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

Sheriff’s deputies arrested two male suspects, Brian Torres 19 and Ryan Noble 18 from Fillmore of a local tagging crew and a female juvenile 17, after a two-day crime spree in the city of Fillmore. Tagging crews have recently expanded their crimes from typically spraying graffiti to firearm violations, drugs, burglaries and violence. While not aligned with a specific local gang, taggers are dangerous and becoming increasingly bold with their activities.
This investigation by deputies began in the early morning hours of July 17, 2008 when residents reported a residential burglary in the 900 Block of Fourth Street. In addition there were related burglaries in the 1100 Block of El Paseo Street and two burglaries in the1000 Block of B Street.
Fillmore residents also reported related tagging crew graffiti vandalisms in the 1100 Block of Ventura Street. There was also a related attempted theft of a vehicle from the 1000 Block of Howard Street and an assault with a deadly weapon in the 200 Block of B Street.
In this latter assault, a 37 year-old male Fillmore resident was struck with a glass bottle as he sat in his parked truck. The victim sustained a head injury. He was treated at Santa Paula Hospital and released.
Using information from witnesses and community sources, Sheriff’s deputies obtained evidence during the ensuing investigation that led to the identification of two primary tagging crew suspects named Brian Torres and Ryan Noble.
Torres and Noble have extensive criminal backgrounds. On July 17, 2008 Sheriff’s deputies along with Fillmore detectives searched his home and found Torres in possession of property that was stolen from the home in the 1100 Block of El Paseo Street. Torres was charged with felony possession of stolen property (496(a) P.C.) and booked in the County Jail.
The female juvenile was also arrested at the Torres’home for being an accessory to the burglary after the fact ( 32 P.C. ), felony possession of stolen property ( 496(a) P.C.) and misdemeanor obstructing a criminal investigation ( 148(a)(1) P.C. ).
Fillmore Police Department investigators began an immediate investigation into locating other tagging crew conspirators who participated in the crime spree. Ryan Noble was the focus of the investigation. Noble’s picture was disseminated to local Ventura County police agencies.
On 07/26/08, Sheriff’s deputies received information that Noble was in the City of Oxnard. Oxnard Police Department assisted investigators and deputies in the arrest of suspect Ryan Noble. He was charged with two counts of felony residential burglary ( 459 P.C. ), one count of vandalism ( 594(b)(2) P.C.), one count of attempted felony auto theft (664 / 10851 V.C. ) and one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon (245(a)(1) P.C.) Noble was booked in County Jail.
Noble and Torres are members of a Fillmore tagging crew that has been under surveillance and is becoming more and more violent. Additional tagging crew members were arrested during the investigation for drug and violation of probation charges.
The investigation of these cases continues. The Fillmore Police Department seeks your tips to aid in the apprehension of these criminals calling themselves taggers.
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000.00 reward for information which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against additional persons responsible for these crimes. 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).


Fillmore attorney John Scoles suggested ways to permit public access to the new all-weather track at the high school during Tuesday’s school board meeting. He believes an entry card and revolving gate would keep bicycle riders and troublemakers out of the newly fenced facility. Scoles has been using the track for evening exercise for more than 30 years. Many other Fillmore residents have also used the track. However, after a multi-million dollar upgrade to the field and track (artificial turf and rubberized all-weather track) the board is unlikely to permit public use due to high maintenance and insurance costs, and the threat of vandalism. The board has not yet decided the issue.
Fillmore attorney John Scoles suggested ways to permit public access to the new all-weather track at the high school during Tuesday’s school board meeting. He believes an entry card and revolving gate would keep bicycle riders and troublemakers out of the newly fenced facility. Scoles has been using the track for evening exercise for more than 30 years. Many other Fillmore residents have also used the track. However, after a multi-million dollar upgrade to the field and track (artificial turf and rubberized all-weather track) the board is unlikely to permit public use due to high maintenance and insurance costs, and the threat of vandalism. The board has not yet decided the issue.

Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) School Board held the open session of its regular meeting August 5, 2008, at 6:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the District Office. The most animated discussion concerned public use of school facilities.
The Board discussed and approved the 2008-2009 contract with the California School Boards Association to maintain the District's policy manual. This will ensure that the District to has up-to-date written policies that comply with state law, federal law, and administrative regulations. The Board is also determined to have policies that match actual practice in order to promote consistency and effectiveness, increase awareness of Board policies at the schools, reduce ambiguities, and ease communication with parents.
Mike Bush, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, presented a report on the public use of school facilities indicating that those polices and practices are not yet in sync. He is concerned not only about the new stadium complex, but also about pre-schools, Ventura Community College (VC) classes, and the Neil Schmitt Family Resource Center (NSFRC). Current board policy, in compliance with the Civic Center Act and administrative regulations, lists ten purposes for which district grounds and facilities are available, requires organizations to submit applications for specific times and uses, and divides group activities into categories to determine priority of access and fees for access. The policy does not cover the unorganized general public; and facility use by pre-schools, VC, and NSFRC is being analyzed for compliance and reconsidered.
NSFRC provides social services to families. According to the "Use of Facilities Report," services include parenting classes and referrals for: counseling, medical services, legal services, food, and furniture. The report explains that FUSD's contract with NSFRC had provided the free use of one room in exchange for NSFRC assisting students with alternative program applications and college. The contract expired in 2006. NSFRC has continued to use multiple rooms at no charge.
The Board is examining the contracts between FUSD and the three head-start pre-schools that use its facilities. At least two of the contracts are disadvantageous to the district, and changes are being considered.
VC has not been paying for classroom use over the past four years. The decision to provide free classrooms to VC is being reconsidered.
In light of recent budget cuts, Bush seems to be in favor of taking a hard line against under-compensated use of school facilities by outside organizations. He was looking for direction from the Board. The Board will consider his report and the ensuing discussions, has requested that he provide recommendations, and will take action at the next Board meeting.
John Scoles and Joe Aguirre were members of the public urging that individuals be allowed to use the high school's new track. They implied that FUSD's previous administration had secured political support for bonds by unofficially promising that the general public would be allowed to practice on the new track. Bush has found no evidence to support that claim. Aguirre pointed out that the streets are uneven and that this is the only track in Fillmore. Scoles added that he had been running on the FHS track since 1972, that other districts allow the public to use school tracks, and that parents could set a good example for children by running with them. Both Scoles and Aguirre train for races and mentioned that the new track could benefit senior citizens.
An examination of the new stadium complex's schedule indicates that not much time is available for non-school activities. The campus is closed from 7:55 a.m. to 3:07 p.m. and the complex is closed to the public during practices. Various sports teams are scheduled to use the complex for practice until 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., or 9:00 p.m. depending on the season and day. This does not include game time, and now that CIF is allowing out-of-season practices, the football and soccer coaches hope to hold practices after the track team, which is the only team scheduled to finish as early as 5:00 p.m. David Dollar, President of the Board, said that despite the limited amount of time available there is "no intent to effectively lock out the public."
The Board wants to protect the field from damage. According to various Board members, signs are not enough to prevent behaviors that would damage the new facility. The complex is still closed because it is under construction, but spiked shoes have already damaged the undercoating of the track. Board members have seen golfers and people walking their dogs on the track. Golf equipment and biological contaminants can cause significant damage. The field and track are only guaranteed to last eight years if specified restrictions are enforced. The list of restrictions includes: no food or drinks other than water, no animals, no non-pneumatic wheels, no golfing, no long spike shoes, no bicycles, no rollerblades, no skateboards, and no strollers. The complex could last ten years if these and other restrictions are met.
Non-warrantee repairs would cost at least $3,000 per incident unless the damage was so minimal that FUSD staff could fix it. Simi Valley Unified School District recently had to pay $60,000 to repair graffiti damage to their similar facility. Another similar facility in the county was closed for six weeks of repairs after a bonfire destroyed the field.
The Board also wants to protect FUSD from liability and is considering a policy that would require the complex to be supervised by FUSD staff whenever in use. Outside organizations would have to compensate the district for that cost and provide liability insurance. The complex is being enclosed by a climb-resistant fence. Lack of general public access to the track might be overcome by the formation of an organization which could apply for use under the Civic Center Act. The Board also suggested that the City could be responsible for providing a public track in a city park.
According to the "Use of Facilities Report," "The district may exclude certain school facilities from non-school use for safety or security reasons." Bush surveyed other school districts with similar facilities in Ventura County. Some districts with all-weather tracks and grass fields do not encourage the use of the track by the general public, but do not fight it. Of the four districts with similar fields to FUSD's., only one allows general public use. Of the districts surveyed, only Simi Valley Unified "does not allow any outside organizations to use their fields." In comparison to other districts, FUSD had been charging a ridiculously low fee for track and field use by outside organizations. That might change.
The new complex might seem like a lot of trouble, but it is worth it. Coach Matt Dollar noted that FHS's new field would enhance the teams' ability to compete and reduce injuries. Coach Dave Wilde pointed out that unlike the old field, the new field needs almost no grounds maintenance and is durable enough to have events scheduled back-to-back.
FUSD had received a written notice from the Ventura County Office of Education that 2008-2009 FUSD budget has been reviewed and is approved without any changes.
The Board reviewed the fiscal requirements of FUSD's Retiree Health Insurance Program. The Actuarial Valuation Report indicates that the District should just barely be able to pay all expected benefits. The Board discussed how this could be accomplished through pre-funding. The discussion included interest rates, the accounting practices involved, and the possibility of eliminating liability and making the program a self-perpetuating self-funding system; money must be set aside to bring the program current. Other districts are also facing this problem and some have greater liabilities to address.
The Board also discussed possible impacts of the State's delay in passing a state budget. FUSD might have to strictly prioritize the use of funds if the state defers payments. Payroll is approximately 85% of FUSD's budget and would be a top priority.
The Board approved a resolution to apply for replacement busses through the lower-emission school bus program of Ventura County.
The Board approved a contract with Vicenti, Lloyd, Stutzman, LLP, for annual independent audits of the $10,000,000 capital building program. Such audits are legally required by the Proposition 39 Bond.
The approval of the Bottenfield Construction Change Order for $4,082.90 for the Mountain Vista Hardscape Project passed unanimously without discussion.
Mike Bush reported that, according to Chrissy Schieferle who was Assistant Principal of the high school at the time, from the time the high school fence was completed until the last day of school there were no fights on campus. The Board concluded that the fence's benefits outweigh any inconveniences.
Jerome Staszewski, Director of Information Technology, had recommended a lease for network equipment, including hardware, software and maintenance services. The Board approved the lease. The lease only uses half of the moneys allocated for the network over the next five years, and the equipment was needed to replace older technologies.
Bob Sube, Director of Facility and Construction, reported that the FHS snack bar has an electrical problem because originally the wrong size wiring had been installed. A recent power surge melted the wiring, resulting in a potentially dangerous situation. Rewiring the building will cost $12,000.
A project to completely fence in Mountain Vista Elementary School is going out to bid.
The Board approved the Quarterly Report on Williams Uniform Complaints. The report stated that no complaints were filed in the quarter ending in July. According to the California Department of Education, "Williams Settlement complaints regarding instructional materials, emergency or urgent facilities conditions that pose a threat to the health and safety of pupils, and teacher vacancy or misassignment may be filed anonymously. Schools shall have a complaint form available for these types of complaints. Schools will not reject a complaint if the form is not used as long as the complaint is submitted in writing."
The consent agenda, consisting of routine matters, was reviewed and approved.
John Garnica mentioned that he had been to the Fair and seen many familiar faces from Fillmore in the livestock area.
The field lights at the new stadium complex were tested after the board meeting.


Location of the Hot Spot
Location of the Hot Spot

The ground is sizzling with temperatures rising as high as 812 degrees on a two-acre patch of land in the hills north of Fillmore. Nearly seven weeks ago, firefighters responded to reports of fire and a smoky haze along the parched terrain; however, upon inspection, they encountered no flames, only smoldering dirt and brush.

According to other news sources, including the Ventura County Star, the Los Angeles Times, and Fox News, the smoking “hot spot” in the Ventura County section of Los Padres National Forest continues to puzzle firefighters and geologists even after weeks of monitoring. “It’s a thermal anomaly,” said Ron Oatman, spokesperson for the Ventura County Fire Department. David Panaro, a participating geologist with the Ventura County Watershed Protection Agency said, “This is not your usual geological detective story.” Geologists and firefighters surveyed the area, located in the Sespe Oil Field, but they have not made a definitive determination of what is causing the intense heat. Nevertheless, they do have a theory that does not include human activity.

The “hot spot” is in an active landslide zone with a history of shifting for more than sixty years. Pockets of gas, tar and oil lie several hundred feet below its cracked surface. Allen King, a retired geologist with the U.S. Forest Service visited the site on Friday, August 1. In his opinion, the smoking ground is “a normal occurrence”. He explained that cracks along the landslide’s slope allow oxygen to enter the earth, and those natural hydrocarbon materials (gas, tar and oil) to “seep out” of the fine-grain shale. Underground combustion is a possible result, and could be as deep as 100 feet. Since 1987, high heat levels have been recorded in the area as many as five times. “Hot spots” are not uncommon in areas around the world with high concentrations of hydrocarbons.

The 812 degree temperature, taken last Friday, was measured about a foot below the surface. The depth of hydrocarbon materials “varies tremendously,” says King, also acknowledging that he does not know at what depth combustion is occurring in the oil field. Smoke rose through five cracks in the ground as firefighters cleared brush, and cut a fire line around the area as a precautionary measure. Oatman said that fire officials predict the smoke will come and go until the next heavy rain, when fissures are plugged with water and mud.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management owns the acreage (near the Sespe Oil Field), and leases it to Seneca Resources Corp. The rugged, steep terrain is devoid of buildings and equipment, and gated off from public access. The 3,000 acre Sespe Oil Field, producing nearly 50 million barrels of oil since its discovery in 1887, contains more than 300 oil wells, of which 210 are active.

Although Jeff Kuyper, Executive Director of the Los Padres Forest Watch expressed his deep concern on the potential effects of the “hot spot” on the nearby Condor Sanctuary and the forest’s fire prone environment, the Ventura County Fire Department continues to monitor the area daily and does not consider the “hot spot” to be a threat to public safety.

Story from CBS2/KCAL 9 Los Angeles


Part Two
Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

As Held says, "This will be a learning and planning year."
Facilities improvements at the high school include a new stadium, track, and exterior paint. The staff is preparing the classrooms. Eight new teachers have been hired, including two Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) teachers. Just two years ago, the students in those two classes would have been sent to other districts, including El Rio, for instruction that could meet their educational needs. Last year, the county ran an SAI class on the FHS campus, but this year the classes are part of the high school. After the first week of school, school will start late on Wednesdays to provide collaborative time for teachers.
Wilber considers the ongoing challenge of FHS to be improving student achievement and test scores. Last year, the students set a new record for passing the required exit exam. 80% of students taking the test for the first time passed the English and Language Arts portion of the test. 75% of students taking the test for the first time passed the Math portion of the test. He hopes to match or exceed those numbers this year.
Wilber had left his position as FHS Principal because being a teacher at FHS allowed him to spend more time with his children and volunteer with their sports teams. He is happy to be back as Principal now that his children are four years older. Wilber is looking forward to working with students, parents, and staff to make it a great year for everyone.
The School District's motivating theme this year is "Be the Change". At Board meetings, the School Board will be recognizing key people who are positive influences.
The School District's goals this year include increasing parent interaction and involvement, improving communication, maintaining facilities, improving discipline and attendance, increasing student achievement, and providing the highest quality staff.
Superintendent Jeff Sweeney believes that a major challenge in the upcoming year will be to raise student achievement despite a budget cut of roughly one million dollars. Some one-time funding sources were found to cushion the blow, but the school district worked hard to find ways to reduce spending without affecting school quality. The effects of the cuts will be mostly indirect and have not been determined. For example, school busing was significantly reduced. Schools will not be busing students from the main part of town, where most schools are located, unless the students have special circumstances, such as a disability. Students will still be bused from Bardsdale and other outlying areas.
The Bridges free after school program continues. It is designed to keep children safe and provides exercise, nutrition, and recreation, as well as an academic component. Participants are required to attend regularly. Parents who are interested in having their children attend should contact Carol Barringer in the district office.
Sweeney said that when the school campuses have a fresh and clean look it instills a sense of pride. Sweeney mentioned that the students in football practice this week seem motivated by the new stadium complex, and that the complex will benefit the entire community. Sweeney anticipates great things for the community and stated, "The new school year affords us all an opportunity for a fresh start."
Parent-School communication is very important to the school system. The Superintendent and Principals are interested in both positive and negative comments from parents. They want to encourage parent involvement. FHS will have back-to-school night on September 10th. Other schools will have back-to-school nights in August.
FHS is holding Freshman Orientation on Monday, August 4th, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration will be August 7th for Freshmen and Sophomores, and August 8th for Juniors and Seniors. The Student Store will be having a sale during registration: students who purchase both an ASB card and an Annual will save $15. If parents have not received registration materials, they should contact the school at 524-6100.
FMS will be distributing schedules and registering students on August 11th and 12th from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Parents of elementary students are encouraged to contact the school if their children are not yet registered. Registration packets will also be sent home on the first day of school.


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

On Thursday, July 31, 2008, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Aviation/ S.A.R. Unit was dispatched by the Ventura County Fire Department to an injured person who was electrocuted while working in an orchard near Bardsdale Cemetery.

Air Squad 8 was sent staffed with a pilot, two rescue crew chiefs and a flight paramedic. A landing zone was secured a short distance away from the accident site. Daniel Torres 22, of Fillmore, was transported to the landing zone in the back of an ambulance. Once the Air Squad arrived the flight paramedic and a crew chief walked to the ambulance to help prepare Torres for air transport. Torres was brought to the awaiting helicopter and flown directly to Ventura County Regional Medical Center where his care was transferred to the emergency room staff. Torres’ condition and the events leading to the non-fatal electric shock are unknown at this time.

Airman Kailey Andrews
Airman Kailey Andrews

Life-long Fillmore resident, Kailey Andrews, 19 years, a graduate of Fillmore High School (FHS) in 2007 recently finished United States Air Force Recruit Training. Kailey attended Los Nogales Elementary and Camarillo Heights Elementary Schools, and Los Altos Middle School in Camarillo before attending FHS. After graduation from FHS Kailey attended Ventura College before enlisting into the United States Air Force. Kailey was an avid softball player since she was 4 yrs. old and played year-round softball through high school at both second base and center field.
Kailey is the daughter of Greg and Stacy (Robertson) Andrews of Fillmore. Kailey has one brother, Ryan Andrews, 23 years, a graduate from Fillmore High School Class of 2003, now attending Cal Poly Pomona studying Kinesiology. Ryan is employed with 24 hr. Fitness as a Personal Trainer.
Kailey’s maternal grandparents are Grandfather Charles Thomas Robertson of Fillmore and Grandmother Vicki Robertson (deceased). Grandfather Charles Thomas Robertson is a retired Assistant Fire Chief from the Point Mugu Naval Base, Point Mugu Fire Department. Kailey’s paternal grandparents; Grandfather Norman Andrews (deceased) and Grandmother 'Mike' Andrews (deceased). Norman and ‘Mike” were long-time Fillmore community leaders. ‘Mike Andrews’ was a school teacher for many years at the then Fillmore Jr. High School before switching careers to become a Realtor/Broker/Owner from 1977-2006 of Andrews Property Store. Both Norman and ‘Mike’ were active Rotarians and members of the Fillmore Sunrise Rotary Club.
Kailey follows a long line of family members with military service with three of her grandfathers also serving in the Military: Grandfather- Charles Thomas Robertson in the United States Navy, Grandfather- Norman Andrews, United States Navy having served in the Korean War and Great grandfather-Marvin Brandt serving in the United States Army seeing action during The Battle of the Bulge.
Kailey enlisted in the United States Air Force in December of 2007 and completed 6 1/2 wks. Training with the 326 TRS/FLT 444TRS (Training squadron) FLT (Flight) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas graduating on July 11, 2008. At graduation Kailey was awarded the "Thunderbolt" award in physical fitness which is the second tier from the top of the three awards given for physical fitness to graduating recruits. To be presented with the Thunderbolt Award a woman recruit must complete the following tasks within the minimum criteria; Run (1.5 mile) in 12:00 minutes, complete 32 push-ups, 55 sit-ups and 2 pull-ups in the technically correct manner. Airman Kailey Andrews is currently attending Technical School in Wichita Falls, Texas for training as a surgical apprentice.
All of us here in the Fillmore/Piru area are proud of United States Air Force Airman Kailey Andrews’ service, appreciate the sacrifices she and her family have made and wish her safe travel and a successful tour of duty in the United States Air Force.

Parents and students get ready... school begins August 13. There are a lot of changes going on; make sure you read the marque’s that are located at some of the schools, they will keep you informed.
Parents and students get ready... school begins August 13. There are a lot of changes going on; make sure you read the marque’s that are located at some of the schools, they will keep you informed.
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The first day of school is only two weeks away on August 13th; schools are gearing up for the start of a new year. Over 3,800 children will be enrolled in Fillmore public schools this year.
Four schools have new principals. The Larkins’ retirements created two openings, and Superintendent Jeff Sweeney took the opportunity to shuffle staff so that the right people are where they need to be to accomplish the most good. John Wilber has returned from teaching to be principal again at Fillmore High School (FHS). Todd Schieferle, formerly Dean of Students at Fillmore Middle School (FMS), was promoted to Principal of FMS. Tony Held, who had been the Principal of FMS, is the Principal of the recently re-named Sierra High School (previously known as “C” School). Chrissy Schieferle is now Principal of Mountain Vista Elementary School.
Ms. Schieferle was an Assistant Principal at FHS last year, and had been a teacher at FMS. She explained that her first quasi-administrative position as a coordinator, "Opened my eyes to the big picture and the impact that administrators have on school systems." She is an idea person who appreciates the opportunity to make her ideas happen, and is looking forward to bringing teachers together and supporting them. She grew up in Fillmore, and her children are attending public schools here.
This is the third year Mountain Vista has been open. This year's motto is "Be kind, be responsible, be the change." There is a new character development program with monthly character education assemblies and a rewards system. The staff is disseminating a Wildcat Pledge for Success which includes listening, treating others as I would like to be treated, respecting diversity, remembering that people care about me, and trying my best. There is also a new staff development plan. Mountain Vista will be having a kindergarten orientation August 8th from 6:00 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be a Parent Tea August 13th at 8:30 a.m. to allow parents to meet school staff and ask questions.
San Cayetano Elementary School enters its second year of being a NASA Explorer School. Teachers Melanie Schrock and Brandi Walk attended a one-week robotics workshop at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. This year fourth and fifth graders at San Cayetano will have the opportunity to participate in a beginning robotics program, which will culminate in a team being sent to a robotics competition this spring. Principal Jan Marholin and Teacher Inger Overton attended a one-week workshop at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia regarding the NASA Explorer program. San Cayetano will continue to be a NASA Explorer School possibly forever, and NASA will continue to provide resources and opportunities, but NASA will not provide funding beyond the third year, so San Cayetano is looking into alternative funding.
San Cayetano has purchased digital learning network equipment that will allow video conferencing. Marholin plans on using the equipment in assemblies to provide virtual educational field trips. The school will be able to connect not only to NASA-related researchers and test pilots, but also to California state parks and museums. The researcher would appear via a projector and the assembled students would be able to ask questions. This equipment could also be used between schools; for example, an assembly of students at a school in Missouri could meet with the assembled San Cayetano students.
San Cayetano's field has been graded and re-seeded. San Cayetano also has a new classroom, a new cafeteria floor, and new blue exterior paint. Eagle Scouts from Boy Scout Troupe 406 have landscaped the front of the school.
Some storage buildings were eliminated at Piru Elementary School to clean up the campus, but otherwise education continues as expected. Principal Richard Durborow commented, "This school year we will continue to offer challenging and information-rich learning environments where students are encouraged to become critical thinkers who not only learn California content standards but also learn invaluable lessons of self-control and mutual respect. . . . We look forward to a great year working with [students and their families]."
Sespe Elementary School is closed for vacation this week, so staff were unavailable for comment, but the office will re-open on Monday.
Todd Schieferle, the new Principal at FMS, had been an Academic Counselor for over 10 years before becoming Dean of Students. The Dean of Students is similar to an Assistant Principle, but mostly handles discipline. Mr. Schieferle states, "My personal vision for the school includes three main priorities: school safety, high quality education, and creating a positive school environment." He believes middle school is "one of the most important times for parents to be involved in their children's lives at school." He encourages parnets to visit and volunteer, and wants them to feel welcome. For more information, parents can contact the Academic Counselors Dena Wyand and Ronda Reyes at 524-6055.
FMS is implementing a new rotating schedule. Although the classes will stay the same, the order of the classes will rotate every three weeks so that teachers will be seeing each class at a different time during the day. There will also be an advisory period for students to receive extra help or enrichment. FMS will also have a late start on Wednesday mornings, starting the second week of school, to provide teachers with collaboration time.
There will be new drop-off and pick-up procedures at FMS this year. Cars are required to enter at the 2nd and Yucca St. entrance, and exit only through the A St. gate. This is expected to reduce the risk of accidents.
There are six new teachers at the middle school. FMS is continuing the skateboarding program which started last year as a part of P.E. This year's school mission is "Together we will . . . think, believe, create, achieve."
FMS and FHS have new Assistant Principals. Tricia Godfrey used to teach at FMS. Last year she was the district office coordinator for the Bridges after school program. This year she will be back at FMS as Vice Principal. Carol Barringer takes over the Bridges coordinator position, and will also be job sharing with Geri Lunde, who continues as Principal of Sespe Elementary. Geri Lunde will be principal 80% of the time and Carol Barringer will cover the remaining 20% on a pre-arranged personalized schedule. Ellen Green, previously at Maricopa High School in Kern County, will take Chrissy Schieferle’s place as the new Assistant Principal at FHS.
Fillmore Community High School, commonly known as "C" School, was renamed at the end of the last school year. The students themselves, through their own ASB, suggested a new name and made their case to the School Board. The school is now Sierra High School. The students also selected a motto and a new mascot, the Warrior. According to Tony Held, the new name reflects a shift in philosophy. The school is moving away from being a continuation high school and becoming more of an alternative high school. An alternative high school combines elements of a traditional high school with a focus on individual needs; it provides allowances for alternative learning styles and smaller classes. Sierra will be offering more direct instruction than "C" School did. Plans are being made to move the school to a new campus, located where a few old junior high buildings still remain, for the 2009-2010 school year. Held is looking to expand the program when the school has more space, but for now he is looking forward to getting to know the students and school.
FHS is holding Freshman Orientation on Monday, August 4th, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration will be August 7th and 8th. If parents have not received registration materials, they should contact the school at 524-6100.
FMS will be distributing schedules and registering students on August 11th and 12th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


The Ventura County Sheriff’s investigation into allegations of misuse of funds by Fillmore Fire Chief Pete Egedi has been completed and sent to the District Attorney’s Office, according to VC Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Ross Bonfiglio. The DA will now decide whether to file charges.

Egedi was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday, April 7th, 2008. He receives base pay of $79,987, and benefits of $70,887. Egedi became fire chief three years ago, is an at-will employee of the city, and does not have a contract with the city. He has been on paid administrative leave since early April.
Reports state Egedi has hired Camarillo attorney Mark Pachowicz to represent him in the matter. Pachowicz was a senior deputy district attorney with Ventura County before going into private practice.

Pictured is a Rain Garden, at the northwest corner of Old Telegraph Road and C Street. The stagnant water is full of trash and not soaking into the ground as planned.
Pictured is a Rain Garden, at the northwest corner of Old Telegraph Road and C Street. The stagnant water is full of trash and not soaking into the ground as planned.
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Do they work?

The theory behind Rain Gardens is that they will soak up rain water, mainly from roofs, but also from driveways and lawns. They are landscaped areas planted with wild flowers and other native vegetation to replace areas of lawn. The gardens fill with a few inches of water and should allow the water to slowly filter into the ground rather than running off into storm drains.

Holding back the runoff helps prevent pollutants such as fertilizers from washing off of yards into storm sewers, and eventually into nearby streams, rivers and lakes. By reducing the amount of water that enters the local storm drain systems, rain gardens can reduce the chances for local flooding, as well as bank and shoreline damage where storm drains empty into streams and lakes.

Go to for more information. One of the reasons given for rain gardens at the site is “reducing the need for costly municipal storm water treatment structures.”

Sycamore tree on Kensington.
Sycamore tree on Kensington.
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The Gazette received a frantic phone call Tuesday from someone who told us that “They’re cutting down the sycamore tree on Kensington!” The tree is estimated to be more than 200 years old. It grew beside Pole Creek when the creek passed through the center of what later became Fillmore. It turned out that Donald Ebell, owner of that tree, was just giving it a much-needed trim. The enormous, triple-trunk tree was suffering from a drought condition, and limbs had fallen recently. The historical tree had been a meeting place for local Indians,
early Spaniards, and Franciscan friars for many years. Ebell has unearthed horseshoes and square nails around the tree over the years.