Saturday, 04 February 2023

Community

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — More than ever, local families are struggling to make ends meet.

Fortunately, residents can receive valuable help this tax season through the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program operated by North Coast Opportunities Volunteer Network.

Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, also known as VITA — Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, helps hundreds of local families each year save on filing fees and maximize their returns.

To meet increased need, NCO is looking for volunteers to be Site Coordinators, Tax Preparers, Interpreters and Outreach volunteers at sites in Lakeport, Clearlake, Ukiah, and Fort Bragg starting Feb. 1.

No experience is necessary to be a VITA volunteer. To sign up for a free training in January, fill out a volunteer application at www.volunteernco.org.

“Many workers pay tax preparers high fees and face excessive interest on refund anticipation loans,” said Kayla Harrison, VITA Program Coordinator. “Our tax assistance sites help families and individuals maximize their tax credits and use them to make ends meet or to save for the future.”

At local tax sites, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers work with families and individuals to help file their tax returns and ensure that they receive the tax credits for which they are eligible. In addition, some sites can direct their participants to no-fee bank accounts, credit repair services, or financial education classes.

NCO’s VITA is fiscally sponsored by United Way of the Wine Country and is part of a coalition of VITA programs spanning five counties in Northern California. The mission is to provide free tax preparation service to support the financial stability of working families and individuals. Last year, NCO VITA volunteers helped prepare more than 650 tax returns and brought in $800,000 in refunds to Lake and Mendocino Counties.

“We need students, retired business people, all our community to step up now and volunteer to help families file their tax returns,” Harrison continued. “It is very rewarding to help a family get the refund they deserve. Lots of smiles and gratitude!”

To volunteer for VITA, fill out a volunteer application at www.volunteernco.org.

For questions, contact Joan Reynolds at 707-467-3200 x316 or 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 www.ncoinc.org or call 707-467-3200.

NORTH‌‌ ‌‌COAST, ‌‌ ‌‌Calif. — Caltrans‌‌ ‌‌reports‌‌ ‌‌that‌‌ ‌‌the‌‌ ‌‌following‌‌ ‌‌road‌‌ ‌‌projects‌‌ ‌‌will‌‌ ‌‌be‌‌ ‌‌taking‌‌ ‌‌place‌‌ ‌‌‌around‌‌ ‌‌the‌‌ ‌‌North‌‌ ‌‌Coast‌‌ ‌‌during‌‌ ‌‌the‌‌ ‌‌coming‌‌ ‌‌week. 
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Included‌‌ ‌‌are‌‌ ‌‌Mendocino‌‌ ‌‌County‌‌ ‌‌projects‌‌ ‌‌that‌‌ ‌‌may‌‌ ‌‌impact‌‌ ‌‌Lake‌‌ ‌‌County‌‌ ‌‌commuters, as well as work in Del Norte and Humboldt counties.
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Caltrans‌‌ ‌‌advises‌‌ ‌‌motorists‌‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌drive‌‌ ‌‌with‌‌ ‌‌caution‌‌ ‌‌when‌‌ ‌‌approaching‌‌ ‌‌work‌‌ ‌‌areas‌‌ ‌‌and‌‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌be‌‌ ‌‌‌prepared‌‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌stop‌‌ ‌‌at‌‌ ‌‌traffic‌‌ ‌‌control‌‌ ‌‌stations. ‌‌ ‌‌‌ ‌
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The‌‌ ‌‌Caltrans‌‌ ‌‌Traffic‌‌ ‌‌Operations‌‌ ‌‌Office‌‌ ‌‌has‌‌ ‌‌reviewed‌‌ ‌‌each‌‌ ‌‌project‌‌ ‌‌and‌‌ ‌‌determined‌‌ ‌‌that‌‌ ‌‌individual‌‌ ‌‌‌project‌‌ ‌‌delays‌‌ ‌‌are‌‌ ‌‌expected‌‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌be‌‌ ‌‌less‌‌ ‌‌than‌‌ ‌‌the‌‌ ‌‌statewide‌‌ ‌‌policy‌‌ ‌‌maximum‌‌ ‌‌of‌‌ ‌‌30‌‌ ‌‌minutes‌‌ ‌‌unless‌‌ ‌‌‌noted‌‌ ‌‌otherwise. ‌‌

Caltrans will suspend most work on Northern California highways from Friday, Dec. 23, through Monday, Dec. 26, in observance of the Christmas holiday. However, in the case of unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary for Caltrans crews to respond to emergency situations.

For‌‌ ‌‌updates‌‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌this‌‌ ‌‌list‌‌ ‌‌check‌‌ ‌‌QuickMap‌‌ ‌‌at‌‌ ‌‌‌www.dot.ca.gov‌‌‌ or‌‌ ‌‌1-800-GAS-ROAD‌‌ ‌‌‌(1-800-427-7623). ‌‌ ‌‌‌ ‌

LAKE‌‌ ‌‌COUNTY‌‌ ‌‌‌ ‌

Highway 29

— Road work near Route 281 will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists should anticipate up to 15-minute delays.

Highway 175

— Bridge work in Cobb at Estates Drive will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Motorists should expect up to 10-minute delays.

MENDOCINO COUNTY

Highway 1

— Tree work from Gualala to Hearn Gulch continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should expect up to 10-minute delays.

Highway 20

— Road work near Road 10 continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate up to 15-minute delays.

Highway 101

— Slide removal at Pieta Creek Bridge continues. Northbound lane closures will be in effect. Motorists should anticipate up to five-minute delays.

— Bridge work at the Crawford Creek Bridge continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. weeknights. Motorists should expect up to five-minute delays.

— Bridge work near Henry Station Road continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Motorists should expect up to 10-minute delays.

— Road work south of Willits continues. A lane closure will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should expect minor slowdowns in the area.

— Irvine Lodge Safety Rest Area will be closed through January 2023.

— Utility work at Spyrock Road will occur on Tuesday, Dec. 27. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Motorists should expect up to five-minute delays.

Highway 162

— Bridge work at the Outlet Creek Bridge continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect and motorists should expect up to 10-minute delays.

— Road work south of Dos Rios near the Rodeo Creek Bridge continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. weeknights. Motorists should expect up to 10-minute delays.

DEL NORTE COUNTY

Highway 101

— Construction in the Last Chance Grade area. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate up to 25-minute delays.

Highway 199

— Electrical work near the Collier Tunnel Rest Area will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect and motorists should anticipate up to 10-minute delays.

HUMBOLDT COUNTY

Highway 101

— Bridge work south of Phillipsville will continue. Lane closures will be in effect weekdays. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.

— Bridge work near Myers Flat will continue. Lane closures will be in effect. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.

— Emergency work at Fields Landing Overhead will continue. A full closure will be in effect. Motorists should choose an alternate route.

— Emergency work from ‘B’ Street to ‘D’ Street will continue. A northbound lane closure will be in effect from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.

Highway 211

— Emergency work at Fernbridge will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect and motorists should expect up to 10-minute delays.

Highway 255

— Utility work between Pacheco Road and Jackson Ranch Road will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays.

Highway 299

— Falsework installation from Route 200 to Route 101 will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.

CLEARLAKE, Calif. — On Dec. 3, the city of Clearlake held the inaugural Breakfast with Santa at the Senior Community Center, located at 3245 Bowers Ave.

This event was a huge success and would not have been made possible without the donations and help from the following businesses and community members:

• Foods Etc.
• Clover Dairy in Petaluma.
• Shearwood Forest.
• Elegant Touch.
• Susie's Sweet Treats.
• Bad Ass BLT's.
• Pasquinelli's in Lower Lake.
• Sharron Warren Jewelry.
• Highlands Senior Service Center.
• Amie Avila.
• Crystal Melanson and Naomi Melanson.
• Melissa Swanson.
• Alan Flora.
• Joyce Overton.
• Jessica Chernoh.
• Sgt. Ryan Peterson.

Finally, the city thanked Lower Lake High School students Madilynn Chernoh, Johnny Martinez, and Adam Viramontes for volunteering their time.

Later that evening the city of Clearlake held the annual Christmas parade. This parade included about 20 entries where Santa and Mrs. Claus made another appearance to meet with the community.

The city of Clearlake Recreation and Events Department will hold a Bunny Brunch on April 9, 2023, at the newly renovated Youth Center.

Additional details will be available soon. All proceeds from these events are used to help fund our newly formed Recreation and Events Division, dedicated to providing programs for our community and fun events throughout the year, including the Movies in the Park, the annual Soapbox Derby, an upcoming Spring Break camp, and Concerts in the Park.

Follow the city of Clearlake Facebook page for upcoming events and programs coming soon.

For more information regarding this or other events, please contact Tina Viramontes at 707-994-8201, Extension 131, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On Friday, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced his bipartisan legislation to amend the federal tax code in order to allow first responders the ability to access their retirement funds penalty free upon reaching their eligible retirement age was included in Congress’ end of year spending package.

"First responders, firefighters, and other public safety employees put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe," said Thompson. "Faced with this risk and increased stress, they deserve to be able to access their retirement savings the day they are eligible without penalty. Proud to have secured these changes which will go a long way in ensuring that first responders can retire with the peace of mind and financial security they deserve."

The tax code currently allows eligible first responders and public safety officers to withdraw from their retirement if they retire at or after the age of 50 due to the taxing nature of these jobs.

However, federal officers are eligible for retirement prior to the age of 50 if they have completed 25 years of service.

Under current law, when an officer retires prior to the age of 50 with 25 years of service, they are not allowed access to their retirement funds penalty free until the age of 59 ½, which is the age average Americans are able to withdraw from retirement accounts penalty free.

Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s Five Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

LOWER LAKE, Calif. — The California Highway Patrol’s Clear Lake Area office will conduct a driving under the influence and driver license safety checkpoint beginning on Saturday, Dec. 17.

It will take place from 6 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday on State Route 53 south of Jessie Street in Lower Lake.

The goal of the CHP is to ensure the safe passage of each and every motorist by targeting roads where there is a high frequency of intoxicated or unlicensed drivers.

A sobriety/driver license checkpoint is a proven effective tool for achieving this goal and is designed to augment existing patrol operations.

Vehicles will be checked for drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving unlicensed.

The objective is to send a clear message to those individuals that consider driving and mixing alcohol or drugs, or driving when unlicensed, that you will be caught and your vehicle will be towed away.

Funding for this program was provided from a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program in Lake County is planning orientation meetings for the 2023 Master Gardener training class.

For the class of 2023, the format will be primarily online learning and readings from the Master Gardener Handbook.

The first class will be in person at the Agricultural Center in the last week in January.

The precise date and time of this in person class will be determined following discussions during the Orientations.

The date for the first orientation meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 2 p.m. The meeting will be held in the conference room of the Agricultural Center, 883 Lakeport Blvd., Lakeport.

The date for the second orientation meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 5:30 p.m., also in the conference room of the Agricultural Center.

Please RSVP for one of these meetings by calling 707-263-6838 or by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This meeting will provide an overview of the UCCE Master Gardener Program and what is expected of a UC Master Gardener volunteer.

The information will be presented by current UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator Louise Pagone. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

To become eligible for the training, it is mandatory to attend an orientation meeting.

If you are unable to attend this meeting, please let them know when in December or January you would be able to attend a meeting. They will schedule another one, based on the incoming responses.

If you are unable to attend any meeting in December or January, please call the program at 707-263-6838 so they can arrange for a private meeting with the coordinator.

Upcoming Calendar

7Feb
02.07.2023 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Area Agency on Aging
8Feb
02.08.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
100+ Women Strong in Lake County
9Feb
02.09.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
11Feb
11Feb
02.11.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
12Feb
02.12.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
14Feb
02.14.2023
Valentine's Day
16Feb
02.16.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
18Feb
20Feb
02.20.2023
Presidents' Day

Mini Calendar

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