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Welcome to our Club!

Ventura South

Service Above Self

We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
Wedgewood Banquet Center
5882 Olivas Park Road
Ventura, CA  93003-7673
United States
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Bill Hall and Callie Keating Offer a Profile of
Vocational Education at Career Care Institute
Vocational education was the topic of the day at the regular meeting of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, July 25. Joining us from the Career Care Institute were Ventura Campus Director Bill Hall and Dental Assistant Instructor Callie Keating. They provided a very interesting overview of the Institute's mission to train vocational nurses, dental assistants, medical assistants, and x-ray technicians.
"We're here to serve the community," said Bill. "We offer a path to well-paying, stable careers that are much in demand." Callie (pictured above) noted that there are waiting lists for these kinds of classes at many community colleges.
"The program for dental assistants is nine months," said Callie, "Eight in the classroom and one as an intern in a dental office in the community. From there, many of our students are hired full time and go on to become registered dental assistants."
Bill explained that Career Care Institute has two other campuses: the main center in Lancaster and another in Moreno Valley. In addition, the Institute operates a mobile health unit where students and instructors provide free dental and medical care in the community.
Callie is the wife of Rotary Ventura South member Bob Keating, who has a dental practice here in Ventura. Bob noted that all of his dental assistants were students of Callie's.
Many thanks to Bill and Callie for a great overview of the good work being cone by Career Care Institute!

District Governor Nick Frankle
Inspires Ventura Rotary South
Our honored guest at our meeting on Monday, July 18, was current District 5240 Governor Nick Frankle. Members and guests enjoyed an inspiring presentation filled with stories of Nick's many years in Rotary and the effect they have had, not only on the people he has served, but on him. "You truly become a Rotarian," said Nick, "when, in changing people's lives, the life that changes most is yours."
Nick began his talk with a story of a woman in Honduras who was among the beneficiaries of a Rotary project in her village. Nick related that this woman had prayed every night, but didn't know if God heard her prayers. "Then," she said, "Rotary came into my life." Nick noted that he had visited this village several times, and on each occasion he witnessed greater prosperity and overall well-being among the people. "Again," said Nick, "being part of that service changed my life more than theirs."
Nick had some sound advice for the Rotarians of Ventura South. "Be sure you can answer the question, 'What is Rotary,' but more importantly, be sure you are able to tell people why you are a proud member of the Rotary Club of Ventura South. Does your community know what the community would be like if Rotary weren't here?"
Nick noted that The Rotary Foundation, since its inception in 1928, has given out more than $3 billion in grants for service projects around the world. He challenged every Rotarian in attendance to give something to the Foundation in the current membership year.
"If you can dream it, you can do it," said Nick. "No project is too large, no obstacle too big that it can't be overcome by Rotarians."

Ivor Davis Regales Ventura Rotary South
With Stories of His Time with the Beatles
It was a fascinating afternoon, rather than a "hard day's night," at our regular meeting on Monday, July 11, as members and guests of Ventura Rotary South were treated to stories and reminiscences from Ivor Davis, a veteran British journalist who spent most of his time in 1964 covering the Beatles during their meteoric rise to worldwide stardom. Ivor, pictured above, is the author of "The Beatles and Me," a book he recently wrote that chronicles his experiences with the legendary foursome, attending their concerts, socializing with them in their hotels, and writing about it all for the London Times.
"In some ways," said Ivor, "it feels like a distant memory. These four lads really covered the waterfront - no other musical artist has done what they were able to do, and the whole world still loves them."
Ivor was a correspondent working in Los Angeles in the summer of 1964 when his editor called and told him to get on a plane for San Francisco where "the boys were going to play." Ivor's first response was, "What boys?", but it didn't take him long to find out. Over the course of the coming months, he attended 25 of their concerts and witnessed the hysteria and magic of Beatlemania.
Regarding those concerts, Ivor pointed out that each was identical - the same 10 songs in the same order, night after night. "The average show ran for about 27 and a half minutes," said Ivor, "then it was into the limousines and back to the hotel." Ivor noted that those limousine rides could be downright terrifying with hundreds of teenagers surrounding the cars and pressing on the windows to get a glimpse of their idols.
Ivor made special note of the fact that it was 50 years ago this summer that the Beatles played their last public concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco (unless you count the impromptu rooftop jam session in London on January 30, 1969). Either way, it was a slice of musical history that the world is not likely to witness again. Thank you, Ivor, for sharing it with us firsthand.

Rotary Ventura South Celebrates a Great Year
At Step-Down Dinner for Dennis Longwill
On Monday evening, June 27, members and guests of the Rotary Club of Ventura South gathered at the Wedgewood Banquet Center in Ventura to celebrate the end of another terrific Club year under the leadership of Dennis Longwill (pictured above with his wife Jeannette). The evening had a casual "beach" theme, in tribute to Dennis' passion for surfing, and aloha shirts, colorful dresses, and leis were in abundance.
The program, led by incoming President Rosanna Colin, included tributes from Dennis' fellow charter Club members, a song written specially for the occasion by Guy Frick, and awards presented by Dennis to members of his leadership team. In his presentation, Dennis noted that the Club had received several awards at the recent District 5240 year-end event, including the District Gold Club Award and a special award for Club Service in the medium club size category.
For a look at some of the festivities, check out the pictures posted in the event Photo Album.
Congratulations, Dennis, on an outstanding year, and thank you, Rosanna, for hosting a terrific event!

Sheriff's Commander Chris Dunn Explains
Department's Unmanned Aviation System
Addressing Rotary Ventura South members and guests on Monday, June 20, was Ventura County Sheriff's Department Commander Chris Dunn. He provided a fascinating insight into one of the Department's newest tools: the Unmanned Aviation System, a small fleet of remote-controlled quad-rotor aircraft that deputies are using for a variety of public safety functions.
"We don't refer to them as drones," said Commander Dunn. "That tends to make people think of full-size aircraft, operated from thousands of miles away, firing missiles and dropping bombs on military targets." Instead, he explained, the Department's unmanned aircraft look much like the units that the average hobbyist can purchase at Best Buy or similar stores: about five-and-a-half pounds and 18 inches square. However,  appearance is pretty much where the similarities end.
The units used by the Sheriff's Department have sophisticated camera systems; three to be exact. One is forward-facing and provides a pilot's eye view to the operator on the ground. Another is a high-definition camera facing downward for surveillance, and the third picks up heat signals, which can be very helpful in search-and-rescue operations in remote territory. Other uses of the aircraft include SWAT support, crime scene processing, and assessment of potentially dangerous situations before deputies are sent into harm's way.
Commander Dunn pointed out that use of the aircraft is subject to Constitutional law, just like any other aspect of law enforcement. "We need a search warrant before we can fly over private property for investigation," he said. Additionally, the unmanned aircraft (and their operators) are governed by stringent regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
At $65,000 each, the units may seem to be on the pricey side at first glance. However, Commander Dunn noted that a standard manned Huey helicopter costs $1,400 to $1,800 per hour to operate, whereas the unmanned aircraft cost virtually nothing beyond staff time. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department was the first law enforcement agency on the west coast to implement an Unmanned Aviation System, and the current program serves as an FAA-approved model for other agencies to emulate.

Club Member Al Antelman Offers Historical Profile
Of Overseas U.S. Military Cemeteries
The red, white, and blue were in abundant supply at Rotary Ventura South's regular meeting on Monday, June 13. In addition to commemorating Flag Day and the birthday of the U.S. Army (both on June 14), members enjoyed a fascinating presentation by member Al Antelman on American military cemeteries located on foreign soil.
"We've all heard of the cemetery at Normandy, site of the D-Day Invasion," said Al, "but most people aren't aware that it's one among 24 additional cemeteries in 16 foreign countries. These nations include England, France, Belgium, and other locations where U.S. service personnel fought and died."
Administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission, these places of honor serve as the final resting place for nearly 108,000 American servicemen and women killed in World War II and another 31,000 from the First World War.
Al noted that each of the sites is meticulously maintained, and he shared photos of several that he has visited. "At Normandy," said Al, "the monument is frequented by French schoolchildren." He added, "Many of the graves there are regularly decorated with flowers and flags by local families, many of whom have done so for decades."
Thank you, Al, for a poignant and important glimpse at these very special places of American history and honor.

Club Member Brant Gerckens Emphasizes
The Power of Proper Posture
Want to lower your stress level, reduce aches and pains, and improve your self-confidence? You can do all three by making simple changes to improve your posture. These were the encouraging words of Dr. Brant Gerckens, long-time member of Rotary Ventura South and a local chiropractor in Ventura. Brant was our meeting speaker on Monday, June 6, and he offered members and guests a wealth of simple tips on how to look and feel better by making a conscious effort to improve how they sit, stand, and walk.
"The human body was designed to sit for two to three hours a day," said Brant. "Most of us sit for six to 16 hours a day, so it's important to break up that time with some movement." He demonstrated some simple stretching exercises such as the "power position." (Think Wonder Woman with hands on hips and shoulders back.) Brant also noted the proper alignment of head, shoulders, and back when sitting, standing, or walking. "Head up, shoulders back," he said. "It's also good to take longer, rather than shorter, strides when walking to help stretch out abdominal muscles that tend to contract and actually shorten when we sit."
Brant noted that laptops, tablets, and mobile phones do not typically make for good posture, with people hunched over them. "Again," he said, "that kind of posture leads to shortening of pectoral muscles." Interestingly, Brant explained that the body's hormones are affected by body position, and good posture actually leads to improved body chemistry.
Turns out Mom was right all those years when she told you to "Sit up straight!" Thanks, Dr. Brant, for a most helpful presentation!

Rotary Ventura South Members Visit
Turning Point Foundation Veterans Housing
Rotary Ventura South Club members went offsite for their regular meeting on Monday, May 23. We visited Turning Point Foundation's Veterans Transitional Housing Program for lunch, a tour of the facility, and presentations by program leaders and veterans who reside at the facility. In the photo above, Housing Director Manuel Minjares addresses the group on the patio.
Established in 1988, Turning Point Foundation provides a variety of shelter, supported housing, and rehabilitation programs for mentally ill adults throughout Ventura County. Their outreach program showed that veterans were 12 percent of the homeless population, and 30 percent of those were suffering from mental illness. They remodeled a building just off Ventura Avenue and welcomed the program's first 10 veterans in October of last year. Since then, they have found permanent housing for six veterans and permanent employment for five.
Turning Point Foundation Director Jason Meek said, "These veterans have given so much to their country -- we want to do all we can to provide the critical services that many of them are in need of."
For more information about Turning Point Foundation, including ways that you can be of help, visit their website at

Barbara MacDonald Traces the History
and Current Practice of Dental Hygiene
Our presentation on Monday, May 9, was an informative and helpful overview of the history and importance of dental hygiene, given my Barbara MacDonald, a local dental hygienist. She and her dentist-husband Don (a member of our Club) provide dental services in Ventura.
Starting with the history of dental hygiene, Barbara stated that early "treatments" (principally extractions) were performed by barbers. In the early 1900s, Dr. Alfred Fones is credited with starting the dental hygiene profession when he trained his chair-side assistant to clean teeth and perform other preventive measures on children. Barbara noted that 335 U.S. educational institutions offer degrees in dental hygiene at various levels.
"Controlling bacteria growth is the key to dental health," said Barbara. "DNA mapping has shown that oral bacteria can establish itself in other parts of the body, which forms a link to various systemic diseases, including some forms of cancer, arteriosclerosis, and heart disease. An increased risk of Alzheimers Disease has also been proven."
Noting that 50 percent of U.S. adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, Barbara stressed the importance of proper dental care a home as well as regular professional dental exams and cleaning. "It's more than just a cleaning," Barbara stressed. An hour appointment includes a blood pressure check, oral cancer exam, x-rays, measuring the pockets surrounding the teeth, as well as a thorough cleaning.
"Bacteria always wins," said Barbara. "It regenerates in the mouth every four to five hours." It's safe to say that those of us in attendance no doubt brushed a little longer than usual before bed that evening. Thanks, Barbara, for a most informative and helpful presentation!

"Learning for the Love of Learning" at
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Class was in session at our regular meeting on Monday, May 2, as members of Rotary Ventura South received a fascinating introduction to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at California State University at Channel Islands. "There are no books, no tests, and no grades," said OLLI Operations Director Nick Fuentes (pictured above). "It's learning for the pure love of learning."
To participate, students must meet a single qualification: 50 years old or better. Classes are held in several locations around Ventura County, including the CSUCI campus, as well as satellite locations in Ventura, Thousand Oaks, and Ojai. Instructors are either CSUCI professors or recognized experts in their field of instruction.
OLLI classes are numerous and varied. Recent offerings include such subjects as the psychology of love and loss, Cuba, Alfred Hitchcock's cinematic work, and deep space astronomy, to name but a few. "We also have Peer Led Activities," said Nick. These have included field trips to museums, science centers, and archaeology sites.
Joining Nick for the presentation were Courtney Gross, OLLI Program Analyst, and Gary Collins, who has participated in OLLI classes for the past 10 years. "We offer three sessions," said Courtney, "fall, winter, and spring." Fees range from $40 for a typical class to $500 for a year of unlimited courses. Gary noted that, in addition to learning, "students make new friends - it opens up a whole new world for them."
Our thanks to Nick, Courtney, and Gary for a truly interesting presentation. For more information on OLLI, visit their website here.

Rotary Ventura South Supports
CDA Cares Charity Dental Event
From Friday, April 15, through Sunday, April 17, two pavilions at the Ventura County Fairgrounds were transformed into a massive dental office to accommodate the California Dental Association's "CDA Cares" charity event. From early Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, 1,884 people underwent 11,583 dental procedures, courtesy of 750 health professionals and almost as many community volunteers. All the patients were people who otherwise could not afford or had no access to professional dental care.
Rotary Ventura South helped sponsor the annual event with a financial contribution, and members of the Club and several spouses were on hand to help provide the dental services and offer logistical assistance. Pictured above are Club members Don MacDonald and Dennis Longwill. Together with Bob Keating, they formed the three-dentist team from Rotary Ventura South. Don's wife Barbara brought her dental hygienist skills to the event, and the group was joined by Bob and Mary Braitman, Dante Honorico, Dennis's wife Jeannette, and Marilyn and Don Scott who helped escort patients, serve food and enter patient data.
Dennis noted that the event "was well organized and so satisfying to help so many people in our community." Thanks to all who so generously gave of their time and skills to help make it happen!

Marathoner Extraordinare Jim Dawson
Shares His Road with Ventura South
More than half a million people completed a marathon somewhere in the U.S. during 2015. The fact that Jim Dawson is part of that group is not particularly noteworthy. What is noteworthy (or better yet extraordinary) is the fact that Jim has completed at least one marathon in each of the 50 States over the course of the past two decades. Jim visited Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 11, to share some of his experiences with 60-plus marathons under his belt.
Jim noted that the difficult distance of a marathon (26.2 miles) requires physical reserves that the body alone can't deliver. That's when it becomes more of a mental challenge. When asked if running marathons gets easier after having run so many, Jim said simply, "No, but the fact that I can tell myself I've done it before helps somewhat when the going gets really tough."
A self-admitted history buff, Jim noted that he has run through some really interesting sites, including Civil War battlefields, a portion of the Lewis & Clark Trail, General Custer's route, Denali National Park (Alaska), Glacier National Park (Montana), Mt. Rushmore, and Crater Lake, among others. "This is a phenomenally diverse country," said Jim, "and I have been blessed to see so much of it up close and personal."
Thank you, Jim, for giving us a fascinating look behind the scenes of your remarkable achievement!

Past District Governor Wade Nomura
Shares His International "Rotary Family"
"As a member of Rotary, you have family all over the world." This was the message that Past District Governor Wade Nomura brought to Rotary Ventura South at our April 4 meeting. Wade used photos from his international travels on behalf of Rotary to illustrate his point. "I've been on more than 40 trips for Rotary," said Wade, "and without exception, there was always someone to meet me when I got off the plane."
Among his Rotary excursions, Wade shared his participation in a National Immunization Day in India, Rotary International project evaluation in Honduras, meetings with the R.I. President in Thailand, national health support in Guatemala and chartering two new Rotary Clubs in Chile. Closer to home, he has traveled multiple times to R.I. Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, and right here in Southern California he served as a personal aide to Past Rotary International President Gary Huang who rode on the 2015 Rotary Rose Parade Float.
"This is the big picture," said Wade, "and it's all part of the Rotary journey. I encourage all Rotarians to get involved on a global scale in one way or another. Remember - you're all part of the same family!"

Rotary Ventura South Goes Offsite
For a Tour of Mission Produce
For our regular meeting on Monday, March 28, members of Ventura Rotary South gathered at Mission Produce in Oxnard for a tour of the state-of-the-art avocado processing facility. The massive building was designed by our own Nils Johnson, who organized the visit. After enjoying sandwiches, apples, and chips in the employee lunchroom (thanks to the Wedgewood Banquet Center), members set off on a tour of the 20-acre site.
Decked out in orange safety vests and wearing oh-so-fashionable hair nets, the 25 members in attendance were given the full tour, from the receiving area where avocados arriving from groves throughout Central and Southern California begin their journey through the facility with a 40-degree cold shower, to the shipping dock where pallets of the luscious fruit are loaded into semi-trailers.
During peak avocado season (roughly February through September), Mission Produce processes and packs approximately 1,000 pounds of avocados per minute. (That's a lot of guacamole!) The fruit is kept cool throughout the various areas of the plant, which range from 36 to 50 degrees. For that reason, those in attendance were unanimously grateful for the recommendation to bring a jacket.
Thanks to member Nils for coordinating the visit and to our hosts at Mission Produce for a fascinating look behind the scenes at their impressive facility!

Mardi Gras Event Raises $27,000
For Turning Point Foundation
Our special guests at the March 21 meeting were Jason Meek (Executive Director) and Suki Sir (Marketing and Fund Development Manager) of Turning Point Foundation. They reported that the January 31 Mardi Gras event, organized by Ventura Rotary South, raised over $27,000 for Turning Point. Jason and Suki presented the Club with a plaque showing the names of the major sponsors of the event. The plaque will be displayed at the veterans shelter project. A special off-site club meeting at the center is being planned.
Also at the meeting, special recognition was given to longtime Club member John Zaruka and his wife, Linda, for their outstanding contributions to the Mardi Gras event.

Susan Scott Sings the Praises
of 2016 Ventura Music Festival
Susan Scott, Executive Director of the Ventura Music Festival, brought her passion for the event to our March 14 Club meeting and gave members and guests a taste of what to expect at this year's event. The Festival, in its 22nd year, will be held July 15-17 and 22-24 at venues throughout Ventura and Oxnard.
"We have another amazing program of musicians," said Susan. To illustrate her point, she showed video clips of several of the artists scheduled to perform, including piano duo Anderson & Roe, pianist Vadim Kholodenko, vocalist Ute Lemper, and the legendary performer, composer, and Grammy winner Sergio Mendes.
"This year," said Susan, "we moved the festival from its traditional May schedule into July." She explained that this was to put it in sync with other festivals in Southern California, and also to take advantage of the availability of more venues, including the Oxnard Performing Arts Center and the theater at Ventura College.
For information on artists, scheduled performances, and tickets, visit

Rotary Ventura South Holds Bake Sale
To Benefit St. Bonaventure Interact Club
With a table full of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cup cakes, and other delightful treats, the agenda for our March 7 Club meeting was clear: the annual Bake Sale in support of the Interact Club at St. Bonaventure High School. Longtime Club member Larry Matheney took to the podium, accompanied by Interact Club members Andrea Rodriguez and Jayson Lopez, to auction off the delectable desserts to the highest bidders.
And bid they did! Between Club members and guests, we set a new record for money raised with a total of $1,405 in contributions! Many, many thanks to the volunteer bakers at St. Bonaventure who supplied the goodies, and to the generous bidders who continued the Ventura South tradition of supporting St. Bonaventure's great Interact Club!

Satya Mitra Offers a Wealth of Ideas
On How Rotary Clubs Can Gain Members
On Monday, February 29, members of Rotary Ventura South received a crash course on how to increase Club membership, thanks to an impassioned presentation from Satya Mitra, a member of the Rotary Club of Worcester, Massachusetts. "Rotary needs to have more members," said Satya, "so we can do more good work around the world."
Satya's qualifications for speaking on the subject are indisputable. In a single year as president of his club (which came after he was in the club just four years), he led an increase in membership from 48 to 130 members. Satya is quick to say that he didn't do it alone - "it was my team of current members and I who did it together."
Among the leadership principles that guided him in his term as president, Satya noted these:
  • Be genuinely concerned about those you lead;
  • Sacrifice for the good of the club;
  • Set goals.
"Always be ready to talk about the wonderful activities and benefits of Rotary," said Satya. He himself always carries a club application form that he can give to someone, together with a stamped, pre-addressed envelope in which they can return it. He also encourages Clubs to make themselves "the talk of their town" through active public relations. "Rotary's value is there," said Satya. "We just need to lift it up."
Thank you, Satya, for a most inspiring and informative presentation!

Ventura Botanical Gardens:
A Treasure for the Community
"This will be one of the most transformative projects that Ventura has seen in decades." That's how Executive Director Joe Cahill described the Ventura Botanical Gardens during his presentation to Ventura Rotary South on Monday, February 22. "Much more than a park," said Joe, "the Gardens will be more like a museum for children and adults alike."
The Gardens, a public-private partnership with the City of Ventura, began as a vision in 2005. Situated in the hills of Grant Park, just above downtown Ventura, the area boasts stunning views of the Ventura coastline. Phase I of the Gardens' development is well underway, and 35 percent of the first garden area (Chilean) has been developed, along with initial construction of water infrastructure, an entrance structure, and a new mile-long trail.
Joe noted that a variety of sponsorship opportunities are available, as well as annual memberships starting at just $50. "I encourage you to come and visit the Gardens," said Joe. "The spring wildflowers will be in bloom in a few weeks, and they will be spectacular."
For more information on the Gardens, visit

April Event Will Offer Free Dental Services
To Needy in Ventura/Santa Barbara Areas

On the weekend of April 16-17, local dentists and other volunteers will gather at the Ventura County Fairgrounds to provide two days of free dental services to those in the area who otherwise would have no access to such care. Dr. Mark Lisagor (pictured here), Dr. Del Brunner, and Robyn Alongi visited Rotary Ventura South on Monday, February 1 to present an overview of the program.
Coordinated by the CDA (California Dental Association) Foundation, the "CDA Cares" Program is designed to improve the dental health of people who have been subject to trauma, domestic abuse, the effects of drug use, or general lack of proper care. "There's no judgment," said Dr. Brunner, "We don't ask people about their circumstances, we just ask them how we can help."
Dr. Lisagor noted that a full range of dental services will be provided at the annual event, including cleanings, fillings, extractions, limited root canals, limited stay plates, dentures, and prosthetic repairs, as well as patient education and assistance in enrolling in government-funded dental programs. "We'll have 100 dental chairs where volunteer dentists, working alongside community volunteers, will provide dental services valued at approximately $2 million. We expect to serve about 2,000 people over the two days."
Approximately 800 volunteers are needed to assist with set-up and tear-down, as well as other tasks such as registering/directing patients and passing out water and snacks to the people waiting in line to receive care. Many wait for 24 hours or more. Donations and sponsorships are also welcome to help cover the $400,000 in event expenses. Click here to obtain more information on the program and find out how you can help improve the dental health of those who are less fortunate.

Rotary Ventura South Will Host Fundraiser
For Turning Point Foundation on January 31
On Sunday, January 31, from 3:00 to 7:00 PM, Rotary Ventura South will be hosting a fundraiser for Turning Point Foundation, a local charitable organization that provides a wide variety of critical community support needs to the mentally ill in Ventura County. The Mardi Gras-themed event will be held at the Tower Club, 300 E. Esplanade Drive in Oxnard. There will be food and drink, entertainment, a raffle, and a live auction with some really cool prizes, including trips to New Orleans, Las Vegas, Durango, and Carmel, among many other items. Proceeds will benefit Turning Point Foundation and charitable activities of Rotary Ventura South.
At the Club's regular meeting on Monday, January 25, Turning Point Executive Director Jason Meek (pictured above) provided an overview of the organization's purpose and goals. "We are driven by community needs," he said. "There is so much involved in providing mental wellness services for those in need."
Jason noted that Turning Point Foundation operates residential facilities in various locations throughout Ventura County, as well as a number of rehabilitation and recovery programs. "People on the street typically have a 25-year lower lifespan than the average person," said Jason. "We meet them where they are, whether it's an alley, a park, or some other location, and we do whatever we can to get them the help they need."
For more information on the January 31 fundraiser, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Suki Sir at 805-652-0000 or

Businessman William Irion
Provides Insights Into China
Splitting his time between offices and residences in Santa Paula, California and Kunming, China, William Irion uses his decades of experience to assist others in navigating the often complex waters of doing business in China. In a presentation to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, January 11, Bill offered insights from his unique perspective, which he has developed since his first visit to China in 1975.
"The U.S. and China are close in size, area-wise," said Bill, "but we have a population of about 300 million and theirs is roughly 1.4 billion, so the population density is much different." He noted also that China is developing at a pace in 30 years that took the U.S. more than a century to achieve in terms of industrial and economic development. At the same time, nearly a third of the people in China live on less than $1,000 a year.
"We offer businesspeople in both countries a variety of complementary services to help them succeed in China," said Bill. Those services include marketing and investment advice, translation service, seminars on American business in Asia, and import consulting. "We also help U.S. expatriates assimilate into life in China," Bill noted. He encourages anyone with an interest in the country to explore it more deeply. Thanks for an insightful and interesting presentation, Bill!

Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko
Presents "State of the City"
Our speaker on Monday, January 4, was the Honorable Erik Nasarenko, Mayor of the beautiful City of Ventura. He presented a brief "State of the City" address, then took questions from members and guests of Ventura Rotary South.
Mayor Nasarenko noted that Ventura is the oldest city in the County, having been incorporated in 1866. (The City is gearing up for its 150th birthday celebration this year.) Among the impacts of the City's age is the older infrastructure. "An example," said the Mayor, "is the damage to our pier that occurred during the recent high waves that pounded the coastline." This, of course, can be challenging from the standpoint of City finances, although Mayor Nasarenko pointed out that Ventura has had successive balance budgets in recent years."
"One of my goals is to raise the sales tax in Ventura to address many of the infrastructure challenges we face as a City," said the Mayor. An added penny of sales tax on each dollar would go directly to City services, as opposed to County and State obligations that consume the bulk of existing sales tax revenue." Among the Mayor's other goals is the establishment of a community center and library at the Community Park at the corner of Kimball and Telephone Roads.
Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for a timely and informative presentation!

"Drought is Not a Four-Letter Word"
Mohammed Hasan Explains to Club
"There are solutions to California's severe drought, but they will require innovation and political cooperation to implement," said Mohammed Hasan during his address to the members of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, December 28. The owner of Hasan Consultants, a local engineering consulting firm specializing in water-related projects, Mohammed noted that Californians cannot wait until the drought becomes a real crisis, "the day we ration water or turn on the tap and nothing comes out."
Rather than making a formal presentation, Mohammed invited members of the audience to participate in an extended question-and-answer session. Among the ideas that he brought out in his answers were the following:
  • Replenishment of the Salton Sea with local groundwater, followed by treatment and distribution through new infrastructure;
  • Importation and treatment of water from the Gulf of California;
  • Increasing use of recycled water
All of these solutions, particularly the desalination options, will require significant funding, Mohammed noted, and there are political hurdles to overcome. A Club member noted that major infrastructure development projects are challenging because politicians who support increased water rates or taxes on the front end to pay for the projects frequently are not in office to receive the credit when the facilities come on line years down the road.
Mohammed, however, remains positive about the potential for long-term solutions to the drought. "California is the innovation capital of the United States," he said, "and now more than ever we need to innovate." His book, "Drought is Not a Four-Letter Word," is available on

Brain Injury Center of Ventura County
Provides Needed Support and Solutions
Twenty years ago, Linda Wells (pictured above) suffered a traumatic brain injury that profoundly altered her life. In an inspiring talk to the members of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, December 7, Linda explained how she was able to painstakingly rebuild her life with the help of the Brain Injury Center of Ventura County.
Linda's recovery included years of intensive therapy. "The person that I used to be has gone forever," said Linda, "and I basically had to relearn everything." She noted that her short-term memory has been severely impacted, so she carries a "memory book" to help remind her of people, places, and other things that are important in her life.
Joining Linda for the presentation were Jeanette Villanueva, Director of the Brain Injury Center, and Cheryl Smith, a doctor of physiological psychology. Cheryl noted that brain injury patients often suffer a great sense of isolation due to the debilitating and frightening nature of their condition. Jeannette pointed out that it is for that very reason that the support groups and other resources of the Brain Injury Center exist. "I don't know what I would have done without them," said Linda. She has made it her life goal to educate people about traumatic brain injury and to raise awareness of the need to help those who suffer from it.
Many thanks to Linda, Cheryl, and Jeanette for a truly inspiring presentation!

Aug 01, 2016
Karen Stewart
Four Brix Winery
Aug 08, 2016
Lieutenant Thomas Wieland
Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard
Aug 15, 2016
Rosanna Colin
Club President
Aug 22, 2016
Daniel Uhlar
Ventura County Ombudsman Program
Aug 29, 2016
Sep 05, 2016
No Meeting
(Labor Day)
Sep 12, 2016
Thomas Gallagher
Casino Gaming
Sep 19, 2016
Sarah Kenney
Chairperson, Vino for Vets
Sep 26, 2016
Craig Springer
President, Santa Barbara Center for Performing Arts
Oct 03, 2016
Wade Nomura
Japanese Internment
Nov 07, 2016
Julie Sardonia and Lawrence Parkhill
Veteran Farmers of America
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