Ventura’s Rusty Sailors capture semi-final berth in FIRST LEGO League

The Ventura Cabrillo Middle School Rusty Sailors robotics team has been selected as one of 20 semifinalist teams to compete in the Eighth Annual FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award competition to be held in San Jose in June, the first team selected from Ventura and Los Angeles Counties in the competition’s history.

The team of eight middle school students, coached by faculty adviser JD Sessa, will take part in a two-day event at San Jose State University Student Union, with the winner receiving $20,000 to continue work.

The 2018 theme, “Hydrondynamics,” focused on “improving the human water cycle and keeping microfibers out of the ocean’s waters and sea life,” according to The LEGO Group. The Rusty Sailors filter captures microfibers that otherwise would pass through regular filters and end up in streams, rivers and the ocean.

The team will also compete in the FIRST® LEGO® League Razorback Invitational at the University of Arkansas on May 16-20. The team has launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the cost of travel. For more information and to support the effort, visit

Ojai students sea turtle app focus of Santa Barbara beach party

If you like turtles, do not miss the Second Annual Turtle Friends Beach Party in Santa Barbara, where all things turtle will be front and center. This turtle extravaganza may not have come to fruition had two Ojai 8-year-olds who really liked turtles not dreamt up a wildly popular sea turtle app.

In April 2015, 8-year-olds Jonas and Matson, created an app to broadcast the life cycle of sea turtles in the Pacific. Jonas, son of Paso Pacifico founder and Executive Director Dr. Sarah Otterstrom, and friend Matson raised $26,000 and launched their app at the inaugural Turtle Friend Beach Party in May of 2016.

This year, Paso Pacifico will demonstrate InvestEGGator decoy eggs, turtle eggs made realistic enough to potentially fool poachers.

“The event support has only continued to grow, and we are thrilled to learn that others in the community are passionate about sea turtles and protecting these amazing creatures,” said Otterstrom. “And a big thank-you to Jonas and Matson for being true Turtle Friends and creating such an innovative app.”

The Second Annual Turtle Friends Beach Party will be held on Saturday, May 19, 1-4 p.m. at Chase Palm Park Center, 236 E. Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara. Tickets $15-20. For more information, visit