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Overfill Holiday Boot Drive A Huge Success
Favorable weather - and people that didn't let the price of gas stop them from traveling on a holiday weekend - combined to help push Farmington Fire Department's "Fill the Boot" collection to lofty heights.

Shortly before noon Monday, Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey said the effort was "already over $21,000" and that didn't include the Monday totals. With those donations figured in late Monday night, Bailey said the final total would top out at just over $30,000 for the Firefighters Burn Institute.

"It's going to be a whole lot better than what we thought," Bailey said as she counted and rolled coins on Monday with the assistance of youngsters Jon Kalebaugh, 13, and Clayton Keener, 12. "Everybody has been really generous."

Escalon, which also planned the host a Fill the Boot drive over the weekend, postponed their collection due to an early morning structure fire on Saturday. Escalon's drive will be at the intersection of Highway 120 and McHenry Avenue on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23 and 24, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Farmington, volunteers with turnout boots manned the four corners of the Highway 4 and Escalon-Bellota Road intersection over parts of four days, starting Friday afternoon and concluding on Monday of the Presidents' Day weekend.

"Saturday was a huge, huge day," Bailey said. "Traffic was backed up to the school, everybody was going up to the mountains."

Even with the backlog, it didn't take motorists long to actually make it through the four-way stop.

"I sat there and timed them," Bailey said. "From the school to the intersection, it took just three minutes."