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The Mountain Democrat, located in Placerville, Ca, is the oldest newspaper in California, boasting continuous publication since 1851. The Mountain Democrat is a local newspaper covering news, sports, and features in El Dorado County.

The Mountain Democrat, located in Placerville, Ca, is the oldest newspaper in California, boasting continuous publication since 1851. The Mountain Democrat is a local newspaper covering news, sports, and features in El Dorado County.

The Mountain Democrat, located in Placerville, Ca, is the oldest newspaper in California, boasting continuous publication since 1851. The Mountain Democrat is a local newspaper covering news, sports, and features in El Dorado County.

Editor’s note: The following is the introductory editorial of the first issue of the Empire County Argus, Nov. 19, 1853, written by Publisher D.W. Gelwicks. The Argus was published in the Crescent City Building on the corner of Main and Bridge streets in Coloma, then the El Dorado County seat. On Jan. 21, 1854 George Vincent became publisher. A month later Gerwicks bought the El Dorado Republican from Thomas Springer in Placerville and renamed it the Mountain Democrat.

In our relations of the success of miners we shall strive to avoid the exaggerated accounts that we believe to be prevalent.

It shall also be our aim to give all the interests of our county a due and proper degree of attention. The Argus being established for the general interest of the county, it will not be permitted to become the organ of a particular town or section of the county. Our aim is to be above a narrow-minded sectional feeling. We shall strive to get full and reliable intelligence from all parts of our country as well as the state, and news of general interest from other quarters.

We shall also deem it our duty to watch closely the manner in which the public officers of our county conduct the business that the people entrust to them. In this we shall aim at the performance of our duty without fear of favor.

In politics this paper will be entirely and fearlessly Democratic.

We shall not attempt to please all. By doing so we should please none. We seek to do good by pursuing an honorable and fearless course.

Crews fight two separate pre holidays fires Friday

Firefighters responded to two separate fires Friday in western EL Dorado County, with one causing moderate damage to what reports say is a “barn” but more resembles a family home. The other, second fire is thought to have originated in a fireplace-chimney setup.

Rescue and other firefighting personnel were called to the first blaze, which was dispatched at 5:48 a.m. Friday to what was initially called a garage fire at property on Old Bridge Road but was revised to a barn fire once personnel arrived. Crews found a two-story barn burning and were able to attack the fire only from the exterior because the second floor already had partially collapsed, according to the incident report.

Firefighters drew water for the battle from onsite tanks along with employing an engine shuttle using area fire hydrants. Damage to the structure, once the flames were extinguished, was described as moderate.

The barn was not being used to house animals, according to fire officials, but served as workshop and for storage.

In addition to Rescue, fire crews responding were from Cameron Park, El Dorado County, Diamond Springs-El Dorado Hills to combat a residential blaze at 3:10 p.m.

Upon arrival, the team reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the chimney and chimney chase of the residence.

With the occupants out of the  home, firefighters were able to quickly knock down the fire by opening the wall around the fireplace, according to reports. It was unknown, preliminarily, whether the people living there called 911 and then fled the remises or whether neighbors might have summoned help.

Damage to the home was limited to the chimney chase area, according to officials.

El Dorado Hills Fire sent for engines and a fire truck to respond to the call.

Crews fight two separate pre holidays fires Friday

Firefighters responded to two separate fires Friday in Western El Dorado County, with one causing moderate damage to what reports say is a “barn” but more resembles a family home. The other, second fire is thought to have originated in a fireplace-chimney setup.

Rescue and other firefighting personnel were called to the first blaze, which was dispatched at 5:48 a.m. Friday to what was initially called a garage fire at property on Old Bridge Road but was revised to a barn fire once personnel arrived. Crews found a two-story barn burning and were able to attack the fire only from the exterior because the second floor already had partially collapsed, according to the incident report.

Firefighters drew water for the battle from onsite tanks along with employing an engine shuttle using area fire hydrants. Damage to the structure, once the flames were extinguished, was described as moderate.

The barn was not being used to house animals, according to fire officials, but served as workshop and for storage.

In addition to Rescue, fire crews responding were from Cameron Park, El Dorado County, Diamond Springs-El Dorado Hills to combat a residential blaze at 3:10 p.m.

Upon arrival, the team reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the chimney and chimney chase of the residence.

With the occupants out of the home, firefighter’s were able to quickly knock down the fire by opening the wall around the fireplace, according to reports. It was unknown, preliminary, whether the people living there called 911 and then fled the premises or whether neighbors might have summoned help.

Damage to the home was limited to the chimney chase area, according to officials.

El Dorado Hills Fire sent for engines and a fire truck to respond to the call.

Crews fight two separate pre holidays fires Friday

Firefighters responded to two separate fires Friday in Western El Dorado County, with one causing moderate damage to what reports say is a “barn” but more resembles a family home. The other, second fire is thought to have originated in a fireplace-chimney setup.

Rescue and other firefighting personnel were called to the first blaze, which was dispatched at 5:48 a.m. Friday to what was initially called a garage fire at property on Old Bridge Road but was revised to a barn fire once personnel arrived. Crews found a two-story barn burning  and were able to attack the fire only from the exterior because the second floor already had partially collapsed,  according to the incident report.

Firefighters drew water for the battle from onsite tanks along with employing an engine shuttle using area fire hydrants. Damage to the structure, once the flames were extinguished, was described as moderate.

The barn was not being used to house animals, according to fire officials, but served as workshop and for storage.

In addition to Rescue, fire crews responding were from Cameron Par, El Dorado County, Diamond Springs-El Dorado Hills to combat a residential blaze at 3:10 p.m.

Upon arrival, the team reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the chimney and chimney chase of the residence.

With the occupants out of the home, firefighter’s were able to quickly knock down the fire by opening the wall around the fireplace, according to reports. It was unknown, preliminarily, whether the people living there called 911 and then fled the premises or whether neighbors might have summoned help.

Damage to the home was limited to the chimney chase area, according to officials.

El Dorado Hills Fire sent for engines and a fire truck to respond to the call.

What holiday? Fire responders always on the job

While many El Dorado County residents are nestled all warm in bed with visions of sugar plums and New Year’s resolutions dancing in their heads, first responders are ready to take the call…whether it’s a holiday or not.

What’s it like celebrating the holidays on the job?

For El Dorado Hills firefighter Lisa Peril, who has been a firefighter since 2004, one holiday was particularly enlightening

“So one Christmas I was on the engine and we were out running calls all night. By the time we got back to finally catch some sleep the truck company had decorated my bed in Christmas lights,” she shared with the Mountain Democrat. “I was so tired I just slept with them on.”

“For New YEar’s I was what I like to call lucky enough to run the very last call of the year…and then the very first call of the year,” Perillo added.

Cal Fire’s Brice Bennett, who has worked for the agency since 2009 in many different scopes, is currently a public information officer.

“I’m always on call and am ready to respond if necessary to any incident statewide, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are no exception,” he said.

“From the Cal Fire side, when crews are working on holidays some will host their families for dinner at the fire station (for which the firefighters pay themselves). Families understand that the crews get called away fro emergencies frequently, but still appreciate the time they get to spend with them on holidays,” Bennett added. “Crews working on Christmas Day will frequently split the day with others so that at least half the day is spent at home with family. Being a part of the fire family is like having two families – one at home and one at the station. It’s truly a blessing when you can bring both together and see the support and camaraderie that exists between all the firefighters and their families.

What holiday? Fire responders always on the job

While many El Dorado County residents are nestled all warm in bed with visions of sugar plums and New Year’s resolutions dancing in their heads, first responders are ready to take the call…whether it’s a holiday or not.

What’s it like celebrating the holidays on the job?

For El Dorado Hills firefighter Lisa Peril, who has been a firefighter since 2004, one holidays was particularly enlightening.

“So one Christmas I was on the engine and we were out running calls all  night. But by the time we got back to finally catch some sleep the truck company had decorated my bed in Christmas lights,” she shared with the Mountain Democrat. “I was so tired I just slept with them on.”

“For New Year’s I was what I like to call lucky enough to run the very last call of the year…and then the very first call of the year,” Perillo added.

Cal Fire’s Brice Bennett, who has worked for the agency since 2009 in many different scopes, is currently a public information officer.

“I’m always on call and am ready to respond if necessary to any incident statewide, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are no exception,” he said.

“From the Cal Fire side, when crews are working on holidays some will host their families for dinner at the fire station (for which the firefighters pay themselves_. families understand that the crews get called away from emergencies frequently, but still appreciate the time they get to spend with them on holidays,” Bennett added. “Crews working on Christmas Day will frequently split the day with others so that at least half the day is spent at home with family. Being a part of the fire family is like having two families – one at home and one at the station. It’s truly a blessing when you can bring both together and see the support and camaraderie that exists between all the firefighters and their families.

What holiday? Fire responders always on the job

While many El Dorado County residents are nestled all warm in bed with visions of sugar plums and New Year’s resolutions dancing in their heads, first responders are ready to take the call…whether it’s a holiday or not.

What’s it like celebrating the holidays on the hob?

For El Dorado Hills firefighter Lisa Peril, who has been a firefighter since 2004, one holiday was particularly enlightening.

“So one Christmas I was on the engine and we were out running calls all night. But by the tie we got back to finally catch some sleep the truck company had decorated my bed in Christmas lights,” she shared with the Mountain Democrat. “I was so tired I just slept with them on.”

“For New Year’s I as what I like to call lucky enough to run the very last call of the year…and then the very first call of the year,” Peril added.

Cal Fire’s Brice Bennett, who has worked for the agency since 2009 in many different scopes, is currently a public information officer.

“I’m always on call and am ready to respond if necessary to any incident statewide, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are no exception,” he said.

“From the Cal Fire side, when crews are working on holidays some will host their families for dinner at the fire station (for which the firefighters pay themselves). Families understand that the crews get called away from emergencies frequently, but still appreciate the time they get to spend with them on holidays,” Bennett added. “Crews working on Christmas Day will frequently split the day with others so that at least half the day is spent at home with the family. Being a part of the fire family is like having two families- one at home and one at the station. It’s truly a blessing when you an bring both together and see the support and camaraderie that exists between the firefighters and their families.

Top 10 stories of 2016 – No. 10: Drought, bark beetles devastate Sierra Nevada

Descending on the Sierra Nevada like a plague of biblical proportions, one of the biggest stories in 2016 was the large-scale die off of trees due to the combined effect of drought and a bark beetle infestation.

Primarily affecting pine and fir trees in 10 counties stretching from Placer to Kern, in 2014 U.S. Forest Service officials initially estimated 3.3 million trees had died from the drought/beetle infestation. By 2015 that number had climbed to 29 million and in 2016 the death toll was put at more than 102 million.

El Dorado County was not as hard hit as other counties but officials still estimate that 512,000 trees have died so far of which 200,000 are in the El Dorado National Forest.

Boy dies in late-night wreck

An 11-year-old boy died after the vehicle in which he was riding rolled off the roadway and landed in the water, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Around midnight Wednesday a BMW driven by a 33-year-old man was traveling westbound on Highway 50 west of Riverton at an unknown rate of speed when he lost control going around a curve, stepped on the brakes and caused the vehicle to skid out of control  into the oncoming lane, the CHP reported.

“The BMW left the roadway and became airborne as it proceeded down a rocky embankment,” states the CHP report. “(It) collided with several large rocks as it overturned multiple times.”

A 13-year-old female passenger who was not wearing her seatbelt was ejected and she suffered minor injuries.

“The BMW came to rest on its roof in the water, trapping the driver and an 11-year-old male passenger,” the report continued.

A 23-year-old female passenger who suffered minor injuries was able to escape the wreck and witnesses who stopped to help pulled the driver from the vehicle. Emergency crews arrived shortly after and extricated the 11-year-old but he had died from his injuries.

The 13-year-old and 23-year-old were taken to Marshall Hospital for treatment. The driver suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

The identities of the victims were not avail as of press time.

Boy dies in late-night wreck

An 11-year-old boy died after the vehicle in which he was riding rolled off the roadway and landed in the water, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Around midnight Wednesday a BMW driven by a 33-year-old man was traveling westbound on Highway 50 west of Riverton at an unknown rate of speed when he lost control going around a curve, stepped on the brakes and caused the vehicle to skid out of control into the oncoming lane, the CHP reported.

“The BMW left the roadway and became airborne as it proceeded down a rocky embankment,” states the CHP report. “(It) collided with several large rocks as it overturned multiple times.”

A 13-year-old female passenger who was not wearing her seatbelt was ejected and she suffered minor injuries.

“The BMW came to rest on its roof in the water, trapping the driver and an 11-year-old male passenger,” the report continued.

A 23-year-old female passenger who suffered minor injuries was able to escape the wreck and witnesses who stopped to help pulled the driver from the vehicle. Emergency crews arrived shortly after and extricated the 11-year-old but he had died from his injuries.

The 13-year-old and 23-year-old were taken to Marshall Hospital for treatment. The driver suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

The identities of the victims were not available as of press time.

Boy dies in late-night wreck

An 11-year-old boy died after the vehicle in which he was riding rolled off the roadway and landed in the water, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Around midnight Wednesday a BMW driven by a 33-year-old man was traveling westbound on Highway 50 west of Riverton at an unknown rate of speed when he lost control going around a curve, stepped on the brakes and caused the vehicle to skid out of control into the oncoming lane, the CHP reported.

“The BMW left the roadway and became airborne as it proceeded down a rocky embankment,” states the CHP report. “(It) collided with several large rocks as it overturned multiple times.”

A 13-year-old female passenger who was not wearing her seatbelt was ejected and she suffered minor injuries.

“The BMW came to rest on its roof in the water, trapping the driver and an 11-year-old male passenger,” the report continued.

A 23-year-old female passenger who suffered minor injuries was able to escape the wreck and witnesses who stopped to help pulled the driver from the vehicle. Emergency crews arrived shortly after and extricated the 11-year-old buy he had died from his injuries.

The 13-year-old and 23-year-old were taken to Marshall Hospital for treatment. The driver suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

the identities of the victims were not available as of press time.

Supervisors add to bridge project contract

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors recently approved a contract increase with the consulting firm of T.Y. Lin International for an expanded role on the Bucks bar Road Bridge project. During its last year, Dec.13, the board unanimously voted to more than double the architectural and engineering contract to a not-to-exceed amount of $1.35 million.

Because of the increase of more than $670,000, the action led to a required audit by Cal-trans experts.

“When consultant contracts that will utilize federal funding exceed $1 million, Cal-trans’ Division of Audits and Investigations requires that the proposed contract and a bunch of other data be submitted to them for review,” John Kahling explained in an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat. Kahling is deputy director for Engineering with the Community Development Agency’s Transportation Division, the lead agency on the project.

Kahling also noted that the Cal-trans audit should be complete in “late December or early January.”

“I am hoping that we finish environmental and start right-of-way in 2017, complete right of ways and design in 2018 and construct the project in 2019,” he added. “If right of way becomes difficult, construction may push to 2020.”

Built in 1940, the current 70-foot-long and 19-foot-wide span is the shortest route to the county’s south side and serves more than 4,000 vehicle trips per day. Barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass, the north end of the bridge has a “Yield,” sign warning motorists to wait if an approaching vehicle is already at the bridge.

Alternative designs were presented by DOT officials in March 2014 and the Board of Supervisors at the  time chose the option that provided the highest “design speed” of 40 mph. According to that presentation, the cost for the selected alternative was estimated at $2.7 million and required no long-term detour or road closure. Both of the latter conditions applied to two other, smaller alternatives with lower design speeds that would have required detours for up to a year or more. Public comment from South County wireless and agritourism proponents opposed that level of potential disruption to their businesses.

The board’s Dec.13 vote approved a second amendment to the consulting contract in order to provide for extensive, additional study of environmental concerns and assessment of cultural resources that could be disturbed by construction of a new bridge and road approaches from both sides of the North Fork of the Consumnes River.

Cal-trans’ Local Assistance Procedures Manual describes the conditions that allow a local jurisdiction to hire firms that have specialists in engineering, architecture and design for complex or special projects.

“The need for a consultant is identified by comparing the project’s schedule and objectives with the local agent’s capabilities, its staff availability of the required expertise and its funding resources,” the manual explains. “If the local agency does not have sufficient staff capabilities, it may choose to solicit assistance from another agency or use a qualified private consultant to perform the required work.”

Because all funding is to be provided through various federal sources, Cal-trans further requires that its district local assistance engineer be notified of the county’s intention to hire an outside consultant. Currently funding is provided by the federal Highway Bridge Program (88 percent), Regional Surface Transportation Program (11 percent) and Road Fund (1 percent).

T.Y. Lin International is a global, multi-disciplinary infrastructure services firm headquartered in San Fransisco that specializes in the design of long-span bridges and specialty structures. The firm was founded in 1954 by structural engineer T.Y Lin, who is credited with “standardizing the practical use of pre0stressed concrete and emphasizing aesthetic aspects of engineering regardless of a project’s economic limitations,” according to information online.

Supervisors add to bridge project contract

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors recently approved a contract increase with the consulting firm of T.Y. Lin International for an expanded role on the Bucks Bar Road Bridge project. During its last regular meeting of the year, Dec.13, the board unanimously voted to ore than double the architectural and engineering contract to a not-to-exceed amount of $1.35 million.

Because of the increase of more that $670,000, the action led to a required audit by Cal-trans experts.

“When consultant contracts that will utilize federal funding exceeds $1 million, Cal-Trans’ Division of Audits and Investigations requires that the proposed contract and a hunch of other data be submitted to them for review,” John Kahling explained in an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat. Kahling is deputy director for Engineering with the Community Development Agency’s Transportation Division, the lead agency on the project.

Kahling also noted that the Cal-Trans audit should be complex in “late December or early January.”

“I am hoping that we finish environmental and start right-of-way in 2017, complete right of way and design in 2018 and construct the project in 2019,” he added. “If right of way becomes difficult, construction may push to 2020.”

Built in 1940, the current 70 foot-long and 19-foot-wide span is the shortest route to the county’s south side and serves more than 4,000 vehicles per day. Barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass, the north end of the bridge has a :Yield” sign warning motorists to wait if an approaching vehicle is already at the bridge.

Alternative designs were presented by DOT officials in March 2014 and the Board of Supervisors at the time chose the option that provided the highest “design speed” of 40 mph. According to that presentation, the cost for the selected alternative was estimated at $2.7 million and required no long-term detour or road closure Both of the latter conditions applied to two other, smaller alternatives with lower design speeds that would have required detours for put to a year or more. Public comment from South County wineries and agritourism proponents opposed that level of potential disruption to their businesses.

The board’s Dec.13 vote approved a second amendment to the consulting contract  in order to provide for extensive, additional study of environmental concerns and assessment of cultural resources that could be disturbed by construction of a new bridge and road approaches from both sides of the North Fork of the Consumnes River.

Cal-trans’ Local Assistance Procedures Manual describes the conditions that allow a local jurisdiction to ire firms that have specialists in engineering, architecture and design for complex and special projects.

“The need for a consultant is identified by comparing the project’s schedule and objectives with the local agency’s capabilities, its staff availability of the required expertise and its funding resources,” the manual explains. “if the local agency does not have sufficient staff capabilities, it may choose to solicit assistance from another agency or use a qualified private consultant to perform the required work.”

Because all funding is to be provided through various federal sources, Cal-trans further requires that its district local assistance engineer be notified of the county’s intention to hire an outside consultant. Currently funding is provided by the federal Highway Bridge Program (88 percent), Regional Surface Transportation Program (11 percent), and Road Fund (1 percent).

T.Y. Lin International is a global, multi-disciplinary infrastructure services firm headquartered in San Francisco that specializes in the design of long-span bridges and specialty structures. The firm was founded in 1954 by structural engineer T.Y. Lin, who is credited with “standardizing the practical use of pre-stressed concrete and emphasizing aesthetic aspects of engineering regardless of a project’s economic limitations,” according to information online.

Mountain Democrat

Top 10 stories of 2016 – No. 5: New Sheriff’s building a go

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has accepted the offer of a $57 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, authorized under the federal Rural Safety branch of the USDA, to build a new public safety facility that will serve as headquarters for the EL Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.

The USDA noted that in order to secure a lower interest rate on the loan, at 23/8 percent, the county would have to sign all relevant documents prior to Jan. 1. Rates are expected to increase by 1 percent after that date, according to the federal agency.

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton told the Mountain Democrat in a recent phone call that a “one point increase in the interest rate could mean an additional $5000,000 to $600,000 in the annual payment.”

Based on assessments of the current sheriff’s building reported by Vanir Construction Management in 2013, “The county should consider replacing this facility. The cost to upgrade this facility including ADA requirements is not justified.”

The current sheriff’s administrative building on Fair Lane in Placerville was built in 1970 at just more that 22,000 square feet. Other sheriff’s department offices are offsite in leased spaced around the county.

The same report urged a number of upgrades to several other county facilities, but location of the sheriff’s staff was deemed unsuitable for the size of a modern, comprehensive facility. After this finding, the Board of Supervisors voted to “discontinue any major maintenance to the facility on Fair Lane” and eventually purchased approximately 33 acres in the Diamond Springs Business Park.

Including the land purchase and the USDA loan, the price tag approved was approximately $60 million. One salient feature of the loan is that it allows a 40-year payoff schedule. The county will have to budget for payments of about $2.3 million per year. The current budget does include the first year’s payment, Ashton continued.

As reported in July, supervisors approved the proposal and the loan application for the public safety facility project by a 4-1 vote. The new building will consist of slightly more than 99,000 square feet and includes a sheriff’s department headquarters building, an evidence storage building, training and special operations facility, morgue and an indoor gun range. As proposed, the facility will occupy about 12 acres on the 33-acre parcel. Future plans include a 5-acre solar farm.

Top 10 stories of 2016 – No. 5: New Sheriff’s building a go

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has accepted the offer of a $57 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, authorized under the federal Rural Safety branch of the USDA, to build a new public safety facility that will serve as headquarters for the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.

The USDA noted that in order to secure a lower interest rate on the loan, at 23/8 percent, the county would have to sign all relevant documents prior to Jan.1. Rates are expected to increase by 1 percent after that date, according to the federal agency.

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton told the Mountain Democrat in a recent phone call that a “one point increase in the interest rate could mean an additional $500,000 to $600,000 in the annual payment.”

Based on assessments of the current sheriff’s building reported by Vanir Construction Management in 2013. “The county should consider replacing this facility. The cost to upgrade this facility including ADA requirements is not justified.”

The current sheriff’s administrative building on Fair Lane in Placerville was built in 1970 at just more that 22,000 square feet. Other sheriff’s department offices are offsite in leased spaced around the county.

The same report urged a number of upgrades to several other county facilities, but the location of the sheriff’s staff was deemed unsuitable for the size of a modern, comprehensive facility. After this finding, the Board of Supervisors voted to “discontinue any major maintenance to the facility on Fair Lane and eventually purchased approximately 33 acres in the Diamond Springs Business Park.

Including the land purchase and the USDA loan, the price tag approved was approximately $60 million. One salient feature of the loan is that it allows a 40-year payoff schedule. The county will have to budget for payments of about $2.3 million per year. The current budget does include the first year’s payment, Ashton confirmed.

As reported in July, supervisors approved the proposal and the loan application for the public safety facility project by a 4-1 vote. The new building will consist of slightly more than 99,000 square feet and includes a sheriff’s department headquarters building, an evidence storage building, training and special operations facility, morgue and an indoor gun range. As proposed, the facility will occupy about 12 acres on the 33-acre parcel. Future plans include a 5-acre solar farm.

The supervisors’ July 26 meeting included some heated exchanges between board chairman Ron Mikulaeo, Ashton, and Chief Fiscal Officer Laura Schwartz. The terms of the USDA loan require that the county show a balanced budget for the next five years, which the CAO and the CFO explained would be achieved by “constraining salaries” and finding “efficiencies” within the county’s departments. Mikulaco remained unconvinced and eventually cast the lone dissenting vote.

During the same meeting, while Ashton assured that there would be no layoffs of county staff and no new hiring, Mikulaco and District 3 Supervisor Brian Veerkamp countered that at some point over the next several years the county would have to hire some new employees.

Top 10 stories of 2016- No.5: New sheriff’s building a go

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has accepted the offer of a $57 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, authorized under the federal Rural Safety branch of the USDA, to build a new public safety facility that will serve as headquarters for the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.

The USDA noted that in order to secure a lower interest rate on the loan, at 23/8 percent, the county would have to sign all relevant documents prior to Jan.1. Rates are expected in increase by 1 percent after that date, according to the federal agency.

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton told the Mountain Democrat in a recent phone call that “one point increase in the interest rate could mean an additional $500,000 to $600,000 in the annual payment.

Based on assessments of the current sheriff’s building reported by Vanir Construction Management in 2013, “The county should consider replacing this facility. The cost to upgrade this facility including ADA requirements is not justified.”

The current sheriff’s administrative building on Fair Lane in Placerville was built in 1970 at just more that 22,000 square feet. Other sheriff’s department offices are offsite in leased spaced around the county.

The same report urged a number of upgrades to several other county facilities, but the location of the sheriff’s staff was deemed unsuitable for the size of a modern, comprehensive facility. After this finding, the Board of Supervisors voted to “discontinue any major maintenance to the facility on Fair Lane” and eventually purchased approximately 33 acres in the Diamond Springs Business Park.

Including the land purchase and the USDA loan, the price tag approved was approximately $60 million. One salient feature of the loan is that it allows a 40-year payoff schedule. The county will have to budget for payments of about $2.3 million per year, The current budget does include the first year’s payment Ashton confirmed.

As reported in July, supervisors approved the proposal and the loan application for the public safety facility project by a 4-1 vote. The new building will consist of slightly more that 99,000 square feet and includes a sheriff’s department headquarters building, an evidence storage building, training and special operations facility, morgue and an indoor gun range. As proposed, the facility will occupy about 12 acres on the 33-acre parcel. Future plans include a 5-acre solar farm.

The supervisors’ July 26  meeting included some heated exchanges between board chairman Ron Mikulaco, Ashton and Chief Fiscal Officer Laura Schwartz. The terms of the USDA loan require that the county show a balanced budget for the next five years, which the CAO and the CFO explained would be achieved by “constraining salaries” and finding “efficiencies” within the county’s departments. Mikulaco remained unconvinced and eventually cast the lone dissenting vote.

During the same meeting, while Ashton assured that there would be no layoffs of county staff and no new hiring, Mikulaco and District 3 Supervisor Brian Veerkamp countered that at some point over the next several years the county would have to hire some new employees.

EID General Counsel Tom Cumpston retiring

After nearly a quarter century in public service – 14 of those years with the El Dorado Irrigation District – Tom Cumpston is retiring at the end of January. Cumpston has been EID’s general counsel since October 2002.

The general counsel position acts as the district’s chief lawyer and is appointed by the EID Board of Directors. In his capacity as general counsel, Cumpston advised the board, the general manager and the district’s departments on legal matters, defended the district in litigation, review all contracts and other legal documents and administered claims, insurance and public requests. This is work that requires expert analysis and detailed knowledge of and experience in public agency and water-related law – something EID officials note Cumpston has in abundance.

Cumpston graduated first in his class from UC Davis’ Martin Luther King School of Law in 1989. His first employment after graduation was with the land-use unit of a private law firm in San Jose, where he represented private clients and public agencies on projects and cases involving development and California Environmental Quality Act. After four years with the firm Cumpston said he realized that working for a public agency to serve the community he lived in was the professional path he wanted to take.

In 1993 Cumpston took a job as a deputy county counsel for El Dorado County and began his long and productive association with water issues and in the areas. His position had him working primarily for the El Dorado County Water Agency on the water rights application that became Permit 21112. This was right up his alley.

“One of my favorite classes in law school was on water law,” he said. “And at the county, it became a commonplace that if it was wet, I got it.”

When Compton was hired as EID’s first in-house general counsel in 2002, he continued to work on water rights, including the successful repurposing of 4,560 acre-feet of ditch water rights that were on the verge of forfeiture and the continued struggles over Permit 21112. By then EID had purchased the Project 184 hydroelectric project that makes the Permit 21112 supplies available, but Project 184’s federal operating license was up for renewal. Cumpston helped negotiate a new, 40-year license that was issued in 2006. That same year he won an appellate court decision that ended 13 year of litigation over Permit 21112. And on Aug.2 of this year, in a timely culmination of the prolonged effort he has devoted to obtaining it, EID and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signed a long-term Warren Act contract that allows EID to withdraw the full measure of Permit 21112’s 17,000 acre-foot water supply from Folsom Reservoir.

“From start to finish, acquiring the Permit 21112 water supply took 25 years,” Cumpston noted. “It either shows that I am a very bad lawyer of that acquiring new water supplies can be glacial in its progress and takes decades of long-range planning and sustained effort.

Cumpston’s long association with the Association of California Water Agencies has kept him in the epicenter of water issues and enabled him to advocate EID’s interest in regional and statewide settings. He has been a member of ACWA’s legal affairs committee for much of his career.

EID General Counsel Tom Compton retiring

After nearly a quarter century in public service – 14 of those years with the El Dorado Irrigation District – Tom Compton is retiring at the end of January. Compton has been EID’s general counsel since October 2002.

The general counsel position acts as the district’s chief lawyer and is appointed by the EID Board of Directors. In his capacity as general counsel, Compton advised the board, the general manager and the district’s department on legal matters, defended the district in litigation, reviewed all contracts and other legal documents and administered claims, insurance and public records requests. This is work that requires agency and water-related law – something EID officials note Compton has in abundance.

Cumpsotn graduated first in his class from UC Davis’ Martin Later King School Of Law in 1989. His first employment after graduations with the land-use unit of a private law firm in San Jose, where he represented private clients and public agencies on projects and cases involving development and the California Environmental Quality Act. After four years with the firm Compton said he realized that working for a public agency to serve the community he lived in was the professional path he wanted to take.

In 1993 Compton took a job as a deputy county counsel for El Dorado County and began his long and productive association with water issues in the area. His position had him working primarily for the El Dorado County Water Agency on the water rights application that became Permit 21112. This was right up his alley.

“One of my favorite classes in law school was on water law,” he said. “And at the county, it became a commonplace that ‘if it was wet, I got it.”

The Compton was hired as EID’s first in-house general counsel in 2002, he continued to work on water rights, including the successful repurposing of 4,560 acre-feet of ditch water rights that were on the verge of forfeiture and he continued struggles over Permit 21112. By then EID had purchased the Project 184 hydroelectric project that makes Permit 21112 supplies available, but Project 184’s federal operating license was up for renewal. Compton helped negotiate a new 40-year license that was issued in 2006. That same year he won an appellate court decision that ended 13 years of litigation over Permit 21112. And on Aug. 2 of this year, in a timely culmination of the prolonged effort he has devoted to obtaining it, EID and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signed a long-term Warren Act contract that allows EID to withdraw the full measure of Permit 21112’s 17,000 acre-foot water supply from Folsom Reservoir.

“From start to finish, acquiring the Permit 21112 water supply took 25 years,” Cumpston noted. “It either shows that I am a very bad lawyer or that acquiring new water supplies can be glacial in its progress and takes decades of long-range planning and sustained effort. “

Cumpston’s long association with the Association of California Water Agencies has kept him in the epicenter of water issues and enabled him to advocate EID’s interests in regional and statewide settings. He has been a member of ACWA’s legal affairs committee for much of his career.

“EID and California water have been the beneficiaries of Tom’s keen legal knowledge and good humor,” said EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie. “Having a general counsel of Tom’s caliber has had an enormous impact on EID’s operations and its standing in the wider region over the years. His expert legal analysis has been invaluable to EID staff and he will be keenly missed. And he has stepped up as an outstanding interim and acting general manager when the need arose. It’s a testament to his dedication to this agency, the employees and the district we serve.”

“I’ve been proud to work with outstanding colleagues on accomplishments that everyone in the district can take pride in,” said Compton. “The expansion of our water supplies, EID’s first-ever water transfer in 2015 and the acquisition of Sly Park from the United States are significant and lasting successes that stand out for me.”

Compton also recalls that the line-and-cover program for district reservoirs was a huge challenge that came with a high cost.

“This necessary modernization was made feasible by spreading its cost over a longer period of time-just as the district does with other long-lived facilities that will ultimately benefit generations of ratepayers,” he said. “We all tend to take for granted that we’ll open our taps and safe, reliable water will come out, but is’s a complex and costly undertaking. Still, water is life. It’s worth making the public investments necessary to sustain it-and us.

Compton, who lives in Placerville with his wife Kris, is an enthusiastic skier, gardener, hiker and cyclist and hopes to devote more time to those activities in retirement. He and Kris also plan to travel more and are determined to increase the number of days they spend backcountry skiing each winter. And if his affiliations with local non-profit New Morning Youth and Family Services, Placerville’s Measure H advisory committee and the recent successful Measure L campaign are any indication, he will likely remain engaged in serving the community he loves for many years to come.

Mountain Democrat

EID General Counsel Tom Cumpston retiring

After nearly a quarter century in public service-14 of those years with the El Dorado Irrigation District-Tom Cumpston is retiring at the end of January. Compton has been EID”s general counsel since October 2002.

The general counsel position acts as the district’s chief lawyer and is appointed by the EID Board of Directors. In his capacity as general counsel, Cumpston advised the board, the general manager and the district’s department on legal  matters, defended the district in litigation, reviewed all contracts and other legal documents and administered claims, insurance and public records requests. This is work that requires expert analysis and detailed knowledge of and experience officials note Cumpston has in abundance.

Compton graduated first in his class from UC Davis’ Marin Luther King School of Law in 1989. His first employment after graduation was with the land-use unit of private law firm in San Jose, where he represented private clients and public agencies on projects and cases involving development and the California Environmental Quality Act. After four years with the firm Cumpston said he realized that working for a public agency to serve the community he lived in was the professional path he wanted to take.

In 1993 Compton took a job as a deputy county counsel for El Dorado County and began his long and productive association with water issues in the area. His position had him working primarily for the El Dorado County Water Agency on the water rights application that became Permit 21112. This was right up his alley.

“One of my favorite classes in law school was on water law,” he said. “And at the county, it became a commonplace that “if it was wet, I got it.”

When Compton was hired as EID’s first in-house general counsel in 2002, he continued to work on water rights, including the successful repurposing of 4,560 acre-feet of ditch water rights that were on the verge of forfeiture and the continued struggles over permit 21112. By then EID had purchased the project 184 hydroelectric  project that makes the Permit 21112 supplies available, but Project 184’s federal operating license was up for renewal. Cumpston helped negotiate a new 40-year license that was issued in 2006. That same year he won an appellate court decision that ended 13 years of litigation over Permit 21112. And on Aug. 2 of this year, in a timely culmination of the prolonged effort he has devoted to obtaining it, EID and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signed a long-term Warren Act contract that allows EID to withdraw the full measure of Permit 21112’s 17,000 acre-foot water supply from Folsom Reservoir.

“From start to finish, acquiring the Permit 21112 water supply took 25 years,” Compton noted. “It either shows that I am a very bad lawyer of that acquiring new water supplies can be glacial in its progress and takes decades of long-range planning and sustained effort.”

Cumpston’s long association with the Association of California water Agencies has kept him in the epicenter of water issues and enabled him to advocate EID’s interests in regional and statewide settings. He has been a member of ACWA’s legal affairs committee for much of his career.

“EID and California water have been the beneficiaries of Tom’s keen legal knowledge and good humor,” said EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie. “Having a general counsel of Tom’s caliber has had an enormous impact on EID”s operations and its standing in the wider region over the years. His expert legal analysis has been invaluable to EID staff and he will be keenly missed. And he has stepped up as an outstanding interim and acting general manager when the need arose. It’s a testament to his dedication to this agency, the employees and the district we serve.”

“I’ve been proud to work with outstanding colleagues on accomplishments that everyone in the district can take pride in,” said Cumpston. “The expansion of our water supplies, EID’s first-ever water transfer in 2015 and the acquisition of Sly Park from the United States are significant and lasting successes that stand out for me.”

Cumpston also recalls that the line-and-cover program for district reservoirs was a huge challenge that came with a high cost.

“This necessary modernization was made feasible by spreading its cost over a longer period of time – just as the district does with other long-live facilities that will ultimately benefit generations of ratepayers,” he said. “We all tend to take for granted that we’ll open our taps and safe, reliable water will come out,, but it’s a complex and costly undertaking. Still, water is life. It’s worth making the public investments necessary to sustain-it and us.”

Cumpston, who lives in Placerville with his wife Kris, is an enthusiastic skier, gardener, hiker, and cyclist and hopes to devote more time to those activities in retirement. He and Kris also plan to travel more and are determined to increase the number of days they spend backcountry skiing each winter. And if his affiliations with local non-profit New Mourning Youth and Family Services, Placerville’s Measure H advisory committee and the recent successful Measure L campaign are any indication, he will likely remain engaged in serving the community he loves for many years to come.

Top 10 stories of 2016-No.9: Trump elected; local races yield some surprises

Having chewed up and spat out nearly a score of opponents between June 2015 and May 2016, Donal Trump crushed to an impressive Electoral College majority of 306 votes to officially earn the title of U.S. President 45 To-Be.

In a Nov.8 general election that stunned millions of Democrats, pundits, pollsters, bookies and not a few Republicans-reportedly including his campaign staff and even the candidate himself-Trump took a handful of traditional blue states alone with all of the South and much of the Midwest and gobsmacked Hillary Clinton with the results before the sun was up on Nov.9.

after ballot counting would show that Clinton actually held as much as a 2.6 million popular vote advantage, but by then it was too late to do anything about it other than honor the concession and salute the winner.

Historians will dig and delve and dither about what happened in the 2016 election. Should Clinton have campaigned in Wisconsin, been more forceful on her platform and vision, catered less to identity and more to bread and butter? Could she have found a better, more truth way to pound a last nail into the e-mail drama coffin?

How could Trump have kept up nearly a year of racial, ethnic, gender and class slurs without losing steam, credibility or more especially votes?

Many smart heads along the way stated unequivocally that “the election was hers to lose,” but it wasn’t widely believed to even be within the realm of possibility. But it was and she did.

In the post-election autopsy, the media acknowledged that they probably gave Donal Trump more that $1 billion in free advertising over the course of the campaign. He wasn’t just news either. He was entertainment. He was the “buzz.” He was the top story, above the fold practically every day for 12 months and is still going strong. He knew how to attract and hold attention like no political before has and maybe none ever will again.

He brought a raw-boned and raw-tongued energy to campaigning in the heretofore “sweet science” of national politics.

Local Races

In another closely contested, yet more classy, race, the El Dorado Irrigation District saw some turnover with longtime Director Bill George replaced by newcomer Mike Raffety for the Division 3 seat. George had served on EID”s board for 13 years. Raffey, a retired editor of the Mountain Democrat, cruised to an easy win, garnering 44 percent of the vote compared to George’s 30 percent. Craig Schmidt came in third at 26 percent.

Two other board members were easily reelected. Alan Day beat out Chuck Smith in the Division 5 race with 66 percent of the vote. George Osborne went unchallenged and won another term representing Division 1.

In David versus Goliath match-up, steadfast community volunteer and longtime El Dorado Hills resident John Hidahl beat Assemblywoman Beth Gaines in the District 1 El Dorado County supervisor race.

Though a new resident to El Dorado Hills, in the June primary Gaines came in first place. She had name recognition in her favor as an assemblywoman and wife to state Sen. Ted Gaines, beating out four other candidates for the top spot, all with strong ties to District 1. Hidahl came in second.

Gaines shined when she spoke about boosting commerce in District 1, yet leading up to Election Day her campaign sent out unflattering mailers and robe-calls about Hidahl, something many constituents say backfired.

Hidahl ran on a grassroots campaign buoyed by volunteers and spent a fraction of what Gaines did on her campaign, yet still garnered 58 percent of the vote in November.

He replaces District 1 Supervisor Ron Mikulaco, who opted not to run for a second term. In an ironic twist, Mikulaco first ran for Beth Gaines Assembly seat in June. When he came up short there, he ran for a seat on the El Dorado Hills Fire Board, of which Hidahl was a member, but also lost.

Mountain Democrat

Pet adoptions soar thanks to donation

El Dorado County was a Grinch-free zone in December. Thanks to sponsorships from Placerville’s TravelLite RV Rentals and an individual, the county’s Animal Services division was able to adopt out a great many dogs, cats, puppies and kittens at no cost to the adopting home.

Animal Services Director Henry B. told the Mountain Democrat Tuesday that between the South Lake Tahoe and West Slope shelters, 70 dogs and 24 puppies had been adopted since the beginning of December. Feline-lovers picked up 33 cats and 49 kittens over the same period. A chicken, a goat and a bird rounded out the month of adoptions.

While the actual revenue has been around $9,000, which covers fees, neutering and “handling” B. said a fair number of adopters actually paid some or all of the fees as an added donation to the program.

A couple more puppies were picked up last week and B. noted that the West Slope shelter still has four puppies and seven dogs available. Likewise there are about 20 cats/kittens ready to go to a good home and a rabbit that he hopes will be adopted. The South Lake Tahoe shelter also has a corn snake that isn’t being appreciated enough. Unlike a large facility such as the From Street shelter in Sacramento B. said that the county shelter is “not compressed by space and a huge animal population, so we’re able to keep some animals for a month or two waiting for adoption.”

Pet adoption is not a “drive-by” process no matter who is paying the bill Shelter staff do a lot of counseling before approving a given adoption. B. spoke about a recent session he had with a family that wanted to take a puppy and two kittens. He urged them to reconsider and maybe start out a little less ambitiously, because he said, “We want a forever home for our pets and not just be presents under the Christmas tree.”

As reported last month, pictures and descriptions of the cats, dogs and other animals currently available for adoption at the Animal Services shelters can be found on their website at….. According to B., all cats and dogs available for adoption at the shelters are payed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and given a health exam. The adoption fee is $42 dollars for cats, $120 for dogs, $15 for small animals such as rabbits and $40 dollars for small livestock. The one-year license fee for adoptable dogs is $23 dollars to $34.50. A dog license is required before a new adopter can “take their sweet pet home with them.”

Kim Pacini, a Sacramento Realtor, spearheaded the regional movement for Pet Adoption December and TravelLite RV owners Adam and Jessica Croxton took that cue and ran with it.” … as soon as my wife and I read (about P. plan), we wanted to do the same in El Dorado County,” Adam explained in an earlier interview earlier. Individual donors have launched similar programs in neighboring counties.

The Animal Services shelter in Diamond Springs is located at 6345 Captiol Ave. and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The shelters will be closed on observed holidays.  Shelter staff may be reached by phone at (530) 621-5795 in Diamond Springs or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.

Mountain Democrat

Pet adoptions soar thanks to donation

El Dorado County was a Grinch-free zone in December. Thanks to sponsorships from Placerville’s TravelLite RV Rentals and an individual, the county’s Animal Services division was able to adopt out a great many dogs, cats puppies, and kittens at no cost to the adopting home.

Animal Services Director Henry Brzenzinski told the Mountain Democrat Tuesday that between the South Lake Tahoe and West Slope shelters, 70 dogs and 24 puppies had been adopted since the beginning of December, Feline-lovers picked up 33 cats and 49 kittens over the same period. A chicken, a goat and a bird rounded out the month of adoptions.

While the actual revenue has been around  $9,000, which covers fees, neutering and “handling,” Brezezinski said a fair number of adopters actually paid some or all of the fees as an added donation to the program.

A couple more puppies were picked up last week and Brzenzinski noted that the West Slope shelter still has four puppies and seven doges available Likewise there are about 20 cats/kittens ready to go to a good home and a rabbit that he hopes will be adopted. The South Lake Tahoe shelter also has a corn snake that isn’t being appreciated enough. Unlike a large facility such as the Front Street shelter in Sacramento, Brzenzinski said the county shelter is “not compressed by space and a huge animal population, so we’re able to keep some animals for a month or two waiting for adoption.

Pet adopting is not a “drive-by” process no matter who is paying the bill.  Shelter staff do a lot of counseling before approving a given adoption. Brezenzinski spoke about a recent session he had with a family that wanted to take a puppy and two kittens. He urged them to reconsider and maybe to start out a little less ambitiously, because, he said, “We want a forever home for our pets and not just be presents under the Christmas tree.”

As reported last month, pictures and descriptions of the cats, dogs and other animals currently available for adoption at the Animal Services shelters can be found on their website at edcgov.us/animalservicces. According to Brzezinski, all cats and dogs available for adoption at the shelters are spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and given a health exam. The adoption fee is $42 dollars for cats, $120 for dogs, $15 for small animals such as rabbits and $40 dollars for small livestock. The one-year license fee for adoptable dogs is $23 to $34.50. A dog license is required before a new adopter can “take their sweet pet home with them.”

Kim Pacini, A Sacramento area Realtor, spearheaded the regional movement for Pet Adoption December and TravelLite RV owners Adam and Jessica Croxton took that cue and ran with it “…as soon as my wife and I read (about Panini’s plan), we wanted to do the same in El Dorado County,” Adam explained in an earlier interview earlier. Individual donors have launched similar programs in neighboring counties.

The Animal Services shelter in Diamond Springs is located at 6435 Capitol A. and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The shelter in South Lake Tahoe is located at 1120 Shakori Drive and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.n. The shelters will be closed on observed holidays. Shelter staff may be reached by phone at (530) 621-5795 in Diamond Springs or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.

Mountain Democrat

Pet adoptions soar thanks to donation

El Dorado County was a Grinch-free zone in December. Thanks to sponsorships from Placerville’s TravelLite Rv Rentals and an individual, the county’s Animal Services division was able to adopt out a great many dogs, cats, puppies and kittens at no cost to the adopting home.

Animal Services Director Henry Brzezinski told the Mountain Democrat Tuesday that between the South Lake Tahoe and Set Slope shelters, 70 doges and 24 puppies had been adopted since the beginning of December. Feline-lovers picked up 33 cats and 49 kittens over the same period. A chicken, a goat and a bird rounded out the month of adoptions.

While the actual revenue has been around $9,000, which covers fees, neutering and “handling,” Bzezinski said a fair number of adopters actually paid some or all of the fees as an added donation to the programs.

A couple more puppies were picked up last week and Brzezinski noted that the West Slope shelter still has four puppies and seven dogs available. Likewise there are about 20 cats/kittens ready to go to a good home and a rabbit that he hopes will be adopted. The South Lake Tahoe shelter also has a corn snake that isn’t being appreciated enough. Unlike a large facility such as the Front Street shelter in Sacramento, Brzezinski said the county shelter is “not compressed by  space and a huge animal population, so we’re able to keep some animals for a month or two waiting for adoption.”

Pet adoption is not a “drive-by” process no matter who is paying the bill. Shelter staff do a lot of counseling before approving a given adoption. Brzezenski spoke about a recent session he had with a family that wanted to take a puppy and two kittens. He urged them to reconsider and maybe start out a little less ambitiously, because, he said, “We want a forever home for our pets and not to just be presents under the Christmas tree.”

As reported last month, pictures and descriptions of the cats, dogs and other animals currently available for adoption at the Animal Services shelters can be found on their website at edcgov.us/animalservices. According to Brzezinski, all cats and dogs available for adoption at the shelters are spayed or neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and given health exams. The adoption fee is $42 dollars for cats, $120 for dogs, $15 for small animals such as rabbits and $40 dollars for small livestock. The one-year license fee for adoptable dogs is $23 dollars to $34.50. A dog license is required before a new adopter can “take their sweet pet home.”

Kim Pacini, a Sacramento area Realtor, spearheaded the regional movement for Pet Adoption December and TravelLite RV owners Adam and Jessica Croxton took that cue and ran with it. “…as soon as my wife and I read (about Panini’s plan), we wanted to do the same in El Dorado County,” Adam explained in an earlier interview earlier. Individual donors have launched similar programs in neighboring counties.

The Animal Services shelter in Diamond Springs is located at 6435 Capitol Ave. and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The shelter in South Lake Tahoe is located at 1120 Shakori Drive and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. The shelters will be closed on observed holidays. Shelter staff may be reached by phone at (530) 621-5795 in Diamond Springs or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.

Motorists keep CHP busy

The New Year’s holiday didn’t slow down driving under the influence arrests and vehicle collisions for the California Highway Patrol.

The Placerville CHP investigated more than 13 collisions Friday, Dec. 30, through Monday, Jan. 2. Six DUI arrests were reported over the holiday weekend.

“Temperatures did drop to below freezing on Sunday and numerous icy and snowy roadway conditions were reported,” said Placerville CHP officer Brent McElmurry.

Chains controls on Highway 50 were still in effect at press time on all vehicles except 4-wheel drive with snow tires, 1.5 miles west of Kyburz to Meyers in El Dorado County.

Cal-trans officials advise travelers to check chain control locations before they hit the road, as they update frequently.

The weather isn’t expected to let up, with snow at the upper elevations and heavy rain in the lower elevations throughout the week.

And just a heads up for motorists, a new law for cell phone usage behind the wheel has taken effect as of Jan.1.

“Several new laws came into effect as of the new year. Of interest to drivers, the use of Wireless Electronic Devices (AV 1785,Quirk) motorists are no longer permitted to hold a wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device while driving a motor vehicle,” McElmurry said. “Rather than holding the device, it must be mounted in the 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver. Another option is to affix the device to the dashboard in a place that does not obstruct the driver’s clear view of the road and does not interfere with the deployment of an airbag.

The Mountain Democrat, located in Placerville, Ca, is the oldest newspaper in California, boasting continuous publication since 1851. The Mountain Democrat is a local newspaper covering news, sports, and features in El Dorado County.

The Mountain Democrat, located in Placerville, Ca, is the oldest newspaper in California, boasting continuous publication since 1851. The Mountain Democrat is a local newspaper covering news, sports, and features in El Dorado County.

The Mountain Democrat, located in Placerville, Ca, is the oldest newspaper in California, boasting continuous publication since 1851. The Mountain Democrat is a local newspaper covering news, sports, and features in El Dorado County.

Editor’s note: The following is the introductory editorial of the first issue of the Empire County Argus, Nov. 19, 1853, written by Publisher D.W. Gelwicks. The Argus was published in the Crescent City Building on the corner of Main and Bridge streets in Coloma, then the El Dorado County seat. On Jan. 21, 1854 George Vincent became publisher. A month later Gerwicks bought the El Dorado Republican from Thomas Springer in Placerville and renamed it the Mountain Democrat.

In our relations of the success of miners we shall strive to avoid the exaggerated accounts that we believe to be prevalent.

It shall also be our aim to give all the interests of our county a due and proper degree of attention. The Argus being established for the general interest of the county, it will not be permitted to become the organ of a particular town or section of the county. Our aim is to be above a narrow-minded sectional feeling. We shall strive to get full and reliable intelligence from all parts of our country as well as the state, and news of general interest from other quarters.

We shall also deem it our duty to watch closely the manner in which the public officers of our county conduct the business that the people entrust to them. In this we shall aim at the performance of our duty without fear of favor.

In politics this paper will be entirely and fearlessly Democratic.

We shall not attempt to please all. By doing so we should please none. We seek to do good by pursuing an honorable and fearless course.

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