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My Turn: Presidents and Thanksgiving

Responding to a request from Congress, President George Washington issued our nation’s first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789. Only in the midst of the crucible of civil war, however, did presidential proclamations of Thanksgiving become customary. Every year since 1863 our chief executives have urged Americans to recognize God’s bounty and blessings on the fourth Thursday in […]

California Rambling: Mormon Island

By the end of this winter, it may be another 60 years, or longer, before Mormon Island is seen again. For the past three years, Folsom Lake’s water level has been so low due to the drought that the dismantled Gold Rush-era town’s exposed foundations became one of the most popular attractions in El Dorado […]

The Rural Life: Humans united

My husband and I watched season 1, episode 1 of “The Andy Griffith Show” the other evening. I’m not sure how old actor Ron Howard was at the time, but as Andy Taylor’s son Opie he looked and behaved like the most adorable 5-year-old you’ve ever seen. Opie is upset because Rose, the housekeeper and […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: It’s OK to enjoy being old

The older I become, the more willing I am to admit past mistakes to my children and grandchildren. The aging process makes me more honest. Children listen when you say, “Let me tell you about mistakes I made in my life.” It helps them believe that they can make mistakes and still rebound and move […]

The Weekly Daley: The Syrians are coming, the Syrians are coming …

Jumping on the xenophobic bandwagon, 31 governors at last count said they wouldn’t allow Syrian refugees into their state, no way, no how, no kiddin’. Great for red meat soundbites, not legal from what I’ve read as only the federal government can say whether a refugee can enter the country or not. As I understand it, […]

Publisher’s Ink: Debates expose the talking and walking dead

Fans of “The Walking Dead,” a popular AMC series, are being treated to an exciting sixth season. The non-stop action in this zombie apocalypse mini-series keeps viewers riveted to their seats. On the opposite side of the television spectrum we have the presidential debates where viewers last Saturday night were treated to a scene of the […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Some more things I have learned

The following are additional life lessons I have stumbled across since I last wrote on lessons in November 2014. As I said previously, I hope I have avoided platitudes, empty pieties, self-evident propositions, commencement oratory and anything that sounds like it may have come from the inside of a fortune cookie. But then again … […]

The Balancing Act: A bumpy ride

As El Dorado County salaries and benefits grow at an alarming rate, our Board of Supervisors continues to take taxpayers on a ride to ruination. Salaries and benefits last fiscal year, which ended on June 30, exceeded my estimates by $3 million at $145 million. Just two years prior (June 30, 2013) salaries took $118 million out of the […]

Belltower: The wildlife around us

Mondays I buy a San Francisco Chronicle so I can see what the paper’s outdoor columnist, Tom Stienstra, has to say. Particularly, I’m waiting for him to announce that someone has caught a bonita in San Francisco Bay, which is what confirmed El Nino in 1997. That was the year El Dorado County experienced a […]

Funding in place for State Route 89 work

TAHOE CITY — The Tahoe Transportation District recently announced that it has secured the remaining $4.9 million in funding required for the $33 million State Route 89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project and Meeks Bay Trail Project. The Tahoe City plan at the intersection of state Routes 89 and 28 at the northwest corner of Lake Tahoe will […]

My Turn: Annexing Rescue Fire

Last month the El Dorado Hills Fire Department presented information on why we should annex the Rescue Fire Department. The EDHFD recently annexed the Latrobe Fire Department, claiming better support for EDH fire needs. EDHFD had already contracted to support LFD. However, that annexation will now cost El Dorado Hills taxpayers an unanticipated $600,000 annually to install […]

California Rambling: Stolen valor

On Veterans Day (Wednesday at 11 a.m.) county residents will gather at the Veterans Monument at the El Dorado County Government Center in Placerville to remember the sacrifices of those who served the cause of freedom. They are the men and women who answered the call and served in our nation’s armed forces. Every veteran […]

My Turn: ‘Smart debt’ needed for reinvesting in infrastructure

On Oct. 13 the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors approved a five-year capital improvement plan that includes $119 million to fund many projects that will address needed repairs and replacements in EID’s water, wastewater and hydroelectric systems. In prior decades EID kept rates low by putting off maintenance and rehabilitation across its system. The district […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Are you ‘over the hill’?

When I think about the expression “over the hill” I think about the aging process. When I hear this expression, it usually means he or she is too old now to “get the job done.” The last time I heard the expression was while listening to two men discussing an upcoming fight between two professional […]

The Weekly Daley: Good-bye

Mike Daley (aka “my brother the conservative”) died last week in a Redding hospital. Stage 4 liver cancer, failed kidneys and a perforated colon did him in. He was 72. If you’ve been around this space for any length of time, you’ll know him as the foil for many of my columns over the years. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Obama’s legacy, part 2

Despite the fact that President Obama has achieved major and significant accomplishments, his presidency has been far from perfect. Obama entered the White House believing to his core that opposing parties could always reason together. And he stubbornly kept to this belief, in the face of obdurate and relentless opposition, for almost six years before […]

My Turn: A new direction

One of the best things about this community is our shared devotion to our city and county. It’s really quite unique and it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “Rail” or a “Trail,” a “Growth” or “No-Growther”; we all feel a deep passion for this place […]

The Balancing Act: More sloppy goverment

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Combs, recently (Oct. 8, 2015) wrote a letter to El Dorado Hills Fire Chief Dave Roberts informing Roberts that Board of Supervisors Resolution 064-2014 had “errors of a technical nature that occurred in the adoption of the transfer.” Through this resolution EDH Fire annexed the Latrobe Fire Protection District and […]

Belltower: ‘Jewel City’ is a gem of an art show

The last romantic remnant of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition is the Rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco’s Marina District. Encircling the dome is the frieze, “The Struggle for the Beautiful.” By Bruno Louis Zimm. Separating the three repeated friezes in the attic of the rotunda are copies of the “Guardian […]

Something to think about: Halloween eve

It’s All Hallow’s Eve eve. No one cares about All Hallow’s Day on Nov. 1. Too holy. Holy is out; wicked is in. No, what millions of quivering little minds will take to bed with them tonight is that tomorrow is Halloween — the candy-filled, costume draped, pumpkin glowing culmination of a month-long celebration of […]

The Weekly Daley: And Round 3 goes to…

I was not able to watch Wednesday’s debate live as I had opted to attend a friend’s birthday dinner downtown instead. I did, of course, watch any number of cuts-and-pastes and partial recordings and highlights and lowlights. I was particularly impressed with … Yes, you read that correctly. I like Donald Trump as he is, […]

My Turn: Why the U.S. crude oil export ban needs to go

The Obama administration recently agreed to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for reductions in its nuclear ability. The deal will open the floodgates for Iranian crude oil to flow into the global market. But thanks to 40-year-old legislation, the floodgates guarding American crude are locked tight. Except for a handful of exceptions, it’s […]

Publisher’s Ink: This workshop is just window dressing

Marshall Fields department store on State Street in Chicago was always a favorite destination during the Christmas holidays. People waited in line down the sidewalk for an entire city block just to stroll by the store’s windows. Parents with children in tow gazed in awe at the holiday decorations, including tiny villages with Christmas lights, […]

The Rural Life: Rewiring your brain

Sometimes in life, things intersect in a way that makes you sit up and take notice. This recently happened to me. It started with some spectacular nature programs — the BBC series available on Netflix. My husband and I love them, and have so far zoomed through “Life,” “Life on Earth,” “Nature’s Great Events” and more. We […]

California Rambling: Trick or Treat

I can’t remember us ever pulling a trick if we didn’t get a treat when we were kids. I don’t suppose that happens much today, either. Kids just go to the next house when a neighbor runs out of candy or turns off the lights. Some things about Halloween never change, though much has. Halloween used […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Are you a saint or a sourpuss?

In his book “Joy Is My Compass,” Alan Cohen writes, “The difference between a saint and a sourpuss is that the sourpuss sees his daily interactions as a nuisance, while the saint finds a continuous stream of opportunities to celebrate. One finds intruders, the other angels. At any given moment we have the power to […]

The Weekly Daley: Some stuff you just can’t make up

Ben Carson thinks the U.S. Department of Education should “monitor” radical language and thought on college campuses. And if found, that campus should lose all federal funding. What a great idea. Keep our young people on the straight and narrow, untroubled by conflicting philosophies, super buttoned-down and headed for Wall Street with a Bible under […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Do Republicans eat their young?

This is a rhetorical question but I have to ask: Do Republicans eat their young? Of course they don’t; they are generally nice people who really care about kids and puppies. But of late they have begun to eat their elders. With the rise of the Tea Party a new dynamic has infused the politics […]

My Turn: Déjà vu all over again

Back in the 1980s, when I lived in Crown Village, we learned that apartments were planned for the southwest corner of Francisco Drive and El Dorado Hills Boulevard. Having seen the influx of apartments in Cameron Park, many of us in El Dorado Hills did not want that to happen here. A successful grassroots effort […]

The Balancing Act: Another survey

County executives are at it again. After the Board of Supervisors and chief administrative officer spent about $200,000 last year on a witch hunt and other diversionary tactics that pulled people away from the county’s real problems, now the board has hired another consultant, Laree Kiely, founder of the Kiely group, for another study. The contract must […]

Belltower: A famous flying boat and remote-control lawn rebates

I always enjoy reading Larry Weitzman’s writeup of the Capital Airshow. He always takes great photos as well. This year his mention of the C-5 Super Galaxy, with its wingspan of 223 feet and length of 247 feet, caught my attention. Before visiting my aunt and cousins in Portland, Ore., we stayed overnight in McMinnville […]

The Weekly Daley: A mostly, actual debate

The odds-makers probably got it pretty close to right-on regarding the Democratic debate Tuesday night. Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb, seeming somewhat muddled, didn’t do very well — not horrible, just not very well. Martin O’Malley came out a little weak but gained traction throughout. He did repeat the mantra of having clean electricity by the year […]

Something to think about: The Sweetest Day

The Sweetest Day has been on pre-printed Hallmark calendars for years. Until this August, I had no idea what it was supposed to celebrate or why such a holiday made it to Hallmark calendars when other national days like National Pizza Day, Feb. 9, or National Tequila Day, July 24, did not. After researching this […]

My Turn: Allow teachers to protect their students and themselves

One of the revelations that surfaced from the Umpqua Community College Massacre, the worst in Oregon history, was that the deranged gunman, (I join others in refusing to name the killer giving him desired publicity) carried enough rounds of ammunition to kill dozens more. What stopped him? He decided to kill himself when confronted with […]

My Turn: Tracking America’s suicide

Amidst a plethora of sensational news reports elbowing each other to seize first place in America’s national consciousness, there is a story that has lurked beneath media radar that teaches us much more about the status of our country than school shootings, Russian bombings in Syria, Iranian perfidy, Hillary Clinton’s makeover attempts, and Republican candidates’ […]

My Turn: 17th Amendment and big money in politics

It’s a common refrain these days; “We need to get special interests and big money out of politics!” But of course no one offers solutions that don’t obviously violate the First Amendment. Despite what some may feel, Citizens United was actually a good legal decision for a problem that was never meant to occur on […]

The Rural Life: We is us?

Much has been said about the messages of Pope Francis during his recent visit here. Liberals feel validated by his defense of immigration and his concerns over climate change. Conservatives are gratified by his emphasis on the traditional family and the sanctity of life at every stage. For me, what lingers is what has inspired […]

California Rambling: Auto Shop

The slang used by teenagers 50 years ago mostly described relationships, fashion, insults and cars. Today’s socially connected teenagers have lots of words about relationships, but very few about cars. I discovered this when compiling a list of teen slang (then and now) for my high school reunion. I couldn’t find a single word now […]

The Weekly Daley: Let’s make an ‘art of the deal’

As happens occasionally, I have come into possession of a plain brown envelope and its contents come straight from the NSA, you know the National Security Agency, the people who record all our phone calls and stuff. The following is a recorded phone call between two well-known American politicians who thought they were using “secure phones” […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Happiness comes from within

Diane Dreher’s book “The Tao of Inner Peace” has the following quote: “The way of peace begins with self-acceptance. To seek peace outside is to leave it behind. “Because of the Taoist principle of oneness, when we accept ourselves we naturally accept others. Without self-acceptance, people see life as a constant struggle, making war on […]

My Turn: The Sierra Club has become a front group for its donors’ financial interests

One of America’s most respected environmental nonprofits has traded in one kind of green for another. Some of the Sierra Club’s board members and most important donors have put the almighty dollar before Mother Earth by encouraging the organization to engage in activities that bolster their bottom line. In a new report, the Energy & […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Brickbats and Trolls

It is not surprising that those who write to pick a bone with me outnumber those who agree with me by a wide margin. If I were to only see the online posts and letters to the editor I would feel like a blue dot in a sea of red. Yet people continually ask me […]

Support grows for 51st state

Ten counties have now acquired enough signatures to file declarations, in January, to withdraw their counties from the state of California. Counties include Tehama, Glen, Yuba, Siskiyou, Lake, Modoc, Lassen, Sutter, Trinity and Colusa. Other counties are nearing their goals, such as Placer and Nevada counties. On Saturday, Oct. 10, Jefferson volunteers will be at […]

Thank you from the Cavanaugh family

EDITOR:​ My family and I would like to thank the various communities of El Dorado County involved in helping search for my brother Ed Cavanaugh. The time we spent in your community was a tragic time for us; however, we were heartened by the overwhelmingly positive response of the local community, and we came to […]

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