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Houghton: SHS pool litigants are all wet

While I was a student at Sonora High, I was deeply involved in what came to be Measure J, a bond measure approved by voters which enables the school to raise money for needed facility renovation and construction.


Innes: Trouble at Tuolumne farmers market

There is a growing trend of farmers markets bringing fresh, locally grown produce, low-cost sales venues for small agricultural and handicraft entrepreneurs, and public, family-friendly, healthy community activity to local areas like Tuolumne County.


Courts should bail on traffic-ticket rules

If you’ve ever gotten a traffic ticket in Tuolumne County, and thought about contesting it, you know it’s pricey proposition.

You get written up, assigned a court date, and are given a “bail” amount that the court will require you to pay upfront, even if you plan to contest the ticket (you get the money back in six to eight weeks if found not guilty, according to the court website).


Deadly Yosemite accidents beg questions

The tragic May deaths of two extreme athletes in a BASE jumping accident in Yosemite National Park, and the death last week of a climber on El Capitan, begged an editorial.

But what to say? Be careful?


Thumbs up for Berryhill vote on AB151

We commend local state lawmaker Tom Berryhill for his vote Tuesday on a bill that would raise the age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21.


Have fun, share at the 2015 fair

Do you make a mean gluten-free peanut butter cookie?

Or, have you recently jarred a peck of peppers, arranged flowers, taken cool photos of a sunset, quilted an afghan, potted a plant, or just reared a funky-looking cactus?


Innovation in foothills alive, well

In an age of consumerism, it’s heartening to see a grassroots trend toward actually creating things.

This is evidenced in a national “movement” of inventing, now commonly referred to as “making.”


Q&A with Sheriff Jim Mele

Opinion Page Editor Craig Cassidy last week sat down with Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele to discuss a range of topics including the planned new Tuolumne County Jail, off Old Wards Ferry Road, Proposition 47, a November initiative which reduced several drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors, and deputy recruiting. Here’s a condensed transcript of the hour-long conversation.


Clarifying our Columbia reporting

The Union Democrat for the past four years has reported on the arrogance and abuses of a handful of public officials at Columbia Elementary.

Sadly, a few readers on the sidelines still take personally our scrutiny of a public institution and a few bad actors within — including retiring Superintendent John Pendley, a few members of the Board of Trustees, and a small handful of staffers.


Microbead brouhaha hits home

Apparently, little plastic beads commonly used in cosmetic products are rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.

These so-called “microbeads” — found in everything from facial scrubs and soaps, to toothpaste — have been all but banned in a half-dozen states. Several California lawmakers want ours to be next in line.


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