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Forest Service: This fire season ‘very active’

The U.S. Forest Service is anticipating a “very active fire season” this year on the Stanislaus National Forest, where last year’s Rim Fire scorched 154,000 acres.

The Forest Service said the Stanislaus National Forest’s “fire danger condition” is currently set at “high.” The chief reason: A lack of winter snow and rainfall has left vegetation unusually dry.


Today's headlines (June 9, 2014)


ACLU: Board vote too religious

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors plans to revisit a controversial resolution it passed two months ago recognizing the work of an Angels Camp pregnancy resource center.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California sent a letter last month to county officials asking the board to repeal its resolution supporting the Calaveras Door of Hope. The ACLU said the resolution endorses a specific religion, which violates the state constitution, and is concerned the board adopted the resolution without allowing for public comment as required by law.

Whitman, Dambacher head to Nov.

Tuolumne County Elections Office staff Thursday counted most of the 2,200 remaining absentee ballots from Tuesday’s primary, clarifying who will move to the November Assessor-Recorder runoff while leaving the super-tight Sonora City Council race unresolved.

Thursday’s counting showed Assessor-Recorder candidate Michael Dambacher received the most votes and will face candidate Kaenan Whitman. Dambacher had gotten 4,292, or 39 percent, of the votes and Whitman had 3,481, or 31.65 percent.

Troubled Waters Part II: County’s water crisis 150 years in making

Water spills over O’Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. File Photo / Union Democrat.
This is the second part of a three-part series examining north and central Tuolumne County’s drought crisis, how we got here and where we’re headed. Part 1 appeared in the May 30 edition and Part 3 will run next Friday.


Each year, enough water to serve Tuolumne County’s population for a century surges from the county’s mountain peaks through its canyons and foothill river beds, and beyond. In hydrological terms, it’s a little under 2 million acre-feet — or enough to cover two million football fields in a foot of water. 

All told, the water that courses through the Stanislaus and Tuolumne river watershed accounts for about 4 percent of the state’s yearly water supply, and yet Tuolumne County can claim ownership to nearly none of it. 

Today's headlines (June 6, 2014)

Don Pedro area fires all contained

A new fire sparked Thursday by a car crash near Don Pedro Reservoir has been fully contained this morning.

A set of fires that started Wednesday in the same area — referred to collectively as the 59 Fire — were fully contained as of Thursday night after burning 487 acres.

Schools wind down for summer

Partaking in the last ice cream of the year at Soulsbyville Elementary are (from left) second-graders Emerson Alberto, Paige Tipton, Maddison Silva, Nevaeh Moran, Natalie Herd, Katie Jaggers, Cooper Alberto and Sophia Diamon. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, copyright 2014
Elementary schools are giving their students a few final hurrahs before leaving for the summer.

Several elementary school graduation, or “promotion,” ceremonies were held this week, and most districts’ employees won’t return to work next week.


2,100 Calaveras County ballots uncounted; voter turnout 40 percent

Calaveras County Elections Office employees plan to process more than 2,100 ballots from Tuesday’s primary election and update results today.

Workers spent Wednesday picking up equipment from the county’s 15 polling places along with sorting and verifying 2,146 uncounted ballots. Of those, 233 are provisional and 1,913 are absentee ballots dropped at polling places.


2,200 Tuolumne County ballots uncounted; voter turnout 30 percent

Tuolumne County elections workers expect to count outstanding absentee ballots from Tuesday’s primary election today, making the results of multiple tight elections clearer.

However, it could still be days before the Sonora City Council and some other races are decided, said Registrar of Voters Deborah Bautista.

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