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‘Van Gogh,’ by Julian Bell

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:39am
Julian Bell looks at van Gogh’s brief, explosively creative life.






‘Offcomer,’ by Jo Baker

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:38am
The protagonist of Jo Baker’s first novel is an Oxford graduate working at a Belfast pub.






Casey Walker’s ‘Last Days in Shanghai’

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:37am
In this first novel, a young congressional aide navigates a minefield of graft and corruption in present-day China.






Critic's Take: Somebody’s Watching Us

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:37am
Today, Richard Hofstadter, who wrote “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” might target not just right-wing radio hosts but also the aggrieved left.






‘When Books Went to War,’ by Molly Guptill Manning

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:33am
In World War II, books helped lift the spirits of the troops.






‘The Match Girl and the Heiress,’ by Seth Koven

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:33am
A story of activists and unlikely soulmates in Victorian London.






‘Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary,’ by Anita Anand

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:33am
The life of a suffragist daughter of an exiled maharajah.






‘There Was and There Was Not,’ by Meline Toumani

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:32am
An Armenian-American moves to Turkey to investigate a history of tense relations.






‘Once Upon a Time,’ by Marina Warner

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:32am
Marina Warner explores the history and enduring power of fairy tales.






‘Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye,’ by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:31am
Mourning her father’s death, the author undertakes a pilgrimage to Japan’s great Buddhist temples.






ArtsBeat: Book Review Podcast: Jill Leovy’s ‘Ghettoside’

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:18am
Ms. Leovy discusses “Ghettoside,” Patton Oswalt talks about his new memoir and Anita Shapira discusses “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel.”






‘Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!,’ by Nicholas Carlson

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:13am
In 2012, Marissa Mayer was tasked with reversing the fortunes of a struggling Internet pioneer.

Conejo Unified hires superintendent search firm

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 23, 2015 - 9:12am

A professional search firm headquartered in Nebraska has been selected to find a new superintendent for the Conejo Valley Unified School District.

The Board of Education unanimously decided Tuesday to contract with McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha which is partnered with the California School Boards Association.

"All members of the board came to agreement that they were best suited to our needs," said Board President Betsy Connolly Wednesday. "We will be meeting with them in two weeks and moving briskly along to get the search underway."

At a special meeting last week, board members heard presentations from three professional search firms and Connolly said the fact that McPherson & Jepson are endorsed by the CSBA was a persuasive factor.

"The staff from the search firm that will be working with us have a great deal of experience not just as superintendents themselves but as people who have led search efforts before," she said. "They will help us clarify what we are looking for and what our community is looking for and also persuade potential candidates that we would be a great place to work."

Superintendent Jeff Baarstad said the hiring the search firm will cost the school district $27,500 plus travel expenses.

Baarstad, 60, is retiring at the end of the current school year after five years at the helm.

He was the district's assistant superintendent of business services when the board decided to appoint him to take over from Superintendent Mario Contini who stepped down in June 2010. Contini had been selected for the job in 2006 following a search conducted by the Ventura County Office of Education.

In other business, the board on Tuesday once again was faced with challenges surrounding the sale of surplus district property at the Rancho Conejo industrial park in Newbury Park.

The undeveloped 10.7 acre site has gone through three buyers since it was first put up for sale in 2011.

The latest buyer, Jemstreet Properties, had entered into a purchase agreement and escrow in September 2013 after bidding $3.13 million for the property. However, they informed district officials just recently that they are unable to complete the transaction.

Local businessmen and developers Martin Tietelbaum and Hugh Cassar have agreed to purchase the property and adhere to all the requirements of the original agreement.

The district is also withholding $20,000 of Jemstreet Properties' $75,000 escrow deposit to compensate the district for the time and legal expenses incurred during the escrow period.

Connolly said that the board could have decided to start over and issue a new proposal but decided the district would be best served by transferring to another buyer.

Until the sale of the property on Conejo Center Drive is completed, plans for a new continuation high school in the district remain on hold.

The district plans to use the money from this sale and the sale of its Kelley Road 10-acre site, the current home of Conejo Valley High and the district maintenance facility, to fund a new campus.

In September, the district accepted a bid of $8.9 million from Daylight Investors for the Kelley Road site fronting Highway 101.

Conejo Unified hires superintendent search firm

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 23, 2015 - 9:12am

A professional search firm headquartered in Nebraska has been selected to find a new superintendent for the Conejo Valley Unified School District.

The Board of Education unanimously decided Tuesday to contract with McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha which is partnered with the California School Boards Association.

"All members of the board came to agreement that they were best suited to our needs," said Board President Betsy Connolly Wednesday. "We will be meeting with them in two weeks and moving briskly along to get the search underway."

At a special meeting last week, board members heard presentations from three professional search firms and Connolly said the fact that McPherson & Jepson are endorsed by the CSBA was a persuasive factor.

"The staff from the search firm that will be working with us have a great deal of experience not just as superintendents themselves but as people who have led search efforts before," she said. "They will help us clarify what we are looking for and what our community is looking for and also persuade potential candidates that we would be a great place to work."

Superintendent Jeff Baarstad said the hiring the search firm will cost the school district $27,500 plus travel expenses.

Baarstad, 60, is retiring at the end of the current school year after five years at the helm.

He was the district's assistant superintendent of business services when the board decided to appoint him to take over from Superintendent Mario Contini who stepped down in June 2010. Contini had been selected for the job in 2006 following a search conducted by the Ventura County Office of Education.

In other business, the board on Tuesday once again was faced with challenges surrounding the sale of surplus district property at the Rancho Conejo industrial park in Newbury Park.

The undeveloped 10.7 acre site has gone through three buyers since it was first put up for sale in 2011.

The latest buyer, Jemstreet Properties, had entered into a purchase agreement and escrow in September 2013 after bidding $3.13 million for the property. However, they informed district officials just recently that they are unable to complete the transaction.

Local businessmen and developers Martin Tietelbaum and Hugh Cassar have agreed to purchase the property and adhere to all the requirements of the original agreement.

The district is also withholding $20,000 of Jemstreet Properties' $75,000 escrow deposit to compensate the district for the time and legal expenses incurred during the escrow period.

Connolly said that the board could have decided to start over and issue a new proposal but decided the district would be best served by transferring to another buyer.

Until the sale of the property on Conejo Center Drive is completed, plans for a new continuation high school in the district remain on hold.

The district plans to use the money from this sale and the sale of its Kelley Road 10-acre site, the current home of Conejo Valley High and the district maintenance facility, to fund a new campus.

In September, the district accepted a bid of $8.9 million from Daylight Investors for the Kelley Road site fronting Highway 101.

New prescription drug drop-off located in T.O.

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 23, 2015 - 9:09am

Thousand Oaks police are offering a new location for residents to drop off unused prescription medications.

From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, residents can drop off unused or unwanted drugs at the Police Resource Center inside City Hall, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. The center also collects medications every other Friday. Call 449-2760 for more information.

Medications can also be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the police station, 2101 E. Olsen Road. Syringes are not accepted at either location.

New prescription drug drop-off located in T.O.

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 23, 2015 - 9:09am

Thousand Oaks police are offering a new location for residents to drop off unused prescription medications.

From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, residents can drop off unused or unwanted drugs at the Police Resource Center inside City Hall, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. The center also collects medications every other Friday. Call 449-2760 for more information.

Medications can also be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the police station, 2101 E. Olsen Road. Syringes are not accepted at either location.

‘The Forgotten Depression,’ by James Grant

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:03am
Looking at the depression of 1921.

‘If I Fall, if I Die,’ by Michael Christie

NY Times Books - January 23, 2015 - 9:00am
A debut novel about family, phobias and the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding.

Reading the Tea Leaves: More Fund-Raisers by Clinton Allies

New York Times - California News - January 23, 2015 - 8:30am
When will Hillary Clinton announce her long-awaited presidential campaign? One guess can be found in a new round of fund-raisers being organized by Ready for Hillary, the super PAC founded to organize grassroots supporters and potential donors for a...

Bakken Shale Wastewater Leak Taints River in North Dakota

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - January 23, 2015 - 6:47am
Salty wastewater from Bakken Shale oil wells has contaminated a creek and flowed into the Missouri River after a huge pipeline leak in North Dakota, state officials said Thursday.
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