In Brief

In Brief

Radio station wins seven journalism awards
KCLU, Cal Lutheran University’s NPR radio station, has received seven Edward R. Murrow awards for journalistic excellence, the highest it has ever received.

The Thousand Oaks station announced the news this week that it received the accolades from the Radio Television Digital News Association, with KCLU winning more awards this year than any other small station in the region encompassing California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam.

The announcement from CLU said that program director Jim Rondeau, news director Lance Orozco and reporter John Palminteri won the joint award for “Audio Breaking News Coverage,” for their live reporting on the Jesusita brushfire.

Special projects documentarian John North was also honored.

KCLU, it noted, has received a total of 18 Murrow awards since 2001.

Conservancy finalizes land preservation deal
Members of the Nature Conservancy closed this week on a deal to secure more than 140 acres of riparian habitat they say is one of the last historic wild rivers in Southern California.

The agreement between the conservancy, state of California and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sees completion of the purchase of the McGrath property in Ventura, whose wetlands, agriculture fields and flood plains, part of the Santa Clara River, will be protected in perpetuity.

The conservancy said in an announcement that the land is planned for recreational opportunities such as hiking and bird watching. It’s the last step in the Santa Clara River Parkway project begun 10 years ago by the state Coastal Conservancy. It, along with other agencies, like the state department of transportation and state resources agency, helped fund the land acquisition.



In Brief

In Brief

Downtown Ventura’s minipark gets a makeover; block parties begin next month
Located between Oak and Palm streets in Downtown Ventura, the public minipark has served as a walkway for visitors to Main Street from Santa Clara Street. It has also become infamously known as a place for transients to loiter and participate in various criminal activities, resulting in numerous visits by the police to the area. And just recently, due to budget cuts, the city of Ventura has opted out of the lease it held with the landowner to maintain it as a public park.

Because the city will no longer hold the lease, Lori Moll, owner of Savory Cafe and Bakery, decided to take the opportunity to make her vision into a reality. Since she and other fellow restaurateurs have very limited options to cater bigger parties, losing out to hotels with banquet halls, Moll saw a place to accommodate parties between 300 and 600 people while revitalizing the area for food, fun and entertainment.

Moll plans to spend an estimated $300,000 to transform the park into a private gated venue, with new landscaping and a stage for movies in the park, jazz dinners, weddings, corporate events, etc. She said it will also be open to the public, similar to a movie theater, with a fee at the door for certain events.

If everything continues to fall into place, she foresees an opening date for the Garden on Main sometime in June after a May renovation.

“It has been approved by the [Design Review Committee] and planning,” Moll said. “We have one more process waiting on approval. We are really hoping [to be] getting it off the ground May 1st.”

In the meantime, Moll is working with other business owners, local artists and bands to throw a monthly block party in downtown, which will be held the second Wednesday of every month. The first one will be held on Wednesday, May 12, on the 400 block of Main Street.

“Basically, the purpose is for the community to come together,” she said.

The event is free to the public. The fees to set up booths are $80 for artists and $100 for food vendors. Moll said there are still several openings for vendors to participate.

Moll said that all proceeds beyond paying for permits and bands will go to the Downtown Ventura Organization, which is dedicated to a cleaner, safer and an overall better downtown.

For more information on the block party or participating in the event, go to

Spring clean the pantry for charity
A little something goes a long way.

FOOD Share, Ventura County’s regional food bank, launched a 30-day campaign, as of April 12, seeking donations of cash and nonperishable food items due to a huge increase in demand for food.

Jeanne Benitez, development manager of FOOD share, said the increase in demand for food has gone up by 40 percent over last year, as the organization is currently serving more than 54,700 hungry people in the county each month.

“The community is really hurting,” she said. “We get the food out to about 140 partners, and they report the same increase.”

According to Bonnie Weigl, FOOD Share president and CEO, one in six people in Ventura County don’t know where their next meal will come from, and about 80,000 people still need help.

Donations can be made in a variety of ways. Food and/or monetary donations can be made as follows:

• By mail to FOOD Share, 4156 Southbank Road., Oxnard, CA 93036. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For corporate donations or to set up a food drive, call 983-7100.

• Online through FOOD Share’s virtual food drive link:

• At the Ventura Music Festival’s Herbie Hancock concert at 2 p.m. on May 2 at Ventura College West Athletic Field.

• Collected from doorsteps on May 8 as a part of the National Association of Letter Carrier’s annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

While all donations are appreciated, cash donations can go a long way. Benitez said that every $1 equals $7.15 worth of food.

“Can you imagine how far $5 would go?” she asked.   


In Brief

In Brief

Ventura teen finalist in environmental grant contest
Alec Loorz, the Ventura teenager whose environmental activism has earned him local acclaim and a seal of approval from Al Gore, is in the running as a finalist for a cash prize grant from a natural household cleaning brand.

Loorz finds himself in the running for one of six cash awards from the Green Works brand – a $15,000 first-prize grant and a $5,000 runner-up grant in each of three categories: youth or youth-led organization, adult or adult-led organization and school program.

Loorz, according to an announcement, seeks the money to organize a youth march in Washington, D.C. His activism has landed him on national TV, and locally, he is known for being a driving force behind blocking oil drilling expansion and raising awareness of the dangers of sea level rise.

Through April 18, 2010, the public will have the opportunity to vote online at for its favorite finalists.

CSUCI gets new environmental designation

CSU is now a CESU.

It was announced this month that Cal State University Channel Islands in Camarillo was recently designated as a Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit. That means the university, recognized regionally as being on the cutting edge of science-based curricula, can better partner with other schools and federal agencies in obtaining funding for research projects and technical assistance, according to a statement from CSUCI.

As part of the designation, CSUCI environmental science professor Donald Rodriguez said that CSUCI is currently seeking to develop a deeper integration with local and federal land management agencies, to develop curricula integrating CI students into monitoring efforts on the mainland and on offshore areas of the Channel Islands.

For further information, contact Rodriguez at 437-8494 or

In Brief

In Brief

Once-popular restaurant Ventura shuts its doors
Scotch and Sirloin, located at the end of Beachmont Street at 1459 Anchors Way, closed its doors last month due to the state of the economy, as posted in a notice on the front door. The steak and seafood restaurant had been a staple in the community for more than a decade.

John Scott, former owner of Scotch and Sirloin, had no comment.

The restaurant opened many years ago, shut down and then reopened its doors at Anchors Way, a spot nestled across from the main commercial district of the Ventura Harbor, according to a source who frequented the restaurant.

Nightclub closes in Downtown Ventura
Following suit of its downstairs neighbor, Nicholby’s antique store, Nicholby’s nightclub shut its doors last month. The nightclub was a popular spot for live music and its DJs since 1993.

The building owner said he had plans for a new tenant; the nightclub owner said the business had been doing OK, although not as well as in previous years, according to an article by the VCStar last month.

No tentative plans have been set to reopen at another location thus far.




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