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Columnists

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Lisa Lucke
4 days ago
omething shifted in me as a parent about a year ago. My four kids, all between 15-1/2 and 18, are smack in the crossfire. Or maybe better put, resting comfortably. Here’s what happened — I stopped feeling the need to scurry behind them, being all parenty and stuff. I reached the point where I was satisfied that they understood the importance of cleaning their rooms, doing their chores, and picking up their own stuff. In other words, it would be someone else’s problem soon enough, and that lucky person can pick up where I left off.... [Read more]
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Jack Mitchell
3 weeks ago

The best legal advice I can give you is to: “Put It In Writing.”

Not convinced? The longer you wait to do what you know you should do, the riskier your situation. You can save your family members and heirs a lot of time, money and heartache if you choose now to “Put It In Writing.” I have been practicing law, specializing in estate planning for over thirteen years. While working with families and sometimes litigating these issues, I have seen the heartache, fighting and destruction of relationships firsthand. I am convinced...

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Brent Parsons
4 weeks ago
Gwen Clayton. Photo by Brent Parsons
Last week, we left Gwen in 2004, when she was hired by Amador County as an administrative assistant. In 2007, she moved to the planning department with a promotion to senior administrative assistant. The 2008 crash hit the public sector particularly hard as revenues linked to sales and property taxes, along with impact fees, plummeted. Gwen, a veteran of too many layoffs, avoided the first round by moving to fill a temporary opening in the elections department that became permanent. I asked what that office does in non-election... [Read more]
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Terry Sanders
12/03/2015 12:49 PM

Facts: On vision examination at time of entrance into service, the veteran was noted to have myopia (nearsightedness), for which he wore corrective lenses. While in service he has a Lasik procedure to alter the shapes of his corneas so that he was no longer myopic and would no longer need to wear glasses. Current eye examination shows vision to be 20/20 bilaterally. The veteran has subsequently developed a dry eye syndrome with recurring secondary corneal abrasion.

Question: May service connection be established for dry eye...

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Mike Sweeney
11/24/2015 11:12 AM
Fred Valasquez, holding a soap root plant, brings the history and culture of Chaw’se to life. ALD photo by Mike Sweeney
This time of year, I am drawn to Chaw’se, our region’s ultimate cultural treasure. It’s a special place where you can escape Google tracking your every move this holiday season (especially if you leave your phone at home). Perhaps it’s the rich fall colors showcased in the leaves of trees in the peaceful meadow; or the feeling you get when you view the sacred roundhouse or the mortar cups where Miwok women pounded acorns into meal. Fall weather is ideal for hiking trails at the “Grinding Rocks” and you will likely have the entire... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
10/15/2015 11:00 AM

Something wasn’t right as I drove into Sutter Creek late Wednesday afternoon. Farrell Kruger waved from his logging truck on Main Street. Another truck was behind him in a parade of cars. I stopped to get gas at the Trading Post. I had to wait for an opening. It was déjà vu, the days before the bypass. I suspected the highway was closed and asked the clerk.

“There was a bad accident near the bridge, I hear people were killed.” An immediate reaction is concern for family, calculating where they were and are. Once that fear is...

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Brent Parsons
09/24/2015 11:35 AM
Eloise James, “The Apple Lady.” Amador Ledger Dispatch photo by Brent Parsons

Eloise grew up in Pine Grove and attended Amador schools graduating from Sutter Creek’s high school in 1949. She was the yearbook editor and handed me her senior yearbook, Skip. I browsed through it as she reminisced. The book was one of the few items the little gusts of wind couldn’t displace.

There were a lot of familiar names in the pages with attached unfamiliar photos.

The dedication was to members of the staff including a strikingly handsome Ambrose Brusatori who, just back from the army, was employed to keep the school...

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Mike Sweeney
09/03/2015 12:53 PM
Not the prettiest campsite, but it was concrete evidence of human kindness on my trip to the Colorado Trail. Amador Ledger Dispatch photo by Mike Sweeney
The Colorado Trail covers nearly 500 miles from the Denver suburbs to the historic mining town of Durango in southwest Colorado. It ranges in elevation from 5,500 feet near Denver to 13,271 feet in the San Juan Mountains. A hiker completing the entire CT will gain (and lose) about 90,000 feet in elevation while passing through six distinct “lifezone” plant habitats. My first days were spent in the lower three zones. I experienced oaks, junipers, and sagebrush; prickly pear cactus and yucca plants; ponderosa and lodgepole pines; and... [Read more]
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Donna Kelley, CNC
02/03/2015 3:28 PM
Donna Kelley, CNC

Are Your “Gut” Guests Friendly or Hostile?

Probiotics are friendly bacteria (good bugs) that live in your intestinal tract. You have probably seen a few of their names on yogurt containers like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium or Saccharomyces boulardii – these are the “live cultures” living in fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. However, buyer beware – not all yogurt is created equal and may not contain these beneficial bacteria. So, please check the nutrition panel on the container for these words “live cultures”...

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Donna Kelley, CNC
01/27/2015 9:08 PM
Donna Kelley, CNC

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. Your best buddies, friends, and family will be feasting out on many different finger foods. Here is a recipe that should delight and satisfy your taste buds, along with your body absolutely loving all the great nutrients provided. Please enjoy this fabulous and simple recipe and do let me know what you think…

Pork Souvlaki Kabobs with Tzatziki – Makes 4 servings – Vegetarian Style: replace pork with portobello mushrooms.

These zesty kabobs burst with Greek flavor, which...

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Via Press Release
01/29/2015 7:28 AM
Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

Many Americans made New Year's resolutions to feel better and avoid burnout in 2015. Below is new national data listing California as the 25th "Least Emotionally Recharged U.S. state for 2015,” according to the Lantern Emotional Balance Index.

Lantern is a groundbreaking online and mobile tool for evaluating your mind and health. To create this ranking, Lantern surveyed 3,000 Americans to determine how frequently respondents are taking action to renew, refresh and recharge their emotional well-being.

Based on a survey period...

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Kelsi Himmel
12/26/2014 11:07 AM
Kelsi Himmel. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch
A program of interest to Amador residents is being presented by American Association of University Women. The speaker will be Kelsi Himmel, Environmental Educator, discussing her recent experience viewing the impact of oil extraction and mining on ecosystems and communities in Ecuador’s rainforest. Himmel will be describing her direct observations of consequences in the region of the Yasuni, which borders the Napo River, as well as other regions affected in Ecuador. She will show a film and follow it with a presentation on what she... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
12/12/2014 9:39 AM
I did not submit a column last week. Jerry Budrick had been my conduit and encouragement since I began as a regular contributor over a year ago. There is no editor right now and rather than wait, I called and left a message for the publisher, Jack Mitchell, who I assumed would add the duties to his until someone else gets them. Jack returned my call within minutes and asked me to keep writing. He would continue to publish anything within reason and taste. And so after a week’s hiatus, I got on the phone and tracked down Ron Regan.... [Read more]
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Brent Parsons
11/25/2014 11:03 AM

I‘ve been self-employed since 1979, when I took what I thought would be a temporary break from teaching eighth grade. I picture-framed, operated a gallery and now run two small hardware stores, one with a partner, Jeff Kelley.

Working for one’s self has its challenges, namely survival — the statistics are not encouraging. But once a proprietor, it is difficult to back-track or work for another. The self-employed are a peculiar lot — independent, confident and stubborn — basically ungovernable. But when those traits are combined...

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Lisa Lucke
11/25/2014 11:09 AM

For as long as I’ve known my husband, which is 11 years, I’ve known that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. I know this because our souls are deeply, almost cosmically connected, and because every year about this time, I overhear him tell someone, “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.”

I’ve always just assumed it was because of the food. But this year, I decided to find out what was so special about it (to him) that it causes the year-on-year giddiness. I finally asked the other day, when he got home from work (school) and...

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Lisa Lucke
11/20/2014 10:17 AM

So far this November, I’m thankful that Facebook (at least on my newsfeed) hasn’t been deluged with that tiresome habit of people posting one new thing every day that they are thankful for. My eyes were sore from rolling them last year. I finally stopped reading when I saw, “I’m thankful for the love of my turtle.” Say what? Your turtle loves you? But even the obvious thank-you posts, like, “I’m thankful for the love of my children,” or “I’m thankful for clean air to breathe,” get a little old.

I’m not suggesting that we should...

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Brent Parsons
11/13/2014 1:35 PM
Wolf Hein
I was once a used bookstore junky. I lived in Santa Cruz where they, along with used record stores, fit in nicely. I could ride my bike downtown and enjoy the weirdness, along with the stores. A good bike lock was a necessity that sometimes only saved the frame. Wheels, seats and handlebars might be missing, depending on location, time and quality of components. When we had our first child, I pushed a stroller or carried a lively backpack. My store visits decreased when I had to spend time in the children’s section, and when we moved... [Read more]
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Lisa Lucke
11/13/2014 11:44 AM

I’ve noticed lately that when I read certain stories in the news, my first reaction isn’t always — typical. In fact, I guess it could be called ironic. Like, for instance, the other day I read a story about a dad who kidnapped his 9-year-old son in Seattle instead of returning him to his ex-wife, and sailed away for a tiny atoll off the coast of New Zealand.

As I read the story, I thought, “Some people get all the luck.” (Note: the kid was eventually found unharmed and having a great time.)

That story reminded me of another...

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Donna Kelley, CNC
11/04/2014 3:40 PM
Donna Kelley, CNC

What do you grab when you are hungry?

Pumpkin seeds are an amazing small food that has many nutritional, healthy benefits to the human body, as well as being “fun” to eat as a snack. I simply love them. Pumpkin seeds are a “whole” food, something recognizable, not like a sugary/floury snack. I would like to encourage those of you who are constantly on the run to stop and consider a healthier snack choice, such as nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, instead of grabbing a highly processed sugary/floury snack that creates the...

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Via Press Release
10/31/2014 1:30 PM
Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

A quick-and-easy addition to pumpkin pie ingredients results in a pie that just may become your go-to recipe. A bit of molasses added to the filling brings a note of caramel and spice.

Molasses is derived from sugar cane juice. The first boiling makes a light syrup that’s perfect for pouring over pancakes and waffles (or with the addition of live yeast and a little age, for making rum). But it’s the second boiling that we love — a darker, thicker, slightly less sweet syrup with a signature flavor that’s ideal for baked goods, glazes...

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