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County saves 500M gallons of water in ’14

Residents in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties conserved more than 500 million gallons of water from June to November 2014 compared with the same six months in 2013, according to a State Water Resources Control Board report released this week.

For example, the water consumed by users in the Tuolumne Utilities District area was 34 percent below 2013 usage for June to November, according to data for the control board’s Emergency Conservation Regulation Update released Tuesday.

Former Calaveras County supervisor experiences Somalia

Russ Thomas, of Copperopolis, talks about the time he spent as a contractor in Somalia. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Longtime Copperopolis resident Russ Thomas has been on the Calaveras Humane Society’s Board of Directors for the past two years, even though he’s spent much of that time in Somalia. 

Thomas — about 10,000 miles away from the foothills of Calaveras County — would occasionally participate in the board’s meetings via Skype.

Fugitive Lane captured by deputies

A Jamestown fugitive was found Wednesday afternoon in Groveland after he allegedly led police on a high-speed chase.

Update: Teen says social media ‘threat’ was lyrics

Xavier Da'Von Maurice Benzel, 18, of Sonora, sits in his room after authorities searched his home days ago. Jesse Jones/Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
A Sonora teen accused of making threats to law enforcement on social media claims he was posting lyrics from a song. 

Xavier Da’Von Maurice Benzel, 18, of Sonora, is being charged with felony threatening to commit a crime and misdemeanor violation of civil rights. His arraignment is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in Tuolumne County Superior Court Dept. 4. 

League supports board’s fish protest

A Folsom-based recreational fishing advocacy group has joined the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors in protesting the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to stock smaller trout this year in the state’s streams and lakes.

The California Sportfishing League announced its support for the county in a new release on Tuesday, shortly after the board approved a strongly worded letter to Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham that criticized both the decision and lack of public outreach leading up to it.

Officials: Water supply still critical

The current winter warm spell in the Mother Lode indicates people need to keep conserving water, managers for TUD, Twain Harte and Lake Don Pedro community services districts told Tuolumne County supervisors Tuesday morning.

December rains were nice, but January has been dry so far, and the outlook for the next week or more calls for clear skies and warmer than normal temperatures, according to forecasters.

Columbia College graduate to appear on Animal Planet fishing show

Former Sonora resident Andrew Hillis, 25, of Eureka (left), will be featured on Animal Planet show “Battle of the Bay” about fishing boats in Alaska. Courtesy photo.
A Columbia College graduate will be featured Thursday night on an Animal Planet TV series profiling Alaskan salmon fishing boats and their crews.

Former Sonora resident Andrew Hillis, 25, spends summers working as “deck boss/deck hand” on The Thunder, a 32-foot vessel in Bristol Bay, Alaska. 

Juvenile hall plans enter final stage

Tuolumne County’s first-ever juvenile hall is entering the final stages of development prior to construction.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the final plans and specifications for the Mother Lode Regional Juvenile Detention Facility, which will be located at the site of the county’s future Law and Justice Center off Old Wards Ferry Road.

Search on for Jamestown man after high-speed chase

Read more...Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for a Jamestown man who allegedly escaped authorities after a high-speed chase. 
George Michael Lane, 57, is a transient with a last known address on Park Avenue in Jamestown. He is wanted by authorities on charges of evading police, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and driving on a suspended license, according to a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office report. 

County seeks bids on juvenile hall project

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors is seeking bids from contractors for the construction of a long-proposed juvenile detention center to be located off Wards Ferry Road.

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