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Time to get real

It’s time for President Obama to stop putzing around and take Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously. Stop the silly talk about seizing the Crimea being a 19th century action. It happened. Russia took it and now Putin is calling Kiev “the mother of all Russian cities.” “We are one nation,” Putin said Tuesday. Putin also […]

Income matters

On March 10, the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors, on a split vote, approved a power connection agreement with PG&E for a mini-hydro project that will substitute a generator for a pump in a pipeline serving Water Tank 7. The net income from the project will depend on which method of power sale […]

My turn: Civil Grand Jury 101

Amid much speculation of the highly publicized news that last year’s El Dorado County Civil Grand Jury (2012-2013) was disbanded before its term ended, the members of this year’s jury (2013-2014), now half way through our term, felt the time is right to provide insight into our progress, our goals and objectives and how the […]

My turn: Dispelling the stigma and myths about mental illness

Chances are you know someone with mental illness. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor or acquaintance. Studies show that about one in four people will experience some kind of mental health issue in their lifetime. Mental illness is actually quite common, and yet we as a society seem to be uncomfortable even discussing […]

A dry year

So far the rain year that began July 1, 2013, and will end June 30 is looking like a year for the record books. The most recent rainfall figures from the Mountain Democrat rain gauge show 14.46 inches. Keep in mind, that up till now the lowest annual rainfall in 139 years of Mountain Democrat […]

California rambling: Politics aside

Congress has the opportunity to put politics aside and recognize a woman who, 150-years ago, advocated an extraordinary concept… that Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias be protected in their natural state as a public park for all time. The Yosemite Grant, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in June 1864 at the […]

The rural life: Friends with roots

I hear the eucalyptus trees first. On a morning walk, I’ve gone beyond the range of the mockingbird that’s been mesmerizing me; this allows me to notice the whispering of the eucalyptus trees planted along either side of my neighbor’s driveway. The breeze is just enough to set their papery leaves rustling. Now that I’m […]

The weekly Daley: We say what?

Not long ago I had an interesting conversation with a former colleague I met when I was a teacher years ago. She said she had recently told a group of students that a particular performance number they were rehearsing looked like a “Chinese Fire Drill.”” “I’m not even sure they knew what I meant, but […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Is periodic blindness normal?

Recently I ended up in the hospital emergency room with a swollen hand, forearm and elbow. The culture they took showed a staph infection in the bursal fluid. One of the people who was very helpful and nice in the emergency room was Mo Brutko. She quickly deduced that the reason I was there was […]

DST a menace to society

We blame Richard Nixon. The president who brought us the Endangered Species Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, wage and price controls as well as Daylight Saving Time. He also darned near brought us a health care law similar to Obamacare. He used the IRS to […]

Rock doc: Air pollution knows no borders

We’ve all seen globes in classrooms. They represent the Earth well — better than flat maps can do. But all the globes I’ve seen in schools have national boundaries on them, usually indicated by having nations in different colors. The U.S. is yellow, Canada is light green, Mexico is pink, and so on. When I […]

My turn: The federal fight over California’s water

Northern California Congressman Tom McClintock is determined to find a way to get the Central Valley’s land and water barons priority over California’s water rights. What is so odd is that these mega-agricultural corporations are downstream, and this bill would only harm the congressional district he represents. This is the second bill that McClintock has […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: What is wrong with us?

Every generation bemoans the fact that the new generation has no sense of purpose or work ethic and lacks respect for its elders. Additionally, I see a generation self-isolating into relationships with their inorganic electronic devices (smart phones and tablets), unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions and seriously lacking the ability to think critically […]

Innovation vs. inanity

Four elected department heads are facing challengers in the June 3 primary and four are unopposed. However the election turns out, one thing remains constant for us. Elected department heads remain more responsive to the public, do a better job of adhering to their budgets and are leaders in innovation. For budgeting we particularly cite […]

All for us, none for you

The Friday Mountain Democrat carried a story about the IRS and the U.S. attorney in Sacramento indicting an El Dorado Hills man for alleged tax evasion. “The prosecution of individuals who intentionally conceal income and evade taxes is a vital element in maintaining public confidence in our tax system. We should not expect the honest […]

Who’s the real neo-Nazi?

Russian President-for-Life Vladimir Putin is now claiming neo-Nazis are a threat to Ukraine. Swastikas have been painted in synagogues, though Jewish leaders are ascribing this to Russian provocateurs. Russian protesters in the eastern Ukraine cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv that have beaten Ukrainian supporters and taken over buildings are reported to have accents indicating they […]

The weekly Daley: From the Greeks to the Varangians and then some

For the record, Barack Obama has gotten a number of things wrong, in my opinion. One of them, however, is not that he “allowed,” or somehow by his weakness encouraged, Vladimir Putin to invade the Crimean Peninsula. Many of the talking heads and especially the GOP old guard are putting it out that the president […]

Something to think about: Flip of the coin

Sometimes you win the coin toss; other times you lose, but you always hold both sides in your hand. Kind of a profound thought for something you stick into your pocket, drop on the floor, pull out from under the couch cushions or throw into that pink plastic piggy bank. In February, Sunny Atkins lost […]

Rock doc: Termites and better biofuels

Every time I fill my gas tank, I see the notice on the pump that explains part of the fuel I’m buying is ethanol — a common biofuel. While biofuels can be good to promote national energy independence and possibly help with greenhouse gas emissions, the ethanol we all buy at gas stations is made […]

My turn: California’s gas tax nightmare

California taxpayers don’t have to fall sleep to have a nightmare. They experience one each and every day when they encounter a costly, confusing and constantly-changing tax system. Unfortunately, most efforts to change this system only make matters worse. Take the gas tax, for instance. California consumers currently pay 71 cents per gallon in taxes […]

Publisher’s ink: ‘Bear Killer’ vs ‘Kid Obama’ — Round one goes to Putin

With the closing of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin has cast his sights on Ukraine. Political upheaval in that strategically important country gives Putin an opportunity to move Russian troops onto the Crimean Peninsula. This is all under the guise of protecting Russian citizens living and working in the country. President […]

Rain watch

Three days of rain is an encouraging way to start off the month of March. Here’s hoping for a March miracle. A miracle would be rain like we saw Jan. 1, 1997. That produced a 500-year flood event. Water from the North Fork of the Cosumnes River ran over the Bucks Bar Bridge and water […]

My turn: EID customers urged to cut 30% now

On Feb. 4, the El Dorado Irrigation District board issued a Stage 2 Water Supply Warning for the district’s service area. Since that warning was issued we have been monitoring districtwide water usage, looking to see if customers are heeding our request for increased conservation. I am encouraged and happy to report that customers have, […]

Survey no suprise

The survey results from El Dorado Hills are no surprise. Most folks there want more public open space and parks. At the same time they think El Dorado Hills has enough houses. But there is an inherent contradiction here. There are two kinds of open space. First, there is open space that is somebody’s private […]

Home country: Fly fising

As a prequel to the morning coffee inhalation down at the Mule Barn coffee shop, the members of the world dilemma think tank were found at the break of day, armed with fly rods, in their other guise as charter members of the Lewis Creek Piscatorial Pursuit Alliance. “I like your presentation, Dud,” said Doc, […]

My turn: California water — It’s the storage

Recently, President Obama visited the drought-stricken Central Valley of California. He announced his administration’s response: He wants to spend another billion dollars to study climate change. I can save him the trouble. The planet has been warming — on and off — since the last ice age, when glaciers covered much of North America. The […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Coworkers should be compassionate

Recently I wore a very bright-orange “Christmas gift” shirt to work … That was a mistake! I expected my coworkers to be kind, considerate and supportive of my very bright shirt … I was wrong! • The following coworkers’ comments were not solicited, but gladly offered: — “It’s nice to see the county jail inmates […]

The weekly Daley: Arizona no friend of deeply held beliefs

Finally, somebody almost got it right. If the Governor of Arizona hadn’t been such a spoilsport, a business owner in her state who didn’t like something about a customer wouldn’t have had to serve that customer and couldn’t be sued for discrimination as long as the owner sincerely believed that the customer’s “something” was an […]

Crony capitalism

Every day thousands of vehicles drive on Latrobe Road between the highway offramp and White Rock Road. Each day they go by a large building with landscaping and a well-manicured lawn. That large single-story building has been empty for about a decade. It once was home to a manufacturing company that made plastic cases for […]

California rambling: Surprising Stockton

Surrounded by farmland, southeast of Stockton, is a surprising sight.  Drive east of Highway 99 on East Carpenter Road until you come to an elaborate, formed-concrete portal, decorated with exotic calligraphy and guarded by dragons. Inside the portal is a magical world of brightly painted Buddhas, demons and temple buildings. It is the Wat Dhammararam […]

Rock doc: A step forward in predicting volcanic eruptions

There are two main things most people would like to know about particular volcanoes: when is the next eruption and how big will that eruption be? Scientists in Iceland have taken another step forward in monitoring volcanoes to best predict when they will erupt and even warn people of the size of the coming eruption. […]

Take my word for it: Political speak

I attended the California Newspaper Publishers Association Governmental Affairs Day on Feb. 19 in Sacramento, and boy did I a learn a lot. It was an eye-opening experience for sure, but the thing that stuck out the most to me is that politicians, at least the ones I got to listen to, really know what […]


Well, I walked through the jungle and around the bend Who should I meet but President Diem Said, you’re fighting to keep Vietnam free For good old de-em-moc-ra-cy (Diem-ocracy) — Talking Vienam Blues by Phil Ochs Here’s the new take on that 1964 excerpt, updated for 2014. We’ll call it the “Talking News Blues,” a […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Civility and more

As a nation, we have seen eroded critical ingredients of our decency and our obligations to each other. This diminishes us both in our own eyes and that of others. These elements are: civility, critical reasoning and personal responsibility. All around me I witness the lack of civility. I recently saw a teenager cursing at […]

A sad case

Kent Maloney was taken into custody Jan. 28 for a two-year prison term. He had embezzled $200,000 from the Lions Education Foundation over seven years. Until this crime came to light, Maloney had a sterling reputation in the community. A certified public accountant, he had originally been in partnership with the late C.S. Nicholas, then […]

The balancing act: Obamacare strikes again

Unless you have been living in a cave, most everyone above room temperature has heard about the new Congressional Budget Office report that over the next few years, Obamacare is going to cost the equivalent of about 2.5 million jobs. We already know that Obamacare is going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars more […]

The weekly Daley: Ted Nugent — a new low in potty-mouth

If I hadn’t just read it online, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the title of a Ted Nugent song. “Cat Scratch Fever” apparently is the best known, just not by me. I’m sure I must have heard it back in the day, but I don’t remember anything about it. I also read […]

Time to act fast

The governor and the leaders of the Assembly and state Senate announced drought plan legislation Wednesday afternoon. There aren’t bill numbers attached to it yet, but there is a figure: $687.4 million. The breakdown that is key for El Dorado County is $549 million from “accelerated expenditure of voter-approved bonds, Proposition 84 and Proposition 1E, […]

Something to think about: Joy to the World

Joy has been described as an ephemeral feeling — fleeting — not to be depended on. Not as solid as anger or as heavy as depression, it occurs occasionally, sometimes unexpectedly, unlike more chronic feelings of anxiety or boredom. In contrast to depression or anger, which often come unbidden and stay up in your business […]

Rock doc: Small but splendid snowflakes

Those of us living in the northern half of the country can be forgiven for being tired — at this stage of winter — of shoveling snow. I enjoy the brightness snow can bring to dark winter days, but I’m getting old enough that shoveling the walk in front of my house has very little […]

Home country: Shakespearean dentistry

Herb walked into O’Dontal Dental the other day, holding his hand against a swollen face. He hadn’t even made an appointment to see Perry first, and it became obvious why he hadn’t. “Good morning, Herb,” said Andrea, the receptionist. “What can we do for you today?” “Mmfft Crullit!” “Certainly. Have a seat and I’ll let […]

Home country: The backhoe pro

When Jim Kennedy uses his big backhoe, a crowd usually gathers. He’s an artist, you see. He runs his massive-toothed monster gouging holes in the backyards of his neighbors, putting in their pipes and even the occasional swimming pool, and does it with the grace of a surgeon. At Bud McFarland’s place the other day, […]

Home country: Running the Iditarod

It’s the first Saturday in March 1973, and more than 40 dog mushers are ready to leave the semi-pro baseball stadium in Anchorage and drive their teams more than 1,100 miles to Nome. Could they really do it? Well, they did it that year and every year since, of course, in the monumental Iditarod Sled […]

Rock doc: Designing better asphalt

Dr. Haifang Wen grew up in a rural area of Shandong province, in eastern China. In his youth there were not many paved highways in the Chinese countryside. “Lots of the roads were gravel,” he told me recently. “They were muddy when it rained. I remember riding a cow on them, or going along in […]

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