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Resignation Capped Tense Year for Hagel

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 9:06pm
Pentagon chief repeatedly found fault with what he saw as indecisiveness by the White House National Security Council.

Single dad with daughters thankful for food

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 9:05pm

Another parent once asked single dad Arnold Hernandes how he manages to raise three daughters and a son in an 18-foot singlewide trailer.

“I do it day by day, hair by hair,” said Hernandes, 50.

As if on cue, one of his twin daughters, Nataly, 10, recited a family motto: “God does not want us to see life by sight, but by faith.”

The Santa Paula family gets by with their faith, the help of two Santa Paula Catholic churches and a program called Many Meals of Santa Paula.

Many Meals is a “pantry partner” for FOOD Share, Ventura County’s food bank. Many Meals is among more than 180 outlets in the county where hungry families and individuals can get groceries or a hot meal.

Every Wednesday night, after the girls finish their homework, Hernandes and the three girls sit down at round tables set up in the recreation room in a Santa Paula church. About 12 volunteers serve the family and more than 100 others a hot dinner, complete with dessert.

“It’s yummy! It’s awesome,” Annacristina said. “Last year, we did Thanksgiving with them. Oh, my gawd, the turkey, the potatoes, the pumpkin pie!”

The Many Meals dinner on Wednesday night is the Hernandes family’s night out.

“I am struggling quite a bit. Once a week, I need that little break,” Hernandes said.

MAKING ENDS MEET

Hernandes has been unsuccessful getting full-time work after a messy divorce, so he works as a handyman when he can, and spends the rest of his time raising his three daughters: Annacristina, 12; and twins Nataly and Vanezza, 10. His stepson, Tony, 20, also lives in the trailer when he isn’t attending classes at Ventura College, where he is studying to become an architect.

Hernandes raises his family on about $500 in public aid and whatever he can pull in as a handyman, which is usually not more than $300 a month.

Hernandes was a professional musician, then started a company with his then-wife, who was among 14 people arrested in 2010 on suspicion of real estate fraud. Hernandes and his children say she is no longer a part of their lives.

After the arrest, he had to start over. He had no money and nowhere to live with his kids. Tony also went to live with Hernandes.

“We were bouncing from Salvation Army, friends’ garages, the church. We were camping,” Hernandes said, putting the words “camping” in air quotes.

“It was fun,” Annacristina said. “We thought it was just a little phase, like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re going camping.’ And then we came here (to the trailer) and it was like ‘this is for real.’ ”

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Santa Paula took in the family for a while. Then they went back to a friend’s house, but Hernandes said the friend made a remark that cut him to the quick.

“They shooed us out because I was not working. I was not man enough. I did not have a job that was 9 to 5,” he said as his eyes filled with tears. “I’m sorry.”

One friend then donated an old trailer and another allowed Hernandes to park it in his backyard.

Hernandes and Tony squash together on a narrow bed that runs along one side of the trailer, about 2 feet across from the tiny sink and stove. Annacristina sleeps in the back of the trailer and the twins sleep together in a single bed above her.

“I like sleeping up there. It’s comfortable,” Nataly said. “I don’t get scared much up there.”

“If a murderer comes in, you’ll be safe because they can’t see you,” Vanezza added.

“Unless you scream, and then your cover is blown,” supplied Annacristina.

TAKING TURNS

Everybody takes turns showering and changing in the standing-room-only bathroom in the front corner of the home. Hernandes has pulled from his experience growing up around horses in the San Fernando Valley to ready the girls for school.

“I used to have a quarter horse, so I learned to braid the girls’ hair with the horse’s tail,” he said.

The girls make almost all As at St. Sebastian School in Santa Paula, where they attend on a grant from the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Hernandes makes sure they are in church every Sunday and tries to expose them to stimulating and educational experiences that don’t cost anything.

“He is one of the most devoted fathers I’ve ever known,” said the Rev. Thomas Dome, of St. Sebastian. “Many times, you see him walking with his children, walking with them to school or doing little field trips to the museum.”

Friday or Saturday nights are “video night” in which Tony or Hernandes get an inexpensive video that they play on a television that unfolds from one wall in the trailer. Hernandes gets a $5 pizza and the family watches the movie together, then everybody discusses it.

He says he wants his girls to do more than just “veg out” in front of a movie, but to think about it afterward.

NOT TYPICAL

Many Meals volunteer Kay Wilson-Bolton said she noticed the Hernandes family immediately when they started coming to Many Meals.

“They didn’t fit the profile of our typical guest,” she said. “What I saw was happy children and a very attentive dad enjoying each other’s company and enjoying a meal together.”

Wilson-Bolton found out they were living in the most modest of conditions, but the kids were not sad and frustrated and badly behaved given their circumstances. It was a picture of what it means to be rich of spirit, even if one is poor of means, she said.

“Parents don’t have to give kids every (material) thing they want,” Wilson-Bolton said. “Children want love and affection from their parent. You can see how animated they are. They love him, and they love each other.”

Hernandes continues to put one foot in front of the other, trying to keep his children fed and making sure they get a good education, in and out of school, while looking for night work so he can be there for his girls after school.

Meanwhile, the girls were trying to help him.

Without his knowledge, they wrote up a profile for him and put it on a free dating website. He walked into the trailer one evening to find them chatting on the phone with a prospective girlfriend for him.

“He looked like he was lonely and needed someone,” Annacristina said.

Hernandes admonished his girls, but the profile the girls wrote touched him.

The girls had written about their father, a “gentleman who needed someone to be strong for him.”

“If you read the profile they wrote me, I’d want to date me,” Hernandes said.

Single dad with daughters thankful for food

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 9:05pm

Another parent once asked single dad Arnold Hernandes how he manages to raise three daughters and a son in an 18-foot singlewide trailer.

“I do it day by day, hair by hair,” said Hernandes, 50.

As if on cue, one of his twin daughters, Nataly, 10, recited a family motto: “God does not want us to see life by sight, but by faith.”

The Santa Paula family gets by with their faith, the help of two Santa Paula Catholic churches and a program called Many Meals of Santa Paula.

Many Meals is a “pantry partner” for FOOD Share, Ventura County’s food bank. Many Meals is among more than 180 outlets in the county where hungry families and individuals can get groceries or a hot meal.

Every Wednesday night, after the girls finish their homework, Hernandes and the three girls sit down at round tables set up in the recreation room in a Santa Paula church. About 12 volunteers serve the family and more than 100 others a hot dinner, complete with dessert.

“It’s yummy! It’s awesome,” Annacristina said. “Last year, we did Thanksgiving with them. Oh, my gawd, the turkey, the potatoes, the pumpkin pie!”

The Many Meals dinner on Wednesday night is the Hernandes family’s night out.

“I am struggling quite a bit. Once a week, I need that little break,” Hernandes said.

MAKING ENDS MEET

Hernandes has been unsuccessful getting full-time work after a messy divorce, so he works as a handyman when he can, and spends the rest of his time raising his three daughters: Annacristina, 12; and twins Nataly and Vanezza, 10. His stepson, Tony, 20, also lives in the trailer when he isn’t attending classes at Ventura College, where he is studying to become an architect.

Hernandes raises his family on about $500 in public aid and whatever he can pull in as a handyman, which is usually not more than $300 a month.

Hernandes was a professional musician, then started a company with his then-wife, who was among 14 people arrested in 2010 on suspicion of real estate fraud. Hernandes and his children say she is no longer a part of their lives.

After the arrest, he had to start over. He had no money and nowhere to live with his kids. Tony also went to live with Hernandes.

“We were bouncing from Salvation Army, friends’ garages, the church. We were camping,” Hernandes said, putting the words “camping” in air quotes.

“It was fun,” Annacristina said. “We thought it was just a little phase, like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re going camping.’ And then we came here (to the trailer) and it was like ‘this is for real.’ ”

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Santa Paula took in the family for a while. Then they went back to a friend’s house, but Hernandes said the friend made a remark that cut him to the quick.

“They shooed us out because I was not working. I was not man enough. I did not have a job that was 9 to 5,” he said as his eyes filled with tears. “I’m sorry.”

One friend then donated an old trailer and another allowed Hernandes to park it in his backyard.

Hernandes and Tony squash together on a narrow bed that runs along one side of the trailer, about 2 feet across from the tiny sink and stove. Annacristina sleeps in the back of the trailer and the twins sleep together in a single bed above her.

“I like sleeping up there. It’s comfortable,” Nataly said. “I don’t get scared much up there.”

“If a murderer comes in, you’ll be safe because they can’t see you,” Vanezza added.

“Unless you scream, and then your cover is blown,” supplied Annacristina.

TAKING TURNS

Everybody takes turns showering and changing in the standing-room-only bathroom in the front corner of the home. Hernandes has pulled from his experience growing up around horses in the San Fernando Valley to ready the girls for school.

“I used to have a quarter horse, so I learned to braid the girls’ hair with the horse’s tail,” he said.

The girls make almost all As at St. Sebastian School in Santa Paula, where they attend on a grant from the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Hernandes makes sure they are in church every Sunday and tries to expose them to stimulating and educational experiences that don’t cost anything.

“He is one of the most devoted fathers I’ve ever known,” said the Rev. Thomas Dome, of St. Sebastian. “Many times, you see him walking with his children, walking with them to school or doing little field trips to the museum.”

Friday or Saturday nights are “video night” in which Tony or Hernandes get an inexpensive video that they play on a television that unfolds from one wall in the trailer. Hernandes gets a $5 pizza and the family watches the movie together, then everybody discusses it.

He says he wants his girls to do more than just “veg out” in front of a movie, but to think about it afterward.

NOT TYPICAL

Many Meals volunteer Kay Wilson-Bolton said she noticed the Hernandes family immediately when they started coming to Many Meals.

“They didn’t fit the profile of our typical guest,” she said. “What I saw was happy children and a very attentive dad enjoying each other’s company and enjoying a meal together.”

Wilson-Bolton found out they were living in the most modest of conditions, but the kids were not sad and frustrated and badly behaved given their circumstances. It was a picture of what it means to be rich of spirit, even if one is poor of means, she said.

“Parents don’t have to give kids every (material) thing they want,” Wilson-Bolton said. “Children want love and affection from their parent. You can see how animated they are. They love him, and they love each other.”

Hernandes continues to put one foot in front of the other, trying to keep his children fed and making sure they get a good education, in and out of school, while looking for night work so he can be there for his girls after school.

Meanwhile, the girls were trying to help him.

Without his knowledge, they wrote up a profile for him and put it on a free dating website. He walked into the trailer one evening to find them chatting on the phone with a prospective girlfriend for him.

“He looked like he was lonely and needed someone,” Annacristina said.

Hernandes admonished his girls, but the profile the girls wrote touched him.

The girls had written about their father, a “gentleman who needed someone to be strong for him.”

“If you read the profile they wrote me, I’d want to date me,” Hernandes said.

Turning Ferguson Into a Federal Case Won't Be Easy

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 8:44pm
A decision by a Missouri grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson shifts the focus to the Justice Department and whether federal civil rights charges are warranted in the shooting.

Police search for two men in Ventura assault

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 8:39pm

Police were looking for two men in connection with an assault with a deadly weapon Tuesday at a Ventura park, officials said.

Authorities responded about 2:05 p.m. to the 5600 block of Shenandoah Street after receiving a report of a gunshot heard near Marion Canon Park. The caller stated that one of the men had a handgun and had jumped a fence and fled into a nearby neighborhood, police said.

Officers quickly set up a perimeter. Ventura police K-9 officers training nearby also responded to the scene, officials said.

Witnesses said the two suspects were on Shenandoah Street exchanging words with an unidentified victim when one of the suspects pulled out a handgun and fired a single shot in the victim's direction. All three fled the area after the shot was fired, authorities said.

Police could not find the suspects or the victim. It was unknown if the victim was actually hit by the gunshot, officials said.

The man with the gun was described as over 6 feet tall, in his mid 20s, of thin build and wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt with a white T-shirt underneath and dark-colored pants. The other suspect was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, in his mid 20s, of medium build, a white baseball cap, a white sweater and dark-colored pants, police said.

Police search for two men in Ventura assault

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 8:39pm

Police were looking for two men in connection with an assault with a deadly weapon Tuesday at a Ventura park, officials said.

Authorities responded about 2:05 p.m. to the 5600 block of Shenandoah Street after receiving a report of a gunshot heard near Marion Canon Park. The caller stated that one of the men had a handgun and had jumped a fence and fled into a nearby neighborhood, police said.

Officers quickly set up a perimeter. Ventura police K-9 officers training nearby also responded to the scene, officials said.

Witnesses said the two suspects were on Shenandoah Street exchanging words with an unidentified victim when one of the suspects pulled out a handgun and fired a single shot in the victim's direction. All three fled the area after the shot was fired, authorities said.

Police could not find the suspects or the victim. It was unknown if the victim was actually hit by the gunshot, officials said.

The man with the gun was described as over 6 feet tall, in his mid 20s, of thin build and wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt with a white T-shirt underneath and dark-colored pants. The other suspect was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, in his mid 20s, of medium build, a white baseball cap, a white sweater and dark-colored pants, police said.

Program helps families with holiday dinner

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 8:18pm

Shelley McGee expressed her gratitude for the free turkey she received at the Samaritan Center in Simi Valley that will help her family celebrate Thanksgiving.

“You work all your life, and then life changes and you need a little bit of help,” said McGee, of Simi Valley. “Thanksgiving’s the time for family to come together and we need a lot of prayers and closure and happiness together.”

McGee received one of 200 free turkeys Tuesday through a program called Operation Gobble launched by the California American Water Co., which donated the birds for distribution through the office of state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills.

One hundred turkeys were donated to the Samaritan Center, 50 to Simi Church of Christ and 50 to Catholic Charities Moorpark Pantry Plus.

Operation Gobble is a joint philanthropic venture between California water companies and state legislators with a goal of delivering an estimated 30,000 turkeys to at-risk families throughout the state this Thanksgiving, said Brian Barreto, California American Water Southern California external affairs manager.

Operation Gobble raises awareness of the issue of hunger in California while helping those who need it most, Pavley said.

“This year more than ever, it’s important we all reach out to others in the community to ensure that no Californians go without this Thanksgiving season,” Pavley said.

Anna Maria Reyes, of Simi Valley, was one of the first in line at the Samaritan Center on Tuesday to receive a turkey.

“The problem ... and why I’m here, is financial,” Reyes said. “It’s hard for my husband and me. This is a special dinner for Thanksgiving.”

At the Samaritan Center, there are more requests than ever for turkeys this holiday season, said Betty Eskey, executive director.

“It’s really about trying to be a family in a traditional way, and they are reaching out for the traditions of what they’re used to,” Eskey said. “The last few years have been so hard for them, and the judgment that comes from them staying in this poverty level affects them emotionally and takes away their hope. When they come here, they walk away with hope.”

Bert White, a congregation member at Simi Church of Christ in charge of benevolence activities, said the church purchased all the makings for a Thanksgiving dinner to go with the turkeys that will be distributed mostly to seniors.

“These turkeys are always appreciated by those receiving them,” White said.

Patricia Calderon, program coordinator at Catholic Charities Moorpark Pantry Plus, said she is grateful to California American Water Company and Pavley for the donation.

“The 50 turkeys will be distributed to families in need in our community and will help make their Thanksgiving holiday a little brighter,” Calderon said. “While the turkeys will not solve the problems that many of these people are facing in their lives it at least gives them hope that they are not alone ... while allowing them the dignity of enjoying a nice meal.”

Rain, snow could mess up Thanksgiving travel

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 8:09pm
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Thanksgiving travelers scrambled to change their plans and beat a storm expected to bring snow, slush and rain to the crowded Washington-to-Boston corridor Wednesday on one of the busiest, most stressful days of the year.   Forecasters said major Northeast cities will probably see moderate to heavy rain most of the day, though New York and other places were also gearing up for several inches of snow.   Higher elevations west of the Interstate 95 corridor could see as much as 6 to 12 inches before the nor'easter exits Wednesday night, meteorologist Andrew Orrison said.   "I always go on Tuesday to try to avoid the Wednesday rush, but it seems like more people are leaving on Tuesday now," said Bill Fraser, a landscaper from Henniker, New Hampshire, who was taking a train from Boston to New Rochelle, New York, to visit his mother for Thanksgiving.   Jenna Bouffard, a New York City public relations executive headed in the opposite direction, changed her bus ticket from Wednesday to Tuesday.   "I don't want to risk it," she said. "I'd rather be safe than sorry, and if it doesn't snow, then I just have an extra day at home with my family" in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.   Major airlines dropped their ticket-change fees for people flying in and out of the Northeast, allowing passengers to try to sneak on an earlier flight, though that appeared to be a challenging proposition, since most planes were filled.   By midafternoon Tuesday, just 14 flights within the U.S. were canceled for Wednesday, according to tracking service FlightAware. That's well below the norm for even a sunny day. United said it was planning to cancel 100 flights Wednesday in and out of Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey — a small fraction of the traffic there. Delta planned to scrub 57 flights.   The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports, said it was lining up extra staff and snow removal equipment in the event of a heavy snowfall. Crews were prepared to work in 12-hour shifts if necessary, officials said.   At Newark Airport, retiree Sue Hansen, who lives in Roscoe, Illinois, arrived early on Tuesday to avoid the rush ahead of a big family reunion near Morristown, New Jersey.   "I've traveled the day before, and it was no good," she said, describing long lines, delays and lots of crowds. "This wasn't bad at all."   In Vermont, public safety officials warned that travel could be treacherous. Up to 16 inches of snow was forecast in some areas.   There was a bright spot in the forecast for residents of western New York, which last week saw up to 7 feet of snow.   "Buffalo will predominantly miss this event," Orrison said.   ___   Associated Press Writers Jill Colvin in Newark, N.J., Denise Lavoie in Boston, and Scott Mayerowitz and Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this report.

Program helps families with holiday dinner

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 7:41pm

Shelley McGee expressed her gratitude for the free turkey she received at the Samaritan Center in Simi Valley that will help her family celebrate Thanksgiving.

"You work all your life, and then life changes and you need a little bit of help," said McGee, of Simi Valley. "Thanksgiving's the time for family to come together and we need a lot of prayers and closure and happiness together."

McGee received one of 200 free turkeys Tuesday through a program called Operation Gobble launched by the California American Water Co., which donated the birds for distribution through the office of state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills.

One hundred turkeys were donated to the Samaritan Center, 50 to Simi Church of Christ and 50 to Catholic Charities Moorpark Pantry Plus.

Operation Gobble is a joint philanthropic venture between California water companies and state legislators with a goal of delivering an estimated 30,000 turkeys to at-risk families throughout the state this Thanksgiving, said Brian Barreto, California American Water Southern California external affairs manager.

Operation Gobble raises awareness of the issue of hunger in California while helping those who need it most, Pavley said.

"This year more than ever, it's important we all reach out to others in the community to ensure that no Californians go without this Thanksgiving season," Pavley said.

Anna Maria Reyes, of Simi Valley, was one of the first in line at the Samaritan Center on Tuesday to receive a turkey.

"The problem ... and why I'm here, is financial," Reyes said. "It's hard for my husband and me. This is a special dinner for Thanksgiving."

At the Samaritan Center, there are more requests than ever for turkeys this holiday season, said Betty Eskey, executive director.

"It's really about trying to be a family in a traditional way, and they are reaching out for the traditions of what they're used to," Eskey said. "The last few years have been so hard for them, and the judgment that comes from them staying in this poverty level affects them emotionally and takes away their hope. When they come here, they walk away with hope."

Bert White, a congregation member at Simi Church of Christ in charge of benevolence activities, said the church purchased all the makings for a Thanksgiving dinner to go with the turkeys that will be distributed mostly to seniors.

"These turkeys are always appreciated by those receiving them," White said.

Patricia Calderon, program coordinator at Catholic Charities Moorpark Pantry Plus, said she is grateful to California American Water Company and Pavley for the donation.

"The 50 turkeys will be distributed to families in need in our community and will help make their Thanksgiving holiday a little brighter," Calderon said. "While the turkeys will not solve the problems that many of these people are facing in their lives it at least gives them hope that they are not alone ... while allowing them the dignity of enjoying a nice meal."

Crash kills 1 at Highway 101, Telephone Road

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 7:11pm

At least one person was apparently dead after a fiery vehicle accident Tuesday evening at southbound Highway 101 and Telephone Road in Ventura.

A vehicle apparently flipped over and caught fire, landing near the Chick-Fil-A restaurant in a nearby shopping center, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Witnesses and crews said a tree appeared to have caught fire, as well, in the crash, which was reported at 6:33 p.m.

The fire was knocked down by 6:45 p.m., but crews on the scene at the onramp to Highway 101 from the Main Street/Telephone Road intersection said at least one person was killed.

Simi Valley community helps out widow

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 6:37pm

The Simi Valley Boys & Girls Club has partnered with the Simi Valley Community Foundation to establish a charitable fund to benefit Amabelle Domingo, a mother of two whose husband was killed in an Oct. 3 car accident.

“My heart breaks for her; we want to do everything that we can to help her,” said Sandee Covone, the club’s assistant executive director.

“It’s going to be a long journey for her,” Covone said. “We want to do whatever we can do to help her be able to support herself, support her kids, not have to uproot them and be able to stay in their family home that they’ve lived in ... to maintain as much stability as they can.”

Domingo, 33, of Thousand Oaks, whose children are 3 and 14 years old, said the charitable act came as a surprise.

“It brought tears of joy,” said Domingo, who works as the front desk billing clerk at the club. “It’s such a huge blessing, and it’s amazing to have a family here that I didn’t even know I could count on until all this had arisen.”

Michael Domingo, 32, who served in the Navy, worked two jobs — at Sprouts market and as a certified nursing assistant for a private patient — to support his family in addition to volunteering as a youth pastor with his wife at a church in Reseda.

“He was definitely our support and our strength,” his widow said. “He had an honorable discharge awhile ago but he was still volunteering his time in the military.”

At the time of the car accident, their 3-year-old son Malachi was in the car but was unharmed.

“It’s a call that shakes you to your core, especially when it’s a young mother with two small children,” said Virginia Hayward, chief executive officer at the Boys & Girls Club who serves on the board of the Simi Valley Community Foundation.

“We are trying to provide her with as much care and support as we possibly can, but we know we can only offer a small part of what is truly needed as she tries to work through this enormous loss.”

Donations to the fund can be made by check made out to the SVCF/Domingo Family Fund and mailed to the Simi Valley Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1164, Simi Valley CA 93062. Call 800-342-9953 for more information.

“The account allows individuals and companies in our community an opportunity to help Amabelle and her family in their time of need,” Hayward said. “While nothing will bring back her beloved husband, we hope this will at least help her to rebuild her life in some small way.”

Domingo is thankful for the effort.

“It’s very surprising that a whole community would come together to help someone in need,” she said. “It definitely brings joy to our hearts and it really helps in making things feel like it’s going to be OK and we can get through it.”

Simi Valley community helps out widow

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 6:37pm

The Simi Valley Boys & Girls Club has partnered with the Simi Valley Community Foundation to establish a charitable fund to benefit Amabelle Domingo, a mother of two whose husband was killed in an Oct. 3 car accident.

“My heart breaks for her; we want to do everything that we can to help her,” said Sandee Covone, the club’s assistant executive director.

“It’s going to be a long journey for her,” Covone said. “We want to do whatever we can do to help her be able to support herself, support her kids, not have to uproot them and be able to stay in their family home that they’ve lived in ... to maintain as much stability as they can.”

Domingo, 33, of Thousand Oaks, whose children are 3 and 14 years old, said the charitable act came as a surprise.

“It brought tears of joy,” said Domingo, who works as the front desk billing clerk at the club. “It’s such a huge blessing, and it’s amazing to have a family here that I didn’t even know I could count on until all this had arisen.”

Michael Domingo, 32, who served in the Navy, worked two jobs — at Sprouts market and as a certified nursing assistant for a private patient — to support his family in addition to volunteering as a youth pastor with his wife at a church in Reseda.

“He was definitely our support and our strength,” his widow said. “He had an honorable discharge awhile ago but he was still volunteering his time in the military.”

At the time of the car accident, their 3-year-old son Malachi was in the car but was unharmed.

“It’s a call that shakes you to your core, especially when it’s a young mother with two small children,” said Virginia Hayward, chief executive officer at the Boys & Girls Club who serves on the board of the Simi Valley Community Foundation.

“We are trying to provide her with as much care and support as we possibly can, but we know we can only offer a small part of what is truly needed as she tries to work through this enormous loss.”

Donations to the fund can be made by check made out to the SVCF/Domingo Family Fund and mailed to the Simi Valley Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1164, Simi Valley CA 93062. Call 800-342-9953 for more information.

“The account allows individuals and companies in our community an opportunity to help Amabelle and her family in their time of need,” Hayward said. “While nothing will bring back her beloved husband, we hope this will at least help her to rebuild her life in some small way.”

Domingo is thankful for the effort.

“It’s very surprising that a whole community would come together to help someone in need,” she said. “It definitely brings joy to our hearts and it really helps in making things feel like it’s going to be OK and we can get through it.”

Ferguson case brings out protesters in Oxnard

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 6:23pm

About a dozen protesters made their presence known Tuesday afternoon at an Oxnard intersection in response to a grand jury decision in Missouri not to prosecute a police officer who killed a young man.

The local group known as Todo Poder al Pueblo, formed in response to allegations of police brutality in Oxnard, organized the protest at Channel Islands Boulevard and Saviers Road.

They waved signs and chanted sayings such as “no justice, no peace” as they moved from one corner of the intersection to another.

In the protest that began at about 5:30 p.m., members of the mostly college-age group said they were there to call attention to police brutality.

Some passing motorists honked in apparent signs of support of the protesters.

A grand jury declined on Monday to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked weeks of protests and inflamed tensions between many African-Americans and police. The grand jury decision set of new unrest in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.

Todo Poder al Pueblo has called attention to deaths in Oxnard linked to police, including that of Alfonso Limon Jr., a bystander mistakenly shot dead by police during a 2012 shootout with suspects.

There was no sign of a police presence at Tuesday’s protest.

Oxnard recount possible after 10-vote win

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 5:56pm

Oxnard City Councilman Bert Perello first heard he’d been re-elected when he got a congratulatory call Monday evening from challenger Steve Huber.

“That’s how I found out,” Perello said Tuesday.

Perello won by 10 votes, according to final results certified Monday by the Ventura County Elections Division. The two men have been enduring nail-biting, twice-weekly updates since the Nov. 4 election. Huber’s early lead of 206 votes slipped as counting continued, with Perello pulling ahead about 10 days later. His lead grew to 43 votes before slipping in the last two updates.

“If this is not an election where every vote counts, I don’t know what is,” Perello said, adding: “It feels a lot nicer to win than it does to lose.”

The two had been awaiting results for the city’s second council seat. Incumbent Carmen Ramirez dominated the field of seven, with the outcome lingering only for the second seat. Ramirez had 13,510 votes, or more than 30 percent of the total. Perello ended up with the next highest count at 6,680, and Huber with 6,670.

Huber could not be reached Tuesday. On Monday he said he’d congratulated Perello but was looking at options, including a possible recount.

Talk of a potential recount had city and county officials poring through California’s elections code to nail down details of the uncommon, and costly, process.

Any voter can request a recount, provided he or she is willing to pay for it, within five days after results are certified.

In the past, some close races triggered a type of automatic recount, but those rules no longer exist, said Ventura County Clerk-Recorder Mark Lunn, who oversees elections.

“There are no provisions for mandatory recounts,” Lunn said.

Lunn said the deadline to request a recount is Friday. For the Oxnard race, a voter would need to put down a significant deposit on costs estimated between $15,000 to $25,000, a range that depends in part on whether counting is done by hand or machine. Any recount would be scheduled within seven days of the request, Lunn said, and would be done in an “expeditious manner.”

Oxnard City Clerk Daniel Martinez said he’s still looking at whether the deadline to request a recount might be Monday, since county offices are closed Saturday, the fifth day of the deadline.

In the meantime, Martinez’s timeline for scheduling the Oxnard’s council’s traditional swearing-in ceremony, planned for Dec. 2, could be postponed.

“It depends on what happens,” Martinez said. “At this point, we’re planning on Dec. 2.”

Walk raises awareness for canine cancer

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 5:52pm

When Luke Robinson lived in Texas in the early 2000s, he was a financial analyst with no room in his heart for a dog. But when an ex-girlfriend insisted he adopt a Great Pyrenees dog named Malcolm, Robinson discovered a deep spiritual connection with an animal that transformed his life and led him on his mission of bringing attention to canine cancer.

Robinson on Tuesday visited the Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group in Ventura during his second awareness walk, this one down the West Coast. He left the Vancouver area in Canada on May 10 with two dogs, Hudson and Indiana, “Indy,” and is heading to San Diego by Dec. 14. Hudson had to abandon the effort in August because of paw issues.

Robinson’s first dog, Malcolm, was diagnosed in 2006 with metastatic bone cancer at age 6, and the dog’s death two years later left him bereft but with a sense of purpose. Robinson decided he wanted to bring attention to cancer’s devastating effect on dogs.

“When Malcolm was first diagnosed, I didn’t really know that dogs have cancer. I never knew that. Why? I knew my path in life had changed direction,” Robinson said. “Before Malcolm, I wasn’t really a dog guy.”

After Malcolm died, Robinson put his belongings in storage and embarked on a hike from Austin, Texas, to Boston with two dogs, Hudson and Murphy. And in an effort to raise money and awareness, he started the 2 Million Dogs Foundation, now called the PuppyUp Foundation, which sponsors walks in the United States.

John MacFadyen, director of the Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group, said having Robinson stop by the facility, which is a 24-hour emergency clinic that also treats dogs with cancer, was a perfect fit.

“Bringing attention to canine cancer is near and dear to what we do,” MacFadyen said.

Veterinary oncologist Dr. Lori Cesario said treating animals doesn’t differ too much from dealing with humans.

“We use the same types of chemotherapy, but we reduce the dosage significantly. We don’t want to make the animals sick. Our most important consideration is quality of life,” Cesario said. “It’s a trade-off. We are curing fewer patients than we would if we could be more aggressive.”

Diane Seno, of Ventura, said she came to the animal hospital to greet Robinson because she’s been following his progress online as he’s made his way down the coast. Seno said that when her 8-year-old rescued greyhound Stella was diagnosed with cancer, she wanted to make sure she did everything she could for her dog.

“I wanted to give her the best chance for long-term survival I could. She’s my baby. I have no children. She was a racing greyhound and she got off to a rough start,” said Seno, who said Stella received six expensive chemotherapy treatments and has been cancer-free for a year.

Robinson said this trip has been rough. The walk on Highway 101 along the Washington and Oregon coasts was perilous. Then Hudson started having paw issues and was shipped to Memphis, Tennessee, to a friend. Robinson found out in September that Hudson has cancer — his third Great Pyrenees to be diagnosed with the disease. Murphy also had cancer.

But each setback leaves him more committed to raising money for the animals, he said. Robinson noted that veterinary cancer treatment can result in advancements in cancer treatment for humans, especially when experimental drugs are used.

On the Net: http://www.2milliondogs.org

Walk raises awareness for canine cancer

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 5:52pm

When Luke Robinson lived in Texas in the early 2000s, he was a financial analyst with no room in his heart for a dog. But when an ex-girlfriend insisted he adopt a Great Pyrenees dog named Malcolm, Robinson discovered a deep spiritual connection with an animal that transformed his life and led him on his mission of bringing attention to canine cancer.

Robinson on Tuesday visited the Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group in Ventura during his second awareness walk, this one down the West Coast. He left the Vancouver area in Canada on May 10 with two dogs, Hudson and Indiana, “Indy,” and is heading to San Diego by Dec. 14. Hudson had to abandon the effort in August because of paw issues.

Robinson’s first dog, Malcolm, was diagnosed in 2006 with metastatic bone cancer at age 6, and the dog’s death two years later left him bereft but with a sense of purpose. Robinson decided he wanted to bring attention to cancer’s devastating effect on dogs.

“When Malcolm was first diagnosed, I didn’t really know that dogs have cancer. I never knew that. Why? I knew my path in life had changed direction,” Robinson said. “Before Malcolm, I wasn’t really a dog guy.”

After Malcolm died, Robinson put his belongings in storage and embarked on a hike from Austin, Texas, to Boston with two dogs, Hudson and Murphy. And in an effort to raise money and awareness, he started the 2 Million Dogs Foundation, now called the PuppyUp Foundation, which sponsors walks in the United States.

John MacFadyen, director of the Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group, said having Robinson stop by the facility, which is a 24-hour emergency clinic that also treats dogs with cancer, was a perfect fit.

“Bringing attention to canine cancer is near and dear to what we do,” MacFadyen said.

Veterinary oncologist Dr. Lori Cesario said treating animals doesn’t differ too much from dealing with humans.

“We use the same types of chemotherapy, but we reduce the dosage significantly. We don’t want to make the animals sick. Our most important consideration is quality of life,” Cesario said. “It’s a trade-off. We are curing fewer patients than we would if we could be more aggressive.”

Diane Seno, of Ventura, said she came to the animal hospital to greet Robinson because she’s been following his progress online as he’s made his way down the coast. Seno said that when her 8-year-old rescued greyhound Stella was diagnosed with cancer, she wanted to make sure she did everything she could for her dog.

“I wanted to give her the best chance for long-term survival I could. She’s my baby. I have no children. She was a racing greyhound and she got off to a rough start,” said Seno, who said Stella received six expensive chemotherapy treatments and has been cancer-free for a year.

Robinson said this trip has been rough. The walk on Highway 101 along the Washington and Oregon coasts was perilous. Then Hudson started having paw issues and was shipped to Memphis, Tennessee, to a friend. Robinson found out in September that Hudson has cancer — his third Great Pyrenees to be diagnosed with the disease. Murphy also had cancer.

But each setback leaves him more committed to raising money for the animals, he said. Robinson noted that veterinary cancer treatment can result in advancements in cancer treatment for humans, especially when experimental drugs are used.

On the Net: http://www.2milliondogs.org

West Sees Some Progress With Iran

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 5:30pm
Western officials noted progress in narrowing gaps with Iran over the key question of the country’s future production of nuclear fuel and on ways the West can better track uranium enrichment.

Obama on Ferguson: 'No Excuse' for Violence

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 5:17pm
President Barack Obama said there was “no excuse” for vandalism and violence, speaking a day after the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision was announced and resulted in unrest.

Law and Evidence Tilted in Ferguson Police's Favor

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 5:17pm
The factors that ultimately shaped the grand jury’s decision were in place at an early stage.

Oxnard hotel names new manager

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 5:14pm

Colleen Huther has been named general manager of the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort in Oxnard.

Hilton Worldwide, which owns the resort on the Oxnard coast, made the announcement Tuesday.

Huther will oversee day-to-day operations of the all-suite resort that recently underwent a major renovation to guest rooms and public spaces, including the lobby, meeting rooms, and breakfast and evening reception areas.

Huther most recently was general manager of The Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Maryland. During her time there, she also was named vice president of asset management and oversaw 11 other hotels while remaining the general manager of the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront.

Her earlier experience includes working as assistant food and beverage director of The Georgetown Marbury House in Washington, D.C. She spent eight years as director of sales and marketing at The Historic Inns of Annapolis, a Grand Heritage Hotel in Maryland, before being promoted to national sales director at Grand Heritage Hotels.

Huther earned a bachelor of science degree at Indiana University. She is married and has three children.

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