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Bald Mountain Helitack Base: Crew braces for battle

Members of the Bald Mountain Helitack crew perform tasks during a training exercise Friday on the Bald Mountain helipad. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
A 14-person crew and one Bell 212-HP helicopter stationed at Bald Mountain Helitack Base off Highway 108, across from Little Sweden in the Mi-Wok Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest, is an important part of the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting fleet during the hectic summer months.

It’s one of 32 Forest Service helitack crews around the United States, 16 of which are based in California. From the centrally located heliport atop Bald Mountain, the team can reach any point in the Stanislaus within about 15 minutes.

Today's headlines (June 17, 2014)

Calaveras Jail inmates moved

An enclosed tunnel connecting the new Calaveras County Jail to the basement of the county’s courthouse was used by inmates for the first time Monday. 

The tunnel allows inmates to walk from the jail to a holding cell, where a bailiff escorts them to a courtroom.


Osprey nests saved from perilous poles

Pacific Gas and Electric Company last week added one more platform to its power poles along O’Byrnes Ferry Road, a popular nesting spot for birds of prey. 

The platforms serve as an alternative nesting spot from the poles themselves, to mitigate the chance that the birds or their nests would get electrocuted, possibly causing power outages or even fires. 


Charity cyclers: Riders pass through Sierra on way to Alaska

Elizabeth Schmidt, 21, of Texas (left), Ben Morse, 22, of Philadelphia, Pa. (center), and Ben Keeler, 22, of Texas, participate in the Texas 4000 charity bike ride. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Cycling from Yosemite National Park to Sonora — a roughly 60-mile journey — in a day is a significant accomplishment.

But it’s all in a day’s work for 24 cyclists pedaling from Texas to Alaska for cancer awareness.

Sonora council winners named

The final count from the June 3 primary election shows Sonora City Council candidates George Segarini and Jim Garaventa as the top two finishers.

The still-unofficial results released Friday by the Tuolumne County Elections Office showed Segarini and Garaventa received 362 and 359 votes, respectively. Those numbers — which include all absentee, provisional and in-person ballots — put them ahead of incumbent Councilman Matt Hawkins (351) and challenger Mark Ferreira (346) in the race for two council seats.


Twain Harte lawns get no reprieve from drought

Lawn watering is still banned in Twain Harte due an ongoing supply shortage in the area, despite the Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors voting Tuesday to get rid of the restriction for customers in other parts of the county.

The TUD board lifted its ban on lawn watering but kept all other current restrictions in place — including one that cuts water deliveries to wholesale users by 50 percent over the previous year.


Today's headlines, June 16, 2014

Here's what you can find in today's newspaper.


• Twain Harte lawns get no reprieve from drought • Angels medical clinic meeting is Tuesday • Sonora council winners named • Father's Day Fly-In • Tuolumne County leaders tackle budget • Small fires scorch Mother Lode


• Lawrence, Seawell help North tie • Former NFL top boss speaks in Angels • Holmgren enjoys time in Calaveras County, talks football


• Lode hospitals working to fix ACA glitches • Successful Senior Expo: Fifth annual event draws hundreds to Sonora fairgrounds • Calaveras health fair slated for Saturday • Doctor answers some common medical questions • Fruits and vegetables: The clean 15 • E-cigarettes not a safe alternative to smoking

Find The Union Democrat at newsstands across Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

Count confirms Kuntz win

Calaveras County Elections Office staff Thursday released official results from the June 3 primary election, confirming earlier announced outcomes.

The final numbers, which include 220 provisional ballots, confirm that Sheriff Gary Kuntz beat challenger Pat Garrahan with 56 percent, or 6,709 votes, compared to Garrahan’s 5,254 votes. Kuntz’s second four-year term starts in January.

Sonora council race dangles

With the Sonora City Council election still undecided, the Tuolumne County Elections Office is expected to release a final count sometime today.

Registrar of voters Deborah Bautista said Thursday evening that her office was verifying the last of about 200 uncounted provisional ballots. Bautista said her employees  expect a final count by the end of today.

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