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Forest smokejumpers attend film’s opening day

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Marcus Edwards, 5, of Sonora (right) tries on smokejumper Franki Betancourt’s helmet. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
The Stanislaus National Forest is using the release of “Planes 2: Fire and Rescue” — a movie with a striking resemblance to the Rim Fire — to get out the word about its “One Less Spark” fire prevention campaign. 

The agency got a few of the U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers to explain their jobs, show off their gear and answer questions from children and adults on opening day Friday at Regal Cinema 10 in Sonora.


Baker Station a jewel in college crown

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An institute class navigates rocky terrain on the Highway 108 corridor, surrounded by a mountainous landscape. Courtesy photo
 Just a handful of classes are still open for enrollment this summer at Columbia College’s High Sierra Institute, including nature photography with a National Geographic photographer.

This summer marks another season of success at the institute at the historic Baker Station. The camp is comprised of longhouse barracks and a community kitchen at the foot of Sonora Pass, 6,200 feet above sea level.

 


‘Innovation’ coming to old hospital

A new idea to build a tech-business community in Tuolumne County will officially kick off on Aug. 5, organizers say.

According to the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority, the doors to what is being called the InnovationLab will open after a ceremony, with tours available for the public the same day. 

 


UPUD proposes rate hike in Murphys

Water bills for Murphys-area residents could increase this fall under a proposal by the Union Public Utility District. 

The district is proposing to increase its monthly base rate of $38 for up to 1,000 cubic feet of water to $41 starting Nov. 1. 

 


TUD: Water limits may recede

The Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors will vote Tuesday on changing TUD’s water-use reduction goal to 25 percent, along with proposed connection-fee increases, an expensive water-main replacement project and a previously delayed emergency water sale to Del Oro Water Co.

Overall customer water usage was down 51 percent last month from June 2013, TUD General Manager Tom Scesa said in a memo to the board. 

 


Jeler has longtime family ties to Murphys community

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Suzanne Jeler, of Vallecito, holds a picture of her grandparents in downtown Murphys in 1968. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, copyright 2014
 When Suzanne Jeler moved to the Murphys area nearly five years ago, it felt like home. 

Since she was a baby, her family had camped at Boards Crossing near Dorrington in “a cabin without walls,” as she puts it. 

 


Groveland weighs rate increases

Water and sewer bills for Groveland Community Services District customers could be going up — or down — depending on how much they conserve.

The GCSD Board of Directors will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Monday, to give the public a chance to weigh in on proposed emergency rate increases that are related to the current statewide drought. 

 


Animal Control target of grand jury

Tuolumne County’s Animal Control Department is understaffed and underfunded, according to the Tuolumne County Grand Jury report released this week.

In the 2013-14 report, made public on Tuesday, the jury details the ways in which Animal Control is becoming less effective and hindering other departments due to systematic budget cuts dating back years.

 


TUD: Water expert to visit

There will be two opportunities in Tuolumne County early next week for the public to hear from the leader of a statewide association that represents 450 California water agencies, Tuolumne Utilities District announced Thursday.

Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, will be in town to meet with TUD and other regional water agencies to discuss drought-related issues affecting communities in the Sierra foothills. 

 


Rapper rolls with life

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Josh Regalado, of Sonora, has found his passion in life — “spitting rhymes.” He goes by the stage name Oscar Goldman.
Joshua Regalado doesn’t want to be labeled.

Regalado, 26, of Sonora, is known on stage as Oscar Goldman. He’s a professional rapper, but he’d prefer simply to be called a musician.  

He also has dealt with physical difficulties since birth, but doesn’t want to be labeled in that way, either.



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