Former coach pleads not guilty

David Robert Freeman, the former Union Mine coach accused of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, plead not guilty to 13 charges in court Friday morning. The hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes, began with Deputy District Attorney Jamie Verwayen requesting that El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Daniel B. Proud seal the findings of […]

Gold mining returns to the Mother Lode

With gold hovering around $1,600 an ounce, a new gold rush is ramping up in the Mother Lode as the Sutter Gold Mining Inc. prepares to restart mining operations next month.

The first commercial gold mining operation in the area in more than 50 years, the company has a permit good for 50 years to operate in a part of Amador County that is honeycombed with preexisting mines.

Initially the mining company plans to focus on what’s called the Lincoln-Comet ore zone but the company has plenty of new as well as old areas to mine, including seven historic mines that in the past produced 3.5 million ounces of gold. …

Read More…

Clarksville Day attracts 4,000, including descendants

Clarksville Day 2012 attracted an estimated 4,000 people on May 5 to the ghost town that predates El Dorado Hills, including a record number of ranch family descendants. Serrano’s original ranch residents, the Walker clan, were out in force to celebrate the 85th birthday of Mazie Carnell, who attended Clarksville’s one-room schoolhouse in the 1930s, […]

‘2nd Amendment Saturday’ may have judge shoot out

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Tea Party in the Hills is hosting a celebration of the Second Amendment to the Constitution on May 19. It’s being called “2nd Amendment Saturday” and is proposed […]

Retired Sen. Rogers endorses Barb

Tax-fighting former Sen. Don Rogers has endorsed Richard Barb for District 3 Supervisor. Rogers, who represented for 18 years a district that included Tahachapi Pass, now lives in Diamond Springs. He had sponsored the ballot initiative that abolished California’s Inheritance Tax. “Richard Barb understands that the most important issue facing our community is creating jobs […]

5-21-12 Pastor Jeff Bigelow is leaving EDH church

THANK YOU, JEFF BIGELOW: I recently learned that Pastor Jeff Bigelow is leaving the Rolling Hills Christian Church. Monika and I have attended several of Jeff’s presentations at the church. We found his presentations to be uplifting, spiritual, and funny, too. He and his charming wife, Jerri, are highly respected and much loved. We wish […]

Heard over the back fence: What a great volunteer

Editor Mike Raffety provided the following quote from the “Springs of Greek Wisdom” book: “One is rich not through one’s possessions, but through that which one can with dignity do without.” — Picurus • • • EXCEPTIONAL VOLUNTEER: 
Shell Benesch has been selected as the featured volunteer for the Placerville Library. The “Between […]

Striking it rich by accident

The Coloma-Lotus area seems to be a very lucky place for all kinds of treasure hunters. For Mitch Carey of Shingle Springs, it came by accident when he was thinning out the poison oak on his property in Lotus last Saturday. He looked down and noticed what looked like a piece of charcoal. After checking it […]

Heroin plea gets six months jail

By Adam Jensen A South Lake Tahoe man has been sentenced to six months in El Dorado County Jail after pleading no contest to possession of heroin for sale, according court records. Alberto Vierboom will also be required to serve 18 months of mandatory community supervision in connection with a 2011 drug bust, according to a […]

Vice Mayor Mattson endorses Hoffman for judge

Placerville Vice Mayor Wendy Mattson announced today she is endorsing Joseph Hoffman for El Dorado County Superior Court judge. “A great judge knows and adheres to the law, and identifies with the community,” said Mattson. “Embracing those qualities, Joseph Hoffman will be a respected leader on the bench and a genuine asset to the people […]

Vietnam Memorial Plaques find a home at last

Tuesday evening Placerville City Council gave the Vietnam War memorial plaques a prospective home with unanimous approval of the conceptual plan for the bell at Bedford Park. The bell at Bedford Park at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Main Street in Placerville once boasted the original bell from the first Belltower in 1865 and […]

City council receives grant for video streaming

Break out the popcorn and jammies, because soon members of the public will be able to watch city council meetings on their computers. They’ll be able to pull old meetings out of archives too, in case there is something they might have missed. City Clerk Susan Zito, a member of the Northern California City Clerks […]

Protestors meet at Placerville Bank of America

SUBHEAD: Sign holders join nationwide protest on day shareholders meet As about 20 people lined up on the sidewalk outside of the downtown Placerville Bank of America on the hot afternoon of May 9 to protest, cars drove by, horns honked and cheers of support were yelled from car windows. The protest was just one […]

GDPUD’s Otermat accused of compromising district

An angry e-mail exchange spilled over to the board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utilities District May 8. Staff, residents, and board members squared off over access to public records and the “stealth” contacts initiated by a board member with the state agency that has oversight authority of the district. Most of the e-mails were […]

Stuffed wolverine wrenched from Georgetown Hotel wall

California Department of Fish and Game wardens removed a stuffed red tail hawk and wolverine from the Georgetown Hotel bar on Tuesday in what some claimed was nothing less than “too much government regulation.”

Wardens Lt. Christy Wurster and Bob Pera came to the hotel prior to the 11 a.m. opening on Tuesday so as not to interfere with customer service either at the bar or the attached Mexican restaurant.

Warden Pera said the official complaint was made anonymously and originally entailed the report of two stuffed vultures.

“I received an e-mail from my chief and investigated the complaint Friday (May 4),” said Pera …

Read More…

Georgetown Divide PUD pursues $2 million in grants

Hank White, General Manager of GDPUD, reported that the agency has either received or is applying for grants totalling $2 million. It has already been approved to receive three grants from the El Dorado County Water Agency totaling $140,800 for such projects as mapping, designing and planning work related to the retrofit of the Auburn […]

Coloma Grange to hold discussion on meteorite

The “Lotus Valley” Meteorite: What does it mean to science?  What does it mean to our valley? What can it mean to you? This will be the topic of a presentation by Qing-Zhu Yin, Ph.D., UC Davis associate professor in the Department of Geology, on May 20 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Coloma […]

Eskaton Village approved

A downturn in the economy and a review of what seniors really want led to a revamping of Eskaton Village plans. At Tuesday’s Placerville City Council meeting, the Council unanimously approved an amendment from a three-story, 62-unit condominium building to 39 cottage-style apartments. The new plans for the senior development at Spanish Hill off Blair’s […]

Future of Highway billboards uncertain

El Dorado County Supervisors took another whack, Tuesday, at the issue of advertising signs, particularly along Highways 50 and 49. Signage is generally governed through Chapter 17.16 of the county’s Zoning Ordinance. However, the board was conflicted between considering a stand-alone moratorium on signs and dealing with the issue more comprehensively through an updated Zoning […]

Heard over the back fence: Boy Scout spaghetti feed in Rescue

 The “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” calendar presents the following observation: “The only people who feel good about themselves are those who like and accept themselves just the way they are. They take care of themselves and make healthy choices, but they are not obsessed with their looks.” • • • BOY […]

Courthouse EIR ready

A public meeting hosted by the state of California’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to solicit information about the environmental impact report (EIR) being prepared for the proposed new Placerville courthouse. Meetting time is 5:30-6:30 p.m. May 15 in Building C Hearing Room, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville. A proposed site located at 300 Forni […]

Red Hawk Casino hosts early Ford car show

Come out for a day of sun and shine on Saturday, May 19, as Red Hawk Casino presents the Early Ford V-8 Car Show. The Early Ford V-8 Club is comprised of Ford Motor Company vehicles made between 1932 and 1953 including Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars, trucks and commercial vehicles. The event will be […]

DOT asks supes for 10 capital improvement projects

The El Dorado County Department of Transportation has an ambitious agenda for the next year. Tuesday, DOT, under acting director Kim Kerr, proposed 10 projects to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors for inclusion in its 2012 Capital Improvement Program. The board OK’d the list unanimously but with the added condition that economic development […]

Tahoe Deputy receives top honors for DUI enforcement

Al El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy has been awarded for his efforts in DUI enforcement. Deputy Bryan Payne was recognized by the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and California Office of Traffic Safety at the annual joint Law Enforcement Recognition and DUI Training seminar for El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties on April 25, […]

Blaze destroys home, RV in Rescue

A blaze in Rescue resulted in the loss of a house, detached garage and vehicles Friday afternoon. The fire resulted in a “complete loss” of the 2,000-square-foot house and detached garage on Homestead Road, Chris Paper of Rescue Fire Protedtion District said. He also said that “tons of vehicles” including a motor home were lost […]

Cal Fire already busy with fires

Devastating wildfires threaten California every year, and to ensure Californians are ready, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared May 6-12, 2012 as “Wildfire Awareness Week.” Cal Fire is taking advantage of Wildfire Awareness Week to remind residents of the dangers from wildfires and the simple steps they can take to prepare for them. “Despite a […]

Chase ends with two arrests

A vehicle chase ended with two men being brought into custody on May 4. Placerville Police located a stolen vehicle occupied by two males on Schnell School Road at about 6:56 p.m., a press release stated. The men fled and a vehicle pursuit ensued onto westbound Highway 50. The pursuit ended on Cameron Park Drive […]

Winkler children hearing delayed

A hearing concerning the custody of Todd Winkler’s children has been rescheduled. The custody battle is taking place between Don Hatfield, the maternal grandfather, and Janeth Winkler, the paternal grandmother, over the three Winkler children. The hearing was rescheduled to May 17 at 2:30 p.m., said Lilka Martinez, attorney for Janeth Winkler. A readiness and […]

CHP commander promoted and reassigned

Placerville CHP Commander Capt. Chuck King called his position the “most rewarding assignment in 16 years” of service. King, who received a promotion on May 1 from lieutenant to captain, is transferring to the Sacramento Communications Center in Rancho Cordova, where he will take command of dispatch for seven areas spread over five counties, he […]

Mountain Democrat awarded General Excellence

The Mountain Democrat was chosen as the best overall newspaper among 33 others in its circulation category Saturday when the California Newspaper Publishers Association awarded it first place in the category of General Excellence.

Accepting the award at the ceremony in San Jose was Publisher Richard Esposito.

The judges’ comment said, “Strong coverage of crime news was nicely complimented by stories exploring local government policies and schools. Editorial page gets a big boost from letters to the editor. Clean layout and admirable focus on Placerville people.”

This is second time the Mountain Democrat has won first place General Excellence since Michael Raffety has been editor, winning in 1996. The Mountain Democrat won second place in that category in 1981 when Ursula Smith was editor and Raffety was city editor.

Read More…

Interstate pot sales arrest made

A man was arrested and money and marijuana plants were seized in connection with a drug trafficking organization that extends  from California to North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. On May 4, the Western El Dorado County Narcotics Enforcement Team began an investigation into the organization, a press release stated. WENET detectives found their suspect in […]

Equine therapy helps horses inside and out

Can you rescue a horse from the inside out? Horses, as horse lovers and owners know, are acutely sensitive animals with long memories and they get the same twisted necks and muscle pains as humans.

At Cedar Springs Arena and Livery at the corner of Mother Lode and El Dorado roads, an equine therapy session took place with 7-year-old part quarter horse, Takela. Two years ago, she and her newborn colt were rescued by All About Equine from a feed lot in Nevada, changing her fate and that of her colt from malnourishment and slaughter in Canada to well-nourished companions.

Jessica Bridges, 17, acquired Takela in December.

“Sometimes she shakes. She’s really sweet, but still shy of people,” said Bridges

Read More

Missing skier found at 10,000-foot level

Searchers located and are in the process of retrieving the body of a skier, who has been missing in Mono County for nearly two weeks. Boris Avdeev, 31, of Ann Arbor, Mich., an experienced backcountry skier, has not been heard from since setting out on his solo backcountry ski trip on April 19. His body […]

New ag commissioner on the job

Charlene Carveth wants you to look for bugs. Carveth, who became the El Dorado County Agriculture Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures in March, says people don’t realize how easily invasive pests can be spread in the fruits, vegetables and plants they bring across state lines. “New pests are always coming in,” said Carveth. “Right now, […]

‘Wagons in the Pines’ relocates

Now in its 63rd year, the Highway 50 Association is again saddling up to bring in the wagons. Years ago, the Wagon Train stopped at historical Sportsman’s Hall on Pony Express Trail. CEDAPP has made the decision to move the Pollock Pines venue to the more authentic location. The wagons will stop in front of […]

Heard over the back fence: Art, wine and Mothers Day breakfast in two venues

The “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” calendar offers the following suggestion: “When you make a shift from predicting behavior to responding to it, you’ll find yourself being annoyed far less often.” • • • ART AND WINE AFFAIR: 
The ninth annual Art and Wine Affair is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and […]

Rare rodent caught in Camino

A Camino man trapped a rare albino gopher near his garden on May 3. Eugene Wells noticed that gophers had been been digging holes near his garden, where he parks his boat trailer. As he has done many times before, he set traps to kill the gophers and stop their destruction of his property. When […]

A man and his machines bring history to life

At the top of the hill where Dave Traver lives, is a 1923 Model T. It may be rusty and up on concrete blocks, but it says a lot about the man who put it there and where his interests lie. “It’s my tribute to Henry Ford,” Traver said. An habitual collector since he was 8 […]

Transportation commission approves money for Placerville projects

The city of Placerville is awaiting word about whether or not they will be awarded grant funding for two projects that would extend sidewalks as part of the city’s Pedestrian Circulation Plan. If the grant funding is awarded, the El Dorado County Transportation Commission has already agreed to provide the funds for the required local […]

Planning Commission approves zoning changes

At Tuesday’s Placerville Planning Commission meeting, Commissioners spent a lot of time exploring amendments to the text of the Placerville Municipal Code before recommending them for approval to City Council. Internal inconsistencies between the city’s Housing Element program and existing city code and lack of compliance between state mandates and city code necessitated the amendments, […]

Supes wrestle with Diamond-El Dorado traffic patterns

El Dorado County Supervisors Tuesday accepted a “forecast” of future traffic circulation in the Diamond Springs-El Dorado area based on known development proposals and on projects that may reasonably be anticipated. Steve Kooyman, engineer and assistant director of the county’s department of transportation introduced the item to the board with the conclusion that “current (traffic) […]

Cairns gets probation, anger management

Kevin Cairns, the restauranteur convicted on misdemeanor counts of vandalism, assault, exhibiting a deadly weapon and disturbing the peace, walked into the courtroom with a smile and a Hawaiian shirt on. After his sentencing hearing, he still wore a smile, just not quite as wide and not quite as happy. Deputy district attorney Dale Gomes […]

Meteor prospectors mine hills looking for remains

It’s been a little over two weeks since a meteor fell in the Coloma-Lotus area, but that hasn’t diminished interest in collecting whatever is left of what is now officially known as the Sutter’s Mill Meteor. If anything, it has led to a new kind of gold rush as “meteor prospectors” flock to the area hoping to find something rarer and more valuable than gold.

Locals have also caught the bug. Residents are looking down at their feet a lot more often. You can buy a t-shirt commemorating the event at nearby stores. And at the Argonaut Restaurant, you can buy some asphalt “look-alike meteor fragments” for $5,000 or best offer.

Read More…

Run It Forward – Runners tag team Route 66

Think cheerleaders are airheads, or soccer moms don’t think outside the universe of their school district? You haven’t met former Oakland Raiderette Erika Small, who envisioned Run It Forward, a grand “pay it forward” to benefit underprivileged kids in the nation’s heartland. “People talk … they complain about the economy, their school systems, lost opportunities […]

Supes break lockstep with state organization over taxes

Supervisor Norma Santiago asked her colleagues for assistance in extricating the county from the space “between a rock and a hard place” at the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting Feb. 14. As the county’s representative to the California State Association of Counties, Santiago pitched the CSAC line to fellow supervisors. The statewide organization […]