Contact Us
We would love to hear from you! You can reach us in several ways:
Mail: P.O. Box 6383, Ventura, CA 93006
Phone: (805) 658-4608

Site Pages

Club Executives & Directors
Immediate Past President
Awards Chair
Club Service & Socials
Community Service Co-Chair
Community Service Co-Chair
International Service Co-Chair
Membership Co-Chair
Membership Co-Chair
New Generations Co-Chair
New Generations Co-Chair
Youth Service Co-Chair
Youth Service Co-Chair
Public Relations Co-Chair
Public Relations Co-Chair
The Rotary Foundation
Vocational Service Co-Chair
Vocational Service Co-Chair
Vocational Service Co-Chair
Web Master Co-Chair
Web Master Co-Chair
Peace Chair Co-Chair
Peace Chair Co-Chair
Channel Islands Chair
Family of Rotary Chair
Rotaract Advisor
RYLA Coordinator
Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Ventura South

Service Above Self

We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
The Tower Club
300 E. Esplanade Dr.
22nd Floor
Oxnard, CA  93036
United States of America
District Site
Venue Map
Latest Club News and Events
31st Annual Trivia Challenge for Adult Literacy
Scheduled for November 6 at the Tower Club
The Rotary Club of Ventura South will host its 31st annual Trivia Challenge fundraiser in support of the Ventura County Library’s Adult Literacy Program on Wednesday, November 6. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Tower Club, 300 E. Esplanade Drive in Oxnard.
The popular event features a “Jeopardy-like” game in which teams of three people compete for trophies by answering a variety of questions on topics ranging from history to entertainment to sports and general trivia. Teams fall into four categories: Youth (under 25), Service Club (e.g., Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.), Business, and Community. Entry fees are $375 per team ($300 if paid before October 24) and $125 for individuals ($100 if paid by October 23). Businesses and individuals are also encouraged to sponsor teams (in whole or in part) and will be recognized in the evening’s program. Spectators are welcome for $10. Hors d’oeuvre will be served, and cocktails and soft drinks will be available for purchase.
All proceeds from the event will support the Ventura County Library’s READ Program, which provides free one-on-one tutoring for adults who want to learn to read. The program also provides free books, special programs for dyslexic adults, computer-assisted instruction, second language reading instruction, and family literacy activities. Since 1984, the program has helped thousands of Ventura County adults achieve personal literacy goals such as passing GED tests, achieving U.S. citizenship, and gaining employment. READ has been recognized as one of the top community-based literacy programs in California.
Click here for sign-up information or call Carol Chapman at 805-677-7160 or Marcy Belton at 805-217-9012.
Past District Governor Nick Frankle
Discusses Peacebuilder Clubs
Among the various elements of Rotary's global activities, promoting peace stands as a vital component of the organization's mission. During his visit to our Club on Monday, September 16, Past District 5240 Governor Nick Frankle remarked that Rotarians "have always been peacebuilders." He then provided an overview of Rotary's peacebuilding efforts worldwide.
"Peace is more than no violence," Nick said. "It's addressing conditions in the world that can lead to conflict." As examples, he noted that 900 million people worldwide do not have enough food to be healthy, 14% of the world's population is illiterate, 8% of the world's population lives on less than $1.90 per day, and a child or woman is sold somewhere in the world every minute of every day. Rotary's efforts to address these problems are very real contributors to peace.
Beyond these day-to-day efforts, Rotary International maintains a formal peacebuilding program. There are Rotary Peace Centers at six universities around the world. Each year, Rotary selects up to 100 professionals to receive fellowships to study at those Peace Centers. Peace fellows who graduate are engaged in hundreds of peacebuilding projects around the world, many in high-risk areas.
Nick then turned his attention to the local level and an answer to the question, "What can one Rotarian do?" Quite a lot, actually. Nick summarized some major projects that had been initiated by individual Rotarians, and he also explained that every local project that addresses homelessness, supports free clinics, engages youth, or responds to disasters also contributes to peacebuilding.
Coming up on January 17-18, 2020 is the Rotary International Peace Conference in Ontario, California. More than 2,500 leaders from business, healthcare, academia, NGOs, faith-based organizations and mediation services will gather to share and discuss peacebuilding techniques and plans. More information is available here.
"The new peace symbol," said Nick, "is the Rotary logo."
Libraries Are More Popular
(and Needed) Than Ever Before
One might think that, in today's era of the Internet and the flood of electronic information to which we are all subjected daily, that a presentation about the state of public libraries might be a tad discouraging with potential reports of empty reading tables and low levels of books being borrowed. However, according to our speaker on Monday, September 9 (Ventura County Library Director Nancy Schram), nothing could be further from the truth.
"In 2016, there were 1.6 billion visits to public " said Nancy. "Our libraries are busier than ever." Such is certainly the case right here in Ventura County. Last year alone, there were 626,000 visits to County libraries, and patrons checked out over half a million items. Nancy noted that, for every dollar spent on libraries, Californians received an average of $3 to $6 in economic value.
Low literacy costs the United States at least $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. Programs like Rotary Ventura South's annual Trivia Challenge (coming up on November 6) that support and improve adult literacy can make a real difference in addressing this issue. (Nancy noted that 126,000 people in Ventura County are reading below the third grade level.)
Nancy also discussed the mobile library that the County operates. She explained that it travels throughout the region, serving people who may not be able to get to one of the branch libraries. "We could use a fleet of these vans, if we had the money," she noted.
For those who think printed books may be a thing of the past (or at least on their way out) due to the prevalence of e-books and devices such as Kindles, Nancy is quick to point out that just as much money in her budget goes to purchasing printed books as to the electronic variety.
Clearly, libraries continue to play a vital role in American communities in general and in Ventura County specifically, and for that we can all be grateful!
Oxnard's RSVP Program Matches
Seniors to Volunteer Opportunities
Senior citizens in Oxnard who are looking to volunteer their time and talents to a worthy endeavor need look no further than the City's Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Our speaker on Monday, August 19, was Marisue Eastlake, RSVP Director (pictured above). Marisue coordinates more than 550 people, age 55 and older, whose volunteer endeavors range from tutoring students to providing tax preparation assistance to leading educational and exercise classes.
RSVP has 70 offices around the country. "Studies show that seniors who volunteer live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives," said Marisue, "and we're matchmakers for senior volunteers. There's truly something for everyone whop wants to give back."
Marisue noted that two of her most popular classes are Bone Builders and Tai Chi. Both of them are designed to help seniors improve their balance and reduce the chances of an injury-producing fall. Tai chi goes even further, reducing blood pressure, alleviating depression, and improving overall wellness. Joining Marisue on Monday were two of her volunteer tai chi instructors, Rosanne Falcone (left) and Maria Tuason Combs. They provided a fascinating overview of the history of the ancient martial art, followed by a graceful demonstration of the eight basic forms (movements) that they teach.
Additional information on the volunteer opportunities and offerings of RSVP is available here.
Rotary Ventura South Welcomes
New Member Mike Skrocki!
One of the most enjoyable and meaningful moments at any Rotary Club meeting is welcoming a new member. Ventura Rotary South enjoyed just such a moment on Monday, August 19, when Mike Skrocki was inducted as the newest Club member. Mike is pictured above, holding his plaque of the Rotary Four-Way Test, together with his sponsor, John Zaruka, and Club President Marilyn Scott. Mike is a resident of Camarillo and works as a Regional Director for Gannett/USA Today. Welcome to the Rotary family, Mike!
Mark Sandoval Discusses
Channel Islands Harbor
"Ventura County is a jewel," said Mark Sandoval, and he went on to describe and discuss one of the features that makes that jewel sparkle, the Channel Islands Harbor. Mark has been the Director of the Harbor for a little over a year, and on Monday, August 12, he spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South and shared his passion and vision for his position.
The harbor had its beginnings in 1939 with the construction of Port Hueneme. Since then, it has become an enterprise operation, run like a business, featuring 2,100 boat slips, apartments/condominiums, hotels, and recreational opportunities. The Harbor Department is responsible for patrolling, maintenance, tenant lease management, marketing/events, regular dredging coordination, and development.
It's that last item that Mark concentrated on for the bulk of his presentation, detailing the $80 million in completed construction and the $100+ million planned in additional investment between now and 2026. Current projects underway include the Hyatt Hotel and a restaurant on the old Casa Sirena site, the Peninsula Yacht Marina, and the Bahia Marina. Those will be followed by work on:
  • A new Harbor Department Administration Building
  • Whale's Tale Restaurant
  • Fisherman's Wharf
  • Kiddie Beach Surge Wall
  • Santa Barbara Island Park
Development, of course, is not without its challenges, including entitlements and permits, financing, and the overall lengthy process it entails. With 20 years of experience managing the waterfront in Long Beach, Mark is up to the challenge, and he looks forward to making his vision for Channel Islands Harbor a reality. Thanks, Mark, for a fascinating presentation!
Rotary Ventura South Members
Fill Backpacks for Needy Students
On Saturday, August 10, members of Ventura Rotary South joined forces with Ventura Downtown Rotary and the Ventura Lions Club for the 17th Annual Student Backpack Project. The volunteers gathered at the Ventura School District office and filled 851 backpacks with notebooks, paper, folders, pens, pencils, scissors, calculators, and other school supplies for needy elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Ventura.
According to Ellyn Dembowski, project coordinator for Ventura Downtown Rotary, every school in the Ventura Unified School District was given sufficient backpacks to fulfill its individual requirements.
Rotary Ventura South members (and family members) participating in the event included Carol Chapman, Ed Keay, N.K. Khumalo (with daughter Mbali and son Siso), Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn Scott, Sandy Warren (and fiancee Marcy Belton), and Linda Zaruka.
Check out additional photos from the event here.
Club Assembly Concentrates
On Building Club Strength
Rotary Ventura South conducted a Club Assembly on Monday, August 5. Following is an overview of the information and discussion as an effort to keep all Club members informed. A short PowerPoint presentation served as the basis for the discussion.  The theme is “building Club strength.”
  • One month into the year, the Club has supported two Community Service projects and the first fundraising efforts are in the planning/prep stage. A third Community Services project is this Saturday – we will help fill student backpacks with school supplies at the VUSD offices This Saturday at 9AM.
  • We will induct a new member next Monday and the year’s first Social is being planned.
  • The Club currently has 42 members.The idea is to make this a “building” year.We have two excellent prospective new members in process.The Club has been successful at making the Club more diverse in every category which adds to our strength.
  • The current financial condition of the Club is good. Basic financial information will be regularly shared with the Club members.
  • A major area of effort is now filling the President Elect and the President Elect Nominee positions.
  • Building Club leadership and strength can happen in a number of ways:
  • We are using Co-Chairs as a way of having two members who know that area of service. In some cases, one can mentor the other. Having Co-Chairs also allows one to cover for the other when needed and allow more members to be involved.
  • Building-connections-from-within means that when we have a Community Services project, Club Socials, or fundraisers, we also build in ways to promote the Club by wearing Club shirts and talking to non-member participants, have hand-out material available, find a way to share the different types of membership, etc.
  • We need to aim a little higher for a regular 75 -80% regular attendance.Just as we are to be reaching out to non-members, we need to do the same with our own members.
  • Having good weekly speakers has been one of the keys having good to building membership and regular attendance. We currently looking for three Club members to serve on the Programs Committee.Having more than one member serve allows for more diversity in program types and shares the workload.
  • Efforts have been underway to make the jobs on the Board easier by making the responsibilities more understandable. For example, if you become one of the new Membership Co-Chairs, you can pull up the Club’s website, under Members Only, and find written “how-to” materials. The same is true for Community Services, Treasurer, etc. We will be working this year to cover all areas.
  • Thanks to all who have taken on extra responsibility to support the Club. Keeping promises and timely follow-through are key to any group’s success. If you can’t, then find a replacement and let the President know.This is one of the best ways to build Club strength and leadership.
Discussion by Members – The following contributions were made:
  1. Move the notice for the upcoming weekly meetings to earlier in the week.
  2. Put final touches on the new member process.
  3. Bring back Craft Talks as one way to get to know other Club members.
  4. Continue to approach Club members one-on-one as a recruitment approach to fill positions.
  5. A small committee of Club members is being formed by the President to work on filling the PE and the PEN positions.
Workforce Development Board of Ventura County
Seeks to Pair Quality Workers with Quality Jobs
"Workforce development is economic development." So said Rebecca Evans, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Board of Ventura County. Rebecca was the speaker at Ventura Rotary South's regular meeting on Monday, June 29.
The primary goal of the Workforce Development Board, said Rebecca, is to provide oversight for the spending of federal dollars earmarked for job growth. The Board reports to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, and partners strategically with the Welfare to Work Program, Career Services, and the Employment Development Department to serve the employment needs of Ventura County.
"The Board is responsible for insuring a quality workforce to support businesses in the County," said Rebecca. She noted the many resources available to both employers and job seekers. Workforce training is a key aspect of the Board's efforts. Rebecca explained that money is available for companies who are willing to train existing or new workers in enhanced job skills. She noted also that the Board's services are for workers of all age groups, including entry level through retiree.
Rebecca's advice to older workers trying to reenter the job market was to not hesitate in making their inquiries with the Workforce Development Board. "Ask early," she said.
For additional information on the Board's activities and opportunities, visit their website at
Club Members Participate in 27th Annual
Ventura County Veterans Stand Down
On a warm Saturday afternoon, July 27, a team of members and guests from Rotary Ventura South prepared and served dinner for more than 50 homeless veterans at the 27th Annual Veterans Stand Down, a three-day event that provides a wide range of services to veterans from throughout the County, many of whom, for one reason or another, have found themselves without a permanent home. Services include medical screenings and evaluations; optometry examinations and distribution of prescription lenses; dental screenings and care; psychological counseling; legal counseling; employment counseling and referrals; veterans benefits; general relief information; access to showers, toiletries and clean clothing; hot meals; and a range of other government and social services.
On Saturday, the team from Ventura Rotary South helped prepare and serve tri-tip, salad, beans, garlic bread, and cake. Our club has participated in the event for a number of years and also donated $1,000 to purchase the food for the meal. The crew also assisted with the clean-up tasks.
Ed Keay, Community Service Committee Co-Chair for Ventura Rotary South, coordinated the Club's participation. Other members of the team on Saturday included Diane Keay, John and Kendall Mattina, Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn and Don Scott, Sandy Warren, Marcy Belton, and Peter McClintock. Click here to view a photo album of the event.
A New Level of Care
At Community Memorial Hospital
With the opening of the new Ocean Tower at Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura has enhanced is cardiac, neo-natal, emergency, and surgical care for patients. Megan O'Neill, Business Development Manager with Community Memorial Health System, spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, July 22, and provided a brief history of CMH and details on its newly expanded profile.
Megan noted that CMH is a leader in health care in Ventura County with more than 450,000 patient visits annually. It has the busiest surgical, heart/vascular, and birthing centers in the County. The new Ocean Tower was built in response to a California seismic mandate. It features 250 private rooms, a larger emergency room with state-of-the-art technology, and a dedicated maternal health floor.
Megan also explained some of the "softer" features of the new facility, including a healing garden, sleeper sofas in patient rooms so family members can stay with their loved ones, and more than 600 pieces of local artwork that were donated to the hospital (including art by children for the pediatric unit).
The older facility (designated the Mountain Tower) is still an integral part of the Community Memorial Health System, housing administrative offices, the graduate medical education/residency program, and the outpatient program.
With the expanded facility comes a greater need for volunteers to assist with everything from patient care to staffing the gift shop to providing general information to visitors at the main entrance. Applications for volunteer work can be obtained in the lobby of the new Ocean Tower.
Club Members Congratulate Melody Thurman
For Her Year of Leadership at Step-Down Event
On Monday evening, June 24, members and guests of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed the traditional Step-Down Dinner, an annual event that recognizes the leadership and achievements of the outgoing president (Melody Thurman, right), and welcomes the president-elect (Marilyn Scott, left). This year's event, held at the Tower Club in Oxnard, featured live jazz, an elegant dinner, and plenty of reminiscences of the Club's past year.
Among the speakers was Kendall Mattina, who recounted the many service projects and fundraisers that the Club undertook during Melody's term, including the Trivia Challenge (in support of adult literacy), Mardi Gras (Turning Point Foundation fundraiser), dictionary program, Ronald McDonald Walk, and so many others.
Photos from the evening can be viewed here. Congratulations, Melody!
Rotary Ventura South held its annual Bake Sale in support of the Interact Club at St. Bonaventure High School on Monday, June 3. Club member Dennis Longwill (left) handled the auctioneer duties as Interact Club members displayed and passed out the goodies. Bids for the delectable delicacies totaled $1,420, which will go toward helping the Interact Club with their service projects.
Southern California Gas Company is Busy
With Pipeline Projects in Ventura
Maria Ventura, Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Gas Company, spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 22, outlining the purpose and scope of her company's current work on gas infrastructure in the City of Ventura. Specifically, So Cal Gas is finishing up a major pipeline replacement project along several miles of Telephone Road and will shortly begin a companion project along Mills Road and Main Street.
Maria noted that natural gas is clean, renewable energy and it is helping California maintain its leadership role in greenhouse gas reduction. She also explained the efficiencies gas has as compared to electricity as far as cost and storage are concerned.
To minimize impacts on homes, businesses, and traffic, work on the Mills Road/Main Street pipeline project will largely be done at night. The replacement operation is expected to take approximately six months to complete (weather and other factors permitting).
For more information on the pipeline replacement work, visit
Supervisor Zaragoza Details Accomplishments
and Challenges Facing Ventura County
Speaking to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 8, Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza presented a comprehensive summary of the state of the County, detailing recent successes, current projects, and primary challenges facing County officials. Supervisor Zaragoza's 5th District includes  Oxnard Shores, Mandalay Bay, Silver Strand, Hollywood Beach, Hollywood by the Sea, Channel Islands Harbor, El Rio, Nyeland Acres, Del Norte, Oxnard College, Oxnard Plain, Strickland and a portion of the Ventura County Naval Base Pt. Hueneme.
"Ventura County is one of the safest places in the world," said the Suervisor, "thanks to the work of our public safety personnel and the involvement of our citizens." He noted that County government has a $2.24 billion budget and includes some 26 agencies and departments, staffed by over 9,000 employees, which makes the government the second largest employer in the County behind Naval Base Port Hueneme (19,000 employees).
Among the County's key priorities are revenue enhancement, social services (homelessness), public safety and the 2020 Census, which is critical to funding, provision of services, and political representation.
Supervisor Zaragoza reviewed a dozen current capital projects in the County, including a $61 million medical/mental health unit at Todd Roadd Jail, a permanent year-round homeless shelter on Knoll Drive, medical examiner facility upgrades, Fillmore Library improvements, and the commissioning of two Black Hawk helicopters for the County Fire District.
Focusing on his own District 5, the Supervisor noted a number of topics of interest, including Nyeland Acres Community Center and Park, improvements at Channel Islands Harbor, a cannabis ordinance, the 2040 General Plan, and Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM) Program at Rio School.
Asked about the most pressing challenges facing Ventura County, Supervisor Zaragoza named three: housing, jobs, and water resources. "We have to address all three if Ventura County is going to continue to thrive as one of the most desirable places to live and work."
Ventura Rotary South Members Walk to Support
Ronald McDonald Family Room at VCMC
About a dozen members of our Club gathered at Ventura State Beach on Sunday morning, April 6, to participate in the Ronald McDonald Walk For Kids. The event raised funds in support of the new Ronald McDonald Family Room to be built at Ventura County Medical Center. The Room will provide a place where families can be with their children who are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Other Ventura County Rotary Club members participated in the walk as did District 5240 Governor Sandi Schwartz.
The walk took participants along the promenade to the Ventura River and back again on a warm and beautiful morning. Additional Club members who weren't able to participate in the walk supported the event with financial contributions.
Santa Barbara-Based Direct Relief
Provides Medical Aid to the Needy
The largest charitable medical aid organization in the world is based in our own back yard: Santa Barbara. It's Direct Relief, and has been providing much-needed medical services, free of charge, to people in need around the world for more than 70 years. On Monday, April 1, Dean Axelrod of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, spoke to our members and guests about Direct Relief's mission and goals.
"Maternal health is the bedrock of any strong community and family," said Dean, "and that is a core mission of Direct Relief." He noted that it is also one of the key areas of focus for Rotary International. "Every year," said Dean, "303,000 women die from pregnancy-related illnesses, most of them in third-world nations." He added that a great many of these deaths are preventable with simple medical care, which is often unavailable. "A basic human need is that of healthy families," said Dean.
To that end, Direct Relief serves 102 countries, all 50 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. "We partner with local organizations to provide free medical resources for people in poverty, after disasters, or as the result of civil conflict," said Dean. He noted that Direct Relief provides significant support to midwives who are frequently the "first responders" in many areas of the world.
Last year, Direct Relief provided $1.1 billion in donated aid. For more information, visit
Food Share Feeds Thousands
In Ventura County
"We are the Costco of food donation in Ventura County." That's how CEO Monica White described the operation of Food Share, an agency that provides free food to more than 75,000 people each month in Ventura County. Indeed, with two 36,000 square-foot warehouses, a staff of 28 employees, and 3,000 volunteers serving 190 community charitable food outlets, Food Share is able to tackle the problem of hunger from Ojai to the Conejo Valley.
According to Food Share's website, 1 in 6 people in Ventura County are struggling with food insecurity. Monica noted that, while that ratio includes the 1800 chronically homeless and hungry people (as of the latest count), it also includes people for whom having enough to eat may be an intermittent or one-time event. "Seventy percent of the people we serve come to us for help one to three times a year," she said. "The remaining 30 percent rely on us regularly. And no matter who they are, when they come to a Food Share agency, they are treated with respect and courtesy."
More than 3,500 seniors receive a 30-pound box of various fresh and packaged food items each month. All food is collected from growers, retail outlets and individual donations. At present, 32 percent of the food includes fresh fruit and vegetables - Monica's goal is to raise that to 50 percent.
For those looking to support Food Share's mission, they can donate money or volunteer their time. Each $1 donated buys $5 worth of food. And people are always needed to pick up and deliver food, stock shelves, or perform other essential tasks. "If you want to help," said Monica, "we'll find a place for you.
For additional information, visit or call (805) 983-7100.
Preschool Teacher Training Continues To
Benefit Thousands of Children in Sri Lanka
Our speakers on Monday, March 11, Hans and Helena Dahlin, made the scenic drive down from Goleta to provide Ventura Rotary South members and guests with an update on a multi-club Rotary project designed to educate new preschool teachers in Sri Lanka, an island nation of 21 million people in the Indian Ocean. Helena and Hans are the president-elect and president-elect nominee, respectively, of the Goleta Noontime Rotary Club.
The Goleta Club is an International Partner and Global Grant sponsor to help preschool teachers in rural Sri Lanka obtain the education necessary for a diploma in early childhood education. The project began in 2012 when the Sri Lankan government passed a law requiring that all preschool teachers have a valid diploma to be able to teach. Since then, more than 4,300 teachers have been trained, benefiting 86,000 preschool children. The current Global Grant stands at $515,000. Multiple clubs in District 5240, as well as clubs in three other districts, have participated since the project's inception.
Hans and Helena have made several trips to Sri Lanka as part of the project, visiting preschools, distributing educational materials, and presenting diplomas to newly trained teachers. They are planning another trip in 2020. "We're inviting other Rotarians to join us," said Helena. "It is an incredible feeling to see firsthand the benefits of this project," echoed Hans.
Detective Details Multitude of Scams
That Target Seniors and Others
For centuries,criminals have sought out ways to separate innocent people from their money. Modern technologies such as the telephone and the Internet, while obviously very useful, even essential, have only provided new and more numerous ways to achieve that nefarious goal. At our meeting on Monday, March 4, Ventura County Sheriff's Detective Tim Lohman offered details of many of the latest scams that are often targeted toward seniors.
"I'm currently working 40 active cases," said Detective Lohman, "and each of them is like putting a puzzle together. People need to be educated on what to look for when they're checking email, using social media, or even answering their cell phone."
One of the most important tips he offered was the general advice to simply be very aware when you are contacted by someone you don't know. That contact could take the form of an email supposedly from your bank, or a voicemail from someone claiming to be with the IRS. Frequently, emails and calls such as these come with a request to provide personal information in order to help resolve a "problem" of some sort. If provided, the personal information will likely lead to unrecoverable loss of money.
Detective Lohman reviewed some of the many types of scams that people fall victim to on a daily basis, including fraudulent business opportunities, offers to share in sweepstakes winnings, fake kidnap/ransom threats, or phony alerts from Microsoft or Apple that your computer is infected with a virus that needs to be cleaned up. He even shared a photo of the young criminal convicted in one of the ever-popular schemes involving a "foreign prince" who needs help sheltering millions of dollars in a U.S. bank and just needs your checking account information to share the wealth with you.
"Do your research," said Detective Lohman. He suggests that you Google unfamiliar phone numbers that show up in emails or on caller ID - they will frequently come back as part of a scam. You can also use to find out where a particular image has shown up online, again, frequently as part of widespread fraud. In general, he counsels people to simply remain alert when it comes to technology. If you're the least bit suspicious of an email, a phone call, or a social media post, listen to your intuition.
The Sheriff's Department Fraud Hotline is 805-371-8327. Detective Lohman can also be reached directly at 805-494-8232 or
Help is Available for Victims of Sexual Assault
and Domestic Violence in Ventura County
Our speaker on Monday, February 11, Caroline Prijatel-Sutton brought both sobering and helpful news to her presentation to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, February 11. The sobering news? Domestic violence and sexual assault are on the rise in Ventura COunty. The helpful news? Victims of these crimes have dedicated resources for assistance, available 24/7.
Caroline is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Family Harmony, an Oxnard-based agency that maintains a rape crisis center and a domestic violence safe house, together with a wealth of resources to aid victims. Included in her presentation was a brief video entitled, "You Are Not Alone," four little words that can mean the world to someone facing the trauma of sexual or domestic violence.
Trained advocates are available to provide counseling, and the Coalition has attorneys who provide pro bono legal advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "These crimes are very isolating," said Caroline, "and our staff members are there to make sure the victims know they are not alone. There are people on their side."
Caroline explained the triggers and causes of sexual/domestic violence. Some is societal, some is "ancestral," meaning that abusive behavior is often modeled by those who have experienced it themselves earlier in life. There are cycles and patterns that, if unbroken, can persist for months or even years, leading to repeated abuse. And it's not just a women's problem; Caroline noted that men can be victims as well.
At present, the Coalition's work is 80% intervention and 20% prevention, the latter mainly through education. "Our goal is to reverse those percentages," said Caroline.
For more information, visit the Coalition's website. If you need help, or know someone who does, the 24-hour bilingual helpline number is (800) 300-2181.
Cyber-Crime is on the Rise
Says District Attorney Rep
"Cyber-crime is everywhere, and no one is completely safe from it." Those were the sobering words from Kimo Hildreth, a member of the Ventura County District Attorney's office. Back by popular demand to Rotary Ventura South on Monday, January 28, Kimo explained a number of the widespread scams that people in Ventura County and across the country are falling victim to.
Most cyber-crime is, of course, designed to separate people from their money. And the old standard rule still applies: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Worldwide, global losses just from business email compromise alone totaled over $9 billion in 2018.
Among his many helpful recommendations, Kimo offered six tips to keep from falling victim to online crime:
  1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (password and a code sent to your phone)
  2. Interrogate suspicious emails (hover over the email and examine where it is really coming from)
  3. Don't use public WiFi without a virtual private network (for checking email, banking, and sending documents)
  4. Be an educator (tell your friends about scams you have avoided)
  5. Use strong passwords and security questions (long passwords that aren't easily guessed)
  6. Patch everything (update your computer regularly - most compromises affect unpatched systems)
For further information on how to protect yourself from cyber-crimes, or to file a complaint, visit
Ventura Land Trust:
Preserving the Best of Ventura
Our first speaker of the new year was Steve Doll, Board member of the Ventura Land Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Ventura's land, water, wildlife, and scenic views. Steve shared the organization's vision for greater public access to and involvement with the remaining open spaces in and around the City.
"Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization," said Steve, noting that the third Saturday of each month will find groups of volunteers participating in activities ranging from tree planting to the removal of invasive plant species, to the collection and disposal of trash from waterways such as the Ventura and Santa Clara riverbeds.
The Ventura Land Trust is also actively involved in the purchase of open space to keep it just that - open. Currently in escrow is a large parcel of land near Kimball and Foothill Roads. Known as Harmon Canyon, the 2100 acres of land stretch back into the hills for several miles and is known for its tranquil beauty. Steve explained that plans are underway to make it public open space, once escrow closes.
To find out more about the organization's activities, or to donate or volunteer, visit
Newly Elected Sheriff Bill Ayub
Addresses Ventura Rotary South
It was our Club's distinct privilege and honor to host Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub as our meeting speaker on Monday, December 3. Sheriff Ayub gave a fascinating overview of the department he now leads, having been elected to his post on June 5.
As the largest law enforcement agency in the County, The Sheriff's Office utilizes 750 sworn deputies, 500 professional employees, and 1,000 volunteers to provide its wide range of law enforcement-related services in 1,872 square miles of Ventura County, including the Cities of Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, and Thousand Oaks, as well as unincorporated areas. Those services include patrol, arson/bomb squad, SWAT, crime analysis, a forensincs lab, narcotics enforcement, and detention services, to name a few.
Detention services include management of the Todd Road Jail. Sheriff Ayub detailed the plans for the expansion of the facility (currently underway), which features a new health and programming unit for acute and psychiatric care of inmates. The 64-bed facility is scheduled to open in mid-2019.
Sheriff Ayub also spoke about his Office's efforts to fight the growing opioid crisis, noting that annual opioid-related arrests have increased from fewer than 90 in 2009 to 165 in 2017. Medical malpractice, he noted, is a primary factor in the increase.
Using video clips in his presentation, Sheriff Ayub explained the value of technology such as heat-seeking surveillance from the department's six helicopters and body-worn cameras for patrol deputies. Since their initiation, the 325 cameras have logged more than 45,500 hours of video. He also noted that the Office's Unmanned Aerial System (commonly referred to as drones) has played a big role in search and rescue, warrants, suspicious device investigation, and back country marijuana eradication.
Thank you, Sheriff Ayub, for the service you and your deputies, employees, and volunteers provide, and thanks also for taking time from your busy schedule to visit Ventura Rotary South!
Human Trafficking a Persistent Problem
In Ventura County Says Sheriff's Deputy
For Aaron Grass, Senior Deputy in the Special Crimes Unit of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, human trafficking is an an all-too-real (and growing) problem. Speaking to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South at our November 19 meeting, Officer Grass offered a sobering look at the perpetrators and victims of this crime that affects virtually all parts of California and most other states.
In its simplest legal definition, human trafficking is the depriving of one person's personal liberty by another. Its most common form involves the coercion and control of one or more individuals for paid sex, but labor trafficking in other industries (custodial, construction, agriculture) is also common.
"Human trafficking is hard to address on a large scale," said Officer Grass, "because it is so prevalent and so widespread." He noted that, on the positive side, California has very strong laws against the practice. Even the attempt to commit human trafficking carries a minimum sentence of eight years to life in prison.
Officer Grass is one of just two members of the Sheriff's Department Special Crimes Unit who work exclusively on enforcement of these laws in Ventura County. He and his partner work both proactively and reactively, conducting surveillance, sting operations, and compliance checks with businesses such as massage parlors. They respond when patrol officers encounter situations where human trafficking is likely.
"Human trafficking investigations are complex," said Officer Grass, "but we have support from outside agencies including the FBI, the California Franchise Tax Board, and the District Attorney's Office." As with any crime, the Sheriff's Department appreciates tips from the public in cases where human trafficking is suspected.
Kevin Clerici, Executive Director
Sep 23, 2019 12:00 PM
Ventura Downtown Association
Member Craft Talks
Sep 30, 2019 12:00 PM
Katie and Scott Ballew
Oct 07, 2019
Strey Cellars
Max Simon
Oct 14, 2019 12:00 PM
The Green Flower - Medical Marijuana
Mark Toohey
Oct 21, 2019 12:00 PM
California Earthquake Authority
Club Assembly
Oct 28, 2019 12:00 PM
Thanksgiving Week
Nov 25, 2019
(No Regular Meeting)
Marlyss Auster, CEO
Dec 09, 2019 12:00 PM
Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau
Upcoming Events
Rotary News
Rotary Foundation receives highest rating from Charity Navigator for 12th consecutive year

Rotary Foundation receives highest rating from Charity Navigator for 12th consecutive

Nigeria reaches crucial polio milestone

Nigeria reaches crucial polio

Shekhar Mehta of India selected to be 2021-22 Rotary International President

Shekhar Mehta of India selected to be 2021-22 Rotary International

Fighting poverty on a small scale

A collaboration between Rotary and Heifer continues to produce big results, helping small farms provide healthier, locally-sourced

Rotary and ShelterBox celebrate the power of partnership

Rotary and ShelterBox celebrate the power of partnershipEvanston Ill., Rotary International announced on 3 June a three-year partnership renewal with its disaster relief project partner, ShelterBox. For almost 20 years,