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California Rambling: Mountain lions

A dead deer is not unusual in El Dorado County, but when a fresh deer carcass was found half eaten in our El Dorado Hills neighborhood one morning a couple of weeks ago, then dragged away by some animal to be finished an hour later, the first thing that came to mind was “mountain lion.” […]

The rural life: Adventures in pet nutrition

What you put inside your body to nourish it really, really matters. So says the research, and I for one believe it. I’ve also come to realize this truism is true for pets, too. What we put inside their bodies affects not just their weight but also their overall health and ability to resist disease. […]

Consolidation can save school expenses

EDITOR: With Jerry Brown now as governor and his desire to raise taxes let’s consider some options before we give any government entity any more of our money. Let’s start with the schools. I’m focusing on El Dorado County schools because that is the area where we the local taxpayers have the most say. Here […]

Catholic church is morally adrift

EDITOR: The Dec. 21 Belfast Telegraph reported “Pope Benedict’s claim that paedophilia wasn’t considered an ‘absolute evil’ as recently as the 1970s. Pope Benedict also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered ‘normal’ by society. ‘In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,’ the Pope said. […]

Can we help this guy and his dog?

EDITOR: Recently I noticed a temporarily homeless man sleeping outside in the cold rather than be separated from his canine companion. Can we do something to help this loving pair transition to home and work? Think of how devoted an employee such a person would make. How responsible. But in the meantime, the friends are […]

Billingsley’s bullets: Don’t allow external forces to control you

It’s that time of the year to set goals, make promises and dream about success for the new year.  A new year should create new energy, fresh optimism and sincere hope. I recommend you eliminate material possessions as part of the fresh resolutions. Do not allow external forces like cars, houses, money and other people […]

The weekly Daley: It’s unconstitutional

The new House majority took over this week and vowed to read the Constitution in its entirety into the congressional record. Then they vowed to repeal the health care reform laws because they’re unconstitutional. That is, there’s nothing in the Constitution that says anything about the health care of the American people, and more particularly, the […]

GSE competition needed

The 112th Congress has a lot on its plate: stopping that economy killer Obamacare, ending the crazy deficit spending and doing something to end the parade of drug smugglers, human traffickers and illegal immigrants trooping across our southern border. But somewhere among the high priorities ought to be ending the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac […]

Conspiracy abounds

EDITOR: At the beginning of the 20th century every major city had four or five newspapers, mostly independent. Reformers such as Lincoln Stephens, Ida Tarbell, Louis Brandeis, Owen Wister, Upton Sinclair and periodicals like Harpers, Atlantic, McClures, Cosmopolitan, and Century brought us news, uncovered scandals and exposed the American public to assorted opinions. Then JP Morgan and […]

Who’ll stop the rain?

EDITOR: What would you think if we have a contest to see which year the rain will stop? Give the winner a raincoat with a hood. In the years we’ve lived here I’ve seen the creek in front of our house go up almost to a river. Do whatever you think would change the weather. […]

Animal shelter, not a pound

EDITOR: I take exception with your negative editorial in last Friday’s paper regarding the adoption fees in place at the Animal Shelter, yes I said shelter, because you so rudely referred to our shelter as the pound. This is an archaic term used in the 1950s and it is not what our shelter is now. […]

Tell me again why we should shop locally?

EDITOR: My wife arrived home recently and described an experience she had at one of our local merchants. It went like this: “I walked in the entrance and an employee seated at a counter by the door looked up from her ‘device’ and made a cursory greeting and promptly redirected her attention to her thumb’s […]

Pilot Hill Sundance project a really bad idea

EDITOR: I am writing this letter in response to the Dec. 28 story about the El Dorado County Planning Commission’s approval of the Sundance residential subdivision in Pilot Hill. So it seems now that the real purpose of the Williamson Act is to allow people to pay very low taxes until the conditions are just […]

Internet shoppers kill local business

EDITOR: We, as a small business, stock many parts for our customers’ needs so they can walk in, get the appropriate customer service, and walk out with their purchase. Our prices reflect California/El Dorado County living, cost of retail business space, keeping our employees insured, trained and employed so they are not a drain on […]

My turn: Avastin vs. Lucentis — one step closer to cost rationing?

One of the many concerns about President Obama’s health care legislation is that it will encourage — if not eventually require — the government to approve the cheapest rather than the best medical therapy. Indeed, the government already engages in some price rationing in the health insurance programs it controls: Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans […]

Publisher’s ink: The future is in the cookies

Another year has come and gone. The holidays are over and the carton of eggnog is empty. This could only mean one thing. It’s time for predictions. I contacted Professor I.M. Looney, the preeminent para-psychological theorist and investigator of those things that go “bump” in the night. He agreed to meet me for lunch. Professor […]

Freebies aren’t free

While Gov. Jerry Brown was being sworn in Monday he declared he has a “tough budget for tough times.” He can start with the state Department of Public Health. Many homeowners received a “Dear Resident” letter from Robin Belle Hook, chief of the Environmental Health Services Division, offering free radon testing kits. Radon is not […]

My stay at Marshall is appreciated

EDITOR: Recently I was in Marshall Hospital for one week. I am very satisfied with the care and attention I received. I want to publicly thank nurse Catherine Lynch who helped me through some tough days. She made me feel special with her caring attitude, for which I am very grateful. ARLENE CRAWFORD Placerville

Do-it-yourself Sheriff’s Department

EDITOR: Sadly, on the morning of Dec. 28 while on our morning walk we discovered that a criminal or group of criminals had stolen most of our extension cords used to light our Christmas display. That in and of itself was enough to break my wife’s heart. As with most, Christmas is a special time […]

You ought to join us

EDITOR: On Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. a group of past, present and future, young and old, heart patients will be getting together in the dining room at the Senior Center in Placerville. The purpose of this monthly get-together is to discuss, compare, share, learn, encourage and even laugh a little. You would be surprised […]

Baseless editorial

EDITOR: Your recent editorial about advanced-care planning is at best a parody of the “death panel” belief system. I would hope an educated man could engage in meaningful dialog with the medical profession and organizations such as Partners in Care, Snowline Hospice and Elder Care in our community before printing an uninformed, inflammatory and baseless […]

Christmas Eve at the shelter

EDITOR: Tom and I have a big extended family and always celebrate Christmas with them, enjoying each other’s company, playing games, eating too much and opening yet another round of gifts. This year was different. My husband, son and myself  (and several volunteers from Green Valley Community Church) spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with […]

Another year bites the dust

What a year 2010 was. We got Obamacare, more bailouts, a suspicious nuclear weapons deal with the thugocracy called Russia, a weird financial regulatory bill from the two most corrupt and arrogant jerks in Congress — Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd. Then there’s the gift that keeps on taking. Fannie Mae and Freddie […]

A dose of Dan: The Christmas gift that gives the gift of adventure

We recently celebrated another joyous Christmas at the Francisco house, and even though we all know the meaning of Christmas is not about gifts, some of the gifts we have received over the years made more of an impression on our lives than others. One gift in particular, a globe of the world, has provided […]

Backroads: Season’s greetings from the heartland

My father died two years ago, a couple days before Christmas. Since then, I’ve been spending more time here in suburban Chicago with my mom. I’ve just dropped my wife at Midway Airport on what will soon become a beautiful, Chicago day-after-Christmas. I’ll return home later in the week. As experienced holiday travelers, we left […]

Gold plated animals

Something is wrong with the dog pound when it costs $90 to adopt a stray dog and $75 to adopt a cat. What? Are the cats covered with gold dust? Animal Services wants to raise fees in the middle of a recession for such things as removing a dead animal from your property. Try $500 […]

Putin the potentate

Valadimir Putin,Russian president for life and general potentate, is making sure his top political prisoner stays in prison in Siberia at least until the next phony election for Putin in 2012. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 on fraud and tax evasion charges and has served six years in a Siberian prison. Putin used these […]

Something to think about: Betwixt and between

Today is the last day of the year, the last day of the first decade of the new millennium. It’s also the day my husband, like thousands of other baby boomers, turns 60. He’s thinking “old,” but I’m thinking, not so fast. Sixty seems to be a tweener age — no longer qualifying as middle […]

The weekly Daley: New Year’s resolutions

Resolutions and Predictions for 2011: R – I will quit doing all the bad things I do to myself including: overeating, over-drinking, over-smoking, over-procrastinating, under exercising, under fruit/vegetable eating, overspending, under saving and under sleeping. P – As of Tuesday, Jan. 4, I will have reneged on most if not all of the above. R […]

Belltower: Some things remained a dream, some never change

Leave it to our history columnist, Doug Noble, to drop off some interesting items for my perusal. His most recent find is the proposed Sierra crossing for the Sacramento Valley Railroad. It shows it going over Johnson Pass as the round-about way, but it also shows it going under Echo Summit through a tunnel. The […]

Bamboo bike trip completion

EDITOR: I am Takashi Matsumoto, Japanese student, traveling cross country United States with bamboo bike. I met (Mountain Democrat staff writer) Jim Ratajczak at Placerville, and article about bamboo bike trip was posted on your newspaper on Sep 17. I was glad to receive that newspaper from my friend lives in Placerville, yesterday. Hello, Jim […]

Democrats are what’s wrong

EDITOR: In resonse to the letter written by Sylvia Medley, I would like to say that it’s more likely that Obama pushed us closer to the edge of the precipice. We have never been this far in debt before and I doubt that he is finished yet. In response to a question during an NBC interview, […]

A plan that won’t die

Life is trouble. Only death is not. — Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis Death panels are back in the news. It’s a plan that just won’t die. President Barack Obama, who on the campaign trail made plain his disdain for old people, is doing by administrative regulation what the Democratic majority in Congress feared […]

Publisher’s ink: What deck of the Titanic are you on?

National financial disasters have a way of getting people’s attention. During a recent evening stroll with my wife our conversation turned to economics, the home mortgage crisis and the government takeover of private industry. “Well, what did he recommend?” she asked. “Who?” I replied. “Jerry Brown? Neil Cavuto? The Messiah?” “Our financial guy, that’s who!” […]

My turn: Big fat regrets

“Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”  — Mark Twain There’s a certain cordiality to the air in October. The long march of a stiflingly hot summer is finally over. The days cool off, dusk comes earlier. Mother Nature is changing fast as the trees begin to color and the first refreshing […]

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