Wednesday, 26 January 2022


LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — In 1579, British explorer Sir Francis Drake came to the shores of Northern California in his ship, the Half Moon.

According to one of his crewmen, Drake affixed a brass plate on the spot of where he landed, claiming the land for the English Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1934, a brass plate was found that fit the description of the crewman. What unfolded is one of the most bizarre historical mysteries that took decades to resolve.

Jan Cook, a local amateur historian and 32 year veteran of the Lake County Library system, has investigated this episode and will be reporting on what transpired, and how it impacted our understanding of California history, at the next Lake County History Roundtable meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the Country Air Properties building located at 460 S. Main St. Lakeport.

The Lake County History Roundtable (formerly the Redwood Empire Civil War Roundtable) meets monthly to hear presentations by local historians and discuss history. It is free, and everyone is welcome.

For more information, contact Phil Smoley at 707-349-1008 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The First 5 Lake Commission will hold its first regular meeting of 2022 at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Commissioners will meet via Zoom.

The meeting ID is 920 4364 5056, pass code is 392117 or join by phone by dialing 669-900-6833.

The public is encouraged to attend.

During this month's meeting, the commission will elect officers and discuss a presentation of the results of the 2021 Kindergarten Entry Developmental Profile report to be given by the commission’s evaluation consultant, Crystal Duarte. This report gives insights into how "ready" Lake County children were for kindergarten last fall as assessed by their teachers.

The commission this month also will welcome its newest member, Jonathan Portney, the new director of Health Services for Lake County, and the new First 5 executive director, Samantha Bond.

Other items on the agenda include approval of the November-December 2021 financial statements, review and approval or amendment of the First 5 Lake bylaws, and approval of the continuation of AB 361 resolution for teleconferenced meetings.

Caltrans announced that it is expanding the Clean California incentive program statewide and offering up to $250 per month to Adopt-A-Highway volunteers who pick up litter along state highways.

The expansion comes after a successful pilot in the Sacramento and San Diego regions that added 230 new highway adoptions in just three months.

“Clean California is all about restoring pride in public spaces and making a difference in our communities,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “This incentive is designed to encourage and reward people for volunteering to pick up highway litter and beautify California’s roadways.”

Part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s California Comeback Plan, Clean California is a sweeping $1.1 billion multiyear effort to remove trash, create thousands of jobs and engage communities to transform roadsides into places of public pride.

Since July 2021, Caltrans has collected more than 5,600 tons of litter — enough to fill 103 Olympic-size swimming pools — and made more than 500 new hires and another 290 conditional job offers.

The Governor’s California Blueprint proposes $100 million to expand the Clean California Local Grant Program into 2023-24, which provides grants to cities, counties, transit agencies, tribal governments and other government agencies to beautify their communities and remove trash and debris.

Adopt-a-Highway volunteers help create cleaner and more beautiful roadsides by removing litter, planting trees and flowers, clearing graffiti, and thinning overgrown vegetation, and also help prevent litter and other pollutants from entering state waterways through stormwater drains.

Whether completed by an individual or group, Caltrans will award up to $250 per month for activities such as:

• $250 for clearing litter on both sides of a highway
• $62.50 for each ramp, or $250 for all four ramps
• Up to $250 for cleanup activities at other locations, such as along bike paths or park-and-ride facilities.

Caltrans will require volunteers to submit information — including date, location, amount of trash collected, number of volunteers, hours worked and pictures — following eligible cleanup activities to receive a payment. Adopt-A-Highway participants are limited to one payment a month.

There is no cost to participate in the Adopt-A-Highway program. As part of the program, Caltrans installs signs displaying the name of the person, family, organization, or business on all segments of the adopted highway.

Volunteers interested in participating in the Adopt-A-Highway Program can call 866-ADOPTAHWY (866-236-7824) or visit for more information.

Since its inception in 1989, more than 120,000 Californians have cleaned and enhanced more than 15,000 shoulder-miles of roadside. The incentives augment the overall goals of the Clean California program by providing additional resources to maintain and beautify the state's roadways.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program Wade and Gayle. Photo courtesy of North Coast Opportunities.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — NCO Volunteer Network’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA, returns on Feb. 1, providing free tax preparation to Lake and Mendocino County households that made $66,000 or less in 2021.

This year, there is no appointment necessary. Taxpayers may simply drop by one of NCO’s sites to submit their documents and receive a consultation. All COVID-19 precautions will be taken, and masks will be required.

Ukiah: Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m.
North Coast Opportunities
413 N. State St.

Lakeport: Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m.
North Coast Opportunities
850 Lakeport Blvd.

Clearlake: Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 4 p.m.
Highlands Senior Center
3245 Bowers Ave.

Fort Bragg: Wednesdays, Feb. 9 and 23, March 6 and 23, and April 14 from noon to 4 p.m.
North Coast Opportunities
111A Boatyard Drive

Taxpayers should bring the following documentation to an NCO site:
• Photo IDs for taxpayer and their spouse
• Social Security cards or ITINs for each person on the return. Proof of US citizenship is not required to receive tax preparation assistance.
• W-2s, 1099s, and all other tax forms.
• Bank routing & account numbers for direct deposit returns.
• Taxpayer’s 2020 tax return
• A completed 13514-C Intake Sheet (available to download at or at each NCO site)

IRS-certified VITA volunteers will be standing by to assist with state and federal returns, W-2 forms, self-employment income, certain itemized deductions, and credits, including the expanded Child Tax Credit.

Parents who received the monthly Child Tax Credit payments last year are eligible for an additional $1,500-$1,800 per child if they file their 2021 tax return.

For a full list of returns that VITA will and will not prepare, visit

“Even if you don’t think you need to file taxes you might still get money back,” said Kayla Harrison, VITA Program Coordinator. “We are happy to talk to anyone who walks up about their situation to see if they qualify.”

“Even dependents who have a job are eligible to file their returns with us,” added Yvett Magallon, NCO Volunteer Network Project Coordinator.

For more than 10 years, NCO Volunteer Network’s VITA has been the lead in Lake and Mendocino Counties for the United Way of California Earn It! Keep It! Save it! program which puts millions of dollars in tax returns into the pockets of low-income families each year.

In 2021, VITA helped families secure $394,000 in earned tax refunds and saved them more than $78,000 in filing fees.

“We ensure that our clients maximize their refund from their tax return by claiming tax benefits for taxpayers and their families,” said Magallon. “This is earned income that allows more dollars to flow into our community that residents can use for groceries, rent, utilities and other bills.”

VITA is also recruiting volunteer Spanish/English interpreters and certified IRS tax preparer volunteers who are comfortable with computers. Contact Kayla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up.

For those confident in preparing their own taxes, the resource is available. My Free Taxes is an easy online tool operated by United Way of California that helps individuals file their state and federal taxes for free. This site offers step-by-step guidance for filing taxes as well as personal help through email or online chat. The 2021 household income limit to use this online service is $73,000 and those who are self-employed are not eligible.

For more information on VITA free tax preparation, please call 707-467-3236 and leave a message with your name and number or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NCO is the Community Action Agency that serves Lake and Mendocino Counties, as well as parts of Humboldt, Sonoma, Del Norte, and Solano Counties. NCO reacts and adjusts to community needs, including disaster response and recovery. For more information visit or call 707-467-3200.

Hospice volunteer Carolyn Jarrett. Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Hospice Services of Lake County has an immediate need for volunteers at thrift store locations in Lakeport, Clearlake and Middletown.

Volunteers play a vital role in the store operations including stocking merchandise, assisting customers with purchases at the cash register and accepting donations.

Stores are open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with volunteers filling three- or four-hour shifts on the days of their choice.

Flexible shifts are available, and volunteers receive 25 percent discounts on merchandise as well as other incentives.

“Staff and volunteers incorporate CDC protocols throughout our store operations to prevent the spread of COVID,” said Hospice Services Executive Director Cindy Sobel, R.N. “We are committed to maintaining a safe environment for our volunteers, staff and customers. Plastic shields are installed at cash registers, counters and fixtures are regularly sanitized, staff and volunteers are vaccinated or tested weekly, masks are required, and social distancing encouraged. Customers are encouraged to mask up and we always have extra masks available for them.”

Volunteering at Hospice retail stores is a valuable opportunity for students wanting to learn job skills, build their resume, and fulfill community service hours.

Retirees and others find volunteering helps them stay active, productive, engaged with others while giving back to the community.

To learn more about volunteering at Hospice Services thrift stores or the many other volunteer opportunities at Hospice Services of Lake County, call Christy at 707-263-6222, Extension 104, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“Volunteers are essential in the operation of our thrift stores,” said Retail Sales Manager Melanie McCreary.

Training is provided, and stores are positive and supportive environments for individuals interested in giving back to their community.

Hospice Services thrift store revenue supports the Wings of Hope bereavement program serving children and families with camps and school-based grief counseling all around Lake County.

Journey through Grief support groups, individual counseling and drop-in groups also are provided at no charge to participants.

“Hospice Services has done so much for me personally, students, individuals and the community at large … and it is fun,” said retired teacher and thrift store volunteer Carolynn Jarrett. “I like to give back. During these uncertain times when there are so many needs, volunteering is a rewarding way to stay involved in the community.”

Hospice Services of Lake County provides high quality medical, emotional and spiritual care to help patients and their families navigate their end-of-life journeys.

For more information, call Hospice Services of Lake County, 707-263-6222.

Visit the organization’s website at

Janine Smith-Citron is director of development for Hospice Services of Lake County.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The application process for the 2022 Lake County Wine Auction is now open.

The event will be on Sept. 17 at the Mercantile by Shannon Family of Wines.

Visit the Lake County Wine Alliance website at to apply.

The deadline is May 1, 2022.

For more information, contact Marie at telephone 707-489-9226 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Upcoming Calendar

01.26.2022 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
First 5 Lake Commission
01.26.2022 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sierra Club Lake Group community meeting
01.27.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
01.29.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Steele
01.31.2022 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
02.01.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
02.02.2022 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
History Roundtable
02.03.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
02.05.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Steele

Mini Calendar



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