Countering COVID with Sports

Some people have seen this pandemic as limiting and problematic. But it can also be an opportunity.  Some athletes have used this year to develop their fitness to its highest potential. Zach McClain (“Zmac”) is the owner and head coach of a fitness training group called WideOutU.  Zmac says he tried to create something for young athletes that he didn’t have growing up—an affordable, fun, family environment that offered speed training, strength training and conditioning, and coaching in specific sports.   He attended college on a football scholarship and had a…

Proposition 19: What You Need to Know, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Income Tax

Proposition 19 passed with a very narrow margin in California and is bringing major changes to property tax assessment rules.  There are some good things about the changes for a select group of people. However, there are major changes to parent-to-child or grandparent-to-grandchild transfers that used to be exempt from property tax reassessment. I’ll cover the good news first, then the bad news, and then what can be done now before Prop 19 goes into effect.   The Good  Starting April 1, 2021, homeowners over age 55, victims of wildfires or…

COSCA: Preserving the Beauty of the Conejo Valley

A beautiful ring of green hillsides surrounds the valley in which we live. Although the valley floor is now covered with houses and businesses, at one time it was more like a savannah, characterized by grass, grazing livestock, and oak trees, with stream channels traversing it—particularly, the main Arroyo Conejo and its north and south branches.  While the appearance of our area has changed significantly over the years, many acres of undeveloped hillsides and open space remain intact.  For that, we can thank the foresight of local citizens, large property…

December 1776: The Month That Saved America

Washington Crossing the Delaware is an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by the German American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze.  It is located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Many Americans don’t realize how close their country came to never being founded.  From August 1776 until the end of December 1776 and the Battle of Trenton, George Washington’s rag-tag army was constantly on the verge of total defeat.  Poor strategic decisions, illness, hunger and desertion plagued the Continental Army.  The well-trained British Army, the greatest in the world at…

The Christmas Truce of the Great World War

The Christmas truce of 1914 was neither planned nor expected. Since late summer, the opposing British and German forces had been engaged in trench warfare, leaving the bloodstained ground between them a veritable no-man’s-land.  This was the last place anyone expected to find peace on earth, or good will towards men.   There was no directive for a cease-fire from Kaiser Wilhelm.  Pope Benedict XV had called for an armistice, which was officially rejected. There would be no peace, and there was no  Geneva Protocol to mitigate the horrors of warfare. …

What Does It Take To Get Into Westpoint

The United States Military Academy (West Point) is one of the most prestigious and most difficult universities to be admitted to.  Since being founded on March 16, 1802, among its alumni are two U.S. Presidents, 37 State Governors, 33 Members of Congress, 20 astronauts, and 93 Rhodes Scholars.  The Academy focuses on four developmental domains: academic, physical, military, and character.  West Point seeks well-rounded candidates who demonstrate excellent academic ability (60 percent), leadership potential (30 percent), and successful Candidate Fitness Assessment (10 percent).  Upon graduation, cadets will serve five years…

COVID Restrictions Hurt Local Bakery

Historia Bakery in Thousand Oaks was opened just one year ago by Robyn Lee.  The small, family-owned business is learning to navigate the severe restrictions placed on it by the shutdown. With a background in catering and events, Ms. Lee intended the bakery to be a “passion project,” serving creative pastries of international origin, artisan sandwiches, and specialty items unique to the bakery. Among them are crepe cakes, French donuts, olive oils, and custom roasted coffees.  The owner says she takes pride in knowing her customers, harkening back to when…