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In Los Angeles, a Crop of Art Fairs to Suit All Tastes

New York Times - California News - 9 hours 15 min ago
The city’s biggest art week of the year finds happenings all over town, from Santa Monica Airport to far-off Agoura Hills.

College donations reach record high

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 9 hours 49 min ago

People gave more to colleges last year, with donations reaching a record high.

Donors increased their contributions by 11 percent, according to a survey by the Council for Aid to Education.

A significant chunk of those donations went to highly competitive schools, with Harvard topping the list.

In California, five universities are among the top 20 in donations. Stanford placed second on the list, and USC was third. Three University of California campuses also placed in the top 20: UC San Francisco at 12, UCLA at 16, and UC Berkeley at 18.

Parents of a child who fell call authorities

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 9 hours 50 min ago

The parents of a child who had fallen at home called authorities while driving east along Highway 126 to get the child medical help late Thursday morning.

Mike Lindbery, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department, said authorities were called because of a "change of status" of the child. Lindbery would not elaborate on what was behind the child's change of status.

A rescue helicopter landed next to the 126 to help out in the emergency. The child's parents were near the Los Angeles County line when they made the call, Lindbery said. He would not say where the parents lived, only that the child apparently fell at home.

From staff reports

Cal State trustees approve new fee for students

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 10 hours 2 min ago

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The California State University board of trustees has approved a new, voluntary charge to support operations of the statewide student association.

The student involvement and representation fee that was passed Wednesday would charge $2 per student, per semester The Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/1ChmbH3).

However, students will be able to opt out of paying it before they register.

The nonprofit association advocates in Sacramento and Washington on behalf of students. The group currently is funded by the chancellor's office, and member fees are collected by individual campus student associations

California State Student Association Chairman Devon Graves and others said the fee will provide a steadier source of funds and give the group greater autonomy.

"It's all about independence," he told the Times. "We will be able to extend the student voice on every campus and system-wide."

Some campus organizations opposed the new fee, arguing that there was too little information on how the revenues would be spent.

The fee will take effect this fall.

In other action at its meeting in Long Beach, the board moved to place tighter controls on other student fees that have drawn criticism as a backdoor way to raise tuition.

The board voted unanimously, with one abstention, to require changes in how so-called student success fees are enacted, after students complained that they weren't consulted and lacked adequate information on how revenues were being used.

The charges have been enacted at a dozen of the system's 23 campuses and range from $162 to $830 when fully implemented. These fees come in addition to tuition, room and board.

Men accused of using Uber to get to drug deal

Ventura County Star - Local News - 10 hours 4 min ago

Two Conejo Valley men were arrested Wednesday in Thousand Oaks after they hired a Uber driver to get them to a drug deal, police said.

The arrest was made about noon on Westlake Boulevard south of Avenida de los Arboles after deputies pulled over a vehicle for an unspecified violation. Officers learned the driver was operating the car as a Uber taxi service, police said.

Officers found the two passengers in the back seat had a quarter-pound of concentrated cannabis known as butane honey oil and $2,000, authorities said. The men were using the car service to take them to a place where they planned to sell the drugs, authorities said. There was no indication that the driver knew anything about the drugs.

Police said a typical dose of the drug is a 10th of a gram and the men had more than 1,000 doses.

Cody Jens, 24, of Agoura Hills, and Luke Karasiuk, 22, of Thousand Oaks, were arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance for sale and booked into county jail, authorities said.

Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in video

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 10 hours 8 min ago

NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Bieber has apologized for his bad behavior in a new video posted to Facebook.

The singer says in a 2-minute video posted early Thursday that his "arrogant and conceited" attitude over the last two years was just to cover up his true feelings. He said growing up in the industry is tough.

Bieber visited "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Wednesday and said he was "nervous" about the appearance. He said he didn't know how people would react to him.

The 20-year-old was heavily booed at the Fashion Rocks event last year, and his recent Calvin Klein ad was ridiculed. His tumultuous behavior has ranged from a DUI arrest to egg-tossing vandalism in Calabasas to clashing with a paparazzo.

Bieber also said he wants people to know he has a caring side.

Air Force to Open Additional Satellite Launches to Competition

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 10 hours 8 min ago
The Pentagon will announce plans next week to open more space rocket launches to competition, paving the way for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to try to win its first military business, according to U.S. officials familiar with the plan.

Yellen Tells Senate Democrats U.S. Economy is Strong

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 10 hours 10 min ago
An upbeat Janet Yellen at a private luncheon on Thursday told Senate Democrats the U.S. economy is strong.

Ventura chefs leave behind signature dishes

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 10 hours 33 min ago

Chefs from two restaurants in downtown Ventura plan to pack their knives and go between now and early February. Both are leaving signature dishes by which to remember them.

First to depart is Seth Michael Nathan, who as kitchen manager at Saloon BBQ Co. added such creations as The Frontiersman to the menu. The bison burger is served with chipotle mayo, peanut butter, blue cheese crumbles and pink peppercorn kale slaw ($16).

Nathan’s next post will be as executive chef at the as-yet unnamed restaurant at The Landsby, opening this spring at the former Petersen Village Inn in Solvang.

“It will be upscale yet comfortable,” said Nathan, an Ojai native who attended culinary school in Spain and worked in Palm Springs before a family matter called him back to Ventura County.

He has since worked at and/or consulted for Social Tap, Paradise Pantry and the late Spinnaker Steak & Seafood, among others.

Nathan’s final duties at Saloon BBQ Co. include presenting a New Orleans-inspired whiskey-pairing dinner from 5 p.m. Saturday (three courses, $45). It will be available in addition to the regular menu — peanut butter bison burgers and all (456 E. Main St., 667-8550, saloonbbqco.com).

At Watermark on Main just up the street, Feb. 7 will be the last date on which diners can order a cocoa- and- coffee-rubbed venison dish ($24) created and prepared by sous chef Sheli Kinjorski.

Served with goat cheese and roasted almond potato mash, candied carrots and cabernet-cherry sauce, the dish was inspired by a recipe Kinjorski made for family during a trip back to her native Michigan.

It taps into the reason for her departure: homesickness for the Mitten State.

“I want to live around Detroit; I want to be part of the rebuilding,” Kinjorski said. Then again, she also has a job offer from hometown friend and “Top Chef: Boston” contestant James Rigato, executive chef at a restaurant in White Lake, Mich.

Not bad, considering Kinjorski had zero culinary training when she arrived in Ventura County a decade ago. Instead, she learned by doing at Spasso Cucina Italiana and at The Cave at Ventura Wine Co. At the latter, she forged such a strong friendship with founding executive chef Gary Daniel that she followed when he accepted the top position at the Watermark in 2012.

“We’re figuring out what the other one does so we can teach each other before I leave,” she said with a laugh. (598 E. Main St., 643-6800, watermarkonmain.com).

Lisa McKinnon’s column also appears in the Sunday Life section of the Ventura County Star. Send email to lmckinnon@vcstar.com.

Channel Islands volunteers to be honored

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 10 hours 57 min ago

A team of volunteers donated 78,232 hours of their time last year to help Channel Islands National Park and its nearby marine sanctuary, park officials said.

In 2014, the park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary had 1,585 volunteers, and their contributions amounted to more than 37 full-time positions. The park and marine sanctuary will recognize them at an event Thursday night in Ventura.

Officials said four have volunteered for more than 20 years:

— Retired engineer Frank Foster, of Ventura, has worked each Thursday at the park visitor center.

Milt Rothschild, of Ventura, was one of the original volunteers to help maintain the native plant garden exhibit at the park visitor center.

Lee Rothschild, of Ventura, has volunteered for the educational program, bookstore operations and archiving of park articles.

George Roberts, a retired teacher, has volunteered at several national parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes, Sequoia and Channel Islands, where he has served as a naturalist on San Miguel and Santa Rosa islands.

Five high school teachers — Richard Smith and Michael Yorke from Buena High, Kevin Flint from Oxnard High, Robert Carr from Pacifica High and Bill Weinerth with Rio Mesa High — also will be recognized, for leading efforts to restore native plants on Anacapa Island.

Ken Tatro, an aerospace engineer, is receiving the Blue Whale Award for his work with the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps, providing education during whale watching trips, island hikes and community events.

For more information on volunteering, visit http://www.nps.gov/chis/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm.

Boy Scouts settle California suit over abuse

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 11 hours 7 min ago
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America settled a sex abuse case Thursday involving a 20-year-old California man who was molested by a Scout volunteer in 2007 — a decision that will keep years' worth of "perversion" files detailing sex abuse allegations secret from the public.   The announcement of the settlement in the Santa Barbara case came after three days of trial. The terms were confidential at the Boy Scouts' request, said Tim Hale, the plaintiff's attorney.   "I can't go into details about the number, but it was a great result," Hale said.

Hale had won the right to use the "perversion" files as trial evidence to try to show the Boys Scouts were negligent by not properly training, educating and warning parents, Scouts and volunteers about the dangers of sexual abuse.   He told jurors in his opening statement that they would receive a CD with 100,000 pages of internal documents from 1971 to 2007 during their deliberations. Many of the files have not been seen outside the Scouts.   Hale said Thursday that the settlement will keep the files from being made public. Past settlements in similar cases in Texas and Minnesota also kept them secret.   The plaintiff's attorneys had been planning to use up to 100 "egregious" files next week while cross-examining witnesses and eliciting testimony from experts, Hale said.   Two files were discussed in open court in the first three days of trial, he added.   The plaintiff's law firm has the remaining files but they are sealed by a judge's protective order and can't be made public or shared with other attorneys.   In an emailed statement, the Boy Scouts said the Scouts were "safer because those files exist" and said in 2012 the Boy Scouts of America National Council reviewed all the files from 1965 to the present and reported to authorities any files that did not clearly indicate a prior report had been made to police.  

"The behavior included in these reports runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands," Deron Smith, the Boy Scouts spokesman, said in an emailed statement.   "While we can't comment on the specifics related to this matter, even a single instance of child victimization or abuse is intolerable and unacceptable," it said. "We regret there have been times when the BSA's best efforts to protect children were insufficient, and for that we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families."   Smith did not immediately respond to an email seeking further comment.   Files that the Boy Scouts of America kept between 1960 and 1991 already have been made public through other civil cases.   The release of the more recent files — from 1991 to 2007 — could have revealed how much the Scouts improved their efforts to protect children and report abuse after several high-profile cases and the implementation of a youth protection policy in the late 1980s. Previous large verdicts against the Scouts focused on cases where alleged abuse occurred before the policy was put in place.   In 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Scouts to make public a trove of files from 1965 to 1985. The records showed that more than one-third of abuse allegations never were reported to police and that even when authorities were told, little was done most of the time.   Those documents came to light after a jury in 2010 imposed a nearly $20 million penalty against the Scouts in a molestation case in Portland, Oregon, that dated to the early 1980s.   The California case alleged that a volunteer named Al Stein, now 37, pulled down the plaintiff's pants when he was 13 and fondled him while the two worked in a Christmas tree lot.   Stein pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment in 2009 and was sentenced to probation but later did a short stint in prison after authorities found images of nude children on his cellphone.   He was last living in Salinas as a registered sex offender and did not attend the trial. A hearing is set Monday to determine his share of liability in the case.

South Highway 101 to close tonight in Camarillo

Ventura County Star - Local News - 11 hours 30 min ago

Southbound Highway 101 will close Thursday night at Central Avenue in Camarillo for routine maintenance, Caltrans officials said.

All southbound lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday, and detour signs will be in place, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans crews and engineers will be conducting routine maintenance and inspection of the Central Avenue bridge, officials said.

Delays should be minor, and California Highway Patrol officers will be in the area to assist.

South Highway 101 to close tonight in Camarillo

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 11 hours 30 min ago

Southbound Highway 101 will close Thursday night at Central Avenue in Camarillo for routine maintenance, Caltrans officials said.

All southbound lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday, and detour signs will be in place, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans crews and engineers will be conducting routine maintenance and inspection of the Central Avenue bridge, officials said.

Delays should be minor, and California Highway Patrol officers will be in the area to assist.

Camarillo Council won't have prayer at meetings

Ventura County Star - Local News - 11 hours 44 min ago

Prayer won’t be coming back to Camarillo City Council meetings.

Mayor Bill Little and Councilwoman Charlotte Craven served on an ad hoc committee that was tasked back in June to look into bringing prayer or invocations back to council meetings.

Little and Craven gave a report on Wednesday to the entire council, which voted 4-1, with Councilman Mike Morgan dissenting, to not pursue the issue of prayer any further due in part to difficulty in trying to find someone to lead the prayer at every meeting.

Little said it is also very difficult for a limited city staff to contact every religious group and church in the city and invite them to participate.

Councilmembers were concerned that if every group wasn’t asked to participate, the city could open itself up to litigation.

There are 86 groups in Camarillo that are identified as “churches” in the community by the IRS, though some of the groups are run by just a few people. The Supreme Court last year ruled that the content of the prayer is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion.

Craven said it was the direction of the council back in June for the committee consider to make sure it didn’t place undue pressure on the city clerk’s office to make sure someone was available to give a prayer at every meeting.

She said previous attempts of having prayer at meetings failed because “it was impossible to get people to come. People would say they’d come and wouldn’t show up.”

Craven said the ministerial association wouldn’t send someone when they said they would, and the city clerk’s office would have to search the entire afternoon to find someone to fill the slot.

Morgan said he has talked to people from different religious groups, and they were already willing to come to the meetings.

However, Councilman Kevin Kildee agreed with the majority of the council on the committee’s decision to shelve the issue.

“The committee did their homework on this, and you have to remember we have a very limited staff in the city clerk’s office,” said Kildee.

The council also on Wednesday approved a final pay estimate of $969,748 and accepted two phases of improvements completed in response to a debris flow in the Camarillo Springs community as a result of heavy rains late last year.

A construction contract in the amount of $326,908 was awarded on Dec. 10 to Camarillo-based Staben Brothers Inc. for interim improvements prepared by the Natural Resources Conservation Services ahead of and right after the storm on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12.

The storm caused a large debris flow in Camarillo Springs, which deposited thousands of cubic yards of mud and materials in two main areas of the community and also eroded a large void in the slope downgrade of a concrete drain channel.

Emergency repairs were completed to the scour area and debris removal was also completed on Gitano Avenue and San Como Lane.

Phase two improvements in the amount of $642,840 began on Dec. 20 and were completed on Dec. 31. Those improvements include completing debris paths and other mitigation efforts.

The city prefunded the repairs out of its general fund, but will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the work by the NRCS. The remaining 25 percent is expected to be paid for by the Camarillo Springs Homeowner’s Association and other property owners.

The council also:

Gave final approval to an ordinance regulating the sale of electronic smoking devices and products in the same manner as tobacco products in the city. It adds to the city’s already existing ordinance restricting the smoking of e-cigarettes as it also does with tobacco products.

Approved the issuance of revenue bonds by the California Municipal Finance Authority to provide for financing of a $12 million, 60-unit multifamily affordable rental housing development being developed in the Springville Master Planned community by C&C Development Company, LLC.

Camarillo Council won't have prayer at meetings

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 11 hours 44 min ago

Prayer won’t be coming back to Camarillo City Council meetings.

Mayor Bill Little and Councilwoman Charlotte Craven served on an ad hoc committee that was tasked back in June to look into bringing prayer or invocations back to council meetings.

Little and Craven gave a report on Wednesday to the entire council, which voted 4-1, with Councilman Mike Morgan dissenting, to not pursue the issue of prayer any further due in part to difficulty in trying to find someone to lead the prayer at every meeting.

Little said it is also very difficult for a limited city staff to contact every religious group and church in the city and invite them to participate.

Councilmembers were concerned that if every group wasn’t asked to participate, the city could open itself up to litigation.

There are 86 groups in Camarillo that are identified as “churches” in the community by the IRS, though some of the groups are run by just a few people. The Supreme Court last year ruled that the content of the prayer is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion.

Craven said it was the direction of the council back in June for the committee consider to make sure it didn’t place “undo pressure” on the city clerk’s office to make sure someone was available to give a prayer at every meeting.

She said previous attempts of having prayer at meetings failed because “it was impossible to get people to come. People would say they’d come and wouldn’t show up.”

Craven said the ministerial association wouldn’t send someone when they said they would, and the city clerk’s office would have to search the entire afternoon to find someone to fill the slot.

Morgan said he has talked to people from different religious groups, and they were already willing to come to the meetings.

However, Councilman Kevin Kildee agreed with the majority of the council on the committee’s decision to shelve the issue.

“The committee did their homework on this, and you have to remember we have a very limited staff in the city clerk’s office,” said Kildee.

The council also on Wednesday approved a final pay estimate of $969,748 and accepted two phases of improvements completed in response to a debris flow in the Camarillo Springs community as a result of heavy rains late last year.

A construction contract in the amount of $326,908 was awarded on Dec. 10 to Camarillo-based Staben Brothers Inc. for interim improvements prepared by the Natural Resources Conservation Services ahead of and right after the storm on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12.

The storm caused a large debris flow in Camarillo Springs, which deposited thousands of cubic yards of mud and materials in two main areas of the community and also eroded a large void in the slope downgrade of a concrete drain channel.

Emergency repairs were completed to the scour area and debris removal was also completed on Gitano Avenue and San Como Lane.

Phase two improvements in the amount of $642,840 began on Dec. 20 and were completed on Dec. 31. Those improvements include completing debris paths and other mitigation efforts.

The city prefunded the repairs out of its general fund, but will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the work by the NRCS. The remaining 25 percent is expected to be paid for by the Camarillo Springs Homeowner’s Association and other property owners.

The council also:

Gave final approval to an ordinance regulating the sale of electronic smoking devices and products in the same manner as tobacco products in the city. It adds to the city’s already existing ordinance restricting the smoking of e-cigarettes as it also does with tobacco products.

Approved the issuance of revenue bonds by the California Municipal Finance Authority to provide for financing of a $12 million, 60-unit multifamily affordable rental housing development being developed in the Springville Master Planned community by C&C Development Company, LLC.

Two-Tier Economy Reshapes U.S. Marketplace

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 11 hours 46 min ago
The advance of wealthy households, while middle- and lower-income Americans struggle, is reshaping markets for everything from housing to clothing to beer.

Ojai Valley woman named to planning panel

Ventura County Star - Local News - 11 hours 51 min ago

An Ojai Valley civic leader has been appointed to the Ventura County Planning Commission.

Carin Kally, who lives in the Foster Park area, is replacing Commissioner Paul Magie, who resigned in the middle of his four-year term for personal reasons.

The appointment Tuesday by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors takes effect immediately. Kally is scheduled to serve until January 2017.

She was recommended by Supervisor Steve Bennett for the 1st District seat on the five-member commission. The 1st District includes Ventura, the Ojai Valley and northwest Oxnard.

Kally, 53, has been actively involved in the Ojai Valley community, serving on the area’s municipal advisory council and as president of the Ojai Valley Library Friends & Foundation.

The commission votes on land-use issues in unincorporated areas of the county.

Ojai Valley woman named to planning panel

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 11 hours 51 min ago

An Ojai Valley civic leader has been appointed to the Ventura County Planning Commission.

Carin Kally, who lives in the Foster Park area, is replacing Commissioner Paul Magie, who resigned in the middle of his four-year term for personal reasons.

The appointment Tuesday by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors takes effect immediately. Kally is scheduled to serve until January 2017.

She was recommended by Supervisor Steve Bennett for the 1st District seat on the five-member commission. The 1st District includes Ventura, the Ojai Valley and northwest Oxnard.

Kally has been actively involved in the Ojai Valley community, serving on the area’s municipal advisory council and as president of the Ojai Valley Library Friends & Foundation.

The commission votes on land-use issues in unincorporated areas of the county.

Most Wanted for January 29

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 12 hours 16 min ago

Ventura County's Most Wanted is a collection from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with Crime Stoppers. 

Click here for more crime-related stories and VCSD Most Wanted.

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the suspect. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded.

Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit venturacountycrimestoppers.org. All information provided by Crime Stoppers as collected from law enforcement agencies or supplied by the Ventura County Sheriff's office.

‘American Sniper’ Script Looks for the Human Behind the Hero

NY Times Books - 13 hours 3 min ago
Jason Hall, the screenwriter of “American Sniper,” created a more complex character than the one in the book of the same name.






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