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Guest Commentary

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Guest Commentator
3 days ago

Recently, the Jackson Valley Irrigation District has become aware of some statements and concerns regarding

the sale of surplus Pre-1914 Amador Water Agency water to JVID in 2014 -2015. I would like to list some facts from JVID’s perspective pertaining to this water purchase to help clear the air: In June, 2014 due to the drought, JVID (As well as many others, including EBMUD) was curtailed from the use of its 3,850 Acre Feet water right from the Mokelumne River based on the 1927 priority of the right. This water is used in the JVID...

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Guest Commentator
3 days ago

For the past few years, the stock market has moved up fairly steadily, with no major “corrections.” But thus far in 2015, we’ve already seen periods of volatility — enough, in fact, to make some investors jittery. Nervous investors may be more prone to make decisions based on short-term market movements — so how can you stay calm?

First of all, when evaluating your invest- ment decisions, stay focused on those factors that have historically driven stock prices. The U.S. economy is growing at a reasonably good pace, and corporate...

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William Peterson
1 week ago
William Peterson. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

In a recent survey by American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 75 percent of individuals responded that not being able to communicate their wishes would be worse than death. Despite this, less than half of people have taken steps to ensure their wishes would be carried out. Although death is not an easy topic to discuss, end-of-life planning can mean the difference between leaving loving memories or major problems.

Which would you prefer?

Estate planning is the process of accounting for these items and arranging for...

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Guest Commentator
1 week ago

Our county of Amador has a unique status higher education-wise. We are one of only two counties in California that are not part of a Community College District. There’s history behind the decision, made many decades ago, not to align with a current district. A confirmation of the wisdom of that decision-making process can be seen today with the example of our neighbor Calaveras County.

Calaveras incurred bond debt associated with their alignment to the San Joaquin Delta College District. Yet they have not secured a satellite...

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Brent Parsons
1 week ago
"My house." Amador Ledger Dispatch photo by Brent Parsons
As I was waiting to hear back from a prospective interviewee and had some spare time, I took out the laptop and attempted to corral some thoughts. Something resembling a column emerged if you are reading this. I’ve written a couple of pieces on the part of life we’d rather not talk much less read about, demise and death. Some have told me I touched on something personally relevant while others asked that I go out and at least find someone or something upbeat to bore them with. Even Leslie hesitated when I asked her to assure me that... [Read more]
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Terry Sanders
1 week ago
Terry Sanders

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is updating the way it determines eligibility for USDVA healthcare, a change that will result in more veterans having access to the health care benefits they earned and deserve.

Effective 2015, USDVA eliminated the use of net worth as a determining factor for both health care programs and copayment responsibilities. This change makes USDVA health care benefits more accessible to lower-income Veterans and brings USDVA policies in line with Secretary McDonald’s my USDVA initiative which...

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Brent Parsons
2 weeks ago
Rich Hoffman. Amador Ledger Dispatch photo by Brent Parsons
I’m back out of the cemetery and picking up with Rich where I ditched him in 2004. Margaret Dalton and her tribal council saw Rich as a person who could bridge an identified chasm between the governing body and its business and approached Rich with the idea of the new position. Unlike previous CEO’s, Rich would join the governmental side of the operation. Like a city manager in the public sector, all department heads would report to him and him to the five member governing council. Eleven years later after a crippling recession, a... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
2 weeks ago

GUEST COMMENTARY By Rich Farrington, AWA President

The Amador Water Agency recently recovered from the brink of bankruptcy during the recession. It is now facing a financial crisis created by the state’s four-year drought.

The current Board of Directors was elected with a clear charge from voters: Bring financial stability to the Water Agency. In 2010, AWA faced serious financial challenges. We cut staff by a third, consolidated management positions, and slashed operation costs. With help from employees who volunteered...

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Guest Commentator
2 weeks ago

GUEST COMMENTARY by Rev. Karen Siegfriedt, Trinity Church, Sutter Creek

In 1995, I went on a two week vacation and left my dog with a friend. My beloved dog was a 14-year-old Yorkshire terrier who was slowly diminishing in health due to kidney failure. By the time I returned, she had lost 50 percent of her body weight and was clearly dying. I took her home immediately and began to make her comfortable. By 10 p.m. that night, I knew she was at death’s door. She was in great pain, bleeding from the rectum and helpless. My heart...

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William Peterson
2 weeks ago

Question of the Month:

“Hi Bill, I have withdrawn money from a few of my IRAs this year, but put the money back within 60 days. Unfortunately, I was not aware of the rule change that does not allow a person to do this anymore until I heard you talk about this on your radio show a few weeks ago. Are there any exceptions to this rule that I may qualify for? Thank you, Ronald.”

You are correct Ronald; there was a major rule change this year pertaining to 60-day Indirect IRA rollovers. Over the past several years, many people...

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Guest Commentator
3 weeks ago

“… no real security, just powers of retaliation.”

This was Norman Mailer, four-plus decades ago, writing in “Miami and the Siege of Chicago” about the obsessive security measures – “helicopters riding overhead like roller coasters, state troopers with magnums on their hip and crash helmets, squad cars, motorcycles” – at the Democratic and Republican national conventions, which … uh, didn’t actually provide security, but sure allowed us to get even afterwards.

This is still the unnoticed insanity haunting the American news...

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Guest Commentator
3 weeks ago

In our wonderful land of America we have ongoing debates, discussions, and principled differences. To the extent those are happening by citizens focused on the issues and not on character assassination or violent threat, those robust modes of discourse are the heart of a healthy democracy.

Our democracy is increasingly unhealthy. And we are degrading the image and desirability of democracy around the world as a result. This is a reversal of a century-long trend around the world of more democracy that peaked in the 1990s....

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Guest Commentator
07/30/2015 11:10 AM
Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

As thoughtful, caring parents, we would never want to teach our kids that violence is the answer to any or every problem. We want our children to learn to get along with others, share, be kind, say “excuse me,” and try their best at an empathetic, “I’m sorry.”

I thought I was attuned to the violence that surrounds us in American culture. However, a trip to our local department store with my kids yesterday was shocking. We stepped into the toy aisles. Here is a quick rundown of the toys and action figures, in order: Batman,...

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Guest Commentator
07/30/2015 11:03 AM

Before the ins and outs of the 2016 presidential contest become a preoccupation for many of us, it seems a good time to step back and look at the office of the presidency for which so many candidates are vying. The presidency inherited by whoever wins next November will be substantially changed from the position his or her predecessors occupied a few decades ago.

The President is now the chief — and sometimes the sole — actor in American government. He far outweighs the other so-called “co-equal” branches. People don’t expect...

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William Peterson
07/23/2015 10:45 AM
William Peterson. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

Personal retirement planning is about doing everything you can to protect, maximize and grow your nest egg. However, you cannot simply do whatever you want as there are rules, regulations and guidelines that must be followed.

So, the process is to utilize the best tools and strategies that are best for you and currently available and legal. Unfortunately though, as often happens when strategies become too effective, the government may look into closing some of these tools and strategies. So, you may want to take advantage while...

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Wendell Peart
07/23/2015 10:39 AM

Guest Commentary by Wendell G. Peart, DVM

The cold blooded murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant in the City of San Francisco has to be an outrage to every freedom loving American. If this is so, then should not an undertaking be launched as to why such a horrendous event should even be allowed to take place?

Let us examine the circumstances that led up to such a heinous killing. Francisco Sanchez, an illegal alien, was the killer who shot this attractive white woman on San Francisco’s waterfront. He was a known...

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Guest Commentator
07/23/2015 10:37 AM

As the uneven economy recovery continues in California, there is one area where jobs remain available: technical workers.

Workers with vocational training are currently in demand. The hardest segment of the workforce to replace has been the skilled trades, due to a shortage caused by the exodus of highly-skilled baby boomers that are entering retirement.

So where will we find these workers? There are many young adults in the 18- to 24-year-old age bracket that possess no post-high school education. Many of these individuals are...

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Guest Commentator
07/16/2015 9:08 AM
Previous years of inaction by the Board of Supervisors have left community leaders and residents with little ability to scrutinize the location of development projects throughout Amador County. If local districts like the upcountry community want to have a public process and involvement in planning decisions, then they will need to persuade the BOS to adopt an updated General Plan, which according to County Planning could happen a year or so from now. For example, without an updated plan, the County without any public discussion... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
07/16/2015 9:05 AM

I spend a fair amount of time talking to students and other young people about Congress and politics in general, and I’ve noticed something. It used to be that I’d regularly get asked how one runs for office. Nowadays, I rarely do.

This is a young generation that is famously leery of politics. Every year, the Harvard Institute of Politics surveys young Americans about their attitudes. In their most recent survey, only 21 percent of respondents considered themselves politically engaged. Last year, only a third counted running for...

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William Peterson
07/16/2015 9:03 AM
William Peterson. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

Despite many variables including market performance, in the end one of the biggest predictors of whether or not you will have enough for retirement is how much you save. It’s that simple. In fact, the “Am I Saving Enough?” is probably the most common and popular question that I get asked from pre-retirees. So, are you wondering the same thing?

Fueled by an extreme bull market run with surging stock prices the last several years, some 401(k) and retirement account balances have come back from the beating they took in the latest...

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