Rotary Club of Ventura South

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Susan Noone, Regional Director for Vitalant, spoke at our Rotary Monday.  Susan spoke on Vitalant's various delivery methods and Vitalant's ability to adapt and continue distribution during Covid.  Susan has a diverse background in the blood industry has been active in California state-level professional organizations for several years and has served on the boards and as President of two California-based professional organizations, Blood Centers of California and California Blood Bank Society. She is currently serving a second term as President of Blood Centers of California. On a national level, she serves in several capacities for the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB), currently as a member of AABB’s Transfusion Medicine Subsection Coordinating Committee and the Blood Bank and Transfusion Services Standards Committee and as a mentor for AABB’s Mentorship Program. Susan has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s in Public Health. She is certified as a Quality Auditor by the American Society for Quality.
 
State Farm Port Hueneme visit - Tony Suleiman office .
 
We visited Tony Suleiman's insurance agency in Port Hueneme.  Tony who has owned his agency for the past six years discussed some of the benefits of having a trusted agent and also State Farm's role in helping the local community.  Tony also serves as the Program Chair for the Rotary and helps set up different speakers throughout the year.  
 
 
Past President Dante Honorico, Alan Kosh, Stacy Zaruka (PEN) and Past Rotary President Bob Davis, who serves as a Loan Consultant at Loan Depot in Westlake, invited Rotarians to his headquarters earlier this month.  Bob who has served in the financial industry for several years, spoke on the changes in the mortgage industry and about his position in giving back to the community.  Bob who serves on the board of The Turning Point Foundation, has also been an advocate of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura and various other nonprofits in the community.  Bob has a heart for elevating those around him and building a strong community. 
 
Dhruv Pandya, Senior Manager of IT Security at J.D. Power with President Nkosi Khumalo. Dhruv spoke at our Rotary lunch meeting this Monday 11/08/2021.  Dhruv who is a close friend of many Rotarians discussed the innovations and challenges of data intelligence and how the industry is staying ahead.  Dhruv holds a Bachelors's in Computer Engineering and Masters's in Computer Science. He is also a philanthropic steward of the community, giving back through his expertise to organizations like the Turning Point Foundation and Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura.
 
 
 
Sheriff Bill Ayub came and spoke today to discuss the size, scope, and work of the Ventura County Sherriff Department.  The department covers as far south to Thousand Oaks and as far north as many of the unincorporated areas of the Topa Topa mountains.  He touched on local partnerships with the local fire department, including their procurement of two Black Hawk Helicopters ushered into fire service.  Finally, he discussed the growing drug and Fentanyl problems affecting youth and their partnerships with local community organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and Casa Pacifica, who help with drug prevention and mentoring at-risk young people. 
 
 
  
 
Rosanna Colin, VP and Branch Manager at First Bank, hosted our latest Rotary social.  The event took place at 5:30 pm on Tues. at their Victoria location and was accompanied by wine and some amazing cuisine from Luna Grill.  The evening was a great opportunity to interact with some of our Rotary members, while also learning about the history of First Bank.
 
Rosanna was an incredible host, and we hope to do it again soon!
Monday served as a heartfelt tribute to Guy Frick, past President and longtime fixture at the Rotary Club of Ventura South.
 
Guy passed away this year, but you would never know it with the spirit he still brings to Rotary.  The "Frickin Years Celebration" was filled with singing, tributes to the Guy and his life, and notable guests such as District Attorney, Erick Nasaranko.
 
Guy, who was a District Attorney in Ventura, gained notoriety in the Club for his quick wit and lyrical talent, crafting familiar show tunes with lyrical twists that told stories about Rotary and its members.
 
Guy's family was in attendance during the event and concluded the lunch.  We are so grateful to have been touched by such a beautiful spirit who still can be felt at Rotary of Ventura South.
 
District Governor Dana Moldavon visited the Club Monday to give an overview of the current and future direction of Rotary District 5240.  The District which stretches as far north as Atascadero and as far south as Kern County is undergoing a revamp in many areas and Dana is leading the charge.
 
Through her efforts, Dana hopes to increase impact and expand Rotary's reach through partnerships in the community with local organizations and through bringing in volunteers inside and outside of the organization. She also plans to accomplish initiatives ranging from protecting coastal and marine resources to addressing education and literacy.
 
We are very pleased to have her leading the forefront of Rotary in our District.
 
 
 
Sixteen Years Old, $1.7 Million in Revenue: Max Hits It Big as a Pandemic Reseller A tech-savvy teen exploits the supercharged resale market for scarce goods.

For many videogame enthusiasts, the console shortage of 2020-21 has been a major drag. For high-school junior Max Hayden, it’s been a bonanza.

He has bought and resold dozens of the newest PlayStation and Xbox machines for as much as $1,100—more than double their $500 sticker prices. 

By doing the same with a selection of goods made scarce in the pandemic, such as patio heaters and Pokémon trading cards, Max ended last year with a profit of more than $110,000 on $1.7 million in revenue, according to the 16-year-old’s sales records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. He expects to do even better this year as game consoles and other products remain elusive.

“Some people call this retail arbitrage,” said Max, of Hopewell Township, in central New Jersey. “I wrote an essay for school on the topic.” 

The health crisis has triggered shortages of everything from ketchup packets to hot tubsdisrupting entire industries and frustrating consumers. It’s also supercharged the resale market, creating opportunities for Max and others to make a killing by flipping scarce items for big profits on AmazonFacebook and other online markets. 

The reseller community has even become its own subindustry, with entrepreneurs—including other teenagers and young adults—paying for membership in online groups that offer tips.

Reselling nonessential goods in most cases is legal, though retailers generally frown upon it as it can create friction with consumers. Hate mail and trolling from shoppers angry about the marked-up prices comes with the territory. Max’s father, whose name is also Max Hayden, said he was initially uncomfortable with his son’s business success because he benefited from a situation created by the health crisis. But he concluded that it was permissible because his son only resells luxury goods, not necessities.

 
Heidi Whitcomb came and spoke about her event business Ventura Rental Party and Events.  Heidi's company which is one of the largest event services groups in the County discussed how they were able to overcome some of the disruptions in the event industry during COVID.
 
Through the transition, their company was able to partner with major brands and help with crating of PPP supplies.  They also partnered with Lionsgate Productions and the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch in northern California.
 
Heidi sits on the board of CASA Pacifica and continues to stay active in her community while also running a sustainable farm at home with her husband.
 
Carlos Cohen, former principal of Ventura High School with over 2,000 students and incoming principal of De Anza Data Middle School, spoke about his time running a high school program during Covid-19 times. 
 
During his tenure, Principal Cohen oversaw 125 staff members who helped lead instruction at Ventura High.  Mr. Cohen discussed new programs like their career innovation and Da Vinci Technology initiatives, while also touching on new developments in their theater, athletic and academic programs.
 
Mr. Cohen a former U.S. Marine, who brings a hard-driving spirit and eye for innovation to every new endeavor, aims to continue his forward-thinking mindset to his next assignment.
 
 
 
 
Dani Moss spoke on the challenges of being a public defender in Sanoma Couty.  Dani who works for the District Attorney's office spoke on the importance of public service, while also discussing some of the gaps needed to be overcome in the system.
 
Dani discussed the importance of building client relationships and how during COVID thas presented unique difficulties, especially with health restrictions in local jails.  With limited resources allocated to the DA's office, Dani has over 30 cases a year and continues to devote his life to public service.
 
 
Jack Pollock, Rotary President-Elect Nominee, reported out on the 2021 Community Assessment.
 
Of the topics discussed, were areas of most need in the City and County of Ventura.  Attention was paid to rising trends of economic growth within the County, an underdeveloped nonprofit sector, rising levels of poverty, lack of preschool care for underprivileged families, an influx of non-native English speakers, and dramatic upticks in teen depression and suicide.
 
Jack also highlighted nonprofits in the area making sizeable progress in the community that the Rotary of Ventura South would like to support or partner with going forward, including, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura, the Arc of Ventura County, the Westside Community Council, and School on Wheels, to name a few.
 
Jack, a native of Ohio, attended Bowling Green State University, where he completed a degree in finance.  After school, he held various executive positions in several companies, most notably, General Electric, where he headed international operations. 
 
Jack spent the majority of his time in the midwest during his corporate tenure, but moved out to Ventura with his wife, Carol, to be closer to his family. 
 
Outside of Rotary Jack can be found serving as a flight instructor at Camarillo Airport or spending time with grandkids.  We are pleased to have him a part of our team and Rotary family.
 
Erik Nasarenko, District Attorney for the County of Ventura, joined us this week to give us an overview of his current role.
 
Erik who filled the vacancy of past District Attorney, Gret Totten, carries a new edge to the District Attorney's Office.  In this, he plans on implementing a bevy of new reforms to enhance efficiency and continuity, in concert with a new public-facing information strategy, designed to elevate the standing of his office in aiding the community policing movement.
 
Erik who oversees a staff of 102 prosecutors and 52 sworn law enforcement, plans on striking a balance of reform rehabilitation and traditional justice.  In his role, he plans to adopt sweeping new policies like "misdemeanor diversion" aimed at lessening recidivism among repeat offenders through intervention, support, and psychiatric care; thus lessening the strain on public resources.
 
In concert with this, his office has developed a strategy to build community trust through public information visits and partnerships, with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, to form a greater level of education, transparency, and cooperation with local communities.  Blended with a newly reinforced anti-crime and narcotics unit, to empower communities to thrive and not be entrenched in gang violence. 
 
"When you take our office and bring it to the community, it builds trust in the community," Erik asserted.
 
Erik received a J.D. from UC Irvine through night school, while serving on the Los Angeles County School Board.  He is a current member of the Rotary Club of Ventura South and was also good friends with past Rotarian, Guy Frick.
 
Erik who prides himself on family, joined us after celebrating his mother's 82nd birthday the day before, and is married to his wife Joey, a former teacher, and is a father to two children.
 
 
Stacy Brown represented Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MAAD) this past week.
 
MAAD focuses its resources on lobbying to support new legislation aimed to curb underage drinking and drunk driving fatalities, while also pushing initiatives aimed at educating parents and teens.
 
Stacy mentioned that the movement is not meant to prohibit alcohol consumption, but instead to encourage a more responsible approach to alcohol use.
 
Drunk driving is the number one driver of substance abuse fatalities in the U.S., accounting for over 4,300 deaths. 
 
Ms. Brown is a former attorney and also coaches screenwriting.  She rings a layered dynamic to the movement and aims to continue to help mothers within the U.S.
 
Todd Mitchell, Operations Manager for the Ventura Port District, gave an overview of current port dredging and capital projects. 
 
Todd oversees 274 acres of Harbour Village and master tenants and supervises the removal of debris and sentiment from the channel.  In his overview, he spoke to how the dredging process helps keep the channel clear and also replaces much-needed sand and habitat near Spinnaker beach.  He also works with the Naval Corps of Engineers and advocates with the district for adequate funding resources from the Federal Government to ensure projects continue.
 
In addition to dredging projects, he works to ensure harbor facilities continue to support one of the largest commercial fishing ports in the state.
 
Todd was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is married to his wife Heather.
 
Local business leader and serial entrepreneur, Nkosi Khumalo ("NK"), and President-Elect for Rotary Club of Ventura South, spoke on his vision for 2021 after successfully completing PETS, Rotary's President-Elect Training Seminar.  NK plans to bring a fresh perspective and elevate Rotary South to the forefront of community engagement with his main focus for the year being 1) Youth 2) Education & 3) Business. 
 
The PETS seminar which serves as a leadership training ground for new presidents took place on a virtual platform for two days.  Of the Clubs across the country, 455 individuals were in attendance.
 
NK also discussed his future roadmap for 2021, which included: building membership; creating an environment for more flexible meeting attendance; introducing hybrid meetings; engaging high-level speakers; accelerating collaboration between Clubs; expanding corporate partnerships; and increasing scholarship opportunities with Ventura High School and Saint Bonaventure High School.
 
We are excited to see his term come into effect this July 2021.
Club Members Fill Backpacks
For Students in Need
 
On Saturday, August 9, Members from Rotary Ventura South participated in the annual Student Backpack Project, together with members from other area service clubs. The volunteers gathered outdoors at Neighborhood Car Care Center in Ventura to fill backpacks with schools supplies for students in need throughout Ventura.
 
Participants from Rotary Ventura South included Bob Braitman, Nkosi Khumalo (and his wife Hugette, son Siso, and daughter Mbali), Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn Scott, Melody Thurman, and Stacy and Linda Zaruka.
 
Check out the photo album here.
Construction Begins on Ronald McDonald
Family Room at Ventura County Medical Center
 
Rotary Ventura South, together with Rotary Clubs from around the County, has been helping to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Ventura County Medical Center. We have participated in the 2019 Walk-a-Thon and this year's virtual event in April.
 
Once constructed, the room will provide a space for family members to visit and interact with children who are undergoing treatment for a variety of illnesses at the facility.
 
According to Adam McCormack, Director of Development for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, construction has begin. "Even at this stage," said Adam, you can see how big and bright these Family Room spaces are going to be!
 
For additional views of the construction work, visit the Photo Album here.
 
Three Ventura South Club Members
Add to Their Paul Harris Fellowships
 
At our regular meeting on Monday, January 6, three members of Ventura Rotary South were recognized for adding to their Paul Harris Fellowships. Pictured above are (l to r) Don MacDonald, Bob Keating, and Diane Keay. Don and Bob each received pins for their second Paul Harris Fellowship, and Diane received a pin for her third.
 
The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. The number of Paul Harris Fellows reached the one million mark in 2006.
 
Congratulations and thank you to Don, Bob, and Diane on your achievement!
 
Ventura Rotary South Members
Help Collect Donations for Salvation Army
 
Dressed in "I'm a Rotary Bell Ringer" aprons, members of Ventura Rotary South once again took up their holiday post outside the J C Penney store at the Pacific View Mall to collect donations in the familiar Salvation Army red kettle on Saturday, December 14. Pictured above are Jack Pollock (left) and Dante Honorico.
 
The event was organized by Community Service Committee co-chairs Ed Keay and Jack Pollock, who also worked a bell-ringing shift. Other Club members participating included Bob Braitman, Carol Chapman, Rosanna Colin, Dante Honorico, Bob Keating, Diane Keay, Karl Lassiter, Don MacDonald, John Mattina, Kendall Mattina, Marilyn Scott, Bon Wakam, Sandy Warren, John Zaruka, and Stacy Zaruka.
Club Members Tell the Rotary Story
At Ventura's Holiday Street Fair
 
Members of Rotary Ventura South turned out on a rainy Saturday, December 7, to set up and staff a booth at the Annual Holiday Street Fair on Main Street in Ventura. Working in 90-minute shifts, the Club members handed out literature about Rotary’s worldwide efforts to eradicate polio and build peace, and also invited those who stopped by to attend a Club meeting to learn more.
 
The Ventura South Rotarians also promoted the Club’s major fundraiser, the March 1, 2020 Mardi Gras event in support of Turning Point Foundation, and the April 5, 2020 Ronald McDonald Walk.
 
Pictured above are (l to r): Sandy Warren, Bob Braitman, Melody Thurman, Larry Matheney, Rosa Duran-Ramirez, and Dennis Longwill. Melody went the extra mile in her outreach efforts with a Rotary wheel on her cheek, courtesy of the face-painter in the neighboring booth!
 
Other Club members participating in the event included Rosanna Colin, Bob Davis, Dante Honorico, Diane Keay, John Mattina, Kendall Mattina, Don MacDonald, Diane Moss, Marty Moss, Marilyn Scott, and Stacy Zaruka. And a BIG thank you to Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Ed Keay and Jack Pollock for coordinating the event! 
 
 
31st Annual Trivia Challenge
A Rousing Success!
 
We held our 31st Annual Trivia Challenge fundraiser in support of Ventura County Library’s Adult Literacy Program on Wednesday, November 6. Twenty-three teams competed for plaques recognizing their prowess in answering questions in a broad range of categories including sports, history, geography, and popular culture, among others.
 
The bulk of the proceeds support the Ventura County Library’s READ Program, which provides free one-on-one tutoring for adults who want to learn to read. The program also provides free books, special programs for dyslexic adults, computer-assisted instruction, second language reading instruction, and family literacy activities. Since 1984, the program has helped thousands of Ventura County adults achieve personal literacy goals such as passing GED tests, achieving U.S. citizenship, and gaining employment. READ has been recognized as one of the top community-based literacy programs in California.
 
Click here to view a slideshow of photos from the event!