Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Toyon Middle School’s
advanced band under the direction of Robert Wise performed for last
week's Toyon Day, an event to showcase the campus, its students and
programs to the public and parents of future Toyon students.
Toyon public relations tour considered a success
By Nick Baptista
Middle School’s first-ever Toyon Day was very successful, according to
Cindy Brown, president of the school’s parent club.
was held Oct. 25 to highlight the positive aspects of the school to the
media and parents of students in Toyon’s feeder schools.
who is also a member of Toyon’s school site council, said she received
a lot of positive feedback from those in attendance.
parents were thankful for the opportunity to visit the school and asked
that we do it again in the spring for other parents,” she said.
Day was a response to public input at recent meetings concerning the
future of the middle school and whether the Calaveras Unified School
District should switch from the existing middle school program at Toyon
to a kindergarten through eighth-grade structure at its elementary
of the Toyon Middle School Student Council were introduced and escorted
visitors around the campus and into a number of classrooms were a wide
variety of subjects were being taught. In addition, the school’s
advanced band and choir performed several numbers before and after a
Elaine Anberg, left, and Carol Whitehead, who both
attended Calaveras High, model Centennial T-shirts that are on sale at
all Redskin home football games.
centennial party gaining steam
Students at Calaveras High School in San Andreas are joining
adult volunteers in preparation for the school's 100th birthday party,
which will be celebrated with two events on Nov. 11 and 12.
The festivities begin as the Redskin football teams take to the
field against long-time rivals, the Bret Harte Bullfrogs, on Nov. 11.
Members of the student body will get the party started with a tailgate
party on campus from 4 to 5:30 p.m., during which revelers can enjoy
pre-game snacks from several student groups. The Calaveras Athletic
Boosters will also be on hand, offering tri-tip sandwiches. At 5:30
p.m., a hospitality room will open, where guests can obtain refreshments
and share memories of their days at CHS.
"The spirit has really taken off," said Vanessa
Montgomery, student body president. Montgomery has lived in Valley
Springs all her life, and said she was always anxious to attend
Calaveras High. "I always had the Redskin spirit."
Representatives from the West Point Mi-wuk tribe have been
invited to participate in the celebration, and tribal Vice-chairwoman,
Gloria Grimes, said she appreciated the invitation to join in the
During halftime of the varsity game, there will be a fireworks
show, and alumni attending the game will be recognized.
A New York steak dinner brings the centennial celebration full
circle, Saturday, Nov. 12, at the San Andreas Town Hall. Members of the
Calaveras High chapter of the Future Farmers of America will prepare the
dinner that includes all the trimmings. Doors to the hall open at 5 p.m.
for a social hour, and dinner will be served at 6 p.m.
Tickets to the game and dinner are available for $20, and may be
purchased at the school office, or by calling 754-1811, ext. 5301. The
dinner is open to anyone who would like to share in the celebration, and
a special collection of Calaveras High photographs will be projected
onto two screens.
"This isn't about just the high school," Montgomery
said, "it's for the whole community."
Tillie Soyland, representing
the Friends of the Library-Valley Springs Chapter, receives a $5,000
donation for the organization from Bank of Rio Vista officials Noella
Erichson, vice president and manager of the new Valley Springs branch,
and Paul Ubrun, vice president and loan administrator. The new bank,
seen in the background, is expected to be open for business at 2 Nove
Way sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
New bank anticipates holiday season opening
By Nick Baptista
The manager of the Bank of Rio Vista going up at 2 Nove Way was
introduced Wednesday to members of the Valley Springs Area Business
Noelle Erichson has been in banking for more than 20 years and
she will be the manager when Bank of Rio Vista opens its doors sometime
between Thanksgiving and Christmas to become the second bank in Valley
"I'm anxious and excited to be a part of the
community," Erichson said during her introduction to nearly 40 ABA
members during a luncheon at The Range Steakhouse. Paul Ubrun, Bank of
Rio Vista vice president and loan administrator, joined her.
Erichson said the bank will have "a quiet opening and work
the bugs out" before having a grand opening sometime in January.
The bank has already hired four employees who are training in Rio Vista
and two more will join the bank for training on Nov. 1, she added.
"We had a wonderful pool of candidates to hire a tremendous
staff," she said. "They're all local folks. Hiring our staff
from Valley Springs was a priority. They'll make a great team."
The staff combined has more than 100 years of banking experience.
Erichson's experience in banking is with both large and small
institutions. She has worked for Bank of America and Wells Fargo, along
with several smaller banks.
She said she prefers working for a smaller bank and building
close relationships with customers. The bank is customer-oriented and
works to insure customer satisfaction. Erichson added that see would be
available to customers on evenings and weekends via her cell phone and
The bank will offer competitive loan rates, savings rates and has
an attractive checking plan and fee schedule, she said. On-line banking
is available and Ubrun reported "bill pay" is in the test
phase and should be available soon to customers.
The bank will offer a wide range of loan products, Ubrun said,
such as auto and recreational vehicle loans, lines of credit, commercial
loans and construction financing.
In addition to Rio Vista, the bank has branches in Isleton and
Walnut Grove, Ubrun said. The Bank of Rio Vista serves farmers, ranchers
and business people with an emphasis on business lending, equipment
lending, agricultural, construction and commercial real estate lending
and the expansion to Valley Springs is an opportunity to diversify the
bank's loan portfolio, he added.
Ubrun, who has lived in the foothills for 15 years and worked for
Bank of Lodi in Lockeford and Plymouth, said Bank of Rio Vista looked
for a new branch site in Amador and El Dorado counties, but "felt
this was the best place for us."
He outlined the Bank of Rio Vista's history dating back to 1904
and the bank's donation policy. He presented a $5,000 check to Tillie
Soyland, chair of the Friends of the Library-Valley Springs Chapter. The
bank's corporate-giving philosophy centers upon children and senior
citizens, Ubrun said, and the library will serve both groups.
Emergency crews prepare to enter Norm's Chevron at the corner of Highway 26 and Nove Way in Valley Springs Thursday afternoon after a couple of people inside the convenience store became ill.
Fumes at station force evacuation
By Nick Baptista
Emergency personnel were dispatched to Norm's Chevron Gas Station at the corner of Highway 26 and Nove Way in Valley Springs shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon when at least a couple people inside the convenience store became ill.
Authorities closed several blocks around the gas station and mini-mart as the county’s Hazardous Materials team donned protective gear and launched an investigation at the site.
to Undersheriff Michael Walker, two people inside the convenience store
became ill and a third person was reported ill at the Valley Springs
Tire and Auto Repair, located at 53 Nove Way, just behind Norm’s
Chevron. Ambulances were seen in area taking several people to the
blocks around the gas station and mini-mart were evacuated as the Haz
Mat team prepared to enter the building to investigate the situation and
take samples. It was determined the workers were overcome by carbon
monoxide fumes from a heating unit turned on for the first time this
addition, traffic in Valley Springs was disrupted for about two hours as
Highway 26 in front of Norm’s Chevron was closed to through traffic.
Eastbound Highway 26 traffic was detoured at Hogan Dam Road, while
westbound Highway 26 traffic was detoured in downtown Valley Springs at
the intersection with Highway 12.
initial report from the dispatch center at the Calaveras County
Sheriff’s Department said there was a strong smell of gas in the area
of the mini-mart and gas station.
same area was evacuated Sept. 10 when a natural gas line was ruptured by
a backhoe operator digging at the new construction site across Nove Way
from Norm’s Chevron.
Melanie and Bob DeMarco were aboard the U.S.S. Boxer earlier this month for Fleet Week and are photographed above the ship’s flight deck and with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
daughter experience life aboard U.S. combat ship
By Nick Baptista
A Valley Springs businessman and his daughter shared a unique
experience earlier this month cruising from San Diego to San Francisco
aboard the U.S. Navy’s multi-purpose amphibious assault ship, the
Bob DeMarco, owner of Top-Quality Insulation & Fireplaces,
and his 13-year-old daughter Melanie were the guests of the Navy during
the Oct. 5 to Oct. 8 cruise along the California coast from the
Boxer’s homeport in San Diego to participate in Fleet Week in San
Francisco Bay, which included a performance by the Blue Angels flight
The trip was made possible through DeMarco and Top-Quality’s
participation in the Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserves
program. The company proudly employs Travis Weber, who is a member of
the Army National Guard and served for about a year in Iraq.
Dennis McCord, the local representative for the Employer Support
of the National Guard and the Reserves program and a former Navy
officer, arranged the trip.
“All I did was what I felt was right,” DeMarco said. “Go
protect our country and your job will be here when you come back. All of
the military on the ship thought it was great.”
Although there were numerous exiting moments while onboard the
Boxer, DeMarco said the most memorable experience was when they were
going under the Golden Gate Bridge and hearing the crowd cheer for the
Some on board the ship were a little apprehensive that Melanie
was making the cruise.
“They didn’t expect her to find it that interesting,”
DeMarco said. However, his daughter, a student at Toyon Middle School,
“She watches the history channel and found it very
interesting,” he said.
The DeMarcos were among eight employers to make the trip. In
addition, a number of sea cadets were also aboard the Boxer.
While in transit from San Diego to San Francisco, the DeMarcos
slept in bunks, ate in the mess hall and took tours of the ship.
The Boxer was commissioned into the Navy on Feb. 11, 1995. It has
more than 1,000 crewmembers, can accommodate more than 2,000 troops and
has the capacity for 82 aircraft. It is 844 feet long and 106 feet wide
and displaces more than 40,000 tons of water.
“There were tons of exciting stuff, I could go on forever,”
The Dog Frog is one of 28 Painted Frogs of Calaveras County to take center stage at the Oct. 22 Gala and Auction.
Less than 100 tickets left for Oct. 22 Painted Frog Gala
Less than 100 tickets remain for the Oct. 22 Painted Frogs of
Calaveras County Gala and Auction.
The first-ever Frog Gala in 2003 was a sellout and the auction
raised approximately $150,000 for area non-profits and charities.
Tickets for the gala in Mark Twain Hall at the Calaveras County
Fairgrounds cost $65 per person and more than 400 have already been
sold, according to Diane Gray, executive director of the Calaveras
County Chamber of Commerce. Tables can be reserved with the purchase of
eight to 10 tickets.
Gala tickets can be obtained by calling the chamber office at
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a preview of the 28 Painted
Frogs, music and a no-host bar. The hall will be decorated in a
Calaveras County theme. A buffet dinner will be served beginning at 7
p.m. and the auction will start at approximately 8 p.m.
The chamber’s “Tourist Toad” will not be sold by auction,
but will be a raffle prize. Tickets for a chance to win the chamber frog
will be on sale for $5 each at the gala.
Valley Springs has three frogs in the auction, the "Dog
Frog" on display at Central California Bank, the “Wine Frog” at
Countrywide Home Loans, 15 St. Andrews Road, and “Harry Frogger” at
Valley Springs Home Center, 72 Highway 26.
Janet Peggy Casey
Murder suspect released on bail goes back to jail
Murder suspect Janet Peggy Casey, 66, was taken into custody
Friday morning at her Burson residence after allegedly violating a court
order regarding her bail.
Casey was released Oct. 5 from the Calaveras County Jail where
she was awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder. She is
accused of killing her husband Frank back on Aug. 30 at their 6629
Evergreen Road home.
Deputies from the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department on
Friday conducted a search of Casey’s residence. According to court
documents, she had agreed to a search waiver for guns and alcohol.
Deputies reportedly found alcoholic beverages in the refrigerator
located in a garage attached to the house.
A preliminary hearing into the murder charge is scheduled for 2
p.m. Nov. 17 in Calaveras County Superior Court.
Bail of $750,000 had been raised using the couple’s property.
A .38-caliber handgun was used to kill Mr. Casey and the suspect
and victim may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time, the
sheriff’s department initially reported.
Work could begin Oct. 17 on Silver Rapids
By Nick Baptista
Ford Construction of Lodi has received a contract to begin
sight-line improvement work at the intersection of Highway 26 and Silver
Work to improve safety at the intersection could begin Oct. 17,
according to Caltrans spokeswoman Tina Walker.
Traffic will be restricted in the area during work hours.
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.
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.
Decreasing the height of the slope at the intersection will
improve sight distance.
The project is estimated to cost approximately $610,000 and be
completed in “20 working days,” Walker said. The timeframe does not
include any days lost to rain.
Caltrans began its study and closed down a portion of the
intersection less than two weeks after a 61-year-old Stockton woman died
in an auto accident at the intersection, which re-opened in late
December following a $2 million road alignment and improvement project.
The accident was attributed to driver error, but it got Caltrans
to take a closer look at the intersection.
State and county officials had received numerous complaints about
the intersection since its December re-opening and up to the fatal