Monday, September 29, 2014

South Tahoe wildfire reduced to 20 acres

A wildfire that was reported above Cascade Lake on the South Shore late Wednesday afternoon continued to burn into Thursday, consuming about 30 acres as of 7 a.m. Thursday morning. The blaze, named the Cascade Fire, grew since Wednesday evening, when it was reported to be about 0.25-to-0.5 acres, according to a U.S. Forest Service […]

Where are the homeless now?

It’s been almost a year since Placerville’s first legal encampment for the homeless, Hangtown Haven, closed. Supporters and camp residents fought to keep the camp open, but the permit for the year-long experiment expired on Nov. 15, 2013, and was not renewed. By many accounts, the experiment to see if a temporary legal encampment could […]

King Fire nearly contained, thousands of personnel sent home

Thursday rains helped slow the growth of the King Fire, raising containment and allowing some mandatory evacuations to change to voluntary. The slowing of the fire, at 97,009 acres and 87 percent containment as of a Sunday morning update on, meant more than 3,000 personnel were relieved, down to 4,878. The number of structures […]

Winkler murder defense skips opening statement

Rachel Winkler feared for her life in the weeks leading up to her alleged murder at the hands of her husband, Todd, testimony Wednesday indicated. After a tumultuous start to the trial, involving Todd Winkler screaming at prosecutor Lisette Suder, the defense decided to forgo an opening statement at the start of the trial Wednesday. […]

Truck slams into Cameron Taco Bell

A Toyota pickup truck crashed through a wall and window of the Taco Bell on Coach Lane in Cameron Park Wednesday at approximately 10 a.m. Two patrons were injured and the driver of the truck appeared to be “having a seizure and convulsions,” Assistant Manager Julie English said. She described the couple as frequent guests […]

Couple with missing son now have lost home

Tragedy seems to have come in threes for Vern and Cyndi Matthews.

In June they learned that someone had ransacked their vacation home off of Spring Valley Road in Pollock Pines. They learned of the break-in from their son, Vernon “Cody” Matthews, who arrived a few days ahead of his parents.

Cody, an adventurous 24-year-old, had gone up early as he intended to live off the land for the summer.

According to Vern Matthews …

43% contained: King Fire: Rain spells relief

With cooler weather and rain providing something of a break, fire agencies battling the King Fire may at last be gaining the upper hand. The fire, which has burned 95,347 acres as of Thursday morning, was 43 percent contained. Residents of Swansboro were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday afternoon but mandatory evacuations were […]

EID finds Esmeralda Tunnel cave-in

Notified by a high water alarm on the canal Sunday night, El Dorado Irrigation District hydro personnel discovered Monday there was a collapse in the Esmeralda Tunnel. The 1,000-foot-long tunnel was built in 1930 and is held up by treated timbers for the first 450 feet, then natural rock for about 400 feet, with the […]

Outburst puts pause to Winkler murder trial

The prosecution’s opening statement of the Todd Winkler murder trial was marred by an explosive outburst by the defendant, screaming at the prosecutor and bringing a pause to the proceedings. “This is a case about a mastermind, a manipulator, a murderer,” Deputy District Attorney Lisette Suder began in her opening statement. On Feb. 27, 2012, […]

Camino businesses undeterred by smoke

Despite the massive King Fire and the smoke covering the county, the wineries and farms of Camino and Apple Hill are doing relatively well. “It’s hard to say,” Bill Gunn of Jodar Winery said of the affects of the fire on business. “It’s cyclical anyway. The smoke over the weekend” affected those down the hill […]

Weather brings red flag warning for King Fire

At 89,574 acres, the King Fire continues to grow but at a much slower pace as more and more resources are thrown at it, with containment at 35 percent as of Tuesday morning.

But with a return to dry conditions and wind, at a briefing Monday night, fire personnel issued a red flag warning from 2 p.m. on Sept. 23 until 8 p.m. Sept. 24, with temperatures expected in the range of 75-82 degrees on Tuesday and ridge top winds reaching 20 to 35 mph.

Held at the evacuation center located at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Camino …

Solo fatality in Mt. Aukum

A man died in a solo vehicle collision in Mount Aukum on Sept. 22. Allen Mosby, 69, of Somerset, was driving his black 1932 Ford Model B Hot Rod from westbound Grizzly Flat Road to southbound Mount Aukum Road, a CHP press release stated. After stopping at the intersection’s stop sign, he accelerated rapidly into […]

Cool crash kills woman, child

A traffic collision claimed two lives in Cool on Sept. 21. At about 4:14 p.m., Leah Witaschek, 34, of Carmichael, was driving a black 2001 Volvo S60 westbound on Highway 193 west of Cramer Road, a CHP press release stated. Gary Burkett, 67, of Greenwood, was driving a green and silver 1997 Dodge Ram 2500 […]

Signs subject to removal

Signs have been appearing along Highway 50 thanking firefighters and law enforcement for their work on the King Fire since it began. Most, however, have not been approved by the Department of Transportation and are subject to removal. Rosalie Baker saw the idea to put signs where the Christmas trees are displayed along Highway 50, […]

Georgetown smoky but grateful

The handmade signs were everywhere: “We love you firefighters.” “Thank you firefighters.” Found up and down Main Street in Georgetown, they went with the smoke that has hung over the town for the last few days due to the King Fire — a constant reminder of the danger next door. Outside of Georgetown on sections […]

King Fire structural damage confirmed

It’s been confirmed that some homes and other structures have been damaged due to the King Fire, according to a briefing provided to residents on Friday night in Camino and an update by on Sunday.

Located in the White Meadows area of Pollock Pines, fire officials said they are still investigating the damage and would be notifying property owners before releasing any further information. An update on on Sunday afternoon stated, “preliminary reports from the Damage Assessment Team from the White Meadows area indicate that 10 residences and 22 other structures were damaged or destroyed.”

The King Fire, which started in Pollock Pines, was up to …

Accused arsonist pleads not guilty

A not guilty plea was entered in court Friday afternoon for the man accused of setting the King Fire.

Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, had a plea of not guilty entered for him by Judge Gary Hahn, also denying all special allegations. Huntsman kept his head down as he entered the courtroom and next to his attorney, William Dittmann of the El Dorado County Public Defender’s Office, while a line of media cameras watched …

Suspected arsonist nabbed

A man has been arrested in Placerville on suspicion of arson on forest land in relation to the King Fire. Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, was arrested in Placerville Wednesday night after an El Dorado County superior court judge signed a warrant for his arrest, said District Attorney Vern Pierson at a press conference Thursday morning. A […]

King Fire briefing in Camino attracts a large crowd

With the King Fire continuing to rage, interest was high at Tuesday night’s fire briefing with an estimated crowd of 400 to 700 people in attendance. Held at the Camino Seventh-day Adventist Church, fire and law enforcement personnel gave out the latest information on the fire as well as fielded questions. Laurence Crabtree, a supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service, noted […]

Arson arrest made in King Fire; Swansboro evacuated

The King Fire exploded to 70,944 acres between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and a man was arrested on a single charge of arson of forest land Wednesday night.

Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37, was booked into the Placerville jail Wednesday night on a charge of arson of a forest land. His bail was set at $10 million. He is under suspicion as the cause of the fire.

The fire doubled in size overnight, from almost 30,000 acres to nearly 71,000, with no change from the 5 percent containment.

“The fire continued to burn actively throughout the night,” a Thursday morning update …

High school superintendent hired by Elk Grove Unified

El Dorado High School District Superintendent Christopher Hoffman was selected as Elk Grove Unified School District’s new superintendent by the Elk Grove District Board of Trustees at the Sept. 16 meeting. Hoffman is beginning his fourth year as Superintendent of El Dorado Union High School District this year and will be taking up his new position […]

Firefighters and evacuees transform Pollock Pines

Monday was a day of ashes and smoke as the King Fire continued to grow, with the plume of white smoke turning to a dirty brown as the fire found fresh fuel and threatened even more homes.

With its population increased almost overnight, Pollock Pines became home to almost 1,500 firemen from all over the state as they arrived to fight a fire that burned around 200 acres on Saturday but moved on to engulf more than 11,500 acres by Tuesday morning.

One resident said he counted 55 fire trucks in the parking lot of Safeway on Monday morning. Added to that were more fire engines parked elsewhere along with water trucks, a line of bulldozers on flatbed trucks and scores of people watching …

Fire burns CP house

A Cameron Park house was damaged in a fire on Sept. 15. Cameron Park Fire was dispatched to 3309 Fair Way Drive at 5:57 p.m., Engineer Jeremy Johnson said. Engine 88 was first on scene. The fire consumed about 25 percent of the house, and “got in to the attic, burned across the front of […]

Volcanoville man shot

A man was allegedly shot Monday morning in Volcanoville. Deputies were dispatched to a report of a shooting around 11 a.m., a post on the El Dorado County Sheriff’s blog stated. Upon arrival, deputies found a man with what appeared to be a gunshot wound. He was flown to a Roseville hospital for treatment. His […]

King Fire nearing 19,000 acres burned, only 5% contained

The acreage burned by the King Fire has climbed to 18,544 acres as of Wednesday. It remains at 5 percent containment. Two injuries have been reported, and 2,448 structures (1,632 residences) have been threatened, according to an Inciweb update.

The California Highway Patrol Facebook page originally stated the fire had crossed over Highway 50 near Sly Park, but scanner reports and the CHP Facebook page later reported the fire “burns up to north side of U.S. 50 east of Sly Park,” but not across it Tuesday night.

King Fire grows to more than 2,000 acres

A fire quickly spreading east of Pollock Pines forced El Dorado County families to evacuate their homes on Sunday.

Mandatory evacuations of about 100 began about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Matthew Marques, a volunteer at the evacuation center at the Pollock Pines Community Center.

The King Fire, off of King of the Mountain Road, began at 4:32 p.m. on Sept. 13 and spread to more than 2,000 acres by 4:20 p.m. on Sept. 14, according to the latest update available from Cal Fire as of press time. It was originally listed as 100 acres, with 10 percent containment, but updated later in the afternoon. It was located in the canyon of South Fork American River, northeast of Pollock …

Sheriff’s headquarters: Supes OK land offer

El Dorado County Supervisors voted unanimously Sept. 9 to move forward with the purchase of 30.73 acres of land for a new sheriff’s headquarters facility. Located partly in the Diamond Springs area business Park West and adjoining property, the two parcels were part of the former Diamond-Caldor mill and became the “preferred” option of the […]

County takes first step on future of the courthouse

One day, perhaps as soon as 2020, the old courthouse on Main Street in Placerville will be vacated by the Superior Court of El Dorado County. When that day comes, county and city leaders want “something” ready and able to move right in. The “something” will be the subject of a joint city-county “blue ribbon […]

Frentzen to be sworn in Monday

With the results of the special election certified on Friday, Sept. 12, it was announced that the winner, Shiva Frentzen, will be sworn in on Monday, Sept. 15, as the newest member of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, representing District 2. El Dorado County Recorder-Clerk and Registrar of Voters Bill Schultz will present the certified results […]

District 4 supervisor candidates speak to qualifications, issues

Both candidates for the District 4 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors seat — Michael Ranalli and Howard Penn — spoke at the meeting of the Rural Communities Coalition on Sept. 4. The meeting was held at the Garden Valley Fire Station 51 and was well attended by local residents. Prior to introducing the candidates, […]

Sheriff’s Office to star in reality series on Fox 40

El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini and his office will star in a new reality series premiering Saturday, Sept. 20 on Fox 40.

“Sheriffs … El Dorado County” is “not your typical ‘COPS,’” D’Agostini said at a press conference, “where you only see the crazy stuff,” such as only chasing criminals. “You see the true operation of the Sheriff’s Office.” In a press release, D’Agostini added that he wants “to encourage all citizens of …”

Frentzen wins Dist. 2 supervisor race

In a rout of the other five candidates running for the job, Shiva Frentzen handily won in Tuesday’s election for the District 2 spot on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. Although the results won’t be official until certified by the county Elections Department, Frentzen had the lead with almost 31 percent of the […]

County of El Dorado Special Supervisorial District 2 Election

County of El Dorado Special Supervisorial District II Election Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 Semi Official Election Night Final Report Registered Voters: 22,341                     Cards Cast: 7,677                     34.36% Num. Report Precinct 14               […]

Blue ribbon committee for courthouse

At the Sept. 9 meeting, the Placerville City Council voted unanimously to coordinate with El Dorado County to form a blue ribbon committee of city and county stakeholders to explore potential uses for the historic courthouse on Main Street. The makeup of the committee has not yet been determined, but city and county leaders will […]

EID board gives nod to future bonds

On a 3-2 vote Monday the El Dorado Irrigation District board paved the way to a future discussion of specific bonds two years from now. Approving a “resolution of intention” put the maximum possible bonding for water system improvements at $41.6 million. The biggest project that would seek funding in 2016 is Forebay Dam, now […]

Placerville Police Dept. offers phone app

The Placerville Police Department announced its newly released mobile device app. This is a free app which can be downloaded from your app store. The app offers several modules to include: • Crime mapping • Anonymous crime reporting • Sex offender mapping • School resource officer • Commend police personnel • Volunteer information • Links […]