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County mulls removal of trees

Tuolumne County administrators are planning to shed some sunlight on Courthouse Square in downtown Sonora this year.  

The county is scheduled to unveil plans Monday for a proposed maintenance project that would involve removing some of the large trees in the park and installing surveillance cameras on nearby buildings. County Administrator Craig Pedro said the work is intended to make the park “cleaner, safer and healthier,” without disrupting any of its historical integrity.

Homeless clean up encampment

Brian Barrieau, of Sonora, and Anthony Eakin, of Sonora, pick up trash at an abandoned homeless camp (above left and right) off of Stockton Road in Sonora. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 A group of homeless men cleaned up a camp on Tuesday in an effort to give something back to the community. 

The homeless encampments, scattered around city property, are typically accessed by trails off Southgate Drive or Stockton Road.


Ramp opens at Glory Hole

Although still far, far below capacity, New Melones reservoir levels have risen about 6 feet in the past month. File photo / Union Democrat, copyright 2015
 A 6-foot rise in the water level last month at New Melones Reservoir has allowed lake managers to open part of a boat ramp at the Glory Hole Recreation Area closed more than three months ago.

The ramp is the only boat launch available at New Melones because of low water levels at other launch areas, a Bureau of Reclamation representative in Sonora said this week.


Man arrested for social media threat

An 18-year-old was arrested Wednesday after making threats to law enforcement on social media.

Teen arrested for allegedly threatening cops

An 18-year-old was arrested Wednesday after allegedly making threats to law enforcement on social media.

A look back at 2014


Low snowpack
a big concern

Perhaps no story dominated the headlines in 2014 — both locally and throughout California — as much as the state’s epic three-year drought.

The Department of Water Resources conducted the first manual snowpack survey of the year on Jan. 3 that confirmed the water content in the statewide snowpack — which melts in the spring and flows into rivers and reservoirs, providing about a third of the water used by California cities and farms — was at a mere 20 percent of average after three consecutive years of below-normal precipitation in California.

Gas prices will rise after first of the year

Leland Payton, of Dorrington, pumps gas at the Sonora ARCO on Tuesday. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, copyright 2014
 Local residents can kiss the recent low gas prices goodbye, thanks in part to a new rate hike that will go into effect Thursday in California.

The anticipated higher prices are a side effect of Assembly Bill 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act,” a landmark 2006 law intended to cut the state’s carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020.


Sierra Nevada snowpack better; more rain needed

Dave Schmalenberger of East Bay MUD (gray) and Frank Gehrke of the Department of Water Resources measure the snowpack on Tuesday. Courtesy photo / Department of Water Resources
 The first manual measurement of Sierra Nevada snowpack this winter season showed 21.3 inches at Phillips Station, about 100 miles northeast of Sonora, and the water equivalent Tuesday at the site equated to 33 percent of the long-term average, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

Surveyors at the site west of Echo Summit on Highway 50, elevation 6,800 feet, found more snow than last year at this time, said Frank Gehrke, chief of California’s Cooperative Snow Surveys Program.


Teacher to stand trial for sex acts

A former Don Pedro High School teacher was in court this week on accusations that he had sex with a 15-year-old student.

Jeremy Monn, 31, was first arrested in Paso Robles in June for allegedly having sex with an underage student at his new school, Paso Robles High School. 


Scattered power outages affect 2,700 across Lode

Peak wind gusts Tuesday of 31 mph in Sonora and 40 mph in Pinecrest contributed to scattered power outages along Highway 108, according to Pacific Gas and Electric.


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Wed, 28 Jan 2015 06:25:11 -0800