Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
July 29 brief
Gleason appointed to PUD board; ballots in the mail
Gleason is the newest member of the Valley Springs Public Utility District Board
was appointed to the interim seat Wednesday evening by the board from among four
candidates – two of who are seeking election to the board.
others seeking consideration for the board seat were DeLayne “Tony” Glenn,
Manual “Mal” Ponte and William Whitaker.
quickly narrowed the field to Gleason and Glenn, eliminating Ponte and Whitaker
because they are on the ballot in the upcoming district election.
ballots for the PUD board election are scheduled to be sent to voters on Monday.
Registered voters have until the end of August to return the mail-in ballots.
Whitaker, William McFall and Roy L. Worthy are in the race for two four-year
terms on the board. Appointed incumbent Richard Bidwell and Timothy Belcher are
on the ballot for one two-year seat on the board.
remaining board members not up for election this year are Board President
Lucille Allee and Director Jack Silveira.
who has lived and worked in Valley Springs for the past 28 years, replaces Jim
Peach, who resigned several months ago.
July 27 briefs
Foothill receives permit for new station
The Foothill Fire Protection District’s conditional use permit request for a proposed fire complex at the intersection of Highway 12 and Burson Road was unanimously approved Thursday by the Calaveras County Planning Commission.
proposed Burson complex would include a 1,400-square-foot office and a
3,200-square-foot apparatus building containing storage, sleeping and restroom
facilities for firefighters, and three parking bays for fire trucks.
proposal was originally approved in September 2003. However, the conditions were
not completed in a timely manner, which prompted re-submittal of the request.
another matter concerning Foothill, the district has an immediate opening on its
board of directors.
in applying should submit a letter outlining their background and community
involvement. The district must receive the letter by Aug. 3. Letters can be sent
Fire Protection District, Chairman-Board of Directors, P.O.
Box 143, Burson, CA 95225.
Fire crews from CDF, Foothill Fire Protection District and East Bay MUD
responded to a vegetation fire shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday at Camanche Parkway
and Limestone Road.
According to CDF, the blaze was contained quickly to six acres and
destroyed a storage and equipment shed on the property.
The fire was caused by a riding lawnmower and damage was estimated at
and Pony Show a success
More than 400 animal lovers of all ages came out Sunday for the second
annual and Dog and Pony Show, benefiting the Calaveras Humane Society, at
Ironstone Vineyards. And they weren’t disappointed.
The dog agility challenge elicited a lot of “oohs” and “ahs” as
the dogs maneuvered over, across and through the 13-obstacle course. There was
also some comic relief when some dogs decided to skip an obstacle or left the
course all together for a quick dip in an adjacent pond.
The winners of the Agility Challenge were: Weave Poles—Rush, a sheltie
owned by Nancy Berry and Keeper, a 10 ½-year-old border collie owned by
Jennifer Slater; Agility—Max, a sheltie owned by Jessica Obermiller and Ollie,
a 5-year-old border collie owned by Darcy Zimmerman. The Coolest Dog award went
to Shiloh, a German shepherd that left the course for a cool dip in the pond.
And Lenox, a 4-year-old Tibetan terrier, was named the Most Sensible dog for
taking his time around the obstacle course.
“We were very pleased by the great turnout for this year’s event,” said organizer Laura Dashner. “Everyone had a good time, in spite of the heat, and were already asking about next year.” She added that more than $10,000 was raised for CHS programs. “Last year we spent over $64,000 on spay/neuter and we expect to spend $75,000 this year."
July 22 briefs
Calaveras County District Attorney Investigator Morgan Drew, left, and Sheriff’s Department Detectives Mike Whitney and Rachelle Miller were part of the team that earlier this week recovered a stolen Civil War-era cannon.
Deputies recover historical cannon
Members of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office have solved a case dating back to Sept. 27, 1998, and involving a Civil War-era cannon.
The nearly 800-pound cannon was stolen back in 1998 from
People’s Cemetery in San Andreas and it was recovered July 18 from a
pond in rural Mountain Ranch. The Model 1841 12-pound field howitzer was
retrieved during the service of a search warrant at 7599 Rimrock Valley
It was submerged in several feet of water and a backhoe was used
to remove the cannon from the pond.
The cannon, dedicated to the veterans of Calaveras County, will
be returned to its place of honor at the cemetery once the investigation
is completed, according to the sheriff’s department.
The cannon was one of two to grace the cemetery. It was obtained
in 1912 when the 62nd U.S. Congress donated it to San
Andreas. The guns, cast in Massachusetts and used by The Grand Army of
the Republic during the Civil War, were displayed in Burson until moved
to San Andreas in the early 1920s. The Calaveras County Historical
Society eventually remounted the guns at the cemetery.
group learns about new fire protection product
A new product designed to save homes from wildfires was demonstrated at
Wednesday’s Valley Springs Area Business Association meeting.
Sharon Torrence, public relations manager for Thermo-Gel, presented
information about the product, which was introduced to the consumer market at
the beginning of this year. Up to that point, the product has been used
professionally in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, she said.
“I’m anxious to get people familiar with Thermo-Gel,” said Torrence,
who also works for CDF.
Thermo-Gel uses super absorbent polymers, such as those found in
disposable baby diapers, she said. When water is applied to the polymers, they
turn into a protective gel.
The gel is approved by the U.S. Forest Service and is environmentally
safe, she said. It can stick to any surface and be used to protect homes,
automobiles and vegetation from fire. Clean up is simple, she said, simply rinse
The basic homeowner protection kit costs $330 and includes four gallons
of Thermo-Gel and the application nozzle, which is similar to the nozzle used to
spray Miracle Gro. There are two other more heavy-duty systems that increase in
Thermo-Gel saved 600 homes during the Southern California fires and
unlike fire retardant, it does not peel paint on homes and autos, she added.
She used a stick covered with the gel and put it up to a lighter to
demonstrate the protective qualities of Thermo-Gel.
The product has a suggested shelf life of three years. For more
information, Torrence can be called at 223-3829.
Samaritan plans Aug. 14 carnival
Good Samaritan Church will present an Awana Carnival from 4 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 14, at the church, located at 4684 Baldwin St., Valley Springs.
The family event includes free games, prizes and food. There will be more
than 40 games, live music, a bungee run, dunk tank, an obstacle course, bounce
house, water slide, karaoke and a watermelon-eating contest.
Food includes hot dogs, nachos, cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream and sno-cones.
Awana is a non-denominational program for children from age 3 to the
sixth grade. The goal of Awana is to “reach boys and girls with the gospel of
Christ and train them to serve him.”
cabinet shop in business
Paul Brooks and Tom Wiesner have opened The Woodcrafter, a cabinet,
entrance door and custom furniture shop at 76 Main St., Valley Springs.
Brooks has 10 years of experience in the cabinet and furniture business,
while Wiesner has 25 years of experience in furniture making.
The Woodcrafter will concentrate on higher end work, Brooks said, in
Calaveras County’s growing communities such as La Contenta, Greenhorn Creek
and Saddle Creek. They work with a wide array of exotic woods such as African
teak, mahogany and black walnut.
The 3,000-square-foot shop is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through
Saturday and the business uses a computer for its design work and offers 3-D
pictorial representations of its products.
The Woodcrafter will begin with a staff of three or four and expand that number as the business grows, Brooks said.
Brooks can be reached at 612-3743.
purchase, expansion planned
Steve Hayward of State Farm Insurance in Angels Camp has purchased the
Stelte Park Spa in Angels Camp and the adjacent lot.
He plans to construct a 6,000- to 8,000-square-foot office building next
to the existing 6,200-square-foot spa and office building and create a medical
and professional office complex.
Prudential California Realty is handling the leasing.
family escapes early-morning fire
Hearing a “popping” noise coming from the garage early Monday morning
may have saved Ryan and Sara Tesh and their child, according to Jenny Lind Fire
Protection District Chief Stacey Hebrard.
The family’s 2696 Heney Lane residence sustained major damage in the
early morning structure fire, Hebrard reported.
The 9-11 call went out at 2:26 a.m. when the family heard the noise in
the garage and opened a door to see the smoke.
Units and personnel from Jenny Lind, the Foothill Fire Protection
District, San Andreas Fire and CDF responded to the fire.
When firefighters arrived, the garage was fully involved and the fire was extending into the attic. A power line was down and a hot gas line was venting.
Everyone got out safely, Hebrard said, but Mr. Tesh sustained a cut to
his hand from some broken glass.
Firefighters pulled ceiling out of the dining and living room and stopped
the fire from spreading throughout the attic, Hebrard said.
Fire damage was contained to the dining and living room. The garage was a
total loss, along with a pick up truck.
“They went in and got it done,” Hebrard said of the firefighters’
efforts to save the structure. “It was a good stop. It could have been a total
Damage was estimated at approximately $60,000 to the structure and
$30,000 to contents.
It’s a good chance the cause of the fire will be attributed to
spontaneous combustion of some oily rags in the garage, Hebrard said.
sought for youth group
The Mother Lode Youth Symphony is accepting intermediate to advanced
youth musicians to join the orchestra program for the 2005-2006 season.
Positions are open for string players, including violin, viola, cello and bass;
plus wind, brass and percussion.
Music will be under the direction of Hank King, retired band director for
Amador High School and an accomplished musician. This is the fifth year for this
fun and rewarding youth orchestra program founded by Sheron McCarthy of Arnold.
The program includes an opportunity for youth musicians to play in a symphony
setting and perform in community concerts several times a year.
The youth symphony meets every Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30 in the
Calaveras High School music room. For more information or to join, call Colleen
Smart at 728-2131, Terri Tanner at 772-1450, or log on to www.mlys.org.
The following deadlines apply: Strings/applications due by Aug. 1, Winds, brass,
and percussion/applications due by Aug. 10.
arrest in Burson
Darrel Lewis, 56, of Burson was arrested July 15 when Calaveras County
sheriff’s deputies conducted a probation search and served a felony warrant at
5718 Southworth Road.
Deputies found a loaded rifle, several rounds of ammunition,
methamphetamine smoking pipes, a needle, .25 grams of methamphetamine,
prescription drugs not belonging to Lewis and a stolen credit card during the
Lewis was arrested on the warrant alleging possession of stolen property,
and allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing
methamphetamine, less than an ounce of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and
prescribed narcotics. He was transported without incident to the Calaveras
County Jail and bail was set at $105,000.
Women come to rescue at fiery crash
By Nick Baptista
Area fire chiefs applaud the quick reactions by two employees at La
Contenta Village Mart who jumped into action Wednesday morning and doused a fire
caused by a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Highway 26 and Vista Del
Becky Abbott and Misty Moore rushed to the accident scene with fire
extinguishers in hand and put out flames coming from the engine compartment of a
1999 Chevy pickup truck.
Foothill Fire Protection District Jeff Palm and Jenny Lind Fire
Protection District Chief Stacey Hebrard complimented the efforts by the two
women and an unidentified passer-by who also had a fire extinguisher and
“You don’t normally see that happen – it was great,” said Hebrard.
According to the CHP, a 2003 Ford flatbed truck driven by Ryan V.
McClure, 30, of Copperopolis was traveling westbound on Highway 26 at
approximately 8:55 a.m. and made a left turn onto Vista Del Lago directly in
front of the eastbound Chevy pickup driven by Loretta Hopkins, 42, of Valley
Hopkins sustained minor injuries and was transported to Mark Twain St.
Joseph’s Hospital in San Andreas for treatment.
McClure and Daryl Stone, a 10-month-old passenger in Hopkins’ vehicle,
One unit from Foothill Fire Protection District with two volunteers and
the chief responded to the accident scene, while a unit from Jenny Lind was
enroute, but cancelled.
Day to be biggest Burson event
hundred and twenty-one years after it was founded, Burson will finally celebrate
its past, present and future with its first annual Burson Founders Day.
begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, on the grounds of Moore’s Karate, 3061
Highway 12, Burson, the occasion will feature entertainment, food, crafts
booths, history exhibits and much more, including the long-awaited “Where the
*#@! is Burson?” T-shirts. The
event is free and open to the public.
Founders Day commemorates the town’s establishment in September 1884 by Daniel
Smith Burson. Burson Founders
Day--sponsored by the area’s only community group, the non-profit Wallace/Burson
Association--marks a major step toward informing the general public about that
history as well as developing pride in the community.
The Calaveras County Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce,
CalaverasGROWN and other local organizations, plus County officials, numerous
businesses (including the Valley Springs News, Moore’s Karate, Natural Rock
Formations, Coffaro’s Signs & Awards and Top-Quality Insulation &
Fireplaces), and every media outlet throughout the area have lent their support
to the inaugural Burson Founders Day. A
rare and special opportunity to be a part of history, there will be only one
“first ever” Burson Founders Day.
Businesses and individuals interested in further information or in
contributing to the success of Burson Founders Day through donations,
reservation of food and crafts booths, purchases of sponsorship signs, etc., can
contact Sal Manna at (209) 772-0336.
parking lot going in at Jenny Lind Elementary
Work is under way to complete a new parking lot at Jenny Lind Elementary
School before the start of the new school year.
Crews from George Reed, Inc., are working on the improvement. The lot is
located on the lower campus.
The new parking lot will ease congestion in the school’s existing
Initial grading has been completed and construction workers this week
were in the process of pouring concrete curbs and sidewalks.
Developer’s fees from new construction in the area are being used to
finance the cost of the improvements. The bid was awarded to George Reed, Inc.,
for a base price of $251,380.
July 13 briefs
drive July 27 in Valley Springs
is offering a free pint of ice cream to all who participate in a July 27 Valley
Springs Community Blood Drive.
drive is planned for 3 to 7 p.m. at the Valley Springs Sports & Fitness
Center, 145 Mangili Road.
addition to a coupon for a free pint of ice cream, donors will receive a free
T-shirt. All walk-ins are welcomed. No appointments are necessary.
donations help patients being treated for accidents, routine surgeries and
diseases such as cancer, heart disease and hemophilia. Giving blood is easy,
safe and takes less than one hour, but only about 5 percent of the estimated 60
percent of eligible Americans donate blood.
blood, you must be in generally good health, free from cold symptoms for at
least 48 hours; be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent);
and weigh at least 110 pounds. There is no upper age limit for donating blood.
Prospective donors must bring a photo ID.
information, contact Stephanie Kresse, BloodSource account manger. at
was established in 1948 as a not-for-profit community blood bank. BloodSource
provides life-saving services to millions of people in 25 counties throughout
Northern and Central California. To learn more about BloodSource, visit its
website at www.bloodsource.org.
firm to manage food service at schools
Calaveras Unified School District students can anticipate better quality
food for lower prices when they return to school July 26.
The Board of Trustees last week voted to switch management of food
services from a three-district joint partnership to a private company, Aramark.
Superintendent Jim Frost said Calaveras Unified is splitting away from
the joint operation with the Bret Harte and Vallecito school districts. Frost
said he would be working with the superintendents of those two districts to make
the transition as smooth as possible.
“We don’t want to close any doors,” Frost said, leaving options
open for the two other districts to follow Calaveras Unified’s lead or the
possibility of resuming a three-way partnership at a later date.
In addition, the district is keeping all of its food service employees.
“There will be no job status changes at all,” Frost said.
The contract with Aramark guarantees the district will not incur a
deficit to provide food services to students.
“We’re trying to keep the money in the classroom,” Frost said.
Frost said the district had anticipated a deficit of $39,000 this school
year if it remained in the local consortium and up to $70,000 next year.
Aramark will get a few pennies per meal realized through volume buying of food and savings through its management services, Frost said.
Oakland teen drowns at Camanche
A 17-year-old from Oakland drowned Sunday afternoon at Lake Camanche.
According to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department, Jyasi Ramos
went into the lake from a location on the south shore at about 2:10 p.m. to get
a float tube approximately 20 yards from the shoreline. Ramos yelled for help
and then went under the water. Several people went out to help him, but could
not locate him. An Amador County Sheriff’s boat arrived and divers located the
victim at 2:50 p.m.
Springs man arrested in vehicle reported to be stolen
An anonymous tip concerning a stolen vehicle led to the July 7 arrest of
a Valley Springs man.
Derold Von Odom, 55, of Valley Springs was arrested Thursday afternoon
outside the Valley Springs Post Office on suspicion of receiving stolen property
and drug-related offenses.
According to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s office, an undercover
deputy observed the vehicle parked in front of the post office. The arrest was
made after Odom reportedly entered and started the vehicle, a 1991 BMW.
A search of the vehicle after the arrest revealed items and paraphernalia
consistent with the sales of methamphetamine, a glass pipe used for smoking
methamphetamine and several prescription pills, the sheriff’s department
A search warrant was issued to check Odom’s Cox Drive residence that evening and deputies reportedly found several more prescription pills and packaging commonly used in the sales of methamphetamine. The case is still under investigation.
style plaza going up
By Nick Baptista
Thompson Swarbrick Development Co. has begun work to build Vista Springs
Plaza at the southeast corner of Vista Del Lago and Highway 26.
The company is a partnership between Dave Swarbrick of San Andreas and
Greg Thompson of Burson.
Swarbrick is a civil engineer and his firm is doing the design work and
he is in charge of site development.
“We will own and operate it,” Swarbrick said, “it’s not for sale,
it’s our baby.”
Vista Springs Plaza will have 32,472 square feet of retail space,
Swarbrick said, and he anticipates the project will be completed by June of next
year. Work on the steel frame for the first building is scheduled to begin Sept.
15 and the frame for a second building will go up two weeks later.
When completed, Swarbrick said Vista Springs Plaza will have an old-world
Italian flavor with a stucco front in muted earth tones and stonework in front
of the buildings. In addition, there will be a clock tower in the corner of the
A 6- by 10-foot sign containing an artist’s rendering of the plaza is
expected to go up at the site in a couple of weeks.
“I don’t think Valley Springs has seen anything like this,”
Swarbrick said. The company is spending $3 million to $3.5 million on the
development, which has been in the works for two years.
He hopes the center will attract businesses and services lacking in the
community. The partners want to attract a restaurant, fast-food outlet,
coffeehouse, juice bar and bank at the commercial development.
“We have a number of leads, but nobody is signed,” he said.
Swarbrick can be reached at (209) 754-5218 and Thompson can be contacted
at (209) 608-7070.
officials pleased with Grand Jury follow-up
Officials from the Valley Springs Public Utility District are pleased
with the recent report issued by the Calaveras County Grand Jury.
The grand jury report included a follow up to its 2003-04 investigation
of the utility district.
The 2003-04 report had 10 findings and the 2004-05 grand jury said,
“The VSPUD Board is commended for the progress made during the first six
months of the fiscal year. The Board of Directors has recognized the validity of
the Grand Jury Final Report and has demonstrated their intent to follow the Jury
“The grand jury felt we’re doing a better job and I pray we are,”
said Lucille Allee, chairperson of the district’s board. “Things are working
She said she thought the 2004-05 Grand Jury report was “a good report
and I find no fault with it,” she added.
Chris Williams, the district’s legal counsel,
helped prepare the response to the 2003-04 Grand Jury report.
“I like the summation,” Williams said. “The district has work
toward resolving those issues that were raised.”
The 2003-04 Grand Jury received a complaint against the district alleging
the district increased its water rate by 84 percent and doubled its sewage rate.
In addition, it was alleged that a conflict of interest existed between the
district and one of its directors. In addition, the 2003-04 grand jury had
several issues with the district’s record-keeping abilities, policy and
personnel manual and posting of agendas and notices.
In the area of rates, the 2004-05 grand jury agreed with the district.
(T)he Grand Jury has neither the jurisdiction nor the expertise to
suggest rates,” the 2005 report stated.
The Grand Jury was also pleased with the district’s move to no long
have its office at an employee’s residence and establish a permanent, public
office with regular hours.
Firefighters respond to
pair of blazes
California Department of Forestry and area fire protection district firefighters were kept busy The Fourth of July and into the next morning.
CDF, Jenny Lind Fire Protection District and Foothill Fire Protection
District responded to a vegetation fire at 1:23 p.m. Monday at the Bear Creek
Fishing Area at New Hogan Lake.
Aircraft from CDF’s base in Columbia assisted, along with tankers out
of Vallecito. Foothill responded with a squad, a water tender and a chief, while
Jenny Lind supplied a squad, a water tender and a battalion chief.
The fire was contained by 3:10 p.m. and limited to 15 acres.
Cause of the blaze was under investigation as of Tuesday morning.
Later that night, CDF and Jenny Lind responded to a vegetation fire off
Ospital Road. CDF had three engines, a battalion chief and prevention officer
respond to the scene, while Jenny Lind had a water tender, two squads, a
battalion chief and fire chief at the blaze, which was limited to a little more
than one acre.
Cause of the fire is under investigation.
Volunteers sought to staff state fair booth
Volunteers are needed to staff Calaveras County's
display booth at the
Booth volunteers receive an entry pass to the state fair, a parking pass
and a special T-shirt furnished by the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce. The
deadline for requesting a T-shirt size is Friday, July 8.
Volunteers are still needed for the
2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Aug. 12, 14, 20, 21, 28, Sept. 5.
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Aug. 12 to Sept. 5 (except Aug. 16, 20, 24
and 27. The only Monday the state fair will be open is Labor Day).
Each shift consists of two people. The state fair is requesting all
volunteers provide their full name, driver’s license number and birth date to
comply with Megan's Law.
information or to volunteer, call Diane Kriletich at 772-1604.
Calaveras River contains
dangerous levels of bacteria
The Calaveras River and waterways connected to it have dangerous levels
of fecal bacteria contaminate, according to a recent report.
However, the high bacteria levels aren't a threat to tap water.
The report was prepared by Tetra Tech for the Stockton
East Water District and Calaveras County Water District. It says
that the high bacteria levels most likely violate state drinking-water standards
and could lead to health concerns.
Tetra Tech tested water and surveyed habitat at dozens of sites from May
2003 to May 2004 between Arnold to Stockton.
July 1 brief
Legion begins sole provider ambulance service in Valley Springs
Calaveras County ambulance service entered a new era Friday with a sole
provider in each of the county’s three designated zones.
American Legion Ambulance received permission in April to provide service
in two of the three zones, including the communities of Valley Springs, Angels
Camp, Copperopolis, Mokelumne Hill, Mountain Ranch, Murphys, San Andreas and