Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On Friday, June 27th, 2008 at approximately 10:19 a.m. a theft of copper wire was reported on Grimes Canyon Road at Bardsdale Avenue (Vintage Petroleum), Bardsdale. Approximately 300 feet of cable was taken with a value of about $3,000.
By 4:00 p.m., Fillmore investigating Deputy Darin Hendren, at the 17000 block of South Mountain Road, lead to the recovery of an unreported stolen ATV from Ventura PD jurisdiction as well as the arrest of three suspects in the theft of metals crimes that have been recently occurring in the area.
Dep. Hendren was following up on several agriculture crimes over the past week on tips from locals that a named felony parolee who had been seen in the area. The deputy went to the suspect’s residence and discovered evidence of the metals crimes including the stolen ATV. Todd Corona, 42, Gina Smith 27, and Brett Diettinger, 44 were arrested for drugs.
On Sunday, parolee Jeff Daniels was arrested on South Mountain Road. Daniels is a 32 year old local felony suspect who law enforcement officials believe has targeted oilfields and farms in the Bardsdale and Piru areas. Earlier in the week, three associates of Daniels were arrested in the same area on drug charges.
Ag Detective Ray Dominguez has been aggressively chasing after theft suspects. Det. Dominguez set up search warrants to recover supplies stolen from local farms and ranches. He relies on tips from the public and confidential informants to break into these rings.
On another case this week, our own Fillmore Deputies Darin Hendren and Gabriel Viesca have set up targeted surveillance in the South Mountain Road area. This week they caught two Gang member, taggers on the 12th Street Bridge. They were both booked in jail.

 


 
Eleazar Lopez
Eleazar Lopez

“I graduated with the greatest class ever” Eleazar Lopez, 19 years old, told me of his 2007 Fillmore High School Graduating Class. Eleazar soon after graduation enlisted in the United States Army on March 31st 2007 and completed his basic training was at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Eleazar also attended Piru Elementary School and Fillmore Middle School. Eleazar was on the FHS Cross Country and Track and Field teams all 4 years at FHS. He also played the trumpet in the band from the 4th grade to his freshman year at FHS.

United States Army Private Eleazar Lopez’ parents are Victor and Susan Lopez of Fillmore. His siblings are Victoria Lopez, 20 years old, and Sofia Lopez, 16 years old, both of Fillmore. Private Eleazar Lopez is the Grandson of the late (Maternal) Dr. James Francis (a United States Navy veteran of WWII and former fireman) and Thelma Grace Basque and the late (Paternal) Crispin and Maria Guadalupe Lopez Saucedo.
Private Eleazar Lopez is a mechanic attached to the 571st Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade known as the “Dragon Slayers”. The 504th Military Police Battalion is a combat Military Police Battalion with a Headquarters Detachment and three line companies; the 66th MP Company, the 170th Military Police Company and the 571st Military Police Company. The 504th also fulfills the Law and Order mission for Fort Lewis and Yakima Training Center. The 504th Military Police Battalion is a unit with a 70 year history of accomplishments and pride, and is the most decorated Military Police Battalion on active duty today.
Private Eleazar Lopez is planning to reclassify his assignment to become an Airborne Ranger. He is currently at his first duty station, Fort Lewis, Washington but already has plans to reenlist and seek assignments in Hawaii, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, or Fort Stewart, Georgia. Although he has yet to deploy he tells me his Unit is preparing to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2009. Fort Lewis, named after Meriwether Lewis of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition, is one of the largest and most modern military reservations in the United States. Consisting of 87,000 acres of prairie land cut from the glacier-flattened Nisqually Plain, it is the premier military installation in the Northwest. Fort Lewis has more than 25,000 soldiers and civilian workers. The post supports 120,000(+) retirees and more than 29,000 family members living both on and off post. Fort Lewis proper contains 86,000 acres; the Yakima Training Center covers 324,000 acres. Private Eleazar Lopez has been awarded the Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Army Defense Ribbon.

All of us here at home wish Private Eleazar Lopez safe travel, we are proud of his service and we thank him and his family for their sacrifices to maintain our freedoms.

 


 
Councilman Scott Lee spoke at the June 23rd Fillmore Senior Center meeting, as liaison between the city council and the center’s Board of Directors. Seated are city attorney Ted Schneider, Facilities Supervisor Annette Cardona, Boardmembers Loretta Dunehew, Bill Brunet, and Nick Robles. Brunet announced his resignation from the Board.
Councilman Scott Lee spoke at the June 23rd Fillmore Senior Center meeting, as liaison between the city council and the center’s Board of Directors. Seated are city attorney Ted Schneider, Facilities Supervisor Annette Cardona, Boardmembers Loretta Dunehew, Bill Brunet, and Nick Robles. Brunet announced his resignation from the Board.
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The Fillmore Senior Center Board meeting held Monday, June 23, attracted 30 participants, as the new Board members were announced.
The meeting began with Board President Bill Brunet announcing his resignation after years of service. Nick Robles and Loretta Dunehew will remain, along with new Board members Carolyn Lasky, Marie Wren, Elizabeth Vasquez, Geri Lee and Dave Roegner. Edward Jaloma will serve as an alternate.
Seated at the head table were Fillmore City Attorney Ted Schneider, who was there to answer any questions concerning the amended bylaws; Community Facilities Supervisor Annette Cardona, sitting Board President Bill Brunet and Board members Nick Robles and Loretta Dunehew.
From the audience, subcommittee member Gayle Washburn announced that computer classes will start July 15th, Tuesday and Thursday, 10a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There will be four to six workstations and internet access; participants are welcome to bring their own laptops. The center is still seeking donations of computers and monitors. Washburn and new Board member Dave Roegner will be teaching the classes.
Sara Hansen and Geri Lee will be heading a Book of the Month Club, probably meeting once a month.
Councilman Scott Lee attended as liaison between city council and the center. He will report the center’s status to council, as he did in the same capacity in the 1980’s. Lee praised the beauty of the senior building and said he hopes it will be “fully utilized” in the future.
“The city will do what it can, within financial constraints” to help facilitate the center, stated Lee. He promised to attend as many meetings as possible, especially while off work from teaching during the summer.
Lee stated that there was “no question things should have been different over the last few years” at the center, referring to recent complaints about city management and lack of an active Board. But he exhorted the audience to “look forward” to the opportunities the senior center holds for the future.
Lee also encouraged the crowd of 30 to call him anytime with concerns about the center, saying he was in the phone book. “I don’t do email,” he said, which drew a laugh from the audience.
And Lee suggested a workshop for the new Board to educate them on the center bylaws. The workshop would be open to the public.
Former councilman Roger Campbell echoed Lee’s sentiment to fully utilize the senior building, stating that it isn’t restricted to current hours of operation which end at 1p.m. “Don’t limited your ideas to you have to be done by one.” Campbell said the Board has the discretion to remain open whatever hours they choose. “I’m excited about this. We’ll start using it again; that’s a good thing.”
The need for volunteers was stressed throughout the meeting. Anyone seeking more information about the Fillmore Senior Center may call Lori Nunez at 524-4533 or Annette Cardona at city hall, 524-1500, ext. 216.
The next scheduled meeting is slated for July 28 at 10a.m. The public is always welcomed.

 


 
From left, Bill Steiger and Dr. Gosta “Gus” Iweasiuk, owners of the 40-acre parcel in north Fillmore, received the good news that their petition to get approval for use of a tentative tract map met success. The project is praised for its family friendly, lower density plan.
From left, Bill Steiger and Dr. Gosta “Gus” Iweasiuk, owners of the 40-acre parcel in north Fillmore, received the good news that their petition to get approval for use of a tentative tract map met success. The project is praised for its family friendly, lower density plan.
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City council’ approval of the preliminary budget at Tuesday night’s regular meeting keeps funding for gang and school resource officers.
Council had to dip into its reserve funds in the amount of $421,000 to maintain balance. The city has maintained a policy of keeping 40 percent of its total operating budget in reserve for emergencies. For fiscal year 2008-2009 the reserve will continue to be close to that 40 percent goal, despite the loss of about $100,000 in grants as well as the loss of revenue from a half-cent sales tax.
Finance Director Barbara Smith anticipates about $28.4 million in city revenue, with operating expenditures of $19.9 million. Capital projects will cost $45.7 million.
The position of CATV Coordinator for the city has been eliminated. It has been merged into other positions. The CATV position is responsible for producing live broadcasts of council and other meetings and events.
The Fillmore Gazette was taken to task for errors in its reports on travel expenses relating to Councilwoman Cuevas. The Gazette had reported that the travel money available to each council member had been raised from $1,000 to $2,000. The $2,000 level has been in place for several years.
Acting Fire Chief Bill Herrera reminded everyone that only Safe and Sane fireworks are permitted during the 4th of July Holiday. A $1,000 fine will be imposed on anyone possessing or using illegal fireworks. No ground fireworks display will be available this year, and all school property is closed to the public. However, the traditional aerial display will be seen by anyone around town.
The Steiger housing development got the go-ahead with unanimous approval of a tentative tract map for the much anticipated plan. This measure was seen as appropriate under circumstances of “political uncertainty” caused by a recent referendum and initiative. The 40-acre project must still comply with the usual requirements, and obtain permission to annex approximately 10 acres of the land from the county to the city. Both Dr. Bosiack and Steiger were praised for the quality of the project which will have no three-story dwellings, and will have a density of 5 units per acre. The land has been in the family for about 35 years.
Bert Rapp, Director of Public Works, spent some time explaining the seriousness of the new flood map which has been produced by FEMA. The Ventura County Watershed Protection District (flood control) provided FEMA with new data on potential flooding in a 100-year storm. This map leaves more than two-thirds of the City of Fillmore in a flood plain, and much of it in an even more dangerous flood flow stream.
The analysis is being challenged by the Cities of Oxnard, Santa Paula, Fillmore, and Piru, because it is believed the study is flawed by omitting a three-year period (2006, - 2008) out of the study.
If this new map becomes official and is adopted, it will cause a devastating financial effect to the City of Fillmore. The map involves the Santa Clara River, Sespe Creek, and Pole Creek, for which massive new levee work might be needed. All of El Dorado Estates Mobile Home Park is viewed in a flood plain, as well as some of the new business park. Any residents who have federally backed mortgages will have to acquire flood insurance.
The City is responding on several levels to appeal this map finding, and to request more time to reply. More will be known within 30 days. The principle worry concerns Sespe Creek, where the levee may have to be strengthened from Goodenough Road to Highway 126. Council emphasized that this is a temporary problem which can be fixed, even in the worst case scenario.

 


 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On June 21st, 2008 at approximately 1245 hours, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit was dispatched to Lake Piru for a reported burn victim. Sheriff’s Helicopter Air Squad 8 responded to the scene to assist. Upon arrival, Air Squad 8 was able to land in the parking lot near the lake’s main boat launch ramp.

Ventura County Fire Department personnel were on scene and escorted the 2 year old male burn victim to the helicopter. The information to the flight crew was that the infant male had accidentally fallen into a fire pit at one of the campgrounds. The child suffered second and third degree burns to his abdomen and hands. The child and his mother where loaded onto the helicopter and flown to Simi Valley Hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, the child’s care was transferred to emergency room personnel. Courtesy of Ventura County Sheriff.

 


 
Shown is Patterson Hardware Store, an anchor to Fillmore’s downtown business for nearly 90 years. In a world that changes on the whim of the consumer, where can you find such continuity in retail?
Shown is Patterson Hardware Store, an anchor to Fillmore’s downtown business for nearly 90 years. In a world that changes on the whim of the consumer, where can you find such continuity in retail?
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Do you need a quart of milk, a pair of jeans, a screwdriver, a plant, a television or a new sofa? There are dozens of mega-stores that you can shop at these days and purchase any or all of these items under one roof. Advertisements boast about simplifying your life and saving you time and money, however, the experience is usually impersonal and sometimes frustrating.

Some of the oldest businesses in town have spent decades building their reputations by offering quality merchandise and customer service. Patterson’s Hardware, originally located at 312 Central Ave., had its origins during WWI in 1919. It was one of five hardware stores owned by Hickey Brothers of Ventura. Local Fillmore resident, Harvey S. Patterson was named manager. When the stock market crash of 1929 heralded the Great Depression, thirteen-year old Harvey F. Patterson found himself working by his father’s side for half pay. In 1937, Harvey S. and his wife Edith purchased the business from the Hickey Brothers. They renamed the store Patterson’s Hardware and moved to a newer building built in 1928, its present location, 360 Central Ave. The Pattersons took their business very seriously, employing all their children through the years and teaching them the importance hard work and fine customer service.

Harvey S. Patterson died in 1959 and his son, Harvey F. and his wife Emma purchased the enterprise by mortgaging their home. The couple subsequently purchased the hardware store’s portion of the building in 1976, continuing to work diligently servicing the needs of their growing town. Through the years, Emma and Harvey F. also passed their strong work ethic onto their own children and scores of FHS students and other employees. Even after thirty years on the job, the Patterson’s daughter Michelle is always happy to help customers. Harvey F. still works in his hardware store, helping customers, telling his stories and keeping an eye on things. He plans to work at least until his one-hundredth birthday. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy the intimate atmosphere of an old-time traditional hardware store.

Another decades-old family run business is Ballard’s Furniture, presently owned and operated by Ron Stewart and located at 348 Central Ave. Ballard’s was founded in 1937 by Sherrie Ballard. He and his daughter Eleanor Stewart operated the shop together. Prior to Sherrie’s death, Eleanor’s husband, Ken Stewart purchased it.

In the 1970’s Ken operated the business together with his son Ron and an employee C.B. West. Mr. West remained for over thirty years, acquiring brief ownership in 1981. Ron recalls C.B. fondly as a second father. Ron Stewart repurchased the operation shortly after. Before the days of big furniture outlets and discount stores, nearly everyone in Fillmore purchased from Ballard’s Furniture.

Today, after total devastation from the ’94 Northridge earthquake and $1,000,000 in reconstruction costs, the building houses five additional shops, six apartments and Ballard’s modern, attractive showroom displaying living-room sofas, tables, odd pieces, a huge selection of recliners and art. An unusual combination, the showroom also offers horse tack and hand crafted saddles. One can also purchase Graceland® memorabilia.

Construction of the storm drain on Central Ave. has negatively affected Ballard’s Furniture as well as the recent decision by large furniture manufacturers to discontinue sales of small quantities, and/or discontinue sales totally to individually owned showrooms. Consequently, Ballard’s is overstocked, especially with La-z-boy® recliners and selling them at discounted prices. “Times have changed,” says Mr. Stewart. “The little guy is being pushed out by the big guys”, a sentiment seconded by Harvey F. Patterson. Visit Ballard’s Furniture soon. You’ll be glad you did.

Downtown construction and changing times will continue to take its toll on our local businesses if the people of Fillmore fail to support them. Try it. Step back to a time when the customer was number one and service was top priority.

 


 
Phillip C. Diaz
Phillip C. Diaz

I got one of those early morning phone calls yesterday that raises the hair on the back of your neck and sends a chill down your spine! My initial response was probably due my belief that no good news comes late in the night or at 5:30 AM. So as the phone rang I rushed towards the ringing expecting to hear the worse news from the caller.
It was my son Phillip calling me from Norfolk, Virginia to tell me that he was just promoted to Navy Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)! I don’t know if my excitement was for his promotion or because it was not the dreaded type of phone call I had expected, but I was excited! I am sure I overreacted but I was elated to hear the news. I let it all out which as it turned out was a good thing because my wife Carolyn was upstairs still holding her breath from the time she heard the phone ring and was waiting for me to climb the stairs and give her the bad news. Of course she heard me and was just as excited as I was when I reached her to hand her the phone.
Why would a promotion cause such excitement? As many of you know my son is from Korea, but has lived, until joining the Navy, all but four months of his life here in Fillmore. Phillip was born Yun Chan Lee on June 13, 1986 in Pusan, Korea to very young parents who could not care for him due to the extreme poverty level they found themselves in. The decision to put their newborn into an orphanage for adoption must have been difficult, but if they did it so that he would have a better life they achieved their goal.
Yun Chan Lee was placed immediately into an orphanage operated by Holt International and four months later found himself in the lobby of the Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport. He was being handed over to two strangers who had begun the adoption process about the time his Korean mother had conceived him. Little Yun Chan Lee was driven first to be introduced to family in Orange County and then to his new home in Fillmore. Soon he was given his new name Phillip Cecelio Diaz and the process of giving him a new life was begun.
Phillip was a great kid growing up and like most kids he did the typical things that bring parents joy, worry, sadness and pride. I could not have been more proud when Phillip chose to follow his late Grandfather Cecelio T. Diaz into the Navy. His choice to serve his adopted country as an American Sailor is his way of not only honoring his Grandfather, but a way I believe of paying back his adopted Country for the opportunities she has provided for him. I also believe in some way something that happened while he was still a toddler may have influenced his decision to enlist in the Navy.
As a toddler I often had my son near me while I did yard work. One morning as we were in the front yard pulling weeds a young man approached us and asked me if Phillip was a Holt baby? After I told him yes he told me he also was also a Holt baby and that he had been born to an unmarried Korean mother and an American father. He said that was not a good thing in the Korean culture and he had been discarded by his birth mother into a trash receptacle soon after birth. He was rescued and placed with a Holt International orphanage and soon was adopted by American parents. At the time of our conversation that young man was serving in the United States Navy as a Navy pilot stationed at Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station. My son was told this story when he was old enough to understand it and has heard me retell it many times as an example of the opportunities this Country has given to not only him, and that young Naval Aviator, but to all of us.
On Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th my son, newly promoted Petty Officer Second Class Phillip C. Diaz leaves for his second deployment of his two and one-half years in the Navy. This time he will be patrolling the Mediterranean instead of the Persian Gulf as he did on his first deployment. When I think about Phillip’s service I can’t help but feel that Carolyn and I did the right thing nearly twenty-two years ago when Phillip came into our lives and into this community. I wish you safe travel son and I thank you for your service and sacrifice to keep your Country strong.

 

For the past 25 years the Sespe Creek levee has served Fillmore well and allowed economic development to slowly march forward. Due to reconsiderations by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) Fillmore’s future may be placed in peril.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA has embarked on a mission to restudy all levees in the country. The outcome of the pending study may determine if the Sespe Creek levee provides protection against a 100-year flood event in what is now 24 years post construction. In the event that the Sespe Creek levee is deemed to no longer meet that requirement, it will be decertified.

Decertifying the levee may affect approximately 40 percent of city residents and would greatly affect the economic health of the city. If this happens, it will have devastating consequences. Property values may be reduced, homeowner insurance rates may be affected and the now pending Business Park may be stalled.

For the past 70 years the County of Ventura has collected storm flow numbers from Sespe Creek. The highest recorded flow in Sespe Creek was 85,300 cubic feet a second (cfs), which occurred in 2005. FEMA and the County’s Watershed Protection District currently recognize the 100-year flood flow calculation at 98,000 cfs. The Sespe Creek levee was designed to protect against a flow of 121,000 cfs. The new 100-year flood flow FEMA is proposing is 135,000 cfs. That is an increase of approximately 3158 percent in calculated flow from a watershed which is essentially unchanged from the date the levee was completed. Temporary issues, such as sediment build-up, need to be acknowledged as short term concerns and not permanent problems.

The City has begun working with our Federal representatives to help them understand what impacts we will feel if the proposed FEMA calculations are not reconsidered and revised to more accurately reflect historic flows in Sespe Creek. To date, as a City, we have met with the City of Santa Paula, Supervisor Kathy Long’s office and contacted Supervisor John Flynn to gain their support in our efforts. On Tuesday, City Manager Tom Ristau, Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels, Council Member Scott Lee and I met with Senator Boxer’s Senior Field Representative, Adolfo Bailon, to enlist the Senator’s assistance at the Federal level. We will also be contacting Congressman Elton Gallegly’s office to further our request for reasonableness and assistance. As City leadership we are doing everything we can to seek assistance and relief from what appears to be an unsupported change in the flow numbers. I believe that historical data will support our claims that the proposed numbers are not reasonable and that FEMA should recalculate the 100-year flood flow event numbers. Additional studies will be conducted and it is our hope that through a comprehensive review process we will find that the Sespe Creek levee can continue to serve the City and its residents into the future.

In the event our efforts fail, we will have to search for solutions to this issue. Possible solutions include revising the levee so that it meets FEMA standards and/or removing debris from the river bottom so that freeboard on the levee can be reclaimed. Any solution will require funding and great effort on all our part to complete. I will continue to provide updates to this important issue as we work to solve this problem. If citizens have questions or comments I can be reached by email at sconaway@ci.fillmore.ca.us.

Steve Conaway
Mayor, City of Fillmore

 

In order to make some sense out of City of Fillmore salaries for top and mid-management employees, the Gazette has provided a schedule of 8 federal legislative, executive and judicial positions, and salaries for all 50 state governors, together with the complete wage scale for all top and mid-management positions in the City of Fillmore. Discretion is suggested when making comparisons; remember, a few positions require graduate credentials, and that certain mid-level employees are especially valued for their dedication, experience, leadership, and competence. One size does not fit all.

May 15, 2007
Salaries -- 109th 1st Session
Legislative, Executive, Judicial
*as of January 2006
President - $400,000
Vice President - $212,100
Senate Pro Tempore - $183,500
Senate Majority & Minority Leaders - $183,500
Majority and Minority Whips - $183,500
House / Senate Members & Delegates - $165,200
Chief Justice, Supreme Court - $212,100
Associate Justices, Supreme Court - $203,000

 
Valedictorian Shaun Stehly read a personal message to the crowd and his class entitled "Choices, Nietzche, and a Homeless Guy."
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