Sonora, CA -- Sonora Union High School Superintendent Dr. Mike McCoy expects to hear in the next few weeks about funding for the Dunlavy field track project.
In May 2011 Tuolumne County agreed to help the Sonora Union High School District apply for grant funding for facility improvements. The Board of Supervisors voted to aprove a request by Sonora High School to receive $4 million in Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program grant funds. The state Proposition 84 funding would be used to make improvements to the pool, Dunlavy Field Track, sport field entrances and Bev Barron Field which are also used by the Tuolumne Park and Recreation District.
Principal Todd Dearden has said that the track surface around the field continues to damage the artificial turf with dirt that is tracked in. The estimate for a new track is $300,000.
According to Dr. McCoy Sonora's artificial turf can last 8-10 years in dry and cool weather, but snow and ice do damage it. The seven year old artificial turf was funded in large part as part of NBC's "Three Wishes" reality TV show. FieldTurf, Nike and the American Soccer Federation covered nearly two-thirds of the $700,000 cost of installation. FieldTurf's foundation is a mix of silica sand, rubber granules and ground-up pieces of Nike athletic shoes. The field is groomed every year as recommended and will need replacing in the future.
Light snow will continue in the mountains on Thursday, at an elevation of 6500 through 7500 feet.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Sierra Nevada from late Thursday night through Saturday afternoon.
Up to a foot of snow accumulation is likely above 7500 feet by Friday morning.
From Friday through Saturday, several feet of snow is possible above 5000 through 6000 feet.
Snow levels could drop down into the Mother Lode foothills by Saturday morning.
Winds of twenty to forty-five mph are expected in the mountains, with gusts ranging from fifty to sixty mph.
For the latest road conditions, click http://www.mymotherlode.com/traffic
Washington DC - The Senate, by a strong bipartisan vote of 74-22, passed the Transportation Re-authorization Bill (S. 1813) today. An amendment to the bill re-authorizes the expired Secure Rural Schools Act that provided Tuolumne county with approximately $2 million to divide between schools and transportation.
According to the Associated Press the Senate bill authorizes $346 million in funding to 700 counties most of which goes to California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The funding represents a 5 percent reduction in the 2011 payments under the Secure Rural Schools Act and the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program.
The amendment is supported by Tuolumne County Superintendent of Public Schools Joe Silva. Silva says, "We would rather have something firm for one year that we know would be very helpful for the schools and for the roads in Tuolumne county and then we will renew our efforts for early year." Silva represents the rural counties in California as part of a national group called Partnership for a Rural America.
S.1813 is called "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century," known as MAP-21. It authorizes transportation funding through Sept. 30, 2013. The bill was Sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer and introduced November 2011, the full text of the bill is here. Transportation for America tracked 33 amendments; 13 passed, 15 failed and 5 were withdrawn.
This bill replaces current law that will expire on March 31st, the House is expected to pass a similar bill by that deadline.
San Andreas, CA -- The Calaveras County Supervisors voted to apply for a land-use and mobility planning grant for the Copperopolis region.
The county is requesting $200K from the Caltrans Community Based Transportation Grant program. The grant would help create a mobility plan designed to reduce vehicle traffic and create a "walkable community."
At the Supervisors meeting a handful of people came up to speak in opposition arguing that it could threaten property rights. Some also said it is tied to the United Nations "Agenda 21," which promotes the idea of "sustainable communities" and environmental causes. One specific group that came out in opposition was the Calaveras Taxpayers Association.
The Supervisors vote to request the grant was 5-0. Supervisor Tom Tryon, whose district now covers Copperopolis, likened the planning to what was carried out over the past several decades in Murphys.
If Calaveras County is selected to receive funding, the county would have to come up with a 10 percent match. The match could be in staff time and not necessarily a hard dollar amount. The Copperopolis region has long been considered an area prime for growth with the Town Square, Lake Tulloch, Saddle Creek Resort and other attractions.
Sonora, CA -- The Tuolumne Utilities District has approved a Memorandum of Understanding with CAL Fire regarding jobs performed by the Baseline Conservation Crews.
The state prisoners in the camps often perform maintenance and assist with projects for T.U.D. The state has decided it wants more of a firm agreement in place with various agencies moving forward because the livelihood of conservation camps is in jeopardy due to ongoing state budget cuts and prisoner realignment programs. In the past, the two agencies had what was described at the meeting as a "gentlemen's agreement," where both sides would help each other out with different projects.
The T.U.D. Board voted 5-0 to reimburse the Baseline Conservation Camp in the form of material goods or supplies equal to the sum of $200 per day, per crew, when they perform work. It also helps fund the CAL Fire Captain that is always onsite with the crews. T.U.D. Board members stated that this is a good deal for the District, and a way to keep expenses low during tough budget times.
Crews have been instrumental in helping T.U.D. over the winter months, notably with storm cleanup. During the summer months, baseline crews typically stay busy helping to suppress wildland fires in the region.
It's only the middle of March and this year the Calaveras Visitors Bureau (CVB) already has a number of major projects under its belt to attract new visitors to the County, including the 2012 Calaveras Activities Guide, a new website, attendance at several travel shows and more.
Lisa Mayo, Calaveras Visitors Bureau Executive Director, was Wednesday's KVML "Newsmaker of the Day".
The first major project this year was the 2012 Calaveras Activities Guide. The guide is produced annually and 75,000 copies are printed and distributed locally and abroad through mailings to prospective visitors, travel shows, via nearly 200 member businesses and through several partner organizations.
The second landmark project in 2012 was a brand-new website. The web address, http://www.GoCalaveras.com remains the same but there's a fresh new look with several added features including a blog, sample itineraries, video content and a members only page where local businesses can learn about CVB happenings and upcoming marketing opportunities, post job openings and more.
In mid-January the CVB exhibited at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show. Thousands of potential visitors were introduced to Calaveras County. The show hit a record number of attendees by 2:00 p.m. on the first day with over 16,000 people attending the show to that point. The CVB also attended the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show in February.
In early February, Mayo, attended the Go West Summit-a gathering of tour operators (buyers), travel media and suppliers. During the summit, Mayo met with 46 buyers during one-on-one appointments. The buyers are both domestic and international whose clients include small to large groups as well as independent travelers. Working to Calaveras' advantage, many buyers are looking for new destinations that offer adventure, food, wine and good value.
Other highlights for the county this year include well-deserved recognition from Lonely Planet, which named California Gold Country one of America's Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2012.
Tourism is on an upswing in Calaveras County and the outlook for continued growth in 2012 is positive. There were 200 more visitors through the Visitors Center doors in January 2012 than in January 2011. The CVB is funded in part by a portion of Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel tax) dollars, which continue to increase, also a key indicator of an upswing in tourism. TOT is paid by visitors when they stay in hotels. The portion that the CVB retains is reinvested in tourism promotion to create more new dollars coming into Calaveras County.
"Our goal is always to increase tourism. By increasing visitors by just one percent, we can add 21 jobs in Calaveras County and an additional $1.5 million dollars in local travel spending," stated Mayo. "In 2009 travel spending in Calaveras County was over $148 million," Mayo continued. "Tourism is big business!"
For more information about the Calaveras Visitors Bureau call 209-736-0049.
The "Newsmaker of the Day" is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.