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Archive By Author - John Branch


Consolidated Fire Offers Aid To Oakdale

Directors of Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District (SCFPD) have agreed to help the depleted forces of the Oakdale City and Oakdale Rural fire departments by hiring a part-time Chief Officer to lead fire and rescue operations in the Oakdale area and providing some administrative help by the SCFPD Chief.

September 14, 2011 | John Branch | Local News


Ramblings - Education Can Be Fun?

The seasons move on. The schools are back in session. We're headed toward Friday night football, cold and rain, and Christmas. Forget shopping. Did you know Riverbank officials are already planning the Christmas parade? "But not yet, not yet," as the hero's friend in the movie Gladiator says. The summer crickets are still calling, metaphorically, and doves still cooing across town.

August 31, 2011 | John Branch | Local Columns


County Fair Welcomes Visitors

Complete with rainbow-colored parrots, trundling turtles and slithering snakes, the ever popular Rainforest Adventure exhibit is back, the carnival rides are even more stomach-churning than before, the young farmers' animal barns include a petting zoo and the stage shows range from circus slapstick such as Jest In Time to country singers like Clint Black.

July 20, 2011 | John Branch | Local News


Oakdale, Riverbank Councils Slate Police Merger Meet

Looking into the possibility of sharing police services, Riverbank and Oakdale councils have set a date of Monday, Aug. 29 in Riverbank City Council chambers for a joint study session on that topic.

July 20, 2011 | John Branch | Local News


Ramblings - Messing About In Boats

Rafting is all the rage at this time of year and seeing the enthusiasts buck through the white water rapids or float lazily down the calmer stretches of the Stanislaus River, I'm reminded of my personal experiences of going down a river.

June 29, 2011 | John Branch | Local Columns


ROTA Directors Mull County Takeover

Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority (ROTA) directors will delay raising their public bus fares, originally planned to become effective July 1, pending consideration of a Stanislaus County proposal to assume transit operations for the cities of Riverbank and Oakdale.

June 22, 2011 | John Branch | Local News


Bypass Overview Draws 100 Plus To Meeting

Planning for the "bypass" - otherwise known as the North County Corridor project - hasn't gone away. While planning began in 2008 and the first phase of construction is not slated to begin until 2018, the public interest continues to run high. Area residents just haven't had a recent meeting.

June 22, 2011 | John Branch | Local News


Seniors Protest Proposed Cell Phone Tower

Some area senior citizens are protesting plans to build a 70-foot cell phone tower in the northwest part of Oakdale at a meeting hastily called by seniors, the Community Development Department and AT &T Mobility Company.

April 20, 2011 | John Branch | Local News


Ramblings – Eye Of The Storm

Yes, I know I wrote a column about the weather last time and that was only a month and a half ago. But you must agree the weather has been unusual this winter and is probably worth another column. What else is there to talk about? The weather affects everybody. It sometimes seems everyone is cowering indoors for shelter from the rain, cold and wind and nothing is going on outdoors. Everything is on hold awaiting the long delayed spring, one that lasts more than a day.

March 30, 2011 | John Branch | Local Columns


Ramblings – Weather Or Not

"If you don't like the weather, try waiting five minutes" is what they say in England.

February 16, 2011 | John Branch | Local Columns


Ramblings - Memories Of Christmas

Light streaming from an open church door across the snow, a priest in full vestments standing at the door to shake hands with his parishioners as they muffled their faces against the winter cold and headed for their cars, their breath steaming in the frigid air and snow crunching underfoot.

December 29, 2010 | John Branch | Local Columns


Student Riders Boost ROTA Hopes

While the local public bus system has been facing declining ridership and budget problems, there were some encouraging statistics for September, according to figures released at the Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority meeting this month.

October 20, 2010 | John Branch | Education


Ramblings - Concerning Three Sons

My two youngest sons, ages 26 and about 30, took off this morning on a camping trip to Point Reyes and I hope they don't murder each other. They are so far apart in nature, argue constantly, and sometimes almost come to blows. I've heard this is normal for brothers. But why are they both so volatile? The least thing sets them off. Why can't they stay calm and equitable like their father, talk things out? Sounds like Professor Higgins.

September 29, 2010 | John Branch | Local Columns


Remembering Antwan - Organ Recipient Recalls Getting Gift Of Life

David Morales of El Sobrante owes his life to the late Antwan Moore of Oakdale, who died suddenly three years ago. Desperately ill, Morales got his liver and a new lease on life because Moore had marked his driver's license card with a dot donating his organs.

September 08, 2010 | John Branch | Local News


Ramblings – Slip Sliding Away

Words slip and slide. I discovered that a long time ago. In writing essays for high school, papers for college, accounts of trips and adventures, I found the words take over and dictate the story, not the other way around, and the story doesn't turn out the way you intended it even when you sometimes, almost by accident, choose the right word. Much is the same with life itself.

June 30, 2010 | John Branch | Local Columns


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Articles By Author - John Branch


Ramblings – Back Home Again …

They say you can never go back. Well you can. But it will have changed and nostalgia will be all that remains. On a recent trip to England which I left for the United States more than 50 years ago, I got to visit the primary school that my sister and I attended when we were seven or eight years old.

October 30, 2013 | John Branch | Local Columns


Ramblings – Time For Travel

Bowler hats and brollies, cricket on the village green, unceasing rain and wind, motionless sentries guarding a monarch, fish and chips with beer for an evening meal.

October 09, 2013 | John Branch | Local Columns


Ramblings – This Scribbler Calls It Quits

Resigning from any job is bound to quicken the heartbeat but retiring from a career is downright frightening. I did just that at the end of November although I've been on medical leave since August.

December 19, 2012 | John Branch | Local Columns


Downtown Cowboy Bar Preps For Rodeo

From the well-worn saddles, riding and ranching photos, cowboy hats and other memorabilia crowding the walls to the battered doors and long wooden bar, the H-B Saloon is rated by many the best cowboy bar in California and has long been associated with the Oakdale Rodeo that happens each year just a little further east along F Street from the establishment.

April 11, 2012 | John Branch | PRCA Rodeo


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