Media Life: Auburn-area oddities pepper Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Eldo County TV presence expands to South State; Ted Gaines takes on media full throttle; Singing auctioneer Dave Chaddock’s 49 Fire song out in stores
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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It seems that Gibson, the late, great, world’s tallest dog, isn’t the only Ripley’s Believe It or Not book entry this year. As Media Life reported last week, the Grass Valley pooch was featured in Ripley’s “Special Edition” published last month. The Ripley’s folks are now informing us that more locals are getting their 15 minutes in another new book “Seeing is Believing.” Under the heading “Garage Booty,” Ripley’s gives a shoutout to the Dunievitz family’s unearthing of a stash of valuable drawings by artist Martin Ramirez. The cache had been under the art world’s radar for more than 40 years and stored in recent years on top of a refrigerator in an Auburn garage. In Ripleyesque prose, “Seeing is Believing” tells how: “The American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan was about to start an exhibition of rare drawings by Mexican artist Martin Ramirez when it received an e-mail on behalf of an Auburn woman saying she had some of his drawings. She had 140 pieces of his artwork, which can sell for more than $100,000.” Believe it or not. Roseville also receives a mention, courtesy of the aptly named Jared Shipman. According to Ripley’s account, Shipman built a 320,000-piece model of the USS Nimitz out of only paper. The finished product measured just more than nine feet long. So, who says Placer County is placid? Ripley researcher across the globe are busy each day digging deep into the world of the odd and the bizarre – and finding it in our own backyard. EMERALD COUNTY The greening of El Dorado County takes center stage this weekend in the latest segment of locally made “Experience El Dorado.” The half-hour, travel-oriented program is marketed at both the staycationer and the vacationer, with some interest already percolating in Germany and other European countries after only three episodes. For now, it’s a fixture in the Auburn area the first Sunday of the month on Sacramento’s News10. Showtime is 5 p.m. this Sunday. Turning its camera lense close to Auburn, “Experience El Dorado” will have a segment highlighting the biodiesel buses and organic gardens at the Mother Lode River Center rafting company in Coloma. The tour of the county’s eco-friendliness will also drop into a “green” hotel in South Lake Tahoe, an Apple Hill solar-powered juice maker, an El Dorado Hills solar installer and a solar homebuilder. And this just in. The “Experience El Dorado” message will soon be spreading to the South State, with San Diego’s ABC 10News signed on to start airing the show in November. SPEEDWAY STAR State Assemblyman Ted Gaines, whose district includes Auburn and environs, made himself at home last weekend for the celebrity media race at Roseville’s All American Speedway. A racing fan, Gaines finished a credible second in a seven-car field, beaten only by KCRA morning reporter Brian Hickey. 101.9 The Wolf’s Dave Kelly finished behind Gaines in third place while Channel 13 stablemates Dave Bender and Mark S. Allen placed fourth and fifth respectively at what was the leadup to the NASCAR Camping West 150. 49 FIRE INSPIRES TUNESMITH Deeply affected by the Aug. 30 fire in Auburn that left so many homeless, Auburn auctioneer Dave Chaddock was inspired to sit down and pour his feelings out in song. The ensuing result was “The Little Things,” which he debuted at last Saturday’s 49 Fire Benefit Concert and now is for sale in CD form. The CD single is available at a number of area locations, including Placer County Farm Supply, Encore Music, Cherry Records and Echo Valley Ranch Supply. Chaddock said he had brought food for fire victims on the day of the fire but was turned away at the evacuation center. “I felt so helpless and needed to do something for my fellow Auburn citizens,” he said. He wrote through that dark night to come up with “The Little Things.” Initially, Chaddock envisioned a compilation with other artists but has now worked with Ralph Burnett and Michael Paul to produce and arrange the locally recorded song as a single. It’s a labor of love and all of the proceeds – suggested donation is $5 – will go to the Salvation Army disaster relief fund for fire survivors. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or call 530-852-0232.