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City Of Action Closes Books On Busy 2018
Year In Review
Stella Reyes, at right, was sworn into office to become the Postmaster for the Riverbank Post Office at a ceremony held on Friday, June 1. Virginia Still/The News
Richard Boos prepares to address the audience following the announcement that he was selected Riverbank’s Citizen of the Year for 2017. The awards dinner also introduced the Youth of the Year and the Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year. Ric McGinnis/The News
These three California Avenue Elementary students read the Three Little Pigs: The Wolf’s Story written by Ned Jensen during Literacy Night to support Read Across America. Virginia Still/The News

This week, we review the first six months of the year, January through June of 2018. Although it may seem like a blur with time flying by like an SR-71 Blackbird for some and for others it may not have gone fast enough, regardless of where you stand, The Riverbank News will take you back through some highlights of the first six months in the City of Action.



During the first week of January 2018 Stanislaus County Public Health reported that a woman in her 60s was the first flu-associated death during flu season in people under 65 years of age in Stanislaus County.

The annual Riverbank Community Awards Banquet, usually held in late January or early February, has been moved back to March this year, according to members of the Citizen of the Year Committee.

A new boutique moved into the Crossroads called Envy Fine Clothing which is a family owned business created by owner Darlene Dover. The store offers shoppers a variety of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as shoes and accessories.

With a vote of 5-0 the Riverbank City Council approved the Second Reading of the proposed ordinance for the development agreement between the City of Riverbank and Pacafi Cooperative, Inc., a California Cooperative Corporation that will be doing business as Flavors, which is a commercial cannabis dispensary.

Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien continued his efforts to coordinate local non-profit organizations so they might work together and avoid duplicating their work. It was the Third Annual Non-Profit/Community Partner Roundtable that the mayor has hosted.

Two cannabis dispensaries were approved unanimously by the Riverbank City Council, with the second reading that approved the Development Agreement between the City of Riverbank and Family and Friends Association, Inc. The ‘Family and Friends’ group will be doing business as Riverbank Cannabis Collective.



Winter Homecoming 2018 was celebrated at Riverbank High School and the theme was “Come Home to Pixar.” Throughout the week, Riverbank High School students and staff participated in a variety of activities along with spirit dress-up days, lunchtime activities, a dodgeball game, and the Homecoming basketball game. Winter Homecoming King Damien Lopez and Queen Aliza Teixeira posed for photos following the coronation ceremony during halftime of the Friday, Feb. 9 game.

Riverbank resident Kristin Platts was elected president of the Historical Society and was inducted into office at the annual dinner at Perko’s Restaurant on Saturday, Feb. 10. She, along with the new board of director’s members, will preside over the society’s activities, including fundraising efforts to build an annex next to the existing museum facility.

The controversy continued between Riverbank residents and the Riverbank City Council regarding the approval of Flavors, a commercial cannabis dispensary. A group of citizens filed a petition on Thursday to overturn the approval of the Flavors dispensary.

The stage was set and the Riverbank Community Center started filling up early for a night of entertainment on Saturday, Feb. 17. That was the evening set aside for the family-friendly Riverbank’s Got Talent show, hosted by the Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department.

The City of Riverbank State of the City Address was delivered on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Riverbank Community Center. Mayor Richard O’Brien addressed the crowd regarding several issues including crime, city staff, and the future.

Random Acts of Kindness Week is celebrated in the month of February and Adelante High School’s leadership class created board games to promote kindness as a way to mark the occasion. Adelante students then shared these games with Ms. Sydnor’s sixth grade Academic Strategies class at Cardozo Middle School.

There are many people in need around the region, including those that could use a blanket or a coat and CEO Duke Cooper with American Veterans First (AVF) wanted to help fill that need. For the past few months AVF hosted a coat and blanket drive knowing that winter was not over yet. They donated over 200 coats and 150 blankets to people in the area that do not have a home as well as providing the items to over 100 veterans.



During the Riverbank City Council meeting on Feb. 27, City Contract Planner John B. Anderson presented an update on the Crossroads West Project regarding elements of the specific plan, draft of the environmental impact report (EIR), and the next steps of the process.

March is not only the month where spring begins but it is also the month to celebrate literacy with National Read Across America 2018. Riverbank Unified School District celebrates reading all month long with weekly reading challenges, a bookmark contest, guest reader week, and the After School Programs host Literacy Night with Reader’s Theatre on Fridays.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) randomly selected 50 seniors from Riverbank High School to take an assessment test at the end of February. The NAEP is the largest nationally representative continuing assessment of the knowledge of the students in this country and their abilities in core subjects.

The participants in the Parenting Partners program for the Riverbank Unified School District successfully completed a series of workshops over a few weeks. The Riverbank Community Center hosted the city’s annual awards dinner, and the festivities were emceed by the 2016 dual Citizens of the Year, Lana Clayton and Rev. Elias Cordova, who welcomed the friends, family and government officials who came to see the awards presented on Saturday, March 10.

Schools, staff and students throughout the country acknowledged the National Student Walkout demonstration held on Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m. in different ways due to the violence that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students at Riverbank High School and Cardozo Middle School organized peaceful events that allowed students to discuss the situation and remember those that lost their lives in Parkland.



The Mobile Dairy Classroom rolled onto the Mesa Verde Elementary campus and students had the chance to meet Coco the cow and presenter Kimberlee McLaughlin with the California Dairy Council at an informative assembly.

Riverbank was among the school districts that reopened after spring break under some suspicious circumstances. Sunday night, April 8 the Riverbank Unified School District received a threatening email. Authorities were called due to the threats made which initiated an investigation.

Although there has been controversy regarding cannabis dispensaries opening in Riverbank, Flavors has opened its doors for business on Patterson Road. The business opened last month with a ‘soft opening’ for Riverbank City Council members and other community members that wanted to view the business prior to its opening to the public. The business is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

A new ‘Thank-a-Vet Thursday’ (#TVT) video released through the office of U.S. Representative Jeff Denham features Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien, a U.S. Navy veteran who served for 28 years through five different conflicts.

Riverbank residents Ben and Julie Reuben spread the excitement of books and reading through their new Little Free Library that is posted in their yard on Saxon Way.

A gathering that included past and present Riverbank Unified School District board members, school administrators, coaches as well as past and present RHS athletes celebrated the dedication of Riverbank’s all-weather track.

American Veterans First (AVF), the Stockton Sailing Club, and Power Talk 1360 AM, iHeart Radio hosted Women in the Wind, an event that was exclusive to women in the military, female veterans, female first responders and wives. The 22 women that registered for the April 14 event were from all branches of the service as well as some first responders and wives of first responders.

Through a grant received from the state, Nancy Garcia, Instructional Coach and AVID District Director was able to take 45 RHS students on a field trip to Southern California last week to visit three universities: the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California Irvine (UCI), and California State University, Long Beach.



The Riverbank Library had quite the crowd for the annual celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros which means Children’s Day and Book Day. Saturday afternoon, April 28, was cool with sunshine, puffy clouds and some wind which set the tone for the guests that were gathered outdoors. The national celebration brings a focus to literacy for children of all cultural backgrounds and encourages families to read together.

Six candidates seeking the 10th Congressional District seat turned out for a special forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters and the local American Association of University Women - Oakdale, Riverbank, Escalon Branch (AAUW ORE).

After approximately 17 years of service to the City of Riverbank, Parks and Recreation Supervisor Kerrie Webb retired. With a long list of accomplishments in her many years with Parks and Recreation, Webb, along with Parks and Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick have created many of the programs that are offered today in the activity guide, providing fun events for a wide range of ages.

St. Frances of Rome Church in Riverbank held a Congressional Candidates Forum for District 10 in Spanish. This forum was organized by the Social Justice ministry at St. Frances Catholic Church including Father Misael Avila and Faith in the Valley-Stanislaus which is a multi-faith coalition of congregations that work together for social, racial and environmental justice in Stanislaus County.

The Glam squad was out in full force to celebrate their new location, 3318 Santa Fe in downtown Riverbank on Saturday, May 5. Salon owner, Kristal Austin, opened down the street about a year ago after issues with the previous building and its ownership; she decided to pack up her salon and move down the street to a bigger location, keeping her business in Riverbank.

Administrators were recognized throughout Region 7 at a Spring Conference for the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) in South Lake Tahoe. Riverbank Unified School District Director of Student Services and Special Education, Karen Young was selected as the 2018 Pupil Services Administrator of the Year. Region 7 encompasses the following five counties: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Amador, and Calaveras with over 650 administrators among them.

Riverbank coaches and players received patches, hats and a pennant marking the co-ed Bruin tennis team’s recent win in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II tournament.

Uniforms of many kinds were evident at the recent Memorial Day observance in downtown Riverbank. There were Police, Fire and NJROTC uniforms as well as those of local Boy Scouts and their leaders, at the event held Monday, May 28, at the Memorial Wall in front of the Riverbank Community Center.

Class of 2018 Valedictorian Alondra Hernandez, one of five who spoke at the RHS graduation, reminded classmates of the progress they’ve made over the past four years as well as what opportunities might lie ahead. There were 11 valedictorians listed in the program, all reaching the highest GPA of their class.

The day arrived for the Class of 2018 from Adelante High School (AHS) to take center stage and walk their final walk as high school students on Thursday, May 24 at the Ray Fauria Gym. For some, the struggles and challenges were difficult at times but that just made this day mean so much more to them, as well as giving them a reason to celebrate.



The Riverbank pool lifeguards trained in preparation for the summer season, performing different scenarios like back board extractions with a spinal injury and without a spinal injury. There were 14 lifeguards and they were rotating positions to cover each situation.

Stella Reyes is the new Postmaster in town and she was honored to take on the position at the Riverbank Post Office. In the Installation ceremony held on June 1 Reyes was administered the Oath of Office by Manager Post Office Operations Sal Cardinal with friends, family and co-workers in attendance.

Julia Petit was selected to fill the Parks and Recreation Supervisor position. She began her career with the City of Riverbank in early May and has been learning the policy and procedures as well as getting to know the staff.

The City of Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department hosted a variety of camps throughout the summer for youth in the area to enjoy like Art Camp, Hip Hop Camp, Science Camp and many more.

Travelers on Patterson Road were forced to snake their way through many units of emergency equipment as firefighters and public safety officers surrounded the Silgan Containers factory on June 14. According to a Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Public Information Officer, the incident was originally reported as a routine fire but quickly got elevated to a “commercial fire” at the factory.

The Riverbank Chamber of Commerce has gone through some changes. The entire organization has been reconstructed, including new officers seated for the board of directors. After receiving a letter of resignation from former President Anthony McKinney, the remaining directors had to decide what they were going to do. The following is the new board of directors: Chair Bill Robinson, Principal Financial Group; Secretary Corinne Santos with F&M Bank; Treasurer Darlene Barber- Martinez of TSW Financial Tax Services; and Vice Chair Pete Douma with Minuteman Press.

The Riverbank City Council took time from its busy schedule recently to recognize nearly two decades of effort by a resident to improve life here, especially in Jacob Myers Park. On June 12 the council honored Scott McRitchie for his service on a number of city panels, including the Budget Committee, Friends of Jacob Myers Park and years of service on the Planning Commission, including terms as its chair.

A long-standing tradition in Riverbank has seen its demise. The Riverbank Farmers Market was not held this year. The announcement was made by board members of the Chamber of Commerce, who were the most recent sponsors of the summertime event.

Members of the Riverbank City Council have agreed to send a ballot measure to voters in November authorizing the city to impose a reduced 10 percent business license tax on the gross receipts of cannabis businesses in the city. The original proposal was for 15 percent.


Next week, Part 2 will feature top news items from July through December.