Filing an agenda item on the Wednesday before being sworn in Monday, Dec. 9, newly elected El Dorado Irrigation District Director Greg Prada sought a four-month delay in the 5 percent rate hike scheduled Jan. 1.
He lost that motion on a 3-2 vote, attracting only Director Alan Day, who was given the president’s gavel earlier in the meeting.
Newly installed Director Dr. Dale Coco voted against Prada’s motion, though he said his goal was to freeze rate hikes or at least confine them to inflation adjustments. But Coco said a rate freeze “cannot be done retrospectively,” but must be done “prospectively.”
Brook Warner walked into a local home improvement store to check out flooring. She walked out with a camera crew and “Yard Crashers” host Matt Blashaw.
This Cameron Park resident hit the yard makeover lottery.
“You get a little emotional about things you’re not too proud of,” Warner said, explaining that she teared up when Blashaw asked about her backyard.
That’s all licensed contractor Blashaw needed.
“Any woman who cries over her yard touches my heartstrings,” he said. “I could feel that she wanted a (nice) backyard so …
Saturday is the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan.
It was a day of treachery that ended with 2,403 Americans killed, 1,178 wounded, 21 ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet either damaged or sunk, and the Casus belli that launched the United States into World War II.
Many survivors of that day have since died, but Bill Howell, 89, of Diamond Springs, is still with us.
The last, he says, of the Pearl Harbor survivors in El Dorado County.
Howell said he had a bird’s-eye view of the attack as he was aboard the USS Phoenix, a light cruiser moored at Pearl Harbor. Only 17 at the time and trained as a helmsman, he was also …
After seven years of planning, fundraising and watching their beloved community of canine friends grow from pups to middle age, “grey in their muzzle” companions, the El Dorado Dog Owners Guild can finally celebrate an off leash dog park in Cameron Park, the first on the western slope of El Dorado County.
Ground broke Nov. 11 and a fence was installed later that week on the half-acre site in Hacienda Park, located at the northeast corner of Cameron Park Drive and Hacienda Drive.
“Thank you to Golden State Fence that gave us such a fabulous deal with superior products and an amazingly efficient work crew,” said …
The day after Thanksgiving means two things: Black Friday, with shoppers descending en masse on stores; and the choosing, cutting and taking home of a Christmas tree.
Greg Fluckey literally sells trees out of his backyard on Poverty Hill Drive, next to Gold Bug Park. “We don’t draw like Apple Hill,” he said of his Poverty Hill Tree Farm, “but this is typically one of the busiest weekends.” He was looking forward to between 20 and 30 customers that day.
No one had yet arrived to claim a tree that day, but the day was still quite young — Darcie Abbott, Greg’s girlfriend, was still putting out wreaths …
“You don’t know how many people you touch,” El Dorado Hills Deputy Chief Jim O’Camb said recently as he sat back in his office chair and reflected on his nearly 35-year fire service career.
He recalled a man stopping him in the grocery store once to thank O’Camb for saving the man’s daughter. He smiled as he remembered the little boy who managed to get himself trapped in a closet. O’Camb and a fellow firefighter dismantled the door, got the shaken youngster out and then put the door back together.
The friendships — O’Camb said he will always be grateful for the people he has met throughout the years. And even though retirement looms (a month away) he won’t forget what …
The conflict in Syria may not be in the news as much today, but the faces of refugees who have fled for their lives remain fresh in the mind of Somerset resident Terri Crisp, 57.
A longtime employee and volunteer with different animal welfare organizations, Crisp has been making trips to Iraq since 2005 on behalf of a program called Operation Baghdad Pups sponsored by the SPCA International (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
A program that attracted criticism last year after it was discovered that most of the money donated to the program went to a fundraising agency, Operation Baghdad Pups reunites cats and dogs …
Docents at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, on Highway 49 in Coloma, have been working away on a special holiday treat for the public this year, sharing a treasure trove of historical homes in the tiny community where gold was discovered in 1848.
Many of the wooden structures, each with a fascinating story to tell, are not open to the public normally, but this special Historic Holiday Houses tour will swing the doors wide on 13 homes that dot the town.
“It will be kind of like a treasure hunt, complete with maps to all the houses,” said park volunteer Jennifer Steward, who broached the idea of the holiday tour with park officials and got the go-ahead for the venture.
The Historic Holiday Houses tour will be on one day only …
Two months ago, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved a temporary cash bailout for five of the eight rural fire protection districts.
But with the fiscal fix came an admonishment that the districts needed to come up with a long-term solution to their budget problems.
One of those agencies approved for funding was the Rescue Fire Protection District.
A small district, RFPD serves around 3,000 residents on a budget of $1.4 million.
Like some long-deserted city, the shoreline of the American River near Salmon Falls is littered here and there with the scattered remains of an old diversion dam and ditches.
And though neglected, the dam hasn’t been forgotten. For visiting it recently were docents from the Folsom Powerhouse along with Jenifer Padgett, an associate state archaeologist with the state Department of Parks and Recreation.
Picking their way through the rocks and cockleburs, they walked up the South Fork of the American River to what was left of the old Natoma Water and Mining Co. Diversion Dam.
On the chilly morning of Nov. 15, Hangtown Haven in Placerville was being broken down. Personnel effects packed, tents taken down and residents shipped off to new destinations with tears and an air of quiet, somber optimism. On Tuesday, there had been 24 residents. Friday had about 20. Saturday would have zero.
Tom Carney, a volunteer helping to take the upper Broadway camp apart, said that the “big stuff” — like one of the offices on site — could stay for a few months, but residents and whatever they owned had to be out by the end of the day …
The trial of a former director of nurses at a skilled care facility accused of elder abuse ended in a mistrial after only a few hours of deliberation.
At about 11:20 a.m., the jury was let out for deliberations. At 3:40 p.m., they returned to court. The jury foreman announced that there was a 9-3 split, and, after Judge Daniel B. Proud polled each juror, it was unanimous that there was no hope for a change to a unanimous verdict. Nine were in favor of acquittal, three were in favor of a guilty verdict, the foreman said.
Proud released the jury, ending the trial. A hearing to announce whether the Attorney General’s Office intends to continue to pursue or to dismiss the charge will be held Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 2.
“Well, the jury almost got it all right,” Defense attorney Patrick Hanly said as he left the Courthouse.
With the goal of building a permanent facility, board members, supporters and staff of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County Western Slope gathered last Friday night to formally launch a building campaign.
Already 40 percent of the way toward their goal, to date $1 million of the needed $2.5 million has been raised.
Currently located in the Armory where it’s been for the past 14 years, Judy Morris, immediate past president of the club, said they have outgrown the site …
The trial of a former director of nurses at a care facility continued Thursday with testimony from doctors, an investigator and the nurse who taught incoming students at the care center.
Deputy Attorney General Steven Muni called Dr. Frank B. Housel as his first witness of the day for the Donna Palmer trial’s second day. Housel, who specializes in emergency medicine, saw Johnnie Esco …
For Placerville resident Henry Carr, going to Vietnam in 1966 was a pivotal choice. “I had a three-week leave before shipping out to Vietnam,” said Carr, 66. His girlfriend at the time had connections to the Ike and Tina Turner band and Carr got to know the band members during his leave. “Ike was related to an uncle of mine by marriage, ” said Carr.
The night before he shipped out, he was told that someone on a bus wanted to see him. It was Ike Turner, looking for a replacement for one of his band members. “He asked me if I played any instruments and he already knew I could sing,” said Carr. “I told him I could play some and he told me to forget going to ‘Nam and go on tour with the band. I decided against it.”
On the plane the next day, while his fellow soldiers slept, Carr stayed awake, talking to the flight attendant. “None of us knew where we were going or what we would be doing. We flew past this big mountain as we came into the airport …”
In a campaign in which the candidates often seemed to be running more against the district than against each other, two new members have been elected to the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors.
In Division 2, retired CEO Greg Prada won out over retired …
Twenty-month-old Olivia Rodriguez is as cute as a button — if buttons had huge brown eyes, curly little pigtails and a shy smile. She also has a large dark purple mark on her right cheek, just under her eye, that stretches across to her nose. Some might call it a birthmark, but the correct term is a congenital pigmented nevus.
The texture of Olivia’s nevus skin is different and more sensitive than her other skin and, as she grows older, the fine hair covering it will coarsen …
Rebecca Nylander, 40, is a member of the Community Council at Hangtown Haven. She’s a smart, detail-oriented person who volunteers two days a week at Green Valley Community Church as a receptionist, works at their Saturday Cafe and does a children’s ministry on Sunday afternoons. When the Haven closes in November, she’ll be homeless — again.
“I’m frightened for the 32 people who live here at the Haven,” said Nylander. “I don’t know what will happen to them. We’ve set a standard here for how to live, stay sober, meet …”
Guy “Ed” Johnson has lived in El Dorado County for 51 of his 56 years. He graduated from El Dorado High School and he currently resides in Hangtown Haven where the Mountain Democrat talked with him on Oct. 23.
He’s a slight man with sad blue eyes, anxious not to make a …
On Oct. 26, I participated in a ghost tour of Main Street, Placerville, led by California Haunts, a paranormal investigation team. To be impartial, I prepared by doing nothing — no watching of ghost hunting on television, no reading of paranormal literature — I ate some spaghetti and met the group downtown in front of Centro’s.
Placerville already has a ghost tour that runs on Thursday through Saturday evenings at 6:30 and 8 p.m., but this is a new and occasional event for California Haunts, which spends most of their its investigating and attempting to prove or disprove paranormal activity in the Sacramento and Gold Country.
CH founder Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa welcomed tour …
There was cake, ice cream and orange-and-green candy bugs that were gleefully grabbed by the children attending little Mark Worth’s birthday party Oct. 15, but perhaps the flavor that will most be appreciated as the 3-year-old child grows into adulthood will be the taste of freedom.
Mark, son of Tara and Mike Worth of Shingle Springs, was celebrating his third birthday, but it was the first party the toddler has enjoyed, having spent his young life in an orphanage in Ukraine until the Worth family made him one of their own.
“They don’t have birthday parties at the orphanage in Ukraine,” said mom Tara, 37, who watched as her mother, Marian Schneider, scooped …
Two years ago when Hailey Huntington was diagnosed with Dravet’s Syndrome, a rare and deadly form of epilepsy, it was a relief — relief because for 15 years her mother, Alexa Fila, had been trying to find the correct diagnosis for her daughter who was having violent seizures daily, sometimes as many as 50 in a single day. Correct diagnosis meant that the right course of treatment could be followed instead of the years of “try this” medication that often made things worse.
Now, Hailey, who will be 18 in November, is not just fighting to stay alive, she is actually beginning to live. While she will not outgrow the seizures, they …
When the Women’s Fund was formed in El Dorado County in 2007, many people assumed that its mission would be to provide financial support only for programs targeted at women and girls. Not so.
In fact, the vision of the trio of women who initiated the local Women’s Fund is much broader. Katie Peek, Madeleine Tammi and Stephanie Kress knew that women are generous with their time as volunteers, and also generous with their money when they see a need. As members of the board of directors of the El Dorado Community Foundation, they also knew the power of organized philanthropic giving to strengthen communities.
With gnomes and fairies overseeing their work, staff from the local Home Depot showed up last month to help Pam Kaefer, 63, create a one-of-a-kind garden in her backyard over a three-day period.
A resident in a Shingle Springs mobile home park, Kaefer has worked for the last five months to turn her dirt and leaf-strewn backyard into an enchanted garden in the home she and her husband moved to in January.
However, the property was not without its challenges, including a backyard that is mostly all slope. Undaunted, Kaefer …
Succeeding in a niche market only works if you’re at the top of your game and that certainly is the case with Chuck Wahl and his crew at Vultures Row Aviation.
Specializing in the restoration of World War II U.S. Navy tailhook war birds, Wahl and his team work on the rarest of rare planes, returning them to better than original condition.
Located in a large hangar at the Cameron Airpark, Wahl started Vultures Row Aviation in 2010 after spending more than 25 years being an air traffic controller. He is also a pilot. What got him hooked into the business, so to speak, was restoring a North American T28 and then a North American SNJ-5C.
The latter, his personal plane, is very rare because of its tailhook, with only three original ones like it in the world. A double prize winner, in 2009 it won the National Aviation Heritage …
Thompson’s Toyota may be No. 1 in Northern California in customer satisfaction, but that’s not good enough for Jeff Thompson, executive general manager of the company.
Wanting to further enhance customer service, Thompson’s is in the process of gutting, expanding and refurbishing its sales and service building on Forni Road so people coming in can easily find the services they need in an environment so inviting they may just …
On Oct. 7, a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the El Dorado Irrigation District’s purchase of the Sly Park Unit took place on the shore of Jenkinson Lake.
The crown jewel in EID’s system, the Sly Park Unit, was built in 1955 and managed by EID until 2003, when EID bought it from the United States Bureau of Reclamation for $8.6 million. For that price, EID acquired the Sly Park Dam and Reservoir, Jenkinson Lake recreation facilities …
Disappointed that last year’s Christmas Parade was cancelled due to a downpour, a committee of local residents, with the Mountain Democrat taking the lead, have promised that this year’s parade will take place.
Last year’s parade was cancelled after the city of Placerville decided inclement weather made it too hazardous to proceed.
But that decision was roundly criticized by those who spent hundreds of hours organizing and preparing for the parade and who braved rain, wind, snow and sleet in years prior.
Also upset were the Toys for Tots volunteers who rely on the parade to supply a large portion of the toys they give to …
Thrills and no spills marked the 8th two-day California Capital Airshow. And at 10 years old (the initial airshow was in 2004), the show’s Executive Director Darcy Brewer has put together a major national airshow pulling in amazing airplanes and the nation’s top airshow performers like Kirby Chambliss, Mike Goulian and Kyle Franklin, to name a few.
With the government shutdown, no military presence was available. But Brewer used that to her advantage. Who needs the Blue Angels when you can get the 11-jet Canadian Snowbird team? The shutdown cancelled other shows dependent on a huge government presence and …
Not much remains of the old Patterson ranch after fire ravaged the property on that Friday afternoon, Aug. 16.
Started by students smoking behind Union Mine High School, the fire quickly spread in the parched grasses, burning 85 of 90 acres of the ranch, including the house, while also threatening the nearby Lake Oaks Mobile Home Park.
The Patterson home, affectionately known as the “pink house” because of its color, is now just a memory. Built between 1900 and 1905, it was a grand Ranch …
The storybook life of local resident Josephine Carroll Moore ended on Sept. 29 when she died at the age of 98.
An actress, model, mother, socialite and El Dorado Rose, Moore had a wonderfully full life that spanned almost a century.
Born Josephine Carroll French on Oct. 16, 1914 in Senatobia, Miss., Moore had family roots in the area that went back several generations. Her grandfather lived there before the Civil War with 400 slaves. A doctor, he fought with the Confederacy. After the war, he turned his plantation house into the French Hotel.
Last month, board members and residents got an up close view of one of El Dorado Irrigation District’s most extensive capital improvement projects on a tour that included visits to Flume 41 and Reservoir A.
Coming in with a total price tag of $17.5 million, the project includes replacing the most severely degraded flume sections along the 23-mile El Dorado Canal; replacing or relining 3.4 miles of corroded pipeline between Reservoir A and Reservoir 1; installing piping in the Main Ditch; and completing a chlorine conversion project at Reservoir A Water Treatment Plant.
The four projects make up the bulk of the $19.8 million EID budgeted for capital improvement projects this year.
The tour included a winding bus trip up Rock Crusher Road. Improving the road and reinforcing the rock wall on the side of the road was part of an earlier capital improvement project that cost $1.5 million. The improvements were needed so the replacement flumes could be trucked in. In the past, at times EID has had to …
Awl, shucks. Walt Grace Shoe Repair, a Placerville icon in business for more than 40 years, is up for sale.
For 41 years Walt Grace has put his heart — and soles — into his work, becoming a fixture on Main Street where customers use his unique drive-through service to drop off leather shoes, boots, purses and vests to receive quality repairs.
It’s not just the sewing and stitching awls that Grace, 64, is planning to put away for the last time. He’ll also say goodbye to his sewing machine, cutters, crimper, finisher, buffer …
The Joseph Michael Nissensohn triple-murder trial featured detectives who investigated the case and two loggers who found one of the bodies of the dead girls Sept. 25 and 26.
Former Monterey County Sheriff’s Detective Glen Brown was called to the stand by defense attorney Peter Kmeto …
Artist, rancher and community volunteer Anne Gladwill died unexpectedly at her home on Sept. 24. The Garden Valley resident taught Thomas Kinkade, made the seasons of El Dorado County famous, raised three children and contributed to the well-being of her community in a wide variety of ways.
Gladwill was born in Dayton, Ohio. From her earliest days she knew she wanted to be an artist and she attended art school to learn to draw. She became a greeting card designer for the Gebson Greeting Card Company, an unusual job for a woman at the time.
She met her husband, Charles, in Hawaii where her father, an Air Force colonel, was stationed. Charles Gladwill was a captain and one of only two bachelor officers under her father’s command. In an oft-told family story, Anne’s father ordered his two officers to draw straws to determine which of them would escort his daughter to a social function. Charles lost and later said it was the best loss he ever had. They were married in 1952.
Charles Gladwill purchased 800 acres in Garden Valley before he met Anne, when he was stationed at Travis Air Force …
Gardeners can get in a twofer this weekend by shopping at the Master Gardener fall plant sale knowing that their purchases are helping to pay for the Master Gardener demonstration garden going in at Folsom Lake College, El Dorado Center in Placerville.
More than 3,500 items, including a large number of fall starter vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, greens, chard and bok choy, will be available at Saturday’s sale. All of them will make nutritious additions to stews and soups this winter.
After a short hearing in South Lake Tahoe, Judge Timothy Buckley ruled that Supervisor Ray Nutting must face trial on the charges brought by the El Dorado County district attorney and California attorney general.
Buckley, who is a retired associate justice, was called in for the Nutting case.
Nutting’s lawyer, David …
Steve and Heidi Gish of Shingle Springs are motorcycle enthusiasts who love to ride and who have traveled the world to do it. Heidi Gish, who has ridden dirt bikes off-road and has her own Honda XR200, only rides as a passenger on the street with husband Steve.
Last spring Steve, a program manager at Intel, received an e-mail from Motorcyclist magazine (America’s oldest publication of its type and which just celebrated its 100th year of publishing) that in conjunction with Edelweiss Bike Travel, an Austrian-based motorcycle touring company, which is also the largest of its type in the world, asking its readers to apply for a trip of a lifetime for 10 people who would travel to Europe to tour the Alps on motorcycles.
Edelweiss classifies its trips as easy, moderate and tough.
“It’s the right time to leave and start something new,” said Dr. Earl “Trey” Washburn of his recent retirement. Washburn’s last day at Marshall Medical Center was Aug. 29. After 37 years as a pediatric doctor in Placerville, Washburn, who said he planned to never retire, is ready to try something new — writing children’s books.
“I’ve become a card-carrying member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators,” said Washburn, 66, whose first book …
The badge is new and very shiny, but newly sworn-in Placerville Police Chief Scott Heller has plenty of experience. After almost 17 years with the Modesto Police Department in a wide variety of positions, from patrol officer to assistant Investigative Services Division commander and acting commander, Heller brings Placerville leadership and expertise with special operations units involved with narcotics, gangs, homicides and shootings.
The 42-year-old chief met with the Mountain Democrat to talk about his focus for his new position, the community and why he chose to come to Placerville.
“What drew us here was actually a brochure with the police chief posting,” said Heller. The brochure showed a picture of downtown and …
While no one questioned the moral imperative to help the less fortunate among us, how and more importantly where to do that remains a large hurdle. The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, Placerville City Council members and a packed chamber tried to deal with the how and the where during Tuesday’s board meeting.
Specifically, the city is asking the county to provide space for the Hangtown Haven Inc. residential encampment at its property on Perks Court off Missouri Flat Road at Highway 50. For the past year, the Haven has operated on upper Broadway in Placerville, serving an average of 30 and up to 40 homeless individuals. The program has evolved from simply providing food and modest shelter into a much broader social service agency …
Smoke from the Tuolumne Rim Fire has been a prevalent visitor to El Dorado County for the past two weeks, especially at the higher elevations, prompting concern about how smoke exposure might affect the wine grapes in the area.
Grapes, given long exposure to dense smoke, can develop a “smoke taint” after fermentation, adding a definite smoke flavor to the wines produced that year.
Lynn Wunderlich, farm advisor for El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties said, “There has been a lot of concern and discussion, but, in El Dorado County, we’ve only had a few bad mornings with the smoke and with the limited exposure, growers in the area are optimistic, based on their experience with similar situations.”
Over the years, Fair Play resident Brian Fitzpatrick, 60, has been largely land bound as the owner of an organic vineyard, winery and lodge.
But it would seem the sea has always been his secret love and in the end, has won his heart.
Originally from the Jersey Shore where he swam, surfed and sailed a Sunfish sailboat as a kid, he has now returned to his roots as the owner and captain of a floating bed and breakfast: a $700,000 46-foot catamaran named the INNcredible.
Available for rent as a unique bed and breakfast getaway or as a venue for a company event, the INNcredible is brand new but also well-tested as Fitzpatrick sailed her himself all the way from the French coast to the California coast — a 10,000 mile journey.
After taking a week off to accommodate jurors, the Joseph Michael Nissensohn murder case returned with the prosecution winding down.
The trial resumed Sept. 3 with what amounted to a courtroom play — reading a transcript from a February 2010 preliminary hearing. Deputy district attorney Trish Kelliher played the part of Cheryl Rose, wife of Nissensohn, while Peter Kmeto played the part of defense lawyer Mark Millard. Deputy DA Dale Gomes read lines as himself while Nissensohn watched from the defense table.
A standing-room-only crowd of about 200 packed the Board of Supervisors chambers in Placerville on Aug. 26 to hear about and to discuss growth in the county. Former District 4 Supervisor Bill Center and Camino resident Jim Moore, known as the “Measure Y guys,” delivered a presentation generally showing how growth, as currently planned, will clog local roads and choke transportation, especially in the western parts of the county.
Measure Y was enacted by a significant majority of the county’s voters in 1998 and re-authorized for another 10 years in the 2008 election. In its simplest terms, the law requires developers of residential properties to “fully fund road improvements that keep traffic levels below Level of Service F (F as in Failing).” Furthermore, if traffic problems resulting …