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News Archive (6192)

Thursday, 21 June 2012 01:24

AWA approves redevelopment of Camanche Well 14

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Amador County – Amador Water Agency Board of Directors voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve $9,100 in work to redevelop Camanche Water Improvement District’s Well Number 14, while the well sits dismantled awaiting a new pump.

Director Rich Farrington voted against the move, believing that the well’s water quality might not improve with the work.

President Gary Thomas said “I don’t want to sit here and second guess a professional well driller.” Consultant Pat Dunn, president of Dunn Environmental recommended 2 days’ work on the project. Field Services Manager Chris McKeage said Dunn would use a “plunger” and a “jet action” to clean sediment from the well, and would have liked to spend two days on the project, at $3,600 a day.

To save money, AWA will handle chlorination of the well, a third process recommended by Dunn, then get about 4 hours work on the plunging and jet action from Dunn. McKeage said Well 14 was already running clear when they pulled the broken pump.

The board authorized $5,500 in repairs and $3,600 for the redevelopment, and another day’s work if needed, after Thomas recommended they give Mancebo and McKeage “some leeway to spend a little more,” depending on what happened that day. Spending the additional $3,600 would need the president’s concurrence.

AWA General Manager Gene Mancebo said for $3,600, that’s hard to beat. With AWA staff chlorinating the well the day before, the agency would get 85% of benefit for 50% of the cost. Instead of 6 hours on each process, Dunn will spend 4 hours on surging and jetting work.

Mancebo said Well 14 is west of a fault line that Dunn discovered in a groundwater study he reported to the AWA last week. McKeage said Well 14 pumps will also be replaces less deeply than the well went before. It will allow installation of a 40 horse-power pump, instead of the 60 horse motor that was there.

Farrington asked about Dunn’s recommendation to reduce gallons per minute pumping at Well 14 from 350 to 250 due to turbidity. McKeage said it was recommended to reduce it closer to 200 gallons per minute.

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Amador County – Mixed martial arts returns to Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort in July with the Ultimate Fighting Championship fight Number 148 on pay per view.

Jackson Rancheria announced the pay per view event will be available on screens in the Grand Oak Ballroom at the Hotel at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 7. Doors open at 6 p.m. Stadium food and drinks will be available for purchase. People must be 21 years old to attend.

In 2010, Chael Sonnen came within two minutes of dethroning one of the greatest fighters of all time, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. On July 7, the self-proclaimed “Gangster from West Linn, Oregon” attempts to finish what he started in the most eagerly anticipated rematch in UFC history.

The card includes Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin, who will settle the score in the final bout of their trilogy, and striking superstar Cung Le battles returning Canadian knockout artist Patrick Cote.

The Silva vs. Sonnen 2 fight will be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with Pay Per View available in “Rancheria Style” in Jackson. Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort is located at 12222 New York Ranch Road in Jackson.

Tickets are $10, available at the Casino Cage or online at

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Amador County – The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Amador-El Dorado Unit announced that all burn permits in Amador County and western El Dorado County will be suspended effective July 2.

Unit Chief Kelly Keenan said time is running out for people to be able to burn residential vegetation, and urged people to complete burn projects on permissive burn days, but hold off until winter to finish burning if they feel it is unsafe due to temperature, wind, or terrain.

For safe burning, keep piles no larger than 4x4 feet, have a charged hose and shovel within arm’s reach, and keep a 10-foot barrier of bare dirt around each pile.

He said burn vegetation from your property. Household trash of any kind is illegal to burn and so are burn barrels. Never leave burn piles unattended and make sure they are completely out.

For more information see, or

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Amador County – A Stockton man hit a major progressive jackpot in “EZ Pai Gow Poker” at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort this week, for a resort record-setting total payout of more than $86,000 dollars.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, got a seven card straight flush, winning the progressive jackpot of $76,00, during a hand played Tuesday, June 19 at the Jackson Rancheria. He also had a $5 bonus wager at 2,000 to 1 odds for an additional $10,000 payout and a total payout of $86,000, the largest EZ Pai Gow ever at Jackson Rancheria. In addition, two other players received $400 envy bonuses.

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort is located at 12222 New York Ranch Road in Jackson.

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Amador County – Sutter Creek City Council on Monday approved a $3 million dollar budget for the coming fiscal year with a third straight contingency.

Finance director Joe Aguilar said the budget reflected trending upward of city-wide sales tax, property tax and Transient Occupancy Tax, reflecting an assumed 2-3% increase in revenues.

Aguilar said the worst is over for the economic downturn for the state,” reflected in the upward trend. The budget assumed they will get the revenues the city is getting this year. He said Sutter Creek has done a little better than the rest of the cities in the county, who did not get an increase property tax revenue.

Councilman Jim Swift asked about Assessor Jim Rooney’s comments that home values may decline. Aguilar said “we were told a year ago that we would be moving down and we have not experienced that…. We did not experience what the Assessor told us to expect.” Mayor Linda Rianda said the budget revenue numbers were conservative, based on the current fiscal year.

Aguilar said the budget “closed an $80,000 gap in the Police Department” when it lost a federal grant. He said it is bare bones, and advised the City Council to place itself on the city payroll, instead of its current “stipend” pay due to IRS wanting Social Security taxes collected from politicians’ pay. Swift said Council members cannot be exempted from Worker’s Comp. Aguilar said he hates “being a stickler,” but he expects the IRS to go after 3 years’ taxes.

City Manager Sean Rabe said language to correct the city’s lost Education Revenue Augmentation Funding is incorporated in the Governor’s budget, which the Legislature passed last Friday. Another bill, AB1191 addressing those funds has another legislative subcommittee hearing next week.

Swift said “the budget seems very reasonable and I know you guys worked very hard on this,” after losing the federal grant. He said Rabe and Aguilar were moving forward with diligence in watching costs, and he had confidence in them.

Rianda echoed the praise and said it was the third time they have finished a budget that showed a contingency. She said “some see you as inaccessible, but a lot of that comes from hard work.”

Aguilar said the contingency is about $79,000 for the next year. Aguilar said the contingency could drop by the end of the fiscal year base on a few variable, but “not by more than $15,000 to $20,000 dollars (up or down),” based on April numbers.

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012 01:27

AFPD approved a preliminary budget for $2.9 million

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Amador County – Amador Fire Protection District board of directors on Tuesday approved a preliminary budget totaling $2.9 million for the coming fiscal year.

The budget included $1.4 million dollars in salaries and benefits and $809,000 in services and supplies. AFPD Chief Jim McCart presented the budget excluding funds for the Amador Plan, saying County Administrative Officer Chuck Iley had no direction yet on the contract with Cal-Fire.

McCart said last year’s amount is known and he plugged in $250,000 into the preliminary budget. He said Iley was not sure of the board’s direction at this time and asked to put in the final number at a final budget hearing, which the board set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Supervisor Vice Chairman Richard Forster said the reason is the county is waiting on the state budget which has language for basic aid repairs and renewed funding for Amador County. The budget is awaiting the governor’s signature. Supervisor Louis Boitano said legislators haven’t figured out how take care of $250 million.

McCart said the Measure M and Prop 172 fund balance was at $180,000. Measure M revenue totaled $2 million and the AFPD’s share was $879,000. Budget revenue included contract service with Sutter Creek of $200,000 and Plymouth for $32,000, part of $1.3 million dollars in total additional funding revenue.

Plasse said the budget reserves and fund balance are not in sync and the budget consumes a considerable portion of the fund balance. McCart said reserves cancel that out. He said: “We had $1.6 million in reserves last year,” untouched, “so we’ll pull into this year with the same reserves.”

McCart said salaries and benefits were for 15 paid positions, including five fire fighters, nine engineers and one chief. One position was vacated and they don’t plan to fill it. They have five days a week staffing, 45 hours a week in Sutter Creek (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Mace Meadow station will have one engineer who will be by himself on one of three undetermined shifts.

Plasse asked about $715,000 for fixed assets, for two engines and a vehicle. McCart said he would surplus a 1984 Freightliner. They purchased three new in 1992 and they are going past the 20-year age, but do not have a lot of miles on them.

McCart said the jurisdiction does not have great flow for structure fires, and it helps AFPD maintain the ISO rating when they can transport water to structure fire locations and maintain 250 gallons a minute flows.

He said newer tankers are quicker but hold less water. Current water tenders pump 100 gallons a minute, but he said they can get new ones that pump 1,000 gallons a minute and act as a fire engine.

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Amador County – Amador County Supervisors last week said libraries in the Upcountry would stay open, though hours would be reduced in the new fiscal year budget approved by the board.

In public comment, Ann Christine McGee asked about library closures Upcountry. She said library computers helped people find jobs. Supervisor Chairman Louis Boitano said Pioneer and Pine Grove libraries would not be closed, but hours would be reduced. County Administrative Officer Chuck Iley said the Upcountry library operations would drop to 9 hours a week.

McGee asked if they had any discussions about what supervisors could do to increase revenues to the county, and not just make cuts. Iley said: “We constantly look at increased revenues.” He said he told department heads to reach a certain number for their budget, and they could reach that number by either cutting costs or increasing revenues. He said there is only so many fees you can put on users before you eliminate that use.

Supervisor Vice Chairman Richard Forster said “we are in a mode of cutting right now” and none of us on the Board think that the economy will rebound in the next couple of years. Reserves keep diminishing every year, and our revenue is primarily tax dollars.

Boitano said there was a downward trend in 1994, then there was a recovery and the county ratcheted up staff when it was needed. Lynn Morgan, chair of the Upcountry Community Council read a letter from the council asking the board to keep the library open, so people could use the resources, including computers, to find jobs.

Boitano said the community center underneath the Pine Grove Market has a computer lab, with computers he has purchased with his discretionary funds, which he has done for the last 15 years.

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Amador County – Sutter Creek City Council on Monday awarded a $1.6 million contract to realign Prospect Drive with Bowers Drive on Sutter Hill.

The Council followed city engineer Gary Ghio’s recommendation to award the Prospect Drive realignment project to George Reed Construction for his winning bid of $1.6 million, edging out Vinciguerra Construction’s $1.7 million and Doug Veerkamp’s bid of $1.9 million. The project will build a new intersection to align Bowers Drive with a newly built extension of Prospect Drive, to make a T-intersection. The project funding through Amador County Transportation Commission’s Regional Traffic Mitigation Fee program will run short of paying for signalization of the intersection.

Councilman Tim Murphy said ACTC and the Regional Traffic Mitigation fee program have approved a loan to the city to complete the signalization, but ACTC Executive Director Charles Field must go to member entities of ACTC to get their approval.

In public comment, former Councilman Pat Crosby said “the realignment project has been in the works for a long time and the drug store has labored under really trying conditions to try to get people in and out.” Walgreens opened at the corner of Ridge Road and Highway 49 in August 2010.

Crosby said Walgreens has been the anchor of the mall, and he did not know where the grocery store was that also planned a franchise there.

The Council voted 4-0 to authorize City Manager Sean Rabe to sign a contract and award the bid to George Reed Construction.

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012 01:25

Upcountry Council discusses fire insurance

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Amador County – The Upcountry Community Council last week discussed fire insurance issues and impacts.

Lynn Morgan, chairwoman of the Upcountry Community Council said about About 20 people attended the regular UCC meeting Monday, June 11, and most of the people came to talk about fire insurance.

Guest speaker, Amador Fire Protection District Battalion 10 Chief Dave Bellerive talked about the Insurance Service Office, or ISO rating system and potential affects on fire insurance rates. He said the independent office was set up to do analyses of fire risk factors.

Morgan said one of the conclusions of the evening was that the ISO is not even used by some insurance companys in determining fire insurance costs. Morgan said State Farm Insurance is one such company. Guest speaker, Anne Lintz, an agent with State Farm Insurance did not say what specific criteria State Farm uses to determine fire insurance costs. She said it is up to individual companies to determine their own criteria.

The last ISO update for the Upcountry area was in 2004, Morgan said. Bellerive said the fire department itself updates the ISO ratings every two years.

The UCC’s fire committee head, Rich Farrington invited insurance agent Robert Manassero to report on the industry. Morgan said he talked about the Amador Water Agency and some debts they have, and said they are still hoping to get moving forward with the Gravity Supply Line.

Morgan said it was discussed frankly that the ratings have to do with how close your home sits to a fire hydrant or a fire station. They also discussed looking at an increase in the number of hydrants, and how it could change insurance. Lintz said it is only one of several factors, and costs are pretty stable right now, but it is not a good time to be shopping for fire insurance.

The Upcountry Community Council last week also talked about a plan to report to the Amador County Supervisors in regard to the proposed Buckhorn Town Center, which is now part of the drafted amended county General Plan. Morgan said the Council invited all 64 property owners within the boundaries of the proposed Buckhorn Town Center to come to a potluck dinner at the July UCC meeting. She said most important thing about community input is getting people involved.

That potluck meeting is 6-8 p.m. Monday, July 9 at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall on Buckhorn Ridge Road in Pioneer.

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012 01:29

Sutter Creek OKs work toward regional wastewater project

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Amador County – Sutter Creek City Council on Monday approved an engineer contract extension to work toward a regional wastewater project in potential partnership with Ione and the Department of Corrections.

The Council also approved extension of a contract with Hydroscience Engineers for $36,000 to complete the wastewater master plans for the City and for Amador Regional Sanitation Authority. City Manage Sean Rabe said ARSA must also approve the extension, but if members did not give it the OK, the city would still pay the $4,000 or so extra, which members would pay in their share. He said the City, as an ARSA member would already be paying 85 percent of the contract.

Rabe said the contact increase was needed because of required meetings that were not known. When the contract was made, potential regional meetings with CDCR and the city of Ione were not anticipated. The city started meeting to discuss a regional wastewater plant two years ago and got nowhere. He said the city has been meeting with Ione and “those meetings have gone strikingly well considering where we were a year ago.”

Rabe said “we need somebody at those meetings.”

Councilman Jim Swift wanted people to know that “we’re not chasing rainbows” and are working on realistic endeavors. Rabe said it would be much better for ARSA and the city to be involved in the discussions.

Swift said the city is facing $15 million dollars in improvements at Henderson Reservoir, the sewer system storage pond, and that is just to continue using the city wastewater system as it is. If they partner with Ione, they can eliminate the requirement to repair Henderson Reservoir. Swift said it should be clear that it is beneficial to the city.

In public comment, Mimi Arata said she was excited about the possibilities of a regional plant, and asked what it would cost the city. Rabe said it was too soon to know, but if the agreement did do away with Henderson, it does away with a significant amount of city storage, and they would need to build additional storage.

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