California rambling: Evergreen Lodge a new type of Yosemite accommodation

It’s not every day that a decision to establish a youth employment program leads to the creation of one of the most successful businesses in its area, but that’s what happened at Evergreen Lodge outside the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park. The lodge is the creation of Lee Zimmerman, Brian Anderluh and Dan Braun, […]

The weekly Daley: We’re sorry to see you go

I’ve been on a hunting expedition this week. The prey I’m after is pretty elusive sometimes and downright non-existent other times. Occasionally it’s right there at the top of the page with Rachael’s Belly Flab Flogging plan. That my car warranty expired about 10 years ago apparently has no bearing on the fact that I […]

Billingsley’s bullets: Appreciation — the ultimate compliment

When anyone tells you that they appreciate you, your world suddenly becomes special, maybe even perfect, at least for a while. It also means that whatever you did or said to deserve your compliment made a difference in that person’s life — sometimes for the moment and sometimes for a lifetime. • The appreciation compliment […]

Drug ‘breathalyzers’

State Assemblyman and former CHP officer Tom Lackey, along with the California Police Chiefs Association, We Save Lives, and the California Narcotic Officer Association, announced a joint effort to authorize the use of drug “breathalyzers” to identify and prosecute drivers who are impaired by marijuana and other drugs. Our response can be summed up in […]

My turn: Save our water

Editor’s note: The following remarks were made by Rep. McClintock in the House Chambers in Washington, D.C. on April 22. California is now in its fourth year of the worst drought on record. Hydrologists estimate it is the worst drought in 1,200 years. The Sierra Snowpack today is just six percent of normal. Many of […]

Charles Krauthammer: The queen travels by van

See Hillary ride in a van! Watch her meet everyday Americans! Witness her ordering a burrito bowl at Chipotle! Which she did wearing shades, as did her chief aide Huma Abedin, yielding security-camera pictures that made them look (to borrow from Karl Rove) like fugitives on the lam, wanted in seven states for a failed […]

My turn: Water conservation target framework flawed

On Tuesday, April 7, the State Water Resources Control Board released a proposed framework for meeting the statewide 25 percent water conservation target announced by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 1. The state board identified specific reduction standards for water agencies across California. Under the proposal, water purveyor members in the 15 counties represented by […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The lost art of compromise

Compromise is the essence of any social system. Edmund Burke, the father of modern conservatism, said, “All governments — indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act — is founded on compromise and barter.” With the sole exception, I might add, of tyranny, for tyranny is neither prudent nor virtuous. But […]

The balancing act: The elephant in the room

At the April 15 Board of Supervisors special meeting, whose main purpose was a CAO budget update presentation to address the continuing county annual deficits, the operative word was “bloated.” During the meeting CAO Pamela Knorr admitted that the budget was bloated and she said it more than once. While Knorr admits the problem, she […]

Belltower: Rebate programs

Everyone in the El Dorado Irrigation District saved water during the 2013-14 drought — 24 percent. Now the governor has called for 25 percent conservation. Doable? Yes, but… The State Water Resources Control Board came up with some weirdo schedule claiming EID should save 35 percent on water consumption based on September 2014 consumption, even […]

The weekly Daley: Free Range … it’s everywhere

I never heard of it before but I love the term. Free Range Parenting or maybe it could be called Free Range childhood or Free Range growing up. Whatever you call it, it means that kids get to go to the park without a parent or guardian or supervisor or monitor or cop taking them […]

Something to think about: The sound of the gun

Aren’t there thousands of drugs that can kill you? Aren’t some of them painless and a sure thing? So why, if unable to obtain the approved lethal injection drugs for executions, would a state decide that death by firing squad would make an acceptable alternative? When Utah recently reinstated the use of death by firing […]

Main Street ‘under construction’

The Main Street Rehabilitation Project began in early March and has transformed the historical area of Placerville into a rough and rowdy place. We aren’t referring to the people, though, as business owners continue to delight happy tourists stopping in town, nor the buildings, which have gotten a fresh look after the Paint What Matters […]

This drought emergency is ‘nuts’

“This executive order is done under emergency power. It has the force of law … It affects lawns. It affects people — how long they stay in the shower. How businesses use water.” — Gov. Jerry Brown So there you have it. Our drought-time governor has officially declared an emergency. We’re still in a drought […]

John Stossel: Bake me a cake, or go to jail!

Sadly, that is the new message from “inclusive” America. If you don’t want to cater, photograph, preside over, sell pizza at, sell flowers to or otherwise participate in a gay wedding, you will be punished. If you don’t want your business to pay for a kind of birth control that you consider murder, you will […]

Charles Krauthammer: The Iran deal: What we’ve given up

“Negotiations … to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability …” — Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, The Wall Street Journal, April 8 It was but a year and a half ago that Barack Obama endorsed the objective of abolition when he said […]

My turn: Should green car drivers feel guilty?

If you own a hybrid or electric vehicle, you probably feel pretty good about yourself. After all, you’ve made a socially responsible decision to help the environment, reduce your carbon footprint and improve air quality. But you might feel a bit guilty, too. After all, you are in part responsible for the poor condition of […]

California Rambling: Play ball!

The joyful call, “Play ball!” has just returned to Major League Baseball parks across our nation, though it was being shouted a month ago at Spring Training camps in Arizona and Florida. If you’ve never been to Spring Training and you enjoy baseball, attending spring training is an experience to add to your life’s list […]

The rural life: Jurassic trees

Augustus Dowd reined his horse to a stop and gaped. Were his eyes deceiving him? There in a small clearing stood a tree three times larger than any he’d ever seen before. (And, as a backwoods hunter in California in the mid-1800s, he’d seen a lot of trees.) The specimen’s muscular, rounded top towered some […]

Mark Shields: Stop invoking Reagan; start heeding him

It was not a pretty sight. Republican officeholders in Indiana and Arkansas, having been charged by not just their political opponents but also their strongest corporate allies (think Walmart and NASCAR) with damaging the states’ images and the business climate by passing legislation to effectively give legal sanction to discrimination against citizens who are gay, […]

The weekly Daley: Hey Iran, we’re gonna count to three

Finally, someone in government has told it like it is. No bafflegab, no “let me say this about that.” Tom Cotton, the freshman senator from Arkansas and author of the famous “Letter to Iran” has moved from yack, yack to action yack. “We could bomb all of Iran’s nuclear facilities within a few days,” he […]

Billingsley’s bullets: You control the present

I guess we all know someone who allows his/her past to control his/her present life. Past mistakes continue to haunt these people. Sometimes, they repeat these mistakes and seem surprised with the results. Why would they expect different results? If they discover that the new love partner is an active alcoholic, they may believe or […]

Like a good neighbor

The proposed outdoor shooting range on tribal land just off of Shingle Springs Drive has caused quite a stir in the community. The Feb. 24 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting addressing the topic saw more than 200 people in attendance, and we’ve received a number of letters to the editor on the topic. […]

My turn: Yes, you can help make local government better

The annual opportunity for citizens to take part in the El Dorado County Grand Jury process is here. The Grand Jury is an excellent vehicle for committed men and women to keep government accountable to all of our county’s citizens. Applicants must be United States citizens, at least 18 years of age, have resided in […]

John Stossel: The next bubble

They’re doing it again! When the last housing bubble burst, politicians blamed “greedy banks.” They said mortgage companies lent money recklessly, making loans to people with dubious credit, for down payments as low as 3 percent. “It will work out,” said the optimistic bankers. Regulators didn’t disagree. Everyone said, “Home prices will keep going up.” […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The right to carry and the right to exit

The issue of gun control has galvanized our nation, with a vocal and bullying minority stomping for little or no restrictions. These Second Amendment absolutists keep pushing for not just concealed weapon permits without sensible restrictions (e.g no felony or domestic abuse convictions, no mental illness), but open carry. Open carry refers to the practice […]

Belltower: Art and water for a retired guy

“Michael Raffety is an arts writer for the Mountain Democrat, covering San Francisco events.” That’s what I’d like for a tag line when I write about major exhibitions at the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums — the de Young and the Legion of Honor. I decided that after reading the review in the Wall Street […]

Mark Shields: Drop-out from the Electoral College

In the cliffhanger presidential election of 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford, the Republican president, the margin of victory in 20 states (totaling 299 electoral votes) — including California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Hawaii — was less than 5 percent of the vote. In 2012, when President Barack Obama confounded the […]

The balancing act: Water, water everywhere, but here

Let’s get one thing straight: Droughts are caused by nature, water shortages are caused by humans. While this has been another below-average year for California, it seems the rest of the United States received massive amounts of water, especially many areas east of the Rockies recording record rain and snowfall, with Boston setting a new […]

The courthouse ‘debate’

The community is up in arms about relocating the county courthouse away from Main Street. The ramifications are a legitimate concern, but at the end of the day, much of the focus has been on the wrong issue. Let’s face reality. The current courthouse is done. As much as the community would like to preserve […]

Something to think about: The year without a winter

The first day of spring in El Dorado County this year was … spring-like — warm and sunny with daffodils and flowering quince welcoming the day. In my memory, the first day of spring is hardly ever spring-like and when it is, it’s regarded as brief reprieve from the dark coldness of winter before the […]

The weekly Daley” SHOCKING … 8 Celebs …

Being attracted to words, I get easily distracted when I go online to look up things, or read the latest news, or check the meaning of that word that Gene Altshuler used last week in his “My turn” column. “Ensorcell,” yeah that was it. Indeed I kind of get ensorcelled by those pop-ups with the […]

My turn: Making progress

It has now been four months since the new Board of Directors for the GDPUD was seated. I believe that we have made some progress, although sometimes it feels like “pulling teeth” — and I should know, being a dentist. We have voted to buy new computers; the old ones had hieroglyphics on the keyboards […]

Charles Krauthammer: The GOP racing form: First edition

With Ted Cruz announcing and Rand Paul and Marco Rubio soon to follow, it’s time to start handicapping the horses and making enemies. No point in wasting time on the Democratic field. There is none. The only thing that can stop Hillary Clinton is an act of God, and he seems otherwise occupied. As does […]

The rural life: New birds on the block

When the new birds began showing up, I realized how familiar I’d become with the old ones. After 35 years in Latrobe, you can’t mistake that bald, red face of our turkey vulture, for example, for anything else. And I’d never confuse the black phoebe, that petite, two-note songster in black-and-white evening attire, for any […]

Mark Shields: Laughter, still pretty good medicine

“There are three things which are real,” said John F. Kennedy, “God, human folly and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension, so we must do what we can with the third.” As a national candidate, the then-senator did just that. Sensitive to the charge that his multi-millionaire father was trying to buy the […]

California rambling: The Rhônes of Pleasant Valley

Wine has been made in El Dorado County since the start of the Gold Rush, though it took until the 1970s to discover that Pleasant Valley, southeast of Placerville, is ideal “terroir” for Rhône style wines. These are the wines made in southeast France’s Rhône River Valley, from Côte Roti south to the legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape. […]

Fire Fee returns inadequate

As we reported Wednesday, Cal Fire awarded about $1.05 million worth of grants from the State Responsibility Area fees to El Dorado County organizations for projects aimed at reducing wildfire threats. While that’s great news, it’s just not good enough. Pat Dwyer, chair of the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council, pointed out that amounts […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Some conversation is very important

When someone important in your life says, “You just reminded me that there is something important that we need to discuss,” drop whatever you are doing and pay close attention to what is about to be said. • Do not interrupt the speaker, and do not become immediately defensive. You can speak your piece after […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The sweet smell of success

Success is pregnant with meaning and nuance. We wish it for our children, our friends and relatives, and ourselves. While most people equate success with material wealth, for others it is recognition and accomplishment. We have grown up with the aphorisms about success that formed our national ethos: the Horatio Alger stories of rags to […]

Charles Krauthammer: No peace in our time

WASHINGTON — Of all the idiocies uttered in reaction to Benjamin Netanyahu’s stunning election victory, none is more ubiquitous than the idea that peace prospects are now dead because Netanyahu has declared that there will be no Palestinian state while he is Israel’s prime minister. I have news for the lowing herds: There would be […]

Mark Shields: Wanted: An emotionally secure leader

The late Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona, who finished second in the campaign for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination, warned his fellow citizens with the wisest of advice: “Beware of the presidential candidate who has no friends his own age and confidants who can tell him to go to hell.” That same year, an emotionally […]

The balancing act: How to balance the budget

Public Safety is the primary function of county governments. Before the expansion of governments 60-70 years ago, the sheriff was the majority of county spending. Currently in EDC, the sheriff is about 20 percent of General Fund spending. Other departments directly related to public safety are the District Attorney, the Public Defender and the Probation […]

Coloma Post Office a gem

The Coloma Post Office, still standing after 165 years, is a historical gem in El Dorado County. From its rich history to its still-functioning capabilities, the community office is a symbol of what makes the county so great. “When tourists come to Coloma, they think the post office is just a display,” former Coloma Post […]