2016 Ends With a Beautiful Double Rainbow in the Conejo Valley and Surrounding Areas

As soon as I stepped outside just after 4pm today, I noticed the sun shining amid the clouds and I uttered out loud, "This is rainbow weather!" 

Sure enough, I was right. We drove a block and noticed the beautiful, massive rainbow in Thousand Oaks, but we missed the double rainbow that wowed local residents after an entire day of cloud cover, cold and rain.

Here are some of my favorites from THIS FACEBOOK POST.

 Taken from Newbury Park

Taken from Newbury Park

July to December 2016 Restaurants New and Restaurants Adieu in Ventura County

Here's the latest compilation of restaurants in the Conejo Valley and throughout Greater Ventura County that opened, announced plans to open or closed during the period July through December 2016. 

(Click here for previous January through June 2016 activity.) Let us know of any we missed!

Restaurants That Have Opened Since June 2016

Restaurants That Are Planning to Open Soon

Restaurants That Have Closed Since June 2016

California Lottery "Lucky Retailers" in Ventura County and Surrounding Areas

The California Lottery was created by ballot measure Proposition 37, approved by 58% of voters on November 6, 1984. Current law (Assembly Bill 142, passed in 2010), limits administrative expenses of the Lottery to 13% of sales, with 87% of sales going back in the form of prized and contributions to education.

Since inception in 1985 through the California Lottery's most currently issued financial report as of June 30, 2015, the Lottery has sold $85.1 billion, contributed close to $29.4 billion to schools, paid $45.9 billion to Lottery winners and another $5.6 million as compensation to retailers.

What happens if you win a big Lottery prize? Your name is public record, as is the name and location of the retailer that sold you the winning ticket, the date you won and of course, the amount. For most Lottery draw games, you have 180 days to claim your prize; however, if you win the Powerball or Mega Millions, you have a year to claim your prize. You will receive your first (or in most cases, only) check with your prize winnings six to eight weeks from claiming your prize.

So how do you win "a big one?" I wish I had the answer. One idea to ponder is to pursue purchasing tickets at retailers that seem to have the winning touch.

The Lottery has a "Lucky Retailers" database that shows, of its 22,000 retail locations, over 4,000 retailers considered "lucky." Lucky is defined as, within the last calendar year, either 1) sold at least one winning ticket of $100,000 or more; 2) paid out an average of 400 or more winning tickets per week or 3) paid out an average of $4,000 or more of winning tickets each week. You can access this searchable list at www.calottery.com/Lucky-Retailers.

What most interests me is retailers in Ventura County that meet parameter #1; selling at least one $100,000+ ticket over the previous calendar year. So let's take a look at which local retailers meet that parameter as of late November 2016. It is actually quite a short list!

  • Hi-Time Liquor, 140 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks
  • 7-Eleven, 609 Rancho Conejo Blvd, Thousand Oaks
  • Mobil, 855 N. Wendy Drive, Newbury Park
  • 7-Eleven, 1840 Cochran Street, Simi Valley
  • Simi Valley Smoke Shop, 2902 Cochran Street, Simi Valley
  • 76 Station, 2605 Stearns Street, Simi Valley
  • Shell Station, 1604 Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo
  • Log Cabin Liquor, 2457 Alameda Avenue, Ventura
  • Pat Holden Liquor, 860 South A Street, Oxnard
  • Goode's Liquor, 1271 Saviers Road, Oxnard
  • 7-Eleven, 2201 E. Gonzales Road, Oxnard
  • Superior Grocers, 2401 Saviers Road, Oxnard

That's it! Pretty short list!

Prior to the "Lucky Retailers" program, here are Ventura County area retail locations that sold at least two winning tickets of $1 MILLION or more from 1985 to 2013:

  • Allan's Market Wine & Lotto, 2521 N. Ventura Road, Port Hueneme (This is the only retail location in the entire state of California during this time frame that sold SIX winning $1 million or more Lottery tickets!)
  • 7-Eleven, 2201 E. Channel Islands Blvd, Oxnard (3 winning tickets)

And there you have it! Learn more about the California Lottery at www.calottery.com.

New Cell Phone Law Effective January 1, 2017 Requires Mounting of Phone For Car Use

The Camarillo Police Department’s Traffic Bureau reminds motorists that a new cell phone law takes effect on January 1, 2017. On the 1st, the existing cell phone law, California Vehicle Code 23123.5, is being repealed and a new cell phone law signed by Governor Brown in September 2016 (Assembly Bill 1785) is being put in its place.

California Vehicle Code 23123.5. now states:
(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.

(b) This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.

(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.

(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.

This new cell phone law means if drivers intend to use their cellphones while operating a motor vehicle, drivers must have their cell phones mounted to the dashboard, center console, or windshield and can only use a “feature” on the phone with a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.

A violation of this law is an infraction. The base fine for the first offense is $20 and $50 for each subsequent offense.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2015. Since 2007, young drivers (age 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers. Data shows the average time your eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.”

New Thousand Oaks The Habit Burger Grill Continues This Burger Chain's Success Story

The Habit Burger Grill originated on November 15, 1969 at 5735 Hollister Ave, Goleta - a location that is still in operation to this day. The Habit is a fast casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, made-to-order char-grilled burgers and sandwiches featuring USDA choice tri-tip steak, grilled chicken and sushi-grade albacore tuna cooked over an open flame. 

The chain was purchased by a private equity firm in 2007 and subsequently The Habit Restaurants, Inc. went public with an initial stock offering on November 19, 2014, 45 years after its inception.

 The new location coming soon to Thousand Oaks. Ever wonder why the "b" in Habit is slightly twisted? I asked. The Habit indicates it "makes it special and light hearted."

The new location coming soon to Thousand Oaks. Ever wonder why the "b" in Habit is slightly twisted? I asked. The Habit indicates it "makes it special and light hearted."

A new location is coming to Thousand Oaks at the former Famous Dave's BBQ location at 3980 Thousand Oaks Blvd. This will mark the 4th Conejo Valley Habit Burger location, including existing locations in Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Agoura Hills. Additional Ventura County locations in Simi Valley (2), Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura (2).

The Habit trades under stock symbol HABT and currently is (as of December 20, 2016) at $17.30 per share, down 4% from its initial public offering price of $18 per share. That said, its price soared to close at nearly $40 per share that first day of trading, making it a bit of a terrible investment for those that bought after the IPO.

Stock price aside, The Habit has been quite a success story, growing to 160 restaurants in 10 states and opening new restaurants at the rate of over 30 per year. Total revenue for The Habit's fiscal year 2016 is anticipated to be in the $283 million range.

 Photo courtesy of The Habit Burger. While my Habit Burger doesn't look quite this perfect, that's no big deal. It usually reaches my mouth before my eyes have much time to admire it.

Photo courtesy of The Habit Burger. While my Habit Burger doesn't look quite this perfect, that's no big deal. It usually reaches my mouth before my eyes have much time to admire it.

But back to stock price. For a growth stock like The Habit, timing can be critical. Let's look at an example. Over the last two years ending today, had you purchased $100 in McDonald's stock (MCD), the value of that investment today would be $131, and you would have received cash dividends of close to $8, for a total return of 39%. $100 invested in HABT would now be worth about $52. 

So while The Habit Burger may have been rated #1 burger in a 2014 Consumer Reports survey (and I for thoroughly enjoy the burgers and other menu items at The Habit), you don't necessarily always want to put your money where you mouth is. Or your mouth where your money is, for that matter.

To learn more about The Habit, visit www.habitburger.com.

Twelve More Interesting Clubs in Ventura County That You May Not Be Aware Of

In another post we highlighted 12 interesting clubs in and around Ventura County that you may have never heard that also may be of interest. There were selected from the list of 100 local area clubs and organizations on this site. Well, we've selected another dozen clubs and groups that were probably not on your radar to highlight here.

The Ventura County Astronomical Society meets the 3rd Friday night of the month at Moorpark College. Sounds like an out of this world group of folks, with top notch speakers, viewing events and more.

The Ventura County Bass Club promotes fellowship and fun in the area of bass fishing (no, not bass guitars) through friendly competition and conservation efforts. 

The Los Padres Ski Club was founded in 1937 to promote and enjoy the relatively new (at the time) sport of downhill skiing! Meets the first Thursday of the month at the Pierpont Bay Yacht Club and hosts ski trips and other social activities.

Established in 1979, the Conejo Valley Genealogical Society hosts several meetings a month for those looking to explore their family roots.

The Channel Islands Woodturners is a local chapter of the American Association of Woodturners. It meets monthly at a woodshop in Ventura.

The Conejo Valley Orchid Club meets monthly at the Westlake Village Town Hall to learn more about orchids, see orchid displays and participate in a raffle.

The Conejo Valley Amateur Radio Club is a non-profit that meets the 3rd Thursday of the month at the East County Sheriff's Station in Thousand Oaks. The club is very active in community events and emergency response.

The Roam'n Relics Car Club based in Simi Valley showcases pre-1979 American cars. In addition to attending local car show events, the club has been hosting its own annual show for well over 30 years, raising funds for local charities.

There are three gem and mineral clubs in Ventura County - Conejo Gem & Mineral Club, Ventura Gem & Mineral Society and Oxnard Gem & Mineral Society. These clubs work together each year to host annual gem and mineral shows open to the public and bring entertaining and educational programs and exhibits for kids. Each club meets monthly.

The Ventura County Dog Fancier's Association was formed in the late 1920s and incorporated in 1935. The club meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month at Ventura County Animal Services in Camarillo.

Ronald Reagan Ate Jelly Beans to Give Up Smoking While Running for Governor in 1966

According to Reagan Library archives, when Ronald Reagan ran for Governor of California in 1966, he began eating jelly beans made by the Oakland based Herman Goelitz Candy Company. Why? To give up pipe smoking. It worked. 

He continued receiving Goelitz Mini Jelly Beans from the company for the duration of his two terms. Then he continued receiving shipments from Goelitz, which in 1976 launched a new brand, Jelly Belly. 

Then in 1981, 3 1/2 tons of red (Very Cherry), white (Coconut) and blue (Blueberry) Jelly Belly jelly beans were shipped to Reagan's Presidential Inauguration ceremony.

And the Jelly Belly jelly bean brigade continued for the duration of Reagan's eight years in office. His favorite Jelly Belly flavor was licorice.

And as many of you know, there's an image of Reagan done completely in Jelly Belly jelly beans at the Reagan Library. It took about 10,000 of them to complete this work of art.

More information at reaganlibrary.archives.gov/archives/reference/jellybellies.html.

More on the Reagan Library at THIS LINK.

Jelly Belly is a privately-owned company based in Fairfield, California. Open for tours at www.jellybelly.com.

"You can tell a lot about a fella's character by whether he picks out all of one color or just grabs a handful."  - President Reagan (in reference to jelly beans)