Union Democrat staff

Free tax help

The American Association of Retired Persons tax aide program is offering free tax preparation and assistance for taxpayers of middle to low income from Feb. 7 through April 15.

People do not have to be a member of AARP or a retiree older than 60 to utilize the service, a press statement said. Services are performed by volunteers who are trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service in partnership with AARP.

The tax assistance sites in Calaveras County include Rabo Bank in Arnold, Foothill Village in Angels Camp, Pizza Factory in Valley Springs and the Calaveras County Senior Center in San Andreas.

To make an appointment, call 795-8208 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Tax assistance at Columbia College

Members of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program are available to help people prepare their income taxes for free through April 17 at Columbia College and the Tuolumne County Senior Center.

VITA volunteers are available Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (except March 29) from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on a walk-in basis, in Manzanita 18-1 at the Columbia College campus; and, on Saturdays by appointment only at the Tuolumne County Senior Center, at 540 Greenley Road, Sonora.

For more information or to make an appointment, call Vickie Garrett at 588-5246.

Sonora High Ag Booster dinner

The Sonora High Ag Boosters will host its second annual fundraising dinner at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Elks Lodge.

Social hour begins at 5:30 and dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The menu will include New York steak, baked potatoes, green beans, green salad, garlic bread and dessert.

The cost is $25 per person, $15 for children six to 12. There will be a raffle and wagon wheel bench door prize.

Tickets are available at Hurst Feed, Radovich Feed, Sonora Feed, Sonora Inn Barber Shop or Tractor Supply, or by calling 694-8679 or 770-2369.

All proceeds of the event help support the ag scholarships and educational programs.



Susan Bailey of Any Habitat and John Fenger of Fenger Painting will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 28. at the Sonora Gold Founders Chapter of Business Networking International meeting.

The meeting will be held at 7 a.m. at the Tuolumne County Association of Realtors office, 14195 Tuolumne Road, Sonora.

There will be no meeting on Tuesday, March 6.

The chapter meets at 7 a.m. every Tuesday at the Tuolumne County Association of Realtors office. Each meeting features speakers, an educational presentation addressing the how to of professional networking, announcements of community events of benefit to the business community and independent time for networking before and after each meeting.

Local business owners are welcome. For more information, call Jim Schultz at 532-9300, email him at jschultz@megastarcal.cm or go online to http://bnisonora.com.


Caltrans awarded $207,591 to Calaveras County for a fueling center on Monday amongst nearly $203 million in grants to improve public transit across California.

The fueling station is planned for construction at the Government Center campus in San Andreas. It would allow Calaveras Transit to purchase fuel at bulk rates and store it on site.

The grants are funded through Proposition 1B, a 2006 transportation bond approved by California voters, which will provide $3.6 billion during the next decade to improve public transit throughout the state.

"These projects are a direct investment in our state's public transit system and will help energize California's economy," said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Not only will these projects help create jobs, they will also reduce traffic congestion, clean the air, and provide Californians an alternative to rising gas prices."

Sierra Gold

Deborah and Dale Beyersdorf have opened a new real estate company named Sierra Gold Ca-Properties.

With more than 20 years of experience in the real estate business, the Beyersdorfs decided it was time to start their own company. They are joined by their son, David Beyersdorf, who is a real estate broker and attorney.

For more information, visit www.ca-properties.com or call 533-3300.

Wines of the world

The Calaveras Winegrape Alliance will host its monthly Wines of the World event on Thursday, March 8, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Murphys Historic Hotel, 457 Main St., Murphys.

Vineyard specialist and wine personality Steve Collum and Chloe Respess will present "Exploring the Obscure," and opportunity to taste varietals from Spain to Italy.

Included in the line-up will be Menica, a Spanish red wine, Godello, a Spanish white wine, Nero D'Avola from Sicily and Ribolla Gialla from Italy.

It will also be an opportunity for wine lovers to meet the Alliance's new executive director, Sara Teeter.

Light appetizers will be served and there are no reservations required.

Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. For more information, call 728-9467 or visit www.calaveraswines.org.