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

August 2016 PG&E GOTTC Project Report

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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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Winters Yolobus Service Changes–Kaiser Medical Center and Solano Community College Stops Added

Attached are Yolobus schedules (pdf) and map of the revised route 220 service, effective Monday, August 8, 2016. Both Solano Community College and Kaiser Medical Center in Vacaville will be served. Free rides through the month of August for Route 220 (pdf), except for the weekday commute hour bus to and from UCD.   The 220 bus does not stop at Solano Community College on Saturdays.  (Bus Map, pdf)

In addition to the attached schedule and map, the following is an abbreviated table which focuses on a few stops and the length of stay at the Kaiser Medical Center. It is a good reference guide.

WintersBusSchedule


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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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August 2016 City of Winters Newsletter

August 2016 Newsletter

The Community Pool will remain open on weekends for Rec Swim from 2-5pm through September.


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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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08/02/16 City Council Meeting Agenda/Packet

08/02/16 City Council Meeting (PDF): Agenda / Packet


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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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Applicants Sought for Winters Planning Commission Vacancy

Applicants Sought for Winters Planning Commission Vacancy

The City of Winters is accepting applications to serve on the Winters Planning Commission through July 25. Prospective applicants must be at least 18 years of age and reside within the Winters city limits.

Applications of Interest in Appointed Positions can be downloaded from the City of Winters website (click this link/pdf). A resume may be attached to the application form.

The term of service is four years, or until term end. A two-person subcommittee of the Winters City Council will review the submitted applications and select a limited number of applicants to be interviewed. Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted and scheduled for their interviews.

Drop completed applications off or mail to City of Winters, 318 First Street, Winters, CA 95694. Applications may also be e-mailed to nanci.mills@cityofwinters.org.

For more information, call 530-795-4910, ext. 102.


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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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07/19/16 City Council Meeting

07/19/16 City Council Meeting (PDF): Agenda / Packet


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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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