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Riverbank Mayors Forum Brings Community Groups Together
Trudy Jewell, Pastor of New Life Community Church in Riverbank, speaks to those participating in the mayors Non-Profit and Community Partners forum Wednesday evening at the Community Center. Among other topics, the group discussed emergency preparedness and the effects of homelessness on the community. Ric McGinnis/The News

Mayor Richard D. O’Brien hosted the fourth in his series of community forums last Wednesday evening at the Riverbank Community Center.

The Feb. 1 event brought together representatives from area non-profits, churches and other groups from the area to discuss the services they provide the community, a means of creating effective communication within the group and emergency preparedness.

Also present were three of the four Riverbank City Council members: Darlene Barber-Martinez, Cal Campbell, and Cindy Fosi. Since they were present, the meeting had to be started as a formal, Special Council Meeting, with public notice, an agenda and minutes kept to avoid a potential Brown Act violation. Leanne Jones-Cruz did not attend.

The mayor said he hoped these meetings will encourage direct dialog between the groups in order to build more effective working relationships and improve community services.

After updating the group on each other’s missions, the main topic of discussion was how services might be provided more effectively and efficiently to the area’s homeless population.

A reoccurring topic was a search for a way to get folks who are homeless in Riverbank in touch with county and state-sponsored resources that are in some other nearby areas. Transportation came up as an obstacle, with discussion on how the group might encourage the service providers to come to Riverbank.

The group also discussed a means of keeping each other informed by creating a type of closed Facebook group, providing a type of internal communications, different from how some group members make their project information available to the public.

The discussion then turned to awareness of the Emergency Preparedness resource Stanaware, a service provided by the Stanislaus County Office of Emergency Services.

It is a communications system that allows the pubic to be contacted directly in case of large-scale emergencies and keeps local citizens informed in the event of an emergency or disaster.

The mayor proposed holding another in the meeting series in November 2017.

Meanwhile, the mayor will take center stage again this evening, Feb. 8, presenting the annual State of the City address at the Riverbank Community Center, 3600 Santa Fe St.

The event is hosted by the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all interested at no cost.