Mayor Gayle Washburn presented Deputy Brian Hackworth (center) a proclamation for his services in Fillmore. Hackworth was also 2011 Officer of Year, (right) Fillmore Police Chief Monica McGrath.
Mayor Gayle Washburn presented Deputy Brian Hackworth (center) a proclamation for his services in Fillmore. Hackworth was also 2011 Officer of Year, (right) Fillmore Police Chief Monica McGrath.
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Fillmore citizen Allan Hair was presented with a proclamation for his service on the Fillmore Senior Center Board, at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Fillmore citizen Allan Hair was presented with a proclamation for his service on the Fillmore Senior Center Board, at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
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El Pescador Restaurant owner Jesus ‘Chuy’ Ortiz accepted a proclamation from the Fillmore City Council on Tuesday night recognizing the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: Fillmore Two Rivers Park Clean-Up sponsors and volunteers.
El Pescador Restaurant owner Jesus ‘Chuy’ Ortiz accepted a proclamation from the Fillmore City Council on Tuesday night recognizing the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: Fillmore Two Rivers Park Clean-Up sponsors and volunteers.
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Fillmore Fire Chief Rigo Landeros accepts a proclamation from Mayor Gayle Washburn on behalf of the City’s Public Works Department at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Fillmore Fire Chief Rigo Landeros accepts a proclamation from Mayor Gayle Washburn on behalf of the City’s Public Works Department at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
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There were a number of proclamations given out at Tuesday’s Fillmore City Council Meeting along with a long awaited Council approval to pay for the gate to the Fillmore High School running track. Also, there was a presentation on the new meters being installed by Southern California Edison (SCE) and a status report on the Tobacco Awareness Program.

After years of going back and forth between the City Council and the School Board funding for the gate was given a vote of approval by the Council. Councilmember A. Eduardo Gonzalez brought it to a vote acknowledging there was no guarantee that the City would be reimbursed by the various clubs that promised to do future fundraising to pay for it. The vote was 4-1 with Mayor Gayle Washburn the only No vote.

Anna M. Frutos-Sanchez from SCE gave a presentation on an item that will have an impact on anyone who pays a residential electric bill. Edison’s Smart-Meter is replacing the mechanical meters that have been around for decades. The new digital meters use wireless technology to transmit encrypted information on electricity use and are being installed as part of the “smart” grid initiative, spearheaded by technology firms and backed by the Obama administration and the Department of Energy.

In addition to the Smart-Meter there is the Edison SmartConnect program designed to give customers more information, and in the future allows customers with communicating, energy-smart thermostats and appliances to automatically respond during critical peak pricing and grid reliability events. But this comes with a price; customers will see a 1.6% increase in rates during the program’s four-year installation period.

Edison has installed 3.9 million meters in other areas around the State since September 2009 and will start in Ventura County in March. When the meter is replaced there is a brief five minute power outage and any household with medical equipment or life support equipment needs to contact Edison beforehand.

Not everyone is happy about this latest form of progress. Several people voiced concerned about reports citing people with sensitivity to electromagnetic and radio frequency having experienced headaches, nausea, trouble sleeping and other medical problems that the smart meters may cause.

Others have concerns about privacy issues. The technology is so sophisticated the meters can individually identify electrical devices inside homes and record when they are being operated, then record and store databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored. This reveals activities such as when residents are home, sleeping, on vacation, etc.

Residents in some areas served by Pacific Gas and Electric are opposing the installation and other counties have banned their installation altogether. In some cases PG&E has reversed course, replacing the ‘smart’ meters of those customers reporting health impacts with the old analog version.

On February 1, 2012 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) modified PG&E’s Smart meter program to include an analog meter option for residential customers who do not wish to have a smart meter installed at their location. There is an initial fee of $75 to opt-out and a monthly charge of $10. CARE customers (a reduced rate program for low income households) have an initial fee of $10 along with a monthly charge of $5 to opt-out.

Edison is actively participating in the CPUC’s ongoing opt-out process for residential customers and those who do not have a smart meter installed can delay installation by contacting SCE at (800) 810-2369.

There were four proclamations given out, starting with Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Hackworth who is transferring from Fillmore’s Sheriffs to the Sheriff’s Civil Division. Hackworth, a Fillmore resident, was the 2011 Officer of the Year and trained 80% of Fillmore’s Sheriffs’ workforce.

Next to be recognized was resigning Senior Center Board Member and volunteer Allan Hair for five years of service that helped revive the center. Donna Boelker, President of the Board, also presented Hair with a proclamation. Boelker stated, “Allan has been a blessing in so many ways…someone you can rely on.” Hair spoke from the heart and invited all the seniors to visit the center and added, “Through Scott Lee I learned what it’s like to be involved.”

The volunteers for Martin Luther King Day of Service received the next proclamation. Many of Fillmore’s best young people come out and lent a helping hand doing clean-up. Some of those young people were Daniel Gonzalez, Luis Cruz, Marysol Rojo, Adriana Zamora and Iris Villalobos from One Step a La Vez. There was also a great group of volunteers from the Boys and Girls Club and sponsors like Cabrillo Economic Development, El Pescador, Starbucks, Francisco’s Fruit, Fillmore Water Store and others.

The Council also wanted to thank the Public Works Department with a proclamation for all they do; like coming out at 4:00am to fix a water leak. Fire Captain Rigo Landeros accepted on the Public Works’ behalf.

Christina Villasenor from the Fillmore Family Coalition and Alejandro Elias with the Ventura County Department of Public Health gave a status report on the Tobacco Awareness Program for retailers. According to their research 20% of Fillmore retailers selling tobacco items are selling to children under 18, which is a violation of Penal Code 308. There was originally a proposal to create an ordinance to help curb sales to minors but it was rejected and instead an education program by the Public Health staff was agreed upon. Villasenor told the Council, “We don’t want to punish (retailers), we just want compliance.”

Robert Smith was appointed to a four year term on the Planning Commission on October 2011 for a term that would expire three months later on January 26, 2012. Applications for the position were advertised in the January 26, 2012 edition of the Fillmore Gazette; only one application was received and it was from Robert Smith for re-appointment.

Community Development Director Kevin McSweeney presented the Council with answers to questions on a zoning ordinance amendment allowing larger signs on businesses and permit streamlining that were brought forth during the January 25th Town Hall Meeting. McSweeney told the Council his department is working on streamlining the permits process and changes have been made. For example, simple projects like patio covers that used to take 1-2 weeks for approval can now be issued in one day. Changes to the one-third retail requirement on Central are also being discussed and considered.

McSweeney said a change in signage would require a great deal more and could cost as much as $30,000. Of concern was the first block just north of Highway 126 on Central. It was described by a Council Member as blighted and they repeated comments made by visitors stating they thought it was a street of abandoned buildings. There was concern by the Council for the businesses and the impact on having to replace a sign that could still be usable; but there are also rules of abandonment when a business has not used a sign for over six months which falls under code enforcement. But, code enforcement is one of the departments that may be cut back severely due to the City’s financial problems. The Koffee Kiosk on Highway 126 is an example of an abandoned business sign. Councilmember Steve Conaway stated, “I’m concerned with the cost of this…I’d like to hear from the businesses.”

 
Family and friends attended a memorial vigil across from Starbucks Friday, to commemorate the death of Sergio
Mendez who was killed in a bizarre accident. Pictured (l-r) Belen Burgos, Nathalie Bagasso Miliken, Cinthya Mendez, and Clara Quimbayo.
Family and friends attended a memorial vigil across from Starbucks Friday, to commemorate the death of Sergio Mendez who was killed in a bizarre accident. Pictured (l-r) Belen Burgos, Nathalie Bagasso Miliken, Cinthya Mendez, and Clara Quimbayo.
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A memorial vigil attended by family and friends of Sergio Mendez took place Friday evening across from Starbucks. Mendez, a former Marine, was sitting in the Fillmore Starbucks on December 13, 2011 when a vehicle traveling at high speed smashed through the building pinning him against an interior wall. Mendez died shortly thereafter during surgery at Ventura County Medical Center.

Mendez aunts, Clara Quimbayo and Belen Burgos, told interviewers that they were seeking an “impartial investigation of what happened.” They are concerned that the investigation may be biased due to the fact that the
driver, Michael Cedarland, is a Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy, off duty at the time of the accident.

Two months have passed since the incident and very few facts have been released, except for reports that “neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the crash.” The possibility of loss of consciousness is being investigated.

The vehicle, westbound on Highway 126, crossed two lanes of traffic, jumped a curb, tore through a short hedge and traveled 130 yards through a parking lot before crashing through the east wall of Starbucks.

Reports stated that family members were waiting for word from Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten’s office as to whether or not criminal charges would be filed.

 
 
Monday night the Fillmore Lions Club held their Annual Speaker Contest. Pictured (l-r) Speaker winner Roberto Munoz with Nick Johnson, Marissa Dorantes, Jovanny Bravo, Darian Binkley, Wesley Brecheen.
Monday night the Fillmore Lions Club held their Annual Speaker Contest. Pictured (l-r) Speaker winner Roberto Munoz with Nick Johnson, Marissa Dorantes, Jovanny Bravo, Darian Binkley, Wesley Brecheen.
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Roberto Munoz, a senior at Fillmore High School, took first place for a third year in a row at the Fillmore Lions Club Speaker Contest.
Roberto Munoz, a senior at Fillmore High School, took first place for a third year in a row at the Fillmore Lions Club Speaker Contest.

On Monday, February 6 the 75™ Annual Lions student speaker contest was held at the scout house with over 50 Lions, speakers, friends and family present.

The topic on which they spoke about was “What could the America of yesterday teach the America of tomorrow?"
Roberto Munoz wins his third Lions Club speech contest in a row. Robby, a senior at Fillmore High School, he will move on to speak against other winners of Lion's Club contest at the zone 8 contest probably in Camarillo. The date and exact place were not available at this time. Robby won $75 and will move on in his quest to win over $21,000 in college scholarships. Robby has applied to Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, U.C. Berkeley among other schools. Bill Edmonds, Lions Club speaker contest chairman, credits F.H.S. drama teacher Josh Overton and English teacher Jennifer Fitzpatrick for the success of the contest this year. Five of the speakers were from Ms. Fitzpatrick’s sophmore English class. The other speakers were Nick Johnson, Marissa Dorantes, Darian Binkley, and Wesley brecheen and Jovanny Bravo. All are tenth graders except for Wesley who is a ninth grader.
The judges for the contest were the Rev. Dr. Harvey Guthrie, Dr. Cynthia king and Pat Alto. Rev. Guthrie and Ms. Alto were former speaker contestants and winners themselves. Dr. King is an instructor at Cal State Channel Islands.

 
Cecelia Cuevas
Cecelia Cuevas

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments. M. Cecelia Cuevas, 48, of Fillmore, has been appointed to the 31st District Agricultural Association, Ventura County Fair Board. Cuevas has been a senior financial advisor for Merrill Lynch since 2004. She was director of development and communications for the American Red Cross of Ventura County from 2002 to 2004 and development director for the Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence from 1997 to 2002. She has served as mayor pro-tem for the City of Fillmore from 2006 to 2008 and city councilmember from 2000 to 2006. Cuevas is the immediate past president of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Cuevas is a Democrat.

 
Boardmember John Garnica presents Jan Marholin with a Certificate of Appreciation at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Boardmember John Garnica presents Jan Marholin with a Certificate of Appreciation at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Tuesday’s Fillmore Unified School Districts (FUSD) Board Meeting went into great detail about the needed changes to start next year. The District has been failing and needing improvement for 10 years. Along with discussing the Common Core Standards also on agenda were recognizing Jan Marholin for her years of work with the District, the hard facts of the school budget, a report on the Math Task Force, and during public comment someone spoke on the morale the teachers at FUSD.

The required level of performance for all California schools will be changing and that couldn’t come too soon for FUSD, which has seen a decline in its academic achievement for the past 10 year. The changes called the Common Core Standards (CCS), which California adopted in August of last year, are expected to improve academic achievement and help students learn the knowledge and skills needed to succeed after graduation. The CCS is a national education standard that will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students throughout the country regardless of where they live. This new approach replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which left most decisions up to the individual states in determining what needed to be taught, how they should test, and what levels of achievement determines proficiency. State’s standards varied significantly and NCLB was not effective in many states. The new CCS is consistent and much more rigorous than what students were expected to achieve with NCLB. CCS stresses language and math skills with changes in focus and concepts of how to achieve success. The new standards require classes such as history, science, social studies, technical subjects also take part in teaching the students language skills in addition to what they learn in English class. California has added an additional 15% to its standards which include such subjects as penmanship for grades 2-4, phonics, word analysis skills in grades k-3, operations and algebraic thinking in grade 2. Assistant Superintendent Michael Johnson described the standards as “…teaching fewer concepts but in greater depth.” Another change is that students are not to just sit and listen to the teacher; they are encouraged to talk more with the expectation of improving their communication skills. For every two minutes a teacher speaks the students are expected to speak one minute.

FUSD is taking a step forward by implementing the CCS into the next school year’s teaching curriculum and not waiting until 2014 when it will be required. In addition FUSD’s Task Force, which is being designed this year, will be ready to assist in applying the teaching standards. The Task Force goals are to create standard pacing guides that each grade uses throughout the District, no matter which school a student attends. All students will be required to learn exactly what others in their grade are studying. Both staff and faculty are working hard to have both the CCS and the Task Force pacing guides ready to be used next semester. Johnson commented that he was told, “No one in the County [Ventura] is doing a whole school district to address the Common Core Standards.”

Dr. Ellen Green, principal of Fillmore Middle School (FMS) along with Jeremy MacMahan and George Fisher, gave a report on the Math Task Force and the new classes to be available. FMS will offer geometry next year for student wanting to move forward with math. Students taking the class and receiving a passing grade will have their work counted toward the three years of math requirement for college acceptance. Green said grading policy, tests and quizzes will be the same across the campuses with an emphasis on checking to make sure the student understands,… “because math is like building blocks and all aspects must be understood. The Middle School has a tremendous opportunity to do something; our students will start to appreciate math…. I’m so proud to be part of the changes.” Study guides will be published on the school website along with online testing. There are 40-50 students now taking Algebra at FMS who will be ready to move forward with geometry when it’s offered.

Johnson said the rigor of what’s expected of the students has increased greatly. To address those students who, during the transition, are not up to speed, a bridge program will be set up that will work with them for three hours a day, for 20 days.

There will also be some changes for those students who do not pass the exit exam. The exam is given in the 10th grade and those that do not pass are allowed to retake it until they pass. But some who have continued to fail and never pass are still allowed to walk during graduation. FUSD Superintendent Dr. Alan Nishino announced that this practice will not be permitted starting 2016 (which are now 8th graders); all students who have not passed the exit exam will not be allowed to walk in the graduation’s ceremony.

Michael Bush discussed the financial problems the District is facing. Governor Brown’s proposed 2012-13 budget reductions could add up to $2,771,410 which will have a very negative impact of FUSD. There will be no cost of living raises this year. FUSD teachers have already received 10 furlough days from 185 days to 175 days. Nishino stated, “It’s even worse than I’d anticipated. One and a half million this year and if the tax initiative doesn’t go through it will be even worse…. I think we’re at a crossroads of what education will be.” Bush went on to explain the expected tax increase is to pay off the State’s debt and if passed it will not benefit the kids or schools.

Lisa Fluke, a teacher at FUSD for ten years, addressed the School Board with what she said is a lowering of morale among teachers at FUSD. Fluke stated that the new Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent have helped put some exceptional tools in place for the teachers, and the teachers “…seem to be excited to help improve our schools and teaching methods. This would all be very wonderful, if not for the way their message is delivered to the faculty.” She went on to say, “There is a lack of respect and appreciation from these administrators at a level that I have never experienced. I cannot tell you how many teachers I have heard say they have never felt so devalued or disrespected. These are teachers that have taught for 20 or 30 years. My concerns started with the first committee meeting of the year I attended. Mr. Johnson led an inspirational meeting, showed an inspiring 60 minute piece and discussed some very motivational changes he intended to put into place. I was excited and ready to give 100%. At the end of his presentation, he told us there would be those that would not be onboard. He told us there was a plan for those teachers too. He then used the term ‘insubordinate.’ I have heard that term used as a method to get compliance more in the last eight to nine months than I have in my entire life. There are many teachers that would love to speak up, but fear the repercussion…It is disheartening to see so many teachers feeling beaten down…I am hoping that the school board members will find the time to go into the schools and talk with some of the teachers.”

Jan Marholin, who resigned at the end of last year to take a job as CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita, was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation and clock in recognition of her eight years as the principal of San Cayetano Elementary School. Jan Lee, who replaced Marholin, was also welcomed by the Board and staff as the new principal.

Due to safety concerns the Board approved San Cayetano School request for an eight foot high ornamental iron security fence costing $24,468 that will extend where presently there isn’t any fencing. Ten thousand of the cost will be paid out of monies that were leftover from the modernization fund and the remaining to be paid by an insurance reimbursement.

 

 
A westward view of the Fillmore bridge crossing Sespe Creek shows the recent cleanout of rock and debris at the center. Upland Rock has completed the work of grading and removing debris which accumulated over the years at the center of the bridge. The rock presents a flood threat for the western part of the city.
A westward view of the Fillmore bridge crossing Sespe Creek shows the recent cleanout of rock and debris at the center. Upland Rock has completed the work of grading and removing debris which accumulated over the years at the center of the bridge. The rock presents a flood threat for the western part of the city.
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Sespe Creek is getting a great deal of attention these days. In addition to the Ventura Watershed Protection District putting in a new levee, Upland Rock at Sespe Creek is also working on removing the large amount of collected debris blocking the channel under the east Sespe Creek bridge located on Highway 126.

Sespe Creek, which originates above 5,000 feet elevation in the Los Padre National Forest, drains a major portion of the Sierra Madre Mountains and 342 acre of Sespe Wilderness into the Santa Clara River. The name Sespe can be traced to the Chumash Indian village, called Cepsey or Sek-pe in a 1791 California land grant. It was important to the native tribe, which foraged and hunted along the creek. Sespe Creek is the largest of the 30 tributary creeks running into the Santa Clara River, which is the longest relatively natural river remaining in Southern California.

The Sespe is 51 miles long and joins the Santa Clara River in Fillmore through an east and west channel that both cross Highway 126. But, according to James Sandoval, owner of Sespe Materials (the company that mined the creek for many years), a significant flood years back diverted the water’s flow to the east channel. Sandoval, at the time, wanted to restore the flow to the west channel, but a Fillmore homeowner refused him needed access to do the work. Sandoval said, “It has been at least 20 years since the west channel has flowed.”

The County of Ventura has designed and mapped out all rivers and creeks that flow within its boundaries which includes Sespe Creek. But in the past decade, several fires have burned hundreds of acres of the dense chaparral around Sespe’s watershed and the creek has been laden with considerable sedimentation which fills in many of the deep pools that the lower Sespe is known for. The debris and sediment deposits under the Highway 126 west Sespe Creek overpass (which is long and wide enough to accommodate two lanes in each direction plus and ample median and shoulders) are preventing a proper flow and shifting the streambed in both left and right directions of the designated map. This is also causing flooding of the ranches along its banks. Some areas of debris, which includes sand, rock and vegetation, have reached over nine feet high with the creek itself 14 feet above grade.

One of the main culprits causing problems is the non-native plant Arundo, which has taken over large areas of both Sespe Creek and the Santa Clara River. A tall perennial, cane-like grass that resembles bamboo, Arundo is an invasive species that during flooding rhizomes break off and travel downstream where it continues to invade due to its aggressive growth and ability to survive. Once Arundo is established the area requires continual costly cleanup and maintenance because it creates a fire hazard, flood hazard, sedimentation, and erosion. The plant collects at bridges, drainage pipes and other flood control structures, causing compromised functioning and in some instances structure failure along with degrading the natural resources. As the plant spreads the areas stop functioning as native systems. The entire ecological cycle of the riparian system is impacted which includes the habitat that plants, birds, fish, animals and insects rely on.

A number of agencies (Cal Trans, Ventura County Watershed Protection Dept., California Fish and Game, just to name a few) have a responsibility for keeping the Sespe water flowing properly, but because of the expense involved it is not a high priority. To Fillmore it is a safety issue, which is a high priority. Flooding creek waters can move boulders as large as 20,000 lb creating dammed up areas and flooding, but it is also a danger to bridges or any other structure in the way. The trusses supporting the Sespe Creek overpass have already sustained damage in the past due to buildup and were repaired by Sandoval. Because of the financial state of both the State of California and Ventura County, the funding for cleaning out the creek is put at the bottom of the list. Many municipalities have started looking to partner with private companies to help offset the costs.

This is where Mike Grabowski and Rocky Dreher, owners of Upland Rock steps in; opening up the Sespe Creek channel helps the environmental habitat by extracting the marketable material (boulders, gravel and sand) for sale to local businesses, and helps lower the costs to those responsible municipalities. But, growing environmental concerns and opposition to mining have had an impact on the mining industry and a loss of local mining business in Ventura County. Rock and sand materials have for years been transported from mining companies extracting materials from the deserts of Palmdale and Lancaster; but transportation adds to the cost of those materials. Today’s approach to mining is more environmentally friendly but there is still a need to supply the growing demand for materials at a cost the consumer and taxpayer can afford. Having Upland Rock as a local supplier brings down transportation costs of the materials used to build our local roads, bridges, building, homes and numerous other applications.

Taking on such a project is not a simple task due to the numerous municipalities involved and all the regulations. Biological monitoring is required prior to disturbing the site as well as a biologist on site, at a cost of $1,000 per day, while work is being preformed.

The confluence of Sespe Creek with the Santa Clara River provides an important connection to upland systems and migration of the wildlife that depend on a free flowing waterway. Any disturbance of the creek brings environmental issues of protecting a number of endangered species such as the Arroyo toad, California Red-legged Frog, California Condor, Southern Steelhead Trout, songbirds Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and Least Bell’s Vireo. Currently, most of the creek is closed to fishing due to efforts to reestablish a Steelhead run.

Before Upland Rock could proceed with the cleaning out the creek an extensive list of engineering and environmental studies had to be prepared and approved. These included: Conditional Use Permit approved by the Ventura County Resource Management Agency; Reclamation Plan and Financial Assurance Bond approved by the California Department of Conservation, Office of Mine Reclamation; Section 404 Permit approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Special conditions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service were incorporated into the project to reduce the impacts to steelhead trout that migrates up the Santa Clara River to spawn in Sespe Creek and other critical habitat; Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement approved by the California Department of Fish and Game, which includes a Mitigation, Re-vegetation and Biological Protection Plan; Water Quality Certification approved by the California Regional Water Quality Control; Encroachment Permit approved by the Ventura County Watershed Protection District; Encroachment Permit approved by the California Department of Transportation; Permit to Operate approved by the Ventura County Air Pollution Control Board.

Each of these municipalities with their own concerns and regulations rarely communicate with each. To get all the agencies “talking” to one another Upland Rock hired Sespe Consulting added an additional 40% to the projects operational costs.

Regulations require the work can only be done when the water is 75 degrees or above (the water in Sespe Creek can warm by 20 degrees over the course of the day) and the creek’s flow is low, leaving few days or hours to work on the project, usually the only months when work can be done is November through December.

Snow pack and year-round running springs supply the stream with a constant flow. Historically the highest crests have been January through March with February 10, 1978 recording the highest at 22.40 feet and the lowest level on record was 3.44 feet on September 1, 2004. Upland Rock started the project the week before Thanksgiving and was given 15 days to complete it with a one week extension for just cleaning up and no mining.

In addition to all of the agency approvals, environmental mandates require that the water may not be disturbed by the project. To accommodate this, railroad cars, which are strong enough to care a heavy load, were stripped of their siding and the undercarriage used to create bridges over the streambed to carry the 35 ton equipment needed to extract the rock and sand. Also no chlorinated water may be added to the creek, only the creeks water may be used to wash the materials and equipment, so pumping equipment for that purpose needed to be brought in and used.

The vegetation along the creek consists of typical riparian species such as Willow and Cottonwood which Upland Rock carefully harvests and propagates into containers for replanting when the work is completed.

During the Nov-Dec 2011 phase over 100,000 cubic yards of material was extracted, but with the creek still being 14 feet above grade, a great deal of material needs to be extracted in the future. Upland Rock will be returning in December of this year to start phase 2.

This is not the first time the debris has been cleaned out. Sandoval, who also owns Blue Star Materials in Moorpark, had done the cleanup from 1992 through 2010. Last year Upland Rock took over the remaining six years of a 25 year Conditional Use Permit originally issued to Sandoval and will continue the cleanup for the permit’s remaining five years, as long as the price of rock and sand make it financially feasible. The cost for Upland Rock to take over the project was $150,000. If Upland Rock had not taken over the project from Sandoval and had to start from the beginning the costs would have been between $200,000- $500,000 and probably not something the company would have considered taking on.

 
Brian Ball of Fillmore crosses the finish line at the U.S. Olympic Marathon.
Brian Ball of Fillmore crosses the finish line at the U.S. Olympic Marathon.
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On Saturday, January 14, 2012 Brian Ball, a 2003 graduate of Fillmore High School, competed in his first Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, TX. On race day 123 athletes were registered to run and out of that group 114 showed up at the start. Only 85 runners completed the race. Brian finished in 39th place with a time of 2:17.38. He is the training partner of 2004 silver medalist and 2009 New York City Marathon Champion, Meb Keflezighi who won the Trials and will compete in his third Olympics. Brian has been training for the last three years in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

Brian started his running journey in high school as a sprinter/middle distance runner competing primarily in the 200 and 400-meter events. He ran cross- country his senior year to get in shape for track season. He was the number three or four man on a team that won league and got second at the state meet.

During college at BIOLA University, he ran cross- country and track. He was injured his first track season but began his second year running the 800/1500. His final two seasons he competed in the 5k and 3000-meter steeplechase. He was a six time NAIA All American (3 years cross country/ 3 years track) while at BIOLA.

After a successful college career, he still had the desire to compete and felt he hadn’t reached his potential. With the encouragement of his parents, he headed off for Mammoth Lakes to train in altitude. Not knowing anyone, he trained alone for a month before he saw some of the Mammoth Track Club runners and was invited to a work out. Josh Cox, Olympians Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Dan Browne a former Westpoint graduate and current Major in the US Army accepted Brian into their group. He has trained primarily with Meb and Dan the past three years with the help of former Hall of Fame Coach at UCLA, Bob Larsen. Bob has coached Meb since his college days at UCLA. Brian feels very blessed to have Meb and Dan as friends that share his Christian faith and a common interest in running. They have become his mentors.

 
Pictured (l-r) front to back: Michael Topete, Armando Vidal, Javier Salgado, Tyler Hackworth, Eddie Gutierrez, Josefina Fernandez, Christian Robledo, Alan Galvan, Briana Vazquez, Jessica Givan, Daisy Villa, Zachary Saint Pierre, Khristian Felix, Brandon Pina, Daniel Flores, Miguel Salgado, and Maria Salgado. Vidal also placed 2nd in the 3 mile run. The whole unit placed 4th in the “Rapid Response Scenario”.
Pictured (l-r) front to back: Michael Topete, Armando Vidal, Javier Salgado, Tyler Hackworth, Eddie Gutierrez, Josefina Fernandez, Christian Robledo, Alan Galvan, Briana Vazquez, Jessica Givan, Daisy Villa, Zachary Saint Pierre, Khristian Felix, Brandon Pina, Daniel Flores, Miguel Salgado, and Maria Salgado. Vidal also placed 2nd in the 3 mile run. The whole unit placed 4th in the “Rapid Response Scenario”.
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For the past 14 years, the Chandler Police Department has hosted a Tactical Explorer Competition. The event has become so popular that the number of Explorer Posts that can participate is limited to 65. Explorer posts throughout the Country travel to Chandler to compete.

Three Explorer Posts from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office competed this year: Headquarters Station Post #2902, Camarillo Post #2932, and Fillmore Post #2958. The Explorer Scouts participated in a variety of pseudo SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) scenarios.

The Explorers from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office were awarded the following trophies. Post #2902: 1st Place – Tug o’ War, 1st Place – Marijuana Field Raid, and 5th Place – EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Response; Post #2932: 5th Place – 10 Man TK-4 (Armored Vehicle) Pull; and Post #2958: 4th Place – Rapid Response (Active Shooter) and 2nd Place – 3-Mile Run, which is an individual event completed by Armando Fidal.
Enforcement Career Exploring is open to young men and women ages 14 (and completed the 8th grade) through 20 years old with an interest in learning more about careers in the field of Law Enforcement. Law Enforcement Exploring provides educational training programs for young adults on the purposes, mission, and objectives of law enforcement. The program provides career orientation experiences, leadership opportunities, and community service activities. The primary goals of the program are to help young adults choose a career path within law enforcement and to challenge them to become responsible citizens of their communities and the nation.

Each Explorer Post is affiliated with a law enforcement agency and Learning for Life, which is a branch of Boy Scouts of America. Many law enforcement agencies support the Explorer Program it provides an opportunity for youths to have a positive impact on their communities as well as develop future peace officers and good citizens and leaders.

For more information about the Explorer Program for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, please contact one of the following Advisors: Headquarters – Deputy Sara Valenzuela (805) 654-2364, Ojai – Deputy Quincy Knowlton (805) 646-1414, Fillmore – Senior Deputy Mario Aguilar (805) 524-2233, Camarillo – SST (Sheriff’s Service Technician) Todd Eskridge (805) 388-5129, Thousand Oaks – Senior Deputy William Hutton (805) 497-2351, and Moorpark – Deputy Claudia Holden (805) 532-2700.

 
Council members sat in a large circle with audience members at the
Council members sat in a large circle with audience members at the "Town Hall" style meeting.
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(top to bottom) Former Fillmore City Manager, Roy Payne, and current City Manager, Yvonne Quiring. Editor's Comment:
(top to bottom) Former Fillmore City Manager, Roy Payne, and current City Manager, Yvonne Quiring. Editor's Comment: "Roy built the city for 20 years; Yvonne stirs the ashes. If Roy and Bert Rapp were here again, and the Katzenjammers gone, Fillmore would rise again from those ashes."
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Unlike most Fillmore City Council meetings, this one, held Tuesday, was much more relaxed and used a roundtable setting with the Council Members seated among those in attendance. Many spoke of the comfortable atmosphere and thanked Councilmember Brian Sipes for suggesting it.

There were a number of items on City Council/Town Hall Meeting agenda which included the: Sespe Creek Levee, the Business Park, Redevelopment Agency/Budget, the high school running track, Economic Development, and VC Alert System (see “Ventura County replaces and upgrades reverse 911 system” – front page).

Peter Sheydayi and Norma Camacho from the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (VCWPD) gave a presentation on future plans for addressing the FEMA 100 year flood hazard zone in Fillmore and bringing the standards up to meet today’s required federal flood protection. The contributing factors impacting Sespe Creek that make the new upgrade necessary are; peak flow rates have increased by 35% compared to the original levee design, shift in the dominant alluvial channel in the active streambed from west to east fork, active channel subject to resetting after major storm events, long-term sediment deposition and local erosion.

There are two sections of the flood area that do not meet today’s higher standards and require improvement. This includes having a minimum of three feet freeboard (safety factor) above the Base Flood along the length of the levee and an additional one foot within 100 feet of structures—such as bridges or wherever flow is restricted. All systems must also have closure devices that are structural parts of the system during operation and no appreciable erosion of the levee embankment can be expected during a Base Flood. The existing levee was completed in 1981 and the largest flood on record to pass through occurred on January 10, 2005 and reached the peak. Research has shown that the levee below Old Telegraph would be overtopped during a large storm event.

To bring it up to standards the project will take 30-45 days at a cost of $1,528,000 which would normally be paid by the City. But with the financial problems the City is dealing with there aren’t funds available for the project. Fillmore City Manager Yvonne Quiring spoke to VCWPD and explained the hard financial situation the town is facing. The VCWPD did the town a service and applied for a $2.8m grant to cover the project, which also includes restoring any damage done during the project. When the project is completed FEMA will do a revision of Fillmore’s flood plane map. Council Member Jamey Brooks told the representatives, “On behalf of the homeowners I’d like to thank you.”

Rod MacDonald with KDF Communities spoke to the Council on the need to bring businesses to Fillmore. He said of the lack of undeveloped commercial property in the County, due to the Save Our Agricultural Resources Act (SOAR), Fillmore has a great deal of land that is still available at half the price of other towns like Valencia. MacDonald said Fillmore needs to establish itself as an industrial area adding, “Fillmore is untested on Hwy 126 and has tremendous opportunity…. with a workforce that is available.” MacDonald went on to say, “Fillmore is the most beautiful area I’ve seen in Southern California……what it doesn’t have is jobs….you need to put the flag up and say you’re business friendly…we don’t need a lot of bureaucracy or push back.” He reminded the Council that the City reached out for this project and paid for the Environmental Impact Report adding it was a tremendous endeavor by the City; the City realized jobs were needed here. MacDonald also spoke of the need for continuity and what a great loss it was when of Bert Rapp resigned along with so many of those who had knowledge of Fillmore’s past and present development projects including the Business Park. Continuity is important, he told the Council.

Former City Manager Roy Payne spoke in regards to the Business Park, saying that Fillmore is ahead of the game this time since everything has been approved and stated, “I am confident we are ready to move forward.”

Bruce Stenslie from the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura (EDCV) addressed the Council and also spoke of the need to attract more business to Fillmore and what the EDCV has to offer such as financing loans. They are also working on expanding the film industry outreach in the County and have a new website http://venturacountyfilm411.org/.

Quiring gave an updated presentation on the budget and what is known of Gov. Brown abolishing all Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and the required liquidation of all its assets. According to Quiring and many others it was done by Brown in retaliation of Prop. 22 which was passed by voters and took away the States ability to siphon off revenue generated from the RDA’s.

She gave a breakdown of where Fillmore’s General Fund receives monies and where that money goes. The largest source of revenue is property taxes which brings in $1.9 million. The remaining sources are: sales tax $670,000, fees for services $468,000 (approx. $200,000 development related), Franchise fees $331,000, license and permits $14k, grants $99,000, Transportation Occupancy Tax, fines and forfeitures $62,500.

The services provided by the General Fund are: Police/Sheriffs $3.1 million, Fire Dept. $785,000, Parks $100-$150,000, Recreation and Pool subsidy $100,000, Finance/City Attorney/City Manager/City Council, Community Development (Planning), Public Works (streets, trees, sidewalks).

Quiring explained the four main issues that have had a devastating impact on Fillmore’s finances: Expenses have risen faster than revenue, medical insurance costs went up 13%, cost of Police increased $250,000 in the past two years, and pension costs rose (employees are picking up increased costs this year).

The net impact to the General Fund after dissolving the RDA is not yet known. But the most pressing problem is that the General Fund received $864,000 from the RDA in the past. Instead, about $500,000 will be available, which is $364,000 less this year.

The City has cut $2.9 million and used its reserves in the last two years to balance the budget while today the General fund has seen a decrease of 40%. This year’s budget was balanced using $620,000 from the General Purpose Reserve with roughly $916,000 remaining. The RDA is paying $376,000 for salaries and benefits and $488,000 to the General Fund in transfers; the total comes to $864,000. The projected City deficit for fiscal year 2013 is $1.4 million. This would have a dramatic impact on Fillmore.

The cuts, if the City does see the $1.4 million deficit, would be to all non-supporting recreation programs: graffiti removal, police or contracting with another agency, fire services or let County provide protection, closing parks, no street repair, no tree trimming, reduced Code Enforcement and closing the pool.

Another item that brought a number of speakers to address the Council with their concerns was the installation of an access gate to the Fillmore High School running track. John Scoles told the Council there are many residents interested in the track and they are looking to the Council to solve this problem which has been an ongoing plea for 3 ½ years. He asked that the City go forward with the $8,000 financing of the access gate and agree to be reimbursed later by those using it. Mayor Gayle Washburn replied, “It boils down to funds, we don’t have the funds.” Scoles said there is a substantial number that would support the financing of the track. The revenue would come from the $25-$50 yearly dues runners would pay and the Sunrise Rotary Club would help with fundraising. Scoles stated, “I’m 70 years old, I’d like to use the track before I’m 73.”

Cindy Blatt representing the Rotary Club said they would take the lead to raise the funds and solicit other clubs to join in the fundraising. “Our goal is to raise the funds…that’s our commitment, and to start I’ll donate $100.”

Joan Archer spoke on how the issue of the track has been “bounced back and forth between the School Board and the City Council for over three years without resolution until recently when the school board approved a public access gate which they will install at an agreed upon location after the City pays for it. The next move is up to the City.” She went on to say that over the last three years the Aquatic Program has resulted in a deficiency of about $385,000 and that the city should reevaluate that program in light of the City’s financial situation. Archer stated that there isn’t a profit and loss analysis for the Lap Swim Program, which she stated an estimated 14-16 people participate in annually and although participants pay $4 per session, a pool manager and two lifeguards must be on duty at a combined rate of $38 per hour. “After learning what the revenue received from the Lap Swim Program was for the last three years, estimating the hours the pool was open during that time, and calculating the combined staff hourly rate of pay, I was able to determine that the operation of the program has resulted in a deficit of at least $16,000 over the last three years. If the City cannot afford a one-time expense of $8,000…that more than 150 citizens say they want, how can the City operate a Lap Swim Program…that has already cost the City at least $16,000 and is scheduled to reopen next month?” Archer asked the council.

Fire Captain Rigo Landeros announced the new VC Alert system that began this month replacing the Reverse 911 system. The new system will alert registered participants by email, text, cell phone, home phone, work phone, facsimile or instant messaging. There are three ways of registering: online at www.vcalert.org or calling 805 648-9283 or by mailing in the form that’s available at City Hall. In addition to emergency information those registered can receive messages regarding crime alerts, road closures, public meetings or other community events. They can choose the location to be contacted and receive information about their home, parent’s home, workplace or child’s school.

A correction to the January 10, 2012 article which stated the vote for the Council seat given to Eduardo Gonzalez was 3-1 with Sipes voting No. The correction is the vote was unanimous with all Council Members voting Yes for Gonzalez.

 
Fillmore Fire Captain Rigo Landeros speaks to the Fillmore Lions Club regarding upgrades for the Reverse 911 System.
Fillmore Fire Captain Rigo Landeros speaks to the Fillmore Lions Club regarding upgrades for the Reverse 911 System.

It has been announced that Ventura County, CA (and its nine municipalities, including the City of Fillmore, City of Camarillo, City of Moorpark, City of Ojai, City of Oxnard, City of Port Hueneme, City of Santa Paula, City of Thousand Oaks and City of Ventura) has replaced its Reverse 911 system with Everbridge SmartGIS. The County selected Everbridge for its performance, near infinite scale and interactive communications capabilities, which allow County officials to reliably gain situational intelligence from their more than 800,000 residents. In addition, Ventura introduced its new “VC Alert” citizen Web portal, powered by Everbridge SmartRegistration™, to provide residents with an advanced opt-in that will allow them to personalize which alerts they receive from city officials.

The next generation emergency and incident management solutions developed by Everbridge offer interactive communication capabilities that inform constituents and empower them to be part of the incident response and resolution lifecycle, thereby helping public safety officials make better decisions.

“With Everbridge, we now have a way to interactively communicate with our citizens, and allow them to quickly inform us regarding their specific need for assistance, so we can most efficiently manage our available resources during an incident,” said Patrick Maynard, Program Administrator, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Office of Emergency Services.

 
Malcolm Lloyd Jackson (1917-2012)
Malcolm Lloyd Jackson (1917-2012)

Malcolm Lloyd Jackson passed away on the morning of January 15th, 2012, as the result of a fall at home on January 2nd. Malcolm celebrated his 94th birthday on December 10th, 2011.
He was born in 1917, in Sneed, Oklahoma. He spent his early years growing up near Ardmore, Oklahoma. His first trip to Fillmore, California, was in 1924, arriving on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, in the midst of the Rose Parade. He often recalled his disbelief that there were that many people and cars in all the world. After just one year his parents and he returned to Oklahoma. Then at the age of seventeen he returned to California on his own in the midst of the Depression years.
After a few years at various labor jobs, he was hired by the State Department Of Transportation to act as the blaster on the Hwy 33-Maricopa Hwy improvement project. Evidence of his drilling and blasting can still be seen along the lower portions of the Maricopa Hwy. Near the end of the project, a large boulder struck Malcolm on the side of the head crushing his skull. He was off work for nearly two years. He rehabilitated himself by using the time to explore the eastern Sierra High Country by pack horse and on foot. Upon returning to work he entered the oil industry as a wireline technician. He retired from Sun Oil in 1976 to work full time at his vocation of gunsmithing. He had already become famous among shooters from all walks of life, business people, movie actors, politicians, judges, and just plain folks. The shotguns he made for trap shooters and the rifles he built for target shooters and hunters have become much sought after. He also repaired literally thousands of guns. All of that becomes almost a footnote to the stories he told, the life lessons he shared and his view of the world through eyes that saw everything as either right or wrong. His ability to communicate with generations of young people became legend.
Malcolm Jackson had many more true friends than most people. Over 400 friends attended his 75th birthday event and again on his 90th birthday from such diverse places as New Jersey, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Nevada. He was loved far more than this written account can possibly portray.
Malcolm was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Annabelle Marie, in 1998, and his daughter Christina Jackson Warring in 1984, and great grandsons Logan and Parker Farstad.
He is survived by his daughter Linda Ann Durand, grandchildren Holley Hammond (Chris), Mandy Farstad (Spencer), Kevin Warring, Brian Warring, Pierre Durand (Maria) and Mario Durand. Also, son and daughter Larry and Jeannie Carpenter. Also surviving are great grandchildren Payton Christina Hammond, Kiefer Farstad, Jadon and Kiera Durand.
Special thanks to caregivers Helen Riesgo and Liliana Vazquez.
Malcolm was a founding member of the Piru Sportsman Club and also a founder of the Piru Petroleum Club. He was, as well, a Life Member of the National Rifle Association since 1948.
In Lieu of flowers, Malcolm asked that donations be made to the Piru Petroleum Club, P.O. Box 178 Fillmore, CA 93016.
Graveside services, open to all, Monday January 23rd at 11:00am, Bardsdale Cemetery. Shuttle service will be provided by Wm. L. Morris Chevrolet from the lot located at 211 Central Ave (North of Hwy 126). There will be a shuttle at 10:00am and 10:20am with return service directly following the service.

 
At approximately 3:30pm Friday, Martin Gonzales 23, of Fillmore made a left turn from westbound Sespe Street to southbound Central Avenue. While completing his turn, his Ford Expedition struck Pedro Garcia 85, from Fillmore, who was walking eastbound in the crosswalk. Gonzales waited with Garcia until emergency personnel from the Fillmore Police Department, Fillmore Fire Department, and American Medical Response arrived minutes later. Garcia was transported to the Ventura County Medical Center with minor-to-moderate injuries. Initial investigation found no indication of drug or alcohol use by either party. The investigation is ongoing. Courtesy of Fillmore Police Department.
At approximately 3:30pm Friday, Martin Gonzales 23, of Fillmore made a left turn from westbound Sespe Street to southbound Central Avenue. While completing his turn, his Ford Expedition struck Pedro Garcia 85, from Fillmore, who was walking eastbound in the crosswalk. Gonzales waited with Garcia until emergency personnel from the Fillmore Police Department, Fillmore Fire Department, and American Medical Response arrived minutes later. Garcia was transported to the Ventura County Medical Center with minor-to-moderate injuries. Initial investigation found no indication of drug or alcohol use by either party. The investigation is ongoing. Courtesy of Fillmore Police Department.
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At approximately 4:50 am on Friday, Jan. 13th Fillmore Fire Department responded to a traffic collision on the 800 Block of Ventura St. A large Bobtail truck collided with two parked trucks that were park on the north side of Ventura Street. No injuries to report.
At approximately 4:50 am on Friday, Jan. 13th Fillmore Fire Department responded to a traffic collision on the 800 Block of Ventura St. A large Bobtail truck collided with two parked trucks that were park on the north side of Ventura Street. No injuries to report.
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One of the parked trucks that was hit carried 600 gallons of syrup/pollen mixture used to feed bees.
One of the parked trucks that was hit carried 600 gallons of syrup/pollen mixture used to feed bees.
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Fillmore Fire Department took quick action and blocked the curb gutter with dirt from a nearby planter and keep it from going into the storm drain. Cal trans was called to help with the cleanup.
Fillmore Fire Department took quick action and blocked the curb gutter with dirt from a nearby planter and keep it from going into the storm drain. Cal trans was called to help with the cleanup.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at approximately 3:45pm, Fillmore Fire Department assisted Ventura County Fire Department and AMR Ambulance on a Traffic Collision on Riverside Dr. in Bardsdale. Fillmore Fire helped with the extrication of patient and assisted in the landing of the county helicopter that flew the patient to a nearby Hospital. Condition of victim not available.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at approximately 3:45pm, Fillmore Fire Department assisted Ventura County Fire Department and AMR Ambulance on a Traffic Collision on Riverside Dr. in Bardsdale. Fillmore Fire helped with the extrication of patient and assisted in the landing of the county helicopter that flew the patient to a nearby Hospital. Condition of victim not available.
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On January 17, 2012 at 3:21pm the City of Fillmore Fire Department received a report of smoke coming from a residence in the area of Meadowlark Drive and First Street in the City of Fillmore. Following the initial call, several additional callers phoned 911 advising a garage was on fire in the 900 block of First Street. Approximately three minutes after dispatch, fire personnel arrived on scene and observed what appeared to be a couch fully engulfed in flames inside the garage at the location. An aggressive fire attack was launched shielding the adjacent residential occupancy from the smoke and flames, and preventing further damage of the residence. Thanks to their quick efforts, firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze within 6 minutes of arriving on scene. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident. Heat and smoke damage is estimated to be approximately $6,000. A male subject was at the location at the time the fire ignited who indicated he had accidently dropped a match while smoking on the couch just minutes before noticing smoke coming from his garage.
On January 17, 2012 at 3:21pm the City of Fillmore Fire Department received a report of smoke coming from a residence in the area of Meadowlark Drive and First Street in the City of Fillmore. Following the initial call, several additional callers phoned 911 advising a garage was on fire in the 900 block of First Street. Approximately three minutes after dispatch, fire personnel arrived on scene and observed what appeared to be a couch fully engulfed in flames inside the garage at the location. An aggressive fire attack was launched shielding the adjacent residential occupancy from the smoke and flames, and preventing further damage of the residence. Thanks to their quick efforts, firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze within 6 minutes of arriving on scene. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident. Heat and smoke damage is estimated to be approximately $6,000. A male subject was at the location at the time the fire ignited who indicated he had accidently dropped a match while smoking on the couch just minutes before noticing smoke coming from his garage.
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January 17, 2012 Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting.
January 17, 2012 Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting.
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Tuesady night, Jeff Nigro, CPA, with the State of California, presented the Fillmore Unified School District with a “clean audit” and explained the new format and the States’ findings. Each year the State does an audit of FUSD which is part if the educational code requirement; it begins in spring and ends in December, and takes approximately 300 hours.
Tuesady night, Jeff Nigro, CPA, with the State of California, presented the Fillmore Unified School District with a “clean audit” and explained the new format and the States’ findings. Each year the State does an audit of FUSD which is part if the educational code requirement; it begins in spring and ends in December, and takes approximately 300 hours.
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Ali Widmar spoke to the Board of the run around she received when trying to address the use of the running track, at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Ali Widmar spoke to the Board of the run around she received when trying to address the use of the running track, at Tuesday’s board meeting.
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The main topics of discussion at the January 17, 2012 Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting were the cost of education and what funds are available after the State announced the proposed cuts. The FUSD is dealing with what schools throughout the state are facing – a $248 million cut in school transportation funding; the first state in the nation to completely eliminate transportation funding. Also Governor Jerry Brown is proposing to eliminate funding for the new Transitional Kindergarten program.

The proposed cuts take effect the second half of the academic year. Brown is calling for a new “weighted-pupil” funded formula which allocates funding to schools based on each school’s needs. Those schools with higher poverty or greater number of English learners receive greater funding.

The Transportation Funding cuts will hit hard for those school districts with a large percentage of low income students like FUSD. Many of the families do not have transportation to take the children to school and pick them up.

Another program on the chopping block is the Kindergarten Readiness Act which was signed into law on September 30, 2010 by then Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger. It pushes back the date by which children must turn five to enter kindergarten from December 2nd to September 1st. For children with birthdays that fall between Sept. 2 to Dec. 2 and are too young under the new cutoff date to enter regular kindergarten, a Transitional Kindergarten has been established. But just as schools are starting to phase in the new program, Brown is proposing elimination of funding for the classes. At the December 7, 2011 board meeting, FUSD Alan Nishino announced the start of the program with such enthusiasm only to face its elimination less than two months later.

Dr. Michael Bush, assistant superintendent, informed the Board that as a result of the California Supreme Court ruling eliminating all of the State’s Redevelopment Agencies (RDA), the FUSD will no longer be receiving a percentage of the revenue generated from Fillmore’s Redevelopment Agency. When addressing the Governor’s stated goal of eliminating the RDAs to aid funding education and schools, Bush added, “It is very unlikely we will not see any new revenue……a lot of it’s a shell game.” To which Nishino stated, “It doesn’t benefit us.” Nishino went on to say the Governor is using the kids to get his tax increase passed on the November ballot and was “very problematic…..to use our kids as a pawn bothers me.” Bush said that it won’t be clear how greatly this will affect the district until around June 30th.

Jeff Nigro with the State of California presented the FUSD with a “clean audit” and explained the new format and the states findings. Each year the State does an audit of FUSD which is part if the educational code requirement. It begins in spring and ends in December and takes approximately 300 hours.

Ali Widmar spoke to the Board of the run around she received when trying to address the use of the running track. Widmar said she has a disability that is helped by having the use of a soft track. When informing the Board of all the people she spoke with and the continued non-answered responses, those in the room laughed.

The Board approved a field trip for approximately 25 students from Piru’s 6th grade to the Outdoor School at Rancho Alegre. The date of the trip is May 15-18 and will cost $7,356. The students will sleep in cabins, share KP duty in the dining hall, learn to take 3 minute showers, go on hikes and have the chance to learn activities such as boating, archery, crafts, games, etc. After breakfast each day, plus one evening they will go on educational walks where they learn about wildlife biology, botany, geology, astronomy, nocturnal animals, and Chumash culture.

 

All individuals and groups who want to use the all weather track at the high school please attend the City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 6:30 PM., for public comments at the beginning of the meeting. A group has been working with the City Council and School District for nearly 3 1/2 years to secure community rights to use a track once accessible to the public but closed to us after the all-weather track was built with community financial support. If you believe that this is an important community issue, this is the time to so advise the City Council, for while the District Board is responsible only for the District, the City Council is elected to serve the needs of the entire community. If you believe that the track is a community asset and access to it is vital to public health and safety, please attend and let the City Council know of your support.

 
Firefighter Rick Neal of the City of Fillmore Fire Department uses a rotary saw to cut down an aluminum garage door at a residential structure fire that occured early Monday morning in the City of Fillmore.
Firefighter Rick Neal of the City of Fillmore Fire Department uses a rotary saw to cut down an aluminum garage door at a residential structure fire that occured early Monday morning in the City of Fillmore.
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Fillmore Firefighters sift through the remains of a residential garage fire that occured early monday morning in the City of Fillmore. No injuries were reported at the fire was contained to the garage. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Fillmore Firefighters sift through the remains of a residential garage fire that occured early monday morning in the City of Fillmore. No injuries were reported at the fire was contained to the garage. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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At 4:43am the City of Fillmore Fire Department was responded to a reported structure fire in the 300 block of Bard Street in the City of Fillmore. Upon arriving at the location, first in units reported heavy smoke and fire contained to a detached garage. Firefighters were able to make quick work of the fire by using forcible entry techniques to gain entry into the structure, allowing them an opportunity to extinguish the blaze before it spread to adjacent structures. The fire was reported out at 4:58am. Three occupants were asleep inside the nearby home when the fire first ignited however they were able to evacuate safely resulting in no injuries at the scene of the incident. The cause of the fire remains under investigation however it appears that heavy fire loading contributed to the rapid spread of the fire. Damage was contained to personal property and the structure and is estimated at $16,000. Issued by: Patrick Maynard, Public Information Officer Follow-Up Contact: Rigo Landeros, Fire Chief 805-844-7109

 
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