Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Rancho Calaveras subdivision residents went to an emergency water distribution center last week at the Good Samaritan Church parking lot to obtain a supply of drinking water while the Calaveras County Water District was working to restore service in the area.
CCWD board OKs odd-even watering schedule
To prevent future water outages in the Jenny Lind service area,
the Calaveras County Water District Board of Directors has officially
adopted an odd-even outdoor watering schedule.
The action was taken at Wednesday’s board meeting following a
breakdown in the system that left as many as 1,000 homes in the Rancho
Calaveras area without water on Sunday and most of Monday.
In addition to the odd-even schedule, the board voted to prohibit
outdoor watering from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and no outdoor watering on
Outdoor watering is permitted from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. Odd-numbered
addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while
even-numbered addresses can water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
CCWD officials said the modified watering schedule should allow
the district to keep enough water in the system to prevent outages in
Foothill Fire Capt. Clint Gleason goes down an old mine shaft to rescue a calf.
Foothill firefighters rescue
calf from abandoned mine shaft
By Nick Baptista
Climbing up telephone poles to rescue cats has become a common
stereotype for the duties of firefighters, but the volunteers of the
Foothill Fire Protection District have added a new twist to the popular
Foothill volunteers on Sunday morning went down a 65-foot mine
shaft to rescue a week-and-a-half-old calf. The call was on Gillam Ranch
Six volunteers responded to the scene and they improvised by
using some equipment generally reserved for moving humans in a vehicle
accident to harness the calf and pull it to safety.
Capt. Clint Gleason, who made the descent to rescue the calf,
found the duty refreshing considering the ongoing heat wave.
“It was nice and cool down there,” he said.
The animal’s owner had praise for the firefighters.
“They were very exceptional,” said Francis Schavram. Schavram
said the volunteers had to use some of their personal gear to rescue the
calf and felt sorry the department did not provide all of their
“I felt sorry for them,” Schvram said. “They deserve
Hilary and Joseph Bechelli in front of their new Valley Springs law office with granddaughter Aubrey.
Attorney, paralegal open law office in Valley Springs
By Nick Baptista
Valley Springs has a new law office in town.
The Law Offices of Joseph Bechelli opened earlier this month in
the Thomas Center off Highway 26 at 15 St. Andrews Road, Suite 4.
Bechelli has been practicing law for 30 years and his wife Hilary
is a paralegal and notary. Bechelli is a general practitioner
specializing in family law, real estate, business and probate.
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served six years in
the Navy aboard nuclear submarines and teaching nuclear power courses at
Mare Island in Vallejo before entering law school. He obtained his law
degree from Golden Gate University.
Bechelli is a member of the Rotary Club of West Calaveras County
and has served on a hospital district foundation and childcare center
board prior to moving to Valley Springs.
Hilary obtained her paralegal certificate in 1991 and has been a
notary since 1983. She works strictly in family law and has taught
family law courses for beginning legal secretaries. She is also active
in Legal Secretaries Inc., the national organization for professional
The couple moved to Valley Springs a year ago.
The couple wanted to get away from the Bay Area and “we always
liked the foothills,” Hilary said.
For an appointment, call the office at (209) 772-3681. The fax
number is 772-3658.
David Bethea, president of Rainbow International, left, and Rodney Harris, franchise systems manager with Rainbow International, right, present John and Jill DeMasters with the organization's Builder of the Year award.
DeMasters receive honor for building organization
John and Jill DeMasters of Valley Springs have been recognized as
Rainbow International’s Builder of the Year.
The DeMasters are owners of Rainbow International’s
Calaveras-San Joaquin franchise and the award was presented during the
company’s 2006 annual conference in Phoenix, Ariz.
“John and Jill deserve this award because they not only focus
on their franchise, but on building our entire Rainbow International
franchise team,” said David Bethea, Rainbow International president.
The Builder of the Year award recognizes the franchisee that
provided franchise leads that culminated in the greatest number of
franchise sales in 2005.
“We believe in the Rainbow International franchise system and
are grateful to be a part of this organization,” John DeMasters said.
“Since it’s been successful for us, we want to spread the word and
help other business owners become Rainbow International franchisees as
Rainbow International was established in 1980 and is a global
franchise organization providing residential and commercial restoration
and cleaning services.
Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its “Franchise
500,” Rainbow International franchisees offer a broad range of damage
restoration services (ranging from water, smoke and fire damage to
carpet and upholstery cleaning and deodorization) to more than 330
The new Rapid Structural Drying Network of Rainbow International
has established a network of elite water loss mitigation franchises
across the United States. Rainbow International is a subsidiary of The
Dwyer Group Inc.
Rhonda and Phil Pope in their wine cellar with their award-winning wine and label.
Local wine tops at Amador County Fair
By Nick Baptista
The best amateur wine at this year’s Amador County comes from
Calaveras County and Olive Branch Road near Jenny Lind to be more
Phil Pope’s 2004 Rattler Hill Vineyard Syrah brought home the
overall grand award and Best Red distinction. Pope’s wife Rhonda won
the Best Label award featuring a rattlesnake getting ready to strike.
“I’m happy and humbled to win,” Pope said. “There are
some very good winemakers in Amador County.”
Pope has been making wine for five years and his 2004 Syrah
features the first crop harvested from his own vineyard. Beforehand he
was crushing and bottling grapes from other vineyards.
Pope got into winemaking because it seemed to be the thing to do
on Olive Branch Road. His neighbors Les Martin and Luke Parenti make
wine and he started by helping them.
The hobby has consumed him.
“I’m now a farmer and it is a lot of work, but I love it,”
Pope said his first batch of wine tasted like gasoline, but
“now I’m getting it down.”
He has no plans to quit his day job as branch sales
representative for Battery Systems and pursue a career as a winemaker.
“That’s an expensive proposition with permits and other
approvals - it’s just a hobby for me,” he added. Rhonda is a
receptionist for Calaveras Title in San Andreas.
Pope’s first award was a bronze in the 2005 Calaveras County
Fair. He did not enter this year’s Calaveras Fair and it was Martin
who convinced him to try the Amador Fair.
Les and Chris Martin also fared well at the Amador Fair bringing
home silver for their 2005 Petit Sirah. They also scored a silver and
two bronzes at the 2006 Calaveras County Fair.
“Our little community is getting better and winning more
awards,” Pope said.
The Amador County Fair in Plymouth is from July 27 to 30.
Members of the Calaveras
Sliders are, front row, from left, Melanie DeMarco, Lizzy Coon, Beth
Vaccarezza, Carly Panos, Linzy Johnston; middle row, Cassie Winstead-Thomas,
Frankie Bailey, Lindsay Hall, Cecily Basquez, Krista Reeder, Sierrah
Warren, Coach Jim DuHamel, Coach Barry Johnston; back row, Samantha
Golston, Coach Fred Coon, Coach Brad Hall, Blair Baker, Kelsey Hull and
Coach Bobby Thomas.
With winning seasons under their belts, both the 14-and-under and
16-and-under Calaveras Sliders girl’s fast pitch softball teams are
scrambling to raise funds in time to travel to the ASA Nationals next
The 14-and-under team, many of whom have been playing together
since third grade, have worked hard and showed consistent improvement
over the season. After placing second in their opening tournament
Memorial Day weekend in Oakdale, the team claimed a first-place victory
in Folsom on June 7, then held their own against tough Bay Area teams in
San Ramon June 18, going three for five. On June 24, the Sliders swept
Valley Magic at the National Qualifier Tournament in Oakdale, earning
their first-ever trip to the ASA Nationals Tournament, which is being
held Aug. 1 to 8 in Aurora, Colo.
The 16-and-under Sliders will be traveling to their Nationals in
Texas that first week in August as well. The team has seen a successful
season in Northern California this summer, going 13-3 overall in “B”
tournaments. This group of girls will be making their fourth consecutive
trip to the ASA Nationals after finishing in the top 10 at last year’s
event. The team is hoping to have a strong showing in their Fresno
Tournament, with maybe one more tune up before heading to Texas.
The Sliders are excited and proud to represent Calaveras County
in these prestigious national tournaments, but support from the
community is needed to cover costs for transportation and lodging for
Tickets are being sold for benefit events, including a tri-tip
barbecue dinner at the Valley Springs Vets Hall on July 14 and a
“Lemon Drops and Flip Flops” event on July 21.
In addition, a multi-prize raffle will be held July 28. Tickets
are available for $1 each or six for $5. For more information, contact
Kim DuHamel at (209) 772-9708, Jim DuHamel at (209) 772-9649, or Valerie
Vasile at 772-9593. Donation checks payable to the Calaveras Sliders may
be mailed to P.O. Box 607, Valley Springs, CA 95252.
Donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.
A freak accident claimed the life of a Burson man on the Fourth of July when the roof of a building he was working on caved in. Photo by Clint Gleason of the Foothill Fire Protection District.
Burson man dies from injuries in roof collapse
By Nick Baptista
Danny Hoskins Sr. of Burson died July 4 after a roof collapsed in
a building he was working on.
Firefighters from Foothill and Jenny Lind fire protection
districts and CDF were dispatched at 1:12 p.m. Independence Day to the
3500 block of Burson Road after receiving a report of a collapsed roof
and one man being trapped inside.
Capt. Clint Gleason of Foothill Fire said Hoskins and his son
were tearing down an old house and the son heard noises just before the
roof came crashing in. However, Hoskins was deaf, Gleason said, and
likely did not hear the building coming down on top of him.
The son got out, but couldn’t get back in to rescue his father.
Gleason and two other Foothill firefighters entered the rubble
and found Hoskins underneath a pile of wood planks.
"There were boards and equipment everywhere,” Gleason said, “and we had to carefully work our way back to him.”
They removed him from the debris and he was transported by
ambulance to Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Andreas, but died
shortly after due to his injuries.
Barbara Utterback, hands at waist, addresses the Foothill Fire Protection District Board of Directors during a May 9 meeting.
Foothill FPD subject of a Grand Jury investigation
By Nick Baptista
operations of the Foothill Fire Protection District and its Board of
Directors have come under the scrutiny of the 2005-2006 Calaveras County
jury recently completed its work and issued a 72-page report outlining
its findings and recommendations on the Foothill Fire Protection
District and a number of other county entities and issues.
jury reported it began an investigation of the fire district after
learning the district had purchased a metal building for a new fire
station and the structure had been left unerected and in the weather for
several years. In addition, there were numerous complaints filed during
the year concerning the board’s various violation of the Brown Act,
the state’s open meeting law.
the district for several years has had a site in Burson for a fire
station, it has been slow to break ground on the facility, the grand
jury reported, and the lone Valley Springs station is inadequate to
house the district’s equipment.
majority of the district’s equipment is left outside in the weather,
possibly leading to unnecessary maintenance costs,” the grand jury
jury recommended that the district’s board immediately break ground
and construct the new station. The grand jury wants the station
completed by the end of this year.
jury also recommends that the district’s board immediately search for
adequate housing for its equipment.
meetings, the board has announced that it is close to breaking ground on
the new facility and is looking at placing some of its equipment in a
local storage facility.
jury found that the board had committed violations of the Brown Act over
the course of the year.
jury recommends that members of the board educate themselves about the
can be done by attending seminars or taking advantage of county
sponsored ethics training,” the jury said. “The district should also
purchase several copies and make sure each members had a copy available
at all district board meetings.”
added that other violations of the Brown Act are still under
jury also criticized the board for a shortage of oxygen cylinders on
emergency response vehicles.
jury recommended that the district enter into an agreement with a local
gas vendor to provide a proper supply of full cylinders.
another finding, the grand jury said the district is receiving tax
dollars from an area to the south of Hogan Dam that has not been annexed
by the district and Jenny Lind Fire District has voiced interest in
annexing the area.
jury recommended that the Local Agency Formation Commission, Foothill
and Jenny Lind fire protection districts determine the sphere of
influence for each district to ensure proper fire protection for all
property owners within the affected area.
jury concluded that Foothill’s board should “make every effort to
improve communication with the community it was formed to serve, its
personnel, and with adjacent fire districts.”
results of this investigation have not been completed as of the
publishing of this document,” the report added. “The 2005-06 Grand
Jury recommends this investigation be continued by the 2006-07 Grand
report did not make any mention of the board’s action earlier this
year demoting Fire Chief Jeff Palm to assistant fire chief and
terminating Assistant Fire Chief Drew Utterback from the volunteer