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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

Click here for 2018 News Archive

 

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