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Dawn Hodson

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 […]

Less growth: Panel OKs Housing Element

After reviewing updates to the county’s Housing Element of the County General Plan at the March 14 meeting, the El Dorado County Planning Commission voted to forward a draft of the plan to the Board of Supervisors for further action. As part of a staff presentation, the commission reviewed what occurred after the last Housing […]

Legal services reviewed by CPCSD committee

Contracts for legal services with three different firms were reviewed by the Budget and Administration Committee of the Cameron Park Community Services District. Up for discussion Wednesday night was a contract with the Biegler Law Firm of Sacramento that functions as the district’s general counsel. Biegler would be paid a flat fee of $300 to […]

C. diff prevention failing to halt infection

According to a press release from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), activities to stop the spread of the intestinal superbug Clostridium difficile, commonly known as C. diff, have not yielded large improvements to date. In a recent survey of APIC members, 70 percent of infection preventionists said they had adopted […]

GDPUD: New majority devoted to paperwork

Tuesday’s board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District was long and rancorous, although it could have been much longer except for the absence of General Manager Hank White. Out due to illness, board member Norm Krizl initially suggested postponing the meeting until White returned. Krizl went on to complain about the length of the […]

Locals have invention, seek buyer

When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, people were horrified by the devastation to life and property. One of those was Placerville resident Capt. Craig White, who happened to be temporarily laid up after injuring his leg. Watching the news coverage got him thinking about how to save lives not only in the event […]

GDPUD workshops stumble to an end

The final workshop of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District last week drew as many members of the public as it did board members, with Kathy Otermat missing and only four people in the audience. On tap for the evening was a presentation by Garden Valley resident Dennis Goodenow on different policy management options open […]

Sheriff: Gun control not the issue

Gun control, road closures, gangs, and other topics were covered when El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini addressed the women of the El Dorado County Republican Women Federated at their Monday meeting. D’Agostini opened by noting that everyone was probably already aware of the letter he sent to Vice President Joe Biden in which he […]

A mural for a little princess

Being the first child born in the new maternity wing of Marshall Medical Center comes with special privileges, one of which is having a mural painted just for you. Hand-painted on canvas by local artist Cathie Urquhart of Cathie Urquhart Murals and More, the mural was presented to parents Raman and Sakshi Chopra of El Dorado, […]

Spaghetti feed to help fund quad rugby wheelchair

A spaghetti feed to help purchase a Quad Rugby Chair for quadriplegic Dwayne Nystrom is planned for March 16 and the community is invited. Organized by longtime family friend Diane Ungles, the event marks the second time she has hosted a fund-raising event for Nystrom. The first one was in 2010 when she organized a small […]

Senate picks G’town doctor

The California State Senate Rules Committee has announced the appointment of  Georgetown physician Alexis Lieser, 36, to the California State Commission on Emergency Medical Services. Lieser is an emergency physician and director of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at Marshall’s Medical Center in Placerville where she has worked since 2010. Nominated for the position by the […]

Local teen to study at famed Moscow’s Bolshoi

With her pointe shoes in tow, Placerville ballerina Aubrey Kendler left last Thursday on a 19-hour plane trip to Moscow to study at the Bolshoi’s Ballet Academy.

The 16-year-old junior at Oak Ridge School will be there until June, training at one of the premier classical ballet companies in the world.

Kendler said the opportunity to train with the Bolshoi was the result of an intensive training program run by the Bolshoi’s Ballet Academy that she attended last summer in New York. At the end of the program, she was evaluated and was ecstatic when afterwards they extended her an invitation to participate in the year-round program in Moscow.

The talented Placerville youth said she has been taking ballet since she was 12 but didn’t get serious about it until a couple of years ago. That was around the same time she attended a different summer intensive run by the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet. Kirkland is a world renown American ballerina.

More storms needed to boost snowpack

Unseasonably warm weather is keeping the snowpack below average for this time of year according to the most recent readings taken by the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR).

Conducted on Feb. 28 by Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey for CDWR, only 29 inches of hard packed snow were measured at Phillips Station, which is located near Echo Summit.

However, Gehrke said things are not grim yet because the water content of the snow is actually higher than it was last year at this time. When measured on Thursday, it was 13.4 inches or 54 percent of average for this time of year. A year ago it was 3.9 inches.

The amount of snow measured on Thursday was also higher than this time last year when it was at only 17.7 inches.

“Clearly it’s not what we want to see,” Gehrke said, “but it’s better than it was last year.”

Dr. Pepper by the river

An ad agency from Los Angeles was in El Dorado County last week filming a new commercial for Dr. Pepper. Lisa Johnson, the executive producer of the commercial, said on Wednesday they shot at Sly Park. On Thursday they set up their equipment along the shore of the American River off Highway 50. With a […]

GDPUD workshop discusses connection fees

The Feb. 21 workshop for the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District consisted of discussion with no specific actions taken. Only three board members were present for the workshop as Kathy Otermat and Norm Krizl were absent. Reviewed was a discussion of raw and treated water, connection fees, cost of service maintenance and infrastructure. Part of […]

Retirement facility features deluxe country living

A new spa-like retirement facility is now open in Shingle Springs that promises to be a home away from home for those wanting to retire in luxury. Located on 150 acres of rolling green hills dotted with oaks and a meandering stream, the Hulbert Ranch Assisted Living facility is the brainchild of ranch owners, Gary […]

CEDAC back for portion of hotel tax revenue

The El Dorado County Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC) made a return visit to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 25, asking for ten percent of the hotel tax (Transient Occupancy Tax) collected by the county. With a cadre of supporters from all over the county, they asked the board for $200,000 of the approximate […]

Professors report on 10 years visiting Haiti

Pirates of the Caribbean, Haiti’s Path from Underdevelopment to Catastrophe was the theme of a talk at Federated Church on Saturday, Feb. 16. Part of a series of presentations called the “Season for Nonviolence,” two sociology professors from Cameron Park discussed the work they have done in Haiti over the past 10 years before a […]

Cameron Park CSD: Front desk help for CPCSD sent to committee

A decision to hire or not hire a permanent front desk person was sent to the Budget and Administration Committee for further study after a lengthy discussion by the Cameron Park Community Services District board on Wednesday night, Feb. 20. Currently the district is using temporary help to cover the front desk. General Manager Mary […]

Audit shows EDCFD $1.4M in the red

The El Dorado County Fire District Board of Directors received further confirmation of the district’s dismal financial condition Thursday night when its auditor reported a $1.4 million dollar deficit for the prior fiscal year. Certified Public Accountant Craig Fechter, of Fechter and Company, said the district received $9.7 million in revenues and had $11.1 million in […]

Economist: ‘Debt-fueled growth is not healthy, not sustainable’

This is part two of a two-part article featuring an interview of consulting economist John Williams who believes that many of the statistics issued by the government misrepresent the true state of the economy. Part one ran in the Feb. 22 issue.  John Williams, a San Francisco based economic consultant, said the unemployment numbers put […]

New use planned for site of burned Pollock Pines restaurant

The burned out remains of the Los Hermanos restaurant in Pollock Pines are in the process of being removed with plans being made for a retail outlet to take its place. Evan Bell, who owns the old restaurant building as well as the Pony Express Station Plaza where the building is located, said all the […]

Pssst. Looking for a hot stock tip?

Are you a woman wanting to learn more about how to buy and sell stocks? Then the Golden Hills Investment Club may be the ticket as they are in the market for new members. In operation in El Dorado County since 1989, the group is loosely affiliated with the National Association of Investment Clubs, known […]

Study to improve local economy approved by EDCTC

A study to help improve the local as well as regional economy was approved by the El Dorado County Transportation Commission (EDCTC) at its Feb. 7 meeting. Called the Bay-To-Tahoe Basin Recreation and Tourism Rural Roadway Impact Study, the work will be carried out by Wood Rodgers Inc. at a cost of $239,775, with funding provided by […]

Economist says government-issued statistics misleading

This is part one of a two-part article featuring an interview with consulting economist John Williams, who believes that many of the statistics issued by the government misrepresent the true state of the economy. On Feb. 1, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the latest national unemployment figures, saying that unemployment in January was […]

Finding a life path

Golf lessons, a tsunami and finding one’s path in life were melded into an inspirational talk given to members of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce at their meeting on Feb. 13.

Provided by PGA teaching professional Will Robins, the golf pro described surviving a devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004 while on his honeymoon.

Robins said the life-threatening event altered his perspective on life and the career path he subsequently pursued. He has since developed a golf academy based on his insights, insights which have produced amazing results for his clients.

The tsunami occurred on Dec. 26, 2004 after a 9.1 to 9.3 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean. At the time, Robins and his new wife Amanda, were honeymooning on the island of Phuket, which is off the coast of Thailand. They were on the last day …

GDPUD workshop delves into job description

The agenda for the Feb. 14 workshop included five items, but it was all the board of directors of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District could do to get through just one of them — namely, the job description and salary schedule for the business and finance manager. That item was originally on the agenda for […]

Learning to fly: Local youth earns helicopter pilot’s license

Valentine’s Day was a special treat for El Dorado Hills resident Austin Bowa who not only turned 17 but also earned his private pilot’s license to fly a helicopter.

His mother Shelly said she believes her son is now the youngest licensed helicopter pilot in the United States.

A year ago, Bowa took his first solo flight in a small two-seater helicopter at Auburn Airport with family, friends and the media looking on.

This past Thursday, he was …

GDPUD delays ALT project

It was standing room only as residents sat through the Feb. 12 board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. A meeting that dragged on for well over six hours. Putting off the most important decision on the agenda, Board President Bonnie McLane, along with Directors Kathy Otermat and Maria Capraun, voted to delay […]

GDPUD workshop covers vehicle use

A policy governing employee use of district vehicles was the main topic of discussion at the Feb. 7 workshop of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District’s Board of Directors. The meeting began with Director Norm Krizl once again questioning why a workshop was being used to conduct business that belonged on the agenda of the […]

Physician’s assistant: Placerville woman named to state board

Placerville resident Rosalee Shorter, 36, has been appointed to the California Physician Assistant Board by Gov. Jerry Brown. A physician assistant for eight years, Shorter previously worked at George Washington University, Department of Surgery and now is employed at Mercy Medical Group, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She has a Master of Public Health/Physician Assistant degree […]

3D printer adds new dimension to machine shop

“What we have here is a really fun, creative and amazing family business,” said Jason LaRock.

Owner of a precision machine shop called Sierra Manufacturing Solutions (SMS), LaRock is one of those entrepreneurs helping to keep manufacturing alive in this country.

The Cameron Park company had its start in the family garage in 1979. Now third generation LaRock and his wife Janel own it after he bought out his parents in 2007.

LaRock said the firm, which employs anywhere between …

Shooting for sport

There may have been a football game, but Superbowl Sunday didn’t stop members of the El Dorado Rod and Gun Club from getting in some competitive trapshooting anyway.

Standing atop a hill overlooking spectacular scenery, groups of shooters took turns blasting away at orange-colored “clay pigeons” under an azure-colored sky.

The “pigeons” were saucer-shaped biodegradable combinations of clay and resin mixed in with a little fertilizer.

Orangevale resident Mickey Razy was one of the competitors. A member of …

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