On Saturday, January 24, at 7:40am, work crews were on Goodenough Road near the Tradition housing track. The sidewalk was blocked off while they made repairs to the area near the new power poles, which were replaced recently.
On Saturday, January 24, at 7:40am, work crews were on Goodenough Road near the Tradition housing track. The sidewalk was blocked off while they made repairs to the area near the new power poles, which were replaced recently.
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CAMARILLO, Calif. – In honor of Transit Equity Day and the birthday of civil rights leader Rosa Parks, the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) and the county’s transit operators will provide free bus rides on Monday, Feb. 5.

Participating operators are Camarillo Area Transit, Gold Coast Transit District, Moorpark City Transit, Ojai Trolley, Simi Valley Transit, Thousand Oaks Transit, Valley Express and VCTC Intercity.

Camarillo Area Transit and Valley Express will provide free on-demand dial-a-ride services on Monday, Feb. 5.

Transit Equity Day honors Rosa Parks' birthday on Feb. 4 and highlights Parks’ role in igniting a change to advance a more just and equitable public transit system for all. VCTC is observing the day on Feb. 5 to ensure all local operators can participate.

“Transit Equity Day is an opportunity for VCTC to put our values into action by honoring those who have worked to ensure equity in transportation. On this day, we are reminded that VCTC must continue to fulfill our core mission, which is to create a more connected, resilient, equitable and user-friendly transportation system for Ventura County,” said VCTC Public Transit Director Claire Grasty.

Transit Equity Day is part of VCTC’s new Free Fare Days Program, which began in September 2023. The pilot program allows people to ride any bus service within Ventura County for free on designated days through June 2024. In addition to Transit Equity Day, the remaining Free Fare Days are Earth Day on April 22, 2024; Bike to Work Day on May 17, 2024 (only for those who are also biking); and Dump the Pump Day on June 17, 2024.

“Our Free Fare Days Program is just one of our many projects that focuses on ensuring fair and equitable access to high-quality transit service for all residents and visitors who travel within Ventura County and beyond,” Grasty said.

The Free Fare Days program is funded by a grant obtained and administered by VCTC from California’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), a part of the state’s cap-and-trade program. LCTOP provides funds to public transportation agencies for investments in capital projects and services that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve mobility. Other local programs supported by LCTOP are Youth Ride Free, College Ride and Metrolink’s Ventura County Line Weekend Train Service. For more information about the Free Fare Day Program, visit goventura.org/free.

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About the Ventura County Transportation Commission
The Ventura County Transportation Commission is the regional transportation planning agency committed to keeping Ventura County moving. Program information is available at goventura.org.

 

Trash Collection Schedule Unchanged During Week of Presidents Day

Santa Clara Valley Disposal will maintain its regular trash, recycling and yard/organic waste collection schedule in Fillmore during the week of Presidents Day, Feb. 18-24.

Remember that Harrison’s residential customers can place all three carts curbside every week, as Harrison collects all waste weekly – including food waste, which is now recyclable. All food waste should be placed in closed paper or plastic bags and the bags should be tossed in the organics waste cart.

Harrison Industries serves the cities and surrounding unincorporated areas of Ventura, Ojai and Camarillo as well as the unincorporated areas of La Conchita, Lake Sherwood, Lynn Ranch, Ojai Valley (Ventura River Valley), Oxnard Plain, Newbury Park, Piru, Pt. Mugu, Rancho Matilija, Rincon, Santa Rosa Valley, Somis, Santa Paula, Upper Ojai, Yerba Buena, the Channel Islands Beach Community Services District, and the city of Carpinteria as E.J. Harrison & Sons; and Fillmore and surrounding unincorporated areas as Santa Clara Valley Disposal.

For more information, visit www.ejharrison.com.

 

The California Water Commission today approved a white paper that contains potential strategies to protect communities and fish and wildlife in the event of drought. The white paper is in support of Water Resilience Portfolio Action 26.3, and will be shared with the Secretaries for Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, and Food and Agriculture, who requested the Commission’s engagement on this topic.

California is a drought-prone state. Climate change exacerbates drought conditions in California by creating hotter and drier baseline conditions, leading to more intense droughts. Additionally, climate change is creating the conditions for “weather whiplash” – a phenomenon California experienced in the 2022-2023 water year, swinging rapidly from severe drought to record-breaking precipitation events and flooding. To ensure California’s people and environment have sufficient water during times of drought, the State will need to adapt to this new normal of ongoing weather extremes.

“California has experienced two of the worst droughts in our state’s history in the last decade alone,” said Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “While we’ve invested billions across the state to become more drought resilient in light of this new reality, there’s more we need to do to prepare for the next drought, whenever it comes. These thoughtful recommendations by the Water Commission point the way forward and I’m eager to explore how these ideas can be applied in coming years.”

The Commission’s work on drought is forward-looking. The strategies proposed by the Commission integrate months of conversations with State agencies, experts, Tribes, water users, interest groups, interested parties, and the public. The Commission has taken the input it received and charted a through-line, developing four key strategies for augmenting California’s communities’ and fish and wildlife species’ drought resilience.

Scale up groundwater recharge. During flood events, when all other water rights and environmental needs are met, channeling excess flows to groundwater recharge can build drought reserves. The State can help scale up groundwater recharge by planning and preparing for recharge during times of high flow, promoting recharge efforts through outreach and financial incentives, efficiently permitting recharge projects, supporting the infrastructure needed to conduct recharge, and continuing to apply lessons learned.

Conduct watershed-level planning to reduce drought impacts to ecosystems. To enable fish and wildlife to be more resilient to drought, the State must support fish and wildlife during drought and work to recover ecosystem function during non-drought periods, supporting viable populations that can weather the next drought period. The State can help reduce drought impacts to fish and wildlife by improving water availability for species, advancing habitat restoration and conservation projects, integrating forest management into drought planning, and creating a plan to protect species during drought emergencies.

Better position communities to prepare for and respond to drought emergencies. During drought, communities need resources to ensure that vulnerable community members are safe in times of crisis. In advance of drought, they need support to help abate future vulnerabilities to water scarcity by improving water systems and integrating water use into land use planning. The State can help communities prepare for and respond to drought by offering climate disaster funding, ramping up efforts to improve water system resilience and regional water solutions, and supporting integrated land and water planning.

Support improved coordination, information, and communication in drought and non-drought years. In California, droughts need to be dealt with as a chronic phenomenon and not an occasional emergency. The State needs to continue to align its staff capacity, improve its data collection, and contextualize its drought communication, moving from a crisis mindset to recognizing drought as a natural and inevitable element of the state’s hydrologic cycle.

“Groundwater recharge to replenish our aquifers is a key water strategy for a hotter, drier future,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “It provides important ecosystem benefits, protects drinking water wells, and supports climate-resilient agriculture for healthy food production and thriving rural communities.”

The strategies and actions outlined in this paper are additive to the important work already underway by State agencies. The Commission expects State decision-makers to weigh whether and when to move forward with these suggested strategies.

“Drought impacts all of California’s water users, but some – small, rural communities and fish and wildlife – are particularly vulnerable,” said Commissioner Sandra Matsumoto. “The strategies proposed by the Commission will help the State protect these vulnerable water users in the event of drought. To move forward, water sectors, users, and managers must work together to minimize the impacts of drought on all Californians.”

The final white paper can be viewed here: https://cwc.ca.gov/-/media/CWC-Website/Files/Documents/2024/01_January/D...

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The nine-member California Water Commission uses its public forum to explore water management issues from multiple perspectives and to formulate recommendations to advise the director of the California Department of Water Resources, and as appropriate, the California Natural Resources Agency, the Governor and Legislature on ways to improve water planning and management in response to California’s changing hydrology. For more information regarding the California Water Commission visit cwc.ca.gov.

 

HELP WANTED - Camlam Farms is seeking a Farm Mechanic for their family-owned farm in Camarillo. They are seeking candidates with 2 years of experience. Employee/Family Housing is included. Interested - call 805-377-8602. (2/1)

Se Busca Ayudante - Camlam Farms está buscando un mecánico agrícola para su granja familiar en Camarillo. Buscan candidatos con 2 años de experiencia. Camlam Farms ofrece viviendas para empleados y familias. Para más información, llame 805-377-8602. (2/1)

 
Last week the Fillmore Historical Museum hosted a Virtual Zoom presentation on the 1994 Northridge earthquake that rocked through Fillmore 30 years ago in January 1994. Inset, guest speakers Pat Askren, 1994 Fire Chief, and Dick Diaz, 1994 Chief of Police, as they share their stories during the virtual presentation. Above are folks who attended the open house at the Fillmore Depot which was held Saturday afternoon. Photo credit Fillmore Historical Museum.
Last week the Fillmore Historical Museum hosted a Virtual Zoom presentation on the 1994 Northridge earthquake that rocked through Fillmore 30 years ago in January 1994. Inset, guest speakers Pat Askren, 1994 Fire Chief, and Dick Diaz, 1994 Chief of Police, as they share their stories during the virtual presentation. Above are folks who attended the open house at the Fillmore Depot which was held Saturday afternoon. Photo credit Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

January 17 was the 30th anniversary of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that rocked the city of Fillmore. Sixty homes were destroyed, many more badly damaged and downtown lay in ruin. It is the mission of the Fillmore Museum to provide the people of Fillmore with records of historical events. Sue Zeider and Christine Villegas, volunteers at the museum, made preparations for the commemoration.

Mud Turtle Production, assisted by Paul Neuman and Ms. Villegas, produced a documentary showing the devastation and personal memories of several citizens. Ms. Villegas presented a slide show at the Fillmore Rotary meeting on Wednesday. Thursday evening, January 18th, as part of the ongoing virtual series, Ms. Zeider organized a Zoom presentation of the 1994 Huell Houser public television episode of his Fillmore visit. Guest speakers, the former Police Chief Richard Diaz and former Fire Chief Pat Askren gave their accounts of the events. Over 50 people participated in the virtual event.
The commemoration culminated on Saturday afternoon, January 20th, with an Open House at the Fillmore Depot. The two videos were shown and information on earthquake preparedness was shared. Despite the rain, many people attended.
You can view the videos on the Museum’s website:

https://www.fillmore historicalmuseum.org/items-5/shaken%2C-rattled-and-reconstructed%2C-january-18%2C-2024
And https://www.fillmore historicalmuseum.org/items-5/%22fillmore-earthquake %2C%22-1994
With the growth in population over the last 30 years, it is understood that many of our citizens are unaware of the devastation Fillmore suffered and are unsuspecting of the potential danger of future earthquakes. Hopefully this commemoration will raise that awareness.

 
Mountain Vista Elementary Principal Christine McDaniels said, “Thank you to our Ventura County Sheriff’s Department for spending time with our Wildcats during Coffee with Cops!” Courtesy https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=868845175241914&set =pcb.868845481908550. More photos online at www.FillmoreGazette.com.
Mountain Vista Elementary Principal Christine McDaniels said, “Thank you to our Ventura County Sheriff’s Department for spending time with our Wildcats during Coffee with Cops!” Courtesy https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=868845175241914&set =pcb.868845481908550. More photos online at www.FillmoreGazette.com.
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CHP Ventura deployed its IMPACT team to SR-126 on Tuesday, January 23, in response to numerous fatal and injury crashes, and high-speed vehicles. Five police vehicles including a motorcycle officer were observed during the day. Photo credit CHP-Ventura.
CHP Ventura deployed its IMPACT team to SR-126 on Tuesday, January 23, in response to numerous fatal and injury crashes, and high-speed vehicles. Five police vehicles including a motorcycle officer were observed during the day. Photo credit CHP-Ventura.
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Above is Fillmore Rotary Club guest speaker Chris Villegas and past President Renee Swenson. Photo Credit Martha Richardson.
Above is Fillmore Rotary Club guest speaker Chris Villegas and past President Renee Swenson. Photo Credit Martha Richardson.
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At last week’s Rotary meeting Chris Villegas was the Rotary guest speaker. Her presentation was a reminder of the January 17, 1994 Northridge Earthquake. She showed pictures of the damage in downtown Fillmore as well as homes that fell off of their foundations. Chris also talked about the steps you can take to make your home safe and also what is needed for an emergency kit. For more information plan to attend a virtual event, January 18 at 7:00, put on by the Fillmore Historical Museum called Shaken, Rattled and Recovered. To register and receive the Zoom link go to https://www.fillmorehistorical museum.org/event-details/shaken-rattled-and-recovered-fillmore-and-the-1994-earthquake.

 
Pictured are Troy Spayd, Jacob Coffman, and Martin Arias with the Fillmore Public Works Department. Photo credit Brandy Hollis
Pictured are Troy Spayd, Jacob Coffman, and Martin Arias with the Fillmore Public Works Department. Photo credit Brandy Hollis
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Article by Brandy Hollis

During summer we watched Fillmore's Public Works Department do double duty. It was refreshing to see objectives met, fields with holes filled in, the landscapers working too, and practice spots for teams would be trash free thanks to the hard work from these guys. Municipal Services Director Troy Spayd came to the City of Fillmore in December 2022.
His first order of business was the sewer breach at C Street. What a welcome for him. While it was a huge inconvenience for most people with lots of complaints, he was ensuring it was done right to stand the test of time and in a timely manner. Troy not only made sure the project was completed but he worked diligently to get over 93% of the costs picked up by FEMA without the need for the city incurring loans and interest. He is looking out for the city's best interest. Council Member Christopher Gurrola said he hopes Troy never leaves, but he should write a manual on how to properly handle these types of situations. He obviously comes with the experience, the follow-through and the drive the city needs.
Troy is ready to listen to the concerns of the public and understands the importance of sports fields for Fillmore. If you see a “Park Closed” sign, don’t be annoyed; it takes some closure to make changes. He is applying for grants to get the parking lots fixed, make the fields playable, and bathrooms safe and working. If it seems like things are happening out of order, those are merely the processes for grant funding for the city, outside of the city budget. The city is working with different sporting organizations to make sure everyone is equally served, and their objectives are met.
Also of importance to the city and the community is graffiti removal. If you see graffiti, email Shannon Godfrey-Prentice at sgodfrey@fillmoreca.gov and they will schedule its removal. Community involvement is a key factor.
A shout-out to Assistance City Manager Erika Herrera for organizing the giant Christmas ornament for family photos with Santa in Central Park. And a big Thank You to the whole city team for December’s downtown Christmas decorations!
Troy relies on a great team such as Jacob Coffman, who joined in May of 2023, and Mark Arias, who has over 21 years of experience understanding the city's ins & outs. There are many others servicing the city's Parks & Rec Department, and a big Thank You to all of them!

If you want your voice to be heard, attend city council meetings; the next one is Tuesday, January 23 at 6:30 pm, Fillmore City Hall. Fill out a speaker card and turn it in to the front before the meeting. It takes a village, and it takes work. Be part of the change you want to see.

 

Heads up VCTC 126 riders! Starting Jan. 22, 2024, there will be changes to improve weekday service. Weekend service remains unchanged. Check the schedule at goventura.org/routes. Info and photo Courtesy https://www.facebook.com/HVValleyExpress.

 

The Area Housing Authority of the County of Ventura (AHA) will be accepting applications from Tuesday, January 30, 2024 through Tuesday, February 13, 2024 for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program from very low income households.

You do not need to rush to apply. Waiting list placement will be based on the random lottery process and not on a first come first served basis.

Beginning Tuesday, January 30, 2024, at 8:00am through Tuesday, February 13, 2024 at 4:00pm applications will be accepted online. Applications will be accepted via an online portal at onlineportal.ahacv.org.
If you require assistance or if you are a person with a disability and require an accommodation in order to complete an application, please contact our office at (805) 480-6010 or send an email to wl.info@ahacv.org. For assistance for individuals with hearing impairment, please contact the AHA using TTY (805) 480-9119.
Due to the scarce resources available to the AHA up to 3,000 applications will be selected by random lottery drawing and placed on the waiting list from all eligible applications received. The random lottery will determine the applicant’s placement on the waitlist. Date and time the application is submitted will have no bearing on final order or placement on the waitlist.

WHAT YOU NEED TO APPLY
• An email address is required to submit the online application. Please ensure you have an email address before beginning the application process.
• Name, date of birth, social security number of each household member
• Annual household income amount

For more information on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, its requirements, and how to submit an application, please visit https://tinyurl.com/33r4ub7a.

Programa de Vales de Elección de Vivienda de la Sección 8
Lista de espera

La Autoridad de Vivienda del Área del Condado de Ventura (AHA, por sus siglas en inglés) aceptará solicitudes desde el Martes 30 de Enero de 2024 hasta el Martes 13 de Febrero de 2024 para el Programa de Vales de Elección de Vivienda de la Sección 8 de hogares de muy bajos ingresos.

No es necesario apresurarse para presentar la solicitud. La ubicación en la lista de espera se basara a proceses de lotería y no en el orden de llegada.

Las solicitudes se aceptarán en línea a partir del Martes 30 de Enero de 2024 a las 8:00 de la mañana y se cerrará el Martes 13 de Febrero de 2024 a las 4:00 de la tarde. Las solicitudes se aceptaran a través de un portal en línea en onlineportal.ahacv.org.
Si necesita ayuda o si es una persona con una discapacidad y necesita una adaptación para completar una solicitud, comuníquese con nuestra oficina al (805) 480-6010 o envíe un correo electrónico a wl.info@ahacv.org. Para obtener ayuda para personas con discapacidad auditiva, comuníquese con la AHA a través del TTY (805) 480-9119.
Debido a los escasos recursos disponibles, AHA seleccionará hasta 3,000 solicitudes mediante un sorteo de lotería al azar y se colocarán en la lista de espera entre todas las solicitudes elegibles recibidas. La fecha y hora en que se presente la solicitud no tendrán relación con la selección final o la colocación en la lista de espera.
LO QUE NECESITA PARA APLICAR
• Se requiere una dirección de correo electrónico para enviar la solicitud en línea. Asegúrese de tener una dirección de correo electrónico antes de comenzar el proceso de solicitud.
• Nombre, fecha de nacimiento, número de seguro social de cada miembro del hogar
• Cantidad en monto de ingresos familiares anuales

Para obtener más información sobre el programa de Vales de Elección de Vivienda de la Sección 8, sus requisitos y cómo presentar una solicitud, visite https://tinyurl.com/4uss2f9k.

 
On January 17, 1994, at 4:31am, the Northridge Earthquake struck with a magnitude of 6.7. Fillmore residents woke up to damages to about 100 single-family homes and about 25 businesses, many on Central Avenue. Above is the Masonic Building on Main and Sespe Avenue, a landmark lost in the quake. Inset, a photo of the gas line break that took place two days after, where the Star Free Press reported 103 mobile homes in El Dorado experienced serve damage. Photo credit Fillmore Historical Museum.
On January 17, 1994, at 4:31am, the Northridge Earthquake struck with a magnitude of 6.7. Fillmore residents woke up to damages to about 100 single-family homes and about 25 businesses, many on Central Avenue. Above is the Masonic Building on Main and Sespe Avenue, a landmark lost in the quake. Inset, a photo of the gas line break that took place two days after, where the Star Free Press reported 103 mobile homes in El Dorado experienced serve damage. Photo credit Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Above is a photo of the temporary business tents that were set up in the park where Fillmore City Hall stands today. Photo credit Fillmore Historical Museum.
Above is a photo of the temporary business tents that were set up in the park where Fillmore City Hall stands today. Photo credit Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

Do you remember where you were on January 17, 1994 at 4:31 AM? If you do, it probably means you were living in Southern California. If you were living in Fillmore at the time, you might soon discover that your home and business had been badly damaged, if not destroyed by the Northridge Earthquake, a 6.7 “blind thrust” earthquake on a previously unknown fault approximately 8 miles below Northridge.

Two days after the quake, the Star Free Press reported that 103 mobile homes in El Dorado suffered serious damage with one having burned to the ground due to a gas fire. About 100 single family homes had been damaged and about 25 business – many on Central Avenue – suffered major damage. These numbers grew as the damage was assessed.

The town lost some landmarks such as the Masonic Building on Main and Sespe and the Fillmore Club at 343 Central.
The quake brought out the best in people. Strangers would bring hot food to the first responders. Others would stop and help remove furnishings from damaged buildings. There was almost no looting.
The City brought in large tents that were set up in the park where the City Hall now stands. These housed businesses while their buildings were being repaired or replaced.

On January 18, 2024, the Museum’s virtual “history lesson” at 7:00p.m. will be a look back at the 1994 earthquake. About a week after the quake occurred, Huell Howser visited Fillmore with his camera man, Luis. The almost 30 minute video will be shown. Afterwards, we will have a panel of people who were involved in the first response and reconstruction. There will be a Q & A period. We expect that this presentation will be longer that the usual 1 hour. There is no charge by you do have register to receive the link. You can register at, https://www.fillmorehistorical museum.org/event-details/shaken-rattled-and-recovered-fillmore-and-the-1994-earthquake.

On January 20th, 2024, there will be a special display in the Depot which will again include the Huell Howser “Visiting” episode and a video which looks back at 1994 and includes recent interviews. The video was compiled by Mudturtle Productions. The Depot will be open from 2p.m. to 4:30p.m. Again, there is no charge.
Do you have a story about the 1994 earthquake? If you do please share it with us.

 
Pictured (l-r) is Rotary President Scott Beylik with speaker Ken Wiseman. Wiseman was the guest speaker at last week’s Fillmore Rotary Club meeting. He and his wife moved from busy Santa Clarita to Piru, and once there they noticed the vacant buildings, the lack of sidewalks for the children walking to school and they began to think about what could be done. Ken joined the Piru Neighborhood Council to meet people and ask questions. Since then they have looked into ways to bring filming to Piru, thus bringing money for new projects such as sidewalks, adult education at the Community Center, future projects like a little water park, and soccer fields. They have also planned events to bring families together, especially the families who have moved into the new homes and need to become part of the community. Sometimes it just takes one person to step up and get everyone enthused and that person is Ken Wiseman. Photo credit Martha Richardson.
Pictured (l-r) is Rotary President Scott Beylik with speaker Ken Wiseman. Wiseman was the guest speaker at last week’s Fillmore Rotary Club meeting. He and his wife moved from busy Santa Clarita to Piru, and once there they noticed the vacant buildings, the lack of sidewalks for the children walking to school and they began to think about what could be done. Ken joined the Piru Neighborhood Council to meet people and ask questions. Since then they have looked into ways to bring filming to Piru, thus bringing money for new projects such as sidewalks, adult education at the Community Center, future projects like a little water park, and soccer fields. They have also planned events to bring families together, especially the families who have moved into the new homes and need to become part of the community. Sometimes it just takes one person to step up and get everyone enthused and that person is Ken Wiseman. Photo credit Martha Richardson.
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VENTURA, Calif. – As January marks Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Ventura County
District Attorney’s Office reaffirms its commitment to combatting this terrible crime and standing in
solidarity with victims.

Today, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors proclaimed the month of January as Human
Trafficking Prevention Month and January 13, 2024, as Soroptimist STOP Human Trafficking
Awareness Day in Ventura County. Human trafficking remains a pressing global issue, and it
impacts millions worldwide. But it also occurs in our local communities throughout Ventura County.

With a steadfast dedication to justice and protecting the vulnerable, the Ventura County District
Attorney’s Office actively collaborates with law enforcement agencies as a member of the Ventura
County Human Trafficking Task Force, non-profit organizations like Soroptimist International, and
community stakeholders to prevent, investigate, and prosecute cases related to human trafficking.

Contact: Joey Buttitta
Title: Communications Manager/PIO
Phone: (805) 767-3400
Email: Joey.Buttittta@ventura.org
Approved: SW
Date: January 9, 2024
Release No.: 24-002

“Our office is committed to ending human trafficking in Ventura County,” District Attorney Erik
Nasarenko said. “We recognize the urgency of this cause, and we will continue to pursue justice for
survivors while holding predators accountable.”

Throughout Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office will
be engaging in a series of outreach initiatives aimed at raising public awareness, educating
community members, and fostering a better understanding of the signs and impacts of human
trafficking. These efforts include educational workshops, outreach campaigns across various
platforms, and partnerships with local schools and organizations to provide resources and support.

• Wear blue! National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is recognized each year on
January 11. Blue is the international color of human trafficking awareness, and you can join
and support the nationwide awareness campaign by wearing blue, taking photos, and
posting on social media, on January 11, and throughout the month.

• Thursday, January 11, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Join us at the Soroptimist
Simi Valley, STOP Human Trafficking Event and hear from the human trafficking awareness
panel, including District Attorney Erik Nasarenko, along with other local dignitaries and
professionals. Save your spot here: https://www.soroptimistsv.org/iwillnotbesold
• Saturday, January 13, 2023: Soroptimist’s International, 17th Annual STOP Human
Trafficking Walk & Live Panel event. District Attorney victim advocates will staff a Family
Justice Center (FJC) informational booth and other FJC partner agencies will have booths
as well. Please find additional details via the following link:

https://stoptraffickingventuracounty.org/attend/event-details-2/event-de...
• Monday, January 29, 2023: “Empowerment Beyond Exploitation: Addressing
Human Trafficking, Disability, and Accessing Resources” training. Taught by Deputy District
Attorneys Rikole Kelly and Melissa McMurdo at the Carmen Ramirez Family Justice Center
at 555 South A Street in Oxnard. This event welcomes practitioners, social workers, law
enforcement professionals, and the public. We aim to educate about the signs of human
trafficking in individuals with disabilities, understand the unique vulnerabilities and barriers
faced by this intersection, and explore resources available for support and assistance.
Furthermore, the Ventura County District Attorney’s encourages community members to join the
fight against human trafficking by remaining vigilant, knowing the signs, and reporting any
suspicious activities to local law enforcement.

In addition to proactive measures, the District Attorney’s Office remains committed to providing
comprehensive support and resources to survivors of human trafficking. Our victim advocates
collaborate with service providers to ensure survivors receive the necessary assistance, protection,
and care they need to rebuild their lives.

If you or someone you know might be a victim of trafficking, call 9-1-1. If you think you might be a
victim and want more information, call 1-800-636-6738 (adults) or 1-805-261-1212 (minors). For
more information on the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office’s initiatives or to report
suspected human trafficking activities, please visit the Human Trafficking page on our website

 
Pictured is Ralphy Avila, Jax’s son and a Fillmore Little League player, and Jax Avila, Fillmore Little League Board Member, riding in the 2023 Lions Club Christmas Parade. Photo credit Brandy Hollis.
Pictured is Ralphy Avila, Jax’s son and a Fillmore Little League player, and Jax Avila, Fillmore Little League Board Member, riding in the 2023 Lions Club Christmas Parade. Photo credit Brandy Hollis.
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By Brandy Hollis, parent & former Fillmore Little League manager

One of my favorite things to do is to observe the “doers”, the ones always there, doing the work, answering questions, putting out fires, and not always the one being recognized. I am sure any organization Jax Avila is involved with knows how truly blessed they are to have her, but I just wanted to give her a little shout-out. I know if I need a question answered, or help with a project, she gives her word and follows up. I am a big applauder of people who do what they say and without a doubt she has been one of those I can count on. Whether you’re at the snack bar, registering your kids, watching a game or needing a question answered, pay attention to how often Jax is around, giving her time freely to Little League and other organizations. There are also many other volunteers who make this organization work and flourish here in Fillmore, but this is just a little shout-out to her personally. As our children continue to play youth sports here in Fillmore, these organizations are run by volunteers. That includes coaches. I cannot tell you how many times a kid has gotten excited because their parent is one of the ones helping out or coaching. Everything runs smoother when there are parent volunteers in any sport. Stand up and lend a helping hand and make your kids’ season! And if you see Jax, smile and say hi!

 
Pictured l-r is Pip, Carina Montoya and Scruffy. Photo credit Danny Haro.
Pictured l-r is Pip, Carina Montoya and Scruffy. Photo credit Danny Haro.
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By Carina Montoya

Happy 2024 Fillmore! In 2022, I introduced Scruffy, my terrier-mix rescue, found abandoned, alone and wandering the streets in the San Fernando Valley at about 10 weeks old. An animal control officer found her and brought her to the shelter. She was a lucky dog, and I was fortunate to find her. She was my Christmas present in December 2017. This past Christmas 2023, I adopted another rescue who was abandoned along with eight of his siblings. The puppies were approximately nine weeks old when someone dumped them in a field in an agricultural area in Bakersfield. A farmer found the pups with no mother in sight. He called a rescue organization who came and gathered the puppies. I responded when photos of the puppies were put on social media. The rescue organization believed the dogs were Border Collie/Cattle Dog mix. I was interested in the black/white puppy with the white paintbrush tip tail because he resembled Freckles, one of the loves of my life for 14 years who was a female Border Collie. Needless to say, it was love at first sight for both of us. I named him Pip after a character in Great Expectations, one of my favorite classics by Charles Dickens. I was curious to know Pip’s breed mix, so I bought a dog DNA test kit, swabbed the inside of his cheeks and sent it off. I was surprised to learn that he has no Border Collie in his DNA. Pip is 61% German Shepherd, 31% Pit Bull, and 10% Siberian Husky. He is definitely an interesting mix, which makes him a special dog who is loved and treated as a member of the family. To Pip, he belongs to a forever pack.

Bringing a dog into your home is a responsibility. All domesticated dogs are dependent on their owner for food, shelter, safety, exercise and attention. I’m sure that all dog-lovers agree that if you don’t treat your dog as a family member, you shouldn’t have a dog. Dogs are descendants from wolves which man befriended, tamed, and cared for in exchange for them to work as guard dogs. It is said that “this reciprocal relationship remains in your dog’s genes and their loyalty is a by-product of it.”

During the COVID isolation period many shelters for the first time became virtually empty. People wanted dogs because they were isolated at home. After COVID isolation was over and people returned to work and school, many people no longer wanted their dogs. Shelters again began reaching their full capacity in unwanted dogs. Unfortunately, many dogs were also found abandoned and left to die in cages, boxes and trash cans or left to be killed by vehicles or wildlife.

There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters in the U.S. filled with unwanted animals. By rescuing a dog from a shelter, you will be doing your part in saving it from an uncertain fate. In return, the dog will be grateful for getting a second chance and you will get unconditional love, loyalty and much more. Many people looking to adopt a dog prefer a puppy, but adopting young and older dogs often has positive benefits, such as they are no longer teething; they are house trained; and they have been socialized with people and other animals. My two rescues are lucky dogs because they found a forever home. Little do they know that I am the lucky one because they are gifts that keep on giving.
Happy New Year to you and your furry pets!

 

VENTURA, Calif. – The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is informing the public about a recent report our office received from the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators (IAFCI, December 2023) regarding QR code fraud, and the relative financial and security risks associated with this increasing growing form of fraud.

QR codes or “Quick Response codes” (see image 1) are barcodes that can be read (scanned) by an imaging device, such as a camera on a phone. When a QR code is imaged by a device, it can direct the device to perform functions such as opening websites. There are certain private and public entities that will use QR code applications to facilitate digital payments transactions for customers (scan and pay). QR codes can be placed or affixed anywhere, such as a physical location (a sticker on a store window) or non-stationary settings (advertisements on print or in digital format).

“As technology provides customers more options to quickly and easily conduct financial transactions, what sometimes follows right behind are the quick and easy methods criminals use in an attempt to steal from those very customers,” said Investigator Richard Elias, a member of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Major Fraud Division.

Certain criminals (“fraudsters”) have taken advantage of the growing use of QR code technology to trick users into scanning illegitimate QR codes, which fraudsters can place or affix with relative ease anywhere. This can be as easy as placing a QR code sticker over a pre-existing QR code (see image 2). Once a victim accesses the malicious QR code, they are routed to a fraudulent website posing as the official site of what the customer intended to visit or do business with. This could ultimately lead to financial losses or the later misuse of personal identification and financial information.

To prevent this, consumers are encouraged to:

1. Consider where and how QR codes are being displayed and if those displays reasonably correspond with the transactions being considered.

2. Before “clicking” to accept a scanned QR code, check the phone camera screen to see what website (URL address) is associated with that QR code (this should pop up when the phone scans the code).

3. After accepting a scanned QR code, check the website (URL address and site features) to make sure the website is associated with the legitimate company/entity it claims to represent. Discontinue or check with the entity directly if there are any doubts of authenticity.

If you have been a victim of QR code fraud, or suspect QR code fraud is taking place, please report the matter to your local law enforcement agency and immediately report any suspected financial fraud to your bank or credit card company.