Red Cross to offer FREE Community Disaster Education

It’s important that you be prepared for possible disasters and other emergencies. Natural or human-caused disasters can strike suddenly, at anytime and anywhere. Are you prepared?
When an earthquake, tornado, flood, fire, or other emergency happens in your community, you can count on your American Red Cross of Ventura County to be there to help you and your family.
There are three actions anyone can take that can help make a difference:
Get a Kit – Have at least three days of supplies in an easy-to-carry evacuation kit.
Make a Plan –Planning ahead will help you have the best possible response to disaster.
Be Informed – Know what may happen and how you can help.
FREE Red Cross disaster preparedness presentations are being offered during the month of August. Get informed on the different ways to prepare your family before disaster strikes.

Borders 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Thousand Oaks Monday August 11TH @ 7PM
Borders 2910 Tapo Canyon Rd. Simi Valley Thursday August 21st @ 6 PM
Barnes & Noble 4820 Telephone Rd. Ventura Tuesday August 26th @ 7pm

Contact us at 805-339-2234 ext. 269, visit, or stop in at Red Cross Program Headquarters, 2355 Portola Road, Ventura 93003. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm.


(l-r) unknown, unknown, unknown, Virginia De La Piedra, unknown.
(l-r) unknown, unknown, unknown, Virginia De La Piedra, unknown.
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It didn’t rain on our parade! The Ventura County Parade marched down Main St much to the delight of parade-goers and participants alike. Many thanks to the members of the Ventura Elks Lodge #1430, who did a wonderful job, as usual, of keeping everything running smoothly.

If you missed the parade, you can still catch it on CAPS-TV. The parade will air on Channel 6 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for two weeks. For Time Warner cable customers, tune into Channel 36 at 5:30pm daily until Aug. 13.

The Ventura County Fair is proud to announce the trophy winners of the 2008 Ventura County Fair Parade:

Color Guard: 1st –187th Airborne

Floats-School: 1st—Buena High School Pep Squad

2nd—Ventura High School Dance Team

3rd—Ventura High School Pep Squad

Floats-Commercial: 1st—Love House Dahlias

2nd—Kaiser Permanente

3rd—Wenches and Warriors

Floats-Adult Club: 1st—Country Lovers Western Dance

2nd—Vietnam Veterans

Floats-Youth Club: 1st—A.I.M. USA

2nd—Ventura Boys and Girls Club

3rd—Gold Coast Gymnastics

Antique Auto-Indiv. 1st—Ventura County Fire Dept.

2nd—Tony’s Body Shop

3rd—Ventura Bike Depot

Antique Auto-Clubs 1st—VC Model “A” Ford Club

Classic Auto-Indiv. 1st—Derek Luna

2nd—Pete Gallagher

Classic Auto-Clubs 1st—Nite Life Car Club

2nd—Corvair Society of America

3rd—Westcoast Wolfpack

Misc.-Novelty 1st—Citrus Capital Clowns

2nd—The Marking Money Bags

3rd—Cheer Force West


Santa Paula, California stands strong in the current environment while many financial institutions are faltering. You don’t have to take their word for it, though; SCVBank™ has earned a 5-Star Superior rating from BAUERFINANCIAL, Inc. of Coral Gables, FL, the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm. The 5-Star rating is based on the overall financial picture of the bank and indicates that SCVBank™ is one of the strongest banks in the nation. What’s more, this represents the 12th consecutive quarter that SCVBank™ has earned this highest honor.

“In a climate where it is increasingly difficult to shine, Santa Clara Valley Bank (SCVBank™) proves it can be done,” remarks Karen L. Dorway, president of the research firm. “In fact, local residents should be proud that their community bank is one of the elite financial institutions in the nation. They can rest assured that their deposits are well-placed in this 5-Star bank.”

Established in 1998, SCVBank™ has been pleased to fulfill the financial needs of its neighbors and friends for 10 years. It currently operates through three conveniently located offices in Fillmore, Santa Paula, and Valencia and can also be found on the internet at

BAUERFINANCIAL, INC., Coral Gables, Florida, the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm, has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks and credit unions since 1983. No institution pays for its rating, nor can they elude it. Consumers may obtain star-ratings by visiting

$500 Gas Card Drawing and Pick Up Stix Offered to Spur Donations

To increase blood and platelet donations and help persistently low blood supply levels, the American Red Cross is offering blood and platelet donors who give in the month of August a $5 Pick Up Stix gift certificate and a chance to win a gas gift card valued at $500.

"With incessant summer blood shortages, there really is no better time to save lives." states Clifford Numark, director of donor recruitment for American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern California Region. "This August, the Red Cross is helping you fill up your stomach and your gas tank, when you help fill our blood bank."

To encourage people to give blood in the coming weeks, everyone who signs up to donate blood or platelets at a Red Cross blood drive in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, and Ventura counties during the month of August will receive a $5 Pick Up Stix gift certificate and be invited to fill out an entry form for a chance to win a $500 gift card for gasoline. Entries will be accepted at all Red Cross blood drive locations, and will be limited to these Southern California counties. The promotion runs from August 1 though August 31; the winner of the gas drawing will be announced by September 15th. Prizes are non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. American Red Cross employees are not eligible.

The American Red Cross urgently appeals to Southern California residents to donate blood.

Any healthy person age 17 or older (age 16 with written parental permission) and weighing at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate blood.

All eligible donors are asked to schedule an appointment to donate blood by calling 1.800.GIVE.LIFE (1.800.448.3543) or by visiting To organize a blood drive, call 1.800.491.2113. For Spanish, please call 1.866-POR.VIDA (1.866.767.8432) or visit

The fastest gun alive...a phrase that has echoed down from the days of the Old West, part and parcel of American mythology

Once again this August, the greatest shooters in the world will gather in the hills above Los Angeles to test themselves, with the World Speed Shooting Championship on the line, and Chad Allred, Dennis Allred and Ren Weeks of Fillmore, Jim Owen and JT Tedder of Moorpark, John Maxwell of Newbury Park, Charles Bradshaw of Oxnard, Jim Gofourth of Santa Paula, Taran Butler and Scott Druyun of Simi Valley and Brock Baker of Ventura will be joining them. Since its founding in 1981, the Steel Challenge has grown into the premier, and with more than $350,000 at stake, the most lucrative shooting match in the world.

The Steel Challenge's format is simplicity in itself. More than 200 competitors from 19 states and 4 foreign countries will face the clock on eight stages of fire, each with a different array of steel targets electronically timed to 1/100th of a second. All a competitor has to do is run each stage five times, with the worst run thrown out. The competitor's score is the combined times of all eight stages.

"The Steel Challenge is simple in its concept," says Michael Bane, a leading shooting sports expert and host of SHOOTING GALLERY on the Outdoor Channel which is covering the match, "but it's brutally hard to shoot well. The best times are nothing short of amazing, almost unbelievable. In fact, it's safe to say that the fastest guns who have ever lived are alive today and shooting this match."­

The Steel Challenge features numerous divisions, including Women's, Pre-Teen, Junior, Senior, Super Senior and Law Enforcement divisions in several categories such as Rimfire, Shotgun, Single Action Revolver, Revolver, Stock Pistol and Open Pistol — the Formula-1 equivalent in the shooting sports.

More than 65,000 rounds of ammunition will be put downrange in Piru, California in the quest to be the fastest. The Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships will be held Thursday through Saturday August 14-16.

About the SCSA: The Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) is the governing body of the sport of Speed Shooting and organizer of the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships. To learn more about the Steel Challenge Shooting Association and the Steel Challenge visit their Web site at There you will find diagrams of the stages of fire, complete listing of the 2007 results, a list of past champions, world record times and more.­

The old packing house at 341 A. Street sustained some structure damage from the 5.4 earthquake that struck July 29th at 11:42 a.m. in the Chino Hills area. The earthquake lasted for about 23 seconds and was felt all the way from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
The old packing house at 341 A. Street sustained some structure damage from the 5.4 earthquake that struck July 29th at 11:42 a.m. in the Chino Hills area. The earthquake lasted for about 23 seconds and was felt all the way from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
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Fillmore’s new swimming pool is finally taking shape. The not-quite Olympic-size pool is expected to be open for business before the end of January, 2009. The entire swimming complex is right on schedule for completion.
Fillmore’s new swimming pool is finally taking shape. The not-quite Olympic-size pool is expected to be open for business before the end of January, 2009. The entire swimming complex is right on schedule for completion.
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On August 6, 2008, speaker Juan Toledo will demonstrate his special baking skills in the final event of the children’s summer reading program. All are welcome to attend this interesting presentation. Refreshments will be furnished by the Fillmore Friends of the Library. The non-profit organization provides support to the library with funds for books, children’s programs, and adult events. The library is located at 502 Second Street, Fillmore.

Kudos to new building
Conway Spitler
Conway Spitler

What a beautiful new building we have on Central Avenue! My congratulations go out to the different personnel making this construction possible.
It has been interesting to watch the day to day construction of this building! Each day it seemed as though there was an interesting addition to the site. The construction personnel were very friendly giving us the latest information. At the same time they were very busy looking out for the safety of personnel in adding this building on the main street of town.
With the new sewer and storm drain line going down the Central Avenue and this construction it has kept the citizens of the town entertained. However, now the big event is who is going to lease the offices and apartments above?
Our thanks to all having a connection to this construction.

Old and New “Meet” at Annual County Fair

You are sure to MEET your favorites at the Ventura County Fair this year. The Ferris Wheel will be here as always, along with cotton candy, Floriculture displays, the Junior Livestock Auction, and great Grandstand Entertainment. But, every year the Ventura County Fair also brings you new events, presentations, food, and fun.

For the first time this year, the Fair will have a Wine Garden sponsored by Shell Vacations Club. After you visit the Home Arts and Photography Buildings, you can sip a glass of wine in one of the Fair’s most relaxing areas. You are sure to find your new favorite local wine from Herzog Wine Cellars and the Ventura County Wine Trail.

The scarecrows have decided to leave their posts in Ventura County’s fields to enjoy the fun of the Fair. The Agriculture Department is hosting a scarecrow contest for the first time this year, and the entries are sure to be dressed to impress. Check out how children and adults have creatively outfitted these good-looking straw people.

Child ID wristbands, sponsored by Children’s Dental Group, will be available on Friday, August 1, and Saturdays and Sundays August 2-3 and 9-10. The first 1,600 children on each of these days will be given wristbands. Parents can write emergency contact information on the inside of the wristbands for safe keeping.

The California Lottery and Milk Advisory Board are hosting a “Moo If You Love California Contest.” Come down to the Kelly Court Stage on Fridays August 1st and 8th to have a mooing good time.

The Turkey Stampede will be back with turkeys blazing around a track, and joining them in Porker Flats this year will be Valentine’s Performing Pigs. You will not want to miss these talented pigs skateboarding and bowling. The highlight is sure to be the pigs dancing their hearts out, complete with tutus.

New themes, exhibits, and presentations abound in each of our wonderful departments. Stop by and see what Ventura County has been up to in the last year. You’re sure to find NEW ideas to inspire you at the Ventura County Fair, July 30th through August 10th.

Fair Honors Agricultural Commissioner and Armed Services

The Annual Ventura County Fair Parade will march down Main St. from Catalina to Palm St. on Saturday, August 2nd at 10am. The parade will feature colorfully decorated floats, lively marching bands, car clubs, clowns, and many other community organizations. The co-Grand Marshals will be Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner W. Earl McPhail and local representatives of the United States military.
Commissioner McPhail has been chosen as Grand Marshal to honor his almost 30 years as Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner. His involvement county-wide illustrates the same commitment to service and community that the Fair promotes. McPhail served on the Ventura County Fair Board of Directors for 14 years, is the current president of the Ventura County Sherriff’s Posse, and is past president of The Rotary Club of Santa Paula. Look for him coming down Main Street on Saturday atop his beautiful horse.
The Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines will share the honor in thanks for their courageous protection of our country. Representatives from local bases will march on Saturday. Make sure you are present at the parade to cheer for our local heroes.
The Al Malaikah Shriners are back with 11 units of cars and clowns and more that are sure to entertain you. The parade will also feature 8 local marching bands. St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band will march in the parade, and if you just can’t get enough of them, you will be able to find them marching through the Fairgrounds most days.
Summer wouldn’t be complete without a PARADE! Make sure you join in all the festivities sounding the Ventura County Fair. For more information, please call (805) 648-3376 or visit

Come Visit All the Animals on the Fair’s Main St.

Fishes and Friends, with all of the brightly illuminated aquarium entries, will be enjoying a new location at the Ventura County Fair. Come visit their new home on Main Street next to the Small Livestock barn, and you could win a beautiful aquarium from Tat Tropical Illusion.
To celebrate the department’s handsome new location, Tat Tropical Illusion will sponsor a raffle during the Fair. 2 fairgoers will each win a ViaAqua corner tank, complete with filter system and stand. Decorations and livestock are not included—you’ll have to choose your own fishes and friends for their new home. Limit one entry per person. The aquariums will be on display in Fishes and Friends until the end of the Fair, August 10th when the 2 winners will be chosen.
For many years Fishes and Friends was housed in the Gem and Mineral building. We have responded to the public request to house all of the animal exhibits in the same area. Now Fair visitors can experience dramatically different animals within a few yards of each other—a great educational experience.
Fishes and Friends is a unique department at the Fair, with 10 classes of entries each judged on relevant qualities such as color, body quality and activity of the fish. There are always many beautiful fish housed in very creatively decorated aquariums.
In addition to the fish, there are turtles and tortoises on display on Saturday and Sunday August 9 & 10. Turtles are reptilians and are considered to be one of the oldest animal species on earth, the earliest existing 215 million years ago. Although they spend most of their lives in the water, turtles breathe air. Tortoises are land dwelling reptiles known for being slow moving. Turtles and Tortoises are on exhibit for a limited time because both are peculiar animals and require special care and living conditions.
Meet the Fish and Friends at their new home during the Ventura County Fair Wednesday, July 30 until Sunday, August 10.
For more information, please call (805) 648-3376 or visit

UBS Thanking Blood Donors With Unlimited Ride Wristbands

The “fairest” thing you can do is to save a life. That’s why United Blood Services has partnered with the Ventura County Fair to encourage blood donations before this year’s fair. For donors who make an appointment and donate at one of United Blood Serivces’ three Ventura County centers, between Monday, July 28 and Friday, August 1, each will receive an unlimited ride wristband to use in the carnival at the Ventura County Fair. Quantities are limited, and wristbands will be given only to thank donors who make an appointment prior to donating, by calling 800-715-3699.
The Carnival Unlimited Ride wristbands may be used between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm on Thursday, July 31; Monday, August 4; Tuesday, August 5; and Thursday, August 7. Wristband does not include fair admission.
UBSCC Centers in Ventura County: Ventura, 1756 Eastman Ave. 1-800-715-3699. Mon. & Tue.: 10- 6; Wed. & Thurs.: 10- 7 ; Fri: 8 - 2, Corner of Market: Camarillo, 2105 Pickwick Dr. 1-800-715-3699. Mon & Wed: 1- 7, across from the post office: Thousand Oaks, 1321 Thousand Oaks Blvd. 1-800-715-3699. Tue. & Thurs.: 1- 7, in the North Star Plaza near Roxy’s Deli.


District Attorney Gregory D. Totten issued a Consumer Protection Advisory today to Ventura County residents who may be facing foreclosure due to their inability to make timely payments on their home loans. Homeowners should be wary of foreclosure prevention, delay or “rescue” solicitations where the homeowner is urged to transfer ownership of a portion of their home to another individual or entity. Often, these solicitations offer little or no benefit to the homeowner and may rise to the level of criminal conduct. Homeowners who believe their homes may be in danger of foreclosure are urged to read the complete advisory letter, which is available in English and Spanish at the District Attorney's Office website: The advisory letter also contains information about resources that offer genuine assistance to distressed homeowners.
The real estate fraud unit investigates and prosecutes crimes involving recorded real estate documents. Criminal real estate fraud may involve home equity fraud, securities fraud tied to real estate, and loan fraud. Victims of criminal real estate fraud and predatory lending schemes are often senior citizens and people with limited English speaking abilities. Real estate fraud strikes at the heart of the American dream, where a sophisticated criminal can victimize dozens of people by stealing their life savings and their home.
Persons who believe they may be victims of real estate fraud are encouraged to fill out and return a Real Estate Fraud Complaint Form for our review.


Simi Valley, CA: The third annual Simi Conejo Friends of NRA fundraising banquet will be held Saturday, September 13, 2008, 5:00 pm at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Proceeds benefit The NRA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are distributed as grants to support projects such as youth firearm safety, women’s programs, law enforcement, and range development.
“The evening will include games, auctions, and drawings for limited edition NRA collectibles,” said Committee Chairman Randy Tackett. “Not only do guests get a great dinner, they can also tour the Reagan Library and Air Force One.”
Ticket packages start at $125 and include a free $100 pack of prize drawing tickets. Request an event flyer by e-mailing or visit Views and opinions expressed by Simi Conejo Friends of NRA are not necessarily shared by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation.


By Helen Weathers
[Helen is a contracted forensic expert teaching the Afghanistan nationals fingerprint technology. She will be there for six months]

A soldier went home today.....only he was not at the end of his leave, he was not getting excited about going home to the civilian life he left to be a soldier, he was not going home to see the smiles on his family's face, yet he was going home.
He was going home for the last night in an American flag draped silver box. As I watched hundreds of soldiers line the main road at the base called 'Disney', I was reminded why I am doing what I'm doing and the reasons that I have left my family. I had to hold back my tears since I was told crying in public is a sign of weakness. I did not want to shed tears of sorrow, rather tears of respect and admiration for this soldier I did not know. This soldier knew dying was an inherent risk of enlisting, yet he did it for me, for my family and for all those Americans that live their daily lives with a freedom they take for granted all too often. I am doing a small part to help identify those that made it their life purpose to send an American home in a silver box. If I am able to help only one soldier be able to go home to see the smile's on his family's face, then my time here will have been the most important thing I have done in my life, besides having the wonderful children that I have. I am ensuring that their future is safe.
My time has only started, yet I know I will be helping to make a difference. For everyone that can not understand my reasons, I hope this sheds some light and some understanding. I am doing this for my family...
Please pass this on if I have forgotten anyone.
Helen Weathers,


On June 11, 2008, Deputy Probation Officer Monica Rodrigues was severely injured when she was hit by a rock while traveling on the 101 Freeway. The large rock was thrown from the overpass at Wendy Drive in Newbury Park. Monica was struck on the head and had to undergo emergency brain surgery to remove bone fragments. Doctors had to install a titanium plate in her head and she is still recovering from her injuries.

Monica’s family, co-workers, a local business and Crime Stoppers have currently pledged a reward of $6,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for this crime.

Please contact the California Highway Patrol at 553-0800 if you have any information about this incident. If you would like to contribute to the reward, additional donations are welcome and can be made by contacting Russ Whitmeyer at 432-0054.

Monica’s extended family at the Ventura County Probation Agency is asking for the community’s help to identify and bring to justice the person responsible for her injuries.

Sespe Creek at the Swallows Nest. Dry weather has left little water at the popular old swimming hole.
Sespe Creek at the Swallows Nest. Dry weather has left little water at the popular old swimming hole.
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If the condition of lower Sespe Creek is any indication, southern California would seem to be in a drought period. Above, Sespe Creek across from the Swallows Nest. Swallows Nest itself is little more than a water hole surrounded by baked, mud-coated bounders.
If the condition of lower Sespe Creek is any indication, southern California would seem to be in a drought period. Above, Sespe Creek across from the Swallows Nest. Swallows Nest itself is little more than a water hole surrounded by baked, mud-coated bounders.
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