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Simi Valley students win big challenge

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 4:02pm

Hollow Hills School Principal Shawn Rumble never thought he’d have to dress as a turkey when he issued a challenge to his students in Simi Valley to collect 10,000 food items for the needy.

But he was delighted to do so Friday morning because it indicated a successful campaign at the 671-student school.

“I thought I’d be pretty safe in not having to wear a turkey costume,” Rumble said. “I thought they’d get close and I’d come in wearing a hat or something. I was at a training on Monday and my secretary texted to tell me I’d better order the costume.”

Rumble said kids at the school typically had brought about 3,800 items in past years.

“I had never given them the 10,000-can challenge before,” Rumble said. “I challenged them to bring in 10 items each this time, which would be over 6,000 items, and then I said, ‘You know, let’s go for 10,000 and then I’ll dress up as something silly.’ With the help of my teachers, they came up with the turkey.”

They collected all the food, including 64 turkeys.

The Salvation Army in Simi Valley received the food delivery that took seven large vehicles to transport.

One family brought in nine turkeys.

Abby Buonauro, 6, came home from school and told her mother she wanted to put her birthday money toward the Care and Share campaign.

“I knew people didn’t have money to buy their own food,” Abby said. “I had $30. I brought in 80 cans.”

Abby laughed at Rumble’s costume.

“He looks funny,” Abby said. “I’m happy I did this.”

Her mother, Heidi Buonauro, said she was very proud of her daughter.

“She came home and said, ‘I know what I’m going to do with my birthday money, Mom. I’m going to bring cans into Care and Share so there will be people who aren’t hungry for Thanksgiving this year.’ I was happy that that’s where her heart is,” Buonauro said. “That’s a special thing to be able to learn from your 6-year-old, how to love others and how to give. She inspired our whole family.”

Her older sister Ella, 7, emptied her piggy bank of $7 and bought cans, too.

Another student took similar steps.

Hudson Hahn, 7, said, “I went home and told my mom that I wanted to buy a turkey with my own money, too.”

Avery Schmidt, 6, said he thought Rumble looked very funny. He brought food twice.

“First I brought in three cans and then the second time 11 because I wanted people to have food for Thanksgiving,” Avery said.

As Rumble stood in the inflatable costume greeting students, the kids giggled and made comments like, “It’s hilarious” and “It’s so funny.” Some parents shot quips at him like, “They don’t pay you enough,” and “See what happens when you become principal?”

Afterward, Rumble went to all the classes to deliver 1,800 gobble-grams — messages students wrote to one another. The project, run by student council, helps purchase items for the needy.

Holly Dye, a sixth-grade teacher and student council adviser, dressed up to run after him in the classrooms with a turkey baster.

“They love to see their principal make a fool of himself,” Rumble said. “I think I did a pretty good job, but it’s all about the kids and all the local pantries will benefit. I’m so proud of the community.”

Books Of Style: Three New Books On Luxurious Cold-Weather Escapes

NY Times Books - November 21, 2014 - 4:01pm
Three new books shed sun-drenched light on the world’s most luxurious cold-weather retreats, from Monte Carlo to the Caribbean to Palm Beach.






West county pet of the week: Handsome

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 21, 2014 - 3:38pm

Handsome, a very appropriate name, has been waiting at the shelter since August. The adult boxer mix needs to live in a home with adults only. Because he is older than 5, his adoption fee is discounted to $75. This includes vaccinations, free veterinarian check, neuter, microchip implantation and a faithful companion. Potential owners can meet Handsome at the Humane Society of Ventura County, 402 Bryant St., Ojai. Shelter hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The society will have its annual event offering pet photos with Santa from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the shelter and Dec. 7 at the Ventura Beach Marriott. Christmas card photos will be available for a $25 donation to help keep the society open for the animals in need. Visit http://www.hsvc.org for more information.

West county pet of the week: Handsome

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 3:38pm

Handsome, a very appropriate name, has been waiting at the shelter since August. The adult boxer mix needs to live in a home with adults only. Because he is older than 5, his adoption fee is discounted to $75. This includes vaccinations, free veterinarian check, neuter, microchip implantation and a faithful companion. Potential owners can meet Handsome at the Humane Society of Ventura County, 402 Bryant St., Ojai. Shelter hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The society will have its annual event offering pet photos with Santa from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the shelter and Dec. 7 at the Ventura Beach Marriott. Christmas card photos will be available for a $25 donation to help keep the society open for the animals in need. Visit http://www.hsvc.org for more information.

Thanksgiving meal costs go up this year

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 3:18pm

Thanksgiving is a little more expensive this year.

The American Farm Bureau Federation released the results of its 29th price survey on the cost of Thanksgiving dinner Thursday. The overall cost of a Thanksgiving meal that feeds 10 went up to $49.41 from $49.04 last year.

“That’s fairly stable price on our survey,” said John Anderson, Farm Bureau Deputy Chief Economist.

One gobble of relief was the price of turkey, which was expected to go up due to reduced supply. Instead, a 16-pound frozen turkey costs $21.65 on average, 11 cents less than in 2013.

Anderson said retailers ate most of the wholesale cost to get people into the stores.

“Thanksgiving is their Super Bowl and World Series rolled into one. Turkey is a big deal at Thanksgiving, it gets people into the grocery store so they want good deals,” Anderson said.

A decrease in energy costs likely helped keep prices down. The average gas price dropped 10 percent from last November to $2.89, according to the American Automobile Association.

Because of production and shipping costs, that’s a decent chunk of the sweet potato pie.

To conduct the annual survey, The Farm Bureau sends 179 volunteer shoppers to grocery stores in 35 states. Their mission: to find the best deal possible.

The survey includes other staples such as stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries and pumpkin pie with a cup of coffee. It does not take into account more recent trends in buying fresh, organic or local products.

But no matter how you take your turkey or how much is costs, there’s no replacement for the joy of fighting over the last leg with family.

Here's how long it'll take to work off all those calories, food coma not included:

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on twitter at @GavinStern or email him at gavin.stern@scripps.com.

Obama Signs Immigration Action

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 21, 2014 - 2:58pm
President Obama kicked off his new immigration plan in Las Vegas on Friday, including signing an executive action offering a reprieve from deportation to millions of immigrants.

House GOP Files Suit Over Health Law

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 21, 2014 - 2:44pm
The Republicans in the House of Representatives filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its health-care law in D.C. federal court.

What We're Reading

New York Times - California News - November 21, 2014 - 2:40pm
Get recommendations from New York Times reporters and editors, highlighting great stories from around the web. Today, great reads from Anne Barnard, Richard Sandomir and others.

What We're Reading

New York Times - California News - November 21, 2014 - 2:40pm
Get recommendations from New York Times reporters and editors, highlighting great stories from around the web. Today, great reads from Anne Barnard, Richard Sandomir and others.

Crews try to improve access to explosion site

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 2:39pm

Authorities were concentrating Friday on a way to let businesses resume at least limited operations in the Mission Rock Road area contaminated by Tuesday's chemical explosion.

"Our priority is to open this road, but we have to have safe conditions to do so," Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Mike Lindbery said Friday.

He said there wasn't a set date for when a half-mile evacuation order would be fully lifted or the cleanup would begin.

"We are intensely aware of needs of these people to conduct their businesses and we want to get them in as soon as safely possible," he said.

Twenty-six of the 27 businesses in the evacuation zone near Santa Paula returned to the site Thursday, along with six residents from four homes, to collect tools and other necessary items from their properties.

Samples continued to be collected and tested Friday, and the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner's Office was checking to see if nearby farmland was affected by the explosion. Thursday night's light rain did not affect the site, officials said.

Southern California Edison officials were successful in restoring power to the evacuation area except the explosion site, Lindbery said.

Numerous agencies, including a regional hazardous materials team and the Environmental Protection Agency, continued trying to better identify the volatile substance that caused a truck to explode Tuesday at Santa Clara Waste Water Co., 815 Mission Rock Road.

When dried, the substance spontaneously ignited, sparking small fires. A Santa Clara Waste official has said the company does not accept hazardous waste and speculated that two inert chemicals mistakenly mixed in the truck, creating an organic peroxide substance. Authorities think sulfuric acid was part of the mix.

Officials were still devising a cleanup plan that will include how best to neutralize the substance and avoid another explosion. Patriot Environmental Services, which is located within the evacuation area, will help with the cleanup.

The latest evacuation information is available at http://vcemergency.com.

How immigration reform could impact labor market

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 2:39pm

Jobless claims are down, more Americans are confident enough to quit their jobs and wages are slowly ticking up.

And right when it looked like the balance of the labor market was slowly tipping back toward a positive outlook for workers — a big announcement. (Video via CCTV)

"There are actions I have the legal authority to take as president," President Obama said.

President Obama's executive order on immigration could allow nearly 5 million immigrants to apply for work permits and higher-paying jobs. (Video via Al Jazeera)

So how can we know how Thursday night's immigration reform will affect the U.S. labor market? 

One option is to look at President Reagan's 1986 immigration reform, which granted amnesty to 1.7 million unauthorized workers. (Video via CBS)

That's what The Wall Street Journal did, citing a study that found once many immigrants were naturalized in 1990, "just 4% of farm workers were in the same industry, while roughly a quarter of those workers had shifted over to construction and other laborer jobs with better pay."

And most agree President Obama's action will also raise wages for undocumented immigrants soon able to work legally and find work to match their skills. Left-leaning Center for American Progress estimates an average rise of 8.5 percent.

But the rise in wages for undocumented workers would have little impact on the aggregate wages of the economy as a whole.

As Forbes pointed out, wages for amnestied workers under the 1986 amnesty rose only 6 percent. At that rate, even Nevada — the state with the largest percentage of undocumented workers in its current work force — would see only a 0.6 percent increase in its aggregate wages.

The White House itself estimated in a report the average wages for U.S.-born workers would rise by just 0.3 percent in 2024 — or about $170.

But even without wages, Fortune noted noted more immigrants could help boost the number of jobs in the country, citing a study that showed highly skilled immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as native-born Americans.

No matter the impact the president's immigration reform has on the economy, though, it might be short-lived. Barring further permanent action, these reforms could end — along with Obama's executive authority — in two years.

Medical Device Sidelined Too Late for Some

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 21, 2014 - 2:22pm
While scrutiny over the power morcellator may save lives, women like Linda Interlichia are paying a grim price for decisions made before the alarms rang about the hysterectomy tool.

Obama to Visit India in January

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 21, 2014 - 1:44pm
President Obama will visit India in January as the guest of honor for the country’s symbolically important Republic Day celebrations—a sign of a significant warming of relations between the two countries.

Minor injuries in Thousand Oaks crash, fire

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 21, 2014 - 1:40pm

Minor injuries were reported in a crash and vehicle fire in Thousand Oaks Friday morning, officials said.

The crash was reported about 10:55 a.m. near the intersection of Velarde Drive and West Avenida De Los Arboles.

A truck carrying chemicals involved caught fire and the Ventura County Fire Department responded.

The incident caused a minor chemical hazard and traffic delays and officials were working to clear the scene as of 1:15 p.m.

Minor injuries in Thousand Oaks crash, fire

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 1:40pm

Minor injuries were reported in a crash and vehicle fire in Thousand Oaks Friday morning, officials said.

The crash was reported about 10:55 a.m. near the intersection of Velarde Drive and West Avenida De Los Arboles.

A truck carrying chemicals involved caught fire and the Ventura County Fire Department responded.

The incident caused a minor chemical hazard and traffic delays and officials were working to clear the scene as of 1:15 p.m.

Missing man found safe in Ventura

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 12:59pm

A man missing since early Thursday has been found safe in Ventura, officials said.

Jordan Basila, 22, was found about 5:30 a.m., said Detective Tim Lohman, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

“He was in good health,” Lohman said.

Basila had been missing since 2 a.m. Thursday. He had last been seen in the Newbury Park area.

No other details were released.

Limited access to explosion site considered

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 21, 2014 - 12:57pm

Authorities were concentrating Friday on a way to let Santa Paula businesses resume at least limited operations in the Mission Rock Road area contaminated by Tuesday's chemical explosion.

"Our priority is to open this road, but we have to have safe conditions to do so," Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Mike Lindbery said.

He added that there wasn't a set date for when the half-mile evacuation order will be fully lifted or when the clean up will begin.

"We are intensely aware of needs of these people to conduct their businesses and we want to get them in as soon as safely possible," the captain said.

Twenty-six of the 27 businesses within the evacuation zone returned to the site Thursday, along with six residents from four homes, to collect tools and other necessary items from their properties.

Samples are continuing to be collected and tested, and officials from the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner's Office will be checking to see if area agriculture was affected by the explosion.

Southern California Edison officials were successful in restoring power to the evacuation area except the explosion site, Lindbery said.

Numerous agencies, including a regional hazardous materials team and the Environmental Protection Agency, continued trying to better identify the volatile substance that caused a truck to explode Tuesday at Santa Clara Waste Water Co., 815 Mission Rock Road.

When dried, the substance spontaneously ignited, sparking small fires. A Santa Clara Waste official has said the company does not accept hazardous waste and speculated that two inert chemicals mistakenly mixed in the truck, creating an organic peroxide substance. Authorities think sulfuric acid was part of the mix.

Officials are still devising a cleanup plan that will include how best to neutralize the substance and avoid another explosion. Patriot Environmental Services, which is located within the evacuation area, will help with the cleanup.

5 foodie things to do this weekend (Nov. 21-23)

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 12:22pm

From hitting up food trucks for dinner in Ventura to helping Sweet Arleen's celebrate its fifth anniversary in Westlake Village, there's plenty to do in and around Ventura County from Nov. 21-23.

1). Love animals? Love wine? Then you'll love the Wine & Sign event taking place from 5-7 Friday at The Wine Closet in Old Town Camarillo. Sheli Ellsworth, author of "Confessions of a Pet Au Pair," will sign copies of the book detailing traditional and homeopathic treatments while visitors sip wines from Cimarone of Santa Barbara, Carnivintas of Solvang and Rockwall Wine Co. of Alameda. Rockwall donates a portion of profits from sales of its Rock Hound Red and other wines to animal shelters. (2423 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, 383-9812, www.wineclosetinc.com)

2). Some Ventura County food-truck gatherings put on the brakes when winter rolls around. Not Midtown Ventura Food Truck Fridays, which will include the Sweet Arleen's cupcake van, local-favorite Scratch food truck and more than a dozen others when it runs from 5-9 p.m. Friday in the Trader Joe's parking lot at the Pacific View Mall. The event includes live music by The Art Rockers and activities for kids. Proceeds benefit local schools. (103 S. Mills Road, Ventura, 642-0605).

3). How time and Food Network "Cupcake Wars" episodes fly. Sweet Arleen's, the Westlake Village-based gourmet cupcake and bread puddings shop that parlayed three first-place wins on the culinary competition into a franchise operation with locations in Utah, Texas, and Yorba Linda, will celebrate its fifth anniversary Saturday. Day-long specials include $5 deals on peanut brittle and pairs of cupcakes. Visitors from 3-5 p.m. will be treated to tastings, refreshments and drawings for decorating parties. Plus: bite into a pinata cupcake, win a $100 gift card. (960 S. Westlake Blvd., Suite 4, 373-7373, www.sweetarleens.com)

4). Architecture meets holiday baking in the sixth annual Gingerbread House Contest presented by the Friends of Heritage Square in Oxnard -- and Sunday, Nov. 23 is the deadline to announce your intentions to enter the competition. Those who register in time this weekend will be asked to bring in their candy-coated creations a week later (Nov. 30) for display through Dec. 21. Prizes of $50 will be awarded in each of 11 categories, which include "favorite landmark" and "people's choice." For details, click on: heritagesquareoxnard.com/gingerbread-contest.  

5). There's no time like the present to start planning your Thanksgiving meal -- especially when we've got recipes from two local chefs to help jazz up your repertoire. )One even includes a step-by-step video!)

From Sarah Austin, pastry cook at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, there is this recipe that packs all the flavors of pumpkin pie into single-serving cupcakes: Harvest Pumpkin Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

From Gabe Garcia, executive chef at Tierra Sur restaurant inside Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, there is this recipe: Pumpkin / Butternut Squash Slaw. The highlighted text links to a video of Garcia making the dish.  

This list was compiled by Lisa McKinnon of the Ventura County Star. For between-list updates, "like" VCS Eats on Facebook and follow 805foodie on Twitter and Instagram. To submit information for consideration for future lists, send email to lmckinnon@vcstar.com

 

Stolen gnome returned months later with surprise

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 21, 2014 - 12:12pm

A Washington state couple had their garden gnome stolen from their front porch this summer. They figured they'd never see it again. 

"When a gnome disappears, you never know if he's going to come back," owner Bret Kraupie told KOMO.

So imagine their surprise when they came home Tuesday and saw their gnome — which is named Jimmy — sitting on the front step with an envelope full of photos, according to KOMO

"Someone on a summer vacation decided to take Jimmy along for the ride. They crossed state lines, hit national landmarks, taking pictures all the way to Texas," KOMO reporter Lindsay Cohen said. 

And ABC's Dan Harris couldn't help himself when it came time to report that no one knows who the thief is. 

"Jimmy, thus far, has taken the bit," Harris said.

"Not saying a word?" anchor Robin Roberts said.

"Not saying a word. Mum's the word," Harris replied.

But Jimmy the Gnome wasn't the first of his kind to do a little globetrotting. Travelocity has built an entire ad campaign around a gnome on the go.

And others have pulled that traveling-gnome prank before.

For example, in 2005, a gnome was stolen out of Washington state resident Marianne Severson's garden and returned with photographic proof he'd met several celebrities, including Paris Hilton. 

"I really didn't know it was Paris Hilton until I read the caption in the magazine," Severson said.

Of course, gnome way of gnome-ing if the same person stole that gnome. 

How Surgical Robots Spurred Morcellator Use

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 21, 2014 - 12:02pm
As hundreds of thousands of women chose robotic hysterectomies, some doctors opted to use a technology the FDA has warned can worsen cancer: the power morcellator.
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