Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Empty Bowls diners had a wide selection of decorated bowls to choose from marking the occasion.
Luncheon brings in $6,000 for food banks
The Valley Springs Empty Bowls event on Sept. 22 was a huge
Benefiting the community’s food banks, Empty Bowls served
nearly 150 meals of soup and bread and raised approximately $6,000.
The food banks at Good Samaritan and Community United Methodist
Church were beneficiaries of the event, which was made possible through
the efforts of more than two dozen volunteers and generous donations of
soup, bread and raffle items from numerous local businesses and
individuals, along with nearly 200 decorated bowls created by the public
Lunch was served in Perry Hall at the Methodist Church and there
was a steady flow of supporters from the time the doors opened at 11
a.m. until the luncheon ended at 2 p.m., with the hall nearly filling at
the noontime hour, said Vip Hale, one of the Empty Bowls organizers.
“We had a great turnout and a successful event,” said Hale.
“It would not have been possible without the great cooperation we had
from the business community, the wonderful volunteers, and all of those
who participated by decorating the bowls, buying tickets, donating
raffle prizes and donating additional food to the food banks through the
Through the donation of all of the food and the prizes, 100
percent of the proceeds go to the two food banks.
Art teacher John Hartom initiated the Empty Bowls idea in
1990-91. His idea was to organize a charitable event to give artists and
arts students a way to make a personal difference. Empty Bowls allows
participating artists and groups to create and donate bowls to be served
with the simple meal.
Lisa Mayo, executive director of the Calaveras County Visitors Bureau, talks about tourism's positive impact on the local economy.
Tourism vital to local businesses
Calaveras County’s tourism industry was under the spotlight at
the Sept. 15 Valley Springs Area Business Association luncheon.
Lisa Mayo, executive director of the Calaveras County Visitors
Bureau, discussed the significance of the local tourism industry on the
county’s overall economy and how area businesses can take advantage of
the Visitor Bureau’s numerous marketing opportunities.
It’s difficult to find any business in the county that does not
benefit from tourism either directly or indirectly, Mayo said.
Direct travel spending in Calaveras County in 2008 amounted to
$155 million, Mayo said. Tourism in 2008 accounted for 13 percent of all
jobs in the county and payroll linked to tourism was $59.1 million.
Local tax receipts from tourism in the form of a room tax on
overnight lodging are more than $1.3 million a year, she added.
A portion of those funds go to support the Visitors Bureau and
its marketing campaign, while most of it goes to the county and City of
Angels Camp for their general funds or toward road improvements and
other projects designed by those government bodies.
Angels Camp has a 10 percent room tax on visitors, while the
county tax remains at 6 percent, she said.
Since increasing the tax a few years ago from 6 to 10 percent,
the City of Angel Camp has increased its revenue from the tax by $1.8
million, she added.
Mayo’s statistics for 2008 were provided by Dean Runyon
Associates, which has worked for 25 years to assist with market
research, planning and economic analysis for travel, tourism, recreation
and education projects.
Statistics for 2009 have not been released, Mayo said, but it is
anticipated the spending trend for travel the past year and this year is
in the neighborhood of a four percent increase.
“I hope this is the case,” she said.
Overnight stays may be down due to the recession, she said, there
seems to be an increase in day trips.
Jean Fox of Fox Realty and Management and the 10th
Green Inn said her establishment is seeing an increase in more European
In addition to the room tax, the Visitors Bureau is supported
The cost of membership is $250 a year and there are many
marketing benefits, Mayo said.
Members are listed on the bureau’s website, gocalaveras.com
and/or gocalaverasfoodie.com. In addition, each member receives a
30-word business listing in the bureau’s annual Activities Guide.
The bureau prints and distributes 60,000 of the guides annually
and nearly a tenth of those were given to the public attending the
recent State Fair where the Calaveras County booth received a gold
medal, she said.
She attributed much of the success of the county booth, which
included a people’s choice award, to the group of volunteers, many of
whom are from Valley Springs, constantly manning the booth during the
run of the State Fair and answering the public’s questions about
The county bureau has also forged numerous relationships and
partnerships with associate tourism organizations and the media
generating thousands of dollars in free publicity focusing on the county
and its tourist-related businesses, Mayo said.
“We need you to help us so we can help you,” Mayo said about
joining the bureau. “We want to help you and you help us. We all need
Tyler Summersett, project manager for the CCOG-prepared plan, addresses questions during last Wednesday's meeting on the document.
Leaders behind rival community plan efforts square off
The rift between the two groups submitting rival Valley Springs
community plans to Calaveras County for consideration in the General
Plan update process was in evidence Sept 15.
A public forum was held at Valley Springs Elementary School that
evening to review and comment on the draft Valley Springs Community Plan
prepared by the Sacramento consulting firm AECOM for the Calaveras
Council of Governments.
A good portion of the comments on the plan came from members of
the Valley Springs Community Plan Citizens Committee that also drafted a
community plan and last week presented it to the county Board of
Tyler Summersett, project manager for the CCOG-prepared plan,
said it is likely the county will receive the CCOG-backed plan at the
beginning of next month.
Approximately 75 people attended Wednesday’s meeting, which was
the culmination of a 1 ˝-year public participation process, Summersett
The first half of the meeting was devoted to outlining the plan
and questions were fielded during the second half. Questions and
comments were written, which eventually drew the ire of some audience
members who said their questions were being misinterpreted or wanted to
vocalize their comments.
Mike Wietrick, vice chairman of the rival Valley Springs
Community Plan Citizens Committee, questioned what he said was a short
time frame of two weeks to review and comment on the CCOG document.
Ron Randall, chairman of the rival group, said his question about
how many people ride bicycles and how many would actually use proposed
bike trails for activities such as shopping, was misinterpreted to sound
like how many would use the trails for recreation, which drew a higher
positive response from those in attendance.
Pat Pereirra, secretary for the Valley Springs Community Plan
Citizens Committee, questioned the validity of the rival plan that drew
a 1 percent response from citizens in the Valley Springs townsite. She
also wanted to know why the stakeholder advisory committee for the CCOG-backed
effort was reorganized and why La Contenta and Quail Oaks subdivisions
were included in the CCOG-backed plan when no one from those area’s
asked to be in it.
Rancho Calaveras resident Andy Ballantyne questioned the entire
community plan process launched by CCOG.
He said the impetuous for a community plan update should come
from the people and not another government entity.
Tim McSorley, the executive director of CCOG, said members of the
community did come to CCOG and request the update.
MyValleySprings.com is a partner in the CCOG-backed community
Ballantyne also challenged the propriety and necessity of using
$255,000 in grant funds to prepared the CCOG-backed plan.
“The public was not notified a grant was being written,”
Ballantyne said. “That is wrong, the public didn’t ask for it.”
Summersett explained the grant funds came from gas-tax fees
charged at the pump and re-invested into community-based transportation
Developer Jeff Davidson said he appreciated the community plan
efforts, and there were some good planning ideas, but he was opposed to
the CCOG-backed plan because it placed too many design constraints and
policies on future development.
He said he would ask the Board of Supervisors to accept the
citizens committee community plan.
McSorley said the decision rests entirely with the supervisors.
They can accept either or neither plan.
"My Sisters Closet" owner Shelley Johnson inside her new consignment shop.
Recycling items for cash is goal of new shop
Valley Springs has a new clothing and accessories shop with the
opening of “My Sisters Closet.”
Owner Shelley Johnson was the youngest in a family of 12 and she
used to take things to wear out of her sisters’ closets.
“They had everything and I always liked the name,” Johnson
said. “It’s cute and it has hung with me over the years.”
The shop is located at 42 Highway 26, Suite L, next to the Valley
Springs Home Center. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays
through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. The phone numbers are
772-1504, or 256-4281.
The store accepts items for consignment or donation and no
appointment is necessary.
Clothing should be in clean and working condition, she said, with
no stains. She and the client go through the items and decide which ones
to keep for sale. She likes to get an idea what was the original cost of
Once she and the client have reached an agreement on the
percentage, they sign a contract. The items are on display for sale for
60 days. After the 60-day period, the owner either picks them up or they
are donated to the Calaveras Crisis Center.
“It’s all about recycling,” she said. “This helps out the
community in all kinds of ways. Instead of running to Stockton, you can
stay here. It’s a chance for the store and the customer to make money
on items we normally would throw away.”
The price for items range from $1 and up. In addition to
women’s clothing she has children’s sizes 6 and up and carries items
from teen boys and girls. Men’s clothing might be carried in the
In addition to clothing, she has pursues, shoes, candles and
jewelry for sale.
“I take consignments of all kinds,” she added.
Today’s opening will include snacks and drinks.
“I look forward to meeting people and saying ‘hello,’”
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Johnson has
resided in Valley Springs for 20 years.
“When I first came here, I instantly knew I need to be here.’
She is married to her high school sweetheart Scott and they have
two children, Alexis and Scotty.