Friday, December 19, 2014

Taking a chance on Logan

It’s not unusual for a sophomore in high school to have a part-time job, but Logan Wright is a little different. He’s a gold medalist, part of the leadership class at El Dorado High School, an avid hunter and fisherman, and he has Down’s syndrome, a genetic chromosomal disorder which causes lifelong intellectual disability and […]

No deal on EID censure plan: Election shift eyed

Despite a detailed presentation on the legal basis for censuring someone, the board of the El Dorado Irrigation District was unable to reach a consensus at its Dec. 8 meeting when it came to adopting a new policy that laid out specific procedures for doing so. The need for the policy arose in September after Director George Osborne asked EID’s General Counsel Tom Cumpston what procedures […]

False tax returns: Prison, fine for P’ville man

A Placerville man was sentenced in federal court Thursday for filing false tax returns. Thomas W. Stringfellow, 55, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $687,182 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr., a press release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. From 2006 through 2010, Stringfellow, […]

Downtown upbeat about Christmas

The holiday season is usually a retail bonanza for merchants. This November, national retail sales were up by 4-5 percent, with the National Retail Federation predicting a whopping $616.9 billion in sales for this holiday season.

Downtown Placerville merchants have seen steady sales and some of them are hoping for the late season surge they experienced last year.

“Last year, there was a big surge about four days before Christmas,” said Danielle Thorne, owner of Ecological, 320 Main Street, which specializes in fair-trade items.

Grand Jury: King Fire suspect indicted

The man accused of intentionally causing the King Fire was indicted by the El Dorado County Grand Jury and arraigned on Monday. During the Monday hearing, Grand Jury transcripts were given to prosecutor Jim Clinchard and defense attorney Bob Banning regarding the Dec. 3 indictment of Wayne Allen Huntsman. Banning had difficulty opening discovery files, […]

Stormproofing the watershed after King Fire

With last Thursday’s storm threatening more damage, U.S. Forest Service and Sacramento Municipal Utility District staff were out in force doing what they could to protect a watershed left scarred by the King Fire.

On Wednesday, crews were hurriedly putting in berms, placing risers over culverts, laying rocks and log barriers and taking other measures to protect the hillsides, roads, powerhouses and other structures before the storm hit.

Up and down Forebay Road, dump trucks rumbled by with tons of crushed rock. At the bottom of one gully, a front-end loader graded the area while rock was placed above to control the water flow and to keep the gully from turning into a small canyon. Meanwhile, what looked like a hydro excavator truck waited on …

Fire destroys tenant’s home on Nutting property

A fire Thursday morning destroyed a mobile home on a former supervisor’s property. Pioneer Fire units responded to a report of a fire at 9:06 a.m., with units not arriving to the fire until 9:32 a.m. due to distance from the fire station. The fire was reported at 8161 Happy Valley Road in Somerset, part […]

Storm causes minor flooding, fallen trees, power outages

The storm that hit California late last week dumped rain and snow in El Dorado County, causing power outages, floods and downed trees.

For the previous 48 hours at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 12, the storm rained between 1 and 4 inches of water, with Placerville having the highest at 4.22 inches, according to the National Weather Service’s …

Purse snatcher tackled by Walmart shopper

A man was stopped by Walmart shoppers as he allegedly tried to steal a purse. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call at 12:27 p.m. Thursday of a theft in progress at Walmart on Missouri Flat Road in Diamond Springs, a press release stated. An elderly woman had left her purse in a shopping […]

Neibauer resigns from Cameron Park board

Vicky Neibauer, president of the Cameron Park Community Services District, has resigned from the board. Neibauer submitted her resignation in an e-mail to General Manager Mary Cahill prior to last Wednesday’s board meeting. In the e-mail she said, “Current circumstances require that I resign as Cameron Park Community Services District Director effective Dec. 10. I thank the citizens of […]

Behind the lines in WWII

“I was working at the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond and I got drafted by the Army,” said Ray Haagen. Since shipfitters making Liberty ships (military cargo ships) had a deferred occupation, Haagen had thought he might not be drafted, but he was.

The 94-year-old Pleasant Valley resident hadn’t really talked about his experiences during WWII in the “Thunderbolt Division” — the 83rd Infantry Division, until he received a bottle of 1939 Chateau Lauretan wine in the mail from the son of a former Army buddy.

The unopened bottle had been signed by Haagen and a dozen others in Normandy in 1945 and labeled “Do not open until 1955.” Haagen didn’t remember signing the bottle, but he remembered working with supply sergeant Ben Young, who had held on to the bottle until his death in 2002.

“I was attached to Regimental Headquarters because I had taken typing in high school,” said Haagen. “I rode all over…”

Supervisors move forward on big maintenance project

We have to start fixing facilities … The walls are crumbling around us. — District 3 Supervisor Brian Veerkamp, Nov. 13, 2014 El Dorado County Government Buildings A and B need a major overhaul. Built in 1975, the 82,000 square feet of space houses 18 government departments including the Board of Supervisors, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, […]

George Peabody dies at 96

George W. Peabody, one of the foremost historians of El Dorado County, died on Saturday, Dec. 6 at a neighbor’s home that he helped build on the top of Lent’s Hill. He had recently celebrated his 96th birthday, but the holy tamales which Peabody attributed to having extended his health by seven months could only do so much against colon cancer.

Born Oct. 23, 1918, Peabody grew up in Southern California and attended South Pasadena College. He married Patricia Cecilia Davies on June 13, 1942, went to work for the Lockheed Corp. as an aircraft …

Supes reverse action that cut ‘elected’ salaries

Unintended consequences led to the reversal of a November 2013 vote by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors during its Dec. 9 meeting. In Tuesday’s action supervisors voted 3-2 to restore pay cuts for seven elected county officials that had been instituted last year and were due to take effect in January 2015. Referred […]

Esmeralda Tunnel repairs continue

An update on repairing the Esmeralda Tunnel was given at the Dec. 8 El Dorado Irrigation District meeting by Engineering Director Brian Mueller. A partial cave-in of the tunnel occurred on Sept. 21 that was about 47 feet downstream of the upstream portal. The cave-in completely choked off flow to the tunnel and set off an alarm for the […]

Snowball Shopping — pancakes and presents

There might be no better combination than a hot pancake breakfast and some rapid-fire retail therapy — especially just in time for Christmas. If you toss a visit with Santa into the mix and stir it up with a candy cane, you’ve got the fourth annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County Snowball Shopping event. On […]

No EID rate increase for 2015

You know you’re living in a topsy-turvy world when El Dorado Irrigation District ratepayers tell the board they favor a rate increase while board members try to avoid one. All this took place at Monday’s EID meeting as the board unanimously approved a two-year budget of $45.482 million for 2015 and $46.310 million for 2016 that included […]

Winkler sentenced 26-years-to-life

A man found guilty of murdering his wife was sentenced to 26-years-to-life in state prison on Monday.

“I’m ready for a big dose of karma,” Katelynn White, a member of the audience, said as Todd Winkler, now dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit instead of a suit, was led into the courtroom. “That outfit fits him better.” White would have been the stepdaughter of Rachel Winkler had she not been murdered by Todd on Feb. 27, 2012. He was convicted on Oct. 22.

Before the sentence was decided, Judge Kenneth J. Melikian allowed members of the audience to give victim impact statements. The first was by Don Hatfield, Rachel’s father.

Christmas parade entries rock out

The Hangtown Christmas Parade rocked down Broadway and Main Street in Placerville on a perfect parade Sunday. Starting on time, the procession was headed by military entries featuring decorated personnel and vintage equipment. Law enforcement was also represented with classic CHP vehicles, an El Dorado County Sheriff’s contingency, El Dorado County Search and Rescue and […]

Bay to Tahoe tourism study adopted

The final draft of the Bay to Tahoe Basin Recreation and Tourism Travel Impact Study was accepted by the El Dorado County Transportation Commission (EDCTC) at its Oct. 2 meeting. Commissioned in 2012 at a cost of $239,775 with funding provided by Caltrans, the purpose of the study was to analyze the impact of regional tourism travel on […]

Nugget Markets gives Cameron Park store a lift

CAMERON PARK — Food 4 Less shoppers have seen their local grocery store transform before their eyes over the last several months and earlier this week Nugget Markets unveiled the store’s new name — Fork Lift — and kicked off a week-long celebration.

“It’s really a hybrid of Food 4 Less and Nugget,” said assistant store director Jazzmen Sinns. “It’s the best of both worlds.”

In addition to offering products shoppers have added to their carts since Food 4 Less opened in July 2002, Fork Lift has more than 20,000 new items, Sinns said, pointing out the …

BOS: EDH apts. approved

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors gave the final go ahead for a 250-unit apartment complex in El Dorado Hills at its Dec. 2 meeting. To be built by Stockton-based developer Economou/Spanos, the apartment complex will be constructed on a 4.5-acre lot in the middle of the Town Center. Opposed by some in the community because of the […]

Pot ordinance cast into doubt

In the wake of November’s raid and closing of the Pure Life Collective medical marijuana dispensary in Diamond Springs, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has decided to take a second look at Ordinance 5000 to reevaluate how to stop illegal marijuana grows. Passed in September of 2013, the ordinance allows grows of marijuana […]

Forni rollover

A man was arrested on suspicion of DUI after his car went down an embankment in Placerville Tuesday afternoon. William Robert Walker, 70, of Placerville, was traveling eastbound on Forni Road east of Ray Lawyer Drive at an unknown speed at about 1 p.m., said CHP Officer Ian Hoey, when Walker crossed into oncoming traffic. […]

EID budget options hinge on varying rate hikes

Five budget options on the agenda for Monday’s El Dorado Irrigation District board meeting include five different options for rate hikes. The operating budget for the 2015 calendar year with the smallest rate hike would be no rate hike in 2015. Part of the budget set for adoption Dec. 8 includes a five-year Financial Plan. […]

Eyewitness to history — Pearl Harbor: Dec. 7, 1941

With the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor coming up this Sunday, the event still manages to evoke strong memories in those who lived through that event, even after 73 years.

One of those is Shingle Springs resident Bob Clarke, whose family lived in Hawaii at the time and who was an eyewitness to history.

Living in a home at the top of a hill overlooking Pearl Harbor, the Clarke family watched as the ships and nearby military bases were bombarded by the Japanese.

Clarke, who was 15 at the time, said he, his parents and two younger brothers were living in an area called Aiea, which was once an old plantation town.

PPD wins for NNO

Once again the Placerville Police Department is proud to announce that it took first place in California for its festivities from National Night Out and took fourth in the United States for this summer’s National Night Out event (cities under 15,000 population). This is based on the block parties from Aug. 5, where the city of […]

Taxpayer group tackles water rights

In what was largely a reprise of the last meeting of the El Dorado County Water Agency, members of the Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County debated the pros and cons of pursuing additional water rights at their Dec. 1 meeting.

With Dave Eggerton, the outgoing general manager of the El Dorado County Water Agency providing an overview, the audience peppered him and each other with questions about the project.

At present the Water Agency, in conjunction with El Dorado County and the El Dorado Irrigation District, make up a joint powers authority called the El Dorado Water & Power Authority or EDWPA.

Together the three agencies are splitting the cost of an application to the State Water Board for an additional 40,000 acre-feet of water rights. The expected cost of the application is between $8.1 million to $11.7 million, with the big-ticket items being an environmental impact report, consultants and legal help.

New GM in G’town

After going through four interim general managers and interviewing multiple candidates, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District has hired Wendell Wall as its new general manager. Wall started on Nov. 17, taking over for George Sanders. Sanders has been serving as interim general manager since May. With 22 years in the water business, Wall, 56, […]

Car plunges down 200 feet down: Rescuers find 3 older wrecks nearby

A woman and her son suffered minor injuries after their car traveled 200 feet down an embankment early Monday morning. Three unrelated vehicles were also found at the bottom of the embankment, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said. Maria Trujillo, 55, of Stockton, and her 35-year-old son were traveling southbound on Highway 49 north of Sand […]

After Thanksgiving: Christmas tree farms busy

Geri Hyder, armed with a walking stick, radioed down to her son-in-law, Rich Rumbaugh, to tell him that more cars were coming in to Indian Rock Tree Farm. Helpers in red shirts and hats scurry around, providing a full service of cutting, hauling, netting and putting trees on top of cars.

The Hyder family is everywhere — Larry, the patriarch, greeting customers and chatting. Granddaughter Aubrie Wallin and her cousins wrapped trees in nets a few feet away.

Meanwhile, the Hitchcock family of Sacramento was there to get their Christmas tree.

Pacifica drowning victim likely from Shingle

A drowning victim in Pacifica has been potentially identified as a man from Shingle Springs. Pacifica City Police and North County Fire Authority personnel responded to the 500 block of Old County Road, commonly known as the “Surfer’s Lot” in the Rockaway Beach area at about 4:50 p.m. on Nov. 23 for a report of […]

Thanksgiving: Dinner and joy at St. Pat’s

It’s probably pretty close to the bone to say that Joe Reilly, a self-described “mountain man,” is accustomed to living life on the edge these days. But on Thanksgiving Day at St. Patrick Church in Placerville the Nebraska transplant was able to forget his worries for a while. The only thing close to the bone […]