Author: Alicia Doyle

THE HEART AND SOUL OF COUNTRY | “First Lady of Country Soul” Petrella grooves in VC

“My ultimate goal is to make the genre of country soul a more popular form of music. I have seen people of all ages, races and genders dance and tell me how good this music makes them feel. Feedback from the audience is that they love the stories, can understand and relate to the lyrics and can really feel its beat.”  Those are the words of country music artist Petrella. Born and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas, she has crisscrossed the nation from Los Angeles to Nashville, developing her unique blend of R&B, roots and gospel that has earned...

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THE QUITTING GAME | New law targets smokers to curtail or cease pricey, harmful habit

When Gina Lorenzo started smoking around age 14, cigarettes cost 55 cents a pack — and she was spending anywhere from $16 to $20 a month on Salem 100’s, which was her mom’s brand. “Both of my parents smoked — mom smoked cigarettes and dad smoked cigars,” recalled Lorenzo, 55, of Simi Valley. By the time Lorenzo was 20, she really wanted to kick the habit. So she tried every method she could find, including hypnosis, the nicotine patch and nicotine gum — and even electric shock therapy. “You name it, I tried it,” Lorenzo remembered. “Unfortunately, nothing worked.”...

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ENDING THE SHAME | Mothers of the Baby Scoop Era open up about giving up their babies

When Dale Ann Roy got pregnant as a high school senior in the late 1960s, she was immediately shipped off to a secret home for unwed mothers, where she was forced to give up her son as soon as she gave birth at age 19. “This was 1969 — the word sex couldn’t even be said in public,” recalled Roy, 67, of Simi Valley. “Being an unwed mother was a scourge to society, and even your parents thought this was the worst thing you could ever do.” Roy is among an estimated 2.5 million women in the United States...

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ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN YEARS AT THE OJAI | One-of-a-kind tennis tournament returns

Marcos Giron was 14 years old when he first competed in the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament in 2008. And although he didn’t win that year, he later went on to win future tournaments in Ojai, which paved his way to winning the singles title at the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship for UCLA in 2014. “Being 14 years old, I didn’t realize how big this event really was; I figured, I’m just gonna go and do as well as I can,” recalled Giron, 23, a resident of Thousand Oaks who has played tennis competitively since the age of...

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SADDLE UP | Rancho Camulos celebrates the Cowboy Festival with Jon Chandler

A seventh-generation Coloradan, Jon Chandler’s passion for music sparked at an early age while listening to The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. “Music is something I’ve always wanted to do for as long as I can remember,” recalled Chandler, 65, a multiple award-winner who lives in Denver. “I just always wanted to be a musician.” He was particularly inspired by his late great-grandfather, Morgan Patterson, who was considered a legendary figure in Colorado. Patterson was a coal miner, bear hunter and a friend of Buffalo Bill — and a talented fiddler who performed all over southern Colorado. “When...

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COMMUNITY EVENTS

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Hamlet, Disco Dane of Denmark

    April 21 @ 8:00 pm - June 30 @ 10:00 pm
  2. WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND UNAFRAID

    May 26 @ 8:00 pm - June 25 @ 5:00 pm
  3. Shakespeare: A Celebration

    June 9 - September 28
  4. Northwest Boychoir Concert

    June 21 @ 7:00 pm - July 11 @ 9:30 pm
  5. Ricky Burrus Veteran’s Memorial Ride

    June 25 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm