Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Ponte Ranch proposal goes to county planners
Project calls for 1,027 housing units
The Ponte Ranch Project, a major commercial and housing
development proposed for approximately 450 acres near downtown Valley
Springs, was submitted Oct. 20 to the Calaveras County Community
Development Agency and Planning Department.
Ryan Voorhees, president and owner of CRV Enterprises, is
the developer and Dave Tanner of Tanner Consulting Group is the planning
The proposal has been in the discussion
stage for more than a year and encompasses property that is located
between Lime Creek, South Petersburg and Hogan Dam roads and the Valley
Springs Public Utility District Treatment Plant.
Proposed plans call for a mixture of open space, trails, homes,
kindergarten through eighth-grade school, 150-room hotel and conference
center, commercial office complex, shopping center and fire
The proposed development, first introduced as Spring Valley in
July 2005, was the subject of a town hall meeting a year ago and has
been modified after receiving input from the public and several
community groups and organizations, such as myvalleysprings.com, Tanner
Ideas coming from those meetings led to the incorporation of
landscape screening and impervious surface management into the project,
The proposal submitted to the county seeks a tentative
subdivision map for 1,027 housing units. The project has one 2.5-acre
park and links to the proposed school site, Calaveras County Water
District retention basin and recreation area projected off Highway 26
and Hogan Dam Road and the proposed regional park at New Hogan Lake.
Some of CRV Enterprises’ mitigation fees will be used to assist
in the development of those nearby parks, Tanner said.
In addition, CRV Enterprises has purchased a 240-acre site above
Paloma Road that will be utilized for storm water retention, wastewater
spray fields, additional open space and oak tree mitigation, he said.
Plans also call for the Valley Springs Public Utility District
and CCWD to work together on a new water treatment facility that will
service the proposed project with the capability of handling additional
future growth in the community. The water would come from CCWD’s
unused allotment of water at New Hogan Lake.
The office complex and shopping center have the potential to
create in excess of 1,000 new jobs in Valley Springs, Tanner said, while
the new Foothill Fire Protection District station would include a
community meeting room, Sheriff’s substation and emergency med flight
Another feature of the plan is the development a new road that
could eventually connect Highways 12 and 26 and relieve traffic
congestion at the four-way stop in downtown Valley Springs.
Tanner said he anticipates the Ponte Ranch Project will reach the
Calaveras County Planning Commission in six months for consideration.
Morgan Thomas, left, with her sister Brittany.
Death of 15-year-old provides life to others
By Nick Baptista
A Valley Springs area mother lost her 15-year-old daughter to a
horse-riding accident Oct. 14, but she and her family have found solace
that Morgan G. Thomas’ death and the donation of her organs saved or
helped the lives of several other children.
Morgan’s aunt, Sheri Nichols, speaking for the family, said
several of her niece’s organs were used to save the life of a
5-year-old girl and other organs were donated to the Shriner’s
Hospital in Sacramento to the benefit of additional children.
“I may not be bringing my baby home, but another mother will be
able to bring her baby home from the hospital,” was Gina Neal’s
reaction after the death of her daughter, Nichols said.
Morgan died on her 15th birthday doing one of the
things she loved best, her aunt said. She was a very experienced rider
and the horse simply tripped, Nichols added.
The accident happened in the family’s horse arena off
Southworth Road at approximately 10 a.m. Morgan was riding her
grandmother’s horse Kia.
The horse sustained a bruise, but otherwise was unharmed in the
fall in the sandy arena, Nichols said.
Morgan was transported by medical helicopter to the University of
California, Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she was pronounced
dead at 2:30 p.m.
Nichols described her niece as “a great kid, full of life who
liked to be in the background and hated it when people frowned. She
loved life, her family and animals.”
Morgan also enjoyed softball, basketball and country music and
after a recent visit to the County Music Capital of Nashville, she was
looking forward to the family’s planned move to Tennessee.
She attended Calaveras High School last year as a freshman, but
recently withdrew in anticipation of the move to Tennessee, her aunt
A celebration of Morgan’s life was held. Monday at Assembly of
God Church in Valley Springs.
Morgan was 2 years old when her father died, Nichols said. One of
the items on her My Space webpage was that she would like to have gotten
to know her father more.
“She’s doing that now,” her aunt said.
The family has established a fund in Morgan’s memory at the
Bank of Rio Vista to help with burial and other expenses. Donations can
be sent to In Memory of Morgan G. Thomas, Bank of Rio Vista, 2 Nove Way,
Valley Springs, CA, 95252.
“People have rallied to help us,” Nichols said. “We live in
such a good county.”
In addition to her mother and aunt, Morgan is survived by her
sisters Ashley, 20; Brittany, 19, and Anna, 7; half brothers Trevor
Thomas and Nicholas Thomas; grandparents Norman and Mary Lou Andrews,
Don and Joan Nichols, and Patsy Thomas. Aunt and uncle Mary and John
Hejny and uncle Mark Thomas also survive her.
Her cousins are Donald, Katherine, Cassandra, Lydia, Josiah,
Johnny, Dorothy, Grace, T.J. and Isiah Hejny and Kim, Julie and
Burson Postmaster Wendi Sherman displays a sheet of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, the first-ever “semipostal” or fundraising stamp issued by the Postal Service.
Stamps help breast cancer research effort
Burson Postmaster Wendi Sherman is doing her part to increase
funding for breast cancer research.
Sherman, a cancer survivor, uses the month of October, which is
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to promote the Postal Service’s Breast
Cancer Awareness stamp. The stamp costs 6 cents more at 45 cents for
first-class postage, but the additional charge goes to the National
Institutes of Health and the Medical Research Program at the Department
The stamp has raised nearly $48 million for breast cancer
research since it was first issued July 29, 1998. Congress recently
extended the sale of the Breast Cancer Stamp to Dec. 31, 2007.
Designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, the stamp features the
phrases, "Fund the Fight" and "Find a Cure" and an
illustration of a mythical "goddess of the hunt" by Whitney
Sherman of Baltimore.
Sherman is encouraging her postal patrons to spend the extra
money and be eligible for a gift-basket drawing. The theme of the gift
basket she is preparing for one lucky customer is “Things That Are
Pink,” the color associated with the fight against breast cancer.
Postal patrons who buy an entire sheet of Breast Cancer Awareness
stamps are donating $1.20 to the cause and will receive a chance to
enter the drawing.
The extra expense for the stamp is tax-deductible, Sherman said,
and customers will receive a receipt to save for tax purposes.
The drawing will take place Nov. 1.
Sherman, who underwent surgery a year ago and is undergoing treatment until February, also has informational literature regarding breast cancer, such as the “ABCs of Breast Health” and “Three Steps to Finding Breast Cancer Early,” available in the post office.
Jamie Luoma is on the road to recovery after sustaining injuries in a Sept. 7 auto accident.
Benefit set to help Luoma family after tragic accident
A Nov. 4 benefit dinner and dance to assist a 4-year-old Valley Springs girl injured in a Sept. 7 auto accident that claimed the life of her mother is being organized.
Jamie Luoma, 4, sustained major injuries including head trauma and was transported by air ambulance to U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento following the accident on Highway 26 west of Escalon-Belotta Road.
Her mother, Flora Santos Luoma, 45, died from injuries sustained when the 2002 Land Rover she was driving collided head-on with a 2005 International big rig.
According to the CHP, the big rig was westbound on Highway 26
east of Fine Road when it drifted off the south side of the road. The
driver overcorrected and the rig veered left into the eastbound lane
directly into Mrs. Luoma’s path.
Mrs. Luoma was a registered nurse at Stockton’s Dameron
The Luoma Family Benefit is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to midnight
at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 189 Pine St., Valley Springs, and will
feature the sounds of Stone Corral. In addition to a dinner and dance,
the event will include a raffle and auction.
The cost is a $15 donation per person and Samantha or Geoff
Cooper are the contacts at (209) 772-8802 or (209) 483-8342.
Direct donations can be made to the family through an account at the Bank of Rio Vista. Donations can be sent to Bank of Rio Vista, The Luoma Family Benefit, 2 Nove Way, Valley Springs, CA 95252.
Students at Jenny Lind Head Start School have prepared a get-well card for Angelo Joseph "Joey" Regusci Jr. who was wounded late last month in Iraq.
GI with Valley Springs ties wounded in Ramadi
By Nick Baptista
A U.S. soldier with family in Valley Springs is recovering from
life-threatening wounds sustained late last month in Iraq.
Angelo Joseph “Joey” Regusci Jr. was wounded in Ramadi, Iraq,
as his unit was defusing a roadside bomb. One GI died from the blast and
another was wounded. Regusci, whose father Angelo Joseph Sr. and
stepmother Dorothy have lived in Valley Springs the past six years, is
recovering from multiple injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in
Regusci’s father and sister Casey, a former Marine, have been
at his bedside during the recovery, Dorothy said.
Regusci joined the U.S. Marines shortly after graduating from
Vanden High School in the Fairfield-Vacaville area. Following his
discharge from the Marines, Regusci joined the U.S. Army and was looking
forward to making the service a career, his stepmother said.
He had just re-enlisted in the Army for another six years when he
was wounded. He had been in Iraq for approximately a year.
The family moved to Valley Springs after Regusci entered the
service, but he would spend time in the area visiting his family when he
was on leave.
He is “doing OK now,” Dorothy said, following several
surgeries. The lens has been removed from his right eye and it will be
reattached in six months. In addition, he sustained a broken jaw, broken
right arm, lost hearing in his right ear and is recovering from shrapnel
wounds to his right leg and arm.
He was expected to undergo skin-graft surgery to his leg on
Thursday and he is on blood thinners to control blood clots in his leg.
The road to recovery is expected to take from three to nine
months, Dorothy said, but he could be coming home during his recovery in
a month to six weeks.
“He’s getting much stronger everyday,” she said, and a
recent visit by two members of the band Aerosmith “pumped his spirits
In addition, students at the Jenny Lind Head Start School
prepared a get-well card to help improve Regusci’s spirits.
“He’s not out of the woods now, but at least he’s safe,”
his stepmother said.
Valley Springs Elementary School students had an opportunity last week to see their earlier creativity during a parade of quilts. The students designed the squares for 21 quilts. one for each class, an all will be on display this weekend at the Fall Quilt Show.
School's patriotic creations to be on display at Fall Quilt Show
By Nick Baptista
Valley Springs Elementary School students who provided artwork
for a series of patriotic quilts that will be on display during this
weekend’s 2006 Fall Quilt Show got an opportunity to see their work
prior to the event.
A parade of the school’s quilts was conducted during an
assembly on Friday and all 21 quilts will be showcased during Saturday
and Sunday’s event presented by the Loose Threads Quilt Guild of
Working with members of the guild, students in the school’s 21
classrooms last school year drew patriotic quilt blocks and those blocks
were placed on the 21 quilts the guild completed. Plans call for the
quilts to be sold to the public through a silent auction and the
proceeds returned to each class.
The student quilts feature a variety of themes including Red,
White and Blue, Frog and Flags, The Cat in the Hat, the Twin Towers and
Guild members also told the students about the history of quilts
and their Quilts of Valor program to provide a handmade quilt to each
service man and woman wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The show will be at the Valley Springs Elementary School
multipurpose room and the hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Margaret Peters is the featured quilt artist and there will be
longarm demonstrations by Dian Keeper and Gail Belmont.
Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children.