Congratulations Captain Al Huerta on your retirement! In recognition of your 38 years of service and dedication to the Fillmore Fire Department and the citizens of Fillmore, your loyal service will not be forgotten! “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill. Thank you for giving, Al!
Congratulations Captain Al Huerta on your retirement! In recognition of your 38 years of service and dedication to the Fillmore Fire Department and the citizens of Fillmore, your loyal service will not be forgotten! “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill. Thank you for giving, Al!
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Cindy Blatt, FHS Swim Coach.
Cindy Blatt, FHS Swim Coach.

I would like to point out some incorrect information that was stated in the City of Fillmore’s press release re: pool project halt, published in the Fillmore Gazette on August 18. In the second paragraph, it states that FUSD has exclusive use of the pool 8 months of the year. That is an incorrect statement. That has not been the case in the past and If you read the original proposed agreement from 2021 and all subsequent proposed agreements you will find on page 1, under Recitals, paragraph 3, first sentence: "Whereas, City is willing to grant to District a license for the non-exclusive use of the pool....". The agreement repeatedly refers to “non-exclusive use”. The City’s statement is misleading.

During the 2021 FHS swim season during the District's non-exclusive use of the pool, the City rented out the pool on several Saturdays to Trinity Classical Academy from Valencia for high school swim meets. The press release makes it seem like the City does not have any right to pool use during the District's 8 months of use. Again, it is stated throughout the agreement that the District only has non-exclusive use of the facility

Regarding the District requesting use of the pool during the City's exclusive use of the pool, before fall of 2018, the District's programs (swim team, water polo, cross-country, football, etc) used the pool during the summer months by agreement with City staff during down times or times when there were few City programs using the pool. The District programs did not conflict with any of the City's programs. The District programs worked around the City's programs.

Over the past three years, access to the entire pool facility by FHS coaches and students has been whittled away in such a way to cause safety concerns and was a hindrance to providing quality and successful programs. Coaches were locked out of three rooms at the facility with no explanation. Coaches had had full access to the facility from March 2000 until Fall of 2018. Not until a complaint was issued by FUSD Athletic Trainer about no access to the AED in 2021 were coaches again given access to the First Aid Room and the AED. FHS equipment was removed from the pool site and the City claimed ownership.

The press release states that the City was informed in July 2020 by the County of Ventura that the pool needed to be re-plastered. In fact the City was notified in July 2019 during an inspection of the pool of the need to re-plaster. I guess the City chose to ignore this and the County did not follow up until 2020. I have a copy of the Inspection report. It is public record. Re-plastering should not be a surprise. It should be something the City plans for. The pool is 12 years old. The Fillmore Aquatic Center is a City facility. The FUSD Board of Trustees agreed to fund 50% of the replastering work along with paying a monthly $4,500 rental fee. This was not good enough for the City. Now they threaten to close the pool. A pool closure will be a black eye for the City of Fillmore.

The City complains that the City only uses the pool for three months of the year. The pool was built with the intention that the pool would have year-round programs. The City of Carpinteria, with a smaller population basis than Fillmore, seems to manage to have year-round programs at their Community pool, including working with their school district to include water polo and swim team programs.

The main reason why the Aquatic Center has a fund balance deficit totaling over $800,000 is because the fund started in a deficit due to mismanaged capital spending and poor staffing management.

The press release unfairly points a finger of blame at FUSD.

 


 
 


 

Congratulations to recently promoted Fire Captain Paramedic Mike Salazar! Mike is assigned to A shift on Medic Engine 91. He has been with the department since 2012 where he started as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Mike joins the other captains with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for the job! Congratulations Mike!

 


 
Red Engine Brewing Company will be opening in Fillmore, California in early 2022. Stay tuned for construction updates and sneak peeks as they transform their new building into our flagship location. Rumor has it it will be in the Family Dollar building on Ventura Street.
Red Engine Brewing Company will be opening in Fillmore, California in early 2022. Stay tuned for construction updates and sneak peeks as they transform their new building into our flagship location. Rumor has it it will be in the Family Dollar building on Ventura Street.
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Ventura County Department of Public Health
Ventura County Department of Public Health

Ventura County Public Health has issued a new health order requiring all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions. This order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, August 20, 2021. Businesses and other public entities have until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 23, 2021 to comply. The order will be in effect until 11:59 pm on September 19, 2021, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended by the Health Officer. “As of today, we reached a rate of 28 cases per 100,000, a 40% increase. I hope that this order will increase mask usage in Ventura County. I expect that this will have a beneficial effect on the increase in COVID-19 infections we are seeing,” said Public Health Officer Doctor Robert Levin.

As of August 20, the unadjusted case rate per 100,000 population over 1 day is 28, overall testing positivity over the past 7 days is 7.7% and the HPI lower quartile testing positivity rate over the past 7 days is 9.9%. Public Health reports 598 new COVID-19 cases and 3,995 new tests. There have been three additional deaths including a 98-, 76- and 87-year-old females.

The order directs that face coverings must be worn over the mouth and nose – regardless of vaccination status – in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and workplaces, including but not limited to offices, retail stores, restaurants and bars, theaters, family entertainment centers, conference and event centers, and government offices serving the public.

Individuals, businesses, venue operators, hosts, and others responsible for the operation of indoor public settings must:

• Require all patrons to wear face coverings for all indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status; and
• Post clearly visible and easy-to-read signage at all entry points for indoor settings to communicate the masking requirements to all patrons. Signage is provided by Ventura County Public Health at www.vcrecovers.org.

This health order aims to reduce community transmission of COVID-19. Health officials are concerned by the substantial levels of increased community transmission, especially among unvaccinated people. In part, this is due to the widespread COVID-19 Delta variant, which is substantially more transmissible than previous forms of the virus. Recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also indicates that even fully vaccinated individuals can in some cases spread the Delta variant to others, and so indoor use of face coverings provides an important added layer of protection.

“Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so that we can stop the trends and level of transmission we are currently seeing,” said Public Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin. “We continue to urge all eligible residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their family and friends. Becoming fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains the best protective action that people can take. It significantly reduces the risk of infection and, for the small number of people that get infected, it reduces the risk of hospitalization and death once you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

More information about COVID-19 available at: www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

 
Fillmore’s Paola Estrada represented the Pacific Coast Shockwaves (Location# 4 Fillmore) in the Track and Field Junior Olympic National Championship from July 26th to August 1st in Jacksonville, Florida. Congratulations Paola!
Fillmore’s Paola Estrada represented the Pacific Coast Shockwaves (Location# 4 Fillmore) in the Track and Field Junior Olympic National Championship from July 26th to August 1st in Jacksonville, Florida. Congratulations Paola!

Courtesy Isrrael Estrada

Fillmore’s Paola Estrada represented the Pacific Coast Shockwaves (Location# 4 Fillmore, Ca) in the Track and Field Junior Olympic National Championship on from July 26th – August 1st in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Pacific Coast Shockwaves Location #4 concluded their 2021 season by participating in the USATF Track and Field Jr. Olympic National Championship on July 26 - August 1, 2021. One local athlete from Fillmore, 11-year-old, Paola Estrada well known as “Balita Estrada” traveled across the country to Jacksonville, Florida, where she encountered various challenges in competition such as humidity that was ranging from 95%, plus rain, thunderstorm, and Covid-19.

Paola Estrada ran the 1500 meters against 55 girls from all over the USA ranking number 10 with 5:10.81. Also, was part of the relay team 4X800 bringing the Ventura County the silver medal. On July 28th Paola Estrada ran the 3000 meters ranking number 10 out of 30 girls with a time of 11:43.74, not her best time due weather conditions but she did her best representing Ventura County.

She was to thank her Pacific Coast Shockwaves head Coach Temo Laureano, Coach Juan Toledo and her Dad Israel Estrada for their support and dedication for her to succeed. We know our athletes will go far if they push themselves daily with one goal. “If you dream it, you can do it” Thanks family and friend for their support.

 
Fillmore Stores on Main Street, 1890.
Fillmore Stores on Main Street, 1890.
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Stephens Store on Central Avenue, 1914.
Stephens Store on Central Avenue, 1914.
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Turners Cottage Hotel, the 1st hotel in town, 1887.
Turners Cottage Hotel, the 1st hotel in town, 1887.
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Former Post Office location in the Masonic Building, circa 1955.
Former Post Office location in the Masonic Building, circa 1955.
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Deweys Garden Center with the old Elkins building in back, 1979.
Deweys Garden Center with the old Elkins building in back, 1979.
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McCampbell Insurance Barbershop, circa 1910.
McCampbell Insurance Barbershop, circa 1910.
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Post Office building built in 1951.
Post Office building built in 1951.
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Central Ave is the local business district today. It was not always so. In the earliest days businesses were located on Main St. in close proximity to the Southern Pacific Depot. C.C. Elkins described these as Turner’s boarding house which included a livery stable, an old house once belonging to Tom More which was occupied by the manager of Sespe Land and Water Co., a saloon and two other buildings he described as shanties. Sespe Land and Water Co. offered Elkins two lots in Fillmore if he would build and operate a store. He immediately set about the task and built a new building on the northeast corner of Main St. for a general merchandise store with apartment upstairs. This building was finished and in use in 1888. It remained in that location for 29 years as a local landmark. When a new bank building was to be built at that location it was moved east on Main St. near Fillmore St. to serve as a warehouse for several businesses. Eventually a new addition was built in front and it became part of Dewey’s Garden Center. In 1989, after 101 years of use, it was destroyed in a fire.

Fire has always been a worry for Fillmore. On November 8, 1903, a fire which had started with an east windy day and a knocked over kerosene lamp in the saloon burned through and destroyed the Main Street businesses. It also badly damaged the second floor apartment of Elkins’ store. The burned out second story was removed and the building modified to be one story. Local businessmen decided not to rebuild on Main St. and began construction on what would be the Central Ave business district.

Each decade in the life of the city brought major changes. By the late 1890s there had been plantings of pepper trees on both sides of Central and a number of businesses operating out of tents or a combination of tent and wood buildings. Among these was McCampbell Insurance, a Barber Shop with a residence behind it and a Photo Shop in a tent. These were on the east side of the street somewhere close to where the theater is now.

One of the earliest permanent buildings on Main St. was Richard Stephens’ general merchandise store built in 1911. It supplanted a wood structure which was built in the 1890s and served as a general merchandise store for Richard Stephens and then Cash Commercial Co. Over time this building has had many owners but has always remained a grocery store. In the mid-1930s it was an early Safeway and today, La Estrella.

Hotels were an important early business as passenger service on the railroad increased. One early hotel on Central Ave. belonged to Owen Miller. Miller was also a local constable with a side business as the local bootlegger. His hotel was located on the west side of Central at about today’s location of the Post Office.

As with many businesses, Post Offices moved frequently in the early days. The first postmaster was Royce Surdam who developed Bardsdale. When the mail arrived on the train he would pick up the letters, put them in his pocket and deliver to the recipients. (There wasn’t much mail because there weren’t many people here in the late 1880s.) The post office soon moved to Turner’s Rooming house. For a period of time it was in the depot, then C.C. Elkins store and then Stephens’ Store. You can see the flagpole above the Post Office entrance in early photos of the store. When the Masonic Temple building was built in 1919, the post office moved to the easterly corner of the building along the alley between Central and Fillmore Streets. In the 1950s, local jeweler, Duard Goble, built a new building on the west central side of Central Ave. across from the theater. For many years he had a jewelry and watch repair store in the area of the building where the post office counter is located today. Eventually the post office added that space to its facility.

As of today we at the museum have identified over 900 businesses which have existed since the founding of Fillmore in 1888. Over time we will tell more of their stories.

 
On Tuesday, August 10th, the City of Fillmore put a hold on the City Aquatic Centers pool replastering project.
On Tuesday, August 10th, the City of Fillmore put a hold on the City Aquatic Centers pool replastering project.
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City of Fillmore
City of Fillmore

The City Council rejected all bids to replaster the Aquatic Center pool Tuesday, August 10. In July 2020, Ventura County Health Division (VCHD) staff brought to the City staffs attention that the deteriorated condition of the pool surfaces triggered the need for the pool to be resurfaced. The project was to take three months at a total cost not to exceed $521,223.80.

When this project was put out to bid, the City believed that the Fillmore Unified School District, (District), which has exclusive use of the pool 8 months of the year, would be paying half of the cost of this work. Unfortunately, the City and District have been unable to negotiate an agreement due to demands by the District.

The District included language allowing it to walk away from the agreement for any reason and not have to pay for the resurfacing work already paid for by the city. In addition, the District demanded use of the pool during the City’s exclusive use of the facility (Memorial Day to Labor Day) for two hours Monday — Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm when the City provides programming for the residents — programs include Mommy and Me, private and group swim lessons, water aerobics, recreation swim and other activities.

The District has exclusive use of the facility for eight-months beginning after Labor Day through one week prior to Memorial Day and pays $4,500 per month totaling $36,000 per year. In 2019, non-personnel costs for the City to maintain the facility totaled over $67,000 during this eight months. City staff time to maintain the pool in 2019 during the District’s use period exceeded $56,000, for a total cost in 2019 of more than $124,000 to support non-city activities. This is part of the reason why the Aquatic Center has a fund balance deficit totaling $856,500.

Because many District students are City residents, the City has agreed to some subsidy of the District’s use, however the District cannot continue to pay the same reduced costs when the City’s cost for the District use increase each year. The City asked the District to pay a modest cost of living increase each year of this agreement on the nominal utility charges only. There has been no increase in over two years. The City also offered to provide pool time when the City did not have programming during its exclusive use time, and suggested that the District pay the City back over three years, instead of requiring for payment upfront for the replastering work.

The demands by the District are regrettably too burdensome to overcome. “It is unfortunate we were not able to come to a reasonable agreement. Approving the version of the agreement that the District sent the City on the morning of the City Council meeting would be irresponsible to the City’s residents. We were striving for a win-win agreement. Unfortunately, the District wanted a win-lose agreement which ultimately hurts their students who participate in water polo and swimming” said Mark Austin, Mayor.

Questions regarding the press release should be directed to David Rowlands, City Manager at (805) 524-1500 or Tiffany Israel, City Attorney at (949) 250-5411.

 
Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) understands that the Fillmore Aquatic Center is provided for the community’s benefit and is owned and operated by the City of Fillmore (City). With the current operating model, the Aquatic Center is open to the general public during the summer from approximately Memorial Day through Labor Day, and the facility costs more to operate than the revenue generated by use of the pool. Bottom line, the City’s Aquatic Center is losing money.

The City requested that FUSD pay half of the cost of replastering that was required by Ventura County Health Division. The District agreed and is willing to support this necessary project to ensure that our students continue to be able to safely use the pool.

FUSD’s concerns are:

• FUSD agreed to pay for 50% of the replastering project over the next three years. What if the City shuts the pool down or it cannot be reasonably used by FUSD through no fault of, or beyond the control of, FUSD during that time? FUSD should not be forced to pay for a facility that its students cannot use. FUSD requested some form of temporary deferral, credit, or abatement of these payments during the time FUSD cannot use the facilities, but the City refused.

• If the City closes the pool through no fault of, or beyond the control of, FUSD, then FUSD will need to transport its student athletes to another pool. Should FUSD be required to pay for pool use at another site in addition for a pool that is closed by the City?

• For many years FUSD was allowed to use the pool during daytime hours in the summer. Oftentimes, the City’s programs, like swimming lessons, are not using the whole pool. We shared. FUSD would like to return to that cooperative relationship.

• FUSD was also allowed to use the whole pool in the “down times” between scheduled programs by the City during the day. We would like to be allowed to do that again.

• The City made the decision to close the pool from after Labor Day to approximately Memorial Day every year. Without FUSD, no one would be using the pool during this time period. During that time, however, the Aquatic Center still needs to be maintained. The facilities need to be monitored by City staff, the pool must remain filled, and necessary repairs need to be made. To assist the City to fund the required maintenance of the facilities while not being used by the City, FUSD worked with the City to establish additional costs to be paid by FUSD for its student athletes to use the pool, and a fair amount was assessed. FUSD custodians clean up after practice, and FUSD coaches are certified lifeguards.

• If the City wants to establish any cost increases to be paid by FUSD, then FUSD should be allowed to review the actual costs for pool operations and adjust, if necessary. Just because FUSD is required to pay an automatic increase does not automatically mean that the City’s actual costs are increasing by the same amount or rate.

• FUSD’s use of the pool generates most of the income to maintain the facilities for use by the City and others. FUSD is only requesting reasonable terms and conditions for its use.

Fillmore High School has expanded to offer its students both boys and girls water polo teams in addition to our swim team. As these teams compete in different seasons, FUSD requested to use the City’s Aquatic Center to practice during the City’s closure time. If the City does not complete these required repairs and has to close the Fillmore Aquatic Center, it will be our students who lose.