Economic boost

Notah Begay III to Sonora? What a great start for Telili Golf Club, which was recently rescued from closure by the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and rejuvenated by Sierra Golf Management improvements. New sand traps, restored greens, building improvements and now a top golfer doing a question and answer session at 9 a.m. Friday.

Begay, Golf Channel commentator, four-time PGA champion and friend of Tiger Woods, will surely have a lot to say about golf and whatever else people want to know. With this sort of start, the club will surely realize what the tribe hoped for when it spent $900,000 to buy it: a good investment in a tourism-based economy. This is good for us all, whether you play golf or not.

Ode to storytelling

Congratulations to Bill Roberson on being awarded the National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Award for Service and Leadership in the Pacific States Region. That’s akin to an Academy Award in the storytelling world.

There is nothing quite like sitting and listening to someone tell a good story. In fact, many newspapers around the country have revived the art with regular storytelling events, which is an interesting addition to the journalism business. Journalism is all about telling people’s stories in writing and now they have managed to find a niche in sponsoring the spoken version.

At the root of Roberson’s storytelling gift is ensuring tradition lives on, one generation to the next. Important stuff.


Guy McCarthy’s story last week on a reunion of sorts of the people who opposed the construction of a new dam to impound New Melones Reservoir resonated with many readers. Larry Orman, a veteran rafting guide, spoke of not being able to look at the lake, even 40 years later. He has photos of the Stanislaus River when it was in fact a river, when it was beautiful and wild and fun. He labels photos of it a live river, and those of the lake a dead river. He and Mark Dubois have developed a website, , to help people remember what was lost. Their hope is to inspire others to say let’s not let this happen again.

Roads, always roads

Tuolumne County supervisors heard concerns from residents of Ponderosa Hills about the condition of a forest road that could be an escape route in a fire. One resident said, “The last few years have been slightly terrifying not knowing where we can leave in the event that a fire would happen.” Supervisor Anaiah Kirk, who represents the area, had done his homework. He’d been on the road with a murky ownership, the U.S. Forest Service, private property, Bureau of Land Management, and got stuck in his four-wheel-drive Toyota 4Runner.

Five times people have fled fires using that road, Kirk said.

Josh White, chief of the Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, stepped up and said he could fix the road. He’s got the resources and equipment. Just needs permission. It’s time. And then, move on to the many other neighborhoods that have the same problem: one way out that in an emergency could mean no way out.