From the emails, voice mails and other sources:
STOP YOU IN YOUR TRACKS – A few weeks ago, I wrote about how if the bullet train comes through the small town of Delhi paralleling the Union Pacific tracks, many of the remaining historic buildings from what was once the American version of a Soviet state farm would vanish.
While officials claim they haven’t selected the exact route from Merced to Sacramento, they will show off what the trains will look like from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Feb. 25-26 at the west steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento.
“The general public can tour the 50-foot-long, life-sized mock-up to see the innovations that will reshape the way cities connect and help drive the economy,” according to a release from Siemens, which will build the trains. “Visitors will learn about innovations in intelligent traffic technologies, electrified highways and emission-reducing transportation solutions.”
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EVERY SO OFTEN – Driving to work, I’ll sometimes see something that is so cliche-ish that it actually bears mention.
You’ve might have heard the adage, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
Friday morning, a bovine along Langworth Road confirmed it. The animal had worked its way down the three-board wooden fence line, leaving a mowed strip of eaten grass in a perfectly straight line. The strip represented exactly how far the critter could reach, down on its knees and craning its neck between the boards.
Meanwhile, there was an entire pasture of lush, growing grass behind it. You know what they say ... .
By this summer, the eaten-down strip will make a good fire break.
ELECTRIC MOMENTS – The lightning storm Feb. 6 hit Tuolumne County hard, as two stories in the Union Democrat reported.
Chinese Camp residents got the worst of it. Sadly, the strikes killed two horses. They also blew up an oak tree and damaged some homes and sheds in the area, leaving the residents without power. Residents as far away as Sonora felt the concussion of the Chinese Camp strikes.
And up the hill a ways, the Connections Visual and Performing Arts Center on the Summerville High School campus also took a hit. No significant damage, according to the campus’s head of maintenance and operations, who couldn’t have been more appropriately named for such a task: Warren Van Bolt.
WATER WOES – The California Department of Water Resources monitors on a daily basis the levels of 46 major reservoirs in California. Despite the round of storms last weekend, 23 of them are still at less than 50 percent capacity and five are still in single digits. Among them, Lake McClure on the Merced River reportedly rose 8 feet last week. It’s now up to 8 percent full. Or 92 percent empty. New Melones is at 25 percent and Don Pedro Reservoir at 42 percent. Better keep those “Pray for Rain” signs out.
ALWAYS A LOCAL LINK – The fire near Mammoth in the eastern Sierra last week destroyed 40 homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents, among them former Sonoran Brian Carkeet and his family.
Carkeet graduated from Sonora High and attended Modesto Junior College and UC Santa Cruz before going on to dental school. He owns a practice in Bishop.
The family lost everything in the fire, from the basic necessities to family photos and keepsakes.
Carkeet’s paternal grandfather, Ross Carkeet Sr., served as Tuolumne County’s Superior Court judge (1957-74), and Carkeet’s father, Ross Jr., taught at Columbia College and, after retiring, set about trying to confirm that wolverines still exist in the Sierra. I wrote about his project in 2008, when photographs taken in the Tahoe National Forest confirmed his suspicions. His maternal grandfather, Lloyd Null, was the best fly fisherman I’ve ever known.