Category Archives: What’s New

The French Architect at the Olivas Adobe

Did Don Raymundo take the Frenchman back to his adobe home?

by Richard Senate

Family stories and legends may well hold more knowledge than we think and provide insights into the past. One such legend is that of the young French architect who may well have designed the Olivas Adobe.  The story tells how Raymundo, his sons and Vaqueros drove their herds of cattle north to the Gold Camps in the Sierra Nevada  Mountains selling them for gold to the hungry miners.  It was a cold hard journey but highly profitable.

As they road back they chanced upon a sick Frenchman seeking a warmer climate. Feeling sorry for the man Don Raymundo took him back to his adobe home to recover his health. The family helped to nurse him back to health.  Having no money, the Frenchman, who had been trained as an architect in France, offered to help in the expansion of the adobe home.

So the story goes, the kitchen was roofed in curved roof tiles. These were removed and replaced by wooden shingles. The young man helped, lifting the tiles and talking to Raymundo’s daughters, and blowing them kisses as they giggled. Their mother, Teodora, wisely did her best to keep them away from the Frenchman. When the house was done, the Frenchman returned to the gold camps to make his fortune.

It is not known if Raymundo gave him any money to help his prospecting, but it would be like him.  He never returned to visit the hacienda. Did he die in the camps? Did he return back to France? It is unknown. We do not even have a name for the young man. Is the story even true? Clearly, something happened to inspire the tale.  It does hint that Raymundo could speak French.  We know that the house was remodeled with a  second floor in 1855. Could that be the year that the Frenchman visited?  Maybe we shall never know what happened, but we have this charming story of a scene from the Gold Rush.

Vol. 17, No. 11 – Feb 21 – Mar 5, 2024 – Ventura Music Scene

by Pam Baumgardner

The rescheduled River Bottom Sessions’ Inaugural Bluegrass Festival is set for Saturday, March 2, noon to 7 pm, at Las Palmas de Ojai with performances by Tarantula Banjo, Ellie Rollins Band, The Van Allen Twins and Chris Murphy, and headlining the event is Mark Masson’s Jam Grass and Moonsville. Tickets can be found on EventBrite.

Jon Gindick has put together an acoustic blues night at Greater Goods in Meiners Oaks with fellow musicians, Ralph Carter, RJ Mischo, Bill Flores, TD Lind and Vaughn Montgomery. The show starts at 7 pm with donations accepted at the door.

Punk rockers John Doe and Exene are back at it taking X out on the road with a date at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 24. It worth mentioning that Doe and Exene will be the special guests for the Psychedelic Furs when they play the Ventura Theater on Tuesday, May 14.

Ventura Music Hall has several great acts coming up in the next two weeks including The White Buffalo on Thursday February 22; Health, an American noise rock/industrial band on Saturday March 2; and East LA legends, Los Lobos, on Sunday, March 3.

Taking a break from playing huge arenas and festivals this past year including two shows at Arena in LA this month and with more tour dates continuing through June in Europe, Danny Carrey, drummer for Tool, returns for a spirited night of jazz playing with The Doug Webb Group. If you’re a fan of Tool, or just enjoy some pretty hardcore jazz, then do yourself a favor and secure tickets now for Saturday, March 30 at

You might want to snag your tickets for Forever Motown returning to the Rubicon with six performances June 6 – June 9. Performers include members of the Marvelettes, the Temptations, The Spinners and more. Find out more at

Quick Notes: Limon y Sal has In Stone upstairs every Sunday afternoon 1-4 pm; Duke’s Beach Grill is offering up live music early Saturday evenings with Mark Cross on February 24 and The Zepp Heads on March 2; Margarita Villa in the Ventura Harbor is back to live music on the weekend starting Saturday February 24 with 805 Crosscut; a Tribute to Leonard Bernstein, American Songbook will be held at the Ojai Underground on Sunday February 25; Shawn Jones has a vinyl release party for his latest offering, “In my Blood,” at the Grape on Friday, March 1;
Tierra Rejada Golf Club in Moorpark has more live music with 805 Social Club on Friday, February 23, and Recharged on Saturday March 2; and 311 has two dates at the Majestic Ventura Theater on Tuesday, March 5, and Wednesday March 6 with Sitting on Stacy to warm up the crowd.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to [email protected], and for updated music listings daily, go to

General Services Agency to accept donation of memorial statues at County Veterans Memorial

The statues to be installed will honor the loss and sacrifice made by families and members of the military.

Following a vote at the April 25th Board meeting, the Board of Supervisors authorized the General Services Agency to work in partnership with the Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County and other Veterans’ organizations to install the statues at the Ventura County Veterans Memorial.

The two statues slated to be installed will honor the loss and sacrifice made by families and members of the military. The “Gold Star” statue is a life size rendition of a mother/wife kneeling holding her sons’, daughters’ or husbands’ folded casket flag. The “Remembering” statue is a life size rendition of a kneeling soldier reaching out and remembering their fallen brothers and sisters.

“It is powerful to be in the presence of monuments in Washington DC like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors Matt LaVere. “Now we do not have to travel across the country, we’re going to have something almost as powerful right here in Ventura to go pay our respects to, which are so important.”

In a special partnership with high school students from Architecture Construction and Engineering (ACE) Charter High School, measurements and design of the statues have been created. ACE students Haley Driscoll and Corbin Alonso presented their work and CAD drawings to the Board of Supervisors.

“Memorials are built by those whose freedoms were protected by our veterans, and it is important for our students to feel that connection,” stated John Middleton, ACE Charter Principal.

Both statues are the emotionally stirring works of Sutton Betti, the son of the late David Betti, former VVVC president and former Commander of Ventura VFW Post 1679.

“I am pleased our Board has voted to partner with the Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County and other Veterans groups in the county to give our Veterans Memorial the addition of two new statues honoring our Gold Star Wives and Mothers and another to honor “service Members who still mourn the loss of their comrades,” added Supervisors Kelly Long. “This will be a nice facelift to the Memorial that was originally put in place in 1985 and will provide a place of healing for Ventura County residents who have lost a loved one in a military conflict.”

The exact date of the installation is not yet determined. The creation and installation of the statues are dependent upon the fundraising efforts of the various veterans’ groups, fraternal organizations & public and private donations.

If you would like more information about this project or how to contribute to support it, please contact:
Ron Fitzgarrald, [email protected] or
Richard Camacho, [email protected]
Brian Miller, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Kelly Long at (805) 654-2276 or
Maruja Clensay, Chief of Staff for Chair of the Board Matt LaVere at (805) 654-2703.



The Bookmark About Libraries and Friends

by Mary Olson

Author J. Andre Boles will visit the Ojai Library at 2 pm on Saturday, March 2, to talk about his books Monster on Gypsy Hill and Piercing the Lion Heart.

Monster on Gypsy Hill is the true crime tale of the search for the killer or killers of six pretty, young, middle-class women randomly slaughtered by the Gypsy Hill Slasher. Victim number seven, a mental patient, spent thirty-five years in prison for one of the Slasher’s crimes. This soon to be released book tells how good cops and lawyers righted the wrongs of bad cops and lawyers.

Ex-cop, ex-lawyer, and award-winning true crime author J. Andre Boles lives in the mountains in California’s coastal range where he writes about cops, crime, and the justice system. Autographed books will be available for purchase following this talk. This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Ron Solórzano, Regional Librarian, at (805) 218-9146 or [email protected].

Discover Science on Saturday, February 24, 11:00 am to noon at Hill Road Library. The Discover Science team leads an exploration of surface tension and molecular bonds by creating various bubble formulas.

The Hill Road Library Book Club meets Tuesday, February 27 at a new time for 2024: 4:00 to 5:00 pm. The February Club Selection is: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Pick up the latest Book Club selection at Hill Road Library. To join the mailing list, please email [email protected]

Game on Board –Board games for all ages at Hill Road Library– Every Sunday, 11 am to 1 pm
Drop by and choose from over 35 games to play! Fun for families or a great reason to meet with friends.

Families and children are invited to visit the Hill Road Library at 3:14 pm on Thursday, March 14, to celebrate Pi Day. Pi Day — for the love of math … and pie. Pi Day is an annual celebration of math and learning, and it also happens to be Einstein’s birthday, so come and celebrate – make circle art, print π symbol cookie cutters on our 3D printer, and other fun Pi Day activities.

The Ventura Friends of the Library Bookstore in E.P. Foster Library 2nd Look Books
is now open 7 days a week,Monday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sundays, 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

New donations arrive every week and the stock in our store is regularly refreshed.
With our extended hours, we could use more volunteers to staff the store. If you would like to help, please stop by the store and speak to a volunteer or email [email protected].

We also invite you to visit our online bookstore for local sales for unique items, including Manga, Vintage, Art and Architecture. Find the link at our website: Orders are picked up at our bookstore in E.P. Foster Library.

Ventura announces Stacey Zarazua as Parks & Recreation Director

Stacey has a wealth of knowledge and experience.

The City of Ventura is pleased to announce Stacey Zarazua as Parks & Recreation Director. Zarazua succeeds Nancy O’Connor, who retired in September 2023 after serving as Parks & Recreation Director since 2016. Zarazua will oversee the department’s three divisions: Parks, Recreation, and Community Partnerships.

“Stacey has a wealth of knowledge and experience from her more than 20-year career with Ventura,” said City Manager Bill Ayub. “I’m very optimistic about her vision for the department and have no doubt her leadership with elevate our services to new heights.”

Zarazua joined the Parks & Recreation Department in 2001 as a Recreation Coordinator in the Youth Sports section and was later promoted to Aquatics Supervisor in 2005. Since then, she has held multiple leadership roles within the department, serving in all three divisions. Zarazua holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University Northridge.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve our community as the City’s Parks & Recreation Director. Parks and Recreation is integral to building a healthy and thriving community,” said Zarazua. “I’m thrilled to lead our team of dedicated professionals in providing exceptional parks, programs, and services that will continue to make the City of Ventura a better place to live, work, and play!”

She is a member of the California Parks and Recreation Society and National Recreation and Park Association. She has volunteered in key organizational leadership positions to advance the field.

Zarazua will oversee the operations of over 800 acres of open space, including 46 parks, three community centers, multiple historic sites, a sailing center, an aquatic center, two beaches, and golf services. She will manage current and future park development initiatives and lead 56 full-time and over 200 seasonal part-time employees, who work to produce over 1,000 annual programs for all ages.

Age-related forgetfulness

“Are you sure this isn’t Ventura?”

by National Institute on Aging

Older adults may worry about their memory and other thinking abilities, such as taking longer to learn something new. These changes are usually signs of mild forgetfulness — or age-related forgetfulness — and are often a normal part of aging.

However, more serious memory problems could be due to mild cognitive impairment, dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, or other factors beyond normal aging.

As people grow older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. As a result, some people notice that they don’t remember information as well as they once did and aren’t able to recall it as quickly. They may also occasionally misplace things or forget to pay a bill. These usually are signs of mild forgetfulness, not a serious memory problem.

It’s normal to forget things once in a while at any age, but serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things such as driving, using the phone, and finding the way home.

Signs that it might be time to talk with a doctor include:

Asking the same questions over and over again
Getting lost in places you used to know well
Having trouble following recipes or directions
Becoming more confused about time, people, and places
Not taking care of yourself — eating poorly, not bathing, or behaving unsafely
Talk with a doctor if you are experiencing noticeable changes in your memory. A doctor can perform tests and assessments to help determine the source of memory problems. Your health care provider may also recommend that you see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and nervous system.

There are a variety of techniques that may help you stay healthy and deal better with changes in memory and mental skills. Here are some tips:

Learn a new skill.
Follow a daily routine.
Plan tasks, make to-do lists, and use memory tools such as calendars and notes.
Put your wallet or purse, keys, phone, and glasses in the same place each day.
Stay involved in activities that can help both the mind and body.
Volunteer in your community, at a school, or at your place of worship.
Spend time with friends and family.
Get enough sleep, generally seven to eight hours each night.
Exercise and eat well.
Prevent or control high blood pressure.
Avoid or limit alcohol.
Get help if you feel depressed for weeks at a time.
Mild cognitive impairment
Forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. However, dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia includes the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, learning, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to the extent that it interferes with a person’s quality of life and activities. Memory loss, though common, is not the only sign of dementia. People with dementia may also have problems with language skills, visual perception, or paying attention. Some people experience personality changes.