Calling all FHS Alumni from the Great Class of 1977! The Alumni Association will be hosting your 45th Class reunion at the 109th Alumni Dinner on Saturday, June 11th, 2022. The event takes place in downtown Fillmore at the City Park/Front of City Hall. Your special class reunion/dinner package includes a special designated area just for the Class of 1977. In your section of the event, your class will have their own special private cabana area enclosed by white picked fencing, complete with couch, and chairs, and coffee table for seating and socializing with your classmates. Your royal blue linen draped round tables will surround your private cabana area. Each table will have silverware with white linen napkins and glassware for water or wine. Your reunion committee will be allowed to come in FHS Class of ’77 Celebrates 45-Year Class Reunion at 109th Alumni Dinner the day of your reunion and decorate your area any way they wish. Your special Class of 1977 designated area will be “THE PARTY AT THE PARTY!” Many in your class have already paid but it’s not too late. You can make reservations now by going to www.fillmorehighalumni.com/events. See you all on June 11th!

 


 
At last week’s Fillmore Unified School Board meeting Mountain Vista Elementary Principal Christine McDaniels presented an overview of all the exciting activities happening at Mountain Vista to Superintendent Schieferle and FUSD’s Board of Trustees. Principal McDaniel shared all the activities and programs that enhance student learning, increase school spirit, and motivates all students to strive for success.
At last week’s Fillmore Unified School Board meeting Mountain Vista Elementary Principal Christine McDaniels presented an overview of all the exciting activities happening at Mountain Vista to Superintendent Schieferle and FUSD’s Board of Trustees. Principal McDaniel shared all the activities and programs that enhance student learning, increase school spirit, and motivates all students to strive for success.
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On April 21, 2022, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team came to the aid of a hiker in distress off the east fork trail in the area of Santa Paula Canyon.

At approximately 8:00 PM, Ventura County Fire Dispatch received a call of a 64-year-old male hiker in distress approximately 3 miles east of the Santa Paula Punch Bowls located in the Los Padres National Forest. The male hiker had become fatigued and faced a 5-hour hike back to his vehicle. At sunset, the temperature dropped below 50 degrees and a weather front had moved in, bringing rain to the area. The male subject took shelter and was able to relay his location to the rescuers using his cell phone.

The Ventura County Aviation Unit dispatched a helicopter to the hiker’s location, but due to the inclement weather, was unable to find the subject. Due to the rain and low temperatures, there was a concern for the hiker’s health and well-being.

At approximately 9:15 PM, the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was activated, and 5 team members immediately responded to the Santa Paula Canyon Trailhead.

SAR team members hiked approximately 6 miles into the canyon, facing rain, cold temperatures and darkness.

At approximately 2:00 AM, SAR team members contacted the hiker and were able to provide him supplies to stay warm. SAR Team members camped with the hiker until sunrise and the weather front had moved out of the area.

At approximately 6:00 AM, after the weather cleared the Ventura County Aviation Unit responded back to the location. The male hiker and SAR team were transported by helicopter to the trailhead. The male hiker was not injured and was reunited with a family member.

Volunteer members of the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team responded to the search within one hour of being contacted. They are a valuable asset to the Sheriff’s Office and play an intricate role in all search operations in Ventura County. These volunteers are skilled in search and rescue operations in mountain, canyon and urban settings. The volunteers log close to 4000 hours a year on searches, rescues, recoveries, training and public events.

For more information on the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team, visit their website at www.ojaisar.org. The team can also be followed on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ojaisar.

Nature of Incident: Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team Navigated Through Challenging Weather to Aid Hiker in Distress.

Report Number: 22-52564
Location: Santa Paula Canyon, Los Padres National Forest, CA
Date & Time: 04/21/2022 at 8:00 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team & the Ventura County Aviation Unit
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
(P) Male Hiker Santa Paula 64
Prepared by: Deputy J. Havelka
Approved by: Captain Downard

 


 
The remains of the Bardsdale Bridge after the flood. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
The remains of the Bardsdale Bridge after the flood. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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The St. Francis Dam just prior to the collapse.
The St. Francis Dam just prior to the collapse.
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On May 3rd PBS’s American Experience series will premiere “Flood in the Desert,” the story of the 1928 St. Francis Dam catastrophe. The Fillmore Historical Museum was pleased to be one of many local institutions which contributed to this documentary. PBS researchers spent several days on site looking through hundreds of photos from the museum’s collection. Other local resources included the Ventura County Library, Ventura County Museum, John Nichols Gallery, Santa Paula Historical Society and SCVHistory.com. Here is a link to information about the documentary. www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

 


 
On April 19th, 2022, at 10:14 a.m., the Fillmore Sheriff’s Office, Fillmore Fire Department (ME191), Ventura County Fire (RE27) and AMR Paramedics were dispatched to a reported semi-truck into the Shell Gas Station located at Ventura Street (SR-126 )and Santa Clara Street. According to Fillmore Fire Chief Keith Gurrola the semi was traveling westbound on Ventura Street, drove through a power pole and a large Palm tree, crashed into a parked car and struck at least two diesel gas pumps before crashing into the east side of the station, stopping half way in. A male patient suffered minor injuries and was transported to the hospital by AMR Paramedics--the store clerk was not injured. The gas station attendant acted quickly to shut down all the gas pumps before exiting the building, according to Chief Gurrola. There were no spills from the pumps, but the semi's 40-gallon tanks were ruptured and the store was red tagged by Building & Safety. Edison and SoCal Gas inspected the sight for powerline and natural gas issues-- none were immediately found. Fillmore Sheriff ’s Office is investigating the crash. Information courtesy Angel Esquivel-AE News.
On April 19th, 2022, at 10:14 a.m., the Fillmore Sheriff’s Office, Fillmore Fire Department (ME191), Ventura County Fire (RE27) and AMR Paramedics were dispatched to a reported semi-truck into the Shell Gas Station located at Ventura Street (SR-126 )and Santa Clara Street. According to Fillmore Fire Chief Keith Gurrola the semi was traveling westbound on Ventura Street, drove through a power pole and a large Palm tree, crashed into a parked car and struck at least two diesel gas pumps before crashing into the east side of the station, stopping half way in. A male patient suffered minor injuries and was transported to the hospital by AMR Paramedics--the store clerk was not injured. The gas station attendant acted quickly to shut down all the gas pumps before exiting the building, according to Chief Gurrola. There were no spills from the pumps, but the semi's 40-gallon tanks were ruptured and the store was red tagged by Building & Safety. Edison and SoCal Gas inspected the sight for powerline and natural gas issues-- none were immediately found. Fillmore Sheriff ’s Office is investigating the crash. Information courtesy Angel Esquivel-AE News.
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A defaced shed near Mountain View and 1st Street.
A defaced shed near Mountain View and 1st Street.
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Mountain View and Santa Clara Street.
Mountain View and Santa Clara Street.
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This past week’s Police Blotter showed a disturbing spike in vandalism/graffiti in Fillmore. 21 reports were made in three days.

In February 2022 five juveniles from Fillmore were arrested for graffiti vandalism and conspiracy to commit a crime after they were caught defacing property at a local Fillmore park. All the arrestees were cited and released to their parents pending a future court date. The juveniles had spray painted graffiti on the tables, benches, and playground equipment which caused hundreds of dollars of damage to the city owned property. During the month of January 2022, there was also an increase in graffiti vandalism throughout the City of Fillmore.

Graffiti vandalism is an eyesore that directly affects the quality of life in our communities.

If left unchecked, graffiti can decrease property values and lead to the deterioration of entire neighborhoods. Gang graffiti may also be the catalyst for additional, more serious conflicts between rival gangs. The removal of graffiti costs homeowners, business owners and taxpayers thousands of dollars each year. Fillmore 2021 graffiti cleanup cost the city $6,817 dollars. The Fillmore Police Department encourages citizens to immediately report suspicious people and vehicles, and to promptly report any graffiti they come across by calling (805) 524-2233 or (805) 654-9511.

Once the police have investigated these crimes, all graffiti should be immediately removed.

 


 
Leroy Chad Tracy Jr., Santa Paula
Leroy Chad Tracy Jr., Santa Paula

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced today that Leroy Chad Tracy Jr. (DOB 06/30/80), of Santa Paula, was sentenced to 36 years in prison by Judge Gilbert Romero for multiple sexual assault crimes arising from one incident in 2013.

On May 20, 2013, the victim was jogging in Santa Paula near Briggs and Peck Roads when she noticed Tracy following her. Tracy, who was unknown to the victim, pulled her by her hair into a nearby orchard. Tracy threatened the victim with a knife as he sexually assaulted her. Afterwards, Tracy threatened to harm the victim’s family and warned her against reporting the incident. Despite this, the victim immediately reported to law enforcement. A male DNA profile was obtained from the victim’s clothing and added into the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

On May 22, 2018, Tracy was arrested for an unrelated matter. His DNA was collected and entered into CODIS. On July 5, 2018, the Ventura County Sherriff’s Office Forensic Services Bureau received notification of a match linking Tracy to the DNA taken from the victim’s clothing. After a thorough investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Tracy was taken into custody in April 2019. On March 22, 2022, Tracy pled guilty to one count of forcible rape with the use of a weapon, and one count of forcible sexual penetration with the use of a weapon.

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office is the public prosecutor for the county’s 850,000 residents. The office employs approximately 290 employees including attorneys, investigators, victim advocates, and professional support staff who strive to seek justice, ensure public safety, and protect the rights of crime victims.

 
On Saturday, April 16th, on downtown Central Avenue, residents came out to the “What’s up in Fillmore” festival, which welcomed new community members to Fillmore. There was live music by Glenn Allan Britain, and Jenni Alpert hyped the event while booths did giveaways and raffles for attendees. Folks also had fun taking photos with the Easter Bunny. Photo credit Carina Monica Montoya.
On Saturday, April 16th, on downtown Central Avenue, residents came out to the “What’s up in Fillmore” festival, which welcomed new community members to Fillmore. There was live music by Glenn Allan Britain, and Jenni Alpert hyped the event while booths did giveaways and raffles for attendees. Folks also had fun taking photos with the Easter Bunny. Photo credit Carina Monica Montoya.
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“What’s Up in Fillmore”

Saturday, April 16th on Central Avenue residence came out to the “What’s up in Fillmore” festival, which welcomed new residence to Fillmore. They were able to listen to live music by Glenn Allan Britain and Jenni Alpert hyped the event as well as learn about all the organizations Fillmore has to offer. Photo credit By Carina Monica Montoya.
By Carina Monica Montoya
The Fillmore Women’s Service Club sponsored the “What’s up in Fillmore” festival on Saturday, April 16, on Central Avenue. Central Avenue was closed between Sespe and Main, where several organizations lined the street with tables and booths. The event was to welcome new residents of Fillmore by introducing many local organizations and activities. Live music entertainment by Glenn Allan Britain and Jenni Alpert hyped the event. Participating organizations had many giveaways and raffles. The event had a nice turnout, and both children and adults had fun taking photos with the Easter bunny.
Participating organizations that helped make the event possible included Church of Christ, Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, First Baptist Church, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Fillmore Police Department Explorer Post #2958, Regen Yoga, Fillmore Association of Businesses (FAB), Sespe Players Community Theater, Fillmore Historical Museum, Faith Community Church, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rancho Camulos Museum, Sespe Creek Bible Church, Rotary Club of Fillmore, Fillmore AYSO Region 242, William L. Morris Chevrolet, Fillmore Flower Show, and Bardsdale United Methodist Church.
The Fillmore Women’s Service Club was established in 1964 for the purpose of raising funds to help the community of Fillmore. The Club assists families in need, graduating seniors, women returning to education, school activities, local museums, libraries, and many other community groups. Learn more about the Fillmore Women's Service Club and see photos of the festival on Facebook (The Fillmore Women’s Service Club) and at www.fillmorewomensserviceclub.com.

 
William Froehlich’s Blacksmithing, circa 1900, who operated the shop from the 1880s to the 1920s. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
William Froehlich’s Blacksmithing, circa 1900, who operated the shop from the 1880s to the 1920s. Photos courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum.
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M. B. Brinley Horse Shoeing, circa 1910.
M. B. Brinley Horse Shoeing, circa 1910.
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Horse team being watered outside Fillmore Stables circa 1900.
Horse team being watered outside Fillmore Stables circa 1900.
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Working team of horses, Rancho Sespe, 1920s.
Working team of horses, Rancho Sespe, 1920s.
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Inside of the Blacksmith shop, Rancho Sespe, date unknown.
Inside of the Blacksmith shop, Rancho Sespe, date unknown.
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Andy Godinez preparing horseshoe, Rancho Sespe, 1920s.
Andy Godinez preparing horseshoe, Rancho Sespe, 1920s.
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Courtesy Fillmore Historical Museum

Many historians would agree that obituaries are a great source for information. This is especially true of older obituaries which are often very detailed. An obituary on the front page of the January 25, 1946, Fillmore paper caught our attention for that very reason.

The obituary was not for a person, but for a business, actually a particular type of business. The title read, “Fillmore’s Last Blacksmith Shop Dies In Peace of Natural Causes.” The article doesn’t say who was running the blacksmith prior to its passing and gives its location only as “on lower Central Avenue.”

We do know from other sources that in the 1890s there were at least two blacksmiths, F. P. Brigham and Frank Cooper. These were no longer in business in 1914, but there was Hooper’s Blacksmith with the appropriate phone number, “Black 551”.

The best documented blacksmith was William Froehlich (phone number Red 161) who for a time at least occupied the premises at 340 Central Avenue. He was in operation from the 1880s into the 1920s.

By the time of the demise of the only blacksmith, the profession had changed a great deal. Originally, the blacksmith was an essential part of a community creating whatever might be needed from iron – from wheel rims to cooking pots to tools. With industrialization, mass production, and interchangeable parts, much of the job of the blacksmith disappeared. Before long the staple business of a blacksmith was horseshoeing. The profession became blended with that of a farrier. Many other blacksmiths branched out to work on the new phenomena, the motor car, morphing into auto mechanics.

Blacksmiths as farriers were in demand in the Santa Clara Valley well into the 20th Century. At Rancho Sespe, horses worked alongside more modern tractors. Andy Godinez worked as the blacksmith/farrier at Rancho Sespe for many years and the Rancho had a well fitted out blacksmith shop.

The obituary ends thusly:
“Gone with the frontiersman and the wide open spaces, gone with the gaslights and mustache cups, gone with the covered wagons, the carriage and the buggies was another replica of a venerable American institution that lives chiefly in story book lore and in the graybeards’ tales, enshrouded in the mists of memory.”

 
Above are alumni who attended the last Alumni Dinner.
Above are alumni who attended the last Alumni Dinner.
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Please join us for the Annual Fillmore High Alumni Dinner (celebrating 109 Years) on Saturday, June 11, 2022, from 3:00pm to 11:30pm, at Fillmore City Park in front of Fillmore City Hall, located at 250 Central Avenue, Fillmore. Make your reservations soon. We are nearing the 200th prepaid mark for reservations! You can pay now online, or you can go to our webpage and click on Events and print out a dinner reservation form and mail it in. Visit website for more details and reservations: http://www.fillmorehighalumni.com/events.