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Alleged kidnapping victim found

The Calaveras County Sheriffs Office reports that a 14-year-old boy allegedly abducted from a San Andreas gas station has been found.

Sergio Vazquez was found at 6:20 p.m. and is safe, the Sheriffs Office said. He is being interviewed by the authorities.

Man files TUD claim over koi losses

A Big Hill man who says koi in one of his ponds were killed by chlorinated drinking water in October recently filed a claim for damages against Tuolumne Utilities District, which the TUD Board of Directors voted to reject Thursday night.

Stanley Killion, who lives on Northridge Road, said in his claim he noticed his lower pond needed water on Oct. 22, so he put a hose in the pond and turned the water on slowly and turned it off about two hours later.

Calaveras voters opt for new leadership

The Calaveras County Elections Office released official results Friday from the Nov. 4 election, confirming previously announced winners.

Of Calaveras County’s 27,069 registered voters, 16,101 ballots were cast, making voter turnout nearly 60 percent.

Tuolumne election turnout at 60 percent

Tuolumne County election results were finalized late Friday, confirming previously announced winners, though some races were quite close.

About 60 percent of registered voters turned out in the county. That’s 50 percent more than the state as a whole and nearly double the national turnout.

Rim Fire forest closure expires

A closure order for the Groveland and Mi-Wok ranger districts in the Stanislaus National Forest, in effect since the devastating 2013 Rim Fire burned some 240-square-miles of forest land, expires today.

The U.S. Forest Service announced the order’s lifting on Friday afternoon.

Burn suspension lifted

A suspension on residential debris burning and other burn projects has been lifted in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, Cal Fire officials announced today.


Burning is restricted to between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m., said Cal Fire spokeswoman Lisa Williams.

State EPA warns of mercury in Lode fish

The California Environmental Protection Agency issued a warning Thursday regarding mercury levels in fish from New Melones and Camanche reservoirs.

According to the EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, there is a high level of mercury in bass from both reservoirs. Women ages 18 to 45 and children ages 1 to 17 are advised not to eat the bass.


Reservoirs fuller, but more rain needed

Pinecrest Reservoir at this time last year held about 6,700 acre-feet of water. Union Democrat file photo, copyright 2014
 Pinecrest and Lyons reservoirs have more water in them than they did a year ago, but Tuolumne Utilities District ratepayers must still hope for plenty of rain and snow this winter.

As of Wednesday, there were 10,300 acre-feet at Pinecrest and 2,940 acre-feet at Lyons, compared with about 6,700 and 1,840, respectively, at the two reservoirs in November 2013, district Associate Engineer Glen Nunnelley said Thursday night at a TUD board meeting.

Scientists in 1988 foresaw shortage

The Stevenot Bridge towers over low water at New Melones Reservoir. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, copyright 2014
 A pair of scientists in 1988 set out to determine how often mining companies in the area would need to prepare for abnormally wet years over the next 100 years.

What geologist Pete Dohms and engineer Gene Nunnelley concluded was that the start of the 21st Century would likely be much drier than the latter half of the previous one, and that Tuolumne County’s water supplies were ill-prepared to handle the variations along with corresponding population growth.


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To our readers:

In anticipation of the Union Democrat's conversion to a morning publication in the spring of 2015, Publisher Gary Piech is writing a series of articles describing the steps the Union Democrat is taking during the conversion process. We will publish these articles in print and here on our website as the process unfolds. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please do not hesitate to call us at 209-532-7151.

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Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:27:57 -0800