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Update: Teen says social media ‘threat’ was lyrics

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Xavier Da'Von Maurice Benzel, 18, of Sonora, sits in his room after authorities searched his home days ago. Jesse Jones/Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
A Sonora teen accused of making threats to law enforcement on social media claims he was posting lyrics from a song. 

Xavier Da’Von Maurice Benzel, 18, of Sonora, is being charged with felony threatening to commit a crime and misdemeanor violation of civil rights. His arraignment is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in Tuolumne County Superior Court Dept. 4. 


League supports board’s fish protest

A Folsom-based recreational fishing advocacy group has joined the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors in protesting the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to stock smaller trout this year in the state’s streams and lakes.

The California Sportfishing League announced its support for the county in a new release on Tuesday, shortly after the board approved a strongly worded letter to Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham that criticized both the decision and lack of public outreach leading up to it.


Officials: Water supply still critical

The current winter warm spell in the Mother Lode indicates people need to keep conserving water, managers for TUD, Twain Harte and Lake Don Pedro community services districts told Tuolumne County supervisors Tuesday morning.

December rains were nice, but January has been dry so far, and the outlook for the next week or more calls for clear skies and warmer than normal temperatures, according to forecasters.


Columbia College graduate to appear on Animal Planet fishing show

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Former Sonora resident Andrew Hillis, 25, of Eureka (left), will be featured on Animal Planet show “Battle of the Bay” about fishing boats in Alaska. Courtesy photo.
A Columbia College graduate will be featured Thursday night on an Animal Planet TV series profiling Alaskan salmon fishing boats and their crews.

Former Sonora resident Andrew Hillis, 25, spends summers working as “deck boss/deck hand” on The Thunder, a 32-foot vessel in Bristol Bay, Alaska. 


Juvenile hall plans enter final stage

Tuolumne County’s first-ever juvenile hall is entering the final stages of development prior to construction.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the final plans and specifications for the Mother Lode Regional Juvenile Detention Facility, which will be located at the site of the county’s future Law and Justice Center off Old Wards Ferry Road.


Search on for Jamestown man after high-speed chase

Read more...Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for a Jamestown man who allegedly escaped authorities after a high-speed chase. 
George Michael Lane, 57, is a transient with a last known address on Park Avenue in Jamestown. He is wanted by authorities on charges of evading police, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and driving on a suspended license, according to a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office report. 


County seeks bids on juvenile hall project

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors is seeking bids from contractors for the construction of a long-proposed juvenile detention center to be located off Wards Ferry Road.


Fishing group speaks out against smaller fish

Sport fishing enthusiasts are coming out in support of the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors’ opposition to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to release smaller trout in the states streams and lakes this year.



Officials: Water conservation must continue

The current winter warm spell in the Mother Lode indicates people need to keep conserving water, managers for TUD, Twain Harte and Lake Don Pedro community services districts told Tuolumne County supervisors Tuesday morning.


 


Sierra water deemed safe

A recent study of groundwater quality in the Sierra Nevada and foothills found manganese and iron in some wells tested in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, but not at levels high enough to be a health concern, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher said Friday.

The study, “Groundwater Quality in the Sierra Nevada, California,” was published in December by the U.S. Geological Survey and the California State Water Resources Control Board.


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