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Union Democrat News, Sports, Weather for Sonora, California.

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    Discusssion of issues, not attacks To the Editor, Mr. Wetzel, of Murphys (Letter to the Editor, Aug. 29) opined “Tax cheaters are traitors. If Mitt Romney won’t prove that he’s not one then he’s unqualified to be president.” Sir, you are insulting the intelligence of the President of these United States. Don’t you suppose that if there were any chance of Romney being a tax cheat that Barack Obama’s IRS wouldn’t be holding a very public investigation or prosecution? No credible source has accused Romney of being a tax cheat. Even if they had, I think our system still embraces innocence until proven guilty. Romney, along with other well to do Americans, simply takes advantage of existing tax law to minimize his tax liability. His having offshore accounts is not illegal nor is he illegally avoiding taxes. Your hateful letter is just another in a series of your letters bashing the other party in general. We need an intelligent discussion of the issues not personal attacks. Larry Jones Sonora Thanks to tribe To the Editor: Tuolumne County should get down on our collective knees and thank whatever gods or goddesses we believe in for the Me Wuk Indians. They are the largest employer and the most incredibly generous business in the county. If you read every page in The Union Democrat you will notice that almost every good charity or cause who needs help, the tribe helps them. I have been a member of the Tuolumne County Historical Society for about 30 years and the Me Wuks have not been treated well in the past. (I have relatives who are part of the Assiniboine in Northeastern Montana.) J.W. Smith Jamestown Education is important To the Editor, I’m finding it hard to fathom the large percentage of Internet poll respondents who say they would vote “no” on the Sonora or Summerville High School bond measures. They are not willing to pay as little as $2 to $12 a month to provide badly needed upgrades to our high schools. These people must not think that education is important. How sad and shameful. Lauri Grasse Sonora

    TUOLUMNE COUNTY The Sheriff’s Office reported the following: SATURDAY 3:03 a.m., Tuolumne — Sheriff’s deputies and Tuolumne City firefighters responded to an apartment complex on the 18400 block of Tuolumne Road. A couple’s box spring caught on fire after one of them dropped a lit cigarette onto the bed, according to Tuolumne City Fire Department officials. Neighbors extinguished the blaze with fire extinguishers before emergency personnel could arrive. TCFD officials said there was only minor smoke damage to the apartment and no reported injuries. SUNDAY 4:28 a.m., Tuolumne — An ambulance was called to the 20500 block of Half Mile Road for a 23-year-old man who had possibly overdosed on heroin. Authorities determined the man had not overdosed, but arrested him and booked him into Tuolumne County Jail for seven local warrants. 12:44 p.m., Sonora area — Appliances were stolen from a rental property on the 16300 block of Old Oak Ranch Road. MONDAY 12:34 a.m., Manzanita Campground — A woman said a man with a shaved head punched her boyfriend in the face at the Manzanita Campground on Reynolds Ferry Road. The suspect left the area in a moving van. 11:01 a.m., Camp Mather — A man said someone stole his 1980s Klein Attitude mountain bicycle while he was attending a music festival. 11:59 a.m., Sonora area — A woman said someone stole her wallet and prescription medication from her vehicle on the 17100 block of Valley Oak Drive. 5:27 p.m., Jamestown — A residence was burglarized on the 10200 block of Preston Lane. 6:43 p.m., Sonora area — Someone followed a trail off Old Wards Ferry Road toward a creek and found a dismembered hawk hanging from the trees. The curious explorer continued down the trail and found several other dismembered birds and a sign that had a “smiley face” with devil’s ears painted on it. Sheriff’s deputies responded and determined it was the remnants of an old homeless camp. TUESDAY 8:02 a.m., Long Barn — A woman on the 25500 block of Highway 108 said someone was using her husband’s Social Security number. 8:05 a.m., Sonora area — Two men attempted to push or ride golf carts, a riding tractor and other equipment over a steep embankment at a child care center on the 13700 block of Joshua Way. There was no damage to any of the equipment and video surveillance footage was being forwarded to law enforcement. 8:10 a.m., Sonora area — Items were stolen out an employee’s Jeep and several tow trucks at a business on the 20800 block of Mechanical Drive. Video surveillance footage was being reviewed for possible suspects. 9:49 a.m., Sonora — Someone said $100 was stolen from the commissary machine at Tuolumne County Jail on the 100 block of Lower Sunset Drive. 3:12 p.m., Jamestown — A man on the 8400 block of Old Melones Dam Road said fraudulent charges were made to his credit card. 3:35 p.m., Groveland — Someone at Rainbow Pool at Highway 120 and Cherry Lake Road said a man got out of his truck and started touching himself inappropriately while staring. U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers were dispatched about 30 minutes after the initial call, but were unable to locate a suspect. 4:20 p.m., Jamestown — A man said several items were stolen from a shed at his ranch on the 11100 block of Highway 108. 4:45 p.m., Sonora area — A man said someone broke into his residence on the 16600 block of Allison Way and stole his computer, bed, blankets and pillows. The Sonora Police Department reported the following: SATURDAY 8:04 p.m., assault — A man hit a bar patron in the face on South Washington Street and ran out the back of the bar into a four-door silver pickup truck. The victim declined medical attention but signed a citizen’s arrest for assault. SUNDAY 8:17 p.m., suspicious circumstances — A woman on South Shepherd Street between Gold and East Church streets said she saw a man looking in her back window and talking on his cell phone. Officers checked the area and were unable to locate a suspect. MONDAY 7:35 p.m., public intoxication — A 53-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication at Cowan and North Shepherd streets. TUESDAY 9:08 a.m., suspicious circumstances — A man holding a knife was seen putting on a green T-shirt over a pink dress and jeans between business on Sanguinetti Road. Officers detained the man and determined the knife was not illegal to possess and he was merely putting it on his belt while completing getting dressed. No further action was taken. 11:47 a.m., theft — A man said a crucifix was stolen from his residence on South Stewart Street. 11:01 p.m., theft — A man and woman suspected of shoplifting were being detained at a business on Sanguinetti Road. The woman was cited and released. Arrests Cited on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs: SATURDAY 6:04 p.m., Don Pedro — Ernesto Lozano, 35, of the 6100 block of Mahan Drive, San Jose, and David Allan Pontzious, 31, of the 1500 block of Arlington Road, Livermore, were booked on suspicion of using a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, after arrests on Lake Don Pedro. 7:34 p.m., Sonora — Joe Martinez, 61, of the 10300 block of Preston Lane, Jamestown, was arrested at Stockton Road and Ponderosa Drive. 7:36 p.m., East Sonora — Jasin Cameron Boone, 28, of the 19000 block of Barron Ranch Road, was arrested at Tuolumne Road and Mono Way. SUNDAY 11:14 p.m., Sonora — Jamie Carolyn Snider, 37, of the 2200 block of Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova, was arrested on the 19700 block of Greenley Road. TUESDAY 1:40 a.m., Tuolumne — Donald Allen Anderson, 43, of an unknown address, was arrested at Tuolumne and Morris roads. 3:57 p.m., Sonora — Dale Gene Biehle, 41, of the 11200 block of Merril Road, Jamestown, was arrested at Highway 108 and South Washington Street. Felony bookings FRIDAY 3:29 p.m., Sonora area — Anthony Bruce Ortega, 33, of the 12700 block of Chukar Circle, was booked on suspicion of drug possession and a misdemeanor charge of drug paraphernalia possession, after an arrest at his home. 7:34 p.m., Jamestown — James Earl Rogers IV, 27, of the 300 block of Lyons Street, Sonora, was booked on suspicion of drug transportation, drug possession and a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license, after an arrest at the 18300 block of Main Street. 7:49 p.m., Sonora — Timothy Ryan Reis, 19, of the 10900 block of Campo Seco Road, was booked on suspicion of drug possession and drug transportation, after an arrest at Gold and Shepherd streets. 7:51 p.m., Sonora — Christian E. Gonzalez, 20, of the 1800 block of Third Avenue, Jamestown, was booked on suspicion of drug possession and drug transportation, after an arrest at Gold and Shepherd streets. 9:56 p.m., Sonora — Brian Joseph Bockert, 35, of the 400 block of Greenley Road, and Amber Lynn Hoskins, 25, of the 10600 block of Jim Brady Road, Jamestown, were booked on suspicion of drug possession for sales, drug transportation and a misdemeanor charge of drug paraphernalia possession, after arrests at Bockert’s home. 11:28 p.m., Sonora — Brandon Sheridan King, 32, of the 1900 block of San Clemente Street, Fairfield, was booked on suspicion of drug possession and drug transportation as well as misdemeanor charges of drug paraphernalia possession and resisting arrest, after an arrest on the 200 block of Greenley Road. SATURDAY 7:21 p.m., Twain Harte — Richard Keith Souza, 47, of the 18800 block of Manzanita Drive, was booked on suspicion of burglary, unlawful use of personal identifying information, drug possession and a misdemeanor charge of drug paraphernalia possession, after an arrest at his home. SUNDAY 4:28 a.m., Sonora area — Enrique Cruz Olivares, 24, of the 2700 block of Delaware Avenue, Redwood City, was booked on suspicion of burglary, after an arrest on Bay Meadow Drive. CALAVERAS COUNTY The Sheriff’s Office reported the following: SATURDAY 12:06 p.m., Arnold — A window was broken and residence was ransacked on Rawhide Drive. 12:41 p.m., Arnold — A residence was vandalized on Circle Drive. 4:16 p.m., San Andreas — A man was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs after someone reported a possible drug overdose at Turner Park on Treat Avenue. 6:41 p.m., Campo Seco — Interior furnishings were stolen from a residence on Campo Seco Road. 9:44 p.m., Valley Springs — A man stole a truck battery from a porch on Daphne Street. SUNDAY 9:35 a.m., Arnold — A business was burglarized on Blagen Boulevard. 11:29 a.m., West Point — A garage was broken into on Rabbit Foot Road. 3:49 p.m., Murphys — A burglary occurred on Fullen Road. 5:34 p.m., Camp Connell — A theft occurred on Beatrice Drive. 6:47 p.m., Valley Springs — There was a theft at a business on Highway 26. MONDAY 8:48 a.m., Campo Seco — Someone stole scrap pipe from a pasture on Campo Seco Road. 2:52 p.m., Glencoe — A residence was burglarized on Ridge Road. 3:07 p.m., San Andreas — There was a physical fight on Foothill Court. TUESDAY 2:48 p.m., Valley Springs — Property was stolen on Daphne Street. 5:25 p.m., Angels Camp — A report was taken for identity theft on Jaquima Drive. 6:51 p.m., Burson — There was an altercation over property on Stedman Ranch Road. 10:22 p.m., Arnold — A noise complaint was filed for people yelling and screaming near Pine Drive. Felony bookings FRIDAY 7:30 a.m., West Point — Parvez Altaf Ali, 38, of the 400 block of Cinnamon Way, Suisun, was booked on suspicion of illegally possessing a firearm with a felony conviction, illegally possessing ammunition and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, after an arrest on the 2300 block of Skull Flat Road. 10:04 p.m., Avery — Denise Diane Almer, 47, of the 1200 block of Shady Circle, Arnold, was booked on suspicion of drug possession and a misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, after an arrest at Moran and Avery Hotel roads. SATURDAY 9:44 p.m., Wilseyville — Justin Ervin Paul Petersen, 28, of the 3900 block of Blagen Boulevard, was booked on suspicion of drug possession, evading a peace officer with disregard for public safety, vehicle theft as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, being under the influence of a drug and possessing drug paraphernalia, after an arrest at his home. TUESDAY 12:32 a.m., Valley Springs — Antone Brock Lewis, 20, of the 200 block of Highway 12, was booked on suspicion of child endangerment, after an arrest at his home. 8 a.m., Valley Springs — William Wray Chain, 77, of the 2400 block of Snag Court, was booked on suspicion of possessing child pornography, after an arrest at his home. 11:04 a.m., San Andreas — Larry Wray Arlett, 54, of the 100 block of Howard Court, Avery, was booked on suspicion of assault, after an arrest on the 5200 block of Del Sol Lane. 5:55 p.m., San Andreas — Christopher Calloway Heffington, 26, of the 300 block of Apple Blossom Drive, Murphys, was booked on suspicion of drug possession as well as misdemeanor charges of trespassing, vandalism, resisting arrest and possession of burglary tools, after an arrest on the 200 block of Pope Street. Arrests Cited on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs: FRIDAY 3:25 p.m., San Andreas — Bobby Galynn Sanders Jr., 46, of the 3700 block of Highway 49, was arrested in the emergency room of Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital on Mountain Ranch Road. SUNDAY 5:40 p.m., Jenny Lind — Laurie Patricia Gaudette, 48, of the 4000 block of Teton Court, Ione, was arrested at Jenny Lind Road and Highway 26. TUESDAY 5:08 p.m., Valley Springs — Linda Onna Baker, 56, of the 200 block of Sequoia Street, was arrested in a parking lot on the 200 block of East Highway 12.

    Alfred Edward Larsen Dec. 23, 1923 — Aug. 24, 2012 Jamestown resident Alfred Edward Larsen died Aug. 24 at his home. He was 88. Mr. Larsen was born in Los Angeles. He was raised in San Mateo and lived there for more than 60 years before retiring to Jamestown 26 years ago. Mr. Larsen served in the U.S. Army in Europe from 1943 to 1947. He worked as a welder in commercial construction for 27 years. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2600. He enjoyed traveling, working on vehicles, yard work and welding. Mr. Larsen is survived by his wife of 28 years, Akeneta Larsen, of Jamestown; and his daughters, Wendy Scriven, of Jamestown, and Lesie Webbon, of Soulsbyville. A celebration of life will be held 2 p.m. Saturday at the family residence in Jamestown. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements. Daniel Morgan Cox Oct. 22, 1992 — Aug. 23, 2012 Sonora resident Daniel Morgan Cox died Aug. 23 after falling down an embankment near the Clavey River. He was 19. Mr. Cox was born in Stockton. He graduated Columbia Elementary School and Sonora High School and was a student at Columbia College. His family described him as a gifted math student. He also enjoyed playing guitar and baking cookies. Mr. Cox was preceded in death by his grandparents, Ralph Cox, in 1993, and Wilma Cox, in 1979. He is survived by his parents, Stephen Cox, of Sonora, and Julia Cox, of Katy, Texas; his sister, Desiree Cox, of Houston; and his grandparents, Gene and Carolyn Andal, of Stockton. Donations can be made to the Daniel M. Cox Memorial Scholarship via the Columbia College Foundation Office. Private family services were held on Aug. 28. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home handled the arrangements. Notices OGILVIE — A memorial service will be held for Groveland resident Janet Ogilvie, 69, at 3 p.m. Friday at Groveland Christian Church, 18829 Foote St.

  • 09/05/12--19:32: Datebook for Sept. 6 to 12

  • 09/05/12--22:08: PAWS gets bear necessity
  • A black bear is making his new permanent home in San Andreas. Ben the Bear, formerly of Jambbas Ranch in Cumberland County, N.C., will be staying at the Performing Animal Welfare Society ARK 2000 sanctuary after a court ruled Aug. 27 that his former home could not meet his needs.

    Dry lightning storms sparked several small fires throughout the foothills and left hundreds without power Wednesday, an example of natural weather patterns that can create additional challenges for firefighters in the midst of fire season. State and local firefighters were dispatched to seven separate lightning-caused fires Wednesday, with the largest being an 84-acre blaze northwest of Copperopolis, said Cal Fire spokeswoman Lisa Williams.

  • 09/05/12--22:20: Forest lawman retires
  • When Jay Power decided to major in geology, he had no idea his career would one day involve stakeouts, shootouts and raids. The 63-year-old Sugar Pine resident has retired from his position as patrol captain of Stanislaus National Forest, after about eight years of service.

    A public project to repave the Dodge Ridge parking area should be the last one before maintenance for that stretch of road is turned over to the popular ski resort. The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors this week approved an agreement under which the private company will assume responsibility for maintaining the half-mile stretch at the end of Dodge Ridge Road.

    Sonora police had a busy Labor Day weekend this year, which officials partially attributed to new laws they say have watered down punishments for certain crimes. From Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, there were as many as six people arrested on new felony charges, including some parolees and probationers suspected of violating the terms of their release, according to police reports and Tuolumne County Jail booking logs. “And that’s just a snapshot,” Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson said. “We also had three or four other no bail felony warrant arrests and a few DUIs, too.” Stinson said it’s typical for there to be a total of only about five arrests, which includes those arrested for warrants and misdemeanor charges. A convicted sex offender who didn’t have authorization to be in Tuolumne County was arrested by Sonora police the night of Aug. 30 after someone reported he was “acting suspicious” near a business on the 1200 block of Sanguinetti Road, according to a police report. Robert Bruce Hultsman, 56, whose last known address was in Palo Alto, was booked into Tuolumne County Jail on suspicion of violating sex offender registration requirements, a misdemeanor charge of delaying a police officer and a felony parole violation, after he was contacted by police on South Washington Street. Hultsman is on parole for sex crimes and was wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet, according to the report. He also provided his brother’s name to authorities and had to be identified by his tattoos and parole record, the report stated. According to the public California Megan’s Law website, Hultsman was required to register as a sex offender for prior convictions of rape and lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14. On Aug. 31, a Sonora man on probation after recently being convicted of selling drugs in Sacramento County was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and transportation, as well as two felony drug warrants, according to a police report. Brandon King, 32, introduced himself to an undercover Sonora police officer who was conducting surveillance of drug activity at apartments on the 200 block of Greenley Road and said he was just making sure there were no law enforcement officers in the area, the report stated. The officer searched King after discovering the two active arrest warrants and found an unspecified amount of heroin and drug paraphernalia, the report stated. Stinson noted that the conviction that put King on probation was one that would have likely landed him in jail or prison before lawmakers passed AB 109 last year. The legislation that went into effect last October shifted the responsibility of monitoring recently released “non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual” prisoners from state parole to county probation departments. It also changed the punishments for many drug and property crimes, making them only punishable by a term in county jail rather than state prison. “I like to see that they are making arrests, but it’s a double-edged sword,” Stinson said of the recent crime activity. “We know these people won’t be in jail long and we’ll be dealing with them again soon.” Other felony arrests over the weekend were: • Brian Bockert, 35, and Amber Hoskins, 25, who were arrested Aug. 31 on suspicion of drug possession with intent to sell after consenting to a search of their 200 Greenley Road apartment that uncovered a half-gram of heroin, four individual baggies of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, drug packaging materials, an electronic scale and $565 cash, Sonora police said. • Timothy Reis, 19, of Sonora, and Christian Gonzalez, 20, of Jamestown, who were arrested Aug. 31 on suspicion of drug possession and transportation after being stopped in their vehicle for allegedly running a stop sign. The arresting officer searched the vehicle after smelling “a strong odor of marijuana” coming from inside and found hallucinogenic mushrooms, a small amount of marijuana and a butterfly knife, Sonora police said. A bag of methamphetamine was also found on Gonzalez when he was searched while being booked into jail, according to the report.

  • 09/05/12--22:28: Correction
  • David and Ron Kelley acquired the Rosasco House in Sonora after their aunt left it to them as a gift. A story that ran on Page 2 of Tuesday’s Union Democrat incorrectly stated Ron Kelley’s name. Additionally, the crestings that were recently placed on the house had been stored in a barn, not the backyard.

    It is the eve of the election and incumbent President Charles H.P. Smith is in trouble. Most of his political allies have deserted him, his campaign coffers are empty, and his budget is in such bad shape that the Secret Service is reduced to working only half a day. According to his chief of staff, his polls are “lower than Gandhi’s cholesterol.” And to make matters worse, his speech writer is pursuing her own personal agenda. Thus begins David Mamet’s no-holds-barred political satire, “November” at the Stage 3 Theatre in Sonora.

    There’s something funny about Jeff Foxworthy. He’s talented, rich and handsome, yet remains unspoiled by his enormous success as one of the world’s top comedians.

    Step right up for a jazzy song-and-dance history of American music. Sierra Repertory Theatre will present the music of Irving Berlin in “I Love a Piano,” opening Friday at the Fallon House Theater in Columbia State Historic Park.

    A third person has died of a rare rodent-borne illness after visiting Yosemite National Park, public health officials confirmed Thursday. The latest fatality brings the number of Yosemite visitors sickened with hantavirus to eight, all of whom stayed in the park this summer. Seven of the eight cases were people who stayed in the “Signature Tent Cabins” in Curry Village, a popular family campground.

    After closing Camacho’s nearly two months ago, its owners are gearing up for the opening of their new restaurant, ChowHounds, in Sonora this week. Local entrepreneurs Bob and Debra Milz are opening ChowHounds in the same location at 1191 Sanguinetti Road in the Crossroads Shopping Center where they abruptly shuttered Camacho’s in early July. ChowHounds is the vision of business consultant Gary Hall, of Sonora, who says he dreamed up the concept with a group of friends during the 1980s while in charge of VIP gourmet services at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Hall said ChowHounds will offer a wider selection and more-inviting atmosphere than other local burger joints. “Every microscopic detail is significant,” Hall said about designing a restaurant and hopeful food chain. While developing ChowHounds, Hall visited both popular and trendy hamburger restaurants in places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas to see what worked and what didn’t. ChowHounds’ menu features a variety of specialty burgers and hot dogs with names like the “Widowmaker” and the “Mobster” each with a special twist. For example, the “Aloha” burger features Hawaiian-style ingredients like pineapple and teriyaki glaze. Seven different “signature burgers” are each priced at $6.95, while a build-your-own burger option is available for $4.95 plus 50 cents for each additional topping. There are also seven “signature hot dogs” priced at $4.95 each, with a similar build-your-own hot dog option starting at $3.95. Customers with bigger appetites can try the $7.95 “The Legend” burger featuring a half-pound sirloin patty stuffed with chopped bacon and cheddar cheese, which Hall believes will become the restaurant’s flagship menu item. Specialty salads will be available for $6.95 each and an order of fries costs $3.95 and comes in a variety of styles, including topped with chili or tossed in chopped garlic. While Hall and the Milz family hope ChowHounds will someday become a chain, they also wanted to give the location a local flair that will be inviting to area residents. The walls inside are decorated with pictures of older model cars in front of historic and cultural landmarks throughout Tuolumne County, which hot rod enthusiast Hall said was his idea. Hall, who was hired as a consultant while the Milz family was struggling to keep Camacho’s open, said he doesn’t see ChowHounds suffering the same fate as the restaurant that preceded it. “There were 13 different Mexican cuisine restaurants in the area to compete with,” he said. “There are places that have good hamburgers, but not a unique hamburger stand like this.” Bob Milz said the new concept reduces overhead costs and staffing, but some Camacho’s workers will return. “What we did before was too involved,” he explained. “There were too many ingredients and it took too many hours to prep and cook everything.” Milz, who owns and operates Sierra Hardware in Sonora with his wife, Debra, at first expressed reservations about re-entering the restaurant business after being forced to close Camacho’s because it was losing money. Milz said he decided to give it another shot because he was facing a $100,000 lease obligation on the building and was optimistic about the ChowHounds concept. “We had put our blood, sweat and tears in it the first go around and it didn’t work out, but we’re not quitters,” he said. In the next few weeks, Milz also plans on transforming the former Camacho’s Express location at 230 N. Washington St. into a similar companion restaurant tentatively called “ChowHounds 2.” He said the menu will be simplified with the goal of getting downtown Sonora customers in and out within five minutes. ChowHounds is scheduled to open for business Wednesday. It’s regular business will be Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Contact Alex MacLean at or 588-4530.

  • 09/06/12--18:41: Brown down to business
  • Business is simple, according to Firman Brown. Have a good product, be hands-on and watch your percentages, says the Calaveras County resident. “You don’t have to know everything,” Brown, 75, said on Wednesday. “You just have to know people who know everything.” He knows a thing or two about business. He was a successful beer, wine and liquor distributor for 35 years before retiring and moving to his ranch outside of Angels Camp. And for the past five years, he’s been using that knowledge to help a local organization supporting the Calaveras County Fair — something that’s been increasingly needed as the fairgrounds face budget woes. “We’re doing whatever’s necessary to help the fairgrounds,” he said. “Friends go to the community, and the community comes back to the fair.” Brown, who’s also a classic car enthusiast, is president of the Friends of the Fair board in Calaveras County. He is among the initial members of the organization, which started in 2008 when the famous fair and jumping frog contest started facing some tough fiscal times as state budgets have tightened. The organization raises money for infrastructure at the Frogtown fairgrounds, and also helps with volunteers and some events. Brown said when he first started volunteering with the fair, there wasn’t a great relationship with the community. Brown said they have since done some little things to improve it, like a new sign at the entrance, the fair managing its own parking and the Friends handling the on-site alcohol sales instead of an out-of-state company to keep the money local. The county fair, and many others around the state, faces even more challenges ahead. The state has implemented deep cuts in funding for fair organizations, forcing them to “operate like a business” more than ever before, Brown said. His experience with fairs dates back to his childhood, as an avid horse rider. In his garage, he keeps a photograph of himself at 14 with the Junior Horseman’s Association. “We have to, for the good of the community, keep this going,” Brown said. “A lot of us really believe in keeping this place open.” A straight talker who is quick with a story or advice, Brown moved to his ranch overlooking New Melones Reservoir around 11 years ago. He lives there today with his wife, Janet Cuslidge, and jokingly refers to the scene through the back windows as the “little water feature” in the backyard. He moved to Calaveras County from the Monterey area after retiring, saying he was drawn by the attitude of the people up the hill. “It’s a nice group of people up here, good, down to earth people,” he said. Brown’s work in beer, wine and liquor distribution put him in the middle of an important time for a dynamic industry. He worked as an early distributor for Mondavi wines and the then-startup Sierra Nevada brewery. And he says he remembers when Californians thought pinot noir was called “peanut newer” and merlot was just a grape for blending. During those days, Brown said he was guided by two things. “There’s no substitute for quality. And then I sold service,” he said. “Today, they teach price first (in business).” Brown was also introduced to one of his other loves during those — one that still endures today. He recalled talking with a business contact who had a Ford Model A and had not completed restoring the car after owning it for almost 20 years. When asked how his friend could keep something like that for so long without completing it, Brown was told, “This is a hobby — a hobby has no pressure.” He bought his first classic car, a Model T, 25 years ago. “I said, ‘That’d be fun,’” Brown said. Today, Brown’s garage is like a small auto museum, with a machine shop connected that he calls “every guy’s dream.” He has a restored 1950s tractor, which before restoring he used for work on his ranch. His 1926 Gardener with a “straight eight” engine, has a fold-out back rumble seat later copied by Rolls Royce. And his 1937 Cadillac is one of a limited release. He sold his first model T recently. “It was like losing a friend of the family,” Brown said. But perhaps the most famous piece of his collection for Calaveras County residents doesn’t even run. It’s a 1965 Buick Riviera that had a tree fall on it. After taking out the engine and interior, Brown turned the classic car into a large barbecue grill. He named it Barbie. “I enjoy them,” he said of restoring the classic cars. “It’s something I enjoy for me.” Contact Chris Caskey at or 588-4527.

    Pesky summertime yellow jackets To the Editor, This is in response to Tina Donovan Aug. 28 letter about the yellow jacket problem this summer. I lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains most of my life, and have observed these little “pests” over the years. I will give you my “armchair biologist” evaluation, and I think you will agree. I have lived in Cedar Ridge for 3 years now. Remember, yellow jackets are part of the environment, and are just doing their job in the eco-niche they have, of eating bugs, which lets the plants and trees grow (a good thing). These hornets are dormant during the winter, and they usually come out about the second week of June. At this time, they are very happy, and do not bother us humans until later in the summer, when their bug supply runs out, and they start smelling around for anything. They especially go crazy for seafood BBQ’s, and of course they like other meats. Last year, we had an unusually wet winter. Last summer they probably had lots of insects to prey upon, and remember from your high school biology class, the ebb and flow, ups and downs, of everything in the ecosystem, their populations must have boomed. The thing is, these little critters did not know the next summer would be one of the driest on record. We will probably have a lot less hornets around next summer. So Tina, I suggest you just hunker down, and eat all your BBQ dinners inside this year. Remember, yellow jackets are part of nature, and only in your wildest dreams will you be able to get rid of them totally, even with those yellow traps. Paul Slemmons Cedar Ridge Rude dove hunters To the Editor, Walking down to New Melones Lake from Shell Road with my dogs on Labor Day Saturday, I heard several volleys of high-powered rifle fire. At the shore there were about a dozen inflated dove decoys adhered improbably to rocks, sticks, and the ground. As I noticed this, a dove season ambassador blared from the slope above me, “Ya wanna tell me why you’re walkin up on me?” I called back to the voice that I was walking my dogs. He came into the open and demanded to know why I had not notified him of my presence, ending by pointing at his cap and announcing significantly, “I’m wearing blaze orange!” Okay, fella, I’m wearing a bright striped shirt and walking out here along the water with two large white poodles and you’re hiding in the trees camouflaged to the toenails except for your silly-looking hat, and I need to notify you? He ordered me to move along out of his hunting ground, which I did, maybe a little slower than usual. But more important than this annoying behavior on our public lands is the following: Somebody wanna tell me why this state permits large men with large guns to blow apart little grey birds (ironically, symbols of peace and joy since Biblical times)? It can’t be for the tablespoon of meat; is it to rid Tuolumne County of the dove menace? Those who consider dove hunting harmless fun might consider what Greek philosopher Bion said in 300 B.C.: “Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest.” Cathy Lemp-Smale Jamestown Thanks to good samaritan To the Editor, A few weeks ago, I got home from shopping and discovered that I did not have my purse. I immediately called CVS as that was the last place I had shopped and remembered leaving my shopping cart out in front! I had to identify myself and sure enough some kind, honest person had turned it in intact. I wish to thank that person, whoever you are, as you can imagine the dire circumstances I would have been in if a less honest person had found it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Jeanne Nissen Sonora Thank you for donated space To the Editor, A big thank you to Clay Maddox, in Sonora! Mind Matters Clinic in Murphys would like to thank Susan and Clay Maddox for so generously donating space in their office so that we could offer the Fast ForWord program to our Tuolumne County students. Fast ForWord is a computer based program that retrains the brain, strengthens memory, attention, and processing — all essential skills for reading. We so appreciate the welcoming smile of Denise, as well as the graciousness of Susan and Clay. We know that having six kids traipsing in and out of your CPA offices all afternoon, five days a week for six weeks could be perceived as a huge inconvenience! Yet, you have always been there with a smile and a willingness to be of service in any way you can. I’m sure those students benefitting from Fast ForWord are also grateful (we know their parents are!). Your generosity is a blessing to many! Ryan Thompson, M.D. Mind Matters Clinic Murphys

    Frances W. ‘Billie’ (Hogue) Dasher Sept. 20, 1920 — Aug. 25, 2012 Columbia resident Frances W. “Billie” Dasher died Aug. 25 at her home. She was 91. Mrs. Dasher was born and raised in Academy, Calif., an area now known as Clovis. She grew up in the Fresno area and attended Fresno Junior College. She was a member of Women’s Army Corps from 1942 to 1945. In 1950, she moved to West Sacramento where she worked as a typist and clerk for more than 35 years. She worked for the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Employment Development Department until retiring in 1985. She moved to Columbia to be closer to family. She enjoyed camping, crocheting and quilting and was a member of a local quilting group. She spent her 80th birthday traveling in Paris and visited the Great Wall of China in 2010. Mrs. Dasher was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Samuel J. Dasher, in 1995; her parents; and her siblings, Forestine Beckham and Grace Phillips. She is survived by her children, Samuel J. Dasher Jr., of West Sacramento, and Katherine Dasher, of Taylor, Texas; her sister, Anne Burnett, of Gilroy; her grandchildren and their spouses, Karen and David Calisterio, of Camino, Julie Dasher, of Sacramento, Stephen and Becky Shepherd, of Social Circle, Ga., Rhonda and Steve Curtis, of Crescent City, Jacob and Rachelle Shepherd, of Marysville, and Timothy and Lauren Dasher, of Evansville, Ind.; 18 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren. Donations can be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4748, 9 N. Washington St., Sonora, CA 95370. Private family services will be held. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Jeanette Marie ‘Jan’ (Coykendall) Rhinehart Nov. 5, 1926 — Aug. 24, 2012 Sonora resident Jeanette Marie “Jan” (Coykendall) Rhinehart died Aug. 24 at the transitional care unit of Sonora Regional Medical Center. She was 85. Mrs. Rhinehart was born in Alexandria, Minn. She lived in several cities throughout California. As a young woman, she lived and worked in Sonora. She also lived in San Jose and Santa Cruz before returning to Sonora with her husband in 1994. Mrs. Rhinehart was preceded in death by her son, Jeffery Peterson, in 1995. She is survived by her husband of 33 years, Walter “Walt” Rhinehart, of Sonora; and her children, Sandra Northon, Beverly Picard, Nancy Holt, Richard Peterson, and Kathy Mynear; two sisters, and five great-grandchildren. No family services are planned. Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

    TUOLUMNE COUNTY The Sheriff’s Office reported the following: WEDNESDAY 6:42 a.m., Sonora area — Someone vandalized a church on the 19400 block of Hillsdale Drive. 7:16 a.m., Groveland — Someone siphoned gas out of several vehicles parked on the 18700 block of Main Street. 8:03 a.m., Groveland — A woman said gas and $40 cash were stolen from her unlocked vehicle on the 18800 block of Highway 120. 9:23 a.m., Soulsbyville — A man said a package containing $21.94 worth of items was stolen off his porch on the 17000 block of Clouds Rest Road. 9:26 a.m., Groveland — A business was burglarized on the 18900 block of Ferretti Road. 1:26 p.m.., Columbia — A woman said someone stole the battery, gas, the center console, a mattress and the glove box from her vehicle while it was parked at Covington and Sawmill Flat roads. 5:14 p.m., Sonora — A woman went to the Sheriff’s Office on the 100 block of North Lower Sunset Drive to report that someone had been forging checks on her checking account. 7:33 p.m., Groveland — Someone siphoned gas out of a vehicle parked on the 11800 block of Ponderosa Lane. Felony bookings WEDNESDAY 2:13 p.m., Mi-Wuk Village — Brian Henry Wilkins, 27, of the 22800 block of Miners Way, Twain Harte, was booked on suspicion of possessing a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, after an arrest on the 20100 block of Manzanita Street. 5:51 p.m., Campo Seco — Benjamin Michael Ross, 26, of the 19200 block of Black Oak Road, was booked on suspicion of credit or debit card fraud and elder abuse, after an arrest on the 11800 block of Campo Seco Road. Arrests Cited on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs: WEDNESDAY 3:16 p.m., Sonora — Donald Lee Montoya, 61, of the 24000 block of Italian Bar Road, Columbia, was arrested at Washington and Jackson streets. The Sonora Police Department reported the following: WEDNESDAY 11:09 a.m., public intoxication — An intoxicated person was seen walking down North Washington Street. Officers checked the area but were unable to find the suspect. 11:35 a.m., suspicious circumstances — A red shopping cart full of broken and old computer parts was found on the railroad tracks on Old Wards Ferry Road. CALAVERAS COUNTY The Sheriff’s Office reported the following: WEDNESDAY 12:43 p.m., San Andreas — Someone passed counterfeit money at Calaveras High School on High School Street. 12:43 p.m., Angels Camp — Someone said there was an intoxicated driver swerving all over the road going north on Highway 49. Arrests Cited on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs: WEDNESDAY 7:11 p.m., Angels Camp — Steven Edward Dodge, 30, of the 1200 block of Anna Lee Drive, was arrested on Finnegan Lane at Angels Creek.

    A third person has died of the rare hantavirus pulmonary syndrome after visiting Yosemite National Park, raising the total number of people infected there this summer to eight. Meanwhile, the Tuolumne County Public Health Department and other Sonora-area agencies are fielding calls from tourists who are worried about hantavirus risk. Fear has also grown among locals who visited the park within the past month.

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