The decade of 2000-2010 was a particularly productive one, filled with a sense of community pride and spirit. It’s said that “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” so here are the highlights of the decade in pictures.
Please click on the pictures below to enlarge and view as a slide show.
In 2001 Ramona’s streets were paved, under the leadership of Mayor Connie Smith. What a dramatic improvement to go from dirt to asphalt!
The Ramona Cafe
Reign and Marlene Anduss moved from Peabody to Ramona and operated the Ramona Cafe from 2001-2006. Cars lined the street on Sunday when folks came to enjoy
Reign’s fried chicken, and Marlene’s homemade pies.
Cheers II Bar and Grill
Jeannie (Weber) Goza, opened Cheers II Bar & Grill for a couple of years and also hosted community events, like the 1950s car show in 2001.
Mother's Day Tea
The California Sisters--Jessica Gilbert & Pat Wick--moved to Ramona in 2000 and initiated several town events; the most popular was the annual Mother's Day Tea. (2004)
The Ramona News was initiated by Pat Wick, who had a passion for writing the stories of Ramona's historic families. The quarterly publication was funded entirely by donation and had over 200 people—from coast to coast—on the mailing list.
It all started in 2001 with a half-dozen scarecrows--made by Pat Wick and Tim Steinborn--showing up on D Street. Others joined the fun, and in 2005, Jessica Gilbert enticed Tampa, Burdick, Lincolnville and Lost Springs to join the competition. City Council members even held workshops to help the kids make their own scarecrows.
Collin Belt Railroad
In Christmas 2002, and again in 2005, Collin Bailey opened his home to the public to showcase his extensive railroad display—The Collin Belt Railroad. Kids of all ages had a magical experience.
Dirt Gambler's Museum
When the Tampa State Bank gave the old bank building to the California Sisters, The Dirt Gambler’s Museum was born. The sisters--with the help of Tim Steinborn—created the museum to showcase the historical pictures from their aunt, Gertie Schubert, along with memorabilia from others in the community. The museum operated from 2002-2009.
Halloween Haunted House
Haunted houses at Halloween were created by Jeannie Goza, Art Stroda, Jayme Brunner, and Angel Harold (pictured) in 2001, and subsequent years. People came from miles around to get spooked!
Christmas magic came in many forms: the Angel Tree, a Soup Supper competition, the live Nativity in the Park. Left to right: Shepherds: Lynn Kleiber and his son, Nick, Emily Staatz, Cole Svoboda, Steve Jirak, Art Stroda; Singing Angels: Brandon Nelson, Jessica Gilbert; Mary & Joseph: Shelia and Chet Mercer; Wise Ones: Terry McRae, Jeannie Goza, Don Matkins. (2004)
On May 15, 2005, Steve Jirak and John Antoszyk helped the teens in town install the new basketball hoops at the city park. Teens left to right: Zach Antoszyk, Seth Jirak, Lance Diepenbrock, Matt Leach, Thieen Antoszyk, Jorden Mendez, Josh Leach, Steven Antoszyk, Mikael Antoszyk, Canh Antosyk. Steve helped the young people raise the money for this wonderful addition to the city park.
Ramona got a new town sign in 2006 at the south entrance of town. The Schubert family donated the funds in honor of Henry Schubert, who was born in the Ramona area and served as the Centennial President. His wife, Gertrude, was Ramona's historian.
Even the kids in town joined in the "Junk Funeral"–a novel approach to city clean up.
Front row, left to right: Dallen Thompson, Solomon Brunner, James Mercer, Kaitlin Brunner, Josh Mercer, CJ Thompson, Nathan Young, Abby & Annie Mercer, unknown child, Mathew Madron. Back row: Vonnie Calvert, Councilwoman Jeannie Goza, unknown, Dustin Rhodes, Kristy Lang, Cassy Thompson, Terren Thompson, Molly Mercer, Councilman Art Stroda. (2008)
Block parties at the city park featured food and fun, and were jointly sponsored by the Ramona businesses and the farming families who lived in rural Ramona—Brunner, Hanschu, Beltz, Deines, Jirak.
Rep. Jerry Moran recognizes Ramona
In 2005, Representative Jerry Moran, came to Ramona to present the “Building Better Communities Award” to Mayor Pat Wick.
In 2007, the Ramona Park Improvement Committee—Jeannie Goza, Jayme Brunner, Angel Harold, Art Stroda and Paul Jones—built bathrooms in the park, under the leadership of Art Stroda. Funding to start the project was a memorial legacy from the late Jim Brunner’s family.
When Jim Brunner died in 2006, his siblings wanted to leave something tangible in the town where Jim lived all his life. The memorial benches have become more than just a way to remember those we’ve loved and lost; they remind us of people who walked these streets, and changed the face of the town forever.
The Wiyos, a world-renowned jazz band from New York City, came through Ramona on three occasions during the decade. Jessica Gilbert organized concerts in the area, and raised money for music workshops for the children.
Sign at Hwy 77
Tony Meyer gave the first $100 to start the campaign for a Ramona sign out by Highway 77. Although he didn’t live to see the sign erected, his generosity—and that of many other donors—made his dream a reality. Mayor Wick designed the steel-fabricated sign, and Councilman Art Stroda formed the cement foundation to hold it.
Making a difference
Anthony and Amanda Radke brought their family here in 2008, after their home was destroyed in the tornado that hit Chapman. To ensure that Ramona was never caught unaware during tornado season, Amanda approached Walmart, where she worked, about a grant to improve Ramona’s siren. The city was awarded $1,000 dollars.
Bringing new ideas
Byron and Julie Noeth arrived in 2007, and immediately changed the face of Ramona’s 4th of July, by adding the popular Redneck Run. Byron has served on City Council since 2009 and was named vice mayor in 2011.
Returning to roots
Brendan Bailey grew up in Ramona, even served as Mayor in 1998-1999, before moving away for a spell. In 2008, he returned with his wife and children (Cheyenne and Ronnie, pictured with Brendan). In 2011 he was voted in as Ramona’s new mayor.
Don and Kathy Matkins moved to Ramona in 2003 after Kathy became postmaster. She served on city council for several terms, and Don was city maintenance superintendent. They bring more good people into town by maintaining rental properties.
Investing in history
Mike and Nancy Kutzle of Fountain Valley, CA, represent families who have invested in Ramona, but do not permanently reside here. The Kutzles visited Ramona in 2007, and within 24 hours, purchased an empty house, that was once the home of Nancy’s grandparents, the Conrad Schnells. They had the house renovated, planted trees and flowers, and strive to improve Ramona, even from a distance.
Every person who comes to Ramona changes the face of the town.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead (Cultural Anthropologist)