Category Archives: This ‘n’ That

Welcome to the new CEO of Vista del Mar Hospital, Dan Powell

Powell was the former supervisor of impatient mental health services for Ventura County.

by Carol Leish

Dan Powell became the new CEO of Vista del Mar Hospital, a private psychiatric facility in Ventura, in December of 2020. He says, “My focus is to continue the exceptional patient care to the communities that we serve. This will include expanding upon staff and team development, since we have a good team of folks that work here now who really care about the patients that they work with. They provide safe, compassionate, and meaningful care to patients.”

Powell was the former supervisor of impatient mental health services for Ventura County. He supervised the impatient psychiatric unit and a short-term crisis stabilization program at Ventura County Medical Center’s Hillmont facility for six years. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology; is a Marriage Family Therapist (MFT); is a Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst; and is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Specialist.

“My philosophy for treatment of patients, and my vision for treatment aligned,” according to Powell. “Thus, it was a good time to transition into the CEO role for me. I’m committed to providing exceptional behavioral health care to all patients in the communities that we serve.”

Changes have occurred at Vista del Mar since the Thomas Fire of 2017. According to Powell, “Now there is the opening of opportunities of expansion in order to provide more services, such as: outpatient and telehealth services. Along with rebuilding parts of the hospital, we are continuing to expand upon outpatient services, which includes reaching out to help more from an outpatient perspective.”

Powell said that, “With people coping with a stay-at-home order, there is more fear and anxiety of contracting COVID-19, along with fear of the future. Because of the current situation, we work actively with patients in order to address their needs and help them to better cope with depression and anxiety, especially with the possibility or occurrence of losing loved ones or of knowing others who are sick. We work with patients by treating their current symptoms and helping them to work through this process.”

“We are beginning to partner with St. John’s Regional Medical Center, in Oxnard, to jointly provide a crisis stabilization unit,” according to Powell. “This unit will be able to help more citizens of the county who need crisis intervention services. I’m pleased to work together and to be able to partner in order to provide this much needed service.”

Since coping with anxiety and depression, along with other behavior health needs, is as important as dealing with physical needs, especially during the pandemic, Vista del Mar Hospital offers needed psychiatric services, under the leadership of the new CEO, Dan Powell.

“There’s No Place Like Hope” for children with cancer and their families

When Jasmin was diagnosed with cancer, she was only one year old.

Every year, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) provides guidance and companionship, as well financial and emotional support to families in the Tri-County areas who have a child facing pediatric cancer. Last year and now, due to the pandemic, life has become tougher on these families who have a child who is immunocompromised.

Whether it be a single-family household, or an entire family in need, TBCF has offered hope, comfort and stability during this time, when they need it more than ever. Families battling pediatric cancer have been dealing with isolation, fear, uncertainty and the loss of “normal” for so much longer than we’ve been fighting this pandemic and they’ve been doing it alone. TBCF aims to help support these families with basic needs going into 2021.

One child TBCF has provided for throughout the years is Jasmin Castro from Ventura County, who has lived with cancer her entire life. Her story is truly one of courage, hope, and grit.

When Jasmin was diagnosed with cancer, she was only one year old. The treatments saved her life, but left her almost completely deaf, and with other disabilities. During this time, TBCF assisted Jasmin’s family with financial support, and she began attending their family support groups so she did not go through this alone.

Years later, when Jasmin was 10, TBCF and Santa Barbara Police Foundation partnered to raise funds for state-of-the-art hearing aids which was truly a miracle for her and her family. After Jasmin received the hearing aids, she heard birds chirping for the first time in her life and her and her family were so happy! With the help of the hearing device, her determination to succeed, and community support, Jasmin became a straight-A student, played softball, and danced.

As she continued to attend TBCF’s family support groups and became a role model for other children battling cancer. She helped other families feel less alone. Nothing could stop her. Then five years later, she suffered a brain aneurysm and was in a coma for 3 weeks. She lost her ability to walk, talk and eat, and she had to start over again. But Jasmin never stopped fighting. She went back to school and although It was hard, she never gave up. She graduated from high school with honors and is now studying to become a nurse. She has been attending Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s family support group for the past 17 years. Jasmin never gave up on herself and Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation will never give up on her.

Jasmin is just one of the family stories of hundreds of children in the Tri-County areas facing pediatric cancer and now these families need hope more than ever as we stay in lockdown. To learn more or make a donation and give a family hope during COVID-19, please visit

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation advocates for families living in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties that have a child with cancer by providing financial, educational, and emotional support.

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.

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:

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

Justice For All Ventura County hosts virtual Town Hall Rally

“The Work Continues – Pick Your Passion” will be the theme of a virtual town hall to take place Saturday, January 23rd, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

The virtual town hall will feature speakers from various organizations including Planned Parenthood, Ventura County Reproductive Rights Network, Climate Hub 350 and the Black Lawyers Association who will address pressing issues such as the threat to our environment, attacks on women’s and LGBTQ rights, the impacts of racism on our society, and the need for immigration and criminal justice reform.

With the Biden/Harris inauguration some may think that rallies and marches are no longer needed. Justice For All Ventura County (JFAVC) would disagree.

“We’re hopeful that the policies from the last four years will change, but we know there’s a lot of work to be done,” says Christine Burke, JFAVC President. “We want people to learn what’s going on, become engaged and make their voices heard.”

“By our count there are over 100 social justice organizations in Ventura County, each focused on different critical issues. Our goal is for people to find out about these groups, pick their passion, and find ways to help,” explained Burke.

An immediate way to begin helping is to donate warming packets for the homeless. Needed items include blankets, jackets, tarps and rain ponchos. Donations can be made at locations in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard and Ventura. Donations will be accepted between 9:00 am and noon on Saturday, January 23rd.

Information about the virtual town hall and the drop off locations for the warming packets can be found at

Justice For All Ventura County is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has been hosting, in association with the national Women’s March, rallies and marches since January, 2017.

Church of Scientology Ventura Women’s Auxiliary teams up with Friends of Fieldworkers

With the pandemic creating hardships for families across the Southland, the Church of Scientology helped make the holidays special for children who would otherwise have gone without.

In Ventura County, where COVID-19 cases are surging, the Friends of Fieldworkers, a nonprofit and the Church of Scientology provided toys and gifts to underserved youngsters.

The Women’s Auxiliary of the Church of Scientology Ventura collected and donated hundreds of gifts which they presented to the Friends of Fieldworkers to help make the holidays special for these local families.

Safety was of utmost concern to those who participated in the toy drive and the Women’s Auxiliary took great care to follow the guidelines published on the Church’s “Stay Well” website.

Throughout the pandemic, the Church of Scientology Ventura has been active in providing for the needs of the community while helping residents by promoting prevention protocols to ensure they and their families stay well.

“Our holiday wish is for everyone to stay healthy,” says Bobbi Grantham, Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Scientology Ventura. “We can bring down the number of cases and start the new year right.”

The Church of Scientology of Ventura celebrated its grand opening in February 2020. Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, dedicated the new Church. Within weeks, stay-at-home-orders were issued throughout California, and Church staff and parishioners immediately adopted the guidelines the Church published on the Scientology website and used these to reach out to the community to help everyone make it through these challenging times.

Friends of Fieldworkers, Inc., is a non-profit charity established to help improve the lives of the families of fieldworkers in Ventura County. We receive contributions of cash and in-kind gifts (clothing, bedding, books, household items, furniture, etc.), sponsor activities for children, and provide assistance with such matters as education and healthcare.

The Bookmark About Libraries and Friends

by Jill Forman

Just for fun, and to honor more of the volunteers behind the scenes who keep things running, I decided to rerun my first-ever article for the Breeze.

The Wizards of the Warehouse (originally run August 2015)

They don’t look like wizards, this group of mostly-older people quietly moving around among piles and shelves and tables and bags and boxes…….not of some magical potions, but of books and media.  Yet these folks weave magic all their own.  They transform donations of books, CDs and DVDs into programs for children, lectures for adults, teen group activities, library supplies, new reading material for everyone, and many other wondrous things.

These wizards are the book sorters for the Ventura Friends of the Library.  Working in a small warehouse space with an estimated 20,000 items, with up to 30 boxes a week coming in, they inspect and sort and price each book.  Between three to twelve of them show up weekly, mostly retired people in their 70’s (up to age 88!) and work their magic.  Items are shelved by category, subject, dates, condition, and so on.  It is a miraculous effort and the results are amazing.

Friends of the Library donated $68,151.00, to the E.P. Foster, Avenue and Saticoy Libraries last year (2014) for special programs, materials and equipment: through book sales, the E.P. Foster Library Bookstore, Amazon On-Line Sales, memberships, donations, and interest. The Friends of the Library also contribute to a Capital Improvement Fund, for future library buildings or improvements, and an Endowment Fund.

Though mostly retired, among the workers gathered there one Friday was a teacher, a nurse, and a stay-at-home parent.  The wizards used to work at much more ordinary occupations:  accountant, product manager, librarian (of course,) retail sales, contract administrator, and in a school office.  All these jobs have one thing in common: making order out of the normal disorder of life, be it someone’s bookkeeping, a manufacturing plant, student records, or the chaos of an Emergency Room. Marvels of organization in themselves, these jobs translate well into turning discards into wonderful collections and programs at our libraries for the citizens of Ventura.

If you would like to join this endeavor, email the Friends at (current email for volunteering is The Friends welcome donations of books in good condition (no magazines or encyclopedias please), DVD’s, and CD’s.  There are donation boxes provided at the libraries (NOT THESE DAYS DUE TO COVID – CURRENT INFO ON THE VFOL WEBSITE.)  You can contribute by joining the Friends of the Library, and you may purchase gift memberships as well – the website is (now You can also make a donation to the Capital Improvement or Endowment Funds. The Friends are a 501(c)3 and all donations are tax deductible.

As the wizards say: “I love books;” “This is a good way to volunteer;” “It’s great to be with people with like interests;” “I like to organize;” “Books are my passion;” “Love to recycle books;” “Many hands make light work.” “Want to share my love of reading with others and give them a chance to have books;” “I think the Friends of the Library are great.”

Five students from Cabrillo Middle School named as Part of the All-State Honor Ensembles

by Rebecca Wicks

The Cabrillo Middle School is proud to announce five of its students have been selected through audition to be participants in the 2021 California All-State Honor Band, part of the annual California All- State Music Education Conference (CASMEC). Students chosen include Bea Barnes (Horn), Lucca Boccali (Tuba) Emily Gonzalez (Trumpet), Brynn Gray (Trumpet), and Kiran Maserang (Oboe).

“It’s a great honor to be selected and we are more than proud of these students,” said Mr. Mario Boccali, music director for the Cabrillo Middle School Music Department. “It’s definitely been one of the most challenging times in recent history for all musicians – young and old – and these students have definitely proven their dedication and perseverance.”

Each fall, thousands of students audition for the opportunity to participate in one of the CASMEC All-State Honor Ensembles which include All-State Bands, Orchestras, and Choirs. Traditionally, selected students travel to Fresno, Calif. in February from all over the state to participate in a four-day conference which includes a rigorous schedule of rehearsals, classes and concerts. This year because of COVID-19, the conference is scheduled to take place virtually.

The Cabrillo Middle School Music has a long history of its students being selected for this high honor, with students being chosen each year for 15 years running.

The Music Department at Cabrillo Middle School is directed by Mr. Mario Boccali and Mr. Gabriel Garnett and works to bring together music-making and the academic learning of music in the areas of composition, performance, music history and music theory. The department offers a variety of ensembles for every student – from those who have never played an instrument to those who enter the program with years of experience. Students learn music fundamentals and how to work hard and succeed as a group to produce great results. The program aims to provide a positive and fun environment where music students have the opportunity to participate in clinics with music professionals and perform at music festivals and other fun events throughout the community. The school’s top groups perform at nationally adjudicated festivals each year on the annual Spring Tour.

About Cabrillo Music Boosters – An all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, the Cabrillo Music Boosters serves to support Cabrillo Middle School’s vibrant award-winning music program. The Music Boosters’ primary function is to support the music program in several ways, the most important being fundraising. The CMS Boosters help to pay for new instruments, uniforms, new sheet music, music tutors for beginning band students, and transportation expenses for festival performances. To donate to or learn more about the program, go to:

January online classes and support groups

Presented by Dignity Health St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital and St. John’s Regional Medical Center

1. What to Know About Stroke (FREE Zoom Class)
Saturday, January 23, 2021, 11 a.m. to noon
Presenters: Sr. Suzanne Soppe
Class Description: In this class, you will learn what a stroke is, signs and symptoms, what to do, treatments, and how to prevent a stroke.
To register, please call 805.988.2693 and leave a detailed message with your full name and phone number. You can also email us at

2. Healthier Living: Chronic Disease Self-Management (FREE Zoom Class)
Co-Sponsored by the Camarillo Health Care District
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 (Six consecutive Tuesdays), 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Presenter: Sr. Suzanne Soppe and Blair Barker, MPH, from Camarillo Health Care District
Class Description: Learn how to manage your or a loved one’s ongoing health condition. Topics include exercise, medication, decision-making, emotions, healthy meal planning, and communication skills.
To register, please call 805.988.2693 and leave a detailed message with your full name and phone number. You can also email us at

3. FREE Mom to Mom Peer Support Group
Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Support group is not available on holidays.)
This group is designed for pregnant and postpartum women who need time to explore the complex emotions that often come with motherhood.
To register or for more information, please call 805.988.2784.

4. FREE Mommy and Me Support Group (0-6 months)
Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Support group is not available on holidays.)
This class focuses on infant care and parenting issues. You will learn about infant CPR and child safety, infant massage, and child development. Every class includes music and games that mothers and babies can enjoy together.
To register or for more information, please call 805.988.2784.

5. FREE Mommy and Me Support Group (6-12 months)
Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (Support group is not available on holidays.)
Learn how to handle the new challenges and concerns that arise as your baby gains mobility by sharing with others who are experiencing similar issues. Music and games are a part of every class.
To register or for more information, please call 805.988.2784.

6. FREE Sibling Class
First Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (Support group is not available on holidays.)
This one-time class is to prepare your child (age 2-10 years of age) for the upcoming birth of their new baby brother or sister. This class will include what babies do and how they communicate, what a big brother or sister may feel about the new baby’s arrival, and how they can help with the new baby. A special booklet and certificate will be mailed to the child after completion of the course.
To register or for more information, please call 805.988.2784.

7. FREE St. John’s Baby Bistro Breastfeeding Support Group
Wednesdays, noon to 1 p.m. (Support group is not available on holidays)
Nurture yourself and learn how to handle various issues that may come up after leaving the hospital by participating in a breastfeeding support group. Topics include engorgement, latch difficulties, sore nipple management, establishing and maintaining an adequate milk supply, preparing to return to work, pumping, milk collection and storage, weaning, and other shared concerns. Immediate breastfeeding questions and one-on-one consultations are also available via zoom.

To register or for more information, call St. John’s lactation office at 805.988.2796.