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Putting The Wraps On 2017: Looking Back At Top Stories
At a rally on the campus at Riverbank High School the Indoor Percussion Group performed a high energy number called Passage of Time by Patrick Glenn Harris. The Riverbank High School Indoor Percussion group finished third in their class at the Central Valley Guard & Percussion Circuit competition at Enochs High School on April 1. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

As the sand continues to run through the hour glass The Riverbank News relives a few of the highlights through the first six months of 2017 in Riverbank in this week’s issue.

The area received more rain than it had for the past few years. Although the rain was welcomed, the storms that came with it also caused some havoc about town. There were a few new businesses that now call Riverbank home like America’s Tire, and Serenity Medspa and Chiropractic. New Riverbank City Council member Cindy Fosi was sworn in to office and Mayor Richard O’Brien gave another State of the City address. The City of Riverbank welcomed Sean Scully, the new City Manager. Annual events, camps, charities, and clubs continued to spread goodness and some new events kept the community entertained.



Young basketball players, both boys and girls, along with their parents, gathered at the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium on the Riverbank High School campus. Though it may have been wet and windy outside, it was hot and humid in the gym, as plenty of young athletes were introduced to the sport of basketball.

Riverbank’s fourth council member was sworn in to office at the first meeting of the New Year. Cindy Fosi, representing District 2, took the Oath of Office from Mayor Richard D. O’Brien at the beginning of the Tuesday, Jan. 10 meeting.

Californians were hit with a number of storms during the winter that caused issues up and down the west coast. From mudslides and flooding in southern California, avalanches, road closures and record snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the high winds blowing down trees and power lines, there were record totals of rainfall in the Central Valley.



For just the seventh time in its 54-year history, the annual Citizen of the Year Award was presented to two of the three nominees over the weekend. Receiving the honor at the banquet were Lana Clayton and Elias Cordova, recognized for their volunteerism in the Riverbank community. Vanessa Argumedo received the award for Youth of Year, which includes a monetary scholarship to help further her education, and a commemorative plaque.

After an extensive application process and thorough interview process, Sean Scully was selected to serve as the new city manager for Riverbank. Settling in to a new office in a role that he is familiar with, but now for a new city, Scully attended his first Riverbank City Council meeting in January and has rolled up his sleeves to dig in to the business at hand.

The Riverbank Rotary partnered with the Little Free Library organization to assemble a Little Free Library in front of the Teen Center on Santa Fe Street for all to enjoy.

Community members, residents, city staff, various groups and organizations made their way to the Riverbank Community Center to witness the annual State of the City Address, presented by Mayor Richard D. O’Brien on Wednesday evening, Feb. 8.

First year Food/Nutrition ROP Culinary Arts teacher Emily Cowdrey assists the students in volunteering at several different events throughout the school year and they earned extra credit for their work at some of the scheduled festivities.

Members of the Riverbank City Council and Mayor Richard O’Brien recently acknowledged a half century of service to residents, especially students in Riverbank, by the Federated Women’s Club here. Club President Marilyn McRitchie and a group of members attended the Feb. 14 city council meeting to receive a proclamation by the city recognizing their service. Among the group was Ruth Ethier, a charter member of the club. She celebrated her 94th birthday just the weekend before.

America’s Tire in Riverbank has been open now for a few weeks after a soft opening with a Grand Opening in the works for next month. The tire and wheel retailer, with the new location in the Crossroads Shopping Center, has over 900 locations across the United States that offer affordable tires, wheels and an array of services, some free, like air pressure checks, rotations, tire inspections, and flat repairs.



Sunshine and bright blue skies provided the setting for a Saturday ‘chili cook off’ at American Veterans First on Patterson Road in Riverbank.

The new all-weather track on the Riverbank High School campus was the scene of a 24-hour endurance race over the weekend. According to organizers, the Riverbank One Day Classic race was created to give runners, regardless of ability, the opportunity to see just how many miles they can get done in 24 hours.

Serenity Medspa and Chiropractic has opened a new location on Patterson Road in Riverbank and celebrated with a Grand Opening on Saturday, Feb. 25. This is the second location for owner Ivonne Escobar, who opened her first spa in Modesto in 2014. The Medspa offers a variety of services including Botox, fillers, facials, massages, anti-aging treatments, manicures, pedicures, weight loss body wraps, eyelash extensions, microblading and chiropractic needs.

Students at Adelante High School (AHS) were in three groups last week working on the World Sleep Day (WSD) project that included a media group, brochure/public service announcement creation, and a video. The Leadership Class was focused on the sleep project preparing for World Sleep Day on Friday, March 17. Project Clean Sleep is underway and is bringing awareness to how important it is to get a good night’s sleep.

Arriving at the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District headquarters on Topeka Street this past Tuesday with boxes of teddy bears were Marianne Lynch, Diane, Ben, and Donna Talbert, all members of the Royal Neighbors Chapter 9890. The group delivered 96 teddy bears in four different colors for a donation to firefighters so that they can give them out to the children they contact during fires, accidents or other incidents.

For the past several years Riverbank High School has participated in a campaign called Pennies for Patients to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and this year was no different. Students in Leadership along with Leadership Advisor and counselor Gina Tonarelli had donation boxes in the second period classes on campus for the cause.

The buzz around the Riverbank High School campus on Friday, March 24 was that there was going to be a Banda performing live in the Bruin Gym for a Cesar Chavez Celebration hosted by the Hispanic Youth Leadership Council (HYLC). The club members worked really hard to bring the students something a little bit different than just a dance.

After less than eight months on the job, Matt Daly has submitted his resignation as the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Chief. The district’s Board of Directors took action on the resignation at a special meeting last week.

With the change of seasons comes the need to enforce weekend parking restrictions at Jacob Myers Park. This year, they begin on Saturday, April 1. In action at a recent meeting, the Riverbank City Council authorized several changes in the Parks Management Plan, especially concerning fees and uses in Jacob Myers Park.



The Riverbank Unified School District’s After School Program hosted a successful month long celebration filled with activities for Read Across Riverbank that ended with a Reader’s Theatre this past Friday at California Avenue Elementary. Riverbank Language Academy, Mesa Verde Elementary and California Avenue Elementary all participated in the theatre production, where students brought stories to life.

A Central Valley Guard and Percussion Circuit (CVGPC) competition held at Enochs High School on April 1 landed the Riverbank High School Color Guard and first year Indoor Percussion Group some awards. Color Guard received sixth place overall in the Regional AA Class and the Indoor Percussion Group received third place in the Scholastic A Concert Class. Riverbank’s small ensemble performing group which includes Diego Avila, Alondra Silva, Chloe Lopez, and Aleksia Lay came in first place for the second year in a row.

Several cities participated in the ‘Love your City’ campaign this past Saturday; however, Riverbank decided to host their event at the end of the month on Saturday, April 29 starting at 8 a.m.

An estimated 60 or so walkers and runners participated in this year’s Color Run in Jacob Myers Park this past weekend.

The sunshine was peering through the clouds and the cool breeze was blowing as guests parked and made their way to El Ranchito Restaurant for the 50-Year Anniversary Celebration of the business on Saturday afternoon, April 15.

The Tinajero family started their restaurant business in 1967, which was a vision created by Luz Elena Yepez-Tinajero. The family-run business has seen several generations of customers come through their establishment and they have made many new friends through the years.

Riverbank High School Interact Club members and other students participated in a fundraiser recently to provide an elementary school in Guatemala with a rainwater collection system. Students were challenged to walk for an hour and a half carrying a gallon jug of water to represent the struggles that communities in third world countries experience to obtain clean water.



For the past several years churches within the Riverbank community have been sponsoring the Love Riverbank campaign. Centro Biblico Apostolico has taken on the task to sponsor the event and leading the cause for 2017 was David Rodriguez.

The Riverbank Rotary Club recently recognized Taranpreet Naula from Cardozo Middle School and Lydia Hodges from Riverbank High School as Students of the Year for 2016-17.

The Fourth Annual Tea Party fundraiser hosted by the Royal Neighbors of America Riverbank Chapter 9890 was staged at the Community Center in Riverbank on Saturday, May 6. This event raises funds for the Chapter’s annual veteran’s luncheon that will be held on Nov. 4 at the same place and to support Riverbank Christian Food Sharing.

Residents from both Riverbank and Oakdale, in addition to those from other surrounding communities, joined forces for the weekend’s Relay For Life, the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. Despite some unexpected, heavy rain for a brief period on Saturday night, the Relay went off well and brought in close to $90,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Wary, concerned Riverbank residents flooded city hall telephones reporting and seeking information recently about the strange red color of the water in the canals flowing past the south side of town. Alarm spread through the area, with reports even airing on Sacramento television stations about the incident.

U.S. Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) appeared briefly in Riverbank this past week, expecting to discuss how federal programs and funding might be used to help Riverbank area projects. Instead, he was met by a crowd that seemed to be only interested in complaining about his vote on the recent healthcare bill designed to replace Obamacare.

Chosen as the “Valley Vote” winner for California’s 10th District Congressional Art Competition was Riverbank High School senior Angelo Sanchez. The ceremony to announce the winners of the competition was held earlier this month at the Mistlin Art Gallery in Modesto. Artwork was submitted by artists throughout the 10th district and voting ended on May 8.

The citizens of Riverbank, including veterans of all ages, members of civic groups and government officials gathered before the Veterans Memorial Wall at the Community Center on Monday, Memorial Day, to make a “Salute to Our Heroes.”

With the familiar strains of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance wafting through the air at Riverbank High School, the Class of 2017 marched into the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium, taking their seats directly in front of the dais and onlooking members of the district School Board.



A new night and a new schedule greeted visitors to the Riverbank Farmers Market on Friday, June 2 at the Community Center Park. Since its origins in 2003, the market has been held on Wednesdays each year. The Chamber of Commerce, current sponsors of the event, elected to move to Friday evenings this year, and kicked off the 2017 season this past week.

With a new red trim, a few décor changes inside and new owners Aminda Carrasco and Jesus Vasquez, Nifty’s Restaurant has reopened for breakfast and lunch. The husband and wife team reopened the doors for business on May 13 and have been welcoming the regulars and new customers ever since. The landmark restaurant has been in the community since 1945.

Senior Boards, that often dreaded, nearly school year-long major project that Riverbank High School students have had to compile and present over the past 17-plus years, may have seen its sunset with the RHS Class of 2017. Nancy Garcia, a counselor at the high school in charge of the board judging, and Dr. Sean Richey, RHS principal, have both indicated this past year was the last for this type of senior project.

The post has been filled at the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District (SCFPD) for Fire Chief by Rick Weigele, who was sworn in at a fire board meeting on Thursday, June 8 by Board President Susan Zanker. The Fire Chief position became vacant after Matt Daly submitted his resignation that was accepted by the Board on March 20 this year. Daly had filled the position in August last year but after just eight months on the job he resigned due to family matters.

The Earthquakes-East Valley Futbol Club hit the green grass at the Riverbank Sports Complex over a couple of days during the past week with a group of youth participants learning the game of soccer. There were two different training sessions taking place last week. One group was boys and girls with Technical Director Neko Young and the other was an all-girl session with college coach Alexia Poon.

The Hip Hop Camp staged in Riverbank this past week had their biggest attendance since it began a few years ago with a whopping 31 participants. Hip hop coach Stephanie Argumedo, with assistance from recreation staff members Vanessa Argumedo and Jose Lopez, took the class through two routines to a mix of hip hop beats.

The higher than normal rainfall season that we had this past winter has officially removed us from being in a drought situation; however, it has also created a dangerous situation on our rivers. There have been several rescue incidents on the river this year and the summer has just begun. With temperatures over 100 degrees for a number of days in the forecast there may be more people heading out to cool off in the river. The dangers are real in the river with swift currents, high water levels, and cold water; officials warn that things can take a deadly turn in seconds.

The Riverbank Chamber of Commerce ‘mixed’ it up last week, with a get together at one of the community’s downtown restaurants. Chamber members and friends gathered at the cozy La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill on Atchison Street (Highway 108) at Sixth on Wednesday, June 21. Co-owners Naomi and Sal Iniguez served up samples of their cuisine to chamber members and their friends who attended.

An event bringing the opportunity for shoppers — and wanderers — to visit downtown businesses in Riverbank returned this past weekend, after an absence of nearly 10 years. Leanne Jones-Cruz, co-owner of the Riverbank Quilt Company, organized what she called a Sip and Stroll event for Saturday, June 24. Several downtown shops remained open between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Volunteers even opened the Riverbank Historical Museum for visitors.


Next week, a brief recap of top stories from the second six months of the year, July to December.