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The pizza shop is located at 704 Texas Street.
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By Pat Lakey
Davey needs someone to play with.
The venerable veteran of the John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Races at the annual El Dorado County Fair is looking for men and women to join him in the brand-new senior division of the races, for those 55 and older.
And since Davey Doc Wiser is 68, he points out that he is spotting several years on the young whipper-snappers of 55.
(Writers note Wait a minute. Im 56. Heck, I could probably take Davey! Im short, but Im scrappy. I walk four miles a day … but wait, I weigh 110 pounds [yeah, yeah, ladies, add 5 pounds; I know you will] and pushing a wheelbarrow with 40 pounds in it? Nope, looks like Davey still needs someone to play with.)
Why would anyone in a right mind want to push a dirty wheelbarrow full of ore, splashing through a water hole, grunting up the trail in front of a grandstand full of people?
It keeps me young, Davey said, his blue eyes twinkling above his trademark red handlebar mustache (a bit gray, but we wont tell). And I want to stay young. Im really just a little guy in a big guys body.
That big guy has a big heart, as anyone who has seen him around town can attest. Davey and his pals offer free stagecoach rides every third Saturday of the month, weather permitting, and the sight of a childs face atop the stage is priceless.
I had a lady come up to me when I was driving the stage not too long ago and she said she became involved in the Wheelbarrow Races because of me, Davey recalled. That was very humbling it made me feel good.
Davey wants to share that glow with others, and despite the obvious pitfalls of struggling in public and perhaps falling on your face, he makes it seem like a good idea.
Davey demonstrated his style for the Mountain Democrat, tumbling his blue wheelbarrow with his signature Doc painted in black on one side, red on the other, up a dirt track at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds where the annual competition always draws an enthusiastic crowd.
At one point the red-haired rascal placed a Democrat photographer in the contraption and pushed her up a small hill, both laughing like … well, like the kids inside them.
Its hard to keep the little guy alive inside for some people, but its important, Davey reiterated. What someone will get out of an experience like this, participating in the Wheelbarrow Races, is unique. The friendships that are established with everyone doing something thats fun well, these are the kind of people you just dont meet every day.
Davey doesnt just talk the talk. Hes been a race participant for 20 years now, and judging from his energy and drive while being interviewed, he may just put in 20 more.
People right now, in these tough times, they have so much going on. They need to see a fun thing in their community, and this is it, Davey said.
Placervilles favorite Doc added that because the over-55 category is co-ed, perhaps some of the more shy men are worried they would be beaten by a woman.
Ive been beaten by women all my life, so thats no problem, he said, grinning. This is fun, with good sportsmanship. The little kids are watching you and youd be amazed at the influence that has on them.
The Wheelbarrow Races are held during the county fair, which this year is June 17-20. The races are on the final day of the fair, a Sunday. There are seven categories of participants, with cash prizes of up to $1,000 going to winners. Three categories require an entry fee, but the other four involving high school teams, teens, youngsters and seniors do not.
Thats right you can take on Davey in front of a crowd of friends and strangers, all for free.
To sign up for the John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Races, which are sponsored by the Placerville Kiwanis Club, visit the fairgrounds office on Placerville Drive or go to the following local businesses: Minuteman Press on Ray Lawyer Drive, Farmers Insurance on Placerville Drive and the Mountain Democrat on Broadway.
So far, Davey said its just him and one other guy who have signed up in the senior division. Give the kid someone to play with.
E-mail Pat Lakey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-344-5066.
By Mike Roberts
Mother Lode News
The 2010 edition of Coloma Blues Live! raised the bar for the countys premier outdoor blues festival, with the strongest lineup yet. The 2,500 sun-baked and generally well-behaved revelers loved the music from bottom to top.
The early season festival has been climate challenged in years past, and the tardy spring of 2010 had organizers worried about another cool, or even wet one. But the days only climate concern turned out to be keeping the 2,500 or so attendees hydrated.
Saturday became a scorcher before opener Shane Dwight had flexed a pec, the sky a vision of uninterrupted, bright pure blue, the perfect ceiling for a perfect day to soak up some great blues beside the American River.
The early arriving crowd must have heard that last years opener, Laurie Morvan, stole the show. This year, versatile Bay Area beefcake blues rocker Shane Dwight took the stage first and immediately made the day even brighter. His power trio brought a loud, lean sound that was a perfect accompaniment to Dwights gun slinging guitar chops.
The result was a delightful mix of jumpy roadhouse originals and recognizable blues standards. The tattooed, tank-topped Dwight was spontaneous and genuinely funny between songs. The already sweltering crowd on the Henningsen Lotus meadow loved him.
Morvan and her expanded band followed, charming the audience with her Cafe Boogaloo set of raucous blues rock. The clear-eyed math teacher wrapped her lean frame around that Fender Stratocaster and pranced the stage like an estrogenized Mick Jagger, adding her own collection of rock and roll grimaces, hair-flying head shakes and unabashed open- mouthed gawps.
In Good Girls Bad Girls, Morvan crooned I try to be a good girl and do every thing my momma taught, but I think all the good girls are just bad girls that aint been caught.
Morvans mother, Rita King, was on hand, and assured a steady stream of well wishers that her daughter was never a bad girl, simply a free spirit.
Betsy Montgomery, a 39-year-old mother of two from Folsom, asked Morvans parents to sign one of their daughters CDs. Shes just so inspiring … I see her up there and I feel like I could do something like that.
You can! exclaimed Morvans father, Bud King. Its never too late. She was a secretary, an electrical engineer, and a teacher before she decided to do this.
Veteran blues rocker Coco Montoya followed Morvans explosive set with his own, more subtle pyrotechnics. Montoya has become the familiar, gracious uncle of the West Coast blues scene, averaging over 200 tour dates each year. Montoya took the stage in Lotus and quickly demonstrated why John Mayall chose him to follow Eric Clapton in the Bluesbreakers.
Charlie Musselwhites bad posture, the result of a life spent bending over a harmonica microphone, and his humble grin, say it all about the veteran Chicago Blue blower who was born in Mississippi and grew up in Memphis.
In a thoroughly entertaining set of harmonica fueled jump blues that featured Musselwhites Mississippi-bred vocals, he took us back to his Chicago roots, playing Strange Land from the groundbreaking 1967 album that ignited the 1960s blues revival, and made him a counterculture hero.
The refrain nobody knows me … Im just a stranger in a strange land might have been true when he was wandering the South Side of Chicago in the mid-1960s, but Musselwhite has since become a familiar voice to blues fans around the world as one of the last active performers to play with legendary Chicago bluesmen Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin Wolf and Big Joe Williams.
An appreciative audience heard Musselwhite croon Im just a bad boy in your town tonight, but wasnt too concerned about any mischief the grandfatherly figure might create.
Headliner Robert Cray became a true blues superstar in the late 1980s with his steamy blend of soul and blues. He crossed over into the mainstream, selling millions of albums and pumping new life into an art form that saw its audience dwindling.
Crays recent efforts have retained his precise, song-serving guitar stylings, his tight, firm-faced band delivering his hybrid soul-blues with surgical precision.
His new material continues Crays exploration of amour-gone-sideways, each song a subtle, purpose-built creation engineered to tug at the heartstrings.
The uber-shy Cray was clearly uncomfortable on stage, staring directly into the bright late afternoon sun. But the Lotus audience who came to see him hung on every note. He rewarded them with his late 1980s hits, including Right Next Door, with its sultry, self-absorbed refrain, Because of me, and the type of catchy turn-of-phrase that made him a superstar, Im such a strong persuade r… She was just another notch on my guitar.
The 2010 Coloma Blues lineup was filled with stellar musicianship from bottom to top. It included enough Stratocaster calisthenics to keep the rockers from nodding off, without relying on set after set of larger-than-life guitar gymnastics.
Richard Burleigh, who books many of the same artists each August at the Sonora Blues Festival, was on hand, and talked about the difficulty of assembling a modern blues lineup that sells tickets and stays true to music.
Transplanting an art form that was born in smoky nightclubs onto an outdoor stage at noon can be challenging, he agreed. We have to punch it up with the blues rock acts, he said. But theres always room for the masters, like Charlie Musselwhite and these versatile young guys like Shane Dwight, who are such great performers that they just leave you feeling good.
Despite repeated warnings from the stage, about 10 attendees suffered heat exhaustion. One was hospitalized. By midafternoon, a breeze was coming up off the river, cooling the meadow, and a spray of thin clouds softened the early season sun.
Event coordinator Mary Carrera credited the over 200 volunteers for making the day a success. She called Coloma Blues Live 2010 the best show yet; the best music, the best weather and the best crowd.
The El Dorado County Election Office was to have commence the official canvass of the vote for the June 8 primary election on Thursday, June 10, and the random draw of precinct manual tally post election procedure today, Friday. All persons are welcome to view the process.
By Jim Ratajczak
Democrat staff writer
El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Nelson K. Brooks won election Tuesday night, trouncing candidate Robert Huckabay in the polls.
The incumbent Brooks received 76 percent of the vote and will continue to serve as the countys District 9 judge on the Cameron Park bench.
I see my role as a judge to be the tireless and unswerving dedication to upholding the law and applying it fairly, without prejudice or preference, to everyone who appears before me, he said on his Website. I believe firmly that judges should interpret the law and not legislate from the bench.
Brooks was appointed to his position in 2009 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to fill the vacancy left by retiring Judge Eddie T. Keller.
Since taking office in Department 9 in Cameron Park I have worked hard to identify areas where costs could be cut and the courts service to our community improved by eliminating unnecessary, duplicative and expensive court appearances, said Brooks on his site.
Prior to serving as a Superior Court judge, Brooks spent 27 years as a trial attorney. He received his law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1982.
Huckabay, Brooks opponent, could not be reached for comment.
E-mail Jim Ratajczak at email@example.com or call 530-344-5066.
By Noel Stack
Mother Lode News
Supervisor Ron Briggs will keep his seat for another four years.
District 4 voters didnt embrace the incumbent backlash gripping some parts of the country. More than 55 percent of them chose Briggs, 52, to continue representing them on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, according to county Elections semi-official report. Briggs closest competitor, Todd Schwenk, received less than 20 percent.
Thats a relief, said Briggs, who began his election night at the Republican headquarters in Placerville.
Nearly 43 percent of registered District 4 voters voted in the June primary; Briggs earned 4,780 votes.
Briggs first won the District 4 seat in 2006 against five other candidates. This time he had three opponents Schwenk, Wendell Smith and Shawn Gulling. Briggs credited his record, positive campaign and growing support.
I kept all my base supporters and I added the chambers (of commerce), developers, builders and Realtors, he said.
Schwenk, who has his own core Team Schwenk supporters, spent election night at home with family and friends. This is the second time Schwenk has run for the District 4 seat and, he said, it wont be the last.
Its an up and coming family industry of ours, Schwenk said of running for office.
The 48-year-old said he was surprised by early results and had hoped that more working voters would support him.
Work is the No. 1 word weve been talking about, Schwenk said. Our campaign was the only one talking about job creation.
In April El Dorado Countys unemployment rate stood at nearly 13 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department.
Recognizing the continuing challenges, Briggs said he sees his reelection as the voters way of saying hes on the right track and accurately representing District 4 constituents.
The item foremost on his mind this week is the county budget. The board began budget hearings Monday and will face many tough decisions. Briggs seemed confident, saying, Were putting the government to its right size. I think were doing things right.
Elder Options invites the community to join us for the second annual blood drive and resource fair on June 9. Drop by to see local resources for seniors and the disabled, and maybe even donate a pint of blood to the Marshall Community Blood Bank.
There will be many useful resources for seniors and those with disabilities, great information and give-aways. Last year the event collected much needed blood for the community while raising funds for the elder fund at the El Dorado Community Foundation.
The next 20 people who sign up to give blood receive a free raffle ticket for some great gifts. Call Elder Options to schedule an appointment.
Take advantage of a good time, exciting raffle prizes, helpful resources, live music and good causes. Come down to 82 Main St., Placerville, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
By Rosemary Revell
Democrat staff writer
This springs cold temperatures accompanied by rain, hail and frost have devastated the crops of El Dorado County. The spring that never was has created ideal conditions for two different strains of bacteria to thrive. They have attacked and damaged this years tree fruit crops, wreaking havoc in the lives and livelihoods of El Dorado County growers. The fimbulwinter meaning long-lasting or never-ending winter has meant that many growers could not win. Months of effort and expense have resulted only in blasted fruit.
Lynn Wunderlich, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor, described the crop damage in El Dorado County as very, very bad.
It is heartbreaking, she said. There was nothing any of the growers could do about it. Thats agriculture. We have to deal with the weather.
More bad news is that a further challenge awaits growers at harvest time. Cold weather now will delay the harvest by several weeks, leaving the growers vulnerable to damage by autumn storms.
As if all this is not challenge enough for the growers, theres a new fruit fly from Asia being found in El Dorado County.
Beasties that blast
Wunderlich explained the devastation caused by bacterial blast, the main culprit in the crop damage. The bacteria thrive and attack in the wet and the cold.
The main damage is from bacterial blast. This disease only comes in cold, wet conditions. We had one storm at the end of April and another May 10 that created the perfect conditions.
This kind of bacteria is all over, but it does not do any damage. It is normally present but not infectious. It is always associated with very cold temperatures and wet conditions.
I went and looked at 20 years of temperature data for the month of May. The last time it was this cold it was 1998.
This has really hurt the tree fruit peaches, plums and cherries, Wunderlich said.
Blast bacteria infections first appear as black lesions on the leaves that eventually wither, curl and drop. Even entire twigs may die back. Diseased areas are covered with a reddish brown scab. Blast infections result in small black spots on the fruit.
Wunderlich said she did not know why the bacteria have the name blast, but she grimly quipped that a blast infection makes the tree and its fruit look like they were hit by an atomic blast.
At this time, there is no spray or treatment to prevent or combat bacterial blast. Only warm weather alleviates the infection.
What the blast did not destroy, the hail damaged, and theres frost damage in the vineyards, Wunderlich said.
Tree fruit growers
David Fausel of Fausel Ranch in Placerville has 15 acres planted in cherry and peach trees.
Fausel said, Theres been bacterial canker in the trees for years. Thats common, but Ive never seen it like this. What were cherries are gone. Its a wipe-out. It came right in the middle of the bloom. We had a beautiful bloom. The fruit was set, and then it rained, and it didnt quit.
Fausel said he has lost about two-thirds of his crop.
Chris Hoover of Hooverville Orchards in Placerville said the only thing that has saved him has been diversification.
Some things are OK because there was a window of good weather, but other crops are hammered. The cherries sustained hail damage, Hoover said.
His main damage is fire blight in the Asian pear trees.
The bacteria keep thriving, so we keep cutting off the pear tree limbs. There was fruit on the trees, and we had already started thinning it. Now were cutting off the limbs. It was a lot of effort for nothing. When it really gets hot, the heat kills off the bacteria. It will be three to five years before these trees show some fruit. Ive lost half the crop. It has happened before, 15 years ago. We save as much as we can. At least we knew what to do. Im blessed with diversification. I have a large bag of tricks. In 31 years, this is the ugliest fruit Ive ever seen, Hoover said.
Shirley and Reginald Rice of American River Cherry Co. in Placerville described much blossom damage to the cherries due to the several freezes during the blossoming time. Theres snow and hail damage to even the small amount of fruit there was, and water damage to the cherries.
The good news is that the Rice berry crop is perfect though very delayed.
We always open on Memorial Day, but this year were opening on June 15. Weve never opened on June 15 before, Shirley said.
Wine grape growers
Although some wine grape growers escaped the worst of the devastation, Sid Davis of Georgetown reported losing 75 percent of his crop. He grows at 2,700 feet.
Tom Jones, winemaker at Lava Cap Winery in Placerville, reported damage to 1 percent of his merlot crop.
They were planted where the cool air pools, Jones said.
Liz Ryan, business manager of Oakstone Winery in Fair Play, said, We havent had any damage. We fared well. Were in a little banana belt. We were really sweating it, but during the last rainy spell, there were not enough buds to be hurt. Were very relieved.
Greg Boeger of Boeger Winery in Placerville said, All of mine survived. I did frost protection by running sprinklers all night long at the higher elevations, 3,000 feet. I had a little hail damage; the leaves were shredded, but it didnt hurt the forming grapes though I did have some grape damage. What this really means is that were two to three weeks behind. With a late harvest, we could get rain on the other end.
New bug on the block
Deanna and David Fausel of Fausel Ranch said that in addition to the weather and bacteria, the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program is telling growers to be alert for the spotted wing drosophila or spotted wing fruit fly. Unlike other fruit flies, this one burrows into healthy fruit instead of damaged fruit. Once there, the female lays eggs that hatch into maggots. The damaged fruit is now vulnerable to other fruit flies as well as bacterial infections. This fly comes from Asia, the Fausels said. It is very prolific and can destroy a crop. The Fausels have been trapping the spotted fruit fly in jars of water.
Especially disheartening is that berries have come through this springs crop devastation safely, but they are vulnerable to the spotted fruit fly.
Although the spotted fruit fly is potentially devastating to a crop, there is one ray of hope.
At least its easy to spray for, David said.
To contact Rosemary Revell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 530-344-5068.
Special to the Democrat
El Dorado Union High School District announced the selection of Matthew Barnes as principal of El Dorado High School, replacing retiring Principal Jerry Smith. Barnes was selected by an extensive interview process with involvement from staff, parents, and students.
Barnes joined the district in 2001 as an English teacher at El Dorado High School for two years and served as a coach of the El Dorado High School Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team for a year.
He began his career in education as a student teacher of Social Studies and English at Clackamus High School, Oregon, and at Jackson Middle School in Portland. At Jackson, he also assumed the responsibilities for the Language, Literature, and Social Studies curricula.
Barnes has shared his time with family between Alaska and Oregon. In 2003, he moved to Alaska with his wife April where he served as an English and Honors English teacher and freshman class advisor at East Anchorage High.
In 2005, Barnes and his wife, an alumna of El Dorado High School, returned to El Dorado County upon his accepting the position of assistant principal at El Dorado High School. He was also appointed as the coordinator of the newly established Natural Resources Program and contributed to the effort to obtain a Secondary School Planning Grant for the planning phase of this new program. The planning grant was awarded in the amount of $35,000 and was extended by a three-year implementation grant. Barnes added responsibilities also included thinking outside the box when he established a Thursday afternoon detention run, providing students detention credit for coming out to run with him. Barnes said, This has turned out to be a great opportunity to connect with students in a different setting and promote some healthy lifestyle decisions.
Barnes holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska; an Master of Arts Teaching from Lewis and Clark College in Portland with secondary endorsement in Language Arts and Social Studies; and a BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley. He holds an Administrative Credential and a Teaching License in Language Arts and Social Studies.
Barnes spent several years as a guide in Southeast Alaska, leading short and multi-day kayaking trips and as an instructor of kayak classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was an athletic letter winner while at Cal Berkeley, where he competed with the Cal crew rowing team. He has carried this love for the outdoors to El Dorado County, where he enjoys regularly competing in local marathons and cycling events.
Barnes and his wife April reside in Placerville with their three children. His newly appointed position will become effective in July.
By Adam Jensen
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE The eighth, and final, stage of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California wrapped up in Southern California May 23. But efforts are already under way to bring the first leg of the 2011 edition of the professional bike race to Lake Tahoe.
The Tour of California entered its fifth year in 2010, and typically includes elite athletes of the cycling world like Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer.
The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and North Lake Tahoe Resort Association are drumming up community support for the race, an initial step in attracting the tour to Tahoe, said LTVA executive director Carol Chaplin on Thursday.
Douglas County commissioners approved a letter of support to bring the race to Lake Tahoes South Shore during a Thursday meeting. Chaplin said she hopes to get a similar item on the South Lake Tahoe City Councils June 8 agenda.
What we need to do is demonstrate to Amgen the level of community support, so thats the process right now, Chaplin said. That does not guarantee the tour selects us, but it lets them understand this is a community that is accepting of this event.
Next years host cities are expected to be announced at the end of June.
A change in the dates of the race from February to May this year was the major factor in making a Tahoe leg of the race a possibility, Chaplin said.
Avoiding rainy months, better positioning the tour on the professional bike racing calendar and showcasing all of California were the reasons the Tour of California switched from a winter to spring event, said Andrew Messick, president of tour owner AEG Sports, at a press conference prior to the start of this years race.
In February you know California is a mountainous state theres just a lot of terrain that is inaccessible due to snow and cold and shifting to May will open up the Sierra Nevada, various mountain tops and areas like Lake Tahoe for the race, Messick said.
Despite a planned closure of Highway 50 over Echo Summit next summer, such a high profile event could help area businesses during a traditionally slow time of year, Chaplin said. Caltrans expects to close the highway to replace its crumbling guard rail for approximately three weeks in April or May next summer, depending on weather conditions.
An estimated 15,000 people attended the opening of this years Tour of California in Nevada City this year, according to race organizers.
Other cities that have hosted Tour of California stages have placed the economic benefit between $1 million and $1.5 million, Chaplin said. National and international coverage of the event would also be pretty priceless for the area, Chaplin added.
But the bike race wont come free.
Host cities are financially responsible for several aspects of the race, including hotel rooms and meals for athletes and their support crews.
An exact cost estimate wasnt available Friday, but Chaplin said it would probably cost several hundred thousand dollars to fund tour requirements.
Bringing Stage 5 of this years Tour of California to Visalia cost about $100,000, according to an article in the Visalia Times-Delta.
Despite the cost, the prestige of the bike race could put it on the same level as the annual celebrity golf event at Edgewood-Tahoe Golf course, which attracted a a record 37,205 spectators over six days last year, Chaplin said.
The effort to bring the Tour of California to Lake Tahoe is in its initial phases and is working on a short timeline, but Chaplin is hopeful about securing the event for the region.
The community, so far, is really enthusiastic about the tour selecting us for one of their cities, but there are a few other hoops we have to jump through, Chaplin said.