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Brent Parsons
4 days ago
I labor to write this on my one-week anniversary of feeling, at best, lousy, and at worst, horrible. I’m in my protective camper at a campground on the Tuolumne River, an hour east of Sonora. Leslie and Parker are on a walk. We, not him, are hoping that he’ll be content to lollygag around camp when he returns. Doubtful, he’s wound up. Last night he rousted us up three times. He legitimized the calls by relieving himself. He sleeps through the night at home. As we deliberated whether and where to go two days ago, weather emerged a... [Read more]
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Lisa Lucke
4 days ago

And, he’s off. My firstborn child. Not quite off the face of my planet, but he’s not in my face either, dangit. My friends with young children, not babies, but not quite at the high school home stretch yet, have asked me what it feels like when your firstborn moves away to college.

Turns out, if felt like a couple of things. After all the months and then weeks and then days and then hours and then minutes of anticipation of saying goodbye to my son on the day he set foot in his new life, under another roof, as the sole director of...

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Jerry Budrick
4 days ago

ast week, in Finding Amador, I chronicled a few pre-cognitive brushes that I’d had with Amador County, then closed with a promise to explain how Phil Giurlani brought Amador to me. To do that, I’d like to fast-forward to 1974, but that would leave out some essential details, without which much of this tale could prove incomprehensible. Please bear with me.

During 1968, I didn’t spend all my time guzzling D’Agostini Burgundy and roaming from party to park protest. I spent a lot of time desperately trying to figure out how the U.S....

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Brent Parsons
2 weeks ago
Cutting and grading have begun on a hillside above Sutter Creek. Native Sutter Creek builder Ray Brusatori has broken ground on his six-lot subdivision, Ventoso Collina — Italian for Windy Hill. Ray’s map, just outside the city limits, was approved a decade ago by the county and kept alive by several extensions. The nine acres wrap over the ridge between Old Sutter Hill Road and Sutter Creek. The property presently has two homes and outbuildings — the original low-profile house on the ridge and the prominent brick house built by the... [Read more]
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Jerry Budrick
2 weeks ago

Our new publisher at the Amador Ledger Dispatch, Louis Amestoy, has asked me to write a column. He didn’t specify a direction that the column should take, leaving that choice up to me.

Given the fact that we at the paper have all agreed that the Ledger Dispatch is, and rightly should be, hyper-local and Amador-centric, I’ve decided to focus on our amazing little county. In today’s introductory column, I’m writing about how a guy like me, born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, found Amador and then chose to live here. In...

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Brent Parsons
3 weeks ago
Kirk Wallace and Ed Brennan measure one of the new fireplaces for stone facing. Photo courtesy of Darryl Readshaw
Kirk, Marlene and Dee continue to work towards reopening the once-popular Mace Meadows (yes, it is officially plural now) Golf Resort, in Pioneer. The Labor Day target for the restaurant proved too aggressive, but the owners are upbeat about the progress being made. Both Dee and Kirk have commented on the steady flow of workplace drop-ins who, despite supportive intentions, do not help meet target dates. Knowing what I know of those trying to get big things done, they, unlike me, would have a hard time ignoring those interrupting.... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
4 weeks ago
have a long relationship with Las Vegas. I graduated from kindergarten on Nellis Air Force Base, where my dad worked. I remember the sun, target shooting in the desert, duck hunting in rectangular ponds — where we picked the freshest dead duck out of the others floating and hoping ketchup would let me eat that dark, stringy meat — sonic booms, atomic tests and air shows starring the original Thunderbirds, which were red, white, and blue F-100s at the time. A few miles south was downtown - the Golden Nugget and the big neon cowboy... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
08/25/2016 12:35 PM
ackson Valley was home to mining operations and small family dairy farms in the late 19th and early 20th century. There was copper in the ground and gold in the dirt. According to Hank Willy, the Penn Mine to the south. in Lancha Plana, employed 800 to meet the copper demand during the Civil War. Huge flat boats churned up the Mokelumne to supply the mines and carry the ore. Hank described the landscape under the Penn smelter’s dark cloud as starkly lunar. The EPA funded a cleanup a century later with the deep pockets of EBMUD, which... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
08/18/2016 2:06 PM
JVID’s Hank Willy. Photo by Brent Parsons
Dams or the lack of them have long been a controversial topic, especially in this time of prolonged drought. What would California’s prognosis be after four dry years without the water storage provided by the dams at Shasta, Oroville, Folsom and Hetch Hetchy? Even little dams, like Lake Amador’s, play critical roles in the regions they serve. Efforts to build additional dams have met fierce resistance in the decades I’ve been a water consumer. Environmentalists challenge the benefits and the associated costs accrued in the long... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
08/18/2016 1:50 PM

Linden can boast and toast a hometown boy. Aaron Judge made history on baseball’s biggest stage, Yankee Stadium, last Saturday. He hit a home run in his first major league at bat. Tyler Austin, the previous batter, also just called up from the minors, had just blasted a home run in his first at bat in the majors. They’re the first pair to ever do that. Cooperstown wants the bats, to put them in the Hall of Fame, but the boys either can’t or aren’t ready to give them up just yet.

Aaron hit another home run the next day and a...

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Lisa Lucke
08/18/2016 2:18 PM
Very soon, I’ll be heading to Reno, to drop off my son at his new home on the 7th floor of a dormitory building, to live in a room that’s likely smaller than our family room, which he’ll share with two other young men for the next ten months. The longest we’ve ever been apart is three weeks. That might seem like an eternity to some moms and, in fact, it was a long time for me. It was too long. I felt physically anxious that last week. The first week I partied. The middle week, I got a few things done. But he was nine or ten years... [Read more]
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Lisa Lucke
08/11/2016 2:32 PM

really don’t know why my fingers typed “rainbows and butterflies.” What I actually intended to type was “bull----,” but somehow that other stuff flew off my fingertips. After I typed those words, I realized that things really have changed through the years when it comes to back-to-school chores. For one thing, I really don’t have many anymore. I have money. They have cars. It’s that simple.

See, my kids are old; in fact, they’re ancient by teenager standards. My son is closer to 19 than 18 and heading off to college in a few...

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Brent Parsons
08/04/2016 3:55 PM
The Badger Street Bridge is expected to be back in place soon. Photo by Brent Parsons
Before beginning Part 4 of what looks to be a five-part series that has evolved into a story more on the Pinotti family than the Badger Street Bridge, I have to make an important correction. Dorothy’s maiden name was Tippett, not Tibbett. She was the daughter of Naomi Cavagnaro, of Amador City and Jim Tippett, of Plymouth. The Tippetts, like most of the immigrants from Cornwall, were skilled hard-rock miners. Jean said they were among the first to arrive when the quest for gold went below the surface. Dorothy left an impression on... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
07/28/2016 3:41 PM
The Pinotti family lived in the Downs Mansion, on Spanish Street, in Sutter Creek, for many years. Photo by Brent Parsons

Borrowing Jean Pinotti’s book, “Two Families from The Lunigiana, the Pinotti’s and the Piagneri’s,” a 750-page book written by her uncle Joe, complicated the story I planned to write. I couldn’t stay focused on the bridge, no matter how hard I tried, which wasn’t very hard. The detours are the best thing about writing these columns. I can treat distractions as critical story threads and the reader, if he chooses to persevere, must, too. Sorry.

Every family should be as fortunate as the Pinottis, to have such a capable and...

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Lisa Lucke
07/28/2016 2:44 PM

By the surreal housewife of Amador County

If someone were to give me a publishing contract for “Working from Home for Dummies,” I’d call Chapter 1, “It’s not for everyone.” Quite honestly, I don’t even know if it’s for me. But it’s worked out pretty well with regard to flexibility as a parent. If there’s a school function, a sick kid, or after-school sporting event that I need to be at in a neighboring county, I am rarely forced to miss anything because of work. Yep, working for a virtual company from home has its perks, not the...

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Lisa Lucke
07/21/2016 1:22 PM

For many people, the county fair brings to mind fond childhood memories of thrilling rides, crazy loops around the fun house and the smell of goat manure in the morning. There really is nothing quite like it — except for the smell coming from the food stalls. Stalls? Yes, because that’s where throngs of hungry animals – the two-legged variety – go to graze on stick food. The Stick Diet is the only one I’ve ever stuck to.

I like to open my four-day diet plan with a deep-fried artichoke heart on a stick. It is a strange concept, as...

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Brent Parsons
07/07/2016 12:41 PM
Back in the early 2000’s, the Amador Water Agency succeeded in taking most of Amador’s water out of what had to be one of the last semi-functioning Gold Rush-era earthen aqueducts and putting it into a pipe. The initial phase installed nine miles of a 30-inch pipe from Tabeau Reservoir, south of Pine Grove, above the Mokelume Canyon, to Tanner Reservoir at the agency’s headquarters above Sutter Creek. Some of that project was adjacent to Ridge Road. Drivers like me had witnessed cattle wading and doing other things in the open... [Read more]
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Terry Sanders
07/07/2016 12:37 PM
The question continues to regularly arise as to whether a Reservist or National Guard member who was ordered to active duty and who then returned to his or her Reserve or National Guard unit afterwards would qualify as a “veteran” for this or that benefit (especially for health care from the Veterans Administration clinics or VETERAN status on a California Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license). My impression is that there continues to be much confusion about how various benefits based upon active service apply to Reservists... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
07/07/2016 1:50 PM
I know something is wrong when Anthony Bourdain is missing from his scheduled time slot. He’s been absent more than not lately, pre-empted by another crisis or catastrophe. Massacres, bombings and hostage standoffs make tornadoes and hurricanes easier to take. The ISIS bloody campaign of terror is trying to do to social life what 9/11 did to air travel – give it a discomforting edge of vulnerability. Victims are people who happen to be in the place at the time chosen. Hundreds have been slaughtered and thousands maimed, suffering... [Read more]
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Lisa Lucke
06/23/2016 12:17 PM
Argonaut Softball players and coaches express their hopes. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

his summer is going to be hu-u-u-u-ge. First, our eldest son, my firstborn, graduated from high school. In August, he’ll be leaving the shoe and moving about three hours away, where he’ll be learning the fine art of working without a net. I have complete confidence in him, not that it will be a perfect transition with no missteps, but that he’ll recover nicely after each “splat” and learn as he goes. So that’s the first big thing happening this summer.

The other big thing is actually the absence of something: softball. Read my...

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