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News of Record for Jan. 13, 2015

Sheriff Mele honors staff members

Susan Fraguero (left) receives an award from Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele Monday for her 40 years of service to the Sheriff’s Office. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele honored many of his staff Monday in front of a packed room at the Board of Supervisors Chambers in Sonora. 

More than 30 Sheriff’s Office employees were honored for exemplary performance, many years of service, recently joining the force and more.


Transportation strategy topic of public meeting

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County  Transportation Council and  Tuolumne County Transit Agency, 3 p.m. Wednesday, Fireside Conference Room, Best Western Sonora Oaks Hotel and Conference Center, 19551 Hess Ave., East Sonora.


A public meeting this week in East Sonora will cover a proposed update of a three-year strategic plan for the agencies involved with overseeing transportation projects in Tuolumne County.

The Tuolumne County Transportation Council and Tuolumne County Transit Agency have planned a special joint meeting for 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Fireside Conference Room of the Best Western Sonora Oaks Hotel and Conference Center, for a workshop over the proposed update.

Drought killing area’s trees

Scott Nye of Twain Harte Tree Service removes fallen trees Wednesday from a Sonora property. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Getting dead trees cut down and removed from a piece of property can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, and it’s an expense more residents may find themselves paying this year.

Drought, overgrowth, competition for scarce water, disease, and bark beetles appear to be killing more and more trees in the Mother Lode — evergreens and deciduous — and concern is rising among local foresters, arborists and researchers.

Jamestown shooting range to close

The owners of a firearms training facility near Jamestown are no longer seeking a permit to continue operating a shooting range at the site.

John and Tami Popke, owners of Weapons Training School on the 10000 block of La Grange Road, sent a letter last month to the Tuolumne County Community Resources Agency formally withdrawing their application for a conditional-use permit, under the threat of a lawsuit by neighboring property owners against them, their landlords and the county Board of Supervisors.

Committee discusses Rim Fire recovery efforts

Members of the Tuolumne County natural resource committee met Tuesday morning to discuss Rim Fire impacts and recovery efforts, including hazard tree removal, a timber sale update, methods to clear slash: burning on-site vs. using a biomass plant, and reforestation in the Rim Fire burn scar.


UPDATE: Excavator hits power pole, driver trapped in vehicle


A PG&E lineman shuts off the power of a downed power pole. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.

A man excavating property on Springfield Road near Shaws Flat Road struck a power pole this afternoon trapping the man in the vehicle, according to Columbia Fire Protection District Chief Mark Ferreira.




Cottage Springs goes before Calaveras County supervisors

PUBLIC MEETING: Calaveras County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Board Chambers, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas.


Michael Oliveira and Steve Kearney — sworn in Friday as the newest members of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors — will have their first meeting Tuesday as elected officials.

Oliveira represents District 3, which spans the Highway 4 corridor from the Murphys area to the Alpine County line. Kearney represents District 5, which includes the Rancho Calaveras area. 

First 2015 baby home safe

Jamestown residents Robert Wootters and Shannon Quinn hold their daughter, Elaina Wootters, who was born on Jan. 1. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Elaina Denyell Wootters was the first child born in 2015 at Sonora Regional Medical Center and came home this week from intensive care at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

Elaine, now fully healthy, is the first child of Jamestown residents Robert Wootters and Shannon Quinn.

Support system essential to climbers

Dawn Wall free climbers and photographers climb high on El Capitan Friday. Guy McCarthy / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Local climbers, including one with ties to the Mother Lode, are supporting and documenting a historic effort to free climb one of the world’s hardest big wall routes in Yosemite Valley.

Tommy Caldwell, of Estes Park, Colorado, and Kevin Jorgeson, of Santa Rosa, are the stars of the Dawn Wall show unfolding on national and international news. They’ve been cranking on fingertip holds and toe-tip cracks, sleeping cliff-side since Dec. 27, trying to be the first ever to climb this 3,000-foot route on El Capitan by fair means — using ropes and hardware strictly for safety.

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Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:20:13 -0800