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Calaveras honors top seniors

A trio of Calaveras County senior citizens were chosen by the county’s Commission on Aging as the 2014 Seniors of the Year.

Typically, there are two award recipients, however, three volunteers were recognized this year. More than 50 people attended an awards luncheon held Tuesday afternoon at the San Andreas Town Hall. 

PML pilot killed in Reno crash

Lee Behel, 64, of San Jose, died in a plane crash Monday while attempting to qualify for the Reno National Championship Air Races. He was a member of the Pine Mountain Lake Aviation Association and lived part-time in Groveland. Courtesy photo.
A veteran pilot who died in a plane crash Monday afternoon while attempting to qualify for the Reno National Championship Air Races was a respected member of the Pine Mountain Lake Aviation Association and lived part-time in Groveland.

Lee Behel, 64, of San Jose, was involved in a fatal accident about 3:30 p.m. Monday during a qualifying heat of the National Championship Air Races at the Reno-Stead Airport in Nevada. Friends and fellow members of the PMLAA say he spent many weekends at the private PML Airport in Groveland, where he had a second home with two hangars adjacent to the taxiway. 


Sierra Views: A closer look at Joan Lark

Joan Lark and her husband, Ed Lark, work together at the Calaveras County public access TV station. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
If you live in Calaveras County, your life has probably been affected by Joan Lark, whether you know it or not.

Lark helped establish and then enforce fire-prevention efforts along upper Highway 4, has served on the Bret Harte High School Board of Trustees for 27 years, and is integral to the operation of Calaveras County public access television.

Layoffs loom at Calaveras schools

The Calaveras Unified School District has met its deadline to submit a list of about $2 million in cuts — avoiding state takeover for now — mostly with sweeping layoffs, for which notices will go out next month. 

Calaveras County’s largest school district has faced dwindling student enrollment and reserves for several years. The district was informed this year by the Calaveras County Office of Education that it must show a plan to balance the budget by Sept. 8, or face forced cuts by the state.

TUD lifts mandatory restrictions on water

After living with some of the toughest water-use restrictions in the state earlier this year, Tuolumne Utilities District customers can now use as much or as little water as they want without the threat of fines or penalties.

District customers are no longer required to reduce their water usage over the previous year by a certain percentage, under Phase II voluntary water conservation measures unanimously approved by the TUD Board of Directors at Tuesday’s meeting. However, some specific restrictions recently mandated by the State Water Resources Control Board are still in place.

Popular area of Yosemite off limits

A large and popular section of Yosemite National Park’s backcountry will remain closed to the public until further notice, a result of the growing Meadow Fire, National Park Service officials said today.

The closure affects an area of more than 4,500 acres, burned since the fire erupted Sunday, forcing the evacuation of about 185 people from Little Yosemite Valley and Half Dome.

Murphys Hotel: ‘Hell’ of a time

Guests gathered at the Murphys Hotel bar Tuesday evening to watch the episode of “Hotel Hell” featuring the historic Calaveras County inn. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
If you missed it, “Hotel Hell” can be seen online at www.fox.com.


The sounds of laughter and celebration erupting Tuesday night at the Murphys Hotel seemed a lot more like heaven than hell.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the historic inn featured on “Hotel Hell,” a Fox reality television show that filmed at the Murphys landmark more than a year ago. 

New Melones winds down for season

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced annual closures at several New Melones Reservoir campgrounds and day-use areas that will be effective through March of next year.

The closures allow Reclamation employees to perform routine maintenance work at the sites.

Will Summerville limit stadium access?

PUBLIC MEETING: Summerville Union High School District Board of Trustees, 6:30 p.m., school library, 17555 Tuolumne Road, Tuolumne. 


The Summerville Union High District Board of Education on Wednesday will continue discussion on the level of free public access allowed and cost to rent its nearly complete $4.1 million stadium.

 The stadium project — which includes a new track, field and bleachers, and a renovated snack shack — is the first project from the district’s $8 million Measure H bond passed in 2012. It is less than a month from its projected completion date. 

Motorcycle fatality near Big Oak Flat

A motorcycle crash near Big Oak Flat has left one victim dead and another seriously wounded. 

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Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:19:01 -0800