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TUD board elects president; OKs water line extensions

The Tuolumne Utilities District board voted 5-0 Tuesday to move forward on a plan to provide temporary water connections for residential property owners with failing wells and elected a president after several votes.

The new board initially had difficulty electing a new president, however. After several false starts and failed nominations, Scesa’s consultation with district counsel, and a reminder from Tom Scesa that scheduling a special board meeting to elect a new president would cost ratepayers an additional $500 to cover their stipends, the board voted 3-2 to elect Ringen president, with Ringen, Maciel and Kopf in favor, Johnson and Grinnell opposed. 


Calaveras declines grant for school cops

Following a lengthy discussion at its Tuesday meeting, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors did not accept a grant to hire three school resource officers, because it would end up being too costly for the county. 

Under the federal grant, the county’s match would have been $28,170 for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The county’s portion would have then significantly increased in the following years — jumping to $137,716 for the 2015-16 fiscal year, then to $191,104 for the 2016-17 fiscal year and $263,927 for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Sonora high bond project to proceed

All but one of Sonora High School’s Measure J bond projects is on hold due to an unresolved lawsuit filed against the district.

Renovations to the Humanities Building and track and field — the first two projects planned with the $23 million bond passed in 2012 — were slated to begin this week. Only the classroom renovations will move forward, district Superintendent Mike McCoy said Tuesday at the district board meeting.

Wet and wild storm forecast

A sandbag-filling station is set up on Chestnut Street behind the Tuolumne Fire Department on Tuesday to help people prepare for the upcoming storm predicted to bring strong wind and heavy rain to the area. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
The National Weather Service issued warnings and advisories for a windy and wet storm making its way into the Mother Lode. 

The NWS issued a flood watch for Tuolumne and Calaveras counties effective this evening through Friday evening, and a high-wind advisory will be in effect from 9 p.m. today through 2 p.m. Thursday. A blizzard warning will be in effect in effect in the mountains of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties from 7 a.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday at elevations above 6,500 feet.

Wind gusts up to 55 mph forecast

Fierce winds blew over a 30-inch diameter tree and demolished a home on the 17000 block of East Brookside Drive in the Sonora area, trapping a resident inside in December 2011. File photo / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
This week’s predicted storm could bring strong winds to the Mother Lode, with sustained winds of 25 to 40 mph in the foothills and gusts upward of 55 mph. Wind speeds at higher elevations could be even greater.

The National Weather service today predicted the strongest winds will occur Wednesday night into Thursday.

New charter policy OK’d by county board of education

The Tuolumne County Board of Education on Monday voted on a more detailed, and perhaps more stringent, charter school policy following the denial of the county’s newest charter school’s request to go countywide.

Foothill Leadership Academy in November was denied its petition to go countywide.

Commission to recommend tax on rentals

The Sonora Planning Commission on Monday recommended the City Council adopt rules allowing the city to regulate and tax residential property rentals of less than a month. 

The proposed zoning ordinance amendment would require anyone advertising short-term rentals — increasingly being used as an alternative to hotel room stays — to obtain a “transient occupancy” permit from the city and pay the city’s Transient Occupancy Tax, now just charged to hotels and motels.

Powerful storm to bring wind, rain

A storm being billed as the biggest and potentially most dangerous of the season is expected to bring heavy wind, rain and snow to the Mother Lode late Wednesday into Friday.

Wind gusts to 55 mph or stronger are possible in some areas, and Sonora could get 2 to 5 inches of rain, depending on the storm track, National Weather Service forecasters said today.

Outdoor burning restrictions lifted in Lode

A restriction on burning of yard waste in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties has been lifted.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, Cal Fire burn permits are no longer required outside the Sonora city limits, and burn hours are not restricted. Burning is still allowed only on permissive burn days designated by each county’s Air Pollution Control District.

Feature film ‘Breaking Legs’ shoots in Tuolumne

Filming began this month in Tuolumne County for a new feature film directed by a Summerville High School graduate.

Mark Marchillo wrote and is directing “Breaking Legs,” a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl who moves to a small town and struggles to pursue her passion of dancing. 

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Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:48:32 -0800