Oakdale fire and rural fire departments have been given $3,000 from Oakdale Irrigation District to use toward the purchase of 140 life jackets for a loaner program being implemented for use on Oakdale’s waterways and the Stanislaus River. The OID Board of Directors voted 4-0 to support Oakdale’s life jacket program in an action at the Aug. 2 regular meeting. Director Herman Doornenbal was absent.
Oakdale rural fire chief Lee Winton said that this has been a very busy rescue year and that the use of a life jacket loaner program will save lives and cut down on the near-drownings, too.
Just this past weekend, emergency personnel responded to several incidents along the river — primarily in the Horseshoe and Orange Blossom Road areas — for river rescues, with upwards of a dozen people having to be helped out of the water. The river flow remains high and the water temperature is still cold, causing potential problems for those on rafts, especially if they don’t have a personal flotation device.
Winton said other fire departments effectively use life jacket loaner programs. He added that the goal is to get inexpensive life jackets that cost about $17 apiece that people will want to wear. He also said that the Army Corps of Engineers in Knights Ferry have indicated interest in being involved with the program and helping with the loaning and collection of the life jackets.
“I think this is a very worthwhile program … this is local and will be concentrating the effort on the Stanislaus River,” said director Steve Webb.
Winton thanked the board for their generosity and added that the rescue boat OID purchased for the fire department last year has seen significant use this year and has definitely saved lives. He added that the boat has seen so much use that it has gotten “beat up” and has undergone some repair. He said it’s been on the water a lot for rescues as well as trainings.
In other business, the board voted 4-0 to approve a $5,000 donation to the Oakdale Educational Foundation. The action required a budget amendment action as the funds for the district’s community outreach programs had already been expended.
The board also approved a $5,000 donation in a 3-0-1 vote to the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance on a second motion made by director Al Bairos. Director Frank Clark recused himself from the vote. This action also required a budget amendment action. The funds will benefit the Alliance’s small business training facility recently opened in Oakdale.
In consent items, the board approved notices of completion for both the Claribel Lateral and Cometa Lateral rehabilitation and Total Channel Control projects. They were deemed complete on July 19. The notices will go to the Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.
In discussion items, the board talked about the addition of some projects to the Capital Improvements list already budgeted for 2011. Approximately $3.1 million in projects are planned for the 2011-2012 construction season. Two more projects, phase III of the Crawford Pipeline and phase II of the Rossini Pipeline, which involves replacement of the deteriorating pipelines, will go before the board at a future meeting for approval with information about where the extra money needed — $150,000 total to do both projects — will come from. Director Webb commented that the district “absolutely need(s) to do this” because it affects the farmers making a living. The pipelines are approximately 70 years old. Phase II for the Crawford Pipeline was already included in the 2011 Capital Improvements budget. There was also further discussion that another project, phase II of the Richardson Pipeline, at a cost of $145,000, may be able to wait. OID General Manager Steve Knell said it wasn’t in good shape but it’s serviceable at this point.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.