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…

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…

Changing Lives: Teen Challenge

Since 1972, Teen Challenge has been working hard in Ventura County to help women who have nowhere else to turn.  Rosie Weir, the director of Teen Challenge in Ventura County, sat down with The Conejo Guardian to offer an inside glimpse into the lives of the girls in their program.   How do the girls come to be here? About 40% of our girls would be in jail if it weren’t for Teen Challenge.  If the courts make a recommendation to send the girls to Teen Challenge instead of prison, we…

Covered 6: Training the Few to Protect the Many

Fires, civil unrest, pandemic concerns, and political strife—all of these are hitting our community hard. But Chris Dunn and Bryce Eddy are not letting these obstacles get in the way of keeping our community safe. They are tackling the challenges to train residents in managing the various threats that they may encounter, from wildfires to active shooters. “Covered 6” is the name of this security academy in Moorpark. It is a military term for “got your back.” The peaceful beauty of the 20,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility belies the building’s…

Sam Gutnik Nominated as Future Medical Leader

Newbury Park High School senior Sam Gutnik was honored recently with a nomination to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders’ “Award for Excellence.” The award recognizes outstanding academic achievement, leadership potential, and determination to serve humanity in the area of medicine and research sciences.  Gutnik is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field relating to sports, possibly orthopedic surgery.  “My biology teacher, Mr. Erickson, got me interested in the medical field,” said Gutnik. “I had just hurt my collarbone in football, and I realized I could help other…

People of Conejo: How COVID Affects a Hairdresser

By Deidre Fisher as told to L. R. Ames On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18, my whole world changed.  That day, I learned that I—along with millions of other working people—would be prohibited from going to our jobs.   Just like that, starting the very next day, government orders had shut down “nonessential” workplaces because a virus had come to us.   My immediate response was one of great fear.  I felt then—as I do now—that shutting down was a catastrophe.  Our country’s economy had been the best it had been…

Seniors Rule: Ninety Year Olds on Our Tennis Courts

In the United States Tennis Association, there are three age groups—18 and over, 40 and over, and 55 and over. But there are eight men playing near Newbury Park High School who make up their own age bracket. The youngest is 74! The four oldest have played together for 25 years—Bob Fisher, the eldest at 92; Mark Stern and Jerry Lewi, both 91; and Bob Swanstrom, who is 90.  Most started the sport as kids. Jerry joked, “I’ve played longer than I’ve been married.” Anecdotes abound among these eight seniors.…

How We Work: Conejo Pest Control Inspector

Route Clearance: Private First Class Brena (left), SGT Allen (middle), and Specialist Landis (right), had just come back from a 15-hour clearance mission in Taji, Iraq. SGT Allen was stationed at Camp Taji with the 84th engineers in the 3rd squadron of the 2nd Calvary Regiment. By Joel Allen as told to L. R. Ames I have a kind of unusual job—I get rid of fleas, termites, pill bugs, earwigs, bedbugs, and cockroaches.  Those last three we call “specialty bugs.”  You’d be surprised how many people call us with bedbugs,…

Seth Viso Eagle Scout Project: Scout Troop 711

On Saturday, August 29, Seth Viso’s friends, family, and fellow scouts gathered to paint the large restrooms at the new Hillcrest Christian School campus, former site of  Pinecrest Elementary School. Viso, a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 711, is working on his Eagle Scout project. He is 16 years old and is a sophomore at Beacon Hill Classical Academy.   As a Life Scout, a candidate for the Eagle Scout rank must develop, plan, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to a religious institution, school, or…

Enegren Brewing Company: Local, Handcrafted Beer

Chris Enegren started brewing beer in his college dorm room at Loyola Marymount University, but as he quickly outgrew his friend’s on-campus apartment stove, he knew he needed something bigger.  After a year of brewing stove to stove, his fellow Lacrosse teammate Joe Nascenzi offered his backyard and garage.  The rest is history, and in 2010 Chris, his brother Matt, and Joe co-founded Enegren Brewing Company with the goal of making handcrafted German lagers and ales for the people of Ventura County and beyond to enjoy.  However, like so many…