Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
"Rancho Out" signs written on the backside of paper plates expressed the sentiments of the vast majority of those in attendance at Tuesday's meeting on the Valley Springs Community Plan.
"Rancho Out" mantra carries in Valley Springs plan vote
By Nick Baptista
Rancho Calaveras is not Valley Springs and should not be included
in a new community plan that is being drafted.
That was the sentiment by a ratio of nearly 7-to-1 of those in
attendance at a Feb. 23 Valley Springs Community Plan workshop in the
Valley Springs Elementary School multipurpose room.
The room was nearly full as approximately 400 people braved a
rainy evening and a parking nightmare to cast their vote on whether
Rancho should be included within the Valley Springs Community Plan
By a vote of 317-54, those in attendance reversed a much-smaller
sampling of 60 votes on Aug. 27, 2009, that favored placing the Rancho
subdivision into the community plan update. There were also 28 proxy
votes by those unable to attend Tuesday’s session calling for Rancho
to be removed from the community plan update.
The Aug. 27 vote, taken by the use of electronic clickers, caused
a backlash that stalled progress on the community plan. The re-vote came
after a petition was submitted to the Calaveras County Board of
Supervisors opposing Rancho’s inclusion in the Valley Springs plan. It
was signed by 573 Rancho property owners.
Nearly an hour was set aside for public comments on the issue and
the vast majority of speakers sided with keeping Rancho out of the
Valley Springs plan.
“We don’t want to lose our community identity,” said Roger
“If you want city living, move to the city,” said Andy
Ballantyne, a 25-year resident of Rancho, as he advocated letting the
people of Rancho decide what is best for them.
Each comment to remove Rancho from the community plan was greeted
with dozens of handmade “Rancho Out” signs waving in the crowd.
Jeff Davidson, a local developer and the District 5 director on
the Calaveras County Water District, said he saw no substantial benefit
for Rancho to be included in the Valley Springs plan and Tuesday evening’s
attendance was a good lesson that it’s important for residents to show
up for public meetings and voice their opinions.
The Valley Springs Community Plan update process continued
Thursday with a meeting for the public to weigh in on two land use maps
and a circulation map created from resident input.
New Valley Springs Boosters officers are, from left, Vice President Dave Cahal, Treasurer Jeannene White, Secretary Al Duncan and President Danielle Scapparo-Palm.
host wine-cheese event to help finance firework show
Tickets are now available for the annual wine and cheese tasting
reception hosted by the Valley Springs Boosters.
The event, which features finger foods and wines from the
award-winning French Hill Winery and the Calaveras Wine Association, is
scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at the Burson Community
Hall, 3624 Burson Road.
Tickets for the seventh annual Wine and Cheese Reception are $15
per person and can be obtained from Booster members, at the Bank of
Umpqua in Valley Springs, or by calling Dave Cahal at 772-1657, or
Danielle Scapparo-Palm at 772-8162. The price of admission includes a
special wine glass for the occasion.
The Boosters’ wine tasting event is the first, and probably
only, opportunity to reserve a table for the 15th annual
Fireworks Over New Hogan Lake, which is set for June 26.
There are a limited number of tables for the community barbecue
and ringside seats at the Hogan Dam Observation Point to watch the
lakeside pyrotechnic display. The tables for the fireworks show are
generally sold out at the wine tasting.
Saloonkeeper Delilah, played
by Linda Mellin, left, and heroine Faith Child Hogan, Josie Tedder,
anticipate villain Ponce C. Scheme, Marty Tedder, is about to perpetrate
another dastardly deed.
"Time" will tell whether good prevails over evil
The always-popular annual melodrama presented by The Valley
Springs Friends of the Library debuts Friday evening.
“The Time Bandit” or “I Saw You But Don’t Saw Me”
begins its limited run at 7 p.m. Friday in the Jenny Lind Veterans
Memorial Hall, 189 Pine St. The doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $10
for the opening night-no dinner show.
The setting for this year’s melodrama involves Seymour Destiny,
a poor Valley Springs inventor, who somehow builds a time machine that
can take him into the past. Villain Ponce C. Scheme steals the machine
to make the past more to his liking so he can become rich in the future.
Luke Bobrycki plays inventor and hero Seymour Destiny, while
Marty Tedder portrays the villain Ponce C. Scheme.
Additional cast members include Uri Bobrycki, Ana Bobrycki, Josie
Tedder as the heroine, Kathy Marois-Whitney, Nicole Nelson, Don Urbanus,
Linda Mellin, Kimberly Pflug and John Pflug.
District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli will serve as the master of
ceremonies and District 5 Supervisor Russ Thomas will sing “That’s
The production continues Saturday, Feb. 27, with a no-dinner
matinee. Doors will open at 1 p.m. and the play will start at 2. Tickets
The dinner shows are scheduled for the following two weeks and
will feature pork loin. The cost is $20 per person for the March 5 and
6, or 12 and 13 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. 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
Proceeds from the event go toward the local library.
Construction of 12 new classrooms at Toyon Middle School should be completed in time for the 2010-11 school year.
bond construction projects nearly completed
The next to last phase of Calaveras Unified School District
construction projects approved by voters in 2006 is under way at Toyon
Twelve new classrooms are being added to the Toyon campus and
will replace 10 older modulars that are being moved to Valley Springs
and could serve as the initial buildings for a proposed San Joaquin
Delta College satellite campus.
Enviroplex of Lodi is the contractor for the Toyon two-story
The project is expected to be completed in June and students
would begin using the new classrooms at the beginning of the 2010-11
school year, said CUSD Superintendent Mark Campbell.
Toyon’s new classrooms and an already completed administration
building were a $2.8 million project outlined in Measure A, the $13.1
million bond approved by voters.
The district is receiving a $1.8 million match from the state for
the Toyon project, Campbell added.
Once the Toyon classrooms and repairs to the school’s track are
completed, the district will have only one more project remaining on its
Measure A list – construction of a performing arts center at Calaveras
High School, Campbell said.
Construction of the performing arts center has been on hold.
The school board recently cited the delay was due to higher than
anticipated costs for the center, higher than anticipated costs for
construction of the new high school swimming pool and technology
overhaul, and uncertainty involving the state budget and state
reimbursements for related projects.
Campbell said progress on the performing arts center is more of a
matter of when, not if.
Gary Kuntz submits petitions to run for Calaveras County Sheriff’s to County Elections Coordinator Christine L. Fouts. Kuntz was accompanied by many of his campaign volunteers who collected more the 3,800 signatures in less than a month.
challenger first to submit voter petitions
The June primary election for countywide offices entered a new
phase on Tuesday as candidates could begin filing nomination petitions
and declarations of candidacy.
Kuntz, a candidate for Calaveras County sheriff, jump-started his
campaign last week by submitting more than 3,800 signatures gathered the
past several weeks through the optional “petition-in-lieu” of filing
fee process. If 2,772 of those signatures are certified as registered
Calaveras County voters, 10 percent of the voter roll as of May 4, 2009,
Kuntz will qualify for the June 8, 2010, primary and his filing fees
will be waived. If he falls below the threshold, a portion of his fees
will be waived.
is one of 15 prospective candidates for county offices to pull in-lieu
papers as of Tuesday morning.
others are Leslie Davis, Joseph C. Kelly and Kristi A. Reesman,
assessor; Jeffrey E. Tuttle, district attorney; Kevin J. Raggio,
coroner-public administrator; Kathy Ann Northington, superintendent of
schools; Merita Callaway, Mary E. Boblet and Bill McManus, District 3
supervisor; Russ Thomas, David K. Singer and Darren Spellman, District 5
supervisor; and Barbara Sullivan and Jessamy “Jessie” German,
Elections Coordinator Christine L. Fouts said her office might complete
verifying the signatures on Kuntz’s petition by the end of this week
depending on how many more prospective candidates submit their
petitions. County office hopefuls have until Feb. 25 to submit those
The nomination and declaration of candidacy period runs from
Tuesday through March 12, with an extension period to March 17 if an
incumbent does not file for re-election. The candidates can gather a
small number of signatures to be placed on the ballot and pay a fee
based on 1 percent of the office’s annual salary. The fees range from
$535.81 for the coroner to $1,375.92 for the district attorney.
“People in Calaveras County want a real choice for sheriff this
year,” Kuntz said after submitting his petitions.
As of the election office’s opening Tuesday morning, Calaveras
County Sheriff Dennis Downum had not pulled papers to seek re-election.
Kuntz, a retired Calaveras County Sheriff's Department lieutenant
with 23 years of experience as a law enforcement officer, said he wanted
to thank his volunteers for their hard work.
“This kind of effort really shows how hard people are willing
to work for what they believe in,” Kuntz said. “I'm proud to live in
a county where citizens care and are willing to get involved.”
More than 75 volunteers gathered the signatures in less than 30
days. Kuntz was also grateful to the commercial establishments that
allowed his volunteers to set up tables and collect signatures and to
all who signed his petitions.
As of Tuesday morning, there were no candidates for
auditor-controller and clerk-recorder. In addition, neither the
Democratic, Green or Republican central committees have candidates.
County residents George C. Fry, Democrat, and Mark C. Belden,
Republican, have pulled in-lieu papers to run 25th Assembly
In addition to county offices, the June 8 ballot will consist of
the primary races for statewide offices including governor, lieutenant
governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer and attorney
A .243 Savage was used to bring down a mountain lion that had been terrorizing domestic animals and residents in the Burson-Campo Seco area.
Rampaging mountain lion killed
A mountain lion suspected of killing numerous domestic animals in the vicinity of Burson and Campo Seco has been destroyed.
Sandy Stedman of Burson killed the female lion last Friday
morning off Stedman Ranch Road. He obtained the proper permits and tags
after losing three goats to the lion.
Stedman was one of several area residents who lost their animals
to a predator. There have been reports the past two months of other
goats, a colt, two dogs and geese falling prey to what was believed to
be a mountain lion.
Stedman’s goats were attacked the evening of Feb. 3 close to
his house. He found them the next day dragged and stacked at a corner of
“The lion was killing for the fun of it,” Stedman said.
He called Fish and Game and the county trapper confirmed the
attack and the proper permits and depredation tags were issued.
The trapper advised Stedman it was likely the lion would return
to eat the goats, but there was a storm on Thursday and Stedman had some
doubt the cat would be out any time soon.
His doubt was erased as it was starting to get light at 7 a.m.
Friday. From his house he could see the predator in the goat pasture. He
used a .243 Savage to kill the lion, estimated to be 2 ½ years old.
The trapper said female lions do not begin breeding until 3 so
its unlikely it had any kittens, Stedman added.
Although he is a hunter, Stedman said it is the first time he
shot a mountain lion.
He’s glad he and his neighbors can take some comfort the lion
is dead and their animals are safe for now.
Toyon Middle School leadership class students, from left, Sarah Hernandez, Baylee Williams, Lacey Taylor, Kimberly Anderson and Davis Fee display a certificate of appreciation the school received from Red Cross official Carole Mutzner, right, for collecting funds to help earthquake victims in Haiti.
students come to Haiti's aid
Toyon Middle School students should be proud their efforts to
help victims of the earthquake last month in Haiti.
That was the message from Carole Mutzner, the Mother Lode
district manager for the American Red Cross, who visited the school
Wednesday afternoon to accept a $764.36 donation from the student body.
Mutzner told students from Toyon’s leadership class that each
$10 raised for the American Red Cross can buy medicine and bandages for
every 25 victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake centered near Haiti’s
capital of Port-au-Prince.
The fundraising drive was an offshoot of discussions that began
in Gary Johnson’s science class.
The students studied the intensity of the quake and its aftermath
as part of their science instruction and that emerged into starting a
fundraising drive in association with the leadership class.
It is estimated that 3 million people were affected by the quake
and nearly 200,000 people have died.
A student brought a 5-gallon water jug to school to begin raising
money for the Red Cross and it was half full with change within 10 days,
Central State Credit Union in San Andreas waived its fees to
count the change, he added.
Mutzner presented a certificate to the leadership students
acknowledging the school’s effort to provide humanitarian aid to the
disaster victims in Haiti.
District 5 challenger says Thomas fails to represent constituents
The third candidate to emerge in the race for District 5
supervisor believes incumbent Russ Thomas has been ineffective in
Darren Spellman of Rancho Calaveras says he is running for the
seat on the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors because he can do a
better job representing the wishes of constituents within District 5,
which covers the communities Copperopolis, Salt Spring Valley, Milton,
Jenny Lind, and Rancho Calaveras.
Spellman, a former teacher at Calaveras High School, joins David
K. Singer of Rancho Calaveras and Thomas in the race that will be
decided in the June 8 primary election.
Thomas, who has said it is in Rancho’s best interest to be
included in the Valley Springs Community Plan, “doesn’t get it,”
“Regardless of whether he thinks it’s a good idea (to include
Rancho in the VS plan), as a supervisor and an elected official, he can
advise his constituents as to what he thinks is best,” Spellman said.
“However, when it comes to casting a vote, he needs to represent the
will of the people. That’s why he is going to lose.”
Spellman was among the nearly 150 people in attendance at the
Aug. 27, 2009, community plan meeting where “clickers” were used to
electronically monitor the desires of those in attendance as to what
areas should be included in the Valley Springs plan.
“The problem now is that the people in Rancho are clearly in
opposition to this,” Spellman said, and there are no certain
guarantees that Rancho property rights under its existing Special Plan
will continue in the same fashion if included in the new Valley Springs
Spellman said he and others foresee inclusion of Rancho in the
Valley Springs Community Plan as a means to help finance a potential
Cosgrove Creek flood control project.
If Rancho is part of the Valley Springs Community Plan it is
highly likely the county will target Rancho homeowners to finance the
local portion of matching funds for such a project, Spellman said, which
concerns many Rancho residents. He projected the local cost could reach
at least $1 million.
“Russ has put his foot into something and I don’t understand
why he would have said anything at this point,” Spellman added.
Spellman and his wife and two children live on a four-acre parcel
in Rancho and he wants to see the area maintain its rural lifestyle,
which attracted him and his family here seven years ago.
Spellman was raised in Manteca and obtained his associate degree
at Delta College and bachelor’s in history at California State
University, Stanislaus. He also has an advanced degree in education
He wants to see future growth concentrated in and around the core
of downtown Valley Springs.
“I’d like to be a part of the team that helps the county turn
the corner in our economic crisis,” Spellman said. “I want the
county to come out stronger, better fiscally managed and in a position
to show what a gem Calaveras County truly is.”
Prospective candidates can continue to take out in-lieu papers
until Feb. 25. Signatures gathered on the in-lieu papers offset filing
fees. The timeframe for nomination and declaration of candidacy papers
is from Feb. 16 to March 12, with an extension period to March 17 if an
incumbent does not file for re-election.
In addition to county offices, the June 8 ballot will consist of
the primary races for the statewide offices including governor,
lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer and
Approximately 630 students and adults Monday morning at Jenny Lind Elementary School participated in a statewide effort to break the world's simultaneous jump rope record.
Jenny Lind students look at surpassing world jump rope record
Jenny Lind Elementary School students and staff participated in a statewide effort Monday morning to break the current Guinness Book of World Records for the most people jumping or skipping rope at the same time along with raising more than $2,200 toward efforts to prevent childhood heart disease.
The Jenny Lind students and staff joined more than 80,000 others in the state at 9 a.m. in a 10½-minute effort to break the simultaneously jump rope record held by Australia. Jenny Lind’s participation numbers reached 630 students and adults.
In addition to taking a crack at breaking the world record, which Australia set at 59,000 jumpers, Jenny Lind supported the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart annual event as well as completing the California's Governor's Physical Fitness Challenge where students must exercise for 30 minutes per day at least three days a week for at least a month, said Principal Amy Hasselwander.
Jenny Lind has participated in the Governor's Physical Fitness Challenge the past three years, but this was the first time the school was involved in the Jump Rope for Heart event, she added.
The thought was students would raise a dollar each to help the American Heart Association in its effort to prevent childhood heart disease, but the students exceeded those expectations, Hasselwander said.
To break the record, students and staff jumped rope for three
three-minute periods, with 10-second breaks in between and then finished
with an additional minute of jump roping.