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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.


Elections take shape in counties

Candidates continue to pull election paperwork in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Several key posts in county government, along with state and district offices, will be voted on in the June 3 primary election. 


Dems field House hopeful

A Democrat has filed the required paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in California’s 4th Congressional District, which encompasses both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Kris Johnson, of Granite Bay, will challenge Republican incumbent Congressman Tom McClintock, who maintains an office in Granite Bay and resides outside of the district in Elk Grove.


Jerry Snyder: A storied career

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Jerry Snyder, of Sonora, talks about the clip of himself that was used in the movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” while he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Jerry Snyder says his career has been crisis management from the start.

During nearly three decades with the U.S. Coast Guard, he rescued stranded boats, assisted with an oil spill in the San Francisco Bay and helped coordinate the return of  a whale named J.J. to the Pacific Ocean.


Dry weather dominates forecasts

Recent weather forecasts suggest it’s unlikely the Central Sierra will receive any form of precipitation through early next week — at least.

Higher than normal temperatures and mostly clear skies are predicted for the area through Tuesday. 


TUD board calls for water conservation

As dry weather lingers across California, the Tuolumne Utilities District could decide to join a number of other water agencies in the state that are calling for customers to curb their use of the increasingly scarce resource.

The TUD board will hold a special meeting Friday afternoon to consider implementing “Phase II” water conservation measures, with an eye toward mandatory conservation by the end of the month.


Cultivation clash: Planners backpedal on growing ordinance after public outcry

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Nearly 100 people attend a Tuolumne County Planning Commission meeting Wednesday evening at the County Administration Building in downtown Sonora. The topic of the meeting was a proposed medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Tuolumne County leaders need to re-work a proposal to regulate the growth and processing of medical marijuana before they make it official, the county Planning Commission declared on Wednesday.

Following a lengthy public hearing and discussion of a new ordinance that would ban outdoor cultivation of the plant, as well as collectives and dispensaries, the commission voted 6-1 on the side of easing up on the restrictions or at least bringing more people into the process. 


Oaks, old cemetery will be saved

Nearly four acres of Calaveras County-owned land set aside for oak tree preservation will also protect a historic cemetery where hundreds of miners were buried more than a century ago.

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to preserve the 3.75 acres, near the county’s Government Center in San Andreas, to compensate for the removal of oak trees to build the new Calaveras County Criminal Justice Center.


Bigelow calls for drought action

Mother Lode Assemblyman Frank Bigelow believes rural counties should be at the center of the discussion regarding the current drought situation, because those are the areas where much of the state’s water originates.

Bigelow, R-O’Neals, penned a letter Monday calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to issue an official drought declaration. He said a formal declaration would heighten awareness and bring the dryness issue to the forefront of discussions in the state Legislature.


SRMC celebrates 10 years

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Sonora Regional Medical Center marked 10 years at its Greenley Road location Tuesday. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2013.
Sonora Regional Medical Center, Tuolumne County’s largest health care provider, celebrated 10 years at its Greenley Road location on Tuesday.

Sonora Regional has come a long way from its roots at the Bromley Sanitarium and Sierra Hospital. It offers state of the art modern health care for county residents and beyond.


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