Courtesy Fillmore Fire Department
The Fillmore Fire Department in conjunction with the Fillmore Fire Foundation is kicking off the annual Holiday Toy Drive this week. Collection drop off boxes for new toys are available at the Fillmore Police and Fire Stations. As part of the Toy Drive, on Sunday, December 5th, the Fire Department will be holding the annual Chicken Dinner Fundraiser to collect donations that are used to purchase hundreds of toys for children in the Fillmore/Piru area. A complete chicken dinner meal is prepared for anyone wanting to donate ten dollars ($10) that will be used to purchase a new toy. Because of necessary COVID-19 precautions, the dinner will be held at the Fillmore/Piru Veteran’s Memorial Building City, 511 Second St. Dinner will be served from 5:00 -7 PM. Again, due to COVID-19 restrictions, all meals will be for take-out only and will be available via a contactless drive-thru process. For this year only, we are requesting a monetary donation in lieu of a new toy to avoid less person to person contact. The hundreds of toys purchased from this event will be combined with those that are donated by the Community and then distributed the following week on Saturday, December 11th, in a huge Community Holiday Giveaway event. The Community Holiday Giveaway event will also be a drive-thru and reservations are mandatory. To order your tickets for the December 5th BBQ Chicken Dinner call 805-524-1500 ext 226. To register for the Community Holiday Giveaway, go online to the City of Fillmore website at www.fillmoreca.com/Home/Components/News/News/3410/48

 


 

This year’s annual Fillmore Community Holiday Giveaway will be held Saturday, December 11th from 9 AM – 12 PM at Two Rivers Park, the corner of River St and “D” St. This is the annual event where holiday commodities are given to the children who reside within the Fillmore Unified School District boundaries. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the location and format of the Giveaway has changed. This event will be a drive-thru, contactless format. Anyone wishing to receive holiday commodities must preregister prior to December 6th. The age and gender of each child will need to be included so that age appropriate toys, reading books and socks may be pre-package for pick up. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, personal sizing of coats will not be available, instead, nice warm individual blankets will be distributed to each child. As is customary, a holiday bag of groceries will also be available. To ensure that Santa is well for Christmas delivery of toys, he will only be available to wave at the children from a distance this year. Everyone must remain in their vehicle. To preregister for the Holiday Giveaway go to the City of Fillmore website at www.fillmoreca.com/Home/Components/News , you must provide proof of residency within the School District.

Annual sponsors of the event include our local Fillmore Police and Fire Departments, Santa Clara Valley Legal Aid, One Step A La Vez, Soroptimist International of Fillmore, Rotary International of Fillmore, Fillmore Lions Club, Ventura County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Fillmore Citizen’s Patrol, Fillmore Women’s Service Club, Fillmore Friends of the Library, Super A, The Fillmore Fire Foundation and numerous other generous personal and business donors. Our sponsor list will be updated week to week.

If you would like to help donate to the Fillmore Community Holiday Giveaway, you may give new toys, socks, reading books or canned food; drop boxes are located at the Fillmore Police Station and at the Fillmore City Fire Station. Monetary donations are preferred this year to reduce person to person contact, checks may be made out to “The Fillmore Fire Foundation” with a notation of “Holiday Giveaway”. Donations may be mailed to Fillmore Fire Foundation, PO Box 331, Fillmore , CA 93016 or for drop off, please contact Scott Beylik (805) 732-1101 or Keith Gurrola (805) 558-0932.

 


 

Don’t forget to join in the Fillmore Lions Club Christmas Parade coming up in December. Parade participant applications can be found on their website: www.fillmorelionsclub.org.

 


 

On Thursday, November 11th, in honor of Veterans Day, Fillmore will celebrate with the traditional Veteran’s Day breakfast at the Fillmore Piru Veterans Memorial Building. The Veterans Day Parade rolled down Central Avenue, with a ceremony following at Fillmore City Hall. On Saturday, November 13th, from 10am to 5pm, a Veterans Day car show will be held on Central Avenue, hosted by the Sespe Creek Car Club. These events are sponsored by the City of Fillmore, Fillmore Lions Club, Fillmore Rotary Club, Fillmore VFW, Piru Neighborhood Council, Knights of Columbus, Soroptimist Club, Villegas Public Affairs, Union Bank and Sespe Creek Car Club.

 


 
Fillmore City Council Member Simone Alex was sworn in at last night's council meeting. Alex was appointed to serve until the next election.
Fillmore City Council Member Simone Alex was sworn in at last night's council meeting. Alex was appointed to serve until the next election.
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The oath of appointment of Council Member Simone Alex was heard and she took her place on the Council.

The Trunk or Treat People's Choice Award was tabled until the next meeting.

A Proclamation declaring November 2021 Native American Heritage Month in the City of Fillmore was read by Mayor Mark Austin.

Emergency repairs to Well #8. Most of the items which remained to be completed are now finished. Sanding content reduced to an acceptable level. New equipment has been installed. Water samples being taken to confirm purity acceptable. Well up and running Monday or Tuesday of next week. Hope to declare emergency over by December 14.

Parking on Hwy. 126: City Engineer Roxanne Hughes updated Caltrans agreement with City for restrictions on curbside parking of large trucks. Questions about putting a sidewalk along this area (north along 126) is City responsibility, not Caltrans'. Staff recommendations were unanimously approved.

Potable Water System assessment. City Engineer was asked by Council Member Lynn Edmonds that process be more proactive rather than reactive with completion of related requirements. Motion carried unanimously.

NEW TRUCK FOR CODE ENFORCEMENT. Motion to authorize City Manager to negotiate with local Bunnin Chevrolet of Fillmore for purchase of new truck approved.

8-D: Council approves ordinance (21-933) to adopt State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance - exemption from CEQA.

City Manager asks for Prop. 68 Parks "PER CAPIA" Grant, of $187,000. Discussion of ADA needs. 10-15 things needed for compliance. Fiscal impact approx. 234,000. 25 % match. $850,000 available. Approved.

COMMENTS. Two requests to reopen catch basin at Rio Vista Park for general recreation.

 


 
On Saturday, November 6th, the Fillmore Lions Club hosted their Annual Enchilada Dinner from 5pm to 7pm. Those who purchased tickets drove in front of the Veterans Memorial building and picked up their delicious dinner. Cars
lined up around the corner to get their meals, while inside workers were cooking and prepping to-go boxes.
On Saturday, November 6th, the Fillmore Lions Club hosted their Annual Enchilada Dinner from 5pm to 7pm. Those who purchased tickets drove in front of the Veterans Memorial building and picked up their delicious dinner. Cars lined up around the corner to get their meals, while inside workers were cooking and prepping to-go boxes.
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(l-r) FHS Teacher Randal Kamradt, Star Georgina Tolentino, and Co-Star Ian Coleman receiving the Audience Award from the Chelsea Film Festival in New York for his fifteen-minute short film "No Dogs."
(l-r) FHS Teacher Randal Kamradt, Star Georgina Tolentino, and Co-Star Ian Coleman receiving the Audience Award from the Chelsea Film Festival in New York for his fifteen-minute short film "No Dogs."
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Fillmore resident and Fillmore High School teacher Randal Kamradt has won two awards from the Chelsea Film Festival in New York for his fifteen-minute short film "No Dogs". The film highlights Filipino-American history in the 1930's, telling the suspenseful story of a young woman who spends a night hiding in a diner from racial violence, and was awarded the 'Petite Prix Award for Best Short Film' and the 'Short Film Audience Award'. "No Dogs" stars Georgina Tolentino, who wrote the screenplay with Alex Fabros, and co-stars Ian Coleman, who also won the festival's 'Best Supporting Actor' award. The ceremony took place October 17th, 2021 at the Regal Theatres Union Square, in New York, NY.

The film had its World Premiere earlier this month on October 1st, 2021 at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, alongside Kamradt's feature film "The Monsters Without". Since then "No Dogs" has also appeared in Minneapolis at the Twin Cities Film Festival where it was named as a top four finalist among more than seven hundred entries for 'Best Short Film'.

"[The] hope for any artist or a filmmaker of color is to gain better exposure for their culture, to further normalize Filipino-American storytelling, and to bring more of my own and my culture’s voice into the cinema" said Kamradt, "It takes a lifetime of work and a lifetime of creating films, before you get to that point where you’re making movies that stand the test of time."

"No Dogs" will next be appearing as part of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival from November 4th to 14th. The festival will feature virtual screenings so viewers can watch the film from any part of the country. Tickets are available at www.paaff.org

 


 
On Tuesday, November 2nd, Fillmore celebrated Dia De Los Muertos in front of City Hall and along Santa Clara Street. Food and shop vendors were set up from 5pm to 9pm. There was live dance and musical performances by Santa Paula Folklorico, Unidos Por La Danza, Luv 2 Dance Studio 1, Xanthe Martinez, Celeste Felix, Oscar Magana, La Lealtad De Nuevo Leon. At 8pm they screened a movie in the park, Disney’s “Coco”, for all to enjoy.
On Tuesday, November 2nd, Fillmore celebrated Dia De Los Muertos in front of City Hall and along Santa Clara Street. Food and shop vendors were set up from 5pm to 9pm. There was live dance and musical performances by Santa Paula Folklorico, Unidos Por La Danza, Luv 2 Dance Studio 1, Xanthe Martinez, Celeste Felix, Oscar Magana, La Lealtad De Nuevo Leon. At 8pm they screened a movie in the park, Disney’s “Coco”, for all to enjoy.
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Dr. Ofelia Romero-Motlagh has written a book, “The Legend of the Romeros, Then and Today,” identifying and celebrating her nineteen-member family from their humble beginnings as farm laborers to their lives as successes. Tragedies to accomplishments are highlighted with reference to historical and cultural nuances and the photographic images accompanying them.

If you lived in Fillmore, California, and attended school here the 1950s through the 1970s you probably were acquainted with the Romero children and their parents.

The Fillmore Historical Museum will celebrate the Romero family with a book signing featuring Dr. Romero-Motlagh on November 20th, 2021, in the Southern Pacific Depot at 350 Main Street, Fillmore, California, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All are welcome to come to the museum to meet Ofelia and have her autograph her new book.

For more information please email the museum at fillmore.museum@gmail.com or telephone 805 524 0948.

 
Monorail Groundbreaking ceremony which was held on July 16th, 1927.
Monorail Groundbreaking ceremony which was held on July 16th, 1927.
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P.E. Crumbs in 1927, a former city engineer for the city of Chicago, who came to Fillmore, stated his company, the Sespe Development Co. had announced the start of construction of a monorail to the Sespe Hot Springs. Photos courtesy Fillmore History Museum.
P.E. Crumbs in 1927, a former city engineer for the city of Chicago, who came to Fillmore, stated his company, the Sespe Development Co. had announced the start of construction of a monorail to the Sespe Hot Springs. Photos courtesy Fillmore History Museum.

Courtesy Fillmore History Museum

The good, commonsense people of Fillmore are not wont to take off on flights of fancy. But in 1927 the idea of a monorail to Sespe Hot Springs took off like a Condor looking for dinner.

In May of 1927 a gentleman by the name of P.E. Combs arrived in Fortune Favored Fillmore. He was a self-styled developer who introduced himself as a former city engineer for the city of Chicago. Claiming to be backed by Chicago financial interests, he stated that his company, the Sespe Development Co., was capitalized at $2 million. He announced the soon to be started construction of a monorail to the Sespe Hot Springs, an area which was difficult to reach because of steep terrain and essentially no roads.

He began by meeting the local “powers that be” and visiting all the local booster organizations.

The first group to hear about the project was the Fillmore Rotary Club. President, John McNab, headed the meeting on May 13, 1927. McNab was the son of Fillmore founder and founder of the Sespe Land and Water Co., Joseph McNab. He was one of the organizers and a director of the Ventura County Coop Association and a developer of Farmers and Merchants Bank. Like all of the principals of this story he was level headed and not prone to flights of fancy. He will be on the platform on the day ground will be broken for the project.

The Fillmore Herald described Combs as “one of the most forceful speakers that it has been the privilege of the members to listen to.”Combs predicted that “within 24 months the city will have 3 times the population it currently has.” “Every property in the city will be worth double its present valuation.” “Within 12 months every newspaper and magazine in the United States will have an article about Fillmore.” (Remember this promise.) He proposed that lines could be built for 1/3rd the cost of any other transportation and that they had been used in Germany for a “great many years.” Additionally he proposed to build an electric plant on the Sespe that would produce 180 KW hours of power per year. Combs was quoted at the time saying that “He is not asking for money and flatly states in all his talks that the money is ready and waiting for the construction of the monorail.” (Fillmore Herald May 30, 1927.) Not asking for money must have made the project much more tempting to the locals and apparently they responded by purchasing whatever shares they could.

On May 30 Combs showed a motion picture of the Monorail development at the Stearns (formerly Barnes) Theater. With enthusiasm being generated locally and throughout Ventura County, Combs added W. E. McCampbell, local realtor and insurance agent, to his board as a “local” director. It was through McCampbell’s office that local investors bought their shares in the company. McCampbell also fielded all the questions about the project as it was being developed and, later, its aftermath.

Very quickly the local Chamber of Commerce officers joined the band. They included Milo Cobb, an insurance broker and future mayor of Fillmore; Edgar Goodenough, businessman and rancher and in 1927 a Ventura County Supervisor (He made possible the completion of Goodenough Road soon to be proposed as Monorail Blvd.); attorney, Fergus Fairbanks; E. C. Fuller, vice president of the Chamber;and Judge Merton Barnes, theater owner and businessman.

The project began with a giant sign on the terminal site near the river on Telegraph Rd. Every week for months there was a photo or article in the Fillmore Herald relating to the monorail.

On July 16, 1927, ground was broken with representatives of the State, County and City of Fillmore, and the principals of the company present. Perhaps, due to the hype, Mayor Price was more than a little wary. The day of the groundbreaking, as the final part of the ceremony, he turned the first shovelful of earth and said “Well, I think there has been enough talking, now let’s get on with it.”

By June 17th work had started on the monorail. According to Edith Jarrett there was nothing more than a few red flags on sticks to mark the area where the terminal was to be built. Additionally, a baseball team, the Fillmore Monorails, had been formed and a schedule of games set.

And then – NOTHING! August, September, October and November passed by. There was a great silence. Not a word about progress, not even a scathing letter to the editor questioning the lack of progress. The first question raised actually appeared in the Fillmore American newspaper in October.

Was the whole thing a scam?

Research done by Tony Jones of the Fillmore Herald in 1986 seems to at least cast a little doubt on whether or not it started out to be a scam.

The president of the Sespe Development Co., Frank Buren, and a partner had purchased a 320 acre tract of land on which the Sespe hot springs was located in 1924 for $60,000 signing 3 promissory notes at 6%interest. They managed to repay only $15,000 through April 1927. Buren had also purchased a 160 acre tract outside Fillmore in 1922. The two partners failed to pay any taxes on the land and managed to pay only $600 on the debt by October 1928. By 1929 the property had reverted to the County for lack of tax payments.

The original owners, Jessie and Walter Ilenstine and Lillie May and Cecil Cary, bought the property back for $20,000. The Ilenstines and Carys then resold the property for $60,000.

It is possible that Buren and Combs thought they could get enough funds through sales of shares in the project to Fillmore residents to help pay off the debt. Possibly P.S.Combs scammed Buren and the other investors as well as the Fillmore investors.

No one will ever know if it was a scam and no one who bought shares ever spoke of it again. No shares have ever been found. Perhaps someone in Fillmore will find a dusty share hiding in the back of a closet someday.

The following poem appeared in the Fillmore American in October of 1927:

Oh, where are those monorail pictures Bill McCampbell was wont to show,
In his real estate office window,
Lined up in entrancing row.
They showed these suspended carriages,
Like mechanical birds on wings,
That would waft us in twenty minutes
Up to the famed Sespe Springs
But those pictures that charmed the public
No longer draw gaping crowds.
That dreamed of a monorail journey, through the canyon up to the clouds.
And we wonder, oh how we wonder,
Just where the line was broke.
Was it just another fine day dream?
Just another promoter’s joke?
And yet in a manner of speaking,
This town it has well repaid.
It got Fillmore in all the papers,
And we still have the silver spade.
Written by City Attorney John Galvin
Music by Mayor W.H. Price