Feed aggregator

New art project unveiled in Moorpark

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 5 hours 18 min ago

A new public art project, featuring mosaics of birds, insects, amphibians, and other species indigenous to the area, was unveiled this week at the Arroyo Vista Recreation Center in Moorpark.

Anne Mudge, an artist from San Diego, handcrafted 14 mosaics, as well as a bronze toad, after species commonly found in and around the Arroyo Simi, which runs through Moorpark and next to the recreation center.

A fence around the project was recently removed, and visitors are now able to see the project, which includes four mosaic embedded concrete seats.

Mudge came back to Moorpark on Tuesday to meet with Moorpark Arts Commissioners and take photos.

Arts Commissioner Rose Hoberg said the art will make visitors, especially children, more aware about their environment and the nearby arroyo.

“It’s a perfect gateway to our park,” said Hoberg.

Mudge was selected by the Moorpark Arts Commission and City Council to complete the project, which was funded by the city’s Art in Public Places Fund paid for by developers.

“The Arroyo Vista Recreation Center was really calling for this tie in to the nearby arroyo,” said Mudge, who has created art projects at the San Diego International Airport and for San Diego County.

Mudge began the project in January, working an average of 60 hours a week.

She learned about the arroyo by talking to local biologists.

Included in the colorful mosaics are birds such as the Least Bell’s Vireo, a snowy egret and a great blue heron.

Mosaics were also made up of other native and invasive species, including a horned lizard, a red swamp crayfish, a royal willow sawfly, a swallowtail butterfly, a bobcat, a longtail weasel, a coast live oak, and even microorganisms and bacteria found in the arroyo.

For one of the larger mosaics, she used Google Earth imagery of the Moorpark area and incorporated it with a picture of two golden eagles living in the area.

She used a technique called LithoMosaic, which is a kind of process that prevents grout from chipping out, which can happen in traditional mosaic projects, said Mudge.

Running through the center of the mosaics is a bright blue stream representing the arroyo, which was made using a process called Lithocrete, a patented architectural concrete paving system.

Eventually the project will include informational signs and a map, which will direct visitors to go to the city’s website to learn more about the arroyo and the things that live there.

“All the art work here is also meant to be touched, which is really nice because that doesn’t always happen with art,” said Mudge.

The last public art project made in the city was a sculpture by artist John Fisher at the Ruben Castro Human Services Center.

Arts Commissioner Mary Schwabauer viewed the art project at the community center on Tuesday and said she was very impressed.

“This is another beautiful treasure in our community,” said Schwabauer.

Vets Seek Help Decades After War

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 5 hours 53 min ago
Hundreds of thousands of Vietnam veterans are getting help for depression, sleeplessness and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Claudia Rankine on ‘Citizen’ and Racial Politics

NY Times Books - 6 hours 10 min ago
Claudia Rankine mixes verse, prose and visual images in “Citizen,” a National Book Award poetry finalist.






Birding tour, potluck and other events planned

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 6 hours 32 min ago

Ojai

Bird expert will lead birding tour

The public can join bird expert Jesse Grantham for a birding tour of the Ojai Meadows Preserve at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 6.

To make reservations, contact Marti Reid at marti@ovlc.org or 649-6852, ext. 2.

Oxnard

Program helps first-time homebuyers

The city of Oxnard's Affordable Housing and Rehabilitation Division will launch a program to provide financial assistance to qualified first-time homebuyers who seek to purchase homes that require repairs or rehabilitation.

The Acquisition-Rehabilitation Program, funded by a grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, can loan up to $55,000 to low-income city residents who need assistance with down payment, closing costs, and necessary repairs.

For more information, call 385-7400.

Port Hueneme

Public can enjoy tree lighting event

The Hueneme Chamber of Commerce and the city of Port Hueneme will host the second "Hueneme Holly-Day Tree Lighting" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Port Hueneme City Hall, 250 N. Ventura Road.

The event starts with holiday music and proceeds with the tree lighting at 6 p.m. There will be children's activities and food trucks.

Santa's tours of Port Hueneme neighborhoods will go from Dec. 8-12.

Visit http://www.cityofporthueneme.org for more information.

Simi Valley

VFW Post 10049 holds steak dinner

VFW Post 10049 will host a steak dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday at 4242 Los Angeles Ave.

Cost is a $12 donation. For more information, email vfwso10049@sbcglobal.net or call 583-9722.

Support group will host holiday potluck

The Fibromyalgia/Arthritis Support Group will have a Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas potluck from 3-4:45 p.m. Thursday at the Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi.

Members are asked to bring their family's favorite holiday dish.

To RSVP, call Ella Cranny at 210-5356.

Ventura

Gift shop will have holiday boutique

Community Memorial Hospital's Auxiliary Gift Shop will have its annual holiday boutique from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday on the eighth floor of the hospital, 147 N. Brent St.

There will be handcrafted items and homemade baked goods.

Call 652-5043 for more information.

Ventura

Workshop focuses on Social Security

An educational workshop titled "Savvy Social Security Planning: What Baby Boomers Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income" will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Center for Art and Talk, 2855 Johnson Drive, unit A.

Reservations are required. Call Thomas Swan at 644-3495 to RSVP.

Ventura County

Public can visit with Santa Claus

Santa Claus will ride the Fillmore & Western Railway on Saturday. The public can visit with Santa and bring a gift for Toys for Tots.

The train will leave Montalvo at 5:20 p.m., stop at North Bank at 5:30 p.m., visit Saticoy at 6:10 p.m. and Santa Paula at 6:45 p.m.

The event is co-sponsored by the Ventura County Deputy Sheriff Association. Call Capt. David Wareham at 947-8105 for more information.

Pets can be adopted at a discounted rate

Ventura County Animal Services will offer discounted pet adoptions on all cats and dogs at Ventura County Animal Adoption Centers in Camarillo and Simi Valley.

VCAS will reduce the regular $125 adoption fee to only $20.

The Camarillo center is located at 600 Aviation Drive and Simi Valley is located at 670 W. Los Angeles Ave. View http://www.vcas.us to see animals available for adoption.

Homes tour will benefit local group

The 23rd annual Holiday Homes Tour to benefit the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara will go from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 6-7.

Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. To buy tickets, visit http://www.CancerSupportVvsb.org or call 888-557-3177. Call 379-4777 for information on sponsorship, advertising and volunteer opportunities.

East county pet of the week: Boomer

Ventura County Star - Local News - 6 hours 32 min ago

Want to be cheered up? Choose Boomer, a male terrier mix that is three years of boundless joy. He is good with other dogs, with kids, when on leash and in the car. He is a door dasher, but with a little watchfulness on your part and some training for him, this issue should vanish. Be ready to fall in love with this young, playful adorable guy when you meet him. Request A4752213 to adopt Boomer. The Agoura shelter is at 29525 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills. Pets occasionally already have been adopted. Call 818-991-0071 or visit http://animalcare.lacounty.gov to check availability.

East county pet of the week: Boomer

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 6 hours 32 min ago

Want to be cheered up? Choose Boomer, a male terrier mix that is three years of boundless joy. He is good with other dogs, with kids, when on leash and in the car. He is a door dasher, but with a little watchfulness on your part and some training for him, this issue should vanish. Be ready to fall in love with this young, playful adorable guy when you meet him. Request A4752213 to adopt Boomer. The Agoura shelter is at 29525 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills. Pets occasionally already have been adopted. Call 818-991-0071 or visit http://animalcare.lacounty.gov to check availability.

VCAS pets of the week: Bonnie and Clyde

Ventura County Star - Local News - 6 hours 32 min ago
VCAS pets of the week are Bonnie and Clyde

West county pet of the week: Jose

Ventura County Star - Local News - 6 hours 32 min ago

Jose is an adorable little Norfolk terrier mix. He came in as a stray. He may have had a difficult life, but is happy now and ready for a loving home. He is about 2-1/2 years old, walks nicely on leash and may do best as an only dog. He has been waiting since August. You can meet Jose at the Humane Society of Ventura County, 402 Bryant St, Ojai.. His adoption fee of $120 includes neuter, vaccinations, free veterinarian check, microchip implantation, ID tag and some really good company. For more information on Jose or other available animals, or to volunteer, call 646-6505.

West county pet of the week: Jose

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 6 hours 32 min ago

Jose is an adorable little Norfolk terrier mix. He came in as a stray. He may have had a difficult life, but is happy now and ready for a loving home. He is about 2-1/2 years old, walks nicely on leash and may do best as an only dog. He has been waiting since August. You can meet Jose at the Humane Society of Ventura County, 402 Bryant St, Ojai.. His adoption fee of $120 includes neuter, vaccinations, free veterinarian check, microchip implantation, ID tag and some really good company. For more information on Jose or other available animals, or to volunteer, call 646-6505.

VCAS pets of the week: Bonnie and Clyde

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 6 hours 32 min ago
VCAS pets of the week are Bonnie and Clyde

Amgen Scholars Program expands

Ventura County Star - Local News - 6 hours 33 min ago

For the first time, the Amgen Foundation is offering undergraduates majoring in the sciences an opportunity to carry out research at two universities in Japan as well as at Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health in the United States, the Institut Pasteur in France and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

The six higher education institutions are among 17 worldwide that are participating in the 2015 Amgen Scholars Program funded by the Thousand Oaks biotechnology company's philanthropic arm.

For the past eight years, undergraduates in the U.S. have been able to apply for the program that gives them the chance to do summer research working alongside the brightest and best of their peers under the mentorship of top researchers and faculty.

In 2008, Amgen Foundation began offering the same opportunity to undergraduates in Europe and is now adding research opportunities open to students worldwide at Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo.

"At each phase of the program, we evaluate and reassess our partners and as the world's largest biotech company, we continue to explore where the best opportunities are to grow our philanthropic programs," said Amgen Foundation President Eduardo Cetlin.

"Tokyo and Kyoto are exciting partners to have join us and we're thrilled to go from a focus in the U.S. and Europe to include Japan in the next phase of the program."

In 2014, more than 300 students were selected from 4,000 applicants to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program which also includes a symposium at Amgen's Newbury Park headquarters that brings all the scholars together.

Scholars receive financial support to enable them to participate regardless of financial situation and often they receive housing, meals, stipends and transportation costs from their host institution.

"What we keep hearing back from students is that the strongest part of the program is the fact that they need worry about nothing outside of their core research. They get to live the research experience day in and day out," Cetlin said. "The network they have an opportunity to develop throughout the summer is really transformational."

Reem Abdel-Haq, 19, from Simi Valley, is a biology major at Brown University and spent this past summer as an Amgen Scholar at Stanford University where she took part in a project to study genetic material at a single cell level.

"My laboratory and personal experience at Stanford was incredible," she said in an email from England where she is spending her junior year at Oxford University. "This experience was the first time I had been forced to think critically about science and apply my classroom knowledge to a research project."

"Before starting the program as a rising junior with no lab research experience, I was very intimated by the whole concept of scientific research and wasn't confident in my abilities to think critically and innovatively about science. But what surprised me the most was how I much I enjoy spending time in lab and working on my project."

Alicia Romero from Oxnard also spent the summer at Stanford and shared a house with Abdel-Haq.

A microbiology major at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, Romero, 22, says being an Amgen Scholar helped her become more confident about doing her own research.

"It gave me a really good idea of how to be thinking about techniques as you use them and how to analyze data," she said.

Romero said the program offered her an opportunity that she otherwise would not have had, to broaden her horizons and be part of an academic research program that will help her achieve her goal of pursuing a Ph.D.

"Not only was I able to get really great experience in a prestigious lab. I was able to understand the social aspects of lab work and graduate school," she said.

To date, 90 percent of Amgen Scholars who complete their undergraduate degree have gone on to pursue an advanced degree or a career in science.

Amgen Scholars Program expands

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 6 hours 33 min ago

For the first time, the Amgen Foundation is offering undergraduates majoring in the sciences an opportunity to carry out research at two universities in Japan as well as at Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health in the United States, the Institut Pasteur in France and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

The six higher education institutions are among 17 worldwide that are participating in the 2015 Amgen Scholars Program funded by the Thousand Oaks biotechnology company's philanthropic arm.

For the past eight years, undergraduates in the U.S. have been able to apply for the program that gives them the chance to do summer research working alongside the brightest and best of their peers under the mentorship of top researchers and faculty.

In 2008, Amgen Foundation began offering the same opportunity to undergraduates in Europe and is now adding research opportunities open to students worldwide at Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo.

"At each phase of the program, we evaluate and reassess our partners and as the world's largest biotech company, we continue to explore where the best opportunities are to grow our philanthropic programs," said Amgen Foundation President Eduardo Cetlin.

"Tokyo and Kyoto are exciting partners to have join us and we're thrilled to go from a focus in the U.S. and Europe to include Japan in the next phase of the program."

In 2014, more than 300 students were selected from 4,000 applicants to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program which also includes a symposium at Amgen's Newbury Park headquarters that brings all the scholars together.

Scholars receive financial support to enable them to participate regardless of financial situation and often they receive housing, meals, stipends and transportation costs from their host institution.

"What we keep hearing back from students is that the strongest part of the program is the fact that they need worry about nothing outside of their core research. They get to live the research experience day in and day out," Cetlin said. "The network they have an opportunity to develop throughout the summer is really transformational."

Reem Abdel-Haq, 19, from Simi Valley, is a biology major at Brown University and spent this past summer as an Amgen Scholar at Stanford University where she took part in a project to study genetic material at a single cell level.

"My laboratory and personal experience at Stanford was incredible," she said in an email from England where she is spending her junior year at Oxford University. "This experience was the first time I had been forced to think critically about science and apply my classroom knowledge to a research project."

"Before starting the program as a rising junior with no lab research experience, I was very intimated by the whole concept of scientific research and wasn't confident in my abilities to think critically and innovatively about science. But what surprised me the most was how I much I enjoy spending time in lab and working on my project."

Alicia Romero from Oxnard also spent the summer at Stanford and shared a house with Abdel-Haq.

A microbiology major at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, Romero, 22, says being an Amgen Scholar helped her become more confident about doing her own research.

"It gave me a really good idea of how to be thinking about techniques as you use them and how to analyze data," she said.

Romero said the program offered her an opportunity that she otherwise would not have had, to broaden her horizons and be part of an academic research program that will help her achieve her goal of pursuing a Ph.D.

"Not only was I able to get really great experience in a prestigious lab. I was able to understand the social aspects of lab work and graduate school," she said.

To date, 90 percent of Amgen Scholars who complete their undergraduate degree have gone on to pursue an advanced degree or a career in science.

Red Barn Market reopens

Ventura County Star - Local News - 6 hours 36 min ago

Fourteen months after it was closed by a fire, the Red Barn Market in Ventura has been transformed and reopened.

The market rose that Phoenix-like from the ashes of the fire in September 2013 opened to a line of customers extending around the building earlier this month, much to the surprise of Nancy Luna, one of its owners.

“We were expecting a quiet morning,” said Luna, who has helped run the store for 23 years. “We’re so glad to be back. I was born and raised on the Avenue and this is home to me.”

The market, at 995 N. Ventura Ave., was forced to shut down after a fire set deliberately to wooden pallets behind the store caused extensive damage.

As she walked through the neighborhood grocery store, which has been completely reconfigured and refurbished, Jennifer Damu of Ventura couldn’t help but exclaim, “Wow. Just wow. This is so amazing. My husband can come down here now and go up and down the aisles. He has a motorized scooter and before he couldn’t fit,” said Damu, who said she has missed the market.

Luna said that once she and the other owners, Jose Yobe, his wife Najla Yobe, Nancy Luna’s husband Jose Luna and Taman Yobe, evaluated the damage, they were left with some tough decisions.

Nancy Luna explained that they wanted to have the work done by local craftsmen, so the walls have been painted by artist Roberto Hernandez, who has added Aztec-themed drawings on squares flanking the entrance way depicting a monkey, a jaguar, a deer and a flower, all with the English, Spanish and Aztec names.

The new Red Barn Market now has wooden ceilings with dropped lighting and shiny concrete flooring, which, combined with piles of fresh produce at the front of the store, gives it an upscale feel.

Nancy Luna explained the store still offers its bill-paying service that allows neighborhood residents to pay their utility bills. She has also added some of the salads she used to offer at Shamsi’s Deli in midtown Ventura, which she also owned until she decided it was too much extra work.

The market has also retained is its delivery service where people can do their shopping and the store will bring their order to their home. “We’ve already delivered to Carpinteria and Ojai,” Nancy Luna said.

Jose Yobe said the team of owners wanted to make sure the new store was nice, but they never expected it to turn out as well as it did. “We were surprised at how it came out. We had never lost a store before and we didn’t want to lose this one,” Yobe said.

In addition to the Ventura Avenue market, there is a Red Barn Liquors store farther north on Ventura Avenue, a Red Barn Liquor store in Oak View and one on Saviers Road in Oxnard.

Jose Luna said customers have been excited by the store. “People keep saying how clean and ample it seems. It feels like we enlarged the building. The customers are really delighted,” he said.

Mary Ann White, who was shopping with her mother, Angelina Marquez, 92, said she has been passing the market daily for the past year, checking to see whether it had reopened. “Wow. What a transition. The energy here is fabulous. All of the meat and fruits and vegetables — everything is always so fresh,” White said.

Bianca Medina said she was excited to have her favorite market back, as she bought a huge can of hominy and some fresh pork neck bones to make menudo for her family.

“I really like the quality of the meat and the prices are reasonable. This store serves the Hispanic community and it’s very convenient,” Medina said.

Nancy Luna explained that they have an employee who goes to the big Los Angeles produce markets at least three times a week where he picks up large orders of prickly pears, nopales, peppers, sugar cane, fresh garbanzo beans and other specialties that are popular with neighborhood residents.

Another feature they kept at the store is the full-service meat market where customers can specify cuts of meat and request special orders. Luna said they are making an effort to hire more bilingual employees so the market is open to everyone.

The owners said they will wait until after the holiday season to hold a grand opening event to celebrate the store’s reopening.

Red Barn Market is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For information, call 643-5107.

Red Barn Market reopens

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 6 hours 36 min ago

Fourteen months after it was closed by a fire, the Red Barn Market in Ventura has been transformed and reopened.

The market rose that Phoenix-like from the ashes of the fire in September 2013 opened to a line of customers extending around the building earlier this month, much to the surprise of Nancy Luna, one of its owners.

“We were expecting a quiet morning,” said Luna, who has helped run the store for 23 years. “We’re so glad to be back. I was born and raised on the Avenue and this is home to me.”

The market, at 995 N. Ventura Ave., was forced to shut down after a fire set deliberately to wooden pallets behind the store caused extensive damage.

As she walked through the neighborhood grocery store, which has been completely reconfigured and refurbished, Jennifer Damu of Ventura couldn’t help but exclaim, “Wow. Just wow. This is so amazing. My husband can come down here now and go up and down the aisles. He has a motorized scooter and before he couldn’t fit,” said Damu, who said she has missed the market.

Luna said that once she and the other owners, Jose Yobe, his wife Najla Yobe, Nancy Luna’s husband Jose Luna and Taman Yobe, evaluated the damage, they were left with some tough decisions.

Nancy Luna explained that they wanted to have the work done by local craftsmen, so the walls have been painted by artist Roberto Hernandez, who has added Aztec-themed drawings on squares flanking the entrance way depicting a monkey, a jaguar, a deer and a flower, all with the English, Spanish and Aztec names.

The new Red Barn Market now has wooden ceilings with dropped lighting and shiny concrete flooring, which, combined with piles of fresh produce at the front of the store, gives it an upscale feel.

Nancy Luna explained the store still offers its bill-paying service that allows neighborhood residents to pay their utility bills. She has also added some of the salads she used to offer at Shamsi’s Deli in midtown Ventura, which she also owned until she decided it was too much extra work.

The market has also retained is its delivery service where people can do their shopping and the store will bring their order to their home. “We’ve already delivered to Carpinteria and Ojai,” Nancy Luna said.

Jose Yobe said the team of owners wanted to make sure the new store was nice, but they never expected it to turn out as well as it did. “We were surprised at how it came out. We had never lost a store before and we didn’t want to lose this one,” Yobe said.

In addition to the Ventura Avenue market, there is a Red Barn Liquors store farther north on Ventura Avenue, a Red Barn Liquor store in Oak View and one on Saviers Road in Oxnard.

Jose Luna said customers have been excited by the store. “People keep saying how clean and ample it seems. It feels like we enlarged the building. The customers are really delighted,” he said.

Mary Ann White, who was shopping with her mother, Angelina Marquez, 92, said she has been passing the market daily for the past year, checking to see whether it had reopened. “Wow. What a transition. The energy here is fabulous. All of the meat and fruits and vegetables — everything is always so fresh,” White said.

Bianca Medina said she was excited to have her favorite market back, as she bought a huge can of hominy and some fresh pork neck bones to make menudo for her family.

“I really like the quality of the meat and the prices are reasonable. This store serves the Hispanic community and it’s very convenient,” Medina said.

Nancy Luna explained that they have an employee who goes to the big Los Angeles produce markets at least three times a week where he picks up large orders of prickly pears, nopales, peppers, sugar cane, fresh garbanzo beans and other specialties that are popular with neighborhood residents.

Another feature they kept at the store is the full-service meat market where customers can specify cuts of meat and request special orders. Luna said they are making an effort to hire more bilingual employees so the market is open to everyone.

The owners said they will wait until after the holiday season to hold a grand opening event to celebrate the store’s reopening.

Red Barn Market is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For information, call 643-5107.

Star Wars teaser trailer finally awakens

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 7 hours 15 min ago

We could make a Star Wars reference, but now we don’t have to.

Disney released the much-hyped 88-second teaser for its next installment of Star Wars Friday, in a selection of theaters around the U.S. and in a stream from Apple’s trailers website. (Video via Star Wars)

The hype was so strong with the trailer, in fact, that fakes made the rounds.

Some outlets had to do some debunking.

And the Star Wars team even had to respond to complaints that the fake version looked bad because it was, well, fake.

As a teaser, it did its job very well. There aren’t many spoilers to be gleaned from scene-by-scene dissections of the official thing.

Stormtroopers are wearing newly stylized armor, pilots are still flying TIE fighters and X-Wings, and a ship that looks a lot like the Millennium Falcon made an appearance — though we can’t be 100 percent sure. If that’s her, she’s had some work done on the sensor dish. The trailer also featured lightsaber with a cross guard.

It was a feature that’s generating its own little whirlwind of… strong reactions on Twitter.

And not one single frame of Jar Jar Binks, which ought to make a lot of people happy.

The Force Awakens is set thirty years after return of the Jedi. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are confirmed to be reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, respectively. But at this point, not much else is known. (Video via 20th Century Fox)

One of Disney’s first moves was to wipe out the novels and stories of the Expanded Universe, so for better or for worse The Force Awakens will be an original story. (Video via 20th Century Fox)

Release is set for December 18.

Sony's new e-paper watch focuses on fashion

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 7 hours 25 min ago

Sony's latest wearable is all about form over function. The tech giant's just been outed as the source of a nifty e-paper watch design.

This is the FES watch, which first showed up on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake a few months back. Its strap and screen are made from an electronic paper material which can display at least 24 different black-and-white patterns.

If you're not familiar with e-paper, it's a simple display technology, commonly used for e-readers, that mimics the appearance of ink on paper. E-paper displays use a lot less energy than a typical LCD screen and won't fade in direct sunlight — but it's not as good for showing complex, moving or colored images. 

The FES watch supposedly came from a company called Fashion Entertainments, which also apparently has plans for using the technology in other patterned accessories. The watch itself doesn't do much more than tell time, but its distinctive look and the promise of weeks of battery life drew enough interest to raise around 3.5 million yen — over $30,000 — during its Makuake run.

And that might have been the end of the story, if rumors hadn't started to swirl that Sony was also developing a similar e-paper watch. The Wall Street Journal looked into it, and — well, turns out Fashion Entertainments isn't just another tech startup.

A Sony spokesman told the Journal Fashion Entertainments is actually a company-owned initiative overseen by Sony's smartphone head — part of the tech giant's effort to diversify its product lineup. Another rep for the project said the team "hid Sony's name because we wanted to test the real value of the product, whether there will be demand for our concept."

Sony, of course, already has a few smartwatch entries on the market, as well as a fitness band that used an e-paper display, but none of those products have really taken off. (Video via Android Authority)

And that might be why the FES watch is focusing more on form than features. Bloomberg points to a consumer survey which suggests bad aesthetics are a significant barrier for adoption.

One consultant told the outlet, "Smartwatches don't sell now because there is little reason to buy one, since your smartphone can do it all anyway. ... Many people choose their watches based on the brand and design. Convincing them to replace what's on their wrist now is no mean feat."

The company hasn't set a public release date for the FES watch, but backers of the project are scheduled to receive their watches in May 2015.

This video includes Martouf, Arim Kübelbeck / CC BY SA 3.0 and music from Risey / CC BY NC 3.0.

Oakland protesters chain themselves to trains

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 7 hours 34 min ago

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Protesters who chained themselves to trains Friday stopped service from Oakland to San Francisco and shut down a major station in the Bay Area Rapid Transit system days after a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, declined to indict an officer in the shooting death of an 18-year-old.

Some of the roughly 25 protesters have been arrested, but it is unclear how many. They first held train doors open and later chained themselves to each other and to the trains on both West Oakland station platforms, BART spokeswoman Alica Trost said. Trains run from those platforms into San Francisco and into the suburbs to the east.

No injuries have been reported. BART police were on scene, but Trost said she does not have information on when the trains will be running again.

Buses are running through the Transbay Tube and into San Francisco, Trost said.

Demonstrations in Oakland have persisted since a grand jury on Monday declined to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown, who is black.

Since then, some protesters have smashed the windows of businesses, blocked freeways, sprayed graffiti and set trash cans on fire. Police have arrested 167 people, and there could be more after officers review video and pictures of the protests, Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.

Groups nationwide are protesting on Friday as an economic boycott to further draw attention to their anger over the grand jury's decision. A large protest against spending money on Black Friday was slated to start in West Oakland and end at a Walmart store several miles away.

Man dies after being shot with stun guns

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 7 hours 37 min ago

POINT ARENA, Calif. (AP) - Sheriff's officials in Northern California say a robbery suspect died after he was shot with stun guns by law enforcement officials trying to arrest him.

Thirty-nine-year-old Daniel Cedar Saulsbury was suspected of throwing rocks at a man and stealing a diaper bag on Wednesday in Point Arena, a city about three hours north of San Francisco.

Mendocino County Sheriff's officials tell the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa (http://bit.ly/1toRtTv) a California Highway Patrol officer later located Saulsbury, who resisted arrest. Two deputies and the CHP officer deployed their stun guns as they tried to take Saulsbury into custody. Sheriff's officials did not say how many times Saulsbury was shot with the stun guns.

But after he was detained, he showed signs of medical distress and died at the scene.

The Mendocino County District Attorney's office is investigating the death.

___

Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com

Black Friday Shopping Becomes a Marathon

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 7 hours 45 min ago
As tough competition leads retailers to open earlier on Thanksgiving Day, consumers are evolving in kind with the rise of the marathon Black Friday shopper.

Protesters Halt BART Train Service

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 8 hours 7 min ago
Protesters in Oakland, Calif., wearing T-shirts reading “black lives matter” shut down train service on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system between San Francisco and the East Bay for more than an hour Friday morning.
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