Hillcrest Theatre: Guys and Dolls

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Hillcrest Theatre Arts Department. In the earlier years, a handful of students would meet at lunch, cobbling together a production with borrowed props and costumes made from Goodwill finds and old bridesmaid dresses. This month, the students performed the musical “Guys and Dolls” in front of two live audiences. At first glance, “Guys and Dolls” is the romantic story of gamblers’ lives and their antics in 1930s New York City. But truthfully, it is the story of redemption, the playing out of…

America Learns Hard Lessons in the Great War

In 1914, Europe and much of the world were engaged in a horrific struggle that at the time was known as the Great War and that history would ultimately call World War I.  The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria set off a chain of events that resulted in world powers going to war against each other.  Germany, Austria-Hungry, and the Ottoman Empire were allies that collectively became known as the Central Powers.  France, Great Britain, and Russia were the major nations opposing them and became known as the…

IRS Annual Dirty Dozen Top Tax Scams For 2021

The IRS posted its annual list of the top tax scams for 2021, called the “Dirty Dozen.” Every year, the IRS takes a look at the most prevalent tax scams affecting U.S. taxpayers. In its continued effort to keep us safe from tax fraudsters, the IRS tells us what these scams can look like. They also remind us that although scams increase during tax time and crisis events, they continue to happen year-round. The IRS says no one in the organization ever uses email, phone calls, or texts to initiate…

Perils of Cancel Culture

The effects of “cancel culture” are all around us. A popular conservative social media site with more than 10 million users is suddenly shut down. It essentially disappears from the Internet. A particular pillow brand is not to be found at stores that previously carried and advertised the product. Even a can of beans is eliminated from grocery store shelves due to a different or “unacceptable” philosophy or political idea held by company leadership.  The practice of cancel culture is threatening the very foundation of America and further polarizing our…

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

After spending 25 years working in the Nestlé Test Kitchens, one could say I’ve learned a thing or two about chocolate chip cookies. I’ve tested and eaten more cookies than I care to admit! Ruth Wakefield was really on to something when she created the Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe back in 1939! To this day, the classic recipe is still my favorite. Having said that, I have modified the recipe ever so slightly to my liking.  Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the…

Ventura County Drops Lawsuits Against Local Businesses

On March 17, 2021, Ventura County dropped its lawsuit against five local businesses that had defied closure orders by remaining open: Pizza Cookery, Mrs Olson’s Coffee Hut, Colosseum Gym, House of Gains, and Anytime Fitness-Westlake. At the center of the businesses who chose to fight back is an organization called “BRAVE,” an acronym standing for “Businesses Representing American Values & Enterprises.” Matt Brimigion, the president of BRAVE, says it started at a table in his business, Mrs Olson’s Coffee Hut, with three other people who felt the need to push…

COVID: CALIFORNIA vs. FLORIDA

California has some of the highest COVID restrictions in the nation, whereas Florida has lifted many of its restrictions, including restaurants and schools.  Let’s explore the facts. As of 03/09/2021, there are 16 states that have lifted COVID restrictions/mask mandates. CALIFORNIA FLORIDA Total Cases Overall                     3,620,000 1,980,000 Total deaths (03/15/20-03/14/21) 56,351 32,254 Schools Six million students in distance learning.A projected cost (incentive) of at least $2 billion just to open TK-2nd grade classes by 04/01/21. All schools open as of…

Does Your Dog Have Allergies?

Springtime can be lovely, but if your pets have allergies, this season can also be very uncomfortable for them. Just as with people who have hay fever or other allergies, your pet’s immune system can overreact and become hypersensitive to a particular substance, causing itchy skin and unwanted responses. The good news is that there are a variety of treatments to remove your pet’s discomfort. Pets can have allergies to the same things people do: food or things they come in contact with; but the most common pet allergy is…

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

It’s time for everyone to be as informed as possible about the new COVID-19 vaccines. In February 2021, the FDA issued an “emergency use authorization” (not FDA approval) for the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for individuals 18 years old and older. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which consist of a series of two injections, the Janssen Vaccine is only one shot. It also works using a slightly different mechanism — spike protein DNA instead of mRNA. The DNA for the spike protein of COVID-19 is…

LOVE SPARK CHALLENGE #3

The Conejo Guardian’s monthly “Love Spark Challenge” continues! With each “love spark,” readers are taking the challenge to make a difference in our community and in the lives of others.  Let’s extend our care to those who keep our grocery stores running: store managers, cashiers, stockers, folks behind the meat and deli counters and in the produce and dairy areas, and those ensuring our carts are free of germs.  Instacart workers are also part of this great group. Hats off to all who support our access to food and supplies!…