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It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Ripon, CA

Home Care Ripon, CA

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Clarence Smit Museum gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Ripon, CA is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Ripon, CA

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


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“Highly Experienced #Caregivers provide everything in levels one and two, plus knowledgeable assistance to help seniors who are suffering from a chronic illness, who are bed-bound, and those who are on hospice.”

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“In retirement years, many #elders start to feel lonely and depressed with the lack of a social life. Hire #caregivers from Always Best Care of Fresno to reduce your senior’s loneliness and ensure their care.”

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“Worrying about senior’s care and #health in Assisted Living is common. Well, you can stop fretting now. Contact Always Best Care of #Fresno and find the best Assisted Living communities near you.”

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What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Ripon, CA?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Ripon, CA

Types of Elderly Care in Ripon, CA

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Ripon, CA
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Ripon, CA
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Mavis Stouffer Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Ripon, CA
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local The Vine House or visit Mavis Stouffer Park, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Ripon, CA

Benefits of Home Care in Ripon, CA

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Ripon, CA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Ripon, CA

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your CA's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Ripon, CA

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Ripon, CA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Ripon, CA

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Ripon, CA

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Bethany Home
  • Cleo's Nursing Services INC
  • Bethany Home Society - Assisted Living (Beth Haven)
  • The Terraces at Bethany (Future Home)
  • Bethany Manor Apartments
Home Care Ripon, CA

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Ripon, CA

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Ripon, CA 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Ripon, CA

Latest News in Ripon, CA

Come for the cocktails, stay for the vibe at new Ripon eatery channeling vintage Hollywood

The Falcon’s Lair isn’t just a restaurant. Nor is it just a bar.Instead, the newest eatery in Ripon is, as its owner happily declares, a “vibe.”Think cushy chairs and dark walls and gold highlights and extravagant decor which are all meant to whisk you to another time. Owner Moe Willey, whose family runs the popular Gold Dust Pizza locations around the region, has opened her dream spot in her hometown.The new restaurant-l...

The Falcon’s Lair isn’t just a restaurant. Nor is it just a bar.

Instead, the newest eatery in Ripon is, as its owner happily declares, a “vibe.”

Think cushy chairs and dark walls and gold highlights and extravagant decor which are all meant to whisk you to another time. Owner Moe Willey, whose family runs the popular Gold Dust Pizza locations around the region, has opened her dream spot in her hometown.

The new restaurant-lounge is a tony looking, but relaxed feeling place that serves small plates, a few favorites and lots of craft cocktails. But really what Willey hopes it serves is endless ambiance.

“It’s hard to sum up (Falcon’s Lair) with just one word. Really, it’s a vibe,” Willey said of her Canal Boulevard space. “It’s a vibe that we don’t have here in the Valley and something I wanted to bring to our Valley. I want people to be relaxed. I don’t want them to be in a rush.”

Since buying the 6,000-square-foot building last September, Willey and her team have transformed the former Canal Street Grille space into an upscale speakeasy complete with personal touches from home. A pair of nearly life-size bronze goddess statues from Willey’s house greet guests, and the massive hostess stand was originally purchased to be her family’s bar.

Both cut a grand figure in the lobby, where customers choose one of two paths — to the left to the dining room and to the right to the lounge. In the dining room they’ll find tables and rich booths that can seat around 150. The lounge fits another 75 people (including on the attached outdoor patio) in stuffed chairs with low tables across from a 29-foot Carrara marble bar.

You’ll probably also notice all the old Hollywood touches inside right away, including posters and photos from famous Golden Era films and stars. Then, of course, there’s the name. The Falcon’s Lair was the name of 1920s Hollywood heartthrob Rudolph Valentino’s famed Hollywood Hills estate, where he would throw star-studded parties.

Since opening in late March, the Lair already has had repeat customers including Ripon resident Erin Danforth.

“We love it. Between Sacramento and who knows where there is just no place like this,” she said. “This is a breath of fresh air. I don’t have to go to Sacramento or San Francisco or anywhere else to get this atmosphere.”

Willey said they’ve been purposeful with how they operate as well. The lounge and restaurant have a large staff of 60 employees who are alert and attentive. The space also doesn’t have any televisions showing live programming, like sports or the news. Instead whatever screens are scattered around show old silent-era pictures.

The dining room has a stage in the back, and Willey said they’ve already begun to bring in local jazz performers to provide mood music. And they don’t accept reservations on purpose, because that would mean people would feel hurried to get out for the next guests.

“I want them to enjoy great music, fine cocktails, great food and one another,” Willey said. “That’s something we’re missing in society. We don’t take the time to enjoy one another and really talk. Off of our phones. Not watching TV. But just enjoying time with one another.

Plus, why would you want to watch anything else when the cocktail menu alone is filled with entertainment. The lounge has more than a dozen signature drinks — some like the smoked old fashioned that comes with a built-in show as they twice fire the whiskey in front of guests. Others like the lavender gin fizz are almost too pretty to drink — almost. Specialty cocktails run $14 to $15, and the bar is stoked with other top-shelf options all served by nattily dressed bartenders.

While the food may not be the main attraction, it’s still a feature presentation. The menu has about a dozen appetizers and small plates, from a share-size charcuterie board to lamb chop lollipops, oysters on the half shell and poke nachos (ranging in price from $10 to $35). The only entrees are its Bel-Air Burger ($17 with fries) and their specialty or build-your-own pizzas (which run from $19 for a small to $31 for a large).

Willey’s attention to detail even extends to the faux newspapers that the fries and pizzas are served on. The “Hollywood Herald” front page includes a prominent post about the Falcon’s Lair. In the end, she said, she just wants a place for friends, neighbors and everyone else to enjoy and unwind in style.

“(Ripon) is where we live, where our children grew up and live and we wanted to give back to our hometown,” she said. “So come for the vibe, don’t come for any other reason. Bring a friend that you like to talk with, or maybe somebody that you’ve been trying to talk with — maybe a daughter or a son. Just come in and enjoy time together.”

Falcon’s Lair, at 1225 Canal Blvd. in Ripon, is open 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday, and closed Sunday and Monday. For more information call 209-599-9999 or visit

This story was originally published April 3, 2023, 8:00 AM.

Ripon Almond Blossom Festival is back. Here’s what’s new — and how to save money on tickets

You know it’s almond blossom season in Ripon when the air gets a certain scent— one that you can’t really put in words.“There is a smell to the season,” said Kelly Donohue with the Ripon Chamber of Commerce. “It was Wednesday or Thursday last week when I was like, ‘It’s here.’ ”With that season comes the annual ...

You know it’s almond blossom season in Ripon when the air gets a certain scent— one that you can’t really put in words.

“There is a smell to the season,” said Kelly Donohue with the Ripon Chamber of Commerce. “It was Wednesday or Thursday last week when I was like, ‘It’s here.’ ”

With that season comes the annual Almond Blossom Festival. This is the 62nd year residents and visitors have celebrated the town’s largest tradition, now held at Mistlin Sports Park.

This year’s Almond Blossom Festival features four days of fun, from a baking competition and a fun run to food trucks and carnival rides.

The Ripon Chamber of Commerce started the festival as Simpson Lee Days in 1962 as a way to welcome the paper-producing giant to town.

The event was originally held in the fall during almond harvesting season.

“It turns out that when you are harvesting almonds, it’s really dusty and not cute outside,” Donohue said. “They decided to change it to the Almond Blossom Festival, which is arguably the much more beautiful time.”

The festival was originally held at the Ripon Community Center, which is considerably smaller in size than the 100-acre sports park.

As the town grew and the festival drew people from other areas, the festivities were moved to the park around 15 years ago, Donohue said.

The 2024 Almond Blossom Festival will be held at Mistlin Sports Park, 1201 West River Road in Ripon, from Thursday through Sunday.

The festival kicks off with a bake-off at the community center, 334 Fourth St. in Ripon, from 7 to 10 a.m. Thursday. A spaghetti dinner at the community center will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

The carnival opens with $2 rides at 5 p.m. Thursday and closes at 10 p.m.

“A lot of locals like that night,” Donohue said.

The Miss Almond Blossom coronation will take place at 7 p.m. that night at the Ripon Community Center.

The Ripon Chamber of Commerce has added an arm wrestling competition to the lineup of events this year.

“I think Almond Blossom has seen a lot of different phases over the years,” Donohue said, naming a yo-yo competition and tractor pulls as some of the unique festival events that have taken place in years past. “An arm wrestling group came to me and they said, ‘We think we can be your next thing.’ ”

The competition will take place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Mistlin Sports Park and will be hosted by Sac County Arms. Anyone can enter, and participants 17 and under must have a guardian present to sign a waiver.

There will be more than 100 vendors and 25 food trucks at the festival.

“The food trucks will inherently bring people, but then you stay for all the cool, fun things you see along the way,” Donohue said.

Here are the other festival events:




Entry to the Almond Blossom Festival is free. Parking is $5, and the proceeds go to the nonprofit organizations who volunteer to help facilitate the parking.

Pre-sale tickets are available now through Wednesday online or at Ripon Chamber of Commerce.

For $35, you can get a voucher that you can redeem at the carnival for a one-day, unlimited ride wristband. There is an additional service fee when you purchase the vouchers online.

These wristbands are $45 when you purchase them at the festival.

“(The festival) is a celebration of our community and agriculture and the farmers and the almonds that support this town,” Donohue said.

What do you want to know about life in Modesto? Ask our service journalism team your top-of-mind questions in the module below or email [email protected].

Three well-loved Central Valley restaurants close. Here’s why and what may replace them

Three well-known Valley restaurants have closed recently as the post-pandemic fallout in the area’s dining scene continues.Downtown Modesto restaurants Ralston’s Goat and Chefs of New York have shuttered, as has high-end Italian eatery Fina by John Surla in Ripon.Both Ralston’s Goat and Fina have been purchased by new owners, who plan to change the names and restaurant concepts before reopening. Chefs of New York, which moved moved to its larger downtown location two years ago, has gone dark with no update on ...

Three well-known Valley restaurants have closed recently as the post-pandemic fallout in the area’s dining scene continues.

Downtown Modesto restaurants Ralston’s Goat and Chefs of New York have shuttered, as has high-end Italian eatery Fina by John Surla in Ripon.

Both Ralston’s Goat and Fina have been purchased by new owners, who plan to change the names and restaurant concepts before reopening. Chefs of New York, which moved moved to its larger downtown location two years ago, has gone dark with no update on possible reopening or sale from longtime owner Vinny Altadonna.

Ralston’s Goat, which opened in December 2015, closed in early July after a blowout going-away party for its longtime operator, Mike Shelton. The restaurant and bar was known for its vibrant nightlife and music scene and drew a large audience for its outside patio shows featuring local musicians during the pandemic.

Shelton, who started with the restaurant as general manager, sold to a familiar downtown Modesto face. Former club owner Les Knoll will be returning to 10th street as the new owner of the property. Knoll owned the Copper Rhino on the same street, one block over, from 2004 to 2012. The bar transformed during its run from a place to have a drink and shoot pool to one of the most popular downtown nightspots.

Then in 2017, Knoll returned to city’s bar scene and opened CR2, an ode to the Copper Rhino, at the corner of Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue in northeast Modesto. The bar continues today.

Knoll said his plan is to transform the former Ralston’s Goat into a venue more like Copper Rhino’s early days. He called his concept “a bar with food,” and plans to continue to host live music. The space, which is split in the middle by an awkward entrance hallway, also will be changed. The current dining area will be transformed into a game room with pool tables, shuffleboard and pinball machines. The back space will continue to be the bar.

Pending permits, Knoll said his hope is to reopen “in the next few weeks.” He purchased the restaurant, he said, so it wouldn’t become “just another nightclub.” The menu will be similar, with more bar-friendly options, and lunch and dinner will be served daily.

“(Me and my business partner) like the space, we’ve been wanting to get back into doing live music and entertainment,” Knoll said. “We’re going to see if we can keep the overall feel but make it profitable. I’m excited to be back downtown.”

In Ripon, chef and owner Surla has said goodbye to his from-the-ground-up restaurant, Fina. Opened in late summer 2019 about six months before COVID-19 closed restaurants around the world, the striking Italian eatery offered Surla’s upscale menu in a sophisticated setting. The restaurant has a wall-size picture window into its kitchen, giving diners a front-row seat to their meal creation.

The spot has been sold to a new owner, who Surla said wanted to remain anonymous. The eatery’s name will change, as will its menu. Surla said the new owner plans to use the kitchen’s large wood-burning pizza oven in the new venture. Expect it to reopen with its new name and concept in around a month, if all goes smoothly.

Surla, who named Fina after his wife, Josephine, said dining in the region has not returned to what it was before the pandemic, forcing him to make the difficult decision.

“The (post-pandemic) struggle? We felt that,” Surla said. “I’ll miss it truly, deeply, immensely. It’s a bittersweet ending. I’m happy I built it, but sad I have to say goodbye. But you can always meet me at Surla’s.”

The well-known Valley chef is keeping his namesake Modesto restaurant, Surla’s on 12th Street on the edge of downtown. Opened in 2009, the eatery slowly has increased its hours and offerings after long pandemic closures. It is now open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and Wednesday to Saturday for dinner. The spot’s famous Sunday brunch is back once a month.

Some of the Fina favorites, including lobster ravioli, will make their way onto the Surla’s menu.

“It’s a slow return back to the normal numbers, and hopefully consolidating (the businesses) will mean more customers will come out. But I can’t predict the future,” he said. “So support your local small businesses and stop going through the drive-thrus.”

And finally, Chefs of New York appears to be no more. The Italian restaurant known for its generous dishes and gregarious owner has been dark, quite literally, since June. When reached by The Bee, the normally talkative Altadonna gave a “no comment” on the future of the well-loved restaurant.

Since moving to its larger 13th Street space two years ago, Chefs has had a sometimes erratic open schedule with some closures and fitful reopenings. But its latest closure may well be its last, as the restaurant’s front windows have been plastered with “Notice to Pay Rent or Quit” flyers dating June 1 to 30.

A no doubt forlorn former patron has scribbled “Please do not quit!!!” on the door’s paper “Closed” sign next to all of the notices.

Chefs of New York, Ralston’s Goat and Fina join a handful of other Modesto-area eateries to close or sell in the past year. They include Beijing Restaurant in north Modesto, which closed after 28 years late last year; Concetta, which closed last December and reopened this year as Chinn’s International; Bauer’s Downtown Gastropub, which sold in January and has since reopened with new owners; and the Farmacy, which sold its plant-based cafe in May to a new owner who has yet to reopen the space.

The future of downtown Modesto’s beloved vintage A&W Restaurant, which opened in 1957 and is one of only a handful of Graffiti-era drive-in burger joints still operating in the area, also is up in the air. Longtime local owner Johnny Matthews, who has run the site with its rollerskating carhops for the past 26 years, is retiring and has put the site up for sale.

This story was originally published August 2, 2023, 7:30 AM.

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After at least 7 children diagnosed with cancer, parents eye chemical in city's water

Parents in one California community are fighting for answers after at least seven children were diagnosed with cancer in the past four years. Earlier this year, they fought to remove a cell phone tower from a local elementary school campus. Now, they're focusing on a chemical in their drinking water supply that's linked to cancer. And Ripon, Calif...

Parents in one California community are fighting for answers after at least seven children were diagnosed with cancer in the past four years. Earlier this year, they fought to remove a cell phone tower from a local elementary school campus. Now, they're focusing on a chemical in their drinking water supply that's linked to cancer. And Ripon, California, is just one of dozens of cities across the country dealing with the possibly harmful chemical.

"Until we figure out what is happening in this town, we won't stop," said Kellie Prime, a mother whose son, Kyle, is one of at least seven kids in Ripon who have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years. Prime and another mother successfully had the cell phone tower removed, and have since shifted focus to the drinking water.

"My gut tells me that something is here that's causing these issues," Prime said.

Ripon was once home to a Nestle plant that used trichloroethylene, or TCE, to decaffeinate coffee until the 1970s. Nestle discharged the plant's wastewater into the city's sewers. TCE was recently found in one of five city drinking water wells.

The city of Ripon said TCE levels reached 90% of the EPA maximum allowed in drinking water last summer. The well was turned off four months later. The city says the water "meets all established drinking water standards," and Nestle said that for more than 30 years, the company has "implemented... cleanup and water protection measures to ensure... levels... do not exceed California standards."

But University of California San Francisco scientist Veena Singla said that when it comes to chemicals like TCE, there are no safe levels of exposure.

"Drinking water standards and guidelines that we have now are many decades old, and they don't account for the latest science that shows pregnant women and children are more susceptible to TCE," Singla said.

Millions of pounds of TCE are used every year for manufacturing and degreasing. The chemical can migrate from industrial sites into surrounding communities through the soil and water, and can even turn into a clear, odorless vapor that moves up into the homes above.

"We know it can cause cancer by any route of exposure," Singla said. "So what that means is whether you breathe it in, whether you drink it in contaminated water… we're concerned about all those exposures."

When asked if she thinks TCE exposure could have caused her son's cancer, Prime said that "I think it needs to be looked into, for sure."

Last year, CBS News visited Franklin, Indiana, where dozens of kids were diagnosed with cancer. A non-profit found high levels of toxins, including TCE vapor, in homes near an old manufacturing site. Clean up and testing under the EPA is ongoing.

"We used our kids as the canary in the coal mine in our town," said Kari Rhinehart, who lost her daughter to brain cancer.

In White Bear Township, Minnesota, community members diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones were outraged after learning a company that makes fishing sinkers and battery terminal posts admitted TCE had been leaking into the air for years, at points reaching seven times what was allowed.

In Ripon, families are calling for additional vapor testing. "We have a lot more questions than we do answers -- so until we get those answers to those questions, we are very concerned," Prime said.

Regulators say potential health effects from TCE depend on the amount and length of exposure, and it can be difficult to trace the cause of any one cancer diagnosis. But Prime says after seeing her son's battle firsthand, she'll do anything to prevent other parents from experiencing the same pain.

"It was hell… it was life-altering," Prime said. "He's sick every day, losing weight, losing his hair."

Her son is now in remission – but Prime is determined to keep pushing forward. She said she's motivated by "the fight these kids have in them."

"We have to show them that we will fight for them," she said.

The regional water board has asked Nestle to do additional vapor testing to ensure TCE levels are within new, stricter guidelines set by the state. Nestle says the work plan has been submitted and approved by the water board.

Cell phone tower to be removed from Ripon school

Several parents claim the cell tower at Weston Elementary is the cause of a cancer cluster. City officials deny the claim.More VideosRIPON, Calif. — Antonio Sanchez and his four daughters live directly across the street from Weston Elementary School in Ripon.On school property is a cell tower operated by Sprint. Several parents believe the cell tower is the source of a childhood cancer cluster."I have heard a lot of people have gotten cancer from it. I'm glad they are going to remove it," Sanchez...

Several parents claim the cell tower at Weston Elementary is the cause of a cancer cluster. City officials deny the claim.

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RIPON, Calif. — Antonio Sanchez and his four daughters live directly across the street from Weston Elementary School in Ripon.

On school property is a cell tower operated by Sprint. Several parents believe the cell tower is the source of a childhood cancer cluster.

"I have heard a lot of people have gotten cancer from it. I'm glad they are going to remove it," Sanchez said.

Last night, the City of Ripon announced an agreement to have the cell tower relocated less than a mile away on a property near Jack Tone Road and Harvest Drive.

Bill Van Klaveren, who said he owns the property, said he has been in negotiations with Sprint to sign a 15-year lease agreement.

As part of the deal, a new cell tower would be set back about 500 feet from the road, according to Van Klaveren. He said it would be installed by the end of the year.

RELATED: Parents claim 'win' against Ripon USD over suspected cancer causing cell tower

The City of Ripon deny the cancer claims.

The city points to research conducted by the Cancer Registry of Greater California, which operates under the California Department of Public Health.

It evaluated "observed" and "expected" numbers of cancer cases among children ages 0 to 19. Between 2007 and 2016, 14 cancer cases were reported in Ripon.

"This did not differ from the total expected number of 13.7 cancer cases" compared to other San Joaquin County cities, researches concluded.

Kelly Blancarte lives in the neighborhood across the street from where the new cell tower will be located.

"I'm not really sure what to think. I haven't really done my own research into it. So, there are so many variables to it," said Blancarte, the mother of four young kids.

Joe Hidalgo, who has lived across the street from Weston Elementary School since 1999, said he has no problem with the tower.

He said his three kids went to school there from kindergarten through 8th grade and have no health issues.

"I might be in the minority... but I have no issues. We all have cell phones. Kids nowadays play with tablets that are wireless. Guess what? The same signal that's coming from that tower is going to their tablet, their phone," Hidalgo said.

WATCH MORE: Sprint announces relocation of Ripon cell phone tower suspected of causing cancer


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