Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Firefighters rescue a seriously injured Valley Springs woman trapped Sept. 24 in a 1993 Nissan Altima on Highway 26 east of Paloma Road.
Valley Springs woman sustains major injuries in Highway 26 accident
A Valley Springs area woman and two children in her vehicle
sustained injuries in a two-vehicle accident at 7:35 a.m. Sept. 24 on
Highway 26 east of Paloma Road.
According to the CHP, a 1993 Nissan Altima driven by Michelle
Winslow, 41, of Valley Springs was eastbound on Highway 26. She was
negotiating a right radius curve and her vehicle crossed the double
yellow line and into the westbound lane.
A 2003 Dodge Ram flatbed driven by Jared R. Link, 21, of Glencoe
was in the opposite lane and the vehicles collided head-on.
Winslow sustained major injuries and was transported by air ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. She was listed as stable, but in critical condition. The two children, identified as Mike James, 8, and Nick Winslow, 4, of Valley Springs sustained minor injuries.
According to a firefighter at the scene, the youngsters were
Winslow’s children and they were transported by ground ambulance to
UCD Med Center.
Link escaped injury.
Highway 26 in the Paloma area was closed for approximately an
hour as emergency crews assisted the injured and prepared them for
Valley Springs man offers modest proposal to feds to resurrect red-legged frog
One Valley Springs man has an interesting proposition for Uncle
Sam’s environmental police.
The federal government once again has identified ranchland near
Valley Springs as critical habitat for the California red-legged frog,
but rancher Ron Randall disagrees with the proposal.
Randall’s family owns or leases 1,500 of the 4,449 acres under
consideration as protected habitat for the frog.
The proposed critical habitat area is located east of Valley
Springs in between Paloma Road and Highways 12 and 26.
“I don’t think I could pick a worst habitat for the frog,”
The same Calaveras County area was dropped in 2006 for a
statewide habitat-preservation plan, but federal wildlife official last
week proposed a four-fold increase in the frog’s protected habitat.
The California red-legged frog was listed as a threatened species
by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 1996. Critical habitat
is a term in the Endangered Species Act. It identifies geographic areas
that contain features essential for the conservation of a threatened or
endangered species and may require special management considerations or
Randall is leery the critical habitat designation will interfere
with his ranching operations. Although federal officials say otherwise,
he points to the troubles Gillam Road residents have had in recent years
since a red-legged frog reportedly was discovered in the area.
Routine road repairs have been at a standstill since the reported
Instead of tying up private property with the critical habitat
designation, Randall has another idea.
“If they pay me $2 a piece I’ll raise a million of them,”
Randall said. “They have to give me a pair of them, male and female,
to begin with.”
Although at first, the move sounds strange, the federal
government is on the verge of funding a $700 billion bailout of the
nation’s financial institutions.
Raising the frogs should be easier than cattle, according to
“I hear they lay a million eggs. I can only get one calf a year
with a cow.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened a 60-day public
comment period on the critical habitat proposal. The comment period ends
The cast of "The Music Man" is preparing for an Oct. 2 opening.
"Music Man" coming to Calaveras
The Calaveras Children’s Repertory Theatre is presenting the
popular Broadway musical “The Music Man” the first week in October.
A cast of more than 40 aspiring young actors and actresses are getting ready to entertain the public Oct. 2 and 3 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 221 Church Hill Road in San Andreas.
The Thursday, Oct. 2, opening night performance will begin at
6:30 p.m., while the Friday, Oct. 3, show will start at 7 p.m.
Ticket will be available at the door for only $5 per person.
Jennifer Bonomo directs the musical.
The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band leader and sells
band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town
with the cash. In River City, Iowa, prim Marian the librarian sees through him, but when Hill
helps her younger brother, Marian begins to fall in love with Harold.
Harold, in turn falling for Marian, risks being caught to win her.
All is fair in love and trouble in the “Music Man”.
The show became a hit on Broadway
in 1957, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and running
for 1,375 performances. The cast
album won the first Grammy Award for "Best Original Cast
Album". The show's success led to revivals and a popular 1962 film
The musical features popular tunes such as “Seventy-six
Trombones,” “Gary, Indiana,” “Till There Was You” and
“Marian the Librarian.”
For more information on the Calaveras Children’s Repertory
Theatre’s revival of The Music Man, call 736-4616.
Lisa Hubbs displays the 12 ribbons she brought home from the California State Fair for her nine jam and jelly entries.
Best of Show
Valley Springs woman wins big at state fair
California's best jelly maker resides in Valley Springs.
Lisa Hubbs of Valley Springs won Best of Show at the recently
concluded California State Fair with her Blazinberry Jelly. Enroute to
the Best of Show ribbon, the Blazinberry Jelly also captured first
place, Best of Class and Best of Division honors.
The jelly is a combination of blackberries, blueberries,
strawberries and raspberries.
"Great flavor, nice set and perfect headspace" were the
comments on Hubbs' scoring sheet. The jams and jellies are judged on
texture, flavor and appearance.
Hubbs was one of five people who entered the state fair to also
receive the C&H Award, which includes 20 pounds of sugar.
All nine of Hubbs' state fair entries received awards, with five
additional first place honors and three seconds.
Her other first place entries were blackberry jam, blueberry
jelly, strazberry jelly, blackberry jelly and strawberry jelly.
Second-place ribbons went to her strawberry jam, strazberry jam and
The strazberry jam and jelly are a combination of raspberries,
blackberries and strawberries.
Hubbs more than doubled her ribbon output compared to the 2007
state fair where she came home with two blue and two red ribbons. That
came after a 21-year hiatus of entering jams and jellies in the state
Hubbs said she was filled with surprise when she received a phone
call from the state fair asking whether she would be able to attend the
Best of Show ribbon presentation, but she was able to assure them she
would be there.
She had to fetch a ride to Sacramento for the presentation from
her brother, because earlier when she took her jams and jellies to be
judged, the water-pump on her car went out on the way home and damaged
"But it was worth it," she said.
She's especially proud of the Best of Show ribbon, which includes
a bronze seal of the State of California.
As Hubbs scanned over the results on the internet, she finally
realized her accomplishment. There were only six Best of Division
winners and 10 Best of Class.
"And then there was only one Best of Class - me - and then
it registered," she said.
Hubbs is looking at capitalizing on her new-found honors. She is
talking with family and friends about the possibility of patenting the
"Blazinberry" name and turning her hobby into a commercial
"I'm weighing the pros and cons," she said. Going
commercial would mean health safety inspections, food safety courses and
"I'm not sure which way I'll turn, but winning Best of Show
was sure exciting."
Mark Campbell, left, Calaveras Unified School District’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and former Calaveras High School principal, has been selected by the district’s Board of Trustees to succeed Superintendent Jim Frost, right, in the 2009-10 school year.
of an era coming to Calaveras Unified School District
An end of an era is coming to the Calaveras Unified School
District with Superintendent Jim Frost’s retirement at the end of the
He has been a part of Calaveras since 1987 and CUSD
superintendent for 17 years, making major decisions that have helped
shape the lives of several thousand students.
When Frost began his college education at Chapman University, he
made a comment to his friends that he would forever look back upon.
“Most of my friends in college were going into education, and I
remember telling them ‘I’m never going to become a teacher,’”
Almost as soon as he made the comment he was accepting a job as a
teacher at Mater Dei High School, a private school located in Orange
“That was even before I had my teaching credential,” Frost
He then went to the University of California at Irvine where he
earned his teaching credential and later went to the University of the
Pacific to obtain a Masters in Education.
At Manteca High School, Frost once again found himself in front
of the classroom, giving lectures and handing back papers. He then went
to Lincoln High School in Stockton where he later became vice principal.
He heard through a friend that Calaveras High School was looking for a
“I asked my friend if I was a good match and he said
‘yes,’” Frost said.
From that point on, Calaveras became a major part of Frost’s
Frost was principal of Calaveras High School from 1987 to 1990.
He recalls teachers who were there to welcome him as principal included
Vince Bicocca, Craig Lambert, Jim Pesout, Mark Bowe and Jan Lavaroni.
“I think I hired all of the rest of them,” joked Frost.
As CHS principal, Frost helped the school win the 1990 California
Distinguished School Award, which is now represented by a banner that
hangs in the new gym. That same year, Frost left CHS and became the new
principal of Lodi High.
In 1992 the CUSD board was seeking a new leader for the district.
They quickly called Frost for an interview and he was selected for the
From then until now, Frost has been a major influence in the
school district in many different ways. With the support of the
community, staff, and the approval of two major bond issues, Frost
created Jenny Lind Elementary School and remodeled every school in the
district. Last year they added additional rooms to Valley Springs
Elementary, and a new pool at the CHS campus. This year construction has
already started to remodel Toyon Middle School. Along with the new
buildings, Frost filled the classrooms with great teachers and staff and
helped raised student achievement and continues to do so.
After many years of dedication to the district, Frost is retiring
at the end of the current school year. Assistant Superintendent and
former CHS Principal Mark Campbell has been selected by the board to be
the new superintendent starting in the 2009-2010 school year.
“I have mixed emotions,” Frost said. “Other than my family,
the students, staff and parents of this district have been the most
important and significant things in my life.”
Although Frost will be retiring, he plans on doing something in
the field of education part time and says he’s not going away just
“I want to thank this district for having the faith in me, and
allowing me to have a career that I am passionate about,” Frost said.
“It has given me more than I can ever give it.”
Members of the committee to raise funds to build a new veterans hall and community center in Valley Springs – from left - Dave Evans, Cliff and Willene Seavey – celebrate the most recent donation to the fund, a $5,000 contribution from American Legion Post 102. The committee has raised $30,000 in an effort to collect $500,000 from the public for the new building. "A Community Day in the Park" is planned for Oct. 18 to raise additional funds for the hall. For more information on the project, or to donate, call 772-0641.
Community Day event planned to raise funds for new center
By Nick Baptista
A “Community Day in the Park” to help raise funds for a new
veterans hall and community center is scheduled for Oct. 18.
The “Barn Building” Committee, organized under the auspices
of the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District, is working to collect
$500,000 toward the proposed project.
The committee is spearheading plans for the Community Day at the
Veterans Memorial Park located off Daphne Street and behind Valley
Springs Elementary School.
Activities are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include a
chili cook off and music by the Calaveras Community Band, said Dave
Evans, Barn Building Committee chairman.
There will be arts and crafts booths, children’s play fair,
face painting and a jump castle and a Halloween costume contest, Evans
The chili cook-off will begin at 10 a.m. and at noon the
competitors will submit samples for judging by a panel of six. In
addition to vying for the judges’ award, the cook-off competitors will
seek approval from the public and the people’s choice award.
Evans said the competitors would make a big pot of chili and
beans to be sampled by the public. In addition to receiving a cup to
sample the chili, the public will have tickets that can be deposited in
a jar at each chili booth and at the end of the sampling, those tickets
will be counted and the cook-off competitor to receive the most will win
the people’s choice award.
Evans said he already has more than a half-dozen chili cook-off
teams signed up for the competition. The entry fee is $25 and a package
with the rules can be obtained by calling Evans at 772-0641. Potential
vendors can also call him at the same number.
Money for the new hall will also be raised through a dunk tank
featuring local dignitaries, Evans said. The committee is seeking the
area’s favorite VIPs to take a turn on the dunk tank hot seat.
All proceeds from the event will go toward the committee’s
efforts to complete a new veterans hall and community center. Since its
inception earlier this year, the committee has raised $30,000 toward
Tickets will also be on sale at the Community Day for the
committee’s next fundraiser, a Nov. 1 dinner and dance featuring the
music of DJ Rene.
The November dinner and dance will be similar to the “Spring
Fling Dinner & Dance” the committee held earlier this year in its
fund-raising efforts, Evans said.
Mazzaferro comes out in support of Tofanelli for District 1 board race
The candidate who finished third in June’s primary election for
District 1 supervisor has announced she has a favorite in the upcoming
Kathy Mazzaferro, who finished with nearly 600 votes in the June
3 primary, has endorsed Gary Tofanelli in his race against Zerrall
McDaniel to replace Bill Claudino on Calaveras County’s Board of
The endorsement was announced Saturday at Tofanelli’s campaign
kick-off fundraiser and dinner in Valley Springs.
The primary race between McDaniel and Tofanelli was close with
Tofanelli having the election-night edge by five votes.
“I believe Gary is the better answer for the
county,” Mazzaferro said in an interview this week with The Valley
Springs News. “His views are more closely aligned with mine.”
Shortly after the primary, Mazzaferro said she probably would not
endorse either of the two remaining candidates.
“Both are well-qualified and it should be up to the voters
themselves,” Mazzaferro said at that time.
However, in announcing her support for Tofanelli, Mazzaferro
said, “Gary is heading in the right direction as far as us needing
growth, new development and business activity that is for the good of
McDaniel said Mazzaferro backing Tofanelli on the basis of growth
as an issue perplexed her.
“The notion that I’m no-growth is nonsense,” McDaniel said.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a business person who is in
favor of working through the planning process for better conditions that
would be beneficial for our local economy.”
McDaniel said she did not think Mazzaferro’s endorsement would
have a significant influence on the election.
“Kathy garnered 28 percent of the primary vote and I value her
endorsement,” Tofanelli said. “She carries a lot of weight in the
Tofanelli said he did not know Mazzaferro when the campaign began
at the beginning of the year, but during the primary season they got to
know each other well and “she’s a very likable person.”
As to how he finally captured Mazzaferro’s support, Tofanelli
said, “Our platform is more along the lines of what she was
Although details have not been finalized, Mazzaferro said she
would be assisting Tofanelli in his campaign.
District 1 supervisor hopefuls to attend Candidates Night
The two candidates running for District 1 supervisor have
accepted invitations for an Oct. 8 forum at the Jenny Lind Veterans
Memorial District Hall.
The Candidates Night will feature District 1 hopefuls Zerrall
McDaniel and Gary Tofanelli. They are vying for the seat on the
Calaveras County Board of Supervisors being vacated by Bill Claudino at
the end of his four-year term.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Pine and Daphne streets and is
hosted by The Valley Springs News.
The format for the forum includes opening statements by each
candidate, questions from the media and questions from the audience.
Each candidate will have three minutes for their introductory
statement and will be limited to two minutes per question.
“It was a close race in the June primary and we hope voters
take advantage of this opportunity to hear the two candidates in
person,” said Nick Baptista, editor and co-owner of The Valley Springs
News. “We’ve scheduled the Candidates’ Night at about the time
vote-by-mail ballots go out and since vote-by-mail has been trending as
the popular way to vote we’re looking forward to a timely, informative
and well-attended event.”
Opening statements and media questions are scheduled for the
first half of the forum. The public will be encouraged to submit
questions in writing in marked boxes throughout the room. The media will
screen the questions for redundancy and items not pertinent to the
election and the candidates in the second half of the forum will address
the public’s questions. Refreshments will be served during a brief
intermission in the program.
The election date is Nov. 4 and the new four-year term for
District 1 supervisor will begin in January 2009.
Valley Springs’ entrance sign has seen a significant increase in population from 500 in a 1956 photo recently obtained by the Society for the Preservation of West Calaveras to 7,592 on today’s sign.
photo find a boon to town's lost history
It may not rank as high as the myth of Dutch traders purchasing
Manhattan Island for $24.60, but Sal Manna, president of the Society for
the Preservation of West Calaveras History, is excited about his recent
$21 eBay buy of Valley Springs photos dating back to a community event
52 years ago.
The photos capture an April 22, 1956, Valley Springs celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the creation of the San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada Railroad in 1881. By April of 1885, the railroad had reached Valley Springs.
The one-of-a-kind photos of the 1956 celebration will go to the
society’s archives and eventually be displayed publicly, Manna said.
The photos will also be the subjects of one of Manna’s future
“Something From Nothing” historical column, which appears
exclusively in The Valley Springs News.
The snapshots sold by someone in Tracy exceeded Manna’s
expectations, he added.
Manna combed Calaveras County archives and found articles in the
now-defunct Calaveras Prospect newspaper discussing the 1956
The stories somewhat parallel the Train Times celebration put on
earlier this year to mark the SJ&SN Railroad’s establishment of
service to Valley Springs on April 25, 1885.
The 2008 Train Times was created by the nonprofit Society for the
Preservation of West Calaveras History in conjunction with the Historic
Valley Springs Train Depot and the VSABA and was billed as the
first-ever celebration of the area’s railroad history.
However, Manna was pleased to see there had been a similar
celebration years before.
“I don’t know of any historical celebration in Valley
Springs’ history except for this and Train Times,” he said.
According to the articles Manna uncovered, Valley Springs
Postmaster and Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce President Bob
Finnegan organized the 1956 celebration.
The celebration was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Chapter,
Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, Inc., out of San Francisco,
and a special train, appropriately named “The Calaveras Special,”
brought 650 people from Northern California to the event. In fact, two
trains were needed for all of the passengers.
Regular passenger service to Valley Springs had ended in the
early 1930s, Manna said.
“The Calaveras Special” went from San Francisco to
Sacramento, before heading to Lodi and eventually Valley Springs. The
return trip went through Tracy before going back to San Francisco.
Some of the photos Manna received show the steam locomotives in
Valley Springs along with an extensive warehouse row near the train
The photo featured in today’s paper is thought to have been
taken on the west edge of the Highway 12 entrance into town. The entry
sign gives Valley Springs’ population at 500.
Another point of curiosity mentioned in articles is of a plaque
given to then station agent Bob Flautt during the 1956 celebration. It
was a framed photo of the old narrow gauge engine and the station. Manna
is curious as to what eventually happened to the historic photo.