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Mother Lode population still dropping

The California Department of Finance last week released its latest population estimates for the state’s cities and counties, showing small decreases in Tuolumne, Calaveras and Alpine counties.

The numbers reflect a continued trend of rural counties losing population — blamed largely on a lack of economic opportunities.


Odd Fellows Cemetery cleanup a success

Dozens of volunteers participated in a clean-up day Saturday at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in downtown Sonora.

Members of the Odd Fellows Sonora lodge joined the volunteers as they raked, weeded and picked up trash around the cemetery. More than 80 graves have been adopted since the launch of the lodge’s “Adopt-a-Grave” program, which was promoted by the organization at Saturday’s event, said Denine Urquhart, lodge member and cemetery trustee.


Dragoon Trail funding on council agenda

The city of Sonora is eyeing a state grant program to possibly fund almost $1 million in work to expand the Dragoon Gulch trail.

The City Council will consider on Monday applying to the state’s Active Transportation Program, which is providing more than $129 million in grants to projects that encourage walking, biking and mobility. In the proposal, the city would seek $992,000 to complete the expansion of the popular trail to almost 10 miles over 102 acres.


Search for Patricia Tolhurst continues

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the disappearance of a Sonora woman whose car was found a week ago in the Donnell Vista parking lot on upper Highway 108.

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team members and volunteers — a dozen people in all, operating out of a temporary command center — scoured the overlook area on Thursday searching for Patty Sue Tolhurst, 46.

 


DA: Big Hill blaze caused by Cal Fire burn

A fire in March that damaged a small house was caused by a nearby controlled burn started by Cal Fire, the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

The March 12 vegetation fire on North Bald Mountain Road in Big HIll was started by embers from a nearby burn. Crews from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were clearing and burning piles to create a fuel break at the time.

 


Tioga Pass opens early

The National Park Service announced Tioga Road will open for the season at noon today, marking the earliest opening since 1987.

The road over Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park opened on the same day in 1987, another dry year. The service said the snowpack this winter was 30 percent of normal, explaining the early opening.

Snowpack conditions when it opened the same day in 1987 were 51 percent of normal. The road typically opens in mid-May to early-June.

 


Skalski OKs Rim Fire project

The first project to remove hazardous trees from parts of the Stanislaus National Forest that burned in last year’s Rim Fire was approved recently by Forest Supervisor Susan Skalski.

Skalski signed a declaration on April 25 that allows the first of two proposed salvage logging operations to move forward following last year’s megafire that charred more than 257,000 acres in the Central Sierra, including 154,000 in the Stanislaus National Forest.

 


For Strawberry Music Fest, no news is bad news

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Crowds gather in the meadow at Camp Mather at a previous Strawberry Music Festival. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2013
 Strawberry Music Festival organizers are “appealing to the court of public opinion” in their efforts to obtain a permit for a Labor Day weekend festival at Camp Mather.

Festival co-founder Charlie Cran said Wednesday he was given a verbal denial by the head of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department about a month ago and has received no other information since then.

 


Sierra Views: Bob Trinchero serves fair board

Of all the leadership roles Bob Trinchero has held in Angels Camp, the longest has been serving on the Board of Directors for the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee.

He’s been a director on the 39th District Agricultural Association for the past 17 years, serving twice as its president.

 


About 200 to walk at Columbia College

Columbia College will hold its 45th commencement ceremony on Friday, awarding more than 200 degrees. 

Graduates of the community college will be handed their diplomas and certificates by college administrators and board members, “commencing” their lives in the professional world.


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