Washington Ridge Youth Conservation Camp is down to 18 youths, nearly half the previous population of the camp, superintendent Stephen Gardner said on Monday.

He said he expects all wards from the California Youth Authority camp will be moved or paroled by late April or early May.

Then, minimum-security inmates of the California Department of Corrections will be moved in. The adults and young adults will not be kept at the camp together, Gardner said.

The 80-acre camp, east of Nevada City off Highway 20, has housed law-breaking youths since 1960. In January, the state decided to use the camp to house minimum-security adults to save money and boost fire protection for Nevada County.

Gardner said he also learned Monday that four camp officers, based on seniority, will be offered a job with the corrections department. First, however, the officers have to go through six weeks of training and a one-year apprenticeship at a major prison. Then they will be allowed to return to Washington Ridge.

The fate of all of the other employees is not known, Gardner said. However, everyone will be offered another job in a state agency.

– Becky Trout

Curves branches to take part in food drive

Several area branches of the Curves fitness chain are taking part in the “Curves Food Drive” to benefit local food banks.

Last year, the Curves food drive collected more than 4,000 tons of food for local communities.

Anyone joining Curves the week of March 7 may bring a bag of groceries and have the normal service fee waived. Anyone may drop off nonperishable food items at Curves Monday through Friday during business hours during the month of March.

“The Curves Food Drive promotion allows us, the franchisees, to help more women reach their fitness goals, while giving back to the community simultaneously,” said Sherry Picciano, the owner of the Grass Valley and Nevada City clubs.

Curves fitness centers locally can be found at:

• 11434 Pleasant Valley Road, Penn Valley

• 992 Plaza Drive, Grass Valley

• 737 Zion St., Nevada City

Grand opening for fiber arts gallery

Lola’s Loom, a fiber arts studio gallery featuring the work of local artists, will hold a “Meet the Artists” grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at 301 W. Main St., Grass Valley.

The gallery will feature hand-woven, hand-spun, hand-knit and hand-crafted items created by area artists. Yarn, fiber, looms, spinning wheels and fiber art supplies will also be offered at the gallery. Information is available by phoning 274-7897.

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