Category Archives: Featured News

Public health strongly recommends all community members wear masks indoors

With cases of COVID-19 rising locally and increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the County of Ventura Public Health Department strongly recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places. This serves as an extra precautionary measure for those who are fully vaccinated and will further limit spread of the Delta variant in the community at large.

“The Delta variant is spreading quickly in our State. All community members should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,” said County of Ventura Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin. “While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection. Ventura County data have recently shown that unvaccinated people are 22 times more likely to become infected and hospitalized than vaccinated residents. Several of our hospitalized people have been vaccinated and that is several too many.”

In June, the Delta variants comprised 43 percent of all specimens sequenced in California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for 58 percent of new infections across the country. Fully vaccinated people are well-protected from infections and serious illness due to known COVID-19 variants including Delta variants, and vaccinating as many people as possible, as soon as possible, continues to be our best defense against severe COVID-19 infection, and the harm it can do to our region. Vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available to everyone 12 and older. “For the most part this is a surge of cases among our unvaccinated and it is preventable. Get vaccinated,” said Doctor Levin.

Out of an abundance of caution, people are strongly recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, theaters, and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated as an added layer of protection for both themselves and unvaccinated residents. Businesses are asked to expect universal masking for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers. Workplaces must comply with Cal/OSHA requirements and fully vaccinated employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors if their employer has not confirmed the vaccination status of those around them. For masks to work properly, they need to completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face and around your nose.

Public Health will continue to monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths and increasing vaccination rates throughout the County and will reevaluate the recommendation in the coming weeks. COVID-19 information can be monitored at www.vcrecovers.org.

COVID-19 vaccines are available at multiple locations throughout the County of Ventura for all community members 12 or older. Information about locations can be found at www.myturn.ca.gov or by calling 833-422-4255.

Crowd gathers to protest SoCalGas compressor site in Ventura

The Westside Community Council was there supporting the cause.

On July 17, from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, hundreds of community members from around California including Ventura, Culver City, Playa Del Rey, and Aliso Canyon met at Kellogg Park to demand Gov. Newsom instruct the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct an Environmental Impact Review before any further work can be completed on the SoCalGas facility, and to phase out oil and gas drilling immediately.

More than 200 people attended the ‘Fight to Stop Ventura SoCalGas Compressor’ protest. They displayed signs opposing the compressor station and lisend tgo speakers opposing the site.

For years, Ventura’s Westside community has lived near the Southern California Gas Company compressor station. It has been considered by NASA as a super-emitter of methane.

SoCalGas has initiated efforts to double the size of the facility that sits across the street from an elementary school and Boys and Girls Club. Approximately 500 people live within a quarter mile of the facility, but as many as 4,750 live within a half mile radius close enough to be impacted by a gas explosion. The site s located at 1555 N. Olive St.

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, Inc. stated “As CEO of Patagonia, I am working in solidarity with the community of West Ventura and Patagonia’s 500 Ventura based employees to oppose this dangerous project. Patagonia’s headquarters has been located down the road on West Santa Clara Street since our founding in 1973. As a global company that is in business to save our home planet, it’s our responsibility to use our resources to protect our employees, neighbors and community from harm. We believe it’s urgent to put people before the interests of the fossil fuel industry.”

“Oil and gas infrastructure has no place near homes and schools. Patagonia applauds Mayor Rubalcava and our city councilors, along with community groups and environmental activists, for protecting residents. We urge our elected and appointed officials to continue to block the expansion of this dangerous facility. We want SoCalGas to safely clean up this site under the watchful eyes of government officials and local activists and shut down this compressor station.

To learn more about the efforts to stop SoCalGas’ expansion of the gas compressor on Olive Street, please visit westsidecleanair.org. Their demands are:

The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) must hold a bilingual community hearing with residents that would be affected, including parents of children who attend EP Foster Elementary School;

There must be an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Health Impact Assessment of the entire scope of the cleanup and expansion project at 1555 N. Olive St;

Rather than expand this facility, SoCal Gas must create a plan to clean up the toxic soil and shut down the compressor station. We do not want this in our neighborhood.

Kindness Really Matters Now

Ventura’s wonderful Park Safety Ambassadors would be a fine place to start.

Why, Here in Ventura — and Throughout California — Kindness Really Matters Now

Now that California and Ventura have reopened, folks are flooding out into the world with joyous abandon. That is happy news. We all can use plenty of joy. But there is a flip side to this flood. Businesses that had gone to a skeletal staff (or no staff) are suddenly short staffed. The simple, unequal math is reduced to this — many of our Ventura businesses are struggling to do a lot more with fewer people. Our Ventura businesses — from hotels, to restaurants, to retail — are working hard to hire staff, but it takes time. Lines are a little longer. Waits are a little longer. Phones ring a little longer.

Our businesses are doing the best they can in the face of a happy deluge of visitors and locals eager to greet life, all of them boosting our economy (for which we are deeply grateful). And our businesses are working equally hard to do better. Until they catch up — and they will — we ask for some simple, but game-changing, things. Like patience. An understanding smile. A kind word. Maybe even an unasked for thank you. Ventura’s wonderful Park Safety Ambassadors would be a fine place to start (They’re easy to spot; wearing bright red colored shirts with Ventura’s logo, they’re perpetually cleaning and graciously answering every kind of question).

That’s right, who better to get the kindness ball rolling than the locals? We Venturans know how to do this. No town knows better. We know how to move a little more slowly; see what’s important and what isn’t. These businesses that are working so hard to adapt to this bright world, most of them are run by our friends and neighbors. These are people we know. How could we not be patient and understanding?

Venturans and visitors, we all walk through this time together. Who wouldn’t want to make it more pleasant? And it requires pretty much nothing. No effort (how hard is a smile?). No real inconvenience (how hard, a few extra beats of patience?) No timetable. “Be kind whenever possible,” the Dalai Lama once said. “It is always possible.”

Why not even be proactively kind? There’s the story of a man who sets his phone alarm so that it goes off a few times a day. At that moment, he does something kind.

Makes you feel good just reading that, doesn’t it?

Why not spread that feeling?

 

City of Ventura’s City Hall and facilities have opened

Has it been this long since City Hall was open?

The City of Ventura has opened City Hall and other facilities to the public on Monday, July 12, 2021. The reopening aligns with the State of California’s move to Beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and the full reopening of business sectors.

“We are thrilled to reopen city facilities and welcome the community back after more than a year of being closed for in-person service,” said Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava. “Ventura, thank you for your sacrifices, commitment, and resilient spirit throughout it all. It is because of our community’s collective efforts that we are where we are today.”

Cleanings and improvements at all city facilities have been made to ensure the health and well-being of residents, businesses, visitors, and City staff when using public counters. Patrons and vendors visiting City facilities and City Hall will be required to wear masks when indoors, and physical distancing shall be practiced.

“During the last year, the important and impactful work of the City continued as we pivoted quickly to work remotely and provide virtual services,” stated Ventura City Manager Alex D. McIntyre. “Bringing the public back is a significant step forward as we look to recover from the pandemic. We are reopening City facilities for business and looking forward to serving the community in-person again.”

City Facility Reopening

City Hall and City facilities will reopen for normal business hours. Hours of operation vary at each location. For more details, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov.

City Council, Boards, and Commission Meetings

Public meetings will continue to be hosted virtually as well as be open for limited in-person participation with social distancing and masking required. The first modified in-person City Council meeting will be hosted on July 19, 2021.

To participate virtually in public meetings, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/AgendaCenter.

Virtual City Services

As the City reopens, Ventura’s services will continue to be available online, ensuring residents and businesses have more options to take care of important matters and connect with City staff.

Electronic applications for City permits and development projects must be submitted online. Residents, developers, and business owners can visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/PermitServices to submit applications.

Parks & Recreation

Parks, beaches, golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, the Ventura Aquatics Center, and public restrooms are open.

The Ventura Avenue Adult Center as well as other community centers and recreational buildings are open to pre-registered participants participating in scheduled activities, camps, and programs, which are available by advance registration only.

To learn more, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/ParksRec.

Special Event Permit Applications

Applications for block parties, free speech events, parades, processions, athletic and sporting events, walk-a-thons, and festivals will be accepted digitally.

Before advertising or promoting your event, be sure to receive conditional approval from the City to ensure the date and event location you are requesting is available.

To learn more, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/SpecialEventPermits.

The City of Ventura is committed to maintaining the health and safety of the public and will be closely following Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).

Even with California relaxing distancing and masking requirements, the risk of community spread still remains high, and the COVID-19 vaccination remains critical to slowing community transmission. To find a vaccine near you, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

Mayor Sofia Rubalcava supported the Ventura Really Really Free Market

Mayor Sofia Rubalcava reading a story to young West Ventura resident, Cosmo, while Shannon López looks on.

City of Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava participated in the Ventura Really Really Free Market (RRFM) on the 4th of July, 9 am-1 pm at Kellogg Park in West Ventura.  Organized by the Ventura County chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSAVC), the event brought the community together to share their talents and lightly used items with one another.  Rubalcava shared her talents for Spanish translation and children’s storytelling.  Other community members offered free workshops: yoga instruction with Sarah Aspell, a Privilege Walk with Nicollete Walker of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a Medicare For All talk with RN & activist Gina Currie.

“RRFMs are a chance to reimagine sharing in our community. Be it home goods, backyard veggies, or knowledge of gardening or knitting, we all have something to share and we all have something to gain,” said Event Organizer, Alyson Warner.

Other talents shared included a collaborative art station with John Caravello, professional chair massage from Allen Chinn, a Tea Ceremony with Taylor Buck and Julie Marie, seed plantings with Shannon & Tomás López, and more.

This event was made possible with support from the Ventura chapter of Black Lives Matters, Bike Ventura, Westside Community Development Corporation, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Ventura Tenants Union, and the Diversity Collective.

For more information on Ventura RRFM, follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RRFMventura.

 

VMF’s live July 25th concert presents Guitar Competition Gold Medalist Andrea Roberto

This wunderkind’s fingers have been on a guitar since age 4.

by Richard Newsham, VMF consultant

25-year-old guitar prodigy Andrea Roberto from Foggia (in Southern Italy’s Apulia)—the Gold Medalist at the fifth quadrennial Parkening International Guitar Competition in 2019—returns to California to demonstrate the musicianship that won him this coveted title for the world’s preeminent guitar competition during the 2021 Ventura Music Festival live concert on Sunday, July 25, at 3 pm, at the Pacifica High School’s Performing Arts Center at, 600 E Gonzales Rd, in Oxnard.

This wunderkind’s fingers have been on a guitar since age 4, under his father’s tutelage, followed by admission at 9 and graduation at 14 from the Conservatorio di Musica Umberto Giordano under Sandro Torlontano. Andrea then followed teacher Aniello Desiderio from Naples to the International Academy of Koblenz in Germany. The young guitarist completed his studies at the Conservatory of Maastricht (Netherlands) with the teacher Carlo Marchione.

His artistic career includes performances throughout Europe, Mexico, South America and the United States, including the 14-guitar-festival tour of the European Euro String Project, radio broadcasts and first prizes at eight international competitions. In 2017 he recorded his first CD “El Viaje de la guitarra italiana” (JSG Records).

His ambitious and wide ranging VMF program opens with 19th century Italian guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani’s dazzling “Grande Ouverture, Op. 61” followed by five “Suite in D” dances from German Renaissance composer Michael Praetorius’ 300 piece collection “Terpsichore”; and three virtuosic dance tunes by Renaissance composer and lutenist John Dowland: “The Frog Galliard”—inspired by Queen Elizabeth’s last official suitor for marriage, the small pox disfigured but excellent dancer Duc d’Alençon—“Sir John Smith His Almain” and “Allemande” from “Pleasures of their Company” (Kathleen Battle and Christopher Parkening). Sublime transcriptions of Bach’s “Chaccone”—“one of the greatest pieces of music ever written” (says violinist Joshua Bell) and chorale “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” precede intermission followed by Spanish-inspired classical guitar repertoire masterpieces by Joaquin Rodrigo “Fandango,” Isaac Albéniz “Córdoba” and “Sevilla,” Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco “Escarraman” selections and Francisco Tárrega “Variations on Paganini’s The Carnival of Venice.”

Don’t miss this rare “rapt music” performance by a young guitar genius at the Ventura Music Festival’s Sunday matinee finale!

Tickets and details for this 100% vaccinated event at www.venturamusicfestival.org.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Walk on July 24

Please join Ventura locals Staci Brown and Angelique Suddock as we do our mini fundraising walk for Mothers Against Drunk Driving to take place on July 24th at 11:00 am in front of Aloha’s Steakhouse on the Ventura promenade. We have invited the Ventura Sheriff’s offices and expect to have some guests. We will be walking to the end of the riverbed which is only 2.25 miles. We will have snacks and a silent auction.

Every year over 1000 lives are lost in California due to substance impaired driving on our roadways. Drunk Driving remains the number one cause of death on US roads. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) works to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking (All services are free).

Your walk fees, or donations raise funds to prevent substance impaired driving crashes and educates thousands throughout the state of California. Walk Like MADD is the only large-scale community-based activity that allows those impacted by drunk driving to take steps to stop drunk driving in their communities.

Please register under “Team Brown & Suddock” it is $25. If you can’t walk with us, we would love if you can donate under the same name. Help save thousands of lives by sacrificing the price of a meal (well, an expensive meal). Please let me know if you have any questions or are having difficulty with registration by calling my work line at 714-838-6199 Ext. 6649.

I hope to see you there!! Optional lunch at Winchesters Grill (632 E. Main Street) after the walk. 5% of the proceeds will go directly back to MADD.

Gratefully,
Staci Brown

The Ventura Police Department encourages residents to participate in National Night Out

Ventura neighborhoods are invited to participate in National Night Out, on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 from 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. This is an opportunity to engage in relationship building with Ventura Police Officers and elected officials.

National Night Out is an annual crime prevention event and community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie that make our neighborhoods safer all year round.

Ventura residents are encouraged to register at www.cityofventura.ca.gov/NNO by Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

“National Night Out is a great opportunity for residents to turn on their porch lights and opt outside for an evening of activities,” said Chief Darin Schindler. “Community policing is more critical than ever before. It’s important for our residents and students to engage with our team in a positive environment and know that we are truly here to serve them and keep them safe.”

From small potlucks and front yard chats to larger block parties, chalk drawing contests, and ice cream socials, neighborhoods are urged to connect with neighbors, be creative, and have fun!

Registration is free and gives Ventura Police Officers and city representatives an opportunity to attend local neighborhood events as time and circumstances permits.

The City of Ventura is committed to maintaining the health and safety of all Ventura residents and will be closely following public health and safety guidance for outdoor events.

To learn more about National Night Out activities in the City of Ventura, contact Emily Graves, Community Outreach Specialist for the Ventura Police Department, at 805-339-4312 or egraves@cityofventura.ca.gov.

Scholarship awards presented by CMH Auxiliary Junior Volunteer program.

These young people have contributed thousands of hours of volunteer service to CMH.

On June 14, scholarships were awarded to nine deserving young people who have been part of the CMH Auxiliary Junior Volunteer program. At an outdoor ceremony in front of Community Memorial Hospital, Auxiliary president Linda Pettit, Junior chairperson Marilyn Beal, and hospital President and CEO Gary Wilde presented the $1000 awards to the seven Maria Cavallo Scholarships for students planning to enter medical field careers.

Dr. James Woodburn also assisted in the presentation of the two Audrey Woodburn scholarships for those heading for careers in nursing.

These young people have contributed thousands of hours of volunteer service to CMH while maintaining academic excellence and community involvement and are to be commended for their dedication.

Award ceremony recipients:

Maria Cavallo Scholarships for Medical Field Careers: $1,000 each

Caroline Connolly: Served in CCU and ED for 288 Hours. She earned a 3.98 unweighted GPA while attending Ventura H. S.

Adithi Desham: Was a desk/flyer and volunteered in the Pharmacy with 287 Hours. At FTHS, she earned a 3.94 unweighted GPA.

Isabella Garcia: Served 239 hours in Maternity. She attended Buena H.S., graduating with a 3.92 unweighted GPA.

Frances Kayser: Frances served 311 hours at the front desk of the Ocean Tower. This young lady, who graduated from Ventura HS with a 4.0 unweighted GPA.

Eesh Manwani: Volunteered in the Gift Shop where he served for 376 hours. A graduate of FTHS, with a 3.72 unweighted GPA,

Aniket Rahane: Served in both CCU and the Gift Shop with 335 hours accumulated. Aniket graduated from Buena HS with a 3.95 unweighted GPA.

Elsa Schmidt: Was a desk/flyer putting in 335 hours of service. A graduate from FTHS with a 4.0 unweighted GPA,

Audrey Woodburn Scholarships for Nursing: $1,000 each

Breanna Burke: Volunteered in SDS, ED, and Maternity accumulating 259 hours of service. She graduated from Ventura H S with a 3.9 unweighted GPA.

Erin Hoffman: Gave 275 hours of service in Maternity. She attended Saint Bonaventure HS and graduated with a 3.64 unweighted GPA.

River Haven offers a way out of homelessness

River Haven have given people the opportunity and the tools to start truly living happier and healthier lives.

by Carol Leish

“River Haven started during the El Nino in 2006,” according to, Suki Sir, Marketing and Fund Development Manager at Turning Point Foundation. “Thus, during the El Nino, we approached the City of Ventura in March, 2006. Contracts were signed in September, and the program started in October. The former director, Clyde Reynolds, was very instrumental in approaching the city, and in negotiating the contract to secure the land for River Haven.”

“Clients/residents of River Haven receive case management services that follow up with service plan goals and their well-being,” according to, Joe Dawson, Program & Facilities Manager at Turning Point Foundation. “Case management takes a team approach by offering and connecting clients/residents with supportive services that offer follow-up care. And, the case manager and the treating agencies maintain communication to promote and create action plans for clients that will help them to become more successful and to maintain service connections obtained.”

Dawson also focused on the types of services that are offered to clients/residents of River Haven by saying, “Connected services consist of: Ventura County Behavioral Health; Whole person care program; ADP (Alcohol & Drug program; Health Care Agency/ One Stop; and, the Human Service Agency.”

“We aim for clients/residents to be at River Haven for up to two years at the most,” according to, Sir. “But some residents get permanent housing within 6 months, and others take longer than two years.”

Turning Point Foundation’s website is: www.turningpointfoundation.org, which describes the latest news and events. Please sign up for the newsletter to become more informed.

“Some of the needs for supporting River Haven are on the list, which is at: http://turningpointfoundation.org/donate/,” according to, Sir. “Do realized that River Haven gets very little government support. Thus, online donations are very much appreciated.” And, that, according to the website, “$525 Feeds 25 people per month.” Also included on the list of needs on the website, which can be downloaded, are: “Heavy blankets; bath towels; washcloths; canned food; and, books & board games.”

Through support and housing both Turning Point Foundation and River Haven have given people the opportunity and the tools to start truly living happier and healthier lives. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done, all that matters is the future and what you want to do with your future.