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Calaveras County board to recognize Seniors of the Year

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

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will recognize the 2014 Seniors of the Year.

At the start of the board’s public meeting, supervisors are scheduled to pass three proclamations recognizing the Commission on Aging’s Seniors of the Year. 

TUD proposes easing water restrictions

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne Utilities District, 2 p.m., Tuesday, TUD Board Room, at 18885 Nugget Blvd., Sonora.

Tuolumne Utilities District staff is proposing a move to Phase II voluntary water conservation for customers, despite a continued lack of precipitation and no guarantee for better conditions this winter.

The TUD Board of Directors is scheduled to consider the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting. District customers would be encouraged to continue voluntarily conserving as much water as possible, but several specific usage restrictions mandated by the State Water Resources Control Board would remain in place. 

Gruenther memorial scholarship honors pilot

Cassy Gruenther, who lost her husband in a U.S. Air Force training flight a year and a half ago, just saw the first recipient of the Lucas Gruenther Memorial Scholarship leave for a naval academy and has been sharing her late husband’s memory and spirit in other ways. 

Maj. Lucas Gruenther, 32, of the 31st Fighter Wing, went missing Jan. 28, 2013, during a nighttime training mission over the Adriatic Sea. He was found dead days later and was determined to have been killed while ejecting from his plane, which was destroyed. 

Yosemite fire: 185 hikers evacuated

Firefighters in Yosemite National Park continued this morning to battle a roughly 2,600-acre blaze that forced the evacuation of 185 hikers from the park's backcountry and the top of Half Dome over the weekend.

Wilderness Act turns 50 this week

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which calls for permanent protection of the country’s most pristine areas.

Today, nearly a quarter of the Stanislaus National Forest is federally-designated “wilderness,” while neighboring Yosemite National Park has a vast 1,100 square miles of wilderness. 

College tries to boost grad rates

The number of Columbia College students who eventually graduate with degrees, certificates or transfers is slightly below the state average of 48.1 percent, but new state mandates should help boost local and state numbers.  

The California Community College Board of Governors last week announced a goal of increasing completion rates to 62.8 percent by 2024. Columbia’s completion rate was 44.3 percent as of 2013. 

Crush time for vintners

Gianelli Vineyards in Jamestown has started crushing grapes for the season. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Despite a lingering drought, many area vintners are toasting the quality of this year’s wine grape harvest.

Veteran winemaker Chuck Hovey said, while this year’s tonnages are below average due to the drought, the quality of the fruit is rivaling the banner year of 2009. 

Jacksonville Road fire burns 70 acres

Firefighters overnight continued to battle the Jackson Fire near Lake Don Pedro, which had grown to more than 70 acres.

The wildfire, which has burned mostly grass and oaks, was 50 percent contained as of 7 a.m. today.

Mariposa County fire closes 49

A fire in Mariposa County has closed Highway 49 South and prompted home evacuations. 

Calaveras students arrested for gun

The Calaveras County Sheriff's Office has arrested two Calaveras High School students on charges of bringing a gun to school.

The youths, 15 and 17, were arrested following an 8:10 a.m. report of a student on a bus who was in possession of a gun.

The bus driver was notified and held the student on the bus until deputies arrived.

The gun was found when deputies searched the 17 year old student's bag.

Upon learning that the gun was earlier brought on the bus by the 15 year old, deputies arrested the youth.

Deputies were unsure why the students brought the gun to school.

"At the time of this press release it is not believed that the students had a conceived plan to hurt any students or school staff. This case is still active and further investigation is being conducted. No additional information is available at this time," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

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Fri, 28 Nov 2014 23:43:15 -0800