NEWS & REPORTS (Archived)

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2018 Archive

CCWD Kicking Off Customer Assistance Program
The Calaveras County Water District will begin accepting applications this Wednesday for a new program that offers financial assistance to customers on sewer and water bills. The Customer Assistance Program (CAP) is limited to 200 water and 200 sewer customers...whose incomes are at or below 200-percent of the federal poverty guideline. The primary verification is proof of participation in the PG&E CARE Program. Click here for article—, December 31, 2018

Valley Springs Utility Fined By State
The CPUC handed down a $50,000 citation to Alpine Natural Gas (ANG) for violation of leak survey interval requirements... "During a scheduled inspection in 2017, our Safety and Enforcement Division (SED) reviewed leak survey records and found 88 instances where plat maps in ANG's residential areas were surveyed at intervals greater than required by state and federal code." Click here for article—, December 27, 2018

Turner: plaintiffs outside legal right seeking $16.3M in cannabis suit
Deputy County Counsel Ethan Turner alleged in the demurrer that plaintiffs Andrew Greer of Golden State Herb Inc., and Adam Ray of Rainbow Trees are ineligible for refunds, since they had evaded paying taxes... Panzer continued to allege that the taxes were obtained illegally, since state law authorized local jurisdictions to collect taxes from state licensees only. State licenses did not exist in 2017... The next court date will be April 10 at 1:30 p.m. in Calaveras County Superior Court for a case management conference. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 27, 2018

Supervisors appoint Lopez interim CAO
Chief Building Official Short tenders resignation
Supervisors also adopted a resolution to reappoint Megan Stedtfeld as county counsel for another four-year term effective Dec. 28. At the end of the meeting, outgoing CAO Timothy Lutz announced that Chief Building Official Ed Short has resigned... Short has been with the county since Jun. 5, 2017. His last day will be Jan. 2. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 27, 2018

More fire cameras coming to Amador and Calaveras counties
Remote-controlled fire surveillance cameras, funded in part by PG&E to improve its wildfire prevention and emergency response efforts, will be installed in Amador and Calaveras counties... During the fire seasons of 2016 and 2017, ALERTWildfire cameras provided critical information on more than 350 fires, including a dozen in California and an arson spree in Lake Tahoe. Remote-control cameras may help people get more information about fires as they are burning, but it's unclear if they will help salvage PG&E. Click here for article—Union Democrat, December 27, 2018

Multiagency Homeless Task Force forms in Calaveras County
Homelessness has been a problem for many years, with solutions being few and far between. But now, local agencies have come together because of state and federal financial opportunities... A presentation was recently given to the Board of Supervisors from the committee with the current status and plans of what the group has accomplished already and what they plan to do in the future. The Homeless Task Force plans to have a completed homeless plan by Jan. 30..."We intend to pursue, as a county, every opportunity we can," Brinks said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 21, 2018

California fire chief: State must adapt to new wildfire norm
California's increasingly deadly and destructive wildfires have become so unpredictable that government officials should consider banning home construction in vulnerable areas, the state's top firefighter says... That may mean rethinking subdivisions in thickly forested mountainous areas... Officials must consider prohibiting construction in particularly vulnerable areas, said Pimlott..."We've got to continue to raise the bar on what we're doing and local land-use planning decisions have to be part of that discussion," he said. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 11, 2018

State Water Board Passes Contentious Plan
The board approved a mandate to increase unimpaired flows from the Lower San Joaquin River, including its three tributaries (Merced, Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers) to 40-percent. The increased amount of water released is designed to improve the habitat for the salmon population, but it also means less water for agriculture and municipalities. It would also limit recreation opportunities in reservoirs like New Melones, especially during drought periods. Click here for article—, December 13, 2018

CCWD approves customer assistance program
On Dec. 5, the CCWD board voted unanimously to offer financial credit to a limited number of customers with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline. The program will provide $20 toward 200 water customers' bills and $30 toward 200 sewer customers' bills. Customers who qualify for both water and sewer subsidization will receive $50 toward each bill... Applications will be accepted starting Jan. 2 and will be first-come, first-served. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 13, 2018

Calaveras Official Spotlights Bright Business Prospects Ahead
Among Gallino's biggest targets are some of the largest stumbling blocks impeding local economic development progress. At the top of her list is more housing, including affordable housing for workforce and the homeless; also supporting...getting the county's long-awaited General Plan update ready for final adoption by the supervisors. Running a close second is working with the school districts on career pathways development. "A lot of the things I am working also [involve] broadband development," she adds. Click here for article—, December 12, 2018

Meetings discuss bike and pedestrian safety
Murphys and Valley Springs projects considered
Once conceptualized, adopted projects will be listed in the county's Regional Transportation Plan... Kevin Schroder with Caltrans emphasized the value of planning grants to generate public input on conceptual road improvements. Williams, along with other attendees – cyclists and drivers alike – prioritized widening bike lanes and constructing "Share the road" signs throughout Valley Springs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 13, 2018

Meetings look at improving traffic flows, safety in town
The first of several meetings to gather public input with the goal of producing a plan to address transportation issues in Valley Springs was held Monday evening. The project area includes all downtown Valley Springs streets, State Route 12 to Lime Creek Road and State Route 26 to Hogan Dam Road. A major focus of the grant and future projects is to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety in the vicinity of Valley Springs Elementary School... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, December 7, 2018

Grocery Outlet coming to VS
Construction at the site off Jean Street is anticipated to be completed by July 11, 2019, said Bill Coyle of Grocery Outlet's real estate team. The store will be approximately 18,000 square feet and have about 20 employees, he said. "We'll provide a great shopping experience and great savings to the people of Valley Springs and we expect the other grocers will step up their game." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, December 7, 2018

Developers look to revive dormant vision for various Copperopolis properties
The acquisition from Castle & Cooke includes the partially completed Copperopolis Town Square at Highway 4 and Little John Road, the 247-acre Sawmill Lake parcel south of the square, Saddle Creek Golf Resort, the 1,770 undeveloped acres of Copper Valley Ranch, and other various single parcels in the community. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 7, 2018

Developer planning big changes in Copper
Copper Valley, LLC announced the acquisition in a press release this week, confirming that all Copperopolis properties belonging to real estate giant Castle & Cooke were transferred to the partnership of developers on Nov. 15... Castle & Cooke has had a rocky history in Copperopolis, with multiple developments squandered by an outdated general plan and unwilling officials. In 2016, plans for 2,400 housing units at Copper Valley Ranch next to Tulloch Reservoir were never approved – deemed "too much" by the Calaveras County Planning Commission. The 4,267 acres of property was instead designated for cattle grazing. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 6, 2018

Farm to fun
Agritourism opportunities beginning to take root in county
A seed has been planted with local growers and farmers in Calaveras County... Local officials hope a series of collaborative agritourism workshops in the upcoming months will help farmers expand their operations, and increase development of agritourism-centric startups... Defined as "a commercial enterprise at a working farm or ranch conducted for the enjoyment and education of visitors," agritourism can include... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 6, 2018

Victims of Butte Fire still seeking settlement
Three years and three months later, Butte Fire survivors continue to struggle with meeting basic human needs... 921 structures were destroyed in the 71,000-acre wildland blaze, including 549 homes, 368 outbuildings and four commercial properties. Since 2015, 100 permits for replacement houses in the Butte Fire scar have been filed with the Building Department, 61 of which have been finalized... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 6, 2018

Measure C lawsuit court date moved back
Representing Calaveras County and the county supervisors, Deputy County Counsel Ethan Turner requested that the date of the motion and demurrer hearing, originally scheduled for Dec. 14 at 9 a.m., be continued to allow Judge Timothy Healy time to review the documents in the case file, which, as Turner stated, was "thick and dense." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 6, 2018

Ebbetts Pass Fire District seeks more funding to address $398.9K budget shortfall
Johnson said the 1998 assessment is $39 annually, and perpetually, per improved lot, which refers to land with a structure, a home, or some other improvement on it, and $11 per unimproved lot. In 2004, voters separately approved special tax assessments of $89 per improved lot and $26 per unimproved fund ambulance service and Station 3 staffing. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, November 23, 2018

Future of fire insurance for county residents questionable
In a county that is still recovering from the Butte Fire economically, emotionally and logistically, residents here can empathize with the citizens of Paradise. In the situation of a loss from wildfire, and with the impending potential for such a disaster at any time, the last thing anyone wants to experience is an issue with fire insurance. Some locals are encountering just such a debacle. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 20, 2018

Calaveras County accepts $25.4M settlement from PG&E for Butte Fire damages
...and more than $5 million of that settlement will go to the legal firm contracted by the county to secure the settlement. Asked for clarity about who gets money out of the $20.223 million that goes to the county, Lutz emphasized the money is unrestricted cash that will be placed in a designated fund to cover county-incurred damages...not homeowners, Lutz said. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, November 13, 2018

Calaveras County Reaches Multi Millions Butte Fire Claim Settlement With PG&E
County officials state that the confidential settlement covers millions in lost revenues and resources lost by the county as a result of the fire. They further state that the agreement, which took three mediations, involved more than two and a half years of information exchange, analysis and litigation... officials say that the funds are expected to be paid before the end of the calendar year. Click here for article—, November 13, 2018

PG&E will pay county more than $25 million for Butte Fire damages
"When you're talking about the cost, is this enough to rebuild? Definitely not. …PG&E is not paying for betterment, but paying for the portion of road damaged during the Butte Fire." The reparation funds...have not yet been allocated and will be placed in a designated fund outside of the county's general fund, according to Lutz. The future use of those funds will be unrestricted, subject to board policy. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 13, 2018

Water Districts Host Behind The Taps Tour
A glimpse of some essential but seldom seen waterworks was the reason for a recent fall trek into the Upper Mokelumne River watershed...CPUD, formed in 1934 to serve Mokelumne Hill and San Andreas, serves about 2,000 customers...CCWD, which formed as a special district in 1946 for the purpose of water rights acquisition and supplies planning, now provides water to a countywide total about 13,000 customers... Tour participants saw a portion of the old ditch system that received water from Shaads reservoir prior to the 1970s building of the Jeff Davis reservoir in Rail Road Flat...To view visuals of the abovementioned somewhat off the beaten path resources, click into the image box slideshow. Click here for article—, November 12, 2018

PG&E Submits Report to the California Public Utilities Commission on its first Public Safety Power Shutoff
PG&E initiated its first-ever Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. About 60,000 customers were impacted...restored by Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2018... The company is in the process of making both short- and longer-term improvements for any future PSPS events, including... Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, November 8, 2018

Supervisors vote no on raises
Board declines department heads pay increases 3-2
"Just a couple weeks ago we were talking about refunding money for people who registered for a program in this county, and yet we didn't trust our own staff, but we trust them enough to give them a raise," Garamendi said. "I think this is a bad idea, and I think it ought to be postponed, or just voted down." After a motion by District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills to approve the increases, and a second by District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp, the board voted the item down 2 to 3. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 8, 2018

Report: 2017 growth year for commodities overall
The year 2017 was one of growth in Calaveras County, with most crops increasing over the previous year...Timber fell into the top spot in 2017 at a value of $7.3 million, just edging past livestock. In 2016, timber had a value of $4.8 million...Cattle and calves brought in a gross value of $7.2 million in 2017 to secure second place...There is a total of 662,791 acres in the county, of which 198,000 is rangeland and 212,140 is farm land. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 8, 2018

Historic cabin lane threatened by PG&E tree removals
"There will not be any more trees taken down on your property at this time." In recent weeks, a PG&E logging contractor felled a bark beetle-killed fir tree standing less than 10 feet from Montgomery-Meisch's cabin in Camp Connell...Montgomery-Meisch called PG&E to protest any future removals, and was marked as a "hard refusal," meaning that the company would cease any operations to remove trees until a later date. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 8, 2018

VS population change explained
Population signs posted as you enter Valley Springs have recently been changed by Caltrans to reflect a population of 3,553. Wait! Before the change, the population was shown as more than 7,000. What happened? Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 7, 2018

Incoming Calaveras Supervisors Prioritize Ending 'Divisiveness'
District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp, who served a year after recalling and successfully seeking the seat of his predecessor Steve Kearney, was handily defeated 62 to 38 percent by Benjamin Stopper... "One of the things that we need to get done is the General Plan for Calaveras County. It has been an issue for many years and we are going to have to come to a mutual understanding and work together so we can get past some of our divisiveness..." Click here for article—, November 7, 2018

California Power Customers File Claims In Pre-Emptive Outage
Pacific Gas & Electric Company said Wednesday it received 146 demands for reimbursement from Northern California customers who say the company's controversial decision to cut power to prevent wildfires hurt them economically. The utility said in a report to California regulators that it won't pay any of the claims. Click here for article—Capital Public Radio, November 1, 2018

White Pines Lake vegetation removal draws concerns from fishermen, others
"I was appalled by the (crews) at White Pines Lake removing the cattails," Muleady-Mecham says. "When they were done it was utter devastation. To think I will not hear or see the Red-wing blackbird among them..." Arnold resident Susan Robinson says the removals were too extreme. "This vegetation could have been trimmed back in select areas and still retained the special wild and wonderful feeling of the park..." Click here for article—The Calaveras Enterprise, October 31, 2018

Project focuses on forest thinning in the Mokelumne River watershed
Before the age of fire suppression, the land used to burn naturally every 10-plus years, according to McGreevy. After the "Big Burn" ravaged three million acres in North Idaho and Western Montana in 1910, the U.S. Forest Service took strong precautions to suppress wildfires across the nation. This disrupted the natural burn cycle of many forested landscapes, and resulted in overstocked forests and a build-up of woody fuels. Click here for article—The Calaveras Enterprise, October 26, 2018

The rest of the story…"Gunshots heard"
On Sunday, Oct. 14, a bullet crashed through our east-facing kitchen window and slammed into the refrigerator door... Backyard target shooters, take heed. Our house is about 100 feet higher and 2,500 feet away from where the shots were fired. Don't assume it is safe to simply shoot downslope or into a hillside. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, October 24, 2018

DISTRICT 5 - Voters choose between Clapp and Stopper
Stopper has said his top priorities are public safety and the economy. He said he is pro-growth, but it must be sensible growth. "I believe Calaveras County's economy needs to be as diverse as it's topography...protect and enhance property values wherever we can..." Clapp has said community safety begins with opposing sanctuary cities, counties and states. He would like to see the tax on lodging increased to be used for law enforcement and fire services. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 24, 2018

DISTRICT 3 - Callaway and Oliveira trade campaign barbs
Callaway says she is non-partisan, fiscally conservative, and a balanced decision maker. She says she is dedicated to shaping District 3's future by preserving its rural character and supporting services that continue to drive economic growth... Oliveira, a former law enforcement officer, says he has focused on increasing the presence of sworn deputies in District 3 and he says crime is down in District 3. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 24, 2018

Calaveras Supervisors Support Wilseyville Biomass Project
The non-profit group Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) performs work like forest and meadow restoration, watershed improvements, and fuel breaks...It has a stated goal of reducing fire fuels, promoting healthy forests and supporting a sustainable local economy... The plant is anticipated to directly create 25 jobs, in addition to others related to field operations and trucking. Click here for article—, October 23, 2018

Commercial cannabis advocates say sales taxes are down since the ban in Calaveras
But the county administrative officer has reviewed the same data examined by growers and disputes their claim that the numbers show the county is either already in recession or is headed for one... Smith, asked Friday how he knows the ban is responsible for the sales tax reductions...responded, "Because the data fits the timetable of decisions made by the board of supervisors like a glove. It is because sales tax is a direct measurement of economic activity." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 19, 2018

Nearly $2 Million In Illegal Marijuana Destroyed At Two Sites
As Sheriff Rick DiBasilio confides, "We are up in the air flying a lot with National Guard, the Forest Service and private entities to locate these illegal grows — there are still a bunch of them out there." He estimates the number of large-size ones as somewhere between 400 to 500... "it is about a fifty-fifty split…registered growers who chose not to leave and the other fifty percent were grows that were never registered, never tried to process at all – just flat out illegal – so we have been busy." Click here for article—, October 19, 2018

Homeowners still concerned with PG&E tree removals
Sounds of frustration echoed through the forest from Blue Lake Springs amphitheater in Arnold... "Unfortunately I see the same corporate behavior from PG&E with the electrical. They paint trees as the villains, ignore their responsibilities to improve their infrastructure, and are taking away land use rights of private residents. It's a knee-jerk reaction to the wildfires in California, and it's not the right process to ensure our safety." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 17, 2018

Board tables item to approve raises for elected county department heads
The department heads are already receiving a 4 percent raise over the course of the next year for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA)... The Board also withdrew an item to repeal and replace a 2006 ordinance which ties the Board of Supervisors salaries to those of the Auditor/Controller, Assessor, Clerk-Recorder, Sheriff and Treasurer/Tax Collector... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 17, 2018

Thousands still in the dark; PG&E hopes to restore power by day's end
"This is a last resort during extreme fire conditions," Merlo said. Calaveras Unified School District superintendent Mark Campbell stated today that his district was not alerted of the outages...Rail Road Flat and West Point Elementary Schools remained closed, and Campbell says that PG&E has indicated it could take anywhere from one to four days to get them back up and running. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 15, 2018

Nearly $1 million cannabis fee refund stalls
Garamendi said he would second the partial refund if the audit portion was dropped. "No, I want the audit," Clapp responded. "I won't support an audit until someone provides the evidence why we should spend $40,000 to $50,000 to have someone borrow our watch and tell us the time," Garamendi said. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, October 12, 2018

Calaveras pot robbery becomes a federal case
The Calaveras County District Attorney's Office began the initial prosecution of five defendants in the case, but during the preliminary hearing Monday in Superior Court in San Andreas, federal authorities took over the case to be prosecuted in the federal court system. The suspects from Illinois have been identified as documented gang members belonging to the Black P Stones and Latin Kings criminal street gangs. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, October 12, 2018

Felling raised concerns
PG&E to host meeting in Arnold; focus on accelerated tree removals
Robinson said that PG&E has been lax in its outreach about the program...a lack of organized community meetings... yet to hold one in Calaveras County. Robinson also said that there have been several major incidents of PG&E inappropriately marking trees for removal, and emphasized that property owners have the right to discuss whether trees marked for cutting or pruning on their property are necessary to remove for power line protection purposes. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 11, 2018

Fighting fire with fire
Landowners learn about prescribed burns in workshop
Rob York, Research Stations Manager and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Forestry at UC Berkeley highlighted intense fire suppression as a leading cause of severe wildfires... Although Cal Fire used to treat approximately 60,000 acres per year, that number has decreased to less than 10,000 acres due to limited agency capacity... In a list of prescribed fire "myths," Quinn-Davidson dismissed California landowner fears of liability, permitting, complex topography... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 11, 2018

Supervisors vote down refunding cannabis growers
The item required a four-fifths vote from the Board to transfer $940,000 in cannabis grower registration fees leftover from the Medical Commercial Cannabis Program... District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi made a motion to transfer the funds, but when the vote came to the Board, Mills and District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp voted against the motion. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 10, 2018

Calaveras High School agricultural students get a taste of "farm to fork"
The program is called Where Your Food Grows & Grazes, and is fashioned to be a hands-on experience for students. The CHS agricultural students were able to tour the Raley's Supermarket in Jackson, as well as 205-acre Rana Ranch in Valley Springs. "By preserving California's rich agricultural heritage, we will create a brighter, more diverse and beautiful future for generations to come," said Francis Schabram, ranch owner. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 10, 2018

CCWD financial assistance workshop sees low turnout
In May, CCWD implemented a highly contested five-year rate plan that will continue to increase each year until 2023. Currently, customers are charged a minimum of $112.28 for water and $179.91 for sewer every two months. "I've had grown men call me in tears," Strange said regarding feedback he's received from constituents who are struggling to pay their bills. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 10, 2018

Wildfire protection law could lead to 30-foot setback enforcement
Addressing the concern that building additions or new construction with non-combustible building materials could potentially increase the cost of building, Josh White, CalFire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit Chief, said, "We cannot modify the law to make buildings less fire-safe due to a potential higher cost of building. If we don't learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it. We need to become fire resilient and comply with state building standards. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 4, 2018

District Breaks Ground On '10,000 Square Feet Of Pure Health Care'
If construction over the next 300 days goes as planned, a $9 million state-of-the-art center will soon after begin offering locals one-stop health care services...Pointing to Valley Springs as the fasted growing part of Calaveras County, Smart confides that the district is projecting service demand of probably close to 25,000 appointments per year for the center. When it is up and running full-speed, it will also employ somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 people. Click here for article—, October 3, 2018

District 5 candidates outline views on a variety of issues
Stopper, who worked on the General Plan update while a planning commissioner, said the General Plan process "needs transparency, community involvement and compromise as it moves forward. He said he would "work diligently to find that compromise" and would like to see all community plans incorporated into the final document. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, October 3, 2018

Residents, elected officials slam PG&E's outreach over tree removals
Rodefer and others who spoke at the meeting urged the company to temporarily halt the work and organize a town hall meeting where people could go to get information on its vegetation management program and ask questions... Supervisors and others who spoke at the meeting largely acknowledged the need for the additional work and wanted the company to remove any threatening trees, but not healthy trees that are spaced farther from power lines than the required 12 feet. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 2, 2018

PG&E Catches Heat, Hears Input Over Community Wildfire Safety Program
In recent weeks, county officials have received numerous complaints by constituents... where there are concentrated activities underway. Many of these, which range from tree markings to complete takedowns of trees on their properties, have caught landowners by surprise. A few shared they had submitted opt-out forms, agreeing to take accountability only to find their trees were cut down in their absence...To access the related PG&E website and read more about the program and where your property stands with regard to the vegetation management aspect, click here. Click here for article—, October 2, 2018

PG&E Setting Up Mother Lode Base Camps
PG&E has set up "micro sites' in three Mother Lode counties to ensure safety for customers, neighborhoods and communities through its wildfire safety program. The base camps are in Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. The company reports that its Vegetation Management Crews will be creating even greater safety clearances between trees and power lines facing the most extreme wildfire-threat. Click here for article—, September 25, 2018

Supervisors adopt final budget; vote on department head raises postponed
Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Lutz used $9.7 million from the fund balance to shore up the General Fund expenditure requests of $70.9 million. ... in finances leftover from the cannabis regulatory the absence of District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp, District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills voted against the transfer, effectively postponing the item until Oct. 9... County Counsel Megan Stedtfeld clarified that the county is bound by statute to have a balanced adopted budget no later than Oct. 2, or else the county would be unable to issue any checks. The Board voted 3 to 1 to approve the budget with the vote against adoption coming from Mills. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 27, 2018

What are special districts and who pays for them?
Most people can quickly find their local park and fire station and they know water will flow from their faucets. People can also flip a light switch without worrying about who is providing the electricity. For many communities, those services are provided by special districts. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 27, 2018

Arnold site of booming local businesses
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Arnold with multiple new businesses opening their doors to locals and visitors alike. It seems like the opening of the Bistro Espresso at its new location in Cedar Center has infused a shot of caffeine into the local business climate of Oak Circle... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 27, 2018

Bust Nets Nearly $15-Million In Marijuana
Over 5,200 plants and 1,700 pounds of pot were seized after raids on properties in Wallace and Copperopolis this week valued at tens of millions of dollars. Between the two sites, the raids netted a street value of nearly $15-million in marijuana. Click here for article—, September 26, 2018

Tapping Funding For Water Bills
Metzger details the assistance program goals, "We're partnering with the Resource Connection in order to help identify the need. We need to look at things like, what is the income threshold that would qualify?" Metzger outlines that the plan is to schedule another public meeting on this topic... "We want to build the best program that we can for the community and the only way to really do that is to hear from the community and have this be a group effort. So we are hoping for good attendance and people with lots of good ideas." Click here for article—, September 26, 2018

Volunteers pick up 8.9 tons of trash along Sierra rivers
While in Valley Springs earlier this week for truck repairs, they went to New Hogan Reservoir and collected a bag full of line, hooks and lures. "It's sad to see how much garbage is out there," she said. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 21, 2018

Helicopters patrol power lines in the Mother Lode
The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plans to use helicopters to patrol electric lines in areas of Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties that are in extreme fire threat areas defined by the California Public Utilities Commission High Fire Threat map... crews are taking urgent action to create even greater safety clearances between trees and power lines in neighborhoods and communities that face the most extreme wildfire-threat," the release stated. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 20, 2018

Supervisors vote to change rules and procedures
During public comment Tuesday, the key rule changes of concern were authorizing the Board Chair to suspend rules and remove a dissenter...disallowing members of the public to call for points of order...shortening time limits for public comment...from five to three minutes, and omitting the words "free of personal attacks" from the third bullet point of Rule 25, Commitment to Civility. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 19, 2018

CCWD candidates discuss stances on issues facing county
Candidates for the various divisions of the Calaveras County Water District recently took the time to answer questions... Divisions 2 and 4 are up for grabs in the election, with three candidates (Bob Dean, Cindy Secada and Justin Catalano) vying for Division 2, and Elaine St. John seeking election against incumbent Russ Thomas in Division 4. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 19, 2018

Tuolumne County's Planning Department Revamps Fees
"We're moving...towards a model where the application fee is based on the level of CEQA analysis required. It assumes that the project will fall into one of three levels of CEQA analysis. They are a CEQA exemption (least amount of work), a mitigated negative declaration and initial study (moderate level of work) or an EIR (heavy level of work required)." To view how the fees compare to other counties in the region, click here. Click here for article—, September 19, 2018

Calaveras Commercial Cannabis Registrants To Share $930,000 In Refunds
According to County Planning Director Peter Maurer, the first round of refunds will be going to 26 registrants who operated a total of 28 medical marijuana grow sites...this group will be receiving about $130,000 from the regulatory registration fund, for which the fee was $5,000... estimated remaining $800,000 in the fund. "The balance can be refunded to anyone, whether they were approved, denied, or we just never finished their application... Based on the rough estimated figure, he says it would constitute a refund of a little over $1,000 per application." ...among the 72 applications that were in a pending status. Click here for article—, September 14, 2018

Twain Harte Homeowners concerned about accelerated PG&E tree removals
"People believe this is part of a 12' clearance program that was originally shown as being voluntary but now is mandated," Kinsfather said. Residents "are alarmed with numerous large trees on their property being marked, they are very upset by this move..." New fire-safety regulations...require utilities to maintain greater minimum clearances around overhead power lines in high fire threat areas that include more than 600 linear miles of lines in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 13, 2018

Sheriff Shares Update on Illegal Calaveras Activities
Asked if it is harder now to hide outside grows, he replies, "There are so many of us out there now, multiple agencies, and so many [growers] who have left, the remaining stick out like a sore thumb." Chuckling, he jokes that under the current ban, looking for more than the six plants legally allowed under state law makes his job real easy. "And if we see them outside it's illegal anyway because all of it has to be done indoors..." Click here for article—, September 13, 2018

Commercial cannabis growers to be refunded $140,000 by the county
Even with renewal fees reimbursed, there will still be finances left in the regulatory fee fund, according to Lutz. After further review and a complete accounting of costs of the program, remaining funds may be "dispersed on a pro rata basis to other participants in the commercial cannabis regulatory program." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 13, 2018

Benefits of Forest Fires
After settlement by Europeans, especially during the 20th century (aided by Smokey the Bear cautioning everyone to prevent forest fires), the lack of fires allowed the forest to grow dangerously dense and the forest floor to fill up with dried vegetation... What were naturally-occurring, relatively small fires, turned into raging infernos engulfing huge areas... Lack of funding from Congress for national forests, and lack of awareness of good forest stewardship, has contributed to the intensity of the fires in the last fifty years. It is much cheaper to pay for forest clean up than it is to fight a major forest fire. Click here for article—, September 9, 2018

The Mokelumne is officially Wild and Scenic at last
Those of you who've followed the saga of the Mokelumne since 1979 know that this was a long time coming. Since before we were formally an organization, Foothill Conservancy members and supporters have advocated for permanent protection of the Mokelumne... The work to save the Mokelumne was at times exceptionally challenging. We were never sure we could stop a dam. Click here for article—Foothill Focus Newsletter, September 8, 2018

Calaveras general plan draft EIR met with dismay
Agencies, organizations, and individuals delivered voluminous comments on the Draft General Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) to the Planning Department before the deadline on Monday August 13. Many requested that the County mitigate the 25 potentially significant impacts of the Draft General Plan. Click here for article—Foothill Focus Newsletter, September 8, 2018

New legislation tackles fire and forest health issues
New law makes more funding available for forest management, loosens logging rules for some
On the last day of the legislative session, August 31, California lawmakers passed Senate Bill 901 (Dodd, D-Napa), which addresses utility liability for wildland fire and wildland fire prevention... The bill does the following, which may be of special interest to landowners and local residents... Click here for article—Foothill Focus Newsletter, September 8, 2018

VS clinic reaches groundbreaking stage
The new Valley Springs clinic will be located at 51 Wellness Way... The clinic has been on the health care district's project list for many years and will be nearly twice as large as the 5,200 square-foot unit the clinic uses on the opposite side of the intersection. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 7, 2018

Calaveras County may refund $140,000 to commercial cannabis growers
"This is, essentially, they made a bunch of people pay registration fees between the day they enacted the ban and the day it was enforced," Wittke said. "There was 90 day period. A whole bunch of people had fees to pay to maintain their good standing. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 7, 2018

Businesses, residents being unfairly targeted?
County accused of selective code enforcement over shipping containers
...the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted to table an item last week to adopt proposed changes to Chapter 8.06 of the county code until late January 2019, to ensure that a fee schedule is presented with the revisions. As a solution, the Board discussed starting an amnesty program to allow people with containers that aren't causing a structural hazard to mail in a photo for the agency to catalogue. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 5, 2018

The Early History of Calaveras County - What's In A Name: Toyon
Today, the location called Toyon, east of Valley Springs along Highway 12, lends its name to a middle school and an industrial park. From the late 1930s to the early 1960s, Toyon was identified with lumber mills which operated there. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 5, 2018

Legislature Sends Major Wildfire Bill To Governor
The California legislature has passed a bill that will spend more money on forest thinning projects and also help utilities cover the costs of wildfires... Funding allocated for the forest management projects will be $200-million annually. Click here for article—, September 1, 2018

Governor Signs Forestry Bill To Reduce Hazardous Fuels
A bill signed at the state capitol will extend a pilot program that allows landowners who are clearing defensible space to sell the wood they cut down without doing a timber harvesting plan... "AB 1954 is smart legislation that continues a program that reduces hazardous fuels without the need for grants or bonds that further burden California's taxpayers." Click here for article—, August 31, 2018

Community works to combat tree mortality, wildfire risks
Just as the Butte Fire decimated large tracts of forest in 2015, bark beetles and drought have combined to produce an unprecedented die-off of trees over the past eight years... several years of drought have led to an explosion in beetle populations and a corresponding increase in tree mortality. While prolonged freezes generally cause bark beetle populations to die off toward the end of the year, warmer winters over the past decade have resulted in the expansion of beetle populations farther north and to higher elevations. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 30, 2018

Cumbersome Lumber
A few weeks ago, Blue Lake Springs resident Marjie Miller was sitting on her deck when a towering ponderosa pine came tumbling down, narrowly missing her house and destroying a portion of wooden railing as it fell...In addition to threatening hundreds of homes and infrastructure across the county, dead and dying trees could be serious fuel for the next major wildfire in the Mother Lode region. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 29, 2018

Young eagle found with fishing hook down throat is released at New Melones
The hunting bird, a young predator with a sharp, hooked beak, curved talons and a 5-foot wingspan, took its first free flight in four weeks about 11 a.m. Saturday. People cheered when the eagle made it to the trees and appeared to settle in one of them, within view of the water. "She'll stay here as long as there's enough food," Benik said. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 29, 2018

'Hooked' bald eagle flies again
Emma, a juvenile bald eagle who swallowed a fishing hook, was successfully released at New Melones Reservoir this morning following a month-long rehabilitation with Tri County Wildlife Care. After a bit of coaxing out of her cage by caretaker Pat Benik, the eagle took flight... She came to land on the upper branches of a lakeside tree, very close to where she was originally discovered. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 25, 2018

Supervisors table item to change procedural rules in meetings
Some of the most pressing concerns to the public were the Board Chair's expansion of power to suspend any rules without a board majority vote, preventing the public from raising a point of order, and restrictions in the amount of time for public comment... One woman handed out a copy of the First Amendment to the supervisors before telling them, "If you vote for this, you are going down as unconstitutional." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 24, 2018

Comments call for mitigation of potential General Plan impacts
The 148-page volume of comments submitted by the Calaveras Planning Coalition found fault with the Draft General Plan's "pervasive lack of commitment in its policies"... The California Department of Fish and Wildlife spelled out for the county..."CDFW recommends that the environmental document include measures that are enforceable and do not defer the details of the mitigation to the future." The California Department of Conservation added, "All mitigation measures that are potentially feasible should be considered." Many of the current and draft community plans...would be eliminated entirely... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 24, 2018

State Water Board Delays Decision On Increasing Water Flows
Congressional leaders like Tom McClintock and Jeff Denham, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and local county supervisors have voiced opposition to the proposed 40-percent un-impared flow standard between February and June. They argue that it will have a big impact on recreation opportunities at areas like New Melones Reservoir and impact water supply. Click here for article—, August 23, 2018

Insurance lobby stands in way of protections for rural homeowners in Tuolumne, Calaveras counties
Since a year after the 2013 Rim Fire, county officials have heard pleas for help from residents who were experiencing difficulty keeping or finding affordable homeowners insurance. However, both state and local officials have experienced difficulty advancing regulations to protect consumers in the face of resistance from a powerful insurance lobby in Sacramento... Jones blamed the lack of action on the "overwhelming influence of the insurance industry on members of the Legislature." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 23, 2018

Former cannabis growers file another lawsuit against Calaveras County
Cannabis growers who used to be legally registered with Calaveras County have initiated a court action to get back $16.3 million in Measure C taxes and fees, which they claim were illegally collected because none of the growers were registered with the state when the taxes and fees were collected in 2017. Calaveras County and the Board of Supervisors are named as defendants in the legal filing. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 22, 2018

Tuolumne County Releases Proposed General Plan Update
Next week a correlating Environmental Impact Report will be released, and that document will go through a 45 day comment period. At today's meeting District Two Tuolumne County Supervisor Randy Hanvelt noted, "This is major thing. We have been working with an out-of-date and unworkable document for quite some time." Click here for article—, August 21, 2018

More state pot tax funds as compliance increases
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration this week released revenue numbers for cannabis sales for the second quarter of 2018. Tax revenue from the cannabis industry totaled $74,240,257 from April 1, 2018, through June 30, 2018, which includes state cultivation, excise and sales taxes. It does not include tax revenue collected by each jurisdiction. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 17, 2018

Cannabis grower seeking $16.3M from Calaveras County
Calaveras cannabis farms were required to register with the County to be eligible for a state license when California began its regulatory program in 2018. The allegations claim that the Measure C taxes were obtained prematurely, as state law authorized local jurisdictions to collect taxes from state licensees only. The company claims that there were no state licenses in 2017 when the Measure C taxes were collected. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 16, 2018

Water district backs down on rate increase
At one point during the hearing, a speaker asked all those who opposed the rate increase to stand, and the majority of those who were able stood up. However, the majority of speakers seemed to agree that it was not a rate increase that they opposed, but rather the abrupt size of the increase and the way in which the district approached the process. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 16, 2018

Bald eagle rescued from near death at New Melones Reservoir
Fishermen inadvertently caused the near-death of a juvenile bald eagle, and they are now helping keep her alive with their catch. Emma is her second eagle this year, and despite what she calls the "thrill" of caring for these large carnivorous birds, all attempts to rehabilitate and release them have proven unsuccessful—except one. A golden eagle that was brought to her in February of this year was released back into the wild a few weeks later. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 16, 2018

Child care challenges county residents
Calaveras County is a wonderful place to call home—but limited daycare resources can make life challenging for parents who work or go to school. Left with limited resources, parents can be stuck in a difficult position when it comes to the availability of quality daycare and trying to find balance in life. Child care costs are among the highest costs of a household... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 16, 2018

Trump administration unveils new wildfire strategy
The 28-page plan produced by the U.S. Forest Service emphasizes a need for working more closely with states on an "all-lands, all-hands approach" to reduce the increasing severity of forest fires like those currently burning throughout California... The new strategy discusses the history of suppressing fires in landscapes where fire has been a natural part of the ecosystem and how that has contributed to a build up of hazardous fuels in those areas. It calls for using a host of tools to increase the numbers of acres treated to reduce fuels each year, including prescribed fire, managing unplanned fires, mechanical treatments and timber sales. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 16, 2018

Fires To Create Insurance Challenges For California Homeowners
There are around 20 active large fires currently burning in the state that have forced about 20,000 people to evacuate. The Associated Press reports that California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones expects more insurance companies to decline to renew policies, as a result, and stop writing policies in high-risk areas. Jones says it is "not a crisis" level yet, but "you can see where the trends are going." Click here for article—, August 14, 2018

Gold Creek enters new phase of construction
Developer Ryan Voorhees said lots typically will be about 6,000 square feet in this next phase of development. The next round of construction calls for approximately 60 homes to be built and their sizes and prices still have to be determined, he added. "It will be built with a construction entrance off of Hogan Dam Road," Voorhees said. "This will eventually become a secondary access for Gold Creek as well." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 10, 2018

Local developer seeks to reinvigorate Copper home market
La Cobre Mina is one of many housing projects in Copperopolis that fell victim to the Great Recession. At the time the original developer went bankrupt, the subdivision consisted of 18 homes that were built in the early 2000s in an area called Unit 1. Unit 2 was subsequently reverted back to acreage by the county in 2010 although there was "significant infrastructure" in place, according to Mike Lemke. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 9, 2018

Public comments indicate deficiencies in the draft General Plan EIR
Jack Norton described many areas of concern about development impacts to agriculture, forestry and minerals, concluding simply, "A general plan is expected to be clear and not vague." To demonstrate what was referred to as the "silliness of a government using weak language" to address such serious issues, CSERC Director John Buckley quipped, "You don't 'encourage' people to pay taxes, and you don't 'consider' obeying the law." Ben Stopper, candidate for District 5 Supervisor, stressed the need to finish the General Plan and also asked Maurer to, "Address these comments so we can come to a united conclusion and the general plan can move forward." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 9, 2018

General Plan Draft EIR receives feedback
"Policies that do not commit to reduce impacts are not mitigation measures," said Marti Crane of Valley Springs. "The county needs to say 'yes' when it means 'yes,' and 'no' when it means 'no.' Joyce Techel of provided a map identifying the 1,537 [correction: 1,647 incidents] traffic accidents throughout Calaveras County from 2011 to 2016, including 34 fatalities. "Accident rates measure the level of safety," she said. "We can no longer accept the failure to fund our roads!" Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 3, 2018

Business owners rally around Tuolumne County Economic Development executive director
The report's findings painted a picture of an agency that...lacked effective oversight and wasn't being managed in a way typical of entities that are funded by taxpayer dollars. Fifteen people relayed their personal experiences with Larry Cope, who has headed the agency since its inception in 2008... David Morgan, of Sonora, found the testimonials about Cope to be a distraction from the purpose of the meeting — to look at the apparent issues that were reported by the jury. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 8, 2018

Parking ban placed on Tuolumne County side of Lake Tulloch
Worries over liability, vandalism, trash, graffiti and the potential for wildfires have been discussed for years... Addressing the concern of public accessibility to the water, Larson said the Tri-Dam Project received approval from FERC in May of this year to develop a day-use recreational site on the Calaveras side of the reservoir at 7430 O'Brynes Ferry Road. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 3, 2018

Bottleneck: traffic woes in central Valley Springs
"We've been pushing for a safe schools plan for a long time," Stopper said. "The traffic backs up, and there are no sidewalks for the kids walking to school." According to staff with the Calaveras Council of Governments...the council and Calaveras County have received a $219,112 state transportation planning grant to undertake a "complete streets capital infrastructure plan"...the Valley Springs Town Center Connectivity Plan is intended to provide for community-level planning to develop conceptual street-level transportation improvements that build on what's already been spent on Highway 26 and the 12-26 junction in Valley Springs. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 31, 2018

New homes coming in Calaveras County
Developers with local builder Miramont Homes are planning to break ground Friday on a site for 38 new homes in the area called La Cobre Mina in Copperopolis. The pace of home-building slowed significantly in Calaveras County from 2010 to 2016, with 175 housing units built over that period... there were 4,676 housing units built in the county from 1970 to 1979, 6,041 housing units built from 1980 to 1989, 5,275 housing units built from 1990 to 1999, and 5,770 housing units built from 2000 to 2009. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 30, 2018

Work begins to expand the Burson Market
The market at the corner of State Route 12 and Burson Road will remain open during the project, which includes the installation of eight gas pumps on the one-acre site...Along with expanding services to Burson area residents and State Route 12 travelers, the project is designed to improve safety at the intersection with better sight lines for motorists. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 27, 2018

Valley Springs Town Center Connectivity Plan
The Calaveras Council of Governments (CCOG) and County of Calaveras applied for and received a State transportation planning complete a Complete Streets Capital Infrastructure Plan for Valley Springs. The Plan will provide for the community level planning needed to develop conceptual complete streets transportation improvements that build upon operational investments on SR 26 and the SR 12/26 intersection, incorporates community aesthetic, and provides safe travel options for residents and students to schools and community centers. Click here for announcement—Calaveras Council of Governments, July 27, 2018

State water plan imperils Chicken Ranch tribe's plan to use land for agriculture
The state's proposal would divert 40 percent of the water that flows from the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers into the lower San Joaquin River, effectively reducing the amount of runoff in those watersheds for beneficial uses of humans to 60 percent of what it is now. That's a particular problem for the tribe, because the only viable water source that would provide a supply reliable enough to sustain agriculture on their land is New Melones Reservoir, which is fed by the Stanislaus River watershed. "The state pretty much put us here without water," Lloyd Mathiesen said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, July 27, 2018

Water mandates may crimp Calaveras' style
Outdoor residential water-use standards must be set by Oct. 1, 2021, and will be determined using a relatively new aerial imaging technology to calculate the irrigable amount of land... The technology is not matching up with what it should be. Smaller parcels were pretty close, but there were differences between the validations and the vendors for large parcels...We have larger parcels here – more than small parcels – so this is not boding well for Calaveras County. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 26, 2018

County puts TOT on the ballot - Park commission spared the ax
The measure will need a 50-percent-plus-one vote to pass and would add a projected $600,000 annually to the county's General Fund. The tax applies to all "transients" who spend less than 30 days in "hotels," which are broadly defined to encompass motels, short-term rentals, mobile homes and other temporary lodging... After a recommendation by Garamendi, the board was polled and unanimously tasked staff with monitoring the [parks] commission in future months and voted to allow the commission to continue for the time being. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 25, 2018

Calaveras supervisors approve putting visitors hotel tax increase to voters
Voters in Calaveras County will get to have their say in November on whether to increase the local hotel tax from 6 percent to 12 percent... Adding a countywide measure to the Nov. 6 statewide primary election ballot will cost the county elections department about $8,000, county staff said... The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in April to spend $23,500 on a consultant to do polling, outreach and education in advance of putting a ballot measure to voters in November. Click here for article—Union Democrat, July 25, 2018

State water plan could hurt local economy, officials say
The so-called Bay-Delta Plan Update for the Lower San Joaquin River and Southern Delta seeks the increased flows to protect native salmon runs that have been driven nearly to the brink of extinction, triggering a water war between the state and agricultural districts in the Central Valley that hold California's oldest water rights... Many others besides the county also stand opposed to the plan for unimpaired flows, including the Association of California Water Agencies, which represents more than 430 public water agencies in the state. Click here for article—Union Democrat, July 24, 2018

Trump Administration Proposes Changes To Endangered Species Act
The Associated Press reports the changes include placing limits on habitat protections, ending automatic protections for threatened plants and animals and streamlining inter-agency consultations when federal government actions could jeopardize a species... Many conservation groups and wildlife advocates are voicing out against the plan, arguing that it will speed up extinctions. It is setting up to be one of the latest debates regarding public lands. Click here for article—, July 20, 2018

CCWD directors register for re-election
Calaveras County Water District Directors Bertha Underhill and Russ Thomas registered for their inclusion on the November ballot as incumbents on Monday... Division 2 Director Terry Strange will not be running for re-election when his term ends in December... Like Underhill, Thomas says he is concerned about water rights and looking for new sources of revenue. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 19, 2018

State Water Regulators' Plans To Impact New Melones
The future of New Melones as a storage reservoir or recreation destination may well be in jeopardy, according to regional water officials. This news comes as the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) attempts to finalize what many stakeholders consider recently released draconian plans that call for 30 to 60 percent unimpaired flows from February through June through the Lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries —- the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. Click here for article—, July 18, 2018

Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit fire crews respond to nine blazes in three days
Firefighters with the Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit responded to nine fires between 12:01 a.m. Monday and Wednesday afternoon... Fifteen engines, six crews, two bulldozers, multiple supervisors — about 120 total personnel — remained assigned Wednesday to the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit coverage area, which includes the west half of Tuolumne County, nearly all of Calaveras County, and parts of east Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. Click here for article—Union Democrat, July 18, 2018

Authorities seize nearly 27,000 plants, identify environmental crimes in countywide pot bust
The search warrants were part of a month-long operation called Operation Green Wave, which has been dedicated to sniffing out illegal cannabis cultivation and directly associated environmental crimes..."It's law enforcement trying to get a handle on it and let illegal growers know that they're not welcome in our county," said DiBasilio. "We're trying to do our job to keep citizens safe." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 12, 2018

Supervisors postpone talk on new code changes
...Many people expressed concerns that the new Chapter 8.06 code would be a tactic for the county to balance the $9.2 million deficit in the county's budget by allowing immediate and unknown fees and fines to be imposed upon unsuspecting residents. Because there was no fee schedule included with the proposed changes Tuesday, and supervisors and members of the public said Code Compliance officials have been lax at public outreach to educate the public on the proposed code enforcement actions, the decision was delayed. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 11, 2018

New Valley Springs clinic gets a name
The Mark Twain Health Care District Board of Directors met June 27 to establish the Valley Springs Health and Wellness Center as the name for a new, 10,000-square-foot clinic to be built outside Valley Springs at the intersection of Vista del Lago Drive and Highway 26. The Valley Springs Health and Wellness projected to open between May and June 2019. Click here for article and color rendering of future clinic—Calaveras Enterprise, July 5, 2018

Water district adopts 'healthy' budget
Director Terry Strange...was the only board member who did not vote "yes," stating on June 27 that he did not support the potential administrative salary increases that were included in the budget. "All of the communities that I represent are disadvantaged, and those people have spoken loud and clear that they believe our administration is compensated more than other districts," Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 3, 2018

Wild & Scenic! Mokelumne River gets preserved
The inclusion of the special provisions in the final study has been a collaborative effort by a "coalition of interests," including conservationists, fish and recreation organizations, business and tourism organizations, foothill and East Bay water agencies and Amador and Calaveras counties... Although the legislation will not allow the building of new dams within the protected segments, Metzger says that local water districts conducted a long-term supply needs study that determined there was no need to pursue future dams within that area. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 3, 2018

Health Officials Share Vacay Rentals 'Side Effect' Concern
Literally, flush with success, Mother Lode vacation rental programs are contributing to a trend of failing septic systems that have local environmental health officials worried... "What we would like to see in the future is that these rental homes have literature informing the guests that the wastewater is on a septic system and they should use water sparingly and wisely," he suggests. Click here for article—, June 29, 2018

Big Hearted River: wild-scenic designation for Mokelumne River in Amador, Calaveras
The 1,200-foot gray granite face of Calaveras Dome the high, east end of a 37-mile stretch of the North Fork Mokelumne and the main stem Mokelumne River that are now designated wild and scenic by the state of California... One of the reasons it's vital to protect the river from further development is the shortage of public parks and recreation areas in Amador and Calaveras counties..."People in our community use the river like a park," Evatt said. "We don't have a lot of parks open to everybody, people of all ages and incomes. This river is a true gem, a resource for generations to come." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 29, 2018

Brown Officially Makes Moke River 'Wild And Scenic'
With another flourish on a busy day for Governor Jerry Brown and his pen, he officially designated 37 miles of the Mokelumne River as "wild and scenic." Brown's signature on SB 854 finalizes the legislation passed by the State Assembly and Senate on June 14. According to Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) officials, the bill's language integrated recommendations made by the California Natural Resources Agency's Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic River Study Report that came out this past April. Click here for article—, June 27, 2018

County adopts 2018 - '19 preliminary budget
Expenditures keep climbing
Despite the cuts and a recent report by Assessor Leslie Davis that this year's property taxes will add roughly $741,000 to the General Fund, County Administrative Officer Timothy Lutz believes the 5 percent reduction will not be enough to remedy the county's long-term structural deficit... Davis clarified during the meeting that the assessment roll includes cannabis businesses that were operating prior to the ban supervisors implemented on June. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 27, 2018

Supervisors tussle over cannabis
Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted to take no action on an item to put a cannabis ban on the November ballot ...When the decision was made to not adjourn, Clapp grew agitated and issued obscenities. Later on, Garamendi requested that Clapp apologize to the board and to the public for his "outburst." Clapp apologized to Garamendi, stating that he was "pissed off" at District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli due to a previous discussion they had shared regarding Clapp's schedule. Clapp did not issue an apology to Tofanelli or the public. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 27, 2018

Calaveras County Board of Supervisors stalls on putting pot ban to voters
Talk about getting a cannabis ban or regulation on November ballots re-ignited simmering tensions among pot farmers and pro-ban people Tuesday evening as curse words, finger pointing and name-calling boiled over near the end of a marathon meeting... Motions put forth by individual supervisors to place only a ban on ballots, to hire a pollster to measure public opinion on regulation, and to simply adjourn and go home all died with no support. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 27, 2018

Survey: 56 percent of voters concerned Calaveras County is 'on the wrong track'
"You know what bothers me about this? This is a result of 20 years of not keeping the public informed in ways they can understand," Oliveira said. "They think we're on the wrong track because they don't know what track we're on, where we started, or where we need to go." Support for raising the visitors tax exceeds 60 percent in Calaveras County, according to FM3 Research findings. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 26, 2018

County budget goes back to the drawing board
Direction from the board came Thursday at the end of three days of budget hearings. Lutz had presented the board with a proposed budget that had a nearly $9.5 million deficit... While Callen agreed with the CAO's budget proposal, Tofanelli said, she had concerns the county could face financial issues the following year. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 20, 2018

Water district set to adopt balanced budget June 27
Meyers stated during Tuesday's budget workshop that this year's projected balanced sewer fund is an "accomplishment." "The sewer fund has not been balanced since I've been here," he said... According to the CIP issued by CCWD on Tuesday, the water CIP is currently 66 percent funded and the sewer CIP is 39 percent funded. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 20, 2018

Judge refuses to stall cannabis ban
The decision was a body blow to growers who had held onto this slim chance of getting the ban suspended before they were forced to eradicate their crops and take other action to cease growing operations at the risk of being charged with administrative violations that could, in turn, effectively bar them from becoming registered growers anywhere in California where growing cannabis is permitted. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 20, 2018

Supervisors to voters: 'Do you agree with our ban?'
"I've tried four times before this very board to get (cannabis) to the vote of the people," said Oliveira. "But I have questions with (any vote) being advisory. I would like to see it have substantiated effects, remove advisory and just put it on the ballot." "I get it, this is an election year. I don't think putting something on the ballot is going to reach your goal, Dennis, of uniting the county. I think it is divisive," said Garemendi... "I think an advisory initiative would be a big distraction and a waste of county resources, and I do not support it." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 18, 2018

Authorities raid previously-legal grow
Authorities seized 1,309 marijuana plants and over 100 pounds of processed marijuana from a site that was previously registered as a commercial medical cannabis cultivation on the 2000 block of Mason Rd., Railroad Flat on Wednesday. Three subjects at the location were issued citations for illegal cannabis cultivation. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 18, 2018

Pot Bust Signals Busy Summer For Calaveras Sheriff's Department
At the bust, deputies seized 1,309 marijuana plants and 171.56 pounds of processed marijuana. Realizing that the latter may create a dilemma for his department, Sheriff DiBasilio explains, "That's kind of a gray area because it's still considered cultivation, but in my eyes, they aren't growing anymore and the ordinance was designed for growing commercially. So, if they're drying it and processing it, we're more looking for the grows that are in the ground growing." Click here for article—, June 14, 2018

County faces a deficit in the 2018-19 budget
Current levels of salary and operational expenses combined with the loss of "unexpected revenues" contributed to a sizeable shortfall in the county's General Fund projected for the 2018-19 fiscal year... officials estimate the county has a $9.2 million deficit in the General Fund, Lutz said, referring to the discrepancy between projected expenditures, at $67.7 million, and revenues, $58.7 million. Last year, the county approved a final budget with a deficit of more than $5 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 13, 2018

Proposed zoning change concerns some in Angels Camp
The proposed zoning amendment would change the zoning for 30 properties throughout the city to a new category called Business Attraction and Expansion, to ease restrictions upon new business locations and help the city meet projections for additional economic activity underlying the city's 2020 General Plan. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 14, 2018

A Million Dollars To Fund Calaveras Forest Projects
The money is being allocated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and the source of the revenue is the 2014 voter approved Proposition 1 water bond. $500,000 will go to the South Fork Mokelumne Watershed Restoration project. 217 acres of hazardous fuels will be treated on Bureau of Land Management property near the town of Railroad Flat. Click here for article—, June 11, 2018

Growers cut down pot plants to comply with Calaveras County ban
Many formerly legal cannabis growers in Calaveras County ripped up plants, cut down plants, and took other steps Wednesday to comply with a ban on commercial cultivation. A ban adopted by the Board of Supervisors in January took full effect Thursday. Prapanna Smith gestured at the cut plants and empty pots with fresh-cut stalk stumps and said it would have been worth a quarter-million dollars if grown to maturity and sold at retail prices. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 6, 2018

Runoff possible in both Calaveras County supervisor races
There are about 3,000 ballots left to be counted, elections officials said... In Calaveras County District 5, another incumbent, Clyde Clapp, faces a runoff with Benjamin Stopper. Clapp had 496 votes (31.90 percent) to Stopper's 483 or (31.06 percent). Bruce Giudici had 426 (27.40 percent) and Gregory Gustafson had 149 (9.58 percent). Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 1, 2018

Authorities join forces to eradicate public-land pot grows
Every year, acres of marijuana are illegally planted throughout the nation's pristine public lands; the damage is widespread and long-lasting. While law enforcement have worked for years to eradicate these illegal marijuana grows, new data has emerged to show how they cause far-reaching harm to the environment and threaten public safety. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 1, 2018

Appeal moved on pot ban challenge
...Sanders issued a ruling without the requested hearing in a one-sentence order that states the "(c)ourt finds insufficient showing of a prima facie likelihood of petitioners prevailing to issue a TRO and is able to make this determination on the pleadings so no hearing is justified." By filing an appeal from that order with the 3rd District Court of Appeal, the plaintiffs are asking the appellate court to issue its own injunction or stay... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 31, 2018

Water district implements rate increases
Under the new rate structure, the average residential water customer who uses 1,200 cubic feet bi-monthly will see an increase from their current bill of 15.5 percent, and wastewater rates will increase by 18.9 percent by the end of the five-year period. The new rate structure will go into effect on July 16th for water and wastewater. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 31, 2018

CCWD Approves Water And Sewer Rate Hikes
Around 35 people were on hand, of which 14 spoke, at a Calaveras County Water District public hearing yesterday afternoon regarding a new rate plan. In the end, the board voted 5-0 to approve increases to sewer and water rates spanning the next five years. The first increase will take effect on July 16. You can find more details about the plan by clicking here. Click here for article—, May 24, 2018

Answers from the candidates running for Supervisor
What are the most important issues or challenges facing the Board of Supervisors and how would you address those issues or challenges if elected as supervisor? Other than those issues or challenges, what are the five most important things you would like to accomplish if elected? Click here for Q & A—Calaveras Enterprise, May 24, 2018

Board holds a marathon session Tuesday
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors took nearly 12 hours Tuesday to address a total of 29 agenda items...two stood out for their importance and the level of public interest they attracted... the supervisors unanimously passed a resolution supporting the current legislative plan...for pursuing an appropriate bill to establish the Wild and Scenic designation... DiBasilio said that while he personally disagrees with Senate Bill 54 (the "California Values" Act), it has had little impact on law enforcement in Calaveras. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 24, 2018

Calaveras Supervisors Postpone Action In Sanctuary Debate
While the board expressed support for the federal government in its battle with California over sanctuary policies, the Calaveras County supervisors postponed any formal action until next month... A local member of the ACLU spoke in opposition to the county taking a stance against the sanctuary policies. There were questions brought up at the meeting about whether the county could be sued... more clarification regarding the state and federal squabble should be known following a court date in mid-June. Click here for article—, May 23, 2018

D5 hopefuls talk about General Plan
"It is crucial we have a finished General Plan," said Stopper... Although it is vital to update the General Plan, Giudici said the current draft is "a flawed document" because it wasn't properly developed. He was critical of the board removing community plans to speed up the process and said a previous General Plan draft developed by Mintier and associates, the county's previous General Plan consultants, should be released to the public because it contains important background information necessary to develop a proper General Plan. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 23, 2018

Calaveras Supes Get Some Pushback On TOT Tax Measure
As Calaveras County continues "tourism hotel stay tax" increase ballot measure plans, the supervisors today heard an earful of wide ranging public comments... When the board opened the topic for public comments, it became clear that outreach will be necessary to ensure that voters completely understand why and how TOT taxes are collected. Click here for article—, May 22, 2018

County public works director resigns
Public Works Director Jeff Crovitz will leave the county next month, officials announced Tuesday following a closed door discussion about his job performance. Crovitz's official last day with the county will be June 5... A representative with the department who answered the telephone said he would be away until his resignation date. Crovitz was appointed the department head in 2015. He was compensated at a rate of $148,740 a year. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 17, 2018

Residents sound off on cannabis - again - at Calaveras supes meeting
"Thank you supervisors Toffanelli, Mills and Clapp," Gonsalves said. "Twenty-seven of our clients are going out of business since your ban. That's $80,000 in lost revenue. … All you're going to have left is a bankrupt county. "You three don't like new business," Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 3=8, 2018

Calaveras Busts Indoor Marijuana Grow Worth Over $9.6 M
The Calaveras County marijuana enforcement team destroyed another industrial residential grow while arresting three suspects, including a deportee with an active felony warrant. Sheriff's officials say the bust went down yesterday morning in Burson at a residence located within the 5000 block of Southworth Road. A total of 4,834 marijuana plants with a rough street value of $9.6 million were eradicated. Click here for article—, May 4, 2018

Water district officials face ratepayers
Customers questioned the Calaveras County Water District's proposal to raise rates in light of what some believe to be relatively high pay within management on April 26 at a town hall meeting in Valley Springs. "I'm really surprised that you haven't done a wage compensation study before asking people on a fixed income for a rate increase," said District 5 supervisor candidate...Bruce Giudici. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 3, 2018

Candidates spend close to $85,000 on races
District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp, the incumbent, has not submitted any information stating how much he received or if he intended to collect or spend more than $2,000 before the April 26 deadline. Greg Gustafson, a contractor running for the District 5 supervisor seat, did not file financial documentation or information stating whether his campaign will collect or spend more than $2,000. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 3, 2018

California's Population Grows: Little Change In Mother Lode
Over the past year, California's population notably grew, Tuolumne County saw a slight increase, and Calaveras County had a decline... Tuolumne County's population increased by 15 people during that same period, reaching 54,740... Calaveras County's population declined by 18 people, dropping it to 45,157. Click here for article—, May 3, 2018

Cannabis in Calaveras: deadline to comply with commercial ban is June 7
Calaveras County commercial cannabis growers have another month before growing becomes illegal but already many farmers have moved on, leaving unplanted gardens, unoccupied homes and, ultimately, a $13 million hole in county tax coffers... "The regulatory program is going to continue," DiBasilio said. "You have a ban in place, yes. But there's still the regulation of personal grows and caregiver grows... Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 3, 2018

Mother Lode Gun Club works to contain lead spread
Elevated lead levels have been found in a creek bed downstream of the property and high levels of lead have been found in the club's indoor range and facility... "We've been looking at many shooting ranges in the state and seeing what the threat to water quality might be and asking for them to assess their stormwater runoff conditions and to make some improvements," Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 2, 2018

Forest Meadows Golf Course to reopen
The course inside the gated community east of Murphys will officially open for golfing on April 27, after volunteers raised $70,000 in memberships toward a $75,000 benchmark... The closure represented a continuing downward trend for golf in general. Many of the game's most dedicated players were aging to the point where regular play was difficult. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 25, 2018

Part of general plan nears release
Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer said Tuesday that planners tentatively hope to release the environmental review later this month or early in May for public comment. The comment period will last 60 days... A previous plan produced by consulting firm Mintier-Harnish never saw the light of day, even though the county paid the company $900,000. Officials fired the planners in 2011. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 19-23, 2018

State recommends California Wild and Scenic River designation for 37 miles of the Mokelumne River
On April 18, the California Natural Resources Agency released the final Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic River Study Report to the state legislature... "After years of disagreement over Wild and Scenic designation for the Mokelumne, we hope that environmental groups and water agencies can reach agreement about the future of our river and ensure it's protected for generations to come," Evatt said. "We think the study busted a lot of the myths around California Wild and Scenic River designation, and we hope the special provisions will be acceptable to all." Click here for article—Foothill Focus Newsletter, April 20, 2018

Casino coming in 2019
Caesars Entertainment has signed an agreement with the Buena Vista Band of Me-Wuk Indians to license the Harrah's brand name and manage the $168 million casino to be built less than 15 miles from Valley Springs in Amador County off Coal Mine Road near Buena Vista. The casino will be named Harrah's Northern California Casino. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 20, 2018

Scientists test foothill wells
Many Sierra foothills wells are drilled in fractured rock aquifers. Often, little is known about the quality of the water in those wells, its age, or its extent. To help provide more information about those wells, scientists...recently published a study of groundwater quality in the Mokelumne, Cosumnes, and American River watersheds. Click here for article—Foothill Focus Newsletter, April 20, 2018

Effort to recall Calaveras County District 2 supervisor fails
The contentious effort to recall the elected Calaveras County District 2 supervisor, Jack Garamendi, was dead in the water Thursday as proponents of the recall turned in no signatures by the 5 p.m. April 19 deadline... The recall effort, which first began in October 2017, was an effort to intimidate and pressure Garamendi during the debate on cannabis regulation, Garamendi and his staff said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 19, 2018

Bonds may impact water district rates and projects
In February, the Calaveras County Water District voted unanimously to support two major California water bonds. The first, Proposition 68, will appear on the June ballot and the second, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018, will appear on the November ballot. "These bonds create numerous grant opportunities, which CCWD plans to actively pursue..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 19, 2018

Federal judge dismisses allegations from 2016 pot bust
An order, from Senior United States District Judge Anthony Ishii out of Fresno April 12 said the county did not violate the Fifth – the right to due process – and 14th – equal protection under law – amendments because marijuana is not protected property under federal law. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 19, 2018

County to pursue TOT increase
'Tourism tax' could boost coffers
Officials are targeting a hotel tax bump to the 10 percent to 12 percent range. A successful initiative could bring in between $450,000 and $700,000 in new revenues to the county... Last month, an ad hoc committee formed by District 3 Supervisor Michael Oliveira and District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp...determined a campaign consultant was necessary to push a hotel tax increase for the ballot. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 18, 2018

Busted: Two More Criminal Grows Inside Residential Homes
Investigators report today that most of a large, two-story Burson residence on Hillvale Lane raided on Monday had been converted for marijuana cultivation... While no arrests came out of the raid...the team eradicated 919 marijuana plants... However, at the second grow operation, an entire house and garage located in the 2000 block of Huckleberry Lane in Valley Springs, deputies arrested a 42-year-old suspect. Click here for article—, April 17, 2018

Walking Back On Doubling National Park's Entrance Fees
The new plan will boost fees at 17 popular parks by $5, up from the current $30 but far below the $70 figure proposed last fall by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that drew widespread opposition. Those against the fee jump included lawmakers and governors of both parties, who said the higher fees could exclude many families from enjoying national parks. But the biggest outcry came from Americans, according to the department, which noted that the agency received more than 109,000 comments on the plan, most of them opposed. Click here for article—, April 12, 2018

National Park Service Announces Plan to Moderately Raise Fees to Address Aging Infrastructure Needs
Most seven-day vehicle passes to enter national parks will be increased by $5 and will be implemented in many parks beginning June 1, 2018. Yosemite National Park for example will increase the price of a seven-day vehicle pass to the park from $30 to $35. More than two-thirds of national parks will remain free to enter. A complete list of park entrance fees may be found here. All of the revenue from the fee increases will remain in the National Park Service with at least 80 percent of the money staying in the park where it is collected. Click here for article—, April 12, 2018

Illegal indoor grows in Valley Springs connected to federal crimes
A network of indoor marijuana grows in Valley Springs is claimed to be part of the same foreign criminal operations targeted in other raids in Northern California. Federal officials claim that their actions against the Chinese organization involved will result in one of the largest residential forfeiture efforts in the nation's history... The homes will likely sell for low prices because of the work needed to repair damage, she said. The money from the sales will go into the U.S. Treasury. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 12, 2018

For Calaveras County, the pot debate continues
Calaveras County is unlikely to return to how it was before the devastating, deadly Butte Fire in September 2015, but ongoing efforts to recover were a primary focus Tuesday at a meeting of the five elected supervisors representing 45,000 residents. People who come to the public meetings on a regular basis remained fixed Tuesday on the prickly politics of cannabis and recalls, reflecting and mirroring how divided a portion of this county's population appears to be. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 10, 2018

Tensions flare at CCWD Town Hall Meeting
Approximately 50 people were in attendance, many of whom voiced frustration that rates within the District are higher than other counties... Eggerton, who was later joined by CCWD Board Vice President of District 4 Russ Thomas, maintained that rate increases were required under Proposition 218... The meeting came to a relatively subdued end as Copper Cove at Lake Tulloch Owners' Association board member Jay Brands spoke up in favor of the proposed rate plan. "I don't want water that's coming from the equivalent of a used car..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 9, 2018

Mark Twain Health Care District proposes lease renewal with Dignity Health
In June, Calaveras County citizens will be asked to vote on Measure A, which proposes to renew the lease agreement between Mark Twain Medical Center and Dignity Health for the next 30 years... The proposed lease agreement promises a $2 million grant to the Mark Twain Hospital Foundation. These funds and the lease revenue from Dignity Health would be used to fill "gaps" in the county's healthcare system... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 10, 2018

Conservancy settles with Amador County over general plan
"Foothill Conservancy made it clear that our goal was to have a better, legally compliant general plan that addressed the issues that were important to local residents and our local economy, and that we wanted to negotiate an agreement...I think what the settlement shows is that if a county takes local citizens' concerns seriously, it can find ways to resolve them..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 5, 2018

Chinese Criminal Group Behind Grow House Busts
Calaveras sheriff's officials share that a dozen Valley Springs-related grow house busts since November 2017...have links to the same criminal organization. Calaveras investigators provided details about these busts to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) as part of a joint enforcement effort to further the overall investigation; all 12 of these locations are in federal seizure process. Click here for article—, April 5, 2018

Farmers file another cannabis suit
Marijuana farmers filed another lawsuit against the county last week, alleging county supervisors violated the Ralph M. Brown Act by engaging in a series of private meetings and avoiding public engagement on cannabis issues. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the cannabis ban that was enacted on Jan. 10... Unless the parties agree otherwise, the county must respond to the verified complaint no later than 30 days from the date it was served. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 4, 2018

CCWD addresses opposition to proposed rate increase
....the CCWD meeting on March 28 began contentiously... The speaker was asked by the board to withhold further comments until the rate change segment of the agenda was reached. During that part of the meeting, each member of the board took time to explain why he or she believes a rate increase is necessary... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 4, 2018

Tuolumne County Leaders Hear Update On General Plan Update
...Assistant Director for the county's Community Resources Agency (CRA), Quincy Yaley, noted that 4,000 letters have been sent to landowners that the county is contemplating changing the land use designation. She added that the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan update should be released this summer and there will then be a 45-day comment period...Staff will then review the comments and the supervisors will likely vote on approving a new General Plan in December. Click here for article—, April 4, 2018

NPS Reconsidering Hefty Entrance Fee Hike
Yosemite National Park, CA –Department officials say they are reassessing ways to cover an $11 billion deficit in the budget for maintaining the parks' infrastructure after hearing elected officials and the public largely decry the admission fee increase proposal that Secretary Ryan Zinke introduced last October... Officials are now stating that the plan is being amended in consideration of all the input. Click here for article—, April 4, 2018

Osprey rescued and released
Valley Springs resident Jesse Norried grew up practicing falconry with his mother and is "always looking" during his Highway 12 commute, which boasts a number of carnivorous birds' nests. On March 25th, he spotted an osprey sitting on the side of the road between Wallace and Clements... Phenomenally, after five days of tedious care, the osprey recovered from his wounds and was ready to be released. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 3, 2018

First Town Hall Meeting This Week Over CCWD Rate Hike Roll Out
A water district now planning to roll out water and sewer rate increases later this year is holding the first of several outreach town hall meetings this week. Today, CCWD released the meeting schedule...Thursday, April 26 in Jenny Lind/Rancho Calaveras at the Veterans Hall (189 Pine Street, Valley Springs) Click here for article—, April 2, 2018

CCWD will notify customers of proposed rate increase by mail
On Wednesday the 28th, the CCWD board of supervisors approved a recommendation by staff to issue notices to customers explaining the proposed five-year rate plan. Proposition 218 was approved by California voters in 1996. It requires that all water rates must be cost-based, and that rate payers must be given notice of rate changes at least 45 days before they are implemented in order to allow for public input and challenges. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 30, 2018

County of Amador and Foothill Conservancy settle dispute over general plan
"We are grateful that the county agreed to work with us to find a resolution that's good for the county, its residents, and local businesses... The settlement addresses our key concerns about the general character and wildlife. It will also set up a system that requires the county to track key planning benchmarks..." "It's much better for everyone than going through a protracted, costly legal battle and extensive general plan changes." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 30, 2018

Cannabis farmers sue county
The lawsuit, filed by the Archer Norris Law Firm on behalf of the Calaveras Cannabis Legal Defense Fund and farmer Trevor Wittke, alleges that supervisors discussed and took action on items not listed on the board agenda and held serial communications between a majority of the board through third parties, among other assertions. Click here for article and March 27 Lawsuit for Injunctive Relief—Calaveras Enterprise, March 29, 2018

CCWD Considering Five-year Water, Sewer Rate Increase Plan
Under the new system, customers would receive a slight reduction in the base rate but then be charged for their actual per consumption... "We understand that some folks will definitely experience a hardship. But we do have to take care of our system, ensure that we are financially viable and that we can continue providing safe, reliable water and wastewater services to our customers. Click here for article—, March 26, 2018

La Contenta Golf Club reopens
Buyer may complete purchase soon
The La Contenta Golf Club in Valley Springs reopened for limited play on March 17... The focus during the reopening will be to build a model that has self-sustaining revenues, said Stubblefield, who was named the head professional after he volunteered to mow greens and preserve the course for some time during its closure as a member of the maintenance crew. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 22, 2018

CCWD considers rate increase and restructure
The proposed rate increase will have the greatest impact upon residential Tier 1 users... the percentage increases over current rates that the Tier 1 and Tier 2 users will experience each year...will exceed the 8.5 percent and 7.7 percent first-year increases....all users above Tier 1 will see their annual consumption rates per cubic foot of water remain below the consumption rates they currently pay throughout the entire five-year period. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 22, 2018

Well-traveled eagle flies high again
It was a miracle the golden eagle survived after it was struck by a freight train traveling a route between Nebraska and Stockton last month. The eagle was trapped inside a grill on the front of the locomotive for days... The bird was released back into the wild March 6 outside of New Hogan Reservoir near Valley Springs after a month's stay at Tri County Wildlife Care in Sutter Creek... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 21, 2018

Creeks swell and snow blankets the high country
Cosgrove Creek outside Valley Springs along Highway 26 near St. Andrews Road swells during what weather experts call a typical winter storm... The storm brought atypically cold temperatures, Kochasic said. Snow levels dropped to 1,000 feet, surprising some residents who are not used to seeing snow in their areas. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 21, 2018

CCWD seeks feedback on proposed rate increases
The Calaveras County Water District is encouraging customers to attend a meeting on March 28 at which staff will recommend a new rate plan... Currently, the base rate for residential users includes an annual allocation of 1,000 cubic feet of water at its lowest payment bracket. The new plan does not include any water allocation in the base rate. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 15, 2018

Fire district gets higher insurance rating
Insurance Services Office sells its fire protection rating information to insurance companies that then use the data to help set rates. The ratings are based on factors such as the locations of fire hydrants... and the agency's staffing levels... Young said the district's rating is actually expressed as a 4/10, with the 4 applying only to areas within five miles of the station. The 10 applies to outlying rural areas. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 15, 2018

Former code compliance officer suing the county
... former compliance officer Todd Barr, the county retaliated against Barr for reporting suspected employment discrimination and failed to compensate him for work he did as County Building Officer... the complaint estimates he is owed approximately $677,000. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 15, 2018

Pet Bath House owner to stand trial
In November, the Angels Camp City Council revoked a conditional use permit for Hughes' business because it violated two of the 17 conditions the company agreed to follow in order to obtain the permit. David Hanham, planning director for Angels Camp, said during a hearing on the matter that the business had not been reporting injuries or deaths to the proper authorities and was not separating larger dogs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 15, 2018

Calaveras County Sets June Primary Candidates, Measures
Calaveras County elections officials confirm that the finalized list of local candidates and measures for the June 5 ballot is set. Local measures wise, Calaveras voters may yea or nay Mark Twain Health Care District's proposed plans for a new management lease with Dignity Health... The local ballot includes a three-way race for Sheriff... Both supervisors' races also feature multiple candidates. Click here for article—, March 14, 2018

Residents say Arnold bridge replacement needs to be a priority
...discussions would come to a March 27 supervisors' meeting where they will decide whether to fund this project with some of the extra $9 million – primarily from cannabis tax dollars – that the county found in General Fund savings during a midyear budget review last month. Crovitz said during the same meeting that a contractor estimated the Murphys Drive culvert replacement would cost $300,000. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 1, 2018

La Contenta preparing to re-open
The firm leasing La Contenta Golf Club is working to have the course back in operation within the next 10 days. George Lee of Gentium Golf said it is the intent of his company to return the golf course to "its previous luster." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 9, 2018

County relinquishes control of public transit system
The JPA removes all direct financial liability the county had for the program. The $1 million or so the county budgeted for transit in 2018 will become available for other uses. The CCOG will contract with an outside entity... It may be too soon to say whether officials will change the schedule of transit operations... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 8, 2018

Job-creating industry looking outside of VS
The sustainable biomass and wood fiber manufacturer was looking at locating the new facility on industrial-zoned property off Paloma Road across the street from the Snyder Ranch... The multi-million dollar facility was projected to be in operation by last November, but Mark Mathis, Confluence Energy CEO, indicated his company is looking at another location. He would not elaborate where the new site could be, but a source with the county said property near Wilseyville is under consideration. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 7, 2018

Pet Bath House owner to stand trial on animal cruelty, grand theft charges
...Hughes could be additionally called to answer on a felony animal cruelty charge pertaining to the deprivation of the "necessary food, drink and shelter" for Cici, and on conspiracy charges for involving her neighbor, Patti Guy, to threaten Mendoza over the phone. Foley acknowledged that Hughes' conditional use permit for the business had been revoked by the city of Angels Camp and she no longer boarded animals. Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 7, 2018

Tuolumne Supervisors Pass Permanent Personal Use Cannabis Rules
...will require those planning outdoors or accessory structure grows to register and pay a $125-$500 fee that will go towards enforcement measures. Also approved was set-up of an enforcement team to include a code compliance investigator, office assistant, two sheriff's deputies and a paralegal at an estimated total cost of approximately $415,000... The new ordinance...allows residents living in RE-1, RE-2, RE-3, RE-5, RE-10, A-10, A-20 and AE-37 zones to cultivate up to six plants outdoors as long as they maintain at least a 100-foot setback from neighboring property lines. Click here for article—, March 7, 2018

Finally, Protection for the Moke
After three decades, environmentalists are on the cusp of obtaining wild and scenic designation for the Mokelumne River, which would prevent new dams on the East Bay's primary water supply. The state is recommending protection for 37 miles of the Mokelumne River... Click here for article—East Bay Express, March 7, 2018

County's long-awaited General Plan update close to fruition
County Planning Director Peter Maurer provided an update on the lengthy process at Thursday's meeting of the Rotary Club of West Calaveras... Maurer said he's "hopeful" hearings on the General Plan update will begin in November or December and completed shortly after. "If we can't get this done in 2019, it's time for me to retire." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 2, 2018

New wrinkle on trips to Shenandoah wine country
Roundabout project seen as an asset for tourists, residents and businesses in Amador County
To support the economy and enhance the safety of those who travel on SR-49, Caltrans partnered with Plymouth and the Amador County Transportation Commission to convert an intersection with four stop signs into a user-friendly roundabout. Rather than all four vehicles being forced to come to a complete stop, idling their engines and contributing to noise and air pollution, motorists now glide through the roundabout with minimal delay. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 2, 2018

County finds 'breathing room' in midyear budget review
2017-18 revenues are expected to be higher than the county has seen in years... Cannabis tax revenues, which the county had budgeted to be about $2.2 million at this point, have instead totaled $13 million... Moving forward, supervisors will have to determine how to fund enforcement of the cannabis ban. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 22, 2018

Issues, Uncertainty In Calaveras As Cannabis Ban Rolls Out
Ironically, growers' applications, many still in pending status, are still being processed. As CAO Lutz explains it, the reasons are due to the language in the urgency ordinance and ban that provides for a 90-day transition period. County officials are directing growers' ban compliance-related questions as well as those concerning what is allowable for a personal cannabis grow to the Calaveras County Planning Department, which has also prepared a FAQ list here. Click here for article—, February 23, 2018

Comments flow about the Moke River
State agency hears Wild and Scenic input
"Psychologically, emotionally and spiritually, the river is a place to take ourselves and heal ourselves and feel good about our lives and to immerse ourselves in an amazing environment..." A group of four activists put their comments to music by singing "Mother River..." "Once a river is gone, it is gone forever," said Joe David, a resident of Tuolumne County. "...The Mokelumne River is so unique as a recreational resource because it's a perfect beginning-type paddle..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 22, 2018

Cannabis ban takes effect next month
The cannabis ban will take effect March 9, the county confirmed Feb. 15... The ordinance limits all cannabis farming to the six plants allowed for personal use under California law. The urgency ordinance that permitted commercial cultivation over the past two years ended on Feb. 14... Once the ordinance takes effect, growers will have 90 days to comply. Commercial cultivation must stop by June 8... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 22, 2018

Marijuana farmers sue the county
Marijuana farmers have undertaken a number of challenges to the recently enacted ban on cannabis cultivation, including lawsuits seeking to overturn the ban and challenges to the county's refusal to produce a memorandum sent to all supervisors that was the subject of a Freedom of Information Act request. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 22, 2018

Ben Stopper to challenge Clyde Clapp in District 5
Stopper joins Bruce Guidici as a challenger for the seat currently held by Supervisor Clyde Clapp. The incumbent announced in December he will attempt to retain the seat he acquired by gaining the greatest number of votes in a recall election that deposed former supervisor Steve Kearney in 2016. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 22, 2018

Calaveras County Cannabis Cultivation Ban Implementation
The implementation of the commercial cannabis cultivation set to begin on Friday, March 9, 2018... growers have 90 days from the effective date of the ban ordinance to come into compliance with the new law. All cultivation except for registered personal use, must cease after June 7, 2018... During the 90-day period, the provisions of the urgency ordinance continue as referenced in the ban, and registered growers are able to continue cultivating. If a grower's application was in pending status, the County will continue processing registration applications. Click here for article—, February 15, 2018

Another New OES Director For Calaveras To Take The Helm
After recently accepting the resignation of departing OES Director Will Downs..., CAO Tim Lutz shares that the county decided to hire Michelle Patterson... when Downs came onboard last October, he filled a newly re-designated position that had been vacant for nearly a decade due to budget constraints and the shuffling of OES responsibilities from county administration to the auspices of the sheriff's office. Click here for article—, February 15, 2018

Homeowners push officials to replace washed-out bridge
"We've changed 12 out of 18 department heads this year," added Oliveira. "We just recently hired our own Office of Emergency Services director because of the Butte Fire. When that person starts in 10 days, they're going to walk into a storm of confusion..." "People wait too long to go," O'Donnell said of people ordered to evacuate in the event of a wildfire. "...This is bigger than a single bridge. We want better access and egress. It's a high priority for us to get it fixed." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2018

La Contenta bankruptcy case likely to be dismissed
Judge Bardwil at a Jan. 31 hearing expressed concerns about the viability and desirability of the Chapter 11 case for several reasons. He urged Ryan obtain a new operator for the golf course... The judge noted "almost all of the debt is owed to insiders... creating a possible conflict between Mr. Voorhees as the Debtor's representative at the same time he is the creditor's representative." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 14, 2018

DiBasilio and Giudici campaign for Sheriff and Supervisor
"I know the difference between an expense and an investment," he [Giudici] said. "I have experience that no one else running has. I think in terms of numbers and bottom lines. I'm a fiscal conservative..." "If we take the undeveloped properties in the county," he [Sheriff DiBasilio] suggested, "and charge them a $50 a year fee, and $100 on developed properties, that would give us about $2.5 million, which would give us another three deputies." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2018

Board rejects sending pot ordinances to voters
Prapanna Smith, an indoor marijuana farmer in the county, said nobody would have voted for the regulations... Trent Fiorino, of Valley Springs, said he would support a quarter-cent increase on county sales tax to fund law enforcement expenses that may be exposed now that the cannabis taxes will disappear. "Those in favor of a ban can reach into our pockets and help," Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2018

Fearing litigation, Calaveras supervisors decline to put cannabis laws to voters
...the Board of Supervisors took no action Tuesday evening on a resolution to give voters a chance to choose between banning or regulating cannabis cultivation... "We're already going to have plenty to defend with the ban," Garamendi said. He was right... the elected board and the county faced new legal challenges from registered growers angered by a ban the panel approved on Jan. 10. Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 13, 2018

County to sue for Butte Fire
Since the County will forever be scarred and socially and economically damaged, the County has worked to secure fair compensation for its residents and seek reimbursement for the damage to Calaveras County and its local infrastructure from PG&E, which is responsible for this tragedy... Baron & Budd, P.C. is a national law firm, retained by public entities over 425 times for litigation and trial... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 13, 2018

Calaveras County Suing PG&E Over Butte Fire
Calaveras County, which is still in disaster recovery mode from the fire, suffered negative financial and economic impacts running into the tens of millions... Among these are lost taxpayer funds; damaged infrastructure and natural resources; fire suppression costs; government employee overtime; ongoing emergency response and recovery efforts. Click here for article—, February 13, 2018

Agency recommends protection for the Moke River
On Jan. 26, the California Natural Resources Agency released its draft Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic River Study Report... The agency recommended granting Wild and Scenic status to 37 miles of the North Fork and main stem of the Mokelumne Rive... The study also recommended including "special provisions to protect existing water rights application 5647X03 and future local water development projects designed to avoid adverse effects on the free-flowing condition and natural character of designated segments..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 9, 2018

Landowners in Butte scar battle to heal the forest
How healthy the Butte Fire burn area is right now, and how well the earth is recovering from the blaze depends on which experts you ask... "Nature is slow," Bennett said. "We're not going to live to see the difference. It will take 40 years before there's forest there again." Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 8, 2018

What you can do in Calaveras after the ban?
In Calaveras, personal-use growers can house their six plants indoors in an enclosed and lockable area... Despite the historic immunity from criminal enforcement, under the ban, the only marijuana growing permitted in Calaveras County will be limited to six plants for personal or adult-use purposes... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 2, 2018

Registered Medical Pot Grow Raided
A Valley Springs home, which had been registered for medical cultivations, was raided and deputies found way more plants than allowed for... Inside the home they uncovered 907 marijuana plants and 26 pounds of processed marijuana. Click here for article—, February 1, 2018

Impoverished District 2 fights for its life
Now, in light of the ban, people are likely to leave the area to pursue opportunities elsewhere, further reducing an already sparse population, Garamendi said. With it comes the increased likelihood that some schools in the area may close completely... District 2 is particularly vulnerable because it is literally farther away from resources than all other Calaveras towns... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 1, 2018

Recall elections have a long history in Calaveras County
Most that involved county supervisors have been successful. District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp won a recall election in November 2016 to replace former board member Steve Kearney... Petitioners for Kearney's recall took issue with his vote to allow a proposed asphalt plant near Valley Springs to avoid obtaining a conditional use permit. A total of 1,934 District 5 residents then voted to recall Kearney...The operators of the asphalt plant eventually withdrew their application and opened a plant in Carson Hill south of Angels Camp. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 1, 2018

State study recommends Wild and Scenic designation for Mokelumne River
AB 142 was supported by local governments, water agencies, businesses and business groups, tribes and outdoor-oriented nonprofit organizations... "We're glad to see that the study recommends adding all 37 miles of the Mokelumne listed in AB 142 to the California Wild and Scenic River system," said Friends of the River's Wild Rivers Consultant Steve Evans. Click here for article—Foothill Conservancy News, January 31, 2018

Wagon trail project creeps toward construction
Construction of a replacement highway, a $78 million job, is expected to begin in 2020... Before construction can begin, however, officials need to finalize highway designs and acquire the land for the project... Additional funding will be needed moving forward, said Collins. The council has devoted $7.3 million for property acquisitions and construction and about $13 million for the "remaining phases"... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 25, 2018

Life after the ban
Jobs at risk at the Government Center
The ban puts into jeopardy about 26 jobs, from departments responsible for code compliance, law enforcement, planning and environmental health... In the meantime, workers in positions related to cannabis will continue to process applications. Lutz said officials did not want to cause problems for farmers who had registered in Calaveras before the ban and may be interested in relocating elsewhere to continue. "Our goal is to continue to evaluate how long we need to do it," said Lutz. "We want to make sure, from a local perspective, we're closing this program out." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 25, 2018

What Is Next For Calaveras County Recalls?
With three Calaveras County Supervisors and two Calaveras Unified School District School Board Trustees in the hot seats, the county could face a wild ride come election time. All of the five supervisor's seats could be up for grabs... "If the recalls make it to the ballot, we'd have five supervisors on the ballot, which is kind of crazy, considering we just had four new supervisors installed recently." Click here for article—, January 25, 2018

Pot banning supervisors served recall notices
Two separate groups, led by Jeremy Maddux of District 4 and Joan Wilson of District 1 respectively, served Supervisors Dennis Mills, District 4, and Gary Tofanelli, District 1, recall notices after both campaigns obtained more than the required 20 signatures since last week in support of their efforts. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 23, 2018

New Studies Look At Drought And Fire In Sierra Nevada
Research conducted by UC scholars note that the recent tree mortality crisis actually increased water runoff, but is also creating unprecedented amounts of fuel for wildfires... "If our society doesn't like the outcomes from recent fires and extensive drought-induced tree mortality in Sierra forests, then we collectively need to move beyond the status quo. Working to increase the pace and scale of beneficial fire and mechanical treatments rather than focusing on continued fire suppression would be an important step forward." Click here for article—, January 22, 2018

Supervisors vote to ban pot cultivation: growers, citizens and county weigh what's next ...Supervisors could not get over one last hurdle: a 100-acre parcel minimum for all cannabis farming. The result was the complete elimination of a regulatory program begun in 2016 that authorized more than 200 farmers, collected more than $3.5 million in fees and generated upward of $10 million in taxes and fines... Hauer said he expects some type of lawsuit to be filed within the 30-day period before the ban goes into effect. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 18, 2018

Humane society to open shelter near Angels Camp
Drake said Monday the humane society's shelter, in addition to the Animal Services shelter that will remain open, will serve the county's animal population better than a shared shelter. "We will virtually double the amount of animals that can go into shelters in Calaveras County," she said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 18, 2018

Pot Houses: Too Many, Too Close For Sheriff's Comfort
Valley Springs, CA – Several raids in Calaveras County point to a trend where entire houses are being turned into marijuana grows and that has sparked concerns from the sheriff regarding the hazards... "You have wires hanging from the walls. They've cut holes into the walls and ceiling to add all the extra lighting..." Click here for article—, January 17, 2018

Calaveras County hospital district board approves new partnership with Dignity Health
The new lease agreement with Dignity Health will ensure continued operation of the district's general acute care hospital and emergency room in San Andreas for at least 10 years, and up to 30 years... Mark Twain Medical Center is the only hospital in Calaveras County... The hospital and its clinics have more than 300 employees, including 35 doctors. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 24, 2018

Mark Twain Hospital Chooses To Re-sign With Dignity Health
After many long months of deliberations, public outreach and negotiations, at today's district board meeting the directors had but two resolutions before them to consider. One outlined the terms of the new Dignity agreement; the other the subsequent ballot measure that would be put before voters to decide on the June 5 ballot. Click here for article—, January 23, 2018

MTHCD Board Still Deciding Between Dignity And Going Solo
A local healthcare district is spending the first few weeks of the new year actively weighing whether to sign a management agreement with Dignity Health or manage Mark Twain Medical Center independently... if everything lines up, the district board will at its Jan. 24 meeting be considering the resolutions to lease the hospital to Dignity Health and call for a ballot election... Click here for article—, January 15, 2018

More Marijuana Business For Calaveras Supes This Week
It is also thought that, in the wake of last week's decision, another special supervisors' session might still be scheduled between sometime this week and the supervisors' next regular meeting on Jan. 23 to discuss the possibility of bringing a twin-set of board-sponsored initiatives to the June 5 voter ballot... Click here for article—, January 15, 2018

Why did Calaveras board ban pot, then talk about putting the issue to voters?
Jason Hauer with the Calaveras Cannabis Legal Defense Fund says the ban vote Wednesday effectively shut down 500 local businesses, and it should be no surprise that many will fight legally for their family farms. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 12, 2018

Calaveras Supes Tweak Cannabis Ban Decision, Pondering Ballot Proposal
Calaveras County's roiling drama over cannabis continues as the board of supervisors struggle in the stormy aftermath of its 3-2 vote to shut down the industry. Today while Calaveras County officials are alerting registered growers and the public as to the ramifications... they are holding in tandem meetings to potentially prepare a twin-set of board-sponsored initiatives aimed at reassigning the decision to the voters. Click here for article—, January 11, 2018

The ban: some growers will burn pot, some will leave, many will fight
"I feel like I got lied to and cheated," Joan Wilson said. "This board collected our taxes and then put in a ban..." "I tried to get the Board of Supervisors to pass a reasonable ordinance," said Smith..."I brought in facts. Now I'm upset with Gary Tofanelli..." "...I was surprised Tofanelli dug his heels in so deep on 100 acres. Garamendi and Oliviera wanted 20-acre minimums. In any other ag business that's reasonable." There are some pot farmers who are going to leave but the majority will stay and fight, Megan Gonsalves said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 11, 2018

Lawsuit alleges county violated civil liberties
The lawsuit by Jed Richardson arises from a decision of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors in August 2017, denying his application to rezone about 12 acres of property on Cave City Road from Rural Residential to Residential Agricultural... The requested rezoning would have allowed him to sell organic vegetables being grown on the property and possibly open a small winery... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 11, 2018

Supervisors buck trend in electing new chairman
"Twenty percent of the county has been disenfranchised," said Garamendi. "It is the poorest district. The area most impacted by the Butte Fire. The majority of the board proved they don't give a damn." ...Bonnie Newman, told board members who took that action that they risked looking like "colluders, conspirators and crooks." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 10, 2018

Board votes to ban pot during tumultuous hearing
The heated debate for the future of cannabis cultivation and related commercial activities in Calaveras County boiled over Wednesday in San Andreas, when the five-member elected Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to ban... Then, at 4:40 p.m., the board directed staff to prepare paperwork for discussion of putting a ban and the original Planning Commission regulatory ordinance with a 20-acre minimum to voters in June. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 10, 2018

Supes ban commercial cannabis cultivation
The ban signals the beginning of the end for a cannabis program that permitted more than 200, with others still pending, collected more than $3 million in fees and generated upward of $10 million in taxes that were used by the county in this year's budget. The ban will take effect in 30 days. Farmers will have 90 days from then to comply with the new rules. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 10, 2018

Altercation halts supervisors' deliberations
During a brief break from board discussions of marijuana issues, Michael Falvey claimed he was assaulted by a Lori White, of Angels Camp. He said that White confronted him, with her finger in his face. He then pointed his finger in her face, and she responded by slapping him across the head... Falvey declined to press charges... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 10, 2018

Tofanelli, Garamendi To Lead 2018 Calaveras Supes
Out of the box, Clapp nominated District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli, whose former pro-ban stance has moved more towards potentially supporting a very strict regulatory permanent ordinance... Clapp's pro-ban cohort District 2 Supervisor Dennis Mills immediately seconded and the motion passed 3-2 with Tofanelli casting a vote in his own support. Click here for article—, January 9, 2017

Calaveras County Hires New Economic Development Director
...the new director will be long-time Valley springs resident Kathy Gallino, who will begin work Jan. 22. She brings more than 20 years of broad experience working in economic development for the County of Sacramento... "To serve my community is really a big deal — I have lived in Valley Springs for almost 23 years now and have seen a lot of things happen, change and grow…Click here for article—, January 8, 2017

Insurance Companies Denying Policies In Fire Prone Zones
This week Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones reported that in 2016 insurers refused to renew more than 10,000 policies in the 24 counties most susceptible to blazes, a figure that has jumped 15 percent from last year... "Add to the equation, increasing development in areas more vulnerable to fire..." Click here for article—, January 6, 2017

Swenson issue focuses on the green
The city has been concerned about the financial viability of its two golf courses...since 2010 as revenues continue to lag and maintenance costs climb. The courses saw their peak play in the early 1990s, with rounds of golf played declining 66 percent over that time... "The question is not whether golf is good or bad... The question is how do you make the golf courses pencil out... Click here for article—The Stockton Record, January 7, 2017

La Contenta bankruptcy info public
The fate of La Contenta Golf Course is in the hands of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court... A chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep the business alive and pay creditors over time... A meeting of creditors is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. Sacramento. In addition a Chapter 11 status conference has been set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31... Records filed in the case are available for public inspection online at ... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, January 5, 2018

Forest Meadows Golf Course closed permanently
Forest Meadows joins La Contenta Golf Club outside Valley Springs as courses closed in Calaveras. La Contenta, which also utilized Sierra Club Golf Management as the course operator, closed its fairways citing fiscal losses as the main reason. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 4, 2018

Auditor-Controller says she will run again
Rebecca Callen has filed papers... Callen credited a public well as sentiments among officials to work collaboratively with her office as reasons why she changed her mind... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 4, 2018

Pot farmers obtain state licenses
Supervisors mull new rules next week
As of Jan. 2, the day after the state program was implemented, 18 Calaveras cannabis growers were issued licenses to farm by the California Department of Food and Agriculture... yet those licenses can be revoked if the county passes policy that downsizes or prohibits the industry, said Alex Traverso, chief of communications with the Bureau of Cannabis Control. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 4, 2018

Calaveras Tussles With Permanent Cannabis Rules, Board Leadership
"The board absolutely recognizes the time sensitivity of needing to get something passed so it can be in effect when the urgency ordinance is expiring." The board is undoubtedly feeling close to the end of a short rope. With next Wednesday being Jan. 10, there are no more than two more business days to come to a decision ahead of the required 30-day enactment period. Click here for article—, January 3, 2017

Sierra snow survey finds little snow
State water officials...first manual survey of snowpack this winter found snow water equivalent of 0.4 inches, just 3 percent of average for early January. Coming on the heels of a dry December and a dry water year since Oct. 1, it's no surprise that electronic readings this week from more than a hundred sensors up and down the Sierra Nevada show snowpack in the high mountains is far below average. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 3, 2018

Tri-Dam draws down Lake Tulloch for maintenance
That means acres of rocks that are usually underwater and normal high-water marks about 509 feet above sea level are exposed, while docks designed to float are perched high and dry in the dry bathtub ring that stands between private waterfront homes and the reservoir below... The sight of a popular reservoir touted by promoters for its recreation and real estate property values drawn down low in the wake of last year's near-record wet winter underscores the artificial nature of Lake Tulloch... Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 3, 2018

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