The 51st annual Peace Officers of the Year were awarded in a ceremony at the American Legion Hall in Placerville Wednesday evening.
The American Legion presented its Peace Officers of the Year award to a member each of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the Placerville Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, and were nominated and voted on by their peers in their respective agencies.
In a packed hall, the officers were presented their awards by former Sheriff Hal Barker, Legion Cmdr. Dusty Deryck …
A house near Highways 193 and 49 was a total loss in a fire Monday morning.
The fire was reported at 10:27 a.m. and the first responding engine noted heavy fire in a boarded-up house, said El Dorado County Fire Division Chief Tim Cordero. The house was vacant, with no occupants or victims.
Cordero noted that due to the fire’s vertical movement, it became unsafe for firefighters to be in the structure and they were pulled out, going on the defensive.
Highway 49 was closed due to a needed fire hydrant being across the street from the house.
With every little bit counting, the results of the Feb. 27 snow survey were better than last month’s, but still way below normal.
According to a press release from the Department of Water Resources, “On Tuesday, before the current storm system reached the area, water content in the statewide snowpack was 22 percent of normal for the date and only 19 percent of the average reading in early April when snow begins to melt into streams and reservoirs. These readings were just above the 1991 record lows of 18 percent for the date and 15 percent of the April 1 average.
“Manual and electronic …”
The cracks and potholes on Main Street between Pacific Street and Bedford may become a thing of the past. The Placerville City Council voted a unanimous approval of plans to begin a street overlay of Main Street at the Feb. 25 meeting, and, best of all, there is money to pay for it.
The city has a Pavement Management System with an inventory of city streets and prioritized repairs, but Main Street with its high visibility and usage was the first choice.
“The need is definitely there,”said City Manager Cleve Morris. “There are plenty of streets in Placerville that could use this, but Main Street has high traffic.”
Military veterans have earned the benefits they are offered by the nation, and Bill Schultz, El Dorado county recorder and director of veterans affairs, wants to make sure they know they have community support.
Schultz developed a Veteran Identification Card that he is rolling out on March 9 at the Sunday breakfast scheduled at the Veterans Memorial Building in Placerville. The card, when presented to participating businesses in El Dorado County, offers veterans discounts on goods and services. Currently, there are businesses nationwide that offer discounts to veterans, but the veteran must present a copy of his/her DD 214 to receive it. A small, laminated card is a better fit in a wallet and more durable than a piece of paper.
The process is simple and quick. There is a very brief application that the veteran completes …
After 162 years, it might be time for a little repair. The Fountain Tallman Soda Works building at 524 Main Street, houses a tiny two-floor museum now, after a past filled with a variety of owners and uses, but the stone, brick and mortar that comprises the building is original and it could use some help.
From Feb. 28 to March 19, the Fountain Tallman Museum will be closed while Leland Peterson, restoration engineer and mason, and his crew repair, replace and restore masonry and brick around the windows and door of the first floor of the building.
Built in 1852 with 2-foot-thick brick and masonry walls and iron shutters, the soda works was the only building to have survived all of the early fires that devastated Placerville.
Valentine’s Day means flowers and chocolates for most, but for Austin Bowa, it was a much sweeter treat as he earned his license as a commercial helicopter pilot while also celebrating his 18th birthday.
A very self-possessed and modest young man, Bowa has been single-mindedly pursuing his dream of piloting a helicopter since he was 7 years old.
Still in his early teens, he took his first training flight with John Crawford, who is an instructor with Sierra Air …
Cameron Park resident Tom Sullivan was a mental health advocate, a Placerville City Councilman and a past director of Mental Health for both Sacramento and El Dorado counties and a Boston Red Sox fan. He died of natural causes, surrounded by his family, on Feb. 7.
He was on the City Council in 1980, when ground was broken for the parking garage, serving with the late Carl Borelli, Karen Tustin, Roger Prengel, Al Tuttle and Jim McIntire. Elected in 1978, he served six years on the council, and helped lay the groundwork for growth and expansion.
Sullivan was born in Boston on Feb. 2, 1943, to Stephen Michael Sullivan II and Rita McMahon Sullivan. He graduated from high school in Alabama and from college at Michigan State University, and earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Connecticut in 1967.
He married Valerie …
Scaffolding and workers have been all around the Herrick and Hangman’s Tree building, 301 and 305 Main Street, for months, but the owners, Tim and Sue Taylor, are taking their time and paying as they go. The restoration of the historic buildings is the goal of the couple that purchased them in April of 2012.
The first focus has been to restore the structural integrity of the buildings. “We have been doing a lot of work, but it doesn’t really show,” said Sue Taylor. “We did the footings on the Herrick building and now we’re working on the …”
City residents, if you receive a call asking you how you feel about an increase in sales tax to repair Placerville’s roads, don’t hang up. Repairing the nasty alligator cracks and potholes in Placerville’s roads emerged as the top priority of a Capitol Improvement Workshop held on Jan. 23. At the Feb. 11 Placerville City Council meeting, a review of the results of that meeting and a direction for how to address the city’s top needs was on the agenda.
With 57 percent of Placerville roads considered mediocre or substandard — 39 percent being substandard, according to standards used by a national transportation research firm — roadways in the city need repair. How to fund $19 million in deferred road maintenance was the subject of discussion …
Now that Cupid’s arrow has pierced your heart on Valentine’s Day, let love fly you straight to a wedding show that’s bound to keep the path true to a blissful future together.
Grab your groom-to-be and invite your mom and girlfriends to join the bevy of brides-in-the-making at “It’s a Wedding Affair,” Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Cameron Park Community Center, 2502 Country Club Drive in Cameron Park.
Taste wedding cake samples and other temptations as you gaze upon gorgeous wedding dresses and accessories, all designed to pique fresh ideas and add creativity to that special day.
Some 40 vendors will be on hand to help plan your wedding, offering services and sparking enthusiasm.
With traffic flow being the driving force, a plan to enhance the communities of El Dorado and Diamond Springs is in the process of being drafted by the El Dorado County Transportation Commission.
Called the Diamond Springs and El Dorado Area Mobility and Livable Community Plan, the document not only addresses options for improving traffic circulation in the area, but also population growth, jobs and cityscape issues such as sidewalks, landscaping, bike paths and crosswalks with an eye for how those communities may look 10 to 20 years from now.
A guilty verdict was handed Friday to a man accused the 2012 vehicular murder of a Camino woman.
A deliberating jury returned two guilty verdicts Friday morning after three hours of deliberation over two days — vehicular murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while …
The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors Tuesday skipped right over Stage 1 and unanimously went to a Stage 2 Water Supply Warning and asked customers to voluntarily reduce water consumption 30 percent.
The water savings also applies to recycled water customers because recycled water is often supplemented with potable water.
The resolution declaring “the existence of an emergency” will enable the district to reduce fish flows from its Kyburz Diversion Dam and from its four alpine …
One of El Dorado Irrigation District’s biggest and most complicated flume projects is complete with the exception of some mechanical, electrical instrumentation and control work still under way, though the canal has been watered back up.
Project engineer Daryl Noel gave a report to the Board of Directors Jan. 27, including dramatic video footage of two contract workers, secured by safety lines, jack hammering a huge boulder on the hillside, which then rolled downhill and crashed into a section of wooden flume that was to be demolished anyway.
The wood from the flume timbers proved to be so rotten that it could not be recycled as originally planned.
Removing hazardous …
A man died after the tractor he was on rolled over Monday morning.
At 10:24 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers responded to 5376 Marybelle Lane in Shingle Springs. Javad Tayebi, 66, was ploughing his front yard in a tractor and had not been seen for about a half-hour, so his wife went to check on him, Officer Quinn Cuthbertson said. She found …
While a picturesque flurry of snow hit the Sierras this past week, it won’t have much impact on water supplies according to the most recent snow survey that was conducted last Thursday.
Part of a statewide assessment, the measurements at Phillips Station, near Echo Summit, revealed snow that was more air than water according to Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey for the California Department of Water Resources.
After taking seven measurements, he came up with an average depth of 12.4 inches of snow with a water content of 1.4 percent, which is only 7 …
With everyone looking to save money, especially on energy, the installation of solar systems continues to gain in popularity, especially in California, which is the No. 1 state for solar energy.
According to the California Solar Energy Industries Association, California installed more megawatts of solar energy in 2013 than it did in the last 30 years combined.
Typically these solar systems …
A fire in Placerville displaced multiple families Tuesday morning.
El Dorado County Fire received a report at 4:59 a.m. that an apartment on Woodridge Road was on fire, El Dorado County Fire Division Chief Paul Lohan said.
They arrived to find the fire “blowing out of the roof” of the middle upstairs apartment at 2661 Woodridge Road, Lohan said. It was fully involved.
Two patients were burned, he said, with one transported to Placerville Airport to be taken to UC Davis Medical Center, and the other taken by ground to the same facility. All other occupants had safely gotten out of the five apartments in the building. In total, nine …
A wave of disappointment and groans swept the courtroom as the owners of Poor Red’s Bar had their judgment and sentencing hearing pushed to March in a Monday afternoon hearing.
After a conference at the bench, Judge Douglas C. Phimister told the courtroom that an agreement had been reached to continue the hearing …
Since his cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2012, third-grader Shane Rogers, of El Dorado Hills, and his family have kept their eyes on the prize — stay the course and knockout leukemia one strong punch at a time.
Back pain during a family reunion led to the shocking news the otherwise vibrant boy had Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia — a cancer of the white blood cells where excess lymphoblasts overcrowd the bone marrow. Mom Kristen Rogers explained though Shane has crossed a grueling, physical fight of one battle, they’re barely midway through the war.
“Leukemia is different than other cancers,” said Rogers. “You can get it to go away …”
Two of Lake Tahoe’s finest are heading to the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, but not to compete. Terrence Orr, M.D., and Jonathan Finnoff, D.O., both physicians with Tahoe Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, will volunteer as team physicians at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Orr is a seasoned veteran of Olympic athlete medical care. His role at the 2014 Olympics will be head team physician for the men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team — a position he has held with the team since 1999.
“The Olympics has always been my favorite sporting event, and it has been great to be able to be a part of the Games,” said Orr.
During the men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team events, which include slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill, Olympians may reach speeds as high as 95 mph, depending on conditions, equipment and body composition. Orr will be at the race course in Sochi whenever the U.S. Ski Team is training or competing. If someone is injured, he travels down with the athlete to evaluate and …
History has it that when James Marshall reached into the glittering water of the tailrace of Sutter’s Mill and held gleaming yellow flakes in his palm Jan. 24, 1848, he turned to a fellow millworker and said, “I have found it.”
His colleague asked, “What is it?” to which Marshall replied, “Gold.”
That remarkable day will be the focus of a celebration Friday, Jan. 24, at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park on Highway 49 in Coloma as volunteers in period costume re-enact that momentous discovery, some 166 years later.
The annual Gold Discovery Day will be filled with activities and re-enactments along the South Fork of the American River in Coloma, the site of Marshall’s …
Friday, Jan. 17, Ballard Diving and Syblon Reid Construction had installed one of two new dam gates and were set to install the second by the end of that day.
The $329,000 construction project is on-schedule, according to El Dorado Irrigation District senior engineer Jake Eymann, with the sunny weather smoothing the way. Normally a cold wind blows at Caples Lake, Eymann said, but Friday was windless.
The deadline had been to …
The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors has not been asked to declare a Stage 1 Drought, but unofficially the district is urging customers to “reduce water consumption and conserve in every way possible,” according to a Water Supply Update presented by Director of Engineering Brian Mueller Jan. 13.
EID runs its fiscal year on a calendar basis and its water year begins in October. But Mueller noted that calendar year 2013 was the “driest on record.” He added that this is the second dry year in a row.
The seasonal rainfall total, beginning July 1, 2012 …
Ski season is in full swing in South Lake Tahoe with near perfect weather for hitting the slopes regardless if one wants to ski, snowboard, sled or just take in the otherworldly beauty of the Lake Tahoe area.
With most county residents being within an hour’s drive of the closest resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe is 2,000 acres of runs and forest plus another 300 acres of back country skiing for expert skiers.
Located at the top of Echo Summit, the resort receives the most snow in the Tahoe Basin, according to Steven Hemphill, communications manager at the resort.
“We average 480 inches at Sierra-at-Tahoe,” he said. “This year we have 63 inches to …”
July 9, 2013 had been a relatively quiet day for Alicia Barranco. She had recently been released from the hospital and was recovering at home. She smelled smoke and thought it might be toast or a coffee pot burning. She went back to bed after being unable to find the source of the smell.
But then a neighbor called. Aaron Barranco, who was working at the Mercedes dealership in El Dorado Hills, said it was “one of the scariest calls” he and his wife ever received. The neighbor informed Alicia that the roof …
The first ever Hangtown Holiday Ice Rink was a huge success, said Mike Kobus, president of the Placerville Drive Business Association. The PDBA brought ice skating to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, Dec. 14-Jan. 5, with the help of local businesses and community support.
With more than 6,100 skaters gliding on the ice during the three-week event, Kobus said, “For our first year, that is incredible.”
The learning curve to put the ice rink on the Placerville map was sharp, according to Kobus, but, “It was an amazing adventure. I’m really proud of the little core group that worked so hard to pull this together: Gordon Vicini, Bridgett Hartshorn, Gordon Helm, Pete McQuillen, John Zachry and myself. Nothing was going to stop us.”
The physical setup of the ice rink posed some challenges …
The annual El Dorado County Historical Museum Volunteers’ Recognition Luncheon in December was livened up by a little modern technology as a 6 1/2 foot kiosk bearing the title “Touch the Past” invited people to do just that.
Wave a hand in front of one of the icons on the front of the kiosk and a video begins with a voice-over giving a historical and current perspective of …
There was plenty of sun but not much snow at Phillips Station as staff from the California Department of Water Resources conducted its first snow survey of the season on Friday, Jan. 3.
Taking samples from seven different spots, Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey for the Department of Water Resources, reported finding a snow depth of 9.3 inches and 2.3 inches of water content, which is only 20 percent of normal.
On average, the Jan. 1 snowpack water content at Phillips Station should be 12 inches.
“This is not a very promising …”
Despite all the projected benefits of the revised water rights application, it is not without its critics.
One of them is hydrologist Robert Shibatani. In an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat, Shibatani complained the project would require El Dorado County taxpayers to pick up the tab for securing a water supply for Sacramento County.
According to him, “under this new proposed project, the original monies ($2.5 million spent so far), plus an additional $5 million would be incurred by El Dorado taxpayers to fund a project to provide El Dorado Water for groundwater banking in another county.
Now beginning its 163rd year of publication, the Mountain Democrat is one of 19 newspapers published in El Dorado County before 1858, according to the 1949 reminiscences of former Democrat publisher Clarence Barker.
It is the lone survivor of that remarkable period, and is now the oldest newspaper in California in continuous publication.
By its own account, the earliest paper in the county was the El Dorado Republican …
Placerville Police Department responded to an attempted homicide on Broadway Drive in Placerville Friday afternoon.
Cruisers and yellow tape decorated the entrance to the parking lot of the Gold Country Motel at 1332 Broadway after a report of a gunshot at 1:59 p.m.
Two victims had been …
The election season is already underway as a handful of candidates visited the El Dorado County Elections Department on Dec. 27 to pick up paperwork and take the first steps in launching their campaigns.
A large number of national and state positions will be up for grabs in the 2014 election including U.S. Representative in the 4th Congressional District, Governor …
What if you have a great idea, but you don’t have much to show anyone? Pleasant Valley resident Greg Reffner has just such an idea and, unfortunately, there’s nothing to see.
“At the end of the day, software is just words on paper,” said Reffner. But, Reffner, 26, does have a track record of bringing his ideas to fruition.
In 2010, Reffner, just five years after graduation from Union Mine High School, was the corporate executive officer and owner of CÖR Systems. He was marketing his invention of the CÖR bench, an inflatable …
Santa’s elves have a lot of toys to make each year, so sometimes they have to outsource. Some of the helpers this year are retired individuals who pulled together to create something special for little girls.
Retired contractor Roy Carter, 86, is a member of Gold Country Wood Workers. “We make toys for Toys for Tots and the Center for Violence-Free Relationships every year,” said Carter, “but they are mostly trains, airplanes and cars — not too much for little girls.”
During a discussion with Mary Fatooh, activity director for Gold County Retirement …
In 1983, Harry Hopkins decided that he wanted to build himself a house. He approached his wife, Karen, the next year, proposing they build a cabin on the plot next to their house on Mace Road in Camino, acquired nearly a decade before. By 1993, using almost entirely wood from his own land, he had a new home next door to where they had raised their children.
Just a year before his retirement in 1984, Harry asked Karen if she wanted to live in a log cabin. “‘No way,’ I said. All I could imagine was a dirt floor,” she said. But Harry was …
The extreme cold weather has been both a blessing and a problem for the first-ever Hangtown Holiday Ice Rink, which will open one day later than anticipated on Sunday, Dec. 15, at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
On Dec. 10, Steve Sabel, owner of STS Productions, the company providing the ice rink, said, “The heavens are smiling on the Hangtown Ice Rink. This cold, dry weather is wonderful for making ice.”
But the cold, icy weather caused delays in the arrival of some equipment needed to …
Mike Hickox was refueling his plane after night operations at the Placerville Airport on Dec. 1 when a man, identified only as “Nate,” walked up to him. Nate, Hickox said, had just hit a deer with his plane upon landing, causing the plane to crash down the side of an embankment on the left side of the runway. Nate, however, seemed no worse for the wear.
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 …