Senior Airman Michael Anthony Chavez
Senior Airman Michael Anthony Chavez

Like with most of the articles I write honoring the men and women of the Fillmore and Piru Communities serving our Country, to protect all our freedoms, I usually begin the journey with a phone call from a family member. I received just such a phone call from a very proud grandmother; Dolores “Lola” Chavez of Fillmore. Mrs. Chavez wanted to tell me about her Grandson, Senior Airman Michael Anthony Chavez 24 years now serving in the United States Air Force. Mrs. Chavez told me that Michael was stationed in the northern city of Aviano, Italy at the United States Air Force’s Aviano Air Base with the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (31st AMXS). During the few phone calls we shared and the two visits to her home I found her to be a dedicated and very proud Grandmother of an American Airman. I appreciate her helping me put this article together and for her concern for all the men and women currently serving in the military from the communities of Fillmore and Piru.

Senior Airman Michael Chavez is a 2002 graduate of Fillmore High School and he also attended Lancaster High School. He participated in both varsity football and track while in high school. He and his wife Jessica (Taylor), also a 2002 graduate of Fillmore High School, 2006 graduate of Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, and a 2007 graduate of Pepperdine with a Masters in Education. They live in Aviano, Italy where Jessica is a pre-school teacher and they do not have any children.

Senior Airman Chavez joined the Air Force in January 2004 and has been assigned duty throughout the world: at Cannon AFB Clovis, NM, Kunsan Air Base Korea, Bulgaria, Turkey and currently Aviano Air Base, Italy. His job specialty is as a Weapons Loader and he also maintains all the equipment related to weapons loading of the F-16 aircraft. While in the Air Force he is attending college to continue his education by studying Aeronautical Engineering. In the two phone calls (there is a +9 hours difference in time) with Senior Airman Michael Chavez I found him to be a very dedicated Airman. With still two-years left on his six-year enlistment he is still unsure if he will make the Air Force his career.

Senior Airman Michael Chavez has been awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon Short, Air Force Longevity Service, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Rifle) and the Air Force Training Ribbon.

Senior Airman Chavez’s parents are Andy Chavez of Fillmore and Leanne Gravley (1983 Fillmore High School Graduate) of Reno, Nevada. He has one sister Heather 18 years of Acton, California and brother Andrew 4 years of Fillmore. His Paternal Grandparents are Adon and Delores “Lola” Chavez of Fillmore and his Maternal Grandparents are Joe and Ellen Gravley of Henderson, Nevada. Senior Airman Michael Chavez’s Father-in-law and Mother-in-law are John and Joyce Taylor of Fillmore.

The 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (31st AMXS) is responsible for maintaining the United States Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon. The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. Plans and directs expeditionary aircraft generation and maintenance operations of 520 personnel in 20 Air Force specialties. The 31st AMXS Maintains 48 F-16C/D aircraft valued at $1.28 billion. Provides repair capabilities for aircraft, avionics, weapons and propulsion systems to support delivery of conventional and precision-guided weapons. The 31st AMXS supports the 31st Fighter Wing, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO contingency and combat aircraft. The vision of the 31st AMXS is to perform safe, expeditionary aircraft maintenance anytime, anywhere!

Since inception, the 31 Aircraft Maintenance Squadron has deployed in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. Additionally, the squadron supported 24 hour air defense for the 2002 NATO Summit. The squadron's largest deployment challenge was its most recent seamless transition of back-to-back deployments to Balad Air Base, Iraq in support of Air Expeditionary Force 5 and 7 rotations.

Senior Airman Michael Chavez’s contribution to keeping the F-16 in the air and supporting our troops in the Middle East is appreciated by all of us here back at home. We wish Senior Airman Michael Chavez safe travel and to his family we thank them for their sacrifices while Senior Airman Michael Chavez is serving in this supporting role so far from home.

 


 
John Reider tells council how he has suffered for 6 years to get the approval for his controvercial project.
John Reider tells council how he has suffered for 6 years to get the approval for his controvercial project.
Enlarge Photo

On a 4-1 Vote, Mayor Conaway being the single dissenting voice, the Fillmore City Council abandoned the City’s Code of Ethics, which applied to both Council members and staff.
Following months of wrangling, and the stubborn refusal of Councilwoman Patti Walker to sign the Code as presently required, the other members just gave up and refused to continue to deal with the issue. Some argued that too much time was being wasted on the issue, while others were satisfied that county or state ethics codes would suffice.
Mayor Steve Conaway stuck to his conviction that a city ethics code was necessary to hold elected officials and staff responsible for their conduct. He believes that the broader, less specific codes used by larger government bodies are less effective than a code tailored to Fillmore’s own particular challenges.
In other business, the Mitigated Negative Declaration for the John Reider housing tract off Goodenough Road, was adopted, and the plan for his controversial 51-unit project was approved. Mr. Reider told the Council of his 6-year effort to build-out his parcel, located across from the Traditions tract.
The project was rejected by the North Fillmore Neighborhood Commission for what it believes is excessive density, narrow streets and walks, three-story elements, and, alleys. The Planning Commission, however, approved the project, with reservations, in March. The project does not involve apartment units.
Concern was expressed by Councilwoman Patti Walker concerning the new Army Corps. of Engineers 200-year flood protection requirements due soon. The existing levee may be inadequate to protect a large part of the city. The Corp, and FEMA, may cause the levee to be decertified, creating insurance issues. A Home Owner’s Association will be required by Reider.

 


 
Work continues on the Central Avenue drainage project. Closure of Central Avenue has caused substantial fi nancial loss to shop owners, and a major inconvenience for the driving public. The much-needed new storm drain will be appreciated during the next major rainstorm, as “normal” fl ooding will have been eliminated.
Work continues on the Central Avenue drainage project. Closure of Central Avenue has caused substantial fi nancial loss to shop owners, and a major inconvenience for the driving public. The much-needed new storm drain will be appreciated during the next major rainstorm, as “normal” fl ooding will have been eliminated.
Enlarge Photo

By now, everyone has surely noticed or been affected by the massive project that has Central Ave., Fillmore’s downtown business district for the past several weeks, in a state of dust, fences, signs, holes, noise, street closings, detours and the general concern of shopkeepers and residents alike. If you have not kept up with the newspapers, you might not know that the City has retained Lash Construction, Inc. to replace the existing 10” water line with a new 20” line, and the leaking, corroded, cast-iron storm drain with a 60” epoxy coated, concrete drain which can have a life of up to two-hundred years. Choosing the Central Ave. location minimized costs to the City for the much-needed work. “Completion of the project is expected to bring flood relief to Downtown and North Fillmore neighborhoods,” says Bert Rapp, Public Works Director.
However, completion of the project is tentatively slated for January 2009. While the construction crew, a fine group of workers, receiving nothing but compliments and praises from merchants and residents for their professional and courteous behavior makes progress, the confusion of access to the mini business area has taken its toll. Most stores and businesses have noted significant decreases in foot traffic and sales.
Nadir Ghafouri, owner of SportsWear, says, “No traffic means no sales, and no sales means no money.” He worries, as he stands in his empty shop amidst racks of affordable, name brand clothing, how he will pay the rent and feed his young family. He has contacted the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County for assistance. Kathy Vargas, owner of the Mail Stop, a copy, shipping and passport photo shop, agrees that business has dropped notably since construction commenced. She feels that signage directing perspective customers to parking could be much better, and considers herself luckier than other shop owners across the street, for continued access to her back entrance. The owner of Vintage Pleasures, Norma Amaro, admits that traffic is slower than usual. Nevertheless, aside from the need for larger signage on State Road 126 directing shoppers into town, she feels the City is doing what it can to lessen the project’s impact. Mrs. Amaro believes it is up to owners and managers to find creative ways to increase business during difficult times, and has helped to organize merchants’ meetings. Her shop, an eclectic display of unusual treasures, is open seven days a week unlike many that close on Sundays and Mondays. The residents of Parkview Senior Court, represented by resident Little Bear Woman, have more complaints with management than with the City. Although notification was prepared one week before construction began by Lash Construction, Inc., many elderly Parkview residents were frightened by vibrations from drilling, assuming tremors, because, they claim, management neglected to pass out the notification letters on time. They also complain of a similar situation when the water was turned off.
Bill Bartels, Deputy City Manager, has worked closely for nearly a year, with Downtown merchants and residents of Parkview, up-dating, addressing problems and offering suggestions to help increase business. The City is acutely aware of the disruption to local businesses and accompanying financial consequences. It has tried to assist by developing a Downtown map, distributed by the Tourism Bureau, installing lighted signage and banners, allowing every business to post signs along the promenade near the train on weekends, and placement of lighted signs on State Road 126 East of Mountain View and West of A Street intersections to direct motorists to the Downtown area. Mr.Bartels says, “The City, as part of the construction contract, will stop all work for the four days of the May Festival, and the immediate goal is for both affected intersections on Central, Santa Clara and Main Streets, to be opened by Friday, April 11th.” It is also the City’s hope to complete the work involving Main Street, across Sespe Ave., including the catch basin, before the end of June. There will be no impact on the July 4th Car Show, however work will commence under the highway on July 7th.
The community has an obligation to support local businesses, for they are the backbone of any town, large or small. However, in light of the negative impact this confusion and inconvenience has on tourism, it is even more essential to shop locally. Take a walk up and down Central Ave., and surprise yourself with the treasures and bargains you will find there. People travel far and wide to experience a town like ours. You can do it today, right here in Downtown Fillmore. “Shop ‘till you drop” while helping our merchants survive “The Big Dig”.

 


 
Mama Sue shows her display of the men and women of Fillmore and Piru who are serving in the United States Military.
Mama Sue shows her display of the men and women of Fillmore and Piru who are serving in the United States Military.
Enlarge Photo

Mama Sue’s Café, located across from City Hall at 454 Santa Clara Street, is honoring residents of Fillmore/Piru that are currently serving in the United States Military. Sue (Mama) and John Conroy are the owners of the popular local breakfast and lunch Café. Mama Sue is the person who came up with the idea of displaying the pictures of all the men and women currently serving in the military. Sue is a frequent reader of the Fillmore Gazette and specifically the articles highlighting local military men and women. It was those articles and the memory of her late father, James Allan Zeman, who served in the United States Navy that spawned the idea.
Mama Sue felt that since she knew most of the men and women, or someone in their families, she would like to place their pictures in the Café so that no one would ever forget the sacrifices local men and women are making to protect our freedoms and those of other peoples around the world. Mama Sue encourages any local family who has someone currently serving in the military to bring her a copy of a picture and she will display the picture proudly.
Along with her famous bottomless cup of coffee and great food, Mama Sue’s is the place to keep current on local politics, gossip, and the meeting place for many local residents. All the fun starts at 6:00 AM and usually goes until around 2:00 PM. Mama Sue’s is open Tuesday thru Sunday and is available for catered evening special events.
Almost a day doesn’t go by, in Mama Sue’s, without talk of our military personnel currently serving. And now, thanks to Mama Sue, faces will be put to their names with the addition of 5” X 7” photographs of these brave young men and women. Mama Sue also would like all currently serving military personnel to know that their bills will always be “half priced” as another way of thanking them for their service and sacrifices.

 


 
The driver of this Ford pickup was arrested for DWI following a Sunday, single vehicle crash. According to an eyewitness, the driver lost control east of Piru, crashed into a barrier on the south side of the highway, veered back into lane 2, before again swerving onto the unpaved roadside and fl ipping over. The driver appeared only slightly injured and was the only person in the vehicle. Broken containers of beer were found beside the truck.
The driver of this Ford pickup was arrested for DWI following a Sunday, single vehicle crash. According to an eyewitness, the driver lost control east of Piru, crashed into a barrier on the south side of the highway, veered back into lane 2, before again swerving onto the unpaved roadside and fl ipping over. The driver appeared only slightly injured and was the only person in the vehicle. Broken containers of beer were found beside the truck.
Enlarge Photo