Fillmore resident and 2007 Fillmore High School graduate, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Lance Corporal (L/CPL) Andrew Lochelt, 19 years old, has arrived in Okinawa, Japan at Camp Foster. Camp Foster will be his new duty station for next couple of years. L/CPL Andrew Lochelt grew up in Fillmore and attended San Cayetano and Sespe Elementary Schools, Fillmore Middle School, Fillmore High School (FHS) and Ventura College prior to entering the USMC in July 2008 for a four-year tour of duty.

L/CPL Andrew Lochelt was very active within the Fillmore Community while growing up; he played Fillmore “T” Ball, Fillmore Little League Baseball, Raiders' Youth Football and was on the Fillmore Swim Team. He also played the trumpet for the Fillmore Middle School and Fillmore High School Band. His skill with the CONTINUED »


Most of those attending Tuesday night’s school board meeting wore black in protest of the recent decision to reassign Evalene Townend to a newly created position. Townend is dealing with credible allegations of serious misconduct relating to communications with a teacher’s union official.
Most of those attending Tuesday night’s school board meeting wore black in protest of the recent decision to reassign Evalene Townend to a newly created position. Townend is dealing with credible allegations of serious misconduct relating to communications with a teacher’s union official.
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Almost all seats were filled at Tuesday nights’ meeting of the Fillmore Unified School District board, as a retired teacher addressed the controversy regarding the reassignment of Evalene Townsend.

Townsend was Assistant Superintendent of Human resources, and was recently reassigned to the position of Director of Student Support Services and Special Projects. In an email sent to the Fillmore Gazette, dated September 9, 2009, Superintendent Jeff Sweeney said Townsend had requested a reassignment due to personal reasons.

Mary Ford, who retired as a teacher in the district in 2003, read a list of questions to the board concerning the new position that was created in light of budget cuts. “I am concerned how this will affect the employees and the community,” said Ford.

She pointed out the large number of people in the audience who chose to wear black to show their solidarity in opposing the decision to appoint Townsend to the new position. “We are doing this to mourn the death of integrity,” Ford added. Some district employees, unhappy over how the Townsend issue was handled by the board, said they were fearful of speaking up in public over concern of reprisals.

For more information regarding this issue see:
Mary Ford's Letter to the Editor
School Controversy Continues

District Awards
Board President John Garnica presented awards to outstanding district employees.

San Caytano principal, Jan Marhorlin introduced two nominees for the team award. Because of their dedication to the school and student improvement Inger Overton and CONTINUED »


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

100 Block Surrey Way
2nd St. / Central Ave.
600 Block Central Ave.
700 Block Ventura St.
900 Block First St.
200 Block Central Ave. CONTINUED »


To the Editor:
I was astonished to learn about the reassignment of Evalene Townend, the former Assistant Superintendent of Personnel for the Fillmore Unified School District. Mrs. Townend apparently will occupy a newly formed position. The District office is already overstaffed and budget problems have necessitated the cutting of teachers and staff. As a former employee of the District, and as a taxpaying member of this community, I am concerned about how this will affect the employees and students of Fillmore and Piru. Our community has many questions that need to be answered:

1. What are the allegations? The understanding within the community is that there is proof of serious misconduct.

2. What kind of investigation has been done? We understand that the District has done an investigation. How thorough was this inquiry? What were the results? Are other District personnel implicated? If serious misconduct is indicated, reassignment to a new position is a reward for bad behavior. What is the Board’s position on that?

3. Has law enforcement been involved or even notified since this is possible criminal activity?

4. How can a new position be justified? What is the salary? What funding sources will be used? CONTINUED »


09/10/09 Edition Front Page “Council Backs City Peace Day”. $22,000 was printed as $220,000. It should have read, “‘The initial investment for the newest technology system is $22,000.’ When member Gayle Washburn queried concern for new computer investment, ‘You can use the computers you have now.’ Minkx replied. City councilmember Jamey Brooks moved for a vote to purchase the Granicus System, with a second from Council Member Laurie Hernandez. All members voted in favor.”

U.S. Army Specialist Eleazar Lopez.
U.S. Army Specialist Eleazar Lopez.
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U.S. Army Specialist Eleazar Lopez.
U.S. Army Specialist Eleazar Lopez.
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Eleazar Lopez, 20 years old, is a 2007 Fillmore High School Graduate and Fillmore native. When I last wrote about Eleazar Lopez in June 2008 he said with enthusiasm, “I graduated with the greatest class ever!” Eleazar also attended Piru Elementary School and Fillmore Middle School. Eleazar was on the FHS Cross Country and Track and Field teams all 4 years at FHS. He also played the trumpet in the band from the 4th grade to his freshman year at FHS.

Eleazar soon after graduation from FHS enlisted in the United States Army on March 31, 2007 and completed his basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Eleazar also told me that he would like to become an Airborne Ranger and have an assignment in Hawaii, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, or Fort Stewart, Georgia. Well he did make it to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has been promoted to Army Specialist, and is now with the 82nd Airborne. Since June of this year, the 82nd Airborne Division has officially assumed command of of Regional Command-East, from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during a ceremony at Bagram Airfield on June 3, 2009. As the result of his assignment with the 82nd Airborne Division, Specialist Eleazar Lopez is now stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division as a light wheeled vehicle mechanic, but hopes to go to Airborne Training when he returns from Afghanistan.

The 82nd Airborne Division's Mission is: Within 18 hours of notification, the 82nd Airborne Division strategically deploys, conducts forcible entry parachute assault and secures key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interests. Not an easy mission, but one with men and women serving in that Division the quality of Fillmore's own Eleazar Lopez, I am confident will be accomplished.
Kandahar Province is one of the largest CONTINUED »


The Ventura County Watershed Protection District has stated that a section of the Sespe Creek Levee is deficient, and approximately 1,500 Fillmore homeowners will be required to purchase flood insurance by January 2010.

A public hearing will be held October 22 at the Fillmore Veterans Memorial Building on the required insurance and its cost.

Originally, 3,000 homes were included in a preliminary flood-zone map released by FEMA in May 2008.

According to Fillmore Public Works Director Bert Rapp the lower half of the flood zone, from Old Telegraph Rd. to Hwy 126 will not be certified until the levee is retrofitted. Rapp said the 1,500 homeowners can save considerable money by buying flood insurance before FEMA finalizes its Fillmore flood map, by January 20, 2010.

VCWPD staff has explained that flood insurance would be available until the end of 2009 at a reduced rate of $350 per year. Fillmore residents within the designated floodplain might be required by mortgage-holders to pay $1700 per year if they wait to buy insurance and the levee is not certified. Even if the levee is certified, as expected, the price for flood insurance will rise to $850 per year after 2009.

See flood map attached below.

Mayor Patti Walker, right, presented Oralia Herrera, left, and Sarah Hansen with a proclamation for their service.
Mayor Patti Walker, right, presented Oralia Herrera, left, and Sarah Hansen with a proclamation for their service.
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Pictured above Matt Minkx discussed the Granicus System at council Tuesday night.
Pictured above Matt Minkx discussed the Granicus System at council Tuesday night.
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City council members, guests and a community audience heard Mayor Patti Walker declare September 21, 2009, as the International Day of Peace in the city of Fillmore.

At the opening of the regular board session, Tuesday, September 8, 2009, Mayor Walker read the proclamation, then presented it to Ms. Sarah Hansen And Ms. Orelia Herrera, Soroptomist Club President.

Ms. Herrera announced that the celebration is scheduled for September 20, with a rummage sale Saturday on the Sespe School lawn. Donations from the community for the event are still welcomed.

Matt Minkx, a representative of Granicus Systems explained that the company services cities with records management software including Simi, Moorpark, Oxnard, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. He used a media presentation for the city of Pismo Beach to highlight a few electronic storage capabilities, which provide video streaming services.

Minkx stated that streaming services provide video taped meeting information any where in the world. He went on to say that agenda jackets, staff reports, minutes, votes, or any public issue could be easily searched out by community members. ”We house and store all of your video CONTINUED »


In a two-line email to the Gazette, dated September 9, Fillmore Unified School District Superintendent Jeff Sweeney has stated: “Evalene Townend has requested a reassignment from personnel responsibilities due to personal reasons. After careful consideration, I have granted her request for reassignment to a Director of Student Support Services and Special Projects.”

In order to take this action, a new title and a new position had to be created. This, at a time when teaching staff is being cut.

The Gazette has been thrust into a very bizarre scenario regarding Ms. Townend, ongoing for several months. Credible allegations of serious misconduct have been made against her, regarding false and inflammatory phone communications concerning a teachers union official, which has sparked legal activity.

The Gazette has learned that many teachers and other District employees, who are aware of the allegations, are outraged that stronger action has not been taken in this case. More information will be forthcoming in the near future. In the meantime, both the Superintendent and the Fillmore School Board have shown a marked reluctance to take meaningful action in this case. Though the Gazette has been interviewed by Mr. Sweeney and a private investigation firm employed by the School District law firm regarding this case, and has interviewed several highly credible witnesses, apparently regulations make it difficult for either the Board or our Superintendent to comment publically. In the event more information is not forthcoming from the District or the Board, the Gazette will release what information it has obtained.


With all of the problems and apprehension we are experiencing during these recent and challenging times, a number of groups have evolved that want to stand up and have their voices heard. If we agree with their message we consider them mainstream; if we disagree we consider them to be dissenters. The founders of this great country faced the same ordeal back in the 1700’s. Our citizens were being subjected to many laws, taxes, regulations and hardships administered by a heavy handed and somewhat unbending monarchy located thousands of miles away.

The result was a significantly large number of people gathering together to make known their feelings. Not all sought the same outcome. Some wanted to remain loyal British subjects while others desired to be governed by their own people in their new land. While it was certain that the bearers of both the philosophies were sincere and dedicated to their personal desires and individual loyalties, they ultimately came together and created the greatest groundswell of dissent of modern times. The results were The Declaration of Independence and the establishment of our nation.

The first statement of the Declaration declares “…a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them…” The ability to dissent has been an absolute CONTINUED »