News Archive

News Archive (6192)


Amador County – The Sierra Century bicycle tour returns to Amador and El Dorado County roads next weekend, and the tour co-directors announced the schedule to help local drivers be aware of when and where up to 1,500 riders will be riding across the Mother Lode, next Saturday, June 16, starting in Plymouth.

Sierra Century co-director Bud Leland said the Sierra Century Bicycle Event is a “ride” but it is not a “race” and there are no road closures. He released a list that includes only the major roads and approximate times.

The Sierra Century starts Saturday, June 16, at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth and riders go to Howard Park in Ione. Expect riders between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., along Old Sacramento Road and Irish Hill Road.

From Howard Park, riders go to Sutter Creek, between 7 a.m. and noon on State Roade 104 and Sutter-Ione Road.

The next leg is between Sutter Creek and Fiddletown on Sutter Creek-Volcano Road, Rams Horn Grade, Shake Ridge Road and Fiddletown Road between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

From Fiddletown, there are two routes. Some bicyclists will go to Indian Diggings School, between noon and 3 p.m. via Tyler Road, Bridgeport School Road, Cedar Creek Road, Mt. Aukum Road, Fairplay Road, Perry Creek Road, and Slug Gulch. Another route from Fiddletown will go to back to the Fairgrounds on Fiddletown Road between noon and 3 p.m.

The route splits again. Some riders will go from Indian Diggings School to Highway 88, via Omo Ranch Road, between 2-5 p.m. Other riders will go from Indian Diggings School to the Fairgrounds on Omo Ranch Road and East 16 Highway, between 2-5 p.m.

Other riders will travel from Highway 88 to the Fairgrounds on Shake Ridge Road, Fiddletown Road, and Shenandoah Road between 2-5 p.m. CHP reminds drivers that bicycle riders have the same rights as vehicles on the roads.

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Amador County – Upcountry Community Council is seeking input from Buckhorn area property owners on Amador County’s “Town center” designation for the area.

UCC Chairwoman Lynn Morgan sent a letter to 64 Buckhorn property owners whose addresses were provided by the County, and she thanked Supervisor Ted Novelli. Morgan sent Council members a copy of the final version of the letter (mailed May 31) in case they have questions.

Morgan in the letter said “Upcountry Community Council has started a discussion on how to create a unique identity for the Buckhorn Area. We think that developing a strong mountain-oriented theme could emphasize the area’s identity, making it a more attractive place to shop.”

She said: “This could increase the value of properties and the community as a whole and strengthen its economic viability in the future.” The Amador County Supervisors’ “proposed County General Plan designates Buckhorn as a Town Center in Pioneer, adding focus to the area. Under this new designation, the County will be reviewing zoning and making decisions about future development in the community.”

Morgan said it “opens up the opportunity for us to provide guidance to the County in advance of future decisions in the area. For these reasons it is timely to discuss ideas about the future of the Buckhorn Town Center area.”

Some ideas UCC has mentioned are developing a logo, placing entrance signs at each end of the area, and looking at how to develop and promote a “mountain architectural” theme for properties visible from Highway 88.

The Council is made up of any community members who attend, and make decisions on consensus of those present. Morgan said the Council “would like to communicate the results of our community discussions with the County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.”

In the letter, she asked property owners if they would be willing to join the Council for a pot luck dinner and discussion about the Buckhorn area at the July 9 UCC meeting. Those unable to attend were encouraged to share thoughts about the issue with UCC by phone or e-mail.

Morgan said the “purpose of this potluck will be to host property owners defined in the current, proposed Buckhorn Town Center to begin to gather feedback about our desires for that Town Center area.”

UCC next meets 6-8 p.m. Monday, June 11 at the Veterans Memorial Hall on Buckhorn Ridge Road in Pioneer. Morgan said the meeting will primarily focus on determinants of fire insurance costs Upcountry. One speaker will be Anne Lintz from State Farm Insurance and may have experts from county fire agencies.

The Monday meeting will also “tie up details” of the July 9 potluck meeting.

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Wednesday, 06 June 2012 02:20

PUSH America rides into Jackson for Arc BBQ

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Amador County – For the 23rd time in as many years, the Arc of Amador and Calaveras counties welcomed bicycle tour riders from across the county to St. Sava Mission in Jackson as a fundraiser and awareness-raiser for people with developmental disabilities.

Mike Sweeney, executive director of Arc of Amador and Calaveras Counties made the 23rd trip of the PUSH America Journey of Hope his own special fundraiser, and his last project to operate for Arc as he closes a 23-and-a-half year career with Arc with a retirement effective at the end of June.

Sweeney also made it a personal farewell by riding with the PUSH America riders, all college students or graduates, and members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, which has been holing its PUSH America national fundraiser for 35 years, and its Journey of Hope for 25 years now.

Ricky Rascon of New Mexico, the PUSH America public relations road liaison, said he has been involved since riding the trip in 2009. Now he is a recent graduate and intern for the PUSH America project. He said the ride gives $1,000 back to the host community organizations who host the Friendship Visits, as Arc has done since Sweeney took over as executive director in 1989.

The Journey of Hope is made to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities by raising money and awareness in a 4,000-mile cycling event across the country, which started Sunday, June 3 when 30 Pi Kappa Phi riders left San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, and plan to end the trip Aug. 5 in Washington, D.C. Sweeney left San Francisco on Sunday with the group, but rode his own route and shorter schedules. He said he missed the rain on Monday and joined the riders Tuesday near Tonzi Road for the ride into Jackson.

PUSH publicist Ricky Rascon had this to say about the fundraiser. The 30 riders stopped to stage their descent into Jackson gathering at Vista Park on Highway 49, where Jackson City Councilmen Wayne Garibaldi and Keith Sweet and City Manager Mike Daly welcomed the group.

The team arrived at St. Sava Mission at about noon, met by participants of Arc of Amador and Calaveras Counties, which provides services to people with disabilities, including assisted living, working and travel. At 5 p.m., PUSH America riders were to be provided dinner by the Jackson Lion’s Club at Mel and Faye’s Diner.

Rascon, the traveling publicist, said three routes will be taken on the trek. A “TransAmerica” route of 30 riders left Seattle on May 31. The 27 north route riders left San Francisco on Sunday and arrived in Jackson on Tuesday, and the South Route riders, a group of 30 riders, will leave Los Angeles on June 11.

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Wednesday, 06 June 2012 02:22

Lone Wolf is Howling Again at Jackson Rancheria

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Amador County – On Monday, several dozen local dignitaries attended the celebratory opening of Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort’s signature restaurant, the Lone Wolf Restaurant & Lounge, located at the heart of the casino.

The exclusive reception at the new venue was an invitation to come and see why the Rancheria says the Lone Wolf Restaurant & Lounge is a “casual steakhouse with a flavor for all.”

Two weeks ago, May 22, the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort announced the reopening of their flagship restaurant the Lone Wolf Restaurant & Lounge. The restaurant is located upstairs in the Casino and features luxury and comfort combined with approachable entrees focused on local quality ingredients and precise execution.

The lounge opens daily at 4 p.m. with fine liqueurs and spirits plus a great variety of California wines. Food service is available seven days a week.

The restaurant opens at 5 p.m. and is closed Monday and Tuesday. It has both indoor and veranda seating. For reservations call 209-223-WOLF (9653) or visit

Lone Wolf is the third of five new restaurants opening at Jackson Rancheria this year. JoBo’s Junction coffee and pastry bar opened earlier this year offering specialty coffee drinks, fresh pastries, salads, sandwiches and more.

Also in May, the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort opened the Pacific Grill, a quick service restaurant offering Asian and American cuisine. Its Asian Grill portion opened May 30 offering Southeast Asian wok specialties, Vietnamese style grilled meat and rice bowls, dim sum, pho noodle bowls, and family style dishes like a half chicken fried or poached and whole fish steamed or fried.

The California Grill portion was to open today, that is Wednesday, June 6. The California Grill will be the new home of Uncle Bud’s burgers, garlic fries, Indian tacos and fry bread, sandwiches, salads and pizzas. The Pacific Grill will open daily at 11 a.m.

A fourth restaurant to open later this year at the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort will be the 24-hour Margaret’s Café & Bakery.

Located in the Sierra foothills town of Jackson, the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort is owned by the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians, a federally recognized Indian tribe.

A sovereign government, the Rancheria is dedicated to developing projects that not only enhance the tribe’s ability to remain self-reliant, but also reflect a commitment to be a good neighbor.

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort is located at 12222 New York Ranch Road in Jackson. For more information visit or call 800-822-WINN (9466).

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Amador County – The Department of the Interior announced last week two rulings for California tribes seeking casino trust lands, including the affirmative decision for the Ione Band of Miwok Indians’ pursuit of a casino land trust in Plymouth.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Donald “Del” Laverdure announced last week that the land was to be acquired in trust for gaming purposes under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act’s Equal Footing Exceptions.”

Laverdure said the Ione Miwoks’ “gaming application received a careful and thorough review, allowing us to determine that it met the stringent conditions set out” by the Act. He said the “Ione Band has demonstrated both a modern and historical connection to the lands it sought to have paced in federal trust, as well as reasonable temporal connection between the date the land is acquired and the date the tribe was restored to federal recognition status.”

He said the Ione Band has not held lands in trust by the U.S. government, but owns 40 acres of non-trrust land near Ione, used for residential purposes. Laverdure said in his decision announcement that the 750-member Ione Band “submitted an application in 2005 to have “228 acres of land acquired in trust for a Class 3 gaming operation near Plymouth.” He said in 2006, the Interior Department “determined that the Band constituted” a “restored tribe” and “that it’s application satisfied” the Gaming Act’s “restored lands exception” because it “had once been under federal jurisdiction but was effectively treated as a terminated tribe by the Department for many years.”

He noted that in 1994, the Interior Department “reaffirmed that the Ione Band of Miwok Indians was federally recognized, renewing the government-to-government relationship with the tribe.” The “action effectively restored the tribe for purposes under IGRA.” Laverdure said the Ione Miwoks’ decision “marks the first Indian gaming application completed under IGRA’s restored lands exception since September 2008.”

Laverdure also announced a decision to disqualify an application for the equal footing exception by the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of Lake County, California seeking a gaming facility near Richmond, 80 miles from tribal headquarters in Lakeport. The denial was made because the Scotts Valley Band “could not demonstrate it had a significant historical connection to the site.”

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Amador County – The Amador County Planning Department announced that the Airport Land Use Commission is holding an informational public workshop June 11 toward an update of its Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan.

The Commission is in the process of updating the Plan for Amador County’s Westover Field Airport. The Plan, originally adopted in 1987, is used by the County, Sutter Creek and Jackson when reviewing development proposals, including building permits. It is used for various consistency determinations such as building construction standards, population intensities, and height and land use restrictions.

Types of compatibility concerns addressed in the Plan are exposure to noise attributable to aircraft operations; annoyance and other general concerns arising from routine aircraft flight over a community; protection of people on the ground and in the air from accidents; and protection of airspace from flight hazards.

Hazard examples are building height, electrical interference, lighting, glare, smoke or other impairments to visibility. Another hazard is uses which attract birds and create bird strike hazards.

The Commission is holding an informational Public Workshop to review the criteria that apply to all existing and future development located within 5,000 feet (approximately 1 mile) in all directions from the airport runway.

The Workshop is 3-5 p.m. Monday, June 11 in Supervisors Chambers.

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Amador County – The Amador County Unified School District Board of Trustees heard a budget update last week that said figures are looking to be on target and the district could end the year with Nine-hundred-thousand dollars in reserves.

Tim Zearley, assistant Superintendent for business said with the “Basic Aid” revenue settlement from Amador County, some $500,000 dollars, the School District was headed toward finishing the fiscal year with a projected ending fund balance of $4.2 million dollars, and the equivalent of a 14 percent “basic aid reserve,” of $895,000 dollars.

Zearley said being a Basic Aid school district, Amador Unified is not subject to a midyear budget change, under the Governor’s May revise.

Also last week, the Board approved District policy toward revising the age criterion for admission into kindergarten or first grade, to meet new law, Senate Bill 1381 of 2010. The District approved the policy that will move the birth date that triggers enrollment eligibility one month each year between the 2012-2013 school year and the 2014-2015 school year.

For the current school year, a child had to be 5 years old by Dec. 2 of the school year to enter kindergarten and age 6 by that date to enter first grade. The policy change makes the date Nov. 1 of the school year for those birthdays, to enter those grades in the 2012-2013 school year. The date changes to Oct. 1 for the 2013-2014 school year, and Sept. 1 for the 2014-2015 school year, per the new policy.

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Amador County – The Ione Band of Miwok Indians last week announced that the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs had approved a fee-to-trust application by the tribe for 228 acres of land to build a casino in and around Plymouth in Amador County.

Tribal Chairwoman Yvonne Miller said the “Ione Band of Miwok, a federally-recognized indian tribal government, has been landless ever since their land was taken from them more than a century ago.”

Miller, in a release Friday, May 25 said that in the early 1900s, the United States government promised the Ione Band of Miwok Indians that it would restore its land base in Amador County. She said: “Today (May 25) the Ione Band was pleased to learn that the United States government has taken a giant step toward fulfilling that promise by issuing a notice of its decision to accept in trust 228 acres near Plymouth in response to the application of the Band.”

Miller said the Ione Band “has acquired rights to that land in order to have it held in trust by the United States for purposes of economic development of benefit to the Band and its members and their neighbors.”

Miller said “several generations of my people have waited for this day to come.” She said: “I am honored to stand in a long line of leaders who have worked hard to regain our land. And I am overwhelmed with joy as I tell our people we have come much closer to our promised land.”

She said “for generations we have welcomed others who have moved into areas next to these 228 acres and we have stood proudly with them in efforts to better our region. We look forward to working with our neighbors to make this trust land decision a win-win opportunity for jobs and economic growth for everyone in our community.”

The Department of the Interior announced the approval Friday, marking the start of a 30-day protest period on the decision to take the land into trust.

The project has been in the works in Plymouth since scoping sessions were held toward environmental documentation starting in 2004. A recall election removed three Plymouth City Council members from office in 2004 after they signed a Municipal Services Agreement with the tribe.

Miller said last week that the tribe is still planning to pursue its casino, which does not have a name because the project has been idle for so long. The project also includes a hotel, restaurants and other amenities.

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Amador County – The 25th annual Pi Kappa Phi Journey of Hope will ride into Jackson for the 23rd time next Tuesday, June 5 looking to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.

PUSH Journey of Hope publicist Paul Willar said a team of cyclists will arrive in Jackson as a stop on their 4,000-mile cycling event across the country to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities. The 25th Journey of Hope is presented by KRG Capital.

The team, which will include Arc Executive Director Mike Sweeney, will ride into Saint Sava Mission in Jackson to be greeted by Arc of Amador and Calaveras Counties for lunch and a Friendship Visit at noon on Tuesday, June 5. Sweeney said this is the 23rd time that Arc has hosted the PUSH riders, as many years as Sweeney has directed the organization. That evening at 5 p.m., dinner will be provided by the Jackson Lion’s Club at Mel and Faye’s Diner.

The Journey of Hope is a program of Push America, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, which raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities. The Journey of Hope team consists of men from Pi Kappa Phi chapters across the country. The team will cycle an average of 75 miles per day, beginning in San Francisco and ending in Washington, D.C., on August 5.

Riders take three routes, North, South and TransAmerica and at stops across the country, they will distribute grants directly to assist organizations in serving people with disabilities. Arc provides services to people with disabilities in Amador and Calaveras counties, including assisted living, work and travel.

Willar said for the touring team, “the real journey will not be on a bike, but spending time with the people for whom they are riding. The Journey of Hope team members will spend every afternoon with people with disabilities in many different community events and activities.”

Willar said: “These men are striving for community inclusion of people with disabilities and are helping to break the barriers of society that keep people of all abilities from living life to the fullest.”

This year marks Push America’s 35th anniversary and Journey of Hope’s 25th. The organization was founded in 1977 with the hope of committing its members to enhance the lives of people with disabilities.

With the combined efforts of sponsors and individual team members, this year’s Journey of Hope will raise more than $500,000 on behalf of people with disabilities. Push America and Pi Kappa Phi have raised more than $15 million dollars to date and continue to be on the cutting edge of the disability movement.

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Amador County – Amador High School’s Drama Club member Cecily Swason won the Rotary Club District speech contest in Nevada May 19, and a prize of $1,000.

Amador High drama advisor Giles Turner announced the award Tuesday, saying that Amador High senior Cecily Swason won the Rotary Club International District 5190 Speech Contest May 19 at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada.

Speaking with 11 other area winners, Swason, the Secretary of the Amador Drama Club took the $1,000 first place prize, speaking on this year’s topic, “Reach within to transform the world, one life, one family, one community at a time.”

Swason qualified for the District Finals by winning the Amador County speech competition held March 21 at the Amador Senior Center in Jackson. The daughter of Elizabeth and Steve Swason of Shenadoah Valley, Cecily Swason is also the president of Interact at Amador High and is bound for University of California at San Diego in the fall.

Two years ago, Caitlin Schaap of Amador High Drama also won the District Speech Contest and $1,000.

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