Top Winters news of 2019

A listing of the top news headlines in 2019 that caused talk about town.
The new Winters Healthcare Foundation building will undoubtedly become a community icon, much like the water tower. Photo by Rodney Orosco/Winters Express

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Parking Citations Winters Police Department created their first parking citation forms to issue to drivers as part of a parking enforcement measures from city officials in 2018. In May 2019 most of the parking spaces in downtown Winters had been changed to spots limited to two hours, while others spots in front of certain businesses are limited to 30 minutes. Annexation At an April City Council meeting a discussion on a refresh of the city’s general plan pertaining to land use attracted a standing-room only crowd, turning into a debate over future development and annexation plans. City Manager John W. Donlevy, Jr. continued to back city growth throughout the year going head-to-head with community members who want growth to cease. By the end of 2019 a group of concerned citizens had joined forces to create the “Keep Winters Winters” group, and started actions to write a measure to amend the general plan. Local neighborhood flood Heavy rainfall during a monster storm caused a detention pond to overflow, sending flood waters into homes and sending first responders to the neighborhood around Ivy Loop. Photos shared on social media showed floating trash cans, cars and even a neighbor in a canoe paddling down the middle of the street. City crews worked to drain water from a detention pond located behind the neighborhoods that flooded as well as fixing other damage caused by the storm. Berryessa Glory Hole spills over Families and tourists flocked to the Glory Hole to see the spillage after a significantly wet winter storm caused lake levels to rise and spill over the edge. The Glory Hole was last active two years prior due to unusually heavy storms. Previous to that, it last spilled over in 2006, just before a decade-long drought hit California. Third grade moves to Rominger Winters Joint Unified School District trustees voted to approve moving the third grade class from Waggoner Elementary to Shirley Rominger Intermediate School. Discussion about student safety and transportation, as well as supporting families who rely on child care caused the creation of new bus routes to transport elementary students across Grant Avenue. Seven-hour manhunt A man who led authorities on a day-long manhunt that briefly shutdown Waggoner Elementary School and put the Winters community on high alert was arrested in June 2019. Winters Police Chief John Miller said, “A big thanks to our community for staying vigilant and giving us a call—they definitely assisted us, given our limited resources. They’re the eyes and ears of this community.” Hotel Winters (finally) opens Following years of waiting, Hotel Winters finally opened its doors to customers in September 2019. The 73-room downtown hotel started with a soft-opening. In December they hosted their first event as the Winters Senior Foundation held their annual Christmas event and toy drive in the banquet room. High School renovations Winters High School was a hub of construction and new building facilities. This year the school stadium received a new track, field bleachers and lights. WHS also celebrated the construction of three new facility buildings including the Career Technology Education Center, a six-wing classroom building, student union and on-site kitchen. Wolfskill Career Readiness Academy Winters JUSD Superintendent Todd Cutler and CRA lead teacher Matt Moran recently presented about the newly transitioned Career Readiness Academy program at the 2019 California School Board Association Conference in San Diego. The new program transformed the previous continuation high school into a career readiness program, helping its students to develop work-ready skills and characteristics sought after in the work field. They also help guide students to learn more about all available options after high school. New Winters Healthcare Foundation building opens The new Winters Healthcare Foundation building opened and welcomed patients mid-December this year. Construction for the building began in October 2018, and after a few setbacks WHF was able to close down its old building locations to open under one roof. Each of its operations is hosted in its own space, there is a wing for dental patients, a wing for medical patients, room for behavioral health and even a separate lobby space for children.  ]]>

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