· The Main/Grant Traffic Signal Project has been delayed for the past three weeks due to Caltrans delays (their engineering review and approval of a modification took 3 weeks) and a recent stoppage by the Caltrans Inspector. The project timing was supposed to have the improvements completed before the start of school. The route to school is absolutely a mess at the intersection and will require us to take measures to get children through. Expect delays in the morning through this intersection and find an alternate route if possible. We are working to find a solution and will be meeting with Caltrans Headquarters as soon as they will grant us an audience!
· Watch for a lot of weed abatement work along Grant Ave in the coming weeks. As the Grant/Timbercrest Signal Project comes to a close, we will prepare to get things cleaned up as PG&E prepares to open.
· Staff is working on a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for the City streets. This involves rating the overall condition and folding the results into an overall maintenance program.
· On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Board conducted a public hearing and consideration of the elimination of the 10 parts per billion (ppb) limit on Chromium 6. The good news is the removed the new limit. The bad news is they authorized a re-set of the limit and for the Division of Drinking Water to begin working on it. The administrative law judge who has been overseeing the CR6 issue has mandated that they consider the economic impacts of implementation of a new standard. Hopefully that will be taken into consideration and they will give us a call on the impacts related to our community. The annual cost to rate payers is approximately $900m which would be removed from the economy at the 10ppb.
· I had a chance to speak before the Board and share the impacts on Winters. I will share that I prepped like I have never prepped for a presentation to cram a lot of information into a short period of time which is easy to understand and effective. I actually practiced as I drove through traffic on an effective delivery! I think they would have passed it even without my words of wisdom, but I felt good about having a chance to represent our community.
· Kudos to two staff members who really delivered big at the City Council Meeting the other evening:
· Carol Scianna our Environmental Services Manager worked with Kurt Balasak and the folks at Wallace Kuhl on the development of a preliminary storm drainage master plan to address and prevent pollution in our storm system. The plan is very well developed and is a foundational plan which will benefit the City dearly in the future. Protecting and developing the Winters environment is an important part of Carol’s position and she does an incredible job at it. This particular project relates to keeping Putah Creek clean of pollution and I would give her and the Wallace Kuhl team an A+.
· Shelley Gunby is our Director of Financial Management. She presented a Comprehensive Fee Update for Building, Planning, Public Works, Fire and Recreation fees. While nobody likes the City charging higher fees on anything, she took a very balanced and empirical approach to gaining needed reimbursement of City costs while protecting the consumer at the same time. Building Fees will see 7% increase, Planning Fees are charged at cost, Public Works and Fire see an 80% reimbursement and Recreation is mostly a low reimbursement item with the big increase being the pool swim cost from $1 to $2.
· Finance also addressed property tax liens for delinquent water/sewer and trash service bills. Our staff are not the reason for people not paying their bills, but they sure do take the brunt of the anxiety people bring when it comes to the liens. As with any business, the City expects people to pay their bills owed for services and I appreciate the staff for dealing with our customers in a professional and tactful manner even when some folks are not particularly kind.
· The Winters Theatre Company, Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce and others will be hosting a memorial for Howard Hupe this Sunday, August 6 at 4:30 at the Community Center.
Finally, the bounty of our harvest is really coming in now. I was out this morning getting some figs from my new neighbor Cole Ogando’s trees (Sierra and Kadota varieties) and I realize what heaven it is around here to have some of the most delicious food amongst us. Here are some of my hot picks on where to get the bounty:
· K&J Fruit Stand (Gaddini Road)- Fresh stone fruits, dried, multiple varieties of melons, honey, preserves and heirloom tomatoes, garlic and limes. My favorite is the 4/$1 corn which you can eat raw but get there early before it is gone.
· Warrens OMRF (Old Mans Retirement Fund) on Russell Blvd just east of El Rio Villa. Stone fruits and fresh tomatoes. Seriously, you will re-consider the hassle of your own garden with these tomatoes!
· Road 31- Covell/Road 98 Fruit Stand in Davis- Typically I would not recommend leaving the greater Winters area, but this is worth it. Drive on about a quarter mile east of Rd 98 and it is on the right hand side (if they flag is up they are open). Four cewheel across and ditch and up a dirt driveway. Your food of choice in one item Strawberries!! They grow multiple varieties throughout the year and they are incredible. Buy a full flat, eat a ton and freeze the rest!
· Capay Valley– Take a drive to Cache Creek and stop at the variety of farm stands along Highway 16. Just past the casino in Guinda is a farm stand. The growers in Capay are some of the highest quality and innovative anywhere.
· Manas Ranch– Highway 16 in Esparto- Fresh pork and lamb are the items. If they have sausage, get that!
Have a nice weekend!