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Businesses open in Ojai

Although many areas of the Ojai Valley suffered significant damage during the recent Thomas Fire, a vast majority of the businesses survived and are happy to be serving locals and our wonderful visitors alike. 

Throughout the recovery process, the Ojai Valley News will compile a list of businesses that are open as well as those that were impacted and may need a little time.

Click here to see the businesses open after the Thomas Fire.

Click here to see the businesses currently closed because of the Thomas Fire.

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News from around the Ojai Valley

Demo-graphic: Whether we like it or not, Ojai has and is changing

This is part three of a four-part series looking at tourism and its impacts on the community. In this series we look at the perceptions and realities surrounding those impacts and the community’s ability to change.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
As discussions about tourism in Ojai have stretched on, some have expressed anxiety that Ojai is changing.
“We are at a crossroads, folks,” said Ojai Mayor Johnny Johnston during the March 28 City Council discussion of the Ojai Tourism Improvement District (OTID) reauthorization. “There are two visions of what this community is going to be like.” 
Ojai's demographics are indeed changing.
The Ventura County 2040 General Plan Update Background Report, covering demographics and economics in Ventura County, shows that the Ojai Valley's population of young people has decreased over the past six years, while the population of those 65 and older has increased.
From 2010 to 2016, the Ojai Valley lost 390 residents younger than 18 and added 715 residents older than 65.
Ojai Unified School District (OUSD) enrollment is a stark illustration of this trend.
A 2015 enrollment study, commissioned by OUSD, shows that public school enrollment has decreased by 1,453 students since the 2000-2001 school year.
During the 2000-2001 school year, 1,325 students were enrolled at Nordhoff High School. The OUSD study projects that by the 2024-2025 school year, Nordhoff's enrollment will drop to 601 students.
While the Valley's population is changing, so is its economy.
According to Ventura County data, the Ojai Valley shed 204 management, business, science and arts positions from 2010 to 2014, while it gained 304 jobs in service occupations.
Ojai's housing stock also shows changes — with a larger portion of the population renting a place to live.
In 2015, the United States Census estimated that 64.1 percent of homes in the 93023 ZIP code are occupied by their owners. In 2000, that number was 68.1 percent.
In 2015, Census data indicates that 35.9 percent of 93023 homes were occupied by renters. In 2000, 31.9 percent of those homes were occupied by renters.
Census data indicates that in 2015, 312, or 3.6 percent, of Ojai homes were vacation homes or second residences. That number was 275, or 3 percent in 2010, and 217, or 2.5 percent, in 2000.
These numbers may be low, though, as census data only identifies “seasonal, recreational or occasional use” homes as a portion of vacant housing stock.
“Investors can afford to buy up commercial buildings, raise the rent so that it becomes out of reach of locals, and move in their own shops. I’m not saying this is happening in Ojai yet but I’m constantly told by both residents and business owners that their rent is going up,” said Councilwoman Suza Francina, 
Meanwhile, county data indicates that in 2014, the city of Ojai's poverty rate was 14.1 percent, compared to 11.1 percent countywide.
Ojai is certainly changing, but it's impossible to attribute those changes to tourism because of a lack of data quantifying the impacts of tourism locally.
To attempt to rectify that somewhat, the City Council voted March 28 to dedicate a portion of OTID's marketing budget to tourism impact studies.
“To my knowledge we've never done anything in terms of an analytic study in terms of what motivates tourists to come here, the trip origins, what the actual (hotel) occupancy profiles are,” said Councilman William Weirick. “I have asked for data like that and I have been told that it does not exist.” 
“It's a very appropriate thing to provide something that has this kind of research out of the OTID budget,” he added.
Visit http://vc2040.org to view demographic and economic data about Ventura County.
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Latest sports

Nordhoff girls make it to championship game

Despite having not played any games and practicing only four times since the outbreak of the Thomas Fire Dec. 4, Nordhoff High School’s girls’ basketball team advanced to the championship game at the Avalon Holiday Classic on Catalina Island last week.
The Rangers opened the tourney with a 32-28 come-from-behind, overtime victory over Wildwood.
The Ojai girls trailed 28-16 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter before finishing on a 16-0 run.
Junior guard Stella Moore paced the rally, scoring all 10 of her points in those final minutes.
Senior Morgan Mays scored what proved to be the game winner on a put-back basket in overtime, and Moore iced it with a pair of free throws.
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Annual holiday tennis event helps Ojai Thomas Fire victims

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Local tennis players got 2018 off to a positive start by taking part in the Ojai Holiday Tennis Challenge and raised money to help families impacted by the Thomas Fire.
Although the recent Thomas Fire caused much upheaval and heartache in Ventura County — and was still fresh in the minds of many participants during the recent annual Ojai Holiday Tennis Challenge fundraiser — it also created a special atmosphere in which players could finally relax and enjoy some good family fun on the Libbey Park tennis courts.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Ojai Valley Tennis Club and more than 15 local volunteers, including Ojai Recreation Department tennis professional Scott Burton, organized the annual two-day Ojai Holiday Tennis Challenge.
Sixty-four players on 32 teams competed in either the "In to Win" or "In for Fun” division. Each division consisted of 16 teams of one adult and one youth player. 
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Ranger wrestlers continue to improve

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) boys’ wrestling team may not be strong in numbers, but so far this season they have been plenty strong on the mat.
The Rangers recently traveled to Santa Barbara to take on the San Marcos Royals and wrestled their way to a 42-24 victory. 
“We don’t have wrestlers in every weight class, but we are getting better as a team. We have guys who are new to wrestling but who are really improving,” said NHS coach Paul Clementi. 
When the Rangers met San Marcos, six wrestlers came away with wins by pinning their opponents despite moving up in weight categories in some cases. Earning wins for the Rangers were Nick Stringer, Armondo Gomez, Nick Cansler, Ben Joseph, Harrisson Gregory and Mike Trejo.
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Golf tourney to benefit NHS basketball

The 21st annual Nordhoff Two-Man Scramble will return to Soule Park Golf Course Jan. 28.
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Nordhoff High School's boys' and girls' basketball programs.
"This year's fundraiser is especially important," said girls' varsity head coach Ted Cotti, "because our programs lost the $4,000 to $5,000 of revenue we usually make from our December tournaments when we had to cancel them because of the Thomas Fire."
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Ojai Sports: 2017 in review, July to December

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Villanova Prep senior Raegan Mang (left) had one of the best statistical seasons of any football player in the Ojai Valley. Mang scored 55 touchdowns on the season which was tops in the nation for eight-man football. 
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports reporter
The Ojai Valley News continues its review of 2017’s major local sports stories. Here are the highlights from July to December:
• For the first time in recent memory, the Ojai Valley sent a girls’ softball team to the national championship tournament. The U12 all-stars advanced to the district tournament after a solid regular season and did well enough there to qualify for the state tournament. At state, the Ojai all-stars traveled to Lancaster and braved heat that stayed well over 100 degrees much of the weekend managing to place fifth which was enough to advance to nationals.
• Nordhoff High School alumna Beth Allen returned to the LPGA, the world’s top women’s golf tour, this season with far superior shot-making ability, a high degree of confidence, maturity and a greater sense of financial stability developed in eight seasons on the Ladies European Tour. 
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Edwards earns coveted MVP award for Nordhoff water polo

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Photo submitted
Tri-Valley League Most Valuable Player, Finn Edwards (right), sizes up a goalkeeper before scoring one of many goals this season.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Finn Edwards recently capped his stellar high school water polo career at Nordhoff High School (NHS) by being named the Tri-Valley League’s most valuable player for his work in the pool this fall. 
Edwards helped lead the Rangers to a 12-6 record this season. They were 7-5 in Tri-Valley League contests.
 NHS qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Beaumont. 
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Tri-Valley League volleyball players named to All-League

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Nordhoff High School’s Sasha Frazier (left) and teammate Leslie Perez earned postseason honors for their volleyball skills this fall.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Nordhoff High School (NHS) girls’ volleyball team enjoyed another successful season in 2017. NHS finished its season with a 12-11 record overall going 5-7 in a very competitive Tri-Valley League.
The Lady Rangers managed to sneak into the playoffs and made some noise once they got there. NHS defeated Coast Union and Providence before finally losing to eventual champion Buckley.
NHS fans have a lot to look forward to as the Lady Rangers bring along a young roster despite losing some key players from this year’s roster.
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Valley athletes earn fall postseason awards

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Several tennis and cross-country athletes from the Ojai Valley earned all-league honors after terrific fall performances.
On the tennis courts, Nordhoff High School was represented by senior Allegra Lambert and junior Claudia Adelman who both earned second-team All Frontier League honors.
Villanova Preparatory School junior Grace Moses also made the second team.
Frontier League honorable-mention honorees include Veronica Palmer, Lily Johnson and Taylor Gonzalez from Nordhoff High School and Analiese Terrazas, Sophie Rasura and Bella Colmenar from Villanova.
In cross-country action, The Thacher School had three runners make the All Tri-Valley League first team. Colin Kirkpatrick, Ford Sharper and Rico Lopez added to the trophy display after a season that saw them place second at the state championships. 
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Three from Villanova Prep earn All-CIF football honors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Raegan Mang splits defenders to haul in a 2017 playoff game against the Orcutt Academy.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After a season that saw them go 11-1 and make it to the CIF Southern Section Eight-Man Division I football semifinals, the Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) Wildcats had three members of this year’s team earn All-CIF Team.
Senior Raegan Mang finished his season with video-game statistics. Mang rushed for 1,424 yards and 30 touchdowns. As a receiver, he was equally as deadly as he caught 44 passes for 983 yards and 19 touchdowns. In total, Mang scored 55 touchdowns on the season and was one of Villanova’s best players on defense and special teams.
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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Villanova junior Anthony Martinez makes a cut to the outside for a big gain against Orcutt.
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Local high school sports on hold after Thomas Fire

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
After the massive Thomas Fire, youth and high school sports have come to halt in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. At Nordhoff High School (NHS), all indoor and outdoor winter sports are on hold without a definitive restart date.
“All indoor activities have been canceled on our campus due to smoke damage. The classrooms and gym need to be clean and the air ducts need to be serviced before we are allowed back into the buildings,” said Nordhoff High School athletic director Rene Nakao-Mauch. “As for our outdoor sports, the air quality is still too bad for practice or competition so we are on hold until next week until we can reassess the situation.”
Nordhoff will not start classes again until Jan. 2, which means teams may be in a holding pattern for what will be nearly a month when all is said and done.
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Lady Rangers looking to rebound

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Photo by Tom Moore
Nordhoff High School’s Stella Moore (left) talks strategy at midcourt with teammate Morgan Mays at the Bishop Diego High School tournament.
Nordhoff High School’s girls’ varsity basketball team opened its 2017-2018 campaign Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 by going 2-2 at the Bird Cage Classic on the Bishop Diego High School campus in Santa Barbara.
Junior forward Courtney Abraham earned all-tournament honors, averaging a double-double (10 points and 10.5 rebounds).
Abraham tallied 17 points and 10 boards in the Rangers’ 39-20 win over Coastal Christian and 18 rebounds in the team’s 23-21 victory over Coast Union.
Fellow junior Stella Moore was the star of the latter contest, notching 18 points, including 14 in the final 10 minutes to help Nordhoff overcome a double-digit deficit.
The Rangers' two losses came at the hands of Santa Maria and Orcutt high schools.
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Ranger gridders earn 17 All-Tri Valley League honors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
First team All-Tri-Valley League player Brayden Rogers picks up yards against Santa Paula.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports reporter
After a brief rebuilding period, Nordhoff high School (NHS) football head coach Lance Wiggins has the Rangers on track to be one of the best small-school football programs in Ventura County.
This fall, the Rangers missed the playoffs but finished their season with a winning record (6-4), placing third in the competitive Tri-Valley League.
For their efforts this fall, the Rangers earned a number of all-league honors. Headlining the postseason awards was Wiggins who was named the 2017 Tri-Valley League Coach of the Year. 
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Ojai water polo stars shine in tri-county all-star game

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Photo by Ben Edwards
Finnegan Edwards (center) catches the ball on a counter attack before one of his five goals at the 2017 Ian McPherson Tri-County Senior All-Star Water Polo game.
Two Ojai Valley water polo players took part in the Tri-County All-Star game Dec. 3 at Dos Pueblos High School and helped lead the South Team to a 14-11 victory.
The Ian McPherson Tri-County Senior All-Star features the best senior water polo players from high schools across the tri-counties. 
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Special publications

2017 winter Ojai Valley Visitors Guide

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of our special publications

2017 Best of the Ojai Valley
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October 2017 Student Union

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all of our special publications


2017 Senior Living Guide
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2017 Women of the Ojai Valley
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of our special publications


2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament magazine

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of our special publications

2017 Mind, Body & Spirit
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of our special publications


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