NEIGHBORS : Meatless Market : The popular tri-tip stand was banished from Ventura Farmers Markets.


Remember “Where’s the beef”? Well, that’s what customers at the two Ventura farmers markets have been asking since the beginning of July. That’s when the tri-tip stand, a fixture at the Saturday market for 5 1/2 years was closed by the county Department of Public Health Services.

No, there was nothing tainted, nothing dirty. Just a new interpretation of an old law. In February, the attorney general’s office decided to prohibit nonprofit organizations from selling food to the public from an outdoor barbecue, unless certain conditions were met. Unfortunately for the folks with the Certified Farmers Market Assn., they couldn’t meet those conditions.

“We have to be within so many feet of a commercial establishment,” said Karen Wetzel, head of the association. “Our locations just aren’t conducive to that.”


So do people question Wetzel often about the departed tri-tips? “My life has been hell,” she said.

Over the last couple of weeks the lyrics of “Maybe I Mean Yes,” a song by country-Western singer Holly Dunn, have been at the center of a national controversy. But the song was yanked off local airwaves as early as a month ago.

Ray Taylor, a disc jockey at Ventura radio station KHAY, heard the song for the first time when he played it on the air in late June. “It blew me away. It sent shivers up my spine,” he said, referring to the lyrics that critics say promote rape. “I said, ‘Wow, I’m never going to play that again.’ ”

A sample of the offending lines: “When I say ‘no’ I mean ‘maybe.’ Or maybe I mean ‘yes.”’

Taylor said it was the first song he’d ever determined was “dangerous” and told management that he wouldn’t play it again. “I couldn’t wait to get it off the air,” he said. Taylor won’t be the only one not playing it. Because of the uproar, Dunn has asked broadcasters not to play the song on radio or show it on video. She has also decided to drop it from her concerts.

In the middle of an event as large as the cleanup of last week’s Southern Pacific train derailment, certain things can get overlooked--like help provided by the public in the mass effort to get things back to normal.

So let’s not forget the Salvation Army’s work at the accident site. The local chapter rolled in two large canteen trucks, complete with kitchen facilities, and a mobile dining room, serving an estimated 1,000 meals a day.

And don’t think these meals were just thrown together. They were planned a couple of days in advance. Dinners ranged from ham and mashed potatoes to franks and beans, and hot beef stew was available throughout the night. For breakfast, the pancakes and sausages were ready as early as 3:45 a.m.

Speaking of solid volunteer efforts: Results are in from the Conejo Valley Board of Realtors food drive last month, and they’re pretty spectacular. More than $15,000 in money and food was collected--an increase of about $12,000 over last year’s total. The proceeds will benefit MANNA, the Conejo Valley food bank.

A 3-year-old boy who eats quiche and drinks Evian water?

Hard to believe but true, according to the people at Cowlicks hair salon and eatery for kids in Calabasas. Sure it’s in that other county, but it’s worth the drive just to see the kid place his order.

On the salon side, things are very ‘90s too--with videotape services so parents can capture baby’s first cut (and succeeding cuts for that chronological video library of the child’s head).

Owner and hairstylist Jack King has plenty of stories about children’s reactions to getting a trim. “There was a 3-year-old boy who had dark hair. The little boy next to him had blond hair, and we had just finished with his haircut and the blond hair was on the floor. The boy (with dark hair) started crying because he thought his hair was changing color as it hit the floor.”