Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
First batch of H1N1 flu vaccine has arrives; destined for school children
Calaveras County public health officials have received a limited
amount of the new H1N1 influenza vaccine and school-based vaccination
clinics will begin in early November.
“Children and healthcare workers are among the priority groups
that will receive vaccine first,” said Dr. Dean Kelaita, Calaveras
County’s health officer. “Children and youth will have the
opportunity to be vaccinated for free at their school site provided
written parental consent has been given.”
The Public Health Department will be offering community vaccine
clinics when more vaccine is received.
“Current H1N1 vaccine supplies are prioritized to protect the
medical workers who provide necessary care and for groups of people with
the highest rates of illness, hospitalization or death from the H1N1 flu
virus,” Dr. Kelaita said.
Children and youth have high rates of H1N1 illness. Health
officials note that while the current H1N1 influenza vaccine supply is
limited, vaccine availability is expected to increase and be available
through local medical providers in the weeks ahead.
“As the local vaccine supply increases in the next few weeks,
all persons wanting protection should be able to be vaccinated,”
Parents and guardians of local school children will receive more
specific information about the upcoming school based vaccination clinics
starting this week.
Valley Springs Elementary School children are scheduled to be
immunized Wednesday, Nov. 4. The clinics also are set for Monday, Nov.
9, at Calaveras River Academy, Mountain Oaks and Angels Creek; Thursday,
Nov. 12, at Calaveras High and Gold Strike; Friday, Nov. 13, at Toyon
Middle; Monday, Nov. 16, at Jenny Lind Elementary and Jenny Lind
Only students enrolled in the school will be offered vaccine at
these school clinics.
Flu viruses can cause serious illness, including hospitalization
and death. Pregnant women, young children and persons of all ages with a
chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of severe illness from
either seasonal or H1N1 influenza.
“Most H1N1 illness has been similar to seasonal flu,” Dr.
Kelaita said. “Persons who develop signs of serious illness including
difficulty breathing, confusion or lethargy, severe or persistent
vomiting and improvement followed by a return of fever and worse cough
should contact their doctor.”
Protect yourself and the community by covering your cough,
washing your hands frequently and staying home when you are sick, he
Information on vaccine clinics and prevention of the flu is
available from the Public Health Department at 754-6460, or at www.calaveraspublichealth.com.
Lisa Harp inside the classroom at the Harp Learning Institute's Valley Springs location.
Center opens in town to help students struggling in school
The Harp Learning Institute – a learning center to help children improve in school performance – has expanded to Valley Springs with a location on Laurel Street near the corner of Highways 12 and 26.
Lisa Harp, the founder and chief executive officer of the Harp
Learning Institute is a Valley Springs resident. She started the
institute in 2001 and also has a learning center in Lodi.
Harp was a teacher in public schools and began working with children struggling in school a dozen years ago at her home before branching out and starting her institute.
“I researched why our children were not learning academics,” she said. “I found our schools were not prepared to help many of these children.”
She has built her clientele by word of mouth.
Testing and diagnosis are an important part of her program.
“We get into how the child learns and what’s blocking it,”
she said, and every student’s program is tailored to their specific
The program focuses on simultaneous cognitive, visual, auditory
and kinesthetic exercises and academic activities.
“Our goal is to help them function in school and society,”
Depending upon severity, most students within a year are
performing at grade level or are on the honor roll, she added.
The institute also caters to children who just need a “tune
up” to increase their academic performance.
Operating hours are flexible. The institute generally is open in
the afternoons from Monday through Thursday, but appointments for other
times can be made.
The phone number is (209) 772-9523. Information about Harp
Learning Institute is also available on the internet at
Clem Scheible of Valley Springs shows his pre-civil war Kentucky long rifle he inherited from his father.
Unusual, valuable items show up for appraisal faire
It was perfect weather for Saturday’s Appraisal Faire hosted by The Valley Springs News. The final tally was just over 40 items appraised, ranging in price from $40 to more than $2,000. The items were varied and included glassware, vintage dish sets, paintings, pitchers, bowls, Indian baskets and a Kentucky Long Rifle (flintlock).
Katherine Robie of Valley Springs “was very pleased” with her
appraisals. She brought three items including a letter sheet lithograph
of Mokelumne Hill. Claire and Jay Quick from Angels Camp brought their
Eli Terry mantle clock, made in Plymouth, Connecticut, in 1825 to be
appraised, while Barbara Golden of Stockton drove in to have her
daughter’s doll – made around 1860-1912 - valued. The approximate
total value of all items appraiser was more than $13,000, and there are
still six items that the appraiser is continuing to research to be able
to access values.
The News, and Carol McDaniel along with husband Mike of McDaniel
Appraisal Service donated their time, so that the proceeds would benefit
the Calaveras Arts Council. A
total of $322 will be donated to help benefit their many programs.
McDaniel Appraisal Service, Carol and Michael McDaniel are
licensed Real Estate (residential, commercial, land) and personal
property appraisers with more than 25 years of experience. They can be
reached at 786-8604, in Valley Springs.
Candidates for the Jenny Lind Fire board are, from left, John Boston, Bruce Brown and Dennis Petersen.
Election approaching for Jenny Lind Fire board
Voters residing within the Jenny Lind Fire Protection District
have three candidates running for two seats on the board.
John Boston, Bruce Brown and Dennis Petersen are the candidates
and the election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Sample and absentee ballots have been mailed to voters in the
district, which covers the communities of Jenny Lind, Rancho Calaveras
and most of Highway 26 extending from Rancho to the county line.
Boston is the incumbent, with 12 years of experience on the
board, while Brown and Petersen are running together and have the
endorsement of the Jenny Lind Firefighters Association.
The two top vote-getters in November will join Bob Belmont,
Richard DeRivi and Virginia Medford on the board. Dennis McCord,
currently chairman of the board, did not file for re-election.
Boston, who is retired after a 35-year career with General Mills
in accounting, industrial and project engineering, also serves as the
board’s financial director, a post he has held all 12 years on the
“We’ve accomplished a lot in the past 12 years,” Boston
said. “Look at the station where we are now.”
Maintaining financial solvency in a recessionary economy is one
of the district’s greatest challenges, he added.
The district has two years remaining on payments for the new
station and its last fire engine, but needs to be prepared to replace
another engine in the near future and that could likely cost $500,000,
Brown, who is retired from the construction industry, said
long-time Jenny Lind volunteer firefighter Sam Harris approached him
about running for the board. Brown talked about it with his wife and
decided to run.
“I’m not a politician, I’m looking to be active in my
community,” he said.
Brown said he has a cousin and friends with tremendous
firefighting experience and he would use their insight and counsel if
elected. In addition, he brings an extensive background in construction
management and fiscal responsibility to the office.
“I have enough background to flush out what the department
needs, not what it wants,” he said.
Brown also believes the number of volunteers within the
department is too low and he’d like to see recruitment and retention
Petersen is a lieutenant in charge of a fire company with the
Waterloo-Morada Fire District in Stockton and has been a former Jenny
“I’d like to give back to the community in this way,” he
said, “This would be a good support position.”
He believes his experience with combination volunteer and
full-time firefighter departments will prove beneficial to Jenny Lind.
“I don’t want to be a politician,” Petersen said. “My
goal is to serve the will of the people and make Jenny Lind operate as
well as it can.”
Eventually, he’d like to see Jenny Lind staffed full-time
around the clock.
The recent board reinstatement of Albert Otto Engel Jr. to active
duty has been an issue within the district. Engel is awaiting trial on
allegations he committed several child molestation offenses.
Boston and Petersen supported the board’s decision.
“I believe in the justice system,” Petersen said. “You’re
innocent until proven guilty and he has to make a living while he’s
going through this. If proven guilty, I’m sure the board and
department will do what’s necessary.”
Boston was one of the board members voting to allow Engel to
resume his duties.
“I don’t believe you’re guilty until proven so in a court
of law,” Boston said. “I know there have been comments made by
people who are not happy with this, but he hasn’t been convicted
Brown took an opposite point of view. He said public servants
such as police officers and firefighters are held to a higher standard
and Engel should not have resumed his duties until cleared of the
Use of the Jenny Lind firehouse for civic activities has also
been an issue since the board adopted a new policy.
Petersen said he sharply disagrees with the present policy.
“The firehouse was built with the people’s understanding that
it could be used for a community hall,” Petersen said. “I don’t
understand how you can disallow the firefighters’ association use of
the firehouse for fundraising, but it’s OK for the auxiliary to use.
I’d like to investigate the policy some more and put a remedy to
Boston defended the policy.
“The auxiliary has been in existence for a long time,” he
said. “It is part of the fire department, they are closely related.
The firefighters’ association just came into being last year.”
He said it has been a “ticklish situation” and may need
further discussion, but “where else do you find a firehouse being used
for social occasions?”
If elected, Brown said he would pursue changing the policy.
“The existing board is disconnected from the community,” he
said on the issue. “It’s near the top of my list.”
Members of the Mokelumne Mounties Junior Equestrian Drill Team display the first-place pennants they won at the recent Western States Equestrian Drill Team Association Championship Series. Photo by Lisa Reich.
Mounted drill team wins awards at regionals
The Mokelumne Mounties Junior Equestrian Drill Team won a pair of
illustrious awards at the 2009 Western States Equestrian Drill Team
Association Championship Series.
The drill team based in nearby Clements and including members
from west Calaveras County brought home awards for first place overall
in the mixed precision drill team and short program at the competition
and first place overall in the mixed division at the competition Sept.
26 in Santa Rosa.
“The team has practiced all year leading up to this
competition, as well as performing at rodeos, the California State Fair,
parades, and competing early this year at the California State
Horseman’s Association Championship Drill Team competition and the
Reno Rodeo Drill team competition,” said Drillmaster BilliJo Romero.
the team come from Lodi, Acampo, Clements, Herald, Galt, Valley Springs,
and as far away as Discovery Bay. The team members who competed at the
event were Brittany Young, 18, Casey Meade, 14, Bridgette Trahan, 17,
Courtney Reich, 14, Chloe’ Comporato, 18, Cassie Coleman, 18, Marisa
Beattie, 16, Victoria Samuel, 16, Jessica Samuel, 15, Kayla O’Hara,
16, Olivia Montalvo, 14, Rachelle Reich and Meryll Thompson.
The Mounties is a non-profit youth organization open to girls and
boys ranging in ages from 8 to 18. The purpose of the Mounties is to
provide its members with leadership skills and responsibility while
learning teamwork and respect. The team rides and trains their own
horses and practices twice weekly at the Clements Stampede arena under
the direction of Romero and Assistant Drillmasters Rachelle Reich and
Youngsters interested in joining the program can visit the
Mounties website at www.mokelumnemounties.com.
Region needs to focus on water issues
California is in a major water crisis and Calaveras County has
some serious water issues looming on the horizon, according to Ed
Pattison, water resources manager for the Calaveras County Water
Pattison presented an overview of the state and local water
situation at the Oct. 1 meeting of the Rotary Club of West Calaveras and
offered some solutions to west Calaveras’ impending water dilemma.
The drought, increases in the state’s population, regulations
and judgments to address threatened fish species in the Delta, or
restore water flow to the San Joaquin River further reduce a limited
supply of water and eventually are going to shift water from other
sources including the tributaries that feed into Calaveras County,
The old adage of “Use it, or lose it,” likely will come into
play as the water crisis worsens in the state, he said.
In addition, growth and agricultural development in the west
county area since the mid-1990s is contributing to declining groundwater
levels in the critically over drafted East San Joaquin Groundwater
Basin, Pattison added.
The state predicts population growth in Calaveras County will
double to 90,000 by 2040 to 2050 and San Joaquin County’s population
will increase 77 percent to 1.1 million in the same timeframe, Pattison
reported, putting a greater burden on the groundwater supply.
The groundwater basin, with the vast majority in San Joaquin
County, is dropping at levels of two feet a year in some places, he
The groundwater basin cannot sustain current levels of
groundwater use, let alone the projected increases in the future, and
unless some serious measures are taken soon, there will be a rash of
well failures, he said.
“We need to look at this honestly and seriously and begin to
manage our water in a sustainable way,” Pattison said.
The region needs to end its over-reliance on groundwater and
shift to surface water use, he advocated.
The days of subdividing large tracts of land into ranchettes and
each one with their own well also need to be reconsidered. Those
ranchettes further drain the already strained groundwater supply and
make it very expensive and nearly unfeasible to someday provide surface
water, he said.
CCWD is working to address these issues by implementing an
Integrated Water Management Program for the Camanche-Valley Springs
In its conceptual state, the program consists of a comprehensive,
long-range action to prioritize a series of short- and long-term
projects and actions to ensure reliability and sustainability of water
resources in the west Calaveras area.
“Supplies For S’Kool Kids” organizer Donna Farrell, left, along with Foothill Evangelical Lutheran Church members Pat Porath, Will Sattler and Eleanor Willis display the items donated to local school children.
school supplies drive a success; effort to expand next year
The inaugural “Supplies For S’Kool Kids” campaign has been a success and plans are in the works to refine and improve the project next year.
The brainchild of Donna Farrell of Rancho Calaveras, Supplies For
S’Kool Kids collected school supplies and gently used backpacks the
past month for distribution to students at Valley Springs Elementary,
Jenny Lind Elementary and Toyon Middle schools.
Donations filled a car and will be given to those students who
need the supplies the most at the local schools.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the
wonderful community members for their generous donations,” Farrell
said. “In addition, my thanks go out to the businesses that supported
‘Supplies for S’Kool Kids’ by posting the flyer in order to raise
awareness of my program. Your participation greatly increased the amount
Members of Foothill Evangelical Lutheran Church through their
chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans came through with a $300
donation of backpacks and school supplies.
“I look forward to the second annual ‘Supplies for S’Kool
Kids’ next August,” Farrell said, with one of the improvements being
an earlier start to coincide with the beginning of the local school year
and a second being additional drop off locations.
“I am especially grateful to The Valley Springs News for
offering their office as the donation drop-off.” Farrell said.
“Their help and enthusiasm for this project has been a major reason
for its success. I could not have done this without the crew at The
News. CUSD Superintendent Mark Campbell has my thanks also for his
backing and his assurance that these donations will be given to some
really ‘Kool Kids.’”
In addition to the Foothill Lutheran, donors included the Mark
Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital Thrift Store in the Valley Oaks Center,
Denise and Alan Torrance, Peter and Sandy Slorp, Jim and Mary Anne
Melson, Sophia and Pat Maurer, Susan Roach, Jean and Ken Barlow, Tami
Allen, John and Barbara Boston, Doris Toth, Mary Pons, Anna Graves,
Louise Dellamonica and many anonymous donors.