Fillmore Assistant Fire Chief Bill Herrera’s hand, with rattlesnake bites showing on two bottom fingers. A 15-year volunteer of the Search & Rescue Team, Herrera was bitten in June while searching for missing Arcadia Firefighter Mike Herdman in the wild Sespe reserve. Herrera wanted to thank the community for their prayers and support.
Fillmore Assistant Fire Chief Bill Herrera’s hand, with rattlesnake bites showing on two bottom fingers. A 15-year volunteer of the Search & Rescue Team, Herrera was bitten in June while searching for missing Arcadia Firefighter Mike Herdman in the wild Sespe reserve. Herrera wanted to thank the community for their prayers and support.
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Herrera thanks community for support in Letter to the Editor
Bill Herrera
Bill Herrera

On Monday 06/16 we were called out to search for a lost hiker, Mike Heardman an Arcadia Firefighter and his dog; who’s friend had reported him missing for 1.5 days. The search last 18 days until he was unfortunately found deceased from what appears to be blunt force trauma from a significant fall.

The morning of 6/16 our team was flown into an area called Shady Camp; in Alder Creek in the very rugged territory of the Sespe Wilderness and our objective that day was to retrace the first 8 miles of what was a planned 4 day hike for Mike, his friend and dog. We flew in, hiked out the 8 miles and found no sign of him or his dog.

On Thursday 06/19 I returned to the search. I was assigned Division Sup with an 8 person search team to cover 2.5 miles of the Sespe Creek area where Mike was last seen. Our objective was to search this 2.5 miles of Sespe Creek and try to accomplish an 80% probability of detection. This was very rugged terrain and the temperatures were in the high 80’s low 90’s. We were coptered into our search area, about a 10 minute ride from the command post. The copter landed on a small sand bar where two teams of 4 off loaded. I gave a safety briefing and believe it or not the last thing I told my group before we started our line search was to watch out for rattle snakes. Famous last words

At 9:50 AM is was lowering myself down a three ledge formation on the side of the creek. I had sat down on my bottom with my hands at my side getting ready to push off to the lower ledge just above the creek bottom. At that moment I was struke by the snake. I never saw him or heard him before the strike, but I knew instantly I was struck by a snake. I barley caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye. He struck my left little finger and ring finger. As I proceeded to jump off the ledge I was able to look back and I saw what looked to be a large snake body coiled and nestled on a shelf just to the left of and behind my seated location. It was very dark in color almost black. The snake never made a noise, not before and not after. I was certainly where no person would normally go hiking or camping. But again we were searching with the intent of 80% probability of detection. Every member of the team were in places they could have encountered a rattlesnake. I just happen to be the lucky one. It was reported that crews were encountering many snakes during this search.

At 9:55 I was attended to by one of my team members. Pulse was 118, I was working very hard to stay calm, to the point they could not count my respirations. I asked my communication guy to get hold of our radio relay plane which was Air Patrol 415 for an emergency evacuation. Air Squad 8 (Ventura County Helicopter) was also working in the area, flying teams in and out with search assignments. It took about 10 minutes to communicate our issue and location for pickup. During the 10 minutes this is what I felt: Ringer finger swelled and tingled immediately, hand started to tingle and swelled slightly over the 10 minute period, mouth and jaw area tingled and felt numb, top of my head felt like I was wearing a tight hat and it also tingled, I was salivating and got the dry heave’s. At 10:02 my hand was marked at my wrist to track swelling. Copter pilot did an amazing job and landed about 40 feet from my location, as I walked over to copter I felt some general weakness in my legs. We flew about 10 minutes to the command post to pick up a paramedic and his ALS (advanced life support) gear. We sat on the ground for about 5 minutes while a line was started in my right hand. Copter flight to hospital was about 10 to 15 minutes. It was estimated that from the time I got bit, it took them 38 minutes to get me to the ER. All things considered this was a tremendous response time. I was unable to walk from copter into the ER due to weakness. I got my first anti-venom (Crofab) treatment around 10:20. All of the signs and symptoms that started in the first ten minutes remained the same in the ER. In the ER my wife said that my body was twitching all over, in what appeared to be small muscle spasms. She also said the area around my mouth was twitching.

Over the course of the next 24 to 36 hours, my hand, arm, shoulder, front left torso, back left torso, and left side swelled to pretty stiff proportions. I also had some swelling in the left side of my neck and face. This is a rough time table of how the swelling moved up my arm. At 10:02 I swelled to my wrist, 10:30 swelling was below my elbow, 11:15 above elbow and below bicep; 11:30 above bicep, 12 something at shoulder joint. I received over 100 vials of Crofab. My signs and symptoms and swelling all improved over the following 14 days. Main concerns that were verbalized to me were the swelling in my hand and arm, low blood platelets and kidney functions. All seemed to have improved over time.

I spent 5 days in ICU and another 9 days in a regular hospital room. Last 5 days in hospital I felt 95% good, left hand and arm would intermittently swell. Always had good pulses, cap refill and feeling in hand and finger tips. Platelets just did not seem to be cooperating. I was released from hospital on July 3rd at around 12PM with a platelet count of about 22000. On July 11th my platelet count was 159000. Now I am still felling 95% good, energy is a little low but improving every day.

 


 
The August 19 school board meeting began with Public Comments as six FHS students addressed the Board announcing their sports plans for the coming semester. They included: Francisco Erazo-Cross Country, Alexis Tafoya-Cross Country, Chad Petuoglu-Football, Santana Carrera-Cheer, Sarah Scott-Cheer, and Hayden Wright-Football.
The August 19 school board meeting began with Public Comments as six FHS students addressed the Board announcing their sports plans for the coming semester. They included: Francisco Erazo-Cross Country, Alexis Tafoya-Cross Country, Chad Petuoglu-Football, Santana Carrera-Cheer, Sarah Scott-Cheer, and Hayden Wright-Football.
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The first day of Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) 2014/2015 school year was Thursday, August 14th and according to the new Superintendent all FUSD schools are in tip-top shape with special attention paid to the landscaping and other safety issues.

The following Tuesday was the first open FUSD Board Meeting for Superintendent Adrian E. Palazuelos Ph.D., who replaced former FUSD Supervisor Dr. Alan Nishino. Palazuelos assured the Board that he was tackling the job right out of the gate and would make Fillmore schools something to be proud of.

Also attending the meeting was Assistant Superintendent Education Services Martha Hernandez, who replaces Asst. Superintendent Michael Johnson. Hernandez previous worked with the Ventura County Office of Education for nine years, Oxnard Elementary for eleven years and Santa Paula Elementary for four years.

The meeting began with Public Comments as six FHS students addressed the Board announcing their sports plans for the coming semester. They included: Francisco Erazo-Cross Country, Alexis Tafoya-Cross Country, Chad Petuoglu-Football, Santana Carrera-Cheer, Sarah Scott-Cheer, and Hayden Wright-Football.

Also attending her first Board Meeting was Fillmore High School Junior Erma Torres, the new 2014/2015 Student Representative also known as "Speaker of the House." Torres introduced her father Michael Torres who also attended FUSD and announced the Welcome Back Rally which will take place this Friday, August 22nd.

Fillmore High Schools (FHS) first away game facing Grace Brethren will take place on August 29th, and FHS Cross Country Team will have their first race at the Fastback Shootout Invitational September 6th at Mt. San Antonio College.

The only agenda item that required much discussion by the Board was the creation of a new committee promoted by the Fillmore City Council. The Council asked the Board if they would be interested in forming a joint committee together. The proposal requires two Board Members volunteer as part of the committee along with two Council Members. All five Board Members agreed to the proposal, but there was question about what time the meetings would take place, either evenings or days. This led to two alternates, Virginia De La Piedra who could only attend during the day and John Garnica who could attend evenings. Lucy Rangel agreed to cover if both De La Piedra and Garnica could not attend. The first meeting is expected to by sometime in December or January.

 

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Mustang in a Limo. Mustang took a turn around the ring in the Good N Broke Limo at the Ventura County Fair Rodeo. Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assoc. Rodeo photos courtesy Bob Crum.
Mustang in a Limo. Mustang took a turn around the ring in the Good N Broke Limo at the Ventura County Fair Rodeo. Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assoc. Rodeo photos courtesy Bob Crum.
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Part 1
The 2014 Ventura County Fair Rodeo was full of thrills and spills this year. Following are the rodeo results:
All-around cowboy: Trenten Montero, $1,250, bareback riding and bull riding. Bareback riding: First round: 1. Trenten Montero, 78 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Holy Seminole, $366; 2. Tyson Thompson, 72, $275; no other qualified rides. Second round: 1. Tyson Thompson, 80 points on Flying U Rodeo’s No. 792; $366; 2. Trenten Montero, 74, $275; 3. Kid Banuelos, 46, $183; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. (tie) Tyson Thompson and Trenten Montero, 152 points on two head, $320; 3. Kid Banuelos, 46 on one head, $183. Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Matthew Ferroni, 21.5 seconds, $266; 2. Justin Ritchea, 24.3, $200; no other qualified runs. Second round: 1. Justin Ritchea, 8.8 seconds, $266; 2. Blaine Jones, 14.3, $200; 3. Matt Deskovick, 14.8, $133; no other qualified runs. Average: 1. Justin Richea, 33.1 seconds on two head, $266; 2. Blaine Jones, 14.3 on one head, $200; 3. Matt Deskovick, 14.8, $133. Team roping: First round: 1. Ed Necochea/Danny Necochea, 5.0 seconds, $423 each; 2. Kelly Barker/Jake Twisselman, 5.2, $318; 3. (tie) Clay White/John Chaves and Travis Xavier/Mike Monighetti, 5.6, $159 each. Second round: 1. Clint White/Evan Arnold, 5.1 seconds, $423 each; 2. Travis Xavier/Mike Monighetti, 5.4, $318; 3. Paul Mullins/Clayton Grant, 5.5, $212; 4. Blake Hirdes/Joseph Shawnego, 5.9, $106. Average: 1. Travis Xavier/Mike Monighetti, 11.0 seconds on two head, $635 each; 2. Ed Necochea/Danny Necochea, 11.8, $476; 3. Paul Mullins/Clayton Grant, 11.9, $318; 4. Blake Hirdes/Joseph Shawnego, 12.6, $159. Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Jess Williams, 73 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Moon Shine, $375; 2. Michael Maher, 69, $281; 3. Mert Bradshaw, 65, $187; 4. Joe Heguy, 64, $94. Second round: 1. Mert Bradshaw, 75 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Little Chief, $375; 2. (tie) Jess Williams and Michael Maher, 74, $234 each; 4. Joe Heguy, 70, $94. Average: 1. Jess Williams, 147 points on two head, $375; 2. Michael Maher, 143, $281; 3. Mert Bradshaw, 140, $187; 4. Joe Heguy, 134, $94. Tie-down roping: First round: 1. John McGill, 11.1 seconds, $315; 2. Justin Lane, 11.4, $236; 3. (tie) Scott McCulloch and Chad Krainock, 11.7, $118 each. Second round: 1. Blaine Jones, 10.8 seconds, $315; 2. (tie) Cody Collins and Mason Malone, 11.6, $197 each; 4. Chad Krainock, 13.0, $79. Average: 1. Blaine Jones, 24.2 seconds on two head, $472; 2. Chad Krainock, 24.7, $354; 3. Taylor Winters, 25.4, $236; 4. Justin Lane, 26.3, $118. Barrel racing: 1. Ann Scott, 13.52 seconds, $575; 2. Rachael Ross, 13.66, $500; 3. Courtney Cline, 13.83, $425; 4. Karla Sanchez, 13.87, $350; 5. Cambria Estep, 13.92, $275; 6. Erin Ricotti, 13.98; 7. Dude Overton, 14.07, $125; 8. Candy Forsberg, 14.08, $50. Bull riding: First round: 1. Michael Hough, 68 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Party Crasher, $578; 2. Sammy Matthews, 67, $433; 3. Josh Daries, 64, $288; 4. Kaycee Rose, 40, $144. Second round: 1. (tie) Tyler Stueve Knoles, on Flying U Rodeo’s Loco Weed, and Christopher Byrd, on Flying U Rodeo’s Bugman, 78 points, $505 each; 3. Dylan Vick, 75, $289; 4. Trenten Montero, 72, $144, $289. Average: 1. (tie) Tyler Stueve Knoles and Christopher Byrd, 78 points on one head each, $505 each; 3. Dylan Vick, 75, $289; 4. Trenten Montero, 72, $144. Total payoff: $24,548. Stock contractor: Flying U Rodeo and Rosser Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Cindy Rosser. Officials: Steve Yoast and Bill Pacheco. Timers: Karin Rosser and Cindy Rosser. Announcer: Steve Goedert. Specialty act: Frankie Smith. Bullfighters: Donnie Castle and Chance Jackson. Clown/barrelman: Frankie Smith. Flankman: Paul Greer and Tony Amaral. Chute boss: Tony Amaral and Reno Rosser. Pickup men: Jake Twisselman and Bronc Boehnlein. Photographer: Gene Hyder.
The 2014 Ventura County Fair Rodeo was full of thrills and spills this year. Following are the rodeo results: All-around cowboy: Trenten Montero, $1,250, bareback riding and bull riding. Bareback riding: First round: 1. Trenten Montero, 78 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Holy Seminole, $366; 2. Tyson Thompson, 72, $275; no other qualified rides. Second round: 1. Tyson Thompson, 80 points on Flying U Rodeo’s No. 792; $366; 2. Trenten Montero, 74, $275; 3. Kid Banuelos, 46, $183; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. (tie) Tyson Thompson and Trenten Montero, 152 points on two head, $320; 3. Kid Banuelos, 46 on one head, $183. Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Matthew Ferroni, 21.5 seconds, $266; 2. Justin Ritchea, 24.3, $200; no other qualified runs. Second round: 1. Justin Ritchea, 8.8 seconds, $266; 2. Blaine Jones, 14.3, $200; 3. Matt Deskovick, 14.8, $133; no other qualified runs. Average: 1. Justin Richea, 33.1 seconds on two head, $266; 2. Blaine Jones, 14.3 on one head, $200; 3. Matt Deskovick, 14.8, $133. Team roping: First round: 1. Ed Necochea/Danny Necochea, 5.0 seconds, $423 each; 2. Kelly Barker/Jake Twisselman, 5.2, $318; 3. (tie) Clay White/John Chaves and Travis Xavier/Mike Monighetti, 5.6, $159 each. Second round: 1. Clint White/Evan Arnold, 5.1 seconds, $423 each; 2. Travis Xavier/Mike Monighetti, 5.4, $318; 3. Paul Mullins/Clayton Grant, 5.5, $212; 4. Blake Hirdes/Joseph Shawnego, 5.9, $106. Average: 1. Travis Xavier/Mike Monighetti, 11.0 seconds on two head, $635 each; 2. Ed Necochea/Danny Necochea, 11.8, $476; 3. Paul Mullins/Clayton Grant, 11.9, $318; 4. Blake Hirdes/Joseph Shawnego, 12.6, $159. Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Jess Williams, 73 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Moon Shine, $375; 2. Michael Maher, 69, $281; 3. Mert Bradshaw, 65, $187; 4. Joe Heguy, 64, $94. Second round: 1. Mert Bradshaw, 75 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Little Chief, $375; 2. (tie) Jess Williams and Michael Maher, 74, $234 each; 4. Joe Heguy, 70, $94. Average: 1. Jess Williams, 147 points on two head, $375; 2. Michael Maher, 143, $281; 3. Mert Bradshaw, 140, $187; 4. Joe Heguy, 134, $94. Tie-down roping: First round: 1. John McGill, 11.1 seconds, $315; 2. Justin Lane, 11.4, $236; 3. (tie) Scott McCulloch and Chad Krainock, 11.7, $118 each. Second round: 1. Blaine Jones, 10.8 seconds, $315; 2. (tie) Cody Collins and Mason Malone, 11.6, $197 each; 4. Chad Krainock, 13.0, $79. Average: 1. Blaine Jones, 24.2 seconds on two head, $472; 2. Chad Krainock, 24.7, $354; 3. Taylor Winters, 25.4, $236; 4. Justin Lane, 26.3, $118. Barrel racing: 1. Ann Scott, 13.52 seconds, $575; 2. Rachael Ross, 13.66, $500; 3. Courtney Cline, 13.83, $425; 4. Karla Sanchez, 13.87, $350; 5. Cambria Estep, 13.92, $275; 6. Erin Ricotti, 13.98; 7. Dude Overton, 14.07, $125; 8. Candy Forsberg, 14.08, $50. Bull riding: First round: 1. Michael Hough, 68 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Party Crasher, $578; 2. Sammy Matthews, 67, $433; 3. Josh Daries, 64, $288; 4. Kaycee Rose, 40, $144. Second round: 1. (tie) Tyler Stueve Knoles, on Flying U Rodeo’s Loco Weed, and Christopher Byrd, on Flying U Rodeo’s Bugman, 78 points, $505 each; 3. Dylan Vick, 75, $289; 4. Trenten Montero, 72, $144, $289. Average: 1. (tie) Tyler Stueve Knoles and Christopher Byrd, 78 points on one head each, $505 each; 3. Dylan Vick, 75, $289; 4. Trenten Montero, 72, $144. Total payoff: $24,548. Stock contractor: Flying U Rodeo and Rosser Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Cindy Rosser. Officials: Steve Yoast and Bill Pacheco. Timers: Karin Rosser and Cindy Rosser. Announcer: Steve Goedert. Specialty act: Frankie Smith. Bullfighters: Donnie Castle and Chance Jackson. Clown/barrelman: Frankie Smith. Flankman: Paul Greer and Tony Amaral. Chute boss: Tony Amaral and Reno Rosser. Pickup men: Jake Twisselman and Bronc Boehnlein. Photographer: Gene Hyder.
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SACRAMENTO – The first two deaths this summer due to West Nile virus infection have been confirmed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) it was announced today by Dr. Ron Chapman, CDPH Director and state public health officer. The first was a senior citizen from Sacramento County. The second was an adult from Shasta County.

“These unfortunate deaths remind us that we must protect ourselves from mosquito bites to prevent West Nile virus and other mosquito born infections,” said Chapman. “West Nile virus activity is greatest during the summertime.”

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals – less than one percent – can develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. People 50 years of age and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications. Recent data also indicate that those with diabetes and/or hypertension are at greatest risk for serious illness.

To date in 2014, West Nile virus has been detected in 36 California counties.

CDPH recommends that individuals prevent exposure to mosquito bites and West Nile virus by practicing the “Three Ds:”

1. DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
2. DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
3. DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito and vector control agency.

California’s West Nile virus website includes the latest information on West Nile virus activity in the state. Californians are encouraged to report all dead birds and dead tree squirrels on the website or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).

 
(l-r) (back row) Matthew Hammond, Nicholas Bartels, Jovanny Herrera, Lauro Medrano, (front Row) Isaiah Galvez, Isis Garibay, Danielle Ramirez, Demily Amezcua.
(l-r) (back row) Matthew Hammond, Nicholas Bartels, Jovanny Herrera, Lauro Medrano, (front Row) Isaiah Galvez, Isis Garibay, Danielle Ramirez, Demily Amezcua.
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On August 1, at the Ventura County Criminal Justive Training Center, eight Santa Clara Valley Post Explorers graduated from the Ventura County Law Enforcement Explorer Academy. The Academy graduated 47 young adults and teenagers representing the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Simi Valley Police Department, and the Santa Paula Police Department. The Santa Clara Valley Post was represented by Explorers Demily Amezcua, Nicholas Bartels, Isis Garibay, Isaiah Galvez, Matthew Hammond, Jovanny Herrera, and Lauro Medrano

The Santa Clara Valley Post was honored in winning multiple awards by it’s explorer graduates. Explorer Isis Garibay was appointed Class Sergeant, Explorer Matthew Bartels received the Class Spirit Award, and Explorer Demily Amuezcua received the Female Physical Fitness Award.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office provides a Law Enforcement Explorer program to educate and involve the youth of the community in police operations and interest them in law enforcement functions whether they aspire to enter police work or not. The Explorer program establishes an awareness of the complexities of police services and broadens an Explorer's firsthand knowledge of the challenges and job skills that make up our communities' police services.

Law Enforcement Exploring is an exciting way for young men and women, ages 14 (8th Grade completed) to 21, to explore the dynamic field of law enforcement. As an Explorer, they will have the opportunity to participate in, patrol ride-alongs, Law Enforcement Explorer Competitions, station operations, and assist with community events
Explorers attend a three-week, 120-hour academy designed exclusively for Explorers. The course is usually scheduled during the summer. The Academy stresses the value of ethics, community service, and self-confidence, pillars in Law Enforcement.

Prepared by: Deputy E. Hernandez #4533

 
Jazmin Olvera, 17, Sespe 4-H, raised Romona, a 264 pound pig that was awarded the coveted Grand Champion Market Swine/4-H Champion.
Jazmin Olvera, 17, Sespe 4-H, raised Romona, a 264 pound pig that was awarded the coveted Grand Champion Market Swine/4-H Champion.
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Story and photos by Bob Crum - Part 1
Erin Berrington, 13, Piru 4-H, raised Dallas, a 1,278 pound market steer that won the coveted Grand Champion Steer. At auction, Dallas sold for $6.50 a pound.
Erin Berrington, 13, Piru 4-H, raised Dallas, a 1,278 pound market steer that won the coveted Grand Champion Steer. At auction, Dallas sold for $6.50 a pound.
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Samantha Point, 13, is with the Bardsdale 4-H Club. Samanthaa raised a Chianina Steer that weighed inat 1,257 pounds. This hefty animal was awarded 4-H Reserve Champion Market Steer. At auction, the steer was sold for $3.50 a pound.
Samantha Point, 13, is with the Bardsdale 4-H Club. Samanthaa raised a Chianina Steer that weighed inat 1,257 pounds. This hefty animal was awarded 4-H Reserve Champion Market Steer. At auction, the steer was sold for $3.50 a pound.
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Julissa Montes, 13, Piru 4-H, raised a pig she named Viona that won Bred & Fed Champion/4-H Reserve Champion. At auction, high bidder Wood-Claeyssens Foundation bought Viona for $8 a pound.
Julissa Montes, 13, Piru 4-H, raised a pig she named Viona that won Bred & Fed Champion/4-H Reserve Champion. At auction, high bidder Wood-Claeyssens Foundation bought Viona for $8 a pound.
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Jeffery Mcguire, Fillmore FFA, raised a market steer named Dipper that weighed in at 1,356 pounds. Moreover, Dipper was awarded the title: overall Reserve Champion Steer. In the auction ring, Jeffrey’s efforts rewarded him with $7.00 a pound.
Jeffery Mcguire, Fillmore FFA, raised a market steer named Dipper that weighed in at 1,356 pounds. Moreover, Dipper was awarded the title: overall Reserve Champion Steer. In the auction ring, Jeffrey’s efforts rewarded him with $7.00 a pound.
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After all these years, I should know better. At an auction... don't scratch your nose or rub your right eye unless you intend to buy! Thank goodness I was outbid or today I'd be buying hay for a 1,200 pound steer or shopping for a ranch!

It's impossible to attend the Jr. Livestock Auction at the Ventura County Fair and not feel the excitement. The William P. Clark Pavilion was packed with anxious bidders at the ready. The kids were equally anxious wondering what amount the highest bid for their animal would be.

One by one the parade of animals begins... market lamb, goats, steer, swine and even chickens and turkeys. Takes a very keen and trained eye to distinguish a quality difference between one goat and another or one pig and another. Fact is, it doesn't matter. A pigs rump might be a tad lean but supporting the youngster is the bidders intention. The bacon is insignificant. So, within an hour an observer quickly realizes that there really isn't any rhyme or reason for the bid amounts. The fact that the FFA or 4-H youngster is building a college fund is justification to bid with gusto. Accordingly, from the first bid to the last, giddy bidders did their best to fulfill every kids hopes. Based on the kid's jubilant smiles, they succeeded.

Here are this years Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion winners from Fillmore, Piru and Bardsdale.
Yazmine Luna, 19, Fillmore FFA, raised a 264 pound swine (Hampshire Cross) named Olivia. Olivia was awarded the Reserve FFA Champion and fetched $27.00/pound at the auction.

In addition to her achievement, this was an exceptional, life-changing year for Yazmine. Olivia turned Yazmine's life in an entirely different direction. “Olivia got hurt in the beginning of the year and all along I was... umm... indecisive about what career I was going to go into,” Yazmine said. “But raising Olivia back to health actually prompted me to make the decision to become a large animal veterinarian.” Interesting. “Yes, it was quite an impact,” she added.

“Olivia sustained a knee injury that prevented her from walking,” Yazmine said. “Wasn't sure that she was even going to make it to the fair. But with a vets help, and medications... from that experience I knew I wanted to become a large animal vet,” Yazmine said.

Any other special experiences raising Olivia? “Not really,” Yazmine said, adding, “being my fifth pig I have a lot of experience. Experiencing the responsibilities of maintaining animals and dealing with someone who is not human... for me to be able to help them is great.”

Issues raising an injured animal? “We did morning and night feedings. Normally I do free feedings but this year because she wasn't walking very well, I came out and fed her twice a day. And brought her feed pan to her face to make sure she ate... and all that good stuff.”

Raising an animal, any large animal, is a lot of work. Ever wake up and pondered going back to sleep? “That happens all the time, even here at the fair,” Yazmine said, adding, “you don't want to get up but you have a mouth to feed so you have to get up and go down there (the pen).”

Your support group? “I had a really good adviser, Joe Ricards, (Fillmore High) who definitely has put so much time into our animals. And my pig breeder Leonard Cruz of Moorpark. He's been such a great help. I would not have been able to raise her, or any of my pigs, without their help.

Yazmine is currently attending Ventura College. Afterward? “I'm a little indecisive about what college I'm going to attend but most likely going out of state... maybe Texas A & M.”

In the meantime, besides her current studies, Yazmine has other activities. “One of my friends is a leader of a 4-H group and she's asked me to help her so I'm probably also going to be a 4-H leader.

Julissa Montes, 13, Piru 4-H, raised a pig she named Viona that won Bred & Fed Champion/ 4-H Reserve Champion. At the auction, high bidder Wood-Claeyssens Foundation bought Viona for $8.00/pound.

This was not the first pig Julissa raised. About last year? “I won first in my class but didn't place overall.” And her reaction about her pig's championship? “I'm really excited, really happy, because I worked with her a lot.” Such as? “She was really nice, really calm but in the beginning she wasn't a good walker.” The biggest problem? “She liked to fight a lot,” Julissa said , adding, “she was really dominant with the other female pigs but eventually she got over the fighting.”

Was Viona's behavior unusual? “No, not really,” Julissa said “a lot of pigs are like that. There's at least one dominant pig in every eight pigs.” Who knew?

What about Viona's diet? “We had to hold her back a little bit because she might have gone overweight.” Was it close? “Yes,” said Julissa. Was her weight closely monitored? “Yes, we weighed her every Monday from the day we got her to the date of the fair,” said Julissa. Does the diet need to change according to weight gains or lack of? “Yes, a lot of times, chimed Julissa. The feed is pretty much the same but supplements are added according to how the pig is maturing. Julissa explained that some supplements bulk the muscle, some help add weight. Naturally, pigs like to eat... you know... like pigs. Besides regular chow, “she likes eggs, avocados, and other goodies,” Julissa said.

How about exercise? “You're supposed to walk them every day for 30 to 45 minutes,” said Julissa. Do you? “Yes.” Every day? “Yes.” Sounds like raising a pig is a lot of work. “It is, but it's fun... really fun.”

Another pig next year? “Yes well”... me and my mom have a deal. When I got to a hundred pounds I could raise a steer or heifer but I'm not there yet so until I get to a hundred pounds I'm going to do a pig.” Julissa's current weight is a mere 87 pounds.

Julissa isn't in any hurry to change what she raises. “First I'm going to see what I can do with the pigs... see if I can get a higher placement. Each year I'm progressing, going from sixth to first to Reserve Champion so hopefully next year I can get first overall (Grand Champion).”

Samantha Point, 13, is with the Bardsdale 4-H club. Samantha raised a Chianina steer that weighed in at 1,257 pounds. This hefty animal was awarded 4-H Reserve Champion market steer. At auction, her steer was bought for $3.50/pound. Last year, loyal Gazette readers will remember that Samantha won Reserve Champion Breeding Heifer.
What about this year? Well, I'm happy but also sad... I'm sorry that my steer... but... you know... it's good,” said Samantha.

Next year? “Hopefully I'm going to show another steer or maybe, depending on how school goes.

Besides raising a steer, Samantha also raised a heifer. So, raising two big animals kept you busy? “Yes, but I also had sports and other things to do,” said Samantha. Sports? “I played softball, volleyball, and basketball.” And the favorite? “Volleyball,” she said without hesitation.

Any interesting experiences regarding raising the two animals? “Yes, I got to buy my own steer and heifer this year... on line,” Samantha proudly said.

Online? Really? “Yes.” Such as? “Willoughby Sales and Breeders World," Samantha said. Good to know.

Samantha's support group includes her sister and her grandparents who own a ranch in Lockwood Valley where Samantha's heifer and steer romped and frolicked. Perhaps such a life is the unmentioned secret of raising a champion animal.

Erin Berrington, 13, Piru 4-H, raised Dallas, a 1,278 pound market steer that won the coveted Grand Champion steer. At the auction, Dallas was bought for $6.50/pound.

Why the name 'Dallas? “I'm a Dallas Cowboy fan”, said Erin. Makes perfect sense.

Raising Dallas was no easy feat. As Erin tells it: “When he was younger, he was really hard... he wanted to get away... he wanted just go run but as he got older he was getting really calm and better and then I worked with him a lot. Once we got to the Fair he was really calm and I got to walk him by myself without him going psycho.” Very good. Not good having to deal with a 1,278 pound psycho steer.

But what does the phrase 'working with him' entail? It's working with his feet, setting him up and getting him used to a chain halter and the stick on his stomach and his back and stuff like that.” All of which has to do with how the steer is shown in the auction ring. Presentation is important.

From where did Erin buy the steer to raise? “Silva Cattle of Kingsburg, CA,” Erin said. A quick visit to the Silva Cattle Company's website reveals a long list of their cattle winning championships. Perhaps that's Erin's secret.

Last year, Erin's steer won Reserve Grand Champion. Not good enough. This year, winning overall Grand Champion is proof that perseverance - and goo animal genes - produces grand results.

Next year? “Another steer,'' Erin promptly said. But why not a goat, or lamb, or chickens? “I raised a lamb and that was really hard,” she said, adding, “pigs are just too smelly.”

Jackpot events was a term that I heard a lot for the first time this year. A jackpot show is where the kids show their animals for awards and accumulate points. Shows can be for various animals or for one particular animal such as steer or goat or swine etc. Erin participated in a few jackpot shows such as one in Porterville.

Erin's future plans? “College to study criminology,” said Erin. “I watch a lot of the crime investigation programs and it makes me want to be a crime investigator.” Given Erin's track record with raising livestock, criminals are doomed!

Jeffrey Mcguire may be deaf but that does not in any way deter him from winning championships. Jeffery, Fillmore FFA, raised a market steer named Dipper that weighed in at 1,356 pounds. Moreover, Dipper was awarded the title: overall Reserve Champion Steer. In the auction ring, Jeffrey's efforts rewarded him with $7.00 a pound.

Last year? Jeffrey won Reserve FFA Champion for market steer. The difference between last year's steer and this year's? More muscle Jeffrey explained. A quick glance and I agreed that Dipper is indeed very muscular!

Of course there are always issues raising such large animal... right? “No,” said Jeffery, no problems.” “But,” he added, “he was lazy. Very difficult to get him to want to walk.” I'm sure that there were other issues but Jeffrey is not one to elaborate much taking everything in stride... so to speak.

And what about the auction money? “Reinvest,” Jeffrey said. So Jeffrey will soon be busy shopping for a steer. Considering his tenacity to win, it would not be surprising to see Jeffrey's next steer win overall Grand Champion... the “reserve” moniker removed. Is the fact that Jeffrey gets his steers from a ranch in Iowa his secret formula for winning? We'll know next year!

Later, Jennifer McGuire, Jeffrey's mother, mentioned that Jeffrey was busy in recent months. “Jeffrey jackpots throughout the year,” said Jennifer, “starting as early as November and showing all the way through August with only a couple months off. With this year's steer, Jeffrey has won five Grand Champions, a bunch of seconds and too many showmanship awards to count.” “As it stands,” Jennifer added, “Jeffrey is the number two beef showman in the entire state of California right now.” A remarkable track record for a remarkable young man.

Jazmin Olvera, 17, Sespe 4-H, raised Ramona, a 264 pound pig that was awarded the coveted Grand Champion Market Swine/4-H Champion. Irresistible to say: That's bringing home the bacon in a big way.

First year? “No,” said Jazmin, “raised pigs for four years.” First win? “No.” Previously? “Last year I won 4-H Reserve Grand Champion.”

This years overall Grand Champion win a surprise? “I was a little surprised but hoping,” Jazmin said, adding, “I thought there might be a little better pig than mine. I didn't think my pig would do this good at first but I believe it now.” Why the doubts? “Because”, said Jazmin, “there was a pig that was litter mates with mine so I thought that they (judges) would pick that one instead. Because they looked similar, it was kind of nerve racking.”

Considering Jazmin's experience raising pigs, perhaps there was nothing unusual raising Ramona except: “It was a little difficult building her up,” she said, “ but she look's pretty good now.” The problem? “Her build is naturally long... generally takes longer to bulk up a longer pig and cover them up, it was a struggle.” Special diet? “Not necessarily,” she said, “just that I had to feed her a little more so she would bulk up like a normal pig.” Perhaps Ramona... ahem... ate like a pig? “Yes, she ate everything I gave her including donuts.” Wouldn't this cause a different problem? “Yes,” said Jasmine, “I thought she was going to go over weight. Because she weighed 279 pounds approaching the date of the Fair, I had to hold back her feed and water. The result: a slimmed down Ramona. Maximum weight allowed is 280 pounds.

Next year? “Probably raise another pig, Jazmin said. “I was thinking about raising a steer but I'm not exactly sure yet, so, we'll see. And the auction money? “Save most of it because I'm planning to move to San Francisco after I graduate high school. Then I'll have the money for rent or maybe college, San Francisco State,” explained Jazmin. And the attraction of San Francisco? “It's just such a liberal city and has been one of my dream cities for a while.” Jazmin plans to visit San Francisco for the first time this fall. Her future studies include fashion advertising.

Some of the FFA and 4-H members have a contingency of family and friends in the auction audience who bid robustly. Sometimes the bidding involves friendly rivalries... all for the good of the kids auctioning animals.

But there are many kids who do not have that kind of support in the auction audience. For them, the financial safety net is the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, a private non-profit organization founded in 1980 with headquarters in Santa Barbara. The object of the Foundation is to support 501(c)(3) non profit organizations in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The Foundation owns the Taylor Ranch in Ventura. Agriculture, oil and gas leases provide the funds that the Foundation uses to purchase livestock at auctions.

Shirley Hughes, Secretary for the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation explained: “We meet with auctioneers before the auction and inform them of the maximum we will pay for any given type of animal. Based on that, the auctioneers know what we will pay so if he's not getting bids from anyone, he can automatically take our bid and go with it. It speeds up the auction and everything we buy goes to Food Share. And we pay for the processing.”

Is there a budget for this activity? “We don't have a budget. We do it for the kids. It's a win-win. We don't outbid anyone nor do we discourage anyone from bidding. But we do want to see that the kids get a decent price for their animals, and maybe a little extra so they have the money to buy an animal for next year and maybe put some money in a college fund. Last year the Foundation spent approximately $700,000.00 for about 600 animals at the Ventura and Santa Barbara County Fairs and the Mid State Fair,” Hughes said. Obviously the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation is a phenomenal organization providing an invaluable community service.

That wraps up another wonderful, successful year at the Ventura County Fair. Congratulations to all the 4-H and FFA kids who raised an animal. You have all done your parents, your teachers, you organization leaders and yourselves proud. Kudos for a job well done!

See you next year... same place... same smiles!

 
 
Mike Lyons and Jay Heater of Spears Manufacturing Company in Sylmar were presented with a Proclamation by Mayor Manuel Minjares at Tuesday’s council meeting for their donation of the 100 year capsule to Fillmore.
Mike Lyons and Jay Heater of Spears Manufacturing Company in Sylmar were presented with a Proclamation by Mayor Manuel Minjares at Tuesday’s council meeting for their donation of the 100 year capsule to Fillmore.
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Tuesday's Fillmore City Council Meeting was filled to capacity as half the chamber came to support the seven young Sheriff's Explorers who recently graduated and the other half came to address the Council on an agenda item. The agenda included a fee increase, approval of payments due, a State requirement on water restriction and the traffic signal on Mountain View St. and Highway 126.

The meeting began with a proclamation presented to Mike Lyons and Jay Heater of Spears Manufacturing Company out of Sylmar for their donation of the 100 year capsule to Fillmore. Spears constructed and tested the capsule, making sure it would last a century. Lyons and Heater received boxes of fresh local produce, local honey and tee shirts as gifts from the City.

The first item on the agenda was consideration in reducing the Fillmore Equestrian Center fee to $30 instead of $2 per day for storing a trailer. Speaker after speaker addressing the Council noting that many of the trailers had recently been removed due to the added fee and their concern in an emergency.

Most echoed their concern regarding safety of their horses in case of a fire or flooding and having enough horse/stock trailers at the Center to evacuate at a moments notice. Leslie Adler told the Council she had in the past help evacuate horses using a trailer that did not belong to her, but it was available at the Center. Some reminded the Council of how isolated the area surrounding the Center is and that many who board their animals live many miles way. Jan Briant thanked City Manager David Rowlands and Council members for the improvements made to the Center and suggested the City hire a site manager. Rowlands responded to the fee concerns saying that he had been informed the fee was originally put in place due to people leaving their cars at the Center, not the trailers. Mayor Pro Tem Douglas Tucker said, "It's unique that you all come together as a group" in response to the boarders who said they feel the Center is like a co-op organization where everyone feels a shared part in it.

Council Member Diane CONTINUED »

 
The Fillmore Firefighters Foundation received a $5,000.00 donation from Leslie Klinchuch and Chevron Corporation. Thank you Leslie and Chevron for supporting Fillmore Firefighters Foundation.
The Fillmore Firefighters Foundation received a $5,000.00 donation from Leslie Klinchuch and Chevron Corporation. Thank you Leslie and Chevron for supporting Fillmore Firefighters Foundation.
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