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Dawn Hodson

Forest thinning planned by SMUD

A forest thinning project on Iowa Hill is being planned by SMUD (Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District) for later this year. Scott Flake, who is manager of power generation with SMUD, said the agency would file for a permit this week to undertake the project which is on 80 acres owned by the utility on Iowa […]

Doug Huffman prepared for anything

There may be no zombie apocalypse in our future, but no matter what comes our way, Placerville resident Doug Huffman, 54, is ready for it.

More than ready for it.

The owner of a business called Sierra School for Survival, the Placerville resident models what he preaches by living a self-sufficient lifestyle and teaching others how they can as well. Part of the prepper movement, he is one of those who believes there will be a societal collapse in the not too distant future.

Huffman was even featured in the National Geographic series on Doomsday Preppers. Huffman claims the episode he is in was the most popular because, “literally I was the only sane one on the show.”

The rescued caboose

America’s railroads have been called one of the oldest and most romantic enterprises in the country, which is probably why they continue to have such wide appeal.

Doing their bit to preserve that part of American history in El Dorado County (EDC) is a group of local volunteers who are restoring an old caboose that was parked at the county museum for 20 years.

Built in the 1920s, the caboose was originally used to haul lumber, freight and workers for the Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad, which was a subsidiary of the Michigan-California Lumber Company. The railroad connected a lumber mill in Camino with the Southern Pacific Railroad in Placerville. Later it was acquired by a family who used it as a playhouse for their children. When the owners sold their home in Shingle Springs, the new owner, Sandra Koop, donated the caboose to the museum where it sat in a state of disrepair.

Coming to its rescue last May was Placerville resident Ron Sexton, 73, who for many years owned High Country Woodcraft before retiring.

He wrote a proposal to restore the old caboose and presented it to the EDC Museum Commission and the El Dorado Museums Foundation.

Review of development proposals under BOS consideration

A new process that would give an early thumbs up or thumbs down to development projects was given a preliminary green light by the Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Thursday. According to the staff report prepared for the board, the proposed process would, “provide a means to bring to an early conclusion those […]

GDPUD board hires engineer to review ALT plans

A contract to hire retired engineer Webb Owen was approved by a 3-2 vote at the special meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board Tuesday. Owen came to the meeting to discuss a proposal he submitted to the board to review the design plans for the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) Water Treatment Plant although […]

GDPUD’s GM relieved to leave

On Monday, it was learned that the general manager of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District, Hank White, had decided to leave the district and seek employment with the Foresthill Public Utility District. Explaining his decision, White said he was faced with whether to continue on an unsustainable course or go somewhere else. “The board […]

Local couple off to chili championship

Chili cookoff champions Karen and Jim Watson are headed for a world championship cook-off after winning a regional contest. Held in Tustin, the Pollock Pines couple came in first out of 25 contestants and took home a purse of $1,000 for their efforts in the Chili Cook-Off. Because of their win, in October they will go […]

Hardy named chief for EDCFPD

The El Dorado County Fire Protection District’s board named Michael Hardy as fire chief at its June 20 meeting. Hardy has been acting as interim chief since the resignation of Chief Bruce Lacher last year. The board members thanked Hardy for his work and for his ability to handle the pressure of the job. Hardy […]

GDPUD GM moving on

The Board of Directors of the Foresthill Public Utility District announced they have hired GDPUD General Manager Hank White as their new general manager. The announcement was made at their June 12 board meeting. White, who starts his new position Aug. 19, will oversee a $1.9 million budget and supervise five full-time employees and one […]

Budget adopted by CPCSD board

A tentative budget for the next fiscal year was adopted by the board of the Cameron Park Community Services District (CPCSD) at its meeting Wednesday night. The budget was approved on a 4-0 vote with board member Shiva Frentzen absent. Revenues for the district are projected at $5.14 million and expenditures at $5.26 million for […]

Skate park face off

A minor dustup over the skate park at Christa McAuliffe Park occurred Wednesday night between the board of directors of the Cameron Park Community Services District and several residents. The tempest began when resident Bill Carey complained the park is frequented by youths drinking alcohol, using drugs and skating without helmets. More recently, spray painted […]

Halo spotted over county

Residents in El Dorado County looked up on Tuesday to see the sun encircled by a rainbow for a short period of time. Called a 22 degree halo or sun halo, National Weather Service meteorologist Drew Peterson said it’s caused by millions of hexagonal ice crystals randomly oriented in the atmosphere. When light from the […]

Junior Livestock Auction final results

Total sales at this year’s Junior Livestock Auction were almost 14 percent higher than last year, with 233 lots sold for a total of $269,386. Fifteen steers sold for an average price per pound of $3.47; 118 hogs sold for an average price per pound of $4.20; 48 lambs sold for an average price per pound […]

Lions, leopards and otters, oh my

It was zoo day on May 31 at Sierra Ridge Elementary school as students in the GATE program set up their own mini zoo and showed off what they had learned. Laid out in a multi-purpose room, the building took on the look of a jungle as animals created out of different materials were placed […]

Junior Livestock Auction a winner for everyone

The Junior Livestock Auction was the place to be Saturday morning as 4-H, FFA and Grange members gathered at the Vicini Pavilion of the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. There to bid and cheer them on were parents, buyers and the public.

Beef, swine, sheep, rabbits, goats and poultry were up for sale with auctioneers Doug Milton, Jimmy Clark and Seth Seever keeping things moving. Getting a break, this year’s weather was much cooler so less time was spent hosing down the animals and attendees.

Finances reviewed at GDPUD meeting

A status report on the district’s finances, present and future, was made at Georgetown Divide Public Utility District’s (GDPUD) board meeting on June 11 by a member of the board’s Public Finance Committee. Garden Valley resident Dennis Goodenow said he and other committee members had been appointed several months ago to identify the status of […]

Out to bid with continued debate

Putting the plans for the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) Water Treatment Plant out to bid seemingly hasn’t lessened any of the acrimony surrounding the project for the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. Interim General Manager Kelly Shively reported that the plans for the plant were 100 percent complete and the bid package […]

County fair in full swing

In a vision of things to come, sponsors, VIPs and fair staff gathered Wednesday night for a sneak preview of this year’s El Dorado County Fair.

With a theme of “Blue Jeans and Country Dreams,” the fairgrounds sparked with lights, sounds and sugary smells — all announcing the start of the four-day event that began Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Jody Gray, who is the CEO of the fair, said she expects 65,000 adults and children to attend, with lots of new entertainment and exhibits as well as the return of many old favorites as attractions.

Mother Lode project approved by EID

A project to replace part of the Mother Lode Force Main Project was approved by the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors at its June 10 meeting. The firm of McGuire and Hester was awarded the contract to do the work at a cost of $1,068,682. The board approved another $130,000 to cover staff time […]

EID considers connection fee increases

Board members of the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) considered proposed changes to connection fees at its June 10 meeting, but postponed approving them to a later date. The new fees were scheduled for a board vote on June 24. EID Director of Engineering Brian Mueller went through a detailed presentation on what the district recommends […]

Environmental work for El Dorado Forebay Dam approved

Funding related to ultimately rehabilitating and enlarging the El Dorado Forebay Dam was approved by the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) board of directors at its meeting on May 28. As part of the preparatory work for the modifications, the board approved a contract with AECOM for preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, Environmental Assessment, and […]

Solar system a crowded ‘shooting gallery’

With rocks to talk about, almost 140 people showed up Saturday night in Coloma to hear the latest about the Sutter’s Mill Meteor (SMM) that fell in the Coloma-Lotus area on April 22 of last year.

Sponsored by the Gold Trail Grange, the event featured Dr. Peter Jenniskens, who is a senior research scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute and the NASA Ames Research Center. Jenniskens coordinated the search for fragments of the SMM and was the lead author on a research paper published in December …

Twister in Pleasant Valley?

June came in like a lion for Roy and Willie Hoisington after a suspected mini-twister or at least a heavy-duty dust devil hit their property. The Placerville residents say around 1:30 a.m. last Saturday morning their dog woke them with his restless behavior and whining. Not knowing the reason, the Hoisingtons went back to sleep. […]

Wastewater facilities master plan approved by EID board

A Wastewater Facilities Master Plan (WFMP) was approved by the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) board of directors at its May 28 meeting. The plan is designed to ensure that EID’s wastewater collection, treatment and disposal system complies with all applicable state and federal wastewater discharge requirements and regulations. The plan was prepared by HDR Engineering Inc. […]

100th birthday: Cancer survivor as old as Cancer Society

Coming up on a century mark is a big deal and not just because you’ve beaten the odds and get some cake.

In this case, it’s about a woman and organization reaching that milestone within a few weeks of each other. Both having traveled separate paths over the past 100 years, yet later coming together in a way that is mutually life affirming.

In the case of the organization, on May 22 of this year the American Cancer Society (ACS) celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

Founded in 1913 by 15 prominent physicians and business leaders in New York City, ACS is now the largest voluntary health organization in the country.

According to ACS, two out of three people diagnosed with cancer will now survive …

Layla making the rounds

“A lot of people are allergic to cats and dogs but not horses. Bringing them here gets the residents out of bed because they know the horses are coming. Look at all the smiles.” Stacey Boyd, Shingle Springs resident who is the owner of Layla, the miniature horse  that visits Gold Country Health Center.  It’s […]

‘Everybody’s gone surfin’,’ surfin’ EDC

El Dorado County may be a long way from surf city, but that hasn’t prevented a legend in the surfing world from making his home here.

A member of the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame, Floyd Smith, 73, has been in the surfboard business for 50 years and has surfed all over the world. He’s also the Smith half of the world renown firm of Gordon & Smith.

Holding his fifth annual “Surf Day” May 18 at his home in Rescue, Smith not only celebrated the industry …

Local vet wins Humane Society award

Tending to horses from the cloud bedecked mountains of Peru to the steamy lowlands of Honduras is Placerville vet Dr. David Turoff, 62, who recently received an award as Veterinary Practitioner of the Year from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA). According to HSVMA, since 2001 Dr. Turoff has led or participated in more than […]

Young inventors shine at Thomas Edison Day

Inspired by Thomas Edison and other inventors, on May 22 third graders at Pinewood Elementary School showed off their own creations on what in their classroom is called Thomas Edison Day.

An annual event inspired by third grade teacher Lorrie Hargon, the students arranged themselves around the perimeter of their classroom and in trade show fashion, showed off what they had invented and how to use it. Other Pinewood students trooped through the classroom, one class at a time, to ogle and ask questions.

EDCFPD board hears Cal Fire pitch

The board of the El Dorado County Fire Protection District (EDCFPD) heard more specifics about a proposal for Cal Fire to run the district at its meeting May 16. Providing the information was Cal Fire Amador-El Dorado Unit Chief Kelly Keenan, who provided the board with an update on the district’s Request for Proposal to Cal […]

Mobile food pantry delivers

Hoping to reach even more people, and especially seniors, the Food Bank of El Dorado County has launched a new mobile food truck program that delivers groceries to those most in need. Started two months ago, so far the mobile food truck has made stops in El Dorado Hills, South Lake Tahoe and Pollock Pines […]

Meteor expert to speak in Coloma

A public presentation on the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite by SETI Institute meteor expert, Dr. Peter Jenniskens, will be held on June 1 in Coloma. On Dec. 21, 2012 a consortium of researchers published in the journal Science the first results from the analysis of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite and the circumstances of the asteroid impact […]

Planning commissions reviews animal shelter zoning

At its Thursday meeting, the El Dorado County Planning Commission took a first step in establishing a new West County animal shelter facility. Up for consideration by the commission was whether or not the location of the animal shelter within an industrial park was compatible with the county’s General Plan. Proposed plans for the shelter […]

Roadwork update

Caltrans continues to work on a $43 million project on U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe from Trout Creek Bridge to Ski Run Boulevard. Landscaping, striping and electrical work is scheduled for spring and summer 2013. Completion is expected in summer or early fall. Work is also starting on a $7.3 project from just west […]

Kids learn while having fun at Farm Day

On May 14, over 1,000 third grade students from throughout El Dorado County descended on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds for the 12th annual Farm Day. Sponsored by the El Dorado County Ag in the Classroom, the day-long field trip featured presentations by farmers, ranchers and foresters as well as demonstrations by Master Gardeners, FFA […]

Wakamatsu branches out

Connecting new generations to the land, the third annual Wakamatsu Farm Festival reached out to new audiences on May 18 by celebrating all the diverse groups that have populated the historic site.

Acquired by the American River Conservancy in 2010, the 272 acre Gold Hill Ranch is notable for the many groups who have called it home. In the past, the focus was on its use as the first permanent Japanese settlement in North America. However, according to Michael Dotson, Director of Development and Communications for the American River Conservancy, this year’s festival was designed to be different.

“Our vision is to educate people on the diverse cultures in the area to bring in a wider audience and connect them to the land,” he said.

In line with that goal, spread out over the ranch were four venues reflecting the four main groups that lived on and drew their sustenance from the land. Trooping from staging area to staging area on Saturday were an estimated 700 people who traveled by foot, in buggies and covered wagons, or in golf carts across the grass and oak-studded landscape to sample the culture of each group.

The venue pertaining to the earliest residents went to the Miwok and Nisenan Indians …

No winner in property dispute

Richard Johnson, 79, said he’s living in an America he doesn’t recognize anymore after tussling with the county over what he says is an infringement on his property rights. The owner of 5 acres of land in Shingle Springs that he’s owned since 1965, Johnson said his plan was to eventually build a home here. […]

$10k for PR? GDPUD trio dislikes news

In an apparent effort to improve their public image, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD) discussed spending $10,000 to hire a public relations firm at Tuesday’s meeting. Leading off the discussion was board member Maria Capraun, who criticized the Mountain Democrat for its articles and especially the titles of its articles. […]

GDPUD votes to put water plant out to bid

After a lengthy discussion that covered familiar territory, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District finally voted to put out to bid the plans for the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant. Since February when General Manager Hank White first asked for board approval to get bids on the plant, the […]

Former fire chief cuts his own pay, but fiscal damage already done

Despite the warnings that had been issued in prior audit reports for the El Dorado County Fire Protection District (EDCFPD) and complaints raised by former board member Mike Dennis, it apparently wasn’t until late 2011 that Fire Chief Bruce Lacher and the fire board understood that there was a serious problem with the district’s finances.

Lucas Shepard, who was president of the firefighters union at the time, said Chief Lacher informed them that because of a budget shortfall of $500,000, they needed concessions from the union. Shepard said they returned with a package that included a pay cut along with members paying a part of their retirement and health benefits.

He said Lacher later asked for additional concessions because the deficit was worse than first thought. It was then that Shepard and other union members began looking into the budget in more detail and learned the extent of the district’s fiscal deficit. He said what angered them most was finding out that while …

Comet spotted?

Pollock Pines resident Rod Robertson said he believes he saw what looked like a comet around 11 p.m. Thursday night, May 9. He said it streaked across the sky from south to north in Pollock Pines. The resident was driving home on Highway 50 when he saw the object approximately 200 to 300 feet overhead. […]

Former fire board members respond

Editor’s note — This is part 1 of a two-part series looking further into the financial situation and the retirement of Chief Bruce Lacher of the El Dorado County Fire Protection District. Last month’s articles on the personnel and financial woes of the El Dorado County Fire Protection District (EDCFPD) drew kudos as well as complaints […]

Raggedy Ann comes to lunch

It was a Raggedy Ann Luncheon on Saturday as the Ladies Society of St. Patrick Church gathered for their annual event.

Susan Meyer, who coordinated this year’s event, said it helps raise money to support different church projects. Two hundred tickets were sold with the proceeds going towards whatever projects the parish needs most. Past projects included updating the kitchen and repairing the roof.

Every year the Ladies Society picks a different theme for the luncheon. In past years it was hats, antique aprons and Cinco de Mayo. This year it was Raggedy Ann and Andy. On each table was a fun table setting featuring Raggedy dolls along with tea sets and other toys. Festooned around the room were lots and lots more …

OT pay for resource chief in limbo

A request for supplemental pay for the district manager of the El Dorado Resource Conservation District (EDRCD) is being questioned by El Dorado County Auditor-Controller Joe Harn. Previously the EDRCD submitted a claim to the county to pay District Manager Mark Egbert for time he had accrued over the past 10 years, primarily for attending […]

Fundraiser scheduled for EDH youth with rare disorder

Plucky 12-year-old Mikey Keleshian of El Dorado Hills may have been born with a rare genetic disorder, but that’s not holding him, family or friends from doing everything they can to ensure that he gets well. And that includes holding a fundraiser for him so he can receive specialized treatment for his condition. Born with […]

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