NEWS & REPORTS (Archived)

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2016 Archive

A year in review
Many Calaveras County residents hoped 2016 would be a year of recovery, reconstruction and healing after the devastation the Butte Fire wrought in 2015. Some healing happened, but the year was far from tranquil... The county's leadership continued to see rapid turnover in 2016... Calaveras County will begin 2017 with new faces in four of five Board of Supervisors seats as well as in the top administrative spot... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 29, 2016

Brief supervisors meeting closes tumultuous era for Calaveras County board
Ponte chairs the final session, says she is not retiring
In addition to the economic malaise and stagnant revenues that have long squeezed county operations, the board in the past two years also handled a bitter dispute over a proposed asphalt batch plant, the Butte Fire disaster and its aftermath, the tree mortality crisis and the rapid growth of the medical marijuana industry. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 27, 2016

Commission denies appeal for old airport cannabis site in San Andreas
Registrant says none of his employees were arrested in October raid
"Our position is you can't prepare a cultivation site in a building where another business is operation," said Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer. Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said that when his personnel raided the building in late October, there was only a relatively small growing area with 56 plants. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 27, 2016

Officials plan for growth even as population declines
Calaveras County population shrinks for eighth straight year
If the decline continues, then many property owners who had hoped to eventually sell to a growing population of buyers are likely to be disappointed. The draft general plan now under environmental review already provides places for six times as many new homes as would be needed even if the 20-year projection of 9,000 new residents proves accurate. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 23, 2016

Population continues to decline
10th consecutive year of losses for Tuolumne County, 8th for Calaveras County
...Tuolumne and Calaveras were two of 14 counties in the state that experience natural decrease. Natural decrease means more deaths than births occurred during that year. Both counties and the state as a whole also experienced negative net domestic migration, meaning the number of people moving in was less than the number moving out. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 22, 2016

Mark Twain Health Care District approves Valley Springs clinic floor plan
Board member Dr. Randy Smart, reporting on real estate committee activities, said that the effort to build a new clinic in Valley Springs is on track. But, he said, that timeline is "tight"... The current project is a 9,793-square-foot building that is only just over half the size of the 19,000 square foot building originally proposed. The building construction cost is estimated at $4.4 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 20, 2016

Mark Twain Health Care District assesses independence
The Mark Twain Health Care District has undertaken a study to see if it can afford to operate a number of medical facilities in Calaveras County once a 30-year lease with the Mark Twain Medical Center Corporation and its partner Dignity Health expires at the end of 2019. The lease has become sort of a hot topic in recent meetings. Among those to speak out during discussions to qualify a lease agreement for the ballot this year was Calaveras County District 2 Supervisor-elect Jack Garamendi. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 16, 2016

McClintock Has Fresh Optimism As President Signs Water Bill
Reflecting on the package as a whole, he says, "It is a big step forward. It has a lot of ground breaking provisions that by themselves are not going to solve our problems, but have now laid the groundwork for legislation in the next session where we can build upon these reforms to save our forests and deliver a new generation of water abundance to the people of California." Click here for article—, December 16, 2016

Ridership shrinks, Calaveras Transit proposes an overhaul
Main route would go from Valley Springs to Columbia
The revamp eliminates some services, such as a loop in the Rancho Calaveras subdivision near Valley Springs and a route extension to the Burson area. "People had signed a petition saying they planned to use the service," Mullen said. That, however, didn't happen. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 16, 2016

Calaveras County cannabis farm inspections to continue, for now
Staffing woes delay effort to process registration applications
Maurer said he does not yet know whether the county will be forced to return registration fees to growers in the event that county leaders decide to terminate the regulated, legal industry... The original intent of the board when the urgency ordinance was adopted was to eventually craft a permanent ordinance... Stedtfeld said that [Measure C] revenue will never be collected if county leaders decide before them to eliminate cannabis... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 15, 2016

Garamendi faces challenges in District 2
Paloma supervisor supports cannabis regulations
"I support the continuation of the UO and hope that we can work together as a board to address any shortcomings the UO may have," he said... "The funding from measure C can be very important to our community in meeting budget shortfalls as well as helping fund public safety, libraries, roads as well as health and community wellness programs," he said. "Doing nothing is not an option..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 15, 2016

Tofanelli sees busy days for incoming supervisors
Completion of the county's General Plan update and what to do with the Valley Springs Community Plan is also high on Tofanelli's list. Two Valley Springs Community plans emerged during Tofanelli's term in office...Work has been under way to bring the two in line with one another and Tofanelli said he would be meeting with Planning Director Peter Maurer to see what needs to be done to get a Valley Springs Community Plan included in the General Plan update. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, December 14, 2016

County reports 47 grow sites registered, 58 rejected
The Calaveras County Planning Department has now completed processing just over 11 percent of the 947 applications to register cannabis cultivation sites that it received earlier this year. On Monday, Maurer said the number of cannabis cultivation registrations issued had risen to 53, including 19 commercial farms, 28 personal use sites and six caregiver sites... county agencies so far have spent $668,444 of the $3.7 million in fees paid by cannabis growers. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 12, 2016

Former Forgotten Knowledge Collective loses court ruling
Dispensary operated in improper zone in Valley Springs
Relatively few places in Calaveras County have professional office zoning...County elected leaders have said repeatedly that they deliberately restricted dispensaries to the professional office zone as a way to limit the number of dispensaries in the county. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 12, 2016

Water fights rage at state, federal levels
Reservoirs better than last year, still depleted by years of drought
Now, a massive federal water infrastructure bill working its way through Congress could relax some of the environmental rules that require water to be released for fish species, but might not translate into more water being held behind New Melones Dam... "Some might call it a water grab," Stork said of rules that could allow more water to flow to farms in the southern San Joaquin Valley and cities in Southern California. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 9, 2016

Man of steel will represent District 1 next year
"I hate to use the word ban, but most of the people in my district do not want it near their residences. They say they moved here to get away from that stuff," Tofanelli said. Tofanelli said he has not read the proposed ban initiative and wants to learn all he can before making a decision on it. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 9, 2016

Clapp sworn in to Board of Supervisors
Clapp was one of the people who spearheaded efforts to recall Kearney, citing his stance on a potential asphalt plant at the Hogan Quarry in Valley Springs and the removal of off-site maintenance fund requirements at the Olive Orchard Estates in Burson. Last week, Clapp said his goals are to ban cultivation in his district and adopt a traffic ordinance that limits the hours heavy machinery can be transported throughout the suburban area. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 5, 2016

Legalization most popular in upcountry areas
Trump support, marijuana opposition strongest in west county
The detailed precinct breakdowns also showed that a majority of voters in San Andreas and Rural San Andreas precincts supported District 1 Supervisor Cliff Edson's bid for a second term. Voters in four precincts in the Valley Springs and Burson areas favored challenger Gary Tofanelli, who ultimately won the contest by a margin of 53.4 percent to 46 percent. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 5, 2016

Vets hall-emergency center getting closer to completion
Memorial District Board President Gary Tofanelli hopes to have the building finished in time for the annual Valley Springs Melodrama in early 2017. However, he said a stumbling block in completing the building has been working with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to provide power to the new hall... Another obstacle in completion has been the county's drainage system requirements. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, December 2, 2016

Supervisor-elect outlines what he wants to accomplish
District 5 Supervisor-elect Clyde Clapp has an ambitious agenda to pursue once he takes office. "Most of the people who voted for me want to be left alone," he said. "They came here for the quietness and like things the way they are. If I can get things back to the way they were (before the current board), I will have done my job." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 25, 2016

Calaveras County may have easy out for cannabis cancellation
"Any person who bought property here to grow was in essence involved in speculation that the county would allow or have certain conditions," said Mills when asked how much would change if the urgency ordinance fails. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 25, 2016

Cal-Waste commercial trash hauling rates jump
Cal-Waste's rate increases for waste and recycling is leaving some confused and many others angry. "It is ridiculous," said Crystal Robinson-Molina of Copperopolis. "We're going to cancel their service." ...a representative from Cal-Waste came and explained that due to mismanagement of the landfill all garbage will be shipped out of county at a large cost..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 21, 2016

Barber chair candidate ready to take new seat on county board
Clapp said his will be among the votes to turn back the cannabis industry... "I'm not in favor of an extension," he said... "I would move to have the board approve the ban initiative once it is certified," said Clapp. "It would save the county $30,000 in costs for a special election." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 21, 2016

CPUD to sell water for Bay Area project
Critics concerned about impact on future Calaveras customers
The Calaveras Planning Coalition, a citizen's advocacy group, circulated a letter to the various parties involved with the deal expressing concerns that Calaveras residents were left in the dark on the decision to sell the water. "Calaveras County is depending on new development in the CPUD service area..." Written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Nov. 30. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 18, 2016

Majority of PUD customers balk at proposed rate hike
Customers of the Valley Springs Public Utility District have rejected plans to raise rates to finance a new wastewater treatment plant. The district was looking at building a new $9.5 million facility on the Coe property approximately one mile north of Valley Springs off Paloma Road. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 18, 2016

Cannabis farm denial upheld by split vote
Applicant didn't disclose existing grow in application to Planning Commission
In question was not that Vang cultivated marijuana before applying for a personal-use registration, but whether or not county code required that she disclose she had been cultivating marijuana at a commercial level at the time she applied for a personal-growth registration with the intention of reducing her operation to a personal grow in the future. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 17, 2016

Commercial San Andreas sewer users could see rate hikes
"We process 250,000 gallons of waste water daily," said Logan. "Our 1952 effluent structure and digester are antiquated pieces of equipment. We need to have a well running waste water treatment plant not only to serve the existing community, but to be able to service the community if it grows." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 17, 2016

Board hears emergency services review from sheriff, public works
Action postponed until newly elected supervisors join
At a special meeting of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office made a plea for nearly $1 million to revamp its emergency services operation, and Public Works Director Jeff Crovitz recommended a new department to help with disaster recovery. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 17, 2016

County enacts waste disposal programs to meet state mandates
The Calaveras County Department of Public Works after a year of negotiations has entered into a 10-year solid waste collection, hauling and recycling agreement with California Waste Recovery Systems. Counties in California are required to adhere to a strict diversion goal of 75 percent by 2020. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 16, 2016

Board could decide cannabis fate
Permitted grows still allowed through 2017
...those already in the system will be able to complete the application process, continue agriculture operations and, if certified, will have one year to operate as a legal grower even if the new board backs away from allowing regulated grows. "I support the urgency ordinance and I hope the board would come to me and the DA and everyone involved and find solutions that would work for everybody in the county," said [Sheriff] DiBasilio on Monday. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 15, 2016

VSPUD customers have last chance to protest proposed rate hike
Customers of the Valley Springs Public Utility District on Wednesday have a final opportunity to comment or protest a proposed rate hike. If more than 50 percent of affected property owners submit written protests against the proposed rate hikes before or at the public hearing, the increases cannot be adopted by the board. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 11, 2016

Calaveras County voters defeat Measure D, remove pro-regulation supervisors
Voters Tuesday made it clear that the future of Calaveras County's legal cannabis industry is at least in doubt, if not in dire jeopardy. "Carrying the conversation forward will obviously be more difficult than it has been," Tomaszewski said of the incoming board and his efforts to promote the idea that the industry should be legal and regulated. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 11, 2016

Board incumbents defeated
Tofanelli, Clapp win seats on new-look county board
That means come January, the board will take on a different look, with four new supervisors joining the only remaining incumbent, Michael Oliveira... plans and programs that might have been a sure thing on Nov. 7 are no longer certain, including the future of the urgency ordinance that governs commercial cannabis farming. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 11, 2016

Cannabis Confusion
Election results prove costly for Calaveras County's pot industry
The loss of Edson and Kearney eliminated the final two members of the four supervisors on the board who voted in favor of a temporary urgency ordinance that established cultivation provisions... If the ordinance is not renewed and no document is adopted in its stead, cultivation would neither be allowed nor outlawed. "The water is muddy now. We cannot see where we're going." Click here for article—Union Democrat, November 10, 2016

Critics say pro-marijuana views are a conflict for county legal advisors
Stedtfeld concluded that she believes most members of the public support the Constitutional right of free expression and choose their lawyers based on skill and performance rather than on their privately held views. "Unfortunately, Mr. Tunno and Mr. McManus appear to believe that an attorney representing the county should not be permitted to express or publish their personal opinions outside of work..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 10, 2016

Voters turn down Calaveras cannabis law
Measure D's failure puts the cannabis industry and its permanent future in a state of uncertainty. Caslin Tomaszewski, of Ruckus Farms in Mokelumne Hill, said many cultivators in the county could feel more uncertain about the industry's future after the 9 percent defeat at the polls. Click here for article—Union Democrat, November 9, 2016

What's pot worth to your town? California communities look to cash in on cannabis
Voters in diverse regions across California overwhelmingly approved tax hikes to turn marijuana into a potential revenue source for local governments. But different areas reflected sharply different attitudes on how much cannabis cultivation and commerce to encourage... On election night, Calaveras County was a case in point. Click here for article—Sacramento Bee, November 9, 2016

Drought continues: Wet October doesn't mean wet winter
Tuolumne and Calaveras counties remain in stages of severe, extreme and exceptional drought, according to scientists with the U.S. Drought Monitor. The northern third of Calaveras County remains in severe drought, while the southern two-thirds of Calaveras and most of Tuolumne County remain in extreme drought. Click here for article—Union Democrat, November 4, 2016

Threat of lawsuit follows cannabis raid
Two people have threatened to sue Calaveras County for what they believe was an illegal bust... the cultivators may have been harvesting product that was not registered specifically to them... some gray area remains. "The ordinance does not prohibit or allow the mass processing of crop from other cultivators," Maurer said. DiBasilio said Thursday the ordinance does not allow for the use of processing of product from another property. Click here for article—Union Democrat, November 4, 2016

Calaveras Election Day 2016 Results
How did Calaveras County vote for President, Senator, Representative, State propositions, local measures, local candidates, and County Supervisors? Click here for Calaveras County November 8 Election Results, Calaveras County Elections Department, November, 2016

Commerical cannabis farming, done right
Rimrock Farms produce a product to meet a business model
And business is good for Bolger's employees as well. "I pay $25 an hour for a W-2 employee or for a 1099-contracted worker," he said. "And all, save one, are Calaveras County residents and many come from multi-generational county families." He said the five regular employees are hired year-around... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 8, 2016

Federal Funding To Fight Tree Mortality On Private Forestland
16 Sierra Nevada counties eligible for the program, including Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador and Mariposa... Landowners will need to develop a Forest Management Plan for the property...all applications will be processed, with a visit to the applicant property, by December 9. Interested landowners in Tuolumne, Calaveras or Amador counties can call 209-223-6535... Click here for article—, November 8, 2016

Foothill Conservancy files legal challenge to Amador County General Plan
On Thursday, November 3, Foothill Conservancy filed a lawsuit in Amador County Superior Court challenging the County of Amador's new general plan and related environmental impact report. The Conservancy's petition for writ of mandate asks the court to set aside the general plan and EIR, and revise the EIR to correct identified errors and inadequacies. Click here for article—Foothill Conservancy News, November 4, 2016

Calaveras County Copes With Change After Influx of New Marijuana Growers
Peter Maurer is Director of the Calaveras County Planning Department. He says the county anticipated 200-300 applications to grow marijuana. Instead, says Maurer, "we received 740 commercial applications and an additional 250 personal (or caregiver) operations." This rural county already faced considerable challenges before the Butte Fire... Click here for article & broadcast—Capital Public Radio, November 3, 2016

Calaveras County Teens Assess Marijuana Impacts
"Memory loss, a lot of short-term stuff, like, they get slower and they get boring," says Colten Anderson and Tara Purcell. "I feel like with marijuana, a lot of marijuana smokers claim that they're not addicted, but when they try to stop smoking it they go back on and they are addicted," says Madison James. Click here for article & broadcast—Capital Public Radio, November 3, 2016

First fire, now cannabis
Rancho Loma Serena residents await county action
Meitrott said further legal action will probably be necessary to make the association rules and the fines stick. And with the growing season's end, Baldridge said the fear is that the growers will use their profits to buy more properties, "lawyer-up and fight" the association. Baldridge said that he and other association members see the lack of county government response as undermining confidence in the effectiveness of government. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 3, 2016

'Cannabis County': Some see green, some see red as Calaveras pot industry explodes
County officials initially expected anywhere from 200 to 300 applications for legal cultivation. By the time the deadline arrived, they'd received 740, though some applications were incomplete and have been denied. Nearly $4 million in fees collected from the growers is supposed to pay for 29 new county employees to manage and enforce the fledgling rules. Click here for article—Stockton Record, October 16, 2016

Owner may sue over destruction of cannabis business at old airport
"The ordinance allows drying and processing," said Sacramento defense attorney Mark Reichel, who represents Elias Egozi, a principal in Calaveras Cannabis Inc, a firm that operated a cannabis processing facility at Unit B, 833 Highway 49, San Andreas. Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer said on Wednesday that while the county's urgency ordinance permits drying and processing, the Unit B processing facility "was a pending application and was not final. He did not meet the requirements of the ordinance." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 2, 2016

Controversy Erupts Around $10 Million Bust of Legal Marijuana Grow
Over the weekend, 35 people were arrested and $10 million worth of marijuana was seized during a raid at an old airport in Calavaras County, California. According to the sheriff's department, the grow operation had been under investigation for the past month due to a reported increase in traffic going and out of the airport. However, the operation wasn't illegal; investigators found that the owners had a permit to grow cannabis. Click here for article—High Times, October 31, 2016

Sheriff's Office breaks up huge processing center at old county airport near San Andreas
The building had a number of rooms filled with sophisticated cannabis processing equipment and thousands of pounds of processed and drying product. Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said the 32 workers arrested came from as far away as Bulgaria and Iceland. He said processing would take some time, but expected all would be booked into the county jail on felony charges related to cannabis production. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 28-31, 2016

Board rejects two more cannabis registration appeals
Some question if farmers are being treated fairly
"It is not a fair process," Wright said of how Dickinson's appeal was handled by the commission. "We could do nothing in the county if that was the process we used." Al Segalla, the only member of the public who spoke during Tuesday's hearing, agreed with Wright. "This process is supposed to be regulatory, not suppressive," Segalla said. "We are violating property rights." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 28, 2016

Huge bust in West Point
23 workers arrested at three illegal pot farms
It took several days for jail staff to book all 23 alleged cannabis workers into the Calaveras County Jail on suspicion of felony cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and conspiracy to commit a crime... DiBasilio said property owners could face citations for environmental degradation, which would be processed as civil matters. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 28, 2016

Calaveras law enforcement officials bust large grow in West Point
The devastation on the environment was apparent as Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio detailed the scene from one of the three illegal marijuana grows busted Tuesday. The marijuana had a street value of about $6.25 million. More than 4,000 pounds of both processed and natural marijuana were taken to a dump. Another 1,000 pounds were destroyed. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 26, 2016

40-year experiment in Yosemite: Managing fire, rather than suppressing it, benefits forest and watershed
"There is much more dramatic structural change in this forest than most people would probably feel comfortable with," he said. "You are talking about low-density forests and gaps of 4 or 5 acres, up to maybe 100 acres. These are the result of major fires about every decade or so..." "The whole ecosystem will be better off if we let the natural fire process back in," she said. Click here for article—YubaNetUnion Democrat, October 26, 2016

Residents complain about cultivation enforcement
It was not known whether those in violation of county ordinance had been cited at any point, but it was undoubtedly clear abatement was out of the question... The abatement process for unpermitted grows is a seemingly long and drawn out process as Turner explained Tuesday afternoon... Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 25, 2016

Calaveras Unified schools get grant for garden program
"One day, we'd like to see the bigger kids going down to the other sites and spreading their knowledge with younger kids to create a sense of community," said Hesser. "The program is growing at a very nice pace." The aim of the model is to educate students and parents about access, demand and consumption of specialty crops. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 25, 2016

McClellan Park startup converts food waste into fertilizer
"The other key factor with this product is it really is addressing the national and global issue of food waste. … We're wasting 40 percent of our food from farm to table."... "Sacramento fashions itself as America's Farm-to-Fork Capital, so we want to make it the Fork-to-Farm Capital, too. That's our little idea." Click here for article—Sacramento Bee, October 25, 2016

When spark meets sprawl: Building in wildlands increases fire risk
32% of Americans live in the wildland-urban interface
Wildfires, long considered a problem exclusive to the West, now threaten many other parts of the country as extreme weather becomes more commonplace and more people live in areas at risk for wildfire. What has that we're "leaving natural growth alone and then stuffing the openings with combustible structures." "We've had a whole social change in Flagstaff from 'cutting any trees is bad' to 'now we need to take out some trees so we don't lose all of our trees.' " Click here for article—RevealNews, October 8, 2016

Update: Asphalt Spill After Crash Near Mokelumne Hill Cleaned
Highway 49 near Center Street in Mokelumne Hill has reopened after a wreck involving a big rig truck and an SUV spilled 12 tons of asphalt onto the roadway. The CHP reports officers were redirecting traffic in the area for about four hours as crews worked to clearing the debris. Click here for article—, October 20, 2016

Battle for cannabis regulation in Calaveras wages on
Strong opinions and loud accusations have made the battle over cannabis cultivation the most contentious debate in Calaveras County since the start of the year. The dispute has evolved in recent months. What was an argument regarding cultivation legality is now a fight to regulate an industry of more than 700 commercial growers. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 20, 2016

Report: Calaveras one of the most affordable counties in the state for Social Security recipients
Calaveras County ranked ninth among California Counties for Social Security recipients' standard of living when both the average payments and the cost of living were considered. All of the best counties for Social Security recipients who seek to stretch their dollars the farthest are inland mountain counties in Northern California, the analysis found. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 20, 2016

Environmental health director takes job in Sacramento
Boetzer said officials with Sacramento County contacted him about the opening in the spring as he was wrapping up the Butte Fire housing debris removal program. Boetzer and his staff were awarded a 2016 Excellence in Environmental Health Award by the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health in recognition of its Butte Fire response and recovery efforts. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 18, 2016

Supervisors declare local state of emergency
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency Tuesday for hazardous trees caused by the Butte Fire in advance of the upcoming winter weather season. Jeff Crovitz, director of Calaveras County Public Works, said many trees still standing may be compromised when windy. "Every year a rotten fence post gets more rotten," Crovitz said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 18, 2016

Planning Commission denies six cannabis-related appeals
Four of the appeals involved properties on West Murray Creek Road between San Andreas and Mountain Ranch. In three of the Murray Creek Road cases, Planning Department staff members rejected the applications because of inconsistencies between photographic evidence of cultivation submitted by the registrants and aerial imagery obtained by the county. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 17, 2016

Calaveras Planning Coalition issues position paper on commercial cannabis cultivation
Although "reasonable minds may disagree," the position paper says that the coalition "agreed that it would be best if the county prepared a thorough study of the options via an EIR (Environmental Impact Report), provided opportunities for informed public discussion and made a rational, well-considered final decision." "Measure D, the cannabis control initiative that will appear on the November ballot, is similar to the permanent ordinance proposed by the county, but… would not require an EIR." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 13, 2016

Planning group stresses need for EIR on cannabis issue
A full and comprehensive EIR "can and should" evaluate the financial feasibility of mitigation measures, and evaluate the cumulative impacts of the commercial cannabis industry in Calaveras County, not just the impacts of individual commercial cannabis operations. In addition..."the county must provide for public involvement in the process..." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, October 7, 2016

Bark beetle outbreak may be signal of larger shift
...experts say the beloved pines of the Sierra Nevada may be dominated more by oaks, cedars and other types of trees that are better adapted to survive a drier, warmer climate. "I know that we're all attached to the way things look around us, but we need to be prepared for that to change," said Tom Hofstra, a forestry and natural resources instructor at Columbia College. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 7, 2016

Funding for Butte Fire cleanup could be at risk
Calaveras County Auditor-Controller Rebecca Callen said Friday a significant portion of a $10.8 million grant designated for Butte Fire recovery is still at risk as approval for an expensive hazardous tree removal project hangs in the balance. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 7, 2016

Calaveras County Public Works blamed for audit
"When talking about a public assistance grant, there are many hoops you have to jump through," Callen said. "If we don't manage the grant, we will have to pay the money back." It was acknowledged in the audit that county officials stated they would benefit from guidance on grant management from the state. As a result, FEMA will direct the state to increase monitoring efforts on the county to ensure it adheres to federal requirements. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 6, 2016

Too Many Turning On The Tap
Calaveras County Water District cut back water use by just over 34 percent in August of 2015 but fell to almost 12 percent this August. Officials warn that if the trend continues, state-mandated requirements of up to 25 percent may make a comeback. Click here for article—, October 5, 2016

Calaveras County supervisors send draft general plan on for environmental review
The 4-1 vote means the plan can now go for environmental review, the final stage required before approval. Supervisor Chris Wright was opposed. Wright said the plan does not do enough to protect open space and the beauty of Calaveras County, things he says residents want and state law requires. "I don't want to see our county turn into just another sprawling version of anywhere, U.S.A.," he said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 4, 2016

Growing crime
Crime disparities between permitted and unpermitted grows increase
The common theme in the shooting instances were that none of the sites were legal. Bowerman said criminals target unpermitted grows over the ones the county has allowed. It is because the unregistered growers cannot rely on law enforcement. Four months into the regulatory system the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors approved in the spring... just one robbery at a permitted cannabis site in Calaveras County. Click here for article—Union Democrat, October 4, 2016

Feds call for state to help Calaveras County with $10.8 million tree grant
Report says pace of tree removal project is slow, financial payment rules questioned
The report recommends that FEMA direct the California Office of Emergency Services to provide increased monitoring and technical assistance to the county to assure Calaveras County follows federal guidelines and "avoids misspending its … grant award." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 4, 2016

Wildlife in the Garden
...with the degradation of wild habitat by humans—we can recreate habitat in our own backyards to support wildlife. By creating a string of tiny habitats linked together (your yard to your neighbors, etc.) we can recreate viable habitat corridors for species we have displaced. In addition to planting a native oak tree, there are several other necessities you can provide to encourage wildlife to visit your property... Click here for article—, September 4, 2016

Three cannabis appeals; three outcomes
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors Tuesday heard its first three appeals related to cannabis farm registrations and, by handling each one differently, demonstrated that it might interpret the code in ways that sometimes favor the business owners. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 30, 2016

Water year 2016 ends dry statewide
California ended its fifth consecutive year of statewide drought Friday... More than 60 percent of California, including all of Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, remains in severe or extreme drought... Calaveras County Water District provides water service to about 22,000 people. "Even though we passed the stress test, the state water board can still impose water conservation restrictions on our water district customers," Metzger said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, September 30, 2016

Calaveras Marijuana Grow List Shares Who's Growing Where
Clarke Broadcasting, which made a formal request under the Public Records Act for a commercial growers list, talked earlier this week with Planning Director Peter Maurer. He implied that public-friendly information would shortly be released after being approved through the county counsel's office. The list is now available on the Planning Department's website, findable under the Medical Cannabis tab from the main page... Click here for article—, September 30, 2016

Planning Statement re Cannabis Database
A great deal of controversy has arisen with the decision by the Calaveras Enterprise to publish the location of cannabis cultivation registration sites in the county. The Enterprise and many others submitted Public Records Act requests... No information posted as a part of the data base is confidential and no medical privacy data which was not public record has been posted... Click here for Planning Statement—Director Peter Maurer, Calaveras County Planning Department, September 30, 2016

Planning Department releases list of pot growers
Several prominent county residents among applicants
Information for nearly 740 commercial growers is detailed and provides names of the farmers, the name of the farm or business, whether the business is conducted as an indoor operation or is mixed-light or outdoor, addresses, county parcel numbers, zoning designation, and the size of the grow canopy. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 30, 2016

CCWD looks at cannabis industry water impacts
Water Resources Control Board adds staff for enforcement
Both county and state representatives described aggressive and comprehensive programs to regulate commercial cannabis cultivators and listed specific problems and their solutions. "We have to be planning to have these farms around our water sources and it sounds like the state is on top of everything, except manpower," said Director Jeff Davidson. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 29, 2016
Click here for CCWD cannabis water workshop video—September 28, 2016

Calaveras County cannabis regulations making slow gains
Two registrations out of 740 approved, so far
"What we got totally overwhelmed us and surprised us all," Maurer said. Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo reported that his agency has eradicated more than 61,000 plants from illegal cannabis farms so far this year, has fielded 213 complaints related to marijuana and has identified another 35 unregistered cannabis farms. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 29, 2016

Hazard tree removal delayed
Removal of trees destroyed last year by the Butte Fire may not begin until November at the earliest... The holdup is due in part to ongoing National Environmental Policy Act studies required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To mitigate impacts on the red-legged frog habitat, Native American cultural artifacts and plants in the area, Calaveras County officials will consider a $1.6 million amendment to an agreement... Click here for article—Union Democrat, September 27, 2016

Calaveras County Resource Conservation District has new board
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors today appointed seven members to the board of the county's new Resource Conservation District. The seven members of the RCD board are Robert Dean, Thomas Sullivan, N. Keith Hafley, Gordon Long, Nick Valente, Franziska Schabram and Michael Robie. Projects include watershed protection, habitat improvement and water conservation. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 27, 2016

Farmers say, 'No apologies,' as well drilling hits record levels in San Joaquin Valley
Two years after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill designed to limit groundwater pumping, new wells are going in faster and deeper than ever in the San Joaquin Valley farm belt. Farmers say they have no choice given cuts in surface water deliveries. But the drilling has exacted a substantial human cost in some of California's poorest rural communities. Click here for article—The Sacramento Bee, September 25, 2016

Commission sends General Plan to board
[Note: There is at least one error in the article below: the draft general plan cannot be "adopted as soon as the end of the year." We understand it will take at least another year to do the EIR and then adopt the final plan.]
A relieved and happy Calaveras County Planning Commission on Thursday sent its proposed update to the county General Plan to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors scheduled a special meeting on Oct. 4 to review the plan. Once the supervisors approve the draft, then county staff can prepare the environmental studies required for final approval. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 26, 2016

No cannabis registrations approved yet
There's a flowchart that lays out the process for medical cannabis farm registration in Calaveras County. That flowchart is included with a report that Planning Director Peter Maurer will present Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors. Maurer will explain why his department has yet to complete the processing of even one cannabis farm registration more than three months after the deadline for applicants. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 26, 2016

Inside the New Melones powerhouse
New Melones Reservoir can hold 2.4 million acre-feet of water when it's full. That's happened once or twice in the past 37 years. "Even without the environmental controversy that surrounds the project, the operational and water yield problems will certainly cause continued difficulties well into the future. With the enormity of the problems facing New Melones, it seems unlikely that the project will ever realize its full potential as a multi-use unit. Indeed, new Melones may become a case study of all that can go wrong with a project." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 23, 2016

Planning Commission denies cannabis registration appeals
Harvest may proceed anyway if appeals continue to supervisors
Maurer said once a final determination has been made, applicants who have been denied must tear out their grows... But for some, the stakes may only be as high as this year's crop. With a potential income of between several hundred thousand dollars and several million dollars, some growers could be looking no farther than the end of this year's growing season, which is only a few weeks off. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 23, 2016

Hazard tree removal in public rights-of-way delayed by state and federal agencies
First snag may not fall until mid-October
A squabble between an obscure state agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency over possible American Indian sites is delaying work to remove 8,500 dead and dying trees that pose threats to public roads in the Butte Fire burn scar. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 22, 2016

More water for rivers, less for farms and cities
State proposal would increase chance of Tulloch Reservoir being drawn down
Somewhat lost in the discussion of higher flows, the state is also proposing to weaken south Delta salinity standards that are already routinely violated by the state and federal water projects. State officials say the change to the salt rule will not harm agriculture in the area. That claim has long been disputed by south Delta farmers. Click here for article—Stockton Record/ Calaveras Enterprise, September 19, 2016

Trout population plummets in lower Stanislaus
Environmental policies, drought being blamed
"The reality is there are a lot of demands on the water in the Stanislaus," said Rhonda Reed, the San Joaquin River Basin branch chief for the National Marine Fisheries Service. "We work very hard to do it in a way that addresses the population and agricultural businesses at the same time." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 18, 2016

Moke River agency gets grant to better forest
Plan seeks to improve water yield for Mokelumne and Stanislaus rivers
"Sierra watersheds continue to face many challenges," said conservancy Executive Officer Jim Branham. "These projects can help protect our watersheds from large, damaging wildfires, insects and disease and make them more resilient to a changing climate." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 19, 2016

CCWD proposes joint wastewater project
VSPUD will still pursue own plans, possible rate increase
VSPUD is looking at a five-year plan to finance wastewater improvements. Total project costs have been estimated at $9.5 million, most of which would be financed through grants and $3 million in a no-interest loan... The board at Wednesday's meeting also heard Calaveras County Water District is interested in pursuing a joint project. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 16, 2016

Board takes a look at county's Office of Emergency Services
Most of those duties have resided with the Sheriff's Office, but budget cuts the past several years have left the office under-funded and understaffed. The downsizing was a combination of tight budgets during the recession and loss of Homeland Security grants, said Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 9, 2016

Final county budget will dip into savings
New hires include jail officers, appraiser and animal control officer
Calaveras County Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-1 to taking a calculated risk: They directed staff to prepare a final budget for the fiscal year that began in July that drains down savings accounts to hire desperately needed staff. The budget anticipates total expenditures of $158 million and revenues of $134 million. The difference will come from fund balances. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 16, 2016

District 5 challengers explain how they would finish Kearney's term
The one topic that was addressed by all candidates... was cannabis cultivation, with three candidates supporting regulations on growing and a one candidate unequivocal about his desire to ban marijuana farming in the county. The forum...was divided into three segments... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 16, 2016

Supervisors approve long-term trash deal
Deal will hike curbside waste collection rates, extend life of landfill
Higher rates paid by those residents who do have curbside collection service under the new contract will effectively serve to subsidize those who haul their own trash by putting off the day when the landfill is full. "Ultimately, in the end it serves the Calaveras County residents by diverting (trash from) that landfill," said Supervisor Debbie Ponte. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 16, 2016

Water Board Eyeballing Billions In Infrastructure Funding Requests
State water officials report receiving over $3 billion in completed applications to help fund water infrastructure needs across numerous jurisdictions throughout California... The Valley Springs Public Utilities District's Effluent Management and Wastewater Treatment Project...applied for $6 million in funding and $3.5 million in additional loan financing. Click here for article—, September 14, 2016

Calaveras enters long-term agreement with Cal-Waste
At the previous rate of garbage disposal in the county, the county's only landfill had three years of life left. Under the new agreement, Cal-Waste will increase the amount of waste disposed outside of the county. The agreement will give Cal-Waste the power to set fees for its services. The agreement is for 10 years with two 5-year extensions. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 13, 2016

Cal-Waste may get OK for long-term exclusive trash deal
Lack of bids, terms of contract under question
"We are under a compliance order with regard to reducing the amount of refuse going to our landfill. I don't think that precludes us from going out and getting a competitive bid," Callen said. "I also don't believe that there should be an automatic renewal of this contract." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 13, 2016

General Plan to supervisors by October
Maurer has repeatedly warned that the plan has many more lots that are likely to be needed in coming decades given current growth projections. Maurer said that imbalance costs taxpayers by forcing the county to study the impacts of growth that will likely never happen and also weakens efforts to concentrate development where fire protection, utilities and other government services are available and efficient. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 13, 2016

Commission rejects two more cannabis farm appeals
One registrant failed to disclose a drunk-in-public arrest
Commissioners noted that the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors adopted the urgency ordinance to stop a marijuana land rush. Allowing applicants to correct their applications after the fact would undermine that, they said... Putting incorrect information on an application is grounds for denial. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 13, 2016

Concerns Grow Over Calaveras Marijuana Harvest
The sheriff currently estimates, between those seeking to be compliant and unregistered supposed medical marijuana grows, there may be 2,000 across the county this season... Despite the numerous challenges Sheriff DiBasilio says firmly, "This year, we are going to do the best that we possibly can to keep everybody safe. I think next year will be better — if [the supervisors] continue with regulating commercial marijuana..." Click here for article—, September 12, 2016

Pot registrants crowd planning department
Documents for water, taxes and business licenses were due Sept. 7
Final approval as a registered cannabis cultivator will come when the Planning Department staff members have reviewed all the required documents, performed on-site inspection... when background checks are successfully passed...and the paperwork required by Wednesday comes back with approvals... Maurer said that so far, no registrants have been approved. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 8, 2016

Catastrophic change uproots families in the Butte Fire burn area
Many still don't know where they will land
So far, only a small percentage of those who lost homes appear to be rebuilding. And the largely retiree-age population is being replaced by working-age adults drawn here to work in the burgeoning marijuana industry. An open question in the burn scar is how many will live here in the future... so far only three conventionally-built homes...had passed final inspection. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 8, 2016

Calaveras Sheriff to improve county OES program
DiBasilio started off by saying he hoped OES would stay with the Sheriff's Office... "As a supervisor, I start getting calls ASAP," Edson said. He attributed the communication problems to interagency collaboration issues. Macedo disagreed. The communication was resolved by the end of the meeting, when Calaveras County Administrative Officer Shirley Ryan was appointed as the contact who will provide information to the supervisors in times of crisis. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 6, 2016

Seven acres of marijuana chopped down on Tuesday near Mountain Ranch
Official with several departments investigated suspected violations of the county's urgency ordinance to regulate commercial cannabis production... DiBasilio said late Tuesday afternoon that 4,560 plants were taken, weighing about 16,000 pounds. The helicopter brought out 60 loads. At least three very large county dump trucks were waiting to receive the cannabis. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 6, 2016

Calaveras Cannabis Enforcement Destroys Huge Non-compliant Grow
With a value at perhaps $3,000 dollars per plant, the destroyed crop might carry a street value of well over $13 million. Since being out of compliance with the county ordinance is a civil matter, the growers are not facing criminal charges over the incident. [Sheriff DiBasilio] states that growers who are not abiding by the local laws should realize that his office means business... The growers need to know that we are not playing games." Click here for article—, September 6, 2016

Measure D wins support, criticism as election nears
If approved, marijuana regulations would supersede county urgency ordinance
...the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors is in flux and a new board that will take office in January may not continue development of the county's ordinance... The ordinance under development by the county addresses only medical marijuana. Measure D drops reference to medical marijuana and would include regulation of both medical and recreational cannabis production. Also on the November ballot is Proposition 64, a statewide proposal that would legalize recreational marijuana... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 6, 2016

New Melones closures coming in October
"Visitors should be aware that accessing the shoreline by foot can be difficult in areas due to the low water level," Bureau of Reclamation staff said. "The water level at the lake fluctuates frequently, and Reclamation encourages all boaters to use caution while navigating the lake. Some existing and new hazards may still emerge as the lake's surface elevation gradually drops due to continued drought conditions." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 5, 2016

Copper Valley gets OK for ranching, but not housing
Castle and Cooke gets nod for Sawmill Lake land-use designation
"I think it is just too much at this time," said Planning Commissioner Kelley Wooster. Planning Director Peter Maurer has repeatedly advised the commission that there are far more lots already in existence than growth will likely require in the next 20 years and that designating land for surplus growth burdens taxpayers to pay to plan for growth that likely won't happen. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 2, 2016

Entomologist says Sierra Bark beetle epidemic will last as long as the drought
In California, the landscape that has suffered most in the drought is the area along the western slope in elevations from approximately 3,000 feet to 6,000 feet. Mortality in this elevation becomes more apparent each week, as more and more ponderosa pines show physical signs of stress and impending death. The best protection against beetle attacks is prevention... Removing brush and cutting out weak and cluttered trees... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 2, 2016

Sheriff still wants ban on commercial cannabis
DiBasilio said he is opposed to Measure D and also questions the current urgency ordinance... mainly because they both limit his ability to do background checks, not only on the registrants but on the workers at the farms. ...there might be a way for the Board of Supervisors to adopt an ordinance that tied background checks of all cannabis farm employees to the business license permitting process. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 2, 2016

PUD ponders rate increase
The Valley Springs Public Utility District is looking at a five-year plan to eventually increase sewage rates for the typical home from $49.50 to $81.09 a month by 2020. The proposed rate increases are subject to majority protest. If more than 50 percent of affected property owners submit written protests... In addition to the hikes, the district is looking at lowering the baseline usage level from 6,000 to 4,600 gallons a month. Click here for article, The Valley Springs News, August 31, 2016

PUD, vets board close to agreement on hook up fees
The capital improvement fee for the new hall is approximately $30,000 and the memorial district will pay the bulk of that soon and the utility district will finance the remaining portion. "We try not to get into a situation of financing anyone, but this is for the veterans," Fischer said. Click here for article, The Valley Springs News, August 31, 2016

Calaveras will use photos from satellites to enforce pot law
It is the second time the county has used satellite imagery for cannabis inspection since the urgency ordinance was approved in the spring. In late May, Maurer said a snapshot was taken for use during the cannabis application review process. He said applicants had to demonstrate proven progress to cultivate on a site by the time the urgency ordinance was ratified... Planning departments have been using the technology for years. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 30, 2016

Commissioners grant some requests, deny others for land-use map
Valley Springs area was focus for Thursday's meeting
Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer displayed a map for the commission showing how remaining ranch-size parcels in the Burson area are surrounded, for the most part, by 5- and 10-acre home lots. "This is going to be one of the biggest challenges we face is the checkerboard pattern of land use," Maurer said. "My struggle is that 5-acre subdivisions are not good planning," she [McLaughlin] said. "But that's what we've got." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 30, 2016

Do California environmental rules drive up home prices?
4. What's right with CEQA? The BAE Urban study, sponsored by Oakland-based Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, found that CEQA lawsuits are rare... involving fewer than 1 percent of CEQA reviews... Direct costs of CEQA reviews amount to less than 0.5 percent of a development's total budget. The study also concluded there's no evidence CEQA curbs prosperity. Click here for article—The Orange County Register, August 28, 2016

Kirkwood Ski Resort Faces Large Fine Over Alleged Wetlands Contamination
Investigators surveyed the area and found that over the winter, large piles of asphalt grindings had been dumped onto multiple parking lots at the Kirkwood resort. "It looked like a black snow field," said Ryan Hanson, a Warden with the Department of Fish & Wildlife... "[The discharge] has the potential to leach chemicals, petroleum chemicals specifically in to those streams wetlands and ground water..." Click here for article, CBS Sacramento, August 23, 2016

Fast-moving fire erupts in Calaveras County
The forward rate of spread of the fire had slowed by Sunday evening
A vehicle with mechanical problems may have sparked a fast-moving wildfire Sunday east of San Andreas in Calaveras County, prompting evacuations and stories of close escapes. "My understanding is there were four different fires along the road, and there was also a vehicle fire at the end of that," Chief Josh White of Cal Fire's Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit said Sunday evening. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 27, 2016

Calaveras Sheriff's Office Concerned About Marijuana Found In Valley Springs
A search warrant was carried out in the 2000 block of Danaher Drive in Valley Springs on Friday, and the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office made a concerning discovery. It was determined during the investigation that an unidentified suspect had been using butane to manufacture concentrated cannabis. Click here for article—, August 27, 2016

Calaveras County Looks To Capture New Satellite Images For Marijuana Enforcement
County documents note that the imagery would also provide value in the county's response to tree mortality. Related to that topic, the Supervisors will also weigh in on where the county should have a tree mortality processing area. One long-term site being considered is the Lehigh property next to the Mountain Oaks School in San Andreas. Tuesday's meeting will be held at 5:30pm at the Government Center in San Andreas. Click here for article—, August 25, 2016

CAL Fire: $16-Million Towards Fire Prevention And Tree Mortality Projects
Applications from fire safe councils, local fire departments and other groups can be submitted through September 28. CAL Fire statewide spokesperson Daniel Berlant says, "This is above what the department (CAL Fire) is doing across the region to help with the fire risk... CAL Fire encourages interested groups to find more information by clicking here. Click here for article—, August 25, 2016

Forest managers expect Mokelumne Fire to burn until mid-October
Benefits outweigh need to extinguish
Forest managers seek to allow fire to resume its natural role in Sierra ecosystems. Benefits include reduced forest litter and fire fuel, increased safety of firefighters, and protecting cultural resources and wildlife habitat. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 25, 2016

Four candidates qualify for Kearney recall
Clyde Clapp, a proponent of the recall against Kearney, received 121 signatures. Bob Bowerman, an advocate for cannabis regulations, obtained 38. David Tunno, a former Calaveras County Planning Commissioner, gathered 31. Bruce Giudici, a nonprofit fiscal officer with the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency, collected 25. A fifth, Gregory Gustafson, fell just short. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 25, 2016

PUD to consider hookup fees for new community hall
That meeting resulted in about a $1,000 reduction in the fees. The hall is expected to be completed next month. In other business, the VSPUD board will discuss and take possible action on a wastewater rate increase. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 24, 2016

Valley Springs taking center stage before planners
MyValleySprings has several land use designation requests. In addition, Tom Coe is requesting expansion of an industrial designation on 203 acres designated as a rural residential area. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 24, 2016

VS cannabis debate draws questions, has some answers
Callaway said the county already has an underground cannabis commercial growth economy and Measure D would regulate something that already exists. She said the vast majority of regulations delineated in Measure D are based on those in the urgency ordinance. McManus countered stating Measure D reduces fees commercial growers currently pay. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 24, 2016

Calaveras County takes steps toward hazard tree removal in Butte Fire zone
Initial reports estimated more than 8,000 damaged trees along county roadways require removal due to threats to the public as they travel through the streets... Two-thousand more sit on county owned property. The remaining 600 or so remain along Bureau of Land Management property that the county will also attempt to remove. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 23, 2016

Second cannabis debate draws a divided crowd in Valley Springs
The urgency ordinance that was passed by the board of supervisors on May 10 could be superseded by Measure D on the November ballot. To date, the county's urgency ordinance has brought in $3.7 million in registration fees, money that is restricted to administration and enforcement of the registered grower program. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 22, 2016

County planners deny one request, consider others
Commission to review Valley Springs, Copperopolis at next two meetings
The land-use designations are the heart of the General Plan because they show what uses are allowed for properties... land-use planners like to concentrate home construction and businesses in places with infrastructure such as water utilities... reduce the acreage in remote, fire-prone rural areas with poor roads. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 22, 2016

Sheriff DiBasilio, Director Mills, slam Measure D, support Measure C
DiBasilio said he has security concerns over straw men who might be working for people with more illicit backgrounds. Measure D requires those registering medical marijuana farms to undergo criminal background checks. DiBasilio said he wants that expanded to allow checks of more people who may be connected to the farms. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 22, 2016

Second cannabis debate draws a divided crowd in Valley Springs
"There is no way that this county or any county can ban cannabis" Callaway said. "It might sound good. It might feel good. But it isn't going to happen." "How do we get the money to enforce the industry with a ban?" asked Bob Bowerman...a candidate for District 5 supervisor..."We don't believe it is our responsibility to come up with the funding," said McManus. "There is plenty of money in Calaveras County.' Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 21, 2016

Weekly meetings set for land-use map
[MVS Editorial note: 1) reference to "zoning" is inaccurate; 2) land use change requests are not by alphabetical order; they are by APN number] ...the Calaveras County Planning Commission will hold meetings every Thursday until the land-use portion of the General Plan update is complete. The land-use map designates where growth can occur based on the availability of existing and planned infrastructure, like roads, water and sewer systems and power supply... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 19, 2016

State pays $5.8 million to Copper ranch conservation
Bill and Deloris Airola of Copperopolis have been looking for a way to preserve the land for grazing since they recently purchased it. Now, the Copperopolis ranch is one of 19 California properties that will get state climate change funding for permanent conservation easements. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 15, 2016

Plug Ugly Mine Disc Golf Course to open Sept. 3 in San Andreas
San Andreas site to host a tourney following week
At one point, disabled access issues had threatened to kill the project. County officials said that a federal representative had told them that a disc golf course would have to meet the same disabled access standards as regular golf courses... Now, however, thanks to donations, sponsorships and a new ruling from federal authorities, the park can proceed. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 15, 2016

Planners reject appeal to halt construction of cell tower near Murphys
Planner Scott Speer told the commission that Kautz's appeal should be denied. He described concerns from Kautz about the way the antennas would look, about the possible deterioration of the road leading past the tower and possible economic effects. Speer discounted the concerns at each step. The commission agreed... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 15, 2016

Planning commissioners deny would-be cannabis farmers
Turn down three appeals to overturn earlier rejections
Only those farmers who could demonstrate active cannabis farming operations on or before May 10 were eligible to apply for registration. Registration for commercial cannabis farming starting after that date was put on hold until a permanent ordinance is in place, which could take from six months to more than a year to complete. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 15, 2016

Many questions, few answers at tree mortality meeting in Avery
Immediate danger, high cost of removal cited
Several people voiced concern over neighbors who are not removing trees from their properties. They said that some of the dead trees are close enough and tall enough to fall on their own homes. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 14, 2016

More trees coming to Wallace
Wallace will serve as one of possibly three sites in Calaveras County where more than 8,000 hazardous trees destroyed by the Butte Fire will be sorted and disposed. The Wallace site, which has served as a yard for burnt trees being removed from PG&E right-of-way, was already permitted for the work... Some residents in the nearby Wallace Lake Estates have raised concerns about the noise level of the operation. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 3, 2016

First of hazardous trees set to fall soon
County officials hope to be done by year's end
The first debris storage site is in Wallace and Crovitz said two more are being prepared. Staging and storage sites will also be established throughout the work area for logs that have merchantable timber for either milling or for chipping. A biomass facility in Lincoln has been contracted to take material that is suitable for fuel. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 12, 2016

Cannabis cultivator's application rejected due to lease fraud
His application is one of only a dozen applications that have been rejected thus far, according to Scott Speer with the planning department. The department has sorted through about 120 of the 900 cannabis applications submitted... The plan is to appeal Thursday's decision to Calaveras County Board of Supervisors. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 11, 2016

Calaveras County renters suffer from tight market
Butte Fire, rural trends and new residents bring increased demand
"We need affordable housing," Prevost said... "Every time I've built apartments, I've received pushed back from the community. Coupled with the economic realities, it's almost impossible to build without subsidies of some sort," Sidle said. "This has nothing to do with cannabis... This has been a problem for over 25 years," he said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 9, 2016

Planning Commission to open land-use map hearings
'Probably the part that affects people the most'
Maurer said his department has already received requests from more than 100 different individuals to have the land-use map designations for their properties reviewed by the commission. "This is an opportunity for property owners to make a pitch to the commission to change or retain their designations," he said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 8, 2016

BLM forms tree mortality task force
New county website posts tree mortality information
The Calaveras County government recently posted a new web page [Tree Mortality: ] with information on the looming problem of tree mortality both here and along the entire western slope of the Sierra Nevada... The Forest Service estimates that nearly 700,000 trees will be dead in Calaveras by the end of the year. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 3, 2016

Recall race attracts ex-planning commissioner
Tunno's nearly 17-month term on the planning panel was marked by his attention to detail on the General Plan update, support for fellow Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster following his "invasive species" comments and votes in favor of placing a hot asphalt plant at the Hogan Quarry. District 5 voters will have two questions on the ballot concerning the recall... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 3, 2016, 2016

Calaveras County board hires Tennessee firm for $9.78 million tree removal job
County won't have to pay $610,941 as previously thought
The vote was 4-1, with Supervisor Chris Wright opposed. The board held a special meeting to consider the contract after it had died for lack of a second a week earlier at a regular meeting. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 3, 2016

Board revisits tree removal contract amid threat of lawsuit
"This is an important decision. We need to make sure to make the right one," said Wright, the only one of the five who voted in opposition to Phillips & Jordan. "We should not award the contract to the company that threatens a lawsuit." Phillips & Jordan believed the corporation would be put at an "obvious and significant disadvantage" after details of the winning bid were made available during the public hearing. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 2, 2016

PAWS harnesses the sun to feed, water, care for its exotic animals
The exotic animals of the sprawling ARK sanctuary, operated by the nonprofit Performing Animal Welfare Society in the rolling hills of Calaveras County, enjoy long days of sunlight, rarely blocked by fog or dense clouds even during the winter months. "I wasn't sure we could do it with an operation this big and sprawling," he said of ARK's 2,300-acre refuge near San Andreas. "If we can do it, anyone can." Click here for article—The Sacramento Bee, August 3, 2016

Cal Trans to improve Vista Del Lago/26 intersection
Before Cal Trans can begin construction, utility companies will have to relocate existing pipelines and equipment... "I know personally that this should have been done 28 years ago," said CCWD Director Bertha Underhill. "It's always been bad." "Those commercial properties will benefit greatly from having a turn lane and stop light there," said CCWD Vice President Jeff Davidson. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 28, 2016

A former police sergeant champions pot regulation
...Marijuana production directly employs about 3,000 people... Another concern is that water used for marijuana cultivation will diminish the water supply. Stevenot says doing a little math puts this in context. "You've got 2,000 acres of irrigated pasture in this county raising 2,000 cows. It takes a lot of water to raise a horse or a cow. All of the growers put together will only use the equivalent of 200 acres (one tenth) of that water. That is less than what it takes to water a single golf course." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 28, 2016

Calaveras County official orders recall election after supervisors refuse
Meanwhile, at least three people have already shown interest in running to represent District 5 in the event the recall is successful. Robert Bowerman of Valley Springs... two other people – Clyde Clapp and Bruce Giudici, both of Valley Springs – have also picked up the paperwork. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 28, 2016

Sheriff still short of manpower
First-year Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasillio had the pleasure of swearing in eight new hires Tuesday morning, four of whom were new deputies, but his office remains understaffed... Pay within the department remains an issue. His staff is anticipating raises and if those raises don't come through, the flight to other departments could continue, he added. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 27, 2016, 2016

Board of Supervisors balks at Butte Fire tree-removal contract
A time-sensitive, $9.78 million contract to remove more than 8,300 dead or dying trees near Calaveras County roadways in the Butte Fire area died for lack of a second at the board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday... Crovitz must now restart the process of developing requests for proposals... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 27, 2016

Sheriff will not be able to protect growers at harvest
DiBasilio said that by harvest season in 2017, his department should be able to provide the enforcement and protection the county needs. "Basically I'm short about 20 guys and it will take $3 million to fix that," he said. "So it is critical that the tax measure on the ballot passes." "If we're going to have marijuana in the county, we damn well better have a registration system and a tax system to pay for enforcement"... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 25, 2016

Measure B would improve emergency medical services
CalCo Fire covers roughly a 163 square mile area in the western portion of Calaveras County serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson, Wallace, Campo Seco, Milton, Rancho Calaveras, La Contenta and Jenny Lind. Measure B calls for an assessment of $96 a year on the average residential parcel. It will take approval from two-thirds of voters to pass and raise approximately $700,000 a year for the district. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 22, 2016, 2016

VSPUD, vets board at odds over hall fees
Two special districts are not seeing eye-to-eye on hook up fees for the new Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District hall nearing completion. VSPUD's fees were $17,000 several years ago for the new hall, but have increased to $31,000, according to Gary Tofanelli, memorial district president. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 22, 2016, 2016

Clapp vows to run for District 5 seat targeted by Kearney Recall
Recall advocates said they were motivated by Kearney's vote in favor of allowing an asphalt plant to operate near Valley Springs without a conditional use permit. But Clapp said that he sees the asphalt plant approval as part of a larger pattern in which supervisors allow economic development – including the marijuana industry - that is not in the interest of the largely retiree population in the county. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 22, 2016

Carson Hill asphalt plant fires up
Hogan Quarry site still possible, but smaller
Simmons said that it is still possible that he and his business partners will operate a plant at the Hogan Quarry site. But he said it would likely be a smaller, 150-ton-per-hour plant.. "We are not going to spend a whole bunch of money if it doesn't pencil out," Simmons said. Simmons is also hopeful that what he describes as a relatively quiet and clean operation at Carson Hill will help alleviate some of the fears of neighbors of the Valley Springs site. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 21, 2016

Calaveras County General Plan reaches milestone
The vision for growth is evident in the community planning element. It details potential areas for growth for most county municipalities except for Valley Springs and Copperopolis. Maurer said gridlock from those organizing the plans in each jurisdiction have delayed the submissions. "I think there are just a lot of conflicting points of view," said Maurer, who added the absent community plans can still be included if submitted. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 21, 2016

Valley Springs intersection no longer a traffic mess
The project to improve the intersection of Highways 12 and 26 in Valley Springs was eight years in the making, but the job was finished in plenty of time to clear the roadway of morning and afternoon congestion before the first day of school on Monday. The project began in 2008 with environmental review and design. Cal Trans acquired needed rights-of-way in 2013... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 21, 2016

Carson Hill asphalt plant nears completion
Hogan Quarry remains under consideration
CB Asphalt Inc. expects to have its hot-mix asphalt plant at Carson Hill fully operational next week. ..CB Asphalt and its partners have not necessarily abandoned plans for the Hogan asphalt plant... options include confirming the likelihood of a second Hot Plant facility at the Hogan location... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 20, 2016, 2016

Saturday bus service between VS & Murphys starts July 23
The new bus route will offer residents and visitors a worry-free way to appreciate the various attractions and destinations from Valley Springs to Murphys... The main stops are located at parking lots for passenger convenience. Buses will travel in both directions about every 90 minutes. The first bus will leave Valley Springs at 10:30 a.m. and the last bus will leave Murphys at 6:30 p.m. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 20, 2016, 2016

Pot garden negligence caused several fires
The cost for suppression on the Appaloosa Fire is estimated to be $1,304,407. "These fires posed a significant threat to our communities," said Josh White, unit chief of CalFire's Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit. "By educating people about the causes of these incidents, we hope to prevent any further fires. We have zero tolerance for negligently caused fire. We will seek criminal, civil and administrative actions against those who cause fires because of their irresponsible behavior." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 20, 2016, 2016

Planners complete community plan initial review
Absent from consideration by the commission last week were community plan elements for Valley Springs and Copperopolis. "The commission wants to include those communities so I'm going to look at how they might be incorporated without delaying the process of getting the general plan before the board of supervisors," said Maurer. He said the Planning Commission will begin consideration of the general plan's land-use map by the end of July or the beginning of August. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 19, 2016

Recall election takes more expensive route
The board on Tuesday failed to muster a vote certifying the recall petition against District 5 Supervisor Steve Kearney... "I'm appalled at the entire board," Clapp said Thursday. "They took an oath to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions and they ignored the right of the people to petition. They are all hypocrites and they're making up their own laws..." Clapp said he plans to run for the District 5 board seat... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 15, 2016, 2016

Supervisors balk at Kearney recall signatures
Elections department will place Kearney recall on the ballot
Turner reminded the supervisors that the consent agenda item had nothing to do with the question of whether the recall was worthy, but only with certification that the necessary number of valid signatures had been recorded and the measure was approved by her office to be placed on the ballot. "We add more cost to the election process by doing it this way," she told the board. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 15, 2016

Asphalt plant reps speak out; sights still set on quarry
CB Asphalt broke its silence Thursday about plans for a hot asphalt plant in Calaveras County by saying it would produce asphalt at a temporary location in Carson Hill, but it has not given up on a much more controversial proposal to build at Hogan Quarry... once the current job is completed, other alternatives will be considered, including a second plant at the Hogan Quarry. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 14, 2016

Calaveras Cannabis Concerns Include Related Wildfires
DiBasilio offers his perspective..., "I think that what people really need to pay attention to is the fires. We have had quite a few fires in the past week and most of those fires have been caused by bad electrical connections from people trying to enhance their grow sites… That big Appaloosa Fire was caused by faulty wiring from a generator..." Click here for article—, July 14, 2016

Calaveras County planners to look at 10 community plans
...bowing to popular pressure, the board earlier this year relented and agreed to include at least those plans that require minimal work. Planning Department staff members did not include community plans for Valley Springs, Copperopolis, Arnold, Murphys, Douglas Flat, Avery or Hathaway Pines. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 12, 2016

FEMA says revised county flood maps coming this fall
..FEMA, working with county officials, conducted two different studies. One, including four map panels, takes in the Cosgrove Creek area in Valley Springs, a perennial flooding hot spot. The other study includes 26 map panels that take in most of the private property in the rest of Calaveras County. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 12, 2016

Board discusses cannabis, Kearney recall
... Calaveras supervisors refused to order a special election in response to a petition to recall District 5 Supervisor Steve Kearney that gathered enough signatures to prompt consolidation with the November election. Kearney recused himself from the discussions. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 12, 2016

Kearney recall efforts to be on November ballot
The recall effort is being coordinated by Clyde Clapp, of Rancho Calaveras, who has said Kearney should be recalled because he supported an asphalt plant near Valley Springs and because he voted to remove off-site requirements at Olive Orchard Estates. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 1, 2016

Cannabis Cultivation 'Giant Experiment'
A stunning and — for many — scary upsurge in interest to contribute to the Calaveras economy via cannabis cultivation gained a measure of containment at 4 p.m. Thursday... Of the state's 58 counties, Maurer estimates, "There is about a dozen or so that are going to allow some level of cultivation... and we are the first one to try something like this, so it is a giant experiment." Click here for article—, June 30, 2016

Commercial cannabis farm registration ends smoothly
List of commercial registrants could top 700
Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer was clearly relieved when his wristwatch passed the 4 p.m. mark. He said there appear to be as more than 700 applications and 25 percent of those might fail to pass muster. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 30, 2016

Supervisors uphold denial of zoning change for Valley Springs property
Despite an impassioned plea by Meyers, who is president of Nove Plaza LLC, supervisors stuck to their long-stated position that they wish to limit the areas in Calaveras County that have the professional office zoning required for dispensaries. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 30, 2016

Dead tree crisis: How mortality impacts environment
More than 60 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada mean mountain forests are changing. Air and water quality, forest composition and wildlife habitat are all susceptible, but there is no consensus on how bad it might get. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 28, 2016

Leaders approve Carson Hill asphalt plant
Emissions should not exceed 20 percent opacity, or cloudiness, for more than three minutes per hour. Neither is the plant to discharge more than 20 percent opacity of particulate matter, a term that represents the mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets, into the environment. Also listed in the ATC are total plant emission stipulations. Among those listed include oxides of nitrogen, gases that react and form smog and acid, at 27 pounds per hour and carbon dioxide, at under 43 pounds per hour... CB Asphalt has yet to revoke the ATC for the Hogan Quarry site. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 30, 2016

Commercial cannabis growers jam Calaveras County government center to beat deadline
"I think we have 500 right now and I predict between 600 and 700 by the end of the day on Thursday," said Planning Director Peter Maurer. At 500 registrants, the county's revenue from permits jumps to $2.5 million... Cannabis alliance board members suggested during an interview last week that a conservative estimate of yearly tax income could be $6 million, and that was for a list of less than 300 farmers. If Maurer's estimate is correct, and at least 600 are registered by the end of the day on Thursday, the county can expect a yearly additional tax income of $12 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 28, 2016

Commercial cannabis shakeout starts Thursday
On Monday morning, a Planning Department staff member said that 250 commercial farms had registered so far. One industry insider estimates that as many as 500 will line up to register before the deadline. Even so, estimates are that roughly as many other farms won't register by the deadline. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 27, 2016

Asphalt plant at Carson Hill may start on Friday
Air Pollution Control Technician Cori Mooy confirmed Monday that the agency has approved the application by CB Asphalt to construct the plant. CB Asphalt is the same firm that last year applied to operate a plant using exactly the same equipment at Hogan Quarry near Valley Springs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 27, 2016

Petition to regulate medical cannabis passes Elections Department hurdle
Supervisors can enact into law on July 12 or move to November general election
The signature verification certificate was signed Friday by Elections Coordinator Robin Glanville. It reported that proponents turned in a total of 3,307 signatures. Elections staff checked a sample of 500 signatures and determined that 364 were valid, or 72.8 percent. Assuming that the entire batch has a similar validity rate, there should be roughly 2,400 valid signatures, far more than the 1,571 needed. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 27, 2016

Resource advocates envision a greener future for the county
Several of those present at Thursday's meeting said they might be willing to serve as conservation district directors. Those were Dean; rancher Bob Garamendi; Gordon Long of the Cal Fauna Foundation, which seeks to preserve California wildlife; Tim Tate, a district manager for Sierra Pacific Industries, which is the largest private property owner in the county; and Chris Swann, a watershed ranger supervisor for East Bay Municipal Utility District. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 27, 2016

After devastating fire, county turns to marijuana for comeback
Calaveras adopts rules that allow commercial cannabis farms in region ravaged by Butte Fire
The Butte Fire had followed generations of economic decline in the once bustling gold mining county. "It created an opportunity for this new industry to come out of the shadows, and that creates opportunities for rural counties," Wright said of California's new medical marijuana regulations. "We don't have a lot of industry. We don't have a lot of economic growth. In my view, this can be a sustainable economy." Now a commercial grower, Liberty sees marijuana as perhaps his only hope for rebuilding after the ravaging Butte Fire. Click here for article—The Sacramento Bee, June 25, 2016

Asphalt plant project could move to Carson Hill
The permit application says the hot mix asphalt plant will be located on the western section of the Carson Hill Rock Products site. Joyce Techel, an activist based in District 5, said via phone call she does not think "it is over yet." "The Authority to Construct is still in play (at the quarry)," Techel said. "Everything is open, including now Carson Hill." Delores Airola said the increase in jobs would be great for Calaveras County, but she is not thrilled about an asphalt plant opening nearby. The increase in traffic along the highway that connects Sonora and Angels Camp is a concern, along with the smell. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 24, 2016

Forest Service: Nearly 700,000 dead trees in Calaveras County
The survey was conducted along the western slope of the Sierra between May 15 and May 19. New conifer mortality was found in 31,000 acres of Calaveras County. "Tree die-offs of this magnitude are unprecedented and increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires that put property and lives at risk," said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in media release. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 23, 2016

New site eyed for asphalt plant
A hot asphalt plant that has been planned for the past year at the Hogan Quarry in Valley Springs may instead be sited across the county in Carson Hill. Mooy, with the county's air pollution control district, said they will issue the permit this week. Mooy said CB Asphalt has not rescinded its ATC for the Hogan Quarry... the Hogan Quarry location could still be in play for an asphalt plant... Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 22, 2016

Cannabis Regulation Rolls On, Asphalt Plant Plans Teased
District 5 Supervisor Steve Kearney... delivered some surprising scuttlebutt about a hot topic in his jurisdiction that helped generate a recall petition against him... Alluding to a lot of activity on social media over the past few months over a controversial application by the owners of Hogan Quarry near Valley Springs to establish an asphalt plant there, Kearney stated that, over the weekend, equipment from that location was picked up and moved to another property in the county. Click here for article—, June 22, 2016

Calaveras County supervisors approve cannabis tax measure for November ballot
Cannabis Alliance director suggests at least $5-10 million to county, first year
The proposed tax would apply only to commercial growers. It would come in addition to the $5,000 fee required to register as a commercial grower. It would be levied in addition to any local, state and federal sales taxes. A county Planning Department spokeswoman told the board that as of the end of the business day on Monday, there are 151 registrants for commercial cultivation of medical cannabis. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 22, 2016

Asphalt plant may move to Carson Hill
Not clear if proponents will abandon Hogan Quarry site
Calaveras County Supervisors Steve Kearney and Cliff Edson on Tuesday morning issued a press release stating that CB Asphalt has applied to build its asphalt plant operation at Carson Hill on Highway 49 south of Angels Camp. The news release stopped short of saying whether or not CB Asphalt has abandoned its plans to build a controversial hot batch asphalt mixing plant at Hogan Quarry near Valley Springs... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 21, 2016

Hogan Asphalt Plant Moving To Carson Hill ~ By Supervisors Steve Kearney & Cliff Edson
As county supervisors we have not been able to comment publicly up to this point or correct the misinformation being exchanged on social media and in the community for reasons related to county liability as well as possible legal issues... At the beginning of this month we were updated that the Air District had received an Authority to Construct for CB Asphalt located at Carson Hill Rock Products... Click here for article—, June 21, 2016

Neighbors say asphalt equipment is gone from Hogan Quarry; county still processing application
"I have not heard that they have removed any equipment," Boetzer said Friday. "We are just waiting for them to submit an indemnification contract so we can move forward with the (California Environmental Quality Act) process." Calaveras County District 5 Supervisor Steve Kearney, whose district includes the asphalt plant site, did not immediately respond to a phone message... Kearny was part of the board majority that voted in favor of allowing the plant to operate without a conditional use permit. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 20, 2016

Calaveras To Mull Temporary Commercial Cannabis Tax
As drafted, in addition to the current $5,000 registration fee for commercial growers, the proposal seeks to impose a tax of $2 per square foot of canopy area for mixed indoor and outdoor commercial growers; $5 per square foot for indoor growers. Once the state system is in place, however, the tax would switch to one based on dry-weight flower and bud and dry-weight leaves and trim... Click here for article—, June 20, 2016

VS medical clinic gets planning panel's OK
A proposal for a new state-of-the-art medical clinic in Valley Springs and additional retail, residential, food service and medical office development at the southwest corner of State Route 26 and Vista Del Lago Drive was approved June 9... Mark Twain Health Care District received the planning panel's blessing... with the first phase being construction of an approximately 15,000-square-foot clinic. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 17, 2016

Supervisors select Stopper for planning commissioner
"I believe this [CCWD] experience along with my many years of being involved with our community here in Calaveras County gives me the experience needed to make the decisions to help Calaveras move forward prosperously while protecting individual rights and maintaining the rural healthy environment we all cherish in our community," Stopper said about the appointment. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 17, 2016

Progress on vet hall
Completion set for September
Completion of the hall has been a long time coming. The exterior shell went up about five years ago and interior framing was finished in the meantime. Plans for the new hall call for a commercial-grade kitchen, multiple meeting rooms, larger stage area for theatrical events, along with a larger capacity for community and private events. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 17, 2016

A win for ranching
Massive golf development near Copperopolis scratched
The board on Tuesday acted at the request of members of the Airola family, who have leased the land and raised cattle on it for 60 years. "Why would you want to cover this up with houses?" Bill Airola, 67, said during a visit to the ranch on Tuesday afternoon. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 17, 2016

Divided supervisors OK paying to study cannabis impacts
Environmental review required for permanent ordinance
"If we don't keep this moving forward, it delays the whole process." [Ponte] said that her constituents expected the board to establish a permanent ordinance regulating medical marijuana. "An EIR is required through this ordinance," said Edson. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 16, 2016

Supes Narrowly Approve Cannabis EIR
Calaveras Cannabis Alliance representative Mark Bolger, who spoke for his group, stated that the industry would be happy to pay for the environmental impact study through registration fees... As so many questions remain regarding the numerous impacts, Ponte remarked that the report would help provide the county a better understanding of local cannabis operations so that they could be better regulate it. Click here for article—, June 14, 2016

Calaveras Supervisors Approve Arborist: Edson Critical Of Lack Of Consultant
There are an estimated 5,882 damaged trees along the county's roadways that require removal due to the hazardous conditions the trees present to the traveling public. However, in order to receive reimbursement from FEMA for costs to actually remove the trees, the county must first complete a thorough assessment and documentation of every tree that presents a hazard. Click here for article—, June 14, 2016

Groundwater levels still falling
Some areas — including wells in the city of Stockton and Tracy — have seen improvement... Heading east of Stockton, however, the farther you go the more depleted the wells have become... groundwater levels this spring were as low or even slightly lower than the fall of 1992, which has long been considered the benchmark "low-water" year. Click here for article—The Stockton Record, June 15, 2016

County vows to keep mum on which pot farms are legal
69 commercial marijuana farms registered so far
June 30 is the deadline for registration imposed by an urgency ordinance regulating medical cannabis cultivation pass by the Board of Supervisors on May 10. Maurer said his department is averaging eight to ten applications every working day, "and we really encourage people not to wait until the last minute to file." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 14, 2016

Dollar General coming to VS
Earthwork began several days ago at the site near the intersection of State Route 26 and Jean Street... It is anticipated the Valley Springs store will have approximately six to 10 employees. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 10, 2016

Recall effort surpasses required threshold
Those seeking to recall District 5 Supervisor Steve Kearney have gone over the required number of signatures to place the issue on the ballot and will continue to seek more between now and the June 27 deadline. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 10, 2016

Pot initiative still in play for November election
Robin Glanville, a clerk-recorder-election coordinator with Calaveras County, said proponents for an initiative that would create a regulatory system for the commercial cannabis industry submitted 3,308 signatures on May 31. The initiative, if passed by voters, would establish a comprehensive marijuana regulatory system in Calaveras County. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 10, 2016

Calaveras voters approve resource conservation district
Resource conservation districts use state and federal funds, including grant funds, to address environmental issues such as pasture improvement, to combat invasive pests, thin overgrown forests and protect watersheds. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 9, 2016

CalCo seeks vote to expand services
The proposal calls for an assessment of $96 a year on the average residential parcel, according to CalCo Chief Jason Robitaille, and would fund the establishment of full-time paramedic services within the district. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 3, 2016

Changes coming to Calaveras Transit
Long-term threat to funding sources may force route reduction
She said a final decision about the fate of the transit system could come from the board of supervisors in September. "The numbers look bad and we're going the wrong way," said District 3 Supervisor Michael Oliveira at the Tuesday board meeting. He cited a mid-year report presented to the board that listed a 42 percent decrease in revenue and 46 percent increase in costs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 3, 2016

Fire season heats up, multiple incidents reported
A homeowner on a riding lawnmower sparked a fire Thursday morning in Calaveras County that burned 26.5 acres...Cal Fire cited the property owner... Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit took the opportunity to remind people they should mow before 10 a.m., and that lawnmowers are meant for lawns not dry vegetation. Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 3, 2016

Work to begin Monday on Highway 26 turn lane in Valley Springs
St. Andrews Road project to be completed by fall
The project seeks to allow motorists to enter St. Andrews Road and Country View Drive without the risk of being struck from behind. One-way traffic control may be used and drivers should expect 10-minute delays. Work is scheduled from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 2, 2016

Customers complain of discolored water; CCWD says it's not a threat
An increase in the velocity in the water scraped off excess minerals along the pipes that had accumulated during the drought, which had prevented the district from the typical buildup. Despite the discoloration, Metzger said the water is completely safe to drink. Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 2, 2016

Pot eradicated at two suspected illegal grows
More than 14,000 marijuana seedlings and plants have been destroyed on rural properties this past week in Calaveras County, the Sheriff's Office reports. The Calaveras Narcotics Enforcement Unit destroyed 10,800 seedlings from a property on Rock Creek Road in Copperopolis... Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 2, 2016

Proponents of rival cannabis measures submit signatures
Calaveras voters may decide whether to ban or regulate marijuana
Now, it seems possible that a ballot initiative that either bans the industry in Calaveras County or sets regulations similar to those enacted so far by supervisors could be in place before supervisors get around to adopting permanent rules. Several supervisors have said during public meetings that they prefer that voters take the decision out of their hands. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 31, 2016

Burning restricted to night hours only
Burn hours in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties are now limited to nighttime only... Pile burning is allowed each night between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. with a valid burn permit... "However, due to lower humidity levels and higher temperatures, conditions dictate we must limit burning to evening hours." This week's weather is being billed as a Mother Lode heat wave. Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 31, 2016

Sheep Ranch may not get needed water system funding
Because the community is so small, state and federal authorities required that the district obtain income information for 90 percent of the town's 48 households. "We got responses from 26 of the 48," said Peter Martin, the district's water resources program manager. "We made every effort other than going and knocking on people's doors..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 26, 2016

CCWD board lifts drought restrictions
New state order lets local districts set conservation goals
Metzger said the drought prompted permanent changes in water use by customers. "They have removed lawns. They have reduced the size of gardens,"...Even though the district currently has far more water than its customers can use, the agency expects to see dramatic increases in water demand between now and 2040. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 25, 2016. Click here for CCWD Press Release and Board Resolution—May 25, 2016

Firefighters prepare for the worst
"Every fire we see now, we have to re-learn our strategy and tactics," Santi said. "It didn't used to be common to see 50,000-acre blowups in one day. That's what we had on the Rim and the Butte. Now it's the new normal." "It is an old cliche to say this year has the potential to be the worst fire season ever," White said. "When we look at the effects of the drought, the horrendous effects of the tree mortality in our counties, and the fire history over the last three years, it's not a cliche. It's our reality." Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 20, 2016

Numbers continue to drop in the Mother Lode
Calaveras County's unemployment rate for April was 5.8 percent, compared with 6.2 percent the previous month. The rate was 6.4 percent in April 2015. Both counties' largest job gains, percentage-wise, were in the mining, logging and construction sectors. Each county also saw expected increases in service jobs ahead of the summer tourism season, with Tuolumne adding 70 and Calaveras 120. Calaveras County's lowest jobless rate since 1990 was 4.6 percent in May 2001, and the highest was 15.5 percent in January 2011. Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 20, 2016

Marijuana farm registrations keep Calaveras County planners busy
First there was one man at the Planning Department counter and paperwork for cannabis registration was piled up around him while a county employee helped him sort it. Not 10 minutes later, the lobby was filled with a half-dozen more people in groups and singles, holding their forms to register for cannabis cultivation or commerce before the June 30 deadline. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 20, 2016

Forestry deal could bring jobs to region
Mokelumne River watershed to be protected
Tens of millions of dollars could flow to grant-funded forest restoration and watershed management in the tri-county area, funds that the authority can spend on local contractors, said Steve Wilensky, founding member of the Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group... "I think this is the future of how we will manage our national forests," said Moore. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 19, 2016

Planners mull future of San Andreas
County planners are studying what might happen if the built area of San Andreas were to almost double to include 240 acres of ranch land that is south and west of the present town... "We have a highway that runs right through the middle of our town," said Maurer. "We need to address that." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 12, 2016

Planners deny rezone for bank building in Valley Springs
Decision kills hopes for renting to marijuana dispensary
Commissioner David Tunno said that he does not believe it is appropriate to redesign a community just because of a temporary change in the economy. Colleen Platt of the advocacy group said that for once, she agrees with Meyers on an issue. She said that she and others believe more "flexibility" is needed for zoning and land use in downtown Valley Springs. "There are a lot of vacant properties..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 12, 2016

Calaveras County Planning Commissioner David Tunno resigns
Marijuana cultivation politics prompted his decision
At an earlier meeting, Tunno had advocated for the commission to recommend that supervisors ban marijuana production. He said he was "surprised" that his proposals went nowhere. Tunno represented District 5, which is largely composed of the Rancho Calaveras housing development near Valley Springs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 12, 2016

Caltrans plans highway resurfacing work near Valley Springs
The California Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin work next week on a summerlong project that will repave 19 miles of roadway on Highway 12 and Highway 26 in and near Valley Springs. The work on Highway 12 will cover the stretch from Pine Street in Valley Springs to Highway 49 in San Andreas. On Highway 26, the area to be repaved runs from 0.6 mile east of Burson Road to 0.6 mile west of Paloma Road. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 12, 2016

Board OKs temporary pot rules
Holds off outright ban
After more than 10 hours of anticipation and anxiety Tuesday in San Andreas, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that established temporary regulations on the cannabis industry... Four supervisors voted in favor: Wright, Ponte, Cliff Edson and Steve Kearney. Michael Oliveira opposed. The vote was met by roaring applause and cheers. Click here for article, The Union Democrat, May 11, 2016

Calaveras board approves urgency ordinance regulating marijuana
Growers have until June 30 to register
During more than four hours of testimony, 33 people spoke in favor of the urgency ordinance and only five opposed it. The ordinance sets a moratorium on new marijuana farms effective Tuesday, rather than the originally proposed Feb. 16, and requires commercial growers to pay a $5,000 fee to register their operations. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 11, 2016

County tourism increases in 2015
Defying the impacts of drought and fire, Calaveras County tourism thrived in 2015, notching a 3.7 percent increase in visitor spending. The report found that total spending in Calaveras County for travel was $175.4 million in 2015, with accommodations accounting for $36.7 million and restaurants taking in $48.2 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 6, 2016

Marijuana advocates submit signatures for state ballot measure
The news comes as the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is scheduled to consider an urgency ordinance to regulate the impacts of the county's burgeoning medical marijuana industry. The ballot initiative, if approved, would offer some protection to the small producers in places like Calaveras County by banning the state from issuing licenses for marijuana farms larger than an acre until 2023. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 6, 2016

Three candidates vie for District 1 supervisor seat
And Romano is opposed to industry near residences, while her competitors differ. She said of industry like the asphalt plant being considered near Valley Springs: "I don't think it should be near anyone's house." Tofanelli said placement of industry "depends on the type of business..." He said the asphalt plant "needs a conditional use permit.…A conditional use permit limits the operation in many ways. I'm not in agreement with giving the asphalt plant a permitted use." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 6, 2016

Three candidates seek District 4 supervisor seat in June primary
Smith said she "probably" would have voted with the board majority earlier this year to allow an asphalt batch plant to go forward without a conditional use permit. Mills says he would like the board of supervisors to give clear direction to the planning commission on how to approach the general plan update. He says the detailed revisions the current commission is making could jeopardize the process by creating a plan that won't pass muster at the state level. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 3, 2016

Group pushes to get marijuana regulation on ballot
The proposed ordinance would, upon the date of adoption, grant a 90-day period during which existing marijuana producers could register. After that, it would impose a two-year moratorium before the county could issue permits for any additional producers. Several members of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors have said they would prefer that voters...make the decision on how to regulate marijuana. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 2, 2016

Calaveras County group vows to circulate marijuana regulation initiative
Move comes as county elected leaders waver on whether to regulate
Several members of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors have said they would prefer that voters, rather than the supervisors, make the decision on how to regulate marijuana. Yet an initiative, if it gets enough signatures, would actually make it easier for supervisors to adopt such an ordinance. That's because California law exempts voter-approved land-use initiatives from the California Environmental Quality Act... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 28, 2016

Planning Commission urges ban on marijuana cultivation
In addition to a moratorium to be enforced upon all grows established after either Dec. 31, 2015 or Feb. 16 of this year, existing cannabis growers would not be permitted to regrow at the end of the season, unless a permanent ordinance is enacted. An exception would be made for personal use and caregivers. Click here for article, The Union Democrat, April 29, 2016

County rejects dispensary appeal
Catalano and Vattuone said they had taken nearly two years and spent more than $100,000 preparing the building, working to meet the Planning Department requirements... Property owner Jake Koplen said he and his wife bought the property 34 years ago and the proposed dispensary site required "a lot of repairs, which I made and then the Planning Commission allowed us to rent to professional clients." He asked the board to overturn the Planning Commission denial and "protect the property rights of the current owners." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 28, 2016

Cal Fire: PG&E line caused Butte Fire
State to seek more than $90 million in costs from company
Calaveras County Board of Supervisors issued a statement that it will seek "hundreds of millions of dollars" in compensation from PG&E for the destruction caused by the fire. The county government statement estimated the total losses at more than $1 billion. In addition, private law firms have already filed a number of suits against PG&E on behalf of property owners whose homes burned in the fire. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 28, 2016

Public interview for next Calaveras sheriff set
Five candidates were interviewed March 30 and ranked in five areas including general impression, background, presentation, job effectiveness and development. The interview did not, however, include questions about community involvement, sheriff's Sgt. Rick DiBasilio said during Tuesday's meeting. Supervisors indicated early on that such questions could be important. Click here for article, The Union Democrat, April 27, 2016

Supervisor Kearney accuses paper of political agenda
Rancho Calaveras resident Clyde Clapp on April 7 served Kearney with a recall notice and the first term District 5 supervisor said he believes the April 19 article by the San Andreas newspaper was politically motivated and intended to show he and other members of the Board of Supervisors had belatedly succumbed to pressure for a full EIR on the hot asphalt plant. Click here for article, The Valley Springs News, April 27, 2016

Calaveras County supervisors to reconsider marijuana regulation
Vote could come as soon as May 3
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday scheduled a special meeting to revisit an urgency ordinance to regulate cannabis cultivation. The board rejected the urgency ordinance by a 2-3 vote on April 12. "I think that regulation is needed as soon as possible," said Edson, who was one of the supervisors who voted against the measure on April 12. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 27, 2016

Planners consider sending cannabis ordinance to supervisors
The Calaveras County Planning Commission on Thursday will consider whether to urge the board of supervisors to either ban commercial marijuana production or at least put a moratorium on new farms. Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster drafted a proposed ordinance similar to the one that supervisors rejected on April 12. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 25, 2016

Full impact of asphalt plant to be examined
Air district, not planning department will lead environmental review
Calaveras County officials are, after all, requiring that a full environmental impact report be prepared before a proposed hot asphalt batch plant goes into operation at Hogan Quarry near Valley Springs...As recently as the end of March, an air district staffer sent an email to the group saying that district officials had not yet determined whether they would even conduct an initial study of environmental issues, something that is far short of a full environmental impact report. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 18, 2016

Planners urge reconsideration of cannabis ordinance
The Calaveras County Planning Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to consider advising the board of supervisors to reconsider adopting an urgency ordinance regulating marijuana production and also to consider adopting an ordinance halting new cultivation. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 15, 2016

Supervisors kill marijuana urgency ordinance
For the moment, land rush continues without limit
...the measure failed on a 2-3 vote, with Supervisors Cliff Edson, Steve Kearney and Michael Oliveira opposed. Oliveira said he now thinks that maybe he would rather ban cultivation completely...he wants to "put it before the voters. I think the public should be part of this decision." "Unfortunately, the county chose to do nothing," said Caslin Tomaszewski, director of the Calaveras Cannabis Alliance industry group. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 15, 2016

Calaveras County added to priority list for removing dead trees
Surveys show dramatic increase in bark beetle-caused mortality
What is happening is widening patches of trees with orange or yellow needles. Such patches grow as bark beetle infestations spread to more trees. The dying of the forests poses an immediate danger to residents whose homes are within striking distance, county officials said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 15, 2016

Supervisor Steve Kearney faces recall campaign
Critics unhappy with votes on asphalt plant and Olive Orchard Road
Bassett said that the organization pursuing the recall is Calaveras Citizens for Responsible Government. Both Bassett and Clapp rejected the idea that they are part of a small job-killing cabal of elitists. Instead, they say that the recall represents popular sentiment in District 5. "Nine hundred people signed the petition opposing the asphalt plant already," Clapp said. "We will probably be on the streets (with recall petitions) by the end of April." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 12, 2016

Marijuana land rush prompts high-stakes vote
Size of boom unknown, but it's widespread; sales to growers boost county real estate
According to county property sale records, more than 65 purchases have taken place in District 2 since the start of 2016... Bur said it's hard to say how many people are actually buying the land to grow cannabis because not everyone is forthcoming with that information. Bur added some of the property sales are to people who were living in the area before being displaced by the fire. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 8, 2016

Water district sees reduction in conservation goal
CCWD's target for customers falls to 13 percent
State water regulators this week reduced this year's conservation target for Calaveras County Water District customers to 13 percent compared to 2013 levels. Last year, CCWD customers were required collectively reduce their use by 16 percent compared to 2013 levels. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 7, 2016

Staff begins study for permanent medical cannabis zoning
Work could take up to a year
The proposed zoning code will address not only farms, but also marijuana-related processing, manufacturing and distribution sites. No changes are proposed for a separate county code that already regulates dispensaries. The document Maurer released Tuesday is called a "notice of preparation." It launches a 30-day comment period in which interested parties can comment on the range of issues they believe the environmental impact study should address. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 7, 2016

County proposes temporary ban on new and expanded marijuana farms
According to the draft urgency ordinance, the temporary ban is needed because the county is experiencing "a marked influx" of people escaping cultivation bans in neighboring jurisdictions who hope to grow medical cannabis. The urgency ordinance seeks to head off the impacts by limiting medical marijuana cultivation to those sites whose operators can prove they were in place before Feb. 16... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 5, 2016

Utility district to pursue $10 mil sewer plant
The Valley Springs Public Utility District Board of Directors has decided to move its wastewater treatment plant north of town and build a new $10 million facility. CCWD recently mailed Fischer a letter lowering the estimated cost of expanding the La Contenta facility to handle VSPUD's wastewater from $11.6 million to less than $8 million. However, CCWD's amended figures came in too late in the process and the VSPUD "board decided to continue the way we're going," Fischer said. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 1, 2016

Marijuana land rush prompts urgency ordinance
Permanent pot farm zoning measure will take a year
Calaveras County Counsel Megan Stedtfeld Tuesday night announced that the board on April 12 will consider an urgency ordinance that would "curb unmitigated growth" in marijuana cultivation. Those temporary rules are intended to prevent the further spread of commercial marijuana growing to residential zones and other areas where officials have signaled they don't want it. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 31, 2016

Supervisors hear earful on Wooster comments in tense meeting
Like many others, Fleck said that board members condoned Wooster by failing to remove him. "Shame on you for doing nothing," she said. Wooster's comments came during a videotaped planning commission meeting on the General Plan update, when he asked if "people from Mexico" could be considered an "invasive species." "I found the comment deeply offensive," said David Garcia. "We are not stupid. We are not like insects." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 31, 2016

Protesters 'invade' Calaveras supervisors meeting
Norman Perez stood in line Tuesday evening, shuffling ahead every couple of minutes during public comment at a Calaveras Board of Supervisors meeting. As he slowly approached the podium, an American flag worn around his neck and a sign that read "Shame on you Calaveras" in hand, chairman Cliff Edson ended public comment... Click here for article, The Union Democrat, Mar 30, 2016

Proposed Buenavue Casino moves closer to construction
Efforts to construct a casino less than 15 miles from Valley Springs received a favorable judgment earlier this month in a Washington, D.C., court. The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California wants to build a $150 million, 71,000-square-foot casino on 67 acres of trail land in Amador County off Coal Mine Road near Buena Vista. The County of Amador is opposed to the project. Click here for article, The Valley Springs News, March 30, 2016

Water picture brightens
NEW HOGAN LAKE — The old dam has once more been swallowed up by the rising lake, it's no longer such a long hike from the campground to the shore, and — can you believe it? — boat ramps actually lead to water. Yes, after a 23-foot rise there during the month of March, New Hogan is in much better shape as the end of the wet season approaches. Click here for article—Stockton Record, March 25, 2016

Park plan mulled near Valley Springs
Joel Metzger, district public information officer, said that before the project can move forward, the district must first update its master plan for the La Contenta Wastewater Treatment Plant nearby. After that, the proposal would need to go through the county planning process and would be subject to state environmental reviews..."The bottom line is it's very early in this process and there is much work ahead to turn this dream into a reality," Metzger said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 25, 2016

Planning commission denies applications for Toyon dispensary
Business owner will appeal to county board of supervisors
Despite having recommended denial of his application, several commissioners also said they were grateful that Catalano was complying with county rules and had not opened the dispensary without permits, as had been done by several dispensary operators in Valley Springs. The two unpermitted Valley Springs dispensaries only recently closed in the face of legal pressure from county officials. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 25, 2016

Calaveras County Water District eliminates scheduled rate increase
The scheduled rate increase was part of a series of rate increases over five years approved in 2013. The first two rate increases were implemented as planned in 2013 and 2014, but in 2015, the board voted to postpone the next rate increase... CCWD Director of Administrative Services Jeffrey Meyer said that in lieu of a rate increase, the district will seek alternative state and federal sources of revenue to supplement the district's capital fund. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 25, 2016

Butte Fire debris cleanup almost complete
Assessment of reduced property values continues
Davis said the fire burned 2,579 parcels, or 5.5 percent of the total number of property parcels in Calaveras County. She said those parcels represent about 4 percent of the roughly $6 billion value of the Calaveras County property tax roll. Davis said that so far, her staff has found roughly $47 million in reduced property value due to Butte Fire damage. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 25, 2016

Dollar General looking at local location
"We are currently in the due diligence phase for a new location on Highway 26 at Jean Street in Valley Springs," said Nolan Miles, Dollar General's internal/external communications coordinator, "which means we're interested in adding a new location to Calaveras County, but have not committed to doing so yet. Based on our current timeline, I anticipate a decision will not be made on this project until late summer. Click here for article, The Valley Springs News, March 23, 2016

State Route 26 work to start
Tree removal along State Route 26 near the intersection of Country View Drive and St. Andrews Road is scheduled to begin this week. This work is the first phase of a $1.4 million safety project to install left turn lanes at those intersections, said Caltrans Public Information Officer Skip Allum. The tree removal work is being scheduled from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to disrupt traffic as little as possible, especially during commute and school transportation hours, Allum said. Click here for article, The Valley Springs News, March 23, 2016

Supervisors approve proclamation condemning Wooster comment
The dissenting vote was cast by Supervisor Chris Wright who said Wooster should leave the commission. "I am calling on Mr. Wooster to resign and do what is right for the county and not do more harm," Wright said. Edson said he does not agree with Wooster's words, but was not offended by them. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 22, 2016

Butte Fire devastates county agriculture
Wright said to date between 15,000 and 20,000 acres of rangeland, 13,000 acres of Williamson Act Contract lands and 7,000 acres of smaller private ranches were burned. Additionally, 20 million board feet of timber were lost and no more than 80 cattle perished in the fire. There are no hard figures for other livestock, such as horses and goats. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 21, 2016

State official blasts Calaveras County planning commissioner
"Calaveras County Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster's comments were shameful and revealed a prejudiced mentality that is untenable for someone serving the public," Padilla's statement began. "The people I've met on trips to Calaveras County are honest, hardworking and fair. They reflect Calaveras County's rich history. Clearly Mr. Wooster does not." Click here for article—Stockton Record, March 18, 2016

Wooster to stay on Planning Commission
Board condemns his comment as "inappropriate"
Although Edson reported that the board took no action, he also read aloud a proclamation that he said the board drafted to address Wooster's comment. Edson said the proclamation will be considered for approval at the next board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 17, 2016

State lifts water connection moratorium in San Andreas and Mokelumne Hill
The district completed a source water capacity study in March 2015 that was followed by quarterly reporting to the state. The water board decided to lift the moratorium as a result of those efforts. Leatherman said if there are any people "interested in building in our service area, now's the time." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 14, 2016

Latino Legislative Caucus calls for Wooster's removal
Some of California's most powerful Latino elected leaders on Monday called for the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors to remove Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster from his office. In a letter, the California Latino Legislative Caucus said that remarks Wooster made about Mexican people at a March 3 Planning Commission meeting "have no place in public discourse" and "reflect poorly not only on the Planning Commission, but the entire county." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 14, 2016

'A very unfortunate choice of words'
A Calaveras County planning commissioner has apologized for suggesting that "people from Mexico" qualify as an invasive species, saying that his intent was merely to question a vague county policy... Fawn McLaughlin, chair of the commission, told the public that she was "astonished" by Wooster's comment and wished he would have publicly addressed it earlier. Click here for article—Stockton Record, March 11, 2016

Official Makes Public Amends For Slur Against Mexicans
Splashed across Northern California tv media outlets, a recent comment widely perceived as a slam against Mexicans was retracted Thursday by the local official who made it... District 4 Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster attempted to qualify his reasons for uttering at the March 3 meeting what some thought was an insensitive crack. Click here for article—, March 10, 2016

Public blasts Lode commissioner's comment that 'people from Mexico' are invasive species
"I'm concerned because his comments as a public official reflect poorly on the county," said Muriel Zeller, who attended the March 3 meeting where Wooster made his original comments. "If we as the residents of the county ignore it and let him get away with it, then it reflects poorly on us." "Comments such as this have no place in our community, especially coming from a county representative during a public meeting," wrote Miguel Magana of San Andreas, who started the petition to unseat Wooster. Click here for article—Stockton Record, March 10, 2016

West county fire district feeling the pinch
Calaveras Consolidated is trying to secure a permanent revenue source that could assist in employing full-time firefighters, providing paramedic services and ambulance transport, getting current employees medical and retirement benefits and opening a firehouse in the Wallace area. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 10, 2016

Fighting To Keep The Hwy 4 Wagon Trail Project Rolling
After years of incremental progress Calaveras County's most ambitious highway project now attempts to bridge a rocky gap that may bring it to a grinding halt... the currently looming state funding crisis affecting the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) may yet derail it... CCOG might know by April 22 if the project will be able to proceed. Click here for article—, March 9, 2016

Runoff could close Jenny Lind treatment plant
The Calaveras County Water District is watching closely as increasingly dirty, clouded water contaminated with ash and sediment from the Calaveras River watershed in the Butte Fire burn area that flows into the district's treatment plant in Jenny Lind. If rainstorms bring enough sediment into the watershed that supplies the plant, the plant may need to temporarily shut down for the second time this year. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 8, 2016

Planners say best way to preserve open space is by thinning forests
"The draft general plan reads as if all is well with the county's forests, woodlands and rangelands, and it's not," Wooster said. "Our forests and our other lands are overstocked with trees and brush, creating way too much fuel, and we need to get these forests and rangelands and woodlands back to the way they were before fire suppression." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 8, 2016

No decision on asphalt plant permit (Willits, CA)
Board requests April update
"It's the worst thing that ever happened to me, it's an environmental nightmare" said one, echoing a sentiment expressed by many. Others said they had been unable to visit their properties and were considering leaving the area unless operations were curtailed, airing frustrations the county was prioritizing industry over residential needs. Click here for article—Willits News, February 3, 2016

Butte Fire lawsuits to be heard in Sacramento
Altogether, 27 lawsuits were filed, with 18 filed in Calaveras County and nine filed in San Francisco County. Nine of the 18 filed in Calaveras County are by insurance companies, including household names such as Allstate Insurance Co., Nationwide Mutual Insurance and State Farm General Insurance. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 3, 2016

Toyon transfer station no longer needed as debris removal ends
Construction continues anyway
A transfer station intended to speed up debris removal in the Butte Fire burn area is still under construction even though county officials say the station is no longer needed... because, as of March 1, debris removal is 90 percent complete and is expected to be done within a couple of weeks... "We plan on being able to use the facility," Vaccarezza said. "We still have about 80 to 100 houses left to go (for debris removal)." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 3, 2016

Second Valley Springs pot shop closes its doors
Calaveras County deputies were seen carrying out their duty Friday at Forgotten Knowledge Collective Inc. in Nove Plaza... At the beginning of this year, Calaveras Medical Collective dispensary in La Contenta Plaza...was red-tagged by Calaveras County's code enforcement staff and closed its doors. Both closures come after the pot shops were unable to get necessary approvals at the county level and had setbacks in the courts. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 2, 2016

Calaveras is part of study linking fed lands to growth
Western rural counties with the highest proportion of federally owned land tend to have faster growth than areas with the least amount of federal land, according to a study that included data from Calaveras County... In Calaveras County, about 18 percent of the land - 118,037 acres – is owned by the federal government. Across the rural West, 41 percent of the land is federally owned. Click here for article—The Daily Yonder, published in The Valley Springs News, March 2, 2016

Signal at Vista Del Lago delayed a year
Construction is expected to begin sometime in June of left turn lanes at the State Route 26 intersections with St. Andrews and Country View Drive, but signalization of the intersection of State Route 26 and Vista Del Lago Drive has been delayed a year. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 2, 2016

Cut in gas tax leads to cut in transportation funds
Wagon Trail realignment project may be in jeopardy
There already exists a $57 billion 10-year shortfall in money to repair the existing state highway system and a $78 billion 10-year shortfall in funding for local streets and roads..."So it's not a good situation..." The gas tax was once a steady stream of revenue for transportation improvement projects. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 1, 2016

Road project to make dangerous stretch of Highway 4 safer
Realignment planned for historic Wagon Trail
In the first half of 2015 alone, Calaveras County had 59 accidents and 22 of them occurred within the 6.5 mile-stretch from Angels Camp to Copperopolis, said Rebecca Myers, a public information officer with the California Highway Patrol in San Andreas. Click here for article and image slideshow, The Union Democrat, Mar 1, 2016

Watershed still in harm's way
"That water was clean because it went through the ground to get to the stream," Kriletich said. "Now it's just going over land." "Unless we have mulch on the ground or native ground cover that hasn't burnt up, that water's not going to infiltrate into the ground," Kriletich said. "That also shortens the period that we're going to see flow in the Calaveras River." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 29, 2016

Building at vets hall ready for last stretch
Construction is expected to start soon to complete the Jenny Lind Veterans memorial District's new community hall. The board met Monday evening and formally accepted the loan from the Bank of Rio Vista, said Board President Gary Tofanelli. The final paperwork should be signed within the next week or two... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 26, 2016

Supervisors raise Planning Department fees
Appeal costs skyrocket
Planning Director Peter Maurer said the proposed fee increases are intended to have appellants rather than the taxpayers cover the cost of staff time on processing the appeals. Maurer said the fee revisions were suggested to him by a supervisor, but he declined to say which one. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 25, 2016

CalCo fire mitigation fee moves forward at board level
A request by the Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District to hike mitigation fees on new development passed its first hurdle Tuesday before county supervisors. CalCo Fire Chief Jason Robitaille told the board it has been nearly two decades since a fee increase has been levied on new construction. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 24, 2016

Supervisors provide direction for marijuana regulation restrict indoor cultivation to 10,000 square feet per site, leave dispensary zoning and permitting requirements as they are under the current ordinance, pursue taxation of commercial medical marijuana activities and require less stringent permitting requirements for activities such as cultivation and baking edible products. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 19, 2016

Court grants county preliminary injunction to close dispensary
Forgotten Knowledge has been operating in a commercial zone at Nove Plaza off Highway 26 in Valley Springs since 2010, even though medical marijuana dispensaries are only allowed in professional office zones with administrative use permits. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 19, 2016

LAFCO reviews general plan update
...the commission directed John Benoit, LAFCO executive officer, to write a letter to Planning Director Peter Maurer and the planning commission on the two elements. The letter states the language of the elements is too ambiguous and both LAFCO and the city of Angels Camp have not been taken into consideration. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 19, 2016

General plan update drags
Adoption of conservation, open space element stalls
After devoting much of three meetings to the element, the Calaveras County Planning Commission has been unable to come up with a draft that both complies with state law and pleases the majority of commissioners who are philosophically hostile to state mandated efforts to conserve open space and historical sites. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 16, 2016

Groundwater guru urges water interests to talk to scientists
Top hydrologist speaks in Angels Camp
John Kramer, a hydrogeologist at Condor Earth Technologies in Sonora, collaborated with Calaveras County Supervisor Debbie Ponte to have a visit to Calaveras County added to Ferre's speaking tour. Kramer said that the Butte Fire raised awareness of how vulnerable watersheds here are to catastrophic change... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 16, 2016

Asphalt plant opponents' appeals denied
No conditional use permit required to move forward
Joyce Techel, president of, said the opportunity to appeal the decision administratively has been exhausted, but the fight is not over. "We are actively pursuing our legal options," Techel said... Maurer said, "My experience in other jurisdictions is that an asphalt plant categorically requires a conditional use permit." Click here for article and aerial photo—Calaveras Enterprise, February 12, 2016

Proposed asphalt plant to bypass extra review
Plans to place a hot asphalt plant at the Hogan Quarry cleared another hurdle after a lengthy and oftentimes contentious hearing Tuesday before the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors... Kearney also said he discounted the argument the asphalt plant would decrease home values in the neighborhood citing a similar plant near a residential area in Elk Grove where property values continue to increase. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 12, 2016

Board rules in favor of asphalt plant at Hogan Quarry
"Good luck getting reelected," Janice Bassett, one of the appellants, said to the supervisors as she stormed out of the chambers. She was one of three people who stated their vote hung in the balance of the decision... Simmons said it is unknown when, at the earliest, the plant will be in operation. He added that its operation rests in the hands of the county. "We have not received our authority to construct..." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, February 10, 2016

Scrapped general plan unlikely to see light of day
Calaveras County officials have denied at least two Public Records Act requests – one from the Calaveras Planning Coalition and one from the Calaveras Enterprise – to access the draft general plan produced between 2006 and 2011 by the Mintier-Harnish planning consultant firm at a cost of more than $900,000. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 5, 2016

Burson Market gets OK from planners to install gas pumps
The Calaveras County Planning Commission on Thursday approved a conditional use permit for the Burson Market, at the intersection of Highway 12 and Burson Road... residents raised concerns about making an already dangerous intersection more hazardous with increased traffic. Click here for article and map—Calaveras Enterprise, January 29, 2016

VSPUD wastewater plant project under review
District Engineer Gary S. Ghio was instructed by the board to perform an additional study on the existing wastewater treatment plant and the surrounding properties to determine the feasibility of improving the existing plant in lieu of relocating it to the Coe property approximately one mile north of Valley Springs off Paloma Road. There has been opposition to moving the plant from neighbors near the Coe property. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, January 27, 2016

West county groundwater basin 'critically overdrafted'
The problem most likely to impact well owners is that water levels will sink so low that they will no longer be able to obtain water. Western Calaveras County already has a number of households with failed wells that have been forced to truck in water or connect to water utilities. Click here for article and map—Calaveras Enterprise, January 26, 2016

Open space element provides clarity for developers
The Calaveras County Planning Commission decided Thursday, Jan. 14, that it would leave the door ajar for conservation easements in the conservation and open space element of the general plan. Agricultural Commissioner Kevin Wright said that the policy supporting conservation easements should be included in the plan because they can be used as tools for developers as well. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 18, 2016

Columbia expands water resources management program
18 students attend first class in San Andreas
"We are in one of the best watershed areas in the whole state," he said, pointing to numerous employment opportunities. Thursday night's class was the fruition of long efforts to bring a robust water utility career training program to Calaveras County. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 18, 2016

Developer will not pay for improvements to Olive Orchard Road
County supervisors finally end road upgrade debate
The board's deliberation on the item lasted less than a minute. "I feel like this has already been debated at length," Supervisor Steve Kearny said. Several members of the public voiced their disapproval of the direction of the board. "You are effectively making a gift to Mr. Voorhees of taxpayer dollars," said Joyce Techel, president of Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 14, 2016

Valley Springs dispensary shuts down
New state laws regulating marijuana businesses make the county government's progress in closing unpermitted dispensaries particularly significant. "We think that local compliance is critical in 2016"... The victory ended a years-long standoff in which Valley Springs-area dispensaries operated without the required county permits. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 14, 2016

Scientists say Sierra forests need thinning
But no one knows where money will come from
"The next one to three decades are a critical period. After this time it may be very difficult to influence the character of Sierra Nevada forests, especially old-forest characteristics"... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 11, 2016

State water board may lift connection moratorium
San Andreas, Mokelumne Hill could again build homes
Federal officials asked the state to relent and, in December, state authorities granted permission to install temporary water service to the FEMA trailers for up to 36 months... "CPUD is hopeful that upon further consideration, that the state board will permit additional connections," she said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 7, 2016

FEMA trailer neighborhood sprouts in San Andreas
A contractor who once hoped to build new homes on sites he prepared in San Andreas is now instead installing a dozen Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers to serve as temporary housing for families who lost their homes in the Butte Fire. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 7, 2016

CCWD awarded $2.8M grant for water pretreatment plant
The grant is part of a 75-to-25 percent match. To fund the project, estimated at $3.75 million, CCWD will have to provide about $940,000. The intent is to built it as quickly as possible, because the impacts of the debris flowing directly into the treatment plant is already causing strain on a facility that provides water for 10,000 people in Rancho Calaveras. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, January 07, 2016

Group appeals decision on asphalt plant
Andrew Grundman, the attorney for, said the planning commission ignored the recommendations of Jason Boetzer, the director of Calaveras County environmental health, and Dean Kelaita, the local health officer. "It just was not done right by the planning commission," Techel said. "The planning commission was to review the appeal, not rewrite the law. We feel they acted beyond their jurisdiction." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, January 06, 2016 appeals asphalt plant decision
Jason Boetzer, director of the Calaveras County Environmental Management Agency, said he found the project may have a significant impact on the environment based on the information submitted by CB Asphalt... The planning commission decided instead to rely on the reports of engineering consultants Ray Kapahi and Yorke Engineering, which both determined there would not be a significant impact to the environment, except for noxious odors. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 4, 2016

Hot plant decision under fire has submitted an appeal request to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors concerning the county Planning Commission's Dec. 17 decision favorable to placing an asphalt plant at the Hogan Quarry. The five-member planning panel on that date adopted a resolution granting an appeal from Ford Construction and CB Asphalt that, if it stands, avoids the proposal going through the conditional use permit process and further environmental review. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, January 1, 2016.

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