To the National Park Service (and taxpayers and the Yosemite Conservancy) for the three-year restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, a national treasure that became Disneyland lite. Trams and parking lots and hundreds of thousands of people damaged the roots of those majestic trees. The Park Service says there are 500 mature sequoias in the grove, including a 1,800-year-old tree known as the Grizzly Giant. It is an amazing site, and yet once the area was plagued with smelly bathrooms and a carnival atmosphere. Let’s hope the years-long rest and $40 million ensure this doesn’t happen again when the grove reopens in June.
To everyone who performs a random act of kindness today. We’re not much for national days of. Come on, there are days to celebrate homemade soup, heavenly hash, tater tots, frozen yogurt, Nutella and fettucine alfredo, and that’s just the first week of February. But kindness. Now, that’s something we can get excited about. Students in Calaveras County spent a week thinking about being kind and acting on the idea. The Random Acts of Kindness organization has lots of ideas on its website for anyone looking to do something for someone else today. They’ve even got things you can do online, such as write a positive comment on a website or blog. We’d especially like that one.
Speaking of kindness, bravo to the Discover Life Seventh-day Adventist Church for sponsoring the Life Hope Clinic last weekend. Organizers counted about 340 people who were offered free dental, vision and medical services. They said people started lining up at 4 a.m. for the 7 a.m. opening. Medical professional from Adventist Health Sonora donated their time. They ordered glasses, cleaned and pulled teeth and refilled prescriptions. A foot care team washed and treated feet. The Sonora Area Foundation has started a fund to pay for next year’s event. Organizers quote one woman as saying, “They treated me like I was a valuable person.”
To Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency for stepping into the breach. They want to help homeless people find caregivers for their dogs while in a shelter or in the hospital. Often, people refuse medical care or stay outside during freezing weather because they don’t want to lose their dogs.
To Calaveras County for pressing for an appropriate settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric, which has been deemed responsible for the Butte Fire. Millions of dollars were spent fighting that fire and for other governmental services. It is appropriate for the company to make the county whole. Sadly, it’s likely the cost will be passed on to ratepayers.
To the nutria for coming back or for not being gone in the first place after the state’s eradication effort in the 1970s. Some doubted our story about this invasive creature — a rat that swims — but it seems pretty clear the animal is back. No one knows how many, but they’ve been found in four counties, including Tuolumne. And these are fertile creatures with a voracious appetite for the greens that keep lakes healthy. They are also a threat to Tuolumne County’s famous ditch system, responsible for bringing water to our homes. Let’s hope a new eradication program is successful.
You give a bravo and then add a barb — to Calaveras County for its ever shifting cannabis growing conversation. Allow, ban, and let’s ask the voters. Nope, no vote, they say, we’ve got enough legal problems. That’s the one true thing. This saga is far from over and likely no one will come out a winner.