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El Dorado County open about possible library budget cuts

By: Don Chaddock
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GOVERNMENT BEAT – It’s been crazy the last few weeks. Water plummeting in Folsom Lake to dangerous levels, the Folsom City Council smacking the knuckles of the Utilities Department chief for trying to spend $78,000 on public outreach (that the same council had previously approved) regarding the installation of water meters, and the city clammed up tight about any potential cost-cutting measures in library or parks services. El Dorado County has been very forthcoming when asked about cuts to their libraries. Susan Covington, branch manager of the El Dorado Hills Library, said they have been affected by the budget crunch the same as any other county department. Some of the steps the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors is looking at include limiting the hours of operation for the libraries in addition to what they’ve already cut. Heck, three positions have been chopped from libraries alone. The libraries have also seen their book-buying power evaporate with budget cuts. Folsom isn’t ready to discuss anything at this point, at least not out in the open. “We are in the midst of evaluating all city programs and services as we prepare to take a new budget proposal to the City Council on Jan. 13,” Folsom Public Information Officer Sue Ryan wrote in an e-mail to The Telegraph. “We face some very difficult choices and it is inevitable that some programs and services will be cut. At this point we are not prepared to identify those cuts.” Library usage is way up considering the current economic climate as job seekers flood into the facilities to use their computers. Covington tells me people are also checking out a lot of books to learn how to improve their resumes. Here’s to hoping the cuts in Folsom aren’t too deep and those in El Dorado County can be lessened in some way. … * * * HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS – All in the line of duty, I say. Sunday evening found me mingling with some 100 persons at a Chanukah festival in Folsom. Rabbi Yossi Grossbaum, of Chabad Folsom Jewish Community Center, said there are approximately 1,100 Jewish families in the El Dorado Hills and Folsom area. Annee Zalkind, an El Dorado Hills mother of two, said it was nice to see a public event that was geared toward something other than Christmas. “For us, it’s such a great thing,” she said. “(Our) kids go to public school and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the Christmas spirit, which is fine. But, this is a way for them to feel proud of being Jewish. It’s a great way to make them feel a part of the holiday season.” I tasted my first latke, a potato “pancake,” and watched the group light the ceremonial menorah. Not Jewish myself, it was all new to me. Thanks to Rabbi Grossbaum for the invite. If you’d like to see photos of the event, visit edhtelegraph.com. ... * * * VETERANS AND TEENS – Last Wednesday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized the winners of the “Voices of Democracy” essay contest. According to contest chairman G. Corky Guenter, first place went to William Kleemann, second to Dominique Talley and third to Yvonne Lin. All three are seniors at Folsom High. “Special thanks goes to Principal Kathryn Allaman and Dena Reeve, speech and English teacher, for their help promoting the program,” Guenter said. Justin Cockrum, of Folsom, is an eighth grade student at Victory Christian School. He took home the prize for the “Patriot’s Pen” competition. The winners read their essays at the VFW’s meeting last week. … * * * TELEGRAPH HAPPENINGS – Check out Matt Long’s turn at penning the Inside the Telegraph blog. It went up on the Web site on Sunday. ... As the editor for the community newspaper, I want to personally thank the organizations and individuals who took the time to contact me about events, news tips or just to share their thoughts. It’s what makes my job so great. ... Remember to register online for our Web site to post your own stories, write a blog or upload photos and videos. Best of all, it’s free. ... The year is almost over and the staff of The Telegraph would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas, happy Chanukah and joyous holidays. ... Don Chaddock is the editor of The Telegraph. His column publishes weekly. He may be reached at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.