Union Democrat staff

My heroes

To the editor:

I would like to give a huge thank you to Jeff Vaila, co-manager of KFC in Sonora; Amy Stark at Tuolumne General Medical Facility Long Term Care, and Tuolumne County Sheriff's Deputy Oliver Imlach.

Their actions led to the return of a considerable amount of money stolen from my pack at the restaurant in mid-December. I left my pack there, realized it after I had taken my mother back to her residence at TGMF, drove back and found money missing from my wallet.

I panicked, blurted out that my money was missing and drove immediately to the Sheriff's Office. Apparently, two people I didn't notice jumped up and fled the restaurant. Thinking they looked suspicious, Mr. Vaila followed them, wrote down their license plate number and called the sheriff.

After returning home, I received a call from Amy Stark, my mother's caregiver. She thought KFC had a security camera, and told me to call the restaurant. Mr. Vaila confirmed that the camera showed someone taking money from my wallet. The info was given to Deputy Imlach, who later that evening returned my money.

I cannot thank you enough. Each of you is my hero.

Elsie Bruno


Smart growth?

To the editor:

One must laugh to keep from weeping for the beleaguered residents of Valley Springs. The planning follies in that neighborhood look like an ironic three-act tragedy.

The players: Planners, environmental activists and the ordinary residents who wish the others would just go away and leave them alone.

Supporting roles: Academics and consultants dependent on the public treasury for income.

The plot is to reshape society into utopia by replacing "urban sprawl" with high density "villages" with public transit but no private yards nor automobiles. It's a dumb idea that few would choose for themselves, so they named it "Smart Growth." The theory is, "If we halt sprawl and build only high-density villages, the people will adjust and be, oh, so happy and the planet will be saved from global warming."

The environmentalists advance this utopian concept with religious zeal. They have already succeeded in passing sweeping laws limiting CO2 producing activity and protecting every species except homo sapiens.

The consultants risk loss of income if they disagree. That's why all their studies and recommendations support smart growth and prohibition of all other development, including even barns on parcels with no house.

Did the folks in the Valley Springs area move into a house on a large lot because there were no high-density apartments available? Were they told at stakeholder meetings how their responses to the questions would be interpreted? Like, if you prefer clean air to smog, you must favor smart growth.

The idealists are very clever, well organized and determined and they know precisely what's best for us. Don't they?

Bob Mulvany


Beautiful bridge

To the editor:

An open letter to Peter Rei of the Tuolumne County Road Department.

Many thanks for a beautiful bridge and wider roads over Sullivan Creek. It is truly a delight to drive over it and not fear knocking off my side-view mirrors when meeting a bus or truck thereon. The temporary inconvenience of the detour was just that - temporary, and at least it was available for those of us on the "far side" of the bridge.

I'd also like to convey my appreciation to the county Public Works staff for its kindness and patience in answering the many questions we phoned in during bridge construction.

We have the most beautiful piece of real estate in the world here in America, and the greatest freedom of any - to complain or compliment without fear of reprisal. I compliment you all on the bridge.

Jean Perry


Good health, long life

To the editor:

In Colfax, Wash., when I was 14 years old and a Christian, I decided that I would never drink or smoke.

I have never tasted beer, but did try a cigarette or two.

I will be 85 next spring and am thankful for a long, healthy life.

Blanche Aphecetche