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Still miss those high heels

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 4:15pm

I knew that day would eventually come. I dreaded it.

I knew how I looked in high heels versus a low-heeled shoe. In high heels I was confident and walked into a room feeling I could accomplish anything. In flat heels I felt a little dowdy and wanted to sit down quickly so that my height would not be apparent to anyone.

I am 5-feet, 3-inches tall. Many would say that is not short. Nevertheless, those high-heeled shoes gave me an extra two inches or more and I walked proudly in them.

When my knee problems became serious I had no alternative. My doctor laid down the law and said “no more high heels.” I knew he was right. Most of my clothes had their hems altered for me to be able to wear high heels. Now they would have to be altered again.

This information may not be all that interesting to my readers. However, I came across some research from the Universite de Bretagne Sud that verifies all my feelings about high-heeled shoes. They conducted experiments that showed that men behaved very differently toward women in high heels. These results are published online in the journal “Archives of Sexual Behaviour.” The study found that if a woman drops a glove on the street while wearing heels, she’s almost 50 percent more likely to have a man pick it up for her than if she was wearing flats.

For those women who visit a bar for entertainment, a woman in heels will wait half the time to get picked up by a man, then if her heels are closer to the ground. “Women’s shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men’s behavior,” said the study’s author, Nicholas Gueguen, a behavioral science researcher. “Simply put, they make women more beautiful”

Did you know that high heeled shoes had an unglamorous start? They were worn first by Egyptian butchers, who donned platforms to avoid treading in bloody offal. So there you have it. I was not all that wrong.

My high-heeled shoes could tell many stories. The one that I remember the most was the day of my wedding. My husband to be and I had been courting for three years, but I tend to make decisions quickly and for no apparent reason. I finally said yes to his pleas for the two of us to marry. Of course I hadn’t found the right shoes to go with my outfit that I had bought earlier. I had never wanted a large wedding but I did insist on being married by a minister. At eight in the morning I was standing waiting for a prominent shop to open so that I could buy a pair of shoes. Of course, I insisted they had to be high-heeled. I finally found them.

Those shoes were the start of a 36-year marriage. I kept them for a long time, even though they were scuffed, but I am a sentimental fool and I couldn’t bear to throw them away.

Margaret Nesbitt is a columnist for the Star. She can be reached at undeg@verizon.net.

Bellringer gift influenced by trucking

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 4:01pm

It was a distinctive goal.

"Ever since he was a little boy, all he wanted to do was be a truck driver," said Carolyn Finley of her son, Darren Finley.

He trucked for decades in Central California and beyond before dying of cancer three years ago. He was 50.

Carolyn and her husband, Warren, donated to Bellringer in memory of Darren. His vocation influenced the note attached to the gift.

"I just said he's trucking now in heaven," said Carolyn, who lives in Moorpark. "That was his love. That's what I would want to think he's doing."

The Star's annual Julius Gius Bellringer drive will run through Christmas, with a list of new contributions published daily, except Mondays.

Although The Star acknowledges all contributions, donors can remain anonymous if requested. The Salvation Army will receive all the money raised, to serve local people in need.

Checks should include the donor's name, phone number and, if desired, the name of the person, organization, pet or other cause in whose memory it is given.

New donations:

Shirley A. McCafferty: $100.

Tony and Rhonda Breckley: $200.

In loving memory of parents/in-laws Cliff and Elaine Ditto. Brad and Mia Ditto: $25.

In loving memory of our son-in-law, Dr. Stephen V. Rigberg, who is missed every day by all who loved him. Bill and Loretta Burton: $100.

A special thanks to Ben and Judy Lary for remembering my son, your good friend, Dennis Carroll, in The Star Bellringer. Ben and Dennis worked at Point Mugu and went to Barking Sands, Hawaii, often. Dennis talked of you often as a best friend. Thanks, Ben, and bless you. In memory of my son, Dennis Carroll (four years ago), and my husband, Jim O'Brien, retired Air Force, (10 years ago). Linnea O'Brien: $100.

In memory of my parents, June and Vic Farrar, and other family and friends who have passed on. I also want to honor all the police, sheriff and fire department agencies that protect us daily. Thank you. Judy Farrar: $100.

In loving memory of our son, Victor Larsen, and special friends we lost this year: Roland Rogers, Melinda Meredith, John Luttrull, Roger Lucic, David Fetter and Carl Bohman. Gaylord and Muriel Larsen: $100.

We lost you too soon, your memory will forever be in our hearts. Manuel and Ruben Barajas. Gloria, Johnny and Steven Chavira. Ray and Carmen: $100.

May this give someone a smile and a happy heart this Christmas season. Pamela Mortensen: $100.

Anonymous: $100.

For everyone who needs a helping hand, in the memory of Seth Johnston (March 10, 1966, to Sept. 6, 1988), who was always willing to help others. JoAnn, Carl, Eric and Mark: $100.

In memory of my parents, Bob and Hannah Thomas. George and family: $100.

In loving memory of my wife "Lanie Jo," who could never pass by a red kettle without adding to the pot. Jackie Springer: $100.

In loving memory of our dear son, Russ, and all the friends who have gone before. Marge and Dwight Beck: $50.

In memory of Jerry Teeters. David and Riki: $100.

In memory of our son, Darren, who is now trucking in Heaven. Warren and Carolyn Finley: $40.

In loving memory of my husband, Gordon. Elsie Glisson: $50.

In memory of Annie, Steve and Jimmy. Eternally loved, forever missed. Donna and Jim Thonis: $100.

In memory of our wonderful mothers, Helen Piros (December 2006) and Christina Flores (February 2007). Robert and Lupe Piros: $200.

In loving memory of Scotty and Willie Lowe. Linda Rae Lowe: $100.

In loving memory of my parents, Orwyn and Lorena Foster, and in honor of unbelievably strong, brave women: my daughter, Lisa, and good friends Gail, Jan and Georgann. Nancy Fox: $30.

In honor with respect and gratitude to all firefighters, past, present and future. Retired Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Peter O'Sullivan and Cat O'Sullivan: $100.

The Hand and Foot Card group — Bev, Sandy, Jan, Gladys, Ruth, Florence, Jean and Linda: $40.

Jim and I have supported the Salvation Army for longer than I can remember. Thanks for all your hard work. Jim and Marilyn Williams: $500.

Former educators and support staff from Los Nogales School in Camarillo meet together monthly. We wanted to fondly remember our principal, Paige Fisher. He loved children and affected so many lives. One of his finest qualities is that he made every single person feel important. We collected donations for Bellringer at our December luncheon in memory of him: $160.

In loving memory of our family in Heaven: my parents, Ray and Neva Erwin, and brother and sister-in-law, Don and Christina Erwin; husband's parents, Don and Peggy Watt, and their son, Donnie Watt; also a special friend, Sue Wharton. May you all have a beautiful Christmas in Heaven. Love, Richard and Linda Watt: $50.

Today's total: $2,845.

Previous total: $24,991.

Total to date: $27,836.

Please make checks out to Bellringer and send them to:

Bellringer

Ventura County Star

P.O. Box 6006

Camarillo, CA 93011

Surfer injured at Silver Strand

Ventura County Star - Local News - December 16, 2014 - 3:57pm

A surfer injured Tuesday along Silver Strand beach near Oxnard was taken to St. John's Regional Medical Center, authorities said.

The 46-year-old man was surfing when a wave hit him, forcing him down into the sand and injuring his neck, said Gary Sugich, a battalion chief with the Oxnard Fire Department.

Sugich said the man was already on the beach by the time paramedics arrived shortly after 9 a.m.

"We're not sure how he got to the beach," Sugich said, "but he was able to walk."

The incident occurred off the beach near Eagle Rock Avenue and Ocean Drive, Sugich said.

Senior driving class, lunch and other events set

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 3:41pm

Camarillo

Senior center offers various programs

The Pleasant Valley Senior Center will offer a variety of programs at 1605 E. Burnley St.:

Bingo is open to adults 18 and older from 3-6 p.m. Mondays.

Game time from 9 a.m. to noon Fridays features pinochle, chess, backgammon, Scrabble, cards and other games. Mahjong is played at noon Thursdays.

A walking club meets from 8:50-10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

A yoga class meets from 9-10 a.m. Wednesday and Fridays.

Call 482-4881 for more information.

Moorpark

Class to provide insurance discounts

An AARP Smart Driver Program will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday.

Cost is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers. Qualified course graduates age 50 and up may qualify for a discount on auto insurance premiums.

Reservations are required. Call 517-6261 to reserve a spot.

Santa Paula

Christmas luncheon scheduled today

The Santa Paula Senior Center will host a Christmas luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at 530 W. Main St.

Guests can bring a toy for the Santa Paula Christmas Program. There will be a raffle and photos with Santa.

Cost is a suggested donation of $3 for those 60 and older or a new toy to donate. Call 933-4226, ext. 356, for reservations.

Thousand Oaks

Vendors welcome for Wellness Fest

Conejo Senior Volunteer Program will host its first Wellness Fest from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road.

Health- and wellness-related exhibitors and community-services representatives are welcome to participate.

Admission is free. Email csvp@crpd.org or call 381-2742 for more information.

 

Toy drive, coat program underway in county

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 3:38pm

Malibu

Public invited to tour house, pier

The Adamson House and Pier will be decked out in vintage style, reflecting a 1930s heritage for the holidays, for tours on Sunday and Dec. 28 at 23200 Pacific Coast Highway.

The holiday tours include docent-led visits to the house, special exhibits of the family’s memorabilia, live holiday music and more.

The tour cost is $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-17. It’s free for children age 5 and under. Email ah.events@parks.ca.gov or leave a message at 310-456-8432 to make reservations.

Simi Valley

Sponsors sought for police gala

The Simi Valley Police Foundation will hold its 16th annual dinner gala March 14 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, 40 Presidential Drive.

Sponsors are being sought for the event. The foundation welcomes participation by community members and local businesses.

Visit http://www.svpf.org or call 855-478-7300 for sponsorship information or to buy tickets.

Ventura County

Fellowship program open to instructors

CSU Channel Islands invites faculty members from Moorpark College, Oxnard College, Ventura College, Santa Barbara City College and CSU Channel Islands to submit applications for a highly innovative faculty fellowship program that brings together faculty members to focus on transfer-student success from a regional approach.

The 2014-15 Cross-Institutional Learning Community Faculty Fellows Program provides opportunities for faculty members from each campus to participate in learning communities offered through the Regional Teaching and Learning Academy.

The application period closes at midnight Jan. 23. Email cilc.fellows@csuci.edu, or contact Amanda Quintero at amanda.quintero@csuci.edu or 437-3285 to apply or learn more.

Toys welcome for foster children

Ventura County Children and Family Services will have a holiday toy drive and holiday toy store to provide holiday cheer for children in need.

The drive runs through Sunday.

Foster VC Kids, Children Services Auxiliary and GOCARE support the drive.

The public can donate unwrapped toys and other gifts at all Ventura County Fire Department stations. Gifts also can be dropped off from noon to 8 p.m. at The Oaks mall, 350 W. Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, noon to 9 p.m. at Pacific View mall, 3301 E. Main St., in Ventura, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Children and Family Services office, 4651 Telephone Road in Ventura.

Call 654-3245 for more information.

Rotary Club collects coats for needy kids

Ventura Rotary’s Coats for Kids program welcomes the public to donate used coats, jackets and heavy sweatshirts at more than 50 area business, school and office locations.

Visit bit.ly/Coats4kids or http://www.venturarotary.org to find a donation location. Call Kristin Taylor at 643-3800 for more information.

Authorities rescue man after 30-foot fall

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 3:06pm

Ventura County firefighters rescued a man who fell off a bridge Tuesday morning in Somis.

Initial reports said the man was a 29-year-old railroad worker who fell about 30 feet onto concrete. The call came in at 9:37 a.m., and county fire units responded to Los Angeles Avenue and Sand Canyon Road.

The man was extricated and taken to Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks at 10:43 a.m., authorities said. Further details, including his condition, were not available Tuesday.

Deadline Lures Millions to HealthCare.gov

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - December 16, 2014 - 3:03pm
Federal officials said that HealthCare.gov largely held up during a key sign-up deadline despite some stumbles.

Authorities identify Oxnard man fatally shot

Ventura County Star - Local News - December 16, 2014 - 2:57pm

The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office released the name Tuesday of an Oxnard man who was found shot to death early Sunday.

Jose Sainz, 31, was found fatally wounded about 2:35 a.m. Sunday in the 4400 block of South G Street in Oxnard, authorities said. Paramedics unsuccessfully tried to revive Sainz. Sainz died of multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner’s office said.

It was the ninth homicide in Oxnard this year. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday.

The city of Oxnard offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in homicide cases. Anyone with information should call Detective Jeff Kay at 385-7763 or Ventura County Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-222-8477.

Authorities identify Oxnard man fatally shot

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 2:57pm

The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office released the name Tuesday of an Oxnard man who was found shot to death early Sunday.

Jose Sainz, 31, was found fatally wounded about 2:35 a.m. Sunday in the 4400 block of South G Street in Oxnard, authorities said. Paramedics unsuccessfully tried to revive Sainz. Sainz died of multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner’s office said.

It was the ninth homicide in Oxnard this year. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday.

The city of Oxnard offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in homicide cases. Anyone with information should call Detective Jeff Kay at 385-7763 or Ventura County Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-222-8477.

Surfer injured at Silver Strand

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 2:57pm

A surfer injured Tuesday along Silver Strand beach near Oxnard was taken to St. John’s Regional Medical Center, authorities said.

The 46-year-old man was surfing when a wave hit him, forcing him down into the sand and injuring his neck, said Gary Sugich, a battalion chief with the Oxnard Fire Department.

Sugich said the man was already on the beach by the time paramedics arrived shortly after 9 a.m.

“We’re not sure how he got to the beach,” Sugich said, “but he was able to walk.”

The incident occurred off the beach near Eagle Rock Avenue and Ocean Drive, Sugich said.

Senate Confirms Saldaña as Top Immigration Official

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - December 16, 2014 - 2:48pm
The U.S. Senate confirmed Sarah Saldaña to be a top immigration official in the Homeland Security Department.

Santa Paula council looks at budget and labor

Ventura County Star - Local News - December 16, 2014 - 2:33pm

Santa Paula’s newly reorganized City Council held its first regular meeting at City Hall Monday, broaching topics likely to reign large in the coming months: labor negotiations and budgeting.

Among its first decisions, the council opted 4-1 against hiring an outside negotiator to handle upcoming labor negotiations with city employees, choosing instead to let city staff handle the discussions. Councilman Jim Tovias supported the proposed outside hire.

The city is set to open negotiations over contracts with all of its labor unions in January, said City manager Jaime Fontes. Past negotiations have always been handled by city staff, but concerns brought up under the previous council about the process prompted the idea of hiring outside help, the city manager said.

Representatives for the city’s firefighters and service workers spoke out against the idea Monday, however, arguing that hiring an outsider would be an unnecessary expense. The proposal called for spending $30,000.

Several council members seemed to agree. Councilwoman Ginger Gherardi, one of three new council members, said it was too early in the council’s term to start changing how the city conducts negotiations.

“It seems that it might be premature since the majority of us have not been here through the process of those negotiations,” she said. “If we continue to have problems, (we can) reassess what we’re looking at. But at this point it seems to me we need to let staff handle that.”

The council also heard a presentation on budgeting, the city’s 2014-2015 budget, historical trends and future fiscal outlook from Thomas Gardner, a former Ventura finance director and Santa Paula’s current financial consultant.

Gardner provided a mostly academic overview of budgeting in general, the city’s revenue sources and expenditures. He pointed out the city’s reliance on property and sales taxes, which make up two-thirds of the city’s revenues. He also noted that the police and fire department make up the bulk of the city’s annual expenses, accounting for over 60 percent of the budget.

Although city revenues are improving, Gardner cautioned the council to be wary of pitfalls many cities encountered during the recession. These include not planning adequately to ensure funding for city programs is secure in the long term, using one-time moneys to balance deficits or fund staff, and skimping on infrastructure and maintenance needs to pay for labor costs. He said the city will likely have to spend more on infrastructure and maintenance in the next five years because those investments were put off during the recession.

Fontes noted that the city’s current budget leaves little room for discretionary spending if unexpected needs or expenses come up, and said the issue needs to be addressed. The council is due to receive a midyear budget update at the end of February, he said.

Gherardi said she also hopes citizens will get a chance to give their input on the budget and what they believe should be priorities for Santa Paula at public workshops planned for early next year. Fontes said council will discuss plans for the workshops at its next meeting.

In other business, the council agreed to authorize Fontes to hire a Spanish-language interpreter for the public workshops expected next year. A discussion on whether to provide translation services at all of the city’s council meetings will be taken up at a later date, the council decided.

Also at Monday’s meeting, representatives from city and county agencies provided a presentation to council on the response to the chemical explosion at the Santa Clara Waste Water Co. in November.

Santa Paula council looks at budget and labor

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 2:33pm

Santa Paula’s newly reorganized City Council held its first regular meeting at City Hall Monday, broaching topics likely to reign large in the coming months: labor negotiations and budgeting.

Among its first decisions, the council opted 4-1 against hiring an outside negotiator to handle upcoming labor negotiations with city employees, choosing instead to let city staff handle the discussions. Councilman Jim Tovias supported the proposed outside hire.

The city is set to open negotiations over contracts with all of its labor unions in January, said City manager Jaime Fontes. Past negotiations have always been handled by city staff, but concerns brought up under the previous council about the process prompted the idea of hiring outside help, the city manager said.

Representatives for the city’s firefighters and service workers spoke out against the idea Monday, however, arguing that hiring an outsider would be an unnecessary expense. The proposal called for spending $30,000.

Several council members seemed to agree. Councilwoman Ginger Gherardi, one of three new council members, said it was too early in the council’s term to start changing how the city conducts negotiations.

“It seems that it might be premature since the majority of us have not been here through the process of those negotiations,” she said. “If we continue to have problems, (we can) reassess what we’re looking at. But at this point it seems to me we need to let staff handle that.”

The council also heard a presentation on budgeting, the city’s 2014-2015 budget, historical trends and future fiscal outlook from Thomas Gardner, a former Ventura finance director and Santa Paula’s current financial consultant.

Gardner provided a mostly academic overview of budgeting in general, the city’s revenue sources and expenditures. He pointed out the city’s reliance on property and sales taxes, which make up two-thirds of the city’s revenues. He also noted that the police and fire department make up the bulk of the city’s annual expenses, accounting for over 60 percent of the budget.

Although city revenues are improving, Gardner cautioned the council to be wary of pitfalls many cities encountered during the recession. These include not planning adequately to ensure funding for city programs is secure in the long term, using one-time moneys to balance deficits or fund staff, and skimping on infrastructure and maintenance needs to pay for labor costs. He said the city will likely have to spend more on infrastructure and maintenance in the next five years because those investments were put off during the recession.

Fontes noted that the city’s current budget leaves little room for discretionary spending if unexpected needs or expenses come up, and said the issue needs to be addressed. The council is due to receive a midyear budget update at the end of February, he said.

Gherardi said she also hopes citizens will get a chance to give their input on the budget and what they believe should be priorities for Santa Paula at public workshops planned for early next year. Fontes said council will discuss plans for the workshops at its next meeting.

In other business, the council agreed to authorize Fontes to hire a Spanish-language interpreter for the public workshops expected next year. A discussion on whether to provide translation services at all of the city’s council meetings will be taken up at a later date, the council decided.

Also at Monday’s meeting, representatives from city and county agencies provided a presentation to council on the response to the chemical explosion at the Santa Clara Waste Water Co. in November.

Thousand Oaks vet among magazine's 'sexiest'

Ventura County Star - Local News - December 16, 2014 - 2:25pm

Thor actor Chris Hemsworth might have looked chiseled and dreamy on the cover of People Magazine as the sexiest man alive, but could he wrestle a crocodile?

Thumb through the rest of that Dec. 1 issue and you’ll find a Thousand Oaks resident who can do just that.

Dr. Evan Antin, 30, one of six doctors at the Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital, earned some bragging rights when the celebrity magazine named him “sexiest beast charmer.” Mixed in with hunky photos of actors Idris Elba and Bradley Cooper is a picture of Antin holding down a crocodile, biceps flexed.

The Kansas native was chasing animals in a Guatemalan jungle when the magazine came out.

“My mom e-mailed me saying how stoked she was,” Antin said. “She was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so excited,’ exclamation, exclamation, exclamation.”

His fiancee thought it was hilarious and clipped the photo to tape to her desk at work. His clients at the hospital want to pose for a photo with him.

“It’s so cool I work with him and he’s in a national magazine,” said Desiree Bernarducci, a veterinary assistant. “What a small world. Of all the veterinarians, he’s in that magazine.”

Antin is not quite sure how he got People’s attention. Someone from the magazine e-mailed asking for some photos to be used for a “men at work” series for the sexiest man alive issue. Antin sent several photos and later was deemed “sexiest beast charmer.”

A typical day at the Thousand Oaks hospital for Antin might start with a golden retriever with an ear infection and end 12 patients later with a python bothered by a funny-sounding cough. It was on this day that Antin had to break the news over lunch that a client’s aging cat had cancer.

A self-described dinosaur nerd, Antin grew up turning over rocks hoping to find a cool snake. The fascination led to rattlesnake research in college and specializing in exotic animal medicine in veterinary school. Antin spent several semesters abroad in Australia and Tanzania.

“My primary goal was getting into the jungle and immersing myself in wildlife,” said Antin.

At home Antin cares for a cat, dog, lizard, snake and fish. At work, he mostly sees common household pets, but wolves, lemurs, tortoises and toucans have also crossed his path.

His favorite animal is the slithering kind, like that green tree python with a strange cough.

Some of Antin’s snake stories impressed Todd Hughes, owner of the veterinary hospital who interviewed Antin for the job when he was fresh out of vet school. Hughes was always proud to tell his story about a boa constrictor until Antin started telling even more impressive stories while traveling six continents.

Once, a cobra spat out venom and got Antin in the face. It was captured on video and can be viewed on Antin’s YouTube channel.

It was an experience that would have scared off any experienced animal handler, but Antin is still enamored by snakes. He thinks they have a bad reputation.

“They’re not cuddly or furry,” he said. “They’re misunderstood.”

Thousand Oaks vet among magazine's 'sexiest'

Ventura County Star Top Stories - December 16, 2014 - 2:25pm

Thor actor Chris Hemsworth might have looked chiseled and dreamy on the cover of People Magazine as the sexiest man alive, but could he wrestle a crocodile?

Thumb through the rest of that Dec. 1 issue and you’ll find a Thousand Oaks resident who can do just that.

Dr. Evan Antin, 30, one of six doctors at the Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital, earned some bragging rights when the celebrity magazine named him “sexiest beast charmer.” Mixed in with hunky photos of actors Idris Elba and Bradley Cooper is a picture of Antin holding down a crocodile, biceps flexed.

The Kansas native was chasing animals in a Guatemalan jungle when the magazine came out.

“My mom e-mailed me saying how stoked she was,” Antin said. “She was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so excited,’ exclamation, exclamation, exclamation.”

His fiancee thought it was hilarious and clipped the photo to tape to her desk at work. His clients at the hospital want to pose for a photo with him.

“It’s so cool I work with him and he’s in a national magazine,” said Desiree Bernarducci, a veterinary assistant. “What a small world. Of all the veterinarians, he’s in that magazine.”

Antin is not quite sure how he got People’s attention. Someone from the magazine e-mailed asking for some photos to be used for a “men at work” series for the sexiest man alive issue. Antin sent several photos and later was deemed “sexiest beast charmer.”

A typical day at the Thousand Oaks hospital for Antin might start with a golden retriever with an ear infection and end 12 patients later with a python bothered by a funny-sounding cough. It was on this day that Antin had to break the news over lunch that a client’s aging cat had cancer.

A self-described dinosaur nerd, Antin grew up turning over rocks hoping to find a cool snake. The fascination led to rattlesnake research in college and specializing in exotic animal medicine in veterinary school. Antin spent several semesters abroad in Australia and Tanzania.

“My primary goal was getting into the jungle and immersing myself in wildlife,” said Antin.

At home Antin cares for a cat, dog, lizard, snake and fish. At work, he mostly sees common household pets, but wolves, lemurs, tortoises and toucans have also crossed his path.

His favorite animal is the slithering kind, like that green tree python with a strange cough.

Some of Antin’s snake stories impressed Todd Hughes, owner of the veterinary hospital who interviewed Antin for the job when he was fresh out of vet school. Hughes was always proud to tell his story about a boa constrictor until Antin started telling even more impressive stories while traveling six continents.

Once, a cobra spat out venom and got Antin in the face. It was captured on video and can be viewed on Antin’s YouTube channel.

It was an experience that would have scared off any experienced animal handler, but Antin is still enamored by snakes. He thinks they have a bad reputation.

“They’re not cuddly or furry,” he said. “They’re misunderstood.”

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