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Community enraged after property owner cuts down 42 trees

PENN VALLEY (NEVADA COUNTY), Calif. - A well-known Sacramento commercial property owner has angered a foothills community by chopping down what county officials said was 42 mature trees in a small shopping center he just purchased.

A local tree service hired by Ethan Conrad Properties cut down the trees Saturday and Sunday during the early morning hours.

"I think showing up at 5 in the morning is a little shady," said arborist David Kuttler, who owns another tree service in Penn Valley and was stunned when he drove by the Gateway Center after the weekend.

"If you don't like the trees, don't come up here. We live in the woods," Kuttler said.

Property records show Ethan Conrad purchased the center for $1.075 million and closed escrow Jan. 21.

Social media draws teens to trespass, take pictures under Foresthill Bridge

At 730 feet tall, Foresthill Bridge in Auburn provides people with spectacular views of the American River Canyon. But, driving over California's tallest bridge is simply not as big a draw as what's going on underneath.

"When you go down there, it's breathtaking," said a young thrill seeker from Sacramento who did not want to be identified.

He and his friends ignored the "Keep Out' signs and hiked down the steep hill to the lower deck of the bridge.

"You take that risk when you walk down there," he explained.

It's a trending risk that has now caught the attention of law enforcement.

"It's being driven by social media," Placer County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Dina Erwin said. "People are learning from one another that this is a scenic place, but it's also a very dangerous place."

Grass Valley man arrested for drugging, assaulting teen babysitter


A Grass Valley man is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old babysitter.

Randolph Gorton, 35, was arrested Friday and is charged with rape of a drugged victim and sexual assault of a person under 18 years of age, Grass Valley police said Wednesday.

Police said the victim's mother reported on Feb. 12 that, a few nights before, her daughter had been assaulted. The girl worked as a babysitter for Gorton and had gone to his apartment on the night of the assault at his request.

Motorcyclist dies in solo-vehicle crash

A 60-year-old Nevada City man died from injuries he received when his motorcycle flipped over and landed on top of him Thursday afternoon.

California Highway Patrol spokesperson Officer Greg Tassone said the motorcyclist was identified as Thomas B. Force.

The crash was on Red Dog Road in Nevada County about 3:50 p.m. Tassone said prior to the crash, witnesses saw the motorcyclist riding in a reckless manner, crossing the double yellow line to to pass eastbound drivers. As Force neared Allen Road, his Harley-Davidson lost traction with the roadway, sliding and overturning multiple times.

Passing motorists and emergency personnel tried to give medical aid to Force but he could not be revived, Tassone said.

Red Dog Road was blocked for three hours.

Is this the funniest restaurant name in our area?

News10's Walt Gray came across Pho King Good on Grass Valley Highway in Auburn.

He shared a photo of it on Facebook.

It's become Walt's most-shared post of all time. He called Pho King Good owner Hip Quach, who said he would be delighted if we shared the photo.

Burn scar areas monitored in heavy rains

APPLEGATE— Storms moved through Applegate Friday night, bringing a burst of moisture to the area. They also brought a new threat for rock and mud slides to the foothills.

Because of that threat, officials are keeping a close eye on the Applegate Fire's burn scar.

"When all the underbrush burns, all the soil is loose, especially when we haven't had a lot of rain this year,"Placer Hill Fire Protection Engineer Dominick Palombi said. "So, the first big rain, like this, it's got to increase potential for flash floods and mudslides, so we're kind of on the lookout."

Off of Paoli Lane, people can still see the charred, cut down trees and exposed soil. Palombi said loose rocks can be a warning sign of a potential mudslide.

Placer County encourages storm prep

Be prepared.

That's the message Placer County's Office of Emergency Services is trying to get out ahead of the storm expected in Northern California Friday.

"I would say take every major weather event, which this could be a major weather event, seriously," Program Manager John McEldowney said. "Don't be complacent. Don't think, 'oh it's not going to be as bad,' or anything of that nature."

The county has nearly 20 sites for residents to pick up free sandbags, including one in Auburn, but traffic was slow at the locations Thursday evening.

McEldowney believes most people stocked up during the December round of weather, and the county is encouraging people to reuse those sandbags.