The City of Ripon closed out 2016 with a slight change among elected leaders.
The result of the November election welcomed newcomer Daniel de Graaf to the Ripon City Council – as it turned out, he was the leading vote-getter for the three seats up for grabs – and returned Leo Zuber and Jake Parks for their second four-year terms.
Council did say goodbye to Mark Winchell, a provisional appointee back in 2015 following the untimely passing of Elden ‘Red’ Nutt.
Ripon, meanwhile, spent the past 12 months continuing to build for the future. This included the ongoing plans for the North Pointe Planning Area northwest of the city and other such developments taking place on the other side of Highway 99 near Mistlin Sports Park.
Speaking of Mistlin Spots Park, elected leaders closed out the year by approving a sizeable donation from local businessman and philanthropist Tony Mistlin for construction of a 20,000-square-foot indoor soccer facility equipped with indoor synthetic turf, bleachers, heating & air conditioning, restrooms and landscaping and ADA accessibility.
Water conservation, in addition, was also a concern throughout the year given the drought. Elected leaders did vote on a monthly reduction of 30 percent, using the figures from 2013 as their base line.
Here’s the past year in review:
Unmanned aircrafts / drones
City Council passed an ordinance regulating the use of unmanned aircraft system, limiting the use of drones to no more than 500 feet from any organized event in town.
This came about when police received dozens of complaints about these unmanned aircraft systems hovering above homes, businesses and sporting events.
Prior to adopting the ordinance, police could only turn to the Federal Aviation Administration to file a report.
Police did receive a donation for a UAS drone from Diamond Pet Food Company this past month to help ensure public safety.
Ripon has steadily maintained its water conservation efforts, saving 30 percent or better through most of the year.
Most of the water usage has been for landscaping, with the outdoor watering schedule going to a one-day-a-week schedule for the winter months (weekends only) and odd / even address schedule for the thrice a week during the spring and summer months.
Elected leaders did agree on re-opening the water feature to the public at Mistlin for the first time in a few years but only during the summer months.
Fourth of July
The Ripon Chamber of Commerce Foundation took over the fireworks from the City this year.
While the July event was deemed a success, Chamber CEO / President Tamra Spade said in September that she was unsure if her group could continue to host this event moving forward given the lack of resources and man power.
The Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza was again held at Mistlin.
Vice Mayor Dean Uecker thanked the Chamber for putting on a great event. He hopes that more people will step up and volunteer their efforts to the keep this citywide event going for the coming years.
Public outdoor drinking
Council continues to hammer out an ordinance that could soon lead to the consumption of beer and wine to public places along the downtown businesses.
As it stands, the outdoor alcohol consumption plan would consist of organized performances based at the Mistlin Sports Park amphitheater and downtown Main Street between Stockton Avenue and Nourse Avenue.
Elected leaders did not support the part that called for once-a-year downtown community dining event on Main Street, from Stockton Avenue and Walnut Avenue.
The November election saw six candidates vying for three available council seats.
The seats held by Parks, Zuber and Winchell were challenged by de Graaf, John Mangelos and Mario Gonzales,
In the end, de Graaf, a newcomer to the election process, secured a seat by collecting 3,469 votes, finishing slightly ahead of Zuber (3,317) and Parks (2,835). Winchell finished fourth, ahead of Mangelos and Gonzales, respectively.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.