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Emergency crews prepare for the worst

Screaming patients, contaminated victims and chaos took over Marshall Medical Center last Thursday as emergency crews participated in a drill simulating a mass-casualty incident.

Coordinated with multiple agencies, more than 100 personnel from the medical center, Cal Fire, El Dorado County Fire, El Dorado Hills Fire, Diamond Springs Fire, El Dorado County Sheriff, El Dorado Office of Emergency Services, the Placerville Police Department, El Dorado County Public Health, El Dorado County EMS and Union Mine High School participated in the four-hour event.

Tip a hat to Harry Dunlop, ‘the water guy’

Harry Dunlop died at his home in Diamond Springs on Nov. 5 at the age of 95.

Dunlop was a giant in the water world, a giant when it came to community service and a giant when it came to moral stature.

No newcomer to El Dorado County, Dunlop’s family history went back to the 1880s when his grandfather bought 160 acres on the site where Walmart stands today. Growing pears when the fruit was in its heyday, his father John Dunlop was the county’s assistant agriculture commissioner. the senior Dunlop also assisted in the acquisition of Sly Park. Harry’s mother Antonia was a member of the Forni family, another long-time ranching family.

Bank robbery suspect sought

El Dorado County sheriff’s detectives need the public’s help to identify a man who robbed an El Dorado Savings Bank Friday evening

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a bank robbery on Pleasant Valley Road in Diamond Springs. According to sheriff’s officials, the suspect reportedly fled the scene on foot. He was last seen running east on Pleasant Valley Road.

Remains found in Folsom Lake

A mother and son found a human skull in the Browns Ravine/Hobie Cove area of Folsom Lake Thursday evening.

El Dorado County sheriff’s investigators responded to the scene.

“(Investigators) are thinking that the body could be 10 to 15 years old (in the water, not the person’s age). The victim could have drowned from a boat accident … suicide, a missing person. It could be a number of things,” El Dorado County sheriff’s Lt. Tom Murdoch told the Mountain Democrat.

Vet helps keep PT boats afloat, during and after war

“Give me a fast ship, for I intend to go in harm’s way.” — John Paul Jones

At 93 and still full of spunk, Rolf Bruckner sipped his whiskey seven and recalled a life that has included serving in both World War II and Korea, helping Navy servicemen earn college degrees and participating in the restoration of a PT boat to mint condition — an accomplishment he still relishes to this day.

One of those selected to be honored at local Veterans Day events this past Wednesday, Bruckner was born in Hamburg, Germany. Still a toddler, he and his family immigrated to the United States in 1924 where they settled in New Jersey.

Veteran of the Year: Joe Whiten gives back to vets on the green

El Dorado Hills resident and U.S. Army Reserve veteran Joe Whiten combined his passions for golf and helping veterans to create the Serrano Salute to Valor Golf Tournament that in the past two years has raised nearly $52,000 for military veterans.

For what he has done to help veterans, Whiten will be named El Dorado County Veteran of the Year today at Veterans Day ceremonies held at 11 a.m. at the El Dorado County Veterans Monument, 360 Fair Lane in Placerville.

Meyers arrested again

El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Meyers was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol Thursday afternoon, his second DUI arrest in five months.

California Highway Patrol officials report that at approximately 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 5 Meyers was driving a white 2013 Dodge Ram westbound on Green Valley Road at Mortara Circle when the vehicle drifted off the roadway and crashed into a large utility box. No injuries were reported.

Lopsided Measure E vote favors open space

EL DORADO HILLS — More than 90 percent of Measure E voters sent a loud message to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Tuesday — deny Parker Development Company’s pending application asking to rezone the former Executive Golf Course from its current open space-recreation designation to residential housing and commercial.

Thirty-six percent — 8,024 of the 22,240 registered voters within the El Dorado Hills Community Services District boundaries — cast their vote with nearly 91 percent saying no to the rezone and 9 percent voting yes, according to El Dorado County Elections’ semi-official report.

Two killed in early morning, three-car collision

Two teenagers were killed in a multiple-vehicle collision on Highway 49, two miles South of China Hill, Tuesday morning. At about 6:05 a.m. the driver of a blue Ford Focus, 18-year-old Gabriella Briceno of El Dorado, apparently lost control on northbound Highway 49, crossed into the southbound lane and side-swiped a Toyota Camry, according to […]

Exec. honored for helping those who serve

“In short — integrity. It takes great integrity to accommodate a maintenance manager who has to leave often and usually on short notice,” said U.S. Army Sgt. David Streetman on why he nominated his boss Greg Kasner for the Patriot Award.

Streetman said he’s already missed six weeks of work this year. On Oct. 26 he, along with two other military members, showed appreciation for all the support he’s received by presenting Ponte Palmero Executive Director Kasner with the prestigious Patriot Award …

Teal pumpkins equal safe candy

For trick-or-treaters who might do a double-take Halloween night to see painted teal pumpkins, the pumpkins aren’t a trick but a reassuring sign safe treats are ahead. The organization Food Allergy Research & Education launched the Teal Pumpkin Project campaign last year to raise awareness of food allergies during the Halloween season. To date 100,000 […]

Christmas parade applications due soon

The time is now to get your entries in for the hottest cool-weather event of the season, the Hangtown Christmas Parade that celebrates the diverse and enchanting community with a theme this year of Cartoons and Christmas.

That leaves the imagination free to run wild as floats, animals and other entries wind from Broadway down Main Street, Placerville, in the much anticipated annual parade. Deadline for entries into the 37th Hangtown Christmas Parade is Nov. 16 — no late entries are accepted.

Apple juice recalled

Editor’s note: The juice voluntary recalled is only High Hill Ranch apple juice. Barsotti’s juice is not involved in the recall or linked to any illness, and is being offered at High Hill Ranch as a substitute while ranch owners confirm the safety of their own product.

High Hill Ranch in Camino has voluntarily recalled its apple juice after receiving information that several ranch visitors became ill due to E. coli bacteria.

Lori Warden hangs up fishing pole (for a bit) after landing top Kiwanis post

Lori and Daryl Warden of Placerville won’t be taking their usual early autumn trip to West Yellowstone this year to go fishing for trophy rainbows and brown trout, something they’ve enjoyed doing for the past 20 years.

That’s because Lori has been getting her feet wet in an entirely different pool, having just been sworn in as lieutenant governor of the Kiwanis Club’s Division 44. And with 16 Kiwanis clubs that must be overseen and mentored by Lori over the next year, the fish will have to wait.

“As lieutenant governor I am required to visit all 16 clubs at least three times a year, so if you do the math …” said Lori, taking a rare moment of rest to sit on the Wardens’ patio that includes not only a swimming pool but a full outdoor fireplace. “But I knew what the commitment meant when I signed up.”

Dirt flies at The Crossings

Gold-painted shovels filled the air with dirt as a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday to signal that Phase 1 of The Crossings at El Dorado will soon get under way. Located on Missouri Flat Road next to the new Social Security building, developer Leonard Grado of Palos Verdes Properties welcomed dignitaries, business leaders, government officials […]

EID directors OK $124 million capital improvement plan

It took five motions and five different votes to pass it, but the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors finally approved a new five-year capital improvement plan at its Oct. 13 meeting.

With everyone wanting to get in on the act, the meeting featured testy exchanges between board members and the public, as well as admonishment ranging from the need for fiscal responsibility to accusations of petty foolishness.

Ultimately it ended with a 3-2 vote for a the 2016-20 CIP. That plan includes $119 million for all the expenditures staff recommended plus $5 million to be used toward power mitigation projects, with those projects yet to be defined.

Cadet for a day: CHP Academy promotes a ‘never quit’ attitude

The California Highway Patrol Media Boot Camp day began as the sun came up over the horizon. The fall air was crisp, but I had a feeling we were about to get warm.

“Get in line and eyes forward; it’s PT time!” said Sgt. Wayne Repard, as the media reps marched to the gym to change into our PT shirts.

“You have 10 seconds to change and get back here. Let’s move,” added Sgt. Heather Mangus, who would be one of our instructors for the physical training session.

We proceeded to go through the motions — jumping jacks, mountain climbers, you name it, with no lack of yelling. Then it was a run around the track and obstacle course challenge. What a workout.

Suspect nabbed at McD’s

Placerville police officers arrested a 21-year-old man who allegedly committed a smash-and-grab burglary at the Main Street 76 gas station early Monday morning.

Officers responded to a 4:45 a.m. call after a station employee discovered the business’ glass door broken and a display case ransacked. Stolen items included cartons of cigarettes, knives and other merchandise, according to PPD officials.

‘Swarm’ makes much-needed repairs to senior’s home

Faith Episcopal Church volunteers “swarmed” over a Cameron Park home earlier this month, accomplishing safety repairs, general home improvement projects and cleanup projects for a deeply grateful senior citizen.

She asked to remain anonymous, but popped out the back door throughout the day to thank the volunteers “from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “There’s no way I could have done these things myself.”

Vehicles shine at Niello Concours

EL DORADO HILLS — From humble beginnings, the Niello Concours has grown up and features plenty of everything — pre-war classics from Packard, Lincoln and Cadillac, half a dozen or so 1950s and ’60s muscle cars, more than two dozen Ferraris from a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE to a 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta and more than a dozen De Tomaso Pantaras. There was even a 1955 Chris Craft Capri wooden speed boat owned by Michael Stafford of Placerville featured this past Sunday.

25 years dedicated to students

On Sept. 25 Lake Forest Elementary held a school-wide parade and rally to mark 25 years to the day the school opened. Students marched with “Happy Birthday” class banners across the outdoor stage and black top as era music dating back to 1990 played. “We wanted it to be a kid-based event and for students […]

Teen charged with murdering family

Nolan Buchanan, 16, of Benicia was arrested on Oct. 1 and charged with murder for allegedly killing his family — his father Adam Buchanan, 38, Adam’s fiancée Molly McAfee, 37, and their son Gavin Buchanan, 8.

On Sept. 13, a 10-acre wild-land fire burned surrounding property and the Buchanan family cabin in El Dorado County. Sheriff’s deputies and Cal Fire responded to the scene, discovering the possible remains of two human bodies located in the burnt residence at 4646 Highway 193 in Greenwood. An arson task force appointed by the DA and El Dorado Sheriff’s officials began an arson/homicide investigation.

Boeing B-17 arrives in style

In preparation for the California Capital Airshow that runs from Oct. 2-4, this weekend, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) flew in its Boeing B-17G, landing at Mather Airport on Monday. Named Sentimental Journey, it is perhaps the most authentic and pristine B-17 flying in the world, especially with its gleaming, mirror-finished, polished aluminum fuselage. Now in […]

Violent threats close child care centers

CAMERON PARK —Malicious threats from a male caller prompted child care centers to close their doors Monday and sent parents scrambling to protect and find alternative care for their children. According to El Dorado County sheriff’s officials, a man called different preschools and threatened to “kill and rape the teachers and children.” Over the course of […]

King Fire suspect’s trial delayed

The trial for the man suspected of starting 2014’s devastating King Fire will likely start next summer.

Wayne Allen Huntsman appeared in El Dorado County Superior Court Friday. In Judge Kenneth Melikian’s courtroom, new dates for upcoming hearings were set due to a change in representation. Huntsman’s previous attorney retired and Public Defender Terry Monterosa has taken over the case.

Monterosa said she’s “starting from scratch.”

“It’s a huge case with thousands of pages to go over,” she explained.

Hotel rising from the ashes?

It’s missing a few feathers, but a phoenix in the form of an upscale hotel appears to be trying to rise from the ashes at Point View Drive and Highway 50 in Placerville.

Because of two resolutions passed by the City Council Tuesday, developers of a Hampton Inn and Suites appear poised to begin building a 112-room hotel at the site. The property years ago was bulldozed by others who planned to bring a hotel, convenience store and gas station there, but that project went down in flames fueled by a diving economy, leaving behind what Tuesday evening was referred to as a “monolith,” an unsightly concrete foundation left over like a bad dream.

EDH woman shot dead in Carmichael

An El Dorado Hills woman died after an accidental shooting in a Carmichael apartment Saturday.

Joslynn Ledezma Sovenski, 18, went to Oak Ridge High School, graduated from Ponderosa High School and, according to her Facebook profile, worked at Togo’s in Cameron Park. Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives arrested 22-year-old Kenyatta Brown on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter; he’s being held at the Sacramento County Jail and is currently ineligible for bail.

“It is believed that Brown and the victim had no pre-existing relationship, but rather ended up together at the apartment as a result of mutual acquaintances who were also there,” sheriff’s officials reported. “Brown is believed to have been negligently handling a firearm in his possession, at which time he accidentally discharged it, mortally wounding the victim.”

Station 49 upgrades keep the water out

Construction crews continue to repair water damage done to the 15-year-old Diamond Springs Fire Station 49.

“Over the last year or two, large storms created water intrusion through the windows. The original stucco was deficient, causing the water to pool between the stucco and siding,” explained Fire Chief Robert Combs. “We removed the sheet rock to determine the problem and assess the damage.”

The assessment concluded that the building needed an overhaul, at a cost of about $310,000. Peterson Development in Roseville was the low bidder and architect David Irons, who has past experience with Station 49, also joined the reconstruction team.

Deadly fire? Home, wildland confirmed destroyed

A residence and wildland burned near the 4600 block of Highway 193 in Greenwood mid-morning Sunday and the Mountain Democrat has received unconfirmed reports that at least one person died.

Neither El Dorado County sheriff’s officials or fire officials have made statements regarding the possible fatality (or fatalities).

Sheriff’s Lt. Tom Murdoch did confirm that deputies were called in to assist the Garden Valley Fire Department for a wildland fire at about 11 a.m. Sunday.

Smoked in: Butte Fire leaves El Dorado County in a haze

Though the Butte Fire has not burned one inch of land in El Dorado County, its effecting everyone who lives here. Thick smoke has replaced blue sky, forcing sporting event cancellation and limiting visibility.

And while many opted out of outdoor activities these last few days, smoke didn’t completely ruin everyone’s weekend.

Saturday, more than 200 people participated in Marshall Medical Center’s Women’s Health Expo in El Dorado Hills Town Center. Ladies, gents, wenches and thieves took over Cameron Park Lake for the Renaissance Tudor Fayre both Saturday and Sunday. Those touched by cancer participated in the Relay for Life at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville this weekend as well.

‘Spidey senses’ catch fugitive

Placerville resident and local real estate agent Jennifer Teie helped catch a wanted fugitive after the suspect showed up at one of her residential listings Wednesday.

The Allison James Estates and Homes agent arrived at 1701 Granite Hill Road in Placerville at 10:45 a.m. to find a man and a woman waiting to view the $430,000 newly renovated home, supposedly for rental purposes. The man, later identified as Colin Gregory Bowers, 29, asked if she had any other listings. Teie said she mentioned a property in Shingle Springs for $649,900 and the couple agreed to follow her there.

“As I got to the freeway, I recalled a bulletin that EDCAR sent out recently regarding a guy that may have had ill intentions …

Demo begins to revive Poor Red’s

EL DORADO — Renovation has begun on the historical Poor Red’s building to expand the dinning room area, add a new kitchen and patio seating and a new parking structure and complete ADA improvements.

Dust filled the air Tuesday morning as crews and heavy equipment tore down the structure attached to the rear of the original stone building, which, if you look closely at enough, has some pick marks from its humble beginnings.

Ready or not: Harvest time is here

If you thought spring came a little earlier than usual this year, you aren’t alone.

El Dorado County’s crops have come in early, and now many growers are ahead of the normal harvest schedule.

Boa Vista manager Brad Visman said they started harvesting certain crops seven to 10 days ahead of schedule.

“We just finished harvesting Gala apples and will harvest Golden Delicious next week,” he said when the Mountain Democrat stopped by in late August. “Jonagold will be harvested today or tomorrow.”

Can you spare $2.77? Campaign helps finish new Boys and Girls Club

It was moving day — earth moving day, that is — for the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County Western Slope, as work on the new facility in Placerville gets under way.

To be built on Green Valley Road near Mallard Lane, signs of construction were everywhere from the huge ducts lining the top of the adjoining hill to the bulldozers below, scooping up dirt in one place and packing it elsewhere.

“They have been moving dirt around for three weeks,” said Sean McCartney, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club. “Once we have power, we will put up a webcam so people can watch our progress.”

Drug investigation clouds Union Mine

El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a 17-year-old boy who was allegedly selling Adderall on the Union Mine High School campus.

The arrest announcement came shortly after officials acknowledged drug rumors during a Monday press conference focused on the conditions of two junior varsity football players who collapsed after Friday’s home game.

New cancer center elevates care

Wednesday evening Marshall Medical Center staff, patients and community leaders gathered to celebrate the Cameron Park campus’ new 8,500-square-foot cancer center where patients may now receive previously off-site cancer treatments and services in one consolidated location.

“This center marks a vast improvement in convenience for our patients,” said hospital spokesperson Carrie Poggio, including access to medical appointments, radiation treatment, lab work, imaging and infusions.

Donors ‘Stuff the Truck’ with toys

Footballs, dolls and other toys filled Toys for Tots boxes at a “Stuff The Truck” event held Sunday at Placerville’s Walmart. Sue Henderson, a local high school teacher who works with at-risk students, and her husband Hollis were on scene to coordinate the event, which included a visit from Safety Pup and hot dogs provided by […]

Stadium Club destroyed

The Stadium Club bar, a favorite dive among locals, fell victim to a devastating fire that started around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 25. The crew at El Dorado County Fire Station 26 responded to the fire.

Its cause is currently under investigation. No injuries were reported.

“It was a good bar; it was always full. Our customers were wonderful,” said Jackie Pottage, owner of the Stadium Club, told the Mountain Democrat over the phone. “We have been open for 11 years and I couldn’t have been happier with the people of Placerville.”

23-year project takes flight

Aerospace engineer John McPherson recently got his hand-built airplane certified by the FAA. July 29 was the first time he landed it at the Placerville Airport to back it into the hangar that had previously housed his and Donna McPherson’s Cessna 182 since 1996.

The bright yellow-and-green wood-and-fabric airplane is based on a 1928 design by Bernard H. Pietenpol that was first published in Mechanics Illustrated in about 1930.

K-9 deputies get new gear

Eros and Barkus, the two K-9 German shepherds assigned to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, got slick, custom, K-9 ballistic (or protective) vests that are both bulletproof and stab-proof thanks to generous donations from the Saint Bernard Club of Greater San Jose and the Hangtown Kennel Club.

Made by Project Paws Alive, both vests came in “Ranger” green and have their names and Hangtown logo embroidered into the fabric. Each vest costs $1,400.

Wildfire destroys homes, vehicles

GARDEN VALLEY — Three mobile homes, one occupied and two empty, two sheds and 10 vehicles were destroyed in a 3-acre fire that broke out at 11:45 a.m. Monday on Mt. Murphy Road.

Resources included 15 engines, four water tenders, two fire crews, one bulldozer, two helicopters and and air tankers. Fire crews and emergency officials from Georgetown, Garden Valley, El Dorado County, El Dorado Hills, Rescue, Diamond Springs, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the blaze.

Animal lovers needed: Shelter’s kitty crowd, especially older kitties, wants homes

Even Bullet the one-eyed tabby cat appears pleased as all get-out at El Dorado County Animal Services these days, flipping and flopping on the front counter as he says hello to visitors.

The animal shelter at 6435 Capitol Ave. in Diamond Springs that opened its doors almost a year ago has proved a great fit for critters and caretakers alike. It’s a long way from being the “pound” anymore.

“They say, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ and that’s been true for us,” said Henry Brzezinski, chief of El Dorado County Animal Services. “We’ve had people bringing in the animals, especially kittens right now — but then again, we’ve had more people coming here wanting to adopt.”

‘Jeffersons’ explain why they want their own state

Sheriff John D’Agostini as the first speaker on behalf of, if not directly for, the State of Jefferson.

“It is only an issue of representation,” D’Agostini began. “Our representatives have no voice in (state government). We have two representatives, and Los Angeles County has 22. How do we fix the issue of rural representation? We need to ask to be at the table.”

Later, citing a familiar maxim introduced to supervisors years ago by former District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago, he got a laugh noting, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Falling tree kills firefighter

U.S. Forest Service firefighter Michael Hallenbeck, 21, of Shingle Springs died Saturday afternoon when he was struck by a falling tree while fighting a wildfire just south of Echo Summit.

Hallenbeck was a member of the Organized Crew 36 on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

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