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Amador County – The Ione City Council on Tuesday heard its budget has improved another $45,000 over projections through the month of April. ¶ Interim City Manager Jeff Butzlaff said: “It’s a moving target but it’s moving in the right direction.” The council hadn’t had monthly budget reports and finally got the financial situation to the point in January that they were able to start tracking monthly budget reports.

The April budget report showed finances improving, and “no more new surprises,” Butzlaff said. They will try to keep expenditures well within the adopted budget and try to exceed general fund revenues. He said adjustments and retirements set up the 2012-2013 budget balance further.

Butzlaff said an acting police chief approach will save money. Ione Police Chief Michael L. Johnson’s last day with Ione is May 21 and Sergeant Rocky Harpham will take over as acting chief of police. Johnson submitted his formal resignation last week, to be chief for the city of Anderson in Shasta County. Johnson announced some time ago that he was in the application process.

The acting chief will have less pay, and the Ione Police Department will be an officer short for a while, Butzlaff said. They will cover it with overtime and volunteer reserve officers.

Budget changes enacted since Butzlaff took over are lining up future financial stability, he said. The adopted budget in February showed the city would end the year with a $230,000 general fund shortage but the recent budget workshop showed a higher revenue stream, reducing the deficit by $45,000 to about $189,000. The rest of the fiscal year should reduce it more, he said.

Effects would not fully show until October, because of retiring costs related to payouts for sick leave and vacation accumulated. The city will receive the benefits of reductions in the next fiscal year. He said the $230,000 deficit was less than half of what they started with, and in the new fiscal year in 2012-2013 with a fresh slate, and will fully realize the reductions.

He said Vehicle License Fees are not in the budget, but “we are confident that is going to be dealt with by the Legislature.”

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Amador County – The Kennedy Mine California History Day in Jackson took 400 fifth grade Amador County Unified School District students back in time Thursday in Jackson.

Students, teachers and parents from the six grade schools in Jackson, Sutter Creek, Ione, Pine Grove, Pioneer and Plymouth started the day with a sing-along with Geoff Crawford and Masha Goodman Crawford, of the band the Old Soles, at the Kennedy Mine Amphitheater. The children and adults were then blessed by Arvada Fisher, an elder of the Northern Sierra Miwuk tribe, and resident of the Westpoint area.

Organizer Dennis Price said it was the first time they had a blessing to start History Day and he later thanked Fisher for the positive beginning. Fisher was in full regalia for the blessing, then the kids were released to walk up the hill from the Amphitheater to start the activities, staged around the Kennedy Mine head frame and other buildings.

Price on Wednesday said they expected the 12 fifth-grade class teachers and all their kids. He expected about 400 local students, 100 parents and 80 volunteers. They had several new activities including branding a wood plaque with a CHD brand, for California History Day. Other new activities were pouch making, Miwuk Language taught by Fisher’s nephew, and pine seed bracelets.

Price said the itinerary included 25 activities, and groups of children rotated through 20-minute sessions of the different activities. A dinner bell rang every 20 minutes to let the groups know when to switch to a different activity. Volunteers included ACUSD trustee Rose Oneto and her husband, Ione City Councilman Lloyd Oneto, dressed in cattle poking duds. Students also got to try a turn at the two-handled “whip saw,” trying to cut short rounds out of a large log. Students also got to put on harnesses and take turns at pulling a plow through the rocky soil next to the parking lot.

There was also rope making with Twin Cedar K9, and demonstrations with horses and costumes by members of the National Pony Express Association’s California Division, based in Pollock Pines. Also attending were the “Mormon Battalion” and the Company C Civil War group.

Another station demonstrated hand and wheel spinning wool into yarn and using a loom. A pioneer cook was preparing wooden coals to cook bacon and cabbage and also to bake apple pie in a cast iron Dutch oven. Kit Carson Mountain Men let the students throw axes at a large wooden round, and they displayed animal pelts.

There was also stations for a Miwok display, toy making and stone tool making and language lessons, along with a pine needle basket making demonstration, Chaw’se stick game playing, and pine seed bracelet and leather pouch making.

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Amador County – Amador County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services kicked off its update on a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan May 9 with discussion of areas of hazard for which they may plan. 

Don Myshrall, semi-retired Ione building inspector, said Ione has had a few landslide and debris flows. In the late 1990s, “you could walk across Lake Pardee because of all the debris in there.”

Amador Water Agency’s operation manager Chris McKeage said the Camanche area is served by wells for water and they would be out on a limb on PG&E’s tunnel systems, and a earthquake could be huge there. He said AWA has senior rights on Bear River, and wondered about getting FEMA funds for raising lower Bear River reservoir’s dam to ensure they did not have a water shortage.

Supervisor Vice Chairman Richard Forster said AWA should also plan for possible failure of the Central Amador Water Project service area pipeline system, and include the Gravity Supply Line project in the plan.

Consultant, Jeanine Foster of AMEC Earth & Environmental said “you want everything in here that makes sense as a mitigation type project.” She said it should be a “wish list… You want to get everything in there and look at the problems down the road.”

Amador County Planning Director Susan Grijalva said freezes and power outages were a problem several years ago. An Amador Unified maintenance official said backup generators at schools would help during long-term outages to achieve shelters.

Jeanine Foster said her home state Colorado has blizzard response plans for winter. They can also plan with backup generators and by having good snow removal equipment, insulation for pipes, preparedness and education.

A woman from public health said her department was doing a public health risk assessment in the fourth week of May. Foster said that would be good for the plan update.

They discussed insects and pests, and Foster said some local plans included a “shoot the beaver” program and another aimed at eradicating feral pigs that were spreading e-coli contamination. Myshrall said the state was commonly inspecting for invasive Zebra Mussels at area lakes, which bring in a lot of people to this county.

Richard Forster said Amador County’s wine industry could be endangered by the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter grasshoppers, which have “caused millions of dollars in damage in Napa.”

Foster said she would send a list to the participants when it was compiled. She said participants should send her details of how hazards have affected your community specifically, and historic events.

She said the existing hazard mitigation plan should have most historic hazard events up to five years ago, and if they are adding new hazards, you would want to go back historically 50 years.

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Amador County – Railroad enthusiasts and speeder car club members will be filling the rails of the Amador County-to-Ione railroad tracks Memorial Day Weekend for the Sixth Annual Ione Rail Fair.

Excursion Coordinator Chuck Ratto appeared on TSPN’s AMLive last week to let the viewers know about the Rail Fair, which is set for Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27 at South Mill Street in Ione.

Tom Correa, Deputy Road Master, Amador Central Railroad said the Sixth Annual Memorial Day Rail Fair will be a weekend of fun for the entire family. It features speeder rides, model train exhibits, pony rides, food and craft vendors.

The fundraiser will help keep the Amador Central Railroad alive, and it is being sponsored by the Recreational Railroad Coalition Historical Society.

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Amador County – May is Stroke Awareness Month and Sutter Amador Hospital hosted an educational lecture on Thursday, May 17, to get the word out to help people know the signs of stroke so they can get immediate help.

Timely treatment for someone experiencing signs of a stroke is crucial for survival, and that is why Jackson neurologist Doctor Donald Van Fossan with Sutter Amador Hospital wanted to get the word out about how to recognize and treat a stroke.

Common stroke symptoms are usually sudden, including onset weakness on one side of the body, severe headache, and difficulty with vision, balance or speaking. Van Fossan said it is important for people to know the signs of a stroke and get help as fast as possible if they or someone else are experiencing these symptoms.

“It is imperative that they call 9-1-1 and have them brought to Sutter Amador Hospital,” Van Fossan said. “We have emergency treatments available that can limit the extent of the damage to the brain and those can only be beneficial within the first three hours.”

If patients are brought to the hospital in a timely manner, Van Fossan said they can be treated with a procedure called tissue plasminogen activators. “It’s a clot-busting medicine,” he said. “We can dissolve this clot to the brain and restore the circulation. This medicine can limit any potential damage to the brain from the stroke.”

In order to educate the public on strokes, their causes, their symptoms and new treatment options – as well as what can be done to help reduce the long-term effects – Van Fossan and Sutter Amador’s Emergency Department Stroke Champion, Doctor Ron Hood, led a community lecture on Thursday, May 17.

Doctor Richard Atkinson, a nationally recognized stroke specialist with the Sutter Neuroscience Institute who is based in Sacramento, joined them for the lecture. More than 70 community members attended the educational event, which was held in the Sutter Amador Outpatient Services Center at 100 Mission Boulevard in Jackson.

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Amador County – About 24 local and regional emergency services officials attended a kickoff meeting earlier this month for an update to the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, being led by the Amador County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services.

Sergeant John Silva, Amador Sheriff’s OES coordinator introduced Jeanine Foster of AMEC Earth & Environmental of Boulder, Colorado, who was selected as consultant on the plan, and also did the first Local Hazard Mitigation Plan five years ago.

Foster said the costs associated with responding to and recovery from disasters has caused more and more disaster declarations, and the cost is too great for the federal government to bear. She said the Hazard Mitigation Act of 2000 established the need for a renewed plan every five years to maintain eligibility for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pre-disaster and post-disaster funds. With the local plan, cities, counties and special districts can get funds for planning projects.

She said the plans do not have to reinvent the wheel, and can use existing documents such as General Plans, post event reports or news stories. The draft Local Hazard Mitigation Plan will go to Cal-EMA and FEMA for review and approval. Once approved, it’s up to the community to do the projects that it lists.

She said the Amador plan will seek participants in a committee to update the plan, which should mitigate and help avert hazards, adapt to hazards, with projects to do the work. She said a brainstorm process will follow with looking at benefits versus costs of projects.

One such project was the recent Marcucci Bridge project on Jackson Creek. Silva said the 2006 plan included a new bridge and expanded culvert, near Denny’s. Jackson City Manager Mike Daly said the small culvert that was replaced dated to 1950, and significant flooding of residents on South Avenue was typical with rain events. Semi-retired Ione Building Inspector Don Myshrall said Ione received a grant for a pond in the plan in 2009 to keep water from flooding downtown.

Cathy Koos-Breazeal said the Amador Fire Safe Council was already working on a Community Conservation Wildfire Protection Plan, for Greater Pine Grove. Foster said the Council’s previous Protection Plan for the Pioneer and Volcano area was used in the 2006 Local Hazard Plan.

Foster said the grants are 75 percent funded with 25 percent local match. She said she has seen jurisdictions come in with their own “annex” in the middle of a five-year cycle, applied for funding and received it. She said “it really comes down to projects and if they find funding.” A lot of jurisdictions partner with cities or counties, and when counties had more money, they were more willing to administer grants for other jurisdictions.

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slide3-sutter_amador_hospital_plans_gardens-to-hospitals_program.pngSutter Amador Hospital plans a Gardens-to-Hospitals program to promote healthy food. Lisa’s Organics, a California based producer of organic, frozen vegetables in “Chef Inspired” sauces, will launch Gardens-to-Hospitals on May 22 at Sutter Amador Hospital as part of their “Eat Your Veggies” campaign. Science students at Argonaut High School will take what they have learned in their school garden and lead an event with students from Amador First Five School. The event is open to all 4- to 7-year-olds in the community. They will taste garden fresh produce, learn fun food facts and participate in collaborative garden activities. Kelsi Himmel, Argonaut Science Department Chair said: “Nothing is more valuable to my students and I than to be able to have these types of hands-on experiences. Kim Vagt, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Sutter Amador Hospital said: “Our pledge to serve nutritious meals to our patients plays an important role in helping to improve their overall health and well-being.”

Amador County – A Texas-based smokehouse calling itself the world’s largest barbecue franchise announced Thursday it has signed a lease for an Amador County franchise.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will take Suite 74 in the Amador Ridge Shopping Center in Martell. 

Franchise owners are Richard Wolcott and his wife, from Pioneer, who signed a lease and will begin construction. Wolcott said he and his wife will be going to Texas for training for the smokehouse restaurant.

Dickey’s franchise support begins at “Barbecue U, an intense three-week training session where owner-operators learn how to run the restaurant from open to close.’s location finder already lists the Martell franchise on its map, on Highway 49 near Oko Sushi and Jamba Juice. 

In Dickey’s release, Wolcott said: “Amador County has a true need for a fast and friendly restaurant that serves great food and that is open regular hours every day of the week.” He said an excitement has spread as they talk about bringing a Dickey’s to town and “everyone is chomping at the bit.” 

The past 25 years Wolcott worked for a financial services company, George Ballard Company, which he eventually bought and served as president the last 15 years. Before that, Wolcott worked in numerous food service businesses and construction. 

Wolcott said: “My wife and I have been searching for a business where we can deliver a great product and service, while being an active and important part of the community. We see Dickey’s as being our avenue to fulfill this dream.”

Dickey’s Barbecue offers a quality selection of signature meats, home style sides and tangy barbecue sauce. All meats are slow smoked on-site in each restaurant.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was founded in 1941 in Dallas and after 71 years stakes claim to being the “world’s largest barbecue chain,” according to its release, and it has more than 220 franchises in 42 states.

The Martell smokehouse, not yet open, will be at 12240 Industry Blvd., Suite 74.

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Amador County – Adam Dalton this week said the Amador County Park Restoration committee provided a new ADA pool lift and eight new barbecue units to the city of Jackson.

The Lift was donated by the Jackson Band of Miwuk Indians, which he thanked for “standing beside me, supporting my dream and assisting us as a community in reaching our goals.”

The Park Restoration committee is already hard at work on the next park in “one of the most amazing towns ever, Volcano,” Dalton said, but he noted that the committee is still able to assist others with minor improvements.

Renovation at Mollie Joyce Park is complete and he credited the transformation and success to the dedicated people of Amador County: “Volunteers were comprised of a group of talented, hardworking and committed people who shared the same vision to begin something profound, and see it through to the end.”

He offered special recognition to them, along with donors Cannery Casino Resorts, Swinerton, Simms Metal Management, Premier Access Insurance Company, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Graninger, Thomas Graninger and Goldman Sachs & Company.

Dalton said “if you didn’t make it up to Mollie Joyce and you’ve been waiting for the right moment to jump in and volunteer, now is the time.” They will be in Volcano Monday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

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Thursday, 17 May 2012 01:51

Saint Sava Church plans its 57th Annual Goat Barbecue

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Amador County – Saint Sava Church is sponsoring its 57th Annual Goat Barbecue over Memorial Day Weekend.

Father Steve Tumbas said the Goat Barbecue regularly draws more than 100 people but a decade ago, a lot more people from the community would come. So he would like to let everyone know it is still occurring and they would like to get more people to attend.

The Goat Barbecue is open to anyone and Saint Sava Church is taking reservations. Tumbas said it is kind of “exclusive” because they must limit seating to 130 people to ensures they have enough food and seating.

Tumbas said the barbecue is made with a specially designed and built pit that holds 16 goats. Roasting begins at daybreak, around 5:30 a.m., and lasts until noon, when carving begins. Lunch begins at approximately 1 p.m.

Tumbas said “we’re trying to remind people” about the event which has been a mainstay of the local Serbian community for more than half a century. He said it got its start from the local practice of eating goats, and “50-some years ago, it’s what people ate. Goats are very undemanding animals. They eat just about everything” and “it was just cheap food.”

He said in the Mediterranean region, goat meat is commonly consumed, and more goat meat is consumed worldwide than beef or chicken.

He raises a few goats himself, not for the barbecue, but just to remove vegetation that is harmful to horses. He said goats “eat everything that our horse shouldn’t.” He rotates goats and horses into pastures to keep down the harmful vegetation.

The 57th Annual St. Sava Church Goat Barbecue is noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 27 at the Church Social Hall on North Main Street. It will have live traditional Serbian folk music with strings and accordion.

Cost is $30 per adult, and includes a buffet with pasta and meat sauce, and Serbian pastries.

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