Category Archives: Featured News

Tsunami activity in the Ventura Harbor and Ventura Keys

There were over 20 homes in the Keys with damage to their docks/ramps. Photos by Patricia Schallert, Russ Jenkins and Sheilla Leiman

An undersea volcano erupted in spectacular fashion near the Pacific nation of Tonga, sending large tsunami waves crashing across the globe. Harbor Patrol Rescue Boat 17, docked at the time, was inundated with an outgoing surge, capsized and sunk in the Pierpont Basin.

From the Ventura Fire Department

“On the above date (Jan. 15) and time, a call was received by the on-duty Fire Battalion Chief of extreme tidal activity in the Ventura Harbor and the Ventura Keys. Fire personnel arrived on scene within minutes of the initial call and upon assessment of the harbor area, it was determined that the extreme high and low tidal surges were a result of seismic activity in the Tonga region of the South Pacific. Emergency personnel from various agencies assessed the area and found that numerous docks and boats were damaged because of the extreme tidal surges. The surge activity lasted several hours, and emergency personnel rescued numerous boats and docks that had broken loose during this incident.”

“At the time of this media release, no injuries to emergency personnel have been reported. The Ventura City Fire Department would like to remind the public to review the Ventura City Tsunami evacuation plan and be familiar with evacuation routes.”

Tsunami activity in the Ventura Harbor and Ventura Keys

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Happy 5th Birthday KPPQ Radio!

CAPS Media’s KPPQ-LP Radio station is celebrating a major milestone in February: 5 years of delivering non-stop, award-winning original and specially curated programming and entertainment to local and worldwide listeners.

KPPQ-LP FM 104.1 is Ventura’s only non-commercial, public radio station. The CAPS Media station belongs to the public and reaches more than 100,000 people in Ventura and countless more worldiwide.

Launched in 2017 the vibrant radio division of CAPS Media has grown steadily in a few short years to become one of the most engaging and go-to sites in Ventura. KPPQ broadcasts 2/47 everyday at 104.1 FM, and streams worldwide on myTuner radio and capsmedia.org. Week in and week out KPPQ-LP’s everygrowing cadre of volunteers create innovative and engaging programming in the state-of-the-art radio studio in the CAPS Media center or, often during COVID crisis, in their home studios, delivering an eclectic mix of programming to KPPQ-LP listeners.

“The radio platform empowers women by keeping the conversation going, to highlight the stories of our local women and all that we are doing right here in our community—the place where change happens!Kathleen Good, Host of In The Women’s Room

“CAPS Media’s KPPQ-LP is such a great service and resource for our community. Being able to validate and share so much talent by playing music from local artists on my show is such a privilege.” Pam, The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour.

“ I was looking for a creative way to connect with my community. KPPQ opened my eyes and my heart to radio and podcasting. I have truly connected with my community through Ventura Vibe!” Nadine Piche, Host of Ventura Vibe!

“I have had a voice in the community … I’m thankful we have such a gem of a resource in our community and cannot wait to see what they do in 2022!” Michelle Hoover, Producer, Fireside Tailes for Wolfgang

“Our work with CAPS Media and specifically what we’ve done in collaboration with KPPQ has been one of our most rewarding partnerships. Youth that have had the opportunity to be interviewed in the studio always walk away from that experience inspired and excited. It’s been a great privilege to partner with them.” Craig Rosen, Host of Teen Centric, Director of the Arts & Youth Justice program

“Elizabeth Rodeno and the good people at CAPS media helped me learn radio production. With their wonderful facilities and training…I have gone on to create two radio shows and an international podcast. THANK YOU CAPS and happy 5th birthday.” Mary Labrie, Host of Women of A Certain Age and The Shiver Show

“In a world where it seems corporations are deciding what we view or listen to – with a lack of diversity in the programming – I treasure the ability to hear the perspective of members of the community and, when it comes to music, to be able to listen to programming by individuals who have non-mainstream tastes. CAPS Media is a treasure and KPPQ is my favorite radio station!” Kevin Wallace, Host of Ojai Dream, a music and talk show.

“KPPQ does a wonderful job representing our community. I am grateful they have given me the opportunity to share my passion, my blues record collection in my show “Doc’s Delta Blues Lounge. The team is awake and interested fully committed to producing interesting content of high quality.” Doc Ventura, Doc’s Delta Blues Lounge

“We’re so fortunate to have a unique community radio station like KPPQ. Not only does it serve as a local media source for information and entertainment, but it gives content creators like myself a creative outlet to share our interests! “Mark X, Pure Rock Show

The ever-evolving KPPQ operation was envisioned, masterminded and co-founded by CAPS Media’s Elizabeth Rodeno. Elizabeth has been the KPPQ driving force and station manager since its inception.

“As station manager of KPPQ and one of the founders, along with Evan Carpenter, Chief Engineer, I am thrilled to be part of Ventura’s Community radio station as we celebrate its 5th year on the air. Since 2017 when we flipped the switch on the only non-commercial community radio station in Ventura, producers have sat behind a microphone and shared their voice and the voice of Ventura County across the globe. I’m really proud to see how our station and membership has grown and thrived these past 5 years and I look forward to the next 5 years.” Elizabeth Rodeno, KPPQ Station Manager

KPPQ airs 24/7 on 104.1fm radio and streams worldwide on myTurner Radio and on capsmedia.org. Everyone interested in learning more about KPPQ-LP including how to become a Host or DJ, or provide information on an upcoming event, can contact Elilzabeth Rodeno, at radio@capsmedia.org.

Everyone at CAPS Media and throughout Ventura congratulate KPPQ-LP on its momentous 5th birthday. We all look forward to many more years of creative, informative and entertaining programming and services to the community.

City of Ventura continues temporary closure of facilities

The City of Ventura has extended its temporary closure of facilities and suspension of most in-person recreational programming until Monday, January 31, 2022, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases countywide.

The City will continue to monitor cases at the end of January and reevaluate dates for safely reopening facilities.

“The extension of the City’s temporary closure is a precautionary measure that allows critical services and operations to continue while minimizing opportunities where transmission may be possible,” said Ventura City Manager Alex D. McIntyre. “The health and safety of our community and City employees continues to be our top priority.”

Temporary facility closures include Ventura City Hall, the lobby at Fire and Police Headquarters, Sanjon Maintenance Yard, Ventura Avenue Adult Center, Barranca Vista Center, Westpark Community Center, Ortega Adobe, and the Olivas Adobe. Senior nutrition meals are available for pickup on-site at the Ventura Avenue Adult Center.

Most in-person sports, recreation, and community service programs are canceled until further notice. For questions about upcoming parks and recreation services, call (805) 658-4726 or visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/ParksRec.

Facilities that remain open with safety protocols include the Ventura Aquatic Center, Buenaventura Golf Course, and the Olivas Links Golf Course. Ventura City Council, Commission, and Committee meetings will continue to meet virtually during regularly scheduled times.

City staff remains available online or by phone during regular business hours. In addition, all public safety services will continue regular 24/7 operations. For Ventura Water questions, visit www.venturawater.net or call customer care at (805) 667-6500. For a water emergency, contact (805) 650-8010.

For information about how to get vaccinated, visit www.vaccines.gov or make an appointment directly at MyTurn.CA.gov. The Public Health clinic schedule is available at www.vcrecovers.org/vaccine. Additionally, there are 14 no-cost state testing sites in Ventura County. Visit www.vcrecovers.org/testing for more information about testing.

For additional information on City of Ventura services, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov.

Major gifts help secure the future of Rubicon Theatre Company

Building photo by Patricia Schallert

Nancy Allen and Karyn Jackson had been attending Rubicon productions for more than twenty years.

Rubicon Theatre has received an extraordinary donation and a commitment for a future legacy gift that will help ensure a bright future for the organization. As a result of the generosity of Karyn Jackson of Arcadia (a former Ventura resident), her sister Nancy Allen of Ventura, and Nancy’s husband Leo Allen, Rubicon has been able to purchase a four-unit property on Poli Street which will be used to house visiting artists. Additionally, the company has also received a pledge for a future legacy gift which will mean a new name for the building that houses the company at Main and Laurel in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District.

Founded in 1998, Rubicon is regarded as Ventura’s premier non-profit professional theatre company and has served more than 480,000 residents and visitors with award-winning productions.

According to Board President Doug Halter (member of the Ventura City Council), “This is the largest single gift in Rubicon’s 23-year-history. It is a remarkable tribute to the world-class artistry that has been a hallmark of Rubicon productions, and a vote of confidence in the future. We could not be more touched by the largesse of these special friends, or more grateful to them for making sure that Rubicon is here for future generations.”

Adds Karyl Lynn Burns, Rubicon Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director, “I truly feel that this was divine providence. From the moment we met, we all felt that this was ‘meant to be.’ It was difficult at first to know just how, but Karyn and Nancy’s passion for the theatre and for the artists who do the work is so moving. Their joy in life has been making memories for others. It’s the way they have lived their life and a practice modeled for them by their father.”

Burns was initially approached about the Poli property by two members of Rubicon’s Board of Advisors during the run of Shrek, Jr. at Villanova this summer, Rich Stewart and Harriet Clune. The two were volunteering as ushers for Rubicon’s outdoor education performances with fellow members of the Ventura East Rotary Club. Rich had served on the facilities committee for the theatre some years before and recalled that Rubicon spent $100,000 to $150,000 a year on artist housing. Stewart and Clune’s neighbor Karen Heyrend, had told them about a property within walking distance of the theatre that had four-units and five-rooms. The couple put Heyrend and Burns together.

When Heyrend took Burns, Rubicon Co-Founder James O’Neil and Director of Outreach Beverly Ward to see the Poli property, it was love at first sight. “It was beautiful and perfectly kept-up,” says Burns, “just the kind of place we try to rent for artists so that they get a sense of Ventura’s history and feel at home and comfortable.”

“We had just refinanced the mainstage theatre through Brian Donovan, Market Manager at Montecito Bank & Trust,” says Halter. “We knew we could make the Poli payments in terms of cash flow and that it would reduce overall production costs.”

Russ Charvonia, a wealth advisor and charitable planning attorney, donated his time to explore the possibility of a win-win scenario and Heyrend facilitated a meeting with the Allen’s and Karyn Jackson, who had owned the property at one time and had a passion for the community and the theatre.

With help and advice from Brian Donovan at Montecito Bank & Trust, Rubicon was able to secure the loan for Poli. Karyn Jackson decided not only to donate enough for the down payment, but also to make a legacy gift to rename the theatre.

“Karyn is such a humble person,” says Halter. “She often gives anonymously.” She and Nancy and Leo join the Meister and Laby families in being major cornerstone contributors to theatre and the arts in our region.”

In February the theatre building will be renamed Rubicon Theatre Company at The Karyn Jackson Theatre. The name of the company will remain the same. The Poli visiting artist property will be named in Nancy Allen’s honor, with a Plexiglas wall display telling the “Tale of Two Sisters”.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to Rubicon Theatre Company as the company prepared to open, or to learn more about underwriting or sponsorship opportunities, contact Beverly Ward at (805) 667-2912, ext. 280, or bward@rubicontheatre.org. For information about upcoming Rubicon events and programming, or to receive e-news from Rubicon, go to www.rubicontheatre.org, or call Guest Services at (805) 667-2900.

Local youth teams up with Ventura County Fairgrounds Foundation  to support agricultural programs

Money was raised through the sale of a 270-pound pig donated by 18-year-old Allison Reiman.

The Ventura County Fairgrounds Foundation has announced the dedication of $69,760 to the Ventura County Fair Livestock Department. The money was raised at the 2019 VC Fair Junior Livestock Auction through the sale of a 270-pound pig donated by 18-year-old Allison Reiman of Santa Rosa Valley 4H. The funds will be used for essential needs for the Livestock Department including pig panels and pens.

Miss Reiman lives in Camarillo and has been involved in the Fair Livestock programs for 13 years, raising various species of small and large livestock, starting when she was five years old. A senior at Grace Brethren High School in Simi Valley, she plans to pursue a degree in animal science.

“It is so rewarding to hear that the donation is playing a role in the betterment of the facilities at the fairgrounds,” said Reiman, adding, “The Ventura County Fair is a place where I, along with many others, found a passion and appreciation for agriculture. Supporting and preserving these programs is vital when it comes to teaching the next generation of youth the importance of hard work, responsibility, and leadership. It was truly an honor to be able to give back to the Ventura County Fair by doing something I love. I hope that it will continue to impact future generations in the way that it did me.”

Accepting the award on behalf of the Fair, CEO Barbara Quaid commented that the VC Fair Livestock Auction, scheduled for August, is an integral part of the annual Ventura County Fair, stating “After having been postponed for two seasons due to the COVID 19 pandemic we are very excited to resume the Livestock programs along with the many other Fair programs that we have all been waiting for. We are grateful to the Fairgrounds Foundation for this generous dedication and we join them in their continuous praise and support of the hard working youth of Ventura County and for the Fair.

The Fair’s Livestock department provides an important program for Ventura County Youth in 4H, Grange and FFA groups as well as children with independent projects. The auction is an important tool in the vocational education of children who are pursuing or interested in a career in agriculture and related industries. The Livestock auction takes participants through the steps of acquiring an animal for auction, raising the animal in a manner that is consistent with state and local marketing standards, showing the animal in competition and finally bringing the animal to auction where the culminating experience of their hard work includes the rewards, both monetary and awards.

The mission of the Ventura County Fairgrounds Foundation is to provide financial support for improvements to the grounds, capital projects, equipment and programs in order that the Ventura County Fairgrounds continue to be an exemplary multi use community resource.

For information and to make a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation please visit www.venturacountyfairgroundsfoundation.org.

To learn more about the 2022 Ventura County Fair, August 3-14, please visit www.venturacountyfair.org.

Ventura Fire personnel respond to traffic collision with trapped occupant

On Jan.7, a 911 call was received at the Fire Communication Center to report a traffic collision on the N/B 101 Fwy at the Lemon Grove turn. Fire personnel arrived on scene within minutes of the initial call and found a heavily damaged small passenger vehicle with one occupant that was trapped. Fire personnel performed advanced medical treatment, vehicle extrication and hazard mitigation to free the victim from the vehicle entrapment. The victim was treated and transported to a local medical center for further evaluation and treatment.

City of Ventura awarded nearly $2 million grant for skatepark expansion

Skatepark project expands the skatepark by more than 20,000-square-feet. Photos by Patricia Schallert

The City of Ventura received a nearly $2 million grant from the state’s “California Outdoors for All” initiative to fund construction to expand the skatepark at Westpark, located at 450 W Harrison Avenue.

The Westpark Skatepark Expansion Project expands the existing skatepark by more than 20,000-square-feet and includes features tailored to various skill levels, green infrastructure, and public art.

“This is an exciting win for Ventura, especially for our families living on the Westside,” shared Mayor Sofia Rubalcava. “This grant will do so much good in our community. An expanded skatepark will provide more space and opportunities for our kids to play outside and enjoy more recreational activities.”

The existing 3,200-square-foot park is one of three skateparks in the City built over 20 years ago. Along with the skate bowls at Pacific Park and Hobert Park, the community identified a need for facilities geared to a range of skaters. As a result, multiple community partnerships helped support the project through fundraising and participation. Among the supporters, the Westpark Skatepark Expansion Steering Team (W.E.S.T.) raised $10,000 for the project design and construction and assisted with public outreach.

“The City worked closely with our residents, skate park users, local stakeholders, and Spanish-speaking community members to create the initial design for the skatepark expansion project at Westpark,” said Parks and Recreation Director Nancy O’Connor. “In preparation for this statewide grant, the City started community outreach efforts in May 2019 and early 2020. Through a series of in-person and virtual meetings, we received hundreds of ideas on specific skatepark features, sustainable landscaping, public safety, and beautification.”

In the coming weeks, the City will conduct additional outreach during the request for proposal process to gather public input as it refines the final design for the skatepark expansion project.

This grant is provided by California State Parks as part of Governor Newsom’s “California Outdoors for All” initiative, which will provide $548.3 million in grant funding to more than 100 communities to create new parks and new recreation opportunities in underserved communities across California.

The City’s Parks Division maintains 39 facilities with current construction projects underway at Community Park as well as the first-ever inclusive playground at Arroyo Verde Park.

For more information about City parks and facilities, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/Parks.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Each year on the third Monday of January we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and reflect on the work that still needs to be done for racial equality. This January 17, make the holiday more than just a day off and take time to reflect and take action on civil rights issues across the globe.

Martin Luther King Day is observed every year on the third Monday of January.

King was an influential civil rights leader — best known for his work on racial equality and ending racial segregation in the United States. His life and achievements are remembered and celebrated on this day.

The concept of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions. After King’s death, U.S. Representative John Conyers and U.S. Senator Edward Brooke introduced a bill in Congress to make King’s birthday a national holiday. The bill first came to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979; however, it fell five votes short of the number needed for passage. Two of the main arguments mentioned by opponents were that a paid holiday for federal employees would be too expensive and that a holiday to honor a private citizen would be contrary to longstanding tradition, as King never held public office. At the time, only two other figures had national holidays honoring them: George Washington and Christopher Columbus.

Soon after, the King Center looked for support from the corporate community and the general public. The success of this strategy was cemented when musician Stevie Wonder released the single ‘Happy Birthday’ to popularize the campaign in 1980 and hosted the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. Six million signatures were collected for a petition for Congress to pass the law and is considered the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. history.

President Reagan originally opposed the holiday, citing cost concerns. But on November 2, 1983, Reagan signed a bill, proposed by Representative Katie Hall, to create a federal holiday honoring King. The bill had passed the Senate by a count of 78 to 22, and the House of Representatives by 338 to 90. The holiday was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986. It’s observed on the third Monday of January rather than directly on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday because it follows the guidelines of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

A Year of Highlights from the City of Ventura

by Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava

The coming of a New Year marks a time when many people take a moment to reflect on the past year. It’s a time to acknowledge achievements, recount past accomplishments, and celebrate milestones. As we wrap up 2021, I’m reminded of how productive the City and Council have been in the last year. We’ve done a lot amidst a pandemic and seen many long-term efforts come to fruition.

The City Council recently approved a permanent streamlining ordinance to simplify the development review process. For several years, it has been a Council priority to streamline the planning and public hearing process for those who want to build in Ventura and businesses who want to improve their properties. Under the improved streamlining process, the City can shorten a development project’s review time while keeping the community informed through early public notification and involvement.

The City Council also recently approved extending the five-block closure of Main Street to vehicle traffic through July 2022. In addition, work is underway to explore options for making Main Street Moves a more permanent attraction through a cost-effective, flexible design approach for the downtown area. This project will come back to Council for review and approval as it develops.

Thanks to City staff’s determination and hard work, the City Council unanimously approved key terms for a potential development agreement worth $35 million to extend Olivas Park Drive and construct a levee in the flood plain along the Santa Clara River. The 139-acre project is the southern gateway to the City, adjacent to Highway 101 and the Ventura Auto Center, and has been a priority since the 1980s. Under the agreement, the City would pay for the road extension, and the three property owners would pay for the levee. This project is a huge win because it will create significant sales and property tax revenues and improve traffic flow in the area. City staff will bring the final proposed deal to the Council early next year.

Apart from recent Council-approved items, it’s important to acknowledge City staff’s commitment and dedication to launch new programs and engagement opportunities in a wide variety of City departments.

Transitioning public services online has been an ongoing priority. In 2021, the City launched a new virtual public permit counter. Ventura Online Permit Services, also known as Ventura OPS, is a digital public permit counter that allows a customer to submit a permit application, upload plan sets, schedule inspections, and check project status online without coming into City Hall. Next year, continued enhancements such as an integrated online payment system and improved forms are planned.

In 2021, construction kicked off for a second entrance at Community Park and the City’s first ever inclusive playground at Arroyo Verde Park. Both sites are anticipated for completion in 2022. The City was also awarded a $2 million grant from the state’s “California Outdoors for All” initiative to fund construction to expand the skatepark at Westpark. The project will add more than 20,000-square-feet to the existing site with features tailored to various skill levels, green infrastructure, and public art. Our Parks and Recreation Department will conduct additional outreach to gather community input as it prepares a final design for the Westpark skatepark in the coming year.

The City recently completed the visioning phase of its General Plan Update, which involved virtual workshops, seven in-person pop-up events, and more than 1,500 survey responses. The goal of this phase was to gather input on community values, identify locations for new development, and determine potential land-use changes in different areas for the future and long-term growth of our City.

In support of the General Plan, the City is also working on its Active Transportation Plan to identify projects and programs that will make walking, biking, and taking transit great choices for all who live, work, or visit Ventura.

Some other notable 2021 achievements include adopting and implementing new water and wastewater rate increases to support daily operation and maintenance of the City’s existing water and wastewater systems. Additionally, this will support approximately 36 planned capital improvement projects, including the long-anticipated State Water Interconnection Project and the VenturaWaterPure Program.

VenturaWaterPure is the long-anticipated potable reuse project that will divert water currently being discharged to the Santa Clara River Estuary to a new advanced water purification facility. Currently, the program remains in the design phase, with construction anticipated to begin in 2023. To date, VenturaWaterPure has received over $4 million in federal grants. The City continues to pursue grants and other cost-sharing opportunities to maximize value and minimize financial impacts for our community.

This past year has been one full of many successes thanks to the resilient spirit of our community members, businesses, City Council, and hard-working City staff. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished working together. I’m looking forward to more exciting projects and enhancements on the horizon. Happy New Year, and cheers to 2022!

To learn more about these and other City of Ventura news, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov.

United Way of Ventura County makes significant progress to end local veteran homelessness

Todd G., a local veteran was greatly helped by United Way.

United Way of Ventura County continues to prioritize providing critical support to veterans in the Ventura County community through its Landlord Engagement Program (LEP) and rapid response efforts throughout the pandemic and beyond.

When COVID-19 first impacted the Ventura community in 2020, United Way of Ventura County mobilized immediately to secure temporary shelter and daily meals for local veterans and have helped a total of 48 veterans and 26 family members. Additionally, the nonprofit provided more than 3,000 Rapid Response Homeless Care Kits, which were distributed by the Ventura County Healthcare for the Homeless Backpack Medicine Team.

“Finally, I was able to get into a clean, decent and quiet apartment. I’m grateful for the assistance provided by United Way,” said Todd G., a local veteran.

 

In addition to United Way of Ventura County’s COVID-19 response, its LEP program has placed 34 veterans and their family members with permanent housing. Of these 34 veterans, 20 are seniors and 20 VASH vouchers were utilized. In total, the LEP has permanently housed 123 individuals.

“Our team has worked tirelessly to provide permanent housing for veterans who have served our country and we have made significant progress to achieve our goal to end veteran homelessness,” said Eric Harrison, the nonprofit’s president. “Our goal is to be able to reach each homeless veteran in our community to provide permanent housing, and we couldn’t do it without the wonderful support from our partners and the community.”

To continue the conversation and identify housing solutions for the county’s unhoused veterans and community members, United Way of Ventura County has its second United to End Homelessness Virtual Symposium scheduled for Feb. 4, 2022, with keynote speaker, Jessica Bruder, author of the critically acclaimed “Nomadland.”

Landlords interested in becoming a member of the LEP, please email Amy.Duganne@vcunitedway.org. To learn more about United to End Homelessness Ventura County, visit https://unitedtoendhomelessnessvc.org. For more information about United Way of Ventura County, go to https://vcunitedway.org. Since 1945, United Way of Ventura County has advanced the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. When we work together in common purpose, we LIVE UNITED. For more information about United Way of Ventura County, visit www.vcunitedway.org.