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Highway 108 fire update

A grass and oak woodland fire along Highway 108 just west of Mono Way has burned 11 acres and the forward rate of spread was stopped about 6 p.m. according to Cal Fire Captain Barry Rudolph.

Highway 108 fire update

A grass and oak woodland fire along Highway 108 just west of Mono Way has burned 11 acres and the forward rate of spread was stopped about 6 p.m. according to Cal Fire Captain Barry Rudolph.

Sonora weighs bond timeline

The Sonora Union High School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday delayed approving the initial environmental review of the district’s upcoming bond projects because of issues with its timeline. 

Several parents and community members spoke at the meeting with their own timeline concern — missing this fall’s football season.


Fire claims home in Columbia

Three people safely escaped an overnight fire that destroyed a Columbia home.

The fire was reported about 12:18 a.m. today on the 11100 block of Green Street, across from Columbia State Historic Park.

Fireworks laws differ in Tuolumne, Calaveras counties

While fireworks are illegal throughout Tuolumne County, they are permitted in most of Calaveras County despite historically dry conditions and a recent string of grassfires. 

Rules vary because it’s up to each individual county or city to decide whether or not to permit fireworks. 


TUD grants relief to man hit with $6,000 bill

Bud Regelin, of Twain Harte, holds a bill from the Tuolumne Utilities District for more than $6,000. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Think your last water bill from Tuolumne Utilities District was bad? Try getting one for $6,000. 

That’s how much Bud Regelin, of Twain Harte, originally owed the district for the months of April and May.

Fires blacken Mother Lode

Firefighters remained busy in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties Monday, fighting a series of blazes fed by warm, historically dry conditions.

Activity included a brief but intense firefight in the Rawhide Road area of Jamestown, where a vegetation fire threatened several homes, plus continuing efforts to extinguish the Oak and Reed fires in Calaveras County.


Ratto Ranch deal signed

The historic Ratto Ranch near Sonora will be protected from development in perpetuity thanks to the current property owners and a local preservation group.

The Tuolumne County Land Trust announced the signing of a conservation easement for the 238-acre ranch, nestled against Table Mountain west of Sonora’s Racetrack Road neighborhood.


Home, sweet home: Jamestown woman buys first house at age 91

At the age of 91, Vera Bigham, of Jamestown, has purchased her first home. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
At 91, Vera Bigham finally has gotten what many consider the American Dream.

On May 6 — her birthday — she and daughter Gaile moved into her newly purchased, three-bedroom home in Mill Villa Estates. It was her first.

Lake activities receding

Water levels at New Melones Reservoir are dropping by about a half-foot per day. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
A serious drought is putting a crimp on recreational activities at area reservoirs.

At popular boating and fishing spots — like New Melones, Don Pedro and Beardsley reservoirs — lowered lake levels mean some boat launches have been decommissioned, some events have been canceled and anglers are seeing benefits and drawbacks.

On the plus side, some natural and historic features not evident since the last drought in 1992 are becoming visible with dropping lake levels. 

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