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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 

A look back at 2013


Plight draws attention to rare disease

“Hypothalamic obesity” is a neurological disorder as obscure as it sounds, but it’s now gaining national attention thanks to two former Sonorans and their daughter.

Alexis Shapiro, 12, and her parents, Ian and Jennifer, now of Cibolo, Texas, were featured on national TV news programs this week as a result of a battle with their health insurer that’s prevented them from getting Alexis what could be a life-saving gastric bypass surgery.


Bevy of seats up for election in June, November

Candidates have started pulling paperwork for elections to be held this coming year.

Several key posts in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, along with state and district offices, will be voted on in the June 3 primary election. 


Today's headlines (Dec. 31)

• A look back at 2013

• Bevy of seats up for election in June, November

• Plight draws attention to rare disease

• Summerville brings back journalism class

• Still no claim to $8M Lotto prize 

Medi-Cal rolls will explode under ACA

The number of people in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for low-income and disabled people, could swell upward of 15 to 20 percent in coming days as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The shift Jan. 1 reflects the addition of formerly uninsured working adults and their children, plus individuals and families whose employers have dropped their employee health care, and individuals transitioning from state and county funded medical programs to Medi-Cal.


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