Monday, April 27, 2015

Supervisors vote 4-1 to OK EID election change: Mikulaco voices strong opinion against change

El Dorado Irrigation District’s Board of Directors recently voted to change its election cycle to coincide with the state’s even-year general elections. In doing so, the board added one year to each district director’s term of office. District 1 Supervisor Ron Mikulaco of El Doardo County Board of Supervisors likened the EID board’s actions to […]

Public input needed

The Echo Summit Bridge Project is coming and you might want to have some say in how it happens if you plan on using Highway 50 to go to South Lake Tahoe. The project to replace or rehabilitate the Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct, seven miles west of South Lake Tahoe, started in 2012 and is scheduled […]

Echo Summit bridge to be fixed: Caltrans targets 2019 construction

Motorists may not realize they are traversing a bridge when they wind down the east side of Echo Summit toward South Lake Tahoe. Caltrans, the state transportation department, alternately refers to it as a viaduct on its Website. A viaduct is a type of bridge that typically has several spans, usually of equal length. The Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct was constructed with three spans in 1939, and while it’s not falling apart, there is significant wear and tear after nearly 80 years of service.

Clark Peri, Caltrans project manager, gave a slide presentation to the Board of Supervisors April 7 outlining the agency’s plan to rehabilitate or replace the old bridge. Following public outreach and extensive environmental …

Horse stolen, killed by truck in Rescue

A horse was stolen and later killed Wednesday night after being hit by a truck in Rescue. Scarlett, a 6-year-old quarter horse, was stolen from a pasture next to Rescue Elementary School on Green Valley Road at about 11 p.m. on April 22, owner Katie Holt of Placerville said. Two 17-year-old girls were returning home […]

7 arrested for mail theft

Seven people were arrested on April 16 and 21 in connection with mail thefts in the county. Two warrants were served in the greater San Joaquin Valley area on April 16, a press release from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office announced. Deputies with the Special Enforcement Detail located stolen mail packages, checks, bank account […]

Denny’s waitress saves man during heart attack

Denny’s waitress. Substitute teacher. Lifesaver.

Chandra Sousa, 26, of Camino, added that last identifier on March 31 at about 6:30 p.m. when she saved Jim LaBerge’s life after he suffered a heart attack.

The 72-year-old Pollock Pines man went out to his car to get the agenda for the Hangtown Kennel Club board meeting. He returned inside and had just put the agenda on the table in the back banquet room of the Placerville Denny’s, he said.

“That’s the last thing I remember.”

Sousa, who was typing in an order at the register, remembers about 10 people being in the banquet room and one woman came out and yelled for someone to call 911. She also asked if anyone knew CPR, Sousa recalled. Despite a fair …

Grand Jury slams BOS over HR Dept.

Under the title “Board of Supervisors Neglects Human Resources,” the El Dorado County Grand Jury Report 2014-2015 rakes the board and the county’s Human Resources department over the coals. By way of introduction to a list of 16 “Findings,” the report states: “Failure to strengthen the Human Resources Department has led to personnel issues being […]

Court ruling to have little to no impact locally

Monday’s decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal regarding tiered water rates may make it harder for some water agencies to reach their conservation goals. At issue is a finding by the court that San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water rate structure was unconstitutional because it charged more for water than it cost the city to provide […]

‘Nerves of steel’ to fix county budget

“We’d have to have nerves of steel and a resolve we’ve not seen before,” District 4 Supervisor Michael Ranalli said after seeing a proposal that suggests deep cuts are necessary to balance the county’s next budget. “If we cut it all this year, it will result in havoc,” Shiva Frentzen, supervisor for District 2, noted. […]

Family wants murderer kept in jail

Three years ago, Mike and Lynn Tracy of Garden Valley were successful in keeping William Ray Hall Jr. in jail at his first parole hearing. On June 9, they aim to do it again. In March 1996, Hall killed his girlfriend — Lynn’s daughter — Toni Parcell. He strangled her, threw her in the back of […]

Supes see bleak future in budget

El Dorado County Supervisors got the math equivalent of last year’s “Ice Bucket” challenge on April 15. It came as an introduction to the annual budget process that will be in full swing over the next several months. Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr wielded the virtual bucket. Knorr is charged with preparing the county’s budget […]

Gov. Brown decries court of appeal decision

A decision on Monday by the 4th District Court of Appeal regarding tiered water rates drew a rebuke from Gov. Jerry Brown and may throw a monkey wrench into efforts to mandate water conservation in the state. At issue is a finding by the court that San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water rate structure was unconstitutional because […]

Water rights under pressure

A press release from the State Water Resources Control Board on April 3 warned that water right holders, including some senior right holders, are likely to be curtailed soon within key watersheds in the state. The warning, to holders of more than 36,000 water rights across the state, is designed to give water right holders advance notice to […]

GDPUD declares Stage 3 drought

With Stumpy Meadows Reservoir at 12,350 acre-feet last week, the Board of Directors of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District adopted a resolution declaring a Stage 3 Drought at its April 14 meeting. Normally the 20,000 acre-foot reservoir would be spilling at this time of year. The resolution mandates reducing potable and untreated water demand between 25 to 35 percent. However, […]

New conservation targets set

After receiving over 250 comments regarding new conservation targets for water agencies, on Saturday the State Water Board issued a new regulatory framework for implementing the statewide goal of reducing water use by 25 percent. Instead of four tiers of conservation varying from 10 to 25 percent, the new framework includes nine tiers with conservation […]

King Fire area to open to public again

The U.S. Forest Service announced that the national forest lands in the King Fire area will be open to the public again beginning Saturday, April 25, in conjunction with the general opening of fishing season. However, the public is cautioned that parts of the fire area are still hazardous and will continue to be for years. […]

New ride for Placerville Police Department

Faster than a speeding bullet; more silent than a snail creeping through your garden — it’s the 2013 Zero DS ZF11.4 electric motorcycle acquired by the Placerville Police Department.

Placerville Police Sgt. Dan Maciel showed off the new bike to Placerville City Council on March 10.

“It’s more nimble than the Harley; easier to turn on our narrow streets,” said Maciel. “It’s very powerful at freeway speeds and half the weight of the Harley. “The PD also has a conventional Harley-Davidson police motorcycle.”

Expanding your horizons: Take flight with local pilot programs

In the passenger seat of a Cessna Turbo Skylane RG, piloted by a skilled pilot like Dick Wampach, the world unfolds beneath me, revealing its secrets and expanding my perspective of the area I know so well from the ground. Just about any kid — and many adults — is going to want to put down the video game and pick up a log book after seeing hidden ponds sparkling under the canopy of pines, the breadth of the foothills and rapid-filled rivers twisting beneath them. That’s the idea behind the Placerville Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagle Flight Plan Program.

Second time’s a charm for Water and Power Authority MOU

A memorandum of understanding voted down at the April 8 meeting of the El Dorado Water and Power Authority was back on the table at a special meeting held April 15. This time, however, it garnered enough votes to pass. El Dorado County Supervisor Brian Veerkamp, who is also chairman of EDWPA, opened the meeting by saying […]

Woman hits ex-boyfriend with car

A woman allegedly hit her ex-boyfriend with a car in a hit-and-run in Placerville Thursday afternoon. El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers responded to 2080 Broadway near Texerna Court at about 2 p.m., an EDSO press release stated, for a report of a hit-and-run against a pedestrian. There, they found an adult male […]

DUI crash leads to car chase

An alleged DUI crash led to a chase on April 16 in Placerville. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Peterson was flagged down by a motorist at about 6 p.m., a press release stated. The motorist reported a female was driving a white SUV the wrong way on Missouri Flat Road. Peterson found the SUV […]

Tribe’s gun range shifts to ‘members only’

The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians will build a gun range, as planned, but its size and scope will be focused on members only. According to a press release from the tribe Friday, the tribe decided to develop a small gun range that will be open only to tribal members and their guests. During […]

Georgetown wildfire contained

A wildfire burned about 5 acres in Georgetown April 15. U.S. Forest Service’s Kristi Schroeder said a smoke check near Wentworth Springs Road was reported to the USFS at 5:41 p.m. by Cal Fire, with a wildfire — dubbed the Quintette Fire — found as the cause of the smoke. Cal Fire informed the USFS […]

Harris found guilty of first-degree murder

After 40 minutes of deliberation, a jury found Colleen Harris guilty of the first-degree murder of Robert “Bob” Harris on April 15.

The five-man, seven-woman jury found Harris, 73, guilty of the 2013 murder of her then-72-year-old husband, with four firearms-related enhancements found true.

As the court clerk read the verdict at about 3:50 p.m., Harris, a 2008 El Dorado County Rose candidate, lowered her head into her hands, shielding her face from photographers while crying softly.

Defense attorney David Weiner requested the jury be polled to ensure the decision was unanimous. Each juror in turn confirmed the guilty verdict.

Closing arguments attempt to sway jury

Prosecutor Joe Alexander told the jury in the beginning of the Colleen Harris murder trial that the defendant loved her husband, Bob. “She was obsessed with him; obsessed with the idea that she was going to lose him,” he said during his closing statement Tuesday afternoon, April 14. The only conclusion, based on evidence, was […]

Geyser erupts on Main Street when service line separated

A geyser erupted on Main Street in Placerville on Tuesday, April 14 in front of the Herrick/Hangman’s Tree building at 301 and 305 Main Street. A recently installed service line separated from its connection to the main line at just after 3 p.m., and sent water shooting up over the top of the historic building, which […]

Both sides rest in Harris trial

After a few witnesses Tuesday morning, both the prosecution and the defense rested their rebuttal arguments in the Colleen Harris murder trial.

Prosecutor Joe Alexander began the day by calling Brian Black, ex-husband of Harris’ daughter Tawnie, to the stand. During Tawnie Black’s testimony, she said Brian was the driving force behind a restraining order against Harris. Brian refuted that on the stand, saying instead he had taken a step back and let his ex-wife and her mother work things out. He believed he hadn’t read any of the …

An old story, but a new marker

Amelia was only 18 years old when she decided that life was not worth living without the man she loved. Her story could have happened at any time in history, including current times, but it was in 1896 that she took her life in the Central House Hotel in Placerville.

“When I read her story, I cried, it was so sad,” said Bill Mackay. Amelia is the Cameron Park resident’s great aunt, the youngest daughter of his great grandfather, Henry Bernard …

Coco talks water at chamber event

Dr. Dale Coco talked water at the April 8 meeting of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. A director on the board of the El Dorado Irrigation District, Coco said when he was elected, he told constituents he’d examine all aspects of EID and apply what he learned about project management when he worked at Kaiser. […]

EDWPA punts on Memorandum

An application for more water rights may have been stalled as a result of action taken at the April 8 meeting of the El Dorado Water and Power Authority . The agency is in the process of preparing an application to the State Water Board for the right to 40,000 acre-feet of water that is stored in Sacramento Metropolitan […]

35% conservation proposed for EID and GDPUD

Following Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement on April 1 ordering a 25 percent reduction in water use statewide, on April 7 the State Water Board released a proposed regulatory framework for achieving the targeted reduction. However, rather than requiring all water purveyors to reduce water use by the same amount, the State Water Board proposed separating all water purveyors into four different tiers. The tiers […]

County committees update

Living up to its desire to be a “policy board,” the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted April 7 to establish a formal process for appointing citizens to the county’s various committees and commissions. In effect, supervisors will no longer be directly involved in screening applicants, reading resumes, curricula vitae or lists of qualifications […]

Supervisors OK review of county committees

In its roll as the “supreme” local authority, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors directed its staff to evaluate all existing committees, commissions and JPAs.  The latter is the acronym for Joint Powers Authority, of which the county is a partner in six separate entities. Clerk of the Board Jim Mitrisin put on a […]

Airborne at 95: Pilot tries to break world record

The paperwork is on its way to Guinness World Records, the record-making flight was documented and photographed on March 30, and now all Peter Weber, Jr. has to do is wait to see if he qualified.

The Cameron Park resident was 95 years, 4 months and 23 days old when he made his attempt to qualify as the oldest qualified pilot still licensed and flying solo in the world for the Guinness World Records. He’s been flying for 72 years and still flies several times a month out of the Placerville Airport in a rented plane.

“I was at the Placerville Airport one day and the manager said he thought I might be the oldest active pilot in California,” said Weber. That got him thinking that he might be the oldest active pilot anywhere. After doing research online at the …

A life of service

Former Placerville mayor and associate superintendent of schools for El Dorado County, Allen Tuttle, died in Utah on April 3 at the age of 85. He was the “Voice of the Cougars” at El Dorado High School sporting events for many years, a Bishop in the Church of Latter-Day Saints, a brigadier general in the U.S. […]

Credit card bandits sought

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying three subjects suspected of theft. A credit card stolen from a vehicle in El Dorado County was recently used in Roseville, a press release stated. Walmart surveillance photos show a white adult female allegedly using the stolen card, accompanied by a […]

Residential fire quickly contained

A residential fire in Placerville was quickly contained Wednesday morning. El Dorado County Fire responded to Bakers Mountain Road at 11:15 a.m., Division Chief Tim Cordero said, for a residential fire call. On arrival, crews found a fire at the rear of the structure, mostly affecting the porch cover but extending inside the residence, Cordero […]