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Latest Mike Taugher Stories

2008-10-09 06:00:23

By Mike Taugher Staff Writer HAYWARD -- A backhoe clawed through a dirt berm Wednesday, creating a channel that Bay water poured through to former industrial salt ponds that had not tasted tidal waters for more than a century. With the dirt berm removed, the Mount Eden Creek will spill into the former salt ponds on high tides and returning life to one rich shoreline wetlands. Mudflats will form. Pickleweed should start growing and eventually birds, fish and mammals, including...

2008-09-26 06:00:19

By Mike Taugher Shell Oil Co. has agreed to pay more than $300,000 in fees and penalties for spilling about 420 gallons of oil into Carquinez Strait at its Martinez refinery in January 2006. No injuries were reported at the time and no dead wildlife were found, though the spill did foul the marina and some boats. "It's something we wish didn't happen and we have taken all steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," said Shell spokesman Steve Lesher, who also apologized to boat owners...

2008-09-12 21:00:14

By Mike Taugher With all the attention on the diminishing statewide water supply and grim forecasts that drought could worsen substantially next year, one might think policymakers would move quickly to spend money already approved by voters to work on the problem. Think again. Widely supported legislation needed to spend $820 million in available bond funds is stuck in limbo, the victim of power politics, a budget stalemate and bad timing. The bill would release some of the $7 billion...

2008-09-05 06:00:10

By Mike Taugher SACRAMENTO -- Fearing next year could bring a worsening drought, state water officials on Thursday said they would create the first drought water bank in California since the early 1990s. The bank would allow water users, primarily in the Sacramento Valley, to sell water to drier regions of the state, from the Bay Area to San Diego. Following two dry years, key reservoirs such as Shasta Reservoir and Lake Oroville are at only about half their normal levels for this time...

2008-09-02 18:00:13

By Mike Taugher Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dianne Feinstein floated a $9.3 billion proposal for new dams and Delta projects Thursday in what amounted to a last-ditch attempt to get lawmakers on board with a water bond package in time for November's elections. The plan, however, got a cool reception in the capitol where lawmakers are struggling with an estimated $15.2 billion budget deficit and mindful that voters just two years ago approved billions of dollars in mostly unused...

2008-06-24 21:02:20

By Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif. Jun. 24--Staff Writer Five members of Congress from Northern California fired a warning shot Tuesday across the bow of a swift-moving plan that calls for a controversial aqueduct to deliver water around the Delta as its centerpiece. The letter accuses the federal regulatory agencies that must approve the plan of failing to protect Delta fisheries in the past and pointedly asks for assurances that the latest plan to save the...

2007-12-26 09:00:00

By Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif. Dec. 26--Poring over the logs of hundreds of voyages he made into San Francisco and Suisun bays, tugboat captain Kevin Bartoo knew something was wrong. The numbers were just too low. He knew he had mined more sand than the logs showed. It was not the first time he had seen the discrepancy. Once, in his employer's office, he was offered a brief look at the books. "All of a sudden, I realized now I have documentation of what I saw,"...


Word of the Day
toccata
  • In music, a work for a keyboard-instrument, like the pianoforte or organ, originally intended to utilize and display varieties of touch: but the term has been extended so as to include many irregular works, similar to the prelude, the fantasia, and the improvisation.
This word is Italian in origin, coming from the feminine past participle of 'toccare,' to touch.
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