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Ventura Unified announces return to full-time in-person instruction

Ventura Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Roger Rice announced at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, March 23, that all grade levels in the Ventura Unified School District (City of Ventura) will be going back to school full-time, in- person when they open for the 2021-22 school year in August.

“I am thrilled to announce that due to recent changes in social distancing guidelines from the CDC and our state and local health departments, in addition to other strategies we are currently implementing, we will open full-time, in-person with a schedule similar to pre-Covid at all of our school sites in the Fall of 2021,” stated Dr. Rice, Superintendent.

The school district is currently purchasing furniture for many of its schools to replace outdated and bulky desks, chairs, etc., to utilize space in the classrooms fully. Funding for this furniture and other necessities to maximize the number of students who can fit into each classroom comes from a one-time State In-Person Learning Grant.

The school district assumes that other COVID-19 prevention and mitigation protocols will remain in place for the Fall 2021 semester, including masks, hand washing, disinfecting, contact tracing, and more. “Our elementary schools have been open to hybrid in-person learning for some time now, and VCPH confirmed this week that we have had no student COVID transmission spread on our campuses. Our students, teachers, and staff are doing a tremendous job of following the guidelines. We believe that our community can wear masks and follow the guidelines if it means we can resume full-time in-person learning,” stated Dr. Rice. “The District will be providing families with more concrete information and schedules as soon as the details are finalized.”

For those families who are not ready to return fully, options will be provided regarding distance learning and homeschooling. The District will be sharing those options closer to the Fall 2021 semester. COVID-driven change is always possible, and the community will be notified if changes must be made.

Enrollment for the 2021-22 school year is occurring now at the Ventura Unified School District; for those interested in enrolling, visit for more information.

El Camino High School students interview Mayor Sofia Rubalcava

Mayor Sofia Rubalcava shared with the team that she is a native Venturan.

ECTV Students in the award-winning El Camino High School media program recently interviewed Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava in the CAPS Media studio. The discussion covered a variety of topics with particular emphasis on racism. Ms. Rubalcava shared with the team that she is a native Venturan who attended Sheridan Way Elementary, De Anza Middle School and Ventura High School, and continued her education at UC Santa Barbara. Raised on the west side of Ventura, Ms. Rubalcava the first Latinx mayor of the city.

Her candid discussion with the teenagers about growing up in the area and discussing racism, part of an ongoing series, was highly informative and enlightening. “Mayor Rubalcava was friendly, open to our questions and made sure everyone was included in the discussion on racism,” said Ruby Intner, a senior in the ECTV program. “I learned a lot about her growing up in Ventura and her experiences on the Westside.” The mayor after spending time in deep discussion said “I’m so impressed with these students’ thoughtful courageous discussions about issues like racism. These are issues we didn’t discuss in high school. Seeing them with such knowledge and passion gives hope for the future.”

ECTV is part of the Ventura Unified School District’s Digital Broadcast Media program. The ECTV crew takes over the CAPS Media Center every week to write, produce, direct and edit video and audio programs covering topics of interest to themselves, other students and the community.

Mentor/Instructor/Media guru Phil Taggart is the wizard behind the socially-distanced curtain, directing the program. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the ECTV students have continued to produce programming utilizing all COVID protocols.

This is the fourth year of the VUSD/CAPS Media ECTV collaboration. Graduates of the program have gone on to study all aspects of media production in colleges throughout the state.

The wide-ranging and engaging interview with Mayor Rubalcava will air on CAPS Media, Channel 15 and on the CAPS Media website,, as well as on the ECTV social media sites.

ECTV and CAPS Media producers gathered another set of well-deserved awards at the 2021 WAVE Awards. W.A.V.E. stands for Western Access Video Excellence. The awards contest is open to media cent

er members of California, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico and Arizona.

This year’s WAVE Award winners from CAPS Media are ECTV (El Camino TV) for “ECTV – Mental Health” in the Community Issues Youth category, “ECTV at the Agricultural Museum” in the Culture and Lifestyle Youth category. ECTV for “ECTV – Confronting Cancer” in the Magazine Youth category, and CAPS MediaaCenter for “Ready for Wildfires 2020” in the Instructional/Training Videos Professional category. This year’s awards increase the CAPS Media members and staff collection of WAVE Awards to more than 50 over the past decade. Congratulations to all the honorees and winners for the outstanding productions.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency the CAPS Media Center is closed to Members and the public until further notice. We do not expect to reopen the facility to the public until after herd immunity is achieved. We encourage everyone to get the vaccine as soon as it is available to you.

During the shutdown, CAPS Member/Producers can submit programming via the online portal at for broadcast and streaming on CAPS public access television Channel 6 and on CAPS Radio KPPQ 104.1FM.

All of us at CAPS Media hope everyone stays Safe, Strong, Socially Distant and Healthy during these very challenging times.

Gracie Gary celebrates 103rd Birthday

This is Gracie Gary, she just celebrated her 103rd Birthday on March 5th, 2021. She lives in our senior mobile park. She is still very alert, works crossword puzzles, and claims one of her life time secrets, is her consistent exercising. She is amazing for her age. 

Submitted by Alice Sepulveda

New Ventura Police Officers and Lateral Officer

Due to COVID-19 restrictions each officer had a personal ceremony.   

by the VPD

Please join us in welcoming our newest Ventura Police Officers! Eight recruits and one Lateral Officer have taken their Oaths of Office, received their badges, and were sworn-in.

They’ve pledged their commitment to protecting and serving our community and we are very proud to welcome them to our VPD family.

Congratulations to Lateral Justin Fernandez and Police Officer Trainees David Anderson, Jerred Bartmann, Nicholas Gendreau, David De La Garrigue, Chris Gomez, Joseph Hernandez, Joshua Ming, and Liliana Zarate.

After being sworn in, each trainee is required to complete the Field Training Program which takes an additional 6 months to complete. The overarching goal of the program is to further develop well-rounded officers that represent our community well.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the desire to make this a special occasion for all, we opted to bring each officer in for a personal ceremony. This way, we were better able to keep our distance and five family members were able to join to pin the badge on their loved one and take a few unmasked family photos. Congrats to all!

The Life & Times of Doug Halter

This is a book about Doug Halter’s fight to live with HIV, his family and his love for Ventura.

by Staci Brown

“You’d be expected to survive around 6 months, maybe a little longer if luck is on your side.” This was what Doug heard in 1987. Miraculously, with the help of Dr. Scott Hitt, he went on AIDs cocktails and continues to live today. Sadly, his boyfriend Randy Morrison wasn’t so lucky.

This is a book about Doug Halter’s fight to live with HIV, his family, his loves and his impressive careers leading up to purchasing and renovating homes and becoming a well-known landscaper. He got his first landscaping job at age 15 and eventually was able to do what he was passionate about. “I got an adrenaline rush as we neared completion and the original vision had come together”, he said after one of his first big jobs.

Although Doug had a rocky relationship with his father, Doug has demonstrated great warmth, kindness and honesty with the many, many friendships he has developed in life. He had a great mentor in Grandpa Salvatore who taught him all there was to know about plants, flowers, trees, seeds and gardening. He looked up to his grandfather and has very good memories of being with lots of family members at the Santa Cruz house where grandma and grandpa lived up until the earthquake. Doug ended up buying that house and rebuilding a new one where they have great family reunions. Doug met Randy Encinas coincidentally at the same place he met his previous Randy, and after a slow start, they became partners, eventually being able to marry in a grand ceremonial style at the Botanical Gardens in 2013 which is appropriate considering Doug was instrumental in the vision and opening of the gardens.

Doug stated “I wrote this book to share my life journey and all the unexpected challenges and triumphs; not unlike most others but the success I achieved through it all by having the courage to be the person God created me to be and knowing that every day is a gift to be used to make a difference and to develop and use our own unique potential to make the greatest contributions to our community and society.”

Read more in Doug’s book along with his plans for the city. I agree with every one of his plans and I am grateful that Doug has finally taken a well-deserved seat at the Ventura City Council. Congratulations!!

I hope these dreams come true. Doug has done so much for this city. Besides the Botanical Gardens vision, he bought the church that became the Rubicon Theater and brought exceptional theater to this town, and oh, so much more which you will find out about when you read his book.

And Doug has the greatest collection of photos in his book. You can see young Doug and how handsome he has remained, as well as both Randys’ as well as his brother, sister, grandparents, parents, family, houses, friends, landscaping and Ventura! It is a delight to look at this treasure, young and old.

I am very excited to see what the future holds and I am glad I got to know Doug better in this wonderful book.

You can purchase the book directly from Doug at

Dredging is required to ensure that vessel traffic can safely access the harbor

The harbor entrance can become unsafe for vessel navigation.

The Ventura Harbor entrance channel and sand trap (the area behind the offshore breakwater) require annual maintenance dredging in order to ensure that vessel traffic can safely access the harbor and its maritime support facilities. This effort is a responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps usually accomplishes the dredging in the first quarter of each calendar year provided that Congress has included funding for the effort in their current federal budget.

The need for the maintenance dredging results from the down coast movement of an average of about 600,000 cubic yards of sandy material each year which is deposited by littoral processes in the sand trap and entrance channel. If this material is not dredged and deposited on the down-coast beaches, the harbor entrance can become unsafe for vessel navigation. Securing the necessary Congressional funding for the dredging effort, given the continual budgetary difficulties confronting the Congress, is an ongoing challenge that the Port District works diligently to facilitate. For this reason, the District must devote considerable effort to regular coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers with their District office in Los Angeles, the Division office in San Francisco, and their Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The District is also blessed to receive strong support from Rep. Julia Brownley’s office as well as from Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris in its quest each year for $5 to $7 million in dredging funds.

The Port District is responsible for permitting, funding and contracting the periodic maintenance dredging of all navigation channels within the inner harbor and harbor entrance. Cooperatively, the City of Ventura works with the District to maintain access to the Ventura Keys. In order to assure that funds are available to fulfill its obligation, the District has established a $3 Million dredging reserve. During the current dredging program, the District and City plan to dredge the Ventura Keys stub channel, provided the environmental conditions for dredging are met

The Manson Construction Company will be dredging the entrance to Ventura Harbor as well as the sand trap, located to the West of the channel, as well as the inner harbor stub channel to the Ventura Keys.

The Ventura Harbor Master stated that vessels are currently experiencing soft groundings in the Stub Channel within Ventura Harbor on a frequency of 3-4 times per month with increasing frequency and about 4-7 hard groundings have occurred over the last 6- 9 months that have caused damage to vessels and/or required towing assistance from the Harbor Patrol or tow boat to safely free the vessels.

Ventura Pottery Gallery celebrates 10 years at Ventura Harbor

Brian Pendleton, Ellen Wohlstadter, Chris Stephens, Drew Lurie, Wyn Matthews, and Mike Blumenberg at the Gallery.

What started as a three-month summer project to open a ceramic gallery at Ventura Harbor, grew to ten years and is still going strong. We thank the Ventura Port District Commissioners for awarding us a Ten Year Plaque.

Cecile Gurrola-Faulconer led the charge to open the Gallery and rallied eight intrepid potters to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty in something other than clay. Cecile now states, “It has been such a joy to see the Ventura Potters’ Gallery artists and their ceramics rise to be seen as a premier art form in our community. Our members shine with both sculptural and functional items reflecting their own individual personalities. We are here to stay!”

Within the first month of being open the number grew to 15 participating artists. Over the ten years, 64 artists have traveled through the Gallery and there currently are 44 affiliated artists. Most have permanent displays, but consignment artists are encouraged to exhibit a few pieces each month.

The backbone is the Ventura County Potters’ Guild, a local non-profit that oversees its master plan while Gallery members join committees for its day-to-day running. Not only do we pull from Ventura County, but the only limit to participation is the distance a member is willing to drive for sitting a shift.

Be sure to stop by the Ventura Potters’ Gallery to view work from 44 local artists and potters. The Gallery is located at 1567 Spinnaker Drive, Suite 105 in Ventura Harbor and is open seven days a week from 11-6. Can’t make it in? Please visit our newly-launched Online Store at

More information can be found at

Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast extends the Cookie Program

Help support the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

There is even more time to get your Girl Scout Cookie fix before they’re gone! Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast has officially extended this year’s Girl Scout Cookie Program from March 14, 2021, until April 18, 2021.

After reviewing the latest research and CDC guidelines, council has also decided to reopen traditional troop cookie booths. Loyal cookie customers will be delighted to see Girl Scouts selling cookies once again in locations such as outside of their local grocery and convenience stores. Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast is committed to the health and safety of its members, volunteers, and staff. Troops that elect to participate in in-person booths will follow guidelines such as a reduced amount of girls and volunteers, safety precautions including facemasks, and a focus on electronic payments.

By reviewing the California Department of Public Health’s guidelines for small group youth cohorts, council was able to come to this decision with the importance of reuniting our girls in mind. Isolation from their fellow troop members has no doubt resulted in a tough year for Girl Scouts, and girls have been working harder than ever to reach their goals in new and creative ways. The Girl Scout Cookie Program®, the largest annual investment in girls in the United States, challenges girls as they learn the important skills required to run a business and powers amazing experiences year-round. Troops often use their funds towards exciting experiences like a weekend at camp or towards innovative and impactful community service projects. With each delicious cookie purchase, consumers directly support the betterment of their neighborhoods!

Local business owners can now support Girl Scouts in reaching their cookie goals by allowing girls to set up a booth in front of their business! This free opportunity is an easy way to help local Girl Scouts achieve success in their cookie business while bringing new customers into yours!

In addition to cookie booths, customers will still be able to purchase their favorite treats directly from a Girl Scout virtually through their Digital Cookie platforms. Delivery options such as contact-free pickup and local delivery are available. Council retail locations across California’s Central Coast also have cookies for sale, with proceeds benefitting local troops. Additionally, customers can order Girl Scout Cookies and get them delivered the same day through a national collaboration with food ordering platform Grubhub. Orders can be placed on or the Grubhub app, and all proceeds benefit Girl Scouts while providing another safe and innovative way to run the cookie program virtually.

Fans of the Girl Scout S’mores® cookies have until April 18, 2021 to pick up an extra box or two; we will be waving goodbye to this fudge-coated favorite after this season!

Help support the next generation of female entrepreneurs during the last month of our 2021 Girl Scout Cookie Program! Visit to find Girl Scout Cookies near you or use the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder app, free on iOS and Android devices.

Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for Older Adults

You can help protect yourself and the people around you by getting the vaccine when it is available. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe illness from COVID-19.

You can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Depending on the kind of COVID-19 vaccine you get, you might need a second shot 3 or 4 weeks after your first shot.

After getting the vaccine, some people have side effects. Common side effects include:

  • pain where the shot is given,
  • fever,
  • chills,
  • tiredness,
  • or a headache for 1-2 days.

These are normal signs that your body is building protection against COVID-19. Learn more about what to expect after getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

Even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you should still:

  • wear a well-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth when around others
  • stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • avoid crowds
  • avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • wash your hands often

We still have more to learn about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions, so it is important to continue to follow all safety recommendations to help stop the pandemic.

The vaccine is free of charge to people living in the United States. However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance for administering the vaccine. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay this cost.

Scam Alert: If anyone asks you to pay for access to vaccine, you can bet it’s a scam. Don’t share your personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising access to the vaccine for an extra fee.

Ventura County Animal Shelter in Camarillo during the Pandemic

y Carol Leish

‘Sometimes all it takes is a look.’

“The Ventura County Animal Shbelter in Camarillo currently has dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, birds, snakes, turtles, chickens and roosters available for adoption,” according to, Randy Friedman, the Marketing Manager. “We also occasionally have horses, chameleons, bearded dragons, and other exotic-type animals.”

The adoption process has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have continued to provide services while conducting all business in a safe and healthy manner,” Friedman said. “Those who are interested in adopting a dog are asked to schedule a virtual adoption counseling appointment at After the initial phone consultation, if all feel a good match is likely to be made, we will schedule a time for them to come in, meeting the animal in person, and adopting them if they choose to.”

Cat adoptions have also changed due to the pandemic. “Even though cat adoptions occur on-site at the Camarillo Animal Shelter from 2:00pm-4:00pm daily, those who are interested in adopting a cat need to come to the Camarillo Animal Shelter (600 Aviation Dr. Camarillo, CA 93010) at 9:00am to put their name and phone number on a clipboard, which is made available in the parking lot area.”

“For adopting rabbits,” according to Friedman, “we are asking the public to contact our Ventura County Animal Services Bunny Brigade, which is an all-volunteer run group who takes care of our rabbit population. Their email is: Those who are interested in adopting other pets can follow the same procedure that is outlined for dog adoptions. The full adoption process is at:

“A safe environment for all shelter guests has been made due to the pandemic,” according to Friedman. “Our appointment-based pet adoption system has resulted in thousands of pet adoptions since the pandemic began. Now we have an adoption counseling process that is virtual, which starts out with a phone consultation. A telemedicine process has been implemented in order to allow our foster care-givers access to our veterinarian for medical consultations. We’ve also promoted the use of an online licensing system, and established a drop-box at the Camarillo Shelter.”

The Ventura County Animal Shelter provides a wide variety of services. These include: medical care; animal behavioral evaluations/modifications; and, animal enrichment. Friedman also emphasized that, “Our teams respond to calls for assistance in the community, from the capture of aggressive animals, to the rescue of injured wildlife.” Our published annual report highlights many of our services (”

“As a municipal/government run agency with a 501c3 non-profit fundraising arm (Animal Services Foundation of Ventura County),” Friedman said, “there are many ways the public can help us, which includes: becoming a foster parent; making a monetary donation; donating items listed on our Amazon Wish List (; and/or pledging to adopt pets. In Memory of, or in Honor of donations can be made at: Those who want to volunteer, please go to:; those who want to foster, go to: Our Amazon Wish list is at: Amazon Smile is at: For a complete list of ways to help, please go to: Also, we would like to highlight our Lost and Found page ( The animals we have in our care are listed at: (