Full Circle: Former Refugee Gives Back as U.S. Doctor

Dr. Anthony Phan has come a long way after fleeing Saigon as a young boy, leaving both parents behind and hoping not to starve before he reached a U.S. ship friendly enough to take him and his brothers aboard. Today, Phan is a local physician and doctor of internal medicine, geriatrics and integrative medicine. He has a long list of credentials and accomplishments — including studying under Dr. Ben Carson — and a passion for prevention and longevity science. It’s a kind of miracle that Phan made it out of…

Our Generation, Our Fight: ZOE International

Twenty years or so ago, when Michael and Carol Hart first heard that adults could purchase a little boy or girl for sex off of a menu on the streets of Thailand, they couldn’t believe crimes like these were taking place in our day. While this generation had not been present to fight past horrors like transatlantic slavery and the Holocaust, Carol declared that if this was happening while she was alive, then this was her generation and her fight. God soon called the Harts to start ZOE International (a…

Kids, Parents, or Grandparents: Who are Community Playgrounds Really For?

Playgrounds are part of the fabric of American culture and community life. They enhance schools, community parks and recreational sites everywhere. For children, playgrounds are often the focus of recess activities. On weekends, they provide places for adventure and relaxation with friends and family. When given the opportunity, most kids spend hours hopping from one piece of equipment to another, playing games of make-believe and forming new friendships. Almost all of us can easily remember favorite moments and events that occurred at various parks in our lives. But who are…

How Conejo Valley Gets Its Weather Reports

When I moved to the Northgate area near Hillcrest and Westlake Blvd seven years ago, the Conejo Valley was a black hole regarding weather reporting. The National Weather Service (NWS) relies heavily on volunteers to fill in the areas between the airports for timely weather information and to create local climate records. These “cooperative weather observers” have instrumentation which has been inspected and approved by the NWS set up at their homes or businesses. In 2015, the NWS routinely provided data from Simi Valley, Woodland Hills, and Camarillo, but nothing…

Tips to Avoid Social Media Cybercrime

We love social media these days. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many others can lead to lots of sharing and fun, but also carry significant risks. This is particularly true now that cybercriminals are collating data on you from multiple sources to use at a later date. Anyone participating in a social network online assumes some risk of becoming a victim of a con artist.  It’s always important to remember that once you put something on the Internet, it is there… forever. It never disappears, you can’t completely remove it,…

Bring Back Competition

Congrats to Westlake High School Boys Lacrosse (15-2). They made the D1 CIF playoffs and lost by 1 point to Los Alamitos in a nail-biter… Quick question: Out of 31 total teams, 25 teams in CIF Boys Lacrosse D1 made the playoffs. Only 6 teams did not. I’d like to know – Why did basically every team make it to the playoffs? Congrats to Newbury Park HS Girls Lacrosse (15-2). They made the D1 CIF playoffs and lost in the championship game vs. Foothill. Great season, girls! Congrats on getting…

Citizens on Mission to Boost Military Morale

American soldiers serving remotely overseas combat more than just enemies to democracy, the elements, and rough terrain; they often fight isolation, anxiety, and sometimes boredom.  Vietnam War veteran Rick McHenry understands these challenges and wants to help by sending a bit of “home” to American military members.  McHenry recalled the importance of care packages during his service, saying, “When I was in the field, I used to get cookies and letters from my mom. I saw other guys getting care packages with gum, candy, and playing cards, and they were…

A Boy and His Boats — How Skip Toller Started ElectraCraft At His Hometown Lake

In 1970, Westlake Village was still a rural area with wide-open fields of roaming cattle and a man-made lake in the center. The city was young but families were taking root, and the appealing lake lifestyle attracted many. One of those families included a young boy named Alex, who, along with his parents John and Leatrice and his sister Teresa, had just moved to a house near the top of the lake. As the lake evolved, so too did Alex, who went on to leave his own mark on the…

Celebrating a Free Nation on Flag Day

Monday, June 14, 2021, is Flag Day, an annual holiday that celebrates the history and symbolism of our American flag.  The official American flag was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, in the midst of the Revolutionary War.  The Declaration of Independence required the adoption of an American flag because each colony or special interest had its own flag prior to that time.   The origins of the Stars and Stripes are part of American folklore.  Many believe that Betsy Ross was the actual designer and personally sewed…

The Little Known Ride of Jack Jouett

Thanks largely to an 1860 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, most Americans have heard of the “midnight ride of Paul Revere.”  Although romanticized by Longfellow, Paul Revere is a figure in U.S. history who should rightfully be celebrated.  But was there a far more obscure ride that may have had a greater influence on American history than Revere’s? By 1781, six years into the American Revolution, the British had overrun much of Virginia, the largest American colony, in an attempt to severely damage the Colonial war effort.  On the night…