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City Council approves garbage rate hike

Sonora residents will pay slightly more for trash collection through Waste Management starting in September.

Chance of showers predicted in Lode

As former Hurricane Dolores churns north through California, washing out desert roads and breaking rainfall records in San Diego and Los Angeles, the National Weather Service has predicted a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the Mother Lode.

Two pedestrians hit by car

Two people were injured Thursday when they were hit by a car while crossing Mono Way in Sonora the Sonora Police Department reported.

Angels Camp man arrested on firearm charge

An Angels Camp man was arrested about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday after admitting he walked out of his home with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired a single round into the air.


A report from Angels Camp Police Department said Bret Smith, 48, was booked into Calaveras County Jail on suspicion of willfully discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner, which could result in injury or death to a person. 

Tuolumne museum programs to feature ice cream, high country

Photos taken by Thomas Atkins (below right) that will be shown at the Tuolumne City Museum on Aug. 1 include El Capitan in Yosemite . Courtesy photo / Thomas Atkins
 The Tuolumne City Museum will host a handful of events in the coming weeks.

Ice cream social

A free ice cream social will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. today in the courtyard at the museum. The social will include free ice cream with a variety of toppings including homemade raspberry sauce, chocolate, caramel, nuts, sprinkles and whipped cream. Homemade cookies, lemonade and water also will be served.



Independence Hall rummage sale ahead

Carolyn Janzen, of Arnold, prepped for last yearís Independence Hall Rummage Sale. The sale again will feature rooms full of menís, womenís and childrenís clothing along with thousands of other items. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 The 36th annual Independence Hall Community Center rummage sale and flea market will have everything for sale but the kitchen sink.


Thousands of items will be for sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 1 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 2. at the hall, 1445 Blagen Road in Arnold/White Pines. A book sale will begin at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 1.


Gardening expert offers tips on taming watering woes

As a Master Gardener, I’m often asked to look at yards with faltering or dying plants and trees.  


No. 1 cause of plant death is said to be overwatering, but that is not always the case.  


Tree health suffers in drought

Red turpentine beetle, Courtesy photo
The fourth winter in a row of disappointing precipitation has triggered a die-off of trees in the Sierra Nevada, most of which is now in “exceptional drought” status. 


The U.S. Forest Service conducted aerial monitoring surveys in April 2015 and observed a large increase in tree mortality in the Southern Sierra (from Sonora south). Surveyors flew over 4.1 million acres of public and private forest land and found that about 20 percent had tree mortality on it, totaling over 10 million dead trees.


Health jobs on the rise in Lode

Sonora Regional Medical Center (above) is one of the largest employers in Tuolumne County, and the industry is growing. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 Unemployment is down and there is a growing workforce in both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, data released by the California Employment Development Department this week shows. 


The unemployment rate for Calaveras County is estimated at 6.2 percent — down from 7.7 percent last June. Tuolumne County’s jobless rate dropped to 6.7 percent from 8.3 percent during the same time period. 


A route to romance on the Pacific Crest Trail

Caleb Miller and Claire Henley take a break at Forester Pass, elevation 13,200 feet above sea level, north of Mount Whitney on the Pacific Crest Trail. Courtesy photo
 Claire Henley and Caleb Miller were strangers when they started walking the Pacific Crest Trail April 22 in Campo, near the Mexico-California border.


A month later, they got married at the Los Angeles County clerk’s office in Lancaster and they have continued walking the PCT. They estimate they’ve now backpacked more than 1,000 miles, and last weekend they crossed the Tuolumne County line at Sonora Pass, headed north toward Canada.


New judge to take over Bolin murder case

Read more... A new judge will be assigned to the case of a Valley Springs man accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and killing a woman in a February auto crash.


Calaveras County Superior Court Judge Timothy S. Healy said Friday Judge John E. Martin will take over the case.


Carriage from High Noon returns to Tuolumne County

The iconic wagon from the 1952 western “High Noon” is back to stay in Columbia.

McClure falls below minimum

Limited water in the bottom of Lake McClure, one of the emptiest reservoirs in drought-stricken California, was below minimum pool Thursday and falling, leaving the man-made lake just 11 percent full.

Sonora Elementary reclaims school after arson

Sonora Elementary will soon erase the final reminder of an 2013 arson that hit three campus buildings and displaced nearly half of the school to portable classrooms. 


Workers on Wednesday moved furniture into Building F — the second to last step before opening the building in August and completing a two-year rebuild after the fire. 


Woman hurt in head-on collision

A Jamestown woman sustained major injuries after suffering from a medical condition that caused a wreck about 10 a.m. Wednesday. 


Jean Richardson, 90,  was driving a 2000 Ford Focus west on Mono Way near the Timber Hills shopping center when an unknown medical condition made her swerve to the left and collide head-on with a Ford Ranger pickup truck, according to a Sonora Police Department report. 


Modern war vets chapter forming

The initial meeting of local veterans to start a chapter of Veterans of Modern Warfare held July 11 in Tuolumne was a success, according to organizers Marvin Pierce and Frank Smart.


Seven veterans attended the meeting, including two officers of the Tuolumne VFW Post 4748, who are of the younger generation, and a representative of the Sonora American Legion.


County booth wins gold at State Fair

Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau earlier this month received a gold ribbon at the California State Fair for its Tuolumne County exhibit. 


Every year, the bureau enters the Counties Exhibits contest to promote Tuolumne County to thousands of fairgoers, a bureau press release said. This year’s theme is “Feasts and Festivals.”  


Seibert appointed to bench on Tuolumne County Superior Court

Read more... Sonora lawyer Kevin M. Seibert has been appointed to a judgeship in the Tuolumne County Superior Court, Gov. Edmund G. “Jerry”
  Brown Jr. announced Thursday.


Seibert, 56, has been a partner at Downey Brand LLP since 2000. He was a partner at Steinheimer, Riggio, Haydel and Mordaunt from 1991 to 2000, where he was an associate from 1985 to 1990. 


Carriage stone on supervisorsí agenda

The stone itself will be displayed until it can be placed in a permanent spot downtown. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2017
 The Bromley carriage stone, a nearly forgotten piece of downtown Sonora’s history, may soon be placed near its original spot in the parking lot of what is now Yosemite Title Company.


The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors Tuesday will consider an agreement to loan the stone to the owners of Yosemite Title Company to display. The loan will be in effect until the City of Sonora moves forward with its Vision Sonora plan, which includes mounting the stone as close to its original location as possible.


Community band, duck race highlight homecoming

Annual duck races begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Murphys. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 The 66th Annual Murphys Homecoming is set for Saturday at Murphys Community Park.


Suzanne Friedman, president of the Murphys Community Club, said the idea of the homecoming dates back to the late 1800s, when farmers and ranchers met in the area that is now Murphys Community Park.


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