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New Park Hosts At Jacob Myers
A retired couple, Don and Betty Schmidt, have taken over as the new park hosts at Jacob Myers Park. The third member of their family is a Border collie dog named Rusty.

They are kind of pleased they are moving in at this time of year when temperatures are falling and the visitors becoming sparser. It will give them time to adjust to the busy summer to come, they said.

Both were raised in Douglas, Wyoming and ran a ranch there from 1968 until 1980 when they first came to California and lived in San Diego for a while. Married 55 years, Don has been a mechanic, truck driver and rancher and Betty was in accounting until she retired.

"This is the first time we've been park hosts and we love it. We only started living full time in our RV three months ago," said Betty.

They have family, grandchildren and great grandchildren living in Newman and working on the purebred Angus ranch belonging to Mark Perez.

Riverbank's riverside park is very pretty, the two shared. It would be harder to find one more beautiful, they said, despite cooler temperatures with dusk coming early and the parks closing by 7 p.m. Parents and children are still visiting weekdays after school for the children "to chase the ducks and paddle in the water," the park hosts said.

They've had no disciple problems, no fights, and the sheriff's deputies swing by several times a day.

They are even looking forward to the big crowds in the evening this weekend, when the Riverbank Recreation Department stages its annual Haunted Halloween Hayride.

"Those trails are beautiful," said Betty. "We see one guy with four kids and five bicycles who comes down here all the time to bike that trail."

The Schmidts took over in mid-September from the former hosts who had their RV parked adjacent to the park entrance for four years. Now the park also has a second pair of hosts, Jerry and Linda Anderson, located at its western end.

The Schmidts arrived straight from Wyoming a few weeks ago after delaying their journey to see their daughter Linda inducted into the University of Wyoming's Basketball Hall of Fame and staying until a Friday evening to see the University's football team again win its game.

The Schmidts were interviewed and photographed sitting down, with Betty warning it would require a vertical camera shot to take her husband standing up.

"He's six foot five inches - used to be six foot eight and I'm only five foot four inches," she said. "We have tall kids too. They are all over six feet."