On Sunday, October 12, more than thirty health care vendors will be on hand from 1P.M. until 5P.M., at the Santa Paula Community Center located at 530 W. Main St. in Santa Paula, for the “1st Annual Santa Paula Adult Health and Wellness Day”. The event will benefit area baby boomers, aging adults and caregivers. Administrators of The Gables of Ojai, and Santa Paula Healthcare presented the idea for the fair to hospital administrators also as a way to promote two-year-old Santa Paul Hospital. It has become a collaborative effort of local organizations, actively involved in aging adult and caregiver issues. They include the Santa Paula Senior Center, The Medicine Shoppe (Ojai and Santa Paula), Help Unlimited, Valley Care IPA, Casa Bella, Ventura County Behavioral Health, Twin Pines Healthcare, The Palms at Bonaventure, State Farm (Santa Paula), Secure Horizons and Scan. The goal is to provide aging residents of Santa Clara Valley with current news in health issues, exercise, resources for in-home support, mental health, hospices, pharmacies, adult day care, retirement communities, HICAP, Medicare and health plans, Alzheimer’s, Veterans affairs, home safety, disaster planning, conserving energy resources, fraud/scams and spiritual guidance. Additionally, blood pressure screening and free flu shots (limited supply) will be available.

This is the first event of its’ kind in Santa Paula, and the afternoon will be filled with crucial health related information, music, fresh veggies, food booths, raffles and fun. It will also be the day to become familiar with Santa Paula Hospital, “The Hospital on the Hill”. CONTINUED »

 


 
Saturday, fire, ambulance and Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call for assistance following an accident on South Mountain Road, across from the Jimenez Farms packing house. Extensive damage was done to the four-door sedan, which was in a ditch, but no report on injuries to driver or any passengers was available.
Saturday, fire, ambulance and Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call for assistance following an accident on South Mountain Road, across from the Jimenez Farms packing house. Extensive damage was done to the four-door sedan, which was in a ditch, but no report on injuries to driver or any passengers was available.
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Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board held the open session of its regular meeting October 7, 2008, at 6:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the District Office. The Board heard an update from two school principals, discussed a Business Math Course, noted that volunteers are needed for the Bond Oversight Committee, and started a re-negotiation of the City-FUSD Joint Use Agreement.

At a previous Board meeting, the school principals reported on student achievement and school plans to increase student achievement. At this most recent meeting, Katy Hadley, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, announced that smaller groups of principals would continue to report at Board meetings to provide updates on student achievement, English learning, discipline and safety, and parental involvement.

San Cayetano Elementary School Principal Jan Marholin and Mountain Vista Elementary School Principal Chrissy Schieferle spoke about Response to Intervention (RTI), which is a data-based early intervention method, and teacher collaboration. San Cayetano and Mountain Vista both have "Program Improvement" (PI) status under the "No Child Left Behind" Act. San Cayetano is a PI 3 school, because it is in its third year of PI and Mountain Vista is a PI 1 school. PI schools must spend 10% of their Title I money on staff professional development. Marholin and Schieferle expect teachers to work out how to implement their professional development training during collaboration meetings. They require teachers to identify specific students that are having difficulty and expect instruction techniques to be adjusted for those children, so that the students will have progressed by the next meeting. Marholin meets with her teachers by grade-level every four weeks, and has arranged for three teachers each month to spend one day visiting other classrooms. Schieferle holds progress meetings every five weeks, and plans to visit a high-achieving school in Moorpark with her leadership teams, which include representatives from each grade. Teachers have collaboration time each week. CONTINUED »

 


 
2008 Fillmore High School Graduates at Fort Jackson, South Carolina
United States Army Private Joanathan “Jon” Gerlach.
United States Army Private Joanathan “Jon” Gerlach.

Joanathon “Jon” Gerlach, 18 years, is a 2008 graduate of Fillmore High School. Jon entire education was within the Fillmore Unified School District where he also attended San Cayetano Elementary School and Fillmore Middle School.

Jon enlisted in the United States Army in June 2008 right after graduation. His mother is Barbara Gerlach of Piru and his siblings are brother Niles Gerlach 31, of Piru and sister, Andrea Rodriguez 28, of Fillmore. Maternal Grandparents are Jack Sivils of Lake Isabella, California and the late Bonnie Sivils. Grandfather Sivils worked most of his life on the Vanonni Ranch in Saticoy. Jon’s Paternal Grandparents are the late Rudolph and Doris Gerlach of Ventura. Growing up Jon enjoyed wrestling and he loved basketball, a sport his Mother tells me he would play for hours. When Jon enlisted in the Army he knew he wanted to make the Army a career and he enlisted for 4 years. His goal is to become an Army Ranger.

United States Army Private Joanathan Gerlach graduated on Friday, September 12th at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While he was in Basic Training he was assigned to Charlie Company 2-13 Infantry 3rd Platoon, Sky Reapers. At graduation he received a Marksmanship medal for his proficiency with a firearm. He will receive twenty-five weeks of advanced specialty training in Computer Detection Systems at Fort Gordon, Georgia. After completing this training he will then transfer to Fort Benning, Georgia for four weeks of Army Airborne Training. It is then expected that he will then be deployed. Private Gerlach is the first in his immediate family to enlist in the Army; however, his Grandfather Rudolph Gerlach was with the Merchant Marines during WWII and Uncle Rudy Gerlach was with United States Army’s 173rd Airborne and is a Vietnam Veteran.

Mother Barbara Gerlach and Private Gerlach’s fiancée Carmen Barocio attended Private Gerlach’s Basic Training Graduation. Jon and Carmen plan to marry this December. His Mother tells me, "He loved basic training!" She also told me, “I'm so very proud of Joanathan, as I am with all my children, they are good, kind hard working people. I'm also a proud Grandmother of 6 with 2 more on the way!”

All of us in the communities of Fillmore and Piru wish United States Army Private Joanathan “Jon” Gerlach safe travel, a successful career in the United States Army and we thank him and his family for their sacrifices to keep the United States strong.

 


 
(l-r) Sergio Anguiano and Alexis Vasquez. Both arrested for jewelery scam.
(l-r) Sergio Anguiano and Alexis Vasquez. Both arrested for jewelery scam.
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Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On Friday, September 26, 2008, at about 3:30 p.m. Sheriff’s patrol deputies and investigators arrested Sergio Anguiano 32, and Alexis Ferreira Vasquez 26, residents of Los Angeles, for attempting to sell fake gold jewelry to a local Fillmore business.

The event began at about 1:50 p.m. when Anguiano and Vasquez entered the business located in the 300 Block of Central Avenue in Fillmore.

The two offered to sell gold necklaces to the business employee. The employee was aware of scams where fake gold is sold by thieves as real gold and suspected the necklaces Anguiano and Vasquez were selling were fake. The employee called the police, at which time Vasquez fled while Anguiano remained at the business.

Sheriff’s deputies and investigators arrived at the business and their investigation led to the arrest of Anguiano and Vasquez and the discovery of 27 pieces of fake gold jewelry Anguiano and Vasquez intended on selling to unsuspecting victims. The jewelry included necklaces, bracelets, rings and medallions made of copper and other inexpensive metals. Anguiano and Vasquez were booked into the county jail and charged with felony commercial burglary.

The public is reminded to beware of this and similar scams that include the offering of fake gold bars and/or fake lottery tickets for sale or trade. Any such incidents should be immediately reported to the local police.

 


 
City Council and Fillmore School Board held their meeting at the School Farm Tuesday evening.
City Council and Fillmore School Board held their meeting at the School Farm Tuesday evening.
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Everyone enjoyed their BBQ.
Everyone enjoyed their BBQ.
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Fillmore City Council and Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) School Board held a joint meeting September 30, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. at the School Farm. The Council and Board are working together to promote health, share resources, provide public access to a track, restrain street vendors, and honor individuals for their military service.

The Council and Board approved a proclamation declaring October 8, 2008, as Walk to School/Work Day in Fillmore. This is the first event sponsored by Fillmore's Wellness Committee. Fillmore Middle School (FMS) Assistant Principal Tricia Godfrey explained that this project is the result of collaboration between the City and FUSD. The idea is to promote physical activity, and for those who live too far away to walk to school or work, the Fillmore High School (FHS) track will be open for supervised walking before school starts on October 8th. Superintendent Jeff Sweeney will participate by walking to each school except Piru. Police Captain Tim Hagel will provide extra patrols for walkers' safety.

City and FUSD staffers had met to re-evaluate their joint use agreements regarding facilities and equipment. There are three such agreements: one for Mountain Vista, one for the pool, and a general agreement that includes the FMS gym being used for community basketball. Other shared items include the Senior Center, the Boys and Girls Club, and tree chippers. Assistant Superintendent Mike Bush said that FUSD staffers are gathering data about costs. According to Ristau, the agreements were reviewed four years ago and determined to be equitable. FUSD and the City will review the data to determine whether the agreements are still equitable, and will make adjustments next year if necessary. Mayor Steve Conaway commended both parties for creating such a beneficial arrangement and maintaining it through open communication and a willingness to work through issues.

Board Member Virginia De La Piedra wants to honor Fillmore residents in active military service with banners hung throughout town. Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels suggested that, because banners are susceptible to sun damage, engraved bricks arranged in an area in front of City Hall would be a less expensive option. Bartels stated that there are only 43 poles available for hanging banners, and there will be 35 to 55 people honored. Banners would have to be rotated, unless two could be hung on each pole. Council Members Patti Walker and Laurie Hernandez expressed a preference for banners instead of bricks. The Council voted to hang banners. Names will be gathered by application, and the applicants will be required to pay for the banners, but the city will hang and maintain the banners. The banners will go to the military person's family at the end of his or her active service or after a predetermined amount of time. Costs and design are still being determined. CONTINUED »

 


 
The geological anomaly above Little Sespe Canyon continues to smoke from within the mountain, and the U.S. Geological Survey is stumped. The ground continues to burn, as shown in the photo, scorching the brush.  Authorities speculate that oil or some other hydrocarbon is the cause of the underground blaze. A probe was recently inserted 18-inches into the earth at the hotspot, measuring 940 degrees with a previous reading of 812 degrees.  Smoke can be seen intermittently at the site. A sign has been posted reading “Danger - poison gas may be present - thermal anomaly steam and smoke may be visible - if you see flames call 911 - Keep Out.” Authorities poured a 500 barrel Baker Tank of water on the site but geologists warned that the saturation may result in a landslide, according to a source. Fire Department spokesman Ron Oatman commented that they don’t think it is any type of volcanic activity, but want to rule it out. Bottom line, if you are hiking near the area and see smoke, don’t panic; if you see flames, call the fire department. (All Photos by Jeff Muth)
The geological anomaly above Little Sespe Canyon continues to smoke from within the mountain, and the U.S. Geological Survey is stumped. The ground continues to burn, as shown in the photo, scorching the brush. Authorities speculate that oil or some other hydrocarbon is the cause of the underground blaze. A probe was recently inserted 18-inches into the earth at the hotspot, measuring 940 degrees with a previous reading of 812 degrees. Smoke can be seen intermittently at the site. A sign has been posted reading “Danger - poison gas may be present - thermal anomaly steam and smoke may be visible - if you see flames call 911 - Keep Out.” Authorities poured a 500 barrel Baker Tank of water on the site but geologists warned that the saturation may result in a landslide, according to a source. Fire Department spokesman Ron Oatman commented that they don’t think it is any type of volcanic activity, but want to rule it out. Bottom line, if you are hiking near the area and see smoke, don’t panic; if you see flames, call the fire department. (All Photos by Jeff Muth)
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Thermal Anomaly
Thermal Anomaly
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Thermal Anomaly
Thermal Anomaly
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Thermal Anomaly
Thermal Anomaly
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Thermal Anomaly
Thermal Anomaly
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Thermal Anomaly
Thermal Anomaly
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For many years, a modern, state of the art track and field was just a dream for the athletic youth of our City. Fillmore High School, the site of both the new and old facilities, was rated as the worst athletic facility in the County, in part due to the poor condition of the football field from over usage. Last year, CIF officials gave two visiting teams the option of having Fillmore forfeit their games rather than play on the badly degraded turf. The dream became a reality in April of this year when work commenced on a new field that boasts artificial turf manufactured with the latest anti-microbial materials, all weather track, new, improved lighting, extensive drainage system, refurbished sound system, landscaping and thanks to the Fillmore Lions Club, a brand new scoreboard!

Although still in need of some final touches, including correction of blemishes on the track surfaces and lane line painting (scheduled for early 2009 in between football and soccer season), the facility opened to an ecstatic staff and student body in early August. However, by August 19, due to the high cost of repairs from inappropriate use, vandalism and trespassing, the Board of Education felt compelled to limit field use to the Fillmore Unified School District and for Community Facility Permit access only. Organizations that wish to use the facility must apply in advance, pay a permit fee and show the appropriate insurance naming the School District as “additional insured”. Furthermore, a District staff member will provide on-site supervision at every function. Costs are $125 per hour for non-profit organizations and $300 per hour for semi-pro use, similar to Ventura College, Ventura and Conejo School District rates. There is an additional $95 charge for lights. Previously negotiated season rates will remain in effect throughout their current seasons. Total income this year from permitting fees was not available in time for printing. There is no charge for school related activities day or night, however if nighttime electricity use becomes too costly, it might become necessary to address scheduling changes. Operating costs are paid by the FUSD through the General Fund.

Destructive incidents have decreased with limited access, however, gum and stroller wheel marks have been found on the track as well as sunflower seeds in the artificial turf, presenting maintenance and health issues. The track and field requires maintenance in a similar fashion as carpet with every incident. Trespassing is still an issue. However, a sub group of the FUSD and the City Council are meeting to explore options of creating track venues with open access. Suggestions have included installing a crushed brick track at the Middle School and/or a longer path at the new park. CONTINUED »

 


 
Lieutenant Gen. Samuel T. Helland, Commander of Marine Corps Forces Central Command, administers the oath of enlistment to Cpls. Ray Alvarado-Ponce of Fillmore, Calif., and Ramiro Novoa of Coachella, Calif., who were combat meritoriously promoted to their current ranks at Camp Barber, Aug. 31. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ray Lewis)
Lieutenant Gen. Samuel T. Helland, Commander of Marine Corps Forces Central Command, administers the oath of enlistment to Cpls. Ray Alvarado-Ponce of Fillmore, Calif., and Ramiro Novoa of Coachella, Calif., who were combat meritoriously promoted to their current ranks at Camp Barber, Aug. 31. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ray Lewis)
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Update: Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce
Corporal Ray Alvarado, a vehicle commander assigned to Weapons Company, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and a Fillmore, Calif., native, fires a Javelin missile at enemy targets during an assault on a Taliban-held compound August 28, 2008.
Corporal Ray Alvarado, a vehicle commander assigned to Weapons Company, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and a Fillmore, Calif., native, fires a Javelin missile at enemy targets during an assault on a Taliban-held compound August 28, 2008.
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The other day, I received a phone call from the stepfather of United States Marine Corps Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce, Fred Ponce, that his son had been combat meritoriously promoted to his current rank at Camp Barber, Afghanistan on August 31, 2008. As you may recall back in April of this year I had a phone conversation with the then 20 year old United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce as I was preparing an article about his deployment to Afghanistan. Then Lance Corporal Alvarado-Ponce was about to leave his family, in about four hours after we would hang up the phone, to return to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms located near 29 Palms, California for preparations to leave for his second tour to the Middle East.

Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce is assigned to a reinforced infantry battalion of approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors, 2/7 deployed from the Marine Air Ground Combat Training Center at Twenty-Nine Palms, to Afghanistan in early April to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The battalion, now considered a task force, is supported by various attachments to include soldiers, airmen, National Guardsmen and civilian contractors who specialize in police operations. The Marine unit is currently conducting full spectrum and counterinsurgency operations with a focus on police mentoring of the Afghan National Police. CONTINUED »

 


 
Fillmore Police Chief Tim Hagel had good news to report to the city council at Tuesday’s regular meeting;
Crime statistics for Fillmore were down signifi cantly.
Fillmore Police Chief Tim Hagel had good news to report to the city council at Tuesday’s regular meeting; Crime statistics for Fillmore were down signifi cantly.

Fillmore City Council held a meeting September 23, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. The Council accepted and discussed a status report on the City's 2008 Goals. City staffers also reported on Lemon Way and the FEMA map controversy.

City Manager Tom Ristau provided the quarterly status report on the 18 goals that the Council had adopted in December 2007. Police Captain Tim Hagel pointed out a decline in crime over the past six months. Battery has dramatically decreased. He indicated that Fillmore is statistically safer than similar size cities in Ventura County. Hagel credits the School Resource Officers, the gang unit, and the maintenance of probation searches. City staff is preparing paperwork for the Brine Water Softener Buyback Program. Public Works Director Bert Rapp expects the program to start in October. Council Member Scott Lee criticized the status update on the "Town Theater Success" Goal. He said that the report does not accurately reflect the reality of that situation. Lee noted that the City has had the theater for ten years, the theater is not breaking even, and he wonders how long the City can support the theater in its current situation. Council Member Patti Walker asked, as part of the "Open Accessible, Responsive Government" Goal, that Council meeting minutes be placed online and that online documents be searchable. Lee said that the Senior Center should be included under the "Expand Recreation Programs and Facilities" Goal. Rapp mentioned that the City is replacing a 1920's water main that runs from Sespe to Highway 126. He said that replacing waterlines is expensive, but the old iron pipes are gradually being replaced. Mayor Steve Conaway congratulated the citizens of Fillmore on their soon-to-be-constructed tennis courts, which are costing only $1.25 per parcel per month. He was also pleased with the progress on the pool, park, and storm drain projects. Conaway noted that the goals are good and said, "We are investing in Fillmore's future." The entire Goals 2008 Status Report can be found on the City's website as part of the City Council Meeting Packet for 9-23-08 (http://www.fillmoreca.com/doc_download.htm). CONTINUED »