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

On April 19, 2009 at about 6:15 a.m., Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Piru Market and Liquor in Piru to investigate a commercial burglary that occurred earlier in the morning. When a store employee arrived to open the business, she discovered someone had forced entry and took cash, lottery tickets, cigarettes, liquor and other merchandise. The total loss was estimated at about $6,500.00.

Later that same day, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) was investigating a traffic collision that occurred near Lake Piru. During their investigation, they discovered one of the drivers was in possession of some of the items stolen from the market. A coordinated investigation between CHP, Piru Lake Rangers and Sheriff’s Deputies resulted in the identification of two additional suspects at a Lake Piru campsite.

Most of the stolen property was recovered. The three suspects, Bennett Nevin 18, Joseph Avelino 19 and Sean Dominique 19, all from Simi Valley, were arrested for felony commercial burglary and felony conspiracy to commit a crime. They were booked at the Ventura County Jail with bail set at $20,000.00 each.

The public is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at (805) 654-9511 or 524-2233 if they have any information on the case.

Courtesy of Fillmore Police Department Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

 


 
On April 8th the community of Piru had a mural dedicated to the town and its people. The mural was created
by Carlos Callejo. Supervisor Kathy Long, guitarist and vocalist Enrique Ramirez, and Callejo were all at the
dedication.
On April 8th the community of Piru had a mural dedicated to the town and its people. The mural was created by Carlos Callejo. Supervisor Kathy Long, guitarist and vocalist Enrique Ramirez, and Callejo were all at the dedication.
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Guitarist and vocalist Enrique Ramirez of San Francisco performs at the beginning of the dedication.
Guitarist and vocalist Enrique Ramirez of San Francisco performs at the beginning of the dedication.
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Supervisor Kathy Long introduces and greets mural artist Carlos Callejo
Supervisor Kathy Long introduces and greets mural artist Carlos Callejo
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Artist Carlos Callejo discusses how the mural came to be thanks to a partnership with the community of Piru.
Artist Carlos Callejo discusses how the mural came to be thanks to a partnership with the community of Piru.
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Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

VANDALISM
04/08/09
900 Ventura Street
04/10/09
East Telegraph Road
04/11/09
Central Ave/Santa Clara St.
04/13/09
N. C St/King Street
04/14/09
500 Block Central Avenue

THEFT/OTHER
04/08/09
600 Block Ventura Street
04/08/09
600 Block Ventura Street
04/08/09
400 Block River Street CONTINUED »

 


 
The Senior Center Board and Fillmore City Council held a joint meeting last night. Pictured (l-r) Gloria Hansen, Marie Wren, Jamey Brooks, Dave Roegner, Gayle Washburn, Patti Walker, Laurie Hernandez.
The Senior Center Board and Fillmore City Council held a joint meeting last night. Pictured (l-r) Gloria Hansen, Marie Wren, Jamey Brooks, Dave Roegner, Gayle Washburn, Patti Walker, Laurie Hernandez.
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Fillmore City Finance Director and City Manager, Barbara Smith, tendered her letter of retirement to the city council this week. She is retiring after 23 years with the city because of the “hostile environment” brought in by the new council members and recently appointed Mayor Patti Walker. Smith is the fourth top management member to leave office in the last two months.
Fillmore City Finance Director and City Manager, Barbara Smith, tendered her letter of retirement to the city council this week. She is retiring after 23 years with the city because of the “hostile environment” brought in by the new council members and recently appointed Mayor Patti Walker. Smith is the fourth top management member to leave office in the last two months.

The Fillmore City Council met on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. Council Member Steve Conaway was absent. The Council sat with the Senior Center Board, discussed the turnover rate and employee morale at City Hall, and heard an update on possible soil contamination at the Heritage Valley Parks Specific Plan area. The City will hold a Goal Setting Workshop during the Special Meeting on April 22nd.

The resignation of Finance Director Barbara Smith was not discussed publicly at meeting, however The Gazette received an announcement from Mayor Patti Walker concerning Smith’s announced departure: “On April 14, Finance Director Barbara Smith forwarded to me and City Attorney, Ted Schneider, by email her notice of retirement. Ms. Smith indicated in her notice that she has been advised by the pension representative that her remaining until July 1 would bring no additional retirement benefit to her. As a result, May 14, 2009, will be her final day with the city. Ms. Smith has also indicated that she values her privacy and has requested that there not be any public honor or acknowledgment of her 23 years of service.

As Mayor, and on behalf of the City Council, well wishes and heartfelt thanks are extended to Barbara for her work, service and support she has extended to the council and community of Fillmore. Patti Walker, Mayor.” The Gazette wishes Ms. Smith all the best.

The meeting began with a joint session with the Senior Center Board. The Board and Council discussed their mutual responsibilities, and reviewed the Senior Center Budget. The Board will cooperate with Facilities Supervisor Annette Cardona to allot time for the seniors to play cards at the Senior Center, which is often used by Parks and Recreation programs in the afternoons and evenings. The Council approved use of the Senior Center even when not staffed by a full-time City employee, and will look into obtaining computer donations to improve the computer program. CONTINUED »

 


 

For the second year in a row 370 students at Mountain Vista Elementary are now published authors! One of Mountain Vista’s main goals for their students this year is that every student will be proficient at writing. The students worked through the entire writing process from prewriting, editing, drafting, and illustrating in order to have their own hardbound, full color book. The program is through Student Treasures, a student publishing program based in Kansas. After the students completed their book kits they were sent to the publishers. The publishers color copied the kits and bound them for free. Parents were given the option to purchase additional copies of the books, which were a little less than $18 each after shipping and handling. Some classrooms opted to create a class book. Each student authored a page and created an illustration to be apart of the book. While other classrooms had each student author and illustrate a 15 page book of their own. Each of these books will be a treasure to look at for years to come.

 
At last night’s school board meeting Superintendent Sweeney presented Virginia De la Piedra (left) a Certificate of Meritorious Public Service.
At last night’s school board meeting Superintendent Sweeney presented Virginia De la Piedra (left) a Certificate of Meritorious Public Service.
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Victor Meraz
Victor Meraz

In May 2007 victim Alberto Avalos was leaving the area of a party in the 800 block of Blaine Avenue in Fillmore. While standing with other partygoers he was shot and killed in an apparent gang related homicide.

The Sheriff’s Homicide Unit opened a criminal investigation into the death of Avalos. Investigators followed leads between Fillmore and Victorville, California, developing information that identified Victor Meraz as being involved in the shooting of Avalos.

Today, after a two-year investigation, Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives arrested Victor Meraz for the shooting death of Alberto Avalos. Meraz was arrested while in custody on an unrelated matter at the Sheriff’s Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura.

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

On April 15, 2009 at about 2:35 A.M., Sheriffs deputies were dispatched to a home in the 400 Block of 4th Street in the City of Fillmore on a report that a robbery had just occurred inside the home. Deputies received information that the suspect ran from the scene, but was possibly hiding in the area.

Patrol deputies quickly responded to the victim's home and simultaneously searched the area for the 17 year old female suspect. Deputies at the home found two victims identified as a mother and daughter. The suspect was identified as a close relative of the family. The victims reported to deputies that the suspect unexpectedly arrived and forced entry into the home as they slept. The suspect confronted the 19 year-old victim and the mother in their room. The suspect brandished a knife at the two victims, threatening to cut the 19 year-old victim's throat and then cut the mother's arm causing a minor injury. The 19 year-old victim was unharmed. As the victims attempted to call the police, the suspect took the phone preventing them from calling. The suspect stole money from the mother's purse and fled with the 19 year-old victim's purse. Patrol deputies in search of the suspect, arrested her about two blocks from the home. At the time of the arrest, the suspect was carrying some of the stolen property.

The suspect was charged with felony counts of armed robbery, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, and preventing a victim from reporting a crime to the public. The suspect was lodged in Juvenile Hall. Fillmore Police Department Ventura County Sheriffs Department.

 
Faces of the Budget Cuts: Pictured left to right - Debby Blaylock, computer lab, 26 years employed losing 1.75 hours a day; Michele Anderson, library clerk, 17 years employed losing 10 days and 1 hour a day; Linda Boynton, computer lab, 29 years employed, eliminated; Sheila Duckett, 29 years employed, computer lab, losing 1 hour a day; Jan Faulkner, 1 year employed, librarian, losing 33 days and 3 hours a day. These cuts are part of the approximate 589 days per year and 31 hours per day that will be lost serving Fillmore Unified students.
Faces of the Budget Cuts: Pictured left to right - Debby Blaylock, computer lab, 26 years employed losing 1.75 hours a day; Michele Anderson, library clerk, 17 years employed losing 10 days and 1 hour a day; Linda Boynton, computer lab, 29 years employed, eliminated; Sheila Duckett, 29 years employed, computer lab, losing 1 hour a day; Jan Faulkner, 1 year employed, librarian, losing 33 days and 3 hours a day. These cuts are part of the approximate 589 days per year and 31 hours per day that will be lost serving Fillmore Unified students.
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Proposed cuts will reduce service to students and eliminate jobs

Like many institutions around the state, Fillmore Unified School District (FUSD) is struggling to make ends meet. The District had already cut its 2007-2008 school-year budget by $1.2 million as funding reductions required, leaving few if any superfluous budget items. The economic downturn has necessitated further reductions. FUSD must reduce its 2009-2010 budgets by an additional $1.7 million.

The School Board has held Budget Study Sessions on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays for the past few months to proactively address the problem. At both the special sessions and the regular board meetings, tensions have been building between the various involved parties. Dr. Mike Bush, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, has provided a budget update at each meeting, usually accompanied by District Office staff recommendations for potential cuts. Most District employees are categorized as certificated (teachers), classified, or confidential, and two of those groups have union representation which is anxious to alleviate the impact of budget cuts on its members. CSEA (California School Employees Association) represents classified employees such as teachers’ aides, library clerks, computer lab instructional assistants, food service workers, school office staff, custodians, maintenance, and grounds workers. FUTA (Fillmore Unified Teachers Association) represents teachers. Fifty-six percent of the proposed cuts are in personnel. Eighty-seven percent of the District’s budget is for employee costs, including salary and health benefits.

According to Superintendent Jeff Sweeney, “The administration has worked diligently to ensure that no one group takes a disproportionate reduction over other groups.” Fillmore teacher and FUTA President Theresa Marvel disagrees. She said that the District has fewer classified employees than ever, and fewer teachers than ever, but a larger district administration and confidential staff than ever before. Marvel claims the number of district administrators and their support staff has grown disproportionately to enrollment. She also noted that teachers and classified employees are expected to provide more services than ever before. CONTINUED »

 
Marcos A. Ruvalcaba with an officer from Iraq.
Marcos A. Ruvalcaba with an officer from Iraq.
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Fillmore resident Marcos A. Ruvalcaba, 32 years, was promoted to a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on March 30, 2009. 1st Lieutenant Ruvalcaba attended Fillmore schools until the 9th grade when he transferred to St. Bonaventure High School. At St. Bonaventure he participated in soccer and baseball before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in February 1998. While in the United States Marine Corps he attended Chapman University from 2002-2005 where he studied Criminal Justice. 1st Lieutenant Ruvalcaba continued his college education as an enlisted Marine and earned a Batchelor of Arts degree which allowed him to attend Officer Candidates School. After completing Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on March 30, 2007 just nine years after enlisting in the United States Marine Corps.

1st Lieutenant Ruvalcaba is the son of Aurelia and Jose Refugio Ruvalcaba of Fillmore. His siblings are Pablo 30 years of Santa Monica, CA, Victor 28 years of Santa Monica, CA, Jose 26 years of Fillmore and Mariza 22 years of Oregon. His maternal Grandparents are Manuel and the late Inez Aparicio of Fillmore and paternal Grandparents Longinos and the late Pachita Ruvalcaba of Fillmore. 1st Lieutenant Ruvalcaba has one cousin serving in the military; Alfredo Quesada served four years in the United States Navy Reserves.

Currently 1st Lieutenant Ruvalcaba is a Ground Intelligence Officer with the Military Transition Team 0720 (MiTT) from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California embedded with an Iraqi Army Brigade in Al Anbar province Baghdadi, Iraq. He has been deployed for one year and has five months remaining on his deployment. This is his second deployment to Iraq. When 1st Lieutenant Ruvalcaba was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on March 30, 2009 an Iraqi Army Officer (Lieutenant Colonel equivalent) pinned his silver bars on his collar. 1st Lieutenant Ruvalcaba believes this was the first time an Iraqi Officer participated in the promotion of an American Officer! CONTINUED »