Union Democrat staff

Who's right?

To the editor:

Who's right? Inquiring minds want to know.

On April 17 forester Mike Vroman challenged a Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center statement regarding the National Forest timber supply. He claimed "CSERC works in concert with other groups to limit supply on both private and public lands."

On April 22 CSERC executive John Buckley responded to Mr. Vroman's claims. In CSERC's response, Mr.Buckley admits to litigating harvest plans on SPI land but vehemently denies involvement in appealing Forest Service timber sales. CSERC also denies supporting the strict limitations imposed by the 2001 framework, which only allows trees of 12-inch diameter or less to be harvested.

So who is right? Inquiring minds want to know, and as a user of the forest on all levels I would like to know the truth. I searched the Forest Appeal Response Web site. I did not find CSERC listed as an appellant, but I did find the group Sierra Forest Legacy (SFL) as mentioned in Mr. Vroman's editorial. The records show the Sacramento-based environmental group has appealed at least nine Forest Service projects over the last several years.

The basis of SFL has been the 2001 framework, which is considered to be too restrictive by the Forest Service. On the SFL Web site, CSERC is listed under partners as a coalition member. A "partner" by definition is: a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor. Also, to be a "coalition," by definition, is to form an alliance of people or factions. So far these are the facts I've been able to find.

So, who is right?

Sean Breaux


Gold Rush anew?

To the editor:

I have a question. Is it really true that a lot of former prospectors of our earth's minerals may once again visit the Mother Lode prospecting for gold? I've heard some talk that they may get their pan, their sluice box and two weeks of food and try the sandbars and catch basins for the golden stuff.

At today's price nearing a $1,000 an ounce, a half to an ounce a week would surely be a welcome addition to an unemployment check.

Larry P. Johnson


The right thing

To the editor,

A couple weeks ago I left my wallet in a shopping cart at the Grocery Outlet in Sonora.

A young man, Dalton Miali, called me even before I knew it was missing and wanted to return it to me.

I met him and his stepdad at the Jamestown post office. He returned my wallet and I gave him a handsome reward.

Dalton is 12 years old, and is in the sixth grade at Columbia Elementary School.

He told me his stepdad, Shawn Robertson, told him this is the right thing to do. I would like to commend Dalton and his dad for doing the right thing. It is nice to know that there are still good folks in Tuolumne County.

Richard Romitti


Just the facts

To the editor:

Re: Michael Herman letter (May 1).

There wasn't right-wing mud slinging in my letter, I was stating the facts. I have an example of how Mr. John Buckley spins the truth. Mr. Buckley's job is to stop people who harvest natural resources. That is how he makes a living; that's the truth.

I also stated most everything Americans use is imported from other countries. The trade deficit for 2009 alone is $216,725,253,700.59, and that's also the truth.

I better explain to Mr. Herman what a trade deficit is, being that he doesn't know that for every tree cut in California, three are planted. A trade deficit is the difference between the goods and services Americans sell to foreigners and the goods and services purchased from foreigners.

Mr. Herman also complained about the mountains that have their "tops blown off." Some of those mountains produced gold which is used for jewelry, financial, electronics, computers, glass, dental, medical, aerospace and gilding.

Other hills are limestone, which is used for everything from car windows to toothpaste. Other mountains get their tops blown off for aggregates. The average home requires 300 to 400 tons of crushed rock. To build one mile of blacktop road requires 10,300 tons of aggregates. One mile of two-lane black top road requires 10,300 tons of aggregates. Last but not least, it requires four truckloads of logs to build your average three-bedroom, two-bath house.

You see, Mr. Herman, there are reasons why loggers cut trees and miners "blow the tops off mountains." That's what it takes to build a great country like the United States.

Gregory W. Burns


Huge success

To the editor:

The Angels Camp Museum's Gold Rush Day and Miners' Picnic was a huge success and drew raves from attendees. Visitors from local counties, and some as distant as Merced, enjoyed a fun-filled day of family activities, outstanding entertainment performances, engaging heritage craft demonstrations, and a very tasty and hearty miner's stew. In fact, the stew was so delicious that a well-known area restaurant purchased the remainder to serve to their Saturday evening patrons.

Yes, it rained off and on, but with the flexibility and abundance of space in the Angels Camp Museum's buildings, the weather was not a factor in dampening the wonderful experience that picnic attendees and museum visitors enjoyed.

It was a great day in the advancement of public programs at the Angels Camp Museum. If you missed the fun experience of this year's Miners' Picnic, be sure to follow the programs and events to be held in the future on the beautiful museum grounds and in the spacious and attractive buildings. And, above all, be sure not to miss next year's Miners' Picnic.

Bob Rogers


Angels Camp Museum

TUD surcharges

To the editor:

In its March 24 mail-out notice on proposed rate increase for water service, Tuolumne Utilities District states that "water rates are made up of two separate charges: a minimum monthly service charge or base rate and a quantity or metered water usage rate for each cubic feet (748 gallons) of water used."

Shouldn't this notice have included a statement "and if appropriate, an applicable surcharge." I have lived off Tuolumne Road North for more than four years and pay an additional 32.5 percent of my base rate. I wonder how many other areas are paying a surcharge and why it is not listed as an income associated with their proposed rate increase.

And now they want to add an additional 35.5 percent base rate increase. As a matter of interest, my water use for the 12-month period ending March 4 averaged $2.44 a month.

The current economic conditions have dictated that the county, state and federal governments, as well as businesses reduce employees, employee concessions, projects and wasteful spending. Perhaps the TUD board should focus on the same issues, as suggested by Director Ralph Retherford on April 16.

Don E. Ohler


Happy birthday

To the editor:

How great it was to read about Mary Carkeet reaching her 100th birthday!

Mary and I met way back in the days when Columbia College began construction and a few classes were being offered off campus. One class held at Sonora High School, with an instructor coming up weekly from Modesto Junior College to teach, was "Tree, Shrub and Plant Identification." Mary and I enrolled and we became friends immediately. I recall one of her requests was to find out where she could buy a ginkgo tree to give to her husband, Judge Ross Carkeet, as a surprise.

Many years later, I met Mary at a Sonora grocery store and we both recognized each other, surprisingly.

I am thankful to have known her and wish we could still meet and talk trees and plants.

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Dorothy Sylwester

Twain Harte