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Attorney Seibert sworn in as judge

Read more... Newly appointed Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Kevin M. Seibert does not consider himself a workaholic.


However, the 56-year-old former partner at Downey Brand LLP, who appeared in Sacramento Magazine’s 2015 “Top Lawyer List” in numerous different areas of expertise, did spend his final hours as a lawyer Friday morning before being sworn in at 4 p.m. at the historic Tuolumne County Courthouse in Sonora, finishing up on last-minute settlements and agreements. 

Woman accused of causing Big Creek Fire pleads not guilty

Lisa Ann Vilmer, 43, of the Groveland area, walks to a Tuolumne County Jail transportation vehicle Friday after her arraignment in Tuolumne County Superior Court. Tori Thomas / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 A woman accused of starting the Big Creek Fire pleaded not guilty Friday in Tuolumne County Superior Court.


Lisa Ann Vilmur, 43, of the Groveland area, was arrested July 30 and charged with recklessly causing a fire of a structure or forest land, a felony. Cal Fire officials said the fire was caused by an escaped debris pile burn.


Missing chamber funds spur investigation

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office is investigating missing money at the Yosemite Highway 120 Chamber of Commerce in Groveland.


A report was filed the morning of June 15 by Tomas Hernandez Jr., president of the chamber’s Board of Directors. 


Looming Tulloch releases met with protests

The shores of Tulloch Reservoir showed only a slight low-water ring in the spring, and has remained higher than other Tuolumne and Calaveras county reservoirs throughout the summer. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 A group of Tulloch-area homeowners say local property values and businesses will suffer if nearly 10 billion gallons of water is released from the reservoir later this month for migrating rainbow trout in the Stanislaus River.

Tri-Dam Project, a partnership of the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts, issued a press release Friday announcing the scheduled release of 30,000 acre-feet water from the lake starting as early as Aug. 23.

A single acre-foot — roughly the amount of a football field covered 1 foot deep in water — is enough to supply about two California households for a year.




Parents, teachers can spend hundreds on student supplies

Jessica Ford, of Chinese Camp, and her son, James Ford, 6, pick out school supplies needed for his first-grade class. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 Kathleen Butler used the last bit of her vacation in Tuolumne County to spend about $300 on back-to-school supplies for her three children. 


“That was just pens and papers and stuff, not lunchboxes or backpacks or anything,” she said.


Sostock patients must write to request records

Patients of Dr. Lori Sostock, whose medical license has been suspended and is due in court next week on charges of over-prescribing drugs, must request their medical records in writing to a local post office box. 


Sostock is due to appear in Tuolumne County Superior Court Monday and is facing 48 counts of prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate purpose, along with other charges including transporting narcotics or controlled substances, repeated acts of overprescribing administered drugs or treatment, and conspiracy to commit a crime.


Calendar for Aug. 7, 2015

Man denies starting Fourth of July fire

A man accused of starting a July 4 vegetation fire in Soulsbyville has pleaded not guilty in Tuolumne County Superior Court.

Two men booked after vehicle chase

A Tuesday vehicle chase lead to the arrests of two men in Burson, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. 

Sonoran Carter hooks monster trout

Sonora resident Steve Carter caught an 8.5-pound, 28-inch rainbow trout recently at Kennedy Meadows. Courtesy photo.
 A very notable, and sizeable, catch was made recently by a Tuolumne County fisherman.

West Cal Rotary adds to mentoring library

The West Calaveras Rotary Club recently donated seven new books to the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program resource library for mentors. 

Vets' Corner: IRS forms on way to TRICARE recipients

Beginning in January 2016, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will provide the appropriate IRS Form 1095 to all retirees, annuitants, former spouses and all other individuals having TRICARE coverage during tax year 2015 to prove they have minimal essential health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 

Writers to gather for third time in Columbia

The Sonora Writers Group will host the third annual Tuolumne Writers Retreat Sept. 25 through 27 at Columbia State Historic Park. 

Columbia State Park in need of docent volunteers

Columbia State Historic Park docent Sandy Tannhauser, of Columbia, talks to the Pozzi family (from left) Andrea, Pietro, 12, Alice, 14, and Tiziana, all of Italy. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 Columbia State Historic Park needs you!

Vital Stats for Aug. 7, 2015

Bank robbery suspect arrested

One of two suspects in a July 21 bank robbery at Umpqua Bank in Twain Harte was arrested Thursday.

Nonprofit group donates tablets to foster children

Brandon Cody spends his week pouring over numbers as a budget analyst for the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.

His time off finds him wearing a completely different hat, as CEO of Civic Developers Inc., a nonprofit organization started in 2013 with the basic goal of solving community problems, said Cody. 

Calaveras wells struggling during prolonged drought

The well on Bob Wetzel’s Murphys property has been dry since last fall. Wetzel plans on drilling a deeper well in the winter. Jason Cowan / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 In 1984, Bob Wetzel moved from Montana to a cottage on an acre tucked beyond the foothills and vineyards that provide for the booming wine community in Murphys.  

Humane Society makes progress on shelter plans

Brothers Bert and Ernie, short-haired gray tabby, kittens are up for adoption at the Calaveras Animal Shelter. Jason Cowan / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 While driving through Mountain Ranch Road in San Andreas, it’s difficult to miss the number of trailer modules sitting atop the hills near the county government offices.

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