Category Archives: Featured News

A Day in the Life of a Fire Chief

Chief Endaya welcomes the latest batch of fire academy graduates. 

by Mira Reverente

Some people just seem to know what they want early on in life.

As a second grader, David Endaya knew he wanted to be a firefighter paramedic. His inspiration was a neighbor across the street, a real-life LA city firefighter. “He was my first vision of a firefighter in the flesh and what a firefighter did, aside from being just a really great person,” says Endaya. “There were many after him but he was the one that definitely left a mark.”

His parents, both immigrants, had instilled in Endaya and his older sister the value of education and hard work, so he attended college at UC Santa Barbara, while also taking paramedic classes at Santa Barbara City College.

Community outreach is a huge part of the chief’s responsibilities.

He became a paramedic back in 1994, with the City of Ventura, when the city still had ambulances. While most firefighters now get hired straight out of the fire academy, Endaya received some great advice when he was starting out. “I was advised to get my bachelor’s first then earn my paramedic license,” he says, recalling how stiff the competition was back then when the number of applicants far outnumbered the number of vacancies. “There were people ahead of me who had been testing for about a year or two so I had to learn how to test well and just be persistent and patient.”

The best part of the job, as cliche as it sounds, is really the ability to help people on a daily basis. He remembers a horrible accident as a kid, not too far from his childhood home in Arleta, where the firefighters arrived and calmly worked the scene. Young David thought, “What a cool job that is to have the ability to work a scene calmly and know what to do.”

It is humbling to realize that someone’s best fighting chance at survival in a very dire situation is sometimes just you, according to the 52-year-old Endaya.. “You’re almost never off-duty. You could be on vacation with your family or on a flight and you’ll still be called to jump in if there’s an emergency. It goes with the territory, in or out of uniform,” he adds.

While most of us usually have pleasant thoughts and happy associations with holidays, Endaya associates some holidays with emergencies that transpired that day. They got seared in his mind and the memories have stayed with him through the years from his days as a paramedic to becoming fire chief in 2014.

In the past few years, he hasn’t gone out on calls as much as he used to, until something large like the Thomas Fire happened in 2017. “I had to head out and help,” he recalls that period. “It was all hands on deck but organized chaos. I’m really proud of how our county and the various agencies responded during that time.”

About 70 to 85% of calls are medical emergencies. For example, a car crash is a separate type of call, but it often has a medical component. Another example is a structural fire. It has a medical component as well due to possible smoke inhalation. A majority of the calls are bonafide medical emergencies like trauma, seizures, childbirth and the like.

Also, the Safe Surrender program is still in place in most fire stations around California. Under this program, parents can safely surrender their newborns without any questions asked.

Endaya with the fire station’s therapy dog in training Hope.

Looking forward, Endaya says a seventh fire station is being considered. The sixth and last one was built in 1988. Part of a five-year strategic plan is looking for potential locations and designs for number seven. Also looking at increasing gender diversity within the ranks and hiring more female firefighters. According to Endaya, there is no shortage of female applicants but the job market has become so competitive that prospects find themselves sifting through multiple job offers.

If he weren’t fighting fires and attending to emergencies, he thinks he would still be in a job which allows him to make a difference. He says, “I’ve thought of becoming a helicopter or jet pilot maybe, but I know I just have to be around people and solving problems. I would be happiest doing that.”

X Games California 2023 lands in Ventura

by Visit Ventura

Visit Ventura has announced that in partnership with the City, Ventura County Coast, and Visit California, X Games is coming back to California. This summer marks three years since X Games fans have been able to watch Skateboard, BMX, and Moto X competitions in a large event format in person together. This summer, fans will be able to watch athletes soar to new heights with the Ventura coastline as the backdrop to the world’s most elite action sports event.

Fans will gather at the Ventura County Fairgrounds from July 21 to July 23 to watch more than 150 Skateboard, BMX, and Moto X Athletes compete at featured events including skateboarding park, street, street best trick, vert, and vert best trick; BMX park, park best trick, street, dirt, and dirt best trick; and Motocross quarterpipe high air, best trick, and best whip. The weekend will also feature an interactive festival and live music over the course of three days.

“For decades, California has been the epicenter of action sports, producing some of the most talented athletes in the world. It’s only fitting the X Games make their way back to the ultimate state for play to celebrate the culture that inspired these incredible events,” said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. “We’re honored to host the X Games in Ventura and can’t wait to see the next generation of extreme athletes take the stage.”

Ventura City Mayor Joe Schroeder, X Games CEO Steve Flisler, X Games Vice President of Fan Experiences & Hospitality Valerie Ryan, Beteta, Ventura County Supervisor Matt LaVere, Professional Skateboarder Curren Caples, and LOSSAN Managing Director Jason Jewel spoke at an in-person press conference to announce that X Games California 2023 is coming to Ventura.

“Ventura offers the ultimate playground for extreme sports enthusiasts. Our surf and skate culture is a key part of our community’s ethos and naturally compliments the energy and excitement of an international competition like this,” said Schroeder at the press conference. “We look forward to welcoming thousands of athletes and fans to our community and showing the world all the unforgettable things Ventura has to offer.”

Visit Ventura’s relationship with the X Games goes as far back as 2019. Conversations around X Games coming to Ventura in 2020 were shut down when the global pandemic changed the way people gathered in person. “This has been a vision of mine, the Visit Ventura team, and Ventura partners to build relationships to bring an internationally recognized event to Ventura. The brand alignment is spot on and I am thrilled that the X Games will be a part of the fabric of our community,” said Visit Ventura President & CEO Marlyss Auster. “Needless to say, this is the result of an enormous amount of support, collaboration, and passion. We can’t wait for the X Games athletes, media, sponsors, and enthusiastic spectators to meet our Ventura. It really is happening, and it is going to be amazing!”

Professional skateboarder and Ventura resident Curren Caples also spoke during the press conference.

X Games California 2023 will be the largest event in Ventura’s history, with a record-breaking economic impact on the community. In 2019 —X Games’s last fully in-person summer event— the games brought $53 million into the city of Minneapolis. In 2023, the economic impact is anticipated to be even larger.

Around 17.5 hours of live television broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC and live streaming contributes to the media value of X Games California 2023 in Ventura.

A sustainable way to travel to Ventura should be at the forefront of fans’ minds: X Games, Visit Ventura, Visit California, and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner are partnering for a summer campaign to provide a sustainable way to travel up the coast. X Games fans will be dropped off at the Ventura train station, located at the Ventura County Fairgrounds and a few feet away from the action.

“Ventura is excited to have the X Games as part of its community. X Games embodies the adventuresome spirit and inherent love of outdoor activities that we’re known for,” said Visit Ventura Board of Directors Chair Ed Wehan.

Tickets went on sale on Wednesday, May 10.

Take 5 And Read To Kids campaign kicks off May 5

Take 5 and Read to Kids! encourages parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing together.

On May 5, at 10am, celebrity readers will be reading to young children throughout Ventura County to kick off the seventh annual Take 5 and Read to Kids! campaign, an ongoing effort by First 5 Ventura County to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood literacy.

This year’s impressive lineup of readers includes Congresswoman Julia Brownley, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, Assemblymember Steve Bennett, Supervisor Matt LaVere, Supervisor Jeff Gorell, Supervisor Kelly Long, Supervisor Janice Parvin, Supervisor Vianey Lopez, County Executive Officer Sevet Johnson, Ventura County Fire Chief Dustin Gardner, Sheriff James ‘Jim’ Fryhoff, various City Council Members, and many more.

Take 5 and Read to Kids! encourages parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing with young children ages 0-5 to support their early language and literacy development. “We know that the first five years of life lay the foundation for success in school and life. For young children, early exposure to books is beneficial for long-term academic achievements said Health Care Agency Director Barry Zimmerman. Studies have proven that when you talk, read and sing to children starting at birth, you promote and support early language and literacy development.

First 5 Ventura County encourages parents and community members to become champions of early literacy by taking at least five minutes each day to read with a young child. “Talking throughout the day with your young child, reading together, telling stories, and singing all help develop pathways in the brain that will later be used to recognize letters, read, and think critically.”, Supervisor Matt LaVere added.

This year’s Take 5 event will be hosted at various preschool classrooms, family child care centers, and select First 5 Ventura County’s Neighborhoods for Learning sites. Events will also include celebrity readings at local libraries during their regularly scheduled story times throughout the month of May. Check with your local library for a full list of upcoming events.

Research shows that a child’s brain develops most dramatically in the first five years, and what parents and caregivers do during these years to support their child’s growth will have a significant impact throughout life. Based on this research, California voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, adding a 50 cents-per-pack tax on tobacco to support programs for children prenatal to 5.

First 5 Ventura County strengthens families, communities and systems of care for children prenatal to 5 years through investments, expertise, and leadership so all children reach their full potential, two key investments remain at the forefront of our work to achieve F5VCs goals: the nationally recognized Neighborhoods for Learning and Help Me Grow.

For Program information: Tyla Adams, First 5 Ventura County Program Manager at 805-218-9308 or email [email protected]

Local Library Dates:

  • E.P. Foster Library on May 5th at 10 am
  • Hill Road Library on May 5th at 10 am
  • South Oxnard Branch Library on May 8th at 4 pm
  • Oxnard Public Library on May 9th at 11 am

The fundraiser benefited the Shorebird Recovery Program

Board members Vince Kinsch, Cat Whitehead and Lindsay Talley showing their support for the recovery program.

by Patricia Schallert

On April 29, at the Ventura Coast Brewing Company, The Ventura Audubon Society had a fundraiser called “Raise the Roost party“ along with a silent auction.

This fundraiser benefits the Shorebird Recovery Program for the snowy plover and least tern nesting season on Ormond and Hollywood Beaches, which has just begun and continues through September.

Proceeds will support nest monitoring, habitat protection including fencing, signage, trail cameras, plus supplies for volunteers in our community stewardship program and the Volunteer Beach Naturalists. Community members, and Ventura guests came out and where able to purchase a limited-edition logo glass, meet the Shorebird team and participate in the silent auction featuring items from local business. Some folks brought their dogs and took the Dog Rangers pledge! Bidding for the auction started on Friday, April 28th and ran through Sunday, April 30th. For more information, please visit .

Funding is needed for nesting season on Ormond and Hollywood Beaches, which has just begun and continues through September. It will support nest monitoring, habitat protection including fencing, signage, trail cameras, plus supplies for volunteers in our community stewardship program, the volunteer Beach Naturalists.

Artisans from around the west will show off their creations at Strawberry Festival

Artist Michael Phillips has created this strawberry design for the festival.

One hundred-fifty artisans from throughout the West will be displaying their goods at the 37th annual California Strawberry Festival, May 20 and 21 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura. 

The festival, which attracts nearly 50,000 visitors, features more than 50 food and beverage booths, most with a strawberry dish or drink made from fresh strawberries, but it is also known for its eclectic mix of quality artwork, crafts and unique pre-packaged food items. 

Many of the artists have been coming to the festival for years. “We haven’t had a festival since 2019 because of the pandemic so there is a lot of excitement by the artists to be back,” says Dana Hale-Mounier, director of Pacific Fine Arts Festivals and coordinator of the festival’s arts and craft booths. 

Crafter Ray Wood began Brighten Your Life Creations with his wife Gina about 30 years ago. They started by making and selling pottery but evolved to copper metal art, primarily copper wind sculptures. Their son, Zack, joined them 15 years ago.

“Our pieces have been described as unique, desirable and affordable,” says Wood, whose family has been displaying their items at the festival since 2004. “We have customers say that they have never seen anything like what we have. We create four or five different types of designs that move with the wind.”

Wood says they mostly exhibit at festivals in California and other western states. They attended 14 shows last year. “Festivals are a gathering of all different backgrounds. They bring out the best in people. The interaction between us and customers is always positive. There is also a camaraderie of artists that’s important too.” To learn more about Brighten Your Life Creations, go to

Artist Michael Phillips will bring his original paintings and prints to the California Strawberry Festival. Each tells a compelling story through Phillips’ unique use of color and texture. He has exhibited his works on paper, canvas and metal at the festival since 2013. “I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandmother who was a self-taught artist,” explains Phillips. “When I was about five years old, she saw that I was interested in painting. She encouraged me and I’ve spent the rest of my life as a commercial artist and then as a fine arts artist.”

Phillips’ designs will also be available on story cards, magnets and tiles at the festival.  “I enjoy the Strawberry Festival because the strawberry theme seems to bring out the joy in the attendees,” says Phillips. “We normally do about 12 festivals a year traveling all over the country. It’s a good way to meet new collectors and get the work out in front of a wide variety of people.” Phillips’ designs can be seen at

The 37th Annual California Strawberry Festival will also feature live entertainment, kids’ Strawberryland fun zone, Ninja Nation obstacle course, build-your-own strawberry shortcake and strawberry-themed contests. Local growers will sell these vine-ripened strawberries at the festival in flats. (1/2 tray and full tray).

General admission is $15, active military and family with ID and seniors 62 and over, $10, youth ages 5 to 12, $8 and children four and under are free. Limited onsite parking is $20. Four free shuttle locations are nearby and an Amtrak station is onsite.

Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. both days. For more information, go to

High Tide is riding high on three regional wins

“We are looking forward to being World Champs this year.”

After reaching last year’s World Finalist spot in 2022, Team 4414 HighTide is headed again to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Houston. They are riding high on three regional wins at Hueneme Port, Ventura County and AeroSpace Valley. Additionally, they earned awards in Autonomous and Excellence in Engineering.

Team 4414: HighTide is an industry-based robotics team located in Ventura. Student participants range from grades 9 – 12 and attend school at Buena, El Camino, Foothill or Ventura High. Students learn career-oriented skills in engineering, design, mathematics, computer science, and are inspired by industry professional mentors. Michael Sessa of Sessa MFG (where the team trains) said, “Team 4414 HighTide is so dedicated and driven to excellence in everything they do. We are so lucky to have such great students along with amazing mentors.”

This year’s game Charged Up presented by HAAS Automation sees two alliances competing to process cones and cubes and score onto their grid. The match ends with robots racing to engage on their charging station. Alliances are made up of 3 robot teams that work together to earn the highest score. While the competition is intense, it is built on the values of professionalism, cooperation, kindness, and more.

Student Burton Sessa said, “We have put in countless hours of prototyping, design, manufacturing, coding and more. The dedication of every team member has helped us adapt through this new season. We all learned so much about the game this season and I am stoked to see how we will do during Worlds.”

Programmer Irene Kim said of her experience, “I always appreciate our team’s cooperation and intense dedication to constantly improving the robot. This year, the programmers definitely had a lot of fun learning about and utilizing dynamic trajectory generation that allows the robot to autonomously drive to each of the 27 scoring locations!”

Quincy Lowder, a manufacturing team member, said “We have built a top-tier robot this year, and our performance at regional competitions is a result of our team’s hard work this season. I love being part of a

team that strives for excellence in everything we do. Our team is excited to compete again at WORLDS and reach our full potential in Houston!”

Alumni and Mentor Anshul Bajaj said, “Understanding your opponent’s and most importantly your teammate’s ability is essential to performing at the highest level. Using our Tidescouts app, Team 4414 students recorded and collected performance data for the teams we competed with. These metrics informed our strategy which elevated our overall competitiveness.”

Head Mentor JJ Sessa congratulated the team on their Regional wins and said, “Thank you to all our sponsors, friends and family for your support. We are looking forward to being World Champs this year. For more information:

Ventura Port District Maintenance Dredging and Beach Renourishment

An estimated 485,000 cubic yards of material has been removed from the entrance channel and placed upon the beaches.

With recent winter storms and high tides events having severely eroded areas of the California coastline and Ventura Harbor scenic beaches over the past few months, the Ventura Harbor’s annual dredging activities have significantly contributed to overall beach restoration.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), working with the Manson Construction Company, began dredging operations in Ventura Harbor on March 11. An estimated 485,000 cubic yards of material was dredged from the federal channel and sand traps to ensure that the Harbor entrance remain safe to navigate year-round for boaters and commercial fisherman, while then redispersing the sand back onto the harbor beaches.

Ventura Harbor’s beaches including Surfer’s Knoll Beach, South Beach, and popular Harbor Cove Beach (or Mother’s Beach as the locals call it) on Spinnaker Drive, have now being largely replenished, allowing the beaches to reopen and be available to the community.

“Maintaining a safe, navigable, and resilient harbor is one of the key guiding principles of the Ventura Port District,” states Brian Pendleton, General Manager of the Ventura Port District. “This crucial sand replacement, as a result of the dredging, also serves as an enormous benefit to residents, surfers, beach goers, and to wildlife, as the sand dunes and beaches provide critical nesting habitat for endangered species such as the Western Snowy Plover and California Least Tern.”

The Corps pays for the annual Ventura Harbor entrance channel dredging activities.

In August 1968, the U.S. Congress approved Public Law 90-483, which among other things had the U.S. government acting through the Corps, assuming the maintenance responsibility for the navigation features at Ventura Harbor, subject to annual appropriations by the President and/or Congress. The features that the Corps is responsible to maintain include:

  • The Entrance Channel
  • Sand Trap
  • 3 Jetties
  • An offshore breakwater
  • A groin

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, frequent navigation problems resulting from shoaling at the harbor entrance developed due to a lack of Congressional funding. In 1983, the Port District recognized the need to communicate more effectively with the Congress and the Corps and retained the services of a Washington advocate. Since that time, over $140 Million has been expended by the Corps in maintaining and improving the harbor entrance system.

The President’s 2024 Budget was released on March 9, 2023 and named the Ventura Harbor project for $8.471 million.

“With the support of Congress and the Senate, this will ensure that dredging will be completed again in early 2024 and provide additional funding for the Corps to update environmental studies and issue a new contract later in 2024,” states Todd Mitchell, Senior Business Operations Manager for the Ventura Port District. “We are enormously grateful for the efforts of Congressman Salud Carbajal and Congresswoman Julia Brownley to advocate for the President funding project in his 2024 budget.”

The District is responsible for permitting, funding, and contracting periodic dredging of the inner harbor (excluding the Ventura Keys). Performance of the dredging requires the District to maintain its own permits with the Corps, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Ventura County Air Quality Control Board, and the California Coastal Commission. The District’s permits not only allow for inner harbor dredging, but also to replicate the work conducted by the Corps in the event that there was an emergency and the work had to be  performed by the District.

Because the inner harbor soil is primarily fine grain (silt), three of the District’s permits for inner harbor dredging have special conditions that require the Santa Clara river be flowing into the ocean in order for material placement to take place. In 2021 when navigating into channel into the Keys became a concern, the river condition was not met and the District and City of Ventura had to obtain emergency permits in order to perform the inner harbor dredging. Therefore, the District has been pursuing amendments to these permits so that inner harbor dredging can be performed when needed.

For more details on annual dredging activities in Ventura Harbor or information on Ventura Harbor beaches visit

El Camino High School ECTV crew wins WAVE awards

To learn more about CAPS, visit

The highly talented high school students at El Camino in the ECTV media program at CAPS, continue to receive accolades and win awards. The ECTV program was created by CAPS in partnership with the Ventura Unified School District. Students collaborate writing, producing, recording and editing their own programs.

Recently the ECTV crew won 4 WAVE awards at the annual competition directed by the Alliance for Community Media Western Region (ACM West). (Standing) Phil Taggart, teacher/mentor, Arshan Barati, Sophia Johnson, Sarah Briggs, Luca Falvo, Mika Long, Seth Steiminger, Christopher Giordano, DeeDee Black, Aracely Soriano Perez, Hector Guerrero, Principal El Camino High School, and Saadiyah Islam. (Kneeling): Allison Laak, Kampton Carter, Alyx Golson and Shayan Barati.

Every year, adult and student media crews from throughout the western United States compete for WAVE awards, which stands for Western Access Video Excellence. This years’ trophies increase the ECTV collection to more than 30 regional and national awards won over the past few years. All of the ECTV programs can be viewed on the CAPS Media website at

The Alliance for Community Media (ACM), founded in 1976, represents more than 3,000 Public, Education and Government access organizations and community media centers throughout the United States. ACM’s fundamental mission is to help democracy flourish in local communities by encouraging the public to be active participants in their local government and to foster free expressing and exchange of ideas.

CAPS is a proud member of ACM and is the only public access media center in Ventura. CAPS’ mission is to create an engaged and informed community through participation in electronic media.

CAPS manages two television channels and one radio station in Ventura providing public programming on television, radio and online streaming 24/7 on all distribution outlets.

On Channel 6 and streaming online, CAPS presents programming created by and for the public including community information programs, faith-based services and more. On Channel 15 and streaming online, CAPS manages and presents government meetings at City Hall including city council, design review, general plan advisory committee, planning commission and more. In addition Channel 15 includes education and information programs produced by ECTV crews as well as fitness, science programs and more.

CAPS is the home of Radio KPPQ – Ventura’s only public access radio station. KPPQ features a dedicated and talented crew of local DJs producing unique and information programming. DJs include Pam Baumgardner, Kathleen Good, Mark, Nadine Piche, Kevin Wallace, and Dr. Q & Dr. C.

All of the KPPQ locally produced programs, as well as national and international shows, can be enjoyed 24/7 at 104.1 FM and streamed worldwide on myTuner Radio and on Many of the shows are available to listen on demand on the KPPQ podcast network found on the radio page of the CAPS website.

To learn more about CAPS, visit A video on the home page, CAPS Media City Council Presentation 2023, presents an overview of the organization. Additional information is on the CAPS website including links to programing and information regarding reopening of the CAPS Media center to the public.