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Special education rift: Parents question moving programs to Twain Harte campus

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A group of parents including (back row, from left) Trinka Martin, of Sonora, Tamara Polley, of Tuolumne, and Teri Wilson, of Sonora, have signed an online petition opposing using the Black Oak Elementary School campus for special education students. Their children (front row, from left) Laila Martin, 10, Danner Poe, 10, and Adi Wilson, 7, would be affected by the proposal. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
A group of parents has rallied against a proposal by the Tuolumne County Office of Education to purchase the Black Oak Elementary School campus to use for special education students. 

At the Office of Education’s last board meeting on Aug. 11, county Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva informed the board that he had been looking into the purchase of the Twain Harte School District’s Black Oak campus to provide a singular location for county special-needs students. Those students are now spread across individual school sites, and many must be transported elsewhere for specialty classes. Children from faraway homes like Groveland must get to class late and leave early to make scheduling work.


Bustling Labor Day weekend expected

Crowds of campers, hikers and boaters will likely flood the Mother Lode this weekend, even with the region feeling the effects of a historic drought and the Rim Fire.

Labor Day marks what is traditionally one of the most popular weekends of the year for tourism in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. This year, reservoir levels are lower than usual because of the three-year drought gripping the state. And much of the Stanislaus National Forest is still off-limits due to the 400-square-mile fire that burned for months during last year’s Rim Fire.

 


Search for missing woman underway

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office is asking for information regarding a missing 63-year-old woman.

Kathy Fiore left a family home on the 22000 block of Sawmill Flat Road at 11:15 a.m. Monday and has not been seen since, according to Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Johnson.


TUD road closure

A portion of Green Street in downtown Sonora will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, while Tuolumne Utilities District construction crews repair a water pipeline in the area.


The street will be closed between Yaney Avenue and Jackson Street for crews to work on the project. A detour will be in place around Green Street.


Drivers are asked to proceed with caution in the area. For more information, contact TUD spokeswoman Lisa Westbrook at 532-5536, ext. 501.



TUD eyes property for new storage reservoir

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, 18885 Nugget Blvd., Sonora.

Tuolumne Utilities District is seeking approval to begin acquiring land owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in the Twain Harte area that would serve as the future site of a 350 acre-foot water storage reservoir.

The TUD board Tuesday will consider authorizing District General Manager Tom Scesa to begin soliciting proposals from consultants to complete an environmental review in support of obtaining the 25-acre parcel from PG&E through eminent domain, which allows government agencies to force the sale of land for public benefit.

 


Cal Unified looks at cutting teachers

The Calaveras Unified School District Board of Trustees on Saturday voted to authorize some layoffs but to take music and sports off the list of cuts to be made to reach a county-assigned deadline of reining in about $2 million in overspending by Sept. 8. 

The district has been overspending for a number of years, has seen continued enrollment drops and made recent errors in calculating state funding. 

 


Public school enrollments continue to decline

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Students make their way to classes on the Curtis Creek Elementary School campus on Friday. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, copyright 2014
Early numbers show school enrollment continues to tick down in the Mother Lode, while a small population bubble of graduating eighth-graders bolstered high school enrollment slightly. 

Most public elementary school districts in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties saw about 15 fewer students enroll as of the first day of school this year compared to last year. That totals nearly 250 fewer students in Mother Lode public schools.

 


Lime Kiln fire nearly contained

A vehicle and vegetation fire on Lime Kiln Road south of Sonora prompted the evacuation of one home and closed a road, but firefighters are nearing full containment. 

Fire burning on Lime Kiln Rd.

Air and ground resources are on the scene of a vehicle and vegetation fire on Lime Kiln Road south of Sonora.

Sonora teens booked on rape charges

Two Sonora High School students were arrested on rape charges Thursday, following a weeks-long investigation by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.

The students — ages 16 and 18 — were arrested about 11:45 a.m. after being escorted from the school by Calaveras County Sheriff’s detectives.


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