In an effort to deter would-be thieves and to track stolen catalytic converters, the Fillmore Police Department has teamed up with several local auto repair shops. The below listed businesses have agreed to etch your license plate number and paint a Sheriff’s star on your catalytic converter, free of charge. Our goal is to deter a potential thief who might be planning to steal your catalytic converter. As soon as they see the painted Sheriff’s star and engraved license plate number, they will hopefully leave your car alone. If your catalytic converter is stolen, law enforcement or a scrap yard will be able to recognize the catalytic converter as stolen based on the markings. You can make an “Etch and Catch” appointment at any of the below locations in the city of Fillmore:

Ernie’s Auto Care & Smog
460 Ventura St.
(805) 524-4477

De La Rosa Auto Repair
665 Ventura St.
(805) 524-0368

Fillmore Auto Electric & Tune
405 Central Ave.
(805) 524-7333

Bob’s Radiator Shop
562 Santa Clara St.
(805) 524-2526

When you call for your appointment, make sure to mention it is for the “Etch and Catch” program.

We would like to thank all of our “Etch and Catch” participating shops. Without their help, this program would not be possible. As a community, we need to work together to prevent crime, and these shops have gone above and beyond in their efforts. The next time you are at a local auto repair shop, check for the “Fillmore Police Department Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Program - Member” sticker to see if they are a participant of this program. See attached photograph of the sticker.

Between 1/1/2020 and 2/18/2021, the top 10 vehicles targeted for catalytic converter thefts in Ventura County Sheriff’s jurisdictions have been:
1. Toyota Prius
2. Ford F250
3. Honda Element
4. Ford F350
5. Honda Accord
6. Ford Econoline
7. Jeep Grand Cherokee
8. Chevrolet Express
9. Chevrolet Astro Van
10. Ford Excursion

Many people have asked what they can do to help protect their vehicles. Here are some tips to help prevent catalytic converter theft:

Make an appointment to have your license plate number engraved and Sheriff’s star painted on your catalytic converter at one of the above listed “Etch and Catch” program locations.

Park in a secured garage when possible or in a well-lit area with surveillance cameras and/or where the vehicle will be seen by a passerby.

Install motion-sensitive lighting to illuminate driveways used for parking.

Consider adding security cameras to oversee driveway and on-street parking areas.

Research catalytic converter anti-theft devices and weigh the pros and cons of having one installed.

We are asking for our community’s help to prevent catalytic converter thefts. If you hear strange noises during the night, such as power tools or sawing, if you see a vehicle driving suspiciously slow through your neighborhood or stopped at the side of the road, if you see or hear ANYTHING out of the ordinary, please call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 911 or (805) 654-9511. Often times, cases are solved when an observant resident calls when something does not seem quite right.

For more information on the program click on video link: https://bit.ly/3uS59xL.

Nature of Incident:
Fillmore Police Department Presents “Etch and Catch” Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Program
Location:
Participating Auto Repair Shops in the City of Fillmore
Unit(s) Responsible:
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office – Fillmore Patrol Station
Prepared by:
Senior Deputy Qui Vo, (805) 524-2233
Approved by:
Captain Garo Kuredjian

 


 
Cielo Meza, #50, Pitcher for Arizona State University Sun Devils.
Cielo Meza, #50, Pitcher for Arizona State University Sun Devils.
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Did you know Fillmore has three successful female athletes, Cielo Meza (Softball), Valerie Tobias (Soccer), and Jessie Fontes, who are playing Soccer and Softball at the Division 1 Pac12 level?

This week we will feature Fillmore’s Cielo Meza who is currently a Freshman Pitcher for the Arizona State University Sun Devils, a Division 1 NCAA Pac12 Softball team. Below is her player profile.

Somebody's Hero, Once the glove is tucked away, Cielo Meza plans to follow her hero's footsteps and become a first responder” - just like her Dad/09/08/2020

Redshirt Senior (2020 at ASU):
• Led the Sun Devils in the circle with 10 wins and a 1.93 ERA on the season
• Her 17 appearances and 14 strikeouts were also a team-high
• Started 13 games of the abbreviated season, throwing 91 strikeouts in 74.1 innings pitched
• Ranked third in the Pac-12 with three shutouts and ten for total victories
• Claimed three complete shutouts of the team's nation-leading 13 shutouts to land on the nation’s top-20 list
• Threw her first no-hitter as a Sun Devil on Feb. 9 against Seattle University, the first no-hitter thrown by a Sun Devil since 2018
• Recorded a season-high 14 strikeouts in no-hitter against Seattle to land in the top-10 of ASU's all-time strikeouts by a pitcher in seven innings
• Showed out in critical moments, allowing only 15 hits with two outs in 88 at-bats
• One of four Sun Devils in Softball America’s Top 100 at No. 66

Redshirt Junior (2019 at ASU):
• Made strides through her first year as a Sun Devil, pitching a team-leading 98 innings, finishing the season with a 7-3 record while also adding a save on the year.
• Made her first start in the maroon and gold in ASU's hard fought loss to Missouri in the second half of an opening day doubleheader.
• Pitched a season-high seven innings in an ASU win over Cal on May 3.
• Struck out a season-high 11 in a win over Utah State on Feb. 17
• Secured the Sun Devil's opening round win at the 2019 Tuscaloosa regional, holding the Bison to just four hits in her first postseason appearance for ASU.
• Tallied 78 strikeouts on the season, including 45 strikeouts in Pac-12 play.

Redshirt Sophomore (2018 at Long Beach State University):
• Enjoyed a phenomenal season, posting a 22-4 overall record with a 1.48 ERA and 217 strikeouts, leading the Big West in all three triple crown categories
• For her efforts, Meza was honored as the Big West Pitcher of the Year, and also earned first-team All-Big West honors
• Meza pitched a pair of no-hitters, including one against No. 21 Minnesota, and broke the Long Beach State single-game record with 17 strikeouts against Hawai’i
• The sophomore becomes the ninth different player from Long Beach State to be named Pitcher of the Year
• Started the season with a dominant performance, striking out 12 with two hits allowed in a complete game win over Louisiana Tech
• Tied her carer high with 15 strikeouts in a complete game win over Iowa State
• Earned the win with another complete game against No. 12 Auburn, striking out 12
• Threw the second no-hitter of her career against #21 Minnesota, striking out 11 in a 1-0 LBSU victory
• Pitched her sixth complete game shutout of the season at LMU, allowing two hits and striking out seven in the road victory
• Saw her last action of the season in the Beach’s opening game of the 2018 Tempe Regional.

Redshirt Freshman (2017 at Long Beach State University):
• Named the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and a first-team All-Big West selection despite missing nearly all of non-conference play.
• Also named to the Big West All-Freshman team
• Ranked 20th in the nation with a 1.26 ERA
• Returned to action on March 28 and threw 24.1 scoreless innings before allowing a run
• Struck out 56 batters in 13 appearances, totaling 66.2 innings pitched on the season
• Started 12 games, throwing five shutouts
• Pitched a no-hitter in the finale at UC Riverside, striking out seven batters in the seven inning victory
Freshman (2016 at Long Beach State University):
• Qualified for a medical redshirt after a season-ending injury in early March
• Pitched extremely well in her limited appearances, striking out 85 batters in 14 appearances
• Went 6-6 with a 2.59 ERA while finishing the season with 67.2 innings pitched
• Ranked in the nation's Top 20 in strikeouts per seven innings, averaging 8.8
• Made her collegiate debut against Syracuse, pitching a complete game with 13 strikeouts and allowing three hits and one unearned run in a 1-0 loss

Prior to Long Beach State University...
Meza was a dominant pitcher for St. Bonaventure, earning two-time MaxPreps First-Team All-American honors, Cal-Hi Sports First Team All-State Selection and CIF Division Player of the Year selection from Agoura High School. She was also named to the Mexico junior national team before she stepped foot on a college campus. Cielo led St. Bonaventure to back-to-back league and CIF Southern Section championships where she was named the league MVP for two straight years. Went 21-5 in the circle as a senior, posting a 0.57 ERA with 348 strikeouts while also hitting .348 for the Seraphs as a senior. In her junior season, Meza posted a 15-2 record, striking out 228 with a 0.65 ERA while also hitting at a .362 clip.

Player profile courtesy the team website https://thesundevils.com/sports/softball/roster/cielo-meza/11650

 


 
Saturday, February 27th, the Flashes Cross Country team competed on their home turf at the Fillmore School Farm. Pictured above are Sofia Rodriguez and Andrea Laureano who led in the girls races for Fillmore along with teammates Angelica Herrera, Daisy Guerrero and Camila Rodriguez following. Photos Courtesy Michael Torres.
Saturday, February 27th, the Flashes Cross Country team competed on their home turf at the Fillmore School Farm. Pictured above are Sofia Rodriguez and Andrea Laureano who led in the girls races for Fillmore along with teammates Angelica Herrera, Daisy Guerrero and Camila Rodriguez following. Photos Courtesy Michael Torres.
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Eric Gutierrez finished with a time of 1829.55 following fellow teammate Camilo Torres in the first team race against Nordhoff, Hueneme, Santa Paula, and Carpinteria.
Eric Gutierrez finished with a time of 1829.55 following fellow teammate Camilo Torres in the first team race against Nordhoff, Hueneme, Santa Paula, and Carpinteria.

By Epi Torres

On Saturday, February 27th the Fillmore Cross Country teams competed on their home course located at the Fillmore School Farm. The course distance measured three miles and consisted of two loops, mostly flat with a couple of slight inclines. All athletes would have to fight a strong wind today as they traversed the dirt and gravel course.

Teams competing today in the second meeting of the Citrus Coast League, were Fillmore, Nordhoff, Hueneme, Santa Paula, and Carpinteria.

All teams followed the same starting and racing protocol that was established last week. Each team slated to compete, lined their athletes on the starting time based on projected ability from fastest to slowest. They were then placed in groups of 3 or less; and were sent off the start line every 15 seconds. Once a team completed their run and cool down, they were required to leave the venue, so that the next team could run the course.

Fillmore was the first team to race and post times for this second meet of 3. Leading the Flashes off the line were Camilo Torres and Eric Gutierrez. Camilo finished in a time of 17:32.82, followed by Eric, who came across in 18:29.55. Matt Munoz was the next finisher in 20:21.66, followed by Diego Ramirez in 22:22.46, James Flores in 22:25.96, Kobe Lizarraga 23:05.76, and newcomer Angel Garcia in 23:07.16. James and Angel stepped to the line for the first time this year. Camilo posted the fastest time of the day for the second week in a row.

In the girls race, newcomer Sofia Rodriguez led all Fillmore finishers in a time of 27:38.74. She was followed by Andrea Laureano in 28:03.08, Angelica Herrera 28:17.33, Daisy Guerrero 32:19.95 and Camila Rodriguez 36.44.22. Camila, Sofia, and Angelica ran their first races of this short season.

Fillmore athletes will next compete on March 6th in Oxnard at Hueneme High School. The meet is hosted by Hueneme High School and is scheduled to commence at 9:00 a.m. This will complete Fillmore’s competition schedule for the 2021 Cross Country season. Many Thanks to all those who made it possible, especially our athletes and parents.

 


 
Lake Piru offers a parking lot and restroom facilities constructed by the Untied Water Conservation District which opened on March 1, 2021 near Pothole Trailhead. Photos courtesy United Water Conservation District.
Lake Piru offers a parking lot and restroom facilities constructed by the Untied Water Conservation District which opened on March 1, 2021 near Pothole Trailhead. Photos courtesy United Water Conservation District.
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United Water Conservation District’s long-awaited Pothole Trailhead parking and restroom facility in the Lake Piru Recreation Area opens to the public on March 1, greatly expanding hiking opportunities in the Los Padres National Forest.

The launch of the new facility gives direct access to the trailhead, thanks to the opening of the gate at the Juan Fernandez Boat Launch Area at Lake Piru by the U.S. Forest Service. The new facility will save hikers a nearly 3-mile trek on Piru Canyon Road from the boat launch area to the trailhead (see attached map). Visitors should be aware that Lake Piru Recreation Area charges a Day Use fee of $14 per vehicle and requires masks and social distancing.

“We are excited to be able to increase the incredible recreation opportunities around Lake Piru and introduce more people to the many trails and beautiful scenery of our public lands,” said UWCD General Manager Mauricio Guardado. “When the facility opens, the weather should be perfect for some outdoor fun, so I hope people will lace up their hiking boots, grab their day pack and water bottle and come check it out.”

From the trailhead, hikers and backpackers can travel through the Sespe Wilderness, passing a spring and a 19th century homestead cabin with old farming tools still in place. The 4.7-mile hike ends at the Pothole, a natural sink of lush grassland surrounded by willows and cottonwoods.

A second path, Agua Blanca Trail, is a long loop route that meanders through a dramatic rock passageway known as Devils Gateway. Hikers can also opt for a path to an upper ridge that provides views of Piru Creek before descending to the road between Lake Piru and Blue Point.

“The natural and recreational resources in this area are abundant and the Pothole Trailhead improvements are an important addition that will serve the community well,” said Karina Medina, District Ranger for the Mt. Pinos and Ojai Ranger Districts on the Los Padres National Forest.

The Forest Service was instrumental in guiding the project to completion and UWCD is grateful for the agency’s assistance.

The District is eager to welcome more visitors to the Lake Piru Recreation Area and Los Padres National Forest to experience the awe-inspiring vistas and wildlife, which includes condors, owls and eagles.

About United Water Conservation District
Since 1927, United Water Conservation District (District) has served as a leader among water agencies by managing, protecting, enhancing and securing the water resources of the Santa Clara River and Oxnard Coastal Plain. The District works to protect the environment’s natural attributes and conserves runoff from all major tributaries of the Santa Clara River including Piru, Hopper, Sespe and Santa Paula Creeks. Committed to managing the area’s water supplies through groundwater replenishment and the construction and operation of efficient water supply and delivery systems, the District serves as the conservator of groundwater resources that are utilized by the cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura, Santa Paula and Fillmore, as well as Naval Base Ventura County and several mutual water districts, farms and individual pumpers. The District also provides surface water for agricultural irrigation and treated drinking water to the cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme. www.unitedwater.org

 


 
A 2-car traffic collision involving a horse took place Sunday night, February 28 at 8:30pm, on Highway 126 east of Center Street, Piru. CHP indicated a horse was running in the center lanes of the highway and had been hit. The horse was killed at the scene in the westbound lane. A black SUV and silver Toyota van were involved and came to rest in the eastbound lanes. One critical patient was extricated and transported by ambulance to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital with major injuries; one patient received minor injuries. The highway was closed in both directions, with eastbound lanes opening at approximately 10:00pm, and all lanes opened by 10:30pm. No further information was available. Photos courtesy Angel Esquivel—AE News.
A 2-car traffic collision involving a horse took place Sunday night, February 28 at 8:30pm, on Highway 126 east of Center Street, Piru. CHP indicated a horse was running in the center lanes of the highway and had been hit. The horse was killed at the scene in the westbound lane. A black SUV and silver Toyota van were involved and came to rest in the eastbound lanes. One critical patient was extricated and transported by ambulance to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital with major injuries; one patient received minor injuries. The highway was closed in both directions, with eastbound lanes opening at approximately 10:00pm, and all lanes opened by 10:30pm. No further information was available. Photos courtesy Angel Esquivel—AE News.
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On Monday, March 1st, at 9:59pm, Fillmore Police Department, VCFD and AMR paramedics were dispatched to a multi-vehicle accident in the 1100 block of Ventura Street (SR-126) in front of Tipsy Fox Liquor. A Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy radioed that he was involved in a collision with a white Chevy Malibu. Two ambulances were dispatched to the accident, and four people were taken to an area hospital. The officer was not reported to be transported to a hospital. Fillmore Police Department units shut down SR-126/C Street westbound lanes. Cause of the crash is under investigation. Photos courtesy Angel Esquivel—AE News.
On Monday, March 1st, at 9:59pm, Fillmore Police Department, VCFD and AMR paramedics were dispatched to a multi-vehicle accident in the 1100 block of Ventura Street (SR-126) in front of Tipsy Fox Liquor. A Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy radioed that he was involved in a collision with a white Chevy Malibu. Two ambulances were dispatched to the accident, and four people were taken to an area hospital. The officer was not reported to be transported to a hospital. Fillmore Police Department units shut down SR-126/C Street westbound lanes. Cause of the crash is under investigation. Photos courtesy Angel Esquivel—AE News.
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On Wednesday, February 24th, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley hosted a drive-through backpack and school supply giveaway from 4pm-6pm while supplies lasted! 100 backpacks were to be distributed at the Santa Paula and Fillmore sites, 75 at Piru site. Pictured above are kids from the Fillmore Clubhouse holding up their new backpacks.
On Wednesday, February 24th, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley hosted a drive-through backpack and school supply giveaway from 4pm-6pm while supplies lasted! 100 backpacks were to be distributed at the Santa Paula and Fillmore sites, 75 at Piru site. Pictured above are kids from the Fillmore Clubhouse holding up their new backpacks.
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Flags were flown at half staff for four days last week to remember the half million Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
Flags were flown at half staff for four days last week to remember the half million Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
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Trinity Episcopal circa 1935.
Trinity Episcopal circa 1935.
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The altar and font given to Trinity by Mrs. Thomas Bard.
The altar and font given to Trinity by Mrs. Thomas Bard.
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The modern Trinity Episcopal church building.
The modern Trinity Episcopal church building.
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Courtesy Fillmore History Museum

Fillmore has many church buildings. Some are old. Some are modern. Some are no longer used as churches. Over several articles, we are going look at the history of some of them.

One of the older church buildings in Fillmore hasn’t been in town all than long. Trinity Episcopal, known affectionately as “the Chocolate Church,” was built in 1901 in Hueneme, on the east side of Ventura Road (formerly Fourth Street) between Pleasant Valley Road and Clara Street, by Senator Thomas Bard for his wife, Molly. Senator Bard was Presbyterian and was active in the Presbyterian Church in Hueneme. His wife, Mary Gerberding Bard, was a devout Episcopalian. The small, “English gingerbread, Craftsman style” church was built for her worship.

There had been an Episcopal contingent in Fillmore as early as 1892. A traveling minister or the minister at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Santa Paula would hold services in rented space or private homes. Frequently this would be in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stephens, a prominent businessman. By the early 1930’s the congregation decided it was time for a church of their own. By then the little church in Hueneme was no longer in use and had fallen in disrepair. Mrs. Bard, a widow since 1915, had refused several offers to purchase the building, but when she was approached by Rev. George MacDougall, who was the current minister in Santa Paula, she agreed to donate the building to the congregation in Fillmore. She also donated the altar, a communion service, a chest of linens, the font and other furnishings, a generous gift indeed. Mr. and Mrs. Stephens donated the land on the northeast corner of Second and Saratoga.

Now the only problem was getting the building from Hueneme to Fillmore, about thirty (30) miles, and then rebuilding it.

A local builder, Bill Yeakle, was awarded the contract to move and rebuild the Church.Under his supervision, Ed Rice, helped by a Mr. Seichert, dismantled the church in Hueneme. Each piece was numbered and brought to Fillmore by pickup trucks. The trucks were so heavily laden that they took back roads to avoid being ticketed for being overloaded. It is estimated that there was close to one million separate, numbered pieces. It was not unlike doing a jig-saw puzzle to reconstruct the building in Fillmore.

Eventually the job was done and on Sunday, December 17, 1933, the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles, Rt. Rev. W. Bertrand Stevens, assisted by Rev. Macdougall, consecrated the little church. The night before the consecration, the first wedding was held in the church. Helen Price and Thomas Powell were married by Reverend MacDougall, the first of many weddings, baptisms, and unfortunately, funerals.

Trinity Episcopal has continued to this very day, although due to Covid there are no in person services. The altar and font used by the congregation are the ones donated by Mrs. Bard in 1933. In 2014, Joanna Bard Newton, the granddaughter of Senator and Mary Bard, visited the church. She was baptized in the church when it was in Hueneme in 1917, although she admitted she didn’t remember the occasion.

 
Guy Olvera, 40, Santa Paula.
Guy Olvera, 40, Santa Paula.

A Santa Paula man was arrested for attempted murder after stabbing another man on 2/17/2021.

On 2/17/2021, deputies from the Sheriff’s Fillmore Patrol Station responded to a call of a stabbing victim in the 14000 block of Foothill Road, in the unincorporated area near Santa Paula. Upon their arrival, deputies located a 31-year-old male victim suffering from multiple stab wounds. The victim was transported via ambulance to a local hospital where he remains in stable condition.

Investigators from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau and Gang Unit responded to assist with the investigation. They determined that (S) Guy Olvera stabbed the victim several times over what is believed to be an ongoing dispute between the two men. Additional evidence revealed that Olvera fled the scene in a vehicle that was associated with an address in the 500 Block of 13th Street in Santa Paula. Later in the night, Olvera was contacted at the Santa Paula address when he arrived alone in the suspect vehicle. He was taken into custody without incident.

Olvera was booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility for one count of PC 664/187(a) - Attempted Murder. He remains in custody on $515,000.00 bail and is scheduled to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on 2/19/2021.

Investigators are seeking additional witnesses or information pertaining to the crime. If anyone has information, please contact Detective Douglas at 805-384-4732.

Nature of Incident: Suspect Arrested for Attempted Murder
Report Number: 21-22024
Location: 14000 block of Foothill Road, Santa Paula, CA
Date & Time: 2/17/2021 @ 1742 Hours
Unit(s) Responsible: Sheriff’s Fillmore Patrol Station Sheriff’s Gang Unit
Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau (S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent, City of Residence, Age
(S) Guy Olvera, 40, Santa Paula
Prepared by: Detective James Douglas
Approved by: Captain Jeff Miller