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Dodge Ridge opens today, after recent storms bring much-needed snow

Dodge Ridge Winter Sports Area Marketing Director Sean Waterman (left) and Mountain Manager Jason Smith make a final run down one of the slopes on Tuesday in preparation for today’s opening. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Employees at Dodge Ridge Winter Sports Area plan to open today and have a half-dozen lifts ready by 9 a.m. for skiers and snowboarders to access at least 27 groomed runs, resort officials said.

Since Thursday the Dodge Ridge area has received more than a foot of new snow, including 19 inches at the 8,200-foot summit, according to Valerie Whetzel, marketing director at Dodge Ridge. An additional 8 inches of snow was possible by Wednesday afternoon.

Letters to Santa

Letters to Santa will appear in Thursday’s Union Democrat, incorrect information appeared in today’s paper.

Area CHP officer Norton deployed to Oakland riots

Read more...A Sonora California Highway Patrol officer last week went to the heart of the Oakland riots as part of a newly formed squad.

Officer Nick Norton, of Jamestown, patrolled Oakland streets and freeways from Tuesday through Thursday with the Central Division Special Response team, formed last summer. The team includes about 80 officers from Kern, Kings, Fresno, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus and Tulare counties. Norton was the only officer from Tuolumne County.

Ebbetts Pass Elves: Santa’s helpers

The Ebbetts Pass Elves include Mike Brown (left) and Bill Cleveland, who work on handmade wooden toys Monday at Brown’s Arnold shop. Mike Morris / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
A group of hard-working retirees — dubbed the Ebbetts Pass Elves — are making Arnold a bit more like the North Pole. 

While Arnold might not have reindeer or the snowfall totals of the North Pole, the elves have no shortage of Christmas spirit. In fact, they work throughout the year hand-making wooden toys that are given to children at Christmastime. 

City may make homeless rule permanent

The Sonora City Council on Monday reviewed its controversial, temporary ordinance which criminalizes homeless camps and took the first step toward making it permanent, despite public requests for delay. 

The council in August passed a law making it a misdemeanor to establish homeless camps within in the city on both public and private property. A provision was added for the ordinance to sunset at the end of the year in hopes local agencies would collaborate on a solution to the issue of homelessness in the area.

Recent rains make for wetter winter

Recent rain and snow mean the Mother Lode winter season is already wetter than last year at this time, and more damp weather is forecast through the end of this week.

“Multiple Pacific systems moving inland will allow the much needed wet pattern to continue across the western U.S. … especially for the extreme drought-stricken California. Surges of moisture with each approaching system … should produce periods of moderate to heavy rains along the California coast … and beneficial snowfall accumulations are expected to pile up along the Sierra Nevada range,” according to a National Weather Service forecast. 

Recovered bell shown to Jamestown students

Superintendent Brenda Chapman unveiled the recovered Jamestown school bell to students on Friday. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
The Jamestown school bell — recovered this month after 85 years missing — was unveiled to students on Friday with a brief history lesson of their school district.

Superintendent Brenda Chapman, who worked to recover the bell this year, spoke to the school’s first- through eighth-graders at Friday’s flag ceremony. 

Oak tree ordinance returns to Angels Camp City Council

PUBLIC MEETING: Angels Camp City Council, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Angels Fire House, 1404 Vallecito Road, Angels Camp.


The Angels Camp City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on new rules aiming to protect trees within the city limits. 

Under the proposal, a permit must be obtained before any healthy oak tree or heritage tree can be removed. There are exceptions, such as dying trees or those posing a fire hazard.

Tree removed from storm-damaged office, street opened

Thomas Silva (left), Eric Owens (center) and Matt Burgess work to remove a fallen tree trunk from an office on South Stewart Street Friday. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Several blocks of South Stewart Street in Sonora were blocked again Friday while crews worked to remove a large redwood trunk that seriously damaged one business and a neighboring garage when it fell during Thursday’s wind storm. 

The trunk was removed by crane on Friday and a construction crew did a “bandaid” job on the structure to help it from getting further damaged. The road was then reopened. 

Storm raises Rim Fire burn area concerns

The storm system that soaked and battered Sonora last week skirted most of the 400-square-mile Rim Fire burn area, but concerns remain about what more inclement weather could mean in and below the vulnerable, charred landscape, according to meteorologists and hydrologists.

Saturation levels of burned soil, debris and sub-surface layers increase with each storm this winter season, and there is a chance of more showers later today and into Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

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Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:43:32 -0800