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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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Friday Update on Thursday September 15 2016

All,

Short yet informative (my Friday is absolutely crazy so I am sending this a little early)!

  • The Bureau of Reclamation has selected FX10 International, Inc, owned by Winters residents John and Linda Frazier as the concessionaires for Markley Cove. The contract is for a 30 year period and will bring stability and upgrades to our end of the lake. John and Linda along with the Frazier Family have operated Markley Cove for the past 40 years! They are a really important Winters business and have been stalwart over the past 15 very difficult years at Lake Berryessa. The award of the contract to the Fraziers is really good news for our town and the future moving forward in our region! I personally cannot say enough about the Fraziers, they are a class act and kept their dignity during some pretty tough years dealing with the concession re-bid process. This is a good thing for Winters!
  • Carrie Green is the new Executive Director for the Winters Chamber of Commerce. She brings an impressive background and is well in tuned with Winters. I met with Carrie for a bit and I think she is going to do a wonderful job!!
  • City Council Meeting for Tuesday will feature Chromium 6 compliance strategy and authorization, hire of a Parking Study Consultant, funding for the Salmon Festival, Sound permits for WHS Homecoming and the Festival De La Communidad and an update on improvements and future plans for the play areas at City Park.
  • The Chromium 6 numbers are not encouraging. Right now, combined water and sewer will exceed $200 per month (not including consumption). The following is from our consultant regarding the views of State and Federal bureaucrats regarding excessive utility rates in small towns:

EPA’s stated view on potable water—that it is affordable if it costs less than 2.5% of small community Medium Household Income- MHI—influences the perceived affordability of combined water and wastewater bills. Specifically, it is commonly inferred that EPA would consider a combined annual water and wastewater bill of less than 4.5% of MHI to be affordable (2.5% for water, plus 2% for wastewater services and CSO controls).”

 “Winters is a small community per EPA definition, meaning current combined water and ww rates would be ‘affordable’ in Winters as long as they do not exceed about $220/month…easy to say sitting in D.C.”

 “In CA, under current funding program guidelines, there are no favorable terms based on water rate affordability until local water rates exceed 1.5% of community MHI.”

It is amazing that the view of these regulators is so callused that they cannot consider the impacts on seniors and low income persons and families. Imagine being a senior on a fixed income of $600 a month suddenly seeing your utility bills go from $78 per month to $220 (more than 30% of your income!). You still need to pay electricity, phone, tv and other living expenses. Not to mention food………. From the City Staff standpoint, it is simply mind boggling trying to work this issue.

  • The Winters Friends of the Library will have another great event this Saturday September 17 from 3-6 pm. Books and Brews will happen at Berryessa Brewing. Local authors will be there to talk about their books, sell some (with proceeds to WFOL). The lineup includes Steve Ackley, Kelly Hess, Jesse Loren, Beth McMillen, Lisa Nalbone, Lorraine Rominger, Tamsen Schultz and Spring Warren.
  • Putah Creek/Coastal Clean-up Day is this Saturday, September 17. Bring gloves, closed toe shoes and a water bottle for a day of cleaning up the creek. Meet at the Rotary Park Gazebo beginning at 8:45!

Finally, I went to Calle’s Carnival last Sunday at Creekside Park and it was awesome!! The friends and supporters of Leslie Pinkston made a very special fundraising event which did out community proud! There are many things which show the kindness of living in a small town, and this was truly special!

WHS Plays Dixon High School this Friday at Dr Sellers Field. JV kickoff is at 5:30 and Varsity at 7:30!

Have a nice weekend! Go Warriors!!

John


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Friday Update on September 9 2016

All,

One of the most traumatic events in Winters over the past number of years was the event surrounding the death of Leslie Pinkston.

 Leslie left her beautiful daughter Callie West. In an incredible display of community support,  a number of folks from Winters established “Callie’s Carnival”, an annual event to help provide a college fund and support to her as she grows. It is always a great day!!

 Callie’s Carnival will be this Sunday, at Creekside Park (just across the car bridge behind the old Creekside Bar 4513 Putah Creek Rd) from 12-5. The event should be a lot of fun with food from the Buckhorn (and others), carnival games, a petting zoo, photo booth and raffle prizes. The day is something  for the entire family.

 For more nfo, contact Calliescarnival@gmail.com

 A couple items this week:

·         The City Council Meeting had a number of business items which will start us moving forward on some key initiatives. Traffic Master Plan, Fee Studies, groundwater monitoring, pump efficiency testing and high tech crime! A real party!

·         Look for activity to begin REALLY ramping up at the PG&E Gas Operations Training Facility. The delivery and assembly of the crane to start raising the walls is imminent and the actual raising of the building will occur sometime around the end of the month and things will begin taking shape in a very real way. To keep track of the action at the project, click HERE and you can watch it from your desk top!

·         A notice will be in the paper for the Downtown Hotel before the Planning Commission on September 27. The changes for the hotel will include a revision to the frontage and Facade on Railroad Avenue.

·         Concrete was poured at Walnut Park this week and it is starting to take shape. Attached is a plan view of what it is going to look like. The irrigation is dug and the improvements will begin shaping the actual look of the park. This will be the City’s largest park. Walnut Park Plan PDF

 Lot’s of AYSO soccer this weekend with inter-play beginning with Davis, Colusa, Antelope and Rio Linda.

 Thanks and have a nice weekend.

 John


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Friday Update on Labor Day Weekend 2016

All,

A review of the upcoming City Council Agenda which has a lot of business items which are extremely important yet less glamorous: (If you want to read all the staff reports, click HERE to get the entire packet)

Consent Calendar:

  • Item B. Traffic Analysis– Staff is working on an update to the City’s Traffic Circulation Master Plan (General Plan item) and we are entering into a contract with Fehr & Peers who will provide a comprehensive update of traffic calculations, computer modeling and an update to the cumulative traffic calculations for City Streets. This project is important because another project in the works is an update of the City’s Major Projects Financing Program which establishes the major roadway improvements of which the traffic circulation is a critical element in establishing.
  • Item C: Groundwater Monitoring-The City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant has both holding ponds and we discharge our water through land based applications such as agricultural irrigation and spray fields. In order to maintain our discharge permit with State agencies, we are required to have a groundwater management plan with a variety of testing and reporting to demonstrate that we are not polluting the groundwater. This is a contract with an outside monitoring firm to do the testing and prepare the reports.
  • Item D. Grant Acceptance– The City has received two grants through the Yolo County Water Resources Agency. The first grant ($15,000) is for stormwater management to analyze potential problems in our system, implement education programs and update our overall plan. The second part of the grant ($16,127) is to assist in our ongoing work in addressing Chromium 6
  • Item E. Safe Routes to School Grant Acceptance-The City has received a grant ($10,367) to assist in helping enhance our “Safe Routes to Schools” Program. The money will be used to implement some traffic calming measures on Niemann Street which will include street striping (narrowing the roadway) and a solar powered radar sign and flashing beacon. Additionally, City and School Staff will be implementing the Active4Me program which will enable parents to be notified via a bar code scanner that their child has safely arrived on campus. The goal is to encourage more kids to ride bikes and walk to school. Both really good programs and collaboration with the WJUSD.
  • Item F: Gathering Shed Walnut Park is under construction and a key element is the installation of a shade structure at the park. This item is a contract with the manufacturer of the structure to also do the installation versus the general contractor. Having the manufacturer installation will save the City $7,000 which will go back into the project.
  • Item G: Service Fee RFP– The City is in the midst of evaluating our service fees and this is a request for proposal for qualified firms to bid to do the study and evaluation.
  • Item H. This item is a contract to do electrical repairs and replace a junction box at our East Street Pump Station inside and adjacent to our wet well which powers the water pumps.
  • Item I. Vision Zero– In September, Councilmembers Neu and Loren will be attending the League of California Cities Annual Conference. Councilmember Neu is the City’s delegate and will be asked to cast a vote on a resolution in support of Vision Zero, a program to have zero traffic fatalities. This item asks the City Council to authorize support for this program.
  • Item J. Well 6 Pump Testing– The City is in the midst of a comprehensive rehabilitation of Water Well 6 (E Baker/East Main). Because of a drop in groundwater depth from the drought, we are in need of efficiency tesing on the pump to maximize the overall effectiveness of the well. This is a contract to do that.

Discussion Items:

  • Planning Commission Appointment– The City Council has interviewed candidates and ranked three candidates for consideration to fill the spot vacated by Bill Biasi’ election to the Council.
  • Parking Consultant– The Downtown Parking Committee has made a recommendation on a consultant to help in formulating elements of a parking plan. The item will include a presentation from the Committee and consideration of both the consultant and funding the study.
  • Remodel/Conference Room for City Hall Annex. This item is to establish a new conference/community room next to the City Council Chamber. The plan includes carpeting, windows and furniture.
  • High Tech Agreement– Police Chief John Miller will be talking about an agreement with the District Attorney and the City for high tech crime investigation. As part of the agreement, the City will provide a reserve to assist the DA in their forensic crime program. Pretty cool stuff!!

Also on the agenda will be presentations from the Police Department on the Cadet and Reserve Programs.

Other stuff:

  • Last week’s Earthquake Festival was absolutely awesome from many points of view. People generally behaved and the load on the law enforcement was low. Both the Terry Sheets Band and the Time Bandits just rocked the place and the merchants and groups in the booths were just amazing. The Chamber did an absolutely incredible job in bringing a fun and high quality event, once again.
  • When you see Wade and Kathy Cowan (Team Cowan), Megan Curry, Donice Woody and Dan Maguire give them a huge thanks for putting on an incredible party. These folks (and the entire Chamber Team) work really hard and deliver way above expectations. The Chamber has a lot of momentum and these folks all play an important role in all the really cool stuff we have in our town.
  • Berryessa Brewing debuted “Earthshake Ale” at the Earthquake Festival. Chris and the entire Team at Berryessa are just tops in what they do and this beer is just delicious. Get some while it lasts!!
  • The Winters Senior Foundation is establishing itself as a new “super group” in town. Their raffle at Earthquake was probably the best I have seen. I know they are working hard to make a difference for the older set in our town and it shows.
  • The Winters Friends of the Library have another neighborhood library kiosk near the corner of Main and Grant (across from the Public Safety Facility). They have two Downtown and now the third. WFOL does so many wonderful things in town and this is just another example. Great work!
  • More Beaver Stuff……….. This week, I received more beaver paraphernalia. Realize I now have beaver traps, furs, stuffed beavers, beaver books, pictures of me with dead beavers and have more links to more websites which deal in beaver products than probably most in America. This week involved “edible beaver”, with someone dropping off a bag of “Canadian Beaver Balls”, which are round, egg shaped chocolate covered jujubes!  When I got the package, I could only think of one person to share them with and that was Winters Express Editor Debra DeAngelo.  I went to their office and we opened the bag of beaver balls and partook (Joe the Butcher also showed up). We all noted that beaver balls are pretty chewy and you could probably lose a filling if eaten too quickly. A very sincere thanks to whomever dropped them off!

Finally, when you see our Economic Development and Housing Manager Dan Maguire, give him a “big atta boy” for delivering great projects which will come to fruition in the next 12 months. Dan is the person leading our efforts on Walnut Park, Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments and the Downtown Hotel. We are blessed with an incredible staff and Dan is a key player in making all this stuff happen!

Winters Warriors are in town tonight with the JV at 5:30 and Varsity at 7:30 at Dr Sellers Field.

Go Warriors and have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update on Thursday August 24 2016

All,

A week of ups and downs:

  • Earthquake Festival– So when I picked up my Winters Express this week and saw Chamber President Kathy Cowan on the front page (she must hold the record for the most cover photo’s) I knew it was time for something fun. The Earthquake Festival is this Friday starting at 5:00. Food, fun, music for all ages. Both Terry Sheets Band and the Time Bandits will be playing. This is an awesome party and a huge fundraiser for many groups. Have fun but also remember thaearthquakefestivalt it is the largest law enforcement presence on any single night in town. If you plan to drink, walk, designate a designated driver or set up someone to bail you out from Yolo County Jail.
  • As a warm up, Steady Eddies is having a fundraiser on Friday for the Relay for Life. Attached is a flyer (HERE/pdf) and a chance for you to get the caffeine in you to start the night. Acoustic music and a laid back way to begin the evening!
  • Downtown Hotel Update: The project has a major tenant for the downstairs who is requesting some changes and upgrades which will require Planning Commission approval along with structural/foundation changes to accommodate. Look for the project to be before the Planning Commission in September, then a month for a new plan check.
  • Roundabout Update: The Walnut Lane roundabout has the encroachment permits but we have run into an interesting snag. The funding comes from a pot of money which is geared toward reducing traffic congestion (ie traffic should move faster). The most recent traffic analysis shows that the traffic will move slower thus creating an interpretation that it will create “congestion”. The funding agency has approved a new funding source but the actual allocation cannot occur until November. Look for construction after the first of the year.
  • Time to get the pitchforks out and tie the rope…….. Chromium 6 will be the big item on the September 20 City Council Meeting. The full presentation on options and methods for addressing the new State mandate. The projected cost to deal with the new State regulations is somewhere between $24 and 40 Million. As they said in Greece, don’t kill the messenger!

This is an active weekend. Winters Warriors High School Football is home on Friday with JV’s starting at 5:30 and Varsity at 7:00. Winters AYSO Soccer begins the season on Saturday.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on Thursday August 18 2016

All,

 A couple items:

 ·         Winters Fire was deployed to the Clayton Fire in Lower Lake to battle the fire which destroyed almost 200 structures and caused absolute havoc through the Lake County Area. They were released today and are headed back.

·         Items on the upcoming City Council Meeting will include a presentation on the strategy for dealing with Chromium 6, the Walnut Park Picnic Structure, and a presentation from the Police Department regarding the Volunteer and Cadet Programs.

·         PG&E has released its most recent monthly report of key activities. I have attached the report for your information.  (pdf – click here)

·         This week on the PG&E Project, they began the pour of the exterior walls which will be tilted up in the coming weeks. From the City perspective, it has been rewarding working with the team they have assembled for the project.

·         The two largest issues which seem to be sweeping California are Housing and Transportation. As local governments are experiencing homelessness, shortages of available housing both for rental and for sale housing. Expect that these issues will come to the forefront on all levels of government in California in the coming year!!

·         Winters AYSO  Soccer needs some help this Sunday, beginning at 8:30 at Waggoner School. We need to spread dirt and do some leveling of soccer fields. We will have some tractors and drags, but need some bodies with shovels to help spread top soil to help fill holes and level the fields. Bring your shovel out and help for a bit.

 Finally, an editorial in one of the many literary sources I read struck an important thing I have learned in the City of Winters, and that is the importance of the local paper, the Winters Express.

 The most important thing I have learned is how important it is to support the Winters Express and the small town press!

 Over the years, the community has been blessed with a weekly publication which tells the story of our town. Whether it is what is happening at City Hall, schools or the many events, sports  and public interest stories, the Winters Express is the source which both writes and records the history of the community. In a technical age where we expect immediate access to stories and information, it is hard for them to compete, but what we really get is a much higher quality and more thoughtful and researched depiction of our town through their efforts than any blog or facebook comment could ever bring.

The City has been genuinely blessed with some excellent reporters who have covered City Hall and the City Council. They have been some of the most thoughtful and genuine people bringing a balanced and thorough approach to reporting. One of the highest values of small town newspapers is the quest to bring transparency and accountability to how the local government is making policy and spending the taxpayer dollars! The City Hall beat reporters in Winters have been second to none. I know that people read their stories and count on them to keep them in the loop. It’s done exceptionally well in our town.

 Debra DeAngelo as the Winters Express Editor is probably one of the most important factors in telling the story of Winters. She really gets it in telling the story of our town and will go down some day as one of the most important people in our history. Lots of people have an opinion regarding Debra’s opinions, but I will tell you that I have never questioned her ethics or professionalism when she has questioned decisions made by the City. She is absolutely doing her job in working to hold the City of Winters accountable, which is important. In a democratic society, it is the responsibility of the press to inform and bring things to light, and Debra does a very good job in doing so. I will tell you that I do not always agree with Debra, but she is fair and thorough and does her job.

 Charley Wallace and the entire Wallace Family could best be described and the stewards of the cornerstone institution which writes our history. When Newt and Ida arrived in 1948, they took over a newspaper which now binds our community together. Whether people appreciate it or not, the Wallace’s have committed their entire lives to telling the story of Winters and all who live here.  From birth to death, the families of our town have their stories told, accomplishments recorded and arrests made public, whether people like it or not! Our Downtown is considered one of the best examples of a small rural revitalization efforts which actually worked and I will tell you that Charley Wallace played one of the most pivotal roles in saving the town, at enormous personal sacrifice. Newt Wallace is the semi-retired oldest paperboy in America and I am proud to have his autographed picture from the front page of the phone book  amongst my most cherished Winters mementos. The town owes eternal gratitude to the Wallace Family for what they have done and do!

 The time capsule of Winters is updated on a weekly basis and thrown on the driveway of your home or business. In an information age the Winters Express cannot compete with promptness, but few can beat the quality of stories which enrich our lives, hold the City accountable and tell the story of our town in a meaningful way.

 When  you see Newt, Charley, Debra and the entire Winters Express team, let them know how important they are to our town. Most importantly, support what they do through your subscriptions and ads which pay the way to telling our story.

 Have a nice weekend and come out and help me spread some dirt on Sunday at Waggoner School- 8:30.

 John


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Friday Update on August 12 2016

All,

A really busy week, but here are some highlights:

  • After four years of effort, on Thursday, we finally received the encroachment permit for the construction of the Walnut Lane Roundabout from Caltrans!! Look for the construction documents going out to bid and hopefully a fall construction! We plan on etching a copy of the permit in granite to sit in front of City Hall as one of the most significant accomplishments of the City in our history!
  • Cal Fire Incident Management Team 6 has begun their demobilization and is moving out. They are wrapping up the “finances and documentation” for the fire at our public safety facility over the next week. When you see the folks from Cal Fire, honk, waive and show your appreciation for an organization which has really helped Winters over the past few years.
  • At the “transition meeting” on Wednesday, Ken Pimlott, the Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Operations was here to talk with Team 6 and the cooperating agencies. Ken is the Fire Chief of the Fire Chief’s in California, so we had proverbial fire royalty in Winters talking about the incident.
  • The Yolo County Planning Commission dealt a huge blow to agri-tourism in Western Yolo County on Thursday when they denied the application for the Field & Pond event center on Road 29. Field & Pond has become an important resource and beneficiary to the Winters business community in recent years. The conditions which western Yolo County agri-tourism and event centers must follow is now unprecedented and probably infeasible. The ability to advance our “brand” is going to be exceedingly difficult when the urbanites are prevented from actually seeing or experiencing the grandeur of our area.
  • The Downtown Hotel Project is permitted but will see another short delay as they work through a couple configurations to meet the needs of some of the major restaurant and retail tenants. Look for an official groundbreaking in the coming weeks!
  • The issue of the Carter Ranch Detention Pond Trees is evolving a bit. Engineers are looking at some alternatives which will save the majority of the trees if not complete avoidance. Stay tuned!
  • Walnut Park is being graded and is fun to look at. If you have not see the newest and largest park in Winters, you should drive by and take a look. Dan Maguire is the Project Manager if you have any specific questions or inquiries.
  • No City Council Meeting next week and No Planning Commission for August.

For all you would be soccer referees, we will be having referee training at the Fire Station from 9-4 tomorrow.

Have a nice weekend,

John


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Friday Update on August 5 2016

All,

A hot and smokey week so this is really brief and it is late afternoon on a Friday:

  • Unfortunately, this week we experienced the third consecutive year of a major wildfire. The “Cold” Fire has now burned close to 5,000 acres, 1,600 personnel and millions of dollars in costs to fight the fire. Cal Fire has brought in the Team 6 “Incident Management Team” to coordinate the final stages of the fire. Team 6 is an elite fire coordination unit and were here last year on the Wragg Fire. It is amazing to have them here, but we kind of wish it would stop being an annual event.
  • As of this writing, the spread of the fire has stopped, but much of the fire is in areas with heavy growth and is  difficult to access with crews. The reliance on aircraft limits much of the fire fight to daytime hours.
  • A Community Meeting will be held on Saturday, August 6 at the Winters Fire Station beginning at 3:00 all persons affected by the Fire are invited to attend, especially the residents of Positas and Golden Bear who experienced the evacuation.
  • Kudo’s to both Winters Fire and the Napa CalFire Unit who coordinated the initial response and the first two days of the blaze. They were the ones who facilitated the initial attack on the fire which saved all the homes and assisted most of the people involved. The incident commander was Geoff Baelow from the Napa CalFire Unit and he did an amazing job of coordinating resources. Winters Fire was in command of the units which protected the homes in Golden Bear. Enough cannot be said for the professionalism and effort given from these personnel.
  • Special thanks to the many residents displaced by the fire. The understanding over the years has been amazing. Special recognition to Golden Bear Estates resident Neal Van Alfen who is an incredible advocate for that area.

Again, the third year of a major wildfire which results in activating the emergency operations for the City and County makes this a really difficult week. The most I can say is how proud I am to be associated with the men and women in our public safety who are those first responders. AGAIN, their professionalism and talents saved hundreds of homes and lives through the use of their training and talents to suppress the fire. Napa CalFire and Winters Fire were amazing and I was extremely proud of how they handled the entire situation. Resources are really taxed throughout the State with multiple fires occurring now so our personnel needed to take much of this on their own and they came through.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on July 29 2016

All,

In all, a pretty good week in the City.

  • The City Council on Tuesday will have a pretty routine agenda with the City Conservation Permit Application for the Yolo Conservancy,  Second Reading of the Ordinance for the Freeway Hotel, an appointment for the Planning Commission, an update on the expansion of the detention pond near the cemetery, sound permits for the Earthquake Festival and St. Anthony’s Fiesta, new conference room at City Hall and the lien resolution for delinquent utility bills. Click HERE to look at the Agenda or click HERE for the entire packet.
  • Also at the City Council Meeting will be a presentation on the new Police Cadet Program.
  • Chromium 6 is still the #1 priority for the City. Staff will be finalizing our overall plans and will schedule a meeting with the State Department of Water Resources to discuss the $24-40 million project. It is amazing that the State can put such a huge expenditure on a small community like Winters, which they know will present significant financial burdens on seniors and lower income folks. Just silly!
  • Winters Fire spent most of the week near Santa Clarita helping fight the Sand Fire. All of our staff arrived safely home and will invariably be called to the next big situation. Our firefighters and leadership have built a strong reputation throughout the State for dependability and excellence. We are really proud of how they represent our community and are glad for what they do.
  • Winters Police will be participating in two National Night Out events on Tuesday August 2.
  • Walnut Park Phase II (on Walnut Lane) will begin work over the next month. Look for the dust to start flying in the coming weeks for what is anticipated to be a 3-4 month process.
  • City Hall turns 100 in September and we are preparing for some improvements to make the start of the next 100 even better. In the coming weeks we will begin a thorough power wash, painting and some new carpet.
  • Staff is working on some improvements on Niemann to improve the safety for students walking to school. The traffic before and after school is an issue, so we are looking into speed signs near the school to tell people how fast they are going to bring awareness. Stay tuned on this.
  • The construction company for the Downtown Hotel will be moving in next week, so hopefully they will get things going.
  • The subcommittee for the Parking Committee completed interviews with prospective consultants to assist in a Downtown Parking Plan. The group has culled the consultants to 2 and will begin negotiations on the final choice.
  • Enough cannot be said for the commitment and leadership of the persons on the Downtown Parking Committee. The time and energy they have put into the process has been exemplary. Kudo’s to Sandy Vickery, Gino Mediati, Chris Turkovich, Peter Hunter, Devon Vickery and many others for their persistence and effort. From the City Council, Pierre Neu, Bill Biasi and past councilman Wade Cowan all have given a ton of time to addressing the issues. 5 stars for all!!
  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee is working on the upcoming Festival de la Communidad. The next meeting is on August 1 at 7:00 at City Hall.
  • Hot items coming up for the Planning Department includes a look at the zoning code, expansion for a downtown business and more economic development leads!!
  • Winters Ranch saw six new building permits issued this week. They are closing purchases at a rate of one a week!
  • The City has welcomed our newest employee Dagoberto Fierros who will be working as a Management Analyst in Community Development and Public Works. Dago is from Winters, is a graduate of WHS and recently received his undergraduate degree from Sacramento State. He will be doing professional work in support of both departments.
  • Tonight at the City Pool from 8-10 will be a swim night in support of the Relay for Life and cancer research. $5 for swim and a hot dog dinner! Come out and support this fun event!

Finally, the tragedies in law enforcement continue to occur throughout our nation and hit home to California today. At some point “we all just need to get along”.

Being a police officer is one of the most important and heroic jobs in our country. They bring security to those in danger and are often the first persons someone sees and gains comfort from on the worst day of their life. They do a job most simply cannot and will not do. Much of what they do to keep us safe is unseen.

In many respects, our police officers are truly unsung heroes in today’s society. Some of what they do is viewed as unpopular, but it is universally important (enforcing speed and traffic laws as examples). Police become scapegoats in a society instantly ready to shift blame for personal failures of judgment.

One of the toughest aspects of law enforcement is the two roles they are expected to play. One is to be everyone’s friend, kind, gentle, appeasing and affable (Andy Taylor). That is until the person has a firearm, is assaulting someone or even worst, they have done something truly heinous. Then we want the incredible hulk. There are so many unknowns in today’s society, it is often impossible and indistinguishable for the officers to determine.

In California, the lack of mental health care and the release of thousands of once incarcerated persons makes the job tougher and tougher for our police officers. Police now have to baby sit the once incarcerated “non-violent parolees” who probably were not rehabilitated and to become sidewalk psychologists and deal with those burdened with mental health issues which bring erratic behavior and often violence. In encourage anyone to try and respond to a call about someone acting erratically and try to instantly solve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction under the current situations in society.

Their job is amazingly difficult.

Unfortunately, the past few years has shown a negative light on actions by a small number of law enforcement officers. Should those who commit egregious offenses be held accountable, absolutely!

Winters is a quiet and safe town by its very nature. Most of us know each other, including the police officers responsible for enforcing the law. We have seen that quiet turn instantly in recent years and it is really ugly. We are blessed with officers within our Police Department who are capable of switching those gears to address the bad amongst the mostly good of our community. They represent our town well and are a part of the national law enforcement community who often quietly risk their lives so we can stay safe.

Hopefully people will hear the thousands of voices looking for an open dialogue and reconciliation for how people view our law enforcement personnel. They are critically important to an open and free society. We can only pray that the violence being directed towards our police officers will stop to allow the healing and dialogue to continue.

I can tell you that being a City Manager with a police department brings many sleepless nights as we watch what is unfolding nationally. I know each of our officers, their families and the quality individuals they are. I can tell you that I am very proud of what our law enforcement does for our community given the impossible tasks we give them.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Transportation Needs Questionnaire:

The Winters Senior Foundation are working with the City of Winters to identify ways of improving transportation options for City of Winters residents. We invite you to complete the following online questionnaire.

If at any time you are uncomfortable or do not wish to disclose information, you are free to leave questions blank or discontinue the survey. Your ideas and information will be very helpful for us to explore the transportation services needed.

Thank you in advance.


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Friday Update on July 22 2016

All,

 A couple items this week:

 ·         A very productive City Council Meeting this week. The Council approved the height increase for the Marriot Hotel, adopted both the sign and noise ordinance updates, approved consultants moving forward for the Senior Apartment Project and gave themselves a lot of liaison assignments. The Council was busy and have a lot on their plates.

·         The City will see our new Police Chief, John Miller begin work on Monday, July 25. We will swear him in Monday morning but are in the planning stages for a transition ceremony in the coming weeks. If you see Chief Miller around, welcome him to our town.

·         The City will say goodbye next week to Fire Chief Aaron McAlister who will be taking the position of Assistant Fire Chief for Contra Costa Fire Protection District. Chief McAlister leaves an incredible legacy with Winters Fire, bringing 24/7 service, developing our reserve firefighter program, bringing in almost $3 million in grants for new equipment and expanded training. The most significant accomplishment was his efforts to bring enhanced emergency medical services (ambulance) to Winters. He led the effort to take on the State bureaucracy and the result was the creation of the Yolo County Emergency Services Agency and the location of ambulance service in Winters. Under the leadership of Chief McAlister, we dealt with two of the largest fires in the history of Winters (Monticello and Wragg Fires) and have expanded the qualification and capabilities of our entire department. Winters Fire is blessed with an incredible history of volunteers and fire chiefs who laid a solid foundation for the department. Chief McAlister can easily be considered the Chief who moved the Department into a more modern era. We appreciate all he has done for Winters and wish him the best in his new position.

·         The City will also say goodbye to Chief Joseph Kreins who has served as interim police chief for the past 6 months. Under Chief Kreins, we have seen a very thorough audit of the Police Department, a comprehensive staffing re-organization and some incredible leadership training for our officers. The officers will tell you that Chief Kreins is “a cops cop” and I will tell you that he is an absolute dream for a City Manager. He did an incredible job and we appreciate his service.

·         The PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Center is really moving and we can get ready to see the buildings coming out of the ground. Click HERE for a complete update on this amazing project. I had a chance to walk the project with the City’s inspection team and the construction manager for DPR Construction, Ian Bollinick this week and it is very impressive. I have never seen such a well run operation and a focus on getting things done. An absolutely first class operation!

·         It looks like the Grant Ave/Walnut Lane Roundabout is moving forwarded. Final plans and maps have been recorded with Caltrans and the encroachment permit will follow. The project will be out to bid and hopefully we will see construction move forward in the fall. The bureaucracy of Caltrans is immense and it is a miracle that we have reached this point! Good news!!

·         The traffic signal for the intersection of Grant Ave/Main St is in design and for an encroachment permit with Caltrans. Look for this project and light to be installed sometime after the first of the year. This is a bit more simple than the roundabout, so hopefully we will see things go a bit quicker.

·         Tell everyone with abandoned, inoperable or unlicensed vehicles that they either need to store them someplace or be prepared to get a citation. The Police Department has been giving warning citation throughout town to vehicles on the street and on private properties for those unregistered. The citations going out now are “warnings” but please be prepared for “real” citations in the coming weeks.

·         The Putah Creek Phase III project will be stalled for another year. The impending litigation from the Winters Friends of Putah Creek and obstacles put up to finalize permits simply will not allow construction within the tight window we have to do the restoration project. Look for all of this to start up next year!

·         The City is accepting applications for the Planning Commission. Click HERE for an application. The deadline for applications is on Monday, July 25 by 5:00.

 Thanks and have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on July 15 2016

All,

In all, a pretty productive week:

  • City Council Meeting this week will have some key items including, Introduction of our new Police Chief, a potential K9 Program for the Police Department, the height regulation for the Freeway Hotel, second readings for the Sign and Noise Ordinances, the selection of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, Valley Oak Playground Easement, City Council Liaison/Committee Assignments and an RFP for consulting services for the upcoming senior housing project.
  • This week we formally announced that John Miller is being appointed as Police Chief. Attached is a press release on the appointment with some background information. The new Chief will be at City Hall beginning at 5:30, at The Scoop at 6:00 then at the City Council Meeting at 6:30.
  • The City is accepting applications for the Winters Planning Commission to fill the vacancy left by the election of Bill Biasi to the City Council. Click HERE for the application or come by City Hall. Applications are due by July 25.
  • The item on the Valley Oak Playground Easement is about the City re-conveying an easement back to PG&E on their property located at the corner of Grant Ave and Valley Oak. This will include the removal of the skate park feature which was developed in the easement. In return, PG&E is giving the City $100,000 for the construction of recreation facilities elsewhere. The basis for the re-conveyance is the fact that skate park is constructed over one of the gas distribution lines. PG&E has initiated their Community Pipeline Safety Initiative (attached) which includes removing structures away from their large distribution lines to avoid problems should they need to do emergency or maintenance work. PG&E has been a really good partner on this and although the skate park is going away, we will work to bring other recreation opportunities. Stay Tuned!
  • Persons representing various interests on Putah Creek met with the Army Corps of Engineers this week seeking to resolve permit issues for two key projects. The meeting was extremely productive and we are hoping to see permits soon.
  • It looks like Caltrans is finally ready to issue the encroachment permit which will allow the construction of the Walnut Lane Roundabout. Good news!!
  • The Winters Friends of the Library Concert Series continues through July on Thursday nights at Rotary Park beginning at 7. This years lineup includes a wide variety of music types. Breakout the picnic dinner, expand your horizons and support one of Winters best organizations, WFoL!
  • Tonight and Saturday, the Winters Shakespeare Workshop will present “Twelfth Night” beginning at 8 p.m. each night at City Park. Admission is free, but bring a donation to help support culture in Winters.
  • Talk with a Cop will be at The Scoop from 6-7 on Tuesday, July 19. Come on by, get a yogurt and meet some of Winters finest!

Finally, Tuesday, July 12 was the 15th anniversary of the day that I interviewed with the City Council to become the Winters City Manager. The City Council at that time included Mayor Tom Stone, Chris Calvert, John Frazier, Jiley Romney and Harold Anderson. To be very frank, I knew very little about Winters and a friend and the executive recruiter were the one’s who convinced me to even show up to interview for a job which paid less than I was making in my then position as Assistant City Manager in southern California. I later learned that I was the only one who showed up for the interviews.

The morning of the interview, we ate breakfast at the Putah Creek Café and when I went to meet with the Council, my wife Kathy and the kids went to City Park and they played on what the kids thought was the best playground they had ever seen. The interview went pretty well and I walked to City Park to find my family. On the way up Main and from someone who was an “economic development guy”, the Downtown looked pretty closed with only the PC Café, Ace Hardware and the bank open. Everything else was empty which was a big red flag!

They called me later that afternoon and asked me to come back the following Thursday to talk some more about the position. My tour guide that day was Harold Anderson who took me to lunch at the Rotary Club. At lunch, I met a wide band of friendly characters who I would later come to know as Charley Wallace, Robert Chapman, John Greenwood, Bill Cody, Larry Justus, Mike Kimes and others. They left an indelible impression on me of people who really cared about this little town.

After lunch, Kathy and I met with Jiley Romney, John Wallace (city attorney) and Mary Jo Rodolfo (who was John’s Assistant and President of the WJUSD Trustees). We talked about the schools and a number of subjects, but mostly about what a wonderful place Winters is to raise your children. I will tell you that both the lunch and the meeting at John’s office with Jiley and Mary Jo was a life altering experience from a quality of life and family perspective. These folks genuinely cared about their community and the importance it made to the quality of life for them and their children.

Over the course of the next couple weeks, the City offered and I accepted the position. I will tell you that it can be pretty scary making a decision to pack up your family and move 500 miles to a place (in the middle of nowhere- in my then view) that you had only discovered a few months prior. We packed up and sold our house and the result has been one of the best decisions I think I could have ever made in my life.

In 15 years, I have learned and appreciate what an incredible community and quality of life we have in Winters. From a professional standpoint, I have been blessed to work with incredible City Council members (20) and the best staff any city manager could dream of having! My hiring strategy has been to find folks who really love this town and it has paid off in what has become one of the most recognized cities in the region. From a personal standpoint, I have met some of the kindest and caring community members any town could imagine having as residents. Winters is essentially a dysfunctional family who are extremely loyal to the town, fight a bit about some things, but when it really matters, they come together to celebrate what a special place we really have.

Have a nice weekend!

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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Scheduled Gas Release- Monday July 11, 2016

All,

Just a heads up, PG&E has a scheduled gas release on Monday, July 11th between 7am-4pm from the transmission station located north of the City. Be advised this release can be extremely loud, often sounding like a “jet engine”. We sometimes receive 911 calls from concerned residents in the area.

This happens about once a year and can cause some excitement. It is part of their normal maintenance.

John


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Friday Update on July 8 2016

All,

A couple items for the week:

  • The positive news for the week was the transition of the City Council. Councilmembers Bill Biasi and Jesse Loren were sworn in and Councilmembers Woody Fridae and Wade Cowan stepped down. It is a time of mixed emotions as we celebrate the enthusiasm and potential of Jesse and Bill, while recognizing the quality community service of both Woody and Wade. After the meeting we all went to the Buckhorn for a glass of wine in celebration and thanks. Its something which happens in Winters and is pretty special!
  • The sour note is the Chromium 6 saga and requirements for the City and infrastructure improvements just keeps getting worse. Staff met with our consulting team and the costs for infrastructure to meet the State regulations is now somewhere between $24 and $30 Million. Our estimates on costs have rates increasing between $90 and 100 per month per household. We are refining the plan and intend to take it to the Department of Drinking Water (DDW) staff. We also plan on setting briefings with legislative advocacy and legal justice groups to get them in the loop on the effects on lower income households. Just crazy!!
  • Background continues on the Police Chief and I think we are really close. The announcement and introduction of the new Chief may come as early as next week!
  • Kudo’s to all involved with the Fireworks show this week. Special  thanks to the event coordinator Karla Jenkins, all the lifeguards who helped collect money and especially Nanci Mills who quietly get everything to happen!
  • Interviews for Parking Consultants for the Downtown will occur next week!

Finally, prayers need to go out to way too many families across our country. The tragedy in Dallas is absolutely numbing for those injured and murdered by someone seeking random vengeance against those who put their lives on the line to protect us. The men and women in law enforcement are heroes every day doing a job most of us couldn’t handle for 5 minutes. Light a candle for the families, friends and colleagues impacted from the violence last night. President Obama was right on as he called it a despicable attack on our law enforcement.

The tragic incidents in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge bring to light many of the endemic issues facing city government, law enforcement and society. The amount of violence in society today is now brought to life right before our eyes through social media. From a City perspective, it means higher accountability for our law enforcement and the importance of connecting with all facets of our communities. For society, it means looking at solutions to breaking down the barriers which facilitates the discord which leads to the use of violence by all parties.

On Monday, we celebrated the 240th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence which led to the creation of the greatest democracy and nation on earth. The second paragraph begins with “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” These words embody the soul of our national pride. Some of this seems to have been lost in the last few days!!

Dr Martin Luther King said “If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.”

Somehow, leaders throughout all facets of society need to come together and find the solutions to bring our communities together to transcend the violence and injustice which seems to be tearing us apart and weakening the spirit of our great nation. Dr Kings words are powerful because the represent the importance of avoiding retribution and the need to seek togetherness in keeping us strong.

As a City and a community, it really does begin with us to do our part in finding those solutions.

John


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Friday Update for Independence Weekend 2016

All,

Happy Independence Day weekend! The past couple of weeks have been busy and lots going on over the next few.

  • The City Council Meeting on July 5 will include the certification of the election, swearing in of new City Councilmembers Bill Biasi and Jesse Loren and recognition to both Woody Fridae and Wade Cowan who will be stepping down.
  • Also on the agenda will be a public hearing on an update to the affordable housing ordinance, an update to the City’s sign ordinance, a revised nuisance abatement ordinance, dealing with a vacancy on the planning commission (with the election of Bill Biasi) and a lease agreement for the former library.
  • It looks like we have a new Police Chief with the person selected in background now with a public announcement happening once that is completed. I will share with you that I am really excited for the Winters Police Department and our community!
  • The Planning Commission has approved site plan, design review and a conditional use permit for the remodel of Chevron, a Starbucks Café and a 72 room Marriot Fairfield Inn to be located at Grant Ave and Matsumoto Lane. The Planning Commission also recommended a “planned development overlay” for the hotel property which will allow the building to be built to 46’. The PD will go to the City Council on July 19. The developers indicated that the project will most likely begin construction “in the spring” 2017.
  • The Planning Commission and staff were really impressive. There was a lot of material to go through, there was complexity to both the architectural and civil plans yet the Commission was very well prepared and did a comprehensive review. Kudo’s to the entire Planning Commission for their preparedness and work along with our Associate Planner Jenna Moser and Contract Planner Dave Dowswell.
  • Winters Fire responded to a significant fire on Main Street on Tuesday evening. The home was ablaze when our units arrived and the fire staff did an amazing job of protecting the neighboring structures and putting out the fire. Kudos to all of the Winters Staff along with the other agencies who responded. Condolences to the residents who lost almost everything, including a pet dog.
  • Winters Fire, the residents of Golden Bear Estates and Positas Drive all request that people show caution when using fireworks this year! In 2014 and 15, we have been home to two of the largest fires in Northern California with both the Monticello and Wragg fires. For those who respond and those affected in the rural areas, we would like to avoid a three peat. Please be careful and only use fireworks in safe areas away from comustables.
  • A reminder that the City Fireworks Show will be on Sunday, July 3 at Dr. Sellers Field. All the legal and illegal will be on July 4th!

On Tuesday, the City Council will go through an official “reorganization” which includes the swearing in of new council members, the selection of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem and the beginning of a two year cycle of leadership on the City Council. From a City perspective, it is a big deal with the closure of one “Council” and the beginning of the next.

The 2014-16 City Council, consisting of Mayor Cecilia Aguiar Curry, Mayor Pro tem Woody Fridae and Council Members Harold Anderson, Wade Cowan and Pierre Neu have had an extremely busy two year period. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Construction of the Putah Creek Car Bridge. The life expectancy is easily 200 years.
  • Setting the stage for both the Downtown and freeway hotels.
  • The emergency of our Downtown to an incredible economic level of vitality.
  • Approval of the 60 unit Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Apartments which will see construction in early 2017.
  • The acquisition of a grant for a new Senior Center.
  • Recruitment, review and approval of the PG&E Gas Operations Training Center.
  • Addressing pension issues in relation to the City budget.
  • Amendments to key subdivision agreements which will provide for quality market rate housing.
  • Dealing with both the Monticello and Wragg Fires.

The list of accomplishments big and small is absolutely amazing. This Council has been one of the hardest working groups in my tenure as City Manager. These folks work long hours for practically no pay but really big expectations!

In Winters, being on the City Council really is “citizen service”. Compared to larger cities, being on the City Council of a small town can be considerably more demanding and taxing. The need for constant involvement and the ease of access compared to larger communities in not comparable! Our Council works really hard! A sincere congratulations and thanks to each on this council for their service

Finally, a wish to all for a wonderful Independence Weekend. In the United States, we celebrate our independence from tyrannical governance and the longest running democracy in history. We are blessed with freedoms most can only dream of! While you are celebrating with friends and family, take time to celebrate the men and women throughout the world who keep our freedoms alive along with those in public safety here at home who maintain the security of our communities.

This is one of the craziest weekends of the year, so please be safe.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update Extra on June 17

All,

Two other reminders:

  • Saturday, June 18 (now today), is the Winters Quilt Show in Downtown. Quilts go up by 9 and down by 3:30. The Downtown never has more color and it is a go to event for our community.
  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee is holding a 10 year celebration and community meeting on Monday, June 20, starting at 7:30 in the City Council Chamber. Come celebrate our Hispanic culture and learn about the activities of the Committee and how you can get more involved.

John


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Friday Update on June 17 2016

All,

A super busy week, so here are some items:

  • We are still waiting on the final counts for the City Council Election. Yolo County Elections has indicated that they will most likely release the certification of the election on Wednesday, June 22. Stay tuned!
  • This weeks City Council Meeting will have some business items, including modification to our Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, City Engineering Services Contract, Paving Contract for First Street roadway repairs, Adoption of Salary Schedules and a presentation from the Mosquito/Vector Control District.
  • We are down to the final two candidates for Police Chief. I have finished second interviews and will move into calling references. We are really lucky to have two quality candidates with either one being capable of bringing a lot to the position. I hope to have a decision by next week.
  • New Hours at the Library– The library has started its’ summer hours, which now include Fridays for the first time. The summer hours are :Mon & Wed 10am-6pm, Tues & Thurs 12-8pm, Fri & Sat 1-5pm, closed on Sunday. Summer Reading Program has started, all ages are welcome to join, and adults and teens get a nice tote bag when they signup.
  • Saturday is the Rotary Trap Shoot at the Yolo Sportsman with registration beginning at 8:30 am. Entry is $40 and it is a great time!!!

Have a nice weekend.

John

 


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Friday Update on June 10 2016

All,

A really short update:

• Today we held the interviews for Winters Police Chief. Six (6) candidates’ were interviewed by two panels. We have narrowed the group to 3 finalists and I have already interviewed one of the candidates tonight.
• The two panels included; a “Community Panel” chaired by Winters High Principal Paul Fawcett and included Marty Mariani, Charley Wallace, Leticia Quirarte and Dagoberto Fierros. The “Staff Panel” was Chaired by Sgt Jeremy Warren and included Shelly Gunby, Art Mendoza, Eric Lucero, Karla Fergeson. Councilmembers Harold Anderson and Wade Cowan split time with both of the panels. Nanci Mills and I were observers of each of the panels.
• Enough cannot be said about the two panels. Both did an amazing job representing various community interests. We are genuinely blessed to have such awesome members of our community willing to spend an entire day on this process. They did a GREAT JOB!!
• A reminder about Woody Fridae’s Retirement Party, Saturday, June 11 at the Palms from 6-9 pm. This is a potluck for hor’s’dourves and is BYOB.

Have a nice weekend.

John


  • -

Rural Economic Success Article on Winters

All,

A really good article on Winters. http://www.wallacecenter.org/news/closer-look-at-rural-gives-sacramento-new-economic-direction

Sometimes I just find myself in awe of how cool our community is!

John


  • -

Woody Fridae Retirement Party

All,

Just a reminder that there is a retirement party for Woody Fridae this Saturday, June 11 from 6-9 at The Palms. This is a potluck (finger food/hors’doeurves) and is byob.

Woody has made such an incredible impact on so many people and causes. This party will be a chance to celebrate his accomplishments!

This is going to be a REALLY fun evening as we wish Woody well into retirement.

John


  • -

Friday Update on June 3 2016

All,

A crazy couple of weeks and lots going on! Here goes:

  • The City Council Meeting has a couple items on it including testing consultants for the construction of Phase II of Walnut Park, Certification for the City Wide Assessment District, Street Naming for the Winters Highlands Subdivision, Memorandums of Understanding for all the City’s Employee Associations. Lot’s of items and a huge agenda packet, but it should be a relatively short meeting.
  • Interviews for City Engineering Services are next week as we come into compliance with Caltrans bidding requirements for professional services.
  • Police Chief Interviews will be next week. The process will include two panels of City Staff and Community Members. City Councilmembers Harold Anderson and Wade Cowan will sit on one of the panels.
  • Due to new pipeline safety requirements the skate park facility on Valley Oak will be removed in the coming months. PG&E is really stepping up to reimburse the City with a $100,000 grant to build a new futsol court at City Park and to install some skateboard features at Valley Oak Park. Look for details in the coming months.
  • Applications are in for the expansion (teardown and rebuild) of Chevron, a Starbucks and a Marriot (Fairfield Inn) are in and will be before the Planning Commission on June 28. Plans look good!
  • The water bills will include a legal notice warning all of our customers about Chromium 6 in our drinking water. This is a mandatory form which indicates that we are “out of compliance”. The notice is the typical legal notice and we are not allowed to include it, but….. the Federal MCL is 100 and California is now 10. When people say negative things about doing business in California, this is prime example!
  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee is hosting a community meeting on Monday, June 20 at City Hall beginning at 7:30. The HAC is a wonderful group which brings representation of the Hispanic community on a multitude of City issues. Come find out more about the Committee on the 20th.
  • Winters AYSO will be launching a considerable fundraising drive to raise $20k to help repair and maintain fields at Shirley Rominger School. The fields have fallen into considerable disrepair in recent years and in order to get them fixed, AYSO is being pressed to come up with the funds to have a private company repair the fields, purchase sprinklers, fund ongoing maintenance and replace irrigation equipment. Look for information in the coming weeks. If you have the ability to donate, please contact me and I will put you in touch with those leading the drive. Winters AYSO is the largest youth organization in Winters, providing soccer to over 400 players each year.
  • A big congratulations to Winters AYSO teams who participated in the Davis World Cup Soccer Tournament. Each team found its way into at least the quarter finals and represented us well.

Have a nice weekend.

John

 


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