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Judge denies boy's release in Fowler case

Calaveras County Superior Court Judge Thomas Smith on Friday denied the release of a 14-year-old Valley Springs boy accused of stabbing his sister to death in 2013. 

The hearing was held at 1:30 p.m. in Dept. 3 of the Calaveras County Superior Court. 


Rim Fire recovery volunteers sought

People eager to volunteer to help restore the Rim Fire burn area have opportunities with the Forest Service and the nonprofit Tuolumne River Trust this spring and summer.

The Forest Service projects will include hands-on work restoring habitat and recreational facilities. This includes erosion control, seeding, tree planting, installing interpretive signs, photo documentation and trail restoration.

Feds want to drain Tulloch for fish

Lake Tulloch Reservoir near Copperopolis could be drained by Oakdale Irrigation District later this summer if the dry weather continues. File photo / Union Democrat.
Lake Tulloch-area residents in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties are concerned a fourth year of drought and federally mandated water releases for fish will dry up what is a key reservoir and tourist attraction later this summer.

Police look for a rape suspect

Sonora police continue to investigate a Monday night sexual assault in Sonora that has unnerved city residents.

Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson said investigators still have many unanswered questions about the incident, involving a 19-year-old woman.

Opinion: PAWS elephant Wanda dies with dignity

We’re very sad to hear about the passing of Wanda.

Wanda was an elephant housed at the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas. She was the sanctuary’s oldest pachyderm and one of the oldest Asian elephants in North America.

Legends set to reopen after burglary

Coins were stolen from Sonora resident Frans Jepsen’s collection during a Monday break-in at Legends Books, Antiques and Old Fashioned Soda Fountain in downtown Sonora. Jesse Jones / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
The owner of Legends Books, Antiques and Old Fashioned Soda Fountain in downtown Sonora planned to reopen today after a Monday night burglary. 

“Come in and see our St. Patrick’s Day decorations,” said store employee Cat Rodriguez. “We are making it happy in here.” 

Sierra Views: Linda Monahan, busy as a bee

Beekeeper Linda Monahan, of Groveland, works next to an almond grove near Turlock. Guy McCarthy / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Beekeeper Linda Monahan, of Groveland, covers a lot of ground to keep her colonies healthy and profitable.

She winters her bees at the coast near San Jose, contracts to fertilize almond orchards near Turlock, spends time in the Sierra foothills and near Porterville to make orange honey, and she takes them to the eastern Sierra to forage for alfalfa and sage.

ACLU suing Calaveras County

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a resolution passed last year by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors to honor the work of a pro-life Christian organization.

According to an ACLU news release, the lawsuit was filed in Calaveras County Superior Court on behalf of nine area residents with various religious beliefs. The complaint claims that the resolution in support of Calaveras Door of Hope, a pregnancy resource center, is unconstitutional because it promotes one particular set of religious beliefs.

Council OKs low-income building breaks

The Angels Camp City Council approved a new policy Tuesday to give builders breaks on providing housing to low-income people and discussed fines for owners of property with unabated fire hazards. 

The board unanimously approved a set of ordinances to give breaks to builders who offer some low-cost housing to the poor, disabled and senior citizens. 

Tuolumne County has new top health official

Retiring Public Health Officer Todd Stolp (left) receives a commendation from Tuolumne County Supervisors John Gray (center) and Karl Rodefer at Tuesday’s board meeting. Alex MacLean / Union Democrat, Copyright 2015.
Tuolumne County has a new advocate for public health to replace longtime County Health Officer Dr. Todd Stolp, who retires later this month and will soon be heading to West Africa to fight Ebola.

Dr. Liza Ortiz was appointed by the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting to serve as the county’s new health officer starting in early April. She currently lives in Chicago, where she has worked as a primary care physician since 2012. 

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