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A timeless piece of architectural and Pierpont history

Starkly beautiful geometric lines make this award-winning home unique.

by Amy Brown

It was the 1960s, and Bud and Eunice Koch of Arcadia owned a modest family summer beach bungalow on a lane in Pierpont. The Ventura Freeway had only recently been expanded, further putting Ventura literally and figuratively on the map in new ways. Homes were just beginning to be built on the sand in the area, and when a beachfront lot became available, the Kochs purchased it. They soon launched the idea of their dream home, made possible with help of family friend in Arcadia–and Bud’s fellow Dartmouth alumnus–well-known architect James G. Pulliam. Pulliam was famous for commercial designs, and some residential projects, featured in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and the campus of Cal Poly Pomona, all with a signature geometric style. Pulliam went on to greatly influence mid-century modernism throughout Southern California.

The culmination of their partnership in 1971 was a beautiful home at 1094 Driftwood Lane, with symmetrical, imposing, square lines and a wall of glass windows looking out to the ocean. “Just look for the house that looks like a Chinese puzzle,” was how the Koch family would help first-time visitors find the beach house. Once someone had seen it, they wouldn’t need it described again. The unique home went on to be recognized for architectural design distinction, and was featured in the 1973 LA Home Magazine, and in 1974 received an Award of Merit by the American Institute of Architects for excellence in the design and execution of architecture.

“It was so unusual at that time—there were only a few beachfront houses sprinkled along the sand,” said daughter Marjo Gardner. “Now it doesn’t stand out quite as much, but it was pretty noticeable in late 1970s!” Gardner remembers the feeling one would have when first walking into the house, with the living room right on the sand, with wall-to-wall windows, especially back then, before the beach was later built up.

Eunice and Bud loved Ventura and were active in the community. Eunice was particularly involved, engaged in supporting organizations from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), League of Women Voters, Ventura County Women’s Political Council, Friends of The Library, to the Ventura County Symphony League, C.A.S.A program of Interface, Ventura Education Partnership, Camerata Pacifica, and the Ventura Botanical Gardens. In 1978, she and Marjo opened Voila! Coffee Beans on Thompson Blvd, which for years, according to the family, was the only coffee bean shop between Santa Barbara and Santa Paula, in that pre-Starbucks era.

Adela Trainor, the realtor currently representing the home, which is now in escrow, shared that this distinctive house has stood the test of time and is unique among the other homes in the area, which range from little beach cottages to the ultra-modern.  “People say they love the character when they come through to see the house, many of them in the entertainment business from Hollywood, it’s just been fascinating,” said Trainor. “They appreciate it just the way it is, original. Someone even asked if the sellers would be interested in filming there, since it’s so unique to a time period.”

Bud passed away in 1991, and Eunice in January of 2020 at the age of 94, but they leave behind a lifetime of contributions to the community, including the legacy of a timeless piece of post-modern Ventura architectural history.

VCAAA offers online nutrition courses and counseling for older adults

Start eating healthy in 2021.

The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging’s Senior Nutrition Program is offering free nutrition counseling and classes to Ventura County residents as part of an effort to promote healthy living among older adults. All classes and counseling sessions are currently being held over the phone or online and are free to participants.

Nutrition counseling services and classes include personalized one-on-one or group online settings with a registered dietitian and a focus on healthy eating on a budget, understanding food labels, managing weight loss, controlling diabetes, controlling high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, enhancing bone health, and variety of other individualized concerns.

Registration is now open for classes beginning in January, including a special series for the New Year. Counseling session availability varies. Participants must be 60 and older.

To learn more about the Senior Nutrition Program, counseling sessions, or to register for a class, please contact the VCAAA at (805) 477-7300 or visit www.vcaaa.org.

The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, an agency of the County of Ventura, is the principal agency in Ventura County charged with the responsibility to promote the development and implementation of a comprehensive coordinated system of care that enables older individuals, caregivers, and individuals with disabilities to live in a community-based setting and to advocate for the needs of those 60 years of age and older in the county, providing leadership and promoting citizen involvement in the planning process as well as in the delivery of services.

Ventura County Leadership Academy announces new board members and leadership

The Ventura County Leadership Academy recently announced the addition of Bob Harrell and Flossie Hall to its board of directors and named new officers of the board. “These leaders bring unique insight and a passion for our community that will be beneficial to VCLA,” said Brad “Brick” Conners, Ventura County Leadership Academy’s board president.

Bob Harrell is a Financial Planner with Independent Capital Management. He is the past chair and director for the Camarillo Rotary Club and a Community Advisory Member for the Camarillo Healthcare District.

Flossie Hall is the Co-Founder of The Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs. She has volunteered extensively with the Student Veterans Association, MCCS Miramar Food Locker and the Travis Manion Foundation.

New board appointments include Brad “Brick” Conners, City Manager for the City of Port Hueneme, as president, Steve Elson, Ph.D., CEO Emeritus for Casa Pacifica, as treasurer, and Rudy Gonzales, Government Relations Manager with Southern California Edison, as secretary.

VCLA was founded in 1994 and delivers on its mission of “connecting people and issues to strengthen our county” by developing, educating and inspiring a diverse group of leaders who aspire to enhance the quality of life in Ventura County.

For more information about Ventura County Leadership Academy please contact Pattie Braga via phone: (805) 797-3985 or email: PBraga@vcleadership.org.

It’s a family affair! Three generations at the Pierpont Racquet Club

“My biggest dream was to play tennis with my daughter.”

It all started with a mother’s desire that she and her daughter could some day play and compete in tennis matches together. PRC member Danyiel Callahan and daughter Katie Diaz are both avid tennis players!

Mom Danyiel, played tennis as a young girl and played on Rio Mesa High School’s team. Daughter Katie played high school team tennis as well.

While raising her family, Danyiel was the Tennis Director at Cabrillo Racquet Club until 2002, and her kids enjoyed growing up playing junior tennis.

Danyiel reflects back to those days “My biggest dream was to play tennis with my daughter.” So, it wasn’t long before Danyiel and Katie started playing as a doubles team in adult league tennis.

However, it was during a match in a Mother – Daughter Tournament that Danyiel tore her ACL, which led to many months of rehab.  She was determined to get back on the courts and play.

That’s when Danyiel and husband Will decided to join the Pierpont Racquet Club.
“The Pierpont Racquet Club was the place I wanted to play tennis and call my new tennis home…and I’m so glad I did!” Danyiel says. Continuing her desire to play with her daughter and spend time with her grandkids, Danyiel invited daughter Katie to play tennis at the Club.
Katie was hooked on Pierpont Racquet Club!
Then came Katie’s husband Chris, who was determined to try his athletic skills at Pickleball…and the rest is still making history! The whole family is now at the Pierpont Racquet Club playing Tennis, Pickleball and swimming, and also taking advantage of the fitness amenities offered to keep members healthy and fit for life!

There’s more than Tennis and Pickleball enthusiasm in this family!
Dad Chris loves to work out with the weights to maintain strength and agility when he’s not on the Pickleball courts. Danyiel also loves to take the PRC’s Pilates classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays with instructor Anne, to keep her core strong and her body in shape for tennis and Pickleball, and to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.

Since becoming members of the Club, Katie and Chris are enjoying Pickleball together and playing round robin Pickleball matches with Club members, including mom!

The Diaz’s three girls are also enjoying tennis lessons at the Club, and developing their tennis skills.
Katie remembers growing up with tennis – “I grew up in a tennis club…I loved that from my childhood, and I want my kids to have the same experience I had!”

Danyiel and Katie adamantly agree, “Tennis & Pickleball are sports for a lifetime…that can be played at any level and all ages, with the whole family!”

For information about membership and amenities at the Pierpont Racquet Club, located at 500 Sanjon Road in Ventura, call 805-648-5161, or visit www.pierpontrc.com.

Ventura 2020 Year In Review

by Sheli Ellsworth, Jill Forman, Richard Lieberman and Shirley Lorraine

In January, the City of Ventura announced the promotion of Building Inspection Supervisor, Ian Livingston to the position of Chief Building Official for the Community Development Department. Livingston was serving as the City’s Interim Building Official and has spent over 20 years in the construction Industry. “Ian Livingston’s leadership will help guide the Building and Safety Division’s integration of technology and process efficiencies to reinforce the city’s customer service focus’” said Community Development Director Peter Gilli. In 2014 Ian became a Building Inspector with the city of Ventura, and eventually, the Building Inspection Supervisor. In addition to his hands-on inspection expertise, helping Ventura residents complete their projects safely and according to State Building Codes. In addition, Ian teaches at Ventura College’s Construction Technology department, helping the next generation of builders and contractor’s learn about accessibility and building codes and methods.

A ribbon cutting sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce was held for the Ventura County Family Justice Center, located at 3170 Loma Vista Road in Ventura. Those facing violence of abuse suffer in silence as fear, confusion and lack of access discourage them from getting much-needed help and support. Ventura County Family Justice Center simplifies this overwhelming process by providing a caring, safe environment where victims and their families can access the comprehensive resources needed to recover, heal and break the cycle of violence. The mission of the Family Justice Center is to support and improve the lives of those impacted by family violence and trauma. Ventura Count Family Justice Center empowers and supports survivors of all ages and their families. Employing a collaborative approach creates a safe space where the use of strength-based practices is used to end abuse, and exploitation, pursue justice, and create pathways to hope.

During January Ventura County’s first government funded and led permanent year-round homeless shelter was ready to open. Dubbed the ARCH (All Roads Connect to Housing) the shelter celebrated it is grand opening with a ribbon cutting. The shelter a joint project between the county of Ventura and the city will provide 55 beds in a converted county-owned facility and is slated to provide shelter, social services and mental health counseling in addition to job assistance, benefits navigation and other educational programs. The shelter is located 2323 Knoll Drive in Ventura No walk-in services are provided. The facility will accommodate 17 single women and 38 single men. The Mercy House model is “housing first”, which focuses on aiding those in need find stable housing as a primary step toward re-integration into society. Participants will be required to work on a plan to find suitable housing. Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere stated, “The shelter is going to save lives”.

On January 18, 2020, a deadly shooting occurred at the public parking structure at Harbor and California Streets. The victim was 21-year-old Alejandro Hernandez of Ventura. This was Ventura’s first murder in 2020, and police say the murder suspect, 24-year-old Raymond Bolanos was jailed. Police responded about 2:45 am after a 911 call was made to police regarding a shooting victim at the top level of the parking structure. Patrol officers responded and located the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds Police reported that the crime occurred when one group- standing outside their red Ford Mustang, was approached by the second group of people in a white sedan. The two groups started fighting when one person inside the vehicle shot at the group outside. The Mustang fled the scene and ended up in Oxnard where the driver lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road. 

Approximately 20% of Ventura’s municipal water comes from the Ventura River. Over the past twenty years, Ventura has decreased the amount of water taken from the river. In 2014 Santa Barbara Channelkeepers, an environmental non-profit, alleged that the city’s use of the water was unreasonable and harmful to the Steelhead fish species. The city agreed the fishery was suffering but proposed that the city alone could not solve the problem. Our partners are the Casitas Municipal Water District, Meiners Oaks Water District and Rancho Matilija Mutual Water Company, as well as Taylor Ranch, Friends Ranch, and Thacher School. As part of the Channelkeepers lawsuit, the city was required by a judge to notify all users of river water about the ongoing litigation, to provide them the opportunity to participate. The goal of the city was to work with all affected parties. 

The Church of Scientology held a ribbon cutting ceremony on a new Ideal Organization devoted to Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The church opened their new center to an audience of 4000 Scientologists, guests and federal, state and local dignitaries. The glass encased new church highly visible to the 100,000 commuters on the 101. Leading the grand opening celebration was David Miscavige, leader of Scientology. Highlighting the churches’ work toward environmental responsibility using L Ron Hubbard’s (founder of Scientology) non-religious moral guide, “The Way to Happiness” as having the power to get people into action. Happiness volunteers had already started beach cleanup activities all along Ormond Beach

CAPS Media and ECTV crews were big winners at the Community Media Western Conference in Monterey, Ca with five W.A.V.E. Awards (Western Access Video Excellence). CAPS Media won in the ACM professional category for production of the Central Ventura County Fire Safe Council promotional video (community event category), a Thomas Fire Stories episode featuring Vista Del Mar and Hawaiian Village (community issues category) and a Thomas Fire Stories episode featuring Ventura Chiefs, Scott Quirarte, Michael Weisenberg and Todd Leake (magazine show category) were among the many award recipients. The Alliance for Community Media mission is to promote free speech and greater civic engagement through community media. For democracy to flourish, people must be active participants in their government, educated to think critically and free to express themselves. CAPS Media provides Member/Producers the vehicles to express themselves on television, radio and online. CAPS is often referred to as Ventura’s electronic soapbox.

In March, the Ventura City Fire Department and the Ventura Unified School District, cohosted a two-day fire safety event. Since 2011 they have educated approximately 10,200 children on fire safety. Over 1,300 students traveled to the fire training grounds for the “4th Grade Fire Safety Days.” Students, parents, and school staff watched firefighters perform tasks associated with firefighting, paramedicine and fire prevention. Firefighters focused not only on their duties, but on the importance of education. Students learned what to do in case of fire or natural disaster and the importance of a family emergency plan. Fire Chief David Endaya told the Breeze, “It is truly one of the best partnerships we have, and we are lucky to have the support and backing of the VUSD and Superintendent Dr. Rice.

The Gene Haas Foundation awarded $250,000 to the Ventura College Foundation to support the Advanced Manufacturing program. Funds will be used to relocate and renovate the manufacturing lab to promote manufacturing occupations and enhance student workforce manufacturing skills. Once renovations are completed, the lab will be renamed the Gene Haas Advanced Manufacturing Lab. Ventura College plans to offer manufacturing courses in the lab’s new home starting in fall 2020. The undergraduate curriculum is available for students interested in working toward proficiency in CNC Operation and Manufacturing Applications.

In support of the “Stay Well at Home” order issued by Ventura County Public Health, all parks and beaches in the City of Ventura will be closed until further notice during the COVID-19 emergency period. The County’s modified Stay Well at Home order asks community members to stay inside their homes, limiting all outside movement beyond what is necessary to take care of essential needs and ordering all non-essential businesses to close. Those orders also include restrictions against non-essential travel and gatherings. In response to recent public health orders, the City has taken a series of emergency actions in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, including proclaiming a “State of Emergency” on March 15, 2020.

Following a nationwide recruitment, the City of Ventura announces that Heather Sumagaysay will assume the position of Communications Manager on March 30. Sumagaysay worked for the Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) as its lead Public Information and Marketing Officer since 2015. She managed crisis communication and community outreach in coordination with Ventura County’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) during the 2017 Thomas Fire, 2018 Woolsey Fire, and 2019 Conception Boat Fire in Santa Cruz. Sumagaysay also worked at the cities of Santa Clarita and Beverly Hills. She earned a master’s degree in communications from George Washington University. In 2018, she was recognized by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce as a “40 under Forty” award honoree.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving announce the hiring of Staci Brown as their new MADD Program Specialist. She will be presenting “The Power of Youth,” a workshop for ages 13-18 about the negative effects of drinking, its effect on the brain and related statistics. She will do a similar event for college students and another one called “The Power of Parents,” for parents who want to speak to their children about underage drinking. MADD’s goal is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. They are always looking for volunteers and need victims who would like to tell their stories to offenders at their Victim Impact Panels. To reach Staci please call 714-838-6199 Ext 6649 or email at staci.brown@madd.org.

Ventura County has contracted the Vagabond Motel and the Best Western Motel to serve as homeless shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chain-link fencing surrounds the sites while entrances are guarded by armed security. Parking lots host tents erected for overflow. Signs warn residents of the rules they must follow: “One client per room, no visitors permitted, no profanity, no drug use, no alcohol use, no violence, no foul language, no loud noise.” Transportation, medical care, and mental health care are being provided by various county agencies for “high-risk” homeless individuals: those 65+ years old and those having an underlying condition like heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.

After suspending non-emergency procedures in March, Community Memorial Health System (CMHS) has followed guidance from the CDC, US Surgeon General, American College of Surgeons, the State of California and the California Hospital Association, as well as doctors and nurses in establishing safety criteria prior to resuming non-emergency surgeries. CMHS will require mandatory COVID-19 testing for preoperative patients, and mandatory COVID-19 screening for everyone who enters CMHS facilities and mandatory use of masks in all CMHS inpatient and outpatient facilities, regardless of their COVID-19 status. The facility will use separate intake, evaluation, and treatment areas for patients who present with COVID-19 symptoms from those who do not and separate waiting areas (including vehicles) and phone registration following appropriate screening.

Ventura County schools continue to be in flux, offering students options for full distance learning or a mix of distance and physical presence. In July, the VUSD Board of Education voted unanimously to move to a full distance learning model for the entire Fall 2020 semester. Governor Newsom announced that schools were to stay on distance learning until the county remained off the state monitoring list (for COVID-19)for 14 days.

Some schools returned to physical session, at least part time, after Thanksgiving. However, due to a rise in virus numbers following the holiday, some schools have closed again. The model continues to fluctuate to accommodate the present needs of students, faculties, and families.

Social distancing and the wearing of masks in public places, including schools, is still mandatory. Many adjustments continue to be made as the District reacts to the rise and fall of Covid-19 numbers.

In July, six At-Risk students from the Ventura High School “Learning the Ropes” program were able to graduate. The LTR program is a collaboration between the Police Activities League (PAL) and Ventura High School. The program serves students facing severe life challenges and for whom a traditional school model was not suited. Members of the PAL force include Sal Flores, Ben Schuck, Jeanette Sanchez, Frank Benavidez J.R. Luna, Joseph Hoss, Annette Garcia, and Lorelei Woerner. According to Flores, “We care about them, we believe in them, and we make time for them – which is better than some students get at home.” As one student said, “Some of us needed help and didn’t even know it.” The LTR program offers a bridge for struggling students to find ways and motivation to succeed in life.

Homelessness is a continuing problem in Ventura and throughout the County. Earlier this year, the Vagabond and Best Western Hotel in downtown Ventura was turned into a temporary homeless shelter for the growing vulnerable population. However, due to extensive repairs and refurbishment judged to be needed, the Vagabond and Best Western decided to terminate their lease with the County. Other locations for temporary sheltering continue to be sought.

Tara Carruth, program manager of the Ventura County Continuum, stated that “The county is partnering to provide a motel voucher program to provide continued placement to high risk individuals. We are transitioning from full facilities to offering motel vouchers for a select group of individuals that are considered high risk.” She added that many individuals have since returned to the street and remain unsheltered. Some declined offered services and did not become engaged in a housing plan. Nonetheless, voucher funding was extended through the end of the year and hope continues that shelter will be available for those who seek it.

In the good news department, the City of Ventura was honored in 2020 as a top bicycle-friendly city by PeopleForBikes. The City was noted for its commitment to recognizing and developing ways to encourage bicycling as a healthier and more sustainable transportation choice. Since the pandemic began, bicycling has risen dramatically as a family recreation, a way to promote health, and has provided local economic stimulation. Bicycle shops across the city and the county have experienced record sales and are now experiencing resource shortages due to difficulties stemming from manufacturers’ inability to keep up with the needs. Because of the pandemic and the rapid rise in demand, parts that are made overseas just have not been available in necessary quantity. Derek Towers, City of Ventura’s Active Transportation Coordinator, expressed excitement at resident’s use of the City’s continuing investments in alternate transportation options.

Ventura Police officer James Dillard received an award as the Department’s Top DUI Enforcement Officer by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). It was Dillard’s second recognition for his stellar achievement, the first being in 2018. “I am honored to receive this award. I am pleased to be able to protect the citizens of Ventura by getting impaired drivers off the road.” said Dillard. A former Probation Officer for Ventura County, Dillard also studied Criminal Justice at Cal State Los Angeles. He sought additional training in the detection of impaired drivers and attended classes to earn him a designation as a Drug Abuse Recognition Expert. Dillard’s commitment to the community’s well-being and safety continues as does his dedication to ridding the roads of impaired drivers.

Controversy reigned over the proposal by Ventura City Council to remove the status of Father Junipero Serra from its long-time position in front of City Hall. Cited by Chumash and Mission Indian tribes as a monument detrimental to the Native American culture in California, the Council heard from many on both sides of the issue. Councilmember Christy Weir stated that “in supporting the relocation of the Father Serra statue….my goals are to honor the Chumash… , by determining a more fitting place for the statue; honoring the Catholics and others ..by caring for his status in a safe location where his significance will be 100% celebrated, and honoring the craftspeople and artists who created the work of art..”

Following several demonstrations and public meetings, the City Council ultimately reached a peaceful resolution to remove and relocate the Serra statue from in front of City Hall, as well as a wood Serra statue from the City Hall atrium.

Downtown Main Street in Ventura has seen some dramatic changes over the last 10 months. A proposal developed by Downtown Ventura Partners was put into place as a pilot program. The Partners paid for the street closures and the required barricades to close off core blocks downtown to traffic to enable restaurants to provide socially distanced dining and other businesses to stay open. “I see this an as opportunity to throw a lifeline out to businesspeople,” said Councilman Jim Friedman. It seems that it has, in fact. Outdoor dining has been popular. Stores have been able to stay open. The public has embraced this program, with many enjoying walking the downtown without having to weave through traffic. Whether the program will remain in place and for how long remains to be seen. In the meantime, pleasant outdoor dining and shopping is available to enjoy.

Families of murder victims whose cases remain unsolved demonstrated on the lawn of the Government Center. Holding homemade signs, they asked drivers to honk in support.

One of the unsolved cases dates back to 1974. Sheila Kamara, the spokesperson for the group, said “We are protesting to get unsolved murders solved. We are trying to get the city to hire more detectives who can focus on unsolved murders.” Her son Arnold Kamara was murdered March 16, 2016 by unknown assailants. She sees the hiring of additional detectives as imperative to the solving of these yet unsolved cases. She thinks new detectives will bring more light to the cases.Three weeks ago, the group demonstrated in front of Ventura City Hall and intends to do so at both City Hall and the Government Center again.

On August 31, Deputy Public Works Director Mary Joyce Ivers was sworn in as the President of the American Public Works Association, in a virtual ceremony. Ivers has been involved in public works for over 27 years, and currently oversees operational activities for Ventura’s Public Works Department, with a $100 million budget and 91 employees. “Mary Joyce is a longtime Ventura resident who cares deeply for our community and has a career-long history of service excellence, innovation, and integrity,” said Ventura City Manager Alex D. McIntyre. “We are thrilled to have an enthusiastic, forward-thinking leader like Mary Joyce not only serve our City but represent Ventura on a national level. She will lead APWA to new levels of distinction.” The City’s Public Works mission is to provide innovative solutions for Ventura’s infrastructure and environment.

Physicians for Progress, a group of about 50 doctors in Ventura County, is committed to both medicine and the overall public well-being. The organization was founded in 2017, focused on solving issues with the current healthcare system, preserving democracy, as well as protecting the environment, which directly affects everyone’s health. They shared concerns about the Trump administration’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act, and are working to influence lawmakers to consider a single payer system, to ensure that all Americans have access to insurance and healthcare.

Dr. Leslie-Lynn Pawson is a founding member of the group; as a physician and teacher in VCMC’s award-winning residency program, she has seen first-hand what does not work in the current system. She points out that every other wealthy democratic country has some version of s single-payer medical insurance system, and citizens in those countries do not go bankrupt or lose her homes due to medical expenses.

Ventura would like to thank Cheryl Heitmann for her many years, since 2002, of dedicated service to the community. Ventura has become a better place from her dedicated service.

Heitmann was in private practice as a licensed Clinical Social Worker for 25 years, and owned a political consulting and fundraising group for 20 years. She was drawn into community service when the Ventura College Community College District was undergoing difficulties; that board had not had a woman member for 20 years. She took up that challenge and discovered a talent for that sort of work. She also believed that “…women needed to become more involved in the political process as candidates.”

She has served as both Mayor and Deputy Mayor, while participating in multiple other activities such as the Transit Board, the Economic Development Collaborative, the school liaison committee, the homeless subcommittee, the Ventura Council for Seniors, and others. “I was especially proud to have started the city’s first sister city program with Loreto, Mexico.

The theme of this year’s State of the City is “Focus on Recovery: Rising above a Pandemic in Ventura”. We are now 6 months into this pandemic, and all of our lives have been impacted in immeasurable ways.”

I can only hope that through this despair, we find opportunities for progress and improvement. I am someone who always looks for the silver lining in difficult situations, and I believe that despite the challenges we are facing today, we can find opportunities to create a more prosperous tomorrow.”

“…our commitment to serving the community and its residents hasn’t stopped. When COVID-19 hit, the City quickly transitioned operations to re-imagine City services in order to support online services for residents and businesses…We have aimed to improve operations, and to close service and technology gaps.” “I believe the system we currently have in place will serve us incredibly well as we transition from recovery to future successes.”

The Ventura Police Officers’ Association (VPOA) presented three scholarships to high achieving local Ventura students as the award recipients of the 17th annual Dee Dowell Memorial Scholarship. “There is no greater honor than to be in public service,” said Officer Joseph Metz, President of the VPOA.

The first-place scholarship of $2,000 was awarded to Bailey Welch who will be attending Ventura College to pursue a course of study in Nursing. The second-place scholarship of $1,500 was awarded to Tara Martin, who will be attending the University of Arizona to pursue a course of study in Early Child attending the University of Southern California and intends to continue her studies in Law History and Culture.

The Ventura Police Department (VPD) and LexisNexis Risk Solutions have recently partnered to provide a new way for the community to stay informed about crime in the City of Ventura. The Ventura Police Department now has an online crime map called Community Crime Map designed to alert the public about recent crime activity in their area and improve communications.

Ventura residents can view a map that shows all of the reported crimes in their area, sign up for neighborhood watch reports that breakdown recent crime activity near their home, school, or other places of interest. The map empowers Ventura residents to make better decisions about crime, by putting the same technology used by the Ventura Police to analyze and interpret crime activity, into the hands of the community it affects so they can make informed decisions about how to stay safe.

Check out the Community Crime Map at https://www.cityofventura. ca.gov/1052/Arrest-Log-Interac – tive-Crime-Map.

Ventura City Hall was lighted in pink every night through October to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month. City spokesperson Heather Sumagaysay said “The city of Ventura proudly recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness month. Although this year COVID-19 prevents us from holding outreach events, by lighting up City Hall, we want to continue to support breast cancer awareness, which is vital.”

Ventura College Foundation’s Weekend Marketplace will temporarily move to a new location on the Ventura College campus while solar panels are installed at its current site (East Parking Lot). The Marketplace will open at the campus’ West Parking Lot on November 28. The Marketplace will be closed November 21 and 22 in preparation for the move. The solar panel installation is expected to take 12 weeks to complete.

 Because of the COVID pandemic, the Weekend Marketplace has faced challenges in 2020 that have impacted Ventura College Foundation operations. The proceeds from Marketplace space rentals support much of the foundation’s operating costs and a portion of foundation’s core programs including scholarships and textbook lending. The Marketplace was closed in March because of COVID restrictions. It was allowed to reopen in May but on a smaller scale.

The Ventura City Fire Department is proud to join fire departments of Ventura County, ABC7, and Toys for Tots for the 28th Annual Spark of Love Toy Drive to Ventura County.  

Now through December 24, 2020, Ventura community members can bring new, unwrapped toys, books, sports equipment, or gift cards to participating drop-off locations to be donated to local children and teens. Donations can also be dropped off at Ventura City Fire Headquarters, located at 1425 Dowell Drive. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, donations will not be accepted at any of the city’s six fire stations.

The Ventura Police Department (VPD) was awarded a $220,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a one-year enforcement and education program with an emphasis on safe travel. This grant will assist in VPD’s efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on Ventura roads.

This grant funding allows us to educate and enhance the safety of residents behind the wheel, on our sidewalks, and in our bike lanes,” said Ventura Police Sergeant, Michael Brown. “Through education and behavior changes, we hope to create an environment that is safe and equitable for all road users in our community.”

The Ventura City Fire Department (VFD) was awarded $218,000 in grant funding to purchase 12 automatic chest compression devices through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).  The device, known as the Lund University Cardiac Arrest System (LUCAS), is designed to deliver consistent, high-quality chest compressions, even under difficult conditions, to provide life-saving support for extended periods of time. 

The Lucas chest compression system helps first responders do what they do best – save lives,” said Firefighter Paramedic Kyle Tong, lead trainer on the new devices.

The Kid Gloves Boxing Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is presenting the First Annual Operation Get Fit, a fundraiser that will benefit Veterans and active duty military personnel. Veterans can benefit emotionally as well as physically from a no-contact, boxing-style fitness regimen that helps release stress, according to Alicia Doyle, a Ventura resident and Two-Time Golden Gloves Champion who trained at Kid Gloves Boxing in the late 1990s when only a few hundred women were competing in this male dominated sport. “This cause is close to my heart,” said Doyle, whose father, Frank Doyle, was a Navy veteran who passed away on September 21 at the age of 84. Her father, who earned his Master’s Degree in engineering on the G.I. Bill, was considered a brilliant rocket scientist.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020, was declared by the Ventura City Council as “World AIDS Day” in Ventura, with Quilt Project Gold Coast volunteers receiving the proclamation read by Mayor Matt LaVere at their November 26th Zoom council meeting. And on World AIDS Day, Quilt Project Gold Coast displayed eleven locally made AIDS Quilts on the steps of Ventura City Hall from 2-5 for public viewing, as well as hosting a masked sunset vigil to remember those lost to the disease.

Attended by dozens of local residents and people from as far away as San Bernardino, the program for the vigil was conducted by Boardmember Mark Lager, with comments from Keith Coffman-Grey, a musical selection from Andy Edgar-Beltran, and invocations from Rev. Melissa Langdell and Deacon Joel Chan.

Ventura City Councilmember-elect Doug Halter read the proclamation for those in attendance.

Due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the event was masked and the only public observance in Ventura or Santa Barbara counties (with other groups opting for virtual forums) for World AIDS Day.

Community Memorial Health System is expanding its successful year-old ROSA Total Knee Replacement System program, bringing knee replacement surgery with the ROSA robots to Community Memorial Hospital. CMH and Ojai Valley Community Hospital remain the only hospitals in the Tri-Counties offering this cutting-edge technology.

The expansion of CMHS’s ROSA Knee replacement surgery program comes as doctors have performed over 50 knee replacement surgeries at the Ojai hospital using the ROSA Total Knee Replacement System, a new robotically-assisted surgical system that enhances total knee replacement surgery. After experiencing such positive outcomes with the ROSA robot surgeries in Ojai, CMH purchased two new ROSA robots for use at CMH. On December 4th, Dr. Robert Mazurek performed the first ROSA knee replacement surgery at CMH. Physicians can now operate a total of three ROSA robots at both the Ojai and Ventura hospitals. Total joint replacement is among the most commonly performed elective surgeries in the United States today. The ROSA system combines robotic technology with industry-leading knee implants to help surgeons personalize knee replacement surgery for patients.

The City of San Buenaventura and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, a local environmental group, have announced an amendment to their settlement agreement in the lawsuit regarding the pumping and diversion of water from the Ventura River Watershed. Both Channelkeeper and the City remain committed to ensuring the protection of this local water source and the species that rely on it. The ongoing collaboration enables dialogue toward a locally developed solution to continue moving forward.

Under the modified terms, the City will continue the Pilot Program it implemented in 2019 to reduce its pumping and diversion of water from the Ventura River when flows drop during dry times, in order to help protect wildlife that depend on the river. The Pilot Program was originally set to expire in March of 2020, however, the City continues to honor the flow regime set in place.

Additionally, the City and Channelkeeper have agreed to keep a dialogue open to identify additional ways to work collaboratively on other Watershed and habitat-related public relations efforts.

Harbor donates over 1,000 food items for CAN-Tree Food Drive 

Cans of food were festively stacked to look like decorated holiday trees

Tis the season for giving, and part of the holiday magic was evident as
Ventura Harbor Village hosted a Holiday CAN-Tree Food Drive for Food Share Ventura County
this past weekend. The seaside activity was an example of sharing with others who will receive
much-needed food this holiday season.  Locals and visitors dropped off more than 1,000
canned goods and other food items and donated to the non-profit organization to help make
the holidays bright. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKpGd8aqD5I&feature=emb_title

As part of the one-day holiday collection, cans of food were festively stacked to look like two
colorfully decorated holiday trees, one in true sea-theme with a mermaid tail topper, and the
second decorated traditional red and green, topped with a gold tinsel tree. Visitors also got a
chance to catch a glimpse and have a socially distanced visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their
sleigh, handing out reindeer antlers to those who donated food items.

“It really is uplifting to see the community come together and support those families in need,”
said Ventura Port District General Manager Brian Pendleton. “We were proud to have
exceeded our goal to assist Food Share Ventura County this holiday season.”

In addition, visitors were able to “shop small” and take in some last-minute shopping outdoors
from  one-of-a-kind retailers, selling handcrafted items from homemade chocolate to
handcrafted pottery, and enjoy delicious take-out meals from numerous harbor restaurants
featuring seaside eats and treats.

County of Ventura’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer announced

“Phin is a dynamic and results-driven leader.”

After a nationwide recruitment that garnered over 150 applicants, the County of Ventura has selected Phin Xaypangna (pronounced Pin) as the County of Ventura’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.

“Phin is a dynamic and results-driven leader with more than twenty years of experience in diversity, equity and inclusion,” said County CEO Mike Powers. “Her extensive experience will serve our County well. We are deeply committed to ensuring that all employees and those we serve have a sense of safety, belonging, justice and equity and this position will help lead us forward in improving our efforts.”

The Diversity and Inclusion Officer will drive engagement, strategy, implementation and accountability for all County of Ventura Diversity and Inclusion initiatives to ensure that all employees and those receiving County services are treated with respect and without discrimination and that the County leverages the strength of the diverse County workforce and community.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to become Ventura County’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. The organization has made significant progress in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. I’m excited to be leading this effort to the next level,” said Phin Xaypangna. “We must all work together and hold ourselves accountable to ensure that all residents and employees of Ventura County have the opportunity to thrive. I’m committed to operationalizing racial equity and social justice to everything we do to create equitable outcomes and making Ventura County a leader in this area.”

Xaypangna has served as the Equity and Inclusion Manager for the County of Mecklenburg in Charlotte, North Carolina a County with more than 6,000 employees and more than one million residents. She led the County’s efforts in developing diversity, equity and inclusion measures, programs and policies.

The new position, a best practice in private industry for supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, will continue and enhance work that is already in progress at the County of Ventura. In 2017, the County launched the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force comprised of leaders from across County agencies and departments. The Task Force’s mission is to enhance and strengthen systems, programs, and learning to ensure that the County has the best practices to work effectively and leverage diversity with all team members, customers, and with the community, and to improve outcomes for community members, deliver culturally responsible services, and maintain successful partnerships with community organizations.

To date, the Task Force has worked to develop and implement mandatory employee cultural competency training, created an online Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Library, created a Mentorship Program, established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council, supported creation of a County of Ventura Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer leadership position, and has continued the bilingual incentive premium for County employees to provide services in Spanish and Indigenous languages.

In November, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. The resolution discusses working collaboratively with community stakeholders, law and justice agencies, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, health care professionals, and others to address public concerns, review practices and effective allocation of resources. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer will take the lead on this collaboration.

Thank you to Christy Weir for serving 17 years on the Ventura City Council

Weir is appreciative of the people that she served with.

by Carol Leish

Christy Weir, who was on the Ventura City Council from 2003-2020. got involved since, according to her, “The city, in 2003, was starting the process of adopting a new General Plan, and there was a meeting taking place about the community’s vision for the future of Ventura. I was interested in land use planning because of the long-term impact on the character of the city and the quality of life for the residents. And, I wanted to help lead civic engagement efforts, to ensure that the people of Ventura had voice in their future.”

Weir and her family have lived in Ventura since 1986. She said that her husband and her have raised their son and daughter here. According to Weir, “My son and daughter now live in this community with their families. Thus, I am fortunate to have my six grandchildren nearby.”

Weir said that she was a teacher for ten years. She was also a managing editor at a local publishing company for fifteen years.

“My years on the Ventura Council,” according to Weir, “have been spent speaking on behalf of families and children and nature. I am especially proud of accomplishments in the areas of urban forestry and beautification. Trees are not just decoration; they are essential to the health of our environment and a key in fighting climate change.”

“Protecting our health and environment for future generations has always been a top priority of mine,” according to Weir. She continued by saying, “Protecting our health and environment for future generations has always been a top priority of mine. During my years on the Council, we banned smoking in city parks and other public areas, voted to not allow the sale of flavored nicotine products and banned the use of Styrofoam by our restaurants. I also led the efforts to join the Clean Power Alliance to provide renewable energy to our residents.”

“As the founder and board member of the Downtown Ventura Partners,” Weir said, “I’ve been thrilled to have seen the success of our outdoor dining pedestrian environment in response to COVID-19. Our historic downtown is a priceless community asset, and one that we can all support with our shopping and dining dollars.”

Weir said, “After many years of efforts, we were successful in opening Ventura’s first year-round homeless shelter, in collaboration with Ventura County and other dedicated partners.”

Weir also stressed the importance of transportation “Active transportation is crucial for our future. Creating safe, connecting bike lanes and well-maintained sidewalks has been a priority of mine.”

Weir is appreciative of the people that she served with. “I was glad to share this position on the Ventura City Council), with people who she respected and has learned from: Brian Brennan, Sandy Smith, Jim Monahan, Carl Morehouse, Bill Fulton, Neal Andrews, Ed Summers, Mike Tracy, Cheryl Heitmann, Erik Nasarenko, Matt LaVere, Jim Friedman, Lorrie Brown, and Sofia Rubalcava.

I’d especially like to thank councilmembers LaVere and Heitmann, for their strength and leadership during the Thomas Fire and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the incoming new council, Weir would like to say, ‘Congratulations and welcome to our new council members: Joe Schroeder, Doug Halter, and Mike Johnson, who will be instrumental in shaping Ventura’s future.

Thank you, Christy Weir, for your many years of service and involvement on the Ventura City Council.

City recognized for environmental achievements

Cathy and Kent Bullard  have been driving on sunshine since 2011.

The City of Ventura received a Beacon Spotlight Award for its measurable
achievements in reducing community greenhouse gas emissions, further illustrating its
dedication to meet state climate goals. The Beacon Award, which is sponsored by the
Institute for Local Government (ILG), honored Ventura with a Silver Level Award for an
eight percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions during a special virtual presentation
in conjunction with the League of Cities Annual Conference.

This award builds on Ventura’s long-standing commitment to environmental
sustainability. Since joining the Beacon Program in 2010, the City has been recognized
for numerous achievements for saving energy and implementing sustainability best
practices like implementing a green business certification program, expanding open
spaces, planting drought-resistant landscaping, and encouraging alternate modes of
transportation.

“We are honored to gain recognition in our efforts to help reduce greenhouse gas
emissions in our City. By doing our part, we hope to inspire others to continue making
small changes that can help create the biggest impacts in improving our environment,”
said Mayor Matt LaVere.

In addition to participating in the Beacon Program, the City of Ventura is also part of ILG’s
BOOST Pilot Program, a joint endeavor of the ILG and the California Strategic Growth
Council (SGC) to help local governments address California’s climate and equity goals.
Through the BOOST Program, the City has secured more $700,000 in grant funding to
support its comprehensive planning effort, which will include the City’s first Climate Action
and Resilience Plan. The City’s participation in both programs provides additional
resources to assist with climate and resilience initiatives.

“Current events across the state such as record setting heat waves, devastating wildfires
and extremely poor air quality underscore the importance of implementing both proven
and innovative policies and practices to move the needle on climate change,” says Erica
L. Manuel, CEO and Executive Director of the Institute for Local Government.

Cathy and Kent Bullard are proud residents of Ventura who appreciate the City’s continued efforts to improve the environment for all residents. They both have been driving on sunshine since 2011 and helped to establish the Electric Vehicles Advocates of Ventura County. Their home in East Ventura’s has a 4.2kW solar system which provides 100% of their electrical needs including charging both of their electric vehicles. They are regular participants in our local environmental scene educating others about making personal changes to benefit everyone.

Commenting on the award Ventura Bike HUB Joey Juhasz-Lukomski stated “We can’t reduce GHG emissions quickly if we don’t get people out of cars. For errands, commuting, going to school, and every other kind of trip, having the knowledge to just fix a flat tire yourself or the confidence to ride in traffic could be the difference between reaching for your car keys or reaching for you helmet as you walk out the door.”

“As we celebrate this win, it’s important to remember that if future generations are to inherit a livable planet we must continue to follow the courageous example of our current city leadership in reducing GHG emissions.  Gratefully, the Solarize Ventura program enabled broader participation, including my own, towards mitigating the impact of climate change on our youth.  Thanks to all involved!” stated Cindy Piester.

The Institute for Local Government established the Beacon Program to create a
framework to assist local governments in setting goals, documenting progress and
sharing best practices that create healthier, more efficient, vibrant communities.
To learn more about the City of Ventura’s achievements visit: www.ca-ilg.org/beaconaward-participant-profile/city-ventura.