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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.

Prison is for the birds

Anyone who thinks the prison system goes easy on jailbirds might get a kick out of this.

Lessons go unlearned at Columbia

You can’t make this stuff up. ...

On Thursday, a handful of Columbia Elementary officials and most of the school’s students gathered at the gym to dedicate a mosaic — complete with plaque — to a figure worshipped by a small cabal on campus.

Cal Fire reforms needed

The recent re-promotion of two Cal Fire captains, demoted during a shakeup at the agency’s Ione academy, is further proof that serious state reforms at the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are needed.

Opinion: Pinecrest overflow a shame

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The Union Democrat 11/28/15

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