Monthly Archives: March 2014

Experts Offer Views of Foothill Water at Columbia College Foundation Lecture

WHO:        Columbia College Foundation
WHAT:      “Focus on Foothill Water: Beyond the Drought”
A free community event featuring the region’s leading water experts from the Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Watershed Management Group
WHERE:     Sonora High School Auditorium
WHEN:      Thursday evening March 13. Doors open at 6 pm; program 6:30-8:30 pm

A panel of experts on foothill water and a leading authority on California water issues will be the featured speakers at a free community event presented by the Columbia College Foundation Thursday evening, March 13.

“Focus on Foothill Water: Beyond the Drought,” a two-hour evening program at the Sonora High School Auditorium, will be moderated by Columbia College Natural Resources Professor Dr. Tom Hofstra, and features leading experts representing a range of interests including local water districts, agriculture, the environment and native California tribes.

The evening’s keynote speaker is John Mills, a leading authority on California water and a Columbia resident. Mills, one of state’s top water advisors was just appointed to the California Emergency Drought Task Force.  He will offer an overview of the twists and turns in local watershed management over the last 80 years.

Mr. Mills’ comments will be followed by a guided discussion among panel members, all of whom are representatives in the Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Watershed Management Group. Speakers include:

Tom Scesa- General Manager, Tuolumne Utilities District
Jerry Cadagan- Founder, Protect Our Water & Environmental Resources
Lindsay Rae Mattos – District Manager, Tuolumne County Resource Conservation District and Administrator, Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Watershed Management Group
Don Stump – President, Mountain Counties Water Resource Association and President, Calaveras County Water District
Patrick Koepele  – Acting Executive Director, Tuolumne River Trust
Stephanie Suess – Community and Resources Development Director for the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California. Suess is also a Columbia College Foundation director.
Tom Trott, General Manager, Twain Harte Community Services District

Speakers will focus on the big picture of watershed management – past and future – rather than the specifics of the immediate drought emergency.  “No issue is more critical than water right now,” said Mel Kirk, Columbia College Foundation Board President. “This is a chance to learn from the region’s experts on the issues that got us here, the range of interests involved and the efforts underway to work together on long-range solutions.  The Foundation is pleased to bring these key players together for an educational evening.”

“Focus on Foothill Water: Beyond the Drought” kicks off a new community lecture series planned by the Columbia College Foundation. The program is free. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the evening’s program will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments by Columbia College Culinary Arts students will be available at an intermission and after the event.

For more information, visit or call (209) 588-5065.

The Columbia College Foundation is a community nonprofit established in 1972 to promote quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. Our mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College’s students. Learn more at or call (209) 588-5055.


38th Annual Columbia Wine Tasting to Benefit Columbia College Culinary Arts Program

The Columbia Wine Tasting, an annual fundraising event sponsored by the Columbia College Foundation, has a history of selling out. It’s not surprising – who wouldn’t want to spend a spring afternoon strolling through Columbia State Historic Park, visiting quaint buildings filled with exquisite food and wine?

This year’s wine tasting, the 38th Annual, will be held on Sunday, April 13 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Admittance is just $50 per person for reservations purchased prior to April 7th. Go to to for easy online reservations or call (209) 588-5089.  A limited number of reservations will be offered the day of the event for $60 per person, as available.

Organizers expect more than 60 wineries will be represented at the tasting, as well as regional food vendors like the Calaveras Olive Oil Company and the Fiscalini Cheese Company.  In addition, gourmet hors d’oeuvres are prepared and served by Columbia College Culinary Arts students.

The event attracts award-winning winemakers from throughout the state. This year’s roster so far includes Andis Winery, Black Sheep Winery, Cambria Winery, Cline Cellars, Chatom Vineyards, Columbia Culinary, Chamisal Winery, David Girard Wines, Dancing Coyote Winery, Duckhorn Winery, Frank Family Vineyards, Hahn Winery, Hovey Wines, Gianelli Vineyards, Ironstone Vineyards, Justin Winery, Kendall Jackson Estate, Landmark Cellars, Mason Cellars, Milliaire Winery, Mettler Vineyards, Mt. Brow Winery, Murphy Goode, Mutt Lynch Winery, Pina Napa Wines, Pine Ridge Winery, Quady Winery, Rombauer Vineyards, Rosenblum Winery, Renner Vineyards, Silkwood Wines, Silver Oak Cellars, Smith and Hook, Sobon Estate, Shenandoah Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards, St. Amant Winery, Terra d Oro Winery, Twisted Oak Winery, Twomey Cellars, Vina Robles Winery and Vino Noceto Winery.

A silent auction offers unique and exciting goods and services for attendees to peruse, including food and wine-themed gift baskets, private wine tastings, dinner party certificates, and of course, numerous specialty wines. Proceeds from this event benefit Columbia College’s Culinary Arts program by providing student scholarships, instructional equipment and supplies.

Additional press information and photos are available by contacting Gene Womble at 209- 588-5135.

Choral Festival Featuring Five Community Choruses This Friday

The Third Mother Lode Community Chorus Festival featuring five Choruses representing singers from four counties will be held Friday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Calvary Chapel located at 19889 Soulsbyville Road, Soulsbyville, CA.  Admission is free.  For more information contact John Carter at (209) 588-5214.

The Mother Lode Community Chorus Festival is an opportunity for choral singers in the Central Mother Lode to hear and see other singers that participate in group singing.  According to festival organizer and Columbia College Music Professor, John Carter, “chorus members up here in the Mother Lode are fairly isolated from each other.  This event is meant to encourage each other as we sing and provide music to our various communities and to really drive home the point that we, in the Central Sierra Region, have much in common with each other as singers.”

Participating choruses include the following:  The Mountain Melody Singers (Mountain Ranch), Greeley Hill Chorus (Greeley Hill/Mariposa), Pine Cone Singers (Groveland), Sonora Hills Chorus (Sonora) and The Columbia College Community Chorus (Sonora).   “These choruses vary in size and perform different kinds of music from one another,” said Carter.  “But we all love choral singing and enjoy singing for our communities.  The Festival has been so enthusiastically received by the singers and the community that we decided to do it again.”

The public is welcome to attend. The conclusion of the program will be America the Beautiful sung by the massed Choruses.