Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Hank and Vip Hale are the
sponsors of the “Dog Frog,” which is on display in Valley Springs at
Central California Bank and will benefit Canine Companions.
'Dog Frog' on display at Central California
3 Painted Frogs now in Valley Springs
available for Oct. 22 gala
Valley Springs’ third and final Painted Frog of Calaveras
County was unveiled Friday at Central California Bank.
Called the “Dog Frog,” the 21st of 28 Painted
Frogs is sponsored by Hank and Vip Hale of Blackjack Enterprises and the
Valley Springs News. The artist is Lori Kelley and sale of the frog will
benefit Canine Companions.
Valley Springs’ other two frogs are the “Wine Frog” on
display at Countrywide Home Loans, 15 St. Andrews Road, and “Harry
Frogger” at Valley Springs Home Center, 72 Highway 26.
Maps outlining the location of all 28 frogs can be obtained at
the Valley Springs News office, 101 Cedar St.
The Holistic Health Center of the Sierra frog was also unveiled
Friday at the Pickle Patch in San Andreas. The frog will benefit the
Human Resources Council and the artist was Dustyn.
Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Diane
Gray reports most of the frogs have been introduced to the public and
tickets for the Oct. 22 Frog Gala and Auction.
The final frogs are expected to be unveiled prior to the end of
summer so locals and visitors can enjoy them as they tour around the
Tickets for the gala at Mark Twain Hall at the Calaveras County
Fairgrounds cost $65 per person and are going fast, Gray said. Tables
can be reserved with the purchase of eight to 10 tickets.
The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a preview of the Painted
Frogs, music and a no-host bar.
Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and the auction will start at 8.
The opening bids start at $1,000 and all proceeds from the
auction go toward the charity or non-profit organization selected by the
The chamber’s “Tourist Toad” will not be sold by auction,
but will be a raffle prize. Tickets for a chance to win the chamber frog
will be on sale for $5 each.
The first-ever Frog Gala in 2004 was a success with the auction
raising approximately $150,000 for area non-profits and charities.
Tickets can be obtained by calling the chamber office at (209)
Judy Allen, right, receives the VIP award from Valley Springs Area Business Association Immediate Past President Shirley Chantri.
Judy Allen receives award from area business group
Allen received the Valley Springs Area Business Association’s Very
Important Person award earlier this month.
president of Foothill Park and Recreation and is working to establish a
park at Lake Hogan that will benefit the community. In addition, she is
president of the Rotary Club of West Calaveras County and through the
club she is an adviser for the Interact Club at Calaveras High and helps
select CHS students who will participate in Rotary’s leadership
program at Camp Royal.
cooks the spaghetti dinner for four nights at the annual melodrama
supporting Friends of the Valley Springs Library, is a Kids Day in the
Park volunteer and has participated in many other volunteer projects
over the years, VSABA Immediate Past President Shirley Chantri told
those in attendance at the organization’s monthly luncheon meeting.
a real estate broker’s associate with Century 21 Tri-Dam Realty, the
mother of three daughters and the grandmother of four.
Meetings set to discuss Toyon's future
Several meetings have been scheduled to discuss the future structure for
Calaveras Unified School District’s middle-school program.
There has been a recent trend to restructure school-grade levels to a
more traditional model of kindergarten through eighth-grade school structures.
Superintendent Jim Frost said the district is exploring the K-8 option
and the school board and administrative team are seeking input from the
community and parents on the idea.
“To get this input, several community meetings have been scheduled so
we can have dialog regarding the pros and cons of this issue and gather specific
feedback from parents and community,” he said.
CUSD’s present structure operates the middle school program at Toyon.
“Toyon is a very smooth running middle school, which is both well
organized and well disciplined,” Frost said. “We are proud of the increasing
achievement of Toyon students as reported by academic testing measures.”
The first meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at West Point
A meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Sept. 13 at Valley Springs
Elementary and the same time Sept. 21 at Jenny Lind Elementary.
“The results of this discussion will guide the board and
administration, which could result in future change or maintenance of our
present structure,” Frost said.
He urged all to attend a meeting that is most convenient.
Dennis McCord in his communications center.
Rancho man assists nation's communications safety net
By Nick Baptista
Rancho Calaveras man and his large assortment of radio and
communications equipment figure prominently in the event of a disaster.
McCord wears many hats for a series of systems set up to act as
communications safety nets in the event of natural and man-made
in the corner of the basement of McCord’s home is a communications hub
in touch with pilots worldwide, the Department of Defense, Homeland
Security and the Office of Emergency Services.
typically spends 2 ½ hours in the afternoon and another 1 ½ hours in
the evening on the air.
passion for amateur radio dates back to 1953 when he received his
operator’s license and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake renewed his
interest in emergency communications.
was the superintendent of operations and maintenance for the East Bay
Municipal Utility District at Camanche and Pardee reservoirs when the
quake hits the San Francisco Bay Area. The Camanche and Pardee
operations were unable to communicate with EBMUD’s administrative
offices in Oakland for four days during the natural disaster and that
motivated McCord to recommend the district establish an alternate
the quake, the region’s telephone systems were overloaded and cell
phone usage was in its early stages.
time McCord left EBMUD, the district had 140 qualified amateur radio
the same time, McCord became involved with the Military Affiliate Radio
System, or MARS, which is sponsored by the Department of Defense.
is the California state MARS director for a region covering Arizona,
California, New Mexico and Nevada.
the equipment in McCord’s basement is government issued and he has
custody of it. However, a great portion of the equipment is his and all
his time is donated freely.
response is the primary function, but McCord has the ability to handle
welfare and moral traffic for the services.
welfare traffic has decreased with the advent of satellite telephones
and email, he added.
addition, the communications network monitors all shuttle and satellite
launches and recoveries.
who retired as a Commander from the U.S. Navy after 22 years in the
service, was a member of the team that fired the first Polaris missile
in the last 1950s.
summarized his elaborate communications operation as a safety net for
the nation if all else fails.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Sturm tells the media how he and the department seized 40 pounds of processed marijuana displayed on the table behind him.
department seizes $500,000 worth of marijuana
By Nick Baptista
Calaveras County Sheriff’s deputies hit a jackpot Sunday morning, seizing what one veteran officer said is the largest amount of processed marijuana confiscated in the nearly two decades he has been with the department.
The estimated $500,000 marijuana find happened after Sheriff’s
personnel, with assistance from the Angels Camp Police Department, apprehended
two men in Vallecito following an auto chase and crash.
Two Mexican nationals, Christoval Valencia Chavez, 30, and Antonio
Valencia Chavez, 28, were arrested on suspicion of several offenses and are
being held in the Calaveras County Jail.
The chase began at approximately 7 a.m. Sunday when Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim
Sturm attempted to conduct an enforcement stop on a 1992 Nissan Pathfinder
leaving the Camp Nine Road area near Parrott’s Ferry Road at a high rate of
speed. The Pathfinder nearly hit Sturm’s patrol vehicle and fled the area
continuing at a high rate of speed.
Sheriff’s patrol units converged into the area and shortly afterward a
report was received that a vehicle crashed through a fence and into a
residential front yard on Main Street in Vallecito.
Witnesses told deputies that two men fled into a nearby heavily wooded
creek bed. Deputies and officers from the Angels Camp Police Department entered
the creek bed on foot in pursuit of the suspects.
Within 10 minutes, an Angels Camp police officer spotted the two men and
Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Crabtree quickly apprehended them.
During the subsequent investigation at the accident scene, deputies and
CHP officers discovered several large trash bags in the back seat and rear hatch
area of the Pathfinder containing the marijuana.
The 40 pounds of marijuana had been packaged into 40 one-pound bags and
“could have been on the street that night,” according to sheriff’s Sgt.
He added that it was the largest seizure of processed marijuana during
his 18 years with the department.
Sheriff’s department personnel believe the marijuana came from a nearby
growth area. The Camp Nine Road area has had marijuana plantations and meth labs
in the past.
The two suspects, who are brothers and listed as residents of Merced,
were arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and resisting,
obstructing or delaying a peace officer.
In addition, Christoval was arrested on suspicion of being an unlicensed
driver and hit and run. Bail for him Christoval was set at $50,000, while bail
for his brother was $40,000.
The case remains under investigation.
Bob Bucy of the Valley Springs Boosters presented a plaque of appreciation to Virginia Belmont, center, and Gail Brower of the Loose Threads Quilt Guild for the organization’s work to raise funds for the annual fireworks display. A cash donation of $783 from the Boosters to the guild is being used for the guild’s Quilts of Valor efforts. One of the quilts going to a visually impaired serviceman can be seen in the background.
Boosters appreciate quilt guild's help to community, veterans
By Nick Baptista
good works of the Loose Threads Quilt Guild were recognized Tuesday by
the Valley Springs Boosters.
The Boosters donated $783 to the guild to go toward the
organization’s Quilts of Valor efforts.
The presentation of a plaque of appreciation and the money also
recognized the guild for donating its popular Fireworks Quilt to the
Boosters. The Boosters sold more than $3,000 in tickets for a chance to
win the Fireworks Quilt. The winning ticket was selected at the June 25
Fireworks Over Hogan Lake Gala and went to Diane Wheaton.
Bob Bucy, chairman of the Boosters raffle committee, made the
“Every time I was out with the quilt, the response was
incredible,” he told the Loose Quilt Guild members at their monthly
“We made good money on the quilt and that made the fireworks
happen,” he said. The donation from the Boosters to the guild
represents 25 percent of the ticket sales.
According to Gail Brower, the Loose Threads Quilt Guild’s
president, the money will go toward the group’s Quilts of Valor
At a pace of about four quilts a week, the guild is supplying the
patriotic quilts to service men and women who have been wounded during
military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Tuesday, four quilts were ready for a trip to the Veterans
Hospital in Palo Alto. They were going to four veterans who were
The guild, 70 members strong, does the squares and the binding for the quilts, while Gail Belmont of All Together Family Quilts does the batting and the quilting on her equipment.
Bucy said he was online reading one of the notes posted by a
veteran who received a Quilt of Valor. The serviceman said he could feel
the warmth of America coming from the quilt and he didn’t know
Americans care that much for him and his fellow servicemen.
Ambulance service to push ticket program
American Legion Post 108 Ambulance is going to begin getting the word out
about the potential savings of its ambulance subscription program, according to
Alan Lennox, American Legion Ambulance general manager.
Lennox was the guest speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Rotary Club
of West Calaveras. He talked about the steps American Legion Ambulance has taken
since it received the contract from Calaveras County to provide sole ambulance
service in most of the county.
The service began July 1 and American Legion has spent nearly $400,000 to
be prepared to provide services in Calaveras County and eventually will spend
$500,000 along those lines.
American Legion began providing ambulance service in Amador County in
1929, Lennox said. For many years, it was a service project manned by
volunteers, but today it is a professionally staffed operation with a total of
16 ambulances and 12 are in operation each day – six in Amador and six in
The ambulance subscription program generates $130,000 in Amador County
and Lennox is making the same offer in Calaveras County.
The ambulance ticket costs $50 a year and covers spouses and legal
dependants. Active members of the American Legion pay $30 a year.
The ticket covers all ambulance charges not covered by insurance and the
one-time purchase provides multiple trips for qualified patients.
Lennox said the typical cost of ambulance service from Valley Springs to
Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Andreas is $2,000.
He added that the true cost of ambulance service is not just the trip
from the scene to the hospital, but the fee includes the necessity of the
ambulance service to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital has agreed to sell the tickets, Lennox
said, and it has bought ambulance subscriptions for all of the hospital’s
Lennox added that he would like to have the ambulance tickets available
at all area pharmacies and you can obtain them by sending a check to American
Legion Ambulance at P.O. Box 100, Sutter Creek, CA 95685.
In a question and answer session after his presentation, Lennox said the
ambulance service has received “a significant amount” of training in
response to terrorist activities. They have received training in response to
Weapons of Mass Destruction and bio-chemical terrorism, he said.
Explosive devices found in car
A Redwood City man was arrested last week on suspicion of possessing
explosive devices following a traffic stop at the intersection of Messing and
According to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department, Kevin Patric
Reimer, 23, was driving a vehicle stopped for speeding at 11:31 p.m. July 24. A
search of the vehicle was conducted due to the smell of marijuana coming from
inside the vehicle.
Two homemade explosive devices and a small amount of marijuana were
found, according to the department. The county’s Haz Mat unit was dispatched
to the scene to collect the explosives.
Bail for Reimer was set at $30,000.
Property issue limits public access to Hogan
By Nick Baptista
along the shores of New Hogan Lake can be a crime, at least along one section of
the 50-mile shoreline.
Simons family of Valley Springs earlier this year discovered they would be
violating private property laws if they continued a walk along the North Fork of
the Calaveras River where it feeds into the reservoir.
the time spring flowers were blossoming in the area, no trespassing signs began
popping up along the only access route several hundred yards from the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers’ North Fork Fishing Access off Highway 12 between San
Andreas and Valley Springs.
Signs posted by the Sierra Gun Club say “Warning – You Are Trespassing on Private Property And Are Subject to ARREST.”
appear on the gravel bed of the former railroad line between Valley Springs and
San Andreas. Since it is too steep for walking below or above the former
railroad route, it effectively cuts off public access along the shoreline, said
along public trails is a popular form of recreation for Jason, his wife Peggy
and their two daughters, Sarah and Serena.
Johnson, resource manager at New Hogan for the Corps of Engineers, said
continuous access to public lands around the lake is cut off at that point.
Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department confirms the property owner has lodge
complaints about trespassers and violators risk being cited.
years ago when the railroad company was selling its right-of-way to adjacent
property owners, the Corps of Engineers did not pursue the opportunity to
purchase this section of the former railway, Johnson said.
a difficult situation,” Johnson said. “It goes back many years ago and no
one anticipated it would be a problem.”
now realizes it is a problem and “we’re trying to address this and resolve
it to the benefit of the property owner and the public,” he said.
not happy about this,” Simons said. “It seems wrong. Someone needs to be
held accountable for this.”
the matter is resolved quickly.
can’t the feds say ‘we made a mistake’ and gain access through eminent
Aug. 3 briefs
Wallace couple's horse wins world title
A horse owned by Joanne and Gordon Talaska of Wallace took top honors at the 2005 World Championship Painted Horse Show last month in Fort Worth, Texas.
Baryshnikov, a 4-year-old stallion, captured the world championship title
in Breeding Stock Hunter Under Saddle and was shown by Ryan Painter. In the
class, horses are evaluated by a panel of judges on their smoothness of gait and
response to the rider under traditional English tack similar to what one might
find in the hunt field. Baryshnikov bested a field of 11 for the win.
The World Championship Paint Horse Show is the richest Paint Horse event
in the world, offering more than $250,000 in prize money, along with valuable
awards and coveted trophies. Approximately 2,000 horses competed at this
year’s show, with more than 4,500 entries including about 1,300 youth entries,
1,500 amateur/novice entries and 1,700 open entries.
It is the premier event of the American Paint Horse Association.
Open competitors may be youth, amateurs, or professional trainers, and
they can compete on their own horses or horses owned by another individual.
The show attracts competitors from the United States, Canada, and several other nations. Exhibitors demonstrate their skills in 175 classes including halter, Western, English, cattle, driving and speed events.
In addition to exciting competition, the World Show offers seminars, horse sales and a trade show featuring more than 100 commercial exhibitors.
Caltrans plans work on Highway 26
Caltrans is working on a proposal to improve a stretch of Highway 26 from
Wimer/Ospital Road in San Joaquin County to Savage Way in Calaveras County.
Caltrans wants to widen the existing lanes and shoulders, correct several
non-standard horizontal and vertical curves and rehabilitate pavement along the
stretch of highway.
The department has set a deadline of Aug. 10 for comments or requests to
conduct a public hearing on the proposal.
The initial study, proposed Mitigated Negative
Declaration, and supporting documentation are available for review at the
Calaveras County Library-Valley Springs Branch, 240 Pine St., Valley Springs;
Caltrans District 10 Office, 1976 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Stockton, or
on the Internet at www.dot.ca.gov/dist10.
Comments or requests for a public hearing can be submitted in writing to
Caltrans, Attn: Charles Walbridge, 2015 E. Shields Ave., Suite 100, Fresno, CA
93726. Comments can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based on comments received and evaluated during the public review period,
Caltrans may proceed with adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration; hold a
public hearing, and/or request further studies.
More information on the Caltrans proposal can be obtained by calling Walbridge at (559) 243-8167 or Project Manager Iorzua Akuva at (209) 941-1958.
Oakland man drowns at Camanche
A 20-year-old Oakland man spending the weekend camping with his family at
Lake Camanche drowned Friday evening.
The victim was identified as Brandon Blackshire. According to witnesses,
Blackshire and relatives were in the water near the Lakeside campground on the
south shore of Camanche. Relatives noticed Blackshire was struggling in the
water. They lost sight of him as he went under the surface of the water. They
dove under the water where he was last seen and found him and pulled him to
shore. They believe he was under the water for about three to four minutes.
According to a Lake Camanche ranger, the depth of the water in the area
is approximately 15 to 20 feet.
Family members said Blackshire was a non-swimmer.
CPR was in progress when a deputy arrived at the scene and emergency
personnel from the Foothill Fire Protection District arrived a few minutes
later. However, Blackshire never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead
at the scene at 9:36 p.m.