Media Life: It's been a wondrous, Auburncentric 2012 Media Life

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at Also hear Thomson most Fridays at 6 p.m. on Dave Rosenthal’s drive-time radio show on KAHI 950 AM. He’s also a regular guest on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight.” And you can catch up with Thomson on Twitter at AJ_Media_Life.



AUBURN CA - In the spirit of end-of-the-year clip shows, Media Life takes a look back at the highlights and lowlights of 2012:

 Proud centenarian

The Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge was celebrated in style, from a spruce-up of its entrance way to make it more accessible (no more lake-like puddle) to access to autos for a couple of photo days on the span over the American River. And then there was the unforgettable appearance of the “ghost train” – an old Mountain Quarries limestone-mine locomotive – for a week.

 Phenomenal return

Auburn’s shiniest movie moments moved into sharper focus, with the summer release on Blu-ray disc of “Phenomenon.” The more-detailed, high-def  look at various location shoots around the city in 1995  was long-overdue.

 Tribute to maestro

Auburn and the regional music community grieved over the loss of Auburn Symphony conductor Michael Goodwin but his legacy lives on in a DVD of his memorial celebration of life held shortly after his death in a vehicle crash as he was driving to rehearsal. 

 Old Town inspiration

The next time you see someone tapping up a keyboard storm in the shadows of a local coffee shop, be aware that it just may be the genesis of the next great American novel. Georgetown’s Denes McIntosh found his inspiration over several months at Tsuda café in Old Town Auburn. “Wilderness” was published in the spring by Denver’s Outskirts Press.

 Bomb shelter hoopla

The Huffington Post, Fox News and MSN Internet went gaga after the story of Placer High’s hidden Cold War-era bomb shelter went viral. The cache of civil defense supplies had sat untouched in a closed-off room for decades until a crew working to upgrade the school’s weight room made the find.

 Snowy series

The National Geographic filmed the good, bad and ugly of working to keep the traffic flowing through Placer County’s stretch of the snowy Sierra last winter. And the finished product – the 10-part “Hell on the Highway” – made it onto the channel’s reality TV lineup starting in November.

 Wild cart ride

Colfax High grad Mick Brown has been drumming for gonzo rocker Ted Nugent for the past six years but got some notoriety of his own when he went on a wild golf cart ride after a Bangor, Maine concert. He was arrested on suspicion of  drunken cart driving. The mug shot – which isn’t too bad, actually – is now part of his celebrity provenance. Brown was fined $1,000 on the drunken driving charge and his license was suspended for 90 days.

Lights in the sky

The American River canyon took a turn into the realm of the mysterious this past September with the sighting of moving lights that were disconcerting to some. It turned out the lights were coming from radio-controlled aircraft being flown by some experienced, human pilots (from the ground below).

POW camp wows

The Lord Sholto Douglas Chapter of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E. Clampus Vitus showed off their historical bent when they dedicated a plaque at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in honor of Camp Flint. The World War II military camp not only provided a base for guarding the Southern Pacific railroad through the Sierra. It also was a prisoner of war camp for captured German soldiers at the tail end of the global struggle. Nice to see it memorialized after all these years.

Brazil odyssey

Aaron Chervenak, a 1999 Placer High grad, is part of a two-man expedition on an epic journey  by non-motorized means traveling 5,500 miles from one of end of Brazil to the other – said to be a first under new mapping. While Twitter @skeetolounge helps armchair travelers keep up, he’s saving some of the best moments for a documentary film.  

Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at Also hear Thomson most Fridays at 6 p.m. on Dave Rosenthal’s drive-time radio show on KAHI 950 AM. He’s also a regular guest on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight.” And you can catch up with Thomson on Twitter at AJ_Media_Life.