Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Utility district seeks applicants for interim director
Applications or letters of intent are being accepted to fill a vacant seat on the Valley Springs Public Utility District Board of Directors.
Jim Peach resigned the seat in May.
The interim appointment will be from August until December. Individuals interested in the appointment can send the application or letter to the district at P.O. Box 284 Valley Springs, CA 95252 before July 12.
The vacant seat is one of three up for election in August.
William McFall, Manual "Mal" Ponte, William Whitaker and Roy L. Worthy are in the race for two four-year terms on the board, while appointed incumbent Richard Bidwell and Timothy Belcher will face off for the one two-year term up for election. The election will be conducted through mail-in ballots, which should reach voters Aug. 1 and must be returned to the elections office by Aug. 30.
The two remaining board members not up for election this year are Board President Lucille Allee and Director Jack Silveira.
Fatal crash also injures community leader
A 15-year-old Sonora boy, not licensed to drive a vehicle, was behind the wheel of a 1996 Toyota SUV that slammed head on into a 2005 Dodge Magnum Friday morning on Highway 4 near Douglas Flat.
The boy was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver of the other vehicle, former Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce President Larry Cornish, 59, of Murphys, was hospitalized.
According to the CHP, 15-year-old Aaron James Van Winkle Jr. attempted to pass another car over a double-yellow centerline on Highway 4, just west of Live Oak Drive, and hit Cornish head on at approximately 6:45 a.m.
Van Winkle was eastbound and Cornish was westbound. The Rav 4 and the Magnum struck each other in a full frontal contact collision in the westbound lane, according to the CHP report.
Cornish, the director of facilities development at Mark Twain St. Joseph Hospital, was taken to the San Andreas hospital. The CHP said he sustained a broken right foot and a fractured left clavicle.
Cornish also serves on the Board of Directors of the Calaveras Visitors Bureau.
Van Winkle, who turned 15 in May, would have been a sophomore at Sonora High School in the fall.
A fund has been established at Wells Fargo Bank in Sonora to help the boy’s family pay for funeral expenses.
Moke Hill murder trial to begin early next year
Two Valley Springs men are scheduled to stand trial Jan. 12, 2006, for the March 16, 2005, murder of David Louis Jessop, 19, of Mokelumne Hill.
While the trial of Donald “Donnie Maurice Pinon, 21, and Daniel Maurice-Lessiue Rocha, 20, will be combined, each defendant’s fate will be decided by a separate jury.
The decision to hold one trial, but employ a pair of juries was made last Thursday by a visiting judge, El Dorado County Judge Thomas Smith.
Investigators believe the two men went to the Mokelumne Hill residence Jessop shared with his brother Matt, Matt’s girlfriend and James McLain in search of drugs and money. Jessop was found in bed shot in the head.
Separate trials for the defendants were sought because each says the other pulled the trigger.
In addition, Rocha’s attorney is seeking a change of venue to conduct the trial outside of the county, claiming it is impossible for his client to receive a fair trial because of pre-trial publicity.
“Dog ’N Pony” Show” July 24 at Ironstone
The Calaveras Humane Society presents “A Dog and Pony Show at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24, at Kautz Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys.
The stars of the show include: “Calaveras ’05 Dog Agility Challenge” by Aloha Kennels; the “Magnificent Minnies”, miniature horse drill team; and the Murphys 4-H “Doggone Good” Dog Drill Team.
The family event includes Adopt-a-Pet, a raffle, petting zoo, carriage rides for the kids, food booths and live music by Elysium Calling and the Old-Time Fiddlers. Proceeds support CHS’s Spay/Neuter Program. The cost is $10 per family — donations are welcome. Ironstone Vineyards is located at 1894 Six Mile Road in Murphys.
The shows’ sponsors are: CENTURY 21 Sierra Properties, Chateau St. John’s Vineyards, Kautz Ironstone Vineyards, Kruger Foods and State Farm Insurance - Steve Hayward.
For more information visit www.calaverashumane.org, www.ironstonevineyards.com or call 209-795-4175. Pets need to be left at home - only the animal performers and Adopt-a-Pet animals are allowed on the event grounds. The show will go on rain or shine.
June 24 briefs
CDF restricts burn hours
An increase in hazardous fire conditions has prompted the Tuolumne/Calaveras Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to restrict burn hours from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Burning is allowed by permit only. CDF burn permits and information can be obtained at local CDT stations.
CDF urges the public to practice the following fire safe regulations:
Four Jenny Lind Fire
District director seats on Nov. 8 ballot
Four out of five seats on the Jenny Lind Fire Protection District Board of Directors will be up for election Nov. 8.
Tuesday evening, the board voted on a resolution calling for consolidation of the general district election on Nov. 8.
The move consolidates the fire district’s election with any other Nov. 8 ballot issues, said District Secretary Elizabeth Mueller.
The terms of John Boston, Paul Funston, Les Martin and Dennis McCord are due to expire. The terms of office are four years.
Filing to run for the board opens July 18 and closes Aug. 12. Filing papers can be obtained from the Elections Office in San Andreas.
Area clay target team takes third at state
With almost 300 youth competing at the Scholastic Clay Target Program State Championships in Kingsburg this past Sunday, Angels Gun Club’s Team Angels Camp was there to shine.
The Senior Novice Squad consisting of David Tanner and Marty Sconce, both of Valley Springs, and Vincent Lavaroni, Zach Davis, and Ryan Harper, all of San Andreas, took home the third place overall trophy.
The third-place finish opened the door for the boys to compete in the National Championships Aug. 15 in Vandalia, Ohio.
The boys shot a total score of 926 with individual scores of 194 for Sconce, 193 for Lavaroni, 183 for Davis, 178 for Tanner and 178 for Harper.
Coach Dave Tanner said this was a first-ever third-place finish in state for a squad from Angels Gun Club. He said the boys were really shooting well and are now very excited about the opportunity to compete in Ohio.
June 22 briefs
Supervisors take steps to prepare for West Nile
By Nick Baptista
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors took two out of three steps Monday to prepare for the possibility of a West Nile Virus outbreak this summer.
A majority of the board voiced support to enter a cooperative agreement with the state Department of Health Services for mosquito control services and authorized staff to circulate a Request for Proposal to determine the level of interest and possibly retain a pest control business to perform rapid emergency response in the event of an outbreak.
However, the board balked at the idea of implementing an in-staff, ongoing mosquito surveillance and testing program.
The cost of the in-staff surveillance program was between $71,250 and $114,054 the first year.
Report: 16.5 percent increase in ag values
The value of Calaveras County’s agricultural production in 2004 was $33 million, a 16.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to Jearl Howard, the county’s agricultural commissioner.
Howard’s observation was released last week in his annual Report of Agriculture.
The county’s gross production value in 2003 was $28.3 million.
“The most notable increase was in livestock and poultry production, due in large part to increased sales of cattle and calves,” Howard said. “This increase was attributed to herd reductions necessitated by severe drought coupled with strong market prices. As a result, livestock and poultry production increased from $6,724,300 in 2003 to $10,633,200 in 2004. Most other categories held steady or showed modest increases from 2003 production levels.”
Area woman’s grandson wins archery event
Anthony Segars, 12, the son of David and Barbara Oliver of Avery and grandson of Reeves Smith and Sherri Oliver of Valley Springs, finished first in his class at the California Bow Hunters/State Archery Association State Field Championship Archery Shoot June 12 in Pacifica.
The competition included three rounds and 28 targets. The three rounds included - a field round, a hunter round and an animal round. Segars shoots youth - 12 to 15 years old. He has been shooting for two years. He shoots bow hunter freestyle. While shooting with the others in his category, he got the first bull’s eye at 50 yards.
Last year he placed first in his class at the California Inland Bow Hunters Association regional shoot. This year he placed second.
Segars will be shooting at the State Target Championships in September and he is looking for sponsors.
Sierra Nevada counties under threat of urban sprawl
California has a new boomtown: The Sierra Nevada.
A new report released Tuesday by the Sierra Nevada Alliance shows that the population of the 13-county Sierra Nevada region will triple by 2040, while nearly a third of the land in the region may succumb to sprawl-style development.
Current estimates show that between 1990 and 2040, the population of the Sierra Nevada will triple to the size of San Diego - somewhere between 1.5 million and 2.4 million residents. The majority of the Sierra development is shaped by county general plans because very few towns are incorporated. General plans that will the shape the future of seven of 20 Sierra California counties are more than 10 years old. According to the study, 70 percent of these counties do not have any countywide map or inventory of areas that need to be protected and 85 percent do not have any plans for preserving critical habitat.
While projections are for population in Calaveras County to increase by 47 percent from 2000 to 2020, to 56,691 residents, the boom in recent development proposals may bring a more rapid rate of growth. Already between 1990 and 2004, Calaveras County has seen a 29 percent increase in residential building permits and it has seen a 27 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled in the county from 1990 to 2000.
June 15 briefs
CCWD issues water warning
Calaveras County Water District customers within the Jenny Lind Water System received notification the end of last week that their drinking water is in violation of federal standards.
The June 10 letter says the situation is not an emergency and customers do not have to buy bottled water, boil water or take other corrective actions.
The district has 3,300 connections within the Jenny Lind Water System, said Fred Burnett of CCWD. The district has received a number of calls about the notification, he said, and many of the callers are concerned and trying to figure out why they’re receiving a notice, but it is not telling them to do anything.
The notice says some people who drink water containing one of the contaminants – Haloacetic Acids – in excess of Maximum Contaminate Level standards over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
Expansion under way at Valley Oaks Center
Construction crews have been busy with the initial work to expand the Valley Oaks Center.
Work is under way on a 10,200-square-foot expansion of the center and the project has already attracted two new tenants – Countrywide Home Loans and Subway.
Countrywide plans to move from its current office at 15 St. Andrews Road, Suite 5, to an approximately 2,000-square-foot office at the Valley Oaks expansion site next to Longs, said Mark Bettcher, Countrywide home loan consultant and sales manager.
The move will also mean an expansion in staff, he said. Countrywide is now accepting applications for experienced loan officers.
The CB Richard Ellis office out of Sacramento is in charge of leasing the remaining space in the expansion.
Valley Oaks Center was approximately 81,000 square feet prior to the expansion and could increase to nearly 99,000 square feet with the new building, and two other pads planned for the area.
June 10 briefs
Chamber hears plans for growth
Preliminary plans for the historic White House and the 144-acre parcel surrounding it were discussed at the June 8 monthly meeting of the Valley Springs Chamber of Commerce.
Jeff Gardner, property acquisition director for Gann Investments, LLC, out of Lathrop, was the guest speaker.
The family-owned corporation has obtained the property and is working on plans for a 124-home subdivision, he said. The vast majority of lots would be a quarter-acre in size, but to maintain many of the existing trees, rock formations and hilly contour of the parcel, the subdivision would offer a limited number of two- to 20-acre parcels.
In addition, a 10-acre portion of the property along Highway 12 is designated for commercial use.
Sixth, final candidate enters PUD race
The filing deadline has come to an end for three seats on the Valley Springs Public Utility District Board of Directors and a sixth candidate emerged this week.
Roy L. Worthy filed before last Wednesday’s deadline to seek one of the two four-year terms up for election. He joins William McFall, Manual "Mal" Ponte and William Whitaker in the race for the two four-year terms, while appointed incumbent Richard Bidwell and Timothy Belcher will face off for the one two-year term up for election.
The election is scheduled for Aug. 30. It will be a mail-in election, with ballots sent to voters on Aug. 1.
The two remaining board members not up for election this year are Board President Lucille Allee and Director Jack Silveira.
June 8 briefs
Valley Springs gal finishes seventh at state track finals
Calaveras High senior Carly Whitney of Valley Springs capped her high school track career with a seventh-place finish at last weekend’s California Interscholastic Federation State Track and Field Championships in Sacramento.
Whitney finished eighth in Friday’s preliminaries with a jump of 18 feet, 6 inches to qualify for Saturday’s finals. She moved up one notch in the finals with her best jump of the day at 18 feet, 6 ¼ inches.
Brittany Daniels of Merrill West High School in Tracy finished first with a jump of 20 feet, 8 ¼ inches, followed by teammate Shevell Quinley at 19 feet, 11 ¼ inches. Shana Watson of Skyline in Oakland finished third with a jump of 19 feet, 9 inches.
Whitney, who plans to continue her track and educational pursuits at Sacramento State University, was Calaveras County's lone participant in this year’s state track and field finals.
Memorial fund established for Valley Springs woman’s family
A fund to assist with the burial of a Valley Springs woman's sister and two children, slain in the state of Washington, has been established at Central California Bank in Valley Springs.
Regina Bagwell's sister Julie Prather, 31, son Alex Prather, 7, and daughter Alysha Prather, 4, were found dead Thursday in the family home in Kennewick, Wash. Richard A. Prather, 34, is accused of killing his wife and the two young children.
Bagwell, a Valley Springs resident, said an account has been established here and in Washington to help her father with expenses to bury his daughter and the grandchildren.
Contributions to the Prather Family Memorial Fund can be sent to Central California Bank, Valley Springs Branch, 87 Highway 26, Valley Springs, CA 95252.
June 3 briefs
Highway chase ends close to town
A traffic pursuit that began Friday evening on Highway 49 south of San Andreas ended on Highway 12 near Valley Springs with the arrest of the driver and a passenger, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department.
Lucia Consuelo Rangel, 35, and Lacyine L. Lucero, 22, both of Stockton, were arrested, when the vehicle stopped in the westbound lane of Highway 12, just past the Upper Lime Creek intersection. All four tires on the vehicle had been punctured near the Toyon Business Park by a CHP spike strip.
Rangel, identified as the driver, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, obstructing and/or resisting a police officer, child endangerment and impeding the flow of traffic. She was booked into the Calaveras County Jail and bail was set at $100,000.
Lucero, a passenger in the vehicle, was arrested on suspicion of destroying evidence. She was booked into jail and released.
Rangel’s 13-year-old daughter, also a passenger in the vehicle, was placed into protective custody.
The pursuit began at 6:12 p.m. at the intersection of Fourth Crossing and Highway 49 when a deputy reportedly observed Rangel’s vehicle impeding the flow of traffic by going approximately 30 mph in a posted 55 mph zone. Rangel allegedly failed to yield when the deputy turned on his vehicle’s overhead lights and siren.
Two deputies were involved in the initial pursuit and the CHP took over the chase on Highway 12 near the Double Springs monument. During the pursuit, deputies observed the passenger throw an illegal substance out a window and it reportedly was found during a field investigation.
June 1 briefs
Valley Springs rainfall total twice as much as last year
With rainfall of 1.86 inches in the month of May, the area rainfall total since Oct. 1 has reached 31.65 inches.
The total is nearly twice the amount received by this time last year – 16.30 inches.
The high precipitation level has been good news for area reservoirs.
New Hogan Lake storage is at a level it has not seen since in 10 years. New Hogan Lake reached a high mark of 255,147 acre-feet of water on May 21. It is at approximately 254,000 acre-feet going into June.
You have to go back to May of 1995 to see similar high-water mark numbers at New Hogan when storage reached 297,103 acre-feet.
At this time last year, New Hogan had 129,292 acre-feet of water and on Dec. 6, 2004, it had only 79,894 acre-feet of water and the old dam was visible.
The outflow from New Hogan as of Monday was 165 cubic feet per second, while the inflow was 102 cfs.
Other areas reservoirs are at high storage levels. Camanche and Pardee are both at approximately 94 percent.
Work on dangerous intersection begins in October
By Nick Baptista
Work to improve safety at the intersection of Silver Rapids Road and Highway 26 could begin in October, if not sooner, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Tina Walker.
“We’ll get it done this construction season,” she said.
The north leg of Silver Rapids Road where it meets Highway 26 has been closed since Feb. 17 as Caltrans explored additional improvements that could be made to enhance safety at the intersection.
Walker said Caltrans plans to advertise the job in early August with work estimated to begin in October. However, it could get started sooner even sooner, she added.
The work entails trimming the high bank on the side where Silver Rapids is closed to Highway 26 and lesser work on a lower cut.
Deputies seek auto burglar
Calaveras County Sheriff’s deputies are seeking a man in his mid-20s suspected of burglary and obstructing or resisting a peace officer following an incident early Saturday morning near Valley Springs.
According to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department, at approximately 1:50 a.m. Saturday, a deputy spotted someone breaking into a parked car at the intersection of Highway 12 and Upper Lime Creek Road.
The vehicle belongs to a San Andreas resident.
The suspect fled the scene in another vehicle and failed to stop for law enforcement. His vehicle crashed at the intersection of Lower Double Springs Road and Gillam Road. The driver of the vehicle was not caught at that time and a warrant will be sought for his arrest.
Two other subjects in the vehicle at the time were identified and released at the scene. Deputies say the two were not involved in the burglary to the parked vehicle.