Community celebrates at Launch Party for 5th Annual Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Festival

Ventura City Councilman Carl Morehouse, Ventura City Clerk Antoinette Mann and Shana Epstein, GM of Ventura Water at the Launch Party.

Over 100 community members and water professionals turned out to celebrate the launch of the 5th annual Water: Take 1 film festival at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach hotel held Wednesday night, Sept. 21. City of Ventura Councilmembers Carl Morehouse and Jim Monahan were among the local dignitaries present.

Morehouse told the crowd that the city’s film festival has a global reach. It’s also launched a year-round dialogue that has grown to include two annual events plus a monthly newsletter. “This invites an international audience to share our message online,” Morehouse said.

“Water: Take 1 is a homegrown campaign that keeps the conversation going not only about the importance of local sustainable initiatives, but also the global perspective that sharpens our local focus back to a ‘one water’ mindset as you will see tonight,” said the event host, Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein.   “Ventura Water is pleased to showcase the topic of water protection, conservation and sustainability to like-minded individuals and organizations in such a creative and engaging way.  With the drought uppermost in the minds of Californians, this Short Film Festival brings together our local, national and global conversations.”

Finally, Epstein thanked the many sponsors and partners who made Water: Take 1 possible.

Water: Take 1 aims to create a greater awareness of water as a valuable resource by inviting filmmakers worldwide to submit short films of five minutes or less in any genre – drama, documentary, comedy, animation, sci-fi or experimental – that address the topic of water. Awards include the Audience Choice Award, voted on by the general public with the winner receiving an iPad; the award for Best Student Short Film, chosen by a jury of entertainment and water industry experts with a GoPro camera for a prize; the Grand Prize of $1,500 presented by Ventura Water; and the Ventura Vision Award, which recognizes films shot in and around Ventura and offers a $500 cash prize.

Film submissions are now being accepted through Dec. 14. Winners will be announced at a celebration event to be held in Ventura in the spring of 2017. Last year, 48 films were entered from around the globe.

Expanding on last year’s efforts to engage other local water agencies, the Palmdale Water District was introduced as a new partner and is sponsoring the Palmdale Vision Award, recognizing films that best represent its mission and objectives, also for a $500 cash prize.

Other new film festival partners include Change the Course (, a national movement to engage the public, the community and corporations to restore fresh water to people and nature, and Waves for Water (, which has a focused international mission to bring clean water to the entire world.


Improve your life: Dance!

The Ventura Poinsettia Dance Club meets every Monday.

by Jeanne Hoffman-Weisel

For the past several decades, Monday night has been known for the time to dance and the place has been the Poinsettia Pavilion.  Dancing With the Stars and Monday Night Football can be recorded for later viewing –without the commercials!

We have come to a crossroads and unless the number of dancers increases on Monday nights, the Monday night dance will be just a memory. The Board has worked very hard to keep this dance going and it is time that those of us who love dance, support this Dance Club with our time, treasure, and talent. I know there are angels among us who have discretionary income who could give a financial gift to insure we have enough funds to cover our costs each month. And if you have a marketing talent, a refreshment talent, or a talent you have of which we are unaware, please offer it/them to us. We have some dance teachers who are willing to gift us with free dance lessons until we are using black ink once again.

Monday night, the 19th of September was our fund raiser; I donated a check in memory of the wonderful dance friends I have met at the Poinsettia Dance Club: Rudy Monte, the samba king with the most positive attitude, Ken and Dee Mattson, extraordinary host and hostess who also brought delectable refreshments, Art Stone, was the first person I met at the Poinsettia; he took me around the room introducing me to people so I would feel at home, and to Art Greycloud, another fine dancer who worked hard for this club. These people would be giving and supporting if they could.

Please join me in the effort to save this club; the benefits for you are: a boost in memory, improved flexibility,  a reduction of stress, diminished depression, it helps your heart, weight loss, better balance, increased energy and making new friends! Accomplished dancers and beginners are welcome!

Ventura Poinsettia Dance Club meets every Monday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. at the Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill. Ballroom, swing, Latin, mixers and line dancing. Members $10, non-members $12, first time dancers are free. Call Rick at 415-8842 or Ron 290-5414 for more information.



Candidates’ Forum held for seniors

Eight of ten City Council candidates were present at forum.

On September 20 Suz Montgomery, Chair of the Ventura Council for Seniors was the moderator for a City Council Candidates’ Forum held at the Ventura Missionary Church, 500 High Point Dr.

Moderator Suz stated “this is an opportunity to ask the hard questions face-to-face with the people who want to run your city.”

Incumbent Carl Morehouse is not running for reelection, two current council members are, Cheryl Heitmann and Christy Weir.  There are ten (including those 2) running for the City Council.  Eight of them were in attendance Lorrie Brown, Dave Grau, Cheryl Heitmann, Matt LaVere, Brian Lee Rencher, Randall Richman, Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios and Christy Weir (not attending were Michael Graves and Jackie Martenson)

There will also be a candidates’ forum and debate at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Bell Arts on the Avenue, focusing on that area of the city.



A conversation with local farmers

The Ventura Food Co-op celebrates the farmers that work hard to produce our food. A century ago, half of Americans were farmers, now they number only 2 percent. This night of drinks and discussion will bring to light issues that farmers struggle with in Ventura County, the future of farming, and ways that community can support our local producers.

At the MadeWest Brewing Company, local farmers, and community members will discuss farmer’s concerns on October 5 from 5:30-9:00. Farmers Phil McGrath, from McGrath Family Farm, Sarah Nolan, from Abundant Table, and Jose Alcantar, from Alcantar Organics will be the panel of farmers.

The mission of the Ventura Food Cooperative is to provide fairly priced groceries, while following cooperative principles.  The Co-op’s focus is to source small-scale, local, organic goods with the intention of keeping ourselves, our community, and our environment healthy and happy.

If we want more organic food, then our community needs to train and support young beginning farmers in biological methods of growing food on a small scale.

Agriculture contributes 2 billion dollars to the Ventura County economy, but how much of that produce is consumed locally? Ventura Food Co-op wants to do better. They will buy what is currently produced here, then contract with local growers to grow locally adapted produce.

Panel topics will include farming challenges, the future of farming in our area, what we can do for our local farmers, and insight into what farming has to offer our community. Come ask the farmer panel some of your burning questions about what it’s like to be a farmer here in our county.

MadeWest Brewing Company, 1744 Donlon St., 947-5002.

For more information or Facebook page ( or Ally Gialketsis 216-4621.


The celebration of Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. Jewish Year 5777 this year from sunset October 2, 2016 – nightfall October 4, 2016. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.” Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American New Year.

There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making “resolutions.” Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

The shofar is a ram’s horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day.

No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in temple, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded. There is a special prayer book called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays.

Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of the wish for a sweet new year.

Religious services for the holiday focus on the concept of G-d’s sovereignty.

The common greeting at this time is L’shanah tovah (“for a good year”). This is a shortening of “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem” which means “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”




If you had the chance to circumnavigate the globe in a hand-built plane, would you?

Ryan Shields  meeting an employee of S7 Airlines when he stopped for fuel in Novosibirsk, Russia .

by Jenny Guy

With the start of 2016, Ventura resident Ryan Shields was faced with this question. And, while the business owner and father of four had reservations about departing from all that he knew to be part of a journey that covered two oceans, three continents, nine countries and 21 cities, his wife simply said, “You’d be stupid not to.”

Shields first began flying in his twenties in Mammoth Lakes, California. He studied at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and joined the Peace Corps after graduating, where he was stationed in El Salvador. During this time, he developed a love of travel –– venturing through much of Central and South America. Returning stateside, almost two decades ago, Shields married and founded a telecommunications company, placing its headquarters in Ventura, California.

When his business expanded, opening offices in Los Angeles and other locations in the Western United States, Shields decided an airplane was a logical solution to his frequent travel between corporate divisions. He chose the six-seater Epic LT, “a Tesla of the skies,” for its carbon-fiber technology and high-performance handling.

As an experienced pilot and dedicated customer, Shields was offered the opportunity to test the full capabilities of his state-of-the-art aircraft as a participant of the Epic Odyssey World Tour. This inaugural trip was hosted by Oregon-based aviation company Epic Aircraft, which specializes in the design and manufacture of all composite, single-engine turboprop airplanes, like Shields’ Epic LT.

With his family’s encouragement and all lights glowing green, Shields embarked on the first-of-its-kind Epic journey in July 2016. The trip consisted of six Epic aircraft and their owners, including Epic CEO Doug King –– accompanied by professional pilots, staff members and a documentary film crew. Epic and its team of international aviation partners scheduled the logistics of this world tour, and sponsors of the journey included Pratt & Whitney Canada, Garmin, Hartzell, Jeppesen, Spidertracks, Globalstar, and GoPro.

The itinerary spanned 21 days, beginning in Wisconsin and traveling to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, England, Italy, the Czech Republic and Russia. Coordinating prior commitments to go on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, Shields joined the 26-person travel party on the ninth day of the expedition in Prague. The trip ended with a finale in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where participants celebrated their victory at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) conference, AirVenture 2016.

“The longest flight leg spanned from Magadan, Siberia, to Nome, Alaska, totaling more than 1,200 nautical miles,” said Shields. “It really is a testament to Epic’s craftsmanship that all six aircrafts made the entire length of the trip without any major mechanical issues.”

The complete Epic Odyssey World Tour covered 16,405 nautical miles, lasting 51.5 flight hours and achieving an average ground speed of 318.5 knots. Shields, who houses his Epic at Oxnard Airport, explained that he came back from the trip with a new respect for the United States’ airspace and a better understanding of the broader world.

“I found myself in Moscow’s Red Square, and I couldn’t help but think of my time in Washington, D.C., with my family several months earlier at the Blossom Kite Festival,” said Shields. “There are significant similarities between all cultures, and this trip really helped to dispel a lot of geopolitical myths.”

With all 26 voices shouting “success” at the journey’s completion, Epic is currently planning its next world adventure. For more information, please visit

Jenny Guy is the director of communications for Mustang Marketing and a resident of the City of Ventura.

The National Rescue Dog Training Center is the first facility of its kind in the nation

Search dog training center prepares dogs and handlers for major disasters.

In August guests, Seabees and staff were invited to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s National Training Center located at 6800 Wheeler Canyon Rd, Santa Paula (it feels like Ventura).

They were there to review the work completed in the past year by Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 5 and 25 through their Innovative Readiness Training Program.

stuff-national-dog-inset2The Search Dog Foundation is building a 125 acre National Training Center to give America’s Canine Disaster Search Teams the advanced training needed for their most challenging deployments around the world and here at home.

It is the only training facility in the U.S. dedicated solely to first responders and their canine partners who risk their lives to make sure no one is left behind in the wake of a disaster.

The “Disaster Training Zone” consists of  unique advanced search sites that simulate the conditions encountered during actual deployments including collapsed structures and train derailments.

The “Search City” includes Murphy’s Firehouse, Jessie’s Schoolhouse and Maggie’s Rubble Pile. Where the dogs can practice on disaster simulation scenarios.

stuff-national-dog-insetObedience and search and find demonstrations were held show casing the wonderful dogs abilities and training.

In 2015 Scamp wrote “The six SDF-trained Search Teams who deployed to Nepal as part of Team USA are now home after a long, challenging 18-day mission after joining first responders from around the world searching for survivors of the deadly Nepal earthquake. During the deployment, the teams helped rescue a teenage boy buried beneath the wreckage, and cleared scores of buildings, giving closure to families and letting rescue crews know they could move on to other areas.”

National Rescue Dog Training Center

Vol. 9, No. 26 – September 28 – October 11, 2016 – Mailbox


I quickly ran the Short Term Rental Figures this morning based on the Nuisance Response Plans at the City’s website.

There 117 Short Term Rentals Registered with the City as of 9-12-16.

There are 77 in the Pierpont Community.  Of these 21 of the owners live in Ventura (27%). Only 11 live in our Pierpont Community (14%).  Pierpont has approximately 1200 residences.

There are 6 Short Term Rentals in the Keys

There are 34 Short Term Rentals in the rest of Ventura.

66% of the Short Term Rentals are in Pierpont, however, Pierpont only represents 3% of the Housing Units.  Consequently, the vast majority of Short Term Rentals are heavily concentrated here in our Pierpont Community.

To put it another way 86% of the owners of the Pierpont Community’s Short Term Rentals don’t even live in our Pierpont Community and 73% don’t even live in Ventura.  These owners should not be deciding the quality of life for our community.  Those not living in Ventura can’t even vote for our City Council.   Our community residences should not be used as a hotel alternative.  Hotels at least have someone on premises to monitor their guests.  This, for some reason, is now the Pierpont residents responsibility pitting neighbor against neighbor.

Robert George

A vote to protect our citizens and our city

Public safety and security is key to a more thriving city and business community. Measure O will bring additional local resources to keep Ventura neighborhoods safe.

For starters, your Yes vote will allow all fire stations in the City to stay open and fully operational, ensuring every Ventura neighborhood has life-saving emergency response times. Maintaining fire, police and paramedic emergency response is paramount to protecting the residents of Ventura.

Our city also needs protecting. Ventura is 150 years old and showing its age, including deteriorating streets, sidewalks and storm drains. Voting Yes on O will repair streets, fix potholes and make repairs to bridges and overpasses in the case of an earthquake. Thanks to Measure O, the Ventura Pier, Promenade and citywide bike paths will remain accessible for everyone.

If we wait, it will only get more expensive to protect our quality of life. And, with a local sales tax, the millions of tourists who spend money on lodging and other taxable items will contribute to the cost of maintaining our City.

Despite what some may say, Ventura has no budget surpluses. Costs have gone up, while State and federal funding cuts have jeopardized Ventura’s ability to address its urgent needs. Measure O helps to replace those lost funds with new locally controlled funding that cannot be raided by Sacramento politicians.

Measure O makes Ventura a safer, cleaner and better maintained city, which in turn will make it a more in-demand place to live and work. For all these reasons and more, we are strong supporters of Measure O and in fact are serving as Co-Chairs of the Yes on Measure O Committee, which is spearheading the campaign to pass this critical measure for the City we love.

Ed Wehan, Kevin Clerici and Jim Duran
Co-Chairs of Committee for a Better Ventura – Yes on Measure O


Even though Gary Shaw has been an Ambassador for only 4-months he knows that he is helping and that the Ambassadors are appreciated by locals and tourists.
Even though Gary Shaw has been an Ambassador for only 4-months he knows that he is helping and that the Ambassadors are appreciated by locals and tourists.


Our Park Ambassadors are doing a great job of keeping Downtown Ventura ‎safe and clean. I am so grateful that they check in frequently with my staff and are only a phone call away if we need back up in a potentially unsafe situation. They are breaking down barriers with those who are chronically homeless and are available to connect them with services to get them off the streets. As a merchant (Spice-Topia), I couldn’t be more pleased with the services that the Park Ambassadors are providing. What a fantastic use of parking meter funds!

Ashley Pope


People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
~ Isaac Asimov