Feed aggregator

Administration targets offshore oil leases

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 5:54pm

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed extending a ban on new oil and gas leasing off the California coast through 2022, a recommendation it called "consistent with the long-standing position of the Pacific coast states opposed to oil and gas development off their coast."

"It's good news. It means they're listening to us," said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

Capps, a longtime foe of drilling off California's coast, gathered signatures from 35 members of Congress, most from California, to request that the U.S. Department of Interior extend the existing five-year ban, which expires in 2017.

Among those signing the letter were California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village. Brownley's district includes much of the Ventura County coast.

In addition, Gov. Jerry Brown joined the governors of Oregon and Washington last year in writing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to express opposition to new West Coast leases. They asserted that leasing would be appropriate only in regions "where there is state support for such development and the impacts can be mitigated."

The draft proposal includes 14 potential lease sales, 10 in the Gulf of Mexico, three off the coast of Alaska and one in the Atlantic.

While drilling opponents hailed the provisions for the Pacific Coast, the plan drew sharp criticism from environmentalists concerned about potential effects on environmentally sensitive areas of mid-Atlantic states, such as North Carolina's Outer Banks and South Carolina's Myrtle Beach.

It was the second time the administration has proposed unlocking areas in the Atlantic for oil and gas development.

Jewell called the plan "a balanced proposal that would make available nearly 80 percent of the undiscovered technically recoverable resources, while protecting areas that are simply too special to develop."

Petroleum industry representatives said the plan falls short of addressing the nation's future energy needs.

"The administration is compromising our ability to compete globally by restricting so much of the nation's oil and natural gas resources," said American Petroleum Institute spokesman Erik Milito.

"The government's refusal to even consider leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific are tying America's hands against a future of affordable and reliable energy," he said in a statement.

The release of the draft proposal is the first step in a multiyear process to develop a leasing program for 2017-2022, and will trigger a period of extended public comment.

"We believe what's in place now should be continued," Capps said in an interview. "It's time to focus on sustainable energy sources, which is an important part of our local economy. Renewable energies are the path of the future."

Capps, whose hometown of Santa Barbara was the site of a disastrous offshore spill in 1969, believes the environmental risks of offshore drilling "far outweigh any potential benefits." She has made opposition to offshore drilling in California a signature issue during her 16 years in Congress.

The last lease sale off the California coast was executed in 1984, although there remain 49 outstanding leases that have not been developed.

In her letter to Jewell last July, Capps noted that oil leaseholders are not producing oil on "the vast majority of land they already hold" and said the Interior Department should ensure that those leases have been diligently pursued before any new leases are offered.

"Opening additional offshore areas to drilling will only allow those companies to warehouse more public land and put more of our vibrant coastal tourism economies and fragile shoreline ecosystems at risk," she wrote.

A recent study done for the Petroleum Institute noted that if the government were to offer new leases in 2018, projects could begin producing oil by 2023. That production, the study estimates, could add up to the equivalent of 1.2 million barrels of oil per day to domestic oil output.

Ventura to take closer look at community survey

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 5:14pm

The Ventura City Council on Monday directed staff to take a closer look at the results of a residents survey to determine how better to serve the community.

Mayor Cheryl Heitmann said the results showed the city was doing a good job, but there was room for improvement.

“What is the need,” she said in explaining her motion. “What would it really take to do what we need to do.”

The city hired a public opinion polling firm to get a sense of how residents felt about living in Ventura, their feelings toward government and their top priorities and concerns.

The firm polled 400 registered voters, randomly selected, Nov. 6-10.

Residents were happy with life in Ventura overall, and 74 percent approved of the direction the city was taking, the poll showed.

Respondents also expressed strong satisfaction with city staff, with 72 percent feeling employees were willing to help, and 77 percent feeling they were courteous and knowledgeable.

Consistently, respondents pointed to homelessness as one of the most important issues facing the city.

It’s a “major issue in your community,” said Richard Bernard, partner and vice president of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. “Not everyone speaks of homelessness in the same way.”

That’s one of the reasons Heitmann wants staff to take a closer look at the results.

Some respondents likely felt the city needed more services for homeless people, others probably wanted more done to get them out of the community, Heitmann said.

Bernard said not everyone understands homelessness and how jurisdiction over the issue extends beyond city limits. It was up to the city to communicate that, he said.

The drought, drugs and drug abuse, and pollution that flows into the city’s waterways were also top concerns among residents.

Also Monday, the council voted to take over Montalvo’s sewage services.

Montalvo, east of Victoria Avenue and west of Johnson Drive, was annexed into the city in 2012. The Montalvo Community Services District runs the small sewer district, which serves roughly 600 properties.

Under the agreement approved 7-0, the district’s plant will be shut down and the city will start treating the sewage at its plant.

As that takes place over the course of the next few years, Montalvo customers will see their rates rise from the current $294 a year to $608 in 2018, the same rate Ventura residents will be paying.

Letting the city absorb the district was the cheapest of several alternatives explored, said the district’s General Manager Richard Hajas.

Staying independent would have brought the bills to $756, because the district has to replace its 50-year-old treatment plant and other aging infrastructure.

To make the deal happen, the district gave its land to the developers of a planned Olivas Park commercial development. In turn, the Olivas Park developers will give the city $4.5 million, the cost to hook up to Ventura’s sewer system.

Adding the Montalvo customers will not impact fees for existing Ventura residents, and the fees collected, along with some one-time funds, will pay for the six miles of sewer lines, the staff report notes.

By 2018, Montalvo residents will be paying for sewer service on their water bill instead of on the county’s property tax bills.

Ventura to take closer look at community survey

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 5:14pm

The Ventura City Council on Monday directed staff to take a closer look at the results of a residents survey to determine how better to serve the community.

Mayor Cheryl Heitmann said the results showed the city was doing a good job, but there was room for improvement.

“What is the need,” she said in explaining her motion. “What would it really take to do what we need to do.”

The city hired a public opinion polling firm to get a sense of how residents felt about living in Ventura, their feelings toward government and their top priorities and concerns.

The firm polled 400 registered voters, randomly selected, Nov. 6-10.

Residents were happy with life in Ventura overall, and 74 percent approved of the direction the city was taking, the poll showed.

Respondents also expressed strong satisfaction with city staff, with 72 percent feeling employees were willing to help, and 77 percent feeling they were courteous and knowledgeable.

Consistently, respondents pointed to homelessness as one of the most important issues facing the city.

It’s a “major issue in your community,” said Richard Bernard, partner and vice president of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. “Not everyone speaks of homelessness in the same way.”

That’s one of the reasons Heitmann wants staff to take a closer look at the results.

Some respondents likely felt the city needed more services for homeless people, others probably wanted more done to get them out of the community, Heitmann said.

Bernard said not everyone understands homelessness and how jurisdiction over the issue extends beyond city limits. It was up to the city to communicate that, he said.

The drought, drugs and drug abuse, and pollution that flows into the city’s waterways were also top concerns among residents.

Also Monday, the council voted to take over Montalvo’s sewage services.

Montalvo, east of Victoria Avenue and west of Johnson Drive, was annexed into the city in 2012. The Montalvo Community Services District runs the small sewer district, which serves roughly 600 properties.

Under the agreement approved 7-0, the district’s plant will be shut down and the city will start treating the sewage at its plant.

As that takes place over the course of the next few years, Montalvo customers will see their rates rise from the current $294 a year to $608 in 2018, the same rate Ventura residents will be paying.

Letting the city absorb the district was the cheapest of several alternatives explored, said the district’s General Manager Richard Hajas.

Staying independent would have brought the bills to $756, because the district has to replace its 50-year-old treatment plant and other aging infrastructure.

To make the deal happen, the district gave its land to the developers of a planned Olivas Park commercial development. In turn, the Olivas Park developers will give the city $4.5 million, the cost to hook up to Ventura’s sewer system.

Adding the Montalvo customers will not impact fees for existing Ventura residents, and the fees collected, along with some one-time funds, will pay for the six miles of sewer lines, the staff report notes.

By 2018, Montalvo residents will be paying for sewer service on their water bill instead of on the county’s property tax bills.

Police seek help identifying suspected thief

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 5:12pm

Thousand Oaks police are seeking the public's help in identifying a man suspected of stealing women's wallets, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities said there were several reports last month and this month of wallets being stolen from women's purses in cities across Ventura and Los Angeles counties. They suspect a man seen in a surveillance photo was working as a team with another man to distract the women. In most cases, the purses were in shopping carts, making the thefts easier.

The thieves have used the women's credit cards to make purchases totaling over $10,000, police said.

The photo was taken from surveillance of one of the recent thefts. Police said both men were believed to be 25 to 30 years old.

Sisters set to take up the running habit

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 5:06pm

For the first time, the Sisters of Notre Dame will be hosting a 5K race — nicknamed "A Run Like Nun Other" — on Saturday in Thousand Oaks.

The sisters living at the Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks will be participating in the run, which will start at 8 a.m. Registration is still available online and in person on race day for either the 5K or the 1-mile walk/run.

The event is open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. The course will start on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finish at La Reina High School.

So far, 535 people have signed up to participate, but organizers say that will probably grow to more than 700.

Several of the sisters on Monday picked up an official T-shirt and took a practice walk at the front of the convent next to La Reina.

Sister Francelia Klingshirn, 97, joined others from the convent for the practice walk while wearing her habit. She picked up a T-shirt she'll be wearing Saturday.

"I think it will be a lot of fun," said Klingshirn, who has been at the Thousand Oaks convent for more than 40 years. "I will be lucky if I run out the door and back, but I will be cheering on everyone during the race."

Sister Julie Marie Arriaga, 61, said she is ready to run or at least walk the 5K; she usually walks 4.5 miles a day as a way to get exercise.

Sister Regina Robbins, 72, agreed.

"I'm looking forward to walking this weekend with the sisters and the community," she said.

Sister Mary Anncarla Costello, provincial superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame, said she has high hopes for the day.

"The event is important because we'd like to make some new friends," she said. "We'd like people to know who we are because some people may not know who we are, or have certain stereotypes."

Costello said she hopes the run becomes an annual event that can bring together the local community. She credited the city of Thousand Oaks and educators, staff members and students at La Reina for helping with the run.

Proceeds from the run will support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, which allows the sisters to continue various ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The Sisters of Notre Dame are an international group that has served in California for more than 80 years. About 30 members of the Roman Catholic group permanently reside at the convent, located on 37 acres Janss Road and Hendrix Avenue. The sisters purchased the site in 1963 and opened La Reina a year later. They also opened a day care center and preschool in 2005.

The site in 1979 became the administrative center for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California.

As well as running the high school, the sisters are involved in parish ministries, in the Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign and in supporting missions in other countries, particularly in Uganda.

Professional chip timing technology during Saturday's 5K will be provided by Vendurance Sports. Each participant will receive a free T-shirt while supplies last, special offers from sponsors and a pancake breakfast after the race made by Great Harvest in Newbury Park.

Registration for the 5K is $30, and registration for the 1-mile walk/run is $20.

Race fees will be waived if a fundraiser is set up for a runner, with a minimum of $100 in donations.

On the Net: https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/ThousandOaks/NunRun

Suit alleges salmonella outbreak at local deli

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 5:02pm

A lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of an Oxnard woman alleging she and at least seven others contracted salmonella poisoning after eating last year at Brent’s Deli in Thousand Oaks.

The suit, filed Monday in Ventura County Superior Court, indicates as many as 21 people might have been victims of the outbreak, including two employees of Brent’s. Yet Ventura County and state health officials never issued a public warning.

Trevor Quirk, a Ventura attorney representing the woman, Stephanie Wehr, said the owners of Brent’s knew there was a problem with salmonella contamination at the restaurant when his client ate there Aug. 2.

“They had numerous chances to deal with the problem but they failed to do so,” Quirk said.

Marc Hernandez, a managing partner with Brent’s, would not comment on the lawsuit, saying he had yet to see it. But he said “the health and safety of our customers and employees is of the absolute importance.”

“Our focus has always been customer satisfaction and providing a high-quality experience to the thousands of loyal customers who visit our restaurants,” he said in an email.

Elizabeth Huff, a manager for the Ventura County Environmental Health Division, said California Department of Public Health officials did not notify the county of the problem until Aug. 7. Huff said tests were done and they confirmed salmonella poisoning originating at Brent’s.

But Quirk said county food inspectors knew there was a problem at Brent’s at least since early July. Quirk cited a July 9 restaurant inspection report posted on the Environmental Health Division website detailing numerous violations, including improper sanitation, cooling and food storage.

Quirk said Wehr experienced several abdominal pain on the evening of Aug. 2, hours after she’d eaten a corned beef sandwich at Brent’s. Wehr, a nurse at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, went to work but was unable to complete her shift because she was too ill, Quirk said.

Wehr eventually had to be hospitalized at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, where she was treated for salmonella poisoning, Quirk said.

State public health investigators learned in July of an increase in people with an uncommon strain of salmonella, the lawsuit says. Local health investigators later found seven patients, all of whom had eaten at Brent’s just before they got sick, the suit says.

A total of 19 people were found with the uncommon strain, and two others with a different strain, the suit says. Two of the 21 were Brent’s employees, it says, and eight were hospitalized. The illnesses started in late April and continued through mid-August, the suit says.

“Why didn’t state officials and others publicly report the outbreak?” said Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in food safety cases.

Robert Levin, public health officer for Ventura County, said the threshold for publicly reporting such incidents depends partly on the severity of the illness as well as other factors, including how quickly it spreads.

Levin said public health officials do not want to be so severe with owners of restaurants that they get discouraged from reporting such incidents. Instead, officials want to encourage restaurant openness and honesty.

Levin said Brent’s Deli was “remarkably cooperative and helpful” with county officials in working to solve the salmonella outbreak.

Ron Owens, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, said his agency was aware of the salmonella outbreak. But Owens referred all questions about it to the Ventura County Environmental Health Division.

Huff said follow-up inspections were done at Brent’s and showed the salmonella had been effectively dealt with.

She said Brent’s voluntarily closed for some time to deal with the problem, even though county regulators didn’t require closure.

The lawsuit, however, alleges Brent’s “acted in conscious disregard of the rights and safety” of Wehr, claiming food was not properly stored and cooled, employees did not wash their hands before handling food, and plumbing was in disrepair, among other things. The suit seeks unspecified general, punitive and other damages.

Suit alleges salmonella outbreak at local deli

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 5:02pm

A lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of an Oxnard woman alleging she and at least seven others contracted salmonella poisoning after eating last year at Brent’s Deli in Thousand Oaks.

The suit, filed Monday in Ventura County Superior Court, indicates as many as 21 people might have been victims of the outbreak, including two employees of Brent’s. Yet Ventura County and state health officials never issued a public warning.

Trevor Quirk, a Ventura attorney representing the woman, Stephanie Wehr, said the owners of Brent’s knew there was a problem with salmonella contamination at the restaurant when his client ate there Aug. 2.

“They had numerous chances to deal with the problem but they failed to do so,” Quirk said.

Marc Hernandez, a managing partner with Brent’s, would not comment on the lawsuit, saying he had yet to see it. But he said “the health and safety of our customers and employees is of the absolute importance.”

“Our focus has always been customer satisfaction and providing a high-quality experience to the thousands of loyal customers who visit our restaurants,” he said in an email.

Elizabeth Huff, a manager for the Ventura County Environmental Health Division, said California Department of Public Health officials did not notify the county of the problem until Aug. 7. Huff said tests were done and they confirmed salmonella poisoning originating at Brent’s.

But Quirk said county food inspectors knew there was a problem at Brent’s at least since early July. Quirk cited a July 9 restaurant inspection report posted on the Environmental Health Division website detailing numerous violations, including improper sanitation, cooling and food storage.

Quirk said Wehr experienced several abdominal pain on the evening of Aug. 2, hours after she’d eaten a corned beef sandwich at Brent’s. Wehr, a nurse at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, went to work but was unable to complete her shift because she was too ill, Quirk said.

Wehr eventually had to be hospitalized at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, where she was treated for salmonella poisoning, Quirk said.

State public health investigators learned in July of an increase in people with an uncommon strain of salmonella, the lawsuit says. Local health investigators later found seven patients, all of whom had eaten at Brent’s just before they got sick, the suit says.

A total of 19 people were found with the uncommon strain, and two others with a different strain, the suit says. Two of the 21 were Brent’s employees, it says, and eight were hospitalized. The illnesses started in late April and continued through mid-August, the suit says.

“Why didn’t state officials and others publicly report the outbreak?” said Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in food safety cases.

Robert Levin, public health officer for Ventura County, said the threshold for publicly reporting such incidents depends partly on the severity of the illness as well as other factors, including how quickly it spreads.

Levin said public health officials do not want to be so severe with owners of restaurants that they get discouraged from reporting such incidents. Instead, officials want to encourage restaurant openness and honesty.

Levin said Brent’s Deli was “remarkably cooperative and helpful” with county officials in working to solve the salmonella outbreak.

Ron Owens, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, said his agency was aware of the salmonella outbreak. But Owens referred all questions about it to the Ventura County Environmental Health Division.

Huff said follow-up inspections were done at Brent’s and showed the salmonella had been effectively dealt with.

She said Brent’s voluntarily closed for some time to deal with the problem, even though county regulators didn’t require closure.

The lawsuit, however, alleges Brent’s “acted in conscious disregard of the rights and safety” of Wehr, claiming food was not properly stored and cooled, employees did not wash their hands before handling food, and plumbing was in disrepair, among other things. The suit seeks unspecified general, punitive and other damages.

Why the Blizzard Forecast Missed Its Mark

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - January 27, 2015 - 4:39pm
National Weather Service experts misjudged the path and impact of the blizzard that struck the Northeast, in large part because they trusted the wrong forecasting model, several independent meteorologists said.

Apple reports record profit, readies Apple Watch

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 4:36pm

If Isaac Newton’s head is a revenue target, Apple just gave him a concussion.

The computer and electronics company announced record sales and $18 billion in profits in the first quarter Tuesday, due in large part to sales of 74.5 million iPhones.

Revenue increased 30 percent from last year to $74.6 billion. The announcement came after markets closed.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called the quarterly results “simply phenomenal.”

“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” Cook said in a press release.

iPhone sales made up about two-thirds of Apple's profits. The larger model iPhone 6 was released in September.

Apple’s only blemish was the iPad, which saw a 18 percent decrease in sales from a year ago, to 21.42 million.

Cook announced in a conference call that the Apple Watch, the company’s first major new product since the iPad was released in 2010, will launch in April.

It’s also the first new product – not an upgrade – released by Apple since Steve Jobs died.

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter at @GavinStern.

Stevie Wonder honors Oxnard teen

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 4:35pm

Whether playing the bassoon, trumpet, trombone or piano, Maya Johnson loves music. And last month, the Oxnard 17-year-old met musician Stevie Wonder, who gave the teen the second Stevie Wonder Star Student Award at the Junior Blind of America holiday carnival in Los Angeles.

“We sat around, and even though he had an entourage, we just hung out and chilled out and told stories,” Johnson said. “It was really casual, which was nice. He’s just another person.”

Johnson’s vision has been limited since birth. She was born with cataracts so severe that they required surgery when she was 2 months old.

“She couldn’t see through them at all,” said Johnson’s mother, Leonor Vasquez, who said the resulting scar tissue and Johnson’s small pupils required more operations; she also has developed glaucoma.

“She has no lens in either eye,” Vasquez said.

But Johnson said she doesn’t let her vision issues affect her too much. Although she has lost the vision in her right eye and the vision in her left eye is limited, she eschews using a white cane unless it’s nighttime or she is in a large crowd.

“I have a giant computer for school and I get my books on flash drive and can blow them up as big as I want to,” she said.

She has been attending Junior Blind of America camps in the Los Angeles area since she was 5 years old.

“Junior Blind of America is an organization to provide helpful services to the blind or visually impaired,” Johnson said. “They offer transition programs and adaptive technology and provide mobility training.”

Johnson was introduced to music by Mario Boccali, the band director at Cabrillo Middle School in Ventura. He brought in various professionals who played instruments for the children.

“When the bassoon player played, I thought, ‘That looks rad!’ and I started playing bassoon,” Johnson said.

Now she plays bassoon with the Pacifica High School symphonic band and trumpet with the marching band.

“The bassoon is a little too big for marching,” she said.

But her passion is musical theater.

“I love to be on stage — singing, acting and dancing. I never have any problems in shows,” Johnson said, noting that the careful choreography required of stage productions takes a lot of the challenge out of being on stage.

In fact, she’s hoping to be cast in the school’s spring production of “Chicago.”

“I’m in my senior year, and I hope I get a good part,” Johnson said.

Vasquez said she worries about her daughter eventually leaving for college.

“There is the potential that she will lose what vision she has,” Vasquez said.

Johnson said she plans to attend Ventura College at first, as she pursues her passion for theater.

Johnson said her parents, who are divorced, have provided the perfect balance for her and her brother, Kenney Johnson, 20, who has a neuromuscular disorder. She said her father, Sean Johnson, pushes her to do as much as she can independently.

“He’s an athlete and a teacher and he makes us try our best,” she said. “My parents are a mix of the strong push from my dad and the gentle push from my mom.”

She said she was especially excited about receiving the Stevie Wonder award Dec. 13 because her close friend, Brittany Richardson, a student at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, was the first recipient.

“Blind kids do a lot,” she said.

Cabrillo Music Theatre announces 2015-16 season

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 4:18pm

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets — and apparently the musical seductress wanted to be part of Cabrillo Music Theatre’s 2015-16 season.

The Thousand Oaks-based theater company announced Tuesday that it will kick off its next season on Oct. 16 with a production of “Damn Yankees,” the 1955 baseball-themed musical that introduced Lola to the world.

The four-show season at Civic Arts Plaza will continue with “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum,” “Children of Eden” and “The Little Mermaid.”

“Forum,” fittingly, will be presented in the intimate Scherr Forum; the other three productions will take place in the larger Kavli Theater

That Cabrillo is still around and singing is something of a triumph, given the financial problems the company struggled with last year. On the brink of extinction, the nonprofit company mounted a grass roots fundraising campaign in 2014 that raised more than $295,000 from 1,094 donors. The influx of cash helped save the current season — Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking “Company” is in production now, to be followed by “Mary Poppins” in April and “Oklahoma!” in July — and paved the way for 2015-16.

“We’re back after an ambitious fundraising campaign, and we’re only around because of the support of our subscribers, donors and community partners,” Cabrillo Music Theatre Artistic Director Lewis Wilkenfeld said in a news release. “Our 2015-2016 season is dedicated to our community. (They) really came through … and, now, it’s our turn to come through — with four great shows.”

For information on season subscriptions, call 497-8613, ext. 6, or email subscriber@cabrillomusictheatre.com. Cabrillo’s website is cabrillomusictheatre.com.

Here’s a show-by-show look at the season:

“Damn Yankees” (Oct. 16-25): Baseball fan Joe Boyd makes a deal with the devil — literally — in this modern retelling of the Faust legend. All he wants is to help his favorite team, the hapless Washington Senators, transform into a winning franchise. The show — which includes such songs as “Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets),” “You Gotta Have Heart” and “Those Were The Good Old Days” — was last performed by Cabrillo in 1996.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (Jan. 29-Feb. 14, 2016): Comedy writer Larry Gelbart, who would go on to turn “M*A*S*H*” into a television hit, co-wrote the book and Stephen Sondheim penned the music and lyrics to this slapstick show about a slave trying to win his freedom in ancient Rome. Songs include “Comedy Tonight” and “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid.”

“Children of Eden” (April 8-17, 2016): Every year, Cabrillo makes it a point to present a show it has never performed before. This season it’s “Children of Eden,” a musical about parents and children based on the book of Genesis. Stephen Schwartz, the composer behind “Pippin” and “Wicked,” penned the music and lyrics.

“The Little Mermaid” (July 15-24, 2016): Cabrillo will take audiences under the sea with this show, based on Disney’s 1989 animated classic featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman. Songs include “Part of Your World,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

Bravo (dean's lists, graduations)

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 4:06pm

NAMED

Christopher J. Schneider was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of Thousand Oaks High and Moorpark College.

Joel Partridge, of Simi Valley, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Jamie Honea, of Simi Valley; Jacqueline Kossoff, of Oak Park; and Dimi Elah Mayorga, of Oxnard, were named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at the University of Evansville.

John Woodward, of Westlake Village, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at the University of Albany.

Michael Hammer, of Thousand Oaks, and Melody Sonnemann, of Simi Valley, were named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Bucknell University.

Rachel Crane, of Ventura, has been named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Macalester College.

Alex Krauss, of Oak Park; Kathleen Borchard, of Somis; and Paige Bartholomew, of Thousand Oaks, have been named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Furman University.

Amy Christine Stallard, of Simi Valley, was named to the president’s list for the 2014 fall term at Schreiner University.

Kevin Chilton, of Oak Park, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Nichols College.

Haylee Haas, of Moorpark, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Bryant University.

Numerous local students were named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The students include Zachary Beethem, of Moorpark; Hannah Bauer, of Simi Valley; Nicole Levine and Levi Smith, of Thousand Oaks; and Jared Kaufman, Jack Rickelmann and Patrick Rosenberg, of Westlake Village.

Margaret Oaks, of Simi Valley, and Mary Weyrich, of Ojai, were named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Providence College.

Melissa Barsamian, of Camarillo, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Theresa von Szilassy, of Camarillo, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Drury University.

Erika Stutts, of Ventura, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at George Fox University.

Jessica Poff, of Simi Valley, has been named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Muskingum University.

Haley Grant, of Ojai, was named to the fall 2014 dean’s list at the University of Portland.

Sean O’Keefe, of Ventura, was named to the 2014 fall dean’s list at Graceland University.

EARNED

David McAlpine, of Ventura, earned a bachelor of science degree with a focus in criminal justice management from Union Institute and University.

Shannon Byrd, of Simi Valley, graduated from George Fox University on Dec. 13 with a master of arts degree in teaching.

Tax return help to be available again

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 3:59pm

Q: Each year, I have my income taxes done at the Goebel Center. I have two questions: Is that service being offered again this year, and who is eligible for this service?

A: Yes, tax preparation services will be offered again this year. The services will be available at two locations from Tuesday through April 15.

Services will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays at the Newbury Park Branch Library, 2331 Borchard Road. Services will be offered in Thousand Oaks from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at a new location — the Conejo Creek South community room, 1350 E. Janss Road, across the street from the Goebel Center.

All services are on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations will be taken. These free services are available to seniors age 60 or older at any income level and to people with incomes of $50,000 or less, regardless of age.

As in past years, taxpayers whose returns include Schedule E (rental income) are not eligible. Also, those with Schedule C (profit and loss from a business) will be eligible only if profit and expenses are under $10,000.

Taxpayers should be prepared to present a Social Security card and picture ID. They should bring Social Security benefits statements (SSA 1099), wage and earning statements (W2s and 1099s), property tax bills, interest and dividend statements (1099 INT, 1099 DIV and 1099B), as well as costs of stocks and bonds with the dates bought and sold, copies of 2013 federal and state tax returns, bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit, and other relevant information about income and expenses.

Taxpayers using this type of services at other senior centers and libraries should call that specific location in advance to check for the days and hours of services and whether appointments are required.

Q: Has the Thousand Oaks Council on Aging announced the program for its February meeting?

A: Yes. The council’s Feb. 4 meeting, in recognition of National Heart Month, will present a program on the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Vishra Dev, chief of cardiology at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. Once considered a disease of older men, heart disease is now known to affect both men and women. The presentation will address strategies to remain healthy as well as the latest treatment options. The meeting will start at 1 p.m. in the Civic Arts Plaza boardroom, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Visit http://www.toaks.org/seniors or email councilonaging@toaks.org for more information about the council’s program series.

Q: I am trying to educate my widowed mother about protecting herself from identity theft, but my words are falling on deaf ears. Can you help?

A: Identity theft is a serious crime that can cost you time and money and destroy your credit and good name. There are three steps you can take to protect yourself. Think of them as the three D’s: deter, detect and defend.

You can deter identity thieves by protecting your vital information. This can be accomplished by shredding all documents that contain personal information before disposing of them. Protect your Social Security number — give it out only when absolutely necessary. Don’t use obvious passwords such as your birth date, mother’s maiden name or last four digits of your Social Security number. Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.

You can detect suspicious activity by being alert. Be aware of when bills should arrive each month. Make inquiries if they don’t. Have you been denied credit for no apparent reason or been contacted about a purchase you did not make? Any of these occurrences require your immediate attention.

Inspect your credit reports and financial statements on a timely basis. Question any discrepancies. If you suspect identify theft, take action and defend against it. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Close any accounts that have been tampered with and file a police report.

Identity theft happens in many ways, including trash diving, skimming credit card numbers, phishing on the Internet, diverting your billing statements to another location and old-fashioned stealing.

It isn’t hard to protect yourself. Just take a few simple steps and incorporate them into your everyday schedule. It will pay off, saving you time, money and grief in the long run. Play it safe rather than being sorry.

HAPPENINGS

Feb. 17 and Feb. 26, 10 a.m.: mileage reimbursement program presentation, SCAN Health Education Center, 6633 Telephone Road, Suite 100, Ventura. Call 658-0365 for reservations.

Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362. Call 495-6250 or email betty@seniorconcerns.org (include your telephone number.) You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.

1 injured in fiery Camarillo crash

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 3:45pm

One person was injured Tuesday afternoon in a fiery crash in Camarillo, officials said.

The crash was reported about 3:16 p.m. near the intersection of Village Commons Boulevard and East Pleasant Valley Road, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Initial reports indicated that two vehicles were involved and one was on fire.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office responded for traffic control in the area.

Classes, expo and other events planned

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 3:43pm

Camarillo

Center will offer various activities

The Pleasant Valley Senior Center will have two activities at 1605 E. Burnley St.:

The center will host lunch and a movie at noon Feb. 5. Lunch will cost $5, and the screening of “The Hundred Foot Journey” at 1 p.m. will be free.

There will be a Valentine’s dance from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Feb. 10 in the community center auditorium. The Seniors of Note Big Band will provide music. Admission will be free.

Call 482-4881 to RSVP.

Thousand Oaks

Adult school plans art instruction

The Senior Enrichment Program at the Conejo Valley Adult School will offer art classes for seniors at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road:

A watercolor workshop with Tom Winans will start Feb. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon and run for 10 weeks.

Oil and acrylics painting classes with Jerry Ferguson will start Feb. 23 and continue for 10 weeks.

Class times are 9 a.m. to noon or 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Each class will cost $90. Call 497-2761 for more information.

Ventura

Expo to feature health vendors

The Health and Wealth Expo will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 18 at Cypress Place Senior Living, 1220 Cypress Point Lane.

Life coach and author Oya Thomas will be the keynote speaker. There will be free blood pressure and mini-stroke screenings, free balance and hearing tests, veteran benefit information and more.

Admission will be free. Call 650-8000 to RSVP. Visit http://www.cypressplaceseniorliving.com for more information.

Ventura County

Classes share about diabetes

Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association will hold free classes to share information about Type 2 diabetes.

Here’s the schedule:

1-2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Livingston Memorial, 1996 Eastman Ave., Suite 109, Ventura.

1:30-3 p.m. Wednesday at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks.

10:30 a.m. to noon Feb. 4 at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi.

2:30-4 p.m. Feb. 4 in Room 3 at the Camarillo Community Center, 1605 E. Burnley St.

Call 642-0239 for more information.

Joint replacement to be discussed

Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association will hold two classes to prepare individuals for total knee or hip replacement surgery.

Home preparation, exercises and information about rehabilitation will be discussed.

Here’s the schedule:

10-11 a.m. Feb. 11 in third-floor Classroom 2 at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, 2309 Antonio Ave., Camarillo.

1-2 p.m. Feb. 10 at Sunrise Senior Living, 190 Tierra Rejada Road, Simi Valley.

Call Barrie Gilster at 797-7699 to RSVP.

 

Simi police say 2014 was safest year on record

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 3:43pm

Simi Valley’s crime rate per thousand residents fell to an all-time low in 2014, according to preliminary statistics released this week by police.

“We’re safer now than when we were the safest city,” Simi Valley City Councilmen Glen Becerra and Steve Sojka both said at the council’s meeting Monday night, thanking the city’s police chief, Mitch McCann, who was in attendance, and his department.

Throughout the 1990s, Simi Valley was frequently able to tout, based on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Data, that it was the safest city in the country with a population of at least 100,000.

But the city’s 2014 crime rate — 14 crimes per thousand residents — is lower than the 1990s rates.

In 1999, for instance — the last time or one of the last times that Simi Valley said it was the safest city in the country with a population of at least 100,000 — the rate was 15.16 crimes per thousand residents.

In 2013, Simi Valley’s rate was 14.8 crimes per thousand residents, the second-safest year on record.

In 2014, Part I crimes — homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, auto theft, and arson — decreased by 4.68 percent compared to 2013, according to the Simi Valley Police Department’s preliminary statistics for the year.

“The department ... is pleased to announce that 2014 is on track to be the lowest crime rate per 1,000 residents ever recorded in the city of Simi Valley,” the department said in a release. Simi Valley incorporated in 1969.

There were no homicides in 2014, compared to three in 2013; 24 robberies in 2014, 31 in 2013; 89 aggravated assaults both years; 348 burglaries in 2014, 344 in 2013; 1,176 larceny thefts in 2014, 1,233 in 2013; 94 auto thefts in 2014, 132 in 2013; 12 arsons in 2014, 16 in 2013.

An expanded legal definition of rape by the FBI resulted in an increase in reported rapes in 2014, police said. The new definition is, “penetration, no matter how slight ... without the consent of the victim.”

In 2014, 27 rapes were reported under the expanded definition. In 2013, under the more narrow definition, nine rapes were reported. Using the narrower definition, in 2014, there would have been fewer reported rapes than in 2013 — eight, police said.

The 2014 statistics will be finalized in March or April after detectives complete their investigations of crimes that occurred in November and December, McCann said. That may result in the department reclassifying a few of those crimes such as a robbery to a burglary. But McCann said he doesn’t expect any significant changes in the numbers.

McCann, who became chief in 2012, attributed the city’s historically low crime rate to several factors.

“First and foremost is the synergy in our community,” he said in an interview. “We live in a really pro law enforcement community. So we have residents here who are willing to call us at the first sight of something suspicious.”

McCann also cited the support of the City Council, which “has really given us the resources in order to properly police our city,” and the department’s dedicated officers.

“So I think it’s a compilation of all those things kind of coming together right now,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing. And it’s just a way for us to be able to track that, ‘Hey, we’re doing a good job for our community.’”

City Manager Eric Levitt said Tuesday the city has not decided whether it will crunch the crime numbers to determine its latest rank among cities nationwide with populations of at least 100,000. But he said the city will certainly monitor if other groups or cities release new such rankings.

In 2013, Simi Valley was ranked the third-safest city in California and the seventh nationally, with populations of more than 100,000. Neighboring Thousand Oaks ranked first in California and fourth nationally.

The FBI advises against using its data for such rankings, saying many variables should be weighed in comparing crime rates among cities.

McCann said that while such rankings are nice, he’s more focused on Simi Valley’s crime rate per thousand residents being at an all-time low.

“As far as our ranking, that’s neat, but for me, it’s that we were able to keep the crime going down and protect our citizens,” he said. “That’s always been job No. 1 in Simi Valley.” He cautioned, however, that California Proposition 47, which reduced some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, could cause crimes rates in Simi Valley and throughout the state to increase in 2015. Voters approved the ballot initiative in November.

Simi police say 2014 was safest year on record

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 3:43pm

Simi Valley's crime rate per thousand residents fell to an all-time low in 2014, according to preliminary statistics released this week by police.

"We're safer now than when we were the safest city," Simi Valley City Councilmen Glen Becerra and Steve Sojka both said at the council's meeting Monday night, thanking the city's police chief, Mitch McCann, who was in attendance, and his department.

Throughout the 1990s, Simi Valley was frequently able to tout, based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Data, that it was the safest city in the country with a population of at least 100,000.

But the city's 2014 crime rate — 14 crimes per thousand residents — is lower than the 1990s rates.

In 1999, for instance — the last time or one of the last times that Simi Valley said it was the safest city in the country with a population of at least 100,000 — the rate was 15.16 crimes per thousand residents.

In 2013, Simi Valley's rate was 14.8 crimes per thousand residents, the second-safest year on record.

In 2014, Part I crimes — homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, auto theft, and arson — decreased by 4.68 percent compared to 2013, according to the Simi Valley Police Department's preliminary statistics for the year.

"The department ... is pleased to announce that 2014 is on track to be the lowest crime rate per 1,000 residents ever recorded in the city of Simi Valley," the department said in a release. Simi Valley incorporated in 1969.

There were no homicides in 2014, compared to three in 2013; 24 robberies in 2014, 31 in 2013; 89 aggravated assaults both years; 348 burglaries in 2014, 344 in 2013; 1,176 larceny thefts in 2014, 1,233 in 2013; 94 auto thefts in 2014, 132 in 2013; 12 arsons in 2014, 16 in 2013.

An expanded legal definition of rape by the FBI resulted in an increase in reported rapes in 2014, police said. The new definition is, "penetration, no matter how slight ... without the consent of the victim."

In 2014, 27 rapes were reported under the expanded definition. In 2013, under the more narrow definition, nine rapes were reported. Using the narrower definition, in 2014, there would have been fewer reported rapes than in 2013 — eight, police said.

The 2014 statistics will be finalized in March or April after detectives complete their investigations of crimes that occurred in November and December, McCann said. That may result in the department reclassifying a few of those crimes such as a robbery to a burglary. But McCann said he doesn't expect any significant changes in the numbers.

McCann, who became chief in 2012, attributed the city's historically low crime rate to several factors.

"First and foremost is the synergy in our community," he said in an interview. "We live in a really pro law enforcement community. So we have residents here who are willing to call us at the first sight of something suspicious."

McCann also cited the support of the City Council, which "has really given us the resources in order to properly police our city," and the department's dedicated officers.

"So I think it's a compilation of all those things kind of coming together right now," he said. "It's pretty amazing. And it's just a way for us to be able to track that, ‘Hey, we're doing a good job for our community.'"

City Manager Eric Levitt said Tuesday the city has not decided whether it will crunch the crime numbers to determine its latest rank among cities nationwide with populations of at least 100,000. But he said the city will certainly monitor if other groups or cities release new such rankings.

In 2013, Simi Valley was ranked the third-safest city in California and the seventh nationally, with populations of more than 100,000. Neighboring Thousand Oaks ranked first in California and fourth nationally.

The FBI advises against using its data for such rankings, saying many variables should be weighed in comparing crime rates among cities.

McCann said that while such rankings are nice, he's more focused on Simi Valley's crime rate per thousand residents being at an all-time low.

"As far as our ranking, that's neat, but for me, it's that we were able to keep the crime going down and protect our citizens," he said. "That's always been job No. 1 in Simi Valley." He cautioned, however, that California Proposition 47, which reduced some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, could cause crimes rates in Simi Valley and throughout the state to increase in 2015. Voters approved the ballot initiative in November.

Workshop, play and other events planned

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 3:30pm

Calabasas

Workshop to focus on positive outlook

The Calabasas Library will present a workshop for adults, "Creating a Positive Outlook for the New Year," at noon Saturday at 200 Civic Center Way.

Call 818-225-7616 for more information.

Piru

Ranch museum plans re-enactment

Rancho Camulos Museum will hold a re-enactment of "Ramona" author Helen Hunt Jackson's January 1882 visit to the rancho, 5164 E. Telegraph Road.

The suggested $5 donation will include a docent-led tour.

Visit http://www.ranchocamulos.org, email info@ranchocamulos.org or call 521-1501 for more information.

Port Hueneme

Public can receive help with taxes

Free AARP/IRS income tax preparation help will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays from next week through April 13.

No appointments are required. Call 986-6542 for more information.

Thousand Oaks

Youths will perform Disney musical

The Young Artists Ensemble will present Disney's "Aladdin, Jr." from Friday through Feb. 15 at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, 403 W. Hillcrest Drive.

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. There will be four extra performances with the addition of actors with special needs from Feb. 20-22.

Tickets cost $17 for adults and $16 for children, students and seniors or $10 for shows Feb. 20-22. Visit http://www.yaeonline.com or call 381-1246 for tickets.

Pianist will present lecture, recital

"Piano Man" Jeffrey Jacob will perform at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Overton Hall at California Lutheran University, 60 W. Olsen Road.

Admission is free. Visit http://www.callutheran.edu or call 493-3306 for more information.

Ventura

Bowling to help cancer society

Buena Lanes and the Ventura Men's Bowling Association will host Bowl to Strike Out Cancer on Feb. 7 at 1788 Mesa Verde Ave.

Cost is $25. Cost will include bowling, an event T-shirt, barbecue, silent auction and a bag raffle.

All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. Call Dana Fink at 656-0666 to sign up.

Westlake Village

Run will support fight against cancer

The Westlake Village Pancreatic Cancer Run/Walk will be Feb. 14 starting at Westlake Village City Hall, 31200 Oak Crest Drive.

On-site registration will start at 7 a.m. The 10K will start at 8 a.m. and the 5K run/walk will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Visit http://www.2015westlakewalkrun.kintera.org or call 866-789-1000 for more information.

Staff reports

Police seek help identifying suspected thief

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 3:30pm

Thousand Oaks police sought the public's help in identifying a man suspected of stealing women's wallets, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities said there were several reports last month and this month of wallets being stolen from women's purses in cities across Ventura and Los Angeles counties. They suspect the man in the photo is working as a team with another man to distract the women. In most cases, the woman's purse was inside the shopping cart and provided the suspected thieves with easier access. The suspects then use the women's credit cards to make purchases totaling over $10,000, police said.

The photo was taken from surveillance video in one of the recent theft reports. Police said both men were believed to be 25-30 years old, authorities said.

Amgen tops Street 4Q forecasts

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 2:47pm

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) - Amgen Inc. (AMGN) on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.29 billion.

The Thousand Oaks, California-based company said it had profit of $1.68 per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were $2.16 per share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.05 per share.

The world's largest biotech drugmaker posted revenue of $5.33 billion in the period, also surpassing Street forecasts. Analysts expected $5.19 billion, according to Zacks.

“2014 was really an outstanding year for us,” Amgen CEO Bob Bradway told shareholders in the company’s earnings call Tuesday.

One of Amgen’s objectives for 2014 was to improve profitability for Enbrel, its arthritis drug, and Bradway said that goal was achieved.

Bradway said 2014 was a watershed year for research and development at Amgen, and 2015 will be important for launching new products.​

Amgen expects full-year earnings in the range of $9.05 to $9.40 per share, with revenue in the range of $20.8 billion to $21.3 billion.

Amgen shares have fallen slightly since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has dropped slightly more than 1 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, shares hit $158.89, an increase of 34 percent in the last 12 months.

- Star reporter Stephanie Hoops contributed to this story.

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