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March 2016 trial set for Big Creek Fire suspect

A March 9 trial date has been set for a woman accused of starting the Big Creek Fire near Groveland in July.

Head-on crash kills five, ignites fire

Burned ground can be seen at the scene of a crash where five people were fatally injured Saturday evening on Highway 120 just east of Smith Station Road, between Groveland and Yosemite National Park. Guy McCarthy / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 A head-on collision Saturday evening in Groveland killed five, injured two and ignited a small brush fire.

Student seeks inner beauty of peers

Sonora High School senior Courtney Schertz Friday stands next to a drop box she set up where students can nominate peers who demonstrate “inner beauty.” Sean Carson / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 Sonora High School senior Courtney Schertz, 17, is on the lookout for fellow students who represent the best of her community.

Inmates encourage students to make better choices

Baseline Conservation Camp inmate Christopher Turner speaks Monday to Sonora Elementary School sixth-graders about bullying and drug use during Red Ribbon Week. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 When inmate John Lopez spoke Monday to students at Sonora Elementary School, the experience was bittersweet. 

Morse, 19, pleads guilty to killing cat

Spencer Morse (left) walks Monday out of Tuolumne County Superior Court after pleading guilty to killing a cat in June. Tori Thomas / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 A 19-year-old Sonora man accused of killing a cat in June pleaded guilty Monday in Tuolumne County Superior Court. 

Butte Fire complaint: Lawyers name third defendant

Attorneys who filed the first legal action on behalf of Butte Fire victims, alleging negligence by Pacific Gas and Electric and contractor Trees Inc. caused the devastating blaze, have filed an amended complaint naming a third defendant, ACRT Inc. of Lodi, and adding 72 new plaintiffs.

Fireman's Ball celebrates 155 years on Halloween

Craig Peterson, a retired Sonora fire captain and longtime volunteer (left), and Sonora Fire Chief Aimee New talk about the details of the upcoming 155th annual Sonora Fireman’s Ball. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 The annual Fireman’s Ball in downtown Sonora is a long-running tradition that predates the creation of Yosemite National Park in 1890 and even the start of the Civil War in 1861.

New details in Saturday fiery Groveland crash

New details have been released on the fiery Groveland crash in which five people died and two suffered major injuries Saturday night. The wreck was reported at 6:30 p.m. on Highway 120 and Smith Station Road.

Marcos Lopez Martinez, 22, of Groveland, was driving a 2012 Nissan Maxima eastbound on Highway 120, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Nick Norton. An unidentified woman was driving a 2012 Mercedes westbound on Highway 120, Norton said.


Five killed in fiery Groveland crash

Five people died and two suffered major injuries after a fiery crash tonight in Groveland.

Calendar for Oct. 24, 2015

Roadwork for Oct. 25, 2015

Dodge Ridge Road reconstruction work to begin Monday

A half-mile portion of Dodge Ridge Road will be reconstructed beginning Monday.

Sheriff: Man from Dorrington missing

The Calaveras County Sheriff's department is searching for a missing Dorrington resident, according to a news release.

CHP: Rider got away in high-speed chase

A motorcyclist who led California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase Thursday night got away.

In the Garden: Plants an easy pick with web tool

In recent columns, Tuolumne County Master Gardeners have written about the benefits of landscaping with plants native to the Sierra Nevada foothills. 

Your Home, Your Haven: Scandinavian design maximizes light

Sept. 23 marked the fall equinox. Nov. 1 will bring an end to daylight saving time. Our days are getting shorter and our nights are getting longer.

School safety training set in Mother Lode

Schools districts commonly rely on a tome of state-advised policies to protect their campuses. 

Outpatient lab moving at SRMC

Sonora Regional Medical Center phlebotomist Sarah Mounts (left) and Outpatient Lab lead lad assistant Erik Ballard stand at the entrance to the new Outpatient Lab Services office. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 The Outpatient Laboratory at Sonora Regional Medical Center will open Monday in a larger space in the Professional Center adjacent to the hospital, on the second floor above the Community Pharmacy. 

Bret Harte earns fourth win over Riverbank

The Bret Harte Bullfrogs’ defense swarms to tackle the Riverbank ball carrier Friday night at Dorroh Field in Angels Camp. Amber Pappé / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 As kickoff approached Friday night at Dorroh Field in Angels Camp and Riverbank casually trotted onto the field for warmups, the trash cans in the visitor’s bleachers outnumbered those in attendance.

’Cats power past Buffs, clinch share of title

Sonora running back Wyatt Faughnan (6) looks for daylight Friday night against Amador in Sutter Creek. Nichole Wren / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
 Sonora used power football Friday night.

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