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Dawn Hodson

Fire blight attacking local trees

A report of fire blight has local backyard gardeners and fruit growers worried about the safety of their trees. Looking as though the leaves and fruit have been hit with a blow torch, fire blight is a bacterial infection that only affects members of the rose family. This includes more than 75 different kinds of trees […]

King Fire restoration project Draft EIS released

On Friday, May 22, the U.S. Forest Service announced it was releasing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the King Fire restoration project. The public is invited to review and comment on it over the next 30 days. Normally the formal comment period is 45 days, but was shortened due to the emergency nature […]

Plant sale a big success

This year’s UCCE Master Gardener Annual Spring Plant Sale was a blowout according to Merry Campbell, coordinator of the event. While not having a final count yet, Campbell said they expect to net close to $19,000, which is the highest sales total ever. Some 6,500 plants out of 7,600 available were sold — more than 85 percent. This year’s plant sale also […]

Harn talks budget to Taxpayers group

Frustration seemed the order of the day at the May 11 meeting of the El Dorado Taxpayers Association as the discussion swirled around how to resolve the county’s structural budget deficit and related financial problems. There to talk specifically about his budget was El Dorado County Auditor-Controller Joe Harn. Harn began by saying that when the Board of Supervisors told him […]

Ag dinner features water talk

“Got water?” That was the main topic at the 19th annual Agricultural Roundtable Dinner held April 17 in Placerville. With the drought, water conservation and securing additional water rights on many people’s minds, three speakers addressed the subject, including Doug Leisz, who is a member of El Dorado County Citizens for Water; Dr. Dale Coco, who is on […]

GDPUD sets irrigation limits: ALT decision put off

With a water shortage looming, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility Board of Directors voted to cut off water to irrigation customers once the level of water in Stumpy Meadows Reservoir declines to 9,000 acre-feet. The vote was 3-2 with Directors Norm Krizl, Lon Uso and Jesse Hanschild voting yes; Carl Hoelscher voting no; and Maria […]

EID adopts state water regulations

Following on the heels of the State Water Board issuing new water conservation regulations, at its May 11 meeting the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors approved incorporating the new regulations into its drought action plan. Included in the vote was adoption of a conservation target of 28 percent. The board also considered adding […]

When the hot rodder met the Jeep guy

It must have been Kismet. Hot rod expert Norm Sappenfield, 87, was thinking of retiring once he hit 90. Meanwhile Jimmy Strauss, 51, was looking for a shop where he could restore Jeeps. And before you could say zoom zoom, kaboom, a match was made. Strauss is well-known in the county for restoring military Jeeps as […]

EID votes to continue water rights fight

The El Dorado Irrigation District board gave a thumbs up to pursuing additional water rights at its May 11 meeting.

However approval was by a narrow margin with Directors Bill George, George Osborne and Dr. Dale Coco voting for and Greg Prada and Alan Day voting against.

At issue is a project EID is a partner to, along with El Dorado County and the El …

HHSA director talks budget, services

Don Ashton, director of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency, spoke before the Taxpayers Association on April 20, answering questions about his agency’s budget and services. Employed by the county since 2011, Ashton said HHSA utilizes a “super agency model” in which several departments are combined under one umbrella. In his case, he oversees […]


The article “GDPUD OKs Prop. 218 process for ALT” stated that the water agency had 45 days to notify property owners of the upcoming Prop. 218 hearing and to determine how much of an assessment to charge its customers. However, the 45-day period does not begin until the amount to be borrowed is established, which should […]

GDPUD OKs Prop. 218 process for ALT

Faced with the prospect of fines, loss of grant funding and rising construction costs, the Board of Directors for the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District voted to initiate a Prop. 218 process at a special meeting held April 27. The process will be used to fund the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant. […]

Give Where You Live campaign raises $86K

El Dorado County residents once again stepped up to the plate, donating $86,000 to 71 county nonprofit organizations in this year’s Give Where You Live campaign. In its second year, the one day fundraiser held on April 23 was coordinated jointly by the El Dorado Community Foundation and the El Dorado Office of Education. The 71 nonprofits […]

Mandatory water restrictions adopted by State Water Board

As expected, on May 5 the State Water Board adopted new regulations to enforce Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for 25 percent conservation. Tuesday’s action followed release of water production figures for March that showed that statewide, the amount of water conserved compared to 2013 was only 3.6 percent for the month. Locally, El Dorado Irrigation District […]

Outingdale cut off again

Outingdale residents will once again be subject to severe water restrictions this summer as a result of action by the State Water Resources Control Board. According to a press release issued on April 23 by the El Dorado Irrigation District, the State Board notified EID that the existing water supply in the San Joaquin River watershed […]

Cameron Park man named IT chief for state corrections

Russell Nichols, a resident of Cameron Park, was recently appointed director of the division of enterprise information services at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation by Gov. Jerry Brown. Nichols, 47, has been acting director of the division since 2015 and has been with CDCR for five years, working primarily on the department’s Strategic Offender […]

Making a match: County native donates stem cells

Cross altruism with scientific curiosity and you get Michael Duhain, 19, stem cell donor. Born and raised in El Dorado County where his parents still live, he’s now a second-year student at Montana State University where he’s majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. Already planning to go to medical school and possibly into medical research, in February of […]

Snow survey cancelled: No snow to measure May 1

A snow survey scheduled for May 1 at Phillips Station was cancelled as there was nothing to measure. The last snow survey of this water year, a press release from the Department of Water Resources deemed it “moot.” “We can’t count on the Sierra snowpack to replenish our water supplies,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “Major reservoirs […]

In Dyer straits: Swansboro board votes to fill lake

To fill or not to fill. That is the question, especially during a drought. Such is the position members of the Swansboro Country Property Owners Association find themselves in after their board voted on April 16 to fill Dyer Lake. Used for boating, swimming and catch-and-release fishing, the three-acre lake is down 3 to 4 feet because […]

State Water Board issues final draft regulations

After some minor tweaking, on Tuesday the State Water Board issued a final set of water conservation regulations. The regulations are expected to be adopted at a public hearing next week. Designed to implement Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for a 25 percent cut in water use statewide, the regulations have undergone few changes since the last draft was […]

UCCE Master Gardener plant selection

The UCCE Master Gardeners Plant Sale on Saturday, May 2 at the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot, 130 Placerville Drive, Placerville, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. will have a wide variety of plants available. Payment is cash or check only. For more information call 530-621-5512, e-mail [email protected] or go online at Arrive early for the best selection. Take out […]

Plant sale seeds Demonstration Garden

What: Annual Spring Plant Sale Who: UCCE Master Gardeners Where: Veterans Memorial Building parking lot, 130 Placerville Drive, Placerville When: Saturday, May 2, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: No admission charge Information: Call 530-621-5512 Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.-noon. E-mail [email protected] or go online at   Drought or no drought, it’s spring and your garden beckons. Nowhere else will […]

EID pares revenue projections

The El Dorado Irrigation District received an update to this year’s finances at its April 13 meeting. Revenues are estimated to be down from $74.7 million to $71.8 million due to a reduction in water sales/services and lower hydropower revenue. The latter is expected to decline from $5 million to $1.5 million. Offsetting these losses to some extent is […]

Court ruling to have little to no impact locally

Monday’s decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal regarding tiered water rates may make it harder for some water agencies to reach their conservation goals. At issue is a finding by the court that San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water rate structure was unconstitutional because it charged more for water than it cost the city to provide […]

Gov. Brown decries court of appeal decision

A decision on Monday by the 4th District Court of Appeal regarding tiered water rates drew a rebuke from Gov. Jerry Brown and may throw a monkey wrench into efforts to mandate water conservation in the state. At issue is a finding by the court that San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water rate structure was unconstitutional because […]

Water rights under pressure

A press release from the State Water Resources Control Board on April 3 warned that water right holders, including some senior right holders, are likely to be curtailed soon within key watersheds in the state. The warning, to holders of more than 36,000 water rights across the state, is designed to give water right holders advance notice to […]

GDPUD declares Stage 3 drought

With Stumpy Meadows Reservoir at 12,350 acre-feet last week, the Board of Directors of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District adopted a resolution declaring a Stage 3 Drought at its April 14 meeting. Normally the 20,000 acre-foot reservoir would be spilling at this time of year. The resolution mandates reducing potable and untreated water demand between 25 to 35 percent. However, […]

New conservation targets set

After receiving over 250 comments regarding new conservation targets for water agencies, on Saturday the State Water Board issued a new regulatory framework for implementing the statewide goal of reducing water use by 25 percent. Instead of four tiers of conservation varying from 10 to 25 percent, the new framework includes nine tiers with conservation […]

King Fire area to open to public again

The U.S. Forest Service announced that the national forest lands in the King Fire area will be open to the public again beginning Saturday, April 25, in conjunction with the general opening of fishing season. However, the public is cautioned that parts of the fire area are still hazardous and will continue to be for years. […]

Updated sign ordinance perused by planners

Members of the El Dorado County Planning Commission took more than five hours to review and take testimony on a sign ordinance at their March 26 meeting. An updated version of an ordinance that hasn’t been changed since 1980, the new version covers general sign requirements, permanent signs, temporary signs, community sign programs, sign development and design standards, permit […]

Second time’s a charm for Water and Power Authority MOU

A memorandum of understanding voted down at the April 8 meeting of the El Dorado Water and Power Authority was back on the table at a special meeting held April 15. This time, however, it garnered enough votes to pass. El Dorado County Supervisor Brian Veerkamp, who is also chairman of EDWPA, opened the meeting by saying […]

Coco talks water at chamber event

Dr. Dale Coco talked water at the April 8 meeting of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. A director on the board of the El Dorado Irrigation District, Coco said when he was elected, he told constituents he’d examine all aspects of EID and apply what he learned about project management when he worked at Kaiser. […]

EDWPA punts on Memorandum

An application for more water rights may have been stalled as a result of action taken at the April 8 meeting of the El Dorado Water and Power Authority . The agency is in the process of preparing an application to the State Water Board for the right to 40,000 acre-feet of water that is stored in Sacramento Metropolitan […]

35% conservation proposed for EID and GDPUD

Following Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement on April 1 ordering a 25 percent reduction in water use statewide, on April 7 the State Water Board released a proposed regulatory framework for achieving the targeted reduction. However, rather than requiring all water purveyors to reduce water use by the same amount, the State Water Board proposed separating all water purveyors into four different tiers. The tiers […]

EID board urged to continue water rights fight

Residents urged the El Dorado Irrigation District board to “stay the course” in pursuing additional water rights for the county at its March 23 meeting. At issue is a project being undertaken by the El Dorado County Water and Power Authority to gain the right to an additional 40,000 acre-feet of water currently stored in SMUD’s reservoirs. Recently, certain members of […]

Plantation re-establishment begins

Last Wednesday, a project to manually re-plant 324 acres of plantations that burned in the King Fire began in the Nevada Point Ridge area of the Eldorado National Forest. According to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service, this tree planting is possible under a categorical exclusion (CE) authority, which allows the Forest Service to […]

Crowd previews King Fire restoration plan

Interest was high as more than 50 El Dorado County residents showed up March 25 to get a preview of what’s planned in the way of restoring parts of the Eldorado National Forest destroyed by last year’s King Fire. The fire burned almost 98,000 acres, 63,000 of it in the Eldorado National Forest. The remainder occurred on privately owned […]

EID board approves plan to sell water at special meeting

A conditional agreement to transfer surplus water to central California’s Westlands Water District was unanimously approved at a special meeting on April 1 by the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors. According to the agreement, up to a maximum of 6,430 acre-feet may be transferred this year, although staff noted the actual amount is likely to be considerably less. […]

Defendant Harris takes the stand in murder trial

The Colleen Harris murder trial continued on Thursday, April 2 as she took the stand herself and recalled her prior marriages and the death of her husband Bob Harris.

Dressed demurely in a high-necked blouse and slacks, Harris spoke in a quiet voice that was often at odds with the turbulent marital life she has led.

Governor orders mandatory water rationing

At a special press conference held April 1 at Echo Summit, Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. announced the first-ever mandatory statewide water reductions.

“Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action,” he said. “Therefore, I’m issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible.”

The governor’s executive order calls for a 25 percent reduction in water consumption in comparison to what was used in 2013. The savings amount to approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months, or nearly as much as is currently in Lake Oroville.

New irrigation schedule for EID customers

A new summer irrigation schedule was adopted by the El Dorado Irrigation District board at its March 23 meeting. Approved as part of an update to its Drought Action Plan, the summer watering schedule was changed from three days a week to an odd/even alternating watering schedule for the period June 1 through Sept. 30. Residents with odd-numbered […]

Burglar given 46 years

Following his conviction in February of three counts of felony first-degree residential burglary and two counts of attempted burglary, Bradley Michael Zaun, 27, was sentenced to 46 years in jail on Monday, March 30. In sentencing Zaun, Superior Court Judge Kenneth J. Melikian cited the lack of mitigating factors in the case, noting that the burglaries were planned […]

Celio to cultivate a happy career

An old Chinese proverb says: “If you want to be happy for a day, get drunk. If you want to be happy for a week, get married. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, plant a garden.” Planning for lifelong happiness is Tracy Celio, 42, who was recently hired as the new Master Gardener […]

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