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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

OVS students rock climb in Joshua Tree

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Photos courtesy of Ojai Valley School
Thirteen Ojai Valley School Upper Campus students and three faculty trip leaders braved cold temperatures Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 to go rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park. It was the first high school trip of the school’s 2018 outdoor education season. "This is the second time I have been on this trip and I can say that it is very fun, even if it is freezing cold," said sophomore Stephany Nostrant. "I would go on it again next year mainly because there are good climbing destinations and magnificent views." The park is home to more than 250 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles, 52 species of mammals, more than 75 species of invertebrates, and 750-plus species of plants.
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Latest sports

Overtime loss ends dream season for VPS water polo

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
Villanova’s Kyla Lenehan (right) was stellar in net for the Lady Wildcats this season and helped VPS reach the CIF Southern Section semifinals. 
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The girls’ water polo team at Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) has made a splash this winter thanks to a deep run into the CIF Southern Section playoffs and its second consecutive league title.
After being co-champions in the Frontier League along with Santa Paula, the Lady Wildcats entered the postseason with high hopes and for good reason. In its opening-round playoff game against La Mirada, VPS earned a narrow 8-7 victory.
“We went up 4-0 but then La Mirada fought back and they took the lead in the third quarter, but our girls were poised and came back to take the lead again. It was a back-and-forth game that was heart-wrenching at times, but we pulled it off,” said VPS head coach Tim Settem.
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Nordhoff wrestler Stringer moves on to CIF masters meet

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Photo submitted
Nordhoff High School sophomore Nick Stringer (bottom) controls the leg of his opponent at the CIF prelims.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
Nick Stringer is known for his toughness and refusal to quit on the wrestling mat and that helped the Nordhoff High School (NHS) sophomore advance to the CIF Southern Section masters meet Feb. 23 and 24.
“Nick had an outstanding tournament in a very tough weight class (106 pounds) and finished with a record of 4-2 which was good for sixth place and a spot in the masters meet,” said NHS head coach Paul Clementi.
Going into the tournament, Stringer was not seeded and upset the No.-4 seed his first match and suddenly the sophomore was off to a great start. 
“Nick had two outstanding matches Saturday morning to qualify for the medal round. What makes this an outstanding feat is Nick has only been wrestling two years and is already shown great improvement, hopefully enough to make it to the state finals this year,” added Clementi.
Nordhoff had nine wrestlers complete in the CIF prelims, which according to Clementi is the most in school history. Even though only Stringer will move on, the NHS coaching staff was very happy with the performance of the Rangers.
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Nordhoff Lady Rangers bow out of CIF-SS playoffs

Making its first appearance in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs since 2012, Nordhoff High School (NHS) girls’ basketball team advanced to the second round before losing in the final seconds.
After finishing fourth in the Frontier League, the Lady Rangers drew a Division 5AA first-round game at Lone Pine High School. Despite the five-hour drive, Nordhoff came out firing and led 20-9 at the half after a pair of Morgan Mays jumpers.
Defense was the story of the third quarter before the Rangers pulled away for good in the fourth, eventually winning, 38-22.
The Ojai squad was led by juniors Stella Moore with 13 points, nine rebounds, Courtney Abraham who contributed 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and senior Grace Bergmann who added nine points, nine rebounds and six steals.
Nordhoff hosted Pius X – St. Matthias Academy, from Gardena, in the second round Feb. 17.
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Thacher downed in second round

The Thacher School girls’ basketball team battled all season and managed to earn a spot in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. In their first-round game, the Lady Toads faced Coastal Christian and won a thriller, 44-41.
In that game, Thacher was led by juniors Jessica Donohue’s 12 points and five rebounds and Evan Perry’s eight points and seven rebounds. Senior Peyton Fitzhugh also stepped up big for the Lady Toads with nine points and eight boards.
With the win, Thacher earned a Feb. 17 second-round game against Mary of the Sea. The Stars got off to a fast start and took a 14-10 lead in the half and never relinquished the lead as they cruised to a 32-26 victory over Thacher.
Once again, Donohue led Thacher in scoring with 11 points. 
Thacher finished its season 9-7 overall and 8-6 in the Frontier League, which was good for third place.

Carnine earns Rotary recognition

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Photo submitted
In early February, the Rotary Club of Ojai hosted Chloe Carnine, a sixth-grader at Summit School. She was presented with a certificate and a $200 check for being the Physical Education Project Student of the Month. Carnine was joined by her teacher, Sheri Usher, and her four grandparents at the ceremony. “I have had the pleasure of watching Chloe grow and mature for the past three years,” said Usher. “Chloe is a young woman of character, intelligence and athletic ability. She is an excellent athlete, both here at school and for her Ojai Valley AYSO soccer team. She hopes to play soccer for both Matilija and Nordhoff in the future. Each morning as I greet and shake her hand, she informs me about a recent soccer experience. Chloe is a dedicated and committed athlete who leads by example and always demonstrates excellent sportsmanship,” said Usher.

Casitas rowers medal in eight events

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Photo by Wendy Gillett
The Casitas Rowing Team recently traveled to compete at the President's Day Regatta in Long Beach. The local rowers medaled in eight events. One team that collected hardware in Long Beach included the women’s Freshman Four, which included (from left) Lauren Combs, Mia Monsour, Kristi Shinn, Audrey Taylor and Siena Hager. 

Soule Park Ladies at odds or evens

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Photo submitted
In the most recent Soule Park Front Nine tournament, members (from left) Linda Nugent, Carole Borland, Chris Malzone and Susan Edge turned in great performances. Borland and Malzone tied for first place in the odds-and-evens event. Borland also had the fewest putts, with 16. Edge had the longest drive and was closest to the pin on the third hole. Nugent also had a long drive and a chip shot on the fifth hole.

Former Nordhoff kicker Cooper Garcia signs with UMass

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Cooper Garcia boots an extra point in Nordhoff’s 2013 CIF Southern Section title victory over El Segundo.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
When Cooper Garcia played for the Nordhoff High School (NHS) football program, he was known for his powerful right leg and clutch kicks. Those abilities recently earned the 2015 NHS graduate a full-ride scholarship to the University of Massachusetts (UMass) where he will kick for the Minutemen.
After his playing days at Nordhoff, Garcia enrolled at Ventura College and played for the Pirates for two seasons, using his redshirt year.
“It was a big step up in competition because it is a top-five program in the state, so it was a great experience for me,” said Garcia.
The journey to UMass wasn’t smooth for the former Ranger. Early in his college career he lost his kicking form and struggled to make the kicks he was accustomed to knocking through the uprights.
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Wildcats miss playoffs, but have hope

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Photo by Tom Moore
The Villanova defense surrounds Nordhoff’s Courtney Abraham during a game earlier this season.
Mike Miller, Ojai Valley News sports editor
The Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) girls’ basketball team will not advance to the postseason this year, but did take a major step forward in rebuilding its once-proud program.
Under new head coach Dan Mercer, the Lady Wildcats finished the season 5-15 overall and 3-11 in league play, a huge improvement over the previous season that saw the program go winless.
The Lady Wildcats ended the season with a hard-fought 35-32 victory on the road against Bishop Diego High School.
Madison Fabbian led the way with 23 points including a clutch three-pointer that gave VPS a six-point advantage with 45 seconds to go.
Mackenzie Hicks and Faith Cottam led the way in rebounding with 16 and 12, respectively.
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Ojai Rotary honors Callahan

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Photo submitted
Greta Callahan, a standout student-athlete at Mira Monte Elementary School recently earned the Rotary Physical Education Project Student of the Month Award. For her efforts, Callahan was presented with a certificate and a check for $200. “Greta has consistently shown improvement in the development of her physical capabilities during P.E. classes,” said teacher Richard Byrd. “Further Greta fully participates in every activity with excitement and vigor. Thus I feel that her participation allows her to stand out as a positive role model for other students. Regardless of the task or activity I can witness Greta’s progression throughout this year.”

Thacher, Nordhoff girls advance to CIF

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Photo by Tom Moore
The Nordhoff Rangers and Thacher Toads tip off a key Frontier League contest recently.
The Thacher School and Nordhoff High School girls’ varsity basketball teams split a pair of games last week but each advanced to the CIF-SS Division 5AA playoffs.
Trailing the Toads by one game at the start of the week, the Rangers moved into a tie for third in the Frontier League standings with a 29-17 victory Feb. 6.
Nordhoff was led by Grace Bergmann with 12 points, five rebounds, five blocks and six steals, and Courtney Abraham contributed seven points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Thacher, however, held the pair to a total of two points in a Feb. 9 rematch on the Upper Ojai campus, avenging the loss with a 29-21 win.
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Thacher finishes season with win over Villanova

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Ojai Valley News photo by Holly Roberts
The Thacher School and Villanova Preparatory School (VPS) soccer teams met on the VPS campus Feb. 7 for one of the final Frontier League games of the regular season. Thacher rolled to a 7-3 victory despite Villanova senior Kevin Pena (No. 10) scoring two goals for the Wildcats. Thacher ended its season with a record of 4-8 while Villanova finished 1-14. 

Front Nine finds putting magic

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Photo submitted
Front Nine golfers Jane Spiller, Susan Edge and Denise Brennecke enjoy a day on the Soule Park Golf Course. 
Greg Edge, Ojai Valley New contributor
Front Nine Golf Club members recently played a round of “Magic Putt,” during which they could declare a one-putt on a hole of their choice once on the green.
Coming in first, with a net score of 34, was Marilyn Bliss.
Second place went to Denise Brennecke with a net-35 total.
Third place involved a four-way tie between Susan Edge, Linda Nugent, Jane Spiller and Ronnie Rodrigues.
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Special publications

MBScover2018
2018 Mind, Body & Spirit
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WNVGcover2017
2017 winter Ojai Valley Visitors Guide

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BOOVcover2017
2017 Best of the Ojai Valley
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October 2017 Student Union
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SENcover2017
2017 Senior Living Guide
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WOOVcover2017

2017 Women of the Ojai Valley
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TENcover2017

2017 Ojai Tennis Tournament magazine
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