Thursday, 29 September 2022


LAKE COUNTY – As people purchase helium filled metallic Mylar balloons for their Valentine this Thursday, Pacific Gas and Electric Company urges customers to make sure that they are securely tied to a weight that will prevent them from floating away in the air.

Unsecured metallic balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage and result in serious personal injuries.

Metallic balloons that drift into PG&E power lines cause between 100 to 150 outages each year, affecting electric service to thousands of PG&E customers throughout northern and central California. In the most dangerous circumstances, metallic balloons cause power lines to fall to the ground creating the potential for fires, property damage, injury and even death.

In order to significantly reduce these types of outages each year, and so everyone can safely enjoy their Valentine’s Day celebration, PG&E reminds customers to follow these important safety tips for metallic balloons:

  • “Look Up and Live!” – Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.

  • Make sure helium filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never remove the weight!

  • Keep metallic balloons indoors and never release them outside.

  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.

  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-PGE-5000 to report the problem.

  • Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assumed downed electric lines are live. Stay away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.


LAKE COUNTY – Low-income singles, families and seniors are invited to apply to see if they are eligible to receive food stamps.

The Lake County Community Action Agency is conducting pre-screenings for individuals and families.

To set up an appointment, call Sarina Beckel at 995-0495.


SACRAMENTO – Preventing California’s consumers from being “steered” away from the auto body repair shop of their choice when they are involved in a car accident – that’s the goal of SB 1167, a new bill introduced by state Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa).

“Car accidents are an unfortunate and frightening experience for any driver and this situation shouldn’t be aggravated by an insurance agent who is asking you 20 questions about why you have chosen a particular auto body repair shop over their ‘recommended’ or pre-selected repair shops,” Wiggins said.

Existing law prohibits automobile insurers from “steering” a policyholder to specific automotive repair shops. “Steering” occurs when an insurer requires an individual’s car to be repaired at a particular auto body repair shop and/or suggests or recommends that his/her car be repaired at a specified auto body repair shop. SB 1167 seeks to clarify existing law prohibiting an insurer from steering a policyholder to a specific auto repair shop, thereby allowing the consumer to select an auto body repair shop of their choice.

“My office has received complaints from constituents about some common statements insurers make to steer policyholders to certain repair shops such as, ‘we won’t guarantee the repairs if you take your car to that repair shop,’ or ‘if you go there, you will have to pay additional costs,’ ” the senator said. “If statements like that are being made, apparently there is some confusion about the intent of the law which prohibits an insurer from ‘suggesting’ or ‘recommending’ a particular repair shop.”

SB 1167 provides that when a policyholder first reports vehicle damage to an insurer, the insurer shall determine if the policyholder has selected an auto repair facility prior to providing any information regarding a program or a facility that performs auto body repairs. If it is determined that the policyholder has selected a repair facility, the representative of the insurer shall cease, or not engage in, any discussions regarding a program or a facility that performs auto body repairs.

“I want to make sure that consumers aren’t frightened into taking their cars someplace other than their preferred auto repair shops because their insurers claim they won’t guarantee the work,” Wiggins said. “These claims are unfounded and disingenuous.”

The purpose of the law is to allow car owners the freedom of choice in selecting an auto body repair shop, but the reality is that insurers discourage policyholders from going to repair shops outside of their network.

This network includes “direct repair programs” which are essentially pre-selected auto body repair shops approved by the insurer where labor rates and repairs are predetermined in a presumed effort to keep costs down. However, many auto repair shops allege that these repair programs could compromise the integrity of auto body repair and could force shop owners to perform substandard repairs.

SB 1167 will be assigned to a Senate policy committee later this month.


LAKE COUNTY – What if Lake County Animal Services earned a penny every time you searched the Internet? Or how about if a percentage of every purchase you made online went to support our cause? Well, now it can! is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up! is a new online shopping mall which donates up to 37 percent of each purchase to your favorite cause! Hundreds of great stores including Target, Gap, Best Buy, Ebay, Macy's and Barnes and Noble have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you’ll be supporting your favorite cause.

Just go to and be sure to enter Lake County Animal Services as the charity you want to support. And, be sure to spread the word!

Visit Lake County Animal Services online at


MIDDLETOWN – The Middletown Area Town Hall meeting in the Middletown High School's Multi-Use Room at 7 p.m. on February 21 is likely to be "buzzing."

There is a lot on the town hall's plate this month proposed bylaw amendments, a petition to improve air quality, a presentation by Lake County County Counsel Anita Grant on the state's open meeting laws, the need to discuss local business support especially in light of the fact three prominent businesses shut down last month within a two-week period.

But, it will be the presentation on "Tools and Strategies to Move MATH Forward" that will likely draw out-of-towners to this Middletown meeting.

People like Lake County Administrator Kelly Cox from Lakeport and Kevin Comora, president of Vizicast Multimedia in Cotarie are likely to attend. Members of Lake County's media establishment have also expressed an interest in attending. Why? The need for progress in Middletown.

According to Martha Webster, who works with the Middletown Times Star, Middletown has been trying to get a viable town hall up and going for more than 20 years. Last year, it looked as though Middletown had finally arrived. The town was granted status for a municipal advisory council (MAC) in compliance with the Brown Act. Funds were also provided by the county for new lights in the downtown area.

But, neither MAC status nor new lights will help generate more revenue for the local small business merchants. Something still needs to be done to entice the sizable traffic traveling through Middletown on State Highway 29 to "stop and shop." Otherwise, more local businesses may be closing their doors as well.

One problem for Middletown may be its perception as the "Gateway to Lake County." The town is not perceived as a destination, but rather as a pass-through to somewhere else in the county. While it might help if Caltrans were to alter the way traffic approaches and passes through Middletown, that would be a very expensive undertaking.

Given California's current economy, it is doubtful Caltrans will be altering the way Highway 29 approaches Middletown any time soon.

What is feasible is for Lake County to introduce much-needed technological innovation to the area beginning with Middletown. In particular, digital signage.

While Lake County currently has a ban on billboard signage because area residents desire to hold fast to the natural beauty here, the introduction of digital signage can actually reduce the number of billboards and at the same time help small businesses to flourish. This is done by dynamically advertising their message changing multimedia messages on the big screen rather having a painted display.

Dynamic digital signage would also help promote community service. It can even transform the Lake County press kit from a CD with nothing but stagnant PDFs to a vibrant DVD with documentary-style multimedia presentations.

What can you do when you walk into any of the three visitor centers in Lake County right now? Can you walk over to a kiosk, press a button on the screen and find out information about what Lake County has to offer?

No, there are no kiosks. Instead, you have to sort through printed material and decide what you want provided you can find it. A digital signage kiosk can deliver what you need at the click of an on-screen button.

Every visitor center in Florida has for years had a kiosk to accommodate its tourist trade. You will find San Francisco has been putting digital signage to work both out on Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 39 and within 19 of its hotels for 15 years.

Well, the tourist trade is supposed to be one of the major draws of Lake County. Perhaps the time has indeed come for Lake County to start implementing digital signage?

Kevin Comora is the person responsible for much of the digital signage currently being used in San Francisco. In fact, even the digital signage being used on the USS Ronald Reagan battleship is his responsibility. He came to Middletown back in September of last year and demonstrated to the Middletown Merchants what digital signage might do for the town by showcasing a presentation that included Langtry Estates, Sylvie's and Fergusson Cutlery. This presentation can still be seen online at Just be sure to look through the Web site and download the Scala plug-in before viewing.

While technological innovation is a partial solution, it is not the only need Lake County has. Even according to the county's own marketing research, the area has a poor attitude toward itself. Perhaps this is to be expected when you have a bedroom community, like Hidden Valley Lake. A great many of the residents there are forced to work outside the county to be able to afford the lifestyle provided by this gated residential community. Obviously, the need for long commutes can make involvement in local community activities difficult.

Nevertheless, it really is important people CARE about one another, CONNECT with their community and have a DESIGN to move the area forward. This upcoming MATH meeting will hopefully be a step in that direction.

If you would like to attend this meeting, please take time to RSVP. Visit for more information.


LAKE COUNTY – Hinthel Ganula, a film edited by Lake County's Poet Laureate and published author James Bluewolf, will be featured at a community meeting on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m., on the second floor of the museum, 255 N. Main St.

The film describes the history of the native people of this area, with an emphasis on the devastating effects of the Gold Rush, and is narrated by BlueWolf.

The Lucy Moore Foundation will host a panel discussion and dialog on the issue of the use of Indian names as sports mascots following the film from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This is an opportunity to exchange views and hear from all sides. The goal is to achieve understanding on how and why such divisions occur and how personal hurt affects decisions. The discussion will focus on why the practice of using Indian names as mascots is controversial.

All interested parties, especially residents of Kelseyville and native people, from all sides of the issue whether for, against or undecided, are encouraged to attend and are welcome, as this meeting will be educational.

The intent is to encourage people to make up their own minds, based not on hearsay or any form of preconception but on actual and complete information.

This is an opportunity to base decisions on facts. Strong emotions have arisen around the Kelseyville High School mascot issue. The organizers encourages all who come, on both sides of the issue, to attend with a willingness to respect everyone present, and to hear all sides of the issue with an open mind and an open heart.

A volunteer from Mediacom's public access TV Channel 8 will record the discussion for broadcast on the PEG channel.

Food and refreshments will be served, food fights will be discouraged. Thanks to all for keeping a sense of humor.

For more information or details call Bernadine Tripp at 275-9574.


Upcoming Calendar

09.29.2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Local Hazard Mitigation Plan update meeting
10.01.2022 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship annual walk and run
10.01.2022 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Konocti Challenge
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
20th annual Falling Leaves Quilt Show
10.01.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
10.01.2022 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Lakeport Harvest Festival
10.01.2022 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Harvest Dinner and Silent Auction
Peace and Plenty Farm

Mini Calendar



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