Barbara Penney

On June 6th, 2017, Barbara Penney passed away at the age of 78 years old. Mrs. Penney was an incredibly active member of the community, and she is survived by her Husband, Thomas Roger Penney, her children Karen and Brian, and her grandchildren Addison and Ellyanne Penney. Some of the groups and organizations that Mrs. Penney was active in include: the Lions Club, she was an Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce, she volunteered at the local Presbyterian Church she was a member of, she collected bottles for the troops (along with funds for the troops), and she did other community-event centered activities regularly. Mrs. Penney has been described by people that knew her as “an incredibly special person,” “a joy to know,” “a very nice person!” Mrs. Penney may have passed on, but the work that she did for so many will not be forgotten soon, and she should act as a role-model for others in the community. Every city needs people that will step up and contribute in order for that community to strive. Barbara Penney was one of those people, and the community of Moorpark is worse off with her being gone.

 Barbara Ann Penney was born June 24, 1938 in Windsor, Ontario Canada. She married Thomas Roger Penney on June 20th, 1959 in Windsor, Ontario Canada. Mrs. Penney, along with her husband Roger, immigrated to the United States in 1962 (they first moved to Chicago). In 1976, the Penney family moved to California where they have largely remained ever since. She was a loving wife and mother.

Mrs. Penney was a member of the Lions Clubs in Hemet, where she collected eyeglasses to be donated to low income individuals. She also organized the collection of pull tabs with the Central Coast Lions clubs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Loma Linda. Her passion for service was only matched by her drive and determination to help those who were in need. She was a member of the Moorpark Women’s Club, and regularly volunteered at community events like Moorpark Country Days, and events hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Penney also helped raised funds for troops.

Christianity played a large part in Mrs. Penney’s life. It was through the inspiration of God’s Word that drove her to be the best possible version of herself– it led her to give, volunteer, and to put the needs of others before her own. Her family was an important point of her life, but so was the community of Moorpark. Mrs. Penney was also a social butterfly who embraced friendships, acquaintances, and meeting new people.

Mrs. Penney’s story, although sad and we wish her family members the best, is not entirely uncommon for the people of Moorpark who love and give back to this community. It is the duty of citizens, regardless of the size of the city they live in, to support and help their communities; to give their time and effort to their less fortunate neighbors, and to exemplify what it means to live in a community with other human beings by helping them.

Scott Juceam: Entrepreneur and Advocate

Scott Juceam: Entrepreneur and Advocate

Scott Juceam is a Southern California entrepreneur that started The Tax Defense Group, a tax company that helps people deal with the IRS and back taxes. The Tax Defense Group, as a company, possesses a team that has more than 50 years of combined experience in the tax industry. Everyone is responsible for paying their taxes, but sometimes people make mistakes and end up owing more money to the IRS. This is what Juceam’s company specializes in. The Tax Defense Group helps taxpayers exercise their right to defend their income and settle back taxes instead of facing harsh IRS collection action(s).

Scott Juceam, and the team at The Tax Defense Group, never make false promises about how much money they can save their clients. However, they have had a 100% success rate in easing the tax burdens of all their clients through their negotiations with the IRS.

In addition to running The Tax Defense Group, Scott Juceam advocates for the prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). In May 2006, Juceam’s life changed forever when his infant daughter, Hannah Rose Juceam, was pronounced dead after being left in the care of her nanny. The nanny admitted to shaking the child in order to wake her, and spent two years in custody for charges of murder and child abuse. However, despite the evidence and the 10-2 jury ruling in favor of guilty, the case eventually ended in a mistrial. In the 11 years since the tragic event, Juceam has dedicated his life to preventing SBS.

“It feels like yesterday, and it feels like 100 years ago,” said Scott Juceam, when asked about his daughter’s passing. “There’s a learning lesson in a decade… I’ve learned how to take this terrible pain and try to share it in a way that is tempered right, where people will be inspired or motivated to do something.” As of today, Juceam has given more than 500 speeches to first responders, and other people who need to understand the pain that SBS brings.

“Before my daughter took her last breath, that is where I told her, ‘I promise you that I will let the world know who you are, and I will do everything I can to stop Shaken Baby Syndrome from existing.”

The case with Hannah Rose Juceam ended in a mistrial due to the testimony of a false “expert” witness. In recent years, there have been several of these “expert” witnesses taking the stand in cases involving SBS, who question the validity of SBS diagnoses. Because of this, Scott also advocates that there be proper vetting performed on all expert witnesses involved in SBS trials.

Every year in April, the nation observes Child Abuse Prevention Month, and one of the ways that Juceam is currently helping fight Shaken Baby Syndrome is through raising awareness of it. City councils, schools, and universities around the country are spreading awareness of child abuse issues, through planting “pinwheel gardens”. The gardens symbolize solidarity with children who have been abused, and create an opportunity for passerby to learn about how they can also help to prevent child abuse.

Today, Scott Juceam continues to fight against Shaken Baby Syndrome, and against child abuse altogether.

To learn more about Scott, visit his website by clicking here. Or you can visit his blog by clicking here.

Will There Be Another Michael Jackson?

Will There Be Another Michael Jackson?

Michael Jackson was indisputably the King of a musical era. He was a powerhouse performer with a boundless passion for entertaining the world. His presence on the stage captivated the attention of millions and continues to do so long after his passing. His legacy and musical style continues to reverberate throughout music today, with artists such as The Weeknd putting their own spin on Jackson’s iconic style in several songs. But will another artist ever come close to reaching Michael Jackson’s level of fame or influence in today’s digital world?

The short answer: Maybe. The long answer gets a bit more complicated.

Michael Jackson’s most influential work was Thriller. The album sold more than 46 million copies, and continues to hold that record today. The issue, is that modern day music sales hardly deal with physical copies. Honestly, when was the last time that you went to the store to buy an album? You probably just went on YouTube or Spotify to listen to that song you couldn’t get out of your head. This is where the biggest discrepancy lies. Even though Jackson’s Thriller album was such an iconic hit, it wasn’t released in the same way that albums release today. People didn’t listen to music then the same way that they listen to music today.

When Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson were producing Thriller, Jones said that his goal with the album was to “get kids out of the video arcades and back into the record stores.” Well, he was successful for a brief time, but here in 2017 the record stores AND the video arcades have landed in our pockets.

People don’t go out to buy physical copies of music like they used to. Streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube, Tidal (well kind of) and others are completely dominating the market. Because of this, it’s almost impossible to draw comparisons between artists then and artists now. 30 years ago, and long before the internet, only a few artists at a time could hold the spotlight. Now on the other hand, famous artists are a dime a dozen. People listen to the music of artists all over the world thanks to the internet, and no one person can hold the title of King. Instead of listening to entire albums, people create playlists of their favorite songs and listen to them on shuffle. Pop music has reached a sort of saturation, where one song is popular only until the next big hit comes out. Long gone are the days when everyone you knew was listening to the same album right when it dropped.

In short, the musical atmosphere is completely different.

But there is a sect of people who believe that the next King of Pop has already risen. They claim that he has already established himself as a musical legend. They claim that that person is Drake.

It’s a bit of a long shot I’ll be honest, but when you look at the numbers it’s easy to see why people draw the comparison. For one, Drakes 2016 album, Views, gained 13 American Music Award nominations, which broke Michael Jackson’s 32 year record of 11 nominations for Thriller in 1984. Michael Jackson received his 11 nominations on his sixth album, while Drake received his 13 on his fourth album. On top of that, we have to take video stats into account. Granted, Michael Jackson didn’t have YouTube when he was making music videos, but it doesn’t diminish how important the platform is when it comes to fame. As of today, Drake has more than 3 billion views on his music videos. That’s 3,000,000,000 views. Heck that number alone was probably some of the inspiration for his 2016 album’s title. With so many views from around the world, and record breaking statistics Drake could actually become the next King of Pop (if he isn’t already).

May is National Barbecue Month. Yes, Really

May is National Barbecue Month. Yes, Really

Just about every month is National something month, and May happens to be the month of barbecue. Yes, May is National Barbecue Month. The weather is getting hotter, so there’s no better time to whip out those barbecues (not grills, mind you) and take part in an American tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

The original method of barbecuing was developed by indigenous Caribbean tribes. When Christopher Columbus and his band of explorers encountered these tribes, they adopted their cooking method. They called it, “barbacoa”. The Spanish explorers brought the cooking technique with them as they traveled North, and eventually it made its way to the colonies. In 1540, explorer Hernando de Soto recorded that he, along with the Mississippi Chicksaw Tribe, cooked a feast of pork over the barbacoa. No one really knows where the term “barbecue” originated, but its widely believed to have originated from the original term “barbacoa”.

Eventually the tradition of barbecue was adopted wholeheartedly by early Americans and transformed into the cooking culture that we love. To this day, the most traditional barbecue joints only serve pork, as the original BBQ-ers of the South only had access to cheap cuts of the meat. They used pork instead of beef because pig farming at the time was incredibly low-maintenance and far cheaper than beef. Cows required massive amounts of feed and closed spaces, while pigs could roam around and fend for themselves. The cheap cuts of pork needed to be tenderized to be enjoyable, which is what led to the “low and slow” nature of barbecue cooking.

Today there are 4 distinct styles of American barbecue – most of the variations brought to America by immigrants. The original “whole hog” style barbecue is thought to have originated in the eastern colonies. There it was perfected when British colonists introduced the idea of basting the meat with sauce to preserve the juices inside. The Britons also preferred a tart sauce with their barbecue, and that tartness can still be found in North Carolina barbecue sauce. In South Carolina on the other hand, a mustard-based sauce was adopted, due to the large German and French immigrant population in the area.

May is National Barbecue Month

North Carolina BBQ

The barbecue fad moved west and settled in Texas, where locals began applying the Carolina cooking methods to beef instead of pork.

May is National Barbecue Month

Texas BBQ

The fad also landed in Memphis, Tennessee, where a sweeter, tomato-based barbecue sauce was born, due to the city’s easy access to molasses.

May is National Barbecue Month

Memphis BBQ

 Barbecue eventually found its way to Kansas City, brought there in the early 1900s by a man named Henry Perry. Perry’s method of barbecuing is said to have defined Kansas City barbecue. Kansas City barbecue combines Carolina and Texas barbecue, while adding its own zing. Barbecue in Kansas City includes both pork and beef, and a sweet sauce that you won’t find anywhere else. Barbecue experts call Kansas City barbecue the “ultimate amalgamation of East and West barbecue.”

May is National Barbecue Month

Kansas City BBQ

Despite all this, history does little to describe the actual flavor and smell of rich, down home barbecue. Barbecue lovers from around the world make pilgrimages to America’s “Barbecue Belt”, to try the four barbecue styles that are steeped in American tradition.

5 Of The Most Influential Californians

5 Of The Most Influential Californians

Californians have played a pivotal role in American history, making groundbreaking contributions in the fields of science, medicine, film, music and more over the course of the last century. Today we’re going to highlight a few whose contributions to the world made a lasting impact. Let’s jump right into it.

1. Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

5 of the Most Influential Californians

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, born in San Francisco California, was an iconic world changer. He was an entrepreneur, inventor, and CEO of Apple Inc. Among Job’s many notable achievements, the invention of the iPhone was perhaps the most influential. Jobs is the one who made our constant connection with each other possible, back when Apple released the first iPhone in June of 2007. Not even a decade later, we’re still seeing the massive echoes of his work. The release of the iPhone sparked the global smartphone revolution. Some studies estimate that 77% of Americans use a smartphone, and more than 50% of the global population use one. The number of global smartphone users is only expected to grow, with some experts estimating that there will be 6.1 billion users by 2020!

Although Jobs is most known for the iPhone in today’s age, he first came to fame when him and co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, released the first successful mass-produced personal computer, the Apple II. Jobs was also the executive producer for many classic Pixar films including Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and several others. He was a man who lived to influence the world with his creations.

2. John Muir (1838-1914)

5 of the Most Influential Californians

John Muir

John Muir, a.k.a., John of the Mountains, was an American naturalist who is most famous for establishing the Yosemite Valley as an American national park. Although John was born in Scotland, he moved to America at the age of 11, and spent much of his life preserving California’s natural habitats. After he spent some time traveling throughout the country and the world, Muir eventually settled in San Francisco California. There, he read of a place called Yosemite Valley – a place that he had never seen before. Intrigued by what he read, he decided to visit Yosemite for himself. Upon seeing the valley for the first time, Muir notes “being overwhelmed by the landscape…” He soon fell in love with Yosemite Valley, and decided to continue living deep in its woods despite often being unemployed and without any money. Muir was sustained solely by the environment and the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which he would read under the stars at night. He would travel alone with nothing but a bit of tea, a loaf of bread, and some of Emerson’s work.

Muir soon became a “fixture in the valley”, who was well respected by celebrities, scientists, and artists alike, for his keen knowledge of Yosemite that he vividly recounted through story. Muir would later meet with Theodore Roosevelt, and even Emerson himself due to his extensive knowledge of the Yosemite Valley. Once Muir became known as a reputable expert of Yosemite, he submitted a bill to Congress to turn Yosemite into a national park. Congress listened, and passed a bill in 1890 to make Yosemite a protected national park, per Muir’s recommendations. Today Yosemite still exists as a symbol of the natural beauty of California. In many ways, it looks the same today as it did when Muir was living in it due to his efforts.

3. Sally Ride (1951-2012)

5 of the Most Influential Californians

Sally Ride

Sally Ride is best known for being the youngest American astronaut, and first American woman to ever go into space. However, many of her greatest accomplishments in her life happened before she ever left the atmosphere. Prior to being an astronaut, the Encino born rocket scientist worked as the capsule communicator for two space shuttle flights, and helped to develop the Canadarm robot arm – a critical part of a space shuttle, that helps to deploy and capture payloads. In addition, Ride would later provide NASA with invaluable information that led to identifying the cause of the Challenger explosion of 1986. Ride efforts helped to ensure safe space travel for the future – an accomplishment she is usually unrecognized for.

4. Jane Stanford (1828-1905)

5 of the Most Influential Californians

Jane Stanford

Although her husband Leland is most commonly known as being the founder of Stanford University, it was Jane Stanford that gave the university the legacy that it has today. Stanford University was founded in 1891 by Leland and Jane Stanford in honor of their deceased son. After their son’s tragic death, Leland said to Jane, “The children of California shall be our children.” Only two years after the university was founded, Leland Stanford met an unexpected death, leaving his wife Jane with the responsibilities of managing the university. Leland’s death crippled the university financially, but instead of letting Stanford University close, Jane dedicated her life to saving and maintaining it. To pay for the university’s exorbitant expenses, Jane paid for the school’s expenses out of her own pocket. Under her direction, Stanford University began to focus on the arts, and science. When the institution’s financial situation became worse, Jane took it upon herself to travel to London to sell her jewel collection, so that books and supplies could be purchased for the school. Although Jane didn’t find a buyer in London, she directed to the university’s trustees that upon her death, the jewels be donated to the school as a permanent endowment. The donation, originally worth $500,000, is now worth more than $20 million! Her contribution has funded the school for more than 100 years, providing thousands of students with the opportunity for higher education.

5. George Lucas (1944-present)

5 of the Most Influential Californians

George Lucas

Even if you have never seen the Star Wars movies, you have heard of George Lucas. The Modesto-born Californian is responsible for creating one of the highest grossing film series of all time. His first hit, Star Wars (1977), is the third highest grossing film in the world (when adjusting for inflation), raking in nearly 3 billion dollars. Lucas founded Lucasfilm Entertainment, which has gone on to create several cultural classics such as Indiana Jones, as well as the LucasArts Entertainment Company, LLC, that has released cult classic video games such as Star Wars: Battlefront.

Lucas’ work in entertainment has made him insanely wealthy, with a net worth of $5.1 billion. However, Lucas has pledged to donate half of his fortune to philanthropical work. Half of his fortune goes to “The Giving Pledge”, an effort led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, that encourages the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate some of their wealth to world charities. Lucas is one of the many artists, visionaries, philanthropists that hail from California.

A $50.00 3D Printed Prosthetic

A $50.00 3D Printed Prosthetic

Jose Delgado Jr. is a 55-year old man who was born without the majority of his left hand. Jose had been using a bulky electronic prosthetic that works, but is far from practical. Two of his fingers had to be locked into place, the device would run out of battery fast, and it was heavy. However, with the accessibility and creative output of 3D printers, Jose learned of a 3D printed prosthetic solution that would be cheap, and would allow him to have higher functionality with his left hand than his old prosthetic offered.

This led Jose to get in contact with a man named Jeremy Simon– who happily agreed to create a 3D printed hand for him. The design for the hand is completely open source and can be found for free at thingiverse.com, a hub for sharing creations that can be printed with 3D printers. Since the blueprint for the device is free, the only thing that has to be paid for is the cost of the materials.

To give you a sense of costs, the old prosthetic Jose was using came in at a whopping $42,000 and lacked functionality! His 3D printed hand, conversely, only cost $50.00. The best part is that Jose (and countless others who have printed this hand out for themselves or for a loved one) has reported that the design and function of his 3D printed hand is superior to his old expensive prosthetic. Jose says that his new 3D printed hand gives him the ability to carry twenty pounds, drive his car with greater ease, and carry boxes.

Jorge Zuniga is the man who invented this design– which is most commonly known as the “Cyborg Beast.” Zuniga could have easily sold the Cyborg Beast design and lived off of the money. However, instead he gave it away for free so that the maximum amount of people could reap the benefits from its usage.

These types of developments are becoming more and more common. Thingiverse.com already has hundreds of different prosthetics that are ready to print, and that are available for free. There are even prosthetics for dogs who are missing limbs! People want to help out other people. Even if that person is someone that they may never meet in real life. Jose is a great example of what technology is capable of providing for individuals who are missing extremities! The pure joy he had when talking about his new hand was a clear demonstration of how technology can change lives.

Click here to see a video about it.