Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
The Valley Springs Dollar Store staff waiting to greet the public are, from left, Samantha Tracey, Charlene Moulton, Toni Rambo, Deede Dugan and owner Liz Qualkenbush.
Store opens in Valley Springs
Valley Springs has a new dollar store after a hiatus of several
Liz Qualkenbush opened the Valley Springs Dollar Store on
Thursday in the Valley Oaks Center near the post office.
The store will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the three-day
grand opening celebration. Normal store hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6
p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and
Saturdays, she said. The store will be closed on Sundays.
Qualkenbush said she has access to greater inventory and is eager
to hear what Valley Springs area residents want in the store so she can
adjust her inventory accordingly. She will have a clipboard at the front
counter where customers can list their requests and desires.
She has a new make-up rack on order and has heard that many
residents want to see a fishing section. Inventory in her start-up
package included everyday household items, barbecue and kitchen
utensils, cleaning supplies, hardware, pet supplies, reading and
sunglasses, toys, infant items, party supplies, school supplies, picture
frames, and much more.
The aisles also are filled with greeting cards at two for $2,
some food stock, bathroom necessities, storage containers, purses, arts
and crafts, silk flowers and Halloween items.
If customer demand meets her expectations, Qualkenbush has plans
to expand the store. She has an option to rent either or both spaces
next to her store.
“We’re going to reinvest our profits back into the store,”
she said. “Within three years, I’m shooting to have all 4,800 square
feet (all three spaces) for the store.”
Qualkenbush has a background in office management and bookkeeping
in several industries. She spent several months asking residents what
they’d like to see in Valley Springs and nine out of 10 wanted a
She then went to the internet and did her research into the
industry and finding her suppliers.
“This is not a franchise,” she said. “It’s an
owner-operated store, not corporate, so I have all the flexibility to
cater our store inventory to what Valley Springs wants.”
She has a wide range of catalogues to select from.
“The variety we can have is unbelievable. I’m really looking
forward to this.”
The store will accept payments in credit or debit through Visa,
Master Card and Discover Card. Checks and cash are also accepted.
“This is going to be a fun place,” she said. “It should be
the lowest stress job in the world and we want to know what can we do to
help you get what you want.”
Burson Postmaster Wendi Sherman begins preparing her display to promote breast cancer awareness during October.
postmaster renews breast cancer awareness crusade
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Burson Postmaster Wendi Sherman, a cancer survivor, is continuing her tradition of drawing attention to the disease.
Sherman again has set aside bulletin board space titled “Breast
Cancer Has Touched My Life” where postal customers can display
pictures of themselves, family members or friends who have had or are
fighting the disease.
For those who are camera shy, slips of paper will be available
for posting at the display.
Sherman also is promoting sales of the Postal Service’s Breast
Cancer Awareness stamp by holding a drawing at the end of October.
Customers who purchase a sheet of 20 Breast Cancer Awareness stamps can
enter the drawing. The sheets sell for $11, or 55 cents per stamp, and
the 11 cents above regular first-class postage from each stamp is
donated to breast cancer research. The additional expense of $2.20 for a
sheet of the stamps is tax-deductible and customers will receive a
receipt to save for tax purposes.
As of last month, the stamp has raised $67.6 million for research
since it was introduced in 1998.
Sherman will have a grand prize basket containing items
associated with breast cancer awareness.
Designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, the Breast Cancer
Awareness stamp features the phrases, "Fund the Fight" and
"Find a Cure" and an illustration of a mythical "goddess
of the hunt" by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore.
Informational literature – such as “The ABCs of Breast
Health,” “Three Steps to Finding Breast Cancer Early” and “Five
Things to Tell Your Friends About Breast Cancer” – all from the
American Cancer Society - are available at the Burson Post Office upon
Sherman has found her informational crusade to be helpful to
several customers who have told her they were prompted by her efforts to
get examinations and cancer was discovered in treatable stages.
Angled parking has been introduced in front of the U.S. Post Office in the Valley Oaks Center for safety reasons.
Facelift at Valley Oaks Center has safety element
The Valley Oaks Center parking lot is being redone, but motorists
will notice some new wrinkles.
The most noticeable change is the addition of 13 speed bumps
throughout the center, said property manager Stacey Gordon of BRAD
The center received plenty of calls and emails from locals saying
too many motorists were cutting through the center as a detour from the
busy Highway 12/26 intersection during the rush hour and traffic was
going too fast and endangering those on foot.
“We needed to have vehicles go slower, especially in front of
Mar-Val,” Gordon said.
In another high traffic area, angled parking has been introduced
in front of the U.S. Post Office.
The move was made to force one-way traffic through the busy area,
Gordon said. The area previously was marked for one-way traffic, but the
introduction of the angled spaces makes it more difficult for some
motorists to drive against the designated flow of traffic. The post
office area also saw the addition of a new curve ramp for better
accessibility for disabled persons and a more logical layout of
handicapped parking spaces for individuals with disabilities.
RV pull-through parking has been designated and marked on both
the Highway 26 side and the eastern portion of the Highway 12 side of
the parking lot at the request of tenants, she added, and the mailbox
near Taco Bell has been flipped so traffic will flow in the right
“For sale” vehicles no longer will be allowed in the center and will be subject to towing, she said. Tow away zone signs are in the works for posting especially on the Highway 26 side of the center where the unauthorized used car lot has emerged.
Work is anticipated to be completed by Thursday and any
additional minor work will be done the following week.
and The New Christy Minstrels founder Randy Sparks, center, along with
Becky Jo Benson and Robert Wise entertain Valley Springs Elementary
School students during an assembly last week.
"Painless History" lesson provided by legendary singer
Valley Springs Elementary School students received a “painless
history” lesson Sept. 14 when singer-songwriter Randy Sparks and
friends entertained them in an assembly heavy with folk music, but laced
with an educational theme.
Sparks, who formed The New Christy Minstrels
in 1961, provided the
subliminal history lesson while going through centuries of folk songs,
giving the students anecdotes on each one.
“I hope you take away today that music is more than something
that vibrates your car,” Sparks told the students.
Monday’s performance was not Sparks’ first at the school.
Sparks, a Calaveras County resident, told the students that he had two
children attend the school 35 years ago and they got into trouble with
their teacher one day when they told the teacher that one of their
father’s poems was in the textbook the students were reading.
The teacher did not believe Sparks’ children and for
“arguing” with her they were sent to the principal’s office. The
principal quickly cleared things up, but an outcome of the incident was
Sparks’ initial performance at a school assembly.
In Sparks’ latest homecoming to his children’s old school,
New Christy Minstrel Becky Jo Benson, Eddie Boggs and band teacher
Robert Wise accompanied him.
Sparks’ trip through the centuries of folk music ended on a
timely and poignant note with his song “Just Americans” – which
centers on how the diverse people in the nation came together after the
terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
to an old-fashioned barnraising, students and staff at Toyon Middle
School – along with a crew from Lowe’s in Jackson – got together
Friday afternoon for a potluck and a little hard work to raise a
greenhouse on the campus. The greenhouse, made possible by a $4,200
grant from Lowe’s, will be used to furnish the plantings for a new
school wide beautification project.
Toyon marks 9/11 with new beautification project
Toyon Middle School students
and staff marked 9-11 by laying the cornerstone of a school wide
beautification and garden project.
With a huge poster of an
American flag containing the words “In Loving Memory of the 2,752
Lives Lost in 9/11,” work began Friday afternoon on a greenhouse at
The school received a $4,200
Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant to build the greenhouse and a crew
from Lowe’s in Jackson was on hand to assist in its construction.
The school’s Earth Club,
outdoors projects and garden class, with help from the student council
and Parent-Teacher Organization are pursuing the school wide
beautification class, said art teacher Kevin Hesser.
The greenhouse portion of the
project is the cornerstone of the effort, he said, as it will be used to
germinate the plants and vegetables that eventually will surround the
“We have a bunch of
motivated kids and this is a wonderful thing,” he added.
Raised beds are being
constructed around the school for the plants, some of which, such as
winter vegetables, will be used by food services, with the idea of
eventually having a salad bar filled with food grown on campus.
Word of the project has begun
spreading in the community and local businesses such as Simmons
Landscaping, Calaveras Nursery and Rising Sun Nursery have come forward
with assistance, materials and plants.
Simmons Landscaping provided a
crew to install a new irrigation system, along with bark at the school
entrance, while Calaveras Nursery donated trees and Rising Sun provided
“The businesses have been so
supportive,” Hesser said.
“Grandpa Bud” DeMasters reading to Joanne Randall’s fourth grade class.
"Grandpa Bud" begins 10th year as voluntary reader at VSE
Affectionately known as “Grandpa Bud” – longtime Valley
Springs resident Buddy DeMasters has embarked on his tenth year of
voluntarily reading to the children at Valley Springs Elementary School.
DeMasters, who is retired after a 32-year career with the
California Department of Forestry, spends Fridays at the school reading
to 10 classes ranging from kindergarten to the sixth grade.
DeMasters also reached another milestone last week as he
celebrated his 70th birthday. Family, friends and teachers
from VSE surprised DeMasters last Saturday with a party.
“It’s been as rewarding to me as much as it has been to the
kids,” DeMasters said about his voluntary service to the school. “It
feels good to be doing something like this.”
The nickname “Grandpa Bud” goes back to DeMasters’ days of
reading in his grandson Christian’s pre-school class at My Own School.
When Christian began attending Valley Springs Elementary, DeMasters
continued reading to classes. The tradition continued when DeMasters’
two other grandchildren, Michael and Holly, began attending VSE.
It’s not unusual for DeMasters, a 52-year resident of Valley
Springs, to be in a store and hear someone say “Hello Grandpa Bud”
and it’s one of the students he read to years ago.
DeMasters’ roots to Valley Springs Elementary go back to his
wife Judy White DeMasters, who was a former student at the school. They
were married in December of 1965 and their two sons, Ryan, 42, and John,
37, both living in Valley Springs with their wives and children, were
When he’s not reading to the children, DeMasters finds time to
work part time at the CDF warehouse in San Andreas and volunteers some
hours helping out at Community United Methodist Church in Valley
A 15-minute picture slideshow entitled “All the stages of Buddy
DeMasters” from childhood, through marriage and kids, hunting,
fishing, gardening, vacations and grandchildren was part of Saturday’s
celebration, which attracted 54 guests.
“He is the nicest man I know and I am not being biased,” said
his son John. “It’s true. He does anything for anybody just
about any time. It is an honor to be his son. My goal is to
uphold the family name because he has made it a good name. I owe
it to him to keep it that way.”
“With a quick-to-smile personality and generous character, he
is loved by many and respected by all who know him,” said his
daughter-in-law Jill DeMasters. “I can’t think of a better
reason to celebrate his 70 years on this earth. He is loved and
cherished and we wanted him to know it.”
Local woman begins drive to make sure students have supplies
One Rancho Calaveras woman is spearheading a campaign to make
sure local schoolchildren have necessary school supplies.
Donna Farrell has spoken with Calaveras Unified School District
Superintendent Mark Campbell and Valley Springs Elementary School
Principal Tim Garrison and has received the green light to accept school
supplies and gently used backpacks for the students at VSE, Jenny Lind
Elementary and Toyon Middle schools.
Beginning today, The Valley Springs News office at 10-G Nove Way
will serve as a collection point for the supplies. The office is open
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on
Farrell, who along with her husband Fred have lived in Rancho for
the past seven years, said she came across some go prices for
back-to-school items and was interested in spending $20 to help the
schools and schoolchildren in these budget-tight times, but did not find
an organized process in place to make such a donation.
That prompted her visit with school officials.
“There must be others like me who want to make a donation, but
don’t know how to go about it,” she added.
She is calling the effort “Supplies For S’Kool Kids.” The
program will run through the month of September and letters of thanks
from the students will be posted in The Valley Springs News office.
Farrell is also soliciting the help from major chains to help
fill the school supply void.
Four bins have been set up at The Valley Springs News office for
supplies. Those supplies can be designated specifically for one of the
three schools or placed in the “Where Most Needed” bin for
distribution by school officials.