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Body found, one arrested

Bryan Cook, 38 (right), was arrested on suspicion of homicide. Valentina Taz (left) and Teresa Holt (not pictured) are wanted for questioning with the incident.
A suspect in a Stockton homicide was arrested and an unidentified body of a man believed to be the victim was recovered by Tuolumne County Sheriff's detectives Thursday in Groveland, according to Stockton police.

Sonora Councilman in hot water

The Sonora Police Department announced Friday that it recently completed an investigation into allegations that Sonora City Councilman Matt Hawkins illegally dumped trash in a local business's large metal trash bin.

County wades into water rights with lawyer

Faced with lackluster growth and a three-year drought, among other things, Tuolumne County has hired a new law firm to aid it in securing future water supplies.

Sacramento-based Somach, Simmons and Dunn will consult the county on questions related to local water rights, water-related lawsuits, groundwater and other similar issues, according to a contract inked late last month.


Claire is 2014’s firstborn in county

Claire Ruth Julie Williams, the first child of Sonora residents Lydia and Trevor Williams, was the first baby born in 2014 at Sonora Regional Medical Center.

Claire, born at 1:52 a.m. Thursday, weighed in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 20 inches long.


PAWS turns 30

Winston the tiger gets comfortable on a newly built table in his habitat at the San Andreas sanctuary. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, copyright 2014
 On Noah’s Ark, the animals came two-by-two so they could survive a giant flood and continue their existence on earth.

At ARK 2000 — the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s 2,300-acre sanctuary in San Andreas — it’s a bit different.


Today's headlines (Jan. 3)

• PAWS turns 30

• County wades into water rights with lawyer

• Claire is 2014's firstborn in county 

Low snowpack a big concern

California water officials plan to conduct the season’s first snowpack survey Friday, which will likely confirm a proclamation last week that 2013 was the state’s driest calendar year on record.

The Department of Water Resources’ manual snow measurement will be conducted at 11 a.m. off Highway 50 near Echo Summit, north of Tuolumne County. The readings should be available to the public by early afternoon.


Tuolumne County workers' deal stalls

Contract talks have broken down between Tuolumne County government leaders and  the union that represents 280 county professional, road and miscellaneous employees.

The county and the Operating Engineers Local 3 have been unable to reach an agreement on a new contract, even after two attempts at mediation. An impasse was declared in September.


Flu season worsens

The flu vaccine is available by shot or nasal spray. The Tuolumne County Health Department gives free vaccinations. Jesse Jones/Union Democrat, copyright 2014
 With a particularly strong strain of the flu popping up around the country and in California, local health officials continue to advise residents to get their flu immunizations.

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department reports clusters of patients around the state have contracted the H1N1 influenza A virus this year. The virus, against which a flu shot in the United States will defend against, is commonly called the “swine flu” and first appeared in 2009. It’s unusual in that it tends to more-severely affect middle aged adults, rather than the elderly and young children, as is more common with the flu.

Today's headlines (Jan. 2)

• Flu season worsens

• Low snowpack a big concern

• Health benefits take effect in new year

• Tuolumne County workers' deal stalls

• Frog, toad plan gets new airing this month 

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