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Airline magazines pump up pair of local events

Tuolumne and Calaveras counties are very strange places.

That’s according to this month’s issue of Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine for United Airlines. Its list of 24 of the “strangest things to do in 2014” features both the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, to be held May 15 to 18 in Angels Camp, and the Poison Oak Show, scheduled for Sept. 27 at Columbia State Historic Park.

Longtime judge Martin retiring

Calaveras County Superior Court Judge John Martin announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term in January 2015. 

The announcement threw a curve into this year’s election campaign. 

Dearden shifted to new Sonora High role

The Sonora Union High School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday created a “Director of Special Projects and Programs” position and appointed Principal Todd Dearden to it. 

Associate Principal Patrick Chabot was appointed as interim principal for the rest of the spring semester, effective Jan. 27.

Leaders want Rim Fire answers

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service’s parent agency, demanding more information and an independent investigation into the Rim Fire.

The letter says the board isn’t satisfied with a number of explanations from the Forest Service, including its genesis from an unnamed hunter’s illegal campfire in mid-August. 

Marijuana evidence returned to owners

Two women in their early 60s drove away from the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office on Friday in a white van loaded with more than four pounds of marijuana, 100-plus grams of hashish and dozens of pot-infused food products.

But they weren’t arrested, nor were they followed.

Positive behavior support pays off

Positive behavior and character reinforcing programs are gaining popularity — and apparent results — in Mother Lode schools. 

Most schools in Tuolumne County and some in Calaveras County have adopted some form of positive behavior reinforcement program, in which staff don’t just take disciplinary action, they take reward action for kids who follow the rules and exemplify positive behavior. 

Hiking and biking in full swing as temperatures remain springlike

Vehicles file through the Yosemite Valley underneath the iconic Half Dome. Unseasonably warm and dry weather in the high country make for springlike conditions in the park. Chris Caskey / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Heading up to Yosemite National Park over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is usually a bit of an arduous task for the O’Connells. 

The San Luis Obispo-area family would typically have to pack winter gear, deal with the tire chains on their RV and leave the bikes at home.

Mark Twain school to benefit from sidewalks

PUBLIC MEETING: Angels Camp City Council, 6 p.m. Tuesday, 1404 Vallecito Road, Angels Camp. 

Angels Camp could be one step closer this week to new sidewalks near Mark Twain Elementary School.

The city was awarded state funds from the Safe Route to School program to construct sidewalks on Stanislaus and San Joaquin avenues near the school.

State awards county jail $$

Tuolumne County last week was awarded a $20 million state grant to build a new jail.

The California Board of State and Community Corrections formally approved the funding at a Thursday meeting.

Gov. declares drought, conservation urged

Tuolumne Utilities District ramped up voluntary water conservation efforts Friday, the same day Gov. Jerry Brown confirmed what lawmakers and water managers have been saying for weeks — California is facing a critical water shortage in what’s projected to be the driest year in state history.

Brown proclaimed a state of emergency Friday due to the ongoing dry conditions across California that have caused water supplies to dip to alarmingly low levels. The TUD board voted Friday afternoon to enter “Phase II” water conservation, which launches a public awareness campaign calling on customers to voluntarily cut down on water use.

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