Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Dann Myers is the interim postmaster at the Valley Springs Post Office.
Post Office welcomes interim postmaster
By Nick Baptista
The Valley Springs Post Office has a new leader.
Dann Myers, customer relations coordinator at the Stockton Post
Office, is the interim postmaster in Valley Springs. He replaces Chris
Mondragon who transferred to the French Camp Post Office.
Myers would like to remove the interim word from his title. A
resident of Bethel Island in Contra Costa County, Myers would like to
become the permanent postmaster in Valley Springs and move to the area.
“My wife and I like the area,” he said. “We come up here
once a month to have breakfast.”
But before Myers can get too comfortable in the postmaster’s
office in the Valley Oaks Shopping Center, the position has to be posted
internally throughout the postal district.
The selection process could be as quick as a month or take a
couple of months, he said.
“It’s a very democratic process,” Myers said. “We should
know by the end of the year.”
Myers is confident he’s well qualified for the job, having 20
years of experience in the U.S. Postal Service and nearly 10 years as a
postmaster in four other offices.
Myers began his Postal Service career as a rural carrier. That
experience, along with his background in handling extensive rural
delivery and growth management will be helpful for the Valley Springs
Post Office, which is in a growth pattern, he added.
The Valley Springs Post Office services 4,277 deliveries and in
the past 24 months has seen that number increase on average by 20 more
deliveries a month.
In addition, Myers likes to be active in the community and work
with local businesses.
“The Post Office should be active and involved with
business,” he said.
Myers is a member of the Bethel Island Municipal Advisory Council
and has been involved with the Stockton Chamber of Commerce.
New tools for businesses are being developed by the Postal
Service and Myers said he would work with local businesses to introduce
them to the opportunities.
He will do presentations at businesses and teach their employees
who to use the Postal Service’s website and services.
Myers and his wife Rosie have three daughters and one grandchild.
A son-in-law is a rural carrier in Byron.
One of the first steps Myers is taking at the Valley Springs Post
Office is to begin offering passport services. He sees a need since the
closest passport services are offered in San Andreas.
Myers is also pleased with the staff he inherited, several of
whom he has worked with before.
Area artist Kathy Laughlin displays one of three painting she created based on historical photos of early Valley Springs.
First glimpse of historic paintings at Thursday mixer
By Nick Baptista
The Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly mixer Sept. 28 at the new Bank of Rio Vista in Valley Springs will have a unique, historical twist.
In addition to the usual chamber mixer featuring plenty of socializing, networking, announcements and a free drawing for prizes, the Thursday event hosted by the Bank of Rio Vista will include the public’s first viewing of three sets of paintings based on three photographs of historic Valley Springs.
“Scenes of Historic Valley Springs: New Original Paintings and Vintage Photographs” features 2006 paintings by three county artists based on photographs of the train depot circa 1890s, the Late House circa 1970 and the business district circa 1930s.
Artists Cate Culver, Dave Gano and Kathy Laughlin donated their
talents for the unique fundraising effort by the Society for the
Preservation of West Calaveras History.
Each set of three paintings, plus the original photographs, are
offered for a tax-deductible donation of $600 to the society. One of the
three sets has already been purchased, said Sal Manna, Society for the
Preservation of West Calaveras History president.
The program’s success ensures that the society will continue to
sponsor future paintings based on other historic photographs of the
area, he added. For more information, call Manna at 772-0336.
The mixer is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 2 Nove Way off Highway 26.
Foothill Fire Capt. Clint Gleason, center, addressed the district's Board of Directors at the Sept. 13 meeting and accused several members of the board of interfering with firefighters in emergency situations.
Foothill Fire captain accuses directors of interfering with safety
By Nick Baptista
Relations between Foothill Fire Protection District’s
firefighters and the Board of Directors turned ugly at Sept. 13 board
Three of the board members – Chairman Gary West, Ed Anderson
and Ron Spradlin – were accused of following firefighters on some of
their calls and interfering with safety operations at emergency scenes.
Foothill Fire Capt. Clint Gleason warned the board that if the
alleged behavior continues, he would pursue legal action.
In addition, Gleason said that just prior to the meeting, he got
into a verbal altercation with Spradlin and the director threatened to
“It’s nothing I can talk about,” Spradlin said of the
incident. “It’s a personnel issue.”
According to Gleason, West ordered a couple of volunteers to
begin setting up tables and chairs for the board meeting.
The volunteers said they did not appreciate the chairman’s
attitude and approached Gleason about the situation.
“I told them (Spradlin and West) you can ask the guys if
they’ll help set up, but it’s out of line to tell them,” Gleason
said following the board meeting.
“Those bugles, that badge and your red helmet are mine,”
Gleason accused Spradlin of saying during the confrontation, which was
witnessed by two volunteer firefighters.
“I did not say that,” Spradlin said when Gleason made the
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Gleason
outlined several instances where West, Anderson and Spradlin followed
units during an emergency response.
“They’re nothing but lies and I will have you arrested for
false accusations,” West said when Gleason outlined his concerns to
One of the alleged incidents occurred at the scene of an Aug. 21
auto accident at La Contenta. Gleason said he was working with a patient
on the ground and Spradlin approached him and said, “I need to talk to
Gleason said he responded by saying “Right now I’m busy”
and Spradlin said, “It will only take a minute.”
The incident was witnessed by a sheriff’s deputy on scene,
Gleason said, who later came by the fire station and informed the
volunteer firefighters that there were laws concerning interfering with
firefighters at the scene of an emergency.
Marilyn Rolland accused the board of not following policy in
earlier alleged attempts to demote Gleason. Policy states the demotion
of firefighters rests with the chief, Rolland said, and the board was
putting pressure on Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Palm to demote Gleason.
The board instructed Palm not to talk to the public about the
situation because it was a personnel matter.
The board, which demoted Palm more than six
months ago from chief to assistant, was ready to hire an interim chief,
former Jenny Lind Fire Chief Richard Schuler, but tabled the action
after members of the audience said it was against the Brown Act, the
state’s open meeting law, to hire Schuler without meeting with him in
closed session and coming up with his compensation.
Schuler, who has 20 years of experience as a chief officer,
received support from two area volunteer firefighters, who said he was
an excellent teacher and mentor. However, Palm’s mother, Nancy Pisarz,
and mother-in-law, Linda
Scaparro, implied he was too old for the job and criticized him for
living out of the district, in Murphys.
In an interview after the meeting, Schuler said the meeting had
“dampened” his attitude about the job. He said he would re-evaluate
whether he wanted to pursue the chief’s position.
Schuler’s lack of a Class B license also upset several people
in the audience. Palm does not have a Class B license and it was cited
by the board as one of the reasons he was demoted.
“It’s different standards for different folks,” Rolland
said following the meeting. She also questioned why the board only
accepted Schuler’s resume and did not have him fill out an
In another personnel matter, the board moved ahead to hire
outside counsel for a potential lawsuit. The action stems from a letter
submitted on the behalf of former Assistant Chief Drew Utterback by San
Andreas attorney Chris Williams. The board earlier this year terminated
Utterback from the department.
The board voted to retain counsel for an amount not to exceed
$5,000. West said he had a name for the attorney the board was hiring,
but he did not bring it with him to the meeting.
Ben Velasco is the owners of Valley Springs' newest furniture store, Ben's Furniture, located in Suite D in the Valley Springs Plaza at 10 Nove Way.
Ben's Furniture opens its doors in Valley Springs
Valley Springs has a new furniture store.
Ben’s Furniture, located in Suite D at the Valley Springs
Plaza, 10 Nove Way, opened its door earlier this month.
Ben Velasco is the owner.
“We have pretty much any kind of furniture you’d like,”
Velasco said, “and we guarantee we’ll beat anyone’s prices.”
The business is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through
Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on
Whatever Ben’s Furniture doesn’t have in its
2,400-square-foot store, Velasco can order for delivery through
His store features furniture from Poundex, Coasters Fine
Furniture, Sunny Design and PFC Furniture.
In addition to furniture, the store sells artwork, frames,
mirrors and entertainment systems.
Velasco, an area resident, was in the sprinkler installation
business and he credits his cousin for persuading him to get into the
“There are a lot of new people, new developments and new homes
in Valley Springs,” he said. “Because of the growth there is so much
demand for furniture and that is what convinced us to open a new
Ben’s Furniture is a family operation with Velasco’s mother
and brothers helping him out.
He also features free delivery in the Valley Springs area.
Proposed monument signs for the entrances to Valley Springs. Sketch provided by Dave Tanner.
Chamber to discuss cityhood for Valley Springs
By Nick Baptista
The “I” word is beginning to pop up in the course of serious
conversation about the future of Valley Springs.
The “I” in this instance stands for incorporation and whether
to incorporate Valley Springs into a city or town is on the agenda for
Wednesday’s luncheon meeting of the Valley Springs Chamber of
The meeting will begin at noon at Good Friends Chinese
Restaurant, 9 California St.
In addition to incorporation, the chamber will hear about a
marketing plan for Valley Springs and discuss the installation of
monument signs at the entrances of the community to welcome the public
into Valley Springs.
Chamber President Dave Tanner said efforts are under way to
develop tourism and promote local businesses. Part of the plan is to
develop the monument signs to help market Valley Springs.
Three sites have been identified for the signs, with two on
Highway 12 east and west of downtown Valley Springs and the third one on
Highway 26 in the vicinity of Vista Del Lago.
Tanner said the proposed monument signs would be made of stone
and feature olive trees. The signs would prominently display the words
“Valley Springs” and a yet-to-be-determined slogan.
“I’m looking forward toward the chamber and local businesses
working together to market Valley Springs,” he said.
In addition to the signs, talk will include whether Valley
Springs should pursue plans to be only the second incorporated community
in Calaveras County.
Angels Camp holds the distinction as the county’s only
“It should be interesting,” Tanner said in regards to talk
Incorporation would transfer certain government functions, such
as planning and zoning, from the county to a new city or town of Valley
Springs. Currently, planning and zoning decisions are made by the
county. Upon incorporation, future development decisions would be made
by the Valley Springs’ own Planning Commission and City Council.
The process has begun to expand Valley Springs' Mar-Val Food Store.
Mar-Val expansion under way
By Nick Baptista
Work has begun behind the Valley Springs Mar-Val Food Store to
add a 6,000-square-foot warehouse.
Mar-Val Manager John Webb said he expects the warehouse, the
first phase of the store expansion project, to be completed prior to
The warehouse expansion and additional work will increase the
overall size of the store from 25,200 to 31,218 square feet.
With the new warehouse, the customer area inside the existing
store will be expanded and the produce area will be much larger, Webb
Cold boxes will be moved back to the existing wall and the
store’s storage room will be turned into a prep area, he added.
The work inside the store will have to wait until after the
holidays, Webb said. Once the new year begins, he anticipates it will
take three months or less to complete the project.
Mar-Val employs nearly 100 people and the workforce could
increase with the expansion and additional business.
“More business means more jobs,” Webb said.