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Climber dies in Yosemite

A 36-year-old rock climber died Saturday after falling roughly 300 feet from a climbing route in Yosemite National Park, according to park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.

Brad Parker, of Sebastopol, was free soloing the Matthes Crest Traverse in the Tuolumne Meadows area of the park, Cobb said. Witnesses saw him fall at approximately 5:45 p.m.


Sonora fire chief hiring discussed

Sonora leaders are concerned that the city’s next fire chief will not be required to live in or immediately near the city limits. But there’s not much they can do about it.

The Sonora City Council on Monday approved changes to the official job description for the chief, which included removing the residency clause that required the chief to live within 15 minutes of normal driving time to the city fire department. The job description will be used to recruit a new, permanent chief to replace Mike Barrows who retired earlier this year.


Worst of Mono Way work done

Though most of the work on the Mono Way widening project in Sonora has yet to come, the city’s chief engineer said the work that most impacted drivers is done.

City Engineer Gerard Fuccillo said that, as of Monday, the project is about one-third complete. However, Fuccillo described the remaining work as a “gentle slope” with the culvert replacement that closed a short stretch of the busy road completed.

 


Yosemite plan may target backcountry camps

The National Park Service is developing a plan to manage the wilderness areas within Yosemite National Park that could affect the five popular High Sierra Camps, according to park officials.

The NPS will seek input sometime this year on the tentatively titled “Yosemite Wilderness Stewardship Plan,” according to park planning documents. Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb said the process is currently in its “infancy stages” and she wasn’t sure what effect it would have on the park’s High Sierra Camps.


Grass fire in Sonora

A small grass fire burned a half-acre Tuesday near the Tuolumne County Department of Social Services building on Cedar Road North in Sonora.

The fire was reported at 12:21 p.m. and was contained by 1:30 p.m., according Cal Fire spokesman Mike Spear.

Resources dispatched to the area included two Tuolumne County Fire Department engines, three Cal Fire engines, one Sonora City Fire Department engine, two Cal Fire hand crews and two air tankers as a precautionary measure.

The fire’s cause is under investigation. No injuries or structure damage was reported.


Fires still burn slowly in Yosemite

Firefighters continue to battle or monitor several fires in Yosemite National Park.

The biggest actively burning fire is the Dark Hole Fire. The fire, sparked by lightning in mid-July near the Yosemite Creek Campground, has burned 1,080 acres. It was about 75 percent contained this morning.

 


Rim Fire suspect makes bail

Tuolumne County resident Keith Emerald, accused of accidentally starting last year’s Rim Fire, was released on a $60,000 bail bond Friday.

Emerald was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 7 on four counts for violating a forest order by starting an illegal campfire, letting it escape and burn timber, and then lying about it to investigators. 

 


Law and justice center on docket

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


Multiple major construction projects are up for discussion at Tuesday’s Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The board will be asked to vote on items that would allow the county’s new juvenile hall, Columbia pool repairs and replacement of the Lime Kiln Road bridge over Curtis Creek to move forward. 


Russia embraces Copper man’s biker blues

Copperopolis resident Charlie Brechtel is known in some circles as the “motorcycle ambassador.”

The 57-year-old father of five has spent more than a decade as the frontman for the Charlie Brechtel Band, playing blues songs inspired by the history of American biker culture at motorcycle rallies and events throughout the United States. 

 


Local pools closing

Summer pool hours are coming to an end this week — while the Calaveras High School pool is already closed and the Sonora High School pool is reopened after a vandalism case. 

Sonora High School’s pool was closed Sunday and Monday after a “substantial” amount of fecal matter was discovered in the pool early Sunday morning by pool staff, according to Eric Aitken, Tuolumne County recreation supervisor. 


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