Saturday, 03 December 2022




LAKE COUNTY – Each year the Board of Directors of the Lake County Fair chooses one member of the community to receive the honor of grand marshal by leading the fair parade and cutting the grand opening ribbon. All of the grand marshals have a history of years of service to the Lake County community. But until this year, none could boast of having worked at the fair every year since it moved to the fairgrounds in Lakeport.


A soft-spoken, pleasant man, Billy DeWaal of Kelseyville was a 15-year-old Lakeport boy with an interest in magic in 1948 when the first fair was held on what was then a brand new fairgrounds in Lakeport.

Billy's father knew the fair manager at the time, Phil Lewis, and managed to wrangle a slot on a stage for Billy to perform his magic act. At his first fair show, Billy performed a ventriloquist act and a magic show in which he used his sister as an assistant and performed an illusion where he floated his sister in mid-air. At that point, Billy had been studying and practicing magic for nearly 10 years.


After that, Billy began performing magic shows regularly at local service club meetings, including the Lion's Club, Rotary, the Odd Fellows, the Lakeport Women's Civic Club and Chamber of Commerce meetings. He also performed each year at the Lake County Fair, and has continued to do so every year since.

And after being "discovered" at the Lake County Fair, Billy went on to build a career around performing magic shows at fairs and festivals throughout the western United States and Canada.


Billy's acts have changed over the years, from ventriloquism and magic, to becoming William Wayne, Master Magician. In between, Billy spent more than 25 years performing as Wacky Willy the Clown, and in the 1980s he expanded his business to include Bilmar Puppets, a puppet theater which included his daughter Karen and granddaughter Becky as performers. Billy once made television commercial for AT&T which was aired in every English-speaking country in the world, and at various times performed with both Bob Hope and George Burns.


A few years ago, Billy changed his act once more and became William Wayne, Master Magician, the act he now performs several times each day at the Lake County Fair. Billy's wife of 55 years, Mary DeWaal, also works at the Lake County Fair, where she operates Aunt Mary's Art Center.


Billy DeWaal is a member of the Society of American Magicians. He has belonged to the Clowns of America #593, the Puppeteers of America, and the American Guild of Variety Artists.


In addition to traveling all over North America performing, Billy is also a Navy veteran of the Korean War, and was awarded two Silver Stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. Billy and Mary now live in Kelseyville, with two cats, 20 doves, two rabbits, and a huge collection of magic illusions and stage props, which Billy calls his "barn full of magic."


“Billy DeWaal has an amazing track record as a performer, and he is the only person around who has been employed by the Lake County Fair for 60 years,” said Lake County Fair Chief Executive Officer Richard Persons. “It's pretty astounding. The fair board found choosing the grand marshal pretty easy this year, and Billy definitely deserves the honor."


The Lake County Fair parade through downtown Lakeport takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28, with the grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting at the main gates at 6 p.m.

Anyone who enters the parade and fills out an entry form in advance will receive free admission to the Fair when the parade arrives at the fairgrounds. Parade entrants will be provided an entry wristband before the parade starts.

For more information, contact the fair office at 263-6181.


For the second year, seaplanes graced downtown Lakeport in preparation for the annual Seaplane Splash-In, scheduled for September 19 through 21. Photo by Gail Salituri.


LAKEPORT – Resident and visitors crowded into downtown Lakeport on Friday, Aug. 22 to sample the annual Taste of Lakeport celebration.

The 11th annual event was sponsored by the Lakeport Main Street Association.

Business kept their doors open until 10 p.m. to welcome visitors, with a live performance by Jimmy Z in the Museum Square.



Langtry Estate and Vineyards poured wine at Inspirations Gallery. Photo by Gail Salituri.



Live music was featured on the sidewalk downstairs from KPFZ 88.1 FM's downtown offices. Photo by Gail Salituri.



Goodies from Main Street Bakery were a feast for the eye and the taste buds. Photo by Gail Salituri.



Wineries from around Lake County came to share their wines. Photo by Gail Salituri.



HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – Lake County's annual holiday Toys for Kids Drive will official begin on Sunday, Aug. 24, with a benefit golf tournament at the Hidden Valley Lake Golf Course.

Hidden Valley Lake Golf Course is located at 19400 Hartmann Road.

Festivities will commence with a putting contest at 7:30 a.m., with the tournament to begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.

A barbecue, raffle and auction will follow the four-person scramble tournament.

A limited number of openings are still available to round out the field. Entry fees (including cart) are $60 for Hidden Valley Lakes Association (HVLA) golf members, $90 for HVLA property owners and $100 for guests.

For those players preferring to walk, entry fees are $50 for HVLA golf members, $77.50 for HVLA property owners and $85 for guests.

To sign up, donate an item or secure a sponsorship for the golf tournament, contact Tami Ipsen, 987-9201, or Brad Onorato, 695-4670.

The nonprofit Toys for Kids Drive organization was established 12 years ago by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), and community members in Clearlake.

The drive committee stages a holiday event during which toys are distributed and recipients and their families are treated to a holiday banquet and entertainment.

Since it was created, the Toys for Kids Drive has brought a bit of holiday cheer to more than 18,000 children in Lake County.


Pictured (left to right), new Executive Director Dennis Fay with Community Care board members Kate Rossi, Andy Rossoff, Margie Handley, Sharon Weeks, board president Bruce Andich, and Dennis Huey. Photo by Steve Winkle.


LAKE COUNTY – The Board of Directors of Community Care Management Corp. has appointed Dennis Fay as the agency’s new executive director.

Fay is a Certified Healthcare Executive (CHE) and brings his 20 years of public health administration experience in the US Air Force to the position.

He has extensive experience in the policy making arena having served at the Air Force Surgeon General’s office, the Pentagon, Washington DC. He served on many federal boards and agencies providing consultation in deployment health, veteran’s affairs, public health, food safety and emergency planning. In these capacities, Fay developed or contributed to numerous federal and state planning commissions.

“It is my pleasure to continue to be of 'service' to the people of Mendocino and Lake counties,” Fay said. “I welcome the privilege to help the frail, the less fortunate and those in need to live a healthy and prosperous life in their homes.

I’m also in the lucky position to be able to draw from the expertise of Cynthia McMath, who served as executive director for the last three years and who remains with the agency in the Supported Living Program she helped to create,” Fay added.

Community Care, a private, nonprofit care management and independent living agency, has served Lake and Mendocino County frail seniors and younger adults with disabilities to remain in their homes and the community for 24 years.

The agency’s multiple programs operate from offices in Ukiah, Ft. Bragg, and Clearlake. They include the Multipurpose Senior Services Program, The Linkages Program, Community Care HIV/AIDS Program and Drop-In Center, Respite Program to assist family caregivers, Independence Plus Programs (Supported Living Program, Community Integration Program, Horizons, Inclusive Senior Services), and Senior Information and Assistance Program.

To learn more about Community Care, visit


From left, Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain, NAACP Branch President Aqeela El-Amin Bakheit and NAACP member Anthony Anderson at the Aug. 9 raffle at the Clearlake City Hall. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



CLEARLAKE – The Lake County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held the drawing for its annual scholarship fundraiser raffle on Aug. 9.

The drawing was held at Clearlake City Hall, with Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain pulling the winning ticket.

Kevin Ness of Clearlake won the three-wheeled electric mobility scooter, courtesy of North Valley Medical Supply in Las Vegas.

Funds raised during raffle will benefit the NAACP's high school scholarship program.

For information about the local NAACP branch and its programs, call Branch President Aqeela El-Amin Bakheit at 995-2545.



Kevin Ness, left, is presented with the winning raffle ticket by NAACP Branch President Aqeela El-Amin Bakheit following the Aug. 9 raffle. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



Deisy Castro has been named the 2008 recipient of the Mendocino College Foundation Hopland Elementary Achievement Award. Deisy, age 11, shares her goal of becoming a marine biologist with Donna Wilsey, Hopland Elementary School secretary and on-site administrator of the award. The foundation, in conjunction with certain strategic donors, is in the process of instituting Elementary Achievement Awards throughout the various elementary schools in the College district. The Hopland award has been generously underwritten by Wade and Mary Lou Koeninger. Courtesy photo.



UKIAH – Nineteen years ago Wade and Mary Lou Koeninger had an idea. They wanted to recognize the students’ achievements at Hopland Elementary School and motivate them to get their high school diploma.

Their idea addressed students who not only weren’t finishing high school but also didn’t have a vision or plan for their future.

“We created a scholarship program that was all about student success and encouraging them with recognition so they’d graduate with a high school diploma and a plan for their future,” said Wade Koeninger.

Today that scholarship program, which has been in place at the Hopland Elementary School since 1989, has joined forces with the Mendocino College Foundation.

“Wade is a familiar face at the Foundation,” said Kathy Lehner, Mendocino College superintendent/president. “He has actively served on the Mendocino College Board of Trustees for the past 16 years and we are very grateful for his generous donation as well as his vision to initiate this program.”

“It is the perfect partnership,” said Wilda Shock of Lakeport, immediate past president of the foundation and the person Wade credits as having inspired him to partner with the foundation. “By bringing the Koeninger Elementary School Achievement Award into the foundation, we hope to attract and inspire other philanthropists, so that eventually every elementary and middle school in the Mendocino-Lake Community College District will have a program that motivates its students to graduate from high school and attend college.”

Mark DeMeulenaere, foundation director of development explains the mechanics of the program.

“Each year Hopland Elementary School faculty and its staff select a motivated fifth grade student who has shown dedication and promise for completing high school and entering college. The Koeningers have created an endowment where the foundation awards a selected student with a check for $25 and a certificate stating that a scholarship for $1,000 is available providing the student obtains a high school diploma and enrolls for at least one full semester as a full-time student in Mendocino College. If the student completes high school but does not enroll in college, a prize of $500 is awarded.”

“First, you need to inspire them while they are young, so they see their path and stick to it,” observed Mary Lou Koeninger. “Second, money is important. Our vision was to empower the students and their parents to concentrate on the goal of graduating from high school.”

The Koeninger Elementary Achievement Awards have helped nearly 40 students over the past 18 years. Close to ninety percent of the students selected complete high school.

“It has been a wonderful program,” enthuses Donna Wilsey, Hopland Elementary School secretary and administrator for the Koeninger Achievement Awards program since its inception. “By choosing fifth graders, we give them a chance to think about their future, knowing that college is a real possibility. They leave Hopland Elementary as sixth graders and when they come back to visit after high school graduation, suddenly they’ve grown up and know what they want to do. It’s very rewarding to watch the recipients grow and mature.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring a similar Elementary Achievement Awards scholarship program is invited to contact the Mendocino College Foundation at 467-1018.

The Mendocino College Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation comprised of a dedicated team of volunteer community, education and business leaders who live and work in the Mendocino-Lake Community College District. Its mission is to cultivate support and raise funds for the benefit of the students of Mendocino College. These funds are used to support the College’s vision of delivering innovative educational programs, focusing on student success and contributing to the vitality of the region.



An additional Mendocino College Foundation Elementary Achievement Awards program has been initiated at the Frank Zeek Elementary School, Ukiah, through the generosity of donors who prefer to remain anonymous. Chris Carrigg, age 11, receives congratulations from Mendocino College Superintendent/President Kathy Lehner (left) and his mother Norka Ahlswede, who considers education to be a top priority in her son

Upcoming Calendar

12.06.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
12.08.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
12.08.2022 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Adult Literacy Program in-person tutor training
12.09.2022 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Hometown Christmas in Lower Lake
12.10.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.10.2022 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
12.10.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
12.10.2022 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Clear Lake State Park Christmas open house
12.13.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
12.15.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown

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