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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.

Rim Fire logging on fast track

The President’s Council on Environmental Quality will allow the U.S. Forest Service to fast track a recently proposed Rim Fire recovery plan by streamlining National Environmental Policy Act procedures, the first exemption of its kind in the past five years.

“It is unusual for the Forest Service to seek this expedited process,” said Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Susan Skalski. “Our work is urgent because the burned timber will rapidly deteriorate and lose its commercial value.”

Sonora Regional CEO Eller leaving

Sonora Regional Medical Center CEO Jeff Eller has announced his resignation.

In a Monday memo to staff, Eller wrote he’d accepted a position as president of Adventist Health’s Northern California Network, which includes four acute-care hospitals and a behavioral health hospital serving Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, Napa and Solano counties.

In today's Union Democrat (Dec. 17)


• Sonora  Regional CEO Eller leaving • Santa comes to town • Rim Fire logging on fast track • Sonora Elementary buildings may be lost • New school moving to Curtis Creek • Caetano: Don’t buy into mailers • Karlsen sentenced for murder • Long Gulch, GCSD deal still in works • DUIRR founder dies in car crash • Child porn conviction nets 4 years


• Wildcat-Bear hoopsters clash tonight in Sonora • Friend is MVP, 5 Cats All-VOL • New Bret Harte LL accepting registration • Winter clubbing • US athletes fundraising mittens made in China • S’ville JV hoopsters win Sonora Tournament


• Savory bread pudding • Food by Jude: Green, red foods bring holiday spirit to recipes • Vine to Wine • Cookies pack a surprise in the middle • Holiday spiced hot wine recipe packs a punch


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

Annual Christmas party helps kids

Three hours before the doors at the main building in the Mother Lode Fairgrounds were set to open on Saturday, with frost still on the freezing ground, families were already lining up for the 2013 Children’s Holiday Party.

“As you can see, they start lining up early,” said Duke York, one of the event’s organizers.

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