to the church with an insoluble problem.  They pray for a solution, as they leave they see the smiling monk and go home to discover people have changed their mines or that money has arrived from an unexpected source. One young man said that a strange monk had heard his confession and given him absolution.  The young Latino man said the monk’s Spanish was “old fashioned” with out of date words, used two hundred years ago! He believed it was a visiting padre from some conservative order from Spain or Andorra.

When he asked, he was told their was no visiting padres at that time.  Who ever it was, it seemed concerned  for the welfare of the parishioners.  The rule is, if you seek answers, you must pray with a pure heart, and it must be a prayer for someone else, not yourself.  The ghost monk has been seen in the older sections of the Holy Cross school (after hours only) and in the courtyard.  The saintly monk isn’t the only ghost to walk here. A woman in white is seen in the last pew. She has long white hair and appears to be an elderly woman. She is dressed in a long white dress and holds a silver rosary. One witness said said as she moved towards the altar rail, she floated, having no feet!   Once she kneels at the altar, she makes the sign of the cross and vanishes away.

A newer story is that of a burned man, charred all over, clothes burned, as he stumbles down to the altar. The description resembles the Char-Man creature seen on Creek Road. Maybe he was a Roman Catholic in life? Why come here rather than Saint Thomas in Ojai? Perhaps he is converting? Lastly, there is a story of a phantom midnight Mass, where all the church is filled with souls out of purgatory. Native converts, Spanish Grandees, Padres, and Catalan Soldiers, all led by St. Junipero Serra himself. He sings the Mass with lanterns, candles, torches ablaze. So if you see light coming from under the doors and the windows aglow late at night, do not knock on the door. Why? Because the skull faced ghosts will open it and pull you in, when the Mass is done, they will take you with them back to purgatory and you will never be seen again until Judgement Day!

Ventura County Farm Day seeks sponsors for “Biggest Little Farm” Screening at Ventura County Fairgrounds

As part of this year’s activities for its all-virtual Ventura County Farm Day, Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG) is hosting a drive-in movie night on Sunday, November 1 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds featuring the award-winning, family-friendly documentary “Biggest Little Farm.” The evening includes a question and answer session with John Chester, farmer, cinematographer and co-founder of Moorpark’s Apricot Lane Farms where the documentary was filmed. SEEAG is seeking event sponsors.

Proceeds from the evening will go to SEEAG’s mission to educate students and the public about the farm origins of food and agriculture’s contribution to our nutritional wellbeing. Since it was founded in 2008, SEEAG has reached over 65,000 students and community members with its free agricultural education programming at is annual Ventura County and Santa Barbara County farm days.

Sponsors will receive tickets to screening, gourmet farm-to-film snack boxes (with some items grown on the Apricot Lane Farms), gifts and their logo/name on the screen, the Ventura County Farm Day website and social media. Sponsor levels are $1,000, $2,000 and $5,000. Media sponsorships are available too. For a list of opportunities, go to

Tickets for the screening will go on sale October 1.

For sponsorship questions, contact Mary Maranville, SEEAG’s founder at CEO, at

Founded in 2008, Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG) is a nonprofit organization that aims to help young students understand the origins of their food by bridging the gap between agriculture and consumption through its agricultural education programming. SEEAG’s “The Farm Lab” program based in Ventura County teaches schoolchildren about the origins of their food and the importance of local farmland by providing schools with classroom agricultural education and free field trips to farms. Through this and other SEEAG programs including Farm Day in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, over 65,000 elementary school students and community members in Southern California have increased their understanding of the food journey. For more information, visit or email Mary Maranville at

The Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year, when we are closest to God and to the essence of our souls. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” as the verse states, “For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God.”

Yom Kippur is on the 10th day of Tishrei (in 2020, from several minutes before sunset on Sunday, September 27, until after nightfall on Monday, September 28), coming on the heels of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year, which is on the first and second days of Tishrei).

For nearly 26 hours we “afflict our souls”: we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or apply lotions or creams and do not wear leather footwear. Instead, we spend the day in synagogue, praying for forgiveness.

Just months after the people of Israel left Egypt in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), they sinned by worshipping a golden calf. Moses ascended Mount Sinai and prayed to God to forgive them. After two 40-day stints on the mountain, full Divine favor was obtained. The day Moses came down the mountain (the 10th of Tishrei) was to be known forevermore as the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur.

That year, the people built the Tabernacle, a portable home for God. The Tabernacle was a center for prayers and sacrificial offerings. The service in the Tabernacle climaxed on Yom Kippur, when the High Priest would perform a specially prescribed service. Highlights of this service included offering incense in the Holy of Holies (where the ark was housed) and the lottery with two goats—one of which was brought as a sacrifice, the other being sent out to the wilderness (Azazel).

CAPS Media producing voter info for city and county residents

CAPS Media returns with its long running video voter series. Every election season for over a decade caps produces and broadcasts informative videos about state and local propositions, informative videos and our video voter series to inform the public and help get out the vote for the upcoming election. Our video voter 2020 series features ventura city council and ventura unified school board candidates. The individual videos provide viewers and voters the opportunity to hear first-hand from candidates about their concerns, views and plans for the future. CAPS is dedicated to providing the community with as much information as possible so they can make informed choices in the selection of ventura city council and vusd board members. Stay tuned for broadcast information of this landmark program.

For the county, CAPS is producing a series of voter awareness videos to inform the public on the realities and changes of the election process this year. First and foremost is getting out the message that voting by mail is safe. The fact is that Ventura County has been using vote by mail for years – and it has always been safe and secure. The change this year is that every registered voter in the county is receiving a ballot in the mail. In the past only those who requested a mail-in ballot received one. The change is driven in part by the Covid 19 crisis. Vote by mail allows everyone to stay safe at home and still vote. Other changes explained in the CAPS video series include the fact that once they send in their ballot, voters can go to and track the ballot every step of the way, seeing when it is received and counted in the county election headquarters.

The county campaign also includes videos on key dates: October 2nd – when all ballots are mailed, October 27th – the last day to request a ballot and November 3 – the last day to have ballots postmarked to be counted. Other videos identify the locations for ballot drop boxes throughout the county and in-person voting. All videos are airing on CAPS channel 6, stream online at, county websites and posted on CAPS and county facebook sites and numerous other social media platforms.

In other news, the El Camino High School media program (ECTV) is in full-swing with innovative distance learning utilizing the caps media center. Mentor/instructor/media guru Phil Taggart has devised an extremely clever program for teaching media production to his ECTV students. Sitting in the CAPS conference room, an ECTV student conducts an interview with a guest who is seated in the CAPS Media studio – socially distanced away on the other side of the media center. At the same time the remainder of the ECTV crew can view and interact via zoom from home. The students then edit from home and deliver the complete projects for broadcast.

Due to the Covid-19 emergency the CAPS Media center is closed to members and the public until january. CAPS member/producers can submit programming via the online portal at for broadcast and streaming on caps public access television channel 6 and on CAPS radio kppq 104.1fm.

All of us at CAPS Media hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this challenging time.

Back to school at the library

It’s back to school and Ventura County Library now offers Brainfuse HelpNow eLearning for all ages and levels.

Homework Help – Interact with live tutors in math, science, reading/writing, social studies, PSAT/SAT, ACT, AP and state standardized tests.

Personalized eLearning Tools – My File Sharing, My Session Replay, My Tutoring Archive, My Tests Archive, and more!

24-Hour Writing Lab – Submit essays and other forms of writing for constructive feedback.

Adult Learning Center – Access a library of rich adult learning content (GED) and live, professional assistance in resume/cover letter writing, U.S. citizenship prep, MS Office Essential Skills Series, and more!

Foreign Language Lab /Spanish-Speaking Support

Begin now at

Ventura County Library has a Minecraft Server. VCL’s server will be a fun opportunity for open and collaborative Minecraft building for youth ages 10-17.

Minecraft is a sandbox construction game. You use blocks to create just about anything imaginable. You can go the Minecraft Wiki to read up on the game.

To join in on the fun, participants must have parental permission and own a personal Minecraft Java Edition license and use Minecraft Version 1.16.1. Please send your request to join to the Minecraft Librarian (link sends e-mail). Verified participants will be “Allow Listed”, thereby granted permission to access the server.