Dawn Hodson

Slain deputy’s wife supports immigration reform, creates foundation

El Dorado County resident Susan Oliver has joined the illegal immigration debate, speaking up about the Davis-Oliver Act, an immigration enforcement bill named after her husband Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff’s Det. Michael Davis Jr. who were killed in the line of duty last year. Accused murderer Luis Bracamontes, AKA Marcelo Marquez, an […]

Protests start at StemExpress

Mothers and babies in strollers lined the street in front of StemExpress on Monday in protest of the company’s practice of selling the fetal body parts to research facilities.

Camino resident Lisa Hart said she was the one who called for the demonstration. There with her husband and teenage daughter, she said the protest was in response to Center for Medical Progress videos showing fetuses’ organs being harvested in an illegal and immoral way. In two of the center’s undercover videos, people posing a representatives of biomedical purchasing companies speak with Planned Parenthood employees, in detail, about the fetal tissue procurement process. Planned Parenthood provides fetal tissue to Stem Express, which then passes it on to medical research facilities. A third video includes statements from a former Stem Express employee.

Skydiving great-grandma takes a giant leap

Proving that age is no barrier to an adventurous spirit, Placerville resident Ida-May Hicks and her son Mark celebrated their birthdays by skydiving together on July 25. A great-grandmother who turned 85 on Aug. 2, Hicks’ son was also facing a milestone birthday as he turned 60 five days earlier. “My son and I are kind of daredevils … […]

Final phase of Cameron Glen Estates approved

Phase five of the Cameron Glen Estates was approved by the El Dorado County Planning Commission at its July 23 meeting. This is the final phase of the project. Fifteen single family residences are slated to be built on a 1.64-acre parcel located on the south side of Green Valley Road near the intersection with Cameron Park […]

Living Water projects purify the soul

It’s a long way between the multi-million dollar homes of El Dorado Hills and the rural villages of South America.

Helping bridge that gap are volunteers whose mission is to make a difference, one well and one water pump at a time. Operating under a faith-based organization called Living Water International in Houston, Texas, they travel to developing countries all over the world and put in wells and pumps.

The need is acute, with one-eighth of the world’s population not having access to safe water, according to Living Water. Millions suffer illness or die from water related diseases. Many people who have no running water must spend a quarter of their time collecting water for everyday use.

Water agency/EDWPA budgets adopted

The El Dorado County Water Agency and the El Dorado Water and Power Authority recently adopted budgets for the next fiscal year. Final approval will be granted at the agencies’ August meetings when public hearings are held. The adopted water agency budget comes in at a little more than $5 million. Operating expenses, including salaries, benefits, supplies and professional services make up $1.19 million; water […]

EID approves water sale

In a unanimous vote, the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors voted 5-0 at its July 27 meeting to sell 3,100 acre-feet of water to the Westlands Water District. The sale is not final until approved by a number of water agencies, according to Gayle Holman, public affairs representative for Westlands Water District. Once approved, it’s […]

Property owners getting a say on GDPUD plan

Amid a flurry of questions about how votes will be counted, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors at its July 14 meeting approved a Proposition 218 process to fund the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant retrofit. Prop. 218, approved by California voters in 1996, requires voter approval prior to imposition or increase […]

GDPUD gets merger request

Worried about being left high and dry, Quintette Service Corporation board members made a consolidation pitch to the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors at its July 14 meeting. A small community located 12 miles east of Georgetown, Quintette is a mix of part-time and full-time residents served by a mutual water company that was founded in […]

Scholar: Farming at risk if California doesn’t solve water crisis

Editor’s note: With the drought on everyone’s mind, the Mountain Democrat contacted Dr. Victor Hanson, a scholar at the Hoover Institution — a public policy think tank at Stanford University. Hanson writes extensively about California issues. This is part two of his take on California’s water crisis. Droughts in California are not unusual, noted Victor Hanson. In the last 140 years […]

More golden days lie ahead

With an eye on reminding the world of El Dorado County’s prominent place in Gold Rush history, organizers of next year’s World Gold Panning Championship in Placerville will head to Spain next month …

Scholar: Bad policies created water crisis

Editor’s note: With the drought on everyone’s mind, the Mountain Democrat contacted Dr. Victor Hanson, a scholar at the Hoover Institution — a public policy think tank at Stanford University. Hanson extensively writes about California issues. This is part one of his take on California’s water crisis. While California’s politicians scramble to deal with a fourth year of drought, commentator Dr. […]

Ponds get a reprieve

Some El Dorado County ponds won’t go dry just yet, the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors decided at its July 13 meeting. As the board has sought to meet state regulations that call for a 28 percent reduction in water use, in May the directors approved revisions to EID’s Drought Action Plan that included suspending potable water […]

Recycling water all the rage

With the drought forcing water districts to find ever more creative ways to conserve, recycling programs have turned out to be fortuitous long-term investments.

Currently the El Dorado Irrigation District is the only water district in the county operating such a program. Those operations are carried out at two of its four wastewater treatment plants: one at Deer Creek in Cameron Park and the other in El Dorado Hills.

An outgrowth of development plans to ensure a reliable water supply for homes to be built in El Dorado Hills, identifying the need for recycled water goes back more than 20 years according to Kirk Bone, the director of Government Relations for Parker Development Company.

Carson Creek plans moving forward

Two Carson Creek planned development housing projects were reviewed by the El Dorado County Planning Commission at its July 9 meeting. Part of the 1997 Carson Creek Specific Plan, 140 residential lots in Unit 3 of the plan gained approval from the commission. Consisting of a little more than 19 acres, the El Dorado Hills property is located south of Golden Foothill […]

Finally, a hero has his Bronze Star

It was a long time coming, but after 70 years Placerville resident Wayne Queen has received the Bronze Star he earned during his World War II service.

A veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, Queen, 89, still has strong memories of what some historians consider the greatest single battle ever fought by the American Army. Some consider it, in terms of participation and losses, arguably the greatest battle in American military history.

Born and raised in Heavener, Okla., Queen said he is Native American, being half Cherokee and half Choctaw. He said Heavener itself is notable for having some large stones covered with writing that some believe were inscribed by Vikings back in 1012 AD.

Pierson urges taxpayers to focus what’s really important

It was billed as a talk by El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson on department functions and budget considerations. Instead the June 29 meeting of the Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County turned into a discussion about casinos, the Supreme Court, the fall of the Roman Empire, grand juries, the shooting of an unarmed suspect in South Lake […]

To tow or not to tow? Local man claims DMV harassment

Are staff from the Department of Motor Vehicles needlessly harassing people while passing themselves off as law enforcement officers? That’s what Camino Heights resident Mike Viets claims happened when he parked two pieces of equipment he wanted to sell on an empty lot on Missouri Flat Road near Forni Road. A popular place where others park cars for sale, […]

America going broke, McClintock says

Speaking to a crowd of about 60 people at Town Hall in Placerville Tuesday evening, Congressman Tom McClintock spent time talking about the country’s fiscal deficit, with the bulk of the meeting devoted to fielding questions on topics ranging from the drought to the local economy, better forest management, the new trade bill and executive overreach in […]

Gun-owner advocate vows to keep fighting

Gun legislation was the hot topic at the Tea Party in the Hills meeting on June 24. There to talk about the status of current and future gun legislation in the state was Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California. Paredes is also a member of the board of directors of Gun Owners of America and treasurer […]

End of the Moore legacy

One of the most historical properties in Placerville has changed hands and will no longer belong to the Moore family. Last owned by Judge Prentiss Moore and his model/actress wife, Josephine Moore, the beautiful ranch called River Hill is located at the end of Bedford Avenue. On June 23 the new owners of the 345-acre property did a […]

Water leak spouts up in Placerville

A minor water leak at the Placerville Police Department was discovered and quickly repaired last Friday. According to Placerville City Manager Cleve Morris, he was notified of the leak around 10 a.m. on June 26. “It was nothing major but could have been if there had been a break,” he said, adding that the leak was […]

Pure Life case: Preliminary hearing set

Kelly Chiusano and two other defendants of the Pure Life Collective marijuana dispensary will appear in a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 21, a judge decided on June 26. Chiusano and Summer Bradley, owners of the Pure Life Collective marijuana dispensary, along with defendants Whitney Marchand and Christopher Brown, face a seven-count complaint that […]

Widow shares her ‘average G.I. Joe’s’ adventures

Just an average Joe is how Barbara Raines described her husband, Roger, who passed away October 18, 2011. A man who almost made it to the ripe old age of 88, Raines lived through some of the most monumental events of the 20th century, including the Depression, Prohibition, the Union Station massacre, World War II, the assassination of President John […]

Forest fire management part of bigger strategy

The sound of buzzsaws broke the silence of the forest off Silver Fork Road as crews from the California Conservation Corp worked to create a fuel break off Highway 50 near Kyburz on Wednesday.

Cutting down small trees and brush, stacks of vegetation were scattered everywhere as two teams cleared one side of the road.

Part of a much larger plan called the Roadrunner Fuel Reduction Project, the goal is to eventually treat both sides of Highway 50 all the way from Pollock Pines to Twin Bridges. “That will take a couple of years to do,” said Will Harris, a battalion chief with the Forest Service. “But there is a plan and there is a vision.”

Water management plan revised to protect salmon

In a press release issued on June 16, state and federal officials announced the outlines of a revised plan for managing water flows in the Sacramento River for cities and farms while keeping enough cold water in Shasta Reservoir to avoid high temperatures in the river that could be catastrophic for endangered winter-run Chinook salmon. […]

Ditch, dam upgrades approved

The El Dorado Irrigation District moved forward on two capital improvement projects at its June 22 meeting despite some differing opinions among the board members. First up was approving the spending of $160,291 for the Upper Main Ditch piping project. The piping will replace three miles of open ditch that extends from the Forebay Reservoir to […]

Some senior water rights on the chopping block

With drought conditions continuing, the State Water Board recently announced there is insufficient water available for senior water right holders with a priority date of 1903 or later in the San Joaquin and Sacramento watersheds and the Delta. El Dorado Irrigation District’s Public Information Officer Jesse Saich said the curtailment applies to all pre-1914 water […]

New EDH subdivision map approved

A tentative subdivision map for the East Ridge Village project was approved unanimously by the El Dorado County Planning Commission at its June 11 meeting. Located in El Dorado Hills, 2,600 feet east of Valley View Parkway from its intersection with White Rock Road, the project was submitted by East Ridge Holdings, LLC. Made up of 734 acres, […]

New editor at Mountain Democrat

It’s been a year of changes at the Mountain Democrat with the latest one being the selection of a new editor. Noel Stack, 36, currently the editor of Village Life and Cameron Park Life, will assume the editor role of all three publications effective June 22. With a degree in journalism, Stack began her newspaper […]

EID customer survey shows improvement

El Dorado Irrigation District got some good news in the form of a recent customer satisfaction survey as well as feedback from customers using the Sly Park Recreation Area. In the case of Sly Park, it was recently named the Best Camp Ground by KCRA 3 A-List voters. According to EID staff, the KCRA A-List compiles businesses, services […]

Funding plan sparks controversy at GDPUD meeting

Rhetoric went fiery at the June 9 board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. At issue was how to repay a $10 million loan to retrofit the Auburn Lake Trails water treatment plant. While everyone on the GDPUD Board of Directors and most of the audience agreed that retrofitting the plant had to be done, there […]

Conservation target for GDPUD lowered

Customers of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District got some good news at the June 9 board meeting when General Manager Wendell Wall reported that the State Water Board changed how much local residents have to conserve from 36 percent to 32 percent over water used in 2013. Wall noted the change helps revenue and is a major difference […]

County officials respond — or don’t — to investigator questions

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr declined comment when asked about allegations regarding a contract for investigative services with the legal firm of Prentice, Long and Epperson. She instead referred all questions to County Counsel Robyn Truitt-Drivon. Truitt-Drivon would only say the contract was authorized by the Board of Supervisors and the investigation was ongoing. Asked […]

Clean audit for EID

El Dorado Irrigation District received notice of a “clean” audit for 2014 at its June 8 board meeting. Conducted by Richardson & Company, CPA Brian Nash presented the findings of the audit along with EID’s Accounting Manager Tony Pasquarello. According to the findings, EID’s total assets exceeded total liabilities by $387.5 million, which is $4.7 million higher than […]

State Water Board: Conservation near 14%

On Tuesday, the State Water Board reported that water conservation efforts in the state have improved but are still below the targeted 25 percent. According to reports from 400 urban water suppliers, the amount of water saved increased from 3.9 percent in March to approximately 13.5 percent in April in same month comparisons of 2015 […]

EID Communications Director Carlton to retire

After a whirlwind career that has included stints in human resources, customer service, management consulting, community relations and more fields than you can shake a stick at, Mary Lynn Carlton, 59, El Dorado Irrigation District’s Communications/Community Relations director, is retiring. While still officially on the job until July 14, Carlton said she’ll be gone before […]

Descendants add headstones for those long gone, but not forgotten

El Dorado County is peppered with graveyards — some established, while others are unmarked family plots that have long since been forgotten. But there are always those who go looking for lost relatives in order to reconnect to their past. On May 16, members of one family did just that by placing headstones on four formerly unmarked […]

GDPUD to pursue $10M ALT loan

At a special meeting on May 28, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District voted 3-1 to move ahead and pursue a $10 million dollar state loan to fund the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant. Directors Norm Krizl, Carl Hoelscher and Lon Uso voted for the motion. Director Maria Capraun voted no. Director Jesse […]

Wagon Train itinerary

Saturday, May 30: Rendezvous and Registration and Kickoff BBQ — potluck members only — at Zephyr Cove, Nev. Sunday, May 31: Stateline, Nev. to Amacker Ranch Meyers, Calif. Evening BBQ for participants. Monday, June 1: Amacker Ranch to Tamarack Pines Cutoff — BBQ and entertainment. Tuesday, June 2: Tamarack Pines Cutoff to Kyburz. Private evening […]

The Wagon Train reins: Big-hearted horses return to lead the way

Those big beautiful black Percherons are back and once again will take the lead in this year’s Highway 50 Wagon Train.

In its 66th year, the Wagon Train — a living reenactment of history — kicked off May 30 with a rendezvous and barbecue at scenic Zephyr Cove, Nev.

After, it was up and over the summit, with stops along the way including a layover at Fresh Pond for a day of wagon rides, story telling and barbecue on Thursday, June 4.

Budgets reviewed by water agencies

Board members of the El Dorado County Water and Power Authority and the El Dorado County Water Agency previewed next year’s budgets for their respective agencies at their May 13 meeting. EDWPA board members also received an update on what has been spent to date on the water rights project and what they will be asked to […]

EID resets watering days for summer

After a series of motions that failed due to a lack of votes, on Tuesday the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors voted to allow three days of outdoor watering per week effective June 1 through Sept. 30. Customers’ watering days will remain based on the residence’s street address ending number, with irrigation limited to before […]

Rescue Raceway back on track

On the backburner for a while, the Rescue Raceway is once again up and running with a full contingent of racing enthusiasts revving up their engines in the name of getting first to the finish line.

Located next to the Rescue Community Center on Green Valley Road, the return of the raceway is like the story of the comeback kid.

Originally it was a racetrack for remote-controlled cars powered by gasoline engines.

“But they were very noisy and the neighbors …”

Placerville native bused to the top

Susan Dreier, 56, may have started her career as a bus driver, but she’s since traveled a whole lot further with her most recent accomplishment being named the chief executive officer for the Pierce County Public Transit System in Pierce County, Wash. Originally from Placerville, where her mother still lives, Dreier said she began her career […]

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