To Dao Nguyen French and all the people who helped her overcome a childhood of injury and bullying. The Vietnamese native suffered burns on her hands and face when she was 28 days old and lived through childhood as an outcast. But a series of fortunate events took her to Spokane, Washington, where she was treated by doctors who she now considers her adopted parents and to Murphys, where she now lives with her husband, Sonora dentist Michael French, and their children. Hers is a story of triumph over tragedy and the essential need for community.

To the Sonora Union High School Board for setting in a motion the next life for the Sonora Dome. This week the board voted to declare it surplus property, opening up a process in which organizations can place bids to buy it. Long empty and deteriorating, the dome sits high on the hill overlooking downtown, as iconic a building as the Red Church, possibly more so. It was built as Sonora Elementary, then was used as administrative offices for the high school. The process seems difficult — two groups of organizations must pass on it before the arts community gets a shot. We’re still a long way from seeing it thrive. But the first step has been taken.

To the people who attended the Martin Luther King Jr. event, both those who came to hear the speaker and those who were opposed. It turned into an event that brought disparate people together and some had meaningful conversations.

To those planning the memorial on the east lawn of the Tuolumne Veterans Memorial Hall in Tuolumne that will honor victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and veterans who served Iraq and Afghanistan. The planning and fundraising began in 2015, and now it looks like it will come about after the Board of Supervisors approved its location. The memorial will include three stone plaques, a flagpole and a brick pathway.

In addition, artifacts from 9/11 will be displayed, including a piece of sandstone from the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United 93 crashed, a piece of steel from the World Trade Center towers and limestone from the crash site at the Pentagon


Perhaps it was the easy way to build something when someone decided Bonds Flat Road and the Lake Don Pedro-controlled spillway could co-exist. Perhaps planners thought it would never happen that the spillway needed to be opened and the road would need to be taken out. But then it did. And, yes, it’s only the second time since the dam was built in 1971. But still. Is this the best way to do business? Tuolumne County supervisors are right to press for a bridge at Bonds Flat Road so when the controlled spillway is opened, the road will not need to be removed.

This week, the Sonora Police Department announced it had closed the investigation on the death of a pedestrian on Stockton Road, finding that the driver was not responsible. The man was not in a crosswalk. He was wearing dark clothing. The driver was not speeding. It adds up. What doesn’t add up is why are our streets so dark. That is a particularly dangerous place, what with the Mother Lode Fairgrounds being located there and many people choosing to park across the street on Forest Road. This easily could be considered an accident waiting to happen. And it did. As the mother of the driver said, this was a tragedy for all involved. Better lighting is needed there as well as on Washington Street. It is almost impossible to see people crossing the street in downtown Sonora at night.