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Dawn Hodson

GDPUD votes to resolve Caltrans conflict

A workshop held by the board of Georgetown Divide Public Utility District on Jan 17 ended with a decision that finally resolved a conflict with Caltrans over a highway construction project slated for later this year. After listening to a presentation on the project by Kelly Shively, assistant operations manager for the district, the board […]

Shawn Allan and Andi Wagner take on short sales

Meet Shawn Allen and Andi Wagner, energetic Realtors with a passion for real estate and El Dorado County. These two Placerville Realty World Platinum stars know how to work in today’s market. Allan ‘loves real estate’ Shawn Allan said she loves living in El Dorado County and showing properties to those interested in also calling it […]

CPCSD reduces facility fees

Hoping to bring more business to the community center, the Board of Directors of the Cameron Park Community Services District approved new rental fees for the facility at its Jan. 16 meeting. Effective immediately, fees for renting the Assembly Hall will be reduced by 20 percent. Previously the cost to rent the entire Assembly hall […]

EDC survivors of shipwreck hold reunion

Survivors of the Costa Concordia shipwreck gathered Sunday, Jan. 13, for a reunion to remember what happened a year ago when the passenger ship they were on struck a reef and capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people.

Reluctant to talk to the media until now, the group of El Dorado County residents — Joanna and Adam Lynch, Phyllis Eggan, and Brenda Miller — recalled what happened that day and afterwards. Their story is a tale of survival, kindness, friendship and faith.

The taxman cometh — with hand in your pocket

Between the new budget agreement signed into law on Jan. 2 by President Obama and all the new taxes associated with Obamacare, Americans are facing a whole rash of additional taxes this year despite promises to the contrary. According to the budget agreement, income tax rates will remain the same for most people. However 77 […]

Highway 193 roadwork almost complete

Caltrans continues work on a 40 to 50 foot section of Highway 193 just north of Rockcreek Road. Initially expected to be finished by mid-November of last year, Caltrans is installing a retaining wall, widening and resurfacing the road, and placing a barrier on the slope side of the road. Currently stoplights are managing traffic […]

Gun control talk boosts sales

With the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary fresh in everyone’s mind, there have been calls from politicians across the country to impose stricter gun control or even to abolish the Second Amendment.

President Barack Obama has said he favors stronger background checks, a meaningful ban on assault weapons and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines, although he’s unsure such legislation would pass in the House of Representatives.

Vice President Joe Biden has offered that Obama could …

Commission OKs Malcolm Dixon revised subdivision plan

The El Dorado County Planning Commission took action at its Jan. 10 meeting that moved ahead the Malcolm Dixon Road Estates Subdivision by approving a revision to the approved tentative map that included a phased plan for financing improvements. The property, which is owned by Chris Labarbera, consists of 40.6 acres, divided into eight lots, […]

GDPUD: A tale of 2 treatment plants

As GDPUD has moved forward with plans to retrofit the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) water treatment plant, questions and charges have arisen regarding why earlier plans to build a new water treatment plant at Greenwood Lake (GL) were later abandoned.

That decision, according to the different agencies involved, traces its history back to 2004. At the time the district’s two water treatment plants at Walton Lake and …

Undersecretary: Guv taps EDH man

Brian McMahon, 62 of El Dorado Hills, was recently appointed undersecretary at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (CLWDA) by Gov. Jerry Brown. CLWDA is a cabinet level agency that coordinates the workforce programs of six different state departments including the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the Employment Development Department, the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, the Workforce […]

McLane new president of GDPUD, Griffiths elected VP

Members of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board elected Bonnie McLane as President, Ray Griffiths as Vice President and Maria Capraun as Treasurer in a Jan. 8 meeting. The board also discussed how the district should respond to a third request from Caltrans regarding a highway improvement project in Kelsey that impacts a water […]

GDPUD board holds first workshop

Attendance was sparse at the first of a series of workshops to be held by the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District with only five to seven members of the public in the audience. The subject of the Jan. 3 meeting was board policies and procedures. Since board President Ray Griffiths was absent […]

Governor taps Rescue woman for state board

Regina Collins, 61, was recently appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Area Board III of the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities. Collins is currently employed by the California Dental Association as the director of component relations. Her position is that of liaison between the state organization and 32 dental societies in California. Previously she […]

Top 10 — No. 4: Meteor madness hits EDC

Amateur meteor chasers, NASA scientists and the media descended on the Coloma/Lotus area after a rare meteor, initially estimated to weigh 70 metric tons, shattered over El Dorado County early in the morning on April 22, 2012. As the news spread of the meteor and its value, it sparked a gold rush of a different […]

Midshipman becomes action photographer

Attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis as a computer science major would keep most people busy.

But not Nick Montez, 25, of Somerset who seems to always be up to a new challenge.

Home from the U.S. Naval Academy for Christmas, Montez said that soon after entering Annapolis in 2009, he started taking pictures as a hobby at Navy sporting events and would drop them off at the office of the Navy newspaper for their use.

They liked his work so much that when he volunteered to take pictures on a regular basis they jumped at the offer and gave him a press pass. Since then he’s cultivated a following and also takes pictures of his classmates to send home or post on their Facebook pages.

Over the past four years, Montez said he’s covered any number of Army-Navy games, boxing matches, lacrosse games, soccer matches, pep rallies …

No. 7 A year of turmoil at GDPUD

The past year was a tumultuous one for the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. Controversies, largely instigated by board members, led to the resignation or retirement of several long-term contractors and staff including General Counsel William Wright, Business and Finance Manager Mary Pat Frick, and most of the district’s administrative staff. General […]

GDPUD finalizes CalPERs contract

The Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board of directors held a special meeting Dec. 27 to finish off some final business for the year. The board voted to amend their CalPERS contract effective Dec. 30, 2012. Under the district’s current agreement, employees receive 2.7 percent of their highest pay at 55. Under the new plan, new […]

Heartbreak over book theft

Vandals and thieves struck a particularly malicious blow in December when they stole mail and packages from homes in the Camino Heights area. The loss of one package in particular was important, not just because of its monetary value, but because of its sentimental value to the individual who made it and the person it […]

Free cell phone service in the offing

Coming soon to California is a program that will furnish free cell phone service to the poor and the homeless. Approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in December, the program is an extension of the existing Lifeline program that subsidizes phone service for the poor. Seeking to extend that service, the new program, […]

Cameron Park man named as CEMA executive

Cameron Park resident Stephen Sellers, 59, has been appointed by Gov. Brown as the assistant director for response at the California Emergency Management Agency. Sellers held multiple positions at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services from 1995 to 2009.  Since 2009 he has been the assistant secretary for prevention, information analysis and operations at the California […]

Cameron Park Rotary delivers 51 bikes to youth

Continuing a tradition that’s in its fourth year, the Cameron Park Rotary Club delivered 51 bikes to local youngsters last week, just in time for Christmas. Working collaboratively with Folsom Prison, last Thursday members of Rotary picked up the bikes refurbished by inmates at the prison. The bikes were then distributed to students at Sierra […]

Crocker House students put on concert

Saying the show must go on, the annual Crocker House student concert took place as usual this past Saturday with the twist being that it was put on by the students themselves this year. Usually Jolinda Crocker, the owner of the Crocker House Creative Art Center, puts on a Christmas concert featuring her students just […]

Tucker and Neibauer sworn in at CPCSD; Stanton new president

The year-end board meeting of the Cameron Park Community Services District was relatively short and sweet with El Dorado County District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting swearing in new board members Sean Tucker and Vicky Neibauer. Recognition was given to outgoing board member Alan Clarke who was presented with thanks and a plaque for his 10 years […]

Tales of Christmas past in Placerville

For the most part, Christmas traditions haven’t changed all that much, although Christmas is a far more secular and commercial event than it was 100 years ago.

Looking through the archives at the Mountain Democrat, keepsakes at the El Dorado County Museum, and a book of stories called “Old West Christmas” by Craig and Franklin MacDonald, gives one a sense of how Christmas was celebrated in the 1800s and early 1900s in El Dorado County.


In a Dec. 17 article titled “New bloc runs GDPUD,” resident Steve Miller was described as a contractor. He is not. He is a retired Naval officer and retired phone company employee.

New bloc runs GDPUD board

The newly constituted board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District hammered through a series of decisions at their Tuesday meeting that shifted control of the district into the hands of a voting bloc made up of Bonnie McLane, Kathy Otermat, and Maria Capraun. Taking the lead in reordering things was board member Bonnie McLane […]

Boylan resigns, Bist appointed to Mother Lode Union School District Board

At the Wednesday night board of trustees meeting of the Mother Lode Unified School District, the board accepted the resignation letter of candidate Richard Boylan. Gene Bist Sr. was then appointed to fill the vacancy. In his letter, Boylan said in part that, “I am formally and officially declining to be sworn in as Board […]

Daddy delivery: Father helps deliver newborn at home

Little Katherine Jane Hutchison was scheduled to be delivered Wednesday morning at Marshall Hospital. But she apparently decided to come sooner and was born at home around 4:50 a.m. Monday morning with the help of her father and paramedics from the Mosquito Fire Protection District. Georgi Colvin, 32, the mother of the newborn, said contractions […]


In the article on Animal Outreach, it referenced other areas from which the agency accepts animals. Stanislaus was misspelled.

3rd vote saves GDPUD $$

With only the barest of quorums, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District took the first step in amending its CalPERS contract. On Friday, a special board meeting was called at 12:30 p.m. to consider the agenda item. However, only two of the board members showed. McLane, Otermat, and incoming board member Maria […]

Animal Outreach 3rd in nation

In an achievement that even surprised the staff, Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode proudly announced they came in third in a nationwide competition to adopt out the most pets. The $100,000 contest, sponsored by the ASPCA and Rachael Ray, challenged animal welfare organizations across the country to adopt out as many animals as possible over […]

No-shows at GDPUD could cost district $$

A special meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District on Friday afternoon was continued after three board members failed to show. The board was notified on Tuesday, Dec. 4, of the need for the meeting in order to vote on amending the district’s CalPERS contract. But board members Bonnie McLane, Kathy Otermat, and newly […]

Residents contesting proposed Shingle Springs developments

Lori Parlin and Frank Verdin are feeling somewhat besieged these days what with the number of new developments being proposed for Shingle Springs. Devoted to the peaceful rural nature of the area where they live, they are looking for others like themselves who don’t want the community to change. “We’re going to get hit hard […]

An exercise in empathy

The auditorium at Mountain Creek Middle School was full of cheering and whistling students on Nov. 28 as they gathered for a disability awareness event conducted by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The event was held on behalf of a student at the school, Amy Davidson, 14, who has been diagnosed with a form of […]

Cancelled parade won’t stop Toys for Tots campaign

Sunday’s Christmas Parade may have been rained out, but the Toys for Tots campaign continues undampened. For 32 years, Toys for Tots has participated in the Christmas parade which brings in 300 to 500 toys. Parade participants donate a gift as their fee and many of those watching also donate at staging areas or at […]

Currency wars and the Fed: Inflation and a new monetary system

This is the third installment of a three-part series on the Fed, inflation and currency wars. Upheavals in the economic order are starting to undermine the stability of the world’s monetary system. Or at least that appears to be what we are witnessing, according to James Rickards, who is the author of the best-selling book “Currency […]

Storm brings rain, wind and snow to county

A series of storms feeding off of tropical moisture from the Pacific were expected to continue to impact northern California and the Pacific Northwest throughout much of the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. The storm was forecast to bring rainfall totals of between 10 and 20 inches along with several feet of snow […]

Kauffman named inspector general of CMD

Gov. Brown has appointed local resident Lieutenant Colonel David Kauffman, 41, as inspector general at the California Military Department. According to a press release from the governor’s office, Kauffman has served with the California Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve for nearly 20 years, including tours of duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Kosovo; and […]

The Federal Reserve and the American mind

This is part two of a three-part series on the Fed, inflation and currency wars. Contrary to what is taught in government schools, the real history of America is as much about the struggle between the people and the banks as it is about the dates and places of certain events. For example, most of […]

The Fed, inflation and currency wars

This year, the Mountain Democrat has covered the subject of the economy in a series of articles. From stories describing how local people have lost their homes and jobs, to battles over higher taxes and fees, the thread running through all these articles is how people are affected by monetary policies. Helping to make sense […]

Crunch time for Christmas trees

With Thanksgiving now a memory and balmy weather beckoning, thousands flocked to the foothills of El Dorado County on Friday to choose their own freshly cut and perfectly shaped Christmas tree. Among them were Joyce Pomicpic, her husband, two children, and their Labrador retriever who drove up from Folsom to buy a tree at Smarts […]

Food Bank offers a lifeline

The Food Bank of El Dorado County was born out of a request by a father to his son. Founded in 2000 by Mike Sproull, he said he started it after his father asked him to do something good for the community. Sproull said after looking around, he found there was no food bank in […]

Make-over on Main Street

A former gas station in the 100 block of Main Street in Placerville is getting a make-over. The lower portion of the two-story building will house Precision Eye Care, which is currently located at 532 Main St. and is owned by Dr. Morrill. The upper floor of the building will be an apartment. In total, […]

Memorial planned for local Indian chief

Hoping to bring greater recognition to the achievements of a local Indian chief who was born almost 200 years ago, plans are being made to honor his memory at next year’s annual Nature Fest in Georgetown. Named Coppa Hembo, the Indian chief never quite fit the stereotype of more well-known Indian chiefs whose reputations were […]

General manager’s authority questioned at GDPUD meeting

At the Nov. 13 meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board, General Counsel William Wright asked the board to consider a resolution confirming the general manager’s contracting authority, noting that some members of the public have questioned that authority. In particular, Wright pointed to criticism of General Manager Hank White approving a contract […]

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