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City’s fire rating among top 7%

The Sonora City Council learned Monday that the city’s improved firefighting rating could help homeowners within city limits save up to 5 percent on their fire insurance premiums.

ISO, a national company that evaluates risks, recently upgraded the city’s rating to a 3. The last time the city was evaluated by ISO was in 2003, when the city received a 4 rating.


City to close Stewart Street for sinkhole repair

City of Sonora Public Works crews will conduct maintenance work on Stewart Street Wednesday and Thursday and the road will be closed from Lyons to Theall streets.

The work will begin at 7 a.m. and end by 3 p.m. both days. The road will be closed to through traffic, but cars can still park in the Farmers Market parking lot, said Bill Seldon, manager of Public Works.


Meadow Fire containment at 80 percent

Containment of the Meadow Fire in Yosemite National Park has reached 80 percent.

The acreage burned ticked up to 4,772 as of this morning. 

The fire is burning in Little Yosemite Valley between Half Dome and Mount Starr King on both sides of the Merced River. The north side remains “of concern,” according to the National Park Service. 

Local film figure back in spotlight

Ernest “Ernie” Durham was an influential figure in Tuolumne County’s early filmmaking history. File photo / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
The 84-year-old son of the late Ernest “Ernie” Durham, an influential figure in Tuolumne County’s early filmmaking history, received some surprising news last week from a labor union that represents writers in the film and broadcast industries.

Durham, who died in 1991 at the age of 85, was a founding member of the Sonora Motion Picture Association that helped turn the county into a hotspot for Hollywood productions during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. He is widely remembered for driving many famous actors and actresses around town when they came up to shoot a film or TV show.

River cleanup set for weekend

People who care enough about mountain rivers and reservoirs to get dirty cleaning them up will have multiple opportunities next weekend on New Melones Lake, Mokelumne River, Lake Camanche and other locations near Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Coordinators with several agencies this week are seeking volunteers for 2014 Great Sierra River Cleanup events scheduled Saturday in watersheds up and down the Sierra Nevada range.

County workers to get raise?

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m., Tuesday, Board of Supervisors Chambers, fourth floor of the County Administrative Building, 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

More than 400 county employees and the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors would receive a 7 percent pay raise under a proposal up for consideration Tuesday.

The board will decide at its meeting whether to approve amendments to current labor agreements that would add the 7 percent “cost of living” pay increase, as well as an offsetting 6.25 increase in pension contributions for all county employees.


Sonora ‘sign’ hijinks over

Several generations worth of high school hijinks are over now that a billboard-looking wall overlooking Sonora High School from Lyons Bald Mountain is gone. 

The wall was painted every year at least once by Sonora High students marking the 20-plus-foot structure with the last two digits of the year they graduated, like “14” this year. That tradition dates back to 1971. 


City eyes car ‘for sale’ parking ban

PUBLIC MEETING: The Sonora City Council meets at 5 p.m. Monday, in Sonora City Hall, at 94 N. Washington St.


The Sonora City Council is set to consider proposed parking rules that, among other things, would make it illegal for anyone to park vehicles with “for sale” signs on public or private property within city limits.

Recent complaints about several specific parking and traffic issues within the city prompted the Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson to propose new regulations aimed at addressing the matter.

Meadow Fire: Did Park Service do right thing?

The nearly 5,000-acre Meadow Fire in Yosemite National Park — the result of a lightning-caused fire from earlier this summer — was not originally suppressed because it met an elevation threshold and other criteria, park fire managers said. 

Earlier this year, Yosemite’s fire managers decided that any fire below 7,000 feet in elevation would be suppressed due to this year’s dry conditions.

New law aims at bicycle safety

A new state law going into effect next week requires that drivers maintain a distance of at least 3 feet when passing bicyclists. 

Assembly Bill 1371, also known as California’s “Three Feet for Safety Act,” becomes law on Tuesday.

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