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Dawn Hodson

EID directors trade insults over compensation

El Dorado Irrigation District directors’ compensation resurfaced Monday, prompting some harsh words between EID board members. The exchange began after Director Dale Coco brought up the topic first discussed at a board meeting last December and again in January. Coco maintained if the board was going to negotiate with staff regarding sacrifices to their salaries and benefits, it was prudent […]

Never give up on a dream

Patience pays off for local businesswoman It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, especially when the business you want to create relies on technology not yet created. Such is the story of Camino resident Anita Thomas, who has been chasing a business dream for more than 18 years. — a dream that has changed as the technology behind it has advanced and finally caught up […]

Camino district proposes bond

Camino Union School District has all the charm of a rural school district but at more than 60 years old it’s showing its age.

Hence the push by its school board and staff to get approval from residents this June for a bond issue to fund needed improvements.

Superintendent/Principal Matthew Smith, who oversees Camino School and Camino Science and Natural Resources Charter School on the Snows Road campus, took the Mountain Democrat on a tour, pointing out the site’s many deficiencies.

El Niño delivers but state says keep conserving

El Niño continues to deliver more snow and rain but that won’t change the statewide conservation mandate set by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

At Tuesday’s State Water Resources Control Board meeting, board members voted to extend the mandate through October of this year, although the amount of water to be conserved will be somewhat more flexible.

George Kostyrko, director of the SWRCB office of Public Affairs, said there is no specific conservation target.

On the agenda: EID

The Feb. 8 El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors meeting includes the following agenda items: Consideration to award a professional services agreement to Tully and Young Comprehensive Water Planning for no more $76,595 for preparation of the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan and a Water Supply Assessment for the proposed Mill Creek development. Consideration of a […]

Westmont project continued; new commissioner seated

It was a short meeting on Jan. 28 for the El Dorado County Planning Commission as the main agenda item was continued. Previously scheduled was a hearing on the proposed Westmont Living Facility in El Dorado Hills. A decision was made to continue consideration of the project off calendar because a different California Environmental Quality Act document needs to be prepared. Staff […]

Esmeralda Tunnel repairs shaping up

Progress continues in repairing the Esmeralda Tunnel with an update on what’s been accomplished provided to the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors at its Jan. 25 meeting. The tunnel sustained a severe collapse in September 2014 when a section collapsed near the upstream portal due to the timber walls giving way. The collapse resulted in the tunnel being blocked with rock […]

Beth Chalaire with Pony Express Tax Service delivers the digits

There must be something to the idea that the choice of a career is partly determined by one’s genes. Beth Chalaire, owner of Pony Express Tax Service in Pollock Pines, decided to follow her father’s footsteps into the numbers biz. An enrolled agent for almost 20 years, which means she can represent clients before the […]

Women’s Fund El Dorado makes a community impact

Making a difference since 2007 is the Women’s Fund El Dorado. A nonprofit organization made up of over 400 women, the group believes in the power of collective giving as a way of enhancing the quality of life in the county. “We’re not a service organization,” said Robyn Parker, vice chair of WFED. “We’re a […]

Clubhouse taking shape

We may have had a lot of rain lately, but nothing has dampened the spirits of those building the new Boys and Girls Club in Placerville.

Located on Green Valley Road near Mallard Lane, the concrete foundation for the 15,000-square-foot building has been laid and the steel frame is up, showing just how big and impressive the building will be when finished.

Sean McCartney, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County Western Slope, said 95 percent of the rough framing is complete and next week they will start the interior framing.

EID lobbyist talks taxes

The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors received a legislative update from Bob Reeb at its Jan. 25 meeting as he discussed numerous proposals being considered to raise taxes. A lobbyist for EID since 2005, Reeb talked in particular about legislation that could affect water agencies. Reeb noted the state is anticipating an extra $3.5 billion […]

GDPUD debates customer refunds

The ghost of the Garden Valley assessment district was back on the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors’ recent agenda. The subject of debate at last month’s meeting as well, the special assessment district was originally established to pay for water related improvements in Garden Valley. A resolution to that effect was adopted by […]

On the agenda: El Dorado Irrigation District

The agenda for the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, will be light. Two items are on the agenda: a presentation on annual state legislation by Reeb Government Relations and the board will be asked to take action on a contract amendment with Robertson-Bryan Inc. in the not-to-exceed amount of $44,250 for […]

Planners send projects back to the drawing board

The El Dorado County Planning Commission held hearings earlier this month on a number projects, all of which were either continued or will be revised and brought back for review. A hearing to consider an appeal of the design review of a proposed Dollar General store in Georgetown was back on the agenda. A previous hearing in December had to be […]

Water plan in the works

A contract for preparation of a countywide water use efficiency strategic plan was approved by the El Dorado County Water Agency Board of Directors at its Jan. 13 meeting. The plan will address a number of topics but in particular will evaluate programs and projects that target reduction of agricultural irrigation and per capita water use […]

EID board approves cost-sharing projects

The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors has voted to share the cost of three projects with the El Dorado County Water Agency. One of those projects an engineering feasibility study costing $50,000. EID will pay for half of the study and a grant from EDCWA will pay for the rest. The study is in preparation of installing […]

Cancer patient takes road less traveled

People diagnosed with cancer have difficult choices to make as they come face to face with their own mortality. Do they go with the standard chemo and radiation treatments or do they gamble on a different approach, not knowing if it will work? This dilemma confronted Placerville resident Jody Mello, 29, who was diagnosed early in 2015 with a rare form of skin cancer. Not sold on traditional […]

Development approved: Dixon Ranch gets the go-ahead

After a four-hour hearing the El Dorado County Planning Commission approved the Dixon Ranch residential development at its Jan. 14 meeting.

Located in El Dorado Hills, the development proposes 604 new single-family homes on 280 acres on the south side of Green Valley Road near Malcolm Dixon Road. A 5-acre lot is carved out to accommodate an existing residence in the area.

As part of approving the project, the commissioners changed the property’s zoning with some of it zoned high-density residential and other parts medium-density residential. The commission also expanded the amount of zoned open space from 1.28 acres to approximately 68 acres.

EID’s water rates go up next month

Despite objections from a large crowd of ratepayers, the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors approved rate increases that go into effect Feb. 1. Voted on at Monday’s meeting was a 5 percent increase in potable and recycled water rates this year; a 5 percent increase in potable, wastewater and recycled water in 2017; a 4 percent increase in […]

Priest urges compassion for refugees

Pleading for “illogical mercy,” Father Christoforos Schuff, an Eastern Orthodox Christian priest, described the ongoing European refugee crisis when he spoke at the Cozmic Café on Dec. 30.

Talking to a sympathetic crowd, Schuff detailed his experiences working with refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos as he asked for compassion toward those who have been displaced by wars in the Middle East.

Skiers flock to Sierra slopes

Dec. 30 was a day of snow, sunshine and lots and lots of skiers at the Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort. Packed to the gills, the resort was in full swing as young and old took to the hills on near perfect snow in between lounging on the plaza with a beer and a slice of pizza. Thea Hardy, who handles […]

Manansala selected as new superintendent

The El Dorado County Board of Education played 20 questions Monday and answered the biggest question — who will be the new superintendent of schools? — with Ed Manansala, Ed.D, the county’s current deputy superintendent for Educational Services.

One of four candidates interviewed for the job of superintendent, after a day of interviewing Manansala ended up ranked No. 1 by all trustees.

Snowpack promising in first survey

The new water year was off to a good start as measurements at Phillips Station on Wednesday showed an average snow depth of 54.7 inches.

Of more importance, though, was its water content, which at 16.3 inches was 136 percent of the long-term average.

Last year at this time the snow depth was less than half that amount and the water content was only 4 inches.

Water rate protest letters trickle in

Despite vociferous complaints from ratepayers at the last El Dorado Irrigation District meeting, so far the district has received only a handful of letters protesting rate increases proposed to go into effect this year. According to Jesse Saich, EID’s public information officer, as of Dec. 23 the district received 226 letters protesting the proposed water rate increases; 34 letters protesting the proposed recycled water […]

Gilmore Heating & Air’s guarantee helps the business grow

What is Darrin Gilmore’s Secret of Success? “The customer always comes first. I learned that from my father,” said Gilmore. “We always think of how a decision will impact the client rather than what will benefit Gilmore. Then, after clients, come the employees. The success of any company is finding good people to work for you.” That […]

8. The drought continues

The drought got real in 2015 as Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency following an April snow survey at Echo Summit where there was nothing to measure. The first time California has ever put in place mandatory water restrictions, the governor went on to announce a mandatory 25 percent cut in water use across the state. […]

EID approves new spending

The El Dorado Irrigation District board was in a spending mood as it authorized various projects at its Dec. 14 meeting — the final for the year. Among the big-ticket items were a long list of FERC related projects including those for water temperature monitoring, water quality and noxious weed monitoring coming in at $461,000. They also approved $65,000 to design and […]

Another water line break on Pleasant Valley Road

A water line break in the main south of Pleasant Valley Road affected service to approximately 500 El Dorado Irrigation District customers Tuesday morning. According to Jesse Saich, EID’s public information officer, the break occurred around 4:30 a.m. between Bodega Way and Savage Road and was in the same line where repairs had to be made on Oct. 26. However this […]

Dixon Ranch/Dollar Store projects delayed

Weather and recusals factored into the El Dorado Planning Commission putting off decisions regarding two controversial planning projects at a recent meeting. Approval of the design for a Dollar Store in Georgetown was delayed due to the lack of a tie-breaking majority. To be located on 1.2 acres on Main Street between Orleans and Harkness Streets, the proposed 9,000-square-foot […]

Stanton new CPCSD president

The end of the year board meeting of the Cameron Park Community Services District came with few surprises. New officers were elected on Dec. 16 with Greg Stanton taking over as president and Margaret Mohr as vice president. Board members also received an update on the redesign of the district’s website. The company designing the […]

GDPUD board wraps up the year but not water rate discussions

The Georgetown Divide Public Utility District’s Board of Directors closed out 2015 with another discussion about water rate increases at is December meeting. General Manager Wendell Wall said the district plans to contract out a cost of service study next summer. The study could be partially funded by a grant from the El Dorado County Water Agency, Wall […]

EID pay hikes spark debate

Proposed pay increases for the El Dorado Irrigation District’s top two administrators inspired raucous debate at the Dec. 14 board meeting, after which directors approved the salary boosts on a split vote. Up for approval was a 5 percent merit increase and a 5 percent market/equity increase for General Manager Jim Abercrombie, which puts his new annual salary at $196,931. In addition, Abercrombie will receive approximately $24,736 […]

Tribe’s project under review

Environmental review continues for a proposed gas station on the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians’ property south of Highway 50, with the possibility construction could start next spring. Tamara Murray-Guerrero, chairperson of the tribe’s Business Development Corporation Board of Directors, confirmed the tribe is moving forward with plans to develop the land at the intersection of Shingle Springs […]

El Niño disaster plan gets a workout

Anticipating heavy rainfall this year, an exercise to test a disaster plan related to El Niño was held Dec. 9 by the FEMA Region 9 office in Oakland. During the exercise, a task force made up of experts from the FEMA Region 9 office, as well as other federal, state, local, tribal and community partners, was asked to evaluate the core […]

Cahill gets new contract

The contract for Cameron Park Community Services District General Manager Mary Cahill has been renewed for another year. Her new salary will be $95,666 effective Oct. 1, an increase of $3,866 over her previous salary. In April 2016 her performance will be evaluated, at which time she could be eligible for another 3 percent merit increase. Included in […]

Rasmussen’s gift keeps giving

Darol Rasmussen died five years ago but the gift he left behind continues to change El Dorado County residents’ lives.

The retired dentist, rancher, humanitarian and Rotarian from Cameron Park was a generous donor of time and money his entire life. For years Rasmussen, along with others, provided funding for the Rotary Club of Cameron Parks’ many college scholarship programs and in 2008 he started a new fund just for those pursuing a vocational career.

Superintendent search: Board seeks more public input

A timeline for selecting the next superintendent of schools was laid out at the Dec. 1 meeting of the El Dorado County Board of Education, including more opportunities for public participation. The Board of Trustees scheduled a community input meeting where recommendations and suggestions can be made regarding what characteristics residents want in the new superintendent. The meeting will take place […]

Caples Spillway project in planning

The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors received an update on the Caples Spillway channel stabilization plan at a recent meeting. The spillway channel takes water released from the Caples Lake Auxiliary Dam down to Caples Creek. Over time the spillway has sustained erosion and has widened. As a requirement of its Project 184 FERC license, EID is required to […]

Shining a spotlight on diabetes

A7-year-old would normally fidget with boredom having to listening to adults talk about disease.

After all, that’s something adults worry about, not children.

But Gracie Clingan is not like most 7-year-olds because she has Type 1 diabetes — the very disease the adults are talking about.

Search begins for new superintendent of schools

The El Dorado County Board of Education finalized a timetable for selecting a new superintendent of schools at its Nov. 23 special meeting. While board members began the meeting by acknowledging how much internal talent there is to draw from within the district, they decided they wanted to open the recruitment process as they go about replacing former […]

Meyers’ resignation agreement released

The resignation agreement for Jeremy Meyers, El Dorado County’s former superintendent of school, has been released. Meyers, who resigned Nov. 14 after two DUI arrests, will receive a gross lump sum payment of $114,822 — equivalent to Meyers’ continued receipt of his current salary through June 30, 2016. In addition, he will receive a gross lump sum of $10,930 — equivalent of […]

County gets water grant

The El Dorado Water Agency approved two agreements at its Nov. 18 meeting that will allow it to access $1.7 million in grant funding. The grant stems from a $6.2 million Proposition 84 grant to the Nevada Irrigation District from the California Department of Water Resources. Under the terms of the two agreements approved by the board, the El […]

CPCSD board raises fees on development, lowers fees for swimmers

The Cameron Park Community Services District Board of Directors approved new park impact fees at the Nov. 18 meeting. The fees charged to new development go toward developing park and recreational facilities and other improvements in Cameron Park. Currently the fees are $4,984 for a single-family detached home; $3,690 for a single-family attached home; $3,816 […]

CPCSD drama: McNeil called a ‘serial bully’

Conflict bracketed the Nov. 18 Cameron Park Community Services District Board of Directors meeting as President Scott McNeil came under fire for alleged bullying. The brouhaha began as the board discussed a weed abatement program for portions of Cameron Park Drive and Green Valley Road. Long-time board critic Gerald Lillpop chastised the board for stalling on paying for the program while […]

Emergency crews prepare for the worst

Screaming patients, contaminated victims and chaos took over Marshall Medical Center last Thursday as emergency crews participated in a drill simulating a mass-casualty incident.

Coordinated with multiple agencies, more than 100 personnel from the medical center, Cal Fire, El Dorado County Fire, El Dorado Hills Fire, Diamond Springs Fire, El Dorado County Sheriff, El Dorado Office of Emergency Services, the Placerville Police Department, El Dorado County Public Health, El Dorado County EMS and Union Mine High School participated in the four-hour event.

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