PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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Mountain Democrat

Here’s to 100 more

In January 1915 the Board of Trade changed its name to the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. It was a smart decision and over the next 100 years, the chamber boards and members continued to make smart decisions that helped mold and shape our beautiful county. Where would we be without those thinkers who decided […]

Tough cuts ahead

“A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” Sen. Everett Dirksen is credited for this quote, said some 50 years ago. Today it’s still relevant … especially when discussing El Dorado County’s budget. In June the Board of Supervisors adopted a preliminary $253 million 2015-16 General Fund budget with the intention […]

Adopt a pet

We at the Mountain Democrat are fully behind the movement to help animals find a permanent, loving home. That’s why we continually publish animals available for adoption in the newspaper. It’s been a longtime service and we appreciate the kindhearted advertisers and supporters who make this possible. Seeing animals waiting for adoption pulls at the heart-strings. Finding good […]

A rewarding experience for everyone involved

In June we published a three-part series about foster care in El Dorado County. We felt it was an important message for the county, and one that deserved more than just one article. Part 1, called “Superman was a foster child,” focused on a young man named Sirrele Steinfeld, who was in foster care for […]

Minimum wage hike proposal a new low for California

Senate Bill No. 3 introduced on Dec. 1, 2014 has employers and business owners shaking in their boots for good reason. The bill, which revolves around raising the minimum wage in the state ultimately to $13 an hour, is aimed at helping young and under-skilled workers earn a “fair” living. Unfortunately, it’s only going to […]

Wayne T. Howard

Nov. 14, 1948 – March 9, 2015 Wayne is survived by his wife Carlene, daughter Jamie Lynn, son Andrew, son-in-law Greg, daughter-in-law April, mother Dawn Howard, sister Marlane Howard, eight grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father Buck and brother Les. A celebration of life will be held […]

Dennis Milton Lee

March 30, 1953 – July 13 2015 Dennis Milton Lee, 62, of Placerville passed away suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack in Placerville on Monday, July 13, 2015. Dennis was born in Phoenix, Ariz. on March, 30, 1953 to Peggy and Eldred Monk Lee. He attended North High School in Phoenix, Phoenix College and […]

Susan Katherine Smith

March 9, 1944 – June 28, 2015 Susan Katherine Smith of Placerville died on June 28th, 2015. She passed away after a short illness. She will be missed. Born in Los Angeles in 1944, Susan came to Placerville in 1960 where she attended El Dorado High. After high school, she moved to Sacramento to attend college. […]

Welcome back, Friday

Starting this month, all Placerville city offices are open until 5 p.m. on Fridays. Big deal, you scoff? We surely think so. Restoring Friday services was a sign, and a welcome one at that. In a time when city and county budgets are constantly scrutinized with doom and gloom, we were happy to see the City Council […]

Weeds and a bad ‘welcome sign’ of the times

No one likes to pull weeds, and it’s apparent as the city of Placerville’s entrance is overrun. Someone needs to do something about this. Unfortunately, those who can are not, and those who can’t aren’t doing enough to get them to. The Placerville Rotary Club did a fine job repainting the landmark caboose at the […]

GDPUD getting it together

Despite the criticism the new Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors may be receiving from some members of the public, we believe that GDPUD is finally getting its act together, and it’s about time. At the June 9 board meeting, difficult decisions were made surrounding the Auburn Lake Trails water treatment plant. The […]

Round and round we go

El Dorado County has a new chief administrative officer — the third in less than a year. Almost immediately after Larry Combs’ name was released, the speculation and rumors began. People jumped to defend former CAO Pamela Knorr; another group applauded the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous decision to hire someone new; others […]

AB 357 bad for business

California Assembly Bill 357, called the Fair Scheduling Act of 2015, is anything but fair. In fact, it’s an unfair burden on employers in our state — the few remaining who haven’t taken their business elsewhere. AB 357 would require a food and general retail establishment to provide its employees with at least two weeks’ […]

Attention graduates

Many El Dorado County high schools and even area colleges will be hosting graduation ceremonies this weekend. Years of hard work have been completed, and a bright future lies ahead for many. We wish all graduates good fortune going forward. For the high school graduates, welcome to adulthood. Whether you’re off to college after the […]

Memorial Day for memorializing

There’s a picture making the rounds on social media. It’s of a small boy wearing a suit and tie attending a funeral, receiving a folded flag from an officer. The boy is crying, and the officer, crouching down to the child’s height level, seems to be giving him words of encouragement. Embedded on the picture […]

The Express to success

By many accounts, Placerville is a small town. Yes, it is rich with history and tradition, and boasts a community full of support, hard work, sacrifice, commitment and togetherness. But no one would argue it has harbored big-city business. At least not until now. Thanks to StemExpress, Placerville is being talked about nationwide as a […]

Brace yourselves … fire season is coming

Gov. Brown declared May 3-9 as Wildfire Awareness Week, and Cal Fire held a joint press conference on Monday in Pollock Pines to kick off the week and promote fire safety. It was the beginning of a strong message to the public about the severity of the upcoming fire season. It’s obvious everyone is on […]

A better understanding

On April 8, the El Dorado Water and Power Authority failed to pass a memorandum of understanding with the Rio Linda-Elverta Community Water District that would have established a conceptual framework for the interim use of the additional water supply EDWPA is pursuing. On April 15, in a special meeting for EDWPA, the same memorandum […]

Drug ‘breathalyzers’

State Assemblyman and former CHP officer Tom Lackey, along with the California Police Chiefs Association, We Save Lives, and the California Narcotic Officer Association, announced a joint effort to authorize the use of drug “breathalyzers” to identify and prosecute drivers who are impaired by marijuana and other drugs. Our response can be summed up in […]

Main Street ‘under construction’

The Main Street Rehabilitation Project began in early March and has transformed the historical area of Placerville into a rough and rowdy place. We aren’t referring to the people, though, as business owners continue to delight happy tourists stopping in town, nor the buildings, which have gotten a fresh look after the Paint What Matters […]

Like a good neighbor

The proposed outdoor shooting range on tribal land just off of Shingle Springs Drive has caused quite a stir in the community. The Feb. 24 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting addressing the topic saw more than 200 people in attendance, and we’ve received a number of letters to the editor on the topic. […]

The courthouse ‘debate’

The community is up in arms about relocating the county courthouse away from Main Street. The ramifications are a legitimate concern, but at the end of the day, much of the focus has been on the wrong issue. Let’s face reality. The current courthouse is done. As much as the community would like to preserve […]

Fire Fee returns inadequate

As we reported Wednesday, Cal Fire awarded about $1.05 million worth of grants from the State Responsibility Area fees to El Dorado County organizations for projects aimed at reducing wildfire threats. While that’s great news, it’s just not good enough. Pat Dwyer, chair of the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council, pointed out that amounts […]

Coloma Post Office a gem

The Coloma Post Office, still standing after 165 years, is a historical gem in El Dorado County. From its rich history to its still-functioning capabilities, the community office is a symbol of what makes the county so great. “When tourists come to Coloma, they think the post office is just a display,” former Coloma Post […]

Ralph Taeger

Born in New York City, Ralph Taeger passed away peacefully on March 11, at Marshall Hospital, Placerville, after a lengthy illness. He was the son of German immigrants, Fred and Olga Taeg(d)er. As a young man, Ralph aspired to become an actor. He headed for Hollywood, where he appeared in TV series and movies. His […]

Even-year elections better

The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors got it right when it voted 3-2 on Feb. 9 to switch to an even-year election cycle. The proof of this is in the numbers. While a typical voter turnout for an odd-year election might net 20-30 percent, it’s expected to jump to 63-85 percent in an […]

Leadership at MLUSD

Parents and teachers in the Mother Lode Union School District have had enough. Expressing concerns about the leadership of the district since October of 2014, they’ve gotten the school board’s attention to the point where special meetings have been held specifically to hash out the issue. What’s the issue? The leadership at MLUSD is dropping […]

A hero’s bill

Rep. Tom McClintock introduced on Feb. 13 a bill to honor Marine Staff Sgt. Sky Mote, a 2003 graduate of Union Mine High School who was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2012. Called H.R. 979, the legislation aims to designate a mountain peak in the John Muir Wilderness as “Sky Point.” The […]

Vote no on Measure O … again?

On Nov. 4, 2014, voters in El Dorado County soundly shot down Measure O. In a landslide, the measure, which was created by local residents in opposition to projects proposed in Shingle Springs, the Green Valley corridor and parts of Highway 50, garnered nearly 40,000 no votes (39,224 to be exact) for a 66.37 percent […]

Thanks, Rotary

Among the elements that make up the El Dorado County lifestyle are the enhancements provided by service organizations. A partial list naturally would include the Soroptimists, the Lions, the Kiwanis, the 20-30 Club and, of course, the Rotary. In El Dorado County, the oldest Rotary Club is the one in Placerville, having been formed in […]

Thanks, Jeep Corp.

The late Mark A. Smith wasn’t the sole founder of the Jeepers Jamboree. There were other notable individuals in addition to Smith who founded the Jamboree, originally an economic development idea of the Georgetown Rotary. Smith, however, was its first wagon master and held that position for a number of years. The Jamboree has since […]

Tahoe landmark reopens

Long known as the De Webb Sahara Tahoe and Horizon Casino-Hotel, the venue has reopened after six months of remodeling. The $60 million investment employed 700 construction workers. Now called the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, it will feature some pretty fascinating rock memorabilia, including Elvis’ caped suit that he wore at Madison Square Garden. […]

Oak woodlands overrated

On Jan. 26, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to essentially switch from measuring “oak canopy” to measuring “oak woodlands.” The real distinction is looking out for what is beneath the oak trees. As explained by the county’s biological resources consultant Cathy Spence-Wells, a principal with Dudek & Associates, in a Jan. 20 […]

Eating away at reserves

El Dorado County government began the year where it ended it — facing a General Fund deficit. As explained by then-Interim CAO Pamela Knorr and Chief Budget Analyst Laura Schwarz, the county has appropriated $4.7 million more than it is receiving in property, sales taxes and miscellaneous other revenue sources. Between now and then we […]

Good bridge plan

We are pleased to hear the city is moving ahead on installing a new Clay Street Bridge. It is discouraging how long it has taken the city to replace this bridge. The Placerville City Council has been talking about this project since at least 2006, if not longer. The city had to return more than […]

Good action

Our compliments to Placerville City Councilwoman Trisha Wilkins for stopping the salami slicing and moving to totally waive the traffic impact fee for the Big Brothers & Sisters’ planned new clubhouse at the corner of Green Valley Road and Mallard Lane. One speaker likened it to a school that would not pay a traffic impact […]

Drones over D.C.

Jan. 26 a small quadracopter drone landed on the White House grounds about 3 a.m. It may have been small and what President Obama later referred to as “the kind you buy at Radio Shack,” but it was 2 feet wide and wasn’t shot down by the Secret Service. “We don’t have any kind of […]

The innovation gap

Europe just doesn’t get innovation. The real problem with its stagnant economy is stifling government regulation that ensures youth unemployment in the range of 25 percent because government dictates that the people who have jobs won’t lose them, thereby preventing anyone new from entering the labor market. Europe just doesn’t get that the dynamic labor market […]

Pratt good choice

We always assumed appointees to the county Planning Commission were residents of the same supervisorial district they were representing. Not so. Former Supervisor Ron Briggs’ appointee did not live in the district. Likewise, newly elected Supervisor Mike Ranalli’s appointee does not live in District 4. Dave Pratt, however, is an experienced planning commissioner. This redounds to […]

Kirkwood advances

Kirkwood ski resort, now part of Vail’s collection of ski facilities along with Heavenly, is getting a major upgrade. The resort and its meadow that straddles three counties, has replaced its diesel generators. Originally serving the lodge and a few homeowners, the generators became part of a public utility district as more vacation homes were […]

Salmon on Cosumnes?

It was interesting reading about a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service salmon expert’s talk to the local trout club. The primary focus of the presentation by Donnie Ratcliff was bringing salmon to the Cosumnes River. It would be nice if we could catch salmon or steelhead in the Cosumnes River in El Dorado County or […]

Another cold case

Last week two out of three persons arrested in relation to a murder case dating back to 2006 were arraigned. One of the two was arrested on suspicion of murder. It’s another cold case prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office. Every single cold case this office has prosecuted has resulted in a conviction, going back […]

Innovative tribal court

Sometimes the wheels of justice all point in the same direction. That happened earlier this month when all the county’s judges were sworn in by Miwok Tribal Chairman Nick Fonseca to preside over cases involving tribal members. Conversely, a tribal judge was sworn in by Superior Court Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury to preside in Superior […]

Lions Hall progresses

By now the entire roof has been removed, new trusses dropped in and new sheathing is covering them. This is the big project of ensuring the structural integrity of the Mother Lode Lions Hall, named after the late Clara Scheiber. Scheiber was a key person in what was then the Diamond Springs Community Club, which […]

An outstanding group

El Dorado County opened its new animal shelter in the Diamond Springs industrial park in October. The shelter cost $5.7 million, which includes the $1.86 million purchase price of the building and land at 6435 Capitol Avenue. The construction bid by D.G. Granade Construction was $400,000 under budget. At 21,000 square feet, the building should […]

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