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Riverbank's 2012 Year In Review
Changes in city management, unrest in the political arena, school district changes and trying to keep things moving forward in all facets of the city were just some of the main highlights for a tumultuous 2012. This week, we review major news stories for the first half of the year, January through June.


The colony of feral cats at Jacob Myers Park is doing well.

Riverbank residents Wendy Miller and Betty Trabucco, who negotiated with the Riverbank City Council for the animals' care some months ago, were spotted feeding them on Thursday.

Looking back on nine months as Riverbank's interim city manager, Pam Carder confessed it was no easy job picking up the pieces after Rich Holmer's fall from grace and subsequent ouster from the city, but the staff rallied around her and proved excellent at "keeping things going," Carder said.

Riverbank is out of the redevelopment business. City council members chose at Monday's noon meeting not to become a successor agency to the Riverbank Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and not to assume its assets or liabilities while winding up its work.

The Riverbank downtown beautification project was funded by the Redevelopment Agency and in no way expanded into a joint venture between the City and the RDA, Treasurer Marisela Hernandez assured those in attendance at an RDA meeting on Jan. 9.

She was commenting on a records request from resident Charles Neal querying the funding sources and expenditures for that project.

By a 4-0 vote, with councilman Jesse James White absent, the Riverbank City Council named Jill Anderson as its next city manager on Monday night, Jan. 23, pending the outcome of final negotiations on her contract. The council met in closed session prior to the start of their regular Monday council meeting and announced Anderson as their choice for the new manager following that closed session.

A smoke generator intended to enhance a Riverbank High Winter Homecoming show on Friday instead set off the school's whole fire alarm system and forced students to evacuate the old gym and spend lunchtime in the chilly outdoors.

Retired Riverbank teacher Paulette Roberson, who is now a devoted volunteer worker for the city's Historical Society museum, was named Citizen of the Year; Riverbank High School senior Lisette Reyes chosen Youth of the Year and O'Brien's Market designated Business of the Year at the Community Awards Banquet on Saturday.


Concerned at the prospect of long, slow trains of railcars loaded with quarry rock bringing noise, dust and vibration besides snarling traffic at road crossings, Riverbank City Council hosted a special meeting at the Community Center on Thursday, Jan. 26 to hear public opinion but drew less than a score of residents.

Foreign exchange student Marie Lamo of Norway, who is attending Riverbank High School this year, was crowned Winter Homecoming Queen during Friday evening ceremonies at the school.

Riverbank City Council has withdrawn its lawsuit to remove councilman Jesse James White from office, apparently to save the taxpayers further costs in legal fees.

Thieves have been lifting a lot of metal items like copper wiring, iron storm drain gratings, even water meter covers from Riverbank's streets, said Public Works officials. It's not difficult to see why. The value of copper keeps going up and a few hundred feet of electrical wire brings a tidy sum from the scrap metal dealer, they said.

Presenting the State of the City address on Thursday at Galaxy Theatre, Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno called on all citizens to work for the public good and innovate to achieve the best for the community.

Riverbank's new city manager Jill Anderson, who met the public at the Mayor's State of the City address on Thursday, will take up her duties at the next City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 27. According to her official biography, she started her career in public service while still a student at Cal State, Long Beach when she became an intern for the City of Paramount.

Opened a year ago, the Riverbank Teen Center celebrated its first anniversary on Saturday with brief remarks by officials, a slice of birthday cake for all in attendance and games and competitions.


Riverbank City Councilmember Jesse James White has been formally charged by the Stanislaus County District Attorney's office with felony counts of driving under the influence of alcohol and causing injury to his four-year-old son in a Feb. 20 traffic accident in Oakdale.

Riverbank fell to Ripon in the final seconds of their Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal on Feb. 29, leaving the Bruins short of a finals berth, but still in position to tackle the 2012 California Interscholastic Federation Boys Basketball Playoffs.

Stanislaus County's Office of Education is prepared to help Riverbank Unified School District find a new superintendent for no more than the cost of printing and advertising in personnel publications.

With Declaration or 'D Day' already past, Riverbank High seniors are picking up the pace to complete their research and hone their speeches describing both the theoretical paper and the practical exercise they will present to their judges on May 16.

Seeking to give students a "sense of empowerment," NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez touched down in Riverbank on Friday morning, bringing a message of hope for the future. He spoke to a group that included the host Riverbank Language Academy students along with middle schoolers from Delhi, Livingston and Riverbank's Cardozo Middle School and some Riverbank High School students.

Legal expenses were again due before the Riverbank City Council at its regular meeting on Monday, March 26.

Director of Finance Marisela Hernandez recommended authorizing an additional appropriation of $89,658 to pay legal expenses incurred through February, mainly on the quo warranto case the council brought to remove Jesse James White from office and the Tuolumne quarry project protest that is said to be near settlement.


The Read Across Riverbank Event known as RARE culminated Friday with a two hour evening event to emphasize cultural history with dances, arts and crafts and games at the Riverbank Community Center.

Riverbank's City Council decided to forgo collecting a $75 business license fee from recreation department class instructors and exempt them from the ordinance rather than risk driving the instructors and their classes out of town.

A big bear of a man in appearance but always kind by nature, Mike Glinskas had served Riverbank as a police officer for 24 years when he recently transferred to the civil division of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department in Modesto where he serves court orders, subpoenas, eviction notices and so forth.

Riverbank Library marked the 100th anniversary of the county library system on Saturday with a birthday cake and old-fashioned games like pin the book on the librarian - another version of pin the tail on the donkey - and a very popular cake walk outside the doors.

Riverbank escaped Orestimba with a 3-1 victory, rallying behind the momentum built by Natalia Villapudua in only her second game back since a freak injury during Riverbank's preseason on March 6. The injury caused permanent damage to Villapudua's central vision, but the gutty underclassman fought her way back to the pitch just 42 days after a soccer ball jarred her eye deeper into her socket before it popped back into place with irreparable force.


Rubber duck races on the Stanislaus River were a star attraction at Saturday's Beyond Earth Day, from the crowd's roar as the ducks tumbled like yellow confetti from the bridge to the excitement as firefighters scooped up leaders from their rescue boat, and organizers scrambled back up the bank to announce the winners.

Riverbank City Councilmember Jesse James White attended a council meeting on April 23 for the first time since he was charged with driving under the influence following a Feb. 20 crash in Oakdale and said he would enter an alcohol treatment center.

Sitting at tables piled high with displays, charts and binders, Riverbank High School seniors and their projects virtually took over the front quad when the school hosted its open house on Thursday evening.

A new Riverbank Lions Club received its charter Saturday evening at a well-attended meeting at the Riverbank Community Center. Chip Langman was named the first president.

Shadowing city staff in the morning and reassembling to hold a mock city council meeting at lunchtime, 14 Riverbank High students got a glimpse of what it takes to provide services to a city of 22,000 and direct administration from the council dais.

First grade teacher Gloria Bracco will retire this summer after teaching for 42 years, all of them for the Riverbank Unified School District and the last 22 years at California Avenue School. She was slated to be honored for her achievements at the May 15 district meeting.

Detective Josh Humble of Riverbank Police Services is encouraging citizens to call him, anonymously if they please, to report marijuana cultivation or sales or other drug activity of which they know.

Salutatorian Megan Larson and valedictorians Courtney Floyd, Cassandra Gilbert and Jamel Lehyan brought a mixture of inspirational words and comic memories to their speeches at Riverbank High's graduation ceremonies on Thursday.


The first Riverbank Farmer's Market for this year drew a respectable number of customers to its new location in Cool Hand Luke Restaurant's parking lot next to Galaxy 12 Theatres on Patterson Road.

Riverbank Language Academy Principal Dr. David Austin was released from his position by joint action of the advisory RLA and Riverbank Unified School District boards on Tuesday, June 5.

Riverbank Finance Director Marisela Hernandez produced a draft 2012-2013 budget at the Riverbank City Council's June 4 workshop that reflects a surplus, rather than a deficit, because the anticipated revenues will exceed projected expenditures and require no transfer of reserve funds.

Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority directors have decided to merge their system with Stanislaus Regional Transit (StaRT) and have the county take over administration of the public bus program that has served the two cities since 1993.

Riverbank has set a general municipal election of Tuesday, Nov. 6 to fill the seats of Mayor Virginia Madueno and Councilmembers Jesse James White and Jeanine Tucker, whose terms are due to expire.

Although a longtime cheese making plant in downtown Riverbank is preparing to move to a new industrial park in Modesto, another smaller, specialty cheese manufacturer hopes to buy the Santa Fe Street property and continue its activities there.

The Fourth of July is coming up and it falls on a Wednesday this year.

Fireworks were allowed to go on sale on June 24 but sales must stop by July 7.

The Favorite Rides Riverbank Car Show drew about 100 entries to the downtown area Saturday morning on a day of almost perfect temperatures, said organizer Scott Pettit.

Next week, a look at the top headlines and newsmakers, July through December.