Monday, 27 June 2022

Opinion

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s role is to ensure people’s constitutional rights while providing for public safety. Almost always, this is a precarious balancing act, weighing various statutes, court decisions, authorities, and the overall benefit to society. As we’ve seen during this COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions to our fundamental freedoms that have previously before been unheard of on the scale that we now see, have become commonplace.

There will likely be years of debate, research, and arguments over the effectiveness of these measures. Some will say that these measures saved countless lives. Some will say that the modeling used to justify these measures was inaccurate and based more on anecdotal than scientific evidence. Some will say that nothing will stop the inevitable spread of this virus and that it’s not nearly as lethal as we’ve been told. Many people wonder if they’ve already had it. We’ve been told that we need to stop this at all costs from getting into our community. We’ve been told that we need to let it permeate our community in a controlled manner. We’ve been told it has a high mortality rate. We’ve been told that the mortality rate isn’t known because of inadequate testing.

This is the first time in over 100 years that this country has dealt with a pandemic with such potential. We will become the authorities and experts as the situation progresses. I certainly don’t have the answers to these questions, and I don’t know that I ever will. However, one thing that can’t be argued is that these restrictions on our movements, our employment, and our ability to conduct our daily lives have resulted in financial devastation to many, and will have long-lasting adverse impacts on this community which will add to the previous years’ disasters. This situation can’t continue and the people I represent won’t allow it to continue indefinitely.

Following Friday's protest in Lakeport, I spoke with one of the attendees. The subject of the sheriff’s office’s enforcement of the shelter in place and various other Public Health officer orders came up. From the start of this event, the sheriff’s office has taken an approach to enforcing these orders with an emphasis on education and voluntary compliance. We have always reserved actual enforcement by citation or arrest as a last resort, and only for those engaged in other criminal activity. We have never arrested or issued a citation to any person simply for violating either the state or local Public Health officer’s order. The few amount of enforcement actions, above simple education and warning, that we have taken were for people engaged in criminal activity beyond simply violating the Public Health orders. Violations of these orders are punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.

Among the things being protested today was the continued closure of Clear Lake. The lake was closed to dissuade people from coming into Lake County from other areas that were experiencing reportedly higher incidents of COVID-19. When this decision was made, we wanted to be sure we either kept COVID-19 out of Lake County. We were successful for longer than the vast majority of the state. As seemed to be inevitable, we detected some positive cases. There was no hospital surge. There were no mass fatalities. As of now, only 7 seven confirmed cases have been identified, and 6 of them are reported to be recovered. Sewer testing seemed to indicate more community spread as positive results were found in 4 of 4 systems that were tested at one point. Those same systems have subsequently been found to be free of COVID-19. I question whether or not the emergency used to justify these actions on our populace still exists.

Since March 19 when this order went into effect, the sheriff’s office has arrested 15 people and issued six citations for violations of the Public Health officer’s orders. That averages out to about one person every other day who has had an actual enforcement action taken against them. This is out of over 700 contacts that we’ve had responding to reports of such violations. These citations issued to and arrests of people for these violations were not for the sole act of violating a Public Health officer order. As stated earlier, they were for people engaged in other criminal activity while violating the order. I am proud of the restraint, discretion, and judgment my staff has displayed while carrying out their duties.

We at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office will continue to take this posture as it is not my desire to punish people with measures that may result in these fines or imprisonment for engaging in otherwise lawful activity. I won’t use this opportunity to make criminals out of people who aren’t. People in Lake County, and in many parts of our country, are already suffering due to the loss of loved ones, loss of income, and loss of many of their freedoms.

For those who would say that I’m countermanding the Public Health officer’s orders, I’m not. His orders remain in effect and lawful unless proven otherwise by some higher authority. In fact, I encourage people to abide by them as many of them do serve to keep you, and those around you safe and healthy. The law surrounding enforcement of these laws grants sheriffs discretion. I have used that discretion, and will continue to use that discretion, in a manner that does not impose additional damage to those already damaged.

The lake remains closed to motorized vessels in accordance with the Public Health officer’s orders. I encourage people to respect that order. The quagga mussel sticker program remains in effect and we will strictly enforce that as has been our practice.

I encourage people to socially distance. I encourage them to wear masks when entering businesses. I encourage people to cover their cough. I encourage people to wash their hands. I encourage people to limit their travel to slow the spread of this disease. I won’t make them criminals for choosing not to.

This shut down of society can’t continue indefinitely. It’s time to evaluate our measures and make adjustments. Are we going to continue with the closure of the lake to keep people from out of Lake County away and while doing so keep our own residents from enjoying the wonderful opportunities it has to offer? If so, many people will stop listening and simply violate the order. Others will choose to visit waterways that are nearby and open such as the Sacramento Delta, the Sacramento River, Lake Shasta, and any other waterway that is open. Many have already done so.

There were good reasons for doing this, but it’s time to ask ourselves if it’s necessary to continue. We may already be beyond the point of irreparable harm to our community. If we’re not already, every day we continue brings us closer.

Brian Martin is the sheriff of Lake County, California.

Kelseyville Unified School District Superintendent Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – New information about COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus, comes out every day.

Although there have been no cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Lake County to date, I think it’s reasonable to expect that the illness will eventually arrive.

As our community braces for COVID-19, here are my thoughts.

Coordinating with Public Health

At Kelseyville Unified School District, we’ve been sending regular notices to parents about what we know about the virus and tips to keep students safe.

At Kelseyville Unified facilities, we are doing extra cleaning and encouraging students to use good hygiene. We are also working closely with the Lake County Office of Education and taking our lead from Lake County Public Health.

Prepare, but don’t panic

It’s important to be careful – to wash our hands, stay home if we’re sick. But there’s no reason to panic. For tips on how to prepare, visit www.ready.gov/pandemic .

Children appear at lower risk

Early data show that children are at lower risk of serious complications from COVID-19 as compared to adults, especially adults who are immunocompromised or elderly. However, we all need to take precautions to avoid spreading the virus.

California declares emergency to prepare for outbreak

Last week, the state of California declared a state of emergency to prepare for a widespread outbreak. It is a proactive move that allows disaster funding to be more readily available to government agencies and paves the way for local, state, and federal agencies to coordinate their efforts. Lake County is likely to benefit from this.

How to reduce the spread of COVID-19

Finally, as a reminder, here’s the Centers for Disease Control’s list of ways to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

3. Stay home when you are sick (fever, cough, gastrointestinal symptoms).

4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

6. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

8. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

At Kelseyville Unified, we’re keeping parents up to date with emails and posting information on our Facebook page and website.

If you’d like to keep current on Kelseyville Unified activities regarding COVID-19, visit www.kvusd.org and click on the box that says “COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates.”

Dave McQueen is the superintendent of Kelseyville Unified School District.

The Governing Board of the Yuba Community College District has two distinct duties.

Clearly, our first duty – maintaining the high quality of education received by the over thirteen thousand students who attend classes at one of our six campuses – must never waiver. But we have another important duty as well – to be vigilant in protecting local taxpayers.

We are extraordinarily proud of the diligence and care taken by our fellow trustees in reducing the burden to our taxpayers.

Consider this: Within the last five years, the Yuba Community College District’s Board of Trustees has approved refinancings of voter-approved general obligation bonds resulting in taxpayer savings of over $100 million. These refinancings cut taxpayers’ future school bond property tax payments by 40 percent.

Let’s stop and think about this. Imagine you were able to cut the cost of your own home mortgage or monthly rent by nearly half. For most of us, this would be an incredible financial windfall! Yet this is exactly what the Yuba CCD Board of Trustees achieved without fanfare or publicity.

But their actions were certainly applauded by members of our community who monitor the impact of the district’s financings on taxpayers.

Pat Miller, president of the Sutter County Taxpayers Association, said the refinancing of the district’s bonds was “certainly a big tax savings for property owners in the eight counties of the Yuba College district,” adding that the Taxpayers Association was “extremely pleased” with the refinancing. (Territorial Dispatch, Feb. 21, 2017)

This same commitment to fiscal conservatism is what led the Yuba CCD Board to place Measure C on the March 2020 ballot.

Our local community college campuses are among our most valuable public assets. Measure C will provide the district with a source of low-interest funding to preserve and protect these public institutions for decades to come and allow our local colleges to expand their job training and technical education programs.

Our colleagues on the Yuba CCD Board of Trustees deserve praise and thanks for their commitment to building Yuba CCD into one of the state’s top community colleges while making sure that taxpayers get the best deal possible.

As we enter the next decade, this conservative stewardship will allow Yuba CCD to continue to play a significant role in the overall economic health of our communities and neighborhoods.

Richard Teagarden is president and Michael Pasquale is the trustee representing Area 4 on the Yuba Community College District Board of Trustees. The district serves several Northern California counties, including Lake.

If you are watching the news, you recognize that the novel coronavirus situation is rapidly changing.

The World Health Organization now says that we are in a “pandemic,” the stock market is dropping quickly, colleges are closing around the state and some sports events are beginning to be cancelled. Yet there are still only about 1000 documented cases in the United States, and a handful of deaths at this moment. Are we overreacting?

In Lake County, we are still at low risk of getting coronavirus. We have not had any people testing positive yet, but we have only been able to do a limited number of tests.

There is no known community spread, but there may be some people with the virus in our county that we haven’t been aware of.

At Public Health, we have been monitoring some returned travelers, and following some sick people who have been tested, but so far there have been no positive cases here.

We did declare a “Local Health Emergency” and the Board of Supervisors ratified it on Tuesday, March 10. This was not done to cause more anxiety, but is meant to allow us to make changes quickly (if needed), to request supplies and staffing (if needed), and to access emergency State and Federal funds (if needed).

Also, the California Department of Public Health came out on March 12 with strong recommendations limiting group gatherings:

– Postponing or canceling non-essential gatherings including 250 people or more;
– Smaller gatherings should be held in venues that allow social distancing (keeping 6 feet distance between people);
– Canceling events of 10 or more people that are in vulnerable groups—senior citizens, immune-compromised.

This is a significant change, which reflects the intention to limit mixing of people, thus preventing the introduction and the spread of the virus.

As seen in Washington state and Italy, once the virus gets a firm foothold and starts spreading, the situation can get to be difficult to manage. It appears that strong attempts to slow or stop this spread by limiting group gatherings and social mixing can be effective.

County agencies, schools, and healthcare providers are in regular communication in order to prepare and adapt to the changing environment. We are also involved in regular communication with the public. Our website is becoming a good resource, and there are some documents translated into Spanish. We are also trying to provide weekly press releases and a social media forum hopefully starting next week.

With no cases currently identified in the county, but with the situation worsening in the larger Bay Area, we are recognizing that we are in a unique situation and that limiting large group gatherings may allow us to prevent the virus from getting a solid foothold here, or at least slow down the process, and thus minimizing impact on the healthcare system.

Our particular concern is our most vulnerable populations – the seniors and people with underlying medical conditions.

Overall, we want to continue to try to walk the line between adequate, reasonable preparation for what may come down the road, without causing unnecessary concern or panic.

We live in a resilient community with reasonable, practical leadership. If we are very lucky, this outbreak may pass by Lake County without significant impact, but we appreciate the diligent efforts by so many of our community agencies and partners to prepare for the possibility that we do begin seeing cases.

Gary Pace MD, MPH, is the Public Health officer for Lake County, California.

In July I retired from the state of California, Cal Fire, serving 23 years in the International Union of Operating Engineers. Prior to that I worked 13 years in the private sector and was previously elected as a school board director.

I am a small business owner and understand what small business owners face within our present bureaucratic climate. My career has been in the design, construction, management, and operation of water and sanitation facilities. I have mentored others, including my own children, in obtaining their water operator license. In addition, I serve as a director on a four-county water association.

I serve as a director on a rodeo board and currently, I am a census field supervisor for the U.S. Census managing local personnel to ensure every home is counted in the 2020 Census.

My family has lived in Lake County for over a decade and my wife and I purchased our home in Lakeport last year. Previously we lived on several large ranches in a neighboring county.

I am an avid hunter, fisherman, horseman and volunteer with 4-H and FFA programs. Local volunteerism also has me involved with Adopt-a-Highway and Project Tango Mike helping deployed military service personnel.

My Cal Fire employment had me working in Modoc and Mendocino counties and I am proud to have supported firefighting operations throughout Northern California including those fires in Lake County.

Wildfires and other natural disasters are going to happen – I will promote Cal Fire and local agencies efforts to inspect communities and areas at risk and deploy vegetation management programs to reduce the impacts of future wildland fires.

I will promote and advocate for increased livestock use to reduce fire fuel loads. I will promote that all residents in hazard fire zones understand their responsibility to maintain their defensible space.

Cal Fire is in the process of deploying more fuels/brush reduction crews with the focus of increased defensible space around communities; I will actively work collaboratively with Cal Fire to ensure that the greatest amount of resources are deployed in Lake County.

I will promote strong family values. I take my oath of office very seriously and will absolutely abide by our Constitution!

We cannot be prosperous by growing government that inhibits economic growth. Businesses need to thrive and I will promote less government burden in order to create more private-sector jobs, so that we can support the tax base needed to maintain a healthy and appropriate workforce.

Poverty will always exist, but there is much we can do to help people rise out of it. It’s called opportunity … opportunity through education, mentorships, and service.

Service comes in two forms … Serving those in need to an appropriate level without making them dependent on welfare, and supporting programs that allow people to learn how to serve others as part of their education and personal growth. People become employable through education and service.

I am running to be your supervisor because local and state governments are extremely challenged in their mission and need new leadership.

Lake County needs stronger leadership to promote both agriculture and tourism/recreation and I have the skills and experience to get infrastructure projects done, and done right. All efforts should be for the benefit of the people and not the government and welfare programs.

Let’s get the Lake County government departments open on Fridays to serve the community and citizens! Let’s get all the Board of Supervisors’ support behind the fire chiefs of our special fire districts and collaboratively come up with solutions on how to improve fire protection and reduce insurance rates.

I am going to work hard to propose, and encourage the Board of Supervisors to make updating the general plan and area plans one of its highest priorities.

To make Lake County strong economically, socially and physically I will work with our already determined Board of Supervisors to ensure our general plan provides a strong foundation for growth and prosperity that serves our citizens well and supports economic growth now and into the future.

Please vote for Chris Almind on March 3, 2020.

Chris Almind of Lakeport, California, is a candidate for the District 4 seat on the Lake County Board of Supervisors.

Cate Kortzeborn, Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. Courtesy photo.

Medicare helps pay for a wide variety of medical services and goods in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare settings. But it doesn’t cover everything, and it’s useful to know what is and isn’t covered.

Services and goods are covered either under Medicare Part A or Part B. If you have both Part A and Part B, you can get many Medicare‑covered services whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare health plan, such as Medicare Advantage.

Part A is Hospital Insurance and it helps pay for:

* Inpatient care in hospitals;
* Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility (but not custodial or long‑term care);
* Hospice care;
* Home health care;
* Inpatient care in a religious nonmedical health care institution.

Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover medically necessary doctors’ services, outpatient care, home health services, durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers, and other medical services.

Part B also covers many preventive-care services, such as vaccinations and cancer screenings.

You can find out if you have Parts A and B by looking at your Medicare card. If you have Original Medicare, you’ll use this card to get your Medicare-covered services. If you join a Medicare Advantage plan, in most cases you must use the card from the plan to get your Medicare-covered services.

Under Original Medicare, if the yearly Part B deductible ($198 in 2020) applies, you must pay all costs (up to the Medicare-approved amount) until you meet the Part B deductible before Medicare begins to pay its share.

After your deductible is met, you typically pay 20% of the Medicare‑approved amount of the service, if the doctor or other healthcare provider accepts assignment. (“Accepting assignment” means that a doctor or other provider agrees to be paid directly by Medicare, to accept the Medicare payment amount for the service, and not to bill you for more than the Medicare deductible and coinsurance.)

There’s no yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket under Original Medicare.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO or PPO) or have other insurance, your costs may be different. Contact your plan or benefits administrator directly to find out about the costs.

Under Part B, Medicare pays for many preventive services that can detect health problems early when they’re easier to treat. You pay nothing for most covered preventive services if you get the services from a doctor or other qualified provider who accepts assignment.

However, for some preventive services, you may have to pay a deductible, coinsurance, or both.

Medicare doesn’t cover everything, of course. If you need certain services that aren’t covered under Part A or Part B, you’ll have to pay for them yourself unless:

* You have other insurance (including Medicaid) to cover the costs;
* You’re in a Medicare Advantage plan that covers these services.

Some of the services and goods that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover are:

* Most dental care;
* Eye exams related to prescribing glasses;
* Dentures;
* Cosmetic surgery;
* Massage therapy;
* Routine physical exams;
* Long-term care;
* Concierge care (also called concierge medicine, retainer-based medicine, and boutique medicine);
* Hearing aids and exams for fitting them.

Cate Kortzeborn is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Subcategories

Upcoming Calendar

27Jun
06.27.2022 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Scotts Valley Advisory Council
28Jun
06.28.2022 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Board of Supervisors
28Jun
06.28.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
28Jun
06.28.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
30Jun
06.30.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
2Jul
2Jul
07.02.2022 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Junior Ranger Program: Lake ecology
2Jul
07.02.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
2Jul
07.02.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
2Jul
07.02.2022 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
64th annual Redbud Parade and Festival

Mini Calendar

loader

LCNews

Responsible local journalism on the shores of Clear Lake.

 

Memberships:

 

Newsletter

Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.
Cookies!

lakeconews.com uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.