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Consumers shell out for small farm eggs

Deborah Kalkowski didn’t get into the egg business on purpose.

Kalkowski said her children first talked her into adding chickens about a year ago at their 50-acre Groveland farm, Red Tail Ranch, where they already kept horses. They built a coop for 16 chickens, which helped keep the bug population under control and provided fresh eggs for the family.

Kalkowski said she started giving extra eggs to friends and neighbors, and an enterprise was born.

Two Union Democrat employees mark 40 years


Martha Gibbons and Terry Mommi Clayton mark 40 years this month as employees at  The Union Democrat.

They began their careers in 1972, when the price of gas was 36 cents a gallon, a first-class stamp cost 10 cents, a new house could be had for $30,500, and the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent. On the flip side, the median household income was $9,697.

At 19 years old, Clayton was the youngest employee at the newspaper. She started as a typesetter, retyping stories into a press computer that had been written by reporters on typewriters.

As a 21-year-old, Gibbons started in the production department “pasting up” newspaper pages when that actually meant cutting and pasting stories onto a page, a process that is done exclusively by computer today.

More skiers hit area slopes in March

It’s finally looking a lot more like winter at area ski resorts.

More skiers are taking to the mountains at Bear Valley and Dodge Ridge this month after a pair of mid-week storms dusted slopes across the Mother Lode.

Dodge Ridge Spokeswoman Amber Jenquin said that approximately 6 inches of snow fell Tuesday, leaving a total base snow level of roughly 24 inches. She said that skiers and snowboarders have been coming to the resort in droves since Presidents Day weekend, which was busiest period so far this season.

Nachtigall to headline TuCARE dinner

    The Tuolumne County Alliance for Resources and Environment will hold its 23rd annual dinner and Pot O’ Gold Auction Saturday at Sonora Elks Lodge.
    This year’s keynote speaker is Jasmine Nachtigall, development director of California Common Sense, a nonprofit organization founded by Stanford University students and alumni.

Tuolumne County gets high marks for economic development

Tuolumne County earned praise and a few helpful tips from a statewide panel that analyzed the region’s economic development over the past four years.

The California Association of Local Economic Development issued its final report this month after giving its preliminary assessment during a conference in January. The report looked at various indicators of economic development in the county and Sonora, such as commercial and industrial revitalization, promotion, cutting red tape, infrastructure and the use of the region’s natural and recreational resources.

Business notes for March 7, 2012

Propane prices on rise as oil market sees fluctuations

As political tensions and the global market push local gasoline prices above $4 a gallon, another type of flammable liquid is also on the rise.

Propane is the primary heating source for most homes in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, and prices in the region are averaging about $2.89 a gallon for residential use, according to Drew Ricker, manager of ProFlame in Jamestown.

“Prices are directly linked to crude oil,” Ricker said. “Every morning I look at what gas is selling for and my costs move with that.”

Prices vary radically across California, according to the propane rate website checkpropaneprices.com. A gallon of propane can cost between $2.28 and $5.30 from county to county.

Unemployment, foreclosures, capital gains top tax tips

 With W-2 forms and receipts spilling out of shoe boxes across the Mother Lode, area tax experts are preparing for filing season by taking a hard look at some of the changes to federal and state tax codes.

People are generally filing their taxes earlier this year, according to Steven Aldridge, a certified public accountant in Sonora. They’re spooked by the prospect the state issuing more IOUs rather than refunds like in 2010.

“It scared people when they heard about the $3 billion deficit last year,” Aldridge said.

Business notes for February 29, 2012

Business notes for February 22, 2012

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