Author: Nancy Lackey Shaffer

After Dark

INCHING OUR WAY BACK After Dark has been on hiatus since March 17, 2020. As the county slowly reopens, we expect that there will be music and other entertainment to offer up here. Most events continue to be virtual, and the pickings are slim, but there are a few items (VERY few at the moment) you might want to check out in the meantime. If you have something related to nightlife — online or otherwise — please email Take care, be well and SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC! PICTURED:  Milo Sledge and friends perform at The Winery in Ventura on...

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A SENIOR YEAR FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS | 2020 graduates share their thoughts on a momentous year

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer  and Kimberly Rivers Senior year of high school is supposed to be a time when memories are made, bonds are forged and young adults embrace a carefree, youthful frivolity one last time before taking that big leap into the future. The graduation gift bestowed upon Ventura County’s Class of 2020 was a lesson in hard truths: In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools throughout California closed up in March, nearly everyone was ordered to stay at home and 12th graders looking forward to proms, picnics and other third-quarter celebrations saw those...

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COMMENCEMENT AMID COVID-19 | Ventura County schools find new ways to honor 2020 grads

PICTURED: Santa Paula High School sign honoring the Class of 2020. The tradition of celebrating graduation has been a given for seniors as long as there have been high schools. The ceremony follows a familiar formula: Students in cap and gown are seated together before a stage, speeches are given, graduates walk to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” to receive their diplomas and a handshake, all before a crowd of proud onlookers. Tassels are turned. Mortar boards are tossed. There’s hugging and high fives and, often, tears.  As restrictions related to the pandemic were extended, principals across the...

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IN GOOD TASTE | Breath of fresh air

PICTURED: Clockwise from left: Kick Burger with onion rings, Strandwich with fries, barbecue chicken bacon melt and Greek gyro with homemade potato chips. Boar’s Breath Grill 719 W. Channel Islands Blvd., Port Hueneme 805-984-2333 $2.25-45 It describes itself as “an unpretentious joint serving burgers, salads, sandwiches and more,” which is possibly how Boar’s Breath Grill in Port Hueneme escaped my attention. But it’s been around since 2006, using local ingredients (Oxnard produce, bread from Wildflour in Agoura Hills, beverages from Ventura County brewers and wineries) to create an excellent menu worthy of any gastropub. A favorite of...

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ARMCHAIR ADVENTURE | Virtual escape room provides problem-solving fun anytime, anywhere

PICTURED: A team plays “The Attic” virtual escape room experience via Zoom. (Photo submitted) by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer Escape rooms have become a popular activity for those looking for something engaging, interactive and fun. The idea (for the uninitiated): get “locked” in a room with a group of people (you can book a room just for you and your friends, or join others signing up for the same time slot) and explore it to find clues that will lead you to a combination or key that will allow you to “escape” within the time allotted. Every drawer, cabinet, artwork,...

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