Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger looks at a map outlining the state's wildfires during a recent briefing. The Jenny Lind Fire Protection District has sent a strike team to assist in the state's firefighting efforts.
Jenny Lind strike team helping fight blazes in north state
By Nick Baptista
State and federal firefighters continue to battle hundreds of blazes throughout Northern California and the Jenny Lind Fire Protection District is lending a hand.
The rash of wildfires throughout the north state is attributed to
weekend lightning strikes and unseasonably dry vegetation.
An engine and strike team from Jenny Lind were dispatched Monday
evening to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near Redding, Chief Brian
Chavez-Ochoa reported. The Engine 113 crew consists of Mike Cammisa,
Hunter Halsted, Jaime Mullin and Zachary Roy, along with Division Chief
The Jenny Lind crew drove overnight and arrived at 5:30 a.m.
Tuesday. They initially were earmarked for structure protection, but
with more than 70 fires in the Shasta-Trinity Unit, and many of them
unattended, the Jenny Lind crew immediately was sent to the fire line,
the chief said.
The length of their deployment is unknown. “I think they’ll
be there for awhile,” the chief said, adding that the Jenny Lind
district has plenty of resources to fill in for the crew in the
According to CalFire, there have been 157 fires for a total of
12,000 acres in the Shasta-Trinity Unit. As of Wednesday evening, 68 of
the fires had been contained.
The Jenny Lind crew was pretty much working alone cutting lines
around one of the fires, the chief said. The fire they’ve been working
on has been given a higher priority and additional resources are
expected to be sent their way.
The largest of the blazes in the unit is the Lime Complex Fires
at 7,500 acres. The Lime Complex Fires are located 14 miles west of
Hayfork and were 10 percent contained by Wednesday evening.
Tracy Busby, left, president
of the Calaveras County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, with Trinitas
owner Mike Nemee behind him, announces the association’s support of
the Trinitas project during Friday evening’s Valley Springs Area
Business Association mixer.
Deputies' group supports approval of Trinitas project
The Ridge at Trinitas golf course project, which is working its
way through the Calaveras County planning process, has received the
backing of the county’s deputy sheriff’s association.
Association President Tracy Busby made the announcement Friday
evening during a Valley Springs Area Business Association mixer held at
Trinitas, which was completed as a “personal” golf course, but now
awaits county approval to become a commercial operation.
Friday’s announcement by the Calaveras County Deputy
Sheriff’s Association was followed by a statement from Lew Mayhew of
Keep It Rural, Calaveras, a group of area residents in opposition to the
project as it has been proposed.
Busby told those in attendance at the mixer that the association
understands the lean economic times the county faces and believes
Trinitas could help generate a much-needed boost to the county coffers
as well as other businesses in the county with little impact to county
services or infrastructure.
The association is starting to take a more proactive stance on
various issues that affect its members such as developing a stronger
economic base in the county, Busby said.
The association is working under a one-year contract with the
county and believes the outlook on future contract negotiations appear
“We are surprised that a law enforcement union would become
involved in a land use decision,” Mayhew said in a prepared statement.
“It is ironic that they would announce the decision on the site of the
illegally constructed golf course, when the draft EIR is not even out
and the project is under review of federal and state agencies for legal
The impacts of this project on water, traffic, growth, law
enforcement and other important consequences for our community are not
The proposal by owner-developer Mike Nemee calls for an
18,000-square-foot clubhouse; 22,000-square-foot, 30-room lodge, and a
13-home gated community, with a minimum size of 2,500 square feet per
house, around the existing golf course off Ospital Road.
“We understand the union’s concern with adequate county
funding and compensation for deputy sheriffs,” Mayhew said.
“However, the economic contribution of the Trinitas project is only
The deputy sheriff’s association is encouraging the county
Board of supervisors to move forward and approve the Trinitas project
for the benefit of the county and its citizens.
“When the draft EIR is released, the Deputy Sheriff’s
Association should comment on the full project’s impact on law
enforcement,” Mayhew said. “We think their endorsement is premature,
and given the project’s history, questionable.”
Late last year by a 3-2 vote, the Board of Supervisors decided to
include the existing 18-hole golf course in the project's environmental
review. Previously, only the proposed lodge and 13-home gated community
were studied in the draft Environmental Impact Report.
Given the history of the project, Busby said the association had
no doubts it would be open to criticism.
“Some people think the Deputy Sheriff’s Association should
not make comments on public issues,” Busby said. “We find that
ridiculous. We’re citizens in this community and was have a stake in
what happens here.”
The association spent a lot of time considering the project and
it will not solve all of the ills of the county, but it is one of only a
few in the works that would bring additional revenue into the county, he
“We need to move forward,” he said.
Proposed cuts in the sheriff’s department budget will have a
detrimental impact on personnel and the county as a whole, he said, and
the department already is losing too many experienced deputies who move
on to other departments because of a disparity in wages.
The county needs to be competitive wage-wise for deputies with
the rest of the foothill counties, he added.
Jenny Soria uses a handwritten sign to express gratitute to her customers and inform them that she is closing her fruit stand.
Sign compliance efforts could be hurting business
Calaveras County’s efforts to herd businesses into conformance
with existing signage regulations reportedly is taking a toll on
Stephanie Moreno, director of the county’s Community
Development Agency, informed the Valley Springs Area Business
Association in April that her agency had begun taking a sign inventory
in the area and completing a catalog of all business signs.
Those signs in violation of the county’s sign ordinance and
those without permits would receive “a gentle letter from us asking
them to come in and talk with us,” Moreno told the ABA at its April
Approximately 60 such letters have been sent to businesses in the
Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace area, according to Shelly Prater, a
county inspector who is working on the signage project.
One business, the Soria fruit stand located off Highway 26 at
Mangili Drive, received one of the letters and removed two signs along
The loss of the signs killed the fruit stand’s weekend
business, said owner Jenny Soria.
Nearby Jitters also received a letter and removed its large sign.
Owner Valerie Latt echoed similar concerns.
She has noticed a decrease in business on the weekends from what
she called “the boat traffic,” out-of-town visitors exploring the
area’s recreational amenities.
“It’s hard for those people to understand we’re here,”
Latt said. “They don’t know our products and what we sell so they
With the decrease in business and a request by the county to
fully enclose her fruit stand, Soria has decided she will close shop.
She has been in business in Valley Springs for five years and the fruit
stand is scheduled to close June 28.
“Every year the county tells us to do something different like
put in a new floor, the signs and now enclosing the whole building,”
Soria said. “We try to work with them, but the fruit gets ripe too
quickly as it is and enclosing the building will only make it worse.”
Soria’s family has fruit stands in Columbia, Riverbank, Sonora
and just recently opened one in Modesto.
“They’re too strict here,” she said. “The other counties
don’t make us enclose our fruit stands and allow us to have signs.”
Soria said her efforts would now shift to the Modesto stand.
“We really appreciate all of the people who came in and
supported our business,” she added.
Prater said the county is simply responding to complaints, which
originated in the Copperopolis area, but when word got out that the
county was taking a look at the sign situation, complaints also came
from the Valley Springs area.
Many business people do not know there is a sign ordinance and
educating them is an important aspect of the program, she added.
County officials are trying to explain the regulations, the
permit process and outline the options business owners have in regards
to signage, she said.
“The county is not trying to shut anyone down, we’re just
trying to get everyone in compliance,” Prater said.
Businesses with questions concerning the letters and their signs
can call Prater at 754-6390.
of Bill Brinlee Post No. 102 of the American Legion in Valley Springs
conducted a flag disposal ceremony Saturday evening. Photo by Sharlea
Worn U.S. flags receive proper retirement
Unserviceable U.S. flags - those that were tattered, torn or inappropriate for further display – were retired in a dignified ceremony Saturday evening at Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial Park in observation of Flag Day.
Members of American Legion Post 102 of Valley Springs and Boy
Scout Troop 302 of Valley Springs participated in the ceremony open to
Legion Post Commander David Evans presided over the event and
Sergeant-at-Arms Ray Burhop and post member Ben Kirby presented the
flags for inspection. There were approximately 40 flags presented for
disposal and after the inspection, the Boy Scouts carried the flags to
the flames for the final phase of the ceremony.
The National Flag Code, which gives
guidelines for proper flag disposal, was developed and adopted at a
conference on June 14, 1923. Not until Dec. 22, 1942, did the code
Flag Day was first observed in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of
the Continental Congress' adoption of the Stars and Stripes as
the official flag of the United States.
The Legion post and Boy Scouts conduct the flag disposal ceremony
on an annual basis and the public can drop off their old flag or flags
from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays through Thursdays at the Jenny Lind Veterans
Memorial District office, 189 Pine St., Valley Springs.
Sharlea Nisbet and Candace Keesey contributed to this article.
Coyote Hill will provide their unique blend of talent at the June 25 "Music in the Parks" program in Valley Springs.
"Coyote Hill" to headline Valley Springs music program
“Music in the Parks”, the free summer concerts series of the Calaveras Arts Council, moves to Valley Springs on Wednesday, June 25.
This will be the second concert of the series, which runs every
Wednesday evening through Aug. 20. Starting at 6:30 p.m. on the cool,
green lawn of the ball field at the Jenny Lind Veterans District
Memorial Park, the first half of the performance will feature lively
down-home music of “Coyote Hill.” The second half will be devoted to
Woody Guthrie songs performed by the cast of the recent Stage 3 Theatre
production about this beloved American folk singer.
Coyote Hill is a four-member band that specializes in American
Roots music, a blend of folk, bluegrass, blues, swing and jazz. Enjoy
this old-timey style created by Richard Sholer on guitar, Dobro,
mandolin, harmonicas; Dick Todd on banjo, guitar and harmony vocals;
Clinton Day on bass, keyboard, vocals; and Rick Barlow on fiddle.
They’re all from Tuolumne County, except for Clinton who’s from the
Coyote Hill was created in 2005 by Sholer who has been smack in
the middle of the Mother Lode’s fertile acoustic music scene for 30
years. Not only is he known for his solid guitar playing, but for his
imaginative songwriting. He’s penned more than 50 songs.
Joining Sholer and Barlow after a short break will be five other
musicians who starred in the Sonora musical “Woody Guthrie’s
American Song” – Lillian McLeod, actor and one of the area’s
premiere vocalists; Christy Nava, Hoyt Cory, Jeff Cooper, and Ron Cotnam.
Together they will deliver some of the songs Woody Guthrie wrote
and made famous, such as “This Land is Your Land” and “So Long,
It’s Been Good to Know You.”
Guthrie was an American icon, part Mark Twain and part wandering
minstrel who changed the world with his songs of hope during hardship,
from the 1940s through 1967 when a progressively debilitating ailment,
Huntington’s disease, took his life.
Bring your picnics and low-back chairs to the ball field. Get
there early for closest parking. At the 4-way stop sign, go north onto
Laurel Street, turn left onto Daphne Street, and keep going up the hill
to the field. Look for the
canopy donated by the Valley Springs Area Business Association.
For more information, visit www.calaverasarts.org.
Elaine Maxwell helps a child make a beaded necklace at Kid's Day.
Kid's Day "fabulous" thanks to outstanding community support
It not only takes a community to raise a child, but a
community-wide effort for a successful Kid’s Day, according to Marti
Crane of the Valley Springs Optimist Club.
Crane said participation in Saturday’s Kid’s Day event at
Valley Springs Elementary School was “fabulous.”
As of Monday, the club was still counting how many children
attended the event, but all 500 beach balls left on the field “found
new homes,” Crane added.
The annual event marked its 13th year and had
participation from nearly 50 groups and organizations.
Open to all ages, Kid’s Day featured a free lunch, ice cream,
snow cone and smoothie to children 12 and under.
Entertainment this year was provided by Top Hat School of Dance,
Destiny’s Dance Studio, Calaveras Cheer and Dance Xplosion, the
Calaveras Community Concert Band and Linda Moore of “Bells 4 U” out
Children also received free books through Friends of the Library.
Sheng Chi Kung Fu, Calaveras Gold Gymnastics, Oro Madre Bass Anglers and Lohsen Martial Arts Academy had demonstrations at the event.
A highlight of the day was landing of the Phi Air Medical
helicopter, Crane said. The air-med helicopter lost its previous landing
site due to expansion of Valley Springs Elementary School and had to
land closer to the booths this year, which caused a few moments of
excitement as everyone had to grab onto their shade covers.
The Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation and Health
Habit have been the longest Kid’s Day participants, Crane said, dating
back to the beginning of the event.
Other financial contributors include Knights of Columbus, Sierra
Eye Care, La Contenta Village Mart, First 5 Calaveras, Brian
Chavez-Ochoa, Umpqua Bank, Tri-Dam Lions, R.C. Thomas, the Valley
Springs Area Business Association, Valley Springs Feed and Pet Supply,
Pizza factory, R3 Real Estate and Judy Allen.
Terry Clark Insurance, Sam Harris of Aire Serv, Beyond Juice and
Valley Springs Chevron provided in-kind donations.
Crane also praised the efforts of individuals such as Phil and
Liz Weaver, George and Terry Bailey, Linda Mellin, Susan and Clarence
Wheat who are eager to lend a hand.
Public services agencies such as the Jenny Lind and Foothill fire
protection districts, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department
volunteers, the Army Corps of Engineers also participated and provided
activities for the youngsters.
Hubbs and Bob Sinclair display the ribbons they brought home from the
Calaveras County Fair.
Challenge sparks friendly competition among canners
What began as a friendly challenge ended with nearly 11 ribbons
from the recent Calaveras County Fair.
The challenge began when Lisa Hubbs of Valley Springs appeared on
the front page of the Oct. 3, 2007, edition of The Valley Springs News
after winning two blue and two red ribbons at the 2007 California State
Fair for her jams and jellies.
That prompted family friend and fellow canner Bob Sinclair of
Jenny Lind to issue the challenge. Sinclair, whose
great-great-grandfather homestead in Jenny Lind, is a bus driver for the
Calaveras Unified School District and retired after 24 years in the U.S.
Hubbs entered the state fair after a 21-year break to replace
ribbons she won in 1986, but lost in a 2001 fire that destroyed her
home. Hubbs won two first and a second back in 1986.
Sinclair, who has been canning for approximately 35 years,
decided to enter the county contest last year after hearing the other
bus drivers talk about their children’s fair entries. Sinclair
garnered nine ribbons at the 2006 county fair, including five firsts,
one second, three thirds, three of which were Best of Division and one
“This is fun,” Sinclair said of his experience entering the
Sinclair chided Hubbs about not entering the county fair and with
those words, the contest was on.
Despite undergoing rotator cuff surgery several months ago, the
one-armed Hubbs prepared her offerings for the 2007 county fair. She
came home with a blue ribbon for first place with her “Blazin Berry
Jam,” a combination of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and
raspberries, and another ribbon along with Best of Division for her
Several of her entries were disqualified because they weren’t
in the prescribed-sized jars.
Sinclair, who entered both the adult and men’s divisions, fared
somewhat better with nine ribbons – three firsts, three second and
three thirds – with one Best of Division and a third in sweepstakes.
Sinclair submitted pickles, stewed tomatoes, jalapeno peppers,
bread and butter zucchini, Serrano’s peppers, waxed peppers, sweet
beans and fig jam. Figs for the jam came from a tree Sinclair’s father
remembers playing on when he was a child.
Most of the produce for Sinclair’s canning came from his own
The rivalry between the two family friends will continue with a
re-match at the upcoming state fair.
“I plan to take no prisoners,” Sinclair said.
Foodstock ’08 was a three-generation affair for the Coca family as, clockwise, from left, Josh, Noreen, Paul J., Paul M., and Paul Anthony with the flag got into the music at Saturday’s benefit concert to raise money to help feed area families.
Foodstock called a success
Last Saturday’s Foodstock ’08 brought in approximately
$10,000 to the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry to help feed area
families having a tough time making financial ends meet.
“It was a fabulous first year and a great point of reference
for next year,” said Heidi Miller, the Neighbor to Neighbor Food
The food pantry is open from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and is the
only pantry in Amador and Calaveras where food is available on a weekly
basis. The pantry served 1,808 people in 2006 and is projected to serve
7,000 this year, far above its original budget.
No religious affiliation is necessary for the service and the
only questioned asked is the size of the participating family.
The benefit concert was planned to help raise additional funds to
meet the increase in demand. The concert featured eight Christian
musical groups and was hosted by Good Samaritan Community Covenant
“It was a positive experience,” Miller said. “The food was
good and it was great fun.”
Foodstock helped raise funds for the pantry by serving tri-tip
and hot dog meals at the event. Approximately 550 meals were served,
reported Machelle Moore, the festival’s advertising coordinator. In
addition, the leftover food was sold at the end of the event or at
church the next day, which raised another $500.
She added that the silent auction and raffle exceeded projections
by 150 percent and approximately 300 canned or boxed food items were
donated by those who attended the event.
“We were not sure what to expect,” Moore said. “We beat our
projections and did better than we truly expected.”
Early results indicate the festival had slightly more than $5,000
in expenses and revenue between $15,000 and $16,000, she conservatively
“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” said Miller. “We pulled
in people I didn’t know so word went out beyond our church and into
the overall community, which is what we were hoping for. Overall, we got
good feedback and everyone saw it as a good event for Valley Springs.”
Gary Tofanelli was the unofficial election-night leading vote-getter in the District 1 supervisor's race.
District 1 supervisor race heading to November runoff
The race for Calaveras County’s new District 1 supervisor will
be decided in the fall.
Not one of the three candidates in the race for the District 1
seat on the Board of Supervisors finished with a simple majority of the
vote Tuesday to win the post outright, but election-night results have
Gary Tofanelli and Zerrall McDaniel facing off in the Nov. 4 election.
Tofanelli finished with 743 votes, five ballots ahead of
McDaniel. Each captured about 36 percent of ballots cast, while Kathy
Mazzaferro finished third with a 27.7 percent of the vote, nearly 170
ballots behind the two front-runners.
The results are unofficial with a number of absentee ballots
turned into precincts on Tuesday remaining to be counted.
The District 1 seat is being vacated by Bill Claudino, who
decided not to seek re-election after serving one four-year term on the
board. Claudino’s term expires at the end of the year.
District 1 includes the communities of San Andreas, Valley
Springs, Campo Seco, La Contenta, Camanche, Burson and Wallace.
Tofanelli is a 16-year resident of Burson and was the foreperson
of the 2006-07 Grand Jury.
He served a total of four years on the Grand Jury. In addition,
he has been involved as an officer with his Burson area homeowners’
association serving as either manager, vice manager or
secretary-treasurer for the past 15 years.
The supervisor hopeful has a steel fabrication and erection
business in Stockton and previously owned a feed store in Burson. He and
his wife of 36 years, Denise, have two adult sons, Gary Jr. and John.
John resides in the county and works in the family business, while Gary
Jr. lives in Hawaii.
McDaniel, a 48-year resident of Calaveras County, is currently a
trustee of the Calaveras Unified School District, first elected to that
post in 1999. She has been a retail business owner in San Andreas and
Valley Springs since 1984 when she founded ShowTime Video.
In addition, she is president of the San Andreas Merchants’
Association, president of the Valley Oaks Merchants’ Association in
Valley Springs, president of her homeowners association, and co-chair of
the citizens group Citizens for San Andreas.
She has served on the School Site Council for San Andreas
Elementary School, Toyon Middle School and Calaveras High School, and
was on the CUSD Bond Oversight Committee.
Mazzaferro is manager for the Wells Fargo Bank branch in San
Andreas. She has been involved with a number of organizations including
the Valley Springs Boosters, Valley Springs Area Business Association,
Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation as a trustee on the board,
theater groups and Friends of the Library.
She has two daughters Ann, Miss Calaveras 2004, and Amy, Miss
Calaveras first runner-up 2007. Both are now in college.