Jenn House, The Union Democrat

Common goal

To the editor;

While returning from Yosemite, the fresh Sierra storm required snow chains and the safest route was via Highway 49 from Mariposa to Sonora. A heavy, steady downpour of much-needed rain fell on the long and wet route.

There were few cars, few people, and as we rounded a curve we noticed two horses and under the horses a Billy goat had found shelter and under the goat was a dog, also hiding from the storm runoff. It seemed that the foursome had teamed together to work towards a common goal of keeping dry and safe.

In life it's good to have friends and work as a team.

Something to think about?

Jim W Hildreth


School board report

To the editor:

The following is a summary of the Feb. 11 Big Oak Flat-Groveland School Board meeting:

The wife of a trustee read a statement, concerning personnel matters, regarding a teacher, who is on unpaid administrative leave. In my opinion, this statement was slanderous. Where did she obtain the personnel information?

The superintendent said that the actions of citizens had been unethical, but those citizens were not allowed to respond. A Don Pedro teacher made statements and asked several questions of a citizen, and another teacher at Don Pedro provided information regarding STAR Testing, however citizens were again not allowed to respond.

Two members of the Measure M Oversight Committee asked that the application of a CPA to fill a vacancy, which is tax related, be approved, as the committee needed the accounting expertise. But the board, with no discussion, refused to accept or even vote on the CPA.

The board renewed the superintendent's contract without any public discussion. There were various topics for the board to discuss: A short-term extension, unhappiness with the superintendent in the Groveland community, and that most of the teachers had voted no confidence in both the board and superintendent.

A trustee stated that they did not know the duration of the contract they had just renewed. How does a board renew a contract and not know the duration? However, the newspaper reported the duration of the contract to be three years.

John Olson


Not the answer

To the editor:

In response to Ed Nemecheck's Feb. 5 letter regarding fire season and "supertankers":

Mr. Nemecheck is correct in one thing: Fire season will be here soon. Residents of the Mother Lode know this well, as firefighting aircraft pass over our homes on an almost daily basis during the summer months.

What Ed does not seem to know is that California's air program is the most respected, and most emulated in the world. CalFire is successful in containing over 95 percent of its wildland fires at under 10 acres. The only unfortunate byproduct of this stellar success rate, is that 99 percent of our population doesn't know about 99 percent of CalFire's work.

Regrettably, even the most efficient program in the world cannot stop all of the fires all of the time. Occasionally, high winds, lightning, difficult terrain etc., allow fires to grow beyond control. When this happens, all firefighters, whether ground or air based, work their hardest to minimize damage. When a fire is spotting a mile ahead of itself, however, even a "supertanker" cannot stop it. Yes, the "supertankers" are a tool, along with other airtankers, helicopters, engines and hand crews, who do the everyday work of keeping our homes safe, even when they're not working giant, media-covered fires.

I'm sorry to say that the "supertanker" is not the answer to fire control. It may be an appropriate tool on some fires. It is being tested, and will continue to be tested to find its role. But it will never replace the firefighters, on the ground and in the air, that have been working hard for years, often behind the scenes, to keep us safe.

Colin Rogers,

CalFire airtanker pilot