Friday, February 27, 2015

Community Regions: Lines won’t change soon

Proponents of last year’s ballot Measure O made a final, unsuccessful run at getting the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to redraw Community Region Boundaries at the board’s Feb. 24 meeting. Those boundaries, also referred to as Community Region Lines or CRLs, establish the limits of future development within their area. Created by the […]

Game warden shot accidentally

A man who allegedly negligently shot a Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden has been charged with three misdemeanors. James Ingram, 48, of Garden Valley, was charged with discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, negligent damage to property and negligent wounding of a human being — in this case, Warden Bob Pera, 36, […]

Gangs planted in El Dorado County

When Carol Edwards was enlisted to the developing gang unit of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office 23 years ago, the officials were unaware that gangs were already firmly represented in the county. As they did not know how to validate gang members, they had no list of suspects. “We had no clue … no idea […]

Mountain lions caught on camera in Georgetown

Tami Sutton was in for a surprise when her husband called her over to see what his new wildlife camera caught on their property in Georgetown. Bob had only put the camera up about a month and a half ago when, on Feb. 19, four mountain lions were photographed in the middle of the night. […]

‘No jurisdiction’ concept

Realtor Carol Louis challenged the “no jurisdiction” concept citing a number of elements in the Foreign Sovereignty Immunities Act of 1976, signed by President Gerald Ford. Louis read from the code describing exceptions to the immunity from litigation of foreign states. In online descriptions, “The most important exception to sovereign immunity is the commercial activity […]

Shooting range draws fire, ire

Jackie Neau said she didn’t mind the noise so much. She’s more concerned with getting shot. Neau, a representative of the Friends of El Dorado Trail, shared her concerns with El Dorado County Supervisors Tuesday regarding a proposed outdoor shooting range on tribal land just off Shingle Springs Drive in Shingle Springs. She was one of more than 200 in attendance when the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians presented its proposal to the board and the community.

At issue is the tribe’s decision to move forward with a 29-lane shooting range on its land …

Victim’s parents speak during Sanford sentencing

After 34 years, Ron and Sharon Swanson had the opportunity to address their son’s killer, Andrew Sanford, at a sentencing hearing. Ron told the court that he had “been waiting a long time” to see his son Richard’s killer brought to justice. In 1980, Ron and Sharon lived in South Lake Tahoe with their sons, […]

‘Accidental collector’ shares African-American memorabilia

Esther Roman is, by her own admission, an “accidental collector.” She had no interest in collecting memorabilia relating to African American history 25 years ago. But since then, the El Dorado Hills resident has collected more than 1,000 pieces for her own personal museum. The catalyst for her collecting was a 6-inch ruler, an item […]

Jury convicts crime-wave burglar

A career criminal was found guilty by jury of a residential burglary crime wave spanning the county. A jury found Bradley Zaun, 27, of Placerville, guilty of three counts of felony first-degree residential burglary and two counts of attempted burglary after a two-week trial ending on Feb. 18, a press release from the El Dorado […]

Sanford sentenced to life without parole

“I am absolutely, completely innocent,” Andrew Sanford said at a hearing Monday before being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. “I was nowhere around when the crime took place.”

Protesting his innocence on a conviction of the 1980 first-degree murder of Richard Swanson, Sanford said he was “appalled” at the District Attorney’s case, refuting supposed conversations he had and claiming he did not encounter witnesses at the time. Witnesses then lied on the stand, he said, at the prosecution’s behest. He claimed he would be …

Engineering and environmental work underway on Connector segment

MATHER — The Capital SouthEast Connector Joint Powers Authority has approved a $1.4 million contract with Dokken Engineering for preliminary engineering and environmental documentation for the 5.5-mile segment on White Rock Road from Prairie City Road in Folsom to Latrobe Road in El Dorado Hills. The 35-mile Connector will connect Interstate 5 south of Elk […]

‘Sensible development’ groups join forces

Calling it a final effort to “stop further abuse of discretionary power for the many (development) projects that lie ahead,” a coalition of slow-growth groups held its first organized meeting at El Dorado Hills Fire Station 85 recently to inform and rally the public. The hosts, under the name Citizens for Responsible Development in El […]

Lawsuit lays out contentions against EDH apartments

The Citizens for Sensible Development in El Dorado Hills have two main points of contention in the group’s lawsuit against the proposed apartments in the El Dorado Hills Town Center: That an Environmental Impact Report should have been written and that the proposal is inconsistent with the General Plan. Attorney Marsha Burch of the Law […]

Three arrested in connection to Sand Ridge Road murder

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office arrested three suspects in connection with the alleged Feb. 3 murder of Pete C. Thomas.

Nalana Omega, 31, of Placerville, and Raul Gonzalez, 22, of El Dorado — a validated Sureno gang member — were arrested on murder warrants at a Green Wing Lane residence, an area known for Sureno activity, in Placerville on Feb. 18, Lt. Tom Murdoch said. Roberto Barrera, 18, of Diamond Springs, also a validated Sureno, was arrested at Grocery Outlet, where he is an employee, the same day on a murder charge.

All three were arraigned on Feb. 20, each pleading not guilty. The three remain in custody with no bail due to the murder charges. They are being held in separate facilities — only Barrera is in Placerville — to prevent communication between them, Lt. Jeff Dreher said.

Visiting Judge Gary Hahn set the next hearing date as Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. in Department 7.

Accolades for retiring editor

Michael Raffety, who is retiring as of Feb. 23, leaves behind a wake of good will and respect for his time as editor. Described by bosses, colleagues and those he wrote about as honest, fair and intelligent — with a bit of good-humored quirkiness thrown in — Raffety is a man who put all his talents at the […]

Longtime editor of the Mountain Democrat retiring

After almost 37 years at the Mountain Democrat — virtually all of it as an editor — Mike Raffety is retiring as of Feb. 23.

A fixture at the paper for more than a generation, Raffety has served in multiple capacities — reporter, editor, photographer, columnist and opinion shaper. He’s also been a steadfast champion of the community, celebrating its accomplishments while unsparing when criticizing those who fall short when it comes to looking out for its welfare.

Something of a renaissance man, Raffety was born in Berlin, Germany, and later adopted by an American military couple who moved back to the United States, eventually settling in California.

Garden Valley fire station to be replaced

Construction is set to begin on a new Cal Fire station in Garden Valley. The Kaler/Dobler Construction Company is set to begin destruction of the old fire station at 5061 Marshall Road sometime in March in anticipation of constructing a new station, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Brunton said. The contractor, out of Rancho Cordova, primarily does […]

Pedestrian struck in SLT: Man dies after being hit by vehicle

Isaac Brambila Tahoe Tribune A South Lake Tahoe man was killed after he was stuck by an SUV Friday evening on Ski Run Boulevard near the intersection of Larch Avenue. The 44-year-old man was declared dead at the scene after paramedics performed life-saving efforts without success, South Lake Tahoe Police Department Lt. David Stevenson said. […]

Local couple wins wildfire mitigation award

Logtown residents Ken and Nancy Hasse recently learned they are among only 21 individuals and organizations nationwide to be honored with a 2015 Wildfire Mitigation Award. The first year they are being given out, the awards are jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Forest […]

Making EDC fire safe

El Dorado County residents got a sharp reminder of the need to make their properties as fire safe as possible after last year’s Sand and King fires. Local organizations that have been helping in this effort for years are the county’s fire safe councils (FSC). Grassroots organizations, they exist to make California’s communities less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire […]

UM principal gets promotion

Union Mine High School Principal Tony DeVille is moving on up — to the  El Dorado Union High School District Office. After the end of this school year, DeVille will become associate superintendent in Human Services for EDUHSD. It’s a move both exciting and a little sad for DeVille. “There are some really exciting things on […]

Local pilot lands on Highway 20

A Cameron Park man was forced to land his single-engine plane on Highway 20 in Grass Valley on Feb. 1. Robert Irwin, 90, of Cameron Park, flew his plane from Willows back to his home in Cameron Park when the navigation systems malfunctioned, a CHP press release stated. Irwin, disoriented and eventually running out of […]

Placerville among 50 Best Small Downtowns in America

A January 2015 Best Choices Review of the 50 Best Small Downtowns in America ranked Placerville as No. 28. Extolled in Placerville’s virtues are the monthly stagecoach rides, the 160-year-old Belltower and the Placerville Hardware Store, as well as Placerville’s Gold Rush history and being the late artist Thomas Kinkade’s home town.

Lines drawn at MLUSD

The lines were clearly drawn at the Feb. 11 Mother Lode Union School District Board meeting: parents and teachers stepped forward to tell board members to step down if they weren’t willing to do their job in the best interest for the children of the district; they presented a declaration of no confidence in MLUSD […]

Board OK’s CIP, TIM Fee update schedules

El Dorado County is now into the fourth year of a Major Five-Year Update on its transportation network. Next January, the Board of Supervisors is expected to adopt final recommendations for that “update” of its Capital Improvement Program and its Traffic Impact Mitigation Fee scale. Supervisors approved both the scope of work and the schedule […]

Interim GM to leave water agency

The El Dorado County Water Agency will be losing another staff member as it was announced by the board at its Feb. 11 meeting that Interim General Manager Tracey Eden-Bishop would be resigning at the end of the month to take a job with the El Dorado Irrigation District. Eden-Bishop has been serving as interim general manager […]

A different viewpoint: Peshon named new undersheriff

Randy Peshon, during his career with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, has been consistently thrown into jobs that he had no idea how to do. Yet, every time he moved to another department, the one he left was better than when he came in. On Feb. 17, Peshon, 59, currently a captain, will be promoted again, to the role of undersheriff.

As a division commander running both El Dorado County jails, in Placerville and South Lake Tahoe, he also ran court security and transportation of inmates. “It’s like running two small cities,” he said. “We have to provide services in a safe and secure manner,” but to inmates — who can be hostile …

Wygant indicted by federal grand jury

A federal grand jury indicted a South Lake Tahoe fire captain on Feb. 12 for alleged sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of minors. Mark McLeod Wygant, 44, a resident of Chico, was charged with six counts of sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of minors, a press release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner stated. […]

Regional Transportation Plan update highlighted in local workshop

It was show-and-tell time at the fairgrounds the evening of Feb. 6 as the El Dorado County Transportation Commission rolled out a draft of its updated Regional Transportation Plan. A job it must undertake every five years, the workshop attracted board members as well as staff from the agency and its partner agencies including SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Governments), […]

High school boundaries changed

On Tuesday evening the El Dorado Union High School district Board of Trustees voted to change high school boundaries for students living in El Dorado Hills. It made a 4-1 decision to vote for what had been called option B2 at a special public workshop when various scenarios were discussed last month. This would provide […]

Skull found in Georgetown

A partial human skull was found in Georgetown on Feb. 10. A local resident was gold panning in the Bear Creek Picnic area, near Traverse Creek Road, at around 10:30 a.m. the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office announced. The resident was digging through dirt when the suspected partial skull was found. The resident called EDSO. […]

Teen suffers ‘major’ injuries

A teenager sustained major injuries after his car struck a tree on Highway 50 in Placerville Tuesday afternoon. A 17-year-old male drove a white 2011 Kia Soul westbound on Highway 50 between Schnell School Road and Mosquito Road at about 2:15 p.m. when, for an unknown reason, the car drifted onto the north shoulder of […]

Former homeless pair to wed

Being homeless is not the end of the story; for Becky Nylander and Ken Green it was just the beginning. The two met at a low point in their lives but things were already starting to change when they came to live in Hangtown Haven, a legal encampment for the homeless operated in Placerville as a pilot program. Now, both are employed and living in their own home, members of a church and part of a support system for those who are currently homeless.

“We have been best friends for four years,” said Nylander, 42. “I had strong feelings for …”

Guide dog requires constant attention

A black lab puppy gazed at its trainer. A command had been given, but not followed. The dog’s trainer grabbed its front paws and pulled the dog down, giving it a treat and praise. Soon, it must follow the command the first time given, without hesitation. Cadillac, a 4-month old puppy, must follow commands the […]

EDHS grad awarded by UCD for international service

Rene Gonzalez-Mejia, 53, is no stranger to accolades, for good reasons. From swimming awards to being recognized by the king of Spain for his work bridging the cultural gap between Nicaragua and Spain, Gonzalez-Mejia has consistently gone above and beyond. Now, his alma mater, UC Davis, is awarding him the Emil M. Mrak International Award for 2015 in recognition of his career and service outside the U.S.

On Feb. 6, Gonzalez-Mejia was due to receive the award at the UC Davis 42nd annual Alumni Awards at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. According to the UC Davis …

Sheriff briefs Tea Party on crime

Sheriff John D’Agostini covered everything from crime to finances at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Tea Party in the Hills. Noting the increase in crime in the county, D’Agostini attributed it to passage of Proposition 47 last November. That law reduced the classification of most nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes from a […]