Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Saturday’s grand opening at the Bank of Rio Vista attracted a large crowd, seen hear filling out entry forms for a number of drawings held to mark the occasion.
Bank attracts large crowd despite inclement weather
Despite inclement weather, the grand opening for the Valley
Springs branch of the Bank of Rio Vista was a tremendous success, said
Noella Erichson, branch manager and vice president.
She received permission from the owners of the soon-to-open
Quiznos restaurant to set up tables and chairs in their space across
from the bank.
DJ Walker of KAT Country was broadcasting live and was
instrumental in letting people know the bank was continuing to hold the
grand opening in spite of the weather, she added.
In all, the Tri-Dam Lions Club served more than 600 hot dogs to
the public. The bank also served popcorn, ice cream and sodas.
Working on a show-stopping number for April 1’s Calaveras Follies are, from left, Marti Crane, Victoria Erickson, Vicky Henkle, Sherry Moritz and Marisa Casillas.
Valley Springs residents participate in Follies to benefit youth mentoring
By Nick Baptista
The 2006 edition of the Calaveras Follies is this weekend and a
number of Valley Springs area residents plan to participate in the fun
event that benefits the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program.
The Valley Springs Diamond Dolls have a pair of numbers in the
show. The group is composed of Marisa Casillas, Marti Crane, Victoria
Erickson, Vicky Henkle, Nancy Moritz, Jenny Parks and Rosie Watson with
male support from Bill Crane, Jeff Erickson and Richard Silveria.
Jennifer Bonomo is director of the Diamond Dolls.
The event features Calaveras County citizens lip-synching popular
songs and show tunes while imitating well-known artists on stage in Mark
Twain Hall at the fairgrounds in Angels Camp. The show begins at 6:30
p.m. Saturday, April 1, and tickets are $50 per person, which includes
appetizers and a post-show cast party.
This is the second year of the Follies, which is produced by
Murphys Creek Theatre. Tickets are available by calling Frogtown at
736-2561. Last year’s event was a sell-out.
Most of the dolls are first-time cast members. The names of the
numbers they will be performing are kept secret to add to the suspense
of the evening.
The Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program is a countywide program
based on the Big Brothers Big Sisters model, administered by the
Calaveras County Office of Education. For more information about the
Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program, call 736-6078 or visit online at
Mark Bettcher, Laura Evans (center) and Kathy Laughlin of Countrywide Home Loans have moved into their new office in the Valley Oaks Center.
Countrywide opens new office in Valley Springs
Countrywide Home Loans Inc. has moved to a larger Valley Springs
office to help area residents achieve their dream of homeownership.
The new office is located at 200 Highway 12, the new annex at the
Valley Oaks Center.
Home loan consultants Mark Bettcher, Kathy Laughlin, sales
manager Laura Evans and branch manager Claudia Sanders represent
Countrywide in the Valley Springs area, working with builders, real
estate professionals and prospective homebuyers to provide information
on a variety of home financing options for both new and existing homes.
Bettcher has lived in the area for five years and has more than
20 years in the mortgage and banking industry. He started with
Countrywide five years ago in the Stockton office with the promise of a
new branch coming to Valley Springs.
Bettcher is a member of the Rotary Club of West Calaveras,
serving as the club’s sergeant-at-arms and will be the president-elect
in 2006-07. Bettcher’s wife Celia is a Mother Advisor for the
International Order of Rainbow for Girls and Bettcher is a past Rainbow
Dad. The couple has two daughters, Jessica, 17, and Jennifer, 15, both
Calaveras High School students.
Bettcher is also a member of the Valley Springs Area Business
Association, the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce, the Valley
Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Stockton Jaycees.
Laughlin and her husband Don have lived in the community for two
years. They came here on a vacation “and never went home,” she said.
Laughlin has been in the real estate and mortgage business for
four years. She spends time with her horses and painting when she is not
working. She paints mostly in watercolors. One of her pieces recently
graced the cover of Anvil magazine.
Evans has been a Valley Springs area resident for 13 years. She
has been in the mortgage and banking industry for 26 years.
Evans is a member of the Valley Springs Chamber of Commerce Board
of Directors, an ambassador for the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce
and a member of the Valley Springs Boosters, Valley Springs Area
Business Association, and Rotary Club of West Calaveras.
Her interests include boating on the local lakes in the summer
and hitting the nearby slopes in the winter.
John Miller has been promoted from assistant manager to manager of the
new Starbucks opening at the end of the month in Valley Springs.
Starbucks plans to open March 30 at Valley Oaks
By Nick Baptista
Starbucks in Valley Springs is due to open March 30, according to the
manager of coffee house that is being located on the east end of the new
retail wing at the Valley Oaks Center.
Miller, who has been the assistant manager of Starbucks’ Waterloo Road
and Highway 99 store, has been promoted to manager of the new Valley
Springs Starbucks operation.
said the initial hours of operation for the Valley Springs store will be
from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Those hours may be adjusted after several weeks
of operation, he said.
will celebrate its opening in Valley Springs with a “Friends and
Family Night” from 5 to 8 p.m. March 29. Drinks, pastries, cookies and
other food will be available free of charge. However, Starbucks will
accept donations that will go to the Valley Springs Youth Center.
we make any money, we want to make sure that we’re helping out the
community,” Miller said of Starbucks’ Friends and Family Night.
Valley Springs operation is beginning with 26 employees, Miller and an
assistant manager. He anticipates the store’s workforce could grow to
as many as 35 non-management employees. Starbucks conducted a pair of
job fairs to staff the Valley Springs operation.
but two of the staffers are new to Starbucks, Miller added. Miller, who
resides in nearby Lockeford, himself has been with Starbucks for two
years, starting as a barista and working his way to manager.
Valley Springs store will offer a new line of prepackaged gourmet salads
and sandwiches, said Miller. The prepackaged foods are not available at
all Starbucks and offer the convenience of stopping for coffee in the
morning and picking up lunch at the same time, he said.
The Valley Springs Starbucks will be one of nearly 7,000 company-operated or licensed locations in the United States. The company has another 2,700-plus locations worldwide.
Cornish & Carey out of Roseville is handling pre-leasing for a new commercial development planned for Valley Springs.
Valley Springs attracts office/retail development
By Nick Baptista
Another project is in the works adding to Valley Springs’
renaissance of commercial development.
Tom Kuehl, Cornish & Carey Commercial leasing agent in
Roseville, said plans for Valley Springs Central Plaza are being
prepared for submittal to the Calaveras County Building Department and
the owner of the proposed commercial development would like to complete
the project by the spring of 2007.
Kuehl is in the process of lining up tenants for the office and
retail complex proposed for property on the east side of Highway 26
between Nove Way and Jean Street.
The property is zoned for commercial use, Kuehl said, and the
owner plans to place a complex of approximately 37,000 square feet at
the site. Kuehl said he is seeking mixed uses for the development, which
could include cafes, a day spa, pizzeria and professional offices.
Office space ranges in size from a minimum of 1,200 to a maximum
of 5,500 square feet.
The owner would like to begin construction by the fall and
anticipates it will take six to eight months to complete the project,
For additional information, Kuehl can be reached at (916)
Bud Hoekstra of Glencoe expresses his feelings on Calaveras County planning matters in a non-verbal form at last Monday’s study session before the Board of Supervisors.
Supervisors agree it's time to overhaul county's General Plan
The first step in a process to update
Calaveras County’s General Plan began Monday afternoon when the Board
of Supervisors unanimously agreed to spend approximately $30,000 for a
consultant to evaluate the current General Plan and develop a working
plan to move forward with an update.
The board also voiced its support for
several recommendations presented by interim Planning Director Bob
Sellman to address the current workload in his department.
The board provided its thoughts and
directions on general plan and planning department matters after a
presentation by Sellman and nearly two hours of public comments during
the study session held in the San Andreas Town Hall to accommodate an
audience of approximately 200.
According to Sellman, the scope of the
$30,000 analysis would be to review each General Plan element and make
recommendations on what information needs to be updated, what needs to
be revised and to suggest where new goals, policies and implementation
measures may be needed.
The consultant can also recommend where the county could use
language from general plans in other counties, where to combine elements
if possible and include a scope of work for proposals to amend the
General Plan and where contract work would be needed, Sellman said.
In addition to identifying the scope of
work needed, Sellman said, the evaluation should be helpful in
determining to total cost of the update. His report included a rough
estimate of $1 million to complete a comprehensive general plan update.
Sellman also floated the idea of
establishing a “General Plan Update and Maintenance Fee” to
eventually pay for the upcoming General Plan update and any future
The board asked the planning director and
County Administrator Tom Mitchell to work on proposals for study and
consideration. Sellman said he conducted an informal survey of other
jurisdictions and their fees are most commonly based on building permit
His initial report indicated the county
could generate more than $250,000 with the fee and the average fee would
be approximately $360 on a 1,500-square-foot dwelling.
Sellman’s recommendations to help
streamline his department’s workload included letting the department
accept draft submittals of initial studies for projects from applicants,
denying without prejudice projects that have been idle for an extended
period of time, and limiting public access to planners during the
afternoon to allow them uninterrupted time to process applications.
District 5 Supervisor Victoria Erickson
said she thought the idea of limiting access to the planners would
create more work for the department. The office will remain open for all
other business and planning technicians will answer phones and work the
If they do not feel they can answer
questions posed to them, the board suggested county planners contacting
those individuals asking questions within a day or two.
Erickson suggested rotating the planners
with at least one available to answer questions from the public.
Public and board comment touched on recent
discussion of imposing a moratorium while the General Plan is being
Sellman outlined strict state regulations
concerning imposition of a moratorium.
The board did not express a willingness to
impose a moratorium at this time.
Maria Ortner, left, is the new assistant principal at Jenny Lind Elementary School and Amy Hasselwander has been promoted from assistant principal to principal.
Jenny Lind has new principal, assistant
By Nick Baptista
Jenny Lind Elementary School has a new administration team.
Although the school has a new principal and assistant principal,
the two new administrators are familiar faces to staff and students.
Amy Hasselwander, Jenny Lind’s assistant principal the past 2
½ years, last month was promoted to principal when former Principal
Karen Dickerson was elevated to director of preschool and after-school
Hasselwander’s replace came from in-house as fifth-grade
teacher Maria Ortner was selected to serve as the school’s assistant
principal for the rest of the school year. Court Henley has been hired
to replace Ortner in the classroom.
Hasselwander began her teaching career in Oakley in 1989. She
taught a self-contained sixth grade before teaching seventh- and
eighth-grade math and science in the district. She returned to school to
finish her master’s degree in educational leadership and obtain an
administrative credential at California State University, Hayward. She
served two years as an assistant principal in Oakley and two years with
the Jefferson School District office in Tracy where she was in charge of
overseeing state and federal programs.
Ortner has been in the education field for the past five years.
She started as a substitute teacher in the Lodi and Calaveras school
districts and in 2001 she was hired as a long-term substitute at Jenny
Lind and has been there ever since. She has taught third grade, fourth
and fifth combo and fifth grade.
Ortner, who lives down the street from Jenny Lind, had been in
management prior to getting into education and she sees her prior
experience as helpful as she bridges into school administration.
Hasselwander grew up in upstate New York and her interests
include backpacking, especially in the Adirondack s where she keeps
track of how many peaks she has climbed.
Ortner likes to write poetry and now she is busy getting her
daughter ready for college.
Hasselwander and Ortner want to empower students to take learning
into their own hands. Teachers and staff provide students with the tools
necessary to be good students.
In an era of school accountability, Hasselwander said it is
important to focus on increasing test scores. The school’s test scores
have gone up considerably the past few years and she will work with
staff and students to continue the trend.
Increasing student achievement should be a key factor in all
school-related actions and decisions, she added.
Hasselwander said she is pleased to work at a school “with an
incredibly supportive parent population. All we have to do is ask for
something and the parents will come out and help. That’s real positive
for the school.”
Changes at the school include resurrection of the Student Senate
and introduction of a leadership and student safety program.
Fourth-grade teacher Wendy Evans will have time on Fridays to
implement the programs for the school’s sixth-grade students. The
student safety program will be similar to a safety patrol. In addition
to stressing leadership and safety, the program emphasizes being safe,
being responsible and being respectful, Hasselwander said, which
important values to live under and the direction she would like to point
Newly elected Valley Springs Chamber of Commerce Board members are, from left, Elaine Alves, Liz Weaver, Kevin Squire, Kathy Gehrke, Laura Evans and Nick Hodgson. Not pictured is Board President Dave Tanner.
New directors at work reorganizing chamber
The Valley Springs Chamber of Commerce is in the process of
reorganizing after seven new members were elected last month to the
Board of Directors.
The new board is composed of Elaine Alves, Laura Evans, Kathy
Gehrke, Nick Hodgson, Kevin Squire, Dave Tanner and Liz Weaver.
The new chamber board met for the first time on Monday and
discussed future steps at Wednesday’s general membership meeting.
Prior to last month’s board election, chamber membership
expressed frustration with the direction the chamber had been heading
and chamber members are encouraged to attend today’s meeting and
participate in the discussion.
Frank Eckblom had been the chamber president the past six years.
The western portions of Calaveras County shaded in peach, yellow and light blue will be surveyed early for the presence of mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus.
Search to begin in area for mosquitoes that can carry the West Nile virus
Preliminary 2006 mosquito surveillance and control measures for
the west portion of Calaveras County have been developed.
The Calaveras County Environmental Health Department and San
Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District staff will likely begin
surveying areas within parts of Supervisorial Districts 1 and 5 within
the next few days for purposes of determining early spring and summer
mosquito breeding habitat.
assessment may result in the chemical treatment of water bodies to help
curtail the development of mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus.
Within two miles of the Calaveras/San Joaquin County boundary, the
vector control district will survey and recommend treatment at no cost
to the county. The
additional and larger area will be treated at no cost to the county as
such costs will be covered by a grant secured through the California
Department of Health Services.
water bodies are to be treated, all applications will be done in
accordance with state law and through and by the San Joaquin County
Mosquito and Vector Control District. Chemical applications are not to
include aerial spraying or neighborhood fogging. Treatment of water
bodies on private lands will only be done with the knowledge and consent
of the property owner.
This program is
designed to help curtail West Nile virus and is aimed at those species
of mosquitoes (Culex) that have the ability to carry and transmit the
virus. This program will
not be addressing those species of mosquitoes that present themselves
primarily as a nuisance.
Calaveras County Environmental Health staff has and will continue
to trap and identify mosquitoes for purposes of determining where
treatments should be made within the specified treatment areas.
In addition, a joint study session - including the Environmental and Public Health Departments - is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 13 in the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors chambers. This study session will update the board on mosquito control and West Nile virus within Calaveras County.