Oak Park veteran gifted with home renovation

Louis Medina, 79, served for 10 years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era. His Oak Park home was in desperate need of repairs, which he and his wife could not complete themselves. In addition to in-home repairs, the neighborhood in which they reside requires drought-proof landscaping. Thanks to the Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity, Medina’s home has been given the attention it needs.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, volunteers made upgrades to the Medinas’ bathroom, including replacing faucets, toilets and repairing drywall; replaced windows; installed a new garage door motor; and planted a drought-tolerant landscape.

“I would never have imagined anything like this, but it happened, and it was just a big surprise for me,” said Medina.

Since 2011, The Home Depot has transformed 29,900 veterans’ homes across the country, as well as 8,300 veterans’ facilities, as part of an initiative launched by The Home Depot Foundation, investing more than $184 million. For more information, visit www.homedepot.com/teamdepot.

Overall crime down, violent crime up across county

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has released crime statistics for Part 1 crimes committed in 2016, which include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and arson. The report shows that information collected from the five contract cities and areas where the Sheriff’s Office provides services (Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Moorpark, Fillmore, Ojai and unincorporated areas) overall reported crime is down by 1 percent but violent crimes increased by 1 percent.

Only the city of Fillmore showed a decrease in violent crime, which includes rapes and robberies, down by 49 percent over 2015. The Sherriff’s office says that although there was a “very small decrease” in reported Part 1 crimes in 2016, since 2014 overall crime total has increased by 5 percent.

This is the second full year of statistics gathered since Proposition 47 (which redefined some felonies as misdemeanors) took effect in 2014. The Sheriff’s Office statistics show that 42 percent (1,820) of convicted offenders who have been released have reoffended.

Ventura Bike Hub launches new initiative

VCCool is launching its new initiative, BikeVentura, and with it comes reason to hop on your six-speed and brave Ventura’s city streets for a night of fundraising fun.

On Saturday, March 4, 7-10 p.m., BikeVentura will host a fundraiser at the Bell Arts Factory, 432 N. Ventura Ave. in Ventura, featuring hors d’oeuvres provided by Scratch Ventura and beer provided by Topa Topa Brewing Co., with all proceeds benefiting BikeVentura, a 501(c)3 organization.

BikeVentura offers a diverse series of programs, including one in development to give homeless individuals the skills needed to repair their own bicycles, oftentimes their only means of transportation. Coming soon: a Fillmore outpost as well.

Yvonne Adan, chairman of the board, says that all are welcome at the Ventura Bike Hub, where repairs can be had for $5 an hour along with tips and pointers on bicycle care and maintenance.

“One of the things about cycling is that you not only want to work, but you want to have fun, so we try and combine work and fun,” said Adan.

For more information on BikeVentura, and the Ventura Bike Hub, visit www.facebook.com/VenturaBikeHUB.

Make-a-wish wish night fundraiser

Two volunteers will be honored by Make-A-Wish® Tri-Counties at the Eighth Annual Wish Night gala on Friday, March 3, at the Hyatt Regency in Westlake Village.

Meredith Garofalo of KEYT News Channel 3 has been named community partner of the year for her dedicated community outreach efforts; and Francisco Bracho, M.D., founding director of the program for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Ventura County Medical Center, will receive the honor of health-care professional of the year.

“Meredith’s outreach efforts have raised awareness about the work that goes into each wish granted and the donations needed to make each wish come true. Dr. Bracho has worked magic to support our program, making it possible for wish kids to travel safely and experience the power of a wish,” said Pattie Mullins, CEO, Make-A-Wish® Tri-Counties.

The event will be held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village. For tickets and more information, visit http://tri-counties.wish.org/.