In Brief

By VCR Staff 08/28/2014


Residential energy, water efficiency program
coming to Ojai

The drought across the state has left many communities racing to find a solution to long-term water problems and has residents scrambling to rip up water-quaffing lawns to replace them with more desert-friendly species. For those homeowners in Ojai who can’t afford to make such water-friendly renovations, however, there is a HERO on the way.

The Ojai City Council voted this month to give Ojai residents access to the HERO (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program which will provide interested homeowners long-term, competitive financing through an additional property assessment, with payments being made over 20 years via the property tax bill, and interest is tax deductible.

The loans will go toward providing a wide variety of drought-resistant technologies and landscaping, including solar-power panel installations, whole-home heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, energy-saving windows and doors and roofing and insulation. Also included are high-efficiency toilets, faucets, showerheads and drip irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems; gray water systems; artificial turf; and drought-tolerant landscaping.

“HERO is making a big impact on job creation and economic stimulus throughout California,” said Liza Gray, HERO community development manager, in a press release. “The program has a strong track record where it is active and will make it easy for local residents to make home improvements that increase their comfort and save money.”

The HERO program has already funded $275 million worth of projects across the state, servicing 39 percent of homeowners. The program itself is privately funded. Fillmore and Santa Paula have also signed on to the program.

For more information on the program, visit

County and Oxnard Libraries offer free media over the Internet
Members of the Ventura countywide library system and the Oxnard Public Library will be able to access movies, music, audio books and other electronic media for free after partnering with media distribution service Hoopla this month.

The content will be available via PC, smartphones and tablets and will come with an automatic return, meaning no late fees.

“Ventura County Library focuses on partnering with services like Hoopla digital who keep our content and capabilities fresh and on par with modern technologies,” said Jackie Griffin, library director at Ventura County Library, in a press release. “Our customers can now use their library card to access educational and recreational content on the go. They can also stream or download content on the Hoopla app or website for free.”

The program initially cost the Ventura County Library $25,000 up front, acting like a deposit, which will pay for usage. After the first year of service, the library will receive data from Hoopla detailing how much of the media was borrowed and the cost for future years. In a way, the first year will be a barometer for future budgets, says Griffin.

“As we’re trying it out, we have a certain basis of money for it. Then next year we’ll exam how much we’ve actually used and set that,” said Griffin.

A majority of the films lean toward documentary and educational, but will expand over time, says Griffin. Films and audio books will have a check-out time of three weeks, while music will have seven days.

“There is so much accessible from home,” said Griffin. “Tons of databases, e-books and audio books. If you don’t have a library card, you’ve got to come in to get one, and after that any reading device or a computer will give you access to the database.”

For more information on the program and to apply for a library card, visit 

Note: This story has been updated. 


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