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Transportation strategy topic of public meeting

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County  Transportation Council and  Tuolumne County Transit Agency, 3 p.m. Wednesday, Fireside Conference Room, Best Western Sonora Oaks Hotel and Conference Center, 19551 Hess Ave., East Sonora.


A public meeting this week in East Sonora will cover a proposed update of a three-year strategic plan for the agencies involved with overseeing transportation projects in Tuolumne County.

The Tuolumne County Transportation Council and Tuolumne County Transit Agency have planned a special joint meeting for 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Fireside Conference Room of the Best Western Sonora Oaks Hotel and Conference Center, for a workshop over the proposed update.

Drought killing area’s trees

Scott Nye of Twain Harte Tree Service removes fallen trees Wednesday from a Sonora property. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Getting dead trees cut down and removed from a piece of property can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, and it’s an expense more residents may find themselves paying this year.

Drought, overgrowth, competition for scarce water, disease, and bark beetles appear to be killing more and more trees in the Mother Lode — evergreens and deciduous — and concern is rising among local foresters, arborists and researchers.

Committee discusses Rim Fire recovery efforts

Members of the Tuolumne County natural resource committee met Tuesday morning to discuss Rim Fire impacts and recovery efforts, including hazard tree removal, a timber sale update, methods to clear slash: burning on-site vs. using a biomass plant, and reforestation in the Rim Fire burn scar.


UPDATE: Excavator hits power pole, driver trapped in vehicle


A PG&E lineman shuts off the power of a downed power pole. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.

A man excavating property on Springfield Road near Shaws Flat Road struck a power pole this afternoon trapping the man in the vehicle, according to Columbia Fire Protection District Chief Mark Ferreira.




Cottage Springs goes before Calaveras County supervisors

PUBLIC MEETING: Calaveras County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Board Chambers, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas.


Michael Oliveira and Steve Kearney — sworn in Friday as the newest members of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors — will have their first meeting Tuesday as elected officials.

Oliveira represents District 3, which spans the Highway 4 corridor from the Murphys area to the Alpine County line. Kearney represents District 5, which includes the Rancho Calaveras area. 

First 2015 baby home safe

Jamestown residents Robert Wootters and Shannon Quinn hold their daughter, Elaina Wootters, who was born on Jan. 1. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Elaina Denyell Wootters was the first child born in 2015 at Sonora Regional Medical Center and came home this week from intensive care at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

Elaine, now fully healthy, is the first child of Jamestown residents Robert Wootters and Shannon Quinn.

Support system essential to climbers

Dawn Wall free climbers and photographers climb high on El Capitan Friday. Guy McCarthy / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Local climbers, including one with ties to the Mother Lode, are supporting and documenting a historic effort to free climb one of the world’s hardest big wall routes in Yosemite Valley.

Tommy Caldwell, of Estes Park, Colorado, and Kevin Jorgeson, of Santa Rosa, are the stars of the Dawn Wall show unfolding on national and international news. They’ve been cranking on fingertip holds and toe-tip cracks, sleeping cliff-side since Dec. 27, trying to be the first ever to climb this 3,000-foot route on El Capitan by fair means — using ropes and hardware strictly for safety.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration: Remembering the ‘dream’

Dr. Clayborne Carson, from Stanford University, was the keynote speaker at the 20th annual Mother Lode Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Six Tuolumne County students were awarded Sunday in an essay contest at the 20th annual Mother Lode birthday celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. 

The event began at 2 p.m. at the Sonora High School auditorium. Sonora High School teacher David Winslow presented the awards. 

Yosemite hopes to gain 400-acre Ackerson Meadow

Federal officials plan to add a 400-acre property known as Ackerson Meadow to Yosemite National Park. The privately owned land lies within the 2013 Rim Fire burn scar. Guy McCarthy / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Federal officials intend to add more than 400 acres in Tuolumne County to Yosemite National Park, and the Department of Interior is seeking public input through the end of January.

The area is a privately owned property known as Ackerson Meadow, currently surrounded by Stanislaus National Forest land and adjacent to Yosemite National Park near Evergreen Road.

Stanford professor to headline MLK event

A Stanford University history professor and the keeper of Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal writings will be the featured speaker Sunday at the 20th annual celebration of the civil rights leader’s birthday.

Clayborne Carson, the MLK Jr. Centennial Professor of History at Stanford University, will speak on income inequality, what he considers King’s unfinished business. 

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