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Forest fire grows, burns home

Highway 120 into Yosemite National Park remained closed this morning as firefighters attempted to control a 2,600-acre fire near El Portal that has burned at least one structure and filled the skies over parts of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties with smoke.


Groveland crash

One person was killed and another injured in a head-on collision this morning near Groveland, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was reported at about 10:50 a.m. on Highway 120 near the Groveland Ranger Station.

Traffic was backed up both ways for about a 1/2 mile in both directions.


Burned forest area re-opened

Nearly 1,200 acres of the Stanislaus National Forest that burned during the 2012 Ramsey Fire in Calaveras County are now open to the public, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday.

All trails and roads in the Calaveras Ranger District leading to the burned area have been closed since Aug. 16, 2012, including roads 6N79, 17E21 and 6N59Y, and trail 17E21. 


State ranks low on child wellness

The 25th edition of the Kids Count Data Book was released this week, ranking California 40th of 50 states in child well being. 

The book, which shows both gains and losses nationally, ranks each state based on four fundamental domains: Education, family and community, health and economic well-being. 


Scout camp milestone reached

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Campers have fun on the Adventure Tower at Camp Sugar Pine in Dorrington. Mike Morris / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
This summer marks a major milestone for a Girl Scouts camp in Dorrington that’s home to one of the world’s largest sugar pine trees.

Camp Sugar Pine — off upper Highway 4 near Calaveras Big Trees State Park — is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

 

 


Hotter temps, lightning forecast

Triple-digit temperatures will park over the Tuolumne and Calaveras county foothills this weekend, while warm moist air in the high country could bring balmy conditions and more lightning, according to the National Weather Service.

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service calls for mostly sunny skies and temperatures ranging from 97 to 101 in the lower-elevation communities like Sonora, Angels Camp and Copperopolis today, with those same locations expected to see highs between 99 and 103 Saturday and between 96 and 99 Sunday.

 


LA man dies at Rainbow Pool

A 30-year-old Southern California man drowned Tuesday at a popular Groveland-area swimming hole.

Enkhchuluun Demberel, of Torrance, Los Angeles County, was swimming about noon at Rainbow Pool, a day-use area on the Stanislaus National Forest’s Groveland Ranger District.

“Basically, he had limited swimming ability,” said Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Johnson. “He went in water over his head and started to struggle.”


THCSD eases drought cutback

About 1,600 Twain Harte residents will no longer be required to cut their water usage in half, a ripple effect from the Tuolumne Utilities District board’s decision this week to lower TUD’s water-use reduction goal from 50 to 25 percent.

The Twain Harte Community Services District Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday morning to match TUD and lower its reduction goal to 25 percent as well. THCSD General Manager Tom Trott praised the community for conservation efforts that he said helped to improve the district’s water supply outlook, at least for the rest of the summer.

 


Yosemite visitors generate millions for businesses

A new National Park Service report estimates nearly 3.7 million people visited Yosemite National Park last year and spent more than $373 million in communities surrounding the park. 

Visitation was actually down from about 4 million in 2012 due to a variety of factors. Those include everything from last year’s massive Rim Fire and federal government shutdown to rising gas prices and the state’s lingering drought, said park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.

 


Sonora antique in spotlight

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Bob Brennan (left), the Smithsonian Institution’s Paul Gardullo (center) and Gerald Howard discuss the stitching pony that will be featured in a Smithsonian exhibit. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
A Sonora artifact is going to be the center display piece in one of the founding exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution’s newest museum. 

A Smithsonian museum curator, Paul Gardullo, has been gathering the history of African Americans in the Mother Lode this week for the National Museum of African American History and Culture — under construction right now in Washington, D.C. 


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