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Dawn Hodson

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 …

Paramount Motorworks uses finicky focus to keep customers coming

“I can always find a solution to a problem and have never worked on a car I couldn’t fix,” said mechanic Jeff Peters. Owner of Paramount Motorworks, Peters, 35, has had his own vehicle service and repair shop in Cameron Park for a year and a half. But he said he’s had years of experience […]

GDPUD workshop produces Request for Proposal

At their fifth workshop, the board of directors of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District finalized a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire a new general counsel for the district. The reworked RFP will be presented at the next regular board meeting for approval. With half of the workshop spent parsing the language of the […]

Homicide rates and guns

Homicide rates from other countries, whether by guns or by other means, don’t make the case for the United States being an unusually violent country. In fact, the U.S. is near the bottom of the list of countries in terms of homicides and homicides due to firearms. The United Nations, office of Drugs and Crimes, […]

Militarization of local law enforcement

At the same time controversy swirls around proposals for even stricter gun control measures, below the radar is the increasing militarization of police agencies in the country from the federal government down to local police departments. This has occurred despite the fact that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally bars the military from law […]

Sutter’s Mill meteorite a rare space treasure

Rare, complex, and super fast, the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite that landed in the Lotus-Coloma area last April 22 has been a scientific treasure trove, according to those who have studied it.

Called a Carbonaceous Chondrite Regolith Breccia (that is, a primitive meteorite rich in carbon compounds and glass spherules or agglutinates), the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite was of a very rare type, making up less than 3 percent of all known meteorites.

Recently the meteorite was the subject of a paper published in the Dec. 21, 2012, issue of …

Proposed finance committee outcome of GDPUD workshop

A Thursday evening workshop held by the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District ended with a decision to consider appointing a finance committee to help sort out multiple financial issues and policies. Board member Norm Krizl started the meeting by saying the workshops seemed to be turning into regular meetings and some members […]

Panel OKs Oakstone Winery plan

After a two-hour discussion, a revision to a Special Use Permit for Oakstone Winery was approved on a 3-1 vote by the El Dorado County Planning Commission. The Jan. 24 meeting drew a large crowd of supporters, as well as a few critics, regarding the application from John and Susan Smith, who own the winery. […]

SET promotes hands-on science ed

It may have been a bit foggy in Henningsen Lotus Park last Saturday, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the 4-H SET youths who gathered to get a lesson in geology and, in particular, fossils.

Led by project leader Danielle Fisher, 45, of Greenwood, the youths went through a series of hands-on experiments including simulating how resin, dripping from trees, trapped and preserved insects a hundred million years ago. They also examined fossils on loan from the Eureka Gems & Mineral shop in Placerville, viewed a collection of dinosaur bones and dung, and went on a fossil fuel scavenger hunt.

Participating in all these activities were an energetic group of youngsters …

EDH woman appointed to EDD

El Dorado Hills resident Sharon Hilliard, 48, was recently appointed as chief deputy at the California Employment Development Department by Governor Jerry Brown. Hilliard, who has worked for EDD her entire career, will earn $128,064 in the new position. The El Dorado Hills woman said she started with EDD at the age of 17 when […]

Marshall’s new wing now serving patients

After many years of planning and fund-raising, the new wing of Marshall Medical Center officially opened at 5 a.m. on Jan. 15.

The impressive three-story building includes a state-of-the-art emergency department on the ground floor along with a large lobby and private consultation rooms. A very spacious and comfortable maternity center occupies the second floor. The third floor is not used at present.

Over 90 employees work in the new emergency department, including two physicians on call 24 hours a day, 50 RNs, nurse practitioners, and a crew of support staff.

The hospital staff are particularly proud that the new emergency room is certified as a Level III trauma center, one of only two in all of California.

Grizzly Flat CSD gets things right

The Grizzly Flat Community Services District (GFCSD) may be small, but it seems to get everything right from its choice of general manager, to its board, to the way it does business. Previously a private water company owned by the developer of Grizzly Flat, in 1987 it was formed as a public utility by the […]

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 […]

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