Category Archives: This ‘n’ That

Sad passing of local icon, Helen Yunker

Always a lady of class and distinction.

Helen had a simple philosophy: “In helping and sharing with others, you multiply your own blessings many times.” Her blessings were multiplied over and over again.

One of Ventura’s premier philanthropists, arts supporters and political activists, Helen died at age 97 peacefully on July 28.

Born in Chicago in 1921, Helen came to California in 1948 at the age of 27. After 10 years in direct sales, Helen fulfilled her dream of living at the seashore when she moved to Ventura’s Pierpont Bay area in 1958. A realtor since 1971, she ultimately founded Helen Yunker Realty which still bears her name.

Her almost 60 years in Ventura is a virtual history of ongoing community engagement. She has been recognized over the years for her many contributions, by numerous service organizations in the areas of educational, medical, civic, youth, theater, arts, property rights and senior concerns. Ventura would not be the same without her enormous contributions.

Love of music played a major role in Helen’s life. She sang in the Our Lady of Assumption church choir until the very end. She has entertained solo and with singing groups throughout her life at hospitals, jails, churches, ballets, etc. Her cameo appearances in the Nutcracker, by just walking on stage brought the house down.

Because her highlights and accomplishments would fill an entire page, we’ve listed just a few of them:

She sat on the Board of Ventura County Ballet Company (VCBC) and on the Ventura College Foundation Board.

1966: She co-produced “The First 100 Years in Ventura”, a centennial magazine celebrating and documenting the city’s founding in 1866.

1968: The Ventura County Board of Supervisors awarded her for leadership, as President of the Pierpont Bay Association, for leading the adoption of the Pierpont Improvement District.

1970: Helen led the first grandfathering program in Ventura, for the Pierpont area. Adopted by the City in 1977.

2003: The Ventura County Board of Realtors awarded Helen a special Inspiration Award for her dedicated efforts to protect Individual property rights.

2007: The Girl Scouts named Helen “Woman of Distinction”.

2008: The Ventura County American Red Cross awarded Helen the Clara Barton Award for her work dating back to the 60’s when, she played an active part in support services for our troops.

2008: The National Assn. of Community Colleges awarded Helen the “Benefactor of the Year Award” in Washington, D.C for raising $600,000 to equip the new math/science building at Ventura Community College.

In 2010 The City of Ventura awarded Helen the Mayor’s Arts Patron Award.

The Rubicon Theater’s performance hall displays her name in recognition of her donations and support of the theater. As is the Ventura College auditorium.

On her 95th birthday, a celebration was held for her at the Museum of Ventura County. At the celebration, the Helen Yunker Lobby was dedicated to her.

At the celebration she stated, “An institution of this importance and magnitude needs financial giving from the entire community that it serves. I hope you will step up and join me and know you are helping to preserve our past and ensure the future of our museum.”

When her portrait was painted by Johanna Spinks as part of The Face of Ventura portrait series in the Ventura Breeze Helen stated, “Having grown up in Chicago, Ventura, with its 25,000 population in 1958, its climate, location and overall ambiance, was a true panacea and fertile ground for my life’s goals. Today, after 54 years of service, my greatest blessing is the thanks and recognition I receive, also fully aware of my intense struggles, as well as accomplishments. Where else, but in Ventura, can one be embraced like a family member, and be gifted a feeling of belonging?”

She appeared before the City Council over 100 times to “discuss” the problems with the slope erosion on city property next to her home, and always began by introducing herself. Eventually, the city paid to have the slope repaired.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on August 10 at Our Lady of the Assumption Church followed by interment at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park.

She’ll be missed.

VACE has 50-year celebration.

More than 400 attended the reunion.

On Saturday, August 11th, Ventura Adult and Continuing Education (VACE) celebrated its 50th Anniversary of providing Lifelong Learning to the community at the main campus on Valentine Road. In the past fifty years, VACE has offered adult education and training in over 150 locations throughout Ventura.

More than 400 attended the reunion, including past and present students, instructors, staff, VUSD administrators and School Board members, and honored guests.

“It is so wonderful to see our entire VACE Family together again,” exclaimed Director/Principal Carolyn Vang-Walker who welcomed the happy crowd. “Today, we are celebrating five decades of history together!”

Highlights of the special event included a chronological retrospective from 1968-2018 featuring numerous awards, archival photo albums, historical facts, course catalogs, and a very entertaining PowerPoint presentation of 2000+ Faces of VACE. Over the years, beloved VACE historian Barbara Dunmire had carefully compiled and archived thousands of artifacts that were on display. Attendees enjoyed reconnecting with former colleagues, teachers celebrated their students’ successes, and alumni reminisced about individuals who had made a positive impact on their lives. They posted favorite VACE memories on a Memory Wall.

Visitors strolled through the innovative 3D printer lab in the AutoCAD classroom, and then explored film projects currently in production at TDC Studios. Students enrolled in the Medical Assistant program were available during the day to conduct free blood pressure readings and health screenings. Attendees also toured through the career technical education (CTE) classrooms. An award-winning school, VACE boasts a 90% job placement rate for its graduates who have completed training and been awarded certification in the following career pathways: 3D Design and Drafting, Business Administration, Computerized Accounting, Front and Back Office Medical Assisting, Pharmacy Technician, Computer Network Support and Security, Graphics and Web Design, and Digital Multimedia/Studio Production.

Everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch of barbecued chicken and tri-tip catered by the new StoneFire Grill.

The next event scheduled to commemorate VACE’s 50th Anniversary will be a Fall Open House. If you are interested in learning more about VACE, or would like to schedule a tour, please call (805) 289-1744.

Visit Fillmore and Santa Paula while riding on vintage “movie trains!”

Fillmore & Western’s mission is to preserve and offer a unique part of American heritage. Photo by Nicholas Martinez

Fillmore & Western Railway has announced two new train excursions this summer.  Enjoy the “Hot August Nights – Beer, Wine & Blues Train” departing from Fillmore’s Train Depot.  Then on Labor Day weekend enjoy Fillmore & Western’s “Return to Santa Paula” with 1-hour antique steam engine train rides, for the first time, out of Santa Paula’s historic train depot.

Hot August Nights is an exciting new train that offers beer tasting from Santa Clarita’s Wolf Creek Brewery and wine + hard cider tasting from Reyes Winery. Appetizers are available for pairing and can be purchased while onboard.  Passengers also have the opportunity to dance & mingle on beautifully lit outdoor flatcars while a live band performs into the night.  The last chance to try this popular new excursion is on Aug 24th & 25th.

Return to Santa Paula is a celebration of Fillmore & Western’s arrival back at Santa Paula’s historic 1887 Southern Pacific Railroad Depot after over a year. Thanks to the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce the railroad will be open for business at the Santa Paula Depot and are running one hour train rides with their 1913 2-8-0 Consolidation steam engine built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.  1-hour rides will be offered 3 times a day on Sept 1st & 2nd from the Santa Paula Depot.  On Sept 3rd a special vintage diesel train ride will depart from Fillmore at 8:30 am and head to Santa Paula for passengers to see their traditional Labor Day Parade or visit the Ventura County Agricultural Museum Tractor Festival.

Marketing Director & Webmaster, Josh Carsman shared that “Fillmore & Western’s mission is to preserve and offer a unique part of American heritage for all generations to enjoy. So many train adventures to choose from all year long. Its step back in time riding on vintage passenger and dining cars through the scenic Santa Clara River Valley (aka Heritage Valley).  Not more then 30 – 40 minutes from Ventura on Hwy 126.”

Visit fwry.com for information or call 805-524-2546

Well-known restaurant owner dies

A nice memorial has been set-up outside the site of the restaurant.

Chingchai “Chang” Liampetchakul, former owner of Tipps Thai Cuisine has passed on at age 60.

Chang’s life has taken a turn for the worse the last several years.

In Feb., 2017 Chang Liampetchakul suffered a stroke while at the restaurant. He was cooking up some ribs for Super Bowl, when some friends came to pick him up. When they arrived he crawled to the front door to unlock it. Tipps was one of Ventura County’s first Thai restaurants when it opened at 512 E. Main St.

After his stroke Tipps restaurant closed its doors after serving Thai food to Ventura locals and visitors since 1983. The lovable Chang was a kind and generous person, often providing trays of food to families in need and always ready with a great yarn.

In April, 2017 a fire erupted in the two story portion of the building on Main St. which housed Tipps on the ground floor and the Odd Fellows on the top floor.

Ventura Fire and Ventura Police investigated and found evidence that pointed to Liampetchakul as having started the fire. On May 10, 2017, Liampetchakul was arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with the fire. A motive was never determined. His case was still pending.

Funeral services will take place at 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Kat Merrick, John McNeil and Trevor Quirk share Thomas Fire stories

Kat Merrick with the Quilters Guild at the Local Love Project

CAPS Media’s Thomas Fire Stories project continues to record captivating first-person personal accounts with the public and first responders. This month Kat Merrick, Captain John McNeil and Trevor Quirk add their experiences to the series. On Friday, August 17 Kat Merrick shares a remarkably moving story of her fight to save her Wicked Wire Ranch, which is her personal home and the center of her Totally Local VC grassroots agriculture, art and music support organization. Equally engaging is Kat’s story of virtually overnight launching a massive community outreach program connecting hundreds of Thomas Fire victims with agencies and individuals who wanted to help. The following Friday, August 24, Ventura County Fire Chief John McNeil add his unique perspective to the archive. And on August 31, Trevor Quirk tells his fascinating story of fighting the fire on his ranch, rescuing neighbors all night long and then helping create the Upper Ojai Relief Organization to bring resources and help to victims throughout the isolated community.

A new Thomas Fire Story premieres every Friday evening at 6pm on CAPS Media Channel 6 and streams online at capsmedia.org and on CAPS Radio 104.1PM. Following the premiere every Thomas Fire Story repeats throughout the week and is posted online at capsmedia.org/videos.

The Museum of Ventura County is archiving all of the Thomas Fire Stories interviews along with additional historical artifacts. Selected material will be included in a special exhibit at the end of the year. Portions of the Thomas Fire Story interviews will be included in a comprehensive documentary film also slated to premiere in December.

The start of the new school year is a great time to take a tour of the CAPS Media Center and consider joining the CAPS Media creative community. No prior experience is required and everyone is invited to join. Anyone who lives, works or attends school in the city of Ventura is eligible to become a member as are members of non-profit organizations throughout the county. To learn more about CAPS Media’s extensive television and radio resources and training attend an orientation tour held on the first Thursday of every month. HD videography/camera classes are held on the 2nd Thursday, Final Cut postproduction editing class is on the 3rd Thursday, and CAPS Radio (KPPQ, FM 104.1) two-part classes are on the 4th week. 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.

November elections are only a few months away and CAPS Media will help provide information and resources for voters. This year, for the first time, ballots will include district elections for members of the Ventura City Council and Ventura Unified School Board. For details on the City district elections go to the City of Ventura website for comprehensive information at https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/1222/District-Based-Elections

CAPS Media’s mission is to create an engaged and informed community through participation in electronic media. For more information, go to capsmedia.org or call 805.658.0500.

We asked a few of our writers and staff to tell us their favorite thing at the Fair:

Breezy Gledhill, Kiley White and Ashley Pope enjoying the Fair.

Breezy Gledhill

One of my favorite things at the fair this year was the Autism Society Ventura County booth. Besides the amazing people that I met at the booth this year – I’m talking about you Ashley Pope!, this nonprofit organization is mostly made up of individuals with Autism and their families. One in fifty-nine children have Autism, and early intervention can make a huge difference. It’s important to have patience with people that you meet because you do not know their reasons for staying quiet or not making eye contact, for example. Autism Society Ventura County aims to educate our community, so we can then educate others. Just remember to always be kind and exude love first.

I also found out that the Autism Society of VC puts on an annual fundraising event every April called the Aut2Run – a fun 5K and resource fair!

What a super fun way to bring the community together, get in shape and support a wonderful group of people.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Evin Brown-13

Every kid knows, the summer holidays aren’t complete without a visit to the Ventura County Fair. And the fair didn’t disappoint this year! There were so many awesome rides and attractions – there was something for everyone. From farm animals, agricultural exhibits and fine art, to awesome rides, carnival games, and a huge selection of foods and drinks, there was plenty to do for the whole family.

Uncle Leo’s Barn had so many wonderful animals! There were chickens, pigs, cows, goats, and more. Some of my favorites were the pig and its babies, the chickens, and the cows. The art pieces made by the children and seniors were so cool to look at! I really enjoyed how one of the kids drew a picture that looked just like Sponge Bob and Mr. Krabs. I loved looking at the paintings that professional artists had made, too.

Out of all the roller coasters there, I would recommend the Olympic Bobsled as a great ride to start with. It was a lot of fun to speed up and down and jolt around the corners at a breathtaking speed and immediately feel energized and exhilarated. When you get off you just want to get back on again and again. I also really enjoyed going on the Ferris wheel – you could see the whole city from up there! At the end of the fair, I went on the Fast Trax ride and then visited the Gems and Minerals exhibit, which was very interesting to look at. I was also very happy and surprised to see an old diving suit helmet at the Agriculture Hall! Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at the fair this year and I’m already looking forward to the next. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Jill Forman

The county of Ventura wants to do the best for the environment. So says the knowledgeable and enthusiastic young woman at the Public Works booth, in the Ag building.

Earth levees, important for channeling water, are easily undermined by rodents. Traditionally, they have been controlled by rodenticides, also known as poisons. The problem is, the dead animals can be eaten by other critters who then ingest the poison; this includes hawks, coyotes, owls, foxes, pretty much any carnivore you can think of.

The county is doing a pilot program on one creek using raptors (hawks and owls) instead to control the rodents. They are installing perches and putting up owl boxes, to encourage these birds to live and hunt in the area of the levees. This has been effective, equal to or better than using rodenticides. They will be expanding to other areas.

Bernie Goldstein

What I love  about the Ventura County Fair is watching interaction of people,  big or small in a variety  of sizes ,shapes and dress,  hungry  people waiting patiently by the food vendors, Kids having their faces painted while proud parents are watching close by; the bubble blowing machines filling  bubbles into the crowds, the circus barkers , the pig race contests, the colorful rides and the hobby contests. I enjoy the wonderful display of photos and spend time and love the hobby contests.   I have a special fascination with the 4 H animal auction and marvel at the talents of the auctioneers.  I enjoy watching the facial expressions & excitement of the kids & others enjoying the attention grabbing rides & games, the people with huge oversized  stuffed animal prizes won at the dart throwing  or bean bag concession.   I’m thrilled and enjoy too, the golden hour when the sun hides behind the edge of the sea , and the sky produces awesome colors. This is when the glittering & vivid colorful lights at the fairgrounds really come to life.

I enjoy photographing what I see at the fair

Michael Gordon

My favorite things at the Fair are the children and their parent interacting.
Watching the children cheer for their favorite piglet race around the sawdust track, the elation with parent in hand as their pig wins the race; and the comfort the parent provides when the piglet comes in last.

The children, with parent in tow, tossing the ping pong ball over milk bottles, holding their breath as the ball bounces from rim to rim, hands over mouth as if the slightest squeal would cause the ball to bounce onto the ground. Taking a deep breath trying the suck the ball down into the bottle. The joy and wonderment as the child cuddles with the newly won Teddy Bear, with parent in tow.

Shirley Lorraine

Attending the Ventura County Fair has been a tradition for me for over 50 years. My favorite things are seeing the hand-made entries in the Home Arts Building, the collections in the Gem and Mineral Building and the creativity in the Youth Building. The personal entries are what bring me back year after year.

Jill Forman

The county of Ventura wants to do the best for the environment. So says the knowledgeable and enthusiastic young woman at the Public Works booth, in the Ag building.

Earth levees, important for channeling water, are easily undermined by rodents. Traditionally, they have been controlled by rodenticides, also known as poisons. The problem is, the dead animals can be eaten by other critters who then ingest the poison; this includes hawks, coyotes, owls, foxes, pretty much any carnivore you can think of.

The county is doing a pilot program on one creek using raptors (hawks and owls) instead to control the rodents. They are installing perches and putting up owl boxes, to encourage these birds to live and hunt in the area of the levees. This has been effective, equal to or better than using rodenticides. They will be expanding to other areas.

Michael Gordon

My favorite things at the Fair are the children and their parent interacting.

Watching the children cheer for their favorite piglet race around the sawdust track, the elation with parent in hand as their pig wins the race; and the comfort the parent provides when the piglet comes in last.

The children, with parent in tow, tossing the ping pong ball over milk bottles, holding their breath as the ball bounces from rim to rim, hands over mouth as if the slightest squeal would cause the ball to bounce onto the ground. Taking a deep breath trying the suck the ball down into the bottle. The joy and wonderment as the child cuddles with the newly won Teddy Bear, with parent in tow.

These are just a few of my favorite things at the fair.

Bernie Goldstein

What I love about the Ventura County Fair is watching interaction of people, big or small in a variety of sizes ,shapes and dress, hungry people waiting patiently by the food vendors, Kids having their faces painted while proud parents are watching close by; the bubble blowing machines filling bubbles into the crowds, the circus barkers , the pig race contests, the colorful rides and the hobby contests. I enjoy the wonderful display of photos and spend time and love the hobby contests. I have a special fascination with the 4 H animal auction and marvel at the talents of the auctioneers. I enjoy watching the facial expressions & excitement of the kids & others enjoying the attention grabbing rides & games, the people with huge oversized stuffed animal prizes won at the dart throwing or bean bag concession. I’m thrilled and enjoy too, the golden hour when the sun hides behind the edge of the sea , and the sky produces awesome colors. This is when the glittering & vivid colorful lights at the fairgrounds really come to life.

I enjoy photographing what I see at the fair.

Keep Ventura’s City Council out of the real estate business

The city paid church officials $2,300,000 to buy this property.

by Venturans for Efficient & Responsible Government (VREG)

When it comes to real estate, Ventura’s City Council is, at best, inconsistent. At worst, they are reckless with our money. Their latest decision costs taxpayers over $1,000,000.

On June 16th, the Council accepted the city staff’s recommendations for the Harbor Church. Like some other real estate recommendations, it loses money.

Nothing About This Deal Adds Up

The city paid church officials $2,300,000 to buy the Harbor Church property in 2016. City Hall and Harbor Church agreed the value of both the land and the church building was $1.6 million. The actual sales price included an additional $700,000 to pay the Church to move. By any measure, Ventura overpaid for the property.

City staff proposes to demolish the church, subdivide the property and sell the lots. Total cost to the taxpayers to clear the lot will be $2,670,000.

Purchase Harbor Church Building $1,600,000

Moving Expense $700,000

Demolish Church Building $350,000

Remove Hazardous Material $20,000

Total $2,670,000

The city staff enthusiastically reported the value of the property on which the Harbor Church sits increased by 66% since 2016. They believe we can get four lots on the existing site. They estimate each lot will sell for between $250,000 and $375,000.

The arithmetic didn’t add up from the beginning. A staff report lists the property and building appraisal at $1,350,000 in July 2017. A year earlier, the city paid $1,600,000 for the church and the lot—$250,000 more than the appraised value. This transaction lost money from the very start and doesn’t begin to realize the gains from the purported 66% increase in land value.

Something Else Doesn’t Add Up Either

The city staff used an optimistically over-valued selling price for the lots.

We pulled data from a local title company for homes sold in zip code 93003 for the past two years. What we discovered was shocking.

  Average Median Avg SF $/SF # Sales
2016 $         628,321  $         595,000 1619 388 184
2017 $         633,269  $         599,000 1700 372 322
2018 $         593,415  $         594,000 1747 340 179

According to the data, lots on Harbor Church’s corner should sell for between $215,000 and $233,000. The market values the lots are well below the $250,000 to $375,000 the city staff believes they’re worth.

A More Realistic Calculation Of The Transaction

Using this realistic data from the title company and giving the city the higher anticipated value, the sale of the property would actually look something like this:

  • Sell Four Lots ($233,000 each) $932,000
  • Lease Payments From Harbor
  • Church For 12 months $36,000
  • Realtor’s Fee (6%) ($55,920)
  • Total Revenue $912,080
  • Total Costs (from above) ($2,670,000)
  • Total Loss on Transaction ($1,757,920)

Is The City Looking Out For Your Money In These Real Estate Transactions?

The City Council’s inconsistent real estate decisions should concern citizens. It causes taxpayers to doubt their financial acumen. The Council trusted the city staff again, with the same disastrous, money-losing results. One wonders whether they are good custodians of our tax money.

VREG’s Conclusions

We believe the city should get out of the real estate business. The litany of poor decisions grows—the WAV Building, Brooks Institute lease, 505 Poli and the Harbor Church property.

At the very least, the city should seek advice from licensed realtors and experts whenever making a real estate decision.

Large financial decisions deserve scrutiny. It’s best to proceed with caution and with thought. It’s too easy for city staff to recommend spending taxpayer money on losing projects. We urge the City Council to approach each real estate transaction with skepticism. Treat the money as if it was coming out of their own pockets.

The Ladder of Life

The Keller’s standing in front of their Ventura Private Museum of Collectibles from the 20th Century and a 1965 Ford pick up with 74,000 original miles, owned since 1965. Photo by Michael Gordon

by Karen Leslie, writer with heart

Adventure, meeting people from all walks of life, thrilling experiences, weaves a tapestry of memories that last a lifetime and when held in the mind and heart, become priceless beyond monetary value.

From Oklahoma, Sedona to California, Richard Keller and Elaine Keller, enthusiastic spirited travelers, humanitarians and dream catchers walked the-red-path as generous souls. From a one room school house to collectible cars, these land rovers and skydiving enthusiast, engineered their way across the country, leaving their footprints and love onto the world. These lives well lived in a century with all its spurts of growth, from the dust bowl to route 66, solo flights and with outstanding achievements, these second half of lifers left no cliff hangers!

The first 21 years of Richard Keller’s life was spent on a farm in the 20th century which modestly boasted kerosene wick lights, a wood coal burning heater, rain water pumped by hand out of a cistern and a two stall wood out-house. The one room wood structure school house was 2 miles away. Richard shares, “To get to school I walked, took a horse and buggy or rode a horse. There were no sports or special classes only three basic academic fields; Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Grades 9-11, I drove a $10.00 model-T and in 12th grade drove a 6 cylinder rumble seat Chevrolet Roaster and tractor gasoline was .05/gal.”

A world away, a half Cherokee Indian girl, born on a reservation in Oklahoma, Elaine’s life path was of a different nature. She shares, “As a child I would lie on my back in the grass and watch the clouds change, the birds soar and dive in an ethereal ballet. We lived totally off the land, hung out in the wild and medicine was made up of berries, roots and leaves. My mother and grandmother made clothes out of beautifully patterned sugar and flour sacks. I had a wonderful childhood!” While Elaine made her first solo flight in a Piper Cub at 17, companion to Jane Russell, member US Power and Sail Squadron’s and first female Squadron and District Commander, fearlessly skydiving on her 70thbirthday, little did she know her adventures and achievements would lead to Richard, “Her Miracle Man!”

In 1938 Richard migrated from Oklahoma on a Harley Davidson down route 66 to San Jacinto. Richard shares, “At the California border I needed to prove a destination and sufficient money to obtain a card permitting me to be in California. 1939 I was employed at Lockheed as design engineer when hourly wage was $.45. A USAAF-2nd L.T. B-25 pilot, I trained for the proposed invasion of Japan then attended Chounard Art Institute.” The next rung on the ladder of Richard’s life was in 1953 at William R. Whitaker Corp, Hollywood, California where he designed 24 volt actuators to operate aircraft valves on the Apollo. After 45 years widowed from first wife Lupe Peinado, Richard met Elaine and love graced his path again. Richard retired in 1982 from ABEX Corps, Oxnard. Years later Richard and Elaine married in 1995 in Sedona, Arizona. Residing in Ventura in their 23rd year of marriage, these love birds continue to look to the future! Elaine shares, “I look forward to zip lining the Grand Canyon on my 100th birthday!” Richard, humanitarian quotes, “On the ladder of life, I have climbed a number of feet up, by having successful accomplishments, beautiful memories of my contacts with human beings, fortunate to find love again and my many years of employment that was enjoyable, motivating and most important creative.” Longevity be your!

Ventura Land Trust applies for National Accreditation, invites public comment

Ventura Land Trust (VLT) is pleased to announce that it is currently applying for accreditation and invites the public to comment as part of the application process. The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. “The accreditation program is one way to show that Ventura Land Trust strives to meet the highest possible standards and operates in highly professional way,” said Derek Poultney, VLT Executive Director. “Accreditation is important because it ensures that VLT will always utilize the policies, procedures and practices to protect our conservation lands in perpetuity.”

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Ventura Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/help-and-resources/indicator-practices.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to info@landtrustaccreditation.org.

Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

A public comment period is now open and comments on Ventura Land Trust’s application will be most useful if received by Friday, August 24.

The Ventura Land Trust (formerly the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy) is dedicated to permanently preserving and protecting the land, water, wildlife and scenic beauty of the Ventura region for current and future generations. Founded in 2003, the 501(C)(3) non-profit organization is supported by over 600 members, local businesses and government partners. The land trust manages 90 acres of land along the Ventura River and is negotiating the purchase of its first hillside property. The Ventura Land Trust’s offices are located in the Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill Rd, Ventura, CA 93003. For more information, visit www.venturalandtrust.org.