From the emails, voicemails and other sources:
RUNOFF CAMPAIGN Last weeks storm brought predictions of doom and gloom in the Tuolumne River watershed, where the Rim fire devastated the Stanislaus National Forest. Turlock Irrigation District spokeswoman Michelle Reimers said she received numerous calls from TV stations and other news agencies wanting to know the extent of the damage, meaning the ash and debris washing down into the Tuolumne River and clogging the floating booms recently installed to stop it from filling Don Pedro with residue.
The early returns? This, from Carol Russell, who is monitoring the situation for the district: The water flowing into the lake is clear enough to see the bottom of the river channel and there is no debris of any type floating in the water that we could see, Russell wrote in an email.
She forwarded several photos taken after the storm subsided. They showed clear water flowing in Tuolumne from the Wards Ferry bridge.
Yes, problems are likely to happen. But just over an inch of rain wasnt enough to do it not this time around, at least.
ETCHED IN MEMORY, NOT STONE The ongoing effort to locate photographs for all those from Stanislaus County who died in Vietnam drew responses from family members of men who lived here before going to war but arent listed on the memorial in front of the Stanislaus County Courthouse. John D. Thomas was a career Air Force man who died in a 1968 plane crash in the Plateau du Darlac area of Vietnam. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which maintains the Wall in Washington, D.C., lists him as being from the West Virginia town of Lester. But he had moved his family to Riverbank about a year before going to Vietnam, son John Jr. told me. The elder Thomas was a technical sergeant and was honored posthumously by officials in Riverbank.
And Billy Ray Owens grew up in Ceres and graduated from Ceres High. But his parents moved to Montara, near Moss Beach, and he lived there briefly before going off to Vietnam, where he was killed in 1966. He posthumously received medals for gallantry. But because his last mainland address was in San Mateo County, he wasnt considered a Stanislaus County resident at least according to the military.
By contrast, Modestos only known casualty from Pearl Harbor in 1941 was J.B. Delane Miller, whose family moved to Modesto shortly before he was killed in the Japanese attack. If he lived in Modesto, it was for a few weeks or a couple of months at best. He listed his mothers mailing address, which explains why the military listed him as a Modesto resident.
FROM THE PAGES TO THE AGES In 2008, The Bee featured Brenda Melching of Oakdale in a front-page story as she continued a fight with cancer that began in 1997, at which point her young granddaughter asked her if she would live to see her graduate from high school. Melching did, and kept on combating, both medically and by urging people to support the American Cancer Society through the Relay for Life events. She died at 63 on Nov. 16.
AUTHOR! AUTHOR! Nick Cole, whose wife Nicole (Fernandes) is a Modesto High and Modesto Junior College graduate, self-published his first book, titled The Old Man and The Wasteland. HarperCollins purchased the rights and since has published The Wasteland Saga. Nicole, meanwhile, is singing for the Los Angeles Opera headlined by Placido Domingo.
BOXER REBELLION A strange happening in Tuolumne County over the weekend left an Atwater man in a Modesto hospital. According to Tuolumne County sheriffs Sgt. Scott Johnson, 40-year-old John Wordens Toyota pickup blew past an ambulance roughly at 100 mph heading east on Highway 120/108, west of OByrnes Ferry Road, at around 7:40 p.m. Saturday. The ambulance driver later told deputies the Toyota nearly hit the ambulance. No, it wasnt on its way to an incident or a hospital. When it got to Rosalindas Gentlemens Club which old-timers like me remember as The Winkin Lantern the ambulance driver saw the truck stopped alongside the highway and the driver standing in the middle of the road. He wore only boxer shorts.
The ambulance driver turned on his emergency lights to warn other drivers that something was amiss. Worden, Johnson said, climbed back into his pickup and tried to drive away. But he hit the ambulance instead, jumped out of the pickup and bolted on foot.
Worden later pounded on the window of one of the fire vehicles responding to the incident and tried to run before officers nabbed him. He was taken to a Modesto hospital due to cuts and scrapes and possibly a head injury, and investigators are awaiting results of toxicology reports to determine whether drugs or alcohol was a factor.
When he was in the ambulance, he said, Alaska, bi-----, like they were going to give him a ride to Alaska, Johnson said.
Worden will be booked into the Tuolumne County Jail once hes released from the hospital, Johnson said, adding that investigators later learned Wordens Toyota also had sideswiped another vehicle at some point during the escapade.