A couple items this week:
· The City Council directed that administration for Winters Fire be done internally versus through the Fire Administration Services Agreement with the City of Dixon. In many ways, the Winters/Dixon Agreement has provided many benefits, mostly with the development of our staff in being ready to re-take the reins of running the department. I will be working on an overall transition strategy which I will share in the coming weeks!
· Staff provided some of the final environmental review information for the Marriot Hotel financing folks and the project is expected to be funded and plans submitted in the near future. This is a critical project to support PG&E and our many visitors!
· Downtown Hotel is expected to submit plans within the next few days to commence construction. Keeping our fingers crossed.
· November 1 will be the start of salmon spawning in Putah Creek. The “boards” near the Sacramento Delta will be removed and we should see salmon begin the final migration into our creek. Last year, over 2000 salmon returned. It is amazing.
· The Salmon Festival will be on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 11:00 to 4:00. Last years event was wonderful and this years event will hopefully see the arrival of the guests of honor in the creek.
· Staff is hitting some bumps on the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Apartments Project. Stay tuned……….
· Last weeks disastrous fires in Napa and Sonoma had the City’s Emergency Management System ramping up. Behind the scenes, there was a ton happening, including contingencies for mass evacuations which would have sent a ton of people our way. I will share that we had business and property owners who helped the City immeasurably with our contingency planning in the event that we got slammed with thousands of Napa evacuees. A special recognition for the folks at Mariani Nut, Vintage Paving and the Dioscese of Sacramento who really stepped up in our preparedness efforts.
· On a “tip”, we were contacted by local television crews about the “City Manager” cancelling the American Red Cross to set up an evacuation shelter last week. The answer to that question was yes for a number of important reasons: first, we were never requested to set up a shelter by any authorities from Solano or Napa and the request to the Red Cross was very premature; second, Yolo County OES and member cities have our own Mass Care and Shelter Division which we use versus the Red Cross; Third, an evacuation Shelter had already been established at Solano Community College for those being evacuated; fourth, a 3 minute drive around town found we had no evacuees in town in need of assistance; and finally, the idea that we would divert precious resources away from those in need would have been irresponsible. Given the massive fires in our hills the past 4 summers and local evacuations, we have become keenly aware of how to evacuate and care for people.
· Emergency Management is a collaborative effort which often involves City, County and State Agencies. People often wonder how literally thousands of fire personnel “suddenly” appear for major fires or incidents. Its all based on a very well established network of agencies which have planned how response can occur and resources are allocated. No one agency can respond in comparison to many.
· During our evaluation of evacuees, I ran into some folks who were evacuated from Lake Berryessa having dinner at the Round Table Pizza. I asked if they need help and the indicated they had just booked rooms at a hotel in Woodland. Nice folks in what had to be a horrible situation.
· In the event of a disaster, the City of Winters, Winters Fire and Winters Police Facebook Pages will be our main source for pushing information. We will also partner with the Winters Express and their social media. To control “rumors” check our social media to get the real scoop!
· To get text and call notification for disasters, emergencies and alerts sent directly to you, go to www.yolo-alert.org and register/download the alert app. Its actually pretty cool!
· The Winters High Football Game versus Willows is a fundraiser to help those impacted by the fires in Napa and Sonoma. Donations will be taken at the gate for both JV and Varsity. Come out to the game and support both WHS and help raise funds for out neighbors across the hills.
Finally, the City was given an incredible gift with the construction of the new playground at City Park. Enough thanks and gratitude will never do justice to the efforts and the results of Project Playground and their Coordinating Committee!
The playground is now emblematic of the commitment to our youth, but also the culture of Winters where neighbors, friends and people who have never met come together to accomplish something great!
The size and scope of the actual playground structure is way beyond anything the City of Winters could ever afford. The combination of volunteer labor and the fundraising to make it happen put it amongst the nicest structures in town. Generations of children and their parents now have amazing place to explore and develop in our town!
The volunteer effort was special and something I will cherish for my entire life. Over the course of about 8 days, I watched folks with tremendous construction skill (the red shirts) work alongside those without (me and many others) to build a miracle before our eyes. The work was hard, but the determination and spirit was motivating and caring. At each meal (we ate pretty well on the project) people who did not know each other became a unified team and our community became a highly effective unit in the playground construction. The spirit was infectious and we were able to watch folks want to do more and more each day. Before last week, I bet a lot of people never used a router, but most are now pretty proficient!
There were a number of folks who were at the build every day, giving 12 hours, leaving tired, but showing up at 7:00 the next morning ready to get back at it. For the many who showed up on any of the days, I watched 110% effort and a lot of hustle!
The real “gift” was the perpetuation of the “Winters Spirit” of neighbors coming together in a volunteer spirit to make our town better. We really are a special place and this project was a spectacular occasion to show people why we are an incredible place to live, raise our families and call this community our “home”.
Mentioning names is tough, but without question we all need to especially thank Project Playground Co-Chairs Emarie VanGalio and Moyra Barsotti for their commitment to making this project spectacular! They thought BIG and more than delivered for our community. I will share that they were incredible to work with on the “business” side of things and they more than delivered when it came time for making it happen. Their efforts were impressive and the results show!
One of my favorite quotes is ……………… “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible”.
Project Playground did an Excellent job and is owed a tremendous sense of gratitude for an incredible gift.
Have a nice weekend.
John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager