We’re starting up our readers panel this week after a holiday break. And it’s another fascinating group of people from the community.
Greenstone Country General Manager George Amo has been a Placerville area resident since 1969 when he got a job managing Dillinger’s Furniture. That building is now occupied by the Thomas Kinkade Gallery. Prior to that Amo had worked for John Breuner Co. furniture after serving in the Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base.
While working at Dillinger’s he served as president of the Downtown Merchants Association, helped spearhead the Regional Occupation Program through El Dorado Union High School District and was appointed to the Placerville Planning Commission.
He also later owned retail flower shops. He has been Greenstone Country Community Services District manager for the past 11 years.
Barbara Raines has been an adjunct professor of psychology at the El Dorado Center of Folsom Lake College since 1984. And she knows psychology, having been an Army recruiter in Fresno in the early 1970s.
She also served as literacy coordinator for the El Dorado County Library from 2001-2008.
A Placerville resident since 1984, Raines also is a consultant to government agencies on professional development for employees, with topics that range from personalities in the workplace, sexual harassment, and how to prepare for a job, find a job and keep a job.
She has been president of the Alumni Association of California State University, Sacramento.
Slava “Sal” Veder retired from the Associated Press in 1992 after 32 years as photographer in Sacramento and photographer and photo editor in San Francisco bureau.
He began his news career as a sportswriter with the defunct Richmond Independent in the late 1940s, worked as a publicist for Pacific Coast Hockey League’s Oakland Oaks before joining the Alameda Times-Star as a general assignment reporter.
He moved on to the Tulsa World for a number years as a feature writer and assistant Sunday editor, before returning to the Bay Area.
He worked in a variety of writing positions with Bay Area newspapers, including the Pittsburg Post-Dispatch, Concord Transcript, Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Examiner.
Assignments covered include, in no particular order: Alaska and other earthquakes, winter and summer Olympics in Japan and Lake Placid and Montreal, early space shots and recoveries in the Pacific, Mt. St. Helens aftermath, Idaho mine disasters, two Vietnam tours — 1973 and 1975 — and numerous major league sports events.
Mike Applegarth has been an analyst with the El Dorado County Chief Administrative Office for the past four years. Currently a resident of Sacramento, he grew up in El Dorado County and has lived or worked here for 30 years, graduating from El Dorado High School.
Before joining the CAO’s office he was a district representative for Assemblyman Tim Leslie, who since retired. Ted Gaines followed in that office, but now has moved up to the Senate, leaving the office up for election.
Jim Coate has been an El Dorado County resident since 1973 when he was hired to teach at Markham Middle School. He taught there for 32 years, retiring in 2005.
Coate is on the board of the Boys and Girls Club and also runs the sports league for most of the county’s middle schools.
He is a 1971 graduate of Stanford, where he majored in English and played on the baseball team. He received his teaching credential from California State University, Sacramento, in 1972 and then spent a year in northern England at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne getting a master’s degree in Shakespearean and Elizabethan drama (“the literary criticism side, not the acting side”).
Also joining the panel is Courtney Manhold, who is membership services director for the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. Raised in Ashland, Ore., she moved to El Dorado County in 1994 from the Santa Cruz Mountains. She worked for a title and escrow company for 12 years, eventually becoming sales manager.
As membership services director she organizes mixers,the business expo and speakers and workshops and recruits new members as well as retaining existing ones.
Two who joined the previous panel midway through its term will continue with this panel.
Bill Heyman enlisted in the Army, but was accepted into officer candidate school after which he became an artillery officer, eventually commanding two artillery batteries and then the largest artillery battalion in Europe. After a 26-year career in the Army he retired as a colonel.
Then he began a second career as a technical staff member at BDM and Rockwell and was a visiting researcher at the Rockwell Science Center. When he retired he was programs manager for network programs.
The native of Boston, Heyman has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, a master’s from Golden Gate University, and diplomas from the Armed Forces Staff College and the National War College.
His bibliography includes published studies, experiments, papers, and a patent in the field of communications and computers.
Bill and his wife Pam retired to Pollock Pines in 2000. He has sung in the Episcopal Church of our Saviour choir in Placerville, and now sings with the Cantare Chorale.
Kathye Russell, currently a coordinator of planning services Gene Thorne and Associates, has spent over 35 years working with private business interests and associations.
During the early 1980s she served as executive director of the California Solar Energy Industry Association in Sacramento. Later she served as the statewide coordinator for the Judicial Council of the California Dental Association.
Russell moved to El Dorado County in 1988 and spent 11 years managing and directing the daily activities of the El Dorado Builders Exchange, a local contractors organization.
She was one of the founders of the El Dorado Business Alliance during her tenure with the Builders Exchange. In 1997 Russell served as the Business Alliance Communications Liaison and editor of the Business Alliance…Update.
Russell was a founding member, partner in the land-use permitting and planning firm, Sierra Planning and Permitting. It was in this capacity that she expanded her work focus from building to land-use planning.
Russell joined Gene E. Thorne and Associates Inc. in early 2007. Most recently she has been a participant in the Economic Development Advisory Committee’s Regulatory Reform Subcommittee.
Michael Raffety is editor of the MountainDemocrat. His column appears biweekly.