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Snow play on way

Bear Valley Mountain Resort starts daily operations today for the 2013-14 ski season.

The resort, off upper Highway 4 just east of the Calaveras County line, is the first of the regional ski resorts to open this winter.

Traffic delayed downtown

Traffic in downtown Sonora was briefly delayed this afternoon following a two vehicle collision on South Washington Street and Church Street. 

Around 1:15 p.m. a Toyota Highlander was crossing South Washington Street going west on Church Street and failed to see a Chevy Tahoe and hit it head on, said Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson. 

The two vehicles received moderate damage and both had to be towed away. One driver complained of knee pain and was transported to the hospital to be checked out, Stinson said.

Both vehicles were going the speed limit.

Traffic on Church Street near Bank of Stockton at Green Street was congested with emergency responders and traffic along South Washington was slowed as the vehicles were moved off the street and Sonora Fire Department put sand on the street where fluid was spilled in the crash.

San Andreas man arrested

Angels Camp police arrested a 21-year-old San Andreas resident Wednesday on suspicion of sexually assaulting a juvenile victim.

Sierra Views: Cal Fire’s Lawshe ends career on high note

Cal Fire Division Chief Steve Lawshe stands in front of the Standard Fire Station on Striker Court. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2013.
If the fight earlier this year against the Rim Fire was like World War II, the battle over Paper Cabin Ridge could be likened to the Battle of the Bulge.

Keeping the blaze from advancing past Paper Cabin was crucial, as it kept the flames from racing up the North Fork Tuolumne River canyon, toward Tuolumne township and communities along Highway 108 like Long Barn and Mi-Wuk Village.

KASA branches into dance

A dance studio is being built adjacent to Sonora’s historic Dome campus for the Kids Art Studies Academy through the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance.

Construction began about a week ago in the KASA building at 251 B Barretta St., installing mirrors and preparing for a spring-floored dance floor to open up the possibilities of arts teaching at KASA, according to Connie O’Connor, executive director of the Arts Alliance.  

Sing, Bean Feed Friday

Get ready for an afternoon of free food and song in downtown Sonora, as this Friday marks the return of the Pop Hudson Memorial Christmas Sing and Galen “Mut” Mutzner’s Bean Feed.

The Union Democrat staff will kick off the 34th annual edition of the community caroling event with “O Come, All Ye Faithful” at 12:45 p.m. on the steps of the Historic Tuolumne County Courthouse on Green Street.

Angels park addition gets OK

The Angels Camp City Council voted Tuesday night to buy nearly an acre of land adjacent to Tryon Park — an early Christmas present to a city lacking in park space. 

The property at 1246 Booster Way is owned by the Angels Camp Veterans Memorial District. The city and the district agreed upon a purchase price of $50,000, to be paid over a five-year period at $10,000 per year. The city will also pay closing costs. 

Winds, rain in forecast this week

A fast-moving weather system could bring scattered showers and strong, gusty winds to the Sierra Nevada tonight through Thursday.

The National Weather Service issued a warning Tuesday about the system that was rapidly moving in from the Gulf of Alaska. Meteorologists predicted a chance of light precipitation over the region late Wednesday, followed by strong northern winds Thursday.

Sonora Elementary arson case inches forward

Sonora Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Molly Lininger instructs her class in a new portable Tuesday afternoon. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2013.
The Tuolumne County Superior Court will decide this week if a teenager accused of arson in the November fire at Sonora Elementary School that destroyed several  classrooms will be tried as a juvenile or adult.

Tuolumne County Chief Probation Officer Adele Arnold confirmed the Probation Department filed a “fitness report” Friday on the former student’s fitness for the juvenile justice system.

Sonora El buildings may be lost

Damage from the Nov. 25 fire at Sonora Elementary School will exceed $3 million in costs and will likely result in the school’s F building being demolished, Sonora’s fire chief said Monday.

During a Sonora City Council Meeting, Fire Chief Mike Barrows updated the council members on the fire recovery and investigation at the elementary school. He said the updated damage estimates place losses at $3.1 million for the hardest-hit F building where the fire originated. That estimate doesn’t include costs to move in portable buildings and clean up the smoke damage in two other school buildings.

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