Area YMCAs reopen for business

The Southeast Ventura County YMCA will celebrate reopening and major renovations to its Simi Valley branch and the reopening of the Yarrow Family YMCA.

Activities will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sat., Jan. 8 at the Simi Valley Family YMCA, 3200 Cochran St., and Sat., Jan. 22 at the Yarrow Family YMCA, 31105 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Westlake Village.

Both days will have tours, kids’ activities, entertainment, and food. Free tacos will be served while they last.

Visitors during the two events will be able to take part in exercise classes and tour the facilities.

Face painting, arts and crafts, games, and a scavenger hunt will be offered for kids.

Guests can view a display with artwork by the children in the Art Trek art classes at the YMCA child care sites. The artwork will be judged with winners announced.

The facilities are keeping some of the popular programs introduced during the pandemic, including outdoor fitness areas and exercise classes as well as access to a library of exercise class videos for home viewing.

Learn more about cacti, succulents

The Conejo Cactus and Succulent Society will meet Mon., Jan. 3 at Cal Lutheran University’s Lundring Center, 130 Overton Court, Thousand Oaks.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the meeting is at 7.

Dean Karras will present a botanical travelogue of his expedition to Baja, Mexico, in 2018.

He will discuss his 1,000-mile trip and his field observations of cacti, agaves, euphorbias, pachycauls, and dudleyas. He will also address how the climate, geology, and ecology of the Baja region shapes the unique landscape and the plants that inhabit it.

Karras is the founder and owner of Gnosis Nursery in Ramona, California. He has been a Palomar Club member since 2017 and member of SDCSS since 2019.

Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free. Each new guest and new member will receive a free plant.

For more information, go to or email

It’s a new year for local writers

Conejo Valley Writers will meet in person from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sat., Jan. 8 at the Gobel Adult Community Center, Foothill Lupin Room, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks.

The program is “New Year, New Project, New Progress.” Writers should bring a sample of their writing of 1,000 words or less to read and for critique.

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