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Thursday
Dec182014

Cool Ventura County Residential Holiday Light Displays This 2014 Holiday Season

We are in the home stretch of the winter holiday season 2014 and once again are fortunate to have a number of great residential light displays thanks to the amazing efforts of local Ventura County residents. This is just a sampling of what's out there...please let us know if you come across other noteworthy displays around town!

In Camarillo on Gemini Street and Waverly Avenue south of Dunnigan Street, dozens of homes are decorated once again with cartoon characters, Santas, snowmen and tens of thousands of lights and other decorations.

Do I detect Dora at this house on Gemini St in Camarillo!?

Every holiday season, one of Ventura County's biggest residential light displays lights up the historic section of Downtown Oxnard on F and G streets between 5th and Palm.

The holiday light display by the Higgins family at 1566 El Dorado Drive in Thousand Oaks is a 30 minute display synchronized with music and over 150,000 lights.

This image of the epic light show on El Dorado Drive display does not do it justice!There's a breathtaking display of lights, decorations and falling snow at Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Night, until Christmas from 5:30 to 9:00pm the lights at 4903 Pathfinder in Westlake Village that is highlighted in more detail at this link.

Take Walter Avenue off of Kimber Drive in Newbury Park and you'll be treated to what may be the tallest inflatable Rudolph in Ventura County! And homes have joined in on the fun.

The Winter Wonderland home at 469 Highland Road at Sinaloa in Simi Valley is a sight to behold!

Simi Sue reminded us of a neat display wooden animated Disney figures at the house at the corner of Timberlane and Fearing in Simi Valley.

There are some nice displays on Camino Dos Rios in Thousand Oaks and Silverwheel Place in Newbury Park. More details at this link.

 

For other local holiday events and activities in and around Ventura County, click here!

Wednesday
Dec172014

Conejo Valley Meal and Shelter Program Providers

The following Conejo Valley locations take part in a program that provide year-round meal on designated nights of the week to individuals who are in need.  And from December to March, both dinner (6:30 pm) and overnight shelter is offered.

This information is current as of November 2014. Subject to change. Call in advance to confirm.

Mondays:
Sleeping facilities for up to 15 people during winter months. Visit
www.htlcto.org/archives/2012/08/26/winter-shelter for more information.
Visit calvarycc.org/tuesday-meals for more information 

Thursdays:
 Chinese Christian Church of Thousand Oaks
218 W. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks
805.379.0882
Meal and overnight site from December-March 
sites.google.com/site/ccctohomeless
Visit www.umcto.org/outreach#

Saturdays:

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec172014

Burgers are Booming in the Conejo Valley and Adjacent Areas!

Yelp indicates there are 40 eateries in the Conejo Valley cities of Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills that specialize in BURGERS! If you live in the Conejo Valley and enjoy a great burger, your options are better than ever. Let's take a look at some of our local options.

Umami Burger opened at The Lakes at Thousand Oaks in May 2012. Umami is a Japanese word describing the pleasant and savory taste of their burgers. Quite unique and delicious. On the pricey side but worth it if you want something different! My wife ranks Umami and The Counter neck and neck as her favorite burgers in town.The deceiving simplicity of the Umami Burger

Smashburger opened in Thousand Oaks in July 2012 and more recently at the Camarillo Premium Outlets in November 2014.

 

A third Ventura County Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened at The Collection at Riverpark in Oxnard in November 2012, joining other locations in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Five Guys serves up a meaty burger.

Beef is not lacking in this Five Guys burger

The Habit Burger Grill has locations in Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Newbury Park, Simi Valley, Camarillo, Ventura (2) and Oxnard. Quite a popular place, with very consistently good burgers, fries and other menu items.

Another popular burger joint, P & L Burgers, is located in the Oak Brook Plaza off of Avenida de los Arboles in Thousand Oaks.

Tommy's Burgers opened in Ventura in December 2011, not too far from the bounds of the Conejo Valley. There's also a Tommy's in Simi Valley.

STACKED: Food Well Built opened its first Ventura County location at The Oaks Mall in March 2013. Burgers are a prominent menu item at this eatery, where you can customize your food using a tabletop iPad.

Johnny Rockets, known for its burgers, has locations at the Camarillo Premium Outlets The Commons at Calabasas.

The Counter opened in Westlake Village in 2009 and is still one of our favorite burger places. This is the place I take my out of town friends to, while my wife brags The Counter was noted by Oprah as her favorite burger too.

The Counter has what may be most favorite veggie burger in town.

Other great burgers around town are served up at In-N-Out Burger (Newbury Park, Westlake Village, Camarillo, Simi Valley, Oxnard, Moorpark), The Ranch in Westlake Village, Wood Ranch BBQ, Bandits BBQ, Billy Dz Backyard BBQ, Sossy's BBQ and Ranch Han

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec152014

Neat Residential Holiday Light Display on Pathfinder Avenue in Westlake Village

Here's another cool local residential light display! Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Night, until Christmas from 5:30 to 9:30pm the lights at 4903 Pathfinder in Westlake Village will run, snow will fall and music will play (as long as weather allows). Monday through Thursday, The lights will be on. Bring your food donations for the local Conejo Valley Manna Food Bank too!

Sunday
Dec142014

Secret Santa and Local Sheriff's Department Surprise Kansas City, Missouri Residents

CBS Sunday Morning covers the Secret Santa of Kansas City, Missouri and how he teamed up with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department to the surprise and delight of local residents. Great story!

Saturday
Dec132014

Christmas and Other Holiday Season Events Around Ventura County

Hop onto the holiday bandwagon and check out some of these dozens of events in and around Ventura County, most of which are FREE! Christmas parades, Santa visits, carnivals, train rides, holiday runs, holiday home tours, boutiques, nativity displays and lots of holiday music and entertainment!

This list will be updated regularly as we move our way through the Thankgiving and Christmas holiday season! Submit additions here.

Do contact event coordinators as things sometimes change! Also, some events require RSVP. 

UPCOMING EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES:

ONGOING HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec132014

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Programs in Ventura County

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using this training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in the community.

The Ventura County Fire Department in coordination with FEMA have joined together to assist local residents with disaster preparedness education and training. Visit the VCFD CERT Facebook page by clicking here.

GET YOURSELF TRAINED! IT'S FREE! AND YOU COULD HELP SELF LIVES IN AN EMERGENCY!

CLICK HERE for a schedule of upcoming CERT classes in Ventura County.

CERT training programs throughout Ventura County:

Friday
Dec122014

Cycling Clubs and Groups In and Around Ventura County

Any given Sunday morning I come across hundreds of bicyclists on my morning runs in the Thousand Oaks area and throughout Ventura County. Here are some local cycling groups.

Moorpark Bike Rides Social Road Biking Group

Channel Islands Bicycle Club

Conejo Valley Cyclists

Amgen Cycling Club

North Ranch Mountain Bikers

Old Kranks Bicycle Club (age 50+) in Thousand Oaks

Serious Cycling Group Rides based in Agoura Hills

Girlz Gone Riding Cycling Club in L.A./Ventura Counties

Here are some family-friendly friendly bike path option around Ventura County.

And for some BMX track options around Ventura County, try the following:

Friday
Dec122014

Christmas 2014 Residential Holiday Light Display on Gemini/Waverly in Camarillo

Once again homes on Gemini Street and Waverly Avenue south of Dunnigan Street in Camarillo are decked out with cartoon characters, trains, Santa, snowmen, and plenty of lights and other decorations this holiday season. Drive the route or park and walk any night of the week. It is worth going out of your way for! From the the 101, take Arneill north past Ponderosa to Dunnigan. Turn right on Dunnigan and Gemini is the 4th street on your right. We've been stopping by this familiar display for years. It is amazing how consistent this group of local residents are each Christmas holiday season.

Wednesday
Dec102014

VISTA Provides Bus Service Throughout Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

The Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) operates VISTA (Ventura Intercity Service Transit Authority) bus service throughout Ventura County as well as to Santa Barbara and Warner Center.

Routes and links to associated schedules: Coastal Express (serving Ventura, Oxnard, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, and UCSB), Highway 101 & Conejo Connection (Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks), Highway 126 (Ventura, Santa Paula, Fillmore, and Piru), East County (Thousand Oaks, Westlake, Moorpark, and Simi Valley), CSUCI - Oxnard (Oxnard and Cal State Channel Islands), CSUCI - Camarillo (Camarillo and Cal State Channel Islands), Fillmore-Piru Dial-A-Ride (Fillmore and Piru), Santa Paula Dial-A-Ride (Santa Paula) and Santa Paula Commuter Bus.

Service hours vary by route. On weekdays, VISTA operates between 4:30 am and 8 pm (CSU Channel Islands routes operate until 11 pm). On Saturdays, VISTA operates between 6:45 am and 6pm (Conejo Connection service to Warner Center does not operate on Saturdays). On Sundays, only VISTA 126, Coastal Express and Santa Paula/Fillmore Dial-a-Rides provide service between 6:30am and 6 pm.

VISTA operates does not operate on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

As of December 2014, one way fares are as follows:

  • VISTA Fixed-Route Bus (except Conej

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec072014

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Serving Jury Duty in Ventura County

Jury duty in Ventura County is not so bad! Ventura County Jury service is a one jury trial or one day service in Ventura County. If you are not assigned to a courtroom at the end of your first day of appearance, you will have completed your service. Jury service is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you are summoned for duty, the night before your service you will be instructed to check online or to call after 5 p.m. for reporting instructions for the next day. If the "group number" you were assigned is called, you show up the next day. If your group number has not been called by the end of your summoned week, your service will automatically be completed without having to appear. (Yes, this does happen...to me, for one.) If this "call in" process is inconvenient, Ventura County Superior Court will allow you to schedule a firm date of appearance.

Hall of Justice Building

Jury trials in Ventura County average four days in length. The trial judge will advise jurors of the duration and may excuse prospective jurors from serving on a particular case if the service would amount to an extreme hardship.

Ventura County is one judicial district so all jurors are summoned to the

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec072014

The. Most. Awesome. Holiday. Light. Show. You. Will. Ever. See. In. Thousand. Oaks!

UPDATE FALL 2014: The display is back again this year, longer than ever!

Located at 1566 El Dorado Drive in Thousand Oaks. Take Janss Road east off the 23 Freeway, turn right on El Monte Drive (past the Thousand Oaks Library), then left on El Dorado. Be mindful of the neighbors!

The Higgins family of Thousand Oaks may have the most entertaining and fun residential holiday light show in the Conejo Valley.

Photo of the Higgins' holiday light show in 2012.According to Ed Higgins, this amazing display was constructed with over 150,000 lights, over 3 1/2 MILES of hard wire extension cords, 192 digital channels and over 1,000 feet of Cat 5 cable in the "Old Oaks" section of Thousand Oaks at 1566 El Dorado Drive.

Higgins admits "we're nuts" but they obviously have a passion and ta

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec062014

Check Out Tarantula Hill Trail in Thousand Oaks for Views of the Conejo Valley

Tarantula Hill is located off of West Gainsborough Road in Thousand Oaks, between Grand Oak Lane and Camino Manzanas. Over the years we've visited this conspicuous 1,057 foot tall hills dozens of times. A bit of steep climb up the fire road (not really a trail) to the top, where you'll find a bench facing towards the west and panoramic views of the entire Conejo Valley and beyond.

In the summer 2014 time frame, we noticed a new sign at the bottom of the hill, plus something fun on the sign. I don't know if this tarantula is a permanent addition to the sign, but it was amusing.

It takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to walk up the paved hill to the top. If you're looking for some exercise but are lacking time, Tarantula Hill is a nice alternative to a stair stepper machine!

Views towards the south (The Oak Mall down below)The bench looking out towards the Conejo Grade

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SORTS OF HIKES AND TRAILS IN AND AROUND VENTURA COUNTY

Friday
Dec052014

A Visit to the Newly Opened Discovery Cube Los Angeles Science Center

Discovery Cube Los Angeles is a 71,000 sq ft hands-on science and education museum that opened on November 13th in Lakeview Terrace at the Hansen Dam Recreational Area.

This is a beautiful, two-story, open, airy and fun facility geared towards children but fun for all family members. We stopped by and explored the various interactive exhibits and wow, what an impressive array they have!

There's a great array educational exhibits on display at Discovery Cube LA. In the Inspector Training Course, kids receive touch screen tablets and learn to conserve resources and in a real-life home. Fun, educational and very interactive! The Aquavator is a virtual elevator that takes you into the earth's crust for a tour. Race to Zero Waste is a game-based exhibit teaching guests the correct way to sort trash and divert materials from the landfills.

Children are given tablet computers as they inspect this home for resource efficiencies!

The Discovery Market is an impressively put together supermarket where kids use computer-equipped shopping carts to learn how to read package levels, learn about nutrition and make healthy choices. The Making the Grade Gallery provides grade-specific interactive, scientific exhibits. The Planetary Research Station uses a suspended, animated globe to highlight information about the solar system, natural disasters and climate change.

The Discovery Market is an interactive learning experience that almost looks like a real store!

The Helicopter Tour gives a simulated birds-eye view

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec022014

Ventura County Sheriff Office of Emergency Services Emergency Response Website

The Ventura County Sheriff Office of Emergency Services (OES) is responsible for countywide disaster planning, mitigation, response and recovery activities.  OES staff work with all Ventura County departments, ten cities, public and private organizations and community and civic groups. In the event of a disaster, OES is responsible for the County’s Emergency Operations Center, and coordination of the County’s Emergency Management Team, and for recovering the County’s disaster response costs from the state and federal governments.

OES posts information about information about fires, floods and other emergencies at vcemergency.com. For other questions and concerns, OES can be reached at (805) 465-6650, option 2.

Ventura County Operational Area Local Emergency Management Offices can be contacted at the following links:

Camarillo
Fillmore
Moorpark
Ojai
Oxnard
Port Hueneme
San Buenaventura
Santa Paula
Simi Valley
Thousand Oaks