Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Preparing to open the Fusion Grill at 1906 Vista Del Lago, Suite D are, from left, Johnny Truong, Tony Mun, Lynn Mun, Diane Truong, Dung Chu and Nier Bui.
Grill offers Mongolian cuisine to local palates
By Nick Baptista
Grill, featuring Mongolian barbecue and Chinese cuisine, is the latest
eatery to open in Valley Springs.
Grill began welcoming customers Thursday in Suite D at The Terrace, the
new retail center located at 1906 Vista Del Lago. The restaurant is open
from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and will mark its grand opening
with a lion dance, a traditional Chinese blessing, at 11 a.m. Sunday.
can select the ingredients for their barbecued meal from a buffet
featuring a variety of meats, noodles, vegetables and sauces, or order
traditional meals from the menu.
about two minutes to grill the buffet meal and Fusion Grill’s chef has
been in the business for 15 years.
of the buffet for adults is $7.95 for lunch and $9.95 for dinner.
Children under 2 eat for free, while those between the ages of 3 and 10
eat for 70 cent per each year of age.
restaurant has a maximum capacity for 124 customers, but is being set up
to seat 100 comfortably, said Dung Chu, one of the owners.
don’t want our customers to feel too clustered,” he said. “We want
to emphasize a friendly, home-like ambiance and atmosphere for our
addition to booth and table seating, the restaurant features a banquet
restaurant will open with a staff of nearly 15 employees. Waitresses
will great customers, seat them, take their drink orders and explain the
buffet-style dining or take their orders from the menu.
he frequented the area for fishing and when he saw the new center going
up “I knew this was the place” for the business.
area is growing and the locals are looking for something new,” Chu
said. “We jus want to serve the community and have a fun time. We’re
looking to stay in for the long haul.”
Jeff Palm in late 2005 shortly after being selected as chief of the Foothill Fire Protection District.
Former Foothill chief ponders run for board
By Nick Baptista
Former Foothill Fire Chief Jeff Palm’s 18-year affiliation as a
local volunteer firefighter came to an end Sunday. However, although
Palm has turned in his gear, he plans to stay involved on the local
firefighting scene and is contemplating a run for the Foothill Fire
Protection District Board of Directors.
Palm, who was demoted a year ago to assistant chief after he
refused the board’s request to terminate a firefighter without cause,
said his tenure with the department came to an end earlier this month
when he was terminated by his successor, interim Fire Chief Richard
Palm said Schuller cited insubordination as the reason for
termination. Palm said it was a case of poor communications between the
“From the get-go we started off on the wrong foot,” Palm
said. “Communications was very slim between the two of us.”
In Schuller’s termination letter to Palm, he says, “ I feel
it would be unfair armed with all these negative actions on your part,
to allow you to stay in the position of Battalion Chief and possibly
disrupt the incoming Fire Chief.”
Mike Siligo earlier this month was appointed by the Foothill
board to assume the chief’s position on May 1.
Palm said his frustration with the district and board dates back
to the March 20, 2006, firing of Drew Utterback as assistant chief.
“I lost all trust and faith in the board after Drew’s
termination,” he said. “The fire chief, according to our policies
and procedures, is supposed to be involved in all operations of the
district. I had not part in Drew’s termination.”
Palm said he was invited to Foothill Board President Gary
West’s house one day, told he was doing a good job and then as he was
about to leave, he was told to terminate Utterback.
Palm criticized the board for being a collection of “good, old
boys” who are not very progressive.
“It doesn’t take three years to put up a fire house,” he
said, “and where is the strategic plan? We’ve heard them say
they’re ‘moving forward’ so many times, but no one has seen any
Following Utterback’s firing, the district’s volunteer roll
dwindled down to four qualified firefighters, Palm said, and although
the ranks have increased to nearly 20, most are not up to CalFire
“The fire district receives public money and the public
deserves the best service for that money,” Palm said.
“I want to stay involved in any way I can with local
firefighting efforts and if that means running for a board position I
will do that. We could be one of the safest places around
firefighting-wise if we would get progressive about it.”
The five-member fire board will have four openings. The filing
period begins July 16 and if more than four candidates file, the
election will be held Nov. 6.
Artist Kathy Laughlin has prepared this sketch of what the proposed Veterans Memorial Community Center in Valley Springs could look like upon completion.
Voters face special tax, district elections
By Nick Baptista
West Calaveras voters have special district board elections and a
special tax measure on the horizon.
The Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District Board of Directors has
decided to go to the polls again to ask voters for approval of a special
tax to fund construction of a new community center. A similar measure
failed two years ago.
The special tax proposal, Measure C, will appear on the Nov. 6
ballot. In addition, races for seats on the Foothill and Jenny Lind fire
protection district boards could appear on the ballot.
Nominations for those board seats open July 16 and close Aug. 10
if all the incumbents file to run. If not, the nominations for anyone
other than the incumbents will be extended to Aug. 15.
Those races will reach the ballot if there are more nominees than
The race for four seats on the Valley Springs Public Utility
District will begin earlier since that district will conduct a mail-in
election. The mail-in election ends Aug. 28.
Potential candidates for the PUD election file between May 7 and
June 1. The PUD terms for Lucille Allee, Connie Gleason, Rob Robertson
and William Whitaker are coming to an end. Two of those terms will be
for two years and the other two will be for four year.
Bill McFall is the lone member of the PUD board not up for
election. His term ends in 2009.
The Foothill Fire Protection District board faces similar
circumstances with four seats up for election. The terms of Ed Anderson,
Wayne Fry, Ken Glissman and Ron Spradlin, all appointed to the board,
are due to expire. Gary West’s term does not end until 2009.
The Foothill election will also be with staggered terms of two and four years.
Voters and District 1 and part of District 5 – containing the
communities of Burson, Jenny Lind, Valley Springs and Wallace – will
be asked to approve a tax of $20 a year on only improved property for
the community center proposal. The
proposed special tax would be for a 10-year period, ending in fiscal
The existing building dates back to the early 1960s and is too
small to meet the communities’ needs, according to Measure C
Board member Andy Ballantyne said the new community center - by
law - must be completed within two years after voter approval.
“We expect to start and complete it long before that,” he
The proposed community center, to be located near the existing
hall, will be three times as large. The current hall will be removed and
become an enlarged, paved parking area.
The new community center is projected to cost approximately $1.4
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Allen
Prestigious Army honor for son of Valley Springs couple
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Allen, a 1990 graduate of
Calaveras High School, was one of only five recent inductees into the
U.S. Army’s prestigious Sgt. Audie Murphy Club.
Brandon is the son of Jeff and Tami Allen of Valley Springs.
Murphy is considered the greatest combat soldier in the history
of the United States. Murphy spent some 400 days on the front lines
during World War II and earned 33 military awards, citations and
decorations, including every medal for valor the U.S. offers. He also
earned a battlefield commission for his courage and leadership ability.
Following the war, Murphy became a movie actor, starring in 39
films including “To Hell and Back,” adapted from the best selling
book of his war experiences.
Allen, who has been in the army for 17 years, is a Chinese
linguist in the military intelligence field. He has served in Alaska,
Hawaii, the North Pole and South Korea during his military career. He is
awaiting orders for Afghanistan or Iraq, his mother reported.
Allen went through numerous testing and review panels during the
selection process. The review process covered all facets of the military
and tested his leadership abilities.
His father attended the March 23 inductee ceremony at Fort
Huachuca in Arizona.
Allen and his wife Kimberly, also a 1990 graduate of Calaveras
High School, live in San Angelo, Texas, with their nine-year-old
He earned his bachelor’s degree while serving in the army and
is pursuing a master’s degree.
Mike Siligo brings his expertise as an Oakland firefighter and Jenny Lind fire chief to Foothill's volunteer department.
Foothill board hires Siligo as new chief
A familiar face is assuming the leadership reins at Foothill Fire
Former Jenny Lind Fire Chief Mike Siligo has been appointed the
new chief for Foothill.
The appointment was announced following a closed session at
Wednesday night’s meeting of the Foothill Fire Protection District
Board of Directors. Board President Gary West announced Siligo’s
selection to run the department was unanimous.
Siligo will replace Richard Schuller who was hired on an interim
basis last September.
Siligo will assume the chief’s badge for the volunteer fire
department on May 1 and Schuller is expected to remain on board for
another month to help with the transition.
“Rich will bring me up to speed on the current issues within
the department,” Siligo said. “I really appreciate that.”
Siligo has been a Valley Springs area resident since 1996.
He had a 28-year career with the Oakland Fire Department and was
Jenny Lind’s fire chief from 1997 to early 2001.
Siligo attributed his interest in becoming a firefighter to an
uncle who was in the Oakland Fire Department. When Siligo got out of the
service in 1970, his uncle suggested he take the firefighter exam and he
Shortly after his move to Valley Springs, Siligo joined Jenny
Lind as a volunteer. For about a two-year period before his retirement
from Oakland, he served both fire protection entities.
Siligo said Foothill has a bright future and he is pleased to be
a part of it. He said growth in the area is inevitable and the community
needs to prepare it public services to handle the expansion.
With his professional background, and a team effort by the board
and volunteers, Foothill can meet the challenge, he added.
The new chief said he is impressed with the make-up of the board
and their attitude and plans to move the district forward.
He also thanked Schuller for the excellent job he did in the
short time he was here.
“He did an outstanding job with some difficult situations and
turned them into positive results,” Siligo said.
Firefighter safety is Siligo’s No. 1 priority for the
department. Forming the department into a close team and family is
The transition of getting the new Burson station up and running
is another high priority, he added.
Having a new station will help protect much of the district’s
equipment and it will be nice to have an office facility to complete
many of the administrative tasks adequately, he said.
He will also spend time familiarizing himself with his 18
volunteers, the department’s resources, record-keeping practices and
review current policy and procedures.
Improving the public’s perception of the department is another
priority. Foothill firefighters soon will be receiving new uniforms to
help along those lines, he said.
And if the budget permits, Siligo would like to hire one or two
part-time firefighters to help during peak coverage times.
Once a proponent of consolidating Foothill and Jenny Lind, Siligo
said the situation has improved dramatically at Foothill since he made
Consolidation was a possible solution to Foothill’s problems at
the time, he said.
Although he is not against consolidation if it benefits the
community, Siligo said Foothill is not at that point any longer.
“I’m coming in to run Foothill as the Foothill Fire
Protection District,” he added.
Although details of the contract still need to be finalized, it
is expected that Siligo will receive a monthly stipend of $1,500, the
same as Schuller, and his work schedule will be in the neighborhood of
80 hours a month.
Truck mounted adult mosquito fogging will occur when high trap count numbers or positive West Nile virus mosquito infections warrant an immediate reduction of adult mosquitoes.
County begins measures to control mosquito breeding
Calaveras County Environmental Health’s Mosquito and Vector Control program staff has begun surveying areas within the county for purposes of determining early spring and summer mosquito breeding habitat.
Such assessment may result in the chemical treatment of water
bodies to help curtail the development of mosquitoes. If water bodies
are to be treated, all applications will be done in accordance with
state law. Chemical
applications are not to include aerial applications. Treatment of water
bodies on private lands will only be done with the knowledge and consent
of the property owner.
Mosquito and Vector Control staff has begun to trap and identify
adult mosquitoes for purposes of determining population densities,
existence of breeding habitat, and West Nile virus testing. Truck
mounted adult mosquito fogging will occur when high trap count numbers
or positive West Nile virus mosquito infections warrant an immediate
reduction of adult mosquitoes.
With warmer weather on the horizon residents are encouraged by
Mosquito and Vector Control staff to do their part to reduce the risk of
West Nile virus and other diseases by routinely inspecting their
property and removing standing water where mosquitoes develop.
Staff recommends the following items be inspected: old tires,
containers including buckets, wheelbarrows, boats, canoes, flower pots,
wagons and toys. Clogged rain gutters, neglected swimming pools, hot
tubs, stagnant creek beds, drainages and ornamental ponds can be also be
The staff encourages the public to call for options available in
eliminating mosquito development in these situations. With spring
already upon us, many sites have begun breeding mosquitoes. Even though
it has been a dryer than normal winter, small water bodies can and will
produce high quantities of mosquito populations earlier than normal.
Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by
taking these precautions:
insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET when outdoors,
according to label instructions.
spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk,
and especially for the first two hours after sunset.
outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective
mosquitoes from your home with tight fitting screens on doors and
all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito
your veterinarian for information on vaccinating equine against WNV.
significant mosquito infestations and breeding sites to the County of
Calaveras Mosquito and Vector Control Program at 209-754-6383 or by
logging on to www.ccvector.com.
Practicing for Friday’s Stitchers For Hope Bunco Tournament to raise funds from the American Cancer Society are, from left, Andy Macias, Debbie Anderson, Bob Belmont, Laurie Hemmes and Jeannene White.
begin Relay For Life fundraising effort
Fundraising efforts by the
Stitchers For Hope begin last week for the American Cancer Society’s
upcoming Relay For Life.
The Stitchers on Saturday painted the town purple to bring
awareness to the Relay For Life event, which is set for April 28 and 29
in Angels Camp. In addition, the Stitchers held a bake sale and quilt
raffle Saturday at Mar-Val.
On Friday the Stitchers will host their first-ever Bunco
Tournament. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the tournament. It will be in
the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial Hall at 189 Pine St. in Valley Springs.
The format is individual play and the cost is $25 per person.
Players must be 21 or older and there is a limit of 100 players. Tickets
can be obtained by calling Belmont Family Quilts at (209) 772-2686, or
emailing Debbie Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event includes cash prizes.
Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District board member Hugo Scotto points to some of the malicious defacing that took place this past weekend at the park's gazebo.
Park district "gem" defaced by vandals
By Nick Baptista
One of Valley Springs’ landmarks was vandalized over the
The generally serene setting of the gazebo area at Jenny Lind
Veterans Memorial District Park was disrupted sometime between Saturday
night and Sunday morning with a senseless act of vandalism. Two sides of
railing in the gazebo were torn out, wiring for lighting inside the
structure was ripped out and graffiti was etched on what was left of the
The mutilation of the public facility came within several days of
a security fence being completed to protect the structure.
Hugo Scotto, one of the district’s directors, said the latest
act of vandalism was “very frustrating. They did just about everything
they could before this area was fenced.”
Scotto said the district spends tens of thousands of dollar a
year repairing vandalism at the park and that motivated the board to
expend $28,000 to construct the security fence around the gazebo and
Crews were expected to have the fence installed later this week.
In addition, the district plans to spend additional funds to
install time locks in the restrooms, he said. Vandals are constantly
targeting the restrooms.
The gazebo was constructed about 30 years ago and has been one of
the park’s gems, Scotto said.
“We’ll do everything we can to preserve it,” he added.