A benefit for Notes for Notes™

A benefit for Notes for Notes™ (N4N™) – Music Making for our Youth – this coming Friday at the Squashed Grapes:

Support a remarkable organization that brings music making to youth: Notes for Notes™ (N4N™) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that designs, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs offering youth the opportunity to explore, create, and record music for FREE. N4N Studios are packed with professional instruments – guitars, basses, drums, keyboards/synths – and equipment – DJ gear, digital music workstations – and full recording facilities. Beyond providing access to equipment and resources, N4N educates youth about careers both on the stage and behind the scenes and is expanding throughout the country.

And we now have a Notes for Notes studio right here in Ventura as we continue to position ourselves in the forefront of music making! As they have done for years now – Adam Randall and Josh McNutt at the Squashed Grapes are making it happen. This time it’s partnering with Notes for Notes to bring this concept to Ventura and making a Notes for Notes studio a reality here.

So, join us at the Squashed Grapes for a benefit ($20 cover and more if you feel moved to do so) for a fun evening of good music to support this marvelous cause: It’s  Friday, August 25 at 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Music by Jazz Villains and Hans Ottsen Quartet.

Squashed Grapes 2351 E Main St. 643-7300

Kick off Step Up

A ribbon cutting ceremony by the Ventura Chamber of Commerce will kick off Step Up Ventura’s open house on Saturday, August 26 from 3pm-5 pm at 1767 E. Main St. In collaboration with Magic Carousel Preschool and Academy, Step Up Ventura’s program will offer supportive serves to homeless children 18 months to five years who will be attending Magic Carousel as preschool students.

As Magic Carousel provides full-time childcare and preschool to homeless children, Step Up Ventura’s attachment focused, trauma-informed services will help these children be successful academically, emotionally and socially.

Step Up Ventura’s program for the homeless students at Magic Carousel includes services rich with one-on-one time, expressive arts, pre-literacy, self-management and problem solving. Parent coaching and parent-child relationship building will give children and their families a safe, nurturing place to connect, heal and learn.

There are about 3,000 homeless children aged zero to five in Ventura County. This includes children living in temporary/transitional housing, shelters, over-crowded/uninhabitable places, and on the street.

By age five, many of these children are emotionally stressed, developmentally delayed and/or unready for kindergarten. They are at risk for acute illnesses, mental health difficulties and learning problems. These high risk factors can lead to unstable relationships, school failure and other problems. Step Up Ventura’s therapeutic program coordinated with Magic Carousel’s preschool hopes to change that.

Applications for Step Up Ventura’s program at Magic Carousel began August 14. These all day, year round services are made possible with funding from private donors, grants, faith-based organizations, businesses and the City of Ventura. People interested in donating, volunteering or having a child attend Magic Carousel and participate in Step Up Ventura’s program can contact Step Up Ventura at info@stepupventura.org or 665-3385.

Step Up Ventura is a local non-profit whose mission is to promote family stability and school success by providing accessible therapeutic services to homeless children ages zero to five.

Environmental activists groups Stand Together to save our national heritage

Activists in Ventura County are standing together to support the end of the current administration’s policies on National Monuments, the environment, and climate change. The demonstration will take place at the Ventura County Government Center located at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Telephone Road on Friday, August 18, at 6pm.

The Stand Together has been planned jointly by a number of local environmental groups, foremost among them. the Los Padres Chapter of Sierra Club. In commenting about the reason for the event, Jim Hines, Chapter Chair and member of the Sierra Club National Public Lands Team stated, “An attack by the Trump Administration on America’s national public lands is an attack on America itself.”

Local groups also joining in the Stand Together include Ventura Climate Hub/Ventura 350, the Justice for All Coalition, Indivisible Ventura, CFROG (Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas), and GrassrootsVentura.

The event is in reaction to the presidential order which would shrink or rescind National Monuments to. Only five of the monuments under review have been declared safe, and those five do not have resources which can be exploited. The Trump administration’s move to dismantle and degrade our public lands is hugely unpopular. Not only are National Monuments, public lands, ocean shelters and wildlife threatened — the very agencies charged with protecting our environment are being shunted aside so that clean air and water regulations will be negated.

Organizers invite the public to stand together to support the preservation of this country’s natural heritage, the environment, and also to protect the climate which allows for the natural world to be maintained. Participants should bring their signs and flags, wear comfortable shoes, and park legally parking lots or side streets adjacent to the Ventura County Government Center. America is in danger of losing our country’s wild places, and this event is a time to show voice your dissent to this trend.

Project understanding announces new leadership

Tom Hilton and Brandy Beesley

Project understanding and its Board of Directors has selected Brandy Beesley as the organization’s new Executive Director. Brandy is a local resident and comes with a wealth of knowledge in the nonprofit sector, as well as years of administrative and business management work.

“I am honored to be part of Project Understanding’s vision and mission as the new Executive Director. I am thankful for the confidence entrusted in me to help build the future of the organization and its impact on our community. Going to work each day knowing you are able to make a positive difference in the lives of so many, is a huge blessing. I look forward to continuing the growth and accomplishments of an organization with 40 years of success.”

Tom Hilton was selected as their new Vice President of Development. Tom comes with years of fundraising experience and will help take the organization’s fundraising efforts to the next level.

Brandy and Tom are sure to provide the organization with remarkable guidance and success, in supporting the mission and growth of Project Understanding, while improving their practices and programs and increasing overall effectiveness.

The Democratic Club of Ventura’s first “KEEP IT BLUE” fundraiser a success

Diane Underhill, Carol Lindberg and Steve Bennett accepting Social Justice Award.

The Democratic Club of Ventura’s inaugural summer fundraiser Sunday, July 30, sold out with more than 200 guests in attendance. The fundraiser will support Democratic candidates and causes now and leading up to the 2018 election. Club campaign funds increased by thousands of dollars due to impressive ticket sales and sponsors whose support will help the Democratic Club of Ventura (DCV) promote good candidates.

Attendees filled the Historic Ventura City Hall’s Atrium with energy and enthusiasm as community members and elected representatives met and discussed important issues while attendees enjoyed great music and food prior to the start of the program.

Following opening remarks by DCV 2nd Vice Chair & Fundraising Chair Diana Sparagna, DCV President Matty Park introduced the master of ceremonies, California State Democratic Party Chairman, Eric C. Bauman. Speakers included Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko, Ventura Councilmembers Cheryl Heitmann and Matt LaVere, Ventura County Supervisors Steve Bennett and John Zaragoza.

DCV Awards Chair Carol Lindberg presented the Social Justice Award to Maricela Morales, Executive Director of Central Coast Alliance United for A Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) and the Environmental Award to co-recipients Diane Underhill, Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation (VCHP) and Steve Bennett, Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR).

The afternoon wrapped up with photo opportunities and more discussions on issues of importance by those in attendance.

Watch for events to come from the Democratic Club of Ventura at venturademocrats.org or look for Democratic Club of Ventura on Facebook.

Barking out loud

K9 and VPD officer showing their stuff at June 10 event held in the Harbor by the Herman Bennett Foundation to raise funds for our K9 officers.

by the VPD

On Friday, August 18a, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the Ventura Police Department (VPD) will hold the 6th Annual “Bark Out Loud” Comedy Night benefiting the department’s K9 Unit. The event takes place at the historic Olivas Adobe.

The evening begins with a cocktail hour from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. and the comedy show will begin at 8:00 p.m. Comedy will be provided by the Ventura Comedy Club.

K9 Teams will be on site conducting demonstrations throughout the evening and also roaming the crowd so individuals can meet the officers and their partners. The evening’s festivities also include a silent auction and raffle.

Tickets are $60 and are available for purchase at: www.venturapdk9.com/bark-out-loud-events/.

On average the cost for a canine is $12,000, with an additional $8,000-$10,000 for training and certification, all of which is paid for through donations to the VPD K9 Unit. All of Ventura Police canines, past and present, have been purchased through community donations and event fundraising. The K9 Unit appreciates the support of the community and the many businesses and organizations that have sponsored the crime fighting team!

The Ventura Police Department currently has three K9 teams and two K9s in the canine academy. K9s are assigned to the Patrol Unit so that a team is on-duty seven days a week, providing around the clock service to the community. We have used K9 teams for over twenty years. Our agency was one of the first law enforcement agencies in Ventura County to use canines. All of our canines are German Shepherds and they live at home with their handler/officer and their families.

Our department, along with other law enforcement agencies from Santa Barbara and Ventura County, train weekly with Dave Inglis, one of the foremost K9 trainers in the United States. Weekly training sessions typically cover such skills as searching, apprehension, drug detection, obedience, agility, and confined searches.

K9 teams are used for a variety of public safety assignments. The two most frequent uses are to locate fleeing suspects and to find illegal drugs. Canines can search an entire warehouse, for example, in much less time than a team of officers could perform the same job. Canines can sniff out hidden suspects thereby making them more effective in this situation than their human counterparts. Using K9 teams allows us to perform a variety of dangerous tasks in a quick and safe manner.

New League of Extraordinary Women kickoff unites local women

Sue Osborn, Bonnie Atmore, Judy Warner, Betsy Chess and Marsha Bailey are extraordinary women .

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) hosted a group of influential women leaders from Ventura County at the kick off of their new League of Extraordinary Women held at the Atmore Ranch on Tuesday, July 25th. More than 50 guests gathered at the ranch to hear several speakers discuss how the new group will help to strengthen women-owned businesses and elevate women in our community.

“This was an extraordinary evening for all of us,” said Citycouncil Member Cheryl Heitmann, a co-chair of the event who serves on WEV’s Board of Directors. “The outdoor setting was beautiful and the information shared was important. While women now own 36% of all businesses, 71% of those businesses generate less than $25,000 in annual revenues. We need to support women in our community so they can be more successful.”

Already including more than 40 members, WEV’s new League of Extraordinary Women will provide an opportunity for members to meet and combine their efforts and resources to help strengthen women-owned businesses and elevate women in our community.

Along, with Heitmann, the event was co-chaired by WEV board member Elena Brokaw, hosted by Bonnie Atmore and featured Penny Henschel, owner of Ever After Designs, a WEV client business. Henschel, who has been participating in WEV’s business consulting program Thrive in Five® for 3 years, is a perfect example of the type of business owner the League is working to help. “Since joining Thrive in Five® my gross income has nearly tripled” said Henschel. “I’m in my third location and have gained some really great corporate clients. I like to say this is where preparation meets opportunity.”

Marsha Bailey, Founder and CEO of WEV also spoke at the event. “Women entrepreneurs have the capacity to grow U.S. GDP by 9 points or more,” said Bailey. “Unfortunately, neither our government nor private investors are banking on women in a big way so we must find other means to get them the capital and support they need. The League provides its members a great way to lend their voice, guidance and financial support to promote women’s business success.”

The League of Extraordinary Women is for business executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, artists and philanthropists living and working in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. To find out more about how to become a member, contact Danelle Coyle at 456-2347 or dcoyle@wevonline.org.

Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to over 14,000 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and made more than $4 million in loans, assisting over 4,000 local businesses. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center, and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Photo from left to right: Sue Osborn, Bonnie Atmore, Judy Warner, Betsy Chess and Marsha Bailey.

Combat the dangers of hot weather (even in Ventura)

“This should keep us cool until the margarita’s arrive.”

With summer here and the temperatures rising(even in Ventura), it is important to understand the health risks that excessive heat can bring and know the signs of heat-related illnesses. Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are particularly susceptible to hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, offers advice to help combat the dangers of hot weather.

Heat stress, heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after exercising in the heat), heat cramps and heat exhaustion are all forms of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is caused by a failure of the body’s heat-regulating mechanisms. The risk of hyperthermia can increase with the combination of higher temperatures, underlying general health, and individual lifestyle.

Lifestyle factors that can increase risk include not drinking enough fluids, living in housing without air conditioning, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places and not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions. On hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect, older adults, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors in cooler places. If possible, people without air conditioners or fans should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

There are many factors that can increase risk for hyperthermia, including:


Alcohol use

Reduced sweating caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs

High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. People on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk; however, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.

Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.

Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat production

Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever

Being substantially overweight or underweight

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include a significant increase in body temperature (generally above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), changes in mental status (like confusion or combativeness), strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, feeling faint, staggering or coma. Emergency medical attention is critical for a person with heat stroke symptoms, especially an older adult.

Ventura County welcomes new community resource center for the LGTBQ community

Steve Somann, President of DCVC is cutting the ribbon assisted by supporters. Photo by Bernie Goldstein

Diversity Collective Ventura County was proud to hold the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the Community Resource Center on Thursday, August 3rd at their new location at 2471 Portola Road, Suite 100 in Ventura.

The LGTBQ Community in Ventura County has been without a community resource center since 2009 when Rainbow Alliance moved to smaller offices due to cuts in HIV-AIDS funding at the state level, and ceased operations completely in 2011.

Diversity Collective Ventura County will run its HIV-AIDS Education and Prevention Program from the center as well as house partner organizations The Free 2 Be Me Foundation, Rainbow Umbrella, HOPE Counseling Center, and Baumer Law Group.

“It is our hope to expand free rapid testing services to the most critically needed areas of the county such as Oxnard. Currently, there is no community-based organization providing these free services and according to a 2014 needs assessment there are over 1,400 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Ventura County and the numbers continue to increase” said Michael MacDonald, Board of Directors.

This year’s Ventura County Pride Festival is a fundraiser for the Community Resource Center. Joseph Summers, Vice-President of DCVC states “Diversity Collective relies on proceeds raised at the festival to sustain the new center. Proceeds raised from the minimal cover charge, sponsorships, and beverage and merchandise sales go to sustain the new center. Ventura County Pride is an all-inclusive family friendly festival celebrating our diversity in the LGBTQ community. It’s is our main objective to celebrate, educate and advocate for the LGBTQ community. There will be live entertainment all day long, over 60 vendors offering education and advocacy for our community, food trucks, retail booths, and adult beverages”.

Steve Somann, President of DCVC stated, “An LGBTQ Community Resource Center has been in the back of my mind since Diversity Collective Ventura County started in May 2014, and a priority for me personally since becoming President in January 2016. I’m elated that the LGBTQ community as well as anyone else who needs information about programs and services will now have a safe place to call, visit, volunteer, which brings about an awareness to all in the community.”

Diversity Collective Ventura County is a community based nonprofit 501c3 organization. Promoting advocacy, education, and mental and physical health for the LGBTQ community in Ventura County via the community resource center, programs and community events. It is the parent organization of Ventura County Pride, AIDS Walk Ventura and The Diversity Gala. All proceeds raised through fundraising efforts go to fund DCVC and its community programs.

Tickets on Sale for “Pier Under the Stars”

Pam Baumgardner, Staci Brown and Diane Brown enjoying a previous Pier Under the Stars.

Tickets are now on sale for Pier Under the Stars—the 24th annual benefit for the historic Ventura Pier on Saturday, October 7th, from 5-8 PM. Each year more than 800 residents and visitors attend this beachfront culinary fair adjacent to the pier to sample the county’s best food and spirits provided by over 50 area businesses. This year marks the 24th anniversary of Ventura’s premier wine, beverage and food event.

Restaurants, cafes, wineries and breweries serve their signature dishes and beverages from tented booths along the seaside Promenade while guests enjoy live music, dancing under the stars and an amazing silent auction. It’s a community celebration to honor the City’s 144 year old pier.

The sell-out event hosted by Pier into the Future–-a non-profit 501 c (3)—“is a much anticipated community gathering of friends that raises funds for our beloved Pier”, said Pier Into the Future Executive Director Jenise Wagar. The organization was founded by a group of dedicated community leaders, in partnership with the City of Ventura, to establish an endowment fund to maintain and enhance the historic Ventura Pier for future generations to enjoy. The organization has contributed over $540,000 to the City of Ventura over the last 24 years to enhance the Pier.

General admission tickets are $75.00 and include food and beverage tasting and a commemorative Pier wine glass. A limited number of VIP tickets are offered at $150 each. VIP tickets include all of the benefits associated with General Admission, plus early entrance to the event at 4:30 pm and a reserved seat at a VIP table along the promenade. Local restaurants, wineries and breweries who are interested in sampling their food/drink at the event can call 804.7735.

Tickets are available on line at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800.838.3006. Visit www.pierintothefuture.org for more information.