A couple important items this week:
· Construction on the Grant/Walnut Lane Roundabout begins this Monday. The good news is that closure of Grant will be postponed until the end of September. The contractor and engineering teams are working hard to limit closure by working beginning work on the south side and keeping lanes open. Overall, really good news!
· Project Playground and the re-build of the City Park Playground is inside 60 days to construction October 10-15. They need volunteers to being signing up now. Go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa5aa23a4f49-build to sign up.
· The Downtown Hotel foundation elements were poured this morning. The project is moving forward and they are hoping for a 2018 opening!
This has been an absolutely crazy week. Look for an expanded Friday Update next week.
WALNUT LN/ GRANT AVE ROUNDABOUT WORK TO BEGIN SOON
The City of Winters is constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Walnut Lane and Grant Avenue (SR 128). Vintage Paving Co. has been hired by Winters to serve as the project contractor. The work will commence on Monday, August 14, 2017.
To minimize the total contract duration and maximize the use of local, state and federal funds, the Contractor will close Grant Avenue (SR 128) to thru traffic during six one week periods of time. A detour will be posted to direct traffic via East Baker Street around the work zone. Local traffic will be allowed access to Walnut Lane during these detour closures. The detour closures will start on Monday at 8 am and continue thru Friday at 3 pm. Grant Avenue (SR 128) will be reopened to traffic beginning Friday at 3pm through the weekends. The schedule for the detour closures will be published as they are known.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the individuals below:
City’s Resident Engineer, Michael Karoly, PE, (916) 960-6308 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Scianna, Winters Environmental Services Manager (520) 794-6715 or email@example.com.
Note on new green waste services:
Residents please remember that the new Brown Lid Carts are for green waste and food waste only. It has come to our attention, that many of the green waste containers that were picked up from our residents recently were found to be contaminated with garbage, resulting in the load being 40% contaminated and thus rejected at the landfill for compost processing. The new carts are not to be used for garbage and residents who continue to put garbage into their green waste carts will be charged a contamination fee of $10.99 per incident.
Also, remember that street pick up for green waste is only on the Mondays shown by the white square on your WM calendars. It would be very helpful if you could coordinate putting debris out in your street piles a day or two prior to that pick up date rather than weeks prior, so that the material won’s be sitting out on the curb longer than necessary.
Thank you for your cooperation, if you have any question please contact: Carol Scianna 530-794-6715, firstname.lastname@example.org
· 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!
Just a few items this week:
· City Council Meeting has a number of public hearings including an update to City Fees (Public Hearing), delinquent utility and trash bills going on the tax liens, a review of the FY 2016-17 Budget (bad news), a presentation on the Draft Yolo Conservancy EIR/EIS, a Draft Storm Water Management Plan, Creekside Estates Development Agreement (second reading), Futsol Court Painting and Rates for Commercial Organic Waste pick-up.
· Staff met with the Yolo County Tax Assessor. The City saw a 9.35% increase in the overall assessed valuation of the City. Much of this is due to the Winters Ranch Subdivision and sales of existing homes. Good news is the increased valuation of the City, the bad news is our financial projections are generally really good so maybe not such a great bump in overall revenues beyond our projections. We will see………..
· Downtown Hotel foundation is under construction.
· Both Chevron and Starbucks are under way. Look for things to move quickly on those projects.
· Congratulations to Project Playground on getting really close to their fundraising goal. There is still time to make donations, purchase fence posts and sign up for the big project. Go to www.projectplaygroundwinters.com for more information.
· A memorial dinner and program in honor of Howard Hupe will be held on Sunday, August 6 beginning at 4:30 at the Community Center. Dinner and a program will be held for those who want to come honor Howard and his contributions to the Winters Community.
Thanks and have a nice weekend.
Cost of Services (User Fee) Study
CITY OF WINTERS, CALIFORNIA
A couple items this week:
· The pre-construction meeting for the Grant Ave Roundabout was held on Thursday. The project start date is August 14 and the total construction time is 80 days. The project will include work time shutdowns of Grant Ave with a detour during much of the project. The roadway will re-open during peak drive times and overnight and weekends. Look for more publicity as we get closer to the project.
· Winters Fire personnel are on the Detweiler Fire near Yosemite. As of this writing, the fire was at 70,000 acres. Our staff are currently on a 24 hour shift near Maricopa protecting structures.
· The Winters Friends of Putah Creek have filed a lawsuit against the Solano County Water Agency and the Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee on the project environmental impact report for restoration activities for the creek. The EIR and the proposed projects are to provide ecological restoration activities, public access, removal of invasive plants and to improve the overall habitat and water quality. The EIR and project has been part of an extensive public process with key stakeholders, world renowned environmental experts from UC Davis and both public and private property owners.
· The July 25 Planning Commission Meeting will have a couple items, including selection of a new Chairperson, design review for the Stone’s Throw (formerly Winters Highlands) subdivision, a study session regarding the Dry Creek setback requirements and the appointment of a representative to the City’s Affordable Housing Steering Committee.
Finally, Winters took a huge hit with week with the passing of two community icons; Howard Hupe and Dale Brewer.
I profiled the accomplishments of Howard and Germaine Hupe a few weeks ago. Howard was truly a man of service to Winters in so many ways. His services are as follows:
Tuesday, July 25th – Vigil and Rosary at Smith Funeral Home in Davis. Friends are welcome from 6-7 for a viewing followed by a short service from 7-7:45.
Wednesday, July 26th – Funeral at St. James gym in Davis at 10 am. Military Burial at Davis Cemetery at 11 am. Reception from 1-4 at the Winters Community Center with a light lunch and open mic.
A Winters community celebration for Howard is being planned for sometime in August. Stay tuned.
Dale Brewer passed suddenly and unexpectedly over the past weekend. Dale was a lifelong resident of Winters and worked as the janitor at Winters High School for over 45 years. Dale impacted the lives of generations of students, teachers and administrators. To imagine someone who watched the development of 45 graduating classes from Winters High is an incredible feat. Dale was both a character and a genuinely nice person.
Services for Dale will be Saturday, July 29 at 11 a.m. at the Trinity Baptist Church in Vacaville.
A couple items:
· The July 18 City Council Agenda includes the Olive Grove Subdivision and Affordable Housing Plan, recommendation on the formation of an Economic Development Advisory Committee, Creekside Estates Development Agreement, an update from the Police Department, Site Preparation for the Futsal Court, and contracts for design of a bar screen and monitoring services for the wastewater treatment facility.
· Attached is the June Activity Report (pdf) for the Winters Police Department
· Construction has commenced on the foundation for the Hotel Winters. This is really good news!
· The City’s Design Review Committee (DRC) met with representatives of“Stone’s Throw” (former Winters Highlands) for the preliminary review of the design elements for Phase I of the project. Generally a good meeting! The design review before the City Council is scheduled for July 25.
· The Phase III Putah Creek Project has been hit by another delay from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the issuance of the permit to commence the project. This will further delay the project which now looks like it will happen in 2018.
· Get ready for the Yolo Conservancy Habitat Conservation Plan on the August 1 City Council Agenda. A really good article in the Winters Express this week on the details, but in summary it addresses multiple species and mitigation for all of Yolo County. The environmental impact report on it is massive, so I am working on a short version to send out prior to the meeting.
Finally, a very real issue in town are people doing home improvement work without building permits. This affects the City both from a financial standpoint but mostly from a safety standpoint.
Many of the “do it yourself” television shows which show folks buying and flipping houses, doing massive renovations, tearing out walls or just running down to the local hardware store and changing things out are now creating issues which should give us all caution. In the past month, we now have numerous properties which have been “caught” blatantly doing work without the benefit of plans and permits. Some of the work is extensive and structural in nature.
One of the toughest jobs in city government is being a building inspector. Much like a law enforcement officer, the building inspector is responsible for enforcing State regulations which are meant to protect us. Getting caught doing something is never pleasant and when it comes to a house, it can be downright dangerous. The “inspector” can be pretty unpopular, but I would argue that they are one of the most important positions in the City.
With a permit for work, both the homeowner and future owner of a home will know a couple basic things; including that there were plans for the project, the person doing the work is qualified, the materials used were proper, the improvement was inspected and meets the building code and a level of quality assurance that when it was finished it was safe. Without a permit, there is no guarantee on any of this, especially the safe part.
Recently, we have a combination of issues happening which are not right. Specifically, people simply lying about what is occurring at the home to hide work either done or under construction. People also lie about who did the work. An example is someone claimed that they “did all of the electrical work” in a home but when asked a very basic electrical question could not answer it (they obviously had “someone else” do the work). In another case, a property owner “just remembered” that they also moved the entire staircase over when demolishing some walls.
Imagine buying one of those houses from the televisions shows where they flip the house in couple of days with a quickie remodel. What quality of work do you think you are getting? What about the quality of work for someone doing electrical improvements without the benefit of a licensed contractor? Buying a home requires disclosure of non-permitted work. How many of these house flippers doing work without permits are then going to immediately disclose all of the improvements recently done to prospective buyers? When the house burns down from a fire caused by faulty electrical and someone loses all of their belongings or someone is injured or dies, who should be responsible?
If someone is willing to not get a permit to save a couple dollars or feels it is an inconvenience, where else did they shortcut the project? What about the electrical panel size and who calculated whether the existing panel was sufficient? If no permit, do you really think the panel was calculated?
If you see someone doing work without a permit, please call and report it to the City’s Building Division. All calls are confidential.
Some things are just silly!
Have a nice weekend.
A couple of items:
· Positas and Golden Bear Estates are re-opened from the evacuation which occurred from the fire last night. Enough cannot be said for the public safety folks who facilitated the notification and the patience of the folks who live there. It is not easy for anyone.
· The fire last night showed that doing something four years in a row aids in the effectiveness of response. Winters Fire, Cal Fire and our neighboring jurisdictions got on to a fast moving fire and did an amazing job of protecting homes and residents of Positas and Golden Bear Estates. The Napa-Sonoma Unit for Cal Fire moved in and did an incredible job with the help of a lot of aircraft, bulldozers and personnel.
· Winters Fire worked through the night. As the first unit on the blaze, Grass 26 spent almost 24 hours on the hill dealing with some of the most significant aspects. Engine 26 took the lead in protecting structures in Golden Bear. I know our crews were exhausted, but, again, they protected and represented our community well.
· We are told they will start moving dirt on the Downtown Hotel next week. Keep your fingers crossed.
· Starbucks has their building permit, the Chevron sign is coming down and grading has commenced, so things are moving.
· Look for a lot of grading next week for the Callahan and Winters Highlands subdivisions in the northwest section of town.
· If you are watching the Major League Baseball All Star Game next week, look for Brad Mills, the brother in law of our own Nanci Mills who will be coaching the American League All Stars. Brad is the bench coach for the Cleveland Indians and will be sitting in for Terry Francona, the Indians Head Coach who is out with an injury.
Finally, thoughts and prayers need to go out to Howard Hupe who has been laid up in the hospital for the past week.
Howard and Germaine Hupe are absolute icons of the Winters Community and will go down in the history of our town as two of its greatest citizens! Few have contributed as much to Winters as Howard and Germaine. Ironically, they live in Davis.
Both were long time staff at Winters High School, with Howard in the counseling office and Germaine teaching literature. Their impact on literally generations of Winters students in positioning them for life and success is amazing. They were also the long time coordinators of the AFS student exchange program, where they worked with another Winters icon, Bobbie Greenwood, in sharing our community with the world.
Howard and Germaine are founding members of the Winters Theatre Company and were integral players in the development of the Community Center and its stage. The hundreds of plays, actors and actresses and the thousands of attendees have benefitted immensely from what they have brought us. One can only imagine the thousands of days and hours spent in the preparation and performance all in the name of entertaining us.
Howard is a long time member of the Chamber of Commerce Board and is arguably the #1 advocate for Winters business. He is someone to always be counted upon to represent the Chamber and town within the region. Few have worked even a fraction as hard as Howard in “making things happen” to advance the Winters brand. I can personally attest that Howard is a key player in the renaissance of Downtown Winters and the current vitality it is experiencing. Howard and Germaine are authors of the Walking Tour Guide to Historic Winters!
Howard and Germaine are past Citizens of the Year. They both have served many years as the “masters of ceremony” in the presentations to many other citizens of the year. They always provide an entertaining biography of the recipient through an often comical and mostly self effacing presentation. Always kind and generous, but funny, always funny!
Howard is an active member of the Rotary Club of Winters.
When Huell Howser came to town, we picked Howard to be the spokesperson for the City in the interview. Huell eventually interviewed a bunch of folks (including me, Dave Fleming and John Pickerel), but Howard is the star of the video. His baritone voice talking about the history of Winters made us relevant and special. To see Howard and Huell (and the rest of us) click HERE.
Writing any type of testimonial for people like Howard and Germaine is a risk because I know I am leaving so much out. So I apologize for all which is missing!
When you consider the legacy that people may want to make of their lives, Howard and Germaine Hupe have certainly made a mark on Winters. From educating our children and guiding their success, sharing us with the world and enriching the lives of many families, to entertaining us and then leading the renaissance of our businesses and Downtown Winters, few can claim what Howard and Germaine have done for our town. They are genuinely two of the most unselfish and giving people I think I have ever met in my life.
Let’s root for Howard to gain his health. He’s a pretty tough guy, so keep good thoughts for him.
John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager
A couple items this week:
· The fireworks show will be this Monday, July 3 2017 at Dr. Sellers Field. Gates will open at 6:00 and the show will start when it is nice and dark! Admission is a donation of at least $1 per person. More is appreciated. Entertainment will include music by Winters own DJ Barnett Entertainment (Troy Barnett), fun on the football field, etc. Bring a blanket and a soccer chair and enjoy the best Winters fireworks show of the year!
· Construction continues on the Main/Grant Traffic Signal. The project includes improvements on the north side of Grant to Taylor Street with sidewalk and gutter work. Look for the majority of the intersection work to be completed by late July and the signals to be installed in October.
· June 30 represents the end of the City’s 2016-17 Fiscal Year. This has been a really tough year because many of the projects we projected pulling building permits did not occur. The City has a two year budget which means we will bring budget adjustments for the next year which will reduce some projected positions in public safety. Hopefully, we will see the commercial projects take flight in 2017-18 and revenues will equalize. I will share that it has been the toughest financial year for the City since the real estate crash of 2008. We will get through it, but we will need to tighten our belt a bit!!
· Fire season is upon us. Watch for more training burns in the north part of town and the real stuff starting to pop up throughout the region..
Finally, I attended the memorial service today for Gary Bertagnolli, the owner of Eagle Drug and the town Pharmacist for many years. I knew Gary as most did through prescriptions and in my case, the Rotary Club of Winters.
As I sat in St. Anthony’s Church, I reflected on the fact that in small towns, there are many people with special titles, who know each other within the roles they provide for our community. At the service were the mayor and councilmembers, banker, newspaper publisher, butcher, doctor, principal, police chief, chair of the cemetery board, Rotary President, Grocery Store Owner, eye doctor, hardware store owner, pre-school teacher, farmers, ranchers and yes, the city manager. At Gary’s service, literally all the key folks representing various interests turned out to pay their respects for the town pharmacist. Food was provided by El Pueblo, a key local business.
The service was short but beautiful. Gary’s daughter gave a wonderful eulogy of a man who will be missed very much by us all. Gary knew the personal secrets of many and was probably more up on the travails of folks than any priest or rabbi. He was kind, a confidant and most importantly, a GREAT resident of Winters.
We all have roles in the town of Winters. It really is one big fraternity of people working toward the common goal of making a quality community. Today we were reminded of the importance of squeezing our loved ones a little harder and telling them we love them a little more often.
Have a safe and sane Independence Day Weekend.