Photo of the Week "Bee to flower – permission to land!" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon XSi, Canon 35-250mm lens @229 mm; Exposure, ISO 400, aperture f/5.6, shutter speed 1/2000 of a second.
Photo of the Week "Bee to flower – permission to land!" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon XSi, Canon 35-250mm lens @229 mm; Exposure, ISO 400, aperture f/5.6, shutter speed 1/2000 of a second.
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A Bee, a Bully & a PhotoWalk
Bob Crum
Bob Crum

A friend who took up residency in Truckee was visiting relatives in Ventura. Accordingly, he called to say that he'd like us to meet to catch up on happenings. Sure, why not? Camera in hand, I departed expecting an enjoyable reunion with a friend I haven't seen in a few years. I should have camouflaged my camera.

Don't we all know that parking at the Ventura Harbor Village is about like finding a parking space on Central Avenue between Sespe and Main Street? After touring the parking lot for an hour - actually only about 15 minutes which seems like an hour due to the monotonous activity of seeking a parking space - alas, a vehicle leaving. Parked and camera in hand, I departed for the rendezvous. I no sooner walked 30 feet towards the Village when a couple approached, and the lady spoke.

"We just got engaged, and we see that you have a camera and would like you to take our photo." OK, I said, but why would I want to take a photo of two strangers? I should have thought it through before speaking. Her fiancée, all six-foot-two of him, said: "JUST TAKE OUR PHOTO!" he commanded, as he put his arm around his lady and smiled. OK, if you insist. As I moved back a few steps, a car came along, the perfect escape shield. I backed up further to let the car get between me and the couple. Ducking low alongside the car, I asked the driver to drive slowly, explaining that I needed to hide from a zany couple. When I felt I was far enough along, I darted between the cars in the parking lot making a beeline for the Village. Escape accomplished!

After greeting my photography friend, we moseyed over to the Coastal Cone ice cream parlor where I warned him: Don't engage me in conversation with an Oreo tsunami shake in my hand. After enjoying the subsequent conversation, he said, "glad to see that you brought your camera. I'm job hunting and need a good headshot." Good grief. Anyone who has been to the VH Village knows it's not a place for portraits. I took him across the street where by standing on top of a dune, I could use the sky and fluffy clouds as a backdrop.

In my previous column, I announced that I'm leading a Fillmore PhotoWalk in conjunction with KelbyOne. KelbyOne produces an annual PhotoWalk on the first Saturday of October each year. Photographers and photography enthusiasts around the world meet at a designated location in their town to walk around and take photographs, socialize and make new friends.

I signed up to lead a photo walk here in Fillmore. Go to the website: https://worldwidephotowalk.com/locations/ and in the box: "Find Location," type Fillmore and sign up. To date, no one has signed up. What's up with that, Fillmore? Where are all the photographers? Though not a workshop, it's a great opportunity for phonetography novices.

PhotoWalk happens on October 5, 2019. Meet at 5 p.m. at the fountain in city hall park. I scheduled it for late afternoon to miss harsh midday light. Photographing is permissible in any area within walking distance of city hall. At 7 p.m., we'll rejoin at Central Station for a review of the experience. Besides signing up at the KelbyOne website, send me an email telling me that you'll be participating. Yes, phonetographers are welcome!

Photo of the week: Honeybee to flower - here I come! Ah, the joys of photography! And honey!

Send comments, questions or suggestions to: focusonphotograhy@earthlink.net

 


 
Fillmore educators and community will picket school board meeting over lagging salaries, benefits, and harm to teacher retention in the district.

Fillmore Unified Teachers Association October 1, 2019

1930 Outlet Center Drive

Oxnard, CA 93036

Contact: FUTA President Tammy Ferguson (805) 279-1214

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fillmore Teachers, Community to Picket Board Meeting Tonight Over Inadequate Contract Offers

Teacher Recruitment and Retention Remain Issues as Educators Urge District to Put Students and Educators First

Fillmore—Members of the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association along with parents and the community are planning to picket at the FUSD School Board Meeting this evening, Tuesday, October 1st.

Speeches at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. will urge the school board to finally listen and give teachers a fair and equitable salary increase. The mediocre raise the District has proposed doesn’t even cover the loss of health benefit compensation from last year, let alone this year.

The display of unity and community support shows educators are standing up to a school board that has given the Superintendent, administrators, and other employees $11,161 more in health benefit compensation than teachers.

“We have been asking parents and community members to call school board members in support of better health benefits and compensation,” said FUTA president Tammy Ferguson. “FUSD’s salary proposal is simply not enough to keep up with the cost of living and to keep our teachers healthy.” The school district’s failure to respect the value of its staff has caused substantial staff turnover and left still unfilled teaching vacancies in important areas such as math and special education for this current school year.

Fillmore teachers overwhelmingly voted down a mediated settlement earlier last month.

WHAT: Fillmore educators and community will picket school board meeting over lagging salaries, benefits, and harm to teacher retention in the district.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 1 at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: 627 Sespe Ave, Fillmore

The Fillmore Unified Teachers Association is affiliated with the 310,000-member CTA and the 3-million-member National Education Association.

 


 
On Wednesday, September 18th at 4 p.m. a crash occurred off of Highway 126 and Los Serenos Drive in Fillmore. Two male youths are accused of stealing a Fillmore Building Supply utility truck, then driving it into a ditch. There was evidence of alcohol. The two fled the scene; no injuries were reported. Police are looking for help identifying the suspects.
On Wednesday, September 18th at 4 p.m. a crash occurred off of Highway 126 and Los Serenos Drive in Fillmore. Two male youths are accused of stealing a Fillmore Building Supply utility truck, then driving it into a ditch. There was evidence of alcohol. The two fled the scene; no injuries were reported. Police are looking for help identifying the suspects.
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Stolen Utility Truck Found in Ditch

The Fillmore Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying two male suspects who stole a truck before crashing and fleeing on foot.

On September 18th, 2019, at approximately 5:55 PM, a business owner in the 400 block of Main Street saw two male suspects driving off in his truck that had been parked by his business. The male suspect driving the truck lost control and collided into a vehicle parked nearby the victim’s business. The suspects continued driving the stolen truck through the city of Fillmore until the suspect driving lost control again and crashed into a drainage culvert in the 200 block of Los Serenos Drive. The two male suspects fled the disabled stolen truck into the surrounding residential neighborhood prior to the responding deputies’ arrival. An approximate two-hour extensive search was conducted, using multiple sheriff resources to locate the two suspects, with negative results.

Fillmore Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying the two suspects involved in this crime. [Editor's note: Two videos of the suspects are available on The Gazette's YouTube page located here https://youtu.be/MrQkSYrfnLI and here https://youtu.be/gPep4_m82fU. Anyone with information about these suspects are asked to contact Detective Bill Meixner at (805) 947-9391 or at the following email address: william.meixner@ventura.org.

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).

Nature of Incident: Request for Public Assistance to Identify Vehicle Theft and Hit-and-Run Suspects
Report Number: 19-147331
Location: 400 Block of Main Street Fillmore
Date & Time: Sept. 18, 2019 @ 6:00 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Fillmore Police Department
Prepared by: Detective Bill Meixner
News Release Date: 09-20-2019
Approved by: Captain Eric Tennessen

 


 
Captain Garo Kuredjian.
Captain Garo Kuredjian.

The city of Fillmore has selected Captain Garo Kuredjian as its next police chief. Kuredjian has been selected to replace outgoing chief Captain Eric Tennessen, after the announcement of his upcoming promotion to commander.

Garo is a 25-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. During his career, he has worked patrol and custody, and has an extensive background in investigations which include assignments in the city of Thousand Oaks and Moorpark, as well as Internal Affairs. As a captain, Garo worked as a patrol watch commander, and he served as the Sheriff’s adjutant and public information officer. Most recently, he managed facility operations at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura.

Garo brings a diverse background to his new position, including a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University at Northridge. He lives in Simi Valley with his family.

Nature of Incident: City of Fillmore Selects New Police Chief
Location: Fillmore
Date & Time: September 18, 2019
Prepared by: Captain Eric Hatlee
News Release Date: September 18, 2019
Approved by: Sheriff Bill Ayub

 


 
Leonard Lopez, 48, of Fillmore
Leonard Lopez, 48, of Fillmore

On 09/07/2019, a female inmate disclosed to a jail staff member that she had been sexually assaulted by a deputy while she was housed at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility (PTDF). An investigation was immediately launched which identified Deputy Leonard Lopez as the potential suspect in this crime. Further investigation determined that Lopez entered the victim’s cell during the early morning hours of 09/06/2019 and touched the victim’s intimate body parts over her clothing. The crime was established by statements and video surveillance evidence.

The victim had been housed in a segregated area of the facility, away from other general population inmates, and Lopez had been assigned to work as a security deputy in that specific area. PTDF management removed Lopez from this area immediately upon learning he had been named as a potential suspect. As the investigation identified inappropriate behavior, Sheriff’s management removed Lopez from active duty as a peace officer by placing him on administrative leave pending further investigation.

On 09/22/2019, Lopez was arrested for one felony violation of Penal Code section 243.4(a) PC - Sexual Battery. He was booked into the jail and later released on $20,000.00 bail. Lopez is scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on 10/08/2019.

Nature of Incident: Deputy Arrested for Sexual Assault of an Inmate
Report Number: 19-140694
Location: Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura CA, 93009
Date & Time: 09/22/2019 @ 5:15 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau Pre-Trial Detention Facility Classification Unit
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
(S) Leonard Lopez, 48, of Fillmore
(V) Adult Female Inmate
Prepared by: Sergeant Ryan Clark
Approved by: Captain Jeff Miller

 


 
Ricardo Salvador Martinez, 18, of Santa Paula.
Ricardo Salvador Martinez, 18, of Santa Paula.
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Bianca Ruby Cervantes, 21, of Santa Paula.
Bianca Ruby Cervantes, 21, of Santa Paula.
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Two Santa Paula residents were arrested for firearms and narcotics charges as detectives were attempting to serve a warrant.

In September 2019, the Fillmore Investigative Unit was investigating a stolen vehicle in which Ricardo Martinez was a suspect. On 09/18/19, detectives learned that Martinez was in a garage in a condominium complex in the 100 block of Ventura Street in Santa Paula. Martinez was being sought by detectives as a suspect in a Fillmore stolen vehicle investigation and had an active warrant for his arrest for PC 422-criminal threats. Detectives responded to the location and monitored the garage. While doing so, detectives observed the garage open and Bianca Cervantes emerged. She was immediately recognized by investigators from previous law enforcement arrests in Fillmore and the surrounding unincorporated area. Detectives also noticed a male subject inside of a vehicle located within the garage. Upon closer examination, the detectives identified the subject as Martinez. He was quickly apprehended. A probation search was conducted on the vehicle and narcotics, individually packaged for sale, were found. Additionally, there was a loaded handgun located in the car.

Investigators determined Martinez and Cervantes were responsible for the drugs and firearm.
Both subjects were booked at the Pre-Trail Detention Facility for the following charges:

HS 11370.1 (a) Possession of dangerous drugs while armed with a firearm
HS 11378 Possession of dangerous drugs for sale
HS 11550(e) Under the influence of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm

Martinez was also booked for a warrant for PC 422 Criminal Threats and PC 242 Battery.

Nature of Incident: Firearm and Narcotics Arrest
Report Number: 19-147168
Location: 100 Block of Ventura Street, Santa Paula
Date & Time: 09/18/19 1:30 pm
Unit(s) Responsible: Fillmore Investigations
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
(S) Ricardo Salvador Martinez, 18, of Santa Paula
(S) Bianca Ruby Cervantes, 21, of Santa Paula
Prepared by: Sergeant Vince Alvarez
Approved by: Captain Eric Tennessen

 

The Gazette has been provided a letter of explanation concerning the closing of the funeral parlor in Fillmore. It reads in part: "Because of the changing business environment, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that, after many years of serving the families of Fillmore and surrounding areas with their funeral needs, Funeraria Del Angel, located at 600 Central Ave., Fillmore, CA has made the difficult decision to close its doors." The following address and telephone number was included: Funeraria Del Angel, 128 South 8th St., Santa Paula CA 93080. A second number is included: (805) 525-5595. Signed: "Martin Guerrero, Area General Manager, Skillin-Carroll Mortuary, Funeraria Del Angel Santa Paula."

Funeraria Del Angel Fillmore has proudly served families in the Fillmore area with their funeral needs I for many years. We appreciate the faith and trust that you have placed in us. One thing that remains constant in life is change, and that is no different in the life of a business. Because of the changing business environment, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that, after many years of serving the families of Fillmore and surrounding areas with their funeral needs, Funeraria Del Angel, located at 600 Central Ave., Fillmore, CA and Skillin-Carroll Mortuary, located at 738 East Santa Paula St., Santa Paula, CA, has made the difficult decision to close its doors.

Please let this letter provide you assurance that the service prearrangements you entrusted to Funeraria Del Angel Fillmore are secure, and we are committed to continue to serving the needs of the Santa Paula community. As such, rest assured that your prearrangements will be honored by an affiliate, Funeraria Del Angel, a proud Dignity Memorial® network provider: Funeraria Del Angel, 128 South 8" St., Santa Paula, CA 93080 (805) 525-5595.

We again assure you that all pre-arrangement contracts in good standing at Funeraria Del Angel Fillmore will be likewise honored at our affiliate location, Funeraria Del Angel Santa Paula. If you have any questions about your Pre-Arranged Funeral or account please do not hesitate to call us at (805) 525-5595 or stop by our facility so we can answer your questions or concerns and provide you an in-person tour.

 
Fillmore City Council.
Fillmore City Council.
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Fillmore City Council Meeting

5-A A presentation was given by Susan White Wood, from Ventura County Behavioral Health, entitled "No Place Like Home". Ms. Wood detailed the many challenges facing the County providing for the homeless.

NEW BUSINESS:
8-A The City Council approved, unanimously, the Final Map Tract No. 5520-3 for condominium purposes and Final Map Tract No. 5520-4 and authorized the Mayor to sign the maps and direct the City Clerk to record the maps with the County Recorder's office.

8-B City Council commented on and adopted the proposed city billing policy for special events held throughout the city.

8.C Ari Larson was appointed to fill one of the City of Fillmore's seats on the Ventura County Area Agency On Aging, (VCAAA). The Council praised Ms. Larson's "desire to serve." The motion was approved unanimously.

 

Submitted by Fillmore Unified Teachers Association

Fillmore—Members of the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association have voted down a contract settlement that was mediated last week in an effort to resolve negotiations that began last January and ended in impasse on May 23.

At issue in the dispute are lagging salaries and health care cost increases that have more than cancelled out the meager 1.5% pay increase most FUTA members have seen over the past four years. Recent dramatic health plan changes and increases in out-of-pocket health expenses have been tantamount to a 5% pay cut.

Adding insult to injury, Fillmore educators have struggled watching their health plan costs rise while their salaries shrink over the last several years. During the same period, the Fillmore Unified School District Board of Education has given FUSD Superintendent Adrian Palazeulos [sic] a 12% salary increase. He is also receiving an additional 6% raise for this school year and a 7% increase for the 2020-2021 school year. The settlement mediated last week awarded FUTA members only a 2.5% increase. FUTA had been pushing for a 5% raise to at least begin to make up for the losses caused by health plan changes. All this has been happening as FUTA members have been asked to invest more and more of their time and their own resources into implementing district programs. Fillmore teachers currently rank 15th out of 15 in Ventura County percentage of the budget spent on salaries, while FUSD’s administrator salaries rank #1 in the county.

“Fillmore Unified teachers have spoken loudly and clearly,” said FUTA president Tammy Ferguson. “FUSD’s salary proposal is simply not enough given our members’ previous sacrifices. FUSD will be unable to attract and retain high quality educators if they continue to devalue the contributions of professionals who work directly with students.”

With a strike as a last resort, FUTA is hopeful that a return to mediation will result in a more just settlement that reflects the value of Fillmore educators and the many contributions they make to students and the community.

The Fillmore Unified Teachers Association is affiliated with the 310,000-member CTA and the 3-million-member National Education Association.

 

"Life of Lulu" by Nick Johnson.
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