Pet Food Drive for Interact 2023-10-17 07:00:00Z 0
Rotary Supports Ventura College Promise Program Jack Pollock 2023-09-20 07:00:00Z 0

School backpack project 2023

We packed 710 bags this year (410 for high schools and 310 for middle schools)...Awesome! This is an annual Ventura School District project that is done in collaboration with the 3 Ventura Rotary Clubs: Downtown, East & South and also the Lions Club. 
Thank you to the following members for making it to this event - John Mattina, Kendall Mattina, Jackie Sanchez, Linda Zaruka, President Stacy Zaruka, Nkosi Khumalo, Jeaanine Longwill, Dennies Longwill, Bob Braitman, Bon Wakam and Angelina Ornelas. 
School backpack project 2023  Nkosi Khumalo 2023-08-19 07:00:00Z 0

Speaker Ashlyn 

Great speaker at Rotary South.
Ashlyn Cavaletto presented her IMPACT program.  Redefining how to unleash the change makers in our communities.
Speaker Ashlyn Stacy Zaruka 2023-07-17 07:00:00Z 0

Ventura High School Scholarship recipients - Class of 2023

Ventura High School Scholarships - Class of 2023!
From left to Right: Diane Moss, Past President Marty Moss, Abigail Block, Lucas Romero, Sofia S'Gro, Mateo Navarro, Brooke Roberts, Past President Bon Wakam, Past President Nkosi Khumalo. 
Ventura High School Scholarship recipients - Class of 2023 Nkosi Khumalo 2023-06-05 07:00:00Z 0
Matt LaVere County Supervisor - May 22 Jack Pollock 2023-05-25 07:00:00Z 0 Matt LaVere,Rotary Club of Ventura South,Ventura County Supervisor
Turning Point Foundation  Jack Pollock 2023-05-25 07:00:00Z 0 Mardi Gras,Rotary Club of Ventura South,The Turning Point Foundation,Wedgewood Weddings
St. Bonaventure HS - Rise Against Hunger Jack Pollock 2023-05-19 07:00:00Z 0 Interact,Interact Club,Rise Against Hunger
St. Bonaventure Interact Bake Sale Jack Pollock 2023-05-08 07:00:00Z 0 Bake Sale,Interact Club,May 8 fund raising

Charter members honored at 40th anniversary celebration

On Tuesday May 2, the club held its 40th anniversary celebration dinner social at the Manhattan Restaurant where we honored 4 members of the club for their 40 year membership. Charter members, Brant Gerckens, Dennis Longwill and Lee Gibson and 40 year member Larry Matheney provided us with reflections on their extensive experiences with the club. John Zaruka provided the MC duties. Everyone had a great time and the shared experiences were inspirational.
Charter members honored at 40th anniversary celebration Jack Pollock 2023-05-05 07:00:00Z 0 40th anniversary,Manhattan Restaurant

Club celebrates it's 40th Anniversary

April 28, 2023 marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Rotary Club of Ventura South. On that Friday, the Club met at the IDEA Center at 1264 N Ventura Avenue, Ventura California. We were treated to a great tour and interaction with the students. Alex Wulff shared with us the the scope and depth of the student development that takes place at the Center.
Club celebrates it's 40th Anniversary Jack Pollock 2023-05-05 07:00:00Z 0 40th Club Anniversary,IDEA Center
Deborah Larkin author "A Lovely Girl" Jack Pollock 2023-04-17 07:00:00Z 0 A Lovely Girl,Deborah Larkin,Ma Duncan
USS Santa Barbara Commissioning Jack Pollock 2023-04-03 07:00:00Z 0 Port Hueneme commissioning,Rotary Club of Ventura South,USS Santa Barbara,ship commissioning
St. Bonaventure Interact Club Book Drive Jack Pollock 2023-03-31 07:00:00Z 0 Interact Club,Mar Vista Elementary Oxnard,St. Bonaventure

Paul Harris awards at the Tower Club

Seven individuals were awarded Paul Harris recognition at the March 6 meeting of the Rotary Club of Ventura South.
Hugette Khumalo was awarded her Paul Harris Fellow. 
Mary Davis was awarded a single sapphire pin.
Sondra Briggs and Diane Moss were awarded 2 sapphire pins.
Lee Gibson, Marty Moss and Manpreet Batra were awarded 3 sapphire pins.
Not pictured Hugette Khumalo and Sondra Briggs.
Please join me in thanking these folks for their generous support of Rotary International.
Paul Harris awards at the Tower Club Jack Pollock 2023-03-10 08:00:00Z 0
New Member Induction and Governor Visit Jack Pollock 2023-03-06 08:00:00Z 0 District Governer,Josh Carsman,Kimberly Hoffmans,New Members,Rotary,Rotary Club of Ventura South,Sam Monroe
Mardi Gras 2023 - Let the Good Times Roll Jack Pollock 2023-02-20 08:00:00Z 0 Mardi Gras,Party time,Rotary,Turning Point Foundation,club news,fund raising success
St. Bonaventure Interact Club membership reaches 113  Jack Pollock 2023-02-09 08:00:00Z 0
Opioid and Fentanyl Crisis Jack Pollock 2023-02-06 08:00:00Z 0 drub abuse,fentanyl,opioids,oxicodone
Ronald McDonald Room at VCMC visit Jack Pollock 2023-01-23 08:00:00Z 0
Steven Gama Jack Pollock 2023-01-10 08:00:00Z 0

Autism project Limbe, Cameroon Kick-off

The Rotary Club of Ventura South along with the Rotary Clubs of Ventura East and Fillmore leveraged their club funds with District 5240 and Rotary International funding to provide $55k+ to Cameroon for the training of teachers and parents on how to manage students with autism. 
Launching of the Autism Education project in Limbe today. Dr. TCHOMBE in green with the SW Deligate of Basic Education
Autism project Limbe, Cameroon Kick-off Jack Pollock 2022-12-19 08:00:00Z 0 Autism,International Grants,Rotary Club of Ventura South
St. Bonaventure Interact does it again!!  Jack Pollock 2022-12-16 08:00:00Z 0
Rotary Club supports Salvation Army Jack Pollock 2022-12-13 08:00:00Z 0
St. Bonaventure Interact plans a toy drive  Jack Pollock 2022-12-07 08:00:00Z 0 Rotaract,St. Bonaventure
Allyson Williams - Someone I Love Needs Help: Insights Into Hiring Caregivers Jack Pollock 2022-12-05 08:00:00Z 0 Comfort Keepers,In Home Care Givers,Rotary Club of Ventura South,Selecting Home Healthcare Providers
CAN Tree for Food Share December 3 Jack Pollock 2022-12-04 08:00:00Z 0 CAN Tree,Club Events,Food Share
Laura Hernandez Nov. 7 Jack Pollock 2022-11-19 08:00:00Z 0
Andrew Salinas, Chief of Police Port Hueneme Jack Pollock 2022-11-19 08:00:00Z 0
St. Bonaventura Interact - Ventura Beach Clean up Jack Pollock 2022-09-29 07:00:00Z 0

Bob Davis borrowing advice from an expert

Bob Davis, Real Estate and Financing Professional spoke on knowing and using loan basics in uncertain times.
He also invited the junior high school math class from the Ventura County Christian School, which bob teaches to attend.
Bob Davis borrowing advice from an expert Jack Pollock 2022-09-12 07:00:00Z 0
St. Bonaventure Interact off to a great start Jack Pollock 2022-09-01 07:00:00Z 0 Community Service,Get Involved Ventura,Interact,Rotary,Rotary Club of Ventura South,St. Bonaventure
Dr. Kimberly Hoffmans - Ventura College Jack Pollock 2022-08-30 07:00:00Z 0
Ventura Unified School District backpack and supplies project Jack Pollock 2022-08-20 07:00:00Z 0 Backpacks,Community Service,Get Involved Ventura,Rotary,Rotary Club of Ventura South
New Member Monday at Rotary Club of Ventura South Jack Pollock 2022-08-01 07:00:00Z 0 Community Service,Get Involved Ventura,New Members,Rotary,Rotary Club of Ventura South
Dave Compton - Entrepreneur in Residence Jack Pollock 2022-07-25 07:00:00Z 0

Paul Ofalea Founder of Kinkos Speaks On Measuring Success 

Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinkos discussed building a winning business.  Paul who credits his success to motivating employees, taking care of customers and balancing the budget grew his business with commonsense and foresight from a single branch in Isla Vista to a multinational business.  With $2 billion in sales and more than 1,200 locations, with 23,000 employees in 10 different countries, Paul was named the best company to work for three years in a row by Fortune Magazine.  In 2004, he sold the company to FedEx who renamed FedEx Kinkos and now FedEx Office.  Despite everything, Paul credits success in life having a good family, and raising children.  We are pleased to have him as a guest speaker at our Rotary.
Paul Ofalea Founder of Kinkos Speaks On Measuring Success Nkosi Khumalo 2022-04-26 07:00:00Z 0

Lindsay Nielson Recounts Japanese Imprisonment 

4/13/22 Lindsay Nielon spoke about his past experience as a prisoner in a Philippine prison camp.  Lindsay who was only three at the time remarked jokingly, "I was happy to get that out of the way earlier in my life because some people at the end of their life end up in prison."  Lindsay who still maintained a sense of humor passed photographs and recounted his storied life that started during a three-year Japanese occupation in the Philipines, where he and his parents struggled to survive under dire conditions.  After the war, Lindsay also served in a number of ventures including serving as an attorney, in real estate, and for the Ventura County Courts.  We were pleased to have him join us this Monday!
Lindsay Nielson Recounts Japanese Imprisonment  2022-04-13 07:00:00Z 0

Rick Weber, President, and CEO of CBC Federal Credit Union comes to speak

4/4/22 - Rick Weber, President, and CEO of CBC Federal Credit Union came to speak today on the vision and future of CBC.  Rick who is originally from Colorado, has spent 20 years in the private banking sector and has grown an affinity and specialty in Credit Unions.  He was recently appointed CEO of CBC Credit Union after serving as the CFO.  Rick who has been in charge of all aspects of banking from the ground up, has been the impetus for a massive expansion of CBC throughout Ventura County and brought together multiple partnerships aiming to bring a customer service edge to credit lending and the banking sector.  His most recent partnership is with Dunkin' Donuts which will be working together with CBC in providing an added atmosphere and energy to walk-in customers by having fresh breakfast coffee and other sweet treats.
Rick Weber, President, and CEO of CBC Federal Credit Union comes to speak 2022-04-04 07:00:00Z 0

Wade Nomura, past Rotary District Governor and Technical Coordinator of Cadres in Water and Sanitation Worldwide Visits 

03/28/2022 - Wade Nomura, past Rotary District Governor and Technical Coordinator of Cadres in Water and Sanitation Worldwide, spoke recently to discuss rotary and promote his new book Creating Destiny.  Wade is the only Technical Coordinator in North America and has a staggered three-year term, coordinating 1,100 projects globally.  His key responsibilities include ensuring grant models are efficient and addressing key concerns.  Wade also sits on the Carpinteria City Council and is the owner of Nomura/Yamasaki Landscapes, Inc.  
Picture from L to R... President Elect Jack Pollock, Debbie Nomura, Wade Nomura and President NK Khumalo
Wade Nomura, past Rotary District Governor and Technical Coordinator of Cadres in Water and Sanitation Worldwide Visits Jack Pollock 2022-03-29 07:00:00Z 0

Paul Van Acker Speaks on Financial Planning

Paul Van Acker, Senior VP of Financial Planning at Van Acker Financial Group, part of UBS, gave insight on market trends and how to weather financial downturns.  Paul spoke about historical expansions and contractions in the market, buying opportunities and wealth accumulation.  He also discussed wealth management strategies including, IRAs and wealth transfers.  We are pleased to have Paul as a partner to our Club.
Paul Van Acker Speaks on Financial Planning 2022-03-14 07:00:00Z 0
Wade Nomura Speaking March 28 Jack Pollock 2022-03-06 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Club distributes dictionaries to third-grade students

Rotary Club of Ventura South distributes dictionaries to third-grade students - 02/25/2022

The Rotary Dictionary Project is a nationwide effort to provide young students with their own personal dictionaries. Members of the Ventura South Rotary Club distributed the dictionaries to students at Patola Elementary School and Junipero Serra Elementary School.

Many of the children who received dictionaries come from homes where English is a second language and may not have access to a lot of resources.

Past President Bon Wakam and his wife Dr Irene Wakam distributed well over 250 dictionaries and they say seeing the joy on the children’s faces when they learn the book is theirs to keep makes the project worthwhile.

Rotary Club distributes dictionaries to third-grade students 2022-02-25 08:00:00Z 0

St. Bonaventure Interact Club 

Members of the St. Bonaventure Interact Club came to visit and talk about their involvement.  They discussed their participation in the community and future college prospects.
Also, Samah Yasin, the Marketing and Fund Development Manager for the Turning Point Foundation was inducted as a new member of Ventura Rotary South.
St. Bonaventure Interact Club 2022-02-15 08:00:00Z 0

Rise Against Hunger Guatemala project 01/15/2022

We packed 10,000 meals in 90 minutes destined for Guatemala - Rise Against Hunger project … even though we had to move inside when it started drizzling.
We had awesome financial and manpower support from the Lions Club (came out in large numbers), East Rotary Club, Downtown Rotary Club, Rotaract club and Oaks Christian School Interact Club.
Thank you so much to the 45 Volunteers!
Rise Against Hunger Guatemala project 01/15/2022 2022-01-15 08:00:00Z 0
Foodshare Can-Tree Drive - 12/11/2021 2021-12-13 08:00:00Z 0

Susan Noone Speaks on Blood Banks and Vitalant

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.
Susan Noone Speaks on Blood Banks and Vitalant 2021-11-22 08:00:00Z 0

Dhruv Pandya IT Security Expert Comes to Speak on Cybersecurity 

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.
Dhruv Pandya IT Security Expert Comes to Speak on Cybersecurity 2021-11-12 08:00:00Z 0

State Farm Port Hueneme visit - Tony Suleiman office .

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.  
State Farm Port Hueneme visit - Tony Suleiman office . 2021-11-01 07:00:00Z 0

Past President Bob Davis Invites Rotarians to his Loan Depot Office 

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. 
Past President Bob Davis Invites Rotarians to his Loan Depot Office 2021-10-25 07:00:00Z 0

Sherriff Bill Ayub Discusses Ventura County Sherrriff Department 

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. 
Sherriff Bill Ayub Discusses Ventura County Sherrriff Department 2021-10-04 07:00:00Z 0

First Bank Rotary Social 

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!
First Bank Rotary Social 2021-08-31 07:00:00Z 0

District Governor Dana Moldavan Visit Ventura Rotary 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.
District Governor Dana Moldavan Visit Ventura Rotary South 2021-08-24 07:00:00Z 0

Tribute to Guy Frick

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.
Tribute to Guy Frick 2021-08-11 07:00:00Z 0
Remembering Guy Frick 2021-08-05 07:00:00Z 0

Heidi Whitcomb Speaks on Ventura Rentals 

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.
Heidi Whitcomb Speaks on Ventura Rentals 2021-08-04 07:00:00Z 0

Max Hayden Speaks on Retail Arbitrage 

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.

Max Hayden Speaks on Retail Arbitrage 2021-07-12 07:00:00Z 0

Dani Moss Discusses the Challenges of Being a Public Defender

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.
Dani Moss Discusses the Challenges of Being a Public Defender 2021-06-25 07:00:00Z 0

Jack Pollock Speaks on the Ventura Community Assessment

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.
Jack Pollock Speaks on the Ventura Community Assessment 2021-04-15 07:00:00Z 0

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD)

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.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD) 2021-04-09 07:00:00Z 0

District Attorney Erik Nasarenko Visits Rotary

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.
District Attorney Erik Nasarenko Visits Rotary 2021-04-01 07:00:00Z 0
Erik Nasarenko 2021-03-27 07:00:00Z 0

Todd Mitchell--Ventura Port District

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.
Todd Mitchell--Ventura Port District 2021-03-26 07:00:00Z 0

President Elect Nkosi Khumalo ("NK") discusses his Vision for 2022

Local business leader and International Entrepreneur, Nkosi Khumalo ("NK"), and President-Elect for Rotary Club of Ventura South, spoke on his vision for 2021 - 2022 after successfully completing PETS, Rotary's President-Elect Training Seminar.  NK plans to bring a fresh perspective and elevate Rotary South Club to the forefront of community engagement with his main focus for the year being 1) Youth 2) Education & 3) Entrepreneurship in high schools. 
A business owner and International entrepreneur (Canada and South Africa) who has successfully started up and ran successful businesses for the past 22 years. His accomplishments span the fields of Mergers and Acquisitions, Investment Banking as well as starting and growing an IT company from 7 employees to over 340 employees and selling to a public company.

In California he has done 6 acquisitions in the same delivery space and have created the largest courier services company on the Central Coast focusing on medical deliveries with over 72 drivers on the road.
NK will bring his enthusiasm, high energy, entrepreneurship skills in helping our Rotary club raise the $20,000 for high school scholarships target for this year. 
The President Elect Training Seminar (PETS) which serves as a leadership training ground for incoming Rotary Presidents took place on Zoom platform for two days due to Covid.  Of the Clubs across the country, 455 individuals were in attendance.
NK also discussed his future roadmap for 2021, which included: increasing membership; creating an environment for more flexible meeting attendance; introducing hybrid meetings; engaging high-level speakers; accelerating collaboration between the 3 Ventura 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 to June 2022. 
President Elect Nkosi Khumalo ("NK") discusses his Vision for 2022 2021-03-19 07:00:00Z 0

Construction of Ronald McDonald Family Room

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.
Construction of Ronald McDonald Family Room Sandy Warren 2020-08-02 07:00:00Z 0
Corona Virus Update Sandy Warren 2020-03-15 07:00:00Z 0

Three Members Add to Paul Harris Fellowships

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!
Three Members Add to Paul Harris Fellowships Sandy Warren 2020-01-07 08:00:00Z 0

Ventura Rotary South Holiday Bell Ringers

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 14, 2019
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.
Ventura Rotary South Holiday Bell Ringers Sandy Warren 2019-12-14 08:00:00Z 0

Ventura South at Holiday Street Fair

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 11, 2019
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! 
Ventura South at Holiday Street Fair Sandy Warren 2019-12-11 08:00:00Z 0

31st Annual Trivia Challenge

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 11, 2019
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!
31st Annual Trivia Challenge Sandy Warren 2019-11-11 08:00:00Z 0

The Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 14, 2019
Medical Marijuana -
Separating Fact from Fiction
Max Simon, our speaker on Monday, October 14, wasted no time in coming to the point. "I hate to break it to you, but virtually all you may have believed about marijuana is categorically false." As founder and CEO of Green Flower, Max is committed to educating people about the benefits of a plant that, until quite recently, was considered by many people as a dangerous, mind-altering, and most definitely illegal drug.
Instead, Max is quick to point out the very real medical benefits to marijuana. "It is incredibly effective in treating insomnia, pain, and depression/anxiety," he said. And he pointed out that baby boomers constitute the largest market for medical cannabis. "It's really effective,' said Max.
He explained the difference between CBD and THC, the active ingredients in marijuana. They each have their individual benefits in properly applied doses. In some cases, just one of the two does the trick, such as THC for sleep. When pain is involved, the effectiveness is typically increased by combining THC with CBD.
OK, so you've decided to give it a try - how and where do you start. Max recommends going to a licensed dispensary to ensure quality control of the product you purchase. "The stuff you find in health food stores and convenience stores," he said, "has virtually no regulation as to how it is constituted or marketed. If you go to a dispensary or clinic, however, you run the risk of an impure, or falsely marketed  substance.
Max stressed that his role as head of Green  Flower is to educate. "We don't sell it, we don't grow it, but we do educate people about it. That is our mission. If you'd like more education about the potential benefits of marijuana, visit
The Benefits of Medical Marijuana Sandy Warren 2019-10-14 07:00:00Z 0

Trivia Challenge Set for November 6

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 19, 2019
31st Annual Trivia Challenge for Adult Literacy
Scheduled for November 6 at the Tower Club
The Rotary Club of Ventura South will host its 31st annual Trivia Challenge fundraiser in support of the Ventura County Library’s Adult Literacy Program on Wednesday, November 6. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Tower Club, 300 E. Esplanade Drive in Oxnard.
The popular event features a “Jeopardy-like” game in which teams of three people compete for trophies by answering a variety of questions on topics ranging from history to entertainment to sports and general trivia. Teams fall into four categories: Youth (under 25), Service Club (e.g., Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.), Business, and Community. Entry fees are $375 per team ($300 if paid before October 24) and $125 for individuals ($100 if paid by October 23). Businesses and individuals are also encouraged to sponsor teams (in whole or in part) and will be recognized in the evening’s program. Spectators are welcome for $10. Hors d’oeuvre will be served, and cocktails and soft drinks will be available for purchase.
All proceeds from the event will 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 for sign-up information or call Carol Chapman at 805-677-7160 or Marcy Belton at 805-217-9012.
Trivia Challenge Set for November 6 Sandy Warren 2019-09-19 07:00:00Z 0

Peacebuilder Clubs

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 17, 2019
Past District Governor Nick Frankle
Discusses Peacebuilder Clubs
Among the various elements of Rotary's global activities, promoting peace stands as a vital component of the organization's mission. During his visit to our Club on Monday, September 16, Past District 5240 Governor Nick Frankle remarked that Rotarians "have always been peacebuilders." He then provided an overview of Rotary's peacebuilding efforts worldwide.
"Peace is more than no violence," Nick said. "It's addressing conditions in the world that can lead to conflict." As examples, he noted that 900 million people worldwide do not have enough food to be healthy, 14% of the world's population is illiterate, 8% of the world's population lives on less than $1.90 per day, and a child or woman is sold somewhere in the world every minute of every day. Rotary's efforts to address these problems are very real contributors to peace.
Beyond these day-to-day efforts, Rotary International maintains a formal peacebuilding program. There are Rotary Peace Centers at six universities around the world. Each year, Rotary selects up to 100 professionals to receive fellowships to study at those Peace Centers. Peace fellows who graduate are engaged in hundreds of peacebuilding projects around the world, many in high-risk areas.
Nick then turned his attention to the local level and an answer to the question, "What can one Rotarian do?" Quite a lot, actually. Nick summarized some major projects that had been initiated by individual Rotarians, and he also explained that every local project that addresses homelessness, supports free clinics, engages youth, or responds to disasters also contributes to peacebuilding.
Coming up on January 17-18, 2020 is the Rotary International Peace Conference in Ontario, California. More than 2,500 leaders from business, healthcare, academia, NGOs, faith-based organizations and mediation services will gather to share and discuss peacebuilding techniques and plans. More information is available here.
"The new peace symbol," said Nick, "is the Rotary logo."
Peacebuilder Clubs Sandy Warren 2019-09-17 07:00:00Z 0

Libraries More Important Than Ever

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 09, 2019
Libraries Are More Popular
(and Needed) Than Ever Before
One might think that, in today's era of the Internet and the flood of electronic information to which we are all subjected daily, that a presentation about the state of public libraries might be a tad discouraging with potential reports of empty reading tables and low levels of books being borrowed. However, according to our speaker on Monday, September 9 (Ventura County Library Director Nancy Schram), nothing could be further from the truth.
"In 2016, there were 1.6 billion visits to public " said Nancy. "Our libraries are busier than ever." Such is certainly the case right here in Ventura County. Last year alone, there were 626,000 visits to County libraries, and patrons checked out over half a million items. Nancy noted that, for every dollar spent on libraries, Californians received an average of $3 to $6 in economic value.
Low literacy costs the United States at least $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. Programs like Rotary Ventura South's annual Trivia Challenge (coming up on November 6) that support and improve adult literacy can make a real difference in addressing this issue. (Nancy noted that 126,000 people in Ventura County are reading below the third grade level.)
Nancy also discussed the mobile library that the County operates. She explained that it travels throughout the region, serving people who may not be able to get to one of the branch libraries. "We could use a fleet of these vans, if we had the money," she noted.
For those who think printed books may be a thing of the past (or at least on their way out) due to the prevalence of e-books and devices such as Kindles, Nancy is quick to point out that just as much money in her budget goes to purchasing printed books as to the electronic variety.
Clearly, libraries continue to play a vital role in American communities in general and in Ventura County specifically, and for that we can all be grateful!
Libraries More Important Than Ever Sandy Warren 2019-09-09 07:00:00Z 0

Oxnard RSVP and Senior Volunteers

Oxnard's RSVP Program Matches
Seniors to Volunteer Opportunities
Senior citizens in Oxnard who are looking to volunteer their time and talents to a worthy endeavor need look no further than the City's Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Our speaker on Monday, August 19, was Marisue Eastlake, RSVP Director (pictured above). Marisue coordinates more than 550 people, age 55 and older, whose volunteer endeavors range from tutoring students to providing tax preparation assistance to leading educational and exercise classes.
RSVP has 70 offices around the country. "Studies show that seniors who volunteer live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives," said Marisue, "and we're matchmakers for senior volunteers. There's truly something for everyone whop wants to give back."
Marisue noted that two of her most popular classes are Bone Builders and Tai Chi. Both of them are designed to help seniors improve their balance and reduce the chances of an injury-producing fall. Tai chi goes even further, reducing blood pressure, alleviating depression, and improving overall wellness. Joining Marisue on Monday were two of her volunteer tai chi instructors, Rosanne Falcone (left) and Maria Tuason Combs. They provided a fascinating overview of the history of the ancient martial art, followed by a graceful demonstration of the eight basic forms (movements) that they teach.
Additional information on the volunteer opportunities and offerings of RSVP is available here.
Oxnard RSVP and Senior Volunteers Sandy Warren 2019-08-20 07:00:00Z 0

Mike Skrocki Joins Rotary Ventura South

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 20, 2019
Rotary Ventura South Welcomes
New Member Mike Skrocki!
One of the most enjoyable and meaningful moments at any Rotary Club meeting is welcoming a new member. Ventura Rotary South enjoyed just such a moment on Monday, August 19, when Mike Skrocki was inducted as the newest Club member. Mike is pictured above, holding his plaque of the Rotary Four-Way Test, together with his sponsor, John Zaruka, and Club President Marilyn Scott. Mike is a resident of Camarillo and works as a Regional Director for Gannett/USA Today. Welcome to the Rotary family, Mike!
Mike Skrocki Joins Rotary Ventura South Sandy Warren 2019-08-20 07:00:00Z 0

Mark Sandoval and Channel Islands Harbor

Mark Sandoval Discusses
Channel Islands Harbor
"Ventura County is a jewel," said Mark Sandoval, and he went on to describe and discuss one of the features that makes that jewel sparkle, the Channel Islands Harbor. Mark has been the Director of the Harbor for a little over a year, and on Monday, August 12, he spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South and shared his passion and vision for his position.
The harbor had its beginnings in 1939 with the construction of Port Hueneme. Since then, it has become an enterprise operation, run like a business, featuring 2,100 boat slips, apartments/condominiums, hotels, and recreational opportunities. The Harbor Department is responsible for patrolling, maintenance, tenant lease management, marketing/events, regular dredging coordination, and development.
It's that last item that Mark concentrated on for the bulk of his presentation, detailing the $80 million in completed construction and the $100+ million planned in additional investment between now and 2026. Current projects underway include the Hyatt Hotel and a restaurant on the old Casa Sirena site, the Peninsula Yacht Marina, and the Bahia Marina. Those will be followed by work on:
  • A new Harbor Department Administration Building
  • Whale's Tale Restaurant
  • Fisherman's Wharf
  • Kiddie Beach Surge Wall
  • Santa Barbara Island Park
Development, of course, is not without its challenges, including entitlements and permits, financing, and the overall lengthy process it entails. With 20 years of experience managing the waterfront in Long Beach, Mark is up to the challenge, and he looks forward to making his vision for Channel Islands Harbor a reality. Thanks, Mark, for a fascinating presentation!
Mark Sandoval and Channel Islands Harbor  Sandy Warren 2019-08-13 07:00:00Z 0

2019 Student Backpack Project

Rotary Ventura South Members
Fill Backpacks for Needy Students
On Saturday, August 10, members of Ventura Rotary South joined forces with Ventura Downtown Rotary and the Ventura Lions Club for the 17th Annual Student Backpack Project. The volunteers gathered at the Ventura School District office and filled 851 backpacks with notebooks, paper, folders, pens, pencils, scissors, calculators, and other school supplies for needy elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Ventura.
According to Ellyn Dembowski, project coordinator for Ventura Downtown Rotary, every school in the Ventura Unified School District was given sufficient backpacks to fulfill its individual requirements.
Rotary Ventura South members (and family members) participating in the event included Carol Chapman, Ed Keay, N.K. Khumalo (with daughter Mbali and son Siso), Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn Scott, Sandy Warren (and fiancee Marcy Belton), and Linda Zaruka.
Check out additional photos from the event here.
2019 Student Backpack Project Sandy Warren 2019-08-11 07:00:00Z 0

Club Assembly - August 5

Posted by Marilyn Scott on Aug 06, 2019
Club Assembly Concentrates
On Building Club Strength
Rotary Ventura South conducted a Club Assembly on Monday, August 5. Following is an overview of the information and discussion as an effort to keep all Club members informed. A short PowerPoint presentation served as the basis for the discussion.  The theme is “building Club strength.”
  • One month into the year, the Club has supported two Community Service projects and the first fundraising efforts are in the planning/prep stage. A third Community Services project is this Saturday – we will help fill student backpacks with school supplies at the VUSD offices This Saturday at 9AM.
  • We will induct a new member next Monday and the year’s first Social is being planned.
  • The Club currently has 42 members.The idea is to make this a “building” year.We have two excellent prospective new members in process.The Club has been successful at making the Club more diverse in every category which adds to our strength.
  • The current financial condition of the Club is good. Basic financial information will be regularly shared with the Club members.
  • A major area of effort is now filling the President Elect and the President Elect Nominee positions.
  • Building Club leadership and strength can happen in a number of ways:
  • We are using Co-Chairs as a way of having two members who know that area of service. In some cases, one can mentor the other. Having Co-Chairs also allows one to cover for the other when needed and allow more members to be involved.
  • Building-connections-from-within means that when we have a Community Services project, Club Socials, or fundraisers, we also build in ways to promote the Club by wearing Club shirts and talking to non-member participants, have hand-out material available, find a way to share the different types of membership, etc.
  • We need to aim a little higher for a regular 75 -80% regular attendance.Just as we are to be reaching out to non-members, we need to do the same with our own members.
  • Having good weekly speakers has been one of the keys having good to building membership and regular attendance. We currently looking for three Club members to serve on the Programs Committee.Having more than one member serve allows for more diversity in program types and shares the workload.
  • Efforts have been underway to make the jobs on the Board easier by making the responsibilities more understandable. For example, if you become one of the new Membership Co-Chairs, you can pull up the Club’s website, under Members Only, and find written “how-to” materials. The same is true for Community Services, Treasurer, etc. We will be working this year to cover all areas.
  • Thanks to all who have taken on extra responsibility to support the Club. Keeping promises and timely follow-through are key to any group’s success. If you can’t, then find a replacement and let the President know.This is one of the best ways to build Club strength and leadership.
Discussion by Members – The following contributions were made:
  1. Move the notice for the upcoming weekly meetings to earlier in the week.
  2. Put final touches on the new member process.
  3. Bring back Craft Talks as one way to get to know other Club members.
  4. Continue to approach Club members one-on-one as a recruitment approach to fill positions.
  5. A small committee of Club members is being formed by the President to work on filling the PE and the PEN positions.
Club Assembly - August 5 Marilyn Scott 2019-08-06 07:00:00Z 0

Workforce Development Board of Ventura County

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 29, 2019
Workforce Development Board of Ventura County
Seeks to Pair Quality Workers with Quality Jobs
"Workforce development is economic development." So said Rebecca Evans, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Board of Ventura County. Rebecca was the speaker at Ventura Rotary South's regular meeting on Monday, June 29.
The primary goal of the Workforce Development Board, said Rebecca, is to provide oversight for the spending of federal dollars earmarked for job growth. The Board reports to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, and partners strategically with the Welfare to Work Program, Career Services, and the Employment Development Department to serve the employment needs of Ventura County.
"The Board is responsible for insuring a quality workforce to support businesses in the County," said Rebecca. She noted the many resources available to both employers and job seekers. Workforce training is a key aspect of the Board's efforts. Rebecca explained that money is available for companies who are willing to train existing or new workers in enhanced job skills. She noted also that the Board's services are for workers of all age groups, including entry level through retiree.
Rebecca's advice to older workers trying to reenter the job market was to not hesitate in making their inquiries with the Workforce Development Board. "Ask early," she said.
For additional information on the Board's activities and opportunities, visit their website at
Workforce Development Board of Ventura County Sandy Warren 2019-07-29 07:00:00Z 0

2019 Veterans Stand Down

Club Members Participate in 27th Annual
Ventura County Veterans Stand Down
On a warm Saturday afternoon, July 27, a team of members and guests from Rotary Ventura South prepared and served dinner for more than 50 homeless veterans at the 27th Annual Veterans Stand Down, a three-day event that provides a wide range of services to veterans from throughout the County, many of whom, for one reason or another, have found themselves without a permanent home. Services include medical screenings and evaluations; optometry examinations and distribution of prescription lenses; dental screenings and care; psychological counseling; legal counseling; employment counseling and referrals; veterans benefits; general relief information; access to showers, toiletries and clean clothing; hot meals; and a range of other government and social services.
On Saturday, the team from Ventura Rotary South helped prepare and serve tri-tip, salad, beans, garlic bread, and cake. Our club has participated in the event for a number of years and also donated $1,000 to purchase the food for the meal. The crew also assisted with the clean-up tasks.
Ed Keay, Community Service Committee Co-Chair for Ventura Rotary South, coordinated the Club's participation. Other members of the team on Saturday included Diane Keay, John and Kendall Mattina, Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn and Don Scott, Sandy Warren, Marcy Belton, and Peter McClintock. Click here to view a photo album of the event.
2019 Veterans Stand Down Sandy Warren 2019-07-28 07:00:00Z 0

The New Ocean Tower at CMH

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 22, 2019
A New Level of Care
At Community Memorial Hospital
With the opening of the new Ocean Tower at Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura has enhanced is cardiac, neo-natal, emergency, and surgical care for patients. Megan O'Neill, Business Development Manager with Community Memorial Health System, spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, July 22, and provided a brief history of CMH and details on its newly expanded profile.
Megan noted that CMH is a leader in health care in Ventura County with more than 450,000 patient visits annually. It has the busiest surgical, heart/vascular, and birthing centers in the County. The new Ocean Tower was built in response to a California seismic mandate. It features 250 private rooms, a larger emergency room with state-of-the-art technology, and a dedicated maternal health floor.
Megan also explained some of the "softer" features of the new facility, including a healing garden, sleeper sofas in patient rooms so family members can stay with their loved ones, and more than 600 pieces of local artwork that were donated to the hospital (including art by children for the pediatric unit).
The older facility (designated the Mountain Tower) is still an integral part of the Community Memorial Health System, housing administrative offices, the graduate medical education/residency program, and the outpatient program.
With the expanded facility comes a greater need for volunteers to assist with everything from patient care to staffing the gift shop to providing general information to visitors at the main entrance. Applications for volunteer work can be obtained in the lobby of the new Ocean Tower.
The New Ocean Tower at CMH Sandy Warren 2019-07-22 07:00:00Z 0

2019 Step-Down Dinner

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 25, 2019
Club Members Congratulate Melody Thurman
For Her Year of Leadership at Step-Down Event
On Monday evening, June 24, members and guests of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed the traditional Step-Down Dinner, an annual event that recognizes the leadership and achievements of the outgoing president (Melody Thurman, right), and welcomes the president-elect (Marilyn Scott, left). This year's event, held at the Tower Club in Oxnard, featured live jazz, an elegant dinner, and plenty of reminiscences of the Club's past year.
Among the speakers was Kendall Mattina, who recounted the many service projects and fundraisers that the Club undertook during Melody's term, including the Trivia Challenge (in support of adult literacy), Mardi Gras (Turning Point Foundation fundraiser), dictionary program, Ronald McDonald Walk, and so many others.
Photos from the evening can be viewed here. Congratulations, Melody!
2019 Step-Down Dinner Sandy Warren 2019-06-25 07:00:00Z 0

Annual Interact Bake Sale

Rotary Ventura South held its annual Bake Sale in support of the Interact Club at St. Bonaventure High School on Monday, June 3. Club member Dennis Longwill (left) handled the auctioneer duties as Interact Club members displayed and passed out the goodies. Bids for the delectable delicacies totaled $1,420, which will go toward helping the Interact Club with their service projects.
Annual Interact Bake Sale Sandy Warren 2019-06-03 07:00:00Z 0

Gas Company Projects in Ventura

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 23, 2019
Southern California Gas Company is Busy
With Pipeline Projects in Ventura
Maria Ventura, Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Gas Company, spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 22, outlining the purpose and scope of her company's current work on gas infrastructure in the City of Ventura. Specifically, So Cal Gas is finishing up a major pipeline replacement project along several miles of Telephone Road and will shortly begin a companion project along Mills Road and Main Street.
Maria noted that natural gas is clean, renewable energy and it is helping California maintain its leadership role in greenhouse gas reduction. She also explained the efficiencies gas has as compared to electricity as far as cost and storage are concerned.
To minimize impacts on homes, businesses, and traffic, work on the Mills Road/Main Street pipeline project will largely be done at night. The replacement operation is expected to take approximately six months to complete (weather and other factors permitting).
For more information on the pipeline replacement work, visit
Gas Company Projects in Ventura Sandy Warren 2019-04-23 07:00:00Z 0

County Supervisor John Zaragoza

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 09, 2019
Supervisor Zaragoza Details Accomplishments
and Challenges Facing Ventura County
Speaking to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 8, Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza presented a comprehensive summary of the state of the County, detailing recent successes, current projects, and primary challenges facing County officials. Supervisor Zaragoza's 5th District includes  Oxnard Shores, Mandalay Bay, Silver Strand, Hollywood Beach, Hollywood by the Sea, Channel Islands Harbor, El Rio, Nyeland Acres, Del Norte, Oxnard College, Oxnard Plain, Strickland and a portion of the Ventura County Naval Base Pt. Hueneme.
"Ventura County is one of the safest places in the world," said the Suervisor, "thanks to the work of our public safety personnel and the involvement of our citizens." He noted that County government has a $2.24 billion budget and includes some 26 agencies and departments, staffed by over 9,000 employees, which makes the government the second largest employer in the County behind Naval Base Port Hueneme (19,000 employees).
Among the County's key priorities are revenue enhancement, social services (homelessness), public safety and the 2020 Census, which is critical to funding, provision of services, and political representation.
Supervisor Zaragoza reviewed a dozen current capital projects in the County, including a $61 million medical/mental health unit at Todd Roadd Jail, a permanent year-round homeless shelter on Knoll Drive, medical examiner facility upgrades, Fillmore Library improvements, and the commissioning of two Black Hawk helicopters for the County Fire District.
Focusing on his own District 5, the Supervisor noted a number of topics of interest, including Nyeland Acres Community Center and Park, improvements at Channel Islands Harbor, a cannabis ordinance, the 2040 General Plan, and Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM) Program at Rio School.
Asked about the most pressing challenges facing Ventura County, Supervisor Zaragoza named three: housing, jobs, and water resources. "We have to address all three if Ventura County is going to continue to thrive as one of the most desirable places to live and work."
County Supervisor John Zaragoza Sandy Warren 2019-04-09 07:00:00Z 0

Ronald McDonald Family Room Walk

Posted by Sandy on Apr 08, 2019
Ventura Rotary South Members Walk to Support
Ronald McDonald Family Room at VCMC
About a dozen members of our Club gathered at Ventura State Beach on Sunday morning, April 6, to participate in the Ronald McDonald Walk For Kids. The event raised funds in support of the new Ronald McDonald Family Room to be built at Ventura County Medical Center. The Room will provide a place where families can be with their children who are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Other Ventura County Rotary Club members participated in the walk as did District 5240 Governor Sandi Schwartz.
The walk took participants along the promenade to the Ventura River and back again on a warm and beautiful morning. Additional Club members who weren't able to participate in the walk supported the event with financial contributions.
Ronald McDonald Family Room Walk Sandy 2019-04-08 07:00:00Z 0

Direct Relief Provides Needed Medical Aid

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 02, 2019
Santa Barbara-Based Direct Relief
Provides Medical Aid to the Needy
The largest charitable medical aid organization in the world is based in our own back yard: Santa Barbara. It's Direct Relief, and has been providing much-needed medical services, free of charge, to people in need around the world for more than 70 years. On Monday, April 1, Dean Axelrod of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, spoke to our members and guests about Direct Relief's mission and goals.
"Maternal health is the bedrock of any strong community and family," said Dean, "and that is a core mission of Direct Relief." He noted that it is also one of the key areas of focus for Rotary International. "Every year," said Dean, "303,000 women die from pregnancy-related illnesses, most of them in third-world nations." He added that a great many of these deaths are preventable with simple medical care, which is often unavailable. "A basic human need is that of healthy families," said Dean.
To that end, Direct Relief serves 102 countries, all 50 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. "We partner with local organizations to provide free medical resources for people in poverty, after disasters, or as the result of civil conflict," said Dean. He noted that Direct Relief provides significant support to midwives who are frequently the "first responders" in many areas of the world.
Last year, Direct Relief provided $1.1 billion in donated aid. For more information, visit
Direct Relief Provides Needed Medical Aid Sandy Warren 2019-04-02 07:00:00Z 0

Food Share Feeds Ventura County's Hungry

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 25, 2019
Food Share Feeds Thousands
In Ventura County
"We are the Costco of food donation in Ventura County." That's how CEO Monica White described the operation of Food Share, an agency that provides free food to more than 75,000 people each month in Ventura County. Indeed, with two 36,000 square-foot warehouses, a staff of 28 employees, and 3,000 volunteers serving 190 community charitable food outlets, Food Share is able to tackle the problem of hunger from Ojai to the Conejo Valley.
According to Food Share's website, 1 in 6 people in Ventura County are struggling with food insecurity. Monica noted that, while that ratio includes the 1800 chronically homeless and hungry people (as of the latest count), it also includes people for whom having enough to eat may be an intermittent or one-time event. "Seventy percent of the people we serve come to us for help one to three times a year," she said. "The remaining 30 percent rely on us regularly. And no matter who they are, when they come to a Food Share agency, they are treated with respect and courtesy."
More than 3,500 seniors receive a 30-pound box of various fresh and packaged food items each month. All food is collected from growers, retail outlets and individual donations. At present, 32 percent of the food includes fresh fruit and vegetables - Monica's goal is to raise that to 50 percent.
For those looking to support Food Share's mission, they can donate money or volunteer their time. Each $1 donated buys $5 worth of food. And people are always needed to pick up and deliver food, stock shelves, or perform other essential tasks. "If you want to help," said Monica, "we'll find a place for you.
For additional information, visit or call (805) 983-7100.
Food Share Feeds Ventura County's Hungry Sandy Warren 2019-03-25 07:00:00Z 0

Sri Lanka Preschool Teacher Program

Preschool Teacher Training Continues To
Benefit Thousands of Children in Sri Lanka
Our speakers on Monday, March 11, Hans and Helena Dahlin, made the scenic drive down from Goleta to provide Ventura Rotary South members and guests with an update on a multi-club Rotary project designed to educate new preschool teachers in Sri Lanka, an island nation of 21 million people in the Indian Ocean. Helena and Hans are the president-elect and president-elect nominee, respectively, of the Goleta Noontime Rotary Club.
The Goleta Club is an International Partner and Global Grant sponsor to help preschool teachers in rural Sri Lanka obtain the education necessary for a diploma in early childhood education. The project began in 2012 when the Sri Lankan government passed a law requiring that all preschool teachers have a valid diploma to be able to teach. Since then, more than 4,300 teachers have been trained, benefiting 86,000 preschool children. The current Global Grant stands at $515,000. Multiple clubs in District 5240, as well as clubs in three other districts, have participated since the project's inception.
Hans and Helena have made several trips to Sri Lanka as part of the project, visiting preschools, distributing educational materials, and presenting diplomas to newly trained teachers. They are planning another trip in 2020. "We're inviting other Rotarians to join us," said Helena. "It is an incredible feeling to see firsthand the benefits of this project," echoed Hans.
Sri Lanka Preschool Teacher Program Sandy Warren 2019-03-12 07:00:00Z 0

Senior Scams Abound

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 05, 2019
Detective Details Multitude of Scams
That Target Seniors and Others
For centuries,criminals have sought out ways to separate innocent people from their money. Modern technologies such as the telephone and the Internet, while obviously very useful, even essential, have only provided new and more numerous ways to achieve that nefarious goal. At our meeting on Monday, March 4, Ventura County Sheriff's Detective Tim Lohman offered details of many of the latest scams that are often targeted toward seniors.
"I'm currently working 40 active cases," said Detective Lohman, "and each of them is like putting a puzzle together. People need to be educated on what to look for when they're checking email, using social media, or even answering their cell phone."
One of the most important tips he offered was the general advice to simply be very aware when you are contacted by someone you don't know. That contact could take the form of an email supposedly from your bank, or a voicemail from someone claiming to be with the IRS. Frequently, emails and calls such as these come with a request to provide personal information in order to help resolve a "problem" of some sort. If provided, the personal information will likely lead to unrecoverable loss of money.
Detective Lohman reviewed some of the many types of scams that people fall victim to on a daily basis, including fraudulent business opportunities, offers to share in sweepstakes winnings, fake kidnap/ransom threats, or phony alerts from Microsoft or Apple that your computer is infected with a virus that needs to be cleaned up. He even shared a photo of the young criminal convicted in one of the ever-popular schemes involving a "foreign prince" who needs help sheltering millions of dollars in a U.S. bank and just needs your checking account information to share the wealth with you.
"Do your research," said Detective Lohman. He suggests that you Google unfamiliar phone numbers that show up in emails or on caller ID - they will frequently come back as part of a scam. You can also use to find out where a particular image has shown up online, again, frequently as part of widespread fraud. In general, he counsels people to simply remain alert when it comes to technology. If you're the least bit suspicious of an email, a phone call, or a social media post, listen to your intuition.
The Sheriff's Department Fraud Hotline is 805-371-8327. Detective Lohman can also be reached directly at 805-494-8232 or
Senior Scams Abound Sandy Warren 2019-03-05 08:00:00Z 0

The Dynamics of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 11, 2019
Help is Available for Victims of Sexual Assault
and Domestic Violence in Ventura County
Our speaker on Monday, February 11, Caroline Prijatel-Sutton brought both sobering and helpful news to her presentation to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, February 11. The sobering news? Domestic violence and sexual assault are on the rise in Ventura COunty. The helpful news? Victims of these crimes have dedicated resources for assistance, available 24/7.
Caroline is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Family Harmony, an Oxnard-based agency that maintains a rape crisis center and a domestic violence safe house, together with a wealth of resources to aid victims. Included in her presentation was a brief video entitled, "You Are Not Alone," four little words that can mean the world to someone facing the trauma of sexual or domestic violence.
Trained advocates are available to provide counseling, and the Coalition has attorneys who provide pro bono legal advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "These crimes are very isolating," said Caroline, "and our staff members are there to make sure the victims know they are not alone. There are people on their side."
Caroline explained the triggers and causes of sexual/domestic violence. Some is societal, some is "ancestral," meaning that abusive behavior is often modeled by those who have experienced it themselves earlier in life. There are cycles and patterns that, if unbroken, can persist for months or even years, leading to repeated abuse. And it's not just a women's problem; Caroline noted that men can be victims as well.
At present, the Coalition's work is 80% intervention and 20% prevention, the latter mainly through education. "Our goal is to reverse those percentages," said Caroline.
For more information, visit the Coalition's website. If you need help, or know someone who does, the 24-hour bilingual helpline number is (800) 300-2181.
The Dynamics of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Sandy Warren 2019-02-11 08:00:00Z 0

4th Annual Mardi Gras Fundariser

Fourth Annual Mardi Gras Fundraiser
Scheduled for Sunday, March 3!
Rotary Ventura South will host its 4th annual Mardi Gras fundraiser in support of Turning Point Foundation on Sunday, March 3. The gala event begins at 3:00 p.m. at the Tower Club, 300 E. Esplanade Drive in Oxnard, and will feature traditional New Orleans jazz and food, silent and live auctions of exciting items, and a view from the foothills to the Channel Islands that only the Tower Club can provide.
Turning Point Foundation has operated community-based mental health programs in Ventura County for over 30 years. Their programs address the full range of personal needs, including a homeless shelter to meet necessary physical and safety requirements, supported housing to provide decent, affordable housing and rehabilitation and socialization centers to provide meaningful, productive activities, companionship and a sense of purpose.
Because of the myths and stigmas attached to mental illness, many people struggle with its effects alone and unaware that their symptoms can be controlled by medication and the functional problems they experience can be addressed through rehabilitation and support services. Turning Point works with clients to reverse the devastating effects of their illnesses, such as job loss, homelessness, isolation, addiction, incarceration, and even thoughts of suicide.
Tickets for the event are $50, and there is also a variety of sponsorships available for businesses and individuals. Contact Suki Sir at Turning Point Foundation ( / 805-947-5400). Proceeds from the event will go directly to Turning Point Foundation and other charitable causes supported by Ventura Rotary South. As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez Les bon Temps Roulez” (Let the Good Times Roll)!
4th Annual Mardi Gras Fundariser Sandy Warren 2019-02-04 08:00:00Z 0

Kimo Hildreth Talks Cyber Security

Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 02, 2019
Cyber-Crime is on the Rise
Says District Attorney Rep
"Cyber-crime is everywhere, and no one is completely safe from it." Those were the sobering words from Kimo Hildreth, a member of the Ventura County District Attorney's office. Back by popular demand to Rotary Ventura South on Monday, January 28, Kimo explained a number of the widespread scams that people in Ventura County and across the country are falling victim to.
Most cyber-crime is, of course, designed to separate people from their money. And the old standard rule still applies: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Worldwide, global losses just from business email compromise alone totaled over $9 billion in 2018.
Among his many helpful recommendations, Kimo offered six tips to keep from falling victim to online crime:
  1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (password and a code sent to your phone)
  2. Interrogate suspicious emails (hover over the email and examine where it is really coming from)
  3. Don't use public WiFi without a virtual private network (for checking email, banking, and sending documents)
  4. Be an educator (tell your friends about scams you have avoided)
  5. Use strong passwords and security questions (long passwords that aren't easily guessed)
  6. Patch everything (update your computer regularly - most compromises affect unpatched systems)
For further information on how to protect yourself from cyber-crimes, or to file a complaint, visit
Kimo Hildreth Talks Cyber Security Sandy Warren 2019-02-02 08:00:00Z 0

Ventura Land Trust

Ventura Land Trust:
Preserving the Best of Ventura
Our first speaker of the new year was Steve Doll, Board member of the Ventura Land Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Ventura's land, water, wildlife, and scenic views. Steve shared the organization's vision for greater public access to and involvement with the remaining open spaces in and around the City.
"Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization," said Steve, noting that the third Saturday of each month will find groups of volunteers participating in activities ranging from tree planting to the removal of invasive plant species, to the collection and disposal of trash from waterways such as the Ventura and Santa Clara riverbeds.
The Ventura Land Trust is also actively involved in the purchase of open space to keep it just that - open. Currently in escrow is a large parcel of land near Kimball and Foothill Roads. Known as Harmon Canyon, the 2100 acres of land stretch back into the hills for several miles and is known for its tranquil beauty. Steve explained that plans are underway to make it public open space, once escrow closes.
To find out more about the organization's activities, or to donate or volunteer, visit
Ventura Land Trust Sandy Warren 2019-01-07 08:00:00Z 0

A Visit from Sheriff Bill Ayub

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 03, 2018
Newly Elected Sheriff Bill Ayub
Addresses Ventura Rotary South
It was our Club's distinct privilege and honor to host Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub as our meeting speaker on Monday, December 3. Sheriff Ayub gave a fascinating overview of the department he now leads, having been elected to his post on June 5.
As the largest law enforcement agency in the County, The Sheriff's Office utilizes 750 sworn deputies, 500 professional employees, and 1,000 volunteers to provide its wide range of law enforcement-related services in 1,872 square miles of Ventura County, including the Cities of Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, and Thousand Oaks, as well as unincorporated areas. Those services include patrol, arson/bomb squad, SWAT, crime analysis, a forensincs lab, narcotics enforcement, and detention services, to name a few.
Detention services include management of the Todd Road Jail. Sheriff Ayub detailed the plans for the expansion of the facility (currently underway), which features a new health and programming unit for acute and psychiatric care of inmates. The 64-bed facility is scheduled to open in mid-2019.
Sheriff Ayub also spoke about his Office's efforts to fight the growing opioid crisis, noting that annual opioid-related arrests have increased from fewer than 90 in 2009 to 165 in 2017. Medical malpractice, he noted, is a primary factor in the increase.
Using video clips in his presentation, Sheriff Ayub explained the value of technology such as heat-seeking surveillance from the department's six helicopters and body-worn cameras for patrol deputies. Since their initiation, the 325 cameras have logged more than 45,500 hours of video. He also noted that the Office's Unmanned Aerial System (commonly referred to as drones) has played a big role in search and rescue, warrants, suspicious device investigation, and back country marijuana eradication.
Thank you, Sheriff Ayub, for the service you and your deputies, employees, and volunteers provide, and thanks also for taking time from your busy schedule to visit Ventura Rotary South!
A Visit from Sheriff Bill Ayub Sandy Warren 2018-12-03 08:00:00Z 0

Coats for Kids

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 30, 2018
It's Coats for Kids Time Again!
Once again, Rotary Ventura South is participating in the annual Coats for Kids Program, accepting donations of gently worn coats for those in need. Although the focus is on children, adult-sized coats are gratefully accepted.
Large cardboard donation boxes have been set up at various locations in and near Ventura, including:
  • City National Bank - 1220 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura
  • Coastal Chiropractic - 700 E. Santa Clara Street, Ventura
  • First Bank - 5808 Telephone Road, Ventura
  • Green Thumb Nursery - 1899 Victoria Avenue, Ventura
  • Sterling Hills Country Club - 901 Sterling Hills Drive, Camarillo
Thank you in advance for your donation!
Coats for Kids Sandy Warren 2018-11-30 08:00:00Z 0

Human Trafficking in Ventura County

Posted by Sandy Warren
Human Trafficking a Persistent Problem
In Ventura County Says Sheriff's Deputy
For Aaron Grass, Senior Deputy in the Special Crimes Unit of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, human trafficking is an an all-too-real (and growing) problem. Speaking to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South at our November 19 meeting, Officer Grass offered a sobering look at the perpetrators and victims of this crime that affects virtually all parts of California and most other states.
In its simplest legal definition, human trafficking is the depriving of one person's personal liberty by another. Its most common form involves the coercion and control of one or more individuals for paid sex, but labor trafficking in other industries (custodial, construction, agriculture) is also common.
"Human trafficking is hard to address on a large scale," said Officer Grass, "because it is so prevalent and so widespread." He noted that, on the positive side, California has very strong laws against the practice. Even the attempt to commit human trafficking carries a minimum sentence of eight years to life in prison.
Officer Grass is one of just two members of the Sheriff's Department Special Crimes Unit who work exclusively on enforcement of these laws in Ventura County. He and his partner work both proactively and reactively, conducting surveillance, sting operations, and compliance checks with businesses such as massage parlors. They respond when patrol officers encounter situations where human trafficking is likely.
"Human trafficking investigations are complex," said Officer Grass, "but we have support from outside agencies including the FBI, the California Franchise Tax Board, and the District Attorney's Office." As with any crime, the Sheriff's Department appreciates tips from the public in cases where human trafficking is suspected.
Human Trafficking in Ventura County Sandy Warren 2018-11-20 08:00:00Z 0

Farm Bureau Chief Talks Water

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 06, 2018
John Krist of Ventura County Farm Bureau
Discusses the Future of Agricultural Water
If you've driven around the agricultural fields of Ventura County, you've probably seen signs that read "Food grows where water flows." Kind of an obvious statement, but a true one nonetheless. Our speaker on Monday, November 5, was John Krist, CEO of the Ventura County Farm Bureau, an advocate agency for the local agriculture industry. John presented a fascinating look at the history, current status, and future challenges of water in the region.
To give members and guests of Rotary Ventura South an idea of the critical importance that water plays, John noted that a single strawberry crop requires three acre feet of water. or roughly one million gallons. In Ventura County, that water comes from four principal sources: local groundwater (63%), the State Water Project (25%). local surface water (8%), and recycled water (4%).
With the heavy dependence on local wells, John explained that careful management of the groundwater basins, from Ojai to the Oxnard Plain, is vital. A delicate balance must be maintained to avoid over-drafting, taking out more than is going in over the course of years. That balance becomes particularly hard to achieve in times of drought.
Many years ago, John noted, before the County was developed, the groundwater wells were artesian - that is, they bubbled up from the ground under natural pressure. At the same time, the Santa Clara River had a constant year-round flow. Now, of course, the groundwater must be pumped and the Santa Clara riverbed is dry most years.
All of this boils down (so to speak) to a challenge for farmers: how to manage their supplies in the most efficient way. Legislation passed in 2014 mandates groundwater management plans for every basin, and significant investments are being made in technologies such as desalting of brackish water and the use of indirect potable reuse for recycled water.
John acknowledged the challenge is significant, but he added, "We have a long history of managing our groundwater basins intelligently."
Farm Bureau Chief Talks Water Sandy Warren 2018-11-06 08:00:00Z 0

Assisting Young Women in Zambia

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 10, 2018
Rotary Global Grant Aims to Assist
Young Women in Zambia
For most adolescent girls aged in Zambia, life is, at best, uncertain as to their future as adults. For many, it is downright tragic as they are either forced into marriage as young as 13, or sold into the sex trade. Couple that with the fact that only a small percentage of Zambian children have access to education beyond primary school, and you have a very desperate situation.
A number of Rotary Clubs in diverse locations around the world are working to improve the lives of as many young girls as possible. Our speaker on Monday, October 8 was George Poulakas of Ventura Downtown Rotary, one of those Clubs. George has been working with people in Zambia for 11 years, most recently in the administration of a global grant to support the Lushomo Trust and the Grace Centre in Kazungula, a small border town in Zambia, near the city of Livingstone.
"The Grace Centre," said George, "is a place where young women can come and learn ways to make a living through tailoring, computer work, or food service." He noted that one of the biggest challenges facing young Zambia women is the inability to make a living for themselves, and this program aims to change that.
George explained that the global grant is currently about $18,000 short of its $141,600 goal. "We're hoping to expand the project into other Zambian cities," he said, "and make this program a model for others to follow." Additional information on the Grace Centre's mission and activities is available at or by contacting George at
Assisting Young Women in Zambia Sandy Warren 2018-10-10 07:00:00Z 0

Rotarians Help Get Out the Vote

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 03, 2018
Ventura Area Rotarians Help Get Out the Vote
Rotarians Suki Sir (Ventura Downtown Club) and Kendall and John Mattina (Ventura South Club) recently volunteered at a Voter Information event in the City of Oxnard council chambers, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of California. Suki, Kendall, and John distributed election information and district maps to members of the public who attended the event leading up to the November 6 General Election.
Rotarians Help Get Out the Vote Sandy Warren 2018-10-03 07:00:00Z 0

Trivia Challenge Set for November 7

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 01, 2018
30th Annual Trivia Challenge for Adult Literacy
Scheduled for November 7 at the Tower Club
The Rotary Club of Ventura South will host its 30th annual Trivia Challenge fundraiser in support of the Ventura County Library’s Adult Literacy Program on Wednesday, November 7. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Tower Club, 300 E. Esplanade Drive in Oxnard.
The popular event features a “Jeopardy-like” game in which teams of three people compete for trophies by answering a variety of questions on topics ranging from history to entertainment to sports and general trivia. Teams fall into four categories: Youth (under 25), Service Club (e.g., Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.), Business, and Community. Entry fees are $375 per team ($300 if paid before October 24) and $125 for individuals ($100 prior to October 24). Businesses and individuals are also encouraged to sponsor teams (in whole or in part) and will be recognized in the evening’s program. Spectators are welcome for $10. Hors d’oeuvre will be served, and cocktails and soft drinks will be available for purchase.
All proceeds from the event will 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 for sign-up information or call Don MacDonald at 805-657-8194 or Marty Moss at 805-208-9292.
Trivia Challenge Set for November 7 Sandy Warren 2018-10-01 07:00:00Z 0

Mental Health Resources in Ventura County

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 24, 2018
Mental Health Resources in Ventura County
Are Numerous and Expanding
Our speaker on Monday, September 24, was Dr. Sevet Johnson, Director of Ventura County's Behavioral Health Department. She provided a comprehensive overview of the mental health resources available to the public throughout the County.
"Mental health has been stigmatized across the nation for many years," said Dr. Johnson, noting that part of the challenge is helping people understand that mental illness has no shame attached to it and deserves to be treated as any other health problem. She has held her current position since 2009. "It's my passion," she said. "I love what I do."
Her agency's target population includes children and adults with moderate to severe mental health issues. "We offer a full service partnership with the community," said Dr. Johnson, "offering intensive care beyond basic therapy sessions." She explained that the Behavioral Health Department operates 25 clinics, including offices in Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley, the Conejo Valley, and the Santa Clara Valley. "Someone can walk into any clinic and be assessed for the services they need," she noted. "We want to maximize the window of opportunity for people to get help."
Dr. Johnson explained that her agency partners with other organizations in the County to sponsor health fairs, prevention efforts, school-based programs, primary care interventions and more. "There's a lot of collaboration," she said. "We can't do it alone as a single-service agency. On the horizon are plans for expanded care including tele-psychiatry, mental health managed care, and improving access efficiency."
She concluded her presentation with a look at the agency's website (, where people can find contact information for the many mental health service agencies that operate in Ventura County.
Mental Health Resources in Ventura County Sandy Warren 2018-09-24 07:00:00Z 0

A Ronald McDonald Room for Ventura

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 17, 2018
Plans Underway for Ronald McDonald Family Room
At Ventura County Medical Center
As the only west Ventura County licensed pediatric care and trauma center, Ventura County Medical Center has become the medical facility of choice for a new Ronald McDonald Family Room, a place where families can rest and regroup while caring for a hospitalized child. Amy Towner, CEO of Health Care Foundation for Ventura County, visited Rotary Ventura South on Monday, September 17, to provide members and guests with an overview of the ambitious plans.
"The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has approved our moving forward with re-purposing an existing space at the Medical Center," said Amy, and she shared the preliminary architectural drawings of what was formerly the Homer Auditorium section of the building. "There will be places for families to have meals together, play, and have much needed quiet time," she explained. "It will be a home away from home during a very traumatic time in a family's life."
Amy noted that the Foundation has already secured roughly $500,000 of the needed $750,000 to $1 million needed for the renovation. Plans are in the works for a County-wide walk-a-thon to help raise the remaining funds. "We have a goal of $100,000 for that event," said Amy. Rotary Ventura South President Melody Thurman noted that our Club and others in the area are making plans to participate in the event, tentatively scheduled for April.
A Ronald McDonald Room for Ventura Sandy Warren 2018-09-17 07:00:00Z 0

Remittances and International Aid

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 10, 2018
Remittances Constitute a Significant Part
of National Economy for Many Countries
Dr. Sabith Khan, Assistant Professor in the School of Business at California Lutheran University, spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, September 10. His topic, "Remittances and International Aid," highlighted the significant amount of money that flows between nations of the world through remittances, which are generally defined as regular payments sent by migrant people in one nation to family members or friends in their country of origin. Such payments include money for consumables, health care, education, home building and other basic needs.
"Remittances are a lifeline for many people," said Sabith. "They play an important role in the development of families, communities, and even countries." He noted that, of the 232 million international migrants, approximately 180 million regularly send money to people their homelands, and those payments average roughly $200 per month. In 2013, international migrants sent $413 billion to families and friends, an amount three times greater than the total of global foreign aid that year.
Sabith explained there are numerous benefits to remittances. Among the examples he cited were the reduced school dropout rate in El Salvador and a decrease in Nepal's poverty rate from 42% to 31% from 1995 to 2005. He noted that India ranks first in remittances, receiving $72 billion in 2014, an amount larger than its information technology product exports. India is followed by China, the Philippines, Mexico and France.
Sabith also noted that there are barriers to remittances, including the fact that sending money internationally can be costly, from an average of 8% to most nations up to a staggering 90 percent when money is sent to countries in crisis, such as Venezuela. There are also government sanctions and restrictions to deal with, as well as the threat of money laundering in some areas of the world. In spite of that, remittances continue to be a beneficial and growing contributor to the global economy.
Remittances and International Aid Sandy Warren 2018-09-10 07:00:00Z 0

Brittany Ward in Tanzania

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 21, 2018
Brittany Ward Relates Her Experiences
As a Medical Volunteer in Tanzania
About a year ago, medical student Brittany Ward visited Rotary Ventura South to talk about her plans to visit Tanzania as a volunteer. The Club donated some money to help her fund the trip and, on Monday, August 20, she paid us another visit to report on the "life changing experience."
A pre-med student at California State University Northridge, Brittany was joined by several other medical students from across the country, supported in part by International Service Learning, a non-governmental organization that has been offering volunteers experiential learning opportunities in health care, education, ecology, and community development since 1994 while offering sustainable aid in developing communities.
Part of Brittany's adventure included setting up a clinic for members of the Masai Tribe, and she also traveled to the island of Zanzibar to offer her services. "It was a vastly different environment than most of us here in the U.S. are accustomed to," said Brittany, "and the people we met were so very grateful for the care they received. It was truly a wonderful experience."
Brittany will soon begin applying to medical schools in California and elsewhere as she works to fulfill her goal of becoming a doctor. Given the compassion and enthusiasm with which she shared her Tanzanian experience, we have no doubt she will reach her objective!
Brittany Ward in Tanzania Sandy Warren 2018-08-21 07:00:00Z 0

Help with Local Disasters Still Needed

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 06, 2018
Help is Still Critically Needed for People
Affected by Recent Local Disasters
Although more than half a year has gone by since hundreds of people in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County had their lives shattered by the Thomas Fire and the Montecito mudslides, the impact (physical, financial, and emotional) of those disasters has nowhere near subsided for a great many of them. Emily Barany, founder and owner of Visionality Partners, brought that sobering message to Rotary Ventura South on Monday, August 6.
Like many others in the area, Emily wanted to help in the immediate aftermath of these tragedies. She put out the call for volunteers and, as she puts it, "people showed up." What started as a simple spreadsheet quickly turned into a valuable website designed to connected people in need with people willing to help: "Our youngest volunteer was four years old," says Emily.
Soon, Emily and her volunteers were connecting people with dozens of resources, including transportation, financial help, mental health services, food, and clothing. In her presentation on Monday, she related several touching stories, including the 64 private pilots who helped 117 medical patients get to critical appointments, particularly when Highway 101 was closed for two weeks. One of those patients was eight-year-old Allie who needed to quickly get to Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles for a heart monitor. A local helicopter pilot responded and a grateful Ellie had the ride of her life.
Emily noted that her organization also responded to the recent Holiday Fire in Goleta. Even more recently, they added the devastating Carr Fire in northern California to their list of projects. "My vision is to pay it forward," she said. Thank you for that vision, Emily!
Help with Local Disasters Still Needed Sandy Warren 2018-08-06 07:00:00Z 0

VC Star Execs Speak to Ventura South

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 30, 2018
Ventura Rotary South Gets the Scoop
On Local Journalism from VC Star Execs
As the only local daily newspaper for the area, the Ventura County Star has quite a responsibility for getting the news and getting it right. News Director Darrin Peschka (pictured above) and Consumer Experience Director Michelle Rogers were the speakers at Rotary Ventura South's regular meeting on Monday, July 30, and they provided a fascinating profile of the 100 year-old publication and how it has adapted in recent years to the challenges of social media and the electronic era.
Darrin noted that, although the print edition of the VC Star is still going strong, many readers have switched over to the electronic version (, viewable on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. She highlighted a number of recent stories that won awards from the California News Publishers Association, including a law enforcement piece that was worked on by virtually the entire Star editorial team.
Michelle provided details on the Star's extensive social media presence, noting that the paper can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She also explained feature such as the "Never-30-" podcast, "Prep Period," and "Storytellers." "Staff at the Star have worked hard to create a very interactive experience for our readers," said Michelle, "and we look forward to receiving news, opinion, and other reader input daily." 
VC Star Execs Speak to Ventura South Sandy Warren 2018-07-30 07:00:00Z 0

Canine Companions for Independence

Posted by Kendall Mattina on Jul 25, 2018
Canine Companions for Independence -
Training Assistance Dogs for the Disabled
Our speakers on Monday, July 23 were from The Valley to the Sea chapter of Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that breeds, trains and provides service dogs to disabled individuals that need dogs that can be trained to meet their exact needs. This organization does not train "Guide" dogs for the blind.
In the photo above are Glen Grogas with Kailua (6 year-old  black lab), Pam Williams with Sir (18 month-old yellow lab), and Ellen Grogas with Constance (5 month-old black lab puppy). Ellen is a "Puppy Raiser." Her job is to take puppies and train them in a set of basic skills and care for them until they are old enough to move on to their "professional" training.
For more information the chapter can be contacted through the parent organization:
Canine Companions for Independence Kendall Mattina 2018-07-25 07:00:00Z 0

District Governor Visits Ventura South

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 17, 2018
District Governor Sandi Schwartz
Urges Members To "Be the Inspiration"
The members of Ventura Rotary South were honored to host District Governor Sandi Schwartz at our regular meeting on Monday, July 16. Sandi presented an inspiring talk on the core values of Rotary and the organization's global mission, as well as specifics on her goals for the new Rotary year, which began just two weeks ago on July 1.
Quoting Sir Clem Renouf, a past president of Rotary International, Sandi said, "Rotary takes ordinary people and gives them extraordinary opportunities to do more with their lives than they ever dreamed possible." Sandi spoke of her own involvement with Rotary service projects, including participation in a National Immunization Day for polio in India, which she described as "a life-changing experience."
Sandi noted that Rotary membership in North America has been declining in recent years, and she stressed the need for individual members to invite friends and business associates to visit a meeting and consider joining. She also noted that the District Conference is coming up on October 5 and 6 in Bakersfield (her own club's home town), and she challenged members to participate in the "$33 for 33" program, that is to donate $33 to The Rotary Foundation, representing the 33 years that Rotary has been engaged in the global fight against polio.
"It all comes down to fulfilling the vision of Rotary, said Sandi, and "see a world where  people unite and take action to create lasting change - across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves." Closing with the Rotary International theme for the new year, she reminded members that it's up to all of us to "be the inspiration."
District Governor Visits Ventura South Sandy Warren 2018-07-17 07:00:00Z 0

Club Holds Annual Step-Down Dinner

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 19, 2018
Club President Bob Davis Hands Over the Gavel
To Incoming 2018-2019 President Melody Thurman
Members and guests of Ventura Rotary South gathered at the Tower Club on Monday evening, June 18, for the annual step-down dinner, during which the outgoing president (Bob Davis) was honored and the incoming president (Melody Thurman) was welcomed. In addition to a fine meal and warm fellowship, the evening included heartfelt tributes (and a few good-natured jabs) for Bob, his remarks and recognition for Club members who went the extra mile during the past Rotary year, and comments from Melody, including an introduction of her Board of Directors who will chair the Club's various committees for the next 12 months.
Normally, the step-down dinner is held closer to the end of June, but the Annual Rotary Convention, which Melody will attend with her husband Gene, is happening later than usual this year, and the presidential couple will be in Toronto for that event.
Congratulations, Bob, on a terrific year as Club president, and a big thank you to Melody for taking the helm as president for the coming term!
Club Holds Annual Step-Down Dinner Sandy Warren 2018-06-19 07:00:00Z 0

Better Posture for Better Health

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 11, 2018
"Better Posture Equals Better Health"
Says Club Member Dr. Brant Gerckens
Our electronic gadgets may be making our lives more efficient and entertaining, but they're not doing us any favors as far as our health is concerned. That was the message that Rotary Ventura South member and local chiropractor Dr. Brant Gerckens brought to the Club at our regular meeting on Monday, June 11. According to Brant, the poor posture that results from people's use of PCs, laptops, and smart phones is leading to a multitude of health problems
As an example, Brant encouraged those in attendance to observe someone texting with a smart phone. "Their neck is bent forward, shoulders are hunched, and they're usually holding the phone too low," he said. "It's better to stand or sit straight and hold the phone higher so that your neck is more relaxed and not needing work so hard to hold up your head."
Brant posed an interesting question to his audience: What is the ergonomically correct way to position and work on a laptop computer? His answer was surprising: there is no correct way. No matter where you place the laptop, you eyes, your neck, or your arms are going to be strained. Brant suggested a remote keyboard and mouse as good places to start so that the screen of the unit can be brought to eye level.
A question regarding stand-up desks came from an audience member: are they good or bad? "In general," said, Brant, "I'm a fan of stand-up desks, although recent studies have shown that they can cause their own health problems if not used properly." He noted that most people tend to stand with locked knees, which can cause foot and back pain.
"Generally speaking," said Brant, "no matter what you're doing - standing, sitting or walking - better posture results in better health." Turns out Mom was right when she told you to "sit up straight." Thanks, Brant, for the timely tips!
Better Posture for Better Health Sandy Warren 2018-06-11 07:00:00Z 0

Helping Students Find Their Spark

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 05, 2018
Passion Spark Helps High Schoolers
Set Goals to Achieve Meaningful Careers
A recent study by Forbes magazine revealed that as many as 80 percent of employed Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs. That sobering statistic was presented by Jerry Beckerman, our meeting speaker on Monday, June 4. Jerry is founder and president of Passion Spark, an innovative mentoring program designed to help high school students find their passion in life and develop goals to help them find meaningful rewarding careers.
"A college education is expensive," said Jerry. "How many people can afford $30,000 per year, or more, without a focus?" Jerry explained that the core of Passion Spark is a weekend retreat/workshop that guides students through an introspective, exploratory process on how to develop goals and a sense of who they are. The sessions are led by experienced facilitators who are familiar with the needs and anxieties of students who are about to graduate from high school and may have little, if any, idea of what they really want to do with their lives.
Jerry observed that when students know where they are going with the lives, they can graduate from college in a focused four years, rather than spending the time (and money) on six to seven years of trying multiple courses of study. "We have developed  a program for college students as well," said Jerry, "and we'll be rolling that out at Ventura College in the near future."
Tuition for the Passion Spark retreat is $595, and Jerry noted that there are scholarship/financing options for those who may need them. For more information, click here to visit the Passion Spark website, or call (805) 643-3444.
Helping Students Find Their Spark Sandy Warren 2018-06-05 07:00:00Z 0

2018 High School Speech Contest

Posted by Sandy Warren
Rotary Ventura South Holds Finals
Of First Annual High School Speech Contest
On Thursday, May 17, the Rotary Club of Ventura South awarded $6,300 in scholarships to students from Buena, Foothill Technology, and Ventura High Schools - finalists in the Club's first annual high school speech contest. The talented and eloquent students wrote and presented their speeches on the American Civil Rights movement to a panel of judges including current Rotary District 5240 Govermor John Weiss (second from left in the photo above). The event was held at the Tower Club in Oxnard.
Winners in the Freshman class included Kaitlyn Saldana (1st place, $1,500, Buena) and Angela Tang (2nd place, $750, Buena). The sophomore finalist was Joshua Cenzano ($1500, Buena). There were no junior entrants. In the Senior class, Alaina Hooks (center in the photo above) came in first ($1,500, Foothill Technology) with Aspen Levitt placing second ($750, Ventura) and Jonathon Saldana taking third ($300, Buena).
Invitations to participate went out to all Ventura high schools in March, and the initial round of competition was conducted on campus for students at the responding schools. First Bank of Ventura contributed $2,000 to the project.
Club President Bob Davis commented, "We're excited to sponsor this first annual event as a means of supporting education in our community and encouraging students to develop their public speaking skills. We look forward to welcoming even more students in the coming years." Bob, together with Club Community Service Co-Chair Sal Saldana, coordinated the event.
For additional photos of the event, see the album here.
2018 High School Speech Contest Sandy Warren 2018-05-21 07:00:00Z 0

Wade Nomura and The Rotary Foundation

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 07, 2018
Past District Governor Wade Nomura
Provides Overview of the Rotary Foundation
If you're looking for a way to truly make the world a better place by writing a check, look no further than The Rotary Foundation. Such was the message delivered to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South at our meeting on Monday, May 7, by Past District Governor Wade Nomura. "The Rotary Foundation is one of the world's most respected charities," said Wade. He noted that this is one of the reasons that the Gates Foundation partnered with the Foundation in its fight to eliminate polio worldwide.
The Rotary Foundation, as the charitable arm of Rotary International, is charged with supporting Rotary's six areas of focus: promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; saving mothers and children, supporting education; and growing local economies.
Wade's presentation included photos and stories of some of the dozens of trips he has made on behalf of Rotary to cities and villages around the world. Wade is involved with the Rotary Foundation Cadre, a group of volunteer technical advisors who evaluate global grant projects in each of Rotary's areas of focus. Wade's specialty is water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Wade noted that there are many different ways to support the Rotary Foundation, from individual donations to the General Fund or specific areas of focus, to arranging for Rotary to be part of an individual's estate plan. He also reviewed the various levels of donor recognition offered by Rotary.
Click on this link for more information on the Rotary Foundation. Even a small donation can make a significant difference in the lives of people in need!
Wade Nomura and The Rotary Foundation Sandy Warren 2018-05-07 07:00:00Z 0

2018 Dictionary Donation Program

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 18, 2018
Rotary Ventura South Donates More Than
300 Dictionaries to Local Third Graders
Members and guests of Rotary Ventura South participated in the 2018 Dictionary Donation Program, visiting eight third-grade classrooms at three Ventura Elementary Schools and handing out more than 300 dictionaries. The annual program was delayed this year by the Thomas Fire, but our volunteers made sure to complete the donation before the end of the school year.
Pictured above is Bonaventure Wakam, making the presentation to a classroom at Portola Elementary School. Presentations were also made at Junipero Serra and Will Rogers Elementary Schools. Those making the presentations included Bob & Mary Davis, N.K. Khumalo & guest Debbie Senate, Bonaventure Wakam, and Sandy Warren. Those helping out with organizing and labeling the books included Bob & Mary Davis, Ed Keay, Sal Saldana, and Marilyn Scott.
2018 Dictionary Donation Program Sandy Warren 2018-04-18 07:00:00Z 0

Joey Buttitta Talks Journalism and The Amazing Race

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 12, 2018
KEYT Anchorman Joey Buttitta Talks
About Journalism and The Amazing Race
Joey Buttitta, our meeting speaker on Monday, April 9, is a familiar face to thousands of people in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties. Joey is the morning news anchorman on KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara. During his visit to Ventura Rotary South, he shared insights on modern broadcast journalism, particularly in the coverage of local news.
"We like to be in the middle of what's happening," said Joey, "although to stay safe when covering stories like the Thomas Fire and the Montecito mudslides we keep the motor running in the news van." He noted just how frightening those two tragedies were from the perspective of a field reporter. "It's scary to see what Mother Nature is capable of doing."
A native of Ventura County, Joey noted that he was very fortunate to be able to land a news job in the area where he grew up. "I love to tell stories," he said, "and we bring local coverage of stories in the tri-county area to the L.A. regional market."
Joey also spent some time talking about his adventure on the CBS television show The Amazing Race, which he and his then-girlfriend, now wife Kelsey Gerckens won a couple of years ago. "Covering 10 countries on five continents in 21 days was the experience of a lifetime," said Joey. "Kelsey and I often ask each other, 'did we really do that?'"
Kelsey joins Joey on KEYT each morning, working as the weather reporter on the daily broadcast. "We're both very fortunate to be working where we do," said Joey. 
Joey Buttitta Talks Journalism and The Amazing Race Sandy Warren 2018-04-12 07:00:00Z 0

Ventura County Library Adult Literacy Program

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 02, 2018
Library's Adult Literacy Program
Enriches the Lives of Hundreds
Our speaker on Monday, April 2, was Club member Carol Chapman, Manager of the Ventura County Library's Adult Literacy READ Program. Carol shared with members and guests the significant impact that illiteracy has on society in general, noting that one out of four English speaking adults in California is reading below the fifth grade level. In correctional facilities, that statistic jumps to 70 percent.
"Learning disabilities are the number one reason for difficulty in reading," said Carol, "followed by trauma, illness, and truancy." Learning disabilities create a barrier for learning in a group environment, which is where the one-on-one tutoring provided by the READ program comes into play. "Our program is very flexible in terms of when we begin with a student and at what level. It is really tailored to the individual's specific needs."
The READ program has sites throughout Ventura County, each of which is overseen by a credentialed teacher. The tutoring is provided by trained volunteers and begins at the pre-kindergarten level, teaching everything about phonics and English that a student needs for reading.
Carol noted that Rotary Ventura South has been instrumental in its support of the READ program through the annual Trivia Challenge event, which typically happens in November. Funds raised from the event enabled the Library to purchase the Barton System, a 10-level literacy instructional program.
"Literacy is debilitating," said Carol, "and the READ program is transforming." Click here for more information on the READ program, including details on how to volunteer as a tutor.
Ventura County Library Adult Literacy Program Sandy Warren 2018-04-02 07:00:00Z 0

Ventura Botanical Gardens Recovering from Thomas Fire

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 27, 2018
Ventura Botanical Gardens Recovering
After Devastating Thomas Fire
First, the bad news: When the Thomas Fire swept across the hills above Ventura last December, the Ventura Botanical Gardens, currently under construction, lay in its direct path. Much of the 109 acres that are the focus of the Gardens' master plan were burned. Now the good news: Restoration of vegetation, trails, signs, and other components is underway, and many of the plants themselves are slowly regenerating.
Nicole Horn (pictured above), a landscape architect with Courtney Jane Miller in Santa Barbara, provided details on the recovery efforts when she addressed members and guests of Ventura Rotary South at our March 26 regular meeting.
According to Nicole, debris removal was first among the many tasks that will need to be completed in the restoration process, followed by mulching of the remaining vegetation to ensure its continued growth. Hillsides have already been hydro-seeded to stimulate new ground cover that will aid in erosion control. Replacement plants for those that were completely destroyed are currently being purchased. Additionally, the fire revealed some additional existing walls and structures that will be incorporated into the renewed design of the Gardens.
Nicole also shared illustrations of several of the planned features of the Gardens, including the Welcome Center, nursery, amphitheater, and the Rotary Plaza, a viewpoint and seating area that will be constructed with the financial support of multiple area Rotary Clubs.
If you would like to donate time or money to the Gardens' restoration and development, please visit Thank you, Nicole, for an encouraging look at the process that is underway to surmount the setback of the Thomas Fire and bring the Ventura Botanical Gardens to reality!
Ventura Botanical Gardens Recovering from Thomas Fire Sandy Warren 2018-03-27 07:00:00Z 0

N K Khumalo - Journey from South Africa to America

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 19, 2018
Club Member N.K. Khumalo: Lessons Learned
From South Africa to the United States
At our meeting on Monday, March 19, Rotary Ventura South member Nkosi Khumalo, better known to his fellow members as "N.K.," told the inspiring story of his personal and professional journey from his homeland of South Africa to his current home and business location in Ventura. Along the way, he applied many of the basic life-lessons his mother taught him, and added to those with guidance and input from friends and mentors.
One of those lessons from N.K.'s mother can also be attributed to Ben Franklin, to whom is attributed the adage of "early to bed, early to rise." N.K. noted that he gets up every morning at 5:30, thanks to a pattern his mother set for him at an early age when the family operated a chicken business. "I hated getting up for those chickens," said N.K., "but I love those early hours now. I can catch up on emails and hit the gym before the day gets started."
N.K. related the story of his early years as a partner in an information technology business that he and his brother created in South Africa in 1999. "We went through tough times for over a year with a handful of employees," he said, "but with persistence, we managed to grow quickly." The brothers eventually took the company public and tripled the share price, finally selling the business that then employed more than 500 people. It is now the largest information technology business in South Africa.
N.K.'s entrepreneurial spirit is still going strong as he creates a private equity business to purchase baby boomer companies. His advice to others? "Focus on people," he said, "especially those who have given you a leg up along the way." N.K. is also focused on giving back. He has started a program of scholarships at two high schools in Ventura, beginning with four $5,000 scholarships in the initial year, then doubling the number of awards each year thereafter until the goal of 100 scholarships per year is met.
Thank you, N.K. for sharing your inspiring story!
N K Khumalo - Journey from South Africa to America Sandy Warren 2018-03-19 07:00:00Z 0

Jill Santos Speaks on Food Forward

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 12, 2018
Rescuing Thousands of Pounds of Produce
That Would Otherwise Go To Waste
On Monday, March 12, members and guests of Ventura Rotary South learned the remarkable story behind Food Forward, a non-profit organization that rescues 300,000 pounds of surplus produce each week from fruit trees, farmers markets, and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. Jill Santos (pictured above), the Ventura County Branch Manager of Food Forward, explained that 100% of these fresh fruits and vegetables is donated to over 300 hunger relief agencies across eight counties in Southern California.
"In the United States," said Jill, "one in six people lack access to nutritious food. Those below the poverty line frequently rely on inexpensive, high-calorie fast food that lacks nutritive value." That's where Food Forward steps in.
Jill stressed that the organization relies on volunteers who are willing to harvest and/or pick up surplus produce from public and private properties, including backyard fruit trees. Farmers wanting to help fight hunger make their unsold produce available, and it is also groups of volunteers who pick up and help distribute these fruits and vegetables.
"The mission of Food Forward is very simple," said Jill. "It is to fight hunger and prevent food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce, connecting this abundance with people in need, and inspiring others to do the same."
If you find yourself inspired by this story, visit or call Jill at 805-630-2728 to get involved or to learn more.
Jill Santos Speaks on Food Forward Sandy Warren 2018-03-12 07:00:00Z 0

Dr Brant Gerckens and Vitamin K2

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 06, 2018
Dr. Brant Gerckens Shares His Knowledge of Vitamin K2
Our speaker on Monday, March 5 was charter Club member and longtime Ventura chiropractor Dr. Brant Gerckens. Over the years, Brant has shared his knowledge of many health-related topics, including nutrition, ergonomics, and chiropractic. On Monday, his topic was Vitamin K2, an important component for human health.
K vitamins, said Brant, are a group of fat-soluble vitamins that affect multiple factors of optimal well-being, including cardiovascular health, arterial function, and bone density. The two most important forms of vitamin K are K1 and K2. The former is found in leafy green vegetables but is poorly absorbed by the body. K2, on the other hand, is found in the traditional Japanese dish, natto (or available supplements).
Brant shared case studies of people who had been helped by taking K2, and he explained the emerging research that highlights the importance of vitamin K2 intake for optimizing calcium transport in the body. Thank you, Brant, for an interesting and valuable presentation!
Dr Brant Gerckens and Vitamin K2 Sandy Warren 2018-03-06 08:00:00Z 0
Mardi Gras 2018! 2018-02-04 08:00:00Z 0

Kimo Kildreth Talks Cyber Security

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 29, 2018
Kimo Kildreth of Ventura County D.A.'s Office
Offers Insights into the World of Cyber-Security
"Cyber-crime has exploded." This was the simple and sobering statement that Kimo Kildreth used to begin his presentation to members and guests at our January 29 meeting. Kimo, an investigator with the Ventura County District Attorney's office, noted that no one who goes online with a smart-phone, tablet, or computer is completely safe from a potentially damaging cyber-attack. However, he stressed, there are ways to make oneself safer and less likely to fall victim to such a threat.
Kimo provided statistics on both corporate and personal cyber-crime. He noted that 60 percent of small businesses that have a major breach of their data security are out of business within six months. On the home front, he reminded everyone that it's not just cell phones and computers that can provide an entry into a person's data - many new appliances, such as refrigerators, have their own IP addresses and are thus vulnerable targets to a hacker.
What to do? The number one defense, according to Kimo, is a combination of vigilance and common sense, particularly when dealing with something as seemingly routine as email. Pretty much everyone knows to ignore those messages from distant foreign lands that offer to share millions of dollars if you just "click here" and provide a bank account where they can transfer your riches. But did you know that a smart hacker can cleverly disguise his message to appear as though it came from a trusted source, like your broker or mortgage lender, and offer up a link where you can conveniently take care of a planned transaction? Again, vigilance is key - if in doubt, call the person before you click on anything.
Lastly, said Kimo, protect yourself with strong passwords for your various financial accounts and other frequently visited sites. His recommendation is a minimum of 15 characters, and don't use the same password for more than one site. Also, back up your data onto an external source, such as a portable hard drive, then disconnect that source from your computer. That way, if you are hacked and it appears your data is gone, you've got a secure back-up from which to restore it.
Thank you, Kimo, for an eye-opening look at the potential perils that await on the information superhighway!
Kimo Kildreth Talks Cyber Security Sandy Warren 2018-01-29 08:00:00Z 0

Sri Lanka Project for Early Childhood Education

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 21, 2018
Rotary Ventura South Contributes to
Sri Lanka Early Childhood Education Project
In 2016-2017, 11 Rotary clubs in District 5240 helped fund a project ($50,750) to support early childhood education by improving preschool teachers' training in rural Sri Lanka. Rotary Ventura South was one of those clubs.
The Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime spearheaded the project, securing a Global Grant from Rotary International. It was the second such grant that Rotary Goleta Noontime has completed, and the project is now helping 450 preschool teachers (currently in training) to earn their diplomas.
Supporting education is one of the six key areas of focus of Rotary clubs around the globe. The other five are: promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; saving mothers and children; and growing local economies.
Click here to read more about the cooperative project that is benefiting 70,000 children in Sri Lanka annually!
Sri Lanka Project for Early Childhood Education Sandy Warren 2018-01-21 08:00:00Z 0

New Year, New Location, Same Great Club

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 08, 2018
New Year, New Meeting Location,
Same Great Club!
On Monday, January 8, the Rotary Club of Ventura South celebrated the beginning of 2018 with the first meeting in its new location: the elegant Tower Club on the 22nd Floor of the Topa Financial Plaza (300 Esplanade Drive in Oxnard). With the dawn of a new year, it seems fitting to offer a few thoughts on who we are and what we do.
Rotary Ventura South is part of Rotary International, the global organization where neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change, around the world and right here in our community. Our international involvement includes projects to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water and sanitation, foster education, and help develop local economies.
Rotary International's signature project is the fight to eliminate polio from across the globe. Since 1988, we've seen a worldwide reduction in polio cases of 99.99%. The Gates Foundation has been a proud partner with Rotary in this effort for 10 years. Since 2013, they have matched every dollar that Rotary commits to polio eradication 2-to-1.
Here in Ventura County, our Club sponsors projects to support adult literacy, provide mental health services to the under-served, and feed the hungry, to name just a few. Our members also enjoy fun and fellowship at our weekly meetings and special social events.
Would you like to learn more? How about joining us for lunch on an upcoming Monday at noon. We promise warm food and fellowship to match. Rotary maybe just what you're looking for! If you'd like to visit or learn more, click here to send us an email, or just drop by the Tower Club any Monday at noon. We'd love to welcome you!
New Year, New Location, Same Great Club Sandy Warren 2018-01-08 08:00:00Z 0

District Governor Elect Visits Ventura South

Posted by Bob Braitman on Dec 12, 2017
District Governor-Elect Sandi Schwartz
Previews the Coming Year in District 5240
Our program on December 11 was provided by Sandi Schwartz (Rotary Club of Bakersfield East), who will be the next Governor of Rotary District No., 5240. The District includes the Rotary Clubs in Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.
District Governor-Elect Schwartz Is a retired registered nurse. It was a somewhat emotional presentation, given the fact that large mountainous portions of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties were currently being consumed of threatened by the Thomas Fire.
Sandi's slide presentation spoke poignantly of the fact that "Rotary is a family" and we all are part of something larger than just our Club. She believes that "Stand Tall for Rotary" may be the Rotary International theme during her year.
She introduced the District 5240 officers for the coming year and spoke of the RI Conference which will be held in Toronto, Canada, from June 23-27. Rotary Ventura South President-Elect Melody Thurman indicated she would be attending the Conference and encouraged other members of the Club to do so also.
District Governor Elect Visits Ventura South Bob Braitman 2017-12-12 08:00:00Z 0

2017 CanTree Event to Benefit FoodShare

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 02, 2017
Members and Friends of Ventura Rotary South
Participate in Annual Can-Tree Event for FOOD Share
Members and friends of the Rotary Club of Ventura South gathered on Figueroa Plaza in downtown Ventura on Saturday, December 2 to participate in the 6th Annual Can-Tree Event to benefit FOOD Share, Inc., an Oxnard-based agency dedicated to feeding, nourishing, and educating the hungry of Ventura County. Rotary Ventura South joined dozens of non-profit organizations and private companies in donating money and building/decorating "trees" of donated canned goods, all of which will be distributed to those in need in the coming weeks.
Our Community Service Chair Sal Saldana organized the Club's participation. Joining Sal in the tree-building were Rosanna Colin (with her helpers Vincent Rivera and Ayden De La Rosa), Club President Bob Davis, Diane and Ed Keay (with Club mascot-for-the-day Kenzie), Larry Matheney, John and Kendall Mattina (and their grandson Max), Marilyn Scott, Melody Thurman, and Sandy Warren.
What a great way to get into the Holiday spirit of giving!
2017 CanTree Event to Benefit FoodShare Sandy Warren 2017-12-02 08:00:00Z 0

Mossy Foot Project in Ethiopia

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 28, 2017
Sharon Daly Shares Her Work in Ethiopia
Toward Eradication of Mossy Foot Disease
Among the problems facing people in third-world countries, podoconiosis is perhaps not among those most familiar to others around the globe, but it is nonetheless serious. More commonly known as "mossy foot disease," the ailment is caused by walking barefoot on volcanic soil. A non-infectious type of elephantiasis, it manifests itself as a massive swelling of the feet and legs. It causes great pain and frequently prevents the sufferer from walking, working, and leading a normal life. As a result, many of those afflicted are treated as outcasts and shunned.
Enter Sharon Daly (pictured above), president of the Mossy Foot Project. Founded in 1997 by Doctor Nathan Barlow, the organization applies a holistic approach to the treatment and eradication of podoconiosis and the care of those afflicted. Sharon, a member of the Rotary Club of Ventura East, visited Ventura Rotary South on Monday, November 27, to share her passion for assisting Ethiopians who suffer from the disease.
"Mossy foot is easily preventable," said Sharon, "but many people in the affected areas cannot afford shoes, which leads to their feet becoming infected." She noted that special extra-large shoes can help those in the early stages of the disease and that her organization is involved with the manufacture of such shoes. Additional treatment includes regular washing of the feet and legs, instruction in foot hygiene, and the use of anti-fungal ointment.
Sharon travels to Ethiopia a couple of times each year to work with the 62-person staff in country. We're grateful that she "traveled" to Ventura Rotary South to tell us her story. More information is available at
Mossy Foot Project in Ethiopia Sandy Warren 2017-11-28 08:00:00Z 0

Nick Peterson and the Ketogenic Diet

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 20, 2017
Members of Ventura Rotary South
Learn About the Ketogenic Diet
Our speaker at Ventura Rotary South on Monday, November 20, 2017 was Nick Peterson, a physics and calculus teacher at Oxnard High School. Nick related his personal story of a 100-pound weight loss through the Ketogenic Diet, combined with intermittent fasting and calorie restriction. Nick was involved in a serious auto accident earlier this year and "just wasn't recovering" at the pace he wanted. Part of the advice from his doctors was to lose weight.
"The Ketogenic Diet," explained Nick, "involves increasing the intake of healthy fats while drastically lowering carbohydrates." Moderate amounts of protein are also part of the plan, which has some similarities to the Atkins Diet. Nick noted that intermittent fasting was also part of his regimen. Currently, he eats just one meal a day: dinner.
As for daily energy, Nick explained that "the body will find and burn fat, whether it's already on the body or being consumed." The Ketogenic diet, when followed properly, helps the body burn fat more efficiently, said Nick. "And you don't feel hungry in the process," he noted.
As with any diet, of course, one's personal physician should be consulted first, but there's no denying the results that Nick has achieved (and maintained). Thanks for sharing your story with us, Nick!
Nick Peterson and the Ketogenic Diet Sandy Warren 2017-11-20 08:00:00Z 0

Supporting Adult Literacy in Ventura County

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 13, 2017
Rotary Ventura South Continues Its Tradition
Of Supporting Adult Literacy in Ventura County
With the 29th Annual Trivia Challenge held on Wednesday, November 15, the focus at our regular meeting on Monday, November 13 was solidly on the subject of adult literacy. Carol Chapman, Club member and Program Manager of the Ventura County Library's Adult Literacy Program, reminded members and guests of just how important literacy is to the well-being of families and individuals alike.
"I had planned to show a PowerPoint presentation about the Library's READ program," said Carol, "but instead I brought a special guest." She then introduced Honorina Carrasco, one of the adult "learners" in the program. Honorina (pictured above) related her story of wanting to improve her reading skills and coming into contact with Carol, who found her a tutor in the READ program. "When I began," Honorina said, "I was reading at a grade school level. I'm now reading at the college level."
"Education is the key to success," said Honorina. Building on her own accomplishments, she convinced her husband to attend Oxnard College and a trade school, and she is committed to making sure that her children attend college as well. "I work hard on my dreams," she said, "and I never give up." Clearly, her persistence and determination have paid off. Thank you, Honorina, for sharing your story with us!
Supporting Adult Literacy in Ventura County Sandy Warren 2017-11-13 08:00:00Z 0

Illegal Opioid Use in Ventura County

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 06, 2017
Opioid Epidemic Exists in Ventura County,
But Local Law Enforcement is Making Progress
The abuse of opioid-based narcotics, including commonly prescribed drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet, has reached epidemic proportions nationwide. California, for example, recorded a 20-percent increase in opioid-related deaths year-to-year. For Ventura County, however, the outlook was not quite so bleak - deaths from opioid use actually decreased by 23 percent over the same period.
Sergeant Victor Fazio of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department was our speaker on Monday, November 6. He credits the positive results to his Department's collaborative approach in dealing with the problem. "We work with schools, community groups, and others to get the message out about the dangers of opioid abuse," he said. A 23-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, Sergeant Fazio performs undercover work as part of his duties. For that reason, he asked that no photographs be taken during his presentation to Ventura Rotary South.
A portion of Sergeant Fazio's eye-opening remarks dealt with the history of opioid promotion by the pharmaceutical industry. In 1996, for example, sales of the popular drug OxyContin totaled $46 million. Just four years later, that figure soared to $1.1 billion. Early on in their promotion and advertising, opioids were characterized as non-addictive, an absolute falsehood.
With numerous questions from the audience, Sergeant Fazio was unable to present all of the information he had planned to share. By virtually unanimous acclamation, our members invited him back to a future meeting. Thank you, Sergeant, for a sobering look at one of today's most critical public safety issues!
Illegal Opioid Use in Ventura County Sandy Warren 2017-11-06 08:00:00Z 0

Getting the Most from Life with Kathy Murphy

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 24, 2017
Health Coach Kathy Murphy Offers Tips
On How to Feel Great and Excel in Life
"Our inside voice is where we get our best guidance," said Kathy Murphy during her presentation to Rotary Ventura South on Monday, October 23. Kathy, a certified Health and Life Coach, combines her love of the ocean and surfing with her passion for living life to the fullest. "The success ladder of life can be on the wrong wall if we don't pursue what really matters," she noted, "and we often need to slow down and take time to reflect on our life to determine what really matters."As part of her presentation, Kathy gave members and guests "seven things to think about":
  1. You are your greatest asset - love yourself.
  2. Live each day in gratitude - what we appreciate, appreciates.
  3. When we connect with what we really want in life, things begin to happen.
  4. Be fully present always. Life is busy, and focus is essential.
  5. Change your thoughts and change your life - choose "awesome."
  6. Slow down to take the needed time to reflect and concentrate on what really matters to you.
  7. Believe in the invisible - in what you haven't yet seen.
Kathy concluded, "Keep showing up for yourself and for others. There are no limits to what we can do if we believe it's possible!" More information can be found on Kathy's website,
Getting the Most from Life with Kathy Murphy Sandy Warren 2017-10-24 07:00:00Z 0

29th Annual Trivia Challenge

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 12, 2017
6:00 PM on November 15, 2017
Wedgewood Banquet Center
5880 Olivas Park Drive
Calling all trivia fans! Rotary Ventura South's 29th Annual Trivia Challenge in support of the Ventura County Library Adult Literacy Program is scheduled for 6:00 PM on Wednesday, November 15, at the Wedgewood Banquet Center in Ventura. Teams of three people compete in a "Jeopardy-like" contest for trophies and the coveted recognition as "trivia masters."
Proceeds from the event help to fund one-on-one literacy tutoring, book purchases, special programs for dyslexic adults, computer-assisted instruction, second language reading instruction, and family literacy activities.
Individuals and teams are welcome, as are spectators. Click here for complete details including a sign-up form.
29th Annual Trivia Challenge Sandy Warren 2017-10-12 07:00:00Z 0

Future Plans at St Johns Hospitals

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 04, 2017
Darren Lee Updates Ventura Rotary South
On Exciting Plans for St. John's Hospitals
Darren Lee, President and CEO of St. John's Hospitals, visited Ventura Rotary South on Monday, October 2, to provide members and guests with an update on extensive upgrades underway at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo.
"We're bringing state-of-the-art medical care to St. John's," said Darren, who has spent 16 years of his career with the Dignity Health organization (parent company of the St. John's facilities), serving as President and CEO for the past three years. He oversees the work of more than 1,800 employees.
The $20 million project at St. John's Regional Medical Center includes a doubling in size of the emergency department and the addition of a dedicated X-ray suite to more effectively treat those needing urgent care. A new patient discharge area is also scheduled to begin construction in January. Women's services is slated for major enhancements, including a new private entry area, new labor and delivery rooms, and a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where families will be able to stay with their newborns.
At St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital, a budget of $80 million will feature 71,000 square feet of new space, including 50 new private rooms. Darren noted that the new facility will feature state-of-the-art construction with Styrofoam walls designed to flex in the event of an earthquake.
"At Dignity Health," said Darren, "we're all about care and compassion." He noted that no one is ever turned away based on their ability to pay. "We handle their care first and foremost," he said.
Thank you, Darren, for a fascinating look at the exciting plans for health care at St. John's hospitals!
Future Plans at St Johns Hospitals Sandy Warren 2017-10-04 07:00:00Z 0

Three Ventura Clubs Enjoy Social for District Governor

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 28, 2017
Rotary Ventura South Members and Guests Enjoy
Social with Other Rotary Clubs on September 25
In recognition of District Governor John Weiss's visit to our Club on Monday, September 25 (see story below), members and guests of Ventura Rotary South, Ventura Downtown Rotary, and Ventura Rotary East gathered at the Ventura Yacht Club that evening for a social event. Pictured above from Ventura South are (l to r): Don Scott, Marilyn Scott, Kendall Mattina, Sandy Warren, John Mattina, Melody Thurman, Larry Bushey, and Peter Barry. A wonderful time was had by all!
Three Ventura Clubs Enjoy Social for District Governor Sandy Warren 2017-09-28 07:00:00Z 0

District Governor Weiss Visits Ventura South

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 25, 2017
District Governor John Weiss Visits Ventura South;
Encourages All Members to "Celebrate Rotary"
Our honored guest at our regular meeting of Monday, September 25 was District 5240 Governor John Weiss. Joined by his wife Christine, John updated members and guests on current happenings at the District level, as well as his thoughts about the future of Rotary.
"The primary reason people join Rotary," said John, "is for the opportunity to be involved with local service projects." As examples, he touched on Rotary Ventura South's Trivia Challenge event for adult literacy and the Club's major annual Mardi Gras fundraiser in support of Turning Point Foundation.
John also stressed the importance of projects that span international borders. He noted that as Rotary International winds down its polio eradication efforts (as a result of the success of the decades-long program), the organization will focus on peace building.
"The new generation of Rotarians wants to get things done," said John, "and Rotary's Avenues of Service provide the road map to do just that."
District Governor Weiss Visits Ventura South Sandy Warren 2017-09-25 07:00:00Z 0

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 19, 2017
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation
Assists Families Throughout the Tri-Counties
Among the most devastating news a parent will ever receive is the diagnosis of cancer for their son or daughter. In an instant the family's life is thrown into upheaval, and the single focus becomes how to help the child, often with little or no outside support. Fortunately, for families facing this daunting challenge in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties, there is the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. Development Director Eryn Shugart (pictured above) visited Ventura Rotary South on Monday, September 18, to provide an overview of the organization and its essential work.
"The mission of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation," said Eryn, "is to provide families with financial, educational, and emotional support when they most need it." She noted that, nationwide, only four percent of money raised for cancer research is directed specifically toward children battling the disease.
For parents of a child with cancer, the financial burden is often second only to dealing with the disease itself. That's where the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation steps in, offering assistance with non-medical expenses such as mortgage/rent, utility bills, hotel accommodations during hospital stays, auto expenses, and home care services. The Foundation also offers families a wealth of emotional and educational support.
Joining Eryn at our Monday meeting was Lisa Hester, whose son Elijah is battling a rare form of cancer that affects the eye. She noted that the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation assists her family in a number of ways, including financial support that enables her to accompany Elijah to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where treatment for his illness has better than a 90-percent success rate. The Foundation has also seen to it that Lisa's other children have had Christmas presents, and that the family's property tax has been paid.
The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is supported by donations, and by the efforts of more than 700 volunteers who contributed over 7,000 hours of service last year alone. For more information, visit Thank you, Eryn, for telling us about the amazing work of the Foundation, and Lisa, for sharing your family's story.
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Sandy Warren 2017-09-19 07:00:00Z 0

Its My Life Program for At-Risk Kids

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 28, 2017
Chip Fraser Discussed "It's My Life" Program
To Help Prepare At-Risk Kids for Adulthood
"If you want something, you have to come get it." That was Chip Fraser's opening message to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South at our regular meeting on Monday, August 28. To illustrate the point, he held out a $5 bill for anyone willing to come forward and grab it. "There are seven million students in 1,087 school districts on California," said, Chip, "and thousands of them are at risk for failure as adults if they aren't given the direction they need to make good decisions."
Chip, a recently retired educator, together with his associate Brian Jaramillo, a teacher at Pacific High School in Ventura, have designed a program called "It's My Life" to empower at-risk middle and high school students become happy and successful adults. Based on instruction in critical thinking, the program, Chip explained, acts like something of a compass to provide direction and guidance to students who, for one reason or another, are at risk for dropping out of the formal educational system.
"Public education continues to receive less funding than it needs," said Chip. As a result, many kids with behavioral, family, or other issues are at risk for failure befomre they've really had a chance to succeed, both in school and in life.
"It's My Life," noted Chip, "is designed to keep kids out of the 'JDGI Club' (Just Don't Get It)." Consequences of being in that Club include potentially being homeless, in jail, or suffering from a life-threatening addiction.
"Thomas Jefferson had it right," said Chip, "when he proclaimed that everyone is entitled to the pursuit of happiness."
For more information on It's My Life, visit Thanks, Chip, for introducing us to such a worthwhile and necessary program!
Its My Life Program for At-Risk Kids Sandy Warren 2017-08-28 07:00:00Z 0

Wade Nomura Talks Networking and Rotary

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 14, 2017
Past District Governor Wade Nomura
Highlights the Benefits of Networking
It's always a special treat when Past District 5240 Governor Wade Nomura addresses our Club, and Monday, August 14 was no exception. Wade came to Rotary Ventura South to talk about what he refers to as one of the most valuable ways to be a successful Rotarian: networking.
"Rotary is all about service," said Wade, "and you need to reach out and involve other members to achieve that goal."
Displaying photos from many of the dozens of local, national, and international projects in which he has been involved, Wade related story after story of how networking enabled him to cut red tape, rally volunteers, and basically "get things done." Wade has done just that in places near and far, including Belize, Canada, Thailand, Texas, Michigan, and Mexico, to name just a few.
"In my 15 years as a Rotarian," said Wade, "my goal has been to continually expand my global footprint." Clearly, Wade continues to achieve that goal.
Following Wade's inspiring presentation, Rotary Ventura South President Bob Davis noted, "the synergy of Rotary is the reason polio will be eliminated from the globe."
Wade Nomura Talks Networking and Rotary Sandy Warren 2017-08-14 07:00:00Z 0

Backpacks for Needy Students

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 13, 2017
Ventura South Teams Up with Other Clubs
To Provide School Supplies for Needy Students
On Saturday, August 12, the administrative office of the Ventura Unified School District was a beehive of activity, as the three Rotary Clubs in Ventura (Downtown, East, and South), together with the Ventura Lions Club, teamed up to fill nearly 900 brand-new backpacks with school supplies for needy elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Ventura. Rotary Ventura South donated $2,500 to the annual project, spearheaded by Rotary Downtown.
More than 50 volunteers turned out to help fill brightly colored backpacks with notebooks, folders, calculators, paper, pens, markers, and other essentials for the start of the new school year. Representing Rotary Ventura South were N.K. Khumalo and his son Siso (pictured above), and Sandy and Anne Warren.
As volunteers holding open backpacks in each hand circled tables, other volunteers placed the various items in the packs. Still other volunteers checked each pack for completeness and grouped them in batches for the schools. Distribution was made on Monday, August 14, so the backpacks will be waiting for the students when the school year starts later this month.
Backpacks for Needy Students Sandy Warren 2017-08-13 07:00:00Z 0

Bob Keating and Ham Radio

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 07, 2017
Club Member Bob Keating Offers Insights
Into the World of Amateur (Ham) Radio
From a pleasant hobby to a potentially life-saving service, amateur radio offers hours of absorbing interest for young and old alike. Such was the message Club member Bob Keating brought to fellow members and guests at our regular meeting on Monday, August 7.
Using equipment as simple as a hand-held walkie-talkie-like device or a roomful of gear, Bob explained that "ham operators," as they are popularly known, can communicate with fellow radio aficionados around the block or around the world. "Radio waves travel at the speed of light," said Bob, "so a radio transmission can reach the other side of the globe in less than a second, bouncing off the ionosphere." He noted that is farthest contact has thus far been a fellow ham operator in South Africa.
Bob recently attained the highest of the three types of amateur radio license: "Amateur Extra." And, although ham radio is an enjoyable hobby, he is quick to point out that amateur radio operators are quick to offer their skill and equipment during emergencies such as natural disasters. He told the story of a young radio operator who stayed on the air non-stop for days when the St. Francis Dam in Santa Paula broke apart in 1928. "He helped lighten the load on the telephone switchboards of the day," said Bob, "broadcasting essential information that undoubtedly saved lives."
Bob also noted a number of well-known people who are or have been enthusiastic amateur radio operators, including Walter Cronkite, Priscilla Presley, King Hussein of Jordan, and guitarist Joe Walsh.
"When an emergency strikes," said Bob, "and the landlines, cell phones, and the Internet are down, hams are up!"
Thanks, Bob, for a fascinating look into the world of amateur radio!
Bob Keating and Ham Radio Sandy Warren 2017-08-07 07:00:00Z 0

St. Vincent de Paul Society - Ventura

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 31, 2017
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Assists the Needy in Ventura
There aren't too many worldwide charitable organizations older than Rotary, but the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is one of them. Founded in 1833, and with roots extending back to 1632, the Society provides assistance to needy men, women, and children in 150 countries on five continents.
At our meeting on Monday, July 31, Diana Spuragna and Erica Kern, members of the Society in Ventura, shared stories of what the Society is doing in the local community.
"We answer every call," said Diana (pictured on the left, above), "and we do our best to meet the need, whatever it may be." Those needs, she said, include disaster relief, job training, housing assistance, food, clothing, auto repair, and many others.
Erica shared the story of a homeless man for whom the Society had provided assistance from time to time. One day he proudly announced that he had gotten a job. However, in order to take it he needed steel-toed work boots and could not afford them. The local chapter of the Society saw to it that he had the needed boots so he could take the job.
To help the Society continue its important work here in the local community, Rotary Ventura South recently donated $3,000. If you would like to contribute, or would simply like more information on the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, visit
St. Vincent de Paul Society - Ventura Sandy Warren 2017-07-31 07:00:00Z 0

Bob Davis and Rotary's Culture of Yes

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 17, 2017
Club President Bob Davis Talks
About Rotary's "Culture of Yes"
"As Rotarians, we belong to a culture of Yes," said Bob Davis, newly installed President of Ventura Rotary South. Addressing club members and guests at our regular meeting on July 17, Bob elaborated on the definition of that culture by saying that Rotarians will challenge themselves by asking "how can I better serve someone who can't to a thing for me," or "how can I donate to a needy group or individual who can never pay me back?"
Bob noted that Rotary is known for solving problems and helping people locally and around the world. As an example, he stated that in 1985, when Rotary launched its global commitment to end polio, there were upwards of 350,000 new cases of the disease annually worldwide. Today that number has dropped to fewer than 35. "And fighting disease is just one of Rotary's priorities," said Bob. "We're also providing clean water and sanitation, supporting women, educating children, and building peace." That last cause, said Bob, will likely be the biggest project undertaken by Rotary over the next 50 to 100 years.
Bob concluded his inspiring talk with comments on the International Rotary Convention he attended in Atlanta, and by challenging Club members to give a little more, listen a little more, and bring more guests to our meetings. "Don't keep Rotary a secret!"
Bob Davis and Rotary's Culture of Yes Sandy Warren 2017-07-17 07:00:00Z 0

Step Up Ventura Meets the Needs of Homeless Children

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 10, 2017
Step Up Ventura is Meeting the Needs
of Ventura's Homeless Children
Ready for a sobering statistic? There are 600 homeless children between the ages of 0-5 living in Ventura. That number jumps to 6,000 for the entire County. The mission of Step Up Ventura, as explained by Mary Kerrigan at our regular meeting on Monday, July 10, is to end the cycle of homelessness where it begins - in early childhood.
As Outreach Program Coordinator and a Board member of the organization, Mary explained that 85 percent of homeless young children will become homeless adults without the intervention needed to prepare them for education. "Babies' brains from zero to three months grow and develop faster than at any other time in life," said Mary. "The first five years are crucial in anyone's life, but so much more so for homeless children. These are kids that need lots of stability to counter the massive instability of their lives."
Step Up Ventura provides a therapeutic program for young homeless children, in partnership with their parents. "They get lots of one-on-one time," said Mary, "time spent reading to them, playing with them, or just holding them." On the organization's horizon is a partnership with Magic Carousel Preschool in Ventura to provide preschool and daycare, 12 hours a day/five days a week for homeless children. In addition to enriching the children academically, the daycare arm of the program will enable parents to work and/or go to school to improve their own living situation.
Mary noted that the organization is always looking for volunteers to work with the children on a one-to-one basis. For more information, visit Thank you, Mary, for an inspiring look at Step Up Ventura and its much-needed services!
Step Up Ventura Meets the Needs of Homeless Children Sandy Warren 2017-07-10 07:00:00Z 0

Ross Emery and American Roots Music

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 12, 2017
Festival of American Roots Music
Coming to Ventura on July 1
Ross Emery, a local musician and businessman, visited Ventura Rotary South on Monday, June 12, to talk about the challenges of event planning and provide details on the upcoming "Roadshow Revival," a celebration of American Roots Music. The festival, which will be headlined by the popular band Los Lobos and supported by 13 other bands, will be held on Saturday, July 1, at Discovery Ventura, 1888 East Thompson Blvd. in Ventura. Starting at 11:30 a.m., the event will also feature vendors, pin-ups, a kids corral, and tasty food and drink.
A musician of more than 30 years himself, Ross is no stranger to event planning in Ventura. The Roadshow Revival is actually a new version of the Johnny Cash Music Festival that he launched in 2009. "Ventura's a tough town for event planning," said Ross, "due to its proximity to towns that typically draw more people -- Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco." Ross also noted that event promotion has radically changed since the days (not so long ago) when a simple newspaper ad was sufficient to draw a crowd. "It's all about electronic communication and social media now," he said.
With that in mind, anyone interested in attending the upcoming event can get more information here.
Ross Emery and American Roots Music Sandy Warren 2017-06-12 07:00:00Z 0

Henry Dubroff Gets Down to Business

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 15, 2017
Editor of Pacific Coast Business Times
Offers Thoughts on Central Coast Economy
"The business climate of the Central Coast has changed dramatically over the past 17 years," said Henry Dubroff, editor of Pacific Coast Business Times, a weekly print and online publication that spotlights business activity and economic trends from Ventura to San Luis Obispo Counties. Launched in March 2000, it is now the largest business publication between Los Angeles and San Francisco. In addition to publishing 52 regular issues annually, Henry noted that his company generates 24 special reports and produces eight special events each year.
Reflecting on the Central Coast economy, Henry noted that there has been a major shift from locally based banks to larger regional institutions, with the former dropping from 15 to four during his tenure as editor of the Business Times. He also observed that tech companies have blossomed on the Central Coast during that same period, and he attributed their growth to three principal drivers: innovations in bio-technology, development of hybrid semi-conductors, and ongoing creation of cutting-edge software. Looking ahead, Henry pointed to travel/tourism, health care, and higher education as sectors to watch for strong growth.
As far as potential business issues are concerned, Henry noted that housing in the Central Coast could limit growth, and he observed that millennials tend to favor busy urban areas over suburban-based communities, although they are adaptable in that regard. "All-in-all," he said, "the Central Coast continues to be an exciting, vibrant area for business development."
Henry Dubroff Gets Down to Business Sandy Warren 2017-05-15 07:00:00Z 0

Interact Bake Sale

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 01, 2017
Rotary Ventura South Raises Money for
Interact Club at Annual Bake Sale
If those who attended our meeting on Monday, May 1, didn't have a sweet tooth when they arrived, chances are they did by the meeting's end. Rotary Ventura South conducted its annual bake sale in support of the Interact Club at St. Bonaventure High School. Under the expert auction skills of member Larry Matheney (pictured above with Interact Club co-presidents Maya Hishmeh and Jason Lopez), members bid on a wide variety of delectable desserts, including chocolate cake, strawberry cream flan, rice pudding, brownies, and red velvet cake pops. When the dozen or so items had all found homes, funds raised for the Interact Club totaled more than $800. Thanks to all who contributed money (and sacrificed their waistlines) for this worthy cause!
Interact Bake Sale Sandy Warren 2017-05-01 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary Work Day at Botanical Gardens

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 01, 2017
Ventura Rotary Clubs Join Forces for
Trail Clearing at Botanical Gardens
Saturday, April 29, was International Rotary Work Day. To celebrate the global event, members of Rotary Ventura South gathered with Rotarians from the Downtown Ventura Club, and Rotary Ventura East, as well as Ventura Rotaractors, to do some trail maintenance at the Ventura Botanical Gardens. In the photo above, Rotary Ventura South member Matt Jones and his wife Sandy bring down one of dozens of wheelbarrow loads of brush that participants cleared from a hillside trail.
After the morning's work, participants gathered at what will be the site of the Rotary Pavilion, part of the Garden's master plan. Joe Cahill, Ventura Botanical Gardens Executive Director, spoke to the group, noting that the Gardens will be a focal point for the City of Ventura, drawing visitors from around the world.
Members and spouses of Rotary Ventura South who participated in the day's event included Peter Barry, Ed Keay, Matt and Sandy Jones, Larry Matheney, Marilyn and Don Scott, Melody Thurman, Sandy Warren, and John Zaruka.
Rotary Work Day at Botanical Gardens Sandy Warren 2017-05-01 07:00:00Z 0

Kelsey Gerckens and the Amazing Race

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 18, 2017
Kelsey Gerckens Offers Fascinating Insights
Into the Amazing Race and Broadcast Journalism
"It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience." That's how Kelsey Gerckens, our guest speaker on Monday, April 17, described her participation (and victory) in TV's "The Amazing Race" last summer. Kelsey and her then-boyfriend, now-fiance, Joey Buttita, visited 10 countries on 5 continents in 21 days, doing everything from hang-gliding over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to washing laundry in a river in India to working with gauchos in Argentina. When it was all said and done, they beat out 10 other couples, winning the one million dollar prize. (Kelsey was quick to point out that Uncle Sam and the State of California took about half.)
In addition to their personal relationship, Kelsey and Joey are professional colleagues, working at KEYT television in Santa Barbara. Joey anchors the morning news while Kelsey works as the Ventura County Bureau Chief, reporting local news on camera from her hometown of Ventura. Kelsey explained that news crews across the country are becoming leaner these days. Instead of a reporter, cameraman, and sound technician, the field reporter is often expected (as is Kelsey) to do it all on her own.
"I shoot all my own video, make sure the sound levels are correct, then edit everything for the story on a smartphone in my car," she explained. "Not very glamorous, but I love it." When she's not in the field chasing down stories, she's frequently working in the studio, writing copy, anchoring broadcasts, or reporting the weather.
Among Kelsey's favorite assignments was flying with the Blue Angels, another experience very few people get to have. "I love working with people," said Kelsey. With her bright smile, confident demeanor, and sparkling personality, it's a safe bet that people feel the same about working with her. Thanks, Kelsey, for a fascinating glimpse into what has already been a very exciting life!
Kelsey Gerckens and the Amazing Race Sandy Warren 2017-04-18 07:00:00Z 0

New Members at Rotary Ventura South

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 03, 2017
Ventura Rotary South
Welcomes New Members!
Here we grow again! The Rotary Club of Ventura South recently added two new members. On Monday, March 20, Carol Chapman was inducted into the Club. Carol is well known to members of Rotary Ventura South, as she heads up the Ventura County Library's adult literacy program, which is the focal point of the Club's annual Trivia Challenge fundraiser event. In the top photo, Carol receives her Rotary pin from sponsor Don MacDonald.
In the bottom photo, Peter McClintock receives his pin from member John Mattina on Monday, April 3, as Club President Rosanna Colin conducts the induction. Peter is Director of Development for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Ventura. Congratulations and welcome to Carol and Peter!
New Members at Rotary Ventura South Sandy Warren 2017-04-03 07:00:00Z 0

Salvation Army in Ventura

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 13, 2017
The Salvation Army's Multi-Faceted Mission
In Ventura and Around the World
Rotary and the Salvation Army are similar in many ways, not the least of which is the international scope of their humanitarian efforts. At our meeting on Monday, March 13, member and guests of Ventura Rotary South got a firsthand look at what the Army is doing to assist people right here in our home community, thanks to a fascinating and enthusiastic presentation from Lieutenant Fabio Simoes who heads up the Army's Ventura-area operations.
Fabio began his talk with a little personal history, noting that he was born and raised in Brazil. As an adult, he followed two roads simultaneously: his passion for music, and his education as a dentist. In 2002, while on vacation in the U.S., he spent some time with a friend who was involved with the Salvation Army. Three years later, when he felt a need to "change his life," he answered the call to serve. He and his wife are both Salvation Army officers, working from the center on Petit Avenue in Ventura.
"The are three main parts to the Salvation Army," explained Fabio, "the church, social services, and disaster relief services." The Army's local humanitarian efforts include  a 44-bed transitional living center, senior apartments, and an outreach program for the homeless, among other projects. Fabio noted that he is currently working with the City of Ventura on a feasibility study to make use of a three-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Petit Avenue center. "Small things can change lives," he said. "My joy is when I can see people with hope."
Thank you, Fabio, for bringing the Salvation Army's vision of hope to Ventura Rotary South. For more information, visit
Salvation Army in Ventura Sandy Warren 2017-03-13 07:00:00Z 0

Ventura County City Center

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 01, 2017
Paul Paulin Shares the Vision and Value
Of Ventura County City Center
On a section of Thompson Boulevard, near downtown Ventura, sits a nondescript building that began its life as a motel. Years of decay and the occasional criminal activity took their toll on the structure, but today it serves as a testament to the power of positive action. It is the Ventura County City Center, a program that provides transitional housing for the County's homeless population. At our meeting on Monday, February 27, Board member Paul Paulin gave members of Rotary Ventura South an inspiring overview of the Center's goals and accomplishments.
"Our mission," said Paul, "is to give people a hand up, not a handout." He explained that the Center offers temporary housing to homeless men, women, and children with a high level of accountability and the goal of transitioning residents into long-term housing within one year. Clients contribute 30 percent of their income (whatever that may be) for housing and services, and 20 percent of their income is saved to  begin the process of becoming financially stable.
Paul noted that the Center currently houses 42 residents. "When they leave us, adult residents have a car, a job, a bank account, and an apartment. During their stay with us, they have a personal mentor to help them with life issues including finance, job hunting, and schooling." He also explained that there are strict regulations for program participants, among which is the requirement to have been clean and sober for six months, and to remain so. "One mistake and they're out," said Paul.
The Center receives no permanent financial support, relying on donations from churches, businesses, organizations, and individuals. "A big part of my job," Paul said, "is helping to find $750,000 a year, which is our operating budget." He noted that the City Center relies heavily on volunteer effort, and it has become a model program for organizations in other cities. Summing up the Center's mission, he said, "We encourage self-sufficiency."
For more information about the City Center of Ventura County, visit
Ventura County City Center Sandy Warren 2017-03-01 08:00:00Z 0

2017 Mardi Gras Fundraiser

Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 06, 2017
Good Times Are Set to Roll
At 2017 Mardi Gras Event
On Sunday, February 26, the Tower Club on the top floor of 300 E. Esplanade Drive in Oxnard will be transformed into a Mardi Gras wonderland for Rotary Ventura South's annual fundraising event in support of Turning Point Foundation. Turning Point is the only non-profit mental health organization in Ventura County dedicated to the recovery of persons suffering from mental illness, most of them homeless and veterans, by providing them with a safety net of services to reach their highest potential as contributing members of our community.
The event will feature New Orleans' style jazz, wonderful food and drink, and the opportunity to bid on a wide array of tempting auction items or purchase raffle tickets for some truly excellent prizes. Proceeds from the event will support Turning Point and other Rotary Club of Ventura South Foundation charities. Sponsorship opportunities range from $50 (an event invitation for two) to $10,000 (wide recognition of your generosity together with 20 invitations, a case of premium wine, and complimentary dinner for 20 at any Wedgewood Banquet Center location and more).
For more information on this exciting, fun-filled event, contact any member of Ventura Rotary South or Suki Sir at "Laissez Les bon Temps Roulez" (Let the Good Times Roll)!
2017 Mardi Gras Fundraiser Sandy Warren 2017-02-06 08:00:00Z 0

Dictionary Donation Program

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 30, 2017
Members of Ventura South Go Back to School
For Annual Dictionary Donation Program
For the eighth consecutive year, members of Ventura Rotary South visited third-grade classrooms in the Ventura Unified School District to distribute dictionaries and instruct the students on their use. Pictured above is Club member Sal Saldana in a classroom at Portola Elementary School. Other schools visited include Junipero Serra and Will Rogers Elementary.
According to Marilyn Scott, Community Service Chair and coordinator of the program for our Club, we distributed 315 dictionaries in this year's event. "The books cost just $2.50 each," said Marilyn, "so this is a very affordable effort that the students will be able to easily use through the 6th grade and beyond." She also noted that a quantity of English-Spanish dictionaries was distributed to those students needing them. All books included a label stating the dictionaries were donated by Ventura South, along with a Rotary wheel sticker for each child.
Those who participated in the preparation and the classroom distribution included Al Antelman, Bob Braitman, Mary Braitman, Rosanna Colin, Matt Jones, NK Khumalo, Hugette Peters-Khumalo, John Mattina, Kendall Mattina, Sal Saldana, Marilyn Scott, Don Scott, Melody Thurman, and Sandy Warren.
Dictionary Donation Program Sandy Warren 2017-01-30 08:00:00Z 0

Profile of California Correctional System

California Correctional Officers (and K-9)
Visit Rotary Ventura South
At our regular meeting on Monday, January 23, members and guests of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed an informative presentation from three California correctional officers about the challenges they face every day as a routine part of their work. Officer John Colin from Lancaster State Prison was joined by youth correctional staff members Sergeant Paul Hernandez and Officer Richard Bautista (pictured above with "Jack," a K-9 correctional officer).
Speaking of the youth facility where he and Officer Bautista work, Sergeant Hernandez said, "Our facility houses very dangerous people. These youths, ages 13 to 23, can be as violent and disruptive as any adult inmate." He spoke of the need for correctional staff to be constantly observant for indications of impending fights or other incidents. "My goal is to have every one of my staff go home safely every night."
The officers displayed samples of the chemical agents they employ when needed for inmate fights or other incidents. Officer Bautista described one specific instance when 112 inmates were fighting at the same time. He also noted the constant tendency of inmates to hide drugs, money, and even cell phones on a regular basis. They frequently spend time creating crude weapons out of anything sharp they can get their hands on. Officer Bautista, who spends much of his time on duty searching inmate cells, hid a packet of marijuana and a packet of methamphetamine in the meeting room, then brought in Jack. He promptly located both packets, alerting his handler with an assertive "woof."
Officer Colin noted that it is the objective of many youth offenders to "graduate" to the State prison system as a "badge of honor" in the eyes of their gangs. "These young men frequently know nothing but gangs, drugs, and violence," he said, "which makes rehabilitation extremely challenging."
Our thanks to officers Bautista, Colin, and Hernandez for the important work they do and for sharing their insights with us!
Profile of California Correctional System Sandy Warren 2017-01-25 08:00:00Z 0

Ventura County Community Foundation

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 08, 2017
The Ventura County Community Foundation --
Promoting and Enhancing Philanthropy
Rotary Ventura South kicked off its first regular meeting of the new year with an inspiring and informative presentation by Vanessa Bechtel, President and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation, a Camarillo-based organization whose mission is "to promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community...for good...for ever." Established in 1987, the Foundation connects philanthropic resources with community needs through scholarships, grant-making, and collaborative partnerships.
Vanessa noted that "philanthropy is a core American value." With $87 million in net assets, she stated that her organization manages for the highest degree of impact for the donor dollars entrusted to it. "We work to transcend much of the bureaucracy that is traditionally associated with philanthropy.
Much of the Foundation's activity is directed toward providing educational scholarships for students of all ages. Vanessa noted that the current application process is underway now. To apply for a scholarship, or to obtain more information about the Ventura County Community Foundation, visit their website at Thank you, Vanessa, for educating the members and guests of Ventura Rotary South about the Foundation's good work!
Ventura County Community Foundation Sandy Warren 2017-01-09 00:00:00Z 0

Veteran Farmers of America

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 11, 2016
Veteran Farmers of America Connects County Vets
With Job Opportunities in the Agriculture Industry
When Lawrence Parkhill (pictured above) returned from the second of his two Marine Corps deployments to the Middle East, he began thinking about the fact that soldiers coming home from active duty have precious few resources to aid them in 1) determining the employment opportunities available to them and 2) taking advantage of the opportunities that exist. In his work at Mission Produce, Lawrence has broad exposure to the local agricultural industry. In 2013, together with Mary Maranville he founded Veteran Farmers of America with the goal of introducing vets to career opportunities in agriculture.
"We introduce veterans to farming," said Lawrence, "by providing them a paid educational hands-on internship at  local forms and agricultural businesses in Ventura County." Lawrence noted that agriculture offers a full range of career paths in a variety of disciplines, including law, finance, sales, operations, and more. "We attempt to match veterans to agricultural employment, either through 80-hour internships or direct positions. He noted that Mission Produce has hired eight veterans in recent months.
For more information, Lawrence recommended that people contact Julie Sardonia, the organization's program coordinator, at (805) 797-5539, or visit the website:
Veteran Farmers of America Sandy Warren 2016-12-12 00:00:00Z 0

Tom Buenger of CASA

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 05, 2016
Ventura County's Foster Children
Find a Much-Needed Voice in CASA
At our regular meeting on Monday, December 5, speaker Tom Buenger had some sobering statistics to share with members of Ventura Rotary South about the plight of foster children in Ventura County. Tom is a Board Member of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).
"There are approximately 1,100 foster children in Ventura County," said Tom. "Virtually all of them are victims of a crime of some sort, primarily abuse or neglect, which is why they were removed from their original homes and placed in foster care. That's where CASA comes in."
The CASA organization, explained Tom, consists of a Board of Directors (of which he is a member) and a small paid staff. The lifeblood of the organization are the 170-plus volunteers who serve as advocates for the children. They represent them in court and, as Tom noted, may well be a child's only legal voice. Additionally, the volunteer advocates offer the children a sense of reliability and hope, qualities that are usually missing from their lives otherwise.
CASA volunteers receive training in child advocacy and typically devote 10-15 hours of service monthly. Tom noted that there are more than 700 children on the waiting list to be assigned an advocate, so the need for additional volunteers is critical. Donations are also needed to fund the agency's work. For additional information, visit or call 805-389-3120.
Tom Buenger of CASA Sandy Warren 2016-12-06 00:00:00Z 0

Tracy Towner of Ventura County DAs Office

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 27, 2016
Tracy Towner Educates Ventura South Members
On the Role of County D.A.'s Investigators
Members and guests of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed a fascinating presentation on Monday, November 28, by Commander Tracy Towner of the Ventura County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation. "Our agency's goal is to streamline the process by which criminal cases are prosecuted by the District Attorney," said Commander Towner.
He noted that the prosecution of major crimes in the County is frequently a multi-agency effort involving his office and the Ventura County Sheriff, city police departments, and state and federal law enforcement agencies. With more than 30,000 cases per year, Commander Towner stated that the 100-plus deputy district attorneys and the 45 agents in his office maintain a high conviction rate. Crimes range from homicides to burglaries, to sexual assaults and cyber attacks.
"That last category is demanding more and more of the Bureau's time and resources," Commander Towner noted. "If you use email, online banking, wire transfers, or other forms of electronic communication and business transactions, you have an 80 percent chance of falling victim to some form of cyber crime, and it's only going to increase."
Commander Towner continued, "Don't use the same password for all the sites you visit." He also recommended using extra caution when responding to emails from unfamiliar sources. At this time of year, when online holiday shopping is at its height, Commander Towner's remarks were particularly relevant. Thank you for timely and valuable information!
Tracy Towner of Ventura County DAs Office Sandy Warren 2016-11-28 00:00:00Z 0

Bob Davis Talks Interest Rates

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 20, 2016
Ventura Rotary South Member Bob Davis
Talks Interest Rates and Mortgage Lending
"Interest rates are going higher, and that's a good thing." That was Bob Davis' opening statement to Club members and guests on Monday, November 21. Bob, a local mortgage lender with many years of experience in the real estate lending field, provided an historical overview of the volatile, and frequently unpredictable, world of interest rates, as well as a current snapshot of the industry.
Bob spoke about the traditional spread between savings and lending interest rates, noting that historical norms no longer apply. He also noted that the recent general election, which had some surprises of its own, will undoubtedly continue to affect the national (and global) lending market.
Bob commented that few generalizations can ever be reliably made about the future performance of the U.S. economy, especially given the volatile nature of national and global politics. Given the outcome of the November 8 presidential election, however, Bob said "it's probably a real good time to review your financial position and plans, and to meet with your financial advisor."
Thanks, Bob, for a fascinating and entertaining overview of a subject important to virtually everyone.
Bob Davis Talks Interest Rates Sandy Warren 2016-11-21 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary Site at Ventura Botanical Gardens

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 13, 2016
Ventura Rotary Clubs to Have Own Site
At Ventura Botanical Gardens
If all goes according to plan, and sufficient funds are raised, the three Rotary Clubs in Ventura (Downtown, East, and South) will make a lasting impact on the Ventura Botanical Gardens, now under development in the hills directly behind City Hall. Rotary Ventura East members Kathy and Bruce McGee (pictured above) were on hand at our meeting on Monday, November 14 to update members on the ambitious plans for a Rotary site in the Gardens and encourage financial participation.
Kathy, a member of the Gardens' Board of Directors, gave a presentation on the specific plans for the Rotary site, which will occupy a central spot in the 107-acre Garden. The 1600-square-foot site will include space for 50 people to sit and enjoy some of the best views of the hillsides and coastline. A donor wall will offer significant public visibility for the Rotary organization.
Kathy noted the $250,000 price tag for construction of the Rotary site and explained various ways in which Rotarians can contribute to that goal. The Gardens are a 501(c)3 corporation.
Bruce is a member of the joint Rotary Club Committee spearheading the fundraising project. "What a legacy this will be for Rotary in the Ventura community and beyond," he said.
To learn more about plans for the Rotary site and the Gardens in general, Rotarians from the three Ventura Clubs are invited to a preview party on Sunday, November 20, from 3:00-4:30 PM at the Gardens. (Click here for a map to the site.) Additional general information is also available from the Gardens' website:
Rotary Site at Ventura Botanical Gardens Sandy Warren 2016-11-14 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary Foundation A Charity of Choice

Posted by Sandy Warren
The Rotary Foundation -
Doing Good In The World
On Monday, October 31, members of Ventura Rotary South received an overview of The Rotary Foundation from Club member Sandy Warren. The mission of The Rotary Foundation, he noted, is to enable Rotarians to "advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty."
The Rotary Foundation, Sandy explained, accomplishes these goals by using the expertise and compassion of Rotarians who foster effective and sustainable projects around the world. And, he noted, Rotary's reach is greater than that of the United Nations. "Rotary can go where politicians and religious groups cannot," he said.
Sandy provided details on the Foundation's work in six areas of focus:
  • Building Peace
  • Fighting Disease
  • Providing Clean Water
  • Supporting Mothers and Children
  • Promoting Education
  • Growing Local Economies
As an example, Sandy noted that a contribution of $100 would buy three backpacks filled with school supplies for primary school children in Honduras, 50 malaria diagnostic tests to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria in Mali, and one bio-sand filter and water hygiene training for a family in Peru.
"The easiest and most effective way for Rotarians to support this work," said Sandy, "is through the Foundation's Annual Fund, whose goal is 'Every Rotarian, Every Year'. Rotarians can give online or obtain more information by visiting"
Rotary Foundation A Charity of Choice Sandy Warren 2016-11-01 00:00:00Z 0

Passion Spark Teen Workshops

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 09, 2016
Helping Young People Find Their Career Passion
Is All in a Day's Work for Jerry Beckerman
Career planning for young people is like using a compass -- one benefits from knowing where one is headed before one begins the adventure. That was the message that Jerry Beckerman brought to Rotary Ventura South at our regular meeting on Monday, October 10. President and Founder of Passion Spark, Jerry and his team conduct intensive, focused workshops for teenagers aimed at determining what they enjoy doing most, then determining the best career path alternatives.
"According to a recent survey by Forbes Magazine," said Jerry, "eighty-one percent of working adults in the United States are dissatisfied with their careers." The Passion Spark workshops are designed to help 13 to 19 year-olds aim for that elusive nineteen percent group in which people are highly satisfied with their work. Over the course of four weekend days, workshop participants progress through a three-tiered program.
In Tier 1, group facilitators work on drawing out feelings and emotions to identify activities about which the young people are passionate. Tier 2 shifts into the objective and scientific arena and the assessments begin to match personalities with career types. The final Tier 3 sends participants into the community to speak with people who work at their dream jobs. The final outcome, says Jerry, is a synopsis of their notes, feelings, and guidance from facilitators to identify how their passion applies to their potential career.
"The Passion Spark Program not only helps with career planning," said Jerry, "but also for college preparation." He noted that the next session begins on November 5, and he encouraged people to visit the Passion Spark website for more information. Thanks, Jerry, for an informative look at the essential work you are doing to help young people find their own passion!
Passion Spark Teen Workshops Sandy Warren 2016-10-10 00:00:00Z 0

Wade Nomura Discusses Japanese Internment

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 02, 2016
Wade Nomura Offers Insights Into
Japanese Internment During World War II
Rotary Ventura South was honored to have Former District Governor Wade Nomura as our guest speaker on Monday, October 3. Wade delivered a fascinating presentation on the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Executive Order 9066 in February of 1942 resulted in the evacuation of thousands of Japanese Americans along the west coast of the United States. Wade noted that his parents were part of this relocation, which ultimately resulted in their internment in a camp in Arizona. Other such camps were located in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. "People were forced to leave their homes with what they could carry," said Wade, "and they were given assurance that the property they left behind would be guarded until their return, which, unfortunately, did not happen."
People lived in the relocation camps for four years, during which time they tried their best to lead normal lives, working in the professions they had before they were relocated, setting up schools and other facilities. Food was often in short supply.
Very few photographs of life inside the camps exist, due to the U.S. Government's reluctance to publicize the relocation. Wade told of one of just a few photographers, Toyo Miyatake, who was able to build a camera out of lenses and a shoe box. Wade shared several of the images he created.
Wade also noted that HR Bill 442, enacted in 1988, was designed to provide $20,000 in redress to survivors for what the government called "a grave injustice." Wade encouraged the audience members to visit Manzanar, one of the California relocation camps which is now a National Monument. "It's a sobering part of our history," said Wade, "and one that should not be forgotten."
Wade Nomura Discusses Japanese Internment Sandy Warren 2016-10-03 00:00:00Z 0

Get Moving and Enhance Brain Function

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 25, 2016
Dr. Brant Gerckens Explores the Connection
Between Body Movement and Brain Function
Rotary Ventura South's own Dr. Brant Gerckens took to the podium at our regular meeting on Monday, September 26, to provide some fascinating information about the mind-body connection as it relates to body movement and brain function. Brant, a local Ventura chiropractor, offered up examples of simple movement techniques that can actually enhance one's brain power.
"What we've discovered about the brain in the last 10 years is more than we have learned in the previous 200 years," said Brant. "Part of that knowledge concerns the importance of physical activities that use both sides of the brain." Brant noted that, as opposed to prior popular thinking, the human brain does not stop developing solely on account of age. Rather, it can, if properly stimulated, continue to grow in its abilities. Activities like exercise, working crossword puzzles, and listening to classical music all provide the necessary stimulation for brain development.
Brant led members and guests through a brief series of simple movements and low-impact exercises, each of which involved cross-body techniques that, in turn, stimulate both sides of the brain. For additional information, Brant suggested those interested perform an Internet search for "brain gym". Thanks, Brant, for timely tips to help us feel better and think more effectively!
Get Moving and Enhance Brain Function Sandy Warren 2016-09-26 00:00:00Z 0

Vino for Veterans

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 19, 2016
Vino for Veterans Event Sponsored By
Ventura County Association of Realtors
Sarah Kenney, representing the Young Professionals Network of the Ventura County Association of Realtors, spoke to Ventura Rotary South members and guests on Monday, September 19 about an upcoming event designed to benefit the Veterans' Home of California in Ventura. The fifth annual "Vino for Vets" event will take place at the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura on Thursday, November 10.
Running from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., the event will feature tastings from local wineries and breweries, as well as delicious food from area restaurants. Tickets are available by pre-order for $40 at Tickets at the door will be $50.
In addition to individual tickets, there are several sponsorship levels available, ranging from $550 to $5000. Sarah explained that there is also a need for silent auction gift baskets and sponsorship of transportation for veterans to attend.
Sarah noted that last year's event raised $12,000 for the Veterans' Home. "This year," she said, "our goal is to present them with a check for $30,000! Honoring our veterans is the least we can do to give back for the sacrifices they have made."
Serving veterans is personal for Sarah - she noted that both her grandfathers were officers in the U.S. Air Force.
Vino for Veterans Sandy Warren 2016-09-20 00:00:00Z 0

How to Win at Blackjack and Poker

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 11, 2016
Members of Ventura South Learn Strategies
for Beating the Odds at Blackjack and Poker
For those at Ventura Rotary South who thought Lady Luck was their only ally when playing blackjack or poker, our speaker on Monday, September 12 told them to think otherwise. Tom Gallagher of Thomas Casino Systems offered an interesting look at the current state of casino gaming and how it's possible to come away a winner by investing some time in learning the techniques that actually got him banned from playing high-level blackjack at casinos worldwide.
Tom noted that, over the years, casinos have put measures in place to reduce the effectiveness of card counting and other strategies. These measures include multiple decks, constant shuffling, and no "mid-shoe" entry into games in progress. He also reviewed the five best and five worst games/bets in casino gaming.
Tom had some interesting stories to share of his own experiences at the gaming tables, and, fortunately, he left for questions, as there were quite a few from members. Some of the answers, of course, were proprietary to Tom's "systems," which are available through purchase of his eWorkbooks on line.
Thanks, Tom, for an entertaining look at the world of high-stakes gaming!
How to Win at Blackjack and Poker Sandy Warren 2016-09-12 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura County Ombudsman Program

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 22, 2016
Ventura County Ombudsman Program
Advocates for Seniors in Care Facilities
"Sixty percent of the seniors residing in Ventura County's long-term care facilities have no family or friends to visit them or speak on their behalf." That was the sobering news delivered by Daniel Uhlar, our meeting speaker on Monday, August 22. "They are, however, not without an advocate," said Dan, and he proceeded to tell the members and guests in attendance about the Ventura County Ombudsman, an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights and needs of elderly and disabled residents in nursing homes and other care facilities.
In Ventura County there are approximately 230 such facilities that house about 8,000 residents. Dan, who sits on the Board of the Ombudsman, explained that volunteers and staff representatives for the organization make unscheduled, unannounced weekly visits to all nursing homes in Ventura County and monthly visits to all assisted living facilities and board and care homes. "We visit with the residents," said Dan, "listen to their concerns, and help resolve them."
The Ombudsman operates with a lean staff of just five members, reinforced by a group of about 65 state-certified volunteers. Among the primary complaints they hear from facility residents are: not enough staff to handle resident needs, dietary issues, call lights ignored or not answered in a timely manner, personal items being lost or stolen, and language barriers that result in an inability to communicate with staff. Ombudsman representatives attempt to handle all concerns at the facility level, but are authorized to contact the state office for assistance in resolving issues.
Under federal authority from the Older Americans Act of 1965, the Ombudsman provides its services free of charge, relying on state funding, donations, and fundraising activities. There are 35 such programs within the State of California. For more information, visit
Ventura County Ombudsman Program Sandy Warren 2016-08-23 00:00:00Z 0

President Rosanna and the 2016 International Convention

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 14, 2016
Rotary Ventura South President Rosanna Colin
Presents Highlights of Rotary Convention in Korea
Our lunchtime presenter at Monday's meeting, August 15, was none other than our own 2016-17 Club President, Rosanna Colin. She used the opportunity to show photos and describe her experience at the 2016 Rotary International Convention, which was held this year in Seoul, South Korea.
Rosanna began her presentation by thanking the Club for the opportunity to attend the event, saying that it was an "amazing and memorable" experience. The sheer number of Rotarians and guests in attendance (over 50,000) was overwhelming, with dozens of inspiring and informative presentations by Rotarians from all over the world, including the outgoing and incoming RI Presidents, K.R. Ravindran and John Germ, respectively.
Rosanna was very impressed with Seoul itself, noting the cleanliness of the City and the friendliness of the people. Among her many culinary adventures was the sampling of kimchi, the traditional Korean dish. Rosanna noted that she was able to enjoy a taste of home when she found a Starbucks.
Thanks, Rosanna, for treating us to a trip to Korea by way of your pictures and words!
President Rosanna and the 2016 International Convention Sandy Warren 2016-08-15 00:00:00Z 0

Celebrating the Coast Guard

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 08, 2016
Rotary Ventura South Celebrates
Birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard
Lieutenant Thomas Wieland was our special guest on Monday, August 8, as Rotary Ventura South celebrated the birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard. Tracing its origin to August 4, 1790 when Congress authorized the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, the Coast Guard holds the distinction of being the longest continuing seagoing service in the U.S.
Stressing the broad scope of operations and services in which the Coast Guard is involved, Lieutenant Wieland explained, "If there's a need, the Coast Guard fills it." The Coast Guard is involved in missions that range from search and rescue to law enforcement to environmental protection and more.
Lieutenant Wieland entered the Coast Guard Academy in 2003 and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor's Degree in Management. Before assuming his current position as Commanding Officer of U.S. Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor, Lieutenant Wieland served in many capacities, including command officer positions in Boston and deployments to the Middle East and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Lieutenant's current command area extends from Point Dume to Point Conception, and he is responsible for 25 active duty "Coasties" and 25 reservists. Their daily work includes vessel inspection, maritime rescues, ocean pollution investigation, facilitation of sea-going commerce, and a variety of law enforcement activity.
Thank you, Lieutenant Wieland, for your service to our Country and for a fascinating look at the much-needed work of the U.S. Coast Guard!
Celebrating the Coast Guard Sandy Warren 2016-08-09 00:00:00Z 0

Karen Stewart from Four Brix Winery

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 31, 2016
Local Winery in the Spotlight
At Ventura Rotary South
From its beaches to its restaurants to its balmy Mediterranean climate, Ventura County is known for many wonderful things. Typically, winemaking isn't one of them. However, the owners of Four Brix Winery are on a mission to change that. From humble beginnings as home winemakers in 2002, Karen and Gary Stewart, together with a few wine-loving friends, built a local winery with a current annual production of 1500-2000 cases, and growing.
Karen, pictured above with a sample bottle of juice just beginning its fermentation, joined us for lunch as our speaker on Monday, August 1. She began by announcing that Four Brix Winery is on the verge of a major expansion, doubling its current footprint to approximately 8,400 square feet at 2290 Eastman Avenue in Ventura. "We needed more space for production and for wine events," said Karen.
Karen also explained how the business got its name. "Brix" is a French term that refers to the quantity of sugar in grape juice. The number four pays tribute to the Stewarts' four favorite wine regions of the world: France, Italy, Spain, and California, all of which are reflected in the wine varieties they produce.
Nearly all of the winery's grapes come from Central California, although Karen noted that the winery also uses fruit from vineyards in Ojai. She explained that the drought has had a major impact on growers, with some suffering as much as a 75-percent cut in production. "However," said Karen, "the grapes that we do get are of extremely high quality."
Karen walked Rotary Ventura South  members and guests through the winemaking process, noting that it typically takes about five years to go from grape harvest to a bottle ready for purchase. Four Brix wines may be purchased directly from the winery. More information is available at their website: Thank you, Karen and ... "Cheers!"
Karen Stewart from Four Brix Winery Sandy Warren 2016-08-01 00:00:00Z 0

Vocational Education at Career Care Institute

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 24, 2016
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!
Vocational Education at Career Care Institute Sandy Warren 2016-07-25 00:00:00Z 0

District Governor Nick Frankle Visits Ventura Rotary South

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 19, 2016
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."
District Governor Nick Frankle Visits Ventura Rotary South Sandy Warren 2016-07-20 00:00:00Z 0

Ivor Davis and the Beatles

Posted by Sandy Warren
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.
Ivor Davis and the Beatles Sandy Warren 2016-07-11 00:00:00Z 0

2016 Step-Down Dinner

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 30, 2016
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!
2016 Step-Down Dinner Sandy Warren 2016-07-01 00:00:00Z 0

Sheriffs Unmanned Aviation Systems

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 20, 2016
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.
Sheriffs Unmanned Aviation Systems Sandy Warren 2016-06-21 00:00:00Z 0

Al Antelman and American Foreign War Cemeteries

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 15, 2016
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.
Al Antelman and American Foreign War Cemeteries Sandy Warren 2016-06-16 00:00:00Z 0

Stand Up Straight with Brant Gerckens

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 08, 2016
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!
Stand Up Straight with Brant Gerckens Sandy Warren 2016-06-09 00:00:00Z 0

Offsite Meeting at Turning Point Foundation

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 24, 2016
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
Offsite Meeting at Turning Point Foundation Sandy Warren 2016-05-25 00:00:00Z 0

Barbara MacDonald Talks Teeth

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 11, 2016
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!
Barbara MacDonald Talks Teeth Sandy Warren 2016-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 01, 2016
"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.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Sandy Warren 2016-05-02 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary Supports CDA Cares Event

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 17, 2016
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!
Rotary Supports CDA Cares Event Sandy Warren 2016-04-18 00:00:00Z 0

Jim Dawson - Marathoner Extraordinare

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 10, 2016
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!
Jim Dawson - Marathoner Extraordinare Sandy Warren 2016-04-11 00:00:00Z 0

Wade Nomura's Rotary Family

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 04, 2016
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!"
Wade Nomura's Rotary Family Sandy Warren 2016-04-05 00:00:00Z 0

Mission Produce Tour

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 28, 2016
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!
Mission Produce Tour Sandy Warren 2016-03-29 00:00:00Z 0

Turning Point Fundraiser Results

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 22, 2016
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.
Turning Point Fundraiser Results Sandy Warren 2016-03-23 00:00:00Z 0

Susan Scott - Ventura Music Festival

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 13, 2016
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
Susan Scott - Ventura Music Festival Sandy Warren 2016-03-14 00:00:00Z 0

Interact Bake Sale

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 06, 2016
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!
Interact Bake Sale Sandy Warren 2016-03-07 00:00:00Z 0

Satya Mitra on Increasing Club Membership

Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 29, 2016
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!
Satya Mitra on Increasing Club Membership Sandy Warren 2016-03-01 00:00:00Z 0

Joe Cahill on Ventura Botanical Gardens

Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 22, 2016
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
Joe Cahill on Ventura Botanical Gardens Sandy Warren 2016-02-23 00:00:00Z 0

Local Dentists to Provide Free Services to Needy

Posted on Feb 02, 2016
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.
Local Dentists to Provide Free Services to Needy Sandy Warren 2016-02-03 00:00:00Z 0

Turning Point Mardi Gras Event

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 24, 2016
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
Turning Point Mardi Gras Event Sandy Warren 2016-01-25 00:00:00Z 0

Insights Into China

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 11, 2016
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!
Insights Into China Sandy Warren 2016-01-12 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura Mayor Addresses Club

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 04, 2016
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!
Ventura Mayor Addresses Club Sandy Warren 2016-01-05 00:00:00Z 0

Mohammed Hasan Discusses California Drought

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 28, 2015
"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
Mohammed Hasan Discusses California Drought Sandy Warren 2015-12-29 00:00:00Z 0

Recovering from Brain Injury

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 07, 2015
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!
Recovering from Brain Injury Sandy Warren 2015-12-08 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura Botanical Garden

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 01, 2015
Members Learn About Long-Range Plans
For Ventura Botanical Gardens
At an offsite meeting on Monday, November 30, members of Ventura Rotary South gathered on a blustery hillside in Grant Park above the City to learn about ambitious plans for the Ventura Botanical Gardens. Joseph Cahill, Executive Director of the Gardens addressed the group and outlined the 40-year vision for the 110-acre site with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
"We have launched the first of nine phases of development," said Joe. "This has the potential to be one of the finest botanical gardens in the western United States." Joe noted that visitors to the site can already enjoy a 1.5-mile trail that climbs the hills behind Ventura City Hall. The first .3 mile is wheelchair-accessible.
"When completed," Joe said, "the Gardens will include five sections with plants representing the five Mediterranean climate areas of the world. The Chilean garden will come first."
For area Rotary Clubs, including Ventura South, the goal is to contribute sufficient funds to include a dedicated area with benches and an informational station about Rotary and its worldwide humanitarian efforts.
For more information about the Gardens, including sponsorship opportunities, visit the website:
Ventura Botanical Garden Sandy Warren 2015-12-02 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura's 150th Anniversary

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 24, 2015
Ceramic Artist Michael O'Kelly Creating Work
In Celebration of Ventura's 150th Anniversary
Our primary speaker on Monday, November 23, was Michael O'Kelly, a ceramic artist and designer originally from Northern Ireland, but now a resident of Ventura. As part of the upcoming celebration of Ventura's sesquicentennial, Michael has been commissioned to create a mural in front of the Mission San Buenaventura depicting the City's history.
Michael has created decorative ceramic art in cities throughout California. "Our process of creating ceramic tiles is the same as that used in Spain over 1,300 years ago," he said. "Our job with this mural is to tell the rich and exciting story of the City of Ventura." He encouraged everyone to visit his studio, which is located at 5843 Towne Avenue in Los Angeles.
Ventura Councilmember Christy Weir was also on hand to provide information on the 150 days of celebratory events leading up to the official City "birthday" on April 2, 2016. "There will be lots going on," said Councilmember Weir, "including many opportunities for sponsorship of the celebratory activities, including this mural."
For information on the Sesquicentennial Celebration, visit
Ventura's 150th Anniversary Sandy Warren 2015-11-25 00:00:00Z 0

All About Ojai

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 15, 2015
Veteran Journalist Bret Bradigan
Sings the Praises of Ojai
"I'm basically a nosy person -- I like to know things." That's how veteran journalist and fellow Rotarian Bret Bradigan described the background that led to his current vocation as editor of two magazines that spotlight the picturesque town he lives in: Ojai, California.
"The main goal of the Ojai Monthly and the Ojai Quarterly is to represent Ojai as the cool and interesting place that it is," said Bret. "We strive to serve both the 7,500 people who call Ojai home, along with the 800,000 visitors we welcome each year. We love to tell the stories of Ojai."
Bret noted that the magazines' readership extends well beyond Ventura County. "You can find our publications in Oregon, Arizona, and even New York," he said. "Our stories are very focused on the people and places that make Ojai the delightful town that it is. When it comes to storytelling, I have found that the more specific it is, the more it applies to everyone."
Thanks, Bret, for a fascinating look at one of the jewels of Ventura County!
All About Ojai Sandy Warren 2015-11-16 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura South Rotary Foundation

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 09, 2015
Club Members Put Spotlight
On Ventura-South Rotary Foundation
At our regular meeting on Monday, November 9, Club members received a refresher course in the purpose, structure, and activities of the Ventura-South Rotary Foundation, the arm of the Club that oversees charitable giving. Foundation President Bob Braitman (pictured above) provided the overview, together with Foundation Treasurer Marty Moss.
Bob explained that the Foundation has been in existence for about 20 years and is overseen by a Board comprised of seven Club members. In addition to Bob and Marty, current Board members include Guy Frick, Dante Honorico, Alan Kosh, Larry Matheney, and Marilyn Scott.
Bob noted that the Foundation Board typically receives charitable giving recommendations from the Club Board of Directors, or it may act alone in making its own decisions with regard to giving. Since March of this year alone, the Foundation has approved donations totaling more than $45,000 to organizations including the Boys and Girls Club of Ventura, Ventura County Library Literacy Program, Canines for Veterans, Dreamcatcher Playground, Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle (Chile), Rotary International's Polio Plus Program, Ventura County Veterans Stand-Down, and a water project in Cameroon, Africa.
Marty presented a brief financial status update for the Foundation, after which he and Bob fielded questions from the members. A big thank you to both gentlemen for their presentation and for the time and energy they devote to this essential part of our Club!
Ventura South Rotary Foundation Sandy Warren 2015-11-10 00:00:00Z 0

Gerry Olsen Discusses Adolfo Camarillo

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 19, 2015

Gerry Olsen Discusses
Don Adolfo Camarilllo
Imagine inheriting control of a 10,000-acre ranch at age 16. According to Gerry Olsen of the Camarillo Ranch Foundation, that's precisely what happened to Don Adolfo Camarillo, a patriarch of the City that now bears his name.
At our Club meeting on Monday, October 19, Gerry presented a fascinating profile of the very colorful life of Adolfo Camarillo, who ended up owning and managing the Ranch for 78 years until his death in 1958. He supervised the raising and care of 3,000 acres of lima beans, 500 acres of black-eyed peas, 1,000 acres of hay, 600 acres of walnuts, several hundred acres of citrus, plus corn, olives, wheat, barley, alfalfa, pumpkins, watermelon, and tangerines.
Adolfo was extremely active in the local community and was a member of 38 organizations for an average of 24 years each. He was also widely known for the distinctive Camarillo White Horses that he raised.
Gerry noted that the Ranch property at 201 Camarillo Ranch Road is open for public visits, and guided tours are available. Information is available on the ranch website: Thanks, Gerry, for a wonderful presentation on some of the distinctive history of our area!
Gerry Olsen Discusses Adolfo Camarillo Sandy Warren 2015-10-20 00:00:00Z 0

Chilean Medical Vehicle Dedication Ceremony

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 18, 2015
Club Members Participate in Dedication
Of Chilean Medical Transport Van Via Skype
Several members of Ventura Rotary South participated by Skype on Friday, October 16, in a ceremony in Olmue del Valle, Chile, to dedicate a new medical transport van that will take people from outlying villages to city medical facilities.
Rotary Ventura South led the fundraising effort and coordinated the vehicle purchase logistics from the United States end. Additional funds in support of the project were contributed by Rotary District 5240 here in California, the Rotary Club of Westlake Village, the Rotary Club of Camarillo (Noontime), John and Linda Zaruka Charities, and the Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle and its District.
Pictured above on the Skype transmission are (l to r) Past President Dante Honorico (Ventura South Project Lead), John Zaruka (Past President of the Club and a principal of John and Linda Zaruka Charities), and Bob Braitman (Past President of the Club and current Chair of the Club's Foundation). On the video screen is Raimundo Bacquet, representative of the Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle.
Photo by past Club President Sandy Warren.
Chilean Medical Vehicle Dedication Ceremony Sandy Warren 2015-10-19 00:00:00Z 0

Salvation Army

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 09, 2015
Salvation Army Offers
Variety of Community Services
Our guest speaker on Monday, October 5, was Lieutenant Manuel Gaytan from the Oxnard/Port Hueneme Corps of the Salvation Army. Lieutenant Gaytan provided a fascinating overview of the many services that the Salvation Army provides to people in need in the Oxnard area. Among them is a no-cost dental clinic, which has proven to be hugely popular. "We frequently have people camping overnight at the site in order to be certain that they can see a dentist the next day," said Lieutenant Caytan.
Additional services provided by the Salvation Army include an after-school program with homework help and other activities for kids, a food pantry that feeds upwards of 600 families per month, Sunday worship services, the familiar red kettle campaign at the holidays, as well as the angel tree toy donation program, and an Adopt-a-Family program, also during the holidays.
"It takes support from the whole community to make these things happen," said Lieutenant Gaytan. For information on how you can help, call the Salvation Army at 805-483-9235.
Salvation Army Sandy Warren 2015-10-10 00:00:00Z 0

Healthful Eating

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 13, 2015
Dr. Emily Longwill Shares
Tips For Healthful Eating
At our regular meeting on Monday, September 14, Dr. Emily Longwill gave a wonderfully informative presentation on the importance of good nutrition and healthful eating. Dr. Longwill has practiced naturopathic medicine since 2011 and currently maintain an office in Ventura, which she shares with her husband Matt, a doctor of chiropractic.
"Adult and childhood obesity are dramatically on the rise in the U.S.," noted Dr. Longwill. "In fact, adolescent obesity rates have quadrupled over the past 30 years." She attributes this to the growing availability of unhealthful foods and their popularity. "Sugar is as addictive as cocaine," she stated, "and the vast majority of Americans eat far too much of it." Dr. Longwill noted that one can of a typical soft drink like Coca Cola contains more than the maximum recommended daily amount of sugar.
Dr. Longwill reviewed the current "food pyramid," noting that lots of water and colorful vegetables form its broad foundation, with very limited quantities of grain- and dairy-based foods. She also recommended the inclusion of "healthy fats," such as those derived from olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts.
"Healthful eating is just half of the story," said Dr. Longwill. "Exercise is the other piece of the puzzle. As human beings, we're designed to move, and to do so regularly."
Thanks to Dr. Longwill for sharing such valuable tips on how to achieve and maintain good health!
Healthful Eating Sandy Warren 2015-09-14 00:00:00Z 0

Chilean Medical Transport Vehicle

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 23, 2015
Chilean Medical Transport Vehicle Project
Nears Completion at Rotary Ventura South
For well over a year, the Rotary Club of Ventura South has been working to assist the Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle in Chile with the acquisition of a much-needed vehicle to provide non-emergency medical transportation to clinics and hospitals for residents in outlying villages near Valparaiso. The necessary funds have been raised, the purchase and body customization is underway, and the vehicle will soon go into service.
Rotary Ventura South led the fundraising effort and coordinated the purchase logistics from the United States end. Additional funds in support of the project were contributed by Rotary District 4320 (in Chile), local Rotary District 5240 here in California, the Rotary Club of Westlake Village, the Rotary Club of Camarillo (Noontime), John and Linda Zaruka Charities, and the Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle.
A dedication ceremony for the vehicle purchase is planned for September; the members of Ventura Rotary South hope to participate via live video conference.
Chilean Medical Transport Vehicle Sandy Warren 2015-08-24 00:00:00Z 0

Jim Bell Visits Rotary Ventura South

District Governor Jim Bell
Visits Ventura Rotary South

On Monday, August 17, 2015-2016 District 5340 Governor Jim Bell came to our regular meeting and addressed the membership and guests. Among his motivating remarks, Jim noted that if every one of the 34,000 Clubs around the world participated in an average of 10 projects (large and small) each year, that would total 340,000 projects. "With just 10 individual acts of kindness per project," said Jim, "we're looking at 3.4 million acts of kindness worldwide, which is very powerful." He also noted that each is based on the individual member, the core of Rotary's strength. "Whatever your level of involvement with Rotary," said Jim, "stay active and stay committed. We will continue to do great things."
Jim Bell Visits Rotary Ventura South Sandy Warren 2015-08-17 00:00:00Z 0

County Fair Parade

Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 13, 2015
Rotary Ventura South President-Elect Rosanna Colin and her granddaughter Makayla represented the Club in the Ventura County Fair Parade on Saturday, August 9. Club member Bob Braitman drove the car and took the above photo.
County Fair Parade Sandy Warren 2015-08-14 00:00:00Z 0

2015 Veterans Stand-Down

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 26, 2015
Ventura South Members Participate
In Annual Veterans' Stand-Down
On Saturday, July 25, 15 members of Rotary Ventura South and family members came together at the Annual Ventura County Veterans' Stand-Down, a three-day annual event designed to provide a wide variety of assistance to homeless veterans within the County. Rotary Ventura South sponsored a barbecue dinner, and participants helped with the cooking and serving. Some 150 veterans enjoyed the tri-tip dinner with all the trimmings, including dessert.
For a look at the event, check out the photos on the Photo Album page.
2015 Veterans Stand-Down Sandy Warren 2015-07-27 00:00:00Z 0

Tony Sands of Family Theater Productions

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 21, 2015
Tony Sands Relates the Inspiring History
Of Family Theater Productions
The speaker at our meeting on Monday, July 20, was Tony Sands, Senior Producer of Family Theater Productions. He provided fascinating insights into the history of this company, from its radio roots in the late 1940s when it began as the Mutual Broadcasting System, to its current status as the production company of cable television specials, feature-length films, and inspiring public service announcements.
The company was started by Father Patrick Peyton. From 1947 to 1961, the organization produced more than 700 radio shows, many of them featuring A-list actors and actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. At that point, the company transitioned into television, eventually attaining worldwide distribution of its programs. Feature-length films followed in the 60s and 70s, and additional television productions in the 80s and 90s.
Family Theater Productions is currently involved with cable distribution of TV specials, as well as reissuance of some of its classic radio shows. Tony noted that the company is adapting to new media environments, including the Internet and  smart phone applications, all in its mission of "Inspiring and entertaining families through faith-based short films, TV, radio, and billboards."
Thanks, Tony, for a fascinating look behinds the scenes!
Tony Sands of Family Theater Productions Sandy Warren 2015-07-22 00:00:00Z 0

New President Highlights Leadership Team

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 07, 2015
President Dennis Longwill Introduces
2015-2016 Club Leadership Team
At his first meeting as the new President of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, July 6, Dennis Longwill introduced his Board and leadership team. Those in attendance pictured above are, from left, Don MacDonald, Dante Honorico, Allen Urban, Gerardo Sanchez, Kendall Mattina, John Mattina, Bob Davis, Rosanna Colin, Stacy Zaruka, and Dennis.
"We're looking forward to a great year," said Dennis.
New President Highlights Leadership Team Sandy Warren 2015-07-08 00:00:00Z 0

Wade Nomura Spotlights Vocational Service

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 23, 2015
Past District Governor Wade Nomura
Provides Insight into Vocational Service
"It's the one Rotary Avenue of Service that focuses on the individual." That's how Past District 5240 Governor Wade Nomura described Vocational Service in his presentation to members of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, June 21, 2015. Wade offered fascinating insights into the history of Rotary's Avenues of Service, as well as other historical highlights.
For instance, the well-known 4-Way Test originated in 1932 when Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor wrote and posted it on the wall of a business he had purchased, to serve as guidelines for his employees. The Rotarian Code of Conduct pre-dates that, having originated in 1915.
Wade focused most of his presentation on Vocational Service, one of Rotary's five Avenues of Service. "Vocational Service," said Wade, "encourages each Rotarian to represent the dignity and utility of his or her vocation. You can all benefit the world with the expertise you bring to your profession." He challenged members to determine what special skills they have as individuals that they can bring to their Rotary membership as a means of benefiting their communities and the world at large.
"Involvement in vocational service has a tremendous ripple effect," said Wade. "How can you personally use your professional talents to be of greater service?"
Thanks, Wade, for an interesting and challenging presentation!
Wade Nomura Spotlights Vocational Service Sandy Warren 2015-06-24 00:00:00Z 0

Offsite Meeting at VCMC

Rotary South Goes Offsite for Meeting
At Ventura County Medical Center
On Monday, June 8, Ventura South members held an offfsite meeting at Ventura County Medical Center. Hosted by Amy Towner, CEO of the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County (pictured above), the session included updates on the major new construction project underway (the largest such project in Ventura's history), as well as a detailed profile of the multitude of award-winning medical services provided by the Medical Center every day.
The new facility, scheduled for completion in 2017, will treat patients in an all-private-room setting with state-of-the-art equipment. Pediatric patients will enjoy family-centered amenities, including a Ronald McDonald center to accommodate family members from out of the area and a rooftop play area for ambulatory pediatric patients.
On the subject of pediatrics, Rotary Ventura South members also enjoyed a tour of the Pediatric Diagnostic Center from Director Kay Urban. The Diagnostic Center has three pediatricians and 14 sub-specialists on staff. Together, they offer a medical "one-stop shop" that integrates multiple specialties, social work, behavioral health, an infusion center, and support groups for kids and their families. Kay noted that the Center also serves special needs children. "Our goal is to give every child in Ventura County the specialized care they need, said Kay."
Our thanks to Amy and Kay for a fascinating glimpse into the multitude of services provided by the Ventura County Medical Center!
Offsite Meeting at VCMC 2015-06-10 00:00:00Z 0

Bon Wakam - On Africa (Part 2)

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 03, 2015
Bonaventure Wakam Completes Africa Tour
With Presentation on Continent's Economy
Ventura Rotary South Member (and Cameroon native) Bonaventure Wakam made a second presentation on Africa at our meeting on Monday, June 1. His comments concentrated on the continent's economy, including the global challenges and opportunities faced by the 55 countries that make up Africa.
Bon noted that most people are unaware of the sheer size of the African continent, which includes 20 percent of the earth's land mass. Its area could accommodate that of China, the U.S., India, and most of Europe. "Africa contains vast areas of valuable natural resources," said Bon, "including oil, diamonds, minerals, and agricultural land." He explained that recent growth has ranged from 2 to 6 percent, depending on the region, with political instability being the greatest limiting factor in certain countries, along with an average of 8 percent inflation in recent years.
"Trade within Africa remains more diversified and active than trade with the rest of the world," said Bon, "although external trade is gradually expanding, particularly with China, which is investing heavily in the continent." He noted that —labor market indicators are slowly improving, partly due to wage policies and harnessing of natural resources. While widespread poverty and high unemployment remain stubborn problems throughout Africa, Bon noted that indicators are favorable for long-term progress.
Thanks, Bon, for two great presentations on Africa!
Bon Wakam - On Africa (Part 2) Sandy Warren 2015-06-04 00:00:00Z 0

Bon Wakam - On Africa

Posted on May 18, 2015
Bonaventure Wakam Takes Members
On a Virtual Tour of the African Continent
Ventura South member Bonaventure Wakam gave a fascinating presentation on Africa to our Club members on Monday, May 15. He noted that the African continent remains one of the least understood by most people, partly due to its massive size and partly on account of its diversity. Bob noted that 55 separate countries make up the whole of Africa, each with its own culture, resources, opportunities, and challenges.
In terms of resources, Bon explained that rubber, gold, wheat, copper,and cotton are plentiful in various locations throughout Africa. And, oil is an increasingly important trade resource as well, with considerable exports to the U.S.
In terms of tourism, Bob explained that the most popular destinations are in Kenya and Tanzania, primarily for safaris. "There are, however, plenty of beautiful and exciting spots to visit in other parts of the vast continent, including South Africa and Cameroon."
Thanks, Bon, for a terrific presentation!
Bon Wakam - On Africa 2015-05-19 00:00:00Z 0

Downtown Ventura Partners

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 11, 2015
Kevin Clerici Updates Rotary Ventura South
On Activities of Ventura Downtown Partners
Our speaker on Monday, May 11, was Kevin Clerici, Director of Ventura Downtown Partners, a city improvement district whose mission is "to produce a healthy retail center, a diverse cultural district, an attractive visitor destination, and a livable neighborhood."
Kevin shared with our members and guests the organization's recent efforts to enhance the visitor experience at the two downtown parks, as well as initiation of the new Downtown Trolley that picks up riders at several downtown locations and shuttles them to the Ventura Harbor area. His group is also responsible for the new "Clean and Safe Streets" program, which includes staff members in the downtown area to assist visitors with directions or other information, as well as providing a watchful eye on the area for enhanced security.
"Downtown is an amazing destination for so many reasons," said Kevin. The goal of Downtown Ventura Partners is to continue making it even better.
Downtown Ventura Partners Sandy Warren 2015-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

1 Family 1 Restaurant

Posted on May 04, 2015
1 Family 1 Restaurant Reaches Out
to Food-Insecure in Ventura County
Our speaker on Monday, May 4, was James Panagoti, co-founder of 1 Family, 1 Restaurant, an innovative new program that aims to help food-insecure individuals and families enjoy the special pleasure of dining out in area restaurants. "One in six people are food-insecure across the country," said James. 1 Family 1 Restaurant brings them together with participating restaurants and people wishing to donate the needed funds to make that happen.
Using a streamlined online system (, people can donate one or more meals through their favorite participating restaurant. Food-insecure individuals can then redeem a donated meal through a "reservation" that allows them to visit the restaurant and enjoy a meal with their family. "For many," said James, "going out to eat is like a trip to Disneyland. That's how special the experience is."
The 1 Family 1 Restaurant organization is an official partner with 200-plus food banks across the country, and it is James' vision to expand the program nationwide. "In the U.S., 46.5 million people are food-insecure. We want to bring the simple pleasure of dining out to them."
1 Family 1 Restaurant 2015-05-05 00:00:00Z 0

Inside the Washington DC Beltway

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 23, 2015
Writer Anneke Green Gives Insights
on Washington DC Journalism
"Work hard and by savvy." Those are the words of advice Anneke Green had for anyone considering a career in politics or journalism in the nation's capital. Anneke was Ventura Rotary South's featured speaker on Monday, April 20, and she regaled the members and guests with  variety of stories from her extensive career that began as a Congressional intern.
After serving as an aide in Senator Mitch McConnell's office, Anneke landed a spot as a speechwriter in Pres. G.W. Bush's administration. "I was passionate about finding stories of extraordinary Americans that President Bush could use in his speeches," said Anneke. Much of her time was spent in the West Wing of the White House, "which never ceased to be awe-inspiring."
Anneke left the administration side of politics to go into publishing. One of her first significant projects was editing rocker Ted Nugent's book, "Ted, White, and Blue." Anneke confided that Nugent "got after me" when she thought she was correcting typos in his manuscript, which turned out to be "Nuge-isms."
Annika is now assistant editorial page editor of the Washington Times. Her stories appear in additional publications including USA Today, and she can be heard weekly on several radio outlets with her commentary.
Inside the Washington DC Beltway Sandy Warren 2015-04-24 00:00:00Z 0

Dream-Catcher Playground

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 13, 2015
Rotary Ventura South Donates $1,000
To Thousand Oaks Special Needs Playground
Ron Block (pictured above), member and past president of the Rotary Club of Newbury Park, visited Rotary Ventura South on Monday, April 13, to give an overview of the DreamCatcher Playground, an ambitious project coordinated by multiple Rotary Clubs in the Conejo Valley. The playground is designed to serve children with a variety of mobility and developmental issues such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down Syndrome.
"Special needs children will be able to play side by side with others on accessible play pieces, rubber surfacing, a tandem swing, and teeter-totter," said Ron. "Umbrellas, shade structures, and cooling mists will provide support to those unable to monitor their temperature needs, or with increased sensitivity to sun." Ron noted that disability affects approximately 12% of the U.S. population.
"We've raised about $268,000 toward our budgeted goal of $500,000," said Ron. With that, Ventura South President Sandy Warren added a correction, stating that, thanks to a unanimous vote by the Ventura South Board, that number would be $1,000 higher. "We're delighted to be able to partner with Play Conejo and support this vital project," said Sandy.
The DreamCatcher Playground is located at Old Meadows Park in Thousand Oaks. Phase 1 will officially open in July conjunction with the Special Olympics. For more information, or to make a donation, visit
Dream-Catcher Playground Sandy Warren 2015-04-14 00:00:00Z 0

Computers for Boys and Girls Club

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 31, 2015

Rotary Ventura South Buys Computers
For Boys and Girls Club of Greater Ventura
On Monday, March 30, Patti Birmingham, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Ventura, came to our regular meeting to accept a check for $6,000 from the Rotary Club of Ventura South Foundation. The money will be used to replace 10 computers at the Boys and Girls Club's LeFevre Center on Johnson Drive. Pictured above with Patti is Sandy Warren, current president of Ventura South.

Patti noted that the existing computers are approximately eight years old and are rapidly nearing the end of their useful lives. "These computers are in use five days a week, year round," said Patti. "They are the backbone of our homework program, and they have greatly contributed to the outcome of 97% of our members being on track to graduate from high school. We are extremely grateful for Rotary Ventura South's generous donation."
Sandy noted that Ventura South has long supported the Boys and Girls Club with financial donations and hands-on projects such as painting and refurbishment of Club facilities. "We're always delighted to be able to help this wonderful organization."
Computers for Boys and Girls Club Sandy Warren 2015-04-01 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary International - 2014 Media Coverage

Rotary International Garners
Extensive Media Coverage in 2014
According to General Secretary John Hewko, Rotary International received extensive media coverage throughout 2014, with more than 375 news organizations in 20 countries featuring our humanitarian efforts. Of those, roughly 50 stories appeared in top-tier international news organizations, including seven out of the 10 most influential ranked by Forbes, such as the Associated Press, BBC, CNN, Reuters, The Washington Post, TIME, and Wall Street Journal. Highlights include:
TIME Magazine - Rotary's National PolioPlus Chair for Pakistan, Aziz Memon, was quoted. The story also called Rotary "the point-organization for the eradication of polio for more than 25 years.
Newsweek - Rotary's National PolioPlus Committee Chair for Pakistan, Aziz Memon, was quoted in the story, which offers an in-depth look at the history and current status of the polio program.
NPR (National Public Radio) - Rotary's Director of PolioPlus, Carol Pandak, was quoted. The story explores how well-established polio eradication programs prepared Nigeria to fight Ebola.
To view a compilation of the media highlights with links to the coverage, click here.
Rotary International - 2014 Media Coverage 2015-03-22 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura South Presents Dictionaries to 3rd Graders

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 18, 2015
Members of Ventura Rotary South
Present Dictionaries to Local 3rd Graders
In a favorite January tradition, members of Ventura Rotary South participated in the annual Dictionary Give-away Program, purchasing and distributing over 300 student dictionaries to 3rd graders at three Ventura elementary schools.
Rosanna Colin and Melody Thurman visited Junipero Serra Elementary School on January 13; Marilyn Scott and Kendall Mattina took care of the give-away at Will Rogers Elementary on January 15; and Dennis Longwill and Sandy Warren visited Portola Elementary that same day. (The photo above shows Dennis addressing one of the five classes that he and Sandy visited.)
A big thank you to Marilyn Scott for coordinating the project once again. Thanks also to the members who came together to put Rotary Ventura South labels in the books, including Rosanna Colin, Dennis Longwill, Lee Ann Luongo, John and Kendall Mattina, Marilyn Scott, Jerry Spencer, Melody Thurman, and Sandy Warren. Kudos also to Bob Braitman and Monty Clark who volunteered to serve as "stand-by" presenters.
Ventura South Presents Dictionaries to 3rd Graders Sandy Warren 2015-01-19 00:00:00Z 0

Manny Pacheco Remembers "Forgotten Hollywood"

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 22, 2014
Manny Pacheco Shares Little-Known Facts
About Stars of Hollywood's Golden Age
On Monday, December 22, members of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed a trip back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Manny Pacheco, author of two books about "Forgotten Hollywood" spoke to the Club and shared fascinating anecdotes and little-known facts about some lesser-known stars of classic films. "There are plenty of books about people like John Wayne and Clark Gable," said Manny. "I decided to concentrate on actors that people recognize but may not immediately be able to recall their names." Examples included Van Heflin, Peter Lorre, and John Barrymore. Additionally, Manny's criteria for including a star in one of his books was a connection of some sort to U.S. history.
Manny's presentation included a video clip of the documentary he is currently working on, and he autographed copies of his two books for members who wished to purchase them. Manny has made the presentation to more than 50 Rotary Clubs - we're delighted to be the most recent of those!
Manny Pacheco Remembers "Forgotten Hollywood" Sandy Warren 2014-12-23 00:00:00Z 0

2014 FOOD Share Can-Tree Event

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 05, 2014

Ventura South Donates Funds and
Builds a "Can-Tree" for FOOD Share

Members of Ventura Rotary South gathered at The Collection shopping center in Oxnard on Saturday afternoon, December 6, to help build and decorate a "tree" out of canned food that the Club donated to FOOD Share, Inc., Ventura County's regional food bank. The Club donated $500 for this year's event, which consisted of a "forest" of more than 200 trees, stacked and decorated for the holidays.

Pictured in the photo above are (l to r) Sandy and Anne Warren, Bob Braitman, John Mattina, Monty Clark, Stacy Zaruka, Nils Johnson, Marilyn Scott, and Kendall Mattina. (Standing with Kendall is Maxwell, our official job supervisor for the day. Maxwell is the Mattina's grandson.)

For additional photos of the event, check out the link on the "Photo Album" section of our home page.

Thanks to all who turned out to lend a hand with the tree building and decoration!

2014 FOOD Share Can-Tree Event Sandy Warren 2014-12-06 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura Mayor Addresses Club

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 10, 2014


Mayor Cheryl Heitmann Presents
"State of the City" to Ventura South

On Monday, November 10, Rotary Ventura South welcomed Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann as our lunchtime speaker. Mayor Heitmann presented a comprehensive "State of the City" overview, complete with a PowerPoint presentation of images, charts, and descriptive data.

"These are exciting and challenging times for Ventura," said Mayor Heitmann. She described the City's efforts to help new businesses get started with an "entrepreneurial zone" at City Hall. She noted the recent increase in sports tourism in Ventura with marathons, water sports, and bicycle racing at the new BMX track at Community Park on Kimball Avenue.

Mayor Heitmann also described the City's efforts to maintain the quality of core services, despite budgetary challenges. Such services include street maintenance, water and wastewater services, fire protection, and law enforcement. The Mayor noted that violent crime has decreased nearly 10% and burglaries are down about 17%. She also described a renewed emphasis on senior services through the Ventura Council on Aging, including a focus on providing transportation to seniors in need.

"Ventura is a wonderful place to visit, live and work," said Mayor Heitmann. Her presentation to Ventura Rotary South certainly confirmed that!


Ventura Mayor Addresses Club Sandy Warren 2014-11-11 00:00:00Z 0

How to Publish Your Book

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 28, 2014


Educator and Literary Agent Toni Lopopolo
Instructs Ventura South on Book Publishing

On Monday, October 27, members of Rotary Ventura South enjoyed a fascinating lesson in current trends in book publishing from local educator and literary agent Toni Lopopolo. With an extensive background in editing and publishing, including positions as executive editor with MacMillan and St. Martin's Press, Toni heads up her own agency which partners with authors in developing and editing their projects. She has created a unique series of fiction "bootcamps" and writers' groups that she has named "Tea with Toni."

"The world of book publishing has changed radically in the last decade," said Toni. "The explosion of electronic publishing via the Internet has created a huge new marketplace." She noted that, while the quantity of available literature has dramatically increased, the same cannot be said of the quality. Most beginning authors fail to perform a much-needed step in the writing process: self-editing. They get to the end of their first draft and decide it's ready for publishing. "Not true," said Toni, "The greatest writers in history have been relentless editors of their own work." She also noted how valuable a professional editor can be.

While the digital age has brought many innovations to the world of publishing, Toni still prefers the traditional bound book format. She noted that the vast majority of major publishing houses are now owned by European companies.

Summing up, Toni advised the aspiring novelists in attendance to avoid several common pitfalls: submitting a manuscript without thorough editing, failure to master the craft of plot development, setting, point of view, etc., poorly developed or boring characters, and the use of passive rather than active voice.

All in all, the members of Rotary Ventura South left Monday's meeting with a clear idea of the challenges and rewards of book publishing.

How to Publish Your Book Sandy Warren 2014-10-29 00:00:00Z 0

Club Members Enjoy Beach-front Social

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 26, 2014


Rotary Ventura South Members Enjoy Club Social
Hosted by Dennis and Jeannette Longwill

On a picture-perfect late Saturday afternoon, October 25, some 50 members of Ventura Rotary South and their guests enjoyed a wonderful Club Social, hosted by Club President-Elect Dennis Longwill and his wife Jeannette at their beautiful beach-front home in Mussel Shoals, just a few miles north of Ventura. Tasty hors d'oeuvre, a catered Mexican buffet, and a range of tempting desserts formed a perfect menu for the casual affair, and most of those in attendance spent the majority of their time on the Longwills' spacious terrace, enjoying the warm sun and cool afternoon breeze.

Huge thanks to Dennis and Jeannette for hosting such a lovely event, and to Family of Rotary Chair Melody Thurman for her assistance in organizing the food and drink. As any Rotarian will tell you, the third element of our Four Way Test asks the question, "Will it build goodwill and better friendships?" The answer on Saturday evening, as the sun set slowly into the Pacific, was a resounding Yes!

For a look at photos from the event, check out the Photo Album box on our home page!

Club Members Enjoy Beach-front Social Sandy Warren 2014-10-27 00:00:00Z 0

Update on Ventura Botanical Gardens

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 29, 2014


Jonell McLain Updates Rotary Ventura South
On Plans for Ventura Botanical Gardens

At our regular meeting on Monday, September 29, Jonell McLain, a Board member of the Ventura Botanical Gardens, provided members with an enthusiastic and comprehensive update on plans for the Gardens, currently under construction in the hills behind Ventura City Hall and adjacent to Grant Park. Jonell noted that, upon completion, the 107-acre garden will be significantly larger than the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

"This will truly be a new destination of choice for visitors to Ventura County," said Jonell. We have over a hundred acres of lush coastal hillside overlooking one of the historic mission cities of California. This is truly a unique opportunity to enhance the already stunning beauty of the Ventura hills."

Jonell explained that the Gardens will actually be a combination of five garden areas: Australia, California, Cape, Chilean, and Mediterranean. "The Chilean section will feature the largest selection of native plants outside of Chile, including a grove of native palms."

Jonell also noted that there's an app for iPhone and Android, narrated by Stephanie Edwards, that will lead visitors through an audio tour of the completed Gardens, pointing out important botanic and geologic features. The Gardens will also include a library and visitors center.

For more information, visit the Gardens' website at Thanks to Jonell for a terrific presentation!

Update on Ventura Botanical Gardens Sandy Warren 2014-09-30 00:00:00Z 0

District Governor Visits Ventura Rotary South

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 15, 2014


Rotary Ventura South Welcomes New Member
During Visit from District Governor Loretta Butts

On Monday, September 15, our Club was honored by a visit from District 5240 Governor Loretta Butts and her husband, John. Loretta met with our Board members prior to our regular meeting at noon, then spoke to the general membership about current Rotary happenings at the District level, as well as her inspiring experience participating in a National Immunization Day (NID) in Nigeria some years ago. NIDs are an integral part of Rotary International's signature service project: the eradication of polio worldwide. When a member participates in an NID, he/she has the opportunity to actually administer the oral vaccine to children in an affected country.

Our September meeting was a doubly exciting event, as we welcomed Lee Ann Luongo as the newest member of our Club. Lee Ann works in fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club of Ventura. In the photo above, District Governor Loretta places a Rotary pin on Lee Ann, as Marilyn Scott, who recommended Lee Ann for membership, looks on. Welcome Lee Ann, and thank you Loretta for making our September 15 meeting so special and inspiring!

District Governor Visits Ventura Rotary South Sandy Warren 2014-09-16 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura South Gets "Schooled" in Email Excellence

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 07, 2014


Professor Margaret de la M Offers Insights
On the Proper Use of Email for Business

At our regular meeting on Monday, September 8, Oxnard College Professor Margaret de la M treated members to a helpful "mini-class" in the proper use of email for business professionals. Among the many tips she shared were these:

  • When writing an email message, paragraphs should be short.
  • The best way to make several points in an email is to use lists with bullets or numbers.
  • If you know the recipient is often in a hurry, the best way to send a supporting document is in the body of the message, rather than as an attachment.
  • When sending a message, you should copy (cc) only those people who absolutely MUST know.
  • When writing a subject line, be specific and brief.

In addition to her work as a college English professor, Margaret is a business owner who trains people in Writing Skills for the Workplace. Judging by the number of comments and questions from our members, she did some fine training during her presentation to our Club!

Ventura South Gets "Schooled" in Email Excellence Sandy Warren 2014-09-08 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura County Veterans' Stand-Down 2014

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 25, 2014


Ventura Rotary South Supports
2014 Veteran's Stand-Down

On Saturday, July 26, members of Ventura Rotary South gathered at the Ventura National Guard Armory to provide support to the Annual Veterans' Stand-Down, a three-day event that provides a variety of assistance to homeless veterans throughout the County. Gerardo Sanchez, our Club's Vocational Service Chair, coordinated member participation, which included serving a barbecue dinner to more than 100 hungry veterans. Pictured above, from left, are Dennis and Jeannette Longwill, Don and Marilyn Scott, Nils Johnson, and Anne and Sandy Warren. Other Club members who participated, but are not pictured here included Gerardo and his wife Maria, Beth Lyons, and Bob Braitman. Check out the photo album in the menu on the right of the home page for additional pictures from the afternoon's event.

Ventura County Veterans' Stand-Down 2014 Sandy Warren 2014-07-26 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura South Donates to Chilean Fire Relief Effort

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 20, 2014

Recently, the members of Ventura Rotary South donated $500 for relief efforts in Valparaiso, Chile, where a devastating fire occurred in April. We received the photo below as an acknowledgement of the donation.


Ventura South Donates to Chilean Fire Relief Effort Sandy Warren 2014-07-21 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura South Explores Mastermind Technique

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 13, 2014


Sondra Briggs Explains the Power
of the Mastermind Technique

Our speaker on Monday, July 14, was author and facilitator Sondra Briggs. She introduced members and guests of Rotary Ventura South to the Mastermind Technique for Goal Accomplishment. Simply stated, Mastermind is a technique of gathering and consolidating resources necessary for attaining goals. It is applicable to individuals and groups.  For the latter, Sondra shared a number of effective meeting techniques that foster collaboration and synergy. She also shared her personal experience of applying the principles of Mastermind and achieving a long-standing goal of traveling and working in Japan.

Ventura South Explores Mastermind Technique Sandy Warren 2014-07-14 00:00:00Z 0

Step Down Dinner for President Dante Honorico

Posted by Kristopher Skromme on Jun 29, 2014


Step Down Dinner for President Dante Honorico

Ventura South Rotary Club threw a Step Down Dinner on Monday night, June 30, to honor President Dante Honorico and thank him for a fantastic year (2013-2014).

The step down dinner was held at the Wedgewood Banquet Center.  After dinner, Dante reminisced on the year, and presented tokens of thanks to the many Club Members who contributed to the club's success.  As his final official duty for the year, Dante passed the gavel to incoming President Sandy Warren, who thanked Dante for his outstanding service to the Club.

Click here for a link for more photos of the event:

Ventura East Rotary Club threw a Picnic Bash on Sunday afternoon, June 29, to honor President Tim Hughes and thank him for a fantastic year (2013-2014). - See more at:
Step Down Dinner for President Dante Honorico Kristopher Skromme 2014-06-30 00:00:00Z 0

Support Caregivers and "Twinkle Toes" Tingstrom!

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 14, 2014


Ventura South's Jack Tingstrom
Is Salsa Dancing with the Stars!

On Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, long-time Ventura Rotary South member and former Ventura Mayor Jack "Twinkle Toes" Tingstrom will e salsa dancing at Oxnard's Annual Salsa Festival to raise money for CareGivers, Ventura County's renowned senior service organization. In typical "Dancing with the Stars" fashion, fans can "vote" for their favorite dancers by making a financial contribution. Every dollar donated equals one vote. They's also looking for Club as well as individual sponsorships for this worthy group that trains volunteers to work with frail and needy Ventura County senior citizens.

For additional information, please contact CareGivers Executive Director Tammy Glenn at 805-658-8530 or email her at CareGivers is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the County this year (and Jack happens to be celebrating his 79th birthday as well!).


Support Caregivers and "Twinkle Toes" Tingstrom! Sandy Warren 2014-06-15 00:00:00Z 0

Sister Club in Chile

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 08, 2014


Ventura Rotary South Now Sister Club
With Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle, Chile

On Monday, June 9, members of Ventura Rotary South voted unanimously to accept the invitation from Julio Rocha of the Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle in Chile, to officially become sister Clubs. In the photo above, Ventura Rotary South President Dante Honorico and Julio hold the sister Club proclamation. Ventura South has participated with other area Clubs to donate a vehicle to help residents in the rural area of Chile gain access to medical facilities and other services. Dante and Julio pledged to continue working together as part of their Clubs' new "sister" relationship.

Sister Club in Chile Sandy Warren 2014-06-09 00:00:00Z 0

Interact Bake Sale 2014

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 18, 2014

Ventura Rotary South Holds Annual Bake Sale
In Support of St. Bonaventure Interact Club

Among the various fund-raising events conducted by members of Ventura Rotary South is the annual Bake Sale in support of the Interact Club at St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura. Interact is the worldwide branch of Rotary designed for young people from 12-18 who want to make a difference in global and local issues they care about. The Interact Club at St. Bonaventure has supported such causes as Caregivers (a Ventura County senior care organization), community recycling programs, Rotary International's Polio Plus Program, and even Ventura Rotary South.

Each year, St. Bonaventure Interact students and their friends bake up plates of tasty treats, which are then auctioned off to the highest bidders at a Ventura South lunch meeting. This year, we had everything from fresh chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies to homemade brownies to red velvet cake. In the photo above, Ventura South member Dennis Longwill gets the bidding started on a plate of cookies held by Interact member Angelina.

This year's Bake Sale raised a total of $1,200 in support for the Interact Club. (As usual, the tasty baked goods expanded a few waistlines as well.)

Interact Bake Sale 2014 Sandy Warren 2014-05-19 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura College Foundation

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 11, 2014


Rotary Ventura South Welcomes Norbert Tan
Of Ventura College Foundation

Norbert Tan, Executive Director of the Ventura College Foundation, addressed members and guests of Rotary Ventura South at our regular meeting on Monday, May 12. Established in 1983, the Foundation provides financial support to the students and programs of Ventura College. It ranks among the most successful community college foundations in California, having raised more than $20 million for Ventura College and its students.

Norbert described some exciting developments at the college, including contruction of a new applied science center (scheduled for completion in 2015), the 50th anniversary of the College's nursing program, and the many academic alternatives open to students, whether they are looking to Ventura College as a springboard to a four-year school, or seeking out one of the many vocational learning opportunities. "At $46 per unit," said Norbert, "Ventura College is still one of the best values around in higher education."

He noted also that the Foundation provides financial aid to qualified applicants. Last year, the Foundation awarded more than $450,000 in scholarships.

For more information about the Ventura College Foundation, visit


Ventura College Foundation Sandy Warren 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura County Leardership Academy

Posted by Sandy Warren on May 05, 2014


All About Ventura County Leadership Academy

Our speaker on Monday, May 5, was Jill Shaffer, Executive Director of the Ventura County Leadership Academy. Founded in 1994, the VCLA seeks to bring local business and community leaders together each year for nine months of training and collaboration to effectively improve the quality of life in Ventura County.

Among the topics studied by the group are public safety and social services, healthcare and aging, education and workforce development, transportation and environment, water and Agriculture, and Arts and Culture. The session includes a 3-day trip to Sacramento and a group project designed to give back to the community in a meaningful and sustainable way.

Jill noted that the annual program features people from all walks of life. The maximum group size is 30, and applications are now being accepted for the 2014/2015 program that begins in September. For information, send an email to

Ventura County Leardership Academy Sandy Warren 2014-05-06 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura Limoncello Company

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 27, 2014


An "A-peel-ing" Local Success Story -
Ventura Limoncello Company

James Carling, CEO of Ventura Limoncello Company, was the featured speaker at the Club's regular meeting on Monday, April 28. As the name implies, his company manufactures a traditional Italian after-dinner liqueur called limoncello. The lemon-based libation is a natural fit for the heavy citrus presence in Ventura County's agricultural community. "We use no fruit from outside the County," said James. "We're all about staying true to our family and true to our County."

James noted that his product is made from the peel of local lemons - no juice. Once peeled, the remaining fruit is composted and used by local farms that require acidic soils.

So as not to ignore the orange portion of the local citrus industry, Ventura Limoncello Company also produces "Orangecello," made from locally grown blood oranges.

Thanks for a fascinating presentation, James! For those who may wish to learn more, visit

Ventura Limoncello Company Sandy Warren 2014-04-28 00:00:00Z 0

Honoricos Honored for Endowment Fund Participation

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 20, 2014


Dante and Ellen Honorico Honored
By Past Rotary District Governor

On Monday, April 21, Past District Governor Luz Maria Ortiz (at left in the photo above) visited Rotary Ventura South to give a presentation about the Rotary Foundation, Rotary International's charitable entity. She noted her early experience with the Foundation during her first year as a Rotarian in Mexico, where funding for eye surgeries for impoverished people was made possible through Rotary Foundation grants. "The war against illness and poverty does not start in our starts in our hearts," said Ms. Ortiz, and she presented an overview of the opportunities that Rotarians have to give to the Rotary Foundation.

One such opportunity is the Endowment Fund, which enables Rotary Foundation giving through a member's estate plan. To conclude her presentation, Ms. Ortiz presented a crystal award and special Rotary pins to Club President Dante Honorico (center) and his wife, Ellen (right), for their participation in this program.

Dante noted that "the biggest obstacle to overcoming poverty is indifference. That's what sets Rotary apart. Rotarians do care, and they show it through their commitment to service."

Honoricos Honored for Endowment Fund Participation Sandy Warren 2014-04-21 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura County Literacy

Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 14, 2014


Ventura South Hears One Woman's Story
About the Impact of County Literacy Program

Ventura Rotary South has supported the Ventura County Library's Adult Literacy Program for more than 20 years, primarily through the Annual Trivia Challenge fundraising event. On Monday, April 14, Program CEO Carol Chapman (at right in the photo above) addressed the Club to provide an update on current activities and to thank members for their continuing support. In addition, Club members heard firsthand from a participant in that program and learned about the significant impact it has had on her and her family.

Marie Martinez (at left) told the Club about her struggles with reading in her elementary and high school years, noting that she basically "fell through the cracks" in the school system. As an adult, however, she grew dissatisfied with having to rely on others to read for her. She also wanted to be able to read to the children in her life. She connected with the Literacy Program and soon began to see the effects of her initiative in her day-to-day life, including a promotion to the first female manager of the produce department at the market where she was employed.

Marie participated in the Adult Learner Leadership Institute, a three-day intensive training program. Two years ago, she was a student in the program - last year she was an instructor. Marie also has plans to become a tutor in the Adult Literacy Program soon.

Ventura Rotary South salutes Carol and Marie for their commitment to literacy in Ventura County!

For information on the Literacy Program, click here.

Ventura County Literacy Sandy Warren 2014-04-15 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura County Military Collaborative

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 24, 2014


Ventura County Military Collaborative
Offers a "Safety Net of Care"

On Monday, March 24, Kim Evans, Founder and Director of the Ventura County Military Collaborative, visited Rotary Ventura South to inform members about the wide range of assistance her organization provides to County service members, veterans, and their loved ones. The Collaborative includes connections with more than 100 non-profit agencies that provide resources ranging from medical services, legal help, counseling, employment referrals, and family services, to name just a few. As part of her presentation, Kim showed a fabulous video from the last "Operation Snowflake," a yearly program designed to provide gifts, food, and an evening with Santa Claus to needy service members, veterans and their families.

For information about the Collaborative and the amazing work it does on behalf of our local military men and women, visit or call 805-218-1930.

Ventura County Military Collaborative Sandy Warren 2014-03-25 00:00:00Z 0

Polio Eradication Update

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 02, 2014


Rotary Ventura South Members Receive Update
On Global Efforts to Eradicate Polio

At our regular membership meeting on Monday, March 3, Matt Miguelena from the Moorpark Noontime Rotary Club provided a fascinating and informative update on Rotary's primary humanitarian goal: the worldwide eradication of polio. Matt spoke about his involvement with National Immunization Days in India, during which millions of children receive inoculation against the disease. Many of those immunizations are administered by Rotarians, whom Matt characterized as "wonderful ambassadors for goodwill in general and the U.S. in particular.

In 2009, half the world's polio cases were in India - today there are none in that country.

Rotary's global efforts to rid the world of polio once and for all receive massive support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For details on the program, visit

Polio Eradication Update Sandy Warren 2014-03-03 00:00:00Z 0

Coats for Kids Recognition

Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 09, 2014


Ventura South Members Recognized
For Work on Coats for Kids Project

At our regular Club meeting on Monday, February 10, member Nils Johnson (right) presented certificates of recognition to Beth Lyons (left) and Rosanna Colin (center) for their work on the annual Coats for Kids Project. The County-wide effort collects coats, jackets, and sweaters for needy kids of all ages during the winter season. As the Club's Community Service Chair, Nils heads up Ventura South's annual donation efforts. Congratulations and thanks to Nils, Beth, Rosanna, and to all the members who donated to this vital project!

Coats for Kids Recognition Sandy Warren 2014-02-10 00:00:00Z 0

PRLS Update

Posted by Sandy Warren on Feb 02, 2014


Ventura-South's Jack Tingstrom
Presents District PRLS Update

At our regular Club meeting on Monday, February 3, Ventura South member (and Director of PRLS for District 5240) Jack Tingstrom presented members and guests with a comprehensive update of plans for expanded PRLS training availability within the District. PRLS, of course, is "Potential Rotary Leaders Seminars," and consists of six classroom sessions on a variety of topics essential for effective leadership. (Jack notes that the training is extremely valuable for business and personal growth outside of Rotary as well.)

In his presentation, Jack summarized the scope of training involved in Basic though Master PRLS classes and noted some exciting changes in class scheduling and structure to make the training available to more Rotarians. "Our vision is to reach 100 percent of Rotarians in the District within one to two years," said Jack. Judging by his passion for the PRLS Program, there's little doubt that his goal will be achieved.

Click here for information on the PRLS Program. The newest changes will be updated soon.

PRLS Update Sandy Warren 2014-02-03 00:00:00Z 0

Dictionary Program

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 28, 2014


Ventura Rotary South Donates Dictionaries
To Local Third Grade Students (Updated!)

For the fourth consecutive year, members of Ventura Rotary South partnered with Ventura Downtown Rotary to donate dictionaries to third graders at local elementary schools. Ventura South purchased about 450 of the student-size dictionaries at a cost of $1.75 each and made visits to Will Rogers, Portola, and Junipero Serra Elementary Schools. Marilyn Scott again coordinated Ventura South's participation, and the dictionaries were presented by Stacy Zaruka, Jack Tingstrom, Bonaventure Wakam, Dante Honorico, Monty Clark, Bob Braitman, and Sandy Warren.

According to Marilyn, the teachers and principals have frequently commented that they love the program. In many cases, the dictionary is the first book that the children get to keep for their own, they can use it for several years before they outgrow it, and it provides consistency in the classroom, which benefits both the students and the teachers. Additionally, the kids always love visitors!

Shortly after the dictionaries were given out, Marilyn received a batch of thank-you letters from many of the students. Below are selected comments, printed exactly as the students wrote them. Truly an example of Rotary touching the local community. Enjoy!

"Thank you for the awesome dictionary.  It is going to help me with homework and reports and all kinds of stuff.  It made all the class happy.  I am going to use it for so many things.  Thank you Rotary Club."   -Kyra

"Thank you for the dictionary.  I have learned a lot from the dictionary.  I have learned about presidents. And how big coloado is. thank you so much for the dictionary."  -Evan
"Thank you for the dictionarys. They are super cool and awsome  Thanks for the stickers to.  I think you guys are super doper cool.  I wish dictionarys can fall out of trees every single day.  Thank you so much!"   -Diego
"Thank you for the dictionary. I youse it to look up words that I don't know. I also like it because it is fun to look threw it. I also like the stiker that you gave us. Thank you so much and god bless you."  -Christina
"Thank you for the awesome dictionary.  My new dictionary has lot of facts.  There is interesting information on the states.  I can work on my multiplication tables with it.  I can learn sign language.  My favorite part is the facts about presidents.  Thank you again for the dictionary.  It was very nice of your group." -Tyler
Thank you for the awesome dictionary. My new dictionary is complicated than other dictionaries.  It is fun beuase it has verbs and nouns. My favorite page is the longest word.  I like it because it has strange things that I don't know about. Thank you for everything.  -William


Dictionary Program Sandy Warren 2014-01-29 00:00:00Z 0

Update from Chile

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 05, 2014


Julio Rocha Visits Ventura South from Chile;
Updates Members on Service Projects

On Monday, January 6, Ventura Rotary South enjoyed a visit from Julio Rocha, the Foreign Club Liaison from the Rotary Club of Olmue del Valle in Chile. In the photo above, Julio (left) exchanges club banners with Ventura Rotary South President Dante Honorico.

In his comments to the Ventura South club members, Julio provided details on two ambitious projects his home club is involved in (click on the titles below for details):

Educational Project - Technical High School (Management and Auto Mechanics), Valparaiso, Chile

Transport of Patients from Remote Areas to Local Family Health Care Center, Olmue, Chile

Update from Chile Sandy Warren 2014-01-06 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura Southies Learn CPR

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 29, 2013


Members of Rotary Ventura South
Learn Hands-Only CPR Techniques

At our regular meeting on Monday, December 30, emergency medical technicians Ryan, Miguel, and Nick from AMR/Gold Coast Ambulance were on hand to provide instruction in hands-only CPR, a simple and potentially life-saving technique for assisting someone who suffers cardiac arrest. Less involved than traditional CPR, the "hands-only" version concentrates on chest compressions to circulate the oxygen already present in the blood stream.

Check out additional photos from the event in the "Photo Albums" link to the right!

Ventura Southies Learn CPR Sandy Warren 2013-12-30 00:00:00Z 0

Doug Ridley Talks Firearms

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 08, 2013


Moorpark Attorney Doug Ridley Explains
Ins and Outs of California Gun Laws

At Ventura Rotary South's regular meeting on Monday, December 9, Moorpark Attorney (and fellow Rotarian) Doug Ridley led a fascinating discussion of California's laws related to the owernship and use of firearms. New and revised legislation has changed the overall gun-related environment in recent months, and Doug noted that a clear understanding is vital for anyone who intends to purchase, transport, and use any type of firearm, including those that can be concealed and those that cannot.

Doug Ridley Talks Firearms Sandy Warren 2013-12-09 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary South Member Now a Ventura Councilman

Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 02, 2013


Erik Nasarenko, New Ventura Councilman,

Addresses Ventura Rotary South Members

At our regular meeting on Monday, December 2, newly elected Ventura City Councilman and Ventura Rotary South member Erik Nasarenko spoke to those in attendance about how he managed his successful campaign as well as his "vision for Ventura." Among his goals are enhancing parks and extending library hours, improving mid-week occupancy rates for local hotels by developing a conference center, and increasing the City's sales tax base by attracting one or more "big-box" stores to the area. Congratulations on your election victory, Erik!

Rotary South Member Now a Ventura Councilman Sandy Warren 2013-12-03 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura South Welcomes New Member

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 18, 2013


District Governor-Elect Welcomes New Member,

Addresses Ventura South on Vocational Service

At our meeting on Monday, November 18, Rotary District 5240 Governor-Elect Loretta Butts spoke to members and guests about Vocational Service (one of Rotary's five Avenues of Service) and opportunities to address the needs of veterans through Rotary programs. She stressed the importance of needs assessment in evaluating potential Club projects, noting that individual Rotary Clubs need to "take a look at existing programs to make sure they are still viable and that they represent the best use of Club funds." As for veteran-related projects, including those that Ventura-South is considering, Ms. Butts stated, "let's really do something for those who have given so much to our country."

The District Governor-Elect's visit coincided with the induction of Allen Urban as the newest member of Ventura Rotary South. In the photo above, Ms. Butts congratulates Allen on his induction, along with Ventura-South President Dante Honorico. Welcome aboard, Allen!

Ventura South Welcomes New Member Sandy Warren 2013-11-19 00:00:00Z 0

Ventura South Welcomes 50th Member

Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 08, 2013


Ventura Rotary South

Hits 50 Member Mark

On Monday, October 7, the members of Ventura Rotary South welcomed their newest fellow member, Rosemary Chitiea. Rosemary's induction to the Club coincided with a visit from Rotary District 5240 Governor Jack McClenahan, pictured above at Rosemary's immediate left. In his address to the Club, Jack provided an update on Rotary International's efforts to eradicate polio across the globe. He noted that "every contribution matters," from the millions of dollars donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the individual $25 and $50 contributions from Rotarians around the world. Also pictured above are Ventura Rotary South President Dante Honorico (far right) and member John Zaruka (far left) who sponsored Rosemary as a new Club member.

Ventura South Welcomes 50th Member Sandy Warren 2013-10-09 00:00:00Z 0

Our Newest Paul Harris Fellow

Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 08, 2013


Father Calin Tamaiian Receives

Paul Harris Fellowship from Rodger Adams

On Monday, September 9, long-time Ventura Rotary South member Rodger Adams transferred his recently earned Paul Harris Fellowship to Father Calin Tamaiian. In the photo above, Jack McClenahan (Rotary District 5240 Governor), congratulates Fr. Tamaiian on his award. Looking on are, from left, Ventura Rotary South President Dante Honorico, Rodger Adams, and Fr. Tamaiian's wife Sarah. Paul Harris Fellowships are awarded to Club members for specific levels of financial contributions to the Paul Harris Foundation at Rotary International; members have the option of transferring those awards to a person of their choice.

Our Newest Paul Harris Fellow Sandy Warren 2013-09-09 00:00:00Z 0

Honoricos in Lisbon

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 06, 2013


Incoming President Dante Honorico Attends

Rotary International Conference in Lisbon

To officially kick off his presidency of Rotary Ventura South for the 2013-2014 year, Dante Honorico attended the Rotary International Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. In the photo above, Dante and his wife, Ellen, greet the new president of Rotary International, Ron Burton (center). For a summary of the Conference, click here.

Honoricos in Lisbon Sandy Warren 2013-07-07 00:00:00Z 0

2013 Step-Down Dinner

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 02, 2013


Alan Kosh Honored as Outgoing President

At Rotary Ventura South's  Annual Step-Down

The members of Rotary Ventura South came together on Tuesday, July 2, to honor outgoing Club President Alan Kosh for his leadership during the 2012-2013 year. The event, held at the Wedgewood Banquet Center in Ventura, featured some good-natured roasts from past presidents, a retrospective on the Club's activities and accomplishments over the past 12 months, presentation of Paul Harris Fellowship awards, and introduction of the new Club president and board members for 2013-2014. In the photo above, incoming President Dante Honorico presents a commemorative Rotary bell trophy to Alan in recognition of his service.

The evening featured a hunting and fishing theme, in recognition of Alan's two favorite pastimes. Those in attendance came dressed in hunting and fishing attire (except for Alan, who knew nothing about it). In his portion of the program, Alan reviewed the Club's recent charitable activities (Caregivers Golf Tournament, Ventura Literacy Trivia Challenge, school dictionary give-away, Coins for Causes, Salvation Army Bell-Ringing, Coats for Kids), and presented awards to Club members for their service during the year. Nancy Gregg-Keller was honored as Rotarian of the Year for her service as Publicity and Programs Chair.

As he officially took over leadership of the Club, incoming President Honorico vowed to continue the Club's growth, both in membership and in charitable outreach. "With everyone's continued support," he said, "we'll make it a great year."

2013 Step-Down Dinner Sandy Warren 2013-07-03 00:00:00Z 0

21st Annual Wearin' o' the Green Golf Tournament Approaching!

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 13, 2013


It's the Wearin' o' the Green!

The 21st Annual Wearin' o' the Green Golf Tournament to benefit CAREGIVERS: Volunteers Assisting the Elderly is slated for 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 18, 2013 at Buenaventura Golf Course.

This year, we are delighted to honor former Ventura Mayor Jack Tingstrom and Alexander of Oxnard Public Relations Director Shane Morger, two past tournament chairs who have served CAREGIVERS for so many years. Since 1984, CAREGIVERS has recruited and trained hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time through visits, calls, rides to the doctor, and other neighborly deeds that help seniors continue to live independently in our local communities.

For more information on opportunities to play in or sponsor this exciting event, call the CAREGIVERS office at 805-658-8530 or email Executive Director Tammy Glenn (

21st Annual Wearin' o' the Green Golf Tournament Approaching! Sandy Warren 2013-01-14 00:00:00Z 0

24th Annual Trivia Challenge for Literacy

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 05, 2012

24th Annual Trivia Challenge

Coming up on November 15!

On Thursday, Nov. 15 at 6:00 p.m., Ventura Rotary South will hold its 24th Annual Trivia Challenge to raise funds for the Ventura County Library Literacy Program for Adults. The event, to be held at the Wedgewood Banquet Center(5882 Olivas Park Road in Ventura), promises to be an evening filled with fun, fellowship and, of course, lots of tantalizing trivia!

The Trivia Challenge is a general knowledge game similar to the television show "Jeopardy." Teams of three members are asked a question and have 30 seconds to write down their answer. The correct answers are awarded a point and the teams with the most point win. The winning teams receive community recognition and a trophy.

Teams are placed in categories: Youth (under 25), Service Clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, etc.), Business & Individual Just for Fun. All of the evening's proceeds go to the Adult Literacy Program.

We're still looking for teams of three players each to compete in this fun and very worthwhile event. The team entry fee is $300. Spectators are also very welcome. Just $5 includes admission, hors d'oeuvres, and a no-host bar for soft drinks and cocktails. Contact Jerry Spencer, event chairman, for details (805-488-7725). Reservations and donations can be mailed to The Rotary Club of Ventura South, 'Trivia Challenge', P.O. Box 6383, Ventura, CA 93006.

Come join the fun and help improve literacy here in Ventura County!

24th Annual Trivia Challenge for Literacy Sandy Warren 2012-11-06 00:00:00Z 0

Work Party at the Boys and Girls Club

Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 09, 2012

Rotary Ventura South
Spruces Up Art Room
For Boys & Girls Club


Who is that masked man? That's Bob Braitman on the right, president of Ventura Rotary South. WIth him are Club members Nils Johnson and Marilyn Scott. They, along with Karl Eggertsen and Sandy Warren, spent the morning of Saturday, March 10, scraping and sanding doors and cabinets in the art room of the Ventura Boys and Girls Club on Johnson Drive, prepping them for painting. The work party continued on March 17 and 24. Monty Clark, John Raftery, Jerry Spencer, Nils, Sandy, Marilyn, and Marilyn's husband Don continued the work, finishing the sanding, priming the cabinets, and putting an initial coat of paint on the walls. The project will finish up on Saturday, March 31, when the finish coat will be applied - members are encouraged to come and help. Check out the photo album via the link on the home page, including new photos of the finished room!

Work Party at the Boys and Girls Club Sandy Warren 2012-03-10 00:00:00Z 0

Annual Dictionary Distribution

Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 20, 2012

 Ventura-South Participates in
Annual Dictionary Distribution
To Local Ventura Schools

For the third consecutive year, members of Ventura Rotary-South helped distribute student dictionaries to third-graders in local elementary schools. Ventura-South began this program in 2010 by adopting three schools from the Rotary Club of Ventura, which had been distributing to all third graders in both public and most private schools.  Because of our interest and because the downtown club was being a bit stretched to make such a wide distribution, they were pleased to share the effort.

The three schools adopted by Rotary Ventura-South are Junipero Serra on Halifax Street, Portola on Eagle Street, and Will Rogers on Howard Street. Members participating in the classroom presentations include Month Clark, Dante Honorico, Beth Lyons, Melody Thurman, Bonaventure Wakam, and Sandy Warren. Big thanks go to member Marilyn Scott for coordinating the program.

Annual Dictionary Distribution Sandy Warren 2012-01-21 00:00:00Z 0

23rd Annual Trivia Challengel

Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 17, 2011

23rd Annual Trivia Challenge a Rousing Success!

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, Ventura Rotary South held its 23rd Annual Trivia Challenge to raise funds for the Ventura County Library Literacy Program for Adults. Click on the link below to read the article from the Ventura County Star:

 VC Star Article


23rd Annual Trivia Challengel Sandy Warren 2011-11-18 00:00:00Z 0
How secure is all this data? Sandy Warren 0

Welcome to our Club!

Posted by Sandy Warren

Join us For Lunch Mondays
at The Wedgewood!


Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto "Service Above Self.".

If you would like to learn more about Rotary, its global mission of service, and what we're doing here in Ventura, you are warmly invited to join us for lunch on Mondays at noon. The Wedgewood Banquet Center is located at the Buenaventura Golf Course, 5882 Olivas Park Drive, in Ventura. Click on the link below for a map:

 The Wedgewood Banquet Center


Welcome to our Club! Sandy Warren 0