Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Candace and Buddy Keesey accept the Valley Springs Area Business Association's Citizens of the Year award.
Keeseys receive ABA Citizens of the Year honors
Whether it’s Boy Scouts, the American Legion, a Valley Springs
Area Business Association event, or the Toyon Middle School PTA,
you’ll likely find the couple honored Saturday evening as the
VSABA’s Citizens of the Year playing an active role.
Buddy and Candace Keesey of Valley Springs received the award
during the ABA’s annual Christmas Dinner at the Veterans Hall.
The Keeseys have lived in the area for the past eight years.
Buddy has been a driver for Unified Grocers out of Stockton for the past
19 years and Candace is the owner-operator of Candace’s Cleaning.
Buddy is an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 302 and Candace is
the advancement chairperson, keeping track of the scouts’ ranks. They
were also involved with Cub Scouts with Buddy serving as an assistant
cub master and Candace as a den leader.
For the American Legion, Buddy, a Vietnam veteran who served
three 15-month tours while in the U.S. Navy, is a second vice commander,
and Candace is the first vice commander in the auxiliary. They also are
on the Barn Building Committee, which has raised $35,000 the past year
in events, raffles and donations to help building a new Veterans hall
and community center.
Candace is the Toyon PTA information officer, taking notes and
putting PTA information on the school’s website. She’s also the
webmaster for the ABA.
Buddy can be found behind the bar at ABA mixers and Candace is on
the ABA board and secretary of the ABA’s Visionary Council. They also
donate their time to helping with ABA activities and events such as the
annual Christmas Parade.
Candace attributed their community involvement to following the
lead provided by former Citizens of the Year such as Betty Snyder, Diana
Gigliotti and Barbara Stanley.
“Betty has been a mom to me and Diana has been my best friend
introducing me to so many people and getting me involved in the ABA,”
she said. “Barbara has been so nice to me and I think she’s the one
who nominated us for the award. However, there are so many more who
deserve this award. We feel very honored.”
A residence on the 700 block of Hogan Dam Road was destroyed by fire Dec. 13.
Family loses home in fire
A Valley Springs couple expecting a child lost their home to
flames the early morning of Dec. 13 on the 700 block of Hogan Dam Road.
Ryan DeVusser woke up at approximately 4:30 a.m. Saturday to the
smell of smoke coming from his living room and by the time he called
9-1-1, the entire room was engulfed in flames and the fire had broken
out through the living room window, said Foothill Fire Protection
District Chief Michael Siligo.
When the first firefighters arrived at the scene about four
minutes later, flames had overtaken the entire residence, he added.
“It was a huge, orange ball,” the fire chief said of the
The home was being remodeled and there had been some varnish work
completed the day before in the living room, Siligo said. Firefighters
suspect a faulty fireplace or fumes from the varnish caused the blaze
that destroyed the 1,200-square-foot home.
The cans and rags used in the varnish work were outside at the
time of the fire.
Ryan was home alone at the time of the blaze and escaped the
flames uninjured. In addition, there were no injuries to firefighters.
Units and firefighters from Foothill, Jenny Lind and San Andreas
fire protection districts responded. The blaze downed nearby power lines
that stymied firefighters’ efforts to fight the fire at the rear of
Siligo estimated losses at $250,000 to the structure and $30,000
to contents. The DeVussers were renting the residence and did not have
insurance, he added.
A family member said the couple was expecting a child and donations could be made to their account at the Bank of Rio Vista.
Pliler's Market is closing its doors after at the site where for the past 123 years Valley Springs residents have shopped for groceries.
End of an era: Pliler's Market says goodbye
The end of an era has come to Valley
Springs. Pliler’s Market, with roots going back to 1885, has closed
A general store has been on the site of
Pliler’s, 54 W. California St. (Highway 12) and continuously operated
since early 1885, said Sal Manna, president of the Society for the
Preservation of West Calaveras History.
Ranjit and Maninder Gill purchased the
market in October of last year. Maninder said they experienced a
noticeable drop in business – especially tourists coming to the area
for recreation - as gas prices started to substantially increase earlier
She plans to open the store one day this
week for discount sales and then sell the rest of the inventory to a
wholesaler. Efforts to sell the business were unsuccessful and she hopes
to rent out the building.
According to Manna, the original store was
the second store built in Valley Springs. It was called Paulk Bros.
& Johnson Farmers and Miners Union Store. Upstairs in the two-story
wooden building was the original town hall, where church services were
The first storekeeper in Valley Springs,
Thomas Joseph French, had moved his store from nearby Pattee’s Place
to Valley Springs once the San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada Railroad
determined that it would soon arrive in the new town, Manna said.
French’s place of business was just down
the street from Paulk Bros. & Johnson. In the early 1890s, French
bought out Paulk Bros. & Johnson and moved his merchandise into
their building, now called T.J. French’s Valley Springs Cash Store.
In 1918, the 80-year-old French sold his
store to John Pliler, who had worked there for more than a decade, and
Pliler’s brother-in-law, Joshua Lillie - thus Pliler & Lillie,
The old wooden building was torn down in
1939 and a new one-story building erected, essentially what exists
today, he added.
Although her family sold the store many
years ago, Bonnie Pliler of Valley Springs said, “I’m sorry to hear
that. I’m sorry to see it go. We made a lot of friends at the
Pliler’s joins Radio Shack, Quiznos,
Countywide Home Loans, A-D & R Sports and First American Title
Insurance Co. as businesses that have closed shops or offices in Valley
Springs during the economic downturn that has now been officially
labeled as a recession.
Sheng Chi Kung Fu students demonstrate some moves at Saturday’s Christmas Parade.
Head Start wins top award at 25th annual Christmas Parade
HRC’s Head Start students endeared themselves to the judges on
Saturday and won the grand prize trophy for the 25th annual Valley
Springs Business Association’s Christmas Parade.
The Head Start pupils wooed the judges with colorful holiday-time
outfits and their rendition of “Jingle Bells.”
The parade, which traditionally begins the holiday season in west
Calaveras County, attracted 33 entries and a large crowd along newly
re-paved Daphne Street and in front of the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial
Hall where the annual crafts faire was under way.
The association’s Citizens of the Year, Bing and Barbara
Stanley, were the parade’s grand marshals, and a Christmas parade
would not be complete without Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, who waited until
the end of the parade to make their appearance.
The remaining parade winners were, by category:
American Legion’s Bill Brinlee Post 102, honor guard; Girl
Scout Troop 535, scout troop; Sheng Chi Kung Fu, kids performing; Double
Springs Ranch, vintage equipment; CHP, emergency vehicle; Foothill
Classic Cars, classic cars; Melissa’s Dog and Pony Show,
private/animal performing; Calaveras Twirlers, adult performing;
Calaveras 4H and Jenny Lind 4H, tied for 4H entries; California Glass,
commercial float; and Calaveras High School, band.
Tatiana and Patrick Carvalho visit with Santa Claus in 2006 during St. Nick's ride-along with the Jenny Lind Fire Protection District.
Jenny Lind firefighters to help Santa on his wish list rounds
The Jenny Lind Fire Protection District will continue its recent
tradition of escorting Santa Claus around the area to receive
last-minute gift wishes from neighborhood children.
The fire protection district issued a press release earlier this
week saying it is “once again honored to have received an invitation
direct from the North Pole and from Santa Claus himself to help Santa on
his rounds in Jenny Lind just prior to Christmas.”
The third annual Santa Express with the fire district driving
Santa through the streets of Jenny Lind and Rancho Calaveras on one of
it fire engines is planned for the evenings of Dec. 17, 18 and 22.
Santa and Fire Engine 116 will leave District Station One at 6:30
p.m. each of those nights. On Wednesday, Dec. 17, Santa will travel
along Garner Place from Highway 26, Baldwin Street towards Highway 26
and end at Highway 26 for the night.
The route on Thursday, Dec. 18, will be on Hartvickson Lane from
Baldwin Street, the length of Hartvickson and ending at Silver Rapids,
while the Monday, Dec. 22, route will begin at Garner Place and Baldwin
Street traveling toward Kirby Street, Kirby to O’Reilly Street, Owens
Way to McAtee Street and McAtee to Baldwin.
“The Jenny Lind Fire Protection District is excited and honored
to help Santa on his early rounds as Santa makes his final preparation
for Christmas Eve,” said Chief Brian Chavez-Ochoa. “The district
opens to see children and parents alike during this time and looks
forward to your participation.”
For those who live in homes not on one of the streets listed, the
fire district encourages you to call headquarters at 786-2227 on the
night Santa is closest to you home and the district will make every
effort to get Santa close to your residence.
“The Jenny Lind Fire Protection District wishes everyone a very
merry Christmas and a happy and safe holiday season,” the chief said.
Springs Boy Scout Danny Spears, above, photographed in front of the
U.S.S. Hornet during a field trip and Troop 302, below, is seen in
front of a U.S. flag in the ship’s hangar.
Scouts spend night aboard famous WWII ship
Boy Scouts and parents from Valley Springs Troop 302 spent a
memorable night last month aboard one of the vast armada of U.S.
warships built shortly after the surprise attack 67 years ago at Pearl
Twenty-seven scouts and 14 adult leaders spent the night of Nov.
22 aboard the U.S.S. Hornet, CV-12, which has been preserved and turned
into a public museum in Alameda. The scouts and their parents ate dinner
and breakfast in the ship’s mess hall and slept just like World War II
sailors in “racks” in the ship’s berthing area.
“It was not comfortable, but you get the full spirit,” said
Candace Keesey, one of the scout parents.
Construction of the Hornet began in Virginia less than a year after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack by Japan on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.
The Hornet originally was named the USS Kearsarge, but was renamed in honor of the USS Hornet, CV-8, which was sunk in combat in October of 1942 at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The earlier Hornet had been the carrier used to launch the famous Doolittle bombing raid over Tokyo and was one of the carriers to defeat the Japanese at the Battle of Midway.
Through the rest of World War II, CV-12 compiled an equally impressive record as its predecessor and helped turned the tide of the war in the Pacific.
CV-12 participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle for Leyte Gulf, and her planes gave direct support in the amphibious assault landings on Okinawa and were among those that attacked and sunk the mighty Japanese battleship Yamato.
Her legacy did not end at the conclusion of World War II. The Hornet served through the Vietnam War and made a significant contribution to the Apollo space program when she recovered astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin from Apollo 11, the first moon landing mission.
One of the exhibits at the museum is the Mobile Quarantine Facility, which resembles an ordinary camping trailer, where the astronauts were kept in confinement for three days after their return to Earth, Keesey said.
“They thought they might have had ‘moon cooties,’” she said.
The ship’s illustrious military career came to an end when it was decommissioned for the last time on June 26, 1970. However, she was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991 and opened as a museum in 1998 at the former Naval Air Station Alameda.
The scouts visited various areas of the ship during their stay – including the brig, or prison, the hospital, torpedo room, and Combat Information Center, along with hearing tales about it being the most haunted ship in the Navy.