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TUD water line project begins Sunday

A three-month project to replace a water pipeline in downtown Sonora begins at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Tuolumne Utilities District is funding the $800,000 project to replace 3,000 feet of a nearly century-old, 6-inch cast iron pipe with a new, 10-inch PVC pipe, on South Washington Street between Church Street and Hospital Road.

Estimated completion date is Nov. 14.


Sierra Views: Forest job a labor of love

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Dusty Vaughn, the recreation specialist for the Stanislaus National Forest’s Groveland Ranger District, stands at the start of the Andresen Mine Trail. Mike Morris / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Dusty Vaughn was so close to last year’s massive Rim Fire the day it began spreading uncontrollably that he could see its flames and feel its heat. 

As the recreation specialist for the Stanislaus National Forest’s Groveland Ranger District, Vaughn captured dramatic photographs of the inferno, some of which were published by various media outlets. 


Election filings spike in last days

The race for three Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors seats will involve a crowded field in what otherwise looks to be a relatively slow November election in Tuolumne County.

A surge of candidates submitted paperwork in the days before Wednesday’s deadline, putting the total candidates for the county’s largest water and sewer provider’s board at 11.

 


Copperopolis fire

Cal Fire freighters are working to extinguish a 4 acre blaze near Copperopolis.

The fire, on the 3000 block of Paint Road, was reported at 10:46 a.m.

As of 12:30 p.m., there was no containment.

The cause remains under investigation.

A total of 64 personnel were assigned to the fire. Equipment included eight bulldozers, one water tender, one air attack plane, one tanker, two helicopters.


Yosemite child care director accused of theft

The former director of a Yosemite National park child care center has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of embezzlement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Charity Brocchini, 40, of Sonora, was summoned to appear for arraignment on Sept. 8 before Fresno District Court Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone.


CCWD urged to postpone GM hire

Five people, including two candidates competing against each other in this fall’s election, asked the Calaveras County Water District Board of Directors at its Tuesday meeting to delay hiring a new general manager until after the Nov. 4 general election.

Four of the district’s five director seats are up for election.


TUD water sale plans blasted

Community members are upset that Tuolumne Utilities District may sell some of the water that customers have conserved this year back to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in the midst of an historic drought.

Sonora musician Sean Brennan summed up the frustration and confusion through song during the public comment period at the beginning of Tuesday’s TUD Board of Directors meeting, when he performed a new tune he wrote called “The Talking Water Rights Blues.”


Rim Fire suspect pleads not guilty

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Keith Emerald’s parents, Barry and Deborah Emerald, are led out of the U.S. District Court in Fresno by Federal Defender Janet Bateman, who is representing Emerald. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Tuolumne County resident Keith Emerald pleaded not guilty in federal court in Fresno on Tuesday to accidentally starting the Rim Fire, the largest wildfire in the Sierra Nevada’s recorded history which burned 402 square miles of national forest and park lands last year.

Emerald was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday for violating a forest order banning campfires, then letting that campfire escape and lying to investigators about it.


County Office of Ed. eyes Black Oak School

The Tuolumne County Office of Education is considering purchasing Twain Harte School District’s Black Oak Elementary school site, closed in 2008, to have the county’s first full school campus for special-needs students.

The purchase was formally discussed Monday at the Office of Education Board of Trustees meeting.


Not too late to file for Angels council

Angels Camp Vice Mayor Jack Lynch, who has served eight years on the City Council, will not seek re-election this fall. 

Meanwhile, Councilman Scott Kelly — who was appointed to the council in April — filed his election paperwork Friday.


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