Connecting new generations to the land, the third annual Wakamatsu Farm Festival reached out to new audiences on May 18 by celebrating all the diverse groups that have populated the historic site.
Acquired by the American River Conservancy in 2010, the 272 acre Gold Hill Ranch is notable for the many groups who have called it home. In the past, the focus was on its use as the first permanent Japanese settlement in North America. However, according to Michael Dotson, Director of Development and Communications for the American River Conservancy, this year’s festival was designed to be different.
“Our vision is to educate people on the diverse cultures in the area to bring in a wider audience and connect them to the land,” he said.
In line with that goal, spread out over the ranch were four venues reflecting the four main groups that lived on and drew their sustenance from the land. Trooping from staging area to staging area on Saturday were an estimated 700 people who traveled by foot, in buggies and covered wagons, or in golf carts across the grass and oak-studded landscape to sample the culture of each group.
The venue pertaining to the earliest residents went to the Miwok and Nisenan Indians …
The right guy in the right place at the right time,” is how Mark Divittorio was informally described by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14. The veteran kayaker was awarded a hero’s plaque by the board for his rescue of a Livermore family from the American River near Kyburz on April 4.
Divittorio described his role in the dramatic events in a bit …
About two dozen court employees stood outside the Main Street Courthouse late Tuesday afternoon, picketing to raise awareness of their impending pay cuts.
The employees face between 8 and 18.4 percent pay cuts, depending on location and seniority, said James Britton, a representative of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Stationary Engineers Local 39, or up to a $683 pay cut each month. This includes the courts no longer paying 7 percent into employee retirement funds.
Despite the warnings that had been issued in prior audit reports for the El Dorado County Fire Protection District (EDCFPD) and complaints raised by former board member Mike Dennis, it apparently wasn’t until late 2011 that Fire Chief Bruce Lacher and the fire board understood that there was a serious problem with the district’s finances.
Lucas Shepard, who was president of the firefighters union at the time, said Chief Lacher informed them that because of a budget shortfall of $500,000, they needed concessions from the union. Shepard said they returned with a package that included a pay cut along with members paying a part of their retirement and health benefits.
He said Lacher later asked for additional concessions because the deficit was worse than first thought. It was then that Shepard and other union members began looking into the budget in more detail and learned the extent of the district’s fiscal deficit. He said what angered them most was finding out that while …
It was a Raggedy Ann Luncheon on Saturday as the Ladies Society of St. Patrick Church gathered for their annual event.
Susan Meyer, who coordinated this year’s event, said it helps raise money to support different church projects. Two hundred tickets were sold with the proceeds going towards whatever projects the parish needs most. Past projects included updating the kitchen and repairing the roof.
Every year the Ladies Society picks a different theme for the luncheon. In past years it was hats, antique aprons and Cinco de Mayo. This year it was Raggedy Ann and Andy. On each table was a fun table setting featuring Raggedy dolls along with tea sets and other toys. Festooned around the room were lots and lots more …
There’s a definite slump to Deena Court in the Deer Crossing subdivision of Placerville. The center of the street where the water mains are has sunk 8 inches. Of the five houses on the cul-de-sac, four of them have had to replace water regulators due to water pressure in excess of 100 pounds per square inch. One home also sustained damage due to flooding of water lines into the house. There are lumps and ruts in the asphalt, alligator cracks everywhere, loose gravel and failed pavement.
Placerville has many substandard streets, but Deena Court is in a subdivision that is only 23 years old. Deena Court resident Richard Evans has lived on the street since 2002 and he has been trying for a year to get the city to repair it.
A Cal Fire hand crew walked through a dry field when a fire sprang up, separating the groups in two. One was led by a Cal Fire captain, the only non-inmate of the group; the other group was led by the “swamper,” the second-in-command. Both had to ensure that their groups were able to get into their fireproof shelters, quickly communicating so that everyone would survive.
Each team leader called out names, with a response of “I’m OK” from that person. After the entire group was accounted for, both the captain, Tim Swanson, and the inmate swamper radioed in Capt. Art …
“It’s helped me so much, to keep that connection,” said Russell Mote, father of Staff Sgt. Sky Mote, 27, who was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2012, just one day after he was awarded the Navy Marine Commendation Medal for combat heroism.
The connection Russell Mote values is the tie between his family and Sky’s Special Operations teammates, a connection nurtured by the MARSOC Foundation (Marines Corps Special Operations Command).
“Sky was in Special Operations,” said Mote, “and the public is not supposed to know who they are or what they do, so we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to connect with them, but the MARSOC Foundation found a way. We didn’t need financial support, but we did need that …
At about 10 p.m. on May 15, 1910, Courthouse janitor Roy Taylor noticed something was wrong with the building. Outside, passersby saw smoke and flames. Attorney Fred Irwin saw the flames from his backyard. A fire had started in the basement of a rear wooden building of the Courthouse used as a storage and wood room.
The conflagration claimed the Courthouse and a not insignificant portion of downtown, the Mountain Democrat reported at the time. Apart from El Dorado County Superior Court Judge N.D. Arnot, the Courthouse housed 12 jail cells, the county Assessor’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and County Clerk’s Office; documents held by the county saw heavy losses.
Seeking to accomplish yet another feat with his feet, Matt “the walker” Livermanne, 36, is trudging his way towards a goal of walking all the way from San Diego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska: A trip of 2,556 miles.
Stopping long enough in El Dorado County to tell his story, Livermanne said he left San Diego a month ago and has already covered 680 miles. If he can reach his goal of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in 145 days, he will earn a $100,000 prize from Pepsi.
“But I’m not walking for the prize,” he said, “but to see this route.”
Claiming, with tongue in cheek, that he is, “a professional street-walker,” Livermanne says he has already earned a world record by walking 10,000 miles over 19 months. In 2010 he said he walked from Los Angeles …
A $5 million construction bid was let for Flume 41 by the El Dorado Irrigation District. The board voted unanimously April 22 to approve the nearly $5.8 million project.
Flume 41 is a 697-foot-long deteriorated wooden flume resting 452 feet of stacked rock installed in 1876. The rest of the flume is on less secure individual footings.
A tour group from out-of-town got a snapshot history of Placerville last Friday.
Sponsored by the El Dorado County Historical Society, the tour was led by Don Uelmen and Debbie Hunger Lightfoot. Dressed in period costumes, the duo took a group of 28 members from the Daytona Ski and Travel Club on a quick 60-minute tour of the long and colorful history of downtown Placerville.
Starting at the elegant Cary House Hotel, where many of the tour group were staying, Uelmen noted at one time it housed the Wells Fargo Office and was a stage stop.
BROWNS RAVINE — Age and experience overcame youth and enthusiasm at the Camellia Cup on Folsom Lake on April 20, as 87-year-old George Koch of Carmichael won the 47th running of the regatta, sailing his J22, Poco A Poco in breezes that fluctuated up to 14 knots.
Koch was the oldest skipper in the race, which also listed among its 43 captains 7-year-old Katie Deutsch of El Dorado Hills, who sailed Four Sirens, a Santana 20.
The win was Koch’s second during the long running of the Camellia Cup; he last won it in 2006. He admitted he didn’t think he’d win, considering that boats in two smaller classes were winning all their races, but the Camellia Cup is awarded to the skipper who has done the best overall …
As the engine fired up, it was impossible not to smile. We were embarking on a journey to the sky. For 30 minutes, we were passengers aboard the B-17 “Memphis Belle,” and this weekend, the public will have the same opportunity.
The same bomber used to film the 1990 movie will be available for public flights and tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 27-28 at the Mather Field Airport (Atlantic Aviation FBO, 10510 Superfortress Ave.) during the Liberty Foundation’s 2013 Salute to Veterans tour. It’s an experience unmatched by today’s standards, one very few still alive get to recall.
While we climbed the skies above Rancho Cordova, Folsom and Sacramento, there was a sense of sobriety amongst the media buckled in as we realized 10 men typically younger …
The El Dorado County 4-H Youth Development Program celebrated its centennial year in California on April 13 with Home Arts Day.
On tap were competitions, demonstrations and plenty of learning activities for the 1,000 people expected to attend.
El Dorado County 4-H offers projects in 38 different areas, but Saturday’s event focused on Home Arts with entries including photography, robotics, fiber arts, cake decorating and art.
To encourage youths to visit all the different activity booths, each child received a passport with his or her photo. Every time they visited a 4-H activity, their passports were stamped.
Just after 9 a.m. on April 17, officers were beginning to take inventory at Poor Red’s Bar-B-Q in El Dorado after serving a search warrant. Elsewhere, a search warrant on the owners’ house was being served, with the owners having been arrested earlier in the morning.
“It’s an alleged underground economy case,” Franchise Tax Board spokesman John Barrett said, watching FTB agents coming in and out of the bar. “They owe several years of tax returns, both personal and business.” He noted they had also been paying employees in cash to avoid taxes.
Placerville audiologist L. Mark Payne and his wife Alison are looking forward to their return to the safety and “sleepiness” of Placerville. Alison Payne was running the Boston Marathon on April 15 and Mark was waiting for her at the finish line, camera in hand, when two explosions went off.
“All the people were cheering the finishers and the finishers were waving to us in the crowd when the deafening explosions went off and turned the whole event into a nightmare,” wrote Mark Payne in an e-mail to his friend and tennis buddy, Bill Schultz.
Payne reported that Alison was about five minutes behind her usual marathon pace and about a half mile from the finish line.
It was shoot ‘em up time Friday as a posse of cowboys and one cowgirl gathered at the El Dorado Rod and Gun Club for a Cowboy Match that featured plenty of fancy shooting and good-natured jibes.
All decked out in their favorite western duds, sporting holsters and guns replicated from the 1800s, and using aliases to protect the innocent, the posse went through six different scenarios testing their time and accuracy using pistols, rifles and shotguns.
Keeping everyone in line were the scorekeepers who carried around a fake stick of dynamite as a badge of honor.
Originating in Southern California in the early 1980s, cowboy matches have become an increasingly popular …
A man accused of running over his landlord with an ATV was found guilty after a short trial.
The jury deliberated through lunch on April 9 in the case where Tom Hazelwood ran down his landlord, Jack Podsedly, with Podsedly’s ATV trike, deputy district attorney Trish Kelliher said. The jury returned around 1:30 p.m. with a verdict.
Hazelwood, after the April 2-4 trial, was found guilty of felony assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful taking of a vehicle, vandalism and misdemeanor battery. He faces a five-year, four-month state prison sentence, Kelliher said.
Saturday, April 6, George F. Duffey Park was the site of a huge community collaboration as members of the Placerville Kiwanis Club, Kiwanis Key Club, Kiwanis Aktion Club, Kiwanis Builders Club, members of Placerville City Council, city staff and neighbors of the park banded together to ready it for opening.
After more than 20 years in the making, the newest city park was planted, weeded and landscaped, all in one day.
“We had about 50-60 folks who planted 15 trees and 60 plants,” said Community Services Director Steve Youel. “Dennis Look Landscaping was there, Western Sign installed the signs, and Charlie Wigglesworth made the best hot dogs in the world.”