Union Democrat staff

Sierra Foothill

Rotary Clubs

To the Editor:

Rotary's definition: "Revolution, turning on an axis."

Since 1905 Rotary International has done exceptional charitable work throughout the world. In the Sierra Foothills region we're blessed with no fewer than eight Rotary Clubs. Almost any week we read about the good works of these devoted people.

Take a look at a nearby park in your neck of the woods. Chances are it was a Rotary project. And last week we read about one of those groups: Sonora Sunrise Rotary.

The story of Tuolumne County's newest park just off Greenley Road with its community garden and play areas for kids and pooches warmed our hearts.

Soon we'll all enjoy this great enhancement to our community. This same Rotary Club completely renovated the main branch of the Tuolumne County Children's Library in 2009, giving young families scads of incredible new books, furniture, carpet and the colossal mural by artist Tracy Knopf. Knopf's mural, "Nature's Wonder by Day and Night," is Tuolumne County's largest Public Art piece to date. At 70-feet-by-16-feet, it spans one entire wall and invites us outdoors into the Sierra Nevada - an art treasure for generations to come.

Just 10 years ago Sonora 49er Rotary helped give us "Heaven for Kids," an amazing community project that was built in less than five days. Lucky us to have the dedication of these groups, who care so deeply about their home communities. "Service Above Self," that's Rotary's motto.

They bring change, turn heads and move us to higher standards, a better quality of life with their generous goodwill. Thank you, Rotary International and all of our Sierra Foothill Rotary Clubs.

B.Z. Smith


Sluice Robbing

To the Editor:

Regarding Mr. Holtons article on Sluice Robbing (Dec. 14): First of all, I believe the author has "modern" sluicing confused with the methods he claims were used in the 1850s.

One only needs to look as far as the picture he provided with his article to see that the box was fed by a canvas hose, fed by water from a ditch or upstream.

Gravel was shoveled into a slick bottomed box, with one end slightly turned up, and had a perforated bottom to classify the gravels. The material small enough to pass through would fall into a short box with riffles, which would catch the gold. These Toms could be as small as the one pictured or up to 20 inches in length.

They never shoveled dirt in and let it wash over night either, it only takes seconds for the dirt to be, "washed." They did however only "clean-up" once a week, which is where "sluice robbers" came into play.

Cody Stemler