Category Archives: What’s New

A Surprise Peek Aboard the Congrio

The boat’s name “Congrio” translates to a Chilean fish. Photos by Nella Nelson

by Nella Nelson

Meet the most incredibly disguised boat in our marina, the Congrio. How is it disguised? What you see on the outside is not what you see on the inside. But that’s not all. The highly engineered process of building this vessel is a story in itself. Owner and designer, Eric Bradley and his wife, Patty, began their project in 2016.

Owner and designer, Eric Bradley.

The couple hired a naval architect in Florida to draw up the plans of their unique design. From the ground up, the Congrio was then built by Gulf Stream Ship Building in Florida, in the style of a steel navy vessel. From the stern, it also resembles a fishing trawler. The purpose of this design, as Bradley explained, is that “we didn’t want to get picked on while traveling through foreign countries.” The couple, both being master-licensed, journeyed through several national and international waters.

The boat’s name “Congrio” (a Chilean fish) is visible above “Valparaiso” which would make one assume it is a fishing vessel from Chile, yet a Valparaiso exists as a hailing port in Florida. But that is not the only trick of perception. Once you step inside, the cozy charm of a home welcomes you in. Besides hiring a home cabinet builder rather than a boat one, Eric and Patty Bradley created their own hands-on interior, complete with curtains and couches. A custom kitchen is fitted with an induction cook top, convection oven, stone countertops, three refrigerators, three freezers, as well as two heads. Bradley used AutoCAD and his engineering background to create the Congrio’s entire inside space. He and Patty then installed moldings and handled most of the work with their own tools.

Congria’s wheelhouse.

Most impressive to all visitors aboard the Congrio is its immaculate engine room.
“I started the design with this engine,” said Bradley, “then created the accessible walk-around space.” He included six fuel tanks and transfer pumps for the filters, which polish the fuel. Included is a boiler for instant hot water as well as air handlers. The fuel capacity can hold 3,100 gallons and the boat can make  a round trip to Hawaii without refueling. Congrio’s range is 4,500 miles. Both heating and air conditioning keep the boat comfortable, as well as straight rather than spiral stairs. “This makes for better passage and bigger rooms,” Bradley added.

The Congrio’s home is currently in Portside Ventura Harbor as Patty passed away one year ago and it was her wish to dock it there in the place she called home and where their daughter resides. Bradley and his family members are enjoying their beautiful Ventura days complete with fishing, barbecuing and taking in the beauty of our coast.

Ventura Port District receives $200,000 grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

The Ventura Port District (District) Board of Port Commissioners (Board) announced that a funding agreement has been signed with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to receive a grant of $200,000 for the improvements of restrooms and shower facilities at Harbor Cove Beach, Surfers Knoll Beach, and the District’s public launch ramp.

This grant is the second awarded to the District by NFWF under the “Refugio Beach Oil Spill Settlement: South Coast Shoreline Parks and Outdoor Recreation Grants Program” (Program), the first of which was a grant of $93,301 provided in 2022. Those funds were fully expended to improve beach accessibility, install three new light poles for Harbor Cove Beach parking lot, and the purchase of public safety communications equipment.

The District competed for the second grant, and was successful in securing $200,000 from the Program for projects to compensate the public for loss of use and enjoyment of public beaches, parks, and other public or natural resources in Ventura County. The Program is administered by NFWF with oversight by state natural resource Trustee agencies for the oil spill near Refugio State Beach in 2015 – the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California State Lands Commission, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Regents of the University of California.

The District’s application was supported by key community leaders, including Congressman Salud Carbajal, Assemblymember Steve Bennett, State Senator Monique Limón, and County Supervisor Matt LaVere.

Congressman Carbajal offered comment on the grant award: “Ventura’s harbor and nearby beaches are a perfect place for Central Coast families to enjoy our little slice of paradise, and with public facility improvements from this grant, we can ensure these areas are ready to serve the thousands of Ventura residents and others who enjoy our port district for years to come. Joining my colleagues in pushing for the approval of this funding was a no-brainer – I know how many will benefit from these facilities after a morning at Surfer’s Knoll or a weekend at Harbor Cove Beach – and I’m proud to have been a part of bringing this important funding to Ventura.”
Letters of support were also received from Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau and Los Angeles Volleyball Academy.

District General Manager Brian Pendleton stated, “We really could not have been so successful with our grant pursuits without the continued support of our elected representatives. We are so very grateful that they are invested in ongoing improvements in Ventura Harbor.”
Planning has already begun for the exterior improvements at both Harbor Cove and Surfers Knoll beaches, which will include regrading the pavement (to meet ADA accessibility requirements), installation of new shower units, and repair work to some of the adjacent hardscape. In addition, the restrooms at both beach lots as well as at the District’s public launch ramp, will receive interior improvements and new exterior doors.

Board Chair, Michael Blumenberg stated, “These enhancements will improve the aesthetics, functionality, and accessibility for these public facilities. I’m very proud of the continued improvements the District has been able to implement in Ventura Harbor, especially as they relate to improving accessibility and an equitable experience for all.”
The District anticipates completing these improvements by the end of 2024.
The Ventura Port District is an independent special district of the City of Ventura and is the owner and operator of the Ventura Harbor. The Ventura Port District is committed to providing a safe harbor that is an inviting inclusive seaside destination, with exceptional facilities for fishers, boaters, residents, and visitors.

For more information on the Ventura Port District, Ventura Harbor amenities, and its programs visit

The Bookmark About Libraries and Friends

by Mary Olson

Local Ojai author Catherine Ann Jones visits Ojai Library on Saturday, May 25, 2 to 3 pm to give a talk on her book East & West: Stories of India.

She is the award-winning author of eight books including Heal Your Self with Writing. Her latest, East & West, is described as a captivating book in which contrasting and complementary aspects of Indian culture are explored through stories of seekers, ordinary Indians, heroes, frauds, and victims.

Catherine Ann Jones has played major roles in over fifty productions on and off-Broadway, later becoming an award-winning playwright. She has authored eleven plays produced in and out of NYC and films including Unlikely Angel (Dolly Parton), The Christmas Wife, and the popular television series, Touched by an Angel. A Fulbright Scholar to India studying shamanism, she has taught for several years at The New School University in NYC and USC Film School in LA, as well writing workshops globally. To learn more, visit

Ventura County Library launches its Read, Renew, Repeat summer reading program on May 15, 2024. During the next few months, the library will host a range of free activities for children and teens to encourage and support a love of reading. Participants can win prizes for reaching their reading goals.

“We’ve planned a wonderful program for children and teens that make the library a great place to read, learn, and discover what’s available,” said Molly Krill, Youth Services Manager. The benefits of summer reading extend far beyond academic goals. Reading also promotes empathy, critical thinking, and creativity, nurturing essential skills and experiences that will serve our community.

From STEAM activities and storytimes to craft workshops and book clubs, there’s always something happening at the library. Participants may register at and record their reading with opportunities to win prizes for reaching reading goals.  Each branch has a set of 4 Disneyland tickets to give away as a grand prize.  Youth may visit their local branch to choose a free new book to add to their personal collection when signing up, a special sustainable prize for completing 500 minutes of reading and another free book for completing 1000 minutes.

Get a Vehicle Day Use Pass for California State Parks at your library.
In partnership with California State Parks and the California State Library, free State Parks vehicle-day use passes are available for circulation to help Californians access beautiful parks, lakes, beaches, and monuments in the State Parks system free.  The Library Parks Pass is valid for vehicle day use at 200+ participating state park units of the California State Park System operated by State Parks.   Passes circulate for 21 days and are renewable if no other customers are waiting.  For more information, go to or call 805 626-READ.

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.
Find your beach books, jigsaw puzzles and more summer reading for kids!   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].

Finding Your Voice Series From The BAA – Painting Light Demo with Anette Power

The Buenaventura Art Association invites the public to learn one of Anette Power’s secrets to success as she reveals her approach to painting light filled subjects. Watch her skillfully paint areas of light and shadow grouped and separate to create the most dynamic image. Anette will then guide YOU through an exercise using sharpies, acetate and provided images, so you can learn first hand how to apply it to your artwork. Saturday, May 18, 2024, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Pacific & Main Creative Workspace (formerly Midtown or H Gallery) – 1793 E Main St, Ventura, CA. Members of Buenaventura Art Assoc.: $25. Non-Members of Buenaventura Art Assoc.: $30.

Anette Power
Award-winning artist Anette Power credits her mom, who also paints, and growing up on an island off the Swedish coast for providing a childhood full of creative exploration and a love for the outdoors. After immigrating to the U.S., Power spent more than a decade working in animation, fine-tuning her sense of light, color, and mood as a background painter for studios like Disney, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network and Universal. She now paints full-time and is an artist member of the California Art Club and has been an active board member of the Westlake Village Art Guild for eight years. She maintains a working studio in Newbury Park, CA.

Local Society Hosts “Super Bowl of Gem Shows” 

The Ventura Gem & Mineral Society (VGMS) is hosting “Seaside Gems at Ventura,” the National Gem, Mineral, Fossil & Jewelry Show May 24-26  at the Ventura County Fairgrounds from 10am–5pm, Friday & Saturday and 10am–4pm, Sunday. The show is open to the public and features family-friendly events and exhibits. Admission is $8, with children under 13 free with a paid adult. (Note: the Fairgrounds also charges a parking fee.)

VGMS is celebrating its 80th anniversary and was selected from 600 similar nonprofit educational societies to host a truly big national event, namely, the Annual Show & Convention of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies. They hope to welcome over 3,000 “rockhounds” as they converge on the Ventura County Fairgrounds for what’s described as “the Super Bowl of gem shows.”

This year’s “Super Bowl” organizers invite the general public to enjoy educational displays, dealers and demonstrators, speakers, silent auctions, raffles, and kids activities.  For instance, a beautiful gold specimen will be one of the featured displays.  Discovered by a young girl in Placer County in 1871, the California Golden Bear nugget is normally housed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History but will be on temporary display at the show alongside samples of our ultra-rare State Gemstone, sapphire-blue benitoite.

Nearly 100 additional educational exhibits are expected of hand-crafted jewelry and carvings, gemstones and crystals, minerals, fossils, and fluorescent rocks that glow in the dark.  These exhibits have been assembled from private collections and crafters throughout California and the U.S. and should be exceptional, given that over half will be entered into refereed competition vying for trophies.

Displays will be augmented by demonstrators illustrating how rough stones are crafted into gleaming gems.  Watch lapidary artists at work and question them for tips to try yourself.  They’ll demo lapidary arts like gemstone grinding, carving and polishing; jewelry-making techniques; bead stringing; silver work, and fossil prep.

Kids are sure to enjoy the Kids Booth. A variety of interactive activities are free or priced to match a child’s budget.  These include a Dino Dig; coloring activities; a spinning wheel where every spin wins a prize; grab bags filled with rocks, minerals, and fossils; “create-your-own-collection” boxes; and a sand-sifting activity. A prospecting club – Valley Prospectors of San Bernardino – will show kids and adults alike how to pan for gold just like a Forty-Niner.  Teachers will find free teacher resources, including rock samples and packets of educational materials at the show Welcome Booth.

To get a jump on Holiday shopping, 50+ vendors will be selling all manner of rock-related materials: rough agate, jasper, marble, and more to cut, carve, and polish; gemstone rough (amethyst, opal, emerald, sapphire, ruby, tourmaline, jade) to cab or to facet; cut and polished gemstones ready to be mounted into jewelry settings; lapidary and jewelry tools and equipment; minerals and gemstone crystals and meteorites for collectors, whether beginners or advanced; fossils and petrified wood from around the world; gem-, mineral-, and fossil-related publications; beads of all sorts; stone carvings, spheres, and other sculpted works for home decor; and fine custom jewelry ready to wear.

In addition to the professional vendors, hourly silent auctions will be held throughout the show for lapidary rocks and gemstones, minerals, geodes, petrified wood, and fossils. And don’t miss the raffle! Those purchasing winning tickets will take home great prizes that include high quality jewelry; mineral and fossil specimens; and more—including a one hundred dollar bill.

A Speakers Series features nontechnical lectures with talks on topics such as meteorites, amber, an Australian gold mine, the geology of the Channel Islands off-shore from Ventura, and beautifully banded Condor Agates from Patagonia by the man who introduced them into the U.S. market.

VGMS and the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies are dedicated to encouraging interest in geology, mineralogy, paleontology, the lapidary and jewelry arts through education, activities, and exhibitions, such as this nationwide show, which circulates around the US and comes to California only once every seven years. AFMS is composed of local societies and clubs from throughout the US. AFMS and its affiliated societies are 501(c)3 nonprofit, educational organizations. Proceeds from their shows go toward educational endeavors, such as scholarship funds for undergraduate and graduate college students and a free badge program for children. During an Awards Banquet Saturday night, not only will trophies be given for best competitive displays, but also scholarships will be awarded to college students working toward degrees in the earth sciences.

For more email [email protected] or call 805-312-8467 or visit the show website at and the local Ventura society website at

Vol. 17, No. 17 – May 15 – May 28, 2024 – As I See It

by Shelon Brown

Ventura Councilmember Liz Campos accused a former city executive of bullying her. The City Council voted to accept a city-led investigation that found she wasn’t bullied.
Campos accused former acting City Manager Akbar Alikhan of bullying her during a closed-session meeting in May 2023 when he allegedly didn’t let her leave the room until she took a certain position on an issue.

The City Council voted on April 9 to accept the results of a city-led investigation into Campos’ allegations, which determined she was not harassed or bullied. The probe was headed by a consultant hired by the city and not by the city.

Alikhan, who left Ventura last year and is now the deputy city manager in Thousand Oaks, denies Campos’ accusations. “The results of the investigation clearly shows any such allegations were patently false,” Alikhan said.

The council voted 5-1 to receive and file the report. Councilmember Mike Johnson voted no because he said he wasn’t given the full investigative report and felt the investigation was incomplete and should continue.

•Ventura and Oxnard colleges will each get new presidents in July after Ventura County Community College District trustees unanimously approved contracts for the top roles during a Tuesday night board meeting.

Claudia Lourido-Habib, currently the president of Porterville College will take over as president of the 11,700-student Ventura College from the retiring Kimberly Hoffmans on July 8. She’ll earn $288,660 in salary and $94,610 in benefits annually during a three-year contract.

• “Three years ago, we were a great nation,” Trump said at a rally in Michigan. Biden was president three years ago (ooops).

In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trump said of the upcoming presidential showdown, “If everything’s honest, I’ll gladly accept the results. I don’t change on that. If it’s not, you have to fight for the right of the country.” If this doesn’t scare you, you just don’t get it.

Trump has claimed that because his jury is 95% Democrats it is just another witch hunt. That means that 11.4 jurists are Democrats and one is 40% Democrat and 60% Republican, so maybe it will be a hung jury.

•Jeff Asher is a New Orleans-based crime data analyst who has worked at the CIA and Department of Defense. As early data showed murders declining nationwide, he wrote that the U.S. was experiencing a major drop in killings.

“Murder plummeted in the United States in 2023, likely at one of the fastest rates of decline ever recorded. The decrease in murders is “potentially historically large,” USA TODAY was told, and it’s not just killings that are declining. Preliminary 2023 FBI data “paint the picture” of a big decrease in overall crime.

•An LA Times survey asked should LeBron James return next season, or should he and the Lakers part ways? The results: Part ways 59.2%. Remain 40.8%.
I’m 100% for him leaving. He is like a petulant spoiled 10-year-old who always needs to get his way. Often on defense the Laker’s only have 4 players because he is still at the other end of the court arguing about not getting a foul call.

He is much more concerned about his huge ego than anything else. And how can he be the GOAT having won just 4 NBA championships in 20-years?

•A TV ad stated that their product has “30-years of clinical research.” Of course, they didn’t say what the researched showed. Truth in advertising “30-years of clinical research showed that our product doesn’t work.”

•I had a tooth extracted and part of the instructions was; “No smoking for the first 24 hours.” So, after 24 hours I started smoking and remembered I never smoked. Very bad instructions.

Vol. 17, No. 17 – May 15 – May 28, 2024 – Ventura Music Scene

The Strawberry Festival returns to the Ventura Fairgrounds for the second year in a row. Enjoy live music which is included in the price of admission from Drew Dolan, Smooth Sound of Santana, Surf City All-Stars, Petty or Not, Conner Cherland, Will Breman, Rey Fresco and more. Tickets for Saturday, May 18 and Sunday May 19 can be found at

The Rubicon concert series, Ventura Live, continues with a special event coming up on May 26 called The Palomino Nights Country and Rhythm Revue benefit concert. There will be performances by Mark Masson & Jam Grass, Beau Ted & Tailor Maide, the Van Allen Twins,
Buck Moon, Josephoenix and Jay Ponti. The evening is sure to get your toes tapping and your heart racing to the sounds of bluegrass
and true-blue country standards. Proceeds support Rubicon’s leadership and acting programs to empower economically challenged young people. Find out more at

I kept waiting to find out what the music would be for X Games hailed as sports & music festival last summer to no avail, but I’m pumped to announce there will be live music included in the price of admission for X Games Ventura 2024. As a press time, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated rap artist Wiz Khalifa will perform on Friday, June 28 and eight-time Grammy nominated Kaskade will offer up electronic dance music on Saturday, June 29. More to come as they roll the artists out.

Shout Outs: Firstly, congratulations to local musician Jayden Secor for graduating Magna Cum Laude with both a music production degree and a business administration degree from Cal Lutheran; and secondly, I couldn’t be more proud of Gaby Montiel for being selected by Successfully, a global outlet, which highlights a handful of people for 2024 from around the world from all different walks of life who inspire.
I hope you take a moment to look up Successfully.World to read her story.

Quick Notes: Angry Ferret in Moorpark is celebrating their 3rd anniversary with DVR on Saturday, May 18; Gigi’s has a free show with Popperz and Dogsled out of Houston, TX, on Thursday, May 16; locals Romper open for Stiff Little Fingers and Ricky Warwick at the Majestic Ventura Theater on Thursday, May 23; and reggae legends, Burning Spear play the Ventura Music Hall on Tuesday, May 28.

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

CAPS digital storytelling summer program 2024

ECTV Students in Control room.

The CAPS Digital Storytelling summer program returns this year with week-long sessions July 15-19 and July 29-August 2 for students ages 10-14. Guided by experienced videographers and storytellers, the summer camp crews collaborate in teams of four or five to create their own video productions. The fast paced and engaging creative program features hands-on, experiential learning in all aspects of media storytelling including story development, scripting, casting, staging, directing, camera training with HD camcorders and smartphones, video composition, lighting, remote and in-studio production, graphic design, editing and more.

Each weeklong session runs Monday – Friday, from 8:30am to 1:00pm with class sizes limited to 10-12 students. The Digital Storytelling program is held at the CAPS Media Center at 65 Day Road in Ventura, between Loma Vista and Telegraph, on the eastside of Ventura College. The weekly fee is $250 for the week and includes five 4-hour sessions, a one-year family membership at CAPS, a CAPS Crew Member shirt, graduation certificate and a special Friday night film festival for friends and family. The registration deadline is June 1. Go to to sign up.

Prior to the summer program CAPS crews will be busy with multiple productions including recording and live streaming ceremonies for Ventura College graduates and all of the VUSD High Schools graduates. The Ventura College graduation is on May 17 at 10am. The VUSD graduations are June 11 – 13. On Tuesday, June 11 ceremonies begin at 10am with El Camino High School, Pacific High School at 12:30pm, Foothill High School at 2:30pm and VACE at 5:30pm at Ventura College. Wednesday, June 12 is Buena High School’s ceremony beginning at 4pm at Buena. The Ventura High School graduation is to be held on Thursday, June 13 at 3pm at Ventura High. All graduations will be live streamed by CAPS on the day of the ceremonies and recorded for broadcast on CAPS channel 15 in the days and weeks that follow.

Recently CAPS launched ReCAPS, the special weekly series featuring storytellers throughout Ventura County. Every Monday night at 7pm a new edition of ReCAPS premieres on CAPS Channel 6 and streams online, with stories and histories by local storytellers sharing their personal journeys. Recent ReCAPS storytellers include Moses Mora, Adam Hart, Jake and Jenny Dilbeck, and Carlos Ortega. In the coming weeks ReCAPS will feature Luis Sanchez, Lucas Zucker, Regina Hatcher-Crawford, Jim and John Proctor, David Endaya, Dustin Gardner and many more.

Congratulations to Phil Taggart, one of CAPS Media’s many artists in residence, who, along with his Arts In Exile crew won a 2024 WAVE Award for excellence in community programming from the Alliance for Community Media’s Western region.

Everyone in the community is invited to visit the CAPS Media Center on the first Monday of each month at 6pm for informal introductions. The evening includes a tour of the CAPS studio, information on CAPS membership benefits, and a creative overview of media production from concept development through production. Everyone is encouraged to drop by and discover what CAPS has to offer.

CAPS Media manages and programs cable channels 6 (Public) and 15 (Education and Government), and CAPS Radio KPPQ in Ventura, and manages the CAPS Media Center, at 65 Day Road, which is open Tuesday – Thursday, 12p– 8pm. CAPS provides unlimited creative resources and expertise to everyone in Ventura.

Explore. Lower Harmon Canyon

Encelia californica is beloved by native bees and beetles.

Now is the perfect time to hit the trails and explore. Lower Harmon Canyon is open and promises unforgettable beauty!

California brittlebush (Encelia californica) is in peak bloom! One of four sensitive plant alliances in Harmon Canyon, Encelia californica, are true Southern California locals – growing in coastal sage scrub from San Luis Obispo County to northern Baja. To spot these beauties, look for daisies with dark centers (disk flowers) and yellow “petals” (ray flowers).

Encelia californica is commonly seen on drier south and west-facing slopes and is beloved by native bees and beetles. The east side of Trail 101 is a wonderland for this special community – slow down and check out all the pollinator action!

Interesting observations are everywhere – including at your feet! In the moist early morning hours, keep your eyes peeled for the Trask shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta traskii). Considered a sensitive species in California due to habitat loss and degradation, these beautiful, long-lived animals are thriving in the vibrant shrublands of Harmon Canyon. To distinguish them from the invasive European garden snail (Cornu aspersum) look for their narrower shell with a distinctive dark-colored band that follows the whorled spiral.

Helminthoglypta traskii are active longer than usual this year, enjoying the moist conditions of our extended rainy season. They estivate (a state of dormancy like hibernating but in response to heat and dryness) during the drier months and may not be as visible soon, so enjoy these delicate detritavores while you can.