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Challenge students anything but bored

Belleview Elementary School students Jacob Schader, 14 (left), and Ryan Dunlap, 14, both of Sonora, carry the skyscraper they built for the Global Cardboard Challenge back to class Thursday. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
More than 400 Tuolumne County students will participate in a global imaginative building event called the Global Cardboard Challenge in October at Sonora’s new InnovationLab.

The event, locally spearheaded by Columbia College science teacher Glen White, was created three years ago in Los Angeles after filmmaker Nirvan Mullick chanced upon a 9-year-old boy building a mock arcade out of cardboard boxes at his father’s store. 

Fewer people register to vote

Voter registration in both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties has declined since 2010, while the rest of the state has remained mostly flat.

Registration is down about 7 percent in Tuolumne County and 5 percent in Calaveras County from the 2010 midterm election, according to statistics released this month by the Secretary of State’s office.

Yosemite spots reopened after fire

Yosemite National Park announced Friday that most of the area closed because of the Meadow Fire has been reopened.

Tracking of bears goes high tech

National Park Service wildlife managers will soon be able to map and monitor the movement of black bears in Yosemite National Park thanks to a $70,000 grant from the Yosemite Conservancy.

The money will purchase GPS collars that for the first time will help wildlife managers track the park’s black bears beyond Yosemite Valley.

Calaveras water use down by 22 percent

Calaveras County Water District officials announced this week that customers have reduced water usage by 22 percent.

That percentage compares last month’s districtwide water usage to August 2013. 

Sinkhole explained, and it’s not gold

Sonora Public Works crews on Wednesday discovered the cause of a mysterious downtown sinkhole, and it wasn’t buried treasure. 

The hole in the middle of South Stewart Street wasn’t a collapsed Gold Rush-era tunnel either. It was a 9 1/2-feet- deep hole that was caused by a rotted cap to a storm drain, said Bill Seldon, Public Works supervisor.

State may grant $8 million for drought

A regional collaborative planning group has been recommended by the California Department of Water Resources to receive an $8 million grant for drought-related projects in the Tuolumne and Stanislaus watersheds.

The Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Authority is one of 23 groups from around the state that are recommended to receive funding after submitting applications earlier this summer, the DWR announced.

Calaveras board gets tech upgrade

Calaveras County’s elected leaders have officially entered the digital age.

At the start of Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Chairwoman Debbie Ponte said the county is “embarking on an electronic system” and that all five supervisors and a few county staffers were issued iPads.

TUD braces for $6 million deficit

The Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors on Tuesday heard about new state laws expected to impact the district’s balance sheet this time next year.

Ingrid Sheipline, of the Sacramento-based auditing firm Richardson and Co., presented the results from the district’s mandatory annual audit, which found nothing wrong with the TUD’s accounting for the 2013-14 fiscal year that ended June 30. 

Scientists to converge for TH dam study

A team of geologists and engineers is studying the cracked Twain Harte Lake Dam in hopes of re-opening the lake by next Memorial Day. 

The group is awaiting test results to find a cause and solution for the cracking of the granite footing portion of the dam known as “The Rock.”

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