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Friday, 21 December 2007 01:46

Ione Appoints New Police Chief

In final gestures for the year of 2007, the Ione City Council at Tuesday night’s meeting approved the appointment of a new police chief, and put their stamp of approval on the development agreement with Ryland Homes, the developer of a 201 unit subdivision that will go in next year. Michael L Johnson will be Ione’s new chief of police, starting December 28th. Johnson was chosen after the city conducted a nationwide search, and reviewed 23 applications. Johnson, currently a sergeant with the Eureka police department, comes to Ione with 12 years experience on the Eureka force.

A single car accident occurred when driver left the Jackson Rancheria Casino on Thursday evening. According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a 2008 Dodge from North Highlands failed to observe a stop sign and curve in the road in the road. The driver slammed on his brakes and skidded across Bingo Road into a ditch. The man sustained moderate injuries to the knee and ear. No arrest was made.

Amador County resident Lee R. Winton has joined Cosumnes River College as an Assistant Professor of Fire Technology. Winton most recently served as the Deputy Chief for the Amador El Dorado Unit of Cal Fire before retiring in June 2008. Winton, who has 34 years of fire service experience, will teach not only at the CRC main campus but also at the Amador Learning Center beginning August 27. "I'm really excited to be teaching in Amador County," said Lee Winton, Assistant Professor of Fire Technology. "Being a local resident and 31-year veteran of Cal Fire and having served more than 18 years in the Amador County area, I feel this opportunity gives me the chance to share my experiences with current and future fire service professionals and students." Students interested in the FT 300 course may enroll online at Anyone with questions may contact the CRC Careers & Technology division office at 916-691-7391 for more information.
slide4The API, or Academic Performance Index, and the AYP (Accountability Progress Report) are the cornerstones of California's Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999.  This index measures the academic performance and growth of schools on a variety of academic measures.  While it is but one number – it is an extremely important number in the K-12 world of the Federal No Child Left Behind compliance and the current realm of accountability!
Monday, 02 June 2008 01:57

Cheating Scheme Rocks Argonaut

slide18.pngA widespread cheating scheme at Argonaut High School was foiled last week when students were discovered using test answers that could be traced back to a central school computer program. "About a week ago a couple of students were found in the library with these tiny little cheat sheets with the answers on them," said Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Michael Carey. Carey says the conspiracy is believed to extend to at least 16 students. The answers were stolen from a program called Accelerated Reader designed to improve student reading skills. An investigation eventually led back to one student, an 18-year old named A.T. Herrick. When confronted, Herrick admitted to stealing the information on a disc last September. Although the tests students cheated were only ten percent of their overall grade, Carey says swift punishment will be taken. Grades will be lowered, and combined with the senior status of the students, the new GPA’s could keep two or three of them from graduating. The mother of Herrick says that her son has learned a valuable lesson and is embarrassed and apologetic.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 02:20

Education Costs Go Up

slide15.pngThe cost of a four-year college education went up again in California on Wednesday, as leaders of the University of California and California State University systems approved their sixth round of student fee hikes in seven years. Under orders from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reduce campus spending to help make up a statewide budget deficit, the governing boards of the two systems said they had to ask students and their families to shoulder some of the burden come fall. "We are doing everything we can to persuade the governor and the Legislature that additional funding for the CSU ought to be viewed as an investment, not an expense," said CSU Trustee William Hauck. "We are going to continue to fight that fight, but as of today, we are left with not much in the way of alternatives."

Cal State trustees meeting in Long Beach voted 15-3 to raise yearly undergraduate fees by $276, or 10 percent. The increase means that undergraduates will pay an average of $3,797 next year - twice as much as what a CSU school cost in the fall of 2000. University of California board members, meanwhile, tentatively approved a 7.4 percent fee increase that would bring the average annual cost for undergraduates to $8,007 for the 2008-09 academic year, which also represents a doubling in price from the start of the decade. The governor restored about $200 million of the $720 million he originally proposed cutting from UC and CSU's requests. But system officials said that even with the fee hikes they still would have to curtail enrollment, reduce course offerings and scale back campus services. Both CSU and UC administrators said that up to one-third of the money generated by the higher fees would go toward boosting financial aid to offset the potential impact on low-income students.

Friday, 16 May 2008 01:53

Teachers Rally Against Budget Cuts

slide2.pngAs many as 50 local teachers and school officials gathered in front of McDonald’s in Martell on Wednesday to voice their opposition to another round of state cuts in education. “The issue isn’t between teachers and the school board, it’s between education and the government,” said Dennis Friis, a teacher at Amador High School. “The rally, which is supported by the Amador County UnifiedSchool District, was planned to coincide with the State recognized “Day of the teacher”. “We’ve been so concerned with cutting taxes and the economy that we need to support the things that society needs,” said Friis. The impetus for the rally came from David Sanchez, President of the California teachers Association. In past years, Sanchez had submitted generalized declarations to fight budget cuts, but this year he personally called each district to organize a rally cry of its own. “People either pay up front for education or pay ten-fold when we encounter the end result,” said Lynn Vasques, a 6th grade teacher in Pioneer and the organizer of the rally. Different teachers have proposed different solutions as to how to solve the cuts in education. According to Vasques, it could be a 1% sales tax hike or reinstating vehicle registration fees. Whatever the outcome, local school officials are keeping a close eye on the latest round of state budget adjustment decisions.

Friday, 09 May 2008 02:02

ACUSD Benefits Agreement Settled

slide23.pngThe Amador County Unified School District, or ACUSD, also approved the California Valued Trust Participation Agreement at their meeting Wednesday evening. This agreement is between ACUSD and the non-bargaining ACUSD Administrative unit to provide health and welfare benefits. Board member Terry Porray stated that she is not “opposed to the benefits which the staff obviously deserve, however, the contract is sloppy work on the company’s part, not the staffs.” The final vote was 5-1-1 with Board members Terry Porray dissenting and Chuck Anderson absent.

There was also a brief report from Superintendent Mike Carey regarding the student drug testing policy, specifically speaking to the information requested from the board at the last meeting. He spoke to both the probation department and Bret Harte regarding the accuracy of the tests and found that there have been “very few challenges on drug testing results” He also spoke to the testing company out of Santa, which stand by its products accuracy. The company recommend swab testing as the testing window for most substances be expanded to 48 hours, with the exception of THC, which holds a 12-hour window. Drug testing will be discussed further at the May 12th meeting.  Rosa

slide25.pngThe Amador County Unified School District Board of Trustees is seeking eight community members to serve on the Superintendents Selection Advisory Committee. They would join 12 staff members in interviewing candidates for the superintendent position, and the committee would then provide input to the Board. Current Superintendent Mike Carey has announced his retirement for the end of the year. Those interested in serving are asked to send a letter, attention school board, to 217 Rex Avenue in Jackson. Applicants should include contact information and a written summary of special qualifications that would help with committee work. The deadline for submissions is March 20th. Those selected will be notified shortly after a subcommittee of the board has reviewed all applicants.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 01:01

First Regional Science Fair

Saturday, Amador County whiz kids competed in the first Amador Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Argonaut High School. The science fair was organized by teachers Kelsi Himmel and Donna Custodio for junior and senior high school students to explore their interest in science outside of the classroom. The Grand prize winners of this fair were Evan Layher, 12th grade, for his World of Cards Experiment - he calculated the number of atoms in the world and the number of different card combinations possible in a deck of playing cards.