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Popular area of Yosemite off limits

A large and popular section of Yosemite National Park’s backcountry will remain closed to the public until further notice, a result of the growing Meadow Fire, National Park Service officials said today.

The closure affects an area of more than 4,500 acres, burned since the fire erupted Sunday, forcing the evacuation of about 185 people from Little Yosemite Valley and Half Dome.


Murphys Hotel: ‘Hell’ of a time

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Guests gathered at the Murphys Hotel bar Tuesday evening to watch the episode of “Hotel Hell” featuring the historic Calaveras County inn. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
If you missed it, “Hotel Hell” can be seen online at www.fox.com.

 

The sounds of laughter and celebration erupting Tuesday night at the Murphys Hotel seemed a lot more like heaven than hell.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the historic inn featured on “Hotel Hell,” a Fox reality television show that filmed at the Murphys landmark more than a year ago. 


New Melones winds down for season

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced annual closures at several New Melones Reservoir campgrounds and day-use areas that will be effective through March of next year.

The closures allow Reclamation employees to perform routine maintenance work at the sites.


Will Summerville limit stadium access?

PUBLIC MEETING: Summerville Union High School District Board of Trustees, 6:30 p.m., school library, 17555 Tuolumne Road, Tuolumne. 

 

The Summerville Union High District Board of Education on Wednesday will continue discussion on the level of free public access allowed and cost to rent its nearly complete $4.1 million stadium.

 The stadium project — which includes a new track, field and bleachers, and a renovated snack shack — is the first project from the district’s $8 million Measure H bond passed in 2012. It is less than a month from its projected completion date. 


Motorcycle fatality near Big Oak Flat

A motorcycle crash near Big Oak Flat has left one victim dead and another seriously wounded. 

Tuolumne County school chief pay formula changing

The Tuolumne County Office of Education Board of Trustees on Monday approved a new policy for paying the county superintendent, essentially saying “we will set the salary before your election every four years,” but also adds that they may conduct a performance review in considering upping the pay each year. 

The county superintendent of schools is the publicly elected chief of the county Office of Education, which ensures each school district remains in solid financial condition, stays on top of public education law and provides education initiatives at the county level. The office also provides some of its own educational services, like special-education classes. 



Yosemite fire grows to 4,400 acres overnight

A fire burning in Yosemite National Park has grown to 4,400 acres, according to the latest update Tuesday morning.


The Meadow Fire is burning in a wilderness area east of Half Dome and near Little Yosemite Valley. Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said the blaze was 5 percent contained Tuesday morning.


Light rains and humid weather helped slow the fire’s movement early Monday but tapered off in the evening, and the fire grew from about 2,600 to 4,400 acres overnight. The fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. Sunday.


Calaveras County board to recognize Seniors of the Year

PUBLIC MEETING: Calaveras County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Board Chambers, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas.


The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will recognize the 2014 Seniors of the Year.

At the start of the board’s public meeting, supervisors are scheduled to pass three proclamations recognizing the Commission on Aging’s Seniors of the Year. 


TUD proposes easing water restrictions

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne Utilities District, 2 p.m., Tuesday, TUD Board Room, at 18885 Nugget Blvd., Sonora.


Tuolumne Utilities District staff is proposing a move to Phase II voluntary water conservation for customers, despite a continued lack of precipitation and no guarantee for better conditions this winter.

The TUD Board of Directors is scheduled to consider the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting. District customers would be encouraged to continue voluntarily conserving as much water as possible, but several specific usage restrictions mandated by the State Water Resources Control Board would remain in place. 


Gruenther memorial scholarship honors pilot

Cassy Gruenther, who lost her husband in a U.S. Air Force training flight a year and a half ago, just saw the first recipient of the Lucas Gruenther Memorial Scholarship leave for a naval academy and has been sharing her late husband’s memory and spirit in other ways. 

Maj. Lucas Gruenther, 32, of the 31st Fighter Wing, went missing Jan. 28, 2013, during a nighttime training mission over the Adriatic Sea. He was found dead days later and was determined to have been killed while ejecting from his plane, which was destroyed. 


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