Monday, 25 October 2021


LAKEPORT, Calif. — The Smart Start Eligibility Wizard is a new website designed specifically for Lake County parents and caregivers of children, prenatal through age 5.

The wizard goes beyond the limitations of an early childhood resource guide and gives families the ability to not only learn about services in the community, but also quickly determine their eligibility and begin the application process or be connected with service providers for more information with a simple click or tap on their mobile phone, tablet or computer.

“This is a game changer,” said Carla Ritz, First 5 Lake executive director and originator of the Eligibility Wizard concept.

Ritz said the idea for the wizard came to her while she was helping her son with the college enrollment process.

“I noticed how the financial aid information on the university website grouped all financial resources available to help cover the cost of tuition and expenses into a single list with the ability to opt in or out of each one. Grants, scholarships, and subsidized loans were all listed indiscriminately as potential sources of funding, even though qualifications and requirements for each were very different,” she said.

“I had an ‘Aha!’ moment and imagined what it would be like to provide parents of young children in Lake County with the ability to see a personalized master list of local programs and services they qualified for along with the ability to opt-in easily to those that were most valuable to their families,” Ritz added.

Ritz shared the idea with Lake County Health Services Director Denise Pomeroy, who agreed the idea had tremendous potential for connecting parents and children to services easily and effectively in the critical period of the first five years of life, and she appreciated the way the eligibility wizard would put the parent/caregiver in the driver’s seat.

With the support of the First 5 Lake Commission, Ritz convened Lake County’s Smart Start Collective in 2019 to begin working together on the project. The collective is a cross-sector network of local pregnancy and early childhood service providers who work together on projects that help to ensure all of Lake County’s children have the best possible start in life.

Members shared their intake forms and eligibility requirements and offered suggestions for a user-friendly website that would benefit their clients.

First 5 Lake then requested bids from web developers to turn their now-collective vision into reality and found synergy and funding for the project through a grant from Hope Rising Lake County.

The Smart Start Eligibility Wizard is now ready to launch as the first of four pillars of the Smart Start Bright Futures initiative — a transformational cradle-to-career investment by Hope Rising and its partners into the next generation of Lake County.

Parents and caregivers can now visit on their smartphone, tablet or computer and follow the prompts to enter basic demographic information and view a personalized list of local programs and services for which their family is eligible.

They can then choose to have that list emailed to them for future reference, or they can immediately scroll through the services and opt-in to begin the application process for specific programs of interest.

District 4 Supervisor Tina Scott serves as a First 5 Lake Commissioner and Hope Rising Lake County Board member.

“This is not a tool that is available in larger, more resourced counties in the state,” said Scott. “It is unique to Lake County, and we couldn’t be prouder or happier to be able to offer it as a homegrown tool and gift to our community. We hope that it achieves its purpose of connecting families to needed resources as early as possible, thereby improving the lives and outcomes of our children.”

Members of the Smart Start Lake County Collective whose programs and services are included in the Smart Start Eligibility Wizard include:

• Adventist Health Clear Lake;
• Easterseals Northern California;
• E-Center WIC and Migrant Head Start;
• Lake County Department of Public Health;
• Lake County Libraries;
• Lake County Office of Education;
• Lake County Tribal Health Consortium;
• Lake Family Resource Center;
• Mother-Wise;
• North Coast Opportunities;
• Partnership Health Plan;
• Redwood Coast Regional Center;
• Sutter Lakeside Hospital.

New programs and services will be added to the wizard as they are established in the community and First 5 Lake has committed to hosting and maintaining the site for the good of children and families for many years to come.

CLEARLAKE, Calif. — The California Fire Foundation, or CFF, has announced $680,000 in wildfire safety grants to 55 local fire departments, fire agencies and community groups through its Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program.

Among the local awardees serving Lake County is the Lake Pillsbury Fire Protection District and the Lemon Aide Project, with each receiving $15,000.

The Lemon Aide Project is a nonprofit group that offers services and funding to those impacted by wildfires throughout Northern California, including Lake County. They will use the grant for education, planning and community outreach campaigns.

The Lake Pillsbury Fire Protection District will use its grant to purchase specialized firefighting equipment.

"Once again, we are experiencing an extremely destructive wildfire season throughout the state that is impacting communities far and wide," said Chief Larry Thompson of the Lake Pillsbury Fire Protection District. "This grant will help arm our firefighters with the necessary tools to keep the communities around the lake safe.”

The grant is part of a broad Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program, or WSPP, that is administered and managed by the CFF.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) supports the program with $1.4 million in charitable funding.

The program’s objective is to raise awareness about wildfire safety and bring resources to underserved communities in high fire-threat areas.

For a 2020 summary of the WSPP, click here.

Since 2018, 200 fire departments and fire agencies statewide have received funding through the WSPP. Funding targets specific communities identified as having extreme or elevated fire risk as identified by the California Public Utilities Commission High Fire-Threat District map.

“As California’s wildfire risk continues to grow, it will take all of us working together to find solutions to mitigate catastrophic wildfires. We’re grateful to partner with CFF in supporting dozens of fire departments, agencies and community groups to bolster some key defenses including tools and strategies to prevent and contain wildfires, and fire safety education,” said Ron Richardson, regional vice president for PG&E’s North Coast Region.

The WSPP focuses on two key areas to help keep communities safe:

— Wildfire safety campaign that features fire safety education, developed by CFF, in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Hmong to promote early evacuation during fires. The WSPP has worked hard to overcome language barriers by developing and distributing in-language fire-safety messaging. This campaign includes paid ads in radio, television, and digital ads, and outdoor billboards in high fire-threat areas.

— Grant program administered by the CFF through an application process. The CFF awards grants to recipient fire departments, agencies, and community groups in support of projects and programs focusing on wildfire/disaster prevention, preparedness and/or relief and recovery assistance.

How the grants help communities

PG&E’s contribution continues a four-year collaboration with CFF. PG&E has provided $4.6 million in total support for fire safety awareness through the WSPP. The charitable contribution is shareholder-funded, not funded by PG&E customers.

The CFF, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, aids firefighters, their families, and the communities they protect. The CFF’s Firefighters on Your Side program, also supported by PG&E, provides multilingual, culturally relevant fire safety messaging in both digital and print form, to assist the public in staying safe.

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. — The Mendocino National Forest invites the public to a field trip visiting the Plaskett-Keller August Complex Phase 1 project area.

The trip will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 10 a.m., pending weather and COVID-19 restrictions.

Participants will need to RSVP by Oct. 13 to attend the field trip.

The Plaskett-Keller project covers approximately 4,500 acres in the middle of the Forest about 15 miles from Covelo and 36 miles from Willows.

Phase 1 of the project will address time-sensitive safety concerns along roadways and campgrounds as well as economic recovery.

For additional details on the project, visit the project website.

For details about the field trip and to RSVP, please visit this link.

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. — The Mendocino National Forest will temporarily close Forest Road M10 for repairs and paving from Sunday, Oct. 10 to Sunday, Oct. 24.

Residents and visitors should prepare to take an alternate route.

The detour from the east side is to take Forest Road M5 south to Forest Road 17N02. The detour from the west side is to take Forest Road 17N02 south to Forest Road M5.

Motorists should drive slowly and carefully. The detour loop will add approximately 90 minutes of driving time.

The M10 paving project will begin five miles west of Mill Creek Campground and will progress eastward towards the campground.

Part of the repair project will include paving 1.5 miles of unpaved dirt road to provide safer access to the Letts Lake area.

The M10 project is funded by the Great American Outdoors Act to provide better access and safer roads to the public.

Please avoid the project area during the temporary closure and drive with caution while traveling on the forest.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Dr. John Parker will give a presentation on the Kelsey brothers at the Ely Stage Stop Museum on Saturday, Oct. 9.

“The Kelsey Brothers: A California Disaster” will begin at 2 p.m. in the museum’s Red Barn, 9921 Soda Bay Road, just north of Kitt's Corner.

The talk covers two of Lake County's Native American massacres, Buckingham Island in 1843 and Bloody Island in 1850.

Dr. Parker has reviewed and pieced together detailed accounts of the events as presented by Native American elders, local residents and government agents.

In this PowerPoint presentation, he follows the Kelsey brothers and their family from Kentucky and Missouri to California.

He sets the stage in California with the existing Native American culture and Mexican takeover.

Using diary entries and recorded interviews, Parker outlines the activities that led to the Buckingham Island massacre, the Stone and Kelsey killing, and the Bloody Island massacre. He then follows the surviving Kelsey brothers as they terrorize their way through California.

The talk is a description based on what is currently known about the events and allows the viewer to make up their own minds about where the events belong in history.

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The Lakeport Public Works Department provided an update regarding the ongoing construction projects affecting the lakefront public parking lots, the Fifth Street boat ramp and portions of North Main Street and other nearby streets.

The work schedule follows.

• Sunday, Sept. 26: Beginning at 8 p.m. to Monday, Sept. 27, at 6:00 p.m., North Main Street between First Street and Fifth Street will be closed with a detour provided. Fourth Street and Fifth Street will be closed from North Main Street to the parking areas near the lake. The Fifth Street boat ramp and all lakefront parking lots will also be closed while new paving work is underway.

• Tuesday, Sept. 28 (daytime hours): All lakefront parking lots and the Fifth Street boat ramp will be closed for paving. The ramp and nearby areas are expected to be closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Wednesday, Sept. 29, and Thursday, Sept. 30 (daytime hours): Street paving on North Main Street between Fifth Street and Clear Lake Avenue. Expect delays and consider using alternate routes such as North Forbes Street.

• Thursday, Sept. 30 (daytime hours): The Fifth Street boat ramp will be open, but the nearby lakefront parking areas will be closed for parking lot striping work. Vehicles and trailers will need to park elsewhere, including at the site of the new Lakefront Park (former Natural High area).

• Friday, Oct. 1: The Fifth Street boat ramp and nearby lakefront parking areas will be closed while the parking lot work is progressing.

• Monday, Oct. 4 through Friday, Oct. 8: The Fifth Street boat ramp will be open but access will be delayed at times. The nearby lakefront parking areas will be closed due to asphalt striping and stamping and project wrap-up tasks. Vehicle and trailer parking will be available at the new Lakefront Park.

Please be mindful of road signs and drive with caution in construction zones for the safety of workers.

Upcoming Calendar

10.26.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Board of Supervisors
10.26.2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
10.26.2021 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Retail Trends and Opportunities in Downtown
10.27.2021 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Retail Trends and Opportunities in Downtown
10.27.2021 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Lakeport Retail and Franchise Opportunities
10.27.2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thompson virtual town hall
10.28.2021 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
10.28.2021 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Lakeport Retail and Franchise Opportunities
10.30.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Rodman Preserve Saturday self-guided walks

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