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Free dinner organized for Thanksgiving
- Nov. 18, 2015

By Nick Baptista

   A free Thanksgiving Day dinner for those who would like to celebrate the holiday with friends from the community and victims of the Butte Fire is being planned for Valley Springs.

   Paul Coca of Firefall Jewelers and more than two dozen other people are organizing the dinner, which will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 26 at Veterans Memorial Hall, 189 Pine St., Valley Springs.

   A meeting for those who would like to help with the dinner begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, at the Vets Hall.

   This is the second year the Valley Springs Thanksgiving Day dinner has been organized and Coca said he came away with a number of good feelings from the first one.

   “We had a variety of people, many of whom were new to the area including a mother and children who were without their father and husband because he had been deployed overseas,” Coca said.

   The service family was new to the area and far from family and friends. But they found a warm and friendly gathering that day to celebrate the holiday, he said.

   “It’s a community gathering and when you think about it, that’s what the first Thanksgiving was all about,” Coca added.

   Along with dinner, the event will include music and a message about thanksgiving. There will be door prizes and gifts, many of which will have been donated by local businesses. Coca will be making the rounds this week to businesses asking for door prizes.

   Last year’s dinner attracted 126 guests and Coca said he would not be surprised if those numbers grew to 200 to 250.

   “We want to make this Thanksgiving meal as beautiful as possible for everyone,” he said.

   Individuals, businesses and churches have come forward to help with the dinner. Friday’s meeting will be about finalizing plans and work details, such as cooking, serving, set up and clean up. There are at least 30 volunteers to pull off the event and there should be plenty of home-cooked food, but they’re still looking for more turkeys.

   Coca said they had about 14 turkeys and eight hams as of Monday, but he would feel comfortable with another 10 or more turkeys. To prepare a turkey for the dinner, call Coca at (209) 914-7441 for the details.

   Leftovers will go to those who were homebound and could not make it to the dinner.

   In addition to food, cash donations are appreciated. Tax-deductible donations can be dropped off at Firefall Jewelers, 1906 Vista Del Lago Drive, Suite E, in The Terrace.


Hot plant appeal on the back burner
- Nov. 18, 2015

By Nick Baptista

   What this past summer was the hottest issue in the Valley Springs area – whether to place an asphalt hot plant at the Hogan Quarry – has cooled off with the fall weather as two scheduled public hearings on the controversial proposal have been continued.

    The Calaveras County Planning Commission considered an appeal by Ford Construction and CB Asphalt in September, but no decision was made at the time. Instead, the matter was delayed to October and then November.

   The Planning Commission agenda for Thursday’s meeting now says: “This item will be continued. Date to be determined by the Planning Commission.”

   Ford Construction and CB Asphalt’s appeal challenges a decision by former Environmental Management Agency Director Brian Moss that hazardous materials used in the hot plant’s operation could affect the environment and a subsequent decision by county Planning Director Peter Maurer that the EMA director’s determination triggered the need for the applicants to go through the conditional use permit process.

   Ford Construction and CB Asphalt earlier this year sought county staff approval to begin operating the asphalt plant at the quarry located at 3650 Hogan Dam Road without any additional environmental review, claiming state and federal regulations provided plenty of safeguards to the public.

   An appeal to Maurer’s initial decision the plant would be a permitted use on the property was challenged by nearby residents and In addition, Ford Construction and CB Asphalt filed appeals when Maurer and Moss, who in the meantime has been promoted to assistant county administrative officer, determined the new operation was subject to further environmental review at the county level.

   Some members of the planning panel questioned whether staff, in this case the environmental health officer, had conducted an analysis consistent with the intent of county ordinance 17.42.035. The ordinance required an analysis that considered various factors that they deemed were not present in the staff member’s analysis at the time. In addition, the appellants were encouraged by commissioners to submit additional environmental information to staff before the next hearing on the proposal.

   Although the hot plant appeal hearing has been stricken from Thursday’s agenda, the planning panel will be busy working on an update of the county’s General Plan. The update is entering its ninth year.

   Thursday’s General Plan topic of discussion will be the Resource Production Element. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas.

FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2015, HEADLINES

CHS mascot search begins
Calaveras Foundation Disaster Fund receives $100K
World Time Trial champs from Valley Springs
CalFire plans to staff with extra firefighters during winter months
Chanukah festivities planned
Textile recycling sites trimmed
Record 47 million expected to travel this Thanksgiving holiday
Christmas to Remember seeks donations to buy clothes for schoolkids
Area Fishing Report
Golf Roundup
NFL update
Athlon Sports & Life
Church Directory
Community Calendar
Fire Calls
Sheriff's Log

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