Jeff Jardine

Jardine: Has Nevadan's attacker struck again?

From the e-mails and voice mails:

SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES - A wire story caught the eye of Tracy Mayo, a Fargo, N.D., woman whose mother, Nita Mayo of Hawthorne, Nev., disappeared from Donnell's Vista in Tuolumne County in August 2005.

Authorities found Nita Mayo's car keys, cell phone and other items in the car at the vista, which overlooks Donnell Reservoir in the Sierra about 42 miles east of Sonora on Highway 108.

Despite exhaustive searches by Tuolumne County sheriff's deputies and by Mayo family members and friends, her body has never been found.

So it piqued Tracy Mayo's interest to hear about a Reno area woman whose car was found April 5 near the Alpine County seat of Markleeville at a popular hiking trailhead leading to the Carson River's east fork. The car had been there for about a month.

Authorities found car keys and ice chests containing food inside the vehicle. According to The Associated Press, search and rescue teams spent five days, using a helicopter, dogs, all-terrain vehicles and kayaks looking for Leslie Lee Gray, 51, of Sun Valley. They found no traces of her and ended their search. According to the story, Gray supposedly was on her way to Texas. A stop in Markleeville would have been well out of her way -- especially since Highway 4 cuts right through the heart of town toward Ebbett's Pass, which closes because of snow each winter.

"Sure does sound familiar, doesn't it?" Tracy Mayo wrote in an e-mail.

Familiar enough that when Tuolumne County sheriff's Sgt. Matt Zelinksy heard recently about the Alpine County case, he contacted the lead investigator up there. They plan to meet soon and compare notes. Could these cases be connected?

"I'm hoping to sit down with them maybe next week and see what's similar and what's not," Zelinsky said.

SIDE JOB - Old buildings can require plenty of TLC, and the 146-year-old Miller's Saloon and Hall in Knights Ferry is no exception. Two years ago, the nonprofit Knights Ferry History and Museum group, which owns the building, raised enough money to have new siding put on the front at a cost of about $30,000. Now they're putting siding on the east side -- just in time for their annual benefit, the Peddlers' Faire on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes an antique, collectibles and crafts show, and a pancake breakfast. That's how the group keeps the old building, which houses Knights Ferry's museum in the old dance hall upstairs, standing strong.

To give you some perspective, consider this: Miller's Saloon and Hall was built in 1863. Other big events that year?

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation; the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg raged; and, in Sacramento, Central Pacific began building the first transcontinental railroad.

STILL GOING - Despite the financial meltdown of the YMCA of Stanislaus County, 85-year-old Camp Jack Hazard is still a go. The High Sierra camp, near the Dardanelles along Highway 108 east of Sonora, has scheduled registration sessions for May 6 and May 20, both at Mountain Mike's Pizza, 1221 Orangeburg Ave., Modesto, from 5 to 8 p.m. each night. The outdoors camp is open to children from 6 to 17, with family options available. More sessions will be announced, camp director Joseph Lawlor said. Go to www.friendsofcjh.com for more information.

HOME AND GARDEN - This one came from Turlock's police blotter and had all the makings of a brouhaha between Martha Stewart and Emeril:

Two teens at a Turlock foster care home chose their weapons during an altercation Saturday night. One picked a planter box and threw it at the other, striking his opponent in the face, police said. The damage: a cut lip and disjointed braces. Apparently, though, the planter box didn't plant a seed of doubt in the victim. He retaliated with a frying pan, conking his attacker on the head a couple of times. Yes, both teens were simmering, and they got to cool down after being booked on assault charges.

Granted, fighting is boorish, stupid and dangerous. But in an age where kids too often resort to knives or guns, you've got to give these two a modicum of credit for resourcefulness.

Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at 578-2383 or jjardine@modbee.com.

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