A couple items for the week.
· A very light City Council Agenda with two presentations. The First will be on the Yolo County Emergency Medical Services Agency Annual Report (these are the folks who bring us ambulance services) and Yolo Transportation will be discussing the County Wide Capital Improvement Program. Short and easy!
· The Winters Police Department released a couple press releases this week on a couple issues. The first included a juvenile arrest regarding the break in at Berryessa Sporting Goods. The second involved a alert citizen who reported some strange folks dumping a stolen car in a neighborhood (both were arrested on car theft charges). The Police also arrested a suspect who was found with stolen items from a car burglary. In each case, information was reported by alert citizens.
· PG&E is installing the utilities to Starbucks, so that double macchiato latte is just around the corner for some lucky person!
· I attended the State-wide City Manager’s Conference this week in Southern California. The consensus on the top issues facing cities are Pension Liabilities, Housing, Transportation and Homelessness. The State is an absolute wreck in each of these areas and there does not seem to be a clear path on any of it.
· The State Department of Housing and Community Development has released its report card on affordable housing production for cities. In Yolo County, both Winters and West Sacramento received passing grades while Davis and Woodland landed on the naughty list. A good sign for us with pending legislation coming down which will result in State mandates for those not meeting certain housing goals.
A big take away from the City Manager’s Conference was the struggle that many communities are facing with homelessness and vagrancy in their communities. In many places it is epidemic and in Southern California it is everywhere. Downtown Los Angeles is practically one giant 10 block homeless encampment and the freeway overpasses literally have folks living on them.
The problem has many causes which need address. These include but are not limited to the following:
· Lack of affordable housing in the urban and suburban areas. People in need and on the streets will congregate near social and safety net services, which means the more populated zones. When affordable housing is not present, they simply live on the streets, inside storm culverts, under/on bridges or any place they can find.
· Mental health help in California is really under-funded. Many of those on the streets are dealing with mental and substance issues. Many of these folks used to be housed in prisons and were released under AB109 with the promise that there would be increased funding toward mental and health programs. The State has not followed through on these safety net assistance programs and these people are left to fend for themselves.
· Basic economics and a vast divide in income levels. There really are the haves and have not’s in our society and those who cannot afford housing are fending for themselves. Many families end up living in their cars which includes children.
There are many contributing factors including the shear lack of housing production following in the economic collapse of 2008 and the end of programs such as community redevelopment agencies which were the key production vehicles for local affordable projects.
It was a very eye opening topic for me at this conference and a struggle which California will be dealing with for some time.
WM is back to monthly street pile green waste pick up. The next street pick will be on Monday Feb. 12th. Residents are encouraged to use their green waste/compost bins with brown lids, which will be serviced next week and every other week after that. Please do not leave green waste out on the street for more than a couple of days prior to street pick up. Refer to your WM service calendar for ongoing details.
A couple project updates:
· Staff is working with Caltrans to add signage along I505 to encourage visitors to exit Putah Creek Road to come straight into Downtown. Both Ways and Maps already direct people off at this location, but we are looking to bolster additional advertising for Downtown. When you put in $5m in creek improvements, build a new $15m bridge and have a vibrant Downtown it is nice to be able to show it off. This is a very impressive gateway into our town.
· The Planning Commission will be reviewing modifications to the setback requirements for the Callahan Estates subdivision at their Tuesday, January 23 meeting beginning at 6:30.
· The Downtown Hotel is going “vertical” which is a really good sign for things. The construction management seems to be dialing things in and hopefully we will see a busy construction season.
· Starbucks is still waiting for PG&E to install the utilities for their Grant Ave location. The anticipated opening date is still early February.
· Plans and a deposit have been brought in for the Marriot Fairfield Inn at the freeway. Very good news!
· Project Playground is back at City Park installing the final slide, fence posts and the zip line. Things look absolutely amazing out there and it is worth it to stop by for a look! The zip line should be in operation in about a week.
· Supervisor Don Saylor is hosting his annual Soup’s On event to benefit a local charity. The event is next Thursday, January 25th from 6-8pm at St. James Church in Davis. Winters will be well represented with Mayor Wade Cowan’s mouth-watering famous clam chowder, German Potato soup from Buckhorn, wine from Turkovich at the event, and Berryessa Gap wine tasting in the silent auction. 100% of the funds this year benefit Family Hui, a non-profit that has served families in Winters and throughout the County.
· Winters made the front page of the Los Angeles Times on Thursday in regards to our rural connections program and partnership with the WJUSD, Yocha de He and many parents. The Program was spearheaded by then Mayor Cecilia Aguiar Curry (now Assemblymember) who was relentless in helping close the digital divide. Click HERE to go to the article. As someone who was front and center for all of this, I will tell you that it is something our community can be extremely proud of and it is making a huge difference for our students and families.
· Winters Police have released the attached press release (pdf) with an image of someone wanted for breaking into vehicles in our town. Take a look at the photo and if your recognize the person, please contact the Winters Police Department.
Have a nice weekend.
A super busy week but really quiet:
Have a nice weekend.
Happy 2018! We spent most of the week coming back from the holiday break, so this week is a short one.
· The City is quickly moving into “budget mode” and the preparation of our two (2) year budget for Fiscal Years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The current budget was reduced by almost $600k and we are forecasting another tight year for Fiscal 2018-19. Our hope is to see the hotel projects gain occupancy in early 2019 which will change the revenue projections significantly.
· Brad Lopez has been appointed Interim Fire Chief for Winters Fire where he will serve until April 30. Now is a very exciting time for professional development opportunity in the Department as we will see opportunities for the current Captains to see challenge, and a number of our reserves to serve in acting supervisory capacities. The amount of skill and capabilities within Winters Fire today is impressive and we can expect a really good 2018.
· Lot’s of lumber being dropped at the Downtown Hotel Project. We are hoping that this is a good sign!
· Some issues arising at the Walnut Park dog park area with juveniles doing some late night partying and leaving debris and drug paraphernalia. If you see people in the dog park without dogs and they are doing non-productive things, call 911 and ask the Police Department to come check things out.
Have a nice week.
Press Release- For Immediate Release
Lopez Appoint Interim Fire Chief for Winters Fire
The City of Winters has appointed Brad Lopez as the Interim Fire Chief for a 4 month period which began on January 1, 2018. Lopez has served the Winters Fire Department for almost 25 years as a cadet, Volunteer, Firefighter and his most recent position as Captain.
Interim Chief Lopez, along with Captains Art Mendoza and Matt Scheckla will be participating in a year long professional development program where each will rotate as Interim Fire Chief. The program consists of each person assuming the full role of Fire Chief for four (4) months, representing the City within the region, managing the operations of Winters Fire and completing both individual and group projects to benefit the Department.
“The Interim Chief program is the next step in moving Winters Fire into the future” said John W. Donlevy, Jr. , City Manager. “The City gained a tremendous amount from our six (6) year contract with the City of Dixon for Fire Administrative Services, but it is just time for command of the organization to move back within the Winters Fire organization in order for us to move forward”. “I have full confidence that the Captains can provide the leadership to our entire Fire team and that we will eventually be able to select a permanent Chief after the year long program”.
“Winters Fire is an incredible organization and its history of volunteers and the connection with the Winters community is an essential piece of making our town the way it is”. “For more than 100 years, Winters volunteers and paid staff have provided lifesaving services to our residents”. Winters Fire is a pride organization and as we strategically position the Department for the future, we will utilize our long term staff to lead the way”.
Attached is a copy of the entire Interim Fire Chief Program(pdf).
Mission Statement: We strive to provide a fun, safe and successful program for students to learn and grow during the summer. We will provide each student with the opportunity to improve academically, socially and physically while minimizing summer learning loss.
2018 summer registration begins: Thursday, March 1, 2018.
Packets will be available at City Hall, Waggoner Elementary School front office, Shirley Rominger Intermediate School front office and ALL Winters After School Program classrooms.
All Registration Packets and tuition MUST be turned into City Hall, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.
Serving: students going into 1st grade – students going into 8th grade (for the 2018-19 school year) no exceptions.
High School Internships available for 8 responsible students wishing to work with students.
Hours of Operation: 9am-5pm, with breakfast served at 8:00am, gates open at 8:00am.
Days of Operation: Monday-Friday and closed for Wednesday, July 4, 2018.
1st Session: June 11- June 29 2nd Session: July 2- July 20
Breakfast, Lunch and PM Snack is included.
Tuition: $250 per child per session or $150 per child per session for those qualifying and turning in a Free/Reduced Lunch Letter from the district; no multiple child discount; payment plans available.
Daily attendance is not required; parent must notify staff of child’s attendance schedule ahead of time.
MSC does take students to and from swim team daily.
Daily Schedule includes: Academics, Reading, Enrichment Activities, Recreation, STEM, Performing Arts, Free Play and Nutritious Meals/Snack.
Weekly Schedule includes: Field Trips- City Park, Town Pool, Museums, Ice Cream, Movies
Summer Schedule includes: Four out of town field trips
This program is funded and operated through community contributions as well as minimal tuition. Donations are greatly appreciated. Please make donations payable to: City of Winters- Munchkin Summer Camp. Please send donations to: City of Winters-MSC, 318 First Street, Winters, CA 95694.
2018-2019 Registration begins: Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Packets will be available Monday, April 30, at: City Hall, Waggoner Elementary School front office, Shirley Rominger Intermediate School front office and all Winters After-School Program classrooms.
All Registration Packets and tuition MUST be turned into City Hall, open Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.
Serving students in 1st-5th grade, no exceptions.
Hours of Operation are after school to 6pm.
Days of Operation: Monday-Friday, closed for all holidays WJUSD recognizes. PM Snack is included.
Tuition: $25 a month for those qualifying for FREE Lunch, $50 a month for those qualifying for REDUCED Lunch and $100 a month for those not qualifying for the Lunch Program through the School District. No discounts for multiple children.
Daily attendance is required; parent must notify staff of child’s extra-curricular activities and ensure student is only absent from WASP for reasons listed on the Early Release Policy.
Daily Schedule includes: Academics (Homework/Homework Assistance), Reading, Enrichment Activities, Recreation, Free Play and Nutritious Snack. WASP does not offer tutoring.
Weekly Schedule includes: Science, Presentations or Field Trips.
Volunteers: High School or College volunteers are welcome and needed. One volunteer per class is needed per day.
This program is funded and operated through the ASES grant in cooperation of the City of Winters and the Winters Joint Unified School District as well as community donations.
Donations are greatly appreciated. Please make donations payable to: City of Winters- Winters After School Program. Please send donations to: City of Winters-WASP, 318 First Street, Winters, CA 95694.
For more information, please call Nicole Jordan Halley @ 794-6709.
Look for a top 10 summary of City projects in the upcoming Winters Express next week.
This week is just to express gratitude for a wonderful community and to wish all peace and happiness in the coming year.
In Winters, we have much to be grateful for. When you look at the world and even the communities near and far, we need to count our blessings for what is an amazing place to live, work and experience life. A couple things I am grateful for which are the “gifts” I hope we can all cherish.
· Winters is a unique town where congeniality and collaboration rule the day. Probably one of the highlights of my career and life experience was Project Playground and the construction of a new playground at City Park. An incredible group of people dreamed really big and brought an amazing project forward which will be experienced by generations of children to come. We all had a chance to work side by side with neighbors, friends and strangers on something which is really larger than any one person or group. The work was hard but very enriching. While the end result was a beautiful playground structure, the gift to the community was the coming together of a huge diversity of people to make something special. Project Playground gave us all a gift of a life experience, friendships and most of all, a sense of community in its most basic definition!
· Winters is safe and friendly. The idea of walking into the local restaurant, hardware store or a simple stroll down the street where you wave at everyone who passes by is something most people never experience in larger communities.
· Winters is a town which is blessed by people who record our history and tell our story each week at the Winters Express. Debra, Charley, Newt, Maggie, Julia, Donald, Edmund, Eric and many other contributors bless our town each week with a small town newspaper which is second to none. We can all feel lucky to have the gift of these folks telling out story.
· Crime is few and far between because we all know each other and few will steal from people they know. I enjoy the idea of being able to walk or jog anywhere feeling safe. Its what most people dream about and we have it here all of the time.
· Throughout the community, we have people who work really hard to make our town great. Service is important and whether they serve on the City Council, Planning Commission, School Board or the many service, theatre or other community organization, they make a difference each day. They give us all a gift of commitment to making our town better.
· At City Hall, I get to work with an incredible group of people! I tell our staff that “we are in the business of where people live, grow up, create childhood memories, where they raise their families, start businesses, make their livelihoods. People make our town their home, live their lives and eventually die. We have an opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives every day.” We provide the parks where children play, save people’s lives and keep them safe. People cannot start their days without the water and wastewater and they need the streets to drive and sidewalks to walk. We are not perfect, but I am convinced that we do a pretty good job of doing what we are chartered to do. We get to give the gift of a City!
Mostly, I am grateful for the gifts of peace and life we get from living in a small town. “Love” is probably one of the most important words we use. I hear how much people “love” Winters for so many reasons. I think the most important use of love is when people talk about making Winters their home. The place where they spend their life, enjoy their family and friends and find peace and find comfort in a place they know so well.
During this holiday season and as we move into the new year, I hope you will enjoy the gift of love for a community where we can make a difference, find peace, serenity and enjoy life.
Happy Holidays and see everyone next year!
The City of Winters After School Program is applying for the 21 Century Community Learning Centers Program Grant in January 2018.