Sonora, CA -- Three people were taken away by ambulance this evening following a head-on crash on Highway 108.
It happened shortly before 5pm near the turnoff to Mono Way (behind Pet Smart). The CHP reports that at least two cars were involved in the accident. Two people were flown to hospitals outside the area, and one was taken to Sonora Regional Medical Center. The CHP reports that Highway 108 was closed down in both directions for a period of time, and re-opened at around 6:15pm. The names of those involved have not been released.
Murphys, CA -- Many organizers of the Murphys Irish Day festival are stepping down this year, which has led to questions about the future of the event.
Michelle Plotnik, 2012 Irish Day Coordinator, has written this letter to the public highlighting last month's festival, and looking ahead to the future. Here is a portion of the letter:
"As many of you know, 2012 is the last year for many of the Murphys Irish Day Planning Committee members. We won't be disappearing entirely but we will be stepping back to allow others to take on the major responsibilities for the event. We had really hoped that Mother Nature would bless us with one of those beautiful sunny days that we've seen so many of this winter. But it was not to be, and, for the first time ever, it actually rained on our parade, keeping many of our more weather sensitive entries at home. We certainly missed the horses, the beautiful antique cars and the bagpipers but we appreciated all those entries that did show up and smiled all the way down Main Street lead by St Patrick himself.
Despite the weather, our volunteers started checking in well before 6 am (and continued to check in all day long right on time), the vendors arrived and began setting up, the entertainers rolled in with equipment, the shuttles lined up and everything was ready to go by 10 am. To all of our amazement, the crowds began to arrive, the shuttles dropped off their folks parked out at Ironstone and we had to chase the final revelers off the street at 5 pm well after the event had been officially closed down at 3 pm due to snow. Speaking of snow....were those not the most big, beautiful snowflakes you have ever seen? They did shut down the event early but it was hard not to appreciate their beauty.
We, the Murphys Irish Day Planning Committee, want to express our sincere appreciation for everybody that helped make this event happen again this year.
We are hearing from folks asking what Irish Day will be like next year. We really don't know yet but we are confident that the show will go on. We heard from visitors and vendors all day long that Murphys is an amazing place with the nicest people. I actually heard from one vendor "why do people keep apologizing to me for the weather...you can't control the weather." Another vendor comment was "I want to be mad at somebody but everybody here is too nice."
Thank you again to everybody and congratulations to the Irish Day Grand Prize Winner of the Trip to Ireland, Michael McMillin of Merced, California."
-Michelle Plotnik-2012 Irish Day Coordinator
Have you ever looked at a drop of water under a microscope? From a seemingly clear little orb of liquid emerges a whole world teeming with life: cells of plant matter, protozoa, insect larvae and other life forms vie for existence. In this one drop is reflected the whole pond, with its fish and plants; and in this pond is reflected the entire garden which, in turn, is a microcosm of Nature as a whole. The pond has an impact on your garden just as your garden has an impact on the environment. Keeping your pond healthy, clean and weed free ensures that your garden and the environment around you are benefitting from its existence.
The most important decision about a pond is what to put in it. But before you put anything in the water, think about its effect on the environment. If you plant invasive plants, even though you won't necessarily be able to see it for yourself, you will be threatening the hills and streams in Tuolumne County, and California waterways, as well.
A major misconception about pond plants is that, since they are contained within the pond, they can't escape to propagate anywhere outside. But remember that these plants flower and have pollen; seeds can be carried by the wind, visiting insects, and birds out into the streams and hills of the Sierra Nevada. Unfortunately, some of the invasive plants like parrots feather (Myriophyllum spicatum), water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), watercress (Rorippa nasturtium) and yellow iris (Iris pseudoacorus) to name a few, are readily sold in local nurseries and water garden stores because they are pretty.
Water hyacinth, especially, is deadly to lakes and streams because it proliferates and clogs the surface, cutting off sunlight and oxygen and killing the life beneath. It is illegal to bring this plant across state lines and it is illegal altogether in Texas and Florida. There are numerous native and non-invasive plants to put into the pond that are just as pretty and will make a safe, lovely environment for birds, fish, and the myriad critters who visit your garden.
Choose blue flag iris (Iris missouriensis) for example. The flowers range from white to blue to lavender. For a list of native aquatic plants, try the Internet. The California Invasive Plant Council http://cal-ipc.org/ (search aquatic plants) is an excellent resource for picking out what to plant in your pond.
When stocking a pond with fish, many new pond keepers tend to overstock. This results in a nitrogen cycle mismanagement that can kill off part of the fish population. It is best to introduce the fish a few at a time, a few days apart so they can acclimate. Since goldfish and koi (nishiki-goi) reproduce readily, it is better to have fewer fish. A good rule of thumb is an inch of fish to seven gallons of pond water. A pH level of 6.6 to 8.4 is safe. If it becomes necessary to adjust the pH it should be done gradually as a sudden pH change can kill fish.
Although fish cannot be spread on the wind, they are also invasive if dumped into lakes or waterways. If you want to get rid of a fish, give it to another pond owner or to someone with an aquarium. The common goldfish is invasive if let out into streams or lakes. They are copious eaters and prolific breeders and can take over a lake in very little time.
There is nothing more restful in the garden than the sound of water rippling merrily over beautiful fish and flowers. There is nothing more beautiful than the garden reflected in the water. And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing your impact on the environment is a positive one.
Francie McGowan is a Tuolumne County Master Gardener who thoroughly enjoys her high elevation garden and pond.