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Green light given on replacement of aging public works trucks

Calaveras County’s Public Works Department got the go-ahead Tuesday to replace a number of aging trucks, several from the 80s and one 1943 model that has been with the county for about four decades.

“This is a truck that was manufactured almost the year I was born, so it must be in nearly new condition,” quipped Supervisor Russ Thomas, who is 68, during the meeting.

Supervisors voted unanimously to allow the department to purchase four new trucks, replacing vehicles that are both ancient and inefficient, and prohibited for further use by the California Air Resources Board.

Bureau urged to build road

Calaveras County supervisors and residents made impassioned appeals Tuesday for the inclusion of a western access road to New Melones during a presentation on the reservoir’s new federal management plan.

Speaker after speaker, from developers to those on a local parks and recreation committee, urged the Bureau of Reclamation to adopt stronger language supporting the long-sought Copperopolis-area access road.

Many argued the county was owed the road due to a projection by the bureau, when the reservoir was approved, that visitor numbers would one day reach 3 million a year. It has never topped 800,000.

2,764 acres set aside in Calaveras for red frog

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday designated 1.6 million acres of California land as critical habitat for the California red-legged frog.

The rule is the third in 10 years and expands the much-smaller designation that the agency issued in 2006.

Critical habitat is land that contains features considered essential to the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and could require special protections.

A total of 2,764 acres of land in Calaveras County will be affected.

Forest travel plan appeals nixed by feds

The U.S. Forest Service has shot down all appeals to its off-road-vehicle management plan for the Stanislaus National Forest, to the chagrin of several local critics.

The plan is designed to govern motorized travel patterns in the forest for years to come. It could be implemented this spring, according to the Forest Service.

Facebook the trick for disappearing rabbit

Charlie the Bunny is home again with the Njirich family after escaping in February. Derek Rosen/Union Democrat, copyright 2010
  The Njirich family, of Sonora, has a hare-raising tale to tell.

It involves a gray, baby bunny named Charlie.

Lack of funds cuts Yosemite memories short

An audio-visual project meant to preserve the otherwise untold oral history of Yosemite National Park is running up against time constraints as its interview subjects age and funding and staff are depleted.

The “I Remember Yosemite” project was envisioned as an extensive collection of recorded interviews with current and past park employees, long-time residents and others with deep connections to the park, said Paul Rogers, the supervisory archivist with Yosemite National Park.

Water meter on council agenda

A week after the state rescinded a series of citations that almost forced Angels Camp to pay for a $1.5 million water treatment plant upgrade, the City Council will reconsider how to replace the long out-of-service meter that contributed to the erroneous violations.

Replacing the meter — which has not been functional for about five years — was originally lumped in with a larger group of improvements at the plant, including refurbishing a rusting 50-year-old flocculation basin.

Clerk-recorder Varni retires

Calaveras County Clerk-Recorder Karen Varni announced Friday that she would not seek a sixth term, adding another name to the list of incumbents who are stepping down this year.

Sheriff Dennis Downum recently cancelled plans to run for a fifth term and retirements have opened the races for Assessor, Auditor-Controller, Superintendent of Schools and Treasurer-Tax Collector.

Lake road omission irks board

Calaveras County supervisors Tuesday will hear why a road that would have connected the Copperopolis area to New Melones was not included in the reservoir’s new management plan.

Representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the reservoir, will present the “Final New Melones Lake Area Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement” to the board and run through how they made their decisions about what was kept in and left out.

Rotelli named town marshal

A last-minute voting landslide gave Larry Rotelli — former county supervisor, former Sonora City Council member and longtime garbageman — the title of 2010 Mother Lode Roundup Honorary Town Marshal.

Rotelli won the election, which closed at 5 p.m. Friday, with 126 votes. Other vote-getters were Joe Perez, Doc Weldon, Zane Orr, Sharon Marovich, Slim Edwards and the Rev. Wolfgang Krismanits.

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Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:22:53 -0800