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Thursday, 03 April 2008 00:20

Will Gas Prices Break $4 A Gallon?

slide23.pngGasoline prices in California are on the rise again after subsiding for a couple of weeks, but a leading consultant is backing away from an earlier prediction that the average price in California will hit $4 this spring. The statewide average did hit an average $3.65 a gallon Wednesday, according to AAA. The Sacramento and Amador areas paid $3.65 as well, also a record for the region.

The most expensive gas, among the 25 California markets surveyed daily by AAA, was found in San Francisco and San Luis Obispo: $3.78 a gallon on average. Consultant David Hackett, of Stillwater Associates in Irvine, said gas prices continue to be hostage to the cost of crude oil. The price of crude oil had dipped to around $100 a barrel, leading to a pause in gas prices, but is now going back up again. He noted that California's gas consumption continues to fall, which also takes the edge of prices. Gas sales fell nine-tenths of a percent in 2007, and 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Thursday, 28 February 2008 03:17

“Doomsday” Seed Vault

Dooms Day VaultThis week sees the formal opening of a vault designed to protect and preserve samples of valuable seeds from around the world. The "Doomsday" vault in Svalbard, Norway can store more than four million batches of seeds, including the world's major crop varieties. Although the vault cut into the side of a mountain is dubbed “Doomsday”, Norwegian scientists described it more as a "backup collection" in case some of the world's 1,400 gene banks are destroyed, anticipating any potentially disastrous situations in the earth’s future. The vault is located in a highly secured, mile deep tunnel on a remote island near the North pole.



Monday, 06 August 2007 03:32

Global Warming Seminar Offers Information

slide16On Friday night, at the Amador Senior Center, A Global Warming Seminar was held. Dr. Frank Axe, who holds a Doctorate in Chemistry and is an interim Prof. at both the University of the Pacific and San Joaquin Delta College, and Jerry Scott, a local concerned citizen presented the seminar and illustrated the subject in such a way that was easily understood by the audience. The seminar was based entirely on scientific explanation and study, and was kept non political.

Sunday, 22 April 2007 23:29

Ban of "Partial Birth Abortion"

slide32The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision released Wednesday, has reversed two lower court rulings and upheld a law passed by the former Republican-controlled Congress that bans a specific method for late-term abortions called “Partial Birth Abortion”. According to experts this decision has political repercussions and delivered an immediate political boost to pro life groups as well as bringing the issue to the forefront for Democratic presidential hopefuls. "This isn't really an abortion issue," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, as she walked the Capitol on Friday. "That is what really saddens me about what the justices said. "This is about a procedure that any parent would want her daughter to have access to if she needed it. And to frame it as an abortion issue is doing a disservice to medicine and to our young women and our country. So I hope we can get the focus back on the fact that this Supreme Court is deciding what medical procedures are necessary for childbearing women." 
Tuesday, 17 April 2007 00:46

Mass Shooting at Virginia Tech

slide37Yesterday’s horror at Virginia Tech, now the worst school massacre in US history killed thirty-two people, along with a gunman, and injured at least 15 in the two shooting attacks. police and witnesses said some victims were executed with handguns while other students were hurt jumping from upper-story windows of the classroom building where most of the killings occurred. After the second round of killings, the gunman killed himself, the police said.
Monday, 05 May 2008 02:19

ACPC’s Container Issues

slide12.pngThe Amador County Planning Commission has announced they will hold two public hearings May 20 related to amendments to Title 19 of the Amador County Code. On May 16, 2006, the code was amended to include regulations relating to sea-land storage containers to encourage appropriate locations and uses for such containers and protect the visual quality of the county.  Since the adoption of the ordinance, existing and potential situations have surfaced that suggested the ordinance may need to be updated. Because this matter has proven to be of great interest and concern to the community, the planning commission invites all interested persons to attend and participate in the public hearing. The meeting is seen as another opportunity for the public to voice concerns and offer possible solutions to the issues regarding the use of sea-land storage containers.

The second item is intended as a public workshop, but may result in a public hearing if the commission feels prepared to make a recommendation on the matter to the board of supervisors.  Staff will present a proposed new county code to establish a design review process and associated standards for development of commercial, high-density multi-family residential and manufacturing zone districts.  In other words, the design guidelines are intended to provide project developers and property owners with an understanding of Amador County’s goals for aesthetically compatible and appropriate development projects that fit the unique and storied character of Amador County.  The hearings will be held at the County Administration Center's Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 810 Court Street in Jackson. The hearings are scheduled for 7 p.m. or as soon thereafter as can be heard.  Copies of both proposals are available on the planning department's Web site at or by contacting the department at 223-6380. Anyone unable to attend but wishing to comment on either of these items may submit written statements to the Planning Commission.

Monday, 07 April 2008 01:03

CDC’s Shocking Child Abuse Stats

slide17.jpgA new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed close to one in 50 infants in the country were victims of child abuse or neglect in their first year. The study found that infant child abuse is far more common than many people think. “Child abuse can result in long term depression and mental health issues. Child abuse affects us all,” says Robin Valencia, Program Coordinator for the Amador County Child Abuse Prevention Council.


The CDC study focused on non-fatal abuse, and found that nearly 30,000 infants in the country were abused or neglected in their first week of life. More than 90,000 were abused or neglected before their second birthday. Experts said alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, and mental illness may contribute to abuse of children, and that it's passed from generation to generation. Another factor is a general lack of knowledge about child care. Information for the CDC study came from a national database of cases reported from 2005 and 2006.


It covered 45 states, Washington D.C and Puerto Rico. Another recent study by Prevent Child Abuse America, or PCAA, estimates that the direct cost of child abuse and neglect in the US is $94 billion annually. PCAA did not take into account indirect factors, such as the provision of Welfare benefits to adults whose economic condition is a direct result of the abuse and neglect they suffered as children.

Friday, 04 April 2008 01:05

High Speed Progress

slide25.jpgIt’s been an on-again, off-again measure on the state ballot, but backers of a high speed rail project in California say this November voters will decide once and for all whether to approve billions in bond funds. The high speed train proposed for California could run at speeds of over 200 miles per hour and would eventually go from San Diego to San Francisco. The bond to help fund it had been scheduled to appear on two previous ballots—in 2004 and 2006.  Although the vote has been delayed in part over concerns about the state’s fiscal condition, members of the California High Speed Rail Authority say this is the year.

David Crane, an advisor to the Governor and Authority board member, says the majority of funding - almost ten billion dollars—will come from the state bond if approved. “The balance will come from the federal government and the private sector and the local sector—in many segments there’s a lot of local activity,” says Crane. But the bond also has its critics. Legislation introduced in the state Assembly addresses some concerns raised by Governor Schwarzenegger.  The Governor would require that areas whose rail segments need the smallest amount of bond funds be given priority. Others question whether the train will really attract enough riders to sustain it. Over the next several months, supporters will form a committee to run the campaign.  They say if approved, the project would be on-line by the year 2020.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007 00:22

Immigation Debate

slide33According to the LA Times leading Republican senators on both sides of the immigration debate said Sunday that they would work together to modify the bipartisan legislation being considered in the Senate. Initially, some conservative Republicans condemned what has been referred to as the "grand bargain" on immigration that emerged this month. The controversial piece of legislation would increase border security and employer based workplace enforcement of immigration laws. These concepts are long favored by Republicans, and in exchange the Democrats could then deliver on their promise to offer legal status to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants and create guest worker programs.
slide15The ARC of Amador and Calaveras is going green and the managing board of the organization has voted to purchase and install a21kW SolarStar® Electrical Energy System from Renewable Technologies, Inc. for their building at 75 Academy Drive. The Arc of Amador and Calaveras now joins businesses like Jon’s Pit Stop and the Amador County Fair, who have already gone “Green”. The SolarStar® Electrical Energy System for the Arc will use the combined power of 141 SolarWorld 175W PV panels to run 3 SMA America SB7000US power inverters.