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City Of Action Year In Review
COLOR YIR resize
Runners unleash the rainbow from the color packets they were provided to start the inaugural Riverbank Color Run on Saturday, April 4 at Jacob Myers Park. MARG JACKSON/THE NEWS

The City of Riverbank saw plenty of action in the first half of 2015. Some of the highlights that occurred were building renovations, presentations, new businesses, old business, a new track for Riverbank High School and a whole lot more. Take a moment to reminisce through the first six months of 2015.



Sylvia Jimenez was named Citizen of the Year for 2014. She was honored for her work with the Love Riverbank project. She and her husband Mario first got involved several years ago, and she was the leader of the local project in 2013 and 2014, according to nomination documents. Riverbank Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Van Houten presented the Business of the Year 2014 award to German Chavez, owner of Antigua Event Center in downtown Riverbank. The Youth of the Year “is a promising young woman who is actively engaged in the community through Riverbank High School, church and her personal projects,” according to her nomination. Stephanie Zarate was named Youth of the Year for 2014.

An early morning shooting causing an emergency response from Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies awakened residents in what usually is a quiet Riverbank neighborhood. On Wednesday, Jan .14, deputies responded to a home in the 6000 block of Don Avenue regarding a person shot. When they arrived on scene shortly before 1:30 a.m., they found a 37-year-old male with a gunshot wound to his upper body.

A special presentation by Debbie Johnson, Chief Executive Officer and founder of “Without Permission,” a nonprofit organization was offered at the Riverbank Unified School District boardroom on Wednesday, Jan. 21 to bring awareness of human trafficking in the area for the Riverbank community.



The Riverbank Hotel on Third Street has had several building and fire code violations documented recently, which the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District (SCFPD) along with the City of Riverbank and other agencies have been working on with the owner of the hotel to resolve.

The City of Riverbank is discussing how the final proposed North County Corridor routes may impact its desire to develop industrial areas east of the current city limits. City officials are worried the planned routes each will affect traffic flow and access from the Riverbank Industrial Complex. The discussion at a recent council meeting centered around where and how that truck traffic would be able to get on and off the corridor.

With an eye toward meeting requirements, Riverbank Public Works Supervisor Daren Martin and the street crew for the City of Riverbank have been keeping busy in recent weeks with multiple projects. This past week, crews repaired a sidewalk that had been cracked for several years next to the Teen Center as well as handling a few other improvement projects in the surrounding area.

A pedestrian was killed while crossing F Street in Oakdale on Sunday evening and the Riverbank driver that struck him was arrested a short time later.

In a special presentation hosted at the Galaxy 12 Theatres in Riverbank on Thursday night, Mayor Richard O’Brien offered some thoughts on the state of the city, with the mayor noting that the “City of Action” is in pretty good shape. There were a wide range of topics touched on during the evening.



Members of the Riverbank City Council heard of mid-year amendments for the 2014-15 fiscal year budget at its Feb. 24 meeting. City Finance Director Marisela Garcia told the council her department has performed a mid-year review of the budget. She recommended amendments based on actual beginning reserve changes, amendments based on revenue and expenditure trends and requested guidance on one-time capital expenditures that will impact the city’s budget. These were to be changes to the budget approved in June 2014, where revenues were projected to exceed expenditures, with an anticipated reserve of about 10 percent.

St. Frances of Rome in Riverbank has a pantry that helps feed people in need in collaboration with the St. Vincent de Paul organization that also provides other services as long as funding is available. Rome approved the building of the St. Frances of Rome church and the Parish was dedicated in 1950 which was welcomed by the vibrant Catholic presence in the community. In 2000, an extension of the parish was built which allowed room for another 60 people as well as a new social hall and classrooms.

Riverbank City Mayor Richard O’Brien led a presentation on the possibilities of District Elections coming to Riverbank at a special forum on Saturday, March 14.

The month of March has been designated the Music In Our Schools Month by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) which is an arts education organization that addresses all aspects of music education. This organization raises awareness of the benefits of learning music and the ways music empowers and enriches lives. Riverbank High School’s Music Department, led by music teacher and band director Joey Aguilar, will be participating in the campaign with a joint concert on Tuesday, March 24 at the Waterford High School gym at 6:30 p.m.

Focusing on the same goal throughout the season, the Riverbank girls varsity basketball team won the 2014-2015 Trans-Valley League championship, losing only one game during the TVL campaign. The varsity team ended their season with a record of 15-12 overall and 9-1 in league and represented Riverbank in the Sac-Joaquin Section basketball playoffs.



Preparing for the future, hundreds of high school students participated in the 30th Annual Occupational Olympics and Career Exposition for Stanislaus County on Wednesday, March 25 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock and eight students from Riverbank High School were among those competing.

The early morning chill on Saturday had the runners lined up and ready to go for the inaugural ‘Color Run’ at Riverbank’s Jacob Myers Park … and colorful really doesn’t even begin to describe it. Wearing their white Color Run T-shirts that were part of the registration fee for the roughly 3-mile walk/run along the paved path at the park, participants were first encouraged to open up their colored powder packets and fling the color skyward, only to have it settle down on themselves and those around them before getting the official ‘start’ to the race.

A suspect wanted in a Thursday morning robbery in Riverbank surrendered himself to Detective Jon Gingerich of Riverbank Police Services (RPS) on Thursday evening. With his picture being well circulated on the RPS Facebook page, authorities expressed that people who recognized him from the photos convinced him to turn himself in. The majority of the money taken during the incident was recovered and the 15-year-old suspect was booked into Juvenile Hall for robbery.

Although the weather overnight Friday was a bit murky, leaving wet grass and partly cloudy skies in its wake, it did not dampen the spirits of festival goers at the city’s RiverFest celebration. The City of Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department hosted RiverFest 2015 at Jacob Myers Park on Saturday, April 25 for a day of environmental fun as well as informational booths, food vendors, a Kidszone that included a rock climbing wall, and a train ride on the trail.

A midafternoon train vs. pedestrian accident on the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe tracks between Riverbank and Escalon on Friday, April 24 claimed the life of an area woman. She was identified as Ada Oosterman, 61, of Oakdale and was pronounced dead at the scene.



In the discussion stage for over a year, Riverbank school board members have approved construction of an all-weather track at the high school, the action coming at an early morning meeting on Thursday, April 30. Along with board trustees, input has been sought from the school district staff and administration, as well as the public, regarding the proposal. The board members have generally been in favor of building the all-weather track since discussions began, however, the method of funding has not been determined.

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life event that occurs all over including the City of Riverbank transpired on a couple of hot, sunny days of May at the Riverbank High School track where several teams gathered and a variety of booths offered a number of items to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

In what some might see as the conclusion of the entertainment complex begun in 1999 and known as Galaxy Luxury Theatres, the company moved one step closer to bringing an IMAX screen to Riverbank. The company received an approval of the conditional use permit for the project at a special public hearing of the Riverbank Planning Commission on Tuesday, May 5, at the city council chambers.

The first School Bell Awards Dinner in 1969 was sponsored by teachers of the San Joaquin County Coordinating Council to honor educators and other individuals who have made significant contributions to education. Each individual chapter has the opportunity to nominate two outstanding people to receive the School Bell Award. School Bell recipients from Riverbank this school year were Elia Oliveira and Julie Eitelgeorge.

In what might have seemed like “State of the City: Future Edition,” Riverbank City Planner John Anderson recently previewed for Chamber of Commerce members the direction development and growth appears to be moving for the City of Action. The recent edition of ‘Lunch and Learn’ found members of the Riverbank Chamber listening to Anderson describe upcoming plans for changes coming to Riverbank, including expansion of the city to the east and the west. Expansion north and south is constrained by the Stanislaus River and the upcoming North County Corridor at or near Claribel Road, respectively.

Friday, May 22, saw the final graduation of the week, the end of four years of hard work — and fun — as the Riverbank High School Class of 2015 marked its achievements at Commencement Ceremonies. Seniors trooped into the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium on the RHS campus, parading in front of family, friends and other well-wishers to the traditional strains of Pomp and Circumstance by Sir Edward William Elgar.



Kicking off under sunny skies and continuing a welcome tradition that goes back to 2003, the Riverbank Certified Farmer’s Market has returned to the Community Center Park. The weekly market promises another summer of fresh fruit, nuts, berries and vegetables.

Last year Riverbank High School (RHS) received a Bronze ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best High Schools” report that they publish to identify the top-performing high schools in the United States. This year RHS has moved up the rankings and has been awarded a Silver designation and is ranked at number 520 in the State of California.

Two men were taken into custody Thursday, May 28, in connection with a body found floating in the canal at Henry and River roads in Escalon. San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department released information on Friday regarding the investigation and said Joseph Michael Denner, 28, and Donald Roradaugh, 32, were booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of murder.

Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely presented a report of the crime trends in the City of Riverbank for the first four months of the year, Jan. 1 through May 1, to members of the Riverbank City Council at a recent meeting. According to figures outlined by the chief, there has been an increase in stolen vehicles, up from 22 year to date in 2014 to 28 so far this year in 2015.

Bruin football will be back this school year 2015-16 at Riverbank High, playing an Independent schedule (no league affiliation) and along with their new status they will also have a new Varsity Head Coach, Kit P. Jory Sr., coaching staff, new uniforms with a new logo, new helmets, and new equipment to promote a new culture of football.

Riverbank residents, commercial and industrial users will all be paying more for water and sewer service in the coming years if a plan approved by the city council earlier this month survives the protest process and becomes part of the 2015-16 budget. Passed in 1996, Prop 218 amended the California Constitution which, as it relates to assessments, requires the local government to have to ask affected property owners for any proposed new or increased assessment before it could be levied. If enough ratepayers protest the proposed increases, the city must put the issue to a public vote before it raises the rates.



Next week, a look at highlights from the final six months of the year, July to December.