John Poimiroo

1-2 finish for Oracle Team USA

SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle Team USA’s toughest opponents were themselves during the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) regattas sailed on San Francisco Bay, this past week. Oracle skippers Jimmy Spithill and Russell Coutts faced each other in the match race final on Sunday, after beating all other competing boats in single-elimination rounds. Coutts, 50, beat […]

California rambling: Bat press

Q. What would you do if you saw 250,000 bats?  A. You’d be mesmerized. That’s the common response among those who join tours led by the Yolo Basin Foundation and California Department of Fish and Game on summer evenings, when some 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from their roosts beneath the Yolo causeway on I-80, […]

California Rambling: Burnishing the auld mug

America’s Cup and the Mountain Democrat both began in 1851. America’s Cup is the world’s oldest international sporting trophy (45 years older than the modern Olympics), and the Mountain Democrat is California’s oldest newspaper. To survive as long as they have, America’s Cup and the Mountain Democrat have learned to adapt to the times, to […]

El Dorado Hills business honored as top Disney provider

WorldPass Travel Group of El Dorado Hills virtually swept this year’s Walt Disney Resorts Symposium Awards, being honored 10 times, including receiving Disney’s prestigious “Partner” Award for lifetime achievement. The Disney Symposium is an event at which the world renown entertainment park operator rewards its highest 30 producing travel planners. WorldPass President Bruce Bitnoff said, […]

California rambling: Summer movies

Last Saturday, we went to the movies. Summer is a good time to go to the movies. The chill of the air conditioning. The buttery smell of the popcorn. A night out with your girl, or guy. Going to the movies just seems as much a part of summer as the Fourth of July. Summer […]

California Rambling: Yosemite in living color

Zion National Park is Southern Utah’s version of Yosemite National Park. It has towering canyon walls, rock monoliths, inspirational views, great hiking trails, even waterfalls. The two national parks are twins in many ways, but one. Zion is “Yosemite in living color.” If Yosemite is ice, water and coolness, Zion is its counterpart. Its colorful […]

California Rambling: One Way to originality

It is much easier to take what’s available and popular and use it, rather than to create something personal and new. It’s particularly ambitious to do so in theater, where well-known plays and musicals are likely to succeed, whereas original work more often leads to frustration and rejection. Don’t tell that to Ingrid Laurentiis-Wilson, director […]

California Rambling: The social side of dog parks

Considering that there are some 39,000 dogs in El Dorado County, it’s surprising that only two dog parks have existed until now — a public park at South Lake Tahoe and a private park in Shingle Springs. However, that’s about to change, as a dog park is under development at Hacienda Park in Cameron Park […]

California Rambling: California’s overlooked heroine

If ever California had a heroine that history overlooked, it was Jessie Benton Frémont. You won’t find her name memorialized on peaks, streams or towns. Yet, if not for Jessie Benton Frémont, the west may not have been settled as it was, slaves may not have been freed as they were or Yosemite preserved as […]

California Rambling: For wine tasting, it’s only Fair Play

Passport weekends, El Dorado County’s biggest winery event, occurred in April. If you didn’t buy tickets earlier in the year, you probably didn’t go, as it often sells out well in advance. However, another —  actually older — wine event will occur on the first weekend in June. And, it’s only Fair Play to tell […]

California Rambling: Can a regatta change a city?

Can a sailboat race change a city?  If it’s America’s Cup, it can. After visiting New Zealand last November and seeing how America’s Cup improved Auckland’s waterfront, it’s apparent that the auld mug will be remembered for the wake of improvements it leaves along San Francisco’s waterfront after the City hosts  the 34th America’s Cup […]

Over 50 reasons to travel

If you’re 50 or more years old, you probably figure you’ve earned a little indulgence and are ready to travel. That’s what travel experts say you’ll do. But, what no one can predict is how you’ll travel. That’s because the baby boom generation is so … well, unpredictable. The 76 million Americans born between 1946 […]

California Rambling: Shakespeare in the mountains

What is it about Shakespeare outdoors? His plays come to life in the open air, especially when surrounded by nature’s beauty.  From Adirondack and low-backed beach chairs, theater goers at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor State Park will watch “The Two Gentlemen from Verona” this summer (July 13 to Aug. 26) as […]

California Rambling: Jump right in, the water’s fine!

A year ago, water agencies were reporting lake and reservoir levels at a five-year high. What a difference a year makes. This year, several water agencies are forecasting significantly reduced water levels. Though, lower water doesn’t mean an early end to water recreation in 2012. El Dorado County has 121 lakes and numerous reservoirs and […]

California rambling: The door to kids’ well-being is the front door

Tomorrow, on the first day of spring, California kids will be given 10 good reasons to play and explore outside with the release of the newly-revised California Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (COBR) is a life’s list of outdoor activities that every child, between age 4 and 14, should […]

California rambling: What are you waiting for? Jar Jar Binks!?

What’s keeping skiers and boarders from the slopes this winter?  It certainly hasn’t been lack of snow. Despite weeks of blue skies, ample snow provided good to excellent skiing in the Sierra from December through February. That was evident over the President’s Day weekend at Sierra-at-Tahoe where meticulously groomed slopes provided skiing that was about […]

California rambling: Standing ovations

Three Stages, the performing arts center at Folsom Lake College, has gotten used to standing ovations.  Since opening a year ago, it has had 75 sold-out performances, many concluded with appreciative audiences on their feet.  Now, Three Stages is getting its own standing ovation for the economic and cultural shots in the arm it has […]

February 20, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged | 1 Reply

California rambling: Sacramento takes flight

A city’s first impression is often made by its airport, and with the completion of construction on Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B, the capital city’s image is taking flight. Flying through Sacramento has long been a breeze compared to most other California airports. Now, it’s both easy and pleasurable. That’s saying a lot, considering that […]

California rambling: Islands of Northern California

California was supposed to be an island. That’s how Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo described it in a fictional novel he wrote in 1510. De Montalvo’s description of a bountiful island full of gold and beautiful women inspired Spanish explorer Hernan Cortés to search for it. Upon sighting what he believed to be an island off […]

California rambling: The islands of Southern California

In his 1510 novel, Spanish author Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo described an island so bountiful that little effort was needed to collect its harvest, where gold was plentiful and whose only inhabitants were beautiful women draped in strings of pearls. He called it “California.” Nearly a decade later, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortés thought he had […]

California Rambling: Banking on recreation

Christmas week is the busiest of the ski season. It is so important to ski areas, that industry insiders say the Christmas holiday season contributes as much as a quarter of a ski area’s annual revenues. So, this dry December has been disappointing to every California ski area other than possibly Heavenly and Northstar. As […]

California Rambling: A season of magical moments

On a Christmas eve in the 1980s, a reporter from National Geographic magazine, assigned to do a story on Yosemite’s famous holiday performance Bracebridge Dinner, sat alone at a side table beside one of the Ahwahnee dining room’s 24-foot-tall windows. Outside, the black oaks surrounding the hotel were barren of leaves. Grasses on the valley […]

California Rambling: Traveling back 20 years

On a recent trip, I traveled back 20 years to a simpler time, a more innocent place. My trip was to New Zealand to attend a travel writers conference. I returned home with 11 stories and a renewed appreciation for that beautiful, welcoming nation.  I say I traveled back in time, because, although New Zealand […]

California Rambling: Snowmaking makes season sooner and longer

Snow began falling three weeks ago at Lake Tahoe.  You say you missed it?  Well, you had to visit Heavenly Mountain Resort or the Northstar California Resort at night, to see their snowmaking machines begin spraying snow into the air as manmade powder. Manmade snow is not a new idea, though it seems remarkable in […]

California Rambling: Capital to capital

As state capitals, Albany, N.Y., and Sacramento have a lot in common, but also a lot that sets them apart.  These bi-coastal capitals of the third and first most populous states in the nation are worthy destinations, not just for government workers, but for anyone fascinated with America’s story. Must-see destinations in both cities are […]

California Rambling: Harvest time

The soft light of an autumn dusk gilds the curving edges of emerald rows of vineyards that appear to be raked across the Napa Valley. As the sun sets behind the valley’s purple-black western hills, a backlit sky glows in steadily changing tones of yellow, gold, orange, pink and lavender. This is harvest in California. […]

California Rambling: The overlooked season

Further evidence that autumn is California’s overlooked season occurred soon after the Labor Day weekend, when merchants began displaying Christmas decorations. So few Californians are aware of autumn, that hardly anyone noticed. I did, and it bothered me. It bothered me not because merchants saw less commercial value in autumn than jump-starting the holiday spending […]

California rambling: Teaching kids to fly

If you want your kids to fly in life, take them to the Aerospace Museum of California. There, in a modern structure that resembles an airport hanger (at the northeast corner of McClellan Park, formerly McClellan AFB), California’s event-filled aerospace history is retold while inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering and math among youth. Over […]

California rambling: Birds of prey

Who here hasn’t seen a turkey vulture?  They are, after all, our county’s most conspicuous bird — soaring, swooping and riding thermals in spectacular displays of aerodonetics as they patrol. California’s other vulture is not so easy to spot. If you want to see a California condor, don’t look to the skies. Go to Boise, […]

California Rambling: Play ball!

“Play ball!” echoed across Raley Field on a mild Sunday afternoon recently as an American summer ritual played out in relaxing breaks, punctuated by bursts of power and threaded with the physical elegance and cadence that is particular to the sport of baseball. Minor League Baseball’s (MiLB) Sacramento River Cats were playing the Round Rock […]

California Rambling: El Dorado Musical Theater

You are likely to settle into your seat at a performance of the El Dorado Musical Theater (EDMT) expecting something less than what you’re about to hear. After all, kids will be performing. But then, EDMT’s young performers begin singing and the hall resonates with their practiced voices. The thought then crosses your mind that […]

California rambling: Dog-friendly travel

There was only one thing missing from “National Lampoon Vacation,” the 1983 film satire of an American family on their summer vacation… the family dog. Admittedly, in the movie Aunt Edna’s nasty and unfortunate mutt, Dinky, did join the Griswold family on the way to Los Angeles to visit the supposed Walley World amusement park, […]

California Rambling: The social fabric

Social connections used to have tangible permanence. An example is seen at the Folsom History Museum through Labor Day, where an exhibit of story-telling quilts is being displayed a hundred and more years after they were created. After seeing the quilts and reading their stories, a visitor to the Folsom History Museum could well ask, […]

California Rambling: English for dogs

Despite what you’ve heard, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Just ask Teresa Gary of Cool. In her new book, “English for Dogs,” this former high school English teacher describes “50 words every well-mannered companion should know.”  Terry believes you should start training these words, “the minute your dog joins your household!” And, […]

California rambling: An English B&B at Clear Lake

If Kate and William’s wedding inspired you to visit England this year, considering the rate of exchange, you might want to stay in Lakeport, instead. As there, you’ll find a welcoming little piece of England at the Lakeport English Inn. Bed and breakfast inns are often thought of as an English invention, though they have […]

California rambling: A noble race against the weather

At the time on May 15, the cancellation of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, which had been planned to circle Lake Tahoe one and a half times, seemed like the punch line of a very bad joke… “and the good news is that Tahoe got 4 to 6 inches of new snow.” […]

California Rambling: A family affair in the air

As Rick Indrebo banked his German-built Grob 103 glider toward the landing strip at Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, a pair of turkey vultures turned similarly, gliding on air currents above Lake County.  The Cameron Park pilot is ranked among the nation’s best competition glider pilots, though on this trip – as on many […]

California Rambling: Sacred Stones

“Actually, what matters about the monastery is precisely that it is radically different from the world. The apparent pointlessness of the monastery in the eyes of the world is exactly what gives it a real reason for existing. In a world of noise, confusion and conflict, it is necessary that there be a place of […]

California rambling: National Park Week

This week is National Park Week, a week to celebrate America’s natural and cultural heritage. In California there are 19 national park units, a lot to celebrate. Yosemite is the best known of our state’s national parks. It’s considered to be one of America’s crown jewels. There are 394 national park units, including such truly […]

Annual Camellia Cup sailboat race results released

Charles Witcher’s 13-foot Banshee class dinghy, “Ghost,” was an apparition that could not be touched as he sailed to four first-place finishes to win the 45th annual Camellia Cup Regatta on Folsom Lake April 9. In the 40 years that Banshees have competed in the Camellia Cup, Witcher’s win was the first regatta championship by […]

California Rambling: The Bilbao effect

It was late in the day when the phone rang in Switzerland. The only person in the office picked it up; he happened to be world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. The caller, unaware of the time difference, explained that Redding was searching for someone to design a footbridge. Despite his celebrity, Calatrava was not put off […]

California Rambling: Three Stages earns an ‘A’

There was a giddy question mark in his voice as Dave Pier, the executive director of the region’s new performing arts center, Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, completed his introduction of New York City’s Joffrey Ballet in early March.  It seemed almost as if he couldn’t truly believe that a ballet company as renowned […]

California Rambling: Alternative camping

As disposable income and time became available to Americans in the 1920s, camping became established as part of our collective leisure experience. At first people packed into the backcountry by horse or foot or camped in tents or trailers. Today new forms of alternative camping are gaining popularity, all with economy, comfort and character in […]

California rambling: Passport Weekends

Passport Weekends has become – in its 20th year — the springtime equivalent of Apple Hill for El Dorado County winemakers. The two-weekend series of wine tastings and food pairings now attracts thousands of wine tasters to many of the 26 wineries that belong to the El Dorado County Winery Association (EDWA). Because El Dorado […]

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