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PUBLISHED SINCE 1982

VOLUME 37 No.3

FALL 2019

LIFE AS ART

INGRID BOULTING

PLUS : CHAR-MAN AND OJAI’S OTHER DEMONS / THE BROTHERS KOREN / KOMBUCHA AIRSTREAM HAUS / URBAN MEYER / BEE FRIEND / DAVID LABELLE ON CREEK ROAD D I S T R I B U T E D I N V E N T U R A + S A N TA B A R B A R A + L O S A N G E L E S C O U N T I E S


A SLICE OF OJAI PARADISE This impeccably renovated 1928 East End cottage designed by Austen Pierpont enjoys  a most magical 1.1 acre setting and unparalleled privacy for the 3 Bedroom 2.5 Bath main residence plus newer 1 Bedroom guest cottage. The enormous renovated kitchen with Wolfe, Miele & Sub-zero appliances will inspire any chef  and the remodeled baths are absolutely classy!   Relax by the Saltwater Pool or retreat to the very cool 1920’s vintage stone outbuilding: a perfect hideaway for your wine cellar and tastings with friends. Come enjoy the magic!

$3,395,000


THE ENVY OF THE OJAI VALLEY With an enviable ridge-top 2 acre setting & sweeping mountain views, this solar powered Mediterranean estate offers over 6,700 sq ft on 2 gorgeous low maintenance acres and includes pool, spa, and paddle-ball court. Truly one of Ojai's best values!

$1,915,000

Char Michaels (805) 620-2438 www.ojaihomes4sale.com DRE# 00878649


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VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

GABRIELA CESEÑA

REALTOR | Luxury Specialist Berkshire Hathaway • CA DRE #01983530 Unwavering commitment to my clients’ satisfaction | Driven by passion for the work I do

UPPER OJAI | COMING SOON Call for details

621 Del Norte Road Exclusive Arbolada Neighborhood | Revitalized Modern Ranch House | Park-Like | 1.23 acres | 5 Bd | 3 Bt | 3803 Sqf | Pool Asking $1,780,000

409 N. Montgomery Street Meticulous Mediterranean Townhome Villa | Pool & Spa Midtown | 3 Br | 3 Bt | 2898 Sqf of Bliss Asking $1,495,000

805.236.3814 | gabrielacesena@bhhscal.com | www.gabrielacesena.bhhscalifornia.com ©2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information.

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OJAI

106+ Acre country retreat with mountain and lake views and custom, stone house | www.luckyqranchojai.com Lucky Q Ranch Price upon request Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OJAI Four Bedroom Arbolada Home with Two fireplaces, Separate Office & Saltwater Pool | www.802eltororoad.com

OJAI 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath hacienda-style home on 5+ acres in Upper Ojai with horse facilities, pool, tennis court, much more.

802 El Toro Rd. $1,749,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OJAI Three-bedroom, two-bathroom with covered porch, fireplace, breakfast bar, gated parking, barn, corral, and shared well.

12605 Highwinds Rd. $2,649,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OJAI 3 BR, 2.5 BA Rancho La Vista Estates home with recent upgrades, fireplace, gated RV parking, views, and common area with pool, BBQ, basketball court.

10808 Creek Rd. $899,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

Jan Lewis 805.750.1279 jan@ojaivalleyestates.com DRE 00396537

646 Country Dr. $709,900 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

Kellye Lynn 805.798.0322 kellye@ojaivalleyestates.com DRE 01962469

Ramiro Martinez 805.630.2884 ramiro@ojaivalleyestates.com DRE 02075263


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OJAI 4 BR, 4 BA + 2 powder rooms on 5.43 acres with formal living and dining, butler’s pantry, two walk-in pantries, covered porch, and so much more. 1436 N.Montgomery St. $1,799,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OJAI 5 Bedroom Horse Property with Guest House, Pool, Horse Facilities and Views www.1577kenewastreet.com

OJAI Remodeled 4 BR + 2.5 BA Farmhouse on 3+ Acres with Guest House, Barn, Solar Panels and Orchard | www.990lomadrive.com

1577 Kenewa St. $2,199,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

VENTURA 3 BR, 3 BA home with fireplace, formal dining room, Italian tile floors. 1923 S. Hill Rd. $774,900 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

990 Loma Dr. $1,497,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OAK VIEW Rare opportunity to buy Gateway Plaza! Oak View shopping center with long-term occupants, large parking lot and great location. 37O N. Ventura Ave. $1,679,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

THE DAVIS GROUP

Integrity, knowledge and experience you can trust

Nora Davis 805.207.6177 nora@ojaivalleyestates.com www.ojaivalleyestates.com 727 Ojai Avenue, Ojai CA 93023 DRE 01046067


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VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

paintings

William Scott

September 12 – December 1 2019

canvas and paper

311 N. Montgomer y Street

Thursday – Sunday noon – 5pm

canvasandpaper.org

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VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

E DI TOR’ S NOT E

O

jai might just be the only southern California town where everybody knows your name.

With about 18,000 residents in our Valley it’s not that easy to hide out. But on a positive note, if you want to get involved in Ojai, you are welcome. Living in a small town involves a social contract, a commitment to making our world go round. You are actually needed to help run 299 local non-profits and clubs, coach kid and rec sports teams, assist in school activities. I urge you to subscribe to the local independent newspaper (an increasingly rare occurrence), serve on boards, city council and committees to advocate, envision, share and shape our town’s future. So you don’t just get to participate, you are obliged to do so -- in whatever way you can. Community is what really makes Ojai special, and once you take the leap and take part, the more of the rewards of small town living you will discover. One joyful example of the town working together is Ojai Day, the celebration of our town the third Saturday in October. I wake up on that day knowing that our entire community is focused on this one thing — together — with every person playing their part. A word of caution … this way of life is not for everyone, because with familiarity comes social accountability. Your community is listening and what you say and do matters. You will stop at the crosswalk, you might smile and be pleasant when you’re not having a good day, you should refrain from speaking impulsively, because your community is your extended family; you will need to be civil. The person you cut off in the parking lot will turn out to be your daughter’s soccer coach, or the plumber you call. When sirens scream it’s not just city noise — it’s your neighbor, your grocer, your kid’s best friend, and it’s someone that matters to you.

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Laura Rearwin Ward

CONTRIBUTORS

Perry Van Houten • Austin Widger Karen Lindell • Alicia Doyle David LaBelle • Ellen Sklarz Kit Stolz • John Aaron Elise DePuydt • Richard LaPlante Fred Drennen • Drew Mashburn and Guy Webster

ART DIRECTOR Paul Stanton

ASSISTANT EDITORS

Marianne Ratcliff • Linda Griffin Georgia Schreiner

ADVERTISING

Linda Snider • Kelly Spargur

One huge reward for me is the feedback that my contribution matters locally. The national and world news of the day can leave me feeling frustrated and ineffectual, but Ojai living has taught me that it is in local life we have the most opportunity to create the place we want to live in and see that real effect. We read the national news to stay informed; we read the local news to make a difference. With the globalization of human stories, a community becomes a community when its people choose to learn about each other’s stories, the stories that brought us here, and the stories that will take us forward. For a glimpse into the plethora of rich Ojai culture, from our past and present, physical and supernatural, enjoy our Fall Ojai Valley Guide full of legends in the making.

PRODUCTION

Cover story, former actor/supermodel Ingrid Boulting turned Ojai Studio Artists painter, yoga teacher and animal activist, opens up about her quiet Ojai life; The Brothers Koren teach a songwriter’s journey and Finding Your Big Voice. The Peloton Gravel MOB Ride is on its way. See inside the Airstream Lifestyle, and For the Love of Kombucha!

team@ojaivalleynews.com Phone: 805.646.1476 Fax: 805.646.4281 101 Vallerio Avenue Ojai, California 93023

Legends, myths, and history: the gruesome ghosts that make Ojai Haunted and other Demons; photojournalist David LaBelle shares his life journey from a frog farm on Creek Road; the History of City Hall; and Urban Legend: Nordhoff High School’s Coach Urban Meyer?! Legends of the natural world: condor conservation update and meeting Ojai’s Bee Friend, Glenn Perry, and more. L AURA REARWIN WARD publisher@ojaivalleynews.com

Giving thanks daily, for you dear readers, and for the many gifts of my Ojai life.

Bill MacNeil

CIRCULATION Ally Mills

BUSINESS MANAGER Jodie Miller

CONTACT US

©2019 Downhome Publishing

Cover: Ojai artist, Ingrid Boulting is depicted in an iconic photograph by the late, great Guy Webster. PUBLISHED SINCE 1982 BY THE OJAI VALLEY NEWS

OJ A IVA L L E YN E WS .CO M


VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

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FALL 2019 VOLUME 37 No.3

ARTS & CULTURE

Cover story: Ingrid Bolting & the OSA Tour - 18 Artists and Gallery Directory - 30

SPORTS Urban Legend: Urban Meyer - 32 Peloton Gravel MOB Ride - 38 Bike Friendly Hiking Trails - 46

FOOD & DRINK For the Love of Kombucha - 52 Boku Superfood - 59 Dining & Tasting Directory - 64

PEOPLE

104

Creek Road, The Cradle of My Youth: David La Belle - 68 Worried In Ojai, The Peace Wagon - 76

EVENTS

Events & Calendar -74

LIVING & DEAD

38

Haunted Ojai - 84 The Demons of John Aaron - 92

BIG ISSUES Bee Friend - 96 Condors, The Bird is the Word - 104

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WELLBEING

The Brothers Koren, Finding Your Big Voice - 112 Boxing Parkinson’s - 120 Mindfulness & Healing Directory - 124

PAST AND PRESENT The History of City Hall - 126 Look Back: The War Wagon -136

REAL ESTATE

Less House, More Home Airstream Haus - 146

INFO

Advertiser Index - 161

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VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

L ov i n g l y h a n d c ra f te d i n O j a i , C A Jes MaHarry Store ~ 316 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai California 93023

www.jesmaharry.com ~ 877.728.5537 ~ jesmaharryjewelry

Photo by: Rylann Smith

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An Ojai tradition for over 50 years 302 W. Matilija Street (805)646-3755 9:30 - Sunset daily

www.bartsbooksojai.com


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DMD Construction

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General Contractors

Building Your Dreams Let Us Help! • New Construction • Additions • Insurance • Remodels David Dunlap, Owner CA Lic#903106

805-625-4161 www.rebuilding-ventura.com www.dmd-construction.com

facebook.com/dmdconst


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Everything about Boulting has a soft, whispery quality, from the Ojai artist’s peaceful oil paintings of the Buddha, fruit, landscapes and rescue dogs, to her gentle voice and tranquil yoga studio. Boulting, a former actress who starred as the young love interest of Robert DeNiro’s character in “The Last Tycoon,” directed by Elia Kazan, spoke prophetic lines in the 1976 movie based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel: “I want a quiet life.” That is just what Boulting has created for herself. In the 1980s, she left behind life as a ballerina, fashion model, Hollywood actress and New York resident to move west, first to Taos, N.M., then Los Angeles, eventually settling in Ojai to become a yoga teacher, artist, mom and animal lover. All her interests are related. Boulting even once created a business card that used the term “yogart.” Like yoga, art is “a meditation,” Boulting said. I look at a still life, like a broken-up pomegranate or cherries, and see all these different textures. I think, ‘How do I even begin to capture that?’ As in yoga, it’s about letting go, then just starting, and something else takes over.” Fittingly, Boulting, one of the artists featured on the 36th annual Ojai Studio Artists Tour, slated for Oct. 12 to 14, will demonstrate and display her work in her Sacred Space Studio for yoga in downtown Ojai. Sculptor Martha Moran, an OSA member and one

Life as Ingrid Boulting of the tour organizers, said Boulting and her art “embody a lot of the vibrations of Ojai. Everything is so serene.” This year’s tour will feature nine new artists, Moran said. With so many artists now participating (more than 60), the tour’s base will no longer be the Ojai Art Center, which isn’t large enough to show samples of work by all the

By Karen Lindell

participants. Instead, visitors can start their tour and see examples at the Ojai Valley Museum, where a themed exhibit, “Origins,” features works by OSA artists. “Origins can be anything, and each artist is interpreting it differently,” Moran said. “I’m taking it personally, with a work about my family. Another artist, Hallie Katz,

has a fossil piece that’s about the origins of life on Earth. Others are talking about the origins of their creativity.” Boulting, for her “Origins” exhibit piece, is showing a painting of lavender titled “Lucky Lavender,” created in an impressionistic style she favored earlier in her artistic career.


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Photo: Kristan Altimus

Art Art can yell, like a brash and bold Picasso. Or it can whisper, like an ethereal Ingrid Boulting painting. Without a TV, Boulting amused herself at a young age by drawing and playing with watercolors, fascinated by her aunt who was an artist, as well as the animals and nature around her. She spent hours drawing mushroom cities populated with tiny gnomes and fairies.

Long before she was painting California lavender, however, Boulting was drawing and painting her surroundings in Africa. Born in South Africa, she was raised by her grandparents there until moving to London to be with her mother at age 7. Her stepfather was Roy Boulting, a film director, writer and producer.

Britsh film director Roy Boulting

She started taking ballet lessons in South Africa, then

entered the Royal Ballet School when she moved to London. Even as a dancer, she was drawn more to its visual appeal. “I loved the creative process, the beauty of a ballerina’s foot or hand, and would draw that,” she said. “I loved watching the ballerinas in the door of a studio in their rehearsal clothes. That always interested me more than the finished costumes and performances.”


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Split Wide Open, 2017. Oil on canvas.


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When Boulting was a teen, Queen magazine editor Caterine Milinaire discovered her while seeking a young aspiring dancer to feature in a fashion article, and Boulting began her modeling career, later working under the wing of Eileen Ford from Ford Models. As a teen and

Boulting only recently found an artistic mentor: Carlos Grasso in Ojai. She heard he had studied with David Leffel, a master of chiaroscuro painting, which Boulting was drawn to. “It’s the only real training I’ve had,” she said. “I learned a lot from Carlos about light, and how to see better. I’ve been painting in the style of chiaroscuro; before that I was doing a little more impressionistic painting.” The term chiaroscuro, which comes from the Italian words chiaro (“clear” or “bright”) and oscuro (“obscure” or “dark”), refers to using light and shadow to create depth. “There are so many shadow players in our world, especially

her credits included the horror film “The Witches” (1966) and the comedy “The Jokers” (1967). In the mid-1980s, Boulting quit acting, tired in part of the stereotypical roles she was offered. “I didn’t want to play the Swedish sexy meatball type,” she said. “I loved acting while I was doing it, but I was done,” Boulting continued. “My dad was a filmmaker, and I was brought up on the lots, where I met many famous people, so that didn’t really enamor me to the business. I was trying to discover who I really was, to play the kinds of roles people wanted me to play. But I felt the whole business wasn’t

young woman, she worked with famed photographers, including Richard Avedon and David Bailey, and was featured in stories, ads and on the covers of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Seventeen. Boulting still loved art and continued to draw and paint. She didn’t take art classes, instead teaching herself by going to museums and reading books. She said a few of her inspirations are Michelangelo, John Singer Sargent, Paul Cezanne and James Whistler.

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rejected his coming on to me. I was the girl in Hollywood famous for saying, ‘No.’ That kind of behavior now is being exposed, which I think is a good thing. I could go public, but don’t want to do that with my life. I’d rather be peaceful and pain-free. I want my quiet life.” Boulting has been married twice but is now single, with a partner who lives in Ventura. She also has an adult daughter who inadvertently led her West. Boulting was pregnant with her daughter and living in upstate New York in 1979 during the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania. On the recommendation of her doctor, Boulting said, she moved West to keep her baby safe. She ended up in Taos, N.M., where she lived at the home of a friend and fell in love with the mountains. She stayed there for two years, then moved to Los Angeles. The friends she stayed with had a home in Ojai, which she fell in love with as well, and she moved there herself after a few years.

in politics and the movie business,” Boulting said. She has been in the show-biz shadows herself. Boulting originally wanted to study at an art college, but didn’t receive guidance from her parents or teachers in how to apply, she said. She continued modeling, and at age 18 became a theater actress, touring with the Oxford Playhouse, then moved into movie acting. Before “The Last Tycoon,”

healthy for me, with women being objectified. I was not interested in selling myself as an actress, which is basically what you have to do, because there’s so much competition.” Boulting, while not using the term “#MeToo movement,” described her own MeToo moments. “I had things happen to me — men who thought they could do anything to you,” she said. “A famous person said I wouldn’t work again because I

Center: Ojai artist, Carlos Grasso. Below: With Elia Kazan on the set of “The Last Tycoon.”


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“Ojai reminds me a lot of Africa and the south of France where we had a house when we were children,” Boulting said. “Nature is very important to me.” Also important to Boulting is her spiritual life, and the yoga that is so central to her physical and emotional well-being.

Boulting laughed when talking about her initial interest in yoga, long before it was trendy and everyone started wearing Lululemon pants. “People said to me, ‘You can’t call what you’re doing yoga; people will think it’s an esoteric religion.’ But what else can I call it?” She started teaching yoga

deserve peace and to be happy. We get so overshadowed by the challenges of our lives that we lose our connection to inner joy and our natural state of being. We get so ‘headucated.’” Coming from Africa, Boulting said, she has always loved animals, and now has 10

rescue dogs and cats. She has been a vegetarian since age 18, and the one time she speaks rather forcefully in an interview is about defending animals. “A piece of meat is not just a piece of meat,” she said. “It’s everything the animal has gone through for that.” She includes animals in many of her paintings — elephants, birds, her dogs — and said she was working on a painting of the Buddha with two tigers. “I think spirituality is seeking to wake up more and to become more conscious and more fully alive, to have empathy and compassion, and help if something comes your way,” she said. “That’s how all these animals came across my path. That’s part of my spiritual practice: helping where help is needed. And to trust the unfolding of my life moment by moment, not to be greedy or have huge agendas, just like the Tao says: Do nothing and everything will get done.”

Boulting said she began practicing yoga at age 18 while “searching for more meaning. I knew there was more to life. I started meditating first, then bought a book on yoga. Because I had been a dancer, it was fun to do postures.

“I loved the peace and meaning I got from yoga. With that comes a freedom and fearlessness, and an acceptance of the reality as things are.”

privately in Ojai in 1992, then opened a studio there. “Through therapeutic yoga, I teach people to get back in touch with themselves, to help them realize they’re more than just a physical being.” She traces her rekindled interest in painting to her spiritual life and yoga practice. “I love images of the Buddha because they’re so peaceful, so I started painting Buddhas, and collecting them in Tibet, Bali, and wherever I went,” she said. “The lineage from yoga to art is the common sense that we

For more information about Ingrid Boulting, visit www.ingridboulting.com The 36th annual self-guided Ojai Studio Artists Tour, featuring more than 60 studios throughout the Ojai Valley, takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 to 14. Visitors can start the tour at the Ojai Valley Museum,130 W. Ojai Ave. For tickets for the threeday event or for more information, visit www. ojaistudioartists.org. Ingrid Boulting’s Sacred Space Studio will be part of the tour, at 307 Matilija St.


VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

Lucky Lavender, 2019. Oil on canvas.

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MARTHA MORAN OJAI ROCKSTACKER

Last Generation photographed by Deborah Lyon

Sculptures, Fountains, Custom Shower Design Ojai Studio Artists Tour October 12, 13 & 14 or by Appointment www.ojairockstacker.com 805 279-7605

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Fine Art by Tina OBrien

Located in Ventura Harbor (805) 746-2566 www.tinaobrienfineart.com

Hours 10 - 6 Mon - Sat and 10 - 5 Sunday


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Anca Colbert

OVA Arts

Brittany Davis Gallery

Ojai Studio Artists

canvas and paper

Pamela Grau

Dan Schultz Fine Art Gallery & Studio

Poppies Art & Gifts

Art Advisory Services Art adviser, curator, appraiser, writer, and accidental photographer. www.ColorOfLight.com and www.ArtsAboutTown.com By appointment anca.colbert@mac.com

Fall in love with art 214 E. Ojai Ave. Open Monday-Sunday 11:00 am -7:00 pm. Closed on Tuesday brittany@brittanydavisgallery.com 714-369-9869

A non-profit exhibition space showing paintings and drawings from the 20th century and earlier in thematic and single artist exhibits. Hours: Thursday – Sunday, noon – 5pm 311 North Montgomery Street canvasandpaper.org

Plein air landscapes, figures and portraits in oil, with a special focus on California landscape paintings. 106 N. Signal St., Ojai www.DanSchultzFineArt.com 805-317-9634

A R T I S T S

&

Your Go-To Place For Gifts. 238 E. Ojai Ave. Open daily 10-6 www.ojaivalleyartists.com 805-646-5682

2019 Annual Studio Tour Oct 12 · Oct 13 · Oct 14 Free, Self Guided Tour 10am - 5pm www.ojaistudioartists.org

www.pamelgrau.com pamelagraustudio@gmail.com 949-903-9743

323 E. Matilija Street in beautiful Ojai, California. We are behind the historic downtown Arcade. Stop in for local art and art events. 323 E. Matilija St., Ojai. www.poppiesartandgifts.com | 805-798-0033

G A L L E R I E S

D I R E C T O R Y

Firestick Pottery

Porch Gallery

Human Arts Gallery

Studio Channel Islands

Karen K. Lewis

Ventura County Pastel Artists

Latitudes Fine Art Gallery

WU2 Creations

Martha Moran

OVG Artists and Galleries Guide

Creative workspace or clay artists & students. Open 10-6 daily. Closed Tuesday. 1804 E. Ojai Ave. www.firestickpottery.com 805-272-8760

Folk art, jewelry, glass, art wearables, furniture, sculpture and more. 246 East Ojai Avenue www.humanartsgallery.com 805-646-1525

Painter & printmaker; etchings, monoprints, figure drawings, plein-air landscapes, still lifes and large-scale oil paintings. www.ojaistudioartists.org | 805-646-8877

Transform your space with fine art photography. 401 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001 www.lattitudesfineart.com | 805-642-5257

The Ojai Rockstacker Rock stacks, fountains & more for garden or desktop. Studio visits by appointment. martha@ojairockstacker.com | 805-279-7605

310 E. Matilija St. Open: 11-5, Sunday: 9-1:30 Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday Instagram: porchgalleryojai lisa@porchgalleryojai.com 805-620-7589

Dedicated to advancing the creative life of Old Town Camarillo and the communities within Ventura County. 2222 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo www.studiochannelislands.org 805-383-1368

“Fall into Pastels” Sat., Nov. 9 - Sun. Nov. 10. 11am - 4 pm Bert Collins Studio, 1545 Cuyama Rd., Ojai bobbib1@me.com 805-798-2403

Acrylics and watercolors by William & Karen Wu. 852 Oak Grove Ct., Ojai (by appointment) www.WU2Creations.com | 805-649-5312

Reach a wider audience with the Ojai Valley Guide, Artists & Galleries listings. The OVG is distributed throughout Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. Contact us for details. team@ojaivalleynews.com | 805-646-1476


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Urban Legend By Austin Widger

nordhoff high school’s most famous football coach never was. the man who, in an alternate universe, would have been the coach at nordhoff in 1993, has won three ncaa national championships, a variety of coach of the year awards at the highest level of college football and, most recently, was head coach at the ohio state university. Like Edward Drummond Libbey — the man who helped incorporate the city of Ojai — he also is an Ohio native. His name is Urban Meyer. In the early 1990s, Meyer was an assistant coach at Colorado State University and recruited in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. He would make recruiting trips to Nordhoff every week in December and January, and then again in the spring. He became friends with Nordhoff’s head football coach at the time, Cliff Farrar, and even recruited a Nordhoff player to Colorado State. “Obviously it’s arguably as beautiful of an area as there is in the country,” Meyer said. “I would go down there and see my friends and spend some quality time with these coaches.”


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When Colorado State’s coaching staff, under head coach Earl Bruce, was fired in 1993, Meyer was having a hard time finding a job. Farrar was potentially going to become Nordhoff’s athletic director at the time, and asked Meyer if he wanted to be head football coach at the high school.

more than that. “We would always try to get to know the players’ families during recruiting, stay engaged with them during the players’ careers, and stay very close in all aspects of the player’s lives,” Meyer said. “Not just football, but academics, off the field, on the field, everything.”

Meyer said: “This is a beautiful place to raise a family. I had two little girls at the time and I thought, ‘Man, that’s pretty appealing to me.’ I remember talking to him (Farrar) about it and he was very serious about it. I was very serious about it, to the point where I was really thinking about it.”

Meyer stepped down from his head coaching position at Ohio State following the team’s 2019 Rose Bowl victory over the University of Washington due to health reasons. He said everything is good with his health now and he is enjoying his work as assistant athletic director at OSU, where he also co-teaches “Leadership and Character” at the Fisher College of Business.

However, new Colorado State Head Coach Louis Matthew “Sonny” Lubick called Meyer “at the eleventh hour” and offered him the chance to return to CSU as an assistant.

He helps ensure players are prepared to make the transition from degree to career. At OSU, they call this the Real Life program. That’s for career op-

the fans on what goes on during the course of the season, course of the game, or even someone’s career.” Finally, Meyer is co-hosting the “Focus 3” podcast with Focus 3 CEO and founder Tim Knight. The Focus 3 company strives to help organizations build better leaders, culture and behavior. The podcast focuses on principles of leadership and team-building as they relate to corporate America, education and athletics, Meyer said. During his time as head coach, Meyer said his biggest challenge was fulfilling expectations. There are four or five schools in America expected to win every game, and OSU is one of them. “A place like Ohio State, that’s a place where you could and you should win every game,” he said. “But, things happen. Injuries happen. Team issues happen. It’s just fulfilling those expectations.”

....his vision as a coach was always to create a family-type atmosphere. that is “the greatest form of motivation, the greatest form of getting elite performances,” he said. it is “having love amongst your team.... The rest is history. Meyer went on to be a head coach at Bowling Green State University, University of Utah, University of Florida and The Ohio State University. He won two championships at Florida, then added another title at OSU. Meyer said his vision as a coach was always to create a family-type atmosphere. That is “the greatest form of motivation, the greatest form of getting elite performances,” he said. It is “having love amongst your team, between your staff and players, and amongst your players. So I was always trying to create a family atmosphere.” To achieve this goal, he would try to hire coaches who shared the same philosophy. He never wanted his programs to be seen as a business, where a player-coach relationship was nothing

portunity once the student-athlete is done (playing), Meyer said. “Not just a degree — a degree is an expectation — but helping them get a career.” Along with these duties at Ohio State, Meyer is now part of a new college football pregame show at Fox Sports called “Big Noon Kickoff,” which broadcasts each Saturday at 9 a.m. Pacific during the season. He will join former college football stars and analysts Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn on set. He said Fox is a great company and though the analyst role will be a challenge, it is something he is looking forward to. Meyer said: “I give, obviously, a coach’s perspective. I’ve done it for 30-something years at the highest level, and (I will) try to let my experience educate

As a coach, one of Meyer’s most memorable moments at OSU was beating rival University of Michigan all seven years he coached there. One could tell the rivalry is as fierce as any in college football when he refused to refer to the rival school by name. When asked if that school was Michigan, Meyer merely replied, “Yeah, that’s the team up north.” Meyer said as a coach: “The greatest reward you can have is that the player leaves your program a good husband, a good father, and has a career. He can take care of his family. A lot of times players learn that, or the student-athletes learn that at home. A lot of times they don’t. You try to surround them with quality coaches who can help lead them in that direction.”


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Montessori School of Ojai Educating the individual Building Community Caring for the world Visit our beautiful 10-acre campus. Call for an observation. 806 W. Baldwin Road, Ojai CA 93023 (805) 649-2525 Montessorischoolofojai.org INFANT - 8TH GRADE License # 566212532 & 561702317

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noahsarkpreschoolojai.com | 805 646 8745


VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

Premier Horseback Riding

ojai valley trail riding company Explore California’s Shangri-La with a majestic horeseback tour of one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We have rides suited for a beginner or an advanced rider. Just 3.5 miles from downtown Ojai, we are open 7 days a week. Call for reservations.

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he sixth annual Peloton Gravel Mob Ride — featuring 60 miles with 7,500 feet of elevation around scenic views of Ojai and Ventura — is a discipline of riding on a mixture of pavement and gravel. It is known for the amount of elevation it gains in the mileage.

sections when possible,” said Rhone.

Several trained medical personnel will be present, along with people following both rides to help with any trouble spots, said Tim Rhone, co-owner of The Mob Shop in Ojai. It is partnering with Ojai-based Peloton Magazine — an international publication about bike racing and the joy of riding — to put on the Nov. 16 event.

What makes this ride “really cool” is “it’s basically a rim ride around Ojai,” said Rhone, noting that the cyclists will start at The Mob Shop, located at 110 W. Ojai Ave., “and go down Sulphur Mountain Road. As you’re going down the hill from Oak View, it flattens out and goes across the bridge … and about a quarter mile past the gate, it turns into a 10½-mile dirt climb.”

“As organizers, we do our best to keep everyone safe by briefing our riders about the tougher parts of both courses and visibly marking those

Registration for this year’s ride opened in August. Riders must sign up ahead of time “because we sold out last year,” Rhone said. Ridership is limited to 200 because part of the ride is on Forest Service land.

The challenge and support of fellow cyclists is why most riders take this on, Rhone said.

“Most people do it in the same spirit that one would run a marathon,” he noted. “It’s a physical challenge that would be difficult to do unsupported. Because it is supported, they can push themselves beyond where they might if they were riding it alone and not worry about getting into too much trouble. There is a shared camaraderie with the rest of the group and plenty of stories to tell after the fact.” Riders on the trek up Sulphur Mountain will see views of Ventura on one side and Ojai on the other. Riders will also go through Sisar Canyon Road, next to the Stagecoach in Upper Ojai, before going downhill into Santa Paula, and climb to Nordhoff Ridge Road, “where the views are incredible … and in between Ojai and Ventura, on a clear day, you can see the Channel Islands. It’s stunning up there,” Rhone said.

Peloton Gravel “Think of it like the New York Marathon. You have a certain level of person who’s out to compete and do it as fast as they can, and other groups of people who just want to finish.”

By Alicia Doyle


VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

Mob Ride

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After traversing the ridge, cyclists will ride along Howard Creek Trail, go through Rose Valley Road, and come up through Maricopa Highway before descending back into Ojai. “There are technical aspects to the course, which is exactly why people train for it,” Rhone said, adding, “I imagine there are some nerves.” “New riders are wondering if they’re good enough to beat the cut-off time at the base of Sisar and complete the course,” he said. “People who have ridden it previously are testing themselves against their last effort. Everyone knows that climbing Sisar is going to be hard. That said, most people are just out to enjoy the challenges the day will bring, then enjoy sitting down with friends to share a beer, good food and great stories.” While there are certainly people who do it for time, “we don’t call it a race — it’s definitely a ride and we make that clear,” said Rhone, adding that the mood is predominantly “jovial” from start to finish, “and most people forget the times when they were struggling about five minutes after To register, search for Peloton Gravel Mob Ride at

www.bikereg.com

For more information, call The Mob Shop at 805-272-8102, or visit

www.themobshop.com they’re done. New riders should be interested because it’s a chance to push themselves with support and because the gravel-riding community offers a warm welcome.” As far as the athletic level of the bicyclists is concerned, this ride attracts men and women of all abilities, from first-timers to people with more experience and endurance. “We have former professionals come through, and others who come out just to accomplish it,” said Rhone, adding that riders include locals, as well as regulars from Canada, the East Coast and Midwest. “Think of it like the New

York Marathon. You have a certain level of person who’s out to compete and do it as fast as they can, and other groups of people who just want to finish.” Not everyone finishes, but most do, Rhone said. “For the longer ride, we actually have a cut-off time in place at the base of Sisar Canyon Road and some people just don’t make it. That’s by far the biggest reason folks don’t finish the ride. We use the cut-off time as a way to keep people safe and to make sure everyone is home before it starts to get dark.” The good news? “If they miss the cutoff, they can just head back to The Mob Shop and start enjoying the post-ride hangout a little earlier than planned.” Possible beneficiaries of this year’s ride include the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and Mike Gourley, who repairs trails throughout Ojai. Rhone said, “The most important thing is that the beneficiary is local and does something that makes the valley a better place.” The ultimate goal of this ride is to bring the community together, “and it’s about developing the ride culture here, sharing what’s in and around the Ojai Valley and connecting people,” Rhone added. “We just love to ride with people and want to have a great day and share the beauty of the Ojai Valley.”


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Sustainable Style

for Personal Well-being and a Healthy Planet

Organic and natural mattresses, organic cotton sheets, duvet covers, blankets, baby clothes, women’s clothing, wool and down pillows, comforters and toppers.

147 W. El Roblar Dr., Ojai • 805.640.3699 Open Tues-Sat 11-5

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R

inged by mountains laced with many miles of trails, the Ojai Valley area has much to offer twowheeled adventurers.

P E R R Y VA N H O U T E N ’ S

Fat tire fans can ride zigzagging singletracks to ridgetops with sweeping vistas, wide fire roads that traverse long, deep canyons, and a few flat, easy trails for more contemplative riding. There’s a trail for every age and ability. Preparation is key to happy riding. Always wear a helmet, bring plenty of water and snacks, carry a first aid kit, know where you’re going, tell someone where you’ve gone and when to expect you back. Don’t rely on a lot of shade on most of these rides, as much of the trees and brush burned in the Thomas Fire, so apply plenty of sunscreen.

SULPHUR MOUNTAIN ROAD This good, graded nine-mile dirt road begins just off

Highway 33 between Oak View and Casitas Springs. The road climbs moderately through oak woodlands and grassy hillsides, and provides outstanding views spanning the Ojai Valley and out to the ocean. Mileages are marked by sign posts along the road. After approximately 2,000 feet of elevation gain, you arrive at a paved section of road beside a large, gated ranch. This is a good place to turn around and head for home, though the road continues for another four miles to the upper trailhead. Or do Sulphur Mountain as a shuttle trip, with two vehicles, and ride it from top to bottom, for a roughly 13mile downhill run. Hazards to watch for are messy oil seeps along the lower portion of the road, cattle guards in a few

O J A I VA L L E Y H I K I N G & B I K I N G

places, and large cows that wander the road and can take fast-moving downhillers by surprise. In fall and winter, the road is open for recreation from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

mile of the six-mile Gridley Trail is rocky with some hike-a-biking required. The middle three miles take you from avocado groves to spectacular canyon vistas, on a very rideable grade. At about Mile four, the trail gets steeper and narrower, before leveling off at the top. A few miles west of Gridley Canyon, the five-mile-long

GRIDLEY & PRATT TRAILS

For a challenging ride with lots of elevation gain, point your front wheel up these mostly singletrack trails. Both trails climb to Nordhoff Ridge at roughly 5,000 feet elevation. Starting at the north end of Gridley Road, the first

Pratt Trail begins from a signed parking area near the top of Signal Street. The trail is rocky but rideable for the first mile, on an easement through private property. Past the last house, the trail, now a road, climbs steeply at times and becomes singletrack again. This section of trail has been a bit sketchy in the past, but it’s gotten plenty of TLC recently from volunteers, many of them mountain bikers.


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PHOTOS BY PERRY VAN HOUTEN

Both trails are a thrilling downhill ride, but watch those drop-offs!

VALLEY VIEW & VENTURA RIVER PRESERVES Two preserves administered by Ojai Valley Land Conservancy offer separate networks of short trails, with varying degrees of difficulty. The western portion of easy Shelf Road starts in the VVP and continues two miles to Gridley Road. Running north of Shelf

for about one mile are the Fox Canyon Trail and Luci’s Trail. Both are steep and narrow, and connect to the historic Foothill Trail. As the preserve’s name suggests, the views from these trails can’t be beat.

SISAR CANYON ROAD

Across town and straddling the Ventura River, the 1,600-acre VRP offers about a dozen well-maintained trails and three trailheads. Most rides require crossing the river, usually an easy task, except after heavy rains.

Be aware that access to the trailhead has recently changed, due to a locked gate just south of the former parking area. Limited parking is available along the gravel road, or you’ll need to park along Highway 150 near the school, and ride an extra mile up the paved residential road.

For a pleasant ride beneath a canopy of oaks, take the Wills Canyon Trail to El Nido Meadow. For a much more challenging ride, take the Rice Canyon Trail to the Kennedy Ridge Trail, which climbs three miles to the old El Camino Cielo Trail. You’re bound to encounter horses on most of the VRP trails, so be tolerant and give equestrians the right-of-way. Restricted hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. go into effect starting Nov. 1 on the VRP.

There’s nothing unusually difficult about this eightmile, 3,000-foot elevation gain climb up a wide, graded fire road.

Two creek crossings are usually easy affairs, before the road gets noticeably steeper and makes a sharp left-hand turn out of the oak-shaded canyon. As you pedal out of the canyon, you get impressive views of the Topatopa Bluffs, looming hundreds of feet above you. Vistas to the south as you leave the canyon are equally breathtaking, including Upper Ojai, Sulphur

Mountain and all the way out to the Santa Barbara Channel.

If you tire of the fire road, there’s a challenging singletrack option roughly two miles up, the White Ledge-Red Reef Trail. One mile up this narrow, brushy trail is shady White Ledge Camp, situated beside a stream and beneath fragrant bay laurel trees. For a truly epic ride, ascend Sisar Canyon Road to Nordhoff Ridge, head west and descend the Gridley or Pratt trails. Anyway you go, the downhill run is a blast!


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SHANGRI-LA CARE CENTER

A D U LT & M E D I C A L D I S P E N S A R Y Monday-Saturday

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805.640.6464 State permit C10-0000474-Lic

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Westridge Market 802 E. Ojai Ave • Open Daily 8am - 8pm • Phone 805-646-2762

Westridge Midtown Market 131 W. Ojai Ave • Open Daily 7am - 9pm • Phone 805-646-4082

westridgemarket.com


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“People who have tried kombucha in the past are like, ‘it’s really not for me,’ ” said Adam Gallegos, owner of the business with his wife, Sonia, who opened Revel about three years ago on East Matilija Street. At Revel Kombucha Bar in Ojai, new customers often say they didn’t like kombucha until tasting the jun-style elixir made with natural ingredients, which creates a smooth, appealing drink. At Revel, “because of the process we take and the ingredients we use, we’re able to produce something that’s refreshing and inviting to anyone who thought they didn’t like kombucha or never tried it before this way,” he said. Kombucha is a sweetened tea that has been fermented, Adam explained. “We’re taking something that’s raw and somewhat common and making

kombucha Flying Embers were not all that came out of last year’s Thomas Fire, but this organic hard Kombucha was certainly the tastiest. Flying Embers Organic Hard Kombucha, a brand founded by Bill Moses of Ojai, is described as “a better for you alcohol” that’s a low-calorie, certified-organic drink with zero sugar and carbs “that contributes to your wellness — while catching a buzz.” There is a huge new macro-trend occurring in alcohol, he said, where other beverages have reaped much success from tasting good while being better for you. “With the beer sales being so depressed with the excitement of cannabis, people don’t want to drink their calories in the alcohol format in order to catch a buzz,” said Moses, founder and CEO of Flying Embers, a business he incubated on Ojai’s

by Alicia Doyle

fortheloveofko

HARD Bryant Circle, now offering the popular beverage in 40 states with 60 distributors across the nation. “We’re now going international,” Moses said, “and our drink really hits upon three important components of any new brand: One, it’s better for you; two, it’s a premium quality product; and three, it’s purpose-driven.” The first component reflects the product itself, which is made from a sparkling fermented tea kombucha culture with adaptogenic botanicals. It comes in three flavors — Ancient Berry, Lemon Orchard, and Ginger & Oak — which have 4.5 percent alcohol and 85 calories in a 12-ounce serving. They’re all


VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

something better with it — like the idea of turning grapes into wine. We’re doing the same thing with the sweetened tea and transforming it into kombucha. In the end, you get a beverage that is fermented, and we carbonate it so it has bubbles. And we add flavoring to it with natural ingredients.”

honey sourced locally, “as opposed to pretty much every bottled kombucha out there that’s made with black tea and sugar with some variations on the tea, but all sweetened with sugar,” Adam said. “What happens with the sugar fermentation is that it tends to produce a more astringent flavor.”

Jun is described as “an effervescent living health tonic known as the champagne of kombuchas.” Revel’s jun-style kombucha is made with organic green tea and raw

The idea for Revel came about when Adam was brewing beer with the anticipation of opening a craft brewery. Around the same time, he was drinking

SOFT

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kombucha “and I started feeling these amazing effects,” he said. Adam was suffering from acid reflux and migraines, he said, and taking prescription medications for both, until kombucha eliminated his symptoms. “I started feeling better when I was drinking kombucha on a daily basis. I was having these amazing effects from the kombucha and loved the idea of providing something healthy that I could give as a gift.”

The Revel Kombucha Bar on Matilija Street is the place to go for lovers of this trendy fermented beverage.

ombuchafortheloveofkombucha fermented in an adapted gin root blend that’s composed of ginger and turmeric; as well as ashwagandha, an herb used in ayurvedic healing to reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood; and astragalus, an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine that has purported health benefits, including immune-boosting, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. “These ancient plant medicines have been fermented by indigenous cultures,” Moses noted. “We researched old formulations to realize that by fermenting ashwagandha or turmeric, you can actually make functional ingredients … in a fermented format to make them more bio-available. By fermenting a drink that has these things in it, you can drink something that’s better for you that really contributes to your wellness.” This fall, two new flavors are coming out with 6.5 percent alcohol: Grapefruit and Pineapple & Chili. “They all have zero grams of sugar, so it’s not only low-calorie, we also have zero net


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He emphasized that he doesn’t have a medical background to explain why or how his symptoms disappeared. “But I can explain what’s happened to me and hope that people find themselves with similar positive experiences.” The health benefits of kombucha lie in its naturally occurring probiotics, he noted, “and in ours, we also have prebiotics because of the honey, which tends to help with the symptoms caused by inflammation, and that’s a huge thing right now. People are starting to connect the dots of how inflammation is affecting the way they feel, even the way they think, because there’s brain fog and things like that interfering with their day to day.” Adam’s vision for a craft beer brewery was translated into the design of Revel, which features a quaint bar-like setting with bar stools and surrounding tables, and taps to

At Revel Kombucha Bar in Ojai, new customers often say they didn’t like kombucha until tasting the jun-style elixir made with natural ingredients, which creates a smooth, appealing drink. “People who have tried kombucha in the past are like, ‘it’s really not for me,’ ” said Adam Gallegos, owner of the business with his wife, Sonia, who opened Revel about three years ago on East Matilija Street. At Revel, “because of the process we take and the ingredients we use, we’re able to produce something that’s refreshing and inviting to anyone who thought they didn’t like kombucha or never tried it before this way,” he said. Kombucha is a sweetened tea that has been fermented, Adam explained. “We’re taking something that’s raw and somewhat common and making something better with it — like the idea

kombuchakombuchakombuchak carbs, so it’s keto-friendly,” said Moses, adding that Flying Embers Organic Hard Kombucha also contains live probiotics. Locally, Flying Embers can be found at Rainbow Bridge and is available on draft at Ojai Harvest. It is also sold at Whole Foods in Oxnard and several shops in Ventura, including Scandia Liquor, Lucky 7 Market, Sams Saticoy Liquor, Cask Ale House and Wine Castle. Additionally, “we have a 40,000-squarefoot manufacturing facility, and by the end of this year, we’ll have 100 employees, providing great local jobs,” Moses said. Moses was the CEO and co-founder of KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drink, which was acquired by PepsiCo in 2017. He started distributing Flying Embers Organic Hard Kombucha in December 2018 after the Thomas Fire. Before the Thomas Fire hit, “we didn’t have a name for the brand,” recalled Moses, who remained in Ojai as police

and fire crews and first responders put out the blaze that swept through the hillsides. “A team of us and some local firemen stayed and watched the mountains go up in flames,” he remembered. “We opened the Casa Barranca Winery – it became a center for a lot of the firefighters and fire trucks.” Many others pitched in to help, he said, including 32 inmates from a nearby correctional facility, who lined up with shovels and axes to put out the hot spots. “We stood vigilant for three days,” Moses said. That’s how the name, Flying Embers Organic Hard Kombucha, was born – which reflects the third component of his product: purpose-driven. As a way to “revere” the first responders and firefighters who responded to Thomas, coupled with the fact that Moses co-founded the Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council, he said, “I’m dedicating

one percent of my revenues to first responder and firefighter organizations across the country.”


VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

pour the kombucha into growlers.

can be repurposed hundreds of times. In addition to serving kombucha in reusable growlers, Revel also offers discounts for customers who bring in their own Mason jars for refills.

“We’re a non-alcoholic brewery like a modern-day soda bar,” Adam said. “We also do tasting flights.” These flights include Pink Moment, infused with organic green tea, raw local honey, organic ginger, organic hibiscus and local orange zest; Eclipse, made with organic coconut chai green tea, organic raw honey and activated charcoal derived from coconuts; and Mate Mule, mixed with organic yerba mate, organic raw honey, organic ginger and organic lime mint. In addition to the kombucha drinks, food on the menu includes açaí bowls with organic toppings, such as The Libbey Bowl made with açaí sorbet, grain-free vanilla cinnamon granola from Lark Ellen Farm in Ojai, coconut, fresh fruit and turmeric honey drizzle.

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Adam’s favorite is The Awesome Bowl, made with açaí sorbet, grain-free cacao cherry granola, coconut, cacao nibs, fresh fruit and peanut-butter drizzle. “We make the drizzle in a way that when you spread it on top, it hardens when it hits the cold açaí,” Adam said. Revel was also designed with the environment in mind, with no bottles or cans, and reusable stainless steel kegs that

“We don’t even use straws; we use sipstyle lids. We are extremely conscious of the environmental impact of everything we’re doing … using tank-less water heaters and low-flow toilets and sinks,” Adam said. “Every little thing, we put some thought behind it.” As far as the company’s name is concerned, Revel is short for revelry, “the idea of bringing people together for celebration.” Revel Kombucha Bar is located at 307 E. Matilija St., Suite C, in Ojai. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, call 805-272-0028 or visit www.revel365.com

kombuchakombuchakombucha

For more information visit www.flyingembers.com


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Cuyama Buckhorn was founded in 1952 as a roadside stop for weary travelers to enjoy a meal in good company and rest up along their journey. More than 60 years later, Cuyama Buckhorn has become a historic establishment, nestled in The Hidden Valley of Enchantment.

Open Daily 6am–6pm

RESTAURANT & BAR

Open Daily Monday – Thursday | 10am – 2pm Friday - Saturday | 8am - 9pm Sunday | 8am – 6pm

4923 Primero Street, New Cuyama, CA 93254 | cuyamabuckhorn.com | @cuyamabuckhorn

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Stop by the BĹ?ku store for a free sample of our award winning Superfood

Boku International, Inc. 987 West Ojai Ave. Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 650-BOKU Store open: Mon-Sat 9-5 Sun 10-5

www.BokuSuperfood.com

11400 N.Ventura Ave., Ojai

805-613-3048 Open from 11:30 to 9:30 everyday except Monday 4:00 to 9:30


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Super food. Super people. Boku Superfood prides itself on its mission to positively impact the community with the healing power of nutrition.

T

he Rollé family’s superfood journey began in 1995 when the family was looking for a natural way to treat son and co-founder Reno Rollé Jr.’s attention deficit disorder. By 2005, the kids Reno Jr. and co-founder and COO Ryann were basically grown up. Their parents, Lynn and Reno, had a dream of sharing the world’s greatest superfood with the world.

The Rollés are also in negotiations with Electrify America to install a second bank of electric-vehicle chargers for all other brands of electric cars. The store’s proximity to the bike trail, combined with Reno and Lynn’s passion for cycling, birthed the idea of electric bicycle offerings. The Rollés said they hope eventually to offer an e-bike rental service.

In 2007, the company went online. Bōku had a facility in Ventura, but grew out of that space in 2015. Reno said: “It became clear that we really needed to move into a better facility. I always had my eyes on Ojai, where the company was started.” The former Ford dealership at 987 W. Ojai Ave. is now home to Bōku’s international headquarters. Despite the fact there are online customers in 65 countries, the only retail outfit for Bōku Superfoods in the world is in the building the family calls “the Octagon.”

Bōku is innovating an environmentally sustainable product called a Shake and Take. For those on the go, it provides 70 grams of superfood powder. The goal is to create a pouch from a fully compostable hemp biofilm and leave zero footprint. Reno said: “This is not even a question of if; it’s only a matter of when. We’ll start to see these harmful plastics and these single-use plastic containers being completely replaced with compostable biofilm, and this is my purpose now.”

The Rollés worked with Tesla to bring 12 charging stations to the store’s parking lot and celebrated with a ribboncutting in July. Reno said: “We shared with them our vision that visitors, local residents could park their cars here, charge their cars, get on an electric bicycle and enjoy Ojai via bicycle, rather than adding to the traffic and environmental impact of driving through town.”

Lynn is working on a concept for another new environmentally conscious product — edible bowls. “We’re a very environmentally conscious company,” Reno said. “We love this big green ball we all call home, and we feel a tremendous responsibility to do everything that we can to honor and protect it.” For those stopping at Bōku, charging their vehicles, or grabbing an electric

bike, there will soon be a superfood cafe. It will serve hemp-based superfood elixirs using full-spectrum raw organic hemp juice and fullspectrum raw organic hemp powders, combined with the superfood powders, Reno said. “We’ve proven that there are phytochemicals, plant-based chemicals in our superfoods, that react with the cannabinoids and actually activate these compounds, and make them bioavailable.” The family was reminded of the significance of Bōku’s prominent location during the Thomas Fire, Reno said. Bōku had purchased air purifiers from an inventor Reno had a relationship with, and they were soon shared at cost with friends, family, community members and neighbors. “We’re primarily an online company and this is the only place where you can actually walk into a brick-and-mortar facility and buy the world’s greatest superfood powders and lifestyle products,” said Reno Rollé. The whole family encourages residents to stop in and say, “Oh, hi!” he said. “Stop in, we’re happy to fix them a sample, to let them try it, to taste it, let them feel the difference that it makes, and, hopefully, they begin to understand what we do and the authenticity that drives our purpose.”


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SAKURA OJAI • Sushi, Sashimi • Special rolls • Teppanyaki • Soup & Noodles • Vegetarian Menu • Korean Food

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Dining and Eating and tasting in Ojai is often experienced outdoors, as our little town boasts over 20 restaurants and tasting rooms with outdoor seating options. Most establishments with outdoor dining are pet friendly. So get outside, and Mandala

Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria

Sakura Ojai Japanese Restaurant

Sea Fresh Seafood

Bonnie Lu’s Cafe

Ojai Pizza Company

328 E. Ojai Ave. Serving breakfast and lunch Open 7am-2:30pm Mon-Sun. Closed Weds. 805-646-0207

World famous speciality pizzas, pasta, wings, sandwiches, salads and more. 13 beers on draft. Lunch specials and happy hour. Open 7 days a week. Order online & save 10% 331 E. Ojai Ave. www.theonlygoodpizza.com 805-646-7878

La Fuente

Marché Gourmet Delicatessen

Ojai Rotie

Sage Mindful Meals

Cuisine of Tibet, India & Japan. 11400. N. Ventura Ave. 11:30 to 9:30 Tues-Fri 4:00 to 9:30 Mon. www.TibetanAid.org 805-613-3048 | 805 798-2768 info@TibetanAid.org

Sushi, Sashimi • Special Rolls •Teppanyaki Soup & Noodles •Vegetarian Menu • Korean Food 219 E. Matilija St. 805-646-8777

Homemade Tamales, Tortillas and Tacos. Private Catering. 2 locations. 423 E. Ojai Ave. 805-646-7715 107 E. EL Roblar Dr. 805-646-1066

Free-range rotisserie chicken, organic sourdough and the finest wines, beers & cider from the region. 469 E. Ojai Ave. (805) 798-9227 www.ojairotie.com

Original Italian cuisine, Best of Ojai winner, local wines & beers on tap. 515 W. El Roblar Dr. www.papalennons.com 805-640-7388

Fresh fish market, sushi & oyster bar. Celebrating 30 years in Ojai. 533 E. Ojai Ave. www.seafreshseafood.com 805-646-7747

Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Options. Breakfast & Lunch 9-3 daily. Dinner Fri & Sat 5-8pm 133 E. Ojai Ave. 805-646-1133 www.marchegourmetdeli.com

Healthful global cuisine under the sycamores. Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour. W-F 11-9, Sat 9-9, Sun 9-6 217 E. Matilija St. 805-646-9204 www.sageojai.com


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Tasting gormandize en plein air with your pooch. You are sure to make, or see, an acquaintance while you fortify yourself.

Deer Lodge

2261 Maricopa Hwy., Ojai Live Entertainment, Outdoor Dining, BBQ, Vegetarian, Steaks, Bar, Dog-friendly 805-646-4256 www.deerlodgeojai.com

Ojai Beverage Company

Outdoor patio dining, great food! Open 11am to 11pm 655 E. Ojai Ave. www.ojaibevco.com 805-646-1700

Majestic Oak Vineyard

Tasting room 321 E. Ojai Ave. (Downstairs) 805-794-0272 www.majesticoakvineyard.com

Boccali Vineyard & Winery Tastings at Boccali’s Ojai, Sat & Sun 11am-4pm. 3277 East Ojai Avenue 805-669-8688 www.boccalivineyards.com

Heavenly Honey

Topa Mountain Winery

Ojai Olive Oil Co.

Cuyama Buckhorn

Ventura Spirits

OVG Dining & Tasting Guide

Tasting room. All natural pure honey. 206 E. Ojai Ave. 805-207-4847 www.heavenlyhoneycompany.com

100% organic-local-sustainable Tasting Room Open Monday-Sunday 10am-4pm 1811 Ladera Road, Ojai 805-646-5964 www.ojaioliveoil.com

Our tasting room is open every Friday from 1-5pm Sat and Sun 12-5pm 3891 N. Ventura Ave. SteB2A, Ventura 805-232-4313 www.venturaspirits.com

Tasting room 821 W. Ojai Ave. 805-640-1190 www.topamountainwinery.com

4923 Primero St., New Cuyama The Buckhorn Restaurant & Bar: Mon – Thurs 10am – 2pm Fri–Sat: 8am – 9pm | Sun-8am – 6pm The Buck Stop Coffee Shop: Open daily: 6am – 6pm www.cuyamabuckhorn.com 661-766-2825 @cuyamabuckhorn

Reach a wider audience with the Ojai Valley Guide, Dining and Tasting listings. The OVG is distributed throughout Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. Contact us for details. team@ojaivalleynews.com 805-646-1476

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Autumn Morning Light at the base of Sulphur Mountain Road and Old Creek Road. 2017.


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Dave LaBelle

Back to Creek Road, the cradle and the classroom of my youth.

THERE IS LAND. “And there is ‘The’ Land,” offered the young farmer, unwilling to sell the family farm to a large corporation. Land is something we dig and scrape and buy and sell ... but “THE LAND” IS DIFFERENT. “The Land” is who we are and from where we came. All photos © Dave LaBelle

“THE LAND’ IS FAMILY,” he explained.


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FOR ME CREEK ROAD WILL ALWAYS BE THE CRADLE OF MY YOUTH. Creek Road raised me, held me in its arms, fed my curious spirit and bottomless imagination. It is where my eyes were first opened to the complexities of life and light, and where I first witnessed the beauty and cruelty of nature. The oak-dressed hills and shale cliffs, mossy creeks, fern-laden canyons, wildflower meadows and hayfields were mother, father, siblings, friends and teachers. It was a place I felt accepted and safe, even in the dark.

and watched the miracle of birth as chicks and ducklings broke through shells and kittens from a mother cat’s body. Nature was my teacher, my school, my classroom.

of the Chumash or lingeringg spirits with unfinished business. With a Native American burial ground discovered on a hill a couple of hundred yards above our home, it is no wonder we felt the presence of ghosts.

America is my home but Creek Road is my family. CREEK ROAD, MY CHILDHOOD PLAYGROUND is where I learned to swim in a frog pond and play baseball on plowed garden spots and cow pastures. I watched my father pull trees, disc rocky soil, plant a vineyard of grapes, dry apricots, make jerky, and collect honey from hives. I learned to ride motorcycles, drive cars, shoot guns and read animal tracks in muddy creek banks. It is where I climbed oak trees, robbing nests of hawks and crows, raised chickens, pigeons, pheasants, and where I carved the initials of my first young love in the white flesh of a sycamore near our home. And Creek Road was a zoo without walls or fences, where flying, jumping, crawling creatures abounded – screaming bobcats, barking coyotes, screeching hawks and owls, cooing doves, whistling squirrels, dancing scorpions, croaking frogs and toads, tiptoeing opossums, marauding raccoons, sneaky weasels and slithering snakes. I held baby birds and bunnies

On Sulphur Mountain, hunting with a friend, we came upon a one-room shack and witnessed a man whose face appeared burned, wearing dark rags. He scurried away from the shack and disappeared in the dry brush. Inside, we found newspapers and magazines plastered to the walls and a nest of papers where he had been sleeping. A few months later, while driving to Ojai library with my mother, we saw another dark figure leap off a bridge near what is now Country Club Drive. Were either of these sightings, “Charman”? I cannot say. But each fed my adolescent imagination and surely helped grow the legend. All that was left after devastating flood waters washed away our house and took my mother’s life. 1969.

The narrow valley – with a strip of asphalt descending from Highway 33 on Oak View’s Arnaz Grade and keeping company with the San Antonio Creek before bending back up into Ojai – was a wonderland of beauty, danger and mystery, a magical place where fairies, trolls, monsters and mountain lions roamed the night, and perhaps a few surviving Indians still hid in cliff caves. I cannot remember the sound of my dear mother’s voice, but I can close my eyes and hear mourning doves, the pierce warnings of redshouldered hawks, whispering of California quail, singing of crickets and frogs, and claps of thunder echoing in the canyon near our home. SOME CLAIM CREEK ROAD IS HAUNTED BY GHOSTS, and I suspect it is, most likely by restless ghosts

As a boy of 11 or 12, I confronted a “black dog” as I drove home with my mother from Ventura in a Model A Ford on a rainy night. We had just turned off Highway 33 onto Creek Road when a black dog, the size of a small deer, leaped from a cliff, crashing onto the windshield. I still remember his evil-looking eyes and his bloody, outstretched tongue on the cracked windshield. He rolled off the car and breathed heavily by the side of the road. Did he live? Was this the famous “Black Dog of Ojai”? I will never know.

THE CAMERA. A Kodak Brownie Hawkeye.


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A BITTERSWEET, SOMETIMES UNFORGIVING PLACE. Borrowing from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” Creek Road was “the best of times, the worst of times...” Creek Road was a place where ancient oaks held secrets of forbidden love affairs, even murders, and were silent witnesses to those who lost their lives on this twisting racetrack. More than once, we heard the screeching of tires, metal crunching and the breaking of glass after a speeding car failed to navigate the sharp corner and sailed off the highway and down the creek bank.

Along with four siblings, I was raised on a frog farm during the Cold War, when tensions with the Soviet Union fed constant fears of nuclear attack. I remember school drills where we hid beneath our desks, as though that would protect us. People built bomb shelters; we didn’t. Whenever a missile or rocket was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, and the night sky grimaced with a tailing colored light, we feared this was the end. My dad was out of work for nearly a year, the frog farm was a bust, and we were in deep debt. Walking home

from Matilija Junior High, my oldest sister was attacked by a man with a knife in an attempted rape. And then came the flood of ’69, when we lost everything, and where I last saw my mother’s face as she was swept away in thrashing floodwaters. THE CAMERA. But Creek Road was also where I fell in love with photography. I remember watching out the window from my bunk bed as both sun and moon climbed slowly above the silhouetted shapes of oaks on Sulphur Mountain and aching to somehow capture what I saw and felt.

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At first, I used a simple camera, my mother’s Brownie Hawkeye. I moved close to photograph dogs, squirrels and raccoons. I learned to see, use and feel light, a language I would speak forever. I watched shafts and splinters of yellow-white light spray through black walnut and oak leaves. I watched how the world changed when blankets of fog crawled from the ocean, down the valley, creating a white-gray depth, and how the eastern morning light looked and felt more hopeful, than golden, late-afternoon light from the west. But it was the storytelling illustrations by Norman Rockwell, which my grandmother pasted on her bathroom wall, that stirred my imagination most. I wanted to learn to use a camera to tell stories the way he did with a paintbrush. I studied animal and human behavior, always observing subtle emotions and relationships. I looked outward and inward, photographing those scenes which revealed my own joy and pain, while telling the stories of others. As with Rockwell, there are themes to most of my work. I strive for pictures of relationships, that tell stories. And like Rockwell, I am drawn to humor and paradox. Like the raptors or vultures hatched and fledged in the long branches overlooking the creek, who leave the nest and sometimes fly far away, my camera carried me around the world but never home to stay. I owe much of who I am and how I photograph the world to growing up on Creek Road. A young David LaBelle, learning to swim with tadpoles and small fish near the LaBelle house on Creek Rd.


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Whether photographing anxious folks in New York’s Times Square or quietly studying the great works of the Renaissance masters in Florence or Rome, I am and will always be the barefoot kid from Creek Road. WHERE I FELT THE LOVE OF GOD, THE INVISIBLE CREATOR Most importantly, Creek Road was my Garden of Eden, where I first became aware of my invisible Creator. Running barefoot across meadows carpeted with thick grass and wildflowers or splashing in cool summer creeks, everything said there was someone here I couldn’t see but wanted to know. I felt His presence everywhere. Like footprints left in the creek banks that tell what animals had passed in the night, the trees, sky, land, water and heavens all said a great artist was at work. During quiet times, sitting alone, escaping the summer heat in the cool, fern-laden canyons or lying on my back in meadows watching fat clouds lumber across blue, spring skies, it was as if I heard the voice of the Creator whispering, “Look about, I am here.” I MISS HOME. I miss the sweet fragrance of purple sage and the wet skins of oaks and sycamores after a rain, the heavenly aromas of freshly cut hay. I miss the salty breath of the ocean carried on afternoon breezes and the blankets of fog crawling silently up the valley awakening the sweet aroma of dried grasses turned rubbery. I miss the sounds of the night – the owls, tree frogs and crickets. I miss the silhouetted shapes of the hills, and flocks

of crows winging across the western horizon to roost. And the smell of the creek. I miss Camp Comfort with its horseshoe pits, a merrygo-round and thick-chained swings that allowed one to reach into the sky and touch sycamore branches with outstretched legs. I miss the cry of white, square-tailed kites, sawing of red-headed woodpeckers, baby crows who sound like they are gagging when being fed, even the repetitive shrill piping of ground squirrels. I miss Easter bunnies, May baskets, birthday parties and sleepovers. I miss cold milk delivered in glass bottles from Royal Oaks Dairy, and fresh eggs from nearby ranches. I miss pears and peaches, canned in glass quart jars, and arm-length pieces of dried jerky. I miss my youth. GOING HOME.Thomas Wolfe wrote the famous quote, lamenting both a place and a time: “You can’t go home again.” And he was right. But you can go home in your mind and your heart. Now, at 68, I feel I am beginning a long journey home, back to my family, my classroom, my nest, my cradle. Like the steelhead trout who leaves the creeks or rivers of his beginning, swimming far out in a wide ocean before returning to spawn, I keep coming home, if only in my mind. Top right: President Reagan reaches out to supporters in Hooper, Utah. 1982. Bottom right: Randy McGraw comforts his seven year-old son, Hayden. Oak View. 2009.

Someday, I would like to again walk the canyons of my youth.


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DAVE LABELLE IS A DISTINGUISHED PHOTOJOURNALIST AND AUTHOR. HE NOW LIVES IN OJAI. When he was 17 years old, he, his parents, siblings and childhood friends were trapped by floodwaters in the great flood of 1969. His mother was presumed drowned after the rising waters snatched her from the roof of their home as she tried to protect her children. LaBelle’s latest novel, “Bridges and Angels, The Story of Ruth,” weaves much of what actually unfolded on Jan. 25, 1969, with an imagined happier ending. “I know what happened, the reality,” he wrote. “I wanted, maybe even needed, a different ending, a story I could live with.” This moving story about the catastrophic event that redirected the course of the author’s life 50 years ago is available in local Ojai bookstores or may be ordered online at:

www.greatpicturehunt.com or at www.athensbookfarm.com and at www.amazon.com

Top: Dutch is hoping Henry will share some of his cereal on the porch of his Meiners Oaks home. 2006. Center: A tearful Sadie Kelley embraces her father Staff Sgt. Jesse Kelley after he surprised her during a holiday choir performance in Akron, Ohio. 2013. A man with his donkey entertains visitors to Israel on the Mount of Olives. 2012 Outdoorsman Scott Linden and his dog Buddy after and early morning training session near Bend, Oregon. Bottom: Legendary country singers Roy Acuff and George Jones tease each other in Acuff’s dressing room at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. Early 90’s.


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You Won't Believe What You'll Hear at the Ojai Storytelling Festival 7 of America's finest storytellers and two winners of the Moth will have audiences laughing out loud and on the edge of their seats. If you listen to the Moth or like podcasts, you’re going to love the Ojai Storytelling Festival. Come experience the power of storytelling under the oaks and beneath the stars.

TICKETS FROM

www.ojaistoryfest.org October 24-27 at Libbey Bowl & the Ojai Art Center.

It's Not Just a Festival..

..It's An Experience


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FRED DRENNAN IS ....

Worried

in Ojai

As you know, I’m a worrier. I find myself worrying about stuff when I’m trying to sleep. We’re at constant war, and I started worrying about what has happened to all our war protesters.

I protested the Vietnam War in 1966. As I left for Los Angeles, my mom was afraid I wouldn’t be safe. “Of course I’ll be safe,” I assured her. “It’s a peace march, what could happen?” That day, the Los Angeles Police Department clubbed dozens of protesters on Wilshire Boulevard. It would be the first of hundreds of clashes between U.S. citizens and their police and military. The next year, things went better. It was April 1967. A bunch of us hippies drove VW vans from Anaheim to San Francisco. We weren’t the only ones. More than 200,000 protesters had come to march on Golden Gate Park. The police were there, too, but everyone behaved themselves and we showed the nation that peaceful protests were possible. In two months, San Francisco’s “Summer of Love” would be in full swing. I always felt our peace march was a prelude to this social phenomenon. College campuses were central to the protests. They were lots of fun; everyone would smoke a joint and head down to the quad to burn their draft cards, maybe occupy administrative offices, all the while chanting, “Peace now.” Over time, war protesting went mainstream because the prolonged war affected everyone. All of us knew somebody who was drafted, serving in ’Nam, or had a friend or loved one killed. Every week, TV broadcasted images of the carnage. People who had at first called protesting unpatriotic joined in. When the last helicopter lifted off the rooftop in Saigon, 3 million Vietnamese and more than 58,000 U.S. soldiers were dead. The protests came to an end.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it was the end of the U.S. policy to stop the spread of Communism. Peaceniks could rejoice: There would be no more Vietnams. Then came Sept. 11. Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives. The militaryindustrial complex had been itching for a fight for 10 years, and now they had one. Without restraint, they launched a Global War on Terror: Target, the Middle East with its vast oil reserves. Since 9/11, more than a million humans have died, including 7,000 U.S. soldiers. Our marathon war on terror has produced 21 million war refugees and created the European migrant crisis. The United States is now fighting in 80 countries; the total cost so far, $6 trillion. Each night, I lie in bed worrying, “Where are all our war protesters?” I googled “protest movements” and found Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Anti-ICE, Gay Rights, Women’s March and many more. All worthy causes, but the last war protest was in 2003 over George Bush’s planned invasion of Iraq. Astonishingly, the largest crowds

were in Europe. Rome had more than 3 million protesters, while San Francisco had only 65,000. More sleepless nights. Are people too lazy to protest? And then it hit me. I was one of the lazy people. I needed to find me a war protest. Or at least a peace march. But where? The answer was right in my own town.Ojai had been declared an “International City of Peace” and the organizers were marching in the Fourth of July parade. It was like a call from the ’60s. Rising at dawn, I made peace symbols for Cooper’s “peace wagon” (Cooper is our family dog) and dressed him in a bright-orange scarf. I practiced my “peace now” voice and throwing peace signs. There were 25 of us. We were small but mighty. People stood up and cheered, others threw the peace sign. It felt good. It felt right. I was not alone! It’s Friday evening and I’m heading down to Libbey Park for the Ojai Peace Vigil. Be sure to look for Cooper and me when you pass by. I’ll be the old guy in a big hat and a big smile. Go in peace.


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Supporting the Rotary Club of Ojai Educational Foundation f o o d f u n l i b a t i o n s •

Taste of 2 to 5:30 P.M.

Ojai

Sunday, October 27 New e!! Venu

Topa Mountain Winery 821 Ojai Ave.

Come enjoy this showcase of delicious creations from local restaurants, breweries, and wineries – all with a special Ojai touch!

For more information and tickets visit www.tasteofojai.com


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pawPairingsÂŽSuperfood Seasonings You donĘźt like to eat the same thing every day and neither do your pets! Shake on the variety they crave and the nutrition they deserve. No poultry by-products No corn, no wheat, no soy No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Email for your free treat samples: wink4paws@gmail.com


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September

114 S. Montgomery St., Ojai (805) 646-4581 www.herbwalks.com Learn edible and medicinal native plants for drought-tolerant gardens.

The Bowlful of Blues is taking a hiatus this year.

OSA Art Exhibit

Aug. 16 through Oct. 14 Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 640-1390 www.ojaivalleymuseum.org The museum is displaying “Origins” through Oct. 14, featuring works by 60 Ojai Studio Artists.

Raptor Art Exhibit

Aug. 30 through Oct. 3 Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiartcenter.org Photos and paintings of local birds of prey will be on display in the gallery, sponsored by Ojai Raptor Center.

Art Exhibits

Aug. 31 through Oct. 12 Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road (805) 646-3381 www.beatricewood.com Works by Natasha Dikareva will be on display in the Beato Gallery. The Logan Gallery will exhibit artwork by Porfirio Gutiérrez.

Fall Equinox Nature Hike on Pine Mountain

Sept. 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meet at Maricopa Plaza to carpool to trailhead. (805) 646-6281 www.herbwalks.com Lanny Kaufer will lead this hike where you will learn the ecology, plants and trees on the “sky island” at the top of Pine Mountain.

Chamber on the Mountain

Sept. 22, 3 p.m. Logan House, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road (805) 646-9951 www.chamberonthemountain.com Happy Valley Cultural Center’s Chamber on the Mountain series will present pianist Tomer Gewirtzman in a concert of classic and contemporary works. A meet-the-artist reception follows the performance.

Agora Foundation Seminar

Sept. 23, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Ave. (805) 231-5974 www.agorafoundation.org The topic of this free community seminar will be “The Foundations of Our Republic, Take II.,” covering the

Tomer Gewirtzman performs pieces by Brahms, Chopin and Schumann on September 22 at Chamber on the Mountain.

Calendar SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019

fundamental principles of our republic. It will continue on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.

Agora Foundation Seminar

Sept. 25, Noon to 1 p.m. Greater Goods, 145 W. El Roblar Drive (805) 231-5974 www.agorafoundation.org The topic of this free community seminar will be “Greek Philosophy,” studying why it is fundamental to the history of western civilization. It will continue on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.

Medicinal Plant Workshop

Sept. 28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Downtown Ojai location (805) 646-6281 herbwalks.com Prepare seasonal home remedies with USC pharmacologist James Adams and Enrique Villaseñor.

Agora Foundation

Great Books Seminar Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 417 Bryant Circle (805) 231-5974 www.agorafoundation.org The topic of this seminar will be “Lincoln’s Pre-Civil War Speeches: Timely Thoughts on Enduring Political Institutions.”

“Bless Your Heart”

Through Sept. 29 Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 640-8797 www.ojaiact.org This is an original comedy, directed by Tom Eubanks.

October Art Exhibit

Oct. 4 through Oct. 29 Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiartcenter.org A retrospective of art by Norman Kirk will be on display, with a reception being held Oct. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Blessing of the Animals

Oct. 4, 4 p.m. St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 185 St. Thomas Drive (805) 646-4338 www.stac.org The blessing of animals is held every year during the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. All animals must be caged or on a leash. Call for more information.

Chamber Music Concert

Oct. 6, 2 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 640-1158 www.ojaiartcenter.org The Singer Chamber Players, David Singer, Virginia Kron and Miriam Arichea, will perform classical masterpieces.

Ojai Studio Artists Tour

Oct. 12, 13 and 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Various studios (805) 633-6073 www.ojaistudioartists.org This will be the 36th annual self-guided tour of more than 60 OSA members’ studios. A reception will be held Saturday night at the museum.

Slideshow Talk on Native Plants

Oct. 12, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wachters Hay & Grain,

“Dance Through the Decades” Concert

Oct. 12, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Libbey Bowl (805) 667-2881 www.cmhsatthebowl.org This live concert will feature renowned cover bands, The Boogie Knights and The Spazmatics, playing favorites from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Funds raised from the concert and dinner will benefit both Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura and the Ojai Valley Community Hospital.

Literary Event

Oct. 14, 7 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiartcenter.org The Art Center will host winners of the 80 Word Short Story Contest doing readings.

“Re-Wild You” Retreat

Oct. 17 through Oct. 20 Twin Creek Ranch www.re-wildyou.com An intimate, all-inclusive retreat for professional women will be led by author-entrepreneur Andrea Michal and Patti Baral, naturalist and former investment banker, featuring daily workshops, organic meals, yoga, spapool, hiking and more. Find your way back to you.

Agora Foundation Seminar

Oct. 17, Noon to 1 p.m. Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Ave. (805) 231-5974 www.agorafoundation.org The topic of this free community seminar will be “The Tao Te Ching, Chapter One.” This series will focus on the texts of Taoism, Confucius, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It will continue on the first and third Thursdays of each month.

Ojai Day

Oct. 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Downtown Ojai and Libbey Park (805) 646-5581, Ext. 304 www.ojaiday.org The annual Ojai Day celebration will feature music, art, food, beer and wine gardens, parade, car show, hayrides, and much more.

Ojai Storytelling Festival

Oct. 24 through Oct. 27 Libbey Bowl and the Ojai Art Center (310) 890-1439 www.ojaistoryfest.org The 19th Ojai Storytelling Festival will feature a fresh lineup of acclaimed award-winning storytellers and prog-


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rams for students, families and adults.

Inspiring Children Universally Training

Oct. 25 through Oct. 27 Ojai Resonance Center, 215 Church Road (480) 239-0660 www.icuacademy.co.uk This is a first-time offering in California to join United Kingdom-based ICU Academy founder Nicola Farmer for a powerful training for those with a passion to empower children. Info and video on website.

October Classic 5K-10K & Dog Walk

Oct. 26, registration begins at 7 a.m., race begins at 8 a.m., dog walk starts at 8:30 a.m., wheelchairs at 9 a.m. Ojai Valley Community Hospital, 1306 Maricopa Highway (805) 640-2317 www.octoberclassic.org The annual October Classic Run/Walk will raise funds to benefit Ojai Valley Community Hospital and Continuing Care Center. All ages are welcome.

“Taste of Ojai”

Oct. 27, 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Topa Mountain Winery, 821 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 443-4103 www.tasteofojai.com The Rotary Club of Ojai’s “Taste of Ojai” will feature fine food prepared by leading chefs from local celebrated restaurants. Proceeds benefit the club’s Educational Foundation.

Art Exhibit

Oct. 30 through Dec. 5 Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiartcenter.org Happy 80th Birthday! This exhibit will display art expressing birthday wishes to the Ojai Art Center. A reception will be held Nov. 16; time to be determined.

Ojai Film Festival

Oct. 31 to Nov. 10 Various times and venues (805) 640-1947 info@ojaifilmfestival www.ojaifilmfestival.com This will be the 20th annual Ojai Film Festival, featuring independent films from around the world, workshops, filmmaking seminars and more. The festival will open with a free film screening, Oct. 31 at 6:15 p.m. at Libbey Bowl.

November Art Exhibits

Nov. 2 through Dec. 28 Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Road, Ojai (805) 646-3381 www.beatricewood.com Works by the Ventura County Potters Guild will be on display in the Beato Gallery. The Logan Gallery will exhibit “Impressions” by Ojai Studio Artists.

Acorn Workshop

Nov. 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Euterpe Farms, 587 S. Rice Road, Ojai (805) 646-6281 herbwalks.com Process acorns into food with renowned survivalist-author-forager Christopher Nyerges.

December Art Exhibit

Dec. 6 through Jan. 2 Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Ojai Art Center, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 646-0117 www.ojaiartcenter.org Artwork by Tammy Bennett will be displayed in the gallery. A reception wil be held Dec. 14; time to be determined.

Nightingale Ball

Nov. 16 and 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Krotona Hall, 2 Krotona Road, Ojai (805) 646-6281 herbwalks.com Featuring eminent herbalists, acupuncturists, doctors, pharmacologists and others on the theme of “The Wisdom of the Body.”

Dec. 6, 6 to 10 p.m. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, 905 Country Club Road (805) 640-2317 The 18th annual Nightingale Ball dinner-dance will raise funds to benefit Ojai Valley Community Hospital and Continuing Care Center. The theme this year is “Abracadabra, A Night of Magic” and will feature a magic show. Call for ticket and sponsorship information.

Holiday Home Look In

Community Chorus Concerts

Ojai Herbal Symposium

Nov. 16 and 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Four homes, self-guided tour (805) 646-2053 www.ojaifestival.org Tour distinctive Ojai Valley homes adorned with seasonal trimmings. Raises money for the Ojai Music Festival and Bravo! music education program. A Holiday Marketplace will also be held at Libbey Park across from the Arcade, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Seussical the Musical”

Nov. 22 through Dec. 15 Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery St. (805) 640-8797 www.ojaiact.org This holiday musical, inspired by Dr. Seuss, is directed by Gai Jones.

Holiday Concerts

Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 p.m. Matilija Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Road, Ojai (805) 649-1937 www.ojaitheater.org “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is the title of this Christmas revue of carols and pop songs celebrating the holiday season. Amanda McBroom and George Ball host a professional orchestra and top-rate singers as audeiences learn about how the songs were created. This revue benefits the NHS music department and is produced by the Ojai Performing Arts Theater.

Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 3 p.m. Ojai United Methodist Church, 120 Church Road, Ojai (805) 640-0468 www.ojaichorus.wordpress.com/ Ojai Community Chorus will present its annual winter concert, featuring music of the season, from classical to traditional holiday tunes, plus many Ojai artists, both vocal and instrumental. A bake sale will also be held.

Chamber on the Mountain

Dec. 8, 3 p.m. Logan House, 8585 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd. (805) 646-9951 www.chamberonthemountain.com Happy Valley Cultural Center’s Chamber on the Mountain series will present the Arianna String Quartet, accompanied by pianist Michele Levin, in a concert of classic and contemporary works. A meetthe-artists reception follows the performance.

Ojai Short Film Fest

Dec. 14 & 15 Sane Living Center 316 E. Matilija St. (805) 646-6000 (818) 220-3671 www.ojaishortfilmfest.com www.instagram.com/ojaishortfest This is the second annual Ojai Short Film Festival showcasing some of the finest short form content from local communities and around the world, using the medium of cinema to foster and empower independent artists. Local Ojai and neighboring community artists and musicians will also be participating and be recognized.

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Ongoing Events Certified Farmers’ Market

Every Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Matilija Street city parking lot behind the Arcade (805) 698-5555 Open-air market featuring locally grown produce, plants, musicians and handmade items, including soaps, baskets, beeswax candles and olive oil.

Ojai Historical Walking Tour

Every Saturday (except Ojai Day), October through June, 10:30 a.m. Depart from Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 640-1390 www.ojaivalleymuseum.org Approximately one-hour tours of historical and cultural attractions in downtown Ojai.

Third Friday in Ojai

Third Friday of each month, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. (805) 640-1390 www.ojaivalleymuseum.org Free admission, refreshments, and something extra every month. Other nearby downtown merchants also participate.

Old-Time Fiddlers

Second and fourth Sunday, 1:30 to 4 p.m. Oak View Community Center, 18 Valley Road, Oak View (805) 797-6563 www.calfiddlers.com Join the California State Old-Time Fiddlers, District 8, for a fun-filled afternoon of listening or dancing to country, western and bluegrass music. Free admission and parking.

Community Healers Gathering

Second Saturday of each month 1 to 5p.m. Resonance Healing Center 215 Church Road (480) 239-0660 www.ojairesonancecenter.com A wide array of affordable or free healing modalities and products for your mind, body and spirit.

Arts and Crafts Show

First Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except January) Parking Lot at Nordhoff High School, 1401 Maricopa Highway, Ojai (805) 640-4343 gduncan@ojaiusd.org Artists may reserve a 10-foot-by-10foot booth space for $50, payable to the nonprofit Nordhoff Parent Association (NPA) to participate in this monthly Arts and Crafts Show. Booth fees are due one week prior to the show date and will benefit the school’s arts program.


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“If you have ghosts, then you have everything.” -Roky Erickson (1947-2019)

Haunted Ojai One of the most haunted places in Southern California, the Ojai Valley is a popular hangout for the specter-set, according to “experts” on ghosts. The most famous phantom to haunt the valley is Char-man. A least 50 versions of the Char-man story have been told over the years, said Richard Senate, an internationally recognized authority on ghosts and haunted houses. The best-known version dates back to the ’50s and involves an old farmer on Creek Road and some teenagers in hot rods. “They would park on his farm and party. Sometimes they were drunk, and they would drive around on his crops, which really ticked him off,” Senate said. One night, the farmer got drunk and ordered the kids off his land. “They wouldn’t go because they thought he was a crazy old coot,” Senate said, “so he got a shotgun and shot one barrel into the air.” The kids fled, but not for long. Unwilling to allow the old man the last word, one of the teens returned and set fire to the farmer’s toolshed while he slept. The fire spread to

By Perry Van Houten

the main house and the man burned to death. “But that’s not the end of the story. He’s now walking Creek Road, trying to find the guy who burned his house and him,” Senate said. Some who have seen Charman say he stumbles down the road wearing ragged, scorched clothing, his terrifying face just a burned skull. He smells like charred flesh, they say. Char-man hates rock ’n’ roll and really hates teenagers, Senate said. “So, if you go to Nordhoff High School and hear the story, do you avoid Creek Road? No. You go looking for Char-man. Some of the braver students not only drive Creek Road at night, but actually park.” There’s a bridge near Camp Comfort that locals call “Char-man Bridge.” But, remarkably, no one has ever seen Char-man at the bridge, Senate said, though he has been spotted in other places around the Ojai Valley. “Some say he’s making his way to Nordhoff High School.” The Char-man legend has inspired a locally made brand of hot sauce, a rock band and a “hideous” 2019 movie, according to Senate, who has thought of opening a hamburger stand in Ojai named Char-man’s Burgers.


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Though Char-man may be the Ojai Valley’s best-known ghost, he doesn’t walk alone. Creek Road seems to be an epicenter for the paranormal. “There are 15 ghosts and two monsters haunting Creek Road,” said Senate. One of the oldest roads in the valley, Creek Road has legitimate folklore attached to it, as well as ghost lore, Senate said. “I can see why. It’s dark. At night it is creepy. Long ago, Creek Road was the only way to get to Ojai. It was a stagecoach route and horse trail and, before that, it was a Native American trail. Lots of accidents happened there. During the wild gold rush times, crime was rampant,” he added. Around the turn of the century, a stagecoach tried to ford San Antonio Creek, and the water caught them, the stagecoach was swamped and several children lost their lives. Now their ghosts haunt the fabled road. How many of the crashes on Creek Road were caused by motorists swerving to avoid ghosts? Senate wondered, or ghosts taking control of the steering wheel? The story of the Headless Horseman roaming Creek Road dates back to the 1880s and may reflect a true event, Senate said. It involves a bandit who was gunned down by lawmen and buried beneath an oak tree on the grounds of Villanova Preparatory School. In hopes of collecting a large reward, the deputies chopped off the bad guy’s head before they buried him, as proof they had killed him. At the gates of hell, Satan ordered the bandit to return

to the land of the living to retrieve his head, which he never found. So, he made a new deal with El Diablo, in which he would ride the devil’s own horse throughout the Ojai Valley seeking sinners to deliver to his boss. “He gets back to his grave before sun-up, and on his saddle is tied the screaming souls of the sinners he’s taken to hell,” Senate said. Non-sinners will hear and smell the Headless Horseman, but not see him. He smells like sulphur and brimstone, Senate said. If you see him, you have only one chance to escape — find a church and touch the front door. Senate recently interviewed a man who said he was chased by the Headless Horseman after drinking too much beer at a party in Meiners Oaks. “He mistakenly thought there were fewer cops on Creek Road,” Senate said. Driving home at 2 a.m., a little slower than usual, the man spotted something in his rearview mirror. “In the moonlight, he saw a guy on a horse. The horse was pure black. The man was dressed in pure black and he had no head,” said Senate. The man stomped on the accelerator, with the Headless Horseman in pursuit, at 60 mph. “He said he was taking those turns on two wheels; that he became instantly sober,” Senate said. At Creek Road and Highway 33, the ghost vanished. The man swore never to drive Creek Road again, even in the daytime. Senate has seen a few ghosts in the 40 years he has been looking for them. “Am I nuts?” he asked. “Maybe I am.”


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The author of nearly 30 books, Senate’s most recent work on the paranormal, “Char-man & Other Ghosts of the Ojai Valley,” was published in 2018. He has led ghost tours of the Ojai Valley and an annual Halloween night tour of the Olivas Adobe in Ventura. Senate said it’s important to preserve ghost stories, whether you believe them or not. “I think of it almost like folklore. If these stories don’t get written down, published and put somewhere, they’ll be gone,” he said. Many of the stories Senate has collected trace their roots to the 19th century and reflect the lifestyle of that era. The few ghosts Senate has seen are enough to keep him going, he said, “but what they are is still an enigma. I believe now that if we really get to the root, it’s going to go to the nature of reality itself.” Some theories on what ghosts are have more to do with time and space than the walking of the dead, said Senate, suggesting the existence of alternate realities, other dimensions, spiritual vortexes or time warps that allow us to see into the past and future. Or maybe it’s just the human mind, he said, “filling in the blanks.” Whatever ghosts are, there are no experts on the topic, according to Senate. “If somebody says they have all the answers, run away. They don’t. We’re all students.” Several scary stories tied to Creek Road involve a ghostly woman. Back when the Creek Road bridge was a trellis bridge, Senate said, a woman — distraught because her husband was never home —

hanged herself beneath it. “They say that if you go to the Creek Road bridge at night, you’ll find a cold spot where she died,” he said. A monstrous black dog, said to be the size of a Shetland pony, haunts Creek Road, Senate said. According to one story, the dog guarded the grave of a vampire during the day, but was driven off by locals who plunged a stake through the vampire’s heart. Without its master, the hound now haunts the valley. The phantom dog has also been sighted on El Roblar Drive in Meiners Oaks, in Oak View and at Nordhoff Cemetery. A second monster linked to Creek Road — a giant bat with a 20-foot wingspan — once terrified a woman driving home from work. “She was sleepy, it had been a long day, and this thing with red eyes swoops up over her car,” Senate said. Could it have been a California condor? he wondered. Also haunting Creek Road is a ghost known as “La Llorona,” the weeping woman, who drowned her children in vengeance for her husband leaving her, and was condemned to wander the land “wailing, crying, looking for her kids,” said writer Evie Ybarra. La Llorona kidnaps wayward children at night, mistaking them for her own. “Do not let her get close to you. Do not let her touch you,” warned Ybarra. She has also been seen at Lake Casitas, the Riverview Trailhead in Meiners Oaks and in the Sespe. There are several haunted

rooms at the Ojai Valley Inn, said Ybarra. “Room 5 is notorious for sounds — pounding on the wall. People feel like they’re being watched.” Could the cause of the strange occurrences be the sacred Indian burial grounds upon which the Inn was built? she wondered. Not to be outdone by Senate’s story of the Headless Horseman, Ybarra tells of a headless motorcycle rider haunting Creek Road. Years ago, the rider was decapitated in a crash, but returns occasionally to take care of “unfinished business.” An acquaintance of Ybarra’s, a Creek Road resident, was jolted awake one night by the sound of a revving motorcycle engine. “Both his dogs were barking. When he looked out, he saw the motorcycle, and a person, but it just had the shoulders, no head,” Ybarra said. The hills above Creek Road are haunted by flickering lights known as “The Three Lanterns,” said Ybarra. The lanterns belong to three missing hikers, “people who were lost and never found,” she said.

spirit, an apparition, energy left over and just decided to appear because we were invading their space,” she said. According to Ybarra, Nordhoff Cemetery is one of the most haunted cemeteries in Southern California. During a visit one beautiful, sunny day, a spirit inspired her to tidy up a particularly unkempt grave site. “I felt a poke on my shoulder. I stood up, looked around and nothing was there. I thought, they want me to look at something,” she recalled. Ybarra spotted a plot going back to Civil War days that included the headstone of a young child. She found some rocks and laid them out near the grave, “and I think that satisfied them, and they left me alone. I didn’t feel scared, but I felt they wanted me to notice something,” she said. What should you do if you encounter a ghost? Stay calm and mind your manners, Ybarra advised. “If you’re respectful, they want you to be there,” she said. “They want to share the land, the area, the house, the location. At least that’s what I’ve found.”

Ybarra heard her first ghost story when she was 7 years old, from her mother. She has been collecting the tales for many years and has written three books on ghosts. The latest, “California’s Haunted Central Coast,” was published in 2018. Ghosts are real, insists Ybarra, and she has personal experience to prove it. Some of the encounters cannot be explained, she said, including a closet door in an old house that unlatched by itself and opened. “Perhaps it was a

Evie Ybarra’s “Ghosts of Santa Barbara and the Ojai Valley” is available from bookstores and online.


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No:1. SMOKING


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John Aaron’s

Demons

Drawn and hopefully confined into his black book lives the den of demons inside the mind of John Aaron. He hopes to diffuse their power by keeping them imprisoned inside the coated pages. We asked John to share his connection to two of them. No 1. SMOKING. I grew up in a smoking family. I was just a little buckaroo when they invited me to saddle up and ride into Marlboro Country. I had my first cigarette at 10. It would take me 46 years to find my way out of Nicotine Canyon. I watched six family members die from it, and was in the room when the Reaper came for my sister. I finally quit when I woke up not being able to breathe, after 146,000 cigarettes. Smoke-free now for nine years; even wrote a book about it. This is the guy whose job it is to keep everyone addicted. He works for Big Tobacco. His name is Nick O’Teen. He likes kids.

No 2. GAMBLING. I went to Tahoe with my high school buddy Fubar to ski and get into trouble when we were in our late 20s. We went to a casino where I lost $100 on the slots and resolved never to do that again. I haven’t. He won $800, which launched an addiction that he never got free of — that cost him his marriage, his house, his Porsche, his profession, my friendship and his life, when he keeled over in a Detroit casino, a cigarette and a drink in each hand while he was playing hundred-dollar slots. A cautionary tale.

John Aaron is a multi-media artist who can’t seem to stop making things like drawings, paintings, stories, sculpture, editorial art, good food, bad jokes and trouble. His work is in museum, corporate, municipal and private collections worldwide and his face can often be seen on the Post Office wall... For more information contact: Modernarf@gmail.com


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No:2. GA MBLING


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By Kit Stolz

Bee Friend Glenn Perry brought a tiny friend with him to a recent meeting of the Ojai Valley Bee Club. No more than half an inch in length, his winged companion, unconstrained and able to fly off at any point, silently watched the proceedings of the large and chatty club of beekeepers in a room at the Ojai Valley School from a vantage point on Perry’s thumb, changing his position now and again, his placidity showing his ease in the protective company of his tall, gentle human.

P

erry believes that honeybees – like the one that accompanied him to the meeting – can sense how humans feel about their presence. As an apiarist who has kept bees at home for decades, Perry exudes an unmistakable calm in the presence of bees. Is it really any wonder that his tiny, winged pal befriended him? Perry founded the Ojai Bee Club in 2011, shortly after moving to Ojai from back East, where he worked for many years as a financial analyst. “I couldn’t believe there wasn’t already a bee club around in Ojai,” he says now. Within weeks, the Ojai Bee Club was meeting at The Farmer and the Cook — supported by the organic farmer Steve Sprinkel — and by now has about 60 members of a diverse group, some from as far away as Moorpark and Simi Valley. In 2016, Perry — under pressure from a neighbor who objected, and with the backing of the Bee Club — convinced Bill Weirick of the Ojai City Council to lead an official effort to allow conscientious beekeepers to keep bees at home in Ojai. The county of Ventura — which Perry believes is under the sway of industrial agriculture — previously did not allow

for home beekeeping at all, even though by now it’s encouraged in many big cities, including Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and New York City. The City Council soon approved the measure for the city of Ojai. “I had hives in my back yard and though almost the entire neighborhood really loved them, I had a neighbor next door who complained to the county,” says Perry. “When people thank me (for backing an ordinance to allow home beekeeping), I say, ‘No, you should thank my neighbor.’ ”


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amid swarms of bees hovering gently. He then leads the group to a nearby table and, after taking off the suits, a honey tasting. Each honey — some based on wildflowers, some on cultivars such as lavender — has its own sweetness. The wilder ones tend to be subtler.

Rudolf Steiner was an influential and innovative writer, teacher, and philosopher who advocated in Austria in the l920s for an agriculture free from chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Perry was trained in beekeeping by beekeepers who believed in the “biodynamic” methods of Austrian organic pioneer Rudolf Steiner, who attempted to balance science and spirituality. That included an appreciation for the sensitivity of bees, and a desire to treat them compassionately. “Nearly everything connected with bees has a paradoxical aspect,” Perry says. On the one hand, he points out, individual bees can be compared to individual cells in a human body, which have no agency or individual personality. Yet, Perry says he has seen an individual bee comfort and calm an agitated bee by putting a leg on his upset bee’s back. He has also seen older bees with frayed wings land outside the hive, too exhausted to move farther, and be given food and assistance and helped back into the hive by their fellow bees. He wonders if our species’ alleged humanity, at places such as the border, is really that much more caring than the bees. At the Ojai Valley Inn, Perry offers a guided tour for visitors curious about bees. In a golf cart, he takes three guests from the Russo family back East to a half-dozen large hives he has installed off a distant hole at the back of the golf course. On a Tuesday morning, the two women and a child put on oversized bee suits to watch as Perry opens up the hive and demonstrates its inner workings

“I like to introduce people to bees,” Perry says. “I’m trying to make the bees feel welcome in our world we have made, and make people realize that there’s a value to bees. Sometimes people will tell me that they help bees out of the swimming pool when they see them drowning. Okay, so then (the bees) know they’re not being totally rejected.”

Perry — an amateur scientist who keeps a close eye on the latest research — worries about bees, both here in Ojai and Ventura County and around the country. Nationwide 40 percent of beekeepers reported losing their hives over the winter, a total of nearly 80,000 hives, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey, and Perry himself has lost a number of hives for no apparent reason. “That 40 percent figure fits for this area, too,” he adds. Perry says he thinks that bees in Ojai especially are threatened because they must contend with pesticides such as the systemic neonicotinoids that are applied to citrus orchards in Ojai to combat a pest called the Asian citrus psyllid. These systemic pesticides are


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taken up by the plant and expressed in its tissues about six weeks later, so that if a bee gathers its pollen or nectar and brings it back to the hive to share, it’s inadvertently sharing a deadly poison as well to all his fellow bees. More than 6 million pounds of pesticides were applied to Ventura County crops in 2017.

neonicotinoids which are compulsorily dictated for (non-organic) citrus growers.”

Perry says he believes he can see the impact in the substantial reduction of bees in Ojai in recent years. He points to some rosemary growing outside the office at the Ojai Valley Inn as an example. A bee or two could be seen hovering over the plant on a sunny morning.

The state of California in August of 2018 listed four neonicotinoids for review, believing that they could pose a substantial risk to honeybee populations on which state agriculture, especially the almond industry, depends. New regulations are being developed and are expected by 2020.

“That Tuscan rosemary should be crawling with bees this time of year,” he said. “This year, I’m seeing hardly any

LEFT AND ABOVE: As part of an introduction to beekeeping for guests at the Ojai Valley Inn, Glenn Perry drives curious visitors to an apiary on the grounds, gives them bee suits for protection, demonstrates the hive and the bees inside, and then hosts a honey tasting. RIGHT: The hives on the grounds of the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

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bees, even on big blooms like the cactus flowers outside my house, which used to have 20 to 30 bees on them at a time. We have almost none there now. This is the first year of a really dramatic decline, and I think it’s the accumulated effects of the

“Bees are in their communicativeness a sort of easy connection to a deeper understanding of nature,” Perry argues. “There’s plenty of information available now about bees and beekeeping, both good and bad, but what isn’t so readily available is that relationship of intimacy with nature and the wild that bees offer. That’s what I want to share: not an observation, but an experience of their world.”


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There are few good reasons for spending a night in a cave with a bird with a nine and a-half-foot wingspan let alone a pair of them.

Story by Perry Van Houten

Natural scavengers, condor parents are drawn to small bits of trash that stand out from their surroundings. While the attraction is not completely understood, many biologists believe the birds mistake the trash for pieces of bone and shell, which provide a source of calcium for the chick. Parents regurgitate the trash, which is then ingested by their young. “Back when we were starting this nest management program, we would find chicks that, even in spite of our best efforts to keep the levels of trash in the nest down by regularly entering the nest and cleaning the nest of trash, we’d still get some chicks that would have this impaction inside of them,” Brandt said. With its belly full of trash, the chick couldn’t digest its food. The health center at the zoo was set to operate on the chick to remove the impaction and sew the bird back up. The chick would be returned to the nest within 24 hours.

Photo by Doug Freeman

While the chick was away from the nest, Brandt stayed, so the parents

RDS BI

W

DE

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wouldn’t have access to the entire cave and couldn’t see that their chick was missing. The worry was if they saw the nest was empty, they

WI

the bird

or biologist Joseph Brandt, it was a matter of life and death: remove a California condor chick from the nest so it could undergo emergency surgery for a micro-trash impaction, a leading cause of condor mortality. “Nests are not the funnest places to spend the night. They’re bugs,” said Brandt, a supervisory wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “It’s cool, but it’s not that fun.”

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would abandon the nest. “But with the biologist there,” Brandt said, “they would basically hang out until the biologist left and they had full access to the nest, to see if their chick was there.” For one to spend time within a nest, condors are much more welcoming than other birds, Brandt said. “They try to use their size to intimidate you — like they try to bully other birds — but once you call them on that bluff, they don’t have a lot of options.”

Some observers of Brandt’s cave-work say he seems right at home with the huge creatures. “I don’t know how much of it is my innate, uncanny relationship with condors, or if it’s just the fact I’ve spent a long time with these birds, so I kind of have a good sense of how they’re going to behave,” he


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Clockwise from left: Female condor #563 in her nest in a cliff-side cave at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge; condor biologist Joseph Brandt (left) and crew set up the live-stream camera at the condor cave; the Condor Cam; at Hopper Mountain, Joseph Brandt tracks the travels of a California condor using GPS technology (photo by Perry Van Houten); mother and chick nap neck-to-neck at the Pole Canyon nest (photos by USFWS).

said. Though typically not aggressive with humans, interactions with other condors can sometimes be fairly aggressive. “But they’re not like eagles or great-horned owls or goshawks. Those birds are equipped with razor blades on their feet, and they know how to use them. They’ll use them on people trying to get near their nests. Condors are just not like that,” Brandt said. But the birds do have their own personalities, said Brandt, who’s been surprised a few times after popping in on a nest. “Like, whoa! This bird is being a bit more bold.

A

I’ve been bitten a few times. But almost always, they just kind of hang out and watch what you’re doing. They really are trying to figure out what the heck is going on with this human in their nest.” While condors are adaptable and quickly figure out how to tolerate situations, nest visits are stressful experiences for the birds. “The chick does not want to see a human at the nest, for sure, and even the parents don’t,” Brandt said. That stress is something biologists are taking into consideration when handling the chicks, doing it as minimally as possible over

gain this year, Cornell Lab of Ornithology is providing live-streaming video of an active nest at Hopper Mountain. The nest, in Pole Canyon, contains a chick hatched in April. To watch the “Condor Cam,”visit www.allaboutbirds.org/condors

the shortest time period. “We’re providing the chick oxygen so it’s not stressing to the point where it’s going into shock,” Brandt said. “We’re really being very preventative, trying to make sure our presence at the nest isn’t impacting the nest in a negative way.” The chick Brandt helped evacuate from the nest survived, but was not immediately able to return to the nest. Since its peak in 2005, the micro-trash problem has improved considerably, and evacuating chicks is much more rare, said Brandt. In part, he credits the condor’s expanded range and increasing independence. “They’re inhabiting a much larger area now, so they’re not spending a lot of time at a spot that’s got trash. They’re spread out much, much farther.” Efforts to clean up microtrash have also helped,

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Brandt said, “sometimes even before the condors get there,” and, near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge north of Fillmore, making oil companies aware of the micro-trash problem. “They’re becoming stewards of the flock, which is fantastic.” The same sort of nonadversarial approach is being taken with the hunting and ranching communities and wind farms. “I think it’s worked out for the condor, and that’s the bottom line,” Brandt said. North America’s largest land bird, the California condor was listed as endangered in 1967. Its numbers totaled only 22 when the birds were removed from the wild in 1987.

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Today, the condor is enjoying its largest population and widest distribution in decades. The total number of birds worldwide is approximately 475. Of those, just over 300 are in the wild. California is home to roughly 185. Ninety make up the Southern California flock, which now has a distribution of around 15,000 square miles. The flock’s current territory includes Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, Kern County and a bit of Los Angeles County. Now the flock is expanding into Tulare and Fresno counties. “We’ve had birds this season fly only about 15 miles south of Yosemite National Park,” Brandt said. Condors, whose movements are tracked using GPS transmitters, can fly 150 miles in a day. There are three additional flocks, in Central California, northern Arizona and southern Utah, and Baja California. The birds are slated to be re-introduced into the Pacific Northwest in the near future. Following the crisis of the ‘70s and ‘80s, recovery for the condor began with taking the birds into captivity, starting the captive breeding program and re-establishing populations in the wild. “We didn’t know how they were going to breed in captivity,” said Brandt.

There are aspects of condor biology that have worked in favor of the recovery effort. “Fortunately, they’re fairly flexible. I don’t want to downplay the work that the captive breeders have done to make the breeding program successful, but they had, at least, willing participants in condors,” he said. The number of new chicks is running about even with the number of birds that die. “In order to increase that flock size, that’s where the captive breeding and the releases of captive birds fit into the equation,” Brandt said. Captive-bred condors were re-introduced to the wild beginning in 1992. Last year, 12 condors were released from the captive population. Like canines, condors are social and interact with each other, allowing them to come at the world in a way people can relate to, according to Brandt. “They’re not vocal, but they communicate with body language. There are real social dynamics and real culture within the condors, in terms of where they spend their time roosting, where they forage. We have similar behaviors that allow us to make our way through the world,” he explained.

Condors can live into their 50s. The oldest bird in the Southern California flock is 39. On average, they’re trapped and pulled out of the wild twice a year to have blood-lead levels checked, get an overall health exam or transmitters and batteries swapped out. But the flock is becoming more and more independent, and thus harder to trap. “Some birds we only catch once a year; there are a few birds out there we don’t catch at all,” Brandt said. In 2019, the Southern California flock had four active nests and four healthy chicks. Last year, the flock had a bumper crop of 12 nests. Six of those nests were successful, the most ever for the flock.


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A condor parent at the mouth of its nest in Pole Canyon, in the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Either 9-yearold female condor #563 or 19-year-old male condor #262, this is the pair’s first nesting attempt together. It’s the mother’s second attempt at raising a chick. The father fledged one chick in the past with a previous mate (photo by USFWS).


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Condors are slower to reproduce than other birds, since chicks are raised in the nest for about eight months. After fledging, they’re taken care of by their parents for about a year. Adults spend about 20 months total caring for their offspring. That means parents will skip the following year and not breed, so, at best, a condor pair is producing one chick every other year.

Lead poisoning continues to be a major cause of

Lis by to

Ph o

Being scavengers, condors look for things in the environment that are already

now a question of how do we grow that population and move it into that final phase of recovery,” Brandt said. He believes the bird is here to stay, “but what do we have to do to get them to that last step of sustainability? It’s not to say the road isn’t going to be long ahead of us, but there’s a very clear light at the end of the tunnel.”

aC ox

Condors are pretty much fully grown at 6 months of age. They’re 5 years old before they’re showing adult behavior, such as looking for a mate.

lions and whales face a threat from the pesticide DDT, which was banned nearly 40 years ago and contributes to egg shell thinning.

dead to feed on — domestic livestock, ground squirrels, rabbits and raccoons. “They’re not picky when it comes to what they feed on,” Brandt said. Condors that live along the coast and feed on dead marine mammals VE such as LI sea Y TO

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death for California condors, and the number of cases is running about the same, Brandt said. While regulations on lead ammunition helped, the risk of exposure increased due to the birds becoming more independent and feeding on more non-proffered food that’s inherently lead-free. During the Thomas Fire, the refuge didn’t burn but was evacuated because of how close the

fire came. Though condors are well-adapted to fire, flames did engulf one nest on the refuge, while it had a chick in it. “That chick probably left its nest on its first flight,” Brandt said, “which may have been fleeing the fire. The tips of its wings were singed.” Now that scientists have identified all the major threats and condor populations are staying stable, though small, “It’s

Top: Joseph Brandt scans the horizon for condors (photo by Perry Van Houten). A condor perches on a fire lookout tower near Lockwood Valley (photo by Bardley Smith).


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For the Brothers Koren, music isn’t just a passion, it’s a life mission. As the successful pop duo The Kin, they shared a stage with the likes of Coldplay, Pink and Bon Jovi. But the siren call of celebrity didn’t attract them for long. Now, the brothers are on another journey to transfom your life through the power of song.

Liberating Your Whisper-singers, you know who you are: At a concert, you barely sing along, moving your lips but not your throat muscles, even though you ache to. Or when everyone’s belting out holiday carols, you’re murmuring, nearly as hushed as “Silent Night,” afraid to chime in. Your lack of Lady Gaga or Sinatra pipes isn’t the problem. The inability to vocalize goes deeper, into your heart and mind. You’re afraid to have a voice. Ojai’s Koren brothers can ever-so-gently but firmly tug the sound and lyrics out of you, making you a singer, songwriter and more self-aware human being. They do it via a process they call Your Big Voice. Siblings Isaac and Thorald Koren once performed together as a successful pop

duo called The Kin. They were signed to Interscope /Universal Records and opened for acts such as Coldplay, Pink, Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart. They still perform and record together, but they’ve found a higher calling out of the spotlight: helping others make music. Your Big Voice (formerly called The Songwriter’s Journey) is a 10-stage process they created to guide people in one-on-one or group sessions through writing a song, although it’s about much more than committing lyrics to a piece of paper. “It’s 10 stages to celebrating yourself, using yourself as a medium,” Thorald Koren said. Would-be songwriters need to love music, but don’t have to be musicians, singers or writers. In fact, it might be more meaningful if they aren’t.

The program follows three principles: 1. Everyone is musical. 2. You are a distinct “whole-body instrument. No instrument is alike it’s your responsibility to sound out what you feel like,” Thorald said. 3. Your story is valuable. “Your story is worth telling, and everyone is equally fascinating,” Thorald said. “A lot of it is self-reflective, tricking yourself back into nature’s creative process, which is to make a mess – to give up looking and sounding good – and be at play, like a kindergartner again.” Most people “have the creative process backward,” he said. “We’re taught to be presentation-ready and perfect at all times, which doesn’t exist in nature. You need a safe space to create, and dare to suck, while getting to know yourself.”


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by Karen Lindell Your Big Voice session photos by Michelle Magdalena Photography “Then our father got remarried, and instead of buying him a gift, we wrote him a song,” Thorald said. “We were in different bands, and for the first time we heard our harmonies. That brought us back together.” They came up with the name “The Kin” in 2005, and recorded their first album, “Rise and Fall,” in an old farmhouse in 2007. After DJ Mormile, nephew of Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Lovine, heard them play in Venice, Calif., they became friends. The Kin was eventually signed to Interscope, and toured heavily through 2016.

Big Voice Why did two guys who were rising in the notoriously difficult-to-break-through pop music world give that up and devote themselves to helping others find their muse? They feel it’s their calling. The brothers are originally from Australia and came to the United States in the late 1990s as teenagers. They followed their mother, who had already moved to New York City and divorced their dad when they were younger. Their parents weren’t musicians, but played a lot of music in the house. Thorald Koren began learning guitar at age 11; Isaac Koren started singing at age 15, urged on by a friend. They ended up at a performing arts school in New York City after visiting their mother there, and decided to stay in the city while pursuing music, separately at first.

Eventually, they left the label and started writing songs for other musicians, but were “a little stifled by the lack of connection between us and the artists in the creative process,” Isaac said. While driving somewhere, they got horribly lost, and the 10 stages of Your Big Voice came to them, Isaac said. “In that moment, we realized we would love to work with all kinds of artists — firsttimers to people who wanted to get back into music – and take them through this practical, step-by-step guide to discover their song and their story.” The stages of Your Big Voice are Setting Sail, Dare to Suck, Unleashing Your Heroes, Reclaiming Your Voice, Dancing with the Downloader, Unifying Critic and Muse, Diving for Pearls, Walkabout, Voicing Your Songs, and Bringing it Home. The Koren brothers, who had moved to Los Angeles from New York, ended up in Ojai after performing during a corporate event at the Ojai Valley Inn. “There was something about the culture and energy there that reminded us of Brooklyn,” Isaac said. Now, the Koren brothers are both married and live in Ojai. They offer Your Big Voice in private or group sessions


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to individuals and groups from around the country, mainly via online video conferencing. Toward the end of the program, participants record and perform their songs during get-togethers at the brothers’ Ojai retreat house. The siblings perform as the Brothers Koren, instead of The Kin, and are part of a writer-producer team called BRÅVES. They plan to soon record their first album together as the Brothers Koren. “We’ll be doing a stripped, intimate acoustic record,” Isaac said. They started Your Big Voice about four years ago, when a fan who reached out to them on Facebook asked if they would consider working with her. Other people heard about them mostly through word of mouth, and since then, more than 10 people have gone through the program. The brothers say many kinds of people could benefit from Your Big Voice, including those who are scared to be heard by others (i.e. the whisper-singers); gave up music and want to reclaim that part of themselves; believe they have a terrible singing voice; play an instrument and sing covers, but have never written their own music; or have a song inside them they don’t know how to get out. “We’re also working with companies, using songwriting to help build teams, and open up space for the freedom to share,” Isaac said. “There’s a lot of fear about not saying the right thing, and getting it wrong. We create a safe space for people to express themselves.” What do people write about? The sessions explore each person’s “music cosmology” — the types of music that move them. “We study those songs for keys,

A new song takes shape and another big voice emerges.

progressions, emotional color palette,” Isaac said. Some people, especially those who don’t think they can sing, or have been told they can’t, Isaac said, “write about not being good enough, or not feeling like they’re worth it.” They often write “a ballad to themselves, singing them back to life. Some songs are angry and allow people to show their fire, and some are romantic.” The main struggle participants have, Isaac said, is battling what he calls “the small voices” — automatic negative, internal chatter that seeks to limit and “protect” us from the embarrassment of selfexpression: “I’m not good enough. I’m not worthy. I’m too much. It’s not perfect. I’m not safe.” “We like to befriend and parent these small voices as if they were screaming toddlers,” Isaac said. “If a toddler doesn’t want to go to school, a healthy parent will listen, name their concern — ‘I understand you don’t want to go to school’ — but encourage them to do it anyway.” The final stages, recording the songs and sharing them with others, are key, the brothers said. “Proclaiming what you did, this celebrating is an opportunity to voice who you are in the world,” Isaac said. Some participants write and record their songs just for themselves. Others bring them out into the world, and have even earned recording contracts and streaming airplay. Chris Leamy, for example, a former investment banker, wrote several songs with the Koren brothers, then started a movement called “#heplaysforme” where he performs with homeless people to raise money for them. He obtained a distribution deal with Sony and has been profiled by national media, including “The Today Show” and The New York Times. Bruce Cryer, a former Broadway performer who became a business executive and consultant, recorded his first album, “Renaissance Human,” with the aid of the Koren brothers when he decided to dip back into music.

Others, like Kristin Moeller, “represent not only the beginner, but the, ‘Hell no, I won’t ever do that kind of experience,” Isaac said. Moeller, of Salida, Colo., is a literary agent, author and speaker. She’s working with the Koren brothers on their first book after undergoing a life-changing experience herself with Your Big Voice.

“I literally cried when I started to sing, and had this panicky feeling – trauma at a cellular level.” “I love to sing, but I never sing in front of people,” Moeller said. “I literally cried when I started to sing, and had this panicky feeling — trauma at a cellular level.” The reasons are varied and emotional. Moeller had done a lot of self-exploration and therapy as a former addict, but still had issues to work through she’d kept buried. Also, she hadn’t fully coped with


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Eventually, she recorded her song. “I was at first really critical of it,” she said. “I got to the point where I could say it’s sweet, but not great. I even played it for a friend. I could listen gently.” Moeller is full of praise for the Koren brothers. “I’ve studied Buddhism, been on retreats, worked with psychics, done dream work, Jungian workshops,” she said. “These men are such great humans. Their approach, their language, their humanity, their intelligence and wisdom, is extraordinary and different. It’s grittier; it’s really real.” The brothers, she said, did exactly what they set out to do: help people find their voice. “I was not gifted with a natural singing voice, and it’s not horrible like I thought it was,” Moeller said. “But it’s my voice.”

her mother’s recent death, or her house burning down in 2012. She was driven and exhausted in her career. Moeller first went through the one-onone Songwriter’s Journey program, but was so traumatized at the idea of singing in front of others that she backed out. Eventually, though, she found success in the group program. “I bonded with these women, and worked on being gentle with myself, and got all this love and support,” she said. In December 2018, during a rehearsal for the group performance in Ojai, with Thorald at the piano, “I completely froze, and choked,” Moeller said. “And then I just started. It was squeaky, and the whole time I was crying, but I got over the hurdle, and it was a huge relief, and I didn’t die.” Her song, called “California Rain,” recalled a time she visited California as a child and was comforted by nature there. “I realized I was writing to a wiser, innerchild part of me, missing the part of me that was truly free, and recovering that freedom,” she said.

“A part of me woke up. I don’t have to be the next Madonna, but I do need to let myself express and feel all of me.”

In July, Isaac and Thorald Koren returned to the studio to record their first Brothers Koren album. Photo: Aaron Thomas


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There are few good reasons for spending a night in a cave with a bird with a nine and a-half-foot wingspan let alone a pair of them.

Story by Perry Van Houten

Natural scavengers, condor parents are drawn to small bits of trash that stand out from their surroundings. While the attraction is not completely understood, many biologists believe the birds mistake the trash for pieces of bone and shell, which provide a source of calcium for the chick. Parents regurgitate the trash, which is then ingested by their young. “Back when we were starting this nest management program, we would find chicks that, even in spite of our best efforts to keep the levels of trash in the nest down by regularly entering the nest and cleaning the nest of trash, we’d still get some chicks that would have this impaction inside of them,” Brandt said. With its belly full of trash, the chick couldn’t digest its food. The health center at the zoo was set to operate on the chick to remove the impaction and sew the bird back up. The chick would be returned to the nest within 24 hours.

Photo by Doug Freeman

While the chick was away from the nest, Brandt stayed, so the parents

RDS BI

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wouldn’t have access to the entire cave and couldn’t see that their chick was missing. The worry was if they saw the nest was empty, they

WI

the bird

or biologist Joseph Brandt, it was a matter of life and death: remove a California condor chick from the nest so it could undergo emergency surgery for a micro-trash impaction, a leading cause of condor mortality. “Nests are not the funnest places to spend the night. They’re bugs,” said Brandt, a supervisory wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “It’s cool, but it’s not that fun.”

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would abandon the nest. “But with the biologist there,” Brandt said, “they would basically hang out until the biologist left and they had full access to the nest, to see if their chick was there.” For one to spend time within a nest, condors are much more welcoming than other birds, Brandt said. “They try to use their size to intimidate you — like they try to bully other birds — but once you call them on that bluff, they don’t have a lot of options.”

Some observers of Brandt’s cave-work say he seems right at home with the huge creatures. “I don’t know how much of it is my innate, uncanny relationship with condors, or if it’s just the fact I’ve spent a long time with these birds, so I kind of have a good sense of how they’re going to behave,” he


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Clockwise from left: Female condor #563 in her nest in a cliff-side cave at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge; condor biologist Joseph Brandt (left) and crew set up the live-stream camera at the condor cave; the Condor Cam; at Hopper Mountain, Joseph Brandt tracks the travels of a California condor using GPS technology (photo by Perry Van Houten); mother and chick nap neck-to-neck at the Pole Canyon nest (photos by USFWS).

said. Though typically not aggressive with humans, interactions with other condors can sometimes be fairly aggressive. “But they’re not like eagles or great-horned owls or goshawks. Those birds are equipped with razor blades on their feet, and they know how to use them. They’ll use them on people trying to get near their nests. Condors are just not like that,” Brandt said. But the birds do have their own personalities, said Brandt, who’s been surprised a few times after popping in on a nest. “Like, whoa! This bird is being a bit more bold.

A

I’ve been bitten a few times. But almost always, they just kind of hang out and watch what you’re doing. They really are trying to figure out what the heck is going on with this human in their nest.” While condors are adaptable and quickly figure out how to tolerate situations, nest visits are stressful experiences for the birds. “The chick does not want to see a human at the nest, for sure, and even the parents don’t,” Brandt said. That stress is something biologists are taking into consideration when handling the chicks, doing it as minimally as possible over

gain this year, Cornell Lab of Ornithology is providing live-streaming video of an active nest at Hopper Mountain. The nest, in Pole Canyon, contains a chick hatched in April. To watch the “Condor Cam,”visit www.allaboutbirds.org/condors

the shortest time period. “We’re providing the chick oxygen so it’s not stressing to the point where it’s going into shock,” Brandt said. “We’re really being very preventative, trying to make sure our presence at the nest isn’t impacting the nest in a negative way.” The chick Brandt helped evacuate from the nest survived, but was not immediately able to return to the nest. Since its peak in 2005, the micro-trash problem has improved considerably, and evacuating chicks is much more rare, said Brandt. In part, he credits the condor’s expanded range and increasing independence. “They’re inhabiting a much larger area now, so they’re not spending a lot of time at a spot that’s got trash. They’re spread out much, much farther.” Efforts to clean up microtrash have also helped,

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Brandt said, “sometimes even before the condors get there,” and, near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge north of Fillmore, making oil companies aware of the micro-trash problem. “They’re becoming stewards of the flock, which is fantastic.” The same sort of nonadversarial approach is being taken with the hunting and ranching communities and wind farms. “I think it’s worked out for the condor, and that’s the bottom line,” Brandt said. North America’s largest land bird, the California condor was listed as endangered in 1967. Its numbers totaled only 22 when the birds were removed from the wild in 1987.

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Today, the condor is enjoying its largest population and widest distribution in decades. The total number of birds worldwide is approximately 475. Of those, just over 300 are in the wild. California is home to roughly 185. Ninety make up the Southern California flock, which now has a distribution of around 15,000 square miles. The flock’s current territory includes Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, Kern County and a bit of Los Angeles County. Now the flock is expanding into Tulare and Fresno counties. “We’ve had birds this season fly only about 15 miles south of Yosemite National Park,” Brandt said. Condors, whose movements are tracked using GPS transmitters, can fly 150 miles in a day. There are three additional flocks, in Central California, northern Arizona and southern Utah, and Baja California. The birds are slated to be re-introduced into the Pacific Northwest in the near future. Following the crisis of the ‘70s and ‘80s, recovery for the condor began with taking the birds into captivity, starting the captive breeding program and re-establishing populations in the wild. “We didn’t know how they were going to breed in captivity,” said Brandt.

There are aspects of condor biology that have worked in favor of the recovery effort. “Fortunately, they’re fairly flexible. I don’t want to downplay the work that the captive breeders have done to make the breeding program successful, but they had, at least, willing participants in condors,” he said. The number of new chicks is running about even with the number of birds that die. “In order to increase that flock size, that’s where the captive breeding and the releases of captive birds fit into the equation,” Brandt said. Captive-bred condors were re-introduced to the wild beginning in 1992. Last year, 12 condors were released from the captive population. Like canines, condors are social and interact with each other, allowing them to come at the world in a way people can relate to, according to Brandt. “They’re not vocal, but they communicate with body language. There are real social dynamics and real culture within the condors, in terms of where they spend their time roosting, where they forage. We have similar behaviors that allow us to make our way through the world,” he explained.

Condors can live into their 50s. The oldest bird in the Southern California flock is 39. On average, they’re trapped and pulled out of the wild twice a year to have blood-lead levels checked, get an overall health exam or transmitters and batteries swapped out. But the flock is becoming more and more independent, and thus harder to trap. “Some birds we only catch once a year; there are a few birds out there we don’t catch at all,” Brandt said. In 2019, the Southern California flock had four active nests and four healthy chicks. Last year, the flock had a bumper crop of 12 nests. Six of those nests were successful, the most ever for the flock.


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A condor parent at the mouth of its nest in Pole Canyon, in the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Either 9-yearold female condor #563 or 19-year-old male condor #262, this is the pair’s first nesting attempt together. It’s the mother’s second attempt at raising a chick. The father fledged one chick in the past with a previous mate (photo by USFWS).


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Condors are slower to reproduce than other birds, since chicks are raised in the nest for about eight months. After fledging, they’re taken care of by their parents for about a year. Adults spend about 20 months total caring for their offspring. That means parents will skip the following year and not breed, so, at best, a condor pair is producing one chick every other year.

Lead poisoning continues to be a major cause of

Lis by to

Ph o

Being scavengers, condors look for things in the environment that are already

now a question of how do we grow that population and move it into that final phase of recovery,” Brandt said. He believes the bird is here to stay, “but what do we have to do to get them to that last step of sustainability? It’s not to say the road isn’t going to be long ahead of us, but there’s a very clear light at the end of the tunnel.”

aC ox

Condors are pretty much fully grown at 6 months of age. They’re 5 years old before they’re showing adult behavior, such as looking for a mate.

lions and whales face a threat from the pesticide DDT, which was banned nearly 40 years ago and contributes to egg shell thinning.

dead to feed on — domestic livestock, ground squirrels, rabbits and raccoons. “They’re not picky when it comes to what they feed on,” Brandt said. Condors that live along the coast and feed on dead marine mammals VE such as LI sea Y TO

A M UP Y E R TH FO

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death for California condors, and the number of cases is running about the same, Brandt said. While regulations on lead ammunition helped, the risk of exposure increased due to the birds becoming more independent and feeding on more non-proffered food that’s inherently lead-free. During the Thomas Fire, the refuge didn’t burn but was evacuated because of how close the

fire came. Though condors are well-adapted to fire, flames did engulf one nest on the refuge, while it had a chick in it. “That chick probably left its nest on its first flight,” Brandt said, “which may have been fleeing the fire. The tips of its wings were singed.” Now that scientists have identified all the major threats and condor populations are staying stable, though small, “It’s

Top: Joseph Brandt scans the horizon for condors (photo by Perry Van Houten). A condor perches on a fire lookout tower near Lockwood Valley (photo by Bardley Smith).


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For the Brothers Koren, music isn’t just a passion, it’s a life mission. As the successful pop duo The Kin, they shared a stage with the likes of Coldplay, Pink and Bon Jovi. But the siren call of celebrity didn’t attract them for long. Now, the brothers are on another journey to transfom your life through the power of song.

Liberating Your Whisper-singers, you know who you are: At a concert, you barely sing along, moving your lips but not your throat muscles, even though you ache to. Or when everyone’s belting out holiday carols, you’re murmuring, nearly as hushed as “Silent Night,” afraid to chime in. Your lack of Lady Gaga or Sinatra pipes isn’t the problem. The inability to vocalize goes deeper, into your heart and mind. You’re afraid to have a voice. Ojai’s Koren brothers can ever-so-gently but firmly tug the sound and lyrics out of you, making you a singer, songwriter and more self-aware human being. They do it via a process they call Your Big Voice. Siblings Isaac and Thorald Koren once performed together as a successful pop

duo called The Kin. They were signed to Interscope /Universal Records and opened for acts such as Coldplay, Pink, Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart. They still perform and record together, but they’ve found a higher calling out of the spotlight: helping others make music. Your Big Voice (formerly called The Songwriter’s Journey) is a 10-stage process they created to guide people in one-on-one or group sessions through writing a song, although it’s about much more than committing lyrics to a piece of paper. “It’s 10 stages to celebrating yourself, using yourself as a medium,” Thorald Koren said. Would-be songwriters need to love music, but don’t have to be musicians, singers or writers. In fact, it might be more meaningful if they aren’t.

The program follows three principles: 1. Everyone is musical. 2. You are a distinct “whole-body instrument. No instrument is alike it’s your responsibility to sound out what you feel like,” Thorald said. 3. Your story is valuable. “Your story is worth telling, and everyone is equally fascinating,” Thorald said. “A lot of it is self-reflective, tricking yourself back into nature’s creative process, which is to make a mess – to give up looking and sounding good – and be at play, like a kindergartner again.” Most people “have the creative process backward,” he said. “We’re taught to be presentation-ready and perfect at all times, which doesn’t exist in nature. You need a safe space to create, and dare to suck, while getting to know yourself.”


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by Karen Lindell Your Big Voice session photos by Michelle Magdalena Photography “Then our father got remarried, and instead of buying him a gift, we wrote him a song,” Thorald said. “We were in different bands, and for the first time we heard our harmonies. That brought us back together.” They came up with the name “The Kin” in 2005, and recorded their first album, “Rise and Fall,” in an old farmhouse in 2007. After DJ Mormile, nephew of Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Lovine, heard them play in Venice, Calif., they became friends. The Kin was eventually signed to Interscope, and toured heavily through 2016.

Big Voice Why did two guys who were rising in the notoriously difficult-to-break-through pop music world give that up and devote themselves to helping others find their muse? They feel it’s their calling. The brothers are originally from Australia and came to the United States in the late 1990s as teenagers. They followed their mother, who had already moved to New York City and divorced their dad when they were younger. Their parents weren’t musicians, but played a lot of music in the house. Thorald Koren began learning guitar at age 11; Isaac Koren started singing at age 15, urged on by a friend. They ended up at a performing arts school in New York City after visiting their mother there, and decided to stay in the city while pursuing music, separately at first.

Eventually, they left the label and started writing songs for other musicians, but were “a little stifled by the lack of connection between us and the artists in the creative process,” Isaac said. While driving somewhere, they got horribly lost, and the 10 stages of Your Big Voice came to them, Isaac said. “In that moment, we realized we would love to work with all kinds of artists — firsttimers to people who wanted to get back into music – and take them through this practical, step-by-step guide to discover their song and their story.” The stages of Your Big Voice are Setting Sail, Dare to Suck, Unleashing Your Heroes, Reclaiming Your Voice, Dancing with the Downloader, Unifying Critic and Muse, Diving for Pearls, Walkabout, Voicing Your Songs, and Bringing it Home. The Koren brothers, who had moved to Los Angeles from New York, ended up in Ojai after performing during a corporate event at the Ojai Valley Inn. “There was something about the culture and energy there that reminded us of Brooklyn,” Isaac said. Now, the Koren brothers are both married and live in Ojai. They offer Your Big Voice in private or group sessions


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to individuals and groups from around the country, mainly via online video conferencing. Toward the end of the program, participants record and perform their songs during get-togethers at the brothers’ Ojai retreat house. The siblings perform as the Brothers Koren, instead of The Kin, and are part of a writer-producer team called BRÅVES. They plan to soon record their first album together as the Brothers Koren. “We’ll be doing a stripped, intimate acoustic record,” Isaac said. They started Your Big Voice about four years ago, when a fan who reached out to them on Facebook asked if they would consider working with her. Other people heard about them mostly through word of mouth, and since then, more than 10 people have gone through the program. The brothers say many kinds of people could benefit from Your Big Voice, including those who are scared to be heard by others (i.e. the whisper-singers); gave up music and want to reclaim that part of themselves; believe they have a terrible singing voice; play an instrument and sing covers, but have never written their own music; or have a song inside them they don’t know how to get out. “We’re also working with companies, using songwriting to help build teams, and open up space for the freedom to share,” Isaac said. “There’s a lot of fear about not saying the right thing, and getting it wrong. We create a safe space for people to express themselves.” What do people write about? The sessions explore each person’s “music cosmology” — the types of music that move them. “We study those songs for keys,

A new song takes shape and another big voice emerges.

progressions, emotional color palette,” Isaac said. Some people, especially those who don’t think they can sing, or have been told they can’t, Isaac said, “write about not being good enough, or not feeling like they’re worth it.” They often write “a ballad to themselves, singing them back to life. Some songs are angry and allow people to show their fire, and some are romantic.” The main struggle participants have, Isaac said, is battling what he calls “the small voices” — automatic negative, internal chatter that seeks to limit and “protect” us from the embarrassment of selfexpression: “I’m not good enough. I’m not worthy. I’m too much. It’s not perfect. I’m not safe.” “We like to befriend and parent these small voices as if they were screaming toddlers,” Isaac said. “If a toddler doesn’t want to go to school, a healthy parent will listen, name their concern — ‘I understand you don’t want to go to school’ — but encourage them to do it anyway.” The final stages, recording the songs and sharing them with others, are key, the brothers said. “Proclaiming what you did, this celebrating is an opportunity to voice who you are in the world,” Isaac said. Some participants write and record their songs just for themselves. Others bring them out into the world, and have even earned recording contracts and streaming airplay. Chris Leamy, for example, a former investment banker, wrote several songs with the Koren brothers, then started a movement called “#heplaysforme” where he performs with homeless people to raise money for them. He obtained a distribution deal with Sony and has been profiled by national media, including “The Today Show” and The New York Times. Bruce Cryer, a former Broadway performer who became a business executive and consultant, recorded his first album, “Renaissance Human,” with the aid of the Koren brothers when he decided to dip back into music.

Others, like Kristin Moeller, “represent not only the beginner, but the, ‘Hell no, I won’t ever do that kind of experience,” Isaac said. Moeller, of Salida, Colo., is a literary agent, author and speaker. She’s working with the Koren brothers on their first book after undergoing a life-changing experience herself with Your Big Voice.

“I literally cried when I started to sing, and had this panicky feeling – trauma at a cellular level.” “I love to sing, but I never sing in front of people,” Moeller said. “I literally cried when I started to sing, and had this panicky feeling — trauma at a cellular level.” The reasons are varied and emotional. Moeller had done a lot of self-exploration and therapy as a former addict, but still had issues to work through she’d kept buried. Also, she hadn’t fully coped with


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Eventually, she recorded her song. “I was at first really critical of it,” she said. “I got to the point where I could say it’s sweet, but not great. I even played it for a friend. I could listen gently.” Moeller is full of praise for the Koren brothers. “I’ve studied Buddhism, been on retreats, worked with psychics, done dream work, Jungian workshops,” she said. “These men are such great humans. Their approach, their language, their humanity, their intelligence and wisdom, is extraordinary and different. It’s grittier; it’s really real.” The brothers, she said, did exactly what they set out to do: help people find their voice. “I was not gifted with a natural singing voice, and it’s not horrible like I thought it was,” Moeller said. “But it’s my voice.”

her mother’s recent death, or her house burning down in 2012. She was driven and exhausted in her career. Moeller first went through the one-onone Songwriter’s Journey program, but was so traumatized at the idea of singing in front of others that she backed out. Eventually, though, she found success in the group program. “I bonded with these women, and worked on being gentle with myself, and got all this love and support,” she said. In December 2018, during a rehearsal for the group performance in Ojai, with Thorald at the piano, “I completely froze, and choked,” Moeller said. “And then I just started. It was squeaky, and the whole time I was crying, but I got over the hurdle, and it was a huge relief, and I didn’t die.” Her song, called “California Rain,” recalled a time she visited California as a child and was comforted by nature there. “I realized I was writing to a wiser, innerchild part of me, missing the part of me that was truly free, and recovering that freedom,” she said.

“A part of me woke up. I don’t have to be the next Madonna, but I do need to let myself express and feel all of me.”

In July, Isaac and Thorald Koren returned to the studio to record their first Brothers Koren album. Photo: Aaron Thomas


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Boxing Parkinson’s This morning, before I began my weekly Parkinson’s class at HELP of Ojai, I asked one of the participants how he feels each morning when he wakes up, knowing that he has Parkinson’s. It didn’t take him long to answer, “As we get older, we all get something, it’s one thing or another.”

H

is voice was matter-of-fact: “That’s just aging. I’ve got Parkinson’s. I don’t like it, but I accept it … So I get up and get on with my day.”

I looked at him; he was slight in build, around my age, close to 60, soft-spoken and hardly seemed like a fighter. I was about to ask him why, when he added,

I teach people with Parkinson’s disease to box. It came about almost accidentally, beginning at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club with a man named Samuel. I had seen him many times. In fact, he was a regular in the lap pool, usually several lanes away from me, although I’d never actually spoken to him. Yet on this particular day, while I was standing on the deck drying myself with a towel, Samuel approached me. I noticed the slight tremor in his right hand as he reached for mine in order to introduce himself: “Coach Rick (our mutual swim coach) told me you train people to box,” he said.

Of course, I had heard of PD, but I wasn’t exactly sure of what it was and what western boxing could do to help Samuel.

It was true. Or had been. Years ago, living in London, I had been an assistant trainer at a well-known boxing gym. It was something I must have mentioned to Rick in one of our conversations. “Would you train me?” Samuel asked.

“I have Parkinson’s disease.”

So, I took his phone number and promised to call, although I thought it would be to politely decline.

In other words, the brain-body connection is impaired or broken.

Then I went home and did some research, finding that Parkinson’s – once known as the shaking palsy – is caused by the continual death of nerve cells in the brain. These cells, or neurons, produce a chemical called dopamine, a neurotransmitter that sends signals to other cells, forming a circuit between the brain and the muscles. When the pathway is broken – by diminishing levels of dopamine – the signals between nerve cells and muscle cells become erratic, leading to the shuffling gait, the lack of a natural swing in the arms and a host of other symptoms.

Old notions that the brain is stable and does not alter or regenerate past the age of 25 are not accurate. The brain remains malleable, in varying degrees, throughout our lifetime. It can be shaped or molded. Exposed to a new and repetitive stimulus, like throwing a punch, the brain generates new dopamine-producing cells in order to form neural pathways that connect the brain to the muscles. Sort of like learning a foreign language, except, with boxing, it’s hands and feet that do the talking.

But what can boxing do to help?

Repetition makes the master.


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Richard La Plante teaches breath and movement for the Parkinson’s support group on Wednesday mornings at 10 at HELP of Ojai. For more information call 805-798-5579 or see the Community bulletin on www.helpofojai.org rest-and-recovery division of the central nervous system to do its job. Without rest and recovery, there is no progression in strength, balance or cognitive learning.

You can teach an old dog new tricks. A few days after our initial handshake, Samuel and I were standing together in my outdoor boxing ring. I was holding a set of punching mitts, or focus pads, teaching my new friend the difference between a left jab and a right cross, repeating the movements over and over again, correcting his form, like any coach would with a beginner. In a couple of weeks, Samuel noticed an improvement in his tremors, while I noticed that he shuffled less. By the time he moved to Florida, about nine months into our training, there was a reduction in many of his symptoms and

an improvement in his overall feelings of confidence and well-being. It was by no means a defeat of PD, but it was a personal victory for both of us. In the years since, I have worked with others with PD, and although I continue to use the boxing drills, I now blend the hand-and-foot movements of boxing with specific breathing practices derived from martial arts and yoga, the purpose being to maintain and improve cognition by keeping the brain oxygenated and supple; it’s easier to plant seeds in fertile ground. I also include brief periods of meditation before and after classes, encouraging the

My guiding principle is to exercise in brief, but relatively intense, intervals, stimulating the heart, muscles and bones as the body releases dopamine, and serotonin – another neurotransmitter – followed by slow breathing exercises to promote rest and recovery, taking the body from the adrenalized fight-or-flight response and back to a resting state, in repetitive patterns. This type of training works for everyone, particularly as we age. As my class member said: “As we get older, we all get something, it’s one thing or another. That’s just aging. I’ve got Parkinson’s. I don’t like it, but I accept it... So I get up and get on with my day.” Thank you to all of you in my Parkinson’s class at HELP of Ojai. You truly inspire me.


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Convenient access to 15 dedicated practitioners and a broad spectrum of therapies to assist with spiritual & physical wellness. We connect with the community by offering free events such as Meditations, Mindful Moon Gatherings, and a 2nd Saturday Healers Gathering & Makers Market. Dr. Edith Resto D.C. is a licensed chiropractor and a graduate of Bastyr Naturopathic University. She is a wholistic educator dedicated to forming healing partnerships with her patients. Best Selling author of the Middle-Aged Man Potential, Maintaining Vitality in the Later Years. www.dredieresto.com | 805-630-2473

David Blackman & Tracey Moore are both Reiki Masters. David works with Kundalini energy & connects to your Star families in a co-creative experience. Tracey tunes into her guides, along with Archangel Michael and utilizes Reiki, Crystals, & Sound healing in her full sensory experience. www.starbornhealing.com | 323-898-4143

Paula Obeid Mht is an Intuitive Transformational Life & Business Coach specializing in Law of Attraction, Certified Master Hypnotherapist & Trainer, Emotional clearing techniques. Assists individuals to move through life with joy and purpose. www.blissalways.com | 480-239-0660

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Ojai historian Elise DePuydt tells the story of the Smith-Hobsons and how their Ojai home came to be called ‘the most beautiful city hall in America.’

Vista de la Sierra and the Story of City Hall O

jai City Hall, the former Smith-Hobson Estate on Santa Ana Street, is one of the city’s newest historic landmarks. In 1978, a panel of famed architects called it “one of the most beautiful city halls in the United States.” The occasion was an awards banquet of the Ventura County Unit of the American Institute of Architects where two firms received honors for their outstanding redesign of the historic property into Ojai’s City Hall — Zelma Wilson and Fisher & Wilde. Ojai City Hall is unique. The government offices are housed in two elegant historic homes (now connected) set in the parklike grounds of the former Hobson estate called Vista de la Sierra. The property was donated to the city by the SmithHobson family in 1973. In 1907, Ventura businessman Abram (A.L.) Hobson (18611929) and his wife, Helen Barnard Hobson (1861-1930), bought the four-room Steiger bungalow on Santa Ana Street, between Blanche and Ventura streets. Prior to this, the family had frequented the valley for several years as visitors and spent weeks at a time at the Lyon Springs resort in Matilija Canyon. As quaintly reported in The Ojai on Sept. 8, 1906: “Mrs. A.L. Hobson drove up from Ventura on Monday for an indefinite visit at the Springs.”

And The Ojai reported Oct. 26, 1907: “Mr. and Mrs. Abe Hobson, who recently purchased the Steiger Bungalow, intend moving into their new possession today.” They began renovating and adding to the bungalow in a Craftsman-style — a process that continued for many years. The Hobsons also owned a home in Ventura, but spent most of the year in Nordhoff (Ojai) as the climate in the Ojai Valley proved better for Mrs. Hobson’s delicate health. Abram was frequently away on business. Barbara Smith, granddaughter of Abram and Helen Hobson, wrote in a 2009 email, “My mother (and also my grandmother) told us about how my grandmother had, from time to time — actually at numerous times — added on to that cottage porches that extended from one or another of the four rooms and then, at a later time, had the porches enclosed to make rooms.” This was also reported in The Ojai on Nov. 5, 1910: “Mrs. A.L. Hobson is having extensive improvements made at her handsome residence on Ventura Street. This is already one of the prettiest places in the Ojai and when the trees and plants attain a little more growth, it will be very striking in its beauty.” A.L.’s father, William Dewey Hobson, is referred to as the “Father of Ventura County” due to his influence in the formation of Ventura County in 1873. In the 1870s, W.D. Hobson


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Title page: Ojai City Hall after completion of the remodel to city offices in 1976. Photo: Julius Shulman. Facing page: The Smith-Hobson family, circa 1926. From left, sitting: Abram Hobson, Barbara Smith, Grace Hobson Smith, Helen Margaret Smith; standing: Fred Smith, Rodney Smith, Helen Hobson. Photo: courtesy the Smith-Hobson family.

Right: The Smith-Hobson Family at their Ventura office c. 1964. From left: Barbara Smith, Rodney Smith, Fred Smith, Grace Hobson Smith, Helen Margaret Smith Photo courtesy: The Smith-Hobson Family. Far right: Architect Zelma Wilson transformed Vista de la Sierra into “The most beautiful city hall in the United States” Photo: Wiki Commons

built a number of buildings in downtown San Buenaventura, including a brick courthouse and the brick Hill School on Poli Street (both demolished), and the brick store on Main and Palm for Chaffee & McKeeby General Merchandise (Peirano Grocery Store). Then, he got into the meat business. Around 1885, Abram and his brother William took over their father’s meat business, which became the Hobson Brothers Packing Company in Ventura. This was just one of several businesses the brothers were involved in. They acquired ranch lands (including the 40,000-acre Blythe Ranch on the Colorado River), raised livestock, and owned retail meat markets. For a number of years, the Hobson Brothers were the leading street-paving contractors in the West. Abram Hobson was an ardent supporter and board member of the Ventura County Fair. He was a loyal Elk, Mason, member of the Ventura Rotary Club and of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce. Abram and Helen were married in 1889. They had two sons, Harold and William. Harold died as an infant in 1890 and William died at age 11 in 1906. Their daughter, Grace (18921968), was valedictorian of the first Nordhoff Union High School graduating class of 1912. Grace, who was known to be an excellent violinist, went on to graduate from the University of California, Berkeley in 1916. Grace married Fred Smith (1892-1981) in 1917. Their wedding took place in the Presbyterian Church, which was located then on the southeast corner of Ojai Avenue and South Montgomery (now the Byron Katie center on North Montgomery Street). The ceremony was described in the July 27, 1917 issue of The Ojai as “one of the most attractive

and impressive church weddings in the history of Ojai ...” The reception that followed took place at the Hobson home. After their honeymoon in Tahoe, the couple made their home in Ventura. Originally from Colorado, Fred Smith had come to Nordhoff to work at the Mallory and Dennison mercantile. He had arrived in California at age 15 and spent four years in the Riverside area before coming to the Ojai Valley. At the time they married, Fred was working at the Hobson Brothers Packing Company. He became president of the company in 1929 after the death of his father-in-law. Grace and Fred inherited a large amount of land in Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties. This land formed the basis for the Smith-Hobson Trust, which, at its height, owned 15,000 acres of primarily rural ranch lands. The company generally did not get involved in urban real estate development, only selling land for development when it was annexed to a city. In 1925, the Hobsons converted the outside of their home to a Spanish style to match the architecture of the town center. The inside remained Craftsman-style, as it is today. At the same time, a Spanish-style guest house was built just west of the main house. Robert Winfield was the designer-builder of the Hobson project. Winfield was a prominent Ojai Valley builder who built the Mead & Requa-designed Spanish-style structures in downtown, including the Arcade, Pergola, Post Office Tower and El Roblar Hotel (The Oaks at Ojai). He built many homes in the valley, some of which he also designed. The Hobson project was his first as a designer-builder. At the completion of the project in 1926, the estate, named Vista de la Sierra, consisted of the main house, guest house, garage with apartment, horse barn, small cabin, tennis court,


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trellised picnic area, outdoor dance floor, miniature golf course and extensive gardens. The Hobsons entertained frequently and many of these social gatherings were reported in the local newspaper. The stable, which is still standing, was built when the Hobsons first came to the valley. Abram and Grace were both horse lovers. The family had fine horses and for years Hobson was a colorful figure in local parades. The family called the guest house the “little house.” A narrow walkway running north-south separated the two houses. The design included a columned arbor facing Santa Ana Street that integrated the homes (as it does today). Much later, the garage was converted to the HELP of Ojai’s Little House. The City’s Community Demonstration Garden is located in the rear portion of the estate. Grace and Fred Smith permanently moved into the guest house in late 1928. Abram Hobson died in 1929; Helen the following year. Grace and Fred raised their three children, Rodney, Barbara and Helen Margaret, in the “little house” and used the main house for visitors and holidays. All three children attended Ojai Valley School. Rodney (1918-1968) was a civilian at the U.S. Strategic Air Command and later ran the family ranching concerns. He married Janice Petit (daughter of Charles Petit, a longtime mayor of Ventura) and they had four children: Jeffrey, Janice, Barbara and Gregory. The Smith-Hobson daughters both had successful music careers: Barbara as a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Hawai’i and Helen Margaret (1922-2010) as a music professor at Claremont Graduate School. In January 2019, Professor Emeritus Barbara Smith, who was born in 1920, was named the 2018 Hawai’i Arts Alliance Preis Honoree, an annual award given to an individual who has had a significant impact on the arts and culture of Hawai’i. In 1973, Fred Smith and his two daughters gifted the estate to the city of Ojai for use as the City Hall. Fred said this had been his late wife’s wish. Grace Smith had died in 1968. “My wife and I loved this place with a passion,” said Fred Smith in a Los Angeles Times article dated June 20, 1976. “We talked about what was to become of the property for hours on end. We were scared to death if we sold the land someone would put the bulldozers to our home and the adjoining home where my wife’s parents had lived,” Fred continued. The Smiths discussed all kinds of possibilities for Vista de la Sierra such as a museum or a botanical garden. “Then the

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thought occurred to me one day that what Ojai really needs is a permanent city hall. My wife agreed,” said Fred. Fred Smith lived out his last years in Ventura where he passed away in December 1981. Ojai architect Zelma Wilson and Ventura architects Fisher & Wilde transformed the homes into municipal offices and City Hall moved there in 1976. At the same time, the city purchased five additional adjoining lots from the SmithHobson family. The police station was built on one of these lots in 1978-79. The conversion of the Smith-Hobson homes into Ojai City Hall in the 1970s did not include connecting the two structures. The original walkway between the two homes had been retained. When the city did some interior remodeling in 1986, the two buildings were connected. This connection is a hallway that serves as the city’s art gallery. The Smith-Hobson family is known for generous charitable contributions. Members of the Hobson family donated land for two Ventura County parks: Hobson County Park on the Rincon and Foster Park. In 1928, after Grace and Fred Smith moved to Ojai, they donated their home on Lincoln Drive in Ventura to the Community Presbyterian Church (replaced in 1967 with a new meeting hall). Grace Hobson Smith contributed funds to build a girls dormitory at the Ojai Valley School Upper Campus, which opened in 1967 (burned down in the 2017 Thomas Fire). The family established the SmithHobson Foundation in 1964 that, to this day, donates to educational and cultural projects locally and regionally. The Smith-Hobson Estate was designated as City of Ojai Historical Landmark No. 23 in 2017. Elise DePuydt is a local historian and author who revised Patricia Fry’s history book: “The Ojai Valley: An Illustrated History,” along with Craig Walker (2017). She wrote and published a guide book to Ojai’s public art called “A Photo Guide to Fountains and Sculptures of Ojai: Art, History & Architecture” (2009).


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F I R E S T I C K P OT T E RY Creative Workspace Open to Public Open 10-6 daily 1804 E. Ojai Ave 805-272-8760

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Bryant Circle Mini Storage •Free move in truck •Moving and packing supplies •Security system with TV surveillance •On site resident managers •Competitive rates •Move-in specials

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LOOK BACK IN OJAI with Drew Mashburn Contributed on behalf of the Ojai Valley Museum

“Where do you think you’re going?!!!??” Dad questioned me in a very stern voice. “But, Dad! I’m just gonna drive it down to the corner to show Doug and Rick!” I whined. “What did I tell you before you bought it?” Dad asked. “But, but . . . only to the corner, Dad!” “I’m not going to lose everything I’ve worked so hard for all these years because you want to risk driving without insurance. You’re a juvenile, so I’m the one who gets sued for all he’s worth!” Dad was adamant. My first automobile collected dust while I worked my tail off for about three months accumulating enough dough for insurance. I mowed lawns, filled in ditches, rototilled weeds, baby-sat and whatever to speed me onto the highways and byways! While I was earning the bucks for the insurance payment, I drove my 1949 Chevrolet pickup forward and backward about 6 feet in the area Dad designated as my parking spot. That old six-cylinder

sounded like music to my ears! I painted the rear bumper aluminum and the rims black. I tire-blacked the sides of the old, weather-beaten, cracked tires. She was lookin’ mighty pretty to me, even though she had lots of dents, but had a great coat of dark-red primer. I gave my buddy (“Oakie” as my buds and I called him) $150 for the beauty. Oakie had covered the inside door panels with simulatedwood shelving-liner. He’d put new carpet on the floor and, best yet ... installed “Barefoot” pedals on the gas pedal and a floor-mounted headlights-dimmer switch. I tell ya, that girl was chompin’ at the bit to hit the road and so was I!! One of the first places I drove my new wheels was to Nordhoff High School where I was a junior. When my buddies saw the pickup, a few of them posed: “Why did you buy a truck?!!?? You can’t take girls for a date in that ol’ thing!” Hmmmmmmm ... they had a point, but I just told them that I’d borrow my folks’ F85 Oldsmobile on date nights. Settled that problem. Mainly, I bought a pickup because my


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dad always had pickups. I learned to drive a manual transmission in Dad’s 1961 Chevy. Pickups were in my blood! Pickups are very commonplace with young people today, but back in the ‘60s, not a lot of youngsters cared for them as their primary ride. Yet, when out of school, all my buddies wanted to take my pickup frequently because it was fun. Riding i n pi c k u p b e d s back in those days was allowed, and e v e r y bo d y d u g doing it. We took the pickup on camping trips, to the beach, to swimming holes up the Maricopa Highway, to local sporting events, and we cruised Ojai Avenue in it. I could tell you tons of stories that happened with my ol’ 1949, but I have limited space. Here’s a good one: I’m NOT condoning

this type of behavior, but it happened. In October 1968, my buddies decided for me that we were going to use my pickup as a “War Wagon” on Halloween to terrorize other pranksters and trickor-treaters. We bought flats upon flats of eggs. We had several hundred egggrenades. We filled balloons with gallons of water. The projectiles were loaded into my pickup’s bed. Larry Sisk rode shotgun while I piloted the War Wagon. Our buddies were not only in the pickup’s bed, but standing on the side running boards and rear bumper. Off we rolled to downtown Ojai. None of our lurking enemies were expecting us. As we tanked on down Ojai Avenue, my buds launched eggs and water balloons in all directions. It was like a war zone! 

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We got the best of the soldiers who were taking cover behind the walls of the Pergola and Arcade. After we made a couple of passes, most of our enemy just hid as they saw us approaching. At some point, we wound up on Grand Avenue where one of our idiot buddies threw an egg at Mr. Hardy’s taxi cab. If I recall correctly, it was Casey Mansfield who did so. Anyway, Mr. Hardy chased us all over the place as I foolheartedly attempted to elude him. Well, we deservedly got pulled over by the city’s finest on North Montgomery Street next to Ojai Elementary School. One of the two policemen in the black-and-white asked for my driver’s license. He asked me what we were up to. Uhhhh! What was I supposed to say?!!??? I pretty much told him that we were just acting our ages and being Halloween hoodlums. Sisky sat there and smartly remained calm. He was a useless shotgunner! The policemen spotted all our ammo in the pickup’s bed. Sisky and I wisely remained in the cab. The coppers made the other guys stomp all the eggs and water balloons in the bed of the pickup. The bed was about 2 inches full of broken eggs and water. It was a gooky, slimed mixture that would have made great scrambled eggs, minus the shells. After scolding all of us, the policemen told all my buddies to get back into the pickup, then head home immediately. All the guys resumed their previous seats. WRONG!!! The coppers told all of them to sit in the bottom of the bed in the goop. Do you think a single one of my buds made a break for it??? Nope! The jokesters all sat as directed and looked like a big ol’ omelet as they whined away. One of the policemen told me to get everybody home right away and to NEVER do what we had done again. Yes, sir! I wound up selling the ‘49 in 1969 during my senior year of high school. I bought a super-clean 1961 Austin Healy “Bug Eye” Sprite. Notice to all of my buddies: That car was a chick magnet. Eat your hearts out!!!


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We care About the Health, Safety & Beauty of Your Trees

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Owner Mark Crane, member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists, and his team of certiďŹ ed arborists, have been meticulously caring for trees in Ojai, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta since 1995. Their combined years of experience, wealth of knowledge and passion for trees bring you top quality tree care.

Tree care planting & trimming Drought services & ďŹ re safety Emergency tree services Tree evaluation Hazardous tree & stump removal Tree pruning & maintenance

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(805) 646-9484


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Artistic Craftsmanship Meets Functional Design

Ojai Dory & Home Furnishings Company Custom furniture

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Boats

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Cutting Boards

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Chimes

www.ojaidory.com | (805) 798-1003


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The Ojai Playhouse

VENTURA ROOFING

CELEBRATING OUR 37TH YEAR IN BUSINESS! (805)646-ROOF • Request a Bid at venturarfg@gmail.com • License#440157 www.venturaroofingco.com Check out our

Commercial Flat Built-up Roof

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Residential Shingle and Low Pitched

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Protect your home against coming SCE public safety power shut downs and bill spikes this summer.

Give us a call to get your home prepared with solar and battery storage. 805-640-7903 www.californiasolarelectric.com


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Hilltop Paradise Magnificent Mediterranean Estate

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Member of the Exclusive

© 2019 LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. All rights reserved. All data, including all measurements and calculations are obtained from various sources and has not and will not be verified by Broker. All information shall be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is independently owned and operated and supports the principals of the Fair Housing Act.


2661 LADERA ROAD, OJAI

805 MCANDREW ROAD, OJAI

3 Beds • 3 Baths • 4,100 SF • $5,995,000 Tyler Brousseau | DRE 01916136 | 805.760.2213

3 Beds • 4 Baths • 4,092 SF • $4,295,000 Kristen Currier | DRE 01314850 | 805.798.3757

12605 HIGHWINDS ROAD, OJAI

544 GORHAM ROAD, OJAI

5 Beds • 4 Baths • 4,274SF • $2,649,000 Nora Davis | DRE 01046067 | 805.207.6177

3 Beds • 2 Baths • 2,200 SF • $2,549,000 Ann Marie Parent | DRE 01328373 | 805.452.5209

3558 THACHER ROAD, OJAI

2939 MATILIJA CANYON ROAD, OJAI

3 Beds • 2 Baths • 1,875 SF • $1,700,000 Ann Marie Parent | DRE 01328373 | 805.452.5209

3 Beds • 1 Baths • 1,210 SF • $579,000 Joan Roberts | DRE 00953244 | 805.223.1811

LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

727 W. Ojai Avenue Ojai, California livsothebysrealtyca.com | 805.646.7288 | DRE 01904034


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He spent the past decade traveling the world and living in Manhattan and Los Angeles. Now, in his late 20s, August Hausman wanted to come home to Ojai.

less house

more home by Ellen Sklarz

August Hausman is living the Airstream adventure. Faced with the modern dilemma of rapidly rising rents, he contemplated his very few options. In an era of nomadic life in tiny homes and converted vans, August asked his father, Shawn, about his neglected 1968 Airstream trailer, which, for the past 10 years, had been parked at a storage facility in Fillmore. The 23-foot Land Yacht Safari was a 40th-birthday present to Shawn from his father, the film producer Michael Hausman. Shawn, who had intended to renovate the classic trailer, happily passed the forsaken heirloom on to his son. First, August brought the Airstream to Ventura, to Humble Handcraft, owned by his friend Ryan O’Donnell, who also grew up in Ojai. Ryan, who specializes in “alternative housing for the eco-minded individual,” leased space to August and offered him use of his tools. August’s plan for the Airstream was to gut it completely and and create a unique living space, while restoring some of its retro-


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cool beginnings. Ultimately, he wanted to find a bucolic place in Ojai where he could settle. August’s design skills come from his inherent good taste and working alongside his dad, an accomplished, self-taught designer. Shawn designed many hotels and restaurant interiors, ranging from the iconic Chateau Marmont in L.A. and, more recently, The Standard in London. Throughout his 20s, August also worked for an architectural firm and a lighting design company. The Hausmans – Shawn, Cyrena and August – came to Ojai from Los Angeles in 1994, when August was 4 years old. Cyrena had been a film casting director while Shawn was a television art director.

Far Left: August Hausman sits at the entrance of his gutted Airstream. Left: The work in progress.


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The couple divorced in 1998. Spirited Cyrena then became a Watsu aquatic bodywork therapist, while Shawn moved to Upper Ojai and built a geodesic dome. August went back and forth, feeling rooted in both places, especially with childhood friends who are still part of his life today. Throughout the trial-anderror process, August researched Airstream forums and often discussed plans with Shawn, who would occasionally come into town so they could work together. For his bohemian minimalist design aesthetic, August handcrafted walnut counters and trim, and chose whitewhite walls and black

hardware. Clearly not a onedimensional guy, August is a musician and adventurer, who loves heliboarding and backcountry snowboarding. This past season, he was in Mammoth actually going down the bunny slope on his way to lunch. Suddenly, he hit a patch of ice and heard a crack in his back. Seven months into the

Airstream renovation, August was bedridden for three months in a hyperextension back brace. Thankfully, he was able to recuperate at his mom’s house near Sonoma, where he had no other choice but to reflect. During this time, he says, “I decided to cut out all drinking, cannabis and caffeine. I cleaned up my diet, read a lot of books and wrote music.” When the brace came off, August returned to Ojai with Shawn, who stayed for a week, guiding his son while he eased back into finishing the physical work. By this time, August had discovered and refinished some of the original trailer parts, and he

had restored the exterior; the self-contained home can also function off-grid. The newly remodeled interior contains a fully functional, tiled shower and bathroom; a kitchen with fridge, sink, oven and stovetop; a two-person dinette; and a convertible queen-size bed. He also restored the original control panel, which is the heart of an Airstream.

Using his savings and a small loan from his dad, August’s budget was $25,000. He bought a ‘30s light fixture at Liz’s Antique Hardware and textiles from Diamond Foam & Fabric, both on La Brea in L.A. For the bathroom and kitchen, family friend Ann Sacks gifted unused tile she had created for a custom job. Chisum’s of Ojai supplied and installed Marmoleum flooring. The Ojai Valley provided a deeply familiar backdrop for building his mobile home, as he reconnected with this place, the people, and the towering oaks. Although

new stores and restaurants had opened, and electric cars have replaced older pickups, August still feels the uniqueness of Ojai and the nostalgia of his youth. After living in large cities, the town still feels small, although it seems to be adjusting more rapidly to current times. He can still walk into a restaurant and be greeted by his first name, or a bar where they know his


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drink. “I love that part about Ojai,” he says, “and if you open up to the community, it greets you with open arms. Local engagement enables me to be more present and less socially closed off, as opposed to being wrapped up in the social chaos of the city.” August is sustained by the outdoors, so returning to the Los Padres National Forest, the Sespe Wilderness, and the nearby beaches has fueled him. Since he came back soon after the Thomas Fire, he has spent the past year watching new growth in the mountains and trails, and water gushing from the canyons. Unfortunately, finding a place to park the Airstream has been daunting, since a more-regulated Ojai poses challenges for this generation’s style of nomadic living. Because of this, August is not certain he will stay. However, he says, “One thing I do know for sure is that living here or not, Ojai is part of me and rests in my soul. And that will never change.” Follow August’s continuing journey on Instagram @ airstreamhaus

Far left: Daybed/sofa converts into queen-size bed, with storage below. Middle: Close-up of kitchen area with Ann Sacks half-penny-round tile backsplash. Left: Interior after renovation includes hand-hewn walnut countertops and dinette top; Italian-made black fixtures, with Dometic appliances. Black Marmoleum flooring and Cloud White walls. Natural light streams through the frosted-glass bathroom door.


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3 SEAVIEW DR., MONTECITO Steps from the Sand; Highly desired Ocean front - first level unit in Montecito Shores. 3 bedroom 2.5 baths. Located near the 4 Seasons Biltmore, Coral Casino and downtown Montecito. $4,400,000

920 LOMA DR., OJAI VALLEY Enjoy the Incredible Views looking toward the Sine Qua Non vineyards! Over half of an acre 5 bedroom 3 bath, main house with 1 bedroom 1 bath quest quarters. $1,150,000

6709 BREAKERS WAY, MUSSEL SHOALS Located Near a Legendary Surf Area with in the private beach community of Mussel Shoals... Great opportunity to own a beach cottage. $699,000

C AT H Y T IT U S (805) 798-0960) | cathytitusojai@gmail.com


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2144-2150 BALDWIN RD, OJAI VALLEY Looking for Privacy? 85 acre Estate nestled between the Ojai Land Conservancy the Los Padres National Forest and the Teague Water Shed Preserve: 2 Spanish style homes, 29 horse stall barns, lighted covered arena, Perch-Bass-Catfish stocked lake and entertaining area, 6 legal parcels. $5,000,000

98 KUNKLE ST., OJAI VALLEY Enjoy the Incredible Views looking toward the Sine Qua Non vineyards! Over half of an acre 5 bedroom 3 bath, main house with 1 bedroom 1 bath quest quarters. $1,150,000

In the Real Estate Industry Since 1986

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Our staging will showcase the positives and accent the desirable features that buyers are looking for. By partnering with Home Improvement Specialists, we are able to provide you with start to finish service. Don't leave the sale of your most important asset to chance. Whether selling your home, or looking for a fresh makeover, give us a call to discuss how we can transform your space.

JENNIFER WERBER Owner/ Designer

T. 805-798-7686 • embellishHSR@gmail.com • Ojai, CA 93023 • www.embellishstaging.com


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Ojai Café Emporium Ojai Café Emporium is a turn key, well established breakfast & lunch restaurant located in the heart of downtown Ojai! Prime location steps away from all of Ojai’s events and attractions. Ojai Cafè Emporium has for over 34 years had a reputation as a warm and friendly dining destination for family, friends and business. Included on the property is an adjoining bakery/coffeeshop producing fresh baked goods every morning. Real Estate and Land, $2,200,000

433 Sunset Street, Oak View Move in ready 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath in Oak Ranch Estates. Open floor plan with vaulted ceilings. Oversized two car garage. 20000 sq.ft. lot backing to natural wooded area which offers great privacy. Common area horse facilities with riding arena, stalls and trails. $749,000

Tom Weber - Broker • 805-320-2004 • CalDRE# 00805061 • TomWeber@ojaitom.com

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1010 EL TORO ROAD, OJAI Beautiful 2.55 acres of prime Ojai Arbolada property along a private road in this much sought after community. Bucolic, serene, and private are words that come to mind to describe this unique location and property that is a once in a generation buying opportunity. A sturdy and spacious 2,934 square foot single level 3 bed, 2 and 3/4 bath home built in 2003 with premium materials, attached and finished 2-car garage and loft. Water selfsufficient with private well and 5K-gallon water tank and booster-pump house. Over 80 mature orange tree orchard. $1,995,000

KIRK ELLISON 805.340.5905 kirkellison@me.com www.ojaiproperty.com DRE 01884301

IN ESCROW

Explore this 4 year new Home in the Ojai Villa Senior Estates with mountain views. $219,900

Ojai Custom home, 4 bedroom & 3.5 bath, 3150 sq.ft., great room. Located on 1/3 acre, private fenced yard, 3 car garage. Call for an appointment! $1,100,000

$650,000 4 Bedroom, Pool, Large 10,000 sqft lot-- updated throughout. Move in ready!

SOLD! 907 DROWN AVENUE, OJAI, 93023 1920’s Craftsman Style Two Story Bungalow, 1/4 Acre. $785,000.

Build your dream home! Gorgeous 2 acre Rancho Matilija lot. $599,000

Amanda Stanworth

Teresa Rooney

805-340-8928 teresarooney@me.com www.Rooney-Stanworth.com

805-218-8117 astanworth@livsothebysrealtyca.com www.Rooney-Stanworth.com DRE 01262333

LIV Sotheby’s International Realty • 727 W. Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023

DRE 005599443


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2939 Matilija Canyon Road, Ojai, CA 93023

Beautiful mountain retreat in the woods, 3 bed + 1 bath, great room, sunroom, two detached bonus rooms. Private well, situated on 2 acres across from a year-round creek, surrounded by Los Padres Wilderness offering hiking & hot springs, 10 minutes to town! Price $579,000

Joan Roberts | Broker Associate/Realtor

805-223-1811 | Cal Dre: 00953244 International President’s Circle | LIV Sotheby’s International Realty 727 West Ojai Avenue, Ojai CA 93023 USA | Roberts4Homes@gmail.com “Be kind whenever possible because it is always possible.”

PRISTINE OJAI VILLA ESTATE

EXPERIENCE QUINTESSENTIAL OJAI LIVING FROM THIS PRIVATELY GATED, SPANISH VILLA IN THE EAST END NEAR THE IDYLLIC NESTLED ON NEARLY TWO ACRES, AND EXTENSIVELY REMODELED IN 2018, THIS MASTERPIECE COMES WITH A SALT WATER POOL AND SPA, DETACHED GUEST CASITA WITH FULL BATH, 2 SEPARATE OFFICE/STUDIO SPACES, AN AVOCADO ORCHARD, AND AMPLE ENTERTAINING SPACE.

ORANGE GROVES!

805 MCANDREW RD. $4,295,000

KRISTEN CURRIER www.Ojai byKristen.com 805-798-3757

KCurrier@LivSothebysRealtyCa.com

KATHY HOFF 805-290-6907

Kathy@KathyHoff.com


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The Ojai Valley News and Guide wish to thank...

101 CBD.......................................................... 44 Ace Hardware................................................. 101 AEGM Roofing............................................. 133 Amanda Stanworth, REALTOR................... 156 Anacapa Homes............................................. 153 Andrea Gaines................................................ 117 Andrew Snett Well’s Fargo Advisor................. 91 Anne Williamson, REALTOR...................... 143 Art Walk Ventura........................................... 139 Artizen Floors................................................ 139 Australian Native Plants................................. 139 Azu Restaurant................................................. 57 Bamboo Creek Spa......................................... 117 Bark Out Loud................................................. 80 Bart’s Books...................................................... 14 Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts.................. 28 Besant Hill School............................................ 36 blanche sylvia.................................................... 43 Boccali’s Restaurant ......................................... 63 Body Essentials of Ojai ................................. 123 Boku Superfood ............................................... 58 Bonnie Lu’s ...................................................... 60 Bookends Bookstore ........................................ 48 Bryant Circle Mini Storage ........................... 135 Buena Tile ....................................................... 11 California Auctioneers ..................................... 81 California Solar Electric ................................ 142 canvas & paper .................................................. 9 Casitas Municipal Water District .................. 100 Cassandra VanKeulen, REALTOR ............... 143 Cathy Titus, REALTOR .............................. 150 Cattywampus Crafts ........................................ 45 Chamber on the Mountain ............................. 78 Char Michaels, REALTOR .............................. 2 Cheryl & Ray Deckert, REALTORS ........... 160 Chisum’s Floor Coverings ............................. 132 Coastal Softub ............................................... 134 Community Memorial Hospital .................... 111 Concrete Illusions .......................................... 135 Cottage Hospital ........................................... 110 Cuyama Buckhorn ........................................... 57 Deer Lodge ..................................................... 16 DMD Construction ........................................ 15 Donna Sallen, REALTOR ............................ 162 Embellish Home Staging .............................. 154 Emerald & Blue Iguana Inns .......................... 29

Everready Termite & Pest Control ................ 154 Fig Curated Living ............................................ 8 Firestick Pottery ............................................ 130 Flying Embers ................................................. 56 For Your Home ............................................. 131 Frameworks of Ojai ......................................... 24 Fred’s Tire Man ............................................... 90 Frontier Paint ................................................ 133 Gabriela Ceseña, REALTOR ........................... 5 Gardner & Sons Roofing .............................. 135 Gem Quest Jewelry ....................................... 130 Gizmo Wizards ............................................... 90 Green Goddess Gardens................................ 138 Greg Rents..................................................... 140 Heavenly Honey............................................. 100 Humane Society Ventura County.................... 79 Jes MaHarry..................................................... 13 Jim & Rob’s Fresh Grill.................................... 62 JJ’s Sports Zone................................................ 62 Joan Roberts, REALTOR.............................. 158 Jones and Co..................................................... 45 Kariella............................................................. 43 Kathi Smith, Esq.............................................. 91 Kathy Hoff, REALTOR................................ 158 Kerry Miller Designs...................................... 125 Kristen Currier, REALTOR.......................... 158 Krotona Institute............................................ 110 La Fuente......................................................... 56 Lattitudes Fine Art.......................................... 27 Lauren Van Keulen, REALTOR.................... 143 Lavender Inn.................................................... 28 Lisa Clark, REALTOR.................................. 159 Lisa Phelps..................................................... 140 LIV Sotheby’s Ojai......................................... 144 Majestic Oak Vineyard..................................... 67 Mandala Restaurant......................................... 58 Marché Gourmet Delicatessen......................... 57 Mark Crane’s Tree Service.............................. 138 Mermaid Gallery.............................................. 26 Mind Your Manors......................................... 140 Modern Age Dentistry................................... 122 Monica Ros School.......................................... 35 Montessori School............................................ 35 Museum of Ventura County ............................ 27 Noah’s Ark Preschool ...................................... 36 Nora Davis, REALTOR ................................... 6 Nutmeg’s Ojai House....................................... 45 Oak Grove.......................................................... 4 Oak Tree House, Help of Ojai....................... 118 Oakmont ......................................................... 17 Ojai Art Center Theater .................................. 74 Ojai Beverage Company................................... 67 Ojai Business Center ..................................... 101 Ojai Custom Painting.................................... 134 Ojai Day .......................................................... 75 Ojai Door & Window...................................... 34 Ojai Dory ...................................................... 139

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Ojai Energetics ................................................ 42 Ojai Film Festival............................................. 75 Ojai Olive Oil Company.................................. 49 Ojai Pizza Company........................................ 60 Ojai Rockstacker.............................................. 25 Ojai Rôtie......................................................... 56 Ojai Short Film Festival................................... 75 Ojai Story Festival............................................ 74 Ojai Studio Artists........................................... 25 Ojai Valley Athletic Club............................... 109 Ojai Valley Museum......................................... 28 Ojai Valley Trail Riding Co.............................. 37 Ojai Youth Entertainers Studio........................ 78 OVA Arts......................................................... 24 Pamela Grau..................................................... 24 Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria..................................... 60 Patty Waltcher, REALTOR....................102, 164 Pixes General Store.......................................... 29 Poppies Art and Gifts....................................... 28 Priscilla in Ojai................................................. 26 Re-Wild You.................................................... 80 Resonance Healing......................................... 123 Riki Strandfeldt, REALTOR ........................ 152 Rosalie Zabilla, REALTOR .......................... 157 SAGE Mindful Meals ..................................... 51 Sakura............................................................... 61 Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center ............... 101 Sea Fresh Restaurant ...................................... 61 Serendipity Toys .............................................. 44 Sespe Creek Collective..................................... 45 Sespe Power Solutions.................................... 100 Shangri-la Care Cooperative ........................... 48 State Farm Insurance- Bob Daddi .................. 95 Stephen Adelman, REALTOR ..................... 155 Studio Channel Islands ................................... 26 Teresa Rooney, REALTOR............................ 156 Terramor Home .............................................. 43 The Artesian of Ojai...................................... 153 The Day Spa of Ojai...................................... 119 The Gables of Ojai......................................... 116 The Hut........................................................... 67 The Medicine Shoppe.................................... 118 The Mob Shop................................................. 37 The Taste of Ojai.............................................. 77 Tina Kelly, REALTOR.................................. 123 Top Gun Builders........................................... 130 Topa Mountain Winery................................... 66 Ventura Roofing............................................. 141 Ventura Spirits.................................................. 66 Villanova Preparatory School........................... 31 Vivienne Moody, REALTOR........................ 152 Wagner Financial............................................. 91 Westridge Markets........................................... 50 Westridge Mid-Town Markets......................... 50 Whitman Architectural Design........................ 29 Whitney Hartman Photography...................... 44 Wink for Paws.................................................. 80


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301 Park Road Two houses on oversized lot in the heart of Downtown Ojai, possibilities galore!

520 Buckboard Lane Sprawling ranch on over three acres in prestigious Persimmon Hill!

1255 McNell Road Located on the prestigious East End of Ojai this home is a sanctuary for the body & mind, blending sophistication & elegance without sacrificing warmth or intimacy.

www.donnasallen.com • Donna4Remax@aol.com


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www.donnasallen.com • Donna4Remax@aol.com

537 Del Oro Drive Nestled on over an acre of land, this Italian Villa inspired estate is just minutes from downtown Ojai!

267 Fairview Road Exquisite Country Farmhouse nestled into the side of a hill with mountain views!

1370 Cuyama Road Sitting perfectly on over an acre this home has all the Rustic Modern touches that you are looking for! This home is made for the Ojai Lifestyle.


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Patty Waltcher

VOLUME 37 NUMBER 3 | FALL 2019

25 ye a r s o f e x p e r i e n ce m a tc h i n g

p e o p l e a n d p ro p e r t y i n t h e O j a i Va l l e y

T H E E L T O RO E S TAT E : A N H I S TO R I C A L W O R K

OF

A RT

This Spanish Colonial Estate on 8 acres with incredible views was built by renowned architect Arthur E. Harvey in 1926. It has been authentically restored with exquisite attention to detail from the original blueprints, including rare historical tiles. The main house has 7 bedrooms, 6 baths, and the property includes a well, a tennis court, a pool, a 2br/2ba guest house and state-of-the-art ecological landscaping. 1190ElToroRdOjai.com

I will help you discover the home that brings peace to your mind and heart (805) 340-3774

Profile for Ojai Valley News

Ojai Valley Guide Fall 2019  

Discover Ojai Living. The Ojai Valley News shares our community life in story.

Ojai Valley Guide Fall 2019  

Discover Ojai Living. The Ojai Valley News shares our community life in story.

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