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Possible rain, snow forecast this week

The Central Sierra and Northern California could get light but-much-needed rain and snow this weekend and late next week, according to the National Weather Service.

The Weather Service forecasts a 50 percent chance of rain for areas below 6,000 feet between midnight Saturday and noon Sunday. Higher elevations could receive between 6 to 10 inches of snow.



Drought restrictions tighten

The Tuolumne Utilities District board Thursday night approved tougher restrictions on water usage, completely forbidding lawn watering and requiring customers to cut usage by 25 percent or face fines up to $500.

The new restrictions alter those enacted by TUD on Jan. 28. Those created odd-even water days for lawns and imposed fines on those using more than 200 percent of their prior-year consumption.

CCWD has ‘adequate’ water supply

While California is faced with a drought of historic proportions, Calaveras County Water District leaders said Wednesday the district has enough water to meet current and future demands.

CCWD General Manager Mitch Dion told the district’s Board of Directors that the district’s 12,000-plus customers are not in the same boat as residents of neighboring counties. 


Tom Modrell: Seeing the world from home

Tom Modrell, of Sonora, is a man of many talents. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2013.
Some people leave home in search of adventure and opportunity. Tom Modrell stayed home.

A lifelong Sonora resident, Modrell has become a well-known figure in the area’s logging industry, served on the front lines of several major fires, including last year’s historic Rim Fire, and even created his own church. And he plays a mean guitar, too.

Board pres. Ian Morcott storms out

Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District Board President Ian Morcott nearly resigned Wednesday night after taking flack for the district’s decision to fire volleyball coach Trisha Ferguson.

Morcott stormed out of the meeting, saying “You can find yourselves a new board president,” but later recanted.

Red Barn Museum perk up planned

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voiced its support Tuesday over a proposal to display old mining equipment on nearly an acre of bare land next to the Red Barn Museum. 

The proposal, put forth by the Calaveras County Historical Society, involves expanding the museum complex by adding roughly 10 outdoor displays that would showcase “almost every stage of the mining process,” said Dave Sanders, a volunteer who helped design the display.

Tussle closes chunk of plaza lot

An apparent dispute that led to the closure of a chunk of the Downtown Plaza parking lot — and the installation of an imposing chain-link fence —  could be resolved in coming days, according to one of the property owners.

The dispute revolves around use of the fenced off area by customers of plaza customers,  according to property and business owners in the plaza.

Water sale in works; district could run dry by July

The water level at Pinecrest Reservoir was 3,300 feet on Tuesday. Due to the general lack of precipitation this winter, TUD officials are concerned the reservoir won’t refill when snow melts in spring. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board Tuesday unanimously approved the potential sale of 2,400 acre-feet of water out of New Melones Reservoir to benefit Tuolumne County citizens.

The district, which supplies water to farmers and suburbanites in Manteca and Escalon, is negotiating the sale with Tuolumne County, the Tuolumne Utilities District and the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians. 

Hatler evictions delayed

The Jamestown Sanitary District posted notices threatening to terminate service to homes on Ninth Avenue owned by Stewart Hatler. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat. Copyright 2014.
Dozens of Jamestown residents threatened with eviction because their landlord failed to pay their sewer bills have gotten a small reprieve.

A Jamestown Sanitary District representative said Monday that Stewart Hatler has been given about two more weeks to pay $38,000 in sewer bills he owes on more than a dozen properties dating back years.

Museum closure a mystery

City officials have closed Sonora’s Fire Museum and Senior Lounge, but remain tight-lipped as to why.

Sonora City Administrator Tim Miller said Monday that the chains and padlocks on the North Washington Street museum’s doors are only temporary.

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