Category Archives: This ‘n’ That

Breast cancer survivor tells her story

Ellen Johnson (lower right) is joined in solidarity with colleagues Stephanie Montenegro, Marc Wilde, Lynda Frank, and Katie Furlong.

by Lori Harasta

Asked how Ellen Johnson felt when she first found out she had breast cancer, she said, “Numb. Later that night, I asked my husband, ‘Did he say I have cancer?!’”

It started with a lump she found about three years ago. Biopsies in three areas of the tumor were negative, but it is the protocol of Kaiser Permanente to do surgery to remove tumors, whether or not they test positive for cancer, so Ellen complied. The next time she spoke with the doctor, she got the awful news. It was Stage 3 of an aggressive strain of cancer. The doctor was unable to get all of the cancerous tissue. Further tests showed that the lymph nodes on that side were all affected. She was going to have to have a mastectomy.

Ellen resisted at first. But reality set in when the doctor told her, “I’m trying to save your life!” She left the doctor’s office, went back to her car and cried.

First, there was chemotherapy, which made her tired. A dear friend, Suzette, accompanied her to every chemotherapy treatment. Except for the side effects, Ellen actually enjoyed the sessions. “It was an odd sense of community, all of us there sharing the experience of having cancer. The nurses were amazing! There was no sense of talking down to any of us. I enjoyed hearing their banter and teasing one another. They were upbeat, sensitive, and genuine.” The chemotherapy was followed by surgery and then radiation.

Ellen retired recently from her position as Grants Manager for Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association. One of the things that made it easier for her to get through the treatments was strong support from her co-workers and the ability to work a flexible schedule. “My co-workers picked up the slack for me. Having their support made it so much easier to make it through.”

Her hair fell out and as a way of educating others about breast cancer, Ellen chose to wear scarves or hats instead of a wig. Indeed, conversations were opened up. She was surprised at the warm encouragement of fellow survivors she encountered who asked how she was doing and shared their own cancer experiences.

Cancer has changed Ellen’s outlook. “Anytime we face the possibility of our own mortality, it changes our priorities. I have been given the gift of seeing things more realistically. It has been a real wake-up call.”

Ventura Harbor Village hosts Kids Seaside Trick or Treat and “Thriller”

Zombies will roam the promenade. Photo by Richard Lieberman

Ventura Harbor Village is getting into the spooky spirit with lots of Halloween happenings this month and there is no better place to be than seaside on Saturday, October 28, from 1-3pm for Kid Seaside Trick or Treat and Thrill the World.

Dress up the kids 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 family fun! Participation for the Trick or Treat is complimentary.

That very same day, Zombies will roam the promenade and come together for a world record breaking dance to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Spectators be sure to show up by 3pm to catch the dance in action. However, if you want to participate, it takes some preparation! Learn the dance, by joining Molly at FitZone in Ventura for classes. Ages 6 and up are welcome to join in on the fun. To sign up, email or call 766-4480. There is a $20 Dancer Registration fee – all proceeds go to “Make a Wish Foundation”.

Tree carving artist John Mahoney

This wonderful tree carving is the work of artist John Mahoney, with the assistance of Jason Rose.

The tree is an American Redwood, and was a part of a grove of Redwoods planted in Arroyo Verde Park many years ago.

Our Southern California drought took its toll on the trees, and the grove of redwoods died within the last few years. West Coast Arborists removed the trees (39 of them) and the wood was harvested and milled and will be made into picnic benches that will be put back into the park. West Coast Arborist, Inc. are the Urban Forestry Contractor the city has used for over 10 years to help maintain the City trees.

Photos by Michael Gordon

The happiest 5k on the planet will make your dreams come true

The Baker and Kress families never looked so colorful.

The Color Run®, the largest 5k event series in the world, is bringing its 2017 tour theme, The Color Run Dream Tour, Presented by Lay’s®, to Ventura on Saturday, Nov. 18, kicking off at 8:00 a.m.

The Ventura run benefits Doing Good in Ventura – the Julius Gius Memorial Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of the Rotary Club of Ventura. It provides assistance to needy individuals in our community by engaging in and carrying on programs for charitable and educational purposes, and encouraging greater philanthropy and appreciation of the needs of those less fortunate.

The Color Run Dream Tour creates a world where anything is possible, unicorns are real and foam clouds make everything better. The 2017 theme will make Color Runners’ dreams a lot more colorful with unforgettable music, color throws and an all new Lay’s PoppablesFoam Zone and Dream Wall.

The Color Run Ventura is one of 5 cities on The Color Run’s “Colorfornia Dreamin’” mini-tour. Participants can collect Colorfornia Dreamin’ collectors’ button at each stop on the tour and buy a limited-edition Colorfornia t-shirt on-site and online.

Each Color Runner receives a custom race kit, including a limited-edition 2017 race shirt, a Unicorn Finisher’s Medal, embroidered headband, fun temporary tattoos and a color-in runner’s bib—to inspire participants to decoratetheir runner’s bib. An option to upgrade race kits to receive additional gear is also available with the deluxe registration package. Participants can color it up with more accessories, clothing and fun dream inspired items at The Color Run store.

The Color Run Dream Tour, Saturday, Nov. 18, 8:00 a.m., Ventura County Fairgrounds.

CAPS TV and radio are streaming on the web

CAPS Media’s mission is to create an engaged and informed community.

CAPS Radio, KPPQ 104.1 FM has joined CAPS Television (Channel 6 & 15) by streaming programming on the web 24×7. Now everyone in and outside of Ventura can enjoy the diversified programming from CAPS Media on cable, on the radio airwaves and streaming on the web. What’s on? Programming schedules are on the CAPS Media website – Plus, with a click of a button, has direct access to the television and radio programming.

CAPS Media joined the Art Walk festivities downtown by setting up the CAPS Production truck, stage and radio station recording on California near Santa Clara. CAPS Radio hosts and DJs were on hand interviewing a variety of guests, and the public had front row seats to watch El Camino High School students conducting interviews for their award-winning television series, ECTV. CAPS Media staff were on hand to provide tours of the production truck and CAPS Radio.

Tours continued on Tuesday when CAPS Media hosted a special open house and tour for Ventura College students and faculty at the CAPS Media Center. Tours included the studio, control room, editing suites, meeting rooms, production truck, KPPQ 104.1FM radio station and more. The event was an opportunity for VC students, faculty and friends to see the complete range of resources, services and training available at the CAPS Media Center located on the Ventura College campus.

The new school year brings Season 3 of Ventura’s Mayor for A Moment series where outstanding 5th graders are recognized by the City and the Ventura Unified School District. CAPS Media produces video profiles featuring the young mayors, principals and schools. The first two “Mayors” are Brayden Rocco from Portola Elementary and Olivia Blomquist from Poinsettia Elementary. Coming up in November and December are young mayors from Will Rogers and Citrus Glen.

The new school year is a good time to look into 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 equipment to record their story and then book editing suites to craft the story they want to tell.

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

Ventura Unified School District high school countdown!

Foothill ranks in the 308th spot nationally.

by Jennifer Tipton

Foothill Technology High

Located at 100 Day Rd, Foothill Technology High School opened in 2000 to alleviate the overcrowding of our city’s two existing high schools, Ventura and Buena. A California Distinguished School since 2005, Foothill is also a magnet school, which is a public school offering special instruction and programs not available elsewhere and designed to attract a more diverse student body from throughout the district.

Admittance is determined by a random lottery that is very competitive but I’m told not in an academic way. There is an “anchor sibling rule” whereas if an applicant has a sibling already at Foothill, they will also get in but they still must go through the application process. Principal since 2002, Joe Bova reports that each year just under 600 students apply and about 275 are accepted. Offering grades 9-12 the current student enrollment is a little over 1000. Due to the smaller student population, Principal Bova feels the staff is more connected with the kids, in fact, all six of Bova’s kids currently attend Foothill!

There is the Bioscience Academy and a new Design Technology Academy blending engineering, design and entrepreneurship that was just developed last year. Technology is infused everywhere on campus with over 800 mobile devices available and students can also use their cell phones (when appropriate) for instructional purposes.

The school mascot is Dragons and although there is no gymnasium on campus, there is a Core Athletics Program (CAP) similar to what universities offer that was developed about four years ago. Students can choose from classes offered at Maverick’s Gym, Ventura College and the Ventura Aquatics Center. There are 11 sports and 37 teams to choose from.

Principal Bova reports that the students at Foothill are given more homework than kids at other high schools, with the honors and A.P. (advanced placement) students averaging 3-4 hours of homework per night. While many graduates go directly to a 4-year university, 40-45% go to Ventura College first. Bova states, “the success rate is really good, not only are the students well prepared for a university, many come back saying it’s easier than it was at Foothill (unless of course we’re talking about Harvard!)”.

Famous Alumni? I could only find one, Brandon Paak Anderson (stage name Anderson Paak), a singer, songwriter, rapper drummer and record producer that graduated from Foothill Technology High School.

Bragging rights? Foothill Technology High School won the National Blue-Ribbon Award in 2006 and again in 2012. The school also ranks in the 308th spot nationally, 53rd in all of California’s high schools and 63rd of all the magnet high schools.

For more information visit

Media Day for PowerShares QQQ golf Championship

Photo by Richard Lieberman

On Sept. 25, Breeze Publisher, Sheldon Brown, and Richard Lieberman attended the annual Media Day of the PowerShares QQQ golf Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks (mostly for the free lunch). Defending champion Tom Pernice, Jr. spoke with the media about his win last year at the inaugural event, as well as how the 2017 season has gone so far. Afterwards, Pernice’s chipping game was tested as he hit shots against VIP guests, actor Tom Felton and UCLA men’s golfer, Tyler Collier.


Vol. 10, No.1 – Oct 11 – Oct 24, 2017 – Tech Today with Ken May

News about the massive Equifax data breach has been unrelenting since the credit bureau publicly disclosed its lapse at the beginning of September. It’s difficult to keep up with all the company’s blunders, not to mention the complicated fiscal policy and regulatory debates the incident has fueled. But weeks later, most consumers in the United States are still just trying to figure out what the whole thing means for them, and how to steel themselves against identity theft and fraud.

Equifax will be extending the enrollment period for its credit monitoring and freezing services through January. Credit monitoring sends you alerts so you can catch any suspicious activity early, while credit freezes actually lock down your credit files so institutions you don’t already do business with can’t access your data without specific permission from you and special PIN numbers. A freeze significantly reduces the chance that a fraudster will be able to do things like take out a line of credit in your name. Personal identity security advocates have long favored freezes, but acknowledge that the measure isn’t necessarily for everyone (say, someone who anticipates applying for student loans) since it is fairly rigid and restrictive.

It is worth utilizing one or both of these tools, but at the end of the free year 143 million social security numbers (not to mention other valuable data) will still have been compromised in the breach, necessitating ongoing defense. “We generally tell people that if an entity is offering a free service they should strongly consider taking advantage of it,” says Eva Velasquez, president of the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center. “Consumers have to demand security over convenience so that businesses will respond. Just don’t be the low hanging fruit. Anything is better than nothing long term.”

The free monitoring and freezes have a short time span, perhaps because they are services Equifax wants to resume capitalizing on as quickly as possible.

The third service Equifax is rolling out, a so-called “credit lock” tool, will debut in January, and will be a more flexible option through which consumers can lock and unlock access to their credit data whenever they want.

Experts agree that to protect themselves, consumers need to see past the gimmicks and noise to the long game of utilizing what Equifax and other companies that have experienced data breaches provide while planning to supplement as needed. If your data is compromised in multiple breaches over time you may be able to daisy chain years of free services together. And everyone can pull and review one complete credit report per year for free from Additionally, consumers need to be aware that credit monitoring, locks, and freezes alike don’t protect against things like tax fraud and medical fraud, in which identity thieves can file bogus tax returns on your behalf to claim your refund or jeopardize your insurance coverage by scamming your provider.

Ventura Breeze Painted Rocks

The Ventura Breeze has a new Facebook page for hiding and finding painted rocks: “Ventura Breeze Painted Rocks” can be found at

There are many people taking part in this unique outdoor treasure hunt around the world. Ventura Breeze Painted Rocks wants to help spread this activity, and help share it with as many people as possible in Ventura, and beyond.

When you find one of our rocks (turn it over to see if it is one of ours), take a photo of you holding it and post it at Also, send us a message to let us know where you will be hiding it next.

If you want the photo to be included in the Ventura Breeze, please email

Hawk wedding soars!

Photographer Karey Cottrell climbed a ladder onto the roof to get all guests into the photo!

by Jennifer Tipton

We’ve all had that invite to a wedding when it feels more like an obligation than an opportunity to attend, not this one!

A little history… at 59, Jim Hawk had married before, he and his two sons had been on their own for some time. Jim had dated but never met the “right” woman and Lisa at 53 had never married although she had the chance more than once.

The two met at a friend’s birthday party but it was “hit and miss” for some time, (I was really hoping to hear “love at first sight”- much more romantic). The first few dates were on the marginal side, but because of the advice of a friend, Bobbi Blum Palmer who is a dating and relationship coach for women over 40, Lisa stayed with it. The advice paid off when Lisa realized she missed Jim when they were apart and this was a first. Jim proposed to Lisa while vacationing in Paris, France in 2016 just two days after her birthday (now that’s romantic!).

On Saturday, September 16th Jim Hawk married Lisa Ross in a most exceptional ceremony and celebration to follow.

The ceremony took place at the couple’s home on the hillside in Ventura which they refer to as “Hawk’s Nest”. The wedding/reception was a beach theme since they share an affection for the beach, even Jim’s boutonniere was a starfish. They were married beneath a driftwood arch handcrafted by a friend, Rich LaJoie, with the view of the city behind them as Jim’s brother, Dave officiated the ceremony. Jim had lost his dad in February so it was very touching that it was his dad’s wedding band Lisa placed on Jim’s finger. Also touching was Lisa’s 91-year-old mother walking her only daughter down the aisle and the radiant look on Lisa’s face as she gazed at her soon to be husband.

At the house everything was spectacular, a large framed photo for guests to sign, a mimosa bar, a variety of beer, tempting appetizers such as an antipasto platter, bruschetta and caprese skewers. There was a large “Nothing Bundt Cake”, assorted small ones, and a most impressive cake that looked like an actual sand castle! But it gets so much better…

From here, the 150 guests were taken by shuttle to the Ventura Beach Club where the attendance was close to 400! Upon entering, there was a complementary whiskey and cigar area, a fun photo booth that served as a guestbook and of course, sea shells everywhere!

The large dinner buffet was provided by a friend, Cathie Moreno who pulled off some very tasty food with no kitchen on site! A favorite feature was the candy “bar” where beach themed treats stood in fishbowls including gummy worms labeled “bait” and green licorice labeled “seaweed”. Guests were encouraged to fill a bag that read “Happily Ever After” to take home. There was a no host bar and music that was so good even those that don’t dance were on the dance floor. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, a complimentary hot dog cart arrived with all the goodies.