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Editorial Comments for Aug. 5, 2011

Editorial Comments for July 1, 2011


Editorial Comments for June 17, 2011

Summerville denial of records disingenuous

    The Union Democrat has again been denied public records from a local school district.
    In this case, we have attempted to free the results of an “internal investigation” for the Summerville Union High School District. We’ve asked for its release under the state’s Public Records Act.
    The probe involved the Connections charter academy and its principal, Mike Gibson. Supposedly, it involves grades being changed by computer-hacking students or school administrators, PE requirements possibly being waived, and a bevy of other things — all subject to rumor and innuendo.
   Of course, at this rate, we may never really know the full truth.

Census data and a new blueprint for growth

Tuolumne County residents, Realtors and business owners have weathered some tough economic storms over the past three years. Some of the hardship is reflected in the latest release of 2010 census data.

While California grew by 10 percent — and the entire U.S. by 9.7 percent — Tuolumne County grew by just 1.6 percent over the last 10 years. After growing by 4 percent in 2000-2007, the loss of jobs in logging, timber mills, construction, government and retail and the accompanying relocation of young families — coupled with less “in-migration” of retirees from other California communities — all contributed to population declines over the past three years.

Columbia Elementary needs to stop stonewalling

    For years now, The Union Democrat’s coverage of Columbia Elementary School has been much like that of other local schools.
    We strive to report and recognize the talent, creativity and academic achievements of the students; the dedication and excellence of the teachers; and the on-going operational and budget challenges facing administrators and trustees.
    At Columbia, we’ve written about students’ academic achievements in math and algebra; the talent of the local school band; the skills students acquired in a recent stock market simulation class. A few weeks ago, we wrote about Columbia’s John Russel who was honored with Tuolumne County’s Career Achievement Award for Teachers. He has taught at Columbia for the past 32 years.

Two Supes over-react at Calaveras County Board meeting

    “We didn’t think it would be controversial to say Calaveras County likes nature.”   
    So said Calaveras High School senior Kati Giblin, who with fellow Earth Club member Cierra Allen came before the Board of Supervisors last week for approval of a seemingly innocent resolution designating April 15 through 23 as “Earth Week” in the county.
    Earth Club members will mark the week with a variety of environmental activities, including recycling batteries, bottles, cans, compost and used electronic gear, giving away reusable grocery bags and sponsoring documentary films.

Bravos to broadband; Barbs to elderberry bureaucrats

    It’s time for a special spring edition of Bravos & Barbs, The Union Democrat’s occasional compendium of the good, the bad and, once in a while, the ugly, here in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
    Because our April list is only four items long, we’ll get right to it.

State funding should allow flexibility, local input

    In our culture of deficits, cutbacks and layoffs, few government expenditures escape careful scrutiny.
    The days when boards would casually approve six-figure purchases with little or no discussion are long gone — as they should be. Even state largesse, once accepted without question by grateful counties and cities, can raise eyebrows.

Area will reap the benefits of mountain snowpack

    It was an announcement that surprised no one.
 Gov. Jerry Brown last week proclaimed California’s three-year drought officially over.
 Knocked on its heels by last season’s above average storms, the drought was buried by an avalanche of Sierra snow this year. Brown made his announcement Wednesday, after a state crew measured the mountain snowpack at 165 percent of normal.
    The drought’s demise is hardly news here in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
    Those living at 3,000 feet or above have spent much of the winter chaining up or digging out. At higher elevations, snow totals have been truly spectacular:
    Dodge Ridge has accumulated more than 600 inches — that’s 50 feet — since the season began, the most in three decades. Bear Valley, with 544 inches, is not far behind.
    Lower elevations have been hammered by floods and slides.

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