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Local Literary Achievers

Jan 31, 2009 ● By Super Admin

This month we’ve diverged from our regular then & now recommendations, and instead feature here 10 local authors (all residents of the region) and their recent published works.Life’s Little How to Book by Jaleh DonaldsonSchoolteacher Donaldson addresses some of life’s most important issues with straightforward advice, covering a range of topics from a broken relationship to rekindling the passion in marriage to getting out of debt.Second Bloomby Michelle Gamble-Risley and Anne Marie SmithThese local ladies highlight 10 simple steps to Reinvent, Rejuvenate, and Realize a New Life. This read is a tool designed for women who are experiencing what the authors call the “Big Blank” causing them to go on autopilot. Patagonian Adventureby Jack L. ParkerThis follow-up to Parker’s Tibetan Adventure tells a story of death-defying adventure as a father and son travel to the region of Patagonia, Argentina. A must-read for the entire family.Nature Noir: A Park Ranger’s Patrol in the Sierraby Jordan Fisher Smith Murder, irony and natural history – Nature Noir has all three. Smith poignantly writes about his experiences patrolling the canyons of the American River.Hassle-Free Computer Supportby Jeff Johnson & Thor SeversonA small business’s guide to finding a professional, competent, honest, considerate, on-time, fairly-priced and dependable computer consultant.Due Process Denied: Why The Fourteenth Amendment Never Became Part Of The Constitutionby George Pierce RitterFor the politicos, this read explains why the proposal and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment were anything but constitutional. Not on Your Life!by Karen AndersonKaren Anderson, founder of Do-Able Steps creates simple solutions for women to conquer their fears and achieve long time goals and everyday challenges.Leadership=RC3by John Ikeda“This book is for the rare individual who continuously strives to lead in a way that makes the world a better place to live – a true leader.”48 Dog Friendly Trailsby Debbi PrestonFor dog lovers, experienced and novice hikers and nature lovers, this new hiking guide is organized month-by-month, and offers a plethora of possibilities including off-leash venues, and even suggestions for restaurants, historical sites, wineries and shopping near the hikes.Classic Afghan Cookbook by Mousa M. AmiriWritten by local restaurant (Bamiyan) owner, this book explores the exotic cuisine of Afghanistan with interesting and enjoyable recipes for the whole family.

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Ride and Shine

Jan 31, 2009 ● By Super Admin

To those who have never been around horses, equine-assisted therapy may, on the surface, seem a little suspect. But those who have ever encountered a horse commonly describe the experience as “therapeutic,” which is why today equine facilitated therapy and adaptive riding is regularly practiced and frequently praised. Locally, Ride and Shine, an El Dorado County-based nonprofit, has benefited individuals with special needs since it was founded in 1996.According to its Web site, the mission of Ride and Shine, a Premier Accredited Center for the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), is to “provide therapeutic intervention to achieve increased balance, muscular control and attention skills, while providing exercise and enjoyment of an activity that will assist in the development of socialization skills and the enhancement of self-esteem.” As such, Ride and Shine uses trained horses to help disabled children with a variety of physical, emotional, social and cognitive impairments.But what exactly is adaptive riding? Specifically, it is using specific horsemanship activities designed to help disabled individuals overcome targeted disabilities, which include muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, emotional and learning disabilities, brain injuries and ADD, among several others. Because horseback riding moves a rider’s body rhythmically and similar to the human gait, physically disabled riders often increase their flexibility, balance and muscle strength, while the special relationship that forms between a horse and riders with cognitive and emotional limitations, often leads to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem.Because the benefits of equine-assisted therapy are far-reaching, it is commonly endorsed as a purposeful support method to supervised medical care by therapists and mental health specialists from a variety of fields. Ride and Shine hosts several fund-raising events throughout the year, including the Ride-a-Thon and Boot Scootin’ Boogie Dance. It also relies on the assistance of volunteers and welcomes online donations to help cover operation costs. Currently, Ride and Shine is not accepting horse donations, but will consider a feed lease for horses that need jobs. These horses need to be older (minimum 12 years) and meet various medical and physical requirements. Ideal equines for this program stand 15 to 15.3 hands. During the horse’s tenure at the ranch, it is fully monitored and cared for. Owners who donate their horse to the feed lease program may request its return at any time.Naturally, the horses currently residing in Ride and Shine’s barn have met the careful standards set by the organization, are fully trained, gentle and have the appropriate personality suitable for the therapeutic work required by the organization’s adaptive riding program. Students are matched with the horse that best suits their individual needs and disabilities, whether it is to promote social interaction, increase attention span, develop balance and coordination, or strengthen weakened muscles. Methods may differ but the goal is always the same: to help others break through their limitations to live limitless lives – and to horse around, of course.To learn more about Ride and Shine’s adaptive riding program, visit the organization online at rideandshine.net, or call 530-676-1920.

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Stay & Play

Jan 31, 2009 ● By Super Admin

 Designed to accommodate their extensive antique collection, the home of David and Cheryl Hall imparts casual elegance. Complete with a majestic façade, exquisite outdoor living and entertaining space, and private tennis court and fitness room, this deluxe estate delivers the French countryside to El Dorado County. Listing coordinator Carson Goldberg, with Lyon Real Estate, recommended this home, located on a near 1-acre lot in Shingle Springs, because of its limitless al fresco views and indoor charm. Built in 2004, this estate exudes French Provincial character. The home’s grand exterior is balanced with its interior's warmth and comfort. The Halls worked closely with builder Associate Land Consultants of Folsom to ensure that the layout and design of their home reflected the family’s active lifestyle and desire to entertain, while also capitalizing on the amazing views of the Sierra foothills and mountains in the distance. The Halls chose the location because it offers privacy and 180-degree breathtaking views of unspoiled nature. The homeowners planned each square foot of their five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home. “We designed the house for casual relaxation and with entertaining in mind,” says Cheryl. “We loved the peacefulness it offered and the proximity to nature. When visiting the property before building, we even saw local wildlife roaming in the distance.”The home’s exterior is stucco, and also features custom stonework unique to El Dorado County. Hand-laid stone walls line the front and rear yards of the estate, featuring rock originating on their lot. The front courtyard provides privacy and greets guests with a warm invitation to enter the home. The stamped concrete within the courtyard exhibits the homeowners’ personal flare. Surrounded by lush landscape, this anterior focal point also boasts a central fountain leading up to a dramatic oversized custom stone archway. A striking feature upon entering the home is an inlaid marble medallion in the center of the travertine floor. The foyer, flanked with robust columns, features a sole antique entryway suite, in deep, rich wood. Understated details like this create a custom accent for the homeowners without intimidating visitors upon entering the home. It also allows for the homeowners’ distinctive antique furnishings to take center court. The homeowners chose a neutral interior color palette accented with rich wooden furnishings, and minimal wall accents and moulding details, to draw the focus to their American Oak antiques. “The interior offers a combination of formal and casual living spaces,” says Cheryl. The openness of the home’s interior seamlessly blends the spaces and allows for entertaining in all common rooms and continually highlights their antique furniture collections and the picturesque setting. The spacious kitchen, with its oversized island, distressed cabinetry, and paneled-door refrigerator, serves as the core of the home, with rooms branching off of it in all directions. “Everyone congregates in the kitchen, so when we were designing it, I laid it out so that I could work around the island and still be engaged with guests at the bar,” says Cheryl. The chef’s kitchen, complete with commercial appliances, dual sinks, a butler’s pass and wine fridge are essential amenities for the numerous gatherings held at the Hall’s home. Adjacent to the kitchen, the formal dining and living areas, framed by arches and columns, offer an amazing outdoor view amidst the subtle elegance of rich furnishings and a piano. The homeowners especially enjoy the large formal living area’s columns and arches on one side and wall-to-wall windows to take in the view of the pool and rolling countryside on the opposite end of the room. The columns and arches create a stately ambiance, while the wall of windows allows natural light to flood the room and draws the outdoors in. The coffered ceiling adorned with double crown moulding is also equipped with ambient rope lighting along the perimeter. The homeowners were instrumental in designing the layout and room sizes as well as placement of the five bedrooms. “I placed each room and chose their sizes after looking at several model homes. I wanted all of the rooms to be large and private with lots of natural light,” states Cheryl. Plantation shutters throughout the home permit as much or as little light flow as the homeowners wish. To increase privacy for family and guests, all of the bedrooms include their own private bathroom, each with their own unique style. Another key element of this home’s features includes a plethora of custom built-in cabinetry—an entertainment center in the living room, and in an additional office space. The office nook includes beautiful cherry cabinetry lining the walls, two desks and a skylight, with enough functional space to ensure a comfortable working environment. Additional features include a media room, multiple fireplaces, premium flooring, and upgraded and custom lighting throughout the home. The Halls have enjoyed playing host to many an afternoon barbecue and evening soiree. The home was built with entertaining in mind, evidenced by the open floor plan and lavish outdoor amenities. Because they are avid tennis players, the Hall’s home is a perfect match for their active and entertaining lifestyles. They have entertained various groups of partygoers, from tennis teammates to friends to business associates and children’s schoolmates. When not hosting a party, the Halls choose to lounge in their outdoor living area. “My favorite area of my home is the pool. The view is beautiful, and it overlooks the tennis court and a stone wall with three waterfalls,” says Cheryl. A covered lanai off of the formal living and dining room with custom stonework leads to the immaculate pool, fire pit, an eight-person spa and outdoor kitchen and dining area, which includes a bar, sink and range, barbecue and seating for eight – perfect for evening parties, overlooking the Sierra foothills. The outdoor space also includes a detached guest house studio with its own two-car garage for accommodating extended visitors.The Halls are an active family, and as such, planned accordingly when they built their home. They have turned one of the bedrooms into a comprehensive fitness center, complete with a wall of mirrors and an assortment of athletic equipment. And since northern California weather allows for year-round outdoor recreation, the family takes full advantage of the lighted full-size tennis court. Steps from the main house, the tennis court provides an outlet for physical activity and accordingly, the spa or pool as the ideal destination to unwind following a match. The homeowners then bask in idyllic conditions and absorb vast rolling hill views. With an elegant exterior, and calming and comfortable interior, premium outdoor entertaining space and tennis court with incredible views, this French Provincial estate is the ultimate abode for party and play.

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Local Literary Achievers

Jan 31, 2009 ● By Super Admin

This month we’ve diverged from our regular then & now recommendations, and instead feature here 10 local authors (all residents of the region) and their recent published works.Life’s Little How to Book by Jaleh DonaldsonSchoolteacher Donaldson addresses some of life’s most important issues with straightforward advice, covering a range of topics from a broken relationship to rekindling the passion in marriage to getting out of debt.Second Bloomby Michelle Gamble-Risley and Anne Marie SmithThese local ladies highlight 10 simple steps to Reinvent, Rejuvenate, and Realize a New Life. This read is a tool designed for women who are experiencing what the authors call the “Big Blank” causing them to go on autopilot. Patagonian Adventureby Jack L. ParkerThis follow-up to Parker’s Tibetan Adventure tells a story of death-defying adventure as a father and son travel to the region of Patagonia, Argentina. A must-read for the entire family.Nature Noir: A Park Ranger’s Patrol in the Sierraby Jordan Fisher Smith Murder, irony and natural history – Nature Noir has all three. Smith poignantly writes about his experiences patrolling the canyons of the American River.Hassle-Free Computer Supportby Jeff Johnson & Thor SeversonA small business’s guide to finding a professional, competent, honest, considerate, on-time, fairly-priced and dependable computer consultant.Due Process Denied: Why The Fourteenth Amendment Never Became Part Of The Constitutionby George Pierce RitterFor the politicos, this read explains why the proposal and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment were anything but constitutional. Not on Your Life!by Karen AndersonKaren Anderson, founder of Do-Able Steps creates simple solutions for women to conquer their fears and achieve long time goals and everyday challenges.Leadership=RC3by John Ikeda“This book is for the rare individual who continuously strives to lead in a way that makes the world a better place to live – a true leader.”48 Dog Friendly Trailsby Debbi PrestonFor dog lovers, experienced and novice hikers and nature lovers, this new hiking guide is organized month-by-month, and offers a plethora of possibilities including off-leash venues, and even suggestions for restaurants, historical sites, wineries and shopping near the hikes.Classic Afghan Cookbook by Mousa M. AmiriWritten by local restaurant (Bamiyan) owner, this book explores the exotic cuisine of Afghanistan with interesting and enjoyable recipes for the whole family.

Read More »