By Gazette Staff Writer — Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
A black bear decided to make itself at home in the backyard of a house on Valley Vista and Fourth Street last week. On Thursday, April 21st, the homeowner called the authorities about a large bear that had made its way onto their property. Ventura County Sheriffs and Fish & Game Wardens responded, tranquilizing the animal and relocating it back into the wilderness. It was a happy ending for everyone, including the bear. Photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff Department.
Police Chief Dave Wareham addresses city council.
By Troy Rice — Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
The meeting on April 26th was originally scheduled to be a joint meeting with the Fillmore Film Commission, but was rescheduled to a later date. Captain Dave Wareham, the Chief of Police for the city of Fillmore, started off the meeting with a presentation that summarized the efficiency and effectiveness of the Sherriffâ€™s Department. Wareham was very proud of his role with the City of Fillmore and said of his vision for the city, â€śIf we can fulfill this, I feel like we can make Fillmore the last, best small town.â€ť Wareham had high praise for the benefits of contracting with the Ventura County Sherriffâ€™s Office. Among the benefits stated were: cost efficiency, labor negotiations and relations, and the recruitment and hiring of applicants. Wareham acknowledged that safety is his first priority. He admitted that officers do make errors, and that there is a disciplinary process that will be used if necessary. Fillmore boasts the lowest budget in Ventura County, just behind Ojai. Fillmore also has one of the most cost efficient usages of their budget in the county. Wareham applauded the School Resource Office (SRO) as being very helpful with solving and preventing crime. Without the SRO, major incidents would tie up the Sherriff Department and cause inefficiencies. Wareham praised the VSCO Major Crimes Unit and Western County Gang Unit for logging over 6,000 hours and achieving a successful 85 arrests and a seizure of 50 guns.
There are also plans for station upgrades that will allow the citizens to take greater pride in the local police station. That means better technology, safety, and an overall aesthetic appearance. The public will also have access to the mailbox of each deputy, providing better relations between the department and the public. Wareham brought up the fact that Fillmore was voted the 17th safest city of 2014, and that we are getting back to that this year. The plan to do so is backed by a desire for more effective patrols and preventative measures that will decrease the amount of crime altogether. Councilman Douglas Tucker commended Wareham on his hard work and credited the success in part to Warehamâ€™s successful implementation of data to help give an accurate representation of what is going on in Fillmore. Wareham agreed with his sentiments and wanted to mention his goal to â€śreach out and make contact with those uncomfortable with men in uniformâ€ť. Mayor Pro-Tem Carrie Broggie gave the police department her full confidence and asked Wareham what he would change if he could. Wareham asked for more patrol officers which would lead to a better quality of life. He mentioned, â€śCrime is at an understandable, but not acceptable levelâ€ť. Both Councilmen Manuel Minjares and Rick Neal noted that they have always felt safe in town. Neal would like the volunteer patrol to garner more support as he believes they are an underutilized resource. Finally, Mayor Diane McCall stressed the importance of how efficient the department is being with the money and translating that to effective safety in the community.
The public comments CONTINUED »
By Gazette Staff Writer — Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
United Blood Services is issuing an urgent call for blood donors with O-type blood. Donations have declined since Mid-March and the demand has escalated, dropping the available supply of Type O-Negative and Type O-positive to extremely low levels. Blood center officials have concluded that an increase in Zika deferrals after Spring Break travels has unexpectedly caused a rapid decline in public responsiveness to donate blood.
Donors with Type O (positive or negative) who are currently eligible are being urgently asked to donate at their nearest center, or blood drive; or to donate as soon as they become eligible. Those with other blood types are asked to keep to their routine schedule of donating three times per year, in order to maintain an ample and steady supply.
It is the red blood cells of type O blood that are in the highest demand at local hospitals. O-Negative blood is found in just 7% of the population. Known as the â€śuniversal donorâ€ť this blood type can be transfused to anyone. It is often transfused in emergency and trauma situations, when there is little time to â€śtypeâ€ť a patientâ€™s blood. Patients often need multiple units, in some cases hundreds of units.
In the case of O-Positive blood, 38% of the population has this blood type, making a match very likely. It can be safely transfused to a patient of any blood type that is also Rh positive; it is the most highly transfused blood type. Multiple units may be needed by any one patient. O-positive blood is the most common blood type, making it one that is needed all the time.
O positive and O negative blood types make-up 45% of the United States population. However, almost 55% of blood transfusions to patients are O blood types. If you feel healthy and have time to help, please make an appointment today.
Donations may be made at United Blood Services center locations in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo and a number of community blood drives happening throughout the region. Donors are asked to make an appointment by contacting United Blood Services at 805.543.4290; or online at www.Blood4Life.org. Appointments are appreciated, but not necessary. Walk-ins are also welcome, and will be honored.
United Blood Services is the Central & Southern California Region non-profit community blood provider and serves patients throughout the area. The United Blood Services network is one of the nationâ€™s oldest and largest non-profit blood service organizations, and is a founding member of Americaâ€™s Blood Centers and the AABB.
A Resolution was presented to the Fillmore High School Soccer Team at Tuesday nightâ€™s meeting. Photos courtesy Bob Crum.
By Jean McLeod — Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
2015-2016 Student of the Year, Misael Ponce.
Video by Bob Crum
Once again it was standing room only as the teachers of the Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) addressed both the Board and staff regarding their contract negotiations. During Public Comments all the teachers stood in solidarity as Brian Ricards read a statement written by Jennifer Beal, Fillmore Unified Teachers Association President. Beal could not attend due to a medical requirement.
The statement began, "Since December during the public comments time you've been hearing from the hard-working teachers of Fillmore. These teachers who work directly with the [students are the] reason we are all here, the children of Fillmore. Teachers who on their own wrote statements and read statements, trying to inform and shine a light on their desire for competitive salaries in Fillmore." He went on to state that after the last Board meeting negotiations continued but the "District still refused to increase its salary offer....by handing over the same proposal from the previous meeting....it was very apparent the District was not going to offer anything higher than their previous offers." Beal's statement continued with calls of monies that were directed toward repairing the Middle School roof coming from the General Fund ($1.7 million) to be used to raise teachers pay "this year to pay off the roof loan, (the District used General Funds) so that money could be freed up next year. Plenty of money to give teachers a competitive raise.....Another example, perhaps take a little bit out (of) the millions sitting in textbooks and supplies." Beal suggested the District let the reserves dip down closer to the legally State mandated 3% and that even during the recession FUSD's reserves were above it. Beal wrote that this year the reserves are projected to be 6.97% which is 3.97% above legal requirements. "(I)f you take the new district approved sports medicine position and add that cost to the newly recommended district level position for purchasing that equals over a 1% raise? Doesn't it? Priorities, you feel you need to spend money on administration positions and not to the teachers salary schedule to create competitive salaries with other districts in the county." At the conclusion of Ricards reading of the statement all the teachers in the room gave a loud and extended applause.
There were two others who addressed the Board during Public Comments, John Scoles and Cindy Blatt, both speaking of their concern with access to the all-weather running track at Fillmore High School. Scoles asked the Board to consider extending the public access hours from 5p.m.-8p.m. when there is no school activity. Blatt reminded the Board that the Rotary Club had raised the money for the access gate, but at that time they did not expect such limited access.
The meeting began with two recognitions. The first went to the 2015-2016 Student of the Year, Misael Ponce. Ponce, who has had to overcome a number of personal challenges, has never received a grade less than an A and is in the lead for valedictorian. As Board President Virginia de la Piedra handed Ponce his plaque she commented, "This is really outstanding....tell your mom and dad we're really proud of them too." When asked where he planned to continue his education, Ponce replied "Berkley" to which everyone in the room stood and applauded as Ponce stood humbly and smiled.
The second recognition went to the boys soccer team. Both the Board and Staff agreed to putting the teams accomplishments in a documented resolution which reads; The Fillmore High School 2015-2016 Boys Soccer Team achieved an overall record of 21 wins, 4 losses, and 3 ties, thereby winning the Frontier League Championship and a 1st seed in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Division VII playoffs and it was a district accomplishment to win the CIF Soccer Region Championship; and whereas the players, manager and coaches have shown great talent, sportsmanship, determination and hard work; and whereas the coaches deserve special thanks for having willingly donated their time to this activity; and whereas the record of achievement of the person listed below deserves commendation from the entire community.
The players and coaches all received an Award of Recognition Certificate. Players: Angel Acosta, Kevyn Garibay, Everardo Magana, Jose Luis Ruiz, Jaime Zarate, Jesus Ballesteros, Joel Garza, Emilio Martinez, Fernando Trujillo, Marko Zavala, Cristian Candelario, Alejandro Gutierrez, Miguel Martinez, Jose Manuel Valdez, Salvador Zepeda, Kevin Galvan, Enrique Gutierrez, Alejandro Rodriquez, Jorge Valdovinos, Juan Garcia, Onofre Jauregui, Ruben Rodriguez, Andy Vargas. Head Coach, Jose Luis Lomeli. Assistant Coaches; Javier Alcaraz, Luis Cisneros, Emerio Manzano, Cipriano Martinez, Alfonso Martinez, Eric SantaRosa. Manager; Austin Contreras. Statistician; Emilio Manzano.
By Gazette Staff Writer — Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
Recently, fourth grade students in Mr. Spaulding, Ms. Thompson and Ms. Nuzumâ€™s classes at Rio Vista Elementary School in Fillmore went on an unforgettable, over-night field trip to Fort Tejon State Historic Park to participate in the living history program.
Imagine leaving your electronic devices behind and stepping into the sounds, sights and colors of the 1850â€™s. That is just what the students did. They became recruits in the army to be trained as dragoons. They were issued uniform jackets and performed tasks that were typical of frontier life. At night, they slept in the barracks on straw bedrolls. Illumination was only by candle light.
The students were divided into five squads and rotated through five stations. The tasks were: blacksmith shop, carpentry, adobe brick making, candle making/laundry and, of course, kitchen. The students made candles and washed laundry on a washboard. Comments like, â€śMy grandma has one of these!â€ť were heard. Making adobe bricks was a messy job! The students each made a tool box in the carpentry shop. They learned just how hot it can be to work in the blacksmith shop. In the kitchen, the students chopped and churned their own dinner which was cooked over coals in a Dutch oven. The vegetable stew, corn bread, freshly churned butter and apple cobbler were delicious! The recruits helped raise the gigantic flag, with only 31 stars as was authentic for 1857. One of the highlights was the firing of the canon.
Naturally, this trip would not have been possible without the support of the parents and Rio Vista School staff. There were parents working at each station. The parents also slept on the hard floor, supervised the chopping, dipping, pounding and digging. Lots of firewood was hauled and burned. Mr. Joe Porter, Doug and Theresa Smith and Quality Paving provided the cut lumber for the tool boxes. Financial donations were made by the Fillmore Rotary Club, the Rio Vista Parent Club and many other generous people. The Fort Tejon Historical Association helped pay for the buses to transport the students. The students had fundraisers to help defray costs.
Ms. Bev Garnica, principal at Rio Vista School, said, â€śMy daughter and husband still talk about their trip to Fort Tejon.â€ť It was a great learning event. Fort Tejon has reenactments the first Saturday of every month. There are pictures and information on line.
By Mark Ortega — Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
The Class of 1971 is having their 45th Class reunion on Saturday, June 11th at the 103rd Alumni Dinner/Dance here in Fillmore. Many Class members have already paid for their dinner reservations online at www.fillmorehighalumni.com.
Also, the reservation forms have been mailed out to class members. Make your reservations today. We are expecting a large turnout for the great FHS Class of 1971!! More Alumni Dinner info at www.fillmorehighalumni.com.
April 5th FUSD Board Meeting. Photo courtesy FUTA president Jennifer Beal.
By Jennifer Beal — Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
FUTA Continues to Make Maintaining and Attracting High Quality Educators a Priority
This article was submitted By FUTA president Jennifer Beal
Fillmore â€“ More than 60 educators upset over the Fillmore Unified School Districtâ€™s lack of a making a competitive salary offer in negotiations attended the school board meeting on April 5th. The next day the District still refused to increase its salary offer during negotiations by handing over the same proposal from the previous meeting. The FUTA bargaining team felt it had no choice but to declare impasse, which is when both bargaining teams tried to find common ground but are at a deadlock and unable to break it. Fillmore is the last district in Ventura County to settle on a salary agreement for this 15-16 school year. And it was very apparent the District was not going to offer anything higher than their previous offers.
After the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, school districts started getting some financial relief and began to see increases in money from the state. Fillmore Unified School District has received more than $13.7 million in the last 3 years. Fillmore educators took cuts in pay during the recession years. They lost 20 days of pay (among the highest amount of furlough days in the Countyâ€™s school districts) to help keep the district from going in the red. While the educators were taking pay cuts, the Districtâ€™s reserves grew! The state was allowing districts to go below the legally mandated 3% but Fillmoreâ€™s reserve was always way above that. In 2010-11 it was 8.11% (5 furlough days), in 2011-12 it was 11.69% (10 furlough days), in 2012-13 it was 10.32% (5 furlough days), in 2013-14 it was 7.14%, and in 2014-15 it was 11.60%, This year it is projected to be 6.97%, 3.97% above what is legally required.
With the growing teacher shortage Fillmore could be the first to face the hardship of not being able to hire highly qualified teachers because of the lack of a competitive salary. When compared to 14 other districts, 13 in Ventura County and Las Virgenes in LA County Fillmore is ranked 13th for the average teacherâ€™s salary with a Masterâ€™s degree, only one other district is lower! Again, it is ranked 13th out of 14 when it comes to projecting the teacherâ€™s monthly retirement income at age 60 with 25 years of teaching. It comes up a notch for projecting the retirement at age 62 with 32 years of teaching experience to 12th out of 14. The total amount spent on teachersâ€™ salaries taken from the districtâ€™s total expenses has decreased percentage wise over the last 5 years. In official documents from 2012-13 it was ranked 13th again out of the 14 school districts. Yet the District has no problem increasing administrative positions and salaries.
The FUTA is affiliated with the 340,000-member California Teachers Association and with the 3.2
The FUSD administrator percentage of the Districtâ€™s budget expenses increased and was ranked 1st out of the 14 school districts.
Without the true willingness of the district to work with teachers for a fair, competitive raise, the Fillmore Unified Teacherâ€™s Association could do nothing else but declare impasse. We wish the district had lived up to its own mission statement of its core values posted on the wall of the Fillmore Unified School District's boardroom, "We hire, support, and retain high-performing staffâ€ť.
By Gazette Staff Writer — Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
â€śMay 2015 - Oil Spill â€“ Refugio Beach â€“ Santa Barbara Countyâ€ť This recent oil spill raises the obvious questions: Could this happen in Ventura County? What are the safeguards, checks and balances, and processes at work in the arena of crude oil pipeline safety? Are they working effectively to protect Ventura County residents, the environment, and institutions from harm? What information is available to the County to help prepare for, or better yet, avoid a crude oil spill?
The State of California is the third largest oil producer in the United States. Ventura County is the third largest oil-producing county in the State, with hundreds of miles of crude oil pipelines of various sizes and types.
The 2015-2016 Ventura County Grand Jury identified the multiple government agencies at the Federal, State, and County levels sharing responsibility for the crude oil pipeline permits, as well as the oversight of pipeline construction, maintenance, testing, repair, operations, and deactivation. These responsibilities vary by pipeline location and function.
Authority for crude oil pipelines regulation is spread among multiple government entities at multiple levels. The Federal government has ultimate responsibility for setting minimum standards for crude oil pipelines, but it can and has delegated permitting and operational oversight to the State of California.
â€˘ The permitting function for a significant portion, but not all, of the pipelines in its unincorporated areas
â€˘ First responder in the event of a spill
The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors require the development of an annual report which summarizes the state of the crude oil pipelines within the County. This report, which can take advantage of the data available from various regulatory agencies, should identify those pipelines with risks discovered during testing, as well as the risks associated with pipelines that have not been tested/verified by a third party or observer as required by the governing regulations. It should also identify those pipelines not in compliance with the conditions imposed by the Conditional Use Permits and summarize the spill events and their causes since the last report.
The complete report may be accessed at www.ventura.org/grand-jury; click on the Annual Reports tab and consult â€śFiscal Year 2015-2016.â€ť
By Bob Crum — Monday, April 18th, 2016
Photos and Video by Bob Crum