A year of highs, lows and going underground

By: Don Chaddock
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Folsom underwent some drastic changes in 2010. One year ago, I was battling a bad cold and shivering in the rain while the city kicked off its Historic District Redevelopment and Revitalization project. A bulldozer, with dirt at the ready, was used so the city council members could ceremoniously turn dirt on the massive $8.5 million streetscape. That was just the beginning. Within months, the street’s characteristic median was gone, as were the shed roofs, asphalt and sidewalks. Some cried, some complained and some just accepted the change. But, what a change it was. In April, the Telegraph was the first media organization allowed into the tunnel re-discovered underneath Sutter Street, thanks to the redevelopment happening above ground. While some knew of the tunnel’s existence, few had ever explored it. Access isn’t available to the public. Archaeologists believe the tunnel was used for nothing more than drainage while tales of bootleggers, prostitutes and other shenanigans cloak those tunnels in mystery. Our story also spurred the TV guys to get in on the act, some of them reporting from above ground, unable to gain access. According to those involved in the project, the older brick walls of the tunnel are “in active failure,” they told us. The plan, at last check, is to spray a toughening substance on the walls to help stabilize them. That story was one of the stories in 2010 that drew the most viewers to folsomtelegraph.-com. A new $50-million arts center was unveiled just a few months ago. The facility, dubbed Three Stages, will feature some major acts this year. The grand opening is slated for next month. This is another major change for the entire region. A suspect in the Alice Murphy murder was caught more than six months after heinous crime. Sylvester Griffin’s trial starts later this month. The Murphy murder captured the attention of readers and is a story we followed closely. Finally, the biggest story for Folsom happened right at the end of the year as the Bulldogs pulled out a major state football title. Dozens of reader comments were posted online and the story by Matt Long, the Telegraph’s sports editor, ran in all the Gold Country Media sites, generating some of the biggest viewer numbers of the year. In the end, while the stories range from sad to uplifting, the Telegraph has been here for 155 years and 2010 was just one more in a long history of local journalism. Don Chaddock can be reached at