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Wedding Reception Venues in Ventura County and Nearby Areas

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California Child Passenger Buckle-Up Laws and Seat Belt Safety Information

Booster seats save lives!Car crashes are a leading preventable cause of death and permanent injuries in children. SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. is a non-profit organization dedicated to child passenger safety. Its mission is to help reduce the number of serious and fatal traffic injuries suffered by children by promoting the correct, consistent use of safety seats and safety belts. The following information is provided courtesy of this organization. Visit for more information.

California Buckle-Up Laws for Parents

Children under age 8 must be properly buckled into a safety seat or booster in the back seat (V.C. 27360). Exceptions:

  • A child who weighs over 40 pounds and is riding in a car without lap and shoulder belts in the back seat may wear just a lap belt.
  • A child under age 8 who is at least 4' 9" may wear a safety belt if it fits properly.
  • Children under age 8 may ride in front if there is no forward-facing rear seat in vehicle, the child restraint cannot be properly installed in rear seat, all rear seats are occupied by other children age 7 or under, or for medical reasons.
  • A child in a rear-facing safety seat may not ride in front if there is an active passenger air bag.

Having problems with your child safety seat? Don't worry, you're not alone! Visit for a list of local safety seat inspection stations. Or try Safe Kids Ventura County, where you can schedule a car seat inspection in collaboration with the Ventura County Fire Department in Camarillo (Wednesdays 805.389.9748), Moorpark (Mondays 805.552.1917) and Thousand Oaks (Mondays 805.496.9035) by appointment.

Children age 8 or older may use the vehicle safety belt if it fits properly, with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thighs and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster or safety seat. (V.C. 27360.5)

Seat belt safety graphic courtesy of SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.According to SafetyBeltSafe, most kids need to ride in a booster seat until age 10 to 12. Using a booster instead of just a belt prevents 45% of crash injuries. If your child isn't using a booster, try the following simple 5-step test:

  1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
  2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
  3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
  4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
  5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

Answering "no" to any of these questions indicates your child needs a booster seat.

Consequences for not properly buckling up c

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Hazardous Waste Disposal and Recycling Programs in Ventura County

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) website highlights common products that we use in our daily lives that contain potentially hazardous ingredients, thus requiring special care when disposed of.

Items that are banned from the trash are as follows:

Lights, Batteries and Electronics

  • Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes (old school incandescent bulbs can be thrown in the trash.)
  • Batteries of all types and sizes, AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, etc., both rechargeable and single use, as well as lead-acid batteries such as car batteries
  • Computer and television monitors including cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal diode (LCD), and plasma monitors
  • Electronic devices including computers, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios and microwave ovens

Household and Landscape Chemicals

  • Flammables and poisons such as oil-based paints and reactive and explosive materials.
  • Acids, oxidizers, and bases including some pool chemicals and cleaners.
  • Pesticides and herbicides

Paints and Solvents - latex paint, oil-based paint, non-empty aerosol paint and solvent cans, and solvents such as paint thinners, nail polish remover, etc.

Building materials that contain asbestos and wood treated with chromium copper arsenate.

Automobile items including antifreeze, batteries, motor oil and filters and tires (tires are not considered hazardous but are banned from the trash for other reasons) 

Items Containing Mercury including electrical switches and relays in old appliances, old style thermostats, pilot light sensors in some gas appliances, some gauges and mercury thermometers

Other items such as propane tanks, hypodermic needles, syringes, etc.

So what to do with these items? Recycle and reuse them! Here are some local Ventura County resident options:

The City of Thousand Oaks has a Hazardous Waste Disposal Drop-Off Program every Saturday/Sunday.

City of Thousand Oaks battery recycling centers

Fluorescent light bulbs can also be brought to any Home Depot store for disposal.

City of Simi Valley azardous Waste Drop-Off Program 6 Saturdays during the year

Household battery recycling centers

City of Camarillo twice a month hazardous waste drop-off events

City of Camarillo battery recycling center

Cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme household hazardous waste collection events

Cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme Antifreeze, Batteries, Oil and Paint Recycling

City of Moorpark hazardous waste drop-off events

Ventura County needle collection facilities

City of Ventura hazardous waste collection events

City of Ojai hazardous waste collection options{618B6E64-6FED-4447-B99F-0CB8FF16F824}

Cities of Santa Paula and Fillmore hazardous waste collection and battery recycling

Hazardous waste collection in Agoura, Calabasas and Malibu


Car and Motorcycle Clubs in Ventura County

Ventura County covers over 2,200 square miles, including 1,854 miles of land. Highways in Ventura include State Routes 1, 23, 33, 118, 126 and 125 and U.S. Highway 101. That's a lot of miles to cover and we love our evidenced by these local car and motorcycle clubs in and around Ventura County!

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Wedding Reception Venues In Ventura County and Surrounding Areas

Conejo Valley Guide focuses primarily on events, activities and things to do in the Conejo Valley, Ventura County and surrounding areas.

Since we're out and about so much, we thought it might be helpful to have a comprehensive list of over 100 local wedding, wedding reception and meeting venues.

Interestingly, in February 2014, the Pew Research Center indicated that, after a three year decline in the number of marriages in the U.S. census data showed that new marriages increased by 2.6% in 2012 compared to 2011.

(Contact us for additions/edits to this list.)

Simi Valley, Moorpark, Somis Wedding Reception Venues

Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park Wedding Reception Venues

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Join a Local Ventura County Moms Club

If you're looking for local Ventura County groups to meet up with other moms for playgroups, activities and socializing, look no further than this list (includes only organizations with websites...Contact Us for additions).

(Last update September 2014...subject to change.)

Calvary Community Church MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)

Camarillo Moms Club

Conejo Families Meetup Group

Conejo Valley Homeschoolers

Conejo Valley Mothers of Multiples

MOMS Club of Calabasas

MOMS Club of Camarillo - East

MOMS Club of Camarillo - West

MOMS Club of Newbury Park

MOMS Club of Simi Valley - East

MOMS Club of Simi Valley - West

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Restaurant Rewards Programs and Birthday Clubs Around Ventura County

It's nice finding Kids Eat Free deals around Ventura County but there are also dozens of local rewards program and birthday clubs that give you something for FREE!!!

This list includes programs where you get something for signing up or for being a repeat customer...a free burger, a coupon, dessert, etc. Excluded are programs that do not provide an obvious freebie (i.e. only sends you promotional emails).

These deals often change, so click through to the restaurant website to confirm the deal is still good. Let us know of any changes, broken links or additions!!



Real Rewards Program: Earn points for each ounce purchased and exchange points for free yogurt and birthday treats.

Locations: Simi Valley, Westlake Village, Oxnard, Ventura

Baja Fresh

Club Baja: Free taco for signing up and free burrito on your birthday

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo (2), Simi Valley (2), Westlake Village, Calabasas, Oxnard

Bandits Grill & Bar

Bandits' Roundup Club: Free birthday gift, specials and more.

Locations: Thousand Oaks and Camarillo

Barnes & Noble Kids' Club: Free birthday cupcake and $5 gift certificate for every $100 spent on kids' books, plus 30% off most kids' books.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Ventura, Woodl

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Register to Vote for the November 4, 2014 General Election by October 15th

The State of California makes it easy to register to vote online at The system will search the DMV database for your California driver license or ID card, date of birth and last four digits of your Social Security Number.

While registering to vote, you will be asked if you want to disclose a political party preference, which currently includes: American Independent, Americans Elect, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, Republican and "Other." Or you can indicate that you prefer not to disclose your preference.

While registering, you can also choose a permanent vote by mail ballot, which is a nice feature that I've used for years.

The Ventura County Clerk and Recorder Elections Division will contact you when the registration is approved or if additional information is needed.

You can also use the online registration to re-register when you 1)

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Bench Yourself in the Conejo Valley

We have over 140 miles of public multi-use trails surrounding us here in the Conejo Valley managed by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) and hundreds of miles more in the neighboring Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Many of these great trails are highlighted here on Conejo Valley Guide.

All of this hiking, biking and running can make one tired. Not to worry...there are benches in strategic spots all throughout the area. And they all have great views! Here we highlight some of them. Click the images for more information about the trails leading to them.

Bench at the top of "Space Mountain" on the Los Robles Trail West

Benches at the top of Big Sycamore Canyon Point Mugu State Park (adjacent to Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park).

Another bench that overlooks Sycamore Canyon from the Boney Mountain TrailThe Upper Sycamore Canyon bench show in the picture above succumbed to the 28,000 acre Springs Fire of May 2013. After the image below was taken in mid-May 2013, the brittle seat of the bench fell apart. Perhaps some day the bench will be replaced.

Image of the Upper Sycamore Canyon bench after the Rancho Sierra Vista area in Newbury Park was ravaged by the Springs Fire of 2013

Bench on the west side of Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks

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Ventura County Area Schools in U.S. News 2014 Ranking of Nation's Top High Schools

In April, U.S. News & World Report published its 2014 ranking of the nation's best public high schools. The rankings were based on data from 31,242 public high schools and from that total, 19,411 schools with high enough enrollment and sufficient data to be ranked.

As in 2013 and 2012, schools were ranked based on: (1) how well students tested in state-level reading and math proficiency, taking into account disadvantaged student scores (who tend to score lower on tests); and (2) college readiness, based on how well schools prepare students for college-level work.

The median college readiness score, measured on a scale of 0 to 100, was 18.17 (it was 14.8 and 16.3 in 2013 and 2012). A readiness index of 100 means that all 12th graders took and passed at least 1 Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test.

There were 2,026 California high schools and over 2 million students enrolled during the 2011-2012 survey period. To be ranked in California, schools must receive either a gold (top 500 nationally) or silver (top 501 to 2,019 nationally) medal. 415 Callifornia schools received gold or silver medals (down from 501 in 2013).

Rankings of local high schools in the Conejo Valley, Ventura County and adjacent areas and summarized in the table above. There were 14 local schools that received gold or silver medal status and thus were ranked nationally and in California. Last year, Moorpark and Fillmore High Schools were on this list but were not ranked for some reason this year.

Topping the local school rankings for the 2nd year in a row was Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, which moved up 3 places to the 35 top rated school in California. Rounding out the top 5 were Westlake, Malibu, Oak Park and Calabasas High Schools.

Overall our local schools performed quite impressively! 19 out of the 23 schools on the list scored at or above the median college readiness scores.

While the rankings and underlying detailed information are interesting and informative, before coming to any conclusions, do check out the detailed school information available at


Drone Footage of Pepperdine University 9/11 Waves of Flags Display

Just when I thought I'd finally seen enough of the 2014 Pepperdine University 9/11 Waves of Flags display in rememberance of the 2,977 victims of the terrorist attacks in 2011, I saw this amazing video.  Kevin Foley, a "Droneographer," shot this footage that provides a new perspective on this spectacular annual display. Visit for more information about Foley's services.


2014 Pepperdine University Waves of Flags Display and 9/11 Memorial Service

Pepperdine University continues to honor lives lost on 9/11 this year with its stunning display of flags at Alumni Park, Malibu. Each flag, reflecting each victim's nationality, represents each of the nearly 3,000 victims of that tragic day. The flags will be on display until Monday, September 22nd.

Tom Burnett, an alumnus of Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management is one of the heroes remembered in this tribute. Burnett was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93, in which passengers' attempt to take control of the hijacked airliner and divert it from reaching the terrorists' target, United 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania rather than striking a building or landmark in the nation's capital, causing more loss of human life.

As it has annually since September 2001, the Office of the Chaplain, the Department of Public Safety, and the Office of the President will host a brief memorial service at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, September 11th, at the Heroes Garden, a 14,880-square-foot outdoor sanctuary that overlooks the Pacific Ocean on one of the highest bluffs on the Malibu campus. The garden serves as a public space to pause, reflect, and honor those who sacrificed their lives on 9/11, including Burnett.

Guiding the time of prayer will be John D. Barton, visiting associate professor of religion at Seaver College and associate director of the Center for Faith and Learning, who will offer a brief devotional. This brief service brings together the Pepperdine and greater Los Angeles communities to remember, honor, and look ahead towards peace and reconciliation.


National Park Service Announces 2014 "Spirit of the Mountains" Photo Contest

"Corazon del Matador" People's Choice Best Photo 2013 (Photo Courtesy of Jazan Kozma)Amateur photographers from all walks of life are encouraged to submit their favorite snaps for the National Park Service’s popular Spirit of the Mountains contest.

Entries may be submitted in person at the Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center, 26876 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas, from Saturday, September 20th until Saturday, October 11th.

“As in past years, anyone can participate in the contest by submitting a matted print,” said National Park Service ranger and contest coordinator Sheila Braden.

A highlight of the contest is critiquing by professional judges of all winning entries, to be held at the photo exhibition opening at 2 p.m. on November 2nd. All entries will be on display November 2-23 at the visitor center, located on the grounds of King Gillette Ranch.

First, second and third-place ribbons will be awarded. Categories throughout the Santa Monica Mountains and adjacent venues include plants, animals, scenics, People in Parklands and the 2014 challenge: Variations on Light. The overall winner will receive the Best of Show award.

Winning photos may also be published in “Outdoors,” a popular quarterly publication of events and programs with a circulation of 70,000.

Entry forms and instructions are available daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the visitor center (26876 Mulholland Hwy) or online at Submissions are limited to two photos per amateur photographer. For further information, call 805-370-2301.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country. encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological biversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit


The Parent Project┬« Training Program for Parents of Adolescent Children - Upcoming Ventura County Classes Available

The Parent Project® was created for parents with difficult or out-of-control adolescents between the ages 11 and 19. Parents learn and practice specific prevention and intervention strategies for destructive behaviors - truancy, alcohol and other drug use, gangs and other criminal behavior, running away, violence and suicide. Parents are self-referred or can be referred to Parent Project classes by officers in the field, juvenile detectives, diversion programs, court systems, mental health professionals and school officials.

This program is available locally in various Ventura County locations.  Many programs are free or charge only a small fee for a Parent Project workbook. Sessions generally are 10 weeks.

Some upcoming local Parent Project classes as of August 2014 are below. Providers and costs vary. Click the link above to register online for most classes, or call the phone numbers below.

  • Simi Valley: Simi Valley Police Department is offering a 10 week session on Tuesday nights beginning 9/16/14. Call 805.583.6219. Free ($20 deposit)
  • Thousand Oaks: Thousand Oaks Police Dept is offering 10 sessions on Thursday nights at Horizon Hills School in Thousand Oaks beginning 9/18/14/14. Call 805.449.2760
  • Thousand Oaks: Ventura County Sheriff's Office is presenting Spanish language sessions on Thursday nights starting 8/28/14. Call 805.449.2760. $20 textbook fee. Classes free.
  • Ventura: Pacific Coast Center for Family Counseling is currently offering 10 Tuesday night sessions that began 8/5/14. Call 805.794.0646. These classes do have registration and per session fees.
  • Camarillo: VC Sheriff and Camarillo Police Department is offering Tuesday night sessions that begin 9/16/14. No charge for sessions. Workbook $20. Call 805.388.5131.
  • Moorpark: Moorpark USD is offering Spanish language classes on Tuesday nights that begin 8/26/14. 805.558.5151
  • Santa Paula: The Esperanza Program is offering Spanish language classes on Friday nights that began 8/1/14. Free of charge. 805.276.7671

Additionally, Loving Solutions is a program designed for parents of 5-10 year olds with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD). The Moorpark USD is offerining Loving Solutions classes on Thursday nights beginning 8/28/14. $35 for materials; classes are free. Call 805.558.5151. Classes also currently offered on Monday nights in Ventura for a fee. Call 805.794.0646.

Previous sessions have also been offered in Oxnard, Ojai and Westlake Village. For more details about the Parent Project program, visit


El Tecolote Cafe in Camarillo Captured by Local Artist in Oil Painting

El Tecolote by Linda Dark of Camarillo

Linda Dark has lived in Camarillo since 1978. For the last 10 years she has captured local scenes in oil paint. She captured the historic El Tecolote, located at 333 N. Lewis Road, in the image above. El Tecolote serves up delicious, authentic Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

According to the El Tecolote website, World War II veteran Mike Loza opened his restaurant in Moorpark in 1946. The owls occupying the trees surrounding the restaurant were the inspiration for the name El Tecolote (The Owl).

The cafe was moved to a small house in Camarillo in 1948. It was so small that a frustrated customer helped finance a move to its current location in 1952. The restaurant is now owned and managed by the Guardado family. Visit or call 805.482.4318 for more information.

El Tecolate the night of Monday, September 8, 2014


City of Thousand Oaks 50th Anniversary Parade Planned for Saturday, September 27th

The City of Thousand Oaks celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year! As part of this celebration, the City is hosting a parade on Saturday, September 27th with the theme "Remembering the past, honoring the memories." The parade will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thousand Oaks Boulevard from Duesenberg Drive to Erbes Road.

The Thousand Oaks 50th Anniversary Parade will honor the past with a down home feel. There will be vintage (1964 and older) cars, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Mounted Police, antique fire engines, local Conejo Valley area high school marching bands, equestrians, floats and much more. The parade is FULL, with over 100 entries!

A special edition to the parade is the 9/11 Angels, five Camaros dedicated to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Each Camaro displays every hero lost on 9/11 by name in gold lettering. There is an Angel vehicle for each of two Trade Towers, First Responders, Pentagon and Pennsylvania Flight.

The Parade begins at 9:00 am with a military flyover and Color Guard, followed by City officials, VIP’s, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, some of the original mayors who helped form the city, local school bands and drill teams, local service clubs, antique autos, police service units, floats from various organizations, horses, fire trucks and much more.

John Short, well known locally for his role as President of Thousand Oaks Little League for 12 years and other community endeavors, has been designated as

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