Feed aggregator

U.S. Buys Up Ebola Gear, Leaving Little for Africa

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 3:39am
The few global suppliers are ramping up production, but they are still straining to meet demand, especially since anxiety has risen in the U.S.

Ferguson Police Officer Not Charged in Black Teen's Shooting

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 3:34am
A grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, sparking renewed unrest in Ferguson Mo., which became a national flash point over race and justice during weeks of turmoil this summer.

Chuck Hagel Resigns as Defense Chief

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 3:25am
President Obama announced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will step down from his position, marking a major realignment in leadership amid multiple military challenges.

Ferguson Hit by Looting, Arson

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 3:01am
Peaceful protests in Ferguson, Mo., gave way to looting and arson in the wake of a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer in the summer shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Iran, World Powers Fail to Reach Deal

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 2:50am
World powers failed to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran and extended talks for seven months, exposing deep divides between the sides and putting the diplomatic effort at risk from domestic discord in the nations involved.

Police Rarely Criminally Charged for On-Duty Shootings

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 1:07am
Police are rarely charged criminally for on-duty shootings, but law-enforcement officials and critics differ on whether this should be the case.

Changing World Shrank Hagel's Appeal to Obama

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 10:47pm
Capital Journal: The defense secretary’s job was to help complete the exit from Middle East wars. But with Obama now considering re-entering conflicts there, that helps explains why he will be exiting his job prematurely, Gerald F. Seib writes.

Updated: Man stabbed to death in Oxnard

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 24, 2014 - 10:24pm

A 27-year-old man was found stabbed to death along the 500 block of Cooper Road in Oxnard’s La Colonia neighborhood late Monday afternoon.

Police said the man was found on the ground around 5:30 p.m. in a parking lot there with at least one stab wound.

Paramedics worked on the victim for several minutes, police said, but he ultimately died.

Police did not release his name pending notification of next of kin.

His death marks the eighth homicide in Oxnard this year.

Investigators said the killing does not appear to related to the stabbing death of Labh Nigah, who was apparently attacked at Sierra Linda Park on Nov. 13 after dropping off his child at a nearby school.

Authorities were offering $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the killing.

Authorities are expected to release more information on the stabbing sometime Tuesday.

Updated: Man stabbed to death in Oxnard

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 10:24pm

A 27-year-old man was found stabbed to death along the 500 block of Cooper Road in Oxnard’s La Colonia neighborhood late Monday afternoon.

Police said the man was found on the ground around 5:30 p.m. in a parking lot there with at least one stab wound.

Paramedics worked on the victim for several minutes, police said, but he ultimately died.

Police did not release his name pending notification of next of kin.

His death marks the eighth homicide in Oxnard this year.

Investigators said the killing does not appear to related to the stabbing death of Labh Nigah, who was apparently attacked at Sierra Linda Park on Nov. 13 after dropping off his child at a nearby school.

Authorities were offering $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the killing.

Authorities are expected to release more information on the stabbing sometime Tuesday.

Obama Calls for Peaceful Protests

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 9:40pm
Barack Obama called for peaceful protests and a restrained response from law enforcement on after a grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Mo.

Medi-Cal board extends pact with Xerox

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 24, 2014 - 9:32pm

Ventura County Medi-Cal commissioners voted Monday to begin work on extending a contract with Xerox expected to pay a computer services division of the corporate giant more than $14 million a year.

The division, known as ACS, deals with claims, runs a Kentucky call center, processes data files and provides other services for the publicly-funded Gold Coast Health Plan.

Gold Coast administers Medi-Cal to more than 160,000 Ventura County residents.

The health plan’s original five-year contract with ACS has received attention during an ongoing investigation of Gold Coast by the California Attorney General’s office. Deputy Attorney General Rita Hanscom said she couldn’t comment on the investigation but a July subpoena focuses largely on the partnership with ACS. It demands records of contracts, payments, receipts and communications between Gold Coast and ACS.

The original contract took effect when Gold Coast started providing Medi-Cal in 2011. It expires in June 2016.

Monday’s 5-2 vote by the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission kicks off negotiations on payment terms with the goal of extending the ACS contract into 2017. The vote also provides an option for two additional one-year renewals.

Commissioners didn’t mention the attorney general’s investigation during the discussion Monday but discussed it in a closed-door session.

Ruth Watson, interim CEO for Gold Coast, said the staff’s recommendation to renew the contract focused on ACS’ performance as well as the difficulty and cost of transitioning to a new partner.

The enormity of a transition pushed the need to make a decision on whether to pursue an extension now, she said.

Commissioner Tony Alatorre argued against the extension, saying ACS’ performance in dealing with claims and other issues has been a problem since Gold Coast launched.

“Why would you extend a contract that has never worked?” he asked.

Watson said the company’s performance has improved from what she described as a rocky beginning.

“There have been remarkable improvements,” she said, also citing the costs Gold Coast would face if the plan tried to absorb the tasks now performed by ACS.

“It would cost us a lot more than $14 million to do this in house,” she said.

Commissioners Alatorre and Dr. Gagan Pawar voted against the extension.

Gold Coast’s contract with Script Care to manage the plan’s pharmacy benefits also expires in 2016.

Commissioners voted Monday to begin the long process of putting that contract out to bid and possibly finding a different pharmaceutical partner. Gold Coast is budgeted to pay Script Care more than $4.7 million over the current fiscal year.

Watson said the magnitude of the contracts and services provided means it would be nearly impossible for Gold Coast to transition to both a new pharmaceutical partner and a new claims processing partner at the same time.

Commissioners also discussed ongoing investigations triggered by a June report by the League of United Latin American Citizens in Ventura County. The report accused Gold Coast of financial improprieties and fostering a hostile work environment that includes retaliation and racism.

Gold Coast leaders denied the financial allegations. They also said racism and retaliation are not tolerated.

Commissioners voted 7-0 against a proposal from the committee overseeing the investigations that would have authorized Gold Coast’s former general counsel, Nancy Kierstyn Schreiner, to give investigators information and documents protected by attorney-client and closed session privileges.

Rather than to issue a blanket waiver to protected information, commissioners asked investigators to be more specific on what they want.

Medi-Cal board extends pact with Xerox

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 8:25pm

Ventura County Medi-Cal commissioners voted Monday to begin work on extending a contract with Xerox expected to pay a computer services division of the corporate giant more than $14 million a year.

The division, known as ACS, deals with claims, runs a Kentucky call center, processes data files and provides other services for the publicly-funded Gold Coast Health Plan.

Gold Coast administers Medi-Cal to more than 160,000 Ventura County residents.

The health plan’s original five-year contract with ACS has received attention during an ongoing investigation of Gold Coast by the California Attorney General’s office. Deputy Attorney General Rita Hanscom said she couldn’t comment on the investigation but a July subpoena focuses largely on the partnership with ACS. It demands records of contracts, payments, receipts and communications between Gold Coast and ACS.

The original contract took effect when Gold Coast started providing Medi-Cal in 2011. It expires in June 2016.

Monday’s 5-2 vote by the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission kicks off negotiations on payment terms with the goal of extending the ACS contract into 2017. The vote also provides an option for two additional one-year renewals.

Commissioners didn’t mention the attorney general’s investigation during the discussion Monday but discussed it in a closed-door session.

Ruth Watson, interim CEO for Gold Coast, said the staff’s recommendation to renew the contract focused on ACS’ performance as well as the difficulty and cost of transitioning to a new partner.

The enormity of a transition pushed the need to make a decision on whether to pursue an extension now, she said.

Commissioner Tony Alatorre argued against the extension, saying ACS’ performance in dealing with claims and other issues has been a problem since Gold Coast launched.

“Why would you extend a contract that has never worked?” he asked.

Watson said the company’s performance has improved from what she described as a rocky beginning.

“There have been remarkable improvements,” she said, also citing the costs Gold Coast would face if the plan tried to absorb the tasks now performed by ACS.

“It would cost us a lot more than $14 million to do this in house,” she said.

Commissioners Alatorre and Dr. Gagan Pawar voted against the extension.

Gold Coast’s contract with Script Care to manage the plan’s pharmacy benefits also expires in 2016.

Commissioners voted Monday to begin the long process of putting that contract out to bid and possibly finding a different pharmaceutical partner. Gold Coast is budgeted to pay Script Care more than $4.7 million over the current fiscal year.

Watson said the magnitude of the contracts and services provided means it would be nearly impossible for Gold Coast to transition to both a new pharmaceutical partner and a new claims processing partner at the same time.

Commissioners also discussed ongoing investigations triggered by a June report by the League of United Latin American Citizens in Ventura County. The report accused Gold Coast of financial improprieties and fostering a hostile work environment that includes retaliation and racism.

Gold Coast leaders denied the financial allegations. They also said racism and retaliation are not tolerated.

Commissioners also voted 7-0 against letting investigators interview Gold Coast’s former general counsel, Nancy Kierstyn Schreiner.

The motion would have allowed the lawyer to share information and documents protected by attorney-client and closed session privileges.

Commissioners refused a blanket waiver of their privileges. Instead they asked investigators to be more specific on what they want.

Mexican Consul praises Obama

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 8:15pm

The Mexican consul in Oxnard praised President Barack Obama on Monday for pushing comprehensive immigration reform earlier this month.

“This is a positive recognition of the contributions that immigrants have made and continue to make here in California and across the United States,” Berenice Diaz Ceballos told a group of reporters during a Monday afternoon news conference at her Oxnard office.

Obama said in a speech Thursday that there will be new protections for immigrants who do not have legal status but have lived in the United States for at least five years and whose children are U.S. citizens.

Applicants must also pass a criminal-background check and meet other requirements.

The Mexican consul encouraged those who think they might be eligible for this new program to begin gathering the necessary documents they will need to successfully apply for the program.

Under Obama’s directive, immigrants have from around Feb. 19 to May 19 to apply.

In addition to gathering supporting documentation, many applicants also will likely want to talk to an attorney to make their case for approval even stronger, Ceballos said.

“We strongly encourage everyone to begin the process of gathering whatever documents you’ll need sooner rather than later,” she said.

Ceballos also warned applicants to stay away from those who are offering to help them in exchange for hundreds of dollars or more in fees.

We are seeing many instances in which fraudsters and others are trying to take advantage of those with good intentions, she said.

The Mexican government working through its consulates, such as the one in Oxnard, plans on distributing fliers to immigrants in the weeks and months ahead to educate them on the process of applying for the new immigration program, Ceballos said.

Those wanting more information on the program and the process should call 1-855-463-6395, she said.

The consulate also plans to begin assisting Mexican citizens residing in the tri-county area of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, on the application process, she said.

“This is a very important time for us and everyone,” she said.

Ceballos figures there are some 600,000 immigrants living in the three counties the Oxnard consulate serves. Exactly how many of these immigrants are here without the proper documents is difficult to say, she said, since many tend to live in the shadows because of their legal status here.

Those wanting more information on the consulate and other immigration-related issues can visit its website at http://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/oxnard.

They can also visit Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice’s website at www.cluevc.org. The nonprofit works with immigrants and others.

Local students win Congressional Award

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 8:11pm

When it comes to high school, it’s all about the numbers.

Whether it’s grade-point averages or college entrance exams, much of academic life is centered around scores.

But for the annual Congressional Award, which is given to students ages 14 to 24, the only numbers that matter are the volunteer hours and the amount of time spent exploring.

Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, applauded the achievements of six Ventura County students on Monday at her office in Thousand Oaks.

The congresswoman said volunteering in local organizations is an important part of the high school experience.

“I certainly hope many of them will graduate from college and come back to support the community over time,” Brownley said.

The 2014 Congressional Award honors young adults who have met individual goals in the categories of volunteer service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition.

One student hiked from Newbury Park to the beach and learned to play the trumpet. Another student studied Sanskrit literature and visited Cancun.

Jameson Mah, 17, of Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, raised money and organized volunteers to build a utility trailer for a local food pantry. Mah raised $1,500 to purchase plywood and hire a welder.

“The scariest part was definitely organizing people,” said Mah, who encouraged his peers to donate a total of 300 hours. “These were teenagers, same as me. I wanted to make sure it was done right.”

Mah had been helping out at food pantries since he was in middle school. He said that it was an easy way to satisfy community service requirements but his heart wasn’t really into it.

That changed one day when he saw a classmate use the pantry’s services, and he realized he should do more to help.

Mah, who received a silver medal from Brownley, said the award motivates students to be focused on something other than test scores.

“It gives students the opportunity to do something aside from academics, aside from the numbers,” Mah said. “This is related to being a better person and building a better character.”

The other recipients are gold medalist Jed McGuigan, alumni of Thousand Oaks High; silver medalist Nash Iyer, Westlake High; bronze medalists Max Dunbar, a home school student through Schooling for Life; John Monday, Oak Park High independent study and Supreet Shah, Thousand Oaks High.

Moorpark College announces president finalists

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 7:01pm

Three finalists have been announced for Moorpark College’s next president.

The college on Monday named West Los Angeles College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, San Diego Mesa College’s Vice President of Instruction Tim McGrath and Luis Pablo Sanchez, associate superintendent and vice president of academic affairs at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, as the three contenders for the community college’s highest post, according to a news release.

The finalists were chosen by the Moorpark College President Search Committee after a national search, the release said. The trio will participate in a public forum 2 p.m.-5 p.m. on Dec. 1 in the Campus Center Conference Room at Moorpark College located at 7075 Campus Road.

Students, faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to attend the public forum where they can submit questions.

The search committee is expected to give its final recommendation for the college president position to the Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees in January.

Perello wins Oxnard council race by 10 votes

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 6:34pm

By a 10-vote margin, Oxnard City Councilman Bert Perello won reelection, according to final results released Monday.

Perello, first elected to the council in the June 2013 special election, barely bested challenger Steve Huber, who originally led the contest for a second council seat when initial results came in after the Nov. 4 election.

Perello ended up with 6,680 votes, or about 15.2 percent of the total. Huber’s count was 6,670. Less than a tenth of a percentage point separated them.

Oxnard voters chose two candidates from a field of seven. Incumbent Carmen Ramirez easily won a second term with 13,510 votes, or more than 30 percent of the total.

“I’ve already congratulated Bert,” Huber said Monday evening. He added he is still looking at his options, including a possible recount, but hasn’t made a decision. He also wonders if a mandatory recount might be required.

“I have more questions than I have answers,” he said.

Perello could not immediately be reached Monday evening.

In the mayoral contest, Mayor Tim Flynn bested two challengers, including a bid from Councilman Bryan MacDonald, with 59 percent of the total, or 15,764 votes. MacDonald, who will keep his council seat, wound up with 8,285 votes. Larry Stein pulled in 2,157. Oxnard’s mayor is elected every two years, with council members serving four-year terms.

In another close outcome, a measure that would increase salaries for Fillmore City Council members passed by 49 votes. Measure H received “yes votes” from 1,255 voters, or about 51 percent. The measure would allow City Council salaries to rise from $75 a month to $300, the state limit for a city that size.

The results released Monday by the Ventura County Elections Division are the final, certified numbers submitted to the state, which were due by Dec. 2.

Man convicted in 1978 murder free on bail

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 24, 2014 - 6:31pm

After 36 years behind bars, Michael Hanline — no longer a convicted murderer — walked out of Ventura County’s main jail Monday afternoon into bright sunshine and a bank of news cameras.

“It feels like I’m out in front of a missile going through space, and stuff is flying by,” said Hanline, 68, in answer to a question from one of the dozen or so journalists on hand for his release. “It’s incredible.”

He wore the blue sweatshirt of the California Innocence Project, which has worked on his case since 1999, bearing the image of a license plate reading: “XONR8.”

Hanline’s first-degree murder conviction was vacated Nov. 13 at the request of Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten’s office after new evidence, including DNA analysis, undermined prosecutors’ confidence in the 1980 verdict. He could be retried when Totten’s office finishes its investigation of the 1978 murder of Ventura resident J.T. McGarry, also known as Larry Michael Mathers.

During a short hearing before noon, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Donald Coleman set bail at $2,500. Hanline will wear an ankle bracelet that monitors his whereabouts 24 hours a day. He is forbidden from having contact with five people, including the former prosecutor.

A pretrial conference was set for Feb. 27, with a trial, if any, by May 29. He remains charged with murder as he was before the original trial, prosecutors said. They have also indicated they are looking into the possibility someone else committed the crime.

Hanline’s longtime wife, Sandee, awaited her husband’s release with a pair of brown leather cowboy boots she’d held onto for 36 years. She told reporters she brought the boots “so he can have something to wear when he goes home.”

But Hanline ultimately left in white tennis shoes because the boots wouldn’t slip over his ankle bracelet. He later referred to the monitoring device as “my little buddy.”

Hanline was arrested in late 1978 on the murder charge. Prosecutors successfully argued he and an accomplice kidnapped McGarry, fatally shot him and dumped his body off Highway 33. But prosecutors now say new evidence undermines that theory.

Recent DNA analysis found material from an unidentified man, not Hanline or the alleged accomplice, from evidence at the scene where McGarry’s body was found. They now concede information in sealed police reports was improperly withheld from the defense. Some of that evidence indicates others may have been responsible for McGarry’s death.

The withheld evidence has also taken on new weight as more information comes to light, according to the DA’s office. The case is being investigated by Special Assistant District Attorney Michael Schwartz’s conviction integrity unit.

For the California Innocence Project, based at the California Western School of Law in San Diego, the overturning of Hanline’s verdict was a major victory.

“Finally, today, this nightmare is over,” Justin Brooks, the group’s director, told reporters outside the courtroom. Brooks and other CIP staff members in 2013 walked 700 miles to Sacramento to bring attention to the so-called “California 12,” of which Hanline is the first to have his conviction tossed.

Alex Simpson, an attorney with the group who has worked on Hanline’s case for a decade, said as of three weeks ago, “Hanline thought he was going to die in prison.”

At least a dozen law students who work in the group’s clinic, as well as former students who had worked on Hanline’s case, were on hand for his release. Simpson credited the students with doing the “grunt work” of investigating cases.

Michael and Sandee Hanline were married in court in 1980, after he was convicted and before his sentencing, by trial Judge Steven Stone. The two had previously dated in the 1970s. She testified during his trial.

“I’ve always believed in his innocence,” Sandee Hanline told reporters, thanking the California Innocence Project for “working diligently” on his case.

After his release late in the afternoon, Hanline walked slowly out of the jail facility as photographers snapped pictures and news cameras rolled.

He stood before a bank of microphones and read a statement, saying he was thankful to be out of prison.

“I lost half my life behind bars,” he said. “I was always hoping this day would come, and I can’t believe it’s happening now.”

He thanked Sandee for standing by him and spoke of the vastly changed world he was headed to, with cellphones and other new technology.

“I’m a dinosaur,” he said.

He walked to the parking lot using a cane, arm in arm with his wife.

Man convicted in 1978 murder free on bail

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 6:31pm

After 36 years behind bars, Michael Hanline — no longer a convicted murderer — walked out of Ventura County’s main jail Monday afternoon into bright sunshine and a bank of news cameras.

“It feels like I’m out in front of a missile going through space, and stuff is flying by,” said Hanline, 68, in answer to a question from one of the dozen or so journalists on hand for his release. “It’s incredible.”

He wore the blue sweatshirt of the California Innocence Project, which has worked on his case since 1999, bearing the image of a license plate reading: “XONR8.”

Hanline’s first-degree murder conviction was vacated Nov. 13 at the request of Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten’s office after new evidence, including DNA analysis, undermined prosecutors’ confidence in the 1980 verdict. He could be retried when Totten’s office finishes its investigation of the 1978 murder of Ventura resident J.T. McGarry, also known as Larry Michael Mathers.

During a short hearing before noon, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Donald Coleman set bail at $2,500. Hanline will wear an ankle bracelet that monitors his whereabouts 24 hours a day. He is forbidden from having contact with five people, including the former prosecutor.

A pretrial conference was set for Feb. 27, with a trial, if any, by May 29. He remains charged with murder as he was before the original trial, prosecutors said. They have also indicated they are looking into the possibility someone else committed the crime.

Hanline’s longtime wife, Sandee, awaited her husband’s release with a pair of brown leather cowboy boots she’d held onto for 36 years. She told reporters she brought the boots “so he can have something to wear when he goes home.”

But Hanline ultimately left in white tennis shoes because the boots wouldn’t slip over his ankle bracelet. He later referred to the monitoring device as “my little buddy.”

Hanline was arrested in late 1978 on the murder charge. Prosecutors successfully argued he and an accomplice kidnapped McGarry, fatally shot him and dumped his body off Highway 33. But prosecutors now say new evidence undermines that theory.

Recent DNA analysis found material from an unidentified man, not Hanline or the alleged accomplice, from evidence at the scene where McGarry’s body was found. They now concede information in sealed police reports was improperly withheld from the defense. Some of that evidence indicates others may have been responsible for McGarry’s death.

The withheld evidence has also taken on new weight as more information comes to light, according to the DA’s office. The case is being investigated by Special Assistant District Attorney Michael Schwartz’s conviction integrity unit.

For the California Innocence Project, based at the California Western School of Law in San Diego, the overturning of Hanline’s verdict was a major victory.

“Finally, today, this nightmare is over,” Justin Brooks, the group’s director, told reporters outside the courtroom. Brooks and other CIP staff members in 2013 walked 700 miles to Sacramento to bring attention to the so-called “California 12,” of which Hanline is the first to have his conviction tossed.

Alex Simpson, an attorney with the group who has worked on Hanline’s case for a decade, said as of three weeks ago, “Hanline thought he was going to die in prison.”

At least a dozen law students who work in the group’s clinic, as well as former students who had worked on Hanline’s case, were on hand for his release. Simpson credited the students with doing the “grunt work” of investigating cases.

Michael and Sandee Hanline were married in court in 1980, after he was convicted and before his sentencing, by trial Judge Steven Stone. The two had previously dated in the 1970s. She testified during his trial.

“I’ve always believed in his innocence,” Sandee Hanline told reporters, thanking the California Innocence Project for “working diligently” on his case.

After his release late in the afternoon, Hanline walked slowly out of the jail facility as photographers snapped pictures and news cameras rolled.

He stood before a bank of microphones and read a statement, saying he was thankful to be out of prison.

“I lost half my life behind bars,” he said. “I was always hoping this day would come, and I can’t believe it’s happening now.”

He thanked Sandee for standing by him and spoke of the vastly changed world he was headed to, with cellphones and other new technology.

“I’m a dinosaur,” he said.

He walked to the parking lot using a cane, arm in arm with his wife.

Garden club blooms to 90th anniversary

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 6:13pm

Back when the Ventura County Garden Club was formally established in 1924, it was an exclusive club with membership by invitation only and with a mission of beautifying roadways in Ventura County by planting flowers and other shrubs.

The club is celebrating its 90th anniversary with a special presentation and tea at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 3 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 117 N. Seventh St., Santa Paula. The commemoration event will feature local historian Glenda Jackson who will be reading clippings about the club that Linda Stallard, of Camarillo, has compiled from a scrapbook kept by Dorothy Coleman, an early club member.

The scrapbook is among materials about the garden club that were donated to the Ventura County Art Museum Library and Stallard has clippings from 1923, when the club was first announced, through 1978.

“They allowed me to photocopy some of the documents and yearbooks,” said Stallard, who said she joined the garden club because she has been a gardening enthusiast over the years when she lived in Texas, Oregon and Washington state before returning home to Ventura County.

Now, 90 years later, the club still participates in beautification projects, but the 75 or so women who meet at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, except for July and August, also exchange seeds and cuttings from their plants, listen to expert speakers and take trips to notable gardens around Southern California.

And there’s also the tea.

“After the speaker’s talks, we have this tea with a silver tea service. The ladies all take turns bringing little tea sandwiches,” said past President Linda Nunes, of Fillmore, who joined the club after retiring from her work as a clinical scientist. “It was pretty formal in the beginning. People would dress in furs to attend. Now we’re getting younger women, and it’s more casual.”

Nunes has unearthed back copies of old articles of the Fillmore Herald that explain the beginnings of the club, which mainly attracted women from Fillmore and Santa Paula, although women from Saticoy and Ojai were also members.

Mrs. F.H. Osgood, of Ojai, the first president of the club, explained in 1923 that in addition to allowing people to exchange seeds, the club would also work to beautify Ventura County:

“The Garden Club will be glad to act as advisor to see that work is done all in conformity and not at haphazard. Nothing attracts more attention or creates more admiration than avenues of trees, and each community should have its specialty; for instance: Poinsettias flourish wonderfully in Ventura, and how beautiful the main street would look to the thousands who pass along it each week, if the parking strips from one end to the other were planted with these beautiful shrubs, and the street known as ‘Poinsettia Avenue.’ Every road throughout the county has some such possibility, each with its own specialty.”

Both Stallard and Nunes said that the current club continues to attract women mostly from the Santa Paula area. The age ranges from older members in their 90s to younger members.

“These ladies are such good examples. There are college professors and lots of artists. It’s wonderful mix of women. I love being around them, talking with them and being able to learn interesting things from speakers,” said Nunes.

Some members are certified master gardeners, she added. The club is open to men, but few have expressed interest.

For information about the Ventura County Garden Club, visit www.venturacountygardenclub.com.

Bank robbed in Ventura

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 24, 2014 - 6:01pm

A man entered a bank in Ventura on Monday afternoon and gave a teller a note claiming he was armed with a gun and demanding money.

Witnesses said no weapon was seen. The man fled on foot after the clerk gave him an undisclosed sum of money, police said.

The robbery occurred around 1:45 along the 7700 block of Telegraph Road at a Chase Bank.

Witnesses said the robber rode off on a beach-cruiser style bicycle.

The FBI was assisting in the investigation, police said.

Syndicate content