CURRENT NEWS & REPORTS

Archived: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

Citizens' regulations to circulate
Cannabis rules could come to voters
Under Bowerman's initiative, Calaveras would be cut in half to eliminate farming in residential neighborhoods. Supervisorial Districts 2 and 3, which house 80 percent of the cannabis farming population, would be the only places to grow. Districts 1, 4 and 5 would restrict farming... Marijuana cultivators currently authorized in the county's urgency program could be grandfathered in, no matter the parcel size or location. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 10, 2017

Calaveras traffic fatalities nearly doubled
As of Oct. 20, there were 15 fatalities on Calaveras roads this year and there were nine in eight fatal collisions during 2016. However, since Oct. 20, Calaveras has had two more fatalities for a total of 17 this year... Seven of the fatalities involved motorcyclists. There has been a surge of motorists and cyclists visiting the county... Increases in traffic to the area were indicated by CHP statistics for motorist services and enforcement contact numbers... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 10, 2017

Pet Bath House Business License Revoked
The conditional use business permit of a pet services business owner facing multiple felony animal cruelty charges has been yanked... Local veterinarians who were queried reported there have been numerous incidents involving her business but neither agency had reports from Hughes about them. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, November 10, 2017

Use permit revoked for Pet Bath House
The Angels Camp Planning Commission...voted 4-0 to revoke a city issued conditional use permit from the Pet Bath House, more than four months after three dogs, Casper, CoCo and CiCi, went missing from the grooming and pet boarding operation. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 9, 2017

Shelter deal falls through
Humane society opts to pursue private animal facility
Dee Dee Drake, executive director of the Calaveras Humane Society, said that the humane society board has lost faith in the county's ability to provide a yearly funding amount for the existing shelter due to budget concerns, and has instead opted to withdraw from the agreement and pursue another option. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 9, 2017

County reserves can't fund cannabis ban
Most of the money in the county's reserve and treasury accounts are unavailable for use in the event of a cannabis ban, according to Calaveras County Administrative Officer Tim Lutz... Last month, District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills, during a hearing to discuss a proposed cannabis ban, said he was not concerned about the financial aspects of the prohibition of cannabis cultivation. He said at the time the county had $30.3 million in reserves and $127 million in its investment portfolio. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 9, 2017

Target shooting OK on BLM lands starting Monday
The lifting of emergency fire restrictions applies to about 230,000 acres of public lands managed by the Mother Lode Field Office in Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne... For target shooters, BLM staff emphasized that hot bullet fragments and exploding targets from recreational shooting can spark wildfires. BLM staff also said shooters are responsible for fires started by shooting activities. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, November 9, 2017

Veterans building receives temporary occupancy permit
The hall, which has been under construction since 2010, received a temporary occupancy permit last week from the Calaveras County building department. "It allows us to rent the hall and office space, but the kitchen is unavailable for now," Memorial District General Manager Frank Garza said. A grease interceptor needs to be installed in the kitchen. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 8, 2017

New date for signal completion
Caltrans spokesman Warren Alford said some changes need to be made to the signal head and after that is completed and barring any unforeseen circumstances, such as rain, the signal should be up and running Nov. 14. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 8, 2017

Calaveras County Pivots, Will Consider Large-Acreage Grow Model
The proposal stands to dramatically reduce the number of allowable farms in the county, which has already collected $5 million in cannabis taxes and $3.7 million in 2016-17 application fees from more than 700 cannabis farmers... Here's what folks in Calaveras can expect... Click here for article—Leafly.com, November 7, 2017

No light at the end of 26-Vista Del Lago intersection
It seems a power struggle between Caltrans and the power company is holding up making the traffic lights at the intersection of State Route 26 and Vista Del Lago operational. District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli said the topic came up earlier this week at a Calaveras Council of Government meeting and a Caltrans representative reported Pacific Gas and Electric Co. insists painting of the crosswalks be finished before they turn power on at the signal. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 3, 2017

CCWD works on issues in Rancho Cal
The Calaveras County Water District is working to address waterline breaks and pressure issues within the Rancho Calaveras distribution system. "We will deploy all available resources, both Capital R&R funds and staffing, to address the line breaks and high pressure issues experienced in Rancho Calaveras that have impacted our customers..." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 1, 2017

Mark Twain staff supports remaining with Dignity Health
Employees and doctors at Mark Twain Medical Center in San Andreas are speaking out in support of Dignity Health as it competes against Adventist Health for control of the hospital and its five community clinics in Calaveras County... The district has been weighing its options as it nears the end of a 30-year lease agreement with Mark Twain Medical Center Corporation and its partner Dignity Health that expires Dec. 31, 2019. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 31, 2017

Angels Camp to discuss marijuana ordinance
Last week, the Angels Camp City Council directed staff to return with an urgency ordinance that could potentially allow for manufacturing testing facilities and distribution centers for marijuana...the ordinance would impose a moratorium on all cultivation. Dispensaries within the city limits would also be prohibited. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 26, 2017

Calaveras Supes Sway 3-2 In Favor Of Cannabis Regulation Plans
...Tofanelli laid out what he described as what it would take for him to support a regulation ordinance, over and above the provisions recommended by the Planning Commission in the ban alternative option it provided to the board. Among Tofanelli's terms are the halting of all growing within 30 days of enacting the new regulations, excluding all grows within Rancho Calaveras and any other residential zoning... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 24, 2017

Supes request cannabis regulations
Calaveras County supervisors agreed Tuesday to send the cannabis ordinance back to the planning commission to craft a strict regulatory program for the industry. Tuesday's events were a victory for farmers, said registered farmer Trevor Wittke... "Today was all about whether we should jump off the cliff or not," said Wittke in an interview after the hearing of the potential ban. "The 'or not' won today." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 24, 2017

Calaveras County board votes to take steps toward strict regulation
"The bottom line is a ban did not pass today," District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi...said after the vote. "They voted for a ban under a different name," Bowerman said. "Given what Tofanelli asked for, they are going to put 85 to 90 percent of registered growers out of business. Given the stipulations on where grows can be located, it's a ban in disguise." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 24, 2017

Calaveras Supes Prepare To Again Air Cannabis Ban Or Regulation Ordinance
... there is going to be some staff input and I have to make a decision on whether I am going to be allowing public comment on it. As you well know I want this board to be transparent and I want to make sure that we do things right. So, depending on what is disseminated at the beginning of the meeting, I will make that decision as Board Chair." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 19, 2017

Illegal grows bring environmental crimes
Many responsible for annihilating the environment do so on federal lands or on properties they do not own, said Lt. Chris Stoots of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Enforcement Division... To date, local law enforcement has assisted in the eradication of 11,165 pounds of processed marijuana, 52,144 plants... A large amount of the activity came in August, when state and local authorities teamed up for a three-day eradication spree deemed Operation Terminus that tackled 23 illegal grow sites throughout the county. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 20, 2017

Love Or Loathe Them, More Cell Tower Projects Are Cropping Up
...one of the original creators of the Heavenly Hills subdivision complained at the planning commission meeting that the cell tower project violated its covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs)...Yaley stresses that the county does not have any jurisdiction over CC&Rs. "We don't regulate or enforce them or provide them to an applicant when we are working on a project. We try to be cognizant and aware of them but they are not part of our ordinance code and we have no power to enforce them..." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 19, 2017

Calaveras supervisors table ordinance to ban commercial cannabis cultivation
The document distributed by Mills is described as a study, a report and a white paper. It cites and reprints previously published information, including work from The Union Democrat... Former District 1 Supervisor Cliff Edson said, "If you're going to give facts make sure they're correct, not twisted. The facts presented now could have been given three weeks ago. When you do a study, a fanatic can take it any direction." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 18, 2017

Cannabis ban talk tabled until next week
Supervisors, public to mull information presented Wednesday
...Marti Crane expressed concern the public would not be given an opportunity to exchange thoughts openly with supervisors before a vote. When the board reconvened, Tofanelli recommended the item be tabled until next week. "I think, in all due respect to the size of the document and time, we should have the consultant at least review it..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 18, 2017

Calaveras Supes Still Mired In Cannabis Ordinance Related Quagmire
Public hearings in Calaveras carried over into Day Two with a bombshell from a pro-cannabis grow ban supervisor and some snail-pace progress on a new dispensary ordinance... Mills kicked off the meeting by introducing a 60-page report on the environmental impacts of cannabis growing...After receiving it the board voted 4-1 to table further discussion until next week's meeting on Oct. 24... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 18, 2017

Tempers flare between supervisors during ban talks
... Supervisors Dennis Mills and Clyde Clapp walked out of public comment during a cannabis friendly song by Holly Johnston... Clapp sat up and passionately urged someone to "Sign the recall," alluding to a recall campaign recently launched against Garamendi. "Every time you come at me, that is what I will do," Clapp said in a confrontation after the meeting when Garamendi confirmed what he heard. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 17, 2017

Full-day cannabis hearing turns raucous in Calaveras County
...Holly Johnston sang her point of view to the board near the end of the public hearing, and Supervisors Dennis Mills and Clyde Clapp walked out and returned when she was done... Board Chair Michael Oliveira had county counsel read Rule 27, which basically states that supervisors who miss testimony can vote on the issue only if they review testimony they missed... "Whether you ban it or regulate it, illegal activity is going to continue in this county," Di Basilio said. "If we end up with a ban we're going to see more grows in the hills..." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, October 17, 2017

Judge asked to nullify vote, postpone decision
A writ of mandate, filed into Calaveras County Superior Court Thursday by attorney Adrian Lambie on behalf of plaintiff John Smith, hopes to nullify District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp's ability to vote on a [cannabis] ban or reschedule county's decision altogether. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 13, 2017

Mark Twain Hospital To Weigh Renewing Dignity Deal Vs. Adventist Health Partnership
Since a new lease must be in place by the end of 2019, district officials are feeling the heat to come to a decision before the end of the year so there is time to prepare a measure for the June 2018 ballot... public meetings to hear comments in November, perhaps vote at the Nov. 22 meeting, and then make a presentation of the district's chosen proposal to the county supervisors during a public hearing in December. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 12, 2017

Emergency aid providers under fire from underserved West Point area
Oftentimes during an emergency call in the West Point area, firefighters have to wait on ambulances to arrive... between 10 and 30 minutes... Last year, the fire protection district responded to 550 incidents, Fullerton said. About 70 percent required emergency medical services. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 12, 2017

Emergency alerts get scrutiny after deadly wildfires
Communities in wildfire-prone Northern California have an array of emergency systems designed to alert residents of danger: text messages, phone calls, emails and tweets. But after days of raging blazes left at least 23 dead, authorities said those methods will be assessed after some residents complained those warnings never got through... "The world has changed. People don't have landlines anymore," Giordano said. "The other thing to keep in mind, the fire was unbelievably fast." Click here for article—KKTV News, October 12, 2017

Lawsuits could hamper cannabis ban
Lawsuits filed against Calaveras County in light of a potential ban could pause the time limit by which the ordinance could go in effect, if a judge decides to place a stay on the issue until a decision is made, said Prapanna Smith, owner of the Hathaway Pines-based Magic Show LLC. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 5, 2017

Request For More Detailed Solution To Regulating Marijuana
Following statements from over twenty supporters in favor of not banning all outdoor marijuana growing, Tuolumne County Supervisors reached a consensus that it is time to draft an ordinance regulating non-commercial marijuana land use... The Supervisors are also addressing commercial marijuana growing next. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 5, 2017

Marijuana Busts Continue Across Calaveras County
Three illegal marijuana gardens were busted over recent days, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department. Two of the gardens were located in separate locations along Chuckwagon Drive in Copperopolis... in the 1000 block of Vineyard Terrace Court in Murphys. 334 plants were eradicated... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 4, 2017

Signal at SR 26-Vista Del Lago postponed until Oct. 23
..PG&E still has to provide electricity to the site... Valley Springs' first signalized intersection will have only two crosswalks... Pedestrians walking from La Contenta Plaza on the northeast side of the intersection to The Terrace on the southeast side will have to cross on Vista Del Lago east of the intersection... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, October 4, 2017

Study Could Pave Way For More Local Water Available From New Melones
At the request of the Calaveras County Water District, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors is asking that federal lawmakers appropriate $500,000 for a study regarding New Melones Reservoir. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 3, 2017

Is California Ready For Recreational Marijuana?
With recreational marijuana regulations not even expected to be issued until late November, California's emerging marijuana industry is rattled by an array of unknowns. "We all have anxiety," top state pot regulator Lori Ajax told an industry group Thursday in Long Beach. "It's not going to be perfect." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, September 29, 2017

Beefed up pot enforcement would cost Tuolumne County $477K per year
Enforcement of the county's existing regulations on marijuana cultivation is entirely driven by citizen complaints. "I'm saying there is not enough resources to do what they're asking, regardless of the previous decision,"...Cities and counties that allow outdoor cultivation and retail sales will be eligible to apply for state grants to help pay for enforcement efforts related to legal marijuana... Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 29, 2017

County planners agree to recommend strict cannabis regulations alongside ban
"The supervisors need to look at both recommendations and make a final decision," said Lisa Mutterties, commission chairwoman... Cannabis cultivation under the regulations would be restricted in the rural agriculture and rural residential zones... The system would allow farmers living within the restricted zones time to transfer. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 29, 2017

Calaveras County Planning Commission recommends cannabis ban Ban to be heard by supervisors next month
Gary Jakobs...said they needed to assume full compliance of a ban in order to evaluate the sufficiency of the review, even if it is not likely to be the case... The county has approved 184 of the original 740 applicants received last year for the county's marijuana program. More than 330 await authorization. DiBasilio speculated there were about 1,200 illegal sites remaining in Calaveras. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 28, 2017

Auditor-Controller: Cannabis ban could hurt county budget
It is not ideal to ban cannabis when an approved budget depends on a cannabis excise tax for balance... "I am completely bewildered as to how they're going to build a budget for 2018-19 with the removal of $7 million in excise tax and the $2 million in regulatory fees." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 28, 2017

Native Oaks, California's Other Mother Lode
Following World War II, intensive land development consumed oak woodlands. Hamlets sprawled into cities, cabin clearings morphed into industrial parks, and millions of acres were converted to agriculture. Over 30,000 acres of oak woodlands are converted each year for residential and commercial use. But unlike the Mother Lode's gold, the trees can stabilize and thrive. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, September 24, 2017

AutoZone scheduled to open late January in Valley Springs
Construction of the new store has begun off State Route 26 between Dollar General and Sender's Market ACE Hardware... AutoZone has more than 6,000 stores across the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 22, 2017

Calaveras County revenues up, but so are expenses
During last week's meeting, Supervisor Jack Garamendi said while the budget was good overall, hiring new staff members, particularly a spokesperson for the board at $89,360 annually, raised concern... Despite increases in all tax revenue resources, the county's spending exceeds what's coming into its general fund. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 21, 2017

Rangeland shows improvement
Grass is growing and fences on the mend
That's thanks to this past wet winter and, ironically, the fire itself... In combination with the wet winter, the fire burned a lot of suffocating brush in some pastures, clearing the space for grass to grow. Because of this, most of the properties have even returned to agricultural production, according to Calaveras County Agricultural Commissioner Kevin Wright. He estimates approximately 15,000 acres of the 72,000 acres burned was used as rangeland. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 21, 2017

County rental yield tops home prices
A recent nationwide study has revealed that rental units in Calaveras County are producing more income for landlords than the sales value of single-family homes. The study, conducted by Gavop.com, shows that Calaveras County experienced a 71.3 percent rental yield increase between 2009 and 2015, meaning property values on rental units are more than those of single-family homes. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 21, 2017

GREEN RUSH
Marijuana boom brought change, challenges
But the Green Rush may be in retreat. People stopped buying land six months after the moratorium, said Charlene Winkler, owner of the San Andreas based Western Realty. "It is because of the smell," Winkler said. "And people associate it (marijuana farming) with crime." Prices are similar to values seen in the area a decade ago... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 21, 2017

Public hearing set to revoke Pet Bath House permit
The conditional use permit for a kennel in Angel Camp where three dogs went missing may be revoked following a unanimous vote by the Angels Camp Planning Commission on Sept. 14... It was found that the business violated two of the the 18 conditions set when the bath house's permit was approved in 2015. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 15, 2017

Calaveras Budget, Still Being Tweaked, Earmarks Fire District Funding
Among the highlights of his presentation Lutz reported some surprising final fund balance and revenue updates for the last fiscal year, noting that the property tax assessment roll closed with an 8.6 percent increase... Measure C taxes on the commercial cannabis industry brought in $8.4 million, a boon to the county coffers that will not be repeated, should the three-supervisor bloc currently bent on voting through a ban on commercial grow activities... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, September 14, 2017

Calaveras county officials release final environmental review
The final environmental review did add an alternative that supervisors could choose outside a ban... It would further restrict regulations, establishing minimum parcel sizes and reducing available zones. The limitations would shrink the market to approximately 415 commercial operations in the county. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 14, 2017

Work on new clinic could begin in 2018
Groundbreaking for construction of a new medical clinic in Valley Springs is anticipated to take place next March, according to Dr. Randy Smart, Mark Twain Health Care District executive director. The clinic has been on the health care district's project list for several years and has undergone a revision in size – being scaled back from a 19,000 – to a 10,000 – square- foot facility. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 13, 2017

Teachers ready to vote on whether to strike
"The district is in the best financial shape it has been in years," said Calaveras Unified Educator's Association President Lorraine Angel. "Now is the time that the school board must invest in our students." During the last negotiations, the district rejected the teachers' proposals to develop a joint safety committee... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 13, 2017

Oliveira: County survives thanks to tremendous employees
Oliveira applauded the efforts of the county's first responders who are contending with an increase in emergency calls and service needs. "We know what's happening. We have increased crime, more calls for service and other factors that we're dealing with," he said. When asked how he thinks the county stands economically, Oliveira said between 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 13, 2017

Rastafarian Church members miss cannabis hearing
Burson farm subject to eradication
Church representatives do not need to apply with the county to cultivate because it is part of their religious autonomy, Grossman said. She said rulings on a number of federal laws reinforce her claims. In a response to the statements outside the hearing room Friday, Turner said church members could smoke and use cannabis all they want, but they must to adhere to local zoning ordinances. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 12, 2017

Calaveras Officials Make Hay 'Pre-harvesting' Illegal Cannabis Grows
With the wafting skunk-like smells of ripening marijuana already permeating the county, Calaveras sheriff's and code enforcement officials headed out earlier today to take more illegal plants out of play. Based on a rough estimate worth of $3,000 per plant, this morning's 1,200-plant eradication effort might equate to the elimination of about $3.6 million in black market pot. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, September 11, 2017

Public hearing planned for report on cannabis growing in Calaveras County
A 426-page final environmental impact report has been released for a proposed ordinance to ban commercial cannabis cultivation in Calaveras County... The report concludes commercial cannabis cultivation has unavoidable adverse effects in Calaveras County that expose people to objectionable odors and creates a long-term increase in traffic. A public hearing on the final EIR and to consider a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the proposed ordinance is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at San Andreas Town Hall, 24 Church Hill St. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 8, 2017

Toxic chemicals in illegal pot grows raise concerns
Between Jan. 1, 2016, and Sept. 7, 2017, the Sheriff's Office eradicated 59 grow sites, made 54 arrests and destroyed 108,476 cannabis plants in Calaveras County, sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo said Thursday... On April 5, deputies in San Andreas discovered nine 55-gallon drums of hazardous waste and close to 1,000 butane canisters, which they described as remnants of a discarded honey oil lab dumped near Calaveras High School. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 7, 2017

State complaint filed against Supervisor Clyde Clapp
Filing aims to stop vote on marijuana ban later this year
"California Code of Regulations prohibits public officials from participating in governmental decisions in which they have a financial interest," the complaint said. Clapp denied the conflict when interviewed outside a property he rents along Country View Drive in Valley Springs. At one point, he said the site neighbored an unpermitted cannabis farm. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 7, 2017

SUDDEN MONEY
Butte Fire, settlements are rolling in, but are people prepared?
Unscrupulous types looking to take advantage of an unsuspecting public are fairly common when communities begin to see a cascade of money, Galvan said... Contractors looking for a quick buck, financial advisers promising to improve investments and opportunity-seeking family members can take what was a financial blessing and turn it into a headache if proper protections aren't taken. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 7, 2017

Valley Springs - Way station turned bustling town
In 1855, George Late arrived in Valley Springs with his young bride Rebecca and began construction of a home out of limestone that was quarried from a hill near town... On April 25, 1885, the first San Joaquin and Southern Nevada Railroad train pulled into Valley Springs. Later that year the depot was constructed... Today Valley Springs is not just a residential hub; it has become a destination... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 2, 2017

Calaveras County considers cannabis comments
Earlier this year, Calaveras County issued a Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Commerce Ordinance Project Draft Environmental Impact Report... There is another opportunity for public comment now, as the planning commission and board of supervisors hold hearings to consider the ordinance options. The tentative schedule is for a commission hearing on September 28, September 29, and possibly October 1... Click here for article—Foothill Focus Newsletter, August 31, 2017

Dollar General gets go-ahead in West Point
The building will conform to the area's history, a prominent gold mining region in the 1850s. Developers also intend to minimize lighting... lights will turn off an hour after the store closes each night. The solution Aug. 24 seemed to appease the majority in attendance at the hearing. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 31, 2017

Calaveras fire fears
Fire engines can't use some roads, bridges
Franziska Schabram watched helplessly as a fire slowly burned at her property near Valley Springs...crews could not safely cross the bridge... Schabram feels that her safety and the safety of the other three residents on the road are being put in jeopardy... The Gilliam Road Bridge isn't the only location where emergency responders have had issues...A few months ago, an engine collapsed a bridge due to a weight limit misunderstanding. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 31, 2017

County supes hear chiefs' concerns
Currently, the funding is placed into a nondiscretionary fund and it is unclear exactly how the funding is being spent among the different emergency services agencies... The Calaveras County Fire Chiefs Association has looked into how the funding is divvied up and found that the Proposition 172 funding was not going to local fire agencies. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 31, 2017

Commercial pot ban EIR close to release
According to Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer, he is completing a final review of the document and it will be ready for the public to see sometime this week or right after the Labor Day holiday. The document is expected to be posted on the Calaveras County Planning Department's Cannabis webpage under CEQA documents for the Cannabis EIR. Public hearings on the EIR are projected to begin in late September. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 30, 2017

Legislator's proposed water tax faces opposition
Water agencies from throughout California – including Calaveras County Water District – have joined with the Association of California Water Agencies to publicly voice their opposition to a bill that would establish the state's first-ever tax on drinking water... "Water is essential to life and shouldn't be taxed"..."It works against water affordability. We agree with the intent – we want to solve the problem – but we oppose a regressive tax on water." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 30, 2017

Pot-less town hall meeting to address Rancho concerns
The focus of the meeting will be on roads, clean up of homes in Rancho Calaveras and Calaveras County Water District issues. Members of the public are asked to bring their questions and concerns to the meeting, but Supervisor Clapp cautioned this gathering will not deal with the issue of whether to allow the commercial cultivation of marijuana in the county. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 23, 2017

Tree work could shift to Toyon
Tree grinding work in Wallace has come to a halt and restoration of the property to a state prior to the beginning of the temporary operation is close to completion... Wallace area residents were excited the grinding operation came to an end, Tofanelli said. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 23, 2017

San Andreas roadway plan nears public approval
The overall goal: Make Highway 49 through San Andreas safer for all... Even when approved, many of the improvements will not happen overnight. Listed in the study are short-term and long-term improvements. Many of the details were modifications that can be made in the short term, said by Ritchie to be within the next 20 years. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 17, 2017

County officials intend to fix misspent funds
The county plans to fix a spending error by the sheriff's office...Any money left over in the account, with the additions, will be returned to cannabis cultivators in the event of a countywide ban later this year, Callen said. "I think we just all kind of came to the compromise that what's in the best interest of the county is to just correct this and move forward..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 17, 2017

Settlement reached in federal case of Modesto-area farmer fined $2.8 million for plowing his field
The government had sought a $2.8 million fine and tens of millions of dollars in mitigation expenses. Duarte said he just planted winter wheat, as the previous property owners had done. But government officials said the field hadn't been plowed in more than two decades, and he needed a permit before tearing up seasonal wetlands known as vernal pools that serve as habitat for plants and animals. Click here for article—Sacramento Bee, August 15, 2017

East Bay reservoir expansion plan wins support of environmental groups
A $914 million plan to expand the Los Vaqueros Reservoir as drought insurance for millions of Bay Area residents picked up endorsements Monday from six conservation groups in a rare display of environmental support for new water development. The environmental coalition urged the state commission to look favorably on a request for $434 million in voter-approved state bond money to expand the reservoir southeast of Brentwood. Click here for article—East Bay Times, August 14, 2017

Auditor says Calaveras County must pay back misspent funds
If the permits are denied and the grow must be "abated," Lutz said, the role of the Sheriff's Office becomes ambiguous and circumstantial based on the context of a specific operation. Callen said... the answer was really not so ambiguous at all: anything paid for with regulatory dollars that had to do with "investigations, jail costs, dispatch costs and anything that didn't really have anything to do with the regulatory program," must be repaid with General Fund money into the ordinance fund. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 10, 2017

Calaveras Sheriff Addresses Alleged 'Misuse' Of Cannabis Funds
To the Citizens of Calaveras County; I would like to address the issue... regarding the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office use of funds for the eradication of illegal commercial marijuana growing operations...We are aware of the concerns raised by the use of certain funds for eradication activities, and have been in useful negotiations to resolve differences in the interpretation of applicable law. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, August 10, 2017

Calaveras and Stanislaus stakeholders form partnership to recharge groundwater basin
"This is a historic achievement," said CCWD General Manager, Dave Eggerton. "It's the first-ever partnership between our two counties and it will be invaluable in helping us address the challenges of restoring the health of the groundwater basin." The 198-square-mile area of the GSA boundary is known as the triangle and reaches into the western portion of Calaveras Count and the northern portion of Stanislaus County. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 10, 2017

Operation ends with 35 arrests
Personnel from the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Justice, CalFire, California National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, Calaveras County Code Compliance and Calaveras County Roads Department... assisted the Sheriff's Office in the multi-site eradication operation called "Operation Terminus." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 9, 2017

Calaveras auditor: Sheriff misspent cannabis funds
During a brief interview, Callen said the sheriff's office may have used more than $120,000 in cannabis fee funds for programs not designated within the county's urgency ordinance... Approximately $3.7 million in fees were collected last year from cannabis cultivators with the initiation of the county's temporary regulatory program. As of Tuesday, Callen said about $1.4 million remained. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 9, 2017

Calaveras Addresses Media Focus On Its Cannabis Fee Spending
Late this afternoon, County Chief Administrative Officer Tim Lutz issued a press release maintaining that some recent media coverage is erroneously reporting that funds tied to the county's cannabis regulatory program have been misspent by the sheriff's and/or other departments. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, August 8, 2017

Calaveras Auditor Says Sheriff Misspent Cannabis Funds
"This is the first program that the county has ever undertaken that impacted every single department in county government"... That's created confusion about which costs can apply to the cannabis fee collected by the county and which ones are "just the cost of doing business"... The Planning Department is still working its way through 395 remaining permit applications. (As of August 4, 2017, 146 permits had been issued; 155 had been denied.) Click here for article, Capitol Public Radio, August 8, 2017

Measure C pot tax adds $6.8 million to county coffers
Payments by the cultivators represent 80 percent of the total amount that has been billed this year...The money can be used for things that benefit all residents like public safety, road repairs, parts etc. However, should the county supervisors enact a ban on cultivation, this tax revenue will disappear... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 4, 2017

Butte Fire victims struggle to maintain defensible space
About a third of the population of the Calaveras County towns affected by the Butte Fire live below the poverty line... Statistically, a great portion of low-income residents are disabled or veterans and are an average age of about 49 to 69 years old. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 3, 2017

Calaveras sheriff to illegal growers: stay out of our county
Over the past four days, the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office executed an illegal marijuana eradication campaign called Operation Terminus, arresting 35 people and destroying 27,000 marijuana plants... "While terminus means the end of the line, it is not the end of the line for the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office," he said. "Don't come. You're not welcome and we will come for you." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 3, 2017

$2.4 million in marijuana seized from Mountain Ranch grow site
The grow site on Whiskey Slide Road was one of the largest that the county has eradicated. Close to 10, 100-foot-long hot houses lined a flattened property... Tuesday's eradication was part of a four-day marijuana clearing plan in Calaveras County... At the Mountain Ranch location, the grow site operators attempted to register with the county last year, but were denied. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 3, 2017

Illegal Grow Busters Teams Busy In Calaveras
According to Sheriff DiBasilio, the fast and furious flurry of focused eradication activities should send a message to illegal operators across the county. "If you are an unregistered grower or a grower who had a registration that has been denied, don't grow in Calaveras County because we are going to take your product," he states, matter-of-factly. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, August 2, 2017

Public Opinion Wanted On Water Supply For Mokelumne River
While the assessment is already in progress, the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) and the Calaveras Public Utility District (CPUD) are holding a town hall meeting to get feedback... The meeting will be held on Monday, August 28 at 6 p.m. in the Mokelumne Hill Town Hall located at 8283 Main Street... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, August 1, 2017

Water consultant says Stanislaus watershed vulnerable to fire
"The Stanislaus watershed should be the state's top priority because of the Highway 4 and Highway 108 corridors, all the infrastructure for water, from New Melones to Beardsley and Donnells, and Calaveras Big Trees State Park," Mills said. "You blow all that up with a 200,000-acre fire and it will be worse than the Rim Fire..." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 1, 2017

Lawsuit Filed Over Federal Protections For Yosemite Toads And Yellow Legged Frogs
Last August the US Fish and Wildlife Service formally designated 1.8 million acres in northern and central California as "critical habitat" for the endangered frogs and toads. It includes land in 16 California counties, including Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa, Amador, Mono and Alpine. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, August 1, 2017

Report: 80 percent of Tuolumne County homes at high or extreme wildfire risk
Josh White, chief of Cal Fire's Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, said the report's findings should be taken with a grain of salt..."One of the key components they fail to factor in is fire suppression resources." However, insurance companies have been increasingly relying upon the FireLine analysis to assess the risk for wildfire when writing policies in rural areas. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 31, 2017

Butte Fire Letter Sparks Shock And Questions
Calaveras County has been bombarded with calls after survivors that participated in the Right-of-Entry program received letters regarding the cost of chopping and hauling away dead trees in the Butte Fire footprint. Due to the many questions regarding this letter, the county has put out a "Most Frequently Asked Questions" brochure, found here... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 29, 2017

Calaveras Sheriff Shares Update On Eradications, Upcoming Marijuana Harvest
...so far 11 locations have been eradicated this calendar year to date by county resources, involving a total of: 13,649 plants; 476 pounds of processed and approximately seven pounds of concentrated illegal marijuana... The county's first round of Measure C taxes, which are due twice yearly from registered growers...were due by June 30. While the county reportedly took in about $8.5 million, not everyone paid. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 28, 2017

Dog's death prompts protest group in Angels Camp
A group calling itself Justice for Cici has formed to bring attention to the treatment of three dogs who disappeared … Fordahl said he has spoken with the city's planning director about what steps are required to rescind a business license. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 28, 2017

State Tax Officials Remind Rural Landowners Fire Fee Is Still Due
Here's a reminder for about 850,000 rural California property owners: you still owe that recently suspended-by-lawmakers wildfire prevention fee this year. Today the State Department of Tax and Fee Administration issued a statement to the effect, indicating the fees must still be paid for the current year, along with any past-due bills... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 28, 2017

Fire prevention fee nixed in a trade for bipartisan votes
Calaveras County residents will no longer have to pay a state-mandate fire prevention fee after its suspension as part of the state's greenhouse cap-and-trade bill passed on Monday. Calaveras property owners in the California State Responsibility Area have paid $152.33 each year for fire protection... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 27, 2017

Bridge built, promise fulfilled
Scout completes $40,000 Murphys project
...Ryan wanted to follow through and finish his plan to install a 60-foot, 11,000-pound pedestrian foot bridge in Murphys Community Park... In just a little over a month, the funds, the plans and the contractors were in place to begin the building process. "This bridge is for the community, and it was made possible by the community," Ryan said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 27, 2017

Beetle-killed trees used in local restaurant and Burning Man event
In the midst of the dead tree crisis, most harvested, beetle-killed trees are taken to wood yards for chipping and burning at biomass plants like Pacific Ultrapower Chinese Station outside Chinese Camp. But some are finding other uses for wood. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 27, 2017

Pot citations ramp up
Rio Vista couple caught in the cannabis crosshairs
Ford's citation was one of 59 issued by county officials regarding cannabis code violations since the county implemented an updated abatement process for illicit grows over a month ago. Currently, more than 40 locations are pending abatement... Abatement activities are expected to spike in August... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 27, 2017

Feral cats in demand
Feral barn cats are in high demand in Calaveras County due to an increase in rodent populations caused by the wet winter months, said Calaveras Humane Society Executive Director Dee Dee Drake... "There is a huge feral cat overpopulation issue in Calaveras County," said Drake. "It's different from some of the urban areas in California because people have so much land out here and the cats have more room to do their thing." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 27, 2017

Dogs missing from Angels Camp kennel found in Murphys
Butte Fire survivor Steven Mendoza was reunited with two of his dogs over the weekend, but on Monday he learned his red-nosed pitbull, Cici, 9, was dead. Mendoza cried as he said a member of his family had unjustly died as a result of their disappearance from the Pet Bath House in Angels Camp at the beginning of July. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 24, 2017

People at fault for fires concerns firefighters
Those cited can pay a heavy price
The items that can spark a fire are both numerous and diverse. Weedeaters, both electric and gas powered, mechanical lawn mowers; even the spark of a bullet bouncing off a rock can spark a runaway blaze if proper safety precautions aren't met. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 20, 2017

Dogs' owner struggles to learn their fate
Mendoza and his wife, Natalie Iler, had boarded their three dogs since 2015 after the loss of their Mountain Ranch home of 11 years to the Butte Fire... The whereabouts of the dogs are still being investigated. "At this point we have no clue if they are alive or dead..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 20, 2017

Roundabout To Replace Stop Signs To Keep Traffic Moving
"We've promised California new solutions to old problems and this roundabout is another step in that direction," said Caltrans District 10 Director Dennis T. Agar, noting it will be the first roundabout on a state highway in the Sierra Gold Country. "The numbers show roundabouts reduce accidents, while enhancing a community." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 15, 2017

State: We'll let the forest fires burn
California claims feds owe debt of $18 million
"I cannot continue to support the deployment of resources to protect federal land that ultimately may bankrupt our local governments," Ghilarducci said... The move would be significant. Half of the land in California is federally owned with a large chunk of that land residing in the foothills in counties like hilly Calaveras, Tuolumne and Amador. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 14, 2017

Mark Twain Health Care District Hires ED, Plots New Way Forward
"Healthcare is becoming much, much more complex very rapidly – almost exponentially. There are people like me, the doctors and nurses who want to take care of the patient — and there is the patient who has a basic need." Smart says the district board is very committed to looking at every option it can in terms of providing a stable and competent hospital for the county... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 14, 2017

Calaveras cannabis
Public debates future role in state's fast-growing industry
"Calaveras will be able to build a name for itself," Wittke said. None of this will really matter if Calaveras decides to ban the industry... Turner said the current nuisance abatement system will continue, even if cannabis cultivation is banned... But that doesn't mean the county will have the resources to continue to employ the system. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, Updated July 13, 2017

Fire season gets off to a busy start
The most recent fire in the Mother Lode was reported about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Quail Oaks Road and Oak Hill Drive in Valley Springs. As of 5:45 p.m., the Quail Fire had scorched about 50 acres, and about 35 homes had been evacuated while firefighters combated the blaze. The cause of the fire was determined to be a push-behind lawn mower... Click here for article—The Union Democrat, July 12, 2017

Mountain Misery
It grows only on the western side of the Sierra at elevations between two and seven thousand feet. It is a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family and blooms in May through June... love it or hate it, it is here to stay. Mountain misery is a truly native plant that is found nowhere else in the world. We must remember that any eco-adapted life form may have a place and benefits that we humans don't understand or even recognize. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 9, 2017

Wallace tree work coming to an end
"By the end of this week, 100 percent of the trees from that project will be in Wallace for grinding and that operation should be complete within 10 days," Tofanelli said on Thursday. When the last tree is ground into chips, work will begin on the property to restore it to its previous condition, Tofanelli said. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 7, 2017

Spicer Road opens
Business along Highway 4 picks up
With the opening of Spicer Road, access to Spicer, Spicer Group, Union, Union East, Union West, Rocky Point, Sandy Flat and Stanislaus River campgrounds were restored. In conjunction with the opening of Spicer Road, Slick Rock Road and McKays Road were also opened to motorists June 28. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, Updated July 5, 2017

After the Drought: What about the Trees?
"Trees will continue to die throughout California despite the winter 2016/2017 precipitation. Typically, it takes one to three years after an above-normal precipitation year before trees regain their natural defenses against bark beetles." ...part of the reason for the massive tree die-off is that we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the landscape. Thinning tree stands increases each remaining tree's access to available resources such as light, water and air movement. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 2, 2017

Rebuilding the Buena Vista Store
Last October, the Buena Vista Store and Saloon was partially destroyed in a fire that forced it to close for an extended period of time... The Saloon, which had been in operation in some form for more than 150 years, has been undergoing the process of remodeling for months. Owner Adolfo Gomez, along with many other workers, have been working around the clock on repairing the damages and starting fresh with the store. Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, July 2, 2017

Vestiges of Amador—Halfway to Ione – The Newton Copper Mine and Ranlett
Substantial deposits of copper were first discovered in the Central Sierra region of California in 1861 at Copperopolis in Calaveras County. The ore proved to be profitable, and, as with gold mining, copper soon became the interest of those seeking fortunes in mining. Large copper deposits were soon located at Lancha Plana in Amador County and Campo Seco in Calaveras County. Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, July 2, 2017

Second Drug Bust At Same Site In Burson
Thousands of plants, pounds of pot, steroids and a gun were seized in a raid carried out by the Calaveras County Sheriff's Marijuana Enforcement Team and the Calaveras County Sheriff's SWAT Team. Sheriff's officials note that individuals had tried to register the site with the county, but it was denied. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 30, 2017

It's the latest since 1941 but Ebbetts Pass is open
Workers have completed repairs on several winter-battered sections of Highway 4 and Caltrans opened the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway Friday... In the past 40 years, this is only the third time the road has not been opened by Memorial Day weekend. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 30, 2017

City, county eye Jan. 1 deadline for commercial cannabis regulations
The City of Sonora has a plan in motion to determine how it will handle commercial marijuana businesses before the state begins issuing licenses Jan.1... Cities and counties have until the Jan. 1 deadline to enact local regulations allowing commercial activity if they want to be eligible for state funding from future cannabis tax revenues that could be used on enforcement, education and drug-use prevention. Those that choose to ban commercial cannabis activity would not be eligible for the funding... Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 29, 2017

Why Sacramento can't kick its addiction to big yards, suburban sprawl
Housing built from 2005 through 2015 converted about 60 square miles of undeveloped land, according to SACOG officials. That's equivalent to 15 percent of the land predicted for development under the Blueprint over a 45-year period, even though the region saw only 8 percent of predicted housing starts. "We have this reservoir of capacity due to the prior planning," he said. "That reservoir is going to drain out very, very slowly." Click here for article—The Sacramento Bee, June 29, 2017

Planning Coalition outlines flaws with cannabis draft EIR
The comment's cover letter explains the summary of improvements needed in the final EIR, the need to have "both/and" not "either/or" choices on banning and regulation. In considering protection of biological resources, the comment notes that the current mitigation measures for minimum lot size and cultivation permits are inadequate. The DEIR's proposed ordinance in terms of land use is incredibly flawed. The impacts on communities include division of existing communities... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 28, 2017

Forest roads in Calaveras Ranger District open
Three roads in Calaveras Ranger District are now open, allowing access to campgrounds in the New Spicer Meadow Reservoir area, Stanislaus National Forest staff said Wednesday. But many other forest roads in Calaveras County and Tuolumne County remain closed for 2017 due to extensive winter damage. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 28, 2017

Calaveras Adopts Final Budget During Busy Agenda Day
The new budget, totaling $155,762,205.87 for the next fiscal year, balances all county funds as submitted with a general fund contingency of $466,913, comprising one percent of the fund's appropriations. The final budget added six new positions. Notably among these are a county-dedicated Economic and Community Development Director as well as an Office of Emergency Services (OES) Director and Coordinator... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 28, 2017

Hack shuts down Calaveras County website, pro-ISIS group takes credit
County officials confirmed the hack of its website was related to the hacker group Team System Dz, which has taken credit for hacking government websites in Ohio, Maryland, New York, and Washington state since Sunday. A Google search revealed a link to the county's public purchase section that stated "Hacked By Team System Dz."...'Why the heck would you want to hack the website for this county?'" Wukasinovich said. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 28, 2017

Supervisors approve preliminary county budget for 2017-18
Hiring freezes may be avoided
Calaveras County Administrative Officer Tim Lutz suggested the county could be looking at an $8.66 million deficit in the general fund two weeks ago. On Tuesday the deficit was $3.3 million. He said officials found additional money via Butte Fire reimbursements, which freed more than $1.3 million, and from the application of Measure C cannabis tax revenues...to access an addition $1.5 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 28, 2017

Chinese Camp biomass plant has 5-year deal with Southern California Edison
In 2016, the Forest Service estimated more than 100 million trees in California forests were dead or dying, creating fire and safety hazards. Biomass plants like Chinese Station are now classified as renewable energy generators. The plant at Pacific Ultra Power Chinese Station is a 25 megawatt biomass plant. Indirect and induced effects of its operations support 128 total jobs in Tuolumne County... Click here for article—The Union Democrat, June 28, 2017

Grand jury foreperson offers glimpse into how the process works
The grand jury meets as a whole at least once a month, Macias said. At the monthly meeting the jury reviews any new complaints that have been filed, determines what to investigate and then breaks into smaller groups to work on any ongoing investigations... The grand jury received nearly 30 citizen complaints during the 2016-17 term... Click here for column—The Valley Springs News, June 28, 2017

Valley Springs veteran's hall inches closer toward opening
"The foundation and the shell (of the hall) were done about eight years ago, I believe," said Garza who inherited the role of GM 18 months ago. "It sat there until about two years ago. Funding has been a strain." Demolition dates for the original hall, built in the 1960s, affirmed the intention to open the replacement by the first week of May. Garza said more electrical issues are the reason why the hall may not open until next month. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 23, 2017

Vets hall general manager presents clarification of issues
We are trying to get this building finished as best as we can. Our predecessors had a dream of building a new hall. They didn't come up with a complete plan and cover all the incidentals. Things change, environmental and health codes, county planning codes, utilities. I could go on but the bottom line is we are going to finish this building. Click here for column—The Valley Springs News, June 23, 2017

Board continues to ponder pot issue
Tofanelli, who has been open to discussing strict regulations of the industry, addressed concerns he might be a swing vote. He said it has been his position since running for office last year that commercial cannabis operations should be banned "from all" residential zones and he has not wavered from that opinion. Clapp said the board should move forward with the ban and let those opposed go through the effort of placing their own initiative on the ballot. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 23, 2017

Calaveras Supes To Mull Public Safety Dollars, Draft Local Cannabis Rules EIR
The EIR, triggered last April when the county was preparing to analyze potential impacts of adopting a cultivation regulation ordinance, has been reshaped to support the current ban direction... Released on May 1 for a 45-day public comment period, which closed June 14, the document generated a reported 64 comment letters from local and state agencies, organizations and individuals. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 16, 2017

CCWD joins the water conservation fight
Eggerton stated that the Calaveras County Water District was against a "one-size fits all approach" for outdoor water-use targets... "We cannot sacrifice the financial stability of our local water district or force dramatic rate increases for residents and businesses in the name of chasing every great water-use efficiency savings," Bigelow said... Jennifer Harder, professor of environmental law at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific, said that the bills reflect a "philosophical divide" over the best way to govern water in California. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 22, 2017

Extensive Ebbetts Pass road work delays opening
Nature has cracked down so hard in winter that Caltrans will be unable to open this National Scenic Byway before July. "This is the latest opening for Ebbetts Pass in history," Alford said. "It's unprecedented." "Right now we're almost halfway done," Ziglari said. "We're cognizant of how important this road is to businesses on both sides of the pass, and how vital these passes are to all Californians..." Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 21, 2017

Calaveras Board of Supervisors remain firm on cannabis ban
Following a poll of supervisors Clyde Clapp, District 5, Dennis Mills, District 4, and Gary Tofanelli, District 1, rejected further discussions regarding regulations... Ultimately, no direction was given Tuesday... District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi called progress through Tuesday's meeting a waste of time. Inquiries into pushing the proposed ban to a public vote in November were also made. County staff expressed pessimism... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 21, 2017

County budget hearings conclude
A preliminary Calaveras County budget that proposes large-scale hiring freezes to a number of public service departments has been pushed ahead for adoption... In all, the preliminary budget projects approximately $65.8 million in expenditures from the general fund, but only $57.1 million in revenues are anticipated... but several officials believe the deficit amount, if the current figure is incorrect, could be as high as $10 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 15, 2017

General Fund shortfall highlights day one of county budget hearings
Lutz said the shortfall, one he considered major, was attributed to a number of reasons. He said natural disasters, payments in California Public Employees' Retirement System and utility costs have all been expensive. A presentation from Capt. Jim Macedo and Sheriff Rick DiBasilio of the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office revealed the hiring freeze would impact 11 jobs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 13, 2017

Calaveras sheriff, DA take aim at proposed hiring freeze
Macedo said about 16 people leave the department each year, including about eight sworn personnel, seven jail employees and a dispatcher. DiBasilio said part of the problem in attracting and retaining recruits is that the wages offered by the county aren't competitive with others in the region... Yook said one of the positions in particular that would go unfilled, a deputy district attorney, would have serious impacts on her department's ability to function. Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 13, 2017

Calaveras Tackles Budget Talks This Week
"The biggest theme that I tried to hit on was really looking at what our revenues are focusing on…core revenue-generating activities." Among these over the short-term, Lutz says, is augmenting staffing at the Assessor's Office to provide the necessary resources for the department to get an updated tax roll completed with an eye on maximizing revenues. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 13, 2017

Calaveras Prepares To Take Stock, Re-evaluate In Budget Talks
Based on current budget requests...the recommended budget begins with a $5.4 million shortfall... Lutz points to major funding issues ahead that the county still needs to deal with; these include pension liabilities; uncertain funding for enforcing local laws pertaining to cannabis grows if a ban is enacted... Among Lutz's recommendations: an immediate freeze of unfilled, General Funded positions... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 9, 2017

Homeowners may soon find insurance relief
New program examines risk
The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are apparently among the worst places to live in California when wildfire risk is the measure, leaving nearly every resident along the slope at "high and extreme" danger, according to a hazard map published by FireLine. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise/ Sierra Lodestar, June 8, 2017

Optimism surrounds 2017 tourism season
Lisa Boulton, the executive director of the Calaveras Visitors Bureau, said lower elevation water bodies like New Melones Reservoir on the border of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties and New Hogan Reservoir near Valley Springs are looking "full and beautiful" as the tourism season approaches. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise/ Sierra Lodestar, June 8, 2017

Cultivators show willingness to compromise at latest cannabis discussion
...offering up larger parcel requirements to eliminate residential marijuana cultivation in exchange for an opportunity to relocate without penalty. They extended a hard cap of 250 marijuana grows to limit the maximum cultivation space throughout the county to about 86 acres total... District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi said the public display of compromise Tuesday revealed a "third way" outside of a complete ban and one-sided regulations. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise/ Sierra Lodestar, June 8, 2017

New executive director named for Calaveras Cannabis Alliance
Trevor Wittke to lead group
The primary goal is to seek a permanent regulatory system in Calaveras County. He said compromises between both sides will likely have to be made... Wittke identified a "night sky ordinance" as another answer. "That's even affecting us. We have a neighbor on the adjacent hillside and his lights shine," Wittke said. "We've talked to them. We said, 'Pull your tarps at night.' Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise/ Sierra Lodestar, June 8, 2017

Calaveras Supes Chew On Public Comments From Cannabis Public Sessions
Among specific suggestions put forth by growers, Garamendi emphasized their proposed cap within Calaveras of 250 registered grows. Based on the county's current 15,000 square-foot canopy limits and $2/square foot canopy tax...Garamendi estimated that the county would then wind up with a maximum of 86 acres of commercial grows and roughly $7.5 million to deal with illegal grows and fund enforcement infrastructure. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 7, 2017

Calaveras Supes Hash Out Commercial Cannabis Regulation Alternatives Vs. A Ban
"Ultimately, in my perception, no matter which way it is going to go, it is going to end up in litigation. So we have to make sure we have a defensible ban, if you will, or a regulation… and make sure that the public totally understands." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, June 2, 2017

The Mother Lode is cattle country
The way of the rancher
Rural communities in America may be struggling to survive, but in the Mother Lode, it's cattle wranglers that continue to prove a timeless lesson – the stalwart stay strong when there's a herd of goodwill behind them. That's a way of life the Gold Country's ranchers continue to preserve. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise/ Sierra Lodestar, June 2, 2017

California bill requiring well-drilling information sparks debate: 'Who could be against transparency?'
Residential wells would be exempt under the measure. Wells that have gone dry could also be redrilled without any new requirements. Christian-Smith said it's a problem that thousands of new wells have been drilled in recent years in areas where aquifers are in decline and that permits are continuing to be issued without any public notification for even more wells. Click here for article—The Desert Sun, June 1, 2017

Greasy dilemma at vets hall
The new Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District community hall was supposed to be open by now, but a greasy situation has developed. Memorial district, Calaveras County and Valley Springs Public Utility District officials are at odds over how to handle the grease generated from the hall's kitchen. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 2, 2017

Decisions upset former vets board member
Gail Belmont has resigned from the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District Board of Directors citing differences she has with how the current board is treating the community's veterans... The district is required to provide a meeting place for veterans, he said, "but no where does it say we have to provide it for free." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 2, 2017

Frustrations boil over at marathon cannabis study session
Meeting brings no resolution
The impacts could be felt throughout the county staff if a ban were to go into effect. Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said he would have to cut at least eight deputies, including the entire Marijuana Enforcement Team... Interim Calaveras County Building Official Michael Renner said the department would have to cut three code enforcement officers. Doing so could decrease the amount of eradication the county will be able to execute significantly, he said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 1, 2017

Sign of the times: First traffic signal coming to Valley Springs
Work underway on busy Highway 26/Vista Del Lago intersection
Colleen Platt of MyValleySprings.com said she and her organization support the signal project. She acknowledged that others may not be so fond of it... Platt said the signal will also help the Valley Springs Medical Center development nearby. In addition to traffic mitigations, it'll create safe opportunities for pedestrians to cross the state highway. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 1, 2017

Part of La Contenta entry being removed for signal
One side of the pillars symbolizing the entrance into La Contenta subdivision at State Route 26 and Vista Del Lago Drive will face the wrecking ball. Work is scheduled to begin Wednesday, May 31... Caltrans Public Information Officer Skip Allum corrected an earlier report the structures would remain and not be affected by construction work. Plans now call for the southeast pillar to remain, but the structure on the opposite side will be removed. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 26, 2017

Amador County continues to oppose proposed casino
The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California wants to build a $150 million, 71,000-square-foot casino on 67 acres of tribal land less than 15 miles from Valley Springs in Amador County off Coal Mine Road near Buena Vista. However, the County of Amador has been opposed to the project and last week was in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, seeking dismissal of an earlier decision in favor of the tribe... because the rancheria didn't qualify as "Indian Land" suitable for a casino under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 26, 2017

Calaveras Supes Schedule A Special Cannabis Study Session
The long-awaited study session on Calaveras cannabis cultivation is coming to the supervisors chambers immediately after the Memorial Day holiday. Along with assessing the current abatement program and a proposed ban ordinance supported by at least three of the five supervisors that is currently in play, there is also time slotted to discuss curtailing, taxing and regulating cultivation under a ban alternative. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, May 26, 2017

'Rob on the Road' to showcase Calaveras
Show will air May 29 on PBS
"It will be repeated every four months for at least three years," Stewart said. "Calaveras County will be completely showcased from the mountains to the sea of California... The Calaveras episode features Stewart's tour around the Murphys area... A return for a second feature could be likely. Stewart said they came to Calaveras, an area on his wish list for "quite a while," with a set of ideas and left with many more. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 25, 2017

County approves Blagen Road fix
Supervisors OK temporary bridge
Following a few last-minute alterations to the funding source made during a short recess period, the board voted to approve a resolution that will move $200,000 from the general fund to temporarily replace the Blagen Road crossing... Calaveras County Administrative Office Timothy Lutz said that the alterations to the resolution will allow the county to still pursue FEMA resolution. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 25, 2017

One arrested, thousands of cannabis plants confiscated this week
According to a news release, deputies with the sheriff's office responded to the 2100 block of Evans Road in Valley Springs Tuesday at 1:50 a.m. for reports of an altercation involving gunshots... During a separate incident in Jenny Lind Wednesday, 7,589 marijuana plants and 300 pounds of processed marijuana were seized from a large outdoor and small indoor marijuana operation... Another 399 plants were confiscated Monday along the 8400 block of West Murray Creek Road in Mountain Ranch... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 26, 2017

Nearly 1,500 Pot Plants Seized In Illegal Grow
Citizens' complaints led to an illegal grow in Jenny Lind where deputies also determined the grower was stealing water from a neighbor... Calaveras County Sheriff's Deputies and Code Enforcement agents raided a property earlier this week located in the 9900 block of Shalimar Drive near Milton Road off Highway 26. Sheriff's officials say that numerous complaints of illegal grading and fencing were filed... the department asks citizens who suspect an unregistered marijuana grow notify the Calaveras County Marijuana Enforcement Team Tip line at (209)754-6870. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, May 18, 2017

CCWD pipeline replacements planned for Rancho Calaveras
CCWD crews will rip up more than 3,000 feet of the failing Bluebell water distribution pipeline starting on Harper Street in the Rancho Calaveras subdivision outside Valley Springs. After that, work will begin on Hautly Lane, Jenny Lind Vista, Ormes Court, Sparrowk Road and Watts Drive... Most of the lines in Rancho Calaveras are more than 50 years old and have reached the end of their lifespan... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 18, 2017

Tri-Dam plans public access day-use site on Tulloch
A public day-use site on Tulloch Reservoir stalled in planning stages for more than a decade may finally become reality. Susan Larson, license compliance coordinator for Tri-Dam, said the site will be on the Calaveras County side of Tulloch... Tri-Dam completed a $704,516 purchase of land at 7430 O'Byrnes Ferry Road for the day-use site in November 2015, Larson said. Concept plans for the site have been prepared. Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 17, 2017

DiBasilio reflects on first year as sheriff
One of the major elephants in the room during the supervisors' search for a new sheriff was the impending cannabis urgency ordinance... The rumor that the Sheriff's Office would be unable to function as a department without cannabis funds was untrue, he said. He says the eradication of illegal cannabis grows will just take longer without tax revenues from the crop, if the Board of Supervisors bans cannabis grows. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 14, 2017

Supervisors accept latest flood zone maps from FEMA
A lengthy process to correct inaccuracies and misinformation in flood maps for Calaveras County came to an apparent end Tuesday. The new FEMA Flood Zones Map presented on Tuesday reduced the number of flood-prone properties to approximately 4,000. One of the areas of particular concern was Cosgrove Creek in Valley Springs, the site of major flooding back in 2006. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 12, 2017

Increased Tourism To Calaveras Reflects Murphys 'Gangbuster' Year
Recently released data...estimate the tourism industry had an $180 million impact in Calaveras County over 2016, which reflects 2.8 percent in growth from 2015 figures. Among Boulton's predictions for the season ahead is that the tri-county lakes area in the Valley Springs area will be highly popular for camping, boating, kayaking, hiking, biking and equestrian trail activities. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, May 11, 2017

Rising waters at New Melones lift boaters, businesses, morale
Reservoir helps drive tourism in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties
Louis Moore, a public information officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento, said last week, "This will be an awesome year for our recreating public. The fishing should be great with the increased water and habitat." Asked about economic impacts of recreation at New Melones compared to rafting the Stanislaus River, Ferguson said if the Stanislaus River was still raftable like it was in the 1970s and 1980s, if New Melones Dam had never been built, the economic benefits of whitewater rafting on the Stanislaus would be at least 10 times greater than economic benefits the reservoir has for recreation. Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 9, 2017

Big risk, big ideas: Flood control no longer just levees
..The plan calls for turning long-dead Mormon Slough back into a functional waterway where it passes through the city, even adding nature trails and bike paths. This would take some pressure off the Calaveras River... Still more ideas: Taking climate-change induced floods on the Calaveras River and storing them below ground, which would address two problems at the same time; using better forecasting tools to predict when dams should release or hold back water... Click here for article—Stockton Record, May 7, 2017

The state of our dams
Most of California's dams and weirs are at least 60 years old, infrastructure wears down over time, and future storms altered by climate change are expected to test our dams like never before... The dams capable of causing the most damage in San Joaquin County are Camanche, New Hogan and New Melones. The Record obtained state Division of Safety of Dams inspection reports for four dams — Pardee, Camanche, Don Pedro and Exchequer. New Hogan Dam• Request for inspection report still pending. Future problem may be New Hogan's small size to handle storms exacerbated by climate change. Click here for article—Stockton Record, May 6, 2017

Humans Are Making Too Much Noise—Even in Protected Areas
In a new study published in the journal Science, researchers share the noisy truth. Noise pollution is "pervasive" in protected areas in the U.S... Human noises doubled the sound levels in 63 percent of the areas studied. In 21 percent of the protected areas, humans made an even bigger impact, raising the sound levels tenfold or more. And 14 percent of areas with endangered species experienced that tenfold or more rise in sound thanks to humans. That's a big deal for wildlife... Noise pollution can be dangerous for animals, affecting the way they mate, communicate, hunt, and navigate. Click here for article, Smithsonian.com, May 5, 2017

Supes to discuss adding medical marijuana dispensaries to ban
The suggestion came at the end of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, May 9, when District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills expressed concern that if they don't act by the end of the year, the state could end up controlling the future of dispensaries in the county. Discussions to add all or part of what the medical marijuana ordinance permitted in 2005 to the countywide ban were set for an evening meeting on May 30. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 10, 2017

Discussions for West Point Dollar General continued to later date
The commission ruled to push back discussions to allow for collaboration between the applicant, Cross Development Dollar General, the Calaveras County Planning Department and the public to find a proposal suitable for all. The continuance came after Planning Commissioner Tim Laddish grilled the applicants for about two-hours. In addition to aesthetics, he said he was worried about the light pollution and signage that could all degrade the West Point area. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 11, 2017

Flood insurance relief on the way for homeowners
A series of updated Federal Agency flood zones are set to go into effect next week, removing the burden on thousands of homeowners throughout the county to obtain unneeded flood insurance...throughout Calaveras County and four other locations in more detail near Cosgrove Creek in and around Valley Springs, where flooding can be extreme at times. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 11, 2017

Vehicle donation by cannabis group sparks debate
...Area 12 Agency on Aging, said discussions to extend a contract proposal for Common Ground Senior Services, which provides congregate dining, transportation and home-delivered meals to senior citizens in Calaveras County, were pushed off during last week's Joint Powers Authority Board of Directors meeting. "This is just a delay. Supervisor Clyde Clapp (the Calaveras representative on the JPA) and other supervisors want to be cautious..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 11, 2017

Residential fire safety guidelines released
The California Department of Fire and Forestry (CalFire) is gearing up for another scorching fire season and would like the public to know the "do's and don'ts" of proper equipment operation. If a fire starts from an engine, machine or other device that might cause a fire, it's accepted until proven otherwise that the operator was in negligence in the maintenance, operation or use of the device. If the fire escapes the point of origin, the person operating the equipment will be charged with a misdemeanor and may be held liable for damages and fire suppression costs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 5, 2017

State Water Resources Control Board nixes conservation mandates
"Even with the governor's decision to rescind the drought emergency, it's not back to business as usual," said Metzger. "CCWD and water providers across the state have learned many valuable lessons from the drought. The district will continue educating our customers about how to use water efficiently and avoid wasting water." Although conservation efforts have been successful and water supplies are doing well, CCWD will continue to implement State 0 water waste prohibitions... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 5, 2017

Calaveras Winegrowers Develop Watering Model For Foothills
A coalition of winegrowers after spending four years researching how best to water Mother Lode grapes are now sharing a free adaptable online tool they developed. They say that, with some caveats, other local crop growers and gardeners may also potentially put it to good use at their own discretion. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, May 1, 2017

Two Measures Approved And One Denied In Calaveras Special Election
Measure A, allowing the Saddle Creek Community Services District to increase its special tax by $53-per-month, and expanding it to the Saddle Creek Golf Resort, a fitness center, and undeveloped lots owned by Castle and Cooke, which previously were not taxed, was approved with 70-percent in favor. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 29, 2017

CalCo fire chief leaving to pursue other opportunities
Robitaille said he is turning his attention to a development venture to benefit the area's senior citizens. He purchased an 18-acre site across State Route 26 from La Contenta Golf Club and is in the initial stages of developing it into a housing project for senior citizens 55 years of age and older. "It's a real need in our community and it would not be fair to handle that being chief and giving them both 100 percent," he said. "I'm really excited to bring this project forward." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 28, 2017

Busy times ahead for intersection of SR-26 and Vista del Lago
...Construction of a traffic signal at the busy intersection is scheduled to begin on May 31, while Dr. Randy Smart, Mark Twain Health Care District board member, informed the Valley Springs Area Business Association on Wednesday that work on a new clinic for Valley Springs will begin by the end of this year or early next year. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 21, 2017

Nearing Completion Of Butte Fire Hazardous Tree Removal
Calaveras County reports crews are almost 90 percent finished cutting down hazardous trees in the Butte Fire burn footprint... Once brought down, the fallen trees are transported to Wallace to be chipped and then taken to Chinese Camp to a Biomass Plant (Waste-to -Energy Plant). Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 29, 2017

Report says some cannabis farm impacts can't be mitigated
...The clear intent and direction of the Board of Supervisors to adopt a ban of cannabis cultivation. The 240-page draft EIR identifies significant environmental impacts caused by cannabis cultivation: aesthetics and visual resources, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrology and water quality, transportation and circulation, and cumulative effects. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 28, 2017

County releases draft of cannabis environmental impact report
The ban beat out two other options as most ideal... An option to reduce zones available to cultivate was also superior per the document, but did not reduce as many environmental effects as the ban...Aesthetics and water quality could be worse in some areas if a ban is only partially complied with...illegal cannabis activities could continue or increase in the event of a countywide commercial ban that would eliminate funding to monitor or abate cannabis farms. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 28, 2017.

With portfolio of modern homes, couple emerging as urban infill heroes
...Erica and Nathan Cunningham...buy vacant lots no one else wants and build houses no one else thinks are possible... the owners of Indie Capital have made believers out of doubters and fans out of many critics. Along the way, their visionary efforts have brought attention to modern design, activated struggling or stagnant neighborhoods, increased property values for surrounding homeowners and, their supporters argue, helped make Sacramento a better, more interesting city. Click here for article—Sacramento Bee, April 22, 2017

Snow Melt Reveals Extensive Damage On Panther Creek Road
All three roads that provide access to the Mokelumne River Canyon are closed indefinitely due to storm damage...including Salt Springs Road, Ellis Road, and Panther Creek Road. There is storm damage in all 18 national forests in California, according to the U.S. Forest Service, with a total of 557 damage sites on forest service roads regionally as of April 5. Click here for report—Ledger Dispatch, April 26, 2017

Roads closed to Spicer Reservoir and Candy Rock after wet winter
A number of forest roads leading to popular Calaveras County recreational locations may be closed until the end of 2018 at the earliest, following a harmful winter... Fredlund said significant damage to at least six roads throughout the Calaveras District has been revealed since the weather has gotten warmer. She said they mane learn of more as the snow continues to melt. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 27 , 2017

Tourism tax eyed as revenue boost
With drought now over, more visitors expected
...New Calaveras County Administrative Officer Timothy Lutz thinks it's a worthy endeavor to evaluate the way the county taxes its visitor stays. "I will say that AirBnb and VrBO have been tops on radar on TOT," said Lutz. Currently, the transient occupancy tax rate is at 6 percent. Lutz said that he would like to see the county discuss increasing the rate... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 27 , 2017

Hospital assessment nears public release
Additional details have been provided for the study aimed at evaluating the feasibility for the Mark Twain Health Care District to operate the hospital in San Andreas independently... Ultimately, whatever option the district pursues will require approval from the public via a vote... Blitz said he hopes there will be a consensus recommendation whether to lease the hospital and clinics or not by the end of the summer. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 27 , 2017

County releases draft cannabis ban
Funding source uncertain for enforcement
Under the proposed ban, any commercial activity related to marijuana cultivation would transform into a nuisance... Those issued notices of violation through cultivation activities would be subject to $1,000 fines per day... District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi expressed skepticism early last week whether a ban could be paid for. He said nobody in support of a ban has explained where the money would come from to carry out the process. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 27 , 2017

Regulators fine PG&E $8.3 million over Butte Fire
The citations would be the largest ever levied against an electricity provider under the California Public Utilities Commission's electric safety program that was created in December 2014. According to the news release, the CPUC is in the process of developing maps that depict areas of the state where there's an elevated risk for rapidly spreading fires sparked by power lines. The goal is to use the maps to accurately identify high-risk areas and determine the need for additional fire-safety regulations in those areas. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 26, 2017

Despite Wet Winter, Bark Beetles Still Attacking Trees
While the trees across the Mother Lode may be regaining vigor from this past season's heavy rains, experts caution landowners to remain vigilant. "I say the most useful thing for landowners will be to check their property for trees that…have a red crown or are turning yellow," Axelson advises. Now is the best time to remove dead and bark beetle infested trees as, through the summer, the insects are on the move. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 21, 2017

Cannabis and Calaveras County - A Union Democrat special report
1,500 farms operate in a county divided
In all, the county collected $3.7 million in fees from growers who registered for commercial cultivation after the urgency ordinance was passed. As of April 17, there was a balance of $1,943,423.80 remaining... The county Planning Department...received 737 commercial applications. As of April 7, 49 commercial cultivation registrations had been approved and 126 had been denied... Turner said. "And I got all excited about it and told Rick (Sheriff Rick DiBasilio) we could engage in the largest eradication program in American history. He looked at me and said, 'Whatever you're smoking it must be pretty good stuff.'" Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 21, 2017

Draft ordinance to ban commercial cannabis growing released
"If it gets implemented, it would eliminate from 200 to 500 businesses that would have been licensed under the regulatory program," Wittke said. Wittke said the draft ordinance appears to lack funding mechanisms for enforcement, other than fees and fines levied against people who may not pay them. "Essentially it's no different than what happened up in Butte County in 2015...They're still growing there, tons of grows, and their recovery rate for fines is miniscule, 6 percent recovery." Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 21, 2017

Draft Ban Aims To Snuff Out Calaveras Cannabis Industry
...At least three of the county's five supervisors are pushing to secure its passage as soon as next month after which it would become effective within 90 days. Under the new ordinance, all commercial medical cannabis grow registrations and "application pending" certificates will terminate and growers would need to then become compliant within 180 days. Within 60 days the planning department would notify the State Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation as to the rescission of all pending and approved medical cannabis cultivation site registrations. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 21, 2017

Planning Department details proposed cannabis ban
The ordinance, if passed, would go into effect within 30 days of its passage. Cultivators would then have 90 days to come into compliance with its stipulations. Growers who modified the land would have to restore it within 180 days of the ratification... The proposed ordinance has to be approved by the Calaveras County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors after all public comments are addressed. The proposed ordinance is expected to go in front of the Board of Supervisors in June or July. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 18, 2017

Supes Nay Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations
Garamendi appeared to be a bit shell shocked at the vote..."I really don't know what to say. We had four points, Supervisor Mills and I met. We initialed the bottom of these four points — I see as very timely." Intensifying his dismay he added, "We have illegal growers coming in…people thumbing their nose at our laws — we need a coordinated attack plan...We can't wait until the summer is in full swing until we decide how we are going to attack this issue." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 18, 2017

Supervisors reject cannabis coordinator proposal
Tuesday's vote killed a resolution that would have established a cannabis control coordinator position... It also would have prioritized the cannabis permitting process and the elimination of illegal grows. "I drafted the document," Garamendi said. "I made a couple of edits. We both initialed the argument in agreement this was what we wanted to do." Mills said shortly after the resolution was shot down that his initials were only an acknowledgement that he had seen the document. Mills said he did not report his concerns last week because there was "confusion" among the supervisors about how they might have been able to act on items that were on the meeting agenda April 11. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 18, 2017

Calaveras Supes To Hold Special Meeting On Cannabis Policy
Called out by two of their own over the county's mired policy process pertaining to regulating local cannabis grows, the Calaveras supervisors will be aiming towards repairing it at a special session... "We found in our study is that there is a lack of accountability as to who is in charge of what," Garamendi stated, maintaining that a single person should be charged with overseeing the overall process in place. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 13, 2017

Supes propose cannabis official to oversee program
The representative, described as a Cannabis Control Coordinator, would... act as a liaison between county staff and supervisors, but would also be responsible for enforcing cannabis policies throughout the county. The coordinator would direct county departments to complete cannabis permit applicants as well as eradicate all illegal grow sites throughout the county prior to harvest season this year. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 13, 2017

Former CCA executive comments on successor
"We're finally to a point where regulation can start working," he said. "Our tax dollars were always going to be true fuel. Fee monies legally cannot be used to enforce illegal operators... They have always been waiting for tax dollars to clean the county up. That was the way it was always going to be." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 13, 2017

SLO Supes pass oak woodland protection ordinance
Despite the decades of dialogue, no SLO County Board of Supervisors had passed a permanent ordinance to regulate oak tree clear-cutting. "It's really time to break the cycle," Coralie said, speaking in favor of the proposed ordinance... Supervisors... argued that the Justin Vineyard's clear-cutting incident was one that the county couldn't afford to allow to happen again. "One bad egg can spoil it for everybody," Compton said. Click here for article—New Times, April 12, 2017

Tree Removal, Debris Chipping Help For Calaveras Residents
Through grant monies a local fire safe council can help Calaveras residents dealing with drought or beetle-killed trees — or doing due diligence clearing ahead of fire season... For more details on both programs call 209 728-8785, or click here... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 12, 2017

Burnt Tree Removal On Butte Fire Burn Scar Clears 65 Percent Mark
Twelve cutting crews and five hauling crews are working Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. The logs and debris are taken to the Wallace facility where they are chipped and then sent to Chinese Camp to a Biomass Waste-to–Energy Plant, according to county officials. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 11, 2017

'Dream' comes true for water future
The plan calls for East Bay MUD to give about 1,000 acre-feet of its own Mokelumne River water to local farmers, who will use the water to irrigate a vineyard. The extra river water means the farmers won't have to pump as much groundwater, which effectively transfers the East Bay MUD water into the aquifer. For its part, East Bay MUD will be able to extract up to half of that newly stored water for transport to its 1.3 million customers in the Bay Area. Click here for article—Stockton Record, April 11, 2017

Jerry Brown declares California drought over, calls for water conservation as 'way of life'
Brown's executive order lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies. The state agencies' new plan — "Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life" — was prepared by five entities, including the Department of Water Resources and the Energy Commission. Click here for article—East Bay Times, April 8, 2017

California Lawmakers Approve Taxes and Fees for Roads
According to Brown, SB 1 will cost most drivers less than $10 a month and comes with strict new accountability provisions to ensure funds can only be spent on transportation. The following funds will be split equally between state and local investments over a ten-year horizon: Fix Local Streets and Transportation Infrastructure (50 percent)... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 7, 2017

Biomanufacturing plant planned for Valley Springs
Colleen Platt, the secretary for MyValleySprings.com... said that the feeling she received from the questions asked was a sense of optimism that the green-industry plant will bring new jobs in a way that doesn't disrupt the lives of Valley Springs residents. "It's a good business model, carbon-neutral and carbon-negative, and we support that aspect of it," said Platt. "We just hope that the noise and traffic will be mitigated a little clearer." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 6, 2017

West Point residents wary, hopeful for possible Dollar General
Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer said Caltrans conducted a traffic analysis...but those results came back negative... Benson feared the analysis was not comprehensive enough. She said officials neglected to evaluate the impact a Dollar General store would have on the visual aesthetics of West Point and its nearby historic district. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 6, 2017

Calaveras Readies New Center Devoted To Supporting Local Businesses
Calaveras Business Resource Center (CBRC) will host its ribbon-cutting grand opening next week. It aspires to be the county's main go-to for all things relating to planning, running, growing and promoting business... Recently the center held its first workshop; the topic being how to effectively write and market a press release to media. This week Mother Lode Job Training is moving into the center... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 6, 2017

Clapp determined to pursue marijuana ban at board level
District 5 Calaveras County Supervisor Clyde Clapp reiterated his stand for a complete ban on commercial cultivation of marijuana... Proposition 64...allows individuals to grow six plants. However, the county has the right to impose regulations... "We should treat it like having a dog. A dog needs a license and so should those who grow pot," Clapp said. "...We should also have restrictions for pot, like growing it indoors and making sure odors don't disturb the neighbors." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 4, 2017

Cannabis discussions dominate Valley Springs town hall Thursday
A Board of Supervisors-enacted ban likely won't go into effect until summer at the earliest. County officials are awaiting an environmental review... Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer said the study would determine potential damages the county could undertake if more than 700 commercial farms suddenly disappear with a ban. The document is expected to be released for public review in the coming weeks. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 31, 2017

Caltrans: La Contenta entrance to stay intact
Traffic signal work to begin end of May
The pillars symbolizing entrance into La Contenta subdivision on the east side of the intersection at State Route 26 and Vista Del Lago Drive probably will not face the wrecking ball. Work is scheduled to begin at the end of May to install a traffic signal at the busy intersection... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 31, 2017

Proposal for new industrial plant gets community feedback
The CEO of a sustainable biomass and wood fiber manufacturer looking to open a facility in Valley Springs met this week with neighbors and community members. Mark Mathis of Confluence Energy, LLC, said he was pleased with the community's input. Concerns were raised, especially about truck traffic, and Mathis said his company would work to mitigate those issues. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 31, 2017

Supes Weigh In Over Measure B Cannabis Ban Removal From Ballot
"Personally, I would have liked to have seen it go to the people but unfortunately, it did not happen that way," Oliveira opines. He adds, "... it is something that the board of supervisors are going to have to deal with now — and I am going out to my constituents …to find out their views or positions…once again, and using that information to make a basis for my decision." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 29, 2017

JUDGE STRIKES DOWN MEASURE B - Measure B supporters disappointed with ruling
Turner said all responsibility for the language of a ballot measure falls on the proponents who obtained signatures based upon that language. Once a measure is filed with the elections department, it is certified and the supervisors have no choice but to order an election or adopt the initiative as it is written. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 30, 2017

JUDGE STRIKES DOWN MEASURE B - Future of commercial cannabis in county returns to supervisors
"It's now in the hands of the Board of Supervisors," said Carlson. "We need to get these supervisors to take the necessary steps." That view was shared by at least one supervisor. "I think this brings the issue back to the Board of Supervisors where it should sit," said District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi on Tuesday. "And I imagine we'll begin work on it soon." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 30, 2017

Environmental Lawsuit Takes Aim At Cattle Grazing Management On Forest
The lawsuit claims that independent laboratory tests have shown repeated water quality violations in forest streams flowing through areas where cattle graze for weeks at a time... but recently the Forest Service decided to take no action to change the status quo, which prompted the lawsuit. The groups state they are not trying to end cattle grazing and are open to taking steps towards settling the lawsuit with the Forest Service. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 29, 2017

Lawsuit claims feds remiss
The groups bringing the legal action are Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, based in Twain Harte, and Sierra Forest Legacy, based in El Dorado County... "Over the years we have submitted countless photos and reports of meadow overgrazing, streambank pollution and damage to riparian areas," Buckley said. "The Forest Service always thanks us for our input... But the bottom line is they're not enforcing the law." Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 28, 2017

Measure B deleted from ballot
According to court documents, Judge Richard Meyer, assigned from Alpine County, said Measure B fails to comply with language stipulations required by state Election Code for an ordinance submitted to local voters. He added the measure is misleading and flawed because it implied voters are seeking approval for a Calaveras County Board of Supervisors action instead of having voters direct the board to take action on their behalf. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 28, 2017

Sheriff DiBasilio: Measure B Does Not Ban All Growing
Sheriff Rick DiBasilio reiterates that whether or not the Measure B citizens' initiative on commercial cannabis cultivation carries, people will still be growing weed... "The Sheriff's Office firmly stands behind the need to remove commercial marijuana cultivation from our neighborhoods. I believe growing large amounts of marijuana in neighborhoods is not safe and results in both violent conflicts and quality of life nuisances... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 27, 2017

VS chosen as site for manufacturing plant
The Colorado-based company is looking at locating its new facility on industrial-zoned property off Paloma Road across the street from Snyder Ranch... If all goes according to plan, construction of the new multi-million dollar facility would start in July and be completed in November... He anticipates the manufacturing facility will generate 10 to 12 inbound trucks per day delivering fiber and eight to 10 outbound trucks per day with finished products. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 24, 2017

Ruling expected Friday on latest challenge to Measure B
A hearing on the lawsuit filed by Calaveras Naturals Inc. to block the May 2 special mail-in ballot election was conducted Wednesday in San Andreas... If the court finds in favor of Carlson and Calaveras Naturals Inc., the county may be ordered by the court to not count any votes on Measure B. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 24, 2017

Nearly $56 Million CCWD Capital Improvement Plan Passes
The Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) directors, at their Wednesday night meeting, approved their latest version of the utility's projects package, which identifies numerous replacements and repairs of aging pipelines, pump stations, treatment facilities and other infrastructure throughout the CCWD service areas from Arnold to Copperopolis and Rancho Calaveras to West Point. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 23, 2017

Measures hope to serve small districts
The argument for Measure A states that by 2021, the cost to maintain the roads and other infrastructure in the district will require an additional 500 percent in revenues to complete... the SCCSD Board of Directors, states that the original tax agreed to in 2000 banked on the inclusion of more than 1,100 lots by 2008, which would have generated the $1.2 million needed to fund the service district. But as of 2017, only 560 lots have been created... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 23, 2017

More Than Cannabis On Calaveras Special Election Ballot
Measure A pertains to Saddle Creek Community Services District, which seeks to increase the district's special tax by $53/month ($640/year) and additionally assign it to the Saddle Creek Resort golf course, fitness center and large, undeveloped lots owned by developer Castle & Cooke, who do not currently pay the existing tax... Arguments in favor of Measure A state that due to just over 50 percent of the lots created — and paying the original tax that was approved in 2000 — the CSD remains $600,000 short of being able to fund road maintenance... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 23, 2017

New county CAO predicts a challenging first year
"My recommendation should Measure B not pass is that we should seriously consider the opportunity to create a regulatory environment that would meet the concerns of the citizens," he said. "It is certainly the elephant in the room and it's difficult to ignore because of the county's revenue needs... As the father to small children, I would be saying the exact same things as the citizens who say, 'Not in my backyard,'" he said. "If it's not banned, we need to make a decision on where it is grown." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 23, 2017

Standing room only for Mountain Ranch town hall
Property values, crime rates and the impacts of a possible ban on commercial cannabis cultivation in Calaveras County were among questions asked... Davis said. "I deal with property values. As we move forward with these issues, the Butte Fire, tree mortality, cannabis, each of them has the ability to impact property values and the assessor's role." Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 22, 2017

Open Biomass Plant Will Help Tree Mortality Efforts
There had been earlier concerns about the ability to process biomass in Tuolumne County... "After about five months of retrofitting, they (Pacific Ultrapower)... spent nearly $3-million on the plant... they are going to use about 2,400 truckloads of tree mortality product, which is about 60,000 tons. Over the next couple of years, that will ramp up to over 4,000 truckloads a year. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 20, 2017

Support For Biomass Facilities
A recent MyMotherLode informal poll asked "Do You Support Opening And Expanding Local Biomass (wood & organic debris burning) Facilities?" The majority, 79 percent, said yes... The Pacific Ultrapower Chinese Station (PUCS) near Chinese Camp... opened in October 1986, and is a 25 gross MW biomass plant utilizing wood fuel... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 19, 2017

Jackson City Council To Ban Commercial Pot Grows
Personal use and the growing of up to six pot plants will remain legal under Prop. 64, but the city does plan to enact a yearly permit for those who wish to grow marijuana for personal use. Jackson joins Amador County, Sutter Creek, and Ione in moving toward bans on commercial sales and grows of recreational pot. Calaveras County voters will have an opportunity to vote on the issues directly when Measure B, in an effort to ban commercial grows, goes to the ballot. Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, March 20, 2017

Work begins soon at two busy west Calaveras intersections
Construction is scheduled to begin the end of May on signalization of the intersection at State Route 26 and Vista Del Lago Drive... Work is also expected to start soon on installation of flashing beacon lights at the intersection of State Route 12 and Burson Road, according to District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 17, 2017

State Projects Mother Lode To Become More Of A Retirement Community
"From 2010 onwards, every projection that we have done reflected our belief that there will be a significant aging of the population in this area. We don't see a lot of the older population moving out of the county, and we don't see a lot of young people moving in to flip the equation. California has really large cohort of the baby boomer generation that moved here, and we expect them to age in place." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 17, 2017

Mark Twain Health Care District Shapes Its Options
Currently the district is legally unable to disclose much about discussions with Dignity or other potential suitors but Blitz confirms that other entities who might specialize in rural hospitals are in the mix. He adds, "I think the ultimate goal is that we have a direction of who we want to be with or operate ourselves by the end of the summer. Then we can go onto a timeline of taking this to the voters." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 17, 2017

Calaveras County pot ban delayed
Taxes on growers are due before a ban can be enacted
If Measure B is defeated, Bob Bowerman, founder of the Sacramento National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the first bill for the cannabis tax will go out in April and will be due back by the end of May. It is expected the tax could bring in between $15 million and $20 million a year. Bowerman said there would be significant legal ramifications if the county collects the tax then turns around and bans the industry with a county-prepared ban months later. Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 16, 2017

Crews bring down fire-damaged trees on public right-of-way
Falling and brushing crews continued to take down and remove more than 8,000 dead and fire-damaged trees... So far, 1,784 hazard trees have been removed and 2,656 cubic yards of slash and logs have been removed from the public right of way and from private property where trees could affect the public area. Logs and slash are taken to a county yard in Wallace... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 16, 2017

Another writ of mandate filed against Measure B
Meanwhile, the Calaveras County Planning Department is moving forward with writing ban law ordered by the board of supervisors. Planning Director Peter Maurer said on Monday that the county ordinance is in the draft stage. He said completion will wait until an environmental impact report is final.... Maurer said he expects to have the ban ordinance to the board "by June of July." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 16, 2017

What will Calaveras supervisors do if Measure B fails?
Less than two months after the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors said a ban on cannabis growing could be modified to allow for regulation if Measure B fails, officials changed their minds Tuesday... On Jan. 31, Calaveras County Counsel Megan Stedtfeld polled supervisors whether they'd like to create an internal committee to begin a dialogue in advance should the ban fail at the ballots. Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 14, 2017

Calaveras sheriff gets $32,000 illegal cannabis eradication grant
Bill McManus, a proponent of the Calaveras marijuana ban, said during public comment at least $5 billion is eligible federally. DiBasilio said the federal government has washed its hands of marijuana enforcement at the state level. "I would like to know where the $5 billion is coming from," he said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 14, 2017

Both sides of Measure B issue pleased with ruling
Depending upon which side of the Measure B camp you speak to, Wednesday's court decision regarding wording in the ballot arguments pertaining to the May 2 election was either "a huge blow" or "much ado about nothing." After a hearing on the matter March 7, visiting Superior Court Judge Richard D. Meyer, from Alpine County, issued an order March 8 modifying Measure B proponents' language in seven instances and deleting one sentence... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 10, reprinted courtesy of the Ledger Dispatch, March 16, 2017

Dollar General Pays Fine for Stormwater Violations
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has reached a settlement with SimonCRE Raylan III LLC, an Arizona-based developer, for alleged stormwater permit violations at its Dollar General construction project in Pioneer. SimonCRE agreed to pay $55,297 and to comply with the permit requirements to ensure that additional environmental damage is halted. Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, March 9, 2017

Ahead Of Vote, Clamor Continues Over Calaveras Commercial Cannabis
Last week at Greenhorn Creek some hackles raised as a few dozen CRAMP members showed up at a regular meeting of the CCRC, where a discussion was on the agenda to discuss the possibility of issuing an official opinion ahead of the special ballot ban initiative vote... As Vicki describes the turnout, "The elected members of the CCRP voted to adjourn the meeting due to the violation of the fire code..." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 13, 2017

Want to know where your marijuana was grown? Yolo County experiments with field-to-storefront tracking system
Under a $30,000 contract, to be paid for by fees on pot growers, the Yolo County Department of Agriculture is partnering with a Swiss security firm to create a tagging and tracking program that will enable local marijuana growers to track their plants and products through the supply chain, from cultivation to product manufacturing and retail dispensaries. The effort is focused on medicinal producers, not recreational marijuana. Click here for article—Sacramento Bee, March 11, 2017

Wet weather doesn't mean Sierra Nevada forests are OK
Between 2014 and 2016, an estimated 83 million trees died in the Sierra Nevada from overgrowth, bark beetles, and drought... Between 2014 and 2016, the Butte, King and other fires have killed 30 million trees. Sierra Nevada Conservancy staff say these numbers are unprecedented... Federal agencies must confront overgrown, over-crowded, over-dense forests that have resulted from a century of fire suppression, mismanagement and neglect. Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 7, 2017

Update: Thoughts From Calaveras County's New CAO
While Lutz says he is fully aware of many challenges on the horizon that will require hard work, he emphasizes that he will be bringing plenty of enthusiasm and is particularly looking forward to helping the county become more fiscally sound. As for the county's current issues with its fledgling, possibly potentially short-lived, legal commercial cannabis cultivation industry, Lutz allows that the topic certainly came up... Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 9, 2017

Acting CAO reflects on time as top administrator
He listed the Sheriff's Office, the Planning Department, Public Works Department and the Assessor's Office as areas that are underfunded and understaffed... called the cannabis industry "the elephant in the room," and referred to a recent, privately funded study by the University of the Pacific's Center for Business and Policy Research. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 9, 2017

Another writ of mandate filed against Tunno and McManus
Challenges language in initiative; seeks removal from ballot
The writ challenges the initiative that says "The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors enacts …" the law, while state law requires that it read: "The people of the County of Calaveras ordain as follows." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 9, 2017

High-speed internet remains a concern
Libraries receive $90,000 in grant funding
"We have a quilt work coverage," said District 2 Calaveras County Supervisor Jack Garamendi. "And that leaves people out." The state library offered the Calaveras County library system $90,000 in grand funding to help to put high-speed internet into the Arnold, Murphys, Angels Camp, and Valley Springs libraries. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 9, 2017

Court rules against pro-ban forces
A Superior Court Judge ruled against the authors of Measure B after finding that the primary authors submitted false and misleading arguments as backing for their attempt to ban marijuana cultivation in Calaveras County. According to court documents, Judge Richard D. Meyers, visiting from Alpine County, ordered that the language of eight of the arguments be either changed or deleted before voters head to the voting booths. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 8, 2017

Court Rules that Ban Proponents Offered False and Misleading Ballot Arguments in Support of Measure B, Orders All Challenged Arguments to Be Changed or Deleted
A Superior Court Judge has ruled that the authors of Measure B, Bill McManus and David Tunno, submitted numerous false and misleading ballot arguments in support of their effort to eradicate cannabis farming... "I think one of the most important things to come out of yesterday's hearing was the admission by Measure B's authors that their initiative conflicts with state law, and the Judge's observation that it will lead to more litigation..." Click here for article—ThePineTree.net, March 8, 2017, 2017

Judge rules change needed to Measure B claims
According to court documents, seven of the eight statements Bob Bowerman, the petitioner, said were either false or misleading were amended. The eighth was deleted. "They haven't been speaking the truth on those things. The court just backed that up," said Bowerman. Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 8, 2017

Ban proponents amend campaign statement
Proponents of the Measure B cannabis ban have amended a claim they provided to the Calaveras County Elections Department, according to court documents. Bob Bowerman said in a press release the claim is still deceptive. A hearing scheduled for March 7 will determine whether ban proponents have to change any other statements provided on campaign materials... Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 3, 2017

Ban Proponents Admit That Ballot Argument Claiming "Billions" Available From The Feds Is Unsupported; Hearing On Challenge To Other Ballot Arguments Set For Tuesday
"Mr. Bowerman appreciates the ban supporters' offer to remove this false assertion from their ballot arguments, but their new claim that Calaveras County has access to 'millions of extra dollars' in federal funding for eradication is still misleading. Furthermore, we have identified seven other inaccurate ballot arguments that should be corrected to ensure that voters to have reliable information when they return their ballots on May 2nd." Click here for article—ThePineTree.net, March 3, 2017, 2017

Public Works director tells supes storms cost $5.4 million
Calaveras County Public Works Director Jeff Crovitz told the supervisors that the damage from the series of storms that blasted the county between Jan. 18 and Feb. 20 will cost $5.4 million to repair... "My annual budget for repairs is $700,000," he said. Crovitz intends to apply to the Governor's Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the funds to make the repairs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 2, 2017

County accelerates cannabis abatement
"We're looking at being able to do a lot more eradications in a short period," he said. "In the past they (cultivators out of compliance) knew it was a numbers game. As long as they could stretch things out long enough, they could make their harvest." He said quicker action to bring those out of compliance to respond to the county's urgency ordinance will "put the word out and we'll get rid of some of the bad actors. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 2, 2017

Long time coming - After eight years in construction, Veterans Hall finally nears completion in Valley Springs
"It's been a rocky road to get here, but it's smoothed out now," said District 1 Calaveras County Supervisor Gary Tofanelli. Ground was broken in 2008 and now, eight years later, the 11,000-square-foot, $1.4 million building awaits finish carpentry and the final touches. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 2, 2017

Valley Springs man works to save the Calaveras cannabis industry
Bob Bowerman has spent the past four months researching regulations — harsher than what's in place now — in hopes of saving the industry... he intends to reveal his plan at a Board of Supervisor's meeting March 28... Bowerman hopes to have a resolution to his proposal by the end of the year. He said it may become the subject of a countywide vote. Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 27, 2017

VS vets hall moving closer to completion
The new Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District community hall in Valley Springs could be completed and open to the public by the end of May if not sooner. Left on the checklist for completion is demolition of the old hall, paving a parking lot in its place, connecting a natural gas line and obtaining a certificate of occupancy from the Calaveras County Building Department. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 17, 2017

Lawsuit seeks to block 'false, misleading' arguments from ballot
Arguments for Measure B alleged to be false or misleading include: • illegal businesses have been attracted to the county because of regulations currently in place; • top law enforcement officials in the county have said a ban would cost the same to enforce as regulating the industry • median home prices have risen at a slower rate...billions of extra dollars would be available from the federal government... Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 24, 2017

Local Resident Challenges Measure B Authors Bill McManus & David Tunno For "Misleading" Voters
...Bob Bowerman filed a petition for a Writ of Mandate in Calaveras County Superior Court on Thursday alleging eight "false and misleading" statements in the ballot arguments in favor of Measure B, a ban on medical and commercial cannabis cultivation in Calaveras County... According to the law, statements which are "outright falsehoods or objectively untrue" can be stricken from ballot arguments. Click here for article—ThePineTree.net, February 24, 2017

Study says cannabis industry is largest in Calaveras County
$251.5 million in sales, 2,605 jobs in 2016
"These are large economic impacts for a small rural county such as Calaveras. Our analysis finds cannabis cultivation was likely the largest industry in the county in 2016," said the authors. Pogue and Michael cited combined, indirect cannabis cultivation as about 19 percent of the county's gross regional product, and 21 percent of the county's jobs. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 23, 2017

Planning Commission set to hear more appeals of cannabis denials
Planning Director Peter Maurer said on Tuesday that more than 90 applications have been denied, while more than 80 have been approved. He said nearly 550 applications remain to be reviewed by staff. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 23, 2017

AmeriCorps crew joins post-fire effort
The AmeriCorps group's presence in the area only serves to highlight the tremendous amount of work left to be done. Almost a year and a half later, residents in the burn scar zone are left with slowly encroaching trees, "baked" landscapes that are just ripe for mudslides in this wet weather and broken and battered morale, which can make a recovery seem unattainable. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 23, 2017

3 inches of rain falls Monday in 24 hours
Operators of the New Hogan Dam the past week have been releasing large quantities of water down the Calaveras River as the rains have persisted... Ponds at the Valley Springs Public Utility District wastewater treatment facility off State Route 12 "are up quite a bit," said VSPUD General Manager Mike Fischer, "but are still in fair shape." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 22, 2017 [link to: 3 inches of rain falls Monday in 24 hours_VSN_02_22_17.pdf ]

Supes approve Lake Don Pedro Dollar General
Board overturns Planning Commission decision
District 5 Karl Rodefer explained this was a situation in which the law trumped their desire to not have a Dollar General in their community... Opponents said economic development would be further hampered if the Don Pedro Market went out of business, as it's the only gas station for miles... Dell said he first has to meet with county staff to work on redesigning parts of the building as requested by the board. Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 21, 2017

Camanche Reservoir likely to spill over if storm conditions persist
Continuous rainfall in February has swelled a couple of Calaveras County reservoirs to the point of over spilling... rainfall will possibly contribute to the first overspill at Camanche in 20 years. The reservoir already sits at a snug 90 percent capacity as of Monday; Pardee Reservoir is already at 100 percent capacity. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 20, 2017

Calaveras Marijuana 'Underground Or Above Board And Regulated'
"Tofanelli and Garamendi said we can design a permanent ordinance and make it more restrictive [than the urgency regulations]…learning from [its] mistakes," Oliveira recounts in a hopeful tone... "That grow season is going to happen because there is no way we can stop it now, even with a total ban." Further complicating how ban-favoring voters should cast their ballots is that the initiative is considered by many county officials to be defectively written. "It is in conflict with state law and attacks the operations of the county's [three] existing collectives..." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, February 16, 2017

Cannabis urgency ordinance extended by supervisors
The extension resolution on the board's Tuesday agenda faced a pending conditional ban ordinance ordered by the supervisors at their Jan. 31 regular meeting, and a mail-in, county-wide vote on a citizen's initiative due to the Elections Department by May 2 that would ban commercial cannabis farming in the county. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 15, 2017

Calaveras County supervisors extend pot cultivation ordinance
"...until it expires by law or is replaced by a permanent ordinance." The board last month directed county staff to craft a ban document that could return for vote by the end of March... The resolution extended an ordinance that many, including Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio, said was not a good document but would do more harm than good if allowed to expire. Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 14, 2017

State water board opts to extend drought regulations
Despite the encouraging numbers, the state board opted to return to the table in May to look at wet season water data in its entirety instead of allowing the drought mandate to expire... Depleted groundwater basins in California are cause for concern for the state board. The resolution states that "groundwater basins remain critically low in some areas, causing communities and well-owners' wells to go dry. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 15, 2017

Former supervisor reflects on new role leading Destination Angels Camp
Ponte said she plans to stay with her position "for as long as the executive board wants me here – for as long as I want to be here..." When asked whether she would consider a return to the public arena, Ponte's reply was carefully presented: "I'll just keep my options open." She is proud of her work on the county's general plan, on the extension of the Wagon Trail on Highway 4 through Calaveras County, and on the urgency ordinance passed by the board on May 10, 2016. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 15, 2017

Silver Oak Medical Office to close its doors
Kelaita said a shrinking employee pool, coupled with difficulties luring new doctors to rural areas like Calaveras County, had put a strain on the private office's ability to function. "You have to find the right person who wants to move to a rural area," said Kelaita. "The doctors that are here are here because they wanted a certain quality of life. They want to raise their families in a more rural setting. It seems like that has become less and less frequent." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 8, 2017

An Economic Impact Assessment of the Cannabis Cultivation Industry in Calaveras County
A detailed study of the economic impacts of the cannabis industry in Calaveras has been released by the University of the Pacific Center for Business and Policy Research. Key findings from the analysis include: Direct Impact of Cannabis Cultivation in 2016: Sales value (output): $251.5 million; Direct employment: 2,605; Direct labor income: $148.4 million... Click here for economic study—UOP Center for Business and Policy Research, February 9, 2017

Calaveras Republicans Unite To Bring Regulation To Cannabis Market
RAMP rejects the myth that in supporting prohibition, Conservatives are promoting law and order. We wish to change the laws of prohibition that have caused so much harm to those things Conservatives value most, namely individual responsibility, limited government, fiscal responsibility, compassion, and privacy. Click here for article—ThePineTree.net, February 9, 2017

Calaveras County Urgency Ordinance Extension Explained
Calaveras County Supervisor Jack Garamendi describes the Board of Supervisors action to extend the Cannabis Urgency Ordinance. Click here for video—YouTube, February 7, 2017

State Water Board Continues Water Conservation Regulations, Prohibitions Against Wasting Water
While many parts of the state have benefited from this year's rain and snow, other areas continue to experience the effects of drought, including Central Valley communities that still depend on water tanks and bottled water. Groundwater, the source of at least a third of California's water supplies, remains significantly depleted in many areas. Click here for article—ThePineTree.net, February 9, 2017

Caltrans Releases Draft State Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan
The draft plan...describes four objectives—safety, mobility, preservation and social equity—with corresponding strategies to bring the plan to reality. The Plan's intent is to complement local and regional efforts already underway to create and implement their own active transportation networks... Caltrans encourages stakeholders and the general public to review the Plan and provide feedback on the document. Click here for article—ThePineTree.net, February 9, 2017

Supervisors direct staff to draft marijuana ban
However, the time required to prepare a board-generated ordinance means it would be ready for board review at the same time ballots go the county voters to decide about approving the citizens' initiative. Oliviera said he was also against a board-generated ban and said his primary concern was the health and safety of the county's residents. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 3, 2017

State of Jefferson, Calexit movements gain momentum
"Our supervisors would become much more powerful in the State of Jefferson because their budgets would be so much bigger." The new state would also be among the poorest in the nation based on per capita personal income, according to a 2014 report by the state Legislative Analyst's Office...Jefferson would also be saddled with a portion of California's state debt that would cost up to $500 million over the next 30 years, according to Titchenal. Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 1, 2017

CCWD Oks Moke River study
The cost of the studies is not to exceed $296,000, and the Calaveras Public Utilities District is partnering with CCWD to help cover the cost of the long-term needs study. The board also received an update on the local water supply conditions in Calaveras County... As of Jan. 25, the Calaveras County region had received 43 inches of rain, which is 225 percent of the historical average... Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 1, 2017

Urgency Extension On Calaveras Cannabis Regulations 'A Coin Toss'?
...Board Chair and District 3 Supervisor Michael Oliveira... "I know first hand that if we affect the revenue stream that we have right now, the funding we have for law enforcement in dealing with this issue, and the other issues in the county, we are going to be in a very precarious condition when it comes to the safety of this county"..."We know that these [enforcement, grow-related] issues are not going to cease," Oliveira continues. The potential seems also rife for other county concerns, including a litany of legal ones. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, February 2, 2017

Supervisors direct staff to craft cannabis ban
Supervisor Gary Tofanelli proposed the directive...Supervisors Dennis Mills and Clyde Clapp supported the proposal. Bob Bowerman, the founder of the Sacramento chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said Wednesday the county would have to refund $2.5 million in unspent application fees. Supervisor Jack Garamendi...said Tuesday the county would have to make major cuts in the budget if the program was eliminated. Click here for article—Union Democrat, February 1, 2017

Calaveras Supes Mixed On Cannabis Industry
Among the county officials who spoke in favor of not letting it [urgency ordinance] expire, Sheriff Rick DiBasilio, Capt. Jim Macedo and Planning Department Director Peter Maurer emphasized their preference... to extend it, as is, for the time-being. District 3 Supervisor and Board Chair Mike Oliveira at one point called for a motion to direct staff in three directions... District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi maintained that, "...if we just say no…the good guys will leave and the bad guys will stay." Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 31, 2017

Will Calaveras Turn 'A New Leaf' On Commercial Pot Grows?
Clarke Broadcasting caught up with Sheriff Rick DiBasilio to discuss current enforcement concerns. He says that these include the challenges of a still too-small sheriff's staff attempting to monitor growing activities that have moved indoors for the season — and the passage of the state's Prop 64, which allows citizens to privately grow up to six marijuana plants on one property for their own recreational use. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 11, 2017

Gentlemen, start your paddles!
County prepares for a boost in water-related tourism after heavy rainfall
"The winter's abundance of rain and snow will more than likely boost recreation opportunities – especially boating at New Hogan and all of the U.S Army Corp of Engineers' parks,"...Last year around this time, New Hogan sat around 21 percent capacity. Now it's currently at just over 61 percent according to Army Engineer estimates. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 27, 2017

Calaveras Board to hold study session on cannabis ordinance Tuesday
Supervisors to vote on Feb. 14 whether to extend cultivation regulations
...Not voting to extend would also require the county to refund $2.5 million of the nearly $3.7 million collected in registration fees. And following the passage of tax Measure C in November, the absence of a legal commercial cannabis industry would cost the county between $7.58 and $11.37 million yearly in general fund tax income. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 27, 2017

Study Shows Fall Flows Down The Stan Could Be Halved
Fishbio's work is the first study to address and examine in detail how the salmon were responding to that management protocol. It turns out that the prescribed releases of 1,200-1,500 cfs (cubic ft per sec) — as required by the biological opinion — were no more beneficial than ones at 700 cfs, which also happened to be the lowest level flows measured. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 26, 2017

Calaveras supervisors set date for marijuana ban vote
For a moment Tuesday, when deliberations returned to the board after a marathon session of public comment, it looked as if supervisors were going to enact the ban unchanged into law instead of scheduling a date for public vote. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 24, 2017

Calaveras voters to decide on cannabis ban in May election
When the motion to accept the ban died, District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi made another motion to move the initiative to a vote by the people, coupled with a report from the county auditor on the fiscal impacts of a ban... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 24, 2017

Supervisors may enact cannabis ban Tuesday
If the ban is enacted, Planning Director Peter Maurer said, "It stops. Commercial cannabis cultivation comes to a halt."... Each commercial applicant was required to pay a $5,000 fee to start the process. "To the best of my knowledge, the money gets returned," he said. Maurer explained that returns would only include funds remaining from the $3.8 million collected. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 23, 2017

Calaveras residents join women's march in Sacramento
Approximately 100 men and women descended from Calaveras County to participate in the Sacramento Women's March on Saturday at the California State Capitol. Promoting women's rights was the main function of the march, but a number of causes, from climate change and environmental protection to health care, were well represented at the gathering on the state capitol lawn. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 21, 2017

County Planning Commission filled with attorneys
Three new members named
Sisk represents District 5...Sisk, 54, said she wanted to return to the commission to push for completion of a community plan for Valley Springs. "It never got resolved," said Sisk, "and now I am hoping it will be soon." Bechelli, 74, is the District 1 appointment to the commission. He replaces Ted Allured... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 16, 2017

Vote or no vote? County leaders to decide fate of commercial cannabis
A petition to ban commercial marijuana cultivation is set to go before the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors by the end of the month... The ban, if approved by voters or approved by county officials, would prohibit all types of commercial marijuana cultivation and all associated activities. Additionally, permits on dispensaries throughout the county will be allowed to expire and won't be renewed. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 12, 2017

Commercial cannabis ban petition qualifies for a special election
The board can either schedule a special election for voters to consider the measure, immediately adopt it or delay a decision in order to ask for reports on the measure, said Calaveras County Clerk-Recorder Rebecca Turner. Once the reports are done, however, the board will have to make a decision. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 12, 2017

Oliveira, Garamendi elected chair, vice chair
For the Planning Commission, supervisors appointed Joseph Bechelli to represent District 1, Timothy Laddish in District 2, incumbent Lisa Muetterties in District 3, incumbent Kelly Wooster in District 4 and Karen Sisk in District 5. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 12, 2017

The gavel goes to Oliveira, but Clapp was in opposition
District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli said he understood Clapp's point, but called this "a unique situation" and he would support Oliveira because he has been on the board the past two years. Tofanelli added he would also make a motion for Garamendi to be the vice chair. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, January 11, 2017

Ponte, 'Smoke-Free' Regs Top Angels Council Agenda
...Chairman Larry Cornish will introduce former Calaveras County Supervisor Debbie Ponte – once an Angels Camp mayor — as the DAC executive director. Ponte, who did not seek reelection to her District Four seat, just recently wound up her duties with the county. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 12, 2017

County may comply with decade-old defensible space law
Proposal would require 100 feet of fire clearance around homes
"The state has increased the requirements" placed on owners of structures in "any mountainous area, forest-covered lands, brush-covered lands, grass-covered lands or any land that is covered with flammable material." ...the increased requirements have been in effect for more than a decade. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 10, 2017

Hearing set for house proposed for historic district of Mokelumne Hill
For most of the past year, weeds have grown on an empty lot within the Mokelumne Hill historical district where Mary Jane Genochio intends to build a house someday. "It saddens me," she said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 5, 2017

Columbia-area center OK'd, but some vow to appeal
It didn't take long for people to express their opinions after the Tuolumne County Planning Commission approved a 16,000-square-foot commercial center near Columbia Wednesday night. "Go back to Modesto!" shouted one man. "You'll be challenged," said another... Ron Kopf, a local development consultant and member of the Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors, spoke on behalf of developer. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 4, 2017

Obama says full speed ahead on Delta tunnels project
"It's certainly far from a green light for the project," said Doug Obegi of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has been critical of the tunnels. But "it means we're headed toward a decision..." But the project can't go forward until federal agencies issue a declaration that the project can operate without violating the Endangered Species Act. That declaration can't be issued until the environmental reviews are performed – the reviews Jewell insisted must be completed by April. Click here for article—Sacramento Bee, January 4, 2017

[Tuolumne] County bans commercial marijuana activity, for now
The ban will remain in place until a board-appointed working group can develop regulations on commercial-marijuana activity... the ban does not apply to an ordinance passed by the board last year allowing residents in the unincorporated area with a valid medical-marijuana prescription to grow a certain number of plants for personal, medicinal use. The ban also doesn't prohibit adults 21 and older from growing up to six plants inside their residence... as approved by California voters... Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 3, 2017

Calaveras supervisors sworn in
Optimism and hope filled the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors Chambers Tuesday as residents filled every available seat and some found a spot on the wall to lean against before three new representatives of the county's primary legislative board were sworn in... Rebecca Turner, registrar of voters, said she has not heard a jurisdiction with more change at a local level throughout the entire state of California. Click here for article—Union Democrat, January 3, 2017

Manuel Lopez begins interim CAO post
Both Lopez and Harrington agree that in their memory, no California county has entered a new term with four new supervisors. "I've never had more than two turnovers. That's a huge turnover for any board," said Harrington. He said boards of supervisors are responsible for "hundreds of millions of dollars and people's lives." "When you don't have people with experience in this, that is really scary," he added. "Yes, it's a fresh board," said Lopez. "I don't believe that's ever happened in California..." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 2, 2017

Proposition 64 allows personal recreational cannabis cultivation
Angels Camp, Calaveras County officials likely to review zoning options
Proposition 64...states that "no city, county, or city and county may completely prohibit" residents from growing cannabis either inside their homes or inside fully enclosed and secure accessory structures. Proposition 64 does allow local governments to adopt "reasonable regulations" for personal cannabis growing sites or to ban outdoor grows. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 2, 2017

Elections office counting signatures for commercial cannabis ban
If and when elections staff determine there are enough valid signatures to place the ban measure on the ballot, they will send it to the Board of Supervisors. Supervisors, in turn, can place it on the ballot or, if they wish, simply enact the ban into county code. A ban would put a halt to the registration and inspection of cannabis farms and eliminate a potential source of tax revenue under Measure C... Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 2, 2017

Click here for 2016 News Archive

 

Donate

Website by Laura Bowly Design |