YES, the job presents myriad of challenges

The following article first appeared in the Wednesday, November 25, 1987 edition of the “Ojai Valley News” on Page A-6 under “Another Voice“. The newspaper called this a “Silver Pen” article. It is rewritten here with the newspaper’s permission.

YES, the job presents myriad of challenges
By Arlou Mashburn
Special to The News

When invited by Duke Tully and Verne Peyser to “share thoughts on the problems of today,” my first thought was to interpret the word, problems, into the word, challenges . . . a technique I often use to put myself into a more positive attitude.

New challenges challenge me daily; especially in the Ojai Valley Youth Employment Service where I am the executive director, so I will address these issues.

The ever present challenge, and the No. 1 on YES’s list of concerns is: THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH QUALITY JOBS WITHIN THE OJAI VALLEY FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO APPLY FOR THEM. Because Ojai is family oriented, it has more youth among its citizenry than many communities, and because the valley’s growth is limited, there are fewer jobs. Isn’t that what is referred to as a “Catch 22”?

Impacting the above is YES’s second accelerating challenge: THERE IS INADEQUATE FUNDING TO CONTINUE YES’S METHOD OF OPERATION. A non-profit organization, run by volunteers, YES must create it own funding.

A common misconception I hear is that a “mysterious” source backs YES. That is not the case. YES has received a portion of its budget from the United Way of Ventura County, however, that allocation was trimmed due to the increased number of human services agencies applying for financial assistance from the United Way for 1988 . . . an annual appeal.

In the past when federal revenue sharing was available, the city, recognizing what a viable service YES was to its citizens, designated a portion of the monies allocated to it to YES. This source of revenue is no longer available.

Because YES is located in the Ojai Unified School District Building (formerly the Ojai Elementary School) at 414 E. Ojai Ave., many people assume it to be part of the school district. Again, this is not the situation. In fact, YES pays rent to the district for use of the office space plus the use of a copying machine.

Since job opportunities are scarce in the area, our young people gain less work experience than they might if the reverse were true. Ojai businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water in a period of economic stress which prevents them from hiring part-time help. And as we all know, the state is distributing less and less funding to educational programs, so the almost-non-existent career education department and vocational classes in our high school are affected.

One of the ways YES would like to compensate for this lack is to provide workshops emphasizing jobseeking skills, resume writing, job interview techniques, communication skills and other self-improvement classes.

Apprenticeship programs, with volunteers from the community sharing their expertise in exchange for assistance from the young person(s) is a goal YES is reaching for.

These dreams can only become realities if YES receives more financial assistance, moral support, job offerings and volunteers.

Current members of the board of directors include Bill Shouse, president; Jack McClenahan, secretary; and Alice Chesley, treasurer. Others are Bette Bluhm, Pat Gates, Janis Long Nicholas, Jenny Phelps and Kathy Rice-Leary. Allan Jacobs, Joe Matacia and Roy Rodriguez also served this year.

Assisting in the office (which is open from noon until 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays is Elizabeth “Betsy” Gates, formerly a job counselor with Ventura County.

YES was previously open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., but in an attempt to cut back operating expenses, shortened its hours. A telephone answering machine was installed to accommodate those needing to contact YES at other times. The number is 646-4397.

Open 12 months a year, including many holidays due to the availability of jobs and job seekers, the only dates of inoperation are New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

YES serves those 13- through 20-years-old. There is not charge for employee or employer for the placement, however, due to the immediate concern for funding to keep the doors open, registration fees are being considered.

Young job aspirants are encouraged to get on file at YES, regardless of the financial status of their families. Most of the employment opportunities are in the residential area.

In its 20th year, YES, despite the previously mentioned problems . . . oop! challenges . . . must be doing something right, as the saying goes. Only by saying “yes” to YES will Ojai continue to count among its assests the Ojai Valley Youth Employment Services.*


*Ojai Valley YES is one of eight YESes in Ventura County, six of which are operated independent of city assistance. This is the only county in the United States whose major towns/cities provide this service free of government help.


ONE RANGER’S SUMMER

The following article first appeared in the November 13, 1980 edition of “Paydirt”. “Paydirt” was the newsletter for the now defunct Property Administration Agency. It was a “County of Ventura” agency.  

ONE RANGER’S SUMMER
By
T. Drew Mashburn

YEAH! October is here! Summer is over!!! It’s time for a breather. This isn’t suppose to be any fancy written expose’. I just thought I’d share my summer experience with you. Ever wonder what a Park Ranger really does? I figure summer runs from Memorial Day weekend through September in our parks.
— I put out a trashbin fire on the Rincon Parkway.
— I extinguished a vehicle fire on the Rincon Parkway.                                                — I saw several foxes, many owls, quite a few red tree squirrels, and opossum and a doe in Soule Park.  (Did you know that we’ve even had bears and a mountain lion in Soule?)                                                                                                  — I had at least two camping trailers and one car towed away for non- payment of fees.
— I replaced at least two dozen wooden toll gate arms at Soule and Foster Parks. A large percentage of the public still doesn’t understand that taxes no longer support their parks. We’ll get them educated though! Our county fair booth did a good job of that. (Good job, Doyle!)
— I out maneuvered at least 693 biting dogs. You ought to see this chubby boy cook when he sees fangs!
— I explored recently discovered Chumash Indian rockart in one of our parks. (Sorry, the location is still a secret until we have a means of protection.)
— I celebrated my 6th anniversary with the Parks Department.
— I was in charge of operations for the Rincon Parkway during the first summer of existence. (Phewie!!!)
— I supervised many fine seasonal Rangers on our newly instituted Reserve Ranger Program. Man, were they ever a big help! Thanks, gang!
— I personally collected around $19,060 in various types of fees, but it seems more like a million!
— I got beat out my “Yosemite” John for the new Senior Ranger position. That’s all right though. I’ve go him trained the way I want him. (Heh, heh. Just kiddin’ buddy. Welcome aboard!)
— I issued approximately 60 citations for various violations. Hook ’em and book ’em!
— I issued around 200 written warnings.
— I issued at least 100, 932 verbal warnings. (That’s got to be close!)
— I probably racked up about 5,000 miles on my pickup. That’s a lot of windshield time.
— Had one death. Unfortunately a young boy ran out in front of a vehicle on the Rincon Parkway.
— Had several injuries in the parks: A little boy pulled a motorcycle over on top of himself at Hobson and broke his leg. A young woman broke her ankle at Faria tripping over a rock on the beach. Another lady at Faria tripped over a rock and put her upper teeth through her lower lip.  And a middle-aged gal slipped coming down her motorhome steps at Faria which resulted in one sprained ankle and a broken ankle.  I patched up a skin abrasion on a young lad who flopped his bicycle on the asphalt.  (Yep, it happened at Faria too!)
— I had the pleasure (?) of dealing with several “outlaw” bikers most of the summer. Some were Hell’s Angels. They took a liking to a couple of our parks.
— I saw numerous seals, sharks, brown pelicans, bikinis, and various other sea life in the Rincon area.
— I took my first summer vacation since I’ve been with this department. I hit a quarter slot machine at Tahoe for 125 bucks!
— I assisted the C.H.P. and Sheriff’s on a couple of automobile accidents by flagging traffic.
— I answered more visitor complaints than one can comprehend. We get some of the same complaints over and over. By the end of the summer I thought I was a tape recorder.
— I saw thousands and thousands of smiling faces on our park visitors. I take each one of these smiles as a compliment to our department and they heavily out weigh the complaints I have to answer. The smiles make it all worth while.

All in all, it was a good summer. It was pretty busy, but pretty mild as far as problems go.

OJAI SHOPS SHOW NEW FALL STYLES AT FASHION SHOW

The following article first appeared in “THE OJAI” newspaper on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1955. “THE OJAI” is now the “Ojai Valley News”. The article is reprinted here with their permission. The author is unknown.

OJAI SHOPS SHOW NEW FALL STYLES AT FASHION SHOW

A “Sunday in the park” atmosphere combined with perfect weather and the attractive surroundings of Orchidtown to make the Junior Women’s Club fashion show a delightful occasion Sunday afternoon

A concert by the Ojai Valley Civic Orchestra with Alan Rains conducting was the first attraction on the program, playing a medley of musical comedy favorites.

Commentator for the fashion show was Mrs. Peg Wells of Hickey Brothers, who introduced the models and described their ensembles as the latest styles were paraded beside the Orchidtown swimming pool.

Clothes for all occasions — sports, shopping, evening and even night wear — from the Little Acorn, Hickey Brothers, Fitzgerald’s, and the soon-to-be opened Campus Shop — proved that the woman shopping for her wardrobe in Ojai can be very well turned out indeed.

The large audience applauded the models, as well as their frocks, as they demonstrated professional grace and charm, from the youngsters who modeled sub-teen outfits, to the Junior Women’s Club members, to Mrs. Elizabeth Taylor, who wore the latest designs in half-sizes.

Outstanding trend was the hip-length, boxy jacket, with definite lack of emphasis on the normal waistline in suit jackets. Heather tones and purple were much in evidence, as were iridescent fabrics. Short dance dresses were excitingly designed; from handwoven ones to a dramatic white fitted gown with net ruffle coming into being just at the knee line.

Men’s fashions, too, came in for their share of attention, with dark-on-dark tones causing a good deal of interest.

At the conclusion of the fashion show, refreshments were served at tables on the lawn.

AFTER THE FASHION SHOW given by the Junior Women’s Club at Orchidtown Sunday, three principals in the afternoon event talk it over and agree the whole thing was fun. Left to right: model Mrs. George Love; commentator Mrs. Peg Well; and Mrs. Jerry Gustafson, president of the club.
— The Ojai Staff Photo

Name most valuable of Ranger gridders

This article first appeared in the Sunday, December 18, 1966 edition of “The Ojai Valley News and Oaks Gazette” on Page A-5. That newspaper is now the “Ojai Valley News”. The article is reprinted here with their permission.

Name most valuable of Ranger gridders
by
Tim Tuttle

All Tri-Valley League tackle Jim Sandefur was honored along with the Nordhoff football squads and cross-country team in their annual banquet last Tuesday night. He won the Rangers most valuable player and best lineman award of the Tri-Valley league champions. The voting was done by his teammates.

Sandefur actually took home three awards, as he was also voted team captain along with all-league center Steve Olsen. Other special awards went to senior halfback John Hodge and junior tackle Bill Shields. They won the most valuable back and most improved awards this year.

The Mainstay

Tackle Sandefur was the mainstay of the Ranger line this year at 6′ 1″, 200 pounds and named all-Tri-Valley league honorable mention last year as center. He was one of three Tri-Valley leaguers who made both offensive and defensive first teams. Besides playing basketball, Jim lettered in varsity baseball last year when he won most inspirational player and was a starting catcher on the Ranger baseball team. One of the highlights of the season, in which Nordhoff compiled a 6-0 league record, was when he drove all-league tackle Chuck Herman all over the field in the game with Bishop Diego.

Hodge didn’t start playing regularly until the fourth game of the season against Carpinteria, but once he started rolling there was no stopping him. He ran 21 yards for a score against Carpinteria, plunged for one against Santa Ynez while he rushed for 92 yards in both of the games, averaging 9.2 against Santa Ynez. He scored three touchdowns against Channel Islands and ended the season with 10 scores. One of the more crucial scores came in the Bishop Diego game on a short run on the third down.

Shields played guard last year on the junior varsity, but when it looked that Nordhoff didn’t have many tackles, Bill shifted over to there. 6′ and 170 pounds Bill has another year at Nordhoff and many people are looking for him to fill Sandefur’s vacated spot.

Sophs

Winning their first varsity letters in football were sophomores Larry Reynosa and Mike Vail, juniors Steve Holley, Craig King, Marty Jensen, Bobby Hill, Ron Brandolino, Gerry Waddell, David Cain, Gary Morrow, Rick Kambestad, Clem Kenriksen, Bob Hardy. Srs. winning their first letter were Jan Colenbrander, Lee Mason, John Brown, John Higby, Terry Anderson and Richard Colman. Seniors winning their second varsity letter were Mike Cook, John Hodge, Clark Reams, Steve Olsen, Randy Moore, Charles Miller, Ray Bunch, Jim Sandefur and Mike Terry.

Coach Del Garst’s junior varsity took third place once again with a 5-4 record. Selected as best back was Tim Krout, best lineman Ken Hook, most improved player Larry Thomas and Dale Jenkins and Leroy Perry, captains. Coaches Lasley and Garst presented J. V. letters to Richard Price, John Sheltren, Jeff Norcott, Carl Silkett, Larry Thomas, Dale Jenkins, Dan Anderson, Kent Campbell, Steve Schaaf, Tim Krout, Bob Braner, Ken Hook, George Conrad, Casey Lasley, David Smith, Steve Gibson, Casey Mansfield, Drew Mashburn, Steve Milroy, Larry Sisk, Bruce Wolsey, Brett Cuthbert, Rick Love, Leroy Perry, Charles Howard, Randy Magner, Curt Fischer and David Rice.

Coached by Bob Heller, Nordhoff Thinclads took second place behind a strong Channel Islands squad. The special awards were presented to Mike Chambliss for most valuable player; Pat Harwell for varsity most improved; and Jerry Lindquist for most team spirit. Dan McKinney was awarded junior varsity most improved. Earning varsity letters were Mike Chambliss, Bill Borgeson, Scott Maggard, Dennis Clegg, Pat Harwell, Dan McKinney, Randy Isham, Greg Stafford and manager Luke Hall.

LOOK BACK IN OJAI with Drew Mashburn

The following article first appeared in the Spring 2019 (VOLUME 37 NUMBER 1) issue of the “Ojai Valley Guide” magazine on pages 154 and 155. The magazine is published by the “Ojai Valley News”. The article is reprinted here with their permission.

LOOK BACK IN OJAI
Want to know what it smells like under the Jack Boyd Center?
Drew Mashburn knows!
by
Drew Mashburn

I admit it! I’m addicted to coffee. I mean real coffee. Strong and black!

Several years ago, my dear wife bought my favorite coffee mug at Rains Department Store. On it there is a black-and-white photo of downtown Ojai, looking west, when Ojai was called Nordhoff. The photo is mainly of the then-new Arcade. How do I know this? Because at the far left edge of the photo is the post office bell tower as it’s being built. It has scaffolding all around it and the domed top has yet to be added. So, the photo was most likely taken in late 1916 or early 1917 because construction was completed prior to the first Ojai Day that was held April 7, 1917.

Edward Drummond Libbey of Libbey Glass had the common-looking, old, western-style downtown — with its wooden boardwalks and false fronts — made over to create the beautiful downtown architecture we have today. But, he didn’t mess with the Ojai State Bank or the Jack Boyd Memorial Club that were prominent structures on Main Street and east of his new and grand post office. I’m not sure as to why, but I suspect that they were simply too magnificent in appearance to justify changing, or he had a gut feeling that if he did, he’d get his new-to-town butt kicked by longtime Nordhoff folks who loved those old buildings.

The Ojai State Bank’s architectural style was neoclassical with tall, heavy columns that looked like Rome to me. I understand it was built of brick. After Libbey had the Arcade, Pergola and Post Office in the downtown done over in the plaster/stucco-sided Mission Revival style of his liking, the old bank must have really clashed with them in appearance. It was located where the public parking lot is at the east end of the Pergola.

The Jack Boyd Memorial Club sat on the east side of the Ojai State Bank and along Ojai Creek (aka East Barranca). It was a masculine-looking building with a dark roof of wooden shingles and its covered porches were supported by very thick wooden posts. The Craftsman Bungalow-style building was built in 1903 to be a clubhouse for men. If ol’ Edward had dared to change the appearance of this sacred-to-the-community men’s-folk clubhouse, I’m fairly sure his hide would have been stretched above it’s fireplace mantel.

But, change is inevitable. I’m not sure exactly when, but the Ojai State Bank was acquired by the Bank of America. It set up shop in the old building for a number of years and, somewhere along the line, the bank wound up owning the Jack Boyd Memorial Club. In fact, in 1956, the Bank of America decided to build a new bank on the lot occupied by the Jack Boyd Memorial Club. The bank needed to rid itself of the old clubhouse. The Lions Club offered to take it off the bank’s hands, but members changed their minds when they heard that the city of Ojai was tossing around the idea of building a community recreation center. Upon hearing this, the Lions suggested that the city take ownership of the old men’s clubhouse and have it moved to a suitable site. That happened in February 1957. It was decided the Jack Boyd Memorial Club would be moved to Sarzotti Park.

The “Jack Boyd Memorial Club” being moved from its location on the west bank of Ojai Creek (AKA: East Barranca) out onto Ojai Avenue in February 1957. The building was moved to Sarzotti Park.

I was a few months short of being 6 years old, so I wasn’t downtown to witness the Boyd Club being raised up off its foundation and onto the trailer and big truck used to move it east on Ojai Avenue. Believe it or not, Mom and Dad didn’t let me hang alone downtown at that age, but I was aware the Boyd Club was going to be headed up Park Road. We lived on East Aliso Street and our home backed up to Sarzotti Park. My neighborhood buddies and I rode our bikes down to the street and watched the crew move the old building from Ojai Avenue onto Park Road.

We probably drove the crew crazy because, as they ever so slowly moved the building, we kept circling around the truck, trailer and building to witness all we could. We were enthralled with what was going on. At one point, several of us youngsters ditched our bikes and crawled under the trailer because we wanted to see the bottom of the building. I don’t know what the heck we were thinking and some adult guy chased us out from under there. Kids!

The building was offloaded onto heavy, wooden-beam cribbing to where it sits today. I’m not positive, but I think it took two trips to get all of the building from Ojai Avenue to Sarzotti Park. I only recall the one section of building being moved. Guess what? As the building sat there for a few months being readied for lowering onto a new foundation, us kids got under it several more times! After all these years, I can still recall how it smelled. It had a strong smell of musty, old wood. Yet, it was a pleasant smell.

The building sat on that cribbing for what seemed like a lifetime to me. I could hardly wait to have it open into the new recreation center I had heard it was going to become. My buddies and I would go up there often to check on the progress of the building being permanently set in place.

One time, two of my East Aliso Street buddies (Mike Payton and Mark Kingsbury) were behind the building. I think it was Mike who climbed up a tall pine tree in the row of pines that ran from the western side of the park clear to the east side and just south of the building. Mike was throwing down pine cones to Mark and me. There was all kinds of scrap lumber scattered around the building. Mike flung down a pine cone from his lofty position. Mark and I stepped back in an attempt to catch it. I stepped onto a 16d nail that was protruding through a piece of scrap wood. When I lifted up my foot, the wood lifted up off the ground as well. It really freaked me out! I really buried that big ol’ nail into my heel. I think it went clear up to my tailbone. All I could think about was what Mom had told me about stepping on a a rusty nail . . . that being, you can get lockjaw from it! I pulled the nail and chunk of wood loose, then hightailed it for home at close to the speed of sound. Mark could usually run as fast as me, but he was no match for my speeding frame that day. I think I must have left a sonic boom.

I believe it was about April that the building was set onto its new foundation, then opened for public use that summer. My puncture wound had healed by that time and I didn’t get lockjaw because Mom made me get a dang tetanus shot. So, I was one of the first of the neighborhood kids to get to use the new recreation center, which became known as the Boyd Club, now the Boyd Center.

Oh, I almost forgot. Unfortunately, the Ojai State Bank building was demolished in 1960. I know that its big Roman-looking columns were saved, but I have been unable to locate them.

By the way, in case any of you know of a coffee mug for sale with the Ojai State Bank and the Jack Boyd Memorial Club on it, please let me know where my wife might purchase it for me.

Drew Mashburn is a volunteer at the Ojai Valley Museum.

Beautification Month

The following article was first published in the Winter 2018 (VOLUME 36 NUMBER 4) issue of the “Ojai Valley Guide” magazine that is published by the “Ojai Valley News”. With their permission, the article is reprinted here. It ran on pages 154 and 155 in the magazine.

LOOK BACK IN OJAI 1969
Beautification Month


By
Drew Mashburn
Contributed on behalf
of the Ojai Valley Museum

In October 1969, the Ojai Chamber of Commerce spearheaded a “Beautification for Better Business Campaign.” I had graduated from Nordhoff High School only a few months before and must tell you, at the time, my business was chasing after beautiful women and cars. I could not have cared less about sprucing up things around the valley, except for a good wash and waxing of my 1961 Austin Healy “Bug Eye” Sprite to, hopefully, impress beautiful young ladies.

So, moving on, I was ignorant of this cleanup drive.

Mr. Libbey, of Libbey Glass Co. fame, was a proponent of the “City Beautiful Movement” featured at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. At the original Ojai Day, April 7, 1917, held in Civic Park (now Libbey Park), Libbey said in a speech: “There has been too little attention paid to things aesthetic in our communities and in our homes. The time has come when we should encourage in ourselves thoughts of things beautiful, and the higher ideals which the people fostering of the love of that which is beautiful and inspiring.”

Libbey’s speech includes the word “beautiful” twice. His words and actions emphasized improving Ojai’s aesthetic qualities. As a lifelong resident (67-plus years) of the Ojai Valley, I truly believe that Libbey’s ideals have been ingrained in our town, even inspiring the 1969 beautification campaign and valleywide cleanup drive decades after his speech.

On the evening of Oct. 30, City Building Inspector Ken Swift and Hal Mitrany of the Chamber of Commerce chaired a meeting at the Ojai Woman’s Club to organize the cleanup. Thirty-eight groups were invited and about 40 representatives attended. The PTA, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Boy and Girl Scouts, Retail Merchants Association, Jaycees, Woman’s Club, Garden Club, Retired Men’s Club, East Ojai Valley Associates and the Committee to Preserve the Ojai were among the groups participating.

Harrison’s Rubbish Service volunteered to place collection bins throughout the city and dates were set for free trash and junk removal.

City, county and state agencies were on board. The City Council proclaimed November Cleanup and Beautification Month. The county allowed a main trash-collecting station to be located behind Libbey Park and the state furnished a truck and driver to assist groups that picked up litter along the highways.

A city beautification conference was held at the Ojai Valley Inn, attended by about 80 planners and planning commissioners from all the cities in Ventura County. Featured speakers were Camarillo officials who touted their community’s beautification successes.

In November, the Ojai Architectural Board of Review decided to demolish the Pergola’s two large arches that had been bombed in October 1967 and December 1968. In addition to removing an eyesore, they wanted to open up the view of the park from Ojai Avenue. The Ojai Planning Commission, City Council and Ojai Civic Center Park trustees agreed.

The western arch of the Libbey Park Pergola destroyed in a bomb attack and then demolished in the 1969 beautification drive.

The city also decided to work with business owners to help pay for sidewalk repairs as some sidewalks were not only unsightly, but dangerous. Sidewalk repairs and installation of planters were coordinated with the state repaving Ojai Avenue. In addition, the city repaved 12 residential streets in the western portion of town.

Despite the fanfare and ambitious goals, Inspector Swift reported at the end of November that the beautification and cleanup campaign had fallen short, as participating organizations failed to develop, propose or implement plans. Little had been accomplished beyond some improvement at private homes. He did, however, report two successful beautification projects:

+ The Civic Center Park Board of Directors voted to demolish the bombed arches at the front of the park.

+ The Chamber of Commerce purchased and planted a permanent Christmas tree at the “Y” intersection.

That very same Christmas tree has grown into a mighty fine tree that we all continue to enjoy during the holidays and all year round.

How Nordhoff deals with truancy problem

The following article first appeared in the Wednesday, January 21, 1970 edition of “The Ojai Valley News”. It is reprinted here with their permission. The photo has been added by the “Ojai Valley Museum”.

How Nordhoff deals with truancy problem
by
Randy Russell

Randy Russell
(Photo Courtesy of Debby Russell-Swetek)

Truancy is a problem that exists on all school campuses. The Nordhoff High School attendance office reports that the problem is no greater here than at other schools in the county. According to the Education Code passed by the State Legislature “a child is deemed an habitual truant when he has been reported absent or tardy without a valid excuse for three or more times.”

Mr. Paul LaBute has recently been named Attendance Officer to combat the truancy problem on the Nordhoff campus. Specific procedures are followed each day in attendance procedures. Each day attendance is taken in homeroom. Those absent are listed for the day on a Master Absence List. Then each teacher takes roll in each class. Any student absent from class and not on the Master Absence List is reported to the Attendance office.

Step 1 — If it is determined the student is cutting class, a Student Referral Form is made out by the attendance clerks.

Step 2 — If a student receives three of these referral forms (that is, he was caught cutting classes three times) a School Conduct Report is sent by the attendance office to the parents.

Step 3 — If the truancy problem still exists, the student is suspended for five days. He must report to the continuation school to keep up with his class work.

Step 4 — Should a student still be truant, a Notice for Child to Discontinue Violating School Law is sent to the parents from the County of Ventura Superintendent of Schools office. This is sent by Mr. F. J. Holyoak, Child Welfare and Attendance Coordinator and it says:

“This letter is sent to notify you that this office has received a complaint that (your child) is violating the school laws of the State of California by being truant.

In accordance with the Education Code, Section 12408, the County Superintendent of Schools may request a Juvenile Court Petition in behalf of any child who is habitually truant, irregular in attendance, habitually insubordinate or disorderly during attendance at school.

The Juvenile Court, after hearing such a petition, may render judgement that the Juvenile be detained or his parents required to deliver him to the school each day or execute a $200.00 bond which is forfeit if there is further nonattendance or misconduct.

You are hereby directed to do whatever you can to prevent further noncompliance with school law. After 10 days, if matters have not improved or if there are further violations a request for a juvenile court petition will be made.”

Step 5 — The final step is a 10-day suspension, after which the student would be referred to the Placement Committee of the District. The Placement Committee may refer the student to the School Board which could result in expulsion, or the Placement Committee could place the child in a continuation high school or in an adult evening program. After hard work, the student can still graduate and then go into the service, on to college or trade schools or begin a job.

The counseling office reports that a student’s attendance record is a very important factor in job placement. Employers usually ask two questions, “Is this person reliable? Was his school attendance regular.” If the student has been truant the counseling office must report that fact. Work habits are established in school, the counselors concluded, but often the truant student cannot easily be convinced of the seriousness of establishing a truancy record.

THE TRANSFORMATION HAS BEGUN

The following article first appeared on the front page of the Friday, August 18, 1916 edition of “THE OJAI.” The author is unknown. Note: Reference is made several times to the town of “Nordhoff.” This was what the town’s name was before it was changed to “Ojai”.  All photos were added to this article by the Ojai Valley Museum.  

THE TRANSFORMATION HAS BEGUN

Just now things are doing in Nordhoff of such unusual character that the oldest inhabitant is constrained to sit up, or stand up, and take notice. In fact, the activity is being led by one of the oldest inhabitants — Thomas Clark, who, indeed, throughout all the past in Nordhoff’s history, has lived an active life, contributing his full share of the warp and woof woven into history’s fabric, which has grown threadbare in spots by the constant wear of time, and which he has started in to rehabilitate with new industrial threads and some patches.

Thomas Clark

No doubt the inspiration for greater and better things first surged in on the crest of the wave of sentiment for good roads, becoming a fixed purpose when Mr. E. D. Libbey arose to the occasion and gave added impetus to the vehicle of progress not alone in words, but in action. As a captain of industry and commercial achievement few men are better equipped than Mr. Libbey. With the wealth to humor any reasonable ambition, coupled with an inclination favorable to this locality. Nordhoff is indeed fortunate to have the right to lay partial claim to the citizenship of such a magnanimous benefactor and admirer of nature’s gifts so lavishly, of which Nordhoff is the commercial center.

Mr. Clark’s labors for betterments are closely linked with Mr. Libbey’s plans for civic or community improvements, the work of the former aiding the purposes of the latter, which are known to and being carried out by Mr. H. T. Sinclair. Mr. Libbey’s confidential agent in the matter of improvements contemplated or in progress on the beautiful park tract and the old Ojai Inn square, which is the expansive front yard or plaza of the business center of Nordhoff, to be transformed into a place of greater beauty by the hand of artifice, and to harmonize the scene, without a blemish, the property owners will obscure unsightly fronts behind an ornamental arcade of concrete and tile, the material for which already lines either side of the street, awaiting the labors of the architect and the builders.

LUNCH BREAK AT THE OJAI INN. Tourists stopped at the Ojai Inn for meals, particularly when they drove what was called “the Triangle,” from Ventura to Santa Paula and then through the Upper and Lower Ojai Valleys. The automobiles here date from about 1916, shortly before the hotel was bought by Edward Libbey and razed for creation of today’s Libbey Park. (OVM Collection)

After some parleying, and a small amount of worry as to the fate of the postoffice, Tom Clark cleared the way for a place for the old postoffice building to light, and Escovedo, the housemover, accomplished the rest, and the old Smith building has been transplanted — in two sections — across the street, and now rests intact on the east side of the Clark lot, with post office, plumbing shop, barber shop and Brady’s kitchen safely housed as of yore.

Corner of Signal and Main (AKA: Ojai Avenue) looking east. Clark’s old barn at left was razed to allow for the building of Clark’s Auto Livery. Some of the buildings at right of photo were moved to the opposite side of the street to allow for the construction in 1916 to 1917 of the new post office and tower.

To do this Mr. Clark wisely revised his plans and demolished his entire barn structure, to be replaced with a modern garage and auto and horse livery annex. The west wall of the garage, under the skilled hand of Philip Scheidecker, of Los Angeles, is rapidly going up, entirely constructed of rock, mostly moss-covered, above the rougher foundation.

Clark’s Auto Livery c1920. Note rock wall of building at left of photo.

The removal of the old building is the signal for activity on the Libbey side, but just what transformation is to take place is a matter of rumor or conjecture. A fine building, without doubt, is to replace the old, combining post office and public library — perhaps. Many other things are likely to happen that will add to the greater and more beautiful Nordhoff.

Edward Drummond Libbey

 

 

A Serene Space for Experiencing Art

This article by Anca Colbert was originally published in the Ojai Valley Guide Magazine – Summer 2019 issue. Colbert is an art adviser, curator, writer, and long-time resident of Ojai. It is published here with Colbert’s permission.  ©2019 Anca Colbert – All Rights Reserved. 

canvas and paper                  photo©Stefan Roth

People walking into canvas and paper are in for a surprise.

The approach is slow.

From the outside, one friend thought it was an art supply or a stationery store. Another, a framing shop. The name is simple and it can lead to various interpretations. Spelled in white lower-case letters on a square, grey sign, the name is clearly visible from the street.

Located on Montgomery Street a couple of blocks north of Ojai Avenue, this small California bungalow house looks renovated and appealing. Soft greys, white trims. Two large, square windows flank the entrance. A flagstone path carves its way through a sea of pea gravel, leading to the front door.

So, past the two olive trees, left and right of the paved walkway, you arrive at the front door, which is wide open. You enter into a spacious room, softly lit. You feel you’re about to discover something different.

Indeed, you are.

There are three art works on display. Only three: one on the left wall; one on the right wall; one on the back wall facing the entrance, each identified by the tiniest possible numbered marker, or a small label. The space is deceptively, purposely simple; quiet; spare, but inviting. Natural, filtered light mixes with recessed gallery spots to create an ideal environment for viewing artworks. A sense of warmth and serenity gently embraces the visitor.

The color of the paint on the wall is a light, warm grey, almost white; an ideal choice for showing art. Georgia O’Keeffe’s biography mentions the keen attention she dedicated to choosing the right color for the walls of Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery in New York, and for her own studio: “a neutral grey, a tone that was best for thinking visually.” The color of the wall behind artworks is a serious matter for any art professional. In some circles, it is the subject of endless debate and subtle considerations. The muted tones of the oak wood floor mix light shades of greys with blues and earthy neutrals, adding to the serenity of this visual oasis.

In the center of the space, under six recessed skylights, is a round, soft grey ottoman sofa: the proverbial Circle in the Square concept embodied in this design. Here is a fine place to sit and slowly look at art, if one wants to. Or, just to sit.

In the window alcove, to the right of the entrance, a stylish young woman sits behind an elegant wooden desk with her MacBook, fresh flowers in a small vase, a guest book, and a one-sheet of information about the works on display.

There are no prices listed as the works are not for sale. But for those curious to learn more about the artists or their work, a short bibliography is provided on the verso of the list. She (Alex Jones) welcomes you to take a sheet, if you wish. She will fully engage in conversation and offer information, if you wish. You can talk. Or not.

canvas and paper – “Giacometti: portraits on paper” installation                  Photo©Stefan roth

Is this an art gallery?

It could be. But there are no openings, no parties, and the art is not for sale.

Is this an art museum? Yes, it is, but one with a twist.

What exactly is it then?

It is a gift. A surprising, enigmatic, generous gift from an art-loving Ojai resident to this town renowned for its art-loving artists, residents and visitors. The space is open and free to visit, Thursday to Sunday afternoons.

The website simply states: “canvas and paper is an exhibition space showing paintings and drawings from the 20th century and earlier in thematic and single artist exhibits.”

The first exhibit opened in October 2018, and showcased landscape paintings by modernist British artist Ivon Hitchens. The website documents this and every subsequent exhibit, facilitating online visits.

It was followed by paintings from the 1950s representing three key painters of the Bauhaus and abstract movements: Josef Albers, John McLaughlin and Max Bill. As a group, their works created a palpable, vibrational effect in the space. One could feel the desire to look and to be in a quiet state of mind, inclined to contemplation and meditation. Quoting Josef Albers: “I am interested particularly in the psychic effect-aesthetic experience caused by the interaction of colors.”

The third show offers “portraits on paper” by Alberto Giacometti. Three pencil on paper drawings of three writers – James Lord (Giacometti’s biographer and friend), Jean Stein (author, editor and oral historian) and Jean Genet (French novelist and playwright) – focus on a lesser known aspect of the famous sculptor’s talent. Rather small in size, their presence nonetheless fills the space with a strong evocation of these significant writers and their exceptional lives.

The next show unveils three still life paintings by Jacob Van Hulsdonck (17th century Flemish), and French modern masters André Derain and Georges Braque. It runs from June 27 to September 1.

Josef Albers (German-American) 1888 – 1976 Variant: “With First Green” 1947-1955 – oil on masonite
© 2019 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Every three months a new group of three works appears, carefully selected by the man behind this project, Neil Kreitman. The art shown at canvas and paper comes from a collection of paintings and drawings assembled by him in recent years.

Born and educated in London, Neil traveled widely and lived in several countries, including years in Greece. He spent twenty years in Los Angeles. As for Ojai, he first lived in the valley between 1988 and 1992, before coming back to settle here in 2010. A quiet man, he speaks softly and slowly, fully engaged as he listens to the visitors.

Growing up Neil was exposed to art collecting by his parents, whose interest was primarily in mid-century modernist British artists. His own earlier interests drew him to South Asian art, mostly of Buddhist inspiration. More recently he re-discovered 20th Century British, American and Western European artists.

What prompted him to create this space?

His lifelong love of art combined with a sincere motivation.

Simply stated: The idea of sharing beautiful things with other people in a beautiful place, with the hope that it will resonate with them. The pleasure of seeing the space evolve as an expression of an idea.” His wish was to create “a space which allows the viewer to feel with no expectations, but the intention is to tell a small part of the bigger story.” Like its architecture and its gardens, this art space is a book open for interpretation.

It took two years for Neil to turn his vision into reality, transforming the property into its current incarnation. He credits the process and its result to four people closely involved with him in the creation of the space: “The architect on the project was Jane Carroll, the garden was designed by my partner Sarah Munster, Kerry Miller was the contractor, and the floor was made by Mike Bennett. It was a collaborative endeavor and it involved a lot of dialogue.”

Rear garden with fountain – photo©2019 Stefan Roth

There are infinite ways to discover art and to experience it. From the emotional to the esthetic, the connection to art covers the rich range of human perception.

Here, at canvas and paper, the space has been carefully designed to allow freedom for a close look at art. The environment engages the viewer in a singular, intimate relationship with the artwork and its maker. Go into the garden. Walk around slowly. It is a serene place for meditation.

Time stands still around here. If you allow it. So does the mind. Let the eyes be quiet, to look and to see.

In art as in music, significance is defined by what is present and/or absent, by what’s there and what’s not; we feel the difference and savor this rare experience whose meaning is shaped by its context.

In the increasingly fast paced, noisy environment of most contemporary art galleries, fairs and even museums, visitors crowd the venues and spent on average 20 seconds with any one work. There are expectations and demands as one enters these places, the traditional and ever more popular temples for art devotees: to look; to learn; to move; to comment; to buy; to take pictures and selfies and share them, fast. The noise and the movement replace the experience itself.

Not surprisingly, a contrarian trend has developed in recent years: the “slow art” movement.

Slow Art Day is “a global event with a simple mission: help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art.” An annual event held in April, there were 175 “slow art day” venues around the world in 2019, most of them in museums. The formats vary, but “what all the events share is the focus on slow looking and its transformative power.”

What a surprise to find in our own town a space for experiencing art in an intimate setting, free of noise, demands and expectations, a calm place where we can enjoy a slower pace for contemplation, for spending five to ten minutes or more looking at one single artwork floating on an entire wall. Facilitating an authentic engagement in a tête-à-tête with art – and with oneself – is a rare occurrence. It makes for a refined art experience. Democratic, yes. Banal, no. Intimidating, it could be. Privileged, yes. Demanding, yes and no. Depends on what each person makes of it.

canvas and paper holds a delicate balance, a delicious line undulating between simplicity and complexity.

Step inside. Take time to look, observe and feel: you may be surprised by what develops.

Neil Kreitman photo ©2019 Norman Clayton
Back wall: Alberto Giacometti’s “Portrait of Jean Stein” – 1962, pencil drawing

ANOTHER BEAUTY SPOT ON MAIN STREET

The following article first appeared in the Friday, November 24, 1916 edition of “THE OJAI” on the front page. The author is unknown. This was written before the town name changed from “Nordhoff” to “Ojai.”  The photos were added by the Ojai Valley Museum.  

ANOTHER BEAUTY SPOT ON MAIN STREET

Landscape gardener F. C. Fassel, on the annual payroll of Mr. E. D. Libbey, is now grading the vacant lot between the Ojai State Bank and the Boyd Club, which within a year will be styled the “Garden of Rose,” which in beauty will outrival Eden — perhaps — with the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve looking in instead of looking out.

Edward Drummond Libbey

The ground is to be artistically embellished for the reception of all the more popular and beautiful varieties of rose bushes. All of the fine specimens so carefully nurtured by custodian Achelpohl of the Club will be transplanted in the plot, without retarding their bloom. This beauty spot will serve to add to the power of the magnet that will surely attract outsiders to the Ojai valley, adding still greater charm to Nordhoff’s civic center.

It is to be regretted that the wheels of the vehicle of progress shattered and tore out the great trailing rose bush at the corner of Clark’s deposed livery barn. In full bloom, with the rich colorings gleaming from the lower and upper branches of a live oak that served as a trellis, it was the marvel of all the tourists and the pride of the valley. It, however, still survives to bloom perpetually in thousands of “snap shots” by the ladies and knights of the Camera.

But there is some recompense for its loss. A handsome garage, built of moss covered native rock and tile adornments, is nearing completion on the corner, which furnishes an attraction less dainty, but more useful.

Clark’s Auto Livery (circa 1920). Note rock wall of building at left of photo.

The new post office building of hollow tile construction, with its massive tower, is now going up. The memorial fountain, after being torn down, is assuming its former shape in a position four feet further back from the street.

The Arcade is just completed and work has commenced on the Post Office Tower, 1917. The tower is at the left of the photo. (David Mason collection)

The park wall and pergola is lining up handsomely.

Colorized post card of the pergola with fountain. The park’s name was changed from “Civic Center Park” to “Libbey Park”.

The big park is taking on more beauty daily, and the million gallon reservoir is nearly completed.