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Monday, 31 March 2008 01:04

National Library Week

slide27.jpgThis week is National Library Week, a time meant to celebrate the contributions of libraries, librarians and library workers in schools, campuses and communities nationwide. The Amador County Library is celebrating National Library Week by encouraging visitors to discover the many electronic resources the library offers, learn about the library's online book clubs, and tour the main library and see the many changes that have been made. Any child signing up for a new library card this week will receive a special prize. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. For more information, call 223-6402 or stop by the Amador County Library.
Tuesday, 31 July 2007 00:44

Some Relief At The Pumps

slide21Good news at the gas pumps. U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell 17 cents per gallon as Midwest refiners recovered from recent difficulties and produced more gas, according to an industry analyst. The national average for self-serve, regular, unleaded gas was nearly $2.8843 a gallon on July 27, down from the July 13 level of $3.0577, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations. Gas prices have tumbled nearly 30 cents a gallon since reaching an all-time U.S. high average on May 18 of $3.1827. "It's unlikely we'll see a large drop again in average pump prices in the near future," Trilby Lundberg said. Crude oil prices are rising and the summer driving season still has a month to go, both of which should prevent gas prices from falling much further, Lundberg said. At $3.29 a gallon, Chicago had the highest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas, while the lowest average price was $2.65 a gallon in Cleveland, Ohio.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 02:17

Food Rationing Hits Home

slide18.pngIn national news, many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks. At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, California yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy. “Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases based on your prior purchasing history,” a sign above the dwindling supply said.

slide20.pngAn employee at the Costco store in Queens New York said there were no restrictions on rice buying, but limits were being imposed on purchases of oil and flour. Internet postings attributed some of the shortage at the retail level to bakery owners who flocked to warehouse stores when the price of flour from commercial suppliers doubled. The curbs and shortages are being tracked with concern by survivalists who view the phenomenon as a harbinger of more serious trouble to come. Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of a new contract for foreign rice sales. At the moment, large chain retailers seem more prone to shortages and limits than do smaller chains and mom-and-pop stores, perhaps because store managers at the larger companies have less discretion to increase prices locally. For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags.

Monday, 31 March 2008 01:11

Return Of The Wolverine

slide24.jpgTwo more photographs of a wolverine lurking in the Tahoe National Forest were released Monday, extinguishing all doubt that the elusive predator exists in the wilds of California. The wolverine pictures, taken from remote digital cameras by U.S. Forest Service researchers, mean the muscular carnivore with the almond-colored stripe has either avoided detection for three-quarters of a century or returned to the state after an epic journey. An earlier image of what may be the same wolverine was captured inadvertently on February 28 by a graduate student doing research on the wolverine's weasel family relative, the marten, and set off a near frenzy among scientists and wildlife experts.

The latest pictures, taken March 13, show the front of a wolverine that researchers believe is the same animal. Researchers, biologists and volunteers have fanned out over 155 square miles from the spot where the photo was taken in the forest north of Truckee, hunting for genetic material. The wolverine, which had not been documented in the Sierra since 1922, was believed by many to have vanished from California. Researchers say the animal either migrated across an enormous distance or it's part of a small group of native wolverines that somehow evaded detection for the better part of a century.

slide26.jpgThe North American wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family, with adults weighing as much as 45 pounds. Remarkably strong, with powerful jaws, wolverines have been known to kill much larger prey, but in North America they are mostly scavengers. Wolverines were once fairly common throughout the northern regions of the United States, but they are now found mainly in the Northern Cascades in Washington, the Northern Rockies in Montana and Idaho, and in Alaska.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008 00:35

Tax Collector’s Sale

GasonlineThe County has announced its next Amador County Tax Collector's sale of tax-defaulted property is scheduled for Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at 10:00 am, in the Board of Supervisors' Chambers. The parcels shown on the Public Auction Property Listing will be offered for sale at public auction by the Tax Collector. The right of redemption on any parcel expires at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Parcels which have been redeemed or withdrawn will be removed from the sale.
Friday, 02 May 2008 01:52

Gardening For The Hungry

slide6.pngLocal gardeners from Amador and Calaveras county are now utilizing their skills to benefit others. Gardeners ranging from expert to amateur are working together with the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency food bank, or ATCAA, by donating home grown produce to help curb a rising number of hungry and homeless. The idea is so simple it’s almost ingenious. "When you're out there putting out your garden, put in an extra row," said Lee Kimball, food bank director.

The effects of our current economic downturn have hit home, and the food bank representatives believe that personal contributions begin in your own backyard. The food bank can not take complete credit for the idea. The Plant-a-Row program is mentioned in the popular book, “Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul”.

slide7.pngKimball thought it was a great idea and immediately went to work implementing the program locally. Additionally, people with chickens are encouraged to donate their extra eggs to supply more protein fortified contributions. In 2007, the ATCAA food bank was only able to provide an average of 2.25 pounds of food per person per month, Kimball said. They served an average of 11,000 people per month. Master gardeners will be available to answer questions and offer advice to people interested in participating. The food bank asks that all interested gardeners sign up by calling 984-3960. For more information on Plant-A-Row for the Hungry, visit

Wednesday, 02 April 2008 04:44

2 Weeks Until Tax Day

slide12.jpgWith two weeks to go before tax day, state Controller John Chiang is urging Californians who haven't yet completed their tax returns to visit the Web site of the Franchise Tax Board. Chiang says a completed tax return might be waiting for you. The tax board has automatically completed returns for roughly 250,000 residents who were single, had no dependents and had only one employer last year. Taxpayers can accept the return, make changes or disregard it. The so-called "ReadyReturn" was one of several tips Chiang outlined for last-minute filers. Last year, more than two-thirds of all California taxpayers received state refunds of more than $850, Chiang said.
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 00:43

Gas Prices Jump Even Higher

GasonlineThe national average price for gasoline jumped 16 cents over the last two weeks, according to a survey released Sunday. The average price of self-serve regular gasoline on Friday was $3.10 a gallon, mid-grade was $3.22 and premium was $3.33, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 stations nationwide. Of the cities surveyed, the cheapest price was in Phoenix, where a gallon of regular cost $2.87, on average.

GasonlineThe highest was in Honolulu at $3.37. Gasoline prices have risen sharply nationwide in recent days in response to oil's dramatic climb to a new record above $101 a barrel, leaving many analysts believing gas prices will rise this spring to new records near $3.75 or $4 a gallon this spring. Sacramento gas prices averaged $3.35 a gallon Sunday, according to AAA. That's up from $3.15 a month ago. Prices are similar in Stockton. In Modesto, gas was $3.30 a gallon on average and just below that in Amador County. The state's highest prices were in San Francisco where gas was going for $3.61 a gallon, on average. It was cheapest in Orange County where it was selling for $3.25 a gallon.


ABC contributed to this story

slide31California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced a new program yesterday that will provide consumers with a “report card” for Preferred Provider Health care plans. Poisner announced that California's six largest Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) have agreed to initiate quality of care measures, including accreditation by nationally recognized institutions. They have also agreed to provide information for the Commissioner's effort to create a Health Insurance Report Card for California consumers.
slide34 Election officials across the state are expressing concern after a directive from the California Secretary of State’s office was issued Friday night. The directive from Secretary of State Debra Bowen now requires increased security on electronic voting systems. Election officials are warning that this could cost counties millions of dollars, lead to long lines at the polls and delay California's results in next year's presidential primary.
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