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City supports Rocklin Reunion one last time

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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After a short debate at the April 12 Rocklin City Council meeting, members voted 4-1 in favor of putting up cash for the Rocklin Reunion held on Memorial Day weekend. The event originated in the early 1950’s as the Old Timers Reunion when several of what the Rocklin Historical Society calls “Rocklin old timers” returned to Rocklin on Memorial Day weekend to decorate graves. Each year, they said 60 to 75 people who spent their formative years in Rocklin gather for lunch at Finn Hall to meet up with old friends and reminisce about the old times. “The council decided to help support that when we had more money,” Councilman Peter Hill said at the meeting. “Now we have a situation where we are faced with dwindling financial resources and an activity that really is important to the community, particularly to the old families and the people who have lived here for many years. It’s a tradition that I think should continue.” About two years ago, the city officially named the event Rocklin Reunion and contributed $1,200; last year it was $750, according to Hill. This year, the group was asking for $250 from the city. “We can finance this year if you give us 200 to 300 bucks. That will help,” Community icon Roy Ruhkala told the council. Councilman Scott Yuill said he’d like to see the event bring in new people. “I’m not real comfortable with just giving $200 for a meal, because a lot of groups are asking for that,” Yuill said. “I want to see this thing really develop.” Yuill voted yes to approve. The lone dissenting vote made by Councilman Brett Storey came after Storey said he would rather reach into his own pocket to support the group then have public funds used for the event. “My real issue is that we’re going to single out one group over others that have also had requests. I’ve had requests for things that I’ve just had to tell them we don’t have any money. I now feel guilty if this is brought forward and approved,” Storey said. The city has faced declining revenues during the great recession that has forced the city to issue lay offs, pay cuts, furloughs and cancel the annual Rocklin Jubilee. “At this time, it’s inappropriate for (the city) to spend money on anything that is not absolutely necessary,” Storey said. Hill, who introduced the motion, said businesses should step up to support the group. “What I’m suggesting (is) that the city support this one more time with the allocation of $250 and it would come out of the council’s miscellaneous budget. We have money available,” Hill said. “But as a part of that, we make this clearly a community event that would be supported by the community.” Hill said the cash would be used for seed money to get a fund together for the Historical Society to take on the event for future years. Ruhkala told the council the group may be forced to go with a more humble affair. “From now on I don’t know where we would get (funds),” Ruhkala said. “We’d have to have coffee and cake. In 1954, in those years, it was coffee and cake – very good cakes too, all homemade.” Yuill agreed to support Ruhkala and the event. “(Roy Ruhkala) is a living museum,” Yuill said. “I look at this as part of our heritage of the city. It is important for new people to have the opportunity to talk to (them).” Rocklin’s Reunion is scheduled for May 29 at Finn Hall on Rocklin Road. For more information, contact the Rocklin Historical Society through their website at www.rocklinhistory.org.