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UNION DEMOCRAT

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WEDNESDAY

DECEMBER 6, 2016

PEARL HARBOR

Holiday

Survivors recall day of infamy 75 years ago

Countdown

By GUY McCARTHY The Union Democrat They live in Groveland, Jamestown and Valley Springs today, and 75 years ago they were young men in the U.S. Navy on Oahu when the Japanese launched their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor early Dec. 7, 1941. Hal Mayo was a Navy crew chief assigned to a PBY Catalina flying boat used for antisubmarine patrol, stationed at Kaneohe Bay on southeast Oahu, where a first wave of Japanese Zeros tried to wipe out all the planes at the American airfield. Chester ?Ski? Biernacki was a shell man assigned to one of the 6-inch, 47-caliber Mark 16 gun turrets on board the USS Helena, which was in Pearl Harbor on the south side of Oahu and damaged during the attack. Delton ?Wally? Walling was a signalman assigned to a communications tower 180 feet in the air above Pearl Harbor. He had a bird?s eye view of the catastrophe that unfolded when the Japanese attacked without warning. These residents of the Mother Lode survived the devastating attack that lasted about 110 minutes and changed the course of history. ?The grin on the pilot?s face?

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Mayo, now 94, lit a Churchill-size cigar last week in his garage east of Pine Mountain Lake and said he still allows himself one or two Scotches a day. ?We were on the other side of the island and they hit Kaneohe and Wheeler Field first,? Mayo said. ?I was on duty that morning. We were in the hangar getting ready to take over the watch at oh eight hundred. ?We heard machine guns and our first thought was the Air Corps was playing games on a Sunday morning, which didn?t make sense,? Mayo said. ?So we ran out of the hangar just in time for See SURVIVORS / Back Page Guy McCarthy / Union Democrat (above); Courtesy photo / Mayo family (top); courtesy photo / Chace Anderson (left) Hal Mayo, 94 (above), draws on a cigar Thursday at his home east of Groveland. Mayo kneels in a 1943 photo (top), second from right in the front row, at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific. Delton ?Wally? Walling, 95, of Valley Springs (left, at left), and Chester ?Ski? Biernacki, 94, of Jamestown, stand Tuesday outside the USS Arizona Memorial visitors center at Pearl Harbor.

Sonora High School District

Board, public discuss cuts

By GIUSEPPE RICAPITO The Union Democrat The Fiscal Recovery Plan for Sonora Union High School District will be available to the public Friday, but Superintendent Pat Chabot offered few specifics to describe who or what might be on the chopping block. During Tuesday?s threehour meeting of the Board of Trustees, Chabot said, ?We are looking at reductions in all areas to make things easier for everyone.? The most contentious point of the evening regarded ?across the board? staff cuts, such as a set percentage reduction on salary. Chabot said reductions would have to be negotiated with the Teacher?s Union. Dina Pinocchio, Teacher?s Union treasurer, asked what the board would be able to accomplish in such a short time frame if the potential negotiations were to fall through. ?Will you have a plan B?? she said. Pinocchio also balked at the secrecy of the task force discussions. ?The information is not coming out to us, none of us know,? she said. Chabot said the task force had met four times since Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Margie Bulkin?s Nov. 15 presentation on the financial crisis facing the district. The 10-member task force includes teachers, administrators, staff, members of the public and a board member. The board has until Dec. 15 to submit the recovery plan and revised budget to Bulkin. Nate Howard, a parent of two students at Sonora High School, noted that the board could not include any unnegotiated items in the first interim budget. ?You?re putting yourself in a lose-lose situation here,? he said. ?How much are you committing or do you need to commit on Dec. 15 for what you are doing? You can?t make the cuts you are saying without negotiations.? ?We?re trying to get as much as we can without going across the board on a percentage of salary,? Chabot responded. ?We can include the things that are for sure, and it?s the things that we are proposing for next year that are going to have to be negotiated,? added Board President Kathy Ankrom. ?If [Margie?s] not happy with it we?re going to have to sharpen our pencils and come See SCHOOL / Back Page Business .....................................B1 Obituaries ...................................A3 Reach us online at Calendar .....................................A2 www.uniondemocrat.com

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