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Latest commercial cannabis proposal nears consideration
A proposed ordinance to once again regulate the commercial cultivation of cannabis in Calaveras County is scheduled to be considered by the County Planning Commission as soon as Aug. 22. Regulations allowing the commercial production of cannabis have been a hot topic in the county for the past three years…Final consideration of the proposal rests with the Board of Supervisors. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 9, 2019

Variety of agencies, programs working to end homelessness in county
For some time, homelessness has been on the rise across California, which has a larger homeless population than any state in the country. This is partly due to the high cost of housing. While rent in the state is 40% higher than the national average, income is only 18% higher… In Calaveras County, lack of available housing is also a significant problem. Currently, 35% of all homes in the county are unoccupied, 92% of which are unavailable for rent or sale… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 8, 2019

Board approves General Plan update for adoption - Public speaks out against elimination of community plan for Valley Springs, among others
"You told us community plans would be cost prohibitive," Zeller said in the meeting. "Now you tell us community plans will be added later. Forgive me if I don't believe you … You have wasted time and money. Forgive me if I have lost faith in you." Platt echoed Zeller's sentiment in an Aug. 8 email. "With the elimination of the Valley Springs Community Plan, area residents and businesses lose their community voice and their say in local growth and development," she said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 8, 2019

Board of Supervisors Completes General Plan Update Hearing & Prepares to Rescind Community Plans
District One Supervisor Gary Tofanelli struggled for words as he inquired of Planning Director Peter Maurer about the process for yet again updating the Valley Springs Community Plan…In fact, Maurer had recommended adoption of a Valley Springs Community Plan in January of 2017. However, Tofanelli had the item removed from the Planning Commission agenda… While Board members and staff claimed that adopting plans for Valley Springs and Copperopolis would be a "priority," they again refused to provide a timeline for adoption. Click here for article—ThePineTree.Net, August 6, 2019

County's General Plan update enters final stage
Approval of the General Plan update is moving forward without the inclusion of some community plans. The board agreed the inclusion of community plans for Copperopolis and Valley Springs should be the highest priorities. Waiting completion of all the community plans would be a bad idea, Garamendi said, as the update needs to move forward. "Progress trumps perfection in this case," he said. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 2, 2019

Public, supervisors weigh in on General Plan update in meeting
District 5 Supervisor Ben Stopper said he was torn between balancing environmental protections and private property rights by changing land use designations without the consent or approval of landholders. District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi emphasized that the conversions to resource production are necessary to preserve the agricultural lands and open space that draw visitors and new residents to the county…"There has to be a balance," Garamendi said. "We can't have a house under every tree..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 1, 2019

Will fuel breaks bring insurance providers back to Calaveras County?
Homeowners insurance has become harder and harder to come by in wildfire-prone regions like Calaveras County in recent years, and state officials are working to pass legislation to address the problem… District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway said she has been receiving daily calls and emails from residents in the heavily-forested district that have been non-renewed by their insurance providers. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 1, 2019

Special Meeting Focuses On Calaveras General Plan Update
The document serves as a long range planning document for land use, and it was first approved in the county in 1967…Planning for the latest revision commenced in 2007. Related to population, it reflects that the state of California anticipates the county will grow from the 45,578 residents to 55,541 by the year 2035. The county encompasses 662,791 acres. The plan has a stated objective to "promote economic prosperity, protect property rights, and enhance Calaveras County's unique blend of its productive resources and innovative economic pursuits for all to live in, work among, and enjoy." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 30, 2019

Supervisors approve housing for homeless
The Calaveras County Homeless Task Force is spearheading the project, which aims to help community members who lack stable housing by building approximately 10 tiny houses equipped with showers, bathrooms, sinks and small kitchen areas for use as emergency shelters. The program also includes intensive case management for those temporarily placed in the shelters. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 25, 2019

Comment period on sustainable groundwater plan closes Aug. 25
For Calaveras County, the plan pertains to about 500 combined residents between Wallace Lake Estates and Valley Springs that rely on groundwater, according to Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) Water Resources Program Manager Peter Martin… Chronic lowering of groundwater levels is the most concerning for not only Calaveras County, but the entire basin, according to Joel Metzger, CCWD's manager of external affairs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 25, 2019

Calaveras Sheriff's Office Shares Midyear Stats On Illegal Cannabis Busts
Just over halfway through this year's illegal marijuana eradication efforts, Calaveras County officials say they have taken at least $36 million in black market pot out of play…Although the MET is ramping up operations ahead of the fall outdoor harvest season, Stark maintains that marijuana growing and busting activities in Calaveras County are constant activities. "From the indoor grows during the wintertime to the outdoor and indoor ones year-round, we are busy year-round." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 23, 2019

General Plan update process reaches board consideration
A 12-year odyssey could come to an end as the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors considers adoption of a new General Plan…the board is scheduled to begin public hearings on the document beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 30... Over the past dozen years, the update process has cost the county taxpayers more than $2 million. Approval of the update could face a rocky road. The Calaveras Planning Coalition has outlined numerous issues it has with the plan. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 19, 2019

Sept. 20 Grand Opening Set For $9 Million Health And Wellness Center
Valley Springs, CA – The official opening is coming soon for a 10,000-square foot facility heralded as western Calaveras county's new "one-stop" health care mecca. "We will have internal and family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, dental care, radiology, lab, and I think we may even have a pharmacy," he lists. "The vision is that we will be delivering high-quality primary care for the community with one-stop shopping…" Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 19, 2019

Mark Twain Medical Center Clinic Projects Make Major Strides
As a multi-million-dollar clinic nears completion, local hospital officials are sharing plans for a move and upgraded services at Copper Valley Town Square…Mark Twain Medical Center's new James Dalton Medical Center still under construction in Angels Camp, Support Services and Development Director Ed Gonzales shares that the tentative completion date is Sept. 4... Valley Springs Health and Wellness Center, set to open Sept. 20. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 19, 2019

New cannabis ordinance could be ready in a month
Now that the General Plan update is nearing completion, District 5 Supervisor Benjamin Stopper at Tuesday's board meeting said he personally wanted to see a commercial cannabis cultivation proposal before the Planning Commission in August…County Counsel Megan Stedtfelt indicated county staff was close to having the proposal ready for consideration. She "hoped" it would be ready to go to the Planning Commission in August or the beginning of September. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 19, 2019

'Fire-resistant' plants help reduce risk around homes
"Having a list of plants (that are fire-resistant) is very misleading," Vierra-Pennington said. "The secret is to plant plants that won't touch each other at a mature size and are nonwoody." …all plants are combustible, although some are more so than others. Home fire safety "usually means taking away vegetation, rather than adding it," Kocher said. "A more safe landscape would be more sparse…and in some places you shouldn't plant anything at all." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 18, 2019

Groundbreaking kicks off Mill Woods fuel-reduction project
The project is part of an effort to build fuel breaks around communities from Camp Connell to Murphys along the Highway 4 corridor… In addition to helping prevent the next massive wildfire, Padelford said he hopes the uptick in fuel-break projects will draw home insurance companies back to the area. "The Arnold area is a very special place," Padelford said. "We've got to do something to protect this thing as best we can." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 18, 2019

New tree-removal funding found
In order to qualify, private forest landowners must have at least one dead standing conifer (pine, cedar, spruce, etc.) on their property…The program can pay about $800 per large dead tree within a 100-foot defensible space zone. If outside that zone, the funding provided is based on acreage…Long said interested landowners should apply by August or September at the latest. "This is a real opportunity for folks with dead trees on their property that they can't afford to remove," Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 18, 2019

Calaveras County's New Chief Exec Delivers Initial Assessment
As far as his goals, he comments, "We have some very distinct objectives that we will bring back regarding facilities, employee engagement, revenue, and stability." Alt shares high praise for the board, which he describes as very well-read and tracking well in dealing with its set priorities, including the General Plan update, how to utilize the PG&E Butte fire settlement funds, and addressing the draft cannabis regulatory ordinance. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 17, 2019

Calaveras Water District Conservation Concerns During PG&E Wildfire Shutoffs
Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) warns its nearly 18,000 customers that if the power is turned off by PG&E for wildfire danger in the county it will impact service…water, wastewater, and recycled water systems rely upon uninterrupted electrical power from PG&E. During a power outage, those systems will rely on back-up generators. To help reduce the risk of that equipment possibly failing, customers will be asked to cut down on their water use. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 17, 2019

Tuolumne County Leaders Disappointed Following State Insurance Meeting
"He thinks that we have a healthy insurance market (statewide) and there is not any difficulty with securing insurance…" Riggs says there are hundreds, if not thousands, who have been impacted locally. Just in the past couple of months, there have been three people in her office who have had policies canceled. It is having an impact on the local economy, as she has heard about local home sales that have fallen through related to insurance… Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 17, 2019

California regulator encourages people having trouble with homeowners insurance to contact his office
…Ricardo Lara, the state's new insurance commissioner who took office on Jan. 7. Riggs said Lara told them he can get anyone insurance if they call his office… Many county residents have reported issues with skyrocketing annual premiums or being dropped from their longtime providers since the 2013 Rim Fire. The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported that Lara…had received $53,000 in contributions to his 2022 re-election campaign from insurance company executives and their spouses. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 16, 2019

Vets hall loan in question
The Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District Board of Directors violated state law in securing a loan to finance completion of its new hall in Valley Springs, according to the 2018-19 Calaveras County Grand Jury report released last week… The loan, which is secured by two district parcels, is a 10-year note in the amount of $742,798.82… "With an outstanding loan on the property, the JLVMD property is at risk of loan default," the grand jury said in its findings. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 5, 2019

Calaveras begins roads assessment
The effort is the first step in determining how to spend the additional money from the increase in the state's gas tax. Over the next 10 years, the county will receive about $2.5 million from the tax… "To ensure that Calaveras County residents get the most cost-effective maintenance plan from these additional revenues, the county and city are working to implement a Pavement Management Plan," Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 4, 2019

Angels Camp to close purchase of key 12 acres for proposed Angels Creek Trail
The property includes a century-old, man-made diversion dam dating to around 1915 that creates a waterfall. People have been walking down the creek to that old diversion dam to swim and fish for decades… The proposed trail will stretch about five linear miles from Tryon Park to New Melones, if it's approved and completed as designed so far… there's an open house meeting scheduled 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. July 11 at Joe Carley Memorial Firehouse, 1404 Vallecito Road in Angels Camp, where the public is invited to look at proposed trail ideas and share their views. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 3, 2019

Visitors Bureau executive director of over seven years leaving post
"Once people experience Calaveras they are motivated to find a way to live here…" For Boulton, tourism is about community, first and foremost. "There's nothing you can do in destination marketing that's going to be successful if you don't involve the community… we're seeing that people like to go into those rural destinations where they can find hidden gems… anything that's really authentic, hand curated, handmade, artisanal or anything about rural local community. That is what's attracting people to rural locations." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 2, 2019

Angels Camp rancher and gun club locked in legal battle
"I'm not mad at the gun club. I'd love for the gun club to continue," Tryon told the Enterprise, though he admitted that being subjected to a "reasonable set of conditions" may, in fact, shut down the club. Tryon also maintains that he has no plans to develop or sell the equally historic ranch he owns with his siblings during his lifetime. "The stakes are very high," Ferrier said. "This is about the survival of a Calaveras County institution that has been there for three-quarters of a century, woven into the community. It's a fight to the death." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 2, 2019

Grand Jury Report sparks controversy surrounding Animal Control
…the 2018-19 Grand Jury made some hefty recommendations, including either the funding for relocation or development of a new facility, or the elimination of Calaveras County ACS and outsourcing to other counties… It was also recommended that the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office take over operations at the ACS shelter within that same time frame. Current director of ACS, Evan Jacobs, says he "respectfully disagrees" with those recommendations. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 2, 2019

Board backs CalCo request for higher development fees
Dickinson said the fee increase would apply to all new development after a 60-day period…The money will only go toward new fire facilities, firefighting equipment and apparatus that can be attributed to new residential and nonresidential development, he added, and not personnel. The fee for a new 2,000-square-foot single-family residence would be $1,800. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 28, 2019

Calaveras County Grand Jury report highlights college district bond measure, Animal Services inadequacies
The Grand Jury found that Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District (JLVMD) obtained unauthorized commercial loans to pay for the completion of a new hall that opened in 2018…The district now has an outstanding loan on the property, and is at risk of loan default. The jury's recommendation is for the Board of Supervisors to partner with the JLVMD to pay off the noncompliant loan. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 28, 2019

Planning Commission approves General Plan update - Update eliminates community plans for Valley Springs, Arnold, Murphys, Avery/Hathaway Pines
"The resolution has been adopted on a 5-0 vote, and this is now the project of the Board of Supervisors," said Michelle Plotnik, Chair…"We are well aware that it is not anybody's idea of the perfect document, but I'm pleased to have it completed..." The update eliminates existing community plans for Valley Springs, Arnold... The CPC also criticized the update's lack of clear deadlines for projects…in addition to its lack of an explicit monitoring process to ensure objectives are being met. The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors intends to hold two special hearings for final review tentatively on July 30 and 31. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 28, 2019

San Andreas receives funding to build five housing units for homeless and mentally ill
The goal is to make three of the units available to individuals and/or couples and two for families with children…"Calaveras County, like the rest of the state and nation, is facing a housing crisis…NPLH funding offers an opportunity to provide housing coupled with supportive services." San Andreas was one of 37 communities selected across the state for the loan. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 27, 2019

Calaveras Humane Society opens doors on new doggy (and kitty) digs
After a year of renovations and permitting, the highly-anticipated facility near Angels Camp opened its doors for pet surrenders and adoptions on June 19…"Being able to offer the public a place that they find warm and welcoming is exciting to us," Drake said. "A place that they feel will take good care of their pet if they need to give it up, and a place that really celebrates adoptions…" "We are not able to accept strays. Legally, that is a function of Calaveras County Animal Services," Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 26, 2019

Angels Gun Club Can Continue To Operate
The vote was 4-0 to allow the shooting range to continue operations. The board indicated that while there had been things like new lighting and minor amenities added, it was still functioning in the same capacity as the 1940's, and there was not proof it had really expanded, or added any type of offerings. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 26, 2019

Calaveras Supervisors To Hear Debate Over Angels Gun Club
The Angels Gun Club operates five trap shooting stations, a pistol range, and a rifle range along 20 acres situated at the outskirts of Angels Camp, along Gun Club Road. Some neighbors have voiced concerns to the county that the range is in violation of county codes. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 24, 2019

Calaveras Consolidated revamps fire impact fees on developers
Calaveras County Supervisors adopted an updated set of fire impact mitigation fees for new developers in the Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District…rates based on square footage and types of land uses… fees would not be used for staffing, as that would require an assessment and public outreach process, and would ultimately be decided by voters living within the district's boundaries. "We're going to be apparatus-capable but people-poor," he said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 26, 2019

Calaveras Supervisors Approve Development Fees For Fire District
The Board of Supervisors will place new fees on residential and commercial construction within the Calaveras Consolidated Fire District…The district covers roughly 163 square miles in the western portion of the county, including Valley Springs, Burson, Wallace, Campo Seco, Milton, Rancho Calaveras, La Contenta and Jenny Lind. It covers about 18,000 people and sees over 1,500 calls per year. It was emphasized that the fee will only impact new development… Click here for article and fee structure—MyMotherLode.com, June 25, 2019

Calaveras County gaining ground on rural internet; road protection
In an unlikely rural broadband success story, a fiber optic underground cabling project for the community of West Point broke ground June 4…An update to a county roads policy played an essential role by alleviating permitting costs on Volcano's end… Economic Development Director Kathy Gallino said the increased connectivity will be more than just an economic boost for the region…"It's going to appreciate the value of property and it's great for public safety and health." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 21, 2019

California hunters face nation's first lead ammo ban
The nation's first 100% lead ammunition ban for hunters…starts with the rabbit season July 1. As game seasons then open from mid-August through November, hunters will be required to make the change for good. Nearly 60 manufacturers have been certified to sell lead-free ammunition in California, according to the DFW. Click here for article—San Francisco Chronicle, June 16, 2019

USDA proposes major overhaul of forest management practices
"There's a legitimate concern that environmental planning as currently managed does often take longer than is desired…" said John Buckley, director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center… "It's unfortunate that this proposal has thrown in every possible wish list for special interests who would like to weaken the public's ability to help shape management on their lands." "Gutting environmental measures has little to do with getting important work done on federal lands ..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 20, 2019

Angels Camp cuts fees for affordable housing projects in half
The city eliminated nearly $9,000 in water capacity fees in anticipation of state grant funding and lowered sewer capacity fees to $8,697 – a 7% reduction. Traffic impact mitigation fees for extremely low income, very low income and low income housing units were reduced by 60%, 50% and 40%, respectively. Councilmembers discussed conducting a single rate study for multiple developers to eventually bring fees down for specific projects under a development agreement. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 19, 2019

CCWD Reaches Butte Fire Agreement With PG&E
PG&E has accepted a mediator's proposal of $3 million to resolve the Calaveras County Water District's (CCWD) claims that resulted from the 2015 Butte Fire. The district stresses that proposal does not affect the claims of any residents, individuals, or businesses also seeking damages from the utility. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 6, 2019

LGBT opposition to conservative pastor's appointment to local government role ignored
A pastor from a nondenominational Christian church in Mokelumne Hill who has criticized homosexuality from his pulpit and alienated members of the LGBT community in social media posts was recently appointed to the Calaveras County planning commission… Fiorino's appointment to the Calaveras County planning commission comes three years after Kelly Wooster, the District 4 commissioner, suggested a plan to combat invasive species could encompass "people from Mexico." Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 14, 2019

Supervisors appoint controversial planning commissioner, 3-2
In what evolved into a heated debate over hate speech and the separation of church and state, community members packed board chambers Tuesday morning to weigh in on the appointment of Valley Springs resident Trent Fiorino, a local pastor, as the new planning commissioner for District 1... Tofanelli said that Fiorino "has assured me that he will not have any bias in his decisions…" Sharon Romano, the alternative applicant, ran against Tofanelli in the supervisorial race for District 1 in 2016…"I find it very hard to nominate somebody that has openly ran against me …" Tofanelli said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 13, 2019

Fiber Optic Comes to West Point
The first phase of the project will be installation of the underground distribution cables within the next 30 days to ensure that construction will be completed prior to a road pavement overlay scheduled by Calaveras County in early July 2019. Volcano Telephone Company will then return later in 2019 to install the fiber optic drops to the homes and businesses in West Point and convert these locations to the new network. Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch, June 13, 2019

Habitat Calaveras lauded with Nonprofit of Year honor - Agency seeks to build 80-100 homes
Habitat for Humanity was placing efforts into building one house about every other year, but recently decided to put those efforts on hold in favor of a larger project, one that could impact around 100 families. On the north side of Angels Camp, just off Highway 49 on Copello Drive, one generous benefactor has donated 16.92 acres of land worth $1.05 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 12, 2019

Safety cameras installed to help prevent spread of fires
The first of many wildfire safety cameras to be installed in Calaveras County was secured on a Volcano Telephone Co. communications tower in West Point a few weeks ago… Providing new images every 20 to 30 seconds, the system will "give us a view of what a fire is doing before the units get there…" The photos may also present a tourism opportunity for the county, since they could offer anyone with an internet connection a real-time view of weather conditions in the foothills and Sierra, he added. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 12, 2019

County starts first round of budget hearings
The Calaveras County budget "overall is balanced," Chief Administrative Officer Al Alt told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday… Expenditures are up from last year, but so are revenues, thanks to a $20-million Butte Fire settlement. He said the biggest influences on the recommendation were unfunded Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) liability, financial strains of last year's $9.8 million deficit… The county will rely on cash carry (unspent funds from the prior year) and a "substantial Teeter transfer" to balance the budget this year... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 12, 2019

Short-Term Rentals to Be More Regulated in Amador
As discussed, the county would require a new, staff-level permit for smaller rental units that offered a limited number of beds or guests that would be issued over-the-counter. Larger units, or those that hosted events, would be required to apply under the county's existing rules for Bed and Breakfast establishments, which would require a public hearing before the Planning Commission and environmental review… A draft ordinance will now be prepared for review at a future planning commission meeting, with final approval of any new law going before the Amador County Board of Supervisors. Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch, April 27, 2019

Concerning Blue-Green Algae Found At New Hogan Lake
The Calaveras Environmental Health Department is warning residents to be on the lookout for a certain type of algae when swimming or recreating at New Hogan Lake. While the bloom is subsiding, county officials say it is important for everyone who enjoys the lake to have a basic understanding about potential health effects… Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 6, 2019

PG&E customers concerned with power safety shutoffs
The utility suggests customers prepare for outages that could last longer than 48 hours, and aims to give between 48 and 24 hours notice before shutting power off. Merlo encouraged customers to ensure their contact information on file with PG&E is up to date. "Because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions, your power may be shut off, even if (you) do not live or work in an area experiencing high winds or other extreme weather conditions" Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 6, 2019

New Cameras And Weather Stations To Aid In Fire Fight
PG&E has a new high definition camera installed in Calaveras County, and plans to have multiple weather stations across both Calaveras and Tuolumne counties… Calaveras is one of the early areas to receive a camera, and there is an eventual goal of having 600 installed in the state by the year 2022. PG&E is also planning to have 600 weather stations in place by the end of this year. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 5, 2019

Calaveras Cement Co. plant helped county through tough times
On May 9, 1926, the company held an open house and barbecue that drew an estimated crowd of 15,000 people – more than one and-a-half times the county's population… The first batch of cement was shipped by rail on June 14, 1926. The first large order, for the construction of the Pardee Dam, was placed later that year. While many businesses closed their doors during the Great Depression, the Kentucky House plant thrived, managing to double its production during the 1930s. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 28, 2019

San Andreas Wastewater Treatment Plant to receive major upgrades
The $6.5 million project is funded through grants from the State Revolving Fund and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). At about $68 per month, the district offers some of the lowest sewer rates in the county. "The philosophy from the board of directors is that we actively pursue grants and low-interest loans in order to keep sewer rates as low as we can," Logan said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 28, 2019

[Housing] Legislation could create future fines
The Calaveras County Planning Department presented its annual progress report for the Housing Element of the General Plan...revealing a shortage of new homes – particularly low-income units… RHNA recommendations for Calaveras County may decrease in the next five-year period due to a decline in population growth… "I think the biggest issue really is the cost of construction," Maurer said. "You're paying $300 per square foot for the construction of a new home. That really prices a lot of people out of the market. We really need to look at other ways that we can reduce cost." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 28, 2019

Sierra Snowpack At Near Twice-Average
The North Sierra (Trinity through Feather & Truckee) at 16 inches SWEQ is at 203 percent of normal for the date. The Central Sierra (Yuba & Tahoe through Merced & Walker), at 22 inches SWEQ is also measuring at 203 percent of normal… New Melones, now at 85 percent of its total capacity, is at 134 percent of its historic average for this time of year. Don Pedro, at 90 percent of its cap is at 119 percent of its average. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, May 28, 2019

County unveils app for real-time evacuation information
"For the citizens, we wanted to come up with a tool that they would be able to use themselves to help themselves…A lot of the people I talked to knew one way to get to their house, and they didn't know that a half mile behind their house was another way out, all the way to Nevada if they needed to go." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 28, 2019

Barriers to mitigating tree mortality on private, BLM, Forest Service land
Tree mortality continues to plague Calaveras County at an unprecedented rate, even after three consecutive wet winters and thousands of hazardous tree removals countywide. More than 5,000 dead and dying trees have been removed on private and Forest Service parcels under the Calaveras County Tree Removal Program, which kicked off in late 2017… Between 2010 and 2017, the number of dead and dying trees in Calaveras County jumped from 8,000 to nearly 3.3 million… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 23, 2019

CPUD ratepayers faced with 40% increase; district prioritizing infrastructure upgrades
The proposal is to increase both base and usage rates by approximately 40% in the first year, and by about 70% of the current rate by July of 2023. Ratepayers fund the expenses of operating, maintaining and improving the water system, which provides service to approximately 4,500 customers. The last set of rate increases ended in 2016… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 23, 2019

Fanning The Flames Over Homeowners' Fire Insurance Woes
Increasing difficulties homeowners and would-be buyers are experiencing with fire insurance has Mother Lode realtors, insurers, and government officials abuzz… Tuolumne County officials, who are also working at the state level on the issue, released a local resource contact list of insurance companies. They stipulate that the insurers may be able to provide homeowners with assistance in obtaining and/or maintaining affordable insurance…To view [the list]… Click here for Article—MyMotherLode.com, May 14, 2019

Fire-Safe Landscaping
Fire preparedness and landscape maintenance go hand-in-hand, since fire danger can be reduced through careful plant selections, sound planting strategies and critical horticulture maintenance. These practices must meet state-mandated requirements providing 100 feet of defensible space… broken into two zones. Click here for Article—MyMotherLode.com, May 12, 2019

Calaveras County Sees Hike In Tourism Dollars
The rise in traffic to the county injected new money into the economy, which in turn allowed for growth in communities with 100 new jobs created… Visitor spending also generated $5.4 million in local tax revenue last year, providing a stream of revenue to fund local services. Click here for Article—MyMotherLode.com, May 10, 2019

Unpaid victims: PG&E still owes more than $200M in Butte Fire claims and liabilities
There are about 1,000 out of the almost 3,900 Butte cases that are still outstanding… In the 2015 Butte Fire alone, attorneys representing hundreds of victims and Calaveras County government agencies filed thousands of legal actions against PG&E… The Butte Fire burned 70,868 acres, destroyed 921 structures, including 549 homes, 368 outbuildings and four commercial properties, damaged 44 structures, and resulted in two civilian fatalities. Click here for Article—Union Democrat, May 8, 2019

Calaveras Seeking Public Input To Prioritize Road Repair Projects
Public works officials in Calaveras County are holding the first of several outreach events to hear about the state of residents' community roads…During the session, residents within the CSA 1 boundaries will be asked to provide their feedback on roadway conditions through questionnaires and other input-gathering tools. The results will be used to compile a report…used to help county staff prioritize local road maintenance projects. Click here for Article—MyMotherLode.com, May 8, 2019

Forest-thinning project near Glencoe breaks ground
In March of 2016, Pat McGreevy submitted the first grant request for a potentially landmark forest-thinning project on 912 acres of Bureau of Land Management land east of Glencoe. "Hard work and persistence has finally led to success and I am elated," McGreevy said… Treating the area has been a priority for residents along the Highway 26 corridor in northeast Calaveras County for the past few years, especially with the 2015 Butte Fire burned into homeowners' memories. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 2, 2019

Gamblers, curious visitors swamp opening of new Harrah's casino in Ione
The new casino has drawn mixed feelings from the community. By 4 p.m., the parking lot had filled up, and casino staff and California Highway Patrol officers were turning people around. Traffic was at a standstill along Coal Mine Road from the north entrance. From the south side, stretching up the windy Camanche Parkway, cars were tucked off on the side of the roadway in every spot… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 2, 2019

Casino in Buena Vista Opens to Public
With the celebration came a few hiccups. As a larger-than-anticipated crowd headed for the new casino, traffic in the Buena Vista area stalled, with stop-and-go traffic reaching as far as Highway 88 and causing significant delays for casino-goers, as well as local residents. "Amador County Public Works is working with the BV casino representatives to try and mitigate the horrible traffic conditions that developed...at the casino 'soft' opening." Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch, May 2, 2019

Mother Lode Population Continues Decline As State Edges Up
While California's population increased slightly last year, it was at the lowest rate in the state's recorded history, and the Mother Lode counties continued to lose residents… Tuolumne County lost 131 residents over the past year to bring the number down to 54,590 and Calaveras County lost 30 residents to bring the population to 45,117. Click here for article—MyMotherLode, May 2, 2019

Blackouts During Fire Season
Clarke Broadcasting reached out to PG&E regarding if Tuolumne and Calaveras counties could see periodic outages. Spokesperson Jeff Smith replied, "We are telling all five million of our customers that they have the potential to be impacted, and that they should have a plan should their power need to be turned off because of extreme fire risk." Click here for article—MyMotherLode, April 30, 2019

How we analyzed California's wildfire evacuation routes
A USA Today-California Network analysis of California communities and evacuation routes shows that some areas in the state are far outside the norm when it comes to the number of lanes of roadway available for the size of the population… ZIP codes the analysis identified as being roughly within the worst 1% in the state when it comes to population-to-evacuation-route ratios: …95666: Pioneer, Barton and Buckhorn in Amador County. Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch/Palm Springs Desert Sun, April 29, 2019

Coalition questions General Plan Update
"It is absolutely unacceptable and a travesty of justice, that the General Plan update is proposing to abandon both the existing 1974-75 Valley Springs Community Plan, and all the community plan updates submitted to the county in 2010," said coalition representative Colleen Platt. She recommended adding to the General Plan update…the 4.5-page Valley Springs Community Plan, that was vetted by Planning Department staff and completed in 2017. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 26, 2019

CA Bill Would Make Building In High Fire Areas More Difficult
Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this month stated that he opposes banning development in high fire areas, noting that living close to forestland is part of the state's "wild and pioneering spirit." However, he has indicated general support for increased regulations. The bill passed in a Senate committee with an 8-3 vote. Click here for article—MyMotherLode, April 23, 2019

Calaveras Supes Becoming More Cordial Over Cannabis
"As proposed by the Board of Supervisors, there will be no cannabis in residential neighborhoods, including none in rural residential, although owners on more than 40 acres can attempt to rezone." The board voted giving staff direction to include in the draft ordinance that commercial grows would be allowable on rural agricultural, agricultural and general forestry properties that are at least 20 acres. Click here for article—MyMotherLode, April 19, 2019

Cannabis cultivation regulations to be completed in coming months
If adopted, registration will be prioritized for a cohort of about 100 previously registered state-licensed farmers that were already in good standing with the county, meaning they had paid their fees and taxes and were in full compliance with county code… The board also voted to establish setback requirements of 75 feet for outdoor cultivation of up to six plants for personal use to mitigate neighbor complaints. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 17, 2019

Calaveras supervisors hash out details of potential new cannabis cultivation law
Fencing, security cameras, generator requirements, fingerprints, background checks, setbacks and lighting at legal commercial cannabis farms were among the topics five elected Calaveras County supervisors wrestled with Tuesday…another step in a process that is not yet finished. A draft ordinance will have to go before the planning commission before it can be brought back to the Board of Supervisors for a final vote. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, April 16, 2019

Board extends hemp moratorium - Cannabis ordinance discussion to continue at next meeting
Wright said more than 20 counties in the state have imposed moratoriums pending adoption of new state regulations…Under the board's direction, county staff can prepare permanent regulations at any time before February of 2021, the moratorium's expiration date… On April 16, supervisors will decide what should be included in regulations for commercial cannabis cultivation, District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi told the Enterprise Wednesday. "(Marijuana and hemp) are two separate issues…" Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 11, 2019

Supervisors vote 4-1 to spend most of $20.25M PG&E Butte Fire settlement in the burn
Final fund designations decided Tuesday included: $2.35 million for a county disaster preparedness fund for 10 local fire districts…$1 million to repair sewer infrastructure and other facilities at Frogtown, the Calaveras County Fairgrounds outside Angels Camp… Immediately following the Board of Supervisors' vote, Joshua Pack, the county director of public works and transportation, summarized a Butte Fire roads restoration plan that included the updated $13.450 million to fix 85 linear miles of county roads impacted by the 2015 Butte Fire. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, April 9, 2019

Board spends $20.2M Butte Fire Settlement on roads, emergency preparedness
…More than $13 million was allocated to Public Works to repave, improve and restore every road within the fire scar over three years. Applause rang through the board chambers after supervisors voted 4-1 to adopt the negotiated allocations. The lone no vote came from District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway, who opposed funds being cut from road repairs, which was originally discussed to be over $14 million. Emphasizing the need for road repairs in the fire scar, Central Calaveras Fire Chief Jeff Stone unloaded a catalogue of concerns. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 9, 2019

Reservoirs release more water in anticipation of snowpack (update)
The release rate at New Hogan Lake on the Calaveras River near Valley Springs is "a little higher than normal," according to Michelle Frobose, the park manager for the lake. New Hogan supplies irrigation and drinking water to the Calaveras County Water District… Frobose said the highest point in the reservoir's watershed is about 5,000 feet, so it's not as affected by the snowpack as other reservoirs in the county. "We're right in that elevation that we need to be at for this time of year regarding predictions of rainstorms," Frobose said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, Update April 6, 2019

Angels Camp part of cannabis lawsuit
The lawsuit was filed late Thursday night against the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), alleging that agency's Regulation 5416(d) "is invalid because it eliminates the ability of cities and counties to regulate commercial cannabis deliveries within their communities"…"The BCC is fundamentally changing Proposition 64, eroding local control and harming our local cannabis businesses by allowing commercial cannabis deliveries in every jurisdiction in California," said Ryan Coonerty, chair of the Board of Supervisors of Santa Cruz County. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 5, 2019

China ban on recyclables to jeopardize local waste management funding
More than 90 percent of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics produced over the past 60 years has not been recycled, according to a Science Advances study published in July of 2017…China…announced that it would be implementing strict requirements…the country has not accepted materials with a contamination rate of over half of a percent for the past year. For instance, a plastic bottle with a label on it…That means a local recycling service like California Waste Recovery Systems (Cal-Waste) now has to find new markets for thousands of pounds of plastics and paper that have sunk in value. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 4, 2019

Costly Fires Force California To Eye Risk Pools
California officials are struggling to find ways for homeowners in fire-prone areas to afford insurance and for utilities to survive liability from devastating wildfires – a situation threatening to worsen with climate change…One option is to create a new state catastrophe fund in the range of $15 billion to $30 billion…Risk managers warn that California's wildfire threat is so great now that even risk pools or catastrophe bonds aren't attractive to investors. Click here for article—MyMotherLode, April 4, 2019

Cal Fire and defensible space: Wet weather now feeds fuels for the next fires
Cal Fire staff in Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa and other Mother Lode counties have already started warning people it's time to start thinking about defensible space. Seasonal defensible space inspectors started visiting residents in state responsibility areas of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties on March 4… people who live in state responsibility areas under Cal Fire jurisdiction are required to provide and maintain a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around all structures. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, April 3, 2019

Local officials weigh in on governor's wildfire emergency declaration
Since 2018, the Calaveras-Amador Forestry Team has secured more than $5.5 million in grant funding for forest-thinning projects as well, according to CalAm grant writer Pat McGreevy. While many agree with expediting these efforts, environmental groups around the state continue to claim that home hardening (retrofitting homes with ember-resistant materials) should be more of a focus. Cal Fire State Fire Marshal…"We need to educate on the benefits of home hardening. It's proven to dramatically increase the chance of a home surviving a wildfire." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 29, 2019

California home sales experience an upturn after significant lull - Calaveras sales increase 4.70 percent compared to the previous year
In Calaveras County, the median sold price was $310,000, whereas it was $258,950 for Tuolumne. The average time for a home to remain on the market during that time was 61.5 days for Calaveras County, 65 days in Tuolumne County, 25 days in Sacramento, and 27 days as a whole for the Central Valley. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 28, 2019

Road to the future - County making progress on affordable housing amid high building costs
Less than 20 percent of homes destroyed in the 2015 Butte Fire have been rebuilt. "We've got plenty of vacant land – the problem is that no one is building…"The cost of construction (generally) exceeds rent or sales value of what can be made for affordable housing projects." Maurer said that the county is looking at the feasibility of reducing building code standards to lessen costs for new owners, which could mean eliminating the sprinkler requirement for certain-sized homes. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 28, 2019

Public Works lays out $14.6M plan for Butte Fire road repairs
The plan recommended the repair and repaving of at least 24 county road segments that are within the Butte Fire burn scar or were damaged by emergency access use. Pack estimated that roughly 70 percent of the work would be contracted out, including the $9 million allotted for construction. He also recommended the hiring of up to eight seasonal employees… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 27, 2019

Board ponders how to spend Butte Fire settlement funds
"The communities most impacted by the Butte Fire (Garamendi's District 2) deserve our focus and resources for recovery and our whole county will benefit from an improved community infrastructure," Garamendi said in his memo. District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli said he wanted the opportunity to "digest" the proposal and add his own suggestions. At the end of what had been a daylong meeting, the board voted 5-0 to bring dispersal of the settlement funds back as an action item. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 22, 2019

Reservoirs release more water in anticipation of snowpack
Water storage at New Melones Reservoir in southeastern Calaveras County is currently at 85 percent of its 2.4 million acre-feet capacity – 35 percent higher than its 15-year average for March… The release rate at New Hogan Lake on the Calaveras River near Valley Springs is "a little higher than normal…" As for reservoirs fed by the Mokelumne River, the total system storage for the East Bay Municipal District is currently 82 percent full… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 22, 2019

Disaster preparedness topic of supervisors' meeting
Public Works Director Josh Pack presented to the board on the difficulties in establishing evacuation routes with over 1,800 miles of unregulated private roads throughout the county. "The county does not have jurisdictional authority over private roads, and no way to ensure that these are adequately maintained," Pack said…creating and maintaining new roads or acquiring access rights would be costly, time-consuming and overall difficult to achieve in a rural county where residents are particularly defensive of their property rights. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 21, 2019

Butte Fire burn supervisor, survivors, residents say spend $20M PG&E settlement in scar
"We need to rebuild roads in the area," a real estate agent said. "If we can get the roads fixed I can encourage people to move up there." "Catastrophic firestorms, like the Butte Fire, we have to be proactive now in this age of firestorms," said Pat Guttmann of Mokelumne Hill. "I recommend a large part of the Butte Fire settlement should be spent on equipment for our local fire departments…" Click here for article—The Union Democrat, March 19, 2019

Supervisors discuss Butte Fire Settlement spending priorities
District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi handed out 50 copies of his proposal to the public and fellow board members detailing how he feels the settlement should be spent. With more than $20.2 million…Garamendi proposed that nearly three-quarters of the settlement be allocated to Public Works for repairs on Butte Fire-damaged roads… "We will come back (in April) and we will negotiate," Garamendi said. "My suggestions were a starting point for a conversation to help guide us forward, and we will use that framework to cut a deal." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 19, 2019

An Exclusive Sneak Peek into the New Harrah's Northern California Casino in Buena Vista
Three hundred of the eventual 950 slot machines were delivered yesterday to the busy Buena Vista construction site… ahead of its original projected opening at the end of April. Hiring and training continues for what is expected to be more than 400 full-time employees… Construction continues on a number of county roads, including State Highway 88 near Buena Vista Road to prepare for the increase in traffic. Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, March 16, 2019

Calaveras Supervisors To Discuss Disaster Preparedness, Butte Fire Settlement Spending
Plans are for the board and county staff to spend significant time exchanging information and education regarding the county's emergency management structure and activities; also related projects focused on multi-agency coordination and fire preparedness efforts…current structure and function of county emergency management; how agencies coordinate to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters; also the funding and responsibilities of the Calaveras County Office of Emergency Services (OES). Click here for article—MyMotherlode.com, March 14, 2019

Home in Ashes, They're Forced to Fight for Share of PG&E Money
Neil and Kathinka McKeown's home in Calaveras County, Calif., burned down in a 2015 wildfire that regulators believe started when a power line made contact with a tree. Late last year, they thought they were finally close to rebuilding… But PG&E never sent the money, and because the company filed for bankruptcy protection in January, the couple will have to wait even longer…"It's been devastating," said Mr. McKeown…"It's like the fire happened all over again. We were looking forward to resolving everything." Click here for article—The New York Times, March 14, 2019

Calaveras County new economic development department bears fruit
Calaveras County's economic development department is less than 13 months old and it has a budget of $172,493, said Kathy Gallino, the department's director and sole employee. Wednesday morning she met with 10 local business owners and business advocates in a second-story office at Copperopolis Town Square in Copperopolis. "The old Calaveras, the pain-in-the-butt Calaveras, the hard-to-deal-with Calaveras, is going away," she said. "This is going to be the gateway to everything up here," Fletcher said. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, March 13, 2019

Calaveras Passes Moratorium On Industrial Hemp Cultivation
Supervisor Merita Callaway stated, "I didn't go into this meeting wanting to support it (moratorium), but I think there are some red flags there that we need to deal with. This is not a ban, this is just a moratorium. I'm hoping that we'll have a new cannabis ordinance this year, and I'm hoping that we'll have a hemp (ordinance) this year." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 13, 2019

Calaveras board votes 5-0 on temporary moratorium of hemp cultivation
Some Calaveras County residents in favor of banning commercial cannabis spoke in favor of allowing hemp cultivation. Hemp proponents say industrial hemp produces raw materials that can be used in thousands of products. Seeds and flowers are used in health foods and organic body care products. Fibers and stalks are used in hemp clothing, construction materials, paper, biofuel, plastic composites and other products. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, March 12, 2019

Board adopts countywide moratorium on hemp cultivation
Hemp cultivation "constitutes a public nuisance and violations may be enforced and abated in the same manner as prohibited cannabis cultivation is enforced," under the newly adopted ordinance. Industrial hemp legislation was passed statewide in California in October. "I am not against industrial hemp, I am against a premature program," Wright told the board. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 12, 2019

Why eating roadkill makes roads safer for people and animals
Between 1 million and 2 million large animals are hit by vehicles every year in the United States in accidents that kill 200 people and cost nearly $8.4 billion in damages, according to estimates from the Federal Highway Administration. Instead of wasting roadkill or mocking it as hillbilly cuisine, Idaho is tracking the carnage and allowing residents to salvage the carcasses to reduce the number of vehicle-animal collisions and feed hungry people. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, March 11, 2019

Local watershed trails have much to offer
Easy to moderate trails lined with hundreds of years of Native American and Gold Rush Settler history, stunning oak groves full of wildlife and lush wildflowers await you at the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail and the other trails of the Pardee and Camanche watersheds… 37 miles of EBMUD trails that are open for day hiking and horseback riding, or enjoy a leisurely day of fishing off of the Middle Bar Bridge with the old-timers. A Trail Use Permit is required to access the area… Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, March 9, 2019

Tentative ruling issued on county cannabis litigation - Case to proceed as class action suit
A tentative court ruling was issued Thursday on a $16.3 million cannabis lawsuit against the county for recovery of commercial cannabis cultivation taxes. Presiding Judge Timothy Healy overruled the county's demurrer and denied its motion to strike… The Board of Supervisors voted to refund formerly registered growers approximately $900,000 in funds leftover from the cannabis regulatory program in a Jan. 22 meeting. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 8, 2019

Calaveras Supes Head Towards Hemp Farming Ban
The supes are likely to proceed in the direction of a temporary hemp grow hold. Without one, staff points out that the agricultural commissioner's office would be required to process state registrations for qualifying hemp growers; "research hemp" grows could slip through under state law without vetting; both would be permitted within the county on any parcel allowing commercial agriculture operations without any restrictions on total canopy size, acreage, or buffers between properties. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 7, 2019

Valley Springs health care facility slated to open July 2019
Despite the extremely wet winter in Calaveras County, "great" progress is being made on construction of the Valley Springs Health and Wellness Center… The facility will provide general care for the community, as it will be a primary care clinic, a family medical center and will provide internal and pediatric medicine. An X-ray machine will be on-site…In addition, the center will boast medical lab capabilities… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 7, 2019

PG&E to expand wildfire protection program, mark trees for removal
A list of current projects in Calaveras County was not readily available by press time. District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway…hopes PG&E will be able to reach a compromise with homeowners with concerns about having trees removed in their neighborhoods. Last May, Calaveras Planning Coalition Facilitator Tom Infusino submitted various recommendations to PG&E to incorporate community benefits into the utility's vegetation removal work. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 7, 2019

Local film tackles controversy over cattle grazing in Sierra
A new local film, "Cattle in the Sierra," was screened at the Old Schoolhouse in Murphys, Feb. 24…The film consisted largely of two interviews representing opposing views on cattle grazing in the Sierra…According to John Buckley, executive director for CSERC, the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, the biggest problem with cattle grazing in the Sierra is lack of management by the ranchers. "Buckley's comment about the ranchers not staying with their cattle is entirely wrong," one woman said. "Cattle in the Sierra" has been posted to YouTube, and is also airing on public access television… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 7, 2019

California wildfires: Report names priority projects for thinning vegetation
Fire season has stretched 75 days longer in the Sierra, and climate change is a "force-multiplier" creating drier summers. Battling wildfires…has also "disrupted natural fire cycles and added to the problem." Over the next year, Cal Fire said, governments should create new, stricter standards for housing in fire-prone areas… Hanson also questioned the state's call for more logging and thinning…Cal Fire's recommendations to fortify homes with fire-repelling building materials and create more defensible space around them, he said, were more effective strategies. Click here for article—San Francisco Chronicle, March 5, 2019

CALFIRE Releases 'Community Wildfire Prevention & Mitigation Report'
Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-05-19 on January 9, 2019. The Executive Order directs the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)…to recommend immediate, medium and long-term actions to help prevent destructive wildfires. CAL FIRE identified 35 priority projects that can be implemented immediately to help reduce public safety risk for over 200 communities. Click here for 45-Day Report—CALFIRE, Released March 5, 2019

Butte Fire Recovery Documentation Could Cost Calaveras Over $1-Million
At this week's supervisors meeting, Auditor-Controller Rebecca Callen stated, "I've said all along that documentation is really our responsibility as a county, and I do know that there were times where proper documentation didn't happen….There will be dis-allowances by the OIG. I would estimate that it is probably going to be a million dollars, if not a little bit more, and that's just the reality." The roughly $1-million in revenue, which the county will likely owe FEMA, is expected to come out of the $24-million Butte Fire settlement that was agreed upon between Calaveras County and PG&E. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, February 28, 2019

Connectivity Plan schedules March meeting
The Valley Springs Town Center Connectivity Plan will be hosting the second public meeting as part of the project's public engagement process. The focus of the second public meeting will be to provide a summary of the survey responses held after the first public meeting, to present plans that show where improvements are needed within the project area, and to gain feedback on proposed alternative treatments to various streets… Public Meeting: Monday, March 11th Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 27, 2019

Disaster fallout in Calaveras includes mismanagement of $1M in grant funds
Calaveras County owes the Federal Emergency Management Agency $1 million or more in disaster recovery grant funding for the 2015 Butte Fire due to bad record-keeping, the county auditor-controller told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday in San Andreas… The million-dollar bombshell Callen dropped came during discussion of a board agenda item that was not scheduled to be discussed: a request to extend a contract with Tetra Tech, Inc. for recovery of homeowners insurance revenue associated with right-of-entry debris removals. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, February 26, 2019

FY 2017-18 Annual Reports for the Road Impact Mitigation, Valley Springs Benefit Basin, Copperopolis Benefit Basin, and Bret Harte Traffic Impact Mitigation Development Fee Programs
The purpose of the fee is to offset the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of new development projects on the regional and local road system in unincorporated Calaveras County. The fee program is based on a list of roadway improvements that were selected for the program by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors… Click here for Annual Reports—Calaveras County Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda Item 6, February 26, 2019

Board plows ahead on bringing commercial pot back
A majority of Calaveras County supervisors favor working toward re-establishing commercial cannabis cultivation, but concede such regulations will not be finalized in time for this growing season. The board held a lengthy study session Tuesday receiving input from staff and the public before discussing how to proceed. In the end, the board decided it needed another study session before a proposed regulation ordinance moves forward. Date of the subsequent study session was not determined at Tuesday's meeting. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 22, 2019

Supervisors mull commercial cannabis - Supervisors' meeting erupts in controversy over cultivation topic
After hearing from multiple county department heads and fire districts for a recap on the successes and failures of the 2016 Urgency Ordinance (UO), the board instructed Planning Director Peter Maurer to return with a list of refined questions for another study session on how to proceed with drafting a new ordinance…would likely not be completed in time for this year's grow season… At the conclusion of the regulatory program, the county had denied 335 applications, issued 194 registrations and was still reviewing 73 applications, with 60 withdrawn for a variety of reasons. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 21, 2019

Coalition presses board to fix General Plan Update
Five representatives of the Calaveras Planning Coalition listed specific changes needed in the Draft General Plan Update to improve the consistency, clarity, and comprehensiveness during the Feb. 12 Board of Supervisors meeting. The General Plan Update has been in the works for more than a dozen years and has cost taxpayers more than $2 million to prepare. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 20, 2019

Regulating commercial cannabis: Calaveras Board of Supervisors to reconsider ban
"Ben Stopper won his district, Merita Callaway won her district, Sheriff DiBasilio won his election," Wittke said. "They all defeated pro-ban candidates. Sixty percent of the county voted to support what you are doing today, considering regulation."…Segalla said. "Let the state take care of regulation and we can focus on land use and zoning. Let the state regulate it and be done with it." Barbara Sullivan, the county treasurer-tax collector, estimated she collected $13.3 million in taxes from registered growers while commercial cannabis was allowed from May 2016 to January 2018. Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 19, 2019

Planning Coalition cites issues with General Plan Update
Over the past few meetings, the community-based coalition and "flagship endeavor" of the Community Action Project (CAP) has listed issues with the current General Plan Update with explicit amendment suggestions. This past week's focus was on the plan's Introduction and Land Use Element… Techel suggested that the Public Institution land use designation be split into subcategories so that people purchasing property adjacent to public parcels could determine if they were moving near a future school, government office, sheriff sub-station or solid waste dump. "These public land uses, while all beneficial, are hardly interchangeable…" Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 15, 2019

Clean Break?
Community, agencies divided on fuelbreak proposal
SPI owns 74,000 acres of forestland in Calaveras County. With the goal of protecting about 2,000 homes in the Big Trees Village (BTV) subdivision – directly east of Camp Connell – from a potential wildfire moving up the north slope of the North Fork Stanislaus River Canyon, the company's plan proposes to implement a 300-foot wide section of fuelbreak along an approximately 4.5-mile boundary line between residential and SPI property. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 13, 2019

COMING UP SHORT
Renting in Mother Lode proves difficult for many
There are less than 10 rental units currently available in Calaveras County... "We have so many inquiries on a daily basis…The phone rings all day long, every day. The majority are looking in the $1,200 range, and we don't have any options for them." "It is kind of crazy, I think, that rooms for rent are becoming much more popular because people can't afford to live by themselves…" "We have absolutely no availability for apartments," Daniels confirmed. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 5, 2019

Tuolumne supervisors sued over General Plan environmental impacts
Months away from Calaveras General Plan update
"It is my hope that the makeup of the Calaveras County board is a better balance of decision makers when it comes to long-term planning," Buckley said. Members of the Calaveras Planning Coalition (CPC), the flagship endeavor of the Community Action Project (CAP) have been providing public comments at board meetings urging them to adopt a General Plan that avoids "exactly this kind of litigation," according to Jenny Fuqua, the coalition's outreach coordinator… "If the county decides not to implement meaningful mitigation to the (over 24) significant impacts we identified in the Draft General Plan, they are not adopting a legally defensible General Plan for Calaveras County…" Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 5, 2019

Buena Vista Casino Set to Open in Just 90 Days
The casino will be licensed by the Buena Vista Gaming Commission to operate on the Buena Vista tribal grounds. The new Harrah's Northern California will have 950 slot machines and 20 table games including craps and roulette. It will have one full-service restaurant and three fast-casual dining sections. It is estimated that the casino, when operational, will employ some 400 people. The casino has also made several payments to local governments to mitigate impacts from the operation, including $1.5 million for traffic mitigation, the first $1 million dollar annual payment to Amador County… Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, February 3, 2019

County successful in cannabis lawsuits
Visiting Judge Gary R. Hahn sided with the county in a request to dismiss class action lawsuits filed by Mark Bolger and 90 other defendants including former Calaveras County Supervisor Tom Tryon. The judge said the lawsuits failed to comply with the applicable statutes of limitations… A study session to consider once again allowing commercial cannabis production is tentatively scheduled for the Feb. 19 board meeting. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 1, 2019

Ride & Walk4Art Returns for 4th Year
Ride & Walk4Art, a fundraiser for arts education in public schools in Calaveras County will be held on Sunday, March 17, 2019… Participants can choose from two bicycle rides—25-miles or 45-miles—or an easy 4.5-mile walk skirting New Hogan Lake… Registration for this event is online at www.rideandwalk4art.com and the cost is $40 for bicyclists ($50 on day of event), $20 for cyclists age 16 and under ($30 on day of event), and $20 for walkers. Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, January 31, 2019

Developers lay out plans for Copper
Under the umbrella name of "Copper Valley," the partnership seeks to revamp the Town Square into a destination point and build up to 800 new homes within Saddle Creek… Another project the partnership hopes to complete by year's end is to open up Sawmill Lake…for camping and outdoor recreation. "Everything hinges on that General Plan," District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills told the Enterprise on Tuesday… Some other concerns expressed by Mills were the ability of resources like fire protection and sewage infrastructure to keep up with increased development in Copperopolis, which has a population of less than 4,000. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 31, 2019

Environmental advocacy group announces lawsuit over General Plan update
A recently approved update to the Tuolumne County General Plan is facing a legal challenge... John Buckley, executive director for CSERC, said that aspects of the plan… fail to meet certain requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, as well as state planning and zoning laws. The lawsuit seeks a temporary delay on putting the plan into action and for the court to direct the county and board to overturn its approval and make whatever changes are necessary to comply with CEQA. There's also a request for the county to be ordered to pay the costs of the lawsuit and CSERC's attorney fees… Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 30, 2019

CSERC To Sue Tuolumne County Over General Plan?
Board Chair Karl Rodefer confirms to Clarke Broadcasting that a lawsuit is anticipated. He says, "We did get notified, through a letter, that CSERC does intend to sue about the EIR. We don't have any details. It was just a notification letter..." CSERC is the acronym for the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 31, 2019

Coalition Wins Homeless Housing Grants, Takes On Affordable Housing Issues
A-TCAA Housing Director Denise Cloward explains the new funding sources are coming down through the Central Sierra Continuum of Care (COC), a four-county planning body for service providers and others touching the homeless communities in Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne… Calaveras County is using its HEAP funding to build nine tiny cabins that will be scattered throughout the county. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 31, 2019

Local experts tackle replanting in Butte Fire footprint
"The Ponderosa pines are not returning, and the Butte footprint is converting from a coniferous forest ecotype to flammable brushland," McGreevy said. "Without intervention, we can expect the frequency of wildland fire in central Calaveras County to increase each year as the brush grows." McGreevy noted that mastication as a restoration method would be effective, yet costly, since it requires heavy equipment with skilled operators and loggers. Landowners can apply for financial assistance for property-clearing through two cost-sharing programs… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 24, 2019

Coalition upset with General Plan update
Last week, Planning Director Peter Maurer contended that the General Plan Update would be followed by the "inevitable" litigation... The notion that the County had given up on doing the plan correctly upset Joyce Techel from Valley Springs. She pointed out that she and her friends had worked hard over the last twelve years to get the County to complete a legally valid general plan and EIR. As to Director Maurer's assertion that litigation was inevitable, Ms. Techel concluded..."Go ahead, make my day." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, Friday, January 25, 2019

New board fast tracks commercial pot study
By a 3-2 margin Tuesday, the board voted to move up a study session from March to February to reconsider allowing commercial cannabis production in the county... A week earlier when the board was setting study session priorities, Callaway said it was important to tackle the commercial cannabis issue before the cannabis growing season begins. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, Friday, January 25, 2019

Supervisors vote to refund cannabis growers
Nearly $900,000 in leftover funds from the cannabis regulatory program will be dispersed among growers that paid registration renewal fees or application fees prior to the board's ban on commercial cultivation. Former growers will have to file a claim for a refund... 26 possible claims for those that paid renewal registration fees, and $130,000 is budgeted for reimbursements. Additionally, there are opportunities for 736 claims for first-time applicants... Refunds for those claims are budgeted at $768,741 in total. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 24, 2019

Trouble over Tulloch
Lack of funding prevents reconstruction of "dangerous" bridge
"It's a scary bridge," longtime Copperopolis resident Bonnie Schaefer told the Enterprise... District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills told the Enterprise that rebuilding the O'Byrnes Ferry Bridge isn't a top priority with the county, though he would like it to be. "It's just a bad situation gone on literally for decades," Mills said on Jan. 17. "Any time you move the location of a bridge, the cost range is from $30 million to $160 million," Pack said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 24, 2019

Home Cannabis Delivery Now Legal Anywhere In California, Even Areas That Ban Sales
Getting legal cannabis delivered in California is now only a phone call away, even if you live in a city or county that banned commercial cannabis businesses after voters approved Prop 64. State lawyers gave final approval Wednesday to a regulation allowing home cannabis deliveries statewide, regardless of local bans on sales. Click here for article—CapRadio News, January 18, 2019

Supervisors prioritize 2019; General Plan, cannabis on list
During public comment, Tom Infusino, with the Calaveras Planning Coalition, warned that the board should be careful not to rubber stamp the plan too quickly, citing cases where other counties underwent several months of litigation and settlement negotiations after ignoring public mitigation proposals. "One important thing to do is adopt and reduce the 25 significant environmental impacts under the plan," Infusino said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 17, 2019

Board to reopen commercial cannabis issue
Callaway pushed for the commercial cannabis study session in March, shortly after the General Plan update process moves its way to the County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Callaway argued it would be unfair to commercial cannabis growers to let the matter "drag on." "Let's put a ribbon on this issue," she said... Stopper said whether to hire a cannabis project coordinator should be part of the discussion at the study session. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, January 14, 2019

Calaveras Board Chair, Interim CAO Weigh In On Issues Ahead
Regarding the long-awaited and oft talked about General Plan update, Garamendi notes, "Certainly, I am sensing universal consensus amongst this board that we want to get this done…it is conceivable it could be done by midyear, depending on what changes the board wants to make, if any, and what input we get from the public comments." When he was last with the county Lopez says the cannabis issue was front and center and kept other important things — like the General Plan update — from getting enough attention. "The ban is now in place but there's a lot of loose ends that need to be followed up with…and it is a new board so that board may choose to do other things," he adds. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 14, 2019

Economic forecast details slowing growth, hastening downturn
Jobs in ecommerce continue to pull talent from Calaveras County, surrounding areas
What does the economy of San Joaquin County have to do with Calaveras County? Quite a lot, actually. "Calaveras County is fewer than 10,000 payroll jobs right there. There's a lot of people commuting into Stockton and San Joaquin County for employment on a daily basis, so they're very connected to one another. Job prospects here affect a lot of people in Calaveras County." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 10, 2019

Board picks Garamendi as chair, Callaway as vice chair
"To the board I want to confirm to you that I will do the best I can to manage these meetings," Garamendi said. "I believe that working together this year we are going to accomplish a lot. As we take on our hard issues, I want to make sure that we celebrate the good stuff that's happening in this county, too..." Garamendi also insisted that members of the public address the board directly, and that he will "not tolerate anybody attacking our staff." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 10, 2019

New supervisors, county officials sworn into office
...gathered in the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors chambers to watch as two new supervisors and six other county officials swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States... This is not Callaway's first time as a supervisor, and she's ready to get back to work... Along with Callaway, Ben Stopper will be taking the reins of District 5, having unseated Clyde Clapp. "I feel very good about this group and how we'll work together," said District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi. "We have a tremendous amount of work to do, and we're moving in a positive direction." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 4, 2019

FFs Worry About CA Fire Risk Maps
California officials are considering updates to maps showing the state's most fire-prone areas. Marin County firefighters are concerned that the maps create a false sense of security... in California's current climate, some say, those projections aren't as relevant as they once were — the whole state is susceptible to flames. Click here for article—The Marin Independent Journal, January 7, 2019

Agricultural preserve replaces Oak Canyon Ranch Specific Plan in Copperopolis
On Tuesday December 4, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors approved a general plan amendment, a rezone, and a Williamson Act Contract for the Airola family's 3,171-acre cattle ranch adjacent to Copperopolis... Colleen Platt of MyValleySprings.com wrote that, "A secondary access road is not in the Copperopolis Benefit Basin and is not in the Circulation Element." Antonie Wurster from the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association concurred that, "To put a condition onto the Airola Ranch would be an unconstitutional taking." Click here for article—Foothill Focus Winter 2018

Popularity of cycling spreading in Calaveras County; pros discuss safety concerns
Cycling is a popular sport among retired members of the Valley Springs community. As the town grows, many recreational and competitive riders have banded together with a goal to spread awareness of road safety for both drivers and bikers...While the common misconception about cyclists paints them as impulsive, aggressive, young adults, Williams said that the majority of riders are between the ages 55 and 75 years old. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 3, 2019

Tuolumne County supervisors pass 20-year General Plan
Several supervisors took aim at people who have complained about the public hearings to approve the plan being scheduled during the holiday season and four days before two incoming supervisors take their seats... People who spoke in favor of the plan on Thursday included developers, members of the Tuolumne County Business Council, and others who stand to gain from increased development...The final proposed version four-volume document that totals more than 1,000 pages combined was released on Dec. 6. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 3, 2019

Tuolumne County Approves General Plan Update
Unlike last month's planning commission meeting, an overwhelming majority today were in favor of the plan... A major argument among those in favor was the need to make it easier to create more needed housing in the county...Among those opposed were John Buckley of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center and Sharon Marovich of the Tuolumne Heritage Committee. Arguments were made that the plan does little to protect cultural resources. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 3, 2019

California Population Increases While Tuolumne And Calaveras Decline
Tuolumne and Calaveras were among the 14 counties in California that saw a population drop over the past year...Calaveras County's population declined by 19 residents during that same span to bring the figure to 44,637. The net migration was only 8. There were 478 deaths and 451 births... Nearby county Amador bucked the local trend and actually had the largest percentage growth in the state... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 3, 2019

Hardening the homefront
Experts share home fireproofing techniques for rural residents
Preventative measures for 2019 are surely on the minds of homeowners living in high-fire-risk areas... Hardening houses refers primarily to building with ember-resistant materials as well as any other precaution taken to mitigate wildfire risks... some of which include covering all vent openings, protecting eaves and soffits with ignition-resistant or noncombustible materials...maintaining defensible space... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 3, 2019

Lopez highlights qualifications of candidates, priorities of county
After the announced departure of Calaveras County Administrative Officer Timothy Lutz, the Board of Supervisors brought on Manuel Lopez to fill the position in the interim... Lopez took the time to answer questions from Calaveras Enterprise staff regarding the qualifications that candidates should possess and what items, including Butte Fire settlement funds, should be priorities. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 3, 2019

Tuolumne Supervisors To Take Up General Plan
At a special meeting Thursday afternoon, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors will review and potentially adopt a General Plan Update... We reported last month that the county's planning commission endorsed its passage with a 7-0 vote. The meeting lasted four hours and 15 minutes and 24 community members came up and spoke. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 2, 2019

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