The Flashes raising their helmets for the national anthem before a home playoff game against Coachella Valley. Photo Courtesy Crystal Gurrola.
The Flashes raising their helmets for the national anthem before a home playoff game against Coachella Valley. Photo Courtesy Crystal Gurrola.
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Courtesy Head Football Coach Charlie Weis

In 2020 many of our student athletes missed out on important moments, special opportunities, and unique experiences that come with participating in high school athletics. The younger students recognized how fragile these chances were and set out to ensure they would make the most of any opportunities they were given. When it was announced that the football season would be played in full in the fall of 2021 the Flashes were determined to make the most of it.

Starting with an impromptu victory over the defending division 12 CIF and 5AA state bowl champion El Monte Lions and ending with an appearance in the division 10 quarterfinals of the CIF championship series, the 2021 Flashes football team played a season to remember. In addition to breaking 11 all-time records and tying 6 others, the team had 2 all-CIF selections, 5 all-county selections, 4 all-county academic selections, 15 all-league selections, and one league Co-MVP. Most importantly, they brought The Helmet back to Fillmore, where it belongs, when they defeated Santa Paula 57-7 in the 110th match up in the series. In doing so, they also broke the record for the most points scored by a team in series history and the largest margin of victory in series history.

The Flashes 1st team all-league recipients were Joey Holladay, Freddy Araujo, Nate Ocegueda, Jarod Uridel, Matt Magaña, and Anthony Chessani. Anthony Chessani was also selected as the Co-MVP for the Citrus Coast League. The 2nd team all-league recipients were Davian Gonzalez, Isaac Gonzalez, Mikey Jimenez, Jesus Landin, Fabian Estrada, and Dante Williams. All-league honorable mentions were earned by Tory Cabral, Victor Jimenez, and Ivan Becerra. The 1st team all-county recipients were Anthony Chessani, Jarod Uridel, Freddy Araujo, and Nate Ocegueda. Matt Magaña earned a 2nd team all-county selection. Flashes who made the all-county academic team were Davian Gonzalez, Joey Holladay, Anthony Chessani, and Jarod Uridel. To top off these incredible accomplishments, Nate Ocegueda and Anthony Chessani were also selected to the All-CIF team, which is the highest individual honor a player can receive in the state of California for varsity football.

On top of these accolades, Senior quarterback Joey Holladay broke the single season records for passing yardage (1922), passing touchdowns (26), and completions (139). In addition, Joey broke the school record for passing touchdowns in a game (6) against Santa Paula. Junior running back Anthony Chessani broke the single season record for points scored (206) and touchdowns scored (32). Anthony also tied the record for most touchdowns scored in a game (5) in the first round of the CIF playoffs. Junior tight end Jarod Uridel broke the single game record for receptions in a game (10). He also tied the record for most touchdown receptions in a game (3) with fellow teammate Freddy Araujo. The team broke records for most touchdowns (65) and points scored (462) in a season. They broke the record for most points in a single game (60) and tied the single game record for touchdowns (9). They tied the record for least passing yards allowed in a game (0) against El Monte and broke the record for most total offensive yardage in a single game (600) vs. Coachella Valley.

These accomplishments will be etched in the history of Fillmore football and their impact on the program will be felt and appreciated by future Flashes for years to come. As impressive and validating as these accomplishments are for the athletes, they would not be possible without the entire community of Fillmore. From our athletic director and administration who worked to schedule games on short notice, to our grounds, maintenance, and custodial staff who made it all happen on Friday nights, this season was a WIN for the entire community. We had parents who provided encouragement, fans who provided energy, and local businesses who provided food that made these memories possible. Our generous medical staff volunteered countless hours of their lives to ensure the safety of the athletes. Our alumni organization spread the word and helped pack the stands. Our booster club brought pride to the stadium and recognition for the players. In an era where athletes frequently move from school to school with little to no connection to the area, it is a remarkable feat to field a roster of entirely local students and still compete at the highest levels. This is made possible by the dedication of our athletes and the incredible support they receive from our community. Thank you, Fillmore! The Flashes look forward to many more Friday Nights as ONE TOWN AND ONE TEAM.

 


 
Out of approximately 90,000 Varsity football players in California, only 560 are selected to the All-CIF SS team. Of those 560, Fillmore High has two! Congratulations to Nate Ocegueda and Anthony Chessani on being selected for 1st Team All CIF! We are very proud. Go Flashes! Courtesy Fillmore High School Blog.
Out of approximately 90,000 Varsity football players in California, only 560 are selected to the All-CIF SS team. Of those 560, Fillmore High has two! Congratulations to Nate Ocegueda and Anthony Chessani on being selected for 1st Team All CIF! We are very proud. Go Flashes! Courtesy Fillmore High School Blog.
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The Ventura County Transportation Commission and Sierra Northern Railway have reached an agreement to operate and maintain the Santa Paula Railroad Branch Line Railroad for freight, film and tourism.
The Ventura County Transportation Commission and Sierra Northern Railway have reached an agreement to operate and maintain the Santa Paula Railroad Branch Line Railroad for freight, film and tourism.
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The Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) has reached an agreement with Sierra Northern Railway to operate and maintain the Santa Paula Branch Line Railroad for freight, film and tourist services.

VCTC commissioners approved the agreement at a special meeting Thursday, December 16, at Camarillo City Hall. The agreement finalizes nearly a year of negotiations on a new operating contract for the Santa Paula Branch Line, a 32-mile rail line that extends from the city of Ventura to just east of Piru in eastern Ventura County.

Sierra Northern Railway, based in Northern California, is the freight division of Sierra Railroad Company. The 35-year agreement allows for Sierra Northern Railway to lease the Santa Paula Branch Line from VCTC for railroad purposes.

Sierra Northern Railway plans to develop a freight customer base that serves existing and future businesses along the branch line, providing freight and transload services, installing spur lines, and storing and switching rail cars. The company also plans to support film and television production on the branch line and to provide tourism and seasonal passenger services through its sister company, Mendocino Railway, which operates the historic Skunk Train in Mendocino County.

“The Santa Paula Branch Line is a unique asset in Ventura County,” said Ventura County Supervisor and Commission Chair Kelly Long. “This agreement with Sierra Northern Railway will ensure the branch line continues to provide economic opportunities for businesses and residents of the Heritage Valley and continues a tradition of tourist trains on the line.”

The agreement limits where rail cars may be stored, as well as prohibits storage of rail cars used to transport hazardous materials.

The historic and scenic Santa Paula Branch Line has long been used for freight delivery, as well as for tourist and holiday train excursions. The branch line has also been a film location for major motion pictures and television commercials.

Sierra Northern Railway is a sister company to Mendocino Railway, operator of the Skunk Train, which transports passengers through the redwoods of Mendocino County, and the Sacramento River Fox Train. Mendocino Railway also designed, built, and operates a two-seat recumbent railbike service on two railroads in Northern California and has plans to expand railbike service on the Santa Paula Branch Line.

The agreement is expected to spark new economic activity in the Heritage Valley by continuing to support and grow freight rail operations, tourist excursions and a future recreational trail.

VCTC Commissioner Lynn Edmonds, a member of the Fillmore City Council, said: “I am excited for the return of the branch line excursions and to welcoming more tourists to our beautiful valley and cities. They have a proven record of professionalism, excellent tourist opportunities and have been meeting with local businesses to see what the Sierra Northern can do to help the tourism industry in our valley. I know that there have been some difficult issues published lately about Sierra Northern, but the Ventura County Transportation Department Staff carefully researched every issue and we have an excellent contract that has taken every issue into consideration. The contract was passed enthusiastically by the Ventura County Transportation Commission. I am pleased that VCTC was able to respond to the many suggestions by the community to create a strict contract with Sierra Northern Railway. At present Sierra Northern is repairing the rails and bridges as well as bringing in their equipment and staff. They hope to be ready to have the trains starting by the Spring Break. Sierra Northern will offer many additional services available for everyone to choose from. I am looking forward to taking a ride in the passenger rail car as well as on the proposed railbikes, zipping along on the rails.”

VCTC Commissioner Andy Sobel, a Santa Paula City Council member, said: “I’m very excited about this agreement with Sierra Northern Railway, and I’m looking forward to seeing these developments as the agreement moves forward.”

Mark Watkins, VCTC interim executive director, said: “Few operators out there have the qualifications we were looking for. Sierra Northern brings the expertise, the financial resources, and the operating ability for both freight and tourism trains. When VCTC cast the net more than a year ago, this was the type of operator VCTC was looking for, and we’re happy to have them.”

About the Santa Paula Branch Line
Originally built in 1887 by the Southern Pacific railroad, the line through the Santa Clara Valley was originally part of Southern Pacific’s main line connecting Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

The Santa Paula Branch Line was abandoned east of Piru in 1984 as result of washouts between Piru and Saugus.

VCTC purchased the Santa Paula Branch Line from Southern Pacific, a predecessor of the Union Pacific Railroad, in 1995 for the purpose of protecting the assembled corridor for transportation-related purposes and eventually providing a route for potential commuter service.

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.

 


 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On the morning of January 20th, 2022, detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Moorpark Station arrested Nathan Olivares of Fillmore, for Attempted Arson and Possession of a Destructive Device.

The case began at approximately 8:02 AM, on the morning of January 18th when the Sheriff’s Communications Center received a 911 call regarding what was described as an explosion in the backyard of a residence in the 100 Block of Millard Street. Deputies responded to the location and initiated an investigation, which included speaking with several witnesses, as well as the occupants of the home. During their investigation, deputies located evidence indicating that a suspect attempted to ignite the fuel tank of a vehicle that was parked in the driveway of the residence. Deputies also located evidence of an explosive device that ignited in the backyard of the residence.

Over the next several hours, deputies and detectives from the Moorpark Investigations Bureau continued the investigation and identified the suspect as Nathan Olivares, 19 years old of Fillmore. On the morning of January 20th, 2022, detectives located Olivares while he was driving through the city of Moorpark. Detectives conducted a vehicle stop in the 400 block of West Los Angeles Avenue and arrested Olivares without incident. Once Olivares was in custody, detectives, with the assistance of Investigators from the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad obtained a search warrant for Olivares’ residence. During the service of the warrant, detectives and Bomb Squad Investigators located several additional pieces of evidence linking Olivares to the crime.

Olivares was transported and booked at the Ventura County Jail on two counts of Attempted Arson and a single count of Possession of a Destructive Device. Bail is currently set at $150,000.00.

Nature of Incident: Investigation and Arrest of Suspect for Multiple Arson and Explosive Related Charges
Report Number: 22-7197
Location: 100 Block of Millard Street, Moorpark
Date & Time: January 18th, 2022 at 8:02 AM
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office - Moorpark Patrol Station
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office - Bomb Squad
S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
S) Olivares, Nathan Fillmore 19
Prepared by: Detective Sergeant Kevin Lynch
Approved by: Captain Victor Fazio

***

UPDATE: Monday, January 24, 2022
Released Arson Charges Filed in Backyard Explosion

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced today that Nathan James Olivares (DOB 03/27/02), of Fillmore, has been charged with causing an explosion in the backyard of a residence in Moorpark. Investigators also discovered that Olivares had attempted to ignite a vehicle with an explosive device in the same incident. The complaint charges Olivares with felony violations of explosion with intent to injure, attempted arson, possession of a destructive device, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated the crimes and identified Olivares as the suspect. On January 20, 2022, deputies arrested Olivares. Deputies later searched Olivares’ residence and seized additional destructive devices.

Olivares appeared today for arraignment and pled not guilty to the charges. An early disposition conference is scheduled on February 2, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 12 of the Ventura County Superior Court. Olivares is currently in custody with bail set at $150,000. A bail review hearing is scheduled on January 26, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 13.

***

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is the public prosecutor for the county’s 850,000 residents. The office employs approximately 290 employees including attorneys, investigators, victim advocates, and professional support staff who strive to seek justice, ensure public safety, and protect the rights of crime victims.

 


 
On Monday, January 24th, at 10:42am, Fillmore’s Engine 91, along with eight additional units, responded to a back house fire in the 100 block of Main Street. Crews were able to extinguish the flames quickly, with no injuries reported at the time of the incident. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
On Monday, January 24th, at 10:42am, Fillmore’s Engine 91, along with eight additional units, responded to a back house fire in the 100 block of Main Street. Crews were able to extinguish the flames quickly, with no injuries reported at the time of the incident. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
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On January 22nd, 2022 at 8:29am, the Ventura County Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and AMR paramedics were dispatched to a head-on collision on Grimes Canyon Road south of Bardsdale. Arriving fire crews reported two vehicles involved, a black Nissan Sentra and a blue Toyota. One person was extricated from one of the vehicles and taken to Los Robles Hospital; a second patient suffered minor injuries. CHP closed both lanes; they were re-opened by 9:30am. Photo Credit Angel Esquivel-AE News.
On January 22nd, 2022 at 8:29am, the Ventura County Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and AMR paramedics were dispatched to a head-on collision on Grimes Canyon Road south of Bardsdale. Arriving fire crews reported two vehicles involved, a black Nissan Sentra and a blue Toyota. One person was extricated from one of the vehicles and taken to Los Robles Hospital; a second patient suffered minor injuries. CHP closed both lanes; they were re-opened by 9:30am. Photo Credit Angel Esquivel-AE News.
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On January 21st, 2022, at 8:18am, the Ventura County Fire Department, Fillmore City Fire, EMS (AMR Supervisor Paramedic), Los Angeles County Fire and AMR paramedics were dispatched to a reported structure fire in the 3000 block of Center St., Piru. Arriving fire crews found a single-story single-family home with smoke displayed. Fire crews were making a transitional attack at the time. All residents were reported out. Two AMR ambulances were dispatched to the incident with one person treated for possible smoke inhalation. Fire was knocked down by 8:44am, and fire crews were checking for areas that the fire may have extended to. Fire investigator and Red Cross were also on scene. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department was on scene with road closers at Center and Park Street, and Center and Main Street. Cause of the fire is under investigation. Photo Credit Angel Esquivel-AE News.
On January 21st, 2022, at 8:18am, the Ventura County Fire Department, Fillmore City Fire, EMS (AMR Supervisor Paramedic), Los Angeles County Fire and AMR paramedics were dispatched to a reported structure fire in the 3000 block of Center St., Piru. Arriving fire crews found a single-story single-family home with smoke displayed. Fire crews were making a transitional attack at the time. All residents were reported out. Two AMR ambulances were dispatched to the incident with one person treated for possible smoke inhalation. Fire was knocked down by 8:44am, and fire crews were checking for areas that the fire may have extended to. Fire investigator and Red Cross were also on scene. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department was on scene with road closers at Center and Park Street, and Center and Main Street. Cause of the fire is under investigation. Photo Credit Angel Esquivel-AE News.
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Lawrence and Mildred Hinckley in the Artists' Barn, who when they moved into the Barn, learned that rats had also lied there as well. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
Lawrence and Mildred Hinckley in the Artists' Barn, who when they moved into the Barn, learned that rats had also lied there as well. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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Excerpted from “An Anecdotal History of Fillmore, California” compiled by Ken Fine. Copies are available at the Museum Gift Shop.
Fillmore's first air strip circa 1930 was on Sespe Land and Water Co. property behind what is now the El Dorado Mobile Park.
Fillmore's first air strip circa 1930 was on Sespe Land and Water Co. property behind what is now the El Dorado Mobile Park.
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Shiells Oil Field.
Shiells Oil Field.
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Bungalow Inn circa 1925, which was on the southeast corner of Fillmore and Santa Clara streets.
Bungalow Inn circa 1925, which was on the southeast corner of Fillmore and Santa Clara streets.
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The Cottage Hotel owned by E. B. Turner.
The Cottage Hotel owned by E. B. Turner.
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“Remembered Trivia”
By Ken Fine

The “Artists’ Barn” was actually a converted barn. After Mildred and Lawrence Hinckley moved in, they discovered they weren’t the only inhabitants. Night time was time for the rats to play. After trying traps, poison and every home remedy suggested, the final solution was arrived at. Lawrence had been taught at an early age to shoot a 22 rifle by his father, Ira Hinckley, He turned into an excellent shot but never a hunter as killing wasn’t his game. This was an emergency though, so out came the 22. One of the most successful wasn’t the time he shot a rat and it fell out of the attic, blood and all, around Mildred’s neck. We heard they weren’t speaking for a little while.

Fillmore had its share of flying pioneers. The first airfield (early 1930s) was on Sespe Land and Water Co. property behind what is now the El Dorado Mobile Park. Marion McKeen, with his own plane, started the field. Peyt Burkey was the first local to have a plane. The local oil companies donated the oil for the landing strip and a hanger was built. It was quite successful with more locals taking part.

In 1945 an airfield was built on the Basolo Ranch on the east side of Chambersburg Road past the Bardsdale Bridge. At its peak, 8 local planes and 6 planes owned by Los Angeles people were parked there. The field closed in 1950 because they couldn’t get a permit from the County to build hangers. Our own county supervisor voted against granting the permits.

A couple of disasters in air travel happened near Fillmore. Marion McKeen lost a passenger out of his plane between Santa Paula and Fillmore. He was a Santa Barbara business man on a survey trip for an oil man named Casey. Peyt Burkey and his neighbor, Harry Hastings, crashed and were killed near the Sespe Bridge. Burkey owned a garage and Hastings was a building contractor in Fillmore.

The first producing well brought in on the Shiells property (known as Montebello) up Shiells Canyon was in 1911.
[In the early 1930s] Gus Colouris ran a fruit and vegetable truck throughout the city. I got 25₵ and old vegetables for helping carry vegetables to the houses for the women.

In 1934, C. C. Elkins got me a job (as you couldn’t just hire out) picking lemons. The wages were 17 1/2₵ an hour plus a bonus of 10 cents a box, which only the fastest picker could reach. After two weeks being low man in number of boxes, you were replaced.

Good money was made in the tomato packing shed (across the tracks from the present lemon house) in the middle 1930’s. You got $2 a day plus bonus for labeling boxes and loading box cars.

I first worked in the oil fields in 1940 on a promotion well on Elkins’ property. It paid $8.80 a day and carpenters were getting $4.50 a day.

In 1915 gasoline sold for 16₵ a gallon. In1916 it rose to 21₵ a gallon.

We put an ice card in the window for our ice. It had 25-50-75 in the corners and the number on top in the window was the amount the ice man brought in. Our box would hold 50 lbs., if partly chipped. The floor got mopped often when you forgot to empty the drain pan. The card didn’t take care of the booze, another of their services. That had to be ordered by phone or word of mouth during prohibition.

Elmer Booth started the Bungalow Inn on the southeast corner of Fillmore and Santa Clara streets. He expected to serve meals, but never did, so the hardwood floor dining room was used for dances until it was done away with to make more rooms. Each room had an outside entrance andwas nice for that period.It wasn’t a huge success and he sold it and Elmer Booth went in the manure business with grandson Bull Manning. Manure was a very lucrative business in those days before liquid fertilizer.

Sunnyside Rooms, northeast corner of Central and Ventura, rented rooms and had a few cabins, served meals that were all you could eat for 25 cents. It was run by two sisters.

Rist Rooms were above Dunn’s hardware, northwest corner of Fillmore and Main. “Rist” was sometimes confused with “rest”, which caused some problems. In the early 1920’s my brother, Westley, and wife Lula managed these rooms. Our house had no bathtub, so I carried clean clothes up there and Lula gave me my bath. Then the fun started as she taught me to play all kinds of cards, poker, solitaire, etc.

The Fillmore Inn [on] Central Avenue had a porch on both floors and on nice summer evenings they would be full with not only tenants but squiring couple from town.

The Cottage Inn on the same location was the first in town. Mose Fine and his family stayed therein the 1890’s waiting for their homestead papers to be approved.

 
On Thursday, January 13th at 10:28am, a large house fire causing major interior damage was reported in the 200 block of Palm Street. Fillmore Sheriff and fire crews closed the street as they worked to extinguish the flames through both front and back entrances of the house. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
On Thursday, January 13th at 10:28am, a large house fire causing major interior damage was reported in the 200 block of Palm Street. Fillmore Sheriff and fire crews closed the street as they worked to extinguish the flames through both front and back entrances of the house. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident. Cause of the fire is under investigation.
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(above) Fillmore High students and staff evacuated to the baseball field. The Fillmore Unified School District worked closely with the Fillmore Police Department to provide support and safety for their students during the evacuation.
(above) Fillmore High students and staff evacuated to the baseball field. The Fillmore Unified School District worked closely with the Fillmore Police Department to provide support and safety for their students during the evacuation.
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Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Multiple local public safety agencies responded to a bomb threat call at Fillmore High School.

At approximately 11:00 AM, Fillmore High School received a bomb threat to the school’s campus. The high school’s staff immediately notified the School Resource Officers (SRO).

Members of the Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit and Sheriff’s Gang Unit arrived to assist with a search of the school. Members from the Ventura Police Department’s K-9 Unit and the Simi Valley Police Department’s K-9 Unit responded with K-9’s trained in bomb detection.

The responding units conducted an extensive search of the high school’s campus. The search teams found no evidence of a bomb or suspicious items. The teams determined the school to be safe, and students were allowed to return to campus for their final period of the day.

The Fillmore Unified School District worked closely with the Fillmore Police Department to provide support and safety for their students during the evacuation.

The investigation into the threats is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the threats is encouraged to call the Fillmore Police Department or Ventura County Crime Stoppers.

Multiple Units Respond to Fillmore High School Bomb Threat Turns False Alarm
Nature of Incident: Bomb Threat
Report Number: 22-5763
Location: Fillmore High School
Date & Time: 1/14/2022 11:00 AM
Unit(s) Responsible: Fillmore Patrol, Fillmore Detective Bureau, School Resource Officer Unit, Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit, Sheriff’s Gang Unit, Ventura Police K-9 Unit, Simi Valley Police K-9 Unit
Prepared by: Deputy Jonathan Schnereger
Approved by: Captain Garo Kuredjian

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).