ePilot, Vol. II, No. 11, May 2016

The Tour Comes to Port Hueneme

The peloton on Ventura Road

The Amgen Tour of California passed through Port Hueneme for the first time in its 10 year history. The difficult third stage saw the riders speed into town along Hueneme Road, turn onto Ventura Road, and exit along Channel Islands Boulevard on their way to the difficult climb up Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara County.

French rider Julian Alaphilipe captured the lead by overpowering young American rider Neilson Powless to the top of the Gibraltar climb. Protected by his Etixx-Quick Step teammates, it was a lead he would carry all the way to Sacramento. 

Having lost last year’s Amgen TOC to current World Champion Peter Sagan by only 3 seconds, Alaphilippe husbanded every second, once again making the Tour a showcase of young talent.

The First Turn

Santa Rosa based Team BMC dominated the team competition by nearly four and a half minutes over second place Axeon Hagens Berman, taking the second and third podium spots for Rohan Dennis and American Brent Bookwalter.  As team General Manager, Jim Ochowicz asserted in an exclusive interview with the ePilot, they came to win.  Nonetheless, despite all the firepower, no BMC rider was able to overtake the young Frenchman.

Still, the strong showing at the Amgen Tour of California bodes well for BMC’s prospects at the Tour de France.

The crowd waits for the action along Ventura Road
The Amgen Tour of California always attracts big crowds, and Port Hueneme was no exception.  The first sprint points of the day were awarded on Ventura Road witnessed by a fine turnout.  With some great roads for cycling, Ventura County is usually on the Tour route. Cycling fans can expect another great opportunity to see the world’s best next year.

 World Trade Week

Kirk Lesh of California Lutheran University presents as Ray Bowman looks on

A celebration of World Trade Week was held at the Oxnard Harbor District with representatives of agriculture, industry, education, and several consulates in attendance.

Kirk Lesh of the California Lutheran University School of Management and Ray Bowman, the Director of the Small Business Development Center announced an initiative to provide resources for local business in analysis, compliance, and technical resources. 

Dr. Lesh has been engaged in statistical analysis of import and export data for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to determine “what is being imported from where” in an effort to “expand the map” for local companies.  “Once we understand the patterns, we can develop the projects,” he explained. The goal is to “put proper resources with firms that need them.”

Mr. Bowman asserted that having the University involved creates “institutional learning opportunities”.  Cal Lutheran is offering internships in the field of international trade.

“80% of growth is outside our borders.” “Trade has outstripped our infrastructure to sustain it,” Mr. Bowman concluded.

While the Trans Pacific Partnership and other free trade agreements have come in for much criticism during the current election cycle, nothing but support was heard from those in attendance.

Harold Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Limoneira Company made a strong case for the importance of global trade. “If we wanted to survive, we needed to embrace a global model.”  With more of the world “moving into the middle class,” Limoneira finds itself faced with the need for year ’round production.  Argentina is the largest producer of lemons. Mr. Edwards said, “we need to embrace that production.” 

Taking a swipe at a certain Presidential candidate, Mr. Edwards asserted that one of the greatest threats to his business was “ethno-centrism”.  Advocating for “more willingness to embrace workers from other places,”  he said, “We can’t let him build the wall.”

“Free trade is what keeps the world improving,” Mr. Edwards said. “I’ve been a free trader all my life.”


Chumash Culture at the Museum

Julie Tummamait-Stenslie presents at the Port Hueneme Museum

In a powerful and often moving performance at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum, Julie Tumamait-Stenslie gave a presentation on Chumashculture and history.  Opening with prayer and including stories, legends, and songs, she carried the audience along for a tour of a different world.

Recalling how her grandfather recognized her as “the one” to carry on the traditions that had been handed down for generations, she acknowledged always feeling his spirit and the powerful presence of all her ancestors.  “I’m the Indian in the family,” she said.

From mundane matters like how to properly prepare cherry pits and make beads, to legends and tales of life on the islands, Ms. Tumamait-Stenslie left her listeners with a deep understanding and appreciation of our first people.


History by the Minute

Beverly Merrill Kelley

Let’s face it, we’re all busy people.  We’d love to learn more about our hometown but who has the time? This column will feature highlights that can be read in a minute or two.  And rest assured, the information comes from the considerable resources of the Port Hueneme Historical Society.  If your interest is piqued to learn more, visit the museum on Market Street or send your questions via email to kelley@callutheran.edu.

A copy of the deed now cherished by the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum reports that Mary “Mollie” Bard not only donated land on the street named for Thomas Scott (Thomas Bard’s employer) but also in 1914 had a Craftsman bungalow (listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989) constructed to serve as both a clubhouse and a library.  She sold it to the Women’s Improvement Center for one dollar.

Travel back in time with me, though, to the turn of the 20th century, when the population of Hueneme was dwindling to fewer than 200 souls.  The decision by the Oxnard brothers to build their sugar beet factory (a major local employer) miles out of town was disastrous for Hueneme.  Former residents not only moved their businesses to what would become Oxnard but also their houses.  And as folks departed, they left behind vacant lots, broken fences and out-of-control shrubbery and weeds.

In 1909, fifteen of the little town’s most prominent women (including Lucy Levy, Mrs. J. E. Dewar and Clara Gerberding) founded an organization they called the “Women’s Improvement Club.”

WIC members tasked themselves with rounding up stray cattle and horses, boarding up abandoned properties, painting over graffiti, mending fences and sidewalks, planting flowers, shrubs and trees as well as in later years providing dance lessons to the young people, contributing to the Red Cross during the war years, and opening a public library to fill the need that arose when the library located at Berylwood, the Bard family home, was no longer open to the public.

The Museum features a photograph of a beautiful woman in Victorian garb looking out the window of Bard’s library at a veritable winter wonderland.  She has been identified as Sarah Blanchard, the eldest daughter of Nathan Weston Blanchard and his wife Elizabeth, who donated the money to build the Santa Paula Library, originally named after their first child Dean Hobbs Blanchard. The Blanchard Community Library opened to the public in 1910, and Sarah served as the first librarian.

Back in Hueneme, the book collection that comprised the WIC library in 1909 was initially housed at the Ancient Order of United Workers hall until the Scott Street house was finished in 1915. Miss Annie(Bagust), the sister of Clara Gerberding, was given the largely unpaid job of librarian (1909 to 1923).

The modest holdings were housed in the Women’s Improvement Club and operated as a branch of the Oxnard Library. By 1923, library circulation would reach 1100 books and the new librarian would be paid the princely salary of $20 dollars a month.

Brick Wahl

Arctic Blue

Wow, just read another article about the end of the polar ice cap. It’s amazing to think that the Arctic Ocean is fast becoming navigable. It’s not an if anymore, but a when. Almost daily there are reports in the news and articles in the press about warming air and warming seas.

This article in the The Atlantic, Huge Waves in the Arctic Demonstrate Ice Loss—and Aggravate It, explains how enormous waves in the Arctic Ocean, formed in the newly open water and stirred by the increasing winds that come with open water, melt the ice cap even more, creating more open water, more winds, then more open water, more winds, more open water…. It’s a process we can actually see, in real time. It’s nothing like the invisible CO2 build up, or the incremental (if inexorable) temperature rises. These are just great oceanic swells in an open ocean. Beautiful blue water for miles. Broken bits of icebergs floating, melting. The waves slosh and wash and crash against the ice pack, wearing it down, breaking it up, melting it away. White ice becomes beautiful blue water. Inclement weather kicks up wind, as inclement weather does, just like winds kick up on a real unfrozen ocean, an ocean you can’t walk on this side of Jesus, an ocean that won’t freeze you in solid, trapped, doomed. An ocean that a hard shelled boat, not necessarily an icebreaker even, just not too flimsy, can move through, transporting goods or people or resources along the Northern Sea Route.

That’s what they call the open water which lies year round along the Siberian Arctic coast, the Northern Sea Route. Freighters ply the route now, from Europe to the Far East, where once they crossed the Indian Ocean. It’s a third less distance (and no pirates). There’s no dust, they say, and no smog. The water is a deep blue and the ice floating by a range of gorgeous pastels. New sea life, abhorring a vacuum, has moved in, or begun staying year round. It’s a brand new world.

The ancient arctic creatures cling to shore. The arctic foxes lose their snow white sheen. On shore the mosquitos and black flies are in clouds thicker than ever. Roads and villages disappear into liquefying permafrost, and great holes appear, unexplained. Travel overland is treacherous. Offshore, though, a few miles beyond the land, the water is blue and the going smooth and lovely and profitable.

But thinking beyond, two or three decades from now, merchant ships will no longer be hugging the Siberian coast like ancient galleys following the Mediterranean coast, terrified of storms.

Entire new trade routes will open up, intercontinental routes. Perhaps within a generation, and definitely within two, you could travel from Chicago in the middle of North America to Novosibirsk in the middle of Asia on a seagoing vessel. You’d leave Chicago and sail though various Great Lakes and up the St. Lawrence and into the Atlantic between Labrador and Greenland. A larger vessel then would continue on a northeasterly course, rounding Greenland and heading toward Siberia by passing north of Iceland and south of Svalbard. A smaller vessel, though, could slip west into a blue water passage through Nunavut (née Northwest Territories) that leads to other passages between the islands in the Canadian Arctic and follow the fishing fleets and tramp steamers and cruise ships past Ellesmere Island and into the open Arctic Ocean.

What a sight that will be, a grand vista of the deepest blue. Dolphins, new to these waters, will splash along side. Whales will loll and spout. The ocean waters, free of year round ice and warmed and lit by the sun, will explode with plankton, krill and pelagic fish. The glorious summer light never turns to darkness over the entire trans-oceanic trek, and perhaps your ship will take you over the Pole itself, where northward turns instantly southward.

Then on the far side of the Arctic Ocean you’ll enter the Kara Sea, within sight of Siberia, then continue into the narrow gulf that is the largest riverine estuary in the world, hundreds of miles long, beginning in tundra and ending deep in the taiga. There you’d enter the mouth of the Ob River and fresh water.

The final leg is southbound up the Ob, surrounded by the vast Siberian forests that fade after a thousand miles into endless, treeless steppe. The nights lengthen, the moon and stars reappear. Finally, after two thousand miles on the river you dock at the sprawling metropolis of Novosibirsk. A journey entirely by water from the center of one immense continent into the center of an even more immense continent by way of an ocean that was once icebound and impassable.
This isn’t a possible future. It’s not science fiction. It is the future. And while we dread the environmental catastrophe that accompanies it, the mass extinctions and desertification and struggles for water towards the equator, there are young entrepreneurs right now in Siberia and Greenland and struggling Inuit communities dreaming about all of this. Dreaming of new ports and new cities and new trade routes.

A few of these dreamers will die fabulously wealthy old men, and their walls will be adorned with pictures of polar bears and igloos and glaciers and icebergs, and they’ll tell their grandkids stories of the old days, when you could walk all the way to the North Pole.

Their grandkids will look across all that blue water and not believe a word of it.

 Read more Brick Wahl at brickwahl.com


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The Ray D. Prueter Library will host a Red Tails World War II Airplane Showcase and Tuskegee Airmen public education presentation by Buddy Gibson, Lawrence Lee and Bruce Stewart on Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. 

The presenters will display their collections of Red Tail World War II airplane models and figurines of significant individuals from African American history.  A brief film of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II will be shown as part of the two-hour event, followed by a question and answer session. 

This educational presentation on a little known part of American history will be enjoyed by adults and students of all ages.

Buddy Gibson is a retired veteran who has pursued his interest in preserving the history of the Red Tail fighter pilots by sharing his collection of historically accurate models of the planes they flew.  He is accompanied by Lawrence Lee, whose collection of historical figures are H.E.R.O.E.S (an acronym for “Honoring Excellence Regardless of Ethnic Stigmas”) that he has chosen and researched for the Showcase.  Bruce Stewart, as the son of one of the Tuskegee Airmen, shares an interest and passion for preserving the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

For further information, please contact the Ray D. Prueter Library at (805) 486-5460.  The Library is located at 510 Park Avenue, Port Hueneme, CA. The Ventura County Library is available 24/7 at www.vencolibrary.org.

History of the Harbor at the Museum

As a part of its Distinguished Speaker series, The Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum (220 Market Street) will host Will Berg, the Director of Marketing for the Oxnard Harbor District, on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 11:00 AM and Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 11:00 AM.

The History of the Port of Hueneme is so rich and complex that it’s going to take two presentations to tell the entire story.  The building of a deep-water port at Hueneme was no easy feat.  Beginning with Thomas Bard’s vision, which he then shared with his son Richard, the narrative of the family’s struggle to build a port for Ventura County incudes a number of twists and turns—not the least of which was the complete takeover by the Navy during World War II.

Berg’s first speech (June 4)  highlights the difficult birth and financial impact of the Port of Hueneme from 1865 to 1975.

The second speech (June 11) chronicles the phenomenal growth of Ventura County’s quintessential niche port to, among others, the fresh produce and auto carrier industries from 1975 to the present.

A third generation Oxnard native, Berg has called Port Hueneme home for the past 16 years.  He holds an MA degree in Comparative & International Politics from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Conversant in Mandarin Chinese, he also studied at the National Political Science University in Taiwan and is a graduate of California State University at Chico.

Berg has lectured aboard cruise ships calling on Asian destinations along the Pacific Rim and spent 15 years as a shore excursion specialist with some of the world’s most prestigious cruise lines. He has a deep knowledge of the Port’s operations, intrinsic value, and fascinating history that he is excited to share with a wider audience.

Port of Hueneme 1939

Hidden Track: “Opulence” — Tom McDermott



Copyright 2016 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:


516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher




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