Jeff Jardine

Jeff Jardine

Mother grieves over life, death of troubled son shot by Modesto police

After trying to stop 24-year-old Christopher Fletcher on his bicycle in December, two Modesto police officers followed him into a downtown parking garage. As he tried to pull out a handgun, they opened fire, killing him. Six months later, his grieving mother and father want to understand why the officers couldn’t try to defuse the situation instead of firing.

Jeff Jardine

Knights Ferry residents make noise, get their post office back

Knights Ferry’s 136-year-old post office closed abruptly in March, leaving residents to drive into Oakdale to do their postal business. But they kept after the Postal Service to re-open it, and got help from Rep. Jeff Denham’s staff. Last Friday, less than a day after 100 townfolk met with a postal official, Knights Ferry’s post office was back in business.

Jeff Jardine

Cistern act: Relic of early-days firefighting system unearthed in Oakdale

More than a year ago, Oakdale began construction of a catch basin to handle runoff near an old dump site. But sinkholes began to concern the residents who live next to it, both for the safety of kids who played there and also because they had no idea where the water went underground. This week, a crew came into investigate and uncovered a 45-foot-deep brick cistern likely built in the 1880s and used fire protection. A piece of history unearthed.

Jeff Jardine

Injured volunteer gets the shaft thanks to ‘firefighter’s rule’

One of the lesser-known laws on the books is the “firefighter’s rule,” which prevents most firefighters and other safety officers from civilly suing for injuries suffered while doing their jobs. The rule says they know the risks going in, and that most are covered by workers’ compensation. But it is never that simple, as a former Tuolumne County firefighter can attest after falling into a mine and shattering his ankle after extinguishing a blaze in 2011.

Jeff Jardine

Remains in Sierra should ID one victim; other families left to wonder

A Sierra resident came across and reported finding human remains near Pinecrest last week, leaving many people to wonder whether they will finally know what happened to a loved one. Two missing persons cases go back more than a decade while others are more recent but just as devastating to family members. One family will get answers. The rest, tragically, will be left to keep wondering.

Jeff Jardine

Visit McHenry Mansion to see McClure collection remnants

The mid-1970s sale of McClure Ranch to the city of Modesto came with big plans, but no money or follow through. More than 100 pieces of furniture and other items deeded from the McClures were stored in John Muir School, and three-fourths were lost in the 2007 blaze. If you want to see any of the collection on display now, you need to visit McHenry Mansion, not the McClure place.

Jeff Jardine

When murder cases past and more recent have plenty of appeal(s)

Before Scott Peterson, Cary Stayner or any of the other more high-profile defendants from the Valley went to prison, Modesto experienced Elbert Lee Easley. In fact, Easley’s 1979 murder trial was outsourced to Monterey County because the case drew so much media attention in Modesto. Despite rumors to the contrary, he’s still alive and in state prison.

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Sinkhole south of Tracy shuts down Interstate 5 north

Greg Lawson, public informationi officer for CalTrans, talks about the sinkhole that shut down northbound Interstate 5 just south of Tracy, Calif., on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. (Andy Alfaro/aalfaro@modbee.com)
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