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.

Keeping California's Streets, Neighborhoods Safe and Clean
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
California State Governor

Continuing his commitment to public safety, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed legislation to hold offenders accountable for crimes of vandalism and to remove graffiti from California's streets and neighborhoods. AB 1767 by Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) mandates community service for a person who has committed a criminal act of graffiti vandalism, and AB 2609 by Assemblymember Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) requires defendants convicted of graffiti vandalism to clean up or repair the defaced or damaged property.

“As Governor, I have made the safety of our communities my top priority,” Governor Schwarzenegger said. “By cleaning up graffiti and holding offenders accountable for their actions, this legislation will make our streets and neighborhoods a safer and cleaner place to live.”

AB 1767 authorizes the courts in San Francisco to launch a pilot program where violators of graffiti vandalism are ordered to participate in a minimum of 24 hours of community service, when available, if they have reached a civil compromise with the victim. This law targets graffiti abatement service programs as the community service outlet for offenders and remains in effect until January 1, 2012.

Similarly, AB 2609 requires the court to order offenders paroled for a graffiti violation to clean up, repair or replace the damaged property. Defendants would also be required keep the damaged property or another specified property in the community free of graffiti for up to one year.

USGS Quake Map.
USGS Quake Map.
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Earthquake Details

Magnitude 5.4

Date-Time Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 18:42:15 UTC
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:42:15 AM at epicenter

Location 33.955°N, 117.765°W
Depth 13.6 km (8.5 miles)

4 km (3 miles) WSW (240°) from Chino Hills, CA
7 km (4 miles) SE (135°) from Diamond Bar, CA
8 km (5 miles) NNE (16°) from Yorba Linda, CA
12 km (7 miles) S (184°) from Pomona, CA
46 km (28 miles) ESE (104°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.3 km (0.2 miles); depth +/- 0.6 km (0.4 miles)

Parameters Nph=095, Dmin=9 km, Rmss=0.34 sec, Gp= 25°,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S

Source California Integrated Seismic Net:

Artists rendering of Fillmore Business Park Master Plan.
Artists rendering of Fillmore Business Park Master Plan.
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On July 16, 2007, the Ventura Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) approved the City of Fillmore's plan to annex 41 acres for the development of a business park, despite a LAFCO staff report recommending that Fillmore not be allowed to annex the land. Staff had cited FEMA's preliminary flood map as the main reason for the negative recommendation. Supervisor Linda Parks and Special District Member George Lange of Thousand Oaks were the only two Commissioners who voted against the annexation due to safety concerns. The annexation passed by a 5 to 2 vote. The proposed business park would be approximately 90 acres, and 41 of those acres are currently outside Fillmore city limits.
The annexation is now in its 30-day reconsideration period. If no one requests that LAFCO reconsider its decision, next step will be for LAFCO to complete protest proceedings. During protest proceedings, people who own property in the area to be annexed can file written protests against the annexation. According to Fillmore Special Projects Manager Roy Payne, “Not all property owners have consented to the annexation.” Payne explained that one property owner has not signed the consent form, but emphasized that this does not necessarily mean that the man is opposed to the annexation. Protest proceedings must culminate in a public hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. When these and other qualifications have been met, LAFCO can issue an order of annexation and a certificate of completion that will finalize the annexation.
Mayor Steve Conway was pleased by the news that LAFCO has approved the annexation. He said, “The Business Park is an important addition to our community which will provide job opportunities for our residents. I'd like to thank the council members, staff and consultants who spoke before the Commission and advocated for the annexation. Clearly their message was heard by the LAFCO Commission Board Members and I'm pleased a majority supported our efforts.”


Taylor Atkins, our reigning Miss California Teen will be leaving in a few weeks to compete for the title of Miss Teen USA 2008. Taylor’s competition begins in the Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island on the morning of Tuesday, August 12th and continues through the final evening of Saturday, August 16th when the beautiful Hilary Cruz, Miss Teen USA 2007 will crown the new title holder.
Accompanying Taylor for family support during her competition on Paradise Island will be her mother, Tamie Chessani who resides in Piru and her father, Todd Atkins who resides in Ventura. Also leaving on this monumental journey will be her grandmother Donna Chessani of Piru, whom to this day has never taken flight on an airplane to go anywhere and is now planning to travel out of the country none the less! This is one event that Grandma Donna would not dream of passing up to see Taylor vie for the national title.
Taylor will work very hard and is determined to do her best from the minute she steps foot on the beautiful tropical island to the final night of her competition. Upon her return on the following Monday, she will begin her senior year at Fillmore Senior High and will continue to exceed in her studies to graduate with high Honors.
Please wish Taylor the best of luck in her wonderful adventure and keep in mind that whatever happens in the Bahamas whether she will still reign as our Miss California Teen or becomes our next Miss Teen USA, we can truly expect to see Taylor come back home as the same “girl next door” ready to pursue what lies ahead in her future.
The following are Q & A’s Taylor provided: How old are you? I am sixteen years old. What city do you live in? I currently live in Piru. What school will you attend in the fall, and what grade will you be in? (if you are going to college in the fall, what college will you attend and what major?)
I will be a senior at Fillmore High School.
Where and when does the Miss Teen USA pageant take place? The Miss Teen USA pageant will take place on August 15th and 16th in the Bahamas. I will be arriving on the 12th to begin rehearsals and promotional events.
How many girls will you be competing against at this event? (52?)
I will be competing against 52 other girls, one from each state, including Hawaii and District of Columbia.
How do you feel about getting this far in the pageant? (this is a huge accomplishment to get this far: what does this mean to you?)
I find it absolutely amazing that I've made it this far because I'd never had the desire to enter in pageant before. Being that I entered on a whim, I am extremely grateful for everything that has happened to me since then and it means so much to me that I have gotten this far. I never thought I would be where I am today, and because of this, I am very proud of what I have accomplished.
For folks unfamiliar with what it takes, exactly, to make it this far in the pageant, what did it take for you to get this far?
I would say that the largest influence has been that of my family and friends. Their encouragement and support has been such a necessity for me, personally. They have given me the ability to stay levelheaded and sustain a positive attitude.
Regarding the Miss Teen USA Pageant: what will this particular competition involve/entail?
This pageant will include an interview portion with a panel of judges (this takes place before the actual show itself), swimsuit competition, evening gown competition, and if chosen as a top five finalist, an on-stage question.
How will you stand apart from the competition? (what is your "edge"? what makes you unique?)
Being that I've only been in two pageants, I would say that I have a very fresh outlook. In addition, I am currently the ambassador for "Network For a Healthy California: Champions For Change". This position enables me to travel through the counties of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura educating elementary school children on nutrition and opting for healthier choices. Physical health is something that is extremely important to me and I love that I now have the opportunity to share that with others.
Please add anything else you'd like me to include in my story:
Regardless of what happens in this next pageant, I hope to continue to enrich the lives of others.

Out with Bad, in with Good
Shown left, Brine (salt) Discharging water softener (BAD); right, Ion Exchange water softener (GOOD). The City will buy your brine discharging water softener from you. Just call 805-524-1500 ext. 234 to get money for this system. If the approximately 400 citizens who have the brine softener turn them into the city, our sewer bills will not increase by $25 to $35 per month.
Out with Bad, in with Good Shown left, Brine (salt) Discharging water softener (BAD); right, Ion Exchange water softener (GOOD). The City will buy your brine discharging water softener from you. Just call 805-524-1500 ext. 234 to get money for this system. If the approximately 400 citizens who have the brine softener turn them into the city, our sewer bills will not increase by $25 to $35 per month.
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Mary Farkas led the City Chloride Control Committee in a productive, two hour meeting, Monday, at the Senior Center. Eleven volunteer Committee members worked diligently to find ways of ridding the city of brine discharging water softeners. Each of these devices puts one pound of salt into the city sewer system every day. It is estimated that about 450 city households are using these softeners, which means they deposit at least 450 pounds of salt into the system every day.

The State of California threatens severe fines against the city of Fillmore does not reduce the present chloride content to something under 100mg. At present the city is discharging water into the Santa Clara River with a chloride content of close to 140 mg. Eliminating the brine softeners will quickly bring the city into compliance with the new state regulations.

If the brine water softeners (those using salt) are not taken out, every Fillmore household
will have to pay an extra $21 a month. The fines are mandatory, and reach up to $50,000 per day against the city for non-compliance. The fix remains simple: Fillmore residents must stop
using brine softeners.

The city has a program to buyback these brine units, and the passage of Assembly Bill 2270
would make it unlawful to operate a brine discharging water softener. The Committee urges
everyone to vote yes on AB 2270 in November. A chloride level above 100 mg has been found to be detrimental to agriculture (particularly citrus and strawberries) and fish.

A strong effort is being undertaken by the Committee to inform the residents of Fillmore of the importance of halting the use of these brine softeners. Churches and social and business organizations will be contacted for assistance in getting out the word. The Committee urges all users of brine discharging water softeners to sell them back to the city, which will avoid making every household pay an additional $21 to $31 per month for water. Flyers, in English and Spanish, will be distributed around town in this effort.

United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency

The July 15, 2008 State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) meeting resulted in the approval of a Resolution which might allow Fillmore to borrow money for some water-related projects at a reduced annual rate.
The Fillmore Gazette received a publicity fax from Ventura County Supervisor John K. Flynn stating that the SWRCB had approved extended term financing for El Rio and Piru. His fax indicated that the EPA still had to approve the loans and that the loans were not available yet. He was probably referring to the following Resolution listed on the SWRCB Meeting Agenda as: "Consideration of a Resolution granting authority to the [SWRCB's] Executive Director to apply to the [U.S. EPA] to implement an Extended Term Financing program as part of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program." Judie Panneton at the SWRCB verified that the Resolution had been approved without any modifications. This Resolution might apply to the City of Fillmore.
An attachment to the SWRCB Meeting Agenda explains: "The SRF Program is a joint federal/state funded program designed to help California meet the goals of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The SRF Program provides below market rate financing for waste water and water recycling system improvements, correction of non-point source and storm water pollution problems, and implementation of estuary enhancement programs." This language seems to indicate that some of Fillmore’s storm drain and chloride problems might be addressed with SRF funds, but the SRF Fact Sheet specifies, “To be eligible for SRF loans, projects must be on the statewide SRF Priority List.” A preliminary version of this list, available online, includes the following projects in Fillmore: Fillmore Water Recycling Plant Replacement, Recycled Water Treatment Facility, Recycled Water Distribution System, and Desalting Plant Construction Project. The list also includes projects in Piru and El Rio.
According to the Agenda attachment, "Currently the SRF Program only finances projects for a maximum term of twenty years. CWA and the California Water Code (CWC), however, allow the Program to offer financing on longer terms if approved by U.S. EPA. Extended Term Financing (ETF) has been approved by U.S. EPA for several other states nationwide to reduce the debt service for disadvantaged communities." The Executive Director of the SWRCB is expected to submit the application for ETF to the U.S. EPA in late July, according to Panneton. The Agenda attachment notes, "Increasing the term of SRF financing from 20 to 30 years reduces the annual payment by approximately 25 percent."
There is a catch. As the Agenda attachment states, "ETF will only be offered to small, disadvantaged communities." The SWRCB defines small as "a community with a population of 20,000 persons or less." A report from the California Department of Finance indicates that as of January 1, 2008, Fillmore's population was almost 15,650 persons.
It is unclear whether Fillmore would qualify as disadvantaged under the SWRCB's definition, which will be used on its application to the U.S. EPA. There are two ways Fillmore could qualify as disadvantaged; both depend on the calculation of Fillmore's Median Household Income (MHI). According to the U.S. Census, Fillmore's MHI was $45,510 in 2000. The first way is if Fillmore has an MHI "equal to or less than 80 percent of the statewide MHI". estimates that in 2005 Fillmore's MHI was $51,000 and California's was $53,629. Those numbers are inconclusive, but suggest that Fillmore's MHI is closer to 95% of California's. The second way that Fillmore could qualify as disadvantaged would be if Fillmore paid "at least four percent of its MHI toward waste water rates". Without recent data and specific instructions for calculating waste water rates, it is difficult to determine whether Fillmore qualifies. In any case, the attachment stipulates, "Communities with an MHI greater than 80 percent of the statewide MHI applying for ETF solely on the basis that they pay more than four percent of their MHI on waste water rates must receive approval for ETF on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the State Water Board."
According to Fillmore Finance Director Barbara Smith, the City is currently paying back a loan from the SRF. It is a no-interest loan that the City received in 1993 and will finish paying off in 2014. Smith believes that the City might consider borrowing money from the SRF for NPDES and the Water Softening Plant, but stressed that there have not yet been any discussions about how to finance those items. She implied that such discussions would be premature at this point.
Public Works Director Bert Rapp was on vacation and not available for comment.