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2010 Year in Review

December 2010 — Foresthill Bridge refit contract gets OK

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Dec. 1 — Auburn’s Wise Canal has killed again. This time it was a 50-year-old homeless man just three days out of the Placer County Jail and caught in the icy grip of the waterway’s strong current Nov. 23. Richard Marshall Hill’s death is the sixth in the canal since January 2009. Dec. 3 — The youngest member of an alleged Auburn-area burglary ring is in custody after a two-week manhunt by the Placer County Sheriff’s Department. Amanda Marie Jojo, 21, who turned herself in Dec. 2, is reported to be part of a ring allegedly responsible for at least 12 residential and car burglaries, the Sheriff’s Department said. Dec. 7 — The lower level of the City Hall Council Chambers was packed (Dec. 6) as the three re-elected council members, Kevin Hanley, Mike Holmes and Bridget Powers, took the oath of office. The council also voted unanimously to select Councilman Dr. Bill Kirby as mayor. Dec. 8 — The long-awaited report that details the highly criticized emergency response to the Galleria mall arson fire is staying closeted after the Placer County District Attorney’s motion for a gag order. Prosecutor Dave Broady said he filed the gag order request at 9 a.m. Dec. 7 in Placer County Superior Court. Dec. 9 — A month ago, Sgt. Vincent Ashlock was one of the soldiers honored by North Auburn’s Rock Creek Elementary School for service to our country. On Dec. 8, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that Ashlock, 45, was killed in the Khost province of Afghanistan. No details of his death were released. Ashlock’s hometown was listed as Seaside, but Rock Creek officials said his daughter has been attending first-grade at the Auburn school since the beginning of the term. Dec. 12 — An Auburn woman has come forward with information that she says points to her son barely surviving becoming the seventh victim in the Wise Canal since January 2009. Betty Starr said her son told her he was pushed into the canal in November 2008 while walking at night on a path at the canal’s edge. Her son, Kenny Minero, died a few months later of an overdose of prescription medication. Dec. 15 — The Foresthill Bridge will be repainted and earthquake-proofed by a Martinez bridge construction company. The Board of Supervisors approved a $58.4 million contract Dec. 14 for Golden State Bridge Inc. to do the work. It is anticipated to be a three-year job. Dec. 17 — Placer County Judge Larry Gaddis has refused a gag order on the city of Roseville’s report on the Galleria Mall fire, so the city is releasing the report today. Dec. 19 — Brian Jagger, a top aide for Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler was arrested Dec. 17 for allegedly stealing more than $15,000 from district attorney-elect Scott Owens’ campaign account. Jagger was Owens’ campaign treasurer. Dec. 19 — According to a report released by the city of Roseville, a Westfield maintenance worker who believed he was acting on police orders shut off sprinklers during the Galleria Mall blaze on Oct. 21. But Roseville Police Tactical Commander Capt. Stefan Moore said no such order was given. Dec. 21 — In one of the wettest weekends in recent memory, the Auburn area was lashed by wind, pummeled by cloudbursts that fell in waves, hit by thunder and lightning, and darkened by gray skies and power outages. The National Weather Service recorded 4.05 inches of rain in Downtown Auburn from Dec. 17 to Dec. 20. Dec. 21 —Brian Jagger, Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler’s aide, who was arrested on charges of grand theft Dec. 17, was placed on paid administrative leave from his $95,200-a-year job. It’s not known when he will appear in court on the charge of allegedly stealing more than $15,000 from district attorney-elect Scott Owns’ campaign account. Dec. 21 — In a so-called flash mob, hundreds of choral singers descended on the Galleria Mall’s food court Dec. 20, bringing with them thousands of spectators. A couple of pops, a few creaks and a shifting second floor later, security, police and fire officials had to evacuate the entire mall. Dec. 28 — The Placer County CEO’s office is downsizing but many residents aren’t appeased by the cuts thus far. Two of Tom Miller’s three assistants, each earning in the $230,000 to $243,000 range, have departed. In further downsizing, the public information office is not replacing retiring public information officer Anita Yoder, leaving two others to do the job, in addition to a full-time PIO in the Sheriff’s Office and a part-time position in the District Attorney’s Office. Total salaries for PIOs comes to $470,000 annually.