Ventura Botanical Gardens reopens after Thomas Fire

Don’t call it a comeback: The Ventura Botanical Gardens never left, it only needed time to grow.
The Gardens will host its official grand reopening on Saturday, Nov. 3, when entrance will be free starting at noon. A ribbon cutting will be held with Deputy Mayor Matt LaVere and a Welcome Center dedication as well.

Since closing in December 2017 due to damage caused by the Thomas Fire, plants thought long gone have begun to recover, and new infrastructure has been installed or repaired. Fire-damaged walkways have been rebuilt, a new rock staircase has been constructed and the Merewether Welcome Center is ready to open.

“We are so excited about reopening the Gardens,” said Barbara Brown, president of the board for the Ventura Botanical Gardens. “This will be a very bright moment for a community that has struggled through a very difficult year. It means so much to all of us that this iconic community place reopens.”

With the reopening of the Gardens, a new fee will be applied. Entrance following the reopening celebration will be $7 per day except for Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or $45 for an annual membership. Regularly scheduled guided tours will be free and the Gardens will be free on most major holidays save for July 4.

For more information, visit

Cyclists assist homeless in Oxnard

Community Action of Ventura County and BikeVentura have come together to assist the homeless who depend on their bicycles for every day transportation.

Beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 6, BikeVentura staff will visit Community Action in Oxnard with tools and know-how to assist with repairs and maintenance for bicycles, including outfitting them to better carry belongings.

The service will be offered every Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m. at $5 per hour to use the shop, or by earning store credit through volunteer work.

A ribbon cutting will be held by the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 28 at noon.
The services will be offered at Community Action of Ventura County, 621 Richmond Ave., Oxnard.

California Lutheran University receives $6 million gift

It’s the largest single gift in University history: $6 million toward a building for the School of Management.

Steve Dorfman, former vice chairman for Hughes Electronics, gifted California Lutheran University the funding for the two-story, 27,000 square-foot, appropriately named Steven D. Dorfman Center, which will bring faculty and class rooms together under one roof for the first time.

“I’ve always been interested in education, and I saw an opportunity for me to make a significant difference at Cal Lutheran by sponsoring an attractive new School of Management building located right in the center, centralizing operations and enhancing the look and feel of the campus,” said Dorfman. “This will enable the School of Management to move to the next level and on its way to become one of the leading business schools on the West Coast.

Dorfman has an extensive résumé with directing several landings of probes on Venus and assisting in the creation of Direct TV during his time with various Hughes branches, including the Hughes Space and Communications Co., Hughes Telecommunication and Space and Hughes Communications.

Volunteers needed for Holiday Home Tour

The Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara is looking for volunteers to help guide attendees of the 25th Annual Holiday Homes Tour and Holiday Boutique on Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2.

As the signature fundraiser for the organization, the tour requires 400 volunteers to act as docents or for logistical help.

“Helping out on the tour is a fun and festive way to kick off the holiday season and give back to the community,” said Volunteer Chair Lynn Buchanan, who is a cancer survivor and a participant in CSCVVSB’s support programs.

For more information and to sign up for one of the three-hour shifts, visit