State of Education

Ms. Nan Drake E.J. Harrison & Sons Inc., Joseph Richards Jr.  Interim Superintendent VUSD, Dr. Erika D. Beck President, CSUCI, Dr. Greg Gillespie  newly appointed Chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District,  Stephanie Caldwell President and CEO, Ventura Chamber of Commerce.

by Jennifer Tipton

On Thursday, April 27 the Ventura Chamber of Commerce hosted the State of Education, the event took place at the Wright Event Center here in Ventura. The event focused on presentations from the Ventura Unified School Superintendent and the Ventura College President who provided their perspective on past accomplishments, current state and a future forecast of education in the City of Ventura.

Ventura Unified School District Est. July 1, 1966 is the largest land owner in the City of Ventura which is about 165 sq. miles and serves 21,656 students with 576 of these being special education students.

Many attended the State of Education including our Mayor Eric Nasarenko, representatives for other leaders in the community, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and countless others that support education in our community.

The first speaker was Nan Drake from E.J. Harrison who emphasized that making children successful meant much more than just providing an education, but preparing them for life.

The second speaker was Joseph Richards Jr. the Interim Superintendent of Ventura Unified School District who spoke about the changes that have taken place including the cultural population we serve and economic uncertainty.

For instance, 52% of students are Hispanic, 40% are Caucasian, 2% are African American while the remaining are of other cultural descent and 25% of these are English learners.  The cultural population of the students has changed dramatically over the years.

Regarding the economic uncertainty, in 1978 proposition 13 limited taxes which put schools at the mercy of the State, in 2012 proposition 30 increased revenues and they have been increasing ever since but we are still significantly below the State average for funding. Mr. Richards encouraged businesses to assist schools by collaborating partnerships and described the many ways to accomplish this.

Dr. Greg Gillespie the President of Ventura College since 2013 and the newly appointed Chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District was the third speaker. Dr. Gillespie stressed that education is critical to opening doors to our community and again he spoke of how the demographic has changed with a decrease in student age and a dramatic increase in the need for financial aid. He spoke of a six-year educational masterplan in which priority #1 would be to put Ventura College in the top 5 colleges in the State and explained, “because we want to do a better job to provide a future to our community.” Dr. Gillespie wants to see kids “grow up here, get an education here, get a job here and raise a family here.”

The last speaker was Dr. Ericka Beck the President of California State University Channel Islands, she was excited to see some of her alumni in the audience and spoke about the changes taking place on her campus including a new program that builds drones to support the bee population using “swarm technology”.

The Traveler’s Café, (a new family owned restaurant located on Front St.) provided an outstanding buffet luncheon.

City Public Works removed 2,757 graffiti cases from Ventura last year

Community members can help keep Ventura safe and clean by reporting graffiti

by city staff

City of Ventura Public Works staff removed, painted, blasted or chemically treated 2,757 graffiti cases last fiscal year.  Outfitted with paint, rollers, gloves and environmentally safe cleaner, the team travels throughout the city responding to issues reported by other staff, attentive community members and tips received on the graffiti hotline.  The graffiti removal efforts are impressive, and so is the time frame in which they are cleaned up.  Nearly all graffiti instances are removed within 24-48 hours, which is a testament to the City’s great work in keeping Ventura safe and clean.

In addition to our Public Works team removing graffiti, the Ventura Police Department responds to calls for service related to graffiti, tagging, and spray paint.  From April 2016 through March 2017, Ventura Police filed 156 graffiti/tagger crime reports and arrested nine people for graffiti vandalism.

In 2012, the City of Ventura collaborated with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Union Pacific Railroad to remove graffiti with a shiny new coat of paint, install surveillance cameras, new lighting and fencing, and add other physical safety barriers to deter trespassers and vandalism on the bridge trestle. The trestle is an important area to remove graffiti — it is highly visible to visitors and the 94,000 motorists who pass it each day.

Nearly five years later, the City remains committed to keeping the bridge and other locations throughout Ventura graffiti-free. Recently, Public Works staff removed approximately 25 square feet of graffiti on the trestle, which required coordination with Union Pacific Railroad, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol because freeway lanes needed to be closed for public safety during the graffiti abatement.

Graffiti vandalism happens on both public and private property.  Property owners can discourage graffiti tagging by using good lighting to deter vandals, planting trees, shrubs or climbing vines to restrict access to tempting walls, and rapidly removing graffiti to send vandals a message that their defacement has little chance of being seen.

Community members can help keep Ventura safe and clean by reporting graffiti in the City of Ventura, at 654-7805.

Oopsies! We were all wrong

by Jennifer Tipton

In our last issue, we reported that Kevin Costner was a graduate of Ventura High – oops! Kevin attended Cabrillo Junior High and although that would have put him attending Ventura High, his family moved to the east end of Ventura so he attended Buena High instead. However, he did not graduate from Buena either! Kevin’s family moved again before his senior year where he graduated high school from Villa Park (In California) in 1973.

And so, the rivalry between the Cougars and the Bulldogs continue spurred on by the Ventura Breeze.

Selecting a new district superintendent

The Board of Education of the Ventura Unified School District will select a new district superintendent. Community input regarding the desired characteristics is needed to assist in the recruiting and selection of the new superintendent. The Board of Education is soliciting your feedback. You are invited to attend either of the two districtwide community forums:

Tuesday, May 16 Wednesday, May 17
Buena High School Cafeteria
Cabrillo Middle School Cafeteria
5670 Telegraph Road 1426 E. Santa Clara St. Ventura
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Spanish translator provided)

Mr. Ben Johnson and Mrs. Aida Buelna-Valenzuela of McPherson & Jacobson, LLC search firm, selected by the Board of Education, will oversee this important process. Individual input from members of the community, parents, students, employees and others interested in the Ventura Unified School district are welcomed.

Your participation may also be offered through an online survey available on the District’s website at and link will also be posted on every school website.

Arts & Eats in downtown Ventura May 20

Arts & Eats will be held in downtown Ventura on Saturday, May 20 from 6 – 8pm. Over a dozen galleries, restaurants and shops open their doors for art receptions and complimentary tastes. The event is free to the public.  At 5pm, Pop-Up Yoga will have a yoga class at Plaza Park.

Frances Elson and Chris Weber will display their art in “No Boundaries” at Fox Fine Jewelry from May 18 – July 9  with an Art Reception on May 20 from 6 – 8:00pm. Musician Corinn Conant will sing and play guitar during the reception.

For more information on Arts & Eats, contact Debbie Fox at Fox Fine Jewelry, 560 East Main St. 652-1800 or

Circus Vargas unveils original new production – SteamCirque!

Circus embarks on a brand new epic adventure under the big top!

Goggles, gears, and gadgets set the stage for Circus Vargas’ 2017’s retro-futuristic production, SteamCirque! Join them on a journey of fantastic proportions where children of all ages will marvel at the wacky and wonderful cast of characters that come alive in this exciting steampunk, science-fiction fantasy inspired circus odyssey!

Arrive 45 minutes early for an entertaining, interactive pre-show celebration, where kids can create their own magic under the big top, learning circus skills such as juggling, balancing and more! Meet and mingle with the entire cast after each performance. Capture the fun by posing for pics or selfies with your favorite cast members, all part of an unforgettable Circus Vargas experience!

An eccentric group of adventure seekers stumble upon a traveling circus in an imaginary Victorian city, far, far-away. SteamCirque’s peculiar protagonist, part magician-part inventor, attempts to industrialize the circus by incorporating his steam powered mechanical contraptions into the ordinary, typical circus rigging, filling the big top with new, imaginative acrobatic apparatus for the artists to perform their acts.

“SteamCirque is inspired by adventure, colored by imagination and brought to life by the amazing cast of Circus Vargas!”

Join for an amazing experience, under the big top as Circus Vargas celebrates its 48th year and create new and treasured memories for generations to come! This wonderful show has something for everyone! It’s 2 hours of amazing music, lights, magic, acrobats, aerialists, daredevils, comedians and more!

General admission tickets are $17-$32 for children and $27-$37 for adults. Reserved Ringside seating is $52-$67 for children and $57-$72 for adults. For Circus Vargas performance dates, times and to purchase tickets, visit, call 877-GOTFUN-1 (877-468-3861) or visit the box office at each location. Follow Circus Vargas on Facebook and Twitter for updates, discounts and behind the scenes video.

In Ventura: Ventura County Fairgrounds

  • Thursday, May 25 – Monday, May 29
  • Thursday, May 25 – 7:30pm
  • Friday, May 26 – 4:00pm, 7:30pm
  • Saturday, May 27 – 1:00pm, 4:00pm, 7:30pm
  • Sunday, May 28 – 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 7:00pm
  • Monday, May 29 – 2:30pm, 6:00pm



History maker to speak  at Senior Health Expo

Gabriel just wanted to become an actor.

Gabriel Cordell never intended to make history, at least not in the way he eventually did.  He just wanted to become an actor.

In 1992, two months after his 22nd birthday, Cordell was en route to his first professional audition when an accident changed his life forever. His Jeep was hit and flipped, and Cordell was ejected from his vehicle, hitting a telephone pole that crushed his spinal cord. The accident left him paralyzed from his mid-chest down.

After four months of recovery and physical rehabilitation, Gabriel continued to pursue his dream of being an actor, now as a paraplegic. He established his acting career on stage and screen, with credits including Dexter, Numb3rs and Joan of Arcadia.

​At the age of 42, Cordell focused on a different kind of role. He set out to become the first person to roll across the United States in a standard, manual wheelchair — a 3,100-mile journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic.  The inspiring trek is the subject of an upcoming documentary film called, Roll With Me: A Journey Across America.

Completing the coast to coast journey in just 99 days, Cordell has made it his life’s purpose to inspire and empower people all over the world, by showing through his actions that anything is possible.

Cypress Place Senior Living in Ventura is thrilled to announce that Gabriel Cordell will be the keynote speaker at their upcoming Health & Wealth Expo on Wednesday May 24,  from 11a.m. to 1p.m.

“We are thrilled to have Gabriel as our guest speaker,” said Mike Macke, director of sales and marketing at Cypress Place.  “His story is amazing and will inspire anyone who hears it.”

Along with the keynote presentation, this year’s Health & Wealth Expo at the senior community will include over 30 vendors offering everything from free blood pressure and mini stroke evaluations, free balance and hearing tests, free wealth management information, to veteran benefit information.  A free healthy gourmet lunch will also be provided.

Raffle prizes will be given away throughout the event including one grand prize; a 50” HD flat screen TV.   Admission is free and the event is open to the public.  Free shuttle parking will also be available at Ventura Baptist Church.

Corporate sponsors for the event are Assisted Home Care & Hospice, Coastal View Healthcare Center, Mission Home Health, Victoria Care Center, and Glenwood Care Center.

For more information or to RSVP, please call 650-8000.  To learn more about Cypress Place Senior Living of Ventura, visit their web site at

Vol. 10, No. 16 – May 10 – May 23, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  I know that I have written a little about this but actually making the decision that Scamp’s life no longer had any meaning to him was one of the most difficult and agonizing decisions (and writing this) that I have ever had to make. Fortunately, I didn’t need to make it alone.

We basically kept Scamp alive for several weeks by spoon feeding him, but he was drinking water, still walking around and still smiling at us which is what kept us continuing his life. Was it for his sake or ours, I hope his.

But, on April 28th we decided that he is time was up. Called the vet (Ventura Veterinary Hospital) and took him in on Saturday.  I went in while Diane stayed in the car with Scamp. A young lady that works there came out to speak to Diane who started to cry and then the young lady started to cry.  I asked her do you cry every time and she said “yes”.

I did feel comfort right then in knowing that they would be so caring towards him.

We took him into the examining room and were given a few choices to make.  The first one was do we want to be with him when they put him to sleep.  They explained that he would be given an IV and then the fatal shot.  We decided to say goodbye in the exam room knowing that he would have several compassionate ladies with him petting him and saying goodbye. And our last thoughts of him wanted to be of him still looking at us with his cow eyes.

The other decision was did we want him to be cremated individually so that we could have only his ashes or cremated with 400 other animals.  We decided that (need to stop for a moment because I’m crying) he would like to be with other animals, so we made that decision.

While lying on the exam table unable to get up, he suddenly stood, stared (taking another pause) at Diane then stared at me and laid back down to never get up again. I’d like to think that he was saying goodbye.

It is now been nine days and our large house still feels empty without this 20 pound hairy (he had hair and not fur) little guy.  I still look at the bed with our cat, Savana, in it and then look for Scamp who isn’t there.  Or, I’ll look down at the floor while eating and he isn’t there either. I’m sure that will eventually stop to some degree.

I, again, want to thank all of you for your kind words, emails, prayers and cards. They have really helped make it easier for us.

The next question, is, of course, is we will be getting another dog?  That decision will be 100% up to Diane because she is the one that takes care of our pets.  I’m like a grandpa and hand them to her when they need their diapers changed, bathes (or fleas removed).

•  The Ventura County Star has announced that the Los Angeles Times will soon start printing the VC Star beginning with the July 12 edition. The Star will be closing their printing facility.

The Star stated, “The cost-cutting move comes as The Star, like newspapers across the country, continues to grapple with declining advertising revenue.”

Well – we must be doing something right as this issue contains our largest number of ads to date. I want to thank our readers, advertisers and especially our great account rep, Breezy Gledhill, for making that possible. And, of course all of the other people who continuously work hard on each issue.

The funny thing is that the Star gave us a printing quote a few years ago. Just imagine if we had accepted – the headline would have been,  “The LA Times’ stock jumped 11% since it was announced that they would be printing the Ventura Breeze.”

•  In our last issue we had an article about the planting of a new tree at Two Trees (funny why that is capitalized). We have had some emails and a call disputing some of the facts of just how many trees are up there and when they were planted and cut down. Were there 5 in ???? and 2 in???? and 15 in ????. So, maybe some of the numbers were wrong but is it at all important? The important thing is the new tree replaces the dead one and we got that right!

•  An exciting find. A team of astronomers says they have sited a super-earth called GJ1132b that might be capable of sustaining life and it is “only“ 39 light years away. Before you get too excited and buy a ticket to visit, that is “only” 229,266,396,108,687 miles away.

•  I have had four shows on my new radio show (on KPPQ-LP 104.1FM). The show airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am and a bunch of other times during the week that I don’t know about. Try to listen (low wattage so not always easy to pick up) and give me your feedback (good and bad) and suggestions for future guests. I haven’t aired a new show because I have had a viral cough for several weeks which makes it tough to host a radio show. And the meds wiped me out, but made me happy. You can listen to the shows at “Face Of Ventura”.

•  In his first 100 days in office, the Trump’s have spent $30 million on traveling expenses. It’s nice to know that they now have funds available to start taking some vacations.

Vol. 10, No. 16 – May 10 – May 23, 2017 – CAPS


The State of Education held at the former Wright Library (see article in this issue)

CAPS is prepping for Digital Storytelling programs and more

CAPS Media is busy with City, school and community productions, prepping for the Digital Storytelling programs and more.  Recently CAPS Media collaborated with the City’s Economic Development Department and the Chamber of Commerce to launch a new video series called “Spotlight on Local Business,” that offers an inside, behind-the-scenes look into the diverse and unique companies doing business in Ventura.

CAPS Media also recorded the annual State of Education event hosted by the Chamber featuring enlightening presentations by leaders from Ventura College, VUSD and CSU Channel Islands.

The City and VUSD’s popular Mayor-For-A-Moment video series is nearing the end of Season II.  Every month deserving 5th graders are selected to represent elementary schools.  CAPS Media produces video profiles on each young leader for presentation at City Council and VUSD School Board meetings.  This school year young mayors were honored from Loma Vista, Saticoy (ATLAS), E.P. Foster, Blanche Reynolds, Elmhurst, and Pierpont.  May and June will wrap up the series with mayors from Mound and Portola.

CAPS Media is gearing up to cover graduation ceremonies at Ventura College (May 19), El Camino High School (June 9) and Foothill High (June 15).  Home base for the extensive multi-camera productions is the CAPS Media mobile production truck. The elaborate productions are managed by the CAPS Media staff and supported by outstanding volunteer crew members from El Camino high and throughout the community. All these videos are available to view on channel 6 & 15 and on the caps media website.

In July the Digital Storytelling program continues at the CAPS Media Center for students, ages 10-15.  Young videographers, film makers and video storytellers get hands-on training with video cameras, audio recording equipment and computer editing software to create the stories the crew wants to tell.  Three week-long programs are scheduled July 10 – 14, July 17 – 21 and July 24 – 28.  To learn more about the Digital Storytelling program, go to

Aspiring (or experienced) journalists, photographers, videographers and storytellers are invited and encouraged to get involved at the CAPS Media Center.  Anyone who lives, works or attends school in the city of Ventura is eligible to be a member. For annual fees of only $25 (individual) and $75 (non-profit organization), member/producers are trained by the knowledgeable CAPS Media staff in the art (and fun) of video and radio communication.  Once certified member/producers may check out video cameras, tripods, and other gear for video production and book editing suites for postproduction to create the stories they want to tell.  And, for a small additional fee, member/producers can learn to create their own radio program to air on CAPS Radio 104.1 (KPPQ-LP).

Upcoming CAPS Media classes include: HD Videography/Camera, May 11, postproduction editing, May 18, a new production/storytelling class, May 25th and new member orientation, June 8th.  All classes start at 6pm.  Studio and Radio training classes will also be scheduled in the next few weeks.  To learn more and to sign up for classes go to, email info, call 805.658.0500 or drop by the CAPS Media Center Monday 9a-6p, Tuesday or Wednesday 9a – 9p or Friday 9A – 6p.