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Rock doc: A better way to shine light in a dark world

Years ago I purchased a headlamp — a small flashlight that straps around your head to light your way. It’s really useful because it leaves both your hands free as you work or walk. I used my headlamp during the dark half of the year to exercise my dog in dark pastures and an undeveloped […]

No to Prop. 48

California already has 60 Indian casinos. Compare that to Reno, Nev., which has 16 and La Vegas, Nev., which has 108. What happens in Las Vegas should stay there. We don’t need Las Vegas in California. What Proposition 48 seeks is to ratify a deal to let the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians build […]

California rambling: Skiing and snowboarding with benefits

Being loyal has benefits, particularly when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. Ski areas used to compete with one another for a skiing and riding public that was expanding, but for the last few decades skier and snowboarder visits have been declining. Last winter, 56.2 million skier visits occurred at U.S. ski areas, according to […]

The rural life: Beastly crimes

Change is in the air. Starting next year, the FBI will begin tracking animal cruelty as a top-tier offense, categorizing it individually in the agency’s uniform reporting system. Traditionally, animal abuse has been lumped with smaller crimes under a generic “other” category, lessening its priority and making it difficult to find, count and track. Now, […]

No to Prop. 47

One thing we can say for sure about Proposition 47 is that it will increase burglaries. That is guaranteed. Proposition 47 seeks to downgrade certain felonies to misdemeanors. Our No. 1 gripe about this ballot box tinkering with the criminal law statutes is that it changes possession of stolen property from a felony to a […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Start your day with thankfulness

How does your day normally start? I start each day with a short meditation that basically gives thanks to the Great Spirit for my many blessings. After giving thanks, I turn on the coffee pot and enjoy the comforting coffee aroma and taste while I read the newspaper. No negative thinking allowed in my first […]

My turn: Hangtown Ball = economic development

Placerville Mayor Carl Hagen knows more about the economics of festival tourism than he does about the jam music scene. No matter — he’ll be on stage at the fairgrounds this weekend as a guest of the Hangtown Halloween Ball, welcoming the music festival crowd and introducing one of the headliners. “Leftover Salmon,” in this […]

My turn: Are the local ballot measures really ‘good’ for agriculture?

Our mission statement at the El Dorado County Farm Bureau is simply “To protect, promote and enhance economic opportunities and long-term viability for El Dorado County farmers, ranchers and foresters.” Recently, a young woman commented to me that she felt the family farm was an indicator of the health of a community. Prosperous farms meant […]

No to Prop. 46

Proposition 46 is nothing but a trial lawyers’ scam. Called “Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute,” the real purpose of this initiative is to quadruple the cap on non-economic damage awards from $250,000 to $1.1 million. And make lawyers rich. To disguise the money grab by the personal injury bar, […]

The balancing act: Figuring out the ballot

During a presentation at the always spunky Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County meeting, District 4 supervisorial candidate Howard Penn said he believed in a “free market.” But when asked to explain that philosophy with his contradictory support of Proposition M, Penn said something to the effect that he was not “that free market.” A […]

Belltower: Oakland Aviation Museum

Recently I had occasion to visit the Oakland Aviation Museum, located at 8252 Earhart Road in Oakland. It’s not on the level of the March Air Force Base Museum in Riverside or the Pima Air and Space Museum in the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscon, Ariz. But it has one airplane none of the […]

No to Prop. 45

Proposition 45 will just drive up insurance rates by making it more complicated, more difficult and way longer for health insurers to adjust their rates when the cost of medical care rises. Not only that, this measure guarantees that the state will load more costs onto health insurers. Here are two ways this initiative that […]

The weekly Daley: What are the odds?

While my brother the conservative doesn’t completely blame the president for allowing the Ebola virus to wipe out all of Africa, most of everywhere else and at least one or two people in this country, he’s pretty sure Barack Obama missed the boat or dropped the ball or stuck his head in the sand trap instead […]

Something to think about: Then the Wi-Fi died

What is it that pushes one over the edge? How much frustration can you take and when do you decide that the universe wants you to do something else for the day, the month or the rest of your life? Some people deal with frustration the same way they did when they were 18 months […]

Yes to Prop. 2

Proposition 2 on the state ballot is a simple concept, but includes some complexities in its execution. It seems nothing the state does can be neatly wrapped up in a bow, but we will try. Proposition 2 is a “rainy day fund” for the state budget — a reserve fund. It actually replaces a current […]

Novasel for District 5

Meeting with both candidates seeking to represent South Lake Tahoe on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, we found two candidates extremely knowledgeable about the area east of Echo Summit. But District 5 now includes Pollock Pines. This is where the two candidates begin to separate. We found Novasel not just knowledgeable about Meyers, […]

My turn: Steamrolling SMUD’s Iowa Hill Project

Note: This article was written and sent to the Mountain Democrat on Aug. 29, two weeks before the King Fire erupted in our community, burning over 97,000 acres and destroying 80 structures. As a Camino resident, it is very disappointing to see SMUD steamrolling their $800-plus million Iowa Hill project (adjacent to Slab Creek Reservoir […]

My turn: Measures M and O could be bad for family farms as well as residents

El Dorado County agriculture and our family farms could be adversely impacted by passage of Measures M and O. This would happen because the voter-approved 2004 General Plan would be partially invalidated, thus undermining the efforts by El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) and the El Dorado County Water Agency to obtain additional water supplies for […]

Triggering the ice age

From time to time I give public talks on climate change — those large scale changes geologists have been studying since the 1830s. At those talks I’m often asked a basic question about climate that, until now, has stumped scientists. Here’s the background. In the 1830s a Swiss naturalist named Louis Agassiz started promoting the […]

Ranalli endorsed

Mike Ranalli is our choice for Supervisor, District 4. The voters in the primary whittled things down to the top two candidates. Having interviewed both candidates, we feel confident Ranalli is the best choice for the voters of District 4. We consider him the most knowledgeable about county government by virtue of the number of […]

The rural life: Having info? Good. Using it? Better!

Have you ever said to yourself, “I’m going to do that,” in response to a good idea you’d seen or heard? Then you got busy or distracted, and you wound up not doing it, after all. Which meant something that might have had a positive influence on your life was lost instead. This happens to […]

California rambling: Discovering Iceland’s Westfjords

Iceland’s Westfjords, an area of mythic beauty discovered by Norse settlers 1,140 years ago, is now just being rediscovered by leisure travelers. Until two years ago, this remote, northwest edge of Iceland, connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus of land and populated by small fishing villages, lonely sheep farms and millions of nesting […]

The weekly Daley: Spittin’ image

If you are a baseball fan, you’ve no doubt watched games in which players, sometimes all of them, spit repeatedly — on camera — into their hands, onto the area around home plate, into the dirt at first, second and third bases, onto the dirt area of the pitcher’s mound. Often a batter reaches down […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Quiet people learn more

I guess all of us have two or three friends who love to talk. The heavyweight, champion talkers love to have quiet friends and spouses who appear to be good listeners. Marcel Achard said, “Women like silent men. They think they’re listening.” • Actually, the silent ones may not be listening. They are being quiet […]

Yes to Measure I

Measure I asks city voters to approve adding a half cent to the sales tax. The measure will bring in approximately $1.8 million a year to repair city streets. Currently the city receives about $200,000 a year for that. The city’s capital spending needs are $21 million just for streets. The City Council has proposed […]

No to Measure K

Some folks may have enough property to have a circular driveway, meaning two entrance points so a friend can drive to your front door to pick you up and exit out the other street access point without having to do a three-point turnaround maneuver or back out a driveway into the street. Anyone who has […]

My turn: The wrong advice

Recently Ellen Van Dyke and Richard Boylan published letters in this newspaper regarding the Planning Commission’s review of the Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC) Targeted General Plan Amendments and Zoning Ordinance Updates (TGPA/ZOUs). Both letters were so filled with misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric that it is difficult to determine where to begin a […]

Borelli, Clerici, Thomas endorsed

While sometimes county supervisors have won reelection without opposition, we are pleased to see a competitive election in Placerville. In fact, we can’t recall there ever being a non-competitive election for the Placerville City Council. Five candidates are seeking election to three open seats on the City Council. All five met with our editorial board. […]

Belltower: Lessons from SEAL training

I only volunteered for two things before getting married. No. 1, I enlisted in the Navy. The draft was on then and I didn’t want to be an Army draftee. No. 2, I volunteered for Antarctic duty. The back of the Antarctic Service Medal says, “Courage, Sacrifice and Devotion.” Everybody called it “Courage, Sacrifice and […]

The balancing act: The budget debacle

With winter coming it was a good thing that Supervisor Ron Mikulaco and Auditor Joe Harn came up with a plan to pay for the second snowplow and saved the county $50,000 interest instead of following the Community Development Agency’s plan to lease it, which is usually the most expensive way to acquire anything. It […]

The weekly Daley: What’s wrong?

A dark, giant cloud obscures the silver lining. As of (fill in time and date), the following problems, issues, calamities, circumstances, conditions and perceptions were causing heartburn in the world. In Hong Kong, residents are protesting by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions by now. They want a more local and controllable brand of […]

No on Measure O

OK, we’ll admit it. Measure O is so bureaucratic and full of obscure references that we don’t pretend to understand what its proponents think they are trying to accomplish. What are “platted lands overlay?” What is Policy 2.2.2.3? What is Map LU-1? What are policies 2.1.1.1 and 2.1.2.1.? And, really, why should we care? This […]

Something to think about: Not so inscrutable

I learned a tremendous amount about Chinese culture, the people and the countryside on our 20-day China Culture Tour, but here are a few things that stood out to me: All of our local guides had false Anglicized names, to make it easier on English-speaking tongues and some of those names were pretty funny. They […]

No on Measure N

Measure N was promoted by a group called Region Builders. After getting it on the ballot, the group disassociated itself with its own ballot initiative. We find that to be a peculiar combination of events. While there are some attractive pieces of this initiative after a cursory look and it seems more carefully drafted than […]

My turn: At the crossroads

When for the first time you happen upon the intersection of Cedar Ravine Road and Main Street, you are quickly struck by the feeling that you have entered a place of special significance, a place like no other found ordinarily, a location on the map of historical worth, a section of a small town rich […]

Vote no on disastrous Measure M

Measure M gives Caltrans absolute control over the El Dorado County General Plan. Before proceeding to detailed discussion of this ill-conceived measure, it is important to remind our readers that El Dorado County is one of the few if not only counties in California that collects development impact fees for Highway 50, an interstate highway […]

California rambling: The Shelties in our lives

Joan and I have had seven Shetland sheepdogs live with us, during in our marriage. Heather was our first Sheltie, a sweet though terminally timid sable-colored puppy that was my Christmas gift to Joan when we lived in Tahoe City in 1974 (we’d been married four years, but military service, graduate school and relocations kept […]

The rural life: Life’s little half-halts

Can a colonoscopy make you happy? Having just had one, I can say, unequivocally, yes. I don’t mean the peace of mind that results from knowing your insides are OK, though that’s nice, too. I’m referring to plain old everyday happiness, in general. A colonoscopy can boost that, as well. How can this be? The […]

The weekly Daley: Small world, different world

Driving down a dirt road last Thursday, early evening, actually a sand and ground-up-seashell road on the way to my cousin’s house in Florida, I’m listening to NPR on the rental car radio. Yada, yada, “a huge wildfire in California,” yada, yada, I’m looking for a driveway that’s covered by tropical vegetation that I haven’t […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: What is your excuse?

During my waltz through life, I have heard several people blame their former spouse or spouses for making their past or present life difficult. The favorite phrase of these “spouse blamers” is, “If it weren’t for …” In some cases, they have been divorced for 30 years or more. • It’s true that there are […]

Invaluable project

The partial collapse of the Esmeralda Tunnel Sept. 21 is a reminder of two things: 1. Project 184 still has quite a bit that needs to be upgraded. 2. It is worth every penny. The tunnel was built in 1930 by PG&E when it owned Project 184. Project 184, of course, is the combination of […]

My turn: Safe and reliable service key priorities for EID

Each year the El Dorado Irrigation District completes key capital improvement projects to help ensure the reliability of our infrastructure and services. The district’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is a rolling five-year plan that identifies projects required for health and safety reasons, legal and regulatory reasons, maintaining existing assets, including life cycle replacement, as well […]

My turn: Closing waters to recreational fishing senseless

It took a change of leadership in Australia to bring some sense to marine reserves off their coastline, and it will take the same thing here in California before intelligent, science-based decisions can be made about our own Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). A newly-elected leadership in Australia’s government has announced it will repeal the management […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The opt-out syndrome

One of the most sacred rights we have as Americans is the right to vote. Yet citizens are opting out of the political system and not exercising this right in alarming numbers. In the last presidential election, 42.5 percent didn’t bother. No one expects a midterm turnout to approach that of a presidential year. For […]

Water politics

Make no mistake, there is a drought on. The rainfall season that began July 1, 2013, and ended June 30, 2014 was the fourth driest on record. Our rainfall records go back to the 1873-74 rain season. We remain optimistic that this is a one-off year like 1986-87 that recorded 19.42 inches and was followed […]

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