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Monday, 27 July 2009 01:15

Amador Regional Transit

slide1.pngAmador County – The Amador Regional Transit System announced last week that it has a new manager. James A. Means took over as ARTS manager July 1st. Means has nearly 40 years’ experience in the field, including top administration assignments at some of the largest public and school transportation systems in the country. Means in a news release Friday said he “wants to make ARTS live up to its name.” He said: “In my vision, we will make this system a truly regional transportation source committed to serving all the citizens in the county.” Means comes to Amador County following 2 years as director of the Washoe County School District transportation department, where he was in charge of 400 employees and 700 vehicles, including 400 buses. He said he “decided to take this position because of the area – it’s really a great place to live – and I’m basically a turn-around kind of guy.” He said his: “professional heritage is centered around rebuilding stagnant entities.” His goal is to develop ARTS to be equal to or better than any system in the area – even at large cities. He said he’ll “be happy when ARTS riders use a transit system in any one of the cities in Northern California and say to themselves”: “You know, our Amador County public transportation system is better than this.” Means said providing safe, clean and comfortable local transportation to everyone – including seniors, veterans, students and commuters – is basic. He also wants to establish a park-and-ride system that will make it more feasible for commuters to ride the bus for work, shopping and pleasure in Sacramento. He said: “When a park-and-ride system is working right, public transportation becomes your primary source of transportation. The average cost reduction is the reason why you should take the bus.” Gasoline and oil costs go down, parking is no longer a problem or a cost, and for commuters, many auto insurance companies will cut rates if yearly car miles are reduced. And then there is the health factor. ARTS is one of the safest public transit systems in the nation and riding the bus reduces the stress of fighting traffic. ARTS riders arrive at their destination refreshed and relaxed. “When you put all that together, it benefits you to take public transportation,” Means said. His ARTS staff will include Assistant Transit Manager Joyce Jones, Administrative Assistant Patricia Amarant. Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monday, 27 July 2009 01:12

ARTS New Manager

slide2.pngAmador County – The Amador Regional Transit System’s new manager, James A. Means, took over as Transit Manager July 1st, and Amador County received a new leader with extensive experience. ARTS last week said increased service, more attention to each segment of the ridership, and a regional approach are key to Means’ management plans for building ARTS. He said they “have already added another bus and I’m planning for more.” He would “also like to start limited Saturday service,” because “not having Saturday service doesn’t make sense.” He wants to be a strong motivator to get people out of their cars to enjoy the benefits of public transportation. Means’ background includes service in the U.S. Air Force. He holds the rank of captain and served many years in Europe, including two years as a NATO aircraft accident investigative officer. After his service, he stayed in Europe and was CEO of European Import Motors for 8 years, and is fluent in German. Over the years, he has administered operation budgets in excess of $20 million. He supervised 650 military personnel as assistant commander of aircraft maintenance, and managed transportation systems from his immediate past posting in Reno, Nevada, to a public transit system in South Carolina with more than 1,800 vehicles. Means holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Chapman University, in Orange, California. He graduated from the Air Force Officer Academy at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He also has an advanced hazardous waste management certification. Means is also a Federal Emergency Management Administration incident commander. Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monday, 27 July 2009 01:06

St. Sava Wildfire

slide3.pngAmador County – A fire official said they were “on it quick” and stopped a breeze-fueled fire in a parched field at Saint Sava Mission last week, holding the fire back from burning more than grass and weeds. They were also “on it” in force, with 45 personnel, and “on it” in sync, with a “unified command.” Reports came in of the fire before 2 p.m. Thursday, and a quick and strong response was doing “mop-up” by 4:22 p.m. A light breeze and high temperatures contributed to what a Jackson Volunteer Fire Department official called a “mutual threat zone.” He said “this was a unified command, with both city of Jackson and state jurisdictions involved.” California Department of Fire sent 6 fire engines, and the air attack included 1 helicopter and 2 air tankers. Jackson Fire had 3 engines at the location, and there was 1 water tender and 1 CDF bulldozer. Officials said approx 45 personnel including 3 hand crews from the Pine Grove Youth Authority Camp. The fire burned 11.3 acres of grass at St. Sava Mission, along its entry road, and toward the mission buildings. Responders came from Jackson and Sutter Creek Fire departments, Amador Fire Protection District, the U.S. Forest Service, and the California Department of Fire Protection. Officials said no lives were threatened and no buildings were damaged. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation. Story by Jim Reece and Alex Lane This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monday, 27 July 2009 01:04

"Shop Jackson," Rancheria

slide4.pngAmador County – The Jackson Rancheria last week announced it has launched its effort to encourage its visitors to shop in Jackson during their visit to Amador County. The “Shop Jackson” campaign was announced Friday by the Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel and the tribally operated casino is encouraging their 600,000 “Dreamcatchers Club” members to shop locally beginning August 1st, with a coordinated push by almost 70 local businesses offering discounts and special offers to Dreamcatchers Club carholders. The program was created in concert with the Jackson Revitalization Committee. Jackson Rancheria Marketing Department Content Developer Carol Cook last week announced a new web listing for the program. She said in order to participate in the program, businesses must have a city of Jackson business license and be located within the city limits. Dreamcatcher's Club members simply show their card at any participating business to take advantage of the special offers. Participating businesses and their offers are listed on the casino website at Participating businesses include not only retail stores, restaurants, and real estate firms, but also financial institutions, home improvement services, online services, and other businesses. The offers include a percentage off on retail sales and services, credits off closing costs from real estate firms, buy one get one free offers and entries in drawings. Cook said: “There should be something there to interest almost anyone.” Jackson Rancheria CEO Rich Hoffman said: “Encouraging our players to visit local businesses and attractions has always been important to us, and in these economic times it's even more critical that we all work together to support our business community and promote Amador county." Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel is located at 12222 New York Ranch Road in Jackson. For more information, call 800-822-WINN or visit Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monday, 27 July 2009 01:01

Plymouth City Council

slide5.pngAmador County – The Plymouth City Council last week authorized City Manager Dixon Flynn to advertise a “Request For Proposals” for planning and community development services, in an effort to get a new planning contract. Flynn said contractor Development Impact, whose term expired May 31st, had its contract extended on a month-to-month basis until the city could seek proposals for service. Councilman Michael O’Meara asked if there are “performance issues with the current lineup.” Flynn said Development Impact has worked for the city since 2006, and has “done a good job and had a lot to do.” But he said they were “taking a high hand” and seemed to push concepts, rather than serve the council’s wishes. Flynn said: “I think they need to be more sympathetic with to public.” He said “they have a very good understanding of our issues,” but it may be good for the city for “contractors to sharpen their pencils.” Flynn said: “Who knows, maybe you will learn something from a different firm.” O’Meara asked when a new contract would take effect, and said he was “a little concerned about changing horses mid-stream.” Flynn said a new contract might take effect by October or November. He expected Development Impact to submit a proposal for a new contract. Other reasons he prepared the RFP, he said, are that the council is concerned with the cost of planning. Also, there was concern with a “long lead time in preparing a draft general plan; the methods for billing developers for specific planning services; and the current state of the city’s finances.” Flynn said the city has spent approximately $230,000 dollars to prepare a draft general plan and is in the final stages of hearings to adopt it. He said that cost was more that 1/4th of the city’s annual budget. He said “local developers owe the city more than $60,000 dollars for service provided to them,” and “some developers have complained about the cost of service for work on projects.” Flynn said that “may be a legitimate complaint since planning service is charged on a time and material basis, not flat rates.” He said the city can get a better look at costs when it evaluates proposals from other planners. The council voted 3-1 to have Flynn advertise a Request for Proposals, with O’Meara voting no. Flynn said the city council “can give some points for how familiar” firms are with the current city general plan, development in the city and other issues. He assumed “Development Impact will earn some points there.” The due date for proposals will be September 4th. Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monday, 27 July 2009 00:53

2009 Amador County Fair

slide6.pngAmador County – The 2009 Amador County Fair kicks off Thursday, and the popular Miss Amador Scholarship Competition will be returning. The Miss Amador contest is 7 p.m. opening night, Thursday on the Central House Bandstand. Miss Amador and her court will represent Amador County throughout the year. Not only do the contestants have an opportunity to win an educational scholarship, the competition offers the opportunity to reach and grow as a young person of accomplishment and achievement. Fair officials said: Participating in a pageant is an exciting and rewarding experience for young women who use the process to sharpen their talents, expand their leadership skills, and broaden their community service experience. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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