Category Archives: Featured News

Ventura Police Dept. conducting DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint Friday, Sept. 4

Ventura Police Department Traffic Unit will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint this Friday, September 4, 2015 at an undisclosed location within the city limits between the hours of 8:00 p.m to 3:00 a.m.   

The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes.  Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely.

In California, this deadly crime led to 802 deaths in 2012 because someone failed to designate a sober driver.  Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an i mpaired driver. “Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 6 lives and resulted in 71 injury crashes harming 94 of our friends and neighbors,” said Sgt. Darrick Brunk.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking driveDUIfor proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily.  When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving.  Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems.  A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent).  Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent.  Nearly 90 percent of California drivers approve of DUI checkpoints.

DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to Ventura Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1’.

Single family residence fire near Atlas Elementary

At 4:45 on Aug. 31, the principal of Atlas Elementary, formerly known as Saticoy Elementary, saw a large head of smoke and flames protruding from a single family residence on Jasmine Avenue. As she ran across the street to help, the neighbor was on the phone calling 911. Both tried to hose down the adjacent homes to keep the fire from spreading to neighboring residences.

IMG_3165First arriving fire crews encountered heavy flames coming from the front of the house and dense smoke. Crews attacked the fire and searched the home for occupants. No pets or occupants were home at the time of the fire. A total of 4 engine companies and one truck company fought the blaze and knocked down the fire within 16 minutes and fully extinguished the fire within 35 minutes.

Ventura Police IMG_3167provided immediate traffic control and assisted in securing the street. An electrical feed for the home severed in the blaze and blocked a portion of the front of the house and was eventually secured by Southern California Edison.


The 1000 square foot house suffered major damage from smoke and flames. Nearly all of the 1000 sq foot two bedroom, two bath home was affected. A preliminary investigation indicated that an unattended candle was to blame for the blaze. It was also discovered the fire had been burning freely in the home for some time prior to being noticed by neighbors. IMG_2219
Damage was estimated to be $150,000 for the structure and $50,000 for contents. The building was yellow tagged by fire prevention, and occupants were escorted by firefighters to gather belongings. One resident was displaced from their home due to the fire and there were no reported injuries.

FACE OF VENTURA AWARDS – Ventura’s Unsung Heroes sponsored by Jordan and Sandra Laby and painted by Johanna Spinks

Audrey Nicholson
Portrait by Johanna Spinks

Audrey Nicholson, 33, a Ventura mother of three, had the humbling and frightening experience of a lifetime in the ocean waters
off the Ventura County’s Rincon coast on February 16. Because of her actions, two children survived a near drowning and, she was nominated for a Gold Lifesaving Medal.

Nicholson is credited with saving the lives of two young girls at Bates Beach when a strong rip current pulled the girls out to sea.

Noting that she still doesn’t know the names of the girls and has not spoken to them since the incident, Nicolson said her three young children were at the Rincon beach when she noticed people on shore acting alarmed and shouting at two young girls in the water.

“As I approached the water’s edge, I knew immediately the girls were in danger and panicking. The mother of one of the girls was attempting to swim out but was quickly overcome by the strong current and began pleading for my help.”

Nicholson assured the mother and dove into the surf and began the swim through a strong rip tide to the girls.

“I could only see their faces, no arms, no signs of strength, they were barely treading water. Each wave that hit them I feared would be the one that would exhaust their wills to keep afloat.”

Nicholson describes herself as a decent swimmer and credits an active lifestyle of yoga and dance to help remain physically and mentally capable and calm.

Still, without consistent ocean swimming experience, the power of the current and the constant pounding surf exhausted her instantly.

“Immediately I was humbled by the ocean the second I felt it. When I reached the first child, she frantically wrapped her arms around me and we both sank instantly. All I could think about was my own three children standing on the shore. I knew I had to get us all back safe.”

She regained her composure and she reiterated the importance of calming down and breathing deeply through the sets of waves as they swam.
After returning the first child to her mother, Nicholson scanned the shore for help. “I was so tired and had swallowed a lot of water already and was so worried to go back in feeling so out of breath. I was very concerned about whether I could get to the second girl,” Nicholson said. “She had been going under a number of times and she was barely staying afloat. “

Nicholson again placed the second girl in her arms and simply began swimming as best she could to get to shore. A young man on a boogie board had made his way over to help put the girl on his board and help Nicholson to the sand. “That helped greatly because by that point, it was all I could do to get myself in, he was so calm and kind, it was a relief to have him there.” Nicholson said.

By the time the second child made it to shore, paramedics were at the scene, treated both girls, and took them to the hospital to have them checked for signs of secondary drowning.

She was nominated for the Gold Lifesaving Medal by Jim David.

“A friend of mine who was there told me about what happened,” said Jim David, a retired Navy commander and a search-and-rescue pilot who performed a number of water rescues during his service. “I couldn’t believe the story when I heard it. The second
girl was in the second stage of drowning; that’s when you can’t stay afloat and you’re swallowing a lot of water. After that, death
becomes a very real possibility.”

David said there are two levels of lifesaving medals, and the gold is extremely rare.

“It’s given to someone who risks their life to save someone else,” David said. “It’s fair to say that Audrey risked her life by going out a second time to get the second victim.”

David said he met Nicholson and, after speaking with her, researched the lifesaving medals and nominated her for one of the Nation’s most prestigious. The Gold Lifesaving Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Coast Guard and one that’s
rarer than the Medal of Valor.

Audrey stated, “I am very honored to receive the nomination and to be selected as a Ventura Breeze unsung hero. The highest
reward was the saved lives, the grateful nod to life’s ultimate challenges be they big or small that restore the faith in one’s own
spirit and the lessons that this powerful earth and it’s elements have to teach us. For that I am humbled and happy.”



Helping Audrey celebrate were her family. Daughters Laurel (7) and Stella (10), mom Kim
Johnson, aunt Judy Johnson, sister Hayley Garr, niece Rowynn Garr (3) and son Mose (4).
On August 22 a luncheon was held at Rhumb Line-The Sunset Restaurant to present Audrey
Nicholson with her Unsung Hero portrait painted by Johanna Spinks. Attending the presentation
were her family, Breeze Publisher Sheldon Brown, Johanna Spinks and the series sponsors Jordon and Sandra Laby.
We asked Audrey how it was having her portrait painted she answered “Having my portrait painted
by Johanna was a really unique experience. I love the arts and it was a wonderful experience to talk with Johanna about her life of pursuing it. I was not nervous because it felt like a treat to be painted!”

 stuff hero Audrey lunch

Audrey Nicholson accepting her portrait from Johanna, Sandra and Jordan at the presentation

          stuff chapmanstuff Cozzins

This new series of portraits (Unsung Heros) will be painted by Johanna Spinks and presented in the Ventura Breeze. Johanna stated “It was an absolute privilege to paint my portrait series The Face of Ventura, and then an extra honor for those 58 portraits to
end up in the permanent collection of the Museum of Ventura County. I am very excited to see The Face of Ventura kept alive in this new award series, graciously sponsored by Sandra and Jordan Laby.” Do you know a Ventura Good Deed Doer that you have read about in the Breeze, or elsewhere, that you would like to nominate for the Face Of Ventura Awards?
If you do please send your nomination, and why you think that they deserve the Award to [email protected] We look forward to your nominations.

Local youth to compete in international tournament

youth billiardsMom is right proud of son Chris Robinson-Reinhold
Photo by Bernie Goldstein

by Sheli Ellsworth

If playing billiards well is a sign of an ill-spent youth, 17-year-old Venturean Chris Robinson-Reinhold’s teen life is doomed, but don’t tell him—not before he goes to China to compete in the World Pool-Billiard Association’s Junior 9-Ball Championship. In November, Robinson-Reinhold will travel with six American junior pool players along with his own chaperone to Shanghai to go up against 16-32 other young international players.

Robinson-Reinhold’s rise in competitive billiards has been steep, fast and not without notice. He started playing three years ago when his uncle, Kevin Farrell, taught him the basics. “I don’t have a pool table at home, but I live really close to Stiix Billiards,” says Robinson-Reinhold. Jerry Matchin, owner of Stiix and a lifetime pool player, says, “Chris is our special player. A good son, student, good citizen who happens to be an exceptional billiard player at his young age. His winning the Junior Nationals is quite an accomplishment for him and we at Stiix Billiards could not be prouder of him.”

Robinson-Reinhold says he spends several hours a day at Stiix honing his skill. “It depends on how much homework I have, though.”

After finishing high in a few Mezz West state tour events, and winning a Hard Times LA monthly event, Robinson-Reinhold won this year’s Billiard Education Foundation Junior National Championship at South Point Casino in Las Vegas. The August 2015 win made him eligible for the November international tournament. However, Robinson-Reinhold’s has not been a success only journey. “I went to Louisville, Kentucky last year for the national championship and I didn’t do well. But it turned out to be a great learning experience . . . I needed it  . . . I learned about defeat.”

The young champion’s learning will not stop in Kentucky. He is hoping to earn a spot at Lindenwood University at St. Charles, Missouri in the near future. “I’ll graduate by the end of the fall semester and Lindenwood has the only prestigious billiard program in the United States.” He’s not sure on what he would like to major in, but is interested in both electrical engineering and architecture.

Lindenwood’s billiard coach, Mark Wilson, was a professional pool player, instructor, TV commentator and author of Play Great Pool (based on biomechanical principles) when the university recruited him to start the only scholarship-based pool program in the country which was officially launched in 2012. “I decided if I was going to do this it had to be the platinum standard of its kind. Unfortunately, even the larger schools that have billiards teams don’t have the funding to make it a premier program,” says Wilson. Wilson, who observed the US Navy Seals in Coronado, based his training techniques on the core values and discipline he admired about Navy seal training. “We have about 32-35 students, including 7 females in our billiard program. We were an all-female school until 1997 so we definitely encourage girls to play.“ About 4-5 of Wilson’s students plans to play professionally. Wilson says he has his eye on Robinson-Reinhold.

Stiix Billiards is planning a fundraiser to help with Robinson-Reinhold’s expenses to China.

The girls constantly cheered, consoled and encouraged each other

youth Ventura StealersTop row Coach Nick Garcia, Coach Mike More, Katelyn Kelley, Sierra Garcia, Jessica Mendoza, Abigail Sourwine, Kalyssa Muniz, Kelly More, Coach Jere Dietz.
bottom row Jamie Dietz, Jaymes Howard, Rylee Mcdaniel, Courtney Terrazas, Katherine Tafoya, Coach Patrick Tafoya. Not show Jocelyn Hernandez.

Ventura Stealers traveled to Seattle Washington July 15-18 for the NSA Western World Series and played in the 14 Division, games were played in the cities of Marysville and Monroe Washington.

In the  14 Division there were a total of 12 teams, during the days of the double elimination tournament the Ventura Stealers played a total of 9 games scoring a total of 86 runs and giving up 49, in pool play their record was 1-1 and in bracket play their record was 6-1 finishing with a combined record of 7-2.

The Ventura Stealers playing in their fourth game of the day, defeated the Washington Snohomish County Red  6-4 in the Championship Game completing a fantastic tournament in first place and becoming the 2015 NSA Western World Series Champions.

Teams that participated in the tournament were from Washington, Oregon, Northern and Southern California.

During the final day of the tournament the Ventura Stealers were one game away from being eliminated, during each game together as a team the girls played through bumps, bruises, errors, tears, sad times and happy times. The girls constantly cheered, consoled one another, encouraged each other, and every girl participated and contributed to each win.


Congratulations to Ventura Water customers!

Congratulations to our customers!
Shana Epstein,
Ventura Water General Manager

Ventura Water congratulates all our customers; we are extremely grateful. New figures show that customer water use was down 39 percent last month (July) compared to July 2013, allowing Ventura Water for the first time to reach our 20 percent annual water reduction goal for the year so far! The exact year-to-date reduction in water use by customers as of the end of July was 20.79 percent.

As the City and the State experience one of the most severe droughts on record, the customers of Ventura have proven that they have the ingenuity and commitment to meet the challenges of conserving water. We have all come a long way since September of 2014, when Ventura declared a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency requiring customers to reduce water use by 20 percent.

During the months of May, June and July this year, Ventura Water customers have reduced their water use significantly, establishing what we hope is a continuing trend. May 2015 saw a 28 percent water use decrease compared to May 2013, June saw a 41 percent decrease from June 2013, and July’s decrease was 39 percent compared to July 2013. It is important to note that we conserve the most during the warmer months! We need to continue our efforts through the fall and into the winter! We aren’t in the clear yet!

Ventura Water has instituted several mandatory water conservation measures for our customers. They include: sprinkler irrigation systems may run only two days per week between the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.; handheld hoses used to wash cars must have a shutoff nozzle; fountains must use recycled water; and hosing down hard surfaces like driveways or sidewalks is not allowed.

Ventura Water offers free water conservation aids and on-site residential water surveys to help our customers save water. Please contact Customer Care at [email protected] or call 667-6500 to schedule a water survey.


Ventura firefighters respond to rescue trapped motorists in vehicle

On August 20, at 8:40pm residents in the 100 block of Via Baja were startled when a vehicle tumbled from the roadway 20 feet above their home and landed in their back yard. Ventura City firefighters arrived on scene to find a severely damaged vehicle with two elderly adults trapped inside. Firefighters worked quickly to stabilize the vehicle and begin extricating the injured passengers. Utilizing hydraulic powered cutting and spreading tools, firefighters were able to free the trapped people from the vehicle. Both passengers were transported to a local trauma center with moderate to severe injuries.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Ventura Police Department. No rescue personnel were injured as a result of this incident.

Wave your geek flag at Central Coast Comic Con August 28-30

event comic conThe goal of Comic Con is to provide a weekend fully packed of family fun.

The Superheroes, Super villains, gamers, anime fans, fan boys, jocks, costumers, and everyone in between are coming back to wave their geek flag at the Central Coast Comic Con August 28 – 30. The new signature end of summer event is returning to the Ventura County fairgrounds for its third exciting year. The con has something for everyone as there are cosplay competitions, stars signing autographs, activities for kids, and stalls selling everything from merch, Nendoroid Figures, rare comic books, and other collectibles. Be sure to bring your wallet!

The history of this area and the fairgrounds itself makes it easy to bring in stars of movies, comics, TV and the Internet to help in this charity awareness event. This year the event is bringing stars like Sid Haig, Michael Jai White, Doug Jones, cast members from American Horror Story, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sons of Anarchy, Supernatural and many other popular shows. Plus Creators like Bob Layton, local comic legend, Howard Chaykin, Brian Pulido, Marvel comics legend, Allen Bellman and a mix of upcoming writers and artists.

Each year local artists have this avenue to display and offer their wares for all to see. Using websites like to help customize their products for fans of the shows and movies that have captured their hearts. From artist to authors to movie stars, each has joined in to meet their fans and make dreams come true. Popular culture vendors and talented musicians are available to add to the excitement of each of the days.

Sunday has always been dedicated as “Kids Day” with Costume Parades, the joy of Disney Princess shows for the princess in your life and Wrestling and Power Rangers, for that warrior in your family. Children/young adults 10 and under are free with a paid adult ticket all weekend long. Discounts are available at the gate for all of our local military members as a means to say thank you.

Central Coast Comic Con (C4) is the accomplishment of a long time goal to return to the community that we grew up in. The company behind the popular culture convention, WTF Events INC, is working to become a reliable resource for youth groups, disadvantage families and activists towards the artists and creators of the future. Their motto is “Community first”. They work with charity and community groups like the Coalition and Big Brothers Big Sisters to change lives and better our community by bringing awareness to the many issues of our youth such as anti bullying, reading and art programs in addition to kids charities. These cars will provide a special ride for that child in the hospital or a ride for the youth in a local parade and so much more!

Visit and see just what C4 has to offer for our community and its members.

For more information about the event please see their ad in this issue or go to

Breeze: Our own Jaime Baker will be there selling his original artwork and some prints of his artwork, along with doing his wonderful custom caricatures. Be sure to hi for us.

First Veterans Transitional Housing opens in Ventura

stuff turning pointPhoto by Bernie Goldstein
Government, veteran, business representatives and Turning Point staff surround Congresswoman Julia Brownley.

Turning Point Foundation has opened the first Veterans Transitional Housing facility on the central coast. On August 5th Congresswoman Julia Brownley cut the ribbon at the grand opening. The Veterans Transitional Housing facility is located at 43 E. Vince St. in Ventura.

Based on 27 years of experience, Turning Point Foundation identified a tremendous need for supported transitional housing for veterans suffering from mental illness that are homeless to address their particular barriers to success. The goals of the program include obtaining residential stability for mentally ill veterans that are homeless through supported transitional and permanent housing, increasing life skills and income stability, and obtaining self-determination by sustaining a personal Wellness and Recovery Action Plan.

Turning Point’s primary means of engagement with potential veteran clients is the organization’s Our Place Safe Haven, a 10-bed shelter and Multi-Service Center, which provides overnight emergency shelter and drop-in services to more than 350 homeless persons each year, 12% of whom are veterans. Since 1995, Our Place Safe Haven has served as a “community living room” where homeless persons can drop-in and get a cup of coffee, food to eat, socialize with others, take a shower, do their laundry, make phone calls, get their mail, talk to a Case Manager and get counseling.

Turning Point Foundation currently serves over 762 clients each year through safe haven, shelter, supported housing and rehabilitation programs. Turning Point is the only local non-profit agency that addresses the critical community needs of mentally ill adults in Ventura county.

To identify potential residents, Turning Point’s Street Outreach team networks with the police and other mental health and social services agencies serving homeless persons, follow up on leads concerning potential clients, as well as make regular visits with food and supplies to areas where homeless persons are known to congregate in Ventura County, and through VA referrals.

Turning Point currently has three employees who are veterans, and are looking to hire more.  These employees have the peer experience and connect compassionately with homeless veterans.

To learn more about Turning Point Foundation, and a personal tour beforehand with their Executive Director, Jason Meek, please call 652-0000 x108.


Ventura County Fair Parade

stuff-fair-parade-collage---CopyThe 2015 Ventura County Fair Parade was held on Saturday, August 8 in historic
downtown Ventura.

Marching bands, drill teams, acrobats, clowns, horses, school groups, antique automobiles,
clubs and organizations marched down Main Street from Aliso Lane to Palm
Street in celebration of the 140th Ventura County Fair. The Fair Parade has become
Ventura’s premier parade.