PennyMac Corporate Headquarters to Relocate From Moorpark to Thousand Oaks

At yesterday's "State of the City" address at Cal Lutheran, City of Thousand Oaks Mayor Al Adam shared the news that Moorpark financial services provider PennyMac is moving its corporate headquarters from Moorpark to Thousand Oaks, along with about 300 jobs. Earlier this year, PennyMac inked a deal for 60,466 sq ft of space at 3043 Townsgate Road in Westlake Village.

PennyMac Financial Services, Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under symbol PFSI. More information at www.pennymacusa.com.

The Mayor also indicated that China based Herri Holdings Corp is in the process of building out an 88,000 sq ft pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at 2300 Corporate Center Drive in Thousand Oaks.

We were also reminded that Easton Baseball/Softball will be relocating from its current Van Nuys location to Thousand Oaks when its current lease ends in 2016. Its CEO noted in video footage that Easton has outgrown its current space and looks forward to moving to the Conejo Valley, with its great local baseball/softball tradition. According to an August Pacific Coast Business Times article, Easton's new headquarters at 3500 Willow Lane, Thousand Oaks will entail 90,000 sq ft and will include a 15,200 sq ft indoor training facility where new products will be developed.

And lastly, we heard about the first ever NCAA national championship in Ventura County history earned on November 21st by the California Lutheran University Women Regals Volleyball Team. The 9th ranked Regals topped 6th ranked Wittenberg University of Ohio 25-23, 25-18, 25-16 in their third NCAA title game appearance. More at www.clusports.com/volleyball/news/11980.

CSU Channel Islands Graduate Gary Cushing to Receive Distinguished Alumnus Award

A Camarillo civic and business leader who earned his college degree at 55 will once again don a cap and gown at the CSU Channel Islands (CI) commencement ceremony.

On May 16, Camarillo Chamber of Commerce CEO and CI graduate Gary Cushing, now 60, will accept CI's Distinguished Alumnus Award for his success and generosity in a number of different arenas.

"Gary is the definition of the CI Way," said Tania Garcia, Director of Development, Alumni Relations. "He gives back to the community on a regular basis. He is on so many different boards I can't even name them all. He is the community go-to guy because everyone knows they can trust him, and no matter how busy he is, he gets the job done."

CI gives the award to an alumnus who has had success in his or her career field, is active in the community and contributes time, talent and other resources back to CI.

Cushing says receiving this award is "very special" to him, adding that he does all he can to promote CI because he believes it provides an opportunity for a higher education for a population that wouldn't otherwise be able to pursue a degree.

Cushing offers himself as a perfect example.

His life was going well at age 52. He had worked his way up through the restaurant ranks—starting as a teen busboy in Burbank—to become the owner of three Marie Callender's restaurants in Ventura County and one in Santa Barbara. He still owns the restaurant in Camarillo, which opened in 1989.

He had a wonderful wife, eight children and 13 grandchil

Read More

Gateway Community School in Camarillo For At-Risk Kids Lauded in New Book

Gateway Community School in Camarillo, which serves some of Ventura County’s most troubled kids, is receiving recognition for major reforms that have made it a model for schools across the country.

It’s About Time: Planning Interventions and Extensions in Secondary School, edited by Mike Mattos and Austin Buffum, dedicates a full chapter to the changes Gateway has undergone since it began implementing reforms in 2010. In the chapter titled “From a Last Resort to a Model School of Choice,” the book describes Gateway’s transformation from a troubled, underperforming school to an example of success. The chapter was authored by Dr. Jane Wagmeister, the Executive Director of the Curriculum and Instruction Department at the Ventura County Office of Education.

Students are sent to Gateway Community School from their home districts due to repeated suspensions, expellable offenses, severe substance abuse and gang involvement. Prior to the reforms, Gateway suffered from low attendance and frequent disciplinary problems, with only 30% of students passing the state high school exit exam.

To address these issues, the Ventura County Office of Education, which operates the school, began a complete restructuring that included the hiring of James Koenig as the new Principal. After a careful assessment of the reasons for the school’s troubles, an extensive series of reforms were put in place. These included improved training of teachers and staff, an updated curriculum, adjustments to the school schedule and separating the middle school from the high school. Perhaps the most important change was shifting the school culture to one that gives students positive feedback, emotional support and a clear understanding of expectations.

The results were dramatic: the daily attendance rate at Gateway increased from 75% to 88%, the number of eleventh and twelfth graders passing the high school exit exam rose from two to 15, and the number of suspensions due to physical altercations decreased from 451 to 14.

Another positive outcome is that Gateway students have a newfound respect for service to the community. They are working at giving back by organizing blood drives, serving as volunteers at the local animal shelter and collecting donations for the homeless in Ventura County.

About the Ventura County Office of Education

The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at www.vcoe.org

FIT 4 THE CAUSE™ Fitness Flash Mob Non-Profit Achieves 501(c)(3) Status

New non-profit accelerates at Superhero speed
501(c)(3) status, board, celebrity advisors secured in 90 days

FIT 4 THE CAUSE™, a non-profit that combines social media-fueled flash mobs with fitness education and philanthropic giving, recently received its 501(c)(3) non-profit determination in only 90 days!

Founder, Chair and President Cindy Rakowitz has parlayed that momentum by securing a board of directors that includes celebrities FOX Sports broadcaster Tomm Looney, actor and director Paul Michael Glaser and actress/stuntwoman Caryn Mower. Neurological specialist Dr. Lorne Label - previously chief of staff of the Los Robles Medical Center and Clinical Professor of Neurology at UCLA has also joined to its Board of Directors.

PR Guru and Author Rakowitz, who recently received her ACE (American Council on Exercise) Certification indicates “Now we are poised to operate a serious, successful strategic business.

FIT 4 THE CAUSE™ raises money and awareness for local and national health needs by staging flash mob-style group exercise programs led by professional instructors and live DJs. Participants and spectators are encouraged to donate to the designated cause. Since each event features unique themes, diverse exercise disciplines and a variety of health related causes, FIT 4 THE CAUSE™ guarantees a unique educational experience complementing the traditional gym workout.

Past events have raised $2,500 in one hour for Cancer Support Community VVSB thanks to a corporate match from host WellPoint Anthem Blue Cross, $1,000 for a local Thousand Oaks man suffering complications from Type II Diabetes and $1,200 for a 2 year-old girl who is fighting Lymphoma. This quarter’s schedule includes a cardio kickboxing style H

Read More

Ventura County Public Health First in California to Receive National Accreditation

Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) announced today that it has achieved 5-year national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). VCPH is the first public health department in California to earn this important distinction.

The national accreditation program, jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s more than 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive accreditation, VCPH underwent a voluntary rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures.

"I couldn't be more proud of the VCPH team for helping us achieve this extraordinary accomplishment,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Ventura County Public Health Director.  “The accreditation process, which took more than two years to complete, is a testimony to our department’s hard work, dedication and ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.”

Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. In cities, towns, and states across the nation, health departments provide a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; creating safer neighborhoods; administering life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.

“I want to congratulate Ventura County Public Health on receiving national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health director and state health officer.  “Accreditation is a distinction which means that the Ventura County Public Health department meets nationally accepted standards.  Many public health departments nationwide are preparing for accreditation but only a handful have actually achieved accreditation.  Ventura County is truly ahead of the pack.”

VCPH employs approximately 300 people, operates four clinics and seven Women, Infant & Children (WIC) centers and, frequently collaborates with medical providers, schools, businesses and community partners to mitigate health disparities and improve community access to care.

The national accreditation program was created collaboratively over a 10-year period by hundreds of public health practitioners working at the national, Tribal, state, and local levels. Since the program’s launch in September 2011, nearly 130 health departments have applied to PHAB for accreditation, and hundreds of public health practitioners from across the nation have been trained to serve as volunteer peer site visitors for the program.

To learn more Ventura County Public Health, visit www.vchca.org/public-health and to learn more about PHAB or sign up for the PHAB e-newsletter, visit www.phaboard.org.

Conejo Recreation and Park District is Finalist in National Gold Medal Program

Conejo Recreation and Park District chosen as a finalist for prestigious National Gold Medal Award

GREAT JOB CRPD! THANKS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has selected the Conejo Recreation and Park District as a finalist in its 2012 Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.  The District is one of four finalists in the population category of 100,000 – 250,000 people. Other finalists in this category include: The City of Round Rock (TX) Parks and Recreation Department; Rockford (IL) Park District; and South Suburban Park and Recreation District, Centennial, CO.  

NRPA’s Gold Medal program honors agencies throughout the United States which demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, environmental stewardship, professional development, program development, and agency recognition.   Chosen for their considerable knowledge and experience in parks and recreation on both local and national levels, a panel of five park and recreation professionals from throughout the country review and judge the comprehensive applications. 

Jim Friedl, General Manager of the Conejo Recreation and Park District said, “To be selected as a Gold Medal finalist is recognition on a national level that we share a place with the best recreation and park agencies in the nation.  We are fortunate to have a solid board, great staff, supportive and active residents, and outstanding community partnerships.” 

The next step in the National Gold Medal process is submission of a brief video highlighting the District’s achievements and commitment to community service in the region.  Grand Plaque Award-winning agencies will be announced at the 2012 NRPA conference, held in October in Anaheim.

For further information about CRPD’s selection as a National Gold Medal finalist, please contact the District at (805) 495-6471. www.crpd.org

Conejo Valley Resident, Plant Based Dietitian and Author to Appear on Dr. Oz Show

Julieanna Hever is a well known Plant Based Dietitian and author of recently published book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. She's about to become even more well known as she makes an appearance on the Dr. Oz Show on Friday, October 28th at 3pm PST on ABC.

She will appear in two segments; one segment providing her experta advice regarding a whole food, plant-based diet; the other segment she makes and tastes three of the recipes from her book.

Julieanna is a plant-based dynamo. If you see her, you may well give up meat, sugar and other non plant-based foods in your diet...and feel great!  In fact she's appeared before here on CVG.

Learn more about Julieanna at www.toyourhealthnutrition.com.


Top Ventura County Area Finishers at the 2011 Boston Marathon

The 115th Boston Marathon was last Monday, Tax Day 2011. Aided by a nice tailwind in nice conditions, 2 incredible Kenyans run under 4:42 per mile pace over the 26.2 miles to finish in the fastest 2 marathon times ever recorded (at least by a human).

While the Kenyans stole the spotlight, there are some very worthy Ventura County-ans who did quite well in this year's Boston Marathon! Here they are and congratulations goes out to them!

  • John Fedoroff, 41, of Thousand Oaks finished in 2:34:45, clobbering his previous personal best time at age 16 of 2 hours, 48 minutes. He was 143rd overall and 13th in his age division, but top Ventura County resident! Congrats John!
  • Scott Hambly, 34, of Thousand Oaks, finished in 2:42:01 (264th overall, 202nd in age group)
  • Noah Izzard, 31, of Ventura finished in 2:58:38, breaking under the 3 hour mark
  • Steve Gonzalez, 39, Oxnard: 3:01:28
  • Andrew Thompson, 28, Thousand Oaks: 3:05:01
  • Barry Wallman, 59, Camarillo 3:05:15 (placed Barry 18th in his age group!)
  • Heather Hicks, 21, Moorpark was top placing Ventura County woman in 3:15:19
  • Rebecca Getman, 22, Calabasas (well almost Ventura County!) 3:18:16
  • Erin Wharton, 27, Thousand Oaks: 3:19:27
  • Marcus Marcuson, 40, Newbury Park: 3:21:33
  • Phillip Wright, 54, Newbury Park: 3:22:21
  • Cristie Jones, 28, Simi Valley: 3:22:26
  • Kristin Whiting, 29, Ojai: 3:23:13
  • Kevin Colwell, 45, Westlake Village: 3:24:11
  • Sharon Pick, 44, Thousand Oaks: 3:24:20 (104th in age)
  • Richard Person, 47, Thousand Oaks: 3:24:20
  • Caleb Guevara, 41, Ventura: 3:25:45
  • Tim McLain, 44, Thousand Oaks: 3:25:47
  • Leanne Mohr, 25, Camarillo: 3:25:48

Westlake Village orthodontist William Hang at age 64 blitzed the course in 3 hours, 48 minutes, good for 141st in his age group!