Rocklin Chronicles: Feb. 24

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5 YEARS AGO Feb. 22, 2006: Wal-Mart speculation hits Rocklin. Development tied to I-80 interchange improvement – For many city residents, speculation about plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Rocklin started at the mailbox. A group calling itself “Rocklin Residents for Responsible Growth” claims to have sent 3,000 postcards to neighbors alleging that the world’s largest retailer is “secretly negotiating” to become part of a commercial center on Sierra College Boulevard. But the negotiations may not be so secret. “There is a shopping center proposed at Sierra College and I-80, and our understanding is it’s proposed to be a Wal-Mart-though it doesn’t say it in the application,” said Bret Finning, associate planner with the city of Rocklin. Finning said he’s received phone calls and e-mails from recipients of the postcards, which included contact information for the city’s planning department, though the city was not involved in the mailing. Ken Cassanova, the Rocklin resident spearheading the “responsible growth” group, wouldn’t identify other members of the organization, but said his goal is to keep Rocklin from sprawling “like a Roseville” by taking action. “We just want to try to head it off before it’s too late,” he said. “Wal-Mart has a way of sneaking in stores before people know anything.” The development, called Rocklin Crossings, is being planned by Donahue-Schriber, along with Sierra Holdings LLC partners, Pat Gardner and Chris Vrame. An early draft of the site plan calls for a maximum of 543,500 square feet of building on just over 52 acres. 15 YEARS AGO Feb. 20, 1996: School Board to discuss financial crisis – The financial past, present and future of Rocklin Unified School District will be addressed at a monthly board meeting Wednesday night. Superintendent Frank Mulholland promised to look into allegations the district mistakenly received $6.8 million to furnish Rocklin High School. Rocklin was given priority-one status by the state allocation board after being incorrectly labeled a year-round school. No policy exists for fixing such an error. So the district, which already paid the entire $42 million construction bill, because it did not follow minority bidding guidelines, does not know if it will have to repay the funds from its already overstretched budget. Mulholland requested a meeting with the Office of Local Assistance. If he is able to meet before Wednesday, he will give the board an update on district obligations. A report on the current financial status will be given by the San Ramon-based Vogel Group. The financial consulting firm was brought in to clean up records after the resignation of Assistant Superintendent of Business David Beeskau resigned in December. According to a preliminary report, the district’s reserve is less than 1 percent of 1995-’96 expenses. That is well below the state recommended 3 percent and board required 5 percent. 40 YEARS AGO Feb. 25, 1971: County Fights DeWitt Closing – Placer County officials, newly armed with gung ho support from Assemblyman Eugene A. Chappie, this week continued their uphill quest to take over DeWitt State Hospital before it is abandoned and its $7 million annual contribution to the local economy lost. The State has set July 1 for closure of the sprawling North Auburn mental facility, and the board of supervisors is scheduled to announce next Tuesday if the county can see its way clear to assume operation of it on that date. The “lock, stock and barrel” takeover by the county was suggested by the State Department of Mental Hygiene more than a year ago, but the State recently has backed down on its money and patient load guarantees. 1-The county negotiating team-Supervisor Raymond S. Thompson, Assistant Executive Officer Robert E. Warren, and William J.F. Grahm, director of health and medical services - are scheduled to meet again tomorrow with DMH officials in the hope the State has become more realistic, monetarily and patient load-wise. A similar meeting last Friday netted no positive results, although DMH offers were unrealistic. 2-Chappie, who has been criticized for not taking a more active role in the matter, jumped into the fray with all his power. The Rocklin Chronicles are compiled by Sue Choate. No editing changes are made to the copy so that the entries appear as originally published.