Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Mic Gillette, second from the left, and his band - MGB - got the crowd hopping at the first-ever Valley Springs Jazz Festival.
Jazz Festival looks forward to next year
The inaugural Valley Springs Jazz Festival did not make a
fortune, but it was an entertainment success and provided the foundation
for a great event next year, according to one of its organizers.
Dave Tanner said he expects jazz fest held April 25 at The
Terrace Plaza to break even financially and work is already under way to
improve and repeat the event next year.
Organizers held a brainstorming session last week to go over
details of the jazz fest and start planning for next year. Tanner
anticipates they will meet once a month for the next few months.
One of the items to consider will be whether to switch the
festival's date or pair up with another event - such as the fireworks at
New Hogan, Tanner said.
"There always seems to be something going on in Calaveras
County and we have to work around the musician's schedules," Tanner
The past weekend's jazz festival was held while the Relay for
Life was going on in Angels Camp, the Air Fair was under way at the
Calaveras County Airport and the Literacy Fiesta was held at Valley
Springs Elementary School.
"For just three months of planning we did as good as we
could," Tanner added. "We had a good group organizing the
event. They put in a lot of time and effort to this."
Vendors’ tents in the middle of The Terrace parking lot
surrounded the stage and tent.
"The vendors’ comments were all good - they got a lot of
exposure and sold well," Tanner said.
The event also gave additional exposure to The Terrace and its
tenants, he added.
Mic Gillette of Tower of Power fame was the event's master of
ceremonies and he is committed to coming back and doing it again, Tanner
said. Gillette used the occasion to announce that he was returning to
perform with Tower of Power.
“The music was great - nobody had any complaints,” Tanner
said. “I received comments from many that it was the best
entertainment bargain around.”
In addition to the Mic Gillette Band, the
day of music included bands from Columbia College, Delta College,
University of the Pacific and the Mario Flores Latin Jazz Band.
Valley Springs Postmaster Dann Myers and Sales Services Associates Janet Miller, center, and Patricia Mendence remind the public that postage rates increase Monday, May 11, including a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp to 44 cents, so it is a good time to buy the “Forever Stamp” for 42 cents to ease into the price increase.
customers to see rate hike starting May 11
Valley Springs Postmaster Dann Myers is gearing up for new
postage prices that will go into effect Monday, May 11.
The local post office was running low on the “Forever Stamp”
at the beginning of last week, which prompted the postmaster to make an
emergency order of the popular stamp.
“We’ll be restocked in a day or two and we’ll have plenty
of 2-cent stamps,” he said.
The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service earlier this year
approved new prices for mailing services, including the 2-cent increase
in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp from 42 to 44 cents.
Postal customers can continue to mail letters at today’s prices
by purchasing the Forever Stamp before May 11. Forever Stamps were
developed to help consumers ease the transition during price changes.
Forever Stamps do not have a denomination and will be honored
whenever they are used with no need for additional postage for a
one-ounce letter mailing. However, on May 11 the price of the Forever
Stamp will be 44 cents.
The U.S. Postal Service attributes the postage increases to
rising operational costs and the increase tracks the 2008 rate of
“The Postal Service is not immune to rising costs, which are
affecting homes and businesses across America today,” said Postmaster
General John Potter. “Even with the increases, the Postal Service
continues to offer some of the lowest postage prices in the world.”
For the average household, the First-Class Mail stamp price
change will represent an additional $3 over the course of the year. For
First-Class Mail there will be no changes in the current additional
ounce price, which remains at 17 cents.
“Whether you’re a consumer or run a business, the Postal
Service continues to offer a good deal during a time when we’re all
looking for ways to save,” said Stephen M. Kearney, senior vice
president for customer relations. “Our range of shipping and mailing
options and low prices make the Postal Service the smart and easy
The Postal Service has taken steps in recent years to adapt
products and services to meet changing economic realities and the ways
businesses operate and consumers live today. In Post Offices across the
country and through usps.com,
the Postal Service offers businesses and consumers easier access,
quicker transactions, greater convenience and on-time delivery. The
Postal Service set record on-time delivery scores for the delivery of
First-Class Mail in 2008 and was voted by consumers as the most trusted
government agency for the fifth consecutive year.
A list of all new postal prices is available at usps.com/prices.
Sheriff Dennis Downum is not sure whether his department will return to the former substation in the Valley Oaks Center, but federal funds have been made available to re-open a substation operation in the Valley Springs area.
may re-open with help coming from Uncle Sam's pocketbook
It’s likely Valley Springs once again will have a sheriff’s
A lean 2009-10 budget forced Calaveras County Sheriff Dennis
Downum to close the Valley Springs Sheriff’s Substation last July, but
a resumption of federal funds intended for community-based law
enforcement has the sheriff working toward re-opening a substation to
serve the community.
“I think it’s absolutely going to happen,” Downum said
Monday morning when asked what was the likelihood of funding in the next
budget cycle to re-open a substation in the area.
Downum said his department would receive $35,000 from the Byrne Justice Assistance Program, which for the past few years had been relatively dormant.
“It’s a replacement of dollars we use to get from the federal
government and they’re re-funding it like it use to be,” Downum
The federal government cut back funding considerably during the
Bush years, the sheriff said, but he did not know for sure whether the
influx of funding could be attributed to the recent Stimulus package
passed by Congress.
There are limitations on the funding, such as it unfortunately
cannot be used to hire or retain personnel, but rent and utilities for a
substation are a “good fit,” he added.
The department’s previous Valley Springs substation was located
on the Highway 26 side of the Valley Oaks Center.
It’s too soon to say whether the department would re-open the
substation at that site or elsewhere, Downum said. Back in November he
told an audience at a Valley Springs Area Business Association luncheon
that the department would be open to using donated space for a
With re-establishment of the federal funding, the department
could consider paying rent, “but we’re not anxious to spend a
lot,” he said.
The sheriff and his staff are actively exploring other opportunities to receive federal funds.
Undersheriff Mike Walker and Capt. Clay Hawkins recently met with
lawmakers in Washington, D.C., in an effort to obtain funds for a new
microwave communications system.
“We’re trying to get every dime we can,” Downum said.
Saturday's Jazz Festival to provide free parking, shuttle
Access in and out of Saturday’s jazz festival in Valley Springs
will feature a free shuttle service and free parking.
The Jazz Shuttle will travel throughout the greater Valley
Springs area. A map detailing the Jazz Shuttle’s pick up locations and
free parking spots appear to the right.
The first annual Valley Springs Jazz Festival is a daylong
celebration of music, food, wine and fine art. It is sponsored by the
Valley Springs Boosters and proceeds will benefit the Calaveras and Bret
Harte high school bands and the Calaveras Arts Council.
The Terrace Center in Valley Springs, located at the intersection
of Highway 26 and Vista Del Lago, is the venue for this year's festival.
Tickets are still available for the 11-hour event, which begins
at 10 a.m. with the Modesto Junior College Big Band and concludes from 7
to 9 p.m. with the sounds of the Mario Flores Latin Jazz Band. Others
performing throughout the day are the Delta College Monday Night Band,
Delta College Big Band, the UOP Big Band, UOP Combo, UOP Dave Bruebeck
Fellowship, MGB and the Columbia College Big Band.
Described as “hot-blooded, exuberant, sensual, and
intoxicating”, the Modesto-born Flores is a gifted “conguero”, or
conga player, who grew up listening to Woody Herman and Count Basie, as
well as Tito Puente and Cal Tjader.
Mic Gillette, legendary leader of the Tower of Power Horn
Section, is the event’s Master of Ceremonies and his band, MGB, will
perform from 4:35 to 5:20 p.m.
There are two ticket levels:
General admission tickets to the event are $25 per person, and
include full access to the festival and the music, but does not include
access to the Reserve Seating area. Reserve seating tickets are $30 and
include full access to the festival as well as access to the reserve
Tickets are available at the door, or advanced tickets may be
purchased by telephone, online, at most Calaveras branches of Umpqua
Bank, or at the Health Habit at The Terrace in Valley Springs. For more
information and advanced ticket sales, call 754-0127, or visit
Valley Springs will welcome an assortment of Mountain Men and Native American dancers at the 35th annual Snyder's Pow Wow set for May 1 to 3.
Snyder's Pow Wow returns for 35th year
The popular Snyder’s Pow Wow is two weeks away.
Valley Springs’ largest event of the year – drawing thousands
of visitors and more than 200 vendors – will mark its 35th
anniversary during this year’s run from May 1 to 3.
John and Betty Snyder began welcoming rock enthusiasts back in
1974 when a local group heard of the moss and opal agate, jasper and
serpentine to be found out back of their 1,000-acre ranch.
When John passed away last year many wondered whether the Pow Wow
was done. The answer is no.
Since day one of this gathering, the success has been not only
due to the entire Snyder family, but also to the dozens of friends who
volunteer to do anything needed to keep the three-day event running
Two of those volunteers are Diana Gigliotti and Jeannene White
who love the Pow Wow and the Snyder family so much they have stepped up
to continue running the family orientated event.
The Pow Wow site at the Snyder Ranch off Paloma Road is expected
to attract 25,000 visitors during the three-day run.
The visitors love to walk the aisles admiring the wide variety of
edible treasures. They feast on Indian Fry Bread, sample several pieces
of the best homemade pies and then head to the red barn at dinnertime
for the Friday and Saturday night barbecues.
Another old-time favorite is the Wednesday night chili cookoff.
Locals bring out their best dish to try for the trophy and title of
crowd favorite. The public can bring a bowl and $5 and try all of the
Entertainment at the Pow Wow includes Native American dancing,
Mountain Men demonstrations, remote control airplanes and antique steam
Friday is one of the best days when busloads of children come
from schools in several counties to share Children’s Day at the Pow
Wow. Students split up to take part in gem and mineral clubs’
educational games and check out all of the unique places of interest
designed just for young people to learn about dinosaur bones, fossils
and petrified wood. The vendors love to share their stories and
expertise with those willing to listen.
Sunday morning features an 8 a.m. nondenominational church
service at the old red barn. The public can sing favorite hymns with a
trio of folks called “The Promise Singers.”
The "Shop. Stay & Platy in Calaveras County sign donated by Rogers Media is visible to westbound Highway 12 motorists.
Billboard firm offers olive branch to critics
The billboard company that drew the wrath of the area business
association has made a gesture to help Calaveras County merchants.
Rogers Media in February erected a billboard along a stretch of
Highway 12 between Burson and Valley Springs advertising the Black Oak
Casino in neighboring Tuolumne County. Several weeks ago the company
placed a sign on the opposite side with the image of a jumping frog and
saying “Shop, Stay & Play in Calaveras County.
“We want to be a positive part of the community,” said Matt
Rogers, president and CEO of Rogers Media out of Davis, Calif.
The Calaveras sign will remain up for at least a year and is
being provided at no charge by Rogers Media.
“It’s along the lines of what we said at the hearings (before
the county Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors) that the signs
would be available for local businesses,” Rogers said.
The idea of the “Shop, Stay & Play” sign was developed by
Rogers Media without local input.
“We felt the best way was just to go and do it,” Rogers
added. “We thought it would be a positive message, address the needs
of all constituencies and touch as many businesses as possible.”
The Valley Springs Area Business Association opposed Rogers
Media’s original proposal, which called for three signs on the
Foothill Sanitary property located about a mile west of downtown Valley
Rogers is still silent on whether he will pursue threatened
litigation to build the other two signs.
“I still don’t know whether we’re going to go down that
road,” he said. “We’re trying to be good neighbors.”
The Board of Supervisors on a 3-2 vote allowed Rogers Media one
sign on the location for a five-year period as work on the General Plan
is completed. At the end of five years, Rogers Media will have to
re-apply for a conditional use permit to keep the sign up.
Rogers objected to the vote saying it was not worth the
investment in a new sign for only a five-year period and called the
board’s action a de facto denial of his project. He left the Sept. 23,
2008, board meeting threatening to sue the county and seeking
court-approval for all three signs.
Marti Crane, left, and K.C. Cooper-Pipes will lip-sync to a popular Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz routine from “I Love Lucy” at this year’s Calaveras Follies.
Follies ready for an entertaining evening
Calaveras County proves once again that “community” is far
more powerful than “economy” as the fifth annual Calaveras Follies
heats up with its greatest community participation ever.
The gala event is coming up Saturday, April 18, at Frogtown to
raise funds for the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program. Tickets are on
sale now by calling (209) 536-6302 and will also be available the night
of the event.
Frogtown's Mark Twain Hall will sparkle with a perfect blend
of elegance and frivolity, as revelers arrive adorned in their most
festive attire. Partygoers may arrive as early as 6 p.m. this year to
indulge themselves with culinary treats, including the ever-popular and
abundant shrimp cocktail and other delicious surprises. The 2009
culinary team features talented local food artists Paula Schwartz,
Jennifer Wren, Lila and Sage, and Aria Bakery, coordinated by Jane
Also new this year, the 2009 Follies will feature a full array of
local wines and other beverages. The Friends of the Calaveras County
Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee will provide three stations at which
thirsty patrons may procure liquid refreshment. One station will be open
solely for the purchase of mixed drinks, to help the guest lines move
more efficiently. The other stations will offer a selection of local
wines, beer, and soda. In addition, for the first time champagne will be
available for purchase by the bottle.
Follies volunteers will circulate selling commemorative wine
glasses, and order forms for DVDs of the show will be available as well.
As always, water and coffee (this year, Starbucks coffee) will be free
of charge, but donations are gratefully accepted.
Parking also is included in the ticket price, with valet parking
available for a nominal fee of $5.
The “Big Show” begins at 7:30 p.m., during which everyone
cheers wildly to support their friends and neighbors on stage. County
Superintendent of Schools John Brophy will return as master of
ceremonies. The 2009 Calaveras Follies will feature up to 20 acts and
include more than 40 celebrity performers - some familiar faces and many
brave new acts who are showcasing their talents for the first time.
“These hams just can’t be cured,” joked director Terri
Wilson. “It’s hard to believe that a lip-synched show could become
this creative and competitive, but this year’s acts are even more
ambitious than ever. And it’s all for the audience, who will have
quite a challenge choosing the 2009 Frog Oscar winner!”
Before the show and during intermission, patrons can purchase
tickets for the Elegant Follies Raffle, to which more than 24 businesses
and individuals have contributed this year. Raffle Coordinator Roxanne
Aquiline and her team gathered golf trips, rafting adventures, gorgeous
art and jewelry, fine wines and luxurious bed & breakfast packages
into enticing themed baskets worth more than $500 each. Follies fans
look forward to choosing which beautiful baskets to stuff with tickets,
because tickets are sold only to attendees and can be used for any prize
basket desired, so the chances of winning are the best around. Tickets
are value-priced at $10 each, seven for $50 and 15 for $100.
Tickets are still only $50 per person and are available by
calling the new Follies ticket line at 536-6302 (VISA and MasterCard are
accepted). Guests are encouraged to dress up for this occasion and cheer
loudly for the brave performers. Tickets will also be available at the
door; sponsors and early ticket buyers sit closest to the stage. For
more information and photos of previous years, visit online at www.calaverasfollies.com.
Improvements to La Contenta’s clubhouse are visible from the golf course, including the addition of a new patio dining area and the enlarged banquet facility, to the right, which will have a panoramic view of the course. The outdoor portion of the event center and gazebo will be at the far right.
La Contenta remodel to be completed soon
Reconstruction and expansion of the clubhouse and an event center
at La Contenta Golf Club is in high gear with completion anticipated
before the end of this month.
“We are almost to the finish work and weather dependant,
looking forward to completion very, very soon.” said La Contenta
General Partner Ryan Voorhees, and this project is “meeting and
exceeding all our expectations.”
The clubhouse will exceed 9,000 square feet and long-time La
Contenta patrons will notice considerable changes in the dining area,
the cocktail lounge, restrooms, entryway and banquet area.
The banquet area has more than doubled in size, expanding out to
what had been the old golf shop and now has a panoramic view of the golf
course. It can comfortably accommodate 300 people.
La Contenta’s busy entry way has been remodeled as a grand
entrance leading to either the dining area or the expanded cocktail
lounge, which will be surrounded by big screen televisions, said Dave
Tanner of Tanner Consulting, and the area’s are now separated by walls
to help keep the noise level confined to each room. In addition, patio
dining has been added to the clubhouse.
The event center is a link between the enlarged indoor banquet
facility and an outdoor area next to it to include a 14-foot gazebo with
seating for approximately 200 people, Tanner said. The event center will
add a new dimension for the Valley Springs area by providing a much
larger venue for community activities.
Leslie Walters has been hired as Special Events Director to
facilitate all bookings such as weddings, private social functions,
community gatherings, monthly clubhouse dinners, and holiday parties.
“This facility is not only one the La Contenta members will be
proud of, but one everyone will take great pride in,” she said.
Walters is already accepting reservations for Christmas parties,
weddings, company socials and banquets for the new facility. She can be
contacted at (209) 304-3414. She also foresees the facility attracting a
number of the area’s community organizations for their regular
Marty Davis, La Contenta’s director of golf, said the
remodeling and expansion mean more dinner offerings in the future. He
said they are looking at offering a weeknight family-style buffet and
resuming their popular Friday night dinners.
When the work is completed, Davis said La Contenta would have a
“soft opening” with a major “grand opening” planned for June or
Free-lance journalist Sal Manna with his original 1982 article that led to him co-writing "The King of Sting."
"King of Sting" goes Hollywood
Producer buys movie rights to book co-authored by Burson man
Crime may not pay, but Burson author and historian Sal Manna
hopes crime writing does.
Hollywood called last week and purchased the movie rights to
“The King of Sting,” a story about modern American outlaw Craig
Glazer. Manna co-authored the book with Glazer and it was published last
Producer Eric Eisner, the son of former Disney executive Michael
Eisner, outbid several other moviemakers for the book’s film rights.
“The King of Sting” centers on the criminal exploits of
Glazer and his partner and best friend Don Woodbeck. Manna met the pair
back in 1982 as a free-lance journalist while writing a cover story for
the Los Angeles Reader. Glazer and Woodbeck had ambitions at that time
of bring their story to the silver screen.
Glazer and Woodbeck’s life of crime centered on the pair posing
as undercover cops and conducting drug stings, pocketing the money and
drugs netted from their illegal operations. Glazer became so good at
what he did, the Kansas State Attorney General hired him as an
However, the life of crime was too alluring and Woodbeck was
killed in an attempt to land another score and Glazer ended up in prison
for 4 ½ years.
“Little did I know at the time that their exploits – the
highs and the lows - would continue,” Manna said.
Manna eventually lost touch with Glazer. Then three years ago,
the ex-con traced Manna to his new residence in Burson and said it was
time to write the book. Glazer chose Manna to co-author the book because
as a journalist, Manna had covered their story the longest.
Although selling the film option is exciting, a big financial
reward will not be realized until the project reaches the actual filming
stage, Manna said.
“The big payoff is on the first day of principal photography.
Until then it is still a crap shoot,” Manna said.
Many options are never exercised, but Eisner seems to have a keen
interest in pursuing the project as an eventual movie, Manna added.
“He has a limited number of projects and he’s passionate
about what he picks,” Manna said. Eisner “even flew out to Kansas
City in the middle of winter to convince Craig to go with him. They
spent a couple of days hanging out and Craig could tell Eisner had read
the book. That was a good sign of Eisner’s interest.”
"When you read the story, you almost can't believe the stuff
they were able to pull," Eisner was quoted in a March 26 article by
Steven Zeitchik in The Hollywood Reporter.
According to Zeitchik, Eisner is behind the long-running ESPN
show "Madden Nation" and produced the 2008 Sundance hit
"Hamlet 2." He is developing an English-language reboot of
Bertrand Tavernier's French thriller "The Bait" and, with
veteran producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, a Jerry Garcia biopic.
It’s out of Glazer and Manna’s hands now, but they believe
Eisner is the best producer for the project.
“We hope to see Craig’s story made into a movie and a good
movie made at that. That’s the goal,” Manna said.
He hopes a movie stays close to the book.
“You don’t see many real life, true crime movies these
days,” (such as “The French Connection”), Manna said. “We’re
hoping they may be coming back.”
Glazer and Manna are represented by Creative Artists, the biggest
agency in Hollywood, and the agency told the authors that last week’s
announcement created a lot of buzz among Hollywood insiders who might
want to be associated with the project.
The next step in the process generally is to hire the
screenwriters and select a director, Manna added, and if the project
passes the initial hurdles and defies the odds, it could be a motion
picture in as soon as three years.
Manna, whose popular column “Something From Nothing” appears
monthly in The Valley Springs News, said there is more to Glazer’s
exploits and they hope the material can be used for another book and a
possible movie sequel.