Articles in "Simi Valley"

Ventura County located on California's Pacific coast

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
December 1st, 2011

Ventura County is a county in the southern part of the U.S. state of California. It is located on California's Pacific coast. It is often referred to as the Gold Coast, and has a reputation of being one of the safest populated places and one of the most affluent places in the country. It is ranked as one of the 100 highest-income counties in the country and as the sixth wealthiest county in California by per capita income. This is partly because it is part of the Tech Coast Area, and has a large presence in technology corporations like telecommunications, healthcare, development, and especially biotech corporations, most of which are located in the Conejo Valley. As of December 2008, the median home price was $355,000.

As of the 2010 census, the county had a population of 823,318. The county seat is the city of Ventura (formally known as San Buenaventura). Ventura County's largest city is Oxnard, with a population of about 200,000.

Ventura County can be separated into two major parts, East County and West County. East County consists of all cities east of the Conejo Grade. Geographically East County is the end of the Santa Monica Mountains, in which the Conejo Valley is located, and where there is a considerable increase in elevation. Communities which are considered to be in the East County are Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Lake Sherwood, Hidden Valley, Santa Rosa Valley, Oak Park, Moorpark, and Simi Valley. A majority of these communities are in the Conejo Valley.

West County, which is everything west of the Conejo Grade, consists of communities such as Camarillo, Oxnard, Somis, Point Mugu,Port Hueneme, Ventura, Ojai, Santa Paula, and Fillmore. West County consists of some of the first developed cities in the county. The largest beach communities are located in West County on the coastline of the Channel Islands Harbor.


From: Wiki

Simi Town Center to get major facelift

by Ventura County Now

July 26th, 2011

Six years after it opened, the new owners of the Simi Valley Town Center are planning a multimillion dollar renovation of the open-air shopping mall, including possible tear-downs and reconstruction, and adding a top-flight park with an ice-skating rink to attract shoppers to the faltering plaza.

Construction at the 612,000-square-foot mall north of Highway 118 overlooking the city is scheduled to begin next year, developer Donald Provost told the Simi Valley City Council last week.

The center will have its grand reopening in 2013, said Provost, founding principal of Colorado-based Alberta Development Partners.

"The slogan we use at our firm is 'creating permanence,' " Provost said during a presentation depicting a mixed-use development in suburban Denver that his company opened in 2009. "Creating assets that stand the test of time, and can live for 50, 60, 70 years, not just 10 or 20 years.

"You'll see a lot of photos of people because that's what town centers in great places are all about — people," Provost said. "And creating the environment for these people to congregate and adopt as their own."

Provost gave the council an overview of the plans his group has for the struggling town center, which his partner, Chicago-based Walton Street Capital, LLC bought in December for an undisclosed price.

The recorded deed showed the property was encumbered with more than $112 million in debt.

When it opened in 2005, the center was valued at $350 million.

The former owners, Ohio-based Forest City Enterprises, cited several factors in putting the mall up for sale.

They included the economic downturn that began in 2007 and more retail competition in the region, including the renovated shopping center in Thousand Oaks, The Oaks.

Provost provided the council with few details of the planned overhaul, saying they are still being worked out by designers.

But some of the center's new features have been settled on, he said. They include:

n Construction of a large community park, including an ice-skating rink, for various events such as arts fairs and tree-lighting ceremonies.

"Great public spaces are very important and I don't think Simi really has that one great public space today," Provost told the council.

n Enhanced landscaping and signage at the center's entrance and perimeter "to set a different welcoming tone" for shoppers.

n A large pop-jet fountain.

"We're not going to change the architecture per se," Provost said in an interview Thursday. "But I think there needs to be a significant repositioning effort, which will probably involve some new construction. It could be new construction ground up, some tear down of some of the stuff that's there and new buildings built in their place."

He said the cost of the redesign will be in the eight figures.

Describing the current financial state of the town center as "difficult," Provost said the goal of the renovation is to "create long-term value for us as the investor and create long-term value for the resident."

Simi Valley Economic Development Director Brian Gabler said from the city's perspective, the goals will be to provide a "gathering place for the community, shopping opportunities for the community that don't currently exist, job opportunities and generation of sales tax revenue."

Provost said since buying the town center, his group has stabilized the erosion of tenants.

At the same time, the developer is continuing to negotiate deals with potential new anchor tenants, hopeful it can consolidate the center's two Macy's into one.

The mall is currently 86 percent occupied with 93 tenants, said Megan Campbell, senior marketing associate for Alberta Development.

Tenants include Abercrombie & Fitch, California Pizza Kitchen and Coldwater Creek.

Dennis Torres, Pepperdine University's director of real estate operations, has doubts the redesign will restore the town center's revenues to 2005 levels, calling it a potentially "high-risk venture."

Torres said commercial real estate vacancies remain high and that while retail sales are up overall, according to reports, "if you take out the price of gasoline and food, retail is actually down."

Furthermore, he said, he believes hyper inflation will kick in about 2015, shrinking consumers' spendable dollars.

The town center will also continue to face competition from ever-growing Internet retailers, he said.

"So I think brick and mortar retail in the next five years is still going to be tough," Torres said. "Who knows where it will go after that?"

by: Mike Harris Ventura County Star

Heavy crowds turn out for Memorial Day services

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
May 30th, 2011

Heavy crowds turned out Monday for Memorial Day services around Ventura County, exceeding past turnouts and in at least one case topping the number who came to honor the dead after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The 1,000 people converging at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura looked like a possible record to retired Col. George Compton, master of ceremonies.

"The only time all the chairs were filled was after 9/11, and this was overflow today," he said.

Terri Taylor Gonzalez, president of Ivy Lawn, tied the turnout to a surge in patriotism as well as publicity about the 40th annual observance. Veterans said the recent death of Osama bin Laden probably played a role, along with support for the armed forces.

"People are beginning to appreciate the military," said retired dentist Bill Stewart, 85, a Port Hueneme man who served during three wars.

Across the county in Moorpark, Assistant City Manager Hugh Riley said bin Laden's death May 2 and the upcoming 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 have unified Americans.

Nor is the threat over, he said, reminding those attending an observance at the Moorpark Veterans' Memorial of the risk military forces take. The Vietnam veteran said seven soldiers lost their lives in a single blast in Afghanistan last week.

"We must never forget what it means to be an American and never take for granted the sacrifices of those brave men and women who gave their lives so we might live in freedom as Americans," Riley said.

Veterans attending Memorial Day services around Ventura County fought in wars from World War II to Afghanistan. They came from every branch of the service to honor their comrades.

Matt Valenzuela, a sergeant in the Marine Corps and vice commander of American Legion Post 502, spoke in Moorpark about the soldiers he served with during the Korean conflict.

"I'm sure some of the veterans here today joined because you saw a poster that said, 'Join the service and see the world.' We joined, we served, we saw the world, and some of us never returned," said Valenzuela, who urged those in attendance to observe a moment of silence for the fallen warriors.

Army veteran Ramiro Delao, who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, said he comes to the annual observances to support his fellow soldiers who died fighting the war on terrorism.

"I got to serve my country," said the 30-year-old Camarillo resident, who attended the Ivy Lawn ceremony. "I don't think there's any greater honor than that."

Delao and his wife, Vanessa Delao, brought their two daughters, ages 6 and 2, to the observance. Vanessa Delao said she wanted her children to know what the day is about, referring to keynote speaker Navy Capt. James McHugh's words that the holiday is to honor those who have died serving their country, not just a day off work.

Air Force Maj. Matt Glynn, who served four tours in Iraq and is now stationed with the Air National Guard at Point Mugu, expressed the same sentiment. He brought his 4-year-old son to an observance in Westlake Village.

"I just wanted to show my son what Memorial Day is about and honor the friends I have lost after being in the military for 13 years now," he said at the event at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park. "It means a lot to me and I want my son to see that."

Officials said nearly 3,000 people attended the event at the Westlake cemetery, about 500 more than they expected.

"We came just to honor the veterans," said Nicole Krumian of Agoura Hills as she and her family attended the annual event organized by the Conejo-Simi Valley Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

"It's because of them that our country is defended and that we're protected, and I want my kids to see it and understand it and feel pride in their country," she said.

Rabbi Shimon Paskow urged the crowd to remember all who gave their lives in service of their country, from the Revolutionary War to modern-day wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We recall the people who served, the battles that were fought, the hardships endured, the sacrifices that were made and above all, our dear and beloved friends and relatives who gave their lives on land, sea and air for the values we as Americans cherish," said the retired Army colonel.

At a Camarillo ceremony, speaker Michael Blaauw admitted he was a bit nervous, then struck a somber note.

"How we all doing?" the naval chief petty officer said in a Southern drawl at the observance that drew several hundred people to Conejo Mountain Funeral Home and Memorial Park.

"Welcome to the 46th annual Lest We Forget Memorial Day service. I've lost a little of my mojo, being first to speak, because I'm not used to it. But we're going to make something happen today."

Blaauw read the poem "No, Freedom Isn't Free" by retired U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Kelly Strong. The poet tells of seeing a young Marine in uniform saluting the American flag, then of lives cut short.

"I thought of all the children, of the mothers and the wives," Blaauw said, "of fathers, sons and husbands with interrupted lives. I thought about a graveyard at the bottom of the sea, of unmarked graves in Arlington. No, freedom isn't free."

Blaauw continued with an accounting of the terrorist suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. Seventeen sailors lost their lives and 39 were injured on Oct. 12, 2000.

"Even when America is not at war, our men and women in the armed forces are striving to preserve peace," he said.

Other observances were held Monday at tiny Bardsdale Cemetery, downtown Ojai, Santa Paula Cemetery, Simi Valley and the new veterans home in Ventura.


By Rachel McGrathMichele Willer-AllredKathleen Wilson

Simi Valley Cajon Creole Music Festival

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
May 27th, 2011

The 22nd Annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 28th & 29th, 2011.

2011 promises to continue our tradition of bringing fans a full weekend of nonstop award-winning entertainment, more food choices than you can sample in two days, and activities to keep kids of all ages entertained too.

The first stage will feature 9 hours of continuous music each day.  Featured will be international and award winning Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music acts.

The second stage will feature the Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue on Saturday and world-class blues and roots acts on Sunday.

Both stages feature lots of viewing space plus large dance floors.

In addition, this family friendly event has a giant kids area featuring bouncers, rock walls, specialty acts, crafts and talent shows.  There are also food booths and many crafts and merchandise booths.
Address: 5005 Los Angeles Avenue Simi Valley, California 93063 Rancho Santa Susana Community Park
Cost: $18 general admission
Saturday, May 28, 2011, 10:30 am-8 pm
Sunday, May 29, 2011, 10:30 am-8 pm

Sat May 28th

The 44’s 11:00 AM
Los Fabulocous Feat Kid Ramos 12:00 PM
Mikey Jr & Stone Cold Blues 1:15 PM
Kirk Fletcher Band 2:25 PM
Ana Popovic 3:40 PM
Mannish Boys Revue with Tracy Nelson, Rusty Zinn, Lynwood Slim, The King Brothers, Bob Corritore, Peter Dammann and more. 5:05 PM
John Nemeth 7:00 PM


Sun May 29th

Cadillac Zack with Special Guests 11:00 AM
Mitch Kashmar Band 12:00 PM
Arthur Adams 1:15 PM
Big Pete tribute to Lester Butler with special guest Al Blake 2:30 PM
Shawn Pittman 3:45 PM
Elvin Bishop “Hell Raisin Review” 5:00 PM
Maria Muldaur 6:45 PM




Sat May 28th

Parade 3:10 PM

Sun May 29th

Parade 3:10 PM

Schedule are subject to change