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Keeping It Local

The Rim Fire, the government shutdown, a lack of snow and the continuation of drought conditions – just one of these events is enough to generate concern. To have them all happen in such a compressed time frame has created a difficult challenge for all of us.

As we make the turn from winter into spring, it’s an opportune time to consider the events we have been through and how we may be able to help ourselves and our neighbors as we look ahead. Tuolumne County’s residents and businesses have faced off against challenges like these before, so I know that we are up to it. Let me offer three suggestions based upon my almost 58 years as a County resident:

Shop Local – My friends at the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce and at all of the local community chambers emphasize the idea to “Shop Local” all of the time. Never has it been more important. Our business community has to be feeling a little shell shocked after the events of the past several months, especially when still trying to recover from the Great Recession. By keeping your spendable dollars at home and supporting local business, you can help to find a path through the challenge.

By shopping local, sales tax dollars also stay local, which helps pay for the law enforcement, fire and public works services that we all depend on. Before you make that online purchase or go to the valley, ask whether it is something that can be purchased locally.

Conserve Local – If conservation is the wise use of our resources, then all conservation begins at home. The Board of Directors and staff of the Tuolumne Utilities District have been doing a great job getting the word out about our water crisis. Take the time to listen to their words and read their materials. Make the changes in your personal water usage at home, and to the extent possible, practice those changes in the workplace. Save water!

Give Local – Considering my position at the Sonora Area Foundation, this suggestion may sound a little self-serving. But the fact is that charitable needs are out there 24/7. My suggestion is, for the next few months, when you go to make a charitable gift try to keep it local. There are numerous local charities addressing human needs, animal needs, health, public/society benefit, education or the arts that continue to need you.

It could be a bumpy road over the next several months as the effects of the drought play out. Locally generated solutions to our local needs will provide the best path for all of us.