Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Car lovers brave the elements
It was a rainy and soggy day for the fifth annual Foothill
Classics Car Show and Swap Meet, but that didn’t dampen spirits as
more than 150 vehicles were on display Saturday at Veterans Memorial
Park in Valley Springs.
Deborah Norton of Stockton took best of show with a 1973 Plymouth
Frank Betancourt, one of the show’s organizers, was pleased
with the turnout.
“Everyone seemed to be in good spirits,” he said.
The show had attracted 204 early registrations, and probably
would have had another 50 more the day of the event, if it had not
rained, he added.
Lee and Cindy Hieber of Valley Springs were the winners of the
crate engine drawing and decided to take the $1,000 cash alternative,
while Terry and Teresa Costa of Murphys were the winners of the 50/50
drawing, which came in at $240.
The show was open to vehicles from 1975 and earlier. Valley
Springs car enthusiast had a good showing in the list of awards.
Dick Yoes won the best paint category with his 1955 Chevrolet Bel
Air, while Flora McLeod won best stock with a 1966 Shelby GT.
Best full custom went to Bob McLeod and his 1949 Mercury two-door
coupe, while Bill and Carol Sousa won the special interest award with a
1919 Ford T-Bucket and Richard Fautt took the best rat rod honor with a
1924 Dodge coupe.
Out-of-town winners were: Larry and Sandy Molina, Manteca; best
upholstery, 1937 Ford coupe; Reba Malone, Sacramento, best motor, 1957
Chevrolet Bel Air; Dona Gomes, Stockton, best hot rod, 1941 Chevrolet
deluxe coupe; Bob and Rita Calvin, Mokelumne Hill, best mild custom,
1949 GMC panel truck; Larry Parks, Napa, best under construction, 1957
Chevrolet pickup; Bill and Kathy Dean, Pine Grove, best graphics, 1949
Mercury four-door sedan; Len Catania, Livermore, best truck, 1946
Chevrolet pickup; Jim Braghetta, West Point, longest distance for
driving an open roadster in the rain, 1923 Ford Roadster; and Lee
Barnard, Stockton, youngest rodder, with a car he has owned for 50
years, 1939 Ford coupe.
Calaveras Coachmen received the club participation award with 13
A percentage of proceeds from the event benefit local
youth-oriented organizations and programs – such as the Calaveras High
School auto shop and Little League.
U.S. Post Office carrier Gail Camenzind delivers mail to Chris Ferguson's box, while Valley Springs Postmaster Dann Myers displays "The Wall" picture frame, one of the items available in his mailbox improvement contest.
Post office launches contest to improve area's mailboxes
Valley Springs Postmaster Dann Myers is asking all postal
delivery patrons to inspect and repair their mailboxes and participate
in a contest marking Mailbox Improvement Week.
The U.S. Post Office observation of Mailbox Improvement Week
began on Monday, and Myers has a contest extending into next month to
encourage customers to make any repairs to their mailboxes and be
eligible to receive a free gift.
“Repairing mailboxes improves the appearance of our community and also makes delivering and receiving mail safer for our carriers and customers,” he said.
In addition, replacing or adding house numbers to a box decreases
the chance of a misdelivery, Myers said.
The Postal Service also says it is in the best interest of a
customer to display their address numbers on both sides of the box
because law enforcement and fire personnel depend on mailboxes to locate
people and many times they approach from a different direction than the
The Postal Service makes the annual request because of the wear
and tear that occurs to mailboxes every year, especially during the
Myers has solicited the services of the Valley Springs Area
Business Association to judge the mailbox improvement program. Judging
will be based on appearance, visibility of delivery numbers, proper
height and proximity from the roadway, and creativity.
Winner of the most improved mailbox contest will receive a choice
of the U.S. Post Office’s Official Licensed Retail Products on display
in the Valley Springs post office lobby. The items include commemorative
picture frames. They retail from $35 to $49.
In addition to making sure all the numbers are on the mailbox,
repairs could include replacing loose hinges on a mailbox door,
repainting a mailbox that may have rusted or the paint has started to
peel and remounting a mailbox post that may have become loose.
Entry forms will be available in the post office lobby, or from
any mail carrier. The deadline to return the entry form and be eligible
for the contest is June 17.
Nurse Jaymee Loverin, left, was credited for helping Valley Springs Elementary School sixth-grader Sarah Simons receive medical attention following Friday’s thrill ride accident at the Calaveras County Fair. Simons was one of three airlifted from the scene.
Valley Springs schoolgirls among 23 injured at county fair
Four classmates from Valley Springs Elementary School were
enjoying a day at the Calaveras County Fair aboard the YoYo swing ride
when it collapsed at approximately 6 p.m. Friday.
The four were among 23 injured fair-goers who were sent to area
and regional hospitals for treatment of injuries sustained in the
accident that put a damper on the 2008 edition of the fair and frog
By Sunday, all of those injured had been released from the
hospitals and sent home, including Sarah Simons, a Valley Springs
Elementary School sixth-grader, who was one of three accident victims
airlifted from the scene. She was taken to U.C. Davis Medical Center in
Sacramento. A 20-year-old woman was transported by air ambulance to
Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, while a 14-year-old girl was flown to
Memorial Medical Center, also in Modesto.
Sarah, the daughter of Jason and Peggy Simons, is a student in
Stacy Carter’s sixth-grade class at VSE.
She was with four other classmates at the fair under the
supervision of one of the girl’s mothers, Pam Kramer. Three of
Sarah’s friends – Samantha Bearwald, Jolene Blankenship and Courtney
Couch were on the ride at the time. Kramer’s daughter Miranda was
resting at the time and not on the ride.
Sarah’s father Jason was thankful for Kramer’s presence at
the hectic scene, keeping him and wife Peggy informed as best as
possible despite the chaos and confusion.
Jason also appreciated the efforts of Jaymee Loverin, a nurse at
the scene, who re-evaluated Sarah and determined her injuries were more
serious than first thought.
Sarah, who was at the apex of the ride when it broke down,
remembered hitting the ground twice before it came to a stop. She
sustained scrapes and bruises to her chest, legs and tailbones. She is
scheduled to return to UCD Medical Center in two weeks for an
The three other Valley Springs girls also sustained scrapes, cuts
Sarah, who said she heard a sound similar to a gunshot when the
ride broke down, doubts she’ll ever go on another carnival ride.
Initial reports had Sarah being flown to Sonora Regional Medical
Center. The Simons had arrived at the facility only to find their
daughter was not there.
Kramer, who was at Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital at the time
with the other girls, talked to an ambulance driver who found out Sarah
had been taken to UCD Medical Center.
Kramer immediately drove to Sacramento sensing Sarah would be
alone for several hours before her parents would arrive at the hospital.
It was not until approximately midnight that the Simons were able to see
The Simons are in the dark about the medical bills, but “things
will get straightened out,” Jason said.
Sheriff’s investigators and Cal OSHA officials immediately
began an investigation of the accident, and all of the carnival rides
were closed. “Kiddie rides” re-opened Saturday afternoon, with the
bulk of the carnival rides not resuming operation until Sunday, the last
day of the fair.
According to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department, the
collapse of the YoYo was the first such accident of its kind in the
history of the Calaveras County Fair.
The incident was reported regionally and nationally.
Last Wednesday, the opening day of the fair, two carnival
employees were arrested on outstanding warrants.
James Gorman, 35, of Quincy, Mass., and Robert Mitchell, 48, of
San Francisco were identified as those arrested.
Gorman had a warrant for his arrest out of Massachusetts for
assault with a deadly weapon and failure to register as a sex offender.
While being handcuffed, he reportedly broke free and fled on foot. He
was captured after a foot chase through the midway and a parking lot.
He is in the Calaveras County Jail awaiting extradition to
Mitchell was wanted on a warrant alleging failure to register as
a sex offender.
The celebrated frog jump, the traditional highlight of the fair,
was won by “Skeeter Eater,” jockeyed by Jacob Smith, 16, of Fresno.
“Skeeter Eater” had a winning jump of 19 feet, 3 ½ inches.
Miss Calaveras 2008 Amanda Warden, right, of Valley Springs with first runner-up Sandy McClenahan, shows some excitement after winning the title Wednesday night.
Valley Springs lass wins 2008 Miss Calaveras title
Amanda Warden of Valley Springs won the title of Miss Calaveras
on Wednesday as the 2008 Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee
began its five-day run.
Warden, the 17-year-old daughter of Mike and Julie Warden, is a
senior at Calaveras High School.
The new Miss Calaveras was selected by a panel of five judges
based on interviews, talent, health and fitness and evening gown
competition. Warden entertained the judges and crowd by singing
She wins a $1,000 scholarship from the Angels-Murphys Rotary
Club. Bret Harte High School senior Sandy McClenahan was selected the
first runner-up and received a $600 scholarship, while Kayla Wilson of
San Andreas was chosen second runner-up and will receive a $400
scholarship. Wilson also won the talent portion of the competition with
a modern dance routine and was selected Miss Congeniality, receiving an
additional $100 scholarship.
Miss Calaveras contestant Katherine “Kat” Jones of Valley
Springs received the Miss Community Service Award and a $250
scholarship, while Erin Bryant, also of Valley Springs and a senior at
Mountain Oaks High School, was selected Miss Photogenic and received a
Kayte Lowry, 15, of Bret Harte, finished first in the Saddle
Queen competition, while Calaveras High School senior Stacey Fischer,
18, finished as first runner-up.
Michael McDaniel, a Vietnam veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient, receives a Quilt of Valor from Gail Belmont.
Vietnam veterans aid Quilts of Valor
What began as a donation to assist the local Quilts of Valor
program ended as a tribute to a Vietnam veteran’s service to his
country 40 years ago.
Rancho Calaveras resident Michael McDaniel presented a $1,000
check from the Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo Valley to Belmont Quilts of
Valor during Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the Loose Threads Quilt
Guild of Valley Springs. McDaniel is a past president of Viet Nam
Veterans of Diablo Valley and last month asked Gail Belmont from Quilts
of Valor to speak before the group.
Belmont’s presentation was so powerful, the Viet Nam Veterans
decided to make a donation to the cause, McDaniel said.
“We’re very rarely moved so much,” McDaniel said. “We
have a great amount of appreciation for what Quilts of Valor is
Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo Valley extends associate membership
to all current veterans, and one of the vets at Belmont’s presentation
is a triple amputee and had received a Quilt of Valor, McDaniel added.
The quilt is a prized possession and made a difference in the
young man’s life, he said, and in all, Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo
Valley has four double or triple amputees as associate members.
“The guys from Diablo Valley appreciate all the groups’
efforts to show support and make sure no soldier coming home is not
appreciated,” McDaniel said.
The donation will go toward quilt materials and shipping
expenses, Belmont said. She estimates the $1,000 will equate to 35
As a surprise, Belmont presented McDaniel with a Quilt of Valor.
McDaniel, a local appraiser, served in Vietnam from September of
1967 to April of 1969 in the U.S. Marine Corps. He received two Purple
Hearts and was wounded his last day in Vietnam and airlifted out.
“I’m overwhelmed,” McDaniel said. “I was not expecting
that. It’s very touching and something I will cherish forever.”
Geene Silva pieced the top. It has a Marine Corps insignia in the
center and smaller ones serve as a border.
Valley Springs area women have been creating quilts for wounded
U.S. service men and women since hostilities began in Afghanistan and
Iraq. Quilts of Valor is a nationwide foundation with similar groups
across the county working to provide quilts to comfort all
combat-wounded service members.
Belmont Quilts of Valor has become the Northern California Quilts
of Valor coordinator and that involves receiving donated quilts from
other guilds and sewing groups and shipping them to the troops.
District 1 Supervisor hopefuls, from left, Kathy Mazzaferro, Zerrall McDaniel and Gary Tofanelli listen as moderator Nick Baptista poses another question at Wednesday’s Meet the Candidates Night in Valley Springs. Photo by Laura Baptista.
1 supervisor candidates tackle a variety of issues
Similarities and differences between the three candidates running
for the District 1 seat on the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors
were revealed during a lengthy series of questioning at a political
forum Wednesday evening in Valley Springs.
All three supervisor hopefuls, Kathy Mazzaferro, Zerrall McDaniel
and Gary Tofanelli, participated in the Meet the Candidates Night hosted
by The Valley Springs News. The election is June 3.
The candidates answered nearly 20 questions posed to them by the
audience of approximately 70 people and the local newspaper.
The Ridge at Trinitas project attracted four questions from the
audience, generally along the lines of how each candidate would vote on
the proposal, which is going through environmental review.
McDaniel and Tofanelli said they would have to look at the
project’s documentation before making any decisions, while Mazzaferro
took the strongest stand saying the developer (Mike Nemee) should bear
the full financial responsibility for area road improvements, be ready
to provide an additional source of water and prepared to install a sewer
system that re-claims graywater for use on his project, all at his
“I don’t want the aquifer damaged,” she added.
All three candidates agreed installation of a traffic light at
the downtown intersection of Highway 12 and 26 was not the solution to
the community’s rush-hour woes.
“I can’t see the downtown and a stop light, it doesn’t
compute,” Tofanelli said.
“A stop light would change the quality of life in Valley
Springs,” McDaniel said.
All were in favor of a bypass to divert traffic from the
intersection, but the solution could be years away, Mazzaferro and
All three had different approaches toward solving the county’s
Tofanelli said the county needs to expand its economic base by
attracting more retail services and at the same time convince county
residents it’s in their best interest to shop locally. He also said
that proposed commercial projects, such as the shopping center
envisioned for Highway 26 and Hogan Dam Road, should be placed on the
fast-tract at the county level.
McDaniel criticized county government for subsidizing development
to the tune of $1.2 million and said the county needs to address its fee
schedule and ordinances to stem the red ink.
Mazzaferro said fiscal responsibility rests with the county’s
department heads and the Board of Supervisors. She said everyone is
going to be asked to make sacrifices and citizens can help by being more
involved and offering their services as volunteers.
“Shameful,” was McDaniel’s reaction when asked about the
stalemate between the county and the federal government for permission
to clear debris and overgrown vegetation from flood-prone Cosgrove
Creek. “My heart goes out to (the residents).”
She said the county is not pushing hard enough to get the fed’s
OK for the clean-up. The county and the public need to put pressure on
the federal government and letter-writing is one way to do so, she
Tofanelli said he “feels horrible” about the Cosgrove Creek
situation and its impact on homeowners and residents. He also said more
pressure needs to be applied to the feds.
Along with putting pressure on the federal government, Mazzaferro said the problem could have been avoided if the county had listened to the people who had lived in the area for many years and cautioned against building homes in a flood plain.
In response to a question about the possibility of the county
building an annex and library in Valley Springs to bring county services
closer to its major population center, Mazzaferro and McDaniel agreed
the time is coming when there will be enough of a population in the area
to pressure the county to consider making such a move.
Facing a $2.3 million deficit, and continued tough times ahead,
Tofanelli said it’s unlikely the county would entertain such plans any
time soon. He suggested that the county should look at the number of
vacant buildings in Toyon as a location to service the Valley Springs
All three agreed that the next District 1 supervisor would play an important role in re-districting after the 2010 census and Valley Springs and Rancho Calaveras should be in the same district.
Valley Springs’ future was also a hot topic at Meet the
District 1 supervisor hopefuls tackled questions about
incorporation, whether the community should have its own high school,
what can be done to raise money for a new community hall and
When asked about their thoughts on incorporation, the candidates
said it would be a long process.
“It’s Valley Springs’ choice,” Mazzaferro said. If the
citizens were for it, she would support it.
Tofanelli cautioned that county services would be curtailed if
Valley Springs were incorporated. A new city would have to pay for its
own police force or contract with the county for such services. Fire
protection and water and sewer service would also need to be addressed,
McDaniel said she did not want to sound negative toward the idea,
but incorporation would require a strong tax base.
Tofanelli said he was “absolutely” in favor of a high school
in Valley Springs and added that a satellite campus for higher education
will also be beneficial for the community, students and employers
looking for a well-trained work force.
McDaniel, a Calaveras Unified School District trustee, said a
Valley Springs high school campus is in the district’s master plan,
but it’s a matter of having enough students to become eligible for
She also said the school district has worked toward attracting
higher education to the area and it was a shame that San Joaquin Delta
College dropped plans to place a satellite campus in Valley Springs.
Given the growing student population in the area, Mazzaferro said
she’s pretty certain there will be a Valley Springs high school.
However, instead of a satellite college campus, Mazzaferro said
she’d rather see a full-scale community college in the area.
Tofanelli did not foresee any money coming from the county for
construction of a new community center. He said the American Legion and
the public would need to continue holding events and fundraisers to
reach their goal of $500,000 for the building.
McDaniel said she met with the American Legion and heard what
they do and why. She said it’s a shame that the veterans do not have a
new hall and she was willing to get on the bandwagon and help them build
public support for possible re-consideration of the proposal.
Mazzaferro said there was something fundamentally wrong with
holding bake sales to get the funds to build a new hall for the veterans
and the community.
If the memorial district asks for another vote on funding, she
said better explanation would be a key factor to get community buy-in.
“What’s in it for me?” needs to be explained to the average
voter, she said.
Along the lines of development, Mazzaferro said it’s not a
matter of what she wants, but what the public wants.
Tofanelli said scrutiny of development does not end when the new
General Plan is completed.
“You’re not done guys,” he said. “It’s up to you after
that to elect the right person to follow that plan.”
He said the county has had general plans for many years and has
not followed them.
McDaniel said she like to see every community in Calaveras have
its own specific identity and “brand it and protect it.”
The traits for District 1’s next planning commissioner
were also discussed.
Tofanelli would look for someone with experience in construction
McDaniel would seek someone who is comfortable working with and
listening to people, along with being willing to put in the time to
educate themselves about the state’s laws. They would need to make
fair and consistent decisions and the courage to obey the laws.
Mazzaferro said the appointment is too complicated for someone
with just a construction background and she doesn’t want someone who
would be learning while on the job. She would seek someone who already
understands planning and all of its regulations.
Public transportation expansion was also a question posed to the
Increased ridership could possibly pay for expansion, McDaniel
Transit is subsidized, Mazzaferro said, and expansion is great if
the public is willing to pay for it.
“Is it something we can afford?” she added.
Tofanelli said he is “all for expanding it.”
He added that all public transportation is subsidized and with
gas prices skyrocketing more people will take advantage of the bus
With more people using the system, Tofanelli said, the percentage
of the subsidy becomes less and less.