Three Ventura County Schools Named 2018 California Distinguished Schools

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Three Ventura County elementary schools are being honored as 2018 California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education. Schools that applied were eligible based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates and English learner progress.

The local schools being honored are:

  • Sycamore Canyon (Conejo Valley Unified School District)
  • Walnut Canyon Elementary (Moorpark Unified School District)
  • Oak Hills Elementary (Oak Park Unified School District)

Additionally, Oak Park Unified School District is one of just 22 in the state to be named an Exemplary District for making positive impacts on student outcomes. The district and the Distinguished Schools will be honored in May during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The complete list of the honorees is available here.

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, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at: www.vcoe.org.

Westlake Village Trolley Holiday Service Offered November 24, 2017 to December 30, 2017

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The Westlake Village Trolley is back in service beginning on Friday, November 24, 2017 and will operate on Friday and Saturday nights through December 30, 2017.

The Trolley begins its run at Westlake Village City Hall at 3:00 pm and concludes each night at 10:00 pm. The free, fun service stops at all major retail centers, including the Shoppes at Westlake Village, hotels, and neighborhoods...a great way to get around town. Free, live entertainment on board the Trolley enhances the experience.

Entertainment will be offered on board the train between 6-8PM most nights!

Riding the Village Trolley is easy. Simply hop on at one of 15 stops and hop off whenever you want. The trolley is outfitted with a GPS locator device allowing riders to use their smartphone to track the trolley’s progress. The trolley is not just transportation; it is a mobile City event perfect for residents and visitors of all ages.

For more information, including all trolley stop locations, visit www.wlv.org/villagetrolley.

Kids World Wooden Playground at Alameda Park in Santa Barbara to be Renovated

Kids World, the unique wooden playground at Alameda Plaza, will soon undergo a major renovation to improve access, upgrade structural integrity, and preserve this important community feature for future generations. The playground will be temporarily closed to the public from September 5 to December 15, 2017. Alameda Plaza and the adjacent Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden will remain open during construction.

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Kids World was originally constructed in 1993 by hundreds of community volunteers under the direction of Leathers and Associates, an internationally renowned company recognized for their one-of-a-kind playground designs. With the current renovation project, the City of Santa Barbara and its residents are making a significant investment to preserve this unique playground and upgrade the facility to meet today’s accessibility and building codes.

The playground will be deconstructed, worn posts and boards will be replaced, and the structure will be reassembled with building code-compliant hardware. Additional improvements include better access to the play area for 2-5-year-olds, additional gates and fencing to better secure play areas, and installation of rubber pads in high use areas to reduce maintenance needs. The overall aesthetics and adventurous atmosphere of the playground will remain intact. This renovation project, including design and permitting, is anticipated to cost approximately $650,000. 

www.santabarbaraca.gov

CSU Channel Islands to Become Completely Smoke and Tobacco-Free on August 23rd

Beginning on Aug. 23, 2017, CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) will be completely smoke and tobacco-free. CSUCI is taking this step to comply with an executive order from the CSU Chancellor’s Office declaring that all CSU campuses must be smoke and tobacco-free.

The Smoke & Tobacco-Free policy prohibits smoking, the use or sale of all tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vapor devices. Ashtrays on campus will be removed and signage will be changed to reflect CSUCI’s new policy.

“We never established formal smoking zones, but they cropped up over time,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Cindy Derrico. “Now we are going to place signs outside of buildings to indicate that smoking is not allowed.”

The following smoke-emitting products will not be allowed: cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, hookahs, vapor devices, e-cigarettes or any other vapor devices. Marijuana has never been allowed.

Also not allowed are tobacco and/or nicotine in any form whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed or ingested by any means. FDA approved tobacco cessation products are exempt.

The Smoke & Tobacco-Free policy pertains to University-owned undeveloped or leased property, including parking lots, private vehicles on University owned, undeveloped or leased property and in any vehicle owned, leased or rented by the University.

The CSU-wide policy is pursuant to CSU Executive Order 1108. To read the order, visit www.calstate.edu/eo/EO-1108.html.

Derrico doesn’t foresee any problems, adding that enforcement of the ban will be up to the community.

“We are expecting people on the campus will honor this request if people forget or are unaware of the ban,” Derrico said. “We would like people within the campus community to politely request that people not smoke. The only time we would engage in strict enforcement or conduct referral would be if people were unresponsive to the request or behaved in an aggressive or inappropriate manner.”

Smoking cessation products for students will be available at the Student Health Center. Employees seeking help to quit tobacco and nicotine products can view employee benefits at: www.csuci.edu/hr/benefits/health-dental.htm.

For more information on the new mandate, visit the University’s Smoke & Tobacco-Free website at: www.csuci.edu/legal/smoke-free.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CSUCI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CSUCI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CSUCI’s Social Media.

CSU Channel Islands to Launch Mechatronics Engineering Program in Fall 2018

CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) will launch its Mechatronics Engineering program in fall 2018.

The program will accept 24 students for fall 2018, increasing that number by 24 each year until the total number of Mechatronics majors admitted each year is just under 100.

With about 300 engineering jobs available in Ventura County each year, University administrators, faculty, lawmakers and the community saw the need for qualified engineers and began working toward adding the major at CSUCI years ago.

The program comes to the University during newly invested President Erika Beck’s tenure. Once the engineering major is launched, CSUCI will be one of less than a dozen universities in the nation that offers a Mechatronics degree.

Mechatronics is a quickly-growing area of engineering that includes aspects of control theory, computer science, electronics, and mechanics.

Plans are already in the works to apply for accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a nonprofit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied science, computing, engineering technology and related fields.

ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession each graduate intends to enter. CSUCI plans to seek ABET accreditation within four to five years.

The long term advantages to pursuing a degree in Mechatronics are many. Those who graduate with a degree in Mechatronics can expect great career mobility because of the expertise they will have in a variety of engineering skills.

Salaries for these graduates are also promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that median annual wages for all specialized engineers that are not categorized was $92,680 as of May of 2013. The middle 50 percent of these professionals earned between $68,610 and $117,930 yearly.

The demand for engineers is high along what’s known as the “101 Tech Corridor,” which includes companies like Amgen, Haas Automation, Teledyne Technologies, and HRL Laboratories, plus an ongoing need for Naval Base Ventura County at their Point Mugu and Port Hueneme facilities.

CSUCI is one of just three CSUs to offer the Mechatronics degree, the other two being CSU Chico and CSU San Luis Obispo.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CSUCI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CSUCI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CSUCI’s Social Media.

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company Mourns Death of Director John Slade; "Julius Caesar" to Go On in Thousand Oaks 7/21-8/26

‘Caesar’ to go on after director’s death

Kingsmen Shakespeare Company mourning John Slade

 John Slade in “King Lear” (Photo credit: Brian Stethem)

John Slade in “King Lear” (Photo credit: Brian Stethem)

The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is mourning the unexpected death of John Slade, who was directing this summer’s production of “Julius Caesar,” but the show will go on with the festival’s founder stepping in to bring his colleague’s vision to the stage.

Slade died last Friday from injuries he sustained in a car accident which occurred Thursday night as he was driving from rehearsal to his home in Ojai.

Michael J. Arndt, founder and artistic director of the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival, stepped in Saturday to direct “Julius Caesar,” which opens July 21. He is working with associate artistic director Brett Elliott, who is playing Marc Anthony, and Jason D. Rennie, who is portraying Cinna, to present the play as Slade intended.

Slade had set the production in modern Rome and put together a cast featuring several gender-swapped and unconventionally portrayed characters. Women play the traditionally male roles of Cassius, Messala, Soothsayer and Lucius. Cinna the Poet is Nigerian and two of the immigrants are Persian.

William Shakespeare, a royalist when there were a number of plots against Queen Elizabeth’s monarchy, wrote “Julius Caesar” to show how the violent removal of a powerful leader can only lead to chaos, according to Slade.

This would have been Slade’s fourth time directing a Kingsmen production. He began by directing “Henry V” in 2004. An integral part of the company, he also acted in many of the festival’s plays, including the title role in “King Lear” in 2007.

Slade had a varied career as a director, stage and screen actor, teacher, musician and writer. His started out more than 40 years ago at the University of Michigan, where he and classmate Gilda Radner founded a repertory company that juxtaposed drama, comedy and music. In recent years, the former Nordhoff High School English and theater arts teacher toured the country performing his one-man concert play, “Walt Whitman, Live.” He earned many awards for writing, directing and acting from Drama-Logue, Drama Circle, Valley Theatre League and other organizations.

“Julius Caesar” is the second and final production of the festival’s 21st season. The political tragedy will be presented at 8 p.m. July 21 through 23, July 28 through 30, and Aug. 4 through 6 in Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University. The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theater company of Cal Lutheran.

The festival grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking and entertainment. General admission is $20 for adults and free for those under 18. Individual tickets are available at the door only. For lawn box reservations and more information, visit kingsmenshakespeare.org or call 805-493-3452.

2017 Aloha Beach Festival in Ventura Has Been "Put on Hold" by Organizers

The Aloha Beach Festival took place in Promenade Park/Surfer's Point in Ventura on Labor Day Weekend the last 12 years. The event featured surfing, outrigger canoe and surfing competitions live music, arts and crafts, food vendors and more.

This year, event organizers have indicated the festival has been put on hold as they "assess the enormous rate hikes the City of Ventura" has indicated. They will "take time off, and reflect on why we do the Aloha Beach Festival based on pure love." 

That's a bummer.

For updates, visit www.alohabeachfestival.us.