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The Roarin’ ’20

Photos capture moments from infamous year that most would like to wipe from memory

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Some of the stories that recall the 365 days that made up that notorious year of 2020 are not always appealing, but there is usually a visual component to these stories that captures a moment that says so much more than words can ever describe.

We have compiled many of our favorite photos that graced the pages of the Calaveras Enterprise throughout the year. Though we had a lot to choose from, we’ve been able to pick out 15 that had the most impact.

Here then are our top photos from 2020, ranked in no particular order.

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BLM Bridge, taken by Aaron James

A drone captures a bird’s eye view of “Black Lives Matter” graffiti spanning the length of Camp Nine Bridge, near Vallecito, in June. The addition was discovered by a hiker shortly after a similar message was painted by city workers on a Washington D.C. street during nationwide protests against police brutality. Bridge owner Pacific Gas & Electric Co. chose not to remove the graffiti until it was defaced a few days later to read “All Lives Matter.”

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Kodiak Stephens

He’s known as Kodiak Stephens, but he may as well be Bret Harte’s version of Superman. Stephens was named as the 2020 Calaveras Enterprise Male Athlete of the Year from Bret Harte. It is the second time he has won the award. Stephens was a first-team Mother Lode League football player and finished fourth at the CIF State Wrestling Championships. After graduating in the spring, Stephens will attend Oregon State University and wrestle for the Beavers. 

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Angels Fire  

A summer fire broke out in downtown Angels Camp and a number of fire departments combined to put out the blaze. The fire burnt up nearly 10 acres near Utica Park. One home, which was unoccupied, a garage, multiple fences and yards were also damaged in the fire, but no injuries were reported.

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Electric Buses

Calaveras Unified School District purchased three brand new electric buses this year, putting them into service in January. Unfortunately, the buses didn’t get as much use as expected when the school district moved to distance learning as a result of the pandemic.

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Karl Karlsen Trial

Two-time convicted murderer Karl Karlsen scans the courtroom during his January trial at the Calaveras County Superior Court, which drew media attention from “Dateline NBC” and ABC’s “20/20” due to the nature and time span of the charges. Karlsen was sentenced to life in prison roughly 30 years after the fact for murdering his wife Christina Karlsen in a Murphys house fire. He had been previously convicted of killing his 23-year-old son, Levi Karlsen, in 2008, and collected hefty life insurance policies on both victims.

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Celtic Faire

A juggler performs at the 34th annual Celtic Faire in Sonora—one of the final events to occur in the Mother Lode before the first statewide COVID-19 lockdown commenced just a week and a half later. Traditionally held in March, the Faire is moving to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in 2021. However, the date has been pushed back to late June due to the ongoing pandemic.

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Guide dog

Jen, a puppy-in-training for Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), awaits direction from her volunteer trainer, Sally Hughes, of Dorrington, in Murphys in February. Hughes is a member of the GDB club in Angels Camp, which is called “The Celebrated Guide Dogs of Calaveras County.” GDB pairs guide dogs with people who are blind or visually impaired at no cost to them.

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Reopen CUSD demonstration

In September, parents and students held a rally in Valley Springs to bring attention to the Calaveras Unified School District school board about letting kids return to school. At that time, all learning was distance. The demonstration only lasted a few hours, but was met by honking horns and thumbs-up from drivers passing through. 


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