(Sutter Creek)  The Amador Water Agency has notified proponents of a referendum of the legal insufficiency of their petition, according to a letter released yesterday from the Water Agency to the Ratepayers Protection Alliance (RPA). As a result, the Agency will not rescind recently-approved drought rates on water service, nor will it put the issue up for a county-wide vote.


            The letter formally denies certification of the referendum, advises the RPA that this referendum will not be placed on the ballot for a county-wide election, and states the reasons for rejection. The letter also makes clear that a referendum cannot require the AWA Board of Directors to rescind the temporary drought surcharge if doing so would cripple the Water Agency’s ability to collect sufficient revenues to provide water service to its 10,000 Amador County customers.


Since Governor Brown’s water conservation order went into effect, AWA has seen a 33 percent drop in water sales which translates into an estimated loss of over $1.2 million per year needed to provide safe, reliable water for homes, businesses and fire protection. 


The RPA has demanded that the Water Agency rescind a July 21, 2015 resolution that put the temporary drought surcharge and new water rate structure in place, and collected signatures on a petition for a county-wide vote on the matter.


            “Operating the county’s water systems with a 33 percent drop in sales is simply not sustainable. The temporary drought rates are helping to keep the systems maintained until the conservation order is lifted,” said AWA General Manager Gene Mancebo.


About 1% of AWA customers objected to the drought charge and new water rate structure under the state’s Prop. 218 notification process. The drought rate is structured so that customers who conserve water will have very little increase in their monthly water cost over pre-drought water bills.


            Today’s letter to the RPA from AWA Clerk of the Board Cris Thompson rejects the RPA’s petition due to legal errors but Mancebo says the question goes beyond legal details.


“AWA has a responsibility to provide essential health and safety services to the community – and we will fight anything that jeopardizes our ability to serve our customers with clean, safe water and provide fire protection,” Mancebo said.
Published in Local

Looking for Craft Booths and Chowder Entries for this year’s Volcano Chowda Chomp!

Come to Volcano’s Armory Hall on Sunday, November 1st for the Fourth Annual Chowda Chomp. Private and commercial competitors from local homes and restaurants will serve up their favorite chowder for tasting and voting.

The Chomp begins at 11 a.m. and the tasting (and eating) continues until 2 p.m., with awards announced at 3 p.m. Last year, the Chowda Chomp attracted more than 500 people who enjoyed great chowder, good fellowship, great music and an all-around fine afternoon.

This year promises the same: crisp fall weather, incredible chowders of all kinds, local arts and crafts vendors, good fellowship and a delightful day at Armory Hall. The event is sponsored by the Volcano Community Association and the Volcano Union Inn + Pub.  The cost is $5 per person. For questions, please call 209-296-7711.

The weather is predicted to be bright and dry, and this year several tasting stations and local arts and crafts vendors will set up inside the Armory Hall. Chowders of all kinds will be available for tasting: clam chowder of course can be expected, but corn chowder, seafood chowders, and recipes of all kinds will be there for tasting.

Proceeds support the Volcano Community Association Scholarship Fund, which every year provides financial support the Volcano high school graduates who will continue their education at an accredited university, college or trade school, or in military service.

In nearly 20 years of service, more than a dozen young women and men from Volcano have received support for their education beyond high school from the VCA Scholarship Fund. Several yearly community events provide financial support for the fund.

Armory Hall is located in the center of Volcano, on the corner of Consolation and Emigrant streets, just across from the Union Inn + Pub. It is a century-old community hall that was completely renovated four years ago into a 21st-century facility designed to serve hundreds of guests at a time. Armory Hall is fully ADA compliant and ADA parking is provided.

For more information, call the Ed Tracey at Volcano Union Inn + Pub at 209-296-7711.

Published in Local

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington State that USDA has programs to assist with their recovery efforts.


The Farm Service Agency (FSA) can assist farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster. FSA administers a suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, theEmergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program.


In addition, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought. Producers located in counties that received a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through theNoninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting.


“Wildfires have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers,” said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity and cost as the fire season has grown longer, and drought and increased temperatures contribute to dangerous conditions. Natural disasters such as wildfires are unavoidable, but USDA has strong safety-net programs to help producers get back on their feet.”


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can assist producers with damaged grazing land as well as farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who find themselves in emergency situations caused by natural disasters. The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides financial assistance to producers who agree to defer grazing on damaged land for two years. In the event that presidentially declared natural disasters, such as wildfires, lead to imminent threats to life and property, NRCS can assist local government sponsors with the cost of implementing conservation practices to address natural resource concerns and hazards through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.


“After natural disasters such as wildfires, it is critical that farmers, ranchers and forestland owners have financial and technical resources available to protect their natural resources and operations,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “Conservation practices protect the land and aid recovery, but can build the natural resource base and may help mitigate loss in future events.”


Farmers and ranchers with coverage through the federal crop insurance program administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) should contact their crop insurance agent to discuss losses due to fire or other natural causes of loss. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator.


When wildfires destroy or severely damage residential property, Rural Development (RD) can assist with providing priority hardship application processing for single family housing. Under a disaster designation, RD can issue a priority letter for next available multi-family housing units. RD also provides low-interest loans to community facilities, water environmental programs, businesses and cooperatives and to rural utilities.


For the first time in its 110-year history, the Forest Service, part of USDA, is spending more than 50 percent of its budget to suppress the nation's wildfires.


Today, fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s. Since 2000, at least 10 states have had their largest fires on record. This year, there have been more than 46,000 fires. Increasing development near forest boundaries also drives up costs, as more than 46 million homes and more than 70,000 communities are at risk from wildfire in the United States.


Visit http://go.usa.gov/3eDeF to learn more about USDA disaster preparedness and response. For more information on USDA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center go to http://offices.usda.gov.



USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Published in Local
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 16:44

Plaid Friday in Amador is Back!

Plaid Friday in Amador is Back...

...and we are ready for holiday joy!

First things first. Yes, this is an email about being sent in July about holiday event preparations. 

As many of you know, Plaid Friday went county wide in 2014 and the response was thrilling! In preparation for our fourth year we've upped our game and have our own website to inform both customers and business owners alike. It will be the central location for the Shopping Guide and a newsletter opt-in for our Plaid Friday customers. There is a super easy Plaid Friday business registration form as well as an available print-out option to share with other business owners that choose not to surf the net. There is also an option to sign up for the Plaid Friday Business Owners mailing list, so please share and forward this with others that may want to be in the know.

It's early yet and I'm not requesting sign ups. We just wanted to get the word out about the website and newsletter list. However, now is the time to contact me with suggestions or requests. So let me know!

We also have a facebook page!

With Hopeful Visions of a Prosperous Shop Local Holiday Season to Come,

Jeannette McDonald
Plaid Friday Organizer

Visit: www.plaidfridayamador.com

Published in Local

Traffic Tickets / Infractions Amnesty Program

On June 24, 2015, the Governor signed into law

a one-time amnesty program for unpaid traffic

and non-traffic infraction tickets.

Here is what you should know:



When will the amnesty program be available?
Start: October 1, 2015
End:  March 31, 2017

Who can participate in the amnesty program?
There are two groups of people who can participate in the amnesty program:

  • Persons with unpaid tickets whose fines were originally due to be paid date on or before January 1, 2013, who have not made a payment after June 24, 2015, may be eligible to have both their debt reduced by 50 or 80 percent depending on income and their driver's license reinstated, unless an exclusion discussed below applies.
  • Persons who made a payment after June 24, 2015 on a ticket are not eligible for a reduction for that ticket, but may be eligible to have their driver’s license reinstated if they are in good standing on a payment plan with a comprehensive collection program.
  • Persons with more than one ticket may not be eligible for a reduction on an individual ticket if the eligibility criteria are not satisfied for the ticket. Please check with your court for additional information.


Any persons eligible to have a driver's license, (including undocumented individuals who are eligible for a driver's license under AB 60) are entitled to participate in the traffic amnesty program if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Who cannot participate in the amnesty program?
Eligible persons may be excluded from the amnesty program if they owe victim restitution on a case or have certain outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrants.

What if I made a payment after June 24, 2015? 
People ineligible due to timing may still have their driver’s license returned, but will not have their fines reduced on tickets with a payment after the deadline .

What tickets will be eligible for amnesty?
Any infraction may qualify for amnesty. Unpaid tickets and related “failure to appear” violations with an initial payment due date on or before January 1, 2013, are eligible.

Individual superior courts and counties may extend this program to include some misdemeanors.

What tickets will not be eligible?
This amnesty program does not apply to parking tickets, reckless driving, and DUI offenses.

How much will I have to pay?
Under the amnesty program, eligible participants will not have to pay any civil assessments. Once the civil assessment amounts are deducted, the remaining balance owed will be reduced by 50 to 80 percent depending on income or receipt of specified public benefits.

  • The discount will be 80 percent for those who certify that they make 125 percent or less than the federal poverty level — $14,712 for an individual, or $30,312 for a family of four — or who receive public assistance.
  • The discount will be 50 percent for all other eligible participants.


How do I participate in the amnesty program?
Beginning on October 1, 2015, contact the superior court in the jurisdiction(s) where you received the ticket(s) to determine your eligibility to participate in the amnesty program. People who are eligible for amnesty will have their application processed without seeing a judge.

Will there be a fee to participate?
Courts, counties, and third party collections vendors are permitted to collect an amnesty program fee of $50 payable to the superior court or county. The Department of Motor Vehicles will also charge a $55 driver's license reinstatement fee as it does for any license reinstatement.

Will there be an installment payment option?
Yes, a payment plan option will be available through the superior court, county, or third party collections vendors and payments scheduled under the plan will be based on the ability to pay.

This video will help you determine if you qualify:

More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Source: http://www.courts.ca.gov/trafficamnesty.htm

Published in Local

Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort is pleased to announce that the Casino and Hotel are fully operational following the devastating Butte Fire.


“As we return to full operations, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience and support,” said Rich Hoffman, CEO of Jackson Rancheria. “We are especially thankful for the brave firefighters who fought this horrific fire and for the support of the American Red Cross and our Tribe.”


While the fire burned, Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort established an Evacuation Center to serve as a place of shelter for those displaced from their homes. In partnership with the American Red Cross, Jackson Rancheria was able to provide relief for more than 1,000 evacuees. 

Relief included comfortable sleeping arrangements, warm meals and donations of clothing and other necessities. Those who found themselves without power were also provided a welcoming place to cool down.


Located in the Sierra foothills town of Jackson, CA, Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort is owned by the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians, a federally recognized Indian tribe. A sovereign government, the Rancheria is dedicated to developing projects that not only enhance the tribe’s ability to remain self-reliant, but also reflect a commitment to be a good neighbor.

Published in Local
 (Sutter Creek)  Fire fighters used high-pressure gravity-fed pipelines in the Amador County upcountry to fight the Butte Fire during widespread power outages that disabled Amador Water Agency water facilities throughout the area.


High volume hydrants on the Amador Transmission Line (ATL), the major gravity pipeline that runs from Lake Tabeau to AWA’s water treatment plant on Ridge Road, provided water to fire fighters even as the fire raged all around the pipeline intake above the Mokelumne River canyon.


The ATL carries water that previously ran down the open ditch Amador Canal, which winds through forest and heavy brush. The high-pressure pipeline, completed in 2007, takes a more direct route and hydrants are located on roadways where fire crews can easily access them.


New hydrants on the Gravity Supply Line (GSL) were made available for fire fighters on the Butte Fire. The GSL, still under construction, is being built to flow Mokelumne River water downhill to the water treatment plant that supplies upcountry homes.


Amador Water Agency crews learned from PG&E operators on Saturday of the Butte Fire that the Tiger Creek Regulating Reservoir, site of the intake for the GSL, was full and spilling. This created an opportunity for AWA crews to attempt to use the almost-completed pipeline for fire protection. By manually operating the pipeline intake, they were able to get the Gravity Supply Line filled with a critical water supply by Saturday evening of the fire. 


Fire crews were immediately alerted to the locations of the additional hydrants, and filling the pipeline provided an additional high-pressure water supply in areas above the Buckhorn Water Treatment plant. 


The Gravity Supply Line is replacing the current upcountry water supply system that uses pumps to pull water up the steep canyon from the Mokelumne River to the Buckhorn Water Treatment Plant. Those pumps lost power at the outset of the fire, along with AWA water and wastewater sites east of the intersection of Ridge and New York Ranch Roads. 


Until AWA staff was able to get the GSL up and running, AWA was using generators to run the big pumps on the CAWP raw water system, with staff and equipment vulnerable to the unpredictable fire. It wasn’t until the afternoon of the second day of the fire that AWA crews could get a large enough generator into the canyon to run one of these critical pump stations. 


These two key gravity-flow water supply lines, the ATL and the GSL, are not dependent on electricity to operate. In the past, power outages shut down the upcountry water system as often as 25 times a year, disrupting water delivery to customers.


 “Avoiding shut-downs caused by power outages during fires and other disasters is a primary reason for constructing the Gravity Supply Line – along with the cost of running the pumped raw water delivery system,” said AWA Operations Manager Damon Wyckoff.  “The GSL pipeline has already proved its worth during the Butte Fire by making water available for fire protection.”


            In other areas affected by the Butte Fire and power outages, AWA crews worked 24-hour shifts, inside evacuated areas in many cases, to manually control filling of multiple CAWP system water tanks to avoid loss of pressure needed for fire protection. 


Crews also manually operated multiple wastewater pumps day and night to keep several wastewater disposal systems at safe levels.


“I don’t think most people are aware of the role that a water utility plays in a big fire or disaster,” said Wyckoff. “Several of AWA field staff members’ households were evacuated, but they all stayed on the job 24/7 to help keep homes supplied with water and AWA facilities operating safely.”
            There were no reports of homes without water service due to the Butte Fire. Raw water customers on the Amador Canal, primarily used for agriculture, were without water for about 48 hours until crews were able to install a generator on the pump that feeds raw water from Lake Tabeaud into the Amador Canal on Friday evening of the fire– the first time this has ever been done. 


The Water Agency provided free drinking water to anyone, customer or not, whose water supply was impacted during and immediately after the fire. Two AWA water tanker trucks were also used to deliver free water for livestock in areas where wells were shut down. 


Contact:  Gene Mancebo, General Manager


               Amador Water Agency, 209-223-3018 
Published in Local

Amador Upcounty Rotary accepting Butte Fire Donations at Arco's Self Storage


Please feel free to donate the listed items below at Arco's Self Storage to be distributed by Amador Upcountry Rotary.  This will help evacuated individuals to be resettled into their homes or start anew.

- Kitchenware

- Pots & Pans

- Tables & Chairs

- Towels & Bedding

- Children’s Toys

- School Supplies

- Laundry Supplies

- Toiletries


- Camping Supplies

- Flashlights

Contact: Naomi Grimes - 209-295-6455

Arco’s Self Storage 26701

Wagon Wheel Dr., Pioneer

Tuesday – Friday 9:30 am to 5:30 pm Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


(Amador Upcountry Rotary meets: Thurs. 5:30pm at the St. George in Volcano)

Published in Local
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 01:16

Fire Prevention Week: Oct. 4 - 10

Fire Prevention Week is coming upon us again (October 4 – 10) and we are preparing for our local events here in Jackson. This year’s theme is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm”. The key message of this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign is to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Larger homes may need more alarms. Please see the attached media bulletins for you to distribute and use to help us spread the word. We will be doing presentations at the local day cares in Jackson, the kindergarteners of Jackson elementary and various other clubs and organizations in Jackson. We are also encouraging other groups to contact us to schedule an event if they would like. Thank you for your continued support!


Cody Martinsen

Captain - Jackson Fire Department

33 Broadway

Jackson, CA  95642

(209) 223-9039 Station

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Published in Local

Amador County Supervisor, Richard Forster previews this week's Board meeting on TSPN TV News. 

Published in Local