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Dawn Hodson

Kaye Irwin loves baubles, bangles and beads

Queen of all she surveys is Kaye Irwin, owner of Goldsmith Gallery Fine Jewelers. A degreed gemologist, Irwin comes with 35 years of expertise in the field of fine jewelry. What started out as a hobby led to a career, including owning several jewelry stores as well as managing The Collector Fine Jewelry in San […]

Climate change agenda continues unabated

Editor’s note — This is the first of two parts on government regulation and climate change. Government at the state and federal level, in conjunction with the United Nations, continues to press ahead with the agenda that man-made climate change/global warming justifies more regulations, lots more taxes and a generous dollop of guilt for good […]

Solar and parking converge: Marshall to convert to LED lights

With everyone looking to save money, especially on energy, the installation of solar systems continues to gain in popularity, especially in California, which is the No. 1 state for solar energy.

According to the California Solar Energy Industries Association, California installed more megawatts of solar energy in 2013 than it did in the last 30 years combined.

Typically these solar systems …

General plan update hearings discussed

A timeline for completing approval of the Targeted General Plan Amendment-Zoning Ordinance Update was discussed at Thursday’s El Dorado County Planning Commission meeting, including tentative dates when hearings before the Planning Commission will be held. Commissioners were given a head’s up that in late February, the Board of Supervisors is expected to kick-off the approval […]

Additional candidates

Since last week some additional people have signed up to run for office in the upcoming election. Taking out papers to run against incumbent Auditor-Controller Joe Harn is Mike Owen, a CPA from Cameron Park. In addition, two new people have decided to run for Supervisor in District 5. They are Kenny Curtzwiler, a businessman […]

County Fire votes for limited brownout

Facing a likely cash flow shortfall in April, the El Dorado County Fire Protection District has decided to head it off by browning out a station and applying for a line of credit. Making that decision at a special board meeting held Jan. 22, Board President Dennis Thomas opened the meeting by saying the district […]

There has been no economic recovery, says economist

Americans are facing some difficult economic and political problems says Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, an American economist who was recently interviewed regarding the economy, the impact of Obamacare and the state of the country. Roberts was previously the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and a co-founder of Reaganomics. He is a former […]

Nine eye District 4 election

The slate of candidates running for election this year is slowly filling out. The already crowded field of those running for District 4 Supervisor is now up to nine, including Scott McNeil (Board member CPCSD — Cameron Park), Tim Palmer (educator — Cool), Mike Pettibone (businessman — Shingle Springs), Michael Ranalli (businessman — Lotus), Dave […]

GDPUD revisits water rights project

A long discussion of water rights ended with the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD) deciding to have a public workshop on the topic at a later date. The topic arose at Tuesday’s board meeting as a result of the El Dorado Joint Water and Power Authority (EDJWPA) announcement in November that it […]

GDPUD: Board majority re-elects itself

Re-electing itself, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District’s majority decided to continue their control of the board. At Tuesday’s board meeting, President Bonnie McLane was re-elected as president, even though traditionally the gavel is passed to the vice president. For the past year, Director Ray Griffiths has served in that capacity. Director Kathy Otermat was […]

CPCSD: Front desk position decision delayed

A decision of whether or not to employ someone permanently as a front desk clerk was delayed by the board of Cameron Park Community Services District at its meeting on Jan. 9. Presiding over the meeting was Sean Tucker who was elected president in December. Vicky Neibauer was elected vice president. General Manager Mary Cahill recommended […]

GDPUD reviews drought plan

With the state continuing to experience a dry winter, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Tuesday discussed what actions it might need to take in case of a drought. Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann reported that the Stumpy Meadows Reservoir is currently at 12,070 acre-feet — a reduction from last month of […]

Snowmaking keeps thrill of Tahoe skiing

Ski season is in full swing in South Lake Tahoe with near perfect weather for hitting the slopes regardless if one wants to ski, snowboard, sled or just take in the otherworldly beauty of the Lake Tahoe area.

With most county residents being within an hour’s drive of the closest resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe is 2,000 acres of runs and forest plus another 300 acres of back country skiing for expert skiers.

Located at the top of Echo Summit, the resort receives the most snow in the Tahoe Basin, according to Steven Hemphill, communications manager at the resort.

“We average 480 inches at Sierra-at-Tahoe,” he said. “This year we have 63 inches to …”

Election field grows

More candidates are taking exploratory steps to run for public office this year. But we won’t know if they are serious until the campaign signs and buttons show up. On a state and national level, voters will fill a number of positions including that of U.S. Representative in the 4th Congressional District, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, […]

Top 10 stories of 2013: 2. GDPUD: Dysfunctional board catches a break

Conditions at GDPUD were rocky from the start in 2013 as the new majority on the board — Directors Bonnie McLane, Kathy Otermat and Maria Capraun — continued their staff bashing that ended in the retirement or resignation of many of the district’s professional staff in 2012. In 2013, their campaign reached a big target […]

Snow survey not promising so far

There was plenty of sun but not much snow at Phillips Station as staff from the California Department of Water Resources conducted its first snow survey of the season on Friday, Jan. 3.

Taking samples from seven different spots, Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey for the Department of Water Resources, reported finding a snow depth of 9.3 inches and 2.3 inches of water content, which is only 20 percent of normal.

On average, the Jan. 1 snowpack water content at Phillips Station should be 12 inches.

“This is not a very promising …”

Top 10 stories of 2013: 9. Marshall opens new wing

With a 5 a.m. wakeup call, one of the best new additions to the county in 2013 occurred on Jan. 15 with the official opening of Marshall Medical Center’s new wing. In the planning stage for 18 years, the facility comes with a comfy customer lobby, private consultation rooms and a new state-of-the-art emergency room, […]

County pursuing additional water rights

Despite all the projected benefits of the revised water rights application, it is not without its critics.

One of them is hydrologist Robert Shibatani. In an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat, Shibatani complained the project would require El Dorado County taxpayers to pick up the tab for securing a water supply for Sacramento County.

According to him, “under this new proposed project, the original monies ($2.5 million spent so far), plus an additional $5 million would be incurred by El Dorado taxpayers to fund a project to provide El Dorado Water for groundwater banking in another county.


In the article, “Election hopefuls take out signature in-lieu papers”, candidate Jason Mallory was listed as living in Stateline, Nev. Mallory says until recently he had a post office box there but lives in South Lake Tahoe and is an El Dorado County resident.

County tries approach to pursuing new water rights

Editor’s note — This is the first of a two-part series on how the El Dorado County Water Agency and El Dorado Water and Power Authority are reshaping their approach to gaining additional water rights. Seeking to lock in additional water rights for the county while they still can, on Nov. 13 the El Dorado […]

Election hopefuls take out signature in-lieu papers

The election season is already underway as a handful of candidates visited the El Dorado County Elections Department on Dec. 27 to pick up paperwork and take the first steps in launching their campaigns.

A large number of national and state positions will be up for grabs in the 2014 election including U.S. Representative in the 4th Congressional District, Governor …

Obama’s HUD chief taking aim at suburban lifestyle

Unchastened by the fiasco created by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the Obama Administration is pushing ahead with yet another program aimed at “transforming” America. Although still under discussion, a new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” aims to integrate housing and give people […]

County Fire negotiates with union

It was a light board meeting of the El Dorado County Fire Protection District on Dec. 19 with the most important item — namely ongoing negotiations with Union Local 3556 regarding employee salaries, salary schedules, and fringe benefits — relegated to closed session. The results of those negotiations are expected to be announced in January. In […]

Low-flow in your future?

A new emphasis on water conservation is on the horizon in 2014 with the implementation of Senate Bill 407 which was signed into law in 2009 but goes into effect Jan. 1 of next year. Enacted as a way to help the state meet its goal of reducing water usage by 20 percent by 2020, […]

Milling complaint whittled away

The El Dorado County Planning Commission decided against a hearing regarding a special use permit after the reason for the hearing became moot. A contentious matter that pitted a homeowner against several business owners, Placerville resident Bert Keeler wrote multiple letters, including one to the Mountain Democrat, claiming that Sundance RV, Boat & Mini-Storage was […]

Affordable Care Act continues to produce confusion and anger

Problems implementing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) continue, adding to the anger and confusion over the new law. Breakdowns and security breaches have characterized the federal health exchange Website from the outset. Despite some improvements, problems persist. According to a recent report from ABC News, one-third of the 149,000 people who have been able to […]

GDPUD: ALT water plant being redesigned

Progress in redesigning and financing the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) Water Treatment Plant was reported at the Tuesday board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD). Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann said Psomas Engineering has started work on a redesign of the plant that is expected to save the district $1.05 million. The work […]

Nutting trial set for Feb. 4

After a short conference with the attorneys in the case involving Supervisor Ray Nutting, visiting Judge Timothy Buckley set the start date for his trial as Feb. 4.

The trial is expected to last three weeks with a jury drawn from a pool of approximately 300 people.

A pretrial conference was also set for Jan. 10.

Toys still needed for campaign

The Placerville Christmas Parade may be over, but the Toys for Tots campaign is in full swing with lots more toys needed. According to Sue Henderson, who with her husband Hollis coordinates the El Dorado County Toys for Tots campaign, 1,500 toys have been collected so far, but they need 15,000. “Give me toys, lots […]

WWII vet recalls Pearl Harbor attack

Saturday is the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan.

It was a day of treachery that ended with 2,403 Americans killed, 1,178 wounded, 21 ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet either damaged or sunk, and the Casus belli that launched the United States into World War II.

Many survivors of that day have since died, but Bill Howell, 89, of Diamond Springs, is still with us.

The last, he says, of the Pearl Harbor survivors in El Dorado County.

Howell said he had a bird’s-eye view of the attack as he was aboard the USS Phoenix, a light cruiser moored at Pearl Harbor. Only 17 at the time and trained as a helmsman, he was also …

EDC residents older, but healthier

El Dorado County may be home to the largest population of those over the age of 55, but is also one of the healthiest counties in the state, coming in sixth out of 58 counties. That’s according to a recent community health assessment conducted by Marshall Medical Center in collaboration with Valley Vision Inc., a […]

Director believes in power of one

Excited to be a position where she can make a difference in people’s lives, Brenda Frachiseur was recently announced as the new executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County (BBBS). In the job since October and still getting her feet wet, Frachiseur, 58, comes with 30 years of experience working for […]

Homeless shelters overloaded, says church volunteer

With winter coming on, the number of homeless using local churches for overnight shelter has increased, leading one of the volunteers associated with the program to put out a call for help. Janis Carney, who is a member of Green Valley Community Church and also one of those involved in coordinating the shelter program, said […]

CPCSD hires new law firm

The board of directors of the Cameron Park Community Services District approved the hiring of a new law firm at its Nov. 12 meeting. McMurchie Law Firm was selected to provide general counsel to the board. The Folsom-based law firm will be paid $200 an hour for the services of David McMurchie with similar or […]

EDC Fire to reorganize admin office

An administrative reorganization of the district office was approved by the board of El Dorado County Fire Protection District at its Nov. 21 meeting. Recommended by Chief Mike Hardy, the chief prefaced his remarks by noting that in the face of spiraling costs and declining revenue, the district had taken a number of measures to […]

Santa Claus is coming to town and so is the parade

It’s looking a lot like a Christmas parade as plans are finalized for the big event. Slated for Sunday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m. along Broadway and Main Street, the parade will have something for everyone, including Santa Claus. The weather won’t be a problem as it’s predicted to be sunny, if a little brisk. […]

Seeking crayons for refugees

The conflict in Syria may not be in the news as much today, but the faces of refugees who have fled for their lives remain fresh in the mind of Somerset resident Terri Crisp, 57.

A longtime employee and volunteer with different animal welfare organizations, Crisp has been making trips to Iraq since 2005 on behalf of a program called Operation Baghdad Pups sponsored by the SPCA International (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

A program that attracted criticism last year after it was discovered that most of the money donated to the program went to a fundraising agency, Operation Baghdad Pups reunites cats and dogs …

Bed and breakfast approved on Windlestraw

A request to open a bed and breakfast on Windlestraw Road in the Oak Hill area of Placerville was approved at the Nov. 14 meeting of the El Dorado County Planning Commission. Owned by Sandra Nomer and Mariam Noujaim, the proposed bed and breakfast inn will be called the Infinite Life Retreat and Spa. The facility […]

Rescue fire holding its own

Two months ago, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved a temporary cash bailout for five of the eight rural fire protection districts.

But with the fiscal fix came an admonishment that the districts needed to come up with a long-term solution to their budget problems.

One of those agencies approved for funding was the Rescue Fire Protection District.

A small district, RFPD serves around 3,000 residents on a budget of $1.4 million.

Low water reveals history

Like some long-deserted city, the shoreline of the American River near Salmon Falls is littered here and there with the scattered remains of an old diversion dam and ditches.

And though neglected, the dam hasn’t been forgotten. For visiting it recently were docents from the Folsom Powerhouse along with Jenifer Padgett, an associate state archaeologist with the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

Picking their way through the rocks and cockleburs, they walked up the South Fork of the American River to what was left of the old Natoma Water and Mining Co. Diversion Dam.

Local water experts worry about state at chamber water forum

The El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce meeting was packed last Wednesday when it held a forum on water. The topic that drew the crowd was the integral part that water plays in the economic viability of El Dorado County, the Sacramento region and the state. There to address that topic from a local, county […]

GDPUD board discusses code of conduct policy, staring

Last Tuesday’s board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District promised to be a humdrum affair until Director Kathy Otermat circulated drafts of two new policies for review and comment. Brought up previously at workshops and other board meetings, the more contentious policy outlined how directors should conduct and communicate among themselves. A second policy […]

Downturn Abbey — Who dun it?

Who killed Lady Van der Sluty and Why?  It was Mrs. Kettle, the cook, who did it by adding clam juice to Van der Sluty’s drink. Why? Mrs. Kettle was good friends with Mildred, a servant at Downturn Abbey. Mildred had an affair with John the footman and became pregnant. Later, Lady Van der Sluty […]

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