Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Ex-chief, 3 of 4 incumbents win seats on Foothill board
By Nick Baptista
Three of the four appointed incumbents running for election to
the Foothill Fire Protection District Board of Directors were retained
by voters last Tuesday, according to unofficial results released by the
county elections department, but the one challenger to win a board seat
is the ex-fire chief who has had a stormy relationship with several of
the board members.
In other special district races decided Tuesday, challenger Phil
McCartney defeated incumbent Charlie Hebrard for the Division 1 seat on
the Calaveras County Water District board, CCWD Division 5 Director Jeff
Davidson won re-election over challenger Carol Barzee, and all four
incumbents running for seats on the Valley Springs Public Utility
District board were retained by the voters.
Ed Anderson finished first in the race for three four-year seats
on the Foothill board with 500 votes. Former Fire Chief Jeff Palm
finished second with 469 and Ken Glissman won the final seat with 456
Anderson and Glissman were on the board when Palm was demoted to
assistant fire chief.
“I believe the voters saw I’ve hung in there for the good of
the district,” Palm said after the election. “This in not for
payback. I really care for this district and want it to get on a
progressive path forward. I will bring a different point of view to the
board and my overall objective is to have a safer community and a more
respected fire district.”
Jon Rolland attracted 451 votes, appointed incumbent Robert W.
Fry finished with 359, Sharon Floyd captured 347 votes and Jerry A.
Smith had 104.
Incumbent Ron Spradlin finished with a high of 541 votes in the
two-person race with Steve L. Gleason for a two-year term on the
Foothill board. Gleason, another former Foothill chief garnered 453
Measure E for the Foothill Fire Protection District passed with
88 percent of the vote.
McCartney captured 59 percent of the vote in the CCWD race, while
Davidson finished with 57 percent.
Incumbents Andy Whitaker with 55 votes and Lucille Allee with 44
won four-year terms on the VSPUD board, while incumbents Rob Robertson
with 49 and Connie Gleason with 42 won the two two-year seats up for
election. Mal Ponte finished with 23 votes in the four-year race, while
Tony Glenn had 21 votes and Mary De Witt had 15 in the two-year race.
The mail-in ballot procedure for the special district races in 16
precincts attracted a 32.76 percent turnout.
Busy ABA week
Springs Area Business Association and its members had a busy social
calendar this month with an Aug. 15 luncheon and an Aug. 17
mixer-dinner. East Bay Municipal Utility District Ranger Steve Diers
talked about the recreational activities going on at EBMUD’s Camanche
and Pardee reservoirs, including work on the Mokelumne Coast to Crest
Trail and volunteer opportunities. Liz, left in photo at left, and Phil
Weaver, seated, were the hosts for the Friday evening mixer at Sheng Chi
Kung Fu. The gathering attracted a large crowd to the martial arts
studio and included a barbecue dinner. The ABA’s next activity is a
Sept. 19 luncheon at La Contenta Bar and Grill and Planning Commissioner
Steve Kearney will be the speaker. Reservations are requested and can be
made by calling Esther Taber at 786-2791.
Firefighter says he was dismissed for "political reasons"
By Nick Baptista
Another veteran volunteer of the Foothill Fire Protection
District has been dismissed for what he says are “political” reasons
on the eve of an election to select four of five members to the
district’s Board of Directors.
Lt. Clint Gleason, who has been with the district since 1998 and
is the son of one of the candidates challenging the four board
incumbents up for election, was dismissed Thursday evening minutes after
he returned to the station from a call to help with a 66-acre blaze off
Gold Strike Road in San Andreas.
The district has been embroiled in controversy since the firing
of Assistant Chief Drew Utterback in 2006 and at the same time the
demotion of then-chief Jeff Palm to the rank of assistant. Palm was
dismissed from the department earlier this year and is running for one
of the board seats.
Gleason said when he returned to the fire he was called into a
meeting with Chief Mike Siligo. Gleason
was handed a letter of dismissal and told to turn in his equipment.
Gleason said there was a brief discussion where he was told he was not a
“team player” for refusing to sign a recent letter to the editor
from volunteers supporting the board’s incumbents and there was there
was a “conflict of interest” since his father Steve Gleason, a
former chief of the department, one of the challengers.
Chief Siligo says no such discussion took place.
“He was dismissed because of his attitude,” Siligo said.
A portion of Gleason’s dismissal letter from Siligo says
“From day one of my appointment with this District I was aware of your
attitudes towards members of this District, including fellow
firefighters, staff personnel, and Board members that do not display a
parallel interest with your own.”
Later it says, “I have not seen that ability of desire in you
to help in making positive changes. The past is the past; don’t wait
for it to repeat itself. Your gamble that this District will return to
yesterday’s values is a risky bet.”
“I’ve been trying to stay out of all the politics, Clint
However, with his dismissal, Gleason accused the board and chief
of making several misrepresentations to the public about the department.
Gleason questioned a recent newsletter and flier released on the
eve of the election about the number of volunteers and Class B drivers
within the department. Although the department’s volunteer ranks have
swelled from less than 10 to 22 in just the past few months, he said,
the vast majority of the volunteers are very inexperienced. He added
that he knows of only four in the department who possess the Class B
licenses for operating the heavier rigs.
Chief Siligo said Gleason’s accusations were incorrect.
Gleason added that the department’s main engine to fight
structure fires had faulty brakes and the station being built in Burson
did not have exhaust defractors as required by law.
Siligo said the fire engine in question was completely safe to
operate and while Gleason is correct the Burson station does not have
exhaust defractors, they are not necessary because the building is not
connected to any living quarters.
“All fabrications,” Board member Ron Spradlin called
Gleason’s statements about the department. “I’m sorry he has to
approach it that way. He’s making the board and the administration
look bad. That’s unprofessional on his part.”
Gleason also said recent board actions to purchase new equipment and hire paid firefighters were politically motivated “to look good” going into the election.
Writer/journalist Sal Manna in front of the historic Late House with the new book he has co-authored.
Trio of authors release book on area's history
By Nick Baptista
Three local writers have collaborated to produce a new history
book concentrating on Calaveras County’s northern communities
including Burson, Camanche, Campo Seco, Jenny Lind, Mokelumne Hill,
Paloma, San Andreas, Valley Springs, Wallace and West Point.
“Northern Calaveras County” by Judith Marvin, Julia Costello
and Sal Manna is published by Arcadia Publishing in Mount Pleasant,
S.C., and is another edition in their popular Images of America series.
The book will be available Aug. 27 and all three authors will
participate in book-signing events planned Aug. 31 in Valley Springs and
Sept. 1 in Murphys.
The Valley Springs News is hosting the Aug. 31 book signing from
5 to 7 p.m. at its 10-G Nove Way office. The book sells for $19.99, but
can be obtained for free with a two-year subscription or renewal to The
Valley Springs News for $48.
The Sept. 1 book signing is from noon to 2 p.m. at Murphys Books
in the Sierra Hills Shopping Center on Highway 4.
“You’re probably not going to find a more authoritative book
on the area - not just now, but probably for decades,” said Manna, who
is president for the Society for the Preservation of West Calaveras
History, which he founded in 2006, and writer of the popular
“Something From Nothing: The Early History of West Calaveras County”
historical series published the first Wednesday of every month in The
Valley Springs News.
Marvin for many years was the curator and director of the
Calaveras County Museum and Archives, while Costello is an archaeologist
and an authority on cultural resource management of historic sites in
the western United States.
The book features approximately 200 photos from sources such as
the County Historical Society and private and personal collections,
including a cover photo out of the Burson-Jenny Lind area c.1900 of a
“You will have never seen this many photos of this area of the
county in one place,” Manna said, “and some of the photos will be
found no where else.”
All of the photos have been re-mastered to look as good as they
ever have or ever will.
“Sal chronicles the past of western Calaveras County and we
chronicle the present,” said The Valley Springs News co-owner Vip
Hale. “We have many of the same readers and we’re pleased to be able
to offer them a free copy of this historic book for the cost of a new
subscription or an extension.”
“Anyone who is interested in Native Americans, gold mines,
logging, ranching, farming, early family life and railroads will find
something of interest in the book,” Manna said.
“Residents, longtime or new, should be interested in this book
because it tells the story of where they live and no other book does
that,” Manna said, “and I hope they will also give it to friends and
family outside of this area to tell them about the place they live
Although primarily a book on the area’s history, the final
chapter also takes a look at the present and the area’s future, Manna
The book will be available through the authors and at area
bookstores and retailers.
The King Of Swing at the awards stage.
Valley Springs woman's horse wins world title
The King Of Swing, a Painted Horse owned by Virginia Abbott of Valley Springs, captured a world championship title at the 2007 World Championship Paint Horse Show.
The King Of Swing is a 5-year-old gelding. The horse captured the
championship in Junior Hunter Hack and was shown by Roger Deromedi.
Horses in the Junior Hunter Hack class were judged on their
ability to clear two small jumps and then were shown at the walk, trot
and canter to a panel of judges. The King Of Swing bested a field of 12
for the title. Winning a world championship means a particular horse and
rider are the best Paint Horse team in the world in a particular event.
The show was from June 24 to July 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. It is
the premier event of the American Paint Horse Association. The World
Championship Paint Horse Show is the largest gathering of Paint Horses
in the world. For two weeks, competitors and spectators witnessed nearly
2,000 horses competing in a total of 183 events that showcased the
talents of each horse and rider. Prizes and payouts totaled more than
Open competitors may be youth, amateurs, or professional
trainers, and they can compete on their own horses or horses owned by
APHA was founded 45 years ago and has since registered
nearly 1 million American Paint Horses. The association serves about
100,000 active members. APHA works not only to record Paint Horse
pedigrees, but also to preserve and promote the history, breeding,
training, racing, showing, sales and enjoyment of American Paint Horses.
Planning Commissioner Steve Kearney addresses the West Calaveras Rotary Club.
Planning commissioner: Public needs to get involved in the process
By Nick Baptista
First-year District 5 Planning Commissioner Steve Kearney would
like to see greater public participation in the planning process and
along those lines he hopes a move to have some Planning Commission
meetings in the evening will be well received by citizens.
Kearney, who was appointed to the Planning Commission at the
beginning of this year by Supervisor Russ Thomas, talked about his first
seven months on the panel at Thursday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of
“Sooner or later,” Kearney said, nearly every resident will
have an occasion to attend a Planning Commission meeting on an issue of
importance to them and the daytime meetings are inconvenient for the
average person who is working at that time.
The commission is planning to hold an evening meeting in September and Kearney said he hopes it is well attended.
The first-year commissioner said pressure groups are exerting
more and more influence at the Planning Commission level, but it is the
individual citizen’s input that he finds has the greatest impact on
the decision-making process.
The Valley Springs area is “on the verge of an explosion (in
development) and it has to be well thought out to avoid the explosion
from being destructive,” he said.
Calaveras County continues to be one of the fastest growing
counties in the state and Kearney cited Valley Springs’ closeness and
accessibility to major centers in the Central Valley and even the Bay
Area as the force behind additional, nearly unprecedented growth in the
The pressure of growth will change the factors that attracted
many to the area and further strain services – such as law enforcement
– and those concerns need to be addressed, he said.
The county has to consider services when approving new building,
especially the new 100-plus housing subdivisions, he said.
Those services include schools, sheriff’s protection and where
to get the water for those homes, he added, and the delivery of an
adequate supply of water to new homes and existing homes is becoming a
major concern that has to be looked at carefully.
The lack of a retail base in the county is also a concern.
Calaveras County residents are buying most of the necessities of
life elsewhere, such as shoes and clothing, since there is not a great
selection of those items here, he said.
“The other counties love us,” he added.
Jenny Line Fire unit sent to help fight Zaca blaze
Calaveras County firefighting units – including one engine and
four firefighters from the Jenny Lind Fire Protection District – have
been sent to assist with combating the Zaca Fire in Santa Barbara
Jenny Lind Fire Chief Brian Chavez-Ochoa said his district
received the call the past weekend and the Jenny Lind unit will be used
for structure protection.
In addition to Jenny Lind, units from Altaville-Melones,
Copperopolis, Murphys and Sonora were dispatched to the blaze, the chief
The fire started July 4 and remains in steep, rocky terrain with
poor access. The fire has burned nearly 70,000 acres and is threatening
453 homes and 62 other structures.
Much of the blaze has been in the Los Padres National Forest,
approximately 15 miles northeast of Buellton and an evacuation order is
in effect for several areas around the fire.
The chief said Jenny Lind likely would have a unit at the fire
until it is contained and that is not expected until Sept. 7. In the
meantime, crews will be swapped out on the weekends.
Foothill Fire Protection District Director Ed Anderson turns his back to the camera Tuesday afternoon at the Burson Post Office after being caught breaking federal regulations prohibiting campaigning activities at post offices.
Foothill candidate has run-in with the law
By Nick Baptista
Foothill Fire Protection District Director Ed Anderson ran afoul of
postal regulations Tuesday as he took his campaign to the entrance of the Burson
Anderson, who was appointed to Foothill’s Board of Directors in August
of 2005 to fill the remaining term of John Loverin, is seeking election to the
seat this month.
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 2:07 p.m.
Tuesday that Anderson was campaigning in front of the post office, in violation
of a section in the Postal Operations Manual, and refused to leave.
Deputy Deayrian Sanchez responded to the call. She confirmed a
citizen’s complaint had been lodged against Anderson. While the deputy was
asking Anderson to leave peacefully, he tried to hand her his campaign
literature and said she should take a moment to read it since her boss, Sheriff
Dennis Downum, was one of the people endorsing him.
Anderson became irate, claiming he was being harassed, when The Valley
Springs News began taking photos of the incident and he left the scene.
Anderson was warned he was in violation of the Postal Operations Manual
barring soliciting, passing out leaflets and electioneering on post office
Those rules, according to Northern California Postal Spokesperson Gus
Ruiz, are intended to keep the pathway to the post office clear so postal
customers can conduct their business without being stopped.
Anderson was asking those entering the post office whether they were
Federal regulations concerning “Conduct on Postal Property” specify
fines of not more than $50, or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both,
for those found guilty of violating the federal rules and regulations.
Ruiz said the Postal Service would not pursue the incident as a criminal
matter if Anderson would abide by the regulations and not return to the post
office for the purpose of campaigning.
Anderson is one of four appointed incumbents to the board seeking
election. The other incumbents are Ken Glissman, Wayne Fry and Ron Spradlin.
The challengers are Steve Gleason, Sharon Floyd, Jeff Palm, Jon Rolland
and Jerry Smith.
Karen David, left, Tanya Nichols and Sandy Brais plan to make Salon Bellagio an exclusive salon in Valley Springs.
Salon Bellagio opens with Italian theme
Salon Bellagio has celebrated its grand opening.
The salon at Suite 2B in the Valley Springs Professional Center
at 4 Jean St., next to Calaveras Telephone, opened June 5. The salon
specializes in facial and hair care, make-up, message therapy, body
wraps and waxing.
Owner Karen David has been in the business locally for nine years
and always wanted to own her own business.
She believes the growing Valley Springs area is ready for
something more upscale and said Salon Bellagio will fill that niche. The
salon offers the No. 1 hair care and skin care lines.
Bellagio means beautiful in Italian and the theme was cared to
the interior decoration with an authentic Italian countryside look.
David, who is a hair designer and color specialist, is assisted
by Tanya Nichols, a message therapist, and Sandy Brais, a hair designer
and make-up and skin specialist.
Nichols has been a local resident for nine years and message
therapist for nearly four years. Business management is another one of
Brais, who is a MAC make-up artist, has been in the area for a
The business is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through
Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The phone number is
772-7822. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are recommended.