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Heard over the back fence: Learn to play bridge

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return today, Jan. 5. While he is preparing columns for the new year. Ken Deibert has provided this last is pinch-hitting column for Bob.  A MIGHTY ARMY: “Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.” — George Herbert LEARN TO PLAY BRIDGE: A program titled “Bridge – Lessons and/or Play” is […]

Heard over the back fence: Learn East Coast swing dancing

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return Jan. 5. In the meantime Ken Deibert is pinch-hitting for him. Happy New Year from Ken and Bob. Please continue to send your items to our mailing address, drop them off at the office. E-mail items and your jokes and quotes to Michael Raffety, mraffety@mtdemocrat.net. Use the subject […]

Heard over the back fence: Advance to ‘Go’ and take a ride on the railroad

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return Jan. 5. In the meantime Ken Deibert is pinch-hitting for him. Please continue to send your items to our mailing address, drop them off at the office. E-mail items and your jokes and quotes to Michael Raffety, mraffety@mtdemocrat.net. Use the subject lines “back fence item.”  TO HAVE AND […]

Local unemployment up slightly in November

The unemployment rate in the Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville MSA was 6.7 percent in November 2014, up from a revised 6.6 percent in October 2014, and below the year-ago estimate of 7.9 percent. This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.1 percent for California and 5.5 percent for the nation during the same period. The unemployment […]

Water rights law anniversary

By Tim Moran State Water Resoucrces Control Board In the long and contentious history of water rights in California, one date stands out: Dec. 19, 1914, exactly 100 years ago. That year brought order and structure to California’s previously often chaotic and litigious water rights landscape. It also marks a dividing line in the hierarchy of […]

Heard over the back fence: Try a little poetry

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return Jan. 5. In the meantime Ken Deibert is pinch-hitting for him. Please continue to send your items to our mailing address, drop them off at the office. E-mail items and your jokes and quotes to Michael Raffety, mraffety@mtdemocrat.net. Use the subject lines “back fence item.” SECRETS OF SUCCESS: […]

Heard over the back fence: Work off the turkey gravy

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return Jan. 5. In the meantime Ken Deibert is pinch-hitting for him. Please continue to send your items to our mailing address, drop them off at the office. E-mail items and your jokes and quotes to Michael Raffety, mraffety@mtdemocrat.net. Use the subject lines “back fence item.”  CALL THE REAL […]

Heard over the back fence: After the holidays time to lose weight

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return Jan. 5. In the meantime Ken Deibert is pinch-hitting for him. Merry Christmas from Ken and Enid Deibert and Bob and Monika Billingsley. Please continue to send your items to our mailing address, drop them off at the office. E-mail items and your jokes and quotes to Michael […]

EID honored for transparency

El Dorado Irrigation District was notified Dec. 11 that it received the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) in recognition of its outstanding efforts to promote transparency and good governance. “This award is a testament to EID’s commitment to open government,” said EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie. “The entire […]

Cal Fire provides tips for safe Christmas tree and holiday decorations

SACRAMENTO — Twinkling lights, shiny ornaments and the fresh smell of pine are signs of the approaching festivities. While decorations can be a beautiful addition to your home and celebrations, Cal Fire and firefighters across California are asking everyone to be fire smart as you deck the halls this holiday season. One of every three […]

Heard over the back fence: Help sponsor the Food Bank

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return Jan. 5. In the meantime Ken Deibert is pinch-hitting for him. Please continue to send your items to our mailing address, drop them off at the office. E-mail items and your jokes and quotes to Michael Raffety, mraffety@mtdemocrat.net. Use the subject lines “back fence item.”  THE VANISHING BRAIN: Jewel […]

More info on lockdown

After two schools were put on lockdown Tuesday morning, additional information about the suspect was released by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. Union Mine High School and Charles Brown Education Center were both put on lockdown at about 8:10 a.m., after the UMHS school resource officer was informed of a report of a theft suspect, possibly […]

Caltrans praised for King Fire Hwy 50 work

The U.S. Forest Service held a small party to thank the members of Caltrans that assisted along the Highway 50 corridor during the King Fire. “It’s just our way of saying thanks,” Eldorado National Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree said. “They’re people we can count on to keep the roads open. We don’t always acknowledge them.” […]

Man walks into traffic, hit by car

A man sustained severe injuries after he walked into traffic on Missouri Flat Road Wednesday evening. Alan Duffany, 49, of Davis, stepped into traffic on Missouri Flat Road north of Pleasant Valley Road at about 5:30 p.m., CHP Officer Quinn Cuthbertson said. He was struck by a 2003 Mini Cooper driven southbound by Jeffrey Jackson, […]

Taking a chance on Logan

It’s not unusual for a sophomore in high school to have a part-time job, but Logan Wright is a little different. He’s a gold medalist, part of the leadership class at El Dorado High School, an avid hunter and fisherman, and he has Down’s syndrome, a genetic chromosomal disorder which causes lifelong intellectual disability and […]

No deal on EID censure plan: Election shift eyed

Despite a detailed presentation on the legal basis for censuring someone, the board of the El Dorado Irrigation District was unable to reach a consensus at its Dec. 8 meeting when it came to adopting a new policy that laid out specific procedures for doing so. The need for the policy arose in September after Director George Osborne asked EID’s General Counsel Tom Cumpston what procedures […]

False tax returns: Prison, fine for P’ville man

A Placerville man was sentenced in federal court Thursday for filing false tax returns. Thomas W. Stringfellow, 55, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $687,182 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr., a press release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. From 2006 through 2010, Stringfellow, […]

Downtown upbeat about Christmas

The holiday season is usually a retail bonanza for merchants. This November, national retail sales were up by 4-5 percent, with the National Retail Federation predicting a whopping $616.9 billion in sales for this holiday season.

Downtown Placerville merchants have seen steady sales and some of them are hoping for the late season surge they experienced last year.

“Last year, there was a big surge about four days before Christmas,” said Danielle Thorne, owner of Ecological, 320 Main Street, which specializes in fair-trade items.

Most offices closed for Christmas

Some offices throughout El Dorado County will be closed on Thursday, Dec. 25, due to Christmas, a state and federal holiday. Here’s a look at what local residents may expect: All schools in El Dorado County will be closed. The offices of the Placerville Police and El Dorado County Sheriff  will be closed on both […]

Heard over the back fence: Salmon expert featured at trout confab

Editor’s note — Bob Billingsley will return Jan. 5. In the meantime Ken Deibert is pinch-hitting for him. Please continue to send your items to our mailing address, drop them off at the office. E-mail items and your jokes and quotes to Michael Raffety, mraffety@mtdemocrat.net. Use the subject lines “back fence item.”  CALL THE REAL […]

EDUHSD board members sworn in

Kevin Brown, Tim Carey and Todd White were sworn in as El Dorado Union High School District Board of Trustees members at the Dec. 9 board meeting. All three were re-elected during General Elections this November. EDUHSD Superintendent Steve Wehr noted, “I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with this team and providing the […]

School boundary complaints voiced at board meeting

Parents and students attended last Tuesday’s El Dorado Union High School District board meeting to express their continued concerns with school boundaries. Since the boundaries were redrawn in 2005, a small number of El Dorado Hills students change schools at every level instead of going to recognized feeder schools in their neighborhoods. Some of the […]

It’s not too late to vaccinate against the flu

The Public Health Division of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency has wrapped up its community flu vaccination clinics for the season, and is now offering the flu vaccine by appointment. The seasonal influenza vaccine is available through Public Health for only $10 per vaccination. No one will be turned away due […]

Sanford adds attorney

A man convicted of a 1980 murder attempted to replace his attorney but instead simply had one added in a hearing Friday morning. Andrew Sanford appeared with his attorney, Erik Schlueter, for a short hearing. It began with a Marsden Motion, a California-specific motion in which a defendant can attempt to fire their court-appointed attorney […]

Giant Hanukkah menorah lit in Placerville

Have you seen the giant Hanukkah Menorah near the Welcome to Placerville sign on Highway 50? Every year members of Temple Kol Shalom — of the Western Foothills — place it there to commemorate Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights. Jewish people worldwide will observe Hanukkah, beginning on the evening […]

Grand Jury: King Fire suspect indicted

The man accused of intentionally causing the King Fire was indicted by the El Dorado County Grand Jury and arraigned on Monday. During the Monday hearing, Grand Jury transcripts were given to prosecutor Jim Clinchard and defense attorney Bob Banning regarding the Dec. 3 indictment of Wayne Allen Huntsman. Banning had difficulty opening discovery files, […]

Harris’ murder trial pushed back

The trial of a woman who allegedly killed her husband was pushed back a week in a Monday hearing. After lengthy meetings in chambers regarding jury summons, prosecutor Joe Alexander suggested a new hearing date of Jan. 12, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. in Department 2 for the Colleen Harris trial’s in limine motions. Defense attorney […]

Stormproofing the watershed after King Fire

With last Thursday’s storm threatening more damage, U.S. Forest Service and Sacramento Municipal Utility District staff were out in force doing what they could to protect a watershed left scarred by the King Fire.

On Wednesday, crews were hurriedly putting in berms, placing risers over culverts, laying rocks and log barriers and taking other measures to protect the hillsides, roads, powerhouses and other structures before the storm hit.

Up and down Forebay Road, dump trucks rumbled by with tons of crushed rock. At the bottom of one gully, a front-end loader graded the area while rock was placed above to control the water flow and to keep the gully from turning into a small canyon. Meanwhile, what looked like a hydro excavator truck waited on …

Law enforcement cracking down on holiday drunk driving

This time of year, with all the holiday office parties and festive occasions with friends and families, many partygoers will be drinking. If you’re celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, Placerville Police Department has a message for you: “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each […]

UMHS briefly locked down

Union Mine High School was briefly put on lockdown Tuesday morning due to police activity in the area. Just after 8 a.m., UMHS was put on lockdown due to a robbery suspect in the area. A search was conducted for a white Toyota Solara convertible based on a report out of Sacramento County, according to […]

El Dorado Transit announces Christmas and New Year’s holiday schedule

The El Dorado County Transit Authority announces it will operate the following schedule during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays: Wednesday, December 24, 2014 (Christmas Eve) — Limited Service The local routes will operate on a Saturday schedule. Limited Dial-A-Ride and complementary para-transit services will be available. Sacramento Commuter Routes No. 4 and No. 6 […]

GDPUD: Proposition 218-related workshop next week

New board members were sworn in and new officers elected at the Dec. 9 meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District. Carl Hoelscher, Lon Uso and Jesse Hanschild swapped seats with outgoing board members Ray Griffiths and Bonnie McLane. Outgoing board member Kathy Otermat wasn’t present. The new board went on to elect Director Norm Krizl as […]

Fire destroys tenant’s home on Nutting property

A fire Thursday morning destroyed a mobile home on a former supervisor’s property. Pioneer Fire units responded to a report of a fire at 9:06 a.m., with units not arriving to the fire until 9:32 a.m. due to distance from the fire station. The fire was reported at 8161 Happy Valley Road in Somerset, part […]

Storm causes minor flooding, fallen trees, power outages

The storm that hit California late last week dumped rain and snow in El Dorado County, causing power outages, floods and downed trees.

For the previous 48 hours at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 12, the storm rained between 1 and 4 inches of water, with Placerville having the highest at 4.22 inches, according to the National Weather Service’s …

Planners vote no to new cell tower in SLT

It was cell tower day at the Dec. 11 meeting of the El Dorado County Planning Commission, with three of its five agenda items having to do with existing and proposed new towers. First up was an existing Verizon cellular telecommunications facility in the Georgetown area. Located on Chipmunk Ridge Road, the wireless facility was originally approved in […]

Santa Rosa man arrested for sex crime

A Santa Rosa man was arrested after an investigation by Placerville Police Department regarding an alleged sex crime committed over the Thanksgiving holiday. James E. Parker, 67, was arrested on Dec. 9 in Santa Rosa after a warrant was issued for his arrest, a PPD press release stated. The warrant, issued after a Thanksgiving Day […]

Purse snatcher tackled by Walmart shopper

A man was stopped by Walmart shoppers as he allegedly tried to steal a purse. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call at 12:27 p.m. Thursday of a theft in progress at Walmart on Missouri Flat Road in Diamond Springs, a press release stated. An elderly woman had left her purse in a shopping […]

Supes’ vote likely to downsize two “community regions”

Two years of citizen activism may have directly resulted in a reduction of the Community Region boundaries for Shingle Springs and the Green Valley Road corridor. On Dec. 9, El Dorado County Supervisors voted 3-1 to direct staff to review the maps with an eye toward decreasing the levels of future development in areas that […]

Neibauer resigns from Cameron Park board

Vicky Neibauer, president of the Cameron Park Community Services District, has resigned from the board. Neibauer submitted her resignation in an e-mail to General Manager Mary Cahill prior to last Wednesday’s board meeting. In the e-mail she said, “Current circumstances require that I resign as Cameron Park Community Services District Director effective Dec. 10. I thank the citizens of […]

Behind the lines in WWII

“I was working at the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond and I got drafted by the Army,” said Ray Haagen. Since shipfitters making Liberty ships (military cargo ships) had a deferred occupation, Haagen had thought he might not be drafted, but he was.

The 94-year-old Pleasant Valley resident hadn’t really talked about his experiences during WWII in the “Thunderbolt Division” — the 83rd Infantry Division, until he received a bottle of 1939 Chateau Lauretan wine in the mail from the son of a former Army buddy.

The unopened bottle had been signed by Haagen and a dozen others in Normandy in 1945 and labeled “Do not open until 1955.” Haagen didn’t remember signing the bottle, but he remembered working with supply sergeant Ben Young, who had held on to the bottle until his death in 2002.

“I was attached to Regimental Headquarters because I had taken typing in high school,” said Haagen. “I rode all over…”

Gov’t center renovation project stems from 2008 lawsuit

The Mountain Democrat interviewed project manager Brent Collins after his Nov. 13 presentation to the Board of Supervisors. Collins is in charge of a multi-million dollar repair and renovation of the county’s government center Buildings A and B. He elaborated on some of the reasons for the renovation besides the “crumbling walls,” as Supervisor Brian […]

Supervisors move forward on big maintenance project

We have to start fixing facilities … The walls are crumbling around us. — District 3 Supervisor Brian Veerkamp, Nov. 13, 2014 El Dorado County Government Buildings A and B need a major overhaul. Built in 1975, the 82,000 square feet of space houses 18 government departments including the Board of Supervisors, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, […]

Clerks cited for selling alcohol to minors

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — On Dec. 5, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department cited two clerks for selling alcohol to minors. The actions were the result of a minor decoy operation in which minors under the direct supervision of officers, attempted to purchase alcohol from 33 retail licensees in the city of South Lake Tahoe. […]

George Peabody dies at 96

George W. Peabody, one of the foremost historians of El Dorado County, died on Saturday, Dec. 6 at a neighbor’s home that he helped build on the top of Lent’s Hill. He had recently celebrated his 96th birthday, but the holy tamales which Peabody attributed to having extended his health by seven months could only do so much against colon cancer.

Born Oct. 23, 1918, Peabody grew up in Southern California and attended South Pasadena College. He married Patricia Cecilia Davies on June 13, 1942, went to work for the Lockheed Corp. as an aircraft …

Construction projects making progress in city

Placerville City Council adopted resolutions at the Dec. 9 meeting to approve consultant agreements for four construction projects in the city. A Consulting Services Agreement with Dokken Engineering in the amount of $49,988 was approved for engineering design services for the Broadway Crosswalks Project. The project is designed to improve sight visibility and pedestrian safety […]

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