Grand jury needs 2008-09 volunteers
The Stanislaus County Superior Court is looking for volunteers to work as government watchdogs by serving on the 2008-09 civil grand jury. The 19-member panel investigates complaints about government agencies and issues reports on its findings. Recommendations are not binding, but government agencies must respond in writing. Volunteers serve one-year terms, beginning July 1, and they must be available at least 20 hours per month. Grand jurors must be 18 or older, county residents for at least one year and citizens of the United States. Interested people must apply by May 2. They should contact the grand jury office at 558-7766 or download an application at www.stanct.org. A pool of 30 qualified candidates will be chosen by Judge Jack Jacobson. A lottery will be used to select 19 members and four alternates.
Cal Fire's advice: Clear brush now
Foothill residents should take advantage of the cool, damp weather to clear vegetation around property, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection advises. Since 2005, California law requires 100 feet of clearance around structures or to property lines, whichever is closest. All dead vegetation must be removed, except for dead leaves, pine needles and mowed grass that is at least 30 feet from structures. These materials may be no more than 4 inches deep. "Aim for an open, parklike appearance," Cal Fire suggests. Shrubs, trees and other living vegetation must be thinned and pruned, which slows fire by giving it less fuel as it approaches buildings. Prune trees to at least 6 feet and remove small seedling and sapling trees.
On the Net: http://fire.ca.gov.
Educators crushed in fitness challenge
Just days after the Tuolumne County Office of Education squeaked out a win in a three-county fitness challenge, the trash talking was running rampant. Tuolumne staffers edged out Stanislaus and San Joaquin educators in a four-week fitness throw down. "I don't think it was so much a victory as a crushing," boasted Joe Silva, Tuolumne County's superintendent of schools. "Like the grapes in the valley, they were crushed."
75 YEARS AGO: A circulating library was being installed in the Stanislaus County Jail. Books and periodicals were going to be circulated among the prisoners and a number of books already had been obtained. It was hoped the library would grow to several hundred books and magazines through donations given to the library. -- Karen Aiello