Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
The R3 Real Estate office crew, from left, Marianne Schurawel, Christina Acierto, Cheryl and Perry Willard, in front of their 65-foot Redwood illuminated for the holiday season near the corner of Cedar and Daphne streets.
Downtown tree becomes focal point for holidays
New York has its famous Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center
and all eyes in Washington, D.C., at this time of year turn to the
Christmas tree at the White House.
One Valley Springs woman hopes to implement a similar tradition
Marianne Schurawel, an 11-year resident of Valley Springs,
convinced her boss, Perry Willard, R3 Real Estate broker, to decorate
the 65-foot tall Redwood tree at their 101 Cedar St. office and the
public’s response has been outstanding.
“Folks have always said, ‘Somebody ought to decorate that
tree at Christmas time,” Schurawel said, and she went about doing just
that with the help of her firm and Dave Beyette of Beyette’s Tree
She believes it is the first time the tree, one of the tallest in
town, has been decorated for the holidays. Her source? Diane Ponte, a
Beyette donated the use of his boom truck and subcontracted a
“climber” with spikes on his heels to illuminate the very top. The
lights were hung Nov. 18 and the tree was lit for the first time on Nov.
Schurawel said people can see the tree from miles around and she
is getting positive feedback.
“Several people have even called the R3 Real Estate office with
praise and thanks,” she said. “It has brought a lot of joy to
“At night you notice a lot more traffic going by the office and
it is slowing down to get a good look at the lights,” said Cheryl
Willard, Perry’s wife.
The tree is decorated in blue lights and the office is
illuminated in blue and white lights.
“If I had to do it over again, I would, but I would have used
larger, brighter lights,” Schurawel said.
“Hopefully, next year, and in future years, the town can get
together with volunteer groups and illuminate it as a tradition.”
Sheng Chi took best cultural demonstration and best of show at last year’s Christmas Parade.
Annual Christmas Parade, Craft Faire Saturday
It’s predicted Mother Nature will cooperate for the Valley
Springs Area Business Association’s 24th annual Christmas Parade &
Craft Faire on Saturday.
Although it does not appear umbrellas will be necessary, warm
dress is recommended.
Weather forecasts predict a cool, partly cloudy morning on
Saturday with highs in the high 50s after lows in the mid 30s. The
parade begins at 10 a.m. rain or shine on Daphne Street, turns right at
the Veterans Memorial Hall and then right at Sequoia where it will
Parade categories include float (commercial/adult); float (kids
organization); walking group (commercial/adult); walking group (kids);
vintage auto; vintage fire/farm equipment; honor guard; band; mounted
and auto (group).
“We have 25 parade entries so far and we expect more are on the
way,” said Liz Weaver, parade chairperson.
On the day of the parade, the registration table will be located
at the corner of California and Chestnut streets and if you have not
already pre-registered, registering prior to 9:30 a.m. is requested.
After the parade, pictures with Santa Claus will be taken in the
tent behind the Vets Hall.
The Craft Faire at the Vets Hall will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than 30 vendors have lots of gift ideas for you and your family, including quilts, ornaments, ceramics, jewelry and baked goods.
Burson Postmaster Wendi Sherman displays the new Christmas stamps and the convenient Flat Rate Box for holiday shipping.
Local post offices ready for holidays
The U.S. Postal Service predicts it will deliver 20 billion pieces of mail across the country and around the world up until Christmas and post offices in West Calaveras County are ready for the holiday rush.
“The Burson Post Office has plenty of Christmas stamps,” said
Postmaster Wendi Sherman. “Come in for our fast, friendly service.”
“We have plenty of Christmas stamps and we’re well staffed
going into the holidays,” said Valley Springs Postmaster Dann Myers.
The earlier postal customers send their cards and packages, the
better were words of advice from Myers.
The Postal Service recommends that all First-Class Mail and
Priority Mail be sent by Dec. 20 and that Express Mail be sent by Dec.
22. Mail sent by Parcel Post, the most economical service, should be in
the mail by Dec. 15.
Mail destined for servicemen and women serving in Iraq and
Afghanistan should be sent by Dec. 4. Mail destined for any other
military installation around the world should be mailed no later than
Dec. 18. All military mail, regardless of destination, is sent at
domestic mail rates.
Postal customers can go on-line to usps.com and take advantage of
Click-N-Ship from the convenience of home, Myers suggested. Customers
can pay for postage via credit card, request parcel pick-up and print
shipping labels at the site, he added.
Labels can be printed for domestic and international expedited
services - Priority Mail, Express Mail, Global Express Guaranteed and
Global Express Mail. Need insurance? Another click and it's done on
Going away for the holidays? Myers said it is easy to go on-line
at the Postal Service website and make a “Mail Hold” request.
Another convenience is Priority Mail’s Flat Rate Box that costs
only $8.95 to ship anywhere in the U.S., Sherman said.
To make sure holiday mail arrives on time, the Postal Service has
700,000 employees and more than 200,000 trucks and delivery vehicles.
Air cargo transport of the mail increases by 30 percent during the
The busiest mailing day is projected to be Monday, Dec. 17. More
than 275 million cards and letters should be mailed that day, more than
three times the average daily volume of 82 million. Total mail volume -
cards, letters, catalogs, packages, and magazines - for the busiest day
should approach 1 billion, up from an average daily volume of 703
The busiest delivery day is expected to be Wednesday, Dec. 19.
Staff at the National Operations Center report for “24-7 duty” on
Dec. 1 to help navigate, literally, mail movement around the world.
“This is one of the most challenging and exciting times of the
year for us,” said Pat Donahoe, deputy postmaster general and chief
operating officer. “Whether you’re sending a holiday card to Idaho
or a care package to Iraq, our employees across the country are
committed to success.”
Sal Manna with the scales box from the Genochio Store in Camanche.
Preservation society reveals latest treasures
Numerous artifacts recently acquired by the Society for the
Preservation of West Calaveras History were displayed during
Wednesday’s meeting of the Valley Springs Area Business Association.
Sal Manna, founder and president of the society, was the guest
speaker and he provided a glimpse to the area’s past through rare
photographs, an 1881 remembrance book, an 1886 San Joaquin and Sierra
Nevada Railroad bill, and a look inside a wooden box from the Genochio
Store in Camanche that contained the gold scales in use at the store
from the 19th century through the 1930s.
Two of the photos Manna showcased link Calaveras County to two of
the nation’s major conflicts. The society has acquired an 1864 photo
of Union Capt. Hiram Messenger and a 1917 photo of a then-Southern
Pacific Railroad train leaving the Valley Springs Train Depot in 1917
with a passenger carload of local recruits for “The Great War in
A similar photo of the 1917 departure of local enlistees appears
in the recently published book “Images of America: Northern Calaveras
County” authored by Manna, Judith Marvin and Julia Costello, but the
newly discovered photo shows the enlistees shaking hands and waving as
they depart Valley Springs and below them along the side of the
passenger car is the banner “Calaveras Line.” In other photos, the
temporary Calaveras Line banner was unreadable, Manna said.
Hiram Messenger of Campo Seco discovered copper near the town and
used the wealth from his mine to raise and outfit a company of soldiers
for the Union. The photo of him in uniform was taken in 1864 in a San
Manna said it is extremely rare these days to find photos of
Civil War officers from California.
Another artifact that gave insight to the social connections of
early Valley Springs families was an 1881 remembrance book for Katie
Maley. Her sister Ellen Folsom gave the book to her and guests would
write in it when they came to visit. Manna read several passages penned
by area pioneers and Katie’s eventual matrimony was a central topic.
The look inside the scale box from the Genochio Store had some
unique items such as a vial of gold dust and a collect of gold teeth.
The box is on loan to the society from Mary Jane Genochio. The town
disappeared in the 1960s due to the Camanche Dam project.
Manna also promoted the first-ever Train Times set for April 26,
2008, at the Valley Springs Train Depot. Depot restoration is under way
and the event will rededicate the depot 123 years and one day after the
first train rolled into town.
The all-female Mountain Melody choir along with the Columbia Kicks Big Band will usher in the holiday season Dec. 16.
Council sponsors family holiday concert
Calaveras Arts Council is presenting a special holiday concert,
“Prelude to the Season,” for families at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in
the Bret Harte Theatre in Angels Camp.
– a kick-off to the arts council’s annual “Ovations” series –
promises to be a fun experience to bring the whole family to, dressed up
for the holidays or not. The energy of Rod Harris and the 25-member
Columbia Kicks Big Band will resonate with a truly American classic
holiday repertoire such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Sleigh Ride,”
“Frosty” and dozens more.
addition, the program will feature another local group, the 20-member
all-female Mountain Melody choir directed by Julie Shelby. Some of their
songs will be “Amazing Grace,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and
“Pastoral Symphony.” The
band and the choir will join together for a spirited public sing-along
of holiday favorites and the two groups will jubilantly conclude with
the “Joyful, Joyful.”
are only $10 each for adults and $5 each for youth under 18. Proceeds
will benefit the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program and the Arts in
Education Program of the Council.
actual 2008 season of “Ovations” begins with two concerts featuring
the ever-popular “The Sons of The San Joaquin” on Sunday, Jan. 13.
The shows featuring the cowboy trio of Jack, Joe and Lon Hannah
are scheduled for 3 and 7 p.m. in the Bret Harte Theatre. Tickets will
be $25 each for adult and $10 youth under 18. Ticket sales begin Nov.
tickets for all “Ovations” performances can be ordered on-line at www.highsierratickets.com.
For more information, call the Calaveras Arts Council at (209)
Jeff Allen, left, and son Brandon S. Allen at Brandon's recent promotion to Master Sergeant (E-8).
Brandon Allen, '90 CHS grad, promoted to Master Sergeant
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon S. Allen, a 1990 graduate of Calaveras High School, was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (E-8) on Oct. 1.
Allen is the son of Jeff and Tami Allen of Valley Springs. His proud parents flew to San Angelo, Texas, where he is stationed and serving as an instructor at the military intelligence school for the promotion ceremony.
Jeff had the distinct honor of placing the new rank of E-8 on Brandon at his the ceremony. In addition to senior ranking officers, Brandon’s class and military associates, the ceremony was attended by his wife of 15 years, also a 1990 Calaveras High graduate, Kimberly Ann Allen, and his 10-year-old daughter, Michaela Beth Allen.
“We cannot believe that in three years Brandon will have served our country for 20 years and have the option to retire,” his father said.
Brandon’s career in Army Intelligence has taken him on training
missions with the first Green Beret Units at Ft. Lewis Wash., to Alaska,
Korea, Canada, Hawaii, California and Texas. He studied Chinese at the
language school in Monterey and has the opportunity to attend college in
China. After a tour of duty in Hawaii, he was assigned to Texas to
continue his military intelligence service. Upon arrival in Texas,
Brandon became an instructor in the intelligence school.
He just finished an assignment of drill sergeant at the same
Brandon has been taking full advantage of the education
opportunities available to U.S. service members. During his time of
service, he has completed two associate arts degrees and his Bachelor of
Science. He is currently working on his master’s in business.
In March, Brandon was inducted in to the prestigious Audie Murphy
He has received orders to leave for training and a tour in Iraq
in January 2008.
Maninder Gill and her family are the new owners of Pliler's Market in downtown Valley Springs.
Historical Pliler's Market comes under new ownership
Pliler’s Market, with roots going back to the early days of
Valley Springs, is under new ownership.
Ranjit and Maninder Gill and their two children assumed ownership
of the market at the end of last month from Stephen and Trisha Couch and
Jimmy and Tina White.
The Gill family does not plan to make any sudden changes to the
Valley Springs institution and will retain the name, which dates back to
the early 1900s. The family has other businesses, but this is their
first entry into the retail market business.
“It’s something different,” said Maninder. “We like the
people here and we’ll try our best to keep the public happy. We have a
lot of customer service experience and we look forward to serving the
people of Valley Springs.”
The store, located at 54 W. California St. (Highway 12), will
remain open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., but hours may be changed in December,
said Maninder, and they may expand operating hours during the summer.
The Gill family lives in Tracy, but a move to Valley Springs
could be in the plans.
“We were looking at a lot of businesses to buy,” Maninder
said. “We like small towns and we heard this was a great place for
living and it was a good community.”
Staff will remain the same, she said, with at least one member of
the Gill family at the store most of the time.
“Come and give us a chance to serve you,” she said.
“You’ll be a happy customer.”
Stuart Anderson with a one-of-a-kind Silver State Helicopter Orange County Chopper.
Valley Springs man chosen for project on O.C. Chopper
An Orange County Chopper paid a brief visit to Valley Springs this past week as a local man designed and began manufacturing a display stand for the expensive bike.
Stuart Anderson, owner and Fabricator of Circle A Ranch
Equestrian Services and Fabrication, was selected to complete the work
on an OCC motorcycle made for Silver State Helicopters based in Las
OCC is a custom motorcycle manufacturer founded by Paul Teutul
Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr. The company has gained widespread fame by being
featured on American Chopper, the reality TV show that first appeared on
the Discovery Channel.
Silver State Helicopters recently arranged a swap with Orange
County Choppers: a helicopter for a custom-themed OCC chopper. A
helicopter was customized for the Teutuls to use. In exchange, OCC
created a custom-themed chopper for Silver State Helicopters, which will
be auctioned off with all proceeds being donated to the Children’s
Health Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.
Silver State Helicopter began in 1999 primarily as a helicopter
flight training business and it has expanded its operations to include
search and rescue, air ambulance, aerial tours, photography, law
enforcement air support, agriculture and fire fighting.
Silver State Helicopter wanted to display the bike and Silver
State employee Pat Dayton knew "the perfect guy" to build a
custom display stand. That is when Anderson - who has been welding for
35 years - entered the picture. He and Dayton grew up together and
Anderson was contacted to complete the project.
The bike, estimated to be worth $350,000 was delivered to
Anderson's shop so he could do the measurements and design the stand.
"An opportunity like this doesn't come along too
often," Anderson said. "It was a neat little thing to be
dropped on me."
It did come with some sleepless moments as Anderson, who has
lived in the area for the past 10 years, worried somewhat about having
such an expensive bike on his property until the past weekend.
Custom features of the Silver State bike include a wind speed
indicator, helicopter pedals, helicopter oil cooler, and the words
"Prepare For Takeoff" on the chain guard along with the Silver