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Eight Great Dog Walks

Eight Great Dog Walks

Want to explore new territory? It’s more fun with your best friend. Break out the leash, treats and water and enjoy these charming foothill trails and byways together.

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Model A as in … Art?

Model A as in … Art?

Ron Smith’s Model A Ford is one of about a dozen that rumble up Sonora’s Washington Street for the Mother Lode Roundup Parade each May.

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Punny Dambacher: Growing Up in Jail

Punny Dambacher: Growing Up in Jail

Punny Dambacher, 91, shares memories of his father, a six-term sheriff, and his childhood home ― aka, the Tuolumne County Jail.

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An Ode to Fly Fishing

An Ode to Fly Fishing

California’s mountain trout have lured fly fisherman Jim Maddox for six decades. For this retired wildlife biologist, the day’s catch isn’t the real prize – what matters most is “the going and the doing.”

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Cherishing the Unexpected Gift of Family

Cherishing the Unexpected Gift of Family

Anguished over her daughter’s cancer diagnosis, Paulina Sanfilippo never imagined the journey of joy and discovery waiting in the wings. It all started with a letter to Pennsylvania.

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Eight Great Ways to De-Stress

Eight Great Ways to De-Stress

Experts offer tips on how to sideline stress and reclaim a healthy dose of relaxation.

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Readers rate FAN in magazine’s first survey

Readers rate FAN in magazine’s first survey

In our first survey, readers tell us what they like about FAN … and what they do as a result of reading it.

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Groveland Weighs Village Concept

Groveland Weighs Village Concept

Grovelander Al Brizard, 83, confesses that he’s a “stubborn old man” – who now needs help changing that light bulb high in the ceiling. Some 130 miles to the west, 75-year-old Marcia Freedman of Berkeley notes firmly that she doesn’t

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In the Cockpit with Aerobatics Ace Wayne Handley

In the Cockpit with Aerobatics Ace Wayne Handley

Wayne Handley urges pilots to consider one question before they go up: ‘What if?’ That preparedness has come in handy time and time again for this nationally renowned aerobatics pilot, still pulling G’s at 74.

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Manager is This Rural Airport’s Biggest Fan

Manager is This Rural Airport’s Biggest Fan

Calaveras County Airport Manager Kathy Zancanella grabs the phone to deal with the latest emergency of her day. “Bill, I have a stopped-up toilet here,” she says. “Think you can come over?” Next a flier from the Bay Area is

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Learning to Fly: How Old Is Too Old?

As is clear from the adjoining stories on Wayne Handley and Kathy Zancanella, you can fly airplanes – and fly them well – into your 70s and beyond. Surf the Internet, and you’ll read of licensed pilots over 100 and

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And now the winners … FAN’s Great Neighbors Contest

Audrey Tate’s neighbors do everything together, joining for potlucks, garage sales and helping each other when times are tough. Mary Straws’ neighbors were there to help her through husband Seth’s illness and then to comfort her in the difficult aftermath

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Happy Healthy Hens

Happy Healthy Hens

Hens are small, easy to care for, relatively quiet and will eat just about anything – even, gulp, ticks. They are also cute and entertaining, and their clucking and strutting tend to have a calming effect on most people. As

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Working Late: Rancher Betty West

Working Late: Rancher Betty West

Tuolumne County native Betty West is still ranching at 87, with no plans to retire. Tending cattle is her brand of happiness.

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Three Fall Victims Share Their Stories

Three Fall Victims Share Their Stories

Robert Mierzwak: 10 seconds that changed his life Robert Mierzwak had been on the job as a deputy public guardian for Calaveras County Adult Protective Services for 12 years when he fell off the roof of his Arnold home. In

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Working Late at 98: Jack Warnack

Working Late at 98: Jack Warnack

Life’s vicissitudes? Jack Warnack has nearly a century’s worth of experience taking those in stride. Life is funny, he’ll tell you. Enjoy it.

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The Power of Great Neighbors: The Don Brenon Story

The Power of Great Neighbors: The Don Brenon Story

As a child, Don Brenon sang and danced with some of Hollywood’s greatest stars. He went on to act in nearly five dozen movies. At 87, though, life has taken some tragic turns. Now his neighbors are playing starring roles in helping him through.

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Online Learning Puts the World at Your Fingertips

Here’s a guide to accessing the burgeoning world of distance learning. The best part? It’s all available from the comfort of home.

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Hollywood and the Movies

Hollywood and the Movies

The following is a chapter from Don Brenon’s 1995 autobiography,  Acting with the Movie Stars. To read more about Don Brenon and his great neighbors, from a feature that appeared in the Winter 2012-’13 FAN, click here. By Don Brenon 

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Navy Pride: One of Nation’s First WAVES Looks Back on Her Groundbreaking Role

Navy Pride: One of Nation’s First WAVES Looks Back on Her Groundbreaking Role

A 91-year-old Sonoran recalls a remarkable time in her life, when she and a handful of other adventurous young women signed on to become the U.S. Navy’s very first contingent of WAVES – Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.

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Autumn Outings: Explore Yosemite’s Roads Less Traveled

Autumn Outings: Explore Yosemite’s Roads Less Traveled

Need a healing infusion of natural beauty? Yosemite’s roads less traveled offer the perfect autumn outing.

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10 Great Yosemite Outings – No Hiking Required, Wheelchairs Welcome

10 Great Yosemite Outings – No Hiking Required, Wheelchairs Welcome

Even if you’re not a hiker – in fact, even if you use a cane, walker or wheelchair, or have young grandchildren in tow – you can still enjoy one of the world’s great wonders. Our top 10 outings include picnics, photo

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Quilting Sisters Piece Together a Loving Home

Quilting Sisters Piece Together a Loving Home

As experienced quilters, Jamestown sisters Katey Barbee, Flo Daley and Judy Fitzmorris skillfully fit assorted pieces of fabric into balanced, intricate designs. As a family, they’ve done the same – taken assorted personalities, talents and creative passions and fit them

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Mission to Save the Llamas

Mission to Save the Llamas

It’s not unusual for folks to follow their passion when they reach retirement age, when they have more free time to pursue the activities and adventures they love. What is unusual is the road 63-year-old George Caldwell of Sonora has chosen: trekking

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Wildfire Safety: How Advance Planning Can Help You Survive

Wildfire Safety: How Advance Planning Can Help You Survive

Summer heat puts the pastoral foothills under constant threat. Experts offer tips on protecting life and property when flames advance.

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Piece by Colorful Piece, An Artist Emerges

Piece by Colorful Piece, An Artist Emerges

In her mid-60s, Julie Gonzales discovered art and has been creating mosaics and other colorful pieces ever since. Though it’s difficult for her to explain the origin of this obsession, it’s no surprise she’s fall in love with a visual medium. She’s lived most of her life without sound.

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Love After 50: Murry and Beverly Francois

Love After 50: Murry and Beverly Francois

Fairness and tolerance play key roles in Murry Francois’ relationship with his wife, Beverly. She puts it this way: “We don’t tread on each other.”

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For Relay Walkers, It’s Personal

For Relay Walkers, It’s Personal

Love and loss are prime motivators for thousands of Mother Lode residents joining a step-by-step fight against cancer.

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Stop Signs

Stop Signs

A graying population coupled with an already high percentage of older drivers means ever more seniors behind the wheel here. For each, a difficult decision looms: When to give up the keys.

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Teacher Max Lemon: Squeezing Lemonade out of Life

Teacher Max Lemon: Squeezing Lemonade out of Life

At age 80, Max Lemon still teaches high school, with no plans to quit. His life story is a lesson in itself.

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Mining for Memories: A Guide to Writing Your Life Story

Mining for Memories: A Guide to Writing Your Life Story

Whether you’re rich or poor, leaving a written record of your life is a remarkable gift to future generations. Here’s a guide to preserving this treasure – and it’s easier than you think.

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A Fruitful Quest for a Better Life

A Fruitful Quest for a Better Life

A Calaveras County resident recalls the 1930s “fruit tramp” days, moving into and through California following the harvest, in this excerpt from her autobiography.

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Sheriff’s Community Service Unit

Sheriff’s Community Service Unit

In an era of public-safety budget cuts, a corps of dedicated volunteers reaches the 20-year mark and wonders: Will anyone else step forward to help?

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Healing Power of Pets

Healing Power of Pets

Meet five foothill residents who are living proof that pets can be the best medicine.

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Bee Happy: Sierra Foothill Beekeepers Association

Bee Happy: Sierra Foothill Beekeepers Association

No matter what the initial attraction, one consequence keeps beekeepers stuck on their bees: love. As devoted fan Lorinda Forrest puts it, “You develop a love for your bees that’s not easy to explain.”

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Finding Your Roots: Back to England

Finding Your Roots: Back to England

No matter your heritage, you will more than likely find at least one of your ancestral lines leading back to England. Let’s make something clear, though. When some folks say England, they are really referring to all of the British Isles.

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The View From 103: Bill Hoffman

The View From 103: Bill Hoffman

He saw the Lincoln Memorial being built, and later served in the 7th Cavalry. Meet 103-year-old Bill Hoffman, witness to history. He’s also an avid fan of the latest technology (you can friend him on Facebook). This cheerful centenarian’s advice: Live for today.

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Eight Great Day Outings

Eight Great Day Outings

One of the greatest benefits of living in the Mother Lode is the natural beauty that surrounds us. And there’s no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with family – both young and old. Below are eight one-day

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The Gift of Second Chances

The Gift of Second Chances

When Bobby Medina left gangs, prison and drugs behind, he found hope, love and a new life. Yet his mission to help others find the same remains a struggle against long odds.

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Seniors on the Edge Watch Safety Net Unravel

Seniors on the Edge Watch Safety Net Unravel

AJ Holmes of Sonora and Dorothy Bates of San Andreas have never met, but the two women have much in common. Both live in tiny, cheerfully decorated homes that reflect warmth and creativity. AJ is a former singer and actress,

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Raider Parader June Price Rides Again

Raider Parader June Price Rides Again

You might guess that Mother Lode Roundup parade stalwart June Price is, at least chronologically speaking, a senior citizen. You might not guess that she used to be shy – “very shy,” in fact. Shy won’t come to mind as

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Gabriella Kagay: A Bright Future Reclaimed

Gabriella Kagay: A Bright Future Reclaimed

Respect, appreciation and deep gratitude punctuate Deborah Kagay’s sentences as she talks about her family’s experiences with the Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento. The hospital, one of 22 supported by Shrine clubs in the United States, Canada and Mexico,

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Shriners: Who Will Fill Their Shoes?

Shriners: Who Will Fill Their Shoes?

Like many aging fraternal orders, the Shriners’ numbers are dwindling. This is no mere clown shortage. Instead, it affects a network of children’s hospitals that, in the past five years alone, has provided free medical care to nearly 1,000 local youngsters.

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Senior Centers Shape New Role as Community Hubs

Senior Centers Shape New Role as Community Hubs

There’s a movement to put a vibrant new face on senior centers as legions of Baby Boomers – whether they like it or not – attain “senior” status. The goal: refashion these sites into community hubs meeting multigenerational needs.

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Retirement Planning Resources

Retirement Planning Resources

Planning for retirement can be a daunting prospect. The list of things to consider ranges from finances to health care to how you’re going to spend your spare time. What do you need to know about Social Security and Medicare?

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Real-Life Retirement: Advice and Surprises

Real-Life Retirement: Advice and Surprises

The reward for decades of hard work? A highway mirage that gets further away as you approach? Or, because of the economy, illness or other unexpected developments, nothing like you thought it would be? Retirement is many things to many

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Diary of a New Retiree

Diary of a New Retiree

When FAN learned that Alan O’Neill was planning to retire, we asked him to keep a diary of his thoughts on one of life’s biggest transitions.

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Dorothy and Cowboy, Circle of Life

Dorothy and Cowboy, Circle of Life

Theirs was a remarkable partnership that spanned an all-too-brief nine years. In that time, Twain Harte nurse Dorothy Moulthrop and her majestic Leonberger dog, Cowboy, visited several thousand people – in schools, care homes, hospitals, private homes and Alzheimer’s wards.

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Great Neighbors: Dario and Lorraine Cassina

Great Neighbors: Dario and Lorraine Cassina

Arthritis ended his violin-playing days, but Dario Cassina’s deep love of music and community lives on.

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Therapy of the Equine Kind

Therapy of the Equine Kind

Retiree Patti Taylor-Welch is living her dream, with the help of dozens of volunteers devoted to helping children and adults with special needs.

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