With election day around the corner, the County of Ventura Elections Office has a list available of the approved ballotdrop locations. For the City of Fillmore, the ballot box is located outside the Fillmore Library. Please report any possible unauthorized ballot boxes or issues to Erika Herrera, Deputy City Clerk at eherrera@fillmoreca.gov, or by phone to 805-946-1712. Courtesy City of Fillmore website.
With election day around the corner, the County of Ventura Elections Office has a list available of the approved ballotdrop locations. For the City of Fillmore, the ballot box is located outside the Fillmore Library. Please report any possible unauthorized ballot boxes or issues to Erika Herrera, Deputy City Clerk at eherrera@fillmoreca.gov, or by phone to 805-946-1712. Courtesy City of Fillmore website.
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There have been recent reports of groups promoting unofficial ballot drop boxes that are not affiliated with Ventura County Elections. In some instances, they are promoting these ballot drop boxes as “official” or “secure.” The use of unauthorized, non-official ballot drop boxes is prohibited by state law.

Voters who want to return their ballot at a drop box, should only use official county drop boxes. Official ballot drop boxes are clearly recognizable, designed to meet state standards for security, and bear the official Ventura County Elections logo. Ventura County’s Official Ballot Drop Boxes look like this:

Clerk-Recorder, Registrar of Voters Mark Lunn stated, “My office works hard to conduct fair and impartial elections and to provide safe and secure options for voters to return their ballot, to say I’m disappointed that people would make a concerted effort to deceive voters would be an understatement.

Elections are all about trust and unofficial drop boxes are not safe. There is no way for the voter to know if their ballot reaches our office as cast and this certainly undermines public trust. My message to those that are putting out these boxes is ‘cease and desist this activity, you’re not being helpful and you’re undermining the process.’”
Locations of official Ventura County Elections drop boxes can be found at VenturaVote.org.

Unofficial drop boxes should be reported to Ventura County Elections immediately at (805) 654-2664 or after business hours, elections@ventura.org.

Tips for voters:
- You can return your Vote By Mail using the prepaid postage return envelope or by bringing it to any official drop box, voting location, or the Ventura County Elections Division.
- Voters can also choose someone to return their ballot. Only choose someone you trust to return your ballot. You and the other person must sign the back of the return envelope. Never give your ballot to someone else unless you have completed, signed, and sealed the return envelope.
- Sign up for ballot tracking. You can sign-up at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov to get automatic notifications by text message, email, or voice message about the status of your Vote By Mail ballot. You’ll be notified once your county has received your ballot, once it has been counted, and if there are any issues with the ballot.
- Get information on voting from trusted, official sources—the Ventura County Elections Division and the Secretary of State. Resources for Ventura County voters are available at: VenturaVote.org. The Secretary of State has resources for California voters at vote.ca.gov.

For more information, please visit the Elections Division website at VenturaVote.org or call (805) 654-
2664.

 


 
Last year's dinner.
Last year's dinner.
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The Lions Club of Fillmore will be having the very first drive-by and pick-up dinner event on Saturday, November 7th from 5:00-7:00. Pre-sales required. Text 805-904-5424 or any Lions Club Member to pick up tickets or have them delivered. Due to the pandemic restrictions the menu has changed and the price of the ticket is lowered from $12 to $10. The menu is: 3 delicious meat enchiladas with rice and beans and a pandemic cookie.

Fillmore Lions Club has a long history of service to the community, starting in 1927 with the first enchildada dinner in 1948.. The profits of the meal will go to support local groups such as sports teams, the Fillmore High School Art Show, and local youth organizations, such as Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, the Mentor Program and the youth of One Step a la Vez.

Following Helen Keller’s recommendation, Lions provide service to persons needing help with their vision which ranges from getting glasses to providing medication in third world companies to eliminate childhood blindness.

In addition, the Lions Club sponsors a yearly Youth Peace Poster Contest and high school Speech Contest on a relevant topic as well as hosting the Annual Christmas Parade and college scholarships for youth living in the Fillmore Unified School District area.

If you are interested in becoming a member or visiting the club, please contact 805-904-5424 or any Lions Club Member.

 


 
Stephens Store about 1907 with "Stephens' Hall" in the background.
Stephens Store about 1907 with "Stephens' Hall" in the background.
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Part 1
Richard Stephens about 1912.
Richard Stephens about 1912.

Photos and story courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

From “The History of Stephens’ Store” by Ellen M. Finley, July 1988

The northwest corner of Main and Central, now the location of the new Segovia’s Fillmore Market (2020 - Estrella’s), is one of Fillmore’s most historic sites.

Before the city was recorded in Ventura in 1888, one of the oldest of its few buildings stood on this corner, a large two-story rooming house operated by E. Bailey Turner. Since Turner was Fillmore’s first postmaster his building also housed the first post office, a front bedroom in the rooming house.

By 1898, Turner’s two-story building had been replaced by a one-story tin structure where Richard Stephens operated a general merchandise store. He soon purchased the entire corner property and in 1910 constructed a new building which still stands. Since that time, a period of 78 years, this building has been in continuous operation as a general store or a combination grocery and meat market.

Richard Stephens was one of Fillmore’s leading pioneers and an outstanding citizen. Born in Glasgow, Scotland on August 31, 1870, he left his native land in his early 20’s. After a year on a ranch near Hollywood, he came to Fillmore on April 6, 1895. His first job was that of a clerk in the general merchandise store of a fellow countryman, James Duncan, who conducted business at the northeast corner of Main and Central in the store built by C. C. Elkins in 1888. Popular with customers from the start Stephens soon acquired an interest in the business, becoming a partner in 1898. When Duncan died on November 17 of that year, Stephens became sole owner of the business. He was also appointed Fillmore’s sixth postmaster, ironically on the same day that Duncan died.

About this time, C. C. Elkins sold his store to C. A. Harmonson (2020 note – C. A.’s name was either Columbus Arizona or Columbus Augustus, little wonder he went by his initials). Duncan and Stephens moved across the street to the northwest corner, taking the post office with them. After Duncan’s death, the store was known as “Richard Stephens – The Post Office Store.” Just north on Central Avenue there was a large packing house. Stephens had long recognized that Fillmore needed a hall in which to hold meetings and entertainment, so he took over the packing house in the evenings. Stephens’ Hall, as it became to be called, used rows of packing boxes as seats. There was a stage about three feet high with a corner walled off at each side for dressing rooms. One popular early-day entertainer was Charles Heatherly who gave serious, humorous, and dialect recitations, with music by Arthur Sallee, pianist. Admission was 25 cents, with children 15 cents and reserved seats 35 cents. Dances were held frequently on Saturday nights – admission $1. When a traveling theatrical company came from a one-night stand in Santa Paul, the Fillmore Herald declared with obvious sincerity: “Fillmore is becoming more like New York City every day.”

To be continued……

 


 
On Friday, October 2nd at 4pm on East Guiberson Road in Bardsdale, a traffic collision occurred involving a motorcycle and a deer. Authorities responded quickly to the scene and found the motorcyclist in a ditch on the south side of the road. The motorcyclist was transported to the hospital, and the deer was reported DOA at the scene.
On Friday, October 2nd at 4pm on East Guiberson Road in Bardsdale, a traffic collision occurred involving a motorcycle and a deer. Authorities responded quickly to the scene and found the motorcyclist in a ditch on the south side of the road. The motorcyclist was transported to the hospital, and the deer was reported DOA at the scene.
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On Monday, October 5th, at approximately 3:30am, Ventura County Sherriff’s were called to the 1000 block of Meadowlark Drive in Fillmore to follow up on an investigation of an accidental shooting. It was determined that a Fillmore boy accidentally shot himself. The boy was transported to an area hospital and is expected to recover. There was no additional information.

 


 
On Wednesday, September 3rd at 2:09pm, a traffic collision at 3500 Grimes Canyon was reported, stalling traffic traveling north bound. Emergency crews found a black pickup truck with serious front-end damage by the side of the road. No details were available at the time of the accident. Cause of the crash is unknown.
On Wednesday, September 3rd at 2:09pm, a traffic collision at 3500 Grimes Canyon was reported, stalling traffic traveling north bound. Emergency crews found a black pickup truck with serious front-end damage by the side of the road. No details were available at the time of the accident. Cause of the crash is unknown.
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Today, Ventura County moved off the most restrictive tier of the state’s COVID-19 watch list, which means schools could soon have the option of reopening for in-person instruction at all grade levels. If Ventura County maintains its status for two additional weeks, schools may choose to reopen as early as Wednesday, October 21. However, it will be up to each individual school district to determine exactly when they can safely begin welcoming students back to class. Some schools may choose to reopen their campuses later than October 21 for a variety of reasons.

When they do reopen, schools will need to maintain strict social distancing, keeping students and staff at least six feet away from each other. This means classrooms can only be filled to a fraction of their normal capacity. Schools are also required to keep the same groups of students together to the greatest extent possible to limit the number of people each student is exposed to throughout the day.

In elementary grades, many schools will comply with these rules by bringing only a portion of students to class each day. On the days they are not in class, students will continue receiving instruction through distance learning. This hybrid approach will allow all students to have some in-class instruction a few days per week.

The situation becomes much more complicated in middle school and high school where students switch classrooms and mix with different groups multiple times a day according to each student’s unique schedule. Because of this and the fact that classrooms cannot be filled to capacity, it will be extremely difficult to create a workable in-person schedule at the middle and high school levels. As a result, some schools may determine that the best option is to continue with full-time distance learning.

In addition to scheduling and safety considerations, school districts need to ensure there are enough teachers available to resume in-person instruction. Many teachers are in high risk groups, which could prevent them from returning to class. Others may have reservations about being in a crowded school environment while the pandemic is ongoing.

Another issue that complicates reopening is transportation. Because of social distancing requirements, school buses will not be able to carry the usual number of students. It’s very likely there will not be a sufficient supply of buses and drivers to provide transportation to all students who may need it.

“We recognize that people have passionate feelings on both sides of the school reopening issue, and we want nothing more than to get students safely back to class,” said Stan Mantooth, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. “I urge everyone to understand that school district leaders are working to reopen in the most responsible way, which may mean spending additional time on distance learning at some schools.”

All Ventura County schools have prepared detailed reopening procedures that will help ensure the safety of students and staff when they return to campus. They include:

• Face coverings will be required for all staff and for students in third grade and above.

• Classrooms will be arranged to keep everyone at least six feet apart.

• Students will be kept in consistent groups (cohorts) as much as possible.

• Parents will be instructed to keep students home whenever they have a temperature or show symptoms.

• Anyone experiencing symptoms at school will be sent home.

• Facilities and equipment will be disinfected on a regular basis.

• School officials will work with Ventura County Public Health on contact tracing if positive cases arise.

• Athletic training and conditioning are allowed with social distancing, but actual competitions are on hold pending further guidance from public health officials.

• Staff will receive COVID-19 testing as required by state and local regulations.

• Staff and students will receive health screenings on a regular basis.

Each school district is communicating independently with parents and students about their reopening timelines. For additional information about reopening protocols, see the Framework for Reopening Ventura County Schools at www.vcoe.org/framework.

 

Thanks to recent progress being made in the fight against COVID-19 in Ventura County, businesses such as restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, massage businesses and places of worship may now open indoors, following California Department of Public Health sector specific guidance for reopening, as of 12:01 pm today. The changes come after the County qualified to move into the less restrictive red tier of the State's four-tiered, color-coded reopening system. Until today, Ventura County had been in the state's purple tier, the most restrictive tier.

“This is great news for our County and our business community. We will continue to advocate for our local businesses and appreciate this opportunity to move forward,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer.

In order to move into the red tier, the County had to see average case rates drop below 7 per 100,000 people and testing positivity rates dip below 8%. For the past two weeks, Ventura County has met those benchmarks. As of Tuesday, the case rate is 5.5 per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate is 3.0%.

A new Ventura County Health Officer Order has been issued to align with the tier advancement.

Moving into the red tier means the following sectors can reopen with modifications:

• Places of worship, restaurants, movie theaters and museums can be operated indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.

• Gyms can reopen indoors at 10% capacity. 12 feet distancing required in Ventura County.

• All personal care services such as massage, tattoos and piercing salons can open indoors.

• Indoor shopping malls can operate at 50% maximum occupancy (instead of 25%). Food courts can also open following the state's guidelines for restaurants.

• Indoor retail stores can now operate at 50% capacity (instead of 25%)

"The credit belongs to our residents, who have made lots of sacrifices and worked hard to improve our community transmission metrics,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Public Health Director. “That same hard work must continue moving forward so that we don’t revert back to the purple tier and instead continue making progress towards the next tier, orange, so that additional businesses can reopen.”

Elementary and secondary schools can reopen for in-person instruction by October 21 if the county remains the red tier for two more weeks. Currently, elementary schools can apply for a waiver from Public Health to reopen.

“COVID-19 is still circulating in our County. It’s important that community members continue to take all the same precautions so that we can continue to move forward: wear face coverings in public, maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently and stay home if you're sick,” said Doctor Robert Levin, Public Health Officer.

Community members who have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, who have symptoms or who have contact with others outside of their household for their work are encouraged to get tested. County testing sites are available 7 days a week at no cost with no appointment needed. Short wait times and results within 24 hours are the standard right now.

Businesses and other organizations should review their applicable industry guidance for reopening safely from the state. Businesses must also be registered to reopen at www.vcreopens.com. If a business previously registered, they do not need to register again.

The California Department of Public Health has also issued a new Health Equity Metric that goes into effect today. The goal of the metric is to prevent spread among disproportionately impacted Californians. The County of Ventura has been committed to equitable response and serving and protecting the most vulnerable since the beginning of the pandemic. These efforts have included free testing, expanded testing hours and locations, contact tracing, multi-lingual outreach, assistance programs for food, rent and household bills, waived clinic fees, hotel vouchers, permanent housing and more.

“Unlike several other counties, the case rate and testing positivity rates in our most impacted areas do not stand to hold us back from moving tiers. In fact, our positivity rate has improved significantly enough in these areas that we might be eligible for an “accelerator adjustment”, whereby we can move tiers based on that metric alone, even if our overall case rate was to keep us in a lower tier,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Pubic Health Director.

The Health Equity Metric requires that the lowest Healthy Places Index (HPI) quartile be below 8%. To enter the state’s less restrictive Orange Tier, it needs to stay under 5%. The County is currently at 3.6% positivity rate for the lower HPI quartile compared to 3.0% for the County as a whole. The County will continue to support health equity with expanded outreach and support throughout the County.

For more information about COVID-19 in Ventura County, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org

 
The Fillmore Historical Museum at 400 Central Avenue.
The Fillmore Historical Museum at 400 Central Avenue.
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The Fillmore Historical Museum at 447 Main Street.
The Fillmore Historical Museum at 447 Main Street.
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The Bunkhouse being moved.
The Bunkhouse being moved.
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Damage from 1994 earthquake.
Damage from 1994 earthquake.
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The Museum today.
The Museum today.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

The Fillmore Historical Museum, founded by Edith Moore Jarrett, will soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Edith was born in 1898 in Sespe. She attended the University of Southern California and then returned to Fillmore where she taught high school Spanish for decades. As she taught, she saw a need for Spanish textbooks for high school students. El Camino Real parts 1 and 2 were the result. These were the first Spanish textbooks and were used throughout the nation by generations of students studying the Spanish language.

Edith loved travel and history, so it was inevitable that, in 1970, when the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce began to envision a local museum, they asked her to be its founder. Its first location was on the ground floor of the Masonic Temple building. She put out the word that artifacts were needed, and the locals turned up with hundreds of items from their homes and garages. Very soon volunteers were building cases, organizing the artifacts, and giving tours.

In 1974, Edith bought the Southern Pacific depot for $1 plus 5 cents tax. It was moved from the Southern Pacific right of way to the north side of Main Street near the former fire station where it became the new home for the Museum. When more space was needed Edith purchased a boxcar and filled it with railroad artifacts.

In 1994 the Northridge Earthquake severely damaged the buildings and items in the collection. Museum volunteers rose to the challenge and working with the City of Fillmore, the depot and boxcar were moved to the south side of Main Street. The Corl family donated the small bungalow home of Dr. Ira Hinckley and his wife, Kate and James P. Finch donated bunkhouse #2 from Rancho Sespe. The museum moved both structures and restored them. In 10 years, the Historical Museum had become an Historical Park.

The Museum is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 but our volunteers have been working behind the scenes on the website, Facebook and on https://theclio.com/entry/99487.

As we work in the collection, we have discovered many hidden gems which we plan on sharing with our visitors. A new exhibit is being created honoring some of our early settlers. This will be ready whenever the museum can re-open.

The Museum receives no financial support from City, County, or State Governments. We are completely supported by donations from our community. The biggest contribution we receive are the many hours our volunteers give to keep the Museum running and welcome our visitors. We are always happy to get new volunteers.

As we approach our golden anniversary, we hope that you, the public will:

• Think about volunteering – there are many ways you can help.

• Add to our collection, we are particularly looking for:
Photos and stories of our military veterans
Photos, stories, and family histories on our settlers, especially those who arrived before 1900.
Oral histories from families – why did your family come to Fillmore, what were their experiences? (We can record/video them)
Photos you would like to share with future generations. We are particularly looking for photos of Piru, “Mexican Town”, Tipperary”, “Stringtown”, Cienega and other communities of our area.

The Fillmore Historical Museum is your community Museum and only exists because of community support. Please call 805 524 0948 or email fillmore.museum@gmail.com to help or to make donations of artifacts.

 
A strong ridge of high pressure will bring an extended heat wave to southwest California with hot and dry conditions through Friday of this week. In addition, very dry conditions and offshore breezes will create elevated to brief critical fire conditions to the area, with potential large smoke plumes and rapid fire spread with any new or existing fire. This is not the time for a long hike or to start outdoor work if you are not prepared for very hot weather. Avoid being outdoors during the hottest part of the day between 10am and 6pm.Drink plenty of water and never leave children or pets in a hot vehicle for any amount of time. In addition, the hot and dry conditions will be very receptive to fire growth that will quickly create strong updrafts and towering smoke plumes. Avoid any fire-related activities during this hot stretch such as campfires, weed abatement, smoking, and fireworks.
A strong ridge of high pressure will bring an extended heat wave to southwest California with hot and dry conditions through Friday of this week. In addition, very dry conditions and offshore breezes will create elevated to brief critical fire conditions to the area, with potential large smoke plumes and rapid fire spread with any new or existing fire. This is not the time for a long hike or to start outdoor work if you are not prepared for very hot weather. Avoid being outdoors during the hottest part of the day between 10am and 6pm.Drink plenty of water and never leave children or pets in a hot vehicle for any amount of time. In addition, the hot and dry conditions will be very receptive to fire growth that will quickly create strong updrafts and towering smoke plumes. Avoid any fire-related activities during this hot stretch such as campfires, weed abatement, smoking, and fireworks.
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