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Former deputy DA reprimanded

A former Tuolumne County deputy district attorney was formally disciplined Thursday by the California State Bar Association.

Tussle in D.C. may hamstring recovery

A feud in Washington, D.C., over Homeland Security Department funding could stall recovery work in the Rim Fire burn area.

Chinese Camp startled by lightning strike

Linda Richards, 59, of Chinese Camp, and her daughter, Sheree Fraser, 27, of Sonora, look through dishes that were broken when lightning struck a tree in Richards’ front yard.
 In the small western Tuolumne County town of Chinese Camp, Friday’s storm packed a big wallop — heard many miles away.

About 6:30 p.m., a massive lightning strike, felt as far away as the township of Tuolumne, rocked the hamlet like an earthquake, shattered windows, leveled an outbuilding, and killed two horses.

Columbia College is adding campuses

Columbia College will use the Vallecito/John Vierra campus in Vallecito as a satellite campus in Calaveras County. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Columbia College has plans to increase offerings in Calaveras County and Oakdale by partnering with existing schools, rather than building its own satellite sites as formerly planned and budgeted.

The college is working to finalize an agreement with Bret Harte Union High School District to use its unused Vallecito High School site as a satellite campus and office, perhaps as early as this fall, according to Columbia College President Angela Fairchilds.

Calm after the storm: Weather damage tallied

Erik Crabtree, 14 (left), and his brother, Collin Crabtree, 17, both of Tuolumne, climb on debris that blocks nearly half of Bell Mooney Road in Jamestown after the weekend storm. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
The warm weekend storms that brought 3.78 inches of rain to Sonora in three days did little for the state’s vital snowpack, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

Technicians activated snowpack sensors before and after the storms, showing the statewide snowpack water equivalent increased from 21 percent of normal on Thursday to 27 percent on Monday, said DWR spokesman Doug Carlson.

Tuolumne County native competes on ‘Wheel of Fortune'

Tuolumne native Ben Fairfield and his wife, Lisa Chuang Fairfield, now of Hawaii, will be contestants on “Wheel of Fortune” Thursday night. Courtesy photo.
Tuolumne County native Ben Fairfield will be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune on Thursday.

Fairfield, 33, and his wife, Lisa Chuang Fairfield, 32, of Oahu, were selected as contestants on a couples episode of Wheel of Fortune that was taped in Hawaii.

TUD meets today on water-storage projects

Tuolumne Utilities District officials want to learn more about what people think of possible new water storage projects in Tuolumne County.


The Board of Directors today will discuss a public outreach program to address the county’s water supply and potential solutions, with a timeline that includes public meetings in April, a survey in May, and a report on findings in June.

Internet expansion on Calaveras County Board of Supervisors docket

A local nonprofit agency is working with an El Dorado County-based company to boost high-speed Internet access in underserved areas of Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.

Cal.net, an Internet service provider located in Shingle Springs wants to leverage its own money with state funding through the California Advanced Services Fund to expand its broadband infrastructure in underserved Mother Lode communities.



Input sought on quarry project

Only a few days remain for the public to lodge formal comments on an environmental impact report that examines Blue Mountain Minerals’ plan to enlarge an area where the Columbia quarry operator disposes of unwanted rock and soil.

The EIR was completed late last year and posted to the county’s planning website. It says Friday is the deadline to provide comments to the county Community Resources Agency.

Summerville, Mountain Oaks win regional Academic Decathlon competition


Summerville High School was the overall high-scoring team at Saturday’s Academic Decathlon competition. Team members include (from left): Back row — Levi Hart-McNeal; middle row — Julia Jensen, Gaige Stewart, Claire Schermeister and Danielle Kirkland; front row — Cheyenne Uhl, Callum Wilkie, Parker Deverel, Mia Primrose and Benjamin Richardson. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 Summerville High and Mountain Oaks schools will compete at the Academic Decathlon state championships.

 The two were among five teams from Calaveras and Tuolumne counties to face off Saturday in the regional Academic Decathlon competition at Sonora High School. 


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