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By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 01, 2024

Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'

Sandhill Cranes, Foster Kids, and Coercive Compassion

This week’s Newsletter takes me back to the very beginnings of my journalism career in California, and then jumps forward to a story I wrote last week. One story offers what might be a surprising perspective on the recently passed Proposition 1, and the other is about an organization working to help young people forced to navigate our complicated court systems through no fault of their own.

The stories are connected because they both deal with the consequences of untreated mental illness and addiction disorders.

But first: I am writing this on Easter Sunday, and as is traditional in my family, I am thinking about resurrection, renewal, and that kind of stuff. In that spirit, here is the second edition of One Good Thing.


Life After Death

Sandhill Cranes are magical creatures. In the marshes where they hunt with their spear-beaks, they stand four to five feet tall. Their wings can span six and a half feet. Their trumpeting calls and mating dances are hypnotic. By the middle of the 20th century they had been slaughtered to near-extinction. But they're back.


The Return of Sandhill Cranes

A magnificent Sandhill Crane in flight.
After being reduced to three or four nesting pairs in all of California in 1944, Sandhill Cranes have come back from the brink and are returning to Lake Tahoe.

Coercive Compassion

My position on Prop 1, and my thoughts about the benign neglect of our homeless neighbors suffering from mental illness or addiction disorders, are informed by a story I edited the week I returned to California, in March of 1997. That article was about the impending closure of a state hospital that treated Californians with developmental disabilities or severe mental illness. At the time, as you will see, many questioned the wisdom of emptying the hospitals and sending patients to live in halfway houses—which, as it turned out, were never adequately funded.

I understand if you are among those who struggle with the idea of coercive care, and I want to share a quote from Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), a supporter of Prop 1 who is also a PhD-packing clinical social worker.

“There is nothing compassionate about leaving suffering human beings on the street untreated or waiting until they have committed a crime and treating them in prison; rather than intervening to get them the help they desperately need.”


Newsom’s Prop 1: Revolution or Return to Reason?

An assembly hall at Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara. Agnews was one of five hospitals that served California residents with developmental disabilities and mental illness, all of which were emptied in the misguided move toward “community care."
Prop 1 was designed to help unhoused people get off the streets by forcing them into treatment. That’s one reason it took two weeks of vote-counting to pass.

Helping Young People Whose Parents Are Struggling

The very best thing about doing community journalism is that I get to help some remarkable people tell their inspiring stories. That happened last week when I met Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa. CASA Sacramento is the only organization in the region that offers help to kids who have been removed from their parents care due to neglact or abuse. Often, the grownups involved are stuggling with addiction, and the families can be reuinted once they've gotten treatment. That has become increasingly difficult, so the need for help is great. 

There are CASAs in most California counties, and you can find them under Families and Children in our Community Groups and Nonprofits database.


A Court Appointed Special Advocate Can Change a Child’s Life

Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa of CASA Sacramento
A conversation with two committed professionals who help CASA Sacramento match trained volunteers with children in the foster care system.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Spring! cookbook.


This springtime carrot cake has a difference

Carrots and chocolate -- how perfect for Easter or any other spring occasion.
Chocolate glaze especially appropriate for a holiday dessert


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El Dorado County's Homepage

Our overview page for El Dorado County is updated daily with the latest state and local news, weather alerts, local government announcements and local blog posts and news snippets from community groups and individuals.
Direct your browser to eldorado.californialocal.com to catch up on the latest news in California and El Dorado County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!


Get to Know a Group

Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference logo Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference

Hands 4 Hope inspires young people to develop their leadership skills and give service to the community. The nonprofit offers school programs, outreach programs, and youth committees.

→ Learn more

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From Our Media Allies

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Folsom Times logo El Dorado County Names Michael Kuhlman as New Superintendent

The Board of Trustees of the El Dorado Union High School District (EDUHSD) has announced the selection and appointment of Michael Kuhlman as its new Superintendent, effective July 1, 2024.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Help Restore Historic Fire Engine

The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District is seeking community members to help restore an antique fire engine the district recently reacquired.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo The Remarkable Return of Sandhill Cranes

As spring returns to Lake Tahoe, a story of resilience and resurgence is also unfolding. It's the migration of the Sandhill Cranes – magnificent birds that once upon a time had all but vanished from the Tahoe region.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Lake Tahoe Unified School District Expresses Optimism Amid Budget Cuts, Layoffs

Despite facing several hurdles and setbacks, Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Todd Cutler expressed optimism for the future during the State of the District address on Wednesday, March 20.

Folsom Times logo Folsom Council Won’t Move Forward on Homeless Resource Site Near Historic District

Mayor cites topic as a bad idea after “taking the heat” from capacity crowd at city hall.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Expanding Options for Accessory Dwelling Units in South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe City Council made multiple actions regarding Accessory Dwelling Units at their meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

Tahoe Guide logo Spring in Tahoe | Bears, Bottle Bans & Festivals Galore

Our annual Spring Music, Events & Festivals Guide is featured in this edition chocked full of hundreds of ski races and events, spring shenanigans at pond skims and dummy downhills, music festivals, theater and dance performances, film showings, stargazing tours …

San Jose Inside logo California Extends Student Financial Aid Deadline to May 2

Responding to a federal financial aid glitch, Caliifornia legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom within two weeks gave students an additional month to apply for state aid.

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Recent Local News

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• Community Playground Fundraising Boosted With $25k Match Donation

Untethered Workspace announced it would match up to $25K in donations to the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe through the end of May in support of the its community playground campaign.

(03/29/2024) → South Tahoe Now

• Pine Hill Preserve Tours Offered in April and May

The Bureau of Land Management and the El Dorado Chapter of the California Native Plant Society are leading free guided bird and plant tours April 13 through May 26 at the Pine Hill Preserve.

(03/29/2024) → Village Life

• Tahoe Stewardship Council Names New Director

The Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Council announced the hiring of Meyers resident Nettie Pardue as its first managing director, tasked with coordinating 30 parters to implement the Destination Stewardship Plan.

(03/29/2024) → Mountain Democrat

• Positive Outlook for City of South Lake Tahoe Budget

The City of South Lake Tahoe budget projections for the 2023-2024 fiscal year are looking positive according to a staff report at the March 12 City Council, which also advised caution moving forward.

(03/29/2024) → Mountain Democrat

• City of South Lake Tahoe Takes Next Steps For Parcel Annexation

The South Lake Tahoe City Council approved a measure to annex 90 parcels on Barbara Avenue, Lodi Avenue and Winnemucca Avenue which receive city services but for historical reasons are located outside the city boundary.

(03/28/2024) → South Tahoe Now

• Marcella Foundation Recognized For Contributions

The El Dorado County School Board Association has bestowed the Marcella Foundation with the Outstanding Community Organization award for its contributions to education in the region.

(03/28/2024) → South Tahoe Now

• Sandhill Cranes Return to Lake Tahoe

The annual migration of Sandhill Cranes is taking place, and more are choosing to nest in the Lake Tahoe region after nearly vanishing from the area.

(03/28/2024) → Mountain Democrat

• New Lake Tahoe Documentary Film Festival Announced for Fall

Local South Tahoe High grad and award-winning documentary filmmaker Michelle Aguilar-Ficara announced a three day program of screenings, discussions, networking and connecting with filmmakers in the fall.

(03/27/2024) → South Tahoe Now

• Groups Partner With Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to Offer Free Books

Local agencies and nonprofits are working with the Marcella Foundation to offer free monthly books to local children up to 5 years old as part of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library initiative.

(03/25/2024) → South Tahoe Now

• Mountain Lion Attack Update and Fundraiser

The family of two men attacked by a mountain lion in El Dorado County released an update of the survivor and fundraising details for those who wish to contribute to funeral and medical costs.

(03/25/2024) → South Tahoe Now
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Recent Statewide News

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• Salmon Populations Are Struggling, Bringing Economic Woes for California's Fishing Fleet

Captains of fishing boats on the California coast are bracing for salmon fishing to be severely restricted — or possibly canceled for a second year.

(03/30/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• CA Fast Food Workers Get Higher Wages, but Which Ones?

According to emails obtained by CalMatters Capitol reporter Jeanne Kuang in response to a public records request, a range of employers have been trying to figure out if they must pay $20 ever since the law was signed late last September.

(03/29/2024) → CalMatters

• Your Doctor or Your Insurer? Little-Known Rules May Ease the Choice in Medicare Advantage

Disputes between insurers and providers can lead to entire hospital systems suddenly leaving the plans.

(03/28/2024) → California Healthline

• Homeless Infants and Toddlers Largely Unenrolled in Early Ed Programs

Evictions have exacerbated homelessness nationwide, increasing the rate of homeless infants and toddlers. Most of those children are not enrolled in early education programs.

(03/28/2024) → EdSource

• California’s Disabled Students Left Behind During Emergencies: ‘They Just Weren’t Ready for Someone Like Me’

After bringing his story all the way to the University of California Board of Regents, a disabled UC Berkeley student has prompted the UC to ensure emergency evacuation chairs are in every multi-storied building in the 10-university system.

(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• RFK Jr. Picks VP, but Still Isn’t on California Ballot

Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chose Oakland to announce his vice presidential pick on Tuesday, so it wasn’t too much of a shocker that his pick was Nicole Shanahan, a Bay Area tech attorney and philanthropist.

(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• Feds Propose Killing Nearly 500,000 'Invasive' Owls to Save Calif. Native Owls

The goal is to eliminate habitat competition between "invasive" owls and native owls.

(03/27/2024) → SF Gate

• Reps. Gaetz and Greene Lawsuit Against Cities Where Political Rally Was Canceled Can Move Forward

A judge ruled GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene can move forward with their lawsuit against two California cities where rallies were canceled.

(03/25/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• At Stake in Mifepristone Case: Abortion, FDA’s Authority, and Return to 1873 Obscenity Law

Lawyers from the conservative Christian group that won the case to overturn Roe v. Wade are returning to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in pursuit of an urgent priority: shutting down access to abortion pills for women across the country.

(03/25/2024) → KFF Health News
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Government Announcements

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Image of County of El Dorado seal. County of El Dorado   (03/21/2024)

El Dorado County Board Chair Responds to State Lawsuit

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/21/2024)

FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Ineligible Frozen Siluriformes Products Imported from the People's Republic of China

WASHINGTON, March. 21, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for imported frozen Siluriformes products that were illegally...
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/16/2024)

Wenders LLC Recalls Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews Because of Possible Health Risk

Wenders LLC of Dublin, CA is recalling specific production lots of Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews - (SKU Number - 37884) Lot# T12139, T12140, T12141, and T12142 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious
Image of City of South Lake Tahoe seal. City of South Lake Tahoe   (03/16/2024)

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Responsibly: Designate a Sober Driver, Your Lucky Charm

Image of City of South Lake Tahoe seal. City of South Lake Tahoe   (03/14/2024)

Let's Talk Sustainability Event being held on Thursday, March 28

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/13/2024)

Kick Ash Products Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almonds in Product

Kick Ash Products of Ellison Bay, WI is recalling Door County Love Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola with Lot #061241, because it may contain undeclared ALMONDS. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almonds run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/13/2024)

Taylor Farms Pacific Recalls Kroger Brand Ready-To-Eat Apple Walnut With Chicken Salad Bowl Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergen

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2024 - Taylor Farms Pacific, a Tracy, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 19,976 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) apple walnut with chicken salad bowl products due to misbranding...
Image of County of El Dorado seal. County of El Dorado   (03/13/2024)

Ice House Rd. Rehabilitation Project Scheduled for May-November, 2024

Image of United States seal. United States   (03/11/2024)

John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Coconut and Milk in Great Value Honey Roasted Cashews 8.25 Oz

John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc (JBSS) announced today it is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of 8.25 oz Great Value Honey Roasted Cashews, because it may contain undeclared coconut and milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to coconut or milk run the risk of serious or life-thre
Image of City of South Lake Tahoe seal. City of South Lake Tahoe   (03/11/2024)

City hosts Community Meeting on Housing Solutions