PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Dawn Hodson

Water providers urge continued conservation

The Regional Water Authority (RWA) Board of Directors is urging its 22 water provider members to continue efforts to reduce water use by 20 percent or more according to a press release issued by the organization on March 13. RWA represents water providers in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties. “With our typically wettest winter […]

Expanded senior lunch program proposed for Cameron Park

Seniors in Cameron Park may soon enjoy two additional days a week of low-cost lunches according to El Dorado County Supervisor Shiva Frentzen. In February, Frentzen contacted the Cameron Park Community Services District regarding offering a senior lunch program at the community center. At the March 18 meeting of the CSD, its Board of Directors unanimously adopted the […]

Small fires sparked off Highway 50

Fifteen small brush fires were sparked on the south side of Highway 50 Wednesday evening. Called in at 5:51 p.m., crews from El Dorado County Fire and Cal Fire put out the fires by 6:22 p.m. No other damage was reported. The fires caused traffic to back up between Placerville Drive and Forni Road as the far right […]

Grand opening for new animal shelter on Sunday

El Dorado County Animal Services is inviting the community to celebrate the grand opening of its new facility in Diamond Springs this Sunday, March 29, from 2 to 4 p.m., according to a press release from El Dorado County Animal Services. A much-anticipated event, the celebration will include tours of the facility, animal demonstrations, presentations, informational booths, […]

King Fire area gets a Band-Aid

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a helicopter dropping straw!

Helimulching was once again being carried out in the King Fire burn area as two helicopters dropped ton after ton of rice straw on the blackened hills, turning them yellow as clouds of thatched material spiraled into the air and then settled.

A joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service and the Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District, 695 acres were treated …

Tribe addresses gun range complaints

In a press release issued on Monday, the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians (Tribe) said it is addressing the concerns of the nearby community regarding a proposed gun range. “We are investigating and vetting all concerns. We will not move forward with the project until all concerns are addressed,” said Tribal Chairman Nicholas Fonseca. Earlier this […]

CAO quizzed on budget deficit

Getting the county budget back on track was the main topic as interim El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr spoke before the El Dorado Taxpayers Association on Monday. With the county needing to cut almost 5.9 percent in spending in order to close a structural gap in its budget, Knorr said she, along […]

Bridge project to proceed

The El Dorado Irrigation District held a special board meeting on Friday to discuss two closed session items. Reported out of closed sessions was approval of a settlement with U.S. Specialty Insurance Company regarding the Camp 2 Bridge Replacement Project. U.S. Specialty insures Excavating Engineers Inc., the company originally hired to complete the project. The new company […]

GDPUD losing money on its meters

The water district is losing money on its aging meters, according to a study presented to the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District at its March 10 meeting. Conducted by MC Engineering, the purpose of the study was to determine the overall efficiency of the district’s system. Paid for through a grant from PG&E and the […]

Drought and ALT plant discussed

Although there are still hoops to jump through, progress is being made to retrofit the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant, according to a staff report made at the March 10 board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. George Sanders, who previously acted as interim general manager for the district, reported that although they have yet to receive final […]

Coloma Post Office still delivering mail after 165 years

The tiny post office in Coloma may be 165 years old and counting, but old age and rumors that it’s haunted haven’t dampened its spirits.

Indeed, while over 100 post offices are said to have existed in El Dorado County at one time or another, it’s the Coloma Post Office that is still here while most of the rest have closed or been combined with others.

It’s also a meet up spot for the community as there’s no other mail delivery in the area. Instead residents stop by regularly to collect mail from their boxes while catching up on the local gossip.

Coloma is more than just a …

EDCWA interim GM selected

The El Dorado County Water Agency (EDCWA) tentatively selected an interim general manager. However, a contract must still be hammered out. That decision was reached at the agency’s board meeting on Wednesday. Ken Payne, who is a partner in the Municipal Consulting Group, was selected to fill the spot until a permanent general manager is hired. […]

EID reviews Drought Action Plan changes

The El Dorado Irrigation District received an update on the drought and considered changes to its Drought Action Plan at its board meeting on Monday. Providing an overview of EID’s water supply, Brian Mueller, director of Engineering, said that as of the end of February, Jenkinson Lake was at 75 percent of capacity and Caples Lake was […]

Clarification

Proponents of El Dorado County joining the state of Jefferson wanted it known that the townhall they held on Feb. 28 was not affiliated or sponsored in any way by the Tea Party in the Hills.

EDC invited to join state of Jefferson

Fed up with what they say is a lack of representation and infringement on their liberties, several hundred people attended a townhall meeting Feb. 28 at which El Dorado County residents were asked to leave California and form a new state called Jefferson. Sponsored by the Tea Party in the Hills, the meeting’s primary speaker was Siskiyou County resident […]

Around About Transportation gives you a lift

There’s a new business in town and it’s giving people a lift along with some one-on-one TLC. Called Around About Transportation, the startup provides non-emergency medical transportation to those on the Western Slope of El Dorado County. Jointly owned by Pete Messimore along with husband and wife team Margaret Birge and Jeff Hill, Sr., the new business has only […]

Taxpayer group updated on ‘big hairy beast’

Two years ago this month, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors awarded a $2.6 million contract to Tyler Technologies to replace the county’s current financial, payroll and human resources systems with a new system called FENIX. An additional $3 million was approved to hire staff to assist with implementation and conversion of the project. FENIX will […]

Snow survey results ‘grim’

The results of Tuesday’s snow survey at Phillips Station were disappointing, with an average of 6.7 inches of snow on the ground and slightly less than one inch of water content.

At only 5 percent of the historical average for the site, the results were actually down from last month’s average of 12 percent.

“It’s pretty grim,” said Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey for the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), as he checked the numbers.

“And pretty reflective of measurements we’ve been taking up and down the Sierra over the past week or so as well as reflected in the telemetry measurements that come in each hour.

“We’re nudging up against the lowest snowpack on record,” he said, citing the snowpacks recorded in 1991 and 1977.

“Clearly there’s no good news in terms of any runoff,” he continued. “We were fortunate to have a fairly wet…”

Cell tower in SLT shot down in three

A special use permit to erect a cell phone tower in South Lake Tahoe was denied by the El Dorado County Planning Commission. But it took three hours and three motions to get it done. It was controversial because the tower was to be located on leased single-family property in a high-end residential area; a request for […]

Foundation hosts an uplifting day for nonprofits

Feb. 20 was a day of training and inspiration as 70 representatives from nonprofit agencies in El Dorado County attended an all-day workshop hosted by the El Dorado Community Foundation. Held at the Cameron Park Community Center, experts in the fields of accounting, public relations, board development, social media and more conducted different breakout sessions in their area […]

King Fire restoration plan in the works

While still in the draft stage, a plan to restore the area burned by the King Fire is drawing both support and criticism, with the U.S. Forest Service stuck in the middle.

Last year’s conflagration burned almost 98,000 acres, 63,000 of it in the Eldorado National Forest.

According to a restoration plan being circulated for comment, only 14,100 of the 63,000 acres will receive some kind of treatment, including salvage logging and the replanting of trees.

Laurence Crabtree, who is supervisor of the Eldorado National Forest, said so far the public feedback is mixed with some advocating for more timber harvesting while …

Drought update given at EID meeting

It was a short meeting as the Board of Directors for the El Dorado Irrigation District received an update on the drought and different projects on Feb. 23. Brian Mueller, EID’s director of Engineering, reported that as of Feb. 11, Jenkinson Lake was at 72 percent of capacity, Caples Lake 68 percent and Folsom Lake 53 […]

Accolades for retiring editor

Michael Raffety, who is retiring as of Feb. 23, leaves behind a wake of good will and respect for his time as editor. Described by bosses, colleagues and those he wrote about as honest, fair and intelligent — with a bit of good-humored quirkiness thrown in — Raffety is a man who put all his talents at the […]

Longtime editor of the Mountain Democrat retiring

After almost 37 years at the Mountain Democrat — virtually all of it as an editor — Mike Raffety is retiring as of Feb. 23.

A fixture at the paper for more than a generation, Raffety has served in multiple capacities — reporter, editor, photographer, columnist and opinion shaper. He’s also been a steadfast champion of the community, celebrating its accomplishments while unsparing when criticizing those who fall short when it comes to looking out for its welfare.

Something of a renaissance man, Raffety was born in Berlin, Germany, and later adopted by an American military couple who moved back to the United States, eventually settling in California.

Drought workshop proposed for Georgetown Divide PUD

The drought was on everyone’s mind at the Feb. 10 board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. According to General Manager Wendell Wall, the current water storage in Stumpy Meadows Reservoir is at 10,790 acre-feet or 54 percent of capacity. He said that is the lowest storage level in the lake in the past 49 […]

Local couple wins wildfire mitigation award

Logtown residents Ken and Nancy Hasse recently learned they are among only 21 individuals and organizations nationwide to be honored with a 2015 Wildfire Mitigation Award. The first year they are being given out, the awards are jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Forest […]

Making EDC fire safe

El Dorado County residents got a sharp reminder of the need to make their properties as fire safe as possible after last year’s Sand and King fires. Local organizations that have been helping in this effort for years are the county’s fire safe councils (FSC). Grassroots organizations, they exist to make California’s communities less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire […]

Interim GM to leave water agency

The El Dorado County Water Agency will be losing another staff member as it was announced by the board at its Feb. 11 meeting that Interim General Manager Tracey Eden-Bishop would be resigning at the end of the month to take a job with the El Dorado Irrigation District. Eden-Bishop has been serving as interim general manager […]

Regional Transportation Plan update highlighted in local workshop

It was show-and-tell time at the fairgrounds the evening of Feb. 6 as the El Dorado County Transportation Commission rolled out a draft of its updated Regional Transportation Plan. A job it must undertake every five years, the workshop attracted board members as well as staff from the agency and its partner agencies including SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments), […]

Operation School Bell a hit in Placerville

It looked like Christmas in February as children went shopping for new school clothes on Saturday, Feb. 7 at Kmart. Lined up outside the store as early as 8 a.m., an estimated 125 children and their parents swarmed through the store loading up shopping carts with everything from shoes and socks to the latest in t-shirts and dresses. Part of […]

Sheriff briefs Tea Party on crime

Sheriff John D’Agostini covered everything from crime to finances at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Tea Party in the Hills. Noting the increase in crime in the county, D’Agostini attributed it to passage of Proposition 47 last November. That law reduced the classification of most nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes from a […]

Placerville resident appointed as deputy at DWR

On Jan. 23, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office announced that Placerville resident Ed Wilson, 59, had been appointed deputy assistant director of public affairs at the California Department of Water Resources. Wilson has been working as the assistant director of communications at the California Department of Conservation since 2005. From 2000 to 2005, he served as interim assistant director […]

Elvis has left the building … for the slopes

There were multiple sightings of Elvis at Sierra-at-Tahoe last Thursday. In the pub, on the slopes, hanging out on the plaza — they were everywhere — all 13 of them. Part of a “man trip” they have been taking for 19 years, the guys came dressed as Elvis for a day of snowboarding and fun at the popular […]

Another drought year ahead? Survey says: Most likely

California may be looking at a fourth year of drought based on the latest snow survey conducted Jan. 29 at Phillips Station.

With sunny weather and not much snow on the ground to measure, Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey for the California Department of Water Resources, stuck a pole into the ground and came up largely empty.

The survey found a snow depth of 7.1 inches and a water equivalent of 2.3 inches, which is just 12 percent of the long-term average for this time of year at that particular snow course.

These results are down from measurements done Dec. 30 when there was 21.5 inches of snow on the ground with a water content of 4 percent.

“In a normal year we’d have about five feet of snow depth at this location this time of year,” said Gehrke.

Statewide, the snow water equivalent as measured by more than 100 sensors was 4 inches, or 25 percent of the historical average. That’s down from …

Marshall seeks baby-friendly imprimatur

Looking to add to their credentials, Marshall Medical Center hopes to add the designation of being a Baby-Friendly Hospital next month.

Part of a global Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, the designation recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.

In particular, the initiative focuses on providing new mothers with the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully breastfeed their babies and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.

In charge of the program at Marshall is Christine Miguelgorry, who is a …

Correction

In the article “New ruling gives hope to dredgers,” the caption for the photo on the front page was in error. Rick Eddy is on the right in the photo while Steve Tyler is on the left.

New ruling gives hope to dredgers

A new ruling issued on Jan. 12 of this year is giving hope to suction dredgers that they will once again be able to ply their trade on California’s waterways.

Issued by San Bernardino County Judge Gilbert Ochoa, the decision builds on a previous ruling by a state appellate court in the case of People v. Rinehart.

In that case, Brandon Rinehart successfully appealed his conviction for suction dredging without a permit when the Third Court of Appeals for California ruled the trial …

Suspect in stolen car arrested in EDH

The pursuit of a stolen vehicle ended in an arrest early Friday morning. According to the Placerville Police Department, the incident began at 1:23 a.m. Friday morning in the 300 block of Placerville Drive. An officer identified a 1998 Subaru Forester as one stolen from Pollock Pines and began a pursuit. The suspect fled to El Dorado Hills […]

Huntsman’s trial conference set for March

A trial-setting conference for Wayne Allen Huntsman, the man accused of starting the King Fire, was held on Friday, Jan. 23. Huntsman, 37, was indicted on Dec. 15 by a Grand Jury on suspicion of felony arson of forest land, with special allegations of arson with aggravating factors. The King Fire, which started Sept. 13 in Pollock […]

Dawn Cappell and Stacey Raye have the sweetest jobs

What happier profession could there be than to be a confectioner in one’s own candy shop? Such is the position that Dawn and Ryan Cappell find themselves in since October 2014, when they became the new owners of CandyStrike Emporium in Placerville. A favorite of anyone walking downtown, the store beckons with its vast display of delectable […]

Stumpy Meadows: Bathymetric survey plumbs reservoir

Two small spending projects were approved by the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District at its Jan. 13 meeting. A contract with Andregg Geomatics was approved for $17,960. The contract will pay to conduct a bathymetric survey of the Stumpy Meadows Reservoir. Because of damage to the Pilot Creek Watershed following the King Fire, […]

Eden Halbert focuses on four-legged clients

“It’s great working in something you love,” said Eden Halbert, owner of Sierra Dogs and Sierra Luna Photography, as she snuggled with her own two dogs plus the two adorable puppies she is currently training. On the Sierra Dogs side, Halbert offers in-home, cage-free dog boarding, certified dog training classes and puppy training camp. Her second business is taking heirloom […]

Controversy continues over death of Gen. George S. Patton

Even 70 years later, the death of Gen. George S. Patton remains controversial.

A person connected to the Mountain Democrat offers a different, insider’s perspective on the traffic accident that led to Patton’s death, disputing the controversy.

A brilliant and audacious warrior who was often called “old blood and guts,” Patton’s untimely death at the end of World War II resulted in speculation that he died at an assassin’s hand rather than because of an automobile accident.

It was the subject of several books. One published in 2008 was called “Target Patton,” by journalist Robert Wilcox.

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