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City Of Action Lived Up To Nickname During 2016
Youngsters, both boys and girls, of all ages take on the traffic-like obstacle course at the Kids Safety Fair and Bicycle Rodeo, assisted by Sheriffs Deputies. Sponsored by Riverbank Police Services and the Chamber of Commerce, the event was part of summers Family Night Out/Concerts in the Park, with free events each week at the Community Center Park. Ric McGinnis/The News

From July to December the City of Riverbank experienced some charity events, welcomed a new City Manager, aw a resolution between RUSD and the RTA, and elected a new city council member. Those were just some of the local happenings that have been documented in the pages of the Riverbank News. This week, we recap the second half headlines of 2016.



The Riverbank City Council approved the City of Riverbank’s Fiscal Year 2016-17 Annual Operating Budget at the City Council meeting on June 28.

Youngsters of Riverbank had an opportunity to learn firsthand a bit about traffic safety as part of Riverbank Police Services’ Bicycle Rodeo and Kids Safety Fair on Wednesday, July 6.

The Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) and the Riverbank Teachers Association (RTA) were in mediation on July 11 trying to come to an agreement on a new contract and resolve the impasse.

Vena’s Secrets Wellness and Skincare Studio in Riverbank is owned by Clinical Esthetician Vena Pearson Hudgins. She has been in the business for over 18 years and after five years of planning, has developed Vena’s skincare line.

Science and fun camp was the final camp of the summer offered by the City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation Department. The weeklong camp had 40 campers between the ages of 6 to 12 years old, along with five Camp Leaders and a whole week of experiments, crafts, swimming, and lots of fun.

A high-level vacancy will be in effect soon; as Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson will be departing after four years and six months of service to the City at the end of August.

A new building has been taken over by a local resident and United States Marine Corps veteran Duke Cooper, who is on a mission to help veterans and has created a place where they can exercise or just go to hang out with other veterans and first responders.



Another year of the Junior Police Academy (JPA) was just completed this past Friday, July 29, where 17 youngsters participated in the week long instruction that was held at Riverbank Police Services in Riverbank.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department detectives announced the arrest of a 33-year old transient from Riverbank for the murder of a man found stabbed in a homeless camp along the Stanislaus River in that community several weeks ago.

In light of the recent increase in criminal activity and other public hazards associated with the homeless population illegally camping along the Stanislaus River in Riverbank, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a trespass letter authorizing the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department to conduct enforcement on its property.

In a special meeting called to order on Aug. 5, Mayor Richard O’Brien welcomed the public for a discussion on downtown Riverbank. The goal, he said, is to facilitate new business and create a vibrant downtown to encourage people to visit.

After several meetings and discussions during the negotiations process for a new contract between the Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) and the Riverbank Teachers Association (RTA) there has been a tentative agreement reached. Officials reported the tentative settlement came at a meeting held on Aug. 11.

Not only a nationwide, but a worldwide cultural electronic phenomenon touched folks young and old in the ‘City of Action.’ Competitors of all ages were in the streets of town, searching for those electronic Pokémon critters, doing battle and collecting characters in an updated version of the old card collecting and playing game.

Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson departed her position in Riverbank to advance her life personally and professionally, which includes accepting the City Manager position in Chehalis, Washington. Anderson’s last day was on Aug. 25 and the interim City Manager position was held by the city’s Director of Finance, Marisela Garcia.

Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) and the Riverbank Teachers Association (RTA) agreed on a new contract after several months of negotiations. In what seems to be a pleasant ending to a difficult situation for both parties, there may still be some lingering concerns by the RTA that does not make this a completely happy ending.



After a nationwide recruitment and selection process that began earlier this year, the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Board of Directors named its new fire chief. Board President Shayne Strasser made the announcement that Matt Daly, former deputy chief from Downers Grove Fire Department in Illinois, now leads the 81-personnel department.

Riverbank’s Farmers Market ended for the season and at its height, the weekly event included many free activities such as Movie Night, a free Bounce House, youth activities sponsored by the city Parks and Recreation Department, and, on a couple of different dates, free swimming provided through the city.

A little noise, a little dust and a landmark of sorts went down in downtown Riverbank. It’s going to be part of the larger Del Rio Theatre renovation, but last Thursday saw the end of Reed’s Garage, a long time fixture on the corner of Third and Topeka streets, near the Fire Hall.

The Riverbank Unified School District implemented a new program at Friday night’s home football game, aimed at preventing serious injuries to its varsity football players. Varsity football head coach Kit Jory said it’s the next step in keeping his kids safe on the field.

Since the inception of the Bruin Boutique Club: bbc, English language arts teacher Rosalind Taulbee received several donations like jeans, shirts, dresses, and shoes for Riverbank High School (RHS) students to shop from throughout the school year.

Veterans First had seven students from Big Valley Christian School take a field trip to their facility in Riverbank recently to witness a flag ceremony, disposing of the flag, and filling 18 care packages that will be shipped to active duty military personnel overseas.

Concerned citizens had their voices heard at a meeting between the City of Riverbank and Caltrans District 10 regarding a pedestrian-heavy area along Highway 108 where the road turns into Callander Avenue adjacent to St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church.



Riverbank High School’s 2016 Homecoming Week was celebrated with lunchtime activities, dress up spirit days, a powder puff football game, a parade, and on Friday night, the Homecoming football game. The theme this year for Homecoming 2016 was “Bruins in the Spotlight” which involves popular TV shows.

For the first time Riverbank High School students were issued Chrome Books for the 2016-17 school year. Approximately 400 students received their computers during the summer and the rest were distributed during the first week of classes.

A group of irate Riverbank citizens confronted the city council at its regular meeting. They came in seeking answers as to why there is so much confusion in the most recent bi-monthly billing they received for water, sewer and garbage services in the city.

Corks were popped and craft beers were on tap at the 40th Annual Cheese & Wine (and Craft Beer) Expo in downtown Riverbank. The City of Riverbank hosted this event for the third year in a row, with the assistance of Chris Ricci Presents. Thousands made their way to the two-day event, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9, which included live music, vendors, food, a variety of cheeses and, of course, tasty beverages.

An early morning crash on Oct. 4 resulted in the death of a Riverbank man and left a Winton man with injuries.

These days have been quite pleasant for Riverbank resident Ed Jones, also known as ‘Fast Eddy,’ who has been watching the progress of the sidewalk construction project on Patterson Road/Highway 108 that he brought to the city council several years ago.

The Riverbank Chamber of Commerce is going through some growing pains and has seen some changes since former President Jerry Van Houten’s departure from the Chamber earlier this year. In light of the vacancy, Anthony McKinney stepped up to take on the role of President of the chamber and is also currently running to represent District 2 on the Riverbank City Council. He is running against Cindy Fosi in the upcoming election.

The return of a cross country team to Cardozo Middle School was conceived by new running coach Danielle Jensen, offering students another opportunity to participate in an extracurricular activity. The last time Cardozo had a cross country team was approximately five years ago.

In recognition of the 17th Annual Lights On event promoting after school programs, there was a flurry of activity at California Avenue Elementary School. The Riverbank Unified School District After School Program staff and Casa del Rio organized a fun filled event that featured games, food, fun and entertainment for the entire family.



The rainy skies promised for the end of the week came to fruition with a vengeance Thursday night and into Friday. The welcome precipitation left wet streets, flooded with inches-deep puddles in some areas of town. And the heavy downpour washed out hopes that night for the first evening of the annual Haunted Hayride in Jacob Myers Park.

The Riverbank Unified School District (RUSD) created a program called Riverbank Academy of Multilingual Education (R.A.M.E.) that offers students a Multilingual Immersion Education at California Avenue Elementary School. The immersion experience has offered languages in English and Spanish and now an additional third language of Mandarin Chinese.

Riverbank’s District 2 has spoken and with 598 total votes, according to results released by the Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters office, Cindy Fosi has secured her position on the Riverbank City Council for District 2, defeating Anthony McKinney.

Riverbank City staff, especially members of the Parks and Recreation Department, mourned the loss of their friend and fellow employee, Facilities Maintenance Supervisor Tim Dowdy. He was killed in an apparent hit-and-run accident near Waterford early morning on Nov. 10.

The timing was just right for the very first Veterans Standing For American Patriotism movement led by organizer Duke Cooper of Veterans First in Riverbank. The gathering coincided with the United States Marine Corp’ 241st birthday, Thursday, Nov. 10 and was hosted at the Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto.

Riverbank Christian Food Sharing was at it again with their seventh annual Turkey Drive to help feed families in need for the holiday season.

An impromptu memorial was organized by Pastor Jonathan Forrest and his wife Beth, of the Riverbank United Pentecostal Church for Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace, who was killed in the line of duty in Hughson on Sunday, Nov. 13. Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely, meanwhile, spoke about Riverbank Parks Maintenance Supervisor Tim Dowdy, who was killed in a late night traffic accident the week before.

The Riverbank City Council introduced its newly selected City Manager at a council meeting. Sean Scully served as City Manager of Gustine, and was named for the job where they also appointed Interim City Manager Marisela Garcia for the Assistant City Manager position.

Attendees bundled up with warm coats, hoodies, gloves and scarves to endure the cold, gray wet weather for the annual Christmas Festival in downtown Riverbank.



Delta Blood Bank rolled into town setting up shop at Riverbank High School for a one-day blood drive. Nearly three dozen units of blood were collected.

In an effort to make sure everyone gets a chance to enjoy a present this Christmas season, some local businesses in the Crossroads Shopping Center and surrounding areas collected new toys in a Holiday Toy Drive.

With a strong focus on her studies at Riverbank High School, senior Lydia Hodges received recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Program where she was given commended honors.

Post-election worries and concerns have been voiced in many parts of the country after Donald Trump won the Presidential election, and although the President elect was known in November, the discussions have continued well into December. The fears have spread into some parts of the City of Action, which led to a community forum at the end of November held at St. Frances of Rome Church in Riverbank with several dignitaries

In the final City Council meeting of the 2016 calendar year, the mayor and the council representative for newly formed District Four were sworn into office. Mayor Richard D. O’Brien and council member Darlene Barber-Martinez were sworn in on Dec. 13, prior to the regular council meeting, the only one to be held this month.

Central Valley Community Resources (CVCR) along with other partners coordinated the third Toys for Tots distribution at Cardozo Middle School for children in the Riverbank community.

The stormy weather in the morning made conditions a little rough for the recipients and for the Riverbank Cares volunteers for the annual Food Giveaway at the Community Center on Dec. 23. People trickled in and out of the event, which ended at noon.

For eight years the Shop with a Cop program has been a part of the City of Action holiday season and has helped families and children within the community get the necessities that they need and otherwise may not have had.