EID tops in basics

Despite the drought of the 2013-14 rain year everyone still expects water to come out of the tap when turned on. And for those on public sewer systems they expect everything to disappear when the toilet is flushed. The El Dorado Irrigation District ranks in the “top quartile for providing reliable water and wastewater service, […]

‘A bad administration’

In 1735, the colonial governor of New York, William Crosby, had Attorney General Richard Bradley try weekly newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger for seditious libel. Bradley told a jury that truth was no defense for seditious libel under state law, while Zenger’s attorneys argued the law should not be interpreted to prohibit “the just complaints […]

Drone overkill

After two years of study, the Federal Aviation Administration apparently has come up with drone rules that apply hobbyist rules and customs to commercial use. The Wall Street Journal broke the news Nov. 26 about key elements of the FAA’s proposed commercial drone rules, a fact every other news outlet acknowledges. The real screwball the […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Free speech is an oxymoron

Speech is not free. Don’t even go there. I know you can speak your mind whenever, and on whatever subject you like with only certain, carefully crafted restrictions. It’s the First Amendment people! But if you choose to be heard beyond the reach of your voice, or the nine people who read your brilliant blog […]

My turn: Water agencies stand in fear

Once again El Dorado County’s own Congressional Representative, Tom McClintock, went straight to the House floor and argued for Central Valley counties to get access to Northern California’s water, and all of our water agencies stand in fear of saying anything. McClintock and his Central Valley groupies, the congressmen from the 21st District, David Valadao, […]

The balancing act: All the colors are taken

Nineteen hundred and three was a remarkable year. Not only did the first powered flight by a human take place by the Wright Brothers, but our country was introduced to the Crayola. Crayola became one of those marketing miracle words like Kleenex, Thermos and Frigidaire in which a brand name was used to describe a […]

Rock doc: Harvesting energy from sunlight

What if there were a two-for-one sale on kilowatts? Your power bill would be cut in half — not a bad result for your monthly budget. Energy drives everything we produce and consume, and global energy consumption continues to grow year after year. The two-for-one image came to mind as I talked with Professor Jeanne […]

Rock doc: Keeping warm with gold fever

I own a couple of small gold nuggets. They came from the Round Mountain gold mine in Nevada, which I visited a few years ago. A tour of the open-pit mine was crowned by a visit to their foundry where the molten metal was poured into gold bars. Those bars are what’s called dorégold, that […]

Rock doc: Seas on Titan and your heating bill

Like most regions of the country, the area where I live suffered through colder than average temperatures in mid-November. If you pay for your heating bill month by month, you are now facing the sticker shock that results from those bitter times. Happy holidays. I heat my home with a natural gas furnace supplemented by […]

Rock doc: Ancient climate change

Climate is always changing. That’s one truth that stands out from the record around the world of natural samples of Earth materials, of tree rings, ice layers, and so much more. But how much has past climate change influenced human affairs? In anthropology it’s been relatively commonplace to look at the twists and turns of […]

The weekly Daley: Someone’s been hacking us for centuries

What’s the big deal? So maybe the Sony company got hacked by North Korea. I say maybe because I don’t think it’s quite been proven 100 percent, beyond the shadow of a doubt, and NK says, “Who us? No way!” Then it adds a few oddly phrased threats about harming our “citadels” whatever that means. […]

Rein in IRS

California Rep. Darrell Issa’s committee investigating the IRS has either gone to ground or is bogged down with a lot of documents to review. It has been largely silent since June. That is when the committee received a 1.1 million database of IRS information from the Justice Department. What was the Justice Department doing with […]

Something to think about: Day of Wonder

Happy Boxing Day! In the UK, today is their Black Friday, when everyone returns gifts that don’t fit, don’t work or are otherwise unacceptable, and the merchants offer deep discounts. Boxing Day has nothing to do with the sport of boxing; it started as a day that tradespeople and servants received a Christmas box with […]


Editor’s note — The name the Battle of the Bulge came from the American press, describing the German Army’s thrust through the Allies’ poorly defended lines in the Ardennes Forest. By Dec. 21, American defenders at Bastogne had been surrounded and the German commander asked them to surrender. The reply from the American general has […]

Belltower: Christmas past and present

For many years our family would get our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We would go to a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm that was not part of the association and therefore had very affordable prices — $15 for white fir at that time. My wife would not join us trudging up the slightly muddy […]

My turn: My analysis of EID

By Dale Coco In preparation for this report I met with staff, toured facilities and reviewed relevant documents. This involved multiple encounters lasting two to five hours each and extensive travel. I did this for two reasons: to fully inform myself about EID in order to perform my duties as a director to the best […]

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

By Francis P. Church, first published in the New York Sun in 1897. We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of the Sun: Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends […]

The rural life : Oh! Christmas tree

Is there anything more gemütlich than a Christmas tree? My father loved this German word (“geh-MOOT-lisch”) which defies English translation but to me blends homey and cosy with poignant happiness. Hard to get enough of a feeling like that. Even so, four Christmas trees in one home may be overdoing it. In our defense, I’ll […]

California rambling: Aspirational inventions

A childhood dream became realized while exploring the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, recently. There, resembling a tail-less, aluminum, dragonfly on the exhibit floor was a United Helicopters Commuter (UH-4). Produced in July 1946, this compact, personal helicopter was the concept of aviation pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. and industrialist Henry Kaiser to allow anyone […]

The weekly Daley: A Christmas letter

One seasontide back in the mid-’60s my father wrote a dark “Family Christmas Letter” as a humorous antidote to the typical “From Our House to Your House Annual Family Christmas Letter.” You know the ones in which you learn that your friends’ “kids are all doing great at Stanford, will be playing for the Yankees […]

Gruber backpedals; time for a Mulligan

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology economic professor appeared before Congress last week and more or less tried to eat his words. Gruber was the guru behind a lot of Obamacare. He was hired to do computer modeling for the health care act. The federal Department of Health and Human Services paid him $400,000. In total […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: An unwelcome visitor arrives

On Nov. 20 my body was attacked by a stroke, leaving the right side of my body weak and miserable. I could not write or walk more than a few paces without fear of falling down. My speech was slurred, and I had double and fuzzy vision; and I felt disoriented and confused. The stroke […]

My turn: Holidays, stress and fitness

Oh, the holidays! The cheer, the joy, the turkey and presents, the Hallmark scenes, the drunk uncle, the prying questions, the obligations, the empty chairs of missing loved ones. The perfect Christmas card photos, the annual five extra pounds, the overspending for presents. Do I have mixed feelings about the holidays? Yes, and I’m not […]

Publisher’s ink: This logic went out the window years ago

The best four words a father hears from his child are “Dad, I love you.” The second best four words this father heard recently from his daughter were, “I GOT A JOB!” It’s been three months since our youngest excitedly gave us the good news. I decided to wait the customary 90 days before sharing […]

Restoring salary cuts should lead to more cuts

“The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away…” — Job 1:21 Or as the saying goes here in El Dorado County: The politicians hath taken away and the politicians gave back. It goes without saying El Dorado is experiencing difficult days ahead financially. So when seven elected officials had their earnings clipped last year […]

The balancing act: D-Day is fast approaching

Although President Eisenhower used the term D-Day meaning “Departed Day,” for the purposes of this column it means “Deficit” day and it is fast approaching. Actually El Dorado County is already running at a deficit and has been doing so for about a year and a half. At the end of the county fiscal year […]

Bill of Rights anniversary

Editor’s note: The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were the Bill of Rights. They went into effect. Dec. 15, 1791, 223 years ago. Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the […]

Belltower: Paul Strand and Berlin Airlift

As someone who taught photography part-time for 17 years and film and art history another six years after that, I recognize a lot of names of famous photographers from the past. One of those is Paul Strand. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is doing a major retrospective on Strand. That museum, according to a review […]

Reservoirs shift

One has to follow reservoir reports weekly to have noticed it. The lake levels report printed in the Friday, Dec. 5, edition of this paper on page A2 reported the first rise in reservoir levels since Feb. 13. Last rain season Folsom Lake hit its lowest level of the year Feb. 6 when it sank […]

Something to think about: Glide, baby, glide

The strains of Christmas music; the cold air on your warm face; the looks of determination on some faces, joy on others; the brief moment of exhilaration and terror when you let go of the rail and glide on the ice; the rhythmic thwack, rattle of people crashing into the railing, hoping to stay upright; […]

The weekly Daley: Letters from Santa

Dear Bruce, Let me just say that what you did with our Giants this year was incredible. I loved every minute of the season, the playoffs and of course the series. You wouldn’t believe how many other managers tried to sweet-talk me into a different outcome. Ha, ha. I mean Ho, ho. Good luck next […]

Persistence pays off

The staff at the El Dorado Irrigation District has been dogged in its pursuit of getting a water delivery contract from the Bureau of Reclamation. The persistence and innovative ideas have begun to pay off. After securing the additional 17,000 acre-feet of water from Project 184, confirming those water rights with the State Water Resources […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Fair and balanced

A recent column by Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of the New York Times, impressed me on many levels. In it she examines the criticism of the papers coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and explains the Times’ process in reporting news. Without going into the specifics of her column I was impressed by the lengths […]

My turn: Obtaining more water is crucial

At a recent meeting of the El Dorado Water and Power Authority (EDWPA) which is a joint powers authority (JPA) between the county of El Dorado, The El Dorado Water Agency and EID, EID Director Prada questioned the necessity of continuing our pursuit for state approval of water rights to be used in a previously […]

Home country: Word of the month

“I can’t stand winter,” said Herb Collins, who had dropped in at the Mule Barn’s philosophy counter for a quick cup. “There’s nothing to do.” “Get out and enjoy it,” suggested Doc. “Go skiing. Go ice fishing. Build a snowman. Do something. Then you’ll feel better.” “I don’t think your advice will take,” said Dud. […]

Home coutry: Paying it forward

Windy had sent off for a doo-dad for his small kitchen, and that’s why he checked the mailbox. If you’re Alphonse “Windy” Wilson, and you’re long-in-the-tooth and single, you find yourself not checking the mailbox very often unless there’s a reason. It saves the disappointment of finding it empty, you see. But there was something […]

Home country: A time of sweetness

There is a nighttime sweetness and hope that hovers over us this time of year here at home. This is a time for summing up and looking ahead … and a time for dreams. And at night… ah, that’s the time, isn’t it? Outside it’s dark, December dark, and we’re inside and warm and cocooned […]

Home country: Knowing what she wants

When it comes to romance, it’s hard to beat ol’ Dud. He and Anita have been married now for several years, but we’ve never really understood why she puts up with him. “Dud Campbell,” Anita said the other night, “what are you getting me for Christmas?” “Now Honey, it wouldn’t be a surprise if I […]

Sympathy for the Devil

So if you meet me Have some courtesy Have some sympathy, and some taste Use all your well-learned politesse Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, um yeah. Sympathy for the Devil, the Rolling Stones Hillary Clinton seems to have a political tin ear. […]

Home country: Santa is everywhere

For years now, Herb Collins has been helping Santa by donning the red and the beard and the tassels and waving to passing cars on Christmas Eve out at the Old Fort Road crossing. He takes a bag of candy along, in case anyone cares to stop, and he also takes his daughter Cindy along, […]

California rambling: Bracebridge Dinner

Beginning Saturday and continuing for 13 nights, California’s most storied holiday pageant and its associated free concerts will fill the Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park with music and pageantry as sublime as the natural beauty surrounding the hotel. Bracebridge Dinner is a holiday event unlike any other. It is a three-hour performance and banquet at […]

The 13th Amendment

Amendment XIII Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Children’s eyes are teachers

Children’s first teachers about marriage and love are their parents. For about 18 years, the kids watch their parents in action. How the parents react to each other is a very important lesson and may determine what they expect from marriage. It may determine what type of person they decide to marry. • I was […]

Rock doc: Wake up and smell the genes

Like millions of Americans, my day starts by plugging in the coffeepot. In my case, it’s an old fashion percolator. It clears its throat and brews my coffee while I rub sleep out of my eyes and brush my teeth. My habit of starting my day with coffee — and following that initial cup with […]

The tax theory of everything

The government of Democrats by the Democrats for the Democrats is a government that believes its sole purpose is to find new ways to tax us and new ways to waste all that money. Take, for example, the Federal Communications Commission. Its chairman, Tom Wheeler, appointed by President Obama, wants to add another tax to […]