Fillmore Unified School District Board of Trustees and Fillmore Superintendent Dr. Adrian E. Palazuelos agreed on a mutual separation. After seven years of service Dr. Palazuelos left the District at the end of business on March 5, 2021.
Fillmore Unified School District Board of Trustees and Fillmore Superintendent Dr. Adrian E. Palazuelos agreed on a mutual separation. After seven years of service Dr. Palazuelos left the District at the end of business on March 5, 2021.
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FUSD Superintendent, Dr. Adrian Palazuelos, PhD.
FUSD Superintendent, Dr. Adrian Palazuelos, PhD.

The Fillmore Unified School District Board of Trustees and Fillmore Superintendent Dr. Adrian E. Palazuelos entered into a mutual separation agreement. Dr. Palazuelos left the District at the end of business on March 5, 2021.

The District appreciates Dr. Palazuelos’ seven years of service leading our collective efforts on behalf of all District students.

During that time, Fillmore Unified has: increased student access to Advanced Placement courses at the high school level; broadened the K-12 music program; worked with the local community colleges to introduce college classes within the school day on the high school campus; implemented a high quality preschool program; introduced the Fillmore Adult School funded by an annual Adult Education Block grant of $500,000.00; received community support for and approval of Measure V, a $35 Million general obligation bond to improve District schools and facilities and received $6 million in matching state dollars for the construction of a new Career Technical Education facility slated for completion in summer 2021. Dr. Palazuelos provided vigilant leadership during the Thomas Fire, the Maria Fire, multiple public safety power shutoffs, and the current pandemic. His dedication is deeply appreciated.

The Board of Education wishes Dr. Palazuelos the best as he moves forward with his career.

***

After a mutual separation agreement Former FUSD Superintendent Adrian E. Palazuelos, PhD left Fillmore Unified on March 5th. After a special Board meeting on March 11th Fillmore Unified approved contracts for Ms. Andrea McNeill and W. Charles "Chuck" Weis III as Co-Interim-Superintendent for the period of April 6, 2021-June 30, 2021.

 


 
Mobile Trailer Fire at Fillmore West
On Sunday, March 21st, at 10:14am, VCFD, Fillmore Fire Department and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to a structure fire located at 1906 Old Telegraph Road (Fillmore West). Arriving fire crews reported a mobile trailer on fire and upgraded the call to a working fire with a black truck next to and with other trailers in the area. Fire crews reported no one inside the mobile trailer. Fire was knocked down at 10:30am. Ventura County Sheriff’s Department assisted with traffic control. Fire crews were on scene for about two hours. One ambulance was dispatched to the scene for minor burn injury. Condition unknown. Cause of the structure fire under investigation. Main photo courtesy Angel Esquivel-AE News. Inset courtesy Ellie Rosales FB page. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the family. See to Go Fund Me and search Help Replace Their Home Fillmore. Nathalie Lomeli is organizing this fundraiser.
Mobile Trailer Fire at Fillmore West On Sunday, March 21st, at 10:14am, VCFD, Fillmore Fire Department and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to a structure fire located at 1906 Old Telegraph Road (Fillmore West). Arriving fire crews reported a mobile trailer on fire and upgraded the call to a working fire with a black truck next to and with other trailers in the area. Fire crews reported no one inside the mobile trailer. Fire was knocked down at 10:30am. Ventura County Sheriff’s Department assisted with traffic control. Fire crews were on scene for about two hours. One ambulance was dispatched to the scene for minor burn injury. Condition unknown. Cause of the structure fire under investigation. Main photo courtesy Angel Esquivel-AE News. Inset courtesy Ellie Rosales FB page. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the family. See to Go Fund Me and search Help Replace Their Home Fillmore. Nathalie Lomeli is organizing this fundraiser.
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Photo courtesy Ellie Rosales Facebook page.
Photo courtesy Ellie Rosales Facebook page.
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The empty lot located at the southwest corner of Highway 126 and C Street has been fenced in, preparing for new construction. Pictured is a surveyor watching the work being done.
The empty lot located at the southwest corner of Highway 126 and C Street has been fenced in, preparing for new construction. Pictured is a surveyor watching the work being done.
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Fillmore High School sports are back in action! After a long halt due to COVID-19, FHS teams have been playing or practicing. FHS football competed against Dos Pubelos High on March 19th, baseball (right) competed against Oak Park March 23rd, and below is the FHS swim team getting some practice in.
Fillmore High School sports are back in action! After a long halt due to COVID-19, FHS teams have been playing or practicing. FHS football competed against Dos Pubelos High on March 19th, baseball (right) competed against Oak Park March 23rd, and below is the FHS swim team getting some practice in.
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Fire station in Fillmore with flag at half-mast.
Fire station in Fillmore with flag at half-mast.
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Flags ordered at half mast by President Biden: “As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on March 16, 2021, in the Atlanta Metropolitan area, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, March 22, 2021. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.” We may see them continue at half mast out of respect for the Boulder, Colorado mass killing victims.

 


 
The Star Stable circa 1912, which was also part of the Inn and was located on Santa Clara and Central. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
The Star Stable circa 1912, which was also part of the Inn and was located on Santa Clara and Central. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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The Bungalow Inn on Santa Clara Street built in 1911. It had 20 rooms for many who traveled through Fillmore.
The Bungalow Inn on Santa Clara Street built in 1911. It had 20 rooms for many who traveled through Fillmore.
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Central Avenue in 1915.
Central Avenue in 1915.
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Santa Clara Street in 1925.
Santa Clara Street in 1925.
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Fillmore Ford Dealership circa 1929.
Fillmore Ford Dealership circa 1929.
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Rancho Sespe circa 1930.
Rancho Sespe circa 1930.
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Sanitary Dairy in 1930.
Sanitary Dairy in 1930.
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Rudkin Motor Service circa 1938.
Rudkin Motor Service circa 1938.
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Seaside Rocket Service Station on Santa Clara and A Street.
Seaside Rocket Service Station on Santa Clara and A Street.
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The Grand Opening of the Freeway Portion of Highway 126 in 1965 ending in Santa Paula. By 1971 studies were undertaken to determine the feasibility of completing the highway from Santa Paula to Hwy 5 at Castaic.
The Grand Opening of the Freeway Portion of Highway 126 in 1965 ending in Santa Paula. By 1971 studies were undertaken to determine the feasibility of completing the highway from Santa Paula to Hwy 5 at Castaic.
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Courtesy Fillmore History Museum

We are all familiar with the roads into and out of Fillmore. But, the route was not always as it is today. In the earliest days there were no cities, only small villages of Chumash at Sak’spe (Sespe), the Mupu near today’s Santa Paula and the Aliklik, at Kamulos (Camulos). The route was a foot and horse path from the mountains to the coast. The path wandered as far north as what is now Kensington Drive. A clump of three sycamore trees marks the spot along which Pole Creek traversed the future town site and served as a gathering point and sheep shearing location long before Fillmore came into being.

The Spanish had traveled the route on their explorations in 1769, followed by the Mexican land grantees in the 1830s and American settlers in the 1850s. Ventura and Santa Paula were already well established by 1887 when the railroad laid tracks along this route. The rails generally took the path following the same route as the earlier horse and wagon route through Piru, Fillmore and Rancho Sespe and the farms in between.

Over time the path was widened to accommodate early automobiles. In 1915, Ventura County pushed for a vote to pave the main route through the county. The local ladies were anxious to have the road up Central Ave. paved because it was dusty and dirty. In order to keep the dust down, the local city fathers would periodically have the street oiled. Over the years, the ladies had become tired of the mess that was made when their long skirts dragged in the oil as they crossed Central Ave.

When it was approved, paving followed the established, well-traveled pathway. The route entered Fillmore from the east as it does today with the crossing over Pole Creek which had earlier been rerouted to run south to the Santa Clara River. It took an immediate right turn up to Santa Clara St. It then followed Santa Clara west and made a right turn onto Central Ave, thence to Sespe St. where it turned left and followed Sespe St. to the Sespe River. Motels were unheard of in those days but there was always a place to stop in Fillmore at the Bungalow Inn on Santa Clara St. It was built in 1911 with 20 rooms, some with a bath should that be needed. There were stables along the way such as The Star Stable just east of the corner of Santa Clara and Central.

The original road had crossed the Sespe at Muir St. but in 1914 a flood had destroyed the bridge. The day the Muir St. Bridge collapsed, Hilda Hurst was crossing the bridge in her buggy having taken friends into Fillmore to catch the train. She felt the horse bolt as it felt the bridge tremble. She made it to solid ground just as the bridge collapsed.

After the collapse, the county decided to change the route and relocated the road from Muir St. to Telegraph Road. About 1916, Cliff Hardison, seeing a business opportunity, bought 10 acres along the road, ordered a silo from Sears Roebuck and opened the Sanitary Dairy complete with cows, roadside rest stop with picnic area and country store. Travelers could purchase fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh milk and watch the cows being milked in the milk barn. It became well known as a rest stop for weary travelers. For the next 60 years the dairy also supplied milk to residents of Fillmore and Bardsdale and local schools.

In the teens, the route was again shifted and Santa Clara from Central Ave. to A Street became the main highway. It was no wonder that Santa Clara soon became home to the auto dealerships which had replaced the livery stables. The Ford dealership was east of Central. Wm. L. Morris purchased a gas station on the corner of Central and Santa Clara which by 1929 had become his Chevy Dealership. John Opsahl”s Studebaker was next door to the west. Rudkin’s Motor Service and Plymouth - DeSoto sales and service were on the north side pf the same corner and along the way were gas stations and repair shops.

Until 1954, Santa Clara to A St. to Telegraph Road was the main thoroughfare between Castaic and Ventura. But that year, the county straightened the road extending it along Ventura Street and built a new bridge over each branch of Sespe Creek. This is the route through Fillmore still today. In 1975 the dairy closed because the traffic on the new road bypassed them and the tourists stopped coming. In 2021 a heavy wind so damaged the silo that it had to be taken down. Generations of Fillmore residents remember the view of the silo on their way back home from points west.

Hwy 126 remained a bucolic route through the valley for many years. But the 1960s traffic had increased enough for the city and county to discuss a new freeway. By 1965 the freeway portion of Hwy 126 ending in Santa Paula was complete. In 1971 studies were undertaken to determine the feasibility of completing the freeway from Santa Paula to Hwy 5 at Castaic. Studies put the cost at $100 million. Public Works Director, A. P. Stokes was quoted as saying the following regarding the cost which was mostly for flood control and embankments, “It now appears that this flood control work is way off in the future and may never happen.” To date it hasn’t happened.

In 1988 work began on adding two lanes to the existing road through Rancho Sespe west of Fillmore. It required removal of many of the huge eucalyptus trees and orchard trees along the route, replacing gas and electric lines and repaving the older sections of the road. This is the heavily traveled road we use today.

Will there ever be a freeway all the way to I 5? Where would the route go? In 1960 the county published a map of potential freeways in Ventura County. This map included two freeway routes from Moorpark and Simi over the mountain to Fillmore and a 4 lane freeway to Hwy 99. The I 5 did not exist when that map was drawn.

Our valley has changed drastically in the 134 years since the railroad was built. We are now becoming a bedroom community with heavy traffic every weekday in and out of town. We can only wonder what comes next.

 
Captain Adolfo (Al) Huerta of the Fillmore Fire Department.
Captain Adolfo (Al) Huerta of the Fillmore Fire Department.
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Adolfo (Al) Huerta retired from the Fillmore Fire Department in December 2020.

Al began as a volunteer firefighter on March 1, 1983 until September 1992, when he was hired as Fillmore’s first Fire Captain.

During his tenure Al served on numerous committees, such as the Fillmore Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator and Spanish instructor for the Santa Clara Valley. Al provided C.P.R. instructions for the community, and Fire Safety Instruction for all pre-school and elementary school students of Fillmore. He could be seen promoting the Fillmore Fire Department at Career Day events and speaking to individual classes about the merits of volunteer service. Al protected the citizens of Fillmore in some of the largest fires the area has experienced, and saved many lives performing rescues during the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Al also served as Vice President of the Fillmore Lions Club, as a member of the Fillmore Youth Task Force, and a Director Secretary of the Fillmore-Piru Boys and Girls Cub.

He is perhaps best known for his ever-pleasant demeanor, his easy-going attitude and warm smile, which has been a comfort to so many in the community in times of critical need and personal crisis.

Al was the epitome of dedicated service, answering 911 calls, and responding to medical, fire and traffic collision emergencies as needed, 24/7.

He was named Fillmore Firefighter of the Year in 2000.

Al was born in 1954 in Cueneo, Michoacán, Mexico to Salvador and Rosario Huerta, and came to Fillmore at the age of 13 on a student visa to live with his grandmother Guadalupe Rangel.

He graduated from Fillmore High School in 1974, and during his years at FHS loved to play soccer and run track, where he established the FHS mile record in 1972--a record which held for 15 years. Upon graduation, Al went to work for veterinarian Dr. Charles Nelson, serving as a veterinarian's assistant for 17 years. During this time Al became a member of the Fillmore Fire Department.

Congratulations on a job well done Al!!

 
On Saturday, March 13th at 1:10pm, VCFD, CHP, Ventura County Sheriff ’s Department and AMR Paramedics were dispatched to a possible head on collision located Just east of Center Street / East Telegraph Road near Piru. Arriving fire crews reported two vehicles, a grey Lexus and a white Chevrolet truck. One vehicle struck a power pole and another vehicle reported off the roadway. All occupants were reported to be out. One ambulance transport was made, condition unknown. One Ventura County Sheriff’s Department unit was on scene until CHP arrived on scene. Cause of the crash is under investigation. Photo is for area reference. Courtesy Angel Esquivel-AE News.
On Saturday, March 13th at 1:10pm, VCFD, CHP, Ventura County Sheriff ’s Department and AMR Paramedics were dispatched to a possible head on collision located Just east of Center Street / East Telegraph Road near Piru. Arriving fire crews reported two vehicles, a grey Lexus and a white Chevrolet truck. One vehicle struck a power pole and another vehicle reported off the roadway. All occupants were reported to be out. One ambulance transport was made, condition unknown. One Ventura County Sheriff’s Department unit was on scene until CHP arrived on scene. Cause of the crash is under investigation. Photo is for area reference. Courtesy Angel Esquivel-AE News.
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Fillmore Police Continues to Help SCV Boys & Girls Club
The Fillmore Police Department partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley earlier in the year to provide learning opportunities for children in need. The School Resource Officers (SRO) in Fillmore have expanded the partnership to add an afterschool program for teenagers that teaches mechanical skills, gives the teenagers a safe place to hang out, and gives back to the community.

While getting to know the students at the Boys & Girls Club, the SROs learned that many of the children at the club did not have bicycles. The SROs also found out that one of the students and his friends enjoyed mechanical work and were interested in learning how to fix bicycles. The SRO’s reached out to the Fillmore and Ojai Police Departments, who gladly donated a total of 16 old, unclaimed bicycles that were sitting in storage collecting rust. The Boys & Girls Club provided tools and a workspace for what is now known as The Fillmore Boys & Girls Club Bike Builders Club.

The Bike Builders Club consists of 4 teenagers who spend their afternoons learning how to fix the donated bicycles with help from the SROs and the Boys & Girls Club director. The teenagers then donate the bicycles they fix to Fillmore children without bikes. The Bike Builders Club gave its first refurbished bike away on February 23. “Time to start the next one!” The Bike Builders Club exclaimed as they enjoyed their experience giving back to the Fillmore community. News of the Bike Builders has spread and kids are coming to the club in need of bikes as well as to have their old bikes fixed. The club enthusiastically helps many children in need.

The police department is proud to work with citizens and organizations in Fillmore to provide such a great opportunity to teach youth and give back to the community it serves.

Prepared by: Deputy Jonathan Schnereger
Approved by: Captain Garo Kuredjian

 

At 5:20am, on Monday, March 15, the driver of a black Ford F-150 pickup truck lost control of the vehicle in the SR-126 westbound lane, crossing the center median into eastbound lanes, just west of Center Street, Piru. The truck was broadsided by a white Freightliner box truck in the eastbound lane. The Ford driver was killed at scene. Contributing to the collision was speed and wet roadway due to light rainfall, according to CHP. Authorities did not immediately known whether drugs or alcohol were involved. Both vehicles continued a short distance and came to rest on the eastbound shoulder. At 6:16am CHP reported flames involving an Edison pole/wires. A good Samaritan was able to pull the driver of the Ford out of the truck but the 45-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver's name was not immediately released pending notification of family.