Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Students prepare the Calaveras Arts Council Gallery for ArtSpirit.
High school art show opens March 8
ArtSpirit, the 11th annual High School Juried Exhibition, will
open in the gallery of the Calaveras Arts Council on Saturday, March 8.
A public reception for the participating artists who are from the
high schools of Bret Harte, Calaveras, Mountain Oaks and Vallecito, will
be in the San Andreas gallery on March 8, from 1 to 3 pm.
During that time, cash awards will be presented to students
judged as first and second place winners in 12 categories, including
black and white photography, color photography, digital/computer art,
oil or acrylic painting, watercolor painting, pastels, drawing,
functional ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, other/mixed media, and
Since March has been designated both nationally and statewide as
Arts Education Month, this ArtSpirit exhibit is meant to call attention
to the importance of having an education steeped in the arts. The
exhibit provides the public with the rare opportunity to observe and
possibly purchase art created by the county’s many very talented
teens. Last year hundreds of students entered nearly 200 works.
Small groups of students actually hang and label the show, which
is an awesome task, given how many works are entered. Judging of the art
for the cash awards is by local professional artists. The awards and the
exhibit’s expenses are underwritten by an Endowment for Youth grant
from Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital Thrift Store.
ArtSpirit was chosen as the title to symbolize that through art,
students often feel a spirit to express their innermost feelings,
whether it be rage, fear, or joy and spirituality. Visitors will be
impressed with the quality and the diversity and will be able to cast a
ballot for their favorite artwork. At the end of the show in April, a
Popular Choice cash award will be presented to the student artist with
the most votes.
Last year, more than 250 people voted.
Calaveras Arts Council has been assisting local schools for more
than two decades with its esteemed Arts In Education program, which
provides a wide range of visual, and performing arts workshops and
The arts council’s gallery, located at 22 Main St. in San
Andreas, is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m.
to 3 p.m. The show will run through April 17. For more information, call
the Calaveras County Arts Council at 754-1774, or visit www.calaverasarts.org.
Mark Wills, the multi-platinum-selling country star, is performing live May 17 at the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Jubilee.
Calaveras fair attracts platinum-record artist for headliner's show
Multi-platinum-selling country music artist Mark Wills will be the headline entertainer at the 2008 edition of the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee.
Wills will perform Saturday, May 17, on the Frogtown stage. The
concert is included with admission that day to the fair.
“When people come to my shows, they're going to see a country
boy having a lot of fun,” Wills said. “More than anything else, I
want to entertain people. My goal is to always make my show something
that leaves people feeling happy.”
Wills was signed to Mercury
Records in 1996. He released his self-titled debut album that
year and it produced three singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks
charts, of which two were Top Ten hits.
second album, “Wish You Were Here,” was released in 1998. It was his
highest-selling album to date and certified platinum. The title track
became his first Number One country hit in 1999. “Wish You Were
Here” was followed in 2000 by “Permanently” and by “Loving Every
Minute” in 2001.
Wills released his first Greatest Hits compilation in 2003. The
album’s leadoff single "19 Somethin'" spent seven weeks at the top
of the country charts. His last album for Mercury, “And the Crowd Goes
Wild,” was also released in 2003 and produced two minor singles.
“The band and I play everyone’s favorites from my past albums
as well as songs from the new record 'Familiar Stranger' being released
in 2008,” Wills said. “When performing in concert, music doesn't
always need to be perfect and sterilized.
It's that natural energy and emotion during a show that an
audience connects with that makes live shows so exciting”
The award-winning performer has scored eight top 10 hits and has
made a name for himself as the gifted interpreter of tender sentiments
such as “Wish You Were Here” and “Don’t Laugh At Me.”
He was the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist of
1999 and has staked his claim as one of country music's top male
performers by carving out a niche for himself by creating his own moving
renditions of such R&B love songs as “Back At One” and “Almost
His hit-packed musical legacy includes his unforgettable ballads
“Places I’ve Never Been,” “I Do (Cherish You)”, and “She’s
The celebrated performer also has a connection with Mark Twain,
the man who penned “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras
County,” thus providing the genesis for the annual Frog-Jumping
Jubilee in Angels Camp.
Wills was the voice of Huck Finn in the
star-studded animated feature film “Tom Sawyer” and had two of his
musical performances on the soundtrack.
The Cosgrove family, from left, Josie Tedder, Erin Urbanus, Sara Eschen, Marty Tedder and Mary Eschen are fearful of John Pflugg, who is the villain in the upcoming melodrama to benefit The Valley Springs Friends of the Library.
melodrama begins on Friday
This year’s annual melodrama presented by The Valley Springs
Friends of the Library will entertain audiences beginning next Friday
with an espionage and extraterrestrial theme.
Titled “It Fell Out of the Sky, or ‘Houston, We Have a Problem,”
the melodrama was written by Marty Tedder and Don Urbanus and will
premiere Feb. 29 in the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial Hall, 189 Pine St.
Urbanus, who has written the past few shows, credits Tedder for writing
the vast majority of the upcoming production.
“Marty maintains that he wrote all the funny parts, so if you
don't like the show, blame me,” Urbanus said.
Tedder is the owner and only employee of Marty's Doitforya
Construction. This is his fourth year with the melodrama. He also
stars in the role of poor widower Henry Cosgrove who is blessed with
five daughters and a lot of useless land around Valley Springs.
The question is whether he can save his ranch and his sweet,
beautiful daughter Bobby Jo from the evil clutches of banker Phil N.
Pockets. In addition, can Cosgrove save himself from Miss Desiree
Spinster, the local schoolteacher, who has been itching to marry him for
Meanwhile, a mysterious object has fallen from the sky. Is it an
unidentified flying object? Cosgrove figures on selling it to save his
ranch. However, Russian spies Boris and Natasha have other plans.
General Brass sends bumbling secret agent Ian Capable to the
rescue with his sidekick, Lt. Grubber.
It’s the might of the U.S. vs. the U.S.S.R. in a colossal
struggle of wit and daring as each desperately tries to find the
The cast of local characters includes Sara and Mary Eschen, Josie
Tedder, Erin Ubranus and Yara Bobrycki as Cosgrove’s five daughters;
John Pflugg as the villain banker; Isaac Wasik and Sara Pesout as the
two Russian spies; Edwin Bobrycki as the U.S. agent and hero; Claire
Coykendall as the schoolteacher; Eric Bobrycki as the general and Linda
Mellin as his lieutenant, and Pat Urbanus as the cleaning lady.
Don Urbanus is the director and Megan Mellin is the stage
Tickets are $10 for the opening night-no dinner show. Doors will
open at 6 p.m. and the melodrama will begin at 7 p.m.
The production continues Saturday, March 1, with a no-dinner
matinee. Doors will open at 1 p.m. and the play will start at 2. Matinee
tickets are $10.
The dinner shows are scheduled for the following two weeks and
will feature pork loin. The cost is $20 per person for the March 7 and
8, or 14 and 15 dinners and shows. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and there
will be a no-host bar. Dinner will be served at 6:45, while the
melodrama will begin at 7:45.
Tables for eight can be reserved on the dinner nights for $160.
Ticket and table reservations can be made by calling Willine at
772-1000, or Jackie at 772-0591. Individual tickets are available at
Health Habit in the Valley Oaks Shopping Center.
Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase book shelves,
office equipment and other items as the combined community and Valley
Springs Elementary School library prepares to move into a much larger
facility on the school grounds.
Lyn Heerema entertains Valley Springs youngsters every other Thursday with her storytelling abilities at the library.
Library's Story Time Program a spellbinder for area's youngsters
Professional storyteller Lyn Heerema has been a big hit with some
of Valley Springs’ younger residents.
The Valley Springs Library features Heerema every other Thursday for readings, songs, music and crafts. Her next appearance is 3 p.m. Thursday at the library, which is located at Valley Springs Elementary School, 240 Pine St.
Friends of the Library and First 5 Calaveras sponsor the Story Time program for infants to five years old, but older siblings are welcome to attend. Friends of the Library was given a grant to fund the special program. Joyce Peek, a volunteer for Friends of the Library, was instrumental for applying and starting the process for the grant.
Ailene Garrido, Valley Springs Library branch attendant, praises
all who have made this possible including County Librarian Maurie
Lyn Heerema currently does her magic readings in five Calaveras
County libraries and never finds it boring or ordinary.
The program Heerema presented Feb. 7 was geared toward
Valentine’s Day. She read two books about Valentine’s Day and her
crafts project was making a card for a special person. The afternoon
ended with a goodbye song, a free book and bookmarker.
Margie Woods, parent of a first-time attendee on Feb. 7, was
thrilled with all of the activities Heerema had planned for the
children. Woods’ son, Chance, was fascinated by the story, and when
Heerema pulled out some musical instruments, he started clapping with
excitement. They definitely plan on returning for the next program.
All involved with the Valley Springs Library are especially
excited, as the library will be expanding to double the size hopefully
by this summer. The library is shared with the Valley Springs Elementary
School, so students will also benefit with a larger library.
For more information about the program, call Ailene Garrido at
772-1318. Parents can also be added to a reminder list to be called the
morning of the Story Time.
The Bobby McDowell Band, with Bobby in the front row, center, will perform a free benefit concert Saturday in Tracy.
Jenny Lind man sees benefit show helping his musical career
A Jenny Lind man’s next hurdle to reach his dream of becoming a
country western recording artist takes a big step Saturday in Tracy.
Bobby McDowell, who last year recorded an album titled “The
Climb,” which was presented to some of the major recording labels, has
in the meantime formed his own band. The group hopes to make a major
splash Saturday with a free concert in Tracy’s Grand Theater Center
For The Performing Arts to benefit the Tracy Interfaith Ministries.
“Anything that help the needy, I’m all for it,” McDowell
said. Tracy Interfaith Ministries has been providing food and clothing
to low-income families since 1988. Approximately 3,800 people, half of
them children, receive food monthly through the organization.
Tracy Interfaith Ministries is moving closer to completing a new
facility to better serve the public and proceeds from the concert, which
will include a collection, will go toward completing the building.
McDowell decided to form a band shortly after recording his
album. The goal is to make a name for themselves, play in bigger venues
and as an opening act for major artists. McDowell began looking for
management and got in contact with RedWolf Productions, which liked his
album and began booking the band in several venues before hearing them
“We’re pretty excited RedWolf set us up without seeing us
play live,” McDowell said. RedWolf books acts at local fairs and the
casinos. The company has offices in Sacramento and Nashville, with the
Nashville connection being especially important to McDowell.
Saturday’s concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Grand Theater, a
Tracy landmark that recently was renovated for $12.7 million. The
theater has a seating capacity of 600 for the concert and is located at
715 Central Ave. Bruce’s Body Shop, where McDowell has worked since he
was 15, is sponsoring the benefit concert.
“It’s fun to be doing this in a full-blown theater,”
The following night the band will perform at the Saddle Rack in
Fremont and on Feb. 23 at The Wrangler in Elk Grove. His album will be
on sale at the concerts. The Saddle Rack attracts approximately 1,200
people a night, he added.
The band has been rehearsing the past several months and has a
repertoire of cover tunes, Southern rock and 80’s rock.
McDowell, who recently turned 41, began his quest to see how far he can go in a musical career after watching “American Idol” and seeing popular rocker Chris Daughtry’s climb to success. McDowell lives in Jenny Lind with his wife Charlene and their daughter Courtney who is a second-grade student at Jenny Lind Elementary.
The Escalante family, from left, Ronald, Moses, Linda and Tammy, display some of the baked goods their new bakery is becoming known for.
The Villa Bakery recipe for success based on family
The Villa Bakery, the newest tenant at The Terrace shopping
center off Highway 26 at Vista Del Lago, is a family affair, with a
passion to provide superior quality products to the public.
The ingredients used to open the new business reside all in the
family. Moses and Linda Escalante of Valley Springs have a background in
the restaurant business. They have two sons in bakery business. Add the
other children, spouses and grandchildren, you have a ready-made staff.
The new bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through
Saturday. The Villa Bakery offers a wide variety of baked goods
including bagels, muffins, breads, rolls, cheesecake, scones, cream
puffs, éclairs, cookies and custom cakes for special occasions, such as
weddings and birthdays.
“Whatever we have here is top quality,” said the Linda, the
family and businesses’ matriarch. “Everything is from scratch and it
will stay that way.”
That is the promise she got from her sons before opening the
The couple has three sons – Ronald, Dennis and Drew. Dennis has
29 years of baking experience, while Drew has been in the business for
They have worked with a variety of companies – such as Safeway,
Costco and Marriott’s, but now “all of the ropes are untied and they
can do what they want,” said dad.
The public reaction to the bakery has been outstanding, Moses
“Nearly everyone coming in says ‘We’ve needed a bakery for
a long time,’” Moses added.
Al Bravo of Rancho Calaveras provided one such public testimonial
while the Escalantes were being interviewed.
“This is the best thing to happen here,” he said. “It’s
The entire family also had a hand in the quaint design of The
Villa’s interior. As the name implies, the design is reminiscent of a
French or Italian village.
“It doesn’t look like were in Valley Springs,” Moses said.
The family is letting the public decide what creations to sell.
“We put the product out and see what they like and don’t
like,” Moses said. “So far we have a problem, but it’s a good one.
Everything we put out they like and we have to put out more.”
Seven different ballots were on hand at the Valley Springs voting precinct in the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial Hall for last week's Presidential Primary Election.
Calaveras voters want Clinton-McCain face-off this November
Calaveras County voters marched in sync with the majority of
voters from throughout the state in Tuesday’s Presidential Primary
Calaveras voting patterns were almost identical in the major
party primaries and on all seven ballot measures.
Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party choice for president in
both the county and state by nearly 10 percent over Barack Obama. Sen.
Clinton captured 52 percent of the Democratic vote statewide and 49.62
percent in Calaveras, compared to 42.3 percent statewide for Sen. Obama
and 37.21 percent in Calaveras.
John McCain had an 8 percent lead over Mitt Romney in both the
state and the county in the Republican race. Sen. McCain captured 40.12
percent of the county’s GOP voters and 42 percent of state
Republicans, while Romney attracted 32.66 percent of county voters and
34.1 percent statewide. Mike Huckabee finished a distant third with a
13.41 share in Calaveras and 11.6 statewide.
Voter turnout within the county reached 51.17 percent according
to preliminary reports.
At the Valley Springs precinct, Election Inspector Mary Ann Evans
said turnout had been good all day when questioned at 4 p.m.
In the four referendum measures on the Indian Gaming Compact,
county voters were 57 percent in favor, while state voters were a
percent behind at 56.
The transportation fund, community college and term limit
measures went down to defeat in the county and statewide. The greatest
discrepancy was in the community college race where county voters were
opposed to the measure by 64.46 percent, while statewide opposition was
Voters will return to the polls Nov. 4 to finish selecting the
nation’s next president.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, left, 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 Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year.
Hospital selected Business of the Year; Garamendi voices budget concerns
Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital was selected as the Calaveras
County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year and Calaveras native
and California lieutenant governor John Garamendi shared stories from
the past and his thoughts on the future at Friday evening’s chamber
The annual event was at Camps Restaurant in Greenhorn Creek and
attracted a full house of about 150 people to listen to the Mokelumne
The lieutenant governor outlined his concerns about the new
budget, the downturn in the state’s economy, the need for quality
education and prison overcrowding.
“There's been very rapid growth in the county, and the county
is going to have to catch up with all the infrastructure,” Garamendi
said. “This is everything from schools, to parks, to sewers. And at
the same time, making sure that the intellectual infrastructure is
superb here. Otherwise there will be a lot of kids who won't be able to
make it in the economy that is coming down on them.”
To maintain the intellectual infrastructure, the state will need
more than 100,000 new teachers in the next few years and address a
critical shortage in nurses and many other skills and professions, he
warned, and the state should re-establish technical education to meet
the demand for a highly-trained work force to maintain a strong
The looming state budget deficit is “really serious” and
likely will force the dismissal of 107,000 teachers, he added.
However, he foresees the state meeting the challenge and getting
through the difficult times.
“California has a can-do, will-do, get-out-of-the-way mind
set,” he said.
Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital was competing with seven other
organizations for Business of the Year honors. The other nominees were
Top Quality Insulation and Bank of Rio Vista, both located in Valley
Springs, Castle & Cooke, Central Sierra Lodging, Mother Lode Bank,
Pacific West Financial Group and Sierra Nevada Recreation Corp.
Angels Camp Realtor Jack Boeding was re-elected and installed as
the chamber’s president for 2008. Roger Pitto is the vice president
and Bruce Tallakson is the treasurer.
A mailbox and debris is all that remains at a 3328 Lazer Court house, which fire and sheriff’s officials believe was torched by an arsonist.
Detectives suspect neighbor in arson case
A Valley Springs man has been arrested after Calaveras
Sheriff’s detectives allege he took the biblical phrase “love thy
neighbor” to an illegal extreme.
David Alan Thomas, 51, was arrested earlier this week on
suspicion of arson and attempted extortion in connection with a Jan. 25
fire that destroyed a vacant house at 3328 Lazer Court.
According to sheriff’s investigators, Thomas lives on Lazer
Court near the vacant home and burned it down as an unsolicited favor to
get the house’s previous owners out of a financial situation with the
new owners that involved litigation.
past owners at one time had made an offhanded remark to Thomas that it
would be nice if the house burned down, the department is reporting.
Thomas contacted the former homeowners after the blaze and was
attempting to extort money in return for burning down the house and
relieving his friends of their financial obligation, investigators said.
Firefighters were suspicious of the blaze when they initially
arrived at the scene shortly after midnight last Friday. The house was a
log-cabin type structure with large timbers and it was engulfed in
flames. The vacant house did not have any furniture inside to help fuel
the blaze, which was extremely hot. The house was a total loss and
damage was estimated between $300,000 and $350,000.
The scene was quickly secured and fire investigators were called
in. On Monday it was determined the cause was arson.