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Dawn Hodson

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 […]

Toast to Wildlife showcases SWR’s success

It was a howler of a good time as Sierra Wildlife Rescue held its Toast to Wildlife Champagne Brunch at the Cameron Park Country Club on Sunday, April 28. Supporters were treated to an opportunity to interact with rescued wildlife as well as hear a galvanizing presentation on wolves, enjoy a sumptuous brunch, and take […]

Fire sparks power outage, burns acre and a half of Fair Lane

An underground junction box on Fair Lane near the Superior Court driveway blew out on Thursday afternoon, causing a temporary power outage and a cloud of black smoke that choked the air. The power surge resulted in a power line falling into a ravine at 193 Fair Lane around 1:30 p.m, sparking a grass fire. […]

Final survey shows little snow

A final snow survey for the season came up empty at Phillips Station, with no snow to measure. According to the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the water content in California’s snowpack is only 17 percent of normal, meaning below average water supply this summer. Results of manual surveys at other sites by DWR off […]

Yet again: GDPUD delays water plant

Resembling the movie Groundhog Day, the topic of the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant got the rerun treatment at yet another special board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. Held on Tuesday night, the board received an update from board member Maria Capraun on conversations held with the California Department of Public Health, […]


The article on the Master Gardener plant sale said the demonstration garden was being developed on land donated by Folsom Lake College. The land is actually owned by the El Dorado County Office of Education and has been made available to the El Dorado County Master Gardeners for the demonstration garden.  

Have feet — will travel

Seeking to accomplish yet another feat with his feet, Matt “the walker” Livermanne, 36, is trudging his way towards a goal of walking all the way from San Diego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska: A trip of 2,556 miles.

Stopping long enough in El Dorado County to tell his story, Livermanne said he left San Diego a month ago and has already covered 680 miles. If he can reach his goal of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in 145 days, he will earn a $100,000 prize from Pepsi.

“But I’m not walking for the prize,” he said, “but to see this route.”

Claiming, with tongue in cheek, that he is, “a professional street-walker,” Livermanne says he has already earned a world record by walking 10,000 miles over 19 months. In 2010 he said he walked from Los Angeles …

Plant a little, grow a lot

What: Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale Who: UCCE Master Gardeners Where: Veterans Memorial building parking lot, 130 Placerville Drive, Placerville. When: Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost: No admission, cash and checks are accepted for purchases Information: UCCE Master Gardener office at 530-621-5512 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday through Friday Tired of […]

GDPUD: Is there a lawyer in the house?

The special meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District last Tuesday night was tripped up by legal questions, rendering the meeting a non-event that required rescheduling. The evening’s board meeting began with a motion to approve the agenda. But stopping it dead in its tracks was resident Bill Evans who pointed out that GDPUD’s […]

Group tours historical downtown

A tour group from out-of-town got a snapshot history of Placerville last Friday.

Sponsored by the El Dorado County Historical Society, the tour was led by Don Uelmen and Debbie Hunger Lightfoot. Dressed in period costumes, the duo took a group of 28 members from the Daytona Ski and Travel Club on a quick 60-minute tour of the long and colorful history of downtown Placerville.

Starting at the elegant Cary House Hotel, where many of the tour group were staying, Uelmen noted at one time it housed the Wells Fargo Office and was a stage stop.

4-H club members celebrate centennial with Home Arts Day

The El Dorado County 4-H Youth Development Program celebrated its centennial year in California on April 13 with Home Arts Day.

On tap were competitions, demonstrations and plenty of learning activities for the 1,000 people expected to attend.

El Dorado County 4-H offers projects in 38 different areas, but Saturday’s event focused on Home Arts with entries including photography, robotics, fiber arts, cake decorating and art.

To encourage youths to visit all the different activity booths, each child received a passport with his or her photo. Every time they visited a 4-H activity, their passports were stamped.

Fire district settles with former chief

At the board meeting of the El Dorado County Fire Protection District (EDCFPD) on April 18, Acting Fire Chief Mike Hardy reported that former Chief Bruce Lacher was now officially retired and they had reached a final settlement with him including dismissal of his worker’s compensation case. The terms of the agreement described Lacher as […]

Items continued at planning commission meeting

The March 28 meeting of the El Dorado County Planning Commission ended with most items being continued. A proposal by Green Valley Nursery and Landscape was continued off calendar in order to address biological issues associated with the project. Don and Julie Devorss had submitted an application to allow a nursery and landscaping business on […]

Cameron Park inks 5-year Cal Fire deal

The Wednesday night board meeting of the Cameron Park Community Services District (CPCSD) was relatively sedate, with contracts and resolutions occupying most of the agenda. Approved was a five-year, $10.2 million, contract with Cal Fire for fire protection. The base cost for 2013-2014 will be $1.9 million plus a 2.5 percent escalator for years two through five. […]

Cowboy match features vintage guns, costumes

It was shoot ‘em up time Friday as a posse of cowboys and one cowgirl gathered at the El Dorado Rod and Gun Club for a Cowboy Match that featured plenty of fancy shooting and good-natured jibes.

All decked out in their favorite western duds, sporting holsters and guns replicated from the 1800s, and using aliases to protect the innocent, the posse went through six different scenarios testing their time and accuracy using pistols, rifles and shotguns.

Keeping everyone in line were the scorekeepers who carried around a fake stick of dynamite as a badge of honor.

Originating in Southern California in the early 1980s, cowboy matches have become an increasingly popular …

Community Browser Thrift Store a labor of love

When is a thrift store not a thrift store? When it’s a labor of love on behalf of a grandchild. Called the Community Browser Thrift Store, Camino residents Candice and Steve Gibson opened their Placerville-based store in January of this year as a way to support certain charities and give back to the community. Now […]

GDPUD board wants salaries, jobs justified

Renewed charges of micromanaging by the board surfaced during the April 9 meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. That accusation came up throughout the night as the board discussed putting together a budget for next year and what role the newly formed finance committee would assume in the process. Board member Maria Capraun […]

GDPUD: Water plant delayed further

Hoping for a time extension on a loan to retrofit the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) Water Treatment Plant, District Counsel John Knowlton reported that he, board member Maria Capraun and Interim General Manager Kelly Shively were scheduled for a teleconference with the USDA on April 11. The board of directors of the Georgetown Divide Public […]

Retiree health insurance studied by CPCSD

The board of directors of the Cameron Park Community Services District reviewed information it may use later in deciding how to pay for future health benefits for district retirees. At its March 20 meeting, the board reviewed a recently completed GASB 45 actuarial valuation of the district’s retiree health insurance program. The actuarial report was prepared […]

Blacksmithing: Hot time at the fairgrounds

There was a lot of hammering, fire and smoke in the air last weekend as the California Blacksmith Association (CBA) held its 35th annual spring conference in Placerville. Almost 400 people from Arizona, Washington state, Nevada, Oregon and California arrived to pound iron and learn more about the art and craft of blacksmithing, according to Dennis […]

The chief takes a walk: Allegations focused on former Chief Lacher

Editor’s note: This is part I of a two-part story about the departure of El Dorado County Fire District Chief Bruce Lacher. It’s been a tough few years for the El Dorado County Fire District as it has struggled with shocking financial disclosures, sexual harassment lawsuits, a fire chief who left after a vote of […]

Community fundraiser set for cancer victim

Michael Hargon, 27, knew something was wrong last November when he started having vision problems, headaches and numbness on one side of his head. As his symptoms became progressively worse, he went in for surgery in February to remove what was originally thought to be a benign tumor the size of a plum. But the […]

Banquet featured O.J. Simpson attorney

The Ponderosa High School Foundation held its eighth annual Spring Banquet on March 22, with its featured speaker being one of the lawyers who helped defend O.J. Simpson during his murder trial. Over 100 people attended the event, including teachers, parents, administrators, students, and community members. Co-presidents of the event were Dave Sargent and Jennifer […]

GDPUD board changes staff chart, again delays waterplant bid

Apparently one board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD) was not enough. Nor was two or even three. Instead the board met four times in March with it yet again delaying action on the most important issue. Still unable to make a decision about the upgrade to the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) […]

Norm Sappenfield: Hot rod guy still making souped-up engines at age 84

Is Norm Sappenfield, 84, the highest-caliber machinist, mechanic, engine builder in the area?

Some people seem to think so and who could fault them when Sappenfield has been working at it all his life and has a wall full of memorabilia to prove it, including a testimonial that says: “With the expertise of the finest mechanic and car maker, Norm Sappenfield. 1952 Chevy pickup for Modie Katz who appreciates Norm’s skill, talent, and creativity and thanks him heartedly.”

Katz is a local entrepreneur who has founded eight different companies.

Sappenfield says as a kid he grew up around racing guys, serving as their gofer.

Caltrans updates roadwork schedule

Roadwork continues in El Dorado County to maintain or improve the major highways, according to a roadwork update from Caltrans. One short-term project includes maintenance work on State Route 49 (El Dorado and Placer Counties) from State Route 193 in Cool to the Bear River Bridge. Motorists can expect one-way traffic in different locations from […]

Gloomy forecast for snowpack

There wasn’t much new to report when the California Department of Water Resources conducted its second-to-last snow survey on March 28.

Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey for DWR, began the survey by pointing out that the hole he sank last month to measure the snowpack was still visible.

“That tells you what kind of a year we’ve had,” he said, noting that it is unusual for it to be this dry for three months straight.

After taking several samples, Gehrke announced the average snow depth at Phillips Station was 13 inches with a water content of 6.1 inches or 32 percent of normal. Last year this time, the snow depth was 31 inches and the water content was 11 inches.

Recalling the artist who captured souls

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then Placerville artist, E. Richard Colburn was one of those who was able to capture them in his portraits. Colburn, who died March 4 at the age of 82, always strove, in his words, “to reveal his subject’s soul through the eyes” and to “discover and portray […]

Chuck’s restaurant closes

Chuck’s Restaurant, an iconic restaurant in Placerville for 50 years, closed on Saturday, March 23. Located at 1318 Broadway, its current owner, Michael Tong, said he was retiring after running the restaurant for almost 20 years. On Monday, Tong and his family were at the restaurant cleaning it out and loading equipment into a truck. He […]

Shively named interim general manager at GDPUD

With General Manager Hank White still on leave from the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District, on Monday night the district’s Board of Directors named Assistant Operations Manager Kelly Shively as interim general manager. The special meeting was called to keep the district operating while White is out of the office. He has been on leave […]

Cameron Park district eyes annexation

The Cameron Park Community Services District (CPCSD) board of directors gave a nod to possibly annexing more properties into the district at its March 20 meeting. Advocated by board member Shiva Frentzen, the board discussed setting up a committee to look at the district’s sphere of influence with the goal of incorporating other areas into […]

Placerville resident named to state PR post

Placerville resident Eric Lamoureux, 43, has been appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown as the new deputy director in the office of public affairs at the California Department of General Services. Lamoureux has worked for the State of California for 20 years, starting out as an intern in the public affairs office at the California Integrated […]

Group defends mining rights and rural values

Defenders of mining rights and rural America got a pep talk on strategy last Friday night March 15 as they gathered at a meeting of the Western Mining Alliance. Over 150 people from as far away as Sacramento, Placer, Shasta, Redding and Fresno came to get a legislative update and to hear a presentation by […]

GDPUD: Water plant delayed again

Despite holding a special meeting on Tuesday to take up agenda items not addressed at last week’s meeting, the Board of Directors of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District punted once again when it came to a decision about the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) Water Treatment Plant. At the prior meeting, the […]

Quarry closes in dispute with Air Quality Management

When do regulations to protect the public health go too far and public agencies become more of a hindrance than a help?

That question is on the mind of Rob Findleton who wants to operate a quarry on Snows Road but finds himself in a stalemate with the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District.

A general engineering contractor by trade, Findleton closed his construction business in 2008 when the economy took a nosedive.

Looking for another source of income, he decided to reopen an old quarry on Snows Road that was operated in the 1850s as a gold mine and was later mined for sand and gravel.

Tweet this: Local businesses tool up on social media

Wanting to generate more business from the Internet, a group of local business people met last Thursday for a class on how to better use social media tools. Jointly sponsored by the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, Shingle Springs Cameron Park Chamber of Commerce, Coloma Lotus Chamber of […]

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