Winter Storm Warning Yolo County / State of CALocal Weather Alerts

Winter Storm Warning
...significant Mountain Snow Today Into The Weekend... .a Significant Early Season Storm Is Forecast To Bring Snow And Wind To The Mountains Of Interior Northern California Through Saturday Evening. A Couple Of Feet Of Snow Are Possible Above 6000 Feet By Saturday Night Over The Higher Elevations. Motorists Planning Travel Into The Mountains During This Time Frame Should ...Read More.
Effective: November 3, 2017 at 2:53pmExpires: November 4, 2017 at 11:00pmTarget Area: West Slope Northern Sierra Nevada; Western Plumas County, Lassen Park

Winter Storm Warning
...winter Storm Warning Remains In Effect Until 11 Pm Pdt Saturday... * What...heavy Snow Expected. Plan On Difficult Travel Conditions Especially Over The Passes. Total Snow Accumulations: Above 7000 Feet 1 To 2 Feet With Localized Higher Amounts. Between 6500 And 7000 Feet 5 To 10 Inches With ...Read More.
Effective: November 3, 2017 at 2:47pmExpires: November 4, 2017 at 11:00pmTarget Area: Greater Lake Tahoe Area

Winter Storm Warning
...winter Storm Warning Remains In Effect From 5 Am Pdt Saturday To 4 Pm Pst Sunday Above 7000 Feet... * What...heavy Snow Expected. Plan On Difficult Travel Conditions. Total Snow Accumulations Of 3 To 5 Inches, With Localized Amounts Up To 10 Inches, Are Still Expected. * Where...sierra Nevada Mountains From Yosemite To Kings Canyon ...Read More.
Effective: November 4, 2017 at 5:00amExpires: November 5, 2017 at 5:00pmTarget Area: Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Kings Canyon

Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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Friday Update on tax day 2016

All,

Lot’s going on….

 

City Council Agendas:

 

April 19, 2016

  •  
  • Budget Workshop at 4:30
  • Wallace-Kuhl Agmt. for the Continuation of Monitoring Services at the Former Landfill
  • Recycling Grant Application for Payment Programs
  • Proclamation Declaring May 3rd as the BIG Day of Giving
  • Water Well Maintenance Contract for Well #’s 2 & 6 with Suez dba: Utility Service Group
  • Bid Issuance for Construction Improvements for Phase II Construction at Walnut Park

 May 3, 2016

  • Formal review of the FY 2016-17 and 2017-18 City Budget
  • Initiate Proceedings and Preliminary Approval of the Engineers Annual Levy Report for the City-Wide Maintenance Assessment Dist., FY 2016-2017
  • Purchase of Wastewater Emergency Generator

May 17, 2016

  • Callahan Estates DA
  • Street Naming Recommendations for Winters Highlands
  • Budget Adoption

 Department Updates:

 

Public Works:

  • Staff visited the City of Yountville and viewed their bar screen and would like to install a similar self-contained unit at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Repaired water leak on Hemenway.
  • Some bad spots on Main Street are being repaved.
  • New sidewalk was poured from 4th Street through City Park to the bathrooms, and will be followed by a sidewalk from the new play structure to Main Street. Lights like those on the creek path will illuminate the new sidewalks and DG will be installed in various places.
  • A new Jacobsen mower has been purchased.  The older Jacobsen mower will be kept as a secondary unit to run simultaneously, if needed.
  • Pool inspection scheduled (and passed) for today and staff will perform a sand filter enzyme treatment next week.
  • Working on the landscape plans for Winters Ranch public right of way.
  • YFCU has requested to deliver clean fill dirt to landfill.
  • Staff will erect signs for the May 6th Winters Putah Creek Car Bridge Dedication.
  • City-wide striping will commence, weather permitting.
  • Mulch is being spread on the elderberry plantings at the creek.
  • Cr6 or Chromium 6 – pilot people have offered a different method of treatment utilizing a 53’ trailer housing system to perform a more detailed pilot study.  Ionex also wants to come back and do some more work.
  • Working on two bike rodeos with Winters Police Department and Winters PTA.

 

Finance:

  • Working on budgets – reviewing expenditures and asking questions regarding revenues.
  • Quilt Show will be on Saturday, June 18 – looking for volunteers to set up at the Community Center on 6/17 and on the sidewalks on 6/18.

 

Administrative:

  • Pool is gearing up with 15 new and returning lifeguards.
  • Recreation swim is scheduled to begin in May.
  • School Board approved an agreement for janitorial services for the ASP & Munchkin programs.
  • Winters Theater Company board approved the replacement of the stage floor at the Community Center.  The board will work with the Community Center schedule and Gary Schroeder will be working with the City staff on the repairs.
  • Fire reserve orientation will take place on 4/22 for 5 recruits (still waiting for two medical reports).  Fire indicated they will be going back out for additional reserves.

 

Economic Development/Housing

  • Attended a Yolo County Planning Commission meeting today with Council Member Cowan regarding Ag Tourism.
  • Parking Consultant RFP responses are due on Monday, April 18th.
  • Walnut Park will go out to bid on 4/20, if approved by City Council on 4/19.
  • Affordable Housing Steering Committee (AHSC) met on 4/13 regarding moderate ownership covenant and the recommendation was unanimous to shorten the covenant from 45 years to 10-15 years.

 Planning:

  • Staff taught a planning class to preschoolers at The Treehouse, which included a treasure map of downtown and a stop at City Hall.
  • Planning Commission meeting on 4/26 and the agenda will include Callahan, Downtown Hotel, and a noise study session.
  • Street naming meeting was held last week, with JoAnn Larkey to provide a narrative description of the names chosen.
  • Winters resident is pursuing a permit for a bike/petty cab.
  • Winters is a hot bed for filming crews, with filming taking place on 4/23 at the Public Safety Facility.  The need for an ordinance/permit will be on the to do list.
  • Will be receiving an updated status on Starbucks.
  • Staff is continuing to work on a nuisance ordinance.

Building:

  • Issued the final for two houses on Mermod and the Certificates of Occupancy (C of O’s) are ready to pick up.

 

Police:

  • Received an alert from the FBI for thieves who are stealing truckloads of almonds, walnuts and pistachios, with farmers losing $4.5 million dollars a year (oh nuts!)
  • Citizen’s Academy will begin on Monday, 4/18 and continue on Monday’s through 5/16.  Class topics include community policing, local government and the fire department, gangs and street narcotics, internet safety and DUI information and crime prevention.

 

Fire:

  • Planning structure training burns in Dixon and will include Winters Fire staff as part of a 2-day certified class.
  • Multi-agency swift water rescue training will be held on 4/23.
  • Staff will be participating in wild land fire refresher training.

 Have a nice weekend.

 John


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Winters Citizens Acadamy

All,

Over a 5 week period, the Winters Police Department will be hosting a Winters Citizen’s Academy to educate the community on a number of key issues. These will include:

  • Community Policing (April 18)
  • Local Government and Fire (April 25)
  • Gangs and Street Narcotics (May 2)
  • Intranet Safety and DUI (May 9)
  • Crime Prevention (May 16)

Each of the sessions will be held (from 6:30-8:30)  at the Public Safety Facility. This will be an incredible opportunity for residents to get a great overview of public safety issues in our town.

For more information, click HERE for the brochure and click HERE for an application.

For more information, contact gail.jimenez@winterspolice.org or Gordon.brown@winterspolice.org .

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update for April 8 2016

All,

 A couple items for the week:

 ·         Overall, a good City Council Meeting on a number of fronts. Fire Grants, another discussion on fountains and the Comprehensive Financial Report.

·         To read the City’s Comprehensive Financial Report, click HERE . This literally tells you everything about the financial situation for the City and provides some interesting statistical data on the City. Great reading for nerds and interested people alike.

·         The Downtown Hotel is off and running again with the finish grading happening now. Look for construction to start in May. Really good news!!

·         On Thursday, the City hosted a group of capital investors seeking information on opportunities within Winters. The momentum of the many projects happening in town is getting a ton of attention amongst those with money. Good News!!

·         Staff is working with the Yolo Habitat Conservancy on a number of issues as they move toward adoption of the Habitat Plan later in 2016. To view their plan, go to their website by clicking HERE.

·         The Winters Combined PTA is getting ready for their “Spring Into Action” Fundraiser in the coming weeks. They have a concept of virtual activities to get everyone active and a chance for people to sponsor activities for the schools. Go to their website by clicking HERE.

·         Munchkin Summer Camp registration is still going, so please encourage your students to sign up!!  We currently have 9 students in 1st grade, 16 in 2nd, 12 in 3rd,4 in 4th, 15 in 5th and 6 in 6th.  Come to City Hall for sign ups before the classes fill for summer. Click HERE for more information.

·         This Saturday is an Autism Awareness Event /walk starting at 8:00 behind the Community Center. The walk with be along Putah Creek and will benefit Logan Kruen’s Capstone Project for her senior year.

·         My hot tip on beer is “Rain Dog” which has just been released by Berryessa Brewing. Think Separation Anxiety and Double Tap have a love child and you get Rain Dog. Chris Miller is such an incredible brewer and I guarantee that this will be one of his master pieces! Also, they still have Station 26 which is an incredible drinking beer and is Chris’ homage to Winters Fire!

·         Winters AYSO has 3 teams in the AYSO Section Tournament this weekend! Go Warriors!

Finally, today I had an opportunity to participate in Woody Fridae’s 5th grade Civil War Program as a “Visitor from the Past” (I play General Ullyses Grant). The visitors also include Abraham Lincoln (played by Rich Rominger) and Michael Barbour who plays General Robert E. Lee.  If you have never seen Rich as Lincoln, you need too, it is absolutely incredible!!! Woody is Lt Fridae.

 The performance is a part of the Angel Island Civil War Program where 5th grade students learn about life as a soldier, the mid 1800’s and the program culminates in a two day trip to Angel Island.

 At Angel Island, the students live a couple days in the life of a soldier. They learn a variety of skills, do marching, bread making, signaling, rifle work,  with the day ending with a hike to the top of Mt Livermore and the view of the San Francisco Skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. The program also includes a number of parent chaperones who accompany the various squads of soldiers.

 The evening culminates with Lt Fridae playing guitar, peach cobbler, popcorn and singing songs from the past. The soldiers then take turns “on watch”(protecting the barracks and the gold) which means none of them really sleep for the two days.

 It is truly an experience which these students will remember for their entire lives. It is that good!!

 Woody and Rebecca Fridae were honored as Citizens of the Year for many reasons, but their school programs are incredible (Rebecca spearheads the 6th grade Camp Loma Mar Outdoor Program). As a community, the impacts we have on the lives of children will set the framework for their entire lives. Programs like Angel Island and Camp Loma Mar are two of the most special programs I have ever personally seen (in Winters we have the Center for Land Base Learning which does similar programs for the inner city). To watch the joy and learning in the eyes of the students is absolutely magical.

 Kudo’s to Lt Fridae and his troops as they get ready to head to Angel Island to protect the nations gold supply for a couple of days!

 I’m headed to Berryessa Brewing for a Rain Dog and to buy my wife a favorite glass of wine!

 Have a nice weekend.

 John


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Friday Update on April Fools Day 2016

All,

I thought up some rather clever announcements for this week’s update to try and prank everyone on April Fools, but I decided to go straight and avoid needing to correct the vicious rumors I would saddle myself with.

  • This weeks City Council Meeting includes a Closed Session for Real Estate Negotiations, a FEMA grant to add firefighters, Public Works Stand Specifications, a second look at water fountain designs for the Downtown mid block, investment and fund balance reports and a review of the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
  • Staff has received a “sidewalk café” permit request from Preserve on Railroad Ave which can be reviewed and approved on an administrative basis. It is in process now!
  • Public Works is beginning street striping around town, so get ready for our annual session of “drivers training” in and around the cones. I am always impressed how people can squeeze the big duly trucks through the tight cone spaces so they can drive through the fresh paint. We certainly have some impressive drivers!
  • The Downtown Hotel will kick into full gear at the end of April according to the developer. The site will need some more dirt, then it will be full scale construction.
  • Groundwater Management was the hot topic in town on Wednesday with an information session co-sponsored by the Yolo Farm Bureau and the Yolo Water Resources Agency (WRA). The State passed legislation requiring the formation of “Groundwater Sustainability Agencies” (GSA) to develop “Groundwater Sustainability Plans” (GSP). There have been three informational meetings which have been held to packed houses. The legislation is loose, but there are significant hammers for those who do not meet the demands. We have an incredible group at the WRA and Yolo Flood Control who are leading the implementation, but they about ready to start kicking over the proverbial hornets nests.
  • Farmers are not happy when people start messing with their water and my guess is that the messing is just about to begin. My prediction is that future meetings will be held at Raley Field or the new Downtown Sacramento Arena. The old adage that “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting” will apply. Get ready because this is going to be ugly!
  • Animal Services is on my agenda and we have some folks in Yolo County looking to lead a fundraising effort for a new animal shelter.

Finally, yesterday was the observance of Cesar Chavez’ birthday. He was truly a California Hero and one of the most influential people in the history of our great state!

Over the years (in high school and college), I had an opportunity to meet Cesar Chavez and I was always amazed at what a gentle, yet confident man he was. His advocacy for farmworks was just part of a legacy which really represented empowerment on many levels including social, economic and the advancement of basic human rights and principles. In the nonviolent model of Martin Luther King, Jr., he demonstrated a civil disobedient approach to the empowerment of people and the ability to generate economic opportunity for thousands of California families.

The most amazing aspects of Cesar Chavez is that he led his life by an extremely high moral and ethical code. The principles which guided him made him a role model and someone whose legacy lives on today.

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on Good Friday 2016

All,

No matter where you sit on the religious or government spectrum, I still think one coolest old school things about the City of Winters is that we give our staff a half day off for Good Friday! Only in a small town!!!

This update covers a lot of details currently working in each of the City Departments.

Public Works:

  • With the overflow at the East Street Pump Facility, they are working to add a couple aspects to the SCADA system which controls and sends alarms of malfunctions to our staff and mechanical devices.
  • Staff met with PG&E to review a comprehensive maintenance project for the Valley Oak Drive Look for the area to get a big haircut in the coming months!
  • PG&E has revised policy regarding “structures” on top of their pipeline facilities. This means the skate park on Valley Oak will be coming out soon. This will be replaced with a new futsol (soccer on pavement) court at City Park. This is very generous from PG&E who will be paying for the entire thing!
  • Public Works is partnering with the Winters Theatre Group to make some modifications to the Community Center Stage. Look for some new flooring on the stage in the next productions.
  • Winters Ranch has passed their final inspections on water and sewer utilities. They have been wonderful to work with and the crews doing the underground work (including Winters own KO Construction) did an outstanding job!
  • Yolo Federal is working on utilities for their project and coordinating with our staff.
  • The Wooden Playground at City Park has a group working to replace it with a new structure. Eric Lucero reports that they are a real impressive group with ideas on fundraising and community collaboration. This is awesome news!

Financial Management:

  • Working on the 2 year budget for Fiscal Years 2016-17 and 2017-18. Budget sheets are in from the various departments for preliminary review. Next step will be the workshop with the City Council and then hearings.
  • A strategy for addressing an issue with the State Department of Finance regarding the Railroad Ave Parking Lot is under way.
  • A couple minor issues regarding fee collection and timing for new subdivisions has been resolved.
  • Shelly is working with a combination of our financial advisory team on a reinvestment strategy for our bond reserves. The current investment contract for the 2004 Tax Allocation Bonds has expired and Shelly, along with our Bond Counsel, Financial Advisor and Disclosure Counsel are developing recommendations. That meeting is better than a Giants/Dodgers Game any time!

Housing/Economic Development:

  • The environmental certifications for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Project have been completed and submitted to the State Housing and Urban Development Department. This represents another step in the 1,000 mile walk on this project. Good going Dan and team!!!!
  • Dan and Ethan are working on revisions to the wording on the covenant language regarding “moderate” income homes.
  • The draft Purchase/Sale agreement is off to the Winters Healthcare Foundation for the purchase of the Grant Ave Property. At this rate, we may actually start paying Dan for closing deals.
  • Staff met with Urban Community Partners regarding parking solutions for the Railroad Ave Parking Lot Project.
  • The Parking RFP is out on the street for consulting services. HERE is the link if you are interested.
  • Greg Melton of the Melton Design Group who is the designer of Walnut Park was the speaker at Rotary this week. He did a fine job and we are almost at 95% construction documents to go to bid. Look for construction this summer.
  • The Housing Related Parks Grant ($115k) is being spent. Maintenance equipment and additional stuff for Walnut Park is on the menu.
  • The big notice in The Winters Express regarding the Downtown Hotel Site read more ominous than it really is. Basically, we acknowledged certain restrictions on residency on the first floor based on the determination by the Department of Toxic Substances that 1880’s burn piles with ash had lead in them. Everyone is happy now and we can move to construction of the Downtown Hotel.

Building

  • Winters Ranch has pulled 5 more permits and 13 more will go in early April.
  • The West Main Sewer Pump Station is in for plan check and will go to construction sometime in the summer.
  • The Certification for Flood Plan Elevation has been signed (by me) which means that building permits for the training centers can commence. Good work by all involved, especially City Attorney Ethan Walsh, City Engineer Alan Mitchell, Building Official Gene Ashdown and the entire PG&E Engineering Team. Not easy stuff but the got it done.
  • Code Enforcement has contacted the folks at Dollar General and told them to clean things up and pull some weeds!
  • Tiny Houses are still “houses” and they need permits. Anyone watching TLC, Discovery, etc needs to be reminded that even though it only takes a half hour for Treehouse Masters or the Tiny Home Builders to throw one of those together, the Building Department still needs to make sure it is safe and permitted!

Planning:

  • Sign, Noise and Nuisance Ordinances are all in the revision stages. Signs were at the Planning Commission this week and the others will follow.
  • Staff is working on a revision to the Callahan Subdivision Development Agreement. They are close and it should be before the Planning Commission in April.

Engineering:

  • The Request for Proposals for City Engineering is out and due in late April.
  • Grant Ave/West Main Street Traffic Signal is deep in design and we are looking at a late 2016 build. They were directed to take it in two phases, signal, then street improvements.

Police:

  • The PD received a Homeland Security Grant for a live “active shooter” training simulation. Look for this to occur in early 2017.
  • The PD has taken delivery of 5 new dual band radios as part of another grant. The radios will have both 800 mgz and VHF.
  • Attendance from the PD at the Appreciation Dinner was a record! Congratulations to Jose Hermosillo who was named Officer of the Year. This is a well deserved honor for Jose who is making a HUGE impact for Winters PD!
  • Look for an upcoming Autism Walk to support charities and awareness in town.

A letter to the editor in the Winters Express expressed disappointment regarding the lack of public participation in the selection of the next Police Chief. A couple notes of response:

  • The recruitment for the next Police Chief is just under way. Click HERE for a link to the advertisement on the position.
  • The process will include quite a bit of participation from many stakeholders. This will include participation in the interview process by City Council, police staff, public members and others stakeholders from the law enforcement and greater Winters Community.
  • The Police Chief is a critical member of the Winters Team. Input from stakeholders will be a critical element to the selection process. Absence of that input would not benefit anyone.

I will tell you that the selection of the “right person” is my highest priority as City Manager. I specifically keep politics out of the selection process for any of our staff. The next Chief will be someone who will be the right fit for the Winters organization and community, someone who will lead Winters PD, mentor and train our officers and represent our goals within the community with integrity and respect.

Fire:

  • Congrats to Chief Aaron McAlister and the entire Winters Fire Team for putting on the Appreciation Dinner. The program was well done, the video produced by Captain Brad Lopez was excellent, and the coordination by Barb Karlen and the entire Winters Volunteer Association was terrific. Winters Fire is a class organization and a hallmark to our wonderful community!
  • Congratulations to Casey Meyers, Firefights of the Year and Steve Grisham, “Rookie of the Year” for their awards. Winters benefits immensely from our Reserve and Volunteer Firefighter Program and these two individuals represent the men and women of Winters Fire very well. We really are blessed to have Casey and Steve helping save lives and property!
  • Chief McAlister, Chief Kriens and Shelly Gunby are working on a small remodel to the reception area at the Public Safety Facility to make it more customer friendly and operational.
  • Fire will be hosting two regional training exercises. The first will be rescue operations in Putah Creek. The second is a swift water rescue class for first responders. Polar bears have nothing on our staff!

A couple more notes:

  • Winters is a “Right to Farm” City and agriculture in and around the City is allowed. This means that people conducting orchard and livestock operations on our borders is just a reality of life. Yes, cattle and sheep can graze and Yes, the helicopters and spraying will occur in the orchards. Yes, the tractors working in the middle of the night is allowed and I too want to break the beep beep beep off the tractor. In spring, that 3 day stink (chicken manure) from the north is the organic farmers doing their fertilizing is not the wastewater ponds overflowing. Yes, cow and sheep manure smells (it does!!) and we try to work with the farmers to convince them to move away from residential areas.
  • Fourth Friday starts tonight! The Chamber is selling Fourth Friday tee shirts which look awesome!! Also on sale tonight is Wragg Fire Olive Oil made by Pat and Chris Calvert. Click HERE for a link to the Ciarlo website.
  • Congrats to Winters born Cody Linton who won a National Championship in college wrestling earlier this month.

Happy Easter to everyone!

John


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Friday Update on March 18 2016

All,

 This week has been crazy busy and I am uninspired, so here are a few highlights.

 ·         The dedication for the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument will be on Saturday, March 19 at 10:30, at “Cowboy Camp” along Highway 16. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell with be there along with Smokey  the Bear. This is a huge day to celebrate!

·         Things are in the works for a Salmon Festival, November 1-5. It will include a week of various activities including a salmon feed on the Friday and a big day of activities on the Saturday. Sorry, no fishing contest!! Stay tuned as this develops.

·         The commercial project proposed for the Northeast corner of Main/Railroad was delayed at the City Council meeting as parking issues are still in need of resolve. This is a really nice project and we will work through some of the issues. Stay tuned.

·         Kudo’s to the Parking Committee and their RFP which will be released next week to work toward the development of a long range parking plan. Lot’s of work went into it and the members should be congratulated for their efforts. They are helping move downtown into the next phase as it evolves into that truly premier destination.

·         Congrats to the Winters Senior Foundation on their trip to Reno this week. 30+ people went and they had a GREAT time. Look for future events from this emerging and dynamic group!

·         The Hispanic Advisory Committee will be holding a planning meeting on Monday, March 21 at City Hall beginning at 6:30, this will be chance for persons to become active, provide input and help chart a course for the coming year.

Finally, a reminder for a couple items:

 ·         The Fourth Friday Downtown Festival begins next week.

·         Calendar Girls continues this weekend at the Community Center. Friday and Saturday beginning at 8 and the Sunday finale beginning at 2.

 Have a nice weekend!

 John


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Friday Update on March 11 2016

All,

This week’s update is a focus on some of the real leadership we see happening within the City’s organization. It is absolutely amazing.

  • Interim Police Chief Joseph Kreins made acting promotional appointments to four staff members (to form a leadership/supervisory group) and has made significant delegation of assignments throughout the Police organization to help build a transition strategy for the hire of a new Police Chief this summer. Chief Kreins has taken an extremely proactive approach to mentorship of our staff which is already producing important changes and modifications to make our Department more effective. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Acting Sergeant Jeremy Warren is leading efforts in a review of policies and procedures regarding our highest technology areas including our In-Car Camera systems, Mobile Data Terminals and AVL systems. He has also taken the lead on a review of policies and procedures regarding fleet maintenance for our police vehicles. Each of these is exceptionally important to how we operate and are key supporting our staff.
  • Acting Sergeant Albert Ramos is coordinating the review and recommendations regarding Field Training. In recent years and as we move forward, the enhancement of how we train new and current staff is critical to the safety of the public and our officers. Albert is one of our most tenured officers and serves as an important resource in the training and development of staff.
  • Acting Corporal Gordon Brown, working with our Community Services Officer Gail Jimenez are coordinating two community outreach programs. The Citizens Academy is an opportunity for residents to learn more about public safety and have an opportunity to do a ride along to observe how we operate on a first hand basis. They are also leading a Volunteer Program which is recruiting residents to become a part of the Winters Police Department Team in providing services to the community. Gordon is our School Resources Officer and is working on Bike Rodeo’s for the schools to teach both bike and pedestrian safety skills to the youth of the community.
  • Community Services Officer Gail Jimenez is a critical support element to our officers and has been a key part of the investigations of the most serious crimes committed in Winters. She was recognized last year by the District Attorney’s Officer for her role in the investigation and conviction related to the Leslie Pinkston Murder! Gail helps coordinate our community outreach efforts through our social media (Facebook), our Winters Police website and community programs like the recent Job Faire at Winters High School! Gail recently held a workshop for our Seniors on public safety!
  • Acting Corporal and 2015 Officer of the Year Jose Hermosillo has been working on research for several potential grant opportunities related to safety equipment, and training.  He has also developed a draft program that could potentially restore a Police K-9 Program for the Winters Police Department.  The K-9 proposal includes canine acquisition, training, equipment and vehicle costs, K-9 handler role and responsibilities, etc.
  • Our After School Program is operating at both Waggoner and Shirley Rominger Intermediate Schools. The program provides a combination of tutoring and enrichment activities for kids and it is making a real difference in the academic success of the participants. I have attached a copy of their newsletter for March. Really good stuff from a Staff that makes a difference every day!  –  ASP March Newsletter (pdf)

The Winters Public Works Department are the unsung heroes of our City organization. They are the ones who work behind the scenes making little things like the water and wastewater systems happen and keep certain areas of town from flooding! A couple highlights on recent accomplishments.

  • Robert Anderson is a Maintenance Worker II in our Wastewater Division. In the past 12 months, Bob has acquired 5 different water or wastewater certifications and is a Grade II Operator for our utility plants.
  • Ramiro Becerra is a Maintenance Worker II in our Water Division. Working with Maintenance Worker IV- Tony Luna, they are the ones who coordinate the delivery of water to everyone’s home and business. Both Ramiro and Tony have received their advanced water certifications to operate our facilities at the highest levels possible. They have really increased the sophistication of our Water Operations, insuring the safe and efficient delivery of water every day.
  • Jim Keating is the Manager and Operator of our Wastewater Systems. He has also recently received his Grade III Certification in Water Treatment. Jim is currently leading the research on water treatment to remove Chrome 6 from water and he will be an integral part of how we deal with this issue.

In Winters, the main emphasis I give to our Staff is that we need to be a reflection of what is clearly one of the best communities, anywhere. Winters is great, because the culture of people living here is made up of people who really care and are deeply invested in the outcomes.

This update does not include all of the projects we have in the works, but there are MANY. As City Manager, I am amazed at all of the things which are happening in Winters. The key ingredients for our organization are TEAMWORK and mostly HARD WORK. We really are blessed with people throughout the organization who really work hard to make things happen.

I can tell you that I feel I have the coolest job in the world being able to see quality people who step up and make things happen!

Finally, a couple reminders.

  • Calendar Girls continues this weekend at the Community Center Theatre.
  • Next Friday is the first Fourth Friday.
  • I heard Berryessa Brewing may be open on some or most Thursdays NOW!!! If I am wrong, you can buy me a beer there the next time I see you and let me know about it!

Have a nice, rainy weekend.

John


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Friday Update on March 4 2016

All,

 A lot going on and a super busy week:

 ·         A reminder that the Winters Friends of the Library WFoL will be holding their annual fruit tree sale this Saturday, March 5 on Railroad Ave across from the post office. Members get in at 8:30 and non-members get in at 9. The bare root trees are of extremely high quality and are a bargain at $10. I have 10 in my yard and relish the return on my investment almost every day with fruit smoothies and jams!

·         Congratulations to Officer Jose Hermosillo who was named the 2016 Officer of the Year for the Winters Police Department. Jose has done an outstanding job representing the Department in the community and was recently given an acting promotion to Corporal within the Winters PD.

·         The City Council approved moving forward on some potential Cap and Trade Grant Funds for Senior Transit Services, so stay tuned on seeing if we cannot get funding for a dial a ride system in town.

·         5 more building permits were issued for the Winters Ranch Subdivision and we expect more next week. Those houses are selling really well!

·         Winters Fire Personnel just returned from haz mat and terrorism training in Alabama. It is amazing how times are evolving to where even small town departments are getting training is these types of issues. Expect a presentation before the City Council on what was learned.

·         The Bureau of Reclamation has rejected bids from companies who bid on the recently released prospectus to manage sites up at the lake. This is a major setback to almost 4 years of recent planning and the almost 12 years since BOR shut down most of the resorts at Lake Berryessa. A very sad and solemn meeting was held on Wednesday at the Spanish Flat Senior Center. Go to Save Lake Berryessa 2016 on Facebook to follow efforts to revitalize the Lake or try the Bureau of Reclamation website by clicking HERE

·         The drill rig in the north part of the City is probing for Water Well #8 in support of the Winters Highlands Subdivision.

·         Look for the final design items on the Downtown Hotel to be on the Planning Commission in April.

·         The Police Department has two programs they are advertising. The first is a Citizen’s Academy (Click HERE) and the other is a advertisement for police volunteers (click HERE). This is an exciting time for the Winters Police Department, so spread the word on both of these.

·         The Adult Lap Swim has opened a month early at the Bobbie Greenwood Swimming Pool from 6:30-8:00 Monday through Friday and 9-10:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Time to stretch into that swimsuit and get into summer shape early.

·         Congrats to the Winters High School Varsity Girls Soccer on their third consecutive Northern Section Championship by defeating Pierce High School in Arbuckle last weekend. We are really proud of our athletes for their hard work and determination in getting that third section title!

 Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on February 26 2016

All,

 A couple items:

 ·   We have gotten a number of inquiries on issues regarding Highway 128 design elements and what types of planning has occurred for the area. Since 2010, a lot of work has gone into what is going on along the Grant Avenue Corridor. The roadway is governed by a comprehensive planning document called the “Complete Streets Plan” click HERE for a link. The entire area is governed by the Grant Avenue Design Guidelines click HERE to check those out.

·  To get information on all of the major projects happening in Winters, click HERE to go to our major projects page on our website. It is really impressive!!!

·  City Council Agenda for Tuesday has a bunch of items including Marijuana, Blue Mountain Terrace Apartment Funding, a Water Fountain for Downtown, Engineering Services RFQ, Waste Management Contract, a Senior Tranisit Grant Proposal, a Public Improvement Agreement for the Yolo Federal Credit Union Project, the Swearing in of a new Police Officer and Recognition of Nanci Mills for 30 years of service.

·  The Waste Management Proposal includes a recommended change to our green waste program, The plan calls for containerized green waste two weeks out of the month and street pick-up once a month. Residents can get 2- 96 gallon containers at the price for one at the beginning rate.

·  A big congratulations to Yolo Credit Union on their groundbreaking. A nice ceremony for an important project which has been in the works for years!

·  The Winters High School Girls Varsity Soccer will go for their third consecutive Northern Setion Soccer Championship this Saturday at Pierce High School in Arbuckle starting at 12:00. An easy drive to root on our Lady Warriors to victory!

 Finally,

The City Council will be recognizing Director of Administrative Services and City Clerk Nanci Mills at the meeting this Tuesday for 30 years of service to the City of Winters. This will be a very well deserved recognition for someone who has been  a very important part of the City for all these years.

I often describe Nanci as the “cornerstone” of our organization. She has coordinated everything from our personnel and risk management operations to recreation, After School Programs and is a key part of the overall management team. She has worked for 4 different City Managers and 30 years of City Councilmembers, Treasurers, Planning Commissioners and others. Her role in the planning and stability of the City is second to none. She serves as “Acting City Manager” when I am away and is someone who can be counted on for watching after the best interest of the City always.

 Nanci and Dave Mills have raised their kids here in Winters, Dave has his real estate business here,  and both were active in all facets of the town from AYSO Soccer to the Chamber, Rotary, our ag economy and many other activities. Dave and Nanci were the organizers for the Rotary Wine and Food Jubilee for years and helped generate the funds which created the Winters Rotary Foundation. Their generosity and contributions are un-paralleld.

 Most of all, Nanci is without question an incredible representative for Winters throughout the region and within the City. She represents us on many boards and committees and is the consummate professional. At City Hall, she has been the core at bringing outstanding customer service to our residents and a genuinely kind heart when people come looking for assistance.

 A big congratulations to Nanci for 30 years. The City is blessed to have her service and hope she will stick around for another 30 more!! J

 Have a nice weekend.

 John

 Finally,

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager
City of Winters
318 First Street
Winters, CA 95694
(530) 794-6710 (direct line)
(530) 795-4935 Fax


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Friday Update on February 19 2016

All,

Lot’s going on this week.

  • The Fish Fry is tonight at the Fire Station starting at 5:00. My best recommendation is to get there early (5) or after 6:30. This event is a Winters institution and something not to be missed!
  • The Winters Joint Unified School District is doing an important survey for the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), an extensive survey process to all stakeholders on how the WJUSD is meeting the needs of students and community.  Online surveys are be available to all community members at wintersjusd.org beginning Tuesday, February 16, 2016 and ending Monday, February 22, 2016. Take 5 minutes and do the survey!
  • City staff is kicking in efforts on addressing the new State mandates on Chromium 6. The City Council approved a $128,000 contract for consulting services (about $60 per customer) and meetings will begin next week.
  • The City is looking at other water options, including finding surface water and even the possibility of building reservoirs in the area for storage and use. The insanity of the State of California on this issue is monumental and expensive!
  • On Thursday, a group including the Chamber, Solano Water, Bureau of Reclamation representing Lake Berryessa, Putah Creek Council and Solano RCD convened a meeting on creating a Winters Salmon Festival. The tentative dates will be November 1-5. Stay tuned!!
  • City Staff is working with the WJUSD on replacing sidewalks near Wolfskill/Clayton School on third street.
  • The City Staff is beginning draft departmental budgets for the coming 2 fiscal years.
  • The City currently has four websites we maintain including the City website, Winters Police, Winters Fire and Discover Winters. We also have Facebook pages for City, Police and Fire as well as Twitter for the City. We are working on coordinating strategies for additional outreach and continuity for our internet and social media programs to enhance information and transparency. This is a work in progress with many issues to deal with.
  • Staff will be meeting with Urban Community Partners regarding the Downtown Railroad Property and potential development.
  • A new Police Officer will be sworn in at the March 1 City Council Meeting. The persons name is AJ Whipple who has local family and roots.
  • Winters Fire and regional response agencies held a series of training drills at the Monticello Dam. From confined space to rappelling exercises and helicopter rescues, the agencies trained with a wide variety of resources and issues. It is nice to see our department taking the lead in these types of activities.
  • Fourth Friday events in Downtown will start on March 25. City Staff will be working with the Chamber on the expansion of lighting across Main Street and better coordination on electrical use and trash. These events have become a real signature for our community and a win for all who participate.

Finally, a couple more reminders:

  • Winters Friends of the Library Quiz Show is Friday, February 26. If you are interested in entering a team, contact Citizen of the Year Rebecca Fridae at 795-4600 to enter a team.
  • The WFoL Fruit Tree sale is on March 5 starting at 9:00 on Railroad Ave. The trees go fast so get there early!!

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on President’s Day February 15 2016

All,

I have been in Mexico for the past two weeks but have some dates to try to get out to everyone as reminders.

  • Winters Music Boosters are sponsoring Harmony from the Heart, an a cappella performance with appetizers, drinks, desserts and a silent auction. The event will be this Saturday, February 20th from 7010 at the Community Center. Tickets are $25 pre sale (available at Ace) or $35 at the door.
  • Winters Fire is holding the Fish Fry this Friday, February 19. Tickets available at the PSF Police Department reception window.  The Fish Fry is Friday, February 19th, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Tickets are $15/Adult and $6/Child (under 6 years free).  If you plan to attend, buy your tickets before the event!  Adult prices will be $20 at the door.
  • This year’s Quiz Show, the Winters Friends of the Library trivia-contest fundraiser, is set for Friday evening, February 26th at 7:00 pm at the Community Center. Teams compete in answering questions from a variety of categories ranging from science and nature to geography, to Winters trivia. The winning team earns a $200 prize and the team members’ names included on the Quiz Show trophy. Contact Rebecca at 795-4600 to reserve a team space.

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update on Tuesday February 2 2016

All,

I am in meetings the rest of the week, so a couple really quick but important items.

• A big congratulations to some of our Police Officers who have received acting promotions to work with Chief Joe Kriens in the transition as we bring in a new Chief. Albert Ramos and Jeremy Warren received acting promotions to the rank of sergeant and Jose Hermosillo and Gordon Brown received acting promotions to Corporal. These officers will be working with Chief Kriens to move a number of key initiatives forward in laying the groundwork for the next Chief. They were selected based on the interest and leadership potential as we begin a new era for the Winters Police Department. A big congratulations to these officers!
• The Planning Commission and City Council held a workshop to consider an update of City ordinances related to commercial cultivation of marijuana in town. The update affects commercial cultivation only and will move to the City Council for consideration on February 16.

This week I am plugging for two of our really great organizations in town- the Winters Friends of the Library and the Winters Senior Foundation.

• Another great reason to join the Winters Friends of the Library. Jenna Moser from our Planning Division is the new Secretary to WFoL and is promoting these new discount cards. New benefits to membership in WFoL with the cards in 2016 include some really cool stuff. Members are now entitled to exclusive discounts and promotions thanks to the Winters business community. Discounts will revolve and currently include 10% off a purchase of $20 or more of regular priced merchandise at Pacific Ace Hardware, special discounts at Anytime Fitness, 15% off your total bill at the Buckhorn, discounts at Preserve Public House, double stamp at the Scoop on your frequent buyer card, 10% off 1 panini or wrap at Steady Eddy’s Coffeehouse, 10% off your purchase at Turkovich Family Wines, and $5 off the Winters Healthcare Foundation Cookbook by Ana Kormos. These local businesses have shown their commitment to Winters and community literacy by supporting the Winters Friends of the Library. You’ll need to show your membership card in order to receive the discounts.

Join WFoL today at: http://wfol.org/join/ Online registration is available, or contact Karla Knabke, chair of the membership committee at 530-795-2042. WFol has donated over $200,000 to the Winters Library, provided over 800 books to families with the Books for Babies program, presented 80 free summer concerts with more than 60 bands, 19 years of Family Holiday Festivals, supported thousands of extended library hours, and soon the Winters Library will become a 10GB library with improved high speed internet access. 79% of Winters residents have library cards, the Winters library clocks in over 100,000 visits annually, and over 17,000 internet sessions have been logged on 14 public terminals

• WFOL Tree Sale The Winters Friends of the Library will hold the annual Fruit Tree Sale on Saturday, March 5th from 9 am until the trees are sold out. WFOL members will be allowed early entrance at 8:30, bring your new membership card or you can join at the door. The sale will be held in the parking lot on Railroad Avenue in downtown Winters between Baker and Edwards Streets. Bare root trees are $10 each and citrus trees are $25 each. The bare root trees are donated by Sierra Gold Nursery, and the citrus trees are donated by Four Winds Growers, Winters. Proceeds will be used to benefit programs of the Winters Library and to expand the library collections. For more information please call 530-795-3617.
• Quiz Show Friday Feb 26th Come and join the fun, if you like trivia, or enjoy the excitement of a good competition, save the date, and gather a group together to compete in this exciting fund-raising event for the library. Teams of five will pay a $100 entrance fee and will compete in three rounds of trivia questions to claim the trophy with the title of Trivia Quiz Champion of Winters, and a $200 cash prize. Teams may be sponsored by civic organizations such as Soroptomists, businesses such as Main Street Cellars, or formed from a group of friends with eclectic minds. WFoL will be sponsoring student-only teams. People not part of a ready-made team may sign up for a fee of $20, and form teams of interested individuals.
• Those wishing to be a part of the excitement, but not be on a team are welcome to come watch the fun for an entrance donation. Refreshments will be sold.
• Entrance forms and a list of rules and procedures are available at the library. All entries and fees are due by Wednesday, February 18th. Teams may also register at the door for an extra charge of $20, if all tables are not filled. There is a ten team limit due to space. If you would like more information about the Quiz Show, please call Rebecca Fridae at 795-4600.

Seniors:

• There is still room on the Seniors Reno Train Trip and Harrahs Casino: Winters Senior Foundation are planning a Reno gambling and party trip for March 16/17. The trip will include a train trip from Davis and a nights stay at Harrah’s Reno. The train trip will be $79.90 pp and the hotel room (double occupancy) is $81.96. This sounds like a really fun trip! If you are interested in going, Click HERE to email Joe Tramontana and let him know your interest. They need a minimum of 10 rooms to make the deal happen, so contact him soon.

Have a good week.

John


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Friday Update on January 29 2016

All,

This week, the Department Heads and key personnel for each division met to begin discussions on the development of the upcoming City Budget. We will put together a two fiscal year spending plan beginning in late February. My direction to the staff is a very cautious message that revenues will not see significant increases until early 2018, so the theme of these budgets will be “meat and potatoes” (let’s stick to basics)!

Here is a listing of the key items which came from the meeting and will be happening over the next two years.

  • Hexavalent Chromium 6: Changes in State Guidelines on acceptable levels of naturally occurring Chromium 6 will put the City on course to the largest capital expenditure and operations expansion in the City’s history. Essentially, we will be required to re-engineer our drinking water system to add a treatment operation which will include the re-routing of lines, development of storage and treatment. The impacts to water bills will be significant and costly, hitting low income and seniors really hard. Our battle cry as mobs show up at the City Council meetings will be “no the water quality has not changed, just the State of California regulation”. Stay tuned, it is going to get really ugly at some point! L
  • General Plan Update: The City’s General Plan sunsets in 2018 and we will need to do some updating of various “elements” to remain compliant with State planning guidelines. The overall plan is not in bad shape, with most of our key “elements” (Housing, Water, Sewer, Wastewater, Circulation) having been updated in the past few years and they are current. The City most likely will be considering an annexation request for acreage to the north which may soften the blow. In the meantime, we may need to dig up $500k which we do not really have at this point.
  • Community Center Planning: The next BIG project for the City will include looking toward a new Community Center and Theatre for Downtown (probably in the same location). It probably will not be build by 2018, but we need to start moving towards a project.
  • Well 8: Where does water come from???? From the tap, right!!!! Not really, it is pumped out of the ground and the need for additional well capacity may require a new well in the north area of the City. Watch for this!
  • Hotels: Yes, there is an s on the end of that. Look for the Downtown Hotel (which has begun) and a proposal for something out by the freeway. Timing will put the Downtown project way ahead of the freeway, but look for the City to go from zero to two during the next two years. Not a bad thing!!
  • PERS: Pension obligations will play an important role in our budget and financial planning. This is a reality of City business and something we will plan for and begin funding.
  • Fiscal Sustainability. The reality is that most of the current projects which are occurring will not bring revenue up ticks for the City until the first quarter of 2018. We will be re-working our fiscal and financial forecasting models and how we project revenues into the future. Nerds of the world can unite on this, we will be pulling out our notes from grad school and beginning to update our regression analysis and spreadsheet formula’s. It is going to get exciting around the computer, so stay tuned!!
  • Economic Development: The PG&E Project, hotels and infrastructure work will be catalysts to future economic activity on many levels. Look for a combination of staff, City Council and the business community to begin attracting job producing development to town.

The City will begin budget workshops with the City Council and the community beginning in March, so stay tuned.

Some good news on the Senior front!!

  • Key funding approvals for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Apartments was approved this morning!! The project is a go and we should see movement, if not construction beginning in 2016. This is HUGE!! A big congratulations to our team on this led by Domus Development and our Economic Development and Housing Manager, Dan Maguire.
  • Winters Senior Foundation are planning a Reno gambling and party trip for March 16/17. The trip will include a train trip from Davis and a nights stay at Harrah’s Reno. The train trip will be $79.90 pp and the hotel room (double occupancy) is $81.96. This sounds like a really fun trip! If you are interested in going, Click HERE to email Joe Tramontana and let him know your interest. They need a minimum of 10 rooms to make the deal happen, so contact him soon.

Finally, congratulations to those being honored with the Year in Review dinner this weekend:

  • Rebecca and Woody Fridae- Citizens of the Year
  • Jill Aguiar- Theodore Winters Award
  • Barbara Greenwood- Senior Citizen of the Year
  • Rootstock- Chamber Business of the Year.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on January 22 2016

All,

Just a few items on a really rainy week.

• The Planning Commission will have two items, including an extension of the design review for the Downtown Hotel and design review for a home remodel on Almond Drive. The original design review on the hotel expires in the next 30 days and requires an extension.
• Lot’s of downed trees this week and our Public Works Crew did an awesome job. Tuesday morning saw 3 enormous trees fall on Grant Ave., Main St and Russell St. It is clear that some of the effects of the drought are catching up with these trees and causing them to fail. This is the third consecutive year where we have seen drought impacts on trees and it is tragic. Some of these are absolutely beautiful and tall. To see them just collapse is sad.
• Putah Creek is seeing some incredible surges of water and Dry Creek is not so dry. This is great news for the restoration work we have been doing. Saturation of the flood planes, the pushing of gravel into the river bottom and the cleaning of the banks is all good for the biology and ecology.

A quick bio on our interim Police Chief Joseph Kriens. Chief is a “retired chief” who has never really retired!

In total, Chief Kriens has about 37 years in law enforcement. He began his career and Concord as a police officer and moved to Sausalito PD where he eventually became its chief. He was later recruited to Novato where he was the Chief. In 2014, he “retired”, but he was immediately asked to take on the herculean task of being the Interim Chief in Vallejo during the bankruptcy and some pretty chaotic times. After 2 years, Vallejo recruited the Police Chief from neighboring Benicia and Joe was asked to be the Interim Chief there while they searched for a new Chief. He took about 6 months off and is now in Winters, where we are blessed with his extensive experience and perspective.

Chief Kriens brings not only an impressive background in law enforcement, but also some incredible credentials in fostering leadership and team building within organizations. His references call him a “cops cop” and you can tell that he loves what he does and is very good at it.

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on January 15 2016

All,

Well, the City Hall Lottery Group did not win the Powerball Lotto so everyone showed up for work on Thursday. We will be hosting a gamblers anonymous group soon, so stay tuned.

A couple items this week in the update.….

· City Council Agenda for Tuesday has a bunch of items including Retail Tobacco Licensing, Inclusion of Vaper Products same as tobacco, hire of an executive search firm to assist in the hire of a new police chief, discussion of the Field and Pond Project on Road 29 and a proclamation recognizing recently retired police chief Sergio Gutierrez.

· The Parking Committee looking at Downtown issues met on Thursday. Some of the items they are developing include the development of a 5 and 10 year “parking plan” for Downtown, the scope of work to hire a parking consultant and working with the City on some short term improvements. This is a real dedicated group seeking both long and short term benefits to help the Downtown.

· The Putah Creek Car Bridge is entering the home stretch. Some of the last items include the installation of lights, detail work for some of the concrete, new sidewalks near the Trestle Bridge and completing roadway work on the south side of the bridge. Weather will mostly dictate completion at this point.

· A retirement dinner for retiring Police Chief Sergio Gutierrez is on Friday January 29, 2016 at the Public Safety Facility. If you are interested in attending, contact Karla.Ferguson@winterspolice.org . Cost is $20 per person and includes dinner and the gift.

Monday is a national holiday in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, one of the most significant leaders of the 20th century. His message of freedom, equality and non-violence put him amongst the most influence people in the history of our great country. His ability to empower the masses, to speak for the common man and to create a peaceful revolution which dug at the core of hate, racial segregation and injustice which stained the basic principles upon which our nation was founded.

Some know that I attended Whittier College, a small liberal arts school in Southern California. The school was founded by the Friends Church (Quakers) and its foundational beliefs of pacifism, equality and their fervent support of abolition and the civil rights movement was rooted in the academic curriculum. While not religious, the foundational tenants of freedom, humanity and equality was an important thread of the basic education.

As Americans and Californian’s we are immensely blessed not only with the freedoms elicited in our laws, but the great minds and character which our citizens who contribute to making our nation great. From our founding fathers to people like Dr. King and Californians like Cesar Chavez, the many sacrifices and commitments to making our democracy and the American dream a reality are unequaled in human kind. We are not a perfect place, but the evolution of our freedom because of people like Dr. King should be celebrated.

Many will have Monday off, so in between the ski run or whatever you are doing, give a thought and a prayer of thanks for what Dr. King represents.

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update on January 8, 2016

All,

Happy New Year and 2016. I thought I would start the year will a preview of some of the coming BIG issues and the things we will be focusing on.

· City Budget- Staff has started working on our 2 year municipal budget which will cover the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Fiscal Years (the budget is really two one year budgets). In this, we will begin developing funding plans for coming major capital projects, service elements and overall spending in each of our water and sewer enterprises. Preliminary estimates of our revenues show that even with some of the big projects occurring in town, revenues will not begin to recur until 2018, so we will ease into any major spending until then. Look for budget workshops in the coming months, with adoption occurring either in May or June.

The municipal budget is THE main policy document and activity which the City Council does in defining the activities of the City. In December, the City Council gave me my performance evaluation. During my review, I ask for direction and priorities on the key activities which they want the City to focus on as I develop a proposed budget. Key elements (highly condensed) include pursuit of a new community center, economic development, sports park, senior services, broadband, streets and roads, support of the business community. Lots of other stuff which will be included and I will highlight in future updates.

· Chromium 6- The new State guidelines on Hexavalent Chromium 6 will represent one of the most significant capital and operational expenditures in the history of the City. Literally, the City will be required to re configure a considerable portion of our water system and add a treatment operation which will most likely surpass the cost of our existing operations. We are looking at significant increases in the cost of the water bills in town which may be unsustainable for many of our older and lower income residents. Stay tuned.
· Roundabout on Grant Ave./Walnut Lane- Caltrans gave us 11 pages of comments on this project and has totally blown the engineering design budget on this project. We are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel for a project which should have gone to construction two years ago. Plan on this going in 2016.
· Senior Housing and Senior Center- The 60 unit affordable senior project is in the last phases of financing and we anticipate seeing this project go to construction this year. Included in the project will be a senior citizens center. As the funding is completed, look for more information to come out.
· Construction- The PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Center, Downtown Hotel, Winters Ranch Subdivision, Yolo Federal Credit Union are all in some phase of construction. These all will be a nice perk for the economy.
· Freeway Projects- Staff is anticipating projects moving along the freeway including a significant remodel to the Chevron, a major coffee retailer and possibly a hotel. The City did a considerable amount of planning, public hearings and outreach, but I still anticipate a little controversy. The goal of Staff will be to make sure the projects conform to the design guidelines and are well executed. The projects which we anticipate will require very few entitlements, mostly just site plan and design review. The height limits for the freeway zones are restrictive (30 feet), so we anticipate that they may ask for a plan development overlay to allow for a higher building height for the hotel (which will Staff would agree with to make a nicer product).

One of the key issues about the freeway projects has been the potential conflict with the Downtown and impacts on merchants. Based on our sales tax numbers, the reality is that the freeway businesses have actually added business revenue and we have not seen any major drop to any existing business revenues (except due to gas prices). I am prohibited from releaseing specific data on businesses by the State Board of Equalization, but we have generalized reports which confirm this. The proverb about the rising tide floating boats has been a reality in our recent economic revitalization.

· Marijuana- The State is enacting new laws and regulations regarding marijuana dispensaries in cities which will open up some conflicts which could pose issues. Look for the City Attorney to bring to the City Council some ordinance revisions to maintain our regulatory rights and jurisdiction in regards to dispensaries and the sale within Winters.

I won’t argue either side of the medicinal value of Marijuana but the growth and cultivation is a real issue in Winters. Under the law, persons with permits are allowed to grow and propagate a limited number plants on their private property. The reality is that during the prime growing periods, the plants become fragrant and they stink (hence “skunk weed”). We have visited a number of properties with neighbors growing marijuana and it is a genuine nuisance which needs to be dealt with. It is like having a neighbor with a bunch of pet skunks living next door and you cannot use your patio or go outside your home. Stay tuned, as we will be dealing with this subject.

· Putah Creek Restoration- Phase III of the Putah Creek project will be a hot topic in the coming months. Just so that everyone knows, I am good on stuffed beavers, beaver books, beaver pelts and traps, photoshop photo’s of me holding beavers and website locations to buy beaver products.

Get ready for a really good year in 2016!

John


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Friday Update on December 18, 2015

All,

Who can believe that Christmas is in one week. I am in complete denial! A couple items as we get ready to end the year.

  • Grading and earthwork for the Downtown Winters Hotel is being completed. Look for an official groundbreaking and the start of construction just after the first of the year. Construction plans are in plan check now and will be ready in early January.
  • The schedule has the Putah Creek Car Bridge being completed the second week of January. Cross your fingers!
  • The Parking Committee gave a really good report and update on their efforts to review issues in our downtown. Click HERE to watch a video of parking evolution during a busy Saturday night. It shows things coming to life. Kudos to Chris Turkovich, Gino Mediati, Sandy Vickrey and Devon Vickrey for their work on the report. Extremely well done.
  • Time to confirm and dispel some rumors. Yes, Chevron is looking to do a significant remodel/renovation (new store building and expansion of pumps); and Yes, a  major coffee chain is looking at locating at the freeway. No, the fast food chain with the golden arches has NOT brought in plans. Yes, a major hotel is considering a future move to Winters.
  • The Salmon count in our stretch of the creek has exceeded 500. Given the reports on issues with declining salmon in Northern California, it looks like we have done something special!
  • If you are worried about flooding from coming storms, sand and bags are available at the City Corporation Yard on East Street in the dead end. Come and help yourself but please take only what you need. If you need an entire pile of sand, get it from Winters Aggregate and not by taking our entire pile!
  • City Hall will be closed December 24-January 4.

No updates over the holiday week. I send this update to a lot of people. Many of you will put your out of office auto reply and when I send it, I will see 1,000 reply’s which ruins our server. Hence, look for a comprehensive update on everything happening the first week of January.

Merry Christmas to all and we will see most of you next year!   ~   John


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Friday Update on December 11 2015


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Friday Update on December 4, 2015

All,

A couple items as we roll into the holidays.

  • The Putah Creek Car Bridge will re-open to one way traffic on Monday. They will have one of those traffic lights to control traffic to allow both north and south traffic. The intersection of Russell Street and Railroad is now open.
  • Salmon are back in Putah Creek and it is absolutely magical. The many restoration projects are beginning to show results and the estimates are that we have in excess of 400 at last count spawning west of the trestle bridge. Click HERE for a view of the salmon from above the water and click HERE for a video below the water. Both are my amateur attempts at cinematography so forgive the quality.
  • Saturday is the Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting and this year has a lighted Tractor Parade. The Parade begins at 5:30 and the tree lighting will follow. Kudo’s to the Chamber for their efforts and to Councilmember Wade Cowan and Kathy Cowan (and crew) for putting the lights on the tree and the candy canes throughout the town. Things look GREAT!!
  • With the upcoming retirement of our Police Chief Sergio Gutierrez, I will be assuming the City’s seat on the Yolo Emergency Communications Agency (YECA). They are the agency which provides 911 service to our community.
  • Saturday, the 2015 Downtown Piano will host its last concert behind the Community Center beginning at 3:00. Music and fun for the entire family. Following the concert, the piano will be dropped off the Trestle Bridge on to a pile of rocks to make way for the 2016 piano. Click HERE for a video of last years’ final piano concert and drop.
  • The Winters Fire Department’s Toys for Tots is going strong. They are seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys from the community. Drop off locations are around town and always at the Fire Station.

On a sobering and sad note this week is the terrorism which occurred in San Bernardino. Before coming to Winters, I lived and worked less than 5 minutes away from where this occurred. An absolutely senseless act which will affect hundreds of lives forever.

The San Bernardino first responders are no different than the staff we have working for the City of Winters in our public safety. Winters Police, Winters Fire, Yolo 911 and AMR Ambulance personnel are trained and operate no differently than those who responded in San Bernardino. They faced an unthinkable scenario on Wednesday and saved lives and potentially more bloodshed by acts of pure heroism. As a City Manager, the thoughts of these things happening on both large and small scales are what keep me awake nights. The task of keeping people safe and dealing with violence is a dangerous job and enough cannot be said for those who dedicate their lives to keeping all of us with a sense peace in our community.

Over the past 18 months, our Police personnel have been training in “active shooter” scenario’s and response. I can only pray that we will never have to use those skills for what is a horrific situation.

I feel privileged to know and work with the men and women who serve our public safety. We really count on them and they deserve our gratitude as they serve our communities.

Words are rather hollow, but the senseless acts of terrorists against innocent people throughout the world in numbing. Every reason why it is essential that we need to squeeze and love our families and friends a little more often, show kindness and appreciate the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world. Light a candle for the families and souls of those affected throughout the world by these senseless acts of violence and give thanks for those who have taken the challenge of protecting us. Most importantly, show more love and peace!

John


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Friday Update on Thursday November 19 2015

All,

This is the Thanksgiving Edition because I do not send one over the holiday.

Real brief points:

  • PG&E GOTTC permit application is in.
  • Downtown Hotel continues to grade and is looking good. We expect plans in the next few weeks.
  • Winters Ranch has 21 permits and probably wants more. That project is looking really good!
  • Yolo Credit Union plans for Grant Ave are in for plan check and permits!
  • Putah Creek Car Bridge opening has been delayed until December 3. I made the call on this with the bridge team to simply allow for the project to get done quicker. Safety, quality and efficiency all played critical roles in the decision to just allow them to work on the project through the holiday.
  • The brick work (most) and paving are completed on the car bridge and it looks great. They still have quite a bit of work to complete in front of the Community Center, but there is considerable progress.
  • The City has updated our website. There are still a number of things to be added and corrected. The information is there, we just need to work out some bugs!

Key projects to watch in 2016:

  • PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Center
  • Winters Ranch Subdivision
  • Downtown Hotel.
  • Yolo Credit Union
  • Walnut Park
  • Walnut Lane/Grant Ave Roundabout
  • Freeway Projects
  • Much much more…….

There is sooo much to be thankful for during this holiday season.

Mostly, I am grateful for the wonderful community we live in! Winters is a little dysfunctional sometimes and we fight like extended family, but the reality is that we are a safe, vibrant town with nice neighbors and a lot of kindness and good will. We are all truly blessed!

I wish you an incredible Thanksgiving.  ~  John


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