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Fire crews gain ground

Firefighters continued to gain ground today on the El Portal Fire burning in Yosemite National Park, as evacuation orders were set to be lifted in Foresta.

As of this morning, the fire, which has burned 4,198 acres, was 58 percent contained. It grew by 300 acres Thursday.


Historic Curtin home gets modern amenities; facelift

The Curtin mansion in Sonora has been restored. The home’s owner is working to make it a home for senior citizens. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
A late-1800s mansion in Sonora has gone from falling apart to state of the art. 

The J.B. Curtin mansion has been fully restored from its abandoned, dilapidated state and is in the final stage of becoming a one-of-a-kind home for senior citizens.

A buyer for Bear Valley in wings?

A deal is in the works for the sale of Bear Valley Mountain Resort.

The resort — off upper Highway 4 in western Alpine County — has two potential buyers, spokeswoman Rosie Sundell confirmed. 


S’ville bond project moves forward

SPECIAL MEETING: Summerville Union High School Board of Education, 5:30 p.m., today, school library, 17555 Tuolumne Road.

The re-designed concrete bleacher project for Summerville High School is expected to be approved today at a special board meeting announced late Monday.

The concrete bleachers are part of the district’s $4 million stadium project, the first with its bond money from 2012’s $8 million Measure H. 


Medal of Honor recipient Cavaiani dies

Columbia resident and celebrated Vietnam War veteran Jon Cavaiani died Tuesday at a Stanford hospital. He was 70.

Cavaiani was a recipient of the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military honor — for his service as a platoon leader in Vietnam in 1971. He was awarded the medal by former president Gerald Ford.


Yosemite fire grows to 3,900 acres

The El Portal fire grew another 400 acres on Wednesday, but Big Oak Flat Road was reopened to allow Highway 120 drivers to enter Yosemite Valley without detour. 

The fire reached 3,900 acres and remained at 34 percent containment as of this morning. Of those acres, 967 are in Yosemite National Park and the rest are in the Stanislaus National Forest. 


Lucero pleads not guilty

Cheryl Lucero, 45, of Twain Harte, was in court Wednesday afternoon for her arraignment in the Rick Roberts murder trial. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
A Twain Harte woman accused of killing Sonora’s Ricky Roberts pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge at a court appearance Wednesday.

Cheryl Lynn Lucero, 45, was arraigned in Tuolumne County Superior Court.

Mayo named new Visitors Bureau chief; Sikes retiring

The Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau board of directors Tuesday night announced Lisa Mayo will be the bureau’s new executive director.

Mayo will replace 26-year executive director Nanci Sikes, who announced her retirement in June. Sikes will remain in the position through October.


Supervisors uphold Moke River stance

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night to reaffirm its February support of state “Wild and Scenic” protection for the Mokelumne River.

Nearly 50 people, including numerous elected leaders from neighboring Amador County, spoke before the board during Tuesday’s standing-room-only meeting. The emotional back-and-forth public testimony included passionate arguments on both sides of the issue.


Monsoon booms through Mother Lode

A brief summer storm brought lightning and light rain to the foothills Tuesday night.

The storm was the result of monsoonal moisture creeping into the Sierra, which is expected to weaken by this afternoon.


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