A water line broke on New Year’s Eve at the intersection of 4th Street and Central Avenue. It was repaired overnight and back on line by 8:00 a.m. New Year’s Day. The Public Works employees gave up their holiday evening and New Year’s Day was shot after working through the night, according to Bert Rapp, Director of Public Works. The water main was installed in the 1920’s and was a 10” diameter cast iron pipe. The city
is unsure as to why the line broke, said Rapp. The city had replaced a portion of the pipe from River Street to Sespe Avenue this past summer with the Central Avenue Storm Drain project. Rapp also stated that the city would like to replace the entire pipe up Morris Drive but does not have the money for the project at this time. They will be applying for an infrastructure grant to fund the replacement, if they get the opportunity.
A water line broke on New Year’s Eve at the intersection of 4th Street and Central Avenue. It was repaired overnight and back on line by 8:00 a.m. New Year’s Day. The Public Works employees gave up their holiday evening and New Year’s Day was shot after working through the night, according to Bert Rapp, Director of Public Works. The water main was installed in the 1920’s and was a 10” diameter cast iron pipe. The city is unsure as to why the line broke, said Rapp. The city had replaced a portion of the pipe from River Street to Sespe Avenue this past summer with the Central Avenue Storm Drain project. Rapp also stated that the city would like to replace the entire pipe up Morris Drive but does not have the money for the project at this time. They will be applying for an infrastructure grant to fund the replacement, if they get the opportunity.
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Above is another angle of how far the hole from the water line break went across Central Avenue. Crews worked through the night to have it back on line by 8:00 am New Year’s Day.
Above is another angle of how far the hole from the water line break went across Central Avenue. Crews worked through the night to have it back on line by 8:00 am New Year’s Day.
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According to Bob Sube, who supervises Fillmore School District structure development, the high school track is undergoing significant corrective surgery. The all-weather track, which is composed of several layers of rubber particulate and a clear synthetic over-sheet sprayed with grit for traction, was not level. The lower spots collected water and made the surface less suitable for runners. This was the second major flaw discovered by Bob Sube. The first problem was related to sub-standard artificial turf. The entire playing field had to be removed and replaced. The cost was covered by warranties in the construction contract, as was the cost of leveling the track. The final coating for the track should be finished this weekend. The total cost of these corrections is estimated to be near $200,000. Mr. Sube has done an exceptional job of overseeing the District’s new construction. The Gazette recently found him checking-out Sespe School’s new playground equipment on his day off. He saw to it that a proper border was poured and a soft layer of material was placed under the equipment before it was put into use. This playground is avidly used by children from kindergarten through second grade.
According to Bob Sube, who supervises Fillmore School District structure development, the high school track is undergoing significant corrective surgery. The all-weather track, which is composed of several layers of rubber particulate and a clear synthetic over-sheet sprayed with grit for traction, was not level. The lower spots collected water and made the surface less suitable for runners. This was the second major flaw discovered by Bob Sube. The first problem was related to sub-standard artificial turf. The entire playing field had to be removed and replaced. The cost was covered by warranties in the construction contract, as was the cost of leveling the track. The final coating for the track should be finished this weekend. The total cost of these corrections is estimated to be near $200,000. Mr. Sube has done an exceptional job of overseeing the District’s new construction. The Gazette recently found him checking-out Sespe School’s new playground equipment on his day off. He saw to it that a proper border was poured and a soft layer of material was placed under the equipment before it was put into use. This playground is avidly used by children from kindergarten through second grade.
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Above a truck was damaged by an IED, a 152 mm artillery shell which blew off the passenger side tire and put a hole in the engine.
Above a truck was damaged by an IED, a 152 mm artillery shell which blew off the passenger side tire and put a hole in the engine.
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Above and below, a military truck damaged by a 152 mm artillary shell in Afghanistan.
Above and below, a military truck damaged by a 152 mm artillary shell in Afghanistan.
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I just watched the You Tube, “Do You Remember Me” video by Lizzie Palmer in this weeks online Fillmore Gazette. And, at the same time I received the below communication and photos from United States Army Staff Sergeant Gilbert Zavala who is serving in Afghanistan and soon to rotate home. Both the video and SSgt Gilbert Zavala’s email awakened me to how real it is that we have young men and women from both the communities of Fillmore and Piru serving so far away from home in some very dangerous places. Even though I write about these young men and women often for The Fillmore Gazette I too get lulled into the small town language of how we know them and who their family members are here at home. Their links to us back at home are interesting, but what they are doing away from home is should be much more important to all of us.

Not long ago I received another email from SSgt Gilbert Zavala that outlined a terrible firefight his unit had been in where two other soldiers had been killed, others wounded, and only SSgt Gilbert Zavala and one other soldier had survived unscathed. I chose not to write about it at that time because I felt it may be to disturbing. But, I now feel that it may be important for all us to be reminded that these young men and women from our community are in harms way daily while they serve our Country to hopefully protect all of us from the harm others are trying to place before us. We should always try to remember them, appreciate them and thank them and their families every opportunity we can for their service, and sacrifices they make for us. Their service is truly heroic! They are the true American Heroes in our lives and communities; not rap singers, sports, or Hollywood celebrities who seem to get so much more attention.

As you have noticed in each weeks Gazette there is a list of all the men and women known to me who are now serving in the military, in all branches of the military. Some I have written about and some I haven’t. If you know them, or a member of their family please take the time to thank them for their service and their sacrifices. I know they will appreciate knowing you care.

Also, you will soon be made aware of a program to honor these young men and women by our community: On Central Avenue their will be banners on the light poles with the names of those young men and women from the Fillmore/Piru communities currently serving in the military. This is an effort begun by Virginia de la Piedra, in conjunction with the City of Fillmore, Fillmore Unified School Board, Veterans of Foreign War and the Fillmore Sunrise Rotary as another way to say thank you and to honor those that are currently serving.

Here is the email I received from SSgt Gilbert Zavala:
“Hello Everybody, It's been a while since I last wrote so here's an update.
My replacements are now in country and should be at my location soon. Hopefully our transfer goes quickly so we can get out of here smoothly. We went on a mission yesterday and just got back a little while ago. We got into a firefight with the Taliban, got 4 enemy KIA and we suffered 1 Afghan police KIA and 1 Afghan security force soldier wounded. I worked on the gun shot wound victim with the medic since we were on the same truck, unfortunately the Afghan Police officer suffered a deep internal wound and we were unable to save him. The next
morning we didn't really fight at all; the Taliban just watched us and I think they didn't have enough ammunition. We later had a truck stuck in the mud and so we had to do recovery operations. When we trying to get the truck out, my truck broke the towing line. I got out and picked up the pieces and removed the pins. After that, the truck was going to move out of the way and I didn't get back in the truck and so it moved about 50 ft forward. When the truck was about to crest the little knoll it hit an IED, a 152 mm artillery shell and blew of the front passenger side tire and put a hole into the engine. No-one was injured, just bumps and bruises. There was another IED found about 15ft in front of the truck and to the left side (driver side) this time. It's pretty much my last mission so we went out with a bang I guess. That's pretty much it, same old stuff, different day.
Well talk to you all later.
Gilbert”

Thank you SSgt Gilbert Zavala for your service and sacrifices and thank you the family of SSgt Gilbert Zavala the sacrifices you have made and will continue to make. SSgt Gilbert Zavala is truly an American Hero!

 


 
Bert Rapp, Fillmore’s Director of Public Works, has reason to be proud of the new water treatment plant. It is coming in ahead of schedule and more than $3 million under budget. The plant is about 85 percent completed. And will be running in March.
Bert Rapp, Fillmore’s Director of Public Works, has reason to be proud of the new water treatment plant. It is coming in ahead of schedule and more than $3 million under budget. The plant is about 85 percent completed. And will be running in March.
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“Construction is coming along smoothly,” said Public Works Director Bert Rapp of Fillmore’s 80% completed Water Treatment Plant. The Gazette staff got a sneak peek at how it all works last week, and the plant will be open for public tours in March 2009.

Rapp pointed out that the most complicated part of the construction is starting up the plant. The plant must be working properly by September 9, 2009. In March, the plant will process clean water for a two or three week basic test of the system. In April or May, the plant will begin operating.

The wastewater enters the plant through underground pipes and is split into two channels. The wastewater goes through a coarse screen which removes larger pieces of junk. The junk goes into dumpsters. All of the dumpsters are expected to be emptied weekly. The plant is designed to take advantage of the electric company's varying rates. The plant must run constantly to maintain operational bacteria levels, but equalization basin storage will allow the plant to store some wastewater to be processed when the electric company's rates are lowest. After going through a coarse screen, the water is either stored or continues the process. The concrete basin in which the water is stored is coated with a yellow protective material that will protect the concrete for 20 to 30 years.

The hydrogen sulfide gas is kept out of the water to minimize corrosion. Every portion of the processing plant which has the potential to stink will not release odors because the air will be suctioned away by blowers to a biofilter containing wood chips which will remove the sulfides and any other odor-producing materials from the air. The blower room is noisy, so it vents out noise toward the highway. There are three beds of deodorizing wood chips. The wastewater then goes to a grit classifier, which is a seven or eight foot deep cone. Gravity and the shape of the cone cause the water to spin. Sand and other grit collects in the bottom and is pumped into a dumpster. The wastewater passes through fine screens. The screens are self-cleaning and can capture materials even as small as hair.

After passing through fine screens, the water enters the headworks for the oxidation ditches, which remove nutrients. The oxidation ditches include three different types of bacteria in different sections: anaerobic (without oxygen), hybrid, and aerobic. Air-flow pipes in the bottom of the aerobic section ensure that the bacteria have plenty of oxygen. The wastewater passes through membranes to a screw-press for dewatering. The biosolids are converted into pellets off-site by Toland.

The treated water goes into a water holding tank, and is distributed for public irrigation of schools and parks, or percolated back into the ground. Unlike the current water treatment plant, this plant will not discharge any water into the river. Not having river discharge avoids costly complications.

Besides plant buildings, the site contains a maintenance building, and an office building with a lab.

 


 
Finally, after several years waiting, Fillmore has its new traffic light at the intersection of Highway 23 and River Street. The new light is expected to greatly relieve traffic congestion at the site, especially vehicles leaving River Street during high volume periods. Peter Kobus, Estimator for PTM Engineering, told the Gazette that the system can cost between $175,000 to $220,000. This light is synchronized with the light at the intersection of Ventura Street (Highway 126) and Highway 23. It is also fitted with an electronic device which can change a red light to green, permitting emergency vehicles quick access through the intersection.
Finally, after several years waiting, Fillmore has its new traffic light at the intersection of Highway 23 and River Street. The new light is expected to greatly relieve traffic congestion at the site, especially vehicles leaving River Street during high volume periods. Peter Kobus, Estimator for PTM Engineering, told the Gazette that the system can cost between $175,000 to $220,000. This light is synchronized with the light at the intersection of Ventura Street (Highway 126) and Highway 23. It is also fitted with an electronic device which can change a red light to green, permitting emergency vehicles quick access through the intersection.
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Walk, Don’t Walk - New crosswalk striping was applied on Monday, December 29, at River and A Streets,
to accommodate the new traffic signal which began operation on the same day.
Walk, Don’t Walk - New crosswalk striping was applied on Monday, December 29, at River and A Streets, to accommodate the new traffic signal which began operation on the same day.
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Update: At 9:15am, a Santa Barbara Bank & Trust on Sespe Avenue in Fillmore, California, was robbed by an unidentified male described as Hispanic and in his early thirties; between 5'6" - 5'8"; unshaven with a
black moustache; black sunglasses; 150 lbs. with a small/slender build.
 
The male was further described by witnesses as having worn a blue ball cap with a red bill, possibly having a sports logo on it.  The suspect wore a bulky jacket with dark jeans and white athletic shoes.  He carried a black cloth bag and was described by one witness as possibly wearing black gloves.
 
The male entered the bank and brandished a handgun, which witnesses described as possibly being a revolver. The suspect announced he was conducting a robbery and ordered everyone in the bank to the floor.  The suspect used profanity to intimidate the victims and threatened to kill those in the bank if they did not comply with  his demands.  The suspect is being called the "No Straps" Bandit because he asked the victim teller for
cash without "straps" on it.

The "No Straps" bandit was last seen after fleeing the bank at the intersection of Orangegrove & Santa Clara Anyone with information is urged to contact the FBI 24 hours a day at 888 CANT HIDE (888 226-8443) or the
Ventura Sheriffs Department; Fillmore Sub-station at 805 524-2233.

Information can be provided anonymously and confidentiality may be guaranteed.  Reward money may also be available in exchange for valuable information.
Update: At 9:15am, a Santa Barbara Bank & Trust on Sespe Avenue in Fillmore, California, was robbed by an unidentified male described as Hispanic and in his early thirties; between 5'6" - 5'8"; unshaven with a black moustache; black sunglasses; 150 lbs. with a small/slender build. The male was further described by witnesses as having worn a blue ball cap with a red bill, possibly having a sports logo on it. The suspect wore a bulky jacket with dark jeans and white athletic shoes. He carried a black cloth bag and was described by one witness as possibly wearing black gloves. The male entered the bank and brandished a handgun, which witnesses described as possibly being a revolver. The suspect announced he was conducting a robbery and ordered everyone in the bank to the floor. The suspect used profanity to intimidate the victims and threatened to kill those in the bank if they did not comply with his demands. The suspect is being called the "No Straps" Bandit because he asked the victim teller for cash without "straps" on it. The "No Straps" bandit was last seen after fleeing the bank at the intersection of Orangegrove & Santa Clara Anyone with information is urged to contact the FBI 24 hours a day at 888 CANT HIDE (888 226-8443) or the Ventura Sheriffs Department; Fillmore Sub-station at 805 524-2233. Information can be provided anonymously and confidentiality may be guaranteed. Reward money may also be available in exchange for valuable information.
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More Photos and Description of the "No Straps" Bandit (Click on photos for larger view)
 


 
WANTED: Hispanic male, unshaven, mid-to-late 20’s. (Photo #1 - Suspect entering bank).

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 (805) 494-TALK (Thousand Oaks / Moorpark) or (805) 385-TALK (Camarillo / Oxnard / Port Hueneme). Or call the Fillmore Police Department at (805) 524-2233.
WANTED: Hispanic male, unshaven, mid-to-late 20’s. (Photo #1 - Suspect entering bank). 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 (805) 494-TALK (Thousand Oaks / Moorpark) or (805) 385-TALK (Camarillo / Oxnard / Port Hueneme). Or call the Fillmore Police Department at (805) 524-2233.
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Wanted
WANTED: Hispanic male, unshaven, mid-to-late 20’s. (Photo #2 - Suspect leaving bank).

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 (805) 494-TALK (Thousand Oaks / Moorpark) or (805) 385-TALK (Camarillo / Oxnard / Port Hueneme). Or call the Fillmore Police Department at (805) 524-2233.
WANTED: Hispanic male, unshaven, mid-to-late 20’s. (Photo #2 - Suspect leaving bank). 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 (805) 494-TALK (Thousand Oaks / Moorpark) or (805) 385-TALK (Camarillo / Oxnard / Port Hueneme). Or call the Fillmore Police Department at (805) 524-2233.
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Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, 566 Sespe Ave., was robbed Tuesday, December 23rd at approximately 9:30 a.m. According to Fillmore Police Chief Tim Hagel, the suspect is a Hispanic male, unshaven, mid-to-late 20’s. The suspect was armed and threatened to kill the bank employees. A bomb threat was called into Fillmore City Hall at 9:16 a.m. Authorities speculate that the call was a diversion tactic, preceding the robbery. The suspect was last seen running west on the railroad tracks. Police units from Santa Paula and California Highway Patrol joined in the search, as did the Ventura County Sheriff’s air unit. The suspect is still on the loose.
Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, 566 Sespe Ave., was robbed Tuesday, December 23rd at approximately 9:30 a.m. According to Fillmore Police Chief Tim Hagel, the suspect is a Hispanic male, unshaven, mid-to-late 20’s. The suspect was armed and threatened to kill the bank employees. A bomb threat was called into Fillmore City Hall at 9:16 a.m. Authorities speculate that the call was a diversion tactic, preceding the robbery. The suspect was last seen running west on the railroad tracks. Police units from Santa Paula and California Highway Patrol joined in the search, as did the Ventura County Sheriff’s air unit. The suspect is still on the loose.
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Central Avenue in downtown Fillmore was under construction this year from March 10th through October. Downtown store owners who patiently struggled through the year are hopeful despite a tough economy.

On October 17, 2008, the Fillmore City Council held a special meeting, at the request of downtown merchants, to explore options for increasing business in downtown Fillmore. Business owners described their struggles, complained about the construction on Central, and asked for help in the form of increased signage and a "shop local" campaign. At that meeting, the Council decided to adhere to the previously agreed upon construction blackout period, which started in November and is scheduled to continue for the rest of 2008. Since then, the City has provided directional banners on the sidewalk between the railroad and City Hall, decorated Central with red banners and lights, and is in the process of placing large signs near Highway 126 that would direct passersby to "Historic Downtown: antiques; specialties; museum; restaurants; winery; train rides; gun shop; services; ice cream; toys." The City has also aired “shop local” commercials on Channel 10, and printed up “shop local” decals. Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels commented that a citywide vision is needed for long term improvement.

Mirage and Mimstar, both located on the corner of Central Ave. and Santa Clara St., possibly suffered the most from construction. Not only were they affected when their portion of Central was closed, but construction equipment was parked in a lot next to theirs on Santa Clara St. Shirley Wright, owner of Mirage, said that business was the worst she had seen in 25 years, but that Christmas shoppers and an open road have helped. Wright and Karen Thayer, owner of Mimstar, explained that many of their customers were unable to walk far, and customers feared that cars parked near the corner would be hit by construction equipment or towed. Some customers thought that the building had been closed during construction, and many were unwilling to navigate through construction obstacles, according to Thayer. Wright said that the construction was so noisy that shoppers could feel the vibrations, and it ruined the shopping experience for customers who had braved the conditions. Thayer said that things started to turn around for Mimstar after Thanksgiving. Because she provides less expensive more personal gifts, her store is very popular in these tighter economic times. Some of her customers have told her that they are not going to the mall this holiday season.

Andrew Whaley, owner of Coffeeboy, expressed frustration but is incredibly optimistic about the potential of downtown Fillmore. The construction on Central started soon after he opened his coffee shop. Besides construction, he blames the seemingly uninhabited properties from Highway 126 up the initial block of Central, which obscure the entrance to downtown. He noted that many Fillmore residents who commute to jobs outside Fillmore visit downtown too infrequently to have any awareness of shopping opportunities here. He believes that Fillmore should learn how to grow more successful downtown business from other small towns that have thrived. Whaley has seen a slight increase in customers coming in off the highway since October, the last month of construction before the blackout period. CONTINUED »

 
The Annual Police Storefront toy giveaway was held on Monday, December 22nd. Over 1,112 people attended the event. Santa “Steve Conaway” Claus is shown with a couple of true Santa devotees. The law office of Taylor, Scoles, Bartels provided 600 new jackets for the kids; St. Francis Church donated 20 Christmas trees; and Rigo Landeros, of Fillmore Fire Dept., donated 60 turkeys. Each child received three gifts.
The Annual Police Storefront toy giveaway was held on Monday, December 22nd. Over 1,112 people attended the event. Santa “Steve Conaway” Claus is shown with a couple of true Santa devotees. The law office of Taylor, Scoles, Bartels provided 600 new jackets for the kids; St. Francis Church donated 20 Christmas trees; and Rigo Landeros, of Fillmore Fire Dept., donated 60 turkeys. Each child received three gifts.
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The Fillmore Police Storefront Christmas Program drew over 1,112 persons for the annual visit from Santa and his elves, Councilwoman Gayle Washburn, above left, and Councilman Jamey Brooks, right.
The Fillmore Police Storefront Christmas Program drew over 1,112 persons for the annual visit from Santa and his elves, Councilwoman Gayle Washburn, above left, and Councilman Jamey Brooks, right.
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Jesus “Chuy” Oritz, owner of El Pescador, was one of many contributors. Look for a complete list of contributors in next week’s Gazette.
Jesus “Chuy” Oritz, owner of El Pescador, was one of many contributors. Look for a complete list of contributors in next week’s Gazette.
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On Tuesday and Wednesday, December 17 & 18, “Support For The Kids Foundation” handed out hundreds of Christmas gifts to every student at Piru and San Cayetano Elementary. Food items for some of the families were also provided. Shown center is founder of SFTK Foundation Lynda Miller of Westlake Village, who was the driving force behind the giveaway. The Support for the Kids Foundation has continually provided numerous academic and art fieldtrips to students and families, as well as, shoes, clothing, furniture, toys, computers, etc. to families in Fillmore and Piru for three years (through the Dr. Neil Schmidt Fillmore Family
Resource Center which is located at the Fillmore High School campus).
On Tuesday and Wednesday, December 17 & 18, “Support For The Kids Foundation” handed out hundreds of Christmas gifts to every student at Piru and San Cayetano Elementary. Food items for some of the families were also provided. Shown center is founder of SFTK Foundation Lynda Miller of Westlake Village, who was the driving force behind the giveaway. The Support for the Kids Foundation has continually provided numerous academic and art fieldtrips to students and families, as well as, shoes, clothing, furniture, toys, computers, etc. to families in Fillmore and Piru for three years (through the Dr. Neil Schmidt Fillmore Family Resource Center which is located at the Fillmore High School campus).
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Lynda Miller, right, founder of the Support for the Kids Foundation, readies just some of the many gifts distributed to students at San Cayetano and Piru Elementary through the foundation.
Lynda Miller, right, founder of the Support for the Kids Foundation, readies just some of the many gifts distributed to students at San Cayetano and Piru Elementary through the foundation.
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