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Garden plan for Jamestown mine worth cultivating

 Preposterous, pie in the sky, far-fetched, unrealistic.
    These are but a few of the adjectives that describe to Modesto developer Vince Estell’s vision for the arid, toxic remains of a 1980s open-pit mining operation west of Jamestown.
    These days, with temperatures nudging the century mark and shade in short supply, the 765-acre mine — close to 500 acres of which are owned by Tuolumne County — seems as unlikely site for one of Northern California’s premiere tourist attractions.
   

Local schools prepare for 2010-11 challenges

    More than 11,600 Tuolumne and Calaveras county public school students began classes this week.
    It’s an end-of-summer ritual that dates back generations and decades. It’s a chance to renew friendships, meet new teachers and begin or build on a years-long learning process that, ideally, will lead to careers, accomplishment, and even fame and fortune.
    But the 2010-11 school year also begins with challenges unlike those faced here in the past. They are challenges and could impact the very mission of our schools.
   

Smith leaves record of achievement at Columbia

    Joan Smith, Columbia College’s president, is leaving the school after just four years to become the Yosemite Community College District’s interim chancellor.
    But, as her impressive promotion might evidence, Smith’s tenure here was productive:
   

Fire strategy needs support, cooperation

    While Tuolumne County Administrator Craig Pedro, his staff and the county’s fire chiefs are hard at work drafting a comprehensive protection plan and response plan, voters and districts are also shaping the future.
   

Construction projects moving forward in Calaveras

    Build it and they will come.
    The treasured line from the movie “Field of Dreams” has a double meaning in Calaveras County, where two important construction projects are moving forward.
    Yes, the county’s inmates will come to the new, 280-bed jail in San Andreas — although few will be happy there is suddenly room at the new inn.
   

Congress should pass timber payments legislation

    Tuolumne County Superintendent Joe Silva will in September repeat what has become a familiar pilgrimage: He will fly to Washington, D.C. to lobby for renewal of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which expires next year.
    Behind the act’s euphemistic, bureaucratic name is hard, cold cash.
  

Reduction in county fees appropriate, appreciated

    It’s like seeing Isaac Newton’s apple fall back up into the tree.
    For the inexorable rise of government fees, you see, is like gravity in reverse.
    The law seems as immutable as Newton’s: When all costs, prices and inflation indices around us fall, fees still rise — as if driven by laws of physics that no mere mortal can change.
    Until now.

Staff moves out of historic landmark Sonora Dome

    As it will save the Sonora High School District about $20,000 a year, the move makes financial sense.
    School trustees in April voted to move the district office from the stately and historic  Sonora Dome to a far smaller building on Sonora High’s Shaws Flat Road campus. Nobody challenged the plan, rightfully reasoning that every dollar saved to pay teachers and educate students in this era of limits is justified.
   

Fire danger rising in the Mother Lode


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