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South Tahoe wildfire reduced to 20 acres

A wildfire that was reported above Cascade Lake on the South Shore late Wednesday afternoon continued to burn into Thursday, consuming about 30 acres as of 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The blaze, named the Cascade Fire, grew since Wednesday evening, when it was reported to be about 0.25-to-0.5 acres, according to a U.S. Forest Service […]

Where are the homeless now?

It’s been almost a year since Placerville’s first legal encampment for the homeless, Hangtown Haven, closed. Supporters and camp residents fought to keep the camp open, but the permit for the year-long experiment expired on Nov. 15, 2013, and was not renewed. By many accounts, the experiment to see if a temporary legal encampment could […]

Belting out a hit: SlideBelts business growing in EDH

On the fast track to success is a small, but quickly growing, business in El Dorado Hills. Called SlideBelts, the company designs, manufactures and sells high-end belt buckles and belts with a long-range goal of selling wearable technology. Founded by Michelle and Brig Taylor, Michelle said the idea dates back to 2004 when Brig was teaching in […]

King Fire nearly contained, thousands of personnel sent home

Thursday rains helped slow the growth of the King Fire, raising containment and allowing some mandatory evacuations to change to voluntary. The slowing of the fire, at 97,009 acres and 87 percent containment as of a Sunday morning update on inciweb.nwcg.gov, meant more than 3,000 personnel were relieved, down to 4,878. The number of structures […]

Q and A on Forebay, other projects

Q. Tell me about the district’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the coming year? I understand the district is focusing on four major projects. A. El Dorado Irrigation District has a lot of assets in the ground — about $800 million worth, spread over 220 square miles. Assuming a 50-year life expectancy of these assets, […]

Heard over the back fence: ‘An Enchanted Tuscan Evening’ tix ready

ADVICE FROM A BARN: John Chapman gave me the following “Advice from a Barn” T-shirt statement: “Build a strong foundation * Think lofty thoughts * Keep stable * Stand the test of time * Make hay while the sun shines * Hold your horses * Don’t leave your barn door open!” ANIMAL RESCUE FUNDRAISER: “All About Equine […]

Red Cross to have Georgetown presence

The Red Cross will have a presence in Georgetown starting Sept. 26. Volunteers will be located at the Georgetown Fire Station from noon to 8 p.m. on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27 (additional presence will be based on client need). Services to be provided: casework (depending on client need this could be either direct assistance […]

Winkler murder defense skips opening statement

Rachel Winkler feared for her life in the weeks leading up to her alleged murder at the hands of her husband, Todd, testimony Wednesday indicated. After a tumultuous start to the trial, involving Todd Winkler screaming at prosecutor Lisette Suder, the defense decided to forgo an opening statement at the start of the trial Wednesday. […]

Truck slams into Cameron Taco Bell

A Toyota pickup truck crashed through a wall and window of the Taco Bell on Coach Lane in Cameron Park Wednesday at approximately 10 a.m. Two patrons were injured and the driver of the truck appeared to be “having a seizure and convulsions,” Assistant Manager Julie English said. She described the couple as frequent guests […]

Couple with missing son now have lost home

Tragedy seems to have come in threes for Vern and Cyndi Matthews.

In June they learned that someone had ransacked their vacation home off of Spring Valley Road in Pollock Pines. They learned of the break-in from their son, Vernon “Cody” Matthews, who arrived a few days ahead of his parents.

Cody, an adventurous 24-year-old, had gone up early as he intended to live off the land for the summer.

According to Vern Matthews …

43% contained: King Fire: Rain spells relief

With cooler weather and rain providing something of a break, fire agencies battling the King Fire may at last be gaining the upper hand. The fire, which has burned 95,347 acres as of Thursday morning, was 43 percent contained. Residents of Swansboro were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday afternoon but mandatory evacuations were […]

Suspect sought in SLT burglary

On Sept. 21 at approximately 2:19 a.m., Mi Pueblo Market (3885 Pioneer Trail) in South Lake Tahoe was the victim of a commercial burglary. The unidentified suspect used a crowbar to force his way into the business. Once inside of the business, the suspect stole coins, phone cards and cash. The total amount of loss […]

Burke’s Corner: September 26, 2014

By Burke Bruttig Burke’s Corner is a once-a-week photo corner of answers to questions of  seriousness, controversy or lightness in El Dorado County. Look for me in the community each week to ask you the question of the week and get your answer! For future question suggestions, comments or contact, Burke can be reached at […]

Heard over the back fence: Buy your Lobster Palooza tickets now

PLAY THE COP ROLE: My friend Paul Chafer provided the following “How to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity in Retirement” quote: “At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars . . . Watch em slow down!” LOBSTERPALOOZA IS BACK! “Lobsterpalooza 2014″ will be held on […]

Boys and Girls Club, Lake Tahoe, fundraiser

BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB FUNDRAISER: Would you like to get out of town to a cooler place? The Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe has scheduled a fundraiser golf tournament for Oct. 13 at Edgewood. The golf fee will be $225. To secure a sponsorship to support area kids and to reserve playing spots now, […]

Truckee Ranger District establishes King Fire call center

TRUCKEE — The Tahoe National Forest, working with the California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 and local emergency services partners, has established a call center at the Truckee Ranger District Office. The purpose of the call center is to provide residents of Truckee and Lake Tahoe Basin with clear and accurate information on the King […]

School closure update

Black Oak Mine Unified School District was open for classes Wednesday, as air quality was reassessed early this morning and deemed safe for students and staff. However, Otter Creek Elementary School will remain closed until evacuations of the immediate areas are lifted – those students continue to attend classes at Georgetown School. Air quality will […]

EID finds Esmeralda Tunnel cave-in

Notified by a high water alarm on the canal Sunday night, El Dorado Irrigation District hydro personnel discovered Monday there was a collapse in the Esmeralda Tunnel. The 1,000-foot-long tunnel was built in 1930 and is held up by treated timbers for the first 450 feet, then natural rock for about 400 feet, with the […]

Repave Main Street input needed

A community meeting to kick off the design of Main Street improvements is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 25, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Placerville Town Hall, 549 Main Street in Placerville. The intent of the meeting will be to define the base project, including roadway, utility and pedestrian improvements and to gather up-front input […]

Outburst puts pause to Winkler murder trial

The prosecution’s opening statement of the Todd Winkler murder trial was marred by an explosive outburst by the defendant, screaming at the prosecutor and bringing a pause to the proceedings. “This is a case about a mastermind, a manipulator, a murderer,” Deputy District Attorney Lisette Suder began in her opening statement. On Feb. 27, 2012, […]

Camino businesses undeterred by smoke

Despite the massive King Fire and the smoke covering the county, the wineries and farms of Camino and Apple Hill are doing relatively well. “It’s hard to say,” Bill Gunn of Jodar Winery said of the affects of the fire on business. “It’s cyclical anyway. The smoke over the weekend” affected those down the hill […]

Weather brings red flag warning for King Fire

At 89,574 acres, the King Fire continues to grow but at a much slower pace as more and more resources are thrown at it, with containment at 35 percent as of Tuesday morning.

But with a return to dry conditions and wind, at a briefing Monday night, fire personnel issued a red flag warning from 2 p.m. on Sept. 23 until 8 p.m. Sept. 24, with temperatures expected in the range of 75-82 degrees on Tuesday and ridge top winds reaching 20 to 35 mph.

Held at the evacuation center located at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Camino …

California Wing locates missing pilot

Civil Air Patrol’s California Wing located a downed aircraft Sept. 16 that was missing since Sept. 15. The pilot, who was seen walking near the airplane, was transported from the crash site in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains via a National Park Service helicopter. CAP spotted the downed aircraft at 9:03 a.m. Sept. 16 near […]

Solo fatality in Mt. Aukum

A man died in a solo vehicle collision in Mount Aukum on Sept. 22. Allen Mosby, 69, of Somerset, was driving his black 1932 Ford Model B Hot Rod from westbound Grizzly Flat Road to southbound Mount Aukum Road, a CHP press release stated. After stopping at the intersection’s stop sign, he accelerated rapidly into […]

Sullivan appointed to Superior Court bench

The Superior Court of El Dorado County announced the appointment of the Honorable Dylan Sullivan to Office 5 of the Superior Court of California, county of El Dorado, to fill the unexpired term of retired Judge Daniel B. Proud. Judge Sullivan was previously appointed as court commissioner on Sept. 12, 2011. She has been the […]

Approval of Green Valley project rescinded

As a result of successful litigation against the county, at its Sept. 16 meeting,  El Dorado County Board of Supervisors was required to rescind its prior approval of the Green Valley Convenience Center. The development, which would include a convenience store, gas station, fast food outlet and car wash, was unpopular with many El Dorado Hills residents who […]

Extension of Prop 90 program put off

A decision regarding extending a program that gives a property tax break to seniors moving to the county was put off by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors until January of next year. Authorized under Proposition 90, adopted in 2010, the program provides anyone over the age of 55 with relief from Proposition 13 by allowing them to move […]

Heard over the back fence: Hitchcock movie on the lawn

STRAWBERRY ADVICE: John Chapman provided the following “Advice from a Strawberry” T-shirt statement: “Blossom where you’re planted * Be tasteful * Drink in the sunshine * Keep close to the earth * Savor lifer’s sweetness * Let good ideas ripen * Jam with your friends!” MOVIES ON THE LAWN: On Oct. 4 at 7:45 p.m., you can […]

Georgetown water safe from fire

By George Sanders The community has realized the devastating effects of the King Fire. Many evacuations, both voluntary and mandatory, have occurred within large portions of the community east of Georgetown. Stumpy Meadows, together with the watershed within Pilot Creek, above the Lake, were in the immediate path of the fire and continue to be […]

Man found dead downtown

A man was found dead in downtown Placerville on Sept. 19. Placerville Police Commander Kim Nida said the man was found at the intersection of Clay and Locust streets at about 7 a.m. He was identified as a 59-year-old transient. Nida did not provide a name. There were no signs of foul play.

Cool crash kills woman, child

A traffic collision claimed two lives in Cool on Sept. 21. At about 4:14 p.m., Leah Witaschek, 34, of Carmichael, was driving a black 2001 Volvo S60 westbound on Highway 193 west of Cramer Road, a CHP press release stated. Gary Burkett, 67, of Greenwood, was driving a green and silver 1997 Dodge Ram 2500 […]

Signs subject to removal

Signs have been appearing along Highway 50 thanking firefighters and law enforcement for their work on the King Fire since it began. Most, however, have not been approved by the Department of Transportation and are subject to removal. Rosalie Baker saw the idea to put signs where the Christmas trees are displayed along Highway 50, […]

Community shows appreciation to firefighters

How do you say thank you to people who are risking their lives on your behalf? Some people have found their own way to demonstrate their appreciation of the 3,600 firefighters battling the King Fire. Signs saying “Thank you firefighters” beam from businesses, overpasses and street corners and a lot of firefighters can’t buy their own […]

Mobile ‘weather profiling system’ aids firefighters

Craig Clements stood in the shadow of a pickup truck on the helicopter landing pad at the Pacific Ranger Station near Fresh Pond on Wednesday afternoon. Smoke billowed up from the King Fire as he and his team watched, with Neil Lareau calling in information about the fire’s weather patterns. Their team had been monitoring […]

Georgetown smoky but grateful

The handmade signs were everywhere: “We love you firefighters.” “Thank you firefighters.” Found up and down Main Street in Georgetown, they went with the smoke that has hung over the town for the last few days due to the King Fire — a constant reminder of the danger next door. Outside of Georgetown on sections […]

SLT Citizens Academy accepting applications

The city of South Lake Tahoe is now accepting applications for the Fall 2014 Citizens Academy. The Academy will be held on consecutive Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m. beginning Oct. 8 and running through Nov. 12. The Citizens Academy is a free, six-session interactive course designed to provide residents with an in-depth look into […]

Lane closures for interchange construction to resume

The week of Sept. 22, the Transportation Division of El Dorado County’s Community Development Agency will be implementing full, one-directional closures of Highway 50. The closures will facilitate the needed falsework operations for the Silva Valley Overcrossing. Starting Monday night, all eastbound lanes will close at 11 p.m. from Latrobe Road to Bass Lake Road. […]

King Fire structural damage confirmed

It’s been confirmed that some homes and other structures have been damaged due to the King Fire, according to a briefing provided to residents on Friday night in Camino and an update by inciweb.nwcg.gov on Sunday.

Located in the White Meadows area of Pollock Pines, fire officials said they are still investigating the damage and would be notifying property owners before releasing any further information. An update on inciweb.nwcg.gov on Sunday afternoon stated, “preliminary reports from the Damage Assessment Team from the White Meadows area indicate that 10 residences and 22 other structures were damaged or destroyed.”

The King Fire, which started in Pollock Pines, was up to …

Accused arsonist pleads not guilty

A not guilty plea was entered in court Friday afternoon for the man accused of setting the King Fire.

Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, had a plea of not guilty entered for him by Judge Gary Hahn, also denying all special allegations. Huntsman kept his head down as he entered the courtroom and next to his attorney, William Dittmann of the El Dorado County Public Defender’s Office, while a line of media cameras watched …

Sacramento region continues impressive water-use reductions in August

SACRAMENTO — Customers at 14 Sacramento-area agencies (listed below) reduced water use by 20 percent or more in August compared to the same period last year, according to an analysis by the Regional Water Authority (RWA), which represents water providers in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties. The findings come from a review of August […]

Suspected arsonist nabbed

A man has been arrested in Placerville on suspicion of arson on forest land in relation to the King Fire. Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, was arrested in Placerville Wednesday night after an El Dorado County superior court judge signed a warrant for his arrest, said District Attorney Vern Pierson at a press conference Thursday morning. A […]

G’town residents briefed on fire

GERORGETOWN — It was standing room only at the Georgetown Elementary School where a special meeting was held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17, to brief Divide residents about the status of the King Fire. The King Fire started on Sept. 13, at just  about 20 acres and rapidly spread to 70,994 with only 5 percent containment […]

King Fire briefing in Camino attracts a large crowd

With the King Fire continuing to rage, interest was high at Tuesday night’s fire briefing with an estimated crowd of 400 to 700 people in attendance. Held at the Camino Seventh-day Adventist Church, fire and law enforcement personnel gave out the latest information on the fire as well as fielded questions. Laurence Crabtree, a supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service, noted […]

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