drug test: Although legal, pot can still affect employment, B1

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December 14, 2016

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Maggie Beck / Union Democrat Boyer Construction begins construction on the Green Dog Beer Company beer garden on Green Street in Sonora.

Sonora

Private sector poised to spark change downtown

By ALEX MacLEAN The Union Democrat Private investment in downtown Sonora is expected to fuel a transformation over the next year that a city-driven revitalization plan has been unable to accomplish. Trendy new drinking and eating establishments have already begun to replace the empty storefronts on Washington Street that numbered in the dozens earlier this year. Bourbon Barrel owner Doug Kennedy also recently broke ground on his much-anticipated beer and wine garden next to Stage 3 Theatre on Green Street. ?The plan is to really get people to start coming back to downtown Sonora,? said Kennedy at the new Stockton Road headquarters of his company, Trado Restaurant Corporation, which will help promote and coordinate events in the downtown area. In an interview Tuesday, Kennedy revealed that his beer and wine garden will be called Green Dog Beer Co. The establishment will also manufacture and sell its own ?dog-themed? line of beers that he hopes to produce locally once he See DOWNTOWN / Back Page

Rail Road Flat Elementary

Pot farm donation benefits school

By JASON COWAN The Union Democrat A $3,000 donation from a cannabis farm to a nonprofit that supports a small elementary school in Calaveras County has presented something of an ethical dilemma. Should an elementary school take money ? even indirectly ? from a business that grows pot? Calaveras Unified School District Superintendent Mark Campbell, who is also the principal of the school, Rail Road Flat Elementary, said yes, as long as the money goes through a middleman. Campbell said the donation from Millerrail Farms in Rail Road Flat earlier this month went to the Friends of the Rail Road Flat School, a nonprofit organization. ?They receive donations from a wide variety of sources,? Campbell said. ?In their pool of donations coming from multiple sources not just affiliated with cannabis issues, when they donate to the school, they?re donating to the school from their budget overall. ? It isn?t as if the school is receiving resources from a cannabis cultivation organization.? With an enrollment of 69 students, the school is among the smallest in Calaveras County and has repeatedly been threatened with closure. It is in the second year of a three year moratorium on any attempt to shut it down. Rail Road Flat Elementary has seen an increase of 19 students between last See DOnation / Back Page

The Holidays Made Easy!

Sonora High Crisis

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Maggie Beck / Union Democrat

Mike?s Mowers

Sonora High School special education teacher Matt Marinovich (above) speaks passionately as he addresses the Sonora High School Board of Trustees during Tuesday night?s meeting. Nearly 100 people filled the library (right). Sonora High School teacher Dirk Travis (below right) District Superintendant Pat Chabot during the meeting.

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?The specifics are going to be hammered out. I understand the anger and frustration of not knowing, but the best thing is to just go through the proper channels.?

Kathy Ankrom, board president

Teachers blast board over financial recovery plan

By GIUSEPPE RICAPITO The Union Democrat Sonora High School teachers and community members blamed the district?s financial problems squarely on the Board of Trustees Tuesday night and fiercely opposed the fiscal recovery plan?s mandate to cut 5.8 teacher salaries and 40 credits from the graduation requirements for students. ?I am devastated by what has happened to our school based on decisions that were made here,? said Debbie Hopper, a math teacher for 25 years at Sonora High. ?Students lives and education is what Sonora High is all about. It?s what it?s always been about. The gross mismanagement is on you. The teachers didn?t do it.? ?You need to take some more responsibility for this,? said Matt Marinovich, a special education teacher at Sonora High, who took a passionately angry position against the Board. ?Five days from the superintendent salary and 10 the following years doesn?t mean anything to me. Mismanagement has caused you to run out of money. It?s time you look at yourselves and think about the school and what?s going to happen.? About a dozen people spoke during the hour-long public comment portion of the board meeting. Teacher?s Union Treasurer Dina Pinocchio gave a statement on behalf of the Federation of Teachers asking for comparable cuts to administration that are coming from teachers. ?We as a union want the See School / Back Page Business......................................B1 Obituaries.................................AA3 Reach us online at Calendar...................................AA1 www.uniondemocrat.com

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