News Archive

News Archive (6192)


Amador County – Amador High School’s Drama Club member Cecily Swanson 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 Swanson 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, Swanson, 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.”

Swanson 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 Swanson of Shenadoah Valley, Cecily Swanson 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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Wednesday, 30 May 2012 02:24

Amador County diverts 70% from landfills

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Amador County – The Amador County Integrated Waste Management joint power authority is hoping that a new state commercial and multifamily recycling mandate will help meet a mandate requiring the diversion of 75 percent of waste headed to landfills by 2020.

Amador County Waste Management Director Jim McHargue said the second component of AB341, which takes effect July 1, is a requirement that the state meet a mandatory 75 percent diversion or recycling rate of all waste by Jan. 1, 2020. 

McHargue said current state law requires 50 percent diversion of material from the waste flow and AB 341 does change things significantly. It requires a statewide goal of 75 percent diversion. The current 50 percent diversion must be met individually by every city and state, McHargue said, but the 75 percent mandate is not required of the individual entities, but rather it will be required state wide.

He said the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will be in charge of monitoring the 75 percent diversion. McHargue said now, a pounds per, person per day analysis looks at the amount of weight in pounds each person disposes of per day and compares that baseline number to see that cities and counties meet the 50 percent requirement.

McHArgue said ACES Waste Service, Amador County and the five cities in the county have been involved in AB939, which requires 50 percent statewide diversion of waste. His focus has been monitoring that data. McHargue said in 2011, Amador County was approximately at a 70 percent rate of diverting waste from landfills and into recycling.

He said “really the hope is that maybe this additional commercial recycling may in fact put us up and over that 75 percent number.”

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Amador County – Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency announced that applications are now available for the 2012 Back-Pack 2 School program.

Ruthella Turner coordinator of A-TCAA’s Resource Center and Independent Living Program said that the 2012 Back-Pack 2 School Applications are available. She said the Back-Pack 2 School Project provides backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies for students in Amador County going into Kindergarten through 12th grades.

Turner said: “With the direct support of the community, these students receive the basic school supplies that they need to start the school year out well.” Applications are available at A-TCAA, Interfaith Food Bank, Camanche Lake Community Center, Upcountry Community Center and Generation Life Church until June 15. 

Turner said “together, we can make a difference.” The project is in its sixth year, and it is being sponsored by A-TCAA’s Camanche Lake and Upcountry Community Centers and the Generation Life Church.

Turner said the county-wide project which provides backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies for children whose families are financially stressed. She said: “Without the generosity of local individuals, businesses, and community organizations, many families would struggle to provide these much needed supplies.”

People can help by purchasing items and bringing them to one of three sponsoring organizations. The project cannot guarantee that all applicants will receive backpacks and supplies. If people would like to sponsor a student, Turner asked them to call Camanche Community Center at 763-2794; Generation Life Church at 267-9198; or Upcountry Community Center at 296-2785.

Upcountry Community Center is at 19386 Highway 88 in Pine Grove. Camanche Community Center is at 4419 Camanche Parkway North. Generation Life Church is at 125 Academy Drive in Sutter Creek.

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Amador County – Amador County and city officials have been working with ACES Waste Service to prepare for a mandated recycling law that takes affect July 1 and will affect 170 businesses in the county.

AB341 by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro of Santa Rosa will require recycling to be done by any commercial business that generates more than four cubic yards of waste per week or any apartment complex or multi-family housing business that has five units or more. Amador Waste Management Director Jim McHargue said it requires recycling from five or more unit-businesses, but a “four-plex would not require it.”

Amador County Integrated Waste Management Regional Agency, made up of one elected official from each city, and two Supervisors, formed an ad hoc committee and has been working with ACES to come up with a solution. McHargue said the work has found a solution, and any business that falls within the requirements will be provided with a 96-gallon cart for their recycling and if they need other carts, they will be provided at a reduced cost. The 96-gallon cart is the largest of rolling carts.

McHargue said they seek to comply with regulations and at same time not require undue financial burdens. Some businesses are already complying. The state is mandating that these businesses are to recycle. They want to not put a whole lot of unnecessary financial burden on businesses, and a lot of businesses are having financial trouble.

The program will be evaluated in six months to see that it is meeting requirements. Businesses will be evaluated. McHargue said: “We think that with the program that we develop, we will be able to assist all of the businesses that must comply.” The good thing is that it has a good degree of flexibility, and this mandate does not specify what particular items need to be recycled or what amounts need to be recycled.

McHargue said so far, we’re looking at about somewhere around 170 businesses that will be triggered by the recycling mandate, but at least 50 already have recycling taking place. There are a significant number of smaller businesses that would not meet the threshold and would not have the requirements apply.

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Wednesday, 30 May 2012 02:32

Jackson Rancheria Parks Project shifts to Volcano

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Amador County – Adam Dalton on Tuesday spoke about his dream to give back to Amador County by fixing the ball fields for the children.

The Jackson Rancheria Park & Field Restoration Project began with the Mollie Joyce Park baseball fields, where they had 90 people come out and volunteer to work. The outpouring of community support and volunteers inspired the family. Dalton said the county has given a lot to the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians and the Restoration Project has set out to fix the parks.

Dalton said people can come and volunteer, and get fed by the people of Volcano, or his brother, Dennis Dalton. Dennis brings his barbecue and cooks and feeds workers in Volcano Community Hall.

Volunteers have painted the public restrooms, Volcano Amphitheater, and the Volcano Post Office exterior. They will install new bathroom amenities, and have put in new park benches and will re-stripe the Post Office parking lot. Adam Dalton said Volcano is a park, and needed work. They put in wine barrel planters, and plan to have a chainsaw artist come and carve a bear from the burl of the tree on Main Street that was to be removed.

Dalton will also work on properties owned by Sharon Lungren, who was a partner in donating heavy equipment at Mollie Joyce. Dalton said they will work on renovating the interior of her Saint George Hotel and also build a rock garden patio behind the cafe at Main and Consolation streets.

Dennis Dalton talked about the project and invited volunteers and donors to Volcano to help. Adam Dalton said Tuesday that after completion of work at Volcano, and depending on volunteers and donations, the Jackson Rancheria Parks Restoration Project will next go to work with volunteers at Lions Park on Volcano-Sutter Creek Road. He hopes to put in some professional horseshoe pits, and refurbish it to be a place to hold weddings.

After that, also depending on volunteers and donations, the project will work in Plymouth. And after that, baseball season should be over, Adam Dalton said, and they plan to go to Jackson and Detert Park, his hometown, to refurbish the field. It all depends on volunteers and donations from those areas, he said, and as long as people support it, it will continue.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012 01:26

Supervisor Forster speaks to legislature on fire fees

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Amador County – Amador County Supervisor Vice Chairman Richard Forster appeared in Sacramento in support of legislation that would help the county, including a bill that would eliminate the State Responsibility Area “Fire Fee.”

Forster was scheduled to appear Friday, May 25 to represent the Regional Council of Rural Counties Board of Directors in support of Assembly bills regarding State Responsibility Area funds.

Forster and RCRC staff Cyndi Hillery, Paul Smith, and Staci Heaton, were to address the Assembly Appropriations Committee which was to hear two bills regarding State Responsibility Area Fees.

RCRC’s Jehan Flagg said Assembly Bill 2474 by Arcata Democrat Wes Chesbro “attempts to resolve some of the inequities in which fire prevention fees are imposed on structure owners” in the SRAs. And Assembly Bill 1506 by Riverside Republican Kevin Jeffries “repeals recently instituted fees on structure owners located within the SRA, commonly referred to as the ‘fire fee’.”

Flagg said: “People living in rural counties already pay for fire service. Rural counties believe these additional SRA fees are inequitable, result in double and triple taxation and don’t provide any additional benefit. Also, Cal FIRE’s most expensive activities are for fire suppression in highly urbanized areas, not rural areas.”

The “SRA fees jeopardize fire and/or disaster management responses between the State, emergency responders and local governments,” Flagg said.

Forster, chairman of the RCRC board’s regulatory committee, also testified on behalf of RCRC and member counties May 16 in San Diego during the San Diego implementation hearing of the California Board of Forestry. He told them “RCRC has opposed SRA fees throughout this process, and we remain opposed,” and he encouraged repeal of the Assembly Bill 29X, which created the Fire Fee. AB 29X was a legislative budget trailer bill, which was passed in 2011 and is being implemented by regulations at the California Board of Forestry, due to the directive from the Legislature in AB 29X.

Flagg said “the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the California Board of Equalization said they need to hire more staff to administer SRA fees.” AB 1506 would completely repeal SRA fees.

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Amador County – Amador County Supervisor Vice Chairman Richard Forster and Supervisor John Plasse testified in Sacramento last week in support of a portion of the governor’s budget bill to restore county “triple flip” funding, as the rider passed through appropriations subcommittees in the Senate and Assembly.

Plasse said Forster testified before the Assembly Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday in support of a portion of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget that would restore $1.4 million to Amador County and its incorporated cities, in the form of “triple flip” funds that were used beginning in 2004 to replace Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund. Those funds were lost when Amador County Unified School District last year declared itself a “Basic Aid” district.

The Governor’s budget included language to restore that funding to Amador County, now the only county affected by being Basic Aid, because it is the only county with only one school district and no community college. Mono County was also affected, but will not be affected in the coming year. Plasse said Amador County hired Mono County’s lobbyist to continue lobbying for the budget fix for Amador.

Supervisors paid a settlement to the School District this year over a suit seeking further ERAF funds. The county paid $500,000 to settle the suit.

Plasse said he and County Administrative Officer Chuck Iley attended the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday and testified, before that panel also passed the Brown budget item for the ERAF funds. Iley last week said he expected the Legislature to go the same way as the subcommittee decided the issue.

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Amador County – The Jackson City Council directed staff to work on a draft ordinance for possible exemptions to the city sign code for sign manufacturers Monday.

Kam Merzlak, of Merzlak Signs sought clarification from Mayor Pat Crew on whether signs he was working on at his shop violated new city code, approved in March. City Manager Mike Daly in a letter to Merzlak said political signs that were larger than 16 square feet would violate the new code. Merzlak was worried he could be affected when working on 32 square foot signs as allowed in unincorporated areas of the county.

Bret Lewis said: “I flew in from Alabama just to attend today.” He learned to be an entrepreneur from Ralph Merzlak, and is a professional hand-letterer of signs, which he said is a “forgotten art.” He said it takes three days for primer to dry. Multiple layers of oil paint need three days to dry and you cannot paint over wet paint.

He said 20-year-old signs painted by Ralph Merzlak are still up in Jackson: “You guys are passionate about council seats. I’m passionate about hand-painted signs.” He encouraged the council to allow sign shops not to be required to comply with the sign ordinance if they are working on a sign.

Councilman Keith Sweet thought there was a compromise, and he asked why Kam Merzlak had not met with the city attorney in the 18 months since the complaint first occurred. Sweet said they weren’t talking about whether a sign maker makes a sign, “we’re talking about temporary signs identified as political signs.” He asked: “When is it not his work product and when does it become the property of the customer?”

Jeff Aaron, counsel for the California Sign Makers’ Association said in his opinion, it belonged to the manufacturer until it was paid for. Sweet said Merzlak Signs allowed him to display his political sign at the corner, after his purchase. He did it, and his opponent did it. 

Sweet said: “I took advantage of it” but “it is not right in offering it.” He said it was a business practice they had been doing since 1992. Aaron said “it’s a sticky thicket” all around California.

Kam Merzlak said “there is a rule at our shop. The sign is not paid for until it is picked up,” unless the customer has taken a “managerial” position and changed that. Merzlak said drying is part of working.

Sharon Merzlak said she has been in the business 30 years. They also leave signs outside for people to pick up. And she said since John Begovich was in office, he clued in everyone on the shop’s policy.

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Amador County – The 131st Annual Italian Picnic and Parade is set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 1,2 and 3 at the Italian Picnic Grounds on Sutter Hill, Sutter Creek. 

Lisa Klosowski, director of the Sutter Creek Visitor Center gave a notice of the coming events. She said “this event will send you back 100 years in time, to a simpler, less stressful life where old fashioned fun is what it is about.”

Klosowski said since 1882, the Italian Benevolent Society has hosted its Italian Picnic and Parade on the first Sunday in June down Old State Highway 49. The picnic includes an All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti and Chicken Feed Saturday night.

A carnival, live band, dancing, and Bocce Ball for a buck. Friday night is kids’ night and Saturday is a 6 p.m. Italian dinner. The Italian Picnic Parade begins 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 3 in Sutter Creek, an old fashioned, huge parade. A Bocce Tournament is Sunday afternoon.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012 01:24

Jackson Rancheria to open Pacific Grill on May 30

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Amador County – The exciting summer of new restaurants at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort continues with the scheduled opening of the Pacific Grill, and specialty grills that celebrates cuisine on two sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific Grill is a combination of two venues. More than a food court, it features the culmination of cultures from both sides of the Pacific Ocean in a quick serve setting with a shared seating area.

The Asian Grill portion, scheduled to open Wednesday, May 30, will offer 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, set to open June 6, will be the new home of Uncle Bud’s burgers, garlic fries, Indian tacos and fry bread, sandwiches, salads, and great pizzas. The Pacific Grill will open daily at 11 a.m.

Pacific Grill is the fourth of five new restaurants opening at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort this year. Casino guests are already enjoying JoBo’s Junction, a coffee and pastry bar, the new Rancheria Buffet and the return of Lone Wolf Restaurant & Lounge. Next to open will be the 24 hour Margaret’s Café & Bakery later this year.

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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