Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
The new year ushers in a number of new laws for California motorists.
State's motorists face new laws in New Year
More than 900 new motor vehicle and transportation laws will go
into effect when the New Year begins.
"The goal is not to write a bunch of tickets," said
Sean Comey, spokesperson for AAA of Northern California. "The
purpose of many of the new regulations is to increase the safety and
convenience of our transportation system."
For more than 35 years, AAA has teamed up with the California
Highway Patrol and the California Department of Motor Vehicles to teach
police officers and drivers about imminent changes in state law.
Here are highlights of new
transportation laws. All go into effect Jan. 1 unless otherwise noted:
AB 2752 increases penalties for underage drivers under the
influence of alcohol. Drivers under age 21 with a blood alcohol
concentration of .01 percent to .04 percent would be subject to a fine
(including penalty assessments) of up to $340 for a first offense, up to
$680 for a second offense and up to $850 for a third offense. Fines have
also been increased for underage drivers with a BAC of .05 percent or
greater. Authored by Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange.
AB 1850 makes it an infraction to drive a motor vehicle with
knowledge that a person is riding in the trunk and makes it an
infraction for a person to ride in the trunk. Putting passengers in the
vehicle trunk has become a growing practice among teen drivers
attempting to circumvent the Graduated Drivers Licensing passenger
restriction. Authored by Assemblyman Richard Mountjoy, R-Monrovia.
AB 1870 requires a visible smoke test be included in bi-annual
smog check program. Under the new law, any visible smoke from the
tailpipe or crankcase of a vehicle during an inspection will result in a
failure. Authored by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View.
SB 1613 prohibits the use of handheld wireless phones while
driving except to call emergency services personnel or a public safety
entity. The law exempts emergency personnel while operating an
authorized emergency vehicle and until July 1, 2011, exempts tow truck
drivers and other specified commercial truck drivers who use a two-way
radio service device that utilizes a wireless telephone, which operates
by depressing a push-to-talk feature. The fines (including penalty
assessments) for a first violation is $68 and $170 for a second or
subsequent violation. Takes effect July 1, 2008. Authored by Sen. Joe
Simitian, D-Palo Alto.
SB 1610 requires freeway drivers, when approaching a stationary
authorized emergency vehicle or tow truck that has its emergency lights
activated, to make a lane change so that the driver is not traveling in
a lane directly adjacent to the emergency vehicle or tow truck. The new
law also prohibits tow trucks from displaying flashing amber warning
lights on a freeway unless an unusual or extreme traffic hazard exists.
Authored by Sen. Simitian.
AB 2210 increases protection against unfair vehicle towing
practices. Currently, some towing companies illegally tow vehicles and
then demand exorbitant fees for their return. The law makes it a
misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $2,500, three months in county
jail, or both, for a person to charge a vehicle owner an excessive
towing or storage rate, which is set by the law enforcement agency that
has jurisdiction over that area. Authored by Assemblywoman Jackie
Goldberg, D-Los Angeles.
AB 32 requires the Air Resources Board to establish a mandatory
reporting system to track and monitor greenhouse gas emission. The law
establishes a limit on greenhouse gas emissions in California, reducing
them to 1990 levels by 2020. Takes effect Jan. 1, 2008. Authored by
Assemblywoman Fran Pavley D-Agoura Hills.
SB 1542, co-sponsored by AAA of Northern California, will make it
easier for motorists to obtain replacement keys for their car when the
original has been lost, stolen or broken. Taking effect Jan. 1, 2008,
the new law requires manufacturers to provide the codes that are
necessary to make a replacement key 24 hours, seven days a week to
registered, prescreened and bonded locksmiths. Under the current system,
motorists stranded at night or on the weekends are frequently forced to
wait until car dealers' service departments open for business. The
passage of SB 1542 means that AAA can better serve its members when they
need help with a vehicle replacement key and benefits the motoring
public overall. Authored by Sen. Carol Migden, D-San Francisco.
Passed by a 77 percent majority, proposition 1A prohibits the
state's 5 percent sales tax on gasoline, which currently raises about $2
billion a year, from being used for any purpose other than
Approved by 61 percent of voters, proposition 1B authorizes the
sale of $19.9 billion in bonds to relieve traffic congestion, improve
air quality, repair streets and roads, upgrade highways, improve the
seismic safety of bridges, expand public transportation and improve
anti-terrorism security at shipping ports.
Bundy Francis, left, and Terry Clark in their new office at 10-A Nove Way.
Farmers office moves to Valley Springs Plaza
Terry L. Clark Insurance Agency of Valley Springs has moved to a
new location at 10-A Nove Way.
For the past 11 years, Clark’s Farmers Insurance Group office
had been at the Thomas Center, 15 St. Andrews Road, Suite 10.
Owner-Broker Terry Clark and Agent Bundy Francis provide all
lines of insurance including personal, business, life and financial
“If we don’t write it, we’ll find someone who does,” said
Clark, who is ending her term as president of the Calaveras County
Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Rotary Club of West Calaveras
County. She is a Certified Insurance Counselor, which requires five
annual tests and continuing education.
Francis, a licensed agent, has been in the insurance business for
nine years, five years with Clark Insurance.
Clark cited more office space, a more convenient location for
clients and better parking for clients as the reasons for the move.
She added that Farmers has reduced rates the past two years and
has become really competitive in the marketplace.
Thomas nominates Kearney for planning commission
By Nick Baptista
A man with an extensive civic service resume has been nominated
by Supervisor-elect Russ Thomas to serve as District 5’s planning
Steve Kearney, the store manager at Longs Drugs in Valley Springs
and president of the Valley Springs Boosters, has been chosen by Thomas
to represent the district on the Calaveras County Planning Commission.
Kearney’s nomination will go to the full Calaveras County Board
of Supervisors at the Jan. 2 meeting for consideration. It will be
Thomas’ first meeting representing District 5 since his election to
the post in November.
If the board approves Kearney’s appointment he would begin his
duties as District 5 planning commissioner at the planning panel’s
Jan. 4 meeting.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of things in Calaveras County
and a chance to do this is really exciting,” Kearney said of his
nomination. “There’s some really exciting things going on and it
should be an exciting time in the county’s development, especially in
this part of the county.”
In addition to Kearney’s appointment, Thomas said he would like
to see the supervisors adopt a resolution at the Jan. 2 board meeting
commending current District 5 Planning Commissioner Wes Hodgson for his
years of service to the county.
“He’s in a unique club of being both a supervisors and
a planning commissioner and I think he’s proud of that as he should
be,” Thomas added.
In nominating Kearney, Thomas said he was looking for someone who
was knowledgeable, well respected and well known in the community. In
addition, he was looking for someone from the Valley Springs area of the
district to help provide a balance and diffuse any election rumors that
the area would not have adequate representation.
“In reality, Steve knows Valley Springs and Rancho Calaveras
and with me on the board it provides the best of both worlds,” Thomas
Thomas said he spent several months talking with various people
about serving and in Kearney he found a candidate who was well
qualified, ready, willing and able to serve.
Kearney is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with
a degree in political science and public service. He has been with Longs
Drugs for 29 years, almost 12 of which have been as the manager of the
Valley Springs store. He has been the store manager since the opening of
the Valley Springs location.
He has lived in Rancho Calaveras for six of those years and spent
five years residing in Mountain Ranch.
The fact that Kearney had lived both inside and outside of the
district was another aspect that influenced Thomas.
“It’s another attribute he brings to the table,” Thomas
said. “He has more breathe of knowledge about other areas of the
county and that should help him perform his duties.”
A significant factor in the selection Thomas said was Kearney’s
involvement with the Valley Springs Boosters and its major undertaking
of putting on the annual fireworks show at New Hogan Lake.
Thomas said the effort demonstrated Kearney’s ability to
organize, execute and perpetuate a program.
Kearney said he is proud of the annual fireworks show, but it is
not the only thing the Booster do. The organization awards an annual
grant to help area schools fund special programs, donated $1,000 to
purchase a new grand piano for Calaveras High School, sponsored the
fireworks program at the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for
Life and donates bicycles to needy children in the community.
Longs is supportive of Kearney’s interest to serve on the
county planning commission.
“They have supported me in all of the community
activities I do,” he said.
Working through the Longs Foundation, Kearney has helped secure
grants for playground equipment at Jenny Lind Memorial Park in Valley
Springs and for construction of Turner Park in San Andreas.
Kearney has also been a past president of the Valley Springs
Chamber of Commerce, an interim board member on the county Chamber of
Commerce and served on the Calaveras County Fish and Game Commission.
The planning commissioner grew up in the Lodi area and spent much
of his recreation time in nearby Calaveras County. He said he could
remember the days when Camanche was a town before it was flooded to make
way for the lake.
Patrick, 6, and Tatiana, 2,
Carvalho visit with Santa Claus during his Monday evening ride-along
with the Jenny Lind Fire Protection District.
Santa, firefighters comb area for last-minute lists
Efforts continue Thursday, Friday nights
By Nick Baptista
If the initial night is any indication, the Jenny Lind Fire
Protection District might have a new Christmastime tradition.
Engine 116 was all decked out with Christmas lights and a wreath
for Santa Claus’s arrival and ride-along Monday night through portions
of the fire district. St. Nick was accepting any last-minute requests
from children in the fire district’s neighborhoods.
Fire Chief Brian Chavez-Ochoa said the response was overwhelming.
The fire district and Santa will also team up for ride-alongs on
Thursday and Friday.
“It was absolutely incredible,” the chief said, with children
and their parents waiting at a number of street corners for the engine.
In addition, the phones were ringing off the hook at the fire station
with requests for Santa to stop by at particular addresses.
“The volunteers were really stoked and excited when they got
back,” the chief said. “Nobody envisioned the response we got. It
was absolutely fabulous.”
So much so, the district might make the Santa ride an annual
tradition, he said.
The engine plans to go down Hartvickson Lane, Rippon Road, Cox
Drive, Dunn Road toward Highway 26, Berkesey Drive and Blake Lane on
Thursday, Kirby, Gabor, O’Reilly, McAtee streets, Owens Way, Pardini
Place, Redman, Sparrowk and Hedgpeth roads on Friday.
The Printz Dance Project from the Bay Area will present its vibrant athleticism at a Feb. 3 Ovations performance.
Ovations' series begins Jan. 6 with the New Christy Minstrels
Five performances will be featured this winter in the
“Ovations” performing arts series presented by the Calaveras County
The series, which begins Jan. 6 with two performances by The New
Christy Minstrels, will also feature Pacific Coast Horns on Jan. 21, the
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir on Feb. 3, Printz Dance Project on Feb.
17 and Duo Concertante on March 18.
For 26 years the non-profit arts agency has been presenting a
variety of high quality concerts to the rural residents of the Gold
Country. All performances in the series will be in the Bret Harte
Theatre, 323 Highway 49, Angels Camp.
Call Calaveras Arts at (209) 754-1774 for the season tickets,
which are now on sale for $105 per adult. Single tickets for individual
concerts are $25 per adult and will go on sale Dec. 15. Single tickets
can and be ordered on line at www.highsierratickets.com.
There are reduced rates for children up to age 18 and for groups of 12
The New Christy Minstrels are back for a pair of Ovations
concerts at 3 and 7 p.m. Jan. 6. You may recall the sixties when their
chart-topping “Green Green”, “Today”, and many other hits kept
them admired for decades. Founder and Artistic Director Randy Sparks,
who resides in Calaveras, will be joined by seven “minstrels” to
perform their fresh pop-folk music, still popular around the world.
Expecting a large audience, two shows will be presented. Re-live
The Pacific Coast Horns will perform at 3 p.m. Jan. 21. This brass quintet performs classical to swing and everything in between, and because the group also sings, you can expect barbershop melodies and more. Talented and personable, they’ve toured the world at Walt Disney theme parks, and have performed at the Grand Ol’ Opry, Monterey Jazz Festival, and for the Holland American Cruise Lines. Their music is on the soundtracks of many TV shows and movies.
The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir performs at 3 p.m. Feb. 3.
This energetic 16-member ensemble choir with band has the power to
uplift people from all walks of life. Regardless of your faith, the
music is healing. Their reputation has led to performances with Linda
Ronstadt, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and Carlos Santana, and at jazz
festivals in New Orleans and Monterey, and at an Oakland concert for
Nelson Mandela. Leader Terry Kelly has twice won the Gospel Academy
Award for Outstanding Director.
The Printz Dance Project will take the stage at 3 p.m. Feb. 17.
The 8-member Bay Area company performs in a style from joyous to
playful, and sensual to fierce, blending dance techniques that include
modern, jazz, ethnic, ballet and hip-hop. Movements are fascinating to
watch, and many of their dances, which show strong, vibrant athleticism,
focus on the emotional issues of daily life, even the humorous parts.
Duo Concertante will perform at 3 p.m. March 18. Classical
music talent runs in the family. Pianist Wolfgang Fetsch and his
daughter, violinist Anita Fetsch Felix, are an awesome pair who play as
one, elegantly and smoothly, as if commanded by one mind, one heart.
Their imaginative interpretation and seamless playing of violin and
piano duo literature have them appearing before appreciative audiences
from Mendocino to San Diego.
Tillie Soyland, left, presents the Valley Springs Area Business Association's Citizen of the Year plaque to Dolly and Bob Paden.
ABA selects Padens as 'Citizens of the Year'
By Nick Baptista
Bob and Dolly Paden were honored Sunday evening as the Valley
Springs Area Business Association’s Citizens of the Year.
The presentation was made by ABA Past President Tillie Soyland at
the organization’s annual Christmas Dinner held at La Contenta.
Bob and Dolly have been on the ABA’s board or advisory panel
from the mid 1990s to 2005, Soyland said. Bob was instrumental with the
ABA’s highway clean-up efforts, while Dolly was the chairman or
co-chairman of the ABA’s annual Christmas Parade for five years
In addition, Bob was in charge of organizing and cleaning the
ABA’s box car storage unit at the park, maintaining a new flag at the
ABA’s flagpole in downtown Valley Springs, and hauling the ABA’s
tent and sugar shack to a variety of events for many years, Soyland
Family and friends joined the Padens for the presentation.
Tom Coe outlines the property San Joaquin Delta College is seeking to obtain from his family for a satellite campus near Valley Springs.
Delta College pursuing land
for campus in Valley Springs
One man’s vision for Valley Springs to serve as a center for
higher education and the vocational arts reached a milestone earlier
this week when the San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees decided
to pursue the purchase of property along Paloma Road.
Delta trustees on Tuesday voted 6-1 to authorize Delta
Superintendent/President Raul Rodriguez to begin the real estate
purchase and donation option process with the Tom Coe family to acquire
the property, which is located between Highway 12 and Campo Seco Road.
The college intends to use the property for a Calaveras County
educational center and Coe has additional plans to integrate the
proposed community college satellite campus with his vision of a private
vocational arts learning center and industrial park.
The college is seeking the acquisition of approximately 60 acres,
40 of which it would purchase for the negotiated price of $1.4 million.
Coe has approximately 700 additional acres in the area for use as the trade school and a number of other related activities. The property is zoned M-2 for heavy industrial and includes the sawmill off Paloma Road and the clay pits known as the Flintkote Foothill Quarry.
“It’s a dream coming true,” said Coe, who purchased the
property in 1989.
There is no timeline for construction in Valley Springs, said
President Rodriguez. He said it would take a year to 18 months for the
college to complete the due diligence process before purchasing the
property and at that time college officials would begin developing a
A decision earlier this week by the Calaveras County Board of
Supervisors to place a temporary moratorium on new development in the
county would have no impact on the college’s pursuit of the property,
“We’re not worried about it,” he said. “You have to let
infrastructure catch up with growth. It’s a good thing to slow down at
In the long term, the area will have the necessary population to
support the satellite campus, he said, and it will also draw students
from outlying areas such as Amador County.
In addition, actual construction of the college would be exempt,
he added, although he did not believe there would be a moratorium when
the college is ready to build.
Coe foresees the entrance to the campus in the vicinity of the
old Gerberding Ranch. After a small rise off Paloma Road, the property
levels off to serve as a parking area.
In addition to the community college’s offerings, Coe, who
began his career as a tool and die maker, envisions his private
apprentice program for students of manufacturing and machinery who will
be in an apprentice program for five to seven years and work with small-
to medium-sized manufacturers who will have facilities on the property.
He also foresees an interrelated system where students will learn
the culinary arts by handling food services on campus, landscaping by
maintaining the grounds, fire safety and health services.
The combined facilities will serve as an incubator for productive
and creative people and foster the spirit of the entrepreneur, he said.
Coe, who is a member of the Friends of Valley Springs LLC, is
working closely with the development group and will donate right-of-way
for a proposed trail system, which could extend from La Contenta to Lake
“Tom’s support and cooperation with the Friends of Valley
Springs has been tremendous,” said Dave Tanner of Tanner Consulting
Group and Friends of Valley Springs LLC.
“Enrollment at the campus will come with good positive growth,” Tanner added.
Coe said he is simply a steward for the land created by God and
he wants the community and the whole world to enjoy it.
Sheng Chi Kung Fu took best cultural demonstration and best of show at Saturday's annual Christmas Parade.
Sheng Chi wins best entry at ABA Christmas Parade
The multi-cultural demonstration by Sheng Chi Kung Fu of Valley
Springs captured the attention of the judges Saturday to capture the
grand prize trophy for the 23rd annual Valley Springs Area
Business Association’s Christmas parade.
Sheng Chi’s block-long demonstration included a traditional
Chinese dragon and gold-laced Foo Dog, along with students performing
their martial arts.
The event, which traditionally kicks off the holiday season in
west Calaveras County, attracted 32 entries and a large crowd along
Daphne Street and in front of the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial Hall
where the annual Crafts Faire was under way.
The VSABA’s Citizens of the Year – the Belmont family, Bob
and Virginia Belmont and daughters Gail Belmont and Diana Gigliotti -
were the parade’s grand marshals.
The remaining parade winners were, by category: