Category Archives: This ‘n’ That

April Davis: gifted and giving

stuff April
April Davis leads the gathering in song at a  Candlelight Memorial Service at Cypress Place Senior Living.  The touching service was in honor of those who are no longer with us but are forever present in our hearts. Photo by Michael Gordon

by Victoria Usher

I think we can all agree that music is something very special that can change people’s lives in so many indescribable ways. It can turn strangers into friends or even bring happiness and comfort during times of sadness. When someone has a voice that has the ability to bring that type of joy to people’s lives then that is truly a gift that should be shared with the world. Nineteen year old April Davis has been gifted with a beautiful singing voice, one which she happily and passionately uses to touch the lives of people of all ages.

What makes April so unique and special is the fact that she is able to reach the elderly and the Veterans with her singing at such a young age. Listening to songs that she hears in old movies makes her want to learn how to sing them, and when she finally does she sings them so wonderfully.


Singing the old time songs that April loves has helped her to create a strong connection with the elderly in town including the Alzheimer/Dementia units at the Memory Care Unit at Cypress Place. She sings regularly at Oxnard Family Circle and Cypress Place, but she has also sung at local assisted living facilities such as The Bonaventure, The Lexington, The Palms, and The Gables.


April has shared her love for singing with many people; she was a winner of the 2014 La Estrella singing contest at the Pacific View Mall, a finalist for the 805’s Got Talent competition, she sang at the Ventura High Auditorium for the Festival of Talent, and she sang for an organization at the Fess Parker Doubletree in Santa Barbara. She has sung the National Anthem at Ventura College football stadium for various events, at her middle school, at her high school graduation, and before the political dignitaries at various Veteran events. And at the Pacific View Mall for Livingston Memorial VNA’s annual Light Up A Life.


Singing has been a very large part of April’s life since she was eight years old. There was an American Idol Contest at her after school program at Las Posas Child Care Center and she advanced to the final round, but April made the mature decision to sign up for vocal lessons instead even though she did win runner up.


April was first taught the Speech Leveling Singing method from her voice instructor Kathleen Kernohan. She now takes lessons with a vocal instructor Soli Geerling, he has helped her with her voice in many ways, including teaching her how to use her voice for operas as well as classical music.


Aside from singing, April will be attending Azusa Pacific this fall after she finishes up her second year at Ventura College. She will continue to work hard in school and she will also continue to bring happiness to people’s lives with her amazing voice. Music is a magical thing that can bring so many people together in ways that seem almost unreal at times, and to be gifted with a beautiful singing voice that can create that kind of magic is an unbelievable gift. I think that we are all looking forward to hopefully seeing much more of the talented April Davis in the future.

​Barbara Quaid elected 2016 President of Western Fairs Association

Barbara Quaid, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Ventura County Fairgrounds, has been elected as President of the Western Fairs Association’s (WFA) Board of Directors. She was inaugurated at the Association’s annual conference in Anaheim.

Quaid will serve a one-year term as WFA President. She has served as 2015 Vice President and 2014 Treasurer.

As President of the 19 member elected Board, Quaid will represent the more than 800 WFA members and will work on their behalf for legislative advocacy, as well as govern the activities and policies of the association.

Barbara Quaid’s association with the Ventura County Fair began in 1972 as a volunteer in the exhibits department. Her career included many roles as a Fairgrounds staff member, earning the position of deputy manager. She currently serves as the Fairgrounds General Manager and CEO. Quaid serves on the Board of Directors of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, the Ventura Visitors Bureau and is active in the Ventura County Fairgrounds Foundation.

The Western Fairs Association is a non-profit trade association serving the Fair industry throughout the Western United States and Canada. WFA serves fair-related businesses, fair management, fair board directors, festivals, and industry associations.

The 2016 Ventura County Fair, “A Country Fair with Ocean Air,” is August 3 – 14.

For information about the Ventura County Fairgrounds visit or call 648-3376.


Startup book clubs forming at Bank of Books

Seven new book clubs are starting  at Book Club Headquarters in Bank of Books in Ventura.  Join one of the startup book clubs and receive your first book for free!

Owner Clarey Rudd states “this is a great way to meet new people, which often in a book club, can lead to long-time friendships.  This is very safe time to become involved when everyone will be new in these groups.”

Manager of Bank of Books, Rob, indicates that the book clubs will start in the month of March, so now is the time to pick up the book for the group they will participate in.  Nancy, the Book Club Organizer, is available to discuss book club startups with people wanting to start their own unique book club. If people need training to start a book club, this service is also available.

A ‘Harry Potter Book Club’ will begin in March and meet regularly for 6 months.

Each Book Club will meet in the Living Room downstairs at Bank of Books 748 E. Main, Ventura.

Nancy encourages ones to come and sign-up now to reserve your space, as each group will be limited in size. (The first person to sign up gets to pick the day/time of the meeting.) Each book club will meet monthly with a new book being discussed.

Contact  Rob Radford or Nancy Buchanan 643-3154 for more information.



Vol. 9, No. 9 – February 3 – February 16, 2016 – News at CAPS

By Elizabeth Rodeno

Ventura’s public channel 6 is the place for the citizens of Ventura to share their news.  Our bulletin boards feature information about upcoming events, classes and programs. We broadcast public service announcements about newsworthy issues and events, including useful tips on preparation for El Nino and motorcycle safety.   Shows from our members in the community share newsworthy and noteworthy information with viewers all day. Programs addressing the issues including homelessness, the drought, and social justice. On the lighter side, we also broadcast cooking, health, travel, and the latest in the arts and poetry scene.

On channel 15, our education and government channel provides the community with some great news programming also. Above all, are the broadcasts of the City Council meetings. You can’t get more up-to-date information than the Monday night meetings in this city. Other broadcasted city meetings from the Planning Commission, Design Review and Historic Preservation Committee, provide even more city related news on development in the area.  Ventura County Board of Supervisor’s meetings are also hosted on 15. Check them out Thursday evenings. Don’t forget to check out CAPS’ Business of the Month and Mayor for a Moment shorts shared at the Council meetings.

The staff is proud to be working on the Ventura County News Channel with Bill Nash. We are learning a lot about what county services are out there and how they affect us. Do you know what it takes to rescue a horse who fell into a ravine? The place to find out is on the VCNC channel, hosted on Ventura County’s website.

Channel 15 is also the outlet for Ventura’s educational institutions.  Every other Tuesday night you can get a glimpse of how the VUSD works and what news they have to tell. We have spent a lot of time on the Ventura College campus bringing you stories about the students from the varied certificate programs such as Water Sciences, Welding and Manufacturing.

Our closest neighbor is the unique El Camino High School at Ventura College. We have close to a dozen of their enthusiastic students learning the ropes of news making. With thoughtful investigation and a lot of hard work, these students are producing news, pure and simple. Their news program, ECTV, addresses current issues that affect young people. After watching their shows, it is pretty clear these are issues that affect us all.

CAPS is one of the several news outlets in Ventura. We thank the Breeze for bringing pertinent news to the people and working with us to keep you current. Go to our website, for more information and links to newsworthy programming. Call us at 805-658-0500 for information on how to produce your own news.


The City Center: A place for second chances

Unfortunately, Meghan’s journey at the center did not have a happy ending.
Unfortunately, Meghan’s journey at the center did not have a happy ending.

by Mira Reverente

When it rains, it pours. Blessings, that is. That pretty much sums up the past year for Meghan Long, a single mom of twin young boys.

Divorced, broke and in treatment for substance abuse, the 32-year-old’s future was uncertain for a while. One step at a time, she tackled her issues, starting with a detox program, at Prototypes. “The program provided me with some much-needed structure,” says Long of her four-month stint at the women’s treatment center off of Victoria Avenue.

“We got up at the same time every day, completed our chores and attended classes, meetings or counseling sessions regularly,” she says. “We had to ‘act’ like we were getting ready to go to work every day.”

Upon “graduation” from the program, Long tackled her housing situation next and was fortunate to land a spot at The City Center, a transitional living center for families, along Thompson Boulevard.

“It’s a working program for families in transition,” says Jim Duran, executive director of the center. “It’s for adults with children and the adults are required to get a job within 30 days.”

That is exactly what Long accomplished in the first month of her stay. As a server at a local restaurant, she works Monday to Friday, while the boys are in pre-school. Occasionally, she’ll pick up an evening or weekend shift, if her mom or dad can watch the boys.

For some of them with little or no financial literacy training, a few concepts like savings, budgeting and bill-paying are new. “The residents are required to allocate 30% of their pay for rent, 20% for savings and the remainder for groceries and other day-to-day expenses,” says Duran. “We help them come up with a budget and we teach them the concept of interest – how their savings can grow in interest-bearing accounts.”

The young mom appreciates all the new life skills she’s picking up, including time management and personal accountability. She says, “We rotate through chores. This week, I’m supposed to sweep the laundry room.”

“We also have to be home by 9 pm every day,” she says of the curfew. “I don’t mind because it’s so peaceful and safe in here.”

For anything and everything, the residents get support from the staff. Olga Hamra is a case manager who screens and interviews potential residents and helps them get settled once they’re in.

“We talk about anything and I help them process whatever issues they’re facing,” she says. “In situations like Meghan’s, stress and anxiety are fairly common.”

Unfortunately, Long’s journey at the center did not have the much-anticipated happy ending. She was evicted right around the holidays for breaking the rules.

“She had just earned a weekend pass,” says Duran, explaining that residents earn weekend passes by completing assigned chores, achieving set goals – a reward for good behavior basically.

Long was given a second chance but had to make some amends by attending a couple of meetings. “She dragged her feet with the process,” says Duran. “So we had to let her go.”

He says, “We’re all about chances and we’re in it for people to win, but they need to do their part. They also need to learn that there are consequences to their actions.”

Meantime, another resident has taken Long’s place, joining many others on the journey to independence, full of promise and potential. Good wishes and high hopes abound at the center.

For more information on The City Center, visit











Violin and viola competition

Applications are now being accepted for the 8th annual Henry Schwab Ventura
County Violin/Viola Competition. The contest is open to Ventura County residents up to the age of 22.  This competition is sponsored by a grant from the Henry Schwab Charitable Fund and encourages young musicians and also furthers their musical education.

The preliminary audition will be held March 19 at the Ventura College Recital Hall. Three candidates will be selected who will compete on June 18

at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center, accompanied by the Ventura College Symphony Orchestra. The competitions are open to the public. Free admission to the preliminary competition; for the final competition there will be a charge of $15.00 general, $5.00 for seniors/staff/students.

First prize is $1,500, second prize $1,000 and third prize $500.00. Questions can be addressed to Connie Hood at 323-610-7704 or Ann Kosinski at 658-8180.


VVCB in the news

Earthscape art project led by sand artist, Andres Amador. Photo by John Ferritto

The Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau (VVCB) is excited to announce that they have been named finalists for the ‘Commitment to Community’ award in Visit California’s 2016 Poppy Awards.

This special project is being recognized by Visit California at the Poppy Awards and Industry Recognition Gala Feb. 23 in Oakland, when the winners will be revealed.

The Visit California Poppy Awards are a biennial contest that honors the best and brightest of California tourism promotion. Winners will be selected by a panel of industry marketing experts in 10 categories ranging from best public relations campaign, to best digital campaign to best regional collaborative marketing campaign.

VVCB entered the awards based on Ventura’s first temporary earthscape art project led by sand artist, Andres Amador. This project was innovative and creative from the start.

The Board of Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau (VVCB) is pleased to announce a title change for Executive Director, Marlyss Auster. Effective immediately, Ms. Auster’s title will be President and CEO. Board Chairperson, Nancy Pedersen, stated “This title is more consistent with industry standards as tracked by Destination Marketing Association of the West, and warranted based on Ms. Auster’s stellar work at VVCB.”

Ms. Auster joined VVCB as Executive Director three years ago. In that time she has revamped and revitalized the organization by building a strong, enthusiastic team that, under her leadership, operates in an environment where new ideas and creativity flourish. That team has put VVCB at the forefront of driving tourism to Ventura and has worked to develop and strengthen partnerships with all stakeholders involved in that effort.

Ms. Auster’s decision to involve stakeholders to develop VVCB’s branding set the pace for VVCB’s overall strategy to grow partnerships and value community collaboration to promote Ventura. Ms. Auster also led efforts to bring sand artist Andres Amador to Ventura to create temporary earthscape art that introduced VVCB’s new branding and created opportunities for community ownership and engagement.

Ms. Auster is highly respected in the industry and was recently elected President of the Central Coast Tourism Council (CCTC). She also was instrumental in gaining Ventura recognition as a finalist for Sunset Magazine’s Travel Awards Municipal Makeover category.


Vol. 9, No. 9 – February 3 – February 16, 2016 – Answer In A Breeze

If you have a question you would like answered send it to and we will try to get an answer for you.

answer in a breeze insertQ.   What is proposed on the triangle lot where the closed Joes Crabshack is located ?
Walt Mattace

A.   The proposed project, at 567 Sanjon (or is it San Jon?)  is a 231-unit multi-family residential apartment project and the demolition of a 7,000 square foot restaurant building on approximately 11 acres. The project includes 137 one-bedroom units, 91 two-bedroom units, and 3 three-bedroom units.

answer in a breezeAdditionally, the project includes a new bluff-top public promenade with overlook areas fronting onto Hwy 101 Freeway. Additionally, a 20,000 square foot publicly accessible park space is proposed to be developed at the western edge of the project site adjacent to the southern terminus of Ash Street. The project proposes one new street designed as a two lane collector (it will be called Vista Del Mar)with public parking available on both sides of the street. Sidewalks are located on both sides of the street for pedestrian access.

The proposed project was reviewed by the Design Review Committee on Jan.20. The Committee had several concerns about the project as submitted including the possibility of incorporating the shuttered Crabshack into the plans. The project will be going back to the Committee after their concerns have been considered. It will still be several years away from development while securing the many approvals required.

If you want more information regarding this the city planner handling the project is Jared Rosengren, AICP at 658-4737.


Vol. 9, No. 8 – January 20 – February 2, 2016 – Tech Today

Tech Today with Ken May
How to sell your electronic devices

Happy new year! With a new year comes new electronics, be tablets, phones, laptops or what have you. There is a much better solution than to just let those device sit around and gather dust! The more adventurous and technically inclined may wish to hack the devices into “do it yourself” projects, but for most of us, it is better to simply sell them. Well, here it is in 2016, and there’s more options than ever, and it’s very, very easy to do! Here are some of the most popular options right now.

  1. Auction style

EBay is the gold standard here. It is a pretty safe bet to say that if you look through the most recent completed listings, you will have a very good idea of what your device is worth on the open market. Be sure to set your buyer filters to not allow people with negative feedback to bid. You may also want to disallow new members from bidding. There is nothing more frustrating than selling your item, and having a non-paying bidder.

  1. Bulletin board style

Craigslist is the go to for local, community listings. Creeps and scammers abound, so you want to take every precaution. Only meet in a public place for the transaction, and only do cash. If you have larger item, craigslist may be the way to go, if you want to avoid dealing with shipping.

  1. Consignment style

These sites are starting to pop up now. They will pick a price, you ship it to them, the list and sell it for you. You won’t get as much as eBay, but it is less hassle. Glyde is a front runner here. You have to wait for it to sell, but don’t have to deal with the seller. I would recommend avoiding this route, and just go for eBay or a direct sale site.

  1. Direct sale style

This has exploded recently. Sites like Amazon Trade-In, Gazelle and Nextworth are some front runners. They will pay you up front for your device. You probably get the least amount of cash using this method, but you get paid right away, and it is done. It’s very easy to sell this way, since you can just click through a few screens to find out the value of your item. There are even mall kiosks doing this now, but their payouts are terrible.

In the end, there is a variety of options out there, so you can choose the method that your feel is right for you. It is definitely worth spending a little time checking out what you would get for you item from the various sites. I have seen pricing range by as much as $50-$100! Keep in mind that you’ll get the most value for a working device in good condition. If your device is broken, eBay may be your best bet.