Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
The Valley Inn crew, from left, Cheryl Grimes, Lisa Barrera and owner Joe Salazar are looking forward to Saturday's Grand re-opening.
Valley Inn to host party to mark new ownership
By Nick Baptista
One of Valley Springs’ oldest establishments has new owners and
plans a Grand Re-opening Party Saturday evening to celebrate the change.
Joe Salazar and his wife Marie have acquired the Valley Inn
Saloon, Bar and Grill at 28 California St. and will introduce themselves
to the community with Saturday’s Grand Re-opening, which will include
music by Stone Cold from 8 to 11 p.m.
The site of the Valley Inn has always been a bar or hotel since
the railroad arrived in Valley Springs, according to local historian Sal
Joe, who worked in human services at a development center in San
Jose, visited Calaveras County looking for property and ended up buying
the Valley Inn.
“I wanted to live in the last frontier of the foothills,”
Salazar said. “Everything else is built up.”
Salazar said he did not have any prior experience running a bar
and grill. “I came in as a tinhorn,” he said.
For the next two months he immersed himself in learning the
operation. Along the way he got help from his crew and his wife Marie.
She takes care of all the paperwork.
“I worked sun up and sun down for 40 days and at times I felt
like I was Noah adrift,” he said, “but I passed the learning curve
and I’ve gotten everything in order.
One of his helpers is Cheryl Grimes. She has been a bartender at
the establishment for the past eight years and worked under two of the
Grimes, who was born in San Andreas and has lived in Valley
Springs most of her life, said she is pleased to work with the new
“Joe has a good sense of humor and cares about us girls,” she
said. “He wants to make it work and he cares about us.”
Two of Salazar’s initial changes were to install a motion light
outside so the crew would have additional safety when they closed down
and left the bar at night and increasing everyone’s pay above the
The bar is a great place and its patrons are like family, Grimes
“They’ll give you the shirt off their back and ask for
nothing in return,” she said.
Salazar appreciates his regulars, but he also wants to reach out
to the community and invite those who have never been in the
establishment or those who have not been inside in a long time to check
it out and introduce themselves.
Salazar said the Valley Inn is a second home to many of his
patrons. Most of his patrons have long roots in the area and helped
build the community, he said. In addition, the establishment is biker
He wants to see a mix of old and new customers and many of his
established patrons can pass down a story or two to the newcomers.
Future plans include remodeling the second floor and adding pool
tables and televisions to the new room, which could also serve as a
meeting room for local companies, Salazar said. Cosmetic work includes
painting and upgrading the restrooms.
The grill is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday, but Sunday.
“The Valley Inn is basic home folks,” Salazar said.
“We’re not fancy, but we’re clean and friendly. We have a long
history in the county and we want to continue the traditions of the
Valley Springs Bar and Grill.”
Unloading Christmas trees and getting Boy Scout Troop 302's tree lot ready to open last week were, from left, Troop Guide Ethan Gibson, Quartermaster Frankie Gigliotti, Scoutmaster Tom Robertson and Assistant Patrol Leader Danny Spears.
Boy Scouts sell trees to fund activities
By Nick Baptista
Scout Troop 302 is raising money for its long list of activities with
its annual Christmas tree sale.
The truck arrived last Wednesday to deliver 350 Douglas and Noble
firs and the Christmas tree lot next to Jitters off Highway 26 at
Mangili Drive. The lot opened for business on Friday.
The lot offers a large selection of trees ranging in size from 5
to 8 feet.
The lot will remain open from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and
Fridays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays until Dec. 10 or
when all the trees are sold.
Troop 302 is a very active, traveling for one weekend every month
to camp out in the great outdoors. Some activities the troop has
participated in recently are getting CPR certified, camping at Lake
Camanche, and going to summer camp in Mendocino at Camp Navarro for a
Funds raised from the tree sales will help with troop equipment
and supplies. In addition, those who visit the tree lot can enter a
drawing for a prize.
Sal Manna, left, and Don Urbanus look at an old photo of downtown Valley Springs
Area history is topic of ABA meeting
By Vip Hale
Valley Springs Area Business
Sal Manna, president of the Society for the Preservation of West
Calaveras, was the speaker at this month’s Valley Springs Area
Business Association luncheon. His topic, “How The Past Can Help The
Future Of West Calaveras” spoke of the history of West Calaveras.
He told us of another town, 50-some years ago that no one thought
much about. The town next door was better known, a historian came,
started exploring its history, started writing and telling people about
it. He even built a museum
and buildings began to be preserved.
People took pride in their town, and visitors came.
That man was Coke Wood. The
town was Murphys. According to Manna, “we, in West Calaveras have as
much history, if not more than Murphys.”
He included buildings such as the remaining train depot from the
narrow gauge San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada Railroad; a rare two-story
stone residence from the 1860’s (the Late House); one of the best
preserved 1860 stone building in the Mother Lode, the Wildermuth house.
Also included in this list are several pioneer residences; 3 one
room school houses – one from 1880’s; a cabin that may be 140 years
old or more and an area called Lost City with its incredibly picturesque
mid-19th century ruins, and of course, the people.
“The time has come to preserve, cherish and celebrate the
history of this much ignored part of the county.
History is about a sense of community and a feeling of pride in
the place you live. We have
as much history worth preserving here as they have in Murphys. The
difference between us is that we haven’t done anything with our
history,” said Manna, “Another
way the past can help our future is what’s called Heritage Tourism.
At the recent Tourism and Economic Development Workshop,
sponsored by the Calaveras Visitors Bureau, the speaker asked “What is
special about Calaveras County that someone would visit here?”
There was only one answer, History.”
Heritage Tourism in West Calaveras has never existed.
Our area has always been a place people go through, not to.
Even though two of the major roads into this county come through
our area, there has been little reason for anyone to stop, except for
gas and maybe a bag of chips and a soda.
But things are changing. “We
need to give visitors a reason to stay awhile and spend their money.
So, we are starting from scratch.”
Manna, who started the Society for the Preservation of West
Calaveras (SPWCH) said that while “starting from scratch is a
disadvantage, it’s also an advantage.”
We can build Heritage Tourism here from the ground up.
We can be smart about it, and do it right.
Other areas in Calaveras need to know about our history. The
“Something From Nothing” traveling exhibit was put together by SPWCH,
and is making its way around the county. Manna’s continuing series, “Something From Nothing” runs the first Wednesday of each
month in The Valley Springs News, featuring local history, information
and photos of our past.
Manna closed with the thought that “we have to start somewhere
and sometime, and this is the place, and the time.
If we do it now, at the beginning, we can do it right.
Every future is built upon a past.
This is our time to make certain our past has a future.”
To find out more information on
SPWCH, you can contact Manna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jon Rolland and Linda Scaparro display 3,614 signatures gathered calling for recall of three members on the Foothill Fire Protection District Board of Directors.
Foothill Fire recall petitions submitted to election office
By Nick Baptista
Efforts to recall three members of the Foothill Fire Protection
District Board of Directors reached a milestone on Monday when petitions
containing 3,614 signatures were submitted to the Elections Department
at the County Clerk’s office.
Recall proponents targeted board members Ed Anderson, Ken
Glissman and Gary West for recall.
Recall backers had 60 days to gather at least 785 qualified
signatures for each board member to place the issue on the ballot.
Linda Scapparo, one of the recall proponents, said the 3,614
figure represented the grand total of signatures for recall of all three
board members. Recall proponents did not break down the exact total of
signatures per board member, she said, but each one received roughly a
third of the grand total.
Elections Coordinator Debbie Smith said the Elections Department
now has 30 working days to check the signatures and determine whether
the recall proponents obtained enough qualified signatures of registered
voters residing within the fire district to place the issue on the
Recall proponents said reasons for seeking a removal of the three
board members include the unlawful firing and demotion of volunteer
firefighters, irregularities and mismanagement in construction of the
Burson fire station, violations of the state’s open meeting law,
following and interfering with firefighters while they are performing
their duties, disregarding the department’s chain of command and
policies and procedures concerning termination and demotion, harassing
the public at public meetings and intimidating the public and
The recall effort stems from the board’s dismissal of Assistant
Fire Chief Drew Utterback and the demotion of Jeff Palm from fire chief
to assistant chief earlier this year. The board has been criticized for
taking the actions in an illegal manner. In addition, the County Grand
Jury several months ago found that the board had committed violations of
the Brown Act, the state’s opening meeting law, over the course of the
County Public Works was busy working to clear portions of Indian Creek the past week, but is waiting for federal approval for channel maintenance along flood-prone Cosgrove Creek.
waits for fed's OK to clean Cosgrove
Routine channel maintenance in flood-prone Cosgrove Creek is on
hold while Calaveras County’s Public Works Department waits for
Public Works had planned to be well along in clearing Cosgrove Creek by the time winter rains arrived. The Board of Supervisors in early August had authorized Public Works to clear the creek, which had flooded in April and forced the evacuation of nearly 100 homes in the area.
However, due to federal permitting issues, work that we had scheduled has been delayed, according to Ed Hoag, deputy director of Public Works in charge of operations and maintenance.
Work to remove invasive vegetation and accumulated sediment that is necessary to restore the flow capacity of Cosgrove Creek will begin as soon as all permits have been secured, he added.
Hoag said Public Works and California Department of Forestry crews are ready to tackle the task once the county receives permission from the feds.
“Even with the rain, we can do a lot of hand work, especially along the sides of the creek,” he said.
In addition, the county has received permission from most adjoining landowners.
Permits for channel maintenance are required from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Fish and Game, and California Regional Water Quality Control Board due to the nature of the work and the potential presence of endangered species such as the red-legged frog, tiger salamander and giant garter snake within the Cosgrove Creek watershed.
Hoag said the California agencies have granted their approval.
However, he has no clear time frame of when the county will receive the
go-ahead from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which serves as a
clearinghouse for other concerned federal agencies. The corps is
currently consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the
National Marine Fisheries Service.
In the meantime, Public Works has been busy in the area doing
work along Indian Creek, which runs along Highway 26. The county
received the necessary permits much quicker for that work, Hoag added.
When Cosgrove Creek channel maintenance was discussed with the
board in August, Public Works had hoped to obtain the necessary permits
by October. The county had earmarked $25,000 to $50,000 for the
Mark and Gina Clemens with their son Kendell display some of the items available at GM Variety and Collectibles.
Variety store reopens with some new twists, products
By Nick Baptista
The former Dollar King store has a new name and new owner.
Valley Springs area residents Mark and Gina Clemens last Friday
reopened the retail store off Highway 26 at Jean Street under the new
name of GM Variety & Collectibles.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through
Saturday and will mix a variety of items along with collectibles and
“We’ve given the store a fresh look and have received a lot
of compliments,” Gina said. “We want to make it more homey.”
Store items include toys for the holidays, party supplies, gift
items, care products, greeting cards, stationary and office supplies.
Gina wants to expand the crafts corner to include quilting and
scrapbooking items and materials.
Collectible items include Hot Wheels, Pez containers and D Rod
die cast cars, while the sports memorabilia includes trading cards,
sports figurines, bobble heads and eventually autographed jerseys on
The store is moving away from only dollar-or-less-priced items,
but the new merchandise will not be too high priced, Gina said.
She added the store would have a suggestion box to solicit
customer feedback on desirable items they should carry.
In addition, Tuesdays will be Seniors Day and Fridays will be
Kids Day with select 20 percent discounts on those days.
The store will continue to be an outlet for Family Vision
The store’s phone number is 772-1950.
Jacqui Pena is the Valley Springs Youth Center's new coordinator.
Youth center welcomes new coordinator
By Nick Baptista
Calaveras High School and California State University, Stanislaus
graduate Jacqui Pena is the new youth coordinator at the Valley Springs
The opportunity to use her communication skills and work with
young people attracted Pena to the job.
“I like to work with teens and everyday is different,” she
said. “It’s ‘not a behind the desk’ job.”
Pena majored in communications and she plans to use her knowledge
of the field in her new job.
“I’d like to make our teens more aware of the world outside
of Valley Springs,” she said. “I’d like to get them involved with
the news and focus on how media can sway opinions.’
Learning to become more analytical will be a helpful diagnostic
tool later in life, she said.
Immediate projects include preparing for the Dec. 2 Valley
Springs Area Business Association Christmas Parade and recruiting
participants for the Teen Outreach Project.
The youth center is planning an art contest in conjunction with
the parade. The artwork will be on display at the center, located at 201
Pine St., and the winners will receive prizes and march in the parade.
The Teen Outreach Project is an annual course to build
self-esteem and leadership skills.
The center is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and
noon to 5 on Fridays. Children from 11 to 17 can participate in the
Jenny Lind Fire Protection
District firefighters, from left, Roy Estakhri, Mike Cammisa and Kris
Hinds pose in front of the department’s two newest fire engines –
E-112, left, and E-113. The district obtained the two vehicles for a
total of $342,000 from money set aside in its apparatus replacement
fund. E-112 is primarily a structure and rescue engine with vegetation
fire capabilities, while E-113 is primarily a vegetation and structure
Jenny Lind adds 2 new fire engines
By Nick Baptista
The Jenny Lind Fire Protection District the past month
substantially upgraded its equipment with the addition of two new fire
E-112 is primarily a structure response and rescue engine with
vegetation fire capabilities. It is a 2006 International 4300 Series
Chassis that was custom designed by Jenny Lind Battalion Chief Scott
Mullin and built by Hi-Tech Emergency Vehicle Services in Oakdale.
The engine has excellent storage capacity, Fire Chief Brian
Chavez-Ochoa reported, and carries medical equipment, the Jaws of Life
and all related rescue equipment, a chainsaw, 24-foot roof ladder, three
self-contained breathing apparatus, four spare SCBA air bottles and 15
gallons of Class A foam.
“We’re extremely pleased with the engine,” the chief said.
It carries 500 gallons of water and the Hale Water Pump is rated
at 500 gallon a minute. It also has a wide assortment of hoses including
1,000 feet of 3-inch supply hose. The district purchased the engine for
E-113 resembles the basic design of a CDF engine, but is two feet
longer and has more storage. It is a 2000 International 4800 Series
Chassis that was previously owned.
The fire district obtained the engine from Hi-Tech Emergency
Vehicle Services for less than half of its original
quarter-million-dollar price, the chief said.
At $117,000, the engine “is an exceptional value and
acquisition for the district,” he said.
The engine has 13,000 miles on it and should easily go to 125,000
miles, he added.
The engine holds 650 gallons of water and the Champion Water Pump
is rated at 500 gallons a minute. It contains wildland firefighting hand
tools and can also be used for structure protection.
In addition, the engine contains a medical aid bag and all
related equipment, a rescue backboard, two SCBAs, two spare SCBA bottles
and 20 gallons of Class A foam.
With its 4x4 capabilities it can go anywhere, the chief reported.
“With the addition of these engines we’re good for the next
10 to 15 years,” he said. “The board has done an excellent job
setting aside money over several budgets in the apparatus replacement
fund and through their foresight the money was available to purchase
these two engines,” the chief said.
7, 2006 General Election Unofficial Results
Unified School District
Area No. 2
Unified School District
percent required for passage
Board Member, Trustee Area 4
Joaquin Delta Community College District
Board Member, Trustee Area 1
Joaquin Delta Community College District