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A member of the Oxnard Police Department scoops out the ice cream during National Night Out. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Thursday, August 8, 2019

By Chris Frost

chris@tricountysentry.com

Oxnard—Pleasant Valley Park was the place to be on Aug. 6, as Oxnard celebrated National Night Out in a big way across the city.

 

Attendees at Pleasant Valley enjoyed free ice cream and got the chance to meet people and catch up on all things happening in the city.

 

National Night Out is an annual community-building event that promotes partnerships between the police and area residents and camaraderie within neighborhoods across America.

 

Pleasant Valley Estates Chairperson Rosanna Biggerstaff said this is the second time the neighborhood participated in National Night Out.

 

“This is so all the neighbors can come out and meet each other,” she said. “We put all the street names on our neighbor’s name tag, so you might come out and meet someone you already might have seen pass by.”

 

Some people recently retired from their job, she said, which means there are more people in the neighborhood willing to be more active.

 

“We do National Night Out, and it’s a great jumpstart to get people to come to our meetings,” she said. “I love talking to people and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces because they get free ice cream.”

 

Rosanna enlisted the help of her husband Lloyd at the sign-in table, and he was writing people’s names down and what street they lived on.

 

“We have neighborhood cleanups that happen once or twice a year, and we have our meetings that happen three or four times each year,” she said.

 

She did not plan to set any records with her ice cream intake.

 

“I’m already done, and I had to eat some of my granddaughter’s ice cream,” she said. “This is awesome to see some faces that I haven’t seen before.”

 

Lloyd Biggerstaff was working on the nametags while trying to familiarize himself with all the new names.

 

“The demographics have changed in this neighborhood,” he said. “Some of the folks here are from this neighborhood, and others are here from East Pleasant Valley and our neighborhood, so it’s a mixed bag of people.”

 

He loves seeing the kids play.

 

“This neighborhood used to be heavily Asian, and now it’s heavily Hispanic,” he said. “A lot of the names have changed, but I get to meet the kids and see how they’re doing. The Fire Department is here, and Officer Silva is here scooping ice cream. He is touching base with a lot of people in the neighborhood.” 

 

He too didn’t plan to set any ice cream eating records.

 

“I might have a scoop,” he laughed.

 

Lloyd comes to the park every day.

 

“My wife and I have been in this neighborhood for 27 years, and we’ve seen it ebb and flow,” he said. “I was telling Officer Silva that the neighborhood has improved over the last five years, and my wife is the chairperson for the neighborhood. We’re able to dedicate more time because we are both retired.”

 

Rosanna said her district councilwoman, Gabriela Basua, is interactive with the community.

 

“She’s helping us get our basketball court redone and resurfaced,” Rosanna said. “She is active in this neighborhood and returns emails and voice messages.”

 

Deputy City Manager Shiri Klima was out and about at the event and said everything going on at the park was terrific.

 

“I am going to eat a lot of ice cream and hang out with all these wonderful people,” she said. “There are the ready and resilient packets (from the Oxnard Fire Department) that we want to get out, so we are excited about that.”

 

She loves seeing all the residents and seeing all the beautiful communities in Oxnard.

 

“I get to meet everyday people and see the kids eat ice cream,” she said. “There are cute dogs, and I like seeing all the kids.”

 

If she hears feedback from the community that is disconcerting, her first impulse is to act upon the information.

 

“If you can send a quick text or call the right person,” she said. “A lot of it is putting people in touch with the right resources.”

 

Ottilie Banks was having a great time at the ice cream social and said she knows most everyone at the event.

 

“I’ve been here since 1974,” she said. “You have different people moving in and out, and unfortunately, some of the people have passed away. There are a lot of younger people moving in, which is good.”

 

She does not consider herself an ice cream eater but said her great-granddaughter loves ice cream a lot.

 

“She would live on ice cream if I would allow it,” she said. “She’ll only eat chocolate.”

 

During the summertime, she is a regular attendee at the park.

 

“I have great-grandkids, and during the summer I come every day,” she said. “I let them play, but one time I got stuck on the slide, so I don’t do that anymore.”