The balancing act: ‘Climate change’ is killing us

Climate change, a term used in place of anthropogenic global warming (AGW, meaning human produced carbon dioxide is causing the world to warm which will cause disastrous effects to the Earth) has come to the forefront of California politics again, like it wasn’t already every other word out of a liberal politician’s mouth already. It seems […]

The weekly Daley: Freedom of speech and press; good things

We’ve taken a little heat lately here at California’s Oldest Newspaper — “Since 1851.” We’ve been publishing letters to the editor and columns by regular contributors that have offended readers along a fairly broad spectrum of politics and concerns. Several complained about Gene Altshuler’s offerings on the Opinion page. In general, they think Gene is […]

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. […]

Something to think about: Signs and portents

Punxsutawney Phil and Sarah Palin — what do they have in common? Signs and portents of the future. On Feb. 2, while Punxsutawney Phil, the nation’s Furry Weather Guesser, was predicting six more weeks of winter and then biting his handler in Gobbler’s Knob, Penn., Jimmy the Groundhog was biting the mayor’s ear in Sun […]

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 […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Nihilists and naysayers

Recently when addressing the issues of balanced and sustainable economic development, I labeled myself as a “Wise Growth” person. One of the comments I received was what did I mean by that? Growth seems like such a simple word, just one syllable and yet it is crucial to all things. From living organisms to the […]

Home country: Squirrely friends

When Steve and Dud got up to go get a paper, it left just Doc and Bert sitting at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn truck stop. Bert turned his head and smirked a little, being careful not to let Doc see him. Doc also didn’t see Dud outside, punching in a number on […]

Home country: Squirrel jacking

It might have been the winter doldrums that did it. You can never be sure of these things. It’s just that … well, Doc is one of those guys who can’t stand to see anyone bored. He claims it’s bad for their inner chemistry, and since he has more initials after his name than anyone […]

Home country: The beauty of snow

Somehow the snow is a little like Christmas. We can expect it. We can listen to the television weather and expect it. But still, when it comes it’s like a gift, a wonderful unwrapped gift, because it is the wrapping. Doc found it when he turned on the porch light before dawn and the sheer whiteness of […]

Home country: Time and the wind

Mabel Adams was out the other day, with her new walker, the one with the basket on it, and a seat for sitting when she gets tired. It’s a purple kind of walker and she likes it. It has hand brakes, too, just like a bicycle. She was headed for the Curl Up ‘N Dye […]

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 […]

Rock doc: Plants respond to sounds of insects eating leaves

Plants are not as dumb as they look. At least to me, plants have never seemed like the brightest bulb in the box. They stand around, looking green, hoping for a sunny day but not able to walk, talk or turn on the TV. However, due to a recent university press release, I’ve got to […]

Home country: Waltzing through life

Mrs. Doc watched the dancers swirl around the cleared hardwood floor of the Legion hall, and smiled to see her husband, Doc, waltzing with Ardis Fisher. But Mrs. Doc was never one to sit out a waltz, so she looked around at the menu. Over in the corner, smiling and tapping his foot, was Pop […]

Home country: What’s in a name?

  The speculating began Thursday again. You see, when it’s either too hot or too cold or too windy or the snow’s too deep or we just get tired of thinking about work, we speculate. It’s one of our favorite sports. There’s speculating about why Sarah down at the Read Me Now book store has […]

Home country: Hunter and chatterer

Every hunter knows places to look for in the woods … places where game is more likely to be approached or surprised. It’s that way with Windy Wilson, too. Windy is a hunter, but he just hunts audiences, and he does believe in the catch-and-release system. Only with Windy the release comes only after he’s […]

Home country: Here comes the rain

We walked quietly out and looked toward the west. It seems as though everyone did. Neighbors were out and the dogs were racing around trying to set new yard-to-yard speed records. Yes, it was getting dark there in the west. But no one really wanted to say it. No one wanted to jinx it. Oh, […]

Home country: Farmer’s ‘recliner’

Harley pulled the tractor over to the ditch and cut the engine. He climbed down stiffly, walked to the water and soaked his head and shirt. Then he looked around. No cars were coming down the county road. No one at the house could see him. So he smiled, sat on a rock and leaned […]

Home country: Retirement has its challenges

Things were going kinda slow down at the Fly Tying Love Center and it bothered Marvin Pincus a lot. He found it hard to believe that, out of all the people in the valley, none of them needed love advice and the proper type of fishing fly to illustrate it. He had the sign made […]

Home country: Planting for the glory of it

Like a doctor removing something important, Herb Collins gently peeled the wrapper back from the root ball and tenderly placed the baby tree in the hole. Then he stood and walked around it to see which way he should align it. Actually, looks pretty good just the way it is. So he took his bucket […]

Home country: A recumbent factotum

Windy Wilson was on the prowl, this beautiful Independence Day morning, searching the neighborhood for something to do for others. He decided to let his weekly day helping others come on the Fourth this week, because he was feeling very American. Let’s see … he thought … I can circumlocute over to Mrs. Hennessey’s and […]

Home country: Not exactly Shake Shack

On a good, warm Saturday morning, you have your choice here in our valley: yard saling or livestock saling. Since Windy didn’t need have much of a need to rummage through stacks of doilies or record albums starring Patti Page or the Kingston Trio, he headed for the sale barn. You see, Alphonse “Windy” Wilson […]

Home country: A truck-driving novel

Dud sat at the computer and went over the several hundred pages of his novel for three straight days. Then he had a cup of coffee or two with the guys down at the Mule Barn, and followed that with a walk around town. That night, when he got back from work, he kissed Anita, […]

Home country: The uncatchable trout

“What do you figure he’ll weigh now, Doc?” said Steve. Mavis topped off their cups at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn coffee shop. “A good 3 pounds, if my guessing is any good,” Doc said, shaking his head. “Your dog?” asked Mavis. “No, Hon,” Doc said with a smile, “Ol’ Lunker, that big […]

Home country: Fly tying and love advice

“You seem kinda low this morning, Sweetie,” Marjorie said. “Business has been kinda slow for a while now, and it’s wedding season,” he said. Marvin Pincus’s “business,” of course, is free love counseling combined with free fly tying, in hopes of bringing connubial jocularity to anyone who might need it. Hey, a retired guy has […]

Rock doc: Resurrection ecology revives ancient organism

The Michael Crichton book “Jurassic Park” and the movie based on the best-seller presented what might happen if scientists were able to clone extinct dinosaurs, bringing them back to life. While nothing like that is possible at this time — a good thing when you recall the mayhem the dinos caused in the world Crichton […]

The rural life: Treating people like animals

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….” The muffled, one-note growl comes from Sadie, my Pomeranian/Chihuahua. She’s struggling not to bark. She desperately wants to (birds out the window!), but she also knows I won’t approve. We’ve been over this and, like most dogs, Sadie wants to please. She tries to understand what I want, then do it — to the […]

The weekly Daley: Another limited war?

Welcome to 2015, the first year under the new Congressional Authorization for War anywhere and everywhere it may be necessary — if the president gets his way. Having sent that request to Congress this week, we don’t know, as of yesterday, whether or not those worthies will go along with it. On one hand, if […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Does boredom rule your life?

Look around your daily life. When was the last time newness entered your emotional world? Do you have the energy or the inclination to create newness? Do you believe you deserve an interesting or fun-filled life? • When you research American Indians’ “Rules of Life,” you will discover that they believe asking the right question […]

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 […]

Rock doc: To feed or not to feed?

During the winter I like to feed the birds. I have a very simple arrangement for this: pouring a mix of seeds on a flat railing outside my dining room window. I regularly attract several species of small birds to the seed. Buster Brown, my mutt from the pound, has a role to play in […]

My turn: Working together for common solutions

As the incoming chair of the 15-member Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board, this promises to be a hopeful and exciting year. 2015 will be full of opportunities, but also challenges, for the continued protection of Lake Tahoe. The number one priority among our challenges is funding shortfalls. Federal and state funding that has paid […]

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 […]

My turn: King Fire restoration decision

I will soon be making a decision regarding the King Fire restoration, covering 63,000 acres of public land. My job is to find and disclose a decision that balances a number of potentially competing interests. Those include timber harvesting, scientific investigation, protection of adjacent unburned forests, protection of private property, wildlife and wildlife habitat, water […]

The balancing act: Doing their homework

Jorge Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat.” It seems the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors is again guilty of violating this basic principle of leadership. At the Jan. 27 board meeting there was a small, seemingly innocuous item on the consent calendar agenda. The consent calendar is supposed to […]

Rock doc: Earth’s next epoch

I was raised in the Baptist church. As a grade school child, I memorized the books of the Bible. Maybe because of that personal history, when I started to study geology I didn’t resist memorizing the many pieces of the geologic time scale. The next to the last piece of geologic time is the Pleistocene […]

California rambling: Watchable wildlife

A famed BBC naturalist once described California (before the Mission period) as the Serengeti of North America. California’s Great Central Valley was populated with vast herds of elk and antelope. Families of ferocious grizzly bears feasted on game and salmon and steelhead that teemed in its mighty rivers. Its blue skies were filled with millions […]

Something to think about: Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram

We are now two days into the Year of the Goat, Sheep or Ram. The lucky element for 2015 is wood; the lucky color is green and the sheep/goat is female. It’s definitely female although still uncertain whether it is a sheep, goat or ram — whatever. You apparently have choices — maybe it’s the […]

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 […]

Belltower: So long to a hot year

At the end of each calendar year, we total up the average monthly temperatures to see what the overall average daytime and overnight temperatures for the year are. As most of you might have guessed, after the fourth driest rainfall year on record here (Jul, 1, 2013-June 30, 2014) the year was generally warm. Totaling […]

The weekly Daley: Bon appetit

North Carolina’s new Republican Senator  thinks it’s OK for restaurant employees not to wash their hands after a trip to the bathroom. As public law, he thinks it’s an infringement on liberty and anti-capitalism. If people don’t like it they will stay away from the restaurant, and the “market” will have triumphed, and the restaurant […]

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 […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The baby and the bath water

We would like to believe that our public servants (aka county administrators) always place the interests of the county above petty vindictiveness. And then they go and prove us wrong. Sure, not all of them are short-sighted and petty, but it only takes one or two, doing something really stupid, to tar the rest. I […]

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 […]