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County bemoans plan for small fish

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, fourth floor, County Administration Center, 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

Tuolumne County leaders are blasting the California Department of Fish and Wildlife over its recent decision to release smaller trout in the state’s streams and lakes this year.

The county Board of Supervisors calls the decision both “alarming” and “disappointing” in a strongly worded letter to state Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham. The letter, which will be up for consideration at Tuesday’s meeting, further states that the department showed “callous disregard for the public interest” by not being more transparent.

Feds eye monarch butterfly protection

Monarch butterflies flock to milkweed stands for food and to lay their eggs. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Courtesy photo.
Federal officials are considering creating new policies to protect monarch butterflies, a ubiquitous summer sight throughout the Sierra Nevada.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans Dec. 29 to conduct an Endangered Species Act “status review” of monarchs.

Leaders sworn in


 About 100 people attended a swearing-in ceremony Monday morning for newly elected and reelected government officials.

Those taking oaths, administered by Superior Court Presiding Judge Donald Segerstrom at the County Government Center, included Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors members Randy Hanvelt and Evan Royce, District Attorney Laura Krieg, Treasurer-Tax Collector Shelley Piech, Assessor Recorder Kaenan Whitman, and Superintendent of Schools Margie Bulkin.


County mulls removal of trees

Tuolumne County administrators are planning to shed some sunlight on Courthouse Square in downtown Sonora this year.  

The county is scheduled to unveil plans Monday for a proposed maintenance project that would involve removing some of the large trees in the park and installing surveillance cameras on nearby buildings. County Administrator Craig Pedro said the work is intended to make the park “cleaner, safer and healthier,” without disrupting any of its historical integrity.

Homeless clean up encampment

Brian Barrieau, of Sonora, and Anthony Eakin, of Sonora, pick up trash at an abandoned homeless camp (above left and right) off of Stockton Road in Sonora. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 A group of homeless men cleaned up a camp on Tuesday in an effort to give something back to the community. 

The homeless encampments, scattered around city property, are typically accessed by trails off Southgate Drive or Stockton Road.


Ramp opens at Glory Hole

Although still far, far below capacity, New Melones reservoir levels have risen about 6 feet in the past month. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 A 6-foot rise in the water level last month at New Melones Reservoir has allowed lake managers to open part of a boat ramp at the Glory Hole Recreation Area closed more than three months ago.

The ramp is the only boat launch available at New Melones because of low water levels at other launch areas, a Bureau of Reclamation representative in Sonora said this week.


Man arrested for social media threat

An 18-year-old was arrested Wednesday after making threats to law enforcement on social media.

Teen arrested for allegedly threatening cops

An 18-year-old was arrested Wednesday after allegedly making threats to law enforcement on social media.

A look back at 2014


Low snowpack
a big concern

Perhaps no story dominated the headlines in 2014 — both locally and throughout California — as much as the state’s epic three-year drought.

The Department of Water Resources conducted the first manual snowpack survey of the year on Jan. 3 that confirmed the water content in the statewide snowpack — which melts in the spring and flows into rivers and reservoirs, providing about a third of the water used by California cities and farms — was at a mere 20 percent of average after three consecutive years of below-normal precipitation in California.

Gas prices will rise after first of the year

Leland Payton, of Dorrington, pumps gas at the Sonora ARCO on Tuesday. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, copyright 2014
 Local residents can kiss the recent low gas prices goodbye, thanks in part to a new rate hike that will go into effect Thursday in California.

The anticipated higher prices are a side effect of Assembly Bill 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act,” a landmark 2006 law intended to cut the state’s carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020.


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Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:21:23 -0800