Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
The first phase of a major facelift and remodeling at LaContenta Golf Club is under way with construction of a new pro shop.
project begins at La Contenta Golf Club
Work is moving quickly on a new pro shop at La Contenta Golf Club
and once completed, the existing clubhouse will undergo a major
Concrete work on the 1,600-square-foot pro shop at the north end
of the La Contenta parking lot began last Thursday and framing has been
completed. Siding is going up on the new structure and completion of the
building is scheduled for the first of November, if not sooner.
The existing pro shop is approximately 1,000 square feet and the
expansion means La Contenta will offer a larger variety of soft goods,
such as more golf apparel, said Rod Metzler, La Contenta’s managing
When the pro shop moves to its new digs, work will begin at the
old pro shop and the rest of the clubhouse, said Dave Tanner of Tanner
That work will give the clubhouse a major facelift with a much
larger banquet facility, able to accommodate 300 guests, an outdoor
wedding and event area, patio dining, a redesigned cocktail lounge, and
a grand entrance to the facility, Tanner said.
The outdoor wedding and event area – which will include a
gazebo - will be very beneficial for the Valley Springs area by
providing a much larger venue for community activities, Tanner said.
“It will help advertise Valley Springs as the place to come for
events and we haven’t had that ability before,” Tanner said.
Beginning with the new pro shop, La Contenta’s exterior will
take on the look of “Modern Mission Style,” Tanner added. It will
include c-style tile roofing, a lot more ceramic work and inlays in the
walls and just “a very clean and updated look overall,” he said.
The public will get a good idea of what the entire facility will
look like when the new pro shop is completed to the updated style,
Changes to the golf course are also in the works. Improvements to
the playability of the golf course will include the addition of more
ponds and water features, which is all a part of recent agreement with
the Calaveras County Water District to use more tertiary treated water
on the course, Tanner said.
The move to improve La Contenta comes after builder Ryan Voorhees purchased a major portion of the partnership running the golf course at the beginning of the year.
The goal is to make the property a first class facility, Tanner said.
Negotiations are also under way for the addition of an on-site hotel at the golf course.
County's first West Nile virus case of the year reported
The California Department of Public Health has informed local public health officials that a bird from San Andreas has tested positive for West Nile virus.
The notification, made Aug. 20, is the first indication of West Nile virus in Calaveras County this year. There have been no reported cases of humans or horses infected with the West Nile virus in Calaveras County thus far this year.
"This positive finding is a reminder that WNV is present in
Calaveras County and the public needs to continue precautions against
infection," said Dr. Dean Kelaita, the county’s health officer.
Many California counties are reporting increases in West Nile
virus activity. Statewide there have been 78 persons reported with WNV
infection and no deaths. Two human cases have been reported in San
Nile virus affects the central nervous system and can cause a fever,
body aches, headache, nausea and vomiting.
"Most persons who are infected with the virus will not
develop any symptoms; however some people (less than 1 percent) become
sick and debilitated with symptoms of high fever, headache, neck
stiffness, muscle weakness and disorientation," Dr. Kelaita said.
Persons over age 50 and persons with weakened immune systems are
at higher risk of serious disease or death from infection with West Nile
The virus is spread to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
"West Nile virus infections is preventable, by avoiding
mosquito bites," Kelaita said.
Actions recommended by health officials include:
• DEET - Apply insect repellent containing the active
ingredient DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), Picaridin, or oil of
lemon eucalyptus containing insect repellents should be applied when
outdoors. Follow directions on the package.
• Dress - When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts
and other protective clothing.
• Dusk and dawn - Avoid spending time outside at dusk and dawn
when mosquitoes are most active. Wear long sleeves, pants and socks at
dusk and dawn. Exclude mosquitoes from your home with tight fitting
screens on doors
• Drain - Eliminate all sources of standing water on your
property to reduce mosquito breeding. Sources may include children's
wading pools, empty flowerpots, buckets, barrels and other containers.
Horse owners are reminded to make sure that their horses are
current on immunizations to protect them from West Nile virus.
The Vector Control Program of the Environmental Health Department
offers mosquito control services. These include mosquito fish and
limited spraying for mosquito control.
"The public is encouraged to report swimming pools with
green standing water as a mosquito breeding source," said Brian
Moss, Environmental Management Agency director.
Unattended pools in unoccupied homes are a source of mosquito
breeding and need to be sprayed. The Vector Control Program can be
reached at (209) 764-6383, or at www. ccvector.com for assistance with
reducing mosquito-breeding areas.
The public can report dead birds and tree squirrels for possible
testing by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473), or online at
www.westnile.ca.gov. Additional information is available from the Public
Health Department at 754-6460, or at www.co.calaveras.ca.gov.
The Calaveras County Planning Commission last week rejected a proposal to place more billboards between Burson and Valley Springs.
Planning panel rejects plea for more billboards
A majority of the Calaveras County Planning Commission rejected a
staff recommendation and voted against a proposal by a media firm out of
Davis to place three large billboards on Highway 12 between Burson and
The planning panel on Thursday voted 4-1 against the request by
Rogers Media for a conditional use permit to erect the billboards at
1201 Highway 12, approximately 1.5 miles west of downtown Valley
Planning Commissioner Bill Mason, representing District 4, which
includes Angels Camp and Murphys, was the lone commissioner to support
the project as proposed. Commissioners Ted Allured, Steve Kearney,
Suzanne Kuehl and Fawn McLaughlin voted in favor of rejecting the
Matt Rogers, president and CEO of Rogers Media Co., indicated he
would appeal the decision to the Board of Supervisors.
However, District 4 Supervisor Tom Tryon, addressing the planning
panel earlier in the meeting on a sign request concerning the Murphys
Hotel, said a Planning Commission decision on the Murphys matter and
even the Valley Springs item would have “wide-ranging implications”
while the General Plan update is under way and the Board of Supervisors
needs to make some policy decisions before the sign requests move
Planning staff and the commission had received nearly three-dozen
letters protesting the proposal and another 42 letters and emails were
received after the planning packet was finalized.
Before voting on the request, members of the Planning Commission
said the number of citizens who took the time to let the county know how
they felt about the proposal overwhelmed them.
Rogers was the first to speak and he said his company has 57
signs in 17 Northern California and Nevada communities. He said his
company takes great care to vigorously maintain their “high quality”
signs, which will meet every requirement of the county’s sign
Rogers said 100 percent of all available billboards in Calaveras
County now are operated by CBS, the national television network. Since
CBS has a monopoly in the county, businesses are paying a substantially
higher rate than normal to rent those signs, he added.
By following the county ordinance, the proposed billboards along
Highway 12 would be “the smallest we’ve ever built,” Rogers said.
The proposed sign faces would measure 16 feet wide by 8 feet high
for a total of 128 square feet each. The base of the signs would be 14.5
feet above grade, with an overall height of 25 feet to the top of each.
Highway 12 resident Joyce Techel disagreed with Rogers’ opinion
that the signs would be small. She said those sizes were substantial in
size. She also echoed Supervisor Tryon’s comments that the county is
in a General Plan and community plan update and a decision now on the
signs would “take away some of the options we have.”
“Once up, it will take an act of god to get them down,” she
Valley Springs business owner and District 1 supervisor candidate
Zerrall McDaniel also questioned the wisdom of moving forward on the
billboards while the county is updating the General Plan.
“This forecloses any opportunity to create the type of downtown
Valley Springs we want in the future,” she said.
Valley Springs Area Business Association President George Nelson
said the 120-member business group also opposes the billboards. The
signs likely would not bring more business to the community, would not
create jobs and would be an eyesore.
Rogers took offense to those comments and said only Calaveras
County businesses would be on his billboards and he has a three-year
waiting list of Calaveras businesses with a desire to advertise on the
three billboards. He also said the billboards do create jobs and pay
property taxes. He also said there were no studies or evidence that
billboards distract drivers and are a driving hazard.
Several people who addressed the board disagreed with Rogers’
highway safety comments.
They pointed out that the signs would be in a curvy, ravine
portion of Highway 12 and any distraction along such a road could prove
to be dangerous.
“We have a constitutional right to be in business,” Rogers
He added that Caltrans has already looked at the proposal and
approved it “by any measure and standard.”
Rogers Media had waited 17 months to get the project to the
Planning Commission and did not want to wait another three to five years
for consideration while the General Plan is being finalized, he said.
Property owner Kevin Gause of Copperopolis said he bought the
property when it was a junkyard and he has made substantial improvements
to it in the meantime. He said he was impressed with Rogers Media and
thought they would do a good job maintaining the signs.
Commissioner Allured said he normally is a land rights advocate
“until it affects neighbors.” As such, he said he could not support
Commissioner McLaughlin said the applicant may be well
intentioned but was fighting “a perfect storm.” Perception of
Rogers’ request was impacted by the quality of previous signs
installed in the area, she said, and people were concerned about the
tone those signs set in a gateway through the county.
Commissioner Steve Kearney said he was going to vote against the
billboards because they were not the right fit for that particular area.
Commission Chairwoman Kuehl said she did not think billboards
were compatible in Calaveras County. She said the county depends on
tourism and billboards detract from the county’s open space and rural
Although the applicant has met all of the county’s
requirements, issuance of the permit is still discretionary, she added.
Mason said the number of people commenting on the proposal
overwhelmed him, but the area is zoned for industrial use and the signs
would be “a step up” from the others in the area.
Mason made a motion to follow staff recommendation to approve the
project, but the motion died without a second.
Allured made the motion to reject the request and it was seconded
Bill Souza, left, of Valley Springs talks to members of Rod & Custom magazine on Friday at the New Hogan Observation Point and describes the work involved in completing his hot rod.
Hot rod caravan visits New Hogan
By Nick Baptista
There was a parking lot full of shinny chrome Friday afternoon at the New Hogan Observation Point as the Foothill Classics car club hosted a barbecue for a caravan of hot rods making their way from Burbank to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The dozen-or-so car caravan, organized by Rod & Custom magazine, was tripping through the Mother Lode along Highway 49 before diverting down Highway 12 to the lake and breaking bread with other hot rod enthusiasts.
From Valley Springs, the Rod & Custom contingent moved to Highway 88 and took a scenic trip to South Lake Tahoe where they spent the night before moving on Saturday through Carson City and eventually Winnemucca, Nevada, where they visited the soon-to-be-opening America’s Car Collection Museum.
They expected to be in Wendover by Sunday evening and checking out the action at the salt flats on Monday.
Youngsters will have an opportunity to learn when it is the right time to harvest vegetables at Saturday's Open Garden Day.
Open Garden Day to focus on preserving techniques
Home gardeners who planted vegetables and other edible plants in the spring have been anxiously waiting for this moment.
August and September is the time when their hard work pays off
with bushels of vegetables and fruit.
But now what? How can the home gardener prevent their
harvest from spoiling and instead enjoy their wonderful garden bounty
for months to come?
The answer is: learn proper preserving techniques. Those
techniques will be highlighted at the Master Gardeners’ Open Garden
Day on Saturday, Aug. 23, at their Demonstration Garden in San Andreas.
At 10:15 a.m., on Master Gardeners will present a demonstration
on “Safely Preserving the Harvest”. Dorothy Smith, nutrition,
family and consumer sciences advisor with the University of California
Cooperative Extension, will discuss ways to safely preserve the harvest
and demonstrate some tasty, healthy ways to prepare vegetables.
She will discuss three food preservation methods: drying,
freezing and canning. Handouts and sample products will be
available. She will also provide recipes to take and test at home.
At 11 a.m., the Children’s Garden will be open and Master
Gardeners will teach youngsters when it is the right time to harvest
vegetables and enjoy tasting a few.
The Open Garden Day will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Master
Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at the Government Center, 891 Mountain
Ranch Road, San Andreas. The garden is located on the west side of
the Historical Society’s Red Barn along Mountain Ranch Road. The
garden is accessed through the Government Center and attendees may park
Gardening information is offered free of charge. In
addition, the learning center will be staffed by Master Gardeners to
answer questions and give out handy reference “Quick Tips” cards on
controlling yellowjackets. Tours of the Demonstration Garden will
also be available.
When the garden is not open, home gardening assistance is offered
by Master Gardeners through the Help Line at 754-2880. The public
may call the number, leave a message regarding the problem, and a Master
Gardener will return the call.
The Demonstration Garden is a project of the Calaveras County
Master Gardeners whose primary goal is educating the public about home
gardening. The garden has been under construction for several years
with all funding coming from Master Gardeners, UC Cooperative Extension,
grants, and private donations.
For additional details, contact the UC Cooperative Extension
office at 754-6477.
The “Community Shopping Center” sign has been on the southeast corner of Highway 26 and Hogan Dam Road for several years as the project goes through the planning process.
Planning panel OKs center despite Caltrans' objections
A proposal for a new shopping center in Valley Springs received the
backing of the Calaveras County Planning Commission on Thursday, but it appears
Caltrans will appeal the decision to the Board of Supervisors.
Planning commissioners voted 5-0 in favor of the planned development
permit for the Valley Springs Community Shopping Center off Highway 26 at Hogan
New Hogan Community Investors – consisting of Norried Family Properties
of Valley Springs, Guy Meyers of Valley Springs and Roy Hifai of Los Altos –
is seeking the permit from the county to build a nearly 14-acre shopping center,
which calls for seven buildings totaling 91,849 square feet with one of them –
a potential supermarket - at 51,108 square feet.
Much of the discussion at Thursday’s meeting centered on Caltrans’
concerns about traffic in the area and realignment of a section of Highway 26.
Meyers countered that he has been doing business in the Valley Springs
area for 30 years and the need for traffic improvement has been recognized for
many years, so if Caltrans believes the property earmarked for the shopping
center is the desired solution, they should follow “proper procedure.”
The proper procedure, Meyers said, would be for “Caltrans to take the
necessary action to legally acquire the property.”
Meyers said he and the rest of the shopping center’s investors “would
be happy to sell the property to Caltrans and move forward.”
However, Meyers told planning commissioners he doubts Caltrans is
prepared to fund and build substantial highway improvements in Valley Springs
“in our lifetimes” and the shopping center proposal should not be held
hostage in the meantime.
Tim McSorley, executive director of the Calaveras Council of Governments,
said the county “is beginning to see things happen” in regards to a Valley
Springs traffic project.
A portion of the project is close to being fully funded, he said, but
admitted it could be 15 to 20 years before the bypass or connector route becomes
“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for that facility,” he
said, and “it would be shortsighted to preclude one of the alternatives
(property at the proposed center).”
McSorley presented diagrams of eight possible alternatives. Some of the
diagrams increase the present-day Highway 12 alignment into a four-lane roadway
with an island through downtown Valley Springs, while other alternatives
re-align the highway to the south and through the site of the proposed shopping
Meyers questioned the need for such an elaborate plan given changes in
Valley Springs’ recent development was based on reasonable commute
costs, he said. Those days are gone.
“You will not see the past pace of development for a long time,”
Meyers said. “The growth picture honestly does not look near as rosy as it did
two years ago.”
Instead of making plans to move traffic past Valley Springs as quickly as
possible, it makes better sense to offer more shopping opportunities in Valley
Springs instead of Jackson or Sonora, he said.
It is estimated that the shopping center will create 150 jobs; about 30
percent will be full-time with benefits.
Caltrans representative Michael Robinson said the report used to
determine traffic levels for the project significantly underestimates those
Meyers said their consultants were using data accepted by the county and
Caltrans was overstating new trip generations.
Marti Crane of Valley Springs expressed her concern about additional
runoff from the proposed center.
“There ought to be a lot of places where the water can get back into
the ground,” she said.
Mark Jones of Valley Springs expressed concerns about the traffic hazard
at Highway 26 and Hogan Dam Road.
“I hope there is some way everyone can come together on the traffic
situation – especially that intersection,” he said.
Carol Barzee of Valley Springs was concerned with what impact the
proposed center will have on traffic at Highway 26 and Vista Del Lago. She also
questioned the need for extra staffing from the sheriff’s department and how
that will be funded, and was concerned about flooding in the area.
“I just want it done right,” she said.
Colleen Platt outlined MyValleySprings.com’s position on the proposal.
Although MyValleySprings.com is not against the project, she said, the group is
concerned with the inadequacy of the planning report.
“As it stands before you, we feel it is unfinished,” she said.
Calaveras County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rachelle Whiting, center, and Community Services Representative Patricia Ross, right, visited with the public and provided safety advice at last Tuesday evening’s National Night Out gathering at the home of Bob and Virginia Belmont on Stabulis Road.
gather to celebrate anti-crime successes
Advice on home security, steps to take to prevent identity theft
and what to watch for concerning drug and gang activity were outlined
when members of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department met with
Neighborhood Watch groups last week in connection with annual
National Night Out activities.
National Night Out was observed Tuesday across the United States
and is designed to celebrate the public’s participation in anti-crime
efforts through organizations such as Neighborhood Watch, said Patricia
Ross, the department’s coordinator for Neighborhood Watch and
community services representative.
National Night Out gatherings were held Tuesday and Wednesday in
the Valley Springs/Rancho Calaveras area and additional ones are
scheduled for next week in San Andreas and West Point, Ross said.
Ross’s presentation included a 48-point home security checklist
for residents to use, an update on the sheriff’s department’s
efforts to curb gang activity in the county, what to do when members of
the public believe they are witnessing gang and drug activities in their
neighborhoods, and what can be done to prevent being a victim of
identity theft, or what steps to quickly take if you believe you are an
identity theft victim.
“National Night Out is an opportunity for us in law enforcement
to congratulate the Neighborhood Watch programs for what they’ve done
to fight crime in their areas,” she said. “Their input is invaluable
to our department.”
The public’s help has been used to solve several recent crimes,
she said, and assist in some on-going investigations.
The sheriff’s department also uses National Night Out as an
opportunity to listen to the public’s concerns and answer their
questions, she added.
“It’s a fun event for us in law enforcement,” she said.
“It’s a way to boost neighborhood spirit, and at the same time pay
attention to crime awareness and prevention.”
She also uses the gatherings to talk about the department’s Tip
Line. All calls are anonymous and the public can use the number to alert
the department if they see suspicious activities.
No information is collected to find the caller’s identity. The
calls go straight to a voice mailbox and are not answered. The number is
(209) 754-6030, but crimes in progress should be reported by dialing
The department also has materials – a DVD and brochures – to
help the public prevent identity theft. They can be obtained by calling
Ross at 754-6500.
If a person’s wallet or purse is lost or stolen, she encourages
them to quickly call Social Security, the Department of Motor Vehicles,
their credit card and checking institutions and be sure to put a watch
on all banking accounts and other banking assets.
She also said a person with lost or stolen ID and credit cards
should call all three credit bureaus and put a watch on their credit
accounts. The toll-free numbers are 888-397-3742 for Experian,
800-685-1111 for Equifax, and 800-916-8800 for Transunion.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, left, during a visit earlier this year at the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner congratulates Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital representatives Ryan Thompson, chief of staff; Kathy Dodge, foundation president, and Feliciano Jiron, hospital president, for the hospital being selected as the chamber’s Business of the Year.
native plans to make run at state's highest office
California voters might have a choice between a Calaveras County native and The Governator for the state’s highest office in 2010.
Lt. Gov. and Mokelumne Hill native John Garamendi announced last
week that he is a candidate in the 2010 governor’s race. Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger has not said whether he will seek re-election to the
office he’s held since Nov. 17, 2003.
“If we really believe in California, then we must fight for it.
I am prepared to lead that fight,” Garamendi said in his announcement.
“I know how to bring people to the table and solve problems. That’s
because I’ve worked every part of the problem solving equation as a
legislator, state insurance commissioner, deputy interior secretary
under President Clinton and as lieutenant governor.”
Garamendi, the state’s 46th lieutenant governor, is making his
fourth run at the state’s highest office. He ran unsuccessfully in the
gubernatorial primary, where he was defeated by Tom
Bradley, who lost later that year to Republican George
Garamendi’s second attempt for the governor’s office was in
1994 when he lost the Democratic primary by 15 percent to then state
Treasurer Kathleen Brown, who in turn lost the General Election to
incumbent Republican Gov. Pete Wilson.
Back in 2003 prior to the gubernatorial recall election of Gray
Davis, Garamendi announced his candidacy for governor, but dropped out
two days later in favor of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.
Garamendi, an Eagle Scout and former Peace Corps volunteer, began
his political career winning a California State Assembly seat in 1974.
He won election to the State Senate in 1976 and was re-elected for three
more four-year terms.
In 1986 he ran for State Controller, but lost in the Democratic
primary to Davis. Four years later, Garamendi was successful in his
campaign to become California’s first Commissioner of Insurance.
After four years in the private sector, Garamendi returned to
politics in 2002 and was elected to a second term as state insurance
Garamendi said his record proves he delivers results.
“I developed a universal healthcare plan in 1991 that sparked
the debate nationally and statewide, negotiated the Headwaters compact
in 1998, built the workers compensation plan called ‘roadmap to
reform’ and forced the insurance industry to return billions of
dollars to consumers. Currently, I’m working to keep the doors of
California’s higher education system open to all students by
protecting education funding.”
A cover shot of Doni Jones' recently published book, "Divorce L.A.P.D. Style."
Rocky relationship with LAPD officer subject of new book by former Valley Springs resident
Former Valley Springs resident Doni Jones is scheduled to make a
return visit to one of her favorite places – La Contenta Golf Club -
to sign her recently published book, “Divorce L.A.P.D. Style.”
Jones lived in Valley Springs from 1995 to 2005 where she taught
Sunday school at Community United Methodist Church, was active on the
links playing with her friends belonging to the La Contenta 18 Holers,
and is a long-time friend of Valley Springs’ most recent Citizens of
the Year, Bing and Barbara Stanley.
But life was not perfect.
“I was going through some emotional problems at home so I
decided to start writing at night during my lonely time,” Jones said. “The
book is about my marriage to a L.A.P.D. police officer. I used the
writing for therapy and to help me sleep at night.”
An insert from the book describes Jones’ ordeal:
“How does a woman feel when her husband uses the Badge to harass her
and then goes above the law to terrorize her. The Badge she also
respected for the fifteen years of marriage. The Badge she slept,
ate and drank with. Hours of listening to the ups and downs of the
job. Hours of waiting for him to come home from work wondering if
he is on the job or just out fooling around. It was also the Badge
she learned to hate.”
Jones’ book signing is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday,
The book, published by Book Surge through Amazon.com, has been
out for two weeks and 400 copies have been sold, she said.
In addition to Valley Springs, Jones will have a book signing in
Placerville, where she also lived prior to returning to Southern
California where she make her home today.
But Jones, 59, has dreams of returning to Valley Springs.
“Valley Springs is a great place to live and I’m hoping to
Jones, who was in Tuesday’s magnitude-5.4 earthquake in the Los
Angeles area, said life is too busy in Southern California and the
people are not as friendly.
“I miss all of my friends in Valley Springs,” she added.
Although the main setting for the book is Los Angeles, Jones
writes about her life in Valley Springs, along with the foothill
communities of Jackson and Placerville.
Once she finishes her Northern California book-signing tour,
Jones will beginning marketing “Divorce L.A.P.D. Style” in Southern
In addition to holding down a job and marketing her recently
published book, Jones is busy writing a sequel.
“I’ve been so busy lately, neighbors are calling me the
Energizer Bunny,” Jones said.
Jones downplayed the idea of her book being movie material, but
she said friends have told her Cameron Diaz would be ideal to play her
if her work makes it to the silver screen.