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Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Expected at 8 p.m. Central

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 5:06pm
St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch will announce at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time a grand jury’s decision on whether to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Republicans Call for Re-Examination of Security Policy

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 5:05pm
Republican lawmakers called for a broad re-examination of U.S. national security policy as part of the confirmation process for a successor to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Tax Break Talks Stall

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 4:04pm
Republican and Democratic lawmakers are negotiating a possible deal to extend a raft of temporary tax breaks before year’s end, but so far the talks have produced mostly disagreement.

Families get early Thanksgiving

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 24, 2014 - 3:49pm

More than 1,400 individuals and families in Ventura County received a free turkey and the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal Monday as part of the 15th annual Troop Turkey Drive.

The holiday meals were handed out by volunteers at Troop Real Estate’s Corporate Office in Simi Valley and the Troop Realty office in Ventura. About 750 meals were handed out in Ventura and another approximately 700 were given away in Simi Valley.

The drive this year also provided Thanksgiving meals for 750 military families at Naval Base Ventura County and last week free turkeys and fixings were distributed to 500 families in the Thousand Oaks area.

Gertie Thomas, 85, waited patiently in line outside the realty company’s office at 3200 E. Los Angeles Ave. bracing against the cold wind and clutching the orange ticket confirming her free turkey dinner.

Thomas, who lives in low-income senior housing, had arrived at 7:30 a.m. and was near the head of the line that snaked around the center and into the rear parking lot.

“It helps me with my food budget. That’s why I came down. To fix a turkey meal, it costs a lot of money,” she said. “What’s left over from my turkey I can put in my freezer for future meals, and it does help a lot.”

Thomas plans to share her dinner with others on Thursday.

“I’m having some friends over who are in the same situation as me,” she said.

The recipients for the turkeys were selected by area food banks and Audry Penwell, 59, said the giveaway meant she’d be able to feed her family a Thanksgiving dinner.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be having turkey or anything,” she said. “When you make “x” amount of dollars and that money pays the rent, there’s not much left for food. There just isn’t.”

“They also do a lot for the troops and set a lot of turkeys aside for the troops and their families, and I think that’s phenomenal. It really is,” Penwell said.

As 9 a.m. rolled around, a moving truck arrived and volunteers unloaded dozens of trays of bread rolls and then packaged a bag of rolls with two cans of green beans, a can of mushroom soup, a can of fried onions and a box of stuffing.

Each recipient got a bag of groceries along with a 5-pound bag of potatoes before collecting a frozen turkey handed out from the back of the Skinny Wimp Moving Co. truck.

“I like to be able to help people in need,” said Jeff Beadnell from Valencia as he made sure the plastic shopping bags containing the fixings were tied at the top. “The holidays are a very needy time for a lot of folks, so it’s kind of nice to help out.”

“It’s always the person who gives who gets more out of it,” said Keith Begane, a Troop real estate agent.

The food was all purchased at a discount from Albertsons on Madera Road in Simi Valley and paid for with donations from a fundraising drive.

Alex Gandel, who started the Troop Turkey Drive in 1999, said he originally helped feed 10 families. Seeing hundreds of people Monday coming to get their holiday dinner was, he said, “overwhelming.”

Gandel said the success of the drive is due to the wide support it receives from the community.

He recounted how one individual had walked into his office recently and handed over $600 in cash for the program.

“What touches me more than anything is that there are so many people who realize that there is a need, and they just want to help,” Gandel said. “All we’ve done is give them an easy way to help those in need and what’s better than helping out people that you don’t even know?”

Families get early Thanksgiving

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 3:49pm

More than 1,400 individuals and families in Ventura County received a free turkey and the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal Monday as part of the 15th annual Troop Turkey Drive.

The holiday meals were handed out by volunteers at Troop Real Estate’s Corporate Office in Simi Valley and the Troop Realty office in Ventura. About 750 meals were handed out in Ventura and another approximately 700 were given away in Simi Valley.

The drive this year also provided Thanksgiving meals for 750 military families at Naval Base Ventura County and last week free turkeys and fixings were distributed to 500 families in the Thousand Oaks area.

Gertie Thomas, 85, waited patiently in line outside the realty company’s office at 3200 E. Los Angeles Ave. bracing against the cold wind and clutching the orange ticket confirming her free turkey dinner.

Thomas, who lives in low-income senior housing, had arrived at 7:30 a.m. and was near the head of the line that snaked around the center and into the rear parking lot.

“It helps me with my food budget. That’s why I came down. To fix a turkey meal, it costs a lot of money,” she said. “What’s left over from my turkey I can put in my freezer for future meals, and it does help a lot.”

Thomas plans to share her dinner with others on Thursday.

“I’m having some friends over who are in the same situation as me,” she said.

The recipients for the turkeys were selected by area food banks and Audry Penwell, 59, said the giveaway meant she’d be able to feed her family a Thanksgiving dinner.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be having turkey or anything,” she said. “When you make “x” amount of dollars and that money pays the rent, there’s not much left for food. There just isn’t.”

“They also do a lot for the troops and set a lot of turkeys aside for the troops and their families, and I think that’s phenomenal. It really is,” Penwell said.

As 9 a.m. rolled around, a moving truck arrived and volunteers unloaded dozens of trays of bread rolls and then packaged a bag of rolls with two cans of green beans, a can of mushroom soup, a can of fried onions and a box of stuffing.

Each recipient got a bag of groceries along with a 5-pound bag of potatoes before collecting a frozen turkey handed out from the back of the Skinny Wimp Moving Co. truck.

“I like to be able to help people in need,” said Jeff Beadnell from Valencia as he made sure the plastic shopping bags containing the fixings were tied at the top. “The holidays are a very needy time for a lot of folks, so it’s kind of nice to help out.”

“It’s always the person who gives who gets more out of it,” said Keith Begane, a Troop real estate agent.

The food was all purchased at a discount from Albertsons on Madera Road in Simi Valley and paid for with donations from a fundraising drive.

Alex Gandel, who started the Troop Turkey Drive in 1999, said he originally helped feed 10 families. Seeing hundreds of people Monday coming to get their holiday dinner was, he said, “overwhelming.”

Gandel said the success of the drive is due to the wide support it receives from the community.

He recounted how one individual had walked into his office recently and handed over $600 in cash for the program.

“What touches me more than anything is that there are so many people who realize that there is a need, and they just want to help,” Gandel said. “All we’ve done is give them an easy way to help those in need and what’s better than helping out people that you don’t even know?”

Reddick fits into Grace Brethren offense

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 3:40pm

Zikel Reddick excels at running hard and fast, overpowering would-be tacklers and scoring touchdowns.

Here’s something else he’s pretty good at too:

Fitting in.

A year ago, Reddick was a sophomore at Riverhead High on Long Island, a lifelong New York kid ready for his formative years in high school and eager for a shot at varsity football.

Here it’s almost Thanksgiving — and what, 75 degrees outside? — and he’s living in California, attending a private Christian school in Simi Valley and putting together a breakout season as a running back.

Low-key Simi Valley couldn’t be any more different from fast-packed and full-bodied Long Island if it were situated on the far side of the moon.

Not to worry. Reddick appears as contented as a cat on the sofa.

“Everything is going great,” he said during a break in Grace Brethren’s football practice. “Everyone made it really easy for me when I got here and made me feel like I’m part of the family. I really feel at home.”

Truth be told, Reddick has made the adjustment appear easier that it really is. Sort of like rushing for 1,941 yards and 24 touchdowns is harder than it looks, too.

It’s more than a little complicated to show up at a new school in August, right near the start of fall football camp, with skills that merit a starting position and a lot of carries with the football. Other kids are displaced, egos can be ruffled.

“There was a little tension when he got here,” said Lancers coach Josh Henderson. “Suddenly, the dynamics are changed. Roles are going to be different. But to be honest, he made the transition go very smoothly because of the person he is.

“He’s so transparent. So real. He’s an easy kid to like.”

Reddick eased the adjustment, for him and his new teammates, by displaying a team-first attitude and the ego of a monk.

The 6-foot, 198-pound junior has collected 217 carries, about 19 per game, which isn’t exorbitant considering that Grace Brethren has turned into a run-first offense that has racked up 4,217 rushing yards and 59 touchdowns on the ground.

Andre Bannister is among the Lancers who performs like a feature back, in rushing for 942 touchdowns and 17 touchdowns.

Reddick is fine with the one-spoke-on-the-wheel mind-set. He plays like the main man in any offense, but that’s not the role he seeks.

“I’m just one small part of this team,” he said. “We’re having a great season, and it’s because a lot of guys are playing very well. I couldn’t be happier. We’ve done a lot of good things and have a great chance to do a lot more.”

After two impressive wins in Rounds 1 and 2 of the East Valley Division playoffs, Grace Brethren has reached the semifinals for the first time since 2009 and is chasing its first CIF-Southern Section championship since 2004.

The Lancers can accomplish something no other team in program history has done. They can finish the regular season and playoffs undefeated.

The 2004 Lancers, led by running back Chad Kackert, finished 13-1.

Grace Brethren (12-0) will host St. Anthony of Long Beach (11-1) on Friday night at Moorpark College beginning at 7:30.

Reddick has no problems sharing the football and the glory because that’s the way he’s grown up. When you live with two brothers and a sister, you learn not to fight over the last piece of cake.

“I learned how to share everything,” he said with a grin.

He also grew up competitive, considering that older brother Davonte is a gifted athlete who excelled as a running back at Longwood High in New York.

“Oh yeah, we’d compete at everything,” he said. “You name it, we’d go at it.”

His older brother became a role model on the football field.

“I watched all his games,” said Reddick. “I watched everything he did.”

Davonte also became motivation off the field. The older brother ended up dropping out of school.

That’s a big part of the reason why Reddick is now living in Ventura County and attending Grace Brethren.

His mother, Patrice Stokely, wanted Zikel to flourish athletically and academically, with a chance to procure a college scholarship.

She did her research and found a tamer environment across the country in Ventura County and more academic focus at Grace Brethren. Smaller class sizes meant closer teacher-student interaction for Zikel.

“It’s my goal to get a college scholarship,” he said. “A big part of that is doing well in the classroom.”

Upon arriving in the county, Reddick and his mother narrowed their choices to Grace Brethren and Thousand Oaks. Listening to Henderson speak to students during a chapel session back in February sealed the deal.

“He had a lot of good things to say,” said Reddick.

Henderson savors a good partnership.

“He’s a special athlete and a great young man,” said Henderson. “It’s a privilege to have him on our football team.”

Reddick loves mostly everything about Southern California, but he does miss the family members who remain in New York.

He’s also discovered something, well, different about life as a California.

“I miss the four seasons,” he said.

OK, make that one awkward transition to his new lifestyle.

CSUCI, Naval center sign STEM agreement

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 3:40pm

CSU Channel Islands and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme will work together to give students practical experience in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math.

Capt. Eric Ver Hage, commanding officer of the center, and Richard Rush, president of CSU Channel Islands, signed an agreement Monday at the Camarillo campus.

Under the agreement, the center will provide lab equipment and personnel to help the university develop and teach STEM courses. Students will also do research as part of Navy projects.

The program is expected to start early next year.

 

Gold Coast Transit named transit agency of year

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 24, 2014 - 2:46pm

Gold Coast Transit was named the Transit Agency of the Year at the Small Operator Awards Ceremony hosted by the California Transit Association.

The award was announced at the association’s annual fall conference last month in Monterey. The association is a transit advocacy group.

“Being selected for this award is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff to bring about positive change, resulting in improved and efficient service,” said Steve Brown, general manager of Oxnard-based Gold Coast Transit. “This recognition reaffirms our commitment to the residents of the communities we serve”.

Gold Coast is Ventura County’s largest public bus agency, serving Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura and bordering unincorporated areas. It carries more than 3.8 million passengers a year.

Gold Coast Transit named transit agency of year

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 2:46pm

Gold Coast Transit was named the Transit Agency of the Year at the Small Operator Awards Ceremony hosted by the California Transit Association.

The award was announced at the association’s annual fall conference last month in Monterey. The association is a transit advocacy group.

“Being selected for this award is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff to bring about positive change, resulting in improved and efficient service,” said Steve Brown, general manager of Oxnard-based Gold Coast Transit. “This recognition reaffirms our commitment to the residents of the communities we serve”.

Gold Coast is Ventura County’s largest public bus agency, serving Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura and bordering unincorporated areas. It carries more than 3.8 million passengers a year.

Meeting about affordable apartments set

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 24, 2014 - 2:41pm

Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. will hold an orientation meeting about a new affordable housing community from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Church, 10800 Henderson Road, Ventura.

Snapdragon Place Apartments, expected to open next April in Ventura, will have 27 apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms. Of those, 25 will be reserved for farmworker families and two will be for low-income families.

Cabrillo, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, will distribute applications at the meeting. Applications are also available at Cabrillo’s property management office, 702 County Square Drive in Ventura; and on the website at www.cabrilloedc.org.

Cabrillo will begin accepting applications at 8 a.m. Dec. 6 at the property management office. Applications will be processed in the order they are received, and completing an application is not a guarantee of approval. All applications must meet income qualifications and the program’s requirements.

 

 

Meeting about affordable apartments set

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 2:41pm

Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. will hold an orientation meeting about a new affordable housing community from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Church, 10800 Henderson Road, Ventura.

Snapdragon Place Apartments, expected to open next April in Ventura, will have 27 apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms. Of those, 25 will be reserved for farmworker families and two will be for low-income families.

Cabrillo, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, will distribute applications at the meeting. Applications are also available at Cabrillo’s property management office, 702 County Square Drive in Ventura; and on the website at www.cabrilloedc.org.

Cabrillo will begin accepting applications at 8 a.m. Dec. 6 at the property management office. Applications will be processed in the order they are received, and completing an application is not a guarantee of approval. All applications must meet income qualifications and the program’s requirements.

 

 

ArtsBeat: Neal Cassady’s Famous Lost Letter to Jack Kerouac to Be Auctioned

NY Times Books - November 24, 2014 - 2:28pm
A 16,000-word letter that inspired Kerouac to rewrite “On the Road” has been found, and will be sold at auction in December.






Books of The Times: Michael Connelly’s ‘The Burning Room’ Revisits Harry Bosch

NY Times Books - November 24, 2014 - 2:20pm
Michael Connelly continues his Harry Bosch series in “The Burning Room,” with a recent death that actually goes back a decade.






Wary U.S. Lawmakers Weigh Iran Nuclear-Talks Extension

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 1:44pm
The failure of Iran and Western powers to reach a nuclear agreement by Monday’s deadline reignited calls from Capitol Hill for additional sanctions against Tehran, though a number of top lawmakers cautioned against disrupting the sensitive negotiations.

Drone Flights Face FAA Hit

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 1:03pm
Highly anticipated federal rules on commercial drones are expected to require operators to have a license and limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls.

Simple Steals: Black Friday shopping tips

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 11:30am

Welcome to Simple Steals!

Do you already know what you’re buying this Black Friday? Do you need some helpful advice on what to buy and when to buy it? Regina Novickis from slickdeals.net has some great shopping tips on the do's and don’ts during this holiday season. Here’s what she says to do:

Tip #1: When to buy? Do your research before you go out shopping. So many merchants are opening this season on Thanksgiving Day. Some of them have offers the day before Thanksgiving. Go online and make sure the things you want to buy are available when you’re planning to go out to the stores.

Tip #2: It’s a great time to buy small kitchen appliances.

Tip #3: Tablet deals - Traditionally, Apple products don’t get discounted on Black Friday but this year, there are special incentives that can help you offset some of those costs. Target will have the iPad Air 2 at $499 but you’ll get a $140 gift card to use later on for your purchases. You’re getting some money in your pocket as long as you plan on shopping at Target for the rest of the holiday season.

Tip #4: Gift cards - Some gift card resale sites will offer an additional 3% off at sites like Card Cash. Target is also offering 10% off on their gift cards on Black Friday morning. That way, you can go in, buy those and use them as your currency to buy gifts later on.

Tip #5: Games & DVDs - Video games and new movie releases are great to buy this season. You’ll see great deals on those at places like Walmart - starting at about $8 for those new releases and about 50% off normally what you’d see on any other given day.

Tip #6: Toys - Even though you’ll see some Black Friday deals on them, they’re not typically something you’ll want to buy. Black Friday is really more for electronics and those home soft goods. So wait until after Black Friday for deals on toys. You’ll see them the first week of December. Amazon had their best discounts during the first week of December last year.

Tip #7: Laptops are not a product you’ll want to buy on Black Friday. What you’ll see with those door buster deals is that very basic models will be discounted, but those laptops are not for the very savvy computer user. Higher models will be discounted more after the first of the year.

For more information on these Black Friday deals, check out slickdeals.net.

Want more steals? Do you know about a deal we should know about? Join our conversation on Facebook.

PETA ad urges people to not eat turkey this week

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 11:13am

Meat-shaming has been taken to a new level.

This month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are launching a new billboard campaign in several major American cities that aims to make you rethink making turkey a part of your Thanksgiving dinner.

The billboard features an animated baby bird crying, saying, “Mommy! Mommy!,” while looking at a roasted turkey. Above the illustration are the words, “Let everyone be with their family.”

“Thanksgiving is really a time for family, of course, so this billboard is meant to remind people that family isn’t only for people,” said Lindsay Rajt, associate director of campaigns for PETA. “A lot of people are surprised to find out that mother turkeys are very attached and protective of their young.”

Rajt, herself a vegan, said this new poultry-centered campaign is “near and dear” to her heart.

“As a child, when I found out that the chicken I ate had been a real living thing, I was horrified,” she said, recalling growing up in a “meat and potatoes family” in Michigan. “I think a lot of kids have that reaction,” said Rajt.

PETA's newest billboard campaign, for Thanksgiving 2014. (Illustration: PETA)

As a country, the U.S. leads the world in turkey consumption by a wide margin. In 2012, Americans ate 16.5 pounds per capita, according to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (USPoultry). Canada, the next-leading nation, consumed 9.4 pounds per capita in the same year. Overall, 240 million turkeys were produced in the U.S. in 2013.

Rajt likened the treatment of those birds at the hands of factory farmers to “horrific cruelty.”

Poultry industry professionals obviously disagree with PETA’s anti-turkey stance. When told about its new campaign, National Turkey Federation spokesperson Kimmon Williams said, “the industry takes pride in how well the birds are treated.”

“The industry got together to show what a turkey farm and processing plant are like,” Williams said. What resulted was a video tour of a typical turkey farm and processing plant, hosted by renowned animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, who has a doctorate in animal science.

“I’m really pleased that the industry wanted the public to see this process,” Grandin said of the 2013 project, co-sponsored by the American Meat Institute. There’s a lot of good work going on in animal agriculture and I’m glad we’re telling our story openly and honestly.”

Turkey production dropped from 7.56 billion pounds of meat 2012 to 7.28 billion pounds in 2013 — a difference of 13 million birds — according to USPoultry.

If you are considering a meat-free Thanksgiving, how does PETA suggest you replace the turkey? The group offers several vegetarian and vegan recipes on its website and promoted the use of mock-turkey roasts, including Tofurky, Quorn Turk’y Roast and the Gardein Stuffed Turk’y.

PETA is currently in negotiations with advertising companies in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Salt Lake City to run the billboard.

 

 

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.

Hagel: I will continue to support Obama

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 11:02am

Chuck Hagel has resigned after serving nearly two years as U.S. defense secretary.

President Obama spoke about Hagel's resignation this morning and said he'll continue to guide troops until a successor is named.

The New York Times reports he is leaving his post under pressure. Hagel is the only Republican on Obama’s national security team.

He had been brought on to the team to oversee military withdrawal in Afghanistan and management of the Pentagon's budget.

During today's news conference, the President thanked Hagel on a personal level.

"You've always given it to me straight," and for that he is grateful, Obama said to him.

In Hagel's response, he thanked President Obama for the opportunity and said he'll continue to support him.

"I want to thank the entire leadership team at the Pentagon," Hagel also said. "It's a team; it's all these tremendous men and women ... that make this happen."

"We have prepared ourselves, as the President has noted, our allies, and Afhgan national security forces for successful transition in Afghanistan," he said. "We bolstered alliances."

 

Kohl's and others announce Black Friday deals

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 10:27am

Kohl's is one of several retailers to begin offering Black Friday deals online ahead of the biggest shopping day of the year. Its circulars ad was recently released.

More than 500 deals are offered online, according to the Kohl's website. The retailer will open store doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Lowe's has also released its advertisement for Black Friday, which says deals are valid from Thursday through Dec. 3.

Amazon.com has announced early deals for those who are Amazon Prime members. Prime members get free two-day shipping and may see deals 30 minutes ahead of their public release.

Walmart's Pre-Black Friday Sale is happening online right now.

The website Credit.com has published advice for protecting credit cards that may be used for holiday shopping. During the holiday shopping season in 2013, as many as 70 million Target shoppers had information from their credit cards stolen in a massive data breach.

'Serial' podcast re-examines teen's 1999 murder

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 10:24am

Having been streamed millions of times, "Serial" has become a Thursday morning staple to many.

"Serial" is one story told only by audio in a series of weekly podcasts. There have been nine episodes so far, each released weekly and re-examining the 1999 murder of Maryland teenager Hae Min Lee.

As Serial brings flaws in the investigation to light, WMAR in Baltimore searched its archives for video that may be worth revisiting.

Check this link (http://goo.gl/fGDYNl) for updates as the WMAR staff continues to search its archives over the course of the next several days.

The podcast is taking an in-depth look at the final days of Lee's life and the investigation into her death. 

The first episode, "The Alibi," has newscaster Sarah Keonig trying to figure out the alibi of Lee's ex-boyfriend, who at 17 years old was convicted in the popular high school senior's death.

Serial is revisiting the case in what  many are describing as an “addictive” storytelling style.

According to a report by Time, the work of Serial has spawned a review of the case by The Innocence Project – a national litigation public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system.

Lee disappeared on Jan. 13, 1999. Prosecutors argue she was killed in a Best Buy parking lot and her body was dumped in Leakin Park where it was found on Feb. 9, 1999. 

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