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Osprey nests saved from perilous poles

Pacific Gas and Electric Company last week added one more platform to its power poles along O’Byrnes Ferry Road, a popular nesting spot for birds of prey. 

The platforms serve as an alternative nesting spot from the poles themselves, to mitigate the chance that the birds or their nests would get electrocuted, possibly causing power outages or even fires. 


Charity cyclers: Riders pass through Sierra on way to Alaska

Elizabeth Schmidt, 21, of Texas (left), Ben Morse, 22, of Philadelphia, Pa. (center), and Ben Keeler, 22, of Texas, participate in the Texas 4000 charity bike ride. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Cycling from Yosemite National Park to Sonora — a roughly 60-mile journey — in a day is a significant accomplishment.

But it’s all in a day’s work for 24 cyclists pedaling from Texas to Alaska for cancer awareness.

Sonora council winners named

The final count from the June 3 primary election shows Sonora City Council candidates George Segarini and Jim Garaventa as the top two finishers.

The still-unofficial results released Friday by the Tuolumne County Elections Office showed Segarini and Garaventa received 362 and 359 votes, respectively. Those numbers — which include all absentee, provisional and in-person ballots — put them ahead of incumbent Councilman Matt Hawkins (351) and challenger Mark Ferreira (346) in the race for two council seats.


Twain Harte lawns get no reprieve from drought

Lawn watering is still banned in Twain Harte due an ongoing supply shortage in the area, despite the Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors voting Tuesday to get rid of the restriction for customers in other parts of the county.

The TUD board lifted its ban on lawn watering but kept all other current restrictions in place — including one that cuts water deliveries to wholesale users by 50 percent over the previous year.


Today's headlines, June 16, 2014

Here's what you can find in today's newspaper.


• Twain Harte lawns get no reprieve from drought • Angels medical clinic meeting is Tuesday • Sonora council winners named • Father's Day Fly-In • Tuolumne County leaders tackle budget • Small fires scorch Mother Lode


• Lawrence, Seawell help North tie • Former NFL top boss speaks in Angels • Holmgren enjoys time in Calaveras County, talks football


• Lode hospitals working to fix ACA glitches • Successful Senior Expo: Fifth annual event draws hundreds to Sonora fairgrounds • Calaveras health fair slated for Saturday • Doctor answers some common medical questions • Fruits and vegetables: The clean 15 • E-cigarettes not a safe alternative to smoking

Find The Union Democrat at newsstands across Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Count confirms Kuntz win

Calaveras County Elections Office staff Thursday released official results from the June 3 primary election, confirming earlier announced outcomes.

The final numbers, which include 220 provisional ballots, confirm that Sheriff Gary Kuntz beat challenger Pat Garrahan with 56 percent, or 6,709 votes, compared to Garrahan’s 5,254 votes. Kuntz’s second four-year term starts in January.

Sonora council race dangles

With the Sonora City Council election still undecided, the Tuolumne County Elections Office is expected to release a final count sometime today.

Registrar of voters Deborah Bautista said Thursday evening that her office was verifying the last of about 200 uncounted provisional ballots. Bautista said her employees  expect a final count by the end of today.

Drought exacerbates water rights debate

Sprinklers water land off of Springfield Road in the Columbia area on Thursday. Jesse Jones/The Union Democrat
 The California Water Resources Control Board is investigating several complaints by Columbia-area residents concerned that a ranch owner is overdrawing Mormon Creek.

The residents allege Gerald Engler is thumbing his nose at downstream neighbors and ignoring state drought conditions while heavily irrigating his Springfield Road fields.


Troubled Waters Part III: Challenges and solutions

In the past decade, California’s population exploded by 10 percent, and yet Tuolumne County’s has been mostly flat.

Tuolumne grew just 1.6 percent between the U.S. censuses in 2000 and 2010, making it among the five slowest growing counties in the state. And by many estimates, the county has actually shrunk 3 percent since then, to the most recent estimate of 54,000 people.


J59 opens fully

UPDATE: La Grange Road, or J59, is fully open again, as of about 9 a.m.

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