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Sonora High trustees vote to save football season

Crisis was seemingly averted Tuesday night when the Sonora Union High School District Board of Trustees approved an amended bond construction schedule that won’t destroy the home football season and isn’t expected to incur much greater cost. 

The timeline still hinges on the approval of the California Environmental Quality Act initial study for the $16.7 million upcoming projects — three building renovations, track and field resurfacing and a new aquatic center.


TUD lowers water-use reduction goal to 25 percent

The Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors was able to relax some of TUD’s Phase III water restrictions Tuesday, following recent support from the state and months of diligent conservation by customers.

The board voted 5-0 to lower the district’s water-use reduction goal from 50 to 25 percent. However, customers still face a $500 fine and potential service restrictions if they don’t reduce their usage by at least 25 percent.

Mono Way widening: Full road closure looms

Businesses along the road construction site on Mono Way remain open for business despite traffic snarls. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyrght 2014.
Mono Way widening work continues this week, and city officials are informing drivers that a full, two-week closure starting Monday will complicate travel on the busy road.

According to the City of Sonora, a short stretch of Mono Way will be shut down from July 28 through Aug. 8 while crews replace a culvert that allows drainage under the road. The closure will occur between Roselyn Lane and Rogers Road, with no through traffic allowed until the culvert is completed.

Groveland: Conserve water or pay more

Groveland property owners with public water and sewer connections will see their bills go up beginning next month unless they cut back usage about 20 percent.

The Groveland Community Services District Board of Directors on Monday approved emergency rates for both services in response to the region’s three-year drought. 


Homeless must go, council decides

The city of Sonora has a new law making it a misdemeanor for homeless people to camp on public or private property.

However, the new law is set to expire at the end of the year in hopes that community leaders can come up with a more well-rounded plan to deal with the problem.


Forest smokejumpers attend film’s opening day

Marcus Edwards, 5, of Sonora (right) tries on smokejumper Franki Betancourt’s helmet. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
The Stanislaus National Forest is using the release of “Planes 2: Fire and Rescue” — a movie with a striking resemblance to the Rim Fire — to get out the word about its “One Less Spark” fire prevention campaign. 

The agency got a few of the U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers to explain their jobs, show off their gear and answer questions from children and adults on opening day Friday at Regal Cinema 10 in Sonora.

Baker Station a jewel in college crown

An institute class navigates rocky terrain on the Highway 108 corridor, surrounded by a mountainous landscape. Courtesy photo
 Just a handful of classes are still open for enrollment this summer at Columbia College’s High Sierra Institute, including nature photography with a National Geographic photographer.

This summer marks another season of success at the institute at the historic Baker Station. The camp is comprised of longhouse barracks and a community kitchen at the foot of Sonora Pass, 6,200 feet above sea level.


‘Innovation’ coming to old hospital

A new idea to build a tech-business community in Tuolumne County will officially kick off on Aug. 5, organizers say.

According to the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority, the doors to what is being called the InnovationLab will open after a ceremony, with tours available for the public the same day. 


UPUD proposes rate hike in Murphys

Water bills for Murphys-area residents could increase this fall under a proposal by the Union Public Utility District. 

The district is proposing to increase its monthly base rate of $38 for up to 1,000 cubic feet of water to $41 starting Nov. 1. 


TUD: Water limits may recede

The Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors will vote Tuesday on changing TUD’s water-use reduction goal to 25 percent, along with proposed connection-fee increases, an expensive water-main replacement project and a previously delayed emergency water sale to Del Oro Water Co.

Overall customer water usage was down 51 percent last month from June 2013, TUD General Manager Tom Scesa said in a memo to the board. 


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