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Belltower: Cartoonist, Placervillians sympatico

What a treat. Friday, Dec. 10, Mountain Democrat Advertising Director Ian Balentine and I had the pleasure of welcoming almost 100 people to our Broadway office. Assisting Ian with handing out free raffle tickets were his daughters, Kylie, 10, and Amanda, 6. They were wonderful gems. The occasion was Rubes cartoonist Leigh Rubin coming to […]

A dose of Dan: A parenting lesson learned from a video game machine

As the parents of two sons in elementary school, my wife and I recognize that our parenting skills are still being sharpened. We’re not green rookies, but we’re nowhere close to grizzled veterans. Yet we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy more parental victories than losses so far in the game. Regardless, it’s human nature to […]

Thanks for brightening my day

EDITOR: A heartfelt thank you to the El Dorado Hills Target store for their generosity to the Court Appointed Special Advocates program. My young person was the recipient of a $200 gift card. She was so appreciative and I had the privilege of watching her sunny countenance sparkle as we shopped throughout the store. You […]

Camino Cares 2010 a great success

EDITOR: Last night I took part in an amazing wrapping party in Camino with dozens of wonderful volunteers. We were there to wrap presents for the first Camino Cares 2010 Giving Trees program, sponsored by the Camino Community Action Committee. What made this program even more amazing was that a local teenager, Nick Van Gilder, […]

Rubicon Trail Foundation proud of purchase

EDITOR: On Dec. 9 the Rubicon Trail Foundation closed escrow on the purchase of 317 acres of land near the world famous Rubicon four-wheel drive trail in El Dorado County. This purchase is the culmination of efforts begun at the inception of the RTF and has been a long term goal of the foundation. We […]

Something to think about: With love, Christmas cards

So I’m doing Christmas cards, looking up addresses, filling out envelopes, writing pithy little notes. I like all the parts of Christmas except doing Christmas cards. I can see the point — sort  of — if  you are sending cards to keep in touch with people who live far away and you never see, but […]

I believe in Santa Claus

EDITOR: My name is Miranda and I am 16 years old and a junior in high school. I believe in Santa Claus. Why else would everybody be so friendly and jolly during this holiday season? Just because we can’t see Santa Claus does not mean that he does not magiclly squeeze down our chimneys and […]

I enjoyed cartoonist’s presentation at the paper

EDITOR: I’d like to thank the Mountain Democrat for having the cartoonist, Leigh Rubin, the creator of “Rubes.” If you weren’t there, you missed a fine presentation. Mr. Rubin is an “artist of humor” as well as an entertaining speaker. Yes — invite him back. KATHLEEN MURILLO Diamond Springs

The weekly Daley: Letters from Santa

Dear Mr. President – That was brilliant what you did last week. Taking questions, reassuring the public that the tax deal was a good deal, explaining compromise and how to get along in Washington, D.C. Equally brilliant was the other guy bringing you in on short notice to sell the package. Good job, Billy. Love, […]

Pets are a cherished commitment

EDITOR: You recently printed a letter by Teena Bonnici about the slim chances of an animal being adopted once put in a shelter. Her letter was powerful and it took me right where I didn’t want to go. I would like to add to this subject of unwanted animals a line or two about one […]

To Support 4 Soldiers, from Traci’s mom

EDITOR: I am the mother of SSG Traci Nesthus currently deployed to Afghanistan. I was unaware of your support group until Traci recently received a package from your group. She was happily surprised to receive her package, as these soldiers are so happy to know that they are being thought of back home. At this […]

National deficit — does this make sense?

EDITOR: Here is where we are — extend the tax cuts and after we do so, let’s get serious about the deficit. This is simply crazy — let’s add to the deficit and then we can be concerned about the deficit. Does this make sense to anyone? Let the Bush tax cuts expire and let’s […]

High school musical groups were quite impressive

EDITOR: We had a great experience yesterday. We went to the senior citizens’ Christmas luncheon at the El Dorado Hills Community Center. The entertainment for this event was provided by musical groups from Oak Ridge High School. This started off with a large choral group (at least 30 members) who sang several songs a cappella. […]

Bullying at Christmas program elicits apology

EDITOR: This letter is in response to the Buetow family from Pollock Pines regarding their being bullied at the 54th Annual Singing Christmas Tree Performance. For those who are not familiar with this event, The Singing Christmas Tree is an annual event that is attended by approximately 25,000 patrons over the course of 10 performances. […]

The imperative of community owned telecom infrastucture

EDITOR: As the Internet becomes the universal telecommunications infrastructure delivering Web content, video and voice, it is becoming eminently clear that for much of El Dorado County, alternative, community owned telecommunications infrastructure must be put in place as rapidly as possible. Many expect this vital infrastructure to be expanded and upgraded by the big, investor-owned […]

We need to talk about testicular cancer

EDITOR: In 2008 a 31-year-young Placerville man lost his battle with cancer. A disease not many men talk about, afraid it might induce a snicker or uncomfortable silence. A man may be reluctant to even talk to his doctor about the subject. That is a problem. Testicular cancer is a serious disease; a killer responsible […]

Don’t feed the deer — it’s suicide for them

EDITOR: At the top junction of Fort Jim and Newtown Road in Placerville near the Snows Road entry, there is an over-abundance of deer, not to mention the carcasses of fawns and does on the side of the road. I was informed the deer are being fed by one or more homeowners in that area […]

Does a Navy rear admiral trump an Army colonel?

EDITOR: The 6 Sept. 1941 Japanese War Plan was documented in the book “The Two-Ocean War ” by the noted naval historian, Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, USNR (Ret.) Nowhere in his “The Two-Ocean War” book does Admiral Morison document that Japan had any plan to invade Hawaii or the U.S. mainland. Other World War […]

Horror holiday

Many folks of Mexican heritage go down south of the border to visit relatives and celebrate Christmas in the traditions of their home villages. It’s visiting relatives and getting in touch with your ancestral roots, whether it’s Mexico, Wisconsin, Italy, Germany or Norway. For many, though, there is danger in the home country, which was […]


The lame duck Congress has put together a$1.1 trillion-$1.2 trillion 2,000-page “budget” bill that is really a continuing resolution to keep the government operating for the next nine months. It is larded up with 20,000 earmarks, with a big chunk of them by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. He is down for $159 […]

There’s more to trails than rail cars

EDITOR: The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors recently withdrew a proposed resolution that would have set trail pursuits (hiking, cycling, equestrian use) as the county’s priority for the Sacramento-Placerville Transportation Corridor. I laud Supervisor John Knight for having authored the resolution showing his foresight in recognizing the health, spiritual and economic benefits of setting […]

How can this be a good idea?

EDITOR: I am pretty sure that we all, regardless of political affiliation, do know that Wall Street and the banks have a gigantic responsibility for our economic situation these days. And I am pretty sure that members of the Tea Party and conservatives also realize that, but do they realize that by voting in the […]

Letter writer’s venom is showing

EDITOR: I have a question for letter writer Bill Karr whose venomous rage against letter writer John Garon and all Democrats was published in the Dec. 6 edition. Bill, I noticed that you, twice, used the phrase “true American(s).” Can you please give us your definition of a true American so we will know just […]

My turn: I’m dreaming of a green Christmas

Regardless of political persuasion, everybody wants to go green, and with the Christmas spirit of generosity once again upon us, it’s a perfect time to consider how to get the most green for your hard earned green. I offer some guidelines and observations to help guide the way into a cleaner future. From an efficiency […]

U.N. stands for Under control of Nuts

Where does the United Nations hire these nut cases that it appoints to high office? An Associated Press story Dec. 10 objected to officials and corporations acting to cut off funding and deny server space to WikiLeaks. Navi Pillay, described by AP as “the U.N. top human rights official,” said these moves were “potentially violating […]

McClintock needs new speech

Shortly Congress will adjourn for the year. Those who lost the election will come home permanently. Those who were reelected will be coming back to their districts to be with family and also to visit their constituents in the district. When Congressman Tom McClintock comes around the district giving his stock speech we would like […]

Publisher’s ink: Sharing the pain (back)

While sitting in the examination room at my doctor’s office I pondered an age old question. How does a one armed man tie his shoes? Before arriving at the answer the doctor walked in. Doctor: “How long have you experienced this acute lower back pain?” Patient (me): “About five weeks. I missed the last two […]

I applaud the letter about shelter animals’ deaths

EDITOR: I applaud letter writer Teena Bonnici’s articulate, powerful, and unrelenting description of what happens to animals at our animal “shelters.” I have volunteered at our local shelter and am very impressed with the conditions there as well as with the conscientious staff. However, the truth remains that ultimately animals who are not adopted will […]

Cell tower won’t be built here

EDITOR: COMPAS scored a major victory during the Dec. 9 El Dorado County Planning Commission hearing. COMPAS – Citizens Organized to Monitor Protect And Serve — is a non-profit organization whose mission is dedicated to public safety, transparency and accountability of El Dorado County’s historical and natural resources. An epic battle was won to preserve […]

Thanks for letter regarding shelter animals

EDITOR: I want to thank Teena Bonnic, shelter manager, for her direct and important letter regarding the fate of shelter pets due to the carelessness of my fellow residents.  Your graphic description of the fate of dogs and cats turned into the shelter or abandoned by their owners should be a wake-up call to all […]

California Rambling: Napa reborn

Sometimes it takes a disaster to make things right. Visit Napa and you’ll see what I mean. For years, Napa was prone to flooding. As George Webber, Napa’s humorous walking tour historian explains, “We experienced what many called the 100-year flood in 1986, followed by 100-year floods every couple of years soon after.” Napa has […]

The rural life: Christmas in Latrobe

Christmas is a time of giving, though the spectacle that is now holiday shopping and “gifting” is perhaps not what was originally intended to celebrate the day. It was different for my husband and me our first Christmas in Latrobe, over 30 years ago. It was 1979. We’d been married just six years, and we […]

Thanks for a lovely Christmas celebration

EDITOR: On Saturday, Dec. 4, Historic El Dorado hosted a “Gold Rush Christmas” faire. The weather held and we had crowds of people in a festive mood. Linda George and I, co-coordinators, along with Historic El Dorado town merchants, would like to thank the many vendors, volunteers and attendees who made the event fun and […]

Freeze it all

President Barack Obama has proposed a two-year pay freeze for the federal work force. We would like to see him go all the way and enact a hiring freeze on every federal agency except the Border Patrol and the military. He can start in his own office by not hiring any more policy czars. The […]

Alternatives to the slammer

With a California prison population near 150,000 in a system designed for something under 100,000, it’s a good bet the U.S. Supreme Court is going to back the three-judge federal panel that has ordered California to reduce its prison population to 137 percent of capacity, a reduction of 40,000. The Supreme Court may not choose […]

I’m getting out my bear trap, tweakers

EDITOR: Open letter to El Dorado County Sheriff-elect John D’Agostini: My first inkling about the scourge of El Dorado was when my wife would come home speaking about the parents of low performing children with black teeth or no teeth. Then as I started building in the area and hiring laborers I would see these […]

We can’t let the music die

EDITOR: The Pleasant Valley Music Program is on the chopping block to be cut next school year. We cannot let this happen. Carol Kouklis teaches the kids, starting in the second grade, and band starts in fifth grade. She is a fabulous teacher who has a true passion for her job and music, and the kids […]

Rock doc: Now hear this

I wasn’t quite sure I had heard correctly. My friend, a fellow geologist, and I were standing in the swimming lanes of a lap pool where we had stopped to give each other greetings of the season. My hearing in this ear is a whole lot better, he had said. Or so I thought. The […]

Sheriff’s employee terminations raise concerns

EDITOR: In today’s paper I read where the current El Dorado County sheriff plans on terminating two female employees of the Sheriff’s Department during the month of December. That is not my concern, what I am concerned about is that these two female employees have filed sexual harassment charges against “the good ol boys network” […]

Tax deal has potential

The income tax deal that President Obama and the Republicans in Congress reached Monday has some real possibilities for stimulating the economy. The deal extends for two years the 10-year-old tax cuts President George W. Bush got Congress to enact to snap the country out of the recession that began in the last year of […]

Shame on thieves, shame on Board of Supervisors

EDITOR: Over a recent weekend my car was broken into, while parked in my driveway. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department was not able (because of budget cuts by the county) to take any fingerprints to be able to compare to any on record or file them so when this thief commits future crimes he […]

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