Earlier this week, off duty Tuolumne County Deputy Robert Speers was fueling his personal car at Flyers gas station when he noticed a disturbance occurring between two drivers.
Both drivers were facing each other trying to get through the parking lot with inadequate room to pass. The driver of a lifted 4x4 truck, identified as 24 year old David Garcia of Sonora, began revving his engine at a woman in a small SUV.
When the SUV didn't move, Garcia backed up to allow her to pass while he brandished what appeared to be a stainless steel handgun at the driver.
Garcia attempted to cross Mono Way and drove towards Taco Bell. Deputy Speers ran after the truck showing his badge, and ordered Garcia to stop. Garcia complied and handed the gun to Deputy Speers.
The gun turned out to be an air soft gun that had been modified to appear real. Another occupant in Garcia's truck told Deputy Speers there were real guns in the back seat.
Deputy Speers borrowed a cell phone from a nearby witness and called for back up.
Garcia was arrested and charged with Brandishing a replica firearm, altering the appearance of a replica firearm, and possession of an open container.
Sonora, CA -- Three members of the Tuolumne Utilities District have officially been served recall notices.
Proponents hoping to recall members Barbara Balen, Robert Behee and Delbert Rotelli filed the needed 20 plus signatures to the Tuolumne County Elections Office, and also notified the board members directly about their intent to call for a special election.
Tuolumne County Elections Official Debi Russell says the T.U.D. board members now have seven days to file an appeal in writing. The next step would then be for the proponents to gather 5,600 signatures needed for a recall election.
The proponents that dropped off the papers to the Elections Office are Michael Sarno and John Richardson. The T.U.D. board members that are being targeted have come under scrutiny regarding potential rate increases that the district has discussed at recent meetings.
The proponents would have to return the 5,600 signatures (20 percent of the T.U.D. voting public) to the elections office within 120 days. The T.U.D. Board would then have to make a decision about which date to hold the special election. Russell notes that legally it would have to be after 88 days, and no later than 128 days.
Officials are moving closer to making numerous improvements to the Highway 12/26 intersection.
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors has a public hearing scheduled for April 10th to discuss the project, which has been under review for several years.
The project would make improvements to the existing four-way stop. Plans call for widening the traffic lanes, adding bike lanes, and creating a left turn pocket from westbound highway 12 onto southbound Highway 26. ADA ramps would be placed at all four corners of the intersection, and a short retaining wall may be built at the southwest quadrant. The goal of the project is to reduce traffic congestion and accidents at the intersection.
Up for debate on Tuesday will be whether to adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration, which is part of the environmental review process.
The project is expected to cost under $1 million dollars. Earlier plans were scrapped calling for a $4 million traffic signal.
Will the 2022 Winter Olympics be held in Northern California?
Separate committees in California and Nevada announced this morning that they will join forces in attempting to recruit the games to the Lake Tahoe region. The joint announcement was made by California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Nevada Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki. Lake Tahoe hosted the winter games back in 1960.
The Associated Press reports that Newsom stated that the Lake Tahoe Exploratory Committee will consist of resort executives, former Olympians, business leaders and an environmental leadership team. Other U.S. cities that have expressed an interest in hosting the 2022 games include Denver and Salt Lake City.
An ambulance is responding to a vehicle accident this morning in Calaveras County.
The CHP reports that a pickup truck has collided with a sedan on Highway 12 near Burson Road. The highway is temporarily blocked, so expect a delay in the area.
To view a map of the region, click here.
Updated at 9:30am: Highway 12 is open and minor injuries were reported.
What does Groveland, Mariposa, Oakhurst and Lee Vining all have in common?
All four communities are the major "gateway communities" into Yosemite National Park. This means that a person can not drive into the Park, without driving through one of these four communities.
Bob Asquith, President of the the Board for the Yosemite Gateway Partners, was Thursday's KVML "Newsmaker of the Day".
The not-for-profit organization was designed to foster communication between the Park and each of the four communities.
According to Asquith, the health of all of the gateway communities are of importance and interest to the Park.
The organization began about eight to ten years ago when the commuities complained that the Park operated like an island, with little or no communication with its immediate neighbors.
Now, there are four meetings held inside of the Park each year, that gives the chance for the community residents to interact with Park officials and communicate issues and concerns with each other.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday April 12th from 9am - 2pm, inside of the Yosemite Lodge. There is a fee for the lunch, but the Park entrance fee will be waived for those attending.
For more information, e-mail Asquith at email@example.com
Additionaly, Park officials must come up with a plan to limit the number of people who use the Merced River within the Yosemite Valley. The plan is needed because of a federal court order that declared all of the land within a quarter mile of the Merced River, as a "wild and scenic" federal designation.
Yosemite officials have come up with an initial draft document and alternatives that outline several ways that the Park can comply with the court order. One draft alternative would decrease the number of valley visitors by twenty-seven percent.
There will be a few public workshops to discuss the draft studies and proposals.
Groveland has just been added to the list. The workshop meeting will take place on April 18th from noon through 2pm inside of the Groveland Community Hall.
From the combined workshops, a draft study will be available for public comment before the end of this year. The submitted plan is due by the Summer of 2013.
Sunday morning, April 1st at about 2:20 am, Tuolumne County Sheriff's Dispatch received a call regarding two or three gunshots heard near the Columbia Motel.
When Deputies arrived they searched the area but did not find anyone injured. While searching, Deputy Paul Speers found what appeared to be a .45 caliber cartridge casing in a drainage ditch in front of room #44.
Around this time Deputies noticed a man later identified as 31 year old Sean O'Connor of Columbia, watching them from a window in the same room. O'Connor said that he heard the gunshots but told the Deputies the sound came from an adjacent field.
O'Connor and his wife, 30 year old Lisa O'Connor, both consented to a search of their room.
Inside of the room Deputies found eight handguns, several of them stolen, $620 in cash, 19.7 grams of tar heroin, hypodermic needles, scales, packaging materials and other paraphernalia consistent with drug sales.
The O'Connors were arrested and booked at Tuolumne County Jail.
Both were arrested about two weeks ago on charges of possession for sales, paraphernalia and stolen property, but had been released on their own recognizance pending trial. They are now facing at least five felony charges and several misdemeanors.